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    Asian markets were broadly lower Monday after China protested the arrest of a senior executive of Chinese electronics giant Huawei, who is suspected of trying to evade U.S. trade curbs on Iran. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 slid 2.3 percent in early trading to 21,191.23, after revised data showed that its economy shrank by 2.5 percent in the third quarter, more than expected. South Korea's Kospi fell 1.2 percent to 2,051.82. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.6 percent to 25,660.76 and the Shanghai Composite was 0.8 percent lower at 2,585.94. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was down 2 percent at 5,569.90. Shares fell in Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. WALL STREET: Stocks tumbled on Friday on weaker-than-expected jobs growth and worries that the U.S.-China trade dispute will not be resolved within a 90-day timeframe. The S&P 500 index slipped 2.3 percent to 2,633.08 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 2.2 percent to 24,388.95. The Nasdaq composite tumbled 3 percent to 6,969.25. The Russell 2000 index of small-company stocks dropped 2 percent to 1,448.09. HUAWEI ARREST: China has slammed the 'extremely egregious' detention of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou and demanded that the U.S. cancel an order for her arrest, the official Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday. Meng, who is accused of attempting to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran, was arrested in Canada on Dec. 1. In a meeting with Terry Branstad, the U.S. ambassador to Beijing, Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng urged Washington to 'immediately correct its wrong actions' and vowed to take further steps based on its response, Xinhua said. The two countries recently agreed to hold off on further tariffs for 90 days while they attempt to resolve a range of issues from trade to technology development. ANALYST'S TAKE: Although the Huawei arrest 'falls under the purview of independent courts, the timing of it is unfortunate and could jeopardize the truce that was just agreed,' Chang Wei Liang of Mizuho Bank said in a commentary. 'Markets have correspondingly responded by reducing risk on the table, waiting to assess the extent of any political fallout.' SLOWING CHINESE EXPORTS: On Saturday, Chinese customs data showed that exports rose 5.4 percent to $227.4 billion in November over a year earlier. This is a broad decline from the 12.6 percent surge in the previous month. Imports gained 3 percent to $182.7 billion, as compared to a 20.3 percent jump in October. The numbers paint a picture of a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy, which could weigh on global growth. ENERGY: Oil futures settled after the OPEC cartel and other major oil producers agreed to reduce production by 1.2 million barrels a day starting from January. The cuts will last for six months. U.S. benchmark crude fell 3 cents to $52.58 a barrel. It gained $1.12 to $52.61 a barrel in New York on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 45 cents to $62.12. The contract added $1.61 to $61.67 a barrel in London. CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 112.32 yen from 112.72 yen late Friday. The euro rose to $1.1435 from $1.1379.
  • Japan's economy shrank at an annualized rate of 2.5 percent in July-September, a worse contraction than preliminary data indicated last month, the government said Monday. The earlier data put the contraction at 1.2 percent, as consumer spending, investment and exports fell. The revised data from the Cabinet Office shows the seasonally adjusted gross domestic product — the total value of a nation's goods and services — dipped 0.6 percent in the third quarter from the previous quarter. The data showed private demand and investment fell at a deeper pace than the initial estimate. Japan's economy, the world's third largest, grew in April-June, but contracted the quarter before that. That contraction ended the longest straight period of expansion for Japan in nearly three decades. Yoshimasa Maruyama, chief market economist at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo, said the new data requires a revision of assessments about economic growth and investment. 'But the overall trend of economic growth continues,' he said in a report, noting that recent natural disasters had crimped growth. Natural disasters weighed on consumer travel and spending, which means growth could recover if such events don't occur during the year's final quarter. The closure of a major airport in the western Kansai area after a typhoon was one of the natural disasters that brought down growth. A major earthquake also hit the northernmost island of Hokkaido during the quarter, causing deadly landslides and widespread blackouts. Until recently, Japan had been experiencing moderate growth under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's 'Abenomics' policies based on a deflation-fighting stimulus program of cheap lending. The nation's continuing labor shortage and slow wage growth are also hurting growth. Abe's attempts to help women join the workforce are showing only gradual results. Parliament passed a law over the weekend allowing more immigrant workers into Japan starting in April. ___ Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama On Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yurikageyama/?hl=en
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk dismissed the idea that the company's new chairwoman can exert control over his behavior. Robyn Denholm, an Australian telecommunications executive, was appointed chairwoman of Tesla's board last month, replacing Musk as part of as part of a securities fraud settlement with U.S. government regulators. But Musk said 'it's not realistic' to expect Denholm to watch over his actions because he remains the electric car company's largest shareholder. 'It's not realistic in the sense that I am the largest shareholder in the company,' Musk said in an interview with CBS' '60 Minutes,' broadcast Sunday evening. 'I can just call for a shareholder vote and get anything done that I want.' Musk, who owns about 20 percent of Tesla, gave up the chairman role under a settlement with the Securities Exchange Commission, which had charged the CEO with misleading investors in August with a tweet that said he had 'funding secured' for taking the company private. The SEC settlement also required the company to vet Musk's tweets and other comments about the company before they are released to the public. Musk also shrugged off that provision, saying none of his tweets have been censored so far and the company does not review his posts to determine beforehand whether they could potentially affect the company's stock price. 'I guess we might make some mistakes. Who knows?' Musk said. Musk said he does not respect the SEC, but when asked if he would obey the settlement, he said: 'Because I respect the justice system.' Denholm's appointment in November drew a mixed response from corporate governance experts, who praised her financial expertise but questioned her ability to carve out an independent path for a board that has been dominated by Musk. Denholm has been on Tesla's board for five years. She is the chief financial officer and strategy head at Telstra Corp. Ltd., Australia's largest telecommunications company, but will step down from that company after a six-month notice period and work at Tesla full-time. Musk told '60 Minutes' interviewer Lesley Stahl that he had hand-picked Denholm. The SEC settlement would allow Musk to return as chairman after three years, subject to shareholder approval. Musk said he would not be interested. 'I actually prefer to have no titles at all,' Musk said. Amid its CEO's erratic behavior, Tesla delivered on promises to accelerate production of its pivotal Model 3 sedan, progress seen as essential to the company's ability to repay $1.3 billion in debt due within the next six months. The company also fulfilled a pledge to make money during the third quarter, and Musk has said he expects the company to remain profitable. He said Tesla would consider buying any plant that rival GM closes as part of a restructuring plan that could cost up to 14,000 jobs.
