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US News Headlines

    President Donald Trump is expressing his frustration with fellow Republicans, saying they 'do very little to protect their President.' In one of several tweets issued Sunday afternoon and evening, Trump said the lack of support happens even with 'some that were carried over the line on my back.' Trump's tweet wasn't clear about why he was upset. It came as Republicans in the Senate struggled to come together on a bill to overhaul President Barack Obama's health care law. On that topic, another tweet from the president was more specific: 'If Republicans don't Repeal and Replace the disastrous ObamaCare, the repercussions will be far greater than any of them understand!' Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was making a last-gasp effort to resuscitate the legislation after Trump insisted that senators not leave town for their August recess without passing a health bill. Trump has had a complicated relationship with the Republican Party, but GOP lawmakers have continued to be generally supportive of the president, even as his approval ratings have slipped. Democrats did not escape Trump's twitter rantings as he turned his attention for a moment to the ongoing investigation into Russia meddling in the presidential election. In another missive he wrote: 'As the phony Russian Witch Hunt continues, two groups are laughing at this excuse for a lost election taking hold, Democrats and Russians!' The president also took a shot at favorite targets in the news media: 'It's hard to read the Failing New York Times or the Amazon Washington Post because every story/opinion, even if should be positive, is bad!
  • Asian shares meandered Monday as market attention turned to the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later in the week. Japanese shares languished as the yen strengthened against the dollar. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.6 percent to finish at 19,975.67. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.6 percent to 5,688.10. South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.1 percent to 2,451.53. Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.4 percent to 26,805.36 and the Shanghai Composite index gained 0.6 percent to 3,255.45. India's Sensex added 0.6 percent to 32,220.32, while shares in Southeast Asia were mixed. FED FACTOR: The monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve wraps up two days of meetings Wednesday. At June's meeting, Fed officials raised the central bank's key interest rate for the third time in six months. The Fed also announced plans to start gradually paring its bond holdings later this year, a move that could cause long-term rates to rise. Over the last few weeks investors have focused what the European Central Bank will do as the European economy continues to improve. U.S. POLITICS: A flurry of tweets from U.S. President Donald Trump, complaining that Republicans were failing to fully support him as they struggle to deliver on health care legislation, underscored the disarray in Washington amid investigations into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible connections to Trump's campaign. THE QUOTE: 'Investors continued to take into account Trump's political setbacks including expanded investigation into his transactions regarding his Russian connections and limited progress in the health care bill. Resignation of White House Press Secretary Spicer over the weekend might further fuel USD weakness,' says Zhu Huani, Singapore Treasury Division of Mizuho Bank, of the U.S. political uncertainties. JAPAN MANUFACTURING: A preliminary survey of factory purchasing managers showed output slowing as export orders fell to an 11-month low of 50 — the cutoff between contraction and expansion on a scale of 100. Output dropped for the second straight month. WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped less than 1 point to 2,472.54. The Dow Jones industrial average also dipped 0.1 percent to 21,580.07. The Nasdaq composite was almost unchanged at 6,387.75. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks sank 6.52 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,435.84. Still, all four indexes remain near record highs. ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude edged 1 cent lower to $45.76 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It sank $1.15 to $45.77 a barrel on Friday. Brent crude, the standard for international oil prices, climbed 2 cents to $48.33 a barrel in London. CURRENCIES: The euro rose to $1.1654 from $1.1639. The dollar slid to 111.12 yen from 111.55 yen late Friday in Asia. ___ Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama Her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/yuri%20kageyama
