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Yankees basically cool with Napoli calling Tanaka ‘an idiot’

Written By kom nampuldu on Senin, 30 Juni 2014 | 20.49

Mike Napoli's ninth-inning homer on Saturday had an impact on the Yankees, but his reaction afterward evidently did not.

After he hit what turned out to be a game-winning home run off Masahiro Tanaka in the top of the ninth of Boston's 2-1 victory, Fox cameras and microphones captured Napoli getting back to the dugout saying, "What an idiot" because Tanaka had thrown him a fastball on the outside corner, rather than one of the splitters or sliders that he'd struck him out with earlier in the game.

Tanaka, through his personal spokesman, said while he was "aware" of what Napoli said, he "didn't mind because it happened in the dugout."

That was the reaction of Tanaka's teammates, as well, who refused to be riled up by Napoli's comment.

"The only reason anyone knows about it is because the camera catches it," David Robertson said. "It shouldn't even be a story. It's not like he meant anything bad by it. What's in the dugout should be seen, not heard. I didn't have a problem with it."

Mike Napoli is tagged out by Derek Jeter as the Red Sox beat the Yankees in Sunday's series rubber game.Photo: Bill Kostroun

Joe Girardi agreed.

"I kind of heard [about it] secondhand," the manager said. "I don't make much of it. It's the heat of the moment. It doesn't really change the complexion of the game. It doesn't really change [Sunday's] game."

Girardi was also convinced Napoli, who didn't speak before Sunday's game, wasn't being malicious.

"I haven't seen anything in Mike Napoli where he's a guy that shows people up or degrades people," Girardi said. "I've never seen that in Mike Napoli. … Unfortunately, everything is seen now. I've never had a sense he's a bad guy. He's a guy that plays hard and loves to play the game."

And a guy who has killed the Yankees since joining their rivals. With Saturday's blast, Napoli has 10 homers and 24 RBIs over the last two years against the Yankees, more than he has against any other team.

Boston manager John Farrell also defended his player.

"The one thing we don't ever want is our players to be unemotional," Farrell said. "We've got the utmost respect for Tanaka and I know Mike Napoli does. So if his comments were based on an emotion in that moment, it wasn't directed to be derogatory towards him. It was a reaction."

Girardi isn't especially concerned that there will be a lingering impact on Tanaka following the defeat.

"I think he'll be fine," Girardi said. "Bottom line, which I think gets lost, is he pitched a great game. I don't want him to lose sight of that. If you score three runs, it's not even talked about."


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Alan Cumming celebrates 500 1/2 ‘Cabaret’ show

Shia LaBeouf being hauled out of "Cabaret" by cops isn't the only time 911 has been dialed at the show.

A night after LaBeouf's bizarre arrest, Alan Cumming celebrated at the show with the cast to mark his 500 ¹/₂ performances in the musical, we hear.

The half is because when Cumming starred in the show in 1998, he ran offstage to blow his nose one night and, "I banged my head. I ran into a light. I made it through the first half of the show, and was all woozy."

He then had to be carted off to the ER.


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Does anyone want to host the 2022 Olympics?

LONDON — The Ukrainian city of Lviv withdrew its bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics on Monday, becoming the third contender to drop out of the race for a games that no one seems to want.

Lviv pulled out because of the continuing political and security crisis in Ukraine, where government forces are battling an insurgency by pro-Russian separatists.

Lviv officials said they would now focus on bidding for the 2026 Winter Games instead.

The decision to withdraw, which had been widely expected, followed talks between Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and IOC President Thomas Bach.

"We concluded that it would be extremely difficult to pursue the 2022 bid under current circumstances but that a future bid would make sense for Ukraine and Ukrainian sport," Bach said in a statement.

The announcement came exactly one week before the International Olympic Committee selects a short list of finalists for the 2022 Games.

Three cities remain in contention: Almaty, Kazakhstan; Beijing, and Oslo.

With Lviv out, the IOC executive board is likely to retain all three and not cut any of the candidates. The host city will be selected by the full IOC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on July 31, 2015.

"We have always said that we will only continue if we can be certain to deliver on all our promises," Lviv bid CEO Sergei Goncharov told The Associated Press. "Due to the current circumstances in Ukraine, we, however, felt that a bid for 2026 would make more sense. We remain convinced of the positive impact that hosting Olympic Games would have for the city of Lviv and the whole country."

Lviv's withdrawal follows the earlier pullouts of Stockholm and Krakow, Poland.

The Swedish capital dropped out in December after politicians declined to give financial support. The Polish city withdrew last month after 70 percent of residents rejected the bid in a referendum.

The future of Oslo's bid also remains uncertain. The Norwegian government has yet to back the project and won't make a decision until the autumn. In addition, recent polls have shown that more than half the population opposes the games.

If Oslo drops out later, that would leave only two cities standing. Almaty, commercial capital of the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan in Central Asian country, hosted the 2011 Asian Winter Games and would shape up as the favorite. Beijing, which hosted the 2008 Olympics, is bidding to become the first city to stage both the Summer and Winter Games.

Beijing proposes holding Alpine events 120 miles (190 kilometers) away in the northern Chinese city of Zhangjiakou. And with Pyeongchang, South Korea, hosting the 2018 Winter Games and Tokyo the 2020 Olympics, the IOC would normally be reluctant to send the games to Asia for a third straight time.

Even before the start of the official 2022 campaign, two potential serious contenders stayed away. St. Moritz-Davos and Munich canceled proposed bids after voters in Switzerland and Germany voted "no" in referendums.


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‘Nanny from hell’ finally agrees to leave family’s home

A 64-year-old woman dubbed the "nanny from hell" after she stopped working for the California family that hired her and refused to move out, is reportedly ready to leave their home.

Ralph and Marcella Bracamonte say they hired Diane Stretton in March to do chores and watch their children in return for room and board in their home in Upland, near Los Angeles.

But they say she stopped working within weeks, said she had chronic pulmonary disease, ignored repeated requests to leave, and made them scared for their property and the safety of their children, aged 11, 4 and 1.

Marcella Bracamonte told ABC News's "Good Morning America" on Sunday that Stretton telephoned the family's lawyer on Saturday night and said she could be out of the house by July 4.

The family had earlier said the woman threatened to sue them for wrongful termination and elder abuse. Police declined to intervene in a civil matter, so the couple launched an eviction process, which they feared could take months.

Police say that once a person establishes residency they must be "formally evicted" under California law, a process that could lead to a court-ordered "forcible eviction" carried out by county sheriff's deputies.


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What lightning looks like from space

These stunning images show an American astronaut's bird's eye view of his home planet as his space craft orbits the Earth.

Reid Wiseman, who is currently aboard the International Space Station, has posted several fascinating photos and videos on his Twitter feed.

In his latest Vine clip, he captured lightning flashes from a violent thunderstorm above Houston, Texas.

Wiseman, 38, has also shared photographs of storms above Canada, auroras and busy air traffic above Europe.

"If felt like I could reach out and touch it," Wiseman said of an aurora on June 28. He described it as "moving like a snake through the sky."

Earlier this month, Wiseman, commander Steve Swanson and ISS astronaut Alexander Gerst, from Germany, marked the start of the World Cup by having a micro-gravity kick-a-bout in space.

The astronaut is expected to return to Earth in November.

This article originally appeared on News.com.au.


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Panel: Pistorius was not mentally ill when he killed girlfriend

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — A panel of mental health experts has concluded that Oscar Pistorius was not suffering from a mental illness when he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home last year, the chief prosecutor at the athlete's murder trial said Monday.

Pistorius' trial resumed after a break of one month during which a psychologist and three psychiatrists also assessed whether the double-amputee runner was capable of understanding the wrongfulness of his act when he shot Steenkamp through a closed toilet door.

The panel's reports were submitted to Judge Thokozile Masipa, and prosecutor Gerrie Nel referred to key parts of the conclusions, noting that the experts believed Pistorius was "capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act" when he killed Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model.

The evaluation came after a psychiatrist, Dr. Merryll Vorster, testified for the defense that Pistorius, who has said he feels vulnerable because of his disability and long-held worry about crime, had an anxiety disorder that could have contributed to the killing in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013. He testified that he opened fire after mistakenly thinking there was a dangerous intruder in the toilet.

