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MLB: Spring Training-Miami Marlins at New York Mets
Mar 8, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) delivers a pitch against the Miami Marlins during a spring training game at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Pitcher Noah Syndergaard fired a shot at the New York Mets front office Sunday, expressing frustration that teammate Jacob deGrom hasn’t been signed to a contract extension and that the team has an unconventional travel schedule prior to Opening Day.

The Mets and deGrom, who won the 2018 National League Cy Young Award, talked in the offseason, but deGrom told reporters Saturday he wasn’t confident of an agreement in the next few days.

The Mets and deGrom agreed to a one-year, $17 million contract rather than go to arbitration in January. He is eligible to become a free agent in 2021, and Syndergaard said he doesn’t want it to reach that point.

“Jake’s the best pitcher in baseball right now. I think he deserves whatever amount he’s worth. I want to keep him happy, so when it does come time for him to reach free agency, he stays on our side pitching for the Mets. I just think they should quit all this fuss and pay the man already,” Syndergaard told reporters.

This weekend, the Boston Red Sox and ace Chris Sale agreed to a five-year, $145 million extension, and the Houston Astros reached a two-year, $66 million deal with former Cy Young winner Justin Verlander.

“If there wasn’t a trend of other guys getting contract extensions, I don’t know what the circumstance would be. But you can see Chris Sale, Verlander, those guys getting extensions. I think it’s time Jacob gets one, too,” Syndergaard said.

The right-hander also said he didn’t understand the reasoning behind the Mets not returning to the Big Apple before their season opener Thursday. Instead, the team will leave Sarasota, Fla., and travel to Syracuse, N.Y., before heading to Washington, D.C., for the opener with the Nationals.

“I don’t know whose idea that was, but it’s not a smart one,” Syndergaard said. “I don’t think that’s conducive for winning ballgames, really — that much travel. I mean, I’m sure the amenities in Syracuse aren’t the best for a Major League Baseball team to go up there and have one last workout before the regular season starts, but those kinds of decisions are above my pay grade.”

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Tennis: Miami Open
Mar 24, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; John Isner of the United States hits a backhand against Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain (not pictured) in the third round of the Miami Open at Miami Open Tennis Complex. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

(Reuters) – Defending champion John Isner unleashed 16 aces in claiming a 7-5 7-6(6) victory over determined Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the third round of the Miami Open on Sunday.

Ramos-Vinolas broke Isner to start the match but the American saved the next four break points he faced to advance.

The seventh seed will face Britain’s 19th-seeded Kyle Edmund in the fourth round.

Edmund beat Canadian 12th seed Milos Raonic 6-4 6-4.

Isner has practised with Edmund in Miami and they have split two meetings.

Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut also advanced after upsetting 15th-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini 6-4 6-4.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; editing by Clare Fallon)

Source: OANN

A flag of Iran flutters at a tourist park named
FILE PHOTO: A flag of Iran flutters at a tourist park named “Iran Garden” which was funded by Iran, at Maroun Al Ras village in southern Lebanon, near the border between Lebanon and Israel, October 4, 2010. REUTERS/ Ali Hashisho

March 24, 2019

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran said on Sunday it would expand its ties with Lebanon in spite of the “provocative and interventionist” call by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for Beirut to choose sides, Iranian state television reported.

On a regional tour to drum up support for Washington’s harder line against Tehran, Pompeo said on Friday that Lebanon faced a choice – “Bravely move forward as an independent and proud nation, or allow the dark ambitions of Iran and Hezbollah to dictate your future”.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi dismissed Pompeo’s remarks.

“Because of the failure of its policies in the Middle East, America has turned to the outdated and disgraced weapon of threats and intimidation to impose its imperious policies on other countries,” Qasemi said, state television reported.

“While respecting the independence of Lebanon and the free will of its government and nation, Iran will use all its capacities to strengthen unity inside Lebanon and also to expand its ties with Lebanon.”

Hezbollah, whose influence has expanded at home and in the region, controls three of 30 ministries in the government led by Western-backed Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, the largest number in its history.

The dominant Shi’ite Muslim power Iran and Hezbollah, founded in 1982 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, are major players in the war in Syria and the fight against militant groups opposed to President Bashar al-Assad, which include Islamic State.

Qasemi said that Lebanon’s Hezbollah was a legal and popular party.

“How can Pompeo make such impudent and irrational remarks (about Hezbollah) while visiting Lebanon,” he said.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington has increased since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers last May, and then reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

The restoration of sanctions is part of a wider effort by Trump to force Iran to further curb its nuclear program and to end its ballistic missile work as well as its support for proxy forces in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi)

Source: OANN

President Donald Trump's tweet on withdrawal of North Korea sanctions was unprecedented and "shouldn't have happened that way," according to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

"I've never seen that before from this or any administration, so something happened here," Sen. Rubio told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

Undoing sanctions requires "a long interagency process," Rubio told host Chuck Todd, adding President Trump acting unilaterally is "unusual" and unprecedented.

"Frankly, look, I think people around the world would look at it and say from now on, when they hear about sanctions, they're going to ask for a double confirmation from the White House," Rubio told Todd.

"So, look, I wish it hadn't happened that way, and it shouldn't have happened that way."

The Treasury Department announced large scale sanctions against North Korea for their nuclear weapons program, but President Trump quickly tweeted a revocation of them shortly after Friday:

"It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale sanctions would be added to those already existing sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional sanctions!"

Rubio's rejection of President Trump's work to denuclearize North Korea, negotiating with Kim Jong Un is based on skepticism on the part of Kim, not any doubt about Trump. 

"I would love for Kim Jong Un to give up his weapons and everything else," Rubio said. "And I don't criticize the president for trying. I just never believed he would. I don't believe he ever will.

"I'm not skeptical because I want it to fail; I'm skeptical because I believe it will fail."

Source: NewsMax Politics

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Houston vs Georgia State
Mar 22, 2019; Tulsa, OK, USA; Georgia State Panthers head coach Ron Hunter reacts during the first half against the Houston Cougars in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at BOK Center. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Tulane will name Georgia State’s Ron Hunter as the Green Wave’s new men’s basketball coach, Hunter confirmed to ESPN on Sunday.

Hunter, 54, replaces Mike Dunleavy Sr., who was fired earlier this month after three seasons and a 24-69 record — including 4-27 in 2018-19.

Tulane has not been to the NCAA Tournament since the 1994-95 season and has not posted a winning record since 2012-13.

As the head coach at Georgia State since 2011, Hunter has led the Panthers to the NCAA Tournament three times. Georgia State won three Sun Belt Conference regular season championships and three tournament championships under his direction.

Georgia State was 24-10 this season, which ended Friday with a first-round loss in the NCAA tourney. The 14th-seeded Panthers fell to third-seeded Houston, 84-55.

Hunter’s record at Georgia State after eight seasons is 171-95. Before that, he compiled a 221-179 record with one NCAA Tournament berth in 13 seasons as the coach at IUPUI.

