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News

    Former Kinks bassist Jim Rodford has died after a fall. He was 76.The Zombies, the group Rodford had played with since 1999, confirmed the death of the British musician on their Facebook page Saturday.Zombies co-founder Rod Argent says his cousin and longtime bandmate was a 'magnificent bass player.'Rodford joined The Kinks in 1978, touring with the group and playing on its later albums. Ray Davies, The Kinks' co-founder, tweeted that Rodford was 'an integral part of the Kinks later years.'Argent also highlighted Rodford's commitment to music in St Albans, north of London, where he lived his entire life.Argent says 'Jim's life was dedicated to music. He was unfailingly committed to local music - an ever present member of the local scene in St. Albans.
  • A Turkish official says suspected Syrian Kurdish fighters have fired rockets from across the border, slightly wounding one person.Gov. Mehmet Tekinarslan says four rockets struck the town of Kilis early Sunday, hitting two houses and an office. He says Turkish artillery returned fire. The attack came as dozens of Turkish jets pounded the Kurdish-run enclave of Afrin in northern Syria.Afrin is controlled by a Syrian Kurdish militia that Turkey views as part of the Kurdish insurgency in its southeast. The militia forms the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the main U.S. ally against the Islamic State group in Syria.The state-run Anadolu Agency says Turkey-backed Syrian forces have penetrated the enclave and are advancing.Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says a Turkish ground offensive could begin Sunday.
  • Demonstrations in support of female empowerment are scheduled in cities across the country Sunday, a day after hundreds of thousands of people across the globe marched, chanted and protested.Marches are scheduled in several cities, including Miami, Melbourne and Munich.On Saturday, many not only supported women's rights, but also denounced President Donald Trump's views on immigration, abortion, LGBT rights and women's rights on the anniversary of his inauguration.The 2017 rally in Washington, D.C., and hundreds of similar marches, created solidarity for those opposing Trump's views, words and actions. Millions of people around the world marched during last year's rallies. Participants on Saturday talked about the news avalanche of politics and gender issues in the past year. They said they were galvanized by the #MeToo movement, which has been credited as countering widespread sexual abuse and misconduct.Critics of the weekend's marches said the demonstrations were really a protest against Trump.Meanwhile, Trump on Saturday tweeted that it was a 'perfect day' for women to march to celebrate the 'economic success and wealth creation' that's happened during his first year in office.'Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months,' the Republican wrote. 'Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!'Demonstrators on Saturday denounced Trump's views with colorful signs and even saltier language.Oklahoma City protesters chanted 'We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter!' One woman donned a T-shirt with the likeness of social justice icon Woody Guthrie, who wrote 'This Land Is Your Land.'Members of the group Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women of Seattle burned sage and chanted in front of Seattle's rainy march.In Richmond, Virginia, the crowd burst into cheers when a woman ran down the middle of the street carrying a pink flag with the word 'Resist.'The march in Washington, D.C., on Saturday took on the feel of a political rally when U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, both Democrats, urged women to run for office and vote to oppose Trump and the Republicans' agenda.'We march, we run, we vote, we win,' Pelosi said, to applause.People gathered from Montpelier to Milwaukee, from Shreveport to Seneca Falls.'I think right now with the #MeToo movement, it's even more important to stand for our rights,' said Karen Tordivo, who marched in Cleveland with her husband and 6-year-old daughter.In Palm Beach, Florida, home to Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, several hundred people gathered carrying anti-Trump signs before marching. A group of women wearing red cloaks and white hats like the characters in the book and TV show 'The Handmaid's Tale' marched in formation, their heads bowed.Cathy Muldoon, a high school librarian from Dallas, Pennsylvania, took her two teenage daughters to the New York rally and said marching gives people hope. She said this year's action is set against the backdrop of the Trump presidency, which 'turned out to be as scary as we thought it would be.'I've not seen any checks and balances,' she said. 'Everything is moving toward the right, and we have a president who seems to have no decency.'In Los Angeles, Eva Longoria, Natalie Portman, Viola Davis, Alfre Woodard, Scarlett Johansson, Constance Wu, Adam Scott and Rob Reiner were among the celebrities who addressed a crowd of hundreds of thousands of demonstrators at a women's march.Longoria, who starred in TV's 'Desperate Housewives,' told marchers their presence matters, 'especially when those in power seem to have turned their backs on reason and justice.'Portman, an Academy Award winner, talked about feeling sexualized by the entertainment industry from the time her first film, 'Leon: The Professional,' was released when she was 13 and suggested it's time for 'a revolution of desire.' In the 1994 film, Portman played a young girl taken in by a hit man after her family is killed.Woodard urged everyone to register and vote, saying, 'the 2018 midterms start now,' echoing many speakers at marches across the country, who urged women to vote.___Cohen reported from Los Angeles, and Dobnik reported from New York.
