DC5m United States mix in english 605 articles, created at 2017-04-19 12:28


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Georgia special election heads for runoff as Democrat falls short (24.99/25)

April 19 (UPI) -- Georgia's special election to replace former House Rep. Tom Price is headed for a runoff after Democrat Jon Ossoff narrowly missed winning a majority of votes Tuesday night.
Ossoff made a strong showing in a hotly-contested race seen as a gauge of President Trump's popularity. The 30-year-old investigative filmmaker led the field of 18 candidates with 48.3% of the vote in Georgia's 6th District, held for decades by Republicans.
CNN called the race just after midnight.
Ossoff will face Karen Handel, the top Republican vote-getter with 19.7%, in the June 20 runoff. Price, now the president's Health and Human Services secretary, was re-elected with nearly 62% of the vote in 2016.
Ossoff outperformed Hillary Clinton in Cobb and DeKalb counties and was running ahead of Clinton's numbers in Fulton County.
While Ossoff declared "a victory for the ages, " President Trump claimed a win for Republicans, who combined to win 50.5% of the votes. That vote is expected to be consolidated behind Handel in the runoff.
The president understood the stakes of the second congressional vote since his administration took office, a week after Kansas' 4th District narrowly replaced CIA Director Mike Pompeo with another Republican.
Monday, he even recorded a robocall encouraging Georgians to vote against the 30-year-old Democrat, saying he will "raise your taxes, destroy your healthcare, and flood our country with illegal immigrants."
Contributing: Doug G. Ware

Democrat Ossoff finishes first in Georgia primary but falls short of threshold to avoid runoff
High-profile Georgia congressional race heads to a runoff
Closely watched Georgia special election headed to runoff
The Latest: Georgia congressional race heads to runoff
Georgia House Seat Election Heads to Runoff
Georgia's congressional special election heads to runoff as Dems fail to land knockout blow
Georgia special election: Democrat Jon Ossoff to face runoff in bid for upset
Georgia special election goes to runoff after Democrat candidate fails to win outright


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Trump administration says Iran complying with nuclear deal (14.99/25)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Trump administration has notified Congress that Iran is complying with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama, and says the U. S. has extended the sanctions relief given to the Islamic republic in exchange for curbs on its atomic program. However, in a letter sent late Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the administration has undertaken a full review of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. "Iran remains a leading state sponsor of terror, through many platforms and methods, " Tillerson wrote. He said the National Security Council-led interagency review of the agreement will evaluate whether it "is vital to the national security interests of the United States." The certification of Iran's compliance, which must be sent to Congress every 90 days, is the first issued by the Trump administration. The deadline for this certification was midnight. As a candidate in the 2016 presidential election, Trump was an outspoken critic of the deal but had offered conflicting opinions on whether he would try to scrap it, modify it or keep it in place with more strenuous enforcement. Tuesday's determination suggested that while Trump agreed with findings by the U. N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, that Iran is keeping to its end of the bargain, he is looking for another way to ratchet up pressure on Tehran. Despite the sanctions relief, Iran remains on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism for its support of anti-Israel groups and is still subject to non-nuclear sanctions, including for human rights abuses and for its backing of Syrian President Bashar Assad's government. The nuclear deal was sealed in Vienna in July 2015 after 18 months of negotiations led by former Secretary of State John Kerry and diplomats from the other four permanent members of the U. N. Security Council - Britain, China, France and Russia - and Germany. Under its terms, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program, long suspected of being aimed at developing atomic weapons, in return for billions of dollars in sanctions relief. Opponents of the deal, including Israel, objected, saying it only delayed Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and did not allow for the kind of inspections of its atomic sites that would guarantee it was not cheating. Obama, Kerry and others who negotiated the deal strenuously defended its terms and said the agreement made Israel, the Middle East and the world a safer place. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Trump Administration Says Iran Complying With Nuclear Deal
Iran complying with nuclear deal, but it's still under review: Trump administration
Trump administration: Iran complying with nuclear deal
‘Iran complies with nuclear deal but sponsors terrorism’ – Tillerson on Trump’s review order
Iran nuclear deal: Trump administration approves agreement but review looms
US says Iran complies with nuke deal but orders review on lifting sanctions
Trump administration to review Iran sanctions relief: State Dept
White House says Iran is still complying with nuclear deal, much criticised by Trump


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Police: Fresno gunman targeting whites chose 3 men at random (13.99/25)

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - Three men were having a seemingly ordinary day in downtown Fresno, California, before they were singled out at random and killed by a black gunman targeting white victims, police said.
The men happened to be on the same block, but had no known connection to each other or to the shooter, Kori Ali Muhammad, who told police he wanted to kill as many white people as he could before he was captured.
One victim, a 34-year-old father of two preschoolers, was on the job when he was shot Tuesday in the passenger seat of a Pacific Gas & Electric utility truck. The driver wasn't hit and sped toward the police department, but his partner couldn't be saved.
Another victim, a 37-year-old man, had just picked up a bag of groceries Tuesday at a Catholic Charities building when he was gunned down.
Stephen Hughes, 66, said he and his wife rushed home Tuesday after receiving a frantic call from a neighbor to find a body draped in a blanket on the sidewalk leading to his front door.
"It looks like a guy carrying his groceries home from the store, " Hughes said.
The third victim, a 59-year-old man, was gunned down in the parking of the Catholic Charities building.
"These were unprovoked attacks, " Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said.
Two Latina women and a child crossed paths with Muhammad but were luckier. Muhammad pointed the gun at them as they sat in their car trying to flee, but didn't shoot.
Muhammad, 39, is in custody and is expected to be charged with four counts of murder - for Tuesday's three victims and 25-year-old Motel 6 security guard, Carl Williams, another white man who Muhammad shot last week. He also faces at least two additional charges of assault with a deadly weapon.
Police had been looking for Muhammad in the Williams killing, and Muhammad said seeing his own name and picture in a press release Tuesday morning helped spur the rampage.
Muhammad had shorn off the braids featured in his wanted pictures and YouTube videos, fired 16 rounds in less than two minutes at four places within a block.
"I did it. I shot them, " Muhammad told officers as they arrested him, according to the chief.
During the arrest, Muhammad shouted "Allahu Akbar, " but Dyer said the shootings had "nothing to do with terrorism in spite of the statement he made."
"This is solely based on race, " Dyer said.
Police are searching for the revolver Muhammad said he tossed into a pile of clothing. The gun may have been picked up by someone else, Dyer said.
On what appeared to be Muhammad's Facebook page, he repeatedly posted "#LetBlackPeopleGo" and encouraged "black warriors" to "mount up." A flurry of posts emerged in the past day.
He wrote that his "kill rate increases tremendously on the other side" and also posted about "white devils, " themes he dwelled on in hip-hop videos that he posted on YouTube.
Muhammad has a criminal history that includes arrests on weapons, drugs and false imprisonment charges and making terrorist threats. He had been associated with gangs but he was not a confirmed member, police say.
Muhammad was charged in 2005 with possessing cocaine with intent to distribute, court records show. Federal prosecutors said at the time that he was also in possession of a 9mm semi-automatic handgun and two rifles after being convicted of a felony.
He claimed insanity, and his attorney requested a psychiatric examination for his client, saying Muhammad "appeared eccentric with some bizarre beliefs."
He also "suffered auditory hallucinations and had at least two prior mental health hospitalizations, " according to court documents. His attorney said that Muhammad had "paranoia" and thought the justice system and his defense attorney were conspiring against him, court papers said.
The attorney who represented Muhammad in that case did not return a call for comment Tuesday.
Public records list Muhammad as Cory Taylor and other aliases with addresses in Fresno and Sacramento. Fresno's police chief said his former name was Cory McDonald. A woman who identified herself as Taylor's grandmother said Tuesday that the family last saw him on Easter Sunday. She hung up the phone before giving her name.
"I never would have thought he would do anything like this, " sad Muhammad's brother, who asked not to be identified by name. "I'm just kind of shocked."
Contributing to this report are Associated Press writers Sophia Bollag in Fresno; Kristin J. Bender, Olga R. Rodriguez and Janie Har in San Francisco; Jonathan J. Cooper and Don Thompson in Sacramento; Mike Balsamo in Los Angeles; and researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York City.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Fresno gunman wanted to kill white people - police
Fresno gunman targeting whites chose 3 men at random
Fresno shooter wanted to kill many white people, police say
Gunman targeting white men kills 3, Fresno Police Chief says
Fresno Gunman Identified As ‘Black Jesus,’ Shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ And Killed Three White Men
Police: Man killed 4 in Fresno, posted disdain for whites on Facebook
'I Shot Them, ' Suspect In Deadly Fresno Shootings Tells Police: The Two-Way: NPR
Family members identify Mark Gassett as Fresno shooting victim


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Democrat Jon Ossoff fails to get 50 percent in Ga. election, runoff set for June 20 (8.79/25)

Democratic candidate for Georgia’s Sixth Congressional Seat Jon Ossoff speaks to supporters during an election-night watch party Tuesday, April 18, 2017, in Dunwoody, Ga.
Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff will meet in a runoff for a greater Atlanta congressional seat with national implications. Ossoff harnessed opposition to President Donald Trump to lead an 18-candidate ballot in the typically conservative district. But he fell short of the majority needed to win outright. Handel finished second as the top Republican vote-getter.
Early Wednesday, President Trump was taking a little credit for helping nudge the district toward the June runoff:
Despite major outside money, FAKE media support and eleven Republican candidates, BIG "R" win with runoff in Georgia. Glad to be of help!
Democrats were hoping Ossoff would be able to garner the 50 percent necessary to avoid a runoff and capture the seat. The special election was a “jungle primary, ” meaning the top two contenders – regardless of party – would face off if no one could capture a majority of the vote in the first round.
Democrats are trying to turn a Congressional election in Georgia into a referendum on President Trump. Eighteen people are running for the sixth...
Ossoff, 30, had run as a pragmatic centrist in the district, which has been represented by a Republican since Newt Gingrich won it in 1978. The district easily re-elected Rep. Tom Price, a staunch conservative, but only narrowly went for President Donald Trump. The seat then became vacant when Price was appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services by Mr. Trump earlier this year.
Mr. Trump’s perceived weakness in the district, along with its changing demographics, convinced Democrats to pour millions of dollars into the district. Ossoff raked in an astonishing $8.3 million in the last few months, with most of it coming from donors giving less than $200. However, Republicans were quick to point out that the vast majority of that cash came from out of state.
Republicans countered with millions in outside group spending in an effort to damage Ossoff and keep him below 50 percent. For his part, Mr. Trump recorded a robocall encouraging voters to support the Republican candidates, and tweeted about the race several times. The crowded, 18-person primary featured 11 Republican candidates splitting the conservative vote. Still, that wasn’ t enough, and Republicans will now be expected to coalesce their support around Handel.
Mr. Trump also tweeted on voting day, urging Republicans in the district to vote:
Just learned that Jon @Ossoff, who is running for Congress in Georgia, doesn't even live in the district. Republicans, get out and vote!
The district, although still Republican-leaning, has been trending more Democratic in recent years, and provides Democrats with their best shot this year of picking up one of the 24 seats they’ ll need to reclaim the House. Mitt Romney carried the district by 23 points in 2012, a margin that shrank to less than 2 points when Mr. Trump won it in November.
The district is one of the best educated in the country, with 58 percent of residents having a bachelor’s degree or higher. That’s seen as a warning sign for Republicans, as Mr. Trump struggled to win college-educated whites in the last election. Since the 1990s, the district has also seen its share of white residents decline from 90 percent to 70 percent, in large part due to an influx of Hispanics and Asian-Americans.
Ossoff, a former Capitol Hill staffer who lives just outside the district, now has one last shot to use these factors to his advantage. But it will be an uphill climb, as Republicans still outnumber Democrats in the district and the GOP finally has a single candidate they can rally behind.
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Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff leads in Georgia House race, will face runoff in June
Georgia special election: Democrat Jon Ossoff to face runoff in bid for upset
Dem Jon Ossoff fails to avert runoff in Ga. special election
Georgia House race down to 2 candidates, plus Trump, Pelosi
Democrat Ossoff finishes first in Georgia primary but falls short of threshold to avoid runoff
Georgia congressional race: Democrat Ossoff, Republican Handel will go to run-off
High-profile Georgia congressional race heads to a runoff
Republicans force a June runoff in House race seen as referendum on President Trump


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Pence's new warning to North Korea: 'The sword stands ready’ (7.77/25)

Vice President Mike Pence said that the United States’ response to any use of weapons by North Korea will be "overwhelming and effective, " in a new warning to the reclusive state Wednesday.
Pence was speaking to hundreds of U. S. and Japanese sailors from the deck of the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier in the Yokosuka naval base in Tokyo Bay, Japan.
"North Korea is the most dangerous and urgent threat to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific, " he said. “The United States of America will always seek peace but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready.”
“Those who would challenge our resolve or readiness should know, we will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response, ” Pence said.
On Tuesday, Pence reassured Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the U. S. stands “100 percent” behind Japan in working to reign in North Korea’s nuclear program, after arriving in Japan from South Korea.
He said that while "all options are on the table, ” President Trump was determined to work with Japan, South Korea and other allies in Asia to resolve the problem.
Also Tuesday, it emerged that a U. S. strike group was not near the Korean Peninsula as had been previously thought, after President Trump said last week he had sent an "armada" as a warning to Pyongyang. The USS Carl Vinson and strike force warships were in fact headed instead to the Indian Ocean for joint exercises with the Australian Navy, more than 3, 000 miles from Korean Peninsula.
The White House said it based its statements on guidance from the Defense Department.
The State Department said Monday that China sent the Trump administration "positive signals" that it will increase economic sanctions to pressure its ally North Korea to abandon its development of missiles and nuclear weapons.
Pence is on a 10-day Asia trip that will see him also visit Indonesia and Australia.
Contributing: The Associated Press

US VP Pence warns North Korea: 'The sword stands ready'
Vice President Mike Pence gives stern warning to North Korea
US VP Pence warns North Korea: ‘The sword stands ready’
US VP Pence says he's working with allies to put pressure on North Korea
As Trump warned North Korea, his 'armada' was headed toward Australia for training
Pence vows 'overwhelming' response to North Korea
US VP Pence says working with allies to put pressure on North Korea
US VP Pence says to North Korea: 'The sword stands ready'


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Clippers beat Jazz 99-91, level series at 1-1 (5.59/25)

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Buoyed by a newfound sense of urgency, the Clippers took it to the Utah Jazz from the opening tip. The patch of real estate under the basket was all theirs, all game.
Blake Griffin led a smash-mouth revival of Lob City with 24 points and DeAndre Jordan had a double-double in the Clippers' 99-91 victory on Tuesday night that evened their playoff series at 1-1.
Jordan finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 21 points and 10 assists for the Clippers, who crushed the Jazz in the paint, 60-38.
"It was big, " Griffin said. "Our spirit was great, and I think it just carried over into the first quarter, with everybody being aggressive. That's what we need. Miss or make shots, we have to be aggressive like that. Our offensive aggressiveness will carry over to defense."
Los Angeles stormed to a 12-point lead in the first quarter, reeling off the kind of dunks that earned the team's Lob City moniker years ago. Jordan's tomahawk jam put an exclamation on the end of the period.
The Big Three of Griffin, Jordan and Paul combined on 10-of-13 shooting and six rebounds in the first, when the Clippers shot 65 percent. They outscored the Jazz 18-0 in the paint.
"They played with an intensity and level from the beginning of the game, " Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "It was impressive."
There was more to come in the second. Griffin powered down two dunks and Jordan again ended the scoring with an alley-oop slam from Jamal Crawford that sent the Clippers into halftime leading 51-42.
"We got a lot of stops early in the game, " Jordan said. "We were able to get out and run in transition and get some easy dunks and post steals for Blake, and then it opens up for our shooters."
Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 20 points. Joe Johnson, whose floater at the buzzer gave them a two-point win in Game 1, added 13 points off the bench.
The Jazz never led in the game and got no closer than six points in the fourth.
"The first quarter is what really got us, and they hit us a little bit, set us back in Game 1, as well, " Hayward said. "We definitely have to be better in the first quarter, but besides the first quarter we played them pretty even."
Utah closed within three points early in the third on a basket by Derrick Favors, who started in place of injured Rudy Gobert. But Paul answered with a 3-pointer, then stole the ball from George Hill and cruised in for a layup before J. Redick scored, capping a 7-0 spurt to push the lead back to double digits.
Without Gobert to patrol the middle, the Clippers easily had their way.
"We got to find other ways to protect the paint. That's the challenge, " Snyder said. "There's no sense lamenting his absence. Just got to figure out how to be better."
The Clippers played defense down the stretch. Jordan came out to the perimeter to hound Hayward, while Griffin got in Johnson's face. At one point, Paul's mouthpiece went flying and landed on the opposite side of the court.
Griffin took a page out of Paul's repertoire and buried a 3-pointer from the left corner, extending the Clippers' lead to 97-88 with 1: 35 to play.
As good as the Clippers were inside, they struggled from outside. They were 44 of 84 from the field. Shooting guards J. Redick and Jamal Crawford exemplified the drought. Redick was 2 of 7 for 4 points, while Crawford was 3 of 12 for 10 points. Combined, the duo missed all seven of their 3-point attempts. "We need to open it up a little bit. We've got to make some shots, " Rivers said.
Game 3 is Friday in Salt Lake City.
More AP NBA:

Clippers beat Jazz, level series at 1-1
Lob City smash: Clippers beat Jazz 99-91, even series at 1-1
Clippers bounce back with a 99-91 win over the Utah Jazz in Game 2
Clippers take advantage of Rudy Gobert’s absence, beat Jazz to even series, 1-1 – Orange County Register
LA Clippers beat Utah Jazz 99-91 in Game 2, tie series at 1-1
How Chris Paul’s aggressiveness sparked Clippers’ Game 2 victory against Jazz – Orange County Register


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Clippers use power to take Game 2, but win was far from convincing (5.25/25)

LOS ANGELES -- It felt like an egg race -- someone balancing an oval object on a spoon and scurrying to the finish. It wasn't a between-quarters event sponsored by the American Egg Board, though. The Los Angeles Clippers sprung back from a disheartening Game 1 loss, claiming a 99-91 wire-to-wire victory over the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference playoffs on Tuesday night at Staples Center.
But for much of the night, a double-digit lead seemed tenuous and laced with trepidation.
With the series tied 1-1, the clearest indicator of which team has control might lie in the pace -- a very Utah-like 90.3 across the first two games. The Clippers have held the lead for much of the series, but the Jazz have maintained the tempo.
We've got you covered all the way to the Finals with the latest news, schedules, analysis and more. 2017 NBA Playoffs »
• Schedule | BPI odds | Forecast | Vote!
• Who believed in Bulls? The Bulls
• Clippers turn on power in Game 2
• Winners, losers after weekend
• Cavs Big 3 rules Game 2 win
• McCollum, Lillard seek to even score
• Grit, grind and center who shoots 3s
• LeBron's all-time top playoff games
• Upsets? Series that could surprise
• Experts' first-round picks: East | West
• 5-on-5: BOS-CHI | CLE-IND
• 5-on-5: TOR-MIL | WSH-ATL
• 5-on-5: GS-POR | SA-MEM
• 5-on-5: HOU-OKC | LAC-UTAH
By all appearances, Game 2 had the aesthetics of a convincing Clippers victory. The LA triumvirate of Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul combined for 63 of the team's 99 points. Griffin and Jordan continuously bashed and battered their way to the rim, and Paul delivered his final seven points in the deciding quarter.
Luc Mbah a Moute succeeded in his task of stymieing Utah's Gordon Hayward to a sub-50 percent shooting game for the second straight time (12-of-33 from the field for the series) .
And yet a subtle issue developing in the West's 4-5 matchup is that "small ball" is a moniker ill-fitted for what the Jazz have been forced to employ.
A series that was expected to be a battle of size on the interior has been redistributed to the perimeter. And while the Jazz have done their best to leverage their perimeter weight, the Clippers repeatedly struck the sweet spot. LA's plus-22 differential in points in the paint is what many expected would happen after Jazz defensive stalwart Rudy Gobert fell in the opening moments of the series.
"I thought we did a good job of ... getting the ball inside, " Griffin said. "It was a point of emphasis. But yeah, when we're hitting outside shots and putting pressure on teams inside, it is another level, but those games aren't always going to happen. I thought tonight what made the difference is defensively. We just made it tough for them and made them take the shots we wanted them to take."
With Joe Johnson the smallest Utah wing at 6-foot-7, length and size have been smothering LA's 3-point shooting, a huge key to its offense. Jamal Crawford and JJ Redick have struggled to a 1-for-14 start from deep in the series.
"You know, you're giving something up, and the pressure that they put on the rim was significant tonight, " Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "We were not helping off [Redick and Crawford] . It's just there's a physical advantage around the rim.
"I think some of it is them. I hate to -- like we're doing a great job on Redick and Crawford. All you'd have to do is go back a couple games and look what they've done to us. I think there's an awareness that our guys have. But they're both really good players, and hopefully we can -- I won't say get lucky, but hopefully we can kind of continue to make it hard on them. But realistically both of them are going to break out at some point."
Check out the team site for more game coverage
The Clippers made the adjustment to involve Jordan more in Game 2. It led to a win, but it was the smallest margin of victory over the Jazz out of the four wins this season. The next step for the Clippers will probably involve what Snyder is expecting, as Redick and Crawford combined to average 27 points per game against Utah in the regular season.
And as Hayward pointed out, the Clippers will need to be better after the energy of the opening tip-off fades. LA took its largest lead of the game with 11 minutes, 36 seconds left in the second quarter, at 31-18. The Jazz outscored the Clippers from there, 73-68. It will be the Jazz, not the Clippers, with the home-crowd energy in Game 3 Friday night.
"We definitely have to be better in the first quarter, " Hayward said. "But besides the first quarter, we played them pretty even. We need to figure that out."

Clippers bounce back with a 99-91 win over the Utah Jazz in Game 2
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San Jose Sharks fans gear up for a win in Game 4 of playoffs
How Chris Paul’s aggressiveness sparked Clippers’ Game 2 victory against Jazz – Orange County Register
Clippers beat Jazz, level series at 1-1


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Chicago Bulls' belief in themselves paid dividends in Boston (5.24/25)

BOSTON -- Jimmy Butler always believed in the possibilities.
As the Chicago Bulls meandered through one of the most up-and-down seasons in recent memory, Butler quietly held to the belief that all his team had to do was get to the postseason and they could start anew. He didn't care that the Bulls continued losing to some of the worst teams in the league during the last week of the regular season, the All-Star swingman was buoyed by the feeling that with him leading the way, and playoff-tested veterans Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade flanking him on each side, the Bulls had a legitimate chance to do some damage in the postseason.
After watching the Bulls dominate the Boston Celtics throughout long stretches of a 111-97 Game 2 Eastern Conference playoff victory on Tuesday night, Butler is proving to be correct in his assessment.
"I'm not surprised because everybody's so locked in right now, " Butler said after scoring 22 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out eight assists. "Everybody's putting in extra work right now, watching film, working on their game, and that's where your confidence always comes from. We've got some great field generals out there in these two guys to help out and these younger guys, and to make sure they're playing hard at both ends of the floor."
The Bulls have looked nothing like the eighth-best team in the East, a seed they earned after backing into the postseason with a lackluster 41-41 record. They've simply outplayed the top-seeded Celtics throughout most of the first two games of this series. Each time a frazzled Boston team tries to make a run, the Bulls have an answer.
"You play the 82 games to learn a little bit about yourself, " Wade said. "And one thing I learned about this team is through adverse situations, this team sticks together. We had adversity as every team has, and that's the thing that's made us closer and stronger together. The credit for this team sticking together through injuries, through everything, putting ourselves in a position to make the playoffs, it goes to everyone, from the coaching staff, to the leaders, to the young guys -- everyone did it together."
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• Who believed in Bulls? The Bulls
• The Grizz can't stop Kawhi Leonard
• Winners, losers after weekend
• Cavs Big 3 rules Game 2 win
• McCollum, Lillard seek to even score
• Grit, grind and center who shoots 3s
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• Upsets? Series that could surprise
• Experts' first-round picks: East | West
• 5-on-5: BOS-CHI | CLE-IND
• 5-on-5: TOR-MIL | WSH-ATL
• 5-on-5: GS-POR | SA-MEM
• 5-on-5: HOU-OKC | LAC-UTAH
To put the Bulls' performance in some historical context, there's only been one other No. 8 seed in history that went on the road and won its first two games. That would be the 1992-93 Los Angeles Lakers, who went into Phoenix and earned two victories, then proceeded to drop the final three games of the five-game series.
The Bulls don't look like a team that is ready to fall back into bad habits, though. The reality is that despite what the seedings say, the Bulls simply look like the better team through the first two games. Wade bounced back after a poor Game 1 showing to score 22 points, while Rondo was an assist shy of a triple-double with 11 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds to go along with five steals. The Bulls are playing with a level of trust together on the floor that they haven't shown consistently all season.
"We had our backs against the wall in the couple weeks leading into the situation we're in right now where we had to win, " Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg explained. "And our guys did a good job of doing what had to be done to get us into the postseason. So, we've been playing high-pressure basketball for several weeks. I think that does help you when you come into playoff time."
It has certainly seemed to help the Bulls' role players as they get acclimated to the bright lights of the playoff stage. Two days after Bobby Portis played the game of his young career, scoring 19 points in Game 1, rookie Paul Zipser followed suit by coming out of seemingly nowhere to score 16 points. Combine this with the fact that Robin Lopez continued his steady play with 18 points and eight rebounds and the fact that the Bulls are playing some of their best defense of the season, and it's easier to understand why they are feeling even more confident. If they can keep getting production from their younger players while Rondo, Wade and Lopez stabilize the starting unit, then Butler can do what he loves to do and take over the game late.
Check out the team site for more game coverage
"It's really simple, " Butler said. "When I'm open, I normally shoot the ball. Sometimes when I'm not open, I also shoot the ball. But most of the time, I pass it to the open guy. And when they're making shots, my job's a lot easier. People can't load up on me, and then on top of everything else, these two do a lot of that as well. When they're attacking, they're aggressive, they're getting people involved as well. And getting stops. When we're getting stops, we're pretty tough."
Now the Bulls head back to Chicago for what will surely be a raucous atmosphere in the United Center for Game 3 on Friday. In his 14-year career, Wade has never dropped a series in which his team had a 2-0 lead and the Bulls, led by Butler, Wade and Rondo, don't expect to blemish that record.
"You can't be satisfied, " Hoiberg said. "You got to go home and keep playing. This is one of the better road teams in the league. We have to continue to go out and fight, continue to learn, continue to make adjustments and hopefully play well."

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Syria resumes reciprocal evacuations after deadly bombing (4.20/25)

Syria's military media says the evacuation and transfer of thousands of Syrians from four besieged areas has resumed.
The reciprocal evacuations from two pro-government villages and two opposition-held towns was disrupted by a bombing Saturday that killed more than 120 pro-government evacuees, mostly children.
The Central Military Media says 3, 000 residents of the pro-government villages, Foua and Kfarya, left Wednesday in 45 buses bound for government-controlled Aleppo.
Another 11 buses carrying opposition fighters left Madaya and Zabadani, near Damascus, heading toward the northern rebel-held Idlib province.
The opposition-run Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the transfer, which it says includes 800 armed men from both sides.
The population exchange has been criticized by rights groups, which say it rewards siege tactics and amounts to forcible displacement.

Syria evacuations resume days after bombing
Syria evacuations resume after deadly bombing
Syria evacuations resume days after bombing: state media, war monitor
Syria evacuations resume days after bombing -state media, war monitor


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Chen throws seven no-hit innings in Marlins win against Mariners (4.18/25)

Miami's Taiwanese pitcher Chen Wei-Yin had a no-hitter working through seven innings when he was lifted from the Marlins' 5-0 Major League Baseball victory over the Mariners in Seattle on Tuesday.
Chen was in total control, throwing 64 of his 100 pitches for strikes and flummoxing the Mariners hitters with his curveball and changeup.
He had allowed no hits with two strikeouts and two walks when Marlins manager Don Mattingly replaced him on the mound in the eighth inning with Brad Ziegler, who pitched a perfect eighth.
The Mariners' Mitch Haniger broke up the Marlins' combined no-hitter bid with one out in the bottom of the ninth with a double to right center off closing pitcher Kyle Barraclough.
"Wei-Yin was good all night, " Mattingly said. "He just kind of kept them at bay, changing speeds on both sides of the plate."
It was the second time in three days that the Marlins carried a no-hitter into the late innings. On Sunday they were four outs away from a combined no-hitter against the New York Mets.
Chen's outing was the longest by a Marlins starter this season. None of the team's other starters has recorded an out in the seventh inning, and Mattingly had no regrets about pulling him and denying him a chance to go for a complete game no-hitter.
"This guy had a (ligament) tear last year, and he's coming back, " Mattingly said. "He's been healthy, but I'm not going to let him go to 130 (pitches) ."
After Chen walked one batter and hit another in the seventh, Mattingly said, he had seen enough.
"We knew his location was leaving him, and in our minds, he's got no chance to make nine innings at that point, " Mattingly said.
Nevertheless, the nearest the Mariners came to getting a hit off Chen was in the fifth inning, when Taylor Motter seized upon a low fastball, belting it to center field where Christian Yelich made the catch a few feet from the wall.
Yelich's single in the first inning had scored Dee Gordon, who led off the game with a double, as the Marlins put up four runs in the first three innings.
Tuesday's stellar performance continues what is becoming a banner season for Chen.
On April 7, his long wait for his first Major League Baseball hit ended when he singled in his 52nd big league at-bat.
Chen's 0-for-51 hitless streak, which covered 57 plate appearances, was the fourth-longest such run to start a career among players who have debuted since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Haniger doubles to end Marlins' no-hit bid with 1 out in 9th
Mitch Haniger's 1-out double breaks up combined Marlins no-hitter in 9th
Miami has another near-no-hitter, beats Seattle 5-0
Wei-Yin Chen, two relievers combine for one-hitter for Miami Marlins vs. Seattle Mariners


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Real or not? Jose Reyes and Eric Hosmer are problems (4.10/25)

The box score says Rafael Montero was tagged with the loss as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Mets, 6-2, in 10 innings on Tuesday. Montero was definitely awful, allowing four hits and four runs while retiring just one batter and giving up several rockets in the process.
The Mets, however, should have won the game before Montero even appeared. In the top of the eighth, with two outs and the Mets leading 2-1, Jose Reyes dropped a little pop fly along the third-base line, perhaps a little wary of bumping into catcher Travis d'Arnaud, who was standing a few feet away. Andres Blanco then doubled to tie the game. An inexcusable error.
The Mets have five outfielders. What they don't have is a third baseman. Reyes is hitting.100/.182/.140. Outside of maybe Rangers reliever Sam Dyson, he's been the least valuable player in the majors. You may be shocked to hear this, but Mets fans are upset:
I've seen enough of Jose Reyes, thank you.
— D. J. Short (@djshort) April 19, 2017
I very much do not enjoy watching the 2017 Jose Reyes #Mets
— Paul ⚾️ (@MetsFanPaul) April 19, 2017
It will be interesting to see how long of a leash Mets manager Terry Collins extends Reyes. He's a below-average third baseman and he doesn't run much anymore, so any potential value he has is tied to his bat, which was basically league average last year once the Mets signed him after his domestic violence suspension. Given that history, there's even less reason to keep him around. Wilmer Flores can put up decent enough numbers at the plate and there's always the ghost of David Wright potentially returning. There's also the possibility of a trade down the road -- Mike Moustakas, for example, would be a nice trade deadline acquisition if the Royals fall out of it.
What do you think? Does Reyes last the season as the Mets' third baseman?
Eric the dread Speaking of players struggling, Eric Hosmer went 1-for-4 in the Royals' 2-1 loss to the Giants in 11 innings, dropping his season line to .200/.259/.260. He hit into an inning-ending double play in the 10th with two runners on.
If hitting a double play ground ball in THAT situation - on a 3-1 count - doesn't convince Hosmer it's time to fix his swing, nothing will.
— Rany Jazayerli (@jazayerli) April 19, 2017
What's Rany alluding to? Well, earlier in the day while perusing this thing called the Internet, I came across this excellent breakdown of Hosmer's slow start. As author Craig Brown pointed out, Hosmer had pulled the ball in the air once all season. As he wrote, that's a "disgusting spray chart for a cleanup hitter." Here's what it looks like:
Eric Hosmer's hit chart (heads up to @CraigBrown_BP, saw this earlier today) :
— David Schoenfield (@dschoenfield) April 19, 2017
His hit Tuesday was a little flair to right field, but you can see the problem: everything is on the ground. This has essentially been Hosmer's problem his entire career, and why he's reached 20 home runs just once. He hits the ball hard... but on the ground. His 25 home runs last season came at the expense of more strikeouts and a lower average and OBP. He was a league-average hitter, which isn't great for a first baseman.
Anyway, Rany is right. Hosmer will never be anything special unless he learns to add loft to his swing, as players like Josh Donaldson and Justin Turner famously did to turn their careers around. He's still just 27 and heading to free agency. It's probably too much to ask for him to re-haul his swing during the season, but he's not going to cash in next winter unless he starts hitting fewer grounders and more fly balls that tap into his natural power potential.
Mookie Betts strikeout note of the night. We're going to keep writing about our man Mookie because we have great appreciation for what he's doing in this age of strikeouts. He went 3-for-5 with no strikeouts in Boston's 8-7 win over Toronto, and his K-less streak hit 128 plate appearances. He also hit his first home run of the season -- and just his second during this streak. Considering he hit 31 home runs last year, it will be interesting to see how Betts' power plays out in 2017. Going back to the beginning of last September, he's homered just twice in 157 at-bats, although he's hit.325.
FYI: The longest streak in the expansion era (since 1961) is Dave Cash's 223-PA streak for the Phillies in 1976. He fanned just 13 times in 727 PAs. What's kind of remarkable is that he didn't even hit.300, with a .284 mark. To some extent, his streak shows how the game has changed: If you're never striking out and not hitting.300, you're not hitting the ball hard all that often. Indeed, Cash hit just one home run that year with just 27 extra-base hits. That style of hitting -- just slap the ball in play -- is essentially non-existent in today's game.
Estimated exit velocity: 1-million MPH.
— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) April 19, 2017
Quick thoughts on Starling Marte 's suspension. Obviously, losing Starling Marte is a huge loss for the Pirates. Factor in Jung Ho Kang 's absence due to his legal troubles in South Korea and the Pirates are missing their top two offensive players from 2016 for the next 80 games. Manager Clint Hurdle moved Andrew McCutchen back to center field -- he of the minus-28 Defensive Runs Saved there last season -- and kept Gregory Polanco in left. McCutchen responded with two nice plays in 2-1 loss to the Cardinals, including a long run into right-center to rob Mike Leake, yelling, "This is my spot!" after the catch.
In one sense, I love McCutchen showing a little attitude there, and it helps explain why managers are so reluctant to move a star veteran off his position. Then again, one nice play doesn't mean McCutchen is suddenly going to be good out there again, and Hurdle may have a big headache when Marte does return. The outfield defense was already a problem before the suspension, with the Pirates converting the lowest percentage of fly balls into outs in the majors. For more, Buster Olney and Jerry Crasnick wrote about the suspension.
When mascots go wild. On Sunday, the Easter Bunny destroyed Teddy Roosevelt in the Presidents Race at Nationals Park, and now we have Astros mascot Orbit having a little fun with Mike Trout:
Orbit pranked Mike Trout again tonight. https: //
— Michael Clair (@michaelsclair) April 19, 2017
Who wears the jersey of your team's hitting coach? Apparently, this Padres fan!
Shout out to the Padres fan with an Alan Zinter jersey
— Mike Ferrin (@Mike_Ferrin) April 19, 2017
Quick thoughts ... The Marlins flirted with a combined no-hitter for the second time in three games, before Mitch Haniger singled off Kyle Barraclough with one out in the ninth. Meh, hard to get that excited about a combined no-no. Henderson Alvarez remains the last Marlin with a no-hitter, throwing his back in September of 2013 against the Tigers. ... Zack Wheeler continues to be a work in progress for the Mets. The stuff is there, the command is shaky as he threw 99 pitches in five innings. ... Kevin Gausman 's start remains a bit concerning. While the grand slam he gave up to Adam Duvall in a 9-3 loss was a wind-aided cheap shot in Cincinnati, his season totals of 12 walks and 13 strikeouts while averaging fewer than five innings per start are a problem. As with Wheeler, the pitch counts are way too high. ... Shout-out to Robbie Grossman and his.489 OBP. Why aren't the Twins batting him leadoff?... Jose Ramirez looks great for the Indians, showing he can repeat or improve on his surprising 2016. ... Ridiculous ending in Atlanta. Down 3-1, the Braves loaded the bases with two outs when Shawn Kelley fanned Chase d'Arnaud swinging on a ball off the plate -- a swing that missed the ball by at least a foot. The Braves asked for a review and home plate ump CB Brucknor and his crew decided it was a tip. Luckily, Kelley fanned d'Arnaud again. ... Exciting ending at Dodger Stadium, where Yasiel Puig just missed a three-run walk-off home run. The Dodgers did score twice off Greg Holland, but Adrian Gonzalez grounded out with the go-ahead runs on base as the Colorado bullpen continues to do the job.

Reyes' error helps Phillies beat scuffling Mets 6-2 in 10
Phillies score 4 times in 10th inning, beat Mets 6-2
Mets Waste Solid Start From Zack Wheeler In Loss To Philadelphia
Jose Reyes error proves costly as Mets fall to Phillies


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1 killed, 1 injured in shooting near Findlay Market (3.35/25)

OVER THE RHINE (FOX19) – Police said one man is dead and another was injured after a shooting near Findlay Market Tuesday.
Police said the man who was killed is in his 30's, and a man in his 20's was transported to the hospital with critical injuries.
The shooting happened around 10: 15 p.m. on West Elder Street in Over-the-Rhine.
Police have not released any information on suspects.

Police say deadly shooting in downtown Fresno race related, not act of terrorism
Police Chief: Fresno killings are a hate crime
Fresno shooting rampage: Suspected gunman wanted to kill as many white people as possible, cops say


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Czech Republic - Factors To Watch on April 19 (3.23/25)

PRAGUE, April 19 (Reuters) - Here are news stories, press reports and events to watch which may affect Czech financial markets on Wednesday. ALL TIMES GMT (Czech Republic: GMT + 2 hours) =========================ECONOMIC DATA========================== Real-time economic data releases.................... Summary of economic data and forecasts........... Recently released economic data.................. Previous stories on Czech data............. **For a schedule of corporate and economic events: http: // =========================NEWS=================================== UBER: A Czech regional court issued an injunction on Tuesday against the Uber Technologies ride-hailing service in Brno, the country's second-largest city, the city government said on its website. Story: Related stories: BANKS: Czech banks expect to tighten further conditions for household loans in the second quarter of 2017, while on the corporate front conditions should ease, a survey conducted by the Czech central bank showed on Tuesday. Story: Related stories: CEE MARKETS: Central European currencies rebounded on Tuesday after Turkey's referendum, removing some uncertainty in emerging markets, while Croatian stocks surged following a cash injection to troubled Agrokor. The Czech crown, however, eased past 26.8 against the euro, reaching its weakest levels since the Czech central bank removed its cap on the currency on April 6. Story: Related stories: ** TAKE A LOOK at other crown stories: ---------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT ------------------------ Index/Crown Currency Latest Prev Pct change Pct change close on day in 2017 vs Euro 26.79 26.735 -0.21 0.8 vs Dollar 24.972 24.976 0.02 2.64 Czech Equities 968.06 -0.87 5.04 U. S. Equities 20, 523.28 20, 636.92 -0.55 3.85 Pvs close or current levels vs prior domestic close at 1500 GMT =======================PRESS DIGEST============================ EURO: The head of the country's biggest business group, the Industry Confederation, said the country should try to adopt the euro currency as soon as possible. Jaroslav Hanak said this could be around 2021. The leaders of the two main government parties have not been in a hurry to begin the process of switching from the crown to the euro zone's common currency. Finance Minister Andrej Babis, head of the ANO party that leads polls before an October election, said he was against euro adoption, saying the crown remained important and that the country should not have to pay for the debts of other euro zone members like Greece. Hospodarske Noviny, page 1 (Reuters has not verified the stories, nor does it vouch for their accuracy.) For real-time stock market index quotes click in brackets: Warsaw WIG20 Budapest BUX Prague PX For updates on CEE currencies TOP NEWS -- Emerging markets Prague Newsroom: +420 224 190 477 E-mail: (Reporting by Prague Newsroom)

Poland - Factors to Watch April 19
Romania - Factors to watch on April 19
Facebook killer takes his own life; Trump targets visa program (10 Things to Know for Wednesday)
Better watch April the Giraffe and her new baby while you still can


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Clippers go back to Lob City in booming victory over the Jazz (3.19/25)

On the verge of a burial, the Clippers took to the air.
Their future in doubt, the Clippers traveled to a parcel of their past.
It’s a ghost town now but, for one night, it came alive with rim-rattling, crowd-roaring and scoreboard-blinking glory.
Remember Lob City?
It was back, bold and beautiful as ever, its power resurrected in a 99-91 victory Tuesday over the Utah Jazz that knotted a first-round series at one game apiece.
There were flying alley-oop dunks. There were soft open layups. There were spinning and fighting runners. And in the fourth quarter, when the dunking finally stopped, there was more inside havoc with scrapping rebounds and suffocating defense.
Appropriately, one of the final songs played for the celebrating Staples Center crowd was “Jump Around.”
Also appropriately, the artist was “House of Pain.”
The series will now go from Lob City to Salt Lake City, the site of Game 3 on Friday, where the Clippers will show up feeling fully back from the brink.
“This is what we should do, ” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said afterward.
Three days after a stunning opening loss to a depleted Jazz team in the series opener, the Clippers knew they had to take advantage of the 7-foot-1 hole caused by the loss of Utah’s Rudy Gobert, who injured his knee in the first seconds of the opener and probably won’ t return this series.
In that first game, the Clippers inexplicably didn’ t attack the rim. They knew they had to attack it now. They knew they had no choice. Only three teams in NBA history have dropped the first two games at home and won a series, and it hasn’ t happened in a dozen years, and they surely knew that too.
“We’ ve got to get more downhill attacks, ” Rivers said before the game.
Downhill, as in directly from the usually measured Clippers attack directly into Lob City, a place last embraced several years ago before they realized that they needed a more balanced attack.
Forget balance. They needed boom, and they got it early. The Clippers’ fourth basket was an alley-oop dunk by DeAndre Jordan on an assist from Chris Paul. Moments later it happened again, only this time Jordan dunked backward. The crowd began buzzing, the Clippers’ destination was clear, and the game proceeded amid a flurry of drives and slams.
“We got into movement. We went downhill a lot more,’ ’ said Rivers. “Every time they made a run, we pushed the ball up the floor.”
Scoring 20 points in the paint before the Jazz scored their first points inside, the Clippers went after the rim with a vengeance, Paul hitting layups, Blake Griffin dunking, and even Paul Pierce working inside and knocking down shots. The first 24 minutes ended perfectly with an alley-oop lob from Jamal Crawford to Jordan, who slammed it down to give the Clippers a nine-point lead in a half that included eight dunks.
“It’s a must-win, ” Raymond Felton had said earlier this week, and the Clippers played like it, their inside scrapping carrying over to the rest of their game.
The Jazz closed to within six midway through the fourth quarter, but the Clippers battled for three shots on a possession that ended with Paul’s jumper, bringing the crowd to its feet. That was followed moments later by a Griffin layup, while at the other end, Griffin harassed opening-game hero Joe Johnson into a miss, more inside work.
“Our spririt, defensively and offensively, was good, ” said Griffin. “We have to be aggressive like that.”
The Jazz hung tough and kept it a six-point game in the final two minutes, when, rather perfectly, Luc Mbah a Moute grabbed an offensive rebound that led to Griffin’s clinching three-pointer.
“It was fun, ” said Rivers. “I was not in the game, but it looked fun.”
For the game, the Clippers outscored the Jazz 60-38 in the paint, outrebounded them by a half-dozen, and made more than half of their shots. Jordan was the biggest beneficiary of their inside moves, with 18 points and 15 rebounds and most of the Clippers’ 10 dunks.
“They raised their level tonight, ” said Jazz Coach Quin Snyder. “They played with an intensity from the beginning of the game, It was impressive. That’s who they are.”
The Jazz’ best move was before the game, when the injured Gobert was spotted lightly jogging into the press dining room in time to sit there, rather strangely, for a taco dinner. The Clippers didn’ t care, as long as he wasn’ t feasting on them.
“Because we don’ t have that anchor, there’s a process of us subtly adjusting to Rudy not being there, ” acknowledged Snyder.
Yes, the Clippers are often as confusing as some of their timeout entertainment, which on this night included a dancing orange Tyrannosaurus rex who appeared out of nowhere, and will hopefully return there.
But with Game 3 scheduled for Friday in Salt Lake City, they have made their intentions clear.
Lob City is still a working address. It’s still there if they need it. And it still feels like home.

Lob City smash: Clippers beat Jazz 99-91, even series at 1-1
Clippers bounce back with a 99-91 win over the Utah Jazz in Game 2
Los Angeles Clippers even up series with Utah Jazz in effort reminiscent of Lob City


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How Georgia vote shows Trump not so invincible (3.18/25)

This is big. But let's keep it in perspective: It's true that special elections can be nasty presidential bellwethers.
Republican George H. W. Bush seemed to be on a glide path to re-election after the Gulf War in 1991, but then his former attorney general Dick Thornburgh lost to Democratic first-time political candidate (but civil rights hero) Harris Wofford in a special election that was called following the death of Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania. A year later George Bush became a one-term President.
And yet sometimes, though troublesome, special elections don't quite mean disaster for the incumbent in the White House. In 2010, Republican Scott Brown took from the Democrats not just a traditional seat in the Senate but Ted Kennedy's seat, complicating the passage of Obamacare. But Barack Obama was nevertheless reelected.
Spinners will try to pinpoint a cause for Ossoff's strong showing. Was this a protest vote against President Trump? A vote against the paralysis of the "unified" GOP government that -- besides replacing Antonin Scalia with a conservative jurist -- has not managed to pass any of its agenda in its first 100 Days?
Or was it just about the appeal of the winsome candidate himself?
Actually, given the importance of momentum in politics, the reason voters in this safe Republican seat voted for a Democrat is less important than that they did.
This vote, in the solid red south, pricks the bubble of Trump's magical invincibility. It cannot be overstated how attractive the prospect of being with a "winner" was to President Trump's base and how this begins to cloud that image. Although it is too far from 2018 to make predictions about what might be happening to that base, members of Congress who are Republican but not Trumpist may now start to feel less in awe of the President.
The House Freedom Caucus' goal-line stand in the Obamacare "repeal and replace" fiasco no doubt gave some confidence to Trump skeptics but there is nothing more likely to spur real Republican resistance to the White House than the fear of losing one's seat in 2018.
And Democrats are now likely to put a lot more money behind the dream of challenging the 47 seats that, a ccording to the political analysis website 538, are even more flippable than the Georgia 6th. But the bigger Ossoff effect, whether he wins the runoff or not, may well be seen among Republicans in Washington.
Tuesday's outcome may ultimately make Trump madder than any episode of Saturday Night Live.

Trump Declares Victory In Georgia
Democrat leads in Georgia race seen as a test for Trump
Republicans force a June runoff in House race seen as referendum on President Trump


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The Trump Administration May Have Deported Its First DREAMer (3.16/25)

While the Trump administration is moving swiftly to crack down on illegal immigration, President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program has been left in place, for now. Last month Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said that no one who has current DACA status has been detained or deported under the program (though immigration advocates dispute that) . President Trump hasn’ t made a final decision on the program’s fate, but he’s repeatedly expressed sympathy for DREAMers. “They shouldn’ t be very worried, ” he told ABC News in January. “I do have a big heart.”
But now a 23-year-old who has lived in the United States since he was nine says he was deported to Mexico, despite the protections he was granted under DACA. Juan Manuel Montes told USA Today that after visiting his girlfriend in Calexico, California on February 17, he was approached by U. S. Customs and Border Protection officers who asked to see his ID. He says he told them that he has DACA status and left his wallet in a friend’s car, but the officers wouldn’ t let him retrieve his ID.
“They detained me, they took me to a center, they asked me a lot of questions, and I signed a lot of papers, ” he said.
Within hours he’ d been walked to the border and released into Mexicali. He spent his first night in Mexico with a friend, but said that after he was mugged and beaten he decided he had to go home. When he saw people using a rope to climb a border wall two nights later he joined them, but was quickly captured and deported again. He’s now staying with his aunt and uncle in Western Mexico.
The Department of Homeland Security disputes Montes’s version of events. A spokesman said they only have record of him being deported after scaling the border wall on February 19. They also claimed that his DACA status expired in 2015, though Montes’s lawyers say it was renewed in 2016, and is valid through 2018.
DHS noted that Montes was convicted for shoplifting in January 2016, and was put on probation. He also has three convictions for driving without a license, but USA Today notes that none of those convictions are serious enough to disqualify him from receiving DACA status.
Now Montes is suing the Trump administration to obtain more information about his case. He filed a complaint in the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of California on Tuesday, accusing the government of failing to provide any documentation that explains why he was deported.
“Juan Manuel was funneled across the border without so much as a piece of paper to explain why or how, ” said Nora A. Preciado, a staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, which is representing Montes. “The government shouldn’ t treat anyone this way — much less someone who has DACA. No one should have to file a lawsuit to find out what happened to them.”
USA Today noted that Montes was not a “poster child” for DACA. “He wasn’ t his high school’s valedictorian or a prominent advocate for fellow DREAMers, ” the paper wrote. Montes has learning disabilities stemming from a traumatic brain injury he suffered as a child. Nevertheless, he graduated from high school in 2013 and was taking welding classes at a Southern California community college before he was deported. He lived with his mother and younger brother, who is a U. S. citizen.
While immigration advocacy groups expressed their support for Montes on Tuesday, Representative Steve King celebrated on Twitter:
King opposes DACA and is known for saying in 2014 that for every DREAMer “who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
Other lawmakers said Montes’s story shows that the Trump administration is breaking its promises on immigration:

Immigration group says protected Dreamer deported
First 'Dreamer' protected by DACA deported to Mexico under Trump
First Illegal Alien ‘DREAMer’ Sent Back to Native Mexico Under Trump


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Misdirection about aircraft carrier adds wrinkle to North Korea response (3.15/25)

BEIJING — As tensions mounted on the Korean Peninsula this month, the U. S. military made a dramatic announcement: An aircraft carrier had been ordered to sail north from Singapore toward the Western Pacific, closing in on North Korea and its growing nuclear arsenal.
But the ship that officials portrayed as a sign of a stepped-up U. S. response to threats was in fact, at the moment that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un mounted a defiant show of military force last weekend, thousands of miles away from the Korean Peninsula, quietly operating in the Indian Ocean.
Officials’ nebulous – if not deliberately misleading – statements about the whereabouts of the USS Carl Vinson illustrate the Trump administration’s attempt to deliver a dual message on one of its most thorny foreign problems: at once illustrating a willingness to employ force against a dangerous adversary while also steering clear of steps that could spiral out of control.
A series of dual, sometimes conflicting comments delivered by top officials in the past week highlight the Trump administration’s hope that hard-line rhetoric will have a deterrent effect and, more fundamentally, the lack of attractive options it faces on North Korea. While officials are eager to signal a break from previous U. S. policy, their strategy appears to be a continuation of the Obama administration’s attempt to use international economic and diplomatic pressure to force results in Pyongyang.
“The Trump administration, having looked at the options, is speaking out of both sides of its mouth, which if done deliberately is good policy, ”said Patrick Cronin, an Asia expert at the Center for a New American Security.
“The idea is that we have the means of striking back, we’ re certainly going to protect our allies… but we’ re not going to make the mistake of starting a war, ” he said.
Standing at the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas this week, Vice President Mike Pence issued his latest warning to North Korea . “The patience of the United States and our allies in this region has run out, and we want to see change, ” he said.
But even as they highlight President Trump’s willingness to use force in new ways in Syria and elsewhere, Pence and other officials have also expressed a preference for a negotiated disarmament for North Korea.
“Our hope is that we’ ll be able … to achieve this objective through peaceable means, ” the vice president said, adding that he hoped for a resumption of negotiations.
The double-barreled comments from Pence, like those from national security adviser H. R. McMaster and other senior officials, also indicate the importance that China, which Trump is hoping will play an instrumental role in persuading Kim to abandon his nuclear plans, plays in the administration’s strategy.
Analysts said the White House is betting that its tough talk will convince Chinese President Xi Jinping that Trump is willing to use force to shatter the long standoff with Pyongyang, prompting Beijing to use the weight of its trade ties with North Korea to help avoid a huge conflict on its border.
Trump himself has issued repeated warnings to North Korea on Twitter, calling on China for help but promising to act unilaterally if need be. “I have great confidence that China will properly deal with North Korea, ” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “If they are unable to do so, the U. S., with its allies, will!”
Bruce Klingner, a scholar at the Heritage Foundation, said such statements appeared to be out of sync with the Trump administration’s preferred course.
“It’s a message at a much higher volume and intensity than would seem warranted, if the focus is going to be on stronger sanctions” and a renewed diplomatic process, he said.
The use of bellicose rhetoric, even when paired with messages of continuity, could bring unanticipated results. Already, North Korea has ratcheted up its rhetoric against the United States, threatening its own pre-emptive strike.
Rodong Sinmun, an official newspaper of the ruling Workers’ Party, declared this week that North Korea would use nuclear arms to “obliterate” the United States if it made a move suggesting a first use of military action.
Perhaps with that in mind, officials at the Pentagon and State Department have attempted to ratchet down speculation about potential conflict. Some of that was fueled last week ahead of a major North Korean anniversary by news of the carrier strike group’s deployment and a series of media reports suggesting a pre-emptive U. S. attack might be in the works.
Military officials acknowledge that circumstances have grown far more dangerous as North Korea has made progress toward miniaturizing nuclear weapons and developing a missile that could reach the U. S. mainland.
While they have drawn up a range of actions that the United States might want to take in the event of a provocative move by North Korea – such as a nuclear test or strike on its southern neighbor – the officials indicate their hope is that diplomacy will prevail.
Those options probably include stepped-up cyber and electronic activity, which would be more easily deniable and less likely to trigger a North Korean response.
“Diplomacy is only effective if it’s backed up by credible options, ” said a defense official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss administration deliberations.
Officials at the State Department have signaled that a resolution to the standoff could be well off in the future.
“I think there’s not going to be an answer tomorrow or the day after that. It’s going to take more time, ” Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary for East Asia and Pacific affairs, told reporters this week.
“Our preference is to put pressure on the North Korean regime so that they will undertake to cease this threatening behavior and roll back their illegal programs, ” she said.
It is not clear what effect the news that the Carl Vinson has been thousands of miles away in the Indian Ocean, rather than bearing down on the Korean Peninsula, will have in Pyongyang.
While the belief that the Carl Vinson was heading toward Korea was reported as fact by media outlets around the world – Trump last week said he was “sending an armada, very powerful” – there were hints it was perhaps not steaming there as fast as many supposed.
On April 11, U. S. Naval Institute News reported that although the carrier had canceled port calls in Australia, it had not scrubbed training events to move faster toward the Korean Peninsula and would still take more than a week to enter waters near Korea – a point that was lost amid heated talk of “war.”
Other photographs released by the Navy showed the Carl Vinson in the South China Sea from April 12 to 14.
In any case, the carrier strike force appears to be finally steaming in that direction now. A spokesman for the U. S. military’s Pacific Command said the carrier strike group is “heading north to the Western Pacific as a prudent measure.”
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Send questions/comments to the editors.

Pence vows 'overwhelming' response to North Korea
USS Carl Vinson Carrier was not on way to North Korea, reports say
Aircraft carrier wasn’t sailing to deter North Korea, as U.S. suggested


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Draisaitl tossed for spearing opponent's groin (3.14/25)

The Oilers' Leon Draisaitl was ejected in the second period for spearing the Sharks' Chris Tierney in the groin during Game 4 on Tuesday night. The Sharks went on to win 7-0 to tie the series, 2-2.
The dirty play may result in a harsher punishment.
Jeremy Roenick called it "as stupid as we've seen."
"It's as stupid as we've seen...intent to injure...without a doubt going to be a suspension." - @Jeremy_Roenick on Leon Draisaitl spear
The crowd groaned.
Big groan from SAP crowd when scoreboard replay showed Draisaitl speared Chris Tierney in the, um, confluence of the Guadalupe and Coyote.
But hockey players are tough, so Tierney apparently wasn't too bothered.
Chris Tierney says getting speared in the groin "didn't feel that good." Something of an understatement one Imagines.
Here's a few other reactions from the media:
I'd like to see Leon Draisaitl suspended. Fortunately for the #Oilers, this is the NHL playoffs. See: Calvert, Matt, one-game suspension.
Dirty, dirty play by Draisaitl and he’s gone - 5 and a game. Tierney has to go off to the dressing room.
Tierney is back playing, Draisaitl got the game misconduct. Not that anyone can predict @NHLPlayerSafety, but I doubt a suspension.
In the end, despite Leon Draisaitl's work earlier in the evening, the real nutshot was ... the final score
Game 5 is on Thursday at 10: 30 p.m. ET in Edmonton.

NHL: Sharks score with a vengeance in 7-0 blowout of Oilers
Sharks even series with 7-0 win over Oilers in Game 4
San Jose Sharks fans gear up for a win in Game 4 of playoffs


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Twitter reactions: Jazz miss Rudy Gobert as Clippers take Game 2 (3.13/25)

The Utah Jazz weren't able to repeat their Game 1 upset over the LA Clippers as they dropped Game 2 99-91 on Tuesday, but there was at least some fun to be had on Twitter.
From missing star center Rudy Gobert to Jazz unicorns and the battle for Chris Paul's wristband, here's the social media roundup for Game 2:
Not a great start
The first quarter for the Jazz simply wasn't good as they fell behind 29-18. Twitter reacted accordingly.
Missing Gobert
It was clear that the Jazz greatly missed Gobert as the Clippers took advantage of his absence in the paint.
Gordon Hayward's hair
The announcers couldn't help but comment on the Utah small forward's hair:
Jazz unicorns?
Kevin Hart in the house
Battle for the wristband
Boris Diaw had a little battle with Chris Paul involving Paul's wristband:
Lafe Peavler is a sports strategist for the Deseret News and Follow him on Twitter @LafePeavler.

Clippers bounce back with a 99-91 win over the Utah Jazz in Game 2
Jazz miss Gobert — and a lot of other stuff — in Game 2 loss to Clippers
Jazz notes: Rudy Gobert out but 'in a good place'
Game Information Game Leaders Conversation


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McDonald’s order trips up Facebook slaying suspect (3.12/25)

Facebook slaying suspect Steve Stephens was undone by a 20-piece Chicken McNuggets and an order of fries.
The man who police say shot a Cleveland retiree at random and posted video of the killing on Facebook pulled up to the drive-thru window of a McDonald's restaurant outside Erie, Pennsylvania, and waited for his order.
It was late Tuesday morning, almost lunchtime, and authorities were in the third day of an intensive manhunt for Stephens.
Now, more than 100 miles from the shooting, his time on the run was nearly up.
The attendant who took his money recognized the suspect and dialed 911. Stephens pulled up to the next window, where restaurant owner Thomas DuCharme Jr. and a supervisor tried stalling him by telling him his fries were delayed.
Stephens didn't want to wait. He took his McNuggets and whipped out of the parking lot, nearly hitting Gail Wheeler, 54, a retail operations manager from Erie who was on her way home from the grocery store.
"Two seconds later, I hear these sirens, and they come whipping past me, " she told The Associated Press.
Wheeler followed behind for a couple miles. She said the chase slowed suddenly from 50 mph to about 20 mph when the road narrowed from four lanes to two.
One of the pursuing troopers picked his spot — in front of an abandoned school — and hit Stephens' bumper to get him to stop. The Ford Fusion did a half-turn and came to rest at the curb.
Police were starting to get out of their cruisers when "I heard a shot. It was loud and distinctive, " Wheeler said.
"The next thing I know, they're approaching the car. The one officer just shook his head. He was closest to the car. ... They had their guns out but when he shook his head, they lowered their guns."
Stephens killed himself, authorities said.
State police Major William Teper Jr. said the trooper who bumped Stephens' car "saw him pull the gun out and shoot himself."

