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Royal hoax DJ to testify at inquest into UK nurse's death after prank Kate Middleton call

Written By kom nampuldu on Senin, 29 April 2013 | 20.49

An Australian radio DJ will give evidence at an inquest into the death of a nurse who hanged herself after putting through a hoax call seeking information on Prince William's pregnant wife Kate, the presenter's lawyers said on Monday.

Mel Greig asked to appear as an individual at the inquest into Jacintha Saldanha's death, which provoked worldwide anger at the radio DJ's actions.

"(Greig) is determined to address any questions surrounding her role in these tragic events as part of the inquest," her lawyers Slater & Gordon said in a statement.

"Ms. Greig wants (Saldanha's) family to know she will answer any questions the coroner or the family's lawyers may have at the inquest."

Supplied by INFphoto.com

Jacintha Saldanha, 46

REUTERS

Mel Greig

The inquest, which had been due to start in London this Thursday, has been postponed until September 12-13 while more evidence is gathered, a spokesman for Westminster City Council confirmed.

It was not immediately clear whether Greig will give evidence in person or via videolink.

Saldanha, 46, was found hanged last December in her hospital lodgings in London, days after she answered the call from Greig and her colleague Michael Christian from Australian radio station 2Day FM.

As part of the ruse, Greig and Christian had pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, William's father.

Saldanha put the call through to a colleague who, despite the DJs' unconvincing accents, disclosed details of the Duchess of Cambridge's condition during treatment for an extreme form of morning sickness in the early stages of pregnancy.

British newspapers reported that Saldanha, a mother of two, held the DJs responsible for her death in one of three suicide notes she left.

"Ms. Saldanha's suicide was a devastating tragedy and Ms. Greig's thoughts have been with the family ever since," her lawyers said in the statement.

2DayFM canceled the pair's show, which had been off the air since the incident, and Australia's media regulator has launched an investigation to see whether the station breached its license conditions and commercial radio codes of practice.

Southern Cross Austereo, parent company of the radio station, has also apologized and promised to donate advertising revenue to a fund for Saldanha's family with a minimum contribution of A$500,000 ($525,000).

Reuters

Copyright 2013 Thomson Reuters. Click For Restrictions


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Councilman Halloran faces inquiry over romance with ANOTHER former staffer

He threw away his marriage for a co-ed staffer half his age, and now Dan Halloran, the city councilman already under indictment in an alleged plot to rig the mayoral race, could lose his seat after another seamy office romp.

Halloran, 41, a cocky Queens Republican and a practicing pagan, has been carrying on with 23-year-old Denise Batista since she was an intern in his council office, sources told The Post.

The brunette beauty was seen covering her face at Halloran's Flushing home when FBI agents led him out in handcuffs during his predawn arrest April 2, when he was charged in Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith's alleged plot to bribe his way onto the GOP mayoral ticket.

Ellis Kaplan

MORE HOTWATER: Councilman Dan Halloran, facing bribery charges after his April 2 arrest, runs errands at his Queens home with Denise Batista, his second young staffer-turned lover after former aide Meaghan Mapes.

Halloran could be hit with disorderly-conduct sanctions — including dismissal — if found to have violated the council's ethics policy with Batista or a previous deputy chief of staff with whom he had a relationship.

Batista, a student and tennis player at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, first hooked up with Halloran while she was working for him, an "absolute no-no" under city and council rules, a council source said. Batista has since quit her intern gig.

The relationship comes on the heels of Halloran's 2010-2011 romance with Meaghan Mapes, his pretty former $30,000-a-year deputy chief of staff. The affair with Mapes, then 21, was revealed by The Post this month.

That relationship imploded Halloran's marriage. His wife, Cynthia, filed for divorce in 2011. It has not been finalized.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn told The Post over the weekend that she plans to launch an ethics probe into Halloran's extracurricular activities with the two staffers.

"The council takes [potential] sexual harassment and discrimination very seriously," said Quinn spokesman Jamie McShane. "Speaker Quinn will immediately refer [this] to the council's Standards and Ethics Committee."

The council source said: "The council's sexual-harassment policy is clear: It's inappropriate and improper for a supervisor — in this case the council member — to engage in a romantic and sexual relationship with a subordinate. It's an absolute no-no.

"If [Halloran] used his position [to] get girls and uses it to take advantage of girls or hire interns or staff, then it's morally wrong and legally wrong, and the voters deserve better."

Mapes, who started law school in Virginia last year, was long gone from Halloran's office when Batista entered the picture, sources said.

It became clear to other staffers last fall that Batista, who filed and answered phones, was dating her boss.

"There was this 'here we go again' " feeling among staff, said a source close to Halloran.

It's unclear when Batista started her unpaid internship with Halloran — a practitioner of the Theodish religion, a heathenism offshoot in which members wear medieval garb, can be publicly flogged, toss spears and drink whiskey from horns.

Batista and Halloran soon began showing up at events, including last year's Bell Boulevard Christmas-tree lighting, in his white Jaguar.

"Halloran had her resign so it wouldn't be a problem anymore," said a source close to the pol.

When he was courting Mapes, Halloran often spent the night at her off-campus St. John's University apartment, sneaking in a side door.

This time around, Halloran isn't hiding his relationship. He has posted pictures of Batista, a yoga enthusiast, on Facebook and in March changed his status on the site from "it's complicated" to "in a relationship."

On Friday, the couple were spotted leaving his home in his Jaguar and returning an hour later holding Starbucks cups and groceries.

Later that day, Batista declined to comment to a reporter and peeled off in her BMW SUV.

Halloran did not respond to multiple requests for comment. A spokesman for him declined to comment.

Halloran pleaded not guilty on April 23 in the alleged bribery scheme to get Smith on the city's mayoral primary ballot. He could face up to 45 years behind bars if convicted. He has been stripped of his council committee posts, but has said he has no plans to resign.

Additional reporting by Natasha Velez and Jeane MacIntosh

matthew.nestel@nypost.com


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Christie: Obama 'kept every promise' on Sandy aid

HIGHLANDS, NJ — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Monday that President Obama "has kept every promise he's made" about helping the state recover from Hurricane Sandy.

Speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program on the 6-month anniversary of the deadly storm, the Republican governor said presidential politics were the last thing on his mind as he toured storm-devastated areas with Obama last fall.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"The president has kept every promise he's made," said Christie, widely considered a potential candidate for the republican presidential nomination in 2016. "I think he's done a good job. He kept his word."

Christie's warm embrace of Obama after the storm angered some Republicans, who said it helped tip a close presidential election to the Democrat and away from Mitt Romney, who Christie endorsed and for whom he campaigned last fall.

Christie says he and Obama have fundamentally different views on governing. But he said the two men did what needed to be done for a devastated region.

"I've got a job to do," he said. "You wake up and 7 million of your 8.8 million citizens are out of power, you're not thinking about presidential politics. Put yourself in my shoes: If you're a responsible political official, you'll do nothing differently.

"I have a 95 percent level of disagreement with Barack Obama," Christie said. "We saw suffering together. Everything the president promised me they'd do, they've done. I don't have any complaint this morning on the issue of disaster relief."

AP

President Obama is greeted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie upon his arrival at Atlantic City International Airport on Oct. 31, 2012. Obama traveled to the region to take an aerial tour of the Atlantic Coast in New Jersey in areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Sandy destroyed about 360,000 homes or apartment units in New Jersey, and some areas along the shore are still devastated.

Later Monday, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan is to appear with Christie at a press conference, where it is expected the secretary will announce federal approval of New Jersey's plans to spend more than $1.8 billion in federal grants on storm rebuilding and recovery.

"We'll start to see that aid start flowing this week," Christie said on the show. "We still have tens of thousands of families who aren't back in their homes. Job One is to get the grant program going."

Congress approved more than $60 billion in Sandy relief funds, most of it for New Jersey and New York, despite opposition from many Congressional Republicans who wanted to spend less.


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Jets release Tim Tebow

Tebow Time is up.

The Jets released popular backup quarterback Tim Tebow on Monday morning, The Post has learned. The move comes three days after they drafted Geno Smith in the second round to compete with Mark Sanchez, David Garrard and Greg McElroy for the starting quarterback spot.

It ends Tebow's 13 months as a Jet that were more memorable for all of the headlines than anything that actually happened on the field. The Jets acquired him from the Broncos in March 2012 for a fourth-round draft pick (the two teams also swapped later draft picks).

AP

Tim Tebow arrives on the first day of off-season workouts at the Jets practice facility on April 15.

The Jets confirmed the news with a press release that included a quote from coach Rex Ryan.

"We have a great deal of respect for Tim Tebow," Ryan said in the statement. "Unfortunately, things did not work out the way we all had hoped. Tim is an extremely hard worker, evident by the shape he came back in this offseason. We wish him the best moving forward."

Tebow reported to the Jets training center in Florham Park to work out this morning, according to a source. Before he made it to the weight room, he was summoned to general manager John Idzik's office where he was informed of his release by Idzik and Ryan.

The arrival of Tebow last year was marked by a splashy news conference that irritated some who believed the Jets were making too big a deal of a backup quarterback. The Jets sold the move by saying they would use Tebow in a variety of roles, including running the wildcat formation, but it never worked.

Tebow played just over 70 snaps on offense. He also served as the personal protector on the punt team until injuring his ribs in November. He completed 6-of-8 passes for 39 yards and ran the ball 32 times for 102 yards. He did not score a touchdown.

The Tebow acquisition had far-reaching consequences. Former offensive coordinator Tony Sparano never figured out how to use Tebow, and it cost him his job. Former general manager Mike Tannenbaum lost his job after the season in part because of the Tebow trade. Starting quarterback Mark Sanchez also regressed greatly in 2012, and many believe Tebow's presence contributed to that.

It was a comedown for the Heisman Trophy winner from 2011 when he led the Broncos to a division title. But after the team picked up Peyton Manning, Tebow hit the trading block and the Jets grabbed him.