  • Politically ambitious pups and kittens: Put your resumes aside. The job of first pet — an enviable White House gig with luxurious live-in privileges, after-hours access to the president and guaranteed positive press coverage — is not currently available. That's because President Donald Trump is not looking for a fluffy sidekick at the moment. Asked about plans for a four-legged addition to the White House, Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Melania Trump, said in a statement: 'The first family is still getting settled so there are no plans at this time.' If Trump stays pet-free, he will be breaking with a long held tradition of presidential pet ownership. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's had his beloved terrier Fala. President George H.W. Bush's English springer spaniel Millie was featured on 'The Simpsons.' When President Barack Obama's family acquired their Portuguese water dog Bo, it was big news. 'In the modern-day presidency, almost all of them have had a pet,' said Jennifer Pickens, a White House social expert who wrote 'Pets at the White House.' Still, she noted, 'all didn't necessarily have them at the beginning of the administration.' Power and pets have long gone hand in hand. 'For some reason people in power, they end up suffocating different opinions and dominating their staff, but they in some ways long for someone who will speak up to them, and a pet will,' said Doug Wead, a former George H.W. Bush administration staffer who wrote books on presidential children and the 2016 campaign. Wead noted that political pets can sometimes be used for, well, politics. He recalled an event after Millie had puppies that was 'carefully choreographed so guests could see all these little puppies.' 'It was calculated like a state dinner,' he said. While there have been notable pets in the White House for generations, Millie was the first modern White House dog, said Pickens. She added that Barbara Bush was the first one to 'use the pet as a tool to reach out.' The former first lady wrote 'Millie's Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush,' which reached the number one spot on the New York Times nonfiction best seller list in the fall of 1990. The newspaper's description: 'The memoirs of the English springer spaniel who lives in the White House.' Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1998 followed Bush's lead, with a children's book about family dog Buddy and cat Socks. 'Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids' Letters to the First Pets' featured photographs of the pets, details on their habits and more than 50 letters from children to the pets. During President George W. Bush's administration, when the White House was closed for tours after 9/11, the administration tried to connect with the public through videos. Among them was the 'Barney Cam' series of short videos featuring the Scottish terrier having adventures in the West Wing, with cameos from the first family and White House staff. When he declared victory in the 2008 presidential race, Barack Obama told his daughters: 'You have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House.' Several months later, Bo joined the family, a gift from the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Bo quickly became a household name, appearing on morning television shows and in videos promoting the White House Easter egg roll. Some notable pets belonged to first kids, including Amy Carter's Siamese cat Misty Malarky Ying Yang and Caroline Kennedy's pony Macaroni. The Kennedy family had a veritable menagerie of pets, complete with dogs, cats, birds, hamsters and a rabbit named Zsa Zsa. Going back in White House history, some presidential pet stories get more outlandish. According to the Presidential Pet Museum website, President Martin Van Buren was given a pair of tiger cubs that he donated to a zoo and President John Quincy Adams was presented an alligator. While Trump has not embraced presidential pet ownership, Vice President Mike Pence has picked up the slack. The Pences have a bunny, Marlon Bundo, and a cat named Pickles. Another cat named Oreo recently died. And they just added two more pets to the household — puppy Harley and cat Hazel. They also installed a beehive. Pickens said she doesn't know that it matters if Trump gets a dog, but she said they are 'effective tools to connect with the American people and I think pets help humanize the presidency.' Of course, while pet ownership can provide personal and political perks, it can also go wrong. Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was dogged by criticism for admitting that during a 1983 family vacation, he strapped his Irish setter — in a pet carrier — to the roof of his car for a 12-hour drive from Boston to Canada.
  • The average deduction for taxpayers who claimed it in each state and the District of Columbia: ___ United States: $11,846 1New York: $21,038 2Connecticut: $18,940 3New Jersey: $17,183 4California: $17,148 5District of Columbia: $15,452 6Massachusetts: $14,761 7Illinois: $12,878 8Maryland: $12,443 9Minnesota: $12,236 10Rhode Island: $12,139 11Vermont: $11,844 12Oregon: $11,824 13Wisconsin: $11,272 14Maine: $10,885 15Nebraska: $10,791 16Virginia: $10,778 17Pennsylvania: $10,743 18Ohio: $10,026 19New Hampshire: $9,672 20Iowa: $9,636 21Kentucky: $9,389 22Missouri: $9,374 23Michigan: $9,198 24Kansas: $9,110 25North Carolina: $9,071 26Hawaii: $9,016 27West Virginia: $9,011 28Montana: $8,897 29Arkansas: $8,816 30Delaware: $8,801 31Georgia: $8,696 32Colorado: $8,599 33Indiana: $8,306 34Idaho: $8,301 35South Carolina: $8,255 36Oklahoma: $7,877 37Utah: $7,807 38Texas: $7,594 39Washington: $7,077 40Arizona: $7,021 41Florida: $6,984 42New Mexico: $6,885 43North Dakota: $6,880 44Louisiana: $6,693 45Mississippi: $6,207 46Nevada: $5,877 47Wyoming: $5,754 48South Dakota: $5,751 49Alabama: $5,631 50Tennessee: $5,316 51Alaska: $4,789 ___ Sources: IRS, Associated Press calculations.