  • Women and inclusivity continued to dominate the awards season conversation Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards, where Guillermo del Toro's fantastical romance 'The Shape of Water' won the top award and honorees like Jordan Peele and Ava DuVernay gave rousing speeches to the room of entertainment industry leaders.The untelevised dinner and ceremony, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., is closely watched for its capacity to predict the eventual Oscar best picture winner, but this year the 'awards race' seemed to be the secondary show to the more urgent questions facing the industry, including the crisis of representation and sexual misconduct.The Producers Guild on Friday ratified guidelines for combating sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, and everyone from DuVernay to Universal Chair Donna Langley and television mogul Ryan Murphy made mention of the changing times and the work that still needs to be done.'If we want more brilliant films like 'Get Out' ...we need to have many different perspectives including equal numbers of women, people of color, people of all faiths and sexual orientation involved in every stage of filmmaking,' Langley said in accepting the Milestone Award — noting that she was only the third woman to do so.It was not the only time 'Get Out' got a special mention, despite not winning the top award. Peele also won the Stanley Kramer Award.Del Toro was not present to accept the PGA's Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, due to the health of his father.His film was up against 10 others this year, including 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,' which won big at the Golden Globes earlier this month, 'Lady Bird,' ''Get Out,' ''Dunkirk,' ''The Post,' ''Call Me By Your Name,' ''The Big Sick,' ''I, Tonya' ''Wonder Woman' and 'Molly's Game' — many of which were represented by actors and directors in attendance like Timothee Chalamet, Christopher Nolan, Margot Robbie, Patty Jenkins and Greta Gerwig.Other presenters included the likes of Tom Hanks, Reese Witherspoon, Mary J. Blige, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kerry Washington and Morgan Freeman in the ceremony that saw Disney and Pixar's 'Coco' pick up best animated feature and Brett Morgen's Jane Goodall film 'Jane' win best documentary.In television, 'The Handmaids Tale' picked up best drama series, 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' won best comedy series, 'Last Week Tonight With John Oliver' won best TV variety series, 'Black Mirror' for long-form TV, 'Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath' for nonfiction television, 'Sesame Street' for children's program and 'Carpool Karaoke' for best short-form program.The pre-announced honorees stole most of the show, however.Norman Lear presented the Stanley Kramer Award to Peele invoking the award's namesake in speaking of 'Get Out,' which Lear proudly said he's seen three times.Peele said he was proud to call Lear a friend.'I want to say, you can use my body for your brain anytime,' Peele laughed, before taking a more serious turn in his speech.Peele likened the idea of 'the sunken place' in the film to what is happening in the world right now, referencing Haiti, the water crisis in Flint, and President Donald Trump's criticisms of athletes for protesting on the field.'What really scares me...is the silencing of voices,' Peele said ''Get Out' is my protest against that.'Peele ended on a hopeful note, however.'Finally unique voices are breaking through,' he said. 'Diverse and honest storytelling opens eyes and hearts. We can break out of the sunken place together.'Selma' and 'A Wrinkle in Time' director Ava DuVernay gave a similarly poignant speech in accepting the Visionary Award,'It's an odd moment, you have a women's march and you have a country with a government shut down,' DuVernay said. 'We're in the midst of times that will be long remembered.'DuVernay said what is important is, 'The way we work. The people we actually choose to see. That we choose to amplify in the moments where no one is looking.'Don't think of diversity as a good thing to do,' she added. 'Think of it as a must. An absolute must.'Like many awards shows in the midst of Me Too and Time's Up, even the men accepting awards devoted large portions of their time on stage to talk about extraordinary women in their lives.'Wonder Woman' producer Charles Roven used his David O. Selznick Achievement Award acceptance speech to call out powerful women he's worked with, from his late wife Dawn Steel, to Langley, Sue Kroll, Amy Pascal and Jenkins, who he said 'has reignited this industry.'Glee' creator Ryan Murphy, who got the Norman Lear Achievement Award, said, 'Women were always my champions and mentors for 20 years now and I believe that's because they deeply related to my struggle — what it's like to be an outsider.' He has taken steps to ensure that women occupy at least half of the directing spots in his productions.In the larger context of awards season 'The Shape of Water's' win Saturday surprised some who expected 'Three Billboards' to continue its ascendancy after the Globes. 'The Shape of Water' is also up for two Screen Actors Guild Awards, which will be announced Sunday.The Producers Guild's choice for top film has eight times in the last 10 years matched the eventual Academy Award best picture winner. Last year, its nominees predicted all 9 best picture nominees, although the PGA went to 'La La Land' which lost out to 'Moonlight' at the Academy Awards.Oscar nominations will be announced Tuesday in advance of the ceremony on March 4.___For full coverage of awards season, visit: https://apnews.com/tag/AwardsSeason
