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    Stocks logged modest gains Friday in Asia after a lackluster overnight session on Wall Street ended with the market’s third straight drop. Upbeat comments by Chinese officials helped alleviate worries over progress in resolving the tariff war between the two largest economies. Chinese President Xi Jinping told a visiting delegation on Friday that he hoped to work toward a resolution of the dispute, though Beijing was not “afraid” and would “fight back” if necessary. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.3% to 23,112.88, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong picked up 0.2% to 26,522.81. South Korea’s Kospi edged 0.3% higher to 2,101.96 and the S&P ASX 200 in Australia advanced 0.5% to 6,709.80. The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.6% to 2,886.67. The Sensex in India dropped 0.5% to 40,356.73. Shares rose in Bangkok, Singapore and Taiwan but fell in Jakarta. Overnight, stocks closed modestly lower on Wall Street in the third straight day of declines after a mostly listless day of trading. Losses in technology stocks, companies that rely on consumer spending and other sectors outweighed gains elsewhere in the market. Energy sector stocks were the biggest winners, benefiting from another pickup in crude oil prices. Health care and communication services companies also rose. Investors have turned cautious this week amid concerns that the U.S. and China will fail to make a trade deal before the year is over. “This tangled web of trade talk confusion has investors sitting in that all too familiar predicament of trade war limbo,” Stephen Innes of AxiTrader. “It does sound positive on the surface, but equity markets remain cautious given the numerous stops and starts, not to mention dead ends these trade discussions have met with.” The world’s largest economies have been negotiating a resolution to their trade war ahead of new tariffs set to hit key consumer goods on Dec. 15. Investors have been hoping for a deal before that happens, as the tariffs would increase prices on smartphones, laptops and many common household goods. “That Dec. 15 deadline on tariffs still weighs on the market,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. “The market needs a sense that there won’t be an escalation in the trade war.” The benchmark S&P 500 index dropped 0.2% to 3,103.54 and is on track to snap a six-week winning streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2% to 27,766.29. The Nasdaq slid 0.2% to 8,506.21 while the Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks lost 0.5%, to 1,583.96. Stocks are likely to remain choppy and risky as long as the trade war and threat of new tariffs looms over Wall Street, said Barry Bannister, head of institutional equity strategy at Stifel. “We don’t want to see tariffs on consumer goods that get passed on directly to retail purchasers because they’re the last leg on which the economy is standing right now,” Bannister said. Bannister warned that the market could be in for a significant decline before the end of the year if the U.S. and China can’t make progress. He also said the risk of a larger recession has not disappeared. Technology stocks took some of the heaviest losses Thursday. Many chipmakers and companies that make hardware rely on China for sales and supply chains. Advanced Micro Devices slid 3.6% and Lam Research fell 3.7%. Consumer product makers also fell broadly. Kraft Heinz dropped 2.7%. In energy trading Friday, benchmark U.S. crude oil lost 39 cents to $58.19 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose $1.57 to settle at $58.58 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, declined 41 cents to $63.56 per barrel. The dollar was flat at 108.61 Japanese yen. The euro rose to $1.1071 from $1.1061 on Thursday. ___ AP Business Writers Damian J. Troise and Alex Veiga contributed.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping said Friday that Beijing wants to work for a trade deal with the United States but is not afraid to “fight back.” Reinforcing the upbeat tone adopted by China in recent days, Xi told a visiting U.S. business delegation that China holds a ‘positive attitude’ toward the trade talks. “As we always said we don’t want to start the trade war but we are not afraid,” Xi said. “When necessary we will fight back but we have been working actively to try not to have a trade war.” “We want to work for a Phase 1 agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality,' Xi told the group. The delegation from Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum, a conference held in Beijing this week, included former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, former U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman and other dignitaries. During the meeting at Beijing’s ornate Great Hall of the People, Xi reiterated to the group China’s stance that a deal requires “mutual respect and equality.” The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that China’s lead negotiator in the talks, Vice Premier Liu He, invited his U.S. counterparts to Beijing for more talks, suggesting hopes for progress. The latest flareup in trade tensions came after President Donald Trump imposed punitive tariffs last year on billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese exports to the U.S., seeking to ramp up pressure for changes in Chinese trade and investment policies. China has retaliated with tariff hikes of its own. After gradual escalations of sanctions and halting progress in trade talks this year, the two sides are working toward what they say will be a preliminary agreement to pave the way for tackling more complex issues. However, the prospects even for such a “Phase 1” deal are uncertain. China has said it wants a promise from the U.S. side to gradually reduce the tariffs already in place. It’s unclear if the U.S. side would be willing to do that. Meanwhile, Trump agreed to hold off on raising tariffs further last month pending the negotiations. But the U.S. side still is due to hike tariffs on $160 billion worth of imports from China next month. That increase would boost prices on smartphones, laptops and many common household goods, right before Christmas.
