The Daily Astorian | http://www.dailyastorian.com The Daily Astorian Sun, 17 Dec 2017 22:37:41 -0500 en http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/staticimage/images/rss-logo.jpg The Daily Astorian | http://www.dailyastorian.com APNewsBreak: US soldier fought to end after ambush in Niger http://www.dailyastorian.com/apnewsbreak-us-soldier-fought-to-end-after-ambush-in-niger-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world285f70fdad5a41908636851b6d8ac7b2 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apnewsbreak-us-soldier-fought-to-end-after-ambush-in-niger-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world285f70fdad5a41908636851b6d8ac7b2#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 22:30:27 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179832 WASHINGTON (AP) — Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson died in a hail of gunfire, hit as many as 18 times as he took cover in thick brush, fighting to the end after fleeing militants who had just killed three comrades in an October ambush in Niger, The Associated Press has learned.

A military investigation has concluded that Johnson wasn't captured alive or killed at close range, dispelling a swirl of rumors about how he died.

The report has determined that Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida, was killed by enemy rifle and machine gun fire from members of an Islamic State offshoot, according to U.S. officials familiar with the findings. The Oct. 4 ambush took place about 120 miles (200 kilometers) north of Niamey, the African nation's capital. Johnson's body was recovered two days later.

U.S. officials familiar with the findings spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to describe details of an investigation that has not been finalized or publicly released.

A 12-member Army special forces unit was accompanying 30 Nigerien forces when they were attacked in a densely wooded area by as many as 50 militants traveling by vehicle and carrying small arms and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

Johnson was struck as many as 18 times from a distance by a volley of machine gun rounds, according to the U.S. officials, who said he was firing back as he and two Nigerien soldiers tried to escape.

All told, four U.S. soldiers and four Nigerien troops were killed in the ambush. Two U.S. and eight Nigerien troops were wounded.

The bodies of three U.S. Green Berets were located on the day of the attack, but not Johnson's remains. The gap in time led to questions about whether Johnson was killed in the assault and not found, or if he was taken away by the enemy.

According to the officials, a medical examination concluded that Johnson was hit by fire from M-4 rifles — probably stolen by the insurgents — and Soviet-made heavy machine guns. It is believed he died in the attack.

The officials said Johnson was found under thick scrub brush where he tried to take cover. There were no indications he was shot at close range, or had been bound or taken prisoner, as several media reports have suggested.

A U.S. Africa Command began its investigation with a team headed by Army Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier, the command's chief of staff. The team visited locations in Niger to collect evidence and information about the attack, and will soon submit a draft of Cloutier's report to Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, head of Africa Command. Waldhauser could ask for additional information. The final report is expected to be released next month.

The officials familiar with the report's conclusions said that during the attack, Johnson and two Nigerien soldiers tried to get to a vehicle to escape, but were unable to do so, became separated from the others and were shot as they were running for safety.

The report concluded that Johnson, who was athletic and a runner, was in the lead and got the farthest away, seeking cover in the brush. Officials said there were a number of enemy shells around Johnson, and evidence that he appeared to fight to the end. His boots and other equipment were later stolen, but he was still wearing his uniform.

As news of the ambush came out, the U.S. military sent in rescue teams to search for Johnson, not making his status public in the hope he might have gotten away and was still alive and hiding. The Pentagon only acknowledged that he was missing after his body was located two days later by local forces.

The Pentagon has declined to release details about the exact mission of the commando team. U.S. officials have previously said that the joint U.S.-Niger patrol had been asked to assist a second American commando team hunting for a senior Islamic State member, who also had former ties to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. The team had been asked to go to a location where the insurgent had last been seen, and collect intelligence.

After completing that mission, the troops stopped in a village for a short time to get food and water, then left. The U.S. military believes someone in the village may have tipped off attackers to the presence of U.S. commandoes and Nigerien forces in the area, setting in motion the ambush.

U.S. special operations forces have been routinely working with Niger's forces, helping them to improve their abilities to fight extremists in the region. That effort has increased in recent years, the Pentagon said.

The three other Americans killed were Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Puyallup, Washington; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Springboro, Ohio; and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Lyons, Georgia. Black and Wright were Army Special Forces. Johnson and Johnson were not commandos.

Johnson's combat death led to a political squabble between President Donald Trump and a Democratic congresswoman from Florida after Trump told Johnson's pregnant widow in a phone call that her husband "knew what he signed up for." Rep. Frederica Wilson was riding with Johnson's family to meet the body and heard the call on speakerphone. The spat grew to include Trump's chief of staff, who called Wilson an "empty barrel" making noise.

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Online:

Africa Command: http://www.africom.mil/

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The Latest: Trump says he isn't considering firing Mueller http://www.dailyastorian.com/the-latest-trump-says-he-isnt-considering-firing-mueller-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world574387d4495f4c74890e1b79088f08a4 http://www.dailyastorian.com/the-latest-trump-says-he-isnt-considering-firing-mueller-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world574387d4495f4c74890e1b79088f08a4#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 22:20:54 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179787 WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local):

5:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he isn't considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump returned to the White House from Camp David on Sunday and was asked if he was considering dismissing the man investigating whether there was collusion between the president's Republican presidential campaign and Russian officials.

He answered, "No, I'm not," and did not elaborate further.

The president did criticize the fact that Mueller had gained access to thousands of emails sent and received by Trump officials before the start of his administration.

He said it was "not looking good" and again stressed that there was "no collusion." Mueller's team received the emails from a federal agency and not the transition itself.

A spokesman for Mueller said the emails were obtained appropriately.

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Noon

President Donald Trump is poised to bask in the triumph of his first major legislative victory.

But his team on Sunday was again forced to grapple with the Russia probe that has shadowed the White House in Trump's initial year in office.

Republicans in Congress planned to muscle through tax cut legislation this week but Washington was equally fixated on speculation about the next steps from Trump and special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mueller is probing whether the president's campaign coordinated with Russia. The investigation has gained access to thousands of transition team emails, triggering protests from some Trump allies.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin fielded Russia questions before those on the tax cut in an interview on CNN's State of the Union. Mnuchin said he didn't believe Trump would fire Mueller.

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Facing misconduct investigation, Panthers owner selling team http://www.dailyastorian.com/facing-misconduct-investigation-panthers-owner-selling-team-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sportsd860ff429b7a420da582569c7482697f http://www.dailyastorian.com/facing-misconduct-investigation-panthers-owner-selling-team-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sportsd860ff429b7a420da582569c7482697f#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 22:10:26 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179846 CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Facing a growing investigation that accuses him of sexual misconduct and using racist language at work, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced Sunday that he will sell the NFL team after the season.

The team announced on Twitter that Richardson is selling the team, linking to a five-paragraph letter by the franchise's only owner.

"I believe it is time to turn the franchise over to new ownership," Richardson wrote, saying he wouldn't begin discussions until after the season. The Panthers, who lost in the Super Bowl two seasons ago, are in playoff position again.

"I hope everyone in the organization, both on and off the field, will be firmly focused on one mission: to play and win the Super Bowl," said Richardson, 81.

Richardson's letter did not directly address the investigation or allegations against him.

The NFL awarded Richardson, a former player with the Baltimore Colts, an expansion franchise in 1993, and he has been the team's only owner.

"There has been no greater mission or purpose in my life than to have brought and NFL franchise to Charlotte," Richardson wrote. "The obstacles back then were significant and some even questioned whether or community could or would support professional football. But I always knew that if given the chance the Carolina would rise to the occasion. And you have."

Richardson attended Sunday's win over the Green Bay Packers at Bank of America Stadium and was photographed sitting beside his wife Rosalind in his luxury box.

He did not speak to reporters.

The NFL had no comment on the upcoming sale of the Panthers.

"While I will no longer be the team owner, I will always be the Panthers Number One fan," Richardson's letter said.

The Panthers are tied to Charlotte through June 2019.

The city of Charlotte and the Panthers reached agreement on improvements for the team's stadium in 2013. The plan called for the city to contribute about $87 million for renovations to Bank of America Stadium in exchange for a six-year hard tether to keep the Panthers in Charlotte.

The money is less than what the team was seeking for improvements of the stadium, which opened in 1996. Forbes estimates the Panthers worth at $2.3 billion. The Buffalo Bills sold in 2014 for $1.4 billion following the death of owner Ralph Wilson.

Richardson and his ownership group paid $206 million in 1993 for an expansion team.

Richardson's announcement comes after a Sports Illustrated report Sunday that cited unnamed sources who said Richardson made sexually suggestive comments to women and on at least one occasion directed a racial slur at an African-American Panthers scout. The report states that the settlements came with non-disclosure requirements forbidding the parties from discussing the details.

The NFL on Sunday said it has taken over the investigation of allegations of workplace misconduct. Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond said Sunday the team requested the league take over the investigation for "transparency reasons."

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called the situation surrounding Richardson "very sad."

"I'm saddened by any of the stories of the things that might have incited this at this time," Jones said after Dallas' win at Oakland on Sunday night. "He took what he made in his short time in pro football and turned it into a great business and then used that to get the Carolina franchise."

The Panthers began play in 1995 but have never delivered on Richardson's promise of winning a Super Bowl. They lost after the 2003 and 2015 seasons.

Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney said he had never seen any evidence of Richardson displaying any sexual or racial misconduct in the workplace.

"If this (sale) happens I think it is a significant loss for the NFL," Hurney told The Associated Press. "I have the utmost respect for him as an owner. Our employees have the utmost respect for him. I came back because of the respect I have for him and for the organization he started and developed."

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said after Sunday's win over Green Bay that Richardson has served as a father figure to him since his arrival in Carolina seven years ago.

"For me I hope things don't alter my thinking of Mr. Richardson," Newton said. "But I do know that he has given me some things that I will forever be appreciative of."

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said after the game it is important to let the process play out.

"The only thing I can speak on is for what he has been to me as far as I'm concerned," Rivera said. "A lot of you know I had a house fire, and he was there for (my wife) Stephanie and I. He was tremendous in supporting us. My brother passed, and Mr. Richardson was there and helped me get to the funeral and back. I can't speak to anything other than that."

Richardson was hospitalized 2008, one month after receiving a pacemaker for heart problems. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2002 and was placed on a donor waiting list for a new heart. He received the new heart on Feb. 1, 2009, and has not had any known setbacks since.

It has been a wild year for the Panthers organization.

Team president Danny Morrison abruptly resigned in February. Richardson then fired general manager Dave Gettleman on the eve of training camp and replaced him with Hurney on an interim basis.

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For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Power fully restored at Atlanta's international airport http://www.dailyastorian.com/power-fully-restored-at-atlantas-international-airport-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world0d4ee37c6bc2454e9778a9b7e2478845 http://www.dailyastorian.com/power-fully-restored-at-atlantas-international-airport-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world0d4ee37c6bc2454e9778a9b7e2478845#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 22:20:40 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179798 ATLANTA (AP) — Minutes after its midnight deadline to get the electricity back on at the world's busiest airport, Georgia Power announced early Monday that power had been fully restored to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, where more than 1,000 flights were grounded just days before the start of the Christmas travel rush.

A sudden power outage caused by a fire in an underground electrical facility brought the airport to a standstill.

Georgia Power said on its Twitter page that "Power has been restored on all concourses. 5,000+ meals are being delivered to passengers. Trains will be operational soon."

Passengers at the airport were left in the dark when the lights went out at around 1 p.m. The outage halted all outgoing flights, and arriving planes were held on the ground at their point of departure. International flights were being diverted, officials said.

Mayor Kasim Reed tweeted Sunday night that all passengers had been safely deplaned.

The City of Atlanta said on its Twitter page that it would provide shuttle service to the Georgia Convention Center for travelers in need of a place to stay and Chick-fil-A would be provided.

Delta passenger Emilia Duca, 32, was on her way to Wisconsin from Bogota, Colombia, when she got stuck in Atlanta. She said police made passengers who were in the baggage-claim area move to a higher floor. She said restaurants and shops were closed. Vending machines weren't working.

"A lot of people are arriving, and no one is going out. No one is saying anything official. We are stuck here," she said. "It's a nightmare."

Adding to the nightmare are what some passengers said was a lack of information from airport officials and help from first responders to get the disabled and the elderly through the airport without the use of escalators and elevators.

"They had these elderly people, handicapped people lined up in wheelchairs, said stranded passenger Rutia Curry. "The people were helpless, they can't get down the stairs, it was just a nightmare."

Passenger James Beatty said there was no real method for evacuation.

"I mean there was 40 or 50 people per the terminal area that were confined to wheelchairs and some that couldn't get through the airport very well, some of them actually couldn't walk and there was no plan at all to get them out of here without any power."

Beatty said passengers carried those who used wheelchairs down stairs.

Delta, with its biggest hub operation in Atlanta, will be hardest hit. By evening, Delta had already cancelled almost 900 Sunday flights and another 300 on Monday, nearly all of them in Atlanta, according to tracking service FlightAware.com.

