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Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador during the opening celebrations of the Alfredo Harp Helu Stadium in Mexico City
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador during the opening celebrations of the Alfredo Harp Helu Stadium in Mexico City, Mexico March 23, 2019. Press Office Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador/Handout via REUTERS

March 24, 2019

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has enjoyed soaring approval ratings in his first few months in power, got a rare taste of public animosity on Saturday when he was booed at the inauguration of a baseball stadium in Mexico City.

In an evening ceremony to mark the opening of the new home of the Diablos Rojos de Mexico (Mexico City Red Devils), Lopez Obrador endured cat whistles, boos and cries of “out” from the packed crowd at the stadium close to the city’s airport.

It was unclear why sections of the crowd were hostile towards the president, but the self-professed baseball fan hit back against the criticism, scoffing at his adversaries.

“I’m not going to talk much, because there are some fans here from team ‘fifi’,” he said from the pitch, using a term sometimes rendered as ‘sissy’ he favors to belittle critical voices.

“But the majority of the people are in favor of change and in favor of the king of sports: baseball,” he continued, as the Diablos Rojos prepared to play the San Diego Padres.

Lopez Obrador, a leftist former mayor of Mexico City, took power in December following a landslide election win last July.

During the five month transition, he quickly set about stamping his authority on Mexico, pledging to revamp the economy from the bottom up and upsetting some of the country’s wealthier citizens with his decisions, particularly on economic policy.

His Oct. 29 cancellation of a partly-built, $13 billion new airport for the capital proved especially contentious.

Since taking power, Lopez Obrador has taken a firm grip of the national agenda with daily news conferences at 7 a.m. The public has warmed to it, and his approval ratings have flown as high as 80 percent or above, according to opinion polls.

Amid boos and applause, Lopez Obrador mixed baseball terms and rhetoric from his campaign to tell the crowd he would deliver on promises to defeat the corrupt “mafia” he says is the root cause of violence, poverty and inequality in Mexico.

“We’re going to continue subjecting the ‘mafia of power’ to strikeouts,” he said, winding up his speech quickly before throwing the first ceremonial pitch to open the stadium.

(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador during the opening celebrations of the Alfredo Harp Helu Stadium in Mexico City
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador during the opening celebrations of the Alfredo Harp Helu Stadium in Mexico City, Mexico March 23, 2019. Press Office Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador/Handout via REUTERS

March 24, 2019

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has enjoyed soaring approval ratings in his first few months in power, got a rare taste of public animosity on Saturday when he was booed at the inauguration of a baseball stadium in Mexico City.

In an evening ceremony to mark the opening of the new home of the Diablos Rojos de Mexico (Mexico City Red Devils), Lopez Obrador endured cat whistles, boos and cries of “out” from the packed crowd at the stadium close to the city’s airport.

It was unclear why sections of the crowd were hostile towards the president, but the self-professed baseball fan hit back against the criticism, scoffing at his adversaries.

“I’m not going to talk much, because there are some fans here from team ‘fifi’,” he said from the pitch, using a term sometimes rendered as ‘sissy’ he favors to belittle critical voices.

“But the majority of the people are in favor of change and in favor of the king of sports: baseball,” he continued, as the Diablos Rojos prepared to play the San Diego Padres.

Lopez Obrador, a leftist former mayor of Mexico City, took power in December following a landslide election win last July.

During the five month transition, he quickly set about stamping his authority on Mexico, pledging to revamp the economy from the bottom up and upsetting some of the country’s wealthier citizens with his decisions, particularly on economic policy.

His Oct. 29 cancellation of a partly-built, $13 billion new airport for the capital proved especially contentious.

Since taking power, Lopez Obrador has taken a firm grip of the national agenda with daily news conferences at 7 a.m. The public has warmed to it, and his approval ratings have flown as high as 80 percent or above, according to opinion polls.

Amid boos and applause, Lopez Obrador mixed baseball terms and rhetoric from his campaign to tell the crowd he would deliver on promises to defeat the corrupt “mafia” he says is the root cause of violence, poverty and inequality in Mexico.

“We’re going to continue subjecting the ‘mafia of power’ to strikeouts,” he said, winding up his speech quickly before throwing the first ceremonial pitch to open the stadium.

(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round- Florida State vs Murray State
Mar 23, 2019; Hartford, CT, USA; Florida State Seminoles forward Mfiondu Kabengele (25) dunks and scores against the Murray State Racers during the second half of game in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Florida State’s depth and height proved way too much for upstart Murray State and star guard Ja Morant on Saturday night, as the fourth-seeded Seminoles reached the West Region semifinals of the NCAA Tournament with a 90-62 rout in Hartford, Conn.

Senior guard Terance Mann paced Florida State’s starters (29-7) with 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Mfiondu Kabengele came off the bench to net 22 points, going 10 of 12 from the field, and Raiquan Gray chipped in 11 to go along with five steals.

The Seminoles, who will meet top-seeded Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night in Anaheim, Calif., canned nearly 51 percent of their field-goal tries and were 11 of 27 on 3-pointers. They also dominated the much smaller Racers on the glass, earning a 45-33 advantage.

Morant, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard who would likely be a lottery pick if he declares for the NBA Draft this summer, poured in a game-high 28 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. But he made just 8 of 21 shots from the field after a hot start, as Florida State’s length appeared to bother him. Murray State’s season ended at 28-5.

WEST REGION

No. 1 Gonzaga 83, No. 9 Baylor 71

Brandon Clarke had a historic performance with a career-high 36 points and five blocked shots to lead the Bulldogs over the Bears in the second round in Salt Lake City.

Clarke, who entered the NCAA Tournament leading the nation in field-goal percentage (.693), made 15 of 18 shots, including five dunks. The 6-foot-8 senior also had eight rebounds, three assists and two steals for Gonzaga (32-3). Baylor’s season ended at 20-14.

Clarke broke the school record for points in an NCAA Tournament game (Adam Morrison, 35) and became the third player in NCAA history with at least 35 points and five blocks, joining Navy’s David Robinson and LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal. The NCAA started tracking blocked shots as an official stat in the 1985-86 season.

No. 2 Michigan 64, No. 10 Florida 49

Jordan Poole scored a game-high 19 points and the Wolverines pulled away with an 11-0 run to start the second half as they bagged a win over the Gators in the second round in Des Moines, Iowa.

Isaiah Livers came off the bench to add 10 for Michigan (30-6), which will face No. 3 Texas Tech or No. 6 Buffalo in the West Region semifinals on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif. Michigan, which owned the boards 42-29, overcame 42.1 percent shooting from the field.

Jalen Hudson was the only double-figure scorer for the Gators (20-16) with 11 points, but he made just 4 of 15 shots from the floor and was 3 of 10 from the 3-point line. Florida fired away to no avail, hitting only 19 of 55 field-goal tries (34.5 percent) and 9 of 26 from 3-point range.

EAST REGION

No. 2 Michigan State 70, No. 10 Minnesota 50

After failing to get out of the first weekend in each of the previous three seasons, the Spartans started quickly, then followed star guard Cassius Winston to a victory over the Golden Gophers in Des Moines, Iowa.

Michigan State (30-6) advances to the regional semifinals for the 14th time under coach Tom Izzo and for the first time since 2015, when the Spartans reached the Final Four. Winston finished with 13 points and nine assists.

Minnesota, which was without senior Jordan Murphy for all but four minutes due to a bad back, ended its season at 22-14.

No. 3 LSU 69, No. 6 Maryland 67

Tremont Waters made a tie-breaking layup with two seconds left as the Tigers held off the Terrapins in a second-round game in Jacksonville, Fla.

Waters’ basket created the final separation in a tight game in which the score was tied six times in the last 6 1/2 minutes. Defense dominated the game as both teams shot below 40 percent from the floor.

The Tigers (28-6), who edged 14th-seeded Yale 79-74 on Thursday, will face No. 2 seed Michigan State in a regional semifinal next weekend in Washington, D.C. Skylar Mays added 16 points for LSU. Maryland’s season ended at 23-11.

SOUTH REGION

No. 3 Purdue 87, No. 6 Villanova 61

Carsen Edwards recorded career highs with nine 3-pointers and 42 points as the Boilermakers eliminated the defending champion Wildcats with a victory in a second-round game in Hartford, Conn.

Matt Haarms collected 18 points and nine rebounds, and Ryan Cline added 12 points for Purdue (25-9), which went 16-for-30 from 3-point range to advance to the Sweet 16 for the third straight year. Purdue will face the winner of Sunday’s contest between second-seeded Tennessee and No. 10 Iowa.

Eric Paschall scored 19 points and Phil Booth added 15 on 5-of-13 shooting from the field for the sixth-seeded Wildcats (26-10), who were denied in their bid for a third NCAA title in four years.

MIDWEST REGION

No. 2 Kentucky 62, No. 7 Wofford 56

Reid Travis scored 14 points, including a pair of clutch free throws, as the Wildcats fended off the Terriers in a second-round game in Jacksonville, Fla.,

Kentucky (29-6) goes to the Sweet 16 on Friday night in Kansas City, Mo., to face either third-seeded Houston or No. 11 Ohio State. The Cougars and Buckeyes play Sunday.

Wofford’s Fletcher Magee, the NCAA’s leader in career 3-point baskets, was 0-for-12 from beyond the arc, including eight misses in the second half. The Southern Conference Player of the Year finished with eight points for the Terriers (30-5), whose school-record 21-game win streak ended.

No. 5 Auburn 89, No. 4 Kansas 75

Senior guard Bryce Brown made his first six shots, five from 3-point range, to ignite a first-half tear as the Tigers crushed the Jayhawks in the second round at Salt Lake City.

The win was the 10th straight for Auburn (28-9), which advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. The Tigers will head to Kansas City to face the winner of Sunday’s second-round game between No. 1 North Carolina and No. 9 Washington.

Auburn surged to a commanding 51-25 halftime bulge, the worst deficit Kansas has ever faced at the break in 155 NCAA Tournament games. The Jayhawks (26-10) reached double-digit losses for only the second time in 16 seasons under coach Bill Self.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Auburn vs Kansas
Mar 23, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Auburn Tigers guard Bryce Brown (2) goes up for a shot as Kansas Jayhawks forward David McCormack (33) defends during the first half in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Senior guard Bryce Brown made his first six shots, five from 3-point range, to ignite a first-half tear that enabled No. 5 Auburn to crush No. 4 Kansas 89-75 Saturday in the second round of the Midwest Region at Salt Lake City.

The win was the 10th straight for the Tigers (28-9), who advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. They’ll head to Kansas City to face the winner of Sunday’s second-round game between No. 1 North Carolina and No. 9 Washington.

Auburn surged to a commanding 51-25 halftime bulge, the worst deficit Kansas has ever faced at the break in 155 NCAA Tournament games.

Brown, who came in averaging a team-high 15.7 points, scored 17 in the first half and finished with 25 on 9-of-13 shooting, going 7 of 11 from 3-point range. Junior point guard Jared Harper chipped in 18 points, including 14 in the first half.

Sophomore forward Chuma Okeke added 12 points, while junior forward Anfernee McLemore added 11 for the deep Tigers.

Auburn wasted no time establishing control. It used runs 7-0 and then 8-0 to go up 15-5 before the first media timeout. Brown and Harper combined for three 3-pointers during that stretch, and the Tigers finished with nine first-half treys.

Kansas coach Bill Self had no answers for the early Auburn onslaught, using his third timeout with 8:57 still remaining in the first half. The Jayhawks (26-10) made their first seven attempts in the second half, but the Tigers countered by making their first five.

Auburn shot 52.5 percent and made 13 3-pointers, the seventh straight game the Tigers made at least 12 shots from behind the arc. They lead the nation in 3-point makes.

Kansas standout Dedric Lawson missed his first five attempts and did not connect from the field until the 2:26 mark of the first half. The slow start contributed to the Jayhawks’ first-half struggles, though the junior forward finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds, his 22nd double-double.

The finish marks the second time in 16 seasons that Kansas coach Self suffered 10 defeats. The last time the Jayhawks did not advance from the opening weekend was in 2015.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Television cameras stand in front of the Department of Justice the day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report into Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. election and any potential wrongdoing by President Donald Trump in Washington
Television cameras stand in front of the Department of Justice the day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election and any potential wrongdoing by President Donald Trump in Washington, U.S., March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

March 24, 2019

By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers waited on Sunday for details of a confidential report into a probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 election that has cast a pall over President Donald Trump’s time in office and raised questions about possible collusion between the Republican’s campaign and Moscow.