Tebow's time in New York will be remembered for the massive coverage it drew during training camp, including a memorable shirtless run through the rain, rather than football.

The whole experiment really failed in December when Ryan decided to make a change at quarterback, but passed over Tebow for McElroy. Tebow told Ryan he did not want to run the gimmicky offenses anymore and just wanted to play traditional quarterback.

By the time the season was over, everyone, including Tebow, seemed miserable that he ended up a Jet. Now, Tebow is now a free agent. It will be fascinating to see if he gets picked up.

It caps a remarkable eight days for Idzik, who traded start cornerback Darrelle Revis to the Buccaneers on April 21, drafted Smith in the second round of the Draft and now jettisoned Tebow.


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Man dies in bridge jump

A man died early this morning after jumping off the Manhattan Bridge, police said.

Police responded to the call of a person jumping off the bridge at around 11 p.m. last night. About an hour later, NYPD Harbor Patrol pulled the man from the East River near the Brooklyn side.

He was taken to Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn where he was pronounced dead.


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

‘Cats’ guy the life of the tardy

A political operative who recently left his job at the city Board of Elections was late to work so often that he was in jeopardy of being fired — before he landed a job with mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis.

Robert Hornak was late to his city job 171 times over the past 14 months, according to a time and attendance sheet obtained by The Post.

Only seven of those late arrivals were excused by his bosses in the Queens office, the document shows.

His tardiness spanned his employment on the board, from Jan. 23, 2012, to April 5, 2013, when he resigned to work for Catsimatidis directing his campaign's Queens field operation.

He earned $60,871 and was facing a disciplinary hearing when he quit, sources said. His final check included six days of unused vacation and sick time, a board official confirmed.

"Robert Hornak is another notorious character in the Queens GOP, and the fact that he was a public employee that never showed up on time and was still able to keep his job at a time when so many other New Yorkers are struggling to find jobs or keep the jobs they already have is disgraceful," said City Councilman Eric Ulrich, a Queens Republican who is at war with Catsimatidis.

Ulrich supports Joe Lhota in the mayoral primary.

Hornak blamed his tardiness on "a medical disability that contributed to my being a few minutes late on a number of occasions. I requested and received a reasonable accommodation to my work schedule, and after that was granted, I did not have another unexcused lateness the rest of my tenure."

But one Board of Elections official who requested anonymity said Hornak was often hours late to work.

"Sometimes two hours, an hour and a half," the official said.

A spokesman for Catsimatidis declined comment.

Hornak is embroiled in a civil war in the Queens Republican Party, whose vice chairman, Vince Tabone, was nabbed in the larger bribery scandal that ensnared state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) and City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens).

Tabone has since resigned his party post.

Tabone also worked for Catsimatidis, who donated tens of thousands of dollars to the party in the past year.

sally.goldenberg@nypost.com


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Councilman Halloran faces inquiry over romance with ANOTHER former staffer

He threw away his marriage for a co-ed staffer half his age, and now Dan Halloran, the city councilman already under indictment in an alleged plot to rig the mayoral race, could lose his seat after another seamy office romp.

Halloran, 41, a cocky Queens Republican and a practicing pagan, has been carrying on with 23-year-old Denise Batista since she was an intern in his council office, sources told The Post.

The brunette beauty was seen covering her face at Halloran's Flushing home when FBI agents led him out in handcuffs during his predawn arrest April 2, when he was charged in Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith's alleged plot to bribe his way onto the GOP mayoral ticket.

Ellis Kaplan

MORE HOTWATER: Councilman Dan Halloran, facing bribery charges after his April 2 arrest, runs errands at his Queens home with Denise Batista, his second young staffer-turned lover after former aide Meaghan Mapes.

Halloran could be hit with disorderly-conduct sanctions — including dismissal — if found to have violated the council's ethics policy with Batista or a previous deputy chief of staff with whom he had a relationship.

Batista, a student and tennis player at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, first hooked up with Halloran while she was working for him, an "absolute no-no" under city and council rules, a council source said. Batista has since quit her intern gig.

The relationship comes on the heels of Halloran's 2010-2011 romance with Meaghan Mapes, his pretty former $30,000-a-year deputy chief of staff. The affair with Mapes, then 21, was revealed by The Post this month.

That relationship imploded Halloran's marriage. His wife, Cynthia, filed for divorce in 2011. It has not been finalized.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn told The Post over the weekend that she plans to launch an ethics probe into Halloran's extracurricular activities with the two staffers.

"The council takes [potential] sexual harassment and discrimination very seriously," said Quinn spokesman Jamie McShane. "Speaker Quinn will immediately refer [this] to the council's Standards and Ethics Committee."

The council source said: "The council's sexual-harassment policy is clear: It's inappropriate and improper for a supervisor — in this case the council member — to engage in a romantic and sexual relationship with a subordinate. It's an absolute no-no.

"If [Halloran] used his position [to] get girls and uses it to take advantage of girls or hire interns or staff, then it's morally wrong and legally wrong, and the voters deserve better."

Mapes, who started law school in Virginia last year, was long gone from Halloran's office when Batista entered the picture, sources said.

It became clear to other staffers last fall that Batista, who filed and answered phones, was dating her boss.

"There was this 'here we go again' " feeling among staff, said a source close to Halloran.

It's unclear when Batista started her unpaid internship with Halloran — a practitioner of the Theodish religion, a heathenism offshoot in which members wear medieval garb, can be publicly flogged, toss spears and drink whiskey from horns.

Batista and Halloran soon began showing up at events, including last year's Bell Boulevard Christmas-tree lighting, in his white Jaguar.

"Halloran had her resign so it wouldn't be a problem anymore," said a source close to the pol.

When he was courting Mapes, Halloran often spent the night at her off-campus St. John's University apartment, sneaking in a side door.

This time around, Halloran isn't hiding his relationship. He has posted pictures of Batista, a yoga enthusiast, on Facebook and in March changed his status on the site from "it's complicated" to "in a relationship."

On Friday, the couple were spotted leaving his home in his Jaguar and returning an hour later holding Starbucks cups and groceries.

Later that day, Batista declined to comment to a reporter and peeled off in her BMW SUV.

Halloran did not respond to multiple requests for comment. A spokesman for him declined to comment.

Halloran pleaded not guilty on April 23 in the alleged bribery scheme to get Smith on the city's mayoral primary ballot. He could face up to 45 years behind bars if convicted. He has been stripped of his council committee posts, but has said he has no plans to resign.

Additional reporting by Natasha Velez and Jeane MacIntosh

matthew.nestel@nypost.com


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‘Iron Man’ $uits up

LOS ANGELES — "Iron Man 3" is the heavy-lifter at theaters with a colossal overseas debut that overshadows a sleepy weekend at the domestic box office.

The superhero sequel starring Robert Downey Jr. got a head start on its domestic launch next Friday with a $195.3 million opening in 42 overseas markets.

Yesterday's studio estimates show director Michael Bay's true-crime tale "Pain & Gain" muscled into first place domestically with a $20 million debut.

The movie, starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie knocked off Tom Cruise's sci-fi adventure "Oblivion" after a week in the No. 1 spot. "Oblivion" slipped to second place with $17.4 million, raising its domestic total to $64.7 million.


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Ed Fountaine’s Stakes Spot Plays

Written By kom nampuldu on Sabtu, 27 April 2013 | 20.49

Westchester

Belmont Stakes, ninth race. Grade 3. Purse: $150,000. 1 mile, 3-year-olds and up. Post: 4:58 p.m.

LOWDOWN: Big Screen showed enough promise last year at 3 to run in the Peter Pan and Hill Prince, and he seems to have blossomed this year as a 4-year-old. Coming off a six-month layoff for Tom Albertrani, he scored in his return by six lengths going a mile at Gulfstream Park, ran second going 1¹/‚ˆ miles, then ran off the TV screen going a mile at Aqueduct, winning by 9 1/4 lengths to earn a huge Beyer number of 110.

TV: HRTV, TVG, NYRA Channel 1994

SNOW CHIEF

Hollywood Park, ninth race. Purse: $300,000. 1¹/‚ˆ miles, Cushion track, 3-year-old California-breds. Post: 8 p.m.

LOWDOWN: Tiz a Minister is on the bubble, points-wise, to make the field for the Kentucky Derby; instead he stays home for this spot. Fourth last out in the Santa Anita Derby, before that he ran third in the San Felipe, beaten just a length, while outfinishing top Derby prospect Goldencents. All three of his starts over the synthetic surface at HollyPark have been solid.

TV: HRTV, TVG, NYRA Channel 1994

DERBY TRIAL

Churchill Downs, 10th race. Grade 3. Purse: $175,000. 1 mile, 3-year-olds. Post: 10:42 p.m.

LOWDOWN: Capo Bastone appeared to have a big future last year when he was fourth in the Del Mar Futurity and third in the Front Runner (formerly the Norfolk) and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, all Grade 1 races. Transferred by John Sadler's barn to Todd Pletcher's, he won his first start this year at Gulfstream, then didn't fire in the Spiral on Polytrack. Cutting back to a mile for a trainer who's winning nearly every Derby prep race in sight should get him back on the winning track.

TV: HRTV, NYRA Channel 1994.

LAST WEEK: At Keeneland, Cerro (6-1) was fourth in the Lexington; at Hawthorne, Dewey Square (9-1) was eighth in the Illinois Derby; at Charles Town, Game On Dude won the Charles Town Classic paying $2.60, $2.20, $2.20.

ed.fountaine@nypost.com


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Yanks give call to Romine

Francisco Cervelli's fast start came to a screeching halt Friday night when he fractured his right hand after taking a foul ball off the bat of Rajai Davis in the first inning of the Yankees' 6-4 win over the Blue Jays.

Cervelli will undergo surgery Saturday and be out at least six weeks, leaving the Yankees to hope another young catcher can exceed expectations, with Austin Romine expected to help fill in behind the plate during Cervelli's absence.