Delta customers flying to or from Atlanta can make a one-time change to travel plans without incurring a $200 change fee. The airline also encouraged travelers not to pick up their bags on Monday because of anticipated congestion at the airport.

Robert Mann, an aviation consultant and former American Airlines executive, said it likely will be Tuesday before Delta's operations in Atlanta return to normal, and for passengers "it could be most of the week" because there aren't many open seats on other flights in the last week before Christmas.

"Tomorrow is going to be a long and difficult day for everybody," Mann said.

One bit of good news, according to Mann: Delta has more spare planes and available crews in Atlanta than anywhere else, which will help it to recover.

Still, when flights at Atlanta were grounded for most of one day last spring, it took Delta five days — and about 4,000 cancelled flights — before it fully recovered.

Like Sunday's outage, that April storm hit Delta's largest hub at a busy travel time when there weren't many empty seats to accommodate customers from cancelled flights. At the time, CEO Ed Bastian vowed that Delta would make "significant improvements" to its system for scheduling and tracking aircraft crews to recover more quickly from disruptions.

Other airlines also canceled flights for the rest of Sunday. American Airlines canceled 24 departures and an equal number of arrivals, said spokesman Ross Feinstein. The airline also diverted three planes that were headed to Atlanta when the outage struck, sending them instead to Dallas, Nashville and back to Philadelphia.

The FAA said it would staff the airport control tower throughout the night so that it can handle flights once they resume. The FAA said the tower could operate normally but flights were affected because airport equipment in the terminals was not working.

According to a Georgia Power statement, a fire in an underground electrical facility may have been responsible for the outage. The cause of the fire was not known.

"No personnel or passengers were in danger at any time," the statement said.

No areas outside of the airport were affected by the power loss. The utility said that there are "many redundant systems in place" to ensure the power supply to the airport and that such outages at the airport "are very rare."

That wasn't enough to comfort Jeff Smith, 46, of Pittsburgh, who ended up stuck in a plane on the tarmac for three hours after it landed.

"This is the worst experience I've ever had at an airport," he said.

Sara Melillo, who was traveling to Pittsburgh from Kenya, where she lives with her husband, Greg Presto, to spend Christmas with his family were stuck on the tarmac for six hours. The couple had made stops in Nairobi and Amsterdam and landed shortly after the lights went out in Atlanta.

She said the pilot didn't have a lot of information for the travelers but the plane had air conditioning and attendants offered water and juice a few times. She described the Delta terminal as "big chaos" with not enough customer service for the hundreds of people trying to find a flight to their next destination and a place to sleep for the night.

With her new boarding pass handwritten and her bags still stuck on a plane, Melillo was hopeful that she and her husband would be able to get a flight in the morning to Pittsburgh, she said as she waited for an Uber to take them to a hotel.

Airport workers were distributing bottled water, and Dunkin' Donuts was giving out doughnuts.

Officer Lisa Bender of the Atlanta Police Department said officers were at the airport to help with crowd control and managing traffic around the airport.

At Southwest Airlines, about 70 Atlanta departures out of 120 scheduled for Sunday were cancelled, an airline spokesman said in an email. United Airlines and JetBlue Airways were among carriers reporting delays or cancellations.

Mozell Smith, 58, of Atlanta arrived at the airport hours after the electricity went off. He was headed to Las Vegas with a sister and a friend.

"This is terrible. I wish someone would've given us a heads-up before we got to the airport," he said. "I wish there would have been better communication."

American Airlines reported only a handful of diversions and cancellations because the carrier does not use Atlanta as a hub, airline spokeswoman Alexis Aran Coello.

Hartsfield-Jackson, which serves 104 million passengers a year, is the world's busiest airport, a distinction it has held since 1998.

The airport serves an average of 275,000 passengers daily, according to its website. Nearly 2,500 planes arrive and depart each day.

___

This story corrects Mozell Smith's age to 58.

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AP Airlines Writer David Koenig in Dallas, Texas, contributed to the story.

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The Latest: Electricity fully restored at Atlanta airport http://www.dailyastorian.com/the-latest-electricity-fully-restored-at-atlanta-airport-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world7ebc3dc45bff402d80903dd31ff87905 http://www.dailyastorian.com/the-latest-electricity-fully-restored-at-atlanta-airport-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world7ebc3dc45bff402d80903dd31ff87905#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 21:40:14 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179756 ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on the power outage at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (all times local):

12:30 a.m.

Officials say power has been fully restored at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The airport announced on its Twitter page minutes after its midnight deadline, "Power has been restored on all concourses. 5,000+ meals are being delivered to passengers. Trains will be operational soon."

The world's busiest airport lost power earlier in the day, halting all incoming and outgoing flights and leaving thousands stranded.

Georgia Power had said in a statement that a fire caused extensive damage in an underground electrical facility, impacting substations serving the airport. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

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11:40 p.m.

Officials say power has been restored to several areas at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Georgia Power announced on its Twitter page late Sunday night that electricity was back on in the airport's atrium and several concourses. The utility said it expected power to be fully restored by midnight.

The world's busiest airport lost power earlier in the day, halting all incoming and outgoing flights and leaving thousands stranded.

Georgia Power had said in a statement that a fire caused extensive damage in an underground electrical facility, impacting substations serving the airport. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

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10:50 p.m.

The City of Atlanta is providing a place to stay for passengers stranded by the power outage at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The city tweeted on Sunday night that it has mobilized the Georgia International Convention Center and will provide shuttle services for anyone in need of a place to stay. It also said that Chick-fil-A will be providing food for passengers.

The world's busiest airport lost power earlier in the day, halting all incoming and outgoing flights and leaving thousands stranded.

Georgia Power had said in a statement that a fire caused extensive damage in an underground electrical facility, impacting substations serving the airport. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

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10:30 p.m.

The mayor of Atlanta says all passengers have been safely deplaned at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Mayor Kasim Reed posted a message on his twitter account Sunday evening after the world's busiest airport lost power earlier in the day, halting all incoming and outgoing flights.

Georgia Power had said in a statement earlier in the day that a fire caused extensive damage in an underground electrical facility, impacting substations serving the airport. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

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7:45 p.m.

Officials say power has been restored to at least one concourse at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

On its Twitter page Sunday night the airport tweeted, "Power on Concourse F is back ON! We are working with great urgency w/ @GeorgiaPower to restore power throughout rest of airport."

Power had been out at the airport since about 1 p.m. All flights coming into and going out of the world's busiest airport were halted.

Georgia Power said in a statement Sunday that a fire caused extensive damage in an underground electrical facility, impacting substations serving the airport. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

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6:55 p.m.

Georgia Power says that it expects power to be restored at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport by midnight.

In a news release Sunday evening, the utility said the "the issue may have involved a fire which caused extensive damage in a Georgia Power underground electrical facility." The cause of the fire was not known, the statement says, but it impacted underground facilities and substations serving the airport.

Georgia Power spokeswoman Holly Crawford had said earlier that only the airport had been affected by the outage.

All incoming and outgoing flights at the airport have been halted since early Sunday afternoon.

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6:15 p.m.

Airports in Chicago are among those affected by a power outage at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Dozens of Atlanta flights to and from O'Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport were listed as cancelled heading into the evening.

Chicago and Atlanta are two of the busiest airports in the U.S.

Information posted on the website of the Chicago aviation department said 25 flights had been cancelled at O'Hare and 13 at Midway. It didn't say if all those flights were cancelled because of what's happening in Atlanta.

The aviation department also said average delays at both O'Hare and Midway were about 15 minutes — though it didn't say if there was a direct link to the problems in Atlanta and the delays in Chicago.

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2:30 p.m.

Authorities say a power outage at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport has caused flights to be suspended.

Airport spokesman Reese McCraine says the outage occurred early Sunday afternoon. He says all airport operations are being affected and that outgoing flights were halted.

McCraine says some incoming flights are being diverted to other airports in the region. He says the airport is working quickly to fix the issue.

McCraine says the cause of the outage is unknown. Georgia Power said it was working to find out the cause and restore electricity.

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Trump: I'm not considering firing special counsel Mueller http://www.dailyastorian.com/trump-im-not-considering-firing-special-counsel-mueller-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldac350adad03b4596a19f4714e35b6c8f http://www.dailyastorian.com/trump-im-not-considering-firing-special-counsel-mueller-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldac350adad03b4596a19f4714e35b6c8f#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 21:30:36 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179840 WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller even as his administration was again forced to grapple with the growing Russia probe that has shadowed the White House for much of his initial year in office.

Trump returned to the White House from Camp David and was asked if he was considering triggering the process to dismiss Mueller, who is investigating whether the president's Republican campaign coordinated with Russian officials during last year's election.

The president answered: "No, I'm not."

But he did add to the growing conservative criticism of Mueller's move to gain access to thousands of emails sent and received by Trump officials before the start of his administration, yielding attacks from transition lawyers and renewing chatter that Trump may act to end the investigation.

"It's not looking good. It's quite sad to see that. My people were very upset about it," Trump said. "I can't imagine there's anything on them, frankly. Because, as we said, there's no collusion. There's no collusion whatsoever."

On Saturday, the general counsel for the transition group sent a letter to two congressional committees arguing Mueller's investigators had improperly obtained thousands of transition records.

The investigators did not directly request the records from Trump's still-existing transition group, Trump for America, and instead obtained them from the General Services Administration, a separate federal agency that stored the material, according to the group's general counsel.

A spokesman for Mueller said the records were obtained appropriately.

"When we have obtained emails in the course of our ongoing criminal investigation, we have secured either the account owner's consent or appropriate criminal process," Peter Carr said.

But many Trump allies used the email issue as another cudgel with which to bash the probe's credibility. Members of the conservative media and some congressional Republicans have begun to systematically question Mueller's motives and credibility while the president himself called it a "disgrace" that some texts and emails from two FBI agents contained anti-Trump rhetoric. One of those agents was on Mueller's team and has been removed.

Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign aide, called the investigation an "attack on the presidency" and told CNN there are "more and more indications that the Mueller investigation is off the rails."

The talk of firing Mueller has set off alarm bells among many Democrats, who warn it could trigger a constitutional crisis.

Some Republicans also advised against the move, including Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who deemed the idea "a mistake."

The rumor mill overshadowed the Republican tax plan, which is set to be voted on this week. Although Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was doing a victory lap on the tax bill on the Sunday talk show circuit, he first had to field questions on CNN's "State of the Union" about whether believed Trump would trigger the process to fire Mueller.

"I don't have any reason to think that the president is going to do that, but that's obviously up to him," said Mnuchin.

Mnuchin added, "We have got to get past this investigation. It's a giant distraction." But he declined to elaborate on how he would want it to end. Marc Short, the White House director of legislative affairs, was also peppered with questions about Mueller's fate during his own appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" and again urged a quick end to the investigation but insisted that Trump has not discussed firing Mueller.

"There's no conversation about that whatsoever in the White House," Short said.

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Associated Press writer Hope Yen contributed to this report.

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Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire

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The Latest: Cowboys edge Raiders by slimmest of margins http://www.dailyastorian.com/the-latest-cowboys-edge-raiders-by-slimmest-of-margins-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports841dda93eeea49e58207a2ba12485b34 http://www.dailyastorian.com/the-latest-cowboys-edge-raiders-by-slimmest-of-margins-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports841dda93eeea49e58207a2ba12485b34#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 21:51:45 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179820 The Latest on the NFL's 15th Sunday of the regular season (all times Eastern):

11:55 p.m.

Dallas kept its playoff hopes alive by the slimmest of margins after Dak Prescott converted a fourth-down sneak by the width of an index card in a 20-17 win over the Oakland Raiders.

The fourth-down conversion set up Dan Bailey's go-ahead 19-yard field goal. Dallas then held on when Derek Carr fumbled the ball inches from the goal line, giving the Cowboys a game-clinching touchback with 31 seconds left.

On Prescott's fourth-down sneak, referee Gene Steratore called for the chains to come out, but even that wasn't enough. He then tried to slide what appeared to be an index card between the tip of the ball and the end of the chain. When the card didn't slide through, Steratore gave Dallas (8-6) a first down.

The Raiders fell to 6-8, all but ending their playoff hopes.

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8:30 p.m.

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem before Sunday night's game against the Dallas Cowboys, as he has done routinely this season.

That brought to 18 the number of NFL players The Associated Press observed protesting during the anthem this week. The players who protested Sunday have been doing so for most of the season.

Ten Seattle Seahawks players either knelt or sat for "The Star-Spangled Banner." Three San Francisco 49ers also knelt ahead of their home game with Tennessee.

Three players protested during early games.

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting and later kneeling during the national anthem last season to protest racial injustice.

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7:23 p.m.