Reeva SteenkampPhoto: AP

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel has alleged that Pistorius, 27, killed Steenkamp after a Valentine's Day argument, and has portrayed the Olympic athlete as a hothead with a love of guns and an inflated sense of entitlement. But he requested an independent inquiry into Pistorius' state of mind, based on concern the defense would argue Pistorius was not guilty because of mental illness.

Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if found guilty of premeditated murder, and could also face years in prison if convicted of murder without premeditation or negligent killing. He is free on bail.

Pistorius was evaluated as an outpatient at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital in Pretoria, the South African capital. He has been staying at the upscale home of his uncle.

Later Monday, defense lawyer Barry Roux called surgeon Gerald Versfeld, who amputated Pistorius' lower legs when he was 11 months old, to testify about the runner's disability and the difficulty and pain he endured while walking or standing on his stumps without support. Pistorius was born without fibulas, the slender bones that run from below the knee to the ankle.

At Roux's invitation, Judge Masipa and her two legal assessors left the dais to closely inspect the stumps of Pistorius as he sat on a bench.

The athlete was on his stumps when he killed Steenkamp, and his defense team has argued that he was more likely to try to confront a perceived danger rather than flee because of his limited ability to move without prostheses. Versfeld noted that Pistorius' disability made him "vulnerable in a dangerous situation."

During cross examination, Nel questioned Versfeld's objectivity and raised the possibility that Pistorius could have run away from a perceived intruder on the night of the shooting. He also said Pistorius rushed back to his bedroom after the shooting and made other movements that indicated he was not as hampered as Versfeld was suggesting.


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Ch. 11 ties Ch. 5 ratings for the first time in nearly 3 years

Some good news for Ch. 11, both on the ratings and programming fronts.

For the month of June, WPIX's 5 p.m. newscast (co-anchored by Scott Stanford and Tamsen Fadal) tied Ch. 5 (in adults 25-54) for the first time in nearly three years (with a 0.4) and also notched the biggest year-to-year gain among any of the local 5 p.m. newscasts (it was up 33 percent in that demo).

WPIX also finished first in daytime for the fifth consecutive sweeps — and was the only local station to gain viewers in two demos (adults 25-54 and 18-49). As I previously reported, John Muller joins Fadal at 5 p.m. (and 10 p.m.) on July 14, with Stanford moving over to the sports desk.

Meanwhile, Ch. 11 will announce Monday that it's the new broadcast home of the New Jersey Lottery, which had been airing its daily live drawings on Ch. 55. The first live New Jersey Lottery drawing airs around 7:57 p.m.

Tuesday on Ch. 11 (host to be determined). The lottery will also move to Tribune-owned WPHL in Philadelphia.


TV Land has started production on its reboot of "Candid Camera" and has been filming all over the place, including here in the New York City area.

Megan Hilty ("Smash"), who's expecting her first child, was seen shooting part of a gag on the streets of Yonkers, while Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg was in midtown Manhattan, also filming a bit for the show. Producers for the 10-episode series, based on the CBS classic and hosted by Peter Funt, were also at Stew Leonard's in Norwalk, Ct. The show heads for Chicago, next, to film some more footage.

Speaking of DJs, WPLJ's Ralphie Aversa is hosting "Inside Rising Star," which airs on Music Choice. It's an exclusive, weekly, 30-minute "inside look" at the ABC reality show "Rising Star," which aired its second episode Sunday night.

"Inside Rising Star," airing Thursdays (8 p.m.) on Music Choice (Cablevision/Ch. 849, TW Cable/1900), features a menu of "Rising Star" content (including exclusive behind-the-scenes info and interviews).

Last, but not least …

Subway spokesman Jared Fogle (yeah, that guy) will make a cameo on "Sharknado 2," premiering July 30 on Syfy … July 7: The third season of HBO's "Veep" (starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus) will be available for purchase, in high-def, via digital retailers (iTunes, etc.).


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Two detained US tourists face trial in North Korea

North Korea said Monday that two detained American tourists would face trial for charges including "perpetrating hostile acts."

The state-run KCNA news agency said suspicions about the "hostile acts" of Matthew Todd Miller and Jeffrey Edward Fowle had been confirmed by evidence and by their own testimony.

Miller, 24, was arrested in April after he reportedly ripped up his visa at immigration and demanded asylum. Fowle, who entered the North on April 29, was arrested later — after he reportedly left a Bible at a hotel.

Their detentions brought the number of Americans held by the rogue nation to three.

Kenneth Bae, a Korean American who was described by a North Korean court as a militant Christian evangelist, has been held since his arrest in 2012.


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‘Under the Dome’ has got you covered

When a town is enclosed in a giant dome, trapping all of its inhabitants inside, you'd think you would know everyone.

But Monday's second-season premiere of "Under the Dome" (10 p.m. on CBS) introduces two new residents of Chester's Mill — reclusive Sam Verdreaux (Eddie Cahill) and teacher Rebecca Pine (Karla Crome).

Cahill ("CSI: NY") plays the brother-in-law of Big Jim (Dean Norris) and uncle to Junior (Alexander Koch). Sam, an ex-EMT, picked up the bottle and took to hiding out in a cabin in the woods after his sister committed suicide nine years before.

"He has a really strong connection to his sister's legacy," Cahill, 36, tells The Post. "Unlike some other folks in the town, he immediately is not a fan of the Dome. He has some pretty definite ideas about how he wants to go about rectifying the situation."

Monday's premiere, written by Stephen King — upon whose novel the series is based — picks up where Season 1 left off, when Julia (Rachelle Lefevre) dropped the egg into the lake while Big Jim held Barbie (Mike Vogel) in a noose.

Sam is introduced in the very first scene, where — lured out of his cabin by the Dome's glowing and humming — he befriends Julia in the woods. But there's clearly some bad blood between Sam and Big Jim, who comments that he's "been out of his head for quite a while now" after Sam shows his face for the first time since his sister's funeral.

"He's got a dark past … he's tied to what's currently happening in Chester's Mill with the Dome," Cahill says. "Sam's got secrets that people want to know about."

The mysterious Sam is a different kind of role for Cahill, a New York native now based in LA best known for nine seasons on "CSI: NY" and for playing Rachel's (Jennifer Aniston) boyfriend Tag on "Friends."

"Coming off of 'CSI: NY,' I viewed this as an opportunity to do something a bit more character-driven … and not be so crime-solving specific," he says. "I liked the small town-ness of it. It just wasn't TV I was used to doing in a long time."

Cahill will appear in all 13 episodes of "Dome" this season, though producers have teased that two characters won't make it past the premiere.

"You're losing two biggies, I can say that," he says. "The effects of those deaths linger for a large part of the season and actually play permanent roles in some major developments."


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‘112 Weddingss’ and fireworks highlight holiday week

112 Weddings

Monday at 9 p.m. on HBO

Photo: HBO

What happens after couples say "I do"? After two decades of shooting nuptials, filmmaker/wedding videographer Doug Block tracks down some of his favorite couples to find out what's become of their marriages in this documentary film that juxtaposes wedding-day flashbacks with present-day interviews.

Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular

Friday at 8 p.m. on NBC

Nick Cannon ("America's Got Talent") presides over the 38th annual fireworks show, which returns to the East River with the Brooklyn Bridge as a backdrop. The live broadcast features performances by Ariana Grande, Miranda Lambert and Lionel Richie and a 25-minute pyrotechnics display.

Nathan for You

Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central

Prankster Nathan Fielder returns for Season 2 of his docu-comedy-reality show, where he acts as a business advisor who implements strategies that no traditional consultant would dare attempt — like creating a coffee shop called Dumb Starbucks or staging a video where a pig saves a goat.


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Man sets himself on fire in apparent protest in Tokyo

Written By kom nampuldu on Minggu, 29 Juni 2014 | 20.49

TOKYO — A man set himself on fire at Tokyo's busy Shinjuku railway station on Sunday in an apparent political protest.

The man, who appeared in his 50s or 60s, was taken to the hospital after suffering serious injuries, said Daiji Kubota, an officer at the Shinjuku police station. He said the reason for the self-immolation was under investigation.

Shots of the incident on Twitter and other social media showed a man clad in a suit and tie sitting on a small mat along the metal framework above a pedestrian walkway with two plastic bottles of what looked like gasoline beside him.

