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NYPD cop arrested for downloading child porn videos

Written By kom nampuldu on Rabu, 30 April 2014 | 20.50

An NYPD officer was arrested after investigators found several child-porn videos on his home computer, authorities said.

Officer Yong-Fa Wu, 34, was busted at his Ozone Park home Monday after police tied him to a sweeping online investigation of illicit file sharing, officials said.

Cyber surveillance conducted on April 1 found that Wu's computer was used to download "at least 60 files of investigative interest," according to the criminal complaint.

During the 6:30 a.m. Monday raid, cops found five explicit videos on Wu's computer of girls between eight and 13-years-old engaging in a variety of sex acts, some with adult men, according to authorities.

One vile clip showed a girl believed to be between 11 and 13 having sex with a man, court documents revealed.

Wu, who is assigned to the 62nd precinct in Bensonhurst, was arraigned Monday in Queens court on seven counts each of promoting and possessing sexual performance by a child.

He was held in lieu of $50,000 cash bail.

Wu's attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.


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Smokin’ hot: The best celebrity beach bodies

Smokin' hot: The best celebrity beach bodies | Page Six
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Bob Hoskins dead at 71

LONDON — British actor Bob Hoskins, whose varied career ranged from "Mona Lisa" to "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" has died aged 71.

A family statement released Wednesday by agent Clair Dobbs said Hoskins died in a hospital after a bout of pneumonia.

A versatile character actor capable of menace, quiet poignancy and Cockney charm, London-raised Hoskins appeared in some of the most acclaimed British films of the past few decades, including gangster classic "The Long Good Friday."

He specialized in tough guys with a soft center, including the ex-con who chaperones Cathy Tyson's escort in Neil Jordan's 1986 film "Mona Lisa." Hoskins was nominated for a best-actor Academy Award for the role.

His Hollywood breakthrough came as a detective investigating cartoon crime in the part-animated 1988 hit "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." He also played the pirate Smee in Steven Spielberg's 1991 Peter Pan movie "Hook."

In 2012 Hoskins announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and was retiring from acting.

His last role was as one of the seven dwarves in "Snow White & The Huntsman," starring Kristen Stewart.

"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob," said a statement from wife Linda and children Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack.


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Afghanistan’s ‘torturer and chief’ lives in the LA suburbs

The man known as the "torturer in chief" for Afghanistan's secret service, who disappeared in 2009, has turned up in the must unusual place: suburban Los Angeles.

The Washington Post is reporting that Haji Gulalai, also known as Kamal Achakzai, has been accommodated in the US in "murky" circumstances.

The State Department and the Department of Homeland Security have not commented on his case, citing privacy concerns. A spokesman for the CIA told the paper that the agency had no role in the relocation.

Gulalai is reported to be living in a rented house with family members on the suburban outskirts of Los Angeles — a place the paper described as reminiscent of the Afghan city of Kandahar, with its dry heat and brown hills.

The paper said it was unclear how Gulalai is supporting himself – he is unemployed – although a source said the family owned property assets in Afghanistan.

Gulalai headed up Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS) in the early 2000s and developed a fearsome reputation for mistreating prisoners.

"He was the torturer in chief" a senior Western diplomat told The Washington Post.

The Washington Post also quoted a secret memo circulated among unnamed UN officials and Western diplomats in late 2007 which stated Gulalai was responsible for the "systemic" abuse of NDS prisoners.

His methods included beating prisoners, suspending them from ceilings, fastening them in handcuffs for long periods and "sleep deprivation for as long as thirteen days" according to the memo.

Prisoners look out from behind bars in the municipal prison of Kandahar, Afghanistan where Gulalai was based.Photo: AP

A Kandahar resident who was imprisoned by the NDS for several months in 2002 told the newspaper he was beaten up every night, and was only released after his family paid 3000 Pakistani rupees.

Interrogators called him "a personal detainee of Gulalai," the man said.

US immigration law does not permit asylum for "those who have persecuted others", the paper stated.

Gulalai and family refused to respond to inquiries from The Washington Post.

This article originally appeared on News.com.au.


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Gubernatorial candidate arrested for trying to bite judicial marshal

A Connecticut governor hopeful was arrested for trying to bite a judicial marshal at the Stamford Superior Court last Thursday, according to state police.

Lisa Baker-Whitnum allegedly threw a tantrum in the court law library around 3:30 p.m and when library staff asked her to "calm down and follow the rules," she flew off the handle, police told NBC Connecticut.

A judicial marshal approached her to escort her out, which is when Baker-Whitnum tried to take a bite out of the marshal's hand. The marshal quickly detained and held her for the state police.

She was arrested her for breach of peace and was released on a $500 bond. She was asked not to return to the library and is set to appear in court on May 20.

Baker-Whitnum was a former Congressional candidate and announced her plans to run for governor in March, according to NBC Connecticut.


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Hondo: Let’s play two!

The Brewers took care of business for Hondo Tuesday night, rallying past their Arch enemy in extra time to lower the accounts payable to 665 blairs.

Wednesday: Mr. Aitch will try again with Tillman and the Orioles, who were washed out Tuesday night — 10 units. Also, 10 on Ventura to smoke the Jays — 10 units on the Royals.


Props and plentiful pounds to Mike Francesa for being elected to the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame. It's good to see omniscience rewarded and narcolepsy overlooked … FROM THE EMAIL BAG: Regarding the racist comments made by Clippers owner Donald Sterling, Lenny Power writes: The President said: "When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don't really have to do anything, you just let them talk." That's precisely what Obama did for 20 years while listening to Rev. Wright … Meanwhile, C. Leier wonders: If you can ban a man for saying something stupid, how does Joe Biden still have a job?


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Giants VP Mara seeks big win with Derby hopeful

There's a Super Bowl taking place for a member of the Mara family on Saturday and it has nothing to do with the Giants, Eli Manning or football.

As the Giants senior vice president of player personnel and a critical cog in the shaping of the team's roster, Chris Mara has been immersed in the upcoming NFL Draft (May 8-10) of late, but on Saturday at Churchill Downs he will take a break from football to root on a horse named Intense Holiday in the 140th Kentucky Derby.

Mara, whose life has been as almost as ingrained in horse racing as it has in football, is part of a small syndicate that owns Intense Holiday, who is currently hovering around 20-1 to win the Derby based on early odds.

This will be the 10th Derby Mara has attended, but the first at which he will own one of the competing horses — and the adrenaline coursing through his veins right now is not at all dissimilar to how he has felt before the five Super Bowls the Giants have played in since his late father, Wellington, became owner of the team in 1959.

"I'm crawling out of my skin waiting for this race,'' Chris Mara told The Post. "This is has been much tougher for me than the Super Bowls, because in football at least you played the previous Sunday. With this, you wait and wait and wait. It has kept me up nights the last three or four weeks, because it's such an exciting time.

"This could be the only time this ever happens to me.''

Just as football is, horse racing is in Chris Mara's blood.

His wife, Kathleen, is the daughter of Steelers founder and owner, the late Art Rooney, who was a legendary player in the horse game and owner of Yonkers Raceway, among other tracks. Chris, in fact, used to earn some pocket money as a kid parking cars at Yonkers on race days.

Art Rooney's bookie back in the 1930s was Chris' grandfather, Tim Mara, who was at all the big tracks in New York working as legal bookmaker before the advent of parimutuel betting.

"Art Rooney was one of his biggest clients,'' Chris said. "So it's definitely in the blood.''

Now, what Chris Mara, who recalled his first visit to the track when Wellington took him to Belmont when he was nine or 10 years old, said, "What used to be a hobby of mine has since turned into a passion.''

In years past, he dabbled with some small investments into some horse ownership syndicates, but nothing like this. After the Giants Super Bowl XLVI win in the 2011-12 season, he made a larger investment into a syndicate called Starlight Racing, which buys about a dozen horses each year.

"After we won the Super Bowl in 2012, I said to my wife, 'Kath, this has been a pretty good year for us: We just won the Super Bowl, our daughter [Rooney] got nominated for an Academy Award [as the star of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'']. I think this might be a good time to invest in one of these partnerships,' '' said Chris, whose older daughter, Kate, is also an actress, currently starring in the acclaimed series "House of Cards.''

Kathleen Mara was on board. How could she not be, based on her background?

After some research and numerous conversations with people in the business, Chris bought into Starlight, which is run by COO Donna Barton Brothers, a former jockey who is the woman you will see on horseback on the NBC telecast interviewing the Derby winner moments after its crosses the finish line Saturday.

One of the last conversations Chris Mara had before buying in was with Jack Wolf, one of the managing partners of Starlight.

"When Jack and I were talking, we were kind of interviewing each other,'' Chris recalled. "He asked me what I would bring to the table with the partnership and I told him: 'I'm going to bring you luck.' ''

And so he has.

Intense Holiday was among that first crop of horses Starlight bought with Chris Mara on board, purchased for $380,000 in the summer of 2012, just months after the Giants' Super Bowl win. A year and a half later, the horse is running in the Kentucky Derby.

Chris Mara is not in this for the money. He's financially secure beyond most people's dreams.

"I'm strictly in it for the exhilaration and the fun of it,'' he said.