Chicken nuggets order ended flight of Facebook murder suspect
McDonald's order trips up Facebook slaying suspect
Facebook killer was caught by police after he pulled up at McDonald's
How two hero McDonald's workers who risked their lives to stall Facebook killer Steve Stephens and his order of 20 chicken nuggets and large french fries now stand to receive the $50K reward


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Early results show defeat for Jakarta's Christian governor (3.08/25)

Preliminary election results show the minority Christian governor of the Indonesian capital has been resoundingly defeated by his Muslim challenger after a campaign that highlighted the country's religious and racial divides.
So called "quick counts" by 10 research companies show former Cabinet minister Anies Baswedan winning between 55 and 60 percent of votes with more than half of ballots counted.
Incumbent Gov. Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama is on trial for blasphemy and hundreds of thousands protested against him in Jakarta, deriding his Chinese ancestry and calling for him to be imprisoned or killed.
Baswedan courted the support of conservative clerics who opposed electing a non-Muslim.
The polarizing campaign has undermined Indonesia's reputation for practicing a moderate form of Islam.

Indonesia capital votes for governor after divisive campaign
Jakarta election: Ahok makes last appeal as polling booths open
Muslim Jakarta governor candidate ahead in election, early count shows


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Facebook wants to augment your reality (3.08/25)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Facebook wants you to sit in your bedroom wearing a headset and take a virtual vacation with faraway friends and family. Or use your smartphone's camera to spruce up your dinky apartment, at least virtually. The promise of augmented and virtual reality was a big focus of Facebook's annual conference for developers on Tuesday. CEO Mark Zuckerberg kicked off the gathering of programmers and other tech folks by talking about augmented reality tools he envisions on Facebook. Augmented reality involves the overlay of computer-generated images into real-world surroundings. Zuckerberg said new phone-based applications might let you create a three-dimensional scene from a single two-dimensional photo or splatter the walls of your house with colorful digital art. (You'd see the digital additions by looking "through" your phone at the augmented physical world.) MAKING CHORES MORE INTERESTING Facebook executives stressed that the technology is still in its early stages, and that the "journey to the future of augmented reality is just 1 percent finished, " as Deb Liu, vice president of platform and marketplaces, put it. Zuckerberg envisions the marriage of augmented reality and Facebook's camera feature enabling people to make even mundane chores, like doing the dishes, look entertaining with digital effects. Of course, it could also result in people staring into their smartphones even more intently as they marvel at an alternate reality instead of their actual surroundings. "Over time, I think this is going to be a really important technology that changes how we use our phones, " Zuckerberg predicted. Facebook also launched a virtual world, called Facebook Spaces, designed to let users of its Oculus Rift VR headset hang out with avatar versions of their friends in a virtual world. It's the first time the company has connected the Rift to its social network in a meaningful way, though it's a development Zuckerberg hinted at when the company bought Oculus back in 2014 for $2 billion. COMING YOUR WAY... EVENTUALLY While the new tools and features are impressive, analyst Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research cautioned that "most of them won't be in users' hands anytime soon." That's especially true for the Spaces app, since relatively few of Facebook's 1.9 billion members are using Oculus's VR headset, which sells for about $500 and requires an expensive computer to make it work. But Facebook could still have the edge on rivals such as Snapchat, which also launched some augmented reality features on Tuesday, likely to coincide with Facebook's news. "Facebook has the resources to move fast in this area and the audience to spread those features much more widely than Snapchat, " Dawson wrote in a brief research note. Snap representatives did not immediately respond to an email for comment on Tuesday afternoon. Facebook's focus on smartphones over high-tech glasses or headsets makes sense given how familiar they are, said Gartner analyst Brian Blau. "People already have cameras and are used to having fun and being creative with them, " he said. "This will give people a chance to experience augmented reality in a way that isn't so scary or off-putting." Until the past year or so, it seemed like it would be at least another decade before augmented reality would have a chance to become a widely used technology, said Ficus Kirkpatrick, Facebook's director of engineering. But advances in image and object recognition, along with the ubiquity of smartphone cameras, "has put us on the course to bring augmented reality, " Kirkpatrick said in an interview. CHATTING WITH COMPANIES Facebook also announced a bevy of updates to Messenger, its increasingly independent messaging app. Messenger head David Marcus claims the app has become the de facto "white pages" of messaging, since people can find and chat with friends without knowing their phone number. Now, Messenger wants to do the same for businesses, creating a "yellow pages" of sorts that let companies communicate with their customers. Messenger will also let people chat with outside businesses as a group. That would, for instance, allow groups of friends to share Spotify playlists or to make a restaurant reservation through OpenTable that keeps everyone on the same page. The idea is simplify what might otherwise require a flurry of texts and sharing of links. CLEVELAND MURDER Zuckerberg also briefly addressed a tragedy that took place Monday, when a man posted video of a murder on Facebook. That raised questions about Facebook's ability to monitor gruesome material on its site. The Facebook founder said his company has "a lot of work" to do on this front. ___ Ortutay reported from New York. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Climbing out of Facebook's reality hole
Facebook CEO wants to augment your reality
National briefs: Arkansas vows to carry out executions


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UPI Almanac for Wednesday, April 19, 2017 (3.07/25)

Today is Wednesday, April 19, the 109th day of 2017 with 256 to follow.
The moon is waning. Morning stars are Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Venus. Evening stars are Mercury, Mars and Jupiter.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Aries. They include statesman Roger Sherman, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the U. S. Constitution, in 1721; music patron Augustus Juilliard in 1836; U. S. federal agent Eliot Ness, head of the "untouchables" team that brought down Al Capone, in 1903; actor Hugh O'Brian in 1925; actor Dick Sargent in 1930; actor Jayne Mansfield in 1933; actor Dudley Moore in 1935; actor Elinor Donahue in 1937 (age 80) ; actor Tim Curry in 1946 (age 71) ; auto racer Al Unser Jr. in 1962 (age 55) ; record producer Suge Knight in 1965 (age 52) ; actor Ashley Judd in 1968 (age 51) ; singer Dar Williams in 1967 (age 50) ; television personality Jesse James in 1969 (age 48) ; actor James Franco in 1978 (age 39) ; actor Kate Hudson in 1979 (age 38) ; actor Hayden Christensen in 1981 (age 36) ; tennis player Maria Sharapova in 1987 (age 30) .
In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began at the Battle of Lexington, Mass. Eight minutemen were killed and 10 injured in an exchange of musket fire with British redcoats.
In 1912, Col. Archibald Gracie, survivor on the ill-fated Titanic, told of being sucked under by the sinking ship before managing to make his way back to the surface and the safety of a life raft.
In 1943, Jewish residents of the Warsaw ghetto revolted when Germans tried to resume deportations to the Treblinka concentration camp. When the uprising ended on May 16, 7, 000 Jews and 300 Germans had died and the ghetto lay in ruins.
In 1956, famed actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
In 1971, the Soviet Union launched its first Salyut space station.
In 1987, the first Simpsons cartoon appeared on The Tracey Ullman Show .
In 1989, an explosion in a gun turret aboard the battleship USS Iowa killed 47 sailors .
In 1993, a 51-day Branch Davidian standoff near Waco, Texas, ended when fire destroyed a fortified compound after it was tear-gassed by authorities. Cult leader David Koresh and about 75 followers, including 17 children, were killed.
In 1994, a federal jury awarded police-beating victim Rodney King $3.8 million in compensatory damages from the city of Los Angeles.
In 1995, a bomb exploded outside a federal office building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring several hundred others .
In 2000, a federal appeals court ruled in a high-profile case that 6-year-old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez could stay in the United States until judges heard a full appeal from his relatives who sought to retain custody of the boy. He was eventually returned to his father in Cuba.
In 2005, German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, already a major power in the Roman Catholic Church, was elected pope to succeed John Paul II. He chose the name of Benedict XVI.
In 2011, an air traffic control error was blamed for a "near miss" incident at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington in which a plane carrying first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of the vice president, flew too close to a military cargo aircraft while landing.
In 2012, Syria, torn by a yearlong insurgency, agreed to accept a 30-person team of U. N. observers .
In 2013, one Boston Marathon bombing suspect was killed by police and another, his brother, was arrested. The city had been in a virtual lockdown.
A thought for the day: "If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own." -- Henry Ford

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UK prime minister defends decision to seek snap election (3.06/25)

Britain's prime minister has defended her decision to seek a snap election.
Theresa May told the BBC in an interview on Wednesday that an early election is in the national interest because it will strengthen the country's position in negotiations to leave the European Union.
May said that opponents were intent on "frustrating the Brexit process, " even after Parliament authorized talks with the EU.
She said that "Brexit isn't just about the letter that says we want to leave. It's about... getting the right deal from Europe."
Parliament will vote Wednesday on holding a June 8 election. Elections are currently set for 2020, just a year after the scheduled completion of Brexit talks. An early ballot will give the next leader more time to implement Brexit before another election.

UK parliament votes on snap election in Brexit's shadow
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Man up, PNP tells officers in Reuters report on drug killings (3.05/25)

Man up.
This was the message of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to a retired and an active police official who claimed that the PNP ordered its men to kill drug suspects in exchange for cash rewards up to P50, 000 for each target in the name of President Duterte’s drug war.
“Man up. Don’ t just hide behind the white cloth, ” PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos said in Filipino at a press briefing on Wednesday.
Carlos was reacting to the Reuters report quoting an anonymous retired intelligence cop and another senior police commander, saying the PNP had been orchestrating drug killings, making them appear as if these were carried out by vigilantes.
The retired official also authored a 26-page report titled “The State-Sponsored Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines.” The document has been shared with the leaders of Catholic Church and the Commission on Human Rights.
Carlos refused to categorically deny the claims but he said the PNP “does not have much funds” to pay each cops a cash reward for killing drug suspects.
Not taking the allegations lightly, the PNP has started investigating the background of the cops anonymously quoted in the report.
“We should establish what’s the motive of coming up with that allegations against the leadership and organization. Our leadership has tasked (someone) already to look into these allegations, ” Carlos said.
The PNP’s spokesperson also talked with one of the reporters who wrote the Reuters story, which came out on Tuesday. He admitted that he refused to give a comment because the PNP wanted to see the 26-page document first.
Carlos said he also requested a transcript of the reporters’ interview with their sources “to determine the identity of these personalities and their motive.”
But he assured the officers that they have nothing to worry about their safety if they are indeed telling the truth.
“Walang problema (sa security) kung magsasabi ng katotohanan at ‘yan ay will be backed up by evidence. Kailangan may somebody else, two or more who will say that this truly transpired and these are the participants, ” he said. JE

Police paid to kill drug suspects, plant evidence—Reuters report
Approval for Duterte's drug war slips in Philippines
Support slipping for Duterte’s anti-drug crackdown, but it still has overwhelming approval


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French election turns into a four-way contest, putting pollsters to the test (3.04/25)

The four-candidate battle to reach the runoff in France’s presidential election is putting pollsters to the test as never before. With just a few days to go before Sunday’s first round of voting, every poll for the past month has shown independent Emmanuel Macron and the National Front’s Marine Le Pen taking the top two spots. Macron would then easily win the May 7 runoff, polls show. Yet both front-runners have been steadily slipping over the past two weeks, and Republican Francois Fillon and Communist-backed Jean-Luc Melenchon are now within striking distance. It’s a challenge for French pollsters, who have a near-perfect record in forecasting the vote share for the top five finishers in the first rounds in 2007 and 2012 and the subsequent runoffs. Until recently, the expectation was that France wouldn’ t have an electoral shock like Britain did with Brexit and the US went through with the election of Donald Trump. “This situation is totally unprecedented, ” said Emmanuel Riviere, managing director of Kantar Public France. “The fact that there are four potential finalists makes the situation very complex.” French political pollsters are aided by heavier reliance on Internet polling than in the US and the UK. And French elections are simple - one person, one vote, across the nation. The two-round system means a straight face-off between the top two candidates in the runoff, reducing voter options. The difference for this year’s first round is that the top four candidates are within a range of fewer than 4 percentage points. Given margins of error that are typically between 2.5 points and 3 points, the race is tighter than it might initially appear. On top of that, as many as 40 per cent of voters have yet to decide on their candidate, according to estimates by multiple pollsters. Pollsters haven’ t forgotten 2002, when Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine’s father, unexpectedly qualified for the runoff. That was considered a big failure for French polling, and companies say they’ ve adjusted their methods since then. Nor do they confront quite the complexities their colleagues in the UK and the US did. In the case of Brexit, it was only the second nationwide referendum on EU membership since 1975, meaning pollsters had no voting history to weigh polling results. And the US electoral system is so convoluted, even many Americans don’ t understand it. “There’s one round, 50 states, and an electoral college - we have nothing close to that complication, ” said Edouard Lecerf, director of political opinion studies at Kantar TNS. Helmut Norpoth, a political science professor at New York’s Stony Brook University who predicted Trump’s victory, says French pollsters are right to collect information via Internet surveys. “The reliance on telephones in the US and the UK is a problem, ” he said. “They are dinosaurs.” A generation ago, about one-third of people would agree to be questioned when called, said Jerome Fourquet, director of opinion studies at pollster Ifop. Now it’s about 5 per cent. At the same time, the number of people with an Internet connection is now about the same as those with a phone. “Online polling is more reliable, ” Fourquet said. “People are less likely to be shy about their vote on a computer screen than when talking to a human by phone.” Registered voters are contacted by email and asked to answer a series of questions. Then they’ re grouped to ensure a mix of ages, social class and the like to ensure the sample is representative. The five polls carried out on April 19, 2012, the last day polling was allowed before the first round that year, showed Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande winning between 27 and 30 per cent. On voting day three days later, he won 28.6 per cent. Incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy was credited with 25 to 27 percent, and won 27.2 per cent. Polls were similarly accurate before the 2007 election. As of Tuesday, Macron was running at 23 per cent and Le Pen at 22.3 per cent, according to the Bloomberg composite of French polling. Fillon and Melenchon are both at 19.5 per cent. In the second round, Macron would trounce Le Pen by 64 per cent to 36 per cent, according to Opinionway, which also says Fillon would defeat Le Pen 58 per cent to 42 per cent. According to Kantar’s Riviere, 60 per cent of French voters are sure of the choice they have made this year. In 2012, 71 per cent of voters had made a firm decision and in 2007, 66 per cent had done so. Only in 2002 were voters about as unsure. Noting that most of the undecided voters were on the left, Riviere said: “There is a real sense of hesitation about what to do.”

French election: Closer look at top 5 presidential contenders
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Macron, Le Pen cling on to first round lead in French election race: Le Monde/Cevipof poll


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Ohio police officer admits to fabricating shooting story to cover up suicide attempt, cops say (2.17/25)

An Ohio police officer lied about being shot by two armed suspects last week in order to cover up a failed suicide attempt, authorities said Tuesday.
Newcomerstown police officer Brian Eubanks, 37, admitted to police that he lied about the shooting after police brought him in for further questioning about the incident, the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office said.
Eubanks initially told police he had been pursuing two suspects in a black Geo Tracker in Newcomerstown, when they began shooting at his patrol car, striking him in the arm, Fox 8 Cleveland reported. Authorities put out an alert for the suspects and even at one point released a photo of one of the suspected gunmen before having to clear his name a short time later.
The sheriff’s office found Eubanks’ statements about the incident contradictory after speaking with witnesses. Investigators used an Automatic License Plate reader on Eubanks’ vehicle to track down witnesses that passed his car at the time he told police he was pursuing the gunmen, the station reported.
None of the witnesses the sheriff’s investigators talked to reported seeing the vehicle Eubanks claimed to be chasing – that’s when Eubanks was brought in and admitted to making up the lie.
Authorities were still investigating the incident. Eubanks was released to his family and will receive medical care for his “state of mind, ” the sheriff’s office said.
Click for more from Fox 8 Cleveland.

Ohio police officer who said he was shot during a traffic stop now says he made up the story to cover up a failed attempt to kill himself
Officer lied about being shot to hide botched suicide: cops


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Did Ivanka Trump skip White House Easter because she’s Jewish? (2.16/25)

Covering the White House Easter Egg Roll live, CNN reporter John Berman noted that Ivanka Trump was not in attendance. Maybe, he speculated, it was because she’s Jewish. “I saw Tiffany Trump just there before. Not Ivanka or Jared Kushner. Of course, Ivanka Trump is Jewish, ” he said during Monday’s festivities. “I don’ t know if she’s taking part in the Easter egg roll on the south lawn or not.”

White House says Iran is still complying with nuclear deal, much criticised by Trump
Trump's Erdogan call reflects terrorism focus, White House says


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Winning numbers drawn in 'Mega Millions' game (2.16/25)

The winning numbers in Tuesday evening's drawing of the "Mega Millions" game were:
08-29-30-43-64, Mega Ball: 6, Megaplier: 3
(eight, twenty-nine, thirty, forty-three, sixty-four; Mega Ball: six; Megaplier: three)
Estimated jackpot: $37 million

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Trump signs order to clamp down on visa program, enforce 'buy American' policy (2.13/25)

President Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order that will make it harder for American tech companies to hire employees from foreign countries willing to work for less money than Americans.
Trump signed the “Buy American, Hire American” order during his visit to the Snap-on Tools headquarters in Kenosha, Wis. The president called the order “bold new steps” toward making good on his campaign promises to generate more jobs for out-of-work Americans.
Trump called the order “a powerful signal to the world” that “finally puts America first.”
“We are finally standing up for our workers and our companies, ” Trump said.
The order targets the H1-B visa program, which allows U. S. companies to employ graduate level workers in specialty occupations like IT, engineering, mathematics and science. Among other changes, the White House wants to end the H1-B lottery system and replace it with a merit-based one - though it’s unclear exactly what criteria they would use.
“We’ re going to switch away from a random lottery system in which it’s weighted toward the lowest-wage workers towards a system that prioritizes higher-skilled, higher-paid workers, which would make it much more difficult to use it to replace American workers, ” a senior administration official said Monday.
Each year on April 1, a fresh cap for H1-B visa applications is set by U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Under the current system, applications are then randomly selected in a lottery system.
Trump’s order also empowers federal agencies to reexamine loopholes in the government’s procurement process. Specifically, they would look into whether waivers in free-trade agreements are leading to unfair trade by companies outside the U. S. and whether it undercuts American companies on a global playing field.
On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly vilified companies that looked to hire foreign workers. He vowed to end the H1-B program which, he said, allowed big business to fire Americans and replace them with foreigners.
Currently, the government’s H-1B visa program admits 85, 000 immigrants in each year to handle high-tech jobs. The number of application for H1-B visas fell to 199, 000 this year from 236, 000 in 2016 and 233, 000 in 2015, according to U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Trump’s order also requires applicants and their employers to demonstrate that the HB-1 visas awards will only go to the most highly skilled workers in their fields.
Trump has come under fire for not practicing what he preaches.
While he has pledged to support American goods and workers, some of his Trump-branded products are made overseas or made by foreign workers. The president also has been accused of looking the other way when his son Eric Trump asked to bring in 29 workers to work at Trump Vineyard Estates through the federal H-2A visa program.
That program enables agricultural employers to bring in seasonal foreign workers.
According to filings, job orders for Trump Vineyard Estates say the primary tasks include planting and cultivating vines, adding grow tubes and pruning grape vines.
During his wide-ranging speech, Trump also promised to fix the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, beef up trade deals, tweak the tax code and pass a new health care bill that will replace and repeal ObamaCare. He also said he wanted to work with lawmakers on getting Wisconsin dairy workers to get into the Canadian market.

Trump signs new visa executive order to help American workforce
Trump targets visa program he says hurts American workers
Silicon Valley faces crackdown of H1-B visas due to Trump executive order


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General election: MPs prepared to approve snap check on 8 June (2.13/25)

Theresa May’s devise for a snap ubiquitous choosing on 8 Jun is set to be certified by MPs later.
The early check is approaching to secure a two-thirds Commons infancy it requires to go ahead, with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn welcoming a PM’s warn proclamation on Tuesday.
Mrs May pronounced that she wanted to secure a subsidy of a British people for her Brexit negotiations.
She told a Sun journal “political diversion playing” risked hampering talks.
The subsequent ubiquitous choosing had been approaching in 2020, though a Fixed Term Parliaments Act allows for one to be reason progressing if two-thirds of MPs behind a move.
A suit to this outcome will be put before a Commons on Wednesday afternoon.
The SNP has signalled a MPs will refrain in a vote, though Labour and a Liberal Democrats have welcomed a early election.
Opposition parties have highlighted Mrs May’s U-turn after she had formerly insisted she would not be job an early election, though Mr Corbyn pronounced it was a possibility to get a supervision that puts “the infancy first”.
Opponents also indicted Mrs May of ducking out of TV debates during a campaign, after a Downing Street source pronounced she would not be holding part. Analysis By BBC domestic editor Laura Kuenssberg
Senior supervision sources indicate to a specific cause that altered a primary minister’s calculation on an early election.
The finish of a expected curved Article 50 negotiations is a tough deadline set for Mar 2019.
Under a Fixed Term Parliaments Act, that’s when a Tories would be starting to prepared for a ubiquitous choosing a following year, with what one cupboard apportion described as certain “political needs”.
In other words, a supervision would be unprotected to hardball from a EU since ministers would be unfortunate to equivocate usurpation anything that would be politically unpopular, or reason a Brexit routine up, during a start of a essential choosing cycle.
Ministers contend that’s a executive reason for Mrs May’s change of heart since “if there was an choosing in 3 years, we’ d be adult opposite a clock”.
Read Laura’s latest blog in full
In an talk with a Sun on Wednesday, Mrs May pronounced “political diversion playing” risked hampering her Brexit negotiations, with some opponents “trying to stop us each step of a way”.
Explaining her U-turn, she pronounced she had a “real event to consider this through” during a walking holiday in Wales with her father over Easter.
“What we wish comes out of a choosing is support from a open to contend we determine with their devise for Brexit, so that when we go into Europe I’ ve got that subsidy of a British people, ” she added.
The PM also pronounced a timing of a 2020 ubiquitous choosing could bushel Brexit talks.
She added: “If we’ re negotiating during a indicate that is utterly tighten to a ubiquitous election, we consider a Europeans competence have seen that as a time of debility when they could pull us.
“Now we will be most freer.” World leaders
Speaking on BBC Newsnight, Home Secretary Amber Rudd pronounced securing a stronger infancy would give a PM “the event to arrive during intensity compromises within a EU”.
Ms Rudd and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson were told about a choosing proclamation before to Mrs May’s cupboard assembly on Tuesday.
Brexit Secretary David Davis and Chancellor Philip Hammond are believed to have been a usually ministers who were extensively consulted.
BBC domestic editor Laura Kuenssberg pronounced there were ministers around a cupboard list who had no thought and were visibly repelled when Mrs May told them.
On Tuesday evening, Mrs May done a array of pleasantness calls to universe leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump, who wished “the British people a best of fitness in their electoral process”.
After Mr Corbyn had addressed Labour MPs on Tuesday evening, a source tighten to a personality pronounced a celebration was in for “the quarrel of a lives” though there was a “very certain mood” among his colleagues.
The source pronounced Labour “was prepared to quarrel it”, though criticised a primary apportion for what he called “her deception of a nation over job a election”.
BBC domestic match Chris Mason pronounced a personality had told his MPs: “I don’ t blink how most there is to do, we’ ve got 6 weeks to do it, let’s get out there and do only that.” ‘Selfish interests’
However, one of Mr Corbyn’s critics, Labour backbencher John Woodcock, pronounced there was still time for a personality to quit forward of a poll, “rather than lead Labour to defeat”.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pronounced she would be fighting a choosing “to win”, observant a PM had called it “for selfish, narrow, celebration domestic interests”.
Lib Dem personality Tim Farron affianced to quarrel for a UK to stay in a EU singular market, and indicted Mrs May of “bottling” holding partial in TV debates.

British lawmakers expected to approve June election
British lawmakers set to approve PM May's June 8 election plan


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Lowry bounces back, Raptors edge Bucks to even series at 1-1 (2.11/25)

TORONTO — Kyle Lowry shrugged off his Game 1 struggles in style, and got the Raptors back on level terms.
Lowry scored 22 points, including the clinching basket with less than 10 seconds to play, as Toronto beat the Milwaukee Bucks 106-100 on Tuesday night to level their first-round playoff series at 1-1.
“I’ ve been in the trenches with him before and he’s always bounced back, ” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “That’s just who he is. He’s a competitor, he’s a fighter. I just knew that he wasn’ t going to be satisfied with the way he played in the first game.”
DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, Serge Ibaka added 13 of his 16 in the second half and Jonas Valanciunas had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who improved to 5-1 when playing Game 2 of a playoff series on their home court.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Bucks.
Lowry scored just four points in Saturday’s Game 1 loss, missing all six of his 3-point attempts.
He was much better in Game 2, going 6 for 12, including 2 of 5 from long range.
“We knew he was going to be more aggressive, we knew he was going to get his shot off, ” Antetokounmpo said. “Tonight he did a better job of shooting the ball and finding his teammates, too.”
Of Lowry’s six baskets, none was bigger than his step back jumper with 8.9 seconds remaining, which gave Toronto a 104-100 lead.
“The play was for DeMar to get a bucket, ” Lowry said. “That’s our guy. He had two guys on him and he trusted us. He threw it to Serge and Serge gave it to me. For me, I just wanted to get to my spot. I knew there were five seconds on the shot clock and I wanted to get to my spot. I got to my spot and let it go.”
While they couldn’ t snatch a second win away from home, Antetokounmpo said the Bucks had still managed to achieve something important.
“We definitely gained a lot of things out of these two games, ” he said. “We got their attention.”
Toronto went 5 for 23 from behind the 3-point line in Game 1 but nearly tripled its output in Game 2, finishing 14 for 29.
“They made more 3s by halftime than they did in the whole game in Game 1, ” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “We’ ve got to get those guys off the 3. That helped them.”
Leading 84-83 through three quarters, Toronto opened the fourth with an 11-0 run that included a pair of 3-pointers by Ibaka, and a third from P. J. Tucker.
Milwaukee battled back, and a layup by Antetokounmpo cut it to 98-97 with 2: 46 remaining, leading to a Raptors timeout.
Ibaka made a jumper to put Toronto up three but Antetokounmpo answered with a 3-pointer, tying it at 100-all with 2: 03 left.
DeRozan broke the tie with a jumper and, after missed 3-pointers by Malcolm Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova, Tucker missed a pair of free throws.
DeRozan grabbed the rebound on a missed jumper by Middleton, setting the stage for Lowry’s decisive basket.

Toronto Raptors leave it late to see off Milwaukee Bucks and tie series
NHL Playoff Capsules
Sharks' offense explodes in series-leveling rout of Oilers


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PRESS DIGEST - Bulgaria - April 19 (2.11/25)

SOFIA, April 19 (Reuters) - These are some of the main stories in Bulgarian newspapers on Wednesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
-- The newly elected 44th parliament will have its initial session on Wednesday. The national assembly is summoned with a decree of President Rumen Radev and the eldest MP present - Socialist party's Toma Tomov, will unveil it (Trud, 24 Chasa, Standart, Monitor)
-- Passenger traffic at Sofia Airport grew by 52 percent to 515, 857 on an annual basis in March, the airport operator said. Passengers on domestic and charter flights increased by 60 percent and 46 percent respectively. (Trud, Standart, Monitor)
-- The total average income and expenditure per household member in Bulgaria in 2016 rose by 4.3 percent and 1.9 percent respectively compared to the previous year, the statistics office data showed. The annual total income average per household member in 2016 was 5, 167 levs ($2, 833.72) , while spending stood at 4, 755 levs (Capital daily, Trud)
-- Almost 90 percent of Bulgarian households are living in dwellings that they own and 6.3 percent live in rent-free dwellings, the national statistics office's report showed. Some 8.2 percent of Bulgarian households own a second home (Trud, Standart)
-- Bulgarians cut down on buying bread while consuming more fruit and vegetables - and they drank a bit less alcohol, buying fewer cigarettes too in the past eight years (2008-2016) , the statistics office's report showed (Trud, Capital daily) ($1 = 1.8234 leva)

The World’s Most Powerful Women: April 19
Poland - Factors to Watch April 19
Romania - Factors to watch on April 19


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Facebook live at Chuck E. Cheese leads to probation arrest (2.08/25)

Florida deputies say an 18-year-old woman wanted on a probation violation tipped them off when she appeared on a Facebook live video from a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant.
The Polk County Sheriff's office said Markesha Wilkerson posted the video Monday from the children's themed restaurant, including video of her smiling and laughing with a person in a mouse costume.
Officers arrested Wilkerson for violation of probation on a gun charge and failure to appear.
She's being held in the Polk County Jail without bond. It's unclear whether she's retained an attorney.

Not the gratest hideout: Fugitive woman, 18, leads the police right to her when they spot her dancing at a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant in a Facebook Live video
NYC man trying to dodge cops fatally falls from window (GRAPHIC)


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WATCH: Korn’s 12-year-old bassist makes onstage debut (2.08/25)

Last week, nu-metal band Korn broke the news that Tye Trujillo, the 12-year-old son of Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, will play for the band during its tour of South America.
The young rock star debuted with Korn during the first leg of the band’s tour in Bogota, Colombia, on Monday. Thrilled fans uploaded clips of Korn’s blazing performances, which invaded social media sites.
Tye, who is also a bassist for the California-based band “The Helmets, ” will assist the band in its gigs in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru.
This comes after Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, the band’s current bassist, was unable to join the tour due to “unforeseen circumstances.” He will resume his duties next month.
“We are bummed Fieldy can’ t join us on this run but excited to do a few gigs with a young player like Tye. We look forward to welcoming our brother Fieldy back when we return to the [United] States in May, ” a statement posted on Korn’s Facebook page read. Gianna Francesca Catolico /ra
Metallica bassist’s 12-year-old son to play for Korn

12-year-old thwarts crazed carjacker, saves little sister
Levi's Call issued for 'critical missing child'


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Tense crowd awaits Tusk in Poland as he is to testify (2.07/25)

Hundreds of emotional people gathered on a train platform in Warsaw to await the arrival of Donald Tusk, president of the European Council and former Polish prime minister, who is to testify in an investigation into an alleged secret deal between Polish and Russian intelligence officials.
The mood was tense as they awaited Tusk's arrival on Wednesday, with supporters holding EU flags and his detractors holding up signs accusing him of crimes.
Tusk is to be questioned by prosecutors as a witness. Many see his questioning as part of a larger attempt by Poland's nationalist government to discredit him and perhaps imprison him eventually. He has been accused by the defense minister of treason in another matter, the handling of the 2010 plane crash that killed the Polish president.

EU's Tusk in Warsaw as witness in spy case
EU's Tusk to testify in Polish intelligence probe on Wednesday


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Trump wishes Britain 'best of luck' with early election (2.07/25)

Washington - US President Donald Trump wished Britons "best of luck" with the early election announced by their prime minister, Theresa May, on Tuesday, the White House said.
Trump expressed the sentiment when he "received a telephone call from Prime Minister Theresa May... regarding her plans to call a special election in June", a brief statement said.
"President Trump wished the British people the best of luck in their electoral process, " the White House added, giving no further details of the telephone discussion.
Trump has previously hailed the result of the British referendum last year that approved the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union. Brexit, he said when he hosted May at the White House in late January, is going to be a "wonderful thing".
May on Tuesday unexpectedly called for the snap June 8 general election to strengthen her position ahead of the Brexit talks with the European Union.
One of her goals is to eventually obtain a free-trade deal with the United States.
Trump has been invited to visit Britain sometime this year, but no date has yet been announced.

The Latest: Trump, May speak about British election plans
British lawmakers expected to approve June election


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US Navy Redesigning Its Submarines To Accommodate Women (2.06/25)

Every submarine in the U. S. fleet was designed with the height, reach and strength of men in mind, from the way valves are placed to how display screens are angled.
That's going to change.
With women now serving aboard submarines, defense contractor Electric Boat is designing what will be the first Navy subs built specifically to accommodate female crew members.
The designers are doing the obvious things, such as adding more doors and washrooms to create separate sleeping and bathing areas for men and women and to give them more privacy. But they are also making more subtle modifications that may not have been in everyone's periscope when the Navy admitted women into the Silent Service.
For example, they are lowering some overhead valves and making them easier to turn, and installing steps in front of the triple-high bunk beds and stacked laundry machines.
The first vessel built with some of the new features is expected to be delivered to the Navy in 2021, the future USS New Jersey.
The Navy lifted its ban on women on submarines in 2010, starting with officers. About 80 female officers and roughly 50 enlisted women are now serving on subs, and their numbers are expected to climb into the hundreds over the next few years.
For now, the Navy is retrofitting existing subs with extra doors and designated washrooms to accommodate women. But Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut, is at work on a redesign of the Navy's Virginia-class fast-attack subs and is also developing a brand-new class of ballistic-missile submarines, relying on body measurements for both men and women.
"We have a clean sheet of paper, so from the ground up, we'll optimize for both men and women, " said Brian Wilson, Electric Boat director of the new ballistic-missile sub program.
Electric Boat officials had no immediate estimate of how much the modifications will cost.
As anyone who watches war movies knows, submariners are always turning valves, whether to operate machinery, redistribute water between tanks or isolate part of a system that has been damaged.
On the Columbia-class boats, valves will generally be placed lower, Wilson said. Sometimes there will be an extension handle, and some will be easier to turn. Sailors will be able to connect their masks into the emergency air system at the side of passageways, instead of overhead.
Emergency air masks are being moved on fast-attack submarines, too, but the bulk of the changes on those subs are to ensure privacy.
Seats in the control room on the ballistic-missile submarines will adjust forward a little more so everyone can touch each display and reach every joystick. Steps will be added so shorter people can climb into the top bunk or see into the washers and dryers, since clothes that get stuck in the machines are a fire hazard.
The first Columbia-class ballistic-missile sub is scheduled to join the fleet in 2031.
At 5-foot-6, Lt. Marquette Leveque, one of the first women to serve on a submarine, said that she didn't have any trouble reaching valves and other equipment but that the ergonomic changes will be helpful for shorter crewmates.
Leveque was assigned to a compartment with two other female officers on the USS Wyoming. They shared a washroom with male officers. A sign on the door could be flipped to show whether a man or woman was using it.
With so few women on board, the timesharing worked, she said. But with more on the way, the need for separate spaces is greater, she added.
"Privacy is important anywhere you are, " she said. "We live on this boat, as well as work there."

How the Navy is redesigning submarines to accommodate women
US Navy redesigning its submarines to accommodate women


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12 students hospitalized after Idaho school bus rolls over (2.06/25)

BOISE, Idaho — At least a dozen students were hospitalized after their school bus rolled over on a rural Idaho highway, police said.
Lincoln County Sheriff Rene Rodriguez said junior high students from Carey School were on their way to a track meet in Gooding when their bus crashed about 125 miles (201 kilometers) southeast of Boise on U. S. Highway 26.
The driver, 67-year-old Richard Mecham, drove off the right shoulder, overcorrected and rolled the 2011 school bus Tuesday, according to Idaho State Police.
A parent of one of the 39 students on the bus said her daughter remembered a hectic scene, with coaches yelling to get the driver's attention before the vehicle flipped over.
"Students heard the coach yell at the driver 'hey, hey, hey!' right before the bus flipped, " Cindy Stocking of Carey told The Associated Press via text message.
Stocking immediately drove to the scene after getting a call from her 13-year-old daughter Hailee, even though the school discouraged parents from going to the site.
"I found her and we hugged like we never have before, " Stocking said, adding that Hailee had been in another rollover crash six months ago in a family car.
Five students were transported by air ambulance to hospitals and several more were taken by ambulance or private vehicles.
"None of the injuries appear to be life-threatening, " Rodriguez said.
Earlier reports said 17 students from Carey School had been taken to hospitals after the incident, some with serious injuries. Police said later Tuesday that 12 were taken to hospitals.
The three adults on the bus — two track coaches and a bus driver — were not sent to a hospital as reported earlier, police said. The driver sustained no injuries while the coaches were treated and released at the scene.
Details on the injuries weren't released.
"We're relieved that there were no life-threatening injuries to students and staff, " said Heather Crocker, spokesman for the Blaine County School District, adding that the district has sent staff to the hospitals.
Rodriguez said the rural area relies on volunteer emergency responders and many headed to the scene after receiving a text alert.
The crash remains under investigation.

Police: Idaho school bus rolls over, 12 taken to hospitals
The Latest: Police identify Idaho rollover bus crash cause


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Volkswagen to challenge Tesla with line of affordable electric cars (2.06/25)

A mix between a four-door coupe and a sports utility vehicle, the new I. D. Crozz SUV is the third model which will be sold under the I. D. sub-brand.
A full charge gives the car a range of more than 300 miles. The I. D. Crozz can be charged up to 80 percent capacity from a fast charger in just 30 minutes.
The vehicle can switch to an autonomous driving mode with a push on the VW badge in the middle of the steering wheel, which then folds automatically into the cockpit.
The car then maneuvers around based on signals it gets via laser and ultrasonic scanners, radar sensors, and cameras.
The crossover is said to compete with Tesla’s Model X, which the US manufacturer started delivering in 2015.
According to the head of the VW marque’s electric car project Christian Senger, the company has made “huge progress” in reducing production costs of its all-electric vehicles.
VW has pledged that the I. D. line will cost about the same as its diesel models.
“Offering our electric cars for prices similar to combustion engine vehicles really is a game changer, ” Senger said. “We’ re using the need to step from combustion engine to electric cars to reinvent VW brand.”
The I. D. line models will be partly developed in China, and will also include a mid-size sports utility vehicle, a hatchback, and a sedan.
The concept of electric cars is part of Volkswagen’s new business strategy to take a leading position in the green transport niche by 2025.
In the wake of its diesel emissions scandal, VW announced last year it's phasing out up to 40 vehicle models. The company pledged to invest €10 billion into ride-sharing technology, electric cars, and automated driving. The automaker said it hopes to launch 30 new electric car models within a decade.

Chinese electric vehicle startup Nio will sell mass-production car next year
Showtime in Shanghai as automakers race for China edge


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Death of New York judge found in river is suspicious, police say (2.06/25)

The death of the first black woman judge to serve on New York's top court is being treated as suspicious, according to the New York Police Department (NYPD) .
Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam (65) was found floating in the Hudson River in March.
According to the NYPD, her death is now being treated as suspicious because there was no immediate indication of suicide or criminality.
"We have a middle aged woman deceased in the water with all her clothes on with no signs of homicide or suicide, " NYPD Sgt Brendan Ryan told ABC News.
The department said the death appeared to be non-criminal, but "at this point we can’ t say for sure, " according to an NYPD statement.
The policed department are seeking anyone with information as an autopsy was inconclusive.
Two officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, told The Associated Press that the death was believed to be a suicide.
Abdus-Salaam, a native of Washington, D. C., became the first African-American woman appointed to the Court of Appeals when Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo named her to the state's high court in 2013.

Death of NY state judge found in Hudson River reportedly 'suspicious'
Death of New York judge found dead in river is suspicious, police say


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Former President George H. W. Bush hospitalized in Houston (2.06/25)

HOUSTON (AP) - Former President George H. W. Bush has been hospitalized in Houston for four days with a recurrence of a case of pneumonia he had earlier in the year, a family spokesman said Tuesday. The 92-year-old former president and father of former president George W. Bush has been in Methodist Hospital in Houston since Friday for observation because of a persistent cough, Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said in a brief statement. He said doctors diagnosed a mild case of pneumonia that has been treated and resolved. The former president "is in very good spirits and is being held for further observation while he regains his strength, " McGrath said. Bush, who served as president from 1989 to 1993, had spent 16 days in the hospital for treatment of pneumonia in January. He was hospitalized in 2015 in Maine after falling at his summer home and breaking a bone in his neck. He was also hospitalized in Houston the previous December for about a week for shortness of breath. He spent Christmas 2012 in intensive care for a bronchitis-related cough and other issues. Bush has a form of Parkinson's disease and uses a motorized scooter or a wheelchair for mobility. Despite his loss of mobility, Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by making a tandem parachute jump in Kennebunkport, Maine. Last summer, Bush led a group of 40 wounded warriors on a fishing trip at the helm of his speedboat, three days after his 92nd birthday celebration. George Herbert Walker Bush, born June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts, also served as a congressman, CIA director and Ronald Reagan's vice president. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

George H.W. Bush Treated At Houston Hospital For Pneumonia : The Two-Way : NPR
Former President George H.W. Bush Readmitted to Hospital


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Adidas apologises for 'insensitive' email saying 'you survived Boston Marathon' (2.06/25)

Sports brand Adidas has issued an apology after the company sent out an "insensitive" email with the subject line "Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon".
The company received backlash from customers who said the email was "offensive" and in "bad taste".
In 2013 three people were killed and more than 260 were wounded during the Boston Marathon when two bombs exploded near the finish line.
At least two survivors of the 2013 bombing participated in this year's event.
The sports company quickly apologised, saying it was "incredibly sorry".
Adidas' full statement said: "We are incredibly sorry.
"Clearly, there was no thought given to the insensitive email subject line we sent Tuesday.
"We deeply apologise for our mistake.
"The Boston Marathon is one of the most inspirational sporting events in the world. Every year we're reminded of the hope and resiliency of the running community at this event."

Adidas sorry for email saying 'you survived' Boston Marathon
Adidas sparks furore with Boston Marathon 'survivor' email


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Three-run homer by Pujols helps Angels over Astros, 5-2 (2.06/25)

HOUSTON (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels never lost faith in a lineup featuring Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.
However, as their scoring drought stretched to 21 innings, they were certainly wondering when they'd get back on track.
It finally happened on Tuesday night when Pujols hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the fifth inning to give the Angels a 5-2 victory over the Houston Astros and snap a six-game skid.
"We have a lot of confidence in our offense, " manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't think anyone was doubting that we wouldn't get back on track. But the sooner the better."
The game was tied at 2-all with one out in the fifth when Pujols hit his second homer of the season.
"You are always pleased any time you get an opportunity to help the team win, " Pujols said. "That's my job. I just put my best swing on it. I'm glad we came out with a win."
Pujols has 54 career home runs against the Astros, the most by any player against Houston. He's gone 10 for 34 after getting just one hit in his first 20 at-bats this season.
But it was Andrelton Simmons who got the Angels on the board first with his homer in the second inning. Trout also drove in a run as they scored more runs than they had in their previous four games combined.
George Springer hit his AL-leading seventh home run for the Astros, whose five-game winning streak was snapped.
Angels starter Ricky Nolasco (1-2) yielded eight hits and two runs in six innings to improve to 5-0 in six career starts against the Astros. Cam Bedrosian got the last six outs for his third save. Houston had runners at second and third with two outs before he retired Nori Aoki to end the game.
Houston starter Joe Musgrove (1-1) allowed eight hits and five runs in five innings for the loss.
"I felt like I threw the ball well tonight, " he said. "Just a few mistakes and a couple balls they took advantage of. I try not to look at it as failure, I try to look at it as feedback and bounce back next time."
The homer by Simmons gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
Yuli Gurriel sent the first pitch of Houston's third to the seats in left field, and the Astros took a 2-1 lead when Springer connected on his home run with one out in the inning.
Martín Maldonado and Yunel Escobar hit consecutive singles in the fifth before scoring on a double by Trout, which sailed just out of reach of a diving Springer to score Maldonado and tie it. Pujols then connected on his homer — a soaring shot that landed on the train tracks atop left field — to put Los Angeles up 5-2.
Bud Norris pitched a scoreless seventh in his first appearance at Minute Maid Park since being traded by the Astros in 2013.
Astros: SS Carlos Correa missed his second straight game because of soreness in his right hand after he was plunked on Saturday. Correa said he felt better on Tuesday but that it was still hard to grip a bat. "It's early in the season so I don't want to be playing out there hurting right now, " he said. "There's still a lot of games to play so I still want to be able to be able to play most of the game."
The Angels didn't take batting practice on the field before Tuesday's game in an attempt by Scioscia to shake things up.
"Just trying to break the routine a little bit ... sometimes you've got to go American Legion and come out here and just play, " he said with a smile.
Before the game, the Angels acquired C Juan Graterol from Toronto for a player to be named or cash. OF Ryan LaMarre was designated for assignment.
Angels: J. C. Ramirez will make his fifth appearance and second start on Wednesday night. Ramirez allowed four hits and five runs in his first career start, a loss to Kansas City on April 14.
Astros: Left-hander Dallas Keuchel is scheduled for his fourth start on Wednesday. Keuchel is off to a strong start this season, going 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA and pitching seven innings in each of his first three outings.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Three-run blast by Pujols helps Angels over Astros, 5-2
Angels break slump with 5-2 victory over Houston Astros


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Death toll after Philippine bus plunge rises to 31 (2.06/25)

The death toll from a Philippine bus that plunged into a ravine rose to 31 with signs that overloading contributed to the crash, a police official said on Wednesday.
The accident, which saw the bus come off a winding road to fall 24 metres (80 feet) into a ravine in the upland province of Nueva Ecija on Tuesday, also left 46 injured with four still in a critical condition, said Senior Superintendent Antonio Yarra.
"The wheel burst and that caused the bus to fall into ravine. It seems that it (the bus) was overloaded. Because of the overloading, it was beyond the capacity of the wheel to hold, " Yarra, the provincial police chief told AFP.
He said a count determined there were 77 passengers on board, much higher than earlier estimates.
He declined to say who might be held responsible as the investigation was ongoing.
Road accidents are common in the Philippines, where old, badly maintained buses often drive on poorly lit roads.
In February, 13 students and a driver were killed while on holiday in a mountainous region when their bus slammed into a post.

Driver shouts brakes not working before Philippines bus plunges into ravine, killing 31
Bus brakes failed before deadly ravine plunge - survivor


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Winning numbers for April 18, 2017 (2.06/25)

Lottery winning numbers
Lotto: 4/152-11-36-40-42-53
Estimated jackpot $6.25 million
Winning tickets None
Next jackpot 4/19 $6.5 million
Pick 3 morn.: 4/17 2-8-6 Sum: 16
Pick 3 day: 5-5-2 Sum: 12
Pick 3 even.: 4-2-4 Sum: 10
Pick 3 night: 5-0-9 Sum: 14
Daily 4 morn.: 4/17 5-1-3-3 Sum: 12
Daily 4 day: 3-8-4-8 Sum: 23
Daily 4 even.: 6-6-6-6 Sum: 24
Daily 4 night: 1-4-7-3 Sum: 15
Cash 5: 4/171-2-8-33-35
Two Step: 4/17 3-8-20-35
Bonus Ball: 2
Powerball: 4/155-22-26-45-61
Powerball: 13
Estimated jackpot $70 million
Winning tickets None
Next jackpot 4/19 $80 million
MEGA: 4/188-29-30-43-64
Mega Ball: 6
Megaplier: 3
Estimated jackpot $37 million
Winning tickets NA
Next jackpot 4/21NA

Winning numbers drawn in 'Fantasy 5' game
Michigan Lottery numbers for Tuesday, April 18


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French candidates boost security ahead of tense vote (2.05/25)

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen says all the presidential contenders — and all French people — are potential attack targets.
The candidates for France's first-round presidential election Sunday have increased security in recent days. Authorities announced Tuesday that they had arrested two Islamic radicals suspected of plotting a possible attack around the vote.
While prosecutors haven't identified the potential targets, Le Pen said on BFM television that "we are all targets. All the French."
Le Pen also defended her decision to force national French news network TF1 to take down the European flag during an interview Tuesday night. She said Wednesday that "I am a candidate in the election for the French republic" and said Europe is acting like France's "enemy."

Macron, Le Pen cling on to first round lead in French election race - Le Monde/Cevipof poll
Macron, Le Pen cling on to first round lead in French election race: Le Monde/Cevipof poll


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Mexican's immigration status is in dispute over deportation (2.05/25)

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A 23-year-old man sued the federal government over his deportation to Mexico, saying he was entitled to remain in the United States under a program that shields people who came to the country as young children. Juan Manuel Montes' attorneys said their client is believed to be the first known person who qualifies for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to be deported by President Donald Trump. The attorneys said Montes qualified for DACA in 2014 and renewed his status for two years in 2016. U. S. Customs and Border Protection disputed the account of Montes' immigration status, saying that his DACA permit expired in August 2015 and, according to its records, was not renewed. The agency said Montes was once convicted of theft and sentenced to probation. His lawyers acknowledged Tuesday in the lawsuit filed in the Southern District of California that he had a misdemeanor on his record and "minor traffic offenses, " none of which would have disqualified him from DACA. Montes, who came to the United States when he was 9 years old and suffered a traumatic brain injury as a child, graduated high school in 2013 and pursued a welding degree at community college, according to the lawsuit. He then worked two years picking crops in California and Arizona. According to the lawsuit, Montes was sent to Mexico on Feb. 17 after being stopped by a law enforcement official and asked for identification while walking to a taxi stand in Calexico, California, about 120 miles (190 kilometers) east of San Diego. He had forgotten his wallet in a friend's car and felt "scared and confused." He was asked to sign documents without being given copies or an opportunity to see an immigration judge. After getting assaulted in the Mexican border city of Mexicali, Montes returned to the United States on Feb. 19 and turned himself over to authorities, according to the lawsuit. He was again asked to sign documents, not provided copies and returned to Mexico. Customs and Border Protection said Montes was arrested after climbing over a border fence in downtown Calexico and admitted under oath that he had entered the country illegally. Montes is now living in Mexico with hopes of returning to the United States. "I was forced out because I was nervous and didn't know what to do or say, but my home is there, " he said in a statement released by his attorneys. "I miss my job. I miss school. And I want to continue to work toward better opportunities. But most of all, I miss my family, and I have hope that I will be able to go back so I can be with them again." The lawsuit seeks records explaining why Montes was deported to Mexico, alleging violations of the Freedom of Information Act. It says Customs and Border Protection and U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which manages the DACA program, failed to respond to requests for information beyond acknowledging receipt. "Juan Manuel was funneled across the border without so much as a piece of paper to explain why or how, " said Nora Preciado, an attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, which represents Montes. "The government shouldn't treat anyone this way, much less someone who has DACA. No one should have to file a lawsuit to find out what happened to them." The government has issued nearly 800, 000 DACA permits since President Barack Obama introduced the program in 2012 and nearly 700, 000 renewals. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Mexican’s immigration status is in dispute over deportation
Immigration group says protected Dreamer deported


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India bus crash kills 44 (2.05/25)

A bus has swerved off a mountain road and plunged into a deep ravine in a Himalayan region of northern India, killing at least 44 people, an official said Wednesday.
"A preliminary report shows that a private bus fell into a gorge and has killed more than 40 people. The latest report given to me shows 44 people have been killed, " Rohan Chand Thakur, district commissioner of Shimla, the state capital of Himachal Pradesh where the accident occurred, told AFP.

Bus brakes failed before deadly ravine plunge - survivor
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New Zealand toughens requirements for skilled immigrants (2.05/25)

New Zealand is introducing tougher requirements for skilled overseas workers as it tries to control immigration numbers that have reached an all-time high.
The changes come a day after Australia said it would scrap a temporary visa for skilled overseas workers and after US President Donald Trump signed an order which he said should help American workers whose jobs are threatened by skilled immigrants.
New Zealand's Immigration Minister, Michael Woodhouse, said in a speech that the government was unapologetic that industries relying on overseas workers are finding it harder to recruit people from abroad.
"We are absolutely committed to the principle of kiwis first, " he said, using an informal term for New Zealanders.
The changes include new income thresholds. To qualify as skilled, immigrants will need to get a job in which they earn at least the median income. To qualify as highly skilled, they will need to earn at least 150% of the median income. Other changes include a new three-year limit for workers with lower skills.
Mr Woodhouse said the changes would control the number and improve the quality of immigrants.
It is the second time New Zealand has tightened its immigration rules in the past six months and the latest changes come during an election year, when many people have expressed alarm at the immigration rate.
In the year ending in February, net immigration reached a record 71, 300 people, equivalent to 1.5% of New Zealand's total population of 4.8 million people. That is a big swing from five years earlier, when net immigration was negative as more people left the country than arrived.
Part of the turnaround can be attributed to the nation's healthy economy, which is growing at more than 3% a year and is attracting back some New Zealanders who had moved abroad.
The largest numbers of new migrants to New Zealand are coming from China, India and the United Kingdom. The South Pacific nation's median annual wage is about 49, 000 New Zealand dollars (£27, 185) .

New Zealand restricts skilled-worker visas in 'Kiwis-first approach to immigration'
Facebook killer takes his own life; Trump targets visa program (10 Things to Know for Wednesday)


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Hontiveros: Dip in satisfaction with drug war a ‘slap in the face of EJK deniers’ (2.05/25)

The 11-point drop in the public net satisfaction rating for the government’s war on drugs was “a slap in the face for EJK (extrajudicial killing) deniers, ” Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Wednesday.
Hontiveros was referring to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showing that from 77 percent in December last year, the public net satisfaction rating on the war on drugs dropped to 66 percent in March this year.
The senator said the government’s war on drugs might have had massive popular support at the start, “but inevitably it has turned into a national nightmare.”
“As long as the government’s anti-drug campaign continues to create a climate of fear, impunity and killing, this war is a losing battle with less and less supporters, ” she said.
“The SWS survey is also slap in the face for EJK deniers, ” said Hontiveros, a member of the Senate minority bloc.
“For a second consecutive time, the majority or 73 percent of Filipinos are worried that they or someone they know would become victims of extrajudicial killings. The fear is real. EJKs are a reality.”
“The government’s attempt to massage its original data and/or reintroduce new and questionable data on the killings attributed to the drug war cannot hide this fact, ” she further said.
Hontiveros said the country is now farther away from the order and security that President Rodrigo Duterte had promised during the campaign.
“Our people are living in fear, among the ghosts of the drug war victims, without any semblance of justice in sight, ” she said.
“It’s time for the public to wake up from this national nightmare and set things right by holding all those responsible for these killings accountable alongside the implementation of a public health agenda on the anti-drugs campaign, ” the senator added. IDL

Palace downplays 11-point drop in satisfaction with war on drugs
Support slipping for Duterte’s anti-drug crackdown, but it still has overwhelming approval
Approval for Duterte's drug war slips in Philippines


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White nationalist Richard Spencer speaks at Ala. college; 3 arrested (2.04/25)

In this Dec. 6, 2016 file photo, Richard Spencer, who leads a movement that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism, speaks at the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas.
AUBURN, Ala. -- White nationalist Richard Spencer spoke in a crowded auditorium at Auburn University on Tuesday after a federal judge blocked the school from banning his appearance. Only a few chairs were empty in the more than 400-seat room as Spencer and other speakers railed against ethnicity and racial diversity, liberals, the media and more. They say they want to promote white pride.
Spencer previously made news by addressing a far-right gathering where audience members gave a Nazi salute.
Supporters and opponents engaged in shouting marches beforehand. Auburn police spokesman Capt. Lorenza Dorsey said three people were arrested on disorderly conduct charges. Video posted online shows two men scuffling outside the building where Spencer spoke, with one suffering a facial cut and bleeding afterward. Officers led both men away, and one woman also was handcuffed.
A judge cleared the way for Spencer’s speech after hearing arguments in a lawsuit filed by a Georgia man who rented the room where he spoke. The suit claimed the university violated free-speech rights by trying to stop Spencer’s appearance.
Auburn officials cited public safety concerns in trying to stop Spencer from appearing in the student union building.
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?

Three arrested during protest against white nationalist speech in Alabama
Violence, arrests as Richard Spencer advocates white supremacy at Auburn University


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Australian visa changes to limit foreign workers in advertising, tech and PR roles (2.04/25)

Australian advertising, media, technology and PR roles will soon be harder to obtain for foreigners following a major change to the highly skilled worker visa.
The Australian government has announced changes to its current visa programs, with plans to axe the four-year 457 visa for highly skilled workers and replace it with two temporary skills visas.
The government has released a list of 216 occupations which will be removed from visa eligibility, these include: public relations manager, web developer, multimedia designer, media producer, art director, and director of photography.
Occupations such as sales & marketing managers, advertising managers, web designers, and a raft of ICT roles will only be available on a two-year temporary skills visa.
There are currently more than 95, 000 people in Australia on the 457 visa, the majority of from India, which accounts for almost a quarter of the total intake, followed by the UK at 19.5% and China at 5.8%.
The 457 visa enables a foreign worker and their family to live and work in Australia for four years. It also provides a pathway for skilled workers and their dependents to apply for permanent residence.
The 457 will be replaced by two stricter and more expensive visas; a two year temporary skills visa with a shorter list of eligible roles, and a four-year visa, which will require a high standard of English language, criminal record checks, and labour market testing.

Scrapping 457 visas affects just 8% of foreign workers and none have worked in some of the banned occupations for a DECADE
Trump targets ‘abuses’ in visa program


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Former sheriff's recruit pleads to hit-and-run in Memphis (2.04/25)

Prosecutors say a former sheriff's office recruit has pleaded guilty to a hit-and-run collision that killed two pedestrians who were changing a tire on Interstate 40 in Memphis.
The Shelby County district attorney's office says 27-year-old Hunter Queen pleaded guilty Monday to vehicular homicide involving recklessness and leaving the scene of an accident involving death.
Queen received a three-year suspended prison sentence. He also must serve 52 weekends at the county jail.
Authorities say 34-year-old Jessika Cavazos and 37-year-old Derrick Cross were struck and killed on I-40 eastbound in north Memphis in August 2013. They were changing a tire in an emergency lane.
Queen was arrested nearly a year later, while he was a recruit in the Shelby County Sheriff's Training Academy. Queen said he thought he hit a deer.

Former sheriff’s recruit pleads to hit-and-run in Memphis
Wednesday at 11: Hit & Run Drivers


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Pirates CF Starling Marte suspended 80 games for PEDs (2.04/25)

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star outfielder Starling Marte has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. The league said Tuesday that Marte tested positive for the steroid Nandrolone. He will be eligible to return in mid-July. Marte was an All-Star for the first time in his career in 2016 and moved from left field to center field in the offseason after winning his second Gold Glove. The 28-year-old from the Dominican Republic is hitting.241 with two home runs and seven RBIs this season. Marte said in a statement that "neglect and lack of knowledge led to this mistake." "With much embarrassment and helplessness, I ask for forgiveness for unintentionally disrespecting so many people who have trusted in my work and have supported me so much, " he said. "I promise to learn the lesson that this ordeal has left me." Pirates president Frank Coonelly he was "disappointed that Starling put himself, his teammates and the organization in this position." "We will continue to fight for the division title with the men who are here, " Coonelly said, "and will look forward to getting Starling back after the All-Star break." Marte addressed the team during a closed-door meeting before its game Tuesday night at St. Louis. "What was said in here was strictly between us, between brothers and teammates, " infielder Josh Harrison said. "It's something he needs to deal with on his own, but if he ever needs to reach out, just know it's not exile. People make mistakes." Barring postponements, Marte would be eligible to return for the July 18 home game against Milwaukee and would lose 91 days' pay from his $5 million salary, which comes to $2, 486, 339. Under a change to baseball's drug agreement in collective bargaining during the offseason, he doesn't get paid on off days during the ban. Under the old agreement, he would have lost 80 days' pay, which would have amounted to $2, 185, 782. Another change in the drug agreement means Marte will not be credited for major league service during the suspension. That would have delayed his eligibility for free agency by a year until after the 2019 season, but he agreed in 2014 to a $31 million, six-year contract that includes club options for 2020 and '21. Under the drug agreement, Marte is ineligible for the 2017 postseason if the Pirates were to advance. It's a task made considerably harder with Marte out of the mix for the next three months. Pittsburgh already is missing third baseman Jung Ho Kang, who remains in his native South Korea awaiting a work visa after being convicted of driving under the influence in February. "It's an unfortunate circumstance, " pitcher Gerrit Cole said. "We have a lot of season left and we have a lot of games that we have to win. Unfortunately the next 80 are going to be without Starling and we're going to have to figure out how to get through it. That's what this franchise is built on and what this team is built on. It's next man up and I would expect nothing less." The Pirates recalled Jose Osuna from Triple-A Indianapolis ahead of their game Tuesday night in St. Louis. Manager Clint Hurdle said Andrew McCutchen, who had expressed displeasure about being moved from center field to right field during the offseason, will now get the bulk of the work in center. "There's closure now and it's going to be a great opportunity for us as an organization, as a group of men, to step up and play, " Hurdle said. General manager Neal Huntington said the club will open its academy for Marte to work out. He said the club could send Marte on a rehab assignment when there are 15 days left in his suspension, but until that, Marte will be limited to extended spring training work. Cardinals backup catcher Eric Fryer, a former teammate of Marte's, was surprised by his suspension. "Anytime he's on the bases he's a threat, " Fryer said. I think everyone knows he makes their offense better. He's a really exciting player to watch and explosive." Marte is the second player to be suspended this season for running afoul of the league's drug policy. Philadelphia pitcher Elniery Garcia, who was on the Phillies' 40-man roster but assigned to Double-A Reading, was suspended last week. ___ AP Sports Writer Will Graves and AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The effect of Starling Marte's suspension on Pirates? 'Kills them'
Fowler, Leake lead Cardinals past Marte-less Pirates 2-1


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Arenado hits 2 home runs, Rockies hold off Dodgers 4-3 (2.04/25)

Nolan Arenado homered twice, Trevor Story also connected and the Colorado Rockies held off the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 on Tuesday night.
Greg Holland gave up two runs in the ninth inning but earned his eighth save in as many chances. With runners at first and second, Adrian Gonzalez grounded out to end it.
Arenado hit a two-run homer into the left-field bleachers off Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-3) in the first. The slugger added his sixth of the season in the fifth, sending another pitch from Ryu into the stands between the left-field foul pole and the Dodgers bullpen.
The only National League player with more homers than Arenado is Milwaukee's Eric Thames, who has seven.
Arenado added a third-inning double for his second three-hit game in his last three starts. Colorado (10-5) won its third straight and improved to 7-2 on the road.
Story hit his second home run of the season deep into the left-field bleachers in the fourth, snapping slumps of 0 for 12 and 1 for 26.
Chris Rusin (2-0) tossed 1 1/3 hitless innings for the win. The first four Colorado relievers combined to hold the Dodgers scoreless on two hits over four innings.
Ryu was tagged for four runs and seven hits over six innings as he lost his third consecutive start. He's allowed 10 runs and 19 hits over 15 1/3 innings in his three losses.
Rookie left-hander Kyle Freeland started for the Rockies, but came out after four-plus innings. He held Los Angeles to a run and four hits, but walked four to go with three strikeouts.
The Dodgers, who have lost three in a row, scored in the fourth when Joc Pederson's infield single drove in Kike Hernandez from third base. Hernandez walked with one out and went to third on a single by Gonzalez.
The Rockies have taken three of four from the Dodgers this season.
Dodgers 2B Logan Forsythe sustained a bruise to his right big toe when he was hit on the foot by a pitch from Freeland leading off the first. Forsythe stayed in the game until the third but appeared to be in pain.
Following his first multihomer game against the Dodgers, Arenado has 11 two-homer games in his career.
Before the game, the Rockies reinstated OF Gerardo Parra from the paternity list and recalled INF Pat Valaika from Triple-A Albuquerque. RHP Shane Carle and OF Raimel Tapia were optioned to Albuquerque. ... Los Angeles placed LHP Grant Dayton on the 10-day disabled list with a left intercostal strain and recalled RHP Josh Fields from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson (1-2, 8.59 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season. He faced the Dodgers at Coors Field on April 9 and took the loss after allowing five runs and five hits in five innings.
Dodgers: LHP Clayton Kershaw (2-1, 2.53) comes off his best start of the season. He held the Diamondbacks to a run and four hits over 8 1/3 innings, striking out eight with only one walk.

