The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram Fri, 26 Aug 2016 04:24:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Major league roundup: Scherzer silences Orioles for Nationals Fri, 26 Aug 2016 04:11:55 +0000 WASHINGTON — Max Scherzer allowed two hits over eight innings and Bryce Harper’s two-run double Thursday night helped the Washington Nationals avoid a four-game home-and-home sweep with a 4-0 victory against the Baltimore Orioles.

Scherzer (14-7) struck out 10 and didn’t walk a batter. He retired 12 straight after Adam Jones’s fourth-inning double and 21 of 22 before Mark Trumbo’s leadoff single in the eighth.

Jayson Werth’s solo home run staked Washington to a 1-0 lead. Daniel Murphy’s RBI double in the eighth came before Harper’s second hit helped the Nationals pull away.

The Nationals had lost four straight, including three in a row to the Orioles, who won twice in Baltimore before the teams shifted to Washington.

ROYALS 5, MARLINS 2: Alcides Escobar homered and drove in two runs to lead Kansas City at Miami.

Salvador Perez and Kendrys Morales also drove in runs for the Royals, who have won 15 of 18 to pull within four games of the second AL wild-card spot.


TIGERS 8, TWINS 5: James McCann had a three-run homer among his four hits, Daniel Norris pitched into the seventh inning and Detroit completed a sweep at Minneapolis for the Twins’ seventh straight defeat.

Norris (2-2) struck out five in 61/3 innings, allowing six hits without a walk in his longest and strongest start this season. He took a shutout in the sixth, surrendering RBI singles by Robbie Grossman and Eduardo Escobar over his last two innings.

ANGELS 6, BLUE JAYS 3: Albert Pujols reached the 100-RBI mark for the 13th time, the fifth player in history to achieve the feat, Mike Trout had three hits and drove in four runs, and Los Angeles won at Toronto.

Jered Weaver pitched 52/3 innings to snap a three-start losing streak as the Angels won consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 2-3 and prevented J.A. Happ from becoming the first 18-game winner in the majors.

RANGERS 9, INDIANS 0: Cole Hamels allowed two singles over eight innings for his 14th victory as the AL-best Rangers won at Arlington, Texas, in the opener of a four-game series matching division leaders.

Hamels (14-4) retired 19 straight batters after Francisco Lindor’s solid two-out single to left in the first. The only other baserunner for the Indians was Carlos Santana after a leadoff hit in the eighth, though he was stranded at second after advancing on a passed ball.

WHITE SOX 7, MARINERS 6: Todd Frazier tied it with an RBI single in the seventh inning and won it with a line drive down the left-field line in the ninth to lift Chicago at home.

Adam Eaton led off the ninth with a bloop single off Nick Vincent (3-4) and went to second on Tim Anderson’s sacrifice. Jose Abreu was walked intentionally before Frazier’s liner over third scored Eaton, leading to a pileup of players behind the pitcher’s mound.


METS 10, CARDINALS 6: Alejandro De Aza homered and drove in five runs to lead New York at St. Louis.

PIRATES 3, BREWERS 2: Andrew McCutchen hit a home run and a pair of RBI singles, including the tiebreaker in the 10th inning as Pittsburgh stopped a nine-game skid at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

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Golf roundup: Reed, Laird lead at Barclays Fri, 26 Aug 2016 03:54:03 +0000 FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Patrick Reed didn’t break anything Thursday except par.

Two days after Reed broke the gavel during the ceremonial closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange, the American kept a clean card and shot 5-under 66 to share the lead with Martin Laird at The Barclays.

Reed was dressed in a blue blazer with an American flag tie when he was asked to bang the gavel three times at the stock exchange closing on Tuesday. On the third hit, the top of the gavel flew off into the crowd.

Reed later made a joke at his own expense on Twitter.

“They told me to give it 3 good hits, so I did!” he tweeted.

He was much better with a golf club in hand at Bethpage Black, running off three birdies and an eagle on the front nine to close out his 66.

The start of the FedEx Cup playoffs, with a $10 million bonus waiting at the end, was more about a cup that doesn’t pay a dime. A dozen or so Americans are still in the mix to make the Ryder Cup team. Qualifying ends after this week for the top eight, and then Davis Love III has four captain’s picks over the next month.

Reed is winless this year and holding down the No. 8 position in the Ryder Cup standings.

“Of course it’s on my mind,” Reed said. “But really at the end of the day, it’s just trying to get better and play this tournament. Because if I play well, that means those other guys are going to have to play even better to try to catch me.”

Reed and Laird, who also played bogey-free, were one shot ahead of three other Ryder Cup hopefuls – Rickie Fowler, Kevin Chappell and J.B. Holmes, whose 67 was the best score among those who played in stronger wind in the afternoon. Defending champion Jason Day, the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, was among those at 68.

Of the 18 players who broke 70, five played late.

Chappell likely would have to win The Barclays to make the Ryder Cup team, while Fowler needs at least a two-way tie for fourth to have a mathematical chance. Fowler went from Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics to North Carolina for the Wyndham Championship to help his cause, but only tied for 22nd.

“That’s the No. 1 priority coming into the year,” Fowler said. “I’d say that’s always one of the main goals coming into a Ryder Cup year. Even in the off year, you’re thinking about it. That was the whole reason playing last week, trying to get more points. It would be nice to have a chance to make that team without having to get picked.”

Holmes dropped to No. 9 last week. He has made his points mainly through the majors – a tie for fourth at the Masters, third at the British Open – but as he got closer to making the team, the pressure has increased. He has missed the cut in his last three events, and he couldn’t afford another one.

LPGA: Three-time champion Lydia Ko was back on the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open leaderboard with a a 5-under 67 at Priddis (Alberta) Greens in the round delayed for nearly three hours because of lightning, leaving her two strokes behind leader Chella Choi.

Choi was 7 under with four holes left. Celebrating her 26th birthday, the South Korean player made consecutive birdies on the par-5 18th and first holes, and also birdied the par-4 second and fourth.

Stephanie Meadow of Northern Ireland was a stroke back after a 66.

France’s Karine Icher – playing alongside Choi – was 6 under with four holes left.

Ko has won the event three of the last four years, the first two as an amateur. The 19-year-old New Zealander has four LPGA Tour victories this season, winning the ANA Inspiration for her second major title.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Tom Lewis flirted with the first 59 in tour history, then made three late bogeys and settled for a 9-under 62 and a share of the Made In Denmark lead.

Lewis made a 45-foot eagle putt on the par-5 fourth hole to reach 12 under through 13 holes at Himmerland Golf and Spa Resort in Farso. He needed to play even par over the last five holes for a 59.

He bogeyed the next hole and closed with two more bogeys to drop into a tie for the lead with Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and Sweden’s Joakim Lagergren.

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Stolen Patriots helmet returned with apology Fri, 26 Aug 2016 02:59:27 +0000 FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — An autographed New England Patriots football helmet stolen from a restaurant near Gillette Stadium has been returned along with an apology.

Foxborough police said the helmet signed by members of the 2014 Super Bowl championship team was delivered to Skipjack’s restaurant Wednesday, almost two weeks after it was stolen.

The package also contained a note that said “sorry for the trouble!” and $70 for the thief’s unpaid tab.

Police released surveillance video from the restaurant that showed a man wearing a Tom Brady jersey climb over the bar in the empty restaurant, grab the helmet and wrap it in the jersey before walking out without settling his bill.

Chief Ed O’Leary said his detectives are still trying to track the man, although it’s unclear whether he will face charges.

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Vehicles that talk to each other ready for road Fri, 26 Aug 2016 02:55:47 +0000 WASHINGTON — Cars that wirelessly talk to each other are finally ready for the road, creating the potential to dramatically reduce traffic deaths, improve the safety of self-driving cars and someday maybe even help solve traffic jams, automakers and government officials say.

But there’s a big catch. The cable television and high-tech industries want to take away a large share of the radio airwaves the government dedicated for transportation in 1999, and use it instead for superfast Wi-Fi service. Auto industry officials are fighting to hang on to as much of the spectrum as they can, saying they expect they will ultimately need all of it for the new vehicle-to-vehicle communications, or V2V.

The government and the auto industry have spent more than a decade and more than $1 billion researching and testing V2V technology. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to propose as early as next month that new cars and trucks come equipped with it. General Motors isn’t waiting for the proposal, saying it will include V2V in Cadillac CTS sedans before the end of the year.

“We’re losing 35,000 people every year (to traffic crashes),” said Harry Lightsey, a General Motors lobbyist. “This technology has the power to dramatically reduce that. To me, the ability of somebody to download movies or search the internet or whatever should be secondary to that.”

The fight pits two government agencies against each other: the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates spectrum and sympathizes with wireless proponents, and NHTSA, which regulates auto safety and has long made V2V a top priority. The White House, which is currently reviewing NHTSA’s proposal to require the technology in new cars, is caught between two of its goals: greater auto safety and faster wireless service.

With V2V, cars and trucks wirelessly transmit their locations, speed, direction and other information 10 times per second. That lets cars detect when another vehicle is about to run a red light, is braking hard or is coming around a blind turn in time for the driver or, in the case of self-driving cars, for the vehicle itself to take action to prevent a crash.

The government estimates that V2V could eventually prevent or mitigate more than 80 percent of collisions that don’t involve a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol.

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Sports Digest: Federer, Nadal to team up in new tournament Fri, 26 Aug 2016 02:55:22 +0000 TENNIS

Federer, Nadal to challenge the world – as a team

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have played against each other 34 times, including in 21 tournament finals. But for the first time, though, the rivals are set to play with each other, as doubles teammates in a tournament pitting Europe against the world.

The inaugural Laver Cup, named for Australian great Rod Laver, is planned for September 2017 in Prague, with a format similar to golf’s Ryder Cup.

The tournament will have 12 matches, nine singles and three doubles, played over three days. Each side will have six players, four based on the world rankings after Wimbledon, and two captain’s picks, announced after the U.S. Open.

CONNECTICUT OPEN: Defending champion Petra Kvitova needed just an hour Thursday night to beat Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-1 and move into the semifinals at New Haven, despite suffering from a cold.

Agnieszka Radwanska, Elina Svitolina and Johanna Larsson also advanced.

WINSTON-SALEM OPEN: John Millman upset top-seeded Richard Gasquet 7-5, 6-3 in North Carolina to reach his first ATP World Tour semifinal.

Pablo Carreno Busta, Roberto Bautista Agut and Viktor Troicki also advanced.


WOMEN’S SOCCER: Kaitlyn Ball, Nicole Bailey and Theresa Gosch each scored a goal to lead the University of Maine to a 3-0 win over Holy Cross at Orono.

Ball also had two assists for the Black Bears (3-0).

Annalena Kriebisch made seven saves against the Crusaders (1-2) to record her second shutout of the season.


SHARPER SENTENCING: A Louisiana judge formally imposed a 20-year prison sentence on former NFL star Darren Sharper, who last week was sentenced by a federal judge to 18 years and four months in a drug and rape case with victims in four states.

Defense attorney Billy Gibbens said that the two sentences are essentially the same, when credit for time served and other factors are considered.


LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES: Zach McWilliams hit a go-ahead grand slam in the fourth inning, RJ Moore struck out five in two relief innings and Goodlettsville, Tennessee, beat Bowling Green, Kentucky 8-4 for a spot in the U.S. championship game.

Seum Kwon had two home runs and three RBI, Sangheon Park struck out nine and South Korea beat Mexico 7-0 to reach the international final.


NHL: The Colorado Avalanche hired Jared Bednar as their new head coach, replacing Patrick Roy, who abruptly stepped down earlier this month.

The 44-year-old Bednar won the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup championship last season as coach of the Lake Erie Monsters, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ affiliate.

The Arizona Coyotes acquired prospect Lawson Crouse and injured veteran Dave Bolland – and his hefty contract –from Florida for two draft picks. The Panthers will receive a 2017 third-rounder and a conditional 2018 second-rounder that could become another 2017 third.


DIAMOND LEAGUE: Olympic 100-meter champion Elaine Thompson took center stage in the absence of her Jamaican teammate Usain Bolt in the first meet after the Olympics.

Thompson timed 10.78 seconds with a slight tailwind at Lausanne, Switzerland – just .07 shy of her time in Rio.


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Prince’s Paisley Park opening to public Fri, 26 Aug 2016 02:53:16 +0000 MINNEAPOLIS — Paisley Park, the private estate and studio complex of the late rock superstar Prince, will open for daily public tours starting Oct. 6, the trust company overseeing his estate announced Wednesday, and the company that runs Elvis Presley’s Graceland will manage it.

Bremer Trust said in a statement that millions of Prince fans will get the chance to tour the 65,000-square-foot complex in the Minneapolis suburb of Chanhassen, where Prince collapsed in an elevator and died of an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl in April.

“Opening Paisley Park is something that Prince always wanted to do and was actively working on,” Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, said in the statement. “Only a few hundred people have had the rare opportunity to tour the estate during his lifetime. Now, fans from around the world will be able to experience Prince’s world for the first time as we open the doors to this incredible place.”

The tours will be run by Graceland Holdings, which has overseen Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, since 1982, according to the museum’s business plan. Graceland, where Presley died in 1977, has welcomed more than 20 million visitors since opening to the public, averaging over 600,000 annually in recent years. Graceland is providing the initial funds for capital improvements and operating costs. Besides being the music star’s home, Paisley Park has been “the center of Prince’s creative endeavors” since its opening in 1985, Nelson and other siblings said in an additional statement.

The plan says the tours will include studios where Prince recorded, produced and mixed most of his biggest hits.

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Trump and Clinton trade racially charged accusations Fri, 26 Aug 2016 02:44:43 +0000 RENO, Nev. — A series of racially charged accusations dominated the presidential campaign Thursday, with Democrat Hillary Clinton accusing Donald Trump of “taking hate groups mainstream,” while the Republican nominee repeatedly claimed that Clinton is a “bigot” toward African-Americans.

Clinton started the day by releasing a video that featured Ku Klux Klan members and white supremacists touting Trump’s candidacy – then gave an afternoon speech condemning Trump’s racially inflammatory remarks and support within the “alt-right,” which she described as an “emerging racist ideology.”

“Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters,” she said in the speech in Reno. “It’s a disturbing preview of what kind of president he’d be.”

Trump, meanwhile, declared in an interview on CNN that Clinton is a bigot – an accusation that he first made at a rally in Mississippi on Wednesday night, but that he repeated several times under questioning from CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

“She is a bigot,” Trump said in the interview, which was scheduled to broadcast later Thursday. “If you look at what’s happening to the inner cities, you look at what’s happening to African-Americans and Hispanics in this country, where she talks all the time.”

The blisteringly direct accusations brought the subjects of race and bigotry, previously undercurrents, to the surface of this year’s presidential election. And the exchanges hinted at just how nasty the verbal battle between Clinton and Trump could become in the roughly 10 weeks until the general election.

Clinton’s aim is to diminish Trump in the eyes of Americans uncomfortable voting for someone who appeals to racists, perhaps even winning over some moderate Republicans. Trump is fighting that image by appealing to minority voters while questioning Clinton’s own record on race issues, noting that Democrats have long controlled urban cities where many African-Americans continue to live in poverty.