  • Google spinoff Waymo is trying to educate emergency responders on how to deal with its autonomous vehicles. Waymo released a training video on YouTube Thursday geared toward guiding public safety officials responding to incidents involving their self-driving cars. The 14-minute instructional video advises how to put a car in manual mode and what precautions firefighters should take. The video was done in conjunction with Waymo engineers and suburban Phoenix police and firefighters. Waymo is among several companies that has been testing autonomous vehicle programs in Arizona. The video comes two days after the National Transportation Safety Board found a distracted human safety driver caused a fatal crash of an autonomous Uber car. The NTSB also condemned a lack of state and federal regulation of testing on public roads.
  • China’s economy was 2.1% bigger than earlier estimated, the government said Friday, revising the gross domestic product for 2018 to 91.93 trillion yuan ($13.1 trillion) based on results of a census. The National Bureau of Statistics said Friday the revision reflects more complete measures of the services sector and assets. It raises the possibility China’s communist leaders will attain their target of doubling the country’s GDP between 2010 and 2020. The government also plans to issue revised GDP growth estimates for the world’s second largest economy but did not say when. The earlier estimate put the GDP in 2018 at 90.03 trillion yuan ($12.8 trillion). That’s still well below the U.S. GDP in 2018 of $20.5 trillion. But the U.S. economy expands at a much slower pace — 2.9% in 2018 — than China’s. China’s economy expanded at an annual pace of 6.0% in the July-September quarter, the slowest growth since 1992, as a tariff war with the U.S. and slowing global demand hammered its manufacturing sector. Businesses and consumers unnerved by the uncertain outlook for jobs and growth also have reined in spending in another drag on growth. But given China’s still faster growth and population of 1.4 billion people, it’s expected to soon overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest economy. Chinese economic data are subject to more than the usual caveats about the reliability of statistics given past examples of officials distorting information for political reasons. Though it’s part of the long-term plan to restructure the economy, slowing growth runs counter to the ruling Communist Party’s plan, adopted in 2012, to double the size of the economy between 2010 and 2020. “The census revisions will also attract skepticism, but to a lesser degree, and should at least give NBS (the statistics bureau) more room to acknowledge downward pressure on growth in the coming quarters,” Capital Economics economists Julian Evans-Pritchard and Martin Rasmussen said in a commentary.