Attorney General William Barr was expected to give Congress and the public a summary of the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller who has conducted a 22-month-long Russia investigation.

Barr, the top U.S. law enforcement official, spent nine hours on Saturday studying the report. He had said he hoped to hand over a summary of its “principal conclusions” by the end of the weekend.

There appeared to be initial good news for Trump and his inner circle, as Mueller did not bring any further indictments when handing over the report to Barr on Friday.

That signals there might be no more criminal charges against Trump associates on the issue of whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to help ensure the Republican businessman’s surprise election win against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

It was not immediately known what Mueller’s report says about another strand of inquiry: whether Trump committed obstruction of justice to hinder the Russia investigation by acts such as firing then FBI Director James Comey in 2017.

Mueller brought charges against 34 people and three companies during his investigation, with prison sentences for some of Trump’s ex-aides such as former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

None of those charges, however, directly related to the question of collusion between the campaign and Moscow. Mueller, a former FBI director, did not interview Trump in person for his probe. Instead, Trump sent written answers to some questions about contacts with Russia.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded shortly before Trump took office in January 2017 that Moscow meddled in the election with a campaign of email hacking and online propaganda aimed at sowing discord in the United States, hurting Clinton and helping Trump.

TRUMP GOES QUIET

Trump, at his Mar-a-Lago, Florida, resort for the weekend, remained uncharacteristically silent about the completion of the investigation.

He has frequently derided Mueller’s work as a “witch hunt” and denies collaborating with Moscow or obstructing justice. Russia says it did not interfere in the election.

Spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters that the White House still has not received or been briefed on Mueller’s report.

The president took part in no public events on Saturday and played golf with musician Kid Rock.

House Democrats have asked for the release of the full Mueller report, as well as other documents backing up its conclusions, and have threatened to issue subpoenas if necessary.

Trump and his core team still face legal risks even if the report does not find that they committed crimes, and congressional Democrats on Saturday vowed to keep looking into his activities.

Trump’s business, his charity and presidential transition operation remain under investigation, said Senator Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Other prosecutors have picked up strands of the Mueller probe, most notably the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York which is looking into Trump’s business practices and financial dealings.

Under Department of Justice regulations, Barr is empowered to decide how much to disclose of the Mueller report publicly. He is a Trump appointee who only took office in February after the president fired his predecessor, Jeff Sessions.

Barr, who first served as attorney general in the early 1990s under President George H.W. Bush, told lawmakers on Friday that he is “committed to as much transparency as possible.”

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington; Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton in West Palm Beach, Florida; David Morgan, Makini Brice, Karen Freifeld, Susan Cornwell and Pete Schroeder in Washington; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Sandra Maler)

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round- Villanova vs Purdue
Mar 23, 2019; Hartford, CT, USA; Purdue Boilermakers guard Carsen Edwards (3) attempt a layup against the Villanova Wildcats during the second half of a game in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Carsen Edwards recorded career highs with nine 3-pointers and 42 points as third-seeded Purdue eliminated defending champion Villanova on Saturday with an 87-61 victory in an NCAA Tournament South Region second-round game at Hartford, Conn.

Matt Haarms collected 18 points and nine rebounds and Ryan Cline added 12 points for the Boilermakers (25-9), who were 16 for 30 from 3-point range to advance to the Sweet 16 for the third straight year. Purdue will face the winner of Sunday’s contest between second-seeded Tennessee and No. 10 Iowa.

Eric Paschall scored 19 points and Phil Booth added 15 on 5-of-13 shooting from the field for the sixth-seeded Wildcats (26-10), who were denied in their bid for a third NCAA title in four years.

The Boilermakers made seven of their first 11 3-point attempts and finished 9 for 18 from beyond the arc to seize a 43-24 lead at intermission. Villanova, conversely, went 3 for 14 from deep in the first half.

Edwards, who had a team-high 26 points in a 61-48 win over 14th-seeded Old Dominion on Thursday, drained four 3-pointers before Saturday’s game was six minutes old to stake Purdue to an early 19-10 lead.

The Boilermakers kept their foot on the gas, as Edwards and Cline each drilled another 3-pointer and Haarms’ emphatic dunk capped a 14-2 run to give Purdue a 41-22 lead with 1:25 left in the first half.

Edwards continued his torrid stretch by sinking an uncontested 3-pointer and working the baseline to set up a reverse layup to begin the second half. Cline drained two more 3-pointers and Edwards drilled his seventh shot from beyond the arc to highlight a 16-0 run and give Purdue a 59-24 lead just 5:37 into the second half.

Jermaine Samuels and Booth made 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to chip into the sizable deficit, but Edwards stopped the momentum with a three-point play.

Paschall ignited a 10-0 run for Villanova, but the deficit proved too great and the Boilermakers began making free throws. Edwards ended any doubt with his eighth 3-pointer to give Purdue a 71-42 lead with 6:35 to play.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: With Xinjiang’s fabled Tianshan mountains in the background, what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre is seen in Turpan
FILE PHOTO: With Xinjiang’s fabled Tianshan mountains in the background, what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre is seen in Turpan in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China September 5, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

March 24, 2019

By Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) – “Highly choreographed” tours to Xinjiang organized by the Chinese government are misleading and propagate false narratives about the troubled region, a U.S. official said, after China announced plans to invite European envoys to visit.

China has been stepping up a push to counter growing criticism in the West and among rights groups about a controversial de-radicalization program in heavily Muslim Xinjiang, which borders Central Asia.

Critics say China is operating internment camps for Uighurs and other Muslim peoples who live in Xinjiang, though the government calls them vocational training centers and says it has a genuine need to prevent extremist thinking and violence.

China’s foreign ministry said late last week it would invite Beijing-based European diplomats to visit soon. Diplomatic sources said the so-far informal invitation had gone specifically to ambassadors and was planned for this week.

A U.S. government official, asked by Reuters if the U.S. ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, had been invited to visit Xinjiang, said there were no meetings or visits to announce.

“Highly choreographed and chaperoned government-led tours in Xinjiang have propagated false narratives and obfuscated the realities of China’s ongoing human rights abuses in the region,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The visit this month would be the first by a large group of Western diplomats to the region since international concern about Xinjiang’s security clampdown began intensifying last year. Hundreds have died in unrest in Xinjiang in recent years.

Several groups of diplomats from other countries have already been brought to Xinjiang on tightly scripted trips since late December to visit the facilities.

There have been two visits by groups including European diplomats to Xinjiang this year. One was a small group of EU diplomats, and the other by a group of diplomats from a broader mix of countries, including missions from Greece, Hungary and North African and Southeast Asian states.

A Reuters journalist visited on a government-organized trip in January.

The U.S. official described what was happening in Xinjiang as “a highly repressive campaign”, and said claims that the facilities were “humane job-training centers” or “boarding schools” were not credible.

“We will continue to call on China to end these counterproductive policies, free all those who have been arbitrarily detained, and cease efforts to coerce members of its Muslim minority groups residing abroad to return to China to face an uncertain fate.”

China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. China has rejected all foreign criticism of its policies in Xinjiang, and says it invites foreigners to visit to help them better understand the region.

Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department said China’s treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang marked the worst human rights abuses “since the 1930s”.

The issue of Xinjiang adds another irritant to already strained ties between Washington and Beijing, who are trying to end a bitter trade war and have several other areas of disagreement, including the disputed South China Sea and U.S. support for Chinese-claimed Taiwan.

Late last year, more than a dozen ambassadors from Western countries, including France, Britain, Germany and the EU’s top envoy in Beijing, wrote to the government to seek a meeting with Xinjiang’s top official, Communist Party chief Chen Quanguo, to discuss their concerns about the rights situation.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has weighed sanctions against senior Chinese officials in Xinjiang, including Chen.

Two diplomatic sources told Reuters on Saturday that government officials had said a meeting with Chen was not being offered to the European ambassadors, and that the trip was not to discuss human rights but to talk about China-Europe cooperation on President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road project.

It remains unclear whether they would accept the invitation, though the two sources said it was unlikely.

The European Union’s embassy in Beijing has declined to comment on the invitation.

Xi is currently in Europe on a state visit to Italy, Monaco and France. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang goes to Brussels next month for a China-EU summit.

EU leaders said on Friday the bloc must recognize that China is as much a competitor as a partner.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by John Ruwitch in SHANGHAI; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Michigan State vs Minnesota
Mar 23, 2019; Des Moines, IA, United States; Michigan State Spartans forward Xavier Tillman (23) dunks the ball againstMinnesota Golden Gophers center Daniel Oturu (25) during the second half in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Michigan State is back in the Sweet 16.

After failing to get out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament in each of the previous three seasons, No. 2 Michigan State started quickly, then followed star guard Cassius Winston to a 70-50 victory over No. 10 Minnesota in the East Region at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

Michigan State (30-6) advances to the regional semifinals for the 14th time under coach Tom Izzo and for the first time since 2015, when the Spartans reached the Final Four. The Spartans will take on No. 3 LSU on Friday in Washington at Capital One Arena.

Winston finished with 13 points and nine assists, but his seven straight points in the second half — after Minnesota had cut Michigan State’s lead down to single digits — allowed the Spartans to pull away.

His seven points started a 9-0 run that became a 12-2 surge as Michigan State went up, 52-33, with 10:53 to play on a 3-pointer from Aaron Henry.

Xavier Tillman led the Spartans with 14 points, while Henry had nine points and nine rebounds.

Amir Coffey did his best to keep Minnesota (22-14) in the game, scoring 27 as the already short-handed Golden Gophers were without Jordan Murphy, who played only four minutes because of a bad back. Isaiah Washington scored 11.

Michigan State could do no wrong early in the game, making nine of its first 10 shots and going 13-for-16 to open a 20-point lead after Nick Ward scored on a layup to give the Spartans a 31-11 lead with six minutes left in the first half.

But the Spartans’ 11 turnovers in the first half led to 12 points for the Gophers. Michigan State’s only points over the final six minutes of the half came when Henry scored after a Ward miss as Minnesota took advantage, pulling to within 33-19 by halftime.

Almost four minutes into the second half, Minnesota started to chip away at the lead and got the pro-Gophers crowd to come to their feet.

An 8-0 run that included six points from Coffey got Minnesota to within 40-31, but Winston then hit two mid-range jumpers, then a 3-pointer in transition to turn back the Minnesota comeback.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Baylor vs Gonzaga
Mar 23, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Brandon Clarke (15) goes up for a shot on Baylor Bears guard Mario Kegler (4) during the second half in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Brandon Clarke had an historic performance with a career-high 36 points and five blocked shots to lead No. 1 seed Gonzaga over ninth-seeded Baylor 83-71 on Saturday in the second round of the West Region in Salt Lake City.

Clarke, who entered the NCAA Tournament leading the nation in field-goal percentage (.693), made 15 of 18 shots, including five dunks. The 6-foot-8 senior also had eight rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Clarke broke the school record for points in an NCAA Tournament game (Adam Morrison, 35) and became the third player in NCAA history with at least 35 points and five blocks, joining Navy’s David Robinson and LSU’s Shaquille O’Neal. The NCAA started tracking blocked shots as an official stat in the 1985-86 season.

“I mean, wow,” he said on TBS in response to his historic company. “My teammates made it super easy for me.”

Baylor (20-14) made a couple of runs after trailing 39-23 at the half, getting as close as five points, but Clarke and the Bulldogs’ interior offense were enough to hold off the feisty Bears.

Gonzaga (32-3) is headed to its fifth consecutive Sweet 16 and will face fourth-seeded Florida State on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif. The Seminoles eliminated the Bulldogs in last season’s Sweet 16 in Los Angeles.

Baylor’s Mark Vital, a rugged 6-foot-5 sophomore, led the undersized Bears with 17 points and eight rebounds. Makai Mason also scored 17, and King McClure added 15.

Gonzaga guard Corey Kispert made 4 of 6 3-point shots en route to 16 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds.