While Clinton stopped short of accusing Trump directly of being a racist, Trump offered no such restraint with his remarks.

Clinton’s speech Thursday afternoon, delivered at a community college in this general-election battleground state, focused particularly on Trump’s connection to the alt-right.

It’s a movement that predates Trump, but it was his presidential campaign that brought it into the mainstream. From the moment he told a national audience that Mexico was sending rapists and drug dealers across the border, Trump surged in the polls.

The movement has come under new scrutiny in the wake of a leadership shake-up in the Trump campaign that included the installation of Breitbart News head Steve Bannon as the campaign’s chief executive. Bannon has described Breitbart News as “the platform for the alt-right.”

“The de facto merger between Breitbart and the Trump campaign represents a landmark achievement for the ‘alt-right,’ ” Clinton said. “A fringe element has effectively taken over the Republican Party.”

She ticked off several recent headlines from the site in an effort to discredit Bannon. Among them: “Hoist It High And Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims A Glorious Heritage.” That appeared, Clinton said, shortly after the mass shooting in a Charleston, South Carolina, church.

Clinton also called Trump “a man with a long history of racial discrimination, who trafficks in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far dark reaches of the internet.”


In his own speech in New Hampshire earlier Thursday, Trump tried to discredit Clinton’s argument before she had made it, calling it “one of the most brazen attempts at distraction in the history of politics” and an attempt to spread “smears and her lies about decent people.”

“It’s the oldest play in the Democratic playbook,” he said. “When Democratic policies fail, they are left with only this one tired argument: You’re racist, you’re racist, you’re racist. They keep saying it: You’re racist. It’s a tired, disgusting argument, and it’s so totally predictable.”

Trump framed Clinton’s speech not as an attack on him but as an attack on the “millions of decent Americans” who support him. He provided a point-by-point defense of some of his most controversial stances – including blocking refugees from entering the country, cracking down on illegal immigration and intensifying policing – saying that it is not racist, Islamophobic or hard-hearted to want to keep Americans safe.

“To Hillary Clinton and her donors and advisers pushing her to spread smears and her lies about decent people, I have three words, I want you to remember these three words: Shame. On. You,” Trump said.

The fact that questions about race and bigotry dominated the day was by itself a victory for Clinton. She and her top aides have spent several days trying to fend off new questions about foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation and her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

In a contest in which both Clinton and Trump are viewed unfavorably by wide swaths of the electorate, both are seeking to make the race a referendum on the fitness of the other. Clinton’s speech here was an attempt to put the spotlight back on Trump on an issue her camp hopes will continue to be a hot topic through November, although Trump made a clear play to try to neutralize that by questioning her own attitudes toward black Americans.

In her speech, Clinton chided Trump for having questioned the citizenship of President Obama, the first African-American to hold the position; for having been sued by the Justice Department for alleged discrimination in rental housing; for questioning the impartiality of a judge of Mexican heritage; and for proposing to use deportation forces to remove 11 million undocumented immigrants from the country – an idea Trump now seems to be wavering on.


In recent days, Trump has been aggressively trying to shed the label of racist, which his campaign and supporters say is unfair and unmerited. He has increased the number of minority surrogates speaking on his behalf on cable news and at his rallies, and he is planning to take trips into urban areas soon to visit churches, charter schools and small businesses in black and Latino communities.

The purpose of this pitch is not only to reach out to minority voters but also to soften Trump’s image among white moderates, notably women, who have been taken aback by Trump’s rhetoric. He has delivered the vast majority of his speeches to overwhelmingly white crowds, even when he appears in cities with large minority populations.

“Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future,” Trump said at the rally Wednesday night in Mississippi. “She’s going to do nothing for African-Americans. She’s going to do nothing for the Hispanics.”

The line was included in prepared remarks distributed to reporters, and it seemed to catch many in the white crowd by surprise, triggering a delayed and somewhat brief round of cheers and applause. A woman standing behind Trump grimaced at the comment, her eyes widening as she seemed unsure whether she should clap. Another woman seated in the upper tier of the arena approvingly shouted, “Yeah! Yeah!”

Trump has accused Clinton of bigotry before, but those comments did not land with the same impact.

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EpiPens maker offers financial aid to patients, but won’t budge on higher price of drug Fri, 26 Aug 2016 02:11:46 +0000 The maker of EpiPens offered patients more help to pay for its costly emergency allergy shots but didn’t budge Thursday on the $608 price.

The announcement from Mylan N.V. triggered a new round of condemnation from politicians and consumer groups, who accuse the company of price-gouging on a potentially life-saving treatment.

Critics stressed that insurers, employers and taxpayers will still foot most of the cost for EpiPens. Over time, that drives up insurance premiums and the country’s burgeoning health care tab.

“Everybody suffers, except the Mylan investors,” said Sabrina Corlette of Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute.

This week, Mylan joined other drugmakers such as Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. and Turing Pharmaceuticals, who’ve been blasted for mammoth price increases.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch defended her company’s price hikes Thursday, telling CNBC that lowering the price was not an option. Bresch said the company only receives $274 of the $608 for a twin-package of EpiPens. She said insurers, pharmacies, prescription benefit managers and distributors divvy up the rest.

Instead of a price cut, Mylan said it was expanding programs that help people pay for EpiPens or give them out free. It doubled the limit for eligibility for its patient assistance program, so a family of four making up to $97,200 would pay nothing out of pocket. It also said it will offer $300 copay cards, up from the current $100 per-prescription savings. That would cut the bill in half for patients who have to pay full price.

People will eventually be able to order the injected medicine directly from the company to lower their cost.

“This step seems like a PR fix more than a real remedy, masking an exorbitant and callous price hike,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, said in a statement.

EpiPens, which have little competition, are used in emergencies to treat severe allergies to insect bites and foods that can lead to anaphylactic shock. People usually keep a number of EpiPens handy. The syringes, prefilled with the hormone epinephrine, expire after a year.

How much an individual pays depends on insurance coverage. Private insurers often negotiate discounts off the list price, and patient out-of-pocket costs vary by plan. Customers of the nation’s largest prescription benefits manager pay $73.50. Mylan has said that many people get EpiPens with no out-of-pocket cost.

The list price for a pair of EpiPens has been raised repeatedly from $93.88 in 2007, when Mylan acquired the product.

Congressional members and other politicians this week have called for hearings on Mylan’s pricing, an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, and Food and Drug Administration action to increase competition.

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On fact-finding trip to Greenland, Sen. King finds effect of climate change ‘amazing and scary’ Fri, 26 Aug 2016 02:09:00 +0000 Maine’s U.S. Sen. Angus King returned from a fact-finding trip to Greenland on Thursday determined to push for more icebreakers to clear emerging Arctic trade routes, some of which could be built in Maine.

The United States has only one working heavy icebreaker capable of clearing shipping lanes through Arctic waters as the ice sheet there melts, while Russia has at least a dozen, King said. Icebreaking abilities are essential in a warming world, he said.

Arctic trade could play a big role in the Maine economy, with Maine ports being the first ones reached by ships traveling east through the Northwest Passage, King said. So icebreaking is important to the state’s economic future, as well as America’s, he said.

U.S. and Danish defense and meteorological delegations survey an iceberg array off the western coast of Greenland. Maine's U.S. Sen. Angus King took part in the three-day fact-finding mission.

U.S. and Danish defense and meteorological delegations survey an iceberg array off the western coast of Greenland. Maine’s U.S. Sen. Angus King took part in the three-day fact-finding mission.

President Obama has set aside money for another heavy icebreaker to be built in the future, but by the time it is done, the existing ship will probably need to be retired, still leaving the United States with just one, King said.

King spent three days touring the massive, mostly icebound island, meeting with government officials to learn about impacts of warming Arctic waters. He visited Greenland’s largest glacier and surveyed the increasing number of icebergs.

“What’s happening there is amazing and scary,” King said of Jakobshavn Glacier. “The glacier has moved as much in the last 10 years as it has in 100 years before. That summarizes what has been happening as a result of climate change.”

When the Greenland ice sheet melts – and all science says that it is doing just that, it is just a question of how fast, King said – the sea levels across the globe will rise by 24 feet, King said. Scientists predict the sea will rise about a foot in the next 15 years or so, he said.

“A foot doesn’t sound like that much, but if you add a foot to high tide surge or a storm it really makes a difference,” King said, citing Portland’s Old Port, which was built on fill, as a prime example of a port in need of infrastructure improvements to cope with climate change.

Sen. Angus King, Coast Guard Commandant Paul F. Zukunft and Danish defense and meteorological officials work Monday during a three day fact-finding mission to Greenland, examining the environmental and security implications of the warming Arctic climate.

Sen. Angus King, Coast Guard Commandant Paul F. Zukunft and Danish defense and meteorological officials work Monday during a three day fact-finding mission to Greenland, examining the environmental and security implications of the warming Arctic climate.

Speaking at the Portland International Jetport after getting off a plane, King said he wasn’t certain exactly how much the trip cost. The Coast Guard was going anyway, he said, so the only cost to taxpayers was lodging for him and two staff members.

King was the only member of Congress to participate in the fact-finding mission. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was supposed to go, but had to cancel, King said. Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Paul F. Zukunft also attended.

King said he talked with Zukunft about a pending $10 billion contract for Coast Guard cutters, which is due to be awarded in the next month or two, but he didn’t learn anything new. Bath Iron Works is a finalist for the contract.


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Turkey sends more tanks into northern Syria Fri, 26 Aug 2016 02:06:40 +0000 ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey sent more tanks into northern Syria on Thursday and gave Syrian Kurdish forces a week to scale back their presence near the Turkish border, a day after it launched a U.S.-backed cross-border incursion to establish a frontier zone free of the Islamic State and Kurdish rebels.

Skirmishes broke out between Turkish-backed Syrian rebels and the U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters, raising the potential for an all-out confrontation between the two American allies that would also jeopardize the fight against the Islamic State in the volatile area.

Turkey’s incursion Wednesday to capture the town of Jarablus was a dramatic escalation of Turkey’s role in Syria’s war and adds yet another powerhouse force on the ground in an already complicated conflict.

But Ankara’s objective went beyond fighting extremists. Turkey is also aiming to contain the expansion by Syria’s Kurds, who have used the fight against the Islamic State and the chaos of Syria’s civil war to seize nearly the entire stretch of territory along Syria’s northern border with Turkey.

Above all, Ankara seeks to avoid Kurdish forces linking up their strongholds along the border. The U.S. has backed its NATO ally, sending a stern warning to the Syrian Kurds with whom it has partnered in the fight against the Islamic State to stay east of the Euphrates River. The river crosses from Turkey into Syria at Jarablus.

“The U.S. is interested in stopping this from becoming a confrontation between the YPG and Turkey. That would be a huge detriment to the anti-IS campaign,” said Chris Kozak, a Syria researcher at the Washington-based Institute of the Study of War, referring to the main U.S.-backed Kurdish faction fighting the Islamic State. Turkey accuses the group of links to Kurdish groups waging an insurgency in southeastern Turkey.

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Sea Dogs down Trenton, 4-3 Fri, 26 Aug 2016 02:05:35 +0000 The comparison is entirely unfair, but Mauricio Dubon is putting up Mookie Betts-type numbers with the Portland Sea Dogs.

Dubon, 22, went 3 for 4 with a home run, RBI double and single Thursday night to lead Portland to a 4-3 win over the Trenton Thunder at Hadlock Field.

Betts was 21 when he began the 2014 season in Portland. He batted .355 with 18 doubles, three triples and six home runs in 54 games before his promotion to Triple-A.

Dubon, in 52 games with the Sea Dogs since his promotion from Class A Salem, is batting .337 with 17 doubles, six triples and five home runs.

“He’s been money since Day 1,” said Manager Carlos Febles, who also managed Dubon in Salem last year. “He’s a thousand-times better hitter than what I saw last year (.274).

“He stays back (with the bat) and his hands are working pretty good. The ball jumps off his bat. He’s been impressive.”

Dubon doesn’t receive much hype, playing in the shadow of Boston’s stellar young players (including Betts), but he’s having a breakout year.

“I’m just keeping things simple,” Dubon said. “Last year I tried (quick fixes) when I struggled. Now when I go 0 for 4 I try to learn from it … And I’m definitely stronger from last year. I worked out a lot in the offseason and it’s paying off.”

Dubon’s double off reliever Caleb Smith (2-5) scored Tzu-Wei Lin to break a 3-3 tie in the seventh. Earlier he swatted a curveball over the left-field wall off Trenton starter Ronald Herrera.

Sea Dogs starter Mitch Atkins (5-7) struck out 10 and took over the Eastern League lead with 132, allowing three runs on seven hits over seven innings.

Luis Ysla allowed a walk and single in the ninth but escaped for his third save.

Nate Freiman had two RBI for Portland (52-76), both on groundouts.

Yoan Moncada (1 for 4) singled in the first and scored, also striking out twice.

Mark Payton’s two-run homer and Dustin Fowler’s RBI triple produced the runs for Trenton (81-50).

NOTES: Lin, normally a middle infielder, played the outfield for only the second time. … The announced paid attendance was 5,072. … One of those fans was Mike Davis of Falmouth, who was the Sea Dogs’ 9-millionth fan in the team’s 23rd season. … The Sea Dogs will announce their Hall of Fame inductees before Friday’s game. … Also, the first 1,000 fans will receive a Sea Dogs baseball card set. … The annual and popular Field of Dreams game is at 6 p.m. Saturday. Only 90 tickets remain. … Almost 600 tickets remain for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game, the final home game of the season.

In Eastern League news, league president Joe McEacharn announced that Hartford could lose its franchise if its stadium isn’t completed soon. The Hartford Yard Goats, formerly the New Britain Rock Cats, had to play on the road all year because of stadium construction delays and legal issues. McEacharn didn’t give an exact deadline for the stadium to be completed, nor specify where the Yard Goats would move if the stadium wasn’t ready.

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Two plead guilty in Bundy ranch standoff Fri, 26 Aug 2016 02:04:50 +0000 LAS VEGAS — Two defendants became the first to plead guilty Thursday to federal charges in an armed confrontation with U.S. officials over grazing rights near cattleman and open-range advocate Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada.

Gerald “Jerry” DeLemus and Blaine Cooper each admitted to conspiring with others who engaged in a tense gunpoint standoff with federal Bureau of Land Management agents in April 2014 near Bundy’s property about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas. Both told U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro they weren’t physically present for the standoff.

But they acknowledged interfering with the execution of federal court orders by recruiting and organizing armed gunmen to support Bundy and sons Ammon, Ryan, Mel and Dave Bundy in efforts to prevent the roundup of Bundy cattle from the scenic Gold Butte area.

Their plea deals call for sentences of six years in federal prison, although their defense attorneys can seek leniency at sentencing Dec. 1.

Cooper, 37, from Humboldt, Arizona, also pleaded guilty to assault on a federal officer.

DeLemus, 61, of Rochester, New Hampshire, arrived after the confrontation started.

DeLemus, a former U.S. Marine, spent weeks afterward living in a tent and organizing armed patrols near the Bundy ranch outside Bunkerville.

DeLemus was also politically active at home in New Hampshire, where his wife, Susan DeLemus, is a Republican state assemblywoman.