Nolan Arenado’s two home runs send Dodgers to third straight loss – Orange County Register
Dodgers suffer scare when Justin Turner is hit by a pitch, then a loss to the Rockies, 4-3


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'Single largest dismissal of convictions in US history': How one crooked lab chemist 'Little Annie' has forced Massachusetts to toss up to 24, 000 drug cases - in a $50m criminal justice crisis that has seen THOUSANDS wrongly convicted (2.04/25)

Approximately 24, 000 drug convictions in Massachusetts that were tainted by a former state drug lab chemist who pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and falsifying tests have been dismissed.
'That is a victory for regular people, for people who've been tarnished by these drug convictions, ' said Carl Williams, a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, according to CNN .
Dookhan worked testing drug samples submitted by law enforcement agencies from 2003 until 2012.
The vast majority of 24, 000 drug cases potentially tainted by former state chemist Annie Dookhan will be dismissed by mid-April, according to The Boston Globe. This makes it the single largest dismissal of criminal convictions in U. S. history, according to the ACLU.
Only a few hundred cases are expected to remain open to prosecution.
Dookhan pleaded guilty in 2013 to charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and tampering with evidence and was sentenced to three years in prison. She was paroled last year.
Prosecutors said Dookhan admitted 'dry labbing, ' or testing only a fraction of a batch of samples, then listing them all as positive for illegal drugs. Her motive, they said, was to burnish her productivity and reputation.
She also falsely claimed to have a master's degree in chemistry.
'Today is a major victory for justice and fairness, and for thousands of people in the Commonwealth who were unfairly convicted of drug offenses, ' said Matthew Segal, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, in a statement.
Even if most of the impacted defendants affected by Dookhan had already served their sentences, wiping their conviction will help them in other ways such as employment, housing or lawful immigration status, said Daniel Marx, an attorney who argued for the dismissals.
'The actions of Annie Dookhan have imperiled the prosecution of thousands of drug cases throughout the commonwealth, including in some cases, defendants who presented a danger to the community, ' said Quinn.
The high court in January turned down a bid by the ACLU and public defenders to issue a blanket dismissal of all the potentially tainted cases, but also rejected prosecutors' arguments that a previous letter sent to more than 20, 000 defendants last September had been sufficient.
More than 5, 700 of those letters were returned as undeliverable, the court said, and the entire mailing resulted in motions for post-conviction relief in less than one percent of the total cases.
The justices instead proposed a multi-step process to resolve the cases, the first step requiring district attorneys to vacate cases they could not retry based on the evidence.
For the remaining defendants, the prosecutors would be required to show the ability to try the cases without relying on evidence mishandled by Dookhan, and provide 'adequate notice' to defendants of their right to explore a new trial or retract earlier guilty pleas.
'Now, a majority of these wrongfully convicted individuals will have the opportunity to clear their records and move on with their lives, ' said Segal.
The state is estimated to have spent over $47million dealing with the crisis, which shook the criminal justice system to its core.

Prosecutors move to toss more than 21, 000 tainted drug cases
Massachusetts prosecutors move to toss more than 21, 000 tainted drug cases


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California professor on paid leave for anti-Trump tweet (2.02/25)

SAN FRANCISCO — Fresno State University in California says an American history professor who tweeted that President Donald Trump "must hang" will be on paid leave for the rest of the semester.
The university says in a statement Tuesday that professor Lars Maischak has taken a voluntary leave of absence for the remainder of the spring semester.
Maischak could not immediately be reached for comment.
Last week, Maischak apologized for tweeting: "To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better."
Far-right websites such as Breitbart News highlighted the tweet, sparking angry calls on social media for the professor to be fired.
The university declined to say if Maischak would be back to teach in the fall, saying it was continuing to review the case.

California professor whose 'Trump must hang' tweet to 28 Twitter followers sparked outrage is put on paid leave
Professor who predicted Trump's victory says impeachment is next


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Mnuchin: Trump 'Absolutely Not' Trying to Talk Down US Dollar (2.02/25)

U. S. President Donald Trump is "absolutely not" trying to talk down the strength of the U. S. dollar, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was quoted as saying in Wednesday's edition of the Financial Times.
Mnuchin's remarks build on those first published in an interview with the FT late on Monday, in which he played down remarks by Trump in a Wall Street Journal interview last week when he said the dollar was "getting too strong."
Asked if Trump's remarks to the WSJ were an attempt to talk down the dollar, Mnuchin was quoted in Wednesday's FT as saying "absolutely not, absolutely not."

Trump 'absolutely not' trying to talk down dollar: Mnuchin
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Baseball-Highlights of Tuesday's MLB games (2.02/25)

April 18 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Tuesday's Major League Baseball games:
Cubs 9, Brewers 7
The Chicago Cubs pounded out 14 hits, including home runs from Kyle Schwarber and Miguel Montero, as they snapped a four-game losing streak with a 9-7 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday in a Wrigley Field slugfest.
The Cubs rallied from a 7-4 deficit with a four-run sixth keyed by Albert Almora's two-run pinch single and Jon Jay's RBI triple.
The rally overshadowed another big night for the Brewers' offense. Eric Thames went 3-for-5 with three runs, hitting safely in a 12th consecutive start. Travis Shaw was 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs.
Justin Grimm (1-0) worked a scoreless sixth inning, and Carl Edwards and Hector Rondon followed with one shutout inning apiece. Wade Davis pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save.
Marlins 5, Mariners 0
Wei-Yin Chen, Brad Ziegler and Kyle Barraclough combined for a one-hitter, Justin Bour had two hits, including a two-run home run in the third, and Miami shut out Seattle.
The Marlins lost the no-hit bid when Mitch Haniger singled with one out in the ninth inning against Barraclough.
Chen (2-0) was in full command throughout, throwing 64 of his 100 pitches for strikes, and keeping Seattle hitters off-balance with a low-70s curveball and changeup. Chen tossed seven innings, allowing no hits, striking out two and walking two.
White Sox 4, Yankees 1
Miguel Gonzalez came within two outs of a shutout, and Avisail Garcia hit a long three-run home run in the seventh inning as Chicago snapped New York's eight-game winning streak.
Gonzalez retired the first 12 hitters and gave up one run on four hits in 8 1/3 innings. Leury Garcia also homered for the White Sox, who won for the fifth time in their past seven games.
The Yankees' Luis Severino allowed four runs (three earned) and three hits in a career-high eight innings. After getting a career-high 11 strikeouts against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, Severino fanned 10 on Tuesday, eight of them in the first five innings.
Diamondbacks 11, Padres 2
Shelby Miller allowed four hits over 7 1/3 innings and Yasmany Tomas hit a three-run homer as Arizona cruised past San Diego.
Chris Iannetta also homered for the Diamondbacks, who scored a third straight victory. Miller (2-1) issued two walks with five strikeouts, allowing two hits through the first six innings while retiring the Padres in order four times.
Padres starter Jarred Cosart (0-1) retired the first 10 Diamondbacks he faced before departing the game before the fourth inning was over with a strained right hamstring muscle. Cosart was charged with three runs (one earned) on two hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Rockies 4, Dodgers 3
Nolan Arenado homered twice and Trevor Story also went deep as Colorado held off Los Angeles.
The surging Rockies had lost seven straight games at Dodger Stadium since they last won there last season June 8. The victory was the Rockies' fourth in five games on a road trip that began in San Francisco and ends Wednesday.
Arenado's first multi-homer game of the season gave him six for the season and 11 RBIs, including six in the past three games. Story, who entered the game 5-for-44, broke a string of 12 hitless at-bats with his home run.
Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 7
Andrew Benintendi's two-out double in the eighth inning provided the decisive run as Boston held on.
Toronto's Ezequiel Carrera belted a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the ninth off Matt Barnes to make it 8-7. Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman (1-2) went 4 2/3 innings, allowing six earned on 11 hits as Toronto lost for the 11th time in 13 games this season.
Red Sox left-hander Brian Johnson (1-0) , who was making his second career big league start, allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings to record his first career major league win. Mitch Moreland went 3-for-5 with three RBIs for Boston.
Athletics 4, Rangers 2
Andrew Triggs, who hasn't given up an earned run in 17 2/3 innings this season, helped Oakland snap a four-game slide.
Adam Rosales hit a game-tying two-run homer in the Athletics' four-run sixth inning, Khris Davis had a go-ahead sacrifice fly and Ryon Healy added a pinch RBI single.
Triggs (3-0) allowed three hits and two unearned runs in six innings. Santiago Casilla pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.
Angels 5, Astros 2
Albert Pujols blasted his 29th career home run at Minute Maid Park, a three-run shot that was the decisive blow in Los Angeles' victory.
Pujols' second home run of the season came against Houston's Joe Musgrove (1-1) with one out in the fifth inning, plated teammates Yunel Escobar and Mike Trout, and helped snap the Angels' six-game slide. Pujols has 54 career home runs against the Astros, his most against any club.
Los Angeles' Andrelton Simmons snapped an 0-for-11 skid with his opposite-field, solo homer off Musgrove in the second. That blast snapped a 21-inning scoreless drought for the Angels.
Indians 11, Twins 4
Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion each hit two-run homers, and Francisco Lindor added a two-run triple as Cleveland routed Minnesota.
Ramirez, Lindor, Carlos Santana and Michael Brantley each had two hits as the Indians scored in five of the first six innings to support starter Josh Tomlin (1-2) . Encarnacion added an RBI groundout for Cleveland after entering the game with one homer and two RBIs this season.
Lindor ran his current hit streak to 12 games while Ramirez is 14-for-24 with seven runs, three homers and 10 RBIs in his last six games. Phil Hughes (2-1) was out after 3 1/3 innings for Minnesota, allowing eight hits and six runs (four earned) .
Nationals 3, Braves 1
Max Scherzer allowed two hits over seven shutout innings as Washington handed Atlanta its first loss in its new Sun Trust Park.
Scherzer (2-1) struck out seven and walked three in recording his third consecutive quality start. He allowed only two runners to reach scoring position and improved to 6-3 in his career against the Braves.
Washington's Sammy Solis pitched a scoreless eighth inning but closer Blake Treinen loaded the bases in the ninth and allowed a run. Shawn Kelley entered and retired Emilio Bonifacio on a fly to right and struck out Chase d'Arnaud to end the game and earn his first save.
Reds 9, Orioles 3
Adam Duvall hit his first career grand slam and Joey Votto added a two-run homer to lift Cincinnati past Baltimore.
Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo (1-2) , who needed a positive start after two rough outings in his return to the major leagues after two seasons, allowed three runs in five innings.
The Orioles' Adam Jones hit a two-run homer off Arroyo, his third of the season. Kevin Gausman (1-1) started for Baltimore and didn't make it through the third inning, allowing 13 of 20 batters to reach base.
Cardinals 2, Pirates 1
Mike Leake threw 6 1/3 solid innings in his third straight quality start and a shaky bullpen got the job done in St. Louis' victory over Pittsburgh.
Leake (2-1) scattered seven hits and allowed a run, walking none and striking out one. He recorded 12 of his 19 outs via grounders and saw his National League-low ERA rise to 0.84. The Cardinals own consecutive wins and a series victory for the first time this season.
Brett Cecil bailed Leake out of a seventh-inning jam by inducing a 6-4-3 double play from pinch hitter Jose Osuna, who was making his major league debut. Matt Bowman tossed a scoreless eighth, and Seung Hwan Oh worked out of a bases-loaded spot in the ninth for his second save in as many nights.
Phillies 6, Mets 2 (10 innings)
Cameron Rupp scored the tying run in the eighth inning and lofted the go-ahead sacrifice fly during a four-run 10th inning as Philadelphia defeated New York.
The Phillies won for the second time in seven games while the Mets lost their fourth straight. Odubel Herrera homered in the first for Philadelphia, which fell behind in the bottom of the inning when Jay Bruce delivered an RBI single and Yoenis Cespedes raced home on a wild pitch.
The score remained 2-1 until the eighth when Rupp drew a two-out walk, went to third when third baseman Jose Reyes dropped what should have been an inning-ending popup by Galvis and scored on a double by pinch hitter Andres Blanco.
Rays 5, Tigers 1
Matt Andriese pitched six-plus strong innings as Tampa Bay ended a three-game slide.
The Rays got an offensive boost from Tim Beckham, who came in with one RBI this season but hit a two-run homer in the third. Tampa Bay's Kevin Kiermaier got his first RBI of 2017 to drive in Beckham in the seventh with a double.
Detroit managed only four hits, held in check by Andriese (1-0) to end a six-game winning streak against the Rays. Miguel Cabrera hit his 449th career home run, moving into a tie for 38th all-time with Jeff Bagwell and Vladimir Guerrero.
Giants 2, Royals 1 (11 innings)
Joe Panik's two-out single in the 11th inning scored Nick Hundley as San Francisco defeated Kansas City.
Hundley doubled into the left field corner with two outs to set up Panik's game-winning hit off Scott Alexander (0-1) . The Royals went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Derek Law (1-0) worked two scoreless innings to pick up the victory. Mark Melancon pitched the bottom of the inning for his third save in four opportunities. Melancon gave up two singles before striking out Raul Mondesi to end the game.

NBA-Highlights of Tuesday's NBA games
Schwarber, Cubs rally past Brewers to snap 4-game skid


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Asian stocks slip on UK surprise election, weak earnings (2.02/25)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Asian stocks fell Wednesday after British Prime Minister Theresa May's surprise decision to hold early elections. Weak corporate earnings weighed on Wall Street investor sentiment. KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 edged up 0.1 percent to 18, 432.20 as the yen weakened slightly. South Korea's Kospi shed 0.5 percent to 2, 138.40. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index fell 0.3 percent to 23, 860.87 while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.8 percent to 3, 170.24. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.6 percent at 5, 804.00. Stocks in Taiwan, Singapore and the Philippines also fell. UK ELECTIONS: May called for an early general election in June, reversing her earlier stance, in hopes of securing a stronger parliamentary mandate for Britain's formal exit from the European Union. The pound climbed on expectations May might secure a better deal for Britain from the EU thanks to moving the vote up from the next scheduled election in 2020. The announcement sent the pound higher but hammered the FTSE 100 index. The pound was trading at $1.2822, down from $1.2840 but still higher than the pre-announcement level. ANALYST'S TAKE: "The surprise U. K. election has added to market nerves and volatility as traders assess the potential for increased geopolitical risk on several fronts, " Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said in a commentary. "The outcome of the U. K. election now adds an element of short term uncertainty about how the Brexit negotiations will unfold." WALL STREET: U. S. stocks declined Tuesday as investors unloaded stocks following disappointing financial reports from Johnson & Johnson and Goldman Sachs. The Standard & Poor's 500 index shed 0.3 percent to 2, 342.19. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 0.6 percent to 20, 523.28. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.1 percent to 5, 849.47. OIL: U. S. crude oil futures lost 2 cents to $52.39 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 24 cents to close at $52.41 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 5 cents to $54.85 per barrel in London. CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 108.71 yen from 108.42 yen. The euro fell to $1.0723 from $1.0731. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

British lawmakers expected to approve June election
British lawmakers set to approve PM May's June 8 election plan


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'Australia first' foreign visa changes spark cheers, fears (2.00/25)

Australia's controversial decision to scrap a visa programme for temporary foreign workers got a mixed response Wednesday, with critics slamming it as spin over substance and pandering to anti-immigration rhetoric.
The "457 visa" allows businesses facing skills shortages to employ labour from overseas, but has been slammed by unions amid claims that bosses were abusing it and local workers were missing out.
"The 457 visa is abolished. It will be replaced by a new system that will be manifestly, rigorously, resolutely conducted in the national interest to put Australians and Australian jobs first, " Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Tuesday.
"That's our commitment. Australian jobs, Australian values."
Independent anti-immigration politician Pauline Hanson took credit for the announcement, which drew comparisons to moves by US President Donald Trump to tighten skilled-worker visa rules on Tuesday.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed the changes.
"Public confidence in the skilled migration system is vital, and this announcement will help to achieve that confidence, " said acting chief Jenny Lambert.
But the Labor opposition, which has long called for reforms to the 457 visa scheme to protect local workers, said the changes did not go far enough.
"If you're asking me what do I think about renaming one category of visa into two different categories of visas, well that's just shifting deckchairs isn't it, on the proverbial sinking ship, " its leader Bill Shorten said Wednesday.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions echoed the call for independent research into labour shortages and described the changes as "more spin than substance".
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said on Twitter the reforms were "more like a name change, and re-tune for the racist dog whistle".
The four-year visa would be replaced by a two-tier system -- valid for either two years or four years -- of skilled temporary work permits, and would include tighter requirements for language and work experience.
Some 200 jobs would be cut from the list of eligible professions.
There were 95, 758 holders of the 457 visas in Australia as of the end of September, according to immigration data, less than one percent of the workforce.
Some 24.6 percent were from India, followed by Britain at 19.5 percent and China at 5.8 percent. The top occupations were cook, software developer programmer and resident medical officer.
Tech executives, whose companies were expected to be hard hit, said the changes would hit growth and increase costs.
Media reported that a foreign worker tax on companies to fund skills-training for local staff could also be introduced in the annual budget in May.

Australia's 457 visa decision likely to hit free-trade talks with India, officials hint
Migrants will only be allowed to sit the citizenship test THREE times before they're turned away - as PM says 'we must continue to attract people who embrace our values'


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PICTURED: Father-of-two killed in racially-motivated Fresno massacre after being shot through the passenger window of his PG&E truck on his first day on the job (1.12/25)

The first victim in a horrific racially motivated shooting in Fresno, California has been identified as 34-year-old Zackary Randalls.
The husband and father-of-two was shot dead while riding in the passenger's seat of a PG&E truck driving along Van Ness Avenue on Tuesday morning. He had recently taken the job and it was his first day out of the training classroom.
Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, approached the vehicle around 10: 40am and shot through the window where Randalls was sitting in a spree that left two more dead in a four-block span.
Muhammad reportedly fired 16 rounds in under two minutes. He later told police that he hated white people and wanted to kill as many of them as possible.
Randalls lived in Clovis with his two preschool children, and elementary school teacher wife Katie, to whom he'd been married for eight years, according to the Fresno Bee .
Friends said it was especially heartbreaking to know that Randalls died in a racially motivated attack, because they knew him as an open-minded, non-judgmental person.
'That makes it even sadder because Zack was truly a person who never saw color in anybody, ' his childhood friend Joey Contente said.
'Zack would be the first person to ask why we are judging him for his beliefs. He would say he (Muhammad) obviously had a mental issue, that his beliefs didn't cause this.'
'He was truly the best person I've ever known, ' he continued.
Muhammad has a long history of criminal activity and mental health issues, and court documents state that he has spent two stints in mental institutions.
A friend and former employer of Randalls, Steve Spurrier, recalled an incident that showed the exemplary person that the deceased was.
When Randalls witnessed a van roll over on Clovis and Shields Avenues, he immediately jumped in to save the two children that were inside, and waited with them until emergency services arrived.
Spurrier offered him a job a couple of years ago so that he'd have a more stable work life and more time to spend with his family.
'He could always make you feel like you were his best friend, ' Spurrier said. 'I bet at his funeral he will have 25 best friends.'
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer became emotional during a press conference after the shooting when he mentioned his meeting with Katie Randalls.
Dyer called the shootings 'solely based on race, ' and said that police are now investigating the incident as a hate crime.
'These individuals who were chosen today did not do anything to deserve what they got, ' Dyer said.
'These were unprovoked attacks by an individual that was intent on carrying out homicides today. He did that.'
Identities of the other two victims on Tuesday have not yet been released.
Muhammad was identified as a suspect in the murder of security guard Carl Williams at the Motel 6 in Fresno on Sunday after surveillance footage captured the killing on tape.
Williams, 25, was unarmed and was killed after allegedly getting into an altercation with Muhammad.

ONLY ON ABC7NEWS. COM: Fresno man says he saw victim fall to ground in shooting
Family members identify Mark Gassett as Fresno shooting victim


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Bill O'Reilly: Future at Fox News In Doubt, Multiple Reports Say (1.10/25)

Multiple media reports, citing anonymous sources, emerged Tuesday suggesting that Bill O'Reilly's future relationship with Fox News was becoming uncertain, as the controversy surrounding harassment allegations made against the top-rated cable news host grew.
"Bill O’ Reilly’s position at Fox News grew increasingly tenuous on Tuesday, " the New York Times reported, citing "three people briefed on discussions about his future."
The Wall Street Journal said "Fox News is preparing to cut ties with its biggest star, Bill O’ Reilly, according to people close to the situation."
The parent company of the Journal is News Corp (nwsa) , which is owned by the Murdoch family, who also controls 21st Century Fox (fox) , Fox News's parent firm.
The article in the Journal was published two hours after CNN's Brian Stelter reported, citing "a well-placed source, " that "Fox News and Bill O'Reilly are talking exit."
The rumors come six days before O'Reilly is scheduled to return to the air from vacation, and follow a weeks-long wave of growing outrage and backlash against him and the cable news channel over allegations of sexual harassment, first reported by the New York Times .
O'Reilly has maintained that the accusations are unfounded. In a statement Tuesday night, his attorney called them part of "a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America."
The claims will be investigated, 21st Century Fox said last week, as protestors gathered earlier Tuesday outside the New York headquarters of Fox News, demanding O'Reilly's firing.
A request for comment from Fortune was not immediately returned by Fox's PR department.

Why Everyone Seems to Think Fox News Will Fire Bill O’Reilly


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Garden Grove gets some breathing room with rout of Santiago – Orange County Register (1.08/25)

GARDEN GROVE – Garden Grove’s bats were on display as it beat visiting Santiago, 9-0, in a Garden Grove League baseball game Tuesday.
The Argonauts scored seven runs and batted around in the third inning to blow open the game.
Luis Salgado led the inning off with a single. After a walk and another single to load the bases, Ruben Villagrana hit a two-run double to give Garden Grove the first runs of the game.
Later in the inning, the bases were loaded when Salgado came up to bat for the second time in the inning. He hit a three-run double to give Garden Grove a 7-0 lead.
“It’s great coaching third base in an inning like that and keep sending guys home, ” Garden Grove coach Ricardo Cepeda said smiling.
Garden Grove (12-5, 7-1) extended its lead over Santiago (7-7, 5-3) in the league standings. Santiago handed the Argonauts their only league loss earlier this season.
“It’s a big win for us, being able to avenge that loss, ” Cepeda said. “We have a little bit of breathing room, but we still have tough games to play.”
The early seven-run cushion enabled Cepeda to remove his ace, Caesar Valencia, after the third inning to preserve his pitch count so he can pitch again Friday against Santiago.
Lalo Jimenez pitched the final four innings for Garden Grove. He allowed no runs and three hits.
“Caesar (Valencia) has been a workhorse all year and is one of the better pitchers in the county, ” Cepeda said. “Lalo (Jimenez) came in and just threw strikes and we played great defense. If we throw strikes and keep playing defense, we are a tough team to beat.”
Garden Grove added two runs in the fourth inning. Andres Pina hit a two-run single to put the Argonauts in front 9-0.
Santiago had six hits, but never got a runner past second base. Freddy Cruz and Danny Prieto each had two hits for the Cavaliers.

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Doc Rivers downplays Jamal Crawford’s Game 1 shooting struggles – Orange County Register
Thomas throws complete game in Mater Dei win over La Mirada in Boras Classic – Orange County Register
ARTIC running out of financial options – Orange County Register
Rockies at Dodgers, Wednesday, 7 p.m. – Orange County Register
Franklin Gutierrez bides his time while Dodgers’ southpaw struggles continue – Orange County Register
After gut check, could Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Clippers be gutted? – Orange County Register


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Innocent civilians falling victim to EJKs a ‘remote possibility’ —PNP (1.04/25)

The people need not be afraid as it is a “remote possibility” for law-abiding citizens to become victims of extrajudicial killing, the Philippine National Police (PNP) assured on Wednesday.
Responding to the recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey which showed that the more people expressed worry that they would fall victim to summary killings, PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos said there is nothing to fear “as your PNP will do its best to protect the public from any crime.”
“It is a remote possibility for the majority of our law abiding people to become victims of EJK, ” Carlos said.
The satisfaction rating of President Duterte’s drug war has declined by 11 points compared with the rating it received in December last year.
The survey, conducted from March 25 to 28, showed that public net satisfaction rating of the government’s war on drugs declined to +66 in the first quarter of 2017. This was a one grade down from the “excellent” +77 in December.
Forty-three percent of respondents said they were very satisfied with the administration’s performance, 35 percent were somewhat satisfied, ten percent were undecided, and 12 percent were dissatisfied.
Meanwhile, 73 percent of Filipinos were worried that they or someone they know would be a victim of summary executions—37 percent said they were” very worried, ” 36 percent were “somewhat worried, ” 14 percent were “not too worried, ” and 13 percent answered “not too worried at all.”
“The PNP assures the Filipino nation that your police performs its mandate in accordance with existing laws, ” Carlos said.
“The PNP under Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa ensures the rule of law, protects the rights of every citizen, and accords everyone due process, ” he added.
Carlos said raising the public satisfaction towards the drug war, which the PNP leads, remains a “challenge” for the police
“If we can raise the figure the acceptance of the public, it would be a good indicator that we have the support of the public, ” he said.
The same poll also showed that an overwhelming majority or 92 percent of respondents believed that it was important to capture drug suspects alive.
“The PNP is one with the Filipino people that wants drug suspects who violate the law are arrested ALIVE and let them answer for their crime in a court of law, ” he said. JE
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Support slipping for Duterte’s anti-drug crackdown, but it still has overwhelming approval


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Volvo announces plans to export China-made electric car (1.04/25)

Volvo Cars, the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker, announced plans Wednesday to manufacture electric cars in China for sale worldwide starting in 2019 amid pressure by Beijing for global auto brands to help develop its fledgling industry in alternatives to gasoline.
The announcement at the Shanghai auto show adds to a flurry of plans by major automakers to roll out electric models in China, their industry's biggest market. The ruling Communist Party has the world's most aggressive electric vehicle goals, both to clean up smog-shrouded cities and seeking the lead in an emerging industry.
On Tuesday, General Motors Co. said it will produce a gasoline-electric hybrid version of its Chevrolet Volt in China. Ford, Volkswagen AG, Nissan Motor Co. and other brands also have plans to sell electric models in China, adding to competition in a market dominated so far by lower-cost Chinese producers.
Volvo said its first pure-electric model will be based on the economy-size CMA platform it shares with Chinese automaker Geely, which bought the Swedish brand from Ford in 2010. It said the name, size and other details were yet to be decided.
"It will be for global export. So it is built from the start to work all over the world, " said Henrik Green, Volvo's senior vice president for research and development.
Volvo has three factories in China and in 2015 became the first automaker to export Chinese-made cars to the United States.
Chinese buyers have shown little enthusiasm for electric cars due to concern about cost, reliability and limited range. But Chinese authorities are using a mix of incentives and penalties to push automakers to produce electric models. That has set off a scramble to develop models with consumer appeal.
"It's clear that China wants to take a leading role globally in terms of the regulatory environment and electrification, " said David Schoch, Ford's president for the Asia-Pacific.
Models on display at Auto Shanghai 2017, the global industry's biggest marketing event of the year, reflect the conflict between Beijing's ambitions to promote environmentally friendly propulsion and Chinese consumers' love of hulking, fuel-hungry SUVs.
Almost every global and Chinese auto brand is displaying at least one electric concept vehicle, if not a market-ready model. They range from family-friendly SUVs to futuristic-looking, premium-priced electric muscle cars from Chinese startups such as NextEV and Qiantu.
For most manufacturers, they were flanked by as many as a dozen hulking SUVs that can carry up to seven passengers. South Korea's Kia Motors Co. debuted an SUV-inspired crossover, the K2 Cross, designed for the Chinese market.
GM said the Velite 5 hybrid will be sold by its Buick unit, which has modest sales elsewhere but is GM's main brand in China. The vehicle is to be produced by GM's joint venture with a state-owned automaker, Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp. and priced starting at 265, 800 yuan ($38, 600) .
The Velite 5 will be able to travel 116 kilometers (72 miles) on one charge, with an added gasoline engine extending that to 768 kilometers (480 miles) , GM said. It said the Velite 5 will be the Chinese market's most energy-efficient hybrid to date and the first able to travel 100 kilometers (60 miles) on the equivalent of less than 1 liter of gasoline.
"Buick is committed to expanding its portfolio of new energy vehicles, " said a GM statement. "It will introduce additional new energy vehicles in China in the next two years, including hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and pure electric vehicles."
On Tuesday, Volkwagen AG announced plans to launch a pure-electric car in China next year with a state-owned partner. It is to be the first in a full range of pure-electric vehicles for China.
Ford announced plans earlier to manufacture a hybrid sedan, the Mondeo Energi, with a state-owned Chinese partner, Chang'an Automobile Co. It is due to go on sale next year.
Regulators have jolted the industry with a proposal to require electrics to account for at least 8 percent of each brand's production by next year, rising to 10 percent in 2019 and 12 percent in 2020. Automakers have warned they may be unable to meet those targets and regulators have suggested they might be reduced or postponed.
The government also is spending heavily to increase the appeal of electrics by expanding China's network of charging stations to reduce "range anxiety, " or buyers' fear of running out of power. The Cabinet's planning agency announced a goal in February of having 100, 000 public charging stations and 800, 000 private stations operating by the end of this year.
Electric cars also are exempt from sales tax and limits on the number of license plates issued in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities to curb congestion and smog. Despite that, sales of electric and gasoline-electric hybrids fell 4.4 percent from a year earlier in the first quarter to 55, 929 vehicles while SUV purchases rose 21 percent to 2.4 million.
Ford's Schoch said that as manufacturing volume of batteries — an electric car's most expensive component — expands, the cost should fall, making them competitive with combustion engines.
"That will create a market pull rather than the government forcing action, " he said.
The status of manufacturing electric cars in China is unclear for foreign brands, which are required to work through joint ventures with state-owned Chinese partners that assemble their vehicles.
Previous rules required foreign automakers to hand over key technology to a Chinese partner or pay import taxes even on models produced in China. Foreign companies balked at giving away expensive know-how that might help a potential competitor to develop.
Volvo's status is unusual. Its Chinese ownership makes it exempt from a requirement to work with a local joint venture partner. But Geely chairman Li Shufu has said he wants its Swedish managers to operate independently.
Volvo has said it hopes to sell a total of 1 million electric and gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles by 2025. The company says it plans to develop plug-in hybrid versions of all its models.
Regulators have eased some regulations in an effort to encourage foreign companies to play a bigger role in developing the Chinese industry but manufacturers say they are waiting to see the final requirements.

The latest from the Shanghai auto show
GM announces China version of hybrid Volt


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Pressure grows for Bill O'Reilly, America's top cable star, to exit Fox as he plans return from his vacation (1.04/25)

Bill O’ Reilly, America’s most successful cable news personality, currently on vacation in Italy, may about to leave Fox.
Fox is preparing to cut ties with him, the News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal has reported .
The website Deadline said the WSJ reported that “a final decision” on O’ Reilly’s future, or not, at News Corp-owned Fox News Channel had not yet been made but “could come as early as this week”
The future of O’ Reilly, whose Fox News contract was renewed early this month, is expected to be discussed at Thursday’s board meeting of FNC parent company 21st Century Fox.
The WSJ report comes in the wake of multiple sexual harassment allegations against him and a New York Times report that he and FNC paid nearly $13M to settle cases with five women going back 15 years.
Protesters rallied outside Fox News’ Manhattan studios this week demanding that he go..
Fox News Channel has stopped saying O’ Reilly will be returning to the air this coming Monday. On April 11, FNC said its star was going on vacation.
The O’ Reilly Factor has been the most-watched show in the cable news landscape for 14 years. It recently had its highest-rated quarter ever.
While O’ Reilly has been off the air, his show’s ratings have slipped noticeably ad n as many as 70 advertisers are believed to have moved their ads.
Drudge Report founder Matt Drudge went on Twitter to fete O’ Reilly’s “tremendous run.”
He said, “O’ Reilly has had tremendous run. Very few in the business get to decide when and how things end. Media is most brutal of all industries..."
In New York magazine Gabe Sherman wrote that both of Rupert Murdoch’s sons now are leaning toward recommending O’ Reilly be removed from the cable news network - “ while their father leans in the opposite direction, ” said Sherman.
He speculated that O’ Reilly might become “the flotsam and jetsam” of the Murdochs’ pending $14 billion takeover of European pay-TV provider Sky.
British media regulators will decide next month whether the Murdochs are “fit and proper” to own such a large media property and “removing O’ Reilly could appease critics and help close the Sky deal, ” Sherman wrote..
O’ Reilly’s attorney has said his client has been “subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America, ” He promised to present irrefutable evidence the campaign “being orchestrated by “far-left organizations” was bent on destroying O’ Reilly for political and financial reasons.
When O’ Reilly left on vacation he did so without publicly addressing the New York Times report that Fox News and its primetime star had, between them, allegedly paid five women nearly $13M in settlements going back 15 years.
The parent company, 21st Century Fox has confirmed it was investigating the sexual harassment claims.
Rupert Murdoch sent a memo to FNC staff thanking them for the network’s ratings success as the O’ Reilly probe got underway.
Pressure on the company increased this week, according to the New York Times, when another woman reported sexual harassment allegations against O’ Reilly to 21st Century Fox.

Why Everyone Seems to Think Fox News Will Fire Bill O’ Reilly


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Kelly says terror threat from southern border keeps him 'awake at night' (1.04/25)

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly warned Tuesday that the next terror attack could be committed by enemies sneaking through America's southern border, as he defended the tough actions being taken by the Trump administration to secure the region.
“I'm staying up late at night every night to try to prevent that from happening. So that's what keeps me... awake at night, ” Kelly said of the terror threat.
He made the comments during a Q&A session following a speech at George Washington University. In the address, he called the administration’s fight against illegal immigration “really remarkable” and pushed back on criticism from Capitol Hill -- saying lawmakers can either change the law or "shut up."
“The dramatic reduction is evident across the southwest border, ” he said. “... These numbers are lower because we've shown that we're serious about border security and enforcing our immigration laws.”
Kelly said while there has been a 70 percent reduction in illegal immigrants in the first 90 days of the young Trump administration, the terror threat from the southern border is still significant.
“I said it a lot back then, and I'm trying to do something about it now, that if there is -- when there is another terrorist attack in our country, if it comes from outside the country, up until 90 days ago, I would say that individual or individuals… get into the United States through the southwest border, ” he said.
He also used the address to blast lawmakers who take shots at Homeland Security staff, whom he said are often mistreated in a way similar to police officers. He added that if lawmakers don’ t like what they are doing, then lawmakers should change the laws they are following.
“ [Employees] are often ridiculed and insulted by public officials and frequently convicted in the court of public opinion on unfounded allegations testified to by street lawyers and street spokespersons, ” he said.
“If lawmakers do not like the laws that we enforce, that we are charged to enforce, that we are sworn to enforce, then they should have the courage and the skill to change those laws. Otherwise, they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines, ” he said.
President Trump made clamping down on illegal immigration one of the central planks on his campaign, and has sought to deliver with a number of sweeping moves.
Critics have argued that the agency is too heavy-handed in enforcement operations, including arresting immigrants in the U. S. illegally whose only offense is being in the country without permission.
More than 21, 000 immigrants in the U. S. illegally have been arrested since President Donald Trump took office in January, compared to about 16, 000 people during the same time last year. About a quarter of those arrests were immigrants who had no criminal history, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
During the Obama administration, ICE agents were told to focus strictly on immigrants convicted of serious crimes or those who otherwise posed a threat to public safety.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Adam Shaw is a Politics Reporter and occasional Opinion writer for He can be reached here or on Twitter: @AdamShawNY.

The FBI has active terror investigations in all 50 states


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TV tonight: Finales for 'The Magicians, ' 'Hap & Leonard' (1.04/25)

Nova: Holocaust Escape Tunnel PBS, 9 ET/PT (times may vary)
In these strange, troubled times when there are people out there who either deny, discount or forget the Holocaust and all its horrors, PBS and Nova step in with a film meant to remind us of what was lost — and what remains. This special travels to the Lithuanian city of Vilna, once an important Jewish center, until the Germans murdered 95 percent of the Jewish population and the Soviets paved over the remains of the Great Synagogue. Nova follows a team of archaeologists to Vilna as they excavate the ruins of the synagogue and search for a legendary tunnel dug by Jewish prisoners to escape an execution during Passover.
The Magicians Syfy, 9 ET/PT
This Syfy adaptation of Lev Grossman’s best-selling fantasy novels hits its season finale with what would seem to be a lot of plot points to wrap up. But then again, the show has no need to hurry or tie up every loose end: It’s been renewed for another season.
Hap & Leonard Sundance, 10 ET/PT
The Magicians isn’ t the only series airing its season finale Wednesday. We’ ve also reached the season’s end of this Sundance series, as Hap and Leonard wrap up their mystery with an extra side of revenge, and the finale of Syfy’s recently renewed The Expanse (10 ET/PT) .

Better watch April the Giraffe and her new baby while you still can


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China, EU keen to push message of free trade, engagement (1.04/25)

Beijing and Brussels were set Wednesday to hold their first high-level talks since President Donald Trump took office, with both sides eager to push a message of free trade and open engagement in contrast to the new U. S. administration's skepticism about such arrangements.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will co-chair the Seventh EU-China Strategic Dialogue with State Councilor Yang Jiechi, China's highest-ranking diplomat.
Cooperation on regional and security issues and climate change were among the agenda items for the talks, which come ahead of an EU-China summit scheduled for Brussels in June.
On Tuesday, Mogherini met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who said the international community was looking at how China and the EU would work together to tackle challenges including the world economic recovery, global conflicts and terrorism, and Britain's pending withdrawal from the EU.
Li said he was optimistic about the outcome of the talks based on "a stable China-EU relationship, with the consistency of our two sides toward multilateralism and free trade, and with our joint commitment to improving the international governance structure."
Unlike Trump, who was elected promising to tear up trade deals, impose new tariffs and bring jobs back to America, Chinese President Xi Jinping has cast his country as a champion of free trade and stability, and spoken out against protectionism.
Mogherini said that such speeches by Xi "have raised high expectations that China and the European Union can work together on multilateralism, on rules-based global order" and trade.
"Not only our people, but probably the multilateral system, need Europe and China to work together on some of the major global issues we are facing, from climate change to migration or counterterrorism, and also the many crises we have around us such as the tensions on the Korean Peninsula, " Mogherini told Li at the start of their meeting at the Chinese leadership compound Zhongnanhai in central Beijing.
Beijing and Brussels have disagreements on trade, however, including complaints by European and other foreign companies that they blocked from acquiring Chinese assets while China's companies are buying major global brands. They also say they are barred from or sharply restricted in telecoms, information technology, finance and other promising industries in violation of Beijing's free-trading pledges.
Beijing, meanwhile, wants the EU to grant it market economy status, which would make it harder for the EU to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports that it deems to be unfairly cheap.
Other points of dispute between Beijing and Brussels include China's increasingly restrictive environment for civil society and internet censorship .
Mogherini's first meeting Wednesday, with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, was canceled. A foreign ministry official said the EU delegation had informed them that Mogherini was feeling unwell.
Mogherini will give a speech at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University on Thursday, and then travel to India and Russia.

China's Li says EU and China must promote free and fair trade


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Timeline: Ivanka Trump goes to Washington, and sales surge (1.03/25)

SHANGHAI — As Ivanka Trump builds a new political career as an adviser to her father, the commercial engine of her lifestyle brand is going strong. Sales, by some measures, have reached record highs this year.
Trump founded the brand in 2007 and still owns it, but stepped back from management and put its assets in a family-run trust before taking on an official role at the White House. Despite efforts to distance herself from her business to address ethical concerns, Trump remains, for many, the living embodiment of the brand that bears her name.
July 20, 2016: Ivanka Trump forms four new companies in Delaware to handle licensing contracts for baby products and costume jewelry.
July 21, 2016: Donald Trump accepts Republican nomination for president.
July 22, 2016: "Shop Ivanka's look from her #RNC speech, " @IvankaTrump tweets, along with a link to her collection's $138 blush sheath dress at Macy's online.
Sept. 29, 2016: Her company announces two new licensing agreements, for affordable fashion jewelry and baby accessories.
Nov. 8, 2016: Donald Trump wins the election. Sales of Ivanka merchandise on, a large e-commerce platform, bump 46 percent higher for the month.
Nov. 13, 2016: Ivanka Trump appears on "60 Minutes" to discuss her father's electoral win. Her jewelry company emails a "style alert" to reporters noting that she wore one of her "favorite" bangles, a $10, 800 bracelet from her own collection, on the show. Ensuing criticism prompts the brand to apologize.
Dec. 4, 2016: The New York Times reports that Ivanka Trump sat in on a meeting with her father and the prime minister of Japan, as her company negotiated a licensing deal with a firm the Japanese government owned a large stake in. The deal was put on hold, according to Abigail Klem, who now runs Ivanka Trump's brand.
Dec. 27, 2016: Ivanka Trump Marks LLC applies for five new trademarks covering purses, wallets and other leather goods in Puerto Rico, and clothing, including swimsuits and lingerie in the U. S., public records show.
Jan. 11, 2017: Ivanka Trump announces she will take a "formal leave of absence" from executive positions at the Trump Organization and her lifestyle brand.
Jan. 20, 2017: Donald Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.
Feb. 8, 2017: Ivanka's company applies for two more clothing trademarks in the Philippines, where it already holds three marks, according to the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.
Feb. 9, 2017: Speaking on the morning show "Fox and Friends, " White House counselor Kellyanne Conway encourages viewers to, "go buy Ivanka's stuff, " boasting about giving the brand "a free commercial." It apparently worked, sparking a 771 percent surge in the brand's sales that month on over Feb. 2016. The White House later "counseled" Conway for inappropriately promoting the brand.
Feb. 13, 2017: Trump meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House.
Feb. 20, 2017: Ivanka Trump Marks LLC wins preliminary approval for a trademark covering branded leather handbags in China, where the company has 52 pending or registered trademarks listed in the government trademark database.
Feb. 22, 2017: Ivanka Trump Marks LLC applies for another trademark, covering perfume, among other things, in Canada, where it holds 22 pending or registered marks, according to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
March 1, 2017: Ivanka Trump Marks LLC applies for another new trademark in the Philippines, covering clothes and shoes.
March 3, 2017: Ivanka Trump is photographed disembarking from Air Force One in a stripe asymmetrical skirt from her own collection, available on for $45.
March 6, 2017: China grants Ivanka Trump Marks LLC provisional approval for a trademark covering handbags.
March 29, 2017: Ivanka Trump joins her father's administration as an unpaid employee.
April 6, 2017: Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, sit next to Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, at a state dinner at Mar-a-Lago. That same day, China grants her company preliminary approval for three trademarks that confer monopoly rights to sell Ivanka brand jewelry, bags and spa services in the world's second-largest economy.

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The Latest: Pence promotes Trump's economic plans in Japan (1.03/25)

TOKYO (AP) - The Latest on U. S. Vice President Mike Pence's trip to Asia (all times local) : 3: 30 p.m. U. S. Vice President Mike Pence is making a pitch for President Donald Trump's economic policies, telling U. S. and Japanese business leaders that a tax overhaul and cut in regulations will help business on both sides of the Pacific. Pence is speaking in Tokyo to the U. S. Chamber of Commerce in Japan. He says the Trump administration's plans to simplify the U. S. tax code and cut the corporate tax rate will "benefit every business represented here today." He also says the era of over-regulation "is over" and Trump aims to bring in a new era of jobs and growth. Pence was joined by U. S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Toyota President Akio Toyoda and executives from General Motors, 3M and Aflac. ___ 2: 30 p.m. The U. S. military says an aircraft carrier participated in curtailed training with Australia before starting its journey north toward the Korean Peninsula. The U. S. Pacific Command said in a statement Wednesday that the USS Carl Vinson strike group is heading to the western Pacific "as a prudent measure." The U. S. is trying to ratchet up pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Vice President Mike Pence said on an Asian tour this week that the era of "strategic patience" with North Korea is over. The Pacific Command statement said the Carl Vinson canceled a scheduled visit to Australia after leaving Singapore on April 8, but completed a shortened training exercise off northwestern Australia before heading north. The Navy said earlier that the carrier will arrive in the Korean region next week. ___ 11: 05 a.m. U. S. Vice President Mike Pence has once again pledged the Trump administration's commitment to defending its allies in Asia from North Korea and any other threats. Speaking to U. S. and Japanese troops on board the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier Wednesday, he called North Korea the most urgent and dangerous threat to the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region. He said that under President Donald Trump, the U. S. will stand up to its enemies with its allies. Pence also said the U. S. would protect freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the sea lanes vital to global shipping where China has been staking claim to disputed territory. The American vice president is on a 10-day trip to Asia that has been dominated by the North Korea issue. ___ 9: 30 a.m. U. S. Vice President Mike Pence is on board an American aircraft carrier stationed in Japan amid heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula. A ship bell signaled his arrival Wednesday morning on the USS Ronald Reagan at the U. S. Yokosuka naval base south of Tokyo. The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is undergoing scheduled maintenance at its home port. Pence told the ship's captain that he had spoken to President Donald Trump, and Trump "wishes he were here." The vice president is on a 10-day tour of Asia. He visited South Korea earlier and will head to Indonesia after his stop in Japan. The trip so far has been dominated by U. S. and allies' concerns about North Korea's nuclear and missile development efforts. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Latest: US carrier heading toward Korean Peninsula


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North Korean TV broadcasts music and missiles attacking US in video mock-up (1.03/25)

North Korea’s state television has aired footage of a musical show marking the birth anniversary of founding father Kim Il-sung, which ended with a mock-up video of missiles engulfing the United States in flames

North Korea mock-up birthday video shows missiles blowing up the US


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Athens Drive boys lacrosse holds off Cary (1.03/25)

The second Athens Drive-Cary boys lacrosse match started out much like the first meeting a month ago when the Jaguars won at home by eight goals.
Athens Drive opened the rematch scoring six unanswered first-period goals to take a five-point lead heading into the second quarter. But the rest of the way it was essentially an even match that Athens Drive held on to win 11-7 on Tuesday night at Cooper Field.
“We played well in the first quarter, but after that we let up, ” said Athens Drive coach Tom Weatherby said. “I think we lost some of our focus. First quarter we took it to them and then we relaxed. .... We’ re more than capable of doing that (six unanswered goals) in a 48-minute game. But right now we’ re young. We’ re learning and hopefully that mental toughness will come around.”
Athens Drive improved to 7-7 overall and 7-6 in conference play; Cary dropped to 4-11 and 2-10.
Before Athens Drive heated up in the first period, Cary struck first with a goal from Thomas Vetter midway through the first period. But then Athens Drive’s Cade Maganini, Bobby Padden and Reid Koonce each scored two times in a five-minute stretch.
The Imps may be overmatched, but they didn’ t roll over. Tanner Orr and Phillip Blackley scored back-to-back goals to trim the deficit to 6-3 late in the second.
“I think the difference is we’ re playing a lot harder, ” said Cary junior Phillip Blackley, who scored three goals. “When you play harder you’ re going to have closer games.”
Cary goalie David Bunting kept the score close with 10 saves.
Koonce led Athens Drive with four goals and Padden added three. Cade Magnanini added two goals. Nate Randolph and Alex Waller added goals.
For Cary, Vetter also had multiple with two. Other Imps scoring were Ian Armstrong and Greg Wycoff.

Panther Creek boys lacrosse picks up crucial win against Holly Springs
Boys’ lacrosse: Five teams to watch


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Will Islam swing nail-biter election for Jakarta’s governor? (1.03/25)

Millions of Jakarta voters thronged to voting booths across the Indonesian capital on Wednesday to choose a new governor in a knife-edge vote seen as a proxy battle for the 2019 presidential race and a litmus test for pluralism amid rising anti-Chinese sentiment in the world’s most populous Muslim country.
Voter turnout for the two-person run-off is expected to be more than 77 per cent of the 7.2 million eligible voters.
Polling closed at 1pm Hong Kong time in the electoral battle which pits the incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama – a key government ally who is Chinese Christian – against Anies Baswedan, a Muslim backed by the opposition. President Joko Widodo declared a public holiday in the capital for the vote, and the Indonesia Stock Exchange was also shut.
Private pollsters sanctioned by election officials will release “quick count” results from a sample of ballots within hours. Official results are due for release in early May.
Purnama, 50, commonly known by his Chinese nickname “Ahok”, took over the job from Widodo in 2014 unelected after the latter triumphed in the presidential race.
Former university academic Baswedan, 47, was Widodo’s education minister before he was sacked last year. The ethnic and religious profiles of the two candidates have stoked communal tensions in the country, which is still recovering from the wounds of violent riots in the 1990s that targeted the tiny but affluent Chinese minority.
Purnama was an early favourite to win the race but is now seen as facing an uphill task as he battles the reputational damage caused by a blasphemy court case brought against him for comments he made about Islam on the campaign trail.
The straight-talking former businessman is an investor darling and has spearheaded several infrastructure projects, including an underground metro line in a city best known for its traffic jams.
His supporters and some observers say the government was compelled to prosecute him under pressure from hardline Islamist groups that oppose non-Muslims holding key political positions.
Protests against Purnama organised by these groups drew tens of thousands of people in December when he was first indicted in court, but attendance has petered out in recent rallies.
Police this week warned that groups planning mass gatherings at polling stations to “observe” the vote faced arrest.
Polls conducted ahead of the Wednesday vote showed a statistical dead heat, with major pollsters posting results that were within their margin of error.
“It is impossible to call. The momentum during the last two weeks has been with Ahok, but his recovery may turn out to be too little, too late, ” said Marcus Mietzner, an Indonesian politics expert at the Australian National University.
“This election will provide insights into whether highly organised Islamist groups can swing elections or not. It will also be an indicator of the extent to which political figures can steer Islamists for their private benefit, ” he said.
He added: “If the outcome of the elections should prove that Islamist intervention into elections can drag down a governor with a 70 per cent approval rating, this would have significant repercussions for how Indonesian electoral politics work in the future.”
Titi Anggraini, executive director of the Indonesian electoral watchdog Perludem, said a confluence of factors made the provincial electoral battle a matter of national significance.
“It is not just about the Chinese factor.... On the national stage, it is the case of Ahok having the government’s backing, and Anies [Baswedan] who is largely supported by the opposition, ” she said.
Baswedan is backed by the retired general Prabowo Subianto who lost to Widodo in the 2014 presidential contest. Subianto, 65, is expected to run against Widodo in 2019.
A victory for Baswedan will likely derail Widodo’s sweeping plans to spur economic growth and modernise the country’s infrastructure with the help of foreign investors including China and Saudi Arabia.
“There are concerns in Jokowi’s camp that Anies could try to delay the opening of several key Jakarta infrastructure projects, most importantly the MRT, ” said Mietzner.
“A delay of only a few months, beyond the 2019 election date, could have fatal consequences for Jokowi, whose infrastructure projects are at the heart of his re-election platform.
“This is why it is so important for the president to have an ally in the Jakarta governorship, rather than a declared opponent.” Baswedan was removed from Widodo’s cabinet in a reshuffle last year seen as a move to weed out ministers who were undermining his authority.
Other observers said Widodo – widely seen as a moderate – would be caught between a rock and a hard place if Purnama is elected. Widodo’s continued tacit support for the ethnic Chinese leader, the experts say, could cost him the support of influential Muslim organisations in the 2019 election.
Last week, the president was forced to dial back comments he made suggesting religion and politics needed to be kept separate, after the top Muslim clerical council accused him of promoting “liberal values”.
Purnama, who is of Hakka descent and speaks Mandarin, may still be convicted of the blasphemy charge if he is elected.
He is accused of telling rally-goers in the rural district of Thousand Islands in September that Muslim leaders who had told them not to vote for him were misleading them by misinterpreting a verse in the Koran. The verse – Surah al-Maidah verse 51 – is seen by some as prohibiting Muslims from electing non-Muslim leaders. Purnama has said he had no intention of insulting Islam when he referred to the verse.
The case, coupled with Purnama’s demographic profile, means “there is so much at stake politically”, said Aleksius Jemadu, a politics researcher at Indonesia’s Pelita Harapan University.
“If he wins the election, it is kind of double blow against this group. Therefore, they have been trying to do everything they can to prevent his victory, ” he said.
And Mietzner the Australian academic said: “If he does scrape over the line, he’ ll be badly bruised.”

Muslim Jakarta governor candidate ahead in election, early count shows


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Trump's congratulatory call to Erdogan is revealing (1.03/25)

Was this Vladimir Putin's Russia, or perhaps the Turkey of Recep Tayyip Erdogan? No, it was the Trump National Jupiter Golf Club in Florida, three weeks after Donald Trump's inauguration, as depicted by White House pool reporters Jennifer Jacobs and others on Twitter. (Jacobs tweeted during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit, "Trump's press corps has been placed in a basement suite at Jupiter golf club. Black plastic over windows to give Trump privacy as he golfs."
In this case, the blacked-out windows merely hid a golf game. Yet the model of media-government relations they conjure -- a press that's blinded, and cut off from knowledge of what's going on and who's doing it -- is not so dissimilar to those put in practice by both those other countries.
Those pictures returned to mind when I heard that President Trump had called President Erdogan to congratulate him on his victory in Sunday's referendum, which has been widely interpreted as clearing the way for an expansion of his personal powers. We can learn a lot from Turkey's journey to repression under Erdogan, not least what could be in store for America if Trump decides to go down a similar path, even in a very mild fashion.
While international observers sharply questioned the fairness of the vote in Turkey, claiming the opposition had been muzzled, Trump became the first Western leader to congratulate Erdogan. And he took this step even though his own government, in the form of the US State Department, issued this comment: "We look to the government of Turkey to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all its citizens -- regardless of their vote on April 16 -- as guaranteed by the Turkish constitution and in accordance with Turkey's international commitments."
Trump has never hidden his love of strongmen. Moammar Gadhafi, Vladimir Putin, and even Saddam Hussein have all come in for praise by him for their decisiveness and take no prisoners attitude toward their enemies.
Erdogan certainly fits the bill. He's been in the news for some time as a prime example of the new wave of strongmen who operate in a context of nominal democracy but engage in authoritarian tactics to consolidate their power. His defeat of a coup attempt in July 2016 (which some believed Erdogan staged) allowed him to further accentuate his crackdown on the usual targets of such leaders: the media, the judiciary, immigrants and political opponents.
Trump has acted according to type in singling out these categories, too, for his hostility, to the point of calling the press "enemies of the people" and calling for the imprisonment of his political rival, Hillary Clinton, an idea he has returned to from time to time.
Turkey shows us what can happen when rhetoric passes to action. Let's take the example of the media and higher education. Over 100 news sites have been closed, and over 100 journalists have been imprisoned; Turkey is now the country with the highest number of confined journalists in the world. Many university professors, accused of anti-government sentiments or insulting the leader, have been escorted out of their homes and workplaces in handcuffs, as though they are criminals -- which, for Erdogan, they now are.
Add to that a thin-skinned personality who bears a grudge -- a former Miss Turkey endured an "insult trial" for posting a satirical poem about Erdogan on Instagram (she received a 14-month suspended sentence) -- and you have a society that lives in fear, never knowing who will be his next target.
It's rarely a good sign when an authoritarian leader calls for a referendum. Such popular votes are invariably used to justify a new round of repressive measures, since the ruler can now claim he's acting according to the will of the people. In this case, Erdogan was seeking support for a new constitution that, over time, will considerably weaken the power of the legislature at the expense of the executive.
Erdogan will never do away altogether with democracy: It's not in his interest. Keeping a semblance of democratic norms can be useful to the ruler; it allows him to refute any charges that he's a dictator. "Here we have a ballot box, " he told CNN's Becky Anderson and James Masters. "It's what we call national will." His opponents, who have called the results fraudulent, beg to differ. We can expect that some of them will soon be deprived of their right to free speech.
Some readers may think that speaking of Trump in the same breath as Erdogan is ridiculous. Trump likes winners, so what if he called the Turkish leader to congratulate him on this victory?
Yet Trump's public support for Erdogan is a serious thing: It's another nail in the coffin of America's prestige in the world as a beacon (no matter if flawed) of freedom. Trump's seeking out the favor of Erdogan, like his shameless courting of Putin, should startle Republicans out of their favorite recurring fantasy: that Trump will go "mainstream" and support democratic norms in America and elsewhere.
It's doubtful that Trump will engage in mass imprisonments of journalists, judges and professors. Even Putin doesn't do that; the Russian leader prefers to make an example of certain people.
Yet Trump has been inciting hatred against the press (to continue with that example) since the inception of his candidacy, singling out individuals like NBC's Katy Tur for heckling; confining the press to pens, like caged animals, and inciting enough hatred that double layers of security were required for pool reporters by the end of the campaign.
Trump went out of his way to build a bridge with a repressive leader who deals with opposition and criticism by silencing it and putting it in prison. It's the spirit of someone who designs a blacked-out room for the press on a Trump property. Are there other such rooms in our future?