Witnesses were quoted as saying the man spoke through a megaphone to protest the government's moves to change Japan's defense policy, doused himself with gasoline and set himself alight as hundreds of people watched from below and from nearby buildings.

The national broadcaster NHK showed firefighters using hoses to extinguish the flames.

Japan's Cabinet is expected on Tuesday to approve a proposal calling for the right to "collective self-defense," which would allow Japan to play a more assertive role in international security amid China's growing military presence and rising regional tensions. Japan currently limits its participation even in U.N. peacekeeping activities to noncombat roles. Critics say the shift undermines the war-renouncing Article 9 of Japan's Constitution.


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Magnitude 5.2 earthquake shakes Arizona, New Mexico

SAFFORD, Ariz. — A moderate earthquake struck in Arizona near the New Mexico line that was widely felt across the region, but no injuries or damages were immediately reported.

County sheriffs' offices on both sides of the state line reported receiving numerous phone calls after Saturday's magnitude 5.2 quake shook the largely rural region.

It was felt as far away as Phoenix and El Paso, Texas, both about 175 miles from the epicenter, as well in parts of Mexico, which begins some 80 miles to the south.

The U.S. Geological Survey said that the temblor struck at 9:59 p.m. PDT Saturday and was centered in southeastern Arizona, about 35 miles east of Safford.

USGS geophysicist Jana Pursley says it touched off several aftershocks. The agency reported one at magnitude 3.5.

The Hidalgo County Sheriff's office in New Mexico said it received numerous calls but had no reports of serious problems.

On the other side of the state lines the Graham County Sheriff's office in Safford said hundreds of people called about feeling the quake.

But Sheriff's dispatcher Jennifer Taylor said that despite the large number of calls, they had no reports of injury or serious damage.

She said a few callers reported that the natural gas meters in their homes appeared to malfunction.


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North Korea fired more short-range missiles: Seoul

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired two short-range Scud missiles into its eastern waters Sunday, a South Korean official said, in an apparent test just days after the country tested what it called new precision-guided missiles.

A South Korean military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department rules, said the missiles were fired from Wonsan and are presumed to be short-range Scud ballistic missiles. The official added that the military is determining what kind of Scud missiles the projectiles were. South Korean media quoted officials as saying the missiles are presumed to be Scud-C missiles, the same as ones fired in March. North Korea fired the missiles without designating no-sail zones, which the South Korean military views as provocative.

North Korea regularly test-fires missiles and artillery, both to refine its weapons and to express its anger over various developments in Seoul and Washington. North Korea has in recent days criticized alleged South Korean artillery firing drills near a disputed maritime boundary in the Yellow Sea that has been the scene of several bloody skirmishes between the rival nations in recent years. The missile displays also come days before the leader of North Korea's only major ally, Chinese President Xi Jinping, is set to meet with South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Seoul and Beijing have long pressed North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions.

North Korea said Friday that leader Kim Jong Un guided test launches of a newly developed precision-guided missiles, in a likely reference to three short-range projectiles South Korean officials say the North fired a day earlier.

It's not possible to tell if this assertion about the new missiles is an exaggeration, something North Korea has frequently done in the past when trumpeting its military capability, analysts say. Its army is one of the world's largest but is believed to be badly supplied and forced to use outdated equipment.

Still, the impoverished North devotes much of its scarce resources to missile and nuclear programs that threaten South Korea, Japan and tens of thousands of U.S. troops in the region. Outside analysts say North Korea has developed a handful of crude nuclear devices and is working toward building a warhead small enough to mount on a long-range missile, although most experts say that goal may take years to achieve.

After a brief period of warming ties earlier this year, animosity has risen on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has in recent months threatened South Korea's president, calling her a prostitute, and the South has vowed to hit North Korea hard if provoked. Pyongyang conducted a series of missile and artillery tests earlier this year in response to annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises it says it considers preparations for an invasion. North Korea also test-fired two medium-range ballistic missiles and exchanged artillery fire with South Korea near the disputed boundary in the Yellow Sea.

On Thursday, North Korea's army accused South Korea of firing shells into the North's waters near the sea boundary.

Both Koreas routinely conduct artillery drills near the maritime boundary. A North Korean artillery attack in 2010 killed four South Koreans on a front-line Yellow Sea island.

The Korean Peninsula is still technically in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty.


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Israel hits Gaza militant sites with airstrikes

JERUSALEM — Israel carried out airstrikes on militant targets in the Gaza Strip early Sunday after a rocket attack, the military said, as the country's foreign minister suggested it consider reoccupying the Hamas-ruled territory to stop the increasing rocket fire.

There has been an increase in rockets launched from the Hamas-ruled territory toward Israel this month, as the army has carried out a wide-ranging operation against Hamas in the West Bank while searching for three Israeli teens who Israel says were abducted by the Palestinian militant group.

The military said it targeted 12 locations in Gaza on Sunday, including concealed rocket launchers, weapons manufacturing sites and what it called "terror activity" sites. The airstrikes were in retaliation for six rockets from Gaza that struck Israel the previous evening. Two of the rockets hit a factory in the town of Sderot, setting it ablaze.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said limited operations against militants in Gaza only strengthen Hamas.

"The alternative is clear," Lieberman said on Army Radio. "Either with each round we attack terror infrastructure and they shoot, or we go to full occupation."

Israel unilaterally pulled out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, but continues to control access to the territory by air, land and sea. Israeli leaders have said the pullout cleared the way for Hamas to seize control of the territory two years later and turn it into a base for rocket attacks on Israel, but there has been little support for reoccupying the territory.

On Friday, an Israeli airstrike killed two Palestinian militants in Gaza who were members of the Tawhid Brigades, an ultraconservative Islamic militant group unaffiliated with Hamas, according to Palestinian security officials and militants from the group. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters and the militants because they operate underground.

The security officials had initially said the two fighters were members of a militant group allied with Hamas that often fires rockets at Israel.

Since the beginning of June, over 60 rockets have been launched from Gaza toward Israel — more than four times the amount in May — and 28 of the rockets hit Israeli territory, the military said. The crude, makeshift devices rarely wound anyone, but they have caused damage and sown panic in communities along the frontier.

Also on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he has asked Israeli authorities to consider outlawing a Muslim group in Israel, following calls in support of abducting Israeli soldiers at a demonstration in an Arab-Israeli town.

"In many cases, those behind such calls and demonstrations are from the northern branch of the Islamic Movement," Netanyahu said. "It constantly preaches against the state of Israel and its people publicly identify with terrorist organizations such as Hamas."

Israel has arrested the movement's leader, Raed Salah, on a number of occasions, banning him from Jerusalem and accusing him of incitement. Salah has called for a third intifada, or Palestinian uprising, against Israel.

In 2003, Israel jailed Salah, an Israeli citizen, for more than two years, saying his organization funneled money to Hamas, which at the time was frequently carrying out deadly suicide bombings in Israel.


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Unaccompanied minors flood into city’s immigration court

The humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied children crossing into the United States is hitting New York, with advocates scrambling to help them avoid deportation.

One advocacy group says it works with 30 new kids a month and expects the number to skyrocket within four months as the child immigrants are released from shelters.

There are 6,000 juvenile cases now in New York Immigration Court, said Claire Thomas, a lawyer working through the Safe Passage Project at New York Law School.

"Without a lawyer, I don't know how a kid can do it," Thomas said.

Hundreds of children are being housed in shelters in Westchester, including at the Children's Village complex in Dobbs Ferry and at the Lincoln Hall boys school in Somers.

The Department of Health and Human Services said last week that it was reviewing sites for more shelters in New York.

The youths are sent here because they have relatives in the area. They stay until they are released to a sponsor.


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North Korea fired more short-range missiles: Seoul

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea fired two short-range Scud missiles into its eastern waters Sunday, a South Korean official said, in an apparent test just days after the country tested what it called new precision-guided missiles.

A South Korean military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department rules, said the missiles were fired from Wonsan and are presumed to be short-range Scud ballistic missiles. The official added that the military is determining what kind of Scud missiles the projectiles were. South Korean media quoted officials as saying the missiles are presumed to be Scud-C missiles, the same as ones fired in March. North Korea fired the missiles without designating no-sail zones, which the South Korean military views as provocative.