He said the plan is to fly to Kentucky on Thursday, which means he'll miss the Wednesday draw for post positions — a critical moment in the process — but his day job and the draft, of course, take precedence.

"It's killing me,'' Chris Mara said. "I've got to multi-task.''


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Lineup change is latest one-win wonder

PHILADELPHIA — Here's how it seems to work: Alain Vigneault makes a lineup change, and the Rangers win the first game then lose the second.

That pattern has followed suit yet again for Tuesday night's 5-2 loss to the Flyers, tying this best-of-seven contest and forcing a decisive Game 7 back at the Garden on Wednesday.

It was the second consecutive game rookie forward J.T. Miller played and the team lost — just as it lost in the second game Jesper Fast played (Game 2) and the second game Dan Carcillo played (Game 4), leaving the Rangers coach with an interesting decision to make for Game 7.

In the absence of top-six forward Chris Kreider — who is assumed to still be unavailable after now missing 15 straight games following left-hand surgery on March 28 — Vigneault had a lineup decision to make when the series began.

In Game 1, he kept 22-year-old Fast in lineup after playing the season's final three games, and Fast collected an assist in his postseason debut, a game the Rangers won, 4-1. He played in Game 2, and they lost, 4-2.

In Game 3, the first in Philadelphia, Vigneault replaced Fast with former Flyers instigator Carcillo — who subsequently went out and scored a goal in a 4-1 win. Carcillo played again in Game 4, and the Rangers lost, 2-1.

Then in Game 5 back at the Garden, Carcillo came out for the 21-year-old Miller, who notched an assist in his own playoff debut, a 4-2 Rangers win.

As Miller remained in for a second straight game on Tuesday, he played a total of 12:00, got an assist on a meaningless late-game goal — and the team still lost.


With top-four defenseman Nicklas Grossman out for the rest of the postseason after an ankle injury suffered in Game 4, the Flyers went with 25-year-old defenseman Erik Gustafsson over Hal Gill, the lumbering veteran who played in Game 5. The decision paid off.

Gustafsson scored on a second-period breakaway after coming out of the penalty box, his second career postseason goal.

"I made a bad read on the breakaway," said Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who came out to play the puck before retreating and having Gustafsson beat him five-hole. "You don't want to analyze it too much."


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Give me a beak! Street squawks over Twitter user numbers

Twitter's wings have been clipped.

Investors sent shares of the micro-blogging company down more than 10 percent in after-hours trading after the San Francisco firm beat Wall Street forecasts for top- and bottom-line performance — but showed strains trying to grow its user base.

Despite numerous tweaks in recent months to make tweeting easier, Twitter said its user base, measured by the number of users who log in monthly, grew by just 25 percent for the three months ended March 31, to 255 million.

That's down from the 30 percent growth in so-called monthly active users in the previous quarter and the 39 percent in the quarter before that.

Now Wall Street is biting its nails amid fears that Twitter will never get as big as Facebook, which has 1.3 billion monthly active users.

"Twenty-five percent growth is not bad, but when your stock is trading at 20 times revenue, you have to do better than that," said Shyam Patil of Wedbush.

Shares of Twitter traded down more than 10 percent in late trading, hitting a new 52-week low at $38.06.

This year, the stock is down 33 percent to $42.62.

Twitter, which has been facing questions about its growth since it went public last year, posted revenue of $250 million, up 119 percent over last year and above Wall Street's expectations of $241.7 million.

The company, headed by CEO Dick Costolo, posted a net loss of 23 cents a share, wider than the 20 cent loss last year.

Non-GAAP earnings were break-even, compared with estimates of a loss of 3 cents.

Wall Street was also discouraged by Twitter's timeline views, or the number of times users refresh their feed for new posts. The company said it saw 157 million timeline views in the quarter, up 15 percent from last year but still down from the third-quarter peak of 159 million.

Ad revenue per timeline view came in at $1.44 billion, up 96 percent from last year but down 3 percent from the previous quarter.


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

NYPD cop arrested for downloading child porn videos

An NYPD officer was arrested after investigators found several child-porn videos on his home computer, authorities said.

Officer Yong-Fa Wu, 34, was busted at his Ozone Park home Monday after police tied him to a sweeping online investigation of illicit file sharing, officials said.

Cyber surveillance conducted on April 1 found that Wu's computer was used to download "at least 60 files of investigative interest," according to the criminal complaint.

During the 6:30 a.m. Monday raid, cops found five explicit videos on Wu's computer of girls between eight and 13-years-old engaging in a variety of sex acts, some with adult men, according to authorities.

One vile clip showed a girl believed to be between 11 and 13 having sex with a man, court documents revealed.

Wu, who is assigned to the 62nd precinct in Bensonhurst, was arraigned Monday in Queens court on seven counts each of promoting and possessing sexual performance by a child.

He was held in lieu of $50,000 cash bail.

Wu's attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.


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Raptors gaining confidence as series goes on

Written By kom nampuldu on Selasa, 29 April 2014 | 20.50

The Raptors began the series with a whimper, their inexperience showing in the Nets' easy Game 1 victory. They haven't displayed those nerves lately, however, winning two of the last three games to take back home-court advantage as the teams prepare for Wednesday's Game 5 in Toronto with the best-of-seven playoff series tied 2-2.

DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors 24-year-old All-Star, has mirrored his team's play. He was a dud in the series opener, scoring 14 points on 3-of-13 shooting, but has looked like a postseason veteran since. He registered back-to-back 30-point performances in Games 2 and 3, and added 22 points in the 87-79 Game 4 win on Sunday, exploding for 18 first-half points as Toronto built a big early lead.

"He has confidence. He's growing," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said on a conference call Monday. "He's made himself an All-Star, that's a confidence builder. Confidence is a huge issue in this league. He went through Game 1, experienced that, got that out of the way.

"From that, he grew and gained confidence. He's continued to grow and he probably will be the first to tell you he's not a finished product."

Neither are the Raptors. Casey repeatedly described his team as a group that is still learning.

"We're a young team. Nobody expected us to be here," the coach said. "The guys are growing as we go. That's the hard part of being a young team in the playoffs."

The Raptors built a 17-point lead Sunday night, only to quickly cough it up, before finishing strong, closing the Game 4 victory on a 14-2 run over the final 5:56. Aside from the Game 1 setback, Toronto has been the better team down the stretch. The Raptors eked out a Game 2 victory, nearly eliminated a 15-point fourth quarter deficit in Game 3 and then pulled out the victory Sunday night.

"That's been our personality throughout the year, playing hard in the fourth quarter," Casey said. "The guys don't quit. They've never given up. They leave it on the court. … That's something you try to develop and the guys have developed that personality and it has carried over into the playoffs."

***

Casey said point guard Kyle Lowry (right knee) should be fine Wednesday and former Knick Landry Fields (back spasms) is feeling better and could return as well after missing Game 4.


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Hondo brewing up a winner

Hondo's inexorable march toward a four-figure deficit raged on Monday night when Darvish and the Rangers failed their assignment against the A's, which raised the dirty digits to 735 younts. It would be higher but his Reds play was rinsed.

Tuesday night: It's time to see if Lohse can still be effective when he has Mr. Aitch on his back — 10 units on the Brewers. Also, he expects Tillman to put some cash in the till, man — 10 units on the Orioles.

-$

Singer Edie Brickell, 48, speaking in court after a shoving match with husband Paul Simon at their New Canaan home, said she didn't "feel like she needed to be protected." Certainly not from Small Paul, who obviously has a short fuse but needs a stepladder to look his wife in the eye … Simon would be wise to pick on somebody his own size — maybe someone like fellow-New Canaanite Mike "L'il Him" Lupica … That's a tough fight to call, but chances are one of them would make short work of the other.

Robinson Cano fun facts: 1) He has never had the runs; and 2) Try as he might, he has never been able to do "The Hustle."


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Suspect dead, 6 injured in FedEx shooting

A gunman killed himself after opening fire and wounding at least six people at a FedEx facility near Atlanta on Tuesday morning, police said.

"We have one individual that is deceased that we are describing as the suspect," Cobb County police Sgt. Dana Pierce told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"He is probably deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was located in the bay area of FedEx. We are completing the ground floor sweep at this point with the assistance of K-9."

Hundreds of cops and paramedics had rushed to the delivery service's operation, at 1675 Airport Road in Kennesaw, Ga.

Of the six wounded people taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital, at least one of them was listed in critical condition, officials said.

The first calls to cops came at 5:54 a.m.

"[My boss] called me about 6 o'clock this morning saying there was a guy inside, shot the security guard," ground driver Michael Hogland told The AJC.

"He had a gun pointed at him and said, 'Don't worry about getting here on time.'"

The FedEx facility is in Cobb County, about 25 miles northwest of downtown Atlanta.


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Robinson Cano pranks Yankees fans hard on ‘Fallon’

Robinson Cano returns to play at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night for the first time since leaving the team to sign a mega-bucks free-agent contract with the distant Seattle Mariners.

The star second baseman is hoping for a "standing ovation," but the reaction in The Bronx is expected to be heavier on the jeers.

That was the setup for a priceless video segment with Cano during his appearance Monday on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon."