Baylor opened the second half with back-to-back 3-point shots to ignite a 10-0 run that quickly cut its halftime deficit to 39-33. Vital poured in nine points in the first 3:24 of the half but picked up his fourth foul at the 16:12 mark with the score 43-38.

Vital returned with 11:46 left and did not foul out.

Baylor, which made a season-high 16 shots from beyond the arc in a first-round victory against Syracuse, failed to find many good looks against Gonzaga’s man-to-man. The Bears made 1 of 10 3-point attempts in the first half and finished 4 of 21.

Everything went so well for the Bulldogs in the first half that when Geno Crandall attempted a lob to Clarke, the pass instead went through the net for a 3-pointer.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: NBA: Washington Wizards at Minnesota Timberwolves
FILE PHOTO: Mar 9, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose (25) looks on during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced on Saturday that guard Derrick Rose has undergone successful arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow and will be out indefinitely.

Minnesota had announced two days earlier that Rose wouldn’t play in the final 11 games of the season as the club was well out of the last playoff spot.

Rose had missed the four games prior to that because of a chip fracture and a loose body in his right elbow. He averaged 18.0 points and 4.3 assists in 51 games (13 starts).

Rose, 30, will be a free agent after this season.

–The Chicago Bulls are shutting down injured rookies Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison for the rest of the season, the team announced. The move to shelve both players was posted on Twitter by Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson.

Carter, a 6-foot-10 center and first-round pick (seventh overall) out of Duke, hasn’t played since Jan. 15 because of a left thumb injury. He underwent surgery on Jan. 21 to repair the ulnar collateral ligament.

Hutchison, a forward who has an injury to his right toe, was the 22nd overall pick of the 2018 draft by the Bulls out of Boise State.

–Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball said he no longer is working with a family friend after $1.5 million from Ball’s personal and business bank accounts apparently remains missing.

The second-year player told ESPN that the man, Alan Foster, “used his access to my business and personal finances to enrich himself. As a result, I have decided to sever all ties with Alan, effective immediately.”

Foster owns 16.3 percent of the family’s Big Baller Brand and also has managed the family companies. He met the Balls about a decade ago through his son, who became friends with Lonzo Ball in seventh grade. Family patriarch LaVar Ball has said it was Foster’s idea to launch the Big Baller.

–Veteran forward Donatas Motiejunas may be back in Texas with the NBA soon, this time with the San Antonio Spurs, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The 28-year-old Lithuanian native last played in the NBA in 2017 for the New Orleans Pelicans and was a member of the Houston Rockets from 2012-16. He was the No. 20 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, who traded his draft rights to the Houston the following day.

In 248 career NBA games, Motiejunas averaged 7.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists and shot 46.9 percent from the field.

–The Boston Celtics are bringing back a familiar face, signing center Greg Monroe to a 10-day deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Monroe, 28, averaged just 11.1 minutes in 38 games (two starts) for the Toronto Raptors this season, tallying 4.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per contest, but was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in February in exchange for cash considerations. The Nets then waived the ninth-year veteran.

A lottery pick (seventh overall) by Detroit in 2010, Monroe played with the Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics before signing a one-year, $2.2 million deal with Toronto as a free agent in August 2018.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng speaks during the meeting with Kuwaiti first Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng speaks during the meeting with Kuwaiti first Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Sheikh Nasser Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China December 17, 2018. Wang Zhao/Pool via REUTERS

March 24, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s economy may face a more challenging environment this year but the government is nevertheless confident of achieving its key 2019 targets, Vice Premier Han Zheng said on Sunday.

Han, speaking at the China Development Forum, reiterated that China will further deepen market-oriented reforms and open up its economy. He also said China’s imports of goods are expected to exceed $12 trillion in the next five years.

China targets economic growth of between 6 percent and 6.5 percent for the year, compared with 6.6 percent growth last year.

(Reporting by Kevin Yao; writing by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha prepares to vote in the general election at a polling station in Bangkok
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha (L) prepares to vote in the general election at a polling station in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

March 24, 2019

By Kay Johnson

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai voters went to the polls on Sunday in a long-delayed election following a 2014 coup, in a race that pits a military junta chief seeking to retain power against a “democratic front” led by the populist party he ousted.

Turnout was expected to be high among the 51.4 million Thais eligible to vote for the 500-seat House of Representatives, which will choose the next government along with a Senate that is appointed entirely by the ruling junta.

Thailand has been under direct military rule since then-army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha overthrew an elected government linked to exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who himself was thrown out by the army in 2006.

Critics have said a new, junta-written electoral system gives a built-in advantage to pro-military parties and appears designed to prevent the main Thaksin-linked Pheu Thai party from returning to power.

Pro-Thaksin parties have won every election since 2001, but the past 15 years have seen crippling street protests that destabilized the government and hamstrung business.

Junta chief Prayuth, whose party has campaigned on maintaining order and upholding traditional Thai values of loyalty and devotion to the country’s monarch, appealed on his ability to keep peace as he made his final campaign appeal.

“Before, we always had crises. We must not let those crises happen again – understand?” he told a closing campaign rally.

The anti-Thaksin Yellow Shirts, mostly middle class and urban royalists who accuse his parties of corruption, have repeatedly taken to the streets, prompting the military to launch two coups in a decade.

Supporters of Thaksin, known as the Red Shirts, also occupied much of Bangkok’s main business and shopping districts for months in 2010 after a court dissolved a pro-Thaksin government, again paralyzing commerce until a crackdown that left at least 90 people dead and saw landmark buildings burned.

While the election results are due to be announced within a few hours of polls closing at 5 p.m. (1000 GMT), the make-up of the next government may not be clear for weeks afterwards, since no one party is likely to have enough seats for an outright win.

“I think it’s going to take a long time,” said Paul Chambers, lecturer in political science at Naresuan University in northern Thailand.

(Editing by John Chalmers and Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

A voter waits at a polling station to cast their vote in the general election in Bangkok
A voter waits at a polling station to cast their vote in the general election in Bangkok, Thailand, March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

March 24, 2019

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Polls opened on Sunday for Thailand’s first election since a 2014 military coup, a vote that is being seen as a contest between the country’s junta leader who wants to stay on as elected leader and a “democratic front” of anti-junta parties.

About 51.4 million people are eligible to vote in the election, which analysts say is likely to be inconclusive and could usher in a new phase of political instability.

More than 93,000 polling stations in 77 provinces will be open until 5 p.m. (1000 GMT). The election commission has said that the first unofficial results will be available three hours after voting ends.

(Reporting by John Chalmers; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: Washington at California
Feb 28, 2019; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears guard Darius McNeill (1) high-fives a fan after the game against the Washington Huskies at Haas Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

California guard Darius McNeill announced Saturday that he is transferring from the program.

As a sophomore, McNeill averaged 11.0 points and made 66 3-pointers this season as the Golden Bears went 8-23.

“After countless conversations with my family and weighing the pros and cons, I’ve decided it’s in my best interest to transfer from California Berkeley,” McNeill wrote in a note he posted on Twitter. .”.. I want to thank my teammates that I went to battle with. For the past 2 seasons, the adversity we faced is proof that we’re not just teammates but indeed brothers for life.”

The Golden Bears were just 16-47 in McNeill’s two seasons.

McNeill averaged 11.3 points and made 67 3-pointers his first season. The 3-pointers broke Allen Crabbe’s school record (62 in 2010-11) for a freshman.

Meanwhile, multiple outlets are reporting that head coach Wyking Jones will return for a third season despite the 16-47 mark during his tenure.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: Washington at California
Feb 28, 2019; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears guard Darius McNeill (1) high-fives a fan after the game against the Washington Huskies at Haas Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

California guard Darius McNeill announced Saturday that he is transferring from the program.

As a sophomore, McNeill averaged 11.0 points and made 66 3-pointers this season as the Golden Bears went 8-23.

“After countless conversations with my family and weighing the pros and cons, I’ve decided it’s in my best interest to transfer from California Berkeley,” McNeill wrote in a note he posted on Twitter. .”.. I want to thank my teammates that I went to battle with. For the past 2 seasons, the adversity we faced is proof that we’re not just teammates but indeed brothers for life.”

The Golden Bears were just 16-47 in McNeill’s two seasons.

McNeill averaged 11.3 points and made 67 3-pointers his first season. The 3-pointers broke Allen Crabbe’s school record (62 in 2010-11) for a freshman.

Meanwhile, multiple outlets are reporting that head coach Wyking Jones will return for a third season despite the 16-47 mark during his tenure.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Fabiana Rosales, wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country's rightful interim ruler, speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Colombian embassy in Lima
Fabiana Rosales, wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country’s rightful interim ruler, speaks during an interview with Reuters at the Colombian embassy in Lima, Peru, March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo

March 24, 2019

LIMA (Reuters) – The wife of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido had a brief message for President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday, following the arrest of her husband’s chief of staff this week: “Enough already.”

In an interview with Reuters in Peru, where she met with Venezuelan immigrants before a trip to the United States, Fabiana Rosales said the arrest of Roberto Marrero on terrorism accusations on Thursday was a “farcical” attempt by Maduro to break the opposition’s morale.

“We know what we’re up against. We know what kind of monster this dictatorship is,” said Rosales, a 26-year-old journalist and opposition activist who is considered Venezuela’s first lady by supporters.

Venezuela plunged into a deep political crisis in January, when Guaido invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, arguing Maduro’s 2018 re-election was illegitimate. He has been recognized by most Latin American and Western countries as Venezuela’s rightful leader.

But Maduro retains control of state functions and the loyalty of the military top brass. A socialist, Maduro says Guaido is a puppet of the United States and is attempting to lead a coup against him to wrest control of the OPEC nation’s oil reserves, the largest in the world.

Asked if she had a message for Maduro, Rosales said “enough already.”

Rosales said spies and pro-government armed groups known as “collectives” have long followed her and her husband, monitoring their movements and stalking their family members and friends. “I and my family members have received threats of being thrown in jail or killed.”

“But there’s something they’ve underestimated, and that’s that our ideals in this struggle won’t be broken,” she said. “If they thought they can break our morale by arresting Roberto Marrero, or that they could break him, they’re very mistaken.”

Venezuela’s foreign ministry did not answer phone calls seeking comment outside regular working hours on Saturday. Venezuelan authorities have accused Marrero of planning attacks against political figures, and said an arms cache had been seized from his house.

Guaido, 35, told Reuters in an interview on Friday that he was prepared for more people in his team to be arrested, but thought Maduro’s government had reached its final stage.

Rosales said she thought Maduro was too fearful to have Guaido himself arrested.

“I think the regime is thinking about it very carefully. I don’t think they would dare,” she said. “They’ve always been afraid of people who believe in freedom.”

Rosales declined to comment on whom she plans to meet in the United States, but said she has confirmed visits to New York City and Miami.

“We’ll see what happens in coming days. But I’m certain the freedom for Venezuela is getting closer and closer.”

(Reporting by Mitra Taj; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Source: OANN

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals
Mar 23, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas (39) connects for a two run homer against the Washington Nationals during a spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Boston left-hander Chris Sale pitched five shutout innings on Saturday shortly after his rich contract extension was formally announced as the Red Sox rolled to a 12-3 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates at Fort Myers, Fla.

Sale, who received a five-year, $145 million deal, was sharp while striking out six in five innings. He gave up two hits and walked one before departing.

Jantzen Witte and Chris Madera drove in two runs for Boston, which collected 15 hits. Ke’Bryan Hayes slugged a three-run homer over the center field fence for the Pirates.

Cardinals 4, Nationals 4

Pitcher Miles Mikolas hit a two-run homer off fellow right-hander Stephen Strasburg to help visiting St. Louis tie Washington at West Palm Beach, Fla. Anthony Rendon and Matt Adams homered for Washington.

Tigers 8, Rays 7

Cameron Rupp lined the decisive two-run double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and Miguel Cabrera homered earlier as Detroit edged Tampa Bay at Lakeland, Fla. Tommy Pham and Ji-Man Choi smacked homers for the Rays.

Pirates (ss) 5, Phillies 3

Oneil Cruz hit a tiebreaking homer in the fifth inning and Corey Dickerson slugged a two-run blast as host Pittsburgh defeated Philadelphia at Bradenton, Fla. Phil Gosselin homered for the Phillies.