North Korea regularly test-fires missiles and artillery, both to refine its weapons and to express its anger over various developments in Seoul and Washington. North Korea has in recent days criticized alleged South Korean artillery firing drills near a disputed maritime boundary in the Yellow Sea that has been the scene of several bloody skirmishes between the rival nations in recent years. The missile displays also come days before the leader of North Korea's only major ally, Chinese President Xi Jinping, is set to meet with South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Seoul and Beijing have long pressed North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions.

North Korea said Friday that leader Kim Jong Un guided test launches of a newly developed precision-guided missiles, in a likely reference to three short-range projectiles South Korean officials say the North fired a day earlier.

It's not possible to tell if this assertion about the new missiles is an exaggeration, something North Korea has frequently done in the past when trumpeting its military capability, analysts say. Its army is one of the world's largest but is believed to be badly supplied and forced to use outdated equipment.

Still, the impoverished North devotes much of its scarce resources to missile and nuclear programs that threaten South Korea, Japan and tens of thousands of U.S. troops in the region. Outside analysts say North Korea has developed a handful of crude nuclear devices and is working toward building a warhead small enough to mount on a long-range missile, although most experts say that goal may take years to achieve.

After a brief period of warming ties earlier this year, animosity has risen on the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has in recent months threatened South Korea's president, calling her a prostitute, and the South has vowed to hit North Korea hard if provoked. Pyongyang conducted a series of missile and artillery tests earlier this year in response to annual U.S.-South Korean military exercises it says it considers preparations for an invasion. North Korea also test-fired two medium-range ballistic missiles and exchanged artillery fire with South Korea near the disputed boundary in the Yellow Sea.

On Thursday, North Korea's army accused South Korea of firing shells into the North's waters near the sea boundary.

Both Koreas routinely conduct artillery drills near the maritime boundary. A North Korean artillery attack in 2010 killed four South Koreans on a front-line Yellow Sea island.

The Korean Peninsula is still technically in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty.


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

Israel hits Gaza militant sites with airstrikes

JERUSALEM — Israel carried out airstrikes on militant targets in the Gaza Strip early Sunday after a rocket attack, the military said, as the country's foreign minister suggested it consider reoccupying the Hamas-ruled territory to stop the increasing rocket fire.

There has been an increase in rockets launched from the Hamas-ruled territory toward Israel this month, as the army has carried out a wide-ranging operation against Hamas in the West Bank while searching for three Israeli teens who Israel says were abducted by the Palestinian militant group.

The military said it targeted 12 locations in Gaza on Sunday, including concealed rocket launchers, weapons manufacturing sites and what it called "terror activity" sites. The airstrikes were in retaliation for six rockets from Gaza that struck Israel the previous evening. Two of the rockets hit a factory in the town of Sderot, setting it ablaze.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said limited operations against militants in Gaza only strengthen Hamas.

"The alternative is clear," Lieberman said on Army Radio. "Either with each round we attack terror infrastructure and they shoot, or we go to full occupation."

Israel unilaterally pulled out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, but continues to control access to the territory by air, land and sea. Israeli leaders have said the pullout cleared the way for Hamas to seize control of the territory two years later and turn it into a base for rocket attacks on Israel, but there has been little support for reoccupying the territory.

On Friday, an Israeli airstrike killed two Palestinian militants in Gaza who were members of the Tawhid Brigades, an ultraconservative Islamic militant group unaffiliated with Hamas, according to Palestinian security officials and militants from the group. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters and the militants because they operate underground.

The security officials had initially said the two fighters were members of a militant group allied with Hamas that often fires rockets at Israel.

Since the beginning of June, over 60 rockets have been launched from Gaza toward Israel — more than four times the amount in May — and 28 of the rockets hit Israeli territory, the military said. The crude, makeshift devices rarely wound anyone, but they have caused damage and sown panic in communities along the frontier.

Also on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he has asked Israeli authorities to consider outlawing a Muslim group in Israel, following calls in support of abducting Israeli soldiers at a demonstration in an Arab-Israeli town.

"In many cases, those behind such calls and demonstrations are from the northern branch of the Islamic Movement," Netanyahu said. "It constantly preaches against the state of Israel and its people publicly identify with terrorist organizations such as Hamas."

Israel has arrested the movement's leader, Raed Salah, on a number of occasions, banning him from Jerusalem and accusing him of incitement. Salah has called for a third intifada, or Palestinian uprising, against Israel.

In 2003, Israel jailed Salah, an Israeli citizen, for more than two years, saying his organization funneled money to Hamas, which at the time was frequently carrying out deadly suicide bombings in Israel.


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Magnitude 5.2 earthquake shakes Arizona, New Mexico

SAFFORD, Ariz. — A moderate earthquake struck in Arizona near the New Mexico line that was widely felt across the region, but no injuries or damages were immediately reported.

County sheriffs' offices on both sides of the state line reported receiving numerous phone calls after Saturday's magnitude 5.2 quake shook the largely rural region.

It was felt as far away as Phoenix and El Paso, Texas, both about 175 miles from the epicenter, as well in parts of Mexico, which begins some 80 miles to the south.

The U.S. Geological Survey said that the temblor struck at 9:59 p.m. PDT Saturday and was centered in southeastern Arizona, about 35 miles east of Safford.

USGS geophysicist Jana Pursley says it touched off several aftershocks. The agency reported one at magnitude 3.5.

The Hidalgo County Sheriff's office in New Mexico said it received numerous calls but had no reports of serious problems.

On the other side of the state lines the Graham County Sheriff's office in Safford said hundreds of people called about feeling the quake.

But Sheriff's dispatcher Jennifer Taylor said that despite the large number of calls, they had no reports of injury or serious damage.

She said a few callers reported that the natural gas meters in their homes appeared to malfunction.


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Man sets himself on fire in apparent protest in Tokyo

TOKYO — A man set himself on fire at Tokyo's busy Shinjuku railway station on Sunday in an apparent political protest.

The man, who appeared in his 50s or 60s, was taken to the hospital after suffering serious injuries, said Daiji Kubota, an officer at the Shinjuku police station. He said the reason for the self-immolation was under investigation.

Shots of the incident on Twitter and other social media showed a man clad in a suit and tie sitting on a small mat along the metal framework above a pedestrian walkway with two plastic bottles of what looked like gasoline beside him.

Witnesses were quoted as saying the man spoke through a megaphone to protest the government's moves to change Japan's defense policy, doused himself with gasoline and set himself alight as hundreds of people watched from below and from nearby buildings.

The national broadcaster NHK showed firefighters using hoses to extinguish the flames.

Japan's Cabinet is expected on Tuesday to approve a proposal calling for the right to "collective self-defense," which would allow Japan to play a more assertive role in international security amid China's growing military presence and rising regional tensions. Japan currently limits its participation even in U.N. peacekeeping activities to noncombat roles. Critics say the shift undermines the war-renouncing Article 9 of Japan's Constitution.


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Unaccompanied minors flood into city’s immigration court

The humanitarian crisis of unaccompanied children crossing into the United States is hitting New York, with advocates scrambling to help them avoid deportation.

One advocacy group says it works with 30 new kids a month and expects the number to skyrocket within four months as the child immigrants are released from shelters.

There are 6,000 juvenile cases now in New York Immigration Court, said Claire Thomas, a lawyer working through the Safe Passage Project at New York Law School.

"Without a lawyer, I don't know how a kid can do it," Thomas said.

Hundreds of children are being housed in shelters in Westchester, including at the Children's Village complex in Dobbs Ferry and at the Lincoln Hall boys school in Somers.

The Department of Health and Human Services said last week that it was reviewing sites for more shelters in New York.

The youths are sent here because they have relatives in the area. They stay until they are released to a sponsor.


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Hondo’s home-grown action

Written By kom nampuldu on Sabtu, 28 Juni 2014 | 20.49

Hondo's home-grown action | New York Post
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June 28, 2014 | 5:22am

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Hondo is letting it ride with Jon Niese and the Mets. Photo: AP

Hondo took a trip to the winner's circle Friday night when the A's took care of business against the Fish to slash his accounts payable to 1,355 youngbloods.

Saturday: Mr. Aitch will ride the locals again with Niese and Tanaka — 10 units apiece on the Metamucils and Yankees.


Former Tennessee Senator Howard Baker, who famously asked during the Watergate hearings, "What did the President know and when did he know it?" died this week at age 88. His question remains relevant today. The answer probably can be found somewhere in those conveniently lost IRS emails. … Emailer Bob Scotti on the U.S. good fortune at the World Cup: "Lose 1-0 and celebrate. Win one out of three and advance! Where do the Mets sign up?"