He stopped several times Thursday to confer with his attorney while entering his guilty pleas.

“I don’t know that I threatened anyone,” DeLemus told the judge at one point, “but I made public statements hoping it would end peacefully.”

Prosecutors characterized DeLemus and Cooper as “mid-level organizers” and leaders of the conspiracy to prevent federal agents and contract cowboys from rounding up Bundy cattle that federal officials said were trespassing on public land.

“Federal law enforcement officers must be able to engage in their official duties, including executing federal court orders, without fear of assault or losing their lives,” U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden said in a statement after the pleas.

DeLemus and Cooper became the first among 19 defendants to take plea deals in the case in Las Vegas.

Trial for some of the remaining 17 defendants is scheduled to begin Feb. 2 on charges including threatening a federal officer, carrying a firearm in a crime of violence and obstruction.

Seven defendants in the Nevada case, including Cooper and Bundy’s sons Ammon and Ryan Bundy, are also among 26 people charged in Portland, Oregon, in connection with a 41-day occupation of a wildlife refuge earlier this year.

Eleven people have taken plea deals in the Oregon case, including Cooper. The Oregon trial is scheduled to begin next month.

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Warren sculptor hones his craft – to the letter | His alphabet-inspired ‘Sculpture Soup’ exhibit at UMF is designed to make students think. Fri, 26 Aug 2016 02:00:44 +0000 FARMINGTON — As students begin trickling onto the University of Maine at Farmington’s campus this weekend, they’ll be confronted with an “F Bomb.” They also may notice a “C Saw” and “P Pod,” not to mention “Wandering I’s.” Those responsible hope they’ll appreciate the “Iron E.”

Those and dozens of other alphabet-inspired sculptures are part of the “Sculpture Soup” series by sculptor and metal artist Jay Sawyer of Warren being installed this week as part of the Emery Community Arts Center’s push to bring art to students that makes them think and exposes them to variety.

“It’s fun, and it’s really smart fun,” said Stan Spilecki, technical director of the Emery Community Arts Center, of Sawyer’s work. “There’s the witticism of the use of the words. It’s so literary.

“We always try to open the year with something that has some splash, something that will get the students thinking and make them aware that art can be a lot of different things,” Spilecki said.

Sawyer’s series is the opening exhibit of the academic year for the Emery Community Arts Center at UMF, where classes begin Monday.

The series is made up of more than 40 pieces ranging from tabletop size to 8 feet tall, each consisting of a letter of the alphabet that Sawyer has applied his wit and welding work to.

“It’s really quite an honor to come to Farmington because I think this series has a lot of education opportunity with it,” Sawyer said. “You’ve got the phonics and all the idiosyncrasies of the language. … I really think it provokes that thought and maybe gives kids a fun way to get a grasp of all those weird quirky things about the English language.”

While the smaller pieces like “C Saw,” a bright yellow “c” curved out of a saw blade, or “P Pod,” a delicate “p” made from perforated sheet stock with steel peas forged inside the pod, are being shown inside the arts center, there are two large sculptures on display outside.

On Thursday, with the assistance of a boom truck, Sawyer placed “Wandering I’s,” two leaning letter “I’s” forged from steel I-beams, and his 8-foot-tall piece “F Bomb,” a bright red “f” on top of a 3-foot-diameter ball – an old-style bomb – on the grounds of the arts center.

Sawyer, who began working as a metal artist and sculptor 10 years ago, was a part of a collaborative show at UMF several years ago. Then in 2014, Sawyer installed his 15-foot-tall metal sculpture, “A Spirit of Its Own,” on public display at the Portland International Jetport, and the Emery Community Arts Center knew it needed to get him back to campus.

Throughout the academic year the center, which opened on UMF’s campus five years ago, features a variety of displays in both the visual and performing arts. Spilecki said the center, which during the year also showcases student art, makes a point of showing the work of Maine artists such as Sawyer and welcomes the artistic edge their work brings to campus.

He said Sawyer “is someone who is up and coming in the Maine art world” and officials asked him if he’d be interested in doing a show of just his work.

At the time, Sawyer had started working on the “Sculpture Soup” series, which has taken him nearly three years to complete, and Spilecki said they thought the series would be a good fit for UMF, so they patiently waited from him to finish. Sawyer’s exhibit at UMF is the first place his new series will be shown.

Sawyer, whose work is made entirely of reused and repurposed material, said “Sculpture Soup” began with the letter “e” and a childhood memory. A native of Knox County, Sawyer said he grew up wandering around the George’s River Woolen Mill. When he got the opportunity to work with materials after the mill was demolished a few years ago, Sawyer fixated on a large piece of iron from the mill’s penstock, used to strain the water from the St. George’s River, which powered the mill.

He wondered what he could craft out of the iron. One day the theme of irony came to mind. So he made a small lowercase “e” out of the rusted iron.

When people saw “Iron E,” they told Sawyer he should do the whole alphabet. At first he resisted, but then he made sculptures of all the vowels. Three years later, using a plethora of salvaged materials and puns, Sawyer has more than 40 letter sculptures – with some letters forged and interpreted a number of different ways.

“There is some concern for whimsy and how far you can go with the whimsy. So one or two letters, I think would be whimsy. But I think when you push it, and you push it so far that you’ve got the entire alphabet, it’s not whimsy anymore. It’s a serious venture,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer’s background is not in the fine arts, or the arts in general. A graduate of Maine Maritime Academy, he worked several years as a marine engineer, and he began a welding and mobile repair business. With a wide variety of fabrication work coming into his shop, Sawyer was exposed to a range of industrial materials and was able to fine-tune his welding and forging skills.

He can’t pinpoint why he decided to transition to the artistic side, only that he had come to a point in his life at which he had started to change.

“I had the passion and the desire, and then it was a matter of trying to get the confidence and so somewhere in my 40s, that started happening,” Sawyer said.

His work will be on display through Nov. 3, with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 9.

Lauren Abbate ccan be contacted at 861-9252 or at:

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Missile test adds to North Korea holiday celebration Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:57:24 +0000 PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea marked its “Military First” holiday Thursday with mass dancing, outdoor concerts and boasts of a successful – and potentially game-changing – submarine-launched ballistic missile test it hopes will serve as a warning to Washington and Seoul to stop holding joint military exercises Pyongyang sees as a dress rehearsal for invasion.

Television news broadcasts and the front pages of morning newspapers Thursday showed images of the launch, conducted in the early hours the previous day. The test, which brought immediate condemnation from the United States and North Korea’s neighbors, sent a “Pukguksong” missile soaring from a submerged position off the North’s port city of Sinpo. It flew an estimated 310 miles toward the seas around Japan, the longest distance North Korea has yet achieved in a submarine launch.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was shown smiling and hugging officials after watching the test from an observation deck. He was quoted by state media as calling it the “success of all successes.”

Launching long-range ballistic missiles from submarines is stealthier than land launching. Having that capability could significantly strengthen North Korea’s ability to conduct strikes on U.S. positions in South Korea, and possibly on U.S. bases in Japan.

]]> 0, 25 Aug 2016 21:57:24 +0000
R.I. testing scores reflect persistent minority gap Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:53:14 +0000 PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island’s standardized test scores have improved but there’s a persistent and growing achievement gap between white and minority students.

Math scores rose by 5 percentage points this year so that nearly 30 percent of all students met the standards, but the math improvements were not as high for black, Latino and low-income students, widening an existing gap.

English scores improved by 2 percentage points for all students. But fewer than 22 percent of black and Latino students scored proficient in English, compared to a statewide average of almost 38 percent. The gap for Latino students narrowed slightly.

The Rhode Island Department of Education released the figures Thursday, noting that participation rates improved along with overall scores.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said in a statement that “our scores are moving in the right direction, but I am not satisfied with the results, and we cannot afford to take our foot off the gas.”

Rhode Island is the only New England state to use the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test, known as the PARCC, and one of seven nationwide.

Although state Education Commissioner Ken Wagner doesn’t want the PARCC to be a high school graduation requirement, he said Thursday it’s important to not keep changing strategies and to stick with the test as a way of measuring and improving school performance.

“If you set the standard too low, you’ve let down another generation of students,” he said. “Let’s put the pressure on the system to do even better for kids but let’s not make this a barrier for students.”

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UVM cancels women’s basketball game over North Carolina law Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:45:09 +0000 BURLINGTON, Vt. —The University of Vermont has canceled its women’s basketball team’s upcoming game in North Carolina over a state law that governs transgender bathroom access.

The Catamounts were scheduled to face the Tar Heels on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus on Dec. 28, but announced the cancellation on their athletic website Wednesday.

UNC team spokesman Mark Kimmel said Thursday that the Tar Heels were working to find a replacement on the schedule.

UVM athletic director Jeff Schulman said the cancellation was a result of concerns over the law, which requires transgender people to use the restrooms in schools and many public buildings that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates, rather than their gender identity.

Schulman said the law discriminates against the transgender community.

“We strive very hard to create an inclusive climate for our students and staff in which they all can feel safe, respected, and valued,” Schulman said.

“It would be hard to fulfill these obligations while competing in a state with this law, which is contrary to our values as an athletic department and university,” he said.

Fellow America East team Albany had cancelled a men’s basketball game against Duke in November.

The NBA has moved the 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans instead of hosting it in Charlotte, North Carolina, as originally scheduled because of the law.

The Burlington Free Press reported that UVM and UNC had agreed to the nonconference game on March 29, less than a week after the law went into effect.

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Two nuns in Mississippi slain 
in possible home break-in Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:41:48 +0000 DURANT, Miss. — Two nuns who worked as nurses and helped the poor in rural Mississippi were found slain in their home, perhaps victims of a break-in and vehicle theft, officials said Thursday.

Authorities would not say if they have a suspect or what kind of vehicle is missing from the nuns’ home. They also did not release a cause of death, but the Rev. Greg Plata said police told him the sisters were stabbed.

The nuns were identified as Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill. Their bodies were taken to a state crime lab for autopsies.

The women, both nurse practitioners, were found Thursday morning when they didn’t report to work at a nearby clinic, where they provided flu shots, insulin and other medical care for children and adults who couldn’t afford it.

“They were two of the sweetest, most gentle women you can imagine. Their vocation was helping the poor,” said Plata, who oversees a 35-member Catholic church the sisters attended.

Maureen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, said there were signs of a break-in at the home and the nuns’ vehicle is missing.

Authorities didn’t release a motive and it wasn’t clear if the nuns’ religious work had anything to do with the slayings.

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St. Paul’s backers aided defense fund, documents say Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:36:39 +0000 BOSTON — Lawyers for a New Hampshire prep school sex assault victim say parents and alumni at St. Paul’s School helped raise over $100,000 for her alleged attacker’s defense team.

The Boston Globe reported documents filed in a New Hampshire federal court Thursday allege that Joshua Abram, described as a “prominent SPS parent” in the filings, contributed $10,000 and solicited more donations from other parents and alumni.

The money allegedly helped graduate Owen Labrie pay for prominent attorney J.W. Carney, who represented Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger.

]]> 0 Thu, 25 Aug 2016 21:36:39 +0000
Pika vanishes in West as climate change alters habitat Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:33:11 +0000 SALT LAKE CITY — Populations of a small rabbit-like animal known as the American pika are vanishing in many mountainous areas of the West as climate change alters its habitat, according to findings of a study released Thursday by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The range for the mountain-dwelling herbivore is decreasing in southern Utah, northeastern California and in the Great Basin that covers most of Nevada and parts of Utah, Oregon, Idaho and California, the federal agency concluded after studying the cuddly looking critter from 2012-2015.

The findings come more than a decade after the same agency, and same lead researcher, concluded in 2003 that pika populations were dwindling, at least partly because of global warming. This new study makes a more authoritative statement about the role of global warming on the animal.

“The longer we go along, the evidence continues to suggest that climate is the single strongest factor,” said Erik Beever, a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and lead author. “It’s not to say it’s the only thing, but by far it’s the largest single factor.”

The pika’s habitat on mountain slopes, known as talus, are hotter and drier in the summer and more harsh in the winter with less snowpack to serve as an insulator, Beever said.

The study didn’t quantify how many total American pika still exist, but honed in on several areas where the small animal no longer roams in search of grass, weeds and wildflowers to eat.

At Utah’s Zion National Park, they’re gone all together despite being seen as recently as 2011. In nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument, they’re no longer in three-fourths of their historical habitat, Beever said.

Pikas were only found in 11 of 29 sites where they once lived in northeastern California.

In the Great Basin, which stretches from Utah’s Wasatch Mountains in the east to the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains in the west, the population is down about 44 percent compared to historical records.

“It’s not that they’ve just moved, they are gone all together,” Beever said.

President Barack Obama mentioned the plight of the pika this summer when he spoke at Yosemite National Park about the damage climate change is inflicting on the nation’s national parks. He said the pika was being forced further upslope at Yosemite to escape the heat.

Wildlife advocacy groups have long been worried about the pika amid global warming, but their previous requests to get the animal listed as an endangered species have failed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected a request in 2010, saying not all populations were declining.

A new request was made this April by a high school student in New York state.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is set to release its decision on that in early September, but the agency’s staff won’t take into account the new study because they are bound by rules to only take into account information submitted with the petition..

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Accidental explosion collapses sports center in Belgium Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:31:00 +0000 BRUSSELS — One person is reported to have been killed and at least two injured in Belgium in an accidental explosion at a sports center near the French border.

A Belgian Crisis Center staffer said early Friday that “the information that I have is that it due to an accident, probably gas. There is no link to terrorism or anything like that.” The staffer could not be named under the center’s rules.

Belgian state radio RTBF said the blast happened in the town of Chimay, 75 miles south of the capital Brussels just after midnight. It quoted local rescue services as saying a number of people had been in the building at the time.

The rescue services said part of the building collapsed and that people were trapped in the rubble.

Police and rescue services in Chimay could not be immediately reached for details.

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Roxanne Quimby’s son to speak in Unity Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:27:40 +0000 The man who successfully spearheaded efforts to designate more than 87,000 acres of North Woods land as a national monument is scheduled to speak next month at Unity College.

Lucas St. Clair, the son of philanthropist Roxanne Quimby, who donated the land, is set to deliver the talk at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 16 at the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts, according to a college news release.

The event is part of the annual Maine Woods Forever roundtable at Unity College and is free and open to the public.

Unity College students and faculty “are in the perfect position to help evaluate the economic, environmental, and social impact of a major initiative like the North Woods monument,” college President Melik Peter Khoury said in the release.

President Obama created the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in an area bordering Baxter State Park that was once the heart of Maine’s logging and papermaking industry but now faces an uncertain economic future.

The designation has sparked passionate responses from both supporters and critics. Supporters say the monument will attract more visitors and badly needed jobs to the region while protecting the forestland, but critics are concerned about the loss of access to land for hunting, snowmobiling and all-terrain vehicle riding, as well as potential ramifications for the region’s forest products industry.

At his Unity College talk, St. Clair is expected to talk about “the intense effort and the way forward” now that the land has been designated a monument.

“It’s a project my mom started almost two decades ago, so it’s amazing that here we are,” St. Clair said in an interview with the Portland Press Herald. “So it feels great. We have been working on this for a long time.”

Khoury said he looks forward to talking with St. Clair “about the educational opportunities that could accompany formation of the national monument.”