Self-professed Yankees fans in Bryant Park are offered the chance to boo a massive cardboard cutout of Cano. Then Cano himself pops out from behind the prop offering hugs and handshakes — and just watch how quickly these hardened New Yorkers change their tunes.

The skit was reminiscent of another baseball-star-on-the-street Fallon clip from last summer featuring Mets ace Matt Harvey:


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All of Nets’ hopes rest on Deron Williams

To find out which team has won each of the first four games of the Nets-Raptors first-round playoff series, you don't have to look further than Deron Williams' line in the boxscore.

In the Nets' victories in Games 1 and 3, Williams was spectacular, scoring 24 and 22 points, respectively, and playing some of his most aggressive basketball of the season. In their losses in Games 2 and 4, however, Williams was unable to keep up that level of aggression, fading in and out of the action. He was careless with the ball, shooting a combined 9-for-27 and committing eight turnovers.

"It's on me," Williams said after finishing with 10 points, six assists and five turnovers in the Nets' 87-79 loss to the Raptors in Game 4 Sunday. "I just got to play better."

As the series shifts back to Toronto, where the two teams will face off in Game 5 Wednesday, whether the Nets will emerge from Air Canada Centre with a second road win in three games could very well come down to how well Williams plays.

It looked like he was going to have another strong game Sunday after opening with eight points and four assists in the first quarter, almost single-handedly keeping the Nets within striking distance, when the rest of his teammates failed to show up for the opening tip.

But Williams disappeared after that, getting just two points, two assists and five shots over the final three quarters as he faded out and became a spectator on the court. When asked about Williams falling out of the picture Sunday during a conference call Monday, Nets coach Jason Kidd said Williams needs to play with high energy for 48 minutes. And if he does, Kidd said, his teammates will respond.

"For Deron, it's his energy, having high energy and playing with that energy for 48 minutes when he's out on the floor," Kidd said. "I thought in that first quarter he was playing with a lot of energy, [but] we just weren't getting stops on the defensive end.

"Again, for him it's about playing with that same energy and it's being aggressive."

The Nets certainly need to see that kind of aggression from their $100 million point guard for the remainder of the series, especially since the first four games have played out exactly as expected: If Williams played as good or better than his Toronto counterpart, Kyle Lowry, the Nets would win. If not, they wouldn't.

And with Lowry gamely playing through a right knee injury over the last two games that doesn't seem likely to go away, there are no excuses for Williams not to outplay him twice over the possible final three games and lead the Nets into a second-round showdown with the two-time defending champion Heat.

"I know I've got to be more aggressive," Williams said. "The last three quarters, I really wasn't a factor, and so that's a big part of it."

If he's not a factor in two of the next three games, don't expect to see the Nets in South Florida next week.


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‘Grease’ goes lives on TV in 2015

The T-Birds and the Pink Ladies are coming to TV.

Following the success of NBC's "Sound of Music Live!," Fox announced it plans to broadcast a live production of "Grease" next year.

The three-hour "Grease Live" (working title) will feature a young ensemble cast playing the iconic roles of Danny, Sandy, Rizzo and the rest of the Rydell High crew popularized on Broadway and in the 1978 film starring John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John and Stockard Channing.

Fox's special will include live performances of popular songs like "Summer Nights," "Greased Lightnin" and "You're the One That I Want." Paramount Television is producing "Grease Live," whose cast and premiere date are to be announced.

NBC's controversial production of "The Sound of Music," which starred Carrie Underwood, Audra McDonald and Stephen Moyer, drew nearly 19 million viewers last December.

The network plans to follow it up with a live production of "Peter Pan" on Dec. 4.


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‘The Following’ producer hints at what’s in store for next season

Monday's Season 2 finale of "The Following" left fans knowing that there will be more psychological scrapes next year.

Serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) and his nemesis, Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon), teamed to rescue Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea), from the vengeful twins, Mark and Luke (both played by Sam Underwood).

Having survived Joe's threat to kill him, FBI Special Agent Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore) was rewarded with a kiss with Ryan's niece Max (Jessica Stroup). Ryan sent Joe back to prison; Luke lost his life in a gun battle with Max; and, in a bitter pill for Ryan to swallow, Claire decided she was ultimately better off without him in her life.

The Post recently spoke with executive producer Marcos Siega to find out which characters could be the focus of Season 3.

Q: How did you decide on the cliff-hanger of Joe possibly killing Mike?
A: It was a decision I made in the cutting room, seeing it and saying, 'People are gonna hate this.'

Q: But Mike lived to share a romantic moment with Max.
A: When the idea came up, I actually cringed, like, 'Oh, how am I going to make this work?' But the two actors are so good, and the kiss is so earned that the fans who really want it are gonna love it.

Q: You shot two endings — one in which Ryan lets Joe live, and another, in which he dies. Why?
A: It's so hard in today's world with social media and everyone talking to keep any surprises, so we were able to kind of keep everyone off-balance by shooting an alternate ending.

Q: How will Ryan's choice affect him?
A: His whole existence right for the past eight years has been Joe Carroll. Maybe that's why he doesn't kill him; maybe it's not just simply that he's consciously doing the right thing.

Q: When Ryan told jail-bound Joe, "You're gonna be fading from my memory every day," Joe, replied, "Well, good luck with that." Foreshadowing?
A: Of course! The DNA of the show is these two men and that whole idea. You're not going to think of me? I doubt it!

Q: It seems key to Season 3 that after Mark escapes, Ryan tells Mike, "We'll find Mark."
A: They're certainly not going to just let him walk away; it's going to be something they need to do.

Q: What's in store with the mysterious stranger who came to Mark's aid in the final minutes?
A: We wanted to keep it ambiguous, not show the person's face, who it is or what the relationship is. We can choose to answer that a number of ways next year.


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Plane’s engine catches fire shortly after takeoff

Plane's engine catches fire shortly after takeoff | New York Post
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By Associated Press

April 29, 2014 | 5:29am

SYDNEY — A plane carrying 97 people has been forced to make an emergency landing in western Australia after one of its engines caught fire. No one was injured.

Cobham Aviation Services says one of the plane's four engines caught fire as it was climbing shortly after takeoff from Perth Airport.

The BAE-146 plane turned around and landed safely. No one was hurt. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Perth serves as the hub for a multinational search effort for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished March 8 on a trip from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.

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White House releases guidelines to stop sexual assaults at colleges

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration admonished colleges and universities — "No more turning a blind eye" — as it released guidelines designed to stem sexual assaults on campuses and help the victims.

A White House task force on sexual assault recommends in a report to be released Tuesday that schools identify trained, confidential victim's advocates and conduct surveys to better gauge the frequency of sexual assault on their campuses, since these types of crimes are underreported.

It says the Justice Department will help develop training programs in trauma care for school officers and assess different models for schools to use to adjudicate such cases, since some sexual assault survivors are wary of a legal process that can open them up to potentially painful or embarrassing questions by students or staff.

It also promises greater transparency. A new website, notalone.gov, will post enforcement actions and offer information to victims about how to seek local help and information about filing a complaint, the White House said late Monday.

The task force is providing a checklist for schools to use in drafting or reevaluating sexual misconduct policies, including ideas a school could consider when defining what is or isn't sexual consent.

"Prevention and education programs vary widely, with many doing neither well," the task force said. "And in all too many instances survivors of sexual violence are not at the heart of an institution's response: They often do not have a safe, confidential place to turn to after an assault, they haven't been told how the system works and they often believe it is working against them. We heard from many who reached out for help or action, but were told they should just put the matter behind them."

The task force, appointed by President Barack Obama in January, was making its recommendations following a 90-day review that included dozens of in-person and online meetings with victims, advocates and higher education representatives. It was made up of Obama's Cabinet members, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder.

"Colleges and universities need to face the facts about sexual assault — no more turning a blind eye or pretending it doesn't exist," said Vice President Joe Biden, who was to make remarks Tuesday when the task force findings were released. "We need to give victims the support they need — like a confidential place to go — and we need to bring the perpetrators to justice."

While 1 in 5 female students is assaulted, the White House said in announcing the task force that the review was also about protecting male victims and engaging men in discussions about preventing such assaults.

Within higher education, many campuses have been working to make improvements, but the issue is complex and some college administrators have sought answers from the federal government about how to interpret federal law. Research has shown that most campus sexual assault victims know their attackers, alcohol or drugs are often involved and only 12 percent of college women attacked report it to police.

A key tool the government has against campus sexual assault is Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination at schools that receive federal funds. The 1972 law is better known for guaranteeing girls equal access to sports, but it also regulates institutions' handling of sexual violence and is increasingly being used by victims who say their school failed to protect them. Fifty-one campuses currently have such an ongoing investigation involving sexual violence, the Education Department said.

Title IX requires that schools proactively work to prevent sexual crimes, promptly investigate complaints and discipline the accused if it's more likely than not that violence occurred. The school can't retaliate against students who file complaints and must ensure that victims can continue their education free of ongoing harassment.

Complaints have ticked up in the past couple years, after the Education Department publicized guidance on Title IX's sexual assault provisions in 2011. The department can withhold federal funding from a school that doesn't comply, but so far has not used that power and instead negotiated voluntary resolutions when they find violations.