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Prized point guard Isaiah Briscoe narrows list to seven schools

What do St. John's, Seton Hall and Rutgers have in common with Villanova, Arizona, Louisville and UConn?

It's not a recent winning pedigree, but it could lead to one down the road.

It's Isaiah Briscoe, the highly-ranked 6-foot-3 New Jersey point guard from Roselle Catholic.

The rising senior cut his list to seven Friday afternoon, and included the three locals in that group. His father, George, said all three are "appealing" for different reasons.

Rutgers because it is moving into the Big Ten and its head coach, Eddie Jordan, was a former NBA player and head coach. Seton Hall's top incoming freshman, Isaiah Whitehead, is best friends with his son and Kevin Willard has the program in the right direction. He was particularly effusive in his praise of St. John's and Steve Lavin.

"You got Lavin, you got New York waiting for a winner, you got Isaiah Briscoe who's big in New York but lives in New Jersey, and you got the whole backcourt leaving," George Briscoe said. "You're playing at the Garden. That's appealing. I don't care what anybody says. That's very appealing to be right there in New York."

With that said, the four other programs have plenty of positives on their side, NCAA titles and Final Four berths to use as collateral. Arizona was seen as a favorite before landing California point guard Tyler Dorsey. And after Dorsey recently de-committed, the Wildcats have rejoined the fray. Furthermore, Briscoe got to know Arizona head coach Sean Miller well with the USA Under-19 national team, where Miller was an assistant coach.

One goal is for Briscoe to reach the NBA, and Villanova head coach Jay Wright has a history of producing NBA guards with the skillset and size of Briscoe, including Newark product Allan Ray. Louisville is a national powerhouse with a Hall of Fame coach in Rick Pitino who has impressed the family and UConn is coming off a national championship.

George Briscoe said the plan is to visit all seven schools before trimming the list to three at the end of the summer and making a decision in the fall. Landing his son would be a coup for anyone involved, a playmaking guard ranked 13th in the country by Rivals.com and a possible McDonald's All-American who recently won a gold medal with the national team in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"Everybody will have their shot to impress him, we'll talk about it as a family and we'll cut it down," George Briscoe said. "It's about relationships, it's about who he feels comfortable with. We already know the coaches. It's about visiting the campuses one more time and having family conversations."


New Heights and Iona Prep point guard Ty Jerome visited Fordham and Temple on Friday while AAU teammate Nakye Sanders, a forward from Tottenville on Staten Island, visited LaSalle on Friday, Temple Saturday and will trip to VCU on Monday.

Rutgers has hired former NBA assistant coach Mike O'Koren and former FDU head coach Greg "Shoes" Vetrone to fill their vacant assistant coaching positions.

Rutgers picked up a late verbal commitment from former Pittsburgh commit Shaquille Doorson of the Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain on Wednesday, while Florida power forward Leroy Butts de-committed from Rutgers.

Highly recruited Bronx forward Jonathan Nwankwo landed a scholarship offer from Tennessee on his visit there on Wednesday, and will see Drexel, Temple and George Washington this weekend.

Long Island big man Cheick Diallo, a top five ranked rising senior and St. John's target, is visiting Kentucky this weekend.

Hofstra freshman Chris Jenkins received his release to transfer on Wednesday.

Queens guard Justin Wright-Foreman of HS of Construction landed a scholarship offer from Iona on Tuesday.

New Heights rising juniors Gianni Ford and Christian Wilson visited Stony Brook on Monday.

Football

Rutgers picked up a verbal commitment from Erasmus Hall linebacker Deonte Roberts, who picked the Scarlet Knights over Central Florida, Boston College, Syracuse and UConn.


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I’ll bypass Congress to fix the economy: Obama

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President Barack Obama gestures while speaking about the economy, Friday, June 27, 2014, at Lake Harriet Band Shell in Minneapolis, Minn. Photo: AP

President Barack Obama says he'll keep acting on his own as long as congressional Republicans block his economic agenda.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says he has moved to attract jobs, raise workers' wages and help students pay off loans because Republican obstructionism is keeping the system rigged against the middle class.

He says if it makes Republicans in Congress mad that he's trying to help people, they can join him so they can work together.

Obama also wished good luck to the U.S. team as it prepares for its next World Cup soccer match in Brazil.

In the Republican address, Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy pushes growing the U.S. energy, manufacturing and construction industries, including approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, to create jobs.


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Iraqi troops push towards militant-held Tikrit

BAGHDAD — Iraqi troops backed by helicopter gunships launched an operation early Saturday aimed at dislodging Sunni militants from the northern city of Tikrit, one of two major urban centers they seized in recent weeks in a dramatic blitz across the country.

After watching much of Iraq slip out of government hands, military officials sought to portray the push that began before dawn as a significant step that puts the army back on the offensive. They said the operation includes commandos, tanks and helicopters, as well as pro-government Sunni fighters and Shiite volunteers.

Tikrit residents reported clashes in the city, but the extent of the fighting was unclear.

Jawad al-Bolani, a security official in the Salahuddin Operation Command, said the immediate objective is Tikrit, the hometown of former dictator Saddam Hussein and one of two major cities to fall in recent weeks to the al-Qaida breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and allied Sunni militants. He said there was no concrete timeline for the operation to conclude.

Helicopter gunships conducted airstrikes before dawn on insurgents who were attacking troops at a university campus on Tikrit's northern outskirts, Iraqi military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said. There was no immediate word on casualties.

Government troops established a bridgehead on the sprawling campus early Friday after being ferried in by helicopter.

A Tikrit resident confirmed that air raids took place at the University of Tikrit around dawn Saturday. He reported clashes between the Islamic State and Iraqi forces to the southeast as well, but said militants are still patrolling the city. He spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern for his safety.

Another Tikrit resident, Muhanad Saif al-Din, said the city has emptied out in recent days as locals flee ahead of anticipated clashes.

"Tikrit has become a ghost town because a lot of people left over the past 72 hours, fearing random aerial bombardment and possible clashes as the army advances toward the city," Saif al-Din said. "The few people who remain are afraid of possible revenge acts by Shiite militiamen who are accompanying the army. We are peaceful civilians and we do not want to be victims of this struggle."

He said the city has been without power or water since Friday night.


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Man killed by hit and run driver

Man killed by hit and run driver | New York Post
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June 28, 2014 | 8:11am

A man was killed by a hit and run driver in Brooklyn, cops said.

The 32-year-old man was on Gerritsen and Everett avenues near Marine Park at around 2:45 a.m. Saturday when he was struck, according to police.

Emergency responders rushed the man to Beth Israel Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, cops said.

Cops canvassed the area and apprehended the driver, who is now in police custody.

The identity of the deceased is pending proper family notification.

Charges were pending.

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Prized point guard Isaiah Briscoe narrows list to seven schools

What do St. John's, Seton Hall and Rutgers have in common with Villanova, Arizona, Louisville and UConn?

It's not a recent winning pedigree, but it could lead to one down the road.

It's Isaiah Briscoe, the highly-ranked 6-foot-3 New Jersey point guard from Roselle Catholic.

The rising senior cut his list to seven Friday afternoon, and included the three locals in that group. His father, George, said all three are "appealing" for different reasons.

Rutgers because it is moving into the Big Ten and its head coach, Eddie Jordan, was a former NBA player and head coach. Seton Hall's top incoming freshman, Isaiah Whitehead, is best friends with his son and Kevin Willard has the program in the right direction. He was particularly effusive in his praise of St. John's and Steve Lavin.

"You got Lavin, you got New York waiting for a winner, you got Isaiah Briscoe who's big in New York but lives in New Jersey, and you got the whole backcourt leaving," George Briscoe said. "You're playing at the Garden. That's appealing. I don't care what anybody says. That's very appealing to be right there in New York."

With that said, the four other programs have plenty of positives on their side, NCAA titles and Final Four berths to use as collateral. Arizona was seen as a favorite before landing California point guard Tyler Dorsey. And after Dorsey recently de-committed, the Wildcats have rejoined the fray. Furthermore, Briscoe got to know Arizona head coach Sean Miller well with the USA Under-19 national team, where Miller was an assistant coach.