At the 2015 NCAA Tournament, Hunter had to coach from a stool after tearing his Achilles celebrating the Panthers’ victory in the Sun Belt tournament. He memorably fell off the stool when his son, R.J. Hunter, hit the game-winning 3-pointer in 14th-seeded Georgia State’s 57-56 upset against No. 3 seed Baylor.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Kentucky vs Alabama
Mar 15, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Avery Johnson reacts during the second half against the Kentucky Wildcats in the SEC conference tournament at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Alabama and basketball coach Avery Johnson parted ways Sunday, just three days after the Crimson Tide suffered an opening-round defeat on their home court in the NIT.

The two sides had spent the past few days negotiating a buyout of Johnson’s contract, though no terms were announced on Sunday.

“After meeting with Coach Johnson, we made the decision to mutually part ways,” Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne said in news release issued by both Johnson and the school. “This was not an easy decision, and we thank him for his contributions over the past four seasons. We wish Coach Johnson and his family the very best.”

Alabama will begin the search for its next coach immediately, according to the news release. Assistant coach John Pelphrey will serve as head coach in the interim.

“I would like to thank The University of Alabama, Bill Battle and the Board of Trustees for providing me the opportunity to serve as the head basketball coach,” Johnson said in the release. “I’d also like to thank President Bell and Greg Byrne, our assistant coaches, support staff, the fans and student body for making this such a special experience for me and my family. Finally, and most importantly, I’d like to thank all of the players and parents. It was an honor and privilege to work with these young men and their families. This was an opportunity of a lifetime.”

The SEC now has three openings for a head basketball coach: Alabama, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

The top-seeded Crimson Tide were stunned 80-79 in overtime at home by Norfolk State on Wednesday night.

Johnson, who turns 54 on Monday, became Alabama’s coach in 2015, but the Crimson Tide have made just one NCAA Tournament in his four seasons at the helm.

Johnson’s contract ran through 2023 and was set to pay him approximately $3 million annually. It called for the school to pay him $8 million if was fired without cause before April 15, but fell to $6 million after that.

In his four seasons at Alabama, Johnson went 75-62, with a 34-38 conference record.

As an NBA coach, Johnson has a 254-186 record over stints with the Dallas Mavericks and New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets. He was the NBA Coach of the Year following the 2005-06 season, when the Mavericks finished 60-22 and won the Western Conference title.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

MLB: Spring Training-Houston Astros at New York Mets
Mar 2, 2019; Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) throws against the New York Mets at First Data Field. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

The Houston Astros have finalized a two-year extension with ace pitcher Justin Verlander, the team announced on Sunday.

“Justin Verlander is one of the elite pitchers in baseball,” said general manager Jeff Luhnow in announcing the deal. “His late-season arrival in 2017 helped the Astros deliver its first ever championship to the city of Houston. Our fans share in my excitement that Justin will be in an Astros uniform for at least three more years.”

The extension adds two years and $66 million to Verlander’s current deal, which had one year remaining. It makes Verlander the highest-paid pitcher in terms of annual average value ($33 million).

Only outfielder Mike Trout, who will average nearly $36 million annually on his recently signed 12-year, $430 million deal, has a deal with a higher per-annum payout.

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. He also was the league Most Valuable Player in 2011.

Overall, Verlander is 21-9 in 39 starts with the Astros, posting a 2.32 ERA and striking out 333 batters in 248 innings. The Astros won the World Series in 2017 following the trade for Verlander.

The Astros already had reached extensions with All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman (six years, $100 million) and righty reliever Ryan Pressly (two years, $17.5 million) in the past few days.

Bregman, who turns 25 on Friday, finished fifth in the American League MVP voting last season after batting .286 with a league-high 51 doubles, 31 homers, 103 RBIs and 105 runs scored.

Pressley, 30, is under contract for $2.9 million in 2019 and would have been eligible for free agency after this season. The deal covers the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays
Mar 7, 2019; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher John Axford (77) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Reliever John Axford has been released from his minor-league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, the team announced on Saturday.

The move comes on the heels of Axford being diagnosed with a stress reaction in his right (throwing) elbow two days earlier.

Axford, 35, was with Toronto for part of last season but was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July.

A 10-year veteran, Axford has pitched for eight teams and logged a 38-34 record with 144 saves and a 3.87 ERA.

Axford, who is Canadian, was 4-1 with 50 strikeouts over 51 innings in his stint with Toronto last season.

The Blue Jays also offered fellow righty reliever Bud Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to not opt out of his minor-league contract with the team. Norris, 34, has been dealing with arm injuries this spring.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

MLB: Spring Training-Colorado Rockies at Chicago Cubs
Mar 7, 2019; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs center fielder Ian Happ (8) hits a single against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning at Sloan Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

The Chicago Cubs will option outfielder Ian Happ to Triple-A Iowa, meaning he won’t start the season on the big-league roster.

Happ, 24, was unhappy with the decision, according to manager Joe Maddon.

“He’s not happy and he shouldn’t be happy,” Maddon said at soring training on Saturday.

“I really don’t blame him. The guy has really performed very well for us at different periods of time on the major-league level. He is so ingrained in the culture within the building and within the clubhouse. Great teammate. A lot of the veterans have accepted him very readily, which doesn’t happen often with young players.”

At Iowa, Happ is expected to get time in centerfield, second base and third base. The Cubs also are hoping he’ll get more comfortable batting from the left side of the plate.

“We just want to make sure that he gets down there and really gets a lot of consistent at-bats, especially from the left side,” Maddon said. “Obviously, we consider him a huge part of our future, but just based on the conclusion of last year and what we’re seeing at this point this year, we think it’s really important.”

In 2018, Happ batted .233 with 15 home runs and 56 runs scored in 387 at-bats.

A first-round pick by the Cubs in 2015, Happ has 39 home runs and a .242 batting average in 751 career at-bats.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round- Florida State vs Murray State
Mar 23, 2019; Hartford, CT, USA; Murray State Racers guard Ja Morant (12) talks to a teammate during the second half of game against the Florida State Seminoles in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Murray State star guard Ja Morant saw his season come to an end on Saturday night, but is he done with college basketball altogether?

After losing 90-62 to Florida State in the West Region semifinals of the NCAA Tournament, Morant wasn’t ready to announce his intentions for the 2019 NBA Draft.

“That time will come … My focus is not on that right now,” said Morant. “It’s just celebrating this — what a great season we had — with my teammates.”

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 in the losing effort.

Morant dropped a triple-double on Marquette in Murray State’s emphatic first-round win on Thursday.

For the season, Morant averaged 24.5 points and 10.0 assists per game for the 28-5 Racers. He nearly doubled his scoring average from his freshman season (12.7), despite playing just two more minutes per game as a sophomore.

Racers coach Matt McMahon sang his young star’s praises afterward.

“You see all of the talent and ability out on the floor and how he makes everyone better, but he’s got some of those intangibles that really separate him,” said McMahon.

“He loves to play. He’s just a relentless competitor. He’s tough and he’s a winner. His growth as a leader this year was a big key in the success we were able to have.”

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Democrats are pressing for full disclosure of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Russia investigation and vowing to use subpoena powers and other legal means if necessary to get it.

Attorney General William Barr was expected to release his first summary of Mueller's findings on Sunday, people familiar with the process said, on what lawmakers anticipated could be a day of reckoning in the two-year probe into President Donald Trump and Russian efforts to elect him. Since receiving the report Friday, Barr has been deciding how much of it Congress and the public will see.

