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Apr 20, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs shooting guard DeMar DeRozan (10) is held back by teammate Patty Mills (right) after being ejected for throwing the ball at referee Scott Foster (48) against the Denver Nuggets in game four of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
April 21, 2019
San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan was ejected during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 117-103 loss to the Denver Nuggets for firing the basketball in the direction of official Scott Foster.
DeRozan was called for an offensive foul after charging into Denver guard Gary Harris with 5:01 remaining. He then leaped in the air and spun and sent the ball flying to the left of Foster.
DeRozan headed to the exits with the Spurs trailing 110-92. He scored 19 points in 34 minutes.
The series is tied 2-2 after Saturday’s result. DeRozan’s status for Game 5 is unclear as he figures to draw a fine with the possibility of a suspension.
–Field Level Media
Apr 20, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) rounds second base after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
April 21, 2019
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge exited Saturday’s game against the Kansas City Royals with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning with a left oblique injury.
Already with a home run in the first inning — his fifth of the season — Judge singled to right field in the sixth but appeared to feel something on the swing. He gingerly ran to first base and was lifted from the game after a brief consultation from trainer Steve Donahue.
Manager Aaron Boone told reporters afterward that Judge was getting an MRI exam. Asked if Judge could avoid a trip to the injured list, Boone replied, “Probably not. No.”
New York began the game with 12 players on the injured list, including Giancarlo Stanton (strained left biceps), Gary Sanchez (strained left calf) and Luis Severino (right rotator cuff inflammation).
–The Cleveland Indians activated All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor from the 10-day injured list ahead of his team’s doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves and designated veteran Hanley Ramirez for assignment.
Lindor, who suffered a right calf strain before spring training play began and later sprained his left ankle, hit .417 with two home runs, a double and two RBIs in three games in a rehab stint with Triple-A Columbus.
Lindor is a career .288 hitter who delivered career bests with 38 home runs and 92 RBIs last season. The three-time All-Star finished second in the voting for Rookie of the Year in 2015. Ramirez was hitting just .184 with a double and two home runs in 49 at-bats this season.
–The Boston Red Sox placed right-hander Nathan Eovaldi on the 10-day injured list with a loose body in his right elbow, a move retroactive to Thursday.
The Red Sox called up left-hander Bobby Poyner from Triple-A Pawtucket in a corresponding move. They face the Rays in Tampa Bay on Saturday night.
Eovaldi has yet to get a decision and sports a 6.00 ERA in four starts this season, the first of a four-year deal he signed with Boston in the offseason. The 29-year-old was 6-7 with a 3.81 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) in 2018 but was 3-3 with a 3.33 ERA after being acquired by the Red Sox from Tampa Bay in late July and turned in a superb postseason for the eventual champions.
–A day after the New York Mets placed ace Jacob deGrom on the injured list, he threw in the outfield and told reporters he “felt completely normal.”
He played catch from 120 feet in the outfield at Busch Stadium in St. Louis and reported a positive outcome.
The team announced Friday that deGrom would undergo an MRI exam on Monday, but that is now up in the air, manager Mickey Callaway told reporters. DeGrom will meet with team medical director Dr. David Altchek in New York, who will make the call on the MRI.
–The Pittsburgh Pirates placed center fielder Starling Marte and shortstop Erik Gonzalez on the injured list, one day after the two were hurt in a fierce collision chasing after a pop fly.
Marte suffered a bruised abdominal wall while Gonzalez fractured his left clavicle in the collision during Friday’s win over San Francisco. Marte was placed on the 10-day IL and Gonzalez went on the 60-day IL.
Pittsburgh recalled shortstop Cole Tucker and outfielder Bryan Reynolds from Triple-A Indianapolis. Both players started Saturday’s game against the Giants in their major league debuts.
–Pitcher Gio Gonzalez opted out of his contract with the Yankees and intends to become a free agent, MLB.com reported.
Per the terms of Gonzalez’s contract, the Yankees have 48 hours to grant his release or add him to the roster. If he is put on the roster, Gonzalez will be paid a $3 million base salary, along with $300,000 per start.
