Monthly Archives: April 2017

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Facebook killer Steve Stephens left girlfriend upbeat voicemail – New York Daily News


Before murdering a stranger and posting the footage on Facebook, Cleveland killer Steve Stephens left his ex-girlfriend voicemails — promising he could be a better man.

“I’m motivated to just strive to be the best in life now,” Stevens said in one message, obtained by Inside Edition.

“I’m really motivated.”

The old flame, Joy Lane, told Inside Edition that Stephens tried to call her twice before he hunted down Robert Godwin Sr. — a grandfather who happened to cross the killer’s path.

How Steve Stephens dodged cops for days still a mystery

Joy Lane and Steve Stephens.

Joy Lane and Steve Stephens.

Stephens this month recorded himself approaching Godwin and making him say Lane’s name on camera before putting a bullet in his head. The madman then spewed threats of more violence on Facebook Live, sparking a three-day manhunt that ended with Stephens killing himself during a police pursuit in Erie, Pa.

During his days on the run, police put Lane and her three children in a hotel, out of fear that Stephens might come after them.

But the roving gunman never harmed anyone else, despite claiming on Facebook that he had about a dozen other murders in his past.

In his live-streamed rants, Stephens blamed Lane for the bloodshed and claimed he had just “snapped.” Lane revealed that Stephens struggled with a gambling habit, and she had given him a final warning: “It’s me or the gambling.”

Ex-girlfriend of Ohio Facebook killer meets with victim’s family

But his murderous rage remains a mystery to her, and police have yet to nail down Stephens’ motive.

Robert Godwin Sr.

Robert Godwin Sr.

(Philadelphia Police Dept.)

Lane said that, just two days before Godwin’s slaying, she and Stephens were happily living together — with no indication of the carnage to come.

“I think of him as a good guy who did something really wrong,” Lane said.

“I believe Steve loved me probably like no man has ever loved me before.”

Tags:
cleveland
ohio
gun violence
attacks on elderly
steve stephens

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BREAKING: State troopers investigating deadly crash involving an EPISD bus in Hudspeth County – KVIA El Paso



EL PASO, Texas – Texas State Troopers are investigating a deadly bus crash in Hudspeth County.

Texas Department of Public Safety officials tell ABC-7 the crash happened around 12:30 a.m. on Highway 62/180, near mile marker 94. Troopers said a pickup truck was driving in the wrong direction and crashed into the bus head-on. Troopers said two people died at the scene and at least 17 people were injured.

A spokesperson for the El Paso Independent School District said the bus was carrying 25 student athletes and coaches from a track meet.

ABC-7 is working to get more information on which high school the students were from.

Stay with ABC-7 for the latest.

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It's the end of the world and we know it: Scientists in many disciplines see apocalypse, soon – Salon


While apocalyptic beliefs about the end of the world have, historically, been the subject of religious speculation, they are increasingly common among some of the leading scientists today. This is a worrisome fact, given that science is based not on faith and private revelation, but on observation and empirical evidence.

Perhaps the most prominent figure with an anxious outlook on humanity’s future is Stephen Hawking. Last year, he wrote the following in a Guardian article:

Now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together. We face awesome environmental challenges: climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans. Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it.

There is not a single point here that is inaccurate or hyperbolic. For example, consider that the hottest 17 years on record have all occurred since 2000, with a single exception (namely, 1998), and with 2016 being the hottest ever. Although 2017 probably won’t break last year’s record, the UK’s Met Office projects that it “will still rank among the hottest years on record.” Studies also emphasize that there is a rapidly closing window for meaningful action on climate change. As the authors of one peer-reviewed paper put it:

The next few decades offer a brief window of opportunity to minimize large-scale and potentially catastrophic climate change that will extend longer than the entire history of human civilization thus far. Policy decisions made during this window are likely to result in changes to Earth’s climate system measured in millennia rather than human lifespans, with associated socioeconomic and ecological impacts that will exacerbate the risks and damages to society and ecosystems that are projected for the twenty-first century and propagate into the future for many thousands of years.