Democrats are on a hair trigger over the prospect that some information may be withheld.

"I suspect that we'll find those words of transparency to prove hollow, that in fact they will fight to make sure that Congress doesn't get this underlying evidence," Rep. Adam Schiff of California, chairman of the House intelligence committee, said on ABC's "This Week."

His plan: Ask for information and if that's denied, "subpoena. If subpoenas are denied, we will haul people before the Congress. And yes, we will prosecute in court as necessary to get this information."

At his resort in Florida, Trump stirred from an unusual, nearly two-day silence on Twitter with the anodyne tweet Sunday morning: "Good Morning, Have a Great Day!" Then followed up: "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Democrats won't be willing to wait long for the Justice Department to hand over full information on the probe into whether Trump's 2016 campaign coordinated with Russia to sway the election and whether the president later sought to obstruct the investigation.

"It won't be months," he said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Asked if he still believes Trump obstructed justice, he indicated there has been obstruction but "whether it's criminal is another question."

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller and oversaw much of his work, analyzed the report on Saturday, laboring to condense it into a summary letter of main conclusions.

The Russia investigation has shadowed Trump for nearly two years and has ensnared his family and close advisers. And no matter the findings in Mueller's report, the probe already has illuminated Russia's assault on the American political system, painted the Trump campaign as eager to exploit the release of hacked Democratic emails to hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton and exposed lies by Trump aides aimed at covering up their Russia-related contacts.

Barr has said he wants to release as much as he can under the law. That decision will require him to weigh the Justice Department's longstanding protocol of not releasing negative information about people who aren't indicted against the extraordinary public interest in a criminal investigation into the president and his campaign.

Democrats are citing the department's recent precedent of norm-breaking disclosures, including during the Clinton email investigation, to argue that they're entitled to Mueller's entire report and the underlying evidence he collected.

Even with the details still under wraps, Friday's end to the 22-month probe without additional indictments by Mueller was welcome news to some in Trump's orbit who had feared a final round of charges could target more Trump associates or members of the president's family.

The White House sought to keep its distance, saying Sunday it had not been briefed on the report. Trump, who has relentlessly criticized Mueller's investigation as a "witch hunt," went golfing Saturday and was uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter. Not so one of his guests, musician Kid Rock, who posted a picture with the president and the tweet, "Another great day on the links!" He added: "What a great man, so down to earth and so fun to be with!!"

The conclusion of Mueller's investigation does not remove legal peril for the president.

He faces a separate Justice Department investigation in New York into hush money payments during the campaign to two women who say they had sex with him years before the election. He's also been implicated in a potential campaign finance violation by his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who says Trump asked him to arrange the transactions. Federal prosecutors, also in New York, have been investigating foreign contributions made to the president's inaugural committee.

As for Mueller, absent the report's details it was not known whether he concluded the campaign colluded with the Kremlin to tip the election in favor of the celebrity businessman. A Justice Department official did confirm that Mueller was not recommending any further indictments, meaning the investigation had ended without any public charges of a criminal conspiracy, or of obstruction of justice by the president.

In a letter to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the congressional judiciary committees, Barr noted on Friday that the department had not denied any request from Mueller, something Barr would have been required to disclose to ensure there was no political interference. Trump was never interviewed in person by Mueller's team, but submitted answers to questions in writing.

In a conference call Saturday about next steps, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a warning for his fellow Democrats, some of whom have pinned high political hopes on Mueller's findings: "Once we get the principal conclusions of the report, I think it's entirely possible that that will be a good day for the president and his core supporters."

A number of Trump associates and family members have been dogged by speculation of possible wrongdoing. Among them are Donald Trump Jr., who helped arrange a Trump Tower meeting at the height of the 2016 campaign with a Kremlin-linked lawyer, and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was interviewed at least twice by Mueller's prosecutors.

All told, Mueller charged 34 people, including the president's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and three Russian companies. Twenty-five Russians were indicted on charges related to election interference, accused either of hacking Democratic email accounts during the campaign or of orchestrating a social media campaign that spread disinformation on the internet.

Five Trump aides pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller and a sixth, longtime confidant Roger Stone, is awaiting trial on charges that he lied to Congress and engaged in witness tampering.

Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel, said Saturday that the case of former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates will be handed off to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. Gates was a key cooperator in Mueller's probe and court papers show he continues to help with several other federal investigations.

Justice Department legal opinions have held that sitting presidents may not be indicted. But many Democrats say Trump should not be immune from a public accounting of his behavior. Though the department typically does not disclose negative information about people who are not indicted, officials have at times broken from that protocol.

Former FBI Director James Comey famously held a July 2016 news conference in which he criticized Clinton as "extremely careless" in her use of a private email server but said the FBI would not recommend charges. The Justice Department also took the extraordinary step of making available to lawmakers the details of a secret surveillance warrant obtained on a Trump campaign aide in the early days of the Russia probe.

Source: NewsMax Politics

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses supporters during a rally for the upcoming local elections, in Istanbul
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he addresses AK Party and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) supporters during a rally for the upcoming local elections, in Istanbul, Turkey March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

March 24, 2019

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday those in the finance sector who buy foreign currencies on the expectation that the lira will fall will pay “a very heavy price”, adding the Finance Ministry is carrying out work on this.

Speaking at an election rally in Istanbul, he said “some people” had begun provoking Turkey and that they are attempting to make the lira decline against foreign currencies with their cooperators in Turkey.

The Turkish lira tumbled more than 4 percent against the U.S. dollar on Friday, its biggest one-day fall since a currency crisis took hold in August, raising concerns that Turks are buying more foreign cash as ties with Washington deteriorate.

(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen)

Source: OANN

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses supporters during a rally for the upcoming local elections, in Istanbul
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he addresses AK Party and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) supporters during a rally for the upcoming local elections, in Istanbul, Turkey March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

March 24, 2019

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday those in the finance sector who buy foreign currencies on the expectation that the lira will fall will pay “a very heavy price”, adding the Finance Ministry is carrying out work on this.

Speaking at an election rally in Istanbul, he said “some people” had begun provoking Turkey and that they are attempting to make the lira decline against foreign currencies with their cooperators in Turkey.

The Turkish lira tumbled more than 4 percent against the U.S. dollar on Friday, its biggest one-day fall since a currency crisis took hold in August, raising concerns that Turks are buying more foreign cash as ties with Washington deteriorate.

(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen)

Source: OANN

General view of Duqm Port in Oman
General view of Duqm Port in Oman, August 22, 2017. REUTERS/ Nawied Jabarkhyl

March 24, 2019

By Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States clinched a strategic port deal with Oman on Sunday which U.S. officials say will allow the U.S. military better access the Gulf region and reduce the need to send ships through the Strait of Hormuz, a maritime choke point off Iran.

The U.S. embassy in Oman said in a statement that the agreement governed U.S. access to facilities and ports in Duqm as well as in Salalah and “reaffirms the commitment of both countries to promoting mutual security goals.”

The accord is viewed through an economic prism by Oman, which wants to develop Duqm while preserving its Switzerland-like neutral role in Middle Eastern politics and diplomacy.