Another law that campus sexual assault cases fall under is the Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to annually report crime statistics on or near their campuses, to develop prevention policies and ensure victims their basic rights.


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The biggest myths about the crisis in Ukraine

On a cool evening, a 23-year-old girl approaches with a slight limp (the result of an injury at Maidan Square, she later says), asking for a light. When she realizes I'm American, she speaks passionately in very limited English, struggling for the right words. What she settles on is surprisingly apt, given Russia's recent land grabs and building seizures: "I angry birds Russia," she says with a terrifying fury.

She wasn't the only one to approach me with an urgency far surpassing her vocabulary. Ukrainians know the West misunderstands their crisis with Russia, and they're desperate to set the facts straight. On the Ploscha Kontraktova subway platform, one man enacted an elaborate pantomime that basically portrayed Russia ground-stomping his country. At a pub near Olympic Stadium, a young manager typed simple explanations into Google Translate on my iPhone; when I looked in her eyes, they were full of tears.

Ukrainians' desperation is justified: Russian misinformation is rife, even in the United States. Here are a few widely circulated untruths about the crisis.

Ukrainians should have used the democratic process to overthrow Viktor Yanukovych, who was democratically elected.

It was actually Yanukovych who undermined Ukrainian democracy, stealing from his people, restricting press freedoms and otherwise acting as a corrupt thug-dictator.

The demonstrators in Kiev chose to exercise their right of free speech and peaceful protest in Maidan Nezalezhnosti after he abandoned the popular trade deal with the European Union. Yanukovych responded violently, sending his riot police to brutally beat children as young as 15. From there, the violence escalated, peaking Feb. 19-22, when Yanukovych's forces began shooting into the crowd, killing around 100 people.

If that weren't justification enough, it's become increasingly obvious that he had fundamentally acted as a traitor, furthering Vlad­imir Putin's interests and priming his country for foreign invasion.

The Maidan protesters are fascists, anti-Semites, neo-Nazis and extremists; the government they support may also endorse such ideas.

Russian propaganda has managed to taint the Maidaners' reputations, claiming they were racist, nationalist radicals. While in any crowd of tens of thousands will have a few wackos, most Maidaners' political goals were simple and laudable: rule of law, an end to corruption and the establishment of a European-style liberal democracy.

Broad swaths of the eastern Ukrainian population want to secede and become a part of Russia.

Ukraine's eastern regions have long felt politically neglected, but that doesn't mean they're ready to join Russia. In fact, only 15 percent of eastern Ukrainians want to secede, according to an April survey by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology, which is considered among the most credible pollsters in the country.

Ukraine is on the brink of civil war.

Putin himself advanced this idea in mid-April, but the country remains more united than Russia would have the West believe. In one of the quirkier displays of unity, even longtime soccer rivalries have been set aside, as opposing teams and fans tout pro-Ukrainian swag and sing the national anthem together.

Though tensions in the east have escalated all month, they're led by a relatively small group of vocal, violent Russian-backed separatists who've made nonmilitants fearful of retribution if they voice pro-Ukrainian sentiment. The armed rebellion these separatists lead lacks the popular support to truly make it a civil war.

One key reason for the unrest is that Russian speakers face discrimination in Ukraine.

This claim is preposterous, given that the majority of Ukrainians are bilingual, and Russian is common even in Kiev. Many of the Maidaners I spoke with switched easily between the two languages.

Finally, the Kiev International Institute of Sociology found that even in eastern Ukraine, 72 percent of citizens say their country has not violated the rights of the country's Russian-speaking population.

We can't know where the crisis in Ukraine will go next, but the American public needs to see through the Russian-backed lies that distract from Putin's contemptible aggression.

Jillian Kay Melchior writes for National Review as a fellow for the Franklin Center and the Independent Women's Forum.


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Mayor of Ukraine’s 2nd biggest city shot in the back

Written By kom nampuldu on Senin, 28 April 2014 | 20.49

KIEV, Ukraine — The mayor of Ukraine's second-largest city was shot in the back Monday and pro-Russia insurgents seized yet another government building as tensions rose in eastern Ukraine ahead of a new round of U.S. sanctions.

Armed insurgents tacitly backed by Moscow are seeking more autonomy in the region. Ukraine's acting government and the West have accused Russia of orchestrating the unrest, which they fear Moscow could use as a pretext for an invasion. Last month, Russia annexed Crimea weeks after seizing control of the Black Sea peninsula.

In a bid to ratchet up the pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Barack Obama has promised to levy new sanctions on Russian individuals and companies in retaliation for Moscow's alleged provocations in eastern Ukraine.

Hennady Kernes, the mayor of Kharkiv, was shot in the back Monday morning, his office said. Kernes was said to be undergoing surgery and "doctors are fighting for his life," according to the city hall.

Kharkiv city hall spokesman Yuri Sydorenko told the Interfax news agency that Kernes was shot while on the outskirts of the city. Officials have not commented on who could be behind the attack.

Kernes was a staunch opponent of the pro-West Maidan movement that toppled President Viktor Yanukovych in February and was widely viewed as the organizer of activists sent to Kiev from eastern Ukraine to harass those demonstrators.

But he has since softened his stance toward the new Kiev government. At a meeting of eastern Ukrainian leaders and acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk earlier this month, Kernes insisted he does not support the pro-Russia insurgents and backed a united Ukraine.

Police help an injured man after the pro-Ukrainian football supporters clashed with pro-Russian supporters.Photo: Getty Images

Kharkiv is in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia gunmen have seized government buildings and police stations, set up roadblocks or staged protests to demand greater autonomy or outright annexation by Russia. But unlike the neighboring Donetsk region, Kharkiv has been largely unaffected by the insurgency. Its regional administration building was briefly seized earlier this month but promptly cleared of pro-Russian protesters.

On Monday, masked militants with automatic weapons seized another city hall building and a police station, this time in Kostyantynivka, 100 miles from the Russian border. The city is 22 miles south of Slovyansk, a major city in eastern Ukraine that has been in insurgents' hands for more than three weeks now.

After the seizure, about 15 armed men guarded the city hall building. Some posed for pictures with residents while others distributed St. George's ribbons, the symbol of the pro-Russia movement.

On visit to the Philippines earlier Monday, Obama said the targets of the latest U.S. sanctions will include high-technology exports to Russia's defense industry. The full list, which is also expected to include wealthy allies of Putin, will be announced by officials in Washington later Monday.

The European Union is also planning more sanctions against Russia, with ambassadors from the bloc's 28 members meeting Monday in Brussels to add to the list of Russian officials who have been hit by asset freezes and travel bans.

Russia announced new military exercises along its border with Ukraine last week, unnerving Ukraine and the West about a possible invasion of eastern areas. NATO has said Russia has up to 40,000 troops stationed in regions along the border.

Russian military intelligence special troops train during military exercises in Russia's southern Volgograd region in early April.Photo: Getty Images

On Monday, Moscow turned down Kiev's request to visit the military exercises. Russia's foreign ministry said the Geneva accord that Ukraine and Russia signed earlier this month do not contain any restrictions of what the Russian army can do on its own territory.

Meanwhile, the increasingly ruthless pro-Russia insurgency is turning to an ominous new tactic: kidnapping. About 40 people are being held hostage in makeshift jails in Slovyansk — including journalists, pro-Ukraine activists and seven military observers from the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, Ukraine's Security Service said Monday.

The German government on Monday decried the seizure of the European military observers and called for their immediate release. Eight observers, including three German officers, were detained Friday on allegations they were spying for NATO. One Swedish officer among them was released Sunday.

Pro-Russia militants in camouflage and black balaclavas paraded some of the captive military observers before the media on Sunday. They also showed three Ukrainian security guards bloodied, blindfolded, stripped of their trousers and shoes, their arms bound with packing tape.

German captive Col. Axel Schneider spoke at Sunday's news conference — under armed guard — saying they were on an OSCE diplomatic mission and were not spies.


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Comcast to ditch 3.9M subscribers to push through Time Warner Cable deal

Comcast plans to shed about 3.9 million subscribers in a deal with cable competitor Charter Communications to help Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner Cable clear regulatory hurdles.

Comcast is creating and spinning off a new publicly traded cable provider that will serve about 2.5 million of its existing customers. Charter will form a new holding company that will have an approximately 33 percent stake in the Comcast spinoff. Comcast stockholders and former Time Warner Cable shareholders are expected to own about 67 percent of the new company.

In February Comcast Corp.'s $45.2 billion bid topped Charter's offer for Time Warner Cable.

Comcast said Monday that the combined Comcast-Time Warner Cable will divest systems to Charter, resulting in a reduction of about 3.9 million video customers.

Once the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal closes, Charter will acquire about 1.4 million existing Time Warner Cable subscribers. This will boost Charter's current residential and commercial video customer base to about 5.7 million from 4.4 million. Charter and Comcast will also each transfer about 1.6 million customers to the new company.

Charter said in an investor presentation that it estimates the acquisition of the cable systems, which gives it about 1.4 million Time Warner Cable subscribers, will cost approximately $7.3 billion. It estimates the value of the spinoff company at about $14.3 billion.