  • Baseball players may get a little more sleep when traveling after Sunday night games next year. ESPN plans to announce it will move up the starting time of the nationally televised game by one hour, with the first pitch planned for shortly after 7 p.m. EDT. The network intends to make the announcement on Monday at the winter meetings, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Sunday because the announcement had not yet been made. Philadelphia hosts Atlanta in the first Sunday night game next season on March 31, the second game of a television doubleheader that begins with Texas playing the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Among other Sunday night games next year will be a World Series rematch between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston at Fenway Park on July 14, three games between the Red Sox and New York Yankees (June 2 and Aug. 4 in the Bronx, July 28 in Boston) and the Little League Classic with Pittsburgh and the Chicago Cubs playing Aug. 18 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. ESPN started the 'Sunday Night Baseball' telecast in 1990, and it developed in a showcase time slot. It nearly always is the only game scheduled for that time. But players who had to travel after games complained they reached the next city at dawn, disrupting their sleep schedules ahead of the next series against an opponent that usually has more rest. Major League Baseball has been more cognizant of player health issues in recent years. As part of the collective bargaining agreement that started in 2017, baseball scheduled earlier start times for many weekday games on getaway days beginning last season. MLB also is nearing an announcement on broadcast coverage for its first games in Britain, between the champion Red Sox and the Yankees on June 29 and 30. Fox is likely to televise the Saturday game and ESPN the Sunday game, the person said. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Prospective home buyers in Seattle as late as last year faced the prospect of entering bidding wars or getting edged out by competitors with cash. That's not the case anymore. At one point in 2017, 92 percent of homes sold in the city featured multiple bidders, the Seattle Times reported . Since then, there's been a cooling of the market. Just 21 percent of homes sold in Seattle in November had multiple bidders, according to the Redfin real estate brokerage firm. It's the lowest rate since the firm began tracking in 2011. Seattle now has the lowest rate of bidding wars among cities tracked by Redfin, the company said. Across the broader Seattle metro area, 79 percent of homes had multiple offers in 2017. That has fallen to 25 percent, also the lowest on record. For buyers, finding a home in the overheated market could be depressing. Some made offers and were immediately outbid, sometimes by $100,000 or more, or lost out to competitors offering cash. Home buyers sometimes had so sign away rights, such as backing out of a sale if the home was damaged. As late as February, Seattle led the nation in home sales with more than one bidder, but the change has been rapid. The number of buyers continues to fall and more sellers are seeing homes stay unsold for weeks, prompting them to cut list prices. The new scenario gives prospective buyers several advantages. With homes selling on average in three to four weeks, up from one week a year ago, buyers have more time to think over one of the biggest purchases of their lives. Sellers largely no longer 'offer review dates,' a deadline for buyers to submit their bids, usually a week after the listing goes live, said Peng Tea, a broker for John L. Scott. Instead, they take bids on a first-come, first-served basis. Buyers also are getting a break on terms. Fewer are being asked for nonrefundable earnest money and sellers have been more willing to fix things such as defective plumbing. 'You'll have a much higher likelihood of keeping some protections for yourself as a buyer,' Tea said. 'It's a much more favorable market for a buyer today, especially as you go toward the higher price points. You have more power to negotiate.' Several reasons are behind the cooling market. Interest rates rose, which cut into buyers' earnings power. Rents in the past year stayed flat, lessening pressure on people to buy. Prices grew more than twice as fast as incomes for half a decade, making it harder to purchase homes. Brokers also report reported less investment money from Chinese buyers more likely to make all-cash offers. Seattle reflects a national trend. Markets are cooling in other areas, especially in pricey West Coast cities. The national rate of multiple bids was 22 percent in November, the lowest in at least seven years, and down from 59 percent at the start of the spring, according to Redfin. ___ Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com
  • The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline has plummeted 22 cents a gallon (3.8 liters) over the past three weeks, to $2.51. Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that falling crude oil costs are the main reason for the decrease at the pump. The average gas price has dropped 40 cents in the past three months. The highest average price in the nation is $3.58 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area. The lowest average is $1.91 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The average price of diesel fell 9 cents over the past two weeks, to $3.18.