But it comes as the United States grows increasingly concerned about Iran’s expanding missile programs, which have improved in recent years despite sanctions and diplomatic pressure by the United States.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deal was significant by improving access to ports that connect to a network of roads to the broader region, giving the U.S. military great resiliency in a crisis.

“We used to operate on the assumption that we could just steam into the Gulf,” one U.S. official said, adding, however, that “the quality and quantity of Iranian weapons raises concerns.”

Tehran has in the past threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route at the mouth of the Gulf, in retaliation for any hostile U.S. action, including attempts to halt Iranian oil exports through sanctions.

Still, the U.S. official noted that the agreement would expand U.S. military options in the region for any kind of crisis.

Duqm is ideal port for large ships. It is even big enough to turn around an aircraft carrier, a second official said.

“The port itself is very attractive and the geostrategic location is very attractive, again being outside the Strait of Hormuz,” the official said, adding that negotiations began under the Obama administration.

COMPETITION WITH CHINA

For Oman, the deal will further advance its efforts to transform Duqm, once just a fishing village 550 km (345 miles) south of capital Muscat, into a key Middle East industrial and port center, as its diversifies its economy beyond oil and gas exports.

The deal could also better position the United States in the region for what has become a global competition with China for influence.

Chinese firms once aimed to invest up to $10.7 billion in the Duqm project, a massive injection of capital into Oman, in what was expected to be a commercial, not military, arrangement.

“It looks to me like the Chinese relationship here isn’t as big as it appeared it was going to be a couple of years ago,” the second official said.

“There’s a section of the Duqm industrial zone that’s been set aside for the Chinese … and as far as I can tell so far they’ve done just about nothing.”

Still, China has in the past shown no qualms about rubbing up against U.S. military facilities.

In 2017, the African nation of Djibouti, positioned at another geostrategic choke-point, the strait of Bab al-Mandeb, became home to China’s first overseas military base. The U.S. military already had a base located just miles away, which has been crucial for operations against Islamic State, al Qaeda and other militant groups.

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks at a migration summit in Budapest
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks at a migration summit in Budapest, Hungary March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

March 24, 2019

BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government could resume media campaigns against European Union bodies, he suggested on Sunday, as his nationalist Fidesz party gears up for European Parliament elections due on May 26.

On Wednesday the European Parliament’s main center-right grouping, the European People’s Party (EPP), voted to suspend Fidesz amid concerns it has violated EU principles on the rule of law.

The action was triggered in part by Orban’s media campaign attacking European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, depicting him as a proponent of mass immigration into Europe and as a puppet of Hungarian-born U.S. billionaire George Soros.

The European Commission has dismissed the claims as fiction.

Orban had ended the media attacks and apologized to members of the EPP, but he again struck a combative tone in an interview with public radio on Sunday.

“People are a bit angry with us in Brussels because, at the start of the European Parliament election campaign, we ran an information campaign in Hungary, essentially exposing what Brussels was up to,” Orban said.

“We have exposed them and, naturally, they are angry.”

Nationalist Orban has often clashed with the EU over his anti-immigration campaigns and judicial reforms.

“Our job now is to continuously inform the people about what Brussels is up to,” Orban added in Sunday’s interview.

“We should not back down, we should not be scared because the opponent takes offence and attacks us with the anger of people who are exposed.”

Asked whether Orban’s remarks meant Budapest would resume its anti-EU media campaigns, a government spokesman declined further comment, saying: “The prime minister’s words speak for themselves.”

Orban has also leveled criticism at European Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, the European Socialist candidate to suceed Juncker after the May elections.

Orban cast Timmermans as an out-of-touch Brussels bureaucrat living in what Orban called a “bubble”. Dutchman Timmermans is broadly disliked by nationalist parties in Eastern Europe, including in Hungary.

“Just this week there was a vote transforming the Dutch upper house, where the party of this Timmermans fell over spectacularly. He has lost the confidence of the people. And meanwhile he comes to Budapest and tours European capitals to lecture us about democracy,” Orban said.

“Such Timmermans-types, who are given the boot at home by their own people, should not be given a position in Brussels, because that will weaken cooperation in the entire EU.”

Orban also said that the outcome of the European vote would determine whether Fidesz remains in the EPP group or seeks a new alliance in Europe.

(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Jerusalem
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Jerusalem March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Young/Pool

March 24, 2019

By Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – With Israel’s election just two weeks away, Benjamin Netanyahu will get to showcase his close ties with Donald Trump in a U.S. visit just days after the president backed Israel’s hold over the occupied Golan Heights.

The prime minister’s White House meeting with Trump on Monday could be overshadowed in the United States by the expected release of a confidential report into a probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

But Netanyahu, facing possible indictment in three corruption cases and denying any wrongdoing, will play to a domestic audience in highlighting what he hails as the strongest bond ever between an Israeli leader and an American president.

Before returning on Thursday from the long-planned trip to the home stretch of a close race, Netanyahu can expect a warm reception from Trump, who along with the First Lady, will also host a dinner for Netanyahu and his wife, Sara.

Trump helped set the scene for his ally on Thursday, announcing the time had come to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, strategic territory that Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

The president’s move was widely seen in Israel – where Trump is a popular figure – as an attempt to provide an election boost to the right-wing Netanyahu, who had pressed for yet another departure from long-standing U.S. policy in one of the world’s most volatile regions.

Trump had already fulfilled two major items on Netanyahu’s wish list, recognizing contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017 and moving the American embassy to the holy city from Tel Aviv last May.

Those steps angered Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem, also captured by Israel in 1967, as the capital of a state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza. It also set them firmly against a peace plan Washington says it will present after the Israeli ballot.

“We have never had such a bond between the prime minister of Israel and an American president,” Netanyahu, who has featured Trump on his campaign billboards, told reporters upon his departure from Tel Aviv.

For Trump, Netanyahu’s embrace resonates with U.S. evangelists, a core constituency for the Republican leader who is up for re-election in 2020.

CLOSE RACE

Before arriving in Washington on Sunday, Netanyahu said he would speak to Trump “about his historic declaration” on the Golan and “continued pressure on Iran” following the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran that had relaxed sanctions on Israel’s arch-foe.

Netanyahu will also address the pro-Israel lobbying group, AIPAC, at its annual convention in Washington, as will his main challenger in the election, former military chief Benny Gantz who heads a centrist party.

The prime minister said he will meet leaders of Congress during the visit. Netanyahu’s relations with Democrats have been strained by his unflinching support for Trump, friction with the Democratic party’s progressive wing and his thorny relationship with Barack Obama.

Opinions polls show Netanyahu running neck and neck with Gantz. The political newcomer has called for clean governance, building on the attorney-general’s announcement in February that he intends to indict Netanyahu on bribery and fraud charges, pending a hearing after the April 9 vote.

“(Trump’s statement about the Golan) will really help Netanyahu,” said Billha Ketter, 67, an event planner, speaking to Reuters in Rosh Pina, which abuts the Golan Heights. She accused the president of intervening in Israel’s election.

Opinion polls gauging whether Trump’s move is having an effect are expected later in the week.