  • Republicans aren't usually big on raising taxes, but they're really eager to eliminate the federal deduction for state and local taxes. Why? A look at the states that benefit the most from the tax break helps explain it — they are all Democratic strongholds, or so-called blue states. New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and California top the list of states where taxpayers get the biggest deductions. Not a single Republican-leaning state ranks in the top 10. 'Although Republicans usually recoil at any type of tax increase, cutting this tax break would almost be fun for them,' said Martin Sullivan, chief economist for Tax Analysts. 'It provides massively disproportionate deductions to high-tax states controlled by Democrats.' Proposals by House Republican leaders and President Donald Trump would repeal the tax break as part of their packages to overhaul the American tax code. But they are getting a lot of pushback from Republican lawmakers in Democratic-controlled states. The standoff illustrates how hard it is for Congress to eliminate any popular tax break, even one that primarily benefits the ruling party's political opponents. Almost 44 million people claimed the deduction in 2014, according to IRS statistics. That's nearly every taxpayer who itemizes deductions, a little less than 30 percent of all taxpayers. Sullivan analyzed which states would be hit hardest by repealing the tax deduction. The Associated Press did a similar analysis and came to the same conclusion. Nationally, the average deduction is about $11,800, but it is much bigger in many blue states. New York is tops with an average deduction of more than $21,000. Connecticut is next at $18,900, followed by New Jersey at $17,200 and California at $17,100. These are states with high property values, high costs of living, high incomes and relatively high state and local taxes compared to other states. They are also states President Donald Trump lost in last year's election. Though the president is from New York, he lost the state to Democrat Hillary Clinton by 22 percentage points. The highest-ranked state won by Trump is Wisconsin, which came in at No. 13, with an average deduction of $11,300. At the bottom is Alaska, with an average deduction of $4,800. It is followed by Tennessee and Alabama. Among the bottom 10 states, Nevada and New Mexico are the only ones won by Clinton. The deduction allows taxpayers to write off real estate taxes, and state and local income taxes. If your state doesn't have an income tax, you can deduct sales taxes. The deduction is heavily weighted to families with high incomes. Seventy-five percent of the benefits went to families making more than $100,000. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, says eliminating a tax break that helps some people will help lawmakers lower tax rates for everyone. 'We're proposing a much simpler code with lower rates where everyone gets help whether they are paying their state and local taxes or they are putting their kids in college,' said Brady, who chairs the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. Eliminating the tax break would raise $1.3 trillion over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, money that could be used to help pay for lower income tax rates. The House Republican plan would eliminate most itemized deductions while nearly doubling the standard deduction, to $24,000 for married couples. Notably, the plan would keep the deductions for mortgage interest and charitable contributions. The White House and congressional Republicans have been privately negotiating their tax package for weeks, with no public sign that they're near a consensus. Democrats have been excluded from the talks. Some Republicans claim the deduction for state and local taxes encourages states to spend and tax more because the taxes can be deducted at the federal level. Some also complain that the deduction forces low-tax Republican states — red states — to subsidize high taxes in Democratic states. However, many blue-state Republicans don't buy those arguments. They note that most high-cost blue states send more tax dollars to Washington than they receive in federal benefits. And who benefits from those tax dollars? Low-cost red states where incomes are generally lower. 'If we're going to have a discussion about who is subsidizing whom, it must be across the board. It can't be just one provision,' said Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J. Lance is teaming up with Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., D-N.J., in an effort to maintain the tax break. 'In New Jersey, (the deduction) encourages very strong public schools,' Lance said. 'I want to maintain strong public schools. For there to be strong public schools, there has to be adequate spending.' Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., said he brings up the deduction every time he sees Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, one of Trump's top advisers on taxes. 'The minute he walked into the room and saw me he pointed and said, 'I know, state and local tax deduction,'' MacArthur said. 'I know the White House is committed to bringing taxes down for everybody,' MacArthur said. 'But people in high-tax states under the plan they're proposing would basically be at a break-even while everyone else in the county enjoys tax relief. That's not fair.' ___ Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter at http://twitter.com/stephenatap