Mets 12, Braves 2

Amed Rosario went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and right-hander Jacob deGrom struck out five in three perfect innings as New York routed host Atlanta at Kissimmee, Fla. Ronald Acuna Jr. and Andy Wilkins hit solo blasts for the Braves.

Blue Jays 7, Yankees 3

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. went 3-for-3 with a homer to help Toronto down host New York at Tampa, Fla. Gleyber Torres slugged a three-run homer for the Yankees.

White Sox 5, Dodgers 1

Eloy Jimenez went 3-for-3 with a homer and Yoan Moncada also went deep as visiting Chicago beat Los Angeles at Glendale, Ariz. Chris Taylor homered for the Dodgers.

Padres 11, Angels 4

Francisco Mejia drove in three runs and Wil Myers hit one of San Diego’s four homers as the host Padres cruised past Los Angeles at Peoria, Ariz. Justin Bour and Dustin Garneau homered for Los Angeles.

Giants 3, Diamondbacks 2

Alen Hanson hit the tiebreaking solo shot in the bottom of the seventh inning as San Francisco edged Arizona at Scottsdale, Ariz. David Peralta homered for the Diamondbacks.

Indians 8, Reds 5

Kevin Plawecki went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs as Cleveland defeated host Cincinnati at Goodyear, Ariz. Jesse Winker and Jose Iglesias each homered twice for Cincinnati.

Royals (ss) 6, Brewers 4

Terrance Gore hit a tiebreaking two-run triple in the top of the ninth inning to give Kansas City the win over Milwaukee at Phoenix. Christian Yelich and Travis Shaw each hit two-run blasts for Milwaukee.

Brewers (ss) 7, Rangers 3

Ben Gamel hit a two-run homer to help Milwaukee defeat host Texas at Surprise, Ariz. Yohel Pozo had a two-run double for Texas.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

MLB: Spring Training-Cincinnati Reds at Los Angeles Dodgers
Mar 14, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett (3) catches a fly ball during the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Second baseman Scooter Gennett will miss eight to 12 weeks because of the right groin strain he sustained during a spring training game, the Cincinnati Reds announced Saturday.

Gennett walked gingerly as he was helped off the field on Friday, and he was later taken from the dugout on a golf cart. He was hurt while fielding a routine grounder on the outfield grass after he aligned deep as part of a shift in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic said Saturday that with Gennett’s injury, Jose Iglesias will play shortstop and Jose Peraza will man second base. Kyle Farmer is expected to earn a roster spot.

Gennett, who turns 29 on May 1, earned his first All-Star appearance last season, batting .310 with 23 homers and 92 RBIs, a year after totaling 27 homers and 97 RBIs. He played in a career-high 154 games in 2018.

–The St. Louis Cardinals announced a five-year extension for recently acquired first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

Financial terms were not revealed, but the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that it will pay him “around $130 million.” The deal will keep Goldschmidt, 31, in St. Louis through the 2024 season.

Arizona traded Goldschmidt, a six-time All-Star, to St. Louis in December in exchange for right-hander Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, infielder Andy Young and the Cardinals’ Compensation B selection in the 2019 draft.

–The Houston Astros are closing in on a two-year extension worth $66 million for ace pitcher Justin Verlander, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.

Verlander, 36, went 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA and an American League-leading 290 strikeouts in 34 starts last season, his first full season in Houston since coming over from Detroit in a trade in 2017.

Last season, the 2011 AL Cy Young winner finished second for the third time in voting for that award and was part of the top five for the seventh time. The right-hander also was the AL Most Valuable Player in 2011.

–The Pittsburgh Pirates will add veterans Melky Cabrera and Francisco Liriano to their Opening Day roster, the team announced.

Both players had been with the Pirates on minor-league deals during spring training. Pittsburgh is expected to clear at least one spot on its 40-man roster by placing right-hander Edgar Santana on the 60-day injured list.

Cabrera, 34, provides Pittsburgh with a switch-hitting option off the bench and an occasional starter at the corner outfield spots. He is a .286 lifetime hitter with 137 home runs and 807 RBIs in 1,754 career games with seven big-league teams.

–Texas Rangers pitcher Jason Hammel has announced his retirement after 13 big-league seasons.

Hammel, 36, decided to walk away despite learning one day earlier that he had made the Rangers’ 25-man roster. Right-hander Jeanmar Gomez will replace him on the active roster, according to The Athletic.

Hammel posted a 96-114 record with a 4.62 ERA in 377 games (298 starts). He played for a half-dozen teams — the Tampa Bay Rays, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals — before signing with the Rangers on a minor-league deal this spring.

–Detroit Tigers outfielder JaCoby Jones is expected to open the season on the injured list after suffering a sprained left shoulder in Saturday’s exhibition game, manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters.

Jones was injured while diving for a ball against the Tampa Bay Rays. Gardenhire said the 26-year-old was undergoing an MRI exam.

Mikie Mahtook and Niko Goodrum will likely share center field until Jones returns.

–The San Francisco Giants acquired outfielder Michael Reed from the Minnesota Twins for outfielder John Andreoli and cash. Andreoli will report to Triple-A Rochester, the team added in the announcement.

Reed, who was claimed off waivers by the Twins in October, appeared in eight games this spring, hitting .278 (5-for-18) with one home run and four RBI.

In his major league career, the 26-year-old Reed has batted .229 in 22 games, including with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2015-16 and the Atlanta Braves last year.

–Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Matt Duffy will open the season on the injured list due to a hamstring injury, manager Kevin Cash told reporters.

Duffy was slated to play Saturday against the Detroit Tigers but was scratched from the lineup. He was slated to undergo further testing. Duffy, 28, has only played in two spring training games due to the injury.

Yandy Diaz, Daniel Robertson and Joey Wendle are the candidates to play third base during Duffy’s absence.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round- Florida State vs Murray State
Mar 23, 2019; Hartford, CT, USA; Florida State Seminoles center Christ Koumadje (21) dunks and scores against the Murray State Racers during the first half of a game in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Florida State’s depth and height proved way too much for upstart Murray State and star guard Ja Morant on Saturday night, as the fourth-seeded Seminoles reached the West Region semifinals of the NCAA Tournament with a 90-62 rout in Hartford, Conn.

Senior guard Terance Mann paced Florida State’s starters (29-7) with 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Mfiondu Kabengele came off the bench to net 22 points, going 10 of 12 from the field, and Raiquan Gray chipped in 11 to go along with five steals.

The Seminoles, who will meet either Gonzaga or Baylor in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night in Anaheim, Calif., canned nearly 51 percent of their field-goal tries and were 11 of 27 on 3-pointers. They also dominated the much smaller Racers on the glass, earning a 45-33 advantage.

Morant, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard who would likely be a lottery pick if he declares for the NBA Draft this summer, poured in a game-high 28 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. But he made just 8 of 21 shots from the field after a hot start, as Florida State’s length appeared to bother him.

Shaq Buchanan scored 12 points, and Darnell Cowart added 11 for 12th-seeded Murray State (28-5), which converted just 33.3 percent of its field-goal tries. The Racers also couldn’t cope with the Seminoles’ superiority off the bench. At one point in the second half, Florida State owned a 30-0 advantage in points off the pine.

Morant, who dropped a triple-double on Marquette in Murray State’s emphatic first-round win on Thursday, looked capable of doing it again early in this one. He scored 10 points — with three 3-pointers — and assisted on a Buchanan layup as the Racers took a 14-7 lead less than five minutes in.

But the Seminoles promptly rattled off a 15-4 run, taking the lead for good on a Kabengele layup with 13:09 left in the half. The margin gradually grew, hitting double figures on a Trent Forrest layup with 7:20 remaining and reaching 50-34 at the half as Mann dunked with 42 seconds on the clock.

The Racers never got closer after the break.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

MLS: Colorado Rapids at FC Dallas
Mar 23, 2019; Frisco, TX, USA; Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard (1) makes a save with FC Dallas midfielder Ryan Hollingshead (12) challenging during the second half at Toyota Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Ryan Hollingshead scored the tiebreaking goal off a rebound in the 82nd minute, and FC Dallas held on to beat the visiting Colorado Rapids 2-1 on Saturday at Frisco, Texas.

What began with a pass into the box from 17-year-old Thomas Roberts ended when Hollingshead drove home a rebound of a Tim Howard save. The late goal improved FC Dallas to 2-1-1 on the young season.

It also came after Colorado (0-2-2) equalized in the 69th minute. Off a set piece, the Rapids’ Kei Kamara put a header off the crossbar. A sliding Tommy Smith got the rebound off his leg, and just over the goal line and into the body of Dallas keeper Jesse Gonzalez.

However, the initial call on the pitch was no goal, but after video review, the Rapids were awarded the goal. It looked like they would earn at least a point on the day, until Dallas responded.

Both sides were minus key players due to internationals duties. Colorado was without key forward Diego Rubio, while FC Dallas did not have starting midfielders Carlos Gruezo and Bryan Acosta. That forced Dallas to start five home-grown players.

Gonzalez, though, surprisingly featured in between responsibilities with the U.S. men’s national squad.

However, youth did not seem to hinder Dallas, which came out of the gate firing. The hosts had the first quality chance of the game when Dominique Badji hit the right post off a set-piece in the third minute. Two minutes later, Paxton Pomykal had his 6-yard attempt blocked.

It would be Michael Barrios, though, who broke through for his second goal of the season in the 35th minute for Dallas. After some nifty passing across the box, Barrios cross-footed a ground strike to the near post and past a diving Howard for the 1-0 lead.

Dallas held a 6-4 advantage in shots on target.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Michigan vs Florida
Mar 23, 2019; Des Moines, IA, United States; Michigan Wolverines guard Jordan Poole (2) shoots the ball against Florida Gators center Kevarrius Hayes (13) during the second half in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Jordan Poole scored a game-high 19 points Saturday, and second-seeded Michigan pulled away with an 11-0 run to start the second half as it bagged a 64-49 win over 10th-seeded Florida in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa.

Isaiah Livers came off the bench to add 10 for the Wolverines (30-6), who will face No. 3 Texas Tech or No. 6 Buffalo in the West Region semifinals on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif. Michigan, which owned the boards 42-29, overcame 42.1 percent shooting from the field.

Jalen Hudson was the only double-figure scorer for the Gators (20-16) with 11 points, but he made just 4 of 15 shots from the floor and was 3 of 10 from the 3-point line. Florida fired away to no avail, hitting only 19 of 55 field-goal tries (34.5 percent) and 9 of 26 from 3-point range.

Point guard Zavier Simpson barely missed a triple-double for the Wolverines, finishing with nine points, nine rebounds and nine assists. His pass to Ignas Brazdeikis teed up a 3-pointer 11 seconds into the second half that kicked off the game-deciding spurt.

Jon Teske checked in with a layup, and then Poole put his stamp on the run. He converted a 3-point play and then drilled one of his four 3-pointers to make it 43-28 with 17:50 left in the game.

The Gators were able to score the next nine points, pulling within 43-37 on Keyontae Johnson’s dunk at the 14:21 mark. But Michigan’s defense clamped down at that point, allowing only 12 points for the game’s remainder.

Poole’s 3-point shot with 2:01 remaining applied the knockout punch, giving the Wolverines a 60-44 advantage.

Florida led briefly on two occasions in the first few minutes before Michigan ripped off 11 straight points. Poole had a big hand in that run, converting a rare 4-point play and then draining a 3-pointer to make it 15-6 just under six minutes into the game.

The Gators fought back to grab their last lead at 23-21 on a layup by Kevarrius Hayes with 6:49 left in the half. But the Wolverines regained the advantage less than two minutes later and went to the break up 32-28.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Wofford vs Kentucky
Mar 23, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Wofford Terriers forward Keve Aluma (24) reaches for a rebound while under pressure by Kentucky Wildcats forward EJ Montgomery (left) and forward Reid Travis (right) during the second half in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The Kentucky Wildcats won 62-56. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Reid Travis scored 14 points, including a pair of clutch free throws, as No. 2 seed Kentucky fended off No. 7 Wofford 62-56 in an NCAA Tournament Midwest Region second-round game Saturday afternoon in Jacksonville, Fla.,

It took a miserable outing from one of the country’s all-time great shooters to help the Wildcats pull out the victory.