One goal is for Briscoe to reach the NBA, and Villanova head coach Jay Wright has a history of producing NBA guards with the skillset and size of Briscoe, including Newark product Allan Ray. Louisville is a national powerhouse with a Hall of Fame coach in Rick Pitino who has impressed the family and UConn is coming off a national championship.

George Briscoe said the plan is to visit all seven schools before trimming the list to three at the end of the summer and making a decision in the fall. Landing his son would be a coup for anyone involved, a playmaking guard ranked 13th in the country by Rivals.com and a possible McDonald's All-American who recently won a gold medal with the national team in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"Everybody will have their shot to impress him, we'll talk about it as a family and we'll cut it down," George Briscoe said. "It's about relationships, it's about who he feels comfortable with. We already know the coaches. It's about visiting the campuses one more time and having family conversations."


New Heights and Iona Prep point guard Ty Jerome visited Fordham and Temple on Friday while AAU teammate Nakye Sanders, a forward from Tottenville on Staten Island, visited LaSalle on Friday, Temple Saturday and will trip to VCU on Monday.

Rutgers has hired former NBA assistant coach Mike O'Koren and former FDU head coach Greg "Shoes" Vetrone to fill their vacant assistant coaching positions.

Rutgers picked up a late verbal commitment from former Pittsburgh commit Shaquille Doorson of the Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain on Wednesday, while Florida power forward Leroy Butts de-committed from Rutgers.

Highly recruited Bronx forward Jonathan Nwankwo landed a scholarship offer from Tennessee on his visit there on Wednesday, and will see Drexel, Temple and George Washington this weekend.

Long Island big man Cheick Diallo, a top five ranked rising senior and St. John's target, is visiting Kentucky this weekend.

Hofstra freshman Chris Jenkins received his release to transfer on Wednesday.

Queens guard Justin Wright-Foreman of HS of Construction landed a scholarship offer from Iona on Tuesday.

New Heights rising juniors Gianni Ford and Christian Wilson visited Stony Brook on Monday.

Football

Rutgers picked up a verbal commitment from Erasmus Hall linebacker Deonte Roberts, who picked the Scarlet Knights over Central Florida, Boston College, Syracuse and UConn.


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Evander Holyfield: Frustration got the better of Luis Suarez

Evander Holyfield saw replays of Luis Suarez of Uruguay biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder during their recent World Cup match and probably felt pain in his ear. It was 17 years ago on Saturday when Holyfield was bitten by Mike Tyson during the third round of the infamous rematch for the world heavyweight title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Holyfield thought it was a desperate move when Tyson bit him on June 28, 1997, and says Suarez likely bit Chiellini out of similar desperation and frustration.

"I felt, it was a situation where people get frustrated and they go back to what they got by with in the past," Holyfield said this week. "When I found out [Suarez] had bitten two other people and they didn't really do anything that made a difference, he probably felt he didn't really have to change. But by this being a world-wide situation it brought a lot of attention."

Tyson was suspended for one year after biting off a chunk the size of a thumbnail from Holyfield's left ear. FIFA announced on Monday Suarez has been banned for nine international matches and from all soccer activity for four months. Holyfield wasn't among those ready to ban Suarez for life. He understands the mentality having grown up biting his big brothers during his childhood. "As a kid, my brother would get me in a head lock and if I said, 'I give' and they wouldn't let me go, I'd bite the daylights out of them," he said.

Holyfield, whose last fight was a 10th-round TKO win over Brian Nelson in 2011, said he officially will announce his retirement when he is inducted into the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame on Aug. 9. Mentally, he retired long ago, saying at age 51, he enjoys getting paid for "talking" these days instead of taking punches.

Holyfield was in Manhattan on Thursday to announce his partnership with Dynasty Boxing headed by Dino Duva and the sons of referee Mills Lane, Terry and Tommy Lane. Holyfield will be a special advisor to Chinese heavyweight Zhang Zhilei, who will make his professional debut on Aug. 8 in Fallon, Nev. Zhilei earned a silver medal at the London Games and has been training in Nutley, N.J. since last March.

"I will learn a lot from Evander both mentally and physically," Zhilei said. "I'm very excited. This is my first fight. I'm putting everything into it."

Holyfield said his role with Zhilei will be mainly as an advisor and confidant. He has no plans to be a trainer or promoter.

He agreed to get involved with Dynasty Boxing because of his appreciation for what the Duva family did for him early in his career, taking him from Olympian to the light heavyweight championship, cruiserweight championship and eventually heavyweight championship. He fired Lou Duva as his trainer after his first loss to Riddick Bowe in 1992.

He calls that a mistake he regrets. Holyfield said he split with Duva after hearing the trainer tell someone that Holyfield lost the Bowe fight because "he let the success get to head."

Holyfield was offended and wanted to prove he could regain the title without the guidance of Duva, and co-trainer George Benton. He won the rematch with Emanuel Steward in his corner, but would lose the title again before regaining it two other times along with a minor belt, making him a five-time champion.

"I came back and beat [Bowe] in the second fight, but I never had nobody better than Lou Duva in my corner," Holyfield said. "Ever since I left Lou Duva, all the referees, everybody bothered me. I didn't know how important it was to have somebody argue for you."

That's why he wants to be there for Zhilei.


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Hondo’s home-grown action

Hondo's home-grown action | New York Post
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June 28, 2014 | 5:22am

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Hondo is letting it ride with Jon Niese and the Mets. Photo: AP

Hondo took a trip to the winner's circle Friday night when the A's took care of business against the Fish to slash his accounts payable to 1,355 youngbloods.

Saturday: Mr. Aitch will ride the locals again with Niese and Tanaka — 10 units apiece on the Metamucils and Yankees.


Former Tennessee Senator Howard Baker, who famously asked during the Watergate hearings, "What did the President know and when did he know it?" died this week at age 88. His question remains relevant today. The answer probably can be found somewhere in those conveniently lost IRS emails. … Emailer Bob Scotti on the U.S. good fortune at the World Cup: "Lose 1-0 and celebrate. Win one out of three and advance! Where do the Mets sign up?"

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Obama: Congress blocks my economic agenda, so I act alone

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President Barack Obama gestures while speaking about the economy, Friday, June 27, 2014, at Lake Harriet Band Shell in Minneapolis, Minn. Photo: AP

President Barack Obama says he'll keep acting on his own as long as congressional Republicans block his economic agenda.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says he has moved to attract jobs, raise workers' wages and help students pay off loans because Republican obstructionism is keeping the system rigged against the middle class.

He says if it makes Republicans in Congress mad that he's trying to help people, they can join him so they can work together.

Obama also wished good luck to the U.S. team as it prepares for its next World Cup soccer match in Brazil.

In the Republican address, Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy pushes growing the U.S. energy, manufacturing and construction industries, including approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, to create jobs.


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Iraqi troops push towards militant-held Tikrit

BAGHDAD — Iraqi troops backed by helicopter gunships launched an operation early Saturday aimed at dislodging Sunni militants from the northern city of Tikrit, one of two major urban centers they seized in recent weeks in a dramatic blitz across the country.

After watching much of Iraq slip out of government hands, military officials sought to portray the push that began before dawn as a significant step that puts the army back on the offensive. They said the operation includes commandos, tanks and helicopters, as well as pro-government Sunni fighters and Shiite volunteers.

Tikrit residents reported clashes in the city, but the extent of the fighting was unclear.

Jawad al-Bolani, a security official in the Salahuddin Operation Command, said the immediate objective is Tikrit, the hometown of former dictator Saddam Hussein and one of two major cities to fall in recent weeks to the al-Qaida breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and allied Sunni militants. He said there was no concrete timeline for the operation to conclude.

Helicopter gunships conducted airstrikes before dawn on insurgents who were attacking troops at a university campus on Tikrit's northern outskirts, Iraqi military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said. There was no immediate word on casualties.

Government troops established a bridgehead on the sprawling campus early Friday after being ferried in by helicopter.

A Tikrit resident confirmed that air raids took place at the University of Tikrit around dawn Saturday. He reported clashes between the Islamic State and Iraqi forces to the southeast as well, but said militants are still patrolling the city. He spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern for his safety.

Another Tikrit resident, Muhanad Saif al-Din, said the city has emptied out in recent days as locals flee ahead of anticipated clashes.