  • A year ago Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte promised to cleanse his Southeast Asian nation of illegal drugs in three to six months. He said he would tame corruption and began a profanity-spiked tongue lashing of America — which he called 'lousy' last week. Those 'shock and awe' declarations of a year ago have collided with reality. Drugs and corruption have persisted and he grudgingly thanked the United States recently for helping to quell a disastrous siege in the south by pro-Islamic State group militants. Thousands of protesters marched with Duterte's effigy Monday to demand that he deliver on promises he made in his first state of the nation speech last year, from pressing peace talks with Marxist guerrillas, which is currently on hold, to upholding human rights and the rule of law. A look at the major issues confronting Duterte as he enters his second year in power. ___ ISLAMIC STATE-LINKED SIEGE Two months after more than 600 pro-Islamic State group militants blasted their way into southern city of Marawi, the military is still fighting the last gunmen — fewer than 100, about 10 of them foreign — in the last three occupied villages. Congress overwhelmingly voted on Saturday to grant Duterte's request to extend martial law in the south to the year's end to allow Duterte to deal with the Marawi crisis, the worst in his yearlong presidency, and stamp out other extremist groups across the south, something five presidents before him have failed to do. About half a million people have been displaced by the fighting, some of whom have threatened to march back to the still-besieged city to escape the squalor in overcrowded evacuation camps in nearby towns. Rebuilding Marawi will require massive funds and national focus and will be fraught with pitfalls. Amid the despair and gargantuan rebuilding, it's important 'to ensure that extremist teachings do not find fertile ground,' said Sidney Jones, director of the Jakarta-based Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict. ___ DRUG WAR During the campaign, he promised to rid the country of illegal drugs in three to six months and repeatedly threatened traffickers with death. But he missed his deadline and later declared he would fight the menace until his last day in office. When then-President Barack Obama, along with European Union and U.N. rights officials, raised alarm over the mounting deaths from the crackdown, Duterte lashed at them, once telling Obama to 'go to hell.' Duterte's fiercest critic at home, Sen. Leila del Lima, was detained in February on drug charges she said were baseless. More than 5,200 suspects have died so far, including more than 3,000 in reported gunbattles with police and more than 2,000 others in drug-related attacks by motorcycle-riding masked gunmen and other assaults, police said. Human rights groups have reported a higher death toll and called for an independent investigation of Duterte's possible role in the violence. Duterte 'has unleashed a human rights calamity on the Philippines in his first year in office,' U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said. In April, a lawyer filed a complaint of crimes against humanity against Duterte and other officials in connection with the drug killings before the International Criminal Court. An impeachment complaint against the president was dismissed in the House of Representatives, which is dominated by Duterte's allies. ___ SOUTH CHINA SEA More than a month into Duterte's presidency, the Philippines won a landmark arbitration case before a tribunal in The Hague that invalidated China's massive territorial claims in the South China Sea under a 1982 U.N. maritime treaty. Aiming to turn around his country's frosty relations with China, Duterte refused to demand immediate Chinese compliance with the ruling. He promised he would take it up with Beijing at some point. Confronting China, which has dismissed the ruling as a sham, risks sparking an armed conflict that the Philippines would surely lose, Duterte contended. Nationalists and critics blasted Duterte for what they see as a sellout to China. After meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China allowed Filipino fishermen to return to the Chinese-controlled Scarborough Shoal, where Chinese coast guard ships had driven Filipinos away since 2012. The Philippines had been the most vocal critic of China's aggressive behavior in the disputed waters until Duterte took power and reached out to Beijing, partly to secure funding for infrastructure projects. His move has effectively de-escalated tensions in the busy sea, but critics have warned that Duterte's friendly overtures to China may erode the country's chances to demand that China comply with the ruling and relinquish its claims to waters regarded as the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.