  • New York officials tout their deal to land a new Amazon headquarters as can't-miss math. The city and state put up $2.8 billion in tax breaks and grants. In return, they get an economic engine expected to generate $27 billion in new tax money over a quarter-century. 'This is a big moneymaker for us. Costs us nothing,' Gov. Andrew Cuomo said when the agreement was announced. Experts say the economic equation isn't that simple. The state's predicted 9-to-1 return on its investment was based on a widely used economic model that compares the costs of tax incentives with expected tax gains, but it didn't factor in the substantial costs of accommodating Amazon's growth in the city, economic development researchers said after reviewing the documents. The city and state will have to spend money to educate the children of Amazon workers, improve public transportation to get them to work, collect their garbage, adjust police and fire coverage, and provide all sorts of other services for a growing number of people. 'Claiming 9-to-1 isn't just implausible. It is a dishonest way to present the return on these incentives,' says Nathan Jensen, a University of Texas professor of government who has been critical of the way economic development incentives are used. The reports also don't measure the Amazon 'HQ2' project against any other possible development of its intended site in the booming Long Island City neighborhood. Four academic and think tank researchers who weren't involved in the state's cost-benefit analyses said that while its methods were standard, its scope was limited. 'It's a standard cost-benefit approach, but it tends to talk a lot about the benefits and not a lot about the costs,' said Megan Randall, a research analyst at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. 'That's not to say that the costs will automatically override all the benefits ... (but) cities should be armed with that knowledge.' New York state's evaluation of the Amazon deal is based on an assumption that the company will ultimately create 40,000 relatively high-paying jobs in the city by 2034. That's the maximum number foreseen in a deal that starts with a promise of 25,000 jobs by 2028. The state-commissioned analysis by Regional Economic Models Inc. also predicts Amazon's presence in the city will eventually create 67,000 other jobs outside the company, in industries from tech to real estate to restaurants that might serve Amazon workers. Over 25 years, all those new jobs will generate about $14 billion in state income and sales taxes and about $13.5 billion in city taxes, according to that analysis and a city report also involving a REMI model. Cuomo lauded that as 'the highest rate of return for an economic incentive program that the state has ever offered.' REMI's analysis is deep and thorough, the state's economic development agency said. 'Their model is widely considered to be the gold standard for economic and fiscal impact analysis and has been recognized for its analytical depth, sophistication and flexibility,' Adam Kilduff, a spokesman for Empire State Development, said in an emailed statement. A representative of the city's economic development agency did not respond to questions about the analysis. The analysis may be right about tax revenue, but 'it's incomplete,' said Timothy Bartik, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and a leading expert on incentives. 'You need to look at the spending side.' Opponents of the project have raised alarms about adding to the strain on subways, sewers and schools already struggling to keep up in the fastest-developing neighborhood in New York City. Some improvements are already in the works. The Amazon agreement promises a new school and infrastructure upgrades. Critics, including some local politicians, are skeptical it will do enough. They've held a series of rallies and protests and are exploring possible options to try to stop the project. While voters in New York City support bringing Amazon's campus to the city, they are divided when it comes to the incentives from the city and state, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. The survey, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, found that 57 percent of city voters support Amazon's decision, while 26 oppose it. Forty-six percent of respondents support the incentives, however, compared with 44 percent who said they are opposed. Beyond the costs of growth, the New York analyses also don't address some other questions, experts said. David Merriman, a University of Illinois at Chicago public administration professor who specializes in tax issues, said it didn't consider the possibility of economic growth in Queens even if Amazon never came. There were prior plans for big commercial and residential development on part of the potential Amazon site that have now been scuttled in favor of accommodating the company. The state analysis also didn't examine whether New York could have bagged the same prize while offering less, as Virginia did to score an additional Amazon headquarters there. 'A proper analysis would take seriously that we are uncertain how much, exactly, was needed to attract HQ2 to New York,' said UT's Jensen. Amazon officials have said 'the driving factor' in choosing New York and Virginia was the availability of enough tech talent, not the tax incentives. Despite the unanswered questions, Bartik argues the financial bottom line isn't necessarily the point. 'I honestly don't think that the main thing that people should be looking at is whether or not it makes money for the state government. That's not the purpose of state government,' he said. 'The bigger impact is if you create jobs that otherwise wouldn't be there.
  • A labor union representing German railway workers is calling on its members to go on strike Monday after failing to reach a deal on pay. The EVG union said Sunday that employees of Deutsche Bahn, the country's biggest rail company, will stage a four-hour walkout on the morning of Dec. 10. Labor strikes are a common tactic during wage negotiations in Germany.
  • With drought entering a second decade and reservoirs continuing to shrink, seven Southwestern U.S. states that depend on the overtaxed Colorado River for crop irrigation and drinking water had been expected to ink a crucial share-the-pain contingency plan by the end of 2018. They're not going to make it — at least not in time for upcoming meetings in Las Vegas involving representatives from Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and the U.S. government, officials say. Arizona has been the holdout, with farmers, cities, Indian tribes and lawmakers in the state set to be first to feel the pinch still negotiating how to deal with water cutbacks when a shortage is declared, probably in 2020. 'There will be cuts. We all know the clock is ticking. That's what a lot of the difficult negotiations have been around,' said Kim Mitchell, Western Resource Advocates water policy adviser and a delegate to ongoing meetings involving the Arizona Department of Water Resources, Central Arizona Project, agricultural, industrial and business interests, the governor, state lawmakers and cities including Tucson and Phoenix. In Arizona, unlike other states, a final drought contingency plan must pass the state Legislature when it convenes in January. Federal water managers wanted a deal to sign at the annual Colorado River Water Users Association conference beginning Wednesday in Las Vegas, and threatened earlier this year to impose unspecified measures from Washington if a voluntary drought contingency plan wasn't reached. However, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman is signaling that the agency that controls the levers on the river is willing to wait. She is scheduled to talk to the conference on Thursday. 'Reclamation remains cautiously optimistic that the parties will find a path forward,' the bureau said in a statement on Friday, 'because finding a consensus deal recognizing the risks of continuing drought and the benefits of a drought contingency plan is in each state's best interest.' Colorado River water supports about 40 million people and millions of acres of farmland in the U.S. and Mexico. After 19 years of drought and increasing demand, federal water managers project a 52 percent chance that the river's biggest reservoir, Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam, will fall low enough to trigger cutbacks under agreements governing the system. The seven states saw this coming years ago, and used Colorado River Water Users Association meetings in December 2007 to sign a 20-year 'guidelines' plan to share the burden of a shortage. Contingency agreements would update that pact, running through 2026. They call for voluntarily using less to keep more water in the system's two main reservoirs, lakes Powell and Mead. Lake Powell upstream from of the Grand Canyon is currently at 43 percent capacity; Lake Mead, downstream, is at 38 percent. Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, the river's Upper Basin states, aim to keep the surface of Lake Powell above a target level to continue water deliveries to irrigation districts and cities and also keep hydroelectric turbines humming at Glen Canyon Dam. The Lower Basin states of California, Arizona and Nevada aim to keep Lake Mead above a shortage declaration trigger point by using less water than they're legally entitled to. If Lake Mead falls below that level, Arizona will face a 9 percent reduction in water supply, Nevada a 3 percent cut and California up to 8 percent. Mexico's share of river water would also be reduced. Water officials in most states — from the Southern Nevada Water Authority in Las Vegas to the Colorado River Water Conservation District in Glenwood Springs, Colorado — have signed off on plans in recent weeks. In Arizona, the board governing the Central Arizona Project irrigation system approved the Lower Basin plan on Thursday. In California, the sprawling Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which serves some 19 million people, is set to approve it Tuesday. Board members there were reminded the agreements are only a short-term fix. According to a board briefing, the Bureau of Reclamation, seven basin states and water contractors will begin negotiating again beginning no later than 2020. 'That process is expected to result in new rules for management and operation of the Colorado River after 2026,' the board briefing said.
