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Maui fire missing list falls slightly to 385. Governor had indicated it would be below 100

Fri, 09/01/2023 - 23:34

By AUDREY McAVOY (Associated Press)

HONOLULU (AP) — The number of people on the official list of those missing from the Maui wildfire stood at 385 on Friday, nearly unchanged from a week earlier.

In a news release, the Maui Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said 245 people on the list of 388 made public the previous week were located and removed. However, a nearly equal number of new names were added.

The updated total was a startling departure from what had been expected — a day earlier Gov. Josh Green said he believed the number would fall below 100.

“We think the number has dropped down into the double digits, so thank God,” Green said in a video posted to his account on X, formerly known as Twitter.

After Maui police released the updated list, the governor said the numbers of fatalities and missing are often in flux in mass casualty events until investigations are completed.

“Exact numbers are going to take time, perhaps a long time, to become finalized,” Green said in a statement provided through a spokesperson.

He said there are less than 50 “active missing person cases.” He didn’t elaborate but indicated those are the people for whom more information was provided than the minimum to be on the missing list compiled by the FBI. It only requires a first and last name provided by a person with a verified contact number.

Authorities have said at least 115 people died in the blaze that swept through Lahaina, the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in more than a century. So far, the names of 50 people have been publicly released and five others have been identified but their identities withheld because next of kin haven’t been reached. The rest have yet to be identified.

The flames turned the picturesque seaside town into rubble in a few short hours on Aug. 8. Wind gusts topping 60 mph (97 kph) ripped through the town, causing the flames to spread exceptionally quickly.

Lahaina has deep significance in Hawaiian history as the one-time capital of former Hawaiian kingdom and as the home to high-ranking chiefs for centuries. In recent decades, the town became popular with tourists, who ate at its oceanfront restaurants and marveled at a majestic 150-year-old banyan tree.

Half the town’s 12,000 residents are now living in hotels and short-term vacation rentals. The Environmental Protection Agency is leading an effort to clean hazardous waste left in a burn zone stretching across some 5 square miles (13 square kilometers).

Reconstruction is expected to take years and cost billions.

Initially more than 1,000 people were believed unaccounted for based on family, friends or acquaintances reporting them as missing. Officials narrowed that list down to 388 names who were credibly considered missing and released the names to the public last week.

New names on Friday’s updated list were added from the Red Cross, shelters and interested parties who contacted the FBI, Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said. He urged family members of the missing to submit their genetic data to help identify their relatives.

“If you have a loved one that you know is missing and you are a family member, it’s imperative that you get a DNA sample,” Pelletier said in a video posted to Instagram.

The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined, but it’s possible powerlines from downed utility poles ignited the blaze. Maui County has sued Hawaiian Electric, the electrical utility for the island.

The utility acknowledged its power lines started a wildfire early on Aug. 8 but faulted county firefighters for declaring the blaze contained and leaving the scene, only to have a second wildfire break out nearby.

Chaminade-Madonna again trails early before dominating, this time at Cardinal Gibbons

Fri, 09/01/2023 - 21:39

For the second week in a row, Chaminade-Madonna fell behind early and rallied powerfully, this time to a 41-4 victory over host Cardinal Gibbons.

The visiting Lions (2-0) ranked seventh in the nation, according to MaxPreps, spotted host No. 64-ranked Cardinal Gibbons a 4-0 lead on safeties on successive plays before scoring 41 unanswered points in the win on Friday night.

Chaminade-Madonna senior quarterback Cedrick Bailey runs out of the pocket for a first down against host Cardinal Gibbons. Bailey finished the game 16 for 26 for 188 yards and three scores as Chaminade-Madonna scored 41 unanswered points in a 41-4 victory. (Gary Curreri/Courtesy)

“I guess we like to make it hard,” said Chaminade-Madonna coach Dameon Jones. “We started out sloppy and slow and then we turned it up the second quarter and going into halftime. We got better from there.

“We started off slow and we got to get better at that,” Jones added. “We just started with some short throws and running the ball and that kind of opened it up. Next week doesn’t get any easier, so we just got to take it one game at a time.”

The Lions will host Bergen Catholic (Oradell, NJ) on Friday before facing American Heritage the following week.

Chaminade-Madonna senior running back Davion Gause puts his head down and bulls for yardage in the first half against host Cardinal Gibbons. Gause finished with 16 carries for 134 yards on Friday night at Cardinal Gibbons. Chaminade-Madonna scored 41 unanswered points in a 41-4 victory. (Gary Curreri/Courtesy)

North Carolina State commit Cedrick Bailey finished the game 16 of 26 for 188 yards and three scores for the Lions, while North Carolina commit Davion Gause ran for 134 yards and a TD on 16 carries.

“We have to work on how we start the game,” Bailey said. “I didn’t like that, so we have to come out with a better start and help the defense out. We were able to run those short throws in the second half and that helped us manage the game and manage the clock. All of the big stuff opened up after we did all of those short passes.

“Every week we have a bullseye on our back and that’s what drives us,” said Bailey, who will also face Miami Central after the American Heritage game. “Every week gets harder, and we have to play our hardest every week. We game plan every week because we know we have that target on our back. Everybody is going to give us their best game.”

With the victory, Chaminade-Madonna ran its regular season winning streak to 17 games. The Lions have won two straight state championships and five of the past seven. They have made it to seven straight state championship games.

Chaminade-Madonna senior wide receiver Jeremiah Smith races for big yardage in the second half against host Cardinal Gibbons. Chaminade-Madonna scored 41 unanswered points in a 41-4 victory. (Gary Curreri/Courtesy)

Cardinal Gibbons (1-1) grabbed a 4-0 lead on back-to-back safeties in the first quarter. The first came when Chaminade’s center snapped the ball over the Lions punter Andrew Abu-Ariel’s head, and the ball squirted through the end zone for a 2-0 lead.

On the Lions’ next series from their 2-yard line, Lions’ freshman running back Arwin Jackson was stopped for a 2-yard loss, which gave the Chiefs a 4-0 advantage with 3:38 remaining in the first quarter.

The Lions got on the board on a Bailey 23-yard touchdown pass to junior Kyle Washington on the second play in the second quarter to give Chaminade-Madonna the lead for good at 7-4.

Chaminade-Madonna continued to roll as recent University of Miami commit Zaquan Patterson wrestled the ball from the Chiefs’ Antonio Lindsay on the sideline route and returned it 35 yards for the 14-4 lead.

Chaminade-Madonna got on the board with 57 seconds remaining on Bailey’s second touchdown pass of the night, this one covering 40 yards to Jaquri Lewis to up the lead to 21-4.

It took the Lions just two plays to break the game open in the second half as Lewis took the second half kickoff 63 yards to set up a 34-yard scoring run by Gause for a 28-4 lead. Chaminade-Madonna padded its lead on Bailey’s third TD covering 11 yards to Jeremiah Smith and field goals of 25 and 42 by Abu-Ariel.

Chaminade-Madonna coach Dameon Jones watches his team in the second half against host Cardinal Gibbons. Chaminade-Madonna scored 41 unanswered points in a 41-4 victory. (Gary Curreri/Courtesy)

“We came out for this game too high,” Bailey continued. “Adversity struck and we had to fight back. That’s what we learned from this game, don’t take anybody lightly.”

The two local teams split their previous two matchups against each other with Chaminade-Madonna winning in 2015 and Cardinal Gibbons victorious in 2016, both by 28-21 scores.

Dave Hyde: Miami takes baby steps of confidence in easy opener that Florida couldn’t

Fri, 09/01/2023 - 20:31

MIAMI GARDENS — I could write about the University of Miami’s 38-3 mauling of Miami University, but what can I say that the score doesn’t?

I could write about how Miami’s now ready for Texas A&M next week, but Friday night was a flimsy subplot for the game coming to Hard Rock Stadium next Saturday.

So, I’m going to just write why Miami wrote a $1.5 million check for their namesaked doppelganger to open the season as a small-school sacrifice:

Utah 24, Florida 11.

That’s it. That’s why Miami had a scheduled workout Friday with new offensive and defense coordinators, a new offensive line and the second uncertain season of Mario Cristobal.

Don’t bring up the outlier of Miami losing to Middle Tennessee State last season. Embarrassments happen. But Florida opening Thursday night at 14th-ranked Utah was exactly the kind of game fans want, television covets and underdeveloped programs avoid.

Florida and Miami are both undeveloped, too. Neither program is ready for the kind of winning their fans expect. Both need to grow up and possibly grow into some of those weighty hopes across this season.

Florida looked lost at times, giving up six sacks, going 1 for 13 on third downs, having eight men on the field for a Utah field goal and two players wearing the same jersey number for a penalty on a punt.

Coach Billy Napier talked afterward of “correcting some problem areas” and “taking the necessary steps every team must after the first game of the season.”

Here’s the mental grease Florida needs this September after struggling last year: Confidence. Scoring just 11 points and getting beat by Utah’s backup quarterback doesn’t help matters. Nor does revisiting some of the same problems it had against good teams last season.

Miami, by contrast, got the opening measure of confidence it needs against a lesser team. It doesn’t mean much in the big picture. It might not even set the table for next week.

But it’s the kind of routine first step unsteady programs want to take. Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke worked in a new system and completed 17 of 22 passes for 201 yards with a touchdown and interception.

“I know he’d like to have that interception back,’’ Cristobal said.

Making mistakes is part of any first game. But what stood out more was Van Dyke not being sacked which, when combined with 250 yards rushing on 36 carries, made a good night for the revamped offensive line. With two transfers and two five-star recruits, this line shows the direction Cristobal wants to take the program.

“A massive difference up front,’’ he said.