New England rallied to beat Pittsburgh 27-24 on the road in a thrilling matchup of the AFC's top two teams, while the Los Angeles Rams throttled Seattle 42-7 to take control of the NFC West.

Tom Brady drove the Patriots 77 yards in just five plays, and Dion Lewis scored from eight yards out to put New England ahead with just 56 seconds left. The Steelers reached the Patriots 7-yard line before Duron Harmon's interception sealed the win for New England .

The Patriots can now clinch home-field advantage by winning their last two games.

The Rams had much less drama with Seattle, racing out to a 34-0 halftime lead and cruising to a five-touchdown win.

___

6:02 p.m.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have to protect their lead over the New England Patriots without wide receiver Antonio Brown.

The NFL's leading receiver left in the second quarter with a left calf injury. The team says Brown was taken to the hospital for further evaluation and will not return.

Roethlisberger threw touchdown passes to Eli Rogers and Martavis Bryant as the Steelers took their first lead over the Patriots since 2011.

Pittsburgh held the ball for nearly 20 minutes in the first half, keeping Tom Brady and the New England offense on the sideline for long stretches.

—Will Graves reporting from Pittsburgh

___

5:40 p.m.

The Los Angeles Rams are dethroning the Seattle Seahawks from the top of the NFC West in emphatic fashion.

The Rams lead 34-0 at halftime after a thoroughly dominating the Seahawks in the first half. Todd Gurley has rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, including a 57-yard run on third-and-20 in the final minute of the first half as scored completely untouched .

The Seahawks left the field at halftime to the sound of boos after the ugliest first half in Pete Carroll's tenure.

The 34 points were the most allowed in a first half by a Carroll-coached Seattle team. It's also the biggest home deficit for the Seahawks since Carroll's first season in 2010, when they trailed the Giants 35-0 at halftime on their way to a 41-7 loss.

The Rams can't clinch the division with a victory. But they would have a two-game lead with two games remaining.

— Tim Booth reporting from Seattle.

___

5:25 p.m.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have to find out what they can do without wide receiver Antonio Brown.

The NFL's leading receiver left their showdown with New England in the second quarter with a left leg injury. Brown was attempting to haul in a pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the end zone when the leg got caught between two New England defenders. Brown didn't put any weight on the leg leaving the field and went to the locker room for further evaluation with the game tied at 10-all.

—Will Graves reporting from Pittsburgh

___

4:40 p.m.

Nick Foles threw for four touchdowns to help the Eagles beat the Giants 34-29 and remain one game ahead of the Vikings, who throttled Cincinnati 34-7 to win the NFC North, in the battle for home-field advantage.

Cam Newton threw four TD passes and Carolina beat Green Bay 31-24 in Aaron Rodgers' return. Rodgers had three touchdown passes but three interceptions.

The Saints held off the Jets 31-19 to keep pace with the Panthers in the NFC South.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are returning to the playoffs for the first time in a decade thanks to a 45-7 drubbing of rival Houston.

The Redskins, Bills and Ravens also won on Sunday. Baltimore beat Cleveland 27-10, leaving the woeful Browns just two losses away from a 0-16 season.

___

4:30 p.m.

Ten Seattle Seahawks players knelt or sat for the national anthem before their home game against the Rams, among 17 players protesting this week.

Defensive players Michael Bennett, Dion Jordan, Sheldon Richardson, Marcus Smith, Quinton Jefferson, Jarran Reed, Frank Clark, Paul Dawson and Branden Jackson sat during the anthem, while offensive tackle Duane Brown knelt. No Rams players sat or knelt, but defensive end Robert Quinn had his fist raised during the anthem.

San Francisco safety Eric Reid, linebacker Eli Harold and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin knelt for the anthem ahead of their home game with Tennessee.

Three players protested during the early games.

— Tim Booth reporting from Seattle and Janie McCauley reporting from Santa Clara, California

___

3:35 p.m.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has taken the field in a game for the first time in nearly 16 months.

With the Vikings leading the Cincinnati Bengals 34-0, Bridgewater replaced Case Keenum and drew a loud roar from the home crowd. Bridgewater dislocated his left knee in practice on Aug. 30, 2016, less than two weeks before the regular season. He returned to the active roster on Nov. 8 as Keenum's backup.

The last time Bridgewater appeared in a non-exhibition game was Jan. 10, 2016, when the Vikings lost 10-9 to the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs.

— Dave Campbell reporting from Minneapolis

___

3:17 p.m.

The Packers have announced that wide receiver Davante Adams has a concussion and will not return to Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.

Adams took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis on an interception return by Colin Jones. As Adams was running to make the tackle on Jones, Davis hit Adams with a peel-back block, immediately sending the wide receiver to the ground.

Davis was flagged for a 15-yard penalty.

Davis immediately appeared to know what he had done wrong, cupping his head in hands as he sat on the Panthers bench.

Adams finished with five catches for 57 yards and a touchdown.

—Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, North Carolina

___

2:45 p.m.

The Minnesota Vikings are cruising toward their second NFC North title in three years.

They're leading the Cincinnati Bengals 24-0 at halftime, needing a win to clinch the division crown. The Vikings have allowed only one first down and 42 total yards to the Bengals.

Cincinnati began the game missing five starters on defense to injuries. They lost a sixth when free safety George Iloka hurt his shoulder in the first quarter.

As if the game wasn't bad enough, the Bengals are also dealing Sunday with reports that coach Marvin Lewis intends to leave the team after his contract expires following the season.

— Dave Campbell reporting from Minneapolis

___

2:30 p.m.

Aaron Rodgers isn't showing any lingering effects from a broken collarbone.

The Packers quarterback is 10 of 17 passing for 128 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the first half as Green Bay leads the Panthers 14-10. Green Bay (7-6) is looking to keep its playoff hopes alive with Rodgers playing in his first game since Oct. 15.

Along with displaying strong velocity on his throws , Rodgers has scrambled three times for 16 yards, twice sliding to avoid contact. Green Bay's offensive line is doing its part to protect Rodgers, who hasn't been sacked.

— Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, North Carolina

___

2:18 p.m.

The NFL and the Carolina Panthers have declined comment on a report that at least four former team employees received monetary settlements due to inappropriate workplace comments and conduct by owner Jerry Richardson.


Sports Illustrated reported that Richardson made sexually suggestive comments to women and on at least one occasion directed a racial slur at an African-American Panthers scout. The report states that the settlements came with non-disclosure requirements forbidding the parties from discussing the details.

The NFL on Sunday said it has taken over the investigation of allegations of workplace misconduct by the 81-year-old owner. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league had no comment on the report.

Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond said that the team requested that the league take over the investigation.

— Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, North Carolina

2:00 p.m.

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy has become the NFL's 30th player to surpass 10,000 yards rushing.

The ninth-year player, who entered the game against the Dolphins with 9,961 yards rushing, topped the milestone with a 14-yard gain in the second quarter. McCoy burst through a hole off right guard but was shaken up after a tackle by linebacker Kiko Alonso.

McCoy lay on the field for a few minutes before getting up on his own, and he returned after sitting out one play. McCoy scored his 80th career touchdown with a 4-yard run on Buffalo's opening drive.

— John Wawrow reporting from Orchard Park, New York

___

1:42 p.m.

Just three NFL players protested visibly during the national anthem at early games.

Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon was the only player to kneel during the "The Star-Spangled Banner" before New York hosted Philadelphia, and Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills and tight end Julius Thomas took a knee prior to Miami's game at Buffalo , according to the Miami Herald. All three have been protesting most of the season.

Roughly a couple dozen Saints, as they have since Week 4, knelt before the national anthem and then stood up as the song started prior to their home game against the Jets.

No players from the Saints or Jets knelt during the anthem.

___

1:41 p.m.

Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee is questionable to return with an ankle injury.

Lee rolled his right ankle on a running play in the first quarter against Houston and had to be helped off the field and to the locker room.

Lee leads the Jaguars with 56 catches for 702 yards and three touchdowns.

His injury is the latest to Jacksonville's receiving corps. Allen Robinson was lost for the season in the opener, and Allen Hurns has missed five consecutive games with a high-ankle sprain.

___

12:30 p.m.

The Packers likely need to win their last three games to reach the playoffs, and they hope the return of Aaron Rodgers will help against the Panthers.

Green Bay (7-6) is at Carolina (9-4) in one of the biggest games of the NFL's Week 15. The Panthers are tied atop the NFC South with the Saints (9-4), who host the Jets.

Philadelphia (11-2), with Nick Foles replacing the injured Carson Wentz, has clinched the NFC East and can secure home-field with a win against the Giants and a Minnesota loss.

The Vikings (10-3) can lock up the NFC North by beating the Bengals.

Jacksonville (9-4) will earn a playoff spot with a win over the Texans, while the Bills (7-6) host Miami.

___

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

             ]]>
The Latest: Cowboys edge Raiders by slimmest of margins http://www.dailyastorian.com/the-latest-cowboys-edge-raiders-by-slimmest-of-margins-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world841dda93eeea49e58207a2ba12485b34 http://www.dailyastorian.com/the-latest-cowboys-edge-raiders-by-slimmest-of-margins-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world841dda93eeea49e58207a2ba12485b34#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 21:10:30 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179824 The Latest on the NFL's 15th Sunday of the regular season (all times Eastern):

11:55 p.m.

Dallas kept its playoff hopes alive by the slimmest of margins after Dak Prescott converted a fourth-down sneak by the width of an index card in a 20-17 win over the Oakland Raiders.

The fourth-down conversion set up Dan Bailey's go-ahead 19-yard field goal. Dallas then held on when Derek Carr fumbled the ball inches from the goal line, giving the Cowboys a game-clinching touchback with 31 seconds left.

On Prescott's fourth-down sneak, referee Gene Steratore called for the chains to come out, but even that wasn't enough. He then tried to slide what appeared to be an index card between the tip of the ball and the end of the chain. When the card didn't slide through, Steratore gave Dallas (8-6) a first down.

The Raiders fell to 6-8, all but ending their playoff hopes.

___

8:30 p.m.

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat during the national anthem before Sunday night's game against the Dallas Cowboys, as he has done routinely this season.

That brought to 18 the number of NFL players The Associated Press observed protesting during the anthem this week. The players who protested Sunday have been doing so for most of the season.

Ten Seattle Seahawks players either knelt or sat for "The Star-Spangled Banner." Three San Francisco 49ers also knelt ahead of their home game with Tennessee.

Three players protested during early games.

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began sitting and later kneeling during the national anthem last season to protest racial injustice.

___

7:23 p.m.

New England rallied to beat Pittsburgh 27-24 on the road in a thrilling matchup of the AFC's top two teams, while the Los Angeles Rams throttled Seattle 42-7 to take control of the NFC West.

Tom Brady drove the Patriots 77 yards in just five plays, and Dion Lewis scored from eight yards out to put New England ahead with just 56 seconds left. The Steelers reached the Patriots 7-yard line before Duron Harmon's interception sealed the win for New England .

The Patriots can now clinch home-field advantage by winning their last two games.

The Rams had much less drama with Seattle, racing out to a 34-0 halftime lead and cruising to a five-touchdown win.

___

6:02 p.m.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have to protect their lead over the New England Patriots without wide receiver Antonio Brown.

The NFL's leading receiver left in the second quarter with a left calf injury. The team says Brown was taken to the hospital for further evaluation and will not return.

Roethlisberger threw touchdown passes to Eli Rogers and Martavis Bryant as the Steelers took their first lead over the Patriots since 2011.

Pittsburgh held the ball for nearly 20 minutes in the first half, keeping Tom Brady and the New England offense on the sideline for long stretches.

—Will Graves reporting from Pittsburgh

___

5:40 p.m.

The Los Angeles Rams are dethroning the Seattle Seahawks from the top of the NFC West in emphatic fashion.

The Rams lead 34-0 at halftime after a thoroughly dominating the Seahawks in the first half. Todd Gurley has rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, including a 57-yard run on third-and-20 in the final minute of the first half as scored completely untouched .

The Seahawks left the field at halftime to the sound of boos after the ugliest first half in Pete Carroll's tenure.

The 34 points were the most allowed in a first half by a Carroll-coached Seattle team. It's also the biggest home deficit for the Seahawks since Carroll's first season in 2010, when they trailed the Giants 35-0 at halftime on their way to a 41-7 loss.

The Rams can't clinch the division with a victory. But they would have a two-game lead with two games remaining.

— Tim Booth reporting from Seattle.

___

5:25 p.m.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have to find out what they can do without wide receiver Antonio Brown.

The NFL's leading receiver left their showdown with New England in the second quarter with a left leg injury. Brown was attempting to haul in a pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the end zone when the leg got caught between two New England defenders. Brown didn't put any weight on the leg leaving the field and went to the locker room for further evaluation with the game tied at 10-all.

—Will Graves reporting from Pittsburgh

___

4:40 p.m.