(Additional reporting by Rami Ayyub in Rosh Pina, Israel; Editing by Maayan Lubell/Keith Weir)

Source: OANN

Sister of Owais Malik, a suspected militant, displays her phone with the picture of Malik, at her home in south Kashmir's Kulgam district
Sister of Owais Malik, a suspected militant, displays her phone with the picture of Malik, at her home in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district February 16, 2019. REUTERS/Zeba Siddiqui

March 24, 2019

By Zeba Siddiqui and Fayaz Bukhari

KULGAM, India (Reuters) – Kashmiri farmer Yusuf Malik learned that his son Owais, a 22-year old arts student and apple picker, had become an armed militant via a Facebook post.

Days after Owais disappeared from his home in this picturesque valley below the Himalayan ranges, his picture appeared on the social network, posted by a user the family said they did not recognize. The short, thin, curly-haired young man in casual jeans and a T-shirt stared resolutely at the camera, both hands clutching an AK-47 rifle.

In blood red font on the photo was scribbled his new allegiance: the Hizbul Mujahideen, or ‘The Party of Warriors’, the largest of the militant groups fighting to free the mostly-Muslim Kashmir from Indian rule.

“He was a responsible kid who cared about his studies,” said Yusuf, 49, staring down at the carpeted floor of his brick home where he sat on a recent winter morning, clasping his folded hands inside his traditional pheran cloak.

The family said it has not heard from Owais since.

Owais is one of a rising number of local militants fighting for independence of Kashmir – an insurgency being spread on social media amid India’s sustained, iron-fisted rule of the region.

Hundreds of thousands of Indian troops and armed police are stationed in this lush region at the foot of the Himalayas. India and rival Pakistan have always disputed the area and in the past three decades, an uprising against New Delhi’s rule has killed nearly 50,000 civilians, militants and soldiers, by official count.

Historically, that insurrection has largely been led by militants from Pakistan, who have infiltrated into the valley.

But now, an increasing number of locally-born Kashmiris are picking up arms, according to Indian officials. About 400 local Kashmiris have been recruited by militants since the start of 2016, nearly double the number in the previous six years, according to government data. India says Pakistani groups continue to provide training and arms – a claim Islamabad rejects. 

Just a month before Owais Malik showed up on Facebook, another young man, Adil Ahmad Dar, left his home in a nearby part of Kashmir to join a militant group. This February, his suicide attack on a paramilitary convoy killed 40 Indian policemen, and took India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

After Dar’s attack, Indian security forces launched a major crackdown, searching Kashmiri homes and detaining hundreds of supporters, sympathizers and family members of those in armed groups. At least half a dozen gunbattles broke out between Indian police and militants.

The families of Dar and other young militants, as well as some local leaders and political experts, say run-ins between locals and security forces are one of the main reasons for anger and radicalization. After the recent crackdown, they expect more young people to take up arms.

“FREEDOM, MARTYRS”

Outside the narrow lane that leads to the Malik family home in Kulgam in southern Kashmir, children walk to school past shuttered shopfronts and walls spray-painted with the word “azadi”, the local word for “freedom”. The graveyard at the end of the lane has an area for militants, who are remembered as “martyrs”.

Dar’s family claims he’d been radicalized in 2016 after being beaten up by Indian troops on his way back from school for pelting stones at them.

“Since then, he wanted to join the militants,” said his father Ghulam Hassan Dar, a farmer.

India’s home and foreign ministries did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

In news conferences since the suicide bombing, Lt. Gen. K.J.S. Dhillon, India’s top military commander in Kashmir, has dismissed allegations of harassment and rights abuses by Indian troops as “propaganda”. He said the recent crackdown by security forces has resulted in the killing of the masterminds of the attack, and militant recruitment has dipped in recent months.

Syed Ata Hasnain, a retired army general who has served in Kashmir for over 20 years, said the rise in homegrown fighters does not surprise him. 

“Those who were born in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the conflict started, have now come of age,” he said. “This is a generation that has only seen the jackboot. The alienation of this generation is higher than the alienation of the previous generation.”

A 17th century Mughal emperor called Kashmir “paradise on earth”. But violence has ebbed and flowed in the valley since the subcontinent was divided into predominantly Hindu India and Islamic Pakistan after independence from Britain in 1947.

The question of Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, was never resolved, and it has been the catalyst for two wars and several violent clashes between the countries.

Tensions have risen after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in New Delhi in 2014. Modi promised a tougher approach to Pakistan and gave security forces the license to retaliate forcefully against the insurgency.

CULT FOLLOWING

Around that time, many young Kashmiris started rallying around Burhan Wani, who had left home at the age of 15 to join the insurgency. Wani had a large following on social media, where he appeared in videos dressed in military fatigues and armed with an assault rifle, calling for an uprising against Indian rule. 

He and his brother were beaten by security forces when they were teenagers, his family told local media. Wani was 22 when he was killed by security forces in 2016 and thousands attended his funeral despite restrictions on the movement of people and traffic.

The United Nations said in a report last year that in trying to quell mass protests in Kashmir since 2016, Indian security forces used excessive force that led to between 130 and 145 killings, according to civil society estimates.

Thousands were injured, including around 700 who sustained eye injuries from the use of pellet guns by security forces, it said. Thousands of people had simply disappeared since the insurgency began, it said.

The Indian government has rejected the report as false. Indian forces have long been accused of rights abuses and torture in custody in Kashmir, but officials routinely deny the charges.

Instead, India points the finger at Pakistan. Officials say the rebellion in Kashmir is being funded and organized by Pakistan and if they cut off those resources, the insurgency will weaken and it can then focus on building Kashmir’s economy. The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group claimed responsibility for the latest attack, which was the deadliest in the insurgency.

Pakistan says it only provides moral support to the Kashmiri right to self-determination.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the Muslim spiritual leader of Kashmir who is considered a moderate separatist, contests that India has true plans to engage politically with the people of Kashmir.

“In the past five years we have seen that the government of India has only spoken to Kashmiris through the barrel of the gun, that’s it. There is no political approach,” he said.

“Nobody is dying in Kashmir for lack of roads, electricity and water.” 

LOSING ANOTHER SON

A few miles south of Owais Malik’s home in Kulgam lives Masuma Begum, who said her son and brother had been called in to an army camp two days after the latest bombing and have been held since then.

A military spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Behind the glass panes of a wall shelf above her were photos of a smiling young man, an assault rifle slung on his shoulder.

“That’s my other son, Tausif,” Masuma Begum said. The 24-year-old had joined the Hizbul Mujahideen in 2013 and been killed by the army the same year, she said. “I don’t want to lose another son.”

(Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui and Fayaz Bukhari in KULGAM; Editing by Martin Howell and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Source: OANN

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is seen outside Downing Street in London
Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

March 24, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain must find a way to leave the European Union in an orderly fashion rather than trying to oust Prime Minister Theresa May, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Sunday.

When asked by Sky about newspaper reports of a plot to oust May by senior ministers and whether she had run out of road, Hammond said: “No. I don’t think that is the case at all.”

“Changing prime minister wouldn’t help us,” he said. “To be talking about changing the players on the board, frankly, is self-indulgent at this time.”

When asked if he was trying to get May’s de-facto deputy, David Lidington, to take over as interim prime minister, Hammond said: “That’s not the case.”