  • The Latest on the escalation in Israel and the Palestinian territories over a contested Jerusalem holy site (all times local): 9:20 a.m. Israeli media are reporting that President Donald Trump's Mideast envoy is on his way to the region to try and defuse a growing crisis over a sensitive Jerusalem holy site. The newspaper Haaretz says that Jason Greenblatt is expected to arrive on Monday in the Trump administration's first direct foray into the crisis. Tensions have been high since Israel set up new measures after Arab gunmen earlier this month opened fire from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen. Israel says the measures are meant to prevent more attacks but Palestinians allege they are an Israeli attempt to control the Muslim-administrated site and have launched mass protests. Three Palestinians have been killed in street clashes and a 20-year-old Palestinian stabbed and killed three members of an Israeli family in their home in a West Bank settlement. ___ 8:45 a.m. Israel's security Cabinet has reached no decision about the new security measures at a Jerusalem holy site that have set off a wave of violence. The top decision-making forum met overnight and into early Monday to discuss the latest developments, including an incident in which a security guard at the country's embassy in Jordan opened fire, killing two Jordanians, after being attacked. The incident is threatening to complicate the crisis over the holy site, which is administered by Muslim authorities under the auspices of Jordan. Israel set up the new measures after Arab gunmen opened fire from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen. It says they are meant to prevent more attacks. Palestinians allege they are an Israeli attempt to control the site and have launched mass protests.
  • The start was not what anyone expected out of Jordan Spieth. All that mattered to him was how he finished the British Open. And that might have been the biggest surprise of all. The record will show that Spieth took a three-shot lead into the final round at Royal Birkdale, closed with a 1-under 69 and won by three shots over Matt Kuchar, giving him the third leg of the career Grand Slam. 'Seventeen pars and a birdie would have been fine, too,' Spieth said, the silver claret jug at his side. 'But there's a lot of roads to get there.' The road less traveled? This was more like blazing a new trail. Seve Ballesteros won the 1979 British Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes by making birdie from the parking lot. Spieth was spared at Royal Birkdale by making a bogey from the driving range when he was expecting no better than a double bogey. Henrik Stenson finished with four birdies over the last five holes at Royal Troon last year to pull away from Phil Mickelson in one of golf's greatest duels. Trailing for the first time all weekend, Spieth went birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie to overcome his own doubts and win his third major just four days before he turns 24. 'He's a fighter. He's shown that the whole way through his short career,' Rory McIlroy said. 'He can dig himself out of these holes. He's an absolute star.' Spieth headed back home to Texas with golf's oldest trophy, and the first drink to be poured must surely be some magic elixir. How else to explain how he pulled this one off? 'It was certainly a show that he put on,' Kuchar said. It sure didn't look like that at the start, when Spieth made three bogeys on his opening four holes to lose his lead, regained a two-shot advantage with a birdie and an exquisite pitch for par on the tough sixth hole, and then gave it right back with a three-putt bogey on the ninth as Kuchar made birdie. Spieth couldn't help but think to the last time he had the lead in a major. It was 15 months ago when he lost a five-shot lead on the back nine at Augusta National, and the memories still lingered. 'As you can imagine, thoughts come in from my last scenario when I was leading a major on Sunday,' he said. 'I was so confident and all of a sudden, the wheels have kind of come off everything. And how do we get back on track to salvage this round and just give yourself a chance at the end? It took a bogey to do so.' Lost in the birdies and eagle during that mesmerizing stretch of golf was an intelligent question in the midst of a major meltdown. Spieth's tee shot on the 13th hole went some 75 yards right of the fairway, and he was told it bounced off a spectator's head into even more trouble. The ball eventually was found nestled in thick grass on the slope of a dune so steep that Spieth could barely take a stance, much less swing a club. He had nowhere to go. He only had the presence to ask a rules official, 'Is the range out-of-bounds?' No, it wasn't. That allowed Spieth to take a one-shot penalty for an unplayable lie and go back as far as he wanted on a line from the ball to the flag. That led him to the range, right in the middle of the equipment trucks. He was able to move some more to get the trucks out of his line, and then it was a matter of the shot. He couldn't see where he was going because of the dunes. He didn't know how far — Spieth thought it was about 270 yards, caddie Michael Greller thought it was 230 yards, and the caddie persuaded him to hit a 3-iron . It came up short of a pot bunker near the green, and Spieth pitched over it to about 7 feet. 