Nick Foles threw for four touchdowns to help the Eagles beat the Giants 34-29 and remain one game ahead of the Vikings, who throttled Cincinnati 34-7 to win the NFC North, in the battle for home-field advantage.

Cam Newton threw four TD passes and Carolina beat Green Bay 31-24 in Aaron Rodgers' return. Rodgers had three touchdown passes but three interceptions.

The Saints held off the Jets 31-19 to keep pace with the Panthers in the NFC South.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are returning to the playoffs for the first time in a decade thanks to a 45-7 drubbing of rival Houston.

The Redskins, Bills and Ravens also won on Sunday. Baltimore beat Cleveland 27-10, leaving the woeful Browns just two losses away from a 0-16 season.

___

4:30 p.m.

Ten Seattle Seahawks players knelt or sat for the national anthem before their home game against the Rams, among 17 players protesting this week.

Defensive players Michael Bennett, Dion Jordan, Sheldon Richardson, Marcus Smith, Quinton Jefferson, Jarran Reed, Frank Clark, Paul Dawson and Branden Jackson sat during the anthem, while offensive tackle Duane Brown knelt. No Rams players sat or knelt, but defensive end Robert Quinn had his fist raised during the anthem.

San Francisco safety Eric Reid, linebacker Eli Harold and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin knelt for the anthem ahead of their home game with Tennessee.

Three players protested during the early games.

— Tim Booth reporting from Seattle and Janie McCauley reporting from Santa Clara, California

___

3:35 p.m.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has taken the field in a game for the first time in nearly 16 months.

With the Vikings leading the Cincinnati Bengals 34-0, Bridgewater replaced Case Keenum and drew a loud roar from the home crowd. Bridgewater dislocated his left knee in practice on Aug. 30, 2016, less than two weeks before the regular season. He returned to the active roster on Nov. 8 as Keenum's backup.

The last time Bridgewater appeared in a non-exhibition game was Jan. 10, 2016, when the Vikings lost 10-9 to the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs.

— Dave Campbell reporting from Minneapolis

___

3:17 p.m.

The Packers have announced that wide receiver Davante Adams has a concussion and will not return to Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.

Adams took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis on an interception return by Colin Jones. As Adams was running to make the tackle on Jones, Davis hit Adams with a peel-back block, immediately sending the wide receiver to the ground.

Davis was flagged for a 15-yard penalty.

Davis immediately appeared to know what he had done wrong, cupping his head in hands as he sat on the Panthers bench.

Adams finished with five catches for 57 yards and a touchdown.

—Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, North Carolina

___

2:45 p.m.

The Minnesota Vikings are cruising toward their second NFC North title in three years.

They're leading the Cincinnati Bengals 24-0 at halftime, needing a win to clinch the division crown. The Vikings have allowed only one first down and 42 total yards to the Bengals.

Cincinnati began the game missing five starters on defense to injuries. They lost a sixth when free safety George Iloka hurt his shoulder in the first quarter.

As if the game wasn't bad enough, the Bengals are also dealing Sunday with reports that coach Marvin Lewis intends to leave the team after his contract expires following the season.

— Dave Campbell reporting from Minneapolis

___

2:30 p.m.

Aaron Rodgers isn't showing any lingering effects from a broken collarbone.

The Packers quarterback is 10 of 17 passing for 128 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the first half as Green Bay leads the Panthers 14-10. Green Bay (7-6) is looking to keep its playoff hopes alive with Rodgers playing in his first game since Oct. 15.

Along with displaying strong velocity on his throws , Rodgers has scrambled three times for 16 yards, twice sliding to avoid contact. Green Bay's offensive line is doing its part to protect Rodgers, who hasn't been sacked.

— Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, North Carolina

___

2:18 p.m.

The NFL and the Carolina Panthers have declined comment on a report that at least four former team employees received monetary settlements due to inappropriate workplace comments and conduct by owner Jerry Richardson.


Sports Illustrated reported that Richardson made sexually suggestive comments to women and on at least one occasion directed a racial slur at an African-American Panthers scout. The report states that the settlements came with non-disclosure requirements forbidding the parties from discussing the details.

The NFL on Sunday said it has taken over the investigation of allegations of workplace misconduct by the 81-year-old owner. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league had no comment on the report.

Panthers spokesman Steven Drummond said that the team requested that the league take over the investigation.

— Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, North Carolina

2:00 p.m.

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy has become the NFL's 30th player to surpass 10,000 yards rushing.

The ninth-year player, who entered the game against the Dolphins with 9,961 yards rushing, topped the milestone with a 14-yard gain in the second quarter. McCoy burst through a hole off right guard but was shaken up after a tackle by linebacker Kiko Alonso.

McCoy lay on the field for a few minutes before getting up on his own, and he returned after sitting out one play. McCoy scored his 80th career touchdown with a 4-yard run on Buffalo's opening drive.

— John Wawrow reporting from Orchard Park, New York

___

1:42 p.m.

Just three NFL players protested visibly during the national anthem at early games.

Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon was the only player to kneel during the "The Star-Spangled Banner" before New York hosted Philadelphia, and Miami Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills and tight end Julius Thomas took a knee prior to Miami's game at Buffalo , according to the Miami Herald. All three have been protesting most of the season.

Roughly a couple dozen Saints, as they have since Week 4, knelt before the national anthem and then stood up as the song started prior to their home game against the Jets.

No players from the Saints or Jets knelt during the anthem.

___

1:41 p.m.

Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee is questionable to return with an ankle injury.

Lee rolled his right ankle on a running play in the first quarter against Houston and had to be helped off the field and to the locker room.

Lee leads the Jaguars with 56 catches for 702 yards and three touchdowns.

His injury is the latest to Jacksonville's receiving corps. Allen Robinson was lost for the season in the opener, and Allen Hurns has missed five consecutive games with a high-ankle sprain.

___

12:30 p.m.

The Packers likely need to win their last three games to reach the playoffs, and they hope the return of Aaron Rodgers will help against the Panthers.

Green Bay (7-6) is at Carolina (9-4) in one of the biggest games of the NFL's Week 15. The Panthers are tied atop the NFC South with the Saints (9-4), who host the Jets.

Philadelphia (11-2), with Nick Foles replacing the injured Carson Wentz, has clinched the NFC East and can secure home-field with a win against the Giants and a Minnesota loss.

The Vikings (10-3) can lock up the NFC North by beating the Bengals.

Jacksonville (9-4) will earn a playoff spot with a win over the Texans, while the Bills (7-6) host Miami.

___

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

             ]]>
Gov. says senator should resign over misconduct allegations http://www.dailyastorian.com/gov-says-senator-should-resign-over-misconduct-allegations-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world13c0ee3f70b5491a9a5bed3da4b5177b http://www.dailyastorian.com/gov-says-senator-should-resign-over-misconduct-allegations-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world13c0ee3f70b5491a9a5bed3da4b5177b#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 20:00:11 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179758 PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pennsylvania's governor said Sunday a state senator should resign over published allegations he behaved inappropriately toward women.

Gov. Tom Wolf's call for Sen. Daylin Leach to quit followed a story quoting former campaign and legislative staffers and advisers who accused Leach, 56, of behavior ranging from highly sexualized jokes and comments to touching they considered inappropriate.

Wolf called Leach "a leader on important policy issues" but said "this conduct cannot be excused."

Leach, a legislator since 2003, is seeking the Democratic nomination next year for Congress in the Philadelphia suburbs.

In a statement, Leach blamed the accusations on an unnamed political opponent and denied ever inappropriately touching women.

"I have brief discussions in public places literally dozens of times a day and of these incidents, I remember one not at all, and one only vaguely," Leach said. "But they both allegedly occurred in crowded rooms with lots of people and cameras around. I was never alone with the women involved. And I never, in any way, intentionally or unintentionally, touched them inappropriately. It did not happen."

Aubrey Montgomery, a former finance director for Leach's 2008 state senate campaign, told the paper she complained to Leach about a sexualized tone in the office that offended her.

"When I expressed my discomfort, Daylin suggested I just didn't get the joke, labeled me a prude and characterized me to my colleagues as the campaign's wet blanket," she said. "The more uncomfortable Daylin made me, the more he would dial up the intensity. The more I expressed my discomfort at his sexual and off-color humor, the funnier it was to him."

Montgomery has worked for a man running against Leach in the Democratic primary next year, Dan Muroff.

Wolf said the state lacks an "adequate structure for victims to report this type of behavior" and called on leaders from both parties in Harrisburg to "commit to real reform that protects victims."

The paper said none of the women who say they saw or heard questionable conduct by Leach said they had been assaulted, denied a promotion or had their careers threatened.

Leach's attorney, George Bochetto, said in a statement Sunday night the senator "is very hopeful to continue with all of his hard work for his constituents and plans to also continue with his congressional campaign."

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Flames threaten coastal communities as firefighters mourn http://www.dailyastorian.com/flames-threaten-coastal-communities-as-firefighters-mourn-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentfe611090bba7446394a1cc5916215d20 http://www.dailyastorian.com/flames-threaten-coastal-communities-as-firefighters-mourn-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentfe611090bba7446394a1cc5916215d20#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 19:00:20 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312169815 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thousands of firefighters tried Sunday to shield coastal communities from one of the biggest wildfires in California history while a funeral procession rolled past burn-scarred hillsides in honor of one of their colleagues who was killed battling the flames.

Crews cleared brush and dug containment lines above hillside neighborhoods in Santa Barbara County, taking advantage of slightly calmer winds a day after gusts fanned a flare-up that prompted more evacuations.

"Everything's holding really well," fire information officer Lisa Cox said. "Thousands of homes have been saved."

While gusts had eased somewhat, even lower intensity winds were still dangerous, she warned. The fire northwest of Los Angeles was 45 percent contained.

Television news footage showed at least one structure burned on property in the wealthy enclave of Montecito, and authorities said damage assessments could take days.

Mourners stood on freeway overpasses to pay respects to firefighter Cory Iverson, 32, who died Thursday of burns and smoke inhalation. His funeral procession was scheduled to wind through five Southern California counties before ending up at a funeral home in San Diego, where he was based with a state fire engine strike team. He is survived by his pregnant wife and a 2-year-old daughter.

The blaze is also blamed for the Dec. 6 death of a 70-year-old woman who died in a car crash on an evacuation route.

The fire that started nearly two weeks ago has burned more than 1,000 structures, including at least 750 homes. Some 18,000 more homes are still threatened.

Some evacuation orders were lifted to the east in Ventura County, where the blaze erupted, and officials reported making progress protecting the inland agricultural city of Fillmore.

Jim Holden returned to his neighborhood in the city of Ventura to find his home still standing amid widespread destruction. He told KABC-TV that at the height of the inferno, when it appeared his house would be lost, firefighters risked their own safety to retrieve his belongings.

"They broke in and they saved my family photos," Holden said, wiping away tears.

Mike and Dana Stoneking lost their Ventura home while many of their neighbors' properties were spared. The Stonekings planned to rebuild and found some solace after retrieving Mike's wedding ring from the ashes.

The 422-square-mile (1,093-sq. kilometer) blaze called the Thomas Fire crested a peak just north of Montecito, where evacuation orders remained in effect. Known for its star power, the enclave includes the mansions of Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and many other celebrities.

"Still praying for our little town," Winfrey tweeted. It was not clear if the former talk show host was in Montecito.

A portion of the city of Santa Barbara was also evacuated as a thick plume of smoke blew through city streets. At the city's zoo, workers put some animals into crates and kennels to ready them for possible evacuation.

While crews on the fire lines got a break from slightly calmer winds, much of the rest of Southern California was buffeted by powerful gusts that once again increased the wildfire risk across the region. The National Weather Service forecast red flag conditions for extreme fire danger through Sunday evening for Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Trees came down after wind gusts topped 70 mph (113 kph) in mountain areas and 50 mph (80 kph) along the coast.

Everything about the fire has been massive, from the sheer scale of destruction that destroyed entire neighborhoods to the legions of people attacking it. About 8,300 firefighters from nearly a dozen states battled the third largest wildfire in state history, aided by 78 bulldozers and 29 helicopters.

The cause remains under investigation. So far, firefighting costs have surpassed $117 million.

___

Follow Weber at https://twitter.com/WeberCM .

        ]]>
Flames threaten coastal communities as firefighters mourn http://www.dailyastorian.com/flames-threaten-coastal-communities-as-firefighters-mourn-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldfe611090bba7446394a1cc5916215d20 http://www.dailyastorian.com/flames-threaten-coastal-communities-as-firefighters-mourn-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldfe611090bba7446394a1cc5916215d20#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 19:10:36 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312169916 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thousands of firefighters tried Sunday to shield coastal communities from one of the biggest wildfires in California history while a funeral procession rolled past burn-scarred hillsides in honor of one of their colleagues who was killed battling the flames.