Trump's Erdogan call reflects terrorism focus, White House says


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Kim family values on show at North Korea parade (1.03/25)

Before tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians marched before him, along with some of the most fearsome weapons at his command, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and his audience were shown portraits of his grandfather and father.
Pyongyang's giant weekend parade was intended as a show of military strength aimed at Washington, Seoul, Tokyo and others with tensions soaring over its nuclear and missile ambitions.
It was also a domestic affirmation of Kim family authority over the country, analysts say.
Banners hung from buildings around Kim Il-Sung Square, which is named for the founder of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea -- as the North is officially known -- and its ruling dynasty.
One offered Kim Il-Sung "eternal glory", with another reading: "Let us safeguard with our lives the central committee of the party headed by the great comrade Kim Jong-Un."
Despite dying in 1994, Kim Il-Sung remains the titular leader of the North, where he is "Eternal President", and his "Juche" or "self-reliance" philosophy – centred on the concept that "man is the master of all things" - is proclaimed as its guiding tenet.
In a speech ahead of the march, senior Kim aide Choe Ryong-Hae declared it "a loyal report to the great president Kim Il-Sung and (his son and successor) the great leader Kim Jong-Il that we are maintaining the revolutionary cause".
Pictures of the two men are ubiquitous throughout the country, where Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un -- still only in his 30s -- is consistently referred to as the "respected general".
- 'Leader in rocketry' -
The parade was "a big deal for the Kim family cult in the North", said senior Rand Organisation researcher Bruce Bennett.
At the same time, Pyongyang was "sending messages of deterrence toward everyone", he added.
The new US administration of Donald Trump has ramped up pressure on Pyongyang and declared that Washington's "strategic patience" is over.
The North, which says it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself against the threat of invasion, failed with a missile launch the day after the procession and its exact military capabilities are shrouded in secrecy.
But it invites international media to observe the parades, and analysts scurry to examine pictures of the missiles on display -- whether real or mock-ups -- for clues about its progress.
Choe told his audiences in the square, the country and abroad that the North was a "powerful nuclear-armed state" and "Asia's leader in rocketry".
North Korean parades are a regular occurrence, said Jeffrey Lewis, of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California. "It’s like Christmas, but for Juche instead of Jesus."
- Sacred place -
Religious terminology is prominent at Kim Il-Sung's birthplace, a heavily restored grave-keeper’s cottage at Mangyongdae, a rural idyll overlooking islands in the stream of the Taedong river outside the capital.
"This is the sacred place that all the people of the world look up to, " said guide Chon Hyon-Ran, who referred to April 15 as Kim's "birthdaymas".
"Relics" of family life are on display, from Kim's great-grandfather's pipe to an inkstone used by the future president.
A steady stream of pilgrims come to pay their respects -- the site receives 1.8 million visitors a year, Chon said -- and drink "holy water" from the Kim family well.
Kim was born when his country was a Japanese colony, and according to the official narrative, his first written phrase -- at the age of four -- was "The independence of Korea".
Aged only 13, he left Mangyongdae "determined not to return before our Korea became independent", led the armed struggle against Tokyo's forces, and "finally liberated our country in 1945", still aged only 33.
No mention is made of the US' role in Japan's World War II defeat, or that of the Soviet Union in installing him in the North.
At a pavilion on the estate, singers from the district women's league in flowing traditional dresses rehearsed anniversary praises for Kim.
"In our country, even young children commemorate the birthday of the president Kim Il-Sung, " said Pak Won-Ae, her voice trembling with emotion. "Under the warm love of the president, I have found my truly happy life today."
Ordinary North Koreans usually express only officially sanctioned views when questioned by foreign news organisations.
The Kim family is not without its black sheep -- Kim Jong-Un's renegade half-brother Jong-Nam was murdered in Malaysia in February, with both Seoul and Kuala Lumpur blaming Pyongyang.
The nationwide celebrations for the two men's grandfather are a means of control in themselves as well as a declaration of legitimacy, according to one Asian-based diplomat.
"They do these events because the events themselves are what they do. Pretty much everybody gets to do something for it and probably people quite enjoy it, " he said.
"It's a sign to the world of everything they wish to project about the regime, ” he added -- apparent military power and a supposedly successful economy despite sanctions, along with “Kim's love of the people and the people's love of Kim".

North Korea mock-up birthday video shows missiles blowing up the US


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Danish court to decide on extradition of South Korean woman (1.02/25)

A Danish court has started proceedings to decide whether the daughter of the former confidante of South Korea's ousted president can be extradited to face prosecution in her home country.
The 20-year-old Chung Yoo-ra is the daughter of Choi Soon-sil, who is jailed in South Korea on suspicion of bribery and receiving favors from companies in return for manipulating government affairs.
Chung, who is wanted as part of the corruption investigation, was arrested in Aalborg, northern Denmark, on Jan. 1 on an international warrant.
Her defense lawyer, Michael Juul Eriksen, said Chung would be willing to go back to South Korea if she were allowed to stay in touch with her daughter.
"I think she actually would be willing to go if they could just ensure they could provide some sort of possibility that she keep in touch with her child, but that doesn't seem to be possible and that's quite inhumane in my opinion, " he told reporters on arrival at the courthouse. "I think it's her opinion that she's used as a pawn in a case in Korea, maybe used to put pressure on her mother because that would put pressure on her to actually sit in jail in Korea."
A lower court last month determined that all conditions for her extradition request had been met. Wednesday's appeal hearing was scheduled to last one day.
President Park Geun-hye was removed from office last month on allegations that she colluded with Choi.

S.Korea 'Rasputin' daughter fights extradition in Danish court


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AkzoNobel plans to spin off Specialty Chemicals unit (1.02/25)

Industrial paints and chemicals company AkzoNobel said Wednesday it plans to spin off its Specialty Chemicals unit within 12 months to boost growth and reward its shareholders.
The shake-up at the Dutch multinational comes after it recently rejected two unsolicited takeover bids by American rival PPG Industries.
In a move aimed at keeping shareholders happy and loyal, AkzoNobel said it will boost its dividend by 50 percent and return the "vast majority of net proceeds" from the separation of its Specialty Chemicals unit to shareholders.
"Now is the right time to create two focused, high-performing businesses, " CEO Ton Buechner said.
Last month, AkzoNobel rejected offers from PPG worth 21 billion euros and 22.4 billion euros, saying they significantly undervalued the company.
Buechner said the plan to split AkzoNobel into two separate companies will generate "significant shareholder value in the short, medium and long term. It will be delivered at pace, with a clear timeline and is in the best interest of all stakeholders."
The company said the separation of Specialty Chemicals, either selling it off or giving it a separate listing, would likely create savings of 50 million euros ($53.6 million)
AkzoNobel said first-quarter net profit was stable at 240 million euros ($257 million) as revenue rose by seven percent to 3.66 billion euros ($3.9 billion) .

Akzo Nobel unveils plan to separate chemicals arm, pay special dividend


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Trump has embraced autocratic leaders without hesitation (1.02/25)

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump congratulated Turkey's president for sweeping up more power. He hailed Egypt's strongman leader as a "fantastic guy." When China's president visited, Trump touted a burgeoning friendship and made no public mention of Beijing's dismal human rights record. Since taking office, Trump has displayed a striking willingness to embrace autocrats as potential partners in his "America First" agenda, even if it means ignoring their heavy-handed tactics and repression at home. It's a posture he also took toward Russian President Vladimir Putin until a dispute over Syria led him last week to declare U. S.-Russian ties at an "all-time low." Trump is hardly the first U. S. president willing to look the other way in dealings with governments that flout democratic values. For decades, Republican and Democratic administrations have cooperated closely with Saudi Arabia and China. President Barack Obama opened new diplomatic channels with Iran and Cuba, despite concerns about their repressive rulers. But rarely are U. S. presidents as warm and unabashed about their relationships with autocrats. Trump's comfort level seems to stem in part from his background in business, where the details of a deal mattered more than the negotiating partner and flattery can get results. When they were forced to deal with imperfect allies, Trump's predecessors, including Obama and President George W. Bush, made a point of using the moment to promote American ideals. They often followed meetings with statements about human rights or gathered separately with advocates or opposition leaders. On Monday, as international monitors and European allies voiced concerns about the slanted political playing field in Turkey's referendum, the White House said Trump called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to congratulate him on a victory that grants him more power. The message was at odds with Trump's own State Department, which expressed unease about a referendum that allows Erdogan to fulfill his long-held ambition for a presidency with executive powers. Erdogan's government has imprisoned scores of Turkish journalists. And since a failed coup last year, Turkey has arrested thousands of others accused of possible involvement. "The president's number one job is to keep Americans safe, " Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday. "And if he needs to work with countries like Turkey and others to do that, that's his priority and what his focus is." The White House's readout of the Trump-Erdogan call focused its concerns on the Islamic State and Syria's civil war, which the U. S. and Turkey are coordinating efforts on. Turkey is a U. S. key ally against IS, even if its poorly controlled border has been a contributing factor in the group's expansion across Syria and Iraq. Rachel Rizzo, a NATO and Europe expert at the Center for a New American Security, said the Trump administration sees its Turkey relationship "purely as a national security issue in terms of needing their help fighting ISIS and with the migration crisis in Europe." "It seems they're willing to look past human rights abuses, " she said. Trump has praised Chinese President Xi Jinping since hosting him at his Palm Beach, Florida, resort - after sharply criticizing China's economic policies as a candidate. He has linked his warmer approach toward Xi with his effort to secure greater help from Beijing in stopping North Korea's nuclear program. "A trade deal with the U. S. will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!" Trump said on Twitter, recounting what he told Xi. Trump has also locked arms with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi, a former general who toppled the democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood member. Obama never outwardly condemned el-Sissi's takeover. But Obama kept Egypt's leader at arm's length, assailing Egypt's human rights record and suspending some U. S. military aid. After winning November's presidential election, Trump offered el-Sissi a different relationship. And when el-Sissi visited Washington this month, Trump told reporters the Egyptian president would be someone "very close to me." A post-meeting statement cited their mutual commitment to fighting terrorism and strengthening Egypt's economy, making no mention of el-Sissi's crackdown on domestic opponents that has been widely condemned by international rights monitors. The pattern may have been set by Trump's vociferous support for Putin. As a candidate and in his first weeks as president, Trump said Putin had been a strong leader and expressed a desire to work closer with Moscow, despite the cloud of an FBI investigation into allegations of Russian meddling in the U. S. presidential election. Even before this month's Syrian chemical weapons attack and retaliatory U. S. cruise missile strike, Trump's administration had been souring on the Kremlin. Last month, it condemned Russia's crackdown on anti-government protesters last month that included 1, 000 arrests. "Detaining peaceful protesters, human rights observers and journalists is an affront to core democratic values, " a statement said at the time. But Trump's tack on Turkey appeared to undermine his own State Department, which before the Erdogan phone conversation with Trump spoke of "irregularities" in the Turkish referendum and "an uneven playing field during the difficult campaign period." The White House's statement on Trump's call to Erdogan made no mention of those concerns. Turkey's strategic location between Europe and the Middle East, and its unique role as the only Muslim-majority NATO member, have long made it an indispensable American partner. Obama, too, sought a close relationship with Erdogan, viewing him as a possible model for a new generation of Muslim leaders. He traveled to Turkey in his first year in office and spoke frequently with the Turkish leader. But as Erdogan moved to consolidate power in Turkey, his relationship with Obama soured. ___ Follow Vivian Salama at and Julie Pace at Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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AP FACT CHECK: Trump ignores 100-day high achievers (1.02/25)

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's claim Tuesday that he's accomplished more than anyone at this point of a presidency flies in the face of history. A look at a few of his statements at a Wisconsin tool company and an earlier interview with Fox: TRUMP: "No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days." - At Snap-on headquarters, Kenosha, Wisconsin. THE FACTS: Trump's legislative victories are minor, surpassed by those of a variety of high achievers in the White House. The concept of a president's first 100 days (a benchmark Trump reaches next week) started with Franklin Roosevelt, because he got so much done. Taking office in the Great Depression, Roosevelt quickly declared a banking holiday to quiet panic, called a special session of Congress and won passage of emergency legislation to stabilize the banking system. He came forward with a flurry of consequential legislation that set the pillars of the New Deal in place within his first 100 days, "the most concentrated period of U. S. reform in U. S. history, " say Alan Brinkley and Davis Dyer in "The Reader's Companion to the American Presidency." No fewer than 14 historic laws were enacted in that time. Trump's big agenda items, like his promised tax overhaul and infrastructure plan, have yet to reach Congress. His attempt to secure the borders from people from terrorism-prone regions is so far blocked by courts. And his first attempt to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's health care law failed in Congress. Trump needn't look as far back as FDR to see a president who got off to a consequential start. Obama signed a $787 billion stimulus package into law in his first month, while also achieving a law expanding health care for children and the Lilly Ledbetter bill on equal pay for women in that time. Like FDR, Obama came to office in an economic crisis, the worst since the Depression. Lawmakers from both parties were inclined to act quickly and did, even as they fought over the details of the big stimulus package that defined Obama's early days. ___ TRUMP: "I didn't soften my stance" on China. "Nobody's ever seen such a positive response on our behalf from China, and then the fake media goes 'Donald Trump has changed his stance on China.' I haven't changed my stance. China's trying to help us." - Fox interview. THE FACTS: It's hard to imagine a clearer switch in positions than the president's abandonment of his campaign pledge to declare China a currency manipulator, a move that would have set the stage for trade penalties. China had once devalued its currency to make its exports artificially cheaper, crowding out other countries' products, but in recent years has let market forces do more to shape currency exchange rates. Even as Trump railed against Chinese currency manipulation in the presidential campaign, there already were signs that China was taking steps to keep the value of the yuan from sinking further against the dollar. Trump didn't let go of his accusation easily. As recently as April 2 he told The Financial Times that the Chinese are "world champions" of currency manipulation. ___ TRUMP, speaking about fellow NATO members, says he wants to "make sure these countries start paying their bills a little bit more; you know, they're way, way behind." - Remarks in Kenosha. THE FACTS: That's an oversimplification of NATO financial obligations. NATO members are not in arrears on payments. They committed in 2014 to ensuring that by 2024, they would be spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on their military budgets. Most NATO countries are spending less than that now, and Washington is putting pressure on them to do more. In any event, the commitment is for these nations to spend more on their own military capabilities, which would strengthen the alliance, not to hand over money. ___ Associated Press writers Jim Drinkard and Robert Burns contributed to this report. ___ Find all AP Fact Checks here: EDITOR'S NOTE _ A look at the veracity of claims by political figures Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Phelps on comeback: ‘We’ ll see if I get that itch again’ (1.02/25)

Michael Phelps hasn’ t gotten the urge to return to swimming.
Not yet anyway.
The winningest athlete in Olympic history is clearly enjoying marriage, fatherhood and a newfound willingness to speak out on contentious issues such as doping .
But, in a tantalizing concession that he hasn’ t totally closed the door on another comeback, Phelps told The Associated Press that it might be tough to stay away from the pool — especially if he attends the upcoming world championships in Budapest.
“The true test will be, if I do end up going over to the worlds this summer, do I have that itch again?” Phelps said Tuesday during a telephone interview.
He was already strongly considering his first comeback when he attended the 2013 championships in Barcelona, and there was no doubt he’ d be back for his fifth Olympics when that meet ended.
“I was just like, ‘This is a joke. How can these guys be swimming this slow?'” recalled Phelps, who was especially motivated by a disappointing performance from the men’s relay team. “We’ ll see if I get that itch again.”
For now, he’s happy with his post-swimming life, which includes a new sponsorship deal with Colgate in which he is pushing water conservation.
While Phelps still travels extensively, tending to various sponsors and business interests, he gets a lot more quality time with wife Nicole and their son, Boomer, who will celebrate his first birthday in a few weeks.
“He has started standing by himself a little bit from time to time, ” Phelps said. “He’s on the move all the time now and loving it. He’s killing it. It’s so fun to watch him. Every day, it’s something different, something special. It’s a treat for me to see it face to face. It’s wild. It’s mind-blowing for Nicole and I. We still look at each other sometimes and go, ‘Wow, we have a son. This is our son.'”
If Phelps returns to competitive swimming, the demands of training would surely cut heavily into his family time. That’s why, if he tries to predict what the future might hold, it doesn’ t include a sixth Olympics at Tokyo in 2020.
“I’ m having so many amazing experience, so many cool experiences, with my family, ” he said. “I don’ t see myself making a comeback. I have no desire right now to do it. I’ m in the second chapter of my life. I have a lot of things I now want to accomplish. I’ m realizing that more and more. This is a really cool opportunity for me to do some things I was not able to do when I was swimming.”
That includes lending his still-considerable clout to issues that he considers important to swimming and the world.
In the lead-up to the Rio Games, Phelps talked for the first time about the scourge of doping, saying he wasn’ t sure if he had ever competed in a totally clean race, even while winning a record 23 gold medals and 28 medals in all.
In February, he took it a step further by testifying at a congressional hearing on improving anti-doping measures. He said athletes don’ t believe in the testing programs that are already in place, and he urged lawmakers to help “ensure the system is fair and reliable.”
“Throughout my career, I never spoke out about anything, ” Phelps conceded. “I stayed in my lane and focused on what I was doing. To get out front and speak out on things that are passionate to me, to take different approaches to things I want to talk about in different walks of life, that’s pretty cool and pretty special for me. The opportunities I have are absolutely amazing.
“Hopefully, ” he added, “I can change some things and make a difference.”
He’s doing a media blitz this week for his new deal with Colgate and the “Save Water” program, coinciding with Earth Day on Saturday.
“It completely blows my mind to think about how much you can waste when you brush your teeth twice a day, ” Phelps said. “If you leave the water running while you brush your teeth, it’s wasting four to five gallons every time you do that. Every time. If we can get people to stop doing that, think how many millions of people in the world could contribute in just that small way.”
Phelps said this second retirement, coming after an Olympics in which he won five gold medals and a silver with his new family along for the ride, has enabled him to truly appreciate the enormous accomplishments of his career.
He still feels like Rio was the perfect ending .
“I never had that moment before to sit back and think about what I had done, ” Phelps said. “I’ m so stoked that I came back for (the 2016) Olympics. I finished exactly how I wanted.”
Is he really finished?
Stay tuned.

Phelps on comeback: 'We'll see if I get that itch again'


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Intruder inside Drake’s home only raided rapper’s fridge (1.02/25)

LOS ANGELES — Authorities say an intruder was arrested at Drake's Southern California house, but the woman apparently did nothing but drink the rapper's water and soda pop.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says deputies from its Malibu/Lost Hills Station arrested 24-year-old Mesha Collins Monday inside the home of Drake, whose real name is Aubrey Graham.
Deputies called to the house found Collins inside a locked room surrounded by opened water and soda bottles from the house. There was no evidence she took anything else or did any damage.
She was arrested for entering a residence with intent to steal the victim's property. She is being held on $100, 000 bail and has a court date Wednesday.
Deputies didn't know if she has an attorney who can comment.

Intruder inside Drake's home only raided rapper's fridge


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What ‘60 Minutes’ didn’ t say about H-1B visas (1.02/25)

CBS’s “60 Minutes” program recently did a segment on how IT jobs are disappearing to other countries and how H-1B workers are displacing American IT workers — some whom have worked at their jobs for decades.
Sarah Blackwell, a Florida attorney, was interviewed for the program and stated categorically, “When you tell someone that the real reason for getting rid of these jobs is for cheap, foreign labor, that should offend everyone.”
I agree, but Blackwell doesn’ t quite say who to place the blame on.
The program delivers its heart-rending message of real people losing real jobs and being forced to train their replacements. The analogy used was to dig one’s own grave. As President Donald Trump said in one of his campaign speeches, “… they won’ t give you your severance pay unless you train the people that are replacing you. I mean, that’s, that’s actually demeaning, maybe more than anything else.”
I can well understand how humiliating the experience can be. Job security really means family stability. Besides the economic consequence of losing a job, there is significant social impact with families being put in disarray. Looking for a job at a certain age can be punishing, frustrating and often requiring huge compromises on the part of the job-seeker.
It is interesting that “60 Minutes” managed to find an H-1B worker to appear before the camera in disguise. Though, there were several red flags in the interview of this “replacement worker, ” Rajesh, who couldn’ t seem to speak a word of English and needed a translator. How is Rajesh working in the United States at a “major Wall Street bank” without the capability to converse in English?
“The American workers lose their job and they also cry while leaving their job. If I lose my job, I can go back to India, but where can they go?” Rajesh is believed to have said.
It’s important to convey the emotion with which these sentiments are delivered in the first place, and in the translator’s rendition, something was lost. Was the reference to crying sarcastic or empathetic? What does it mean to go back to India? Are there ample jobs available in India for an IT worker like Rajesh? If so, why is he here?
The obvious implication is that if an American worker loses his job in America, there aren’ t jobs available for him or her here. Do we have numbers for these? How soon do laid-off IT workers get re-hired? The “60 Minutes” reporting resulted in more questions than answers.
Yes, IT workers are getting laid off by companies like UC San Francisco and Disney. Yes, companies are doing this because of cost-savings. Yes, lower-cost IT workers are hired from other countries as replacements. But what most media reports on H-1B misuse fail to address is where to put the blame. Most of the rhetoric seems to blame the Indian H-1B worker, and I find that egregious and careless, because it sets a dangerous precedent of pitting communities against each other. More and more hate crimes and hate incidents are being reported against Indians and Indian Americans because of this failure to link the crime to the criminal.
Bill Whitaker, a “60 Minutes” correspondent, interviewed Craig D’ Angelo, who was laid off from his job at Eversource and was also instructed to train his replacement — called a “knowledge transfer” — before he left. I was particularly struck by what D’ Angelo told Whitaker. “I didn’ t get laid off for lack of work, I got laid off because somebody cheaper could do my job.… You don’ t want to have any animosity toward them [the replacement hire] because they’ re looking for a better way of life.”
D’ Angelo understood the decisions that corporations make victimize the laid-off worker as well as the hired foreign worker. These workers from India have no idea what or who they are replacing. They are merely told to learn the job, as Rajesh intimated. They work for a fraction of the cost, have little or no benefits and end up facing a hostile climate.
The blame should lie solely and squarely on U. S. companies and their singular focus on their bottom line, outsourcing companies that make no attempt to hire workers from America, and Congress’ inability to plug the loopholes in our immigration laws that allow for this kind of misuse to happen.
This April, the H-1B application deadline came and went without any change to the H-1B policy. Though the number of H-1B applications went down from 236, 000 last year to 199, 000 this year, the demand still is leagues beyond the 85, 000 limit.
As I write this, President Trump has just finished signing the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order with great flourish and fanfare in Kenosha, Wis. In his speech, Trump targeted how the H-1Bs are allotted: “Today, H-1Bs are allotted in a totally random lottery and that’s wrong. Instead, they should be given to the most skilled and highest paid applicants and should never be used to replace American workers.”
The signed order asks the Homeland Security and Labor, Justice and State departments to review the H-1B process and suggest recommendations. Why we need an executive order to do this when virtually everyone in Congress agrees that there needs to be a closer examination of the H-1B process is a mystery to me.
But so be it. There is to be a review and there are to be recommendations. In the meantime, it’s business as usual.
Jaya Padmanabhan can be reached at Twitter: @jayapadmanabhan. In Brown Type covers immigrant issues in San Francisco.

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Tall order: Giraffes must be listed as endangered, conservationists formally tell US (1.02/25)

Conservationists have lodged a formal request for the US government to list giraffes as endangered in a bid to prevent what they call the “silent extinction” of the world’s tallest land animal. A legal petition filed by five environmental groups has demanded that the US Fish and Wildlife Service provide endangered species protections to the giraffe, which has suffered a precipitous decline in numbers in recent years. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which listed giraffes as a threatened species in December, just 97, 500 of the animals exist in sub-Saharan Africa today, a drop of almost 40 per cent since 1985. There are now fewer giraffes than elephants in Africa. Giraffes have suffered from loss of habitat, disease and illegal hunting for bushmeat. They also face the risk of collisions with vehicles and power lines. But the petitioners argue that the species is facing added pressure from trophy hunters who travel to Africa to shoot their big-game quarry. These hunters overwhelmingly come from the US. According to the groups’ analysis of import data, Americans imported 21, 402 bone carvings, 3, 008 skin pieces and 3, 744 miscellaneous hunting trophies from giraffes over the past decade. At least 3, 700 individual giraffes are thought to have been killed for such items. An endangered species listing would place heavy restrictions on any American hunter wishing to travel to Africa and bring back a slaughtered giraffe. A hunter would have to somehow demonstrate the taking of the giraffe trophy was helping sustain the species. The petition states that the US is “uniquely positioned to help conserve these tall, graceful and iconic animals”. It adds: “Considering the ongoing threats to giraffes and their small remaining populations, now is the time for Endangered Species Act protections for this seriously and increasingly imperiled species.” The plight of giraffes, which have necks as long as two metres long and tongues that reach 50cm, has caught some conservationists by surprise. The peril faced by the animals has somewhat been overshadowed by the poaching crisis engulfing elephants and rhinos as well as high profile controversies such as the slaughter of Cecil the lion by a Minnesota dentist in Zimbabwe in 2015. But recent surveys have painted a stark picture of decline for giraffes, which now live in increasingly fragmented habitats. The role played by trophy hunters was highlighted in August when pictures emerged of a 12-year-old girl from Utah posing beside the slumped body of a dead giraffe. “When I was doing research on giraffes in Kenya a few years ago, they were quite abundant and no one questioned that they were doing well, ” said Jeff Flocken, North America regional director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) . “Only recently have we looked at them critically and seen this huge drop, which has been a shock to the conservation community. This is an iconic animal and it’s in deep trouble.” Flocken said while the US could not do much to prevent the killing of giraffes in Africa, the regulation of trophy imports would be a “significant” step in stemming the decline of the species. “In the past few years, several gruesome images of trophy hunters next to slain giraffe bodies have caused outrage, bringing this senseless killing to light, ” said Masha Kalinina, international trade policy specialist with Humane Society International. “Currently, no US or international law protects giraffes against overexploitation for trade.” In September, genetic research revealed that there are four distinct species of giraffe, not just one as long believed. However, the endangered species petition requests protection for all giraffes regardless of sub-species. Under federal rules, the Fish & Wildlife Service has 90 days to respond to the petition and determine whether a listing may be warranted. It can then take more than a year to assess and decide upon the request.

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Marc has the stats, Pau has wins in Gasols' playoff battle (1.02/25)

Marc is winning the individual battle. Older brother Pau is walking away with the victories in the Gasols' first NBA playoff battle.
The sibling showdown between the Spaniards has added another dimension to the Grizzlies-Spurs opening-round Western Conference series.
The Gasols have been competing with and against each other since they were children — with Pau winning most of time. And Pau is enjoying the upper hand once again.
"Put all those emotions aside and try to focus on what the Spurs have to do to beat the Grizzlies, " Pau said. "That's what I'm going to try to focus on and help as much as I can."
Marc and Pau are not the first players to have to put family ties aside for a few hours. The Mikans, Persons, Kings, Grants and Wrights all squared off in the NBA postseason.
And there is another twist to the Gasols' showdown.
Pau is returning to the city where he started his NBA career looking to do something he never managed while playing for the Grizzlies — winning a playoff game in Memphis. Pau's Grizzlies set an NBA record for playoff futility, losing their first 12 postseason games with him on the roster.
Playing for San Antonio ensures a mix of boos and cheers for Pau, who was Memphis' first All-Star. His trade to the Lakers in 2008 helped bring Marc to the Grizzlies, and now Marc is a three-time All-Star and team leader alongside guard Mike Conley — and trying to beat his big brother yet again.
"Now he has a better chance today than when he was younger, " Pau quipped.
At 36, Pau no longer is the big man that leads a franchise, coming off the bench for San Antonio as the scoring option behind Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker.
"I wish he was starting so we could get more minutes against each other, " Marc said of Pau. "He knows what it's about. He knows what I stand for, and how much I want to beat his team."
Marc has let his teammates know as well.
He immediately got after rookie Andrew Harrison for not playing better defense when Pau hit a 3-pointer in Game 1. Pau, the NBA's 43rd all-time scorer, is still capable of hitting big shots.
"It's a little frustrating as a guard, " Conley said. "You have to hear Marc get mad at you for letting Paul score. It's always fun to see them compete, especially at the highest level."
Of course it's even more fun when you're winning.
The Gasols tipped off against each other at the 2015 All-Star Game, becoming the first brothers to play against each other in that event. They are also Olympic teammates on Spain's national team.
Now they can add another milestone to their list of achievements, becoming the sixth set of siblings to meet in the NBA postseason.
George and Ed Mikan were the first brothers to battle in the playoffs, facing off in 1949, 1950 and 1953. In 1983, Bernard King's Knicks played brother Albert and the Nets, while Chuck and Wesley Person played each other in 1996. Harvey Grant with the 76ers met Horace Grant and his Orlando Magic in 1999. A year ago, Dorell Wright with Miami played brother Delon and Toronto.
Pau says it's hardest on their parents when he plays his little brother. Even though they take pride in one son being a two-time NBA champion and another the league's 2013 defensive player of the year, these games can be tough.
"They don't enjoy the games that we play against each other too much, " Pau said. "They suffer. They don't want us to hurt. One is going to be happy after the game, one is going to be upset. So you feel for the one that is upset. It is what it is. Now we're in the playoffs, everything gets a little maximized, magnified."
Marc easily has outscored Pau so far with a career playoff-best 32 points in a href='https: //, -Spurs-rout-Grizzlies-111-82-in-Game-1'Game 1 in a 111-82 loss to the Spurs/a, and he had 12 as San Antonio took a href='https: //'s-37-points-lead-Spurs-by-Grizzlies-96-82'Game 2 by a score of 96-82/a.
Whatever the stats are, Pau is busting with pride over the little brother he watched work so hard to become one of the NBA's top centers.
"I think he's had an incredible NBA career so far, " Pau said.
And there's little doubt Pau wants Marc to have even more success — next year.
AP freelance writers Clay Bailey in Memphis, Tennessee, and Raul Dominguez in San Antonio contributed to this report.

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Report: Wildfires hurt western Montana air quality (1.02/25)

Montana is called Big Sky Country due to its wide open spaces and clear sky, but there are times when wildfires, geography and weather patterns combine to make the air in the western part of the state unsafe for people with asthma or chronic lung disease.
The American Lung Association's annual "State of the Air" report lists the city of Missoula along with Ravalli and Lincoln counties among the worst areas in the country for the number of days with small particle pollution that makes breathing the air unhealthy for at least some residents.
This year's report includes data from 2013-2015 — and 2015 was an especially bad fire year.
Ravalli County had 30 days over those three years that the air was rated "unhealthy for sensitive people, " ''unhealthy" or "very unhealthy." Lincoln County had 22 and Missoula had 20, the American Lung Association said.
Sarah Coefield, an air quality specialist with the Missoula City-County Health Department, says the areas that received failing grades all sit in valleys where high pressure ridges in the atmosphere trap the smoke from western wildfires.
"We're all cast under the same pall from the wildfire smoke, " Coefield said Tuesday.
The Missoula area has made great strides in cleaning up its air since the 1980s, when the area was "full of wood stoves and fireplaces and the street lights would come on during the day because the smoke was so thick, " she said.
Beginning in 1994, the county started phasing out fireplaces and wood stoves in a defined "air stagnation zone, " and allowing only pellet stoves certified by the Environmental Protection Agency to have lower emissions.
"Our primary source of particulate pollution is the wildfires, which unfortunately you can't regulate away, " Coefield said.
In extreme northwestern Montana, there was a program from 2005 to 2008 in which residents of Lincoln County could trade their older woodstoves for cleaner-burning woodstoves, said environmental health specialist Jacob Mertes.
"It has done a great job of lowering the particulate levels here in the Libby area, " he said, "so much so in fact that if we don't count wildfire events ... we haven't exceeded the national ambient air quality standard since 2006."
The report indicated Libby had one day in 2015 where the air quality was rated "very unhealthy." The 2015 wildfire season included a large fire about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from Libby, Mertes said.
The American Lung Association supports continued efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change and fire danger.
Eight of 11 Montana counties that have particulate monitoring equipment had failing grades for the number of high particle pollution days from 2013-2015, including Flathead, Lewis and Clark and Silver Bow, the report said. Lewis and Clark County also had a failing grade for 2012-2014.

Report gives New Hampshire air quality passing grade


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Facebook killing: Ex-girlfriend Joy Lane meets, prays with victim's daughters (1.02/25)

In a video posted on Facebook, Steve Stephens brutally gunned down Robert Godwin Sr., 74, as he walked down a Cleveland street on Easter Sunday.
Before Stephens fatally shot Godwin in the head, he demanded the victim say Joy Lane, the name of Stephens' former girlfriend.
"She's the reason that this is about to happen to you, " Stephens told Godwin in the video before he shot him.
Nearly 48 hours after the killing, three unlikely strangers met Tuesday. Lane and two of the victim's daughters, Debbie Godwin and Tonya Godwin-Baines, talked, held hands and prayed, CNN affiliate WJW reported.
'The hashtags Joy Lane'
The three women shared their pain, each affected differently by a killing that stunned the nation.
Stephens fled after he shot Godwin on Sunday, triggering a manhunt that extended to several states and ended when the killer shot himself on Tuesday.
Lane said it has been difficult watching her name dominate social media, where her connection to the killer became a topic of discussion over the weekend.
"The hashtags Joy Lane, Joy Lane massacre -- I don't even know who Joy Lane is anymore, or how to pick up all the pieces of my world at this moment, " Lane told the affiliate.
"I've got a lot of negative comments. Some even said he should have killed me."
Lane said she's devastated that the victim said her name before he was shot.
"I feel bad ... The last thing that he would have said was my name and didn't know me or why he was saying it. And that's been difficult, " she said.
Lane said she and Stephens dated for a while, and had discussed getting engaged, but they broke up and she urged him to seek help for gambling issues.
They last talked Saturday night, she told the affiliate, when Stephens told her he'd quit his job and was moving out of state.
She told the affiliate that she tried to reach Stephens after the video of the killing surfaced on Facebook, but he didn't answer his phone.
Godwin taught forgiveness
The sisters told Lane the killing is not her fault, and they don't hold any ill will toward her.
In an interview with CNN, several of Godwin's children said they held no animosity toward Stephens, either.
"Each one of us forgives the killer, the murderer, " Godwin-Baines said Monday.
Godwin taught his children the value of hard work, how to love God and how to forgive, his children said.
"They don't make men like him anymore, " Debbie Godwin said. "He was definitely one in a million."
Manhunt ends
After the fatal shooting of the self-taught mechanic and grandfather of 14, authorities nationwide scrambled for two days to find Stephens.
The three-day manhunt ended Tuesday after the killer stopped at a McDonald's in Harborcreek Township, Pennsylvania, 100 miles from the scene of the killing.
His craving for fries and chicken McNuggets led him to the fast food restaurant, where an employee recognized him and tipped the police.
Stephens fled and Pennsylvania State Police troopers pursued, prompting an officer to ram the car to disable it. As the car was "spinning out of control" following the hit, Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head, according to police.
Authorities had hoped for a different outcome.
"We're grateful that this has ended, " Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said. "We would prefer that it had not ended this way because there are a lot of questions, I'm sure, that not only the family, but the city in general would have had for Steve."
Godwin's daughter, Brenda Haymon, learned of Stephens' death as she was planning funeral arrangements for her father.
"All I can say is that I wish he had gone down in a hail of 100 bullets, " Haymon said. "I wish it had gone down like that instead of him shooting himself."
Godwin will be laid to rest Saturday, nearly a week after he had an Easter meal with his children.

US ‘Facebook killer’ takes own life after police chase


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Krauthammer: With a Republican President, GOP Owns Health Care 'No Matter What' (1.02/25)

Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday that under President Trump, Republicans own health care policy, and will be blamed or applauded whether it fails or succeeds.
Krauthammer said that despite the fact ObamaCare passed with purely Democratic support, there is no way to blame Democrats under a Republican administration.
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"When he's sworn in, he owns the economy and the health care system no matter what, " he said.
Krauthammer added that it will be difficult for Republicans to come to consensus on health care reform.
He said that when any entitlement or mandate is removed, the opposition can immediately cut a forceful advertisement calling out that legislator for 'taking away' that service.
Combining that fact with the conservatives' platform against government mandates, Krauthammer said Republicans will have a tough time coming to such consensus.
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Health Care Act likely to come before tax reform, ERISA president says


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Egyptian nobleman unearthed in 3, 500-year-old-tomb (1.02/25)

April 19 (UPI) -- Egyptian archaeologists unearthed eight mummies Tuesday in a 3, 500-year-old tomb, the Ministry of Antiquities announced.
The 18th Dynasty tomb belonged to a nobleman named Userhat a nobleman who worked as the city judge during the New Kingdom period between 1570–1544 BC, the ministry said.
The latest in a series of major discoveries of ancient relics included 10 colorful sarcophagi and numerous figurines.
"This is an important discovery, " Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany told reporters outside the tomb. "We found a large number of Ushabti (small carved figurines) , more than 1, 000 of them."
The archaeological mission working in the Draa Abul Nagaa necropolis near the Valley of the Kings continues working "to reveal the secrets" of the tomb, the ministry said.

Archaeologists find 1, 000 statues in tomb in Egypt's Luxor


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Turkey's electoral board will evaluate complaints on referendum on Wednesday: NTV (1.02/25)

The main opposition began a battle on Tuesday to annul the referendum which handed President Tayyip Erdogan sweeping new powers, while the bar association and an international monitor said an illegal move by electoral authorities may have swung the vote.
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Nick Tattersall)

Turkey's electoral board will evaluate complaints on referendum on Wednesday - NTV


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Gilmore to run for Harper's state seat in Tennessee Senate (1.02/25)

State Rep. Brenda Gilmore has announced she will run for the Nashville seat currently held by longtime Sen. Thelma Harper, a fellow Democrat.
Harper, who has served in the Senate since 1989, says it's "no secret" that she has been considering retirement, but that she won't make up her mind until next year.
Gilmore is no stranger to challenging incumbents should Harper decide to run for another four-year term. She defeated incumbent Rep. Edith Langster by 29 percentage points in the Democratic primary in 2006 before going on to win her first general election.
Democrats currently hold five out 33 seats in the Senate

Gilmore to run for Harper’s state seat in Tennessee Senate


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How on earth do you organise an election in 51 days? (1.02/25)

Here’s what election officials will be sorting out over the next few weeks.
With the British people going to the polls on June 8, the election machine has less than two months to put everything in place for polling day.
So how will it happen? We spoke to Peter Stanyon, deputy chief executive of the Association of Electoral Administrators (AEA) , to find out about the work that goes on behind the scenes.
Is there a timetable?
Yes. Although electoral officials will have been working hard from the moment Theresa May announced her intention to call a snap election, the formal process will kick off on May 3, when Parliament should vote to dissolve itself, officially setting the election in motion. This is 25 working days before the June 8 polling day.
One thing is for sure: they will have significantly less time to prepare than usual. “If the election was May 2020, preparations for that would have started far further in advance than they will clearly for June 8, ” said Stanyon.
A vote to dissolve Parliament on May 3 will begin a process of formal notification to the public, delivery of nomination papers for parliamentary candidates, ensuring postal and by proxy votes are sent out and registered, registering new voters and a plethora of other jobs, all before polling day starts.
In charge of all this are the UK’s returning officers – one for each of our 650 parliamentary constituencies. The returning officer role is an honorary one usually held by a local council chairman or mayor. They appoint an acting returning officer, usually a senior council official, to carry out the role itself.
Stanyon said that before May 3, the Electoral Commission and the AEA will have to gather information and paperwork to answer candidates’ questions. He said: “There are already questions coming in, for example, ‘what are the expenses limits? What is the process for nominations?’ ”
What about booking venues?
“Things such as booking of polling accommodation at schools or community centres will now have to be truncated into quite a short timescale, ” said Stanyon. He said normally provisional bookings for count venues and polling stations would be made “potentially a year to six months out” from polling day.
Stanyon said some returning officers will struggle to book the venues they usually use as polling stations or counting centres due to the short notice and the time the election falls.
He already knows of constituencies where “the normal venues are not available because of other pre-booked events”. For example, secondary schools, which are often used as polling stations, will be in exam season.
Who prints the ballot papers?
“A significant number of local authorities will not have internal print resource to be able to produce things like ballot papers, poll cards and postal voting packs, ” said Stanyon. “So there will be a need to check the printing arrangements with the various printers around the country.”
Many local authorities will have a preferred printer they work with, but whether they are available is another thing.
Will they have to hire staff?
The returning officers will need to find presiding officers to oversee each polling station in their constituency, poll clerks to man the stations and counting assistants to count the votes, among other roles.
Stanyon said although general elections are rarely short on volunteers, “it’s a massive job to appoint all the temporary staff for that particular day”.
Permanent elections staff will be feeling the strain due to the high number of elections in the last few years, including the 2015 general election and the 2016 EU referendum.
“It’s a constant conveyor belt at the moment that is proving stressful to a number of people out there, ” said Stanyon.
Could the vote be delayed?
This is a lot of work to pull off in two months, especially considering some constituencies will have local government and mayoral elections in May to contend with.
However, “if Parliament is dissolved on May 3, which is the formal starting gun… then there is a legal obligation on the returning officers for each of the areas to deliver regardless, ” Stanyon said.
He told us the only way a vote would be delayed in a particular constituency is if there was a riot in a polling station, or a party candidate died. In both cases the vote would be delayed in this constituency only, and resumed later.
Peter Stanyon has worked in electoral administration for 30 years at four different local authorities. The AEA is a professional organisation for electoral administrators, providing advice, training and consulting on elections.

Race against time to stage election


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Malaysia Airlines is 1st carrier to sign up for new satellite-tracking service (1.02/25)

More than three years after its flight MH370 vanished with 239 people aboard, the airline has become the first to sign up for a service that will track its entire fleet with satellites.
Malaysia Airlines struck a deal with a group of aviation industry firms to monitor the flight paths of its aircraft anywhere in the world, including over "oceanic, polar and remote regions, " according to a statement.
MH370 vanished from radar during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean. The Boeing 777's disappearance sparked a search of unprecedented scale, prompting a global debate about consistent standards for aircraft tracking.
Related: Here's what's been found from MH370 three years after it disappeared
"Real-time global aircraft tracking has long been a goal of the aviation community, " Malaysia Airlines Chief Operating Officer Capt. Izham Ismail said in the statement. "We are proud to be the first airline to adopt this solution."
The new partnership -- with Aireon, FlightAware and SITAONAIR -- will ensure the airline has access to space-based tracking data for every minute of a flight's journey. The new system is expected to come online next year.
"Malaysia Airlines will know the location, heading, speed and altitude of all aircraft in its fleet, at all times, and be alerted to any exceptions, " Paul Gibson of SITAONAIR said in the statement.
Many companies have been jockeying to supply airlines with global tracking systems, including Rockwell Collins (COL) and Inmarsat (IMASF) .
Related: MH370: Could a plane vanish again?
The disappearance of Flight 370 remains one of the world's biggest aviation mysteries and its exact crash site has yet to be located.
It's unclear if the new satellite-tracking system would have made a difference, though.
MH370's transponder, which broadcasts the jet's position and identity to air traffic control, stopped communicating while over the Gulf of Thailand. The Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, also known as ACARS, which transmits small data messages to the airline to a ground network or satellites, also stopped communicating.
The extended inquiry has investigated whether the communications were intentionally switched off by someone aboard the aircraft, but no conclusion has been reached.
Related: Timeline of MH370 disappearance
In the absence of those systems, investigators have had to rely on obscure satellite data to piece together Flight 370's possible path to the southern Indian Ocean.
If flights are tracked with updates every minute, it would make it much easier to locate an aircraft if it crashes in a remote part of the world.
Even with 60 second updates, the precision of a search would be far greater than in the case of MH370.
The International Civil Aviation Organization has mandated that an aircraft must transmit its position once every 15 minutes by November 2018. That will drop to once every minute by 2021 if the aircraft is in distress.

Malaysia Airlines Signs Deal to Track Fleet Via Satellites


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India ruling party leaders face trial in 1992 mosque attack (1.02/25)

India's top court on Wednesday ordered four senior leaders of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to stand trial over a 1992 attack on an ancient mosque that sparked Hindu-Muslim violence that killed thousands.
A lower court had earlier dropped conspiracy charges against the four in a case that has languished in India's sluggish legal system for almost 25 years.
Hindu groups say the 16th century Babri Mosque was built after a temple dedicated to the Hindu god King Ram was destroyed by Muslim invaders. Hindu fundamentalists with pickaxes and crowbars razed the structure to the ground in December 1992.
The attack on the mosque in Ayodhya, 350 miles (550 kilometers) east of New Delhi, sparked the largest explosion of Hindu-Muslim violence in the country in decades, leaving 2, 000 people dead. Thousands more died in later violence caused by disputes over the site.
Hindu hard-liners, including BJP members, say they want to build a new temple to Ram on the site.
The four party leaders are accused of making inflammatory speeches that incited thousands of their followers who had camped out in Ayodhya ahead of the Dec. 6 attack on the mosque.
The four — L. K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti and Kalyan Singh — have said that the mosque's demolition was a spontaneous eruption by angry Hindu activists.
The Supreme Court order follows demands from the Central Bureau of Investigation, India's main investigating agency, that the conspiracy charges against the senior party leaders be reinstated.
The court said that the trial will held in the northern city of Lucknow and should wrap up in two years.
Of the four party leaders who will now stand trial, Singh is currently the governor of an Indian province, and the constitution protects him from criminal trial. Therefore his trial will start after his term ends.
At the time of the mosque's 1992 destruction, Singh was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state, where Ayodhya is located.

India BJP leaders face conspiracy trial in 1992 mosque case


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Paris Climate Accord: White House Meeting Postponed (1.02/25)

A White House meeting that was to help determine whether the United States should withdraw from the Paris climate accord has been postponed, an administration official said on Tuesday.
Some of President Donald Trump's top advisers, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt, were scheduled to meet on Tuesday to discuss how Trump should handle the 2015 climate deal .
The meeting was canceled because "some of the principals are traveling today, " the White House official said.
The meeting will be rescheduled, but no date has been set, the official said.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Air Force One as Trump was returning from a visit to Wisconsin that the meeting "could be as soon as tomorrow, but I know that they're working on trying to find a time that works for everybody."
For more on climate change, watch Fortune's video:
The accord, agreed on by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015 and ratified in 2016, aims to limit planetary warming in part by slashing carbon dioxide and other emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Under the pact, the United States committed to reducing its emissions by 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.
Trump has said the United States should "cancel" the deal, but he has been mostly quiet on the issue since he was elected last November.
The White House has said it would take a position on the agreement before a summit of the Group of Seven wealthy nations in late May.

Four Reasons Trump Should Withdraw From Paris Climate Agreement


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Macron faces uncertain first round as French election hopefuls vie for last votes (1.02/25)

B efore dawn broke over Paris, Emmanuel Macron was inspecting meat carcasses on hooks at a wholesale market. Rising early to talk about the “value of hard work” while watching butchers skinning calves’ heads is a classic campaign stop in any French presidential election. But this stop seemed more urgent than usual.
The independent centrist, who is running in his first election, had been seen as a frontrunner but faces a gruelling final few days before the first-round presidential vote this Sunday.
Styling himself as a pro-Europe progressive, he went from dark-horse outsider to favourite three months ago. But as polls narrow and a third of the electorate remains undecided, the race has become increasingly uncertain.
Macron’s supporters concede that the last few days of campaigning will be tough and unpredictable. Although polls have shown he could win a second round runoff on 7 May, Macron first has to make it to the final round – and that is not by any means guaranteed.
“The new president, ” said one butcher as he posed for a selfie with Macron at the market. “He hasn’ t won yet!” came the cry from the scrum of media recording the moment.
“You have to vote first, ” Macron reminded him gently.
Macron, who served as the Socialist François Hollande’s economy minister before promising to “revolutionise” French politics by running for president, has been falling in the polls in recent weeks. The same is true for the other frontrunner, the far-right Front National’s Marine Le Pen, who had been roughly level with Macron at the front of the pack.
It is normal for presidential frontrunners to dip in the polls in the final weeks of a French election campaign, but Macron and Le Pen’s slump has been accompanied by a concerted rise by the hard-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon and the scandal-hit rightwing candidate François Fillon. The latter appears able to claw back voters who had turned their backs after allegations that he gave taxpayer-funded fake jobs to his wife and children.
Four candidates sit within the polls’ margin of error and the abstention rate could be higher than usual. There is no certainty about which two candidates will make it to the final round.
Last week, when Macron was photographed with his wife smiling down from a chairlift at a mountain resort in the south-west, it risked sending a message of haughty aloofness. He has decided to spend the remaining campaign days mixing in crowds, albeit carefully chosen, like the market workers who approve his promise to cut red tape and charges for employers.
Macron’s vast Paris stadium rally on Monday, which attracted 20, 000 people, was intended in part as a rallying call to the thousands of volunteers for his En Marche! (On the Move) movement, who will be holding scores of small local campaign meetings this week.
In a dig at Le Pen, Macron said voters had the choice of “hope and courage over resignation”. Polls show Macron mostly attracts people who feel optimistic about their future, despite the overwhelming sense of pessimism and anger in a country troubled by decades of mass unemployment and the ever-present threat of a terrorist attack.
But even at the euphoric rally in the capital, campaigners were aware of the daunting task. Dominique Dusart, 57, who heads En Marche! in Yonne, south of Paris, admitted some were worried his support could decline. “We’ re a bit worried by Mélenchon’s breakthrough, ” she told the Agence France-Presse news agency. “It has been a bit of a slap in the face because we weren’ t expecting it.”
Macron’s electorate has always had a higher proportion of wavering voters than other leading candidates. His challenge this week is to highlight the novelties in his policy platform, and perhaps come up with new headline-grabbing measures.
In an election campaign that has focused more on candidates’ personalities than any single topic, Macron’s “neither left nor right” manifesto has not seen any single measure boldly standing out. Canvassers pointed to his promise to cut local housing tax for 80% of people, or his plans to overhaul the system of unemployment benefits, or his loosening of rules and charges for businesses.
At a trestle table of Macron manifestos and a stand of balloons at a market in central Paris this weekend, an En Marche! campaigner tried to convince voters. Some asked about the dip in the polls. “Not long ago, everyone said it was impossible for Emmanuel Macron to get this far but we proved them wrong, and now we’ re so close to the finish, ” the canvasser urged one voter in his 40s who was undecided between voting Macron or returning to his “natural party” and choosing Fillon on the right. “I’ m still not sure what Emmanuel Macron really stands for, ” the voter said.
“We’ ve gone in a few days from ‘we can win’ to ‘we can lose’ , ” one MP in Macron’s circle was quoted telling Le Monde last week. “There’s a lot of tension. Macron displays a calm image of serenity, but I’ m not sure that’s the case – he’s knotted up inside.”
Macron is not alone in facing an uncertain first round vote on this Sunday. “After the highs of a fortnight ago, you can sense Emmanuel Macron’s campaign is fragile, but perhaps not at the point where it’s going to shatter, ” said Philippe Braud, an analyst at the Cevipof institute at the Sciences Po university in Paris.
Marie Imbert, a 27-year-old fan wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with “Macron President”, told Agence France-Presse at the Paris rally on Monday that the narrowing polls were a warning against complacency in one of the most unpredictable elections in decades.
“It’s having a mobilising effect. It means we’ ll have to be on the ground working until midnight on Friday night, ” she said.

Macron, Le Pen cling on to first round lead in French election race: Le Monde/Cevipof poll


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Andrew Triggs dominates, A’s snap skid (1.02/25)

OAKLAND — It took a lot of patience, but Andrew Triggs got the run support he needed as the A’s snapped their four-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the Texas Rangers.
Triggs kept his ERA at zero, allowing just two unearned runs on three hits, but those two runs in the sixth inning looked like they’ d decide the game.
Luckily for Triggs, the offense woke up, snapping a 15-inning scoreless drought with an immediate answer.
Adam Rosales tied the game at two with a home run in the sixth and Khris Davis gave the A’s the lead with a sac fly. Ryon Healy’s pinch-hit bloop single provided the insurance run.
Triggs’ command was brilliant, holding the Rangers without an extra-base hit or a walk. Oakland pitchers had walked 15 over the past two games. He also shut down a lineup filled with left-handed power.
“We made use of the cutter, ” he said. “We mixed that in, which is something Bruce and I talked about.”
Rougned Odor’s second-inning single was the lone hit from a left-hander. Triggs has retired 29 of the 31 lefties he has faced in his first three starts.
Elvis Andrus was the lone thorn in Triggs’ side, singling twice. His second single brought in Jurickson Profar for the game’s first run. Profar reached on a Yonder Alonso error and took second on a wild pitch. Andrus proceeded to steal both second and third before scoring on a fielder’s choice, which looked like a massive insurance run at the time.
Rosales, who has gone from a platoon role to an everyday job in Marcus Semien’s absence, was quick to answer. Though he has had nearly 200 fewer plate appearances against southpaws, 21 of his 40 career home runs have come against lefties. His 41st came off one of the best right-handers in the game, Yu Darvish, to knot the score at 2.
“It’s just patience. Darvish is a great right-handed pitcher, ” said Rosales. “His pitch count was down, but I made sure I was patient that at-bat.”
Trevor Plouffe walked to start the inning and scored on Rosales’ home run. During his usual sprint around the basepaths, Rosales came close to passing Plouffe, who appeared to be in some minor discomfort after diving back to first on a pickoff attempt.
Sean Doolittle, Ryan Dull and Santiago Casilla combined for three perfect innings to close out the win, with Casilla picking up his second save.

After Bad Start, Cubs Rally For 9-7 Win Over Brewers


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Election morning briefing: will MPs vote for an early vote? (1.02/25)

Welcome to strangely familiar territory. Hot on the heels of General Election 2015 and the difficult second album, EU Referendum 2016, comes General Election 2017.
I’ m Claire Phipps and I’ ll be kicking off each weekday between now and 8 June with a briefing on the day’s campaign news. (If you’ d like it in your inbox by 7am BST, you can sign up here .) Follow the rest of the day on our live blog here .
On Tuesday, Theresa May said she wanted an election on 8 June. Today she has to persuade MPs to let her have one. The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, which was supposed to keep us from the ballot boxes until 2020, can be tipped over if two-thirds of the Commons say aye. Jeremy Corbyn wants Labour MPs to support the early election; not all Labour MPs agree with him (another evergreen statement there) .
The Liberal Democrats and the SNP have said they will not block it – though Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon called May’s move a “huge political miscalculation”.
So let’s recklessly guess that the super-majority will be won: what next?
Labour talks late on Tuesday concluded that sitting MPs should be automatically reselected, despite reports that Corbyn had been less than keen on the idea. A policy burst in recent weeks – on free school meals, minimum wage and carers’ allowance – also helps lessen the risk of a rash of party manifestos reading: “Aargh, Brexit.”
The Conservative manifesto will find room for grammar schools, alongside – speculates the Sun in an interview with May – possible breaks from 2015 commitments to foreign aid spending and the pensions triple lock .
The prime minister insists the election isn’ t all about Brexit (except, well, it mostly is, counters Lib Dem leader Tim Farron) . It’s also, says May, writing in the Scotsman, a chance to give a second independence referendum the boot – while not quite answering the question of why one vote would sow division and the other unity:
Not in May’s interest, it seems, will be taking part in televised debates with other party leaders. “Our answer is no, ” a No 10 source told the Guardian, meaning avid viewers will be denied even the sole PM v contenders face-to-face-off that David Cameron deigned to attend in 2015.
At a glance:
This section is brought to you couched in so many caveats it’s effectively a (hazardous) beanbag, but let’s take a look at the poll numbers, if only to give ourselves a handy reference for mockery on 9 June.
A Guardian/ICM survey on Tuesday put the Conservatives 21 points ahead of Labour, 46% to 25%, with the Lib Dems scooping up 11%.
YouGov polling from 12-13 April – before May’s announcement – also gave the Conservatives a buoyant 21-point lead. A snap poll on the snap poll on Tuesday found 49% thought the PM was right to call an early election, with 17% against, and 34% not sure (or possibly at a loss for words) .
The Financial Times’ poll tracker, which takes account of the seven most recent surveys, shows the Tories with an 18-point lead.
Wednesday morning’s newspapers have reacted in typically nuanced style, with the Daily Mail ordering a vote to “Crush the saboteurs” – that’s the Remoaners and the “unelected” Lords (the Mail’s own “unnecessary” quotation marks there) – and the Sun calling it “Blue Murder: PM’s snap poll will kill off Labour”. Given the last national vote campaign witnessed the actual murder of an MP, perhaps they ought to have given that one more thought. Jane Martinson analyses the front pages here.
Some Marmite reading with your breakfast toast: here’s Tony Blair writing on his website on why this election must be about Brexit – and should cross party lines:
Rachel Sylvester, in the Times, ponders a Lib Dem resurgence:
In the Spectator, Isabel Hardman warns that the PM’s repeated insistence that there would not be an early election could bounce back on her:
Don’ t expect May to be taking to Twitter, Donald Trump -style, to rally voters. She told the Sun: “I don’ t see tweets… I never pay attention to tweets.” Sad!
How could it be anything other than Brenda from Bristol ?
Would you like to wake up to this briefing in your inbox every weekday? Sign up here !

General election needed to stop opposition parties `frustrating´ Brexit - May


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Arkansas inmates set to die Thursday claim innocence (1.02/25)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Lawyers for Arkansas inmates condemned to die Thursday in a planned double execution are claiming they are innocent and one of them says advanced DNA techniques could show he didn't kill a woman in 1993.
Their strategy to win stays of execution is in marked contrast to the first two inmates who faced the death chamber in Arkansas and were spared Monday by arguing they should not be put to death because of mental health issues.
Arkansas officials are vowing to press ahead with the Thursday executions despite the setback to plans to resume capital punishment after a 12-year hiatus.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson originally set out an aggressive schedule of eight lethal injections in 11 days that would have marked the most inmates put to death by a state in such a short period since the U. S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. The state set such a compressed schedule because its supply of one of the lethal injection drugs expires at the end of April.
One of the inmates set to die Thursday, Stacey Johnson, says advanced DNA techniques could show that he didn't kill Carol Heath, a 25-year-old mother of two, in 1993 at her DeQueen apartment. The other inmate scheduled for Thursday, Ledell Lee, argued unsuccessfully Tuesday in a Little Rock courtroom that he be given a chance to test blood and hair evidence that could prove he didn't beat 26-year-old Debra Reese to death during a 1993 robbery in Jacksonville. An appeal is possible.
Lawyers are known to make multiple arguments to save their clients' lives in the final hours. The state and its lawyers say the inmates are seeking any legal approach they can find in their efforts to avoid death.
"It is understandable that the inmates are taking every step possible to avoid the sentence of the jury; however, it is the court's responsibility to administer justice and bring conclusion to litigation, " Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday in an emailed statement. "It is that process that we are seeing played out day by day, and we expect it to continue.
"My job as governor is to work with the attorney general to make sure that justice is accomplished and the law of Arkansas is carried out, and that's what we're working every day to accomplish, " he said.
Don Davis and Bruce Ward were supposed to be the first two executed. They won stays from the Arkansas Supreme Court on Monday after lawyers argued their mental health issues were similar enough to those raised in an Alabama case going before the U. S. Supreme Court next week.
The execution of a third inmate, Jason McGehee, had been set for April 27, but a federal judge put it on hold earlier this month, saying McGehee was entitled to a 30-day comment period after the Arkansas Parole Board told the governor that the inmate's clemency request had merit.
That leaves five men set for execution in an eight-day period starting Thursday. It's the quickest timetable in Arkansas since 1926, though state officials say waiting more than two decades to put some of the killers to death could hardly be characterized as swift.
"The families have waited far too long to see justice, and I will continue to make that a priority, " Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said late Monday.
Lawyers for the inmates set to be executed Thursday are relying primarily on claims the men are innocent. Johnson's attorney, Jeff Rosenzweig, wants a court to order new DNA testing on hair found in the victim's apartment and on clothing that prosecutors found at a rest stop and linked to Johnson.
"That's something we had sought from the state and federal courts and had been denied, and we're making another run at it and showing that there are new techniques that came into effect literally this year that can provide results that can bear on the case, " Rosenzweig said.
Rosenzweig also represents two other inmates scheduled to die this month - Jack Jones and Kenneth Williams. He said neither man would raise innocence claims. They instead will rely again on whether the sedative midazolam could present a risk of cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the U. S. Constitution.
In addition to Lee's innocence claim, his lawyers want to know whether their client has an intellectual disability that wasn't properly investigated during his trials.
"Mr. Lee has never had the opportunity to have his case truly investigated, despite serious questions about guilt, and his intellectual disability, " Lee's attorney, Cassandra Stubbs, said.
Separate from the inmates' legal challenges, a handful of drug companies are saying they don't want their products used in the executions. Two pharmaceutical companies filed a court brief last week asking a federal judge to block Arkansas from using their drugs, but the judge did not rule on that issue.
The medical supplier McKesson Corp. refiled its lawsuit Tuesday before a judge in Pulaski County. McKesson seeks an order that would force prison officials to return the company's supply of vecuronium bromide, one of three drugs used in the state's lethal injection protocol.
Follow Sean Murphy at and Kelly P. Kissel at
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Arkansas inmates try variety of arguments to avoid death


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Prince William: The Devastating Moment When He Learned Princess Diana Had Died (1.02/25)

It’s been almost 20 years since Princess Diana’s tragic death, but her son Prince William can still remember the haunting moment when he learned that his mother was gone forever. Now he’s reliving that horrific day all over again for a new documentary.
Prince William, 34, is opening up about one of the most devastating moments of his entire life — the sudden death of his mother Princess Diana in 1997. “The shock is the biggest thing, ” the father of two says in a new BBC documentary Mind Over Marathon, which will air in the U. K. on April 20. “I still feel, 20 years later about my mother, I still have shock within me . .. People say shock can’ t last that long, but it does. You never get over it. It’s such an unbelievably big moment in your life that it never leaves you, you just learn to deal with it.”
In the film — which follows the story of 10 different London Marathon runners who struggle with mental health issues — William discusses the horrible tragedy that rocked not just the Royal Family, but the entire world.
“You try and understand your emotions a lot more than probably someone who’s just lived life without issues, and that’s quite critical, ” William told host Nick Knowles . “It’s explaining to them what those emotions mean, why they feel like they do. Once you start rationalizing a little bit and you understand, ‘Okay, so I’ m a little angry or a little down or a little upset about something,’ then you can kind of relativize it and sort of deal with it.”
William explained that because of the loss he’s suffered he is very passionate about mental health and advocates for those who need help through his Heads Together campaign, which he promotes with wife Princess Kate, 35, and brother Prince Harry, 32.
“I have my own reasons for being involved in mental health: What happened to me and my mother when I was younger. It all comes back down to mental health, ” William says.
HollywoodLifers, what do you think of William’s thoughts on mental health and the death of his mother Diana? Give us all your thoughts below!