Cristobal also discussed the cast of running backs by pointing to the big names who shared the load when he blocked in the late-1980s and early 1990s and, “the next wave, Willis McGahee, Clinton Portis, Frank Gore.”

Can Miami get back there? Not this year. Not with a defense full of questions. But, again, the run defense gave up minus-3 yards rushing at half and 51 yards for the game. The secondary never broke against a decent quarterback, Brett Gabbert.

Baby steps. But ones of confidence, too.

“I saw a team that played to their training since January,’’ Cristobal said.

It doesn’t mean any corner is turned, or even that it carries from one week to the next. Miami beat Bethune Cookman 70-3 and Southern Miss 30-7 in the opening games at Hard Rock Stadium last year. It then didn’t win in its final five games at home.

This was business being conducted between Friday night. nothing less. One Miami scheduled a win. The other Miami cashed a check. Miami (Ohio) didn’t bring band, cheerleaders or sports-information staff that would drag down the profit margin.

It knew its role. For all the changes in college football, this role hasn’t changed. The last time Miami U. came to town was in 1987. The school had an alumni luncheon on Miami Beach during the summer. As an alum, I went. The football coach, Tim Rose, took questions.

“Coach, are you going to kick the Hurricane butt?” one alum said.

“Are you on drugs?” the coach answered.

That game ended 54-3. This one had the same feel to it. What does it mean? It means a Hurricane team trying to find its way got a measure of confidence playing a weaker opponent than a Florida team that struggled in its opener.

“A good night’s work,’’ Cristobal said.

Final score: University of Miami 38, Miami University $1.5 million.

Marlins surge past Nationals with four 11th-inning runs

Fri, 09/01/2023 - 19:52

WASHINGTON — Garrett Hampson hit a two-run homer to cap a four-run rally in the 11th inning, and the Miami Marlins defeated the Washington Nationals 8-5 on Friday night.

Miami (68-67) moved over .500 with its second straight win over the Nationals. The Marlins entered the game three games back of San Francisco in the race for the NL’s third and final wild-card spot.

“Guys know what’s at stake,” Hampson said. “Guys know the long grind of a season. This last month here, it would be disappointing if we didn’t finish off strong because we feel like we’ve had a really good year and played really good baseball. We know what’s in this clubhouse and we know we’re a playoff-caliber team.”

CJ Abrams, Lane Thomas and Travis Blankenhorn hit solo homers for Washington, which has lost three in a row for the first time since a five-game skid July 3-7. The Nationals have dropped five of their last six.

Miami second baseman Luis Arraez went 2 for 4 with a walk and raised his major league-leading average to .350. He remained tied with Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez for the third-most multi-hit games this season with 48, behind only Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr. (58) and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman (54).

Miami mustered just one hit in the first five innings against Washington’s bullpen before former Marlin Robert Garcia (0-1) entered to start the 11th. Jazz Chisholm Jr. hit a leadoff single, and Bryan De La Cruz plated automatic runner Jake Burger with another hit. Pinch-hitter Jon Berti’s single scored Chisholm, but De La Cruz was thrown out trying to get to third.

Mason Thompson relieved Garcia, and Hampson sent a 2-0 sinker to left-center for his second homer of the season.

“The spot starts we’ve been giving him all year, whether it’s third base, shortstop, second, left, center, it feels like he’s just come through,” Miami manager Skip Schumaker said.

Both teams scored in the 10th. With one out and runners on second and third, Josh Bell hit a sharp grounder to a drawn-in Abrams at shortstop. Abrams didn’t have a play on Xavier Edwards at the plate, but threw out Arraez at third.

The Nationals responded when Thomas singled in Abrams, the Nationals’ automatic runner, to lead off against Tanner Scott (7-4).

Arraez singled off Jake Irvin to lead off the game and scored on Chisholm’s RBI single. Miami sandwiched two walks around Arraez’s double in the third to load the bases, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Burger and a force-out by Chisholm.

Irvin, a rookie right-hander, allowed three runs in five innings, striking out four in his seventh consecutive no-decision.

Abrams led off the first with a homer to right off Eury Perez. Thomas and Blankenhorn went deep in the third.

Perez yielded three runs in 4 2/3 innings and struck out five.


Marlins: OF Jorge Soler (right hip tightness) was out of the lineup for the third day in a row, but manager Skip Schumaker said he was available off the bench. … LHP Andrew Nardi played catch two days after taking a line drive off his hand. … Miami recalled Edwards and RHP Geoff Hartlieb from Triple-A Jacksonville. … Schumaker said he anticipated RHP Johnny Cueto (viral infection) will be activated “soon.”

Nationals: Washington recalled RHP Amos Willingham from Triple-A Rochester and selected Blankenhorn from Rochester. To make room on the roster, the Nationals requested unconditional release waivers on RHP Rico Garcia, who had a 12.00 ERA in three games and had been on the injured list since July 30.


Marlins: Did not announce a starting pitcher for Saturday’s game.

Nationals: RHP Trevor Williams (6-8, 4.82) is 0-2 with a 5.19 ERA in three starts against the Marlins this season.

Hurricanes begin season by roaring to almost 500 yards in rout of Miami (Ohio)

Fri, 09/01/2023 - 19:21

MIAMI GARDENS — Year 2 of the Mario Cristobal Era started with a bang.

Three plays into the game, Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke connected with wide receiver Colbie Young for a 44-yard touchdown on a screen pass. UM was off and running from the first drive, opening the season with a 38-3 victory over Miami (Ohio) at Hard Rock Stadium on Friday.

“Played a pretty solid brand of football,” Hurricanes coach Mario Cristobal said.

The Hurricanes’ offense did not score with quite as much speed as the first half went on, having to settle for three field goals as drives stopped in the red zone in the first half. But the offense picked back up in the second half and finished with 493 total yards in Shannon Dawson’s first game as UM’s offensive coordinator.

Miami (Ohio) got its only points of the game late in the first half, knocking in a 48-yard field goal. The Hurricanes got the ball back with 58 seconds and drove down the field despite a first down getting wiped out when touted freshman offensive lineman Francis Mauigoa was called for holding. Henry Parrish Jr. broke off a 37-yard run, setting up a field goal by Andy Borregales to end the first half.

“That one field goal before halftime brought a lot of momentum, so really good job by the offense putting that together,” Cristobal said. “And then the second half, just started methodically taking over the football game.”

Freshman Mark Fletcher Jr. got the offense rolling again in the second half. The American Heritage alumnus scored on a 26-yard carry to score his first college touchdown and put UM up 24-3 early in the third quarter.

The Hurricanes continued dominating in the running game as Parrish scored on a 12-yard counter run, pushing Miami’s lead to 31-3 early in the fourth quarter. Don Chaney Jr. put the final nail in the coffin with a 20-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 35 points.

Although Miami turned primarily to the running game in the second half, Van Dyke, who dealt with a hand injury and wore a covering over a finger on his throwing hand, completed 17 of 22 passes for 201 yards in the win.

“I hurt it about a week and a half ago … so I feel good now,” Van Dyke said. “Just a little bruise. I feel 100 percent ripping the football.”

Freshman Emory Williams replaced him in the fourth quarter after UM had built a 28-point lead.

After a successful season-opening win, the Hurricanes face their first major test of the season next week when they host Texas A&M in a rematch of last year’s defeat.

“We’ve got a big opponent coming here next week,” linebacker Francisco Mauigoa said. “So we’ve just got to make everything perfect.”

Five takeaways

1. Guidry’s defense makes strong debut

Lance Guidry had a successful day at the office in his first game as Miami’s defensive coordinator. UM held Miami (OH) to just 215 total yards. The Hurricanes dominated on third and fourth down, as the RedHawks converted just 2 of 15 on third and fourth down.

A decent chunk of the yards Miami (Ohio) accrued came late in the fourth quarter when the Hurricanes had a 35-point lead and were playing second-team players.

Miami held opposing quarterback Brett Gabbert, who said he wanted to prove his school was the “Real Miami“, to 12 of 21 passing for 127 yards and held the RedHawks to just 51 rushing yards.

“We didn’t really care (about Gabbert’s comments),” safety Kamren Kinchens said. “We’ve got him going around. He wasn’t really doing too much, so that’s all that mattered to me.”

2. Running back rotation

The Hurricanes listed four different running backs as possible starters for Friday’s game, and they all got a chance to play.

Fletcher had the biggest highlight of the game, scoring his first college touchdown in front of his hometown crowd. He finished the game with 76 yards on nine carries. Parrish, Chaney and Ajay Allen all had solid games, as well. Parrish ended the game with 90 yards on nine carries, Allen had nine carries for 47 and Chaney had eight carries for 38 yards.

“They’ve all been competing, and they’ve been competing hard,” Cristobal said. “It was hard to tell who was separating, and then you probably saw some of that tonight. Woah, Henry really looks good there. Look at Don’s run at the end, and Ajay comes out and breaks some run off to the side, and wait a second, Mark Fletcher’s rumbling over some people for a touchdown.”

3. New O-line plows the road

Cristobal and the UM staff overhauled the offensive line during the offseason, bringing in transfers Javion Cohen and Matt Lee and five-star freshmen Francis Mauigoa and Samson Okunlola, among others. The revamped line delivered in its first game at Hard Rock.

Miami’s new offensive line protected Van Dyke, keeping him from getting sacked. They also paved the way for the Hurricanes to rush for 250 yards in the season-opening win.

“(The holes are) way bigger,” Parrish said. “We’ve got those guys, (Cohen), Matt Lee, Jalen (Rivers), (Mauigoa) and those guys, they just lead the way. We just follow behind them, and whatever’s there, we just go ahead do what we’ve got to do.”