  • The head of a hugely popular North Korean girl band crossed the heavily fortified border into South Korea on Sunday to check preparations for rare performances by an art troupe she also leads during next month's Winter Olympics.Appearing live on South Korean television, Hyon Song Wol didn't speak when she walked past a crowd of reporters, onlookers and a barrage of camera flashes before boarding an express train at Seoul's railway station for the eastern city of Gangneung, where her art troupe is to perform during the Pyeongchang Olympics.She is the leader of Pyongyang's all-female Moranbong Band, which was hand-picked by leader Kim Jong Un. She's been the subject of intense South Korean media attention since she attended last week's talks at the border that struck an agreement on the 140-memer Samjiyon art troupe's two performances — one in Seoul and the other in Gangneung, where some of the games will take place. After the talks, North Korea said Hyon would also lead the Samjiyon art troupe, whose performances would be the first by a North Korean group in South Korea since 2002.With no official media access given to Hyon, TV stations broadcast live footage of her bus moving on Seoul's roads before arriving at the railway station, where hundreds of police officers were mobilized to maintain order. Photos showed a smiling Hyon shaking heads with a South Korean official upon arrival at the border. Later Sunday, wearing a dark winter coat and fur scarf and with half her hair tied to the back, she looked more serious with an expressionless face.Hyon's arrival came hours after the International Olympic Committee allowed 22 North Korean athletes to take part in the Olympics in exceptional entries given to the North. Among the 22 are 12 women who will join South Korea's female hockey team in the Koreas' first-ever unified Olympic team. The other sports events the North Koreans will compete in are figure skating, short track speed skating, Alpine skiing and cross-country skiing.The 22 North Korean athletes will march together with South Korean players under a single 'unification flag' depicting their peninsula during the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang. 'Such an agreement would have seemed impossible only a few weeks ago,' IOC chief Thomas Bach said in Lausanne, Switzerland.The current mood of reconciliation between the Koreas flared after Kim abruptly expressed his willingness to improve ties and send a delegation to the Olympics during his annual New Year's address. Outside critics dismissed Kim's overture as a tactic to use improved ties with Seoul to weaken U.S.-led international sanctions over North Korea's advancing nuclear and missile programs.Hyon, who is also an alternate member of the ruling party's Central Committee, is travelling with six other North Koreans. Her delegation had been expected in South Korea on Saturday, but North Korea canceled that plan on Friday night before it proposed a two-day trip starting Sunday. It wasn't clear why the visit was rescheduled.Hyon's advance team is to inspect a venue for her art troupe's performance in Gangnenug later Sunday. The team is expected to stay overnight at Gangneung before returning to Seoul to check another venue in the capital on Monday, according to Yonhap news agency.The Samjiyon art troupe, which comprises orchestra members, singers and dancers, is part of North Korea's Olympic delegation that also includes athletes, officials, journalists and a taekwondo demonstration team.North Korea on Sunday offered to send another advance team across the border on Thursday to look at accommodation facilities, a press center and the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies, according to Seoul's Unification Ministry. South Korea is to send its own advance team to North Korea on Tuesday to review logistics for a joint cultural event at the North's Diamond Mountain and their non-Olympic skiers' joint practices at the North's Masik ski resort, the ministry said.Hyon was a popular singer before she was appointed to lead the Moranbong Band, which serves as the 'soft' public face of the Kim government. Its members in short skirts and high heels or stylish military uniforms sing and dance odes to Kim. There is speculation that some of the Moranbong members may also appear in the Samjiyon art troupe, which observers say was likely hastily formed ahead of Olympics-related talks with South Korea.Under a deal with South Korea, the Samjiyon group is to play folk songs and classic masterpieces that are well-known to both Koreas and fit in with the theme of unification. An attempt by the group to perform any propaganda piece would trigger protests from conservatives in South Korea. The Moranbong Band canceled its planned 2015 performance in Beijing at the last minutes after Beijing wanted to replace a missile launch scene from the background of the stage, according to South Korea media.
  • Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou had a violent history of first-round finishes.By the time their heavyweight bout reached the fifth round, Miocic and Ngannou huffed, puffed and trudged around the cage without a knockout in sight. Miocic set the UFC heavyweight record with his third straight successful title defense, turning the anticipated slugfest against Ngannou into a methodical and masterful ground-and-pound bout to win the main event of UFC 220 at TD Garden.Miocic won 50-44 on all three scorecards early Sunday and was never seriously tested by the raw and unrefined Ngannou.Miocic (18-2) and Ngannou (11-2) had UFC fans buzzing with perhaps the most-hyped heavyweight title bout since Brock Lesnar was the class of the division. Both fighters built their reputations on the strength of nasty knockouts, and Ngannou was coming off a GIF-worthy KO just seven weeks ago.Both fighters were winded by the third round and Ngannou looked sleepy as he whiffed on a few blows in the fifth.In the first round, the fight seemed like it could reach epic slugfest proportions. Miocic and Ngannou tagged each other several times, leaving each fighter staggered and seemingly on the brink of trouble.'He's a tough dude. Caught me in the first round but I took control,' Miocic said.The fight never really picked up from there. Miocic spent the rest of the fight just banging away as Ngannou mostly covered up, hoping for one last desperate knockout punch.Ngannou, a Cameroon native who this week criticized President Donald Trump for his profane description of African countries, never found that reserve power.'I think I underestimated (him) a little bit,' said Ngannou, whose rise from homeless to heavyweight contender captivated a sport eager for a new star.Miocic beat Fabrício Werdum to win the heavyweight title in May 2016, and followed with wins against Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos and now Ngannou to slug his way into the record book.Miocic could lay claim as UFC's greatest heavyweight.'I mean I'm not the scariest, but I'm the baddest,' he said.___CORMIER DEFENDSDaniel Cormier locked a choke hold on Volkan Oezdemir with such force that the crowd exploded when the horn sounded to end the first round, thinking the fight was over.Not yet.Oezdemir was saved from submission briefly. But the inevitable defeat was just moments away.With a Boston crowd roaring and chanting his initials, Cormier showed why he's the best active light heavyweight fighter in UFC and dominated Oezdemir via TKO to retain the 205-pound belt.Cormier raised his hands in triumph as UFC President Dana White wrapped the title belt around his waist. Cormier dropped to his knees on the canvas and said this fight was the validation he needed to prove he was worthy of being called champion.The 38-year-old Cormier was awarded the light heavyweight title after Jon Jones was stripped of the championship when he failed his latest doping test. Cormier has failed to beat Jones in two bouts and could not shake the stigma of those outcomes.Against Oezdemir, Cormier proved worthy of the title.Cormier pinned Oezdemir against the canvas early in the second and finished him off with a series of shots to the face.'I've lost twice to Jon Jones,' Cormier said. 'I said coming in here that I felt like I was fighting for a vacant title again. I got the job done, so I'm the UFC champion again. I can't ignore what happened in July. I'm a competitor. Even though I came in here as a champ, I needed a win to feel like one.'UFC stripped Jones of the title after the California State Athletic Commission changed the result of Jones' stoppage of Cormier at UFC 214 in July to a no-contest. Jones tested positive for the banned steroid Turinabol.Cormier lamented leading up to the fight that he would never again fight Jones.'I've done everything right and I've just been dragged down by this guy constantly,' Cormier said.White suggested Cormier return to the heavyweight division and fight Stipe. But Cormier said he had little interest in the bout and friend and training partner Cain Velasquez should be next in line for a title fight.Oezdemir got almost no reaction from the Boston crowd as he walked out draped in the Swiss flag. Cormier, known for getting split reactions, had fans standing on their feet, snapping pics and cheering. He took a lap around the canvas with his right arm raised in triumph, backed by 'Let's go DC!' chants.'I proved I'm worthy of being called champion, but Volkan's on that level,' Cormier said. 'Every guy who makes it to this point is on the level. Volkan Oezdemir, I leave a piece of myself with every opponent. I'm glad you can take a piece back with you to Switzerland.'___UNDERCARD FUNThe TD Garden was packed and lit from the opening preliminary bout and the card was sprinkled with Massachusetts fighters to pander to the local crowd.UFC grabbed hold of the Boston sports scene for a few hours Saturday night on the eve of the New England Patriots' appearance in the AFC title game with a chance to go to the Super Bowl. The bars that surrounded the arena had UFC banners waving on a windy night. White, who lived in Boston for 10 years, is a die-hard city sports fan and attended a Celtics game this week and was set to attend the Patriots game Sunday. But for White, the main event of the week clearly took place inside the octagon, where the undisputed light heavyweight and heavyweight championships were defended on the same card for the first time since 2003.UFC 220 featured two quick contenders for KO off the year — remember, Ngannou's spectacular KO of Overeem happened in early December.Abdul Razak Alhassan caught Sabah Homasi flush with a right uppercut in the first for one of the more spectacular knockouts in recent UFC history to win a welterweight bout. Razak Alhassan knocked Homasi cold with a vicious right that brought a gasp from the crowd and left Homasi motionless on his back for a couple of minutes. He eventually needed assistance to sit on a stool in his corner. Trainers placed bags of ice on his back and neck.Razak Alhassan already beat Homasi in a controversial stoppage at UFC 218. The outcome of the immediate rematch left no doubt.Calvin Kattar, a New England fighter who gave a shoutout to the Patriots, broke open a close fight against Shane Burgos and won via TKO in the third. Kattar staggered Burgos with a series of blows and nailed an uppercut that put Burgos on his back. Burgos absorbed more blows and briefly escaped until referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight.