Comcast said that the new cable provider it is creating and spinning off will have a nine-member board. That will include six independent directors and three appointed by Charter. Comcast itself will have no ownership stake in the spun off company and will have no role in managing it. Charter will offer management services to the new company.

Both Comcast and Charter's boards have approved the transactions, which are subject to Comcast's deal with Time Warner Cable closing, approval by Charter shareholders and other conditions. Time Warner Cable's board has also given its necessary approval.

Comcast said it plans to use proceeds from the transactions to lower its debt. It still anticipates its combination with Time Warner Cable bringing about $1.5 billion in operating savings. The combination is targeted to close by the end of the year.


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Humiliated Silda scores millions in divorce from Eliot Spitzer

Eliot Spitzer's hooker-loving ways have cost him big — with ex-wife Silda scoring a $7.5 million cash payout and a steady stream of payments to maintain her luxurious lifestyle as part of their divorce, The Post has learned.

A "postnuptial" agreement promises 56-year-old Silda a lifetime of ease in exchange for the years of humiliation she endured married to the former governor, who resigned in disgrace after being revealed as "Client No. 9" in a federal prostitution probe.

In addition to a $7.5 million settlement dubbed a "lump sum" but payable over seven years, Silda also gets $240,000 a year in maintenance for the rest of her life — with all the cash coming after Eliot pays the taxes.

Eliot, 54 — son of ailing real-estate magnate Bernard Spitzer — further promised to "use his best efforts" to ensure that Silda gets to stay in their tony Fifth Avenue apartment at no cost to her, or else move her to "a replacement residence of similar size, location and quality."

The deal remains in effect even if Silda starts living with someone, but she has to give up her maintenance payments and pay "all the occupancy expenses" for the apartment if she remarries.

The 31-page deal was signed Sept. 4 and filed in the Manhattan County Clerk's Office on Feb. 5.

A copy was obtained by Radar Online and reviewed by The Post.

Related records show Eliot — who has been dating political publicist Lis Smith, 23 years his junior — can easily afford his freedom.

Silda stood by Eliot's side throughout the hooker scandal.Photo: Getty Images

The documents, which can be seen in full at radaronline.com, show Eliot had real-estate holdings valued at up to $46 million as of the date of the agreement.

He reported adjusted gross income of $4,268,000 for 2012, while Silda's was $112,000.

Silda had grimly stood by her cheating hubby when he quit the governor's office in 2008 over his hooker scandal, which revealed his penchant for wearing black socks while bedding then-call girl Ashley Dupre.

Silda and Eliot finally called it quits as a couple in a public statement last year after The Post published photos of him shacking up with Smith at her Soho apartment.

Smith had served as Eliot's spokeswoman during his failed bid for city comptroller last year.

She was later hired as communications director by Mayor Bill de Blasio during his mayoral campaign but didn't make it with him to City Hall.

In addition to the cash and housing, Eliot agreed to pay for a host of Silda's living expenses, including health care and medical insurance, an accountant, housekeeper and part-time assistant.

Eliot has been cozying up to publicist Lis Smith of late.Photo: Anthony J. Causi

She also gets a new car "no more than every five years," unspecified "entertainment" costs and up to $100,000 a year to donate to charity.

The divorced couple agreed to continue sharing ownership of their $5 million upstate farm.

In a clear nod to Eliot's philandering, both sides had agreed, pre-divorce, not to use the farm "in any way, including choice of visitors, that would cause any of their children emotional distress, unhappiness, embarrassment, hurt or harm in any way."

They also pledged, post-divorce, to work out a "mutually agreeable schedule . . . so that each party has an equal number of weeks and weekends in any year."

Either one can also trigger a sale to the other, with Eliot agreeing to pay at least $2.5 million, or half the market value, plus another $200,000 after taxes, if he exercises the option.

They also put in place a confidentiality agreement that stipulates that neither they nor reps may publish anything "concerning intimate details of their marriage" or "any other intimate details of the other's life, or the other's business, professional or financial affairs" without written consent.

They can be fined $125,000 to $375,000 for violating that agreement.

The first $1 million of Silda's lump sum was due within 180 days of their legal separation.

That came on Christmas Eve.

Their split was finalized in February, with Spitzer jetting off with Smith on a first-class flight to Vail, Colo.

Earlier, Smith had brought Spitzer to her parents' Bronxville home for Christmas, after which the couple were spotted frolicking in a hot tub while on vacation at a Jamaican resort.

Spitzer's rep didn't return a request for comment.


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Michael Grimm in custody over campaign financing probe

Rep. Michael Grimm surrendered to federal authorities in Lower Manhattan on Monday, and he's expected to be indicted for alleged business or campaign-fundraising violations.

The hot-headed Staten Island Republican turned himself in at 26 Federal Plaza., at New York headquarters of the FBI, at about 7:30 a.m.

Grimm, whose lawyer said Friday the lawmaker would be indicted, has maintained his innocence.

The anticipated charges cap a two-year federal probe against the former FBI agent and Marine.

Investigators have been eyeballing how the two-term GOP congressman raised more than $500,000 in donations, with the help of Israeli citizen Ofer Biton.

But law enforcement sources said the charges on Monday will be related to Grimm's "shady restaurant dealings."

Prior to his election,  Grimm was a partner in Upper East Side restaurant Healthalicious with Bennett Orfaly, who had ties to the Gambino crime family.

"After more than two years of investigation plagued by malicious leaks, violations of grand-jury secrecy, and strong-arm tactics, the US Attorney's Office has disclosed its intent to file criminal charges against Congressman Grimm," Grimm's defense lawyer William McGinley said on Friday.

"We are disappointed by the government's decision, but hardly surprised. From the beginning, the government has pursued a politically driven vendetta against Congressman Grimm and not an independent search for the truth. Congressman Grimm asserts his innocence of any wrongdoing."

In the fundraising probe, feds are looking at Grimm's ties to Biton, an Israeli citizen who pleaded guilty to a visa violation last year.

Biton is suspected of  connecting Grimm to followers of mystical New York City rabbi Yoshiyahu Yosef Pinto. Many of those donations were allegedly in violation of campaign finance laws.

Grimm's case could cause Republicans a huge headache, because the case is not likely to be wrapped up before the November elections.

Grimm is facing a strong challenge from Brooklyn Democratic Councilman Domenic Recchia.  The district covers south Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Grimm made national headlines earlier this year, when he threatened a beat up a TV news reporter who asked him about the on-going investigation.


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Dr. Jack Ramsay, NBA coaching and broadcasting icon, dead at 89

MIAMI — Jack Ramsay, a Hall of Fame coach who led the Portland Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA championship before he became one of the NBA's most respected broadcaster, has died following a long battle with cancer. He was 89.

Ramsay's death was announced by ESPN, for whom he worked as a broadcaster for many years.

"Dr. Jack Ramsay has passed," ESPN spokesman Chris LaPlaca wrote on Twitter early Monday. "A rare man. Loved and respected by all. Fascinating life well lived. An inspiration to so many."

Ramsay coached in the NBA for parts of 21 seasons before embarking on a second career as an NBA analyst. He was diagnosed with melanoma in 2004 and later battled growths and tumors that spread to his legs, lungs and brain, then later fought prostate cancer and most recently a marrow syndrome.

His affinity for fitness never wavered, though. Ramsay, who competed in at least 20 triathlons during his life, worked out regularly into his 80s, even as he battled the various forms of cancer that he was stricken with. He often spoke of his love of swimming in the Gulf of Mexico near his home in Naples, Fla., or jogging in a pool or from wall to wall in his hotel room when he was traveling on NBA assignments.

"He's probably forgotten more about the game than I know," Miami Heat coach and president Pat Riley once said of Ramsay, whom he counted as a close friend.

Ramsay also spent several years late in life caring for his wife, Jean, who was diagnosed in 2001 with Alzheimer's disease. She died in January 2010.

Ramsay enjoyed a second act in basketball as a celebrated broadcaster.Photo: AP

Ramsay had enormous popularity within the league, even until the final stages of his life. To commemorate Ramsay's 89th birthday earlier this year, Portland coach Terry Stotts wore a loud checkered jacket and open-collared shirt for a Blazers' game — a nod to how Ramsay dressed when he coached the club.

"Jack's life is a beacon which guides us all," Bill Walton, who was on Ramsay's 1977 title team in Portland, told USA Today in 2007. "He is our moral compass, our spiritual inspiration. He represents the conquest of substance over hype. He is a true saint of circumstance."

John T. Ramsay was born Feb. 21, 1925, in Philadelphia and enrolled at Saint Joseph's in 1942, eventually becoming captain of the basketball team there for his senior season. He earned a doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1949, explaining the "Dr. Jack" moniker that most players and fans simply knew him by.

Ramsay's biggest impact on Hawk Hill would be when he started coaching his alma mater in 1955. He was wildly successful there, going 234-72 and taking the Hawks to the NCAA tournament seven times, the Final Four in 1961 and to a No. 1 preseason ranking by Sports Illustrated in 1965.

To Ramsay, the most significant part of the Saint Joseph's years was this: "I met my wife there," he said.