Furthermore, studies suggest that civilization will have to producemore food in the next 50 years than in all of human history, which stretches back some 200,000 years into the Pleistocene epoch. This is partly due to the ongoing problem of overpopulation, where Pew projects approximately 9.3 billion people living on spaceship Earth by 2050. According to the 2016 Living Planet Report, humanity needs 1.6 Earths to sustain our current rate of (over)consumption — in other words, unless something significant changes with respect to anthropogenic resource depletion, nature will force life as we know it to end.

Along these lines, scientists largely agree that human activity has pushed the biosphere into the sixth mass extinction event in the entire 4.5 billion year history of Earth. This appears to be the case even on the most optimistic assumptions about current rates of species extinctions, which may be occurring 10,000 times faster than the normal “background rate” of extinction. Other studies have found that, for example, the global population of wild vertebrates — that is, mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians — has declined by a staggering 58 percent between 1970 and 2012. The biosphere is wilting in real time, and our own foolish actions are to blame.

As for disease, superbugs are a growing concern among researchers due to overuse of antibiotics among livestock and humans. These multi-drug-resistant bacteria are highly resistant to normal treatment routes, and already some 2 million people become sick from superbugs each year.

Perhaps the greatest risk here is that, as Brian Coombes puts it, “antibiotics are the foundation on which all modern medicine rests. Cancer chemotherapy, organ transplants, surgeries, and childbirth all rely on antibiotics to prevent infections. If you can’t treat those, then we lose the medical advances we have made in the last 50 years.” Indeed, this is why Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization, claims that “Antimicrobial resistance poses a fundamental threat to human health, development and security.”

Making matters even worse, experts argue that the risk of a global pandemic is increasing. The reason is, in part, because of the growth of megacities. According to a United Nations estimate, “66 percent of the global population will live in urban centers by 2050.” The closer proximity of people will make the propagation of pathogens much easier, not to mention the fact that deadly germs can travel from one location to another at literally the speed of a jetliner. Furthermore, climate change will produce heat waves and flooding events that will create “more opportunity for waterborne diseases such as cholera and for disease vectors such as mosquitoes in new regions.” This is why some public health researchers conclude that “we are at greater risk than ever of experiencing large-scale outbreaks and global pandemics,” and that “the next outbreak contender will most likely be a surprise.”

Finally, the acidification of the world’s oceans is a catastrophe that hardly gets the attention it deserves. What’s happening is that the oceans are absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and this is causing their pH level to fall. One consequence is the destruction of coral reefs through a process called “bleaching.” Today, about 60 percent of coral reefs are in danger of bleaching, and about 10 percent are already underwater ghost towns.

Even more alarming, though, is the fact that the rate of ocean acidification is happening faster today than it occurred during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction. That event is called the “Great Dying” because it was the most devastating mass extinction ever, resulting in some 95 percent of all species kicking the bucket. As the science journalist Eric Hand points out, whereas 2.4 gigatons of carbon were injected into the atmosphere per year during the Great Dying, about 10 gigatons are being injected per year by contemporary industrial society. Thus, the sixth mass extinction mentioned above, also called the Anthropocene extinction, could turn out to be perhaps even worse than the Permian-Triassic die-off.

So Hawking’s dire warning that we live in the most perilous period of our species’ existence is quite robust. In fact, considerations like these have led a number of other notable scientists to suggest that the collapse of global society could occur in the foreseeable future. The late microbiologist Frank Fenner, for example, whose virological work helped eliminate smallpox, predicted in 2010 that “humans will probably be extinct within 100 years, because of overpopulation, environmental destruction, and climate change.” Similarly, the Canadian biologist Neil Dawe reportedly “wouldn’t be surprised if the generation after him witness the extinction of humanity.” And the renowned ecologist Guy McPherson argues that humanity will follow the dodo into the evolutionary grave by 2026. (On the upside, maybe you don’t need to worry so much about that retirement plan.)