“This is truly a significant development for anyone who loves Maine, appreciates our natural resources and understands their importance to Maine’s economic and social health,” he said.

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Major league notebook: Former All-Star catcher heads to Dodgers Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:21:48 +0000 LOS ANGELES — The NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Carlos Ruiz from Philadelphia in a trade of backup catchers Thursday, getting a popular player with a world of postseason experience.

The Phillies also sent $1 million to the Dodgers for A.J. Ellis, minor league pitcher Tommy Bergjans and a player to be named or cash.

Ruiz, 37, was hitting .261 with three home runs and 12 RBI in 48 games, playing behind Cameron Rupp. Ruiz has done well lately, batting .340 (16 for 47) since the All-Star break.

Ruiz was an All-Star in 2012 and Phillies fans loved to call out his nickname – “Chooch” – when he delivered big hits. He got many of them for Philadelphia, batting .353 with two homers and five RBI in 11 World Series games.

Overall, Ruiz played 46 games in the postseason with the Phillies, and helped them win five NL East titles.

DODGER STADIUM will host the championship game of the 2017 World Baseball Classic, with Marlins Park and Petco Park also holding games leading up to the final on March 22.

Brazil, Britain, Israel and Pakistan will play qualifiers Sept. 22-25 at the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league team.

NATIONALS-ATHLETICS: Washington acquired left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski from Oakland for minor league infielder Max Schrock.

The A’s also sent cash to Washington.

MARINERS: Seattle activated left-hander James Paxton following a stint on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised elbow.

The Mariners opened a roster position for Paxton by designating left-hander Wade LeBlanc for assignment.

RANGERS: Carlos Gomez, a former All-Star outfielder, joined Texas five days after signing a minor league deal with the AL West leader.

Outfielder Drew Stubbs was designated for assignment to make room on the roster.

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‘Queen of knitwear’ designer Sonia Rykiel
dies at 86 Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:08:54 +0000 Sonia Rykiel’s styles gave women freedom of movement in the liberated ’60s and ’70s.

PARIS — Sonia Rykiel, a French designer dubbed the “queen of knitwear” whose relaxed sweaters in berry- colored stripes and eye-popping motifs helped liberate women from stuffy suits, has died. She was 86.

President Francois Hollande’s office announced her death in a statement Thursday, praising her as “a pioneer” who “offered women freedom of movement.” His office didn’t provide further details, and the Sonia Rykiel fashion house in Paris wouldn’t comment.

For the generation of women who came of age in the heady 1960s and ’70s, Rykiel, with her hallmark bright orange hair, came to symbolize the new era of freedom.


She also penned several novels – including one about a dress and its various incarnations – and figured in director Robert Altman’s satirical 1994 look at the fashion industry, “Pret-a-Porter.”

Designers, fashionistas and French cultural figures offered tributes to her and her influence Thursday, including on multilingual posts on her house’s Facebook page.

Rykiel got her start by designing knit maternity dresses for herself. She became a fixture of Paris’ fashion scene starting in 1968 when she opened her first ready-to-wear shop on the Left Bank at a time when student riots were challenging France’s bourgeoisie establishment. The designer’s empire grew to include menswear and children’s lines as well as accessories, perfumes and home goods, sold in the label’s stores on four continents.

Her daughter, Nathalie Rykiel, who as a young woman used to model her mother’s garments on the catwalk, has long helped manage the fashion house. The business was among France’s last major family-owned labels until it was sold to a Hong Kong investment fund in 2012.

Rykiel’s star pieces include the “poor boy” sweater – often in black with jewel tone stripes or emblazoned with messages or graphic motifs like oversized red lips – knit tops with embroidered roses and funky, rhinestone-studded berets. She developed techniques like inside-out stitching and no-hem finishings that embodied the freewheeling spirit of the times.


Rykiel, whose maiden name was Flis, was born in Paris in 1930. She married Sam Rykiel, the owner of a Paris boutique, and had Nathalie at 25.

It was motherhood that set her path on fashion design. After designing maternity outfits, she created knit garments for her husband’s boutique. By 1970, Women’s Wear Daily had dubbed Rykiel the “queen of knitwear.”

Still, early on, Rykiel was wracked by doubts.

“When I started in fashion, for the first 10 years, I said to myself every day, ‘I’m going to quit tomorrow. People are going to figure out that I don’t know anything,”‘ she told the Le Nouvel Observateur in a 2005 interview. “I always thought I’d be discredited in the end.”

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Putin denounces Paralympic ban Fri, 26 Aug 2016 01:01:26 +0000 MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin attacked the ban on his country from the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics as immoral and inhumane on Thursday, while six Russian athletes launched a bid to compete at next month’s games as individuals.

Russia was suspended on Aug. 7 over what International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven called a “medals over morals” culture with evidence of state-sponsored doping. The ban was confirmed Tuesday when the Court of Arbitration of Sport rejected a Russian appeal.

“The decision to disqualify our Paralympians is outside the bounds of law, morality and humanity,” Putin said at an award ceremony for Olympic athletes at the Kremlin. He called the ruling against Russia “cynical” and claimed that “it even humiliates those who take such decisions.”

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the ban “collective responsibility for an unproven crime.” While Russia has accepted there were some shortcomings in its anti-doping system, it insists drug use was not systemic or supported by the government.

The Paralympics start Sept. 7. On Thursday, six Russian athletes, including three gold medalists, wrote to IPC president Craven asking for a route into the games as individuals.

“I strongly believe that real perpetrators of the dirty system must be punished and banned from sport. I do not want to lose to cheaters and I don’t want to compete with cheaters, even Russians,” says the letter, which was provided to The Associated Press by Andrei Mitkov, an agent representing the six. “However even more strongly I believe that innocent people should not suffer for actions of cheaters that tried to deceive clean athletes of the world.”

The athletes, who say they have been repeatedly tested outside Russia and found clean, asked for the IPC to provide criteria that could allow some Russians to compete if they can show they are clean. The approach is similar to the one that allowed U.S.-based Russian long jumper Darya Klishina to compete at the Rio Olympics when the Russian team was banned.

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Homeland Security probes hack of SNL star’s website Fri, 26 Aug 2016 00:59:41 +0000 LOS ANGELES — The hateful hack of comedian Leslie Jones’ personal website reveals the tricky cyber landscape celebrities tread and the murky legal protections that exist for personal digital content.

While Jones’ supporters have been vocal with their outrage and Department of Homeland Security investigators are looking into the breach of Jones’ website that exposed intimate photos and personal documents, experts say little can be done to prevent online hacks and harassment. Internet trolling is impossible to predict and difficult to prosecute.

Jones’ site remained offline Thursday and the actress-comedian has stayed away from social media since the Wednesday attack. Her representatives did not respond to inquiries from The Associated Press.

Those who broke into Jones’ site and replaced its usual content with naked photos, a driver’s license and racist video are clearly breaking the law, said attorney Jonathan Steinsapir, but “trolling” a celebrity with sexist or racist posts online is not a crime.

Jones was targeted on Twitter last month, receiving a barrage of racial slurs and obscene photos. The “Ghostbusters” actress called on the site to do more to curb harassment, and Twitter banned several users as a result.

“She’s done all the right things,” said Brendesha Tynes, a University of Southern California professor who specializes in cyberbullying and social media. “You report, you block — she’s done all those things. One thing she definitely needs to do is to really rally her tribe.”

Apart from technological solutions like hard-to-crack passwords, public social-media support is one of the best defenses against online trolls, said Dorie Clark, a branding and social media expert.

“Ultimately, the best thing you can do as an insurance policy is to create a community of loyal fans and friends that will stand up and defend you and essentially try to fight back against the trolls and the negative posts,” she said.

Such support also offers psychological support to trolling victims, who might experience depressive symptoms after an attack, Tynes added.

Scarlett Johansson said she was “truly humiliated and embarrassed” when stolen nude photos of her were published online. The hacker in that case was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

Most often, though, technology moves faster than the law.

“The availability of media now and how quickly information spreads — I don’t think the law has kept up with that,” said Steinsapir, who specializes in intellectual property and copyright law.

For example, once stolen photos are disseminated online, it’s not only tough to track who’s republishing them, it’s practically impossible to prosecute.

“The problem is that the material from the hack eventually finds its way into other people’s hands and gets posted on Reddit or whatever,” Steinsapir said, “and it’s very hard to go after those people.”

Going offline entirely isn’t an option for most celebrities. Entertainers are generally expected to help market their shows on their social media platforms, Clark said. And Jones, who took a break from Twitter after last month’s attack, returned to the platform to live-tweet the Olympics, which won her a trip to Rio and a commentator gig on NBC.

“For a star to totally opt out of social media is essentially tying one hand behind their back and limiting their appeal and utility to the studios who can hire them,” Clark said.

The savviest celebrities build a community of fans online who will both turn up at the box office and speak up online, she said.

“If you are not just using social media in a rote, self-promotional way where it reads like every tweet has been written by your publicist, but instead you’re using it to creatively and authentically engage with fans, that builds a level of trust and loyalty that encourages people to support you and stand up for you,” Clark said.

And all the experts agree: Taking naked photos and storing them digitally is probably a bad idea.

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Commentary: U.S. goalkeeper was undone by one too many incidents Fri, 26 Aug 2016 00:55:15 +0000 On Wednesday night, U.S. Soccer made the call to suspend goalie Hope Solo, the anchor of so many of America’s successful women’s World Cup and Olympic teams, for six months for the ugly and unsportsmanlike move of calling Sweden’s players “a bunch of cowards” after their upset of the U.S. team in Rio de Janeiro.

It was an easy move, one convenient as well as appropriate. More significant is that the federation’s decision to terminate her contract, which may well signal that Solo has played her final game for the U.S.

In announcing the federation’s decision, the U.S. Soccer president, Sunil Gulati, noted that Solo’s history, which includes other controversial statements – as well as a pending case of alleged domestic violence involving two of her relatives – and a previous suspension by U.S. Soccer for an incident involving the team’s van, played a part in the decision.

“The comments by Hope Solo after the match against Sweden during the 2016 Olympics were unacceptable and do not meet the standard of conduct we require from our national team players,” Gulati’s statement said. “Beyond the athletic arena, and beyond the results, the Olympics celebrate and represent the ideals of fair play and respect. We expect all of our representatives to honor those principles, with no exceptions.

“Taking into consideration the past incidents involving Hope, as well as the private conversations we’ve had requiring her to conduct herself in a manner befitting a U.S. national team member, U.S. Soccer determined this is the appropriate disciplinary action.”

Solo tweeted that her contract was terminated, too, but aside from the embarrassment for someone who is one of the country’s loftiest women’s soccer stars, there isn’t much teeth to the suspension, as Julie Foudy – with whom Solo has tangled – pointed out. With the World Cup and Olympic revenue streams behind, the women’s team has only two friendlies on its schedule for 2016.

“Solo essentially missing nothing w #USWNT & allowed to play w @SeattleReignFC, which US Soccer pays for,” Foudy, a star on the national team from 1988-2004 and now an ESPN commentator, tweeted. “More symbolic than substantive.”

While Solo has compiled staggering career statistics, the Rio Olympics showed that her skills or dedication may be waning and by the time of the 2019 World Cup, her 38th birthday will be fast approaching and there’s a sense it may be time for the women’s team to find its next great goalkeeper.

If Solo isn’t the world’s best female goalkeeper any more, keeping her on the national team isn’t worth the headache for U.S. Soccer.

“This was a no-brainer PR move involving a 35-year-old who had likely already played her final Olympic and World Cup match,” Matt Calkins of the Seattle Times wrote, referring to her as “the wart that keeps growing back.”

“If character came before championships, we would have seen reprimands that actually jeopardized the USWNT’s chances on the field. That was always too much to ask.”

Like U.S. Soccer, her teammates have to be weary of being left to speak for her and find the delicate balance between supporting a teammate while refusing to condone her behavior. Solo’s preferred means of communication is emails to reporters so teammates, such as Alex Morgan, were left to speak about the “cowards” comment.

“I saw her comments but I feel like those are opinions I don’t share,” Morgan told USA Today. Megan Rapinoe, in an NBC interview, said she was “really disappointed” to learn of Solo’s remarks.

For Solo, poor decision-making always seems to come after she takes a step toward rehabbing her reputation. During the 2007 World Cup, for instance, she ripped Greg Ryan, the national team’s coach then, for replacing her in goal with Briana Scurry and said he was living in the past. During the London Olympics in 2012, she went after Brandi Chastain, one of the team’s iconic stars, for her commentary, tweeting she felt “bad 4 our fans that have 2 press mute” when she speaks.

At times Solo has shown signs of maturity and an awareness that she’s more than just an athlete. But those moments have been trumped by troubling off-the-pitch troubles. U.S. Soccer suspended her for 30 days in January 2015 after she was a passenger in a team van driven by her husband, Jerramy Stevens, when he was cited for driving under the influence during training in Los Angeles. That was during the lead-up to the World Cup, when Solo’s skills were unquestioned.

“Hope made a poor decision that has resulted in a negative impact on U.S. Soccer and her teammates,” Ellis said in a statement at that time. “We feel at this time it is best for her to step away from the team.”

That pales, though, next to an alleged domestic violence incident that resulted in fourth-degree assault charges involving her half-sister and nephew in June 2014 and remains pending in Washington state courts.

Among the ugly details of that incident, ESPN reported that an intoxicated Solo, when asked to remove a necklace by police, told an officer that her necklace cost more than his annual salary. Solo has described the incident as “traumatic and embarrassing,” and called herself a victim in a February 2015 interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“I’m not going to go into all of the details but it was a scary night,” she said then. “I was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of my 17-year-old nephew, who is 6-foot-9, 280 pounds. I was struck over the head and concussed pretty severely. It was a very scary night.”

Of late Solo has sought to speak as a soccer statesman, only to trip herself up afterward. She and other women’s players filed a lawsuit against the soccer federation, alleging that they were paid nearly four times less than male national team members but generated more revenue. Solo (along with her teammates) also has spoken out forcefully about inferior field conditions that women face.

Then she managed to insult Brazilians over the Zika crisis, saying she would go to Brazil but would not leave her hotel room. She compounded her message by tweeting photos of herself armed to the teeth against mosquitoes.

Was it any wonder she was overwhelmed with “Zika” chants by irked Brazilians?

Solo, who will receive three months’ severance pay, now will spend the next few months playing for the Seattle Reign in the NWSL; neither the team nor the league has responded to inquiries about her status. And she awaits resolution of her court case.

In the immediate aftermath of Wednesday’s suspension, she shows a determination to remain true to herself no matter the cost.

“For 17 years I dedicated my life to the U.S. Women’s National Team and did the job of a pro athlete the only way I knew how – with passion, tenacity, an unrelenting commitment to be the best goalkeeper in the world, not just for my country, but to elevate the sport for the next generation of female athletes,” she tweeted. “In those commitments, I have never wavered. And with so much more to give, I am saddened by the Federation’s decision to terminate my contract.

“I could not be the player I am without being the person I am, even when I haven’t made the best choices or said the right things. My entire career, I have only wanted the best for this team, for the players and the women’s game and I will continue to pursue these causes with the same unrelenting passion with which I play the game.”