He was a founding father of sorts for the growth of "Big 5″ basketball, which is what the annual series between Philadelphia-area schools Saint Joseph's, La Salle, Penn, Villanova and Temple was dubbed.

"I felt a lot of personal pride and interest in the outcome of those games," Ramsay told the AP in 2004. "There wasn't as much interest in conference play. There wasn't the impact of a national championship or conference championships like there is today. The Big 5 was clearly the biggest thing any of those schools were involved in at that point."

Ramsay took over as coach of the Philadelphia 76ers in 1968, moved on to the Buffalo Braves in 1972 and took his craft to Portland in 1976 — where he took a team with stars like Walton and Maurice Lucas and delivered an NBA championship in his first season, beating the 76ers in six games in the final series.

"For me, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one that I will cherish forever," Ramsay in an 1997 interview.

Indeed, that was his lone NBA title. Walton got hurt the next year, crippling Portland's chances of getting back to championship form during that era. Ramsay coached the Blazers for nine more seasons without another trip to the finals, and spent the final three years of his NBA sideline career in Indiana — resigning from the Pacers in November 1988 after the team got off to an 0-7 start.

Ramsay was 864-783 in his NBA career, being named one of the league's Top 10 all-time coaches in 1996.

When he left the Pacers, Ramsay carefully did not use the word "retire," and began working as a television analyst on 76ers games. Eventually, he worked on Heat television broadcasts for eight seasons before moving full-time to ESPN for radio and TV commentating before the 2000-01 season.

"So grateful that his path crossed ours," his former Heat broadcast partner Eric Reid wrote on Twitter early Monday. "Hall of Fame coach and man."


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Kindergarten show cancelled so kids can study to be ‘college ready’

A Long Island school has canceled its traditional end-of-year kindergarten show — saying the children can't afford to take time off from getting themselves "college and career'' ready.

"The reason for eliminating the Kindergarten show is simple," reads a letter sent by the principal at Harley Avenue Primary School in Elwood, Suffolk County, to parents last week. "We are responsible for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills and know that we can best do that by having them become strong readers, writers, coworkers and problem solvers."

The annual kiddie assembly, featuring 5- and 6-year-olds, was supposed to be held on May 14 and 15.

Roughly 1,400 people signed an online petition against the cancellation.

"She doesn't really understand it — she wants to sing,'' said Ninette Gonzalez Solis, whose daughter, Gabriela, 6, is a kindergartner at the school.

The letter, which was sent by interim Principal Ellen Best-Laimit and four teachers, says, "It is most important to keep in mind is [sic] that this issue is not unique to Elwood. What and how we teach is changing to meet the demands of a changing world."

Best-Laimit did not return a phone message left at her home.


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Obama to announce more sanctions against Russia

MANILA, Philippines — Seeking to ratchet up pressure on Vladimir Putin, President Barack Obama said the United States will levy new sanctions Monday on Russian individuals and companies in retaliation for Moscow's alleged provocations in Ukraine.

Obama said the targets of the sanctions would include high-technology exports to Russia's defense industry. The full list of targets will be announced by officials in Washington later Monday and are also expected to include wealthy individuals close to Putin, the Russian president.

"The goal here is not to go after Mr. Putin personally," Obama said. "The goal is to change his calculus with respect to how the current actions that he's engaging in could have an adverse impact on the Russian economy over the long haul."

Obama announced the sanctions during a news conference in the Philippines, his final stop on a four-country Asia swing. The president has been building a case for this round of penalties throughout his trip, both in his public comments and in private conversations with European leaders.

The new sanctions are intended to build on earlier U.S. and European visa bans and asset freezes imposed on Russian officials, including many in Putin's inner circle, after Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine last month.

White House officials say they decided last week to impose additional penalties after determining that Russia had not lived up to its commitments under a fragile diplomatic accord aimed at easing the crisis in Ukraine. But the U.S. held off on implementing the sanctions in order to coordinate its actions with the European Union, which could also announce new penalties as early as Monday.

The failed diplomatic agreement reached in Geneva just over a week ago called on the Kremlin to use its influence to get pro-Russian insurgents to leave the government buildings they have occupied in eastern Ukraine. But those forces have not only balked at leaving those buildings, but have also stepped up their provocations, including capturing European military observers who were paraded by the militants before the media Sunday.

Despite the deteriorating situation, Obama said Russia still has the opportunity to resolve the Ukraine crisis through a diplomatic path. But he voiced pessimism about whether the new sanctions package would be enough to change Putin's calculus.

"We don't yet know whether it's going to work," he said.

European diplomats were set to meet in Brussels Monday to discuss slapping asset freezes and travel bans on more officials associated with Russia's actions on Ukraine. The EU has so far sanctioned 33 individuals over the Crimea annexation.

It was not known before Monday's meeting how many Russian officials would be added to the EU sanctions list and how close they are to Putin.

Neither the U.S. nor Europe plans to announce broader sanctions on Russia's key industries this week, though Obama said they were keeping those measures "in reserve" in case the situation worsens and Russia launches a full military incursion into eastern Ukraine. Among the targets of those so-called sector sanctions could be Russia's banking, defense and energy industries.

Much of Obama's outreach to European leaders in recent weeks has focused on building support for the sector sanctions. The EU is Russia's biggest trading partner, giving it much greater economic leverage over Moscow than the U.S. has. However, the EU treads more carefully in imposing sanctions since Russia is also one of its biggest oil and gas suppliers.


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Alleged stabbing killer will be arraigned on murder charges

HARTFORD, Conn. — A 16-year-old student faces arraignment on murder charges in the stabbing death of a classmate at their high school on the day of the junior prom.

Police haven't released the suspect's name, but people who saw him taken into custody identified him as Chris Plaskon, a friend of the victim, 16-year-old Maren Sanchez.

Plaskon's attorney, Richard Meehan, says his client is being held in a hospital under psychiatric evaluation and will not appear at his arraignment, scheduled for Monday in New Haven.

Plaskon is charged as a juvenile but Meehan has said he expects him to eventually be charged as an adult.

The stabbing occurred Friday morning at Jonathan Law High School in Milford, hours before the school's prom, and authorities are investigating whether Sanchez was stabbed after turning down the boy's invitation to the dance.

Connecticut's chief medical examiner said Sunday that Sanchez died of wounds to her torso and neck.

Milford Alderwoman Greta Stanford said the school would remain closed Monday. A memorial service is scheduled for 7 p.m. on the school's football field. Organizers are seeking donations so the junior class can buy a memorial bench in Sanchez's honor.

Mark Robinson, a technical education teacher who saw the suspect being taken out of the school in handcuffs, said Plaskon is the third of five brothers and has a good sense of humor. His family has deep roots in the community, Robinson said.

Maren SanchezPhoto: Facebook

"There's no reason to suspect he would have done this. I think that's what makes it harder," Robinson said.

Classmate Imani Langston, who saw Plaskon being read his rights and taken away in a police car, said Sanchez and the boy were just friends and had never dated.

Sanchez, a member of the National Honor Society who was active in drama and other school activities, had been focused on prom in the days before her death. She had posted a photograph on Facebook of her blue prom dress and was looking forward to attending with a new boyfriend.

People who know Plaskon said he is an athlete and described him as genial and respectful.

"His family is devastated not only for him, but the youngster who was killed," Meehan said." It's a terrible situation all the way around."


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Egypt condemns 683 to death in huge trial

MINYA, Egypt — A judge in Egypt on Monday sentenced to death 683 alleged supporters of the country's ousted Islamist president in the latest mass trial that included the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader, defense lawyers said.

But in a surprise reversal, the same judge also reduced most of the death sentences handed to 529 defendants in a similar case in March, commuting the majority of them on Monday to life imprisonment.

The judge, Said Youssef, said he was referring his ruling on the 683 death sentences for violence and the killing of policemen to the Grand Mufti, the top Islamic official — a requirement under Egyptian law, but one that is considered a formality.

Both mass trials are linked to deadly riots that erupted in Minya and elsewhere in Egypt after security forces violently disbanded sit-ins held by Brotherhood supporters in Cairo last August.

Hundreds were killed as part of a sweeping campaign against supporters of former President Mohammed Morsi, ousted by the military last July. The removal of Morsi — a year after he was elected — came after millions demonstrated against his rule, demanding he step down for abuse of power.

Among those convicted and sentenced to death on Monday was Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood's spiritual guide. If his sentence is confirmed, it would make him the most senior Brotherhood figure sentenced to death since one of the group's leading ideologues, Sayed Qutb, was executed in 1966.

After Mufti's decision, the same court will hold another session on June 21 to issue the final verdicts.

Monday's ruling sparked an outcry among families of the defendants outside the court, with women fainting and relatives wailing and crying out "Why? This is unfair!"

"My three sons are inside," said a woman who only gave her first name, Samiya, as she screamed in grief. "I have no one but God."

Lawyer Ali Kamal, said the hearing lasted only eight minutes. Security forces surrounded the court building and blocked roads, preventing families and media from attending the proceedings.

"This is against the spirit of the law. The verdicts will be easily appealed," Kamal told reporters.