Crews cleared brush and dug containment lines above hillside neighborhoods in Santa Barbara County, taking advantage of slightly calmer winds a day after gusts fanned a flare-up that prompted more evacuations.

"Everything's holding really well," fire information officer Lisa Cox said. "Thousands of homes have been saved."

While gusts had eased somewhat, even lower intensity winds were still dangerous, she warned. The fire northwest of Los Angeles was 45 percent contained.

Television news footage showed at least one structure burned on property in the wealthy enclave of Montecito, and authorities said damage assessments could take days.

Mourners stood on freeway overpasses to pay respects to firefighter Cory Iverson, 32, who died Thursday of burns and smoke inhalation. His funeral procession was scheduled to wind through five Southern California counties before ending up at a funeral home in San Diego, where he was based with a state fire engine strike team. He is survived by his pregnant wife and a 2-year-old daughter.

The blaze is also blamed for the Dec. 6 death of a 70-year-old woman who died in a car crash on an evacuation route.

The fire that started nearly two weeks ago has burned more than 1,000 structures, including at least 750 homes. Some 18,000 more homes are still threatened.

Some evacuation orders were lifted to the east in Ventura County, where the blaze erupted, and officials reported making progress protecting the inland agricultural city of Fillmore.

Jim Holden returned to his neighborhood in the city of Ventura to find his home still standing amid widespread destruction. He told KABC-TV that at the height of the inferno, when it appeared his house would be lost, firefighters risked their own safety to retrieve his belongings.

"They broke in and they saved my family photos," Holden said, wiping away tears.

Mike and Dana Stoneking lost their Ventura home while many of their neighbors' properties were spared. The Stonekings planned to rebuild and found some solace after retrieving Mike's wedding ring from the ashes.

The 422-square-mile (1,093-sq. kilometer) blaze called the Thomas Fire crested a peak just north of Montecito, where evacuation orders remained in effect. Known for its star power, the enclave includes the mansions of Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and many other celebrities.

"Still praying for our little town," Winfrey tweeted. It was not clear if the former talk show host was in Montecito.

A portion of the city of Santa Barbara was also evacuated as a thick plume of smoke blew through city streets. At the city's zoo, workers put some animals into crates and kennels to ready them for possible evacuation.

While crews on the fire lines got a break from slightly calmer winds, much of the rest of Southern California was buffeted by powerful gusts that once again increased the wildfire risk across the region. The National Weather Service forecast red flag conditions for extreme fire danger through Sunday evening for Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Trees came down after wind gusts topped 70 mph (113 kph) in mountain areas and 50 mph (80 kph) along the coast.

Everything about the fire has been massive, from the sheer scale of destruction that destroyed entire neighborhoods to the legions of people attacking it. About 8,300 firefighters from nearly a dozen states battled the third largest wildfire in state history, aided by 78 bulldozers and 29 helicopters.

The cause remains under investigation. So far, firefighting costs have surpassed $117 million.

___

Follow Weber at https://twitter.com/WeberCM .

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Putin thanks Trump for CIA tip he says stopped bomb plot http://www.dailyastorian.com/putin-thanks-trump-for-cia-tip-he-says-stopped-bomb-plot-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world0531697a83504a3fbc907294551972ba http://www.dailyastorian.com/putin-thanks-trump-for-cia-tip-he-says-stopped-bomb-plot-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world0531697a83504a3fbc907294551972ba#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 18:50:37 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179844 MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin telephoned U.S. President Donald Trump Sunday to thank him for a CIA tip that helped thwart a series of bombings in St. Petersburg, the Kremlin and the White House said.

During the call, the two leaders' second in three days, Putin expressed gratitude for the CIA information. The Kremlin said it led Russia's top domestic security agency to a group of suspects that planned to bomb St. Petersburg's Kazan Cathedral and other crowded sites this weekend.

"The information received from the CIA proved sufficient to find and detain the criminal suspects," the Kremlin said.

The White House said in its readout of the conversation that "based on the information the United States provided, Russian authorities were able to capture the terrorists just prior to an attack that could have killed large numbers of people."

The White House added that Putin extended his thanks and congratulations to CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the entire agency. Trump then called Pompeo "to congratulate him, his very talented people, and the entire intelligence community on a job well done!"

"President Trump appreciated the call and told President Putin that he and the entire United States intelligence community were pleased to have helped save so many lives," the White House said in its statement. "President Trump stressed the importance of intelligence cooperation to defeat terrorists wherever they may be. Both leaders agreed that this serves as an example of the positive things that can occur when our countries work together."

The Kremlin said Putin assured Trump that "if the Russian intelligence agencies receive information about potential terror threats against the United States and its citizens, they will immediately hand it over to their U.S. counterparts via their communications channels."

The CIA's tip to Russia comes even as Russia-U.S. ties have plunged to their lowest level since the Cold War era — first over Russia's annexation of Crimea and support for pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine, more recently over allegations that Moscow interfered in the U.S. presidential election to help Trump.

While Russian officials have said the two countries were continuing to exchange some terror-related intelligence, Sunday's statement from the Kremlin was Russia's first public assertion that information from the United States helped prevent an attack.

The conversation was the second between the Russian and U.S. presidents since Thursday, when Trump thanked Putin for his remarks "acknowledging America's strong economic performance," according to the White House.

During the first call, they also discussed during ways to work together to address North Korea's nuclear and ballistic weapons program, the White House said.

The Federal Security Service, or FSB, announced Friday that seven suspected followers of the Islamic State group had been arrested for allegedly planning to carry out terror attacks in St. Petersburg this weekend.

The agency said the suspects were plotting a suicide bombing in a church and a series of other explosions in the city's busiest areas this coming weekend on IS orders. It said a search of a St. Petersburg apartment found explosives, automatic weapons and extremist literature.

Russian news reports said that Kazan Cathedral, a landmark 19th century Russian Orthodox church on St. Petersburg's central Nevsky Prospect, was the prime target.

If the suspects succeeded in bombing the cathedral, it would have been the first major attack on a Russian Orthodox Church by Islamic terrorists, who have blown up apartment buildings, passenger planes and transport facilities in Russia.

In April, a suicide bombing in the St. Petersburg's subway left 16 dead and wounded more than 50.

Russian TV stations have aired footage daily since Friday of the suspects in the foiled attacks being apprehended and questioned. One segment showed FSB operatives outside a St. Petersburg apartment building detaining a suspect, who appeared later saying he was told to prepare homemade bombs rigged with shrapnel.

"My job was to make explosives, put it in bottles and attach pieces of shrapnel," the suspect, identified by Russian media as 18-year old Yevgeny Yefimov, said in the footage released by the FSB.

Several other suspects came from mostly Muslim regions in Russia's volatile North Caucasus, and one man was from the ex-Soviet nation of Tajikistan that borders Afghanistan.

The TV reports included footage of a metal container, which the suspects used as a laboratory for making explosives, according to the FSB. Another video showed operatives breaking the doors and raiding an apartment used by other suspects.

Last week, the FSB said it also arrested several IS-linked suspects in Moscow, where they allegedly were plotting a series of suicide bombings to coincide with New Year's celebrations.

The latest calls between Putin and Trump came after the Russian leader praised his U.S. counterpart during a marathon news conference on Thursday.

Putin hailed Trump's achievements, saying that global markets have demonstrated investors' confidence in Trump's economic policies. He said he hoped the U.S. president would be able to follow through on his campaign promises to improve ties with Russia despite pressure from his political foes at home.

During the news conference, Putin also reaffirmed his multiple denials of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and argued that the U.S. is only hurting itself with investigations of alleged collusion between Trump and Russia. The allegations were "invented" by Trump's foes to undermine his legitimacy, Putin said.

Alexei Chepa, a deputy head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of Russia's parliament, hailed the CIA tip as a "step toward cooperation."

"The more such actions we have, the better it will be for both our countries," Chepa told the state RIA Novosti news agency.

___

Jonathan Lemire contributed from Washington.

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McCain treated for viral infection, returns home to Arizona http://www.dailyastorian.com/mccain-treated-for-viral-infection-returns-home-to-arizona-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlddd1307012e4f43458a30474a785be205 http://www.dailyastorian.com/mccain-treated-for-viral-infection-returns-home-to-arizona-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlddd1307012e4f43458a30474a785be205#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 18:00:39 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179783 WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. John McCain has returned home to Arizona after being hospitalized for a viral infection while battling brain cancer and will miss a crucial Senate vote on the GOP tax package, his office said Sunday.

The 81-year-old senator will undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic in the state after spending several days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. In a brief statement, the office provided an assessment from Dr. Mark Gilbert, chief of neuro-oncology at the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute.

"Senator McCain has responded well to treatment he received at Walter Reed Medical Center for a viral infection and continues to improve," Gilbert said. "An evaluation of his underlying cancer shows he is responding positively to ongoing treatment."

McCain expressed appreciation for his care and the outpouring of support and, according to his office, "looks forward to returning to Washington in January."

Now in his sixth Senate term, McCain underwent surgery in mid-July to remove a 2-inch (51-millimeter) blood clot in his brain after being diagnosed with glioblastoma.

His daughter Meghan McCain tweeted Sunday: "My father is doing well and we are all looking forward to spending Christmas together in Arizona."

Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump told reporters he had spoken to McCain's wife, Cindy.

"They've headed back, but I understand he'll come if we ever needed his vote, which hopefully we won't," Trump said after returning to the White House from Camp David. "But the word is that John will come back if we need his vote. And it's too bad. He's going through a very tough time, there's no question about it. But he will come back if we need his vote."

Republicans hold a slim 52-48 majority in the Senate, and McCain and Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., missed votes last week. The 80-year-old Cochran had a non-melanoma lesion removed from his nose earlier this week. He is expected to vote on the tax bill.

Republicans secured the support of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker last Friday for the tax measure, and they are poised to pass the bill by a narrow margin in the face of unified Democratic opposition. As a backstop, Vice President Mike Pence would be available to break a tie.

A vote is expected in the House on Tuesday and the Senate on Wednesday. If approved, the measure would head to Trump for his signature on what will be his first major legislative accomplishment since taking office 11 months ago.

After his summer surgery, McCain rebounded quickly, returning to Washington and entering the Senate on July 25 to a standing ovation from his colleagues.

In a dramatic turn, he cast a deciding vote against the Republican health care bill — a move that drew the wrath of Trump and conservatives. McCain's vote scuttled the seven-year effort by the GOP to dismantle much of President Barack Obama's health care law.

But McCain's condition has appeared to worsen in recent weeks. He suffered a minor tear in his right Achilles tendon, forcing him to wear a walking brace. McCain eventually began using a wheelchair, with members of his staff pushing him where he needed to go.

As a Navy pilot, McCain lived through a July 1967 fire that killed 134 sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War. The following October, his plane was shot down during a bombing mission over Hanoi. He spent more than five years as a prisoner of war. McCain also has survived several bouts with melanoma, a dangerous skin cancer.

___

Associated Press writer Donna Cassata contributed to this report.

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Conservative ex-President Pinera easily wins Chile election http://www.dailyastorian.com/conservative-ex-president-pinera-easily-wins-chile-election-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world7169923e0249431f9aad21f494cefdc3 http://www.dailyastorian.com/conservative-ex-president-pinera-easily-wins-chile-election-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world7169923e0249431f9aad21f494cefdc3#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 17:50:16 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179843 SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Billionaire former President Sebastian Pinera easily won Chile's presidential runoff election Sunday, moving the world's top-copper producing country back to the right in the footsteps of other Latin American nations.

Pinera got 54.6 percent of the votes to 45.4 percent for center-left Sen. Alejandro Guillier, with nearly all the ballots counted.

Analysts had expected a much closer race, but there had not been any opinion polls on the campaign for several weeks. Guillier conceded a "severe defeat" to his supporters, and outgoing President Michelle Bachelet called Pinera to offer congratulations.

The results prompted Pinera supporters to celebrate in streets nationwide waving flags and holding banners, while others beeped car horns and screamed out the last name of the former airline magnate who previously governed Chile in 2010-2014.

"Today the voice of all Chileans has been heard," Pinera told supporters. "We welcome this triumph with humility and hope."

Pinera, 68, won last month's first round, but his 36.6 percent vote share fell far short of what polls had projected. Guillier got 22.7 percent in the first round and was counting on support from backers of other left-leaning candidates who were eliminated.

Guillier, 64, was backed by Bachelet, but many Chileans have been disillusioned by lagging economic growth under her watch, a problem based largely on lower international prices for copper, which is the backbone of Chile's economy. Many also feel she wavered on her promises of profound social changes in labor and education and the vote was largely seen as a referendum on her policies.

Guillier, a former TV anchor, had vowed to continue Bachelet's plan to increase corporate taxes to partly finance an education overhaul, reform the constitution and improve the pension and health care system.

Pinera's resounding victory underscored the fracture at Bachelet's New Majority left-wing coalition and the rise of conservative leaders at the ballot box in recent years in other regional countries, including Argentina, Paraguay and Peru.