]]> 0, 25 Aug 2016 21:02:46 +0000
Bug repellent sends 3 people to hospital Fri, 26 Aug 2016 00:50:07 +0000 WATERVILLE — Three people were taken to the hospital for evaluation after a woman oversprayed her Main Street apartment with bug spray.

City fire officials responded with hazmat suits to the incident and said while the chemical would not cause serious harm, chronic exposure could cause respiratory and skin problems.

Multiple emergency vehicles blocked southbound traffic in front of the apartment building at 270 Main St., slowing afternoon traffic going both ways.

The Fire Department responded around 12:45 p.m. after someone in the multi-unit building complained of respiratory problems, Fire Chief David LaFountain said.

Emergency responders came prepared to deal with serious phosphate chemicals, he said, but found that a resident of the apartment had just sprayed a large amount of bug spray all over her apartment because she is afraid of germs.

The names of the woman involved and those taken to the hospital were not released.

The bug spray contains diatomaceous earth, a fine powder that can be harmful to the lungs.

Chronic exposure can lead to skin problems as well, LaFountain said.

Two women and one man, a maintenance worker, were in the apartment when officials responded and were treated at the scene for exposure.

They were also taken to the hospital to check for further damage. One reported harm to the skin.

]]> 0, 25 Aug 2016 20:50:07 +0000
‘Stick sculptor’ Patrick Dougherty weaves his way to fame Fri, 26 Aug 2016 00:49:23 +0000 BOYLSTON, Mass. —The towering, whimsical shapes Patrick Dougherty creates by twisting and weaving sticks together have gained him an international following. Now, the artist who lives in a log cabin near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is back in New England to build two more of his almost cartoon-like stick sculptures.

Since the early 1980s, Dougherty has constructed more than 270 installations around the globe, from China, Japan, and Melbourne, Australia, to Honolulu, Los Angeles and Waco, Texas.

“A good sculpture is something that causes people to have personal associations,” Dougherty said in a recent interview. “It sparks all kinds of feelings about things in your own life.”

His fans agree. They often say his installations – soaring as high as 30 feet – conjure images of the Garden of Eden, a bird’s nest or a walk in the woods.

On Thursday, the artist’s newest installation is set to be unveiled at the 132-acre Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts, where visitors can walk the bucolic grounds that border the Wachusett Reservoir and view the sculpture.

A second installation was commissioned by the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, where Dougherty will be artist in residence. Construction there is set to begin Sept. 4.

“The subtleties and nuances of each site take a while to understand,” Dougherty said, describing his creative process. “You want to build a piece that seems sympathetic and something that people feel really compelled by.”

Dubbed “The Wild Rumpus,” the installation at Tower Hill was inspired by wind whipping through four hilltop spires on the grounds. A “flying wall,” as Dougherty calls it, will weave through the spires with varying levels of height and width, reaching 12 feet toward the sky.

In many ways, Dougherty’s success at stick weaving happened by chance.

He began working in the medium to repurpose discarded saplings along highways and beneath power lines that were left by maintenance crews. He said his work pays homage to the role of sticks in human culture: a child’s affinity for play with sticks, or a tribute to our hunter-gatherer past.

“Sticks have an honored tradition in human development,” he said. “There are still so many cultures around the world that use sticks for basket weaving, fishing and craft traditions.”

Other New England locations that have showcased similar stick sculpture art include the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, the Peabody Essex Museum and Wheaton College, all in Massachusetts; and Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Each project takes three weeks to complete and generally lasts between two and three years, depending on weather degradation. At Tower Hill, Dougherty’s installation marks the 30th anniversary of the garden and the 175th anniversary of the Worcester Horticultural Society, the organization that founded and oversees Tower Hill.

As with all of Dougherty’s projects, he uses volunteers and site staff to help collect the indigenous materials and construct the sculptures.

Tower Hill volunteer Nancy Degon, 69, from Auburn, Massachusetts, finds the impermanence of Dougherty’s art work the most intriguing.

“That his art is so temporary is interesting to me,” Degon said. “It’s a reflection on how life is in general. Not everything stays here forever.”

]]> 0, 25 Aug 2016 20:59:19 +0000
NFL notebook: Newton expected to play extensively Fri, 26 Aug 2016 00:38:18 +0000 Quarterback Cam Newton, last season’s most valuable player in the NFL, will see his most extensive playing time of the preseason Friday night for the Carolina Panthers against the New England Patriots.

Coach Ron Rivera said Newton and the rest of the starters from last year’s NFC championship team will play into the third quarter. Newton has played sparingly in the first two exhibition games, leading five drives culminating in one touchdown and two field goals.

Patriots Coach Bill Belichick hasn’t disclosed his plans but it’s expected Jimmy Garoppolo will start at quarterback and see most of the reps to get ready for the regular season. Tom Brady, the first-string quarterback, is suspended for the first four games for his role in Deflategate.

PITTSBURGH LINEBACKER James Harrison and Green Bay defensive players Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers met this week with NFL investigators looking into allegations linking them to performance-enhancing drugs, the players’ union said.

Matthews and Peppers met with league representatives Wednesday and Harrison did so Thursday.

CHARGERS: A day after the taking its contract dispute with rookie defensive end Joey Bosa public, San Diego Coach Mike McCoy had nice things to say about the former Ohio State star.

“I think everybody understands the business side to this,” McCoy said Thursday. “He loves the game, he plays with passion. … We all want him here.”

Bosa, the only first-rounder who has not signed with his team, has missed all of training camp as his agents and the team wrangle over how much of his $17 million signing bonus he’ll get up front, as well as offset language in case he gets cut.

The Chargers said Wednesday they pulled their contract offer and said they would restructure a new deal that would reflect him playing less than a full season.

LIONS: Detroit cut running back Stevan Ridley, who it signed in April, hoping he would bolster its depth in the backfield after releasing Joique Bell.

Ridley started in one game and played in eight more for the New York Jets last season and ran for just 90 yards.

He had 1,263 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns in 2012 with the New England Patriots.

A Miami federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by New York Giants lineman Jason Pierre-Paul against ESPN over disclosure of his medical records from a 2015 fireworks accident.

The case is set for an August 2017 trial. Pierre-Paul was hospitalized in Miami after the Fourth of July accident, which caused serious injury to his right hand. The lawsuit claims ESPN and a network reporter violated his privacy and Florida medical confidentiality laws by posting the records on social media.

The network argued the records merely bolstered a news report.

BRONCOS: Julie Brooks, a spokeswoman for the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, told The Denver Post a “brazen” thief carrying a bright orange cowboy hat stole a team helmet worth $400 during a crowded autograph session after practice July 31.

The man was in a group of people interacting with the player when he stole the helmet and passed it off to a second man wearing a No. 18 jersey.

The player, who hasn’t been identified, had set the helmet on the ground next to him.

JOHN ELWAY, Bruce Arians and Tom Coughlin were added to the powerful competition committee.

RAIDERS: Backers of a proposed NFL stadium said they’ve whittled their list to two sites just west of the Las Vegas Strip and refuse to accept any less than $750 million in public funding toward the project, which they hope will soon be home to the Raiders.

“Not to be difficult, but we’re not negotiable,” said the Sands president, Rob Goldstein, who spoke on behalf of billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his family.

“If we can’t get 750, we respectfully thank you but we’re going to move on.”

]]> 0 Thu, 25 Aug 2016 23:59:39 +0000
Hawaiian eyes a spot as Patriots linebacker Fri, 26 Aug 2016 00:26:14 +0000 FOXBOROUGH Mass. — Five-thousand miles, six time zones and one lofty goal separate Kamu Grugier-Hill from family and friends in his native Hawaii.

When the rookie linebacker arrives at Gillette Stadium – 5:30 a.m. most days – he sometimes thinks about how his buddies might still be out on the town or his relatives are getting ready to call it a night. He misses Honolulu but is focused and committed to the task at hand.

That would be to go from being a sixth-round draft choice in May to making the Patriots’ 53-man roster in September.

“I’ll have the rest of my life to go back,” Grugier-Hill said earlier this week. “I have to take care of business right now so it’s not on my mind, to be honest.”

Based on his play in training camp and the preseason, Grugier-Hill has positioned himself to close the deal.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Eastern Illinois alum – he was a college teammate of Jimmy Garoppolo for two years – was a two-year starter and four-year contributor. The playmaking linebacker ranked 16th in the nation with 161/2 tackles for a loss and second on the team with 61/2 sacks as a senior.

The Patriots liked Grugier-Hill’s certified productivity and potential versatility to draft him with the 208th overall selection. They haven’t been disappointed even as he’s been thrust into a new, hybrid role.

Grugier-Hill is listed on the roster and has lined up as a linebacker. But he’s also been deployed as an in-the-box safety along with contributing on all four special teams units.

“So it’s different than what he did in college,” Coach Bill Belichick said. “But he’s a smart kid, he’s athletic, he’s got a good work ethic, he’s been a very dependable player for us on a daily basis.

“(Just) coming in, knowing what to do, being prepared, working hard to do it, correcting his mistakes, moving on to the next day. All those kinds of things that are good qualities to have. And he’s making a lot of progress, so we’ll see where it goes.”

Grugier-Hill combined for three tackles on defense and three tackles on special teams in the first two exhibition games. He also batted down a pass and served as the defensive signal-caller for a spell.

In the process, he’s gone from being a definite long shot to a likely sure shot to make the team. Not that he’s given much thought to remaining employed in New England after this month.

“I don’t really pay attention to that kind of stuff,” Grugier-Hill said. “The way I am, the way my confidence is and my mentality is, I’m going to come in here every day and work. Put my best foot forward and most of the time, you just have to work hard, and it just kind of ends up being OK.”

Grugier-Hill, 22, has come a long way, in terms of distance and development, in a short time.

Soccer was his sport before he lost interest as a teen. Then, prior to his junior year of high school, a friend suggested he try football.

Grugier-Hill made the Kamehameha High varsity but only played in a couple of games before having a breakout senior season. From there it was on to Eastern Illinois and now New England, where he has started to feel more at ease.

“I feel a lot more comfortable when it’s all said and done, but there’s really no time for comfortable,” Grugier-Hill said. “I just have to go out there every day and prove what I can do and keep working.”

]]> 0, 25 Aug 2016 20:26:14 +0000
Commentary: Awkward situation for Patriots quarterbacks Fri, 26 Aug 2016 00:25:51 +0000 Tom Brady is lobbying for reps in a preseason game that’ll be a dusty memory by the time he plays in a for-real game on Oct. 9 in Cleveland.

Is this a preview of coming attractions – when The Greatest Quarterback of All Time finally, inevitably, starts limping around like David Ortiz?

It’s a delicate topic. Brady is 39 years old, but he looks younger – and plays younger. He takes care of himself, from the weight training and cardio to the avocado ice cream and getting into bed before Jimmy Fallon is on.

Patriots fans want Brady to keep on keeping on, except that he won’t, and that’s something nobody wants to hear – including the man himself, if recent events are any indication.

Consider what’s going on these days in Foxborough, with Brady getting ever closer to the day when he must answer Roger Goodell’s decree that he clean out his locker for four games … with Jimmy Garoppolo getting ever closer to the day when, for those four games, he will be the team’s No. 1 quarterback.

Brady was ready to play in last week’s preseason game against Chicago despite suffering a small cut to his right thumb that has been thoroughly examined by thousands of make-believe doctors ever since close-up photos of the injured digit were posted on the internet. He missed two practice days for what was termed an “excused absence” but then bounded into the interview room Tuesday like Michael Douglas in “The American President” for an unannounced press conference. Brady never did come right out and say, “This is a time for serious people, Jimmy, and your 15 minutes are up. My name is Tom Brady, and I am the quarterback of the New England Patriots,” but …

When asked if he’d like to play in tomorrow night’s preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, Brady said: “Absolutely. I like to be out there every time I get a chance to play. You only get so many opportunities a year. I’m getting (only) so many opportunities left in my life, so I’d like to take advantage of any and all of them if possible.”

That’s what Brady is thinking?


That he has only so opportunities left – in his life – to play football?

The problem here is that Jimmy Garoppolo has only so many opportunities to prepare himself for a one-month trial run as the Patriots quarterback. And it can’t be easy. Though unfailingly diplomatic (“He’s been nothing but helpful,” Garoppolo said of Brady), the third-year man did make a somewhat revealing comment when asked how he manages to show leadership as the No. 1 quarterback while being “deferential” to the reality that Brady will return as top dog come Week 5.

“It’s a tough situation at times, but you can’t worry about that too much,” he said. “It’s one of those things where if you start worrying about that, then you can’t focus on whatever it is – your reads, your checks, whatever it may be. You just have to go about your business the same way you always have.

“I’m not trying to do something crazy and do something I’ve never done before. I’m trying to be myself and do what I do.”

Should Brady be getting reps tomorrow night when the first-stringers are on the field? Let’s begin here: If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Bill Belichick through the years, it’s that the only game that matters is the next game.

Belichick doesn’t trifle with putting money away for a rainy day. He’s not about global warming, or running out of oil, or worrying how his favorite original Netflix series is going to turn out when he’s still watching Episode 1.

He’s been beating his players over the head with this for 16 years, and, hence, his players have been beating up us – fans, media, everyone – about it.

Back when Rosevelt Colvin was playing for the Pats, I wanted to do a big Sunday story on what it was going to be like to play in an upcoming game against the Colts in Indianapolis, his hometown. The problem was that the game was a couple of weeks away, and as Colvin told me, “We’re only focusing on the next game.” So I waited a week, at which time Colvin happily told me his old war stories about selling popcorn at the RCA Dome.

The next game on the schedule for the 2016 Patriots is Friday against Carolina. That’s the game the Patriots are preparing for, not Oct. 9 against the Browns, and that’s why Jimmy Garoppolo needs to be on the field.

This shouldn’t be complicated. Yet it is.

And you have to wonder if we’ll be revisiting this topic in a year or two, or three, or …

]]> 0 Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:37:47 +0000
Facebook pushes to make money on WhatsApp by allowing commercial access Fri, 26 Aug 2016 00:01:11 +0000 Facebook is laying the groundwork for its free messaging service WhatsApp to begin making money, easing its privacy rules so data can be used for Facebook advertising and allowing businesses to message its more than 1 billion users. It’s the first step toward monetizing the platform since the social network’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg paid $22 billion for the app in 2014.

WhatsApp announced the change to its terms of service policy today. It allows businesses to communicate with users, including appointment reminders, delivery and shipping notifications and marketing pitches. In a corresponding blog post, WhatsApp said it will be testing the features over the coming months.

The policy shift may help WhatsApp generate revenue, but also could irk users drawn to its strong stance on privacy. After it agreed to be purchased by Facebook in 2014, co-founder Jan Koum pledged the deal wouldn’t change how the company handles user data. Now WhatsApp says it will begin sharing more information about its customers with the “Facebook family.” The data, including a person’s phone number, could be used to better target ads when browsing Facebook or Instagram, WhatsApp said.

Facebook agreed to buy WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014, but the deal price ultimately rose to $22 billion. Investors have been anxious to see how Zuckerberg makes money from the deal. Several services in Asia, most notably WeChat in China, have successfully opened up their platforms so businesses can interact with customers. It’s a strategy Facebook has also been taking with the communication app, Messenger.