William on Diana´s death: I still have shock in me 20 years later


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Inspector who tried to rein in illegal logging was fired (1.02/25)

HOUSTON (AP) - Rolando Navarro, still in his 30s, had no illusions when he took the top job in Peru's forest inspection agency in 2012. The country's timber industry had long been notoriously corrupt, with a World Bank report that year putting wood exports at 80 percent illegal.
In more than a decade crisscrossing the vast Amazon interior, Navarro had seen officials ignore the scourge and the exploitation of indigenous communities. His team of young, like-minded fellow Amazon natives thought they had the U. S. on their side.
Three years later, Navarro's scrappy inspectors scored a rare victory in the global battle to preserve tropical forests. Customs agents at the Port of Houston used evidence from Navarro's team to impound 1, 770 metric tons of Peruvian Amazon wood from a rusty freighter. That's enough to cover three football fields.
But the triumph was short-lived. Navarro was later fired and quickly fled to the United States, hoping his team's work could continue if he kept a low profile.
A monthslong Associated Press investigation found that other government actions further undermined efforts to clean up Peru's timber industry, as required by a 2006 free trade agreement with the U. S.
A month after Navarro's dismissal, Peruvian prosecutors were thwarted trying to offload hundreds of tons of wood from the same freighter, the Yacu Kallpa, on the Amazon in Iquitos.
A forest inspectors' office was firebombed. Protesters set ablaze a coffin bearing Navarro's name. Death threats poured in, forcing Navarro's team to change phone numbers.
"It's organized crime, " Navarro said. "I can say that with certainty because we'd been tracking it for years."
Inspections to detect criminal harvesting were scaled back. Prosecutions barely advanced, with only small-time players getting arrested. And officials who signed falsified logging permits remain on the job.
The U. S. government has little to show for more than $90 million in forest-management aid to Peru, which has annually been losing rainforest roughly half the size of Rhode Island.
American officials were hoodwinked into believing Peru was serious about taking down illegal loggers, said Rocky Piaggone, a U. S. attorney for environmental crimes who visited regularly before retiring last year.
"They were expecting to get prosecutions, but they got nothing, " he said.
But a bigger loser may be Navarro, now 41, who consults for the Center for International Environmental Law in Washington, D. C., where he's lived while his entire family - including four children - is in Peru.
"I don't know when I'm going to be able to return, " he said. "It's something quite powerful and difficult. I really miss my family."
The unassuming son of a civil servant, Navarro is quick to smile and has a quiet passion for social causes including defending indigenous communities and easing poverty.
Raised in the jungle city of Tarapoto, he spent childhood weekends on a patch outside town where the family grew corn and raised hogs.
They sold it in the early 1990s, when Shining Path rebels were terrorizing the nation and Navarro was getting his resource management degree in Tingo Maria near the cradle of the global cocaine trade.
Illegal logging thrives, Navarro said, because most forest-dwellers have no access to credit. Unable to go into business themselves, they are easy pawns in the trade. And resisting illegal loggers rarely ends well.
In September 2014, activist Edwin Chota and three others were killed after trying to expel rogue loggers from their community's lands. The lone imprisoned suspect was released last year.
In Peru, all lumber is supposed to come from approved harvesting areas. But prosecutors say regional forestry officials, for a price, have for years signed off on paperwork that falsely represented wood pilfered from protected lands as coming from legal plots.
On tracts where 95, 000 trees worth at least $53 million were supposedly harvested, Navarro's inspectors found virgin forest.
The U. S. has pressed for years for the prompt sanctioning of Peruvian officials who falsify permits - and for an electronic timber tracking system. It's still waiting.
Navarro said he routinely provided Peru's forest service with the names of officials who committed permit fraud, but the agency barely took action.
The forest service's new director, John Leigh, had just received a comprehensive list of more than 100 such officials when the AP interviewed him in February.
He said he was "initiating the process of sanctions."
Enforcement had already eroded.
Aggressive, targeted inspections ended with Navarro's ouster, and a drone fleet was among improvements sidelined. Inspection requirements were eased, making it more complicated for Peruvian customs officials to determine the origin of timber exports.
Peru's government defended the Houston shipment.
In a letter, its foreign trade minister told then-U. S. Trade Representative Michael Froman that the load complied with the country's "formal legal requirements" and neither the government nor the exporters knew more than 95 percent of the wood was of illegal origin until after the Yacu Kallpa set sail.
The last of the lumber impounded in Houston was destroyed in March, bulldozed into a landfill. The seven importers involved reached a no-fault settlement with U. S. customs and had to pay for storage and disposal.
Seventy percent of the lumber belonged to Mexican-owned Global Plywood and Lumber Trading LLC, which had its San Diego County offices searched last year as part of a criminal investigation for possibly violating a 2008 federal law that makes trafficking in illegally harvested timber a felony. Its U. S. representative refused comment.
Another importer, Jim Reader of Downes & Reader Hardwood Co. of Stoughton, Massachusetts, said his company only bought wood from legal sources in Peru. He said the business lost $250, 000 on the deal.
"I'm all done with Peru."
Follow Frank Bajak on Twitter: http: // .

Illegal Amazon logging crusader stews in exile


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At Shanghai Auto Show, brands balance green push and SUV demand (1.02/25)

China's government wants more electric vehicles (EV) on the roads but consumers remain hungry for sports utility vehicles (SUVs) , forcing foreign automakers to get innovative with their offerings.
Late last year, the mainland proposed automakers should make new energy vehicles account for 8 percent of total car fleets by 2018 despite booming demand for SUVs — first-quarter SUV sales rose 21 percent on-year to 2.4 million, according to data from the Associated Press.
At this year's Shanghai Auto Show, global brands were eager to show their adherence to Beijing's calls, while still catering to customers of the world's largest car market.
Jaguar Land Rover showcased its first all-electric SUV on Wednesday, Audi debuted its electric SUV-coupe, the E-tron Sportback, and PSA Group unveiled its Citroen C5 Aircross, a SUV with two electric motors.
Growth in SUV segments and new energy vehicles, especially electric cars, can help the Chinese car market expand 8 percent per year, Francois Provost, senior vice president and Asia-Pacific chairman at Renault, told CNBC on the sidelines of the show.
"There is a clear regulation by the Chinese government ... so the whole automotive industry is moving towards the petrol-electric vehicle."
Wednesday saw Renault premiere the RS2027 concept car, a model with electric motors that the firm hopes will be the future of Formula One race design.
Jaguar CEO Ralf Speth meanwhile told CNBC the luxury brand was focused on refining internal combustion engines, both diesel and petrol, as well as simultaneously preparing for electrification.
"This is an unbelievable time of change in the auto industry, " the German executive said.
Fellow luxury carmaker McLaren, known for high performance cars such as the new 720S model that debuted in China on Wednesday, is planning to expand its range of electric products over the long-term.
"We need to respond to legislation changes on emissions ... Towards the end of the decade, we will introduce hybrid cars across the range. By 2022, more than 50 percent of our cars will be hybrid, " CEO Mike Flewitt told CNBC. However, one major challenge will be ensuring the firm's hybrid offerings are of compatible weight to its existing range of sports cars, Flewitt continued.
Aston Martin, James Bond's car brand of choice, aims to lead the luxury EV sector and has teamed up with Beijing-based technology company LeEco to develop an electric sedan, the Aston Martin RapidE, which is expected to hit markets in 2019, CEO Andy Palmer told CNBC.
More than 1, 000 companies showed off their offerings at the biennial Shanghai Auto Show —testament to the power of mainland consumers and the industry's cut-throat nature.
"The Chinese market is becoming more competitive. From July 2015, there have been significant price wars that put enormous pressure on profitability of operations, " explained Carlos Tavares, chairman of PSA Group. Transaction prices, or what customers are paying at dealerships, went down by 10 points, he continued.

The latest from the Shanghai auto show


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Record-setting Triggs helps A's top Rangers 4-2 (1.02/25)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Andrew Triggs feels as though he's just starting to hit his stride, which is remarkable considering the Athletics pitcher has yet to give up an earned run this season.
Given how effective the right-hander was with a slow breaking ball against Texas, it's a tough point to argue.
Triggs allowed three hits over six innings to outpitch Yu Darvish, and Oakland beat the Texas Rangers 4-2 on Tuesday night.
In doing so, Triggs extended his streak to 17 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run — an Oakland record for starting pitchers to begin a season.
"I'd say of the three starts so far, this probably (was) as sharp all three (pitches) have been together, " Triggs said. "That was encouraging from the beginning, to mix the bigger breaking ball in more. We were just able to mix and match pretty well."
Triggs (3-0) gave up two unearned runs, didn't walk a batter and had five strikeouts. He is the first A's starter to win his first three starts of the season since Tommy Milone in 2013.
"Pretty amazing, " Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "To do what he's done to this point, I'm not going to say it's a surprise, but it's definitely welcome."
Adam Rosales hit a two-run homer and Khris Davis added a sacrifice fly as part of a four-run sixth as the A's overcame their majors-leading 17th error to snap a four-game losing streak.
Darvish (1-2) faced the minimum through five, but came apart in the sixth and lost for the fourth time in six starts at the Oakland Coliseum. The Texas right-hander allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings with two walks and four strikeouts.
"It looked like he lost a little feel for the baseball, " Rangers manager Jeff Banister said of his starter. "He was brilliant through five, as good as we've seen him this year, and it just seemed like he lost a little feel for the baseball."
The Rangers scored a pair of unearned runs off Triggs in the sixth following a fielding error by Oakland first baseman Yonder Alonso, but were blanked the rest of the way.
Three Oakland relievers combined for the final nine outs. Santiago Casilla retired three for his second save.
Rangers left fielder Jurickson Profar made a diving catch to rob Bruce Maxwell of a hit in the sixth inning. A day earlier, Profar made a similar catch on Stephen Vogt's sinking liner.
Oakland pitchers had walked 15 batters over the previous two games but did not give up a single free pass against Texas in the second game of the series. "When you don't allow guys on without working too hard at it, it makes them have to hit their way on base and you have to string together multiple hits, " Melvin said. "That was big for us as a whole tonight."
Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre remains sidelined with a calf strain and Banister said there is still no timetable for his return. "I know he's been frustrated with the healing process, " Banister said. "He's working as hard as he can. He's doing everything he can."
Athletics: Sonny Gray reported no pain following his 47-pitch outing in extended spring training on Monday. The right-hander, on the disabled list since April 1 with a strained shoulder, is slated to extend to 65 pitches this weekend with Single-A Stockton. ... Chris Bassitt (right UCL surgery) will pitch two innings in extended spring training Wednesday. ... INF Joey Wendle (strained right shoulder) was sent to Triple-A Nashville to begin a rehab assignment. .. The A's plan to call up right-hander Cesar Valdez to start Thursday against Seattle. Valdez hasn't pitched in the majors since 2010.
Left-hander Martin Perez (1-1) starts the series finale for Texas on Wednesday, while the A's counter with right-hander Jesse Hahn (0-1) . Perez has allowed just one run over his past 10 1/3 innings and his 2.20 ERA is lowest among Rangers starters. Hahn is winless in three career starts against Texas.
More AP baseball: https: //
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Record-setting Triggs helps A’s top Rangers 4-2


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Bomb damages NGCP steel tower in North Cotabato (1.02/25)

COTABATO CITY – A steel tower of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) was bombed by still unidentified men in Aleosan, North Cotabato on Tuesday night, the power firm said.
It was the second attempt to topple NGCP’s steel tower in North Cotabato this year.
Melfrance Bambi Capulong, speaking for the NGCP in southern Mindanao, said an improvised explosive device went off on Tuesday night at Tower 68 of the Kibawe-Kabacan 138-KV line in Barangay Pagangan, Aleosan, North Cotabato.
“The tower did not topple, ” Capulong told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone. “It did not affect power transmission.”
She said repair work would start as soon as the security of line workers could be assured.
Tower 68 was also bombed last year.
On March 1 this year, unidentified men tried but failed to topple NGCP Tower 138 of Kibawe-Kabacan 138-KV line located in Barangay Kayaga, Kabacan, North Cotabato.
In a statement, the NGCP said: “The company stresses that the bombings only serve to increase the burden of the public, which must suffer through service interruptions when towers are bombed.”
It also appealed to the public to help secure NGCP lines to prevent power outages and inconvenience to the locals.
Due to the series of bombings of steel towers last year, the Aleonsan government and the police had put up bamboo perimeter fence on 10 of 17 electric transmission towers in town.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Last year, at least 17 steel towers were destroyed across Mindanao due to bombings, causing inconvenience to power consumers. /atm

U. S. isn’ t saying how much damage the ‘mother of all bombs’ did


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Five teens in court after boy found decapitated (1.02/25)

Durban - Five Umlazi teenagers accused of beheading a 15-year-old boy are expected to apply for bail in the Umlazi Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Aged between 18 and 19, they face charges of kidnapping and murder.
The 15-year-old’s head was found near Embizweni High School at F Section, Umlazi, on April 4. Police were called and his body was found nearby. He had sustained a gunshot wound.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the 15-year-old was taken from his home.

Shots fired at Riverdale Park, 15-year-old boy in custody, police say


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Matt Cain deals early, Joe Panik delivers late (1.02/25)

With his team playing in Kansas City, manager Bruce Bochy was resting at home in San Diego — recovering from heart surgery — on Tuesday.
The San Francisco Giants didn’ t take it easy on their skipper. Instead they took their game into extra innings.
But there was some relief in the end, when Joe Panik hit a go-ahead single in the top of the 11th and closer Mark Melancon finished the job in the bottom half of the inning to deliver the Giants a 2-1 victory.
Matt Cain was solid as he completed the seventh inning for the first time in 11 starts. He scattered four hits and a pair of walks while striking out three.
The only damage landed on Cain came in the fifth, when Whit Merrifield hit a 390-foot home run to right field.
“I thought [Cain] was outstanding, I mean really, really good, ” bench coach Ron Wotus, filling in for Bochy, told reporters.
The cause for stress for the Giants in this game was the offense, which struggled to put runs on the board for most of the game. Hunter Pence tied the game, 1-1, in the sixth.
But runs were hard to come by after that frame.
The bullpen held through the eighth and ninth, navigating five baserunners over that span but not allowing either to reach home.
Then, with two outs and Nick Hundley at the plate in a full count, the catcher delivered an inning-extending double. (Buster Posey returned from the disabled list for the game but was the Giants’ desginated hitter.)
Panik brought Hundley home with a single to center field that slid under a diving Lorenzo Cain.
Melancon entered for the bottom half of the inning and kept the uneasiness going by allowing a leadoff single to Salvador Perez. But, after allowing Merrifield to reach on another single, the Giants closer punched out Raul Mondesi to earn his third save of the season.

Panik delivers as Giants beat Royals 2-1 in 11 innings


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Ivanka Trump brand secures China trademarks on day US president met Xi Jinping (1.02/25)

As Donald Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping dined on Dover sole and New York strip steak earlier this month, thousands of miles away in China a government office quietly approved trademarks that could benefit the US president’s family.
On the day the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump met the Chinese leader, China granted preliminary approval for three new trademarks for her namesake brand, covering jewellery, bags and spa service, according to official documents.
Her company, Ivanka Trump Marks LLC, has been granted four additional trademarks since her father’s inauguration and has 32 pending, according to the Associated Press, which first reported the new approvals.
Donald Trump’s White House has created a minefield of ethics concerns, according to critics, and the president and his top officials represent one of the wealthiest cabinets in history, with business empires spanning the globe. Ivanka Trump was appointed assistant to the president last month, after previously saying she would not join her father’s administration.
Ivanka Trump no longer manages her clothing, jewellery and accessories brand, but still owns the business and is frequently seen wearing clothes from her own collection. She has put her business in a trust, run by family members.
“Ivanka has so many China ties and conflicts, yet she and Jared appear deeply involved in China contacts and policy. I would never have allowed it, ” Norman Eisen, a former chief White House ethics lawyer under president Barack Obama, told the AP. “For their own sake, and the country’s, Ivanka and Jared should consider stepping away from China matters.”
US law prohibits government officials from handling government matters that could enrich their business or their spouse’s. Ivanka Trump’s products are made almost entirely in China, and US policy on trade or China’s currency could benefit her financially.
Jamie Gorelick, Ivanka Trump’s lawyer, said in a statement: “The federal ethics rules do not require you to recuse from any matter concerning a foreign country just because a business that you have an ownership interest in has a trademark application pending there.
“Ivanka will recuse from particular matters where she has a conflict of interest or where the White House counsel determines her participation would present appearance or impartiality concerns.”
Gorelick did not respond to questions about the trademarks creating the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Ivanka Trump has been on a charm offensive with China over the past few months, often with her Mandarin-learning daughter in tow. Her five-year-old daughter Arabella sang a traditional song for Xi during his US visit, and the performance was later praised in Chinese state media. The two also attended a Lunar New Year celebration at the Chinese embassy in Washington.
But not all US business are benefitting from the new administration. In a recent report, American businesses in China said they face one of the toughest climates in decades, largely due to increasing animosity towards foreign firms and slowing economic growth.
Barriers to investment remain high, the American Chamber of Commerce in China said, despite China’s attempts to project an image of globalisation and openness. About 81% of the chamber’s members said they felt unwelcome in 2016, an increase from 77% in 2015.
But Trump family brands increasingly appear to be welcomed with open arms in the world’s second largest economy.
Shortly after his election in November and after a decade of fighting in court, Donald Trump was granted trademark protection for his name in the construction industry. In February, the Trump name was granted an additional 38 trademarks for a range of uses including hotels, insurance and bodyguard services.
Those approvals have raised concerns with ethics experts, and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit focusing on public officials, has launched a lawsuit saying the trademarks were part of a wider list of actions that showed Trump had violated the constitution .

Possible conflict of interest involves Ivanka Trump


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Johnson earns first win as Red Sox edge Blue Jays 8-7 (1.02/25)

TORONTO (AP) — Twenty-one months removed from his first and only start, Brian Johnson was back on a major league mound Tuesday night.
He certainly made the most of it, helping the Boston Red Sox to an 8-7 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, picking up his first win in the process.
"It's everything I thought it would be, " he said after helping the Red Sox run their season-high win streak to four.
Promoted Tuesday morning from Triple-A Pawtucket, Johnson (1-0) gave up four runs and seven hits and struck out six in five innings. He lost his only other start, at Houston on July 21, 2015 — when he was dealing with ulnar nerve irritation in his pitching hand.
"I had no feeling in my hand at that point in time on certain pitches to where I would throw one and not know where the ball was going because I couldn't feel my fingers, " he said. "But today, I felt like myself."
Johnson's win was nearly taken away as the Blue Jays rallied in the bottom of the ninth. Facing an 8-4 deficit, Steve Pearce drove Russell Martin in with a single. Ezequiel Carrera then hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot into the Blue Jays' bullpen in left field, to make the score 8-7. But Devon Travis popped out to shortstop to end the game.
The Red Sox offense got going in a big way. Mookie Betts was 3 for 5 and got the team rolling with an RBI single in the third inning, before he hit a drive into the second deck to lead off the seventh with his first home run of the year.
Mitch Moreland, who reached based for the 12th straight game and hit his league-leading 10th double, was 3 for 5 and drove in three runs. Pablo Sandoval collected three hits for the first time since Aug. 14, 2015, as Boston hit the 15-plus-hit mark for the third time this season.
"We're always ready at any given point, " Betts said. "Whether it's first inning or the seventh inning, at any given point we can take off and I think that's the beauty of our offense."
Martin, Carrera and Justin Smoak hit home runs for the Blue Jays, who went just 3 of 12 with runners in scoring position, although they snapped a streak of eight games of scoring four runs or less.
Marcus Stroman (1-2) had his shortest outing of the season, surrendering six earned runs and 11 hits before being removed in the fourth inning with two outs.
"Some balls found holes early and then they capitalized on some bad pitches later on, " he said. "It's baseball. I'm not really worried about it, to be honest. I'll bounce back next start."
The Blue Jays' loss dropped them to 2-11, tying the 1998 Florida Marlins for the worst start to a season by a playoff team from the previous year. Kevin Pillar, who doubled three times in a game for the first time in his career, said while there is time for the Blue Jays to turn things around, it has to start soon.
"This is not how we envisioned it going, but at the end of day it's early, " he said. "We can't sit here and use that as an excuse or a crutch for much longer, but the reality is it's early. Teams go through this."
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia was given the night off. ... LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (paternity) could rejoin the team as soon as Wednesday. ... OF Jackie Bradley Jr. (right knee) and 3B Josh Rutledge (left hamstring) made their first rehab appearances on Tuesday in Triple-A. Bradley was 0 for 2, while Rutledge went 1 for 3 with a home run.
Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez, on the 10-day DL because of a blister on his middle finger, underwent a procedure Monday to remove a portion of his nail. He will try playing catch in the next few days. ... RHP Danny Barnes was recalled from Triple-A. He takes the roster spot of LHP Matt Dermody, who was optioned to Buffalo on Monday.
The Blue Jays placed left-hander J. A. Happ on the 10-day disabled list and recalled infielder Ty Kelly from Triple-A Buffalo.
Happ, who won 20 games for the first time last year, left Sunday's start against Baltimore in the fifth inning with a sore elbow. On Monday, he had an MRI that revealed no structural damage.
Manager John Gibbons is optimistic Happ will be ready to return at the end of his DL stint, or shortly after. Happ is 0-3 with a 4.50 ERA.
The Blue Jays traded catcher Juan Graterol to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday for a player to be named later or cash considerations. The 28-year-old Graterol had been designated for assignment on Friday to make room for utilityman Chris Coughlin on the 40-man roster.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (1-1, 7.56 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season. The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner was 3-0 in five starts against Toronto last season.
Blue Jays: LHP Francisco Liriano (0-1, 9.00 ERA) is 2-3 with 5.97 ERA against Boston in six career starts.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Brian Johnson earns first win as Red Sox edge Blue Jays, 8-7


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Ecuador recount confirms Moreno victory (1.02/25)

A recount of nearly 1.3 million votes cast in Ecuador's presidential election has shown no significant differences over previous results, handing a narrow victory to Rafael Correa's hand-picked successor.
Lenin Moreno defeated former banker Guillermo Lasso by a slightly larger margin than previously revealed, but still less than three percentage points, according to the recount of about 10% of the votes.
"The recount is over and it has ratified the results, " National Electoral Council president Juan Pablo Pozo said.
Opposition leader Mr Lasso called for a recount of all ballots filed in the April 2 election, citing allegations of fraud, but election authorities agreed only to a recount of disputed votes.
Mr Lasso refused to participate in the recount, calling it no more than a show to legitimise a process that has been "anything but transparent".
The Andean nation's presidential election was watched closely in Latin America as an indicator of whether the region would continue to shift right after recent conservative victories in countries including Peru and Argentina.
It was also viewed as a check on Mr Correa's "Citizens' Revolution".
International observers including the Organisation of American States monitored the results on election night and said they found no irregularities, but Mr Lasso's campaign said they had proof of numerous inconsistencies, including ballots with technical errors and missing information.
With the recount now tallied Mr Lasso has exhausted avenues for challenging the results and Mr Moreno is expected to take power on May 24.

Ecuador presidential recount confirms Lenin Moreno victory


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Lawyers ask court to reject Ohio lethal injection review (1.02/25)

Attorneys for death row inmates have asked a federal appeals court not to review a challenge to Ohio's lethal injection process as the state struggles to resume executions.
The lawyers say there's no need for the full 6th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to consider a lower court decision finding the process unconstitutional.
Attorneys opposing the state's lethal injection system filed the request with the appeals court Monday.
A three-judge panel of the court ruled 2-1 earlier this month that a lower court judge correctly rejected Ohio's new three-drug process.
The state has asked the full court to hear the case.
At issue is the judge's decision deeming the proposed use of a contested sedative called midazolam (mih-DAY'-zoh-lam) unconstitutional.

Alabama poised to become the third state to allow executions by NITROGEN GAS however the method has not yet been used


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Gov. LePage says he'll veto "death with dignity" legislation (1.02/25)

Republican Gov. Paul LePage says he'll veto legislation that would allow doctors to prescribe medication that a patient may self-administer to hasten death.
The Legislature's health and human services committee on Wednesday is set to decide whether to recommend bills sponsored by Republican Sen. Roger Katz and Democratic Rep. Jennifer Parker.
The Maine Medical Association is not yet taking a position on the legislation because its members are divided.
Opponents say the bills would spur elder abuse and exploitation.
Supporters say the legislation protects against such abuse and that medications cannot treat all pain.
So-called assisted suicide is legal in Washington D. C. and six states, including Vermont.
The nonprofit Death with Dignity Political Fund says 25 states are considering similar bills this year.

Gov. LePage says he’ll veto “death with dignity” legislation


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Bella Thorne Flaunts Pierced Nipples In Lace Top: Celebrating ‘Famous In Love’ Premiere (1.02/25)

Ow, ow! Bella Thorne is known for her naughty behavior, so when her new show ‘Famous in Love’ premiered on April 18 she honored the occasion just as you would expect her to — by showing off her sexy pierced nipples on Snapchat!
Bella Thorne, 19, certainly had a lot to be excited about on the night of April 18 when her epic new Freeform series Famous in Love premiered to the delight of fans everywhere. But it seemed that Bella couldn’ t just sit back and enjoy the praise that was rolling in. Nope, the sexy starlet took to Snapchat to show off in one of her fave ways — displaying her pierced nipples in a see-through top.
Bella sported a sexy white lace number in several snaps that she posted on the night of her big premiere, all of which showed off her perky breasts and nipple rings. Never one to be shy about her hot bod, Bella was more than happy to let her fans get a nice look at her goodies. If there is anyone who can pull off the pierced nipple look it is definitely Bell!
Freeform is setting up the young star’s new series to be their next big teen drama after Pretty Little Liars airs its final episode this year. In fact the show aired its first episode right after the second half of the final season of PLL premiered.
While that show has been a powerhouse phenomenon for the network since 2010, we know that Bella is a big enough star she can certainly draw in a sizable crowd for her show too! Especially with all of her Snapchat fans that just love to watch her show off in the most intimate of ways!
HollywoodLifers, what do you think of Bella’s see-through lace top? Give us all your thoughts below!

A piercing look! Bella Thorne shows off her skewered nipple in see-through top on social media


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Thai king's cremation set for Oct. 26 - govt official (1.02/25)

BANGKOK, April 19 (Reuters) - Thailand's late King Bhumibol Adulyadej will be cremated on Oct. 26, a government official said on Wednesday, adding that the king's funeral will take place over a five day period.
Confirmation of the cremation date sets a timeframe for the coronation of Bhumibol's son, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who ascended the throne in December but whose formal coronation has been put on hold until after his father's funeral.
Political observers say the new king's coronation will formally kick-start politics following a year-long mourning period and a general election should follow soon after.
"The palace has confirmed that the king agrees with the government's plan. The cremation day will be October 26, " a senior government official, who declined be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, told Reuters.
"The funeral will take place over a five day period, " Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, told reporters on Tuesday.
King Bhumibol died in October 2016 at the age of 88 following a long illness. His death ended a seven-decade reign that saw the king become a rare unifying figure in an otherwise deeply polarized nation.
Thailand has been ruled by a junta since a 2014 coup which saw the military wrest power from an elected civilian government. The military has said the coup was aimed at ending months of unrest.
The United States and others have called for a swift return to democracy in Thailand and the junta has said a general election will take place after the late king's funeral.
But some have cast doubt over the junta's election timeline.
"Political life is unlikely to resume until next year, after the cremation and coronation, " a Western diplomat based in Bangkok, who declined to be named, told Reuters.
"There's an understanding among political parties that there will be no election this year. After the coronation seems the most likely time for things to start to happen."
Officials have said King Bhumibol's cremation will be a lavish affair befitting of a much-loved monarch. No budget has been publicly released for the funeral which is expected to attract huge crowds.
Thai Buddhists often wait a week or more before cremating their dead but royal funerals are exceptional.
The last royal funeral in Thailand was in 2008 for King Bhumibol's elder sister Princess Galyani Vadhana. That funeral followed a 100-day mourning period.
The king's cremation will take place at a public square in Bangkok, where an enormous wooden funeral pyre is being erected.
(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Panarat Thempgumpanat; Editing by)

Thai king's cremation set for Oct. 26: government official


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X-rays negative, but Tigers' Justin Upton (right wrist) day-to-day (1.02/25)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Initially, Brad Ausmus was concerned.
Detroit Tigers leftfielder Justin Upton had just jogged off the field, clearly bothered by something on a seventh inning play, and by the looks of things, Upton was in pain.
“At the time, when they were kind of looking at his wrist in the dugout, he was reacting like there was a lot of pain, ” Ausmus said.
But that pain did not evidence itself in an X-ray test taken shortly thereafter. Upton left Tuesday night’s loss to the Rays with a right forearm contusion, according to the Tigers, and is considered day-to-day.
“I was actually concerned there might be a break the way he was reacting, ” Ausmus said.
Consider it a bullet dodged.
Upton was nicked up while sliding into second base, as his right arm clipped the throwing arm of Rays shortstop Tim Beckham while trying to break up a double play.
“We’ ll see how it feels tomorrow, ” Ausmus said. “The plus is that it doesn’ t seem to be any type of break or anything like that.”
Upton went 1-for-3 with a strikeout. He is 9-for-36 this season, with two home runs.
He reached base in the top of the seventh inning after singling to rightfield in the ninth pitch of an at-bat against right-hander Matt Andriese. Upton fell behind no balls, two strikes and fouled off four pitches.
It wouldn’ t be a surprise if Upton missed Wednesday’s game, but the Tigers are confident the injury is not serious.
Contact Anthony Fenech: Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech. Download our Tigers Xtra app for free on Apple and Android devices!

Justin Upton's wrist injury not as serious as initially feared


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Reds' Arroyo gets first win since 2014 behind Duvall's slam (1.02/25)

CINCINNATI (AP) — After missing two entire seasons, 40-year-old Bronson Arroyo got himself back in the win column Tuesday night.
Adam Duvall hit his first career grand slam, Joey Votto had a two-run shot and Arroyo got his first victory in almost three years, helping the Cincinnati Reds beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-3.
Arroyo (1-2) allowed three runs in five innings, including Adam Jones' two-run homer in the fifth. The victory was Arroyo's first since June 15, 2014, for Arizona against the Dodgers. That was his last appearance before elbow and shoulder injuries knocked him out of action until this month. The longtime Red got his first win with Cincinnati since Sept. 22, 2013.
"I have to be Houdini, just being out of the game for 2 1/2 years, " Arroyo said. "Hardly anybody comes back from elbow and shoulder surgeries, let alone both in the same year. I'm encouraged by tonight. I felt a little crisper with the sinker and the breaking ball. It was huge to get the lead. I was able to attack the zone. I didn't need to worry about a two-run homer."
The right-hander became the first Cincinnati pitcher to win at his age since 40-year-old Boom-Boom Beck beat the Phillies 8-1 on May 31, 1945.
Manager Bryan Price might've been happier for Arroyo than Arroyo himself.
"You have no idea how thrilled I am for Bronson, " said the former Reds pitching coach, who logged his 500th game as Cincinnati's manager. "Bronson is one of my favorite relationships I had with a player. We always stayed in touch, in the offseason when he was here and in-season and the offseason after he left. I really value him as a person. It is a relationship that transcends the coach-player relationship."
In both teams' first interleague game of the season, Duvall snapped an 0-for-13 slump with a first-inning sacrifice fly and his fourth homer of the season in a five-run second inning, Cincinnati's highest-scoring frame of the season. The Reds sent nine batters to the plate in the second, and Duvall tied a career-high with five RBIs.
Votto lined a shot to right field off Vidal Nuno in the third for his fourth homer of the season.
Cincinnati bounced back after losing three of four at home to Milwaukee.
Billy Hamilton singled in each of his first two at-bats to snap an 0-for-14 slump, one short of matching the longest hitless stretch of his career, and Jose Peraza doubled just before Votto's homer to stop an 0-for-9 skid.
Peraza walked in his first two plate appearances and scored a run in each of the first three innings. His double knocked right-hander Kevin Gausman (1-1) out of the game after 2 2/3 innings. Gausman allowed eight runs, eight hits and three walks while striking out two.
"I think my front hip was coming open and I couldn't drive my four-seamer down-and-away, " Gausman said. "Today was like my first two starts, where the ball was coming back to the middle of the plate."
The Reds scored all their runs in the first three innings. Nine runs are the most allowed by Baltimore this season.
Price announced before Tuesday's game that RHP Tim Adleman will start on Friday against the Cubs. Adleman pitched four relief innings on Sunday after being recalled from Triple-A Louisville. Price said after the game that LHP Cody Reed will start on Saturday.
Orioles OF Joey Rickard probably will need a couple of days on a rehab assignment before returning to duty, manager Buck Showalter said on Tuesday. Rickard sprained his left middle finger on April 8.
Jones' fifth-inning home run was the 257th allowed by Arroyo with the Reds. He's allowed more homers than any pitcher in franchise history.
The Reds recalled RHP Lisalverto Bonilla from Triple-A Louisville and optioned RHP Sal Romano to the Bats. Romano started and lasted three innings in Sunday's 7-5 loss to Milwaukee.
Orioles: LF Seth Smith left the game after five innings with a strained right hamstring. Showalter described the situation as a "potential (disabled list) " after the game.
Reds: 3B Eugenio Suarez was scratched from the lineup because of a stiff neck. Scooter Gennett started in his place.
Orioles: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (0-0, 10.38) will try for his first win in three starts on Wednesday. Opposing batters are hitting.385 against Jimenez.
Reds: LHP Amir Garrett (2-0, 1.42 ERA) is set to make his Great American Ball Park debut as the Reds starting pitcher on Wednesday.
More AP baseball: https: //
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Major league roundup: Arroyo wins for Reds


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Taiwan denies political asylum request from Chinese tourist (1.01/25)

Taiwan said on Wednesday it has rejected a political asylum application from a Chinese tourist, reportedly an anti-corruption campaigner who has spent time in a mainland prison.
Zhang Xiangzhong arrived on the island on April 12 for an eight-day holiday but left his tour group the next day.
He was identified by local media and a human rights group as the same person who was part of a movement calling for Chinese government officials to disclose their assets.
Self-ruling Taiwan, which China sees as a renegade province awaiting reunification, does not grant political asylum to Chinese citizens but instead offers "permanent residence for political consideration" in special cases.
Zhang had to prove he was a prominent leader in a democratic movement and would be in immediate danger of persecution if he returned to China.
But Taiwanese authorities decided he did not qualify and he had left the island with his tour group, the Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement.
"It is difficult to recognise that the person matches with the existing regulations for long-term residence for special cases, " the council, Taiwan's top policymaking body on China, said.
"Zhang fully understood our explanation and agreed to depart with his original tour group at the end of the trip."
Allowing Zhang to remain in Taiwan would have further soured relations between Beijing and Taipei, which have deteriorated since China-sceptic President Tsai Ing-wen won Taiwan's leadership last year.
Zhang was jailed by a Beijing court in 2014 on a credit card fraud charge and released last July, according to documents he submitted to Taiwanese authorities.
He said he was motivated to leave the mainland by the wife of detained Taiwanese rights activist Lee Ming-cheh, according to a Radio Free Asia interview.
In a case that has drawn international scrutiny, Lee Ching-yu pledged she would "rescue" her husband, who is under investigation in mainland China for suspected activities "endangering national security".

Taiwan says Chinese asylum seeker returns to mainland
Taiwan says Chinese activist agrees to return home


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NBA Daily Playoff Glance (1.01/25)

Cleveland 109, Indiana 108
Milwaukee 97, Toronto 83
San Antonio 111, Memphis 82
Utah 97, L. A. Clippers 95
Washington 114, Atlanta 107, Washington lead series 1-0
Golden State 121, Portland 109, Golden State lead series 1-0
Chicago 106, Boston 102
Houston 118, Oklahoma City 87, Houston lead series 1-0
Cleveland 117, Indiana 111, Cleveland lead series 2-0
San Antonio 96, Memphis 82, San Antonio lead series 2-0
Toronto 106, Milwaukee 100, series tied 1-1
Chicago 111, Boston 97, Chicago lead series 2-0
L. A. Clippers 99, Utah 91, series tied 1-1
Atlanta at Washington
Oklahoma City at Houston
Portland at Golden State
Cleveland at Indiana
Toronto at Milwaukee
San Antonio at Memphis
Boston at Chicago
Houston at Oklahoma City
L. A. Clippers at Utah
Toronto at Milwaukee
Washington at Atlanta
San Antonio at Memphis
Golden State at Portland
Cleveland at Indiana
Houston at Oklahoma City
Boston at Chicago
L. A. Clippers at Utah
Milwaukee at Toronto
Washington at Atlanta
Golden State at Portland
x-Indiana at Cleveland
x-Memphis at San Antonio
x-Oklahoma City at Houston
Utah at L. A. Clippers
x-Chicago at Boston
x-Atlanta at Washington
x-Portland at Golden State
x-Toronto at Milwaukee
x-Cleveland at Indiana
x-San Antonio at Memphis
x-Houston at Oklahoma City
x-Boston at Chicago
x-Washington at Atlanta
x-Golden State at Portland
x-L. A. Clippers at Utah
x-Milwaukee at Toronto
x-Indiana at Cleveland
x-Memphis at San Antonio
x-Oklahoma City at Houston
x-Chicago at Boston
x-Atlanta at Washington
x-Portland at Golden State
x-Utah at L. A. Clippers

NBA Playoff Capsules
NHL Daily Playoff Glance


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Reuters Odd News Summary (1.01/25)

Following is a summary of current odd news briefs.
Durham farmer runs off with coal carrying crown
A Durham farmer has beaten dozens of rivals to the title of World Coal Carrying Champion after charging through a northern England town with a 50kg (110 pounds) sack on his back. Andrew Corrigan collapsed on a bed of hay after completing Monday's 1.1-km (1, 200-yard) race in a time of four minutes, 31 seconds, receiving warm applause from the crowd who lined the course in Gawthorpe, near Wakefield.
Images show North Koreans playing volleyball at nuclear test site
U. S. experts who have been forecasting an imminent North Korean nuclear test said on Tuesday they were surprised when they viewed their latest satellite images of the country's nuclear test site and saw volleyball games under way. With tension mounting between Pyongyang and Washington, analysts had thought they would see activity suggesting preparations for an underground explosion at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and were not expecting what the photos, taken on Sunday by a commercial satellite, revealed.

Reuters Science News Summary
Reuters Sports News Summary


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Boys’ lacrosse preview: Top players have far-reaching impact (1.00/25)

FALMOUTH — Flashy scorers get the most attention in lacrosse, just like in many sports.
But this spring, a select group of defenders and long-stick midfielders are changing that dynamic in high school boys’ lacrosse in southern Maine.
Players such as Brendan Hickey at Falmouth, Ben Ekedahl at Cape Elizabeth, Reece Lagerquist at Scarborough and Christian Glover at Brunswick are drawing rave reviews from coaches.
“It’s definitely one of the best years for high-end defensive talent in a long time, ” said Scarborough Coach Joe Hezlep. “All four of those guys have the complete game. They can play defense and they are a threat in transition and certainly Christian can score.”
Boys’ lacrosse is a 10-player game with one goalie, three defenders, three midfielders and three attackmen. A team is allowed a maximum of four long poles on the field at one time – almost always a combination of three defenders and one long-stick midfielder. The long poles are 72 inches in length, compared with the 40-to-42-inch models used by the other five position players.
The longer pole gives defenders extra range to wall off a cutting attacker and obstruct shots and a longer reach in a ground-ball battle. But the increased length makes catching and throwing more difficult.
“You’ ve just got to work on your stick skills when no one’s watching, ” Hickey said.
If a team has a superior long-pole player, “they can dominate a game, ” said Westbrook Coach Peter Lyons. “And they tend to be the best athletes on the team.”
Hickey, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior, is regarded as the best defender.
“He’s as close as you’ re going to get to a true shut-down defensemen, ” said Falmouth Coach David Barton.
Yarmouth Coach David Pearl adds, “I believe he’s the best player in the state.”
Hezlep agrees, no disrespect to his own player, Lagerquist, a senior who plans to play lacrosse at Dartmouth College.
“Hickey is just an absolute stud, ” Hezlep said. “His technique is one of the best, if not the best, in the state and also physically he is just a grown man playing with a bunch of boys. In Maine you happen to see a lot of freshmen and sophomores playing attack. If they get matched up with Hickey it’s not going to end well.”
Other top long-pole players include Gorham senior Mat Anderson, Yarmouth senior Patrick Mallett and Falmouth sophomore Riley Reed. The first order of business for any player carrying a long pole is to defend his goal.
“I try to neutralize their better attackman generally, ” Hickey said. “And if I can do that, I feel like I’ m doing my job. Everything else I do is kind of extra.”
With the top scoring threat negated, the entire team defense becomes exponentially stronger.
“The biggest part of lacrosse is you need to be able to run by someone to make the defense help and if you can’ t run by someone then it’s hard in a six-on-six situation to beat the defense, ” Hezlep explained. “Usually in Maine the best player on a team is significantly better than every other person on that team. When you neutralize the best player, it makes playing offense very, very difficult.”
“The best way I can describe a shut-down defender is to call them a force multiplier, ” said Camden Hills Coach Wade Ward, a former sergeant in the Marine Corps. “That term comes from my military time to explain the effect of a Marine Corps sniper. No one wants to stick their head up. A top defender, what they’ re going to do is automatically shut down the other team’s best player and then they can help out the other guys and after awhile, no one wants to go down there. A top defender spreads fear.”
Christian Glover is the long-pole outlier because of his involvement in Brunswick’s offense.
Last season he routinely was the point man in man-up situations while using his long pole, his gloved fingers nimbly climbing up and down the pole to either lengthen or shorten the lever. Glover, a senior who will attend Phillips Exeter Academy for a post-graduate year, scored 28 goals with 13 assists last year.
“But all four of those guys, when they cross the midfield line, the other teams have to be worried about them, ” said Cape Elizabeth Coach Ben Raymond. “If teams don’ t, then they’ re going to run right by them and probably score a goal.
“That’s the added dimension of those guys.”
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Boys’ lacrosse: 15 players to watch


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San Jose city leaders to vote on renters issues (1.00/25)

The San Jose City Council is tackling the thorny issue of tenant protection at a meeting Tuesday afternoon where renters and landlords are expected to pressure council members to see things their way. At issue is a new ordinance that would limit no-cause evictions and would require property owners to state reasons for just cause evictions. City staff has been studying how other Bay Area cities handle evictions. The argument by renters and community organizations supporting them is that tenants can be evicted as a means for landlords to turn over units to obtain higher rent without a specific complaint against the renter. The argument by landlords is that they need the ability to evict problem tenants who don't pay rent, damage property, or otherwise violate terms of their lease. A group of pro-tenant rights supporters has been staging a hunger strike since Thursday evening. There are several courses of action the council could take, including postponing action while more study is done or amendments can be considered, passing the ordinance, or rejecting it outright. San Jose's housing department has held 12 public meetings from November to February to solicit input from tenants, property owners, developers and the general public leading up to Tuesday's council consideration. Landlords brought their case to the council. Several landlords believe council members have already made up their minds."The just cause eviction requirement would be the worst thing you could do for 99 percent of the tenants, the good tenants. It is my only tool for acting as an arbitrator when I have a bad tenant next to a good tenant, " San Jose landowner Richard Matthews said. Landlords currently can do no-cause evictions, which they say can help get rid of suspected drug dealers, those who damage property or violate their leases. But a just-cause provision would set specific reasons for evictions. That, tenants, fear might throw them out into a tight rental market at much higher rent."If full just-cause is implemented, respectable tenants will not have to fear retaliatory eviction the way I and the other tenants in my building did, " evicted tenant Shelley Leiser said. As drafted, the ordinance would cover multiple housing buildings with three or more apartments. However, the Housing & Community Development Commission has recommended that the council expand the protection to cover duplexes, single family homes, condominiums, townhouses and second units. It's estimated 87, 521 apartments in San Jose would be covered by the proposed tenant protection ordinance. Mayor Sam Liccardo indicates the Council needs to strike a balance. "Regardless of which approach we choose, we must avoid creating a cumbersome and costly bureaucratic process, " he said. "We must have a system readily accessible for vulnerable tenants who seek relief, as well as for neighbors who seek to have landlords rightfully evict tenants who engage in drug, gang, or other criminal activity that threatens the community's safety."

San Jose city leaders vote to approve Ellis Act


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Burberry sales growth slows as U. S. weighs on group (1.00/25)

LONDON, April 19 (Reuters) - British luxury brand Burberry reported a slight slowdown in its fourth-quarter comparable sales growth rate, as tough conditions in the United States weighed on an "exceptional" performance in its home market.
Known for its classic trench coats, Burberry has benefited from tourists taking advantage of a drop in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote in June to buy luxury goods in the British capital rather than other European cities.
Burberry said the British market remained strong and it reiterated its full-year profit target, helped by the boost from the weak pound.
But comparable sales growth rose just 2 percent in the fourth quarter, below an analyst forecast of 3-4 percent growth, and below a third-quarter rise of 3 percent.
"In an uncertain environment, we continue to take action to strengthen the brand and reposition Burberry for growth, " Christopher Bailey, chief creative and executive officer, said.
"While we have more to do, as we build on our progress so far, we remain confident about Burberry's prospects in the longer term."
Comparable sales in the second half of the year rose 3 percent, with strength in mainland China driving growth in Asia Pacific and an "exceptional" performance in the UK boosting its Europe, Middle East, India and Africa division.
Sales in the Americas fell by a "mid single-digit" percentage, where the market has turned highly promotional, while important markets including Hong Kong and Korea also declined.
It said it was on track to deliver planned cost savings of 20 million pounds in full-year 2017, which would increase to at least 100 million pounds a year in full-year 2019.
(Reporting by Kate Holton, editing by James Davey and Jane Merriman)

Burberry sales growth slows in fourth quarter


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ASML net income doubles in first quarter on strong demand (1.00/25)

By Eric Auchard
FRANKFURT, April 19 (Reuters) - Dutch semiconductor equipment supplier ASML on Wednesday reported a doubling in first-quarter net income and said demand looked healthy for the rest of 2017, aided by a surge in spending by memory chip making customers.
Net sales grew 46 percent year over year to 1.94 billion euros ($2.08 billion) for the first quarter, compared with analyst expectations for 1.82 billion euros. The company said it expects sales of 1.9-2.0 billion euros in second quarter.
"We saw strong demand in all of our industry segments, " Chief Financial Officer Wolfgang Nickl said in a pre-recorded company interview. "All in all, I think we are going to have a very, very good 2017."
It reported an order backlog of 4.5 billion euros, half of which - 2.3 billion euros - is tied to 21 of its newer, higher-priced EUV systems. Nickl said revenue from these latest systems would likely total between 1.0 billion and 1.2 billion euros in 2017.
ASML pointed to evidence chipmakers are gearing up to move beyond the testing stage and to start using its next-generation Extreme Ultra-Violet (EUV) lithography systems in high-volume production of the tiniest, most powerful circuitry available.
Europe's second most valuable tech company supplies chip lithography systems to all of the world's largest chip makers, including Intel in logic, Samsung Electronics in memory and foundry TSMC, which makes chips for designers with no production capacity of their own.
Nickl said memory chip customers were ready to spend on new equipment, something that ASML was not seeing three months ago.
"Now we see quite a significant increase year over year, " he said of capital spending by memory chip makers.
Memory chip customers accounted for 47 percent of first-quarter sales, compared to 40 percent from foundry and 13 percent from logic, or integrated device makers, it said. Just two quarters ago, memory only contributed 16 percent of sales.
For the first-quarter, ASML posted net income of 452 million euros, significantly higher than analysts' average forecast of 397 million euros in a Reuters poll and more than doubling profit from 198 million euros reported in the year-ago quarter.
Gross margin edged up to 47.6 percent in the first quarter from 47.2 percent in the final quarter of 2016. But the company said margins for the current second quarter would fall back to between 43 and 44 percent, reflecting product mix shifts.
ASML said earlier this year that it had almost sold out of its newest, most expensive machines for 2017 and early 2018. Nickl said on Wednesday that his company was planning to produce 12 EUV systems this year and "about 20 systems" for 2018.
Full EUV systems cost around 100 million euros a piece and take up to a year to build and install. ($1 = 0.9329 euros) (Reporting By Eric Auchard; Editing by Victoria Bryan and Jane Merriman)

ASML first quarter results buoyed by stronger demand


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LSU's Nick Coomes finds missing power stroke for special moment against Lamar (1.00/25)

Nick Coomes came to the plate Tuesday with one former high school teammate on base and another one on-deck.
That's when he did something those two had seen from him many times when they played together at Baton Rouge Catholic.
He homered. That two-run shot put LSU ahead early in a 10-4 victory against Lamar at Alex Box Stadium, and it also created an unforgettable moment for the trio.
"It's awesome, it really is, " Coomes said. "Just one of those things we'll never forget."
The home run with Jordan Romero on base and Josh Smith waiting on-deck brought the trio together near home plate. Once there, they let out a chant from when the three played together on a high school state championship team in 2013.
"They were waiting for me and said, 'State champs on one, '" Coomes said.
The fact that Smith followed with a solo home run that put LSU (26-12) ahead 3-1 immediately afterward only added to the moment.
"It was pretty cool to all three be up there, " Smith said. "And then after I hit mine, it really was just a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I got back in the dugout and I told Nick, 'That's probably one of the coolest things we'll do here.' It's pretty sweet."
The home runs came at the start of a six-run second inning, which provided enough runs for the win as four LSU relievers combined for five shutout innings of Lamar (22-16) at the end.
For Coomes, the home run was a long time coming. The LSU newcomer transferred in after two seasons at LSU-Eunice, where as a sophomore he hit 13 home runs while playing third base.
But with zero home runs before Tuesday, Coomes started to hear from LSU teammates who joked that the pitching in junior college must not have been very difficult to hit.
"We've been waiting for Coomes to show that power, " LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "I knew he had it. He had 13 home runs last year in junior college. That was his first one for us. He really attacked that ball."
Coomes with the home run extended his hitting streak to seven games. The game Tuesday was his sixth in a row as a starter, and the fifth in a row at first base.
He said being in the lineup more regularly has helped him get comfortable at the plate, and that comfort contributed to the power he displayed on the home run that hit against the back fence of the bleachers in left-center.
"It was tough earlier when I was getting a couple at-bats a weekend, " he said. "Now that I'm playing what, five or six games in a row now, you start to get more comfortable. Your swings are more consistent and you start picking out pitches that are very hittable. You're consistent, and what you know how to do comes through."
Coomes during the hitting streak is 10-for-24 with three doubles and the home run. Coomes before the streak was 7-for-23 with no extra-base hits.
The lack of extra-base hits caused Smith to joke with Coomes that he was trying to turn into a singles hitter. In reality, he knew better.
"He's always had some pop ever since we were in high school, " Smith said. "It's good to see that from him."

LSU tops Lamar with homers by former prep teammates Nick Coomes, Josh Smith


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Facebook Killer: Mark Zuckerberg Talks About Cleveland Tragedy, Steve Stephens Found Dead After Car Chase (1.00/25)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg extended his condolences to the family and friends of Robert Godwin Sr. during his F8 conference. In his speech, Zuckerberg addressed that Facebook and his team have a lot of work to do to prevent tragedies like the Cleveland shooting from happening again.
On Tuesday, Mark Zuckerberg held his Facebook for Developers, also known as the F8 conference. During the said meeting, the Facebook CEO talks about the tragic death of Robert Godwin Sr. which was uploaded in the popular social media platform by the “Facebook Killer” himself, Steve Stephens.
Mark Zuckerberg openly admitted that Robert Godwin Sr.’s death reminded them that Facebook’s system still needs a lot of improvement especially in video uploading and reporting. The 32-year-old billionaire also promised to do necessary measures to prevent such tragic acts from occurring again.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Robert Godwin Sr. We have a lot of work and we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening.”
BREAKING: Facebook CEO, commenting on video of murder posted to site, says will do "all we can to prevent tragedies" https: //
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) April 18, 2017
It can be recalled that Steve Stephens, now dubbed as the “Facebook Killer, ” uploaded a gruesome video of how he murdered the 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. In the live video, he approached the victim in the Glenville neighborhood, apparently at random. The distressed suspect then shot the old man in the head after instructing him to say, “Joy Lane, ” his ex-girlfriend’s name.
The disturbing video was posted on Sunday and remained on Facebook for more than two hours. The social media giant faced a backlash for not removing the video sooner. However, Justin Osofsky, vice president of Facebook’s Global Operations department, defended their timeline of actions in a statement released on Monday.
“It was a horrific crime — one that has no place on Facebook, and goes against our policies and everything we stand for, ” Osofsky stated. The official also promised their users that they are “constantly exploring ways” to make the social networking site “a safe environment.”
“We know we need to do better. In addition to improving our reporting flows, we are constantly exploring ways that new technologies can help us make sure Facebook is a safe environment. We prioritize reports with serious safety implications for our community, and are working on making that review process go even faster.”
A man named Stevie Steve is driving around Cleveland in a white van shooting random people on Facebook Live. Death Toll at 15.
— NUFF???? (@nuffsaidNY) April 16, 2017
Facebook also released a “Timeline of Events” intended to provide details on what really transpired during that period. It also addressed confusion as to why it took so long for them to take down the video. Check out the timeline below.
11: 09AM PDT — First video, of intent to murder, uploaded. Not reported to Facebook.
11: 11AM PDT — Second video, of shooting, uploaded.
11: 22AM PDT — Suspect confesses to murder while using Live, is live for five minutes.
11: 27AM PDT — Live ends, and Live video is first reported shortly after.
12: 59PM PDT — Video of shooting is first reported.
1: 22PM PDT — Suspect’s account disabled; all videos no longer visible to public.
Based on the given timeline, Godwin Sr.’s murder video was active on Facebook for almost two hours. Facebook was only able to remove the video almost twenty minutes after it was first reported.
On Tuesday, the same day as Mark Zuckerberg’s speech, Steve Stephens was tracked down by the police after employees of McDonald’s in Pennsylvania alerted 911. Apparently, the suspect stopped by the drive-thru and ordered 20 Chicken McNuggets and large fries.
According to reports, a female employee recognized Steve Stephens when he came up to the window. The McDonald’s staff, who confirmed with other co-workers that it was him, stalled the suspect by giving his chicken nuggets order but put the fries on hold. However, Steve Stephens wouldn’ t wait any longer.
“He just took his nuggets and said, ‘I have to go,’ and he drove off.”
Shortly after the suspect drove off the drive-thru, authorities were able to track him down, reports claim. State police reportedly chased him for less than two miles before executing their tactic — ramming the rear of the suspect’s car to make it lose control. That is when Steve Stephens decided to end his own life.
“As the vehicle was spinning out of control from the PIT maneuver, Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head.”
On Monday, the family of Robert Godwin Sr. already expressed their forgiveness to Steve Stephens and urged him to surrender.
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

Mark Zuckerberg Talks Facebook Killer: New AI Will Detect Violent Content In Your Newsfeed


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Duterte ‘not running after’ UP honorary degree—Palace (1.00/25)

“Why not?”
This was how Malacañang came to the defense of President Rodrigo Duterte after the reported offer of the University of the Philippines (UP) for a Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa, to the chief executive caused an uproar particularly from the state university’s students and alumni.
But Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Wednesday said Duterte was not after the honorary doctor of laws degree.
“It’s not something that he runs after, ” Abella told reporters in a Palace briefing.
On Tuesday, Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Chairperson Patricia Licuanan said the UP Board of Regents (BOR) , the university’s highest policy making body, has offered Duterte the honorary doctor of laws degree as part of tradition.
Duterte earned his law degree from San Beda College.
Abella said Malacañang has yet to receive official communication regarding the matter.
“As far as we know there is no official statement, official communication, ” he said.
But if indeed offered, the Palace official said Duterte would be inclined to accept it.
“If it’s offered, I suppose he would, ” Abella said when asked if the President would accept the offer. “But it doesn’ t really matter if it’s offered or not.”
Duterte, he said, was not “angling” for the honorary degree.
“Although he does not run after awards, it would be a sign of goodwill towards the highest—well, one of the most premiere—one of the three premiere institutions—it would be quite an honor to receive that. But it’s not something he is angling for. Of course, a sign of mutual respect would be in place here, ” he said.
The reported offer has drawn flak from UP students, faculty and alumni.
Many expressed their disappointment over UP’s decision, saying Duterte must instead be held accountable for the thousands of deaths under his administration’s bloody crackdown on drugs. IDL

Duterte ‘doesn’t give a heck’ about UP honorary degree, says son


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Spanish dentist accused of killing his twins back in court (1.00/25)

Cape Town – The Spanish dentist accused of killing his 3-year-old twins and threatening to kill his ex-wife is expected to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Mario-César Deus Yela, 48, faces two counts of murder and a count of theft of a motor vehicle.
Yela did not appear at his previous hearing on April 12 because he was being treated in hospital for wounds to his abdomen.
He is believed to have rented a holiday home for three weeks to visit his 7-year-old son and the twins. He had apparently been due to fly back to Spain on April 6.
On April 6, Yela sent a message to his ex-wife, Julia Engelhorn, asking her to come over for lunch.
When she arrived, he allegedly told her he had killed the twins. The third child was still at school.
Engelhorn contacted her son's school to alert them that Yela should not be allowed to pick their son up. Yela was arrested on the M3 highway.