  • A rocket launched from New Zealand on Sunday successfully reached orbit carrying small commercial satellites.California-based company Rocket Lab said its Electron rocket, which carries only a small payload of about 150 kilograms (331 pounds), successfully deployed an earth imaging and two other satellites for weather and ship tracking after blastoff from the Mahia Peninsula on North Island's east coast.Company CEO and founder Peter Beck, a New Zealander, said the launch marks the beginning of a new era in commercial access to space. He said that deploying customer payloads on a second test flight 'is almost unprecedented.'The company last May reached space with its first test launch, only to abort the mission due to a communication glitch. It has official approval to conduct three test launches and sees an emerging market in delivering small devices, some as big as a smartphone, into orbit.The satellites would be used for everything from monitoring crops to providing internet service.
  • The Latest on UFC 220 in Boston, with the heavyweight and light heavyweight titles up for grabs (all times local):12:55 a.m.Stipe Miocic set the UFC heavyweight record with his third straight successful title defense, turning the anticipated slugfest against Francis Ngannou into a methodical ground-and-pound bout in the main event of UFC 220.Miocic won 50-44 on all three scorecards early Sunday and was never seriously tested by the raw but unrefined Ngannou.Miocic (18-2) and Ngannou (11-2) had UFC fans buzzing with perhaps the most-hyped heavyweight title bout since Brock Lesnar was the class of the division. Both fighters have a history of finishing off their foes within two rounds and Ngannou was coming off a nasty knockout win just seven weeks ago.Both fighters were winded by the third round and Ngannou looked sleepy as he whiffed on a few blows in the fifth.Miocic and Ngannou tagged each other several times in the first round and both fighters were staggered and in trouble.But the fight got worse from there. Miocic spent the second and third rounds just banging away as Ngannou covered up, hoping for one last desperate knockout punch.He never found it.Miocic beat Fabrício Werdum to win the heavyweight title in May 2016, and followed with wins against Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos and now Ngannou to slug his way into the record book.___12:05 a.m.Daniel Cormier has defended his 205-pound title with a dominating performance over Volkan Oezdemir in the co-main event of UFC 220.Cormier (20-1) had the Boston crowd behind him and Oezdemir (16-1) taking shots in front of him Saturday night, putting him away just 2 minutes into the second round. Cormier raised his hands in triumph as UFC President Dana White wrapped the title belt around his waist. He dropped to his knees on the canvas and said he proved he was worthy of being called champion.Cormier was awarded the title after Jon Jones was stripped of his light heavyweight championship when he failed his latest doping test.Cormier had lived in Jones' shadow for the last few years of his career.But against Oezdemir, he was worthy of the title.Cormier nearly put away Oezdemir in the first round with a choke until there was a late save by the bell. But Cormier pinned Oezdemir against the canvas early in the second and finished him off with a series of punches to the face.___11:45 p.m.UFC 220 is set for its championship main events.Rob Font gave the hometown fans a reason to go wild with a dominant victory over Thomas Almeida in the opening bout on the UFC 220 pay-per-view card on Saturday night. Font crushed Almeida with an overhand right to the temple, a knee to the head and Font pounded away until the bout was quickly stopped at 2:24 of the second round. House of Pain blared during Font's victory celebration inside the cage.Gian Villante defeated Francimar Barroso by split decision for his sixth straight victory in a slow-paced 205-pound fight that drew heavy boos from the antsy crowd.Calvin Kattar, another New England fighter, broke open a close fight against Shane Burgos and via TKO in the third round. Kattar staggered Burgos with a series of blows and nailed an uppercut that put Burgos on his back. Burgos absorbed more blows and briefly escaped until referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight.Kattar, who won his 10th straight MMA fight, wowed the crowd then gave a shoutout to the Patriots to the delight of the crowd.___10 p.m.K-OW!Abdul Razak Alhassan caught Sabah Homasi flush with a right uppercut in the first round for one of the more spectacular knockouts in recent UFC history to win a welterweight bout at UFC 220 on Saturday night.Razak Alhassan knocked Homasi cold with a vicious right that brought a gasp from the sellout crowd at TD Garden. Homasi was motionless on his back for a couple of minutes and eventually needed assistance to sit on a stool in his corner. Trainers placed bags of ice on his back and neck.Razak Alhassan already beat Homasi in a controversial stoppage at UFC 218. UFC granted an immediate rematch and Razak Alhassan left no doubt about this outcome.Even with ferocious heavyweight puncher Francis Ngannou on the card in the main event, it's going to be hard for any fighter to top Razak Alhassan's KO.Kyle Bochniak, of Gloucester, Massachusetts, had the home crowd behind him in a unanimous decision win over Brandon Davis. The crowd roared for Bochniak's walk to the cage and cheered when the decision was announced.The UFC had five fights ahead on the UFC 220 pay-per-view card.___9 p.m.UFC 220 has some star power on the sidelines for the opening fights.Islam Makhachev needed just one left hand and 57 seconds to knock out Gleison Tibau in the first preliminary bout. Khabib Nurmagomedov was in Makhachev's corner and pounded a wall in celebration of his fellow Russian fighter's victory on Saturday night. Nurmagomedov is set to fight Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title at UFC 223 in New York.UFC President Dana White has refused to strip inactive champion Conor McGregor of the lightweight title. Nurmagomedov's second fight in UFC was a victory over Tibau. Tibau made his return following a two-year doping suspension.Enrique Barzola defeated Matt Bessette by unanimous decision in another of the prelim fights. Julio Arce beat Dan Ige by unanimous decision in a bout between two fighters making their UFC debuts. Dustin Ortiz also snapped Alexandre Pantoja's 11-fight MMA winning streak dating to 2010 with a unanimous decision victory.