In its blog post, WhatsApp also reiterated its commitment to encryption, saying no outside parties are able to see what its users are saying to each other. The policy has put the company at odds with government authorities in the U.S. and Europe who want an ability to intercept the communication of potential terrorists.

“Our belief in the value of private communications is unshakeable,” the company said.

]]> 0 Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:01:11 +0000
Olympic notebook: Lochte officially charged by Rio police Thu, 25 Aug 2016 23:55:04 +0000 RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian police charged American swimmer Ryan Lochte with filing a false robbery report over an incident during the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

A police statement Thursday said Lochte will be informed in the United States so he can decide whether to introduce a defense in Brazil. The indictment will be sent to the International Olympic Committee’s ethics commission.

Lochte initially said he and fellow swimmers Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi by men with a police badge as they returned to the Olympic Village from a party. But security video suggested the four actually faced security guards after vandalizing a gas station restroom.

Lochte has since acknowledged he was highly intoxicated and his behavior led to the confrontation.

Rio police began questioning two of Ireland’s top Olympic executives in a Summer Games ticket-scalping probe that has already ensnared the highest official.

Olympic Council of Ireland’s team leader, Kevin Kilty, and chief executive, Stephen Martin, arrived at police headquarters wearing the Ireland team uniform.

“We are here to fully cooperate. That’s all I can say at the moment,” Kilty said.

Secretary General Dermot Henihan spoke to investigators Tuesday but they ruled out his involvement in the scheme, saying there was no evidence that indicated wrongdoing on his part.

But Rio police suspect that the highest-ranking members of the OCI plotted with businessmen to help transfer tickets to an unauthorized vendor who would sell them for high fees disguised as hospitality services.

The National Olympic Committee of Kenya was disbanded by the government amid investigations into alleged mismanagement of the country’s team at the Rio Olympics.

Those problems included a new doping scandal, ineligible athletes, missing plane tickets, and bad blood between the track and field federation and the national Olympic committee.

Despite the problems, Kenya had its best Olympic performance in Rio, winning six golds, six silvers and a bronze medal, and finishing 15th overall in the gold medal table.

]]> 0 Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:24:12 +0000
Mexico storms led to deaths of butterflies Thu, 25 Aug 2016 23:52:00 +0000 MEXICO CITY — Storms this year blew down more than 100 acres of forests where monarch butterflies spend the winter in central Mexico, killing more than 7 percent of the monarchs.

Rain, cold and high winds from the storms caused the loss of 133 acres of pine and fir trees in the forests west of Mexico City, more than four times the amount lost to illegal logging this year. It was the biggest storm-related loss since the winter of 2009-10, when unusually heavy rainstorms and mudslides caused the destruction of 262 acres of trees.

This year’s storm also appears to have frozen or killed about 6.2 million butterflies, almost 7.4 percent of the estimated 84 million butterflies that wintered in Mexico, said Alejandro Del Mazo, the attorney general for environmental protection.

“Never had we observed such a combination of high winds, rain and freezing temperatures,” monarch expert Lincoln Brower said of the storms, which struck March 8-9.

Two big storm losses within five years may suggest changes in the climatic conditions that have allowed the survival of patches of mountaintop forests. An additional 16 acres of trees were lost to drought this year.

The monarchs depend on finding relatively well-preserved forests, where millions of the orange-and-black butterflies hang in clumps from the boughs.

]]> 0, 25 Aug 2016 19:52:00 +0000
Self-driving taxis debut in Singapore Thu, 25 Aug 2016 23:44:51 +0000 SINGAPORE — The world’s first self-driving taxis are picking up passengers in Singapore.

Select members of the public began hailing free rides Thursday through their smartphones in taxis operated by nuTonomy, an autonomous vehicle software startup.

While companies, including Google and Volvo, have been testing self-driving cars on public roads for years, nuTonomy says it is the first to offer rides to the public. It beat ride-hailing service Uber, which plans to offer rides in autonomous cars in Pittsburgh, in a few weeks.

The service is starting small – six cars now, growing to a dozen by the end of the year. The ultimate goal, said nuTonomy officials, is to have a fully self-driving taxi fleet in Singapore by 2018, which will help sharply cut the number of cars on Singapore’s congested roads. Eventually, the model could be adopted in cities around the world, nuTonomy says.

For now, the taxis are only running in a 2.5-square-mile business and residential district called “one-north,” and pick-ups and drop-offs are limited to specified locations. And riders must have an invitation from nuTonomy to use the service. The company says dozens have signed up for the launch, and it plans to expand that list to thousands of people within a few months.

The cars – modified Renault Zoe and Mitsubishi i-MiEV electrics – have a driver in front who is prepared to take back the wheel and a researcher in back who watches the car’s computers. Each car is fitted with six sets of Lidar – a detection system that uses lasers to operate like radar – including one that constantly spins on the roof. There are also two cameras on the dashboard to scan for obstacles and detect changes in traffic lights.

The testing time-frame is open-ended, said nuTonomy CEO Karl Iagnemma. Eventually, riders may start paying for the service, and more pick-up and drop-off points will be added. NuTonomy also is working on testing similar taxi services in other Asian cities as well as in the U.S. and Europe, but he wouldn’t say when.

“I don’t expect there to be a time where we say, ‘We’ve learned enough,'” Iagnemma said.

Doug Parker, nuTonomy’s chief operating officer, said autonomous taxis could ultimately reduce the number of cars on Singapore’s roads from 900,000 to 300,000.

“When you are able to take that many cars off the road, it creates a lot of possibilities. You can create smaller roads, you can create much smaller car parks,” Parker said. “I think it will change how people interact with the city going forward.”

NuTonomy, a 50-person company with offices in Massachusetts and Singapore, was formed in 2013 by Iagnemma and Emilio Frazzoli, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers who were studying robotics and developing autonomous vehicles for the Defense Department. Earlier this year, the company was the first to win approval from Singapore’s government to test self-driving cars in one-north. NuTonomy announced a research partnership with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority earlier this month.

Singapore is ideal because it has good weather, great infrastructure and drivers who tend to obey traffic rules, Iagnemma says. As an island nation, Singapore is looking for nontraditional ways to grow its economy, so it’s been supportive of autonomous vehicle research.

Auto supplier Delphi Corp., which is also working on autonomous vehicle software, was recently selected to test autonomous vehicles on the island and plans to start next year.

“We face constraints in land and manpower. We want to take advantage of self-driving technology to overcome such constraints, and in particular to introduce new mobility concepts which could bring about transformational improvements to public transport in Singapore,” said Pang Kin Keong, Singapore’s Permanent Secretary for Transport and the chairman of its committee on autonomous driving.

Olivia Seow, 25, who does work in startup partnerships in one-north and is one of the riders nuTonomy selected, took a test ride of just less than a mile on Monday. She acknowledged she was nervous when she got into the car, and then surprised as she watched the steering wheel turn by itself.

“It felt like there was a ghost or something,” she said.

But she quickly grew more comfortable. The ride was smooth and controlled, she said, and she was relieved to see that the car recognized even small obstacles like birds and motorcycles parked in the distance.

“I couldn’t see them with my human eye, but the car could, so I knew that I could trust the car,” she said. She said she is excited because the technology could free up her time during commutes or help her father by driving him around as he grows older.

An Associated Press reporter taking a ride Wednesday observed that the safety driver had to step on the brakes once, when a car was obstructing the test car’s lane and another vehicle, which appeared to be parked, suddenly began moving in the oncoming lane.

Iagnemma said the company is confident that its software can make good decisions. The company hopes its leadership in autonomous driving will eventually lead to partnerships with automakers, tech companies, logistics companies and others.

“What we’re finding is the number of interested parties is really overwhelming,” he said.

]]> 0, 25 Aug 2016 20:53:13 +0000
Janet Yellen speech may signal interest rate hike Thu, 25 Aug 2016 23:35:19 +0000 WASHINGTON — The job market is humming, and so are the U.S. financial markets, with major stock indexes near record highs.

All that would normally trigger a green light for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates – especially when they’re barely above all-time lows. Yet the Fed, still casting a wary eye on the economy, has yet to signal that it will resume raising rates soon.

That signal, though, could come as soon as Friday, when Fed Chair Janet Yellen will address the annual meeting of the world’s central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Fed leaders have sometimes used the Jackson Hole event to announce major policy shifts. In 2010, for example, Chairman Ben Bernanke signaled that the Fed was considering a new round of bond purchases to try to help a struggling economy emerge from the wreckage of the Great Recession. The Fed’s purchases were intended to shrink long-term loan rates to spur borrowing and spending.

Some economists say they think conditions are ripe for Yellen to alert investors that the central bank may be inclined to act at its next policy meeting, Sept. 20-21 – especially in light of recent remarks from other Fed officials.

Two close Yellen allies – William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Stanley Fischer, the Fed’s vice chairman – have suggested in the past week that a strengthening economy will soon warrant a resumption of the rate increases the Fed began in December. That was when it raised its benchmark lending rate from near zero, where it had been since the depths of the financial crisis in 2008.

“We’re edging closer towards the point in time where it’ll be appropriate to raise interest rates further,” Dudley said in an interview with Fox Business Network.

And in a speech, Fischer offered an upbeat economic view, saying, “We are close to our targets.” Fischer added that, apart from volatile energy and food prices, chronically low inflation is now “within hailing distance” of the Fed’s 2 percent target.

Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at California State University, Channel Islands, interpreted the officials’ comments to suggest that support is growing among Yellen and others on the Fed’s policymaking board for another rate increase as early as next month.

“The probability of a hike at the September meeting has gone up and will go up more after Yellen speaks,” Sohn said.

David Jones, chief economist at DMJ Advisors, agreed that the chances of a September rate increase are rising, especially if forthcoming economic data, including next week’s jobs report for August, show strength.

But other economists say they think December remains a more likely time for a resumption of rate increases. And some say that if the Fed does decide to act in September, it would need to further prepare investors. According to data from the CME Group, investors foresee only about a 24 percent probability of a rate increase in September and only about a 56 percent chance by December.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at DS Economics, suggested that one reason U.S. stock averages established highs so soon after Britain’s June vote to leave the European Union escalated global economic fears is the belief among many that the Fed will leave rates alone until perhaps year’s end.

]]> 0, 25 Aug 2016 21:07:52 +0000
Westbrook grandmother makes history, conquers jellyfish in 21-mile swim Thu, 25 Aug 2016 23:34:05 +0000 Pat Gallant-Charette, a 65-year-old grandmother from Westbrook, has become the oldest woman to swim across the North Channel from Northern Ireland to Scotland.

She is only the 41st person to complete the 21-mile swim, according to records compiled by the Irish Long Distance Swim Association.

Gallant-Charette took up open-water distance swimming in her early 40s, competing first in the 2.4-mile Peaks to Portland race in 1997. Since then, she has conquered the English Channel, Catalina Channel, Strait of Gibraltar and Tsugaru Channel in Japan. Those marathon swims, along with her accomplishment Wednesday, are part of her quest to complete the Oceans Seven Challenge, which involves crossing a channel from each of the seven continents.

On Wednesday, while battling nausea, jellyfish stings and water temperatures that averaged 55 degrees, she made the North Channel crossing in 14 hours, 22 minutes.

“It’s generally considered the most difficult swim in the world,” Gallant-Charette said by phone Thursday afternoon from Donaghadee, Northern Ireland. “Water temperatures are almost 10 degrees colder than the English Channel, and they won’t even look at you (for a crossing attempt) unless you’ve had a successful English Channel swim.”


Wednesday was her third attempt at the North Channel, where official crossing rules prohibit the use of wetsuits. Two years ago, she swam within half a mile of the Scottish shore before the tide turned and pulled her back out to sea. Last year, during her assigned two-week window, high winds prevented her from beginning the swim.

“So I was bound and determined to get this,” she said. “It was an exciting finish because there’s a small lighthouse (in Portpatrick, Scotland) and if you go past that, the swim is (impossible to finish). I made it just before the start of the increased tides.”

A month earlier, Gallant-Charette failed in her attempt to set a record as the oldest woman to swim the English Channel. More than 10 hours into the effort, she aborted the swim in large part because of nausea. On Wednesday, she wore a patch behind her ear with prescription medication.

“Instead of vomiting 400 times like I did in the English Channel,” she said, “I got sick maybe 10 times.”

When conditions are calm in the Irish Sea – as they were Wednesday – large Lion’s Mane jellyfish are everywhere. Gallant-Charette said her first encounter came in the first minute of her pre-dawn departure from Donaghadee and continued until she reached Portpatrick at dusk.

“There’s so many, you just plow right through them,” she said. “I got stung over every inch of my body.”

About halfway through the day, a jellyfish attached itself to her goggles. She could clearly see the dome, which she compared in size to a dinner plate. Shaking her head failed to dislodge the creature, so Gallant-Charette brushed away the brown tentacles, grabbed the dome and yanked it off her face.

“Last year there was a swimmer in the hospital for three days because of toxic effects from the stings,” she said.

She said one of two men who attempted the crossing Thursday gave up because of jellyfish stings. Gallant-Charette took some Benadryl during her swim because her lips began to swell.

Pat Gallant-Charette holds an American flag on the shore of Donaghadee, Northern Ireland, Thursday to celebrate her crossing of the North Channel of the Irish Sea the previous day. She left from Donaghadee and swam to Scotland. Photo by Tom Charette

Pat Gallant-Charette holds an American flag on the shore of Donaghadee, Northern Ireland, Thursday to celebrate her crossing of the North Channel of the Irish Sea the previous day. She left from Donaghadee and swam to Scotland. Photo by Tom Charette

“It does sting, but I can usually tolerate a lot of discomfort,” she said. “It was interesting to see the bottom part of that dome, just to see the tentacles coming out and knowing they were all over my face.”

Several gulls also followed her progress, with one paddling behind her for nearly five hours. She took nourishment every hour in the form of instant cream of wheat (maple flavor) mixed with warm water and a nutritional powder rich in complex carbohydrates.

Because of strong currents, she wound up swimming 26 miles – a distance second only to her 33-mile swim in Japan. As for the chilly temperatures, training off Pine Point in Scarborough beginning in early May gets her acclimated.


Gallant-Charette, who retired from her job as a nurse last November, started the Oceans Seven Challenge about three years ago. Each attempt is expensive – “This one probably cost me about $11,000,” she said – so she can afford only one or two per year. After aborting her English Channel crossing last month, she started a Facebook group for open-water swimmers called Disappointed but not Defeated.

“She’s a perfect witness to never giving up,” said Annie Smith, 25, of Freeport, a training partner who made it halfway across the English Channel in July. “She’s an absolute inspiration.”

The two remaining crossings in her Oceans Seven Challenge are the Cook Strait in New Zealand and the Molokai Channel in Hawaii. She’s already been to New Zealand twice, the first time waiting two weeks in vain for high winds to subside, and the second swimming for 10 hours – including three in an eddy while making no progress – before being pulled out of the water.

On Thursday, she sent an email to the organizers of the New Zealand crossing. She plans to save Molokai for last, perhaps next October.

“They have sharks,” she said.