  • Kansas' new Democratic governor promised not to raise taxes to meet her goals of boosting spending on public schools and social services. Republicans who control the Legislature argue that a tax increase is coming even if state politicians do nothing. One of the first big political fights Gov.-elect Laura Kelly faces upon taking office in January will be over cutting income taxes. The state is receiving a revenue windfall thanks to changes in the federal tax code at the end of 2017. Kansas has been roiled by a debate over tax cuts for most of this decade, since a previous Republican experiment in slashing income taxes went awry and most voters came to view it as a failure. Lawmakers rolled back most of the experiment, and Kelly built her campaign on a pledge that Kansas wouldn't repeat it. Now, according to a spokeswoman, Kelly wants to 'let the dust settle' and stabilize the budget before considering new tax changes. But there will be no hiatus: Top Republicans are saying that an early priority for them is rewriting income tax laws to cancel out the unintended revenue increase from the federal tax changes. 'I've been working on it the past few weeks,' said state Sen. Caryn Tyson, a GOP conservative and chairwoman of the Senate tax committee. 'We should take a vote as legislators to say, do we want to stop that increase? Which I absolutely do.' Policies championed by President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress slashed federal income taxes but included provisions that will have some people paying more to their home states. The federal standard deduction increased — further limiting who can itemize — and it triggered a change in Kansas because its tax code is tied to federal law. The federal overhaul is expected to raise revenue in some states and lower it in others. Officials in Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri and Utah cited new revenues in justifying state tax cuts adopted this year. In each, Republicans control the governor's office and legislature. Kansas officials have struggled to calculate the size of the boon. One early estimate put the gain at $138 million for the state's current budget year. By last month, they had whittled the figure to $84 million. That uncertainty hurt efforts by Republicans to rewrite Kansas tax laws earlier this year. They passed a bill in the Senate, only to see it fall a few votes short in the House. A bill has a better chance of passing in 2019. While voters statewide chose Democrat Kelly, a veteran state senator from Topeka, as the next governor, local contests left the Legislature more conservative. 'A lot of Republicans ran on giving that money back to the taxpayers,' said state House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., a Kansas City-area conservative. But Kelly plans to increase spending — for public schools alone, possibly $90 million a year — which could require the state to keep that tax revenue. 'Kansas still faces massive financial challenges,' said Kelly's spokeswoman Ashley All. 'After years of self-inflicted budget crises, we need to be more cautious and fiscally responsible.' Kansas was ground zero for a national debate over trickle-down economics after then-Republican Gov. Sam Brownback successfully pushed GOP legislators to slash income taxes in 2012 and 2013 in hopes of stimulating the economy. Persistent budget shortfalls arose, and Kansas became a cautionary tale, even for Republicans elsewhere who favored tax cuts. Voters turned on Brownback's legislative allies, and bipartisan majorities in 2017 reversed most of his tax policies , raising income taxes $600 million a year. In the November election, voters had an overwhelmingly negative view of Brownback's tax experiment: 77 percent said his tax policies were bad for Kansas, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of more than 115,000 midterm voters nationwide, including nearly 4,000 in Kansas. The margin of sampling error among Kansas voters was plus or minus 2 percentage points. Kansas voters had a more favorable view of the federal tax cuts. According to AP VoteCast, about half, or 51 percent, said they approve, while a little less than half, or 44 percent, said they disapprove. Many Republicans view adjusting state tax laws as a moral imperative. New House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins, a conservative Wichita Republican, said the state is 'just robbing' taxpayers. Democrats acknowledge that they worry about lower-income families being hurt by inaction. New House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer, a Wichita Democrat, said he is open to working with Republicans on legislation dealing with itemized deductions but fears GOP lawmakers will push for tax breaks for multinational corporations. Jared Walczak, a senior policy analyst for the conservative Tax Foundation, said revenue windfalls allow states to pursue broader tax reforms, citing Georgia, Iowa and Vermont as examples. He said reverting to a state's previous status quo on taxes is 'the path of least resistance.' 'You're missing an opportunity,' he said. 'Other states are saying this is an opportunity for meaningful reform.' ___ Associated Press writers Hannah Fingerhut in Washington and Geoff Mulvihill in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, contributed. ___ Follow John Hanna on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

Local News

  • The players bounced up and down on a hastily erected stage in the middle of the field, confetti falling all around as they hoisted the championship trophy. It's a familiar scene at the end of any season. Only this time, a team from Atlanta was doing the honors . The title drought in over in the A-T-L. Josef Martinez and Franco Escobar scored goals, Brad Guzan came up with a couple of clutch saves and Atlanta United gave the city its first championship since 1995 with a 2-0 victory over the Portland Timbers in the MLS Cup final Saturday night. Cheered on by the largest crowd in franchise history, United captured the crown in just its second season to set off a huge celebration in a city that has known so much sporting heartbreak. Owner Arthur Blank lifted a trophy and got soaked with champagne — less than two years after his other team, the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, squandered a 25-point lead in an epic Super Bowl collapse. 'My first night in my new house in Atlanta, I went to bed at halftime of the Super Bowl,' defender Jeff Larentowicz said. 'I woke up and I read the headlines and I couldn't believe what I saw.' Now, United had written a new headline. Champs . 'Hopefully, we can transcend that past,' Larentowicz said, 'and move on to a new future for the city.' Martinez, capping the greatest goal-scoring season in MLS history, put United ahead in 39th minute. Escobar added an insurance goal in the 54th, turning the final minutes into a raucous, flag-waving celebration and sending coach Tata Martino out with a title in his final game as coach. He's reportedly headed to Mexico to take over as that country's national coach. 'If I had to choose the way to leave somewhere, this is the best way,' Martino said. 