"It's disappointing with all the things he's been through," manager Joe Girardi said.

Cervelli left his hand exposed as Ivan Nova delivered just his fifth pitch of the game.

"A lot of guys have it out there," Girardi said. "It happens once in a while. It must have hit it just perfectly."

Cervelli came into the season splitting time with Chris Stewart, but his solid work defensively and his .877 OPS allowed Girardi to play him on a more regular basis.

Romine was pulled from in the middle of an inning during Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's game and will be with the team today. After 13 games with SWB, Romine was hitting .341 (14-41) with an OPS of .815. He didn't have an extra-base hit until homering Thursday. His lack of power at the plate wasn't a concern to SWB manager Dave Miley.

"He's been having solid at-bats and doing well behind the plate," Miley said by phone. "It's just a matter of time before the extra-base hits come."

Romine, 24, played nine games with the Yankees in 2011 but was sidelined much of last season with a back injury.

"He's got a lot of talent," Stewart said. "It's just a matter of getting experience up here and getting a feel for our guys again. I don't think it's going to take long."

The former second-round pick was limited to 31 minor league games a year ago, stunting his development. And while he was once considered the organization's catcher of the future, some feel he has been surpassed by Gary Sanchez.

As for Cervelli, this latest injury is another of example of his inability to stay healthy. Previously, he had suffered a broken foot, as well as a concussion.

After being sent down at the end of spring training a year ago and spending most of the season in the minors, Cervelli had come back and showed vast improvement both offensively and defensively. His performance was one of the main reasons the Yankees have been able to stay in the hunt despite their rash of injuries.

Romine's turn could begin as soon as today.

— Additional reporting by George A. King III

dan.martin@nypost.com


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NFL great Brown: Smith’s fall to 2nd not race related

Jim Brown, arguably the greatest running back in NFL history and certainly one of the most outspoken activists for African American rights, told The Post Friday he did not believe race played a role in West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith's fall to the second round of the NFL Draft

"I don't think there's any racial overtones or anything like that,'' said Brown. 'I think it's simply a matter of this is a year that a lot of people have decided on their quarterbacks.

"I look for everything but that because I find it's too easy to fall back on that,'' Brown said of the race factor. "And I also find that could be a trap. Just because you're African American doesn't mean that you did the right thing and just because you're African American doesn't mean you did the wrong thing.''

JETS DRAFT SELECTIONS

Smith, who the Jets took with seventh pick in the second round, put up astonishing stats his senior season, throwing 42 touchdown passes and just six interceptions. He was criticized by a Pro Football Weekly as not being a student of the game.

Former NFL quarterback Warren Moon was one of many who reacted passionately to that assessment.

"It just shows that there are a lot of people in society who have the biases and stereotypes,'' Moon said.

But Brown pointed out that last year the 49ers promoted a Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith, though Smith was third in the league in passer rating and completed 70 percent of his passes.

Brown will be honored as a hometown hero on Monday at his alma mater, Manhasset High School on Long Island, by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Alltate. He said his message to the students there will be one they can relate to.

After moving to Long Island when he was eight, Brown, 77, grew up without a father figure and a mother who worked domestic jobs to make ends meet. But the support of the community and the opportunities afforded by athletics gave Brown a chance to play at Syracuse and then the NFL where he rushed for 12,312 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

The first two quarterbacks taken were African America. FSU's E.J. Manuel was the 16th player taken by the Bills. Buffalo immediately gave Manuel an NFL-ready receiver in USC's Robert Woods with the ninth pick in the second round.

Alabama's Eddie Lacy was the most highly publicized running back in the draft but North Carolina's Giovani Bernard was the first running back taken by Cincinnati with the fifth pick. He immediately will push former Patriot BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

The Eagles came up with best early pick of the second round by snagging Stanford tight end Zack Ertz. Eagles tight end Brent Celek had one touchdown catch last season.

lenn.robbins@nypost.com


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Jets scout: No doubts on Milliner

Jets area scout Jay Mandolesi watched all of Alabama's games from last year, studying cornerback Dee Milliner. When he finished, Mandolesi did not need to know much more.

"I didn't have any questions," Mandolesi said. "He made a lot of plays on the ball. You could see all the athletic ability. As far as the player goes, I didn't have any doubts."

The Jets met with Milliner at the scouting combine in February, attended his pro day and had him in for a pre-draft visit a few weeks ago. On Thursday night, they took him with the ninth overall pick to bolster their secondary.

DEE MILLINER - Jets' top pick.

DEE MILLINER
Jets' top pick.

It completed a long study of Milliner by the Jets, who were convinced he could make an immediate impact. Mandolesi had no questions about Milliner as a player, but began to dig into the player's character after Milliner declared for the draft in January.

Mandolesi asked about Milliner's toughness. "Off the charts," he was told.

JETS DRAFT SELECTIONS

Later, he would find out Milliner had four surgeries and needed another one but had missed just one game. The strength coach told him Milliner would be waiting for him in the morning to open up the weight room. The video staff told him Milliner would ask for cutups every week to study.

As the draft approached, questions about Milliner's health surfaced. He had shoulder surgery in March that will keep him off the practice field for a while.

"It wasn't that bad," Milliner said about playing through the pain. "My arm isn't hanging off or anything like that or broke. Just go out there and do something."

Milliner and Sheldon Richardson, the Missouri defensive tackle the Jets took with the 13th pick Thursday, appeared at ease with their new surroundings at the Jets' training center yesterday.

Richardson, a 292-pound athletic freak, appears to have a personality suited for New York.

"I want to start," the player from Missouri said. "They didn't draft us to come sit behind anybody."

It was that attitude that was part of what impressed the Jets. Area scout Kevin Kelly said he believes Richardson will become a leader on their defense.

"You can feel his energy and his passion for the game and he doesn't turn it off," Kelly said. "It's rare to find defensive leadership from the middle linebacker or safety. ... This guy has infectious passion for the game."

It is a bit of a mystery how he will fit the Jets defense, but Kelly said Richardson played all over at Missouri. He even played middle linebacker against Texas A&M last year, mirroring Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel.

"He was an easy evaluation because he was so impressive," Kelly said.

Mandolesi basically echoed that sentiment about Milliner. The Jets believe they hit on two picks Thursday night. Check back in a few years to see if they were right.

brian.costello@nypost.com


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OKC loses Westbrook: Star guard needs surgery

All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook will have surgery to repair cartilage in his right knee and will be out indefinitely, dealing a harsh blow to the Thunder's championship chances.

General manager Sam Presti said yesterday the Thunder had not yet scheduled Westbrook's surgery and would not have an accurate time line for his return until after the procedure was done.

No one would rule out Westbrook's possible return if Oklahoma City keeps advancing in the playoffs, and All-Star teammate Kevin Durant only said his teammates "hope" Westbrook can play again this postseason.

"We're not trying to rush him or bring him back ahead of schedule. We want to make sure he's healthy and his knee is right," Durant said. "That's our only concern with it right now. ''

The three-time All-Star was hurt in Game 2 of the Thunder's playoff series against the Rockets on Wednesday night. Rookie Patrick Beverley lunged for a steal in the second quarter and his hip collided with Westbrook's knee.

Backup Reggie Jackson figures to move into Westbrook's starting spot for Game 3 tonight in Houston.

Warriors 110, Nuggets 108

In Oakland, Stephen Curry played through a sprained left ankle to score 29 points and hand out 11 assists as Golden State took a 2-1 series lead over Denver.

Jarrett Jack added 23 points and seven assists, and Harrison Barnes and Carl Landry each scored 19 points to help the Warriors rally from 13 points down in the third quarter. Golden State still had to sweat out Andre Iguodala's missed 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded.

Spurs 120, Lakers 89

In Los Angeles, Tim Duncan had 26 points and nine rebounds, and San Anton io pushed the Lakers to the brink of first-round playoff elimination with their worst home playoff loss in franchise history.

Dwight Howard had 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Laker, who played without their top four guards due to to injuries.


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Ed Fountaine’s Stakes Spot Plays

Westchester

Belmont Stakes, ninth race. Grade 3. Purse: $150,000. 1 mile, 3-year-olds and up. Post: 4:58 p.m.

LOWDOWN: Big Screen showed enough promise last year at 3 to run in the Peter Pan and Hill Prince, and he seems to have blossomed this year as a 4-year-old. Coming off a six-month layoff for Tom Albertrani, he scored in his return by six lengths going a mile at Gulfstream Park, ran second going 1¹/‚ˆ miles, then ran off the TV screen going a mile at Aqueduct, winning by 9 1/4 lengths to earn a huge Beyer number of 110.

TV: HRTV, TVG, NYRA Channel 1994

SNOW CHIEF

Hollywood Park, ninth race. Purse: $300,000. 1¹/‚ˆ miles, Cushion track, 3-year-old California-breds. Post: 8 p.m.

LOWDOWN: Tiz a Minister is on the bubble, points-wise, to make the field for the Kentucky Derby; instead he stays home for this spot. Fourth last out in the Santa Anita Derby, before that he ran third in the San Felipe, beaten just a length, while outfinishing top Derby prospect Goldencents. All three of his starts over the synthetic surface at HollyPark have been solid.

TV: HRTV, TVG, NYRA Channel 1994

DERBY TRIAL

Churchill Downs, 10th race. Grade 3. Purse: $175,000. 1 mile, 3-year-olds. Post: 10:42 p.m.

LOWDOWN: Capo Bastone appeared to have a big future last year when he was fourth in the Del Mar Futurity and third in the Front Runner (formerly the Norfolk) and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, all Grade 1 races. Transferred by John Sadler's barn to Todd Pletcher's, he won his first start this year at Gulfstream, then didn't fire in the Spiral on Polytrack. Cutting back to a mile for a trainer who's winning nearly every Derby prep race in sight should get him back on the winning track.

TV: HRTV, NYRA Channel 1994.