Woman accused of putting hit out on husband back in court


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‘Rare’ voting error leaves Georgia unsure of next Sixth District representative (1.00/25)

The nation went to bed on April 18, unsure of who would be representing Georgia’s sixth Congressional district the next morning. As of 12: 30 a.m. on April 19, there wasn’ t a clear answer.
A late-night “rare data card error, ” originally reported by Atlanta’s WSB-TV, meant that Fulton County had to start counting hundreds of votes manually. As of 12: 30 a.m. April 19, Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff won DeKalb and Cobb counties with 58.6 and 41.3 percent of votes, respectively, followed by Republican candidate Karen Handel in both. His lead in Fulton, with 84 percent of precincts reporting, was 48.7 percent. It wasn’ t enough to conclusively say whether or not it would be an Ossoff win, or a run-off between he and Handel in June.
“I know it has been a long evening. And it’s looking like it may be a longer one. We may not know the outcome for some time, ” Ossoff said as he broke the news to the crowd of supporters at his watch party Tuesday night.
It had indeed been a lengthy election day.
Festivities kicked off bright and early for the 19 candidates on the ballot for Georgia’s Sixth District, all vying for the seat vacated by Health and Human Services Sec. Tom Price.
Much of the attention was focused on Ossoff, a 30-year-old endorsed by national political action committees, politicians and celebrities. The last time the Sixth District was represented by a Democrat was 1979.
According to the Federal Election Commission, Ossoff raised more than $8.3 million for his campaign as of election day. His literature flooded mailboxes; commercials played regularly on the radio, television and YouTube. Even President Donald Trump couldn’ t ignore the Congressional race — he tweeted negatively about Ossoff, but not about the other 18 candidates in the running.
“All eyes are on us right now, ” Ossoff told voters and volunteers at his kickoff. “It’s an extraordinary moment for our community. It’s a rare chance to make a statement about what we stand for, that we believe in a courageous and tough and decent and kind and open country.”
Out of all the candidates on the ballot, Ossoff stood out to his supporters because “he’s really made this about the people, ” said Mari Manning, a Brookhaven resident.
“He does not make us feel that this is about him in any way. I think that’s the one thing here, trying to motivate and engage people and figure out what they need and what this district needs, ” Manning told Georgia Voice. “I’ ve been really, really impressed by his ability to figure out… what the issues are and what went wrong in the past and what it is we need to do.”
Sandy Springs resident Darrell Speck spent his morning on the sidewalk of Dunwoody Place, waving signs and American flags to encourage Sixth District voters to hit the polls.
“I went to the North Fulton Democrats meeting where all the candidates came to speak very early, and I was impressed of all the candidates, [Ossoff] had the strongest voice. Very articulate, and I just thought, he’s someone who’s going to represent our district well, ” Speck said. “The main motivation is to get all those moderate Republicans to realize that their 10-point leads in their districts are not safe and that they need to do what the people want and not do what the Republican party wants.”
Manning said she believes Ossoff will “fight for every person, ” regardless of their beliefs or backgrounds, and added he’ ll do everything he can to make everyone equal. Ossoff said as much in earlier interviews with Georgia Voice during the campaign trail, speaking specifically to the LGBT individuals he would represent if elected.
“I’ m honored to be doing this with you.… With so much gratitude, thank you, ” Ossoff said. “Let’s fight right through the finish. Let’s win this today. Let’s flip the Sixth District.”

Close election for Georgia House seat


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Homeland Security’s Kelly takes hard line on pot in major speech, closing ranks with Sessions (1.00/25)

WASHINGTON — Two days after downplaying the role of marijuana in the nation’s drug war, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly changed course Tuesday, calling it a “potentially dangerous gateway drug” and saying his agency would continue to arrest and investigate those who traded in it in violation of federal law.
“Let me be clear about marijuana: It is a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs, ” he said in his first major speech since being sworn in. “Its use and possession is against federal law and until that law is changed by the United States Congress, we at DHS, along with the rest of the federal government, are sworn to uphold all the laws that are on the books.”
Marijuana advocates, who are watching closely to determine whether the Trump administration will deal a blow to state-level legalization efforts, decried the comments, saying Mr. Kelly was defying science in taking a hard line on pot. Eight states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington — and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana in some form and another 20 permit the sale of pot for medical purposes.
“DHS should stick to security and leave the science to the scientists, ” Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Denver-based Marijuana Policy Project, told McClatchy. “This is a knee-jerk reaction among a certain generation of people that still think of marijuana as this vile, horrific substance and have yet to accept the fact that it is actually less harmful than alcohol.”
Legalization advocates say Mr. Kelly’s claim that marijuana is a “gateway drug” has been thoroughly debunked by scientific studies. In one review of more than 10, 000 scientific abstracts in January, the congressionally chartered National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found no substantial link between marijuana use and other illegal drugs.
Seventy-one percent of voters say the government should not enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana use, according to a recent Quinnipiac University Poll. Fifty-nine percent support legalizing recreational marijuana, while 93 percent of Americans support the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
The Trump administration has yet to clarify how it intends to deal with the disparity between the burgeoning legalization of marijuana in one form or another and federal law, which classifies the drug as highly addictive with no medical value, and any pronouncement from a Cabinet-level official sets off speculation of what it means for policy.
Under former President Barack Obama, the government followed a hands-off policy toward enforcing federal marijuana laws in states where pot was legal.
How long that policy will govern the Trump administration is uncertain. White House press secretary Sean Spicer caused a stir in February when he implied that the Justice Department might begin to crack down on recreational marijuana use in states that have already legalized it, and seeming to connect it to the opioid crisis.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has decried pot use and has advocated a crackdown. In a speech last month, Mr. Sessions said marijuana was only “slightly less awful” than heroin, and he declared at a Senate hearing last year that “good people don’ t smoke marijuana.”
Mr. Kelly’s remarks Tuesday seemed to be an effort to bring his position on marijuana more in keeping with Mr. Sessions’ , two days after he took a decidedly softer line. On Sunday, Mr. Kelly had said marijuana was “not a factor” in the war on drugs, and that the search for solutions to the drug problem in the U. S. should focus on addictive drugs and not “arresting a lot of users.”
“Yeah, marijuana is not a factor in the drug war, ” Mr. Kelly said on NBC. “It’s three things. Methamphetamine. Almost all produced in Mexico. Heroin. Virtually all produced in Mexico. And cocaine that comes up from further south.”
On Tuesday, though, Mr. Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, asserted that scientific studies showed that pot “is not only psychologically addictive, but can have profound negative impacts on the still-developing minds of teens and people up into their mid-20s.”
He promised that the Transportation Security Administration would take “appropriate action” when marijuana is found at baggage screenings, and that its possession and distribution would be “essential elements” in building cases to deport people who were in the country illegally.
Also on Tuesday, Mr. Kelly offered a strong defense Tuesday of the Trump administration’s actions falling under the department’s umbrella, challenging lawmakers who don’ t like its enforcement actions to “shut up” or change the law.
The retired Marine general defended actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection in enforcing U. S. immigration and other laws and blamed the sprawling department’s low employee morale on political meddling.
“If lawmakers do not like the laws they’ ve passed and we are charged to enforce, then they should have the courage and skill to change the laws, ” Mr. Kelly said during a 30-minute speech at George Washington University. “Otherwise they should shut up and support the men and women on the front lines.”
Mr. Kelly said DHS employees had been prevented from doing their jobs for “nearly a decade, disabled by pointless bureaucracy and political meddling, and suffered disrespect and contempt by public officials who have no idea what it means to serve.”
The department was created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks by putting 22 different federal agencies under the Homeland Security banner.
Democratic lawmakers, including those in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, have complained that the Trump administration is departing from Obama administration practice by casting a wide net and targeting undocumented immigrants who have committed no crimes.
Data compiled by DHS shows that ICE has stepped up arrests of non-criminal aliens in the first two months of this year, arresting 5, 441 non-criminals compared with 2, 278 during the same period in 2016.
Reeling off a list of tasks that various agency employees carry out, Mr. Kelly referenced the oft-criticized Transportation Security Administration to highlight his point about capabilities at DHS.
“While you’ re binge-watching ‘Mad Men’ on Netflix, TSA is stopping an actual mad man with a loaded gun from boarding a flight to Disney World, ” he said.

The FBI has active terror investigations in all 50 states


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Rep. Titus says immigration orders hurt Nevada tourism (1.00/25)

U. S. Rep. Dina Titus is calling the president's executive orders aimed at stricter immigration enforcement xenophobic policies that have hurt tourism in Las Vegas.
The third-term Democratic congresswoman also criticized President Donald Trump's foreign policy reversals during a Tuesday address at the Nevada Legislature.
Titus hailed the state's Democratic majority's work this session to boost solar energy credits and support financial literacy programs.
She noted Democratic state Sen. Tick Segerblom's legislation to protect Nevada's marijuana industry, saying "I'm counting on you — puff, pass that bill."
She also said wounds left by the 2016 election have not yet healed and called for legislators to "suck it up, hold hands and work together."
Like other congressional members, she commended Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval for expanding the state's Medicaid program.

Silicon Valley faces crackdown of H1-B visas due to Trump executive order


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Kim's desire for peace 'deciding factor' in US-North Korea relations - Trump (1.00/25)

Donald Trump has said how much North Korea's leader desires peace will be a deciding factor in easing tensions between his nation and the United States.
In an interview in Wisconsin, the US president complained that his predecessors should have dealt with North Korea's pursuit of a nuclear arsenal, but said he was in the position now where he was "going to have to do something about it".
He said the US wanted peace and he hoped North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un wanted the same, adding that would be "the end determination".
Mr Trump has been pressuring China, North Korea's benefactor, to help defuse the situation, but has also warned that the US will settle the issue alone if other countries will not help.
Meanwhile, US vice president Mike Pence warned North Korea not to test the resolve of America's military, promising it would make an "overwhelming and effective" response to any use of conventional or nuclear weapons.
Speaking aboard the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier at the US Yokosuka naval base in Tokyo Bay, Mr Pence said the Trump administration would continue to "work diligently" with allies like Japan, China and other global powers to apply economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang.
But he told the 2, 500 sailors: "As all of you know, readiness is the key.
"The United States of America will always seek peace but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready.
"Those who would challenge our resolve or readiness should know we will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response."
Mr Pence's speech on the aircraft carrier followed meetings in Tokyo on Tuesday with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, where he noted that "all options are on the table".
Mr Abe said it was a "matter of paramount importance for us to seek diplomatic efforts as well peaceable settlements of the issue".
"But at the same time, " the prime minister said, "dialogue for the sake of dialogue is valueless and it is necessary for us to exercise pressure North Korea so that it comes forward and engages in this serious dialogue."
US defence secretary Jim Mattis warned that North Korea's latest failed missile launch was a reckless act of provocation and assured allies in Asia that America was ready to work to achieve a peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
Mr Mattis condemned the attempted missile launch as he began a Middle East tour, telling reporters travelling with him to Saudi Arabia: "The leader of North Korea again recklessly tried to provoke something by launching a missile."
The term "reckless" is one the North Koreans have used to describe continuing large-scale US and South Korean military exercises, which the North calls a dress rehearsal for an invasion.
Mr Mattis did not identify the type of missile but said it was not of intercontinental range, meaning it could not reach US territory.
He did not comment on what might have caused the missile to fail but a n official said the missile was a Scud variant that the US calls a KN-17.
Mr Mattis credited China with trying to help get the North Korea situation "under control" with the goal of denuclearising the peninsula.

Trump orders review of lifting sanctions against Iran: Tillerson


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Buena Park police say there may be more victims of serial flasher – Orange County Register (0.10/25)

SANTA ANA – Buena Park police on Tuesday, April 18, offered more details about allegations against a 38-year-old registered sex offender charged in a flurry of flashing incidents in Orange County.
Hyuh Woo Lee, who pleaded not guilty to charges Monday, is next due in court April 25 for a pretrial hearing. He is charged with three felony counts of indecent exposure with sentencing enhancement allegations for committing a similar crime while out on bail. Three alleged incidents took place on April 3 and 4.
Lee, who was arrested Thursday, April 13, is accused of “going to apartment complexes or local motels and walking around either naked or with a towel wrapped around him, ” according to Buena Park police Sgt. Mike Lovchik.
In some cases he would hide in rooms and wait to “surprise” victims, Lovchik said. Lee has also been accused of touching himself during the
flashing, Lovchik said.
Lee is facing felony instead of misdemeanor charges because he’s a registered sex offender, Lovchik said.
Investigators are concerned there may be more victims who have not come forward, Lovchik said.
“There’s the potential for quite a few victims who may or may not have contacted authorities so we’ re urging anyone who recognizes this guy’s antics to contact local police, ” Lovchik said.
Lee, who listed his occupation in jail records as a truck driver, has a lengthy criminal history in Los Angeles and Orange counties of flashing, according to court records.
Lee was convicted April 19, 2010, and Oct. 31, 2012, of indecent exposure in Los Angeles County, according to court records.
Lee pleaded not guilty Feb. 15 to a felony count of indecent exposure with a prior conviction, according to court records. He was next due in court on that charge, which was investigated by Anaheim police, on April 24.
Lee was convicted Dec. 18, 2008, of misdemeanor indecent exposure and public nudity by a jury for incidents on Oct. 17, 2007. Before the jury convicted him he pleaded guilty to felony possession of a controlled substance in the case, according to court records.
Lee pleaded guilty Dec. 19, 2008, to a misdemeanor count of lewd conduct in a public place and was sentenced to 95 days in jail and placed on three years of informal probation, according to court records. That incident took place Feb. 27, 2008.

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Turkey key to United States’ Middle East strategies – Orange County Register (0.08/25)

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan successfully pushed through a national referendum giving him powers greater than any head of state since the sultans. Americans accustomed to pro-democratic rhetoric from the U. S. were surprised that President Donald Trump called the increasingly authoritarian leader to congratulate him on the narrow victory. Unfortunately, Trump’s diplomatic response reflects a new reality in the Mideast that has built up over time and is only now coming into full view.
The stakes are high. As a Muslim-majority nation negotiating to join the EU, a strategically critical player in the Mideast, and a longtime NATO ally with the organization’s second-largest military, Turkey’s political fate has long affected America’s interests and goals. And, in recent years, Ankara’s foreign policy has chafed against U. S. objectives, given its protracted divisions with Israel, continued conflict with the Kurds, and political hardball over Syrian refugees with Europe, which has struggled to absorb victims of a war that spiraled out of control on President Obama’s watch. Turkey even galled the Obama White House by quietly abetting ISIS through the oil trade — a shady deal that reached as high as Erdogan’s own son-in-law at the oil ministry.
But, in a twist, an abortive military coup last summer forced Obama to defend Erdogan’s regime as the democratically elected and legitimate representative of the Turkish people, even when Erdogan imposed draconian crackdowns against a broad swath of Turkish society, including thousands in the fields of academia, journalism, health and policing. The measure was seen as a bald effort to purge civil society of Turkey’s secular and modernist cultural leaders — intentionally or not, teeing up a narrow, but effective, win this month in the referendum to elevate Erdogan to a near-despot. Nevertheless, Turkey had begun to pivot in its foreign policy, tempering its attitude toward Israel and agreeing to help the U. S. combat ISIS. The groundwork was laid for Erdogan to push as far away from the West as he desired, so long as America’s most immediate interests were not put in peril.
So neither Erdogan’s referendum nor his dramatic success were any big surprise. The only real question was how the U. S. — now under the Trump administration — would respond. But even there, Turkey had worked to ensure continuity with Obama’s policy of accommodation on internal affairs. As Trump has given his generals a freer hand against ISIS, Turkey has steered clear of too much or too little involvement. Turkish-Israeli relations, meanwhile, “have converged and accelerated the reconciliation process, ” as key Erdogan advisor Gülnur Aybet remarked last month amid fast-moving pipeline negotiations designed to speed newly discovered Israeli oil to the European market. Liberal Europeans may bridle at the thought of an illiberal regime dominating NATO; on the other hand, they’ re being given an out on the once-thorny question of how to deny Turkey EU membership without looking illiberal themselves. For the U. S., it’s the best of both worlds: a more stable EU and a more stable NATO.
Yet, to Americans accustomed to a certain kind of global leadership, Trump’s move feels like a fresh defeat. As uncomfortable as it may be, feeling differently requires reckoning with just how sharply constrained America’s options have become — something Barack Obama realized, even as his policies were tightening the constraints.

Congress has abdicated its responsibilities on war – Orange County Register
Boras Classic update – Orange County Register
Thomas throws complete game in Mater Dei win over La Mirada in Boras Classic – Orange County Register
Rockies at Dodgers, Wednesday, 7 p.m. – Orange County Register
Franklin Gutierrez bides his time while Dodgers’ southpaw struggles continue – Orange County Register
Doc Rivers downplays Jamal Crawford’s Game 1 shooting struggles – Orange County Register
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Man arrested on suspicion of faking his own kidnapping, trying to extort money from his mother – Orange County Register (0.07/25)

SANTA ANA — A 31-year-old man was behind bars Tuesday, April 18, on suspicion of faking his own kidnapping and trying to extort $300 from his mother, Santa Ana police said.
Robert Nunez’s mother contacted police Sunday, April 16, when she had not heard from her son for a few days then received a text message saying he was dead, Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.
A missing-person report was filed. Nunez struggled with drug issues, but his mother tried to help him, Bertagna said.
“ (His mother) took care of him when he was homeless.”
The mother returned to police after getting more messages saying Nunez would be killed if she didn’ t pay a ransom. She also received a photo showing weapons that would be used to hurt and torture him, including a saw. Investigators dropped their pending cases to try to rescue Nunez, who they believed was in danger of being killed, Bertagna said.
On Monday, in the course of their investigation, authorities tracked Nunez to Anaheim, where they found him and another man in a car. The men were questioned and it was determined that Nunez was responsible for the texts to his mother and for concocting the hostage plan, according to Bertagna. The other person found in the car with him was not involved.
Nunez was arrested on suspicion of attempted extortion.
Bertagna said this type of crime is becoming a growing trend across the nation and that this is the third similar case of fake hostage situations this month in Santa Ana. The other two involved juveniles who knowingly were involved with trying to extort money from their relatives.
Aside from distressing families, the cases take a toll on investigators, Bertagna said.
“The homicide unit had to stop their three open homicides from one week to help this guy from supposedly being murdered, ” Bertagna said. “They take away resources that are needed to address real problems.”
Nunez was being held in lieu of $20, 000 bail and is expected to appear in court Wednesday, April 19.

Congress has abdicated its responsibilities on war – Orange County Register
Boras Classic update – Orange County Register
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Rockies at Dodgers, Wednesday, 7 p.m. – Orange County Register
Franklin Gutierrez bides his time while Dodgers’ southpaw struggles continue – Orange County Register
Doc Rivers downplays Jamal Crawford’s Game 1 shooting struggles – Orange County Register
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Sage Hill opens new pool with Olympic-sized splash – Orange County Register (0.07/25)

NEWPORT BEACH – Taras Polakoff stepped atop the starting block, pounded his chest and dove into the pool to sounds never heard at Sage Hill before Tuesday afternoon.
“Go Taras!” pool-side spectators yelled during the first on-campus swimming meet at Sage Hill.
The Lightning christened their new, 33-meter pool and aquatics complex with plenty of cheering, fast times and an impressive haul of eight Olympians on their pool deck.
Sage Hill’s boys even posted a victory, defeating Oxford Academy, 106-61, to improve to 4-0 in their quest for a third consecutive Academy League title.
“What a day. What a day, ” said Polakoff, a senior who celebrated his 18th birthday.
“So many people showed up. (Usually) at our meets, we have 10 people max, and it’s all parents.… It was kind of like living a dream. I always dreamed of swimming here at Sage Hill.”
Sage Hill almost topped its regular attendance with just Olympians. Thanks to the connections of Olympic water polo goalie Genai Kerr, the school’s founding aquatics director, the pre-meet festivities included Olympians Kaitlin Sandeno, Omar Amr, Jeff Powers, Brad Schumacher, John Mann, Aaron Peirsol and Kelly Rulon.
The Olympians participated in exhibition relays and played water polo before the meet started.
“I had my idol here, Aaron Peirsol, ” Polakoff said. “It shows that Sage swimming can become something really, really big.”
Kerr was part of the effort that helped open the small, private school in 2000. He watched in awe as swimmers raced between the green and white lanes and below the green and white flags. The swimmers finished races by touching timing pads, something they didn’ t have access to at their old competition pool at University High.
“I never thought I would see this, ” said Kerr, also a former dean and teacher at Sage Hill. “It’s been a dream of mine to see this pool come to fruition for almost 20 years.… To see a pool on campus and know the aquatics community is growing is phenomenal.”
Polakoff and Jason Schreiber paced Sage Hill’s boys. Polakoff won the 100-yard butterfly (54.48 seconds) and 100 backstroke (55.38) in CIF-SS Division 2 consideration times while Schreiber matched him in the 200 individual medley (1: 58.22) and 100 breaststroke (1: 01.15) .
Oxford Academy’s girls improved to 3-1 in league with a 98-56 victory. Freshman Natalia Banos touched first in the butterfly (1: 00.24) and 100 free (58.08) .
Sage Hill freshman Nicole Harvey, who already owns five school records, won the 200 individual medley (2: 17.68) and 100 breaststroke (1: 10.55) in Division 2 consideration times.
“ (Our program) will definitely grow, ” Harvey said. “Now that we have the pool, it will attract the attention of more swimmers.”

Boras Classic update – Orange County Register
Thomas throws complete game in Mater Dei win over La Mirada in Boras Classic – Orange County Register
Rockies at Dodgers, Wednesday, 7 p.m. – Orange County Register
Franklin Gutierrez bides his time while Dodgers’ southpaw struggles continue – Orange County Register
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Johnson tosses one-hitter to keep Katella alone atop Orange League – Orange County Register (0.06/25)

ANAHEIM – Skyler Johnson pitched a one-hit shutout to lead Katella to a 4-0 victory over Century in an Orange League baseball game Tuesday at Boysen Park.
The senior right-hander notched 10 strikeouts, allowed no walks and aside from Robert Perez’s first-inning single, the Centurions hit only one ball out of the infield.
Johnson, a three-year starter, kept hitters off balance by mixing his fastball and off-speed pitches.
“I just try and get ahead in the count, ” Johnson said. “And if I do, I just go after the batter.”
Eight of his 10 strikeouts came on swinging strikes.
“He’s got some quality stuff, ” Katella coach Marcelo Miranda said. “He showed what he can do on the mound today.”
It was the fourth victory in a row for the Knights (13-6, 7-1) , who are alone in first place in the Orange League.
Katella has defeated Century (13-6, 5-3) twice this season. The teams play for the final time Friday at 7 p.m. at Century.
“A huge victory for us, ” Miranda said. “Every time we play Century, we know they are a quality team.”
The Knights scored their runs by playing sound fundamental baseball.
Rafael Flores led off the second inning with a single and advanced to second on David Navarrete’s sacrifice bunt. Johnson then drove in Flores with a single.
Later in the inning, leadoff hitter Michael Hill singled home two more runs, giving the Knights a 3-0 lead.
Angel Lopez led off the fifth with a single, stole second and reached third on a sacrifice bunt from Flores. Navarrete’s fly out to deep left field scored Lopez.
Hill went 2 for 3 with two RBI, and Lopez was 2 for 3 with a run scored.

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Doc Rivers downplays Jamal Crawford’s Game 1 shooting struggles – Orange County Register
Thomas throws complete game in Mater Dei win over La Mirada in Boras Classic – Orange County Register
Rockies at Dodgers, Wednesday, 7 p.m. – Orange County Register
Franklin Gutierrez bides his time while Dodgers’ southpaw struggles continue – Orange County Register
After gut check, could Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Clippers be gutted? – Orange County Register


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Goldenvoice aims high in 2017 with its award-winning Stagecoach Country Music Festival – Orange County Register (0.05/25)

Since 2007, the staff at Los Angeles-based concert production company Goldenvoice have worked tirelessly to produce its annual Stagecoach Country Music Festival, the multi-day sister fest to its massive Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, which occupies the Empire Polo Club in Indio the two weekends before Stagecoach takes over the venue.
This year’s event, which takes place Friday, April 28-Sunday, April 30, features headlining sets by Dierks Bentley, Shania Twain and Kenny Chesney as well as performances by Cole Swindell, Randy Houser, Brett Eldredge, Maren Morris, Kip Moore, Thomas Rhett, Tyler Farr, Cam and many, many more.
Stagecoach has drawn as many as 75, 000 fans per year out to see performances by some of the biggest artists within the country music genre, as well as rock and country legends, rising alt-country stars and bluegrass greats. Even some famous faces from Hollywood, including Kevin Costner, Katey Sagal and Jeff Bridges, have brought their bands Stagecoach.
Last year, all of the labor Goldenvoice puts into the festival was recognized and rewarded as Stagecoach received the Festival of the Year award at the Academy of Country Music Industry Awards.
“That was an incredible honor, ” Stagecoach talent buyer Stacy Vee said of the ACM win. “I was lucky enough to be able to accept the trophy and yeah, it was unreal to be recognized like that on that level, right alongside all of these artists… it was pretty amazing.”
Vee, who is currently in her third year of booking talent for the festival, was also nominated within the Talent Buyer of the Year category.
“Words can’ t really describe it, ” she said of being nominated alongside some of the most tenacious players in the business. “The others that were in the category with me had been at this for 20-plus years and to be a newcomer compared to everyone else in the category it was pretty awesome.”
Ever since Stagecoach founder Paul Tollett passed the booking torch onto Vee, she’s been proactive in her approach, spending a lot of time in Nashville doing her research and immersing herself in the overall culture of country music.
“It’s all about relationships, ” she said. “I just wanted to go meet everybody face to face and give them a little personal taste of what Stagecoach means to us and to have them hear it directly from us so they’ d understand the culture and personality, how we try to approach things with creativity and try to have the artists on at the right time to help promote talent or push albums.”
Stagecoach is all about timing. It’s no coincidence that it serves as a launching pad for big tours or is the place where acts showcase new music or where artists that are on the cusp of breaking into the mainstream just so happen to make their Mane Stage debut.
“Like Maren Morris, ” Vee used as an example in this year’s line-up. “She has been on our list for years, but waiting patiently and not having her last year was tough, but to wait until this year when she just won an ACM award and a Grammy, she’s having a huge year so it’s gratifying to see that waiting until the right time works for us.”
Saturday night at Stagecoach is also where Twain, who is preparing to release her first new record in 15 years, will share brand new music. Adding to the exclusivity of her performance, Stagecoach has, so far, been the only show date in 2017 on Twain’s website, all of which is something Vee said that as a promoter “is like a dream come true.”
Top-selling country star Shania Twain preps for Stagecoach debut
Though it may be Twain’s first time at Stagecoach, this will be Chesney’s fourth headlining appearance. Dierks Bentley has clawed his way up through the years, going from an early day Mane Stage act to the main attraction on Friday night.
“He’s literally been with us since the beginning, ” Vee said of Bentley. “Dierks closing the show on Friday night is going to be a very special moment for Paul and I both because Dierks has been so great to us. We get a chance to walk around with him and he notices the changes in the festival site from year to year. It’s great because sometimes these guys play so many shows and festivals that you’ re just a number to them, but Stagecoach is something that they all have their sights set on and it’s become a meaningful place to all of them.”
Stagecoach is also the place where trail blazing legends are booked and honored, including Willie Nelson and Jerry Lee Lewis, both of whom will take the stage this year, as well as previous performers such as pioneering rockabilly singer-songwriter Wanda Jackson, the King of Country himself, George Strait, and the late greats like George Jones and Merle Haggard.
“That’s something that’s so important to Paul and I, is to have the legends out at Stagecoach, ” she said. “We wouldn’ t be doing our jobs right if we didn’ t pay attention to these artists and make them a priority. I’ ll tell you, when we got the call that Jerry Lee Lewis was confirmed, I was running around the office because I was so excited. He taught everyone everything they know about rock ‘n’ roll. That’s a big deal.”
Vee said that there’s also an important responsibility in helping to foster new talent and to develop working relationships with newer acts such as Margo Price, Nikki Lane, Brent Cobb and John Moreland. It’s equally as important as providing a true mix of talent by including a little rock ‘n’ roll with sets this year by 38 Special, the Blasters, Tommy James and the Shondells and the Zombies.
Though the festival grounds themselves will pretty much remain the same this year, Vee said Goldenvoice has brought in some upscale dining options and a lot of new and interesting eats will be available throughout the festival. They’ ve also beefed up the programming inside the Honky Tonk and added a few things to the Half-Pint Hootenanny.
There’s also potential for some really big surprises throughout the festival.
“You never know who could pop up or what could happen at Stagecoach, ” she said with a laugh.
Now going into the 11th year, Vee said she and her crew mostly just feel grateful that the country music community and fans have embraced Stagecoach and really made it a fun summer kick-off show.
“We all love the show as much as the fans, ” she said. “You’ ll see the staff out there watching 15 minutes of a set here and there on their breaks. While we work incredibly hard to put on this amazing festival, we are big fans, too and we probably have just as much fun if not more than the folks who bought tickets. It truly is a labor of love for us and I think that shows too in the festival. We just embrace and love it and put so much detail into the look and feel of it and try to make it as fan-friendly as possible. It’s tough to go to a festival all day and people need comforts and easy access to things. We just really want it to be a fun experience for everybody from start to finish.”
Stagecoach Country Music Festival
With: Shania Twain, Dierks Bentley, Kenny Chesney, Cole Swindell, Randy Houser, Jerry Lee Lewis, Brett Eldredge, Kip Moore, Willie Nelson & the Family, Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett, Tyler Farr, Cam, Los Lobos, the Zombies, 38 Special, Travis Tritt, Wynonna & the Big Noise, Elle King, John Doe and many more.
When: Friday, April 28-Sunday, April 30
Where: Empire Polo Club, 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio
Tickets: Three-day general admission is available for $329 and C2 Corral Reserved Seating is $899 at The Corral Standing Pit and C1 Corral Reserved Seating are sold out.

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Angels put it all together to beat Astros, end 6-game losing streak – Orange County Register (0.05/25)

HOUSTON — The Angels’ six-game losing streak, which began with the pitching struggling and morphed into an offensive outage, is over.
The Angels beat the Houston Astros, 5-2, on Tuesday night, combining both sides of the game in the nice tidy way Mike Scioscia hopes for when refers to getting a “game on our terms.”
They took a three-run lead in the fifth on Albert Pujols’ tie-breaking homer, the 593rd of his career, and the pitching made the lead stand.
The bullpen did it in a slightly unconventional fashion. Cam Bedrosian — the best reliever, although not officially the “closer” — entered in the eighth to face the middle of the Houston order. Bedrosian needed just six pitches to get a strikeout and a double play. After such a quick inning, he stayed out in the ninth and locked up his third save of the season.
Coming into the game on a 20-inning scoreless streak, the Angels did at least a couple things differently on Tuesday.
Scioscia went back to the lineup he used on opening day, after having gradually jumbled it over the previous week. The Angels also scrapped pre-game batting practice on the field, instead hitting in the cages.
Whether any of that was directly related, the Angels nonetheless got some better results.
Andrelton Simmons snapped the scoreless streak with an opposite-field homer in the second inning, his second of the season. He didn’ t hit his second homer until September last year.
After the Astros took the lead on a pair of monstrous homers by Yuli Gurriel and George Springer in the third, the Angels went back ahead with their most productive inning in more than a week.
In fact, their four runs in the fifth were more runs than they had scored in any game during the six-game losing streak.
No. 9 hitter Martin Maldonado started it with a single, which was his third time on base in the game. Maldonado has gotten off the type of offensive start the Angels had hoped, with a.385 on-base percentage.
After a Yunel Escobar single and a Kole Calhoun strikeout, Mike Trout blistered a line drive that ticked off the glove of Springer diving in center. A run scored on the double.
Pujols then lofted a towering drive ball down the left field line. The only question was whether it would be fair, and once it came down just inside the pole, the Angels had a 5-2 lead.
Staked to another lead, Ricky Nolasco blanked the Astros over the next two innings. Over his six innings, Nolasco did not allow a run besides the two homers. It was the fourth straight game in which an Angels starter allowed two runs or fewer, and three of them pitched at least six innings.

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California again leads list with 6 of the top 10 most polluted U. S. cities (0.04/25)

California's smoggy reputation appears to be deserved: Six of the USA's 10 cities with the worst air pollution are in the Golden State, according to a new report.
Bakersfield, Calif., again holds the dubious distinction of having the USA's most days of highly polluted air, based on data from 2013-2015, the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report released Wednesday found.
In addition to the worst spikes of short-term pollution — led by Bakersfield — the report also lists the cities with the worst overall year-round pollution — led by Visala/Hanford, Calif.— and the worst ozone pollution, led by the Los Angeles/Long Beach area.
California's soaring population and topography allow air pollution to overcome the state's strict environmental laws, said Paul Billings of the American Lung Association. The boom in people brings with it an increase in cars and trucks on the roads, and many of those people live in valley and basins, right where pollution tends to settle.
Nearly year-round sunny skies also don't help: Those picture-perfect days are a major factor in high levels of ozone pollution, he added.
The state would be far worse off without its strict laws on tailpipe pollution and eliminating coal-fired power plants. "They've done more than any other state to counteract air pollution, " Billings said.
Overall, the report is a mixture of good and bad news: While year-round pollution has improved, short-term spikes of intensely polluted air have increased.
"While most of the nation has much cleaner air quality than even a decade ago, many cities reported their highest number of unhealthy days since the report began" 18 years ago, it found.
Some 125 million Americans nationwide live with unhealthful levels of air pollution, the report said, placing them at risk for premature death and other serious health effects such as lung cancer, asthma attacks, cardiovascular damage and developmental and reproductive harm.
"Even with continued improvement, too many people in the United States live where the air is unhealthy for them to breathe, " the report said.
Only six metro areas recorded no days when pollution reached unhealthy levels, according to the report: Burlington, Vt.; Honolulu; Wilmington, N. C.; Fort Myers / Naples, Fla.; Melbourne, Fla., and Elmira, N. Y.
Billings said he's concerned about Trump's plans to slash the Environmental Protection Agency's budget. "We have to keep the environmental cop on the beat, " he said.
Trump's budget proposal contains a 31% cut to the agency, including weakening or eliminating the Clean Air Act, which the report says has been the most important tool in the fight for healthy air by driving emission reductions for more than 47 years.
“Everyone has a fundamental right to breathe healthy air, " said Harold P. Wimmer, the president and CEO of the American Lung Association said.

America's most polluted city is...


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15 Santa Ana nonprofits to be awarded $769, 151 of $5.7 million federal grants – Orange County Register (0.03/25)

SANTA ANA — More than $760, 000 in federal money will be given to 15 Santa Ana nonprofit organizations, the city announced Tuesday.
The City Council on Tuesday, April 18, approved allocating the funds, which are coming from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. On a 5-0 vote, with Councilmen Vincent Sarmiento and Sal Tinajero absent, the panel approved an estimated $5.7 million Community Development Block Grant Program for the 2017-18 fiscal year, which is subject to adjustment once the funds are awarded.
Nonprofits selected for funding – most serving youth, families and providing legal and other types of aid – are slated to get $769, 151 total.
“We have a list of organizations that have a long history (in Santa Ana) , ” Councilman David Benavides said. “There have been some challenges that our community is facing. As soon as we can demonstrate our commitment as a city, getting behind our organizations that are doing effective work and impacting our community, it’s important for us to send that message.”
City departments handling administration and planning, code enforcement, economic development, capital improvements and housing were also awarded tens of thousands of dollars to more than a million dollars for various initiatives.
The block grants are given yearly to entitled cities and counties to help them provide decent housing and expand economic opportunities, especially to benefit low- to moderate-income people, according to Santa Ana. The recipients are chosen through a competitive process.
Among nonprofits, the largest award, $75, 000, was granted to The Illumination Foundation for its Children’s Resource Center project providing homeless and at-risk youth with an afterschool program. The second highest amount, $67, 992, was allocated to the Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center for its crime prevention and intervention program for Willard Middle School families.
The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana received $60, 000 for its College Bound program, and the Delhi Center got $58, 271 for its project engaging teens in learning and leadership. America on Track was granted $57, 000 for its Brighter Futures for Children of Prisoners project offering educational, nutritional and wraparound services.
“We’ re seeing amazing results, ” Claire Braeburn, executive director of America on Track, said Tuesday. “College instead of prison, building their confidence, getting them to graduate high school.”
The awards to nonprofits come after the council in February canceled the Community Enhancement Program that would have distributed $500, 000 in grants to education, arts, health and sports programs for youth.
Councilman Jose Solorio said the Community Development Block Grant Program award amount was the largest the city has ever given to nonprofits and more beneficial to organizations than the one-time Community Enhancement Program funds that weren’ t awarded.
“It wasn’ t a transparent process and the accountability and reporting measures weren’ t as strong, ” Solorio said of the Community Enhancement Program.

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'Thank you ref, bravo!' Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery hits out at officials with angry Instagram pictures as he blames them for Real Madrid loss (0.03/25)

Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery did not hold back after his side were controversially dumped out of the Champions League by Real Madrid.
Two of Crsitiano Ronaldo's goals in the 4-2 defeat appeared to be some way offside, with the Spanish club progressing 6-3 on aggregate after extra time.
And Ribery took to Instagram to vent his frustration after the game.
The French forward posted images of both controversial goals to Instagram stories, with offisde lines conveniently altered to show Ronaldo onside.
He also shared a video of Arturo Vidal's tackle clearly showing the Chilean midfielder winning the ball - though referee Viktor Kassai deemed it a foul and showed the Bayern man a second yellow card, leaving the Germans to play the final six minutes, and all of extra time, with 10 men.
Alongside the three images Ribery wrote: 'One year's hard work, thank you ref, bravo'.
His response was rather more explicit than that of Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, who garnered over 100, 000 retweets by simply writing '...'.
Ribery was not the only member of the Bayern staff to react angrily to the result.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti was also furious, saying: 'We played very well and I think we deserved more. The decisions penalised us a lot. Vidal's second card should not have been a yellow.
'There should be a referee with more quality in a game like this or put the video referee because there were too many errors.
'Maybe Vidal has to calm down but the second yellow card is a mistake from the referee.'
Ancelotti added: 'I'm not saying we would have gone through with a different referee but the referee had a bad game it would have been a different game with video replays.
'There are a lot of decisions that generate doubt but there is no doubt here – Vidal touches the ball, I saw it as it happened.'

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3 killed in separate shooting incidents in Manila, QC (0.03/25)

Three men were killed in separate shooting incidents in Manila and Quezon City on Tuesday night, according to Radyo Inquirer 990AM.
The radio report said Ramil Briones, 36, and Rolito Nuñez, 45, were shot dead by a group of men on motorcycles in North Zuzuaregi Street, Barangay Batasan Hills, Quezon City.
Briones reportedly died on the spot while Nuñez, who was rushed to a hospital, was declared dead on arrival.
The report said a witness saw six bonnet-wearing men on motorcycles before the incident happened. The men reportedly brought Briones to a sidewalk and Nuñez behind a small store before people heard a series of gunshots.
Relatives of Briones admitted that he was a former drug user.
Radyo Inquirer 990AM also reported that a man named Joshua, also known as Jose, was shot by an unidentified man in Vidas, Tondo,
Investigators said, the victim, a security guard, was having an argument with someone before the incident happened. Police are still searching for the suspect. Geisha Sinahonon/ trainee/KS

2 dead, 2 hurt in Cavite shooting


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9 arrested in Leyte drug busts (0.02/25)

TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte—Nine persons, including a detainee and an online teacher, were arrested in separate anti-illegal drug operations conducted by the members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in this city.
These operations conducted from April 13 to 17 resulted in the confiscation of 11 sachets of methamphetamine or shabu with combined value of P51, 000.
Among those arrested was Bronson Nicol, a detainee at the Tacloban City Jail who was caught stashing a sachet of shabu weighing 1 gram valued at P8, 000.
The contraband was discovered by the PDEA agents and personnel of the city jail hidden in the suspect’s bunk bed during an anti-drug operation on April 17 inside the facility at 10: 05 a.m.
Also arrested during the series of sting operations conducted by the PDEA was Nelson Perante, 50, a resident of Barangay (village) 50-A and said to be an online teacher.
Seized from the suspect and his cohorts—Jerry Japag, Harold Jim Tupas and Marlon Baluga—were five sachets of shabu weighing 0.37 grams with a value of P3, 000.
Of these operations, the biggest haul seized by the PDEA agents were from Vicente Dueñas and Andy Ang who were in possession of eight sachets of shabu weighing 3.0 grams valued at P24, 000.
Also arrested by the PDEA during these series of operations were Jericho Marquez and Antonio Bayarong, both vendors, who were in possession of three sachets of shabu valued at P8, 000.
All the suspects are now detained at the Tacloban City lock-up cell while cases for selling and possession of illegal drugs were filed against them.
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Alleged drug pusher nabbed in Lucena buy bust


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NPA releases 2 soldiers of the 39th Infantry Battalion (0.02/25)

KIDAPAWAN CITY — The New People’s Army (NPA) freed on Wednesday two soldiers they had snatched in Sultan Kudarat province last Feb. 2 and held for more than two months.
The communist rebels freed Sgt. Solaiman Calocop and Pfc. Samuel Garay, both of the 39th Infantry Battalion, at an undisclosed place in Davao del Sur.
The soldiers were fetched by the Crisis Management Committee, which is headed by Mayor Amirh Musali and Vice Mayor Edwin Bermudez of Columbio town in Sultan Kudarat.
Senior Supt. Raul Supiter, director of the Sultan Kudarat Provincial Police Office, said the soldiers were now in Columbio, according to a text message he had received from Senior Insp. Bernard Francia, chief of the Columbio Municipal Police Station.
“They are now reunited with their respective families, ” Supiter told the Inquirer in a mobile phone conversation.
He said the soldiers, both in good health, would undergo debriefing and turned over to their battalion before allowing them to go home.
The families of the soldiers thanked the rebels for not harming their loved ones.
The families also thanked Sultan Kudarat Gov. Pax Mangudadatu, who exerted all means to negotiate the release of the soldiers. /atm
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

NPA ‘commander’ killed in Albay clash


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Asian Games will feature VIDEO GAMES in 2022 after the continent's Olympic Council agreed to include 'esports' (0.02/25)

Video gaming will be featured at the 2022 Asian Games, with competitors in electronic sports set to receive medals for their digital prowess.
The Olympic Council of Asia says it will introduce esports to the official program of the Asian Games at Hangzhou, China.
The decision is said to reflect 'the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation among the youth.'
It will also be a demonstration sport at the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang, Indonesia.
And it will first appear at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Turkmenistan this year.
Gamers at AIMAG will compete in Fifa 2017, MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) and RTA (real time attack) games.
The council is collaborating with Alisports, a unit of China's Alibaba Group, to bring esports to the games.
No details were given on which video games would be included.
The Asian Games features a wide range of traditional Olympic sports along with others containing more regional appeal.
Some of the more obscure sports include sepak takraw, which combines features from soccer and volleyball, and kabaddi, a contact team sport that evolved in and is dominated by India.
The sports program has also included a variety of martial arts, contract bridge, jet-ski racing and sport climbing.
The winning team at the biggest e-sports event, the League of Legends World Championship, scooped £810, 000 in prize money last year.
E-sports generated £400million in revenue in 2016, and attracted a global audience of about 320million people, according to e-sport analysts Newzoo.
Sales are predicted to rise to £553million in 2017, with 15 per cent of revenue coming from China alone.

Thumbs-up for electronic sports at the 2022 Asian Games


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Coming up roses! The Biggest Loser host Fiona Falkiner shows off her cleavage in a floral dress at Botanicals Fresh Care Launch (0.02/25)

She's the fair-haired beauty who channelled her weight loss into a career as an international plus-size model.
And Fiona Falkiner looked stunning as she stepped out in Sydney for the launch of Botanicals Fresh Care Launch on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old host of The Biggest Loser wore a striking floral cocktail dress, which matched well with the gala's flower theme.
The pastel-coloured dress featured daring thigh splits and large bell sleeves, the form-fitting style showing off Fiona's hourglass figure.
She paired the look with chic nude pointed heels, wearing her sunkissed locks out in relaxed waves over her shoulders.
Fiona was attending L’ Oréal Paris's Botanicals Fresh Care hair range, which has launched Elsa Pataky as its ambassador.
Fiona's appearance comes as she returned to television this year as host of The Biggest Loser: Transformed after the reality TV took a one year hiatus.
But the much-hyped return of the reality show suffered a major setback last month when it was bumped from prime time to lunch time after declining ratings.
Fiona got her start in the media world as a contestant on The Biggest Loser in 2006, losing 30 kilos during her time on the show.
But Fiona's weight loss journey was far from over once she left the series, revealing to Tea With Jules last month that she had regained the 30 kilos back because she 'hadn't dealt with the reasons why I was the way I was'.
The television host recalled feeling 'miserable' when the weight came back, leading her to a dark place.
'I was just in such a miserable place. It was horrible. I got to a point where I was like "something's got to change". I'm so unhappy... and life shouldn't be about being this unhappy, ' she said, revealing it took learning to love herself to get down to her goal weight.

She's a bit of all white! Bachelor star Lana Jeavons-Fellows flaunts her long slender legs in a mini dress at L'Oreal Botanicals Ambassador launch
She's a natural! Youthful Elsa Pataky, 40, steps out in a sexy backless floral frock as ambassador for L’ Oréal's Botanical hair care range


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An Unforgettable sight! Joanna Krupa steals attention from the stars in sheer black dress at Hollywood premiere (0.02/25)

She is getting ready to hit the small screen as a desperate former reality television star.
And Joanna Krupa managed to get in a dry run by wearing a revealing dress in a transparent bid to steal some attention at the premiere of Unforgettable in Hollywood on Tuesday.
The former Real Housewives of Miami personality looked like she was having a great time as she hammed it up with aplomb on the red carpet.
The 43-year-old Polish beauty looked every inch the former professional clotheshorse as she showcased her stunning stalks in her sheer black number, which boasted extravagant flared sleeves.
Serial social media flasher Joanna certainly seemed to be relishing the fact she had managed to steal some of the thunder of red carpet big beasts Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson at the event, especially as they are the stars of the movie.
The former model, who is married to Miami nightclub owner Romain Zago, is gearing up for yet another exciting television project.
For the Dancing With The Stars loser will be taking part in a new TV drama called Alternate Reality.
In a storyline perhaps too close to the truth for comfort, she and five other former Real Housewives will star as washed-up reality stars who move to Los Angeles in a desperate bid to find real acting work.
Krupa appeared on two seasons of Bravo's The Real Housewives Of Miami.
She was introduced in the second season of the series, which was cancelled in 2013 after it's third cycle.
After the cancellation, Joanna revealed she wanted to join the cast of the show's Beverly Hills franchise, but it never happened.

Showstopper! Katherine Heigl looks sensational in figure-hugging dress at Unforgettable premiere in Hollywood


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New Jersey man admits to 4 robberies (0.02/25)

NEWARK, N. J. (AP) - A New Jersey man has pleaded guilty to robbing a group of banks. reports (http: // that 39-year-old James Lockwood, of Newark, pleaded guilty to four counts of bank robbery in court Tuesday. Authorities say Lockwood robbed four banks in Kearny, Lyndhurst and Clifton over a one-month span last summer.
Lockwood faces up to 20 years in prison for each robbery along with a $250, 000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 2.
Information from: NJ Advance Media.

Ohio man convicted in bank sexual assault gets 40 years


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Who is the new Mrs Aaron Kwok? All about Moka Fang, model and actress who’s the bride of Canto-pop star (0.02/25)

Who is Moka Fang, the model-actress, the Canto-pop king formerly known as Asia’s most eligible bachelor? The 29-year-old Shanghainese beauty came to the attention of the wider world in December 2015 when Kwok, 51, announced their relationship on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter. On his relationship status, he posted a picture of his hand clasped over a woman’s, with his car dashboard in the background. He captioned the photo, “I now have to drive a bit more slowly” and tagged Fang’s Weibo account. Despite having dated a string of Asia’s most beautiful women in the past – he is said to have had a seven-year affair with model Lynn Hung – this was the first time Kwok had admitted being in a relationship. Asked by a Hong Kong magazine last year why he decided to reveal the relationship, Kwok said: “Everyone has watched me mature and knows that I have always been low-profile in my relationships. At the moment, I hope to use a new method to get to know my partner better. The most important thing is to receive everyone’s acknowledgement and blessings.” Fang first rose to fame in China in 2012 when she appeared on a matchmaking variety show and introduced herself as an accountant from Shanghai. On the show she revealed she had six relationships in the past. Later that same year she released a photo book titled, which contained a variety of revealing photos. She then appeared in an online series called about the lives of four young urban women, based loosely on and joined a group of female DJs called the Voodoogirls. Neither Kwok nor Fang have revealed when they met, but it has been reported that he proposed on a Ferris wheel during a holiday last year. In February this year, speculation that she was pregnant started when she posted photos of herself on her Weibo account with a caption reading: “Can you see anything different about me?” Rumours of the couple’s impending wedding started circulating several weeks ago, and hit fever pitch on Tuesday when Fang posted a photo on Instagram of red shoes – traditionally worn by brides during Chinese wedding ceremonies. Elsewhere on her Instagram account, Fang has shared images of her modelling work, her travels, her visits to the gym, and her pet poodle. However, there are none of her new husband, who is reported to have bought Fang a mansion in Shanghai costing about HK$30 million as a wedding gift.

Aaron Kwok is off the most eligible bachelors list - at 51, Hong Kong singer and actor has wed model 22 years his junior


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Bumping along! Pregnant Rosie Huntington-Whiteley goes braless for 30th birthday at Soho House with 49-year-old fiancé Jason Statham (0.02/25)

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley emphasized her burgeoning baby bump in a tight cocktail dress and - seemingly - no bra on her 30th birthday.
The erstwhile Victoria's Secret Angel was seen this Tuesday sauntering into the Malibu outpost of the British-born private members club Soho House.
Also spotted at the venue, though in a much more casual outfit, was Rosie's gorgeous fiancé Jason Statham, who'll be turning 50 near the end of July.
Scroll down for video
The Devon-born model and actress had slicked her blonde hair severely back and wound it into a bun, accessorizing with black trapezoidal sunglasses.
Her off-the-shoulder black dress featured a bit of frill at the neckline and was hemmed at the knee, though a thigh-slit showcased her pencil-thin legs.
Black ankle-strap stilettos completed the ensemble, and she'd wrapped a floral scarf about the strap of the camel-colored leather purse she'd brought that afternoon.
Meanwhile, her Derbyshire-born man emphasized his musclebound physique in a form-fitted pale grey polo short with short sleeves that bared his toned forearms.
A watch glinted on his left wrist, and he'd popped on a pair of aviator sunglasses, shoving his hands into the pockets of black slacks that clashed against grey shoes.
Rosie's fellow model Behati Prinsloo - still a Victoria's Secret Angel - was also spotted that day outside Soho House, where she'd been celebrating Rosie's birthday.
Among the two gift bags Mrs. Adam Levine was holding was a light blue one with multicolored lettering blaring: 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU' across one side of it.
Behati, who herself welcomed her first child only last September, showed off her enviably trim post-baby body in a skintight black top that bared bits of her sides.
She'd slid on a bright green cardigan that fell to the floor, rolling up its sleeves to her elbows and accessorizing with aviator sunglasses and a black pageboy cap.
A cross-body bag was slung from her right shoulder, and she'd folded up the hems of her frayed, torn jeans over the pair of black high-heeled boots she'd worn that day.
Stuck at the side of her left arm, just as her wrist ended and her thumb began, was a white strip that looked as though it could've been a bandage.
Behati'd posted an Instagram photo that day of Rosie with a impish grin on her face as she ate peanut butter straight out of the jar in front of a table strewn with food.
Rosie's slightly wavy blonde hair tumbled freely over a fur stole - whether it was real or faux was unclear - that featured strips in red, sandy brown and white.
'Forever my favorite picture of you!!!! Can't believe we are going to be moms together soon, doing mom things lol, specially since we've known each other since we were just babies!!! Love you. Happy birthday. @rosiehw ❤️, ' Behati captioned.
Jason and Rosie have been together since 2010 - the year he'd turned 43 and she'd turned 23 - and publicly announced their engagement last January.
Rosie broke the news that she was pregnant with an Instagram post uploaded February 9 in which she sat smiling on a beach in a bikini, bump bare.
'Very happy to share that Jason and I are expecting!!' she'd crowed in her caption, adding: 'Lots of love Rosie x' and revealing Jason had taken the picture.
Giving a rare interview about Jason to Harper's Bazaar Australia last year, Rosie vaunted her 'amazing relationship' with 'by far the greatest influence in my life.'

Supporting her fellow angel! Behati Prinsloo rocks a pair of mom jeans and a beret style hat as she attends Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's 30th birthday party in Malibu


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8 hospitalized after Massachusetts apartment fire (0.01/25)

ATHOL, Mass. (AP) - Massachusetts fire officials are investigating an apartment fire that sent at least eight people to the hospital.
The Greenfield Recorder reports (http: // that the severity of their injuries is unclear.
Five different fire departments were called to battle the flames Tuesday afternoon at a two-story apartment building in Athol (ATH’ -uhl) . It took them more than two-and-a-half hours to control the fire.
The state fire marshal’s office and a hazardous materials team have been asked to assist in the investigation. The Salvation Army is arranging shelter for the people who lost their homes.
Information from: The (Greenfield, Mass.) Recorder, http: //

Officials investigating fire that damaged house


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Golden girl! Rosario Dawson shows off her toned legs in split gown at Unforgettable premiere (0.01/25)

She plays new trophy wife Julia Banks in the thriller, Unforgettable.
And on Tuesday, Rosario Dawson was quite the golden girl at the Los Angeles premiere of her new film, which opens Friday.
While there, the actress had a mini reunion with a few of her former co-stars from the 2007 movie, Grindhouse.
For her big night, Rosario chose a floor-length, strapless gown.
The gold sequin dress featured a heart-shaped neckline and a thigh-high slit, layered over a lace mini.
The 37-year-old stunner wore her long brunette locks in tight waves. For make-up, Rosario chose a heavily lined eye paired with a pale lip.
While at the premiere, Rosario caught up with her former Grindhouse co-stars, Zoe Bell and Tracie Thomas.
The trio appeared in the 2007 horror thriller, directed by five people including Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.
The lovely ladies wore coordinating ensembles, with Zoe in a long sleeve yellow gown and Tracie choosing a dark print dress with gold accessories.
In Unforgettable, Rosario plays the new wife of a husband who's ex is out to terrorize her.
Katherine Heigl, Cheryl Ladd and Geoff Stults also star.
The film hits theaters on Friday.

Stars of 'Unforgettable" attend premiere


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SolGen slams De Lima’s ‘absurd,’ ‘desperate’ tactics (0.01/25)

BAGUIO CITY–Calling Senator Leila De Lima desperate, Solicitor General Jose C. Calida said she is already resorting to ‘ad hominem’ attacks to win her case at the Supreme Court.
In her memorandum, De Lima accused Calida of soliciting convicted car thief Jaybee Sebastian’s testimony against her in exchange for his transfer to the Maximum Security Compound of the New Bilibid Prison.
“Senator De Lima can do better than that, ” Calida said. “There is no truth to her allegations. Her absurd theories are desperate and futile attempts to veer the issue away from her involvement in narco-politics.”
“Senator Leila De Lima’s case is not tainted with any element of political persecution, ” the solicitor general said. “The charges against her only manifest the government’s political will to go against narco-politicians regardless of rank and stature, ” Calida added in a statement.
De Lima, in her memorandum, reasoned that the government failed to present vital evidence against one accused of drug trade which are the drugs.
The Senator’s camp pointed out that the government only based the case filed against her on testimonies of convicts inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) who were disqualified to be state witnesses and were probably driven by a personal motive following the raid she ordered on December 2015.
Aside from Sebastian, other witnesses against De Lima include Jaime Patio, Noel Martinez, Rodolfo Magleo, all convicted of kidnapping for ransom; Nonilo Arile, murder; Jojo Baligad, homicide; Herbert Colanggo, robbery; Engelberto Durano, murder and frustrated murder; Hans Anton Tan, robbery with murder; Peter Co and Vicente Sy, violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
During the oral arguments, Calida said the government has the discretion to determine who should be its witnesses.
“This is an admission that their witnesses are statutorily disqualified. With due respect, the Honorable Court must not sanction this kind of advocacy of lawlessness, ” Hilbay said.
He added that the convicts were not included as co-accused of De LIma despite admitting their participation to the drug trade.
On the other hand, the government’s memorandum submitted to the Supreme Court is silent on this issue raised by De Lima camp. IDL

De Lima admits petition not signed before notary public


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Republican Rep. Steve Knight fields questions on healthcare and Trump's possible conflicts of interest at town hall (0.01/25)

This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Here's what we're watching right now:
Be sure to follow us on Twitter for more, or subscribe to our free daily newsletter and the California Politics Podcast.
Rep. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) told the crowd at his packed town hall in Simi Valley that he figured many of them wanted to talk about North Korea. Then the shouts of "Russia" started.
"We won't talk about North Korea, " he said. "OK. Somebody please ask a question about a person who might start a war out there."
Knight engaged in about an hour of sometimes testy back-and-forth with the largely liberal crowd as they grilled him on his stances on various issues.
Knight's district is almost evenly split between registered Democrats and Republicans, while about a fifth of voters list themselves as "no party preference." National Democrats have targeted Knight's seat as one they want to flip in 2018.
Would he vote to keep preexisting conditions as the Republican-controlled Congress debates changing Obamacare?
"I will keep preexisting conditions, " he said.
Does he believe in "accelerated" climate change caused by humans?
"I do believe that humans have a part. I do believe that we are possibly in a cycle, " he said. "But that being said, you can't put this kind of pollution into the air and not think that it is affecting the atmosphere."
Knight also fielded questions about President Trump and criticized him for his frequent trips to his Florida resort.
"I don't think that going down to Mar-a-Lago — or whatever it is called — is proper, " he said.
Asked about Trump's possible conflicts of interest and whether he was violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, Knight said he and his staff were reading the Constitution on Tuesday asking, "Is this a violation, is this not? [This situation] is kind of different than any other president because you got a billionaire president that owns things, " he said.
"There has to be either an investigation or some sort of a committee looking into this, " he said.

PAC plans to troll Rep. Duncan Hunter over campaign finance investigation with rabbit-costumed character


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Video footage shows pair in Family Dollar armed robbery (0.01/25)

Detroit police have released surveillance footage of two suspects wanted in a January armed robbery and shooting at an east side Family Dollar.
Two males wearing hooded sweatshirts and armed with weapons entered the store in the 15200 block of East Warren about 6: 45 p.m. Jan. 23, pointed guns at a 19-year-old man and demanded his cellphone, department officials have said.
Once he complied, the suspects went to the 29-year-old cashier and demanded money from the register, but she was initially unable to open it, investigators reported.
One of the suspects then “fired a shot, striking the victim, ” authorities said in a statement.
The pair fled the business with an undisclosed amount of cash.
The cashier’s wound was not life-threatening, police said.
Anyone who recognizes the suspects, knows of their whereabouts or has any information on the crime is asked to call the Detroit Police Department at (313) 596-5540 or Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

Two suspects wanted in armed robbery and shooting


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Metro Detroit ER doctor warns about dangers of lawn mowing with kids (0.01/25)

With summer coming, we're telling you how to avoid lawnmower accidents as the warm weather and yard work picks up.
Copyright 2017 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Detroit non-profit group dumps trash into street to get city's attention


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Report: Weakening Syria's government could help IS group

The Islamic State group could inadvertently benefit from a situation in which Syrian government forces are considerably weakened on the ground, a London-based military analysis group said on Tuesday.
The report, published by IHS Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, follows the United States bombing of a Syrian army base after a chemical weapons attack on April 4 killed nearly 90 people.
The U. S. has accused the Syrian government of being behind the attack — charges that Syria denies.
In Syria, the Islamic State group is battling both government forces and forces allied with the U. S.-led coalition.
If Syrian government forces are weakened, IS fighters could more easily move into heavily populated cities and towns, said Columb Strack, senior Middle East analyst at IHS Markit.
"The Syrian government is essentially the anvil to the U. S.-led coalition's hammer, " Strack said.
Weakened Syrian government forces could give the militants additional footholds at a time when their grip on territory elsewhere in Syria and Iraq is being rolled back, Strack explained.
In Iraq, IS has lost more than half the territory the militants once controlled there and is now fighting to defend a cluster of western Mosul neighborhoods that mark the last significant urban area the group holds in that country.
Across both Iraq and Syria, IS has lost nearly half the territory it held at the height of its power in 2014. Since then, a combination of more intense U. S.-led coalition involvement in the fight against IS and Syrian government advances in Aleppo and Palmyra have pushed IS out of more than 40, 000 square kilometers (15, 400 square miles) of territory.
The U. S.-led coalition and the fighters it backs are moving to surround Raqqa before attacking the northern Syrian city, which is the extremist group's self-declared capital.
Predominantly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by the coalition, announced they have surrounded the town Tabqa, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) southwest of Raqqa with U. S.-led air and ground support.
However, Strack said while coalition forces are focused on Raqqa, IS may be poised to gain territory in another city — Deir el-Zour — if the Syrian government forces holding the militants back there are weakened.
"The capture of Deir el-Zour, the largest city in eastern Syria, could be a life-line for the group's governance project beyond the loss of Mosul and Raqqa, " Strack said in the report, adding that the city could serve as "a new major population center from which to run the caliphate."