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists also recently moved the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to midnight, or doom, primarily because of President Donald J. Trump and the tsunami of anti-intellectualism that got him into the Oval Office. As Lawrence Krauss and David Titley wrote in a New York Times op-ed:

The United States now has a president who has promised to impede progress on both [curbing nuclear proliferation and solving climate change]. Never before has the Bulletin decided to advance the clock largely because of the statements of a single person. But when that person is the new president of the United States, his words matter.

At two-and-a-half minutes before midnight, the Doomsday Clock is currently the closest to midnight that it’s been since 1953, after the U.S. and the Soviet Union had both detonated hydrogen bombs.

But so far we have mostly ignored threats to our existence that many leading risk scholars believe are the most serious, namely those associated with emerging technologies such as biotechnology, synthetic biology, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence. In general, these technologies are not only becoming more powerful at an exponential rate, according to Ray Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns, but increasingly accessible to small groups and even lone wolves. The result is that a growing number of individuals are being empowered to wreak unprecedented havoc on civilization. Consider the following nightmare disaster outlined by computer scientist Stuart Russell:

A very, very small quadcopter, one inch in diameter can carry a one- or two-gram shaped charge. You can order them from a drone manufacturer in China. You can program the code to say: “Here are thousands of photographs of the kinds of things I want to target.” A one-gram shaped charge can punch a hole in nine millimeters of steel, so presumably you can also punch a hole in someone’s head. You can fit about three million of those in a semi-tractor-trailer. You can drive up I-95 with three trucks and have 10 million weapons attacking New York City. They don’t have to be very effective, only 5 or 10 percent of them have to find the target.

Russell adds that “there will be manufacturers producing millions of these weapons that people will be able to buy just like you can buy guns now, except millions of guns don’t matter unless you have a million soldiers. You need only three guys,” he concludes, to write the relevant computer code and launch these drones. 

This scenario can be scaled up arbitrarily to involve, say, 500 million weaponized drones packed into several hundred semi-trucks strategically positioned around the world. The result could be a global catastrophe that brings civilization to its knees — no less than a nuclear terrorism attack or an engineered pandemic caused by a designer pathogen would severely disrupt modern life. As Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum put it in their captivating book “The Future of Violence,” we are heading toward an era of distributed offensive capabilities that is unlike anything our species has ever before encountered.

What sort of person might actually want to do this, though? Unfortunately, there are many types of peoplewho would willingly destroy humanity. The list includes apocalyptic terrorists, psychopaths, psychotics, misanthropes, ecoterrorists, anarcho-primitivists, eco-anarchists, violent technophobes, militant neo-Luddites and even “morally good people” who maintain, for ethical reasons, that human suffering is so great that we would be better off not existing at all. Given the dual technology trends mentioned above, all it could take later this century is a single person or group to unilaterally end the great experiment called civilization forever.

It is considerations like these that have led risk scholars — some at top universities around the world — to specify disturbingly high probabilities of global disaster in the future. For example, the philosopher John Leslie claims that humanity has a 30 percent chance of extinction in the next five centuries. Less optimistically, an “informal” survey of experts at a conference hosted by Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute puts the probability of human extinction before 2100 at 19 percent. And Lord Martin Rees, co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge University, argues that civilization has no better than a 50-50 likelihood of enduring into the next century.

To put this number in perspective, it means that the average American is about 4,000 times more likely to witness civilization implode than to die in an “air and space transport accident.” A child born today has a good chance of living to see the collapse of civilization, according to our best estimates.

Returning to religion, recent polls show that a huge portion of religious people believe that the end of the world is imminent. For example, a 2010 survey found that 41 percent of Christians in the U.S. believe that Jesus will either “definitely” or “probably” return by 2050. Similarly, 83 percent of Muslims in Afghanistan and 72 percent in Iraq claim that the Mahdi, Islam’s end-of-days messianic figure, will return within their lifetimes. The tragedy here, from a scientific perspective, is that such individuals are worried about the wrong apocalypse! Much more likely are catastrophes, calamities and cataclysms that cause unprecedented (and pointless) human suffering in a universe without any external source of purpose or meaning. At the extreme, an existential risk could tip our species into the eternal grave of extinction.