LAST WEEK: At Keeneland, Cerro (6-1) was fourth in the Lexington; at Hawthorne, Dewey Square (9-1) was eighth in the Illinois Derby; at Charles Town, Game On Dude won the Charles Town Classic paying $2.60, $2.20, $2.20.

ed.fountaine@nypost.com


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Yanks give call to Romine

Francisco Cervelli's fast start came to a screeching halt Friday night when he fractured his right hand after taking a foul ball off the bat of Rajai Davis in the first inning of the Yankees' 6-4 win over the Blue Jays.

Cervelli will undergo surgery Saturday and be out at least six weeks, leaving the Yankees to hope another young catcher can exceed expectations, with Austin Romine expected to help fill in behind the plate during Cervelli's absence.

"It's disappointing with all the things he's been through," manager Joe Girardi said.

Cervelli left his hand exposed as Ivan Nova delivered just his fifth pitch of the game.

"A lot of guys have it out there," Girardi said. "It happens once in a while. It must have hit it just perfectly."

Cervelli came into the season splitting time with Chris Stewart, but his solid work defensively and his .877 OPS allowed Girardi to play him on a more regular basis.

Romine was pulled from in the middle of an inning during Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's game and will be with the team today. After 13 games with SWB, Romine was hitting .341 (14-41) with an OPS of .815. He didn't have an extra-base hit until homering Thursday. His lack of power at the plate wasn't a concern to SWB manager Dave Miley.

"He's been having solid at-bats and doing well behind the plate," Miley said by phone. "It's just a matter of time before the extra-base hits come."

Romine, 24, played nine games with the Yankees in 2011 but was sidelined much of last season with a back injury.

"He's got a lot of talent," Stewart said. "It's just a matter of getting experience up here and getting a feel for our guys again. I don't think it's going to take long."

The former second-round pick was limited to 31 minor league games a year ago, stunting his development. And while he was once considered the organization's catcher of the future, some feel he has been surpassed by Gary Sanchez.

As for Cervelli, this latest injury is another of example of his inability to stay healthy. Previously, he had suffered a broken foot, as well as a concussion.

After being sent down at the end of spring training a year ago and spending most of the season in the minors, Cervelli had come back and showed vast improvement both offensively and defensively. His performance was one of the main reasons the Yankees have been able to stay in the hunt despite their rash of injuries.

Romine's turn could begin as soon as today.

— Additional reporting by George A. King III

dan.martin@nypost.com


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OKC loses westbrook: Star guard needs surgery

All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook will have surgery to repair cartilage in his right knee and will be out indefinitely, dealing a harsh blow to the Thunder's championship chances.

General manager Sam Presti said yesterday the Thunder had not yet scheduled Westbrook's surgery and would not have an accurate time line for his return until after the procedure was done.

No one would rule out Westbrook's possible return if Oklahoma City keeps advancing in the playoffs, and All-Star teammate Kevin Durant only said his teammates "hope" Westbrook can play again this postseason.

"We're not trying to rush him or bring him back ahead of schedule. We want to make sure he's healthy and his knee is right," Durant said. "That's our only concern with it right now. ''

The three-time All-Star was hurt in Game 2 of the Thunder's playoff series against the Rockets on Wednesday night. Rookie Patrick Beverley lunged for a steal in the second quarter and his hip collided with Westbrook's knee.

Backup Reggie Jackson figures to move into Westbrook's starting spot for Game 3 tonight in Houston.

Warriors 110, Nuggets 108

In Oakland, Stephen Curry played through a sprained left ankle to score 29 points and hand out 11 assists as Golden State took a 2-1 series lead over Denver.

Jarrett Jack added 23 points and seven assists, and Harrison Barnes and Carl Landry each scored 19 points to help the Warriors rally from 13 points down in the third quarter. Golden State still had to sweat out Andre Iguodala's missed 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded.

Spurs 120, Lakers 89

In Los Angeles, Tim Duncan had 26 points and nine rebounds, and San Anton io pushed the Lakers to the brink of first-round playoff elimination with their worst home playoff loss in franchise history.

Dwight Howard had 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Laker, who played without their top four guards due to to injuries.


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NFL great Brown: Smith’s fall to 2nd not race related

Jim Brown, arguably the greatest running back in NFL history and certainly one of the most outspoken activists for African American rights, told The Post Friday he did not believe race played a role in West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith's fall to the second round of the NFL Draft

"I don't think there's any racial overtones or anything like that,'' said Brown. 'I think it's simply a matter of this is a year that a lot of people have decided on their quarterbacks.

"I look for everything but that because I find it's too easy to fall back on that,'' Brown said of the race factor. "And I also find that could be a trap. Just because you're African American doesn't mean that you did the right thing and just because you're African American doesn't mean you did the wrong thing.''

JETS DRAFT SELECTIONS

Smith, who the Jets took with seventh pick in the second round, put up astonishing stats his senior season, throwing 42 touchdown passes and just six interceptions. He was criticized by a Pro Football Weekly as not being a student of the game.

Former NFL quarterback Warren Moon was one of many who reacted passionately to that assessment.

"It just shows that there are a lot of people in society who have the biases and stereotypes,'' Moon said.

But Brown pointed out that last year the 49ers promoted a Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith, though Smith was third in the league in passer rating and completed 70 percent of his passes.

Brown will be honored as a hometown hero on Monday at his alma mater, Manhasset High School on Long Island, by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Alltate. He said his message to the students there will be one they can relate to.

After moving to Long Island when he was eight, Brown, 77, grew up without a father figure and a mother who worked domestic jobs to make ends meet. But the support of the community and the opportunities afforded by athletics gave Brown a chance to play at Syracuse and then the NFL where he rushed for 12,312 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

The first two quarterbacks taken were African America. FSU's E.J. Manuel was the 16th player taken by the Bills. Buffalo immediately gave Manuel an NFL-ready receiver in USC's Robert Woods with the ninth pick in the second round.

Alabama's Eddie Lacy was the most highly publicized running back in the draft but North Carolina's Giovani Bernard was the first running back taken by Cincinnati with the fifth pick. He immediately will push former Patriot BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

The Eagles came up with best early pick of the second round by snagging Stanford tight end Zack Ertz. Eagles tight end Brent Celek had one touchdown catch last season.

lenn.robbins@nypost.com


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Jets scout: No doubts on Milliner

Jets area scout Jay Mandolesi watched all of Alabama's games from last year, studying cornerback Dee Milliner. When he finished, Mandolesi did not need to know much more.

"I didn't have any questions," Mandolesi said. "He made a lot of plays on the ball. You could see all the athletic ability. As far as the player goes, I didn't have any doubts."

The Jets met with Milliner at the scouting combine in February, attended his pro day and had him in for a pre-draft visit a few weeks ago. On Thursday night, they took him with the ninth overall pick to bolster their secondary.

DEE MILLINER - Jets' top pick.

DEE MILLINER
Jets' top pick.

It completed a long study of Milliner by the Jets, who were convinced he could make an immediate impact. Mandolesi had no questions about Milliner as a player, but began to dig into the player's character after Milliner declared for the draft in January.

Mandolesi asked about Milliner's toughness. "Off the charts," he was told.

JETS DRAFT SELECTIONS

Later, he would find out Milliner had four surgeries and needed another one but had missed just one game. The strength coach told him Milliner would be waiting for him in the morning to open up the weight room. The video staff told him Milliner would ask for cutups every week to study.

As the draft approached, questions about Milliner's health surfaced. He had shoulder surgery in March that will keep him off the practice field for a while.

"It wasn't that bad," Milliner said about playing through the pain. "My arm isn't hanging off or anything like that or broke. Just go out there and do something."

Milliner and Sheldon Richardson, the Missouri defensive tackle the Jets took with the 13th pick Thursday, appeared at ease with their new surroundings at the Jets' training center yesterday.

Richardson, a 292-pound athletic freak, appears to have a personality suited for New York.

"I want to start," the player from Missouri said. "They didn't draft us to come sit behind anybody."

It was that attitude that was part of what impressed the Jets. Area scout Kevin Kelly said he believes Richardson will become a leader on their defense.

"You can feel his energy and his passion for the game and he doesn't turn it off," Kelly said. "It's rare to find defensive leadership from the middle linebacker or safety. ... This guy has infectious passion for the game."

It is a bit of a mystery how he will fit the Jets defense, but Kelly said Richardson played all over at Missouri. He even played middle linebacker against Texas A&M last year, mirroring Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel.

"He was an easy evaluation because he was so impressive," Kelly said.

Mandolesi basically echoed that sentiment about Milliner. The Jets believe they hit on two picks Thursday night. Check back in a few years to see if they were right.

brian.costello@nypost.com


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Brooklyn's Smith-Ninth streets subway station reopens

Written By kom nampuldu on Jumat, 26 April 2013 | 20.49

After a 2-year closure, the Smith-Ninth streets subway station in Brooklyn is reopening.

The F and G train stop is reopening on Friday. It closed in June 2011 for reconstruction.

More than 4,000 riders a day used the station before it was closed.

The MTA says some work will continue after the station reopens but it will not affect service.


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100 cats removed from NY woman's apartment

NEW PALTZ — Authorities say they've removed 100 cats that were living in a Hudson Valley woman's two-bedroom apartment where pets aren't allowed by her landlord.

Officials tell media outlets that the woman sought help having the felines removed from the New Paltz apartment she shares with her daughter after an Ulster County social worker visited for an unrelated matter.

It took officials from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals several hours Wednesday to remove the approximately 105 adult cats and kittens from the apartment.

Officials say the woman told them she took in strays with the intention of finding them homes.

ASPCA officials say most of the cats appear to be healthy. They're being cared for at a Kingston animal shelter.

Newsday reports that the woman's lease agreement forbids pets.


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Samsung's first quarter profit jumps to record high as smartphone sales remain strong

SEOUL, South Korea — Samsung Electronics Co. said Friday its first quarter profit jumped to a record high as smartphone sales remained strong despite the April launch of an updated version of its flagship Galaxy phone.