'This is the way I wanted it to happen.' Atlanta reveled in its first title since the Braves won the 1995 World Series — a gap of 8,442 days, for those counting. 'Most of us aren't from here, so we don't know the pain that they've been through,' said United captain Michael Parkhurst, who finally broke his own drought after playing on four runner-up teams. 'I'm just happy that we could come through for them tonight. I know there were a lot of anxious and stressed-out fans.' After a surprising run in the playoffs, the Timbers were denied their second MLS championship after winning the cup in 2015. They prevailed on the road at Dallas, Seattle and Kansas City before coming up short in Atlanta. 'I'm extremely proud of the work we've had the entire season,' coach Giovanni Savaarese said. 'To be able to get to the MLS Cup, we played a lot of difficult teams.' Since major league sports came to Atlanta in 1966, the only other team to win a championship in one of the five major sports also came on the soccer pitch. The Atlanta Chiefs claimed the title in the North American Soccer League's inaugural season in 1968. While that team laid the groundwork, Atlanta United carried the sport to unprecedented levels in North America. The team shattered the MLS attendance record a year ago in its first season, and then took the mark even higher by averaging more than 53,000 per game this year — a level of support that would fit right in with the Premier League or La Liga. The crowd of 73,019 on Saturday easily eclipsed the previous record for an MLS Cup — 61,316 at New England's Gillette Stadium in 2002. Almost as soon as the final whistle blew, a victory parade through the streets of Atlanta was announced for Monday. Queen's 'We Are The Champions' blared throughout Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 'The first goal is always going to be massive one way or the other,' Guzan said. 'The second one really broke their backs.' United kept the ball in Portland's end of the field much of the first half. It seemed only a matter of time before Atlanta broke through. Appropriately enough, it was Martinez. Portland tried to clear the ball, but a sliding tackle by Parkhurst sent the ball rocketing back toward the Timbers net. Martinez managed to win possession from Jeremy Ebobisse at the top of the area, leaving the most prolific goal scorer in league history all alone against goalkeeper Jeff Attinella. It was no contest. Martinez, the league's MVP and Golden Boot winner after scoring 31 goals during the regular season, cut to his right to escape the sprawling keeper, easily sliding the ball into an open net to send the packed house into an uproar. 'I was feeling a lot of pressure before the game,' said Martinez, who added four more goals in the playoffs. 'My neighbors were putting flags all around my house and pushing notes under my door.' The Timbers finally created a scoring chance in the 42nd minute. Looking to atone for his mistake, Ebobisse slipped in behind the defense and was all alone in front for a cross. His header was right on the mark, but Guzan dove to his right to punch it away with both hands. It was Portland's only shot of the opening half. The Timbers created far more opportunities over the final 45 minutes, but couldn't get it past Guzan. Escobar was the one who finished off the Timbers . MVP finalist Miguel Almiron sent a free kick into the box, where Martinez managed to get a head on it. His attempt was heading wide of the net, but Escobar slipped free at the far post to deliver a sliding goal. The defender's second score of the playoffs doubled his goal output for the entire regular season. 'It's not every day you get to win a title,' Guzan said, speaking for an entire city. 'To be a part of this is truly special.' ___ Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry ___ For more AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Robert Barbiarz of Winder is arrested and booked into the Hall County jail, accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of jewelry. From the Hall County Sheriff’s Office...  On December 5, 2018, Investigators with the Hall County Sheriff’s Office arrested Robert Rian Babiarz, 17, of Winder, during the course of a theft investigation.   Between early and mid-November 2018, Robert Babiarz worked for a company that was doing remodeling at the home of the victim in this case which is located in the 2100 block of Elysian Circle.   On November 15, 2018, the homeowner (victim) discovered she had jewelry missing. She called 911. The approximate value of the jewelry which was stolen was estimated to be worth $ 196,000.00.   The contractor who employed Babiarz was cooperative with Investigators who quickly identified Robert Rian Babiarz as a suspect in the theft.   Investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Mr. Babiarz for Theft by Taking (F) on November 16, 2018.   Mr. Babiarz was arrested without incident and booked in at the Hall County Jail. Bond has not been set at this time.    Investigators have recovered the majority of the stolen jewelry and returned items to the victim in this case.   This incident remains under investigation by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.
  • The trial of one of the men accused of murdering two correctional officers is one step closer. On Thursday, a judge heard evidence of what could be included in Donnie Rowe's case.  Rowe sat at the table with his defense team, wearing a white jumpsuit and orange Crocs. Prosecutors say he and Ricky Dubose killed Sgts. Chris Monica and Curtis Billue in June of 2017. At times during Thursday's hearing, Channel 2's Lauren Pozen saw Rowe take notes, especially when prosecutors played his interview with FBI agents after he and Rowe were captured in Tennessee. The judge wouldn't allow us to play the video for you, but we were able to use a screenshot of it.  The FBI agent who questioned Rowe told the court he was very forthcoming. At one point in the interview we watched, Rowe breaks down in tears. He told the special agent he had met Dubose six months prior to the attack on the prison bus whilethey were being transferred. Rowe says multiple rounds were fired, striking one of the officers directly in the head.  We also heard testimony from the sheriff of Putnam County, who arrived on the scene moments after the attack. He described it as chaotic. He spoke with many inmates, who told him what they saw.  'I obviously was looking for the most information I could get to apprehend these people as quickly as I could. It was clear to me who they were, it was clear to me the crimes that occurred and that was my focus,' says Sheriff Howard Sills.  The judge did not rule on Thursday what will and will not be allowed into evidence. That will be decided at another hearing date next month. The families of the victims were also in court, at times holding back tears. Pozen spoke with Denise Billue, whose brother was Curtis Billue. She said it is very difficult for her to be here, but she shows up for her brother.  'Our faith is sustaining us. It keeps us strong. In the end, everything is going to work out. We believe in the judicial system, but we also believe in the process,' she said.    