___8 p.m.UFC is back in Boston.The top MMA promotion returned to TD Garden Saturday night with the heavyweight and light heavyweight belts on the line on the same card for the first time since 2003.Stipe Miocic (17-2) looks to set a UFC heavyweight division record with a third straight successful title defense when he fights Francis Ngannou (11-1). The 31-year-old Ngannou hasn't needed to go beyond the first round in any of his last four bouts and has never gone past the second in his 12 pro fights. Ngannou fights just seven weeks after his stunning victory of Alistair Overeem at UFC 218.Daniel Cormier (19-1) defends the light heavyweight title against Switzerland's Volkan Oezdemir (15-1).UFC held its fifth card at TD Garden, the first since 2016, and the company said the arena was sold out.
  • Feuding Democrats and Republicans in Congress are trying to dodge blame for a paralyzing standoff over immigration and showing few signs of progress on negotiations needed to end a government shutdown.The finger-pointing Saturday played out in rare weekend proceedings in both the House and Senate, where lawmakers were eager to show voters they were actively working for a solution — or at least actively making their case why the other party was at fault. The scene highlighted the political stakes for both parties in an election-year shutdown whose consequences were far from clear.'The American people cannot begin to understand why the Senate Democratic leader thinks the entire government should be shut down until he gets his way on illegal immigration,' said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., hours after a last-chance Senate vote failed.Democrats refused to provide the votes needed to reopen the government until they strike a deal with President Donald Trump protecting young immigrants from deportation, providing disaster relief and boosting spending for opioid treatment and other domestic programs.Democrats feel 'very, very strongly about the issues' said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, adding that he believes 'the American people are on our side.'The fighting followed a late-night vote in which Senate Democrats blocked a House-passed measure that would have kept agencies functioning for four weeks.Republicans began the day hopeful they might pick off Democratic support for a three-week version and bring the episode to a quick end. Democrats are insisting on an alternative lasting only several days — which they think would pressure Republicans to cut an immigration deal — and say they'll kill the three-week version when the Senate votes on it by early Monday.The shutdown came on the anniversary of Trump's inauguration. As lawmakers bickered in the Capitol, protesters marched outside in a reprise of the women's march from a year ago. The president remained out of sight and canceled plans to travel to his resort in Florida for the weekend. He did tweet, making light of the timing by saying Democrats 'wanted to give me a nice present' to mark the start of his second year in office.Trump worked the phones, staying in touch with McConnell, while White House legislative affairs director Marc Short and budget chief Mick Mulvaney met at the Capitol with House Republicans. GOP lawmakers voiced support for the White House stance of not negotiating while the government was shuttered.Tempers were short and theatrics high. Lawmakers bickered over blame, hypocrisy and even the posters brought to the House floor. While neither chamber voted on a measure to open the government, the House did vote on whether a poster displayed by Republican Rep. Bradley Byrne of Alabama violated the House rules on decorum. The House voted to allow the poster, which bore a photo of Schumer and the quote 'the politics of idiocy.'While Republicans blamed the breakdown on Schumer, Democrats increasingly focused their messaging on criticizing Trump, whose popularity is dismal. Democrats were using his zigzagging stance in immigration talks — first encouraging deals, then rejecting them — to underscore his first, chaotic year in office.'Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O,' Schumer said.Short compared Democrats' actions to 'a 2-year-old temper tantrum.'Republicans seemed content to hope additional Democrats will break as pressure builds and the impact of the shutdown becomes clearer.In the late-night vote blocking the bill preventing a shutdown, five Democrats from states Trump won in the 2016 election voted to keep government functioning. In a sign that moderates are feeling pressure, more than a dozen centrist senators from both parties have been trying to craft an immigration and spending compromise that party leaders would embrace, but they've fallen short so far.Republicans argued that Democrats were blocking extra Pentagon funds by keeping government closed and thwarting a long-term budget deal.'I question if Senate Democrats are really united,' Short told reporters. 'We think there'll be more today and hopefully they'll continue to see that it's not wise to hold our troops hostage.'But pressure on Republicans could mount with the new workweek Monday and the impact of the federal shutdown becomes more apparent to people.While the Statue of Liberty — the nation's emblem of its immigrant past — and Philadelphia's Liberty Bell were closed Saturday, visitors had access to other iconic national parks like Yellowstone. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke tweeted a photo of himself talking to students at the World War II Memorial in Washington, blocks from White House.Social Security and most other safety-net programs were unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. Critical government functions continued, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay. But if no deal is reached before Monday, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will be furloughed.For leverage, Democrats were banking on Trump's wobbly presidency and the GOP's control of the White House, the House and Senate — a triumvirate that until now had never allowed a government closure to occur.'Republicans in Congress plunged head-first into the Trump shutdown,' Schumer told reporters. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Republicans 'so incompetent and negligent that they couldn't get it together to keep the government open.'Which party's strategy would succeed remained open to debate.Retired Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., a veteran of shutdown wars, said he believed Democrats believe 'the more chaos they can create the better.' He said Schumer's tough strategy was 'a gross overplaying of his hand' and predicted Democrats would eventually relent.Former Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., said both parties needed to be cautious.'It's obvious that Democrats are playing to their base and Republicans are playing to their base,' he said. 'Everybody loses. It just feeds into the fed-up atmosphere of the American people.'Democrats have been seeking a deal to protect so-called Dreamers. Around 700,000 of them have been shielded against deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which Trump halted last year. He's given lawmakers until early March to pass legislation restoring the protections, but he's demanded added money for his proposed border wall with Mexico as a price.___Associated Press writers Matthew Daly, Richard Lardner and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.
  • Thousands of federal employees began their weekends gripped with doubt, uncertain of when they'll be able to return to work and how long they'll have to go without being paid after a bitter political dispute in Washington triggered a government shutdown.Many government operations will continue — U.S. troops will stay at their posts and mail will get delivered. But almost half the 2 million civilian federal workers will be barred from doing their jobs if the shutdown extends into Monday.The longer the shutdown continues, the more likely its impact will be felt. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said Republicans and Democrats share the blame.'Political gamesmanship, an unwillingness to compromise, and a lack of resolve on both sides have led us to this point,' McCain said in a statement Saturday.How key parts of the federal government would be affected by a shutdown:___IRSA shutdown plan posted on the Treasury Department's website shows that nearly 44 percent of the IRS' 80,565 employees will be exempt from being furloughed during a shutdown. That would mean nearly 45,500 IRS employees will be sent home just as the agency is preparing for the start of the tax filing season and ingesting the sweeping changes made by the new GOP tax law.The Republican architects of the tax law have promised that millions of working Americans will see heftier paychecks next month, with less money withheld by employers in anticipation of lower income taxes. The IRS recently issued new withholding tables for employers.But Marcus Owens, who for 10 years headed the IRS division dealing with charities and political organizations, said it's a 'virtual certainty' that the larger paychecks will be delayed if there's a lengthy government shutdown.___HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENTHalf of the more than 80,000 employees will be sent home. Key programs will continue to function because their funding has ongoing authorization and doesn't depend on annual approval by Congress. But critical disruptions could occur across the vast jurisdiction of HHS programs — including the seasonal flu program.Medicare, which insures nearly 59 million seniors and disabled people, will keep going. And so will Medicaid, which covers more than 74 million low-income and disabled people, including most nursing home residents.States will continue to receive payments for the Children's Health Insurance Program, which covers about 9 million kids. However, long-term funding for the program will run out soon unless Congress acts to renew it.Deep into a tough flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be unable to support the government's annual seasonal flu program. And CDC's ability to respond to disease outbreaks will be significantly reduced.___JUSTICE DEPARTMENTMany of the nearly 115,000 Justice Department employees have national security and public safety responsibilities that allow them to keep working during a shutdown. Special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating Russian meddling in the presidential election will also continue working. His office is paid for indefinitely.The more than 95,000 employees who are 'exempted' include most of the members of the national security division, U.S. attorneys, and most of the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshals Service and federal prison employees. Criminal cases will continue, but civil cases will be postponed as long as doing so doesn't compromise public safety. Most law enforcement training will be canceled, per the department's contingency plan.___STATE DEPARTMENTMany State Department operations will continue in a shutdown. Passport and visa processing, which are largely self-funded by consumer fees, will not shut down. The agency's main headquarters in Washington, in consultation with the nearly 300 embassies, consulates and other diplomatic missions around the world, will draw up lists of nonessential employees who will be furloughed.Department operations will continue through the weekend and staffers will be instructed to report for work as usual on Monday to find out whether they have been furloughed.___DEFENSE DEPARTMENTThe U.S. military will continue to fight wars and conduct missions around the world, including in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. And members of the military will report to work, though they won't get paid until Congress approves funding.Mattis said in a departmentwide memo Friday that 'ships and submarines will remain at sea, our aircraft will continue to fly and our warfighters will continue to pursue terrorists throughout the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.'But Mattis said during remarks on Friday at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies that a shutdown will still have far-reaching effects on the Defense Department.Weapons and equipment maintenance will shut down, military intelligence operations would stop and training for most of the reserve force would be put on hold, he said. And any National Guard forces heading out to do weekend training duty around the country will arrive at armories and be told to go home.