In three starts at Triple A-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he as a 2-1 record with an ERA of 6.00.
–Field Level Media
FILE PHOTO - A SpaceX Falcon 9 carrying the Crew Dragon spacecraft sits on launch pad 39A prior to the uncrewed test flight to the International Space Station from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake
April 21, 2019
(Reuters) – Elon Musk’s SpaceX suffered an anomaly in one of its Crew Dragon capsules while conducting engine tests at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Saturday, the company said.
“The initial tests completed successfully but the final test resulted in an anomaly on the test stand,” the company said in a statement.
The issue was earlier reported by Florida Today, which said orange smoke was seen rising above SpaceX’s facilities, and that the anomaly was contained with no injuries.
SpaceX said its teams are investigating and are working closely with U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) partners.
“NASA has been notified about the results of the SpaceX Static Fire Test and the anomaly that occurred during the final test,” its administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a tweet https://twitter.com/JimBridenstine/status/1119754804258062337.
“This is why we test. We will learn, make the necessary adjustments and safely move forward with our Commercial Crew Program,” he added.
NASA has awarded SpaceX and Boeing Co a total of $6.8 billion to build competing rocket and capsule systems to launch astronauts into orbit from American soil.
In March, the privately owned SpaceX successfully completed its mission of sending an unmanned capsule to the International Space Station and returned safely to Earth, a mission seen as crucial to NASA’s plans to resume human space flight from U.S. soil.
SpaceX’s first crewed test flight is slated to launch in July with U.S. astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken.
(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya and Sabahatjahan Contractor in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
People pass over the stone bridge in Skopje, North Macedonia April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski
April 21, 2019
By Kole Casule
SKOPJE (Reuters) – Macedonians vote on Sunday in a presidential election dominated by deep divisions over the change of the country’s name to North Macedonia under a deal with Greece.
The name change, which Greece demanded to end what it called an implied territorial claim on its northern province also called Macedonia, resolves a decades-old dispute and opens the door to Macedonian membership of NATO and the European Union.
But the accord continues to divide Macedonians and has eclipsed all other issues during campaigning for Sunday’s election, in which about 1.8 million voters will choose between three candidates.
Reflecting differences over the agreement pushed through by the pro-Western government of Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, the winner of Sunday’s ballot is not expected to secure an outright majority, meaning a run-off vote would be held on May 5.
A recent opinion poll gave support of 28.8 percent and a narrow lead to Stevo Pendarovski, who is backed by the ruling centrist coalition of the Social Democrats and the minority Albanian DUI party, which have promised to implement the name change settlement.
“There is no other alternative except NATO and EU. Unfortunately in this country we have an opposition that is buried in the 19th century,” Pendarovski, a long-serving public official and academic, told supporters in the town of Stip.
Pendarovski’s main rival Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova is supported by the nationalist VMRO-DPMNE party, which strongly opposed the deal. The latest poll showed her trailing by about two percentage points on 26.8 percent.
Wrapping up her campaign in the capital, Skopje, the university professor accused the government of failing to implement much-needed economic reforms.
“If for the past two and a half years they haven’t done anything except change the name of the country, I don’t believe that in the next period they will do that,” said Siljanovska-Davkova, who also wants the country to join the EU and NATO despite opposing the agreement.
Blerim Reka, the candidate for the second-largest Albanian party Besa, looks set to come a distant third with about seven percent of the vote, the poll showed.
The presidency of the ex-Yugoslav republic is a mostly ceremonial post, but acts as the supreme commander of the armed forces and also signs off on parliamentary legislation.
The refusal of outgoing nationalist President Gjeorge Ivanov to sign some bills passed by parliament has delayed the implementation of some key laws, including one on wider use of the Albanian language — 18 years after an ethnic Albanian uprising that pushed Macedonia to the brink of civil war.
But the presidency had no authority to block constitutional amendments that were passed earlier this year by a two-thirds majority of parliament to enable the name change to North Macedonia.