A total of 148 defendants were present inside the court Monday, according to a judicial official in the case. It wasn't immediately clear why the others were absent or if some of the suspects were tried in absentia.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media, told The Associated Press that if the "Grand Mufti upholds the death sentences for all or recommends reversing them, it won't mean anything to the judge."

"Only the judge has the right and the power to reverse his earlier decisions," the official said.

In the surprise reversal on Monday, the judge commuted the death sentences for all but 37 defendants in the March trial of 529 Islamists. The remaining suspects were given life sentences.

The March ruling had brought heavy international criticism from the United Nations, United States and European Union.

At the time, Amnesty International called the death sentences "grotesque" and Egyptian rights groups were stunned at the swift verdicts, passed after only one hearing — and without defense presenting its case.

Egypt's interim, military-backed government has branded the Brotherhood a terrorist group, a claim it denies.

Some 16,000 people have been arrested since the military ousted Morsi last July, including most of the group's top leaders. Large numbers of pro-Morsi protesters have also been rounded up and detained by police.

In a separate development, an Egyptian court on Monday banned the April 6 youth movement that helped engineer the 2011 uprising that led to the ouster of longtime autocratic President Hosni Mubarak.

That ruling was seen by activists as part of a government- orchestrated campaign to stifle opposition and dissent. It can be suspended by a higher tribunal.

A Cairo court ruled in a suit filed by a lawyer who demanded the banning of the youth group over allegations it "tarnished the image of the Egyptian state" and conspired against the country's national interests.

Leaders of April 6 — Ahmed Maher and Mohammed Adel — have been jailed for violating a new protest law that requires that any demonstration must have a police permit.


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Mets’ offense ready to hit the road again

David Wright didn't exactly rip Citi Field, but it's clear the Mets captain wouldn't mind a more hitter-friendly ball park such as Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia or Coors Field in Denver where the Mets will play their next two series.

The Mets offense did just enough Sunday to make good on a pitching gem from Dillon Gee and beat the Marlins 4-0 to complete a 6-4 homestand. But it sounded very much like Wright was looking forward to going on the road where the Mets play a two-game series in Philly beginning Tuesday before heading to Denver and Miami.

"The last week or so I've really hit some balls hard," Wright said after going 1-for-4 with a run-scoring double on Sunday, putting his batting average at .275 with one homer and a team-high 15 RBIs. "Whether it's the wrong time of the year, the wrong part of the ballpark, whatever it's been, it seems like I've had some good at-bats and hit some balls hard, but don't have much to show for it.

"Hopefully, when the weather warms up and we stop getting these swirling winds and get on the road and get in some more suitable hitting ballparks, hopefully we'll start seeing some results."

The bitter sweetness of Citi Field is it's built to be a pitcher's park, which it was for Gee, who threw eight shutout innings before Carlos Torres took care of the ninth. But 375 feet to right center and 358 to the left-field wall have done little to help the Mets offensively.

For the second straight game, Curtis Granderson hit a deep shot to right that might have been out of Yankees Stadium. Wright, meanwhile, belted a hard liner to left in the fifth inning that wound up hitting the bottom of the wall, allowing Granderson to score from first. Otherwise, the Mets — who had six hits — did what they have done most of the season, rely on pitching, defense and clutch hitting to improve to 14-11 on the season.

"I think our situational hitting has been pretty good: getting runners home from third, moving runners over, things that you don't necessarily see in the box score," Wright said.

The Mets third baseman flashed his glove as well as his bat Sunday. With the Mets up 1-0 in the top of the fourth inning, Marlins cleanup hitter Casey McGehee hit a pop-up left of the third-base foul line. Wright gave chase, heading straight for the rolled up tarp against the concrete wall just beyond the visiting dugout.

Wright slid with his back to the field and made a terrific over-the-shoulder catch for the second out.

"It was a panic slide because you don't want to go barreling into that tarp," he said.

Pitching and defense is how the Mets will win most of their games this season, but they would like to get more out of their at-bats.

Manager Terry Collins said Wright, "hit five balls in this series that in a lot of places are going to be home runs or extra-base hits." He also said Granderson's long fly out in the seventh inning would have been a home run in Yankee Stadium.

"That's the sixth or seventh ball that he's hit that's been caught that across town is a point," he said. "That's some of the stuff you have to deal with playing in this park."

It was encouraging to see Gee work into the eighth inning, but the Mets know the offense must establish some consistency in order to stay competitive throughout the long season.

"At some point we're going to need to take some of the pressure off of [the pitchers] where they don't have to necessarily feel like they have to be perfect to win a game," Wright said. "At some point these guys are going to give up some runs and we're going to have to pick them up the way they've picked us up."

The best chance of doing that might be away from Citi Field.


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Man attempts to kidnap woman in College Point

Written By kom nampuldu on Minggu, 27 April 2014 | 20.49

A stranger in a car tried to kidnap a woman who was walking on a sidewalk in College Point, Queens early Sunday morning, police said.

The man pulled his dark grey sedan over alongside the woman in front of 23-38 123rd street just before 2:00 a.m., and shouted "Get in the car," cops said. Instead, she ran and called the cops.

"She basically resisted and he took off," a police source said of the abduction attempt.

The victim was uninjured, authorities said.

Police describe the suspect as a man with a goetee and spiky black hair wearing a long sleeved shirt.

He was last seen turning onto 124th Street, according to cops.


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Garnett: Nets fans need to bring the noise

Kevin Garnett spent the days leading up to the Nets' Game 3 win over the Raptors imploring the crowd inside Barclays Center to show Toronto what Brooklyn is made of — especially in the wake of Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri's "F— Brooklyn" comments before Game 1.

But after practice Saturday ahead of Game 4 in Brooklyn on Sunday night, Garnett said the reception wasn't what he had hoped it would be.

"Could do better," he said. "I was expecting Brooklyn to be real hostile, New York style, knowing what it's like to come here as the opposition, so our crowd could do better.
"But they were there when they needed us and we fed off of them."

The crowd had the feel of a preseason or meaningless regular-season contest for much of the first half, before the final minutes, when a Paul Pierce dunk, Garnett diving on the floor for a loose ball and Deron Williams burying a jumper after crossing over Kyle Lowry got the sellout crowd of 17,732 onto its feet and into the game for the remainder.

"Yeah it was a little slow to start," Williams said with a smile. "Seven o'clock game on a Friday night in New York, that's tough.

"So hopefully it will be better come Sunday. But they definitely got into it and when we started making our little run, the crowd took over."

Because of their win Friday, which featured brilliant performances from both Deron Williams (22 points and eight assists) and Joe Johnson (29 points), the Nets now have a chance to take control of the series with a win Sunday.

After failing to close out Game 2 when they had a fourth quarter lead and then nearly letting a 15-point advantage slip away down the stretch of Game 3, they don't intend to let the opportunity get away.

"We've got to win this game," Williams said. "We need to protect home court, going up 3-1 is definitely a luxury and that's all we're concerned about right now."


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Serby’s Sunday Q&A with… Rashad Jennings

Steve Serby sits down for a Q&A with new Giants running back Rashad Jennings, who played for the Jaguars and Raiders, about the hardships he and his family faced before he made it to the NFL:

Q: Tell me why you transferred from Pittsburgh to Liberty.
A: Freshman year, got a chance to earn a starting job, I'm doing well, things looking great, my dad has diabetes, and he gets his leg amputated. I'm from Lynchburg, Va., and Liberty University is 10 minutes from my house. My family was there for me up until I was 19 years old at the time. And I thought to myself that, "If I can transfer to a school regardless of how big it is, if I can graduate with a degree and get just an opportunity to play ball for a shot at the next level, it's worth it." I'm a big believer if you do things the right way, everything will come back to you.

Q: How is your dad doing now?
A: He's doing well. He definitely couldn't come out to the West Coast (when Jennings played with the Raiders), so I bought the NFL Network for my whole family, and they all will get together on Sundays, and eat dinner and watch. It's always special knowing that your family's together somewhere watching you.

Q: Will he be able to come up to Jersey?
A: Yeah, we're going to get him up to a few games.

Q: Has he seen you play in the pros?
A: He saw me play one time in Jacksonville.

Q: Did he play football?
A: He did. He got a full scholarship (defensive end) to Nebraska, and he turned it down to go the Air Force so he could provide for his child — he had just had his first kid at the time. I got two older brothers, they're 10 and 13 years older than me. The first one, Butch Jennings, he actually played for the Giants for a year.

Q: Do you have a chip on your shoulder because you lasted until the seventh round (picked by the Jaguars) of the NFL Draft in 2009?
A: I always will have a chip on my shoulder, and, it's understanding how to channel. But yeah, being a seventh-round draft pick, that will always get underneath my skin.

Q: How do you channel it?
A: It's knowing when it's time, and when it's a free, safe space to let loose. And that free, safe space is on the field. So, mentally, I have reminders. I got little notes along the way, I got little comments along the way that really stuck with me. And, when it's game time, I always remember, and it fuels you.

Q: Do you actually read them at your locker before games?
A: Yeah. I got a few I read, and the other ones are still mental. And I have a few pictures that I look at continually to always fuel me. I got a picture of my dad with no legs that fuels me. I got a picture of that little chubby fat kid of myself that everybody threw under the bus that fuels me. I got a lot of different motivations around me, that puts me in a zone, where nothing else matters at that moment. That's channeling it before I get on the field.