In a sense, though, religious people and scientists agree: We are in a unique moment of human history, one marked by an exceptionally high probability of disaster. The difference is that, for religious people, utopia stands on the other side of the apocalypse, whereas for scientists, there is nothing but darkness. To be clear, the situation is not by any means hopeless. In fact, there is hardly a threat before us — from climate change to the sixth mass extinction, from apocalyptic terrorism to a superintelligence takeover — that is inevitable. But without a concerted collective effort to avert catastrophe, the future could be as bad as any dystopian sci-fi writer has imagined.

Parts of this article draw from my forthcoming book “Morality, Foresight, and Human Flourishing: An Introduction to Existential Risks.”

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The Latest: 2 Die in Arkansas Flooding; Storm Toll Now 9 – U.S. News & World Report


[unable to retrieve full-text content]


El Paso Proud (press release) (blog)
The Latest: 2 Die in Arkansas Flooding; Storm Toll Now 9
U.S. News & World Report
The Latest: 2 Die in Arkansas Flooding; Storm Toll Now 9. At least seven people have died in the severe storms rolling across the U.S. Four deaths were reported in Texas and deaths were reported in Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi. | April 30, 2017
The Latest: At least 7 killed as storms roll across the USBristol Herald Courier (press release) (blog)
LATEST: 5 dead, 56 injured following East Texas tornadoesEl Paso Proud (press release) (blog)
Four Dead After Four Tornadoes Strike East of the DFW AreaNBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

all 217 news articles »



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2017 AFC West Draft Grades: Mahomes, Hunt have Chiefs trending in tough division – CBSSports.com


Grading an NFL Draft immediately after it occurs is akin to giving your compliments to the chef based on the menu. It will take at least three years before we can truly assess how the 32 NFL teams fared over the weekend.

But waiting is no fun. As such, let’s take a take at which AFC West teams appear to have done the best job of filling needs and building for the future via the seven rounds of the 2017 draft.

Denver Broncos

Few know better than John Elway that a quarterback’s best friends are his left tackle and a security blanket at tight end, and in
Garett Bolles
in the first round and the sure-handed
Jake Butt
in the fifth, the
Denver Broncos
provided those for young passers
Trevor Siemian
and
Paxton Lynch
. Given that Bolles remains quite raw and that Butt is still recovering from a torn ACL, ultra-quick slot receivers Carlos Henderson and
Isaiah McKenzie
(who’ll double as a returner) may actually wind up making the most immediate impact on offense for Denver.


Florida State Seminoles
‘s
DeMarcus Walker
did not generate as much pre-draft hype as his production warranted, but expect that to change in Denver when he feasts upon the one-on-one blocks he’ll see with opponents focusing on edge rushers
Von Miller
and
Shane Ray
.
Brendan Langley
remains quite raw but the
Georgia Bulldogs
transfer is very athletic and physical.  Chad Kelly lacks the intangibles scouts would prefer, but he possesses undeniable talent, something that cannot always be said for Mr. Irrelevant selections.

Grade: B

Kansas City Chiefs

A natural gunslinger with a wow arm and a knack for improvisation, Patrick Mahomes is a fascinating selection for the
Kansas City Chiefs
, as he is the polar opposite of incumbent starter
Alex Smith
, one of the smarter and more patient (but ultimately, risk-adverse) quarterbacks in the league. Few coaches are better suited to harnessing Mahomes’ raw talent than Andy Reid, who, of course, helped mold a similarly unrefined Donovan McNabb into a heckuva quarterback in Philadelphia. 