During his first term as president, Pinera struggled with large protests over Chile's inequality and demands for education reform and left office with low popularity ratings. But he also oversaw annual economic growth of about 5 percent a year. The conservative politician now proposes to slash taxes on business to revive growth and vows to launch a $14 billion, four-year spending plan that includes fresh investments in infrastructure for the country of 17 million people.

"This is a huge victory for him," said Javier Sajuria, a lecturer in politics at Queen Mary University of London. "Pinera managed to gather a big majority of the votes from center-left candidates (in the first round of the election). What happened here is that Pinera managed to mobilize non-voters in a way that we haven't seen since voluntary voting was started."

Turnout was expected to be low because in contrast to other regional countries, Chile made voting voluntary rather than mandatory in 2012.

In recent weeks, Pinera had compared Guillier to Nicolas Maduro, the president of crisis-torn Venezuela. At first, the scare tactic seemed to have backfired by rallying support for Guillier from hard-left factions that had been cool on him earlier.

"Fear can be tricky because it tends to demobilize voters," Sajuria said. "But he managed it pretty well ... my impression is that people who were afraid of the outcome, voted for him."

___

Associated Press writer Luis Andres Henao in Buenos Aires, Argentina, contributed to this report.

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'Celebration of life' for San Francisco mayor who died at 65 http://www.dailyastorian.com/celebration-of-life-for-san-francisco-mayor-who-died-at-65-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world85584eda560b4ed1b5e774e0bfc81338 http://www.dailyastorian.com/celebration-of-life-for-san-francisco-mayor-who-died-at-65-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world85584eda560b4ed1b5e774e0bfc81338#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 17:10:24 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179888 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was remembered Sunday for his humility, integrity and infectious smile during a public celebration of his life at City Hall, attended by family members, former staff, politicians and residents.

Lee, who died last week at age 65, had a love of life and a devotion to public service, said Gov. Jerry Brown, one of several prominent Democrats who spoke during the ceremony.

"I never saw him down," Brown said. "Every time you saw him he was happy, he was expressing a very upbeat attitude."

Lee, also a Democrat, was San Francisco's first Asian-American mayor and a former civil rights lawyer who led the city out of recession and into an economic recovery driven by the technology industry.

He died early Dec. 12 after collapsing the night before at a grocery store. The medical examiner's office has not released a cause of death.

Acting Mayor London Breed recalled the rapturous reception Lee received during an official visit to China, where his parents were born.

"He was like a superstar. An icon," she said. "Everywhere we went and to everyone we met, Lee was like Beyoncι with a mustache."

Former Mayor Willie Brown said Lee had many qualities that made him better than his predecessors.

"We were not always candid. Ed Lee was. We were not always diplomatic. Ed Lee was," Brown said.

One area in which Lee didn't shine — telling jokes.

"He told terrible jokes," said Brown, evoking laughter. "He laughed because he was trying to build enthusiasm for his jokes."

His daughters, Tania Lee and Brianna Lee, shared the microphone and remembered their father for his boundless energy when it came to serving San Francisco, whether it was by giving speeches, stuffing envelopes or waking up early on weekends to paint over graffiti.

"It was absolute love for the city that kept him going," Brianna Lee said.

The women announced the formation of the Edmund M. Lee Community Fund that will continue to address issues important to the late mayor including care for the homeless and fighting discrimination.

U.S. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, both from San Francisco, also eulogized Lee.

Lee "leaves an enduring, inspiring legacy that generations of San Franciscans will enjoy," Pelosi said.

The memorial was also marked with musical performances including a choir and a pre-taped segment of Tony Bennett singing, "I left my heart in San Francisco."

Lee's casket was not present, as it was on Friday when his body laid in repose in the rotunda of City Hall.

Local celebrities, government workers and residents came to say goodbye to Lee on Friday. Many stopped momentarily before his closed casket that was draped in an American flag and behind velvet rope. Some bowed or prayed, saluted or cried before continuing to a side room where they could write condolences.

Outside the building, floral bouquets and handwritten notes filled half of the steps.

Edwin Mah Lee was born May 5, 1952, in Seattle to immigrants from Toisan, a rural village in China's southern province of Guangdong. His father was a cook, and his mother a seamstress. They raised Lee and his five siblings in public housing.

Lee was city administrator when he was appointed to serve the remainder of former Mayor Gavin Newsom's term in 2011. He was elected to the position later that year, and he was re-elected in 2015.

Supporters say Lee tackled homelessness and built affordable housing unlike any San Francisco mayor before him.

Critics blamed him for a modern-day San Francisco where jobs are plenty but housing prices are among America's highest.

But supporters and opponents praised him as a kind, polite man whose corny jokes will be missed.

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The Latest: Family, friends remember San Francisco mayor http://www.dailyastorian.com/the-latest-family-friends-remember-san-francisco-mayor-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentcec32a8c1d5c4e7789de8b5f641b9fc3 http://www.dailyastorian.com/the-latest-family-friends-remember-san-francisco-mayor-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentcec32a8c1d5c4e7789de8b5f641b9fc3#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 17:00:59 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179760 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on the public memorial of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (all times local):

5 p.m.

Family, friends and fellow politicians remembered San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee as a man with great humility, integrity and a winning smile.

Fellow Democrats including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, former mayors and Lee's two daughters spoke Sunday at the roughly two-hour public memorial inside City Hall's rotunda.

The celebration of Lee's life also included musical performances including a choir and a pre-taped segment from singer Tony Bennett.

The 65-year-old Lee, the son of Chinese immigrants and San Francisco's first Asian-American mayor, died last week.

He is credited with leading the city out of a recession and saw the economy boom after welcoming technology companies.

___

3:25 p.m.

A prayer with the refrain "we will remember him" opened a public memorial for San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

Rabbi Beth Singer led those gathered at City Hall in prayer Sunday after praising the late mayor's justice, mercy, and humility.

The 65-year-old Lee, the son of Chinese immigrants and San Francisco's first Asian-American mayor, died last week.

Acting Mayor London Breed recalled a trip to China with Lee. Breed said he received a pop star's welcome in his parents' home country — like "a Beyonce with a mustache."

Gov. Jerry Brown says Lee gave politics and San Francisco a good name.

Family members, friends and city residents joined politicians as part of an overflow crowd to remember Lee.

___

3 p.m.

Family members, friends, politicians and San Francisco residents have packed City Hall to remember Mayor Ed Lee, who died last week at age 65.

Among those scheduled to attend Sunday's public celebration are California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, U.S. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Hundreds of people had lined up to get in by the early afternoon. An overflow crowd is expected for those who can't fit inside the tight quarters of City Hall. The event is streaming live online.

Lee, San Francisco's first Asian-American mayor, was a former civil rights lawyer. He led the city out of recession and saw the economy boom after welcoming technology companies.

Edwin Mah Lee was born in 1952 in Seattle to Chinese immigrants.

___

12:10 a.m.

Prominent Democrats are expected to speak at a public celebration of the life of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.

He died last week after collapsing while grocery shopping.

Among those expected to remember Lee on Sunday at San Francisco's City Hall are U.S. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

The 65-year-old Lee was San Francisco's first Asian-American mayor.

The former civil rights lawyer led the city out of recession and into an economic recovery driven by technology companies.

Lee's casket will not be at the ceremony. His body laid in repose at in the rotunda of city hall on Friday.

Edwin Mah Lee was born May 5, 1952, in Seattle to immigrants from China's southern province of Guangdong.

His father was a cook, and his mother a seamstress.

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Ionescu's triple-double leads No. 9 Oregon past Mississippi http://www.dailyastorian.com/ionescus-triple-double-leads-no-9-oregon-past-mississippi-da-ap-webfeeds-news-northwest154c4b7b75f646c18249763f7838af44 http://www.dailyastorian.com/ionescus-triple-double-leads-no-9-oregon-past-mississippi-da-ap-webfeeds-news-northwest154c4b7b75f646c18249763f7838af44#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 16:50:10 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179762 EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The crowd's roar with 3 seconds left in the third quarter reinforced what Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu already knew.

With her 10th rebound in her 44th game as a Duck, she'd just joined an exclusive club.

Ionescu tied an NCAA record with her seventh career triple-double, and No. 9 Oregon beat Mississippi 90-46 on Sunday.

"Just another day," she said. "It doesn't mean too much to me. I'm just happy that we won.

"As long as we're winning, records don't really matter. That's what's really important to me."

Ionescu, a sophomore guard, had 21 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds for her third triple-double this season. She broke the Pac-12 career mark of six by Stanford's Nicole Powell, a former Oregon assistant under coach Kelly Graves.

"Tonight, you could tell there was a little twinkle in her eye right from the get-go," Graves said of Ionescu. "She had something to prove and went out and did it."

Ruthy Hebard had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Ducks (9-2), who had all five starters score in double figures. Satou Sabally added 12 points, and Lexi Bando and Maite Cazorla had 10 each.

Barbara Johnson led Ole Miss (9-2) with 11 points, and Alissa Alston had 10. The Rebels' scoring leader, junior Madinah Muhammad, had two points, 18 below her average.

Oregon avenged an 83-67 road loss to Ole Miss last season by dominating inside with a 51-29 margin in rebounds and a 58-18 edge in points in the paint. The Ducks struggled from 3-point range (5 of 23) but shot 38 of 76 for 50 percent overall.

Ionescu played only seven minutes in last year's loss to the Rebels after breaking her thumb the previous day in practice. That memory served her well as she tied the triple-double mark set by Penn State's Suzie McConnell in 1988 and matched by Louella Tomlinson of Saint Mary's in 2011.

"I think that was fuel to the fire there," Ionescu said, "and I definitely wanted to come out aggressive and hard, and our team did that tonight.

"We came out hard and punched them in the throat from the beginning, and that helped us throughout the whole game."

The Ducks held Ole Miss to six points in the second quarter and 11 each in the last two periods. The Rebels shot 13 of 53 (24.5 percent), had 17 turnovers and didn't score a fast-break point.

Graves was particularly pleased coming off a loss at No. 5 Mississippi State four days earlier.

"At Mississippi State, defensively we were out of sorts," he said. "We didn't play hard, we weren't physically tough, we weren't engaged and we didn't communicate very well.

"Today, we did all of the above."

BIG PICTURE

Oregon rebounded from its second loss to a top-5 team by beating its second of three consecutive Southeastern Conference foes. The Ducks lost at then-No. 5 Louisville in the preseason WNIT title game last month and fell at No. 5 Mississippi State 90-79 last Wednesday.

Mississippi's 9-1 start was its best in 12 years. It has two games remaining before starting SEC play at Arkansas on Dec. 31. The Rebels finished 10th in the SEC last year and are picked 13th among 14 teams this season.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Oregon's bounce-back performance against the Rebels could keep the Ducks in the top 10 after their loss at No. 5 Mississippi State. The two weeks at No. 9 matched Oregon's all-time best.

STAT OF THE GAME

Ionescu's 14 assists tied the school record that she matched three games ago. She came in fourth nationally at eight assists per game and is now up to 8.5.

HE SAID IT

Oregon's crowd of 2,683 was able to chart Ionescu's stat progress via the "hustle boards" hanging at each end of the arena.

"I think it's neat, because they should celebrate it with her," Graves said. "She's sure a pleasure to watch. She does it every day in practice, too, so it's not just when the lights go on. She's our hardest worker."

UP NEXT

Mississippi: Finishes its two-game West Coast swing at Portland State on Tuesday night.

Oregon: Goes to Las Vegas for a rematch with No. 19 Texas A&M on Thursday as part of the Duel in the Desert. The Ducks beat the Aggies 83-68 in the preseason WNIT.

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Georgia Tech snaps 3-game skid with 79-53 win over FAMU http://www.dailyastorian.com/georgia-tech-snaps-3-game-skid-with-79-53-win-over-famu-da-ap-webfeeds-news-college-sportse1247412827e4ee19a9ed28dda5d154b http://www.dailyastorian.com/georgia-tech-snaps-3-game-skid-with-79-53-win-over-famu-da-ap-webfeeds-news-college-sportse1247412827e4ee19a9ed28dda5d154b#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 16:40:41 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179761 ATLANTA (AP) — The return of sophomore guard Josh Okogie on Sunday gave Georgia Tech a big lift with ACC play looming in less than two weeks and rival Georgia up next on Tuesday.

Okogie, a preseason second-team All-ACC choice, scored 19 points in his first game of the season and the Yellow Jackets (5-4) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 79-54 victory over Florida A&M.

"We'd probably be 9-0 if he'd played all nine games," coach Josh Pastner said.

Okogie was suspended the first six games of the season by the NCAA for receiving impermissible benefits and stayed sidelined further because the open dislocation of his left index finger suffered in an exhibition game became infected.