Sales of consumer electronics usually slow in the first three months of the year after the holiday shopping season, an effect that analysts thought would be compounded by this month's release of the Galaxy S4 smartphone since many delay buying until the newest model is available. Apple Inc. has cited the upcoming release of a new iPhone as a reason for a slowdown in sales of older models.

REUTERS

The Samsung Galaxy S3 and the Galaxy S3 mini

Samsung began sales of the S4 in its home South Korean market Friday and starts U.S. sales on Saturday. Analysts expect Samsung's profits to reach new highs in the second and third quarters if S4 sales are strong. Lee Don-Joo, head of sales and marketing at Samsung's mobile division, said sales of the S4 will outdo its predecessor, the Galaxy S III.

Samsung said January-March net profit surged 42 percent to 7.2 trillion won ($6.5 billion) from 5 trillion won a year earlier. That increase was despite booking a one-time charge against earnings related to settlement of its intellectual property battle with Apple. Analysts estimated the charge at $600 million.

Sales rose 17 percent to 52.9 trillion won. Operating profit was up 54 percent to 8.8 trillion won, in line with its preliminary results released earlier this month.

Profit was up 2 percent from the previous quarter's result, beating market expectations for a fall. Sales of the S III smartphone and the oversized handset called the Galaxy Note remained strong and shored up profit, Samsung said. It also spent less on marketing its mobile devices than it did in the previous quarter when competition heated up.

Samsung's IT and Mobile Communications division that makes smartphones, tablets, PCs and cameras reported 6.51 trillion won in operating income for the first quarter, up 56 percent from a year earlier and its highest since Samsung reorganized the division to merge PC and handset departments.

Samsung capitalized on global demand for smartphones with a range of mobile devices that come in a variety of screen sizes and prices, outpacing rivals including Apple Inc. and Nokia Corp.

As the S4 goes on sales several months before rival Apple introduces a new version of iPhone, analysts said Samsung's streak of record-setting profit will not stop any time soon.

"You can say it is like a snowball is rolling," said James Song, head of technology at Daewoo Securities. Song forecast Samsung's second quarter operating income to surpass 10 trillion won ($9 billion).

Market research firm IDC estimated that Samsung shipped 70.7 million smartphones during the first quarter, up 61 percent over a year earlier and capturing 33 percent market share. Apple, the second-largest smartphone maker, sold 37.4 million iPhones. Its market share fell to 17 percent from 23 percent a year earlier, IDC said.

Samsung, based in Suwon, South Korea, is also the world's largest maker of memory chips, televisions, mobile handsets and liquid crystal display panels.

The company's strong performance in the mobile market helped offset sluggish demand for TVs and a still weak recovery in display panel sales.

For the first time in recent years, Samsung refrained from increasing its annual capital expenditure on semiconductor and display panel production lines, a sign that it sees slower growth in demand for memory chips and display panels. Its annual capital expenditure for 2013 will be capped at 22.9 trillion won ($20.5 billion).

But Samsung said it will boost its spending on research and development even though it is already one of the largest R&D spenders. Its R&D expense was $2.97 billion during the first three months of this year, nearly three times more than Apple's $1.12 billion, according to financial information provider FactSet.

"Although market uncertainties from the European crisis and the slow global economic recovery are still lingering, we expect to increase R&D spending for strengthening our competitiveness ahead of planned new product launches," said Robert Yi, head of investor relations at Samsung.

Seo Won-seok, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities, said Samsung's businesses require heavy spending on research and development for future products, especially divisions that make electronic components.

At a Las Vegas trade show in January, Samsung showcased mobile handsets that use curved glasses, a first stage in what would eventually become flexible displays. Adopting more advanced technology is also crucial to lowering memory chip manufacturing costs.


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Economy accelerates at 2.5 percent rate in Q1

WASHINGTON — US economic growth accelerated from January through March, buoyed by the strongest consumer spending in more than two years. The strength offset further declines in government spending that are expected to drag on growth throughout the year.

The Commerce Department says the overall economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the first quarter, rebounding from the anemic 0.4 percent growth rate in the October-December quarter.

Much of the gain reflected a jump in consumer spending, which rose at an annual rate of 3.2 percent. That's the best since the end of 2010. Businesses responded to the greater demand by rebuilding to their stockpiles. And home construction rose further.

But government spending fell, led by another deep cut in federal defense spending.


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Burger King's first-quarter earnings soar even though revenue shrinks

Burger King's first-quarter earnings more than doubled even though revenue fell, as the fast-food chain trimmed several restaurant-related expenses.

The Miami-based company had warned earlier this month that sales at established restaurants were expected to fall during the quarter, and they wound up declining 1.4 percent. That includes a 3 percent drop in the United States and Canada.

Burger King Worldwide Inc. said Friday its net income rose to $35.8 million, or 10 cents per share, in the quarter that ended March 31. That's up from $14.3 million, or 4 cents per share, in the previous year's quarter when it was still private.

The company previously said adjusted earnings totaled 17 cents per share in the most recent quarter.

Revenue fell about 42 percent to $327.7 million. Analysts expected $305.8 million, according to FactSet.

Total restaurant expenses, which include things like food costs and payroll expenses, fell nearly 70 percent in the quarter to $108.1 million.

Burger King has been undergoing a revamp since it was purchased and taken private in 2010 by 3G Capital, a private investment firm run by Brazilian billionaires. The company has been selling more restaurants to franchisees, a move that lowers overhead costs. Instead of booking sales from those restaurants, that means Burger King would collect franchise fees instead.

In the first quarter, the company's restaurant revenues tumbled 69 percent to $121.1 million, but its franchise and property revenues rose 19 percent to $206.6 million.

Burger King's selling, general and administrative expenses also fell about 30 percent to $66.7 million in the quarter.

3G Capital also has slashed costs, signed international expansion deals and changed the U.S. menu to appeal to a wider audience. The moves came ahead of the company's return to public trading the New York Stock Exchange last June.

The company also is adjusting its strategy to focus on more menu deals, such as an offer for a $1.29 Jr. Whopper. McDonald's has been particularly aggressive in touting its Dollar Menu to boost traffic at a time when the restaurant industry is barely growing. Wendy's also revamped its value menu recently.

Burger King says its efforts to revamp the brand remain on track. But CEO Bernardo Hees, a 3G partner, is moving on later this year to head Heinz, another 3G investment. Chief Financial Officer Daniel Schwartz, also a 3G partner, will succeed Lees as CEO at Burger King.

Burger King shares finished at $18.06 on Thursday. They have traded between $12.91 to $20.20 since relisting.


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Cause of 787 battery fires may never be known, Boeing engineer says

Written By kom nampuldu on Kamis, 25 April 2013 | 20.49

NAIROBI, Kenya — A senior engineer with Boeing says the company may never know what caused battery problems that have grounded the company's 787 Dreamliners.

Richard J. Horigan, the engineering leader of the 787, said Thursday the root cause of smoldering batteries experienced by the two different 787s may never be known because the evidence was destroyed by heat.

Horigan also said that all potential root causes of the battery fire have been eliminated with the new redesigned battery system.

Air safety authorities grounded Boeing 787s after incidents with smoldering batteries occurred aboard two different planes in January. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has approved Boeing's redesigned battery system, which the company says sharply reduces the risk of fire.


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WATCH: Fuel barges explode, causing large fire in Ala.

AP

Fire burns aboard two fuel barges along the Mobile River after explosions sent three workers to the hospital Wednesday.

MOBILE, Ala. — A huge fire resulting from explosions aboard two fuel barges in Mobile, Ala. has been extinguished.

Mobile Fire-Rescue spokesman Steve Huffman said in a statement to The Associated Press Thursday morning that the fire was out and that it appeared to be accidental.

The fire started Wednesday night. Three people were severely burned.

U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Vega said Thursday that the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Firefighters from Mobile and Coast Guard officials responded after 8:30 p.m. CDT Wednesday to a pair of explosions involving the gas barges in the Mobile River east of downtown. Additional explosions followed over the next few hours.

Authorities say three people were brought to University of South Alabama Medical Center for burn-related injuries.


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Unemployment aid applications fell to second-lowest level in more than five years last week

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell last week to a seasonally adjusted 339,000, the second-lowest level in more than five years. The decline suggests hiring is improving from last month's sluggish pace.

The Labor Department says applications for unemployment aid dropped by 16,000. The four-week average declined 4,500 to 357,500.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. Declines in applications signal that companies are cutting fewer jobs. Still, layoffs are only half of the equation. Businesses also need to be confident enough in the economic outlook to step up hiring.

In March, employers added only 88,000 jobs. That was a sharp drop from the previous four months, when hiring averaged 220,000 per month.


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Exxon earnings rise on chemicals profits surge

Exxon says earnings rose slightly in the first quarter as profits from chemicals production surged enough to offset declining production of oil and gas. Lower taxes also helped.

Exxon reported Thursday that net income totaled $9.5 billion in the quarter, or $2.12 per share, on revenue of $108.8 billion. During last year's quarter, Exxon earned $9.45 billion, or $2 per share, on revenue of $124.1 billion.

Analysts expected Exxon to earn $2.05 per share, on average.

Exxon Mobil Corp., based in Irving, Texas, produced 3.5 percent less oil and gas in the quarter. But chemical profits rose 62 percent and the company's corporate and financing expenses fell sharply, which Exxon attributes to "favorable tax impacts."

Exxon shares fell 32 cents to $89.11 in premarket trading.


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United reports first-quarter loss on higher costs

The parent of United Airlines reported a first-quarter loss of $417 million, as costs rose faster than fares.

Still, the result was an improvement from a year ago. The net loss for United Continental Holdings Inc. was $1.26 per share, down from a loss of $448 million, or $1.36 per share, in 2012's first quarter.