Analysts say turnout in Sunday’s vote could be low due to fatigue among voters disappointed at the government’s performance on attracting foreign investment and tackling high unemployment.
“There’s nowhere to go except towards the European Union,” said Dimitar Siljanovski, 43, an accountant in a private company.
“That is why I’ll support the option that promises to stand by the deal. Otherwise, what is the alternative? To be stuck forever in a waiting room,” he said.
Polling stations will be open until 7 p.m. (1700 GMT) with the first preliminary results due two hours later.
(Writing by Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Helen Popper)
President Trump, reiterating his firm belief that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation had been a political and unsuccessful witch hunt, tweeted out the New York Post's front page and its bold, declarative headline: "TRUMP CLEAN."
The page showed Trump smiling alongside the phrases, "No crimes committed," and "Dem hoax destroyed."
The tweet was something of a victory lap for Trump, after Mueller's report said there wasn't enough evidence to charge him with either conspiracy or obstruction of justice.
Despite what Trump's tweets may have implied, the battle was far from over, however, as congressional Democrats continued to push their own follow-up investigation. House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., subpoenaed the unredacted Mueller report and requested that Mueller testify before Congress.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., who also serves on the Judiciary Committee, spoke of concerns about Russian election meddling and collusion. He said that even though Mueller's report didn't show collusion "beyond a reasonable doubt," it contained enough suspicious information to raise red flags.
"There was certainly evidence of collusion, not evidence that met the beyond a reasonable doubt standard," he said.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called for impeachment proceedings in the aftermath of the Mueller report's release, and pushed back on concerns that the issue might hurt Democrats' 2020 prospects.
“I know people say this is politically charged and we shouldn’t go there, and that there is an election coming up, but there are some things that are bigger than politics,” she said.
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., also pushed a resolution calling on the House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether Trump committed impeachable offenses.
Those reactions aside, though, Trump was exuberant, according to his adviser Dan Scavino.
While the president touted the Post's front page, it also had its share of critics who felt it was an astounding example of overreach.
"Special alternate-universe front-page award to [New York Post]," Dan Froomkin, editor of White House Watch, tweeted.
Source: Fox News Politics
Mar 13, 2019; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray participates in positional workouts during pro day at the Everest Indoor Training Center at the University of Oklahoma. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
April 20, 2019
Unlike the 2018 NFL Draft, when the Cleveland Browns kept us guessing until practically draft night, the first overall pick seems to have been preordained for months.
There remain whispers about whether ownership is on board, and as long as the Arizona Cardinals still have Josh Rosen on their roster, we can’t be absolutely certain first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury will draft his former high school recruit, Kyler Murray, with the top pick.
But for now, there’s no reason to expect a late surprise – on that would set off an entirely different chain of events. Even with Murray penciled in at No. 1, it’s anybody’s guess where the other top quarterbacks wind up.
1. Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
The importance of Murray’s mobility in Kingsbury’s offense is overstated, but if you’re going to hire an offensive coach, why not let him pick his quarterback?
2. San Francisco 49ers: DE Nick Bosa, Ohio State
Acquiring Dee Ford won’t change the 49ers’ approach here — Bosa is a perfect complement, as a bigger, powerful end who can win outside and inside as a rusher while also stopping the run.
3. New York Jets: DT Ed Oliver, Houston
The Jets desperately wish to trade down, and most have Quinnen Williams or Josh Allen here if they stay, but don’t rule out roll the dice on Oliver’s unique athleticism.
4. Oakland Raiders: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama
Josh Allen or Devin White could be in play here, but Williams is the best player on the board. A potential shocker cannot be ruled out: Drew Lock.
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: LB Devin White, LSU
With Josh Allen still available, this is tricky. While the Bucs need more edge rush, Todd Bowles’ scheme creates pressure via blitzes, and White is a classic modern-day linebacker who can blitz, cover and play the run.
6. New York Giants: OLB Josh Allen, Kentucky
Dave Gettleman is never shy about taking the best player available, glaring hole at quarterback be damned.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: OT Jawaan Taylor, Florida
T.J. Hockenson would be an option, but Taylor makes too much sense. He fills the Jags’ hole at right tackle perfectly, as a mauler who excels in a power run game.