“I’m realistic that we may not be able to get a majority for the prime minister’s (Brexit) deal and if that is the case then parliament will have to decide not just what it’s against but what it is for,” he said.

When asked about possible options for Brexit, Hammond said he was not sure there was a majority in parliament for a second referendum but that it was a coherent proposition.

“It’s clear there is going to be an opportunity over the next few days for the House of Commons, if it doesn’t approve the prime minister’s deal, to try to find a majority behind another proposition that it can take forward,” Hammond said.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Potential 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Gillibrand arrives for a campaign stop in Manchester
FILE PHOTO: Potential 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) arrives for a campaign stop at Stark Brewing in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., February 1, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

March 24, 2019

By Joseph Ax

(Reuters) – Democratic U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will deliver a fiery first speech as an official presidential candidate in New York City on Sunday, calling U.S. President Donald Trump a “coward” at the doorstep of one of his most famous properties.

The location in front of Trump International Hotel – which she plans to call a “shrine to greed, division and vanity,” according to excerpts from her prepared remarks – is intended to show voters that Gillibrand will attack Trump directly, in contrast to some Democratic rivals who have hesitated to focus on the Republican president early in the 2020 campaign.

“President Trump is tearing apart the moral fabric of our country,” she plans to say. “He demonizes the vulnerable and he punches down…Our President is a coward.”

While some candidates, most notably Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, have harshly criticized Trump, others have largely avoided using his name, as Democrats try out different tactics for confronting the divisive president.

“She’s trying to differentiate herself from the field,” said Maria Cardona, a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. “It’s a pretty crowded field. She’s not really in the middle of it, and she needs to be in the middle of it.”

Though Gillibrand launched her formal campaign for the Democratic nomination only a week ago, she announced she was exploring a candidacy in January and spent the last two months visiting states such as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina that will hold early nominating contests next year.

But she has struggled to build momentum among a group of more than 15 announced and potential candidates, including five other sitting senators and former Vice President Joe Biden, who has not yet decided but is expected to join the race.

“Gillibrand simply lacks the star power or national prominence that would lead to extensive free media time,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Polling Institute at Monmouth University.

In recent surveys, Gillibrand has remained stubbornly mired in the 1-percent range, while other first-time presidential candidates like Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, both U.S. senators, have shown more competitiveness.

The race remains in its infancy, however, with the first nominating contest in Iowa still 10 months away.

“Most voters are just learning the candidates’ names,” said Jesse Ferguson, a senior spokesman for Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. “Right now, the priority for a candidate is to introduce themselves and show what their values are and how that’s the answer to what we have in the White House.”

Gillibrand, known as a moderate when she served as a congresswoman from upstate New York, has refashioned herself into a staunch progressive, calling for strict gun laws and supporting the environmental agenda known as the Green New Deal. Some liberal activists have viewed that shift with skepticism.

In recent years, she has led efforts to address sexual assault in the military and on college campuses, and she pushed for Congress to improve its own handling of sexual misconduct allegations. But she recently was forced to defend her office’s handling of a sexual harassment investigation, after a former employee said her allegations against a supervisor were mishandled.

The theme of her speech on Sunday will focus on what it means to be “brave.” Gillibrand will argue that she has stood up against big banks, sexual assault and most importantly Trump himself, with more votes against the Trump administration than any other senator.

“Symbols are powerful, and for Democratic primary voters, no symbol more clearly represents what’s wrong than the icon of Trump’s egotism that is Trump International,” Ferguson said.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Additional reporting by James Oliphant in Washington; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN

People attend a vigil for victims of the mosque shootings in Christchurch
People attend a vigil for victims of the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

March 24, 2019

By Jill Gralow and Natasha Howitt

CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – Thousands gathered in New Zealand’s cities on Sunday to protest racism and remember the 50 Muslims killed by a gunman in Christchurch and as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a national remembrance service to be held later this week.

About 15,000 turned out for an evening vigil in Christchurch in a park near the Al Noor mosque, where a suspected white supremacist killed more than 40 of the victims. Several more people were killed at the nearby Linwood mosque.

Many non-Muslim women wore headscarves at the vigil, some made by members of Christchurch’s Muslim community, to show their support for those of Islamic faith as they had at similar events last week.

Ardern said on Sunday that a national remembrance service would be held on March 29 to honor the victims, most of whom were migrants or refugees.

“The service will be a chance to once again show that New Zealanders are compassionate, inclusive and diverse, and that we will protect those values,” Ardern said in a statement.

The prime minister has been praised for her leadership following the attack. She swiftly moved to denounce the incident as terrorism, toughen gun laws and express national solidarity with the victims and their families.

The vigil started with an Islamic prayer, followed by a reading of the names of the victims, which included students from the nearby Cashmere High School.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can,” Okirano Tilaia, one of the school’s pupils, told the crowd. “Hatred cannot drive out hatred, only love can.”

Earlier in the day more than 1,000 people marched in a rally against racism in central Auckland, carrying “Migrant lives matters” and “Refugees welcome here,” placards.

Muslims account for just over 1 percent of New Zealand’s 4.8-million population, a 2013 census showed, most of whom were born overseas.

As New Zealand continued to mourn and ask questions about how such an attack could have happened in the peaceful Pacific nation, the victims’ families spoke about their losses.

Shahadat Hossain, whose brother Mojammel Haque was killed in the attack, arrived in New Zealand on Saturday to bring his brother’s body back to Bangladesh.

“I can’t describe how I felt when I saw my brother’s lifeless body,” he told Reuters. “I was devastated.”

Farid Ahmed, who was at the Al Noor mosque when the shooting took place, escaped but his wife, Husna, was killed. On Sunday, he went door-to-door, thanking his neighbors for their support.

    “They came running… they were crying, they were in tears,” he said of his neighbors when they found out that Husna had died.

“That was a wonderful support and expression of love, and I am feeling that I should also take the opportunity to say to them that I also love them.”

(Reporting by Jill Gralow Natasha Howitt, Charlotte Greenfield in Christchurch, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, James Redmayne and Tom Westbrook in Sydney; Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

People attend a vigil for victims of the mosque shootings in Christchurch
People attend a vigil for victims of the mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

March 24, 2019

By Jill Gralow and Natasha Howitt

CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – Thousands gathered in New Zealand’s cities on Sunday to protest racism and remember the 50 Muslims killed by a gunman in Christchurch and as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a national remembrance service to be held later this week.

About 15,000 turned out for an evening vigil in Christchurch in a park near the Al Noor mosque, where a suspected white supremacist killed more than 40 of the victims. Several more people were killed at the nearby Linwood mosque.

Many non-Muslim women wore headscarves at the vigil, some made by members of Christchurch’s Muslim community, to show their support for those of Islamic faith as they had at similar events last week.

Ardern said on Sunday that a national remembrance service would be held on March 29 to honor the victims, most of whom were migrants or refugees.

“The service will be a chance to once again show that New Zealanders are compassionate, inclusive and diverse, and that we will protect those values,” Ardern said in a statement.

The prime minister has been praised for her leadership following the attack. She swiftly moved to denounce the incident as terrorism, toughen gun laws and express national solidarity with the victims and their families.