The big trade up from No. 27 to 10 to land Mahomes cost Kansas City plenty of draft picks, but some intriguing talent was added on Day 2, including imposing Villanova defensive end
Tanoh Kpassagnon
and
Toledo Rockets
‘s
Kareem Hunt
– my favorite of the so-called second-tier runners. With
Jamaal Charles
gone, don’t be surprised if Hunt’s ability to keep his feet through contact and protect the ball helps him earn significant carries as a rookie. One small quibble with Kansas City’s draft is that the club could have used some help at inside linebacker with veteran
Derrick Johnson
recovering from his second torn Achilles.  

Grade: B+

Los Angeles Chargers

After 13 years the
San Diego Chargers
finally seem to be serious about protecting quarterback
Philip Rivers
, using their first-round pick (No. 7 overall) on big-bodied split end
Mike Williams
and investing Day 2 picks on pro-ready linemen Forrest Lamp and
Dan Feeney
. While never exactly fleet of foot, Rivers is one of the more courageous and durable quarterbacks in the league, often stepping up into the pocket to extend plays, making the play of his guards arguably just as important in pass protection as the tackles.

Though they likely wouldn’t admit it, the Chargers missed the big plays
Eric Weddle
used to deliver at safety a year ago but found two interesting (but very different) candidates to adequately replace him in hard-hitting Rayshawn Jenkins in the fourth round and 2015 Thorpe Award winner
Desmond King
in the fifth. King starred at corner for
Iowa Hawkeyes
and may remain there in Gus Bradley’s scheme. He possesses the instincts and reliable tackling skills to handle safety duties, if asked.

Grade: B

Oakland Raiders

Late owner Al Davis popularized the expression “Just win, baby,” and the
Oakland Raiders
seemed to take that mentality into the 2017 draft, gambling first that disturbing allegations levied against first-round cornerback Gareon Conley would never result in an arrest and then on the raw upside of several subsequent picks. No one was more impressive at the combine that
Connecticut Huskies
safety
Obi Melifonwu
, and
UCLA Bruins
defensive tackle
Eddie Vanderdoes
flashed (when not overweight or injured) after signing with the Bruins as one of the more highly regarded preps in the country. David Sharpe offers similarly intriguing upside, boasting the sheer size to project as a possible replacement at right tackle for free-agent departure
Menelik Watson
. Of Oakland’s later picks, watch out for
Washington State Cougars
‘s
Shalom Luani
.

Grade: C

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Joshua wins world titles with 11th-round stoppage of Klitschko – CNBC


Anthony Joshua delivered one of the great nights in British boxing annals by stopping Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round to be crowned IBF, WBA and IBO world heavyweight champion in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Britain’s unbeaten IBF title holder earned a sensational victory by knocking down the 41-year-old former champion twice in the 11th and penultimate round before the referee stepped in to save Klitschko from any more punishment.

What was hailed as the biggest fight night ever staged in a British ring, watched by the largest crowd for a boxing show in Britain for 78 years, lived up to its billing.

It was a thrilling contest which saw both combatants clamber off the canvas seemingly on the verge of defeat and looks destined to be recalled as one of the great heavyweight title fights.

Joshua survived a knockdown for the first time in his professional career in the sixth round and looked close to surrendering his unbeaten record until his late bombardment forced the stoppage.

In a sensational fifth round, Joshua knocked down Klitschko only to end up hanging on desperately at the end of the round as the Ukrainian launched a remarkable comeback.

The veteran had even looked the more likely winner as he defied a 14-year age gap and was outboxing Joshua in the latter stages until the Briton produced a blistering finish to take his unbeaten record to 19 straight stoppage wins.

Both men had to dig deep and both looked close to exhaustion before the 27-year-old Joshua’s youth, fitness and sheer power took over in a penultimate round that sent the huge crowd into ecstasy as two barrages sent Klitschko down.

“What can I say? 19-0, three-and-a-half years in the game. As I said, I’m not perfect but I’m trying,” Joshua told the cheering crowd from the ring.