The airline says it would have lost 98 cents per share without special charges, including $70 million in expenses for its merger with Continental. Analysts had been expecting it to lose $1.09 per share.

Revenue rose 1.4 percent to $8.72 billion, matching analyst expectations. A measure of fares paid per mile rose 1.9 percent.

Traffic fell 1.2 percent. United cut flying capacity almost 5 percent, so planes were fuller. Occupancy rose above 81 percent.


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Mets on deck vs. Dodgers

TODAY — 1:10

RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 7.07) vs.

LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu

(2-1, 4.01)

Game on SNY, WFAN

(660 AM, 101.9 FM).

Three-game series

at home vs. Phillies begins tomorrow.

INSIDE THE MATCHUPS

METS: Hefner has struggled out of the gate this season. After a solid first start April 5 in a loss to the Marlins (one run in six innings), he has given up a combined 10 runs in 12 innings across three appearances, including one inning of relief. He is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA in three career appearances, all in relief, vs. the Dodgers.

DODGERS: The rookie Ryu has been progressively less effective in his first four major league starts, giving up (in order) one run, two runs, three, then five. He has gone at least six innings in every start, but no more than 6 1/3 in any.

STAT SO?

METS: Hefner has given up at least one home run in every appearance and a total of seven in 14 innings.

DODGERS: Ryu has struck out 26 to just five walks so far this year — a 5.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio that ranks in the top 15 in the majors.


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Teams aren’t lining up for these players

Unless you're a connoisseur of line play, this year's NFL Draft isn't exactly going to be must-see TV.

The intrigue of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III has been replaced by the less-than-scintillating questions of which offensive tackle the Chiefs will take No. 1 overall and how many guards will go in the top 10 when the process kicks off with the first round tonight at Radio City Music Hall.

The second and third rounds are tomorrow night, followed by the final four rounds Saturday.

What turned out to be one of the best quarterback drafts in a long time last year has been replaced by a passer class almost universally described as dreadful and a draft as a whole that's bereft of marquee names and playmakers.

At least the identity of the No. 1 overall pick by Kansas City — or if it will be the Chiefs making the choice — remains a mystery, though Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel vs. Central Michigan left tackle Eric Fisher is hardly the stuff of future ESPN "30 for 30" documentaries.

The Chiefs are expected to go for Fisher, though new coach Andy Reid — knowing this draft is unlikely to turn around his misbegotten franchise — has made his feelings known about the quality of the overall class by all but renting a Times Square billboard to advertise his desire to trade down.

"It's like throwing a bunch of darts against the wall," an AFC personnel director told The Post yesterday. "I bet no two [draft] boards are anywhere alike, and nobody knows where anybody's going to go. I haven't seen a draft like this in a long time, and not in a good way."

The bigger storyline and source of intrigue is a perverse one: Will even one quarterback be taken in the first round?

Unlike last year, when Luck and Griffin were the first two players off the board (and the Redskins mortgaged their franchise to get the latter), scouts, analysts and team executives have practically made a pastime this offseason of criticizing this year's passer crop.

West Virginia's Geno Smith is considered by most to be the best of the quarterbacks, but neither he nor Florida State's E.J. Manuel are anywhere close to wearing the can't-miss label.

Reports yesterday the Bills might reach for Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib with the eighth overall pick were a source of angst in Buffalo instead of excitement.

"Worst group of quarterbacks I've seen in a while," an NFC general manager told The Post recently. "It's all projects and good athletes who could very easily [turn out to] be busts."

Aside from the quarterbacks, the only offensive playmaker creating any excitement is West Virginia slot receiver and return ace Tavon Austin, who could be headed to the Jets with the second of their two first-round picks (13th overall). But Austin's 5-foot-8 height makes him a huge question mark.

It also wouldn't surprise any scout if the first round passes tonight without a single running back being selected. Alabama's Eddie Lacy is considered the top back, but his stock has fallen dramatically after he didn't work out at the combine because of a hamstring injury and subsequently ran a 4.9 40-yard dash at his pro day last month.

What this draft has instead is plenty of quality offensive linemen, a top-heavy class of pass rushers, some promising cornerbacks and what one scout described as "a lot of depth in the later rounds."

The offensive-line class is so strong that not one but potentially two guards — Chance Warmack of Alabama and North Carolina's Jonathan Cooper — could be taken in the top 10. That's unheard of for that position, considering no guard has been among the first 10 picks since Chris Naeole by the Saints in 1997.

As a result, look for a lot of trades — perhaps starting with the Chiefs at No. 1. Several teams at the bottom of the first round are thought to be very interested in moving up to the 13-14-15 range, especially if a cornerback such as Alabama's Dee Milliner starts falling.

bhubbuch@nypost.com


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No-decision doesn’t knock Amazin’ phenom off Midsummer Classic track

The Mets held an All-Star press conference yesterday at City Hall for the July 16 game at Citi Field. On the cover of the Mets' 2013 yearbook are the 48 players in Mets history who have been All-Stars. Matt Harvey would make it 49.

There is something about The Matt Harvey Show that brings out the best in the Mets, and last night's wild, 7-3 10-inning victory over the Dodgers at Citi Field was no exception.

David Wright's two-out single in the ninth scored Mike Baxter to tie the game at 3-3 and kept Harvey from getting the tough loss. Jordany Valdespin won it in the 10th with a walk-off grand slam, posting the Mets first walk-off grand slam since 1991 when Kevin McReynolds turned the trick.

Paul J. Bereswill

Matt Harvey

These Mets are a different team with Harvey on the mound. They are 5-0 in his starts and 5-9 in all other games.

It's all about winning for Harvey and that rubs off on the rest of the team.

"It was awesome,'' Harvey said of the Valdespin's moon shot over the right-field wall off Dodger reliever Josh Wall. "I was sitting next to [Valdespin] during that inning and [bench coach] Bob Geren came up to him and said, 'They are going to walk [Lucas Duda] and you are going to go out there and win the game.' And sure enough he did.''

Valdespin came into the game in the eighth as a pinch-hitter and remained calm in his game-winning at-bat.

"They teach me to be patient and hit my pitch hard; that's what I did,'' Valdespin said.

The Mets need more offense and that means more at-bats for Valdespin.

Harvey surrendered an opposite-field two-run home run to Matt Kemp in the sixth that just cleared the wall in right.

Because of that hit, Harvey was hard on himself.

"In my mind I [stunk] and I have to do better," he said. "Tonight was about winning that game and we did that.''

Harvey still has one more win than the rest of the starting staff combined. His four wins are tied with the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright for most in the NL. His ERA is 1.54.

He owns 109 strikeouts over his first 15 career games. The only Mets with more strikeouts over their first 15 games are Dwight Gooden (113) and Nolan Ryan (112).

Good company.

Mets broadcaster and former first baseman Keith Hernandez has seen a lot of dominant pitchers, and though he is not fond of making comparisons, he did put Harvey in the same sentence as Tom Seaver.

Earlier this week in a phone conversation I asked Seaver about Harvey and Tom Terrific said he really doesn't know that much about Harvey but added, "I'm a voracious readers of the box scores and his numbers have been pretty impressive.''

Last night's line for Harvey read: Six innings, three runs, four hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts. He wasn't Superman, but in the words of Terry Collins, "He pitched another very, very good game.''

Harvey also doubled and scored the Mets' first run. He showed a tremendous change-up, meaning his fourth pitch is becoming a major weapon.

Noted thinking-man's catcher John Buck: "They came out swinging aggressive and we both recognized that and went to the secondary pitches early. He pitched rather than threw and that's what makes him so good. He has the ability to throw the curve ball, slider, change-up along with the fastball, whatever he wants. He reminds me of Zack Greinke because he throws 98 when he wants, throws a slider at 90-91 like Zack and Zack threw curve ball and a change-up whenever he wanted.

"There's not many people that can throw that hard and pitch as well.''

"Matt Harvey expects a lot of himself,'' Collins added. "He's as prepared as anyone I've ever been around. He's been planning for this.''

If he continues to pitch like he has over his first five starts then come July 16 plan on The Matt Harvey Show being on the mound for the All-Star Game.

kevin.kernan@nypost.com


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After long review, Kemp credited with 2-run HR off Harvey

The game was playing out just like the season — Matt Harvey was cruising and Matt Kemp was struggling.

The Mets and Dodgers were tied at one in the sixth inning of Wednesday's game at Citi Field and Harvey had retired 16 of the previous 17 batters he faced when he walked Adrian Gonzalez. Kemp came to the plate, 0-for-2 with a strikeout, and cracked a fastball from the 24-year-old phenom high into the dark, windy sky, the ball slicing sharply toward the foul pole in right field.

The ball sailed over the glove of an outstretched Marlon Byrd and landed near the top of the fence, bouncing back onto the field, as Gonzalez scored and Kemp sprinted around the bases, settling at third base.

Confusion kicked in. Was it a home run? The umpires went to review the video, but Mets security guard Paolo Neto already knew, the ball having bounced off his hands while sitting in the chair of his usual post.

"It was over the fence," Neto told The Post. "I was just sitting there when I saw the ball. I didn't even think it was going to reach me, but it came right at me. I was just trying to protect myself and it hit me in the hands."

The umpires reviewed the film for more than two minutes, reversing the original call on the field, giving Kemp his first home run of the season and the Dodgers a 3-1 lead, which was not enough in the Mets' 10-inning 7-3 comeback win.

Neto, who has been working security at Mets games for 14 years, had his chair located several feet beyond the fence, well beyond anyone outside of Stretch Armstrong's reach to pull a Jeffrey Maier. But Kemp couldn't know that. He was on third base.

Kemp, who hit 12 home runs last April, had gone his first 75 at-bats of the season without a home run, entering his third meeting with Harvey, and ended the night 1-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs.

Harvey would face just one more batter after being pulled for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the inning. The young right-hander is 4-0 and now has a 1.54 ERA, having allowed three runs, four hits and one walk, along with seven strikeouts in the no-decision.