]]> 0, 25 Aug 2016 23:18:14 +0000
For more business owners, LGBT status nothing to hide Thu, 25 Aug 2016 23:33:20 +0000 MINNEAPOLIS — Starting a new business is a challenge in itself, but for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, their identities can present an additional hurdle.

There’s often pressure on these entrepreneurs to withhold aspects of their personal lives from professional circles to steer clear of controversy.

Since last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage, more LGBT business owners are driven by shifting public opinion and diversity-hungry companies to start openly embracing who they are.

“While people may be out in their personal lives, connecting it to their business is a relatively new phenomenon,” said Jonathan Lovitz, vice president of external affairs at the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. “But doing so has been incredibly beneficial for them.”

Erica Fields, president of St. Paul-based grain trader Brooks Grain, didn’t come out as a transgender woman until she was 53 in 2007.

Even then, she only came out to a few friends. Just five months earlier, Fields had started her business providing rye to whiskey distilleries like Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam. Fields feared how the revelation might be perceived by her clients in a male-dominated industry.

“I thought if I just came out, I would lose everything,” said Fields, who waited until 2009 to tell clients.

That fear, echoed by many LGBT entrepreneurs, stems from a desire to avoid friction with potentially less accepting colleagues or clients, said Jay Miller, founder and creative director of the Minneapolis branding firm Imagehaus.

Since starting his own firm in 2000, Miller joined NGLCC’s Supplier Diversity Initiative, which he calls a “professional way to come out” that is less frightening.

The program, which began in 2004, certifies LGBT-owned businesses and connects them to a network of “corporate partners” looking to improve diversity in their supply chain.

It follows similar initiatives that promote businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans and people with disabilities.

Recently, there’s been a spike in interest for the certification. The national roster of certified LGBT businesses jumped from roughly 500 in 2013 to 896 by the end of July.

About 140 companies – including Delta Air Lines, General Mills and Target – use the program’s directory to find LGBT vendors. This year, NGLCC added the Democratic National Convention, Major League Baseball and defense contractor Northrop Grumman.

The certification can help a new business get noticed and make new connections, said Teresa Mock, owner of wedding planner L’Etoile Events in Minneapolis.

Mock attends NGLCC and Quorum events, such as Quorum’s annual luncheon on National Coming Out Day.

At last October’s luncheon, Mock found vendors she’d like to use for future events. Mock, who started her business in January 2015, displays her NGLCC certification on her website and says it’s a good way to filter out a “poor match.”

“When someone looks at the website and sees that (certification), and if that’s a reason they don’t want to work with me, they have to look no further,” Mock said.

Miller said he got his certification after an executive at Office Max, a longtime client, asked him about it because the office-supplies retailer wanted a way to quantify how much it spent on diverse vendors.

It’s a way for companies to go beyond preaching diversity as they feel pressure from groups like the Human Rights Campaign, which tracks workplace equality at Fortune 500 companies.

“They can’t just say it anymore,” Miller said. “They have to actually follow through with what they say by action, and it needs to be in a way that is measurable.”

]]> 0 Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:43:06 +0000
Uber losses pile up even as bookings forge ahead Thu, 25 Aug 2016 23:16:05 +0000 The ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies is not a public company, but every three months, shareholders get on a conference call to hear details on its business performance from its head of finance, Gautam Gupta.

On Friday, Gupta told investors that Uber’s losses mounted in the second quarter. Even in the U.S., where Uber had turned a profit during its first quarter, the company was once again losing money.

In the first quarter of this year, Uber lost about $520 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, according to people familiar with the matter. In the second quarter the losses significantly exceeded $750 million. That means Uber’s losses in the first half of 2016 totaled at least $1.27 billion.

Subsidies for Uber’s drivers are responsible for the majority of the losses globally, Gupta told investors. An Uber spokesman declined to comment.

“You won’t find too many technology companies that could lose this much money, this quickly,” said Aswath Damodaran, a business professor at New York University skeptical of Uber’s astronomical valuation. “For a private business to raise as much capital as Uber has been able to is unprecedented.”

Bookings grew tremendously from the first quarter of this year to the second, from above $3.8 billion to more than $5 billion.

]]> 0 Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:16:05 +0000
Scientists find dark matter version of Milky Way galaxy Thu, 25 Aug 2016 23:09:39 +0000 Scientists have found something entirely new: a galaxy as huge as the Milky Way that is made up almost entirely of dark matter, the mysterious stuff that barely interacts with the matter we’re familiar with.

The galaxy Dragonfly 44, reported Thursday in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, is 300 million light-years away.

But if scientists can track down a similar galaxy closer to home, however, they may be able to use it to make the first direct detection of dark matter.

Dark matter is the name given to something that we can’t see but know must be there. The visible matter of the universe doesn’t have enough mass to hold things together. The gravitational pull of dark matter is what keeps galaxies intact.

In the Milky Way, there is five times more dark matter than regular matter. Dragonfly 44, in contrast, is 99.99 percent dark matter. Other galaxies made mostly of dark matter have been found before, but none were as large as this one. And it is literally dark: It has very few stars.

“It’s pretty crazy, the difference from the Milky Way is a factor of 100,” said study author Pieter van Dokkum of Yale.

It’s as if someone picked through the Milky Way, selecting just one star out of every 100 and throwing the rest away. For the galaxy to stay in one piece, it must make up the difference with dark matter. “That’s just something we never knew could happen,” Van Dokkum said.

Van Dokkum and his colleagues were not looking for a dark galaxy. They found it using a telescope built out of camera parts. The Dragonfly Telephoto Array was built by a group of astronomers at Yale and the University of Toronto who realized that telephoto lenses – often used for nature photography and sporting events – were well-suited for spotting the kind of large, dim objects that pose problems for typical telescopes.

]]> 0 Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:09:39 +0000
Michael Bloomberg gives $32 million to Harvard for launch of program to help mayors Thu, 25 Aug 2016 22:51:43 +0000 Former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is giving $32 million to Harvard University to launch a program to teach mayors and their aides how to tackle major urban problems.

The gift, made through Bloomberg Philanthropies and announced Thursday, will harness faculty at Harvard’s business and government schools as well as other urban experts to provide executive training to as many as 300 mayors and 400 aides over the next four years.

Bloomberg, a billionaire business executive, served three terms as mayor of New York

“With more and more of the world living in cities, mayors are increasingly responsible for solving major challenges we face, from climate change to poverty to public health,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “But despite the importance of the role, mayors often lack opportunities to learn from experts – and one another. By giving mayors tools and resources – and by connecting them with peers … this program will go a long way toward helping them run cities more effectively.”

Bloomberg, 74, earned a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and a master’s in business administration from Harvard.

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative aims to provide mayors with “customized curriculum, instructional and technology tools – most of which will be made freely available to the world.” . It will also fund internships in mayoral offices, research on innovative city government and a mentoring program.

]]> 1 Thu, 25 Aug 2016 18:51:43 +0000
Brazilian police charge Ryan Lochte with filing false robbery report Thu, 25 Aug 2016 22:40:23 +0000 RIO DE JANEIRO – Brazilian police charged American swimmer Ryan Lochte on Thursday with filing a false robbery report over an incident during the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

A police statement said Lochte would be informed in the United States so he could decide whether to introduce a defense in Brazil.

The indictment will also be sent to the International Olympic Committee’s ethics commission, the statement said.

Lochte initially said that he and fellow swimmers Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen were robbed at gunpoint in a taxi by men with a police badge as they returned to the Olympic Village from a party Aug. 15. However, security video suggested the four actually faced security guards after vandalizing a gas station restroom.

Lochte left Brazil shortly after the incident. Three days later, local authorities took Conger and Bentz off an airliner heading to the United States so they could be questioned about the robbery claim. They were later allowed to leave Brazil, as was Feigen, after he gave testimony. Feigen, who initially stood by Lochte’s testimony, was not charged.

Lochte has since acknowledged that he was highly intoxicated and that his behavior led to the confrontation. It is not clear from the video whether a gun was ever pointed to the athletes.

Under Brazilian law, the penalty for falsely filing a crime report carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison. Lochte could be tried in absentia if he didn’t return to face the charge.

The United States and Brazil have an extradition treaty dating back to the 1960s, but Brazil has a long history of not extraditing its own citizens to other nations and U.S. authorities could take the same stance if Lochte is found guilty.

That is currently the case of the head of Brazil’s football confederation, Marco Polo del Nero, who faces charges in the wide-ranging scandal entangling international soccer’s ruling body, FIFA. He has not travelled outside Brazil for more than a year to avoid being arrested by U.S. authorities somewhere else.

The charges in Brazil raise questions about the future for Lochte, who is planning to take time off from swimming but wants to return to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He has 12 Olympic medals, second only to Michael Phelps among U.S. male Olympians.

Lochte lost four major sponsors early this week over the controversy, including Speedo USA and Ralph Lauren. But on Thursday he picked up a new sponsor – Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops. Pine Bros. said people should be more understanding of the swimmer and said he will appear in ads that say the company’s product is “Forgiving On Your Throat.”

]]> 4, 25 Aug 2016 18:43:07 +0000
‘F Bomb’ to greet UMF students as school year begins Thu, 25 Aug 2016 22:09:18 +0000 FARMINGTON — As students begin trickling onto the University of Maine at Farmington’s campus this weekend, they’ll be confronted with an “F Bomb.” They also may notice a “C Saw” and “P Pod,” not to mention “Wandering I’s.” Those responsible hope they’ll appreciate the “Iron E.”

Those and dozens of other alphabet-inspired sculptures are part of the “Sculpture Soup” series by sculptor and metal artist Jay Sawyer, of Warren, being installed this week as part of the Emery Community Arts Center’s push to bring art to students that makes them think and exposes them to variety.

“It’s fun, and it’s really smart fun,” said Stan Spilecki, technical director of the Emery Community Arts Center, of Sawyer’s work. “There’s the witticism of the use of the words. It’s so literary.

“We always try to open the year with something that has some splash, something that will get the students thinking and make them aware that art can be a lot of different things,” Spilecki said.

Sawyer’s series is the opening exhibit of the academic year for the Emery Community Arts Center UMF, where classes begin Monday.

The series is made up of more than 40 pieces ranging from tabletop size to 8 feet tall, each consisting of a letter of the alphabet that Sawyer has applied his wit and welding work to.

“It’s really quite an honor to come to Farmington because I think this series has a lot of education opportunity with it,” Sawyer said. “You’ve got the phonics and all the idiosyncrasies of the language. … I really think it provokes that thought and maybe gives kids a fun way to get a grasp of all those weird quirky things about the English language.”

While the smaller pieces like “C Saw,” a bright yellow “c” curved out of a saw blade, or “P Pod,” a delicate “p” made from perforated sheet stock with steel peas forged inside the pod, are being shown inside the arts center, there are two large sculptures on display outside.

On Thursday, with the assistance of a boom truck, Sawyer placed “Wandering I’s,” two leaning letter “I’s” forged from steel I-beams, and his 8-foot-tall piece “F Bomb,” a bright red “f” on top of a 3-foot-diameter ball — an old-style bomb — on the grounds of the arts center.

Sawyer, who began working as a metal artist and sculptor 10 years ago, was a part of a collaborative show at UMF several years ago. Then in 2014, Sawyer installed his 15-foot-tall metal sculpture, “A Spirit of Its Own,” on public display at the Portland International Jetport, and the Emery Community Arts Center knew it needed to get him back to campus.

Throughout the academic year the center, which opened on UMF’s campus five years ago, features a variety of displays in both the visual and performing arts. Spilecki said the center, which during the year also showcases student art, makes a point of showing the work of Maine artists such as Sawyer and welcomes the artistic edge their work brings to campus.

He said Sawyer “is someone who is up and coming in the Maine art world” and center officials asked him if he’d be interested in doing a show of just his work.

At the time, Sawyer had started working on the “Sculpture Soup” series, which has taken him nearly three years to complete, and Spilecki said they thought the series would be a good fit for UMF, so they patiently waited from him to finish. Sawyer’s exhibit at UMF is the first place his new series will be shown.

Sawyer, whose work is made entirely of reused and repurposed material, said “Sculpture Soup” began with the letter “e” and a childhood memory. A native of Knox County, Sawyer said he grew up wandering around the George’s River Woolen Mill. When he got the opportunity to work with materials after the mill was demolished a few years ago, Sawyer fixated on a large piece of iron from the mill’s penstock, used to strain the water from the St. George’s River, which powered the mill.

He wondered what he could craft out of the iron. One day the theme of irony came to mind. So he made a small lowercase “e” out of the rusted iron.

When people saw “Iron E,” they told Sawyer he should do the whole alphabet. At first he resisted, but then he made sculptures of all the vowels. Three years later, using a plethora of salvaged materials and puns, Sawyer has more than 40 letter sculptures — with some letters forged and interpreted a number of different ways.

“There is some concern for whimsy and how far you can go with the whimsy. So one or two letters, I think would be whimsy. But I think when you push it, and you push it so far that you’ve got the entire alphabet, it’s not whimsy anymore. It’s a serious venture,” Sawyer said.

Sawyer’s background is not in the fine arts, or the arts in general. A graduate of Maine Maritime Academy, he worked several years as a marine engineer, and he began a welding and mobile repair business. With a wide variety of fabrication work coming into his shop, Sawyer was exposed to a range of industrial materials and was able to fine-tune his welding and forging skills.

Sawyer can’t pinpoint why he decided to transition into the artistic side of metal work and sculpture, only that he had the skills and the passion and he had come to a point in his life at which he had started to change in a variety of ways.

“I had the passion and the desire, and then it was a matter of trying to get the confidence and so somewhere in my 40s, that started happening,” Sawyer said.

Now in his 50s, Sawyer said he has grown into his style of art, though “Sculpture Soup” features pieces made from materials he typically doesn’t work with. Having a preference for thicker, industrial metals, Sawyer stepped out of his comfort zone by using thin sheet metals and other objects to create some of his letters.

A piece titled “Bumble B” is made of sheet metal from a truck door and an old farm tractor. For another piece, called “Screw U,” Sawyer welded together 75 to 100 screws to form the letter “u.” The fact that these sculptures were made from such seemingly everyday materials is why he is excited to show the series to students and demonstrate how accessible art can be.

“That was part of what I wanted to do here, was use all that different material to show the viewer — say a kid in art class — showing them that it’s just a chunk of an old pickup truck door and a garden tractor, or that it’s just a bunch of screws,” he said.

Sawyer’s work will be on display at the Emery Community Center for the Arts through Nov. 3, with an opening reception for the series from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 9.

]]> 0, 25 Aug 2016 20:30:30 +0000
Scarborough lowers tax rate slightly following court decision Thu, 25 Aug 2016 21:09:23 +0000 SCARBOROUGH — Town Assessor Matt Sturgis set a property tax rate this week for the current fiscal year that is slightly lower than expected following a recent Maine Supreme Judicial Court decision that added $6.8 million in property value to the tax rolls.

The fiscal 2017 tax rate is $15.85 per $1,000 of property value, which is 2.32 percent or 36 cents more than the $15.49 rate for fiscal 2016, which ended June 30. At the new rate, the annual tax bill on a $300,000 home will increase $108, from $4,647 to $4,755.

Before last week’s court decision, the tax rate was on track to increase 2.65 percent or 41 cents, which would have resulted in a $123 increase on the same home.