“As boxing states, you leave your ego at the door and you respect your opponent. So a massive shout out to Wladimir Klitschko.”

“The best man won tonight and it’s a massive event for boxing,” responded Klitschko after his second defeat in succession at the hands of a British heavyweight following the loss of his titles to Tyson Fury 17 months ago after an 11-year reign.

“Two gentleman fought each other. Anthony was better today. It’s really sad I didn’t make it.”

The fight attracted a gate that had not been matched for a British show since Len Harvey fought Jock McAvoy for the British light-heavyweight title at another London venue, White City, in 1939.

The mutual praise between Joshua and Klitschko echoed the civilised and respectful way the two former Olympic champions had behaved in the build-up to the contest but there was nothing civil about the brutal punishment they dished out to each other.

After four rounds of feeling each other out, with Klitschko’s movement and Joshua’s power quite apparent, the crowd were not prepared for an astonishing fifth round.

First, Joshua launched a blistering left hook and followed up with a flurry of punches that saw the Ukrainian drop to his knees and, when he rose groggily, take a standing count.

Klitschko suddenly looked old and the end seemed nigh as Joshua roared in to finish the job but that was when he found his champion’s spirit in his desperation, landing a big left of his own to leave Joshua in real peril.

The Ukrainian continued in the sixth, setting up his opponent with the jab before a huge right cross sent Joshua down.

He scrambled off his knees but it did not look as if he would see the eighth round, uncharted territory for the Briton who had won all his previous fights within seven.

Yet after Klitschko had, remarkably, looked almost the younger of the two fighters in the stretch, Joshua demonstrated real heart to go with his power as he unleashed a right uppercut that signalled the final assaults on the Ukrainian’s scrambled senses.

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Manchester United Transfer News: Latest Rumours on Antoine Griezmann, Joe Hart – Bleacher Report


LEICESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid applauds after the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between Leicester City and Club Atletico de Madrid at The King Power Stadium on April 18, 2017 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)

Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann is reportedly only keen on making a move to Manchester United if the club qualifies for next season’s UEFA Champions League.

According to Simon Mullock of the Sunday Mirror, the Red Devils want to sign the Frenchman as part of a major rebuild this summer. United are said to be willing to spend a whopping £300 million, with Griezmann’s transfer alone potentially worth £100 million.

However, Mullock added that “the message coming from Madrid is that the Frenchman will only talk once United’s European fate is decided.”

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid runs at the Leicester City defence during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between Leicester City and Club Atletico de Madrid at The King Power Stadium on April 18

Clive Rose/Getty Images

The Red Devils still have a chance of making it into the Champions League. They’re fifth in the Premier League, a point behind Manchester City and two behind Liverpool in fourth and third respectively. United can also get into Europe’s elite club competition if they win the UEFA Europa League too.

It’s understandable Griezmann would be keen to showcase his talents at the highest possible level, as he’s proved himself to be a world-class operator. Here’s a look at the stardust he can add in the final third:

[embedded content]

This season, the 26-year-old has been wonderful to watch, grabbing 16 goals and laying on seven assists for team-mates in La Liga. However, as noted by Jack Pitt-Brooke of The Independent, there’s plenty more to Griezmann’s game than sparkling attacking play:


We can thank Atletico manager Diego Simeone for that. The coach has helped transform Griezmann from the raw wide player he was when he arrived at the Vicente Calderon in 2014 into one of the best centre-forwards in the world.

This is why United would have to pay such a staggering amount to get him through the door and why booking their place among Europe’s elite next season is so crucial. If they were to tempt Griezmann to Old Trafford, it would be one of the most exciting acquisitions the club has made for a long time.

 

Joe Hart Rumours

VERONA, ITALY - APRIL 23:  Joe Hart of Torino FC shouts during the Serie A match between AC ChievoVerona and FC Torino at Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi on April 23, 2017 in Verona, Italy.  (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

According to Mullock, Manchester City would be willing to let goalkeeper Joe Hart leave the club for Manchester United this summer, although the Old Trafford outfit would have to pay a premium for his services.