Q: Kids teased you when you were in high school?
A: The thing about me, I'm such a dork anyway, I'm a nerd. People making fun of me never really bothered me as much. I got made of fun of, yes. But that didn't affect me.

Q: But you use it as fuel now though?
A: What I use as fuel is the coaches that always said that I'd never be a running back.

Q: Your father had both of his legs amputated. How and why does that fuel you?
A: Every single person in my family has made a sacrifice for an opportunity for me. … And, when you see somebody with no legs that is endearing to you, that is part of a family, it drives you because 1) I'm blessed to have legs. And as a running back, that's what we use. And so when I see a picture of my dad has none, it reminds me to keep mine moving.

Q: You've had that picture ever since you've been in the NFL?
A: Yeah.

Q: Have you told him that you have that picture?
A: Yeah, he knows.

Q: What was his reaction when you told him?
A: It touches him. He gets teary-eyed, even though he don't like to cry. Our whole family is very close. We're a laugh-family first. I'm an uncle nine times, me and my nephews get together and we'll take my dad's (prosthetic) leg and hide them from him, and watch him get pissed off. We laugh. We have a great time, but at the end of the day, family's all you got. It does touch him to know that even in his mishap, that he's still motivating his children.

Q: Your parents are down in Virginia?
A: Yes. My dad had diabetes, and I grew up with asthma. I had to outrun asthma. That was something I had to outgrow.

Q: How painful was that experience?
A: That was tough. I had asthma attacks. I was hospitalized a few times for it. Doctor said that you'll never be able to play football because of how bad it is. … But when you got faith, anything can happen. And then when you realize how much food makes a difference in your performance of anything that you do, then you got a chance. That's another big reason why I'm a health nut. I haven't had fast food in 10 years, I haven't had a soda in 10 years, I never drank alcohol a day in my life, I've never smoked one day in my life.

Q: So if you go to a restaurant, what would you eat?
A: I would always ask for the gluten-free menu first. If it's not there, I'm a salad guy. I like steaks, love all your meats, as long as it's clean. Pasta, if it's gluten-free. But I eat in the house — I got a chef that cooks for me year-round. When I was in Jacksonville, when I was in Oakland, I got in touch with a great chef here and they dropped the meals off yesterday, so we're going to give a test run.

Q: Your on-field mentality. Describe the transformation.
A: Playing football is … you're allowed to be different. I had this conversation similar a while back, and I think the title of it was Rashad, he's a gladiator on Sundays and a gentleman by day.

Q: Describe the gladiator on the football field.
A: It's organized chaos. It's a purposeful recklessness. It's a borderline between crazy and in control, especially playing running back. It's never about getting to the hole quick or getting through the hole quick, so it's always that element of give-and-take, that balance. And on the left side, there's "Just attack everything," and them on the other side of my shoulder, there's Let's be efficient." You can't do either one too much, or else you're going to burn out, or you're not going to be successful. [It's about] finding that balance, and knowing when to let go, and knowing when to reel it back in.

Q: Do you enjoy delivering punishment?
A: Of course. I look for it.

Q: Who have some of your most violent collisions been with?
A: I think he retired because too many concussions, but Clint Sessions, we had some serious contacts in the hole when he played for the Colts and I was in Jacksonville.

Q: How many concussions have you had?
A: I had two in my career?

Q: That's something you can't think about as a player, correct?
A: You can't ever think about getting hurt. This is not a timid game. This is a contact sport. This is only man can play. It's brutal, it's physical, it's rough. As far as concussions go, I don't think anybody thinks about it.

Q: If you had a son, would you let him play football?
A: If I had a son, I definitely would let him play football if he wanted to. Actually I want him to play every single sport — golf, tennis, hockey, I want him to play everything if that's what he loves.

Q: What's your definition of a complete back?
A: Never having to come off the field for any situation.

Q: What's your style of running?
A: My style of running is a one-cut, downhill. I'm not overly quick, not overly fast — I'm very sudden.

Q: Motivational sayings?
A: It's something that I've always lived by, and it's, "When opportunity presents itself, it's too late to prepare." But a quote that I actually got from somebody else, it was anonymous, but it's rather lengthy too — "The master in the art of living shows little distinction between his work and his play. His love and his religion, his labor and his leisure. He simply pursues excellence in everything he does, leaving others to decide whether he's working or he's playing. But to him, he's always doing both.

Q: Are you aware that coach Tom Coughlin is very big on inspirational or motivational sayings?
A: Yes, yes. And I love it. A buddy of mine sent me his book to read, and I'm going to take the time to read it this offseason to get a little bit more insight on his mind, and how he looks at the world. I respect him so much from a distance as a coach. I'm super excited for him to pull the best out of me and learn. I'm definitely going to pick his brain as much as I can.

Q: You have a hyperbaric chamber?
A: I wanted to make an investment that I can control a majority of the outcome, and so I made an investment in myself, I bought a hyperbaric oxygen chamber my first (NFL) year. … It's known for concussions, it's known to help that process, it's known to help break down any recovery half speed. I think you know about Terrell Owens when he was getting ready for the Super Bowl, how quickly he got back from his surgery, and he was sleeping in a hyperbaric every single night.

Q: How often do you sleep in it?
A: During camp, I sleep in it every single night.

Q: During the season?
A: During the season, I sleep in it after every game. I'm a nap guy, so after every practice, I come home and take a nap in it.

Q: You weighed 268 pounds in high school.
A: I did a little self-experiment with food. I took a hamburger, I put it out on the counter. I took a soda, I put it out on the counter, I took a glass of milk, I put it out on the counter, I took some cheese, put it out on the counter, I took some fries — I put a bunch of foods that I typically would eat, breads, everything, put it out in the counter. And then on the other side, I unpeeled a banana, put it out on the counter, lettuce, put it on the counter, a glass of water, put it on the counter, a glass of water, put it on the counter, some chicken, put it out on the counter. And I just started putting some whole foods on the counter.
I left it there for a couple of days, my Mom's a neat freak, so she's kind of, "Rashad, what are you doing?" I'm like, "Ma, just leave it alone for a couple of days, don't touch it." And I came back to it, and obviously the bread got extremely hard, the milk got really thick and hard, the cheese got really hard, the hamburger looked just the same, the fries looked just the same, and they got harder. And on the other side, the lettuce started to deteriorate, the banana started to deteriorate, the water was still very liquidy, and everything on the opposite side either was deteriorating or just the same. So I said to myself, "Well, if I'm putting all this bread, cheese, milk that's getting thick, bloated — if I'm putting this stuff in my body, I wonder what's going on inside. And on the other side, I asked myself the same question. So I changed the way I was eating from that little experiment.
I started running. I would run four miles to the YMCA, worked out, run four miles back home. And I would do that twice a week. And I got with a trainer, I got with my two older brothers, they trained my butt ridiculously, and I got myself in shape.

Q: Who are your favorite running backs growing up and now?
A: Growing up, I used to watch Eddie George a lot. I used to watch Jerome Bettis a lot. I used to love watching Marshall Faulk run. … Curtis Martin run … Ricky Watters a little bit .. obviously the big names, Emmitt Smith. I actually got a chance to meet Jerome Bettis, it was funny, when I went to Pitt my first year as a freshman, he was with the Steelers, and he took me under his wing there and taught me a lot, and still keep in touch with him today.
But now, I always watch my man from Seattle (Marshawn Lynch), everybody watches him. He's just a beast. I like Arian Foster, he's a strider, he's a slasher. … Matt Forte, he's a complete back. I watch all the backs across the league, and I go back in history and watch all the backs. I take as much as I can from everybody's game, to perfect and mold my craft. Earnest Byner was my coach in Jacksonville for a year, and we used to watch tape on Marcus Allen. … We used to watch Walter Payton. … We used to watch all the great backs.

Q: You played with Jacoby Ford — what kind of player are the Jets getting?
A: They're getting an explosive guy, fast, smart, somebody who always has a chance to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.

Q: You play guitar?
A: I love it. Every semester, I would pick up a new craft. After a couple of weeks of locking down this playbook, I'm going to be running around learning all kind of randomness. In college one semester, I taught myself how to write with my opposite hand. The next semester, I taught myself every card trick humanly possible, that I know. I love magic, it's something about it.

Q: What else do you think you will try?
A: I love the sky, so I'm always into learning the stars, the theories behind the other worlds. … Piano, that's going to be something before the year's over with.

Q: Three dinner guests?
A: Jesus; Robert E. Lee — anybody that was in war back in the day, where they decided it was best, to line up in one straight line, and run directly at people with a sword in their hand. I would have hid, and I would have done some type of attack on somebody.

Q: Favorite movies?
A: Coming to America; Thor.

Q: Favorite actors?
A: Denzel Washington; Vince Vaughn.

Q: Favorite actress?
A: Sandra Bullock.

Q: Favorite meal?
A: A good lasagna.

Q: Any favorite New York City things?
A: Not yet. I just got gas today, and I forgot that in New Jersey, you don't pump your own gas, that was the weirdest thing to me.


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