  • Iranian authorities slowly eased up their sweeping blockage of internet access on Friday, as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for Iranians to send the U.S. videos “documenting the regime’s crackdown” on protesters. “The U.S. will expose and sanction the abuses,” Pompeo tweeted early Friday, as pockets of Iran saw internet over landlines restored. Authorities have said the internet may be entirely restored soon, suggesting Iran’s government put down the demonstrations that began Nov. 15 over government-set gasoline prices rising. Amnesty International said Tuesday that protest unrest and a subsequent security crackdown killed at least 106 people. Iran disputes that figure without offering its own. A U.N. office earlier said it feared the unrest may have killed “a significant number of people.” The jump in gasoline prices represents yet another burden on Iranians who have suffered through a painful currency collapse. That’s a result of the reimposition of crippling U.S. economic sanctions as part of President Donald Trump’s maximum pressure campaign against Tehran, following his unilateral withdrawal of the U.S. from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Iran’s relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani has promised the fuel price increase will fund new subsidies for poor families. Rouhani declared victory Wednesday in the unrest, blaming “the Zionists and Americans” for the violence. Abolhassan Firoozabadi, the secretary of Iran's Supreme Cyberspace Council, told journalists Thursday that he believed the internet would be turned on “within the next two days.” Authorities restored internet service Thursday in Iran’s Hormozgan province, home to the port city of Bandar Abbas, the state-run IRNA news agency report. Semiofficial news agencies said service was being restored in other parts of the country on Thursday afternoon, something the internet watchdog NetBlocks also noted. “At the current time national connectivity has risen further to 10%,” NetBlocks said in a tweet. Iran’s state TV said Friday that air defense exercises were being carried out as part of its annual military drills. State TV showed footage of air defense missile systems being fired and a patrol by jet fighters in the northern Semnan province. Iran operates a domestically built air defense system alongside the sophisticated S-300 defense system from Russia. In June, Iran shot down an unmanned U.S. drone over the strategic Strait of Hormuz for alleged violation of its airspace. Meanwhile, activists said Thursday that six conservationists working to save the critically endangered Asiatic cheetah have been sentenced to prison on internationally criticized espionage charges in Iran. The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran said Thursday that the convicted members of the nonprofit Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation face six to 10 years in prison for “contacts with the U.S. enemy state.” The conservationists found themselves arrested over their use of camera traps to track the cheetahs, a common tool of wildlife experts.
  • Agrochemicals company Monsanto on Thursday pleaded guilty to spraying a banned pesticide on research crops on the Hawaii island of Maui in 2014, prosecutors said. Monsanto, now owned by the pharmaceutical company Bayer of Germany, has also agreed to pay $10 million for charges it unlawfully stored the pesticide, which was classified an acute hazardous waste. The money includes a $6 million criminal fine and $4 million in community service payments. Prosecutors have agreed not to prosecute Monsanto if it abides by the agreement, which requires the company comply with U.S. environmental laws. U.S. attorneys in Los Angeles handled the case after their counterparts in Honolulu were recused. Bayer said in a statement that it didn't live up to its own standards or applicable laws. “As stewards of the land, it is our responsibility to use agriculture products safely and to manage our waste correctly. We take this very seriously and accept full responsibility for our actions,” said Darren Wallis, Bayer’s vice president of communications in North America. The banned pesticide was methyl parathion, the active ingredient in Penncap-M, which the company used on corn seed and research crops in Kihei. Monsanto admitted it sprayed Penncap-M even though the company knew the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prohibited its use after 2013. The company also admitted it told employees to re-enter the fields seven days after the spraying, even though Monsanto knew that workers should have been prohibited from entering the area for 31 days.