8. Detroit Lions: TE T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
Rashan Gary or Montez Sweat could make sense, but Matt Patricia’s defense doesn’t prioritize edge rushers. Instead, the Lions grab a two-way tight end after nearly trading for Rob Gronkowski last year.
9. Buffalo Bills: DE Rashan Gary, Michigan
The Bills addressed a bunch of spots in free agency so they could take the top player on their board. They might hope Hockenson is still there, but with him gone, they grab one of the draft’s best athletes.
10. Denver Broncos: QB Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
Many believe the Broncos are targeting a second- or third-tier quarterback to develop behind Joe Flacco. Would Haskins slipping to No. 10 change their mind?
11. Cincinnati Bengals: QB Drew Lock, Missouri
This would be bold for a notably conservative organization, but if Zac Taylor wants to pick his QB, it’s hard to argue against him. Devin Bush would be in play if it’s not a QB.
12. Green Bay Packers: OL Jonah Williams, Alabama
The Packers added Billy Turner in free agency, but Williams could be an upgrade at left guard over Lane Taylor while serving as insurance and the successor to oft-injured right tackle Bryan Bulaga.
13. Miami Dolphins: OT Andre Dillard, Washington State
Miami let Ja’Wuan James walk and hasn’t replaced him, so Dillard (or Williams or Cody Ford) could fill the hole at right tackle. Clelin Ferrell would also be a perfect fit in Brian Flores’ defense.
14. Atlanta Falcons: DT Christian Wilkins, Clemson
Wilkins would slot in next to fellow Clemson product Grady Jarrett inside as a disruptive penetrator with terrific character.
15. Washington Redskins: DE Montez Sweat, Mississippi State
With some concerned about his heart issue, Sweat slides a tad, and Washington nabs a dynamic rusher opposite Ryan Kerrigan.
16. Carolina Panthers: DE Brian Burns, Florida State
Julius Peppers is finally retired, and Bruce Irvin isn’t the answer. Burns can threaten early as a situational rusher while adding power to be a full-time starter down the line.
17. New York Giants (from Cleveland): QB Daniel Jones, Duke
If the Giants don’t love any of the top quarterbacks but — as believed — like Jones, it would be sensible to wait and see if he reaches No. 17.
18. Minnesota Vikings: OL Chris Lindstrom, Boston College
The Vikings might prefer a left tackle — which would bump Riley Reiff to left guard — but with Williams and Dillard gone, they take perhaps the draft’s best interior lineman.
19. Tennessee Titans: WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
The Titans’ offense needs an injection of speed, and nobody in this draft has more of it than Brown. Lindstrom would also be in consideration if available.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Devin Bush, Michigan
Bush could land closer to the top 10, but if he slips this far, Pittsburgh should pounce. The Steelers have needed speed at inside linebacker since Ryan Shazier’s injury.
21. Seattle Seahawks: DE Clelin Ferrell, Clemson
The Seahawks likely hope to trade down, as is their norm in Round 1, but more help on the edge makes sense with Frank Clark’s future unclear.
22. Baltimore Ravens: C Erik McCoy, Texas A&M
A solid, scheme-versatile pivot, McCoy might fit the Ravens better than Garrett Bradbury, who played in a predominant outside-zone scheme at NC State.
23. Houston Texans: CB Byron Murphy, Washington
With Taylor, Dillard and Williams gone, Houston opts to wait on offensive tackle and reinforce a weakened secondary instead.
24. Oakland Raiders (from Chicago): TE Noah Fant, Iowa
While the Raiders need more reinforcements on defense, Jared Cook’s departure leaves the team with no receiving threat at tight end. Jon Gruden can’t help himself.
25. Philadelphia Eagles: C Garrett Bradbury, NC State
If Bradbury reaches 25, I love this pick. He would provide insurance for Brandon Brooks (torn Achilles) at right guard and eventually take over at the pivot when Jason Kelce retires.