Mullock suggested United have identified Hart as a possible replacement for David De Gea this summer should Real Madrid lure the Spaniard away. And despite the rivalry between the two clubs, City are said to be willing to let the England international join any team that matches their £30 million valuation.

De Gea has been linked with a move to Real Madrid.

De Gea has been linked with a move to Real Madrid.PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

“Nothing will be ruled out with regard to Joe,” a City source quoted by Mullock said. “But we know there will be lots of interest from both home and abroad, and we won’t accept anything less than the true market value.”

Needless to say, former Sunderland goalkeeper David Preece doesn’t see this transfer going through in the summer:


Hart is on loan at Torino from City and has had an inconsistent season in Serie A. However, his experience, leadership skills and winning mentality would make signing him a tempting proposition for many clubs.

Surely not for United, though. If De Gea does leave the club, the Red Devils would need to find a world-class replacement to fill the huge void his departure would leave. City player or not, Hart doesn’t have what it takes to be that man.

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Signs like Darvish's growth give Rangers hope they're trending up as first month of season nears end – Dallas News (blog)


ARLINGTON — The Rangers trailed 2-0, the temperature in Globe Life Park was falling and tempers were rising, most notably with Angels slugger Albert Pujols pointing and glaring into the Texas dugout.

Then Carlos Gomez fueled a two-out, four-run fifth-inning rally en route to hitting for the cycle, Yu Darvish pitched out of a bases-loaded sixth-inning jam and the Rangers responded to Pujols’ challenge with a 6-3 victory before 44,597 fans.

This win, the Rangers’ sixth in their last nine games, was aided by manager Jeff Banister sticking with Darvish despite a rising pitch count (he finished with 125) and timely hitting that Texas (11-13) has lacked most of the season.

So what got Pujols so riled? Was it Darvish fourth-inning fastball that blazed just beneath Pujols’ chin moments before Pujols’ sacrifice fly gave Los Angeles a 2-0 lead?

“Chi Chi Rodriguez was popping off like he wanted to come out of the dugout,” Pujols said, referring to Rangers pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez, who is on the 60-day disabled list. “I didn’t appreciate that. That’s why I was yelling at him. I wasn’t yelling at Yu Darvish.”

Darvish said he just knew that Pujols was emotional about something, adding that he didn’t think it was directed at him. Regardless, the Rangers’ response wasn’t as emphatic as Rougned Odor’s punch of Toronto’s Jose Bautista last season, but it was much needed.

“It had been a long time since we’d had some two-out base hits with runners in scoring position,” Banister said. “It’s something that we’ve been missing. Something that we were pretty good at last year.

“Look, we’re getting ready to finish the first month of the season. Those are things that you look for inside the game and know that your guys are in a good place, that they’ve got good approaches and they’re able to find pitches to barrel-drive into runs.”

In six innings of work, Darvish (3-2, 2.79 ERA) allowed three hits, four walks and struck out 10. This is his second straight high-pitch-count outing, topping his 113 last Sunday in a victory over Kansas City.

Gomez doubled in the first inning, hit a bloop single in the third, a key triple in Texas’ four-run fifth and a two-run homer in the seventh that extended Texas’ lead to 6-2.

It was the 10th cycle in Rangers history and the first since Aug. 3, 2015, when Adrian Beltre did it against the Astros.

For the 31-year-old Gomez, it was his second career cycle. The other occurred on May 7, 2008, when as a Minnesota Twin he did it in Chicago against the White Sox.

“They (teammates) had already told me, ‘You only need a home run to hit the cycle,” Gomez said of his seventh-inning at-bat. “At that moment, I just walked to the plate and said, ‘Be ready to hit a pitch that you can handle. Just put a good swing on it, don’t try to overswing.’”

For his heroics, Gomez was bestowed by teammates the garish boxing-like championship belt as the game’s MVP, though surely Darvish got consideration.