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk is taking on the workhorse heavy pickup truck market with his latest electric vehicle. The “cybertruck,” an electric pickup truck, will be in production in 2021, Musk said at the Los Angeles Auto Show Thursday. The pickup, which Musk said will cost $39,900 and up, will have an estimated battery range of between 250 miles (402.3 kilometers) to more than 500 miles. With the launch, Tesla is edging into the most profitable corner of the U.S. auto market, where buyers tend to have fierce brand loyalty. Many pickup truck buyers stick with the same brand for life, choosing a truck based on what their mom or dad drove or what they decided was the toughest model, said Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. “They’re very much creatures of habit,” Gordon said. Getting a loyal Ford F-150 buyer to consider switching to another brand such as a Chevy Silverado, “it’s like asking him to leave his family,” he said. Musk unveiled in the truck in a punk-show styled reveal event, showing off the truck’s stainless steel body and super-strong “armor glass” windows. A sledgehammer did not make a dent in the car’s doors. But the event went slightly awry while testing the window’s strength. Metal balls hurled at the car cracked two windows — though the glass did not completely shatter into pieces. “Well, maybe that was a little too hard,” Musk joked of the throw. The cybertruck starts at $39,900 for a single motor model, with a base price of $69,900 for a tri motor all-wheel drive model. Production will take place in late 2021, Tesla said, though production for the tri motor model will start in late 2022. Tesla’s pickup is more likely to appeal to weekend warriors who want an electric vehicle that can handle some outdoor adventure. And it could end up cutting into Tesla’s electric vehicle sedan sales instead of winning over traditional pickup truck drivers. “The needs-based truck buyer, the haulers, the towers at the worksites of the world, that’s going to be a much tougher sell,” said Akshay Anand, executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book. However, it will help Musk fill out his portfolio and offer a broader range of electric vehicles. “Elon Musk is trying to not be one-dimensional when it comes to automotive,” said Alyssa Altman, transportation lead at digital consultancy Publicis Sapient. “He doesn’t want to look like he only has a small selection. He wants to build a brand with a diverse offering and in doing that he wants to see where he could enter in the market.” Musk stands to face competition when his truck hits the market. Ford, which has long dominated the pickup truck landscape, plans to launch an all-electric F-150 pickup. General Motors CEO Mary Barra said its battery-electric pickup will come out by the fall of 2021. Rivian, a startup based near Detroit, plans to begin production in the second half of 2020 on an electric pickup that starts at $69,000 and has a battery range of 400-plus miles (643.7-kilometers). The Rivian truck will be able to tow 11,000 pounds (4,989.5 kilograms), go from zero to 60 mph (96.6 kph) in three seconds and wade into 3 feet (0.91 meters) of water, the company said. Ford said in April it would invest $500 million in Rivian. Tesla has struggled to meet delivery targets for its sedans, and some fear the new vehicle will shift the company’s attention away from the goal of more consistently meeting its targets. “We have yet to see Tesla really make good on some of the very tight deadlines they imposed on themselves, and this has the added challenge of having architecture that is going to be challenging because we haven’t seen an EV pickup before,” said Jeremy Acevedo, manager of industry analysis at Edmunds.
  • Automakers sue each other on occasion, but no one in Detroit can remember one accusing another of bribing union officials to get an unfair labor cost advantage. Yet that’s what happened Wednesday when General Motors filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. It’s based on a widening federal investigation into corruption involving officials of the United Auto Workers union, and shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the union’s president Gary Jones stepped down. The 95-page complaint could affect ongoing contract talks between the union and Fiat Chrysler, the lone automaker of Detroit’s big three that’s still in negotiations. It also could cause jitters with French automaker PSA Peugeot, which has reached an agreement to merge with the Italian-American automaker. Here are some questions and answers about the lawsuit and its impact: WHY DID GM SUE FIAT CHRYSLER? GM alleges that Fiat Chrysler senior executives, including now-deceased CEO Sergio Marchionne, paid $1.5 million in bribes to UAW officials for nearly a decade and corrupted the bargaining process with the union in the 2009, 2011 and 2015 contracts to gain advantages over General Motors. The lawsuit says that because of the bribes, which were funneled through a joint UAW-Fiat Chrysler training center, the union allowed Fiat Chrysler to use more lower-paid