Kentucky (29-6) goes to the Sweet 16 on Friday night in Kansas City, Mo., to face either third-seeded Houston or No. 11 Ohio State.

Freshman Ashton Hagans racked up 12 points for Kentucky, while classmates Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro both had nine.

Nathan Hoover scored 19 points and Cameron Jackson added 11 for Wofford (30-5), which saw its school-record 21-game winning streak end. Hoover hit 4 of 5 from 3-point range, accounting for half of the Terriers’ successful 3-pointers.

Wofford’s Fletcher Magee, the NCAA’s leader in career 3-point baskets, was 0 for 12 from beyond the arc, including eight misses in the second half. The Southern Conference Player of the Year finished with eight points.

Herro’s 3-pointer and Nick Richards’ free throw nudged Kentucky to a 58-51 lead with 3:36 remaining, but the Wildcats then went more than three minutes without scoring.

Wofford pulled within 58-56 on Keve Aluma’s tip-in at the 40-second mark.

With 18 seconds to play, Travis connected on a pair of free throws to help seal the outcome. He also pulled in a game-high 11 rebounds, matching Aluma’s total.

Wofford opened the second half with a 9-4 run for a 35-32 lead, but once the Wildcats went back on top moments later they never trailed again.

Wofford led 21-15 even though Magee hadn’t registered a point. He didn’t score until the final 30 seconds of the half.

Kentucky played for the second game in a row without team scoring and rebounding leader PJ Washington, a 6-foot-8 sophomore who had his left foot in a cast from an injury sustained in last week’s Southeastern Conference tournament.

Magee’s 3-point total ends at 509.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Hartford Practice
Mar 20, 2019; Hartford, CT, USA; Florida State Seminoles forward Phil Cofer (0) speaks with the media before a practice in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Florida State forward Phil Cofer made his first statement about his father’s death this week, saying he “will miss him dearly.”

Cofer’s statement is posted on the GoFundMe page he started to raise money for his father’s funeral and lingering medical expenses.

“On Thursday March 21st, moments after my team’s win in the first round of the 2019 NCAA tournament, celebration turned into devastation as I received a phone call that would change my life forever,” Cofer wrote. “My dad, Michael Cofer, had passed due to a battle with a long-term illness. My dad has always supported me on and off the court and I will miss him dearly.”

The elder Cofer, 58, was a former NFL linebacker who played 10 seasons (1983-1992) for the Detroit Lions.

The Detroit Free Press said the cause of death was a rare disease, which it did not name, that affects organs and tissue.

“My family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and now humbly asks for the community’s help with our existing and continuing expenses,” Phil Cofer continued in the GoFundMe post. “All proceeds from this fundraiser will go toward my Dad’s funeral expenses and my family’s outstanding and ongoing medical costs. My family will contribute any donations that exceed our funeral and medical needs toward a charitable organization.”

As of Saturday afternoon, nearly $31,000 of the campaign’s $100,000 goal had been raised. The NCAA and Florida State’s compliance department gave the go-ahead for the fundraiser.

Phil Cofer did not play Thursday against Vermont because of a right foot injury, but coach Leonard Hamilton said Cofer would be with the team Saturday night when the Seminoles face Murray State at Hartford, Conn.

Injuries limited Cofer, a senior, to 22 games (19 starts) this season. He is averaging 7.4 points and 26.1 minutes per game.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Maryland vs LSU
Mar 23, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; LSU Tigers guard Tremont Waters (3) fights for a loose ball with Maryland Terrapins forward Ricky Lindo Jr. (left) and guard Anthony Cowan Jr. (1) during the second half in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The LSU Tigers won 69-67. Mandatory Credit: Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Tremont Waters made a tie-breaking layup with two seconds left as third-seeded LSU held off sixth-seeded Maryland 69-67 in an NCAA East Regional second-round game Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla.

Waters’ basket created the final separation in a tight game in which the score was tied six times in the last 6½ minutes. Defense dominated the game as both teams shot below 40 percent from the floor.

The Tigers (28-6), who edged 14th-seeded Yale 79-74 on Thursday, will face the winner of Saturday’s later game between No. 2 seed Michigan State and No. 10 seed Minnesota in a regional semifinal next weekend in Washington D.C.

Skylar Mays added 16 points for LSU, Naz Reid scored 13, Waters had 12 and Darius Days 10.

Jalen Smith scored 15 points, Aaron Wiggins and Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 11 each, Bruno Fernando had 10 points and 15 rebounds and Darryl Morsell scored 10 for the Terrapins (23-11).

Smith’s 3-pointer tied the score with 28 seconds left and the Tigers called timeout eight seconds later. Waters, a sophomore guard who is LSU’s leading scorer, drove to the basket and made a scoop shot.

LSU led by as many as 15 in the first half, nine at halftime and rebuilt the margin to 15 early in the second half.

Waters had two baskets and an assist among the Tigers’ first eight points before the Terps made a move.

Cowan made two 3-pointers during a 13-3 run that pulled Maryland within 49-44.

LSU made just one field goal during a span of more than six minutes after Reid’s three-point play increased the lead to 54-45.

The Terps went on a 12-1 run to grab a 57-55 lead before the score was tied four times.

Mays’ 3-pointer gave the Tigers a 67-64 lead with 40 seconds left, but Smith’s 3-pointer tied the score 12 seconds later.

Days, Javonte Smart and Kavell Bigby-Williams did most of the scoring as the Tigers opened a 30-15 lead.

LSU led by 15 once more before Wiggins made consecutive 3-pointers to cut the lead to 38-29 at halftime.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NASCAR: Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube
FILE PHOTO: Mar 3, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) celebrates after winning the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — With surgical efficiency, Joey Logano continued his domination of knockout qualifying at Martinsville Speedway.

Saving his car and his tires for the final round of Saturday’s time trials at the .526-mile short track, Logano won the pole for Sunday’s STP 500 (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) with a lap at 97.830 mph (19.356 seconds).

Driving the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, Logano edged Stewart-Haas Racing Ford driver Aric Almirola (97.643 mph) for the top starting spot by .037 seconds. Brad Keselowski (97.458 mph) qualified third, followed by Kevin Harvick (97.382 mph), as Ford drivers captured the top four positions on the grid.

The Busch Pole Award was Logano’s first of the season, his fifth at Martinsville and the 21st of his career. Logano ran only three laps total in the first two rounds, allowing him to save his tires for a four-lap run in the final round. His last lap was his fastest.

“It’s awesome to get another pole and hopefully we can top it off with another win,” said Logano, who used a victory in last year’s Playoff race at Martinsville as a springboard to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. “This is a fun race. I always look forward to coming up here.”

Logano has earned his five of the last seven contested poles at Martinsville over a nine-race span, with two of the qualifying sessions canceled because of adverse weather.

All told, Fords claimed six of the top 12 starting positions, including Team Penske drivers Logano and Keselowski and all four Stewart-Haas Racing drivers — Almirola, Harvick, Daniel Suarez (10th) and Clint Bowyer (11th). In contrast to Logano’s economical runs, Bowyer had 16 laps on his tires at the end of the final round.

Five-time Martinsville winner Denny Hamlin paced the first two rounds but had to settle for fifth when the starting order for the top 12 drivers was decided. Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. (ninth) were the only Toyota drivers to make the final round.

William Byron was sixth fastest in the money round to lead four Chevrolets in the final 12. He was joined by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson (seventh) and fellow Hendrick Motorsports drivers Chase Elliott (eighth) and Jimmie Johnson (12th), who leads active drivers with nine victories at the paper-clip-shaped track.

Trying for his third straight Cup win on Sunday — not to mention a weekend sweep of the Martinsville races — Saturday’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victor Kyle Busch will start 14th in the STP 500.

“Too loose. Just didn’t have it with track conditions today,” said Busch, who opted not to make a mock qualifying run during practice.

For Byron, the sixth-place run was a welcome end to a frustrating day. Early in Saturday’s opening practice, his No. 24 Chevrolet bounced off the outside wall. His crew spent the rest of the session — and then some — repairing the car.

“I’m kind of optimistic, but we’ve had a rough day,” Byron said after qualifying. “These two-day shows are tough, and we started out with a flat right front (tire) and hit the wall. Then in second practice, we were way behind because we didn’t have enough practice time.

“The guys made a lot of great changes to get it right going into qualifying. We were really struggling over the bumps over both ends, really, and getting on the concrete (in the corners). We’ll see what happens — should be fun.”

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying — 70th Annual STP 500

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

1. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 97.830 mph.

2. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 97.643 mph.

3. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 97.458 mph.

4. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 97.382 mph.

5. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 97.362 mph.

6. (24) William Byron, Chevrolet, 97.202 mph.

7. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 97.098 mph.

8. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 97.053 mph.

9. (19) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 97.018 mph.

10. (41) Daniel Suarez, Ford, 96.830 mph.

11. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 96.706 mph.

12. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 96.573 mph.

13. (37) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 96.755 mph.

14. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 96.716 mph.

15. (21) Paul Menard, Ford, 96.696 mph.

16. (47) Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, 96.671 mph.

17. (88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 96.647 mph.

18. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 96.602 mph.

19. (20) Erik Jones, Toyota, 96.602 mph.

20. (1) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 96.499 mph.

21. (6) Ryan Newman, Ford, 96.484 mph.

22. (95) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 96.465 mph.

23. (13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 96.357 mph.

24. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 96.146 mph.

25. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 96.298 mph.

26. (38) David Ragan, Ford, 96.107 mph.

27. (43) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 95.917 mph.

28. (00) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 95.709 mph.

29. (8) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 95.603 mph.

30. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 95.569 mph.

31. (15) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 95.415 mph.

32. (36) Matt Tifft #, Ford, 95.415 mph.

33. (52) Jeb Burton(i), Chevrolet, 94.689 mph.

34. (77) DJ Kennington(i), Chevrolet, 94.618 mph.

35. (32) Corey LaJoie, Ford, 0.000 mph.

36. (51) Cody Ware #, Chevrolet, 0.000 mph.

–Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service, Special to Field Level Media

Source: OANN

MLB: Spring Training-Minnesota Twins at Toronto Blue Jays
Mar 17, 2019; Dunedin, FL, USA; Minnesota Twins left fielder Michael Reed (30) hits a sacrifice fly during the second inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Dunedin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

The San Francisco Giants acquired outfielder Michael Reed on Saturday from the Minnesota Twins for outfielder John Andreoli and cash. Andreoli will report to Triple-A Rochester, the team added in the announcement.

Reed, who was claimed off waivers by the Twins in October, appeared in eight games this spring, hitting .278 (5-for-18) with one home run and four RBI.

In his major league career, the 26-year-old Reed has batted .229 in 22 games, including with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2015-16 and the Atlanta Braves last year. He batted .342 with a .453 on-base percentage between Triple-A Gwinnett and Double-A Mississippi in 2018.

Andreoli, 28, began last season with the Seattle Mariners, then was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles in August. He appeared in a combined 26 games in the major leagues last year, batting .230. Drafted in 2011 by the Chicago Cubs, Andreoli has appeared in 773 career minor league games, hitting .270 with 37 home runs and 256 RBI.

The Giants also released two other outfielders — Cameron Maybin and Matt Joyce. Maybin, a 12-year major league veteran who joined the Giants on Feb. 18 when he signed as a minor league free agent, was arrested last week on suspicion of DUI in Scottsdale, Ariz. Joyce, who had reached agreement on a minor league deal Wednesday with San Francisco, was released by the Cleveland Indians earlier in the week.

Last season with the Miami Marlins and Seattle Mariners, Maybin batted a combined .249 with four homers, 28 RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 129 games.

Also on Saturday, the Giants acquired Michael Yastrzemski — the grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski — to try to improve their outfield. The 28-year-old player has spent six seasons in the minor leagues, including the Double-A and Triple-A affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles in 2018.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

PGA: Valspar Championship - Third Round
Mar 23, 2019; Palm Harbor, FL, USA; Paul Casey plays his shot from the 18th tee during the third round of the Valspar Championship golf tournament at Innisbrook Resort – Copperhead Course. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

(Reuters) – Defending champion Paul Casey held on for a one-stroke third-round lead over world number one Dustin Johnson at the Valspar Championship in Florida on Saturday.