26. Indianapolis Colts: WR D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi
Metcalf has a wide range of possible landing spots, but his combination of size and speed would make sense for Indy if he gets this far.
27. Oakland Raiders (from Dallas): CB DeAndre Baker, Georgia
I could see Gruden gambling on Jeffery Simmons, but since the Raiders already nabbed a defensive tackle in Quinnen Williams, they opt for a cornerback here.
28. Los Angeles Chargers: DT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
The Chargers re-signed Brandon Mebane, but he’s 34 and got only a two-year deal. Lawrence would immediately fortify the run defense, with pocket-pushing potential down the line.
29. Kansas City Chiefs: CB Greedy Williams, LSU
Don’t be shocked if they pick a wideout, but with the value not lining up here, the Chiefs add much-needed help to the secondary.
30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): DB Darnell Savage, Maryland
A late riser, Savage can play all over the place — single-high, two-deep, in the box or over the slot — making him a perfect fit in Mike Pettine’s scheme.
31. Los Angeles Rams: OL Cody Ford, Oklahoma
L.A. lost interior linemen Rodger Saffold and John Sullivan and has yet to replace them. Ford would compete at left guard, perhaps starting from Day 1.
32. New England Patriots: TE Irv Smith Jr., Alabama
Smith is a better blocker on the move than inline, so the offense would require some adaptation, but he’s a dangerous receiver who thrives after the catch, which is critical in Josh McDaniels’ horizontal passing game.
–David DeChant, Field Level Media
Apr 20, 2019; Hilton Head, SC, USA; Dustin Johnson tees off from seventh hole during the third round of the RBC Heritage golf tournament at Harbour Town Golf Links. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
April 20, 2019
(Reuters) – World number one Dustin Johnson overhauled halfway leader Shane Lowry to open up a one-stroke advantage after the third round of the windswept RBC Heritage in South Carolina on Saturday.
Johnson, a South Carolina native, shot a three-under 68 in trying conditions to end on 10-under 203, making his move with three consecutive birdies from the 13th and holding on to his lead despite dropping shots at 16 and 17.
Lowry’s lead evaporated with three bogeys on the back nine and he finished with an even-par 71, tied for second on nine-under along with Ian Poulter (67) and Rory Sabbatini (68) at Hilton Head Island’s Harbour Town Golf Links.
Six others were tied a shot further back on eight-under 205.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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FILE PHOTO: Mar 27, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton watches the action against the Utah Jazz in the first half at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
April 14, 2019
Luke Walton and the Kings have agreed to a multi-year contract to make him Sacramento’s next coach, The Athletic reported.
Walton met with Kings general manager Vlade Divac on Saturday, and The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported the two had reached agreement on a deal that is expected to run through the 2022-23 season.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said an official announcement could come this weekend.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Walton, 39, parted ways on Friday. He compiled a 98-148 record in three seasons as the Lakers’ head coach. Los Angeles missed the playoffs in all three campaigns.
–The Lakers, meanwhile, received permission to discuss their opening for head coach with Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams, ESPN reported, citing league sources.
The Lakers are focusing on Williams and former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, and general manager Rob Pelinka plans to speak with each candidate in the near future, league sources told ESPN.
After spending the previous two years in the San Antonio Spurs’ front office following the death of his wife Ingrid in 2016, Williams got back into coaching as Brett Brown’s top assistant with the 76ers.
–The 76ers fined veteran center Amir Johnson an undisclosed amount for showing teammate Joel Embiid his cell phone on the bench late in a 111-102 loss to the Brooklyn Nets in Game 1 of their playoff series.
TV cameras caught Johnson on the bench in the fourth quarter, when the 76ers were 16 points down and he was scrolling through his phone. After showing Embiid something on his phone, Johnson put it into the pocket of his warm-ups.
“I apologize for having my phone on the bench in today’s game,” Johnson said in a statement released hours after the game by the 76ers. “I take full responsibility and will accept the consequences of my actions. I also apologize to my teammates, the 76ers organization and the fans for the distraction this has caused.”