"Tikrit has become a ghost town because a lot of people left over the past 72 hours, fearing random aerial bombardment and possible clashes as the army advances toward the city," Saif al-Din said. "The few people who remain are afraid of possible revenge acts by Shiite militiamen who are accompanying the army. We are peaceful civilians and we do not want to be victims of this struggle."

He said the city has been without power or water since Friday night.


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An army of Winnie-the-Poohs is stealing honey in Kentucky

Written By kom nampuldu on Jumat, 27 Juni 2014 | 20.49

EOLIA, Ky. — Black bears in eastern Kentucky are taking a sweet, sticky cue from Winnie the Pooh in the search for honey.

WYMT-TV reports that bears roaming in Letcher County have invaded bee hives. Carl Church says a bear broke through a window to get into his building where he keeps bee hives.

It's not the first time bears have ditched the garbage cans for something sweeter.

Machaela Lee says bears have gotten to her bee trees as well as berry patches near her house.

Lee says bears can slow down honey production, especially if they get to the queen bee.

The beekeepers say they've seen multiple bears on their property, including a mom and two cubs.


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8-months-pregnant track star competes at US championships

Alysia Montano, who is 34 weeks pregnant, competes in the quarterfinals of the 800 meters.Photo: AP

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Alysia Montano will have a heck of a story to tell her first child.

Thirty-four weeks pregnant, Montano ran the 800 meters Thursday in the U.S. Track and Field Championships. The five-time national champion finished in 2 minutes, 32.13 seconds — nearly 35 seconds slower than her personal best of 1:57.34 in 2010 in Monaco.

"I've been running throughout my pregnancy and I felt really, really good during the whole process," Montano said after the qualifying heat.

That the 28-year-old former University of California star finished last in her heat didn't matter one bit to the crowd gathered at Hornet Stadium. Trailing the lead pack by more than 120 meters for most of the race, Montano received a rousing ovation as she finished her first lap and the cheering grew louder when she finally crossed the finish line.

"I just didn't want to get lapped and be the first person to get lapped in the 800," said Montano, the 800 national champion the past four years.

Montano waves to the crowd before the race.Photo: Getty Images

She was never close to being lapped, taking a nice relaxed pace from the start and maintaining it throughout.

That was according to the plan Montano laid out after consulting with her physician. Not only did doctors give Montano the OK to run, they encouraged her.

"That took away any fear of what the outside world might think about a woman running during her pregnancy," Montano said. "What I found out mostly was that exercising during pregnancy is actually much better for the mom and the baby. … I did all the things I normally do … I just happened to be pregnant. This is my normal this year."


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Courtney Love determined to get a tan

Courtney Love is determined to get a tan.

The controversial singer, 49, posted a photo to her Instagram account Thursday of her lying poolside in a one-piece bathing suit.

"I will get a tan dammit!" read the caption to the black and white photo.

Love made headlines earlier this week when a clip from an upcoming National Geographic interview about the '90s hit the internet. In it, Love says the late Kurt Cobain was "desperate" for fame.


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Golden Gate Bridge may soon get nets to stop jumpers

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge may soon be less of a magnet for people trying to commit suicide, as regional officials consider a plan to install mesh barriers beneath the historic orange span to catch jumpers before they hit the water.

The plan to create suicide barriers on the bridge, where 1,600 people have leapt to their deaths since the span opened in 1937, was a subject of controversy for decades, with opponents arguing that they would mar the structure's beauty.

"This bridge is an iconic symbol of beauty and grace, and it should no longer be associated with suicide," said Democratic state Senator Darrell Steinberg, who urged support for the plan. "It should no longer be associated with untimely death and tragedy."

On Friday, the board of directors of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District are set to vote on whether to accept state funding for the plan negotiated by Steinberg and San Francisco lawmakers. If the measure passes, work would begin on building the barriers, which were initially approved eight years ago.

Darrell SteinbergPhoto: AP Photo

"Beautiful, majestic, but a harbinger of death it will no longer be," said mental health activist Kevin Hines, who said he survived a suicide attempt from the bridge.

Last year, 48 people jumped to their deaths from the span, which hovers high above San Francisco Bay and connects the city of San Francisco with suburban Marin County. The Golden Gate is the second-most popular bridge for suicide in the world, after China's Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, officials said.

The state funding, worth about $7 million, comes from a tax enacted by voters on those who make more than $1 million per year that is earmarked for mental health services. The rest of the $76 million project will be paid for with federal funds that recently became available, and local money from the bridge district.

"The final pieces of funding for the suicide barrier, something we know we've been needing for so many decades, is now complete," said Democratic state Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco, who pushed the state to help fund the mesh barriers, or nets, after money initially expected from the federal government was delayed.


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Children watch tiger snatch father off boat

KOLKATA, India — A Bengal tiger snatched a man off a fishing boat in eastern India, dragging him away into a mangrove swamp as his children looked on in horror, the man's son said Friday.

The attack happened Thursday as Sushil Manjhi and his son and daughter were crab fishing in a stream in the Sunderbans National Park. The tiger leaped aboard the boat and clamped its jaws on Manjhi's neck, said Sushil's son, Jyotish.

The tiger "quickly flung my father on his back and gave a giant leap before disappearing into the forest," Jyotish said by telephone from his village of Lahiripur in West Bengal state. He said he and his sister tried to beat the animal with sticks and a knife, but the thrashing had no effect. His father was dragged away and was presumed dead.

The attack underlines the difficult existence of millions of poor Indians who make a living by scavenging in forests and rivers, often at risk from wild predators. Many villagers fish for crabs in the Sunderbans — even though it's illegal in the protected reserve — because they fetch a good price at markets in nearby towns.

The national park is one of the largest reserves for the royal Bengal tiger. Thursday's attack was the fourth deadly assault by a tiger this year in the Sunderbans, wildlife officials said.

India has more than half of the 3,200 tigers believed to be left in the wild in the world. But as the country undergoes breakneck development to accommodate the growth of its 1.2 billion people, tiger habitats have been shrinking.

The big cat's numbers have also dwindled because of rampant poaching to feed a flourishing market for tiger organs and bones in China.


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US looks to resume cyber talks with China

WASHINGTON — The United States next month will urge China to resume discussions on cybersecurity that were suspended abruptly after the U.S. charged five Chinese military officers with hacking into U.S. companies to steal trade secrets, a U.S. official said Thursday.

Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel told The Associated Press the U.S. would push for a resumption of the cyber working group when Cabinet-level officials of both sides meet at the annual U.S.-China Security and Economic Dialogue in Beijing in the second week of July.

After the indictments against the five officers were unsealed in May, Beijing pulled the plug on the group. It had been set up a year ago in what Washington viewed at the time as a diplomatic coup after President Barack Obama and China's President Xi Jinping held a summit in California, aiming to set relations between the two global powers on a positive track.

Those ties have come under growing strain, also because of China's assertive actions in the disputed South and East China seas. Russel, the top U.S. diplomat for East Asia, reiterated those concerns Thursday, saying the U.S. views it as essential that China show greater restraint and use diplomacy to manage its differences on territorial issues.

Asian nations, particularly treaty allies like Japan and the Philippines, look to the U.S. to counter China's increasingly muscular actions, but some in the region have voiced doubts about whether the second-term Obama administration can follow through on its commitment to focus on the Asia-Pacific, because of its preoccupation with the chaos in the Middle East.

Russel said Asia remains a strategic U.S. priority, even as Washington considers some form of military action to combat the rapid advances of Sunni militants in Iraq who now straddle the border with Syria.

"The fact that events conspired to demand high-level U.S. attention in the Middle East or elsewhere is simply a fact of life," Russel said. "It's always been thus. The strategic imperative, though, that's made the Asia-Pacific region a priority for us in security, economic and political terms is unaffected by the short-term demands of crises here and there."

"I have no trouble in enlisting Secretary (of State John) Kerry's efforts on our agenda in the region," Russel added, "and that applies to the president and vice president as well."

Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will lead the U.S. delegation at the talks in Beijing, which are an annual fixture and viewed as important in forging a more cooperative relationship with Beijing, notwithstanding current frictions and China's growing challenge to America's post-World War II military predominance in the Asia-Pacific.

The two sides will discuss issues including turmoil in the Middle East, North Korea's nuclear program and cooperation on climate change, and the U.S. will raise human rights. They'll also address a slew of economic and trade issues, including progress on a bilateral investment treaty that China agreed to negotiate in earnest at last year's talks.