England’s Casey shot 68 to top of the leaderboard at nine-under 204, but what had been a three-stroke lead dwindled to one after a bogey at the last.

Johnson applied the pressure with a 67 and fellow American Jason Kokrak (66) was close behind on 206, thanks in part to a hole in one at the par-three 15th.

England’s Luke Donald and American Scott Stallings were also in contention after both shot rounds of 70 to finish on 207.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

NASCAR: Daytona 500
FILE PHOTO: Feb 17, 2019; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch prior to the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — A week after locking up his 200th NASCAR national series victory at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., Kyle Busch took the first step toward the next century mark.

Holding off challenges from Ross Chastain and runner-up Ben Rhodes, Busch survived a late restart in winning Saturday’s TruNorth Global 250 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.

The race ended under a last-lap caution, after Reid Wilson’s No. 44 Chevrolet spun in Turn 4 and nosed toward the inside wall. Rhodes was running second when the yellow flag waved, with reigning series champion Brett Moffitt third and Chastain fourth.

The victory was Busch’s second at the .526-mile short track in his own Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. Busch has won each of his three starts this season and now has 54 victories in Trucks, extending his series record.

“These guys worked really, really hard this weekend,” Busch said of crew chief Rudy Fugle and the No. 51 team. “We unloaded, and I didn’t like where we were at. We made wholesale changes to this thing all weekend long and just tried to keep improving this Cessna Beechcraft Tundra and make it faster…

“All these guys kept trying to make it turn the center (of the corner) better. At Martinsville, you have to turn the center without getting too loose in or too loose off. … And we had enough tire at the end to hold them all off.”

Busch led 174 of the 250 laps, including the final 66. He passed Chastain for the top spot on Lap 185 and held it the rest of the way through four subsequent cautions before the final restart with three circuits remaining.

“Today we just kind of let the race play out and come to us,” Busch said.

Rhodes had a second-place car but not a race winner — and he knew it.

“It was a good day at Martinsville,” Rhodes conceded. “It was the best finish I’ve had here yet. I was surprised — qualifying 16th. We had a fast Ford F150, but we just needed a little more. We got beat by the best in the business. He knows what he’s doing here.

“It was fun following him and seeing how he was pacing himself. That’s something I’ve struggled with in the past… Anytime you restart next to that guy, I try to log it in my memory banks so I can just try and get him next time.”

Pole winner Stewart Friesen finished fifth after leading 19 laps, third most behind Busch and Chastain (53). Myatt Snider, Grant Enfinger, Matt Crafton, Johnny Sauter and Bubba Wallace completed the top 10.

French Canadian driver Raphael Lessard finished 14th in his first start in the Truck Series.

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Race — 21st Annual TruNorth Global 250

Martinsville Speedway

Martinsville, Virginia

Saturday, March 23, 2019

1. (2) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 250.

2. (16) Ben Rhodes, Ford, 250.

3. (5) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 250.

4. (10) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 250.

5. (1) Stewart Friesen, Chevrolet, 250.

6. (15) Myatt Snider, Ford, 250.

7. (19) Grant Enfinger, Ford, 250.

8. (6) Matt Crafton, Ford, 250.

9. (8) Johnny Sauter, Ford, 250.

10. (13) Bubba Wallace(i), Chevrolet, 250.

11. (18) Harrison Burton #, Toyota, 250.

12. (21) David Gilliland, Toyota, 250.

13. (12) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 250.

14. (7) Raphael Lessard, Toyota, 250.

15. (3) Todd Gilliland, Toyota, 250.

16. (9) Austin Hill, Toyota, 250.

17. (4) Sheldon Creed #, Chevrolet, 250.

18. (11) Derek Kraus, Toyota, 250.

19. (14) Tyler Ankrum #, Toyota, 250.

20. (24) Spencer Davis, Ford, 249.

21. (23) Timmy Hill(i), Chevrolet, 249.

22. (26) Austin Theriault, Ford, 248.

23. (20) Tyler Dippel #, Chevrolet, 248.

24. (27) Reid Wilson, Chevrolet, 247.

25. (30) Korbin Forrister, Toyota, 246.

26. (29) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 246.

27. (25) Spencer Boyd, Chevrolet, 244.

28. (32) Travis Kvapil, Chevrolet, 240.

29. (28) Brennan Poole, Toyota, 239.

30. (31) Daniel Sasnett, Chevrolet, 238.

31. (22) Cory Roper, Ford, Rear End, 225.

32. (17) Gus Dean #, Chevrolet, Oil Line, 61.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 70.175 mph.

Time of Race: 1 hours, 52 minutes, 26 seconds. Margin of Victory: Under Caution Seconds.

Caution Flags: 7 for 50 laps.

Lead Changes: 8 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders: S. Friesen 1-8;K. Busch(i) 9-74;A. Hill 75-79;K. Busch(i) 80-120;S. Friesen 121-130;R. Chastain(i) 131-180;K. Busch(i) 181;R. Chastain(i) 182-184;K. Busch(i) 185-250.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Kyle Busch(i) 4 times for 174 laps; Ross Chastain(i) 2 times for 53 laps; Stewart Friesen 2 times for 18 laps; Austin Hill 1 time for 5 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 51, 52, 13, 4, 45, 88, 24, 16, 8, 46

Stage #2 Top Ten: 45, 99, 51, 52, 24, 18, 13, 16, 27, 4

–By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service. Special to Field Level Media.

Source: OANN

Druze people take part in a rally over U.S. President Donald Trump's support for Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, in Majdal Shams near the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights
Druze people take part in a rally over U.S. President Donald Trump’s support for Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, in Majdal Shams near the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights March 23, 2019 REUTERS/Ammar Awad

March 23, 2019

MAJDAL SHAMS, Golan Heights (Reuters) – Dozens of Druze Arabs, some carrying Syrian flags and pictures of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, gathered on the Golan Heights on Saturday to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s support for Israeli sovereignty over the territory.

The mountainous plateau was part of Syria until Israel captured it in the 1967 Middle East war, annexing it in 1981 in a move not recognized internationally.

Israel regards the Golan as a strategic asset because its peaks overlook northern Israeli towns and southwest Syria, where battles from an eight-year civil war have raged in view.

Some 22,000 Druze, an Arab minority who practice an offshoot of Islam, live in the Israeli-occupied Golan, and many still have relatives on the Syrian side of the fortified boundary.

“This land has sovereignty and its sovereignty is the Syrian Arab Republic,” said local resident Rafiq Ibrahim, dressed in traditional Druze black garb, in the town of Majdal Shams.

Trump on Thursday said it was time to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, marking a major shift in U.S. policy. Syria pledged to take back the territory and there was widespread international criticism of the U.S. move.

(Reporting by Avi Ohayon; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

Source: OANN

Tennis: Miami Open
Mar 23, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Su-Wei Hshieh of Chinese Taipei waves to the crowd after her match against Naomi Osaka of Japan (not pictured) in the second round of the Miami Open at Miami Open Tennis Complex. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

(Reuters) – Japan’s world number one Naomi Osaka was sent spinning to a crushing loss when Taiwan’s 27th seeded Hsieh Su-wei defeated her in three absorbing sets at the Miami Open on Saturday.

Hsieh came from a set down to prevail 4-6 7-6(4) 6-3 as her unorthodox style frustrated and finally wore down the U.S. and Australian Open champion.

The stunning upset came after the tournament had earlier lost its eight-times champion Serena Williams.

The great American player withdrew with a left knee injury, the second consecutive WTA event which she has been forced to abandon following her retirement from last week’s tournament in Indian Wells with a viral illness.

Earlier, world number two Petra Kvitova was extended to three sets before the Czech outlasted Croatia’s Donna Vekic.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova finally prevailed 6-4 3-6 6-4 in the clash between two heavy hitters but had to fight to earn her triumph after more than two and a half hours.

Kvitova, the third seed, will meet France’s Caroline Garcia in the fourth round. Garcia knocked out 15th seed Julia Goerges, of Germany, 6-0 7-5.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Chadband)

Source: OANN

Tennis - Australian Open - Second Round
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Australian Open – Second Round – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 16, 2019. South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in action during the match against Frances Tiafoe of the U.S. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

March 23, 2019

(Reuters) – South Africa’s Kevin Anderson made a winning return to competition at the Miami Open with a hard-fought victory over rising Spaniard Jaume Munar on Saturday.

After more than two months away from the court with an elbow injury, the world number seven outlasted the 21-year-old Munar 6-4 3-6 6-3 in their second round clash.

In his first tournament appearance since the Australian Open in January, the big-serving Wimbledon finalist boomed down 17 aces while converting three of his seven break chances.

“It was all good and I was really pleased with the way [the elbow] felt,” sixth seed Anderson said. “To get through in three sets, it felt really good to be back out there. I’m happy with how the elbow responded. I feel like I’m hitting the ball great.

“It’s always different playing matches than hitting in practice, but I’ve been able to up my load and how much I’m able to serve. That’s really encouraging and that’s why I felt good coming into this week.

“I’ve been able to do everything but hit serves recently. I always had the confidence that as soon as I got over that hurdle, I was going to find my form pretty quickly.”

Two of Russia’s young prospects, Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev, were also Saturday winners.

The 10th seed Khachanov beat Australian Jordan Thompson 6-2 6-3 while his friend Medvedev, the 13th seed, toppled France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-2 6-1.

In other early action, Belgian David Goffin, the 18th seed, defeated Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-4 6-1, while Canadian 20th seed Denis Shapovalov came from a set down to beat Britain’s Dan Evans 4-6 6-1 6-3.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Chadband)

Source: OANN

Tennis - Australian Open - Second Round
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Australian Open – Second Round – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 16, 2019. South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in action during the match against Frances Tiafoe of the U.S. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

March 23, 2019

(Reuters) – South Africa’s Kevin Anderson made a winning return to competition at the Miami Open with a hard-fought victory over rising Spaniard Jaume Munar on Saturday.

After more than two months away from the court with an elbow injury, the world number seven outlasted the 21-year-old Munar 6-4 3-6 6-3 in their second round clash.

In his first tournament appearance since the Australian Open in January, the big-serving Wimbledon finalist boomed down 17 aces while converting three of his seven break chances.

“It was all good and I was really pleased with the way [the elbow] felt,” sixth seed Anderson said. “To get through in three sets, it felt really good to be back out there. I’m happy with how the elbow responded. I feel like I’m hitting the ball great.

“It’s always different playing matches than hitting in practice, but I’ve been able to up my load and how much I’m able to serve. That’s really encouraging and that’s why I felt good coming into this week.

“I’ve been able to do everything but hit serves recently. I always had the confidence that as soon as I got over that hurdle, I was going to find my form pretty quickly.”

Two of Russia’s young prospects, Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev, were also Saturday winners.

The 10th seed Khachanov beat Australian Jordan Thompson 6-2 6-3 while his friend Medvedev, the 13th seed, toppled France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-2 6-1.

In other early action, Belgian David Goffin, the 18th seed, defeated Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-4 6-1, while Canadian 20th seed Denis Shapovalov came from a set down to beat Britain’s Dan Evans 4-6 6-1 6-3.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Chadband)

Source: OANN

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street in London
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

March 23, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a full-blown cabinet plot to remove her and 11 cabinet ministers have said they want her to resign, The Sunday Times’s political editor said.

“A full blown cabinet coup is under way tonight to remove Theresa May as prime minister,” Tim Shipman said.

Shipman quoted one unidentified cabinet minister as saying: “The end is nigh. She will be gone in 10 days.”

May’s de-facto deputy, David Lidington, is one contender to be interim prime minister but others are pushing for Environment Secretary Michael Gove or Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Shipman said.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Alistair Smout)

Source: OANN

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street in London
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

March 23, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a full-blown cabinet plot to remove her and 11 cabinet ministers have said they want her to resign, The Sunday Times’s political editor said.

“A full blown cabinet coup is under way tonight to remove Theresa May as prime minister,” Tim Shipman said.

Shipman quoted one unidentified cabinet minister as saying: “The end is nigh. She will be gone in 10 days.”