–Milwaukee Bucks forward Nikola Mirotic is expected to return from a thumb injury to play in Game 1 of the first-round series against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.
Mirotic missed the final 11 games of the regular season after fracturing his left thumb during a March 19 game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Mirotic fully participated in Friday’s practice and took part in Saturday’s non-contact practice. He had his thumb taped during both workouts.
–The Washington Wizards announced they will not make a qualifying offer to free agent forward Devin Robinson after he was apparently arrested late Friday.
“We are aware of the incident this morning involving Devin and are disappointed in his actions. We will not extend a qualifying offer to him for the 2019-20 season,” it read.
According to Washington Post reporter Candace Buckner, who covers the Wizards, Robinson was involved in an altercation with Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills at a nightclub.
–Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby could be sidelined until the Eastern Conference finals, should the team make it that far, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.
Anunoby underwent an emergency appendectomy on Thursday.
The second-year player, who is a key reserve for the Raptors, scored 7.0 points per game this season with an average of 2.9 rebounds. He played in 67 games this season, starting six of them, a year after he started 62 games as a rookie from Indiana.
–Field Level Media
FILE PHOTO: MotoGP – Grand Prix of Argentina – Autodromo Internacional de Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina – March 31, 2019 Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez in action during the race REUTERS/Rafael Marrodan/Photocall3000/File Photo
April 13, 2019
(Reuters) – Honda’s MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez took pole position at the Grand Prix of the Americas for the seventh year in a row on Saturday while title rival Andrea Dovizioso could manage only 13th place on the grid.
The Spaniard will be joined by Yamaha’s 40-year-old Italian great Valentino Rossi and British LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow on the front row for Sunday’s race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Five-times MotoGP world champion Marquez, who set a best lap of two minutes 03.787 seconds, is unbeaten at the track and has won there for the past six seasons.
Italian great Rossi was 0.237 slower than Marquez as he qualified on the front row for the first time since Malaysia last October.
Marquez’s team mate and compatriot Jorge Lorenzo lost time when his bike had a chain problem and he had to lean it against the pitwall before jogging back to the garage for a spare bike. He qualified 11th.
Ducati’s Dovizioso, four points behind championship leader Marquez after two races, failed to make it through the first qualifying session.
The day’s final practice sessions were canceled due to the risk of lightning strikes but the bad weather then eased off in the afternoon, with qualifying run under blue skies.
(Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
Banners in support of arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange are seen on the pavement in front of Westminster Magistrates Court in London, Britain April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
April 12, 2019
By Guy Faulconbridge, Kate Holton and Costas Pitas
LONDON (Reuters) – British police dragged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange out of Ecuador’s embassy on Thursday after his seven-year asylum was revoked, paving the way for his extradition to the United States for one of the biggest ever leaks of classified information.
Hours after the frail-looking Assange, with white hair and a long beard, was carried head-first by at least seven men out of the London embassy and into a waiting police van, U.S. officials announced he had been charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.
As he was being hauled out of the embassy in a dramatic scene shortly after 0900 GMT after Ecuador terminated his asylum, the Australian-born Assange was heard shouting, “This is unlawful, I’m not leaving.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May hailed the news in parliament, to cheers and cries of “Hear, hear!” from lawmakers.
But in Washington, President Donald Trump, who in 2016 said “I love WikiLeaks” after the website released emails that U.S. authorities have said were hacked by Russia to harm his election opponent Hillary Clinton, told reporters he had no opinion on the charges against Assange.
“I know nothing about WikiLeaks. It’s not my thing,” Trump said.
Assange gave a thumbs up in handcuffs as he was taken from a police station to a London court, where he pronounced himself not guilty of failing to surrender in 2012.
Judge Michael Snow called Assange, wearing a black jacket and black shirt, a “narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interests” and convicted him of skipping bail. Sentencing will be at a later date.
Police said they arrested Assange, 47, after being invited into the embassy following Ecuador’s withdrawal of asylum. He took refuge there in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault investigation that was later dropped.