4. Borregales still as reliable as ever

Borregales is now in his third season as Miami’s kicker, and he continues to deliver.

The junior kicked three field goals for the Hurricanes in the season opener, nailing kicks from 32, 34 and 43 yards. He also hit all of his extra-point attempts.

“Andy’s a big part of this team,” Van Dyke said. “He’s a clutch kicker. He makes big-time kicks. Everybody on this team trusts him.”

5. Colbie Young shows his ability

Young and Van Dyke started to get into a rhythm last season before the quarterback’s season was derailed by a shoulder injury. With Van Dyke healthy again, the two picked up where they left off.

Young and Van Dyke connected for a touchdown to start the game, and the junior wide receiver began his season with four catches and 79 yards. The 6-foot-5 receiver showed his speed and elusiveness in the victory, breaking through tackles and beating the RedHawks defense on the screen pass he took 44 yards for a touchdown.

General Daily Insight for September 02, 2023

Fri, 09/01/2023 - 17:00
General Daily Insight for September 02, 2023

There’s pleasure to be found if we take the time to look for it. The Moon in Aries is driving us along, but an odd angle to the Sun in Virgo could remind us of our responsibilities, whether or not we want to deal with them. A pleasant mood will prevail when the Moon trines Venus in Leo at 5:19 am EDT, setting us up for more exciting things. A final lunar quincunx to Mercury will require a little extra analysis on our part.


March 21 – April 19

There’s no such thing as keeping a lid on it today. The Moon is in your sign, giving you extra oomph, and that energy takes on a fantastic shade when she trines Venus in your live-out-loud 5th house, making it all but impossible to hide yourself away. Your number one priority under this alignment should be enjoying yourself and savoring this vibe from the universe. Try to ensure you’re having fun that actually satisfies you and doesn’t just kill time.


April 20 – May 20

It’s the perfect day to do things at your own pace. You’re more than happy to take your time as the Moon drifts through your sleepy 12th house, and the nesting vibes will only amplify when the Moon aligns with Venus in your sensitive 4th house. The couch is calling your name, so go on and get cozy, preferably with some comfort food and feel-good films in front of you. You deserve a little rest and relaxation, so don’t worry about other things.


May 21 – June 20

Everywhere you look today, something exciting is happening. A lovely angle between the Moon in your social sector and Venus in your community sector is stirring up the positive vibrations to no end, bringing all kinds of people out of the woodwork who are simply dying to see you. You could join up with a group of likeminded souls first thing for a whole day of adventures or begin on your own and see who comes along for the ride. Go and see what happens!


June 21 – July 22

It’s a good day to know your worth. A fantastic trine is occurring overhead between the Moon in your 10th House of Ambition and luxury-loving Venus in your 2nd House of Earned Income, and together they’re going to make sure you get paid what you’re worth. This is a good time for any discussions about a potential raise, but you could also scope out a new gig that helps increase your revenue stream without requiring you to bend over backwards to get it.


July 23 – August 22

You’ve got a special flare today that no one can deny. The Moon in your exotic 9th house is connecting to beautifying Venus in your own sign, letting everyone see just how fabulous you can be when you’re in the mood to let it shine through. Hiding your light away right now would be a real disservice to yourself and others. Let this positivity carry you through to new adventures — there’s even more joy waiting for you beyond the horizon.


August 23 – September 22

All the good things are happening behind closed doors today. Fortunately, you’re in the mood to be on your own as the Moon drifts through your intimate 8th house, and this mood will only increase when she trines pleasure-loving Venus in your dreamy 12th house. You have a right to be choosy about your social life. Take time to focus on yourself, and if other people choose to be part of it, so be it, but don’t let just anyone into your immediate vicinity.


September 23 – October 22

One special person could really capture your attention today. You’re happy to be a social butterfly while the Moon flits through your outgoing 11th house, but that energy seems to narrow on an important connection when the Moon trines your native ruler Venus in your partnership-focused 7th house. Regardless of who’s by your side, it seems they have a lot to offer you, and you’ll enjoy the options they provide. You can’t go wrong so long as you’re not alone.


October 23 – November 21

You can make impressive progress without breaking much of a sweat today. The Moon in your responsible 6th house is syncing up with Venus in your ambitious 10th house, helping remove barriers and limitations that may have previously stood in the way of your goals. This alignment helps you match your daily actions with your long-term goals in a seamless way. If you’ve been eyeing more responsibilities (with a higher salary!), don’t be shy about asking for what you want right now.


November 22 – December 21

There’s nothing but possibility in front of you today. A fabulous alignment is occurring between the Moon in your passionate 5th house and Venus in your adventurous 9th house, and they’ll come together to offer you a global buffet of appealing options. Whether you’re looking for just a little bit of fun or are ready to embark on a whole new chapter of excitement and intrigue, it seems you can have whatever you want. All you need to do is pursue it.


December 22 – January 19

Today may present you with more emotional matters than usual, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to make to best of them. A beneficial trine is occurring between the Moon in your 4th House of Family and Venus in your 8th House of Shared Resources, and together they offer up waves of support in one form or another. Perhaps you’ll receive financial assistance or some much-needed words of wisdom, but whatever comes your way, trust that it’ll be exactly what you need.


January 20 – February 18

You’ll find more satisfaction today if you allow others to call the shots rather than trying to control every situation by yourself. The Moon in your communications sector is making a lovely trine to bountiful Venus in your partnership sector, bringing helpful and well-meaning people your way. Be open to their input — they could have an idea or plan that impacts you all for the better. If you want to find joy today, don’t attempt to handle everything on your own.


February 19 – March 20

Whether your plate is empty or full, you can be sure you’ll like everything on it on a day like this. The skies are glowing with a fantastic trine between the Moon in your income sector and Venus in your responsibility sector, allowing you to live up to your own expectations with almost no effort at all. If you’ve been hoping to increase your net worth, the chance could arrive under this energy. Don’t be shy about asking for what you want.

Former Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed, whose son died in car crash with Princess Diana, dies at 94

Fri, 09/01/2023 - 16:31


LONDON (AP) — Mohamed Al Fayed, the flamboyant Egypt-born businessman whose son was killed in a car crash with Princess Diana, died this week, his family said Friday. He was 94.

Al Fayed, the longtime owner of Harrods department store and the Fulham Football Club, was devastated by the death of son Dodi Fayed in the car crash in Paris with Diana 26 years ago. He spent years mourning the loss and fighting the British establishment he blamed for their deaths.

“Mrs Mohamed Al Fayed, her children and grandchildren wish to confirm that her beloved husband, their father and their grandfather, Mohamed, has passed away peacefully of old age on Wednesday August 30, 2023,″ his family said in a statement released by the Fulham club. “He enjoyed a long and fulfilled retirement surrounded by his loved ones.″

Al Fayed was convinced Dodi and Diana were killed in a conspiracy masterminded by Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. He maintained the royal family arranged the accident because they did not like Diana dating an Egyptian. Al Fayed claimed that Diana was pregnant and planning to marry Dodi and that the royal family could not countenance the princess marrying a Muslim.

In 2008, Al Fayed told an inquest the list of alleged conspirators included Philip, two former London police chiefs and the CIA.

The inquest concluded that Diana and Dodi died because of the reckless actions of their driver — an employee of the Ritz Hotel owned by Al Fayed — and paparazzi chasing the couple. Separate inquiries in the U.K. and France also concluded there was no conspiracy.

Al Fayed’s relationship with the royal family was recently depicted in season five of “The Crown,” in which the billionaire, played by Salim Daw, gets to know Diana.

The son of a school inspector, Al Fayad was born on Jan. 27, 1929, in Alexandria, Egypt. After early investments in shipping in Italy and the Middle East, he moved to Britain in the 1960s and started building an empire.

At the height of his wealth, Al Fayed owned the Ritz hotel in Paris and Fulham soccer team in London as well as Harrods, the luxury department store in the capital’s tony Knightsbridge neighborhood.

The Sunday Times Rich List, which documents the fortunes of Britain’s wealthiest people, put the family’s fortune at 1.7 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) this year, ranking Al Fayed as the 104th richest person in the country.

Al Fayed first hit the headlines in the 1980s when he battled with rival tycoon “Tiny” Rowland for control of the House of Fraser group, which included Harrods.

Al Fayed and his brother bought a 30% stake in House of Fraser for 130 million pounds in 1985. They paid an additional 615 million pounds to take full control the following year.

That transaction sparked an investigation by the Department of Trade and Industry, which concluded Al Fayed and his brother had “dishonestly misrepresented their origins, their wealth, their business interests and their resources.” Despite those findings, the deal was allowed to go through.

Al Fayed was also a key player in the “cash for questions” scandal that roiled British politics in the 1990s.

Al Fayed was sued for libel by a British lawmaker, Neil Hamilton, after the businessman claimed he had given Hamilton envelopes of cash and a lavish stay at the Ritz in Paris, in return for asking questions in the House of Commons.

Hamilton’s lawyer, Desmond Browne, claimed the allegation was fantasy, saying: ″If there were Olympic medals for lying, Mr. Fayed would be a prime contender for a gold one.”

A jury found in Al Fayed’s favor in December 1999.

But he was never accepted by the British establishment. The government twice rejected his applications for citizenship, though the reasons were never released publicly.

Al Fayed bought underdog London soccer team Fulham in 1997, and spent lavishly on coaches and players to improve its performance. It was a success, with the club winning promotion to the Premier League in 2001.

Al Fayed was also friends with Michael Jackson and had a statue of the pop star erected outside Fulham’s London stadium in 2011, two years after Jackson’s death.

Never popular with Fulham fans, it was removed in 2013 by Al Fayed’s successor as team owner, Shahid Khan.

Federal judge won’t block Florida’s transgender treatment law

Fri, 09/01/2023 - 16:30

TALLAHASSEE — A federal judge on Friday refused to block a new Florida law making it more difficult for transgender adults to access hormone therapy and surgeries.

But U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said he could issue a narrowly tailored injunction to ensure care for individual plaintiffs if they provide detailed medical records.

The law, passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature this spring and championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, requires patients diagnosed with gender dysphoria to sign informed-consent forms crafted by state medical boards. Also under the law, only physicians — not nurse practitioners — are allowed to order hormone therapy. In addition, the law bans the use of telehealth for new prescriptions.

The law (SB 254) also barred doctors from ordering gender-affirming care for children but allowed minors already receiving such treatment to continue under certain conditions.

Parents of transgender children filed a lawsuit challenging the restrictions, and Hinkle in June blocked a ban on the use of puberty blockers and hormones to treat children diagnosed with gender dysphoria, calling the prohibition “an exercise in politics, not good medicine.” The state is appealing Hinkle’s ruling.

The lawsuit was revised in July to add several adults as plaintiffs. It contends the new restrictions on adults have erected “unnecessary barriers” to care and imposed “medically unsupported requirements” on trans people. The lawsuit alleges that the law and resulting rules adopted by the state Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine have created a “crisis of availability of care” for trans adults.

Hinkle held a two-hour hearing Friday on the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction to block portions of the law dealing with trans adults and on a request for class-action certification.
The informed-consent forms have “resulted in the termination of care for transgender adults, including the cancellation of surgeries, and also including the termination of hormone therapy, including for transgender adults who’ve been on treatment for many years,” Jennifer Levi, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told the judge.

The consent forms approved by the medical boards last month, in part, say “medical treatment of people with gender dysphoria is based on very limited, poor-quality research with only subtle improvements seen in some patients’ psychological functioning in some, but not all, research studies.” Plaintiffs contend the forms are misleading and contain incorrect and irrelevant information.

Hinkle acknowledged that the forms lacked clarity.

“You would be hard-pressed to do a worse job drafting a form that is intended to have a person understand it and get informed consent. I grant you, the form is just abysmally drafted,” the judge said.

Mohammad Jazil, an attorney who represents the state, conceded that the forms “are perhaps inartfully drafted … but they are emergency rules.”

“If somebody is really trying to communicate with patients, this is not how they do it,” Hinkle pushed back. “And I’ll just tell you … one of the questions I’ll have for you at the trial is, why shouldn’t I infer from that form that the goal was not to inform and get honest consent, the goal was to discourage people? … Why are you doing this? It seems to me those forms cut against the state pretty strongly.”

Hinkle asked Levi “what irreparable harm” plaintiffs would suffer if he did not block the law in the run-up to a trial slated to begin Nov. 13.

“Patients are suffering significantly,” Levi said, arguing that some plaintiffs’ surgeries have been canceled and other plaintiffs have run out of testosterone or estrogen.

Hinkle noted that the law does not block doctors from performing surgeries.

“I understand that clinics are closing in the state, and the Legislature managed to shut down some gender clinics. But I’m not going to enter an order that changes that,” he said.

Defending the requirement that doctors, not nurse practitioners, order hormone treatment, Jazil argued that “there’s a lot of unknowns” in the treatment of transgender patients.

“Where do you draw the line, and who gets to draw that line, is something that the state is entitled to figure out,” Jazil said. “Caution truly remains the watchword, and if caution’s the watchword, then the state should be able to upgrade the level of care that’s being provided.”

Florida is among a number of GOP-led states taking steps to ban gender-affirming care for children. DeSantis, who is running for president, has elevated the issue, frequently boasting of the state’s efforts to end what he often calls “child mutilation.”

The DeSantis administration last year also prohibited Medicaid reimbursement for gender-affirming care for children and adults. Hinkle has ruled that the prohibition is unconstitutional, but the state is appealing the decision.

Hinkle on Friday said that plaintiffs in lawsuits challenging bans in various parts of the country have prevailed at the district-court level, but a number of appeals are ongoing — including one that could complicate the legal challenge in Florida.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week unanimously upheld an Alabama law banning gender-affirming care for minors, overturning a district judge’s ruling. At least three other circuits also are considering appeals. The 11th Circuit hears cases from Florida.

“It’s a little bit of an odd situation. You’ve now got the (11th) circuit decision, and frankly one thing that occurs to me is that it would be better just to lock arms for a while and see what happens in the circuit,” Hinkle said.

But Florida’s restrictions on adults go further than other state laws that centered on care for children, Levi argued. She said evidence showed that Florida intended to discourage people — including adults — from being transgender.

Hinkle did not rule on the class-action certification Friday, and said he would not enter an injunction to block the telehealth restriction or the physician requirement in the law.

“Here’s part of the concern. You’ve heard me say again and again, the state comes in and says they’re doing what they do in Europe. Well, they’re not. European countries have not banned the treatment. But it is true that some doctors, some professionals, some European countries, some state governments have concerns about whether this treatment is being prescribed too haphazardly. At the preliminary injunction stage, I’m not going to sign off or order the state to get out of the way so that somebody can get haphazard treatment,” Hinkle said.

Proud Boy convicted of helping spearhead Capitol attack ties Jan. 6 sentence record with 18 years

Fri, 09/01/2023 - 16:20

By LINDSAY WHITEHURST (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A one-time leader in the Proud Boys far-right extremist group was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, tying the record for the longest sentence in the attack.

Ethan Nordean was one of five members convicted of spearheading an attack on the U.S. Capitol to try to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 presidential election.

“He is the undisputed leader on the ground on Jan 6,” said prosecutor Jason McCullough.

The Seattle-area chapter president was one of two Proud Boys sentenced Friday. Dominic Pezzola was convicted of smashing a window at the U.S. Capitol in the building’s first breach on Jan. 6, 2021. He defiantly raised a fist and declared “Trump won!” as he walked out of the courtroom after being sentenced to 10 years in prison, also among the longest sentences in the Jan. 6 attack.

The 18-year record for a Jan. 6 sentence was set by Stewart Rhodes, founder of another far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers. Members of both groups were convicted separately of seditious conspiracy, a rarely brought Civil War-era offense.

The highest ranking Proud Boy convicted after a monthslong trial earlier this year, Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday.

Prosecutors said Nordean’s words and online posting grew increasingly violent leading up to Jan. 6. On that day, he led a group of nearly 200 men toward the Capitol, then moved to the front of the mob and helped tear down a fence, allowing rioters to pour onto the grounds and confront police, according to court documents. Prosecutors had asked for a 27-year sentence.

Defense attorneys have argued there was no plan to storm the Capitol that day and pushed back against the idea that Nordean tore down the fence or that his rhetoric was specifically about Jan. 6. They asked for less than two years.

For his own part, the 33-year-old from Auburn, Washington, told the judge he now sees Jan. 6 as a “complete and utter tragedy” and he regretted not trying to use his leadership role to stop what happened.

“There is no rally or political protest that should hold value over human life,” he said. “To anyone who I directly or even indirectly wronged, I’m sorry.”

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee who also sentenced Pezzola earlier in the day and applied a terrorism enhancement in both cases.

Pezzola, 46, took a police officer’s riot shield and used it to smash the window, allowing rioters to make the first breach into the Capitol, and he later filmed a “celebratory video” with a cigar inside, prosecutors said. He was a recent Proud Boys recruit, however, and a jury acquitted him of seditious conspiracy. He was convicted of other serious charges and prosecutors had asked for 20 years in prison.

“He was an enthusiastic foot soldier,” prosecutor Erik Kenerson said.

Kelly noted that Pezzola, of Rochester, New York, was a newcomer to the group who didn’t write the kind of increasingly violent online messages that his co-defendants did leading up to the Jan. 6 attack. Still, he was in some ways a “tip of the spear” in allowing rioters to get into the Capitol, Kelly said.

“The reality is you smashed that window in and let people begin to stream into the Capitol building and threaten the lives of our lawmakers,” the judge told Pezzola. “It’s not something that I ever dreamed I would have seen in our country.”

Defense attorneys had asked for five years for Pezzola, saying that he got “caught up in the craziness” that day.

Pezzola testified at trial that he originally grabbed the officer’s shield to protect himself from police riot control measures, and his lawyers argued that he broke only one pane of glass and that it was other rioters who smashed out the rest of the window.

He told the judge that he wished he’d never crossed into a restricted area on Jan. 6, and he apologized to the officer whose shield he took. “There is no place in my future for groups or politics whatsoever,” he said.

But a few minutes later, as he was led out of the courtroom, he raised a fist and said, “Trump won!”

Former President Donald Trump and his allies have repeatedly and falsely claiming the 2020 election was stolen. A series of federal and state investigations and dozens of lawsuits have not uncovered any evidence the election was rigged.

Four Proud Boys have now been sentenced after a monthslong trial that ended in May. Joseph Biggs, an organizer from Ormond Beach, Florida, got 17 years on Thursday, marking the second-longest sentence so far in the Jan. 6 attack. Zachary Rehl, a leader of the Philadelphia chapter, got 15 years. The sentencings come after the Proud Boys trial laid bare far-right extremists’ embrace of lies by Trump, a Republican, that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

More than 1,100 people have been charged with Capitol riot-related federal crimes. Over 600 of them have been convicted and sentenced. In addition to Rhodes, several other members of the anti-government Oath Keepers have also been convicted of seditious conspiracy after a trial last year.

Cable customers furious as Spectrum, Disney dispute knocks ESPN, ABC, U.S. Open off the air

Fri, 09/01/2023 - 15:56

Larry McShane | New York Daily News

College football fans waiting for kickoff in the eagerly-awaited showdown between Utah and Florida got a kick in the head as a dispute between Spectrum Cable and The Walt Disney Co., owner of ESPN, blacked out the game for many fans.

The Thursday night season opener was pulled minutes before the game’s first play, leaving angry boosters for both teams livid. The cable company serves 14.7 million subscribers, many of them infuriated by the decision.

“Waited all day for the SEC football kickoff between Florida and Utah,” wrote one angry fan on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Only to have ESPN CUT OFF RIGHT BEFORE KICKOFF due to a dispute between Spectrum and Disney. This is awful, AWFUL. YOU MIGHT WANNA THINK ABOUT LETTING FOLKS SEE THE GAME.”

Spectrum Cable pulled the Florida football game right at kickoff. A dispute between them and Disney who owns ESPN. We pay for ESPN so how dare they pull the programming during the game. I was already ticked off with them for not having internet one day last week. Refund!

— Tammy (@tammyj0528) September 1, 2023

Tennis fans were equally outraged when the Thursday night U.S. Open coverage disappeared before No. 1-ranked Carlos Alcaraz’s second-round straight-set victory against Dominil Koepfer in Queens.

“We’re very disappointed for our fans and viewers around the country that Spectrum … could not resolve their dispute with Disney,” said U.S. Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier. “We’re very hopeful that this dispute can be resolved as quickly as possible.”

The plug-pulling move came without advance warning, prompting a social media outpouring of angst from those expecting to watch the clash between the SEC team and their Pac-12 opponents.

A second fan complained he couldn’t even watch the contest on his ESPN app: “I pay for so many things every month and I can’t get this game?”

Those tuning in were instead greeted by a message posted by Spectrum laying the blame on the Disney side as Utah rolled to a 24-11 victory.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and are negotiating in good faith to reach a fair agreement,” the company wrote. “We offered Disney a fair deal, yet they are demanding an excessive increase … Spectrum is on your side and fighting to keep costs down.”

Disney responded by encouraging Spectrum to work with the media conglomerate to reach a deal, noting the terms proposed by their company were driven by the changing industry marketplace.

“We’re committed to reaching a mutually agreed upon resolution … and we urge them to work with us to minimize the disruption to their customers,” said the Disney statement.

In addition to blacking out the football game, subscribers also lost access to other Disney-own channels including ABC, FX and National Geographic.

“Spectrum Cable pulled the Florida football game right at kickoff,” wrote another angry tweeter. “A dispute between them and Disney who owns ESPN. We pay for ESPN so how dare they pull the programming during the game. I was already ticked off with them for not having internet one day last week. Refund!”

The full list of channels impacted by the dispute include ESPN, SEC and ACC networks, Longhorn Network, FX channels, Freeform, National Geographic, Disney channels, and ABC owned-and-affiliated news stations in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Raleigh-Durham, Houston, and Fresno.

Butler throws three touchdown passes as Palm Beach Central pulls away in Boca Raton

Thu, 08/31/2023 - 21:51

BOCA RATON — Palm Beach Central sophomore Caleb Butler won the quarterback competition entering the season and is making the most of his opportunity as a first-year signal-caller. Butler delivered another impressive performance and passed for three touchdowns to lift the visiting Broncos to a 37-21 victory against Boca Raton in a non-district matchup on Thursday night.

Butler previously tossed four touchdowns and rushed for another score in a 55-48 season-opening victory against Creekside.

Despite steady rain throughout the entire first half,  Butler threw for two scores prior to halftime and added another scoring pass in the third quarter. He also tossed two touchdowns that were called back on penalties in the contest.

“I am making a statement and it’s been pretty good,” Butler said,”I just got to make sure I stay humble and stay calm and do my job.”

Palm Beach Central junior Nedrick Boldin scored two touchdowns to lead the Broncos. Junior Waden Charles and junior Kamare Williams both added scores. Junior Tony Williams led the Broncos defense with two interceptions. Junior Ethan Dagostino connected on three field goals in the first half. The Broncos  also were able to run the ball effectively in the rainy conditions with senior Leon Williams and junior Zequan Wright.

“We are playing better,” Palm Beach Central coach Kevin Thompson said. “We are starting to figure out the little things to be a championship team. Yes, we are far away from it as you can see with the ups and downs of how we play some time.They’re a lot of guys who have bought in and understand and are trying to get better. I am excited about that.”

Palm Beach Central (2-0) led 3-0 at the end of the first quarter. Boca Raton (0-1) stepped up with a blocked punt and later had possession inside the Broncos 30-yard line on their opening drive, but they failed to convert on fourth down. The Bobcats committed a penalty after running into the punter later in the first to help extend a drive for the Broncos. Dagostino converted a 20-yard field goal for the first score of the game.

Dagostino drilled a 30-yard field goal to extend the lead in the second. The Broncos jumped out to a 13-0 advantage after Butler connected with Williams as he turned upfield for a 32-yard touchdown with 6:35 left in the first half.

Boca Raton rallied after senior Kevin Clerval rushed for 35 yards on a fake punt deep into Broncos territory. Sophomore quarterback Chance Routson fired a 15-yard scoring pass to junior Jordan Davis to cut the deficit to 13-7 with 3:37 left in the second.

The Broncos quickly answered back and scored just 18 seconds later. Senior Britton Holmes had a 68-yard return on the ensuing kickoff. On the next play, Butler tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Boldin.

Routson marched the Bobcats downfield on their next possession. Routson rushed for a 2-yard score to make it 20-14 with 1:24 left in the first half.

Dagostino converted a 26-yard field goal with 18 seconds left in the first half to increase the lead to 23-14.

The Broncos were able to pull away in the third quarter. Butler fired a 16-yard scoring pass to Charles in the left corner of the end zone to push the lead to 30-14.

Boldin bounced out to the right and added a 21-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Routson, who passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another score in the loss, fired a 13-yard scoring pass to senior CJ Bloomfield late in the fourth.

Boca Raton played their season opener under head coach Alex Savakinas, who is in his first season after previously serving as an assistant,

The start of the game was delayed for approximately one hour due to lightning.

UCF is big winner while Gators, Spectrum Cable are big losers | Commentary

Thu, 08/31/2023 - 20:49

The Florida Gators and UCF Knights opened the college football season Thursday night against two opponents in two drastically different weight classes, and the results were completely expected — and relatively meaningless.

As UCF tuned up for its highly anticipated inaugural season in the Big 12, the Knights opened with nonconference moonpie Kent State — a program that lost its head coach to a bigger school and most of its roster to the transfer portal. The Knights were 35.5-point favorites and predictably made the Golden Flashes look like plodding tortoises en route to a lopsided 56-6 victory.

In contrast, the Gators traveled across the country and suffered a self-inficted 24-11 loss to 14th-ranked Utah — the two-time defending Pac-12 champions — in a nationally televised game on ESPN.  Except many viewers in Orlando didn’t get a chance to watch the game because Spectrum Cable is in a dispute with Disney/ESPN over rising access fees to carry Disney-owned channels. Consequently, much to chagrin of thousands of Gator fans in Central Florida, Spectrum halted ESPN programming just before kickoff Thursday night.

Tweeted one UF supporter: “Gator fans thought their biggest challenge would be Utah. Nope, Spectrum versus ESPN.”

Memo to those Gator fans who didn’t get to see the game: Consider yourself lucky. The Gators, quite frankly, were discombobulated. They converted only 1-of-13 thrid downs and were penalty-prone, mistake-marred and even had two players on the field wearing the same number at one point. The good news: New quarterback Graham Mertz, the Wisconsin transfer, threw for 333 yards and the Gators actually outgained the Utes 346-270.

It was UF’s first non-conference road game outside Florida’s borders since a 38-21 loss to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome in 1991. It should be noted that those ’91 Gators were coached by UF legend Steve Spurrier and went on to win the school’s first official Southeastern Conference title.

I’m certainly not suggesting that Billy Napier’s Gators will recover from Thursday night’s ugly loss and unseat two-time defending national champion Georgia as SEC champions. I’m just pointing out that early season, nonconference games are often inconsequential.

Even Sunday night’s mega-matchup between No. 5-ranked LSU and No. 8 FSU at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium, which will probably go down as the best nonconference matchup of the season, does not have monumental ramifications. The fact is, whichever team loses still has a chance to run the table, win their conference and likely advance into the College Football Playoff.

But I digress.

Obviously — unlike FSU and LSU — UCF and Florida aren’t considered playoff contenders this season, but my point is that their season openers will have little bearing on the rest of the season.

UCF almost always opens with a nonconference cupcake such as Kent State, which is why the Knights haven’t lost an opener since the winless 2015 season. Coaches like Gus Malzahn love these types of season openers because it gives their team a chance to entertain fans, gain some confidence and iron out the wrinkles before the real season begins next week at Boise State; and then the Big 12 opener against defending conference champion Kansas State in three weeks.

It’s always nice when your offense can gain 723 yards and your quarterback is able to pass for nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns and run for nearly 100 yards and another TD as John Rhys Plumlee did Thursday night. It was just the type of performance UCF fans wanted to see in the Knights’ first game as a Big 12 member.

But this was certainly not a Big 12 opponent. Let’s not forget what happened last season. JRP looked phenomenal in the 56-10 victory against South Carolina State, throwing for 308 yards and four touchdowns and running for 100 yards and another TD. The following week against ACC opponent Louisville, JRP didn’t even complete 50 percent of his passes, threw for only 131 yards and no TDs and the Knights lost 20-14.

That’s why I think it’s laughable when anybody tries to make a determination about a college football program after the first game. For instance, ESPN’s Booger McFarland went on social media earlier this week and suggested that Florida’s game against Utah was the biggest game of Billy Napier’s career.

“Feels like [Utah] is the most important game in the Billy Napier era so far,” McFarland tweeted. “Win and everyone starts to forget about last year. Lose and last year gets compounded.”

Puh-leeze, Booger, you should know better.

Are you that shortsighted?

Can’t you even remember what happened last season?

The Gators beat No. 7 Utah 29-26 in an epic battle at the Swamp and went from an off-the-radar unranked team to No. 12 in the country. Napier was suddenly portrayed as the savior of the program and inexperienced quarterback Anthony Richardson was being talked about as a Heisman Trophy frontrunner. Richardson made several jaw-dropping plays, running 11 times for 106 yards and three touchdowns and throwing the ball efficiently (17 of 24) and accurately.

After the game a year ago, McFarland tweeted, “Billy Napier is a really, really good coach.”

The following week, the Gators lost to Kentucky with Richardson running six times for four yards and completing only 14-of-35 passes with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

Back to life, back to reality.

The Gators finished 6-7 with impatient fans grousing and grumbling about Napier.

Those same fans were no doubt grumbling even louder Thursday night.

Yes, Florida fans should be disappointed after the sloppy loss to Utah.

And, yes, UCF fans should be happy about the lopsided victory over Kent State.

Just remember that what happened on Thursday night is relatively meaningless in the grand scheme of a college football season.

Email me at mbianchi@orlandosentinel.com. Hit me up on X (formerly Twitter) @BianchiWrites and listen to my Open Mike radio show every weekday from 6 to 9:30 a.m. on FM 96.9, AM 740 and HD 101.1-2


Mistake-prone Gators flop in season opener at No. 14 Utah

Thu, 08/31/2023 - 20:15

SALT LAKE CITY —Florida football’s second season under Billy Napier began like the first one ended, with a decisive defeat and a Pac-12 school humbling a big-name SEC foe.

The Gators were no match for an undermanned Utah squad during a 24-11 loss Thursday night in Salt Lake City — UF’s first game since a 30-3 loss to Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Florida (0-1) allowed a 70-yard touchdown pass on the game’s first play, briefly regrouped but ultimately was undone by legion mental errors, poor offensive line play and the inability to execute at critical times. 

“I feel like we’re in the fight and we made tons of mistakes,” Napier said. “The first thing I told the team after the game is that execution wins. It’s simple. If we do what we’re supposed to do at times, we’re right in the game.”

No. 14 Utah (1-0) was without four of its top players, including star quarterback Cam Rising, yet was in command most of the night. A 19-yard touchdown catch by Caleb Douglas with 9:22 remaining was UF’s first touchdown in more than seven quarters but not enough during the Gators’ fourth straight loss.

Florida coach Billy Napier looks at the scoreboard in dismay during the first half of the Gators’ 24-11 loss at Utah. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

Barring considerable improvement and with one of the nation’s most difficult schedules ahead, the Gators face the prospect of three straight losing seasons for the first time since the 1950s.

Napier and his players vow to learn from their miscues at Utah and not let 2023 become another lost season.

“One thing I know about this group is that we’ve worked hard on building some intangibles,” Napier said. “Already I can see that this group will respond the right way. Our team will respond the right way and I’m confident in that.”

Critical penalties, especially in the red zone, cost UF dearly. 

A delay of game on the Utah 15-yard line and false start on the 9 on 4th-and-1 in the second quarter ended with a missed field goal from 31 yards by Adam Mihalek. The Gators also came away without points after an illegal formation on 3rd-and-1 on the Utes’ 13 during the third quarter.

Florida ended the night converting just 1 of 13 times on third down.

“There were a lot of plays where we shot ourselves in the foot offensively,” quarterback Graham Mertz said. 

Utah wide receiver Money Parks (10) celebrates with Miki Suguturaga (47) after scoring on a 70-yard touchdown catch against Florida. (Rick Bowmer/AP)

Alabama transfer right tackle Damieon George committed three penalties, including the 4th-and-1 false start, on a night when UF’s rebuilt offensive line experienced plenty of growing pains. 

Veteran center Kingsley Eguakun, the only returning starter, was out with a right foot injury.

Mertz was sacked five times, but still maintained his composure much of the night to finish 31 of 44 for 333 yards, the Wisconsin transfer’s first 300-yard game in 33 career starts.

Meanwhile, the Gators’ run game, the backbone of last season’s offense, managed just 61 yards on 15 attempts, not including sacks and a kneel down.

“I was pleased with Graham,” Napier said. “There were a handful of plays that he would like to have back. For the most part out there, the guy was doing what we want him to do. The ball was going where we wanted it to go.”

The Utes’ Keanu Tanuvasa sacks Graham Mertz during the fist half of Thursday night’s game in Salt Lake City. (Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

UF’s other major gaffe occurred on a rare, bizarre and costly penalty call when cornerback Jason Marshall and wide receiver Eugene Wilson III were on the field at the same time after the Gators forced a punt. 

The ensuing 5-yard penalty gave Utah a first down. The Utes scored three plays later on a 27-yard touchdown run by third-string quarterback Nate Johnson.

“We’ve got to communicate that better,” Napier said. “There’s no question that’s another thing that we control that we didn’t do the right way.”

Little went right Thursday night at Utah.

UF delivered a hard-fought, emotional and head-turning upset of the Utes during Napier’s debut last season. These Gators featured 18 new starters and dozens of newcomers compared with the squad that upset the Utes 29-26 in the Swamp to open the 2022 season.

Florida coach Billy Napier didn’t like much of what he saw on a replay of a Utah touchdown during the Gators’ 24-11 loss Thursday at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. (Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

Florida failed to build on the momentum, losing four of five games to Power 5 foes en route to a 6-7 finish.

Following the rematch, the Gators left Salt Lake City with little to build on and searching for answers.

“We’re going to learn from it. When we get back to Gainesville watching the good, bad and ugly,” said sophomore linebacker Shemar James, who finished with 13 tackles. “There’s a lot of things and a lot of plays out there that we can correct and just get better at. That’s what it is.”

Edgar Thompson can be reached at egthompson@orlandosentinel.com

UCF’s John Rhys Plumlee sparks Knights to blowout win over Kent State

Thu, 08/31/2023 - 19:29

It was far from a perfect performance, but UCF was efficient in its season-opener, rolling past Kent State 56-6 Thursday night at FBC Mortgage Stadium.

The win was perfect for the Knights to start their first season in the Big 12.

Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee accounted for four touchdowns but had three turnovers as UCF (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) amassed 723 yards of offense against the Golden Flashes (0-1, 0-0 MAC). It was the most yards in a game since the Knights totaled 737 yards against Temple on Oct. 13.

“I did some good, did some bad,” said Plumlee. “I’ve got to clean up turnovers. That’s the big thing that sticks out to me.”

Plumlee finished 22 of 30 for 281 yards with three TDs while adding 90 yards rushing and a touchdown.

“He’s electric with his feet, and early on he did some things that made two or three people miss and he made some explosive runs,” said UCF coach Gus Malzahn. “He got in a rhythm throwing the football but got a little greedy at the end.”

It was the eighth consecutive season-opening win for the Knights, who last lost an opener in 2015.

Former TE Michael Colubiale joins UCF radio broadcast crew

Tailback Johnny Richardson had 100 of the team’s 389 rushing yards as eight players carried the ball. The 8.5 yards per carry average is a single-season school record.

UCF was 35.5-point favorites heading into the game and the Knights didn’t disappoint, building a 25-point advantage at the half before cruising to their largest win since a 62-0 win against Florida A&M in the 2019 opener.

The defense held Kent State in check, holding the Golden Flashes to 240 yards of total offense.

Defensive tackle Lee Hunter led the Knights with eight tackles, while senior defensive end Josh Celiscar finished with seven, including a team-high 1.5 tackles for loss.

“What feels best is gaining momentum,” said Celiscar. “Now, we have a lot of confidence going into the next game. The offense had a great game and we had a great game. Now we’re ready to play Boise State and do great things.”

UCF has nine days before traveling to Boise State to face the Broncos on Sept. 9 in what is expected to be a crucial early-season nonconference showdown. BSU was picked to win the Mountain West Conference with 14 starters returning from a team that finished 10-4.

The Knights plan to utilize the additional time off.

UCF focuses on finding ways to win close games in more competitive Big 12

“[Friday], our guys will come in and we’ll watch the film,” said Malzahn. “We’ll clean some things up and it gives us a chance to recruit. They’re one of the top 25-30 teams in the country. We’ve got to go there on the blue turf, so we’ll have our hands full with that one. Having leisure time with help.”

Added senior tight end Alec Holler: “I’ll be watching that game [Boise State vs. No. 10 Washington] and you always love to watch your opponent. It’s nice to play on Thursday and have a little bit more time to rest, recover and be able to look at the other team, so it’s an asset for us.”

The Knights open their Big 12 schedule on the road against Kansas State on Sept. 23.

Email Matt Murschel at mmurschel@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on X at @osmattmurschel.

Canada issues US travel advisory warning LGBTQ+ community about laws that may affect them

Thu, 08/31/2023 - 19:26

By ROB GILLIES (Associated Press)

TORONTO (AP) — Canada this week updated its travel advisory to the U.S., warning members of the LGBTQ+ community that some American states have enacted laws that may affect them.

The country’s Global Affairs department did not specify which states, but is advising travelers to check the local laws for their destination before traveling.

“Since the beginning of 2023, certain states in the U.S. have passed laws banning drag shows and restricting the transgender community from access to gender-affirming care and from participation in sporting events,” Global Affairs spokesman Jérémie Bérubé said Thursday in an emailed statement.