May’s de-facto deputy, David Lidington, is one contender to be interim prime minister but others are pushing for Environment Secretary Michael Gove or Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Shipman said.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Alistair Smout)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Eitan, who was involved in the capture of Eichmann, an architect of the Nazi Holocaust, sits during a ceremony at Israeli President Rivlin's residence in Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: Rafi Eitan, who was involved in the capture of Adolf Eichmann, an architect of the Nazi Holocaust, sits during a ceremony to mark 55 years since the Eichmann trial of at Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s residence in Jerusalem January 27, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo

March 23, 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Rafi Eitan, a former Israeli minister and veteran spy who led the operation to capture fugitive Nazi mastermind Adolf Eichmann, died on Saturday at the age of 92.

“We have lost a brave fighter whose contribution to Israel’s security will be taught for generations to come,” President Reuven Rivlin said.

Eitan died after being hospitalized in Tel Aviv, YNET news website and other Israeli media reported.

Eitan played an influential role in the early years of Israel’s intelligence agencies.

In 1960, he was in charge of the Mossad operation that led to the capture of Eichmann, an architect of the Nazi Holocaust, who was living in Argentina under an assumed identity. Eichmann was taken to Israel where he stood trial for crimes against humanity, was found guilty and hanged.

Eitan was also involved in the planning and implementation of the attack on the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, according to Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

He then headed Israel’s Bureau of Scientific Relations, which was involved in the scandal surrounding Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. naval intelligence analyst arrested in 1985 and sentenced in 1987 to life imprisonment for spying for Israel.

Israel has said Pollard was recruited in a rogue operation by the since-disbanded bureau. Eitan assumed responsibility for and resigned over the affair, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Eitan was elected to parliament in 2006 for three years and served as pensioners minister.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Source: OANN

Tennis: Miami Open
Mar 22, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Serena Williams of the United States reacts against Rebecca Peterson of Sweden (not pictured) in the second round of the Miami Open at Miami Open Tennis Complex. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

(Reuters) – Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Miami Open with a left knee injury, tournament officials said on Saturday.

It is the second consecutive WTA event in which the American has been unable to continue, after her retirement from last week’s tournament in Indian Wells with a viral illness.

“I am disappointed to withdraw from the Miami Open due to a left knee injury,” the former world number one said in a statement.

“I hope to be back next year to play at this one-of-a-kind tournament in front of the incredible fans here in Miami.”

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Chadband)

Source: OANN

NBA: All Star Game
Feb 17, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft during the 2019 NBA All-Star Game at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

(Reuters) – New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft apologized on Saturday in his first public statement since he was charged for soliciting prostitution in Florida last month.

“I am truly sorry,” Kraft said in a statement. “I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.”

The 77-year-old billionaire businessman, who according to police was captured on video engaging in sex acts with a worker at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Florida, said he had remained silent “in deference to the judicial process.

“I have extraordinary respect for women; my morals and my soul were shaped by the most wonderful woman, the love of my life, who I was blessed to have as my partner for 50 years,” Kraft said in the statement, apparently referring to his late wife Myra Hiatt Kraft, who died in 2011 of ovarian cancer.

Kraft, who built the Super Bowl-winning Patriots into the National Football League’s most dominant franchise, was swept up in a police sting targeting sex-trafficking in day spas and massage parlors in several Florida counties.

Kraft, who lives in Massachusetts but owns property in Palm Beach, Florida, is accused of visiting Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter on two separate occasions to solicit sex.

The two charges he faces are misdemeanors.

On Friday, Kraft’s lawyer William Burck told sports network ESPN that “there was no human trafficking” in the case involving the Patriots’ owner and that law enforcement should investigate how the evidence was obtained.

(Reporting by Maria Caspani; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Source: OANN

MLB: Spring Training-Texas Rangers at San Francisco Giants
Mar 10, 2019; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jason Hammel (white shirt) walks to the dugout before the game against the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

Texas Rangers pitcher Jason Hammel has announced his retirement after 13 big-league seasons.

Hammel, 36, decided to walk away despite learning one day earlier that he had made the Rangers’ 25-man roster. Right-hander Jeanmar Gomez will replace him on the active roster, according to The Athletic.

“He just felt like spending time with his family was more important,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said in comments published by the Dallas Morning News. “There are no hard feelings.”

Hammel posted a 96-114 record with a 4.62 ERA in 377 games (298 starts). He played for a half-dozen teams — the Tampa Bay Rays, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals — before signing with the Rangers on a minor-league deal this spring.

In 2016, Hammel won a career-high 15 games for the Cubs, who went on to win the World Series.

The 31-year-old Gomez provides the Rangers with additional help out of the bullpen. He has gone 27-30 with a 4.40 ERA in 299 games (46 starts) over nine seasons. He has 40 career saves, 37 of which he recorded in 2016 with the Philadelphia Phillies.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NBA: All Star Game
Feb 17, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft during the 2019 NBA All-Star Game at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft issued a statement Saturday that expressed his remorse following charges of solicitation of prostitution.

The statement represented the first comments made by Kraft since he was charged last month for allegedly receiving sex acts at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. He has pleaded not guilty, and on Friday, his attorney said they intended to vehemently fight the charges as well as the release of two tapes that purportedly show Kraft receiving services at the spa.

“In deference to the judicial process, I have remained silent these past several weeks,” Kraft’s statement read. “To correct some of the misinformation surrounding this matter, my attorney made his first public comments on Friday night. I would like to use this opportunity to say something that I have wanted to say for four weeks.

“I am truly sorry. I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard.

“Throughout my life, I have always tried to do the right thing. The last thing I would ever want to do is disrespect another human being. I have extraordinary respect for women; my morals and my soul were shaped by the most wonderful woman, the love of my life, who I was blessed to have as my partner for 50 years.”

Kraft’s wife, Myra, died of ovarian cancer in 2011 at age 68, shortly after their 48th anniversary.

Kraft and 24 other men were charged as part of a law-enforcement operation to stop human trafficking in South Florida.

William Burck, who represents Kraft, issued a statement to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday evening that read:

“There was no human trafficking and law enforcement knows it,” Burck told Schefter, who posted the quote on his Twitter account. “The video and the traffic stop were illegal and law enforcement just doesn’t want to admit it.

“The state attorney needs to step up and do the right thing and investigate how the evidence in this case was obtained.”

Kraft and the other men accused in the case were offered the opportunity to have their charges dropped if they performed 100 hours of community service, took a class on the dangers of prostitution, were tested for sexually transmitted diseases and paid a fine.

Sources close to Kraft earlier this week said he wouldn’t accept that deal, according to multiple reports.

The statement from Kraft, a 77-year-old billionaire businessman who also owns the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer, continued:

“As I move forward, I hope to continue to use the platform with which I have been blessed to help others and to try to make a difference. I expect to be judged not by my words, but by my actions. And through those actions, I hope to regain your confidence and respect.”

Kraft is expected to be in Florida next Friday for his next court hearing.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NASCAR: Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube
Mar 3, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano (22) celebrates after winning the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Joey Logano offers understanding, but no apologies.

After he applied the bumper to Martin Truex Jr.’s Toyota in the final corner of last year’s fall race at Martinsville Speedway, Logano edged past Truex for the race victory and a guaranteed berth in the Championship 4 event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

In that season finale, Logano went on to win his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title.

Logano understood why Truex was upset at being denied his first short-track win on the final lap. But Logano wasn’t sorry.

Given that the series is returning to Martinsville this weekend for the first time since last November’s memorable race, it was inevitable that the subject of the bump-and-run would come up.

“I mean, it’s in the past at this point,” Logano said. “But I think at that point Martin texted me and, like I told you guys, he was pretty clear that he was frustrated with the move. I understood, and I think he understood why I had to do it, and it kind of played out and worked out, but my move to him was that I didn’t wreck you. I gave the old bump-and-run.

“That happened 15 times a race here at Martinsville, and that one was just a little more popular. I think there’s a fine line. You don’t want to straight out bump somebody on purpose, but you also, when it comes down to the end of the race like that and there’s that much on the line, … that was our shot to win a championship.

“So I think every driver has a line that they are OK with and that you can go to sleep at the end of the night and say, ‘I did what I had to do and I’m all right with it,’ and if it happened to me, you have to be OK with that as well. I think that was the situation for me that I was trying to explain to him.”

COREY LAJOIE SUFFERS BRAKE FAILURE, HARD CRASH IN PRACTICE

Perhaps the most uncomfortable feeling at any race track comes from stabbing the brakes and feeling the pedal sink to the floorboard.

That’s what happened to Corey LaJoie, whose No. 32 GoFas Racing Ford crashed hard into the Turn 1 wall after his brakes failed in Saturday’s opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Martinsville Speedway.

The car suffered extensive front-end damage, leaving the right front tire barely rolling at a cockeyed angle as LaJoie nursed the car back to pit road.

“I’ll tell you, there is no coffee strong enough that will wake you up like losing brakes into Turn 1 at Martinsville,” LaJoie said after the crash. “It’s not a good feeling losing brakes. It had like a half-pedal, and then it felt like it blew through the seal or something.

“It’s unfortunate, because small teams like ours, we don’t really bring a backup (car) that’s fully ready to go, so my guys have a lot of work ahead of them. I’ll probably pitch in and help a little bit, but, obviously, our backup is not going to be as good as the car that we choose and bring as our primary.”

MARTINSVILLE CUP PRACTICES PRODUCE MIXED BAG OF LEADERS

With teams toggling back and forth between race trim and qualifying trim, Saturday’s two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice sessions at Martinsville Speedway produced radically different groups of cars at the top of the leaderboard.

Clint Bowyer, defending race winner in Sunday’s STP 500 (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), paced the opening session with a lap at 97.674 mph. Daniel Suarez and Aric Almirola, Bowyer’s teammates at Stewart-Haas racing, were second and third fastest, respectively.

Happy Hour was a completely different story. With Chase Elliott leading the way at 97.542 mph, Hendrick Motorsports drivers claimed the top three spots on the leaderboard. Alex Bowman was second fastest, followed by nine-time Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson, who is looking for a turnaround after four straight finishes of 12th or worse at the .526-mile short track.

Martin Truex Jr., the victim of a last-lap bump-and-run in last year’s Playoff race at Martinsville, figures to be a contender again Sunday, after leading consecutive-lap averages over runs of five, 10 and 20 laps.

Near the end of final practice, Cody Ware wheel-hopped into the outside wall. His No. 51 Chevrolet sustained heavy damage in the accident.

–By Reid Spencer, NASCAR wire service. Special to Field Level Media.

Source: OANN

2018 European Championships - Glasgow
2018 European Championships – Artistic Gymnastics, Men’s Pommel Horse, Final – Glasgow, Britain – August 12, 2018 – Max Whitlock of Great Britain in action. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

March 23, 2019

By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s double Olympics gold-medal winning gymnast Max Whitlock believes the sport’s “confusing” scoring system could switch fans off and says new innovations should be considered.

Nadia Comaneci’s perfect 10 on the uneven bars at the 1976 Montreal Olympics is one of sport’s iconic moments, but these days medals are decided by D-scores (difficulty) and E-scores (execution) that run to three decimal places.

Recent dad Whitlock was taking a break from his usual routine this weekend at the Superstars of Gymnastics event at London’s O2 Arena where, along with American superstar Simone Biles, he was thrilling crowds with an exhibition.

He and Biles were also acting as X-factor-type judges, running the rule over routines performed by an international field of gymnasts, before awarding an old school mark out of 10.

Gymnasts, including Olympic horizontal bars champion Fabian Hambuchen, could use a “golden buzzer” option to maximize their scores on their favorite apparatus while they were free to experiment with new moves and routines.

Although it was not an official event, Whitlock, who with wife Leah celebrated the birth of daughter Willow this year, said it was a chance for gymnastics to engage with a wider audience and for the sport to try out new gimmicks.

“I think it’s very important that the sport can evolve,” the 26-year-old Whitlock, who became Britain’s first Olympic gold medalist in artistic gymnastics by winning floor and pommel in Rio, told Reuters.

“Gymnastics is very confusing and no one really knows what a 15.355 really means. It’s hard to keep up with. That takes away from the atmosphere and means the audience doesn’t really get involved in the competition.”

Whitlock got 15.633 from the judges in Rio for his floor routine and while it was a magical moment he regrets that the perfect 10 is not possible these days.

“Events like the Superstars of Gymnastics are so simple with the scoring out of 10,” he said. “It would have been great to get a perfect 10 in my career. It would be hard to go back to that system now, but there are ways it could be simplified.