In his fifth start of the season, Harvey failed to reach seven innings and allow more than one run for the first time this season, but the bullpen, of LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Rice, Scott Atchison and Bobby Parnell combined for four scoreless and hitless innings.

howard.kussoy@nypost.com


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Steve Serby's 2013 NFL mock draft

headshot

Steve Serby

It's John Idzik's show at the NFL Draft tonight. The pressure is on the rookie general manager to dramatically remake the laughingstock Jets, and with the ninth and 13th picks of the first round, we get our first real clue as to whether Woody Johnson has picked the right man for the massive rebuilding job that confronts him.

Former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson would have parlayed these picks into a veritable bounty, and long-suffering Jets fans would be delighted if Idzik shows up as Trader John, manipulating the draft board to accumulate value picks to address the many holes on the Good Ship Woody. Former GM Mike Tannenbaum liked to trade up (Darrelle Revis, Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Dustin Keller), but Idzik would be better served to trade down in a draft short on blue-chip difference-makers. If he stays put, he must hit back-to-back home runs.

AP

Luke Joeckel

If quarterback Geno Smith falls in his lap, would Idzik take him? Would he take Ryan Nassib or E.J. Manuel later in the round? Tonight's first round won't inspire comparisons to the great Quarterback Class of 1983 (John Elway, Jim Kelly, Dan Marino) nor the Class of 2012 (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson). That doesn't mean three or maybe four quarterbacks couldn't squeeze their way into the round once quarterback-desperate teams start to panic for the likes of Nassib, should Buffalo's Doug Marrone pass on his former QB at Syracuse, Manuel or Matt Barkley.

High drama inside Radio City Music Hall, where the cynical Jet draftniks always steal the show. GM Jerry Reese and the Giants will do what they always do, pick the highest-rated player on their board with their 19th pick, and probably make it count.

I've finished navigating through the NFL smoke, and now, back by popular demand or sports editor assignment, I present the Serby Mock Draft:

steve.serby@nypost.com


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Credit Suisse's first quarter profit jumps to $1.3B

Written By kom nampuldu on Rabu, 24 April 2013 | 20.49

BASEL, Switzerland — Swiss bank Credit Suisse Group reported Wednesday a huge jump in first-quarter profits compared with a year earlier, when it booked significant charges to its own debt.

Switzerland's second-biggest bank posted a profit of 1.3 billion Swiss francs ($1.37 billion), up sharply from the 44 million francs in the first quarter of 2012, when it booked a loss of 1.6 billion francs on its own outstanding debt and paid out higher bonuses. Net revenue rose 6 percent to 7.2 billion francs.

The figures show "positive momentum" based on a transformed business model, the bank said in its statement released before the opening of the Zurich exchange, where shares rose 1.4 percent to 26.82 francs in morning trading.

"The first quarter of 2013 shows that the strategic measures we have successfully implemented since mid-2011 are effective in bringing results to the bottom line on a consistent basis," Chief Executive Brady Dougan said.

The bank, based in Zurich, said the results for the January-March period showed "high returns, strong client franchises, reduced cost base and lower risk-weighted assets."

Like its cross-town competitor, UBS AG, which is Switzerland's biggest bank, Zurich-based Credit Suisse has been reducing its riskier investment banking activities at a time when Europe's economy is hurting.

The bank's quarterly report also showed further cutbacks in its staff, to 46,900 people, down 4 percent from 47,400 a year earlier.

Credit Suisse said Monday that it was selling its private equity business, Strategic Partners, which is based in Zurich, to New York-based Blackstone Group LP for an undisclosed amount. Strategic Partners manages $9 billion in assets and buys stakes in other private equity funds. The Zurich bank agreed last month to buy Morgan Stanley's wealth management unit, with $13 billion in assets under management, to expand in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.


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Boeing's net income up 20 percent in first quarter despite 787 troubles

Boeing's net income rose 20 percent in the first quarter despite its troubles with the 787.

The big airplane maker earned $1.11 billion, or $1.44 per share. Excluding pension contributions, Boeing would have earned $1.73 per share, well above analyst expectations.

Revenue fell 3 percent to $18.89 billion because Boeing delivered just one 787 before the plane was grounded in mid-January because of problems with its batteries.

Boeing said on Wednesday that it will still meet its financial and delivery targets this year. That includes delivering at least 60 787s. Production of the plane has continued, so once Boeing installs a redesigned battery system, it will be able to hand 787s over to customers relatively quickly.

The company delivered 137 planes during the quarter, because faster production of 737s and 777s offset the lack of 787 deliveries.

The quarter didn't include any special charges for the 787 or for the automatic government spending cuts that took effect last month.

Profit rose in Boeing's defense and commercial airplane units, even though revenue fell in both.

The 787 was grounded in mid-January after batteries smoldered on two planes, including a fire on one. Boeing has gotten clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration for a redesigned battery system that the company says should sharply reduce the risk of a fire. Once the FAA approves the fix on individual planes, airlines can start using them again.


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Ford's first-quarter profit beats expectations

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Co. reported a better-than-expected $1.6 billion profit in the first quarter as growing demand in the U.S. and China for its new vehicles helped overcome steep losses in Europe and South America.

Ford said Wednesday that first-quarter net income rose 15 percent from a year ago. Worldwide sales rose 10 percent to nearly 1.5 million.

In North America, Ford saw 25-percent gains for both its redesigned Fusion sedan and Escape SUV as well as strong sales of its F-Series trucks as home construction picks up. In China, demand for the Focus helped sales jump 54 percent in the quarter, or more than three times the industry average.

"It's a very good start to the year for us," Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks said Wednesday.

Ford beat Wall Street's forecast with earnings of 40 cents per share, up from 35 cents in the first quarter of 2012. Analysts polled by FactSet had forecast earnings of 37 cents per share.

Without one-time charges, including restructuring costs in Europe, Ford would have earned 41 cents.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $35.8 billion, beating Wall Street's forecast of $33.5 billion.

Ford earned $2.4 billion in North America, up from $2.1 billion a year ago. It was a quarterly record for the region. In the U.S., Ford's market share jumped to 16.2 percent from 15.5 percent in the first three months of 2012, the biggest increases for any car manufacturer.

Ford's operating margin fell slightly in North America to 11 percent, from 11.5 percent in the same period a year ago. Shanks said Ford added more workers at its plants to keep up with demand. It also is selling a higher percentage of low-margin cars and small SUVs, compared with higher-profit vehicles like large SUVs, which brings down profits. U.S. buyers paid an average $32,784 for a Ford in the first quarter, or around $1,000 more than the same period a year ago, according to Internet buying site TrueCar.com.

Ford eked out a $6 million profit in its Asia Pacific and Africa region, where it is investing heavily for future growth. The company is currently building five plants in China and two in India. Sales rose 30 percent in the region to 282,000.

Those results helped offset a $462 million loss in Europe, where Ford's sales fell 20 percent during the quarter. Shanks confirmed that Ford expects to lose $2 billion in the region this year as it closes plants and brings new vehicles to the market to try to reverse declining sales.

Ford also lost $218 million in South America, where it has been hurt by currency devaluation in Venezuela. Also, sales of the Fiesta subcompact have dropped as it brings an updated Fiesta to the market.


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'Idol' execs launched alleged secret plan to oust Carey for J.Lo: report

The claws were out behind the scenes at "American Idol" after producers tried to oust flailing judge Mariah Carey to make way for Jennifer Lopez as her replacement, according to a new report.

After Carey found out about the alleged mid-season coup, she threatened to sue, sources told The Hollywood Reporter.

TV execs are searching for ways to stop falling ratings of the singing juggernaut and while the site reports the alleged plan has been dropped, "Idol" producers are negotiating with Lopez to appear on the May finale.

Insiders told the Reporter that a search is on to not only replace Carey, but Nicki Minaj as well.

Getty Images

Judge Jennifer Lopez during her time as an "Idol" judge.

FOX via Getty Images

Mariah Carey onstage at "American Idol" Season 12 Top 5 To 4 Live Elimination Show on April 18.

"This is just another ridiculous 'Idol' judge rumor, likely started by talks of Jennifer performing on the finale," a Fox spokeswoman told the site in a statement.

The site said a rep for Carey denied the alleged plan.

Fox is owned by News Corp., the parent company of The Post.


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Van crashes into Park Slope deli

A minivan crashed into a Park Slope deli early today, authorities said.

It plowed into the Deli and Smoke Shop on Fifth Avenue near 9th Street about 6:15 a.m., according to an FDNY spokesman.

A shop employee who was behind the counter at the time of the crash was injured as well as the driver. Both were treated at Methodist Hospital for minor injuries, the spokesman added.

"The whole front is gone. I was working at the deli. Thank God I'm okay," said Nasr Alshd, 29, who works in the deli. "There was a lot of glass and damage to the store. The car was inside the store."

The longtime Park Slope shop has been there for more than 20 years, Alshd told The Post.

It was not immediately clear what caused the accident.


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Returning Rutgers players in Jordan’s corner

Before Eddie Jordan took the podium for his introductory press conference Tuesday afternoon at Rutgers, it was clear the program's remaining players were in his corner.

The nine student-athletes sat front row, all wearing red Rutgers gear, as Jordan was introduced as their next coach at "The Barn" on Rutgers' New Brunswick campus.

Jordan, a Rutgers alum in its glory days — he was on the 1975-76 Final Four team — met with each of them, two at a time, last week after agreeing in principle to replace Mike Rice, fired April 3 after video was released of him abusing players. Jordan didn't try to sell them on his own merits. Instead, their new coach impressed the players with his knowledge of them. And in each instance, he said, "if you're in, you're in; if you're out, you're out," but he stressed they needed to fully invested if they wanted to remain at the school.

They all decided to come back — led by star sophomore guard Myles Mack, sophomore forward Kadeem Jack and junior forward Wally Judge.