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — SEC legend Tim Tebow has been right about Georgia football most of the season, and that’s why his concerns about the Bulldogs having an Alabama hangover in the Sugar Bowl are alarming. After all, Tebow predicted Georgia QB Jake Fromm would bounce back after the LSU loss, and T ebow said freshman Justin Fields could ultimately be an answer for the Bulldogs in short-yardage situations. And now Tebow says Georgia coach Kirby Smart will be challenged to get his No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) motivated to play No. 15-ranked Texas (9-4) in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 in New Orleans. Tebow said allowing the SEC Championship Game to ‘slip through their fingers’ in the 35-28 loss could damage morale. “Now for the time leading up to the game, where’s your motivation? Where is your edge? Where is that fire?” Tebow said in a 247Sports story. “That is something that the leaders of Georgia really have to lock in and say, ‘Hey you know what? We’re playing for pride. We’re playing a big program in Texas.’ “But a lot of these guys are going to say, ‘Listen, we don’t care about Texas. We care about Bama. We let that one get away. Now we’re going to play the 15th-ranked team in the country?’ “ Tebow said. “It’s like the motivation isn’t there, so I’m a little bit nervous about this game. And Kirby Smart has to do a really good job of disciplining his players, locking in, focusing.” Smart has been in a similar situation before and seen championship caliber teams at Alabama fall flat in the postseason, most notably, in the Tide’s 2009 Sugar Bowl loss to Utah. Smart, however, said he doesn’t feel this Georgia team is apt to allow the disappointment of losing to Alabama to break its will to play up to the program’s standard. “This is a much younger team than any of those Bama teams,” Smart said. “A lot of those kids, this will be their first or second time in a big-time bowl environment, which we’re still getting accustomed to that. “ Indeed, 68 percent of Georgia’s roster is freshmen and sophomore. “So these guys aren’t quite as experienced at that kind of bowl environment as maybe those Alabama teams that didn’t play as well as we probably should have,” Smart said. Tebow also added his list to the many who believed Georgia should have been granted a spot in the four-team College Football Playoffs. “ I thought Georgia was one of the top few best teams in the country,” Tebow said, ”should have been in the College Football Playoff.” Smart said lessons will be learned and the Bulldogs will be ready to step into the future. “There’s also the opportunity to move forward with really a young team,” Smart said. “and a chance to go on a national stage where our fans, I know, follow us to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game.” DawgNation Georgia football Sugar Bowl Kirby Smart and Tom Herman clash again in Sugar Bowl, now as head coaches Georgia football coach Kirby Smart believes Bulldogs will bounceback Some interesting Sugar Bowl numbers via Brandon Adams Georgia football double-digit favorite over Texas in Sugar Bowl Texas named Georgia football opponent in 2019 Sugar Bowl CFP Chairman explains why Georgia football was left out of CFB Playoffs 3 Georgia football players get Senior Bowl invites Mel Tucker will be hard to replace, when or if he leaves Georgia football     The post Tim Tebow: Georgia football challenged to find motivation for Texas appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The players bounced up and down on a hastily erected stage in the middle of the field, confetti falling all around as they hoisted the championship trophy. It's a familiar scene at the end of any season. Only this time, a team from Atlanta was doing the honors . The title drought in over in the A-T-L. Josef Martinez and Franco Escobar scored goals, Brad Guzan came up with a couple of clutch saves and Atlanta United gave the city its first championship since 1995 with a 2-0 victory over the Portland Timbers in the MLS Cup final Saturday night. Cheered on by the largest crowd in franchise history, United captured the crown in just its second season to set off a huge celebration in a city that has known so much sporting heartbreak. Owner Arthur Blank lifted a trophy and got soaked with champagne — less than two years after his other team, the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, squandered a 25-point lead in an epic Super Bowl collapse. 'My first night in my new house in Atlanta, I went to bed at halftime of the Super Bowl,' defender Jeff Larentowicz said. 'I woke up and I read the headlines and I couldn't believe what I saw.' Now, United had written a new headline. Champs . 'Hopefully, we can transcend that past,' Larentowicz said, 'and move on to a new future for the city.' Martinez, capping the greatest goal-scoring season in MLS history, put United ahead in 39th minute. Escobar added an insurance goal in the 54th, turning the final minutes into a raucous, flag-waving celebration and sending coach Tata Martino out with a title in his final game as coach. He's reportedly headed to Mexico to take over as that country's national coach. 'If I had to choose the way to leave somewhere, this is the best way,' Martino said. 'This is the way I wanted it to happen.' Atlanta reveled in its first title since the Braves won the 1995 World Series — a gap of 8,442 days, for those counting. 'Most of us aren't from here, so we don't know the pain that they've been through,' said United captain Michael Parkhurst, who finally broke his own drought after playing on four runner-up teams. 'I'm just happy that we could come through for them tonight. I know there were a lot of anxious and stressed-out fans.' After a surprising run in the playoffs, the Timbers were denied their second MLS championship after winning the cup in 2015. They prevailed on the road at Dallas, Seattle and Kansas City before coming up short in Atlanta. 'I'm extremely proud of the work we've had the entire season,' coach Giovanni Savaarese said. 'To be able to get to the MLS Cup, we played a lot of difficult teams.' Since major league sports came to Atlanta in 1966, the only other team to win a championship in one of the five major sports also came on the soccer pitch. The Atlanta Chiefs claimed the title in the North American Soccer League's inaugural season in 1968. While that team laid the groundwork, Atlanta United carried the sport to unprecedented levels in North America. The team shattered the MLS attendance record a year ago in its first season, and then took the mark even higher by averaging more than 53,000 per game this year — a level of support that would fit right in with the Premier League or La Liga. The crowd of 73,019 on Saturday easily eclipsed the previous record for an MLS Cup — 61,316 at New England's Gillette Stadium in 2002. Almost as soon as the final whistle blew, a victory parade through the streets of Atlanta was announced for Monday. Queen's 'We Are The Champions' blared throughout Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 'The first goal is always going to be massive one way or the other,' Guzan said. 