Maine’s high court decided against a little-known but widespread practice of giving property tax breaks to homeowners for adjacent lots that they also own.

The justices reviewed the outcome of a 2014 superior court appeal filed by 34 residents of Scarborough’s seaside neighborhoods, who had been denied abatements after being assessed property tax increases they said were discriminatory and unconstitutional.

The landowners lost their initial claim that the former town assessor discriminated against them when he increased most waterfront land values in 2012.

However, the court found that some of their neighbors were immune to the full impact of the increase because they owned adjacent lots that were considered “excess land” for assessment purposes.

The practice, which has been permitted by state officials, led to property value reductions ranging from a few thousand dollars on inland parcels to a few million on waterfront properties. The justices found the practice to be illegal.

How the Board of Assessment Review will address the plaintiffs’ requests for abatements over the last four years remains to be seen.

However, by reassessing adjacent parcels that had been previously undervalued, the town’s overall valuation increased $6.8 million, Sturgis said, and some of those property owners will see steep increases in their tax bills.

Tax bills are scheduled to be mailed next week, with the first half-payment due by Oct. 17. For questions about tax bills, call Deputy Tax Collector Lisa Saulle at 730-4002. For questions about property values, call Sturgis at 730-4061.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

Twitter: KelleyBouchar

]]> 5, 25 Aug 2016 23:01:47 +0000
LePage calls father of deceased Muslim U.S. soldier a ‘con artist’ Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:50:22 +0000 AUGUSTA – Gov. Paul LePage says the father of a deceased Muslim captain in the U.S. Army is a “con artist” for criticizing Donald Trump.

LePage, a Republican, made the comments on Wednesday during an appearance on a program hosted by Boston radio host Howie Carr.

LePage’s comments referenced Khizr Khan, whose son died while protecting other soldiers in Iraq. Khan made an appearance at the Democratic National Convention in which he was critical of Trump, the Republican nominee.

Maine Public Broadcasting Network reported that LePage’s comments came after Carr drew a comparison between the Boston Marathon bombers and an Iranian refugee who immigrated to Maine and later died fighting for ISIS.

LePage says Khan “uses the death of his son” to go after Trump.

]]> 67 Thu, 25 Aug 2016 16:50:22 +0000
Patriots acquire former sixth overall pick Mingo Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:39:28 +0000 CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns have traded disappointing linebacker Barkevious Mingo to the New England Patriots in exchange for a 2017 fifth-round pick.

The teams announced the deal on Thursday.

The Browns selected Mingo with the No. 6 pick in 2013. The former LSU standout has recorded just seven sacks in three seasons and spent much of last season on special teams.

Mingo’s size – 6-foot-4, 240 pounds – and speed have made him intriguing, but none of Cleveland’s coaching staff has found the best way to utilize him. The Browns moved the 25-year-old Mingo from outside linebacker to inside earlier this summer.

Cleveland declined to exercise the team’s fifth-year option on Mingo’s rookie contract in May. With the trade of Mingo, left tackle Joe Thomas and cornerbacks Joe Haden and Justin Gilbert are the only first-round selections by Cleveland from 2007 to 2014 that are still with the team.

The Browns now own Philadelphia’s 2017 first-round pick, Tennessee’s 2017 second-round pick, New England’s 2017 fifth-round pick, Indianapolis’ 2017 seventh-round pick and Philadelphia’s 2018 second-round pick.

It is the second move New England has made this week after dealing center Bryan Stork to Washington.

While the Browns have had trouble finding somewhere to play Mingo, he has shown a diverse skillset while registering 97 career tackles and seven sacks in 46 career games.

The Patriots don’t have a great deal of depth behind veteran linebackers Dont’a Hightower, Jaime Collins and Jonathan Freeny, so Mingo could possibly make an impact there.

There’s also an opportunity for him playing on the outside, with two of the Patriots’ pass rushers that were projected to have key roles this season – Rob Ninkovich and Jabaal Sheard – working their way back from recent injuries.

]]> 0, 25 Aug 2016 20:36:35 +0000
Rays slip past Red Sox, 2-1, to split series Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:13:54 +0000 ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Not even David Ortiz could help the Boston Red Sox overcome missed opportunities in the final game of a long trip away from Fenway Park.

Enny Romero relieved with two outs in the ninth inning and fanned the Red Sox slugger to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 2-1 win Thursday and a four-game split with the Red Sox.

A day earlier, the 40-year-old Ortiz reached 30 home runs and 100 RBI. Ortiz was rested for the final day of an 11-game road trip that saw Boston go 7-4. The Red Sox, who began the day tied with Toronto for the AL East lead, lost the final two games of the series.

“There are times you look back, today being one of them, that you could have capitalized on situations and had a different outcome,” Boston Manager John Farrell said.

After Mookie Betts put the Red Sox up 1-0 on a sacrifice fly in the sixth, Jake Odorizzi (9-5) avoided a big inning by getting an inning-ending double play from Jackie Bradley Jr. with the bases loaded.

Tyler Sturdevant struck out Hanley Ramirez and Bradley to begin the ninth, and Romero was summoned. Romero sent Ortiz to the ground with a high-and-tight 1-2 fastball, then got him to look at strike three.

“Ortiz is one of the best hitters I’ve faced in my career,” Romero said. “I throw a cutter and he takes it.”

Mikie Mahtook ended a stretch of 34 hitless at-bats with a go-ahead double in the seventh off Drew Pomeranz (10-10), who is 2-3 since being traded from San Diego to Boston.

“It was a relief,” Mahtook said.

Odorizzi (9-5) improved to 6-0 in eight starts since the All-Star break. He gave up one run and five hits in seven innings.

Betts was thrown out by Mahtook from left field trying to stretch a single into a double in the eighth.

Pomeranz struck out a career-high 11 in six-plus innings.

“Our starting rotation has done a great job,” Pomeranz said. “Little things here and there, a little bad luck sometimes has made the difference in games. But we’re playing well, we’ve had a good road trip and now we’re going home.”

Tampa Bay tied it at 1 in the bottom of the sixth when Evan Longoria doubled and scored on Brad Miller’s single. Miller has 31 RBI since the All-Star break.

NOTES: Andrew Benintendi (left knee sprain) was put on the 15-day disabled list. Farrell is hopeful the rookie will return before the season ends. “There’s nothing I can do about it now, so I’ll wait until the tests come back,” Benintendi said. “I’m going to try to stay as positive as I can.” … LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (left hamstring) felt fine after a bullpen session and will start Sunday against Kansas City. … RHP Clay Buchholz, who was moved out of the bullpen for three starts due to injuries, will return to a relief role. … Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia has a hit in 12 straight games against the Rays. He went 3 for 4 Thursday and had seven hits in 16 at-bats over the four-game series.

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N.H. trooper gets deferred jail sentence in beating of motorist Thu, 25 Aug 2016 20:03:59 +0000 NASHUA, N.H. — A former New Hampshire state trooper caught on video beating a man who led officers on a two-state car chase was given a deferred jail sentence Thursday after pleading guilty to three simple assault charges.

Then-Trooper Andrew Monaco was arrested in July on charges stemming from his use of force in the arrest of Richard Simone Jr. on May 11, after a 50-mile pursuit from Holden, Massachusetts, to Nashua, New Hampshire.

Video captured by a TV news helicopter shows Simone stepping out of his pickup truck, kneeling and placing his hands on the ground as officers assault him.

Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell said Monaco punched and kneed Simone 12 times in 20 seconds.

But Morrell said a deferred and suspended 12-month sentence was appropriate, given Monaco’s instant remorse and willingness to take responsibility.

Monaco told a supervisor at the scene he knew his actions were wrong; he resigned from the state police a few days after his arrest.

As part of his sentence, the 32-year-old Monaco agreed to perform community service, receive anger management counseling and never work in law enforcement again.

“When you talk about events around the country, there are very few, if any, police officers who’ve stood up in court, admitted what they did was wrong, what they did was a crime and what they did should disqualify them from being a police officer,” Morrell said.

Joseph Flynn, 32, of the Massachusetts State Police, also faces charges in the case. A pre-trial conference is set for October.

Monaco was a state trooper for four years.

In a brief statement Thursday, he apologized to his fellow officers and the public, but not to Simone.

He said he could not explain why he behaved in a way he had always promised himself he would not.

“I was unable to separate the events that occurred during the pursuit from my conduct during the arrest,” he said.

An attorney for Simone, who is jailed in Massachusetts on several driving-related charges, said Monaco deserved to spend time behind bars.

He described lingering health problems his client endures, including blurry vision, and said the sentence sends a message that there are two sets of rules, one for the public and one for police officers.

“(Simone’s) explained to his daughter that he broke the law and he has his punishment coming,” attorney Joe Comenzo said.

“But he’s having a very hard time explaining to her how this trooper is going to walk out of this courtroom today,” he said.

“She saw this police officer brutually beat up her dad for no apparent reason, and he doesn’t know how to explain it.”

Attorney General Joseph Foster disagreed, saying many first-time offenders do not serve jail time for simple assault nor do they lose their careers, as Monaco did.

But Comenzo said Monaco’s willingness to relinquish his law enforcement credentials were likely a moot point given that he’d probably not be able to get another police job since the video was widely circulated.

As for Monaco’s community service requirement, Comenzo told the judge, “He had a community service job, your honor. He was a police officer.”

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Attack at American University of Afghanistan leaves 13 dead Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:55:29 +0000 KABUL, Afghanistan – A brazen, hours-long militant attack on the American University of Afghanistan ended early Thursday after at least 13 people were killed and dozens wounded in the assault on the sprawling campus on Kabul’s outskirts, a government spokesman said.

The attack underscored how despite efforts by the Afghan authorities to improve security, militants in this country are still able to stage large-scale and complex attacks, including in the capital.

The dead included seven students and one teacher, according to Afghan authorities. Three police officers and two security guards were also killed, the Interior Ministry said.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the assault but suspicions are pointing to the Taliban. The group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, would only tell the media that the Taliban are “investigating.”

President Ashraf Ghani laid the blame on neighboring Pakistan, accusing it of supporting the Taliban in sanctuaries across the border, and saying the attack had been “organized” in Pakistan. Ghani spoke by telephone with Pakistan’s army chief, Raheel Sharif, and demanded “serious action,” his office said. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry “strongly condemned” the attack.

Pakistan’s military also issued a statement on the conversation between Ghani and Sharif, saying “Pakistani soil would not be allowed to be used for any type of terrorism in Afghanistan.”

It said Kabul had provided three cellphone numbers “allegedly used during the university attack.” An investigation had traced them to an Afghan company “whose spillover signal affects some areas along the Pak-Afghan border,” it said, without further detail.


Ghani’s statement also raised the death toll to 13, saying that a teacher, identified on social media as Naqib Khpolwak, a graduate of Stanford Law School and a doctoral candidate at Oxford University, was also among those killed.

“Most of the dead were killed by gunshots near the windows of their classrooms,” said Sediq Sediqqi, the spokesman for the Ministry of Interior. The ministry said 36 people were wounded, including nine police officers.

The assault began just before 7 p.m. Wednesday, a time when hundreds of students typically attend evening classes at the prestigious university, with a suicide car bombing at the university’s entrance.

The blast breached the security walls and allowed two other militants, armed with grenades and automatic weapons, to enter the campus, Sediqqi said. The siege of the university lasted almost nine hours, before police killed the two assailants around 3:30 a.m., he added.

More than 200 people, mostly students who had been trapped in university buildings, were rescued by special police units.

Ghani’s office earlier said he had visited some of the wounded in the hospital and extended condolences to the victims’ families. He condemned the assault as an “attack on educational institutions and public places” and said it would “strengthen our goal to eliminate the roots of terrorism.”


The university, located on the western edge of Kabul, was established in 2006 to offer liberal arts courses modeled on the U.S. system, and has more than 1,000 students currently enrolled.

The university remained closed on Thursday and it wasn’t clear when it would reopen. Faculty leaders could not immediately be reached for comment.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul called the attack a “cruel and cowardly act” and said it was “ready to assist Afghan authorities with their continuing investigation in bringing those responsible to justice.”

The U.N.’s assistance mission in Afghanistan called the attack an “atrocity.” Pernille Kardel, UNAMA’s acting head, said in a statement she hoped the attack would not discourage Afghan youth from “continued learning and attaining the knowledge and skills critical to Afghanistan’s prosperity.”

Associated Press photographer Massoud Hossaini was in a classroom with 15 students when he heard an explosion on the southern flank of the campus.

“I went to the window to see what was going on, and I saw a person in normal clothes outside. He shot at me and shattered the glass,” Hossaini said, adding that he fell on the glass and cut his hands.

The students then barricaded themselves inside the classroom, pushing chairs and desks against the door, and staying on the floor. Hossaini said at least two grenades were thrown into the classroom, wounding several of his classmates.

Hossaini and about nine students later managed to escape from the campus through an emergency gate.

“As we were running, I saw someone lying on the ground face down. They looked like they had been shot in the back,” he said.

Hossaini and the other students took refuge in a residential house near the campus, and were later evacuated by Afghan security forces.


The Pentagon said U.S. military advisers were on the ground with Afghan security forces at the university. Spokesman Adam Stump said the forces had been embedded with the Afghan units.

The attack came two weeks after two university staffers, an American and an Australian, were kidnapped from their car by unknown gunmen driving home from the campus after evening classes on a Sunday night. Their abductors were men dressed in Afghan military uniforms, officials said at the time. The whereabouts of the abductees remains unknown.

The Taliban have been fighting to overthrow the Kabul government for 15 years, and regard foreign civilians as legitimate targets.

Last month, Kabul was shaken by a massive suicide bombing that struck a peaceful rally by Afghanistan’s minority ethnic Hazara community, killing more than 80 people and wounding hundreds.

That attack was claimed by the Islamic State group, which emerged last year in Afghanistan as an affiliate of the militant group fighting in Iraq and Syria. It was the IS Afghan branch’s first assault in Kabul and the deadliest attack in the Afghan capital since the U.S.-led invasion to oust the Taliban regime in 2001.

Associated Press writers Rahim Faiez and Amir Shah in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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In Waterville, too much bug spray lands 3 in hospital Thu, 25 Aug 2016 19:17:16 +0000 WATERVILLE — Three people were taken to a hospital for evaluation after a woman oversprayed her apartment on upper Main Street with bug spray.

City fire officials responded with hazmat suits to the incident and said that while the chemical would not cause serious harm, chronic exposure could cause respiratory and skin problems.

Multiple emergency vehicles blocked off southbound traffic in front of the apartment building at 270 Main St., slowing down afternoon traffic going both ways.

The fire department responded around 12:45 p.m. after someone in the multi-unit building complained of respiratory problems, said Chief David LaFountain. Emergency responders came prepared to deal with serious phosphate chemicals, he said, but found that a resident of the apartment had just sprayed a large amount of bug spray all over her apartment because she is afraid of germs.

The bug spray contains diatomaceous earth, a fine powder that can be harmful to the lungs. Chronic exposure can lead to skin problems as well, LaFountain said.

Two women and one man, a maintenance worker, were in the apartment and were treated at the scene for exposure. They were also taken to the hospital to check for further damage. One reported harm to the skin.

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