'The putt on 13 was massive,' he said. Kuchar, who had to wait 20 minutes for the ruling, missed his 15-foot birdie putt and only led by one. Just not for long. What followed was a sequence that takes its place in major championship lore. Spieth hit a 6-iron that narrowly went in the cup , leaving a short birdie putt. He holed a 50-foot eagle putt on the next hole to regain the lead. And he followed that with a 30-foot birdie putt for the 16th. And when Kuchar holed a 20-footer for birdie on the 17th to stay in the game, Spieth poured in a 7-footer on top of him. Kuchar shot 69 and didn't make a mistake until it no longer mattered. Imagine having a one-shot lead, going par-birdie-par-birdie, and being two shots behind. 'I can only control what I do, how I play,' Kuchar said. 'Jordan is a great champion and certainly played that way in the finishing stretch.' Next up is to see if Spieth can finish off the slam. He joined Jack Nicklaus as the only players to get the third leg of the career Grand Slam at age 23. Spieth now goes to the PGA Championship next week in North Carolina with a chance to be the youngest to win them all. 'This is a dream come true for me,' Spieth said. 'Absolutely a dream come true.' That's about what it looked like over the final, wild hour. A dream.
  • ___ AILING ALL OVER Star pitchers Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals are recovering after getting injured Sunday, as is Cardinals on-base machine Matt Carpenter. Kershaw is headed to the disabled list with another back injury, this time suffering from tightness in the lower right side. Strasburg, meanwhile, says he hasn't felt right since the All-Star break because of 'achiness' in his forearm — he left after two innings Sunday to hopefully 'nip it in the bud now.' Carpenter is dealing with right quad tightness and is considered day to day. HERE HE COMES The Cubs could get another boost with the return of Kyle Hendricks, who has been sidelined by pain in the middle finger of his right hand. Hendricks will make his first start since June 4 when the Cubs host the crosstown White Sox. The right-hander went 16-6 with a major league-best 2.13 ERA last season, but has been limited to just 11 starts this year. 'My finger's feeling good,' Hendricks said. 'So it took that amount of time and it is what it is. Obviously I would have liked to come back sooner, but yeah, I'm glad we took the course we did and hopefully it can pay out later down the road.' THE GREAT JAKE Mets ace Jacob deGrom (11-3, 3.37 ERA) has won seven straight starts. He has a 1.51 ERA in that span, striking out 50 and walking 10. He'll try to extend the streak when New York begins a 10-game road trip by visiting San Diego. STRUGGLING CAIN San Francisco right-hander Matt Cain (3-8, 5.49) will try to avoid matching the longest losing streak of his career at eight games — from July 28, 2015-May 10, 2016 — when he pitches the series opener at home against Pittsburgh. ACTION PAXTON Mariners left-hander James Paxton (9-3, 3.06) is 4-0 with 2.05 ERA in four July starts. He'll make his third career start against Boston, and he's 1-0 with a 0.56 ERA against the Red Sox. He'll be opposed by lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 3.66). ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
  • Israel's security Cabinet has reached no decision about the new security measures at a Jerusalem holy site that have set off a wave of violence. The top decision-making forum met overnight and into early Monday to discuss the latest developments, including an incident in which a security guard at the country's embassy in Jordan opened fire, killing two Jordanians, after being attacked. The incident is threatening to complicate the crisis over the holy site, which is administered by Muslim authorities under the auspices of Jordan. Israel set up the new measures after Arab gunmen opened fire from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen. It says they are meant to prevent more attacks. Palestinians allege they are an Israeli attempt to control the site and have launched mass protests.

Local News

  • Those anticipating next month’s solar eclipse have an opportunity to view the rare spectacle at the University of Georgia.  The event, Eclipse Blackout 2017 hosted by the university's geography department, will allow onlookers to view the moment Aug. 21 at Sanford Stadium.  “UGA is in a great position to view a 99.1 percent “blackout” from a total solar eclipse,” organizers wrote on the event page.  MORE: 7 things to know about the total solar eclipse crossing the nation this August MORE: Get your free eclipse glasses at these metro Atlanta libraries The first 5,000 guests will get free, custom UGA viewing glasses and can expect to see other views from around the world on the stadium’s big screen. The eclipse is expected to be over Oregon at 1:15 p.m. EDT and end in South Carolina about an hour and a half later. Peak darkness in Athens is projected to be at 2:38 p.m.  The eclipse is the first in nearly 100 years to cross the country. Due to its rarity, astronomers are calling it the Great American Eclipse.
  • Trouble appears to be brewing in Elbert County, where Bowman Mayor Betty Jo Maxwell has filed harassment complaints with the Sheriff’s Office in Elberton, complaints against Bowman City Councilman Clay Rooker. The Mayor says the Councilman made threats. The Elbert County Sheriff’s Office says its investigation is ongoing. 
  • A Jackson County man is among those charged in a bribery case in Rome: David English is 38 years old, from Hoschton. He’s facing theft, bribery, and RICO allegations, accused of taking bribes as a security contactor for the Floyd County School System. English owns Southeastern Security Professionals; he’s accused of taking more than $60,000 from the school district in Rome over a four-year period that ended in 2014. 
  • Athens-Clarke County Commissioner Kelly Girtz says he will kick off his 2018 campaign for mayor with a rally on September 9. Girtz joins Harry Sims as Commissioners who say they will run to replace a term-limited Athens Mayor Nancy Denson. Also in the race are Antwon Stephens, Richie Knight, and Sam Thomas.  'We can build a strong foundation that will support Athenians of every walk of life, one that will set the stage for great lives for generations ahead,” said Girtz. “A safer, healthier, more prosperous Athens is awaiting, and I can't wait to work with you to build it.”  The election for Athens-Clarke County Mayor will be held on May 22, 2018. 
  • The victim of a Thursday accident at a quarry in Oglethorpe County has been identified. Matthew Kantala was 36 years old, from Elberton. The Oglethorpe County Coroner's office says he was struck by a piece of falling granite at the Blue Sky Quarry on Veribest Road. OSHA is investigating. 

Bulldog News

  • Georgia Bulldog running back Elijah Holyfield will go through a pre-trial diversion program after his marijuana arrest of earlier this year. The son of former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield was arrested May 1. He’s a sophomore on the Bulldog team that opens the 2017 season in 47 days. Holyfield is expected to be suspended for the September 2 home game against Appalachian State.  The sportswriters who attended last week’s SEC Media Days in Hoover Alabama voted the Georgia Bulldogs as preseason favorites to win the SEC East in coach Kirby Smart’s second season in Athens.