He allowed only one baserunner through three innings, on a walk, and at that point had struck out six of the last eight Halos he faced.

Darvish’s fourth inning, however, was a 30-pitch mess. He struck out the side in the fifth, but after the Rangers seized a 4-2 lead he issued three walks in the sixth, loading the bases with one out.

Still, Banister stayed with Darvish.

“His stuff was still sharp, still good,” Banister said. “I know the pitch count was where it was at, but he’s our ace. He’s got to be able to pitch out of situations like that.”

Darvish got Andrelton Simmons to pop out to first and Ben Revere to ground out to second.

“I am very happy that the manager sees me the same as Cole Hamels,” Darvish said through an interpreter.

As Darvish exited the game, Banister put his arm around him and shared what appeared to be an emotional moment.

“There are private moments on the field for players and a manager when he lets them know just how proud he is of them,” Banister said. “Because I know the work they put in.”

Granted, he pitched on five days’ rest for the second straight outing, but Darvish’s 125 pitches were his most since he threw 126 against Boston on May 9, 2014. On Aug. 9, 2014, he threw 113 pitches against Houston and got hurt in his next outing, leading to his Tommy John ligament replacement surgery.

“Every time I throw this many pitches, I think about it,” Darvish said, but he stressed that he doesn’t dwell on it.

On this night, the Rangers had quite a bit to think about, most of it positive, for a change.

Twitter: @Townbrad

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Missing East Harlem mother found dead in Hudson River – New York Daily News


A body pulled from the Hudson River this week is an East Harlem mother who has been missing since January, family members said Saturday.

Yuridia Merino, 32, was plucked from the water near Pier 90 by 12th Ave. in Hell’s Kitchen on Tuesday, according to officials and her family.

Merino was last seen leaving her home on E. 105th St. on Jan. 12 , police said.

Her sister, Yeny Ariza Merino, 30, said the family received confirmation from cops Friday.

NYPD searches for missing Brooklyn mother, 39, and baby son

Police said Merino suffered from chronic depression.

“It’s hard for me to believe that this happened even after they told me,” Merino said. “My mom believes that it’s a mistake, hoping that they’ll find my sister alive in a couple of days.”

She said her sister, a devout Christian, was carrying a Bible with her when she disappeared.

“She was very dedicated to worshipping,” Merino said of her older sister. “That’s what she believed in and that’s what we want people to remember her by.”

Merino left behind a 3-year-old girl and an 8-year-old son.

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It's not just hot, it's record-breaking hot in Tampa Bay for the month of April – Tampabay.com (blog)


Saturday’s scorching heat broke records in Tampa Bay for the month of April, with the temperature at Tampa International Airport reaching 96 degrees and St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport recording 95 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

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The high at Albert Whitted Airport in downtown St. Petersburg hit 91 degrees Saturday, just a degree away from its 2016 record of 92 degrees for the day.

Tampa’s previous record high for April was 93 degrees in 1991. St. Pete-Clearwater’s previous record high for the month, 94 degrees, was set just Friday.

“Basically, we had dry conditions with southeast winds. All that warm air was pulled in over the state and it wasn’t being modified by the gulf or the Atlantic,” said Ashley Batey, WTSP 10 News meteorologist.

Batey said the heat should ease somewhat by Monday, and Tuesday might bring rain.

“We’re going to cool down a little, but it’s still going to be pretty warm,” said weather service meteorologist Andrew McKaughan.

Interior parts of Tampa Bay could still reach 94 and 95 today, he said, but most of the area should be in the lower 90s. As the week goes on, McKaughan said, expect temperatures to be in the upper 80s and lower 90s.

The weather service has recorded temperatures in Tampa since 1890. It began recording temperatures at St. Pete-Clearwater in 1998.

Times staff writer Charlie Frago contributed to this report. Contact Sara DiNatale at sdinatale@tampabay.com. Follow @sara_dinatale.

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