“You look at football, swimming, athletics and it’s so clear who the winner is and I think gymnastics needs that a bit more.

“Everyone needs to brainstorm, get their heads together and think of ways we can simplify the sport and push it to the next level because I truly believe gymnastics has huge potential to grow.”

With Tokyo looming, Whitlock is working to stay ahead of the field.

“Last two years I’ve been adding in new skills on floor and pommel because ever since Rio I said I didn’t want to come back with the same routines,” he said. “I’m constantly upping my start score.

“I get a huge buzz from that. It keeps me on my toes and makes me work harder and motivated to stay at the level.”

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A wing of the Boeing 737 MAX is pictured during a media tour of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington
FILE PHOTO: A wing of the Boeing 737 MAX is pictured during a media tour of the Boeing 737 MAX at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington December 7, 2015. REUTERS/Matt Mills McKnight/File Photo

March 23, 2019

By Tracy Rucinski

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Teams from the three U.S. airlines that own 737 MAX jets were heading to Boeing Co’s factory in Renton, Washington, to review a software upgrade on Saturday, even as Southwest Airlines Co began parking its 34 MAXs near the California desert.

The factory visits indicate Boeing may be nearing completion of a planned software patch for its newest 737 following a fatal Lion Air crash in Indonesia last October, but the timing for a resumption of passenger flights on the jets remains uncertain.

Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration, which must approve the software fix and new training, are under U.S. and global scrutiny since the MAX suffered a second deadly crash involving Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa on March 10, which led to a worldwide grounding of the fleet.

The Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents American Airlines pilots, said it has been in talks with Boeing, the FAA and airlines to get the airplanes flying again as soon as possible, albeit with an acceptable level of safety.

“Right now we’re in wait and see mode to see what Boeing comes up with,” Captain Jason Goldberg, a spokesman for APA, said on Saturday. “We’re hopeful, but at the same time the process can’t be rushed.”

APA is among a delegation of airline safety experts and pilots set to test Boeing’s software upgrade, meant to change how much authority is given to a new anti-stall system developed for the 737 MAX, in Renton.

The system, known as the Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, is suspected of playing a role in both disasters, which together killed 346 people.

Both crashes are still under investigation.

Southwest, the largest operator of the MAX in the world, and United Airlines said they would also review documentation and training associated with Boeing’s updates on Saturday. United has 14 MAXs while American has 24.

Meanwhile, Southwest said it was starting to move on Saturday its entire MAX fleet to a facility in Victorville, California, at the southwestern edge of the Mojave Desert, while the global grounding remains in effect.

“The planes being in one place will be more efficient for performing the repetitive maintenance necessary for stationary aircraft, as well as any future software enhancements that need to take place,” spokeswoman Brandy King said.

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A J.P. Morgan logo is seen in New York City
FILE PHOTO: A J.P. Morgan logo is seen in New York City, U.S. January 10, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith/File Photo

March 23, 2019

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey’s banking watchdog has launched an investigation into JP Morgan over complaints about a report it published on Friday, state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Saturday.

The BDDK watchdog was quoted as saying that it had received complaints that the report hurt the reputation of Turkish banks and caused volatility in financial markets. A judicial process will be carried out regarding JP Morgan, Anadolu said.

It was not immediately clear what JP Morgan’s report was about.

BDDK also said it was investigating claims that some banks lead clients to buy foreign currencies in a manipulative and misleading way and that a judicial process would be carried out regarding those involved, Anadolu reported.

(Reporting by Umit Bektas; Writing by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Clelia Oziel)

Source: OANN

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks at memorial event for Kasur Gyari
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks at a memorial event for Kasur Gyari, former special envoy of Dalay Lama to the U.S., on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

March 23, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday called Attorney General William Barr’s offer to release a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report “insufficient” and urged him to release the full report to lawmakers so their committees could proceed with their “independent work.”

Pelosi also said in the statement that any congressional briefings on the report should be designated unclassified so members “can speak freely” about them.”

(Reporting by Makini Brice and Jonathan Landay; Editing by David Gregorio)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Mike Lynch, Founder and Chairman of Autonomy Corporation, poses for photographers at an awards ceremony in central London
FILE PHOTO: Mike Lynch, founder of Autonomy, poses for photographers at an awards ceremony in central London March 13, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville

March 23, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – British entrepreneur Mike Lynch vigorously denies new U.S. criminal charges against him, his spokesman said on Saturday ahead of a court case over the sale of his firm Autonomy which will begin in London next week.

U.S. prosecutors on Friday added three new criminal charges to their indictment against Lynch related to the $11.1 billion sale of his software company Autonomy to Hewlett-Packard in 2011.

Lynch faces a new charge of securities fraud, which carries a maximum prison term of 25 years, as well as additional charges of wire fraud and conspiracy in the 17-count indictment filed with the federal court in San Francisco.

“These are baseless, egregious charges issued on the eve of the trial in the UK, where this case belongs, and Dr Lynch denies them vigorously,” a spokesman for Lynch said.

Mike Lynch, once hailed as Britain’s answer to Bill Gates, faces Hewlett-Packard (HP) in London’s High Court on Monday in a multi-billion dollar showdown over the U.S. technology company’s 2011 purchase of Autonomy.

HP is accusing Lynch and former Autonomy Chief Financial Officer Sushovan Hussain of involvement in accounting irregularities that caused it to overpay for the company.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle,; Writing by Alistair Smout, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Source: OANN

NHL: Boston Bruins at Pittsburgh Penguins
Mar 10, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara will stick around for a 22nd season after signing a one-year extension with the club on Saturday.

The veteran defenseman will earn a $2 million base salary and up to $1.75 million in incentives.

Chara is making $5 million this season, but agreed to take a pay cut in order to help the Bruins stay competitive, his agent told the Boston Globe.

“At this stage of his career, it was important for Z to work within the confines of the Bruins’ cap situation to give the Bruins the very best chance to win a Cup,” Matt Keator said. “(New England Patriots quarterback Tom) Brady and Z are both willing to sacrifice to win and play as long as they can, well into their 40s.”

Brady has been lauded for taking team-friendly deals with the Patriots that have helped them rack up Super Bowl titles.

Chara, 42, has been the Bruins’ captain for the last 13 seasons after stints with the New York Islanders (1998-2001) and Ottawa Senators (2001-06).

He won a Stanley Cup with the Bruins in 2011.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Sheep graze on grass and hay on a farm near the County Wicklow village of Roundwood
Sheep graze on grass and hay on a farm near the County Wicklow village of Roundwood, Ireland December 9, 2018. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

March 23, 2019

By Graham Fahy

WEXFORD, Ireland (Reuters) – Ireland’s agriculture minister Michael Creed on Saturday promised farmers a “substantial” aid package if they suffer losses as a result of new UK tariffs under a no-deal Brexit.

The Irish Farmers Association estimates that WTO tariffs on Ireland’s beef and livestock sector will impose a direct cost of 800 million euro per year, devastating the 3-billion-euro industry and putting thousands of farmers out of business.

The beef sector is especially exposed to new tariffs, with half of all exports going to the UK.

The government will seek to provide domestic state aid such as grants and intervention, Creed told Reuters in an interview. Dublin may also provide private storage aid (PSA) for the industry, an EU measure usually reserved for smoothing out seasonal imbalances between supply and demand.

In addition, Ireland would apply to the European Commission for exceptional aid under Common Market Organisation rules covering agricultural products, Creed said.

“We are very satisfied that the Commission recognizes the necessity for that and we have a substantial package,” he said. “What we have also secured is the ability of the exchequer here under state aid rules to also intervene.”

Ireland would seek EU financial aid based on the precedent set when exceptional support was given to the Baltic states and Finland following Russia’s 2014 ban on EU food imports, Creed said. Moscow imposed the ban in retaliation for EU sanctions over the annexation of Crimea.

Creed said Ireland would make a case to the Commission that support for its primary producers would limit any possible contagion from UK tariffs to other European countries.

“Because otherwise we’ll be looking for a home for 300,000 tonnes of beef in other European Union markets,” he said.

The fallout from the UK leaving the European Union without a deal cannot be completely eliminated, he said, whatever the level of preparedness or government intervention.

“There will be cost implications, there will be job implications, there will be profit implications. And that’s the tragic reality of Brexit, in any manifestation.”

(Reporting by Graham Fahy; Editing by Clelia Oziel)

Source: OANN

MLS: Portland Timbers at FC Cincinnati
Mar 17, 2019; Cincinnati, OH, USA; FC Cincinnati forward Darren Mattocks (11), midfielder Leonardo Bertone (6), defender Mathieu Deplagne (17), and forward Roland Lamah (7) celebrate after a goal against the Portland Timbers in the second half at Nippert Stadium in the inaugural home match for FCC. FCC defefated the Timbers 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

FC Cincinnati will look to keep its early-season roll going in its inaugural MLS campaign on Sunday when it hits the road again, traveling to New England take on the Revolution.

Game time is 4 p.m. EDT at Gillette Stadium.

For expansion Cincinnati, the early results have been solid. The club opened with a loss at Seattle, before rallying with a tie at defending champion Atlanta, then beating Portland 3-0 in its home opener in Week 3.

“It’s great to play at home and great to see what our fan base can do already for us as a group,” Cincinnati coach Alan Koch told reporters earlier this week. “But our jobs are between the white lines no matter where we play. We shouldn’t change the way we go about our work. We lose we shouldn’t change, we win, we shouldn’t change. Our preparation for every game is consistent.”

Defender Nick Hagglund feels that the quality of play Cincinnati has turned in early in the season has sent a message to the rest of the league.

“We are here,” Hagglund said. “We’re not just an expansion team that people are expecting to roll over. We are a team that’s ready to go. We’re hungry.”

New England, winless and holding just one point through three games, is coming off a 3-2 loss at Toronto. But the Revolution are confident as they return home.

“We know what we can do at home,” New England midfielder Diego Fagundez said. “We know what style of play we have and with the team we have, we can definitely win this game. We’re at home and we can definitely show them who’s going to be the boss here.”

Both sides will be missing some key pieces because of national team call-ups this weekend. New England will be without rookie forward Justin Rennicks, while Cincinnati will be missing Kendall Waston, Allan Cruz, Darren Mattocks and Alvas Powell.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, second from left, talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left, and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, right, look on before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China February 15, 2019. Andy Wong/Pool via REUTERS

March 23, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will travel to Beijing for the latest round of high-level trade talks scheduled to start on March 28, the White House said in a statement on Saturday.

The United States also will receive a Chinese trade delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He for meetings in Washington that are set to begin on April 3, the White House said.

President Donald Trump said on Friday the negotiations with China were progressing and a final agreement seemed probable, as the world’s two largest economies seek to ease tensions from an eight-month-old trade war.

But earlier this week, Trump warned the United States may leave tariffs on Chinese imports for a while, though Beijing has pushed for them to be removed as part of any deal.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Source: OANN

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets
Mar 22, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) connects for a double against the New York Mets during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

March 23, 2019

The St. Louis Cardinals announced a five-year extension for newly acquired first baseman Paul Goldschmidt on Saturday.

Financial terms were not revealed, but the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that it will pay him “around $130 million.”

The deal will keep Goldschmidt, 31, in St. Louis through the 2024 season.

“When we made the trade to acquire Paul, we knew we had added one of the game’s premier players,” Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said in a statement. “We are all excited for Paul’s introduction to St. Louis, and to our passionate fans, who we feel will make this the perfect match.”

Arizona traded Goldschmidt, a six-time All-Star, to St. Louis in December in exchange for right-hander Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, infielder Andy Young and the Cardinals’ Compensation B selection in the 2019 draft.

Goldschmidt has slugged 30 or more homers in four of the past six seasons, but the Diamondbacks were shopping the 31-year-old because he was entering the last season of his contract, which was slated to pay him $14.5 million. He batted .290 with 33 homers and 83 RBIs in 2018. He has three 100-RBI campaigns and has batted .300 or better three times since 2013.

Overall, he batted .297 with 209 homers and 710 RBIs in 1,092 games over parts of eight seasons for Arizona. He finished second in National League MVP balloting in 2013, when he set career highs of 36 homers and 125 RBIs, and again in 2015.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN


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