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Ex-Saints star's killer faces sentencing, but delay possible

It was a road-rage confrontation that cost former New Orleans Saints star Will Smith his life. Now, more than a year later, the man who pumped eight bullets into Smith is close to learning his punishment.
Cardell Hayes, 29, appeared to have caught something of a break at his December trial when a jury rejected the prosecution's push for a second-degree murder verdict, which would have meant mandatory life in prison.
But New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said soon afterward that he believes Hayes deserves a 60-year sentence: the maximum 40 years for Smith's death, to be followed by another 20 for attempted manslaughter in the wounding of Smith's wife Racquel.
Hayes is scheduled for a sentencing hearing Wednesday in the courtroom of state District Judge Camille Buras. Buras also is expected to hear arguments on a motion, filed Tuesday, seeking a new trial based on unspecified "new evidence." Details were not immediately available.
That might push a final decision on sentencing to later in the week even if Buras rejects the motion. A provision in the state criminal code says a sentence cannot be imposed until at least 24 hours after a new trial motion is overruled.
The sentencing hearing is likely to echo the drama of Hayes's trial, including testimony from Racquel Smith about the effect the shooting had on her and her three children.
"You'll see a Cliff's Notes version of the trial, " predicts Donald "Chick" Foret, a criminal attorney and legal analyst.
And it will likely draw a crowd, including local sports figures. Saints stars past and present — including coach Sean Payton, quarterback Drew Brees and former running back Deuce McAllister — often dropped in to the trial to show support for Smith's friends and family.
Smith was cast during the trial not only as a football hero — part of the Saints team that lifted the stricken city's spirits after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the one that won a Super Bowl in 2010 — but also a beloved community leader who settled in New Orleans after retirement.
Expect the defense to again characterize Hayes, a former semi-pro football player and the owner of a tow truck business, as the affable, loving father to his 6-year-old son. The defense has noted the absence of any serious criminal record and has said Hayes feared for his life when he encountered a drunken, belligerent Smith following a traffic crash on the night of April 9, 2016.
Jurors heard at trial that Hayes's Hummer had rear-ended Smith's Mercedes SUV that night, shortly after the SUV appeared to have tapped the rear of Hayes's car.
Although prosecutors said Hayes deliberately rammed Smith's vehicle, Hayes insisted he was trying to get Smith's license number when the second crash occurred. The jury appeared to believe Hayes on this point, finding him not guilty of aggravated criminal damage to property.
Hayes said he armed himself only after he and his own passenger were accosted by Smith and Richard Hernandez, a passenger in Smith's Mercedes. He insisted he fired at Smith, hitting him once in the side and seven times in the back, only because he believed Smith had retrieved a gun from the SUV. He insisted on the stand that he heard a "pop" before he started shooting and that he did not shoot at Racquel Smith, who was hit in the legs.
A gun was found in Smith's SUV — loaded but unfired. There was no other witness and no forensic evidence to back up Hayes' claim that Smith was armed.
Prosecutors have acknowledged that the former Saint had a high blood-alcohol level after spending a day at the city's annual French Quarter festival and the evening dining and drinking with friends. But they said he did nothing to provoke the shooting.
For all the expected emotion, legal experts say there is little chance Buras will be influenced by either side. She presided over the trial and is familiar with all the issues raised in pre-hearing motions and a pre-sentence report she ordered.
"She's well aware of the facts of the case, " said attorney and Loyola University law professor Dane Ciolino. "There's not going to be a whole lot that can be said."
Ciolino said Buras likely will have a sentence in mind when she enters the courtroom.
Foret agrees. "Most judges have their minds made up when they take the bench the morning of sentencing, " he said. "I would be very surprised if either the state or the defense will present any information to Judge Buras that will significantly change the sentence that she is prepared to impose."


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Early count points to loss for Jakarta’s ethnic-Chinese leader

Jakarta’s popular Chinese-Christian governor looked set for a crushing defeat in polls on Wednesday that pit him against a Muslim rival and put the country’s pluralism under scrutiny.
A quick count of a representative sample taken from 69 per cent of ballots cast showed Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama was trailing his opponent Anies Baswedan by a score of 42.61 per cent to 57.39 per cent.
Voting in over 13, 000 polling stations across the national capital closed at 1pm after opening six hours earlier.
Two polling observers told the This Week in Asia that counting so far appeared to point towards a Baswedan victory.
Will Islam swing nail-biter election for Jakarta’s governor?
“Don’ t let any cheating happen, because the future of Jakarta is determined by the election today, ” Purnama, known commonly by his Chinese nickname “Ahok” told reporters after casting his vote with his family in north Jakarta, local media reports said.
The electoral battle – a two-person run-off following a first round in February – stoked communal tension because of the profile of the candidates. Purnama, a member of the tiny but affluent Chinese community, is a key ally of President Joko Widodo. Baswedan, an academic and former education minister, is backed by the opposition and major Muslim groups.
What’s driving anti-Ahok Muslims to Jakarta’s polls?
Purnama was an early favourite but his popularity plummeted after authorities brought blasphemy charges against him late last year for comments he made about Islam on the campaign trail. Purnama’s supporters say prosecutors filed the charges under pressure from Islamist groups that do not want to see a non-Muslim hold a key political position. Purnama became governor in 2014 after his predecessor Widodo became president.
Baswedan was appointed education minister by Widodo in 2014 but he was sacked last year in a reshuffle seen by observers as a move by the president to weed out ministers undermining his authority.


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FEU dumps UST in UAAP men’s Final Four

Far Eastern University kept its Final Four campaign alive in the UAAP Season 79 men’s volleyball tournament after eliminating University of Santo Tomas in straight sets, 25-22, 27-25, 25-18, Wednesday at Filoil Flying V Centre.
The third-seeded Tamaraws overcame the fourth-seeded Growling Tigers in the first step-ladder game to set up a meeting with no. 2 National University, which has a twice-to-beat incentive, for the last finals berth.
Defending champions Ateneo got an automatic bye to the championship round by virtue of its 14-0 card.


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Suburban Chicago Trump backer beats challenger by 151 votes

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. (AP) - A longtime suburban Chicago mayor whose support for Donald Trump ignited a tougher-than-expected re-election campaign has narrowly defeated his Democratic challenger. Tuesday's count of provisional and mail-in ballots found Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar won with 6, 425 votes. That is 151 more than challenger Will County Commissioner Jackie Traynere. Claar hosted a fundraiser for Trump in September, which angered some voters in the suburb of about 75, 000 people. He noted he wasn't running just against Traynere but also against her Democratic supporters. Claar has been mayor of Bolingbrook since 1986. His previous three elections came after running unopposed or against write-in candidates. In a statement, Traynere said village residents clearly want change given it was a close election. She said change will happen, but not as swiftly as was hoped. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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EPA seeks to scuttle cleanup of coal power plant pollution

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Trump administration is once again seeking to scuttle cuts to pollution from coal-fired power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court in Washington to postpone consideration of 2012 rules requiring energy companies to cut emissions of toxic chemicals. The agency said in a court filing it wants to review the restrictions, which are already in effect. Nationally, most utilities are already on pace to comply with the new standards. It is the latest in a string of moves by President Donald Trump's appointees to help companies that profit from burning of fossil fuels. Last week EPA administrator Scott Pruitt announced he would seek to rewrite Obama-era rules limiting water pollution from coal-fired power plants. The agency also sought to roll back tighter restrictions on pollution from coal mines. Trump has pledged to reverse decades of decline in a U. S. coal industry under threat from such cleaner sources of energy as natural gas, wind turbines and solar farms. The president has also said he doesn't agree with the consensus of climate scientists that carbon emissions from fossil fuels is the primary cause of global warming. Coal burned to generate electricity is also the nation's largest source of mercury pollution, which when inhaled or ingested by pregnant women can harm the development of infant brains. Though Congress passed legislation enabling tighter mercury restrictions in 1990, implementing rules to carry out the policy of the law has been stalled for decades by legal wrangling and utility lobbying. After EPA finalized the new rules four years ago, the agency was sued by a coalition of conservative states and industry groups. Pruitt, who as Oklahoma's attorney general was tightly aligned with oil and gas companies, was among those who filed suit. The Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that the EPA did not adequately consider the costs and benefits of the plan. But the justices let the rule stay in effect and returned it to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for further review. The appeals court left the rule intact while the EPA considered its costs. The agency issued new findings last year, upholding its prior position that the human health benefits of reducing mercury in the environment far outweighed the costs of installing new filters on power-plant smoke stacks. Though the EPA now appears to be reversing course, environmental groups pledged to defend the restrictions in court. Graham McCahan, a lawyer for the Environmental Defense Fund, said the tighter standards are already saving thousands of lives every year. "Virtually every power plant in America is already in compliance with the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, " he said. "Weakening them would be a serious threat to the safety of our food, air and water." ___ Follow Associated Press environmental writer Michael Biesecker at www. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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‘Stranger Things’ Shannon Purser Comes Out as Bisexual: ‘It’s Something I’ m Still Processing’

Stranger Things star Shannon Purser has come out as bisexual, one week after admitting she's suffered “anxiety” over her sexuality.
The actress, who had a breakout role as Barb on the hit show and now stars on Riverdale, posted a candid message on Twitter on Wednesday, April 19, and revealed she is still trying to come to terms with her feelings.
“I don’ t normally do this, but I figure now is as good a time as any to get personal, ” she wrote. “I’ ve only just recently come out as bisexual to my family and friends. It’s something I am still processing and trying to understand and I don’ t like talking about it too much.”
Purser, 19, penned the emotional message in response to backlash over a tweet she has now deleted, that was directed at fans of Riverdale who had been “shipping” two female characters, Veronica and Betty, in the show.
She was accused of “queerbaiting” and felt she needed to clarify her comments and apologize too.
“I’ m very new to the LGBT community. I have never heard the term “queerbaiting” in my life until today. That being said, I have never ever wanted to alienate anyone and my tweet was thoughtless. I wasn’ t referring to all the beronica shippers, just the ones who had been particularly cruel to me personally. Either way, it wasn’ t a wise or kind thing to say and I’ m disappointed in myself.”
On April 11 she revealed she’s struggled with her sexuality and admitted: “I know what it’s like to have anxiety about it. Especially trying to come to terms with it and my faith. It can be really scary.”
Purser previously opened up to Us Weekly about overcoming self-harming and depression and said: “I felt so isolated and so unworthy of love.”
But through therapy and her strong religious faith she was able to recover and hasn’ t self-harmed since she was 15.
“The most evil and insidious thing about mental illness is that it isolates us and makes us feel so different that we think no one can possibly relate, ” declared Purser “In the end, that can be how it destroys us if we don’ t let people into our struggle. And as cliché as it sounds, if you really make the effort, you can get better and you can live not just a hard life, but a beautiful life.”
Check out her full interview with Us here .
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Tourists flock to Canadian town after large icebergs spotted

Tourists have flocked to a Canadian town in the hope of seeing one of the first icebergs of the season.
Over the Easter weekend, large icebergs washed up near Newfoundland, also known as "iceberg alley" thanks to the large number of ice blocks that drift down from the arctic each spring.
The icebergs are floating near the coastline making them visible for tourists and locals.
Icebergs hold most of their mass underwater, with just the tip of the iceberg protruding, meaning that many run aground when they veer near the coast.
Local business told CBC Radio that tourism has soared since the arrival of the icebergs.


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PSEi falls on telco, US jitters

The local stock barometer tumbled on Wednesday as weak sentiment in Wall Street spilled over to regional markets while legal jitters dragged telecom stocks.
The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index lost 66 points or 0.87 percent to close at 7, 522.98.
PLDT led the PSEi lower with its 3.41 percent drop while JG Summit – a key investor in PLDT – also tumbled by 3.05 percent. Globe Telecom fell by 2.45 percent.
The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has elevated to the Supreme Court a petition to allow it to review the P70-billion sale by San Miguel Corp.’s telecom assets to PLDT and Globe. This was after Court of Appeals, acting on a petition from PLDT, blocked the PCC’s attempts to review the controversial transaction.
PCC, the Philippine’s antitrust body, had previously said the transaction allowed PLDT and Globe to corner a disproportionate share of much-coveted telco frequencies.
As telco stocks slipped, the services counter also fell by 1.75 percent while the industrial and holding firm counters also slipped by over 1 percent.
The mining/oil and property counters also declined. The financial counter, on the other hand, ended slightly higher.
“Philippine markets were sold down heavily mostly in reaction to U. S. equities falling on Tuesday after Goldman Sachs shocked Wall Street by missing estimates, ” said Luis Gerado Limlingan, managing director at Regina Capital Development.
“Investors also remained vigilant amid U. S.-North Korea tensions and the nearing of the French presidential election. British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that she is calling a snap general election in the U. K., with the vote to be held on June 8th, and so the FTSE100 fell sharply, ” he added.
At the local market, value turnover for the day amounted to P5.55 billion. Market breadth was negative as there were nearly twice as many decliners (125) as advancers (67) .
Outside of telecom stocks, investors also sold down other large cap stocks like SM Investments, GT Capital, Jollibee and URC which all declined by over 1 percent.
BPI, Ayala Land, SM Prime, Ayala Corp., Semirara, ICTSI and AGI also contributed to the day’s decline.
On the other hand, BDO, DMCI, MPI and Megaworld eked out modest gains.
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Salty food increases sensation of hunger more than thirst, says new study

By simulating a space mission to Mars, an international team of researchers noted that eating salty food led to greater hunger than thirst, at least in the long term. The reason seems to be a protective mechanism that conserves water in the kidneys.
Researchers from the Max Delbrûck Center for Molecular Medicine in Germany and Vanderbilt University in the city of Nashville in the United States studied the link between salt intake and drinking habits on a simulated space mission to Mars.
You may be thinking what’s the connection between Mars and salt? There isn’ t one really, except perhaps that on a long trip, holding on to every drop of water is important. In fact, the advantage of this environment was that the scientists could easily monitor and measure all aspects of food, salt and water intake.
The team selected ten male volunteers who were sealed into a “spaceship” for two simulated flights to Mars. They observed the first group for 105 days and the second for 205 days. They were all given the same food, except that over periods of weeks their food had three different levels of salt content (6, 9 and 12 grams) .
Unsurprisingly, they showed that eating more salt led to urine with a higher salt content and a greater quantity of urine. But this increase was not due to the fact that the volunteers were drinking more.
The researchers found that the volunteers who went from a 6-gram to 12-gram salt intake drank less, and that a mechanism conserving water in their kidneys or producing more water was triggered.
The original hypothesis—that charged sodium and chloride ions in salt took hold of water molecules and dragged them into the urine—had been ripped apart. The experiment showed that salt remained in the urine while water moved back to the kidneys and the rest of the body.
The scientists had to revise their view of urea, a product formed in muscles and the liver as a way of shedding nitrogen. Experiments on mice showed that urea accumulates in the kidneys where it neutralizes the pull of the sodium and chloride ions. But making urea requires energy, which explains why the mice on a high-salt diet had a bigger appetite. Eating salty food didn’ t increase their thirst, it increased their hunger. The researchers explain in this study that urea is therefore not simply a waste product, but is a compound which binds to water and helps to keep water in the body when it gets rid of salt.
Mother Nature has found a way of holding on to water which would otherwise be carried away into the urine by salt. JB


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Slims River: Climate change causes ‘river piracy’ in Canada’s Yukon

A group of scientists contend a melting glacier in Canada’s Yukon has caused a tide to totally change course.
Their findings, published in Nature Geoscience, uncover how meridian change can means startling geological events.
The Slims River once flowed out to a Bering Sea, though now it flows into a Kaskawulsh River instead.
This phenomenon, famous as “river piracy”, typically takes centuries though a investigate documented it over a march of one spring.
“Nobody’s ever seen a tide robbery start in complicated times, during slightest to my knowledge, ” lead author Dan Shugar told a BBC.
The geoscientist during a University of Washington Tacoma says he and 6 researchers from Canadian and American universities had designed to investigate a Slims River final summer.
But when they arrived in a Yukon it was hardly flowing. They detected that a tiny channel had eroded in a vast glacier that fed a series of tiny lakes.
The freezing lakes used to feed dual tide systems – a Slims River and a Kaskawulsh River – though when H2O from one lake poured by a channel into another, it cut a Slims off from a H2O source.
The eventuality is famous as tide robbery or tide capture, and can take thousands of years. But a researchers documented a robbery of a Slims River in only one spring.
Prof Shugar pronounced his colleague, John Clague, during Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, had likely this eventuality only a decade before since of a area’s singular geological formation. But no one knew when or how fast a tide constraint would occur.
River gauges uncover an sudden four-day dump in late May 2016, that afterwards continued over a summer, a investigate found.
By a time Prof Shugar and his associates got there, a Slims was fundamentally “a long, spare lake”.
“The Slims River was radically cut off from how it was issuing before, ” he said.
The change in a river’s upsurge influenced a whole landscape. Sheep are now extending on a unprotected tide bank, while other rivers in a area are using high. Fish population, wildlife and lake chemistry will continue to be affected, a investigate noted.
In a large picture, Prof Shugar said, a robbery of a Slims is a sign that meridian change “may move surprises that we are not appreciating entirely and that we’ re not indispensably prepared for”.


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Russian warship to visit PH

The Russian Navy’s guided missile cruiser Varyag will be in Manila for a four-day port visit starting Thursday.
This is the second visit of a Russian warship to the Philippines this year as part of the warming relations between the two countries.
Varyag will be joined by sea tanker Pechenga from the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy, Philippine Navy spokesperson Captain Lued Lincuna said.
A shipboard tour is scheduled on Saturday at Pier 15 in South Harbor. A concert at the park by the Russian Cultural Dancers and Music Ensemble is set on Sunday at the Luneta Park in Manila.
Russian anti-submarine ship Admiral Tributs came to Manila for a five-day port visit early January, which was also toured by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Russia earlier said it was ready to help the Philippines enhance its military capabilities.
Duterte is scheduled to visit Russia in May to meet President Vladimir Putin. The two first met at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru last year. Frances Mangosing/JE


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Afghan official: Taliban governor among 14 killed in clashes

Afghan officials say 14 Taliban fighters, including the shadow governor of the northern Baghlan province, have been killed in heavy fighting with Afghan forces.
Amir Gul Hussainkhil, the deputy provincial chief police, said Wednesday that Afghan security forces launched a large-scale attack on the insurgents the night before in the western part of the province, setting off five hours of intense fighting and killing Taliban shadow governor Mawlavi Lal Mohammad.
Hussainkhil said the dead also included a number of expert bomb makers. He says no government forces were killed.
The Taliban have not commented on the fighting.


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Sen. Elizabeth Warren launches book tour

NEW YORK — She wasn't in her home state, but U. S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren couldn't have asked for a friendlier audience to launch her book tour.
The Massachusetts Democrat entered and left to warm ovations Tuesday night at the Barnes & Noble in Manhattan's Union Square, where she spoke about "This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class."
More than 200 people gathered as Warren, one of the country's leading progressives, read a few pages and responded to written questions, most of them focused on issues such as health care, the environment and the role of unions.
The appearance felt as much like a political rally as an author reading, with Warren pacing about the stage instead of standing behind the lectern. Many cheered as she called for ongoing resistance to President Donald Trump and condemned Republicans for caring only about the wealthy. When Warren asked how many had attended one of the women's marches held the day after Trump's inauguration, dozens raised their hands. Warren also jokingly referred to her "nerdiness" whenever she cited statistics, and noted that when she offered "facts, " she didn't mean "alternative facts."
"I never thought I'd have to start using a modifier for 'facts, '" she said.
"This Fight is Our Fight" is Warren's 11th book and ranked No. 42 on as of late Tuesday. The book, like her talk at Barnes & Noble, didn't place any blame for the Democrats' loss in 2016 and instead emphasized the struggles of the middle class.


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Head of SF police watchdog pushed out over purported management failures

The head of the San Francisco Police Department’s civilian watchdog agency was apparently forced from her position six months shy of her decade-long tenure, which would have given her roughly $100, 000 in fixed annual retirement, the San Francisco Examiner has learned.
Joyce Hicks, who has led the Department of Police Accountability (formerly the Office of Citizen Complaints) since she was appointed in November 2007, announced her retirement Monday in an all-staff email, saying that she was leaving before her time to care for her elderly father, who was a Tuskegee Airman.
But sources have told the Examiner she was forced into early retirement because of low morale and a failure of leadership, including what some DPA employees have called her tyrannical leadership style.
Critics of her leadership of the agency have also said she was too focused on pushing through paperwork and meeting deadlines at the expense of robust police oversight. In previous interviews, Hicks argued that such claims were untrue and that her agency was doing its job.
She could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The DPA, which was recently renamed and given expanded powers and a larger budget, is tasked with investigating all complaints of police misconduct and now all police shootings.
It was also recently given the power to audit the Police Department, which itself is going through a period of reform including a new chief and a raft of recommendations to implement from a federal Department of Justice review that was recently completed.
Hicks apparent ouster comes after Police Commission President Julius Turman was contacted by SEIU 1021 on behalf of their members at the DPA, which led to a meeting in late March where the issues with Hicks were reportedly discussed.
“The president spoke to people about Joyce, ” said one source with knowledge of the union meeting who did not want to be identified.
Another source with knowledge of the meeting who also wanted to remain anonymous said that Hicks had “lost the confidence of [her] employees.”
Hicks, who earns $207, 095 annually, tendered her resignation effective April 30, which means she will not be eligible for a full retirement. According to The City, anyone who is 60 or older and has 10 years of service is eligible for a guaranteed retirement payment. In Hicks’ case, that would have meant roughly a quarter of her current salary for the remainder of her life. Hicks was 55 when named by Mayor Gavin Newsom to lead the agency in October 2007.
Still, she will receive full medical benefits for life and can cash out her 188 hours of unused vacation.
As of Tuesday, her second-in-command, Eric Balthazar, was effectively running the agency.
The Examiner has previously reported about issues among rank and file, specifically a union-sponsored survey of the staff that indicated widespread dissatisfaction with Hicks. Former employees have said they fear that if they crossed her or spoke out she would retaliate against them.
In late February, SEIU Local 1021 sent a letter to the Police Commission and others at City Hall in which they urged Hicks to “cease and desist” from harassing employees who took part in a survey about department morale. The letter mentioned a threatening poem that she had sent to staff after the survey that seemed to indicate she was not afraid of what they said in the survey.
The survey found that 83 percent of employees had low morale and 75 percent thought the agency was not run well.
A letter sent earlier that month was more blunt about Hicks and her impact on the OCC. “The OCC will never function effectively as long as Joyce Hicks is the director, ” declared the union on Feb. 4.
Read more criminal justice news on the Crime Ink page in print. Follow us on Twitter: @sfcrimeink


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City College may tie free tuition to grades

San Francisco is on the cusp of finalizing an agreement to make tuition free at City College of San Francisco, but at least one sticking point remains over whether students have to meet certain academic requirements to be eligible.
As cities across the nation discuss free higher education, the efforts are not as simple or all encompassing as they might first seem. In New York, students receiving free tuition will have to live and work in the state after graduation. In San Francisco, undocumented immigrants will need to establish California residency before attending for free.
The latest caveat in San Francisco is that students may need to maintain a 2.0 grade-point average and complete half of their units every semester to receive free tuition, according to an email from Interim Chancellor Susan Lamb that was obtained Tuesday by the San Francisco Examiner.
Lamb said in the email Monday to Mayor Ed Lee that the college has been preparing to roll out free tuition next year on the assumption that students would need to meet the academic requirements.
“I have heard from staff that this was not the original intent of Free City and that regardless of academic standing, a student should be allowed to financially benefit, ” Lamb wrote. “I am concerned regarding this new perspective because of the variance from our current college and state policies, the potential negative impact on student success, and the possible abuse of taxpayer monies.”
But Supervisor Jane Kim, who argued with the mayor about using voter-approved funding for the effort for months, wants San Francisco residents to attend for free no matter their academic standing.
“Free City College has always been about expanding educational opportunity to everyone, regardless of income or current academic status, ” Kim said in an email through a spokesperson. “The last thing that we should do is ration education — especially not when a higher degree is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity.”
CCSF Board of Trustees President Thea Selby, however, said she is also supportive of the academic requirements for free tuition.
“This is the policy of community colleges in California, ” Selby said. “We have a strong desire in community colleges to have our students succeed and success is about passing your classes.”
Lamb said under current policy, students who do not meet the requirements are placed on academic probation and in danger of losing financial aid.
“The college’s understanding was that Free City would also require students to complete classes and be in good academic standing, ” Lamb said.
A spokesperson for the mayor did not return requests for comment.
The dispute may be cause for concern since student registration is just weeks away.
The mayor, Kim and Lamb still need to finalize a memorandum of understanding between the college and San Francisco before $5.4 million is disbursed to CCSF for free tuition and some expenses next school year.
Lamb said in the email that she is “concerned that we will have difficulty reaching agreement” on an MOU because of the issue.
Nonetheless, both Kim and college officials said they are still ready to move forward with free tuition next semester.
“I have full confidence that we’ re going to figure out this MOU, I have no question in my mind, ” Selby said. “It’s in everybody’s interest.”
The effort gained steam in November when San Francisco voters approved a luxury property tax that Kim placed on the ballot and promised to spend on free tuition.
Jeff Hamilton, a spokesperson for City College, said continuing students are encouraged to enroll in courses May 3 and new students May 24.
“We’ re moving full-steam ahead, ” Hamilton said. “We will have a fall implementation of Free City.”


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Greens call for electoral pact with Labour and Lib Dems to defeat Tories

The co-leaders of the Green party have written to Jeremy Corbyn and Tim Farron to urge some form of pact in the upcoming general election, saying this was the only way to “stop the Tories from wrecking our country for generations to come”.
Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley told their Labour and Liberal Democrat counterparts that cooperating could be the route to seeing off an “extreme” form of Brexit and to help deliver a fairer voting system.
The Greens have previously argued for a so-called progressive alliance in which centre-left parties avoid competing against each other in certain seats as a way of combating the Conservatives.
The party’s then-leader, Natalie Bennett, raised the idea last year, arguing it was the best way to counter the iniquities of the first-past-the-post electoral system, which allowed the current government to be voted in by just 24% of the electorate.
The Greens opted to not field a candidate in December’s Richmond byelection, where the Lib Dems unseated the Conservatives’ Zac Goldsmith. At the time, some Labour figures, among them Lisa Nandy, Clive Lewis and Jonathan Reynolds, argued their party should consider a similar move.
Wednesday’s letter avoids the term progressive alliance, and talks about such deals happening in “a handful of seats”, but stresses the potential importance of the move.
Requesting a meeting with Corbyn and Farron, Lucas and Bartley say they are “deeply concerned too about the prospect of a further Conservative majority and the impact on our crumbling NHS, the housing crisis, the environment and what for young people is a bleak and uncertain future”.
The letter continues: “We understand that, in the immediate run-up to an election, signalling a willingness to work with other parties might be difficult but we hope you’ ll agree that the times we are living in require leaders to be courageous and visionary, to actively build a more positive politics.
“Britain is at a crossroads – and this election will dictate the very future of our country. Many of the public want us to join forces to help stop the Tories from further wrecking our country for generations to come and we hope you will be willing to at least take the first step and meet with us.”
Corbyn and Farron have previously dismissed the idea of such an electoral pact, even a limited one where any deals had to be agreed at local party level.
However, members of Corbyn’s team have in the past informally explored the idea of such cooperation, for example as a way of keeping the Ukip leader, Paul Nuttall, from victory in February’s Stoke Central byelection .
Farron has said he would resist any alliance with Corbyn’s Labour, saying he disagrees too fundamentally with many of his positions, for example over Brexit.
An analysis of the 2015 election by the Compass thinktank, a leading supporter of the idea, has identified more than 100 seats where a progressive alliance could have an impact in reducing the number of Conservative MPs.
Its figures showed that there were 47 constituencies where the combined centre-left vote was greater than the winning 2015 Conservative tally, and 41 more where it is behind by 5% or less.
They also identify a further 48 seats in which one of the parties is 10% or less in front of the Tories or Ukip, and which could be defended by such an alliance.
The Greens said they planned to make further announcements on the idea of some form of pact for 8 June, and stressed any decisions would have to be made at a local party level.
Lucas said: “Britain is at a crossroads – and this election will dictate the very future of our country.” She continued: “Our call for a meeting between party leaders isn’ t about the Greens standing aside – it’s about giving people in this country the best possible chance of defeating the Conservatives and bringing in a truly democratic voting system.”


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Scandal and recession dash recovery hopes in Brazil

BRASILIA, Brazil –– The stock market may have rallied, the currency may have strengthened, but one year after President Dilma Rousseff's ouster, Brazilians see few reasons to cheer.
The country's deepest recession in history grinds on. Unemployment has reached a record high. The government wants everyone to delay retirement. And now, video testimony has emerged showing corporate executives detailing –– sometimes, laughingly –– how they bought off dozens of top politicians.
For those who believed the removal of Rousseff and the leftist Workers' Party from power was all that it would take to restore Brazil's swagger, the last 12 months have proved a slow and painful lesson. The country's gross domestic produce is forecast to grow a meager 0.4 percent this year even after the central bank cut benchmark borrowing rates by 3 full percentage points since October. Frustrated by a seemingly endless corruption scandal and the government's austerity program, patience with Brazil's political establishment is growing thin ahead of next year's general election.
The gloom on the streets has yet to affect the markets. The stock index has risen over 22 percent and the real, Brazil's currency, is up 16 percent since April 2016, highlighting investors' unwavering confidence that the unpopular government of President Michel Temer can turn around the economy and push through crucial reforms just as the corruption scandal, known as Carwash, flares up again.
Given that Brazil has repeatedly bounced back from political scandals, economic crises and a previous impeachment, they may be on to something.
But even Temer's allies in Congress worry that his administration is not doing enough to boost the economy in the short term.
Rogerio Rosso, a legislator from the allied Social Democratic Party who helped oversee Rousseff's impeachment, said the government is right to push through structural economic reforms, though he worries it is not giving enough importance to the productive economy. "The economic team just thinks of numbers and adjustment and not about the day-to-day of the productive sector, " he said.
Operation Carwash has been running for over three years, but the scandal took a significant turn last week when Supreme Court Judge Luiz Edson Fachin authorized investigations into eight members of the Cabinet, about a quarter of the Senate and dozens of congressional deputies.
Four of Brazil's five living former presidents have been cited by executives from Odebrecht in relation to corruption allegations. Temer himself, though effectively shielded from prosecution relating to acts predating his presidency, issued a video defending himself from claims that he took part in discussions involving illegal campaign financing.
Compounding the sense of crisis, thousands of hours worth of video testimony from Odebrecht executives were released by the Supreme Court and shown by the mainstream media. In a country where TV remains the dominant information medium, the videos brought to life the written transcripts that have dominated newspaper coverage for months in vivid and depressing detail.
Founder Emilio Odebrecht barely suppressed contempt for Rousseff. Son and CEO Marcelo Odebrecht's exasperation at the fact the company's bribe department was a victim of theft. The bland, matter-of-fact detail of how the executives illegally bankrolled the most powerful politicians in the country for decades shocked even graft-hardened Brazilians.
"The verb to serve doesn't exist in Brazilian politics and this is what we are witnessing now in a most clear, devastating way, " said Roberto DaMatta, a social anthropologist and professor emeritus at the University of Notre Dame. "Nobody is optimistic because everybody is ashamed."
Some of the president's closest ministerial aides face investigation, as do the speaker of the lower house, the head of the Senate, and the deputy responsible for guiding a crucial pension bill through Congress.
As the news hit, Rodrigo Maia, the lower house speaker, canceled an important congressional vote to provide debt relief to Brazil's cash-strapped states. Though the government and its allies went on the offensive in the days after the Supreme Court decision, insisting that the scandal would not affect its agenda, some of its foot soldiers in Congress tell a different story.
"It's become a fight for survival, " said Rogerio Peninha Mendonca, a deputy from Temer's Brazilian Democratic Movement Party. "No one is going to be tied to Temer to the detriment of social projects. There's a huge sense of dismay in politics."
The fallout from last week's revelations was widespread. At least 15 political parties were affected and several potential presidential candidates for 2018 face further investigation.
Temer and Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles have been in damage-control mode, trying to keep the government's pension reform schedule on track.
Others, however, from outside Brazil's traditional politics have seen their stars rise as the scandal sinks the establishment.
Sao Paulo Mayor Joao Doria, an entrepreneur and reality TV star, suddenly appears to be leap-frogging over his tainted party rivals in the race for the presidential nomination. Far-right legislator and probable presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro celebrated his absence from Fachin's list while mocking the inclusion of a long-standing political adversary in a video on his Facebook feed.


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A climate-change trailblazer in Canada takes two steps back

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – British Columbia promotes itself as "Super, Natural, " and for many years it was praised for walking that talk.
Nearly a decade ago, the province enacted North America's first tax on carbon emissions, putting it on the cutting edge of government efforts to fight climate change. The economy grew even as emissions declined. Climate activists around the world admired the move but so did conservatives like former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, who sought market-driven solutions.
Now, however, Canada's West Coast is striving toward a very different kind of cutting edge: British Columbia is positioning itself to become a global leader in exporting fossil fuels, with plans to nearly triple crude oil exports through a new pipeline and vastly expand production of liquefied natural gas to be sold in Asia.
And although the revenue-neutral carbon tax is still in place, the province's political leadership has halted the annual rate increases built into the original plan. Emissions are rising again.
"They definitely have horses on either side of the wagon, " Tarika Powell, who studies fossil fuel exports for Sightline Institute, a Seattle research organization, said of the British Columbia government. "And they are going in opposite directions."
In a province that has been influential in shaping environmental policy in Canada and beyond, the question is which horse will prevail – and one clue to the answer is expected to come next month, when Premier Christy Clark faces re-election.
Clark, who took office in 2011, leads the conservative but incongruously named BC Liberal Party. Her predecessor, Gordon Campbell, was also a member of that party, yet while Campbell pushed the carbon tax to approval in 2008 and still takes pride in it, Clark has shown little interest in climate leadership.
She instead has championed liquefied natural gas, which involves cooling natural gas into a dense liquid to make it easier and cheaper to ship.
If all 19 of the current LNG proposals in the province were built, according to Powell's research, British Columbia would become the world's largest LNG exporter many times over, dwarfing the current leaders, Qatar and Australia. Emissions from LNG terminals and refineries could drastically increase the level of greenhouse gas emissions within the province – and much of those emissions would be exempt from the carbon tax, according to analyses of Clark's plans.
It was Clark who froze the carbon tax in 2012 and has refused to raise it since, essentially ignoring the advice of a task force she created to make recommendations. Although Clark does highlight the province's leadership on the carbon tax, she has cited concerns among some business groups and others that increasing it would hurt the economy.
Her closest challenger next month, John Horgan of the New Democratic Party, has said he supports raising the carbon tax because "it's the right thing to do, " and he has lashed out at Clark for accepting millions of dollars in campaign donations from fossil fuel companies and other industry groups.
Yet a New Democratic Party strategy document obtained and leaked by the BC Liberals made it clear that even Horgan's party is wary of being cast as supporting tax increases, regardless of the benefits. It also expressed concerns that the province's Green Party would peel away votes if it took no action.
"The BC Liberals will call it a tax increase – and they'll holler from the rooftops in rural B. C., " the leaked document said.
"We must holler back with: 'Our plan puts more money in the pocket for a majority of B. C. families. Hers doesn't. Our plan actually accomplishes the goals of a carbon tax – reducing carbon pollution. Hers doesn't. Our plan creates good jobs that last in a more sustainable economy with more opportunities for the future. Hers doesn't."
The political sensitivity over the carbon tax within the province is striking given its influence outside it.
In December, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau established his national climate plan, which requires all provinces and territories to put in place either a tax or a cap-and-trade plan by 2022.
Instead of using the moment to boast of British Columbia's early leadership on pricing carbon, Clark made a show of insisting before she agreed to it that the province would lead no further, that it would not increase its tax without other provinces making firm commitments to meet the 2022 goal.
Clark also did not put up a fight when Trudeau made what was widely viewed as a counterintuitive bargain to get the industry support he needed for his national plan: His administration approved two major pipelines that would transport crude from the vast tar sands in Alberta, next door to British Columbia. The larger of the two pipelines, called Trans Mountain, is the one that would nearly triple oil exports from British Columbia.
Like the proposed LNG projects, the Trans Mountain pipeline is intended to help Canadian fossil fuels reach markets in Asia, as well as the West Coast of the United States. It would transport nearly 900, 000 barrels a day, creating as much as a sevenfold increase in the number of ships navigating Vancouver's spectacular but fragile waterfront.
"There's a lot of opportunity for bad things to happen in a confined area, " said Derek Corrigan, the mayor of Burnaby, which is fighting the pipeline with the city of Vancouver, many First Nations and environmental groups.
Vessel traffic also could be much worse if many of the LNG projects are built.
Yet whether they will be is unclear. The price of natural gas has plummeted, leaving the viability of the British Columbia projects uncertain. The Trans Mountain pipeline also faces challenges.
Last month, Kinder Morgan, the American company planning the pipeline, increased its estimate of the project's cost to $5.5 billion, substantially more than its initial $3.7-billion estimate. Still, it said, now that it has federal and provincial approval in hand, construction will begin this fall and the pipeline is expected to be operational late in 2019.
Eugene Kung, a lawyer at an advocacy firm here, West Coast Environmental Law, noted that another proposed pipeline in a more rural part of the province, known as the Northern Gateway pipeline, had received government approvals and made similar pronouncements before it was ultimately rejected in a court challenge from First Nations and later by Trudeau.
The Trans Mountain pipeline, reaching its terminus in one of the West Coast's most environmentally minded cities, is expected to face far more opposition than the Northern Gateway if construction starts, Kung said. He said more than 100 First Nations are along the pipeline's route from Edmonton, and only about a third have signaled they will not oppose it.
"A third of a pipeline, " Kung said, "is a pretty terrible pipeline."
Campbell, the former premier, who recently returned to Canada after serving as its high commissioner to the United Kingdom, said that he supports developing "an array" of energy sources, including LNG, but that he opposes exemptions to the carbon tax.
"That changes the way people think about energy, " he said.
The former premier said he regrets not putting the carbon tax on a mandatory 10-year schedule of increases, one that could have endured through the leadership of Clark.
"They still say that they take pride in having a revenue-neutral carbon tax, " Campbell said. "If you do, then what are the next steps you take?
"The journey's not done, " he said. "We started it with some good, strong policies that I would have liked to see carry on. But it's up to the current elected leaders.
"There are leaders and there are followers. Right now, British Columbia has a policy that's leading, but they haven't really done much to advance it."


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Las Vegas, hoping to stem HIV and hepatitis, to get needle vending machines

Las Vegas is preparing to be the first city in the nation with vending machines dispensing clean needles in an effort to help combat the spread of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, while also possibly leading some drug users into treatment.
Three machines will be available for users starting in May. The pilot program is a coordinated effort between Trac-B Exchange, the Southern Nevada Health District and the Nevada AIDS Research and Education Society to discourage the sharing of needles among users.
Trac-B Exchange program director Rick Reich said that to participate in the vending machine program, users would have to fill out a form for the sponsoring groups and obtain an eight-digit identification number to ensure confidentiality and track their use. Each kit will contain sterile syringes and needles – along with a compartment for used needles that can be disposed of safely at the machines.
But unlike snack, soda or movie rental machines left in open spaces, these $15, 000 machines will be located inside the three facilities and would be accessed only during the hours the buildings are open for business. Reich said the cost of each kit was under $10, but they would be free for users.
Reich said putting one of the vending machines inside the Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada was designed to allow some drug abusers to interact with trained counselors if they decided they wanted to get help.
Patrick Bozarth, executive director of the counseling center, said his staff had been undergoing training in anticipation of reaching drug abusers who may use the vending machine and learn about treatment options.
"I think we're optimistic it will help, " Bozarth said. "But it's such a new program and we want to make sure we're prepared."
Needle exchange programs have been used successfully throughout the world, with several nations adopting vending machine technology into their mix to curb the spread of blood-borne pathogens.
The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported the effectiveness of needle exchange programs, and the North American Needle Exchange Network counts 228 syringe service programs in 35 states, Washington, D. C., and Puerto Rico.
The CDC reported on a study that looked at the effects of New York's exchange program on the prevalence of hepatitis C infection between 1990 and 2001, and found the needle exchange program reduced the disease's prevalence from 80 percent to 59 percent among intravenous drug users.
Needle and syringe possession was illegal in Nevada up until 2013, when the state Legislature repealed the law. Pharmacies can sell needles and syringes but have discretion about who can purchase them.
Reich said the machines helped remove some of the stigma faced by users who felt uncomfortable during transactions with pharmacists – some of whom may question why the syringe and needle are needed.
"Vending machines are not born with a bias, " Reich said. "It doesn't have a personality and doesn't care how you look when you approach it."
Jenny Gratzke, disease investigator and intervention specialist with the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were an estimated 5, 800 injection drug users in Clark County, a number she believed was low.
Most of the users, she said, are either injecting heroin or methamphetamine, with a smaller number shooting up cocaine. A small percentage of needle users, she said, are transgender people using hormones or steroids.
Gratzke said she hoped users took advantage of the vending machines, but she acknowledged the initial rollout faced some challenges.
"It does take time to gain the trust of the community, " she said. "The people who are injecting the drugs have been stigmatized, and so I think they may be a little hesitant initially. But once it catches on, I think it will be beneficial for everyone involved."


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Jennifer Van Grove: A sports junkie's journey to cut the cord

Live sports programming was, until recently, nearly impossible to watch without a cable TV subscription. Now, in theory, even a cord-cutter can tune into games from all different sporting disciplines.
So why don't we test that hypothesis?
If you're following this column, you know I'm helping three households with varying needs cut the cord. You've already met two volunteers: Carol Manifold, who isn't a traditional TV viewer, and the Hires family, who are heavy TV watchers.
Randy Ward, the third guinea pig, falls into a completely different category. The 55-year-old is a bona fide sports fanatic. He watches it all: college and professional baseball games, college softball, college basketball, professional football, golf, soccer and more. Randy watches matches live on his Samsung smart TV after returning home from work (as a plant operations director for a retirement community) during the week, and tunes into daytime sporting events on the weekend. Otherwise, he watches TV Land for classic shows, as well as local and national news programs.
But basically Randy is a sports junkie. And he's been paying around $225 per month to Cox, with phone and internet bundled in, to get his fix.
Let's be clear: Randy has no qualms with Cox's service. In fact, he loves it. He just doesn't like the bill. Plus, he's never been one to call and haggle with the cable provider to get a better deal.
So with the end goal of saving Randy money while simultaneously satisfying his sports cravings, I gave him a homework assignment this week. I asked him to review the channel lineups included in four different packages offered by streaming cable alternatives. The plans are as follows:
–The Sling TV Orange and Blue combo pack with the Sports Extra add-on and Comedy Plus Extra for TV Land. Channel highlights: Univision, ESPN, Fox Sports Network, SEC Network, Pac-12 Network. Cost: $50-$55 per month.
–PlayStation Vue's Core Slim package. Channel highlights: ESPN, CBS, NBA TV, Fox Sports San Diego, NFL Network, NBC Golf, NBC Sports Network. Cost: $35 a month.
–DirecTV Now's Go Big bundle. Channel highlights: ESPNU, Fox Sports San Diego, MLB Network, NBA TV, NBC Sports Network, TV Land. Cost: $60 a month.
–FuboTV's fubo Premier service. Channel highlights: Fox Deportes, NBA TV, Universo, Fox Soccer Plus, Big Ten Network. Cost: $35 per month (promo rate) .
Based on Randy's affinity for soccer and the sports focus of FuboTV's plan, I assumed that this was going to be the best fit. I haven't discussed FuboTV in this column, primarily because I haven't tested it myself. The 2-year-old startup, backed with more than $20 million in venture capital, only recently expanded its lineup, which was very soccer-centric to start, to be more comprehensive.
As it stands, FuboTV is still in the running, as Randy was impressed by the selection.
"This is definitely a dream channel for sports fans, " he said while also noting that the service is missing the NFL Network and local broadcast stations other than NBC.
Meanwhile, PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now are being benched, as Randy said the former was lacking in college content and the latter seemed too much like cable with an abundance of channels that he'll never use.
In the end, I suspect Sling's all-inclusive bundle will work best. It's certainly not the cheapest, but Randy can still save about $100 a month, assuming his internet service with Cox costs around $60 a month once unbundled.
So his second assignment is to buy a Roku Streaming Stick and use the seven-day free trial of Sling TV, ignoring his cable box completely during the test period. To fill some local station voids, I might have him buy an antenna, too. But let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet.
In the meantime, Randy will be participating in our "SDUT cord-cutters" group on Facebook, sharing his experiences and thoughts, and you can follow along. It's a closed group, but if you want to participate, go to https: // and request access.
Jennifer Van Grove covers e-commerce and digital lifestyle for The San Diego Union Tribune. Readers may send her email at


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A new worry for smokers' families: 'thirdhand smoke'

Michael Miller does what many smokers do to protect his sons and daughter from cigarette smoke. He takes it outside.
After his 7 a.m. coffee, he walks out of his home in Cincinnati to smoke his first cigarette of the day. Then, as a branch manager of a road safety construction company, he smokes dozens more on street curbs.
The tobacco never appears when Miller is coaching on the baseball or football field, or when he's in the car with his children. But when he's alone on the road, he sometimes rolls the windows down and lights up.
"I know (cigarettes are) bad, " Miller said. "I know I need to quit."
New findings have identified potential dangers of another byproduct of cigarettes that may slip past Miller's precautions and affect his children: "thirdhand smoke."
A recent study in the journal Tobacco Control found high levels of nicotine on the hands of children of smokers, raising concerns about thirdhand smoke, a name given to the nicotine and chemical residue left behind from cigarette and cigar smoke that can cling to skin, hair, clothes, rugs and walls. This thin film can be picked up by touch or released back into the air when disturbed.
The researchers examined 25 children who arrived at emergency rooms with breathing problems associated with secondhand smoke exposure.
They found that the average level of nicotine on the children's hands was more than three times higher than the level found on the hands of nonsmoking adults who live with smokers. They said determining the amount of nicotine on the skin of a nonsmoker is a good way to measure exposure to thirdhand smoke.
"Because nicotine is specific to tobacco, its presence on children's hands may serve as a proxy of tobacco smoke pollution in their immediate environment, " the researchers wrote.
They also found that all but one of the children had detectable levels in their saliva of cotinine, a biomarker for exposure to nicotine. All the children in the study had parents who smoked but did not smoke themselves.
The high nicotine readings on the children's hands, and the "light smoking" habits of most of their parents, signaled to lead author E. Melinda Mahabee-Gittens that the toxins could have arrived from a source other than direct access to cigarette smoke.
"Clearly they're getting it from somewhere, and perhaps it may be this thirdhand smoke connection, " Mahabee-Gittens said.
Researchers noted that their conclusions are based on a small sample and will need to be studied in larger populations to verify the findings.
Children face a higher risk of developing health complications from thirdhand smoke than adults. Infants tend to spend more time indoors and can be surrounded by contaminated objects like rugs and blankets, according to a 2004 study by Georg Matt, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University. Infants' tendency to place their hands in their mouths increases the likelihood of the young ingesting the toxic residue.
Thirdhand smoke can linger in an area long after a cigarette or cigar is put out – for up to five years, Matt said.
"Tobacco smoke doesn't go up in the air and it disappears and it's gone, " Matt said. "That's the illusion."
The health consequences of secondhand smoke are well-established.
Researchers at the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that since 1964 at least 2.5 million nonsmokers have died of diseases linked to their exposure to cigarette smoke.
Research on thirdhand smoke gained wide recognition only a decade ago, but several studies suggest that the mix of toxins can lead to adverse health outcomes. An animal model simulating thirdhand-smoke-contaminated homes found the chemicals harmed mice's livers, lungs and healing abilities. A separate 2010 study showed that thirdhand smoke mixed with nitrous acid – a gas sometimes emitted from leaky stoves – can form cancer-causing chemical compounds. These toxins have also been shown to damage human DNA.
"All in all, I think the evidence that we've gathered is basically pointing to potentially high levels of risk to young children and toddlers, and also expectant mothers, " Anwer Mujeeb, program officer for the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program.
Removing thirdhand smoke from a child's environment is not easy. The variety of compounds that make up cigarette residue react to cleaning products differently, Matt said, making it difficult to purge a space of pollutants.
Governments and agencies across the nation have attempted to curb the threat of smoke exposure with tobacco bans. Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have smoke-free laws, according to the lobbying group Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights.
Although most of those laws are meant to address secondhand smoke exposure, an unintended benefit is a reduction in thirdhand smoke, said Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at University of California-San Francisco.
Reynolds American, the second-largest tobacco company in the United States, declined to comment on the study. The Altria Group, the leading U. S. cigarette manufacturer, did not respond to requests for comment.
(Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.)


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Sea Dogs outfielder learns a lot by watching

There was one outfielder to watch in Salem last year; that is until Andrew Benintendi moved on to Portland, and then Boston. There were other outfielders. We just didn’ t notice them.
In Benintendi’s shadow was Danny Mars, a slight 6-foot, 195-pound outfielder.
“Good player, ” Benintendi said the other day from Fenway. “Hits well from both sides of the plate and plays good defense. Good teammate, too; someone I connected with.”
While Benintendi was in Salem, he roomed with Mars. At the ballpark, Mars was observant of Benintendi – “probably the most beautiful swing I’ ve ever seen” – as well as teammates Yoan Moncada and Mauricio Dubon.
“Playing with those guys, you learn a lot, ” Mars said. “It was a great experience. I feel I got a lot better from the first half to the second half last year – and a lot was from just watching them.”
Indeed, Mars batted .264/.686 OPS the first half, and .331/.844 the second half. He was invited to the Arizona Fall League, and then promoted to Portland this season.
Heading into Tuesday night’s game, Mars was batting .455/1.247 (10 for 22) .
“He has been aggressive at the plate, ” Sea Dogs Manager Carlos Febles said. “He has a good approach, hitting what the pitchers will give him.”
Mars can play every outfield position. He covers ground and showcases an accurate arm.
Solid, but not flashy, Mars isn’ t listed on any prospect rankings. He hit two home runs in Salem last year. He already has one in Portland, but is not expecting to swing for the fences.
“When I make it my goal, I usually fail, ” Mars said. “Power-hitting isn’ t really my game. Getting on base and putting pressure on the defense (is) … just trying to make contact … if one goes out of the park, that’s fine.”
Speed helps, which accounted for Mars’ 18 doubles and 10 triples (and 31 stolen bases) last year. While watching the big-name prospects may have helped Mars, he also adjusted to the grind of a full pro season in Salem.
Mars, 23, was drafted in 2014, out of Chipola College, a two-year school near Tallahassee, Florida. He played 54 pro games that year and then missed much of 2015 with a wrist injury.
“Last year was my first season playing every day, learning about myself and my routine, ” he said.
If Mars wants to watch Benintendi now, it will be on TV, along with Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts – three young outfielders expected to patrol Fenway for years. That doesn’ t seem to make room for an up-and-coming outfielder in the Red Sox organization.
“They’ re obviously really good players, ” Mars said. “It’s something you can’ t control. The more you think about what you can’ t control, the more stress you put on yourself.”
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For many, Berkeley rallies were just a stage for brawling

BERKELEY, Calif. – When hundreds of activists on the left and the right converged in Berkeley last Saturday, things got ugly very quickly.
It was billed as a free-speech rally by conservative activists, staged in one of America's most liberal cities. But even before the event was set to begin, fists were flying and people were bloodied. In the end, 21 were arrested and police confiscated an array of heavy sticks, knives, and soda cans used as projectiles.
But what appeared to be a political event that devolved into violence was something more complex. The combatants on both sides were extremists who traveled from far and wide to make Berkeley their stage. Many freely admitted they were there to make trouble and that peaceful protest of President Donald Trump and other issues really wasn't their goal.
Much of the violence was recorded on cellphone cameras and posted on social media, where each side offered supporters their stories about what happened.
"People have to start throwing (things) in order to protect themselves, " said a feminist demonstrator who called herself Emily Rose as she and her bloodied companion caught their breath during of Saturday's protest.
Her face was masked in a black-and-red bandanna, her small hands encased in black gloves on which was strapped a vial of pepper spray. Moments later, she was punched in the face during a fight with Nathan Damigo, who is a student at California State University, Stanislaus, a Trump supporter and founder of white nationalist organization Identity Evropa. He was not arrested.
White supremacists and the anti-fascist groups that oppose them have battled online and in person for a year, fueled by Trump's rise and the reaction to it. Both sides increasingly are coming to blows across the country, notably last year in Sacramento and a few weeks ago in Huntington Beach.
For reasons political and geographic, Berkeley is a particularly common battleground.
Uncertainty and disillusionment with the political climate has caused "a deeper tectonic shift within political extremes, " said criminal sociologist Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino.
"They will glom themselves onto a tax day rally, a Trump rally, but there is a subgroup of extremists on both sides who are angling for a street battle, " Levin said. Replayed to their audiences on social media, "it goes viral."
Saturday's demonstration was advertised as a "Patriot's Day" rally by the Liberty Revival Alliance, but for which there was no permit. It was held at the Martin Luther King Civic Center park, near the city police station. Nearby bank ATMs were boarded up and the downtown Starbucks restaurants, attacked in earlier battles, were evacuated.
The confrontation began two hours before the event and consisted largely of pushing and shouting matches interlaced with brief clashes of violence, pepper-spray assaults and explosives. The attendees represented a spectrum of neo-conservative and "alt-right" groups, including members of the paramilitary group Oath Keepers from as far away as Missouri, followers of the Proud Boys and those with anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi slogans.
Several hundred counter-demonstrators showed up, including feminists, and those who identified with By Any Means Necessary and various anti-fascist organizations that have a stronghold in the Bay Area. Large numbers of demonstrators wearing black masks massed under the red-and-black flags associated with socialist ideology.
Similar confrontations occurred in Berkeley in March and in February, when demonstrators were able to stop a planned speech by far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos.
The extremist groups have been around for years.
"But now it's burst out in multiple places, " said Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project for the Southern Poverty Law Center, an advocacy group that monitors and opposes hate crimes. "This is entirely new and there's been a ton of it lately, and it seems to be out of control."
The environment in college communities is especially heated, she said, and the center is advising student affiliates on how to avoid being drawn into confrontations she said are largely geared toward generating publicity.
"Don't even get near them, " she said. "Hold your own positive event, maybe on a different day."
The escalation in Berkeley bothers some of the college town's establishment.
"To the extent Berkeley is supposed to be representative (of liberal movements) , we are being used, " said David Gottfried, part of a group of residents who set up an "Empathy Tent" at the edge of the demonstration and encouraged the shouting masses to consider listening and talking to each other instead.
It wound up being hit by pepper spray.
"There was hardly anyone from Berkeley there, except of course the police, " Gottfried said.
He worries that the product of the day would be an escalation of extremism.
Tim Mueller was the lone farmers market merchant who kept his tables of organic vegetables and beef open during the Saturday demonstrations as an act of defiance and political statement.
"I'm not willing to cede the space to... to this, " he said. "It's testosterone poisoning on both sides. They come here to just start a fight."
Nearby, AJ Alegria of Sacramento ran from the crowd, blood streaming from his face, blinded by pepper spray.
"Ultimately the goal is to stop this and get back to dialogue, " he said. "I thought we could pacify them, stop them." He admitted to using his fists, "after they hit first."
Most of those arrested Saturday were from the Bay Area, but some accused of battery came from Palmdale and Huntington Beach, according to a list released by police.
There was heavy police presence throughout the day. At times, officers formed a barrier between the opposing, shouting sides; at others, they moved to the edges to contain or corral the crowd.
As the day wore on, police officers arrived from nearby Oakland. Berkeley Officer Jenn Coats said the department trying to keep up.
"With each situation we learn and progress with our tactics, " she said. "Hopefully things will be better as we go forward.... People have the freedom to express themselves."
Both sides tried to engage police in their fights, complaining loudly when officers stood back, even as many officers recorded the altercations with their own cameras. However, police waded in to make arrests when the most violent fighting broke out.
Times staff writer Hailey Branson-Potts contributed to this report.