The vigil started with an Islamic prayer, followed by a reading of the names of the victims, which included students from the nearby Cashmere High School.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can,” Okirano Tilaia, one of the school’s pupils, told the crowd. “Hatred cannot drive out hatred, only love can.”

Earlier in the day more than 1,000 people marched in a rally against racism in central Auckland, carrying “Migrant lives matters” and “Refugees welcome here,” placards.

Muslims account for just over 1 percent of New Zealand’s 4.8-million population, a 2013 census showed, most of whom were born overseas.

As New Zealand continued to mourn and ask questions about how such an attack could have happened in the peaceful Pacific nation, the victims’ families spoke about their losses.

Shahadat Hossain, whose brother Mojammel Haque was killed in the attack, arrived in New Zealand on Saturday to bring his brother’s body back to Bangladesh.

“I can’t describe how I felt when I saw my brother’s lifeless body,” he told Reuters. “I was devastated.”

Farid Ahmed, who was at the Al Noor mosque when the shooting took place, escaped but his wife, Husna, was killed. On Sunday, he went door-to-door, thanking his neighbors for their support.

    “They came running… they were crying, they were in tears,” he said of his neighbors when they found out that Husna had died.

“That was a wonderful support and expression of love, and I am feeling that I should also take the opportunity to say to them that I also love them.”

(Reporting by Jill Gralow Natasha Howitt, Charlotte Greenfield in Christchurch, Ruma Paul in Dhaka, James Redmayne and Tom Westbrook in Sydney; Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

Tennis: Miami Open
Mar 23, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; David Ferrer of Spain salutes the crowd after his match against Alexander Zverev of Germany (not pictured) in the second round of the Miami Open at Miami Open Tennis Complex. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

(Reuters) – David Ferrer is set to retire from professional tennis in May but the Spaniard showed he still has the tools to bring down the biggest names in the game after a stunning 2-6 7-5 6-3 win over world No. 3 Alexander Zverev at the Miami Open on Saturday.

The victory clearly meant a lot to the 36-year-old, who will bring the curtain down on his career at the Madrid Open.

“It’s a special day because it’s the last year of professional tennis for me. Winning these type of matches against a top 10 player like ‘Sascha’ is a gift,” he said.

“I’m very happy and I’m trying to enjoy every point and every moment.”

Ferrer will next face 21-year-old American Frances Tiafoe who fought past Miomir Kecmanovic 7-6(6) 7-6(5).

Roger Federer, a year older than Ferrer but enjoying a career renaissance, rallied from a set down to beat Moldovan surprise package Radu Albot 4-6 7-5 6-3 in a stuttering start to the 20-times Grand Slam champion’s Miami Open campaign.

Federer, beaten by Dominic Thiem in last week’s BNP Paribas Open final, smashed 14 aces and broke Albot twice to advance to the third round but it was far from plain sailing for the 37-year-old against the world number 46.

“I expected a player with a great attitude, which he showed,” Federer said. “I have a lot of respect for those types of players who don’t have the size, have to find a different way to win. He’s a great, great player. I was impressed.”

Federer was stunned by Thanasi Kokkinakis in his opening match of the Miami Open last year and another early exit was beckoning when he dropped the first set on Saturday.

However, the Swiss battled back to break Albot while leading 6-5 in the second with a backhand volley winner to square the match. Albot could not convert a break point in the deciding set when tied a 3-3, and Federer took command from there to wrap up a match that lasted two hours and 10 minutes. Three-times Miami champion Federer finished with 38 winners but had to overcame 41 unforced errors to defeat Albot, who earned an ovation from the crowd for his efforts.

Federer will next face Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic on Monday.

ANDERSON FEELING GOOD

Earlier on Saturday, South Africa’s Kevin Anderson made a winning return to competition with a 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory over rising Spaniard Jaume Munar. After more than two months away from the court with an elbow injury, the world number seven smashed 17 aces en route to the second round win over the 21-year-old Munar.

It was Anderson’s first tournament appearance since the Australian Open in January and he said he was happy with the way his elbow felt.

“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,” the sixth seed added. Two Russian prospects, Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev, had different fates on Saturday. The 10th seed Khachanov was beaten by Australian Jordan Thompson 6-2 6-3 while his friend Medvedev, the 13th seed, toppled France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-2 6-1.

Eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Mackenzie McDonald 7-6(4) 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, Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Ian Chadband/Peter Rutherford)

Source: OANN

NBA: Boston Celtics at Charlotte Hornets
Mar 23, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) shoots the ball against Boston Celtics forward Daniel Theis (27) in the first half at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

March 24, 2019

Kemba Walker had 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, and the Charlotte Hornets rallied from an 18-point fourth-quarter deficit for a stunning 124-117 victory over the visiting Boston Celtics on Saturday night.

The Hornets closed out the game on a 30-5 run after falling behind 112-94 with 8:21 left in the fourth quarter. Walker keyed it all, and his 3-pointer with 1:19 remaining gave his team the lead for good.

Charlotte (33-39) has now won two straight, while the Celtics (43-30) have lost three in a row.

The Hornets also got 20 points from Miles Bridges, 13 each from Marvin Williams and Malik Monk, and 11 from Dwayne Bacon. Williams hit four free throws in the final 41.2 seconds to help salt away the win.

Hawks 129, 76ers 127

Rookie point guard Trae Young scored 32 points, including the game-winner with a tenth of a second remaining, to give Atlanta a win over visiting Philadelphia.

The Hawks tied the game 127-127 on a layup by Taurean Prince with 27.5 seconds left, then got a final shot when the 76ers allowed the 24-second clock to expire. With 3.5 seconds left, Atlanta’s Kevin Huerter inbounded the ball to Young, who made a floater over Jimmy Butler to put the Hawks ahead.

After calling timeout, Philadelphia’s inbounds pass hit the rim to end the game.

Mavs 126, Warriors 91

Luka Doncic recorded his sixth triple-double of the season, and Dallas exploded for 74 first-half points in a shocking demolition of Golden State in Oakland, Calif.

Dirk Nowitzki bombed in five 3-pointers, while Doncic and Maxi Kleber buried four apiece as the Mavericks hit 21 shots from beyond the arc, one shy of their franchise record, and outscored Golden State 63-12 on 3s.

The loss came on the front end of a home back-to-back for the Warriors, who chose to rest Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston and Andrew Bogut. The 35-point margin of defeat was the largest of the season at home for Golden State.

Trail Blazers 117, Pistons 112

Damian Lillard scored 28 points, and Portland outscored visiting Detroit 14-3 over the final 4 1/2 minutes en route to the victory.

Al-Farouq Aminu chipped in a season-high 22 points for the Trail Blazers, who won for the sixth time in seven games.

Blake Griffin tallied 27 points, Reggie Jackson added 24 points and Andre Drummond collected 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, who lost for only the fourth time in their last 12 games.

Jazz 114, Bulls 83

Rudy Gobert notched a double-double of 21 points and 14 rebounds, and six other teammates scored in double figures to boost visiting Utah to a rout of Chicago.

The Jazz raced to a 33-18 lead after one quarter, and their 70-36 halftime lead was their largest on the road at the half in the history of the franchise, which began play in the 1974-75 season in New Orleans.