'The second one really broke their backs.' United kept the ball in Portland's end of the field much of the first half. It seemed only a matter of time before Atlanta broke through. Appropriately enough, it was Martinez. Portland tried to clear the ball, but a sliding tackle by Parkhurst sent the ball rocketing back toward the Timbers net. Martinez managed to win possession from Jeremy Ebobisse at the top of the area, leaving the most prolific goal scorer in league history all alone against goalkeeper Jeff Attinella. It was no contest. Martinez, the league's MVP and Golden Boot winner after scoring 31 goals during the regular season, cut to his right to escape the sprawling keeper, easily sliding the ball into an open net to send the packed house into an uproar. 'I was feeling a lot of pressure before the game,' said Martinez, who added four more goals in the playoffs. 'My neighbors were putting flags all around my house and pushing notes under my door.' The Timbers finally created a scoring chance in the 42nd minute. Looking to atone for his mistake, Ebobisse slipped in behind the defense and was all alone in front for a cross. His header was right on the mark, but Guzan dove to his right to punch it away with both hands. It was Portland's only shot of the opening half. The Timbers created far more opportunities over the final 45 minutes, but couldn't get it past Guzan. Escobar was the one who finished off the Timbers . MVP finalist Miguel Almiron sent a free kick into the box, where Martinez managed to get a head on it. His attempt was heading wide of the net, but Escobar slipped free at the far post to deliver a sliding goal. The defender's second score of the playoffs doubled his goal output for the entire regular season. 'It's not every day you get to win a title,' Guzan said, speaking for an entire city. 'To be a part of this is truly special.' ___ Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry ___ For more AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • ATHENS — Georgia basketball doesn’t take the court for another game until next Saturday, but when the Bulldogs do, you can bet junior Tyree Crump will be a focal point. Crump, a junior from Bainbridge, had a breakout game in Georgia’s 92-75 win over Texas Southern on Monday night, and more figures to be ahead for the Bulldogs’ long-distance sharpshooter. Georgia coach Tom Crean indicated Crump is precisely the sort of open floor player needed to make his uptempo game work. It didn’t take long for Crean to notice him. “I think early on when I got here you could tell there was a lot to his game that could improve,” Crean said. “There’s a lot of room for upside with him.” Crump might not have been the best fit for previous Coach Mark Fox’s deliberate style. But as much as Crean recognized Crump’s talents and abilities, Crump was immediately charged up by his new basketball coach. “He came in and he said ‘We want to play fast and we want to shoot three,’   and my eyes got big and my ears got big and I thought this is the perfect offense for me,” Crump said. “So we tried to listen to everything he said, and it’s carrying over into the season.” The Bulldogs will bring a 5-3 record into next Saturday’s 6 p.m. home game against No. 20 Arizona State in Stegeman Coliseum. The Sun Devils already have beaten one SEC team, winning at Mississippi State on Nov. 19 by a 72-67 count. Arizona State will put its perfect 7-0 record on the line on Saturday when it plays No. 6-ranked Nevada at noon. Crean indicated he’ll keep looking to get Crump free for more shots in the offense. “We want to move him, get him off screens, get him lost in the defense,” Crean said. “There becomes a comfort level that you have in a game like tonight, and he did a good job of playing through fatigue.” Crump is shooting 46.2 percent beyond the 3-point arc (18-of-39), significantly better than the next best player who has at least 10 attempts, Rayshaun Hmmonds (6-of-15). For all that Crean is trying to instill in Georgia basketball, it ultimately comes down to the time players are spending in the gym on their own to perfect their shot. It’s clear Crump is doing his work, and therefor he’ll be getting more opportunities moving forward. Here’s a look at others 3-point shooting percentage who have attempted 10 or more 3-point shots and how many minutes they average: Tyree Crump, 19.9 minutes, 18-of-39, 46.2 percent Rayshaun Hammonds, 24.5 minutes, 6-of-15, 40.0 percent Teshaun Hightower, 17.5 minutes, 7-of-25, 28.0 percent Nicolas Claxton, 27.5 minutes, 4-of-15, 26.7 percent William Jackson, 17.9 minutes, 4-of-17, 23.5 percent Georgia basketball’s Tyree Crump & Derek Ogbeide   DawgNation Georgia basketball Bulldogs get hot-shooting night from Tyree Crump, rip Texas Southern Guards play well off bench in Georgia basketball win over Kennesaw State Tom Crean says Georgia basketball has ‘long ways to go’ after Cayman Classic Georgia basketball sloppy in loss to Georgia State  Clemson too much for Georgia basketball in Cayman Classic Georgia basketball dominant in win over Illinois State Georgia gets fun-filled win over Sam Houston State The post Georgia basketball guard Tyree Crump 3-point output leads Bulldogs appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart isn’t expected to move too fast on filling the Bulldogs’ vacancy for a defensive coordinator, and with good reason. This is Smart’s first time having to replace a coordinator hire since taking over as Georgia’s head coach before the 2016 season, and it presents a different sort of challenge that few heads coaches have proven they can handle with consistent success. Coaching staff continuity is most often one of the most important factors to a program’s sustained success. Former Georgia defensive coordinator and secondary coach Mel Tucker, who was hired as Colorado’s head coach on Wednesday, will indeed be very difficult to replace. Smart and Tucker d eveloped former 3-star prospect Deandre Baker into a Thorpe Award winner and built a secondary that slowed a historically successful Alabama pass attack last Saturday. Tide coach Nick Saban provided some insight into how he has been so successful maintaining success even while having to replace coordinators almost annually. “ I think that you love continuity on your staff, but I always look at this as a challenge and an opportunity to add new energy, new enthusiasm, new ideas to your staff,” Saban said Wednesday night in Atlanta. “We don’t change our program. We don’t hire people to come in and be independent contractors and do what they want to do. They sort of have to buy into what we do, but the new ideas, the new energy and enthusiasm that they bring is always very helpful to improving our program.” Smart had a front row to that sort of philosophy while coaching at Saban’s side for 11 