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Maine’s tourist hot spots report no sign of a ‘Trump Slump’

Despite worries that the Trump administration’s national security and immigration policies might hurt the U. S. tourism industry, one Maine town that relies on foreign visitors is gearing up for a busy summer.
Several of President Trump’s proposals, such as a ban on travel from some Muslim-majority countries, a border wall between the U. S. and Mexico, and intensified border security have led some tourism experts to warn of a “Trump Slump” in international visitation.
But here in Maine, where the summer economy thrives on millions of Canadian tourists every year, Trump’s policies don’ t appear to have had an effect yet, and some innkeepers say the exchange rate is a more important factor.
In Old Orchard Beach, a popular destination for generations of visiting Quebecois, 2017 is shaping up to be better than last year.
Josh Ouellette, right, who takes reservations at the Sea View Inn in Old Orchard Beach, consults with a customer while Sandra Kurkjy helps at the front desk recently. “I’ ve gotten zero mention of politics, ” said Ouellette. Staff photo by Derek Davis
“Anytime I hear something negative about crossing the border, I am concerned, ” said Michael Longtin, manager at the Sea View Inn, a 48-room hotel in downtown Old Orchard Beach.
“The president does make it seem an unwelcome country to some people. It’s unfortunate, ” Longtin said. “I haven’ t seen it affect our business yet, but it isn’ t something I like.”
In fact, bookings are $200, 000 above this time last year, said Josh Ouellette, who handles reservations at the hotel. Not all are from Canada, but it is a significant portion of the inn’s visitors. A Quebec youth basketball group has booked almost 140 rooms for May at the Sea View and nearby Waves Oceanfront Resort, both owned by Lafayette Hotels.
“I’ ve gotten zero mention of politics on the phone, ” Ouellette said.
An estimated 4.5 million Canadians visited Maine in 2016 – almost 13 percent of visitation to the state – and spent more than $975 million, according to the Maine Office of Tourism. Last year marked a turnaround in Canadian visitation after a two-year decline blamed on the strong U. S. dollar.
That trend appears to be holding in 2017. About 3.2 million Canadians traveled to the U. S. in January, a 7 percent increase from the month before and the highest month of visitation in more than a year, according to Statistics Canada.
Overseas visitors are a smaller, but still important, sector for Maine. In 2015, about 142, 000 overseas visitors came to the state, and spent close to $97 million. Foreign visitors from Europe, Asia and elsewhere are important because they tend to stay longer and spend more, according to Discover New England, a Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based agency that markets the region overseas.
But national tourism associations have warned that Trump’s tough “America-first” rhetoric and policies could have a chilling effect. An estimated 74.7 million international visitors came to the U. S. in 2016, and travel exports totaled $246 billion, the U. S. Travel Association said.
Old Orchard Beach is a popular destination for generations of visiting Quebecois. Some innkeepers say the exchange rate with Canada is a more important factor than U. S. politics in determining the number of visitors. Staff photo by Derek Davis
Since taking office, Trump has issued two travel bans on people from Muslim-majority countries, increased deportations, ordered that thousands of border patrol and customs enforcement agents be hired, imposed new checks on visa applicants, and proposed enhanced vetting procedures for foreigners coming to the U. S.
Tourism Economics, a consulting company from Wayne, Pennsylvania, in February projected that the country could lose 6.3 million visitors and $10.8 billion in spending in 2018 from tourists avoiding the U. S. A February report from ForwardKeys, a flight booking analysis company, showed an immediate 6.5 percent decrease in international flights after the Trump administration announced the first travel ban. Despite a travel uptick in February, the U. S. Travel Association warned of a long-term decline of international visitors in a February report.
Trump’s “rhetoric and policies, including travel restrictions and his anti-immigrant stance, pose risks to international traveler sentiment, while the stronger dollar continues to weigh on our competitiveness as a global destination, ” the association said.
This winter, Marc Bourassa, co-owner of the Kebek 3 Motel in Old Orchard Beach, began receiving calls from longtime Canadian guests who said that crossing the border had become more difficult and U. S. customs officers had treated them rudely. That followed reports in the Canadian media about citizens who were questioned and others who were turned away at the border after trying to enter the U. S.
Bourassa sent a letter in February to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to register his concern.
“I am writing to make you aware of a problem that could be devastating for Maine tourism, ” Bourassa said. “Recent border strategies designed to control illegal immigration are causing our Canadian neighbors to feel insecure and afraid to travel to the United States.” He warned that negative media about the border would help a growing “boycott Trump” movement in Canada.
Since writing the letter, he has heard only positive reports from the border, and so far the impact of the Trump administration on his business has been minimal, Bourassa said in an interview. About 90 percent of his guests are Canadian, he said.
“Probably the greater impact, as far as the Canadian trade is concerned, is the exchange rate, ” Bourassa said. The current exchange rate is about 75 cents to the U. S. dollar.
Elsewhere in Maine, people are taking a wait-and-see approach. In Bar Harbor, it is too early to tell if Trump’s stance will deter visits from Canadians, Europeans and Asians, a substantial proportion of the town’s tourist trade, said Martha Searchfield, executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce.
“Everybody has seen the news, I’ m not sure they know how it is going to affect their business, ” she said.
Anxiety about the new presidency is par for the course, said Chip Gray, general manager of the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport. Trump and U. S. politics are hot conversation with international guests, but that’s usually the case regardless of who is president. Pocketbooks, not politics, are what determine guests’ decision to book a room, he said.
“I’ ve been answering these kinds of questions for 40 years, ” Gray said. “When we see a significant change, it is invariably because of the exchange rate.”
John Nicolai, a lobsterman who works with the Bangor-based Maine-China Network, doesn’ t anticipate an effect on Maine’s growing number of tourists from Asia, specifically China.
“As far as Asian tourism is concerned, I don’ t really think it is a factor, ” he said. China was the second-largest market for overseas visitors to New England in 2015, with 266, 000 arrivals.
More than 1, 000 Chinese students study in Maine, and Maine lobster is in huge demand in the country. Nicolai ran lobster boat tours from Bar Harbor until last year, and now gives lectures on lobstering to tour groups, including several from China booked this summer.
At the Paradise Park Resort Campground in Old Orchard Beach, Mike Halle was getting ready to open his campground in two weeks.
Halle has operated the family-owned campground for 21 years. His family is originally from Quebec and he regularly speaks with family in Canada. About half of his bookings come from Canadian families, and none of his regular guests intend to skip this year because of the Trump presidency.
“It doesn’ t matter if the president is Trump, or Clinton, or Bush or Obama, ” he said.
“We’ re the USA, we’ re going to provide good service, don’ t worry about it.”
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Long drought changed California forever

SAN JOSE, Calif. – California's five-year drought is over, washed away by relentlessly drenching rains, floods and snowstorms.
But just as tougher building codes and better emergency planning follow major earthquakes, the brutally dry years from 2012 to 2016 are already leaving a legacy, experts say, changing how Californians use water for generations to come.
"There's no question that we'll be better prepared for the next drought because of the lessons learned in this one, " said Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento. "This was the wake-up call of the century."
The drought's legacy includes new laws aimed at limiting farmers from over-pumping groundwater; homeowners removing thousands of suburban lawns; voters approving billions of dollars for new reservoirs; and vast expanses of forests dying off across the Sierra Nevada.
"Every drought has a lasting impact, " said Jeff Mount, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California Water Center in San Francisco. "That probably goes all the way back to the Depression."
The era of big dam building in California began after the 1929-34 drought. Urban water conservation started in earnest during the 1976-77 drought. And the state's brutal 1987-92 drought prompted water departments in the Bay Area and Southern California to connect their networks of pipes together, to build huge groundwater storage banks and new local reservoirs, and to develop a statewide system of buying and selling water.
As a result of those changes, Californians were better prepared to handle the most recent drought, which was the driest four years since 1895, when modern records began. Although some farm communities with limited groundwater suffered severely, California's overall gross domestic product grew during the drought by 10 percent, to $2.2 trillion, from 2012 to 2015.
"We lost a third of our water supply, " said Jay Lund, director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis. "And the impact to the agricultural economy was a 2-3 percent loss and the urban economy had almost no economic impact. To me that's remarkable."
The drought left a lasting impact in at least five important ways:
––Groundwater: After 100 years of allowing cities and farms to pump as much water as they wanted from the ground without reporting it to the state, dozens of communities across California had precariously dropping water tables as the drought began. A study using NASA satellites in February found that the ground in some areas between Merced and Bakersfield dropped as much as 2 feet as underground aquifers collapsed, cracking roads, water canals and pipelines.
In 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, requiring local government agencies in areas with severely overdrawn groundwater to draw up plans by 2020 to bring it into balance. They will then have 20 years to do that, which will mean taking some farmland out of production, buying water from other areas and building percolation ponds to recharge aquifers, among other costly measures.
"We had to do something, " said Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation. "There's no argument on that from me. But some areas are going to really suffer."
––Water wasting: Several rules put into place by the State Water Resources Control Board during the drought will continue indefinitely. They include bans on watering lawns within 48 hours of rain, or washing cars without a shut-off nozzle on the hose, or cities watering grass on road medians using potable water. It's also illegal now to run a fountain that doesn't recycle water. And the state's 410 largest cities, water districts and private water companies will have to continue to report every month to the state water board how much water they are using.
"It would be bad if the message from this wet year went out that the problem is over, " said Peter Gleick, co-founder of the Pacific Institute, an Oakland nonprofit that studies water issues. "We don't have enough water to waste. That's a hard one when you see floods and endless rain."
––Proposition 1: In November 2014, during some of the worst months of the drought, California voters approved a $7.5 billion bond to pay for new reservoirs, recycled water projects, desalination and stormwater capture. It passed with 67 percent of the vote. The previous water bond, Proposition 84, a $5.4 billion measure in 2006, passed with just 54 percent.
Water agencies are lining up to submit detailed plans for the money, which could pay up to half the cost of new reservoirs, and is scheduled to be awarded next year. Long-stalled projects like Sites Reservoir in Colusa County may finally be funded, and existing dams could be built higher.
"We had so much water this year that we could have caught if we had the storage, " Wenger said. "I'm hoping we learned our lesson."
4) Lawn removal and conservation: Urban Californians cut water use 22.5 percent between June 2015 and February 2017. Over that time, 2.6 million acre-feet of water was saved – enough to supply more than 13 million people for a year. Water agencies spent hundreds of millions of dollars during the drought giving rebates to people to install low-flush toilets, efficient washing machines, graywater systems and dishwashers. The Metropolitan Water District in Southern California alone spent $310 million on rebates for people to remove 160 million square feet of grass, which will save 21, 000 acre feet of water every year.
Those lawns and water-wasting appliances aren't coming back. Lawns use 50 percent of all urban water during summer months, and as cities wrote new local rules limiting lawns in new homes and businesses, neighbors looked askance at homeowners who had bright green turf. Already, big water agencies in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Jose and other areas are using less water now than they were in 1990, despite population growth. Almost nobody expects water use to return to pre-drought levels.
"I'm not an advocate that every blade of grass has to be taken out of California, but I think you'll see a lot less lawn in the future, " said Tim Quinn, CEO of the Association of California Water Agencies.
––Environmental harm: Dry creeks and rivers led 18 fish species to crash to near extinction. And the drought killed 102 million trees across the state, most in the Sierra. That could increase fire risk for years to come.
"If the climate continues to be as warm as it has been recently, we could see very big changes in the mountains, " Lund said. "We can't really manage it. We aren't going to put sprinkler systems in the forests."
Overall, experts say, the drought left nearly all residents of California – a state where even in a normal year most cities get only 15 inches of rain a year, the same as Casablanca, Morocco – much more aware of their water.
"This was a prolonged, very deep drought, many believe the worst in the historic record, " Quinn said. "It was really dry, and now here we are with the wettest year ever. Welcome to California."


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Advocacy groups link suicide of Maine weatherman to sex assault

With little evidence and apparently relying on recent on-air speculation by a radio talk show and a pair of websites, two Maine advocacy groups for the prevention of suicide and sexual assault are attempting to connect a television weatherman’s suicide to an active sexual assault investigation.
The Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Maine’s National Alliance on Mental Illness issued a joint public statement on Tuesday that said the WCSH-TV meteorologist, Tom Johnston, was “being investigated for a reported sexual assault.”
But the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office, which is handling the sexual assault case, won’ t confirm Johnston was a suspect and says it is still investigating.
“We have to make sure in any type of case that we’ re getting factual information from our suspects and victims as well, ” Oxford County Sheriff Wayne J. Gallant said in an interview.
Meanwhile, the advocacy groups said they based their statement on “information reported in the media” and gave conflicting accounts of whether they were in contact with the victim. The groups said they wanted to explain the possible repercussions of such a link and offer support for those affected by the issues.
“When the victim of the suicide is being investigated for a reported sexual assault, it greatly complicates the reactions of those whose lives are impacted by his passing, ” Greg Marley, clinical director of NAMI Maine, said in the joint statement. “This is especially true for the death of a celebrity or other well-known person. Suicide is often a preventable loss when the person at risk takes steps to access help, or if those who know them intervene to get help.”
Two Portland talk radio hosts, Matthew Gagnon and Ken Altshuler, co-hosts of WGAN Morning News, on Friday criticized the news media for not looking hard enough into why Johnston took his own life, citing an Oxford County Sheriff’s Office report that the agency later said mistakenly contained too much information.
“I think the story deserves some attention, ” Gagnon said on air.
Kelly McBride, vice president of academic programs at the Poynter Institute and an expert on media ethics, said based on the information she saw in the case, it wasn’ t enough for WGAN to draw the line connecting Johnston to the alleged assault.
“That’s so dangerous. Unless you have a source saying it’s this guy, you can’ t just string facts together and implicate him, ” she said. “It doesn’ t establish truth. It establishes speculation, and it’s dangerous to speculate on something that grave.”
According to the report from the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office, a woman at Bridgton Hospital reported early on April 2 that she had been sexually assaulted at a residence in Newry. The suspect fled the scene in Newry and was identified later as a missing person, the report states.
The police report was released initially to a few media outlets but mistakenly included what the department considers too much case information, Oxford County Chief Deputy Hart L. Daley said. When the Morning Sentinel requested a copy of the report, which began circulating to other media and groups in Maine, the sheriff’s office issued a news release that did not include mention of a suspect fleeing the scene or being reported missing later. The sheriff’s office did, however, confirm the veracity of the original police report.
Daley explained the difference in the two documents by saying the revised news release is consistent with the department’s policy to remove information that “may potentially reveal the identity of a suspect, or lead to mere speculation, since we do not routinely release information that would positively identify a suspect before we determine whether or not they are the actual perpetrator.” The original police report that was released should not have included mention of a suspect, he said.
Although Gagnon and Altshuler stressed that they were not reporting facts, they drew a clear connection between that active investigation and Johnston’s suicide.
“The only missing person report from Oxford County around that time was Tom Johnston, ” Altshuler said on the air. “So the speculation of course is that Tom Johnston was the perpetrator of a sexual assault on Saturday night.”
Johnston, 46, of Old Orchard Beach, was reported missing by his girlfriend April 3 after failing to return from an appearance at the Springfest event at the Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, which is in Oxford County. P olice found his body April 6 in a remote location in Auburn, a death apparently resulting from suicide.
Johnston, who had been a meteorologist at WCSH-TV since 2014, was a popular on-air personality who embraced the nickname “TJ Thunder.” He left behind his girlfriend and three children.
Attempts on Tuesday to reach Johnston’s girlfriend and other relatives for comment were not successful.
In an interview Friday morning after his show ended, Gagnon didn’ t appear to regret what he said on the radio show. He said he and Altshuler made clear that they were not directly accusing Johnston of anything but merely raising questions.
“I think as commentators about current events it’s appropriate to talk about issues the way that our audience does, ” he said. “When there are questions, it’s important for us to raise those questions.”
That on-air speculation, in turn, apparently prompted reporting by at least two other media outlets – and, both of which referenced the Oxford County police report.
Following those reports, the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault and NAMI Maine issued a joint public statement Tuesday to statewide news media and sexual assault support center officials, repeating the speculation that Johnston has been “linked” to a reported sexual assault. The coalition originally contacted NAMI Maine about issuing a statement, according to the spokeswomen for both groups.
The Portland Press Herald and the Morning Sentinel have been looking into the circumstances of Johnston’s death for more than a week but had yet to report on any speculation because there isn’ t conclusive evidence that Johnston was a suspect in the reported assault.
The newspapers “decided to publish a story after two state organizations advocating for suicide prevention, for families of those affected by mental illness and sexual assault victims made this a matter of public concern, ” said Cliff Schechtman, executive editor.
Cara Courchesne, communications director at the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said in an interview Tuesday that they had heard about a possible link between Johnston and a sexual assault at least a week ago, even before WGAN speculated about it on the air. She described it as an “open secret.”
“We had seen reports and we wanted to get out in front of the issue because it’s an important issue to talk about, ” Courchesne said. “It’s also an issue that has been historically not very well reported on in the past and we wanted to make sure that the media had our perspective should it get to be a larger story.”
Jenna Mehnert, executive director of NAMI Maine, said in an interview Tuesday that the coalition against sexual assault was in touch with the woman identified as the victim, but Courchesne denied that in an interview.
Both said they released the joint statement on Tuesday in response to – and in order to get ahead of – future media coverage.
“We don’ t ever want to be the reason a story breaks, ” Mehnert said. “We don’ t make news. That’s not what we do.”
The groups went on to say the case “is devastating and the repercussions may resonate throughout the communities impacted for some time.”
“It’s important… for victims of sexual violence to know that someone else’s violent actions or suicide is not their fault, and that help is available, ” Courchesne said in the statement.
The national NAMI organization, based in Arlington, Virginia, did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment on the joint statement by the Maine groups.
Oxford County sheriff officials refuse to identify Johnston as a suspect in the case, which they say is still being actively investigated.
Gallant, the county sheriff, said that the only person reported missing in Oxford County within the time frame of April 2 to 6 in the department’s jurisdiction was Johnston, whose last known whereabouts at the time was the Sunday River resort. Johnston was the only missing person in his hometown, Old Orchard Beach, during that period as well.
The one-page Oxford County police report states that the sexual assault was reported at 1: 25 a.m. April 2 in Newry. Deputy Josh Aylward arrived at Bridgton Hospital about 2: 30 a.m. and met with a woman about a possible gross sexual assault that occurred at a residence in Newry, the report states without providing any further detail.
Old Orchard Beach police requested at 1 a.m. April 3 that Oxford County do a welfare check on Johnston, asking them to look for him at the ski resort. When the TV weatherman could not be found there, Old Orchard Beach police issued a missing-person report about him. That information was added later to the Oxford County police report about the alleged sexual assault, according to Daley, the chief deputy.
Even though Johnston is the only person who could have been the “missing person” referenced in the original Oxford County police report, Gallant refused to identify him as the suspect in the case, saying police still are investigating the allegation.
Old Orchard Beach police have said people notified Auburn police the night of Thursday, April 6, that they came across an unoccupied vehicle in a remote area near Lewiston Junction Road and Cascade Drive. The car turned out to be Johnston’s 2017 Subaru Forester. Auburn police officers and game wardens found Johnston’s body in a wooded area nearby.
WCSH-TV in Portland declined to comment Friday on the Oxford County police report.
Altshuler said Friday that he and Gagnon debated for a couple of days about whether to bring up the possible connection on the air. He said they wanted to be sensitive both to the assault victim and Johnston’s family.
“But the complete silence on this after his death was deafening, ” he said.
Altshuler said the Oxford County sheriff’s report, coupled with the fact that Johnston was the only missing person reported, was enough to bring it up, although he acknowledged it was still “speculation.”
“I knew many in the media didn’ t have enough. We were trying to do them a favor by pushing this, ” he said.
In his comments on the radio, as well as on his Twitter account, Gagnon said he believed that the assault victim deserves to have the story come out.
McBride, of Poynter, said if Johnston was a suspect in a crime, it would be in the public’s interest to know. But she said police need to name him directly as a suspect or that information would need to come from other sources.
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China seriously concerned by North Korean warnings on missile tests, nuclear war

China's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that it was seriously concerned by recent comments made by North Korean officials warning of further missile tests and the possibility of nuclear war.
Addressing a regular press briefing, ministry spokesman Lu Kang added that China was resolutely opposed to any words or actions that could further raise tensions.


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Klitschko admits what boxing fans always knew: he was boring

Wladimir Klitschko was never really embraced by the average boxing fan, despite dominating a lackluster heavyweight division for the better part of a decade.
He understands why, even as he looks to change his ways in what could be his last hurrah next week against Anthony Joshua in London.
“It’s not as boring as it was with me during all those years, ” Klitschko said. “You can like me or hate me but when one person conquers it all, it is boring. I totally get it.”
It wasn’ t just Klitschko’s dominance that soured boxing fans on him. It was the way he fought.
Every opponent was kept at arm’s length. Punches were traded cautiously — probably with good reason, considering what Lamon Brewster did to him back in 2004.
Klitschko never won any style points, though he kept winning against a series of opponents who could never seem to crack the code. Then Tyson Fury entered the picture, making Klitschko look slow and old in breaking his 11-year winning streak to win his heavyweight titles.
Now Klitschko challenges the unbeaten Joshua for the title once again. He does so as an underdog going into enemy territory, with 90, 000 fans expected to be cheering their countryman on a week from Saturday at Wembley Stadium.
At the age of 41, he says he feels like a new fighter. Even better, he says he feels like really fighting.
“I understand I don’ t have titles anymore, but in a certain way I feel relieved, ” Klitschko told The Associated Press in a call from his training camp in Austria. “I feel calmer, more free. Before it was all defending and caution. Now it’s different, and I like the feeling that I don’ t have any pressure.”
The fight shapes up as a familiar boxing matchup, with the up-and-coming young slugger from England tested by the aging veteran who has piled up a deep bag of tricks over the years.
Both are Olympic gold medalists (Klitschko in 1996, Joshua in 2012) . Both are massive heavyweights with the skills usually found in smaller fighters. Both have the kind of knockout power that may make it a short night in London.
And Klitschko now says it’s time to throw caution to the wind.
“I have nothing to defend so I need to bounce back and be the hunter, ” he said. “Joshua has the title and it’s something I will need to get. It will be a totally different attitude. I will not hold myself back.”
If experience is a key in the fight, Klitschko has a huge advantage against Joshua, who began his amateur career late and has only 18 professional fights.
After regaining a piece of the heavyweight title in 2006, Klitschko made 18 successful title defenses in a row before losing to Fury in a desultory effort. He’s won 64 of 68 fights and has fought for the heavyweight title 28 times.
But with the wins came the criticism. Klitschko, who lost the title by knockout to Brewster in 2004, was widely panned in boxing for playing more defense than offense as he won fight after fight against a group of mediocre challengers.
“I think after so many years of defending the title, unifying the title, it built up the pressure, ” Klitschko said. “At some point, it cramps your style.”
Klitschko plans have his brother, Vitali, in the corner as he usually does for his fights. Vitali Klitschko, now the mayor of Kiev, was a dominant heavyweight champion in his own right, before retiring to take up politics in his native Ukraine.
Meanwhile, he’s enjoying the preparations for a fight he never thought he would get after his rematch with Fury was derailed by Fury’s emotional problems.
“I think I’ ve been very, very fortunate with having Joshua as my opponent, ” he said. “For the first time in a long time I’ m an underdog. He’s either great, or I’ m still great. The question marks on both fighters make this a fight for the fans.”


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Safety worries dampen Chinese demand for N. Korea tours

Some Chinese tourism companies are eliminating or offering fewer trips to neighboring North Korea as regional tensions and safety worries dampen demand.
Representatives of tour companies Ctrip, Caissa and China Youth Travel Service said Wednesday they are no longer organizing trips to North Korea.
State-run media in China and members of the public have been critical of hostile statements from North Korean leaders as the nation pursues a nuclear arsenal.
Caissa sales manager Zhao Cuili says most tourists are unwilling to go because of safety concerns.
The two biggest companies, China International Travel Service and China Travel Service, say they still offer multi-day trips to North Korea.
China International Travel sales manager Zhao Haiwei says passengers must take North Korean airlines after the Civil Aviation Administration of China suspended flights.


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Microsoft Authenticator app gets phone sign in

Microsoft is making it easier than ever to sign into a Microsoft account, adding a new authentication option in the Microsoft Authenticator app that lets you approve the sign in attempt using just your Android smartphone or iPhone.
Here's how it works. When you enter your Microsoft account handle you will get a prompt from Microsoft Authenticator to approve or deny the attempt. To take advantage of this option, you need to add your Microsoft account to the app or, if you already did so, turn on the "Enable phone sign-in" option.
"Here in the identity division at Microsoft, we don’ t like passwords any more than you do! So we’ ve been hard at work creating a modern way to sign in that doesn’ t require upper and lowercase letters, numbers, a special character, and your favorite emoji, " says Microsoft. "And after a soft launch last month, we’ re excited to announce the GA our newest sign-in feature: phone sign-in for Microsoft accounts!"
This is not a new concept, not even for Microsoft, as the software giant had something similar on Android in the form of the Authenticator app that I talked about nearly three years ago. But, that was designed for folks who use two-factor authentication, whereas this new authentication option is open to everyone.
Windows fans might notice that there is no word of "Windows Phone" support. That's because Microsoft is focusing on Android and iOS. Depending on how successful this feature is on the two platforms, it will decide whether to add it to the Microsoft Authenticator app for its own smartphone operating system as well.
Microsoft notes that less than five percent of the active users of Microsoft Authenticator apps run Windows Phone (presumably this includes Windows 10 Mobile as well) .
Microsoft Authenticator can be downloaded from Google Play (Android) and Apple App Store (iOS) .


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Xiaomi unveils Mi 6 with Snapdragon 835 and 6GB of RAM, starting at $363

At an event in Beijing today, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun unveiled the Mi 6 flagship smartphone. The Chinese company plans to start shipping the device on April 28, but only in China. There are three models: 64GB for 2, 499 RMB ($363) , 128GB for 2899 RMB ($421) , and a ceramic edition for 2999 RMB ($436) .
The Mi 6 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor and 6GB of RAM. In February, Xiaomi introduced its first chipset: the Surge S1, which powers the Mi 5c smartphone. While that is a huge accomplishment, the company is sticking to third-party chipsets for its flagship phone.
Samsung reportedly bought up all the supply of the Snapdragon 835 for the launch of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, which is why the LG G6 shipped with last year’s Snapdragon 821. The Mi 6, which is arriving later, will be the first Chinese phone featuring the latest Qualcomm processor.
The Mi 6 features a splash-resistant 5.15-inch FHD display, like its predecessor. The main difference this year is the focus on improving color range and quality when reading at night. Other specs include dual cameras (12MP wide angle and 12MP telephoto camera) , dual speakers, and a 3350mAH battery. The Mi 6 comes in blue, black, and white. Oh, and there’s no headphone jack.
Xiaomi now sells a variety of products and services, including tablets, fitness bands, scooters, routers, cloud storage, power banks, air purifiers, and so on. Despite its investment in various startups in an attempt to expand its portfolio, smartphones are still the company’s most important devices (though it did stop sharing sales numbers last year as growth stalled) .
In May 2015, Xiaomi opened its online business to the U. S. and Europe, but that was just accessories. In October 2016, Xiaomi launched its first product in the U. S., but that was merely the Mi Box, a $69 Android TV. Phones are still MIA.
While the Mi 5 was revealed at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona last year, Xiaomi decided to return home for the Mi 6 reveal. Maybe someone realized it makes no sense to show off a phone on a continent you won’ t be making it available in. The biggest problem with the Mi 6 appears to be the same as all other phones that Xiaomi releases: Availability is limited to just to a handful of countries.
Disclosure: Xiaomi paid my way to Beijing. Our coverage remains objective.


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Court hears family feud over US$2.9-billion estate of Chinese tycoon who died in France helicopter crash

The trial of a family feud over the billion-dollar fortune of Hong Kong-based tycoon Kok Lam, who died three years ago in a helicopter crash, has started in Yunnan. At stake are assets estimated to be worth 20 billion yuan (US$2.9 billion) , which are being fought over by Kok’s widow Lau Sheung-wan – also known as Liu Xiangyun – and Kok’s father, who is more than 90-years-old, the reported. The Kunming Intermediate People’s Court heard the first of several court cases over the division of the family assets on Tuesday, with lawsuits also filed in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. Lau reportedly suggested various ways to distribute the assets, but the older Kok rejected them all. According to the elder Kok, there were already multiple conflicts between him and the widow over obtaining the relevant death certificates, which were eventually settled after going to court. The late Kok was the former head of Brilliant Group, a Chinese conglomerate with investments across the real estate, tourism, retail, hotel and tea industries. Founded in 1995, the company helped pave the way for the first business district in Kunming. Kok died in a helicopter crash days before Christmas 2014, along with his 12-year-old son Kok Shun-yu, his interpreter and financial adviser Peng Wang, and French entrepreneur James Gregoire, who was the pilot of the flight. The wreckage was found near the Dordogne River in southwest France, hours after Kok Lam and his wife purchased French winery Château de La Rivière from Gregoire, who bought it after its previous owner also died in a plane crash. Lau, who was reportedly afraid of helicopters, decided at the last minute not to fly in the aircraft.


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Coast Guard academy unwittingly polluted river for 20 years

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) - A Coast Guard academy in Connecticut has accidentally leaked thousands of gallons of polluted wastewater into a nearby river for the past 20 years. The academy, which trains cadets in enforcing environmental laws on the nation’s waterways alongside other missions, has pledged to fix the problem as soon as possible.
The Day reports (http: // that a defective utility line at the academy in New London had been dumping waste into the river at an estimated rate of 100 to 130 gallons per day. The problem was believed to have been caused a contractor mistakenly connecting a wastewater discharge line to a storm drain, which empties water directly into the nearby river.
David Santos, a spokesman for the academy, says they have begun designing a repair plan. The work will cost an estimated $80, 000 to $100, 000.
Information from: The Day, http: //


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British and Irish Lions tour 2017: All you need to know

The 2017 British and Irish Lions tour is approaching, one of the most anticipated events in world rugby.
It happens every four years, and the privileged players to be selected for this summer's party are set to be announced Wednesday.
Find out all you need to know about the legendary Lions.
What are the British and Irish Lions?
The Lions is a composite squad formed every four years from the cream of players from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.
They rotate tours around the southern hemisphere's big three rugby union nations -- Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
The Lions concept grew out of combined British and Irish touring rugby sides from 1888.
For hordes of traveling fans dressed in the team's replica red shirts, a Lions tour is a huge multinational jamboree.
Where are the Lions going in 2017?
New Zealand, land of the Long White Cloud. Land of the All Blacks.
The famous Kiwi side is the no.1 ranked team in the world and in 2015 became the first team to win back-to-back World Cups.
What soccer is to Brazil, rugby is to New Zealand.
Given the Lions is a scratch side coming together every four years, victory is hard to come by.
In 11 Lions tours to New Zealand stretching back to 1904 (the first six tours were to both New Zealand and Australia) , the visitors have triumphed once, a 2-1 victory in 1971.
On their last visit in 2005 the Lions suffered a 3-0 "blackwash."
In all there have been 38 Tests between New Zealand and the Lions, with the Kiwis winning 29.
Four years ago in Australia, the Lions won the three-Test series 2-1, the first victory since 1997.
This time there will be seven warm-up games against provincial opposition and three Tests against the All Blacks, between June 3 and July 9.
See below for full fixture list.
READ: Hong Kong Sevens -- rugby's biggest party?
The squad of about 37 players will be named on April 19 in London. The identity of the captain will also be revealed by head coach Warren Gatland -- the New Zealander is the Wales coach on a sabbatical for his second stint with the Lions.
Picking the make-up of the squad is the main challenge for the coach and his backroom team. How many players in each position do you take? How do you balance accusations of bias against different nationalities?
In 2005, England's 2003 World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward was in charge and picked 25 Englishmen in a giant 45-man squad. Gatland's smaller squad for Australia in 2013 featured nine Englishmen, 15 Welshman, 10 from Ireland and three from Scotland.
Occasionally, some big-name players miss out.
Being selected for a Lions tour is one of the highest honors in the game. The ultimate is making the Test team.
"Well as far as I'm concerned, it's the greatest honor a British or Irish rugby player can get, " former Scotland captain Gavin Hastings told CNN.
Hastings, widely considered one of Scotland's best ever players, was part of two Lions tours: one victorious, one a narrow defeat.
"They were great experiences and you can look back at them with a lot of positive memories and for me that's what it's all about.
"I think it's a recognition that you are one of the best players amongst your peers and the four home countries.
"You've got an ability and an opportunity to go down with the Lions and play one of the very best sides in the Southern hemisphere and try and win a test series. The challenge is massive."
England's 2003 World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson echoes Hastings' comments, describing the Lions tour as a "mystical" event.
"It's a very special thing -- it doesn't exist in most sports to have an amalgamated team of Great Britain and the whole of Ireland to go on a tour, " he told CNN.
"It's very special, having the best of the best in any given period. Some guys make their name and they're more famous as Lions than anything else so it is a great thing to do.
"They are part of the history of the game -- real part of the history of the game, so it is very special."
READ: Should slave-era song be used as sports chant?
Lions lore
How to turn four nations into one and forge a spirit of unity in a week before setting off on tour is the crux of the Lions. In the old days, a good old-fashioned knees-up did the job.
Before the successful 1997 tour to South Africa, which the Lions won 2-1, the squad frequented a local pub near their training base in Hampshire, England.
"That is what won us the series, that week before we got on the plane, " ex-England scrum-half and three-time Lion Matt Dawson told BBC Sport.
"It involved a couple of nights of just sitting in a room with a keg of beer, telling stories, and just getting to know players. That relationship just blossomed as the tour went on."
Four years later, a more corporate approach to team building was in vogue. After a fitness boot camp, the Lions took part in dragon boat racing, high-wire assault courses, trust-building problem-solving exercises, and playing a variety of musical instruments in a pop-up band.
There were even deep discussion sessions where players were asked to bare their soul. Martyn Williams told of the death of his brother. Dawson discussed a recent relationship break-up.
In 2005, Woodward had his players paint pictures for a giant collage, and perform sketch shows in front of teammates.
Sharing rooms with players from other nations, players' committees, drawing up codes of conduct known as "Lions laws, " and secondary roles such as entertainments officers also help break the ice.
Motivational speeches before big games and inspirational oratories from coaches help instill Lions lore.
Forwards coach Jim Telfer made a stirring speech in 1997 that is still remembered with reverence.
Among his gems were:
"Many are considered, few are chosen."
"This is your Everest, boys."
Head coach Ian McGeechan delivered an equally moving message before the second Test in Durban in 1997.
"You will meet each other in the street in 30 years' time and there will just be a look and you'll know just how special some days in your life are."
All part of the fun of a Lions tour is the tittle-tattle that accompanies the circus. It starts with the composition of the squad and is always bubbling in the background.
In theory, the Test team is selected based on form in the warm-up games, but look out for murmurs of discontent from some of the "dirttrackers, " the name given to the players destined only to feature against provincial opposition.
Being a "good tourist" is one of the character traits looked for when initial selection is on a knife-edge. Midweek captain Donal Lenihan's "Doughnuts" in 1989 were an example of a midweek side who knuckled down, won their matches and admirably supported the Test team.
The 1993 dirt-trackers were reportedly less disciplined and "went off tour, " arguably to the detriment of the Test squad.
Modern attrition rates, however, mean injuries are more prevalent. Often the eventual Test team bears little resemblance to most people' s picks before the tour.
In 2001, Dawson got into trouble for a newspaper column he wrote criticizing the regime which was published in the Daily Telegraph on the morning of the first Test. He was nearly sent home, although captain Martin Johnson said if Dawson went, he would go too.
Later in the tour, Austin Healey found himself in hot water with a ghost-written column laying into Australia and lock Justin Harrison, calling him a "plod" and a "plank."
On the ill-fated New Zealand tour in 2005, one of the charges against Woodward was the decision to appoint former Labour spin doctor Alistair Campbell as communications manager.
Then there is the on-field controversy. Over the years there have been many incidents of home sides attempting to take out key Lions.
Notable examples include Australian Duncan McRae pummeling Ronan O'Gara, who needed 11 stitches in his face, in 2001 and the double spear tackle on Brian O'Driscoll by All Blacks Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu in 2005.
The most notorious tales come from the 1974 tour to South Africa and the infamous "99" call, devised by Lions captain Willie John McBride.
The idea was that if one Lions player was on the receiving end of illegal brutality, the shout would be a signal for everyone else to join the fray.
According to McBride, it was only used once, in a bad-tempered midweek game against Eastern Province. The mayhem lasted seconds, but the Lions had made their point.
When word got out the myth grew. The message was that these guys were not to be messed with.
Even so, the third Test in Port Elizabeth was dubbed the "Battle of Boet Erasmus Stadium" after a series of all-in brawls.
Lions in numbers
£70, 000 ($88, 000) -- The reported wage for playing on the 2017 Lions tour. Win bonuses for Test matches could take a player's earnings for the six-week tour to close to £100, 000 ($125, 000) .
17 -- Most caps won by a British and Irish Lion, held by Ireland's Willie John McBride on five tours between 1962-1974.
10 -- Number of matches on the 2017 tour, including three Tests.
7 -- The Lions will play in seven different cities against eight different opponents.
50, 000 -- Capacity of Auckland's Eden Park, the host stadium for the first and third Tests and the midweek game against Auckland Blues.
37 -- The All Blacks are on an unbeaten streak of 37 matches against any opposition at Eden Park stretching back to 1994.
4, 600, 000 -- The population of New Zealand.
103, 500 -- the area, in square miles, of New Zealand spread across the north and south islands.
Fixtures in full
June 3 -- Provincial Union XV v Lions -- Toll Stadium, Whangarei
June 7 -- Blues v Lions -- Eden Park, Auckland
June 10 -- Crusaders v Lions -- AMI Stadium, Christchurch
June 13 -- Highlanders v Lions -- Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
June 17 -- New Zealand Maori v Lions -- International Stadium, Rotorua
June 20 -- Chiefs v Lions -- Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
June 24 -- New Zealand v Lions -- First Test, Eden Park, Auckland
June 27 -- Hurricanes v Lions -- Westpac Stadium, Wellington
July 1 -- New Zealand v Lions -- Second Test, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
July 8 -- New Zealand v Lions -- Third Test, Eden Park, Auckland


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Blizzard releases original Starcraft expansion for free

As the release date of the remastered version of StarCraft looms, Blizzard Entertainment is finally giving everyone a chance to play the iconic franchise—completely free of charge.
Nearly 20 years after its initial release in 1998, the famed game developer has made the original Starcraft, along with its expansion, free for Mac and PC users.
Previously, gamers had to shell out around $10 to $15 (P497 to P746) to legally obtain both games, while others resorted to download it illegally.
Aside from exposing the franchise to even more users, Blizzard’s generous offer is also a way to boost the game’s anti-cheat system and improve its compatibility with Windows 7, 8.1 and 10, TechCrunch reported.
Furthermore, new users would also be able to compare the drastic improvements of the previous titles to the upcoming remastered version, which is set to come out later this year.
“Starcraft: Brood War” and its remastered version is available for download here. Khristian Ibarrola/ JB


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General election 2017: May confirms no TV debates with leaders ahead of vote – politics live

This is what political journalists and commentators are saying about Theresa May’s interview on Twitter. They’ re not particularly impressed.
From the Times’ Tim Montgomerie (founder of the ConservativeHome website)
From James Randerson
From the Guardian’s Rowena Mason
From the Daily Mirror’s Jack Blanchard
From PoliticsHome’s Kevin Schofield
From Mary Riddell
Q: You once said that we should remain in the EU. Now you say we should leave. You once said an early election would be wrong. Now you say it is the right thing. Do you do doubt?
May she says did back remain. But she also said the sky would not fall in if the UK left.
Q: So you have any doubts about calling an early election? Some people will think of this as opportunism.
May says she genuinely came to this decision reluctantly, having looked ahead at the circumstances and at the negotiations.
And that’s it.
I will post a summary and analysis shortly.
Q: Will you debate with your opponents?
May she say constantly does that.
Q: So you will be doing that on TV?
May she will not do TV debates.
She will be going out and campaigning. She likes knocking on doors.
Q: Are you saying to the electorate, “This is it. Give me a majority, and there will be no further vote on Brexit?”
May says people want the government to deliver.
Q: So, for remainers, it is over.
May says she has been clear there will be no second referendum.
Q: There won’ t even be a meaningful vote in parliament.
May says there will be a vote in parliament.
She wants to deliver a successful Brexit.
Q: Will you have an immigration system that delivers what we have now? Immigration at 100, 000? Or lower than that?
May says she has spent six years as home secretary trying to reduce immigration.
She wants migration at “sustainable levels”, she says.
Q: You seem committed to fighting an election without saying anything new. That is a blank cheque.
May says telling people to look at what she has done already is not seeking a blank cheque. She mentions policies like her industrial policy.
Q: None of these things are Brexit.
May says she wants clarity for the future, for going beyond Brexit.
Q: Everyone is in favour of the best possible deal. People are entitled to know what you want.
May says she has already spelt out what she wants in her Lancaster House speech, the white paper and her article 50 letter.
Q; So nothing new in the manifesto?
The manifesto will be one for taking the country forward, she says.
She says she wants to make sure jobs are spread around the country.
Q: Amber Rudd said last night that this would make it easier to compromise in the Brexit talks.
May says she still thinks she will be able to complete the negotiations in the two-year timescale.
Q: But that does not mean after 2019 no more rulings from the ECJ or freedom of movement.
May says people voted to end free movement and to get control of our laws.
Q: So you are guaranteeing that we will be free of those things by 2020.
May says she will get the best possible deal. She wants the best possible trade deal.
Q: It is the duty of the opposition to oppose. The Daily Mail headlines says: “Crush the saboteurs.” Is that how you see your opponents?
No, says May. She says people are entitled to express their views.
Q: What is about the recent 20-point lead in the polls that made an early election attractive?
May says every election has a risk. No politician wants an election just for the sake of it.
She says she wants to take the right decisions for the long term.
Q: In the Sun you say you will be “much freer” in your Brexit negotiations?
May says there are two things.
If the public give her a mandate, and back her plan for Brexit, that will strengthen her hand.
And if she had not called an election, she would have been concluding the talks just before an election.
Q: So this gives you wriggle-room, the space to compromise.
May does not accept this. She says she wants the best possible deal.
Q: You are blaming the opposition for changing your mind. In Scotland you said now is not the time for a vote.
May says the election will strengthen her position in the Brexit negotiations.
The public want the government to deliver, she says.
She says having an election will create certainty.
Q: How many times have you been defeated in the Commons on Brexit?
May confirms there have not been any.
But she goes back to nine months ago. People wanted the government to leave the EU. But, as she triggered article 50, it became clear that the opposition would frustrate her.
Nick Robinson is interviewing Theresa May.
He starts by playing the clip from Brenda. (See 6.41am.)
Q: You present yourself as someone committed to getting on with the job. Do you regret breaking your word?
May says she does get on with the job. When she became PM should thought the UK needed stability. She got through the process of working on Brexit, and triggering article 50.
But around the time she triggered article 50 it became clear who the opposition was intent on frustrating the process.
The Lib Dems said they wanted to grind government to a standstill. Labour said they might vote against the final deal.
Good morning. I’ m here to take over from Claire.
I’ ll be starting with Theresa May’s interview on Today, which is coming up at 8.10.


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Vietnam leads Asia for growth in convenience stores

By Barry Elliott Asia’s grocery market is the largest in the world, with a predicted 6.3 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) up to 2021, according to the worldwide food and grocery research specialists at IGD. The size of the Asian market is forecast to reach US$4.8 trillion by 2021: equivalent to that of Europe and North America combined. In the convenience store channel alone, IGD is forecasting a high double-digit CAGR over the next four years in Vietnam (37.4 per cent) , the Philippines (24.2 per cent) and Indonesia (15.8 per cent) , based on the performance of the leading convenience store operators in each market. IGD has done extensive research and gleaned important insights that are useful to all of us working in the supply chain field across this region. The main reaction we have, however, is that what is presented may not be taking into account the already well-developed base in some of the countries included, especially the likes of Thailand and others that are found lower in the rankings. Based on our experience, we would say that what IGD is finding and predicting is well founded, but the important observation may be more about where the various countries are in their evolution than about relative growth. Nick Miles, head of Asia-Pacific at IGD, says: “The retail markets in these three countries are gradually shifting from traditional to modern trade, and there are several factors driving this: a positive economic outlook, a significant increase in GDP per capita, deregulated markets encouraging more foreign investment, and rapidly changing shopper habits. “Among all the bricks-and-mortar grocery channels, convenience shows the strongest growth prospects in Asia, thanks to rapid urbanisation, a growing young population and greater levels of disposable income.” Discussing the particularly strong growth forecast for Vietnam, Mr Miles says: “Convenience stores in Vietnam have become popular destinations for young consumers to shop and hang out, as the stores provide them with an air-conditioned environment, well-organised shelves and seating areas, high-quality products and, in some stores, free WiFi.” Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia share similar characteristics that make their convenience markets particularly ripe for growth, according to IGD: Store expansion. These three convenience markets are predominantly driven by an increase in store numbers. For example, the number of convenience stores operated by the top five retailers in the Philippines has more than doubled in the last five years. As well, retailers are gradually shifting their focus from the capital to more provincial areas for greater opportunities. Local players gaining a stronger foothold. Asia’s convenience market has traditionally been dominated by Japanese retailers. But there has been more market consolidation and, most noticeably, domestic players such as VinMart in Vietnam and SM Retail in the Philippines have been scaling up their operations and establishing leadership in their local markets. Neighbourhood mini-supermarkets are becoming more popular. Apart from the modern convenience store format, local operators such as Indonesia’s Indomaret and Dairy Farm’s Wellcome format in the Philippines have developed a successful neighbourhood mini-supermarket model that better caters to local needs. These mini-supermarkets are typically between 150 and 300 square metres and focus on fresh food, top-up grocery items and food for tonight. Mr Miles adds: “Across all the region’s key growth markets, we expect to see retailers and manufacturers increasing their investment in convenience, championing innovative new products and formats such as food-to-go, and above all, working collaboratively to ensure they are making the most of these exciting growth prospects.”


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Woman hit by police car in Philadelphia park

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A woman is being treated for serious injuries after a police car backed into her in a Philadelphia park.
Capt. Sekou Kinebrew with the Philadelphia Police Department says officers were parked on the pavement in the park during an unrelated investigation Tuesday afternoon when an officer put his car in reverse and hit the woman.
She was taken to a hospital in critical condition. Her name has not been released.
Police have not identified the officer who hit her or say if he will face any discipline.
Kinebrew declined to specify what officers were initially investigating in the park.


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Chinese doctors remove live eel from constipated man’s stomach after folk remedy fails him

Doctors in southern China have removed a half-metre live eel from the stomach of a middle-aged man who inserted the elongated fish in himself supposedly as a folk remedy for constipation, according to a local newspaper. The patient told doctors in Guangzhou that he had heard word on the street that his condition could be effectively relieved or even cured by a living eel, the reported on Tuesday. He was hospitalised last week when the live fish began to wreak havoc on his intestines after he inserted it in his anus, the report said. Eels have pointed jaws, sharp teeth and a slender body that moves in waves, allowing them to burrow efficiently through sand, mud and pebbles. The eel used by the man was said to have a head as large as a ping-pong ball. One doctor said that when the man arrived at the hospital, his stomach was inflated like an air balloon, causing sharp pain. In surgery they found the animal had broken through the intestines and generated “a mess” in the man’s abdominal cavity, “almost killing him”, the doctor said. Eels are a common fish in southern China, available in many local markets. In 2013, another man in Guangdong province was admitted to hospital after inserting an eel into himself for sexual pleasure. Earlier this year, a woman was reportedly hospitalised for the same reason.


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Sombre mood as Iraq's Yazidis mark New Year

Thousands of Yazidis flocked to a shrine in northern Iraq to mark the New Year on Wednesday, in the minority's biggest gathering since it was targeted for genocide by jihadists.
Wearing traditional Yazidi clothes, holding candles and paraffin lamps, they started gathering in the holy town of Lalish on Tuesday for celebrations ahead of their New Year.
The event, known by the ethno-religious minority as "Carsama Sari Sali", is meant to commemorate the creation of the universe by the angels and celebrate nature and fertility.
But the mood was sombre among the faithful gathered in Lalish, every one of whom was affected by the violence that erupted nearly three years ago when the Islamic State group took over their traditional homeland.
"I'm not happy, it's not like before, because there are those who are still in the hands of Daesh (IS) , " said Zoan Msaid, a Yazidi woman from the Sinjar area who now lives in a camp for displaced people.
"We cannot forget our customs and traditions but I just want those who are still held to come back, that's all. We ask for nothing more."
Yazidis are neither Arab nor Muslim and when IS swept across northern Iraq in 2014, it carried out massacres against the minority which the United Nations said qualified as genocide.
Most of the several hundred thousand members of the minority live in northern Iraq, mainly around Sinjar, a large town which anti-IS forces have now retaken but was extensively destroyed.
IS jihadists captured Yazidi women and turned them into sex slaves to be sold and exchanged across their self-proclaimed "caliphate". Around 3, 000 of them are believed to remain in captivity.


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Bootmaker founder's wife, teen, missing in Grand Canyon

Relatively few visitors even try to hike a rugged, remote area at the bottom of the Grand Canyon where the wife of the founder of Merrell Boot Co. and a teenager went missing last weekend, according to the National Park Service. Tapeats Creek, where Lou-Ann Merrell and Jackson Standefer, 14, lost their footing during a family trip, is not particularly difficult to hike for experienced backpackers, said Chris Forsyth, president of the Grand Canyon Hikers & Backpackers Association board. But heavy water rushing through the creek can make it challenging, he said. Merrell is the wife of Randy Merrell, who helped found the Merrell Boot Co. The Merrells, Standefer and the boy's mother were on a path known as Tapeats Trail when the pair fell, authorities said. The Merrell family accessed the area by hiking down from the North Rim. The area has a more distinct geology than most of the park and attracts a fair number of visitors but is not as popular with tourists are other spots, like Havasupai Falls. Forsyth, who says he has hiked that area five times, said a visit there calls for a multiple-day backpacking trip and at least some experience in hiking. He said his first trip through the canyon was at Tapeats Creek. About 3, 500 people got permits in 2015 to camp in the general area where the two hikers went missing, the latest readily available data, said National Park Service spokeswoman Robin Martin. About 41, 000 total people that year got permits to backpack in the Grand Canyon in total. Matthew Nelson, the executive director of the Arizona Trail Association and a former Grand Canyon backpacking guide, said accessing that area on foot takes days and requires an arduous hike. Nelson said the area offers stunning views but is also unforgivingly hot. He said the water in the creek comes from a cave and is always extremely cold. "The rock that forms the canyon at Tapeats Creek is a particular layer that isn't found everywhere in the Grand Canyon. It gives it a more unique sense of beauty, " Forsyth said. An intense search for Merrell and 14-year-old Standefer resumed Tuesday, Martin said. The search includes three ground teams consisting of about 20 people total, a National Park Service helicopter, a drone and an inflatable motor raft that was flown into the canyon. Search crews are looking within a mile and a mile and half of where the hikers were last seen, as well as where the creek meets the Colorado River. "We're really just looking in the water and areas where someone maybe would have been able to get out, " Martin said. Mark McOmie, the boy's uncle, said the Merrells are avid hikers and know the area well. He said Lou-Ann and Randy Merrell, who was also on the trip, live in Vernal, a city in eastern Utah. McOmie was not on the trip. Lou-Ann Merrell is "a very experienced backpacker, " McOmie said. "If they can get to a spot where they cannot be in the water and stay warm, she's got the skills needed to get them through it." The parent organization of the Merrell Boot Co., Wolverine Worldwide, issued a statement Tuesday. "Our thoughts, prayers, and hearts are with the Merrell family. We are grateful to the people working around the clock and continue to be hopeful, " said Jim Zwiers, executive vice president. The park service said it hasn't determined what went wrong and that there was no rain or flash flooding reported in the area. Creeks in the canyon often see higher water levels in the spring as snow melts. Forsyth said that he hasn't visited Tapeats Creek this year but has been to other parts of the park, where he's noticed more water than usual, he said. The McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, said Jackson is an eighth-grade student at the all-boys school. A call to Merrell Footlab for comment wasn't immediately returned. ___ Jaques Billeaud reported from Phoenix and Sheila Burke reported from Nashville, Tennessee. Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Feeney urges Stormers to step up

Cape Town - Stormers skills coach Paul Feeney has called for a more
clinical approach ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby clash with the Crusaders.
Feeney has bemoaned his side's inability to finish off their
chances in the 29-16 defeat to the Lions at Newlands on Saturday. This, despite
being camped on the Lions' try-line for a good 15 minutes.
"In that 12 minutes we spent in their 22 after
half-time‚ we had a couple of lineouts and we had three scrums not far from
their line, " Feeney told .
"We were very close to getting over on three occasions.
Whether it was the option taking by the backs out wide‚ our picking and going
or not staying patient enough‚ we just could not quite finish them off.
"It is the team's attack in general which we need to
sharpen up a bit. We were not quite as good as were the week before against the
The Kiwi coach knows all too well the threat the Crusaders
possess and is well aware that the Cape Town side cannot afford to make the
same mistakes they made against the Lions. He has specifically referred to
set-pieces, where Bongi Mbonambi was guilty of not finding his jumpers on one
too many occasions.
"Scrums on our ball were nice and solid‚ but we had a
couple of lapses in concentration on their ball. At lineout time we lost a
couple of balls as well, " said the former Blues coach.
He added that the Crusaders' abrasive forward pack, replete
with All Blacks, was something the Stormers definitely needed to be wary of.
"Some of their starting forwards also start for the All
Blacks‚" said Feeney.
"There is [Joe] Moody‚ [Owen] Franks‚ [Sam] Whitelock
and [Kieran] Read. Then you got [Wyatt] Crockett‚ [Luke] Romano‚ [Scott]
Barrett and [Matt] Todd - they can put out an All Black forward pack easily‚ so
that is what makes them dangerous.
"They are very good at the set-piece‚ they are very
physical and they are very well-organised.
"In the backs [flyhalf] Richie Mo'unga has come of age
and he's got about three Super Rugby campaigns under his belt.
"Ryan Crotty in the midfield is rock solid so they have
a good group of players across the park. But it all starts with their pack.
"It is the best forward pack going around in Super
Rugby‚ simple as that and that is what they lay their platform on."


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PH balance of payments deficit widens to $550 million in March

The country posted a balance of payments (BOP) deficit of $550 million in March, the sixth straight month that the amount of dollars that left the economy was more than those that came in.
The latest Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas data released on Wednesday showed that last month’s BOP deficit was the biggest in four months, exceeding February’s $436 million, January’s $9 million and December last year’s $214 million.
The deficit in March also reversed the $854-million surplus during the same month last year.
At the end of the first quarter, the deficit widened to $994 million from the $210-billion deficit recorded at end-March last year.
The BOP is a summary of all the businesses the country does with the rest of the world.
BOP data is tracked closely to ensure that the supply of dollars in the economy remains ample to allow the government as well as businesses to transact with the rest of the world.
Sources of dollar income for the country include remittances from Filipinos overseas, sales from exports of goods and services, as well as foreign investments and revenues from industries such as business process outsourcing and tourism.
The country uses the dollars it earns for the importation of goods, such as food and fuel, and also for external debt payments.
The country ended 2016 with a BOP deficit of $420 million.
For 2017, the BSP targets a BOP surplus of $1 billion even as the current account is seen further narrowing to $800 million as the projected 10-percent growth in imports would outpace the 2-percent exports growth.
According to the BSP, the 2017 BOP position outlook was based on the following assumptions: a pickup in the global growth outlook; gradual increase in oil prices; less volatility in global financial markets; as well as continued favorable growth prospects for the domestic economy.
Foreign direct investment net inflows were expected to hit $7 billion this year, while foreign portfolio investment would post a net outflow of $900 million.
Gross international reserves would likely rise to $84.7 billion in 2017, equivalent to 8.8 months of imports, while cash remittances from overseas Filipinos would further increase to $27.7 billion.


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Coalition, collaboration and tactical voting: that’s how to halt hard Brexit

Theresa May is about to find out that turkeys do not vote for Christmas. More precisely, when confronted with someone in a butcher’s apron and a sharpened knife, turkeys are not apt to give a mandate for that person to organise an “unspecified meal-type experience”.
As the news of snap general election swirled around College Green, I was surrounded by mainstream journalists congratulating their contacts in the May administration over their success at keeping everybody in the dark. But that’s easy when you have no idea what you’ re doing.
May has been forced to call this election through a mixture of panic and incompetence. Panic not, of course, in the face of the polls – after months of inner party sabotage and dissent, Labour’s poll rating is low.
The panic arises from the realisation that she has triggered article 50 with no plan, no agreed negotiating position and a deteriorating economy. With inflation outstripping pay again, we are facing – for at least 12 out of the 18 months of the Brexit talks – falling real wages.
Banks, insurers and car manufacturers are voting with their feet against May’s policy of hard Brexit. Their action is logical in the face of a government whose negotiating position includes exiting the EU with no deal.
May has no position to seek a mandate on – and insiders are saying she does not intend to put one in the manifesto. So all the major questions: what replaces free movement; what our trade relationship to Europe will be; how much of European law gets ported into British law – will still remain unanswered.
Even as we troop into the polling stations, May’s Conservatives will be saying, simply, “Trust us.” It is a massive gamble – but the next 72 hours will decide whether the opposition parties have the stomach to seize the opportunity to inflict a historic defeat.
The progressive half of British politics is split over Brexit. The Lib Dems and Greens want to reverse it; so do the Blairites in the Labour party. It’s an honourable and logical position provided it is done through constitutional means. I have always thought that should mean: put the final Brexit deal to a vote in parliament with the option of reverting to the status quo if it is rejected. Anybody who tells you this is impossible – in Brussels or Westminster – is lying.
The SNP wants an assurance that Scotland can remain connected to the single market after Brexit, and a second referendum to secure independence because May refused to guarantee this. That too is a logical and honourable position.
The majority of Labour voters, meanwhile, want what the leadership wants: a soft Brexit, with substantial access to the single market or even better – with changes to the migration rules to mitigate the impact of the free movement regime on wages, conditions and social cohesion.
All these aims are congruent with defeating May – and with each other: that is, if the parties at Westminster are prepared to be brave and act fast.
There is no time to form a formal “progressive alliance”. There is, however, ample opportunity to signal to the wider electorate and each other the appetite to govern in coalition, or with supply and confidence. On that basis, grassroots members of the opposition parties should come together to ensure a tactical vote for the best-placed anti-Tory candidate.
Our aim should not be a narrow majority: it should be to wipe out hard Brexit Toryism for a generation and reset Britain’s relationship with the EU as “half-out but heavily engaged”.
Labour’s strategy should be to make this a one issue election: Brexit with social justice, or Brexit in the hands of an uncontrollable nationalist clique – followed swiftly by the breakup of the UK and economic collapse.
The Tories are already having to impose a pay cap on millions of public servants, amid falling real wages in the private sector. Targets are scrapped one by one as they are missed. Elderly care is on the brink of chaos, as providers flee the sector. More than 1 million people have been forced on to zero-hours contracts. And, crucially, the housing market has turned – even before the Bank is obliged to hike interest rates.
But all this precedes the massive attack on workplace rights, human rights and the welfare system that the Conservatives will unleash under the hard-Brexit scenario.
Whatever the polls show, it is still clear there is a progressive majority in Britain. The reactionary minority of nationalists, xenophobes and privateers can be defeated.
Labour does not need to start breast-beating about a majority government. It should instead promise to lead a coalition at Westminster to halt hard Brexit, promote accountability and reset the political process – with a “normal” election in spring 2019 to ratify any deal the incoming government does.


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Are YOU a binge eater? From forgiving yourself to changing your mentality, nutritionist shares her top tips for breaking the cycle

Eating food on a whim and feeling guilty about it later is an exhausting cycle.
Australian wellness guru and author Jessica Sepel knows all too well what that toxic rotation feels like having 'yo-yo dieted' for many years.
The leading nutritionist has previously spoken about her struggle with a thyroid disease and how she battled orthorexia for more than a decade.
Now Ms Sepel has revealed her top tips for combating binge eating - or eating an excessive amount in a short period of time - to Body and Soul and explained how she stays healthy.
'It starts with forgiving yourself. You fell off the wagon but you’ re only human. It’s time to get up and remind yourself that we all fall sometimes, ' she explained.
The 28-year-old author of Living The Healthy Life said the main thing to remember is to learn from the experience and be strong enough to acknowledge when you're restricting or overcompensating on your diet.
She also said that changing our mentality from 'I blew it' to 'let's just make better choices next time' is an important step towards having a positive experience with your food.
'I see this all the time: clients have high standards when it comes to their eating so when they eat something that doesn’ t align with their perfect diet plan, they punish themselves with a binge, ' she told Body and Soul.
Ultimately the best approach is to stop deeming food 'good or bad' and placing negative connotations on certain foods. This leads to unhealthy restrictive eating, Ms Sepel explained.
'Remove the pressure to eat perfectly and be a perfect human in general, ' she said.
The 28-year-old has previously spoken to Daily Mail Australia about her struggle with an autoimmune disease.
'For the past two years, I've been dealing with my own health battle. It's been the hardest and most challenging thing I've faced in a long time, ' Ms Sepel said.
'I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis in 2014. This is an autoimmune disorder that is four to ten times more common in women.
'Basically, it's when your own immune system starts attacking your thyroid. When it happens, your body is in a state of inflammation and compromised immunity. I know what you're thinking – "What on earth?!" I was exactly the same.'
Ms Sepel had known something was wrong, but as a health expert and someone who looked after herself nutritionally and physically, she had no idea what it was.
'I was away in South Africa for six weeks when I started noticing symptoms that were very unlike me. I had a puffy face, fluid retention around the thighs, heart palpitations, dry skin and suddenly gained three kilos, ' she remembered.
Added to this, Ms Sepel recalls feeling irritable and exhausted the entire time.
'I eat so well, I don't take any prescription medicine, I manage my stress well, and I live a balanced life. This doesn't make sense. I'm a nutritionist and health nut!' she said.
With her self-esteem taking a hit, Ms Sepel felt confused and lost - something, which she told Daily Mail Australia, she has only recently recovered from.
Ms Sepel runs a successful blog and program to help others find balance and health within their own lives.


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Relatives pen tributes for late AJ Perez in his 6th year

It has been six years since the untimely death of AJ Perez, but some of the people close to his heart continue to treasure the memories they shared with him.
Steph Ayson, AJ’s high school sweetheart, tweeted pictures of the late 18-year-old actor-model, which brought some fans to tears. “Six years ago today. Praying even more that smile is still as bright as you watch us, ” she said.
Angello Perez, AJ’s brother, reminisced his brother’s joyful spirit with their throwback photos. “Six years since you left, but there was never a day I don’ t think about you, ” he captioned.
In another Instagram post, he shared a photo of AJ wearing a cap sewn with the number 17. “You came on a 17, you left on a 17, ” he wrote, indicating the exact date AJ was killed in a car crash in Tarlac.
Perez, whose real name was Antonello Joseph Sarte Perez, emerged into stardom as a member of Star Magic Batch 13 in 2006. He starred in several soaps, including “Sabel” and “Your Song Presents: Underage.” His last acting credit was in an episode of ABS-CBN’s “Maalaala Mo Kaya, ” which aired on April 30. Gianna Francesca Catolico /ra
Gift of sight: Looking through AJ’s eyes
AJ Perez shines in ‘farewell portrayal’
Peers and directors remember AJ Perez


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Kelsea Ballerini sparkles in cornflower blue strapless dress by Zac Posen at 2017 Symphony Fashion Show

The 2017 Symphony Fashion Show is where country stars come to shine.
And Kelsea Ballerini did just that as she arrived to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville looking radiant on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old dazzled in a Zac Posen original, whose 2017 Fall Collection was featured at this year's annual fundraiser.
Kelsea turned heads as she walked the catwalk in an iridescent gown by the famous women's wear designer.
The shimmering cornflower blue strapless number flowed beautifully on the petite country music starlet.
An intricate design covered the bodice and continued into the ruche that cascaded onto the floor.
Ballerini was as captivated by the gown as was the audience when she arrived on stage to perform according to The Tennessean.
'Playing guitar in this dress is a sin, ' she told the crowd. 'It’s worth more than my car.'
'I feel like just like music, fashion is another form of art and a way of expressing yourself, ' she said before the show.
'It’s really cool when you’ re able to combine different kinds of art to celebrate each other, ' she continued.
She started with her current Top 10 hit Yeah Boy and then performed a cover of the classic Make the World Go Away.
She closed by welcoming members of the Nashville Symphony on stage to perform Peter Pan along with her.
Proceeds from the show help support the Symphony’s artistic, education and community engagement programs.


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No rings Roxy! PR buff Jacenko ditches her $50, 000 diamond eternity bling and wedding bands from husband Oliver Curtis during coffee run

She was recently forced to deny claims that she got a $50, 000 diamond eternity ring from her ex boyf