Donovan Mitchell added 16 points for the Jazz, while Joe Ingles (13), Derrick Favors (13), Ricky Rubio (12), Jae Crowder (11) and Raul Neto (10) followed to complement a balanced attack that overwhelmed the Bulls.

Heat 113, Wizards 108

Dwyane Wade scored 11 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter as visiting Miami defeated Washington.

The Heat (36-37) are fighting to hold on to the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot, and this victory gave them a one-game edge over idle Orlando (35-38). The two teams will meet Tuesday in Miami.

Wade went 5-for-7 from the field in the fourth quarter as Miami took charge of a game that swung back and forth throughout the first three periods. The veteran guard helped the Heat take a 109-99 lead late.

Timberwolves 112, Grizzlies 99

Karl-Anthony Towns totaled 33 points and 23 rebounds as Minnesota halted a nine-game road losing streak by dominating the third quarter in a victory over Memphis.

The Timberwolves recorded their first road win since beating New York on Feb. 22. They also halted a five-game losing streak, a night after being eliminated from playoff contention.

Towns recorded his seventh straight double-double and 49th overall. He also recorded his 19th 30-point game and fifth career game with at least 30 points and 20 boards.

Kings 112, Suns 103

Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes scored 25 points apiece to lead host Sacramento to a victory over Phoenix.

Marvin Bagley III added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings. Nemanja Bjelica recorded 13 points and a career-best 17 rebounds and De’Aaron Fox had 13 points and nine assists.

Hield made seven 3-pointers to set a franchise single-season record with 245. He broke the mark of Peja Stojakovic (240 in 2003-04), who is now the club’s assistant general manager.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S and China trade talks in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: Chinese staffers adjust U.S. and Chinese flags before the opening session of trade negotiations between U.S. and Chinese trade representatives at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. Mark Schiefelbein/Pool via REUTERS

March 24, 2019

(Reuters) – Ahead of fresh high-level trade talks this week, China is not conceding to U.S. demands to ease curbs on technology companies, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing three people briefed on the discussions.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are scheduled to travel to Beijing for talks starting on March 28, the White House said on Saturday.

The FT report said Beijing had yet to offer “meaningful concessions” to U.S. requests for China to stop discriminating against foreign cloud computing providers, to reduce limits on overseas data transfers and to relax a requirement for companies to store data locally.

China made an initial offer on digital trade that the United States judged as insufficient, the report said, citing a source.

China then retracted the offer after the United States demanded stronger pledges, the report said, without giving further details.

The White House and China’s Commerce Ministry did not respond to requests from Reuters for comment on Sunday.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that the talks aimed at resolving the trade dispute were progressing and a final agreement seemed probable.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Neil Fullick)

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

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-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

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

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

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-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-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

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

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

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

Congressional Democrats are plotting strategy as they await the conclusions of Robert Mueller's now-completed Russia investigation, with senior lawmakers demanding full transparency and preparing for next steps if the results are favorable to President Donald Trump.

House Democrats planned meetings by phone on Saturday to share what they know about the probe and to discuss how to move forward. It was unclear how soon they will have more information from Attorney General William Barr, who received the report from Mueller on Friday and has notified Congress that he intends to share its "principal conclusions" soon.

The Justice Department told lawmakers that Barr's summary was not expected Saturday but could still come over the weekend, according to multiple people familiar with the notification. The people requested anonymity to discuss the private message from the Justice Department.

The conclusion of Mueller's probe comes as House Democrats have launched several of their own into Trump and his personal and political dealings. And no matter what Mueller concludes, they say there is much more investigating to do.

"It's the end of the beginning but it's not the beginning of the end," said Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, a Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, echoing his party's strategy moving forward.

In a Saturday conference call, Coons also issued a warning for his fellow Democrats, many of whom have pinned astronomical political hopes on Mueller's findings: "Once we get the principal conclusions of the report, I think it's entirely possible that that will be a good day for the president and his core supporters."

As they waited for more information, House Democrats planned conference calls. In a letter to colleagues Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there would be an "emergency caucus conference call" in the afternoon in which committee chairmen would update all Democratic House members on "where we go from here." Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee were expected to convene on a smaller call beforehand.

Without the results of the report, the Democrats were expected to discuss the few details that are currently known and also their own plans to call for more transparency. Pelosi said in the letter that Barr's offer to provide Congress with a summary of conclusions was "insufficient."

Democrats have said they have to see the full report from Mueller, including underlying evidence, before they can assess it. Those demands for information are setting up a potential tug of war between Congress and the Trump administration that federal judges might eventually have to referee.

Six Democratic committee chairmen wrote in a letter to Barr on Friday that if Mueller has any reason to believe that Trump "has engaged in criminal or other serious misconduct," then the Justice Department should not conceal it.

"The president is not above the law and the need for public faith in our democratic institutions and the rule of law must be the priority," the chairmen wrote.

It's unclear what Mueller has found related to the president, or if any of it would be damning. In his investigation of whether Trump's campaign coordinated with Russia to sway the 2016 election, Mueller has already brought charges against 34 people, including six aides and advisers to the president, and three companies.

Lawmakers say they need that underlying evidence — including interviews, documents and material turned over to the grand jury — because the Justice Department has maintained that a president cannot be indicted and also that derogatory information cannot be released about people who have not been charged. So if the investigation did find evidence incriminating Trump, they may not be able to release it, under their own guidelines.

The Democrats say it could be tantamount to a cover-up if the department did not let Congress and the public know what they found.

Barr testified at his confirmation hearings that he wants to release as much information as he can about the inquiry. But the department's regulations require only that the attorney general report to Congress that the investigation has concluded and describe or explain any times when he or Rosenstein decided an action Mueller proposed "was so inappropriate or unwarranted" that it should not be pursued. Barr said Friday there were no such instances where Mueller was thwarted.

But anything less than the full report won't be enough for Democrats.

"If the AG plays any games, we will subpoena the report, ask Mr. Mueller to testify, and take it all to court if necessary," said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y. "The people deserve to know."

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told CNN on Friday that he's willing to subpoena Mueller and Barr, if needed, to push for disclosure.

Though Trump himself has said the report should be made public, it's not clear whether the administration would fight subpoenas for testimony or block the transmission of grand jury material.

If the administration decides to fight, lawmakers could ask federal courts to step in and enforce a subpoena. A court fight could, in theory, reach the Supreme Court. But few tussles between Congress and the White House get that far. They often are resolved through negotiation.

In both the Clinton and Obama administrations, even when talks failed and courts got involved in assessing claims of executive privilege, the White House decided not to take the fight to the high court and complied with lower court rulings against it.

The Democrats, led by Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, could also formally ask Mueller to send his committee evidence that could be used in possible impeachment proceedings against Trump, as suggested by Benjamin Wittes, a senior Brookings Institution fellow and editor-in-chief of the Lawfare blog.

That's the course one of Nadler's predecessors followed during Watergate, although an impeachment inquiry against President Richard Nixon had already started by that point. Grand jury material from special counsel Leon Jaworski, provided through the federal judge who presided over the Watergate trials, became the road map that the House committee used to vote for articles of impeachment. Nixon resigned before the full House acted on his impeachment.

Pelosi said recently that she's not for impeaching Trump, at least for now.

Associated Press writer Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

Source: NewsMax Politics

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

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

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


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