Assange was carried out of the building – located behind the luxury department store Harrods – carrying a copy of Gore Vidal’s “History of The National Security State”, which he continued reading in court.
In Washington, the U.S. Justice Department said Assange was charged with conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to gain access to a government computer as part of a 2010 leak by WikiLeaks of hundreds of thousands of U.S. military reports about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and American diplomatic communications. Legal experts said more U.S. charges could be coming.
The indictment was made secretly in March 2018 and unsealed on Thursday. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted, with legal experts saying more charges were possible.
Ecuador suspended Julian Assange’s citizenship and accused him and others at WikiLeaks of collaborating in attempts to destabilize the Andean nation’s government.
FRICTION WITH ECUADOR
Assange was offered refuge in 2012 by Ecuador’s then-president Rafael Correa, but his relationship with Ecuador soured under Correa’s successor Lenin Moreno, who has said Assange violated the terms of his asylum. Ecuador accused Assange of leaking information about Moreno’s personal life.
Lawyers for Assange said he may risk torture and his life would be in danger if he were to be extradited to the United States.
The arrest, after years holed up in a few cramped rooms at the embassy, represented one of the most sensational turns in a tumultuous life that has transformed the computer programmer into a fugitive wanted by the United States.
“The whole House will welcome the news this morning that the Metropolitan Police have arrested Julian Assange, arrested for breach of bail after nearly seven years in the Ecuadorean embassy,” May said.
Ecuador’s foreign minister said his country was not aware of any active extradition requests for Assange before it terminated his asylum. Supporters of Assange said Ecuador had betrayed him at the behest of Washington, illegally ended his asylum and engineered a dark moment for press freedom.
“Journalists around the world should be deeply troubled by these unprecedented criminal charges,” Barry Pollack, a lawyer for Assange, said in a statement reacting to the U.S. indictment.
His admirers have hailed Assange as a hero for exposing what they describe as abuse of power by modern states and for championing free speech. His detractors have painted him as a dangerous figure complicit in Russian efforts to undermine the West and U.S. security, and dispute that he is a journalist.
“Under the guise of transparency, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have effectively acted as an arm of the Russian intelligence services for years,” U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a Republican, said. “Hopefully, he will now face justice.”
The Kremlin said it hoped Assange’s rights would not be violated.
WikiLeaks angered Washington by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables that laid bare critical U.S. appraisals of world leaders, from Russian President Vladimir Putin to members of the Saudi royal family.
Assange made international headlines in 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified U.S. military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.
Assange’s U.S. indictment arose from a long-running criminal investigation dating back to the administration of former President Barack Obama. It was triggered in part by WikiLeaks’ publication in 2010 of U.S. military reports about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the diplomatic communications – disclosures that embarrassed the United States and strained relations with allies.
The Justice Department said Assange was arrested under an extradition treaty between the United States and Britain.
The indictment said Assange in March 2010 engaged in a conspiracy to assist Manning, formerly named Bradley Manning, in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications.
Manning’s lawyers demanded the release of the former intelligence analyst, jailed last month after being held in contempt by a judge in Virginia for refusing to testify before a grand jury, and said “continued detention would be purely punitive.”
A Swedish lawyer representing the alleged rape victim said she would push to have prosecutors reopen the case, but a retired senior prosecutor and chairman of NGO Victim Support Sweden said that may be difficult.
Britain said no person was above the law.
“Julian Assange is no hero, he has hidden from the truth for years and years,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said.
“It’s not so much Julian Assange being held hostage in the Ecuadorean embassy, it’s actually Julian Assange holding the Ecuadorean embassy hostage in a situation that was absolutely intolerable for them.”
Friends of Assange said his solitary existence in the embassy was tough on him.
“It was a miserable existence and I could see it was a strain on him, but a strain he managed rather well,” said Vaughan Smith, a friend who had visited Assange. “The thing that was most difficult for Julian was the solitude.”
“He was very tough, but the last year in particular was very difficult. He was constantly being surveilled and spied upon. There was no privacy for him,” Smith said.
Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006. The website published secret official information, infuriating the United States and other countries. WikiLeaks said Ecuador had illegally terminated his political asylum in violation of international law.
“Assange’s critics may cheer, but this is a dark moment for press freedom,” said Edward Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Agency contractor who fled to Moscow after revealing massive U.S. intelligence gathering.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, Kate Holton and Costas Pitas; Additional reporting by Alistair Smout, Andrew MacAskill, Henry Nicholls, Peter Nicholls, Dylan Martinez in London; Anna Ringstrom, Simon Johnson and Niklas Pollard in Stockholm; Mark Hosenball, Sarah N. Lynch and Makini Brice in Washington; Nathan Layne in New York; Sabela Ojea in Madrid; Alexandra Valencia in Quito; and Julia Cobb and Helen Murphy in Bogota; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge, Kate Holton and Will Dunham; Editing by Hugh Lawson,; Alistair Bell and Grant McCool)
Tennis – ATP 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 16, 2019 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his second round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
April 16, 2019
(Reuters) – World number one Novak Djokovic took out his frustration on the racket in a scrappy performance but did enough to overcome German Philipp Kohlschreiber in a 6-3 4-6 6-4 win in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday.
The Serb, who received a first round bye, clinched the first set with penetrating groundstrokes from the baseline but struggled with his serve in the second and serving at 2-3 down was forced to save two break points.
On the third break point opportunity for Kohlschreiber, Djokovic inexplicably hit a backhand volley wide to put his opponent 4-2 ahead.
A furious Djokovic went on to smash his racket three times on the court and was met with a chorus of boos from the spectators.
Two-times winner Djokovic would go on to drop his serve for the fourth time in the set but regained his composure with an early break in the decider.
He maintained the advantage to avenge his Indian Wells second-round defeat by Kohlschreiber last month.
“There were lots of ups and downs. It was not the prettiest of matches,” Djokovic, who record his 850th tour-level win, said.
“He played well, but a win is a win. This was a tough first match of the clay season.
“I had to figure out how I needed to move, this kind of match can be expected. It was probably good for me to spend so long on the court.”
Argentine Guido Pella knocked out seventh seed Marin Cilic, beating the Croatian 6-3 5-7 6-1.
The defeat left 2014 U.S. Open winner Cilic with just one victory from five matches since January’s Australian Open, where he was knocked out in the fourth round.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
Barnes & Noble is offering curious readers a chance to view special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report on the Russia investigation as soon as Attorney General William Barr drops the 400-page document early Thursday.
In a tweet, the bookselling company instructed followers how to easily download the materials.
“Be the first to read THE MUELLER REPORT for free! Pre-order today and it will be delivered to your NOOK Library upon expected release,” Barnes & Noble wrote Wednesday in a tweet, which has been shared nearly 500 times.
Users who don’t have the NOOK Library can download the NOOK reading app to read a PDF or “direct replica” of the report on their smartphones.
“The Mueller Report as released by the U.S. Department of Justice, Barr redactions and all, and it is essential reading for all Americans on both sides of the aisle,” a description of the Mueller report on NOOK reads, in part. “After almost two long years, the wait is over for one of the most important investigations in the history of American politics.”
The Justice Department is expected to release a redacted version of the special counsel’s report on Russian election interference and the Trump campaign following Barr’s scheduled 9:30 a.m. news conference. Barr will present his interpretation of the report’s findings before providing redacted copies to Congress and the public Thursday.
Dozens of people thanked Barnes & Noble for giving them an easy way to read the lengthy report — with many jokingly questioning whether the download would also be free of redactions.
Both the public and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been eager to read Mueller’s final report on the years-long probe which resulted in charges for several former Trump campaign associates, though none were directly related to collusion.
The House of Representatives unanimously voted (420-0) on March 14 in favor of a resolution to urge Attorney General William Barr to release Mueller’s full report to Congress and the country for the sake of “transparency.”
It’s likely Barr will redact any information he deems inappropriate or harmful to a person’s character if he or she has not been charged with a crime. Classified information, grand jury items and closed-door testimony will also be protected.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics