Month: June 2019

100 3-Pointers | Stephen Curry is FIRST in NBA Finals History with 100 3PM

In Game 1 of 2019 NBA Finals, Stephen Curry became the first player in NBA Finals history to make 100 career threes. He currently stands at 102 3PM.

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US officials to put off oil leases near sacred tribal land
By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN | Wed, May 29, 2019 04:44 EDT
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has agreed to put off oil and gas leasing for a year on land that Native Americans consider sacred surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park in northwestern New Mexico.
The decision comes after Bernhardt visited the site Tuesday and met with leaders of the Navajo Nation and Pueblo tribes that have been fighting to protect culturally significant sites beyond the park, with its stone structures that were used by an ancient civilization.
The area has been central to an ongoing dispute over drilling in the San Juan Basin in northwestern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado, one of the nation’s oldest production areas.
A coalition of tribes has called repeatedly for a moratorium on energy development, while members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation have introduced legislation to officially create a buffer zone within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of the park.
Advocates welcomed Bernhardt’s decision, but some cautioned that it was a stop-gap measure. They argued for passing the legislation, which they say would protect the area’s archaeological and sensitive landscapes by halting new oil and natural gas lease sales on federal holdings within the buffer zone.
The delay on leasing will give the U.S. Bureau of Land Management time to finish drafting an updated management plan to guide energy development on federal land across the region. Bernhardt requested that the plan include an alternative that reflects tribal leaders’ views and the boundaries sought by lawmakers.
“I walked away with a greater sense of appreciation of the magnificent site managed by the National Park Service and a better understanding of the tribal leaders’ views of its cultural significance,” Bernhardt said after his visit.
The Bureau of Land Management in recent years has put off leasing parcels within the buffer zone, but most of that area is Navajo land and individual Navajo allotments. The legislation would not affect mineral rights on that land, meaning development would still be possible.
The 328 square miles (850 square kilometers) of allotted land has 628 oil and gas leases, according to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. In the last fiscal year, the agency said it paid out $32 million to those with land rights.
Robert McEntyre, a spokesman for the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, said Wednesday that the industry has been operating in the basin for nearly a century and has become an integral part of the economy.
“Whatever BLM decides to do, it’s our hope that they’ll balance what they’re hearing from some of the anti-oil groups with what they’re hearing from residents who actually live in that area and their desire to see some economic growth,” he said.
Bernhardt acknowledged during his visit that the Bureau of Land Management has a “complex mission” of managing a range of land uses.
A thousand years ago, Chaco had been an economic and ceremonial hub for the ancestors of Pueblo people, whose present-day villages are situated throughout much of New Mexico.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park’s stone walls, staircases and other architectural remnants stand against a backdrop of cliffs and rocky outcroppings. Smaller archaeological sites and individual Navajo Nation family allotments can be found beyond the park’s boundaries.
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This story has been corrected to show the park’s name was incorrect.

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Hundreds in shelters as record flooding hits Arkansas River
By HANNAH GRABENSTEIN | Thu, May 30, 2019 05:49 EDT
FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) — Temporary shelters were housing hundreds of people on Thursday following evacuations along the swollen Arkansas River, where officials kept a close eye on an aging levee system facing enormous pressure from enduring floodwaters.
The river held steady at record levels, offering little relief to areas enduring historic flooding. Hundreds of homes have been flooded so far in and around Fort Smith, Arkansas’ second-largest city, while nearly 1,100 homes have flooded across the Oklahoma border in Muskogee County, according to local emergency management officials.
“This has been massive for me. Totally devastating,” said Kenny Ward, a 53-year-old former Marine who sheltered with dozens of other flooded-out residents at the Evangel Temple Assembly of God Church in Fort Smith.
Ward said he had been living in a tent along an Arkansas River tributary before floodwaters forced him out a week ago. His tent, housing his clothing, medication, sleeping bag and birth certificate, was surrounded by waist-high water when he returned to the site three days ago.
Ward said he spent the next five days helping to fill sandbags for his neighbors who were trying to protect their homes.
Thomas Lindley said floodwaters reached the roof of his home three days ago in nearby Moffett, Oklahoma. Lindley said he doesn’t have flood insurance and didn’t know how he would recover.
“I’m just trying to get some relief aid or another job,” he said. “That’s all we can do.”
In nearby Van Buren, Arkansas, officials warned that a levee protecting a mostly rural area on the western edge of the state was “showing signs of significant leakage and deterioration.”
Crawford County Sheriff Ron Brown said an 80-foot-wide section of the levee slid down Tuesday morning, but workers were able to reinforce it to prevent the levee from being breached. Brown said the levee was still at risk of failing. If that happens, about 250 people and 150 structures would be at risk.
All other levees in Arkansas appeared to be in good shape as the river level remained at a historic crest Thursday, according to Col. Bob Dixon of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
But he said local officials should have a plan in place in case a levee fails, because the flooding was expected to persist for days — if not weeks.
“My concern is, they are designed for a temporary load and they are holding a lot more water than they have been tested on before,” Dixon said.
Meanwhile, portions of the raging river showed signs of receding upstream in northeastern Oklahoma as the Corps scaled back releases from a hydroelectric dam near Tulsa, about 104 miles (167 kilometers) northeast of Fort Smith.
Powerful storms that dropped more than 20 inches (51 centimeters) of rain on parts of the region over the past month have overwhelmed the Keystone Lake reservoir, which drains a watershed of about 22,000 square miles (57,000 square kilometers) in Oklahoma and Kansas.
Lt. Col. Adam Weece said releases from the dam into the swollen river have fallen from a high of 275,000 cubic feet (7,787 cubic meters) per second on Wednesday to 230,000 cubic feet (6,513 cubic meters) per second.
“We’ve been stepping down the release overnight. It’s a gradual process,” Weece said, noting that the Corps plans to reduce flow to 100,000 cubic feet (2831 cubic meters) per second by Tuesday.
The river’s level in Tulsa crested Wednesday afternoon and had fallen by almost 2 feet (0.61 meters) by Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday that more than 500 homes and thousands of acres of farmland have been affected by the flooding.
“When you see it from the air, the breadth of the flooding, you realize the historic area we’re in in terms of the Arkansas River,” the governor said at a news conference after viewing the flooding by helicopter with members of the state’s congressional delegation.
“We’ve never seen this before. We’ve never had to deal with this before, so there are a lot of unknowns,” the governor said.
At least one death in Arkansas has been blamed on the flooding. In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker activated the National Guard to respond to recent severe flooding there.

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Priest labeled as sexually violent admits Missouri crimes
By JIM SALTER | Thu, May 30, 2019 04:33 EDT
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The man who became the first U.S. priest to be labeled sexually violent for crimes in Illinois has admitting abusing two boys in Missouri.
Fred Lenczycki pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of sodomy for crimes that occurred in the early 1990s, when he was serving at a parish in north St. Louis County. Church and court files show that Lenczycki admitted abusing up to 30 boys in Illinois, Missouri and California over 25 years.
Lenczycki, now 74 and living in suburban Chicago, admitted in the latest case to grabbing the genitals of one boy and trying to force the other to expose himself. The crimes occurred from 1991 to 1994. Lenczycki was charged in February , and he is scheduled to be sentenced in August.
One of the Missouri victims, 38-year-old Ron Kanady, said Thursday that the guilty plea was vindication.
“I am so relieved that justice finally didn’t give up on me,” Kanady told The Associated Press. “For all those years, people looked the other way, it felt like. And now, finally, something’s being done.”
Lenczycki was removed from the ministry in 2002, when he was charged with sexually abusing three boys in the 1980s at a church in Hinsdale, Illinois. The Illinois victims told authorities “Father Fred” repeatedly molested them, often using the pretense of swaddling them in “Baby Jesus” costumes for pageants that never took place.
He pleaded guilty in 2004 and was sentenced to five years in prison. In 2008, a year before his release, he became the first U.S. priest to be labeled sexually violent when he was committed under Illinois’ Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act.
Lenczycki’s attorney, Matthew Radefeld, declined comment.
Victims of clergy sexual abuse have demanded more accountability and transparency from the Catholic church since last year, when a Pennsylvania report detailed seven decades of child sexual abuse by more than 300 predator priests. The Vatican convened a sexual abuse summit in February to hear the testimony of several victims.
In addition to the criminal cases, Lenczycki is named in several lawsuits.

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The Latest: Body believed to be missing Utah girl us found
Wed, May 29, 2019 07:28 EDT
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on a Utah man charged with killing his 5-year-old niece (all times local):
5:10 p.m.
Police say they have found a body believed to be a 5-year-old Utah girl taken from her home and killed by her uncle five days ago.
Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen said Wednesday that the body believed to be Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley was found in a heavily wooded area less than a block from her home.
Jensen said her 21-year-old uncle told his lawyer where the body was hidden. A positive identification is pending.
Jensen says prosecutors agreed to take the death penalty off the table in exchange for the map provided by suspect Alex Whipple.
The discovery came hours after Whipple was charged with aggravated murder, child kidnapping and other counts.
Whipple’s lawyer Shannon Demler says his client knows he did something inexcusable but wanted the family to find some kind of closure.
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3:15 p.m.
The grandfather of a Utah man charged with murder in the disappearance of his niece says his grandson had a sad childhood and many problems but never showed violent tendencies that would suggest he was capable of killing anyone.
Bill Whipple said Wednesday that the extended family is in shock about why 21-year-old Alex Whipple might have harmed 5-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley.
He says Alex Whipple’s mother left the family when he was young, leaving his father to raise three children alone while he worked as a truck driver.
He says Alex Whipple spent time in foster homes and didn’t graduate from high school.
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2:15 p.m.
A lawyer for a Utah man accused of killing his 5-year-old niece says his client has told police where the girl’s body is hidden.
Defense attorney Shannon Demler said Wednesday that 21-year-old Alex Whipple hid the body under trees and brush less than a block from the home of victim Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley.
Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen said the body has not yet been recovered.
However, he said officers have a “very credible tip” and are waiting for a crime-scene investigation team.
Demler says his client “did a bad thing” but wanted to help the child’s parents find closure. Police have been searching for the girl since she was reported missing Saturday.
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11:53 a.m.
The uncle of a missing 5-year-old Utah girl has been charged with murder as a search for the child stretches into a fifth day.
Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen said Wednesday that even though the body of Elizabeth “Lizzy” Shelley has not been found, her blood was located on a watch and a sweat shirt of her uncle, 21-year-old Alex Whipple.
Prosecutors say they also have a broken kitchen knife with the girl’s blood on it and her skirt, which was “hastily buried” near the family home.
Whipple was charged with aggravated murder, child kidnapping and desecration of a human body.
Investigators have been searching for the girl since Saturday. They say Whipple has not cooperated.
His attorney Shannon Demler did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

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7 dead, 21 missing after sightseeing boat sinks in Hungary
By PABLO GORONDI | Wed, May 29, 2019 09:42 EDT
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Seven people were confirmed dead and 21 remained missing early Thursday after a sightseeing boat carrying 33 South Korean passengers and two crew members collided with another vessel and sank in the Danube River in downtown Budapest.
Rescue officials said seven bodies had been recovered. Pal Gyorfi, spokesman for the National Ambulance Service, said seven people were rescued and hospitalized in stable condition following the accident Wednesday night.
National police spokesman Kristof Gal said 33 South Koreans were on the boat, after early reports mentioned 32. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry later confirmed that 33 of its citizens were on the boat and said 19 were still missing.
The two crew members were identified as Hungarian.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in instructed officials to employ “all available resources” to support the rescue efforts in Hungary.
Moon’s spokeswoman Ko Min-jung said in Seoul that Moon also ordered the launch of a government task force led by Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha to deal with the accident and maintain close communication with the family members of the South Korean passengers.
The sunken boat was located early Thursday near the Margit Bridge, not far from the neo-Gothic Parliament building on the river bank.
Employees from the South Korean Embassy in Budapest were assisting Hungarian officials in identifying those rescued and the deceased.
Officials said searchers were checking the Danube for miles downriver from Budapest. The river was fast-flowing and rising as heavy rain continued in the city.
Earlier, the news website Index.hu said one of those rescued was found near the Petofi Bridge, which is about 3 kilometers (2 miles) south of Parliament.
Dozens of rescue personnel, including from the military and divers, were involved in the search.
The boat that sank was identified as the “Hableany” (Mermaid), which is described on the sightseeing company’s website as “one of the smallest members of the fleet.” It has two decks and a capacity for 60 people, or 45 for sightseeing cruises.
Mihaly Toth, a spokesman for the Panorama Deck boating company, said the “Hableany” was on a “routine city sightseeing trip” when the accident happened. He told state television that he had no information about any technical problems with the boat, which he said was serviced regularly.
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Associated Press writers Kim Tong-hyung and Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.

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Girl believed to be tiniest newborn weighed as much as apple
By JULIE WATSON and JOHN ANTCZAK | Wed, May 29, 2019 09:57 EDT
SAN DIEGO (AP) — When she was born, the baby girl weighed about the same as an apple.
A San Diego hospital on Wednesday revealed the birth of the girl and said she is believed to be the world’s tiniest surviving micro-preemie, who weighed just 8.6 ounces (245 grams) when she was born in December.
The girl was born 23 weeks and three days into her mother’s 40-week pregnancy. Doctors told her father after the birth that he would have about an hour with his daughter before she died.
“But that hour turned into two hours, which turned into a day, which turned into a week,” the mother said in a video released by Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns.
More than five months have passed, and she has gone home as a healthy infant, weighing 5 pounds (2 kilograms).
The baby’s family gave permission to share the story but wanted to stay anonymous, the hospital said. They allowed the girl to go by the name that nurses called her: “Saybie.”
Her ranking as the world’s smallest baby ever to survive is according to the Tiniest Baby Registry maintained by the University of Iowa.
Dr. Edward Bell, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Iowa, said Saybie had the lowest medically confirmed birth weight submitted to the registry.
But “we cannot rule out even smaller infants who have not been reported to the Registry,” he said in an email to The Associated Press.
The hospital said the girl officially weighed 7 grams less than the previous tiniest baby, who was born in Germany in 2015.
In the video produced by the hospital, the mother described the birth as the scariest day of her life.
She said she was taken to the hospital after not feeling well and was told she had preeclampsia, a serious condition that causes skyrocketing blood pressure, and that the baby needed to be delivered quickly.
“I kept telling them she’s not going to survive, she’s only 23 weeks,” the mother said.
But she did. The tiny girl slowly gained weight in the neonatal intensive care unit.
A pink sign by her crib read “Tiny but Mighty.” Other signs kept track of her weight and cheered her on as the girl, whose birth weight compared to that of a hamster, gained pounds over the months.
“You could barely see her in the bed she was so tiny,” nurse Emma Wiest said in the video.
It shows photos of Saybie wearing a mint bow with white polka dots that covered her entire head, her tiny eyes peering out from under it.
Nurses put a tiny graduation cap on her when she left the unit.
The girl faces enormous challenges as a micro-preemie, who is an infant born before 28 weeks of gestation. Micro-preemies can experience vision and hearing problems, developmental issues and a host of other complications.
Many do not survive the first year, said Michelle Kling of the March of Dimes, a nonprofit that works to improve the health of mothers and babies.
So far Saybie has beaten the odds.
“She’s a miracle, that’s for sure,” said Kim Norby, another nurse featured in the video.
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Antczak reported from Los Angeles.

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South Africa’s president names Cabinet that is 50% women
By MOGOMOTSI MAGOME | Wed, May 29, 2019 05:00 EDT
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa’s president on Wednesday named a trimmed-down Cabinet that is 50% women, making the country’s one of few in the world to be “gender-balanced.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement followed similar moves by Ethiopia and Rwanda last year.
Ramaphosa cut the Cabinet from 36 ministers to 28 as he seeks to reduce the bloating under predecessor Jacob Zuma, who stepped down last year under pressure amid corruption allegations.
Fighting the corruption and mismanagement that has consumed billions of rand is the major issue facing the ruling African National Congress, whose election win this month was the weakest in its 25 years in power amid public frustration.
The ANC leadership still contains some Zuma allies, complicating Ramaphosa’s efforts at reforms aimed at restoring investor confidence in the economy, the most developed in sub-Saharan Africa.
Creating jobs is another immense challenge in a country where unemployment is over 25%, and where a growing youth population that never knew the harsh racial system of apartheid that ended in 1994 is restless for a better future.
“The people who I am appointing today must realize that the expectations of the South African people have never been greater and that they will shoulder a great responsibility,” Ramaphosa said in a national address that stressed the need for an “ethical” government.
South Africa’s new Cabinet retains Deputy President David Mabuza, who also has faced graft allegations but has denied wrongdoing. Also remaining are Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and public enterprises minster and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Both have been well-regarded.
The main opposition Democratic Alliance criticized the president for keeping Mabuza in what it called the first real test of Ramaphosa’s tough stance on corruption. “Unfortunately, Ramaphosa placed the internal factional interests of the ANC ahead of the interests of the people of South Africa,” the DA said in a statement.
Ramaphosa also included younger leaders in his Cabinet, notably former ANC Youth League deputy president Ronald Lamola as the minister of justice and correctional services. Another youth leader, Njabulo Nzuza, was appointed as deputy minister of home affairs.
One notable appointee in a Cabinet that Ramaphosa said was meant to reflect diversity was that of Patricia De Lille, a leader of the recently created opposition party GOOD, who will be public works and infrastructure minister. It was a rare instance of an opposition figure appointed as minister in South Africa.
A notable exclusion from the new Cabinet was former women’s minister Bathabile Dlamini, seen as a strong ally of former president Zuma.
On the sensitive issue of land reform to help address long-standing inequality , Ramaphosa grouped departments dealing with land and agriculture under one ministry to be led by respected former parliamentary chairwoman Thoko Didiza.
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Florida Cabinet meets in Israel despite illegality complaint
By BRENDAN FARRINGTON | Wed, May 29, 2019 07:10 EDT
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Gov. Ron DeSantis and the independently elected Florida Cabinet met in Israel on Wednesday, waving away complaints that the session violated open-government laws because it was held outside the state. They presented a proclamation of support for Israel and heard from Israelis on several issues important to Florida.
The Republican governor then signed a bill that prohibits anti-Semitism in Florida’s public schools and universities. The new law defines anti-Semitism as including “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis,” ”blaming Israel for all interreligious or political tensions,” or “requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.”
DeSantis called the meeting historic, but the open-government watchdog organization First Amendment Foundation and several news outlets sued in an effort to stop it, claiming it violated a state law that requires government meetings to be accessible to the public.
DeSantis didn’t acknowledge the lawsuit during the meeting, but quipped, “Since we’re in Jerusalem, we may actually get some interest in our Cabinet meetings for a change, which would be great.”
At an earlier briefing, he called the lawsuit “frivolous” and said the event was being livestreamed, “so it’s not being done in secret.”
A judge was asked Tuesday to stop the meeting, but the emergency motion was denied because lawyers for DeSantis and the three independently elected Cabinet members could not be served with court papers. First Amendment Foundation President Barbara Petersen said after the Cabinet meeting that she will still ask the judge to rule the meeting was a violation of law and ask for an order saying future meetings can’t be held out of state.
“Just don’t do this, that’s the point. Don’t do it,” Petersen said. “The issue is holding a Cabinet meeting somewhere other than Florida.”
The Cabinet is made up of Attorney General Ashley Moody, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. The meeting was part of a four-day trade mission to Israel. They heard from Israelis on issues also important to Florida, including maintaining a stable water supply, preparing emergency responses and terrorism.
The meeting was live-streamed by The FLORIDA Channel, a state-funded television station based in the Florida Capitol. It was broadcast in the Cabinet’s usual meeting room and accommodations were made in the event members of the public wanted to comment on the proceedings.
But the Cabinet room was largely empty beyond staff and reporters, and technical glitches hampered the broadcast.
The meeting opened with a prayer given by administrative law Judge Bob Cohen, who was in the Tallahassee meeting room. But the conference call dropped the connection in the middle of the prayer.
As staff tried to reconnect, they repeatedly punched in the wrong code number. DeSantis and the Cabinet sat waiting for a reconnection as an automated voice said over and over, in Tallahassee and Jerusalem, “I’m sorry, I did not recognize that conference code. Please try again.”
DeSantis then asked Patronis to say the prayer instead.
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This story has been edited to clarify in the first paragraph that the Cabinet is independently elected.

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Search on for survivors after small plane crashes in ocean
Wed, May 29, 2019 05:17 EDT
CAPE MAY, N.J. (AP) — The Coast Guard is searching for any survivors after a small plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off New Jersey.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the single-engine Mooney M20J crashed Wednesday morning about 1,200 feet (365 meters) from the Cape May Lighthouse.
State police say that the plane is in about 18 feet of water and that a recovery is being attempted.
Plane owner Lisa Campbell of Air-Mods Flight Training Center at the Trenton-Robbinsville airport says it left the airport, more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) from the crash site, around 8 a.m.
She says the male pilot’s credentials and the aircraft were “all in order.” She says the pilot was a regular customer who flew recreationally.
Police say it’s unclear whether there were any passengers.

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South Sudan struggles to increase oil production after war
By SAM MEDNICK | Wed, May 29, 2019 04:53 EDT
JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — Oil-rich South Sudan is struggling to increase production of crude several months after the end of its civil war, and the political upheaval in neighboring Sudan is in part to blame.
The signing of a peace deal in September helped open the way to resuming drilling in South Sudan’s key region of Unity state, but output has been more sluggish than expected in the country with Africa’s third-largest oil reserves .
“We had wanted to be farther along but it’s not an easy task,” the oil ministry’s director-general, Awow Daniel Chuang, told The Associated Press. That has hurt recovery from a five-year conflict that killed nearly 400,000 people. Billions of dollars in oil revenue were lost during the war as many oil rigs were shut down or destroyed.
Production in Unity state has increased to 175,000 barrels a day since September but is far from the target of 200,000 barrels. Before the civil war began in late 2013, production across the country had been about 350,000 barrels a day, according to the oil ministry.
Chuang attributed the slow recovery in part to technical challenges, the lack of funds for new machinery and fluctuating oil prices.
The surprise ouster of Sudan’s long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir in April also has complicated recovery. South Sudan and Sudan share an oil pipeline and other resources, and earlier this month South Sudan’s oil minister had to travel to Sudan to release materials stranded at Port Sudan, the sole port for South Sudan’s oil exports, because workers were busy protesting issues related to the post-Bashir transition.
Despite the obstacles, South Sudan’s government says it should come close to achieving its oil production target by year’s end when it expects all five rigs in Unity state to be operational. Three are now functional.
But industry experts say the reality on the ground has shocked potential investors and is starkly different from what the government is conveying, Shawn Duthie, senior analyst with Africa Risk Consulting, told the AP.
“Our in-country sources have said that oil production has not really increased in the north and that infrastructure in some parts of Unity state were almost non-existent,” Duthie said.
The International Monetary Fund, which visited South Sudan earlier this year, cited an increased daily oil production of about 20 percent. That contrasts the government’s numbers, which reflect twice that amount.
South Sudan’s oil ministry said it needs approximately $1.5 billion over the next five years to invest in updated equipment to extract more oil and map unexplored areas. Many of the country’s oil fields are old, which means they are producing more water than oil, the ministry said.
The government is reaching out to foreign investors. South Africa this month signed a $1 billion deal for oil exploration and production expected to begin this year.
South Sudan’s oil sector continues to face scrutiny by the international community as a “major driver” of violence and human suffering, according to a report by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan in February.
The sector is also accused by human rights groups, the U.N. Security Council and others of lacking transparency.
Earlier this month President Salva Kiir confirmed plans to allot 30,000 barrels of oil per day to fund a road construction project signed with China’s state-owned Shandong Hi-Speed Group. Instead of putting the oil money into South Sudan’s Central Bank, as stipulated by last year’s peace deal, the money is being deposited into a “special fund” in China to make the transfers easier, Information Minister Michael Makuei told the AP.
The deal is sounding “loud alarm bells” due to its lack of transparency and accountability, said Nelly Busingye, regional coordinator for east and southern Africa for Publish What You Pay, a global campaign for an open and accountable extractive industry.
“This is all the more alarming because in recent years oil revenue has been used to procure weapons, fund militias and line the pockets of those in power,” said Brian Adeba, deputy director of policy at the Enough Project, a Washington-based advocacy group.
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Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa

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2019 NBA Finals Game 1 Mini-Movie

In the first NBA Finals game outside the U.S., the Toronto Raptors take Game 1 in their NBA Finals debut 118-109 behind Pascal Siakam’s outstanding performance notching a 32 point career-high

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Mean Tweets – NBA Edition 2019

Sports fans are very passionate about their favorite teams and players. They love to love, and sometimes they love to hate. With that said, it’s time for the 2019 edition of #MeanTweets featuring Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal, Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Ballmer, Joel Embiid, Charles Barkley, Ben Simmons, Jrue Holiday, Paul George, Chris Bosh, Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker, Karl Anthony-Towns, Danny Green, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez. #Kimmel#GameNight #NBAFinals

Taron Egerton on Friendship with Elton John & Playing Him in Rocketman https://youtu.be/AEbBevuDslQ

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About Jimmy Kimmel Live:

Jimmy Kimmel serves as host and executive producer of Emmy-winning “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” ABC’s late-night talk show.

“Jimmy Kimmel Live” is well known for its huge viral video successes with 5.6 billion views on YouTube alone.
Some of Kimmel’s most popular comedy bits include – Mean Tweets, Lie Witness News, Jimmy’s Twerk Fail Prank, Unnecessary Censorship, YouTube Challenge, The Baby Bachelor, Movie: The Movie, Handsome Men’s Club, Jimmy Kimmel Lie Detective and music videos like “I (Wanna) Channing All Over Your Tatum” and a Blurred Lines parody with Robin Thicke, Pharrell, Jimmy and his security guard Guillermo.
Now in its seventeenth season, Kimmel’s guests have included: Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise, Halle Berry, Harrison Ford, Jennifer Aniston, Will Ferrell, Katy Perry, Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, George Clooney, Larry David, Charlize Theron, Mark Wahlberg, Kobe Bryant, Steve Carell, Hugh Jackman, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Bridges, Jennifer Garner, Ryan Gosling, Bryan Cranston, Jamie Foxx, Amy Poehler, Ben Affleck, Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Oprah, and unfortunately Matt Damon.

Mean Tweets – NBA Edition 2019

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Tour boat sinking revives memories of SKorea ferry disaster
By HYUNG-JIN KIM and KIM TONG-HYUNG | Fri, May 31, 2019 01:29 EDT
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The sinking of a boat carrying South Korean tourists in Hungary is touching a nerve in South Korea, where many are still traumatized over a 2014 ferry sinking that killed more than 300 people, mostly students. The grief is compounded by claims by some South Korean tour agents and travelers that there were past safety issues on the Danube River where the accident happened.
A total of 33 South Koreans were on the small boat enjoying the night view of Budapest on Wednesday evening despite a downpour. A preliminary investigation showed none was wearing a life jacket when the boat collided with a larger cruise ship on the river, according to the South Korean government and their tour agency in Seoul.
Nearly a day after the sinking, seven people had been confirmed dead on Thursday, seven had been rescued, and 19 South Koreans and two Hungarian crewmembers were listed as missing. Rescuers were scouring the Danube for miles (kilometers) downriver, but prospects for more rescues were dimming because the river was flowing rapidly and rising as heavy rain continued. The water temperature was about 10 to 12 degrees Celsius (50-53 degrees Fahrenheit).
While the exact cause of the collision still wasn’t known, some said there could have been a lack of safety awareness, as in the sinking of the ferry Sewol in South Korea five years ago that was blamed on a culture that has long sacrificed public safety standards for profit and convenience. The Sewol, which was overloaded with poorly secured cargo, sank while sailing to the southern South Korean resort island of Jeju, killing 305 people, including 250 high school students.
Lim KyoungJae, head of a Seoul-based travel agency who has taken South Korean tourists to Budapest about five times in recent years, said he would have seriously considered whether to go ahead with the boat tour in the strong rain.
“Heavy rain must have made the current of the river faster and caused low visibility,” Lim said. “If you don’t have a good night view, then you really don’t need to take a boat ride.”
Many sightseeing boats on the Danube turn their lights low to have a better night view of the city. If that was the case for the boat that capsized Wednesday, Lim said those navigating the larger cruise ship may have found it difficult to see the small boat sailing nearby.
The South Koreans’ tour agency, Very Good Tour, said the boat trip was part of a package tour to Europe. It said the agency went ahead with the excursion after the tourists agreed on it.
“Other boats were making tours too and we decided to go on after passengers agreed,” senior tour agency official Lee Sang-moo said. “Our company humbly accepts all the responsibility that is ours.”
According to the tour agency and South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, none of the South Koreans — 30 tourists, two guides and a photographer — was wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident. Lee admitted that there was a possibility that there were no life vests on the boat. Senior South Korean Foreign Ministry official Kang Hyung-shik said it is “customary” for tourists on Danube boat trips not to wear life jackets.
The boat, the Hableany (Mermaid), is described on the sightseeing company’s website as “one of the smallest members of the fleet.” Built in 1949, it has two decks and a capacity of 60 people, or 45 for sightseeing cruises. Mihaly Toth, a spokesman for the Panorama Deck boating company, said the Hableany was on a “routine city sightseeing trip” when the accident happened.
Lee Deok-sun, a South Korean who took the Hableany on a package tour in April, said he and about 28 other South Korean tourists didn’t wear life jackets. He said his group wasn’t given instructions on the use of life vests and he didn’t even know where they might be. He said he saw only one or two small rubber boats tied with ropes at the boat’s bow.
“It was a very old boat and I felt some anxiety,” Lee said in a phone interview with the YTN television network. “The railings looked unstable … and the river was deep so I worried that we would get into big trouble if some accident happened.”
After the capsizing, South Korean President Moo Jae-in canceled all of his scheduled events and ordered officials to mobilize all available resources to support rescue efforts in cooperation with the Hungarian government. Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and divers who took part in the rescue work when the Sewol sank were to fly to Hungary later Thursday.
The swift government reaction was in sharp contrast to that after the Sewol sinking, which triggered an explosion of anger over the previous government’s botched rescue efforts and regulatory failures.
South Korean investigators found that the Sewol’s crew had overloaded the vessel with 185 cars when it had room for only 97. Crewmembers failed to properly fasten the vehicles and containers so they could squeeze in more cargo. Although the captain reported 657 tons of cargo, investigators said the real amount exceeded 2,140 tons, which likely prevented the vessel from regaining balance after making a sharp turn.
Rescue officials then missed a series of opportunities to save most of the passengers before the ship completely sank about three hours after crewmembers lost control. Rescuers saved 172 people, including the ferry’s captain. He is now serving a life prison sentence after a court found him guilty of homicide through willful negligence because he fled without issuing an evacuation order.
The public uproar over the Sewol’s sinking was so large that it contributed to the ouster of Moon’s conservative predecessor, Park Geun-hye, who is currently serving a lengthy prison term over a separate corruption scandal.
The Danube River flows south, meaning that the missing people were likely to be swept through the well-populated, historic part of Budapest. The South Korean tourists included families and a 6-year-old girl. Her status wasn’t immediately clear but she was not on a list of survivors provided by the tour agency.
___
Associated Press writer Pablo Gorondi in Budapest, Hungary, contributed to this report.

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Honduras president, others targets of DEA investigation
By CLAUDIA TORRENS and CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN | Thu, May 30, 2019 07:08 EDT
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. federal court documents show Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández and some of his closest advisers were among the targets of a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation.
A document filed by prosecutors on Tuesday in the Southern District of New York mentions Hernández as part of a group of individuals investigated by the DEA since about 2013 for participating “in large-scale drug-trafficking and money laundering activities relating to the importation of cocaine into the United States”.
Hernández was elected president of Honduras in late 2013.
The document is a July 2015 application to the court to compel Apple, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL to give investigators email header information, but not emails’ content, for a number of accounts. Two of the accounts are believed to be of Hernández, the documents says.
There is no indication charges have been brought against Hernández.
Also included in the request are the email accounts of the president’s sister Hilda Hernández, his adviser Ebal Díaz and his security minister Julián Pacheco Tinoco. Hilda Hernández, who helped manage the finances of the president’s political party and his presidential campaign, died in a December 2015 helicopter crash. The request also named four members of the wealthy and politically-connected Rosenthal family.
Yani Rosenthal, a former national lawmaker and presidential candidate, pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court in 2017 for money laundering for the Cachiros drug trafficking organization.
The new court filing is part of the pre-trial motions in the case of Hernandez’s brother Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández, who was arrested in 2018 in Miami and accused of scheming for years to bring tons of cocaine into the country. His trial is expected to start in September.
A spokesman for the Southern District of New York said on Thursday the court’s response to the application for email header information is not public information. He declined to comment further.
The document filed Tuesday raises the possibility that the DEA has email data for Honduras’ president and members of his inner circle dating to 2015.
Messages left for Díaz, who is Hernández’s de facto spokesman, were not immediately returned. Pacheco could not be immediately reached, but the government has previously denied allegations against him.
Pacheco has been dogged by allegations of his links to drug traffickers since at least 2017 when a leader of Honduras’ Cachiros cartel testified in another case in New York about his ties to drug traffickers.
Pacheco had served under Hernández’s predecessor, Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo Sosa, as the government’s chief of investigation and intelligence. Lobo’s son Fabio was sentenced to 24 years in a U.S. prison in 2017 for drug trafficking.
In another document filed Tuesday in Tony Hernández’s case, prosecutors said “the charges against the defendant arise out of a long-term investigation of politically connected drug trafficking in Honduras” that began in 2013.
On Thursday, a DEA spokeswoman referred questions asked by The Associated Press to the Southern District of New York.
The U.S. government has been a staunch supporter of Hernández’s government, pouring millions of dollars into security cooperation because Honduras is a key transshipment point for cocaine headed to the U.S. from South America.
Hernández had especially curried favor with Gen. John Kelly who had led the U.S. military’s Southern Command and later became President Donald Trump’s chief of staff. Kelly advocated for continued U.S. support of Hernández’s government, noting their contributions to the war on drugs and progress in combatting corruption.
When Hernández’s already controversial re-election was marred by irregularities in late 2017, the U.S. government congratulated him while the opposition was still contesting the vote count.
With Hondurans filling the ranks of several large migrant caravans during the past year, the U.S. has continued to support Hernández while pressuring his government to stem the immigration flow.
Many Honduran migrants encountered making the journey to the U.S. border during the past year have referenced government corruption among their reasons for leaving. Thousands of doctors and teachers have been marching through the streets of Honduras’ capital for three weeks against presidential decrees they say would lead to massive public sector layoffs. On Thursday, a massive march led to clashes with police who fired tear gas against some protesters’ rocks.
Retired history professor Dana Frank, whose recent book “The Long Honduran Night: Resistance, Terror, and the United States in the Aftermath of the Coup” details the country’s recent political turmoil said the documents confirm the U.S. government has known about drug trafficking activities linked to Hernández for years.
“Why have U.S. officials — from the State Department to the White House to the Southern Command — continued for years now to celebrate, and pour security funding into, a government whose very topmost officials and security figures it has known were drug traffickers?” Frank said. “This evidence underscores the vast hypocrisy of U.S. policy, which backs a known drug trafficker and his police and military cronies, while claiming to do so in the name of fighting crime and drugs.”
Torrens reported from New York and Sherman from Mexico City. Associated Press Martha Mendoza contributed to this report from San Jose.

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Skipper of cruiser that sank Budapest tour boat arrested
By PABLO GORONDI and HYUNG-JIN KIM | Thu, May 30, 2019 09:50 EDT
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungarian police detained the captain of a cruise ship that collided with and sank a sightseeing boat packed with South Korean tourists, as rescue crews geared up to raise the vessel from the bottom of the Danube River in the heart of Budapest while scouring the waters for 21 people still missing.
Seven people are confirmed dead and seven have been rescued, all of them South Koreans, Hungarian officials said. Hungary’s state TV reported that all those rescued have been released from the hospital except one who is being treated for broken ribs.
Officials said preparations to bring up the 70-year-old boat, which was built in the former Soviet Union, could take days.
Police, who launched a criminal investigation into the incident, said late Thursday that they had detained and questioned the Ukrainian captain of the larger vessel.
The 64-year-old man is suspected of endangering water transport leading to a deadly mass accident. In line with Hungarian laws, the suspect was identified only as Yuriy C., referencing his first name and the initial letter of his last name. Police proposed the arrest of the Odessa resident, described earlier by police as an experienced sailor.
So far, only seven of the 35 people onboard, that included 33 South Koreans, are known to have survived the incident near the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest. Seven others are confirmed dead and 21 remain missing.
A South Korean group on a package tour of Europe — including 30 tourists, two guides and a photographer— were on an hour-long sightseeing tour of Budapest when their boat collided with a Viking cruise ship during a downpour Wednesday evening.
Nineteen South Koreans and two Hungarian crew members — the captain and his assistant — remain missing.
A map released by Hungarian police showed the locations and times the seven bodies were recovered, with one body found nearly 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) downstream, nearly 2-½ hours after the collision.
“Those contributing to the search will continue to do everything possible … along the full Hungarian stretch of the Danube’s coasts in the interests of the locating the missing persons,” Budapest police said in a statement, adding that the river was flowing at speeds of 9-11 kilometers (5.6-6.8 miles) per hour.
A crisis management team from the South Korean government arrived in Budapest late Thursday, as well as representatives from the South Korean tourist agency which organized the ill-fated trip.
“The most important emphasis of our government is the protection of Korean nationals overseas,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary Oh Sai Juengh said upon his arrival in Budapest.
The sunken boat was located early Thursday near the Margit Bridge, not far from the neo-Gothic Parliament building on the riverbank.
Video released by Hungarian police showed the sightseeing boat, identified as the Hableany (Mermaid), traveling closely side by side and in the same direction as a German-built Viking cruise ship as they approached the bridge Wednesday night.
The Hableany then appeared to steer slightly to its left, into the path of the 135-meter (443-feet) long cruise ship, which continued to sail on at the same speed. The two collided and the sightseeing boat was then seen tipping on its side between the bridge’s two supports.
“As the Viking comes into contact with (the Hableany), it overturns it and in about seven seconds, as it turn on its side, it sinks,” Police Col. Adrian Pal said.
Pal said it’s unclear what caused the Hableany to steer into the path of the Viking. He said several people aboard the Hableany fell into the water after the collision. The South Korean government said none of those on board was wearing a life jacket.
Police said rescue operations were hampered by the rain and the fast flow of the rising Danube. The search for the 21 missing extended far downstream, even into Serbia, where the Danube goes after leaving Hungary.
The river, which is 450 meters (500 yards) wide at the point of the accident, was fast-flowing and rising as heavy rain continued in the city. Water temperatures were about 10 to 12 degrees Celsius (50-53 Fahrenheit).
Hajoregiszter.hu, a local ship-tracking website, lists the Hableany as having been built in 1949 in the former Soviet Union. The Viking Sigyn was built this year, according to cruisemapper.com.
CCTV footage recorded on Wednesday night showed that the river was busy with boats of different sizes traveling in both directions.
Budapest has enjoyed a boom in overseas tourism in recent years. Long-haul flights from as far away as Dubai and Beijing increasingly fly visitors from Asia and the Middle East to the Hungarian capital, a relatively affordable but history-rich European destination.
Earlier, the news website Index.hu said one of those rescued was found near the Petofi Bridge, about 3 kilometers (2 miles) south of Parliament.
Police have questioned the Ukrainian captain of the Viking ship, but no details have been released. Authorities said both vessels’ captains are experienced, with many years of service with their companies. South Korean officials said the tourists were not wearing life jackets.
Relatives and a team of 25 official rescue workers were on their way from South Korea to Budapest Thursday. The team of fire, navy and coast guard workers includes some who had been involved in rescue operations for the 2014 South Korean ferry disaster that killed more than 300 people — one of the country’s worst maritime accidents.
Seoul’s presidential Blue House said President Moon Jae-in has called Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to discuss rescue operations. Moon thanked Orban for the Hungarian government’s rescue efforts, and requested further support for efforts to find the missing, treat the survivors and recover bodies.
The Blue House said Orban told Moon that more than 200 divers and medical staff are involved in the rescue efforts and that officials are planning to locate and hoist the ship.
Employees from the South Korean Embassy in Budapest were assisting Hungarian officials in identifying those rescued and the deceased.
Budapest’s Disaster Management Office Chief Col Zsolt Gabor Palotai said the Hungarian army is setting up a pontoon near the capsized ship’s wreck and divers will go into the Danube from there.
The Very Good Tour agency said the tourists left South Korea on May 25 and were supposed to return June 1.
Most of them were family groups, and they included a 6-year-old girl. Her status wasn’t immediately clear but she didn’t appear on a list of survivors provided by the tour agency.
Senior agency official Lee Sang-moo disclosed the identities of the seven rescued South Koreans — six women and one man, aged between 31 and 66. The company is arranging for family members of the tourists to travel to Hungary as soon as possible.
The Hableany is described on the sightseeing company’s website as “one of the smallest members of the fleet.” It has two decks and a capacity for 60 people, or 45 for sightseeing cruises.
Mihaly Toth, a spokesman for the Panorama Deck boating company, said the Hableany was on a “routine city sightseeing trip” when the accident happened. He told state television that he had no information about any technical problems with the boat, which he said was serviced regularly.
The Margit Bridge connects the two halves of the city, Buda and Pest, with a large recreational island in the middle of the Danube. It is the bridge just north of the famous Chain Bridge, a suspension bridge originally built in the 19th century that, like the Parliament, is a major tourist draw in the heart of the city.
Index.hu reported that other riverboats shined spotlights into the water to aid with the search, and that a film crew operating on the Liberty Bridge farther down the river directed its lighting equipment toward the Danube to assist.
___
Hyung-jin Kim reported from Seoul, South Korea. Associated Press writers Adam Schreck in Bangkok and Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.

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Nigerian President Buhari sworn in again, faces challenges
By BASHIR ADIGUN and SAM OLUKOYA | Wed, May 29, 2019 12:59 EDT
ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari began his second term as head of Africa’s most populous nation on Wednesday, facing heightened pressure to defeat Islamic extremism and boost the oil-dependent economy amid concerns over his health.
The 76-year-old former military dictator read the oath of office from a card as he stood beside his wife, wearing a traditional white robe and sunglasses. He did not make a speech.
Governors also were sworn in across the West African nation of nearly 190 million people, though the ceremony was canceled in Buhari’s home state of Katsina in the north because of security concerns.
Buhari won the February election despite serious questions about his health, having spent more than 150 days outside the country for unspecified medical treatment during his first term.
Along with a 25% unemployment rate and widespread poverty , Nigeria continues to confront a multitude of security threats that loom over Buhari’s second term. A new extremist faction pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group has made a deadly resurgence in recent months, overrunning military bases in the northeast and raising questions about how much support Nigeria’s troops receive from the government.
The decade-old Boko Haram insurgency also remains a threat . Bandits threaten the northwest, while oil militants remain active in Nigeria’s oil-rich south.
Deadly clashes between largely Christian farmers and largely Muslim herders over increasingly scarce land also have wracked central Nigeria. Buhari has faced particularly sharp criticism over the crisis, as many Nigerians worry that he sympathizes with the herders as a fellow ethnic Fulani from the north.
Buhari also faces rising discontent over the poor economic prospects for most Nigerians, said political analyst Dan Ekere, a lecturer at the University of Lagos.
“There are also challenges with infrastructure, especially power. As we speak, we are still paying for darkness,” he said of a county where the rumble of generators is part of the daily soundtrack. “How do you grow the economy without power supply? There is nothing to show that we are moving away from the state we are in.”
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Olukoya reported from Lagos, Nigeria. Associated Press writer Cara Anna in Johannesburg contributed.

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1 dead, 3 including deputy wounded in East Texas shootings
Wed, May 29, 2019 03:30 EDT
CLEVELAND, Texas (AP) — Police searched Wednesday for a man they say killed a woman and wounded three people, including a sheriff’s deputy, during shootings that started at a plumbing company in East Texas.
A woman was killed and two men injured around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at the business east of Cleveland, a city of 8,000 people about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Houston, Liberty County sheriff’s Capt. Ken DeFoor said.
DeFoor said the suspect, Pavol Vido, was driving away from the plumbing company when deputies pursued him on a local highway. He said Vido pulled off and exchanged gunfire with the deputies near a veterinary clinic.
A deputy was shot in the throat and flown to a Houston hospital where he was in stable condition, DeFoor said.
Vido fled and authorities continued to search for him. DeFoor said Vido was driving a white 2004 Mercury.
DeFoor did not provide the names of any of those who were shot, including the deputy.
Public schools in Cleveland were locked down Wednesday morning, according to a statement on the district’s Facebook page.
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This story has been corrected to reflect that the suspect’s name is Pavol Vido, not Pablo Vito as police said initially, and that the initial shooting took place at a plumbing company, not a veterinary clinic.

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Deadspin Fake Steve Berthiaume Twitter Account Leads To Random Family Crashing Diamondbacks’ Booth D

Deadspin Fake Steve Berthiaume Twitter Account Leads To Random Family Crashing Diamondbacks’ Booth D

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Flipboard, the news aggregation app and website, announced to its users in an email today that a massive security breach left account login information vulnerable and accessible to hackers for over nine months. The company is taking measures to keep user info…

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Dropbox Boosts Storage, Features, and Price for ‘Plus’ Users

We’ll start with the semi-bad news: Dropbox is kicking up the price of its Plus plan from $10 to $12 per month. You’ll have to go for one fewer coffee if you want to stay on budget with your wild cloud-storage spending. Read more…

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In the Democratic Primary, the Media Hits Are the Message

On HBO, Instagram — even Fox News — aspirants are having a meta debate: How do you counterprogram a reality-TV president?

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Friday: First of all, presidential candidates. In other news: President Trump’s Mexico tariff plan; and the controversial college map that wasn’t

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