"The guys did a good job of finding me in spots where I like the ball, so it was second nature to me," said Okogie, who missed eight games because of suspension and injury. "It felt great to finally get my feet back out onto the court. I went through a lot the past seven weeks."

Okogie, who led the Yellow Jackets in scoring 16.1 points per game last season and made the ACC All-Freshman team, couldn't practice because of the infection and played against Florida A&M with small cast after being cleared Wednesday.

"It's doing really well," Okogie said of the finger on his non-shooting hand. "I've got a lot of range of motion and this cast protects me from a lot of harsh impact."

Okogie played 28 minutes and made four of his five shots in the second half, finishing 6 of 13 from the floor. He was 2 for 3 from behind the 3-point arc, and had four rebounds, two blocked shots, an assist and a steal.

"I thought he played pretty well for his first game of the season," Pastner said.

Freshman forward Moses Wright, who made 8 of 19 shots from the floor, also had 19 points and the Yellow Jackets (5-4) handed the Rattlers (1-13) their ninth straight loss.

"Tech played well and we didn't," Florida A&M coach Robert McCullam said. "I was really disappointed in our effort."

Georgia Tech scored the game's first 10 points and led 35-22 at halftime as senior guard Tadric Jackson, who scored 11 points, went 3-for-3 from behind the 3-point arc.

The Yellow Jackets broke the game open with a 19-0 second-half run that gave them a 59-29 lead with 11 minutes to play.

Georgia Tech hadn't played since a 63-60 loss at Wofford on Dec. 6.

Isaiah Martin, a 7-foot junior center, led Florida A&M with 14 points. Justin Ravenel and Bryce Moragne each scored 10 for the Rattlers, who shot just 32.3 percent and committed 18 turnovers.

Freshman Curtis Haywood had started in place of Okogie, but he wasn't available against Florida A&M because of a shin injury.

"With Josh back, they kind of want to get him back in the flow of things," McCullam said. "With him, they're a different team."

BIG PICTURE

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets, who were upset by Grambling State and Wofford during their three-game losing streak, have three games to get in synch before the start of ACC play on Dec. 31 at Notre Dame. In addition to Georgia Tech being without Okogie, senior center Ben Lammers has been missing practice time because of a sore ankle. Lammers had six points and eight rebounds against Florida A&M.

Florida A&M: The Rattlers finished 7-21 last season and the MEAC school has struggled in McCullam's first season as coach against a rugged schedule that has included Miami, Texas, Mississippi State and UNLV. FAMU's only victory was 77-59 over NCAA Division II Albany State on Nov. 20.

UP NEXT

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets try to snap a two-game losing streak to rival Georgia as they play the Bulldogs on Tuesday in Athens. Georgia won 60-43 last year in Atlanta.

Florida A&M: The Rattlers go to New York City to play Fordham on Thursday. Just two of FAMU's 16 games in November and December are at home.

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Foles throws 4 TDs, Eagles get first-round bye http://www.dailyastorian.com/foles-throws-4-tds-eagles-get-first-round-bye-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sportsc6b4e4cea2d6446ab898d3e347842eb3 http://www.dailyastorian.com/foles-throws-4-tds-eagles-get-first-round-bye-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sportsc6b4e4cea2d6446ab898d3e347842eb3#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 16:30:18 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179780 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Nick Foles replaced the injured Carson Wentz, and nothing really changed for the Philadelphia Eagles.

They got four touchdown passes from their quarterback, like they did a week ago, and won again to secure a first-round playoff bye.

Another ho-hum day for the best team in the NFC and NFC East champions.

Foles hit four different receivers on touchdown passes ranging from 3 to 13 yards in his first start, and the Eagles (12-2) rallied from an early 14-point deficit to defeat the surprising New York Giants 34-29 on Sunday.

"I thought he played well," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said of Foles. "There are some things he would like to do over. Every game is going be that way. I thought he handled himself extremely well, a lot of poise. He did a nice job."

There was speculation the Eagles would rely on their running game this week against the Giants (2-12) to give Foles time to adjust to the offense. Pederson ruled that out.

"With him coming out and saying he's not changing anything, it says a lot about his confidence in me and his confidence in the players in the offense," said Foles, who completed 24 of 38 passes for 237 yards and no interceptions.

Foles clearly is no Wentz. He is more a pocket passer, and there were times in the game when Wentz clearly would have been scrambling for a first down. Foles carried twice for zero yards.

The Eagles made a late stand on first-and-goal in the final minute in edging the Giants for the second time this season, spoiling a three-touchdown, season-high 434-yard passing game by Eli Manning.

"We know what he's capable of and that showed today," Giants interim coach Steve Spagnuolo said after Manning's ninth 400-yard game.

Manning, who threw for 366 yards earlier this year against the Eagles, said the Giants had a good game plan.

"We got the ball out quickly, playing fast with some tempo stuff," said the 36-year-old who finished 37 of 57. "I think that confused them a little bit."

Foles hit Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton and Nelson Agholor on scoring passes ranging from 3 to 13 yards in filling in for Wentz, who tore an ACL last week and was lost for the season after a brilliant year.

The Eagles also got two field goals from Jake Elliott and three blocked kicks from their special teams, foiling an extra point, a punt and field goal. The block on the punt set up a touchdown.

Philadelphia will play its final two regular-season game at home and then wait for the conference semifinal.

"It's obviously something great," Foles said of the bye. "I was fortunate to be a part of it last year in Kansas City. We still have a lot of work to do this season. The big thing is you let your body recover."

Manning hit Tavarres King on two touchdowns and Sterling Shepard on one. Orleans Darkwa scored on a short run and Aldrick Rosas kicked a 28-yard field goal.

Manning drove the Giants from their 25 with 3:56 to play to the Eagles 9 with about a minute to go. A 2-yard loss on a pass to Shepard, an incompletion in the end zone and 5-yard run by Shane Vereen got New York to the Philadelphia 6 with 48 seconds to play. Right tackle Bobby Hart had a procedure penalty on fourth down, putting the ball at the 11.

Manning then threw a pass to Evan Engram at the back of the end zone that was high and incomplete. The Giants complained bitterly after the play that Eagles safety Corey Graham held the rookie tight end's left arm and should have been called for pass interference.

"I definitely thought it was defensive pass interference," Engram said. "Fourth down. It was really obvious, but no call."

The Giants led 23-21 at the half and the Eagles took the lead for good in the third quarter on a 28-yard field goal by Elliott and a 10-yard TD catch by Agholor .

Leading 20-6, mistakes by Manning and special teams got the Eagles back in the game in a less than three-minute span in the second quarter.

A 37-yard interception return by Ronald Darby to the Giants 18 set up Foles' second touchdown pass, a 10-yarder to Ertz, cutting New York's lead to 20-14. Kamu Grugier-Hill blocked Brad Wing's punt on the Giants' next series. Foles found a wide-open Burton on a 13-yard pass to give the Eagles a 21-20 lead.

Rosas had a go-ahead 28-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in the half for a 23-21 lead.

BLOCKS

The last time a team had a hat trick of blocked kicks was the Buffalo Bills against New England on Nov. 24, 1991.

UP NEXT

Eagles: host Oakland on Dec. 25.

Giants: at Arizona on Sunday.

___

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and — http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Stevens, Watkins record double-doubles in Penn State victory http://www.dailyastorian.com/stevens-watkins-record-double-doubles-in-penn-state-victory-da-ap-webfeeds-news-college-sports80397a6836f8433fb12faa8194734f84 http://www.dailyastorian.com/stevens-watkins-record-double-doubles-in-penn-state-victory-da-ap-webfeeds-news-college-sports80397a6836f8433fb12faa8194734f84#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 16:20:29 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179766 FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — Penn State played without suspended guard Tony Carr on Sunday at George Mason. It certainly didn't slow the Nittany Lions down.

Lamar Stevens scored 23 points and added 12 rebounds for his first career double-double, Mike Watkins added 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Penn State dominated in the post on its way to a 72-54 victory Sunday.

"Coach pushed us harder," Watkins said. "This was a great team we were going against. Playing against them and playing without Tony, who's a big factor on our team, we had to pick up the loose ends."

Carr, who is averaging a team-high 20 points, was suspended for a violation of team rules. Coach Patrick Chambers said the sophomore will return Tuesday for the Nittany Lions (9-3).

Penn State would have been wise to exploit the undersized Patriots (5-7) even with Carr. His absence made the decision to turn to the frontcourt even easier.

Stevens and Watkins combined for 24 points on 11 of 14 shooting in the first half, and Watkins had nine points during an 11-2 spurt that gave Penn State a 20-10 lead. Its edge never fell below eight after that.

Stevens, who had totaled just 14 points in his last two games, created problems both in the post and on the perimeter.

"He was really focused on trying to rebound the basketball, and we saw him be ferocious," Chambers said. "We went to him early and often and he did some good things for us, some good drives, had a good 15-footer, got himself to the free throw line. He looked for Mike a bunch. I thought he played a quality game on both ends of the floor."

Penn State owned a 26-8 scoring advantage in the paint in the first half and a 40-26 edge inside for the game.

Sophomore Justin Kier scored a team-high 17 points for George Mason, which committed 15 turnovers and was 0 of 14 from 3-point range. The Patriots have averaged 52.5 points and are 4 of 37 on 3-pointers in their last two games.

"We're a better team than we've shown the last two nights," George Mason coach Dave Paulsen said. "We know that. This is the same group that put together some pretty good performances against good teams, but we're in a little bit of a funk right now offensively."

BIG PICTURE

Penn State: The Nittany Lions won back-to-back games for the first time since opening the season on a five-game winning streak and will try to remain sharp during a three-game homestand before resuming Big Ten play Jan. 2 at Maryland.

George Mason: The Patriots, who beat Mississippi and Oklahoma State two years ago and Penn State last season, finish 0-3 against power conference teams in Paulsen's third season. Mason also lost to Louisville and Auburn.

REAVES' HOMECOMING

This was the back end of a home-and-home series, one that brought Penn State junior Josh Reaves back to his hometown. Reaves scored 13 points in front of several dozen friends and family members in what he said was his first game in Fairfax since his junior year of high school.

"Getting Josh home was important because of what he meant to our program," Chambers said. "He took a leap of faith committing to us, and sometimes when things aren't going your way and you're not winning a ton, guys have a tendency to want to leave. That's not the type of person he is. That's not the type of character he has. It was an easy decision to do this game and come here."

MUSICAL DISTRACTION

The most striking part of George Mason's game atmosphere is the pep band led by Michael Nickens, also known as Doc Nix. It turns out fans aren't the only ones who pay attention to the Green Machine, which earned fame during the Patriots' 2006 Final Four run.

"That band is unbelievable. I caught myself looking over a couple times. .," Chambers said. "Doc is tremendous. Please tell him I said that. I might have to hire him for a party or two."

UP NEXT

Penn State: The Nittany Lions face a quick turnaround as they play host to Binghamton (8-4) on Tuesday.

George Mason: The Patriots complete nonconference play Friday against Morgan State (4-6).

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Stevens, Watkins record double-doubles in Penn State victory http://www.dailyastorian.com/stevens-watkins-record-double-doubles-in-penn-state-victory-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports80397a6836f8433fb12faa8194734f84 http://www.dailyastorian.com/stevens-watkins-record-double-doubles-in-penn-state-victory-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports80397a6836f8433fb12faa8194734f84#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 16:20:26 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179768 FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — Penn State played without suspended guard Tony Carr on Sunday at George Mason. It certainly didn't slow the Nittany Lions down.

Lamar Stevens scored 23 points and added 12 rebounds for his first career double-double, Mike Watkins added 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Penn State dominated in the post on its way to a 72-54 victory Sunday.

"Coach pushed us harder," Watkins said. "This was a great team we were going against. Playing against them and playing without Tony, who's a big factor on our team, we had to pick up the loose ends."

Carr, who is averaging a team-high 20 points, was suspended for a violation of team rules. Coach Patrick Chambers said the sophomore will return Tuesday for the Nittany Lions (9-3).

Penn State would have been wise to exploit the undersized Patriots (5-7) even with Carr. His absence made the decision to turn to the frontcourt even easier.

Stevens and Watkins combined for 24 points on 11 of 14 shooting in the first half, and Watkins had nine points during an 11-2 spurt that gave Penn State a 20-10 lead. Its edge never fell below eight after that.

Stevens, who had totaled just 14 points in his last two games, created problems both in the post and on the perimeter.

"He was really focused on trying to rebound the basketball, and we saw him be ferocious," Chambers said. "We went to him early and often and he did some good things for us, some good drives, had a good 15-footer, got himself to the free throw line. He looked for Mike a bunch. I thought he played a quality game on both ends of the floor."

Penn State owned a 26-8 scoring advantage in the paint in the first half and a 40-26 edge inside for the game.