“Outside Canada, laws and customs related to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics can be very different from those in Canada,” the statement added. “As a result, Canadians could face certain barriers and risks when they travel outside Canada.”

Bérubé said no Canadians in the U.S. have complained to Global Affairs of how they were treated or kept from expressing their opinions about LGBTQ+ issues.

The Human Rights Campaign — the largest U.S.-based organization devoted to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans — in June declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the U.S.

The NAACP in May issued a travel advisory for Florida warning potential tourists about recent laws and policies championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, including bills that ban gender-affirming care for minors, target drag shows, restrict discussion of personal pronouns in schools and force people to use certain bathrooms.

In Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders this year signed a law prohibiting transgender people at public schools from using the restroom that matches their gender identity. Similar laws have been enacted in states such as Alabama, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Asked about the travel advisory change this week, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said travel advisories issued by Global Affairs Canada are based on advice from professionals in the department whose job it is to monitor for particular dangers.

“Every Canadian government needs to put at the center of everything we do the interests — and the safety — of every single Canadian and every single group of Canadians,” Freeland said.

She did not say whether her government had discussed the matter with its U.S. counterpart.

“It sounds like virtue-signaling by Global Affairs,” said Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor emeritus at the University of Toronto.

“In no U.S. state, to my knowledge, has any government charged or discriminated against an LGBTQ+ traveler because of their sexual identity or orientation. This all strains the credibility of the department,” he added.

David Mulroney, Canada’s former ambassador to China, also criticized the advisory.

“Travel advisories are meant to highlight things that threaten the safety of Canadian travelers, not things the govt and its supporters disagree with. It’s about danger signaling, not virtue signaling,” Mulroney tweeted.

Helen Kennedy, the executive director of Egale Canada, an LGBTQ+ rights group in Toronto, commended the Canadian government for putting out the advisory.

“There are 500 anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation making their way through various state legislatures at the moment,” Kennedy said. “It’s not a good image on the U.S.”

Kennedy also said Canada needs to take a serious look at how safe LGBTQ+ communities are in Canada as similar policies have been recently enacted in the provinces of Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, which now require parental consent when children under 16 years old want to use different names or pronouns at school.

Chisholm’s three-run homer helps Marlins defeat Nationals to get back to .500

Thu, 08/31/2023 - 18:47

WASHINGTON — Jazz Chisholm Jr. hit a three-run homer, and the Miami Marlins defeated the Washington Nationals 6-1 on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series.

Jake Burger added his 28th home run of the season for Miami, which climbed back to .500 after losing eight of 10. The Marlins (67-67) entered three games behind San Francisco for the NL’s final wild card.

“We knew coming into this series it was big, and now we’re flipping the page on August and going into September tomorrow,” Burger said. “Obviously, from here on out, every single game is huge.”

Braxton Garrett (8-5) and three relievers combined on a three-hitter.

Miami’s Luis Arraez singled twice, raising his major league-leading average to .349. With his 47th multihit game, Arraez tied Seattle’s Julio Rodríguez for third, trailing Atlanta’s Ronald Acuña Jr. at 57 and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman at 54.

Washington lost for the fourth time in five games. The Nationals went 17-11 in August, their first winning month this season.

Garrett (8-5) allowed one run and three hits over six innings. The Marlins are 19-7 in the left-hander’s starts this season.

JT Chargois, Steven Okert and A.J. Puk each followed with a hitless inning. Miami pitchers struck out just two, matching their season low of Aug. 14 against Houston. The two strikeouts by Nationals batters was the team’s fewest since Aug. 4 last year at Philadelphia.

Joan Adon (2-1) yielded Josh Bell’s single leading off the fifth and hit Burger with a sinkerball. Chisholm drove a curveball into the Nationals’ bullpen in right for a 5-0 lead.

“He threw me a really good changeup the pitch before, so I was sitting on changeup,” Chisholm said. “He hung a curveball. I can hit a curveball that’s right down the middle, so it was there and I took it for a ride.”

Adon surrendered five runs in five innings. While he only walked one, Adon threw two wild pitches and hit two batters.

“He just couldn’t repeat his mechanics,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “His arm was lagging a little bit on some pitches. That’s why I think he got a little wild. We’ll get it back and get him squared away.”

Burger homered in the ninth against Joe La Sorsa, who was recalled from Triple-A Rochester.

Miami took the lead on Bryan De La Cruz’s RBI double in the first and added a run on Arraez’s double-play grounder in the fourth.

Washington scored on CJ Abrams’ sacrifice fly in the fifth.


Marlins: OF Jorge Soler (right hip tightness) was out of the lineup for the second day in a row. … X-rays were negative on LHP Andrew Nardi, who left Wednesday’s game against Tampa Bay after taking a line drive off his hand. “That ball was hit very hard and it wasn’t a glancing blow,” manager Skip Schumaker said. “It hit him. The fact we’re not losing him for an IL stint, we feel very lucky.” … RHP Sixto Sánchez (shoulder) had a 20-pitch live batting practice session Thursday and is scheduled to throw again Tuesday.

Nationals: OF Lane Thomas was scratched from the lineup with back tightness. … Washington placed LHP MacKenzie Gore on the bereavement list. … RHP Tanner Rainey recorded two outs Thursday in a rehabilitation assignment appearance for Rochester, the first time he has pitched on back-to-back days since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. … RHP Thaddeus Ward (shoulder) threw a bullpen session Thursday. He is scheduled to pitch again Tuesday.


Marlins: RHP Eury Perez (5-4, 2.68 ERA) is 1-0 with an 0.82 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 11 innings in two starts against Washington as a rookie.

Nationals: RHP Jake Irvin (3-5, 4.30) has a 1.45 ERA over 18 2/3 innings in his last three starts, each of which resulted in a no-decision.

Week 2 high school football scoreboard

Thu, 08/31/2023 - 18:13


Palm Beach Central 37, Boca Raton 21

Forest Hill 41, Suncoast 6

Olympic Heights 46, John I. Leonard 16

Cardinal Newman 41, Belen Jesuit 0

Coral Springs Charter 24, Pembroke Pines Charter 22

University School 58, Pine Crest 14

Palm Beach Lakes 24, Port St. Lucie 0

Martin County 42, Wellington 13

Seminole Ridge 27, Royal Palm Beach 0

Tradition Prep 36, Jupiter Christian 27


American Heritage-Delray at Westminster Academy

Archbishop McCarthy at North Broward Prep

Atlantic at Monarch

Avant Garde Academy at Westminster Christian

Blanche Ely at Cypress Bay

Calvary Christian at John Carroll

Coconut Creek at Gainesville (Georgia)

Chaminade-Madonna at Cardinal Gibbons

Deerfield Beach at Coral Glades

Dillard at Naples

Flanagan at McArthur

Fort Lauderdale at Hallandale

Fort Myers at St. Thomas Aquinas

Hollywood Hills at Dr. Joaquín García

Nova at Cooper City

Piper at Coral Springs

Plantation at Stranahan

Somerset Academy at Ransom Everglades

Somerset Key at Spanish River

Somerset Prep at SLAM Academy

South Broward at Everglades

Taravella at South Plantation

Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville) at American Heritage

West Broward at Mainland

American Heritage-Delray at Westminster Academy

Atlantic at Monarch

Dwyer at Jensen Beach

Glades Central at King’s Academy

Glades Day at Somerset Canyons

Hollywood Hills at Dr. Joaquín García

Jupiter at Park Vista

Oxbridge Academy at Berean Christian

Pahokee at Inlet Grove

Palm Beach Christian Prep at Lake Highland Prep

Palm Beach Gardens at Vero Beach

Santaluces at Boynton Beach

SmartEn Sports Academy at Boca Raton Christian

Somerset Key at Spanish River

Somerset Prep at SLAM Academy

St. Andrew’s at St. John Paul II

West Boca Raton at Lake Worth

Election workers have gotten death threats and warnings they will be lynched, the US government says

Thu, 08/31/2023 - 18:00


WASHINGTON (AP) — More than a dozen people nationally have been charged with threatening election workers by a Justice Department unit trying to stem the tide of violent and graphic threats against people who count and secure the vote.

Government employees are being bombarded with threats even in normally quiet periods between elections, secretaries of state and experts warn. Some point to former President Donald Trump and his allies repeatedly and falsely claiming the 2020 election was stolen and spreading conspiracy theories about election workers. Experts fear the 2024 election could be worse and want the federal government to do more to protect election workers.

The Justice Department created the Election Threats Task Force in 2021 led by its public integrity section, which investigates election crimes. John Keller, the unit’s second in command, said in an interview with The Associated Press that the department hoped its prosecutions would deter others from threatening election workers.

“This isn’t going to be taken lightly. It’s not going to be trivialized,” he said. “Federal judges, the courts are taking misconduct seriously and the punishments are going to be commensurate with the seriousness of the conduct.”

Two more men pleaded guilty Thursday to threatening election workers in Arizona and Georgia in separate cases. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department would keep up the investigations, adding, “A functioning democracy requires that the public servants who administer our elections are able to do their jobs without fearing for their lives.”

The unit has filed 14 cases and two have resulted in yearslong prison sentences, including a 2 1/2-year sentence Monday for Mark Rissi, an Iowa man charged with leaving a message threatening to “lynch” and “hang” an Arizona election official. He had been “inundated with misinformation” and now “feels horrible” about the messages he left, his lawyer Anthony Knowles said.

A Texas man was given 3 1/2 years earlier this month after suggesting a “mass shooting of poll workers and election officials” last year, charges stated. In one message, the Justice Department said, the man wrote: “Someone needs to get these people AND their children. The children are the most important message to send.” His lawyer did not return a message seeking comment.

One indictment unveiled in August was against a man accused of leaving an expletive-filled voicemail after the 2020 election for Tina Barton, a Republican who formerly was the clerk in Rochester Hills, Michigan, outside Detroit. According to the indictment, the person vowed that “a million plus patriots will surround you when you least expect it” and “we’ll … kill you.”

Barton said it was just one of many threats that left her feeling deeply anxious.

“I’m really hopeful the charges will send a strong message, and we won’t find ourselves in the same position after the next election,” she said.

Normally, the periods between elections are quiet for the workers who run voting systems around the U.S. But for many, that’s no longer true, said Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat who has pushed back against conspiracy theories surrounding elections.

“I anticipate it will get worse as we end this year and go into the presidential election next year,” Griswold said.

Griswold said the threats come in “waves,” usually following social media posts by prominent figures about false claims the 2020 election was stolen or blog posts on far-right websites. While the nation is more informed about the threats to election workers, she worries that there haven’t been enough prosecutions and states haven’t taken enough action to protect workers.

“Do we have the best tools to get through the next period of time? Absolutely not,” Griswold said.

Election officials note that there have been thousands of threats nationwide yet relatively few prosecutions. They say they understand the high bar to actually prosecute a case but that more could be done.

Liz Howard, a former Virginia election official now at the Brennan Center for Justice’s elections and government program, called on the Justice Department to hire a senior adviser with existing relationships with election officials to improve outreach.

About 1 in 5 election workers know someone who left their election job for safety reasons and 73% of local election officials said harassment has increased, according to a Brennan Center survey published in April.

The task force has reviewed more than 2,000 reports of threats and harassment across the country since its inception, though most of those cases haven’t brought charges from prosecutors who point to the high legal bar set by the Supreme Court for criminal prosecution. Communication must be considered a “true threat,” one that crosses a line to a serious intent to hurt someone, in order to be a potential crime rather than free speech, Keller said.

“We are not criminalizing or frankly discouraging free speech by actions that we’re taking from a law enforcement perspective,” he said.

The task force’s work is unfolding at a time when Trump and other Republicans have accused the Biden administration of using the Justice Department to target political opponents, although the task force itself hasn’t been targeted publicly by Republicans.

Many GOP leaders have sharply criticized the federal prosecutions of Trump and of rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and Trump himself faces a federal indictment in Washington, D.C., and a state indictment in Georgia over his efforts to overturn 2020 election results. He has denied wrongdoing and said he was acting within the law. A series of federal and state investigations and dozens of lawsuits have not uncovered any evidence the election was rigged.

Trump is the front-runner for the GOP nomination for president in 2024 and continues in his speeches and online posts to argue the 2020 election was rigged.

For many election workers, the threats have been a major driving factor to leave the job, hollowing out the ranks of experience ahead of 2024, said Dokhi Fassihian, the deputy chief of strategy and program at Issue One, a nonpartisan reform group representing election officials.

About 1 in 5 election officials in 2024 will have begun service after the 2020 election, the Brennan Center survey found.

“Many are deciding it’s just not worth it to stay,” Fassihian said.


Cassidy reported from Atlanta. AP Director of Public Opinion Research Emily Swanson in Washington contributed to this report.

Trump pleads not guilty in Georgia election subversion case, seeks to sever his case from others

Thu, 08/31/2023 - 17:54

By KATE BRUMBACK (Associated Press)

ATLANTA (AP) — Former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on Thursday and sought to sever his case from some other defendants who are accused along with him of illegally trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee had set arraignment hearings on Sept. 6 for Trump and the 18 others charged in the case. Trump’s court filing entering a not guilty plea also waived arraignment, meaning he won’t have to show up for that.

The decision to skip an in-person appearance averts the dramatic arraignments that have accompanied the three other criminal cases Trump faces, in which the Republican former president has been forced amid tight security into a courtroom and entered “not guilty” pleas before crowds of spectators. Georgia courts have fairly permissive rules on news cameras in the courtroom, and this means Trump won’t have to enter a plea on television.

McAfee said Thursday that he planned to allow live-streaming of the trial on a Fulton County-provided YouTube channel. He said he would also allow video and photographs to be shot by press pool members.

Trump and 18 others were charged earlier this month in a 41-count indictment that outlines an alleged scheme to subvert the will of Georgia voters who had chosen Democrat Joe Biden over the Republican incumbent in the presidential election.

An attorney for Trump also asked McAfee on Thursday to separate his case from those of defendants who have asked for an expedited trial. The judge has already set an Oct. 23 trial date for one of those defendants. Giving the former president less than two months to prepare a defense against a 98-page indictment would “violate President Trump’s federal and state constitutional rights to a fair trial and due process of law,” attorney Steve Sadow said in a court filing.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has said she wants all of the defendants tried together. After one defendant filed a demand for a speedy trial, she asked the judge to set an Oct. 23 trial date for everyone.

Thursday’s developments add to the pre-trial legal jousting that has dominated the two weeks since the indictment was brought, underscoring the complexities inherent in attempting to bring 19 defendants to trial at once — including an ex-president — and foreshadowing the delays ahead as judges sift through competing arguments from the defendants.

Jenna Ellis, an attorney who prosecutors say was involved in efforts to persuade state lawmakers to unlawfully appoint presidential electors, also pleaded not guilty and waived arraignment Thursday.

Three other people charged in the indictment had already waived arraignment in filings with the court, saving them a repeat trip to Atlanta after they all turned themselves in at the Fulton County Jail last week. Trump surrendered at the jail on Aug. 24, where he became the first former president to have a mug shot taken.

The case, filed under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, is sprawling, and the logistics of bringing it to trial are likely to be complicated.

At least two defendants have filed demands for a speedy trial and have asked to be tried separately from others in the case. The judge set an Oct. 23 trial date for one of them, Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer who worked on the coordination and execution of a plan to have 16 Georgia Republicans sign a certificate falsely stating that Trump won the state and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors.

Some of the others charged are trying to move their cases to federal court. A judge on Monday heard arguments on such a request by former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, but the judge did not immediately rule.

Trump, the front-runner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, has criticized the cases against him as part of a politically motivated attempt to keep him from winning back the White House.


Associated Press writers Sudhin Thanawala in Atlanta and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.

Dave Hyde: It’s not as easy as Messi’s made it look, as this night showed

Wed, 08/30/2023 - 21:15

FORT LAUDERDALE — Wednesday translated the spectacle of Lionel Messi’s past month. It framed the magic that started with the last-breath goal in his first Inter Miami game right through the visionary pass that led to his give-and-goal that his coach replayed 10 times to unravel how he did it.

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None of that happened Wednesday night. Nothing happened, really.

“Frustrating,’’ was the word Inter Miami defender Kamal Miller kept reaching for in explaining the 0-0 tie with Nashville.

This night showed everything Messi has done hasn’t been quite as easy as he’s made it look. Miss a pass by a half-step, as happened, and the play was lost. A teammate run out of sync with his thinking and, again, the play is lost.

His shots were blocked, tipped, missed by degrees or in the case after a slippery move to shake free in the final minute his hard shot from the right side resulted in a kick save by Nashville goalie Elliot Panicco. The spectacular didn’t happen for once. It offered the prism how rare the run of nine wins was since he came to Inter Miami with Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.

A week ago, Inter Miami dismantled Nashville to win the Leagues Cup trophy that was paraded around the field in a pregame ceremony. Not bad, huh? From the worst in American soccer pre-Messi to the best in a two-country tournament with him and his friends, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba?

Inter Miami took that trophy and Nashville took a certain lesson from its 4-1 loss. It’s can’t compete squarely with Inter Miami anymore. So, It played a defensive, stiflingly boring game in Wednesday’s rematch. Clogged the front of the goal with defenders. Sent players on offense only on counter-attacks.

That’s how respect is shown in soccer.

“They sat back with nine or 10 guys at a time, pretty frustrating, but we have to get used to it,” said Miller, who saved a certain goal with a second-half block. “It’s the first time a team did that to us so blatantly That’s probably what most teams are going to do against us now.

“We have to come up with more ways as a team to break the opponent down when they’re sitting on the low block and move the ball faster and not just depend on Leo.”

Messi is a lot of things: creative, elusive, opportunistic and dramatic. But the more understated trait he brings seems to be a sensitivity to building a team. The stories of his joining teammates’ phone chats, or talks with players, show he understands the need to make this a collective idea.

Pro sports doesn’t lend itself to child development, but that’s what the team’s elite-level imports helped to do in turning around an Inter Miami team that hadn’t won in 11 games before they arrived. There always was talent. Midfielder Benjamin Cremaschi, 18, and goalie Drake Callender were called up Wednesday to the U.S. national team.

The team concept, the one they’re still working on, is ever evolving against the likes of Nashville’s game-clogging strategy. Inter Miami had chances. Messi sent Alba in alone, for a lost second, on goal in the first half. He then found Robert Taylor twice out front with passes that couldn’t be converted into good shots.

Messi was pulled down outside the penalty box resulting in his direct kick in the 56th minute. His direct kick deflected off the Nashville wall of players. It happened again, from a little further out, in the 82nd minute.

And so Wednesday went. No goals. No magic. No win for the first time in his 10 Inter Miami games. And yes, that matters, as Miami tries to climb into the MLS playoff race. It also matters because Messi won’t win America by charismatic force of personality, considering he hasn’t shown any in the sole news conference he’s given (he again didn’t speak after Wednesday’s game).

He’s winning the old-fashioned way: By winning. And he’s won plenty until Wednesday’s tie. Even that offered a prism of perspective of this first month. It’s not as easy as it’s looked, especially when a team respects you so much it only thinks defense.


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