___U.S. INTELLIGENCE AGENCIESThe workforce at the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies will be pared down significantly, according to a person familiar with contingency procedures.The official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity, said employees who are considered essential and have to work will do so with no expectation of a regular paycheck.While they can be kept on the job, federal workers can't be paid for days worked during a shutdown. In the past, however, they have been paid retroactively even if they were ordered to stay home.___HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENTA department spokesman said nearly 90 percent of Homeland Security employees are considered essential and will continue to perform their duties during a government shutdown.That means most Customs and Border Protection and Transportation Security Administration workers will stay on the job, according to the department's shutdown plan, dated Friday.Immigration and Customs Enforcement will be staffed at about 78 percent, meaning more than 15,000 of the agency's employees will keep working. The Secret Service, also part of Homeland Security, will retain more than 5,700 employees during the shutdown.___INTERIOR DEPARTMENTThe Interior Department said national parks and other public lands will remain as accessible as possible. That position is a change from previous shutdowns, when most parks were closed and became high-profile symbols of dysfunction.Spokeswoman Heather Swift said the American public — especially veterans who come to the nation's capital — should find war memorials and open-air parks available to visitors. Swift said many national parks and wildlife refuges nationwide will also be open with limited access when possible.She said public roads that already are open are likely to remain open, though services that require staffing and maintenance such as campgrounds, full-service restrooms and concessions won't be operating. Backcountry lands and culturally sensitive sites are likely to be restricted or closed, she said.Yet the shutdown had an instant impact on two of the world's top tourist destinations: the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.The National Park Service announced that both New York sites would be closed 'due to a lapse in appropriations.' The park service said the closure of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island was effective immediately and until further notice.For ticket refunds, visitors were instructed to contact the Statue Cruises company that runs ferries to the statue and Ellis Island, the historic entry point in New York Harbor for immigrants to the United States that is now a museum.___TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENTMore than half — 34,600 — of the Department of Transportation's 55,100 employees will continue working during a shutdown. The bulk of those staying on the job work for the Federal Aviation Administration, which operates the nation's air traffic control system.Controllers and aviation, pipeline and railroad safety inspectors are among those who would continue to work.But certification of new aircraft will be limited, and processing of airport construction grants, training of new controllers, registration of planes, air traffic control modernization research and development, and issuance of new pilot licenses and medical certificates will stop.At the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, investigations on auto safety defects will be suspended, incoming information on possible defects from manufacturers and consumers won't be reviewed and compliance testing of vehicles and equipment will be delayed.The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, whose operations are mostly paid for out of the Federal Highway Trust Fund, will continue most of their functions. The fund's revenue comes from federal gas and diesel taxes, which will continue to be collected. But work on issuing new regulations will stop throughout the department and its nine agencies.___NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTHDr. Anthony Fauci, the agency's infectious disease chief, said a government shutdown will be disruptive to research and morale at the National Institutes of Health but will not adversely affect patients already in medical studies.'We still take care of them,' he said of current NIH patients. But other types of research would be seriously harmed, Fauci said.A shutdown could mean interrupting research that's been going on for years, Fauci said. The NIH is the government's primary agency responsible for biomedical and public health research across 27 institutes and centers. Its research ranges from cancer studies to the testing and creation of vaccines.'You can't push the pause button on an experiment,' he said.___ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCYEPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has instructed workers there to come to work next week even with a shutdown. Pruitt said in an email to all EPA employees on Friday that the agency had 'sufficient resources to remain open for a limited amount of time.' He said further instructions would come if the shutdown lasts for more than a week.The instructions from Pruitt are different from how the agency has operated during prior shutdowns and the contingency plan posted on EPA's website. A spokesman for the agency said earlier on Friday that the December 2017 plan was no longer valid.___Associated Press writers Sadie Gurman, Joan Lowy, Michael Biesecker, Lolita Baldor, Andrew Taylor, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Laurie Kellman, Deb Riechmann, Matthew Lee and Marcy Gordon contributed to this report.___Contact Richard Lardner on Twitter at http://twitter.com/rplardner