Sophomore Justin Kier scored a team-high 17 points for George Mason, which committed 15 turnovers and was 0 of 14 from 3-point range. The Patriots have averaged 52.5 points and are 4 of 37 on 3-pointers in their last two games.

"We're a better team than we've shown the last two nights," George Mason coach Dave Paulsen said. "We know that. This is the same group that put together some pretty good performances against good teams, but we're in a little bit of a funk right now offensively."

BIG PICTURE

Penn State: The Nittany Lions won back-to-back games for the first time since opening the season on a five-game winning streak and will try to remain sharp during a three-game homestand before resuming Big Ten play Jan. 2 at Maryland.

George Mason: The Patriots, who beat Mississippi and Oklahoma State two years ago and Penn State last season, finish 0-3 against power conference teams in Paulsen's third season. Mason also lost to Louisville and Auburn.

REAVES' HOMECOMING

This was the back end of a home-and-home series, one that brought Penn State junior Josh Reaves back to his hometown. Reaves scored 13 points in front of several dozen friends and family members in what he said was his first game in Fairfax since his junior year of high school.

"Getting Josh home was important because of what he meant to our program," Chambers said. "He took a leap of faith committing to us, and sometimes when things aren't going your way and you're not winning a ton, guys have a tendency to want to leave. That's not the type of person he is. That's not the type of character he has. It was an easy decision to do this game and come here."

MUSICAL DISTRACTION

The most striking part of George Mason's game atmosphere is the pep band led by Michael Nickens, also known as Doc Nix. It turns out fans aren't the only ones who pay attention to the Green Machine, which earned fame during the Patriots' 2006 Final Four run.

"That band is unbelievable. I caught myself looking over a couple times. .," Chambers said. "Doc is tremendous. Please tell him I said that. I might have to hire him for a party or two."

UP NEXT

Penn State: The Nittany Lions face a quick turnaround as they play host to Binghamton (8-4) on Tuesday.

George Mason: The Patriots complete nonconference play Friday against Morgan State (4-6).

]]>
OR Lottery http://www.dailyastorian.com/or-lottery-da-ap-webfeeds-news-northwest8a2330f71d6c4a8ba1e3795a0c36e5cc http://www.dailyastorian.com/or-lottery-da-ap-webfeeds-news-northwest8a2330f71d6c4a8ba1e3795a0c36e5cc#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 22:10:13 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179802 PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ These Oregon lotteries were drawn Sunday:


Lucky Lines

02-07-09-13-FREE-18-22-26-31

(two, seven, nine, thirteen, FREE, eighteen, twenty-two, twenty-six, thirty-one)

Estimated jackpot: $26,000


Mega Millions

Estimated jackpot: $223 million


Pick 4 10PM

2-8-0-3

(two, eight, zero, three)


Pick 4 1PM

0-6-4-5

(zero, six, four, five)


Pick 4 4PM

3-5-2-9

(three, five, two, nine)


Pick 4 7PM

4-3-5-0

(four, three, five, zero)


Powerball

Estimated jackpot: $269 million

]]>
AP Top U.S. News at 11:58 p.m. EST http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-us-news-at-1158-pm-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldc3e3efb6c58318e5c5d25913f7d28753 http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-us-news-at-1158-pm-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldc3e3efb6c58318e5c5d25913f7d28753#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 21:00:23 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179891 Trump: I'm not considering firing special counsel MuellerFlames threaten coastal communities as firefighters mourn'Celebration of life' for San Francisco mayor who died at 65MSNBC paid woman who said Chris Matthews harassed herSen. Schumer: Bomb-detection units needed at transit hubsSpaceX capsule back at space station with pre-Christmas haul]]> AP Top Sports News at 11:57 p.m. EST http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-sports-news-at-1157-pm-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports39ee9798a637e9ccaf499df24cea0350 http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-sports-news-at-1157-pm-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports39ee9798a637e9ccaf499df24cea0350#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 21:01:04 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179897 Cowboys edge Raiders 20-17 by slimmest of marginsSteelers' Brown leaves with calf injury, taken to hospitalJimmy Time! Garoppolo leads 49ers to third straight winLeBron wears 1 black shoe, 1 white shoe, speaks about TrumpIn special shoes, LeBron's triple-double leads Cavs past WizJaguars thump Texans 45-7 for 1st playoff berth since 2007Foles throws 4 TDs, Eagles get first-round byeThe Latest: Lynch 1 of 18 players protesting during anthem]]> AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EST http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-news-in-brief-at-1104-pm-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlde1931ab6bc3d7981c3af4cb863e3c857 http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-news-in-brief-at-1104-pm-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlde1931ab6bc3d7981c3af4cb863e3c857#Comments Sun, 17 Dec 2017 20:10:26 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2017312179882 Trump: I'm not considering firing special counsel Mueller

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller even as his administration was again forced to grapple with the growing Russia probe that has shadowed the White House for much of his initial year in office.

Trump returned to the White House from Camp David and was asked if he was considering triggering the process to dismiss Mueller, who is investigating whether the president's Republican campaign coordinated with Russian officials during last year's election.

The president answered: "No, I'm not."

But he did add to the growing conservative criticism of Mueller's move to gain access to thousands of emails sent and received by Trump officials before the start of his administration, yielding attacks from transition lawyers and renewing chatter that Trump may act to end the investigation.

"It's not looking good. It's quite sad to see that. My people were very upset about it," Trump said. "I can't imagine there's anything on them, frankly. Because, as we said, there's no collusion. There's no collusion whatsoever."

___

McCain treated for viral infection, returns home to Arizona

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. John McCain has returned home to Arizona after being hospitalized for a viral infection while battling brain cancer and will miss a crucial Senate vote on the GOP tax package, his office said Sunday.

The 81-year-old senator will undergo physical therapy and rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic in the state after spending several days at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland. In a brief statement, the office provided an assessment from Dr. Mark Gilbert, chief of neuro-oncology at the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute.

"Senator McCain has responded well to treatment he received at Walter Reed Medical Center for a viral infection and continues to improve," Gilbert said. "An evaluation of his underlying cancer shows he is responding positively to ongoing treatment."

McCain expressed appreciation for his care and the outpouring of support and, according to his office, "looks forward to returning to Washington in January."

Now in his sixth Senate term, McCain underwent surgery in mid-July to remove a 2-inch (51-millimeter) blood clot in his brain after being diagnosed with glioblastoma.

___

10 Things to Know for Monday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday:

1. WHAT TRUMP SAYS ABOUT ROBERT MUELLER'S FUTURE

The president says he is not planning to fire special counsel Robert Mueller even as his administration grapples with the growing Russia probe.

2. 'WE ARE STUCK HERE'

An electrical fire triggers a power outage, bringing the world's busiest airport to a standstill, grounding scores of flights in Atlanta.

___

Sudden power outage creates 'nightmare' at Atlanta airport

ATLANTA (AP) — A sudden power outage brought the world's busiest airport to a standstill Sunday, grounding more than 1,000 flights in Atlanta just days before the start of the Christmas travel rush. Hours after the blackout began, authorities announced that electricity would be restored at the Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport by midnight.

Passengers at the airport were left in the dark when the lights went out at around 1 p.m. The outage halted all outgoing flights, and arriving planes were held on the ground at their point of departure. International flights were being diverted, officials said.

Mayor Kasim Reed tweeted Sunday night that all passengers had been safely deplaned.

The City of Atlanta said on its Twitter page that it would provide shuttle service to the Georgia Convention Center for travelers in need of a place to stay and Chick-fil-A would be provided.

Delta passenger Emilia Duca, 32, was on her way to Wisconsin from Bogota, Colombia, when she got stuck in Atlanta. She said police made passengers who were in the baggage-claim area move to a higher floor. She said restaurants and shops were closed. Vending machines weren't working.

___

APNewsBreak: US soldier fought to end after ambush in Niger

WASHINGTON (AP) — Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson died in a hail of gunfire, hit as many as 18 times as he took cover in thick brush, fighting to the end after fleeing militants who had just killed three comrades in an October ambush in Niger, The Associated Press has learned.

A military investigation has concluded that Johnson wasn't captured alive or killed at close range, dispelling a swirl of rumors about how he died.

The report has determined that Johnson, 25, of Miami Gardens, Florida, was killed by enemy rifle and machine gun fire from members of an Islamic State offshoot, according to U.S. officials familiar with the findings. The Oct. 4 ambush took place about 120 miles (200 kilometers) north of Niamey, the African nation's capital. Johnson's body was recovered two days later.

U.S. officials familiar with the findings spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to describe details of an investigation that has not been finalized or publicly released.

A 12-member Army special forces unit was accompanying 30 Nigerien forces when they were attacked in a densely wooded area by as many as 50 militants traveling by vehicle and carrying small arms and rocket-propelled grenade launchers.

___

Flames threaten coastal communities as firefighters mourn

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thousands of firefighters tried Sunday to shield coastal communities from one of the biggest wildfires in California history while a funeral procession rolled past burn-scarred hillsides in honor of one of their colleagues who was killed battling the flames.

Crews cleared brush and dug containment lines above hillside neighborhoods in Santa Barbara County, taking advantage of slightly calmer winds a day after gusts fanned a flare-up that prompted more evacuations.

"Everything's holding really well," fire information officer Lisa Cox said. "Thousands of homes have been saved."

While gusts had eased somewhat, even lower intensity winds were still dangerous, she warned. The fire northwest of Los Angeles was 45 percent contained.

Television news footage showed at least one structure burned on property in the wealthy enclave of Montecito, and authorities said damage assessments could take days.

___

Putin thanks Trump for CIA tip he says stopped bomb plot

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin telephoned U.S. President Donald Trump Sunday to thank him for a CIA tip that helped thwart a series of bombings in St. Petersburg, the Kremlin and the White House said.

During the call, the two leaders' second in three days, Putin expressed gratitude for the CIA information. The Kremlin said it led Russia's top domestic security agency to a group of suspects that planned to bomb St. Petersburg's Kazan Cathedral and other crowded sites this weekend.

"The information received from the CIA proved sufficient to find and detain the criminal suspects," the Kremlin said.

The White House said in its readout of the conversation that "based on the information the United States provided, Russian authorities were able to capture the terrorists just prior to an attack that could have killed large numbers of people."

The White House added that Putin extended his thanks and congratulations to CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the entire agency. Trump then called Pompeo "to congratulate him, his very talented people, and the entire intelligence community on a job well done!"

___

GOP betting that its fix for US economy will defy warnings

WASHINGTON (AP) — The tax overhaul of 2017 amounts to a high-stakes gamble by Republicans in Congress: That slashing taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals will accelerate growth and assure greater prosperity for Americans for years to come.

The risks are considerable.

A wide range of economists and nonpartisan analysts have warned that the bill will likely escalate federal debt, intensify pressure to cut spending on social programs and further widen America's troubling income inequality.

Congress is expected to vote this week on the bill, the most far-reaching rewrite of the U.S. tax code since 1986. It would shrink corporate taxes, prod companies to return trillions in profits they've kept overseas, cut taxes on wealthy estates and drop tax rates — but only temporarily — for individuals.

It puts its faith in the prospect that lower taxes will make corporate America turn more generous and spend more expansively.

___

AP FACT CHECK: Trump and the mirage of overseas profits

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump speaks often of a pile of money sitting overseas that will come rushing back into the U.S. once his tax plan is in place. That's something of a mirage.

Here's what he told reporters Saturday in the roar of Marine One waiting to take him to Camp David, Maryland:

TRUMP, asked about the $20 trillion U.S. debt and his tax overhaul's effect on it: "Well this is going to bring money in. As an example, $4 trillion will come flowing back into the country. That's money that's been stuck overseas for years and years."

THE FACTS: First, his comment should not be read to mean that the debt is going to shrink by $4 trillion because of money returning from abroad. That's not possible.

Second, $4 trillion is a generous estimate of the money that might return. He's referring to profits that U.S. companies have been parking overseas to avoid the higher U.S. corporate tax. The lowering of that rate is bound to result in some of those profits coming back to the U.S. That could be in the ballpark of $2.5 trillion, perhaps more. But low taxes on those profits mean repatriation won't bring much relief to a debt forecast to swell from his tax cuts.

___

Packers hoping return of Rodgers boosts playoff chances

The Packers likely need to win their last three games to reach the playoffs, and they hope the return of Aaron Rodgers will help against the Panthers.

Green Bay (7-6) is at Carolina (9-4) in one of the biggest games of the NFL's Week 15. The Panthers are tied atop the NFC South with the Saints (9-4), who host the Jets.

Philadelphia (11-2), with Nick Foles replacing the injured Carson Wentz, has clinched the NFC East and can secure home-field with a win against the Giants and a Minnesota loss.

The Vikings (10-3) can lock up the NFC North by beating the Bengals.

Jacksonville (9-4) will earn a playoff spot with a win over the Texans, while the Bills (7-6) host Miami.

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