While the cyber working group remains on hold, Russel said the U.S. side will raise concerns over cyber-enabled theft of U.S. corporate data and intellectual property that the U.S. contends is shared with Chinese state-owned enterprises for commercial gain.

"That's an economic problem as well as a bilateral problem, and that kind of behavior risks undermining the support for the U.S.-China relationship among the U.S. and international business community," Russel said. "It's a problem we believe the Chinese must and can address."

Although the revelations from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden on U.S. surveillance tactics have embarrassed Washington — leaving it open to accusations of hypocrisy when it accuses others of cyber espionage — the Obama administration has taken an increasingly trenchant stance on intrusions from China.

The indictment accused the Chinese officers of targeting U.S. makers of nuclear and solar technology, stealing confidential business information, sensitive trade secrets and internal communications for competitive advantage. But after the indictments were unsealed, the five men were not placed on a public, international list of wanted criminals. There is no evidence that China would even entertain a formal request by the U.S. to extradite the five officers. It has rejected the charges and demanded they be withdrawn.


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Man’s body found tied up in apartment

The bound body of a 59-year-old disabled man was found in his Harlem apartment Thursday, and cops are looking into whether a home health aide had left him tied up overnight, sources said.

Neighbors found the body of Milton Ortiz at about 9:30 a.m. on the floor of his East 126th Street apartment, according to police sources. His arms and legs had been bound with rope, cops said.

"Neighbors looked in and saw his body slumped on the floor," said Steven Goldman, who owns a business on the street. "The guy was very nice, very simple. He had no enemies. He was outside every day saying hello to everyone."

Neighbors said that Ortiz was developmentally disabled and that a home aide and an older brother would look in on him.

Police were investigating whether the aide had left him bound overnight, sources said.

"It's a very sad thing," a neighbor said. "Everyone knew Milton and everyone liked Milton."

Police said foul play was suspected. It was not clear Thursday night whether cops were questioning the home health aide.


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Kerik’s former attorney asks judge to review notes in malpractice case

Celebrity lawyer Joe Tacopina is putting his money where his mouth is in a bitter legal fight against disgraced ex-NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik.

Tacopina on Thursday requested that Manhattan federal Chief Judge Loretta Preska – who's been asked by the feds to review whether Kerik and his lawyer should be declared in contempt of court — privately review notes of confidential 2007 meetings Tacopina had with prosecutors in the hopes it will put to rest some of Kerik's claims against Tacopina in a malpractice lawsuit.

Kerik alleges Tacopina violated attorney-client privileges by revealing information to the feds that Kerik believes ultimately landed him in the slammer.

Tacopina's lawyer Judd Burstein in the letter to Preska said he hopes Kerik's lawyer Tim Parlatore joins in asking her to review the meeting notes so that "we can move on to the key question of contempt."

Parlatore later told The Post this is one of the rare times lately that Kerik and Tacopina's camps agree on something. He said he not only welcomes Preska's review of the confidential notes now under seal — but believes they should also be examined by two other Manhattan federal judges currently overseeing litigation involving ex-buddies Kerik and Tacopina.

The latest legal squabble comes two days after Assistant US attorneys Elliott Jacobson and Perry Carbone asked Preska to schedule a conference to decide whether Kerik and Parlatore violated a 2008 order by allegedly using information in the documents to juice up Kerik's malpractice suit against Tacopina. If Preska finds Kerik and Parlatore in contempt of court, they would face jail, fines and other penalties.

Both prosecutors are questioning whether Kerik and Parlatore – while trying to make the suit against Tacopina more salacious — relied on the sealed records related to Kerik's 2009 sentencing on federal tax-fraud charges and lying to the White House during his failed vetting for Homeland Security chief. Kerik spent three years in jail after copping a plea to those crimes.

Days after being sued, Tacopina in January slapped Kerik with a defamation suit claiming Kerik fed outrageous "lies" about him to the Daily News for a December "hit piece." The Daily News was also sued initially by Tacopina, but it was later removed as a defendant.

Tacopina's long list of A-list clients include shamed Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, whom he recently represented in a failed bid to get A-Rod's Major League Baseball doping ban overturned.


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Iraqi insurgents executed at least 160: rights group

BAGHDAD — Iraqi insurgents executed at least 160 captives earlier this month in the northern city of Tikrit, Human Rights Watch said Friday, citing an analysis of satellite imagery and grisly photos released by the militants.

The U.S.-based rights group said militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant killed between 160 and 190 men in two locations in Tikrit between June 11 and June 14. "The number of victims may well be much higher, but the difficulty of locating bodies and accessing the area has prevented a full investigation," it said.

After overrunning large swaths of northern Iraq and capturing the cities of Mosul and Tikrit earlier this month, the Islamic extremist group posted graphic photos on a militant website that appeared to show fighters loading dozens of captured soldiers onto flatbed trucks before forcing them to lie in a shallow ditch with their hands tied behind their backs. A final set of photos shows bodies.

"The photos and satellite images from Tikrit provide strong evidence of a horrible war crime that needs further investigation," Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

Chief Iraqi military spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi confirmed the photos' authenticity on June 15, after they first surfaced, and said he was aware of cases of mass murder of captured Iraqi soldiers in areas held by the Islamic State.

He told The Associated Press at the time that an examination of the images by military experts showed that about 170 soldiers were shot to death after their capture.

Captions on the photos showing the soldiers after they were shot say "hundreds have been liquidated," but the total could not be verified.

The massacre appeared to be aimed at instilling fear in Iraq's demoralized armed forces — which melted away as militants seized much of the north in a matter of days — as well as the country's Shiite majority, whom the Islamic State views as apostates.

"This is the fate that awaits the Shiites sent by Nouri to fight the Sunnis," one caption read, apparently referring to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The rapid advance of the Islamic State and allied Sunni militants has ignited sectarian tensions, with heavily armed Shiite militias vowing to defend Baghdad and revered shrine cities to the south. On Thursday a bombing killed 12 people in a Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad that houses a revered shrine, and police found the bullet-riddled bodies of eight Sunnis south of the capital.

Prominent Shiite leaders are meanwhile pushing for the removal of al-Maliki, who has come under mounting pressure to reach out to the country's disaffected Sunni and Kurdish minorities and rapidly form a unified government following April's parliamentary elections.

Even al-Maliki's most important ally, neighboring Iran, is said to be looking at alternatives.

A senior Iranian general who met with Shiite politicians in Iraq during a 10-day visit this month returned home with a list of potential prime minister candidates for Iran's leadership to consider, several senior Iraqi Shiite politicians who have knowledge of the general's meetings told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The general, Ghasem Soleimani, is expected to return within days to inform Iraqi politicians of Tehran's favorite, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the internal deliberations.

The rapid advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the north as well as the restive western Anbar province has plunged Iraq into its worst crisis since U.S. troops withdrew in 2011 and raised fears of a region-wide conflict. The radical group has carved out a self-styled Islamic state straddling the Syrian-Iraqi border, where it has imposed a brutal version of Shariah law.

Russia's U.N. ambassador said Thursday that there is a real prospect of a terrorist state springing up from Syria's second-largest city Aleppo to Iraq's capital Baghdad.

Vitaly Churkin, the current president of the U.N. Security Council, said he told the 14 other council members that a terrorist state "is a very, very serious prospect" that the council needs to address "because really we are lagging behind … in our responses."

He argued that Russia's support for President Bashar Assad's government in Syria was aimed at preventing the Islamic State from taking over.

The United States is also looking to Syria, with President Barack Obama requesting $500 million to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels in the hopes of opening up a new front against the Islamic State, which has been at war with other Islamic and secular rebel groups since the start of the year.

The rebel groups turned on the Islamic State because of its alleged brutality toward rivals and activists. Massacres like the one depicted in the online photos from Iraq could alienate some Sunnis while emboldening the armed forces and Shiite militias.

Human Rights Watch said that using satellite imagery from 2013 and publicly available photos taken earlier, it was able to pinpoint the execution site in a field near a former palace of the late dictator Saddam Hussein, next to the Tigris river.

It said satellite imagery of the site from June 16 did not reveal bodies but showed indications of vehicles and earth movement consistent with the two shallow trenches visible in the photos.


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