"With a guy like that, he has a lot of [professional] ties, he knows how to coach obviously," Jack, a Queens product, said. "It made my decision a lot easier to stay here."

Said Mack: "He's a calming influence. He's talking to us about the times he was here, how everybody doubted them, how we can do the same thing if we play together and just be fundamental."

Since Rice's dismissal, five players had asked for and received their release from their scholarships. But on Tuesday, one of them — wing Malick Kone — was at the press conference, and all signs point to his return. Junior wing Mike Poole committed to Iona, but Jordan is working on sophomore guards Jerome Seagears and Eli Carter, the team's leading scorer.

A former NBA head coach with the Kings, 76ers and Wizards, Jordan is hitting the ground running. Tuesday night, he visited top New York City senior guard Jon Severe of Christ the King, who will pick a school on Wednesday, and he plans to attend a few AAU showcases this weekend to scout prospective talent.

Jordan has retained assistant coaches Van Macon and David Cox, who was serving as the head coach on an interim basis, to aid in his recruiting efforts. The duo's presence has helped make sure the cupboard isn't completely barren for Jordan. They played a role in the program's current players staying put.

"Those guys went through the things we went through with us," Judge said. "They've been here for us. Him keeping them around is a great thing."

The players resisted comparing Jordan to the fiery Rice, but the differences are glaring. When Jordan took to the podium, his voice cracked from his joy of landing the job. He likes to speak softly in the huddle, to force the entire team to gather closer together, and he doesn't curse, a habit he picked up years ago.

"The way he coaches, he talks to you more than he yells," Mack said. "I really haven't heard him yell yet. He comes up to you and tells you what you did wrong, instead of screaming at you."

zbraziller@nypost.com


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Tennessee WR Patterson on Jets’ radar

Cordarrelle Patterson never has been to New York before this week, but he might need to get used to the place.

Patterson, a wide receiver from Tennessee, is a possible target for the Jets in tomorrow's first round. Patterson is a classic prospect that has a ton of potential but a high possibility of being a bust as well.

The 6-foot-2, 216-pounder ran the 40 in 4.42 seconds and is explosive with the ball in his hands. He has return ability and even played some in the backfield in his one year with the Volunteers.

JETS 2013 SCHEDULE

"I think I bring a lot to the table because of my size and my speed," Patterson said in a phone interview this week. "When I get that ball in my hands, I'm explosive with it. I feel like I can score. When I get the ball in my hands no one is going to stop me. I will do whatever it takes to get in the end zone. I have that mindset on every play. I just try to be a freak out there and not let anybody get in front of you and stop you from doing what you know you can do."

Patterson had an official visit with the Jets last week in New Jersey. He said they seem interested, but he admitted it is hard to decipher what any team is really thinking.

The biggest question mark for Patterson is his ability to learn an NFL offense. He spent just one season at Tennessee after playing in junior college. There are questions about his understanding of route running and intricacies of playing receiver.

The Jets desperately need to upgrade the receiver position. Santonio Holmes is coming off left foot surgery and probably will be released after this season.

Patterson bears some similarities with Stephen Hill, the receiver the Jets took in the second round last year. Hill, like Patterson, has freakish athletic ability but had limited experience in college. Hill struggled last season with the Jets.

At Tennessee last fall, Patterson had 46 catches for 778 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran the ball 25 times for 308 yards and three touchdowns and returned 24 kickoffs, averaging 28 yards a return. He scored a 98-yard touchdown on a kickoff return.

Patterson said he's not worried about learning an NFL offense.

"I feel like I'm ready for the next level," he said. "I'll do whatever it takes to get out on the field. I expect big things from myself."

One hurdle Patterson has had to overcome is the leaking of his Wonderlic score. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported he scored an 11 on the test teams give at the combine. Patterson said he has told teams not to judge him off what they hear.

"They go off what they hear from news reports or whatever," he said. " 'He ain't willing to do this or that. He's lazy.' I just sat down and told the teams if you know who I am you won't say anything like that about me. I'm a good person and I'm willing to work hard. I'll do whatever it takes. You can't believe what you hear. You have to find out who I am."

Jets fans might get the chance soon.

brian.costello@nypost.com


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From TV to silver screen: 'Bible' movie in the works

Written By kom nampuldu on Selasa, 23 April 2013 | 20.49

AP

Diogo Morcaldo as Jesus, right, in a scene from "The Bible," on History.

Jesus is heading back to the big screen.

TV producer Mark Burnett revealed Monday that he is preparing a three-hour movie version of his hit History Channel mini-series, "The Bible."

The film will contain "recut scenes and extra stuff" from the record breaking television event and could be released as early as this fall.

"Clearly the big focus is the Resurrection," Burnett told The Post.

"Very few people have ever done anything beyond the crucifixion. No one has ever seen Pentecost before. And the Ascension. And the following trial of Peter and John. "

WireImage

Executive Producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey attend "The Bible Experience" Opening Night Gala at The Bible Experience in New York City.

Burnett and wife Roma Downey — who act as co-executive producers — have no studio lined up yet, but may choose to release the film independently.

"We've had many, many offers from theaters globally," he said.

"Someone came to us [offering to show it in] 24 arenas."

Plans are also in the works to create additional installments for television that would be "in the same world" as the original series.

"The Bible" drew more than 100 million viewers worldwide, despite initial skepticism from many critics.

"For all those people who rolled their eyes three ago and said 'nobody is going to watch the Bible on TV,' we are glad they are wrong," Burnett said.


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Brooklyn Smith-Ninth streets subway stop reopening

The Smith-Ninth streets subway station in Brooklyn is set to reopen by the end of the week following a nearly 2-year reconstruction.

The F and G train stop in Gowanus was closed in June 2011. It's slated to return to service on Friday.

More than 4,000 riders a day used the station before it was closed.

The MTA says some work will continue after the station reopens but it will not affect service.


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Bomb site reopens to merchants, residents

Boston will reopen the marathon bomb site on a limited basis today, the mayor's officer said in a statement.

Mayor Thomas Menino announced last night a staggered schedule for businesses and residents to return to the blast site, WHDH reported.

The street is scheduled to open in one-hour increments over the course of today:

- 10:00: Block between Hereford and Gloucester

- 11:00: Block between Gloucester and Fairfield

- 12:00: Block between Dartmouth and Clarendon

- 1:00: Block between Clarendon and Berkeley

- 2:00: Block between Exeter and Dartmouth

- 3:00: Block between Fairfield and Exeter

The mayor's office told owners and residents to check in at the Hynes Convention Center where they will then be escorted to their stores by city staffers.

While the devastated area will begin to return normal today, the scene will still be closed to the general public.

EPA

Boylston Street yesterday.


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Boston bombing could prompt US, Russia cooperation

WASHINGTON — The Boston Marathon bombings could provide an opportunity for the US and Russia to find some common ground for cooperation as authorities investigate the two ethnic Chechens accused of carrying out the attack.

Ties between the two nations have soured over disputes about stopping Syria's civil war, child adoptions and other issues. But understanding how the brothers became radicalized is of paramount importance to Washington as it seeks to prevent similar attacks. It's also important to Moscow, which long has battled terrorism in its southern territories.

AFP/Getty Images

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, right, talks with Secretary of State John Kerry before the start of the NATO-Russia Council meeting in Brussels today.

But the tragedy also risks hardening resentment between former Cold War foes which, under President Obama and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, have seen efforts to "reset" relations falter. Even their counterterrorism coordination has sometimes been strained.

"Certainly, this incident is going to lead both sides to re-examine the issue" of intelligence sharing, said Andrew Kuchins, a Russia analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "It's not hard for Russia to imagine that these two brothers who became radicalized in the United States could have been inspired to go back to Russia to launch an attack."

Much depends on how the US and Russian governments mobilize the emotions produced by Boston a week after one of the most significant terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11.

The American public is demanding quick answers. In Russia, one prominent official already has declared the twin bombings an American problem. And even if US or Russian authorities never link the attack to Chechen extremist groups, some fear the Kremlin nevertheless will use that as added justification for a harsher crackdown on the Muslim-majority region, especially as it prepares to welcome the world to the 2014 Winter Olympics.

"Both sides seek to mend ties," says Anya Schmemann at the Council on Foreign Relations. "But it remains to be seen if the Boston bombings offer an opportunity for US-Russian cooperation or if it will lead to an overly aggressive Russian response in the North Caucasus that could be worrisome for the United States."

Investigators in the United States are trying to figure out how Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar evolved from asylum seekers to apparently assimilated US residents to alleged terrorist bombers.

Tamerlan was killed during a furious getaway attempt last week after the bombings that killed three people and left more than 180 injured. Dzhokhar is hospitalized in serious condition with a neck wound and has been charged with crimes that could lead to the death penalty.


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Prince Jackson ‘not ready’ to bond with birth mom Debbie Rowe

While Paris Jackson is reportedly spending a lot of time with her birth mother Debbie Rowe, it's said that her older brother, Prince Jackson, is "not ready" to make that same connection.

"Although Prince's sister has developed what we're told is 'an intense bond' with the woman who gave birth to her, Prince has no curiosity or desire to develop a relationship with Rowe, at least for now," TMZ reports.

Michael Jackson's eldest son does not appear to have a problem with Rowe, but establishing ties with Rowe is just not on his radar.

The gossip site reports that Rowe would like to have the same bond with Prince, but only when the time is right for him. "She would absolutely like to have a relationship with Prince, but, just the way it happened with Paris, she wants it to develop naturally, when Prince is ready," TMZ's sources said.

SPW/Splash News

Prince Jackson

Rowe signed her parental rights away to the late King of Pop in 2001 when Prince and Paris were just toddlers. However, Paris and her birth mom have spent time together recently – last weekend, Rowe showed up to the Buckley school to watch her daughter perform in a dance show.

Paris tweeted after the show, "closing night was great ! everyone was incredible i love you guys so much and thank you to all the people who came out to see us!"


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