years at LSU, with the Miami Dolphins and at Alabama from 2007-15. Smart helped the Tide coaching legend develop the program through a time of several coaching and staff hires. The Bulldogs’ program has its own unique personality in several respects, but there are aspects of the framework that are similar to what Smart helped Saban build at Alabama. Georgia appears on the verge of creating its own dynasty with 68 percent of its roster freshmen and sophomores this past season. Smart and his program beat two of the four current CFB Playoff teams head-to-head last season (Oklahoma and Notre Dame) and led or were tied with defending national champ and current No. 1-ranked Alabama for 281 of the 290 plays in the past two games with the Tide in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Indeed, the Bulldogs narrowly missed the CFB Playoff despite having to replace several key pieces from last season’s CFB Championship Game runner-up squad. RELATED: Kirk Herbstreit says CFP Committee let politics keep Georgia out So the defensive coordinator/secondary coach hire is as big of a decision as Smart has faced. “You know, I always say there’s a lot of books written about how to be successful,” Saban said. “There’s not many written on how to stay successful.” Smart has indicated that he might be inclined to promote from within if not hire a coach he’s already familiar with, though he’ll likely conduct a national search before deciding anything. “I think continuity is critical to recruiting success, (and) I know that the recruiting success that I’ve had as an assistant coach was because I was able to have the same area for a long time, you build relationships, you know people, you get to know them,” Smart said last November. “When you jump around from job to job, sometime’s that’s hard to do. I think our university and our support structure here has done a great job of helping us keep our coaches who are really good assets. “I mean, let’s be honest, we recruit well because of the assistant coaches we have. When you recruit well and get good young men in here, you can have a successful program. I think continuity is important, but I do think change is inevitable. It’ll happen. It’s happened to us every year.” Georgia football coordinator search Early list of names to consider for Georgia football DC opening Colorado announces Mel Tucker as new head coach Towers Take: Mel Tucker did excellent work for Bulldogs Mel Tucker expected to finalize Colorado deal very soon Whenever Mel Tucker leaves, he’ll be tough to replace The post Georgia’s Kirby Smart has insight to handle pivotal coordinator coaching search appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Nick Saban is standing behind his words that Georgia is one of the four best teams in the nation, even after he voted the Bulldogs’ No. 5 in the final Coaches’ Poll. Saban, whose Tide overcame two turnovers and a two-touchdown deficit to beat the Bulldogs 35-28 last Saturday, was asked at the CFB Playoff press conference in Atlanta Wednesday night about his final ballot. “ Well, I do think they’re one of the top four teams in the country but I didn’t think they were going to get in the playoff with two losses,” Saban said. “So I voted the teams that I thought had the best chance to get in, but I do think after playing Georgia they were one of the best four teams in the country.” There were plenty of people who agreed, including ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who went so far as to say the CFP Committee allowed politics to keep the Bulldogs out of the playoffs even though they knew Georgia was one of the four best. Indeed, the Bulldogs have led or been tied with No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Alabama 118 minutes and 54 seconds of 120 minutes and 281 of 290 plays of the past two meetings in the national championship game and SEC title game. Saban, who said after last Saturday’s game, “I sure as hell don’t want to play them again,” suggested the CFP Committee   saw last Saturday’s game as a loser-out game. “What this basically indicates is the SEC Championship game was a playoff game,” Saban said. “You know, the 1 and 4 team in the country played, and it was a heck of a game, and they played a great game, and they have a great team, and I think they’re one of the best four teams in the country, and that’s no disrespect to any of the people that are here, but I didn’t think they had a chance to get in with two losses.” CFP Committee chairman Rob Mullens said the two losses — compared to Oklahoma’s one loss — is not what kept Georgia out of the College Football Playoffs. “ Our job is to pick the four best teams, so it really wasn’t about number of losses,” said Mullens, who prior to getting his current job as the athletic director at the University of Oregon was the deputy director of athletics at Kentucky. “Obviously when you’re looking at the resume, you can see that they’ve got two and others have one, but again, their two losses are against highly ranked teams. It’s really about trying to get the four best teams.” Mullens is one of five current athletic directors on the 13-person committee, along with Ohio State’s Gene Smith and new members Todd Stansbury (Georgia Tech), Scott Stricklin (Florida) and Joe Castiglione (Oklahoma). While Saban suggested the committee wasn’t going to take a conference championship game loser, Mullen indicated that had nothing to do with the decision. “ The conference piece is out of it, that’s really not a part of it,” Mullens said. “We’re looking at — there were some people who felt they were the fourth best team, and even some that felt they were unequivocally felt they were the fourth best team. But after all the dialogue, the debate, the intensity, you put it to a vote, and the vote didn’t have them as unequivocally the fourth best team. In fact, it had them ranked No. 5.” Saban, when asked if his vote suggested the four best teams didn’t make the playoffs, made it clear he voted in the four teams he thought would make the playoff. “When we played Georgia I thought they were one of the best four teams in the country,” Saban said. “That doesn’t mean that they’re any better than the teams that are here, and I voted for the four teams that are here.” Georgia football’s great CFB Playoff debate Kirby Smart on CFP Playoff: ‘Every year it’s going to be different’ criteria ESPN analyst goes on epic rant after Georgia football left out of playoffs Nick Saban states Georgia one of top four teams in the nation after SEC title game CFP Chairman defends leaving Georgia football out Kirby Smart lobbying for CFB Playoff spot after loss Chip Towers: Committee got it right by leaving Georgia out of playoffs Closer look at Georgia football vs. Oklahoma statistically Georgia football one of best teams, and it doesn’t matter ‘Protocol’ cited as reason Georgia left out of College Football Playoff The post Nick Saban’s revealing explanation of why he voted Georgia football No. 5 appeared first on DawgNation.