  • Kirby Smart said earlier this week that the Georgia football team should embrace the expectations. Well, here they are.   Georgia is officially the favorite to win the SEC East, albeit a slight one, as the Bulldogs were selected first in the division in the annual preseason media poll. Florida, the two-time defending champion, came in a close second. Georgia received 1,572 points, including 138 first-place votes, edging out Florida (1,526 points and 96 first-place votes.) The two were followed by Tennessee (998 points and three first-place votes), South Carolina (897 and five first-place votes), Kentucky (869), Vanderbilt (554) and Missouri (388). This is the fourth time in the last six years that Georgia has been picked to win the division. It met those expectations in 2012, then came short in 2013 and 2015. Last year, for Smart’s first season as Georgia’s head coach, the media picked Georgia to finish third. The Bulldogs ended up in a three-way tie for second. “When you come to the University of Georgia, the expectation is to win championships. That’s what we expect to do at the University of Georgia, and that’s the standard we’ll be held to,” Smart said from the podium during his turn at SEC media days. Georgia also received six votes to win the entire SEC championship, third-most behind prohibitive favorite Alabama (217) and Auburn (11).  Auburn and Mississippi State, the two West division teams that Georgia faces, were picked second and sixth in their division, respectively.  
  • Georgia Bulldog running back Nick Chubb was named Georgia Collegiate Athlete of the Year at last night’s Atlanta Sports Awards show. Chubb and his Bulldog teammates are today 50 days away from the season opener against the Appalachian State Mountaineers, a September 2 contest in Sanford Stadium.   Chubb, a native of Cedartown, Ga., was chosen from an all Bulldog group of finalists including track and field’s Keturah Orji and swimming and diving’s Olivia Smoliga, who were both 2016 U.S. Olympians.   This marks the second year in a row that a University of Georgia student-athlete has won the Collegiate Athlete of the Year honor after golfer Lee McCoy enjoyed the honor in 2016. The first accolade of this sort was given in 2006 and since football’s D.J. Shockley won the inaugural honor, there have been nine Bulldogs to garner the award. Five of those Georgia team members selected have been football players, including Jarvis Jones going back to back in 2011-12.   Chubb finished his third season as Georgia’s No. 2 all-time leading rusher with 3,424 yards, trailing only Herschel Walker (5,259). Named one of the team’s overall captains following the 2016 season, Chubb went for 1,130 yards and eight rushing touchdowns last year. This marked the second 1,000-yard season of his career after Chubb tallied 1,547 yards and 15 scores as a freshman in 2014. He was named the SEC Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American following his first year.   Chubb returned in 2016 following a season-ending knee injury that he sustained in game six of his sophomore year in 2015. In his season debut last year, Chubb exploded for 222 yards on 32 carries (6.9 average) and two touchdowns in the win over #20 North Carolina during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. He completed his third year with a 147-yard performance during the victory over TCU in the Liberty Bowl.
  • Georgia will be getting a key player back at full speed in time for fall camp.   Speaking at SEC Media Days on Tuesday, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart Bulldogs defensive tackle Trenton Thompson will be ready to go after an offseason that including rehabbing a shoulder injury and withdrawing from spring classes in February to deal with an unspecified medical issue. Thompson will be a big part of a Bulldogs defense that returns ten starters from last season. In 2106, Georgia finished No. 16 in the nation in total defense, allowing only 327.5 yards per game while allowing 24 points per game, good for 35th overall. A sophomore last season, Thompson recorded 56 total tackles, including 9.5 for a loss and five sacks.  
  • HOOVER, Ala. — Georgia football signees Robert Beal and Devonte Wyatt have yet to qualify to enroll at UGA, but coach Kirby Smart remains hopeful it will happen soon.  “They’re not ready yet to come in yet,” Smart said on Tuesday at SEC Media Days. “We think we could get them in any day, any minute. And that’s the hope.” Beal is a linebacker who finished his high school career at Suwanee’s Peachtree Ridge High School, after also spending time at IMG Academy and Norcross High School. He was rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports, Rivals and Scout, and a 5-star by ESPN. At one time, he was committed to Notre Dame. Wyatt is a defensive lineman from Decatur’s Towers High School. He was rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports and Scout, and a 3-star by Rivals and ESPN. Neither player was expected to contend immediately for playing time, given the team’s veteran depth at their positions. But coaches were clearly high on the potential of both. “We talk to them a lot about staying in shape, because they’re not there with our guys working out,” Smart said. “So those guys get a program, they’re encouraged to do it, it’s hard to oversee it. So you want those guys to work out and stay in shape so that when they do qualify they’re able to come in and help.”