temporary workers. Also, FCA in 2015 did not have to limit the number of newly hired workers who make less and get lower-cost benefits than older workers hired before 2007. GM contends it couldn’t negotiate similar union concessions that FCA was able to get through bribery. GM could only hire a limited number of temporary and lower-paid new workers, called “second tier” workers, which unfairly increased its labor costs by billions of dollars. It alleges the higher labor costs had another purpose — to force GM into a merger with FCA that Marchionne wanted. GM did wind up with higher labor costs, which until the lawsuit had not been linked to the federal corruption probe. Before contract talks with all three automakers began last summer, the Center for Automotive Research, an industry think tank, determined Fiat Chrysler’s total hourly labor costs including wages and benefits were about $55 per hour, $8 less per hour than GM and $6 lower than Ford. At a Wall Street conference in New York on Thursday, GM CEO Mary Barra said her company can compete on a level playing field. “So when we saw facts that indicated that was not the case, we felt it was in the best interest of all of our stakeholders in the company, our employees, our dealers, our suppliers and our owners, many of you, that we had to take action,” she said. J.P. Morgan analyst Ryan Brinkman estimated in a note to investors that GM could seek $6 billion to $15 billion in damages. In a racketeering case, a plaintiff can get triple the actual damages, Brinkman wrote. WHAT IS FIAT CHRYSLER’S RESPONSE? The company’s chairman, John Elkann, told reporters in Italy Thursday that Fiat Chrysler is not worried about the lawsuit and would fight it in court. FCA issued a strongly worded statement Wednesday calling the case “meritless.” CEO Mike Manley, in a letter to employees Thursday, said the lawsuit rehashes allegations and “at first review, beyond unsupportable speculation, does not include any new factual allegations.” Manley urged employees to keep their performance up “as it has clearly got some of our competitors worried.” WILL THE LAWSUIT AFFECT FIAT CHRYSLER’S PROPOSED MERGER WITH PSA? The two companies announced the merger late last month that, if finalized, would create the world’s fourth-largest auto company worth $50 billion. FCA accused GM of trying to disrupt the merger, and Elkann was quoted by Italian news agency ANSA as saying there would be a memorandum of understanding with PSA by the end of the year, as previously announced. PSA wouldn’t comment. WHAT IMPACT WILL THE LAWSUIT HAVE ON CURRENT CONTACT TALKS? Fiat Chrysler is the last of Detroit’s big three automakers still working out a new contract. Ford workers ratified theirs last week, while the union settled with General Motors last month after a 40-day strike by 49,000 workers that shut down the company’s U.S. production. Workers already were suspicious of the UAW’s leadership because of the federal corruption probe, which has resulted in charges against 13 people thus far. Norwood Jewell, a union vice president who negotiated a contract with FCA, is in prison. Prosecutors alleged that the company paid off a $262,000 home mortgage for another vice president, General Holiefield, who also was responsible for negotiating with Fiat Chrysler. He died in 2015. “They’ve been selling us out every contract,” said Mike Booth, president of a UAW local at an axle plant in Marysville, Michigan, north of Detroit. The local has sued Fiat Chrysler and the union, alleging that FCA bribed union officials so it could get the plant’s ownership transferred to a parts company that would pay lower wages. Still, Booth doesn’t think workers will go on strike against Fiat Chrysler. Union members, he said, usually go along with the pattern agreement negotiated with the first company to bargain.
  • The Trump administration will consider a new management plan and expanded oil drilling for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, an Indiana-size area that former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar characterized as an “iconic place on our Earth.” The Bureau of Land Management announced Thursday it will take public comment through Jan. 21 on four alternatives for the reserve in northern Alaska. Two alternatives could allow lease sales on lands previously designated as special conservation areas under the Obama administration. The goal of a new management plan is increased energy production and greater energy security for the nation, BLM Alaska director Chad Padgett said. “With advancements in technology and increased knowledge of the area, it was prudent to develop a new plan that provides greater economic development of our resources while still providing protections for important resources and subsistence access,” Padgett said. The reserve is home to two caribou herds and provides ecologically significant wetlands used for breeding by migratory waterfowl from around the world. Its entire coastline is habitat for threatened polar bears. In 2013, Salazar signed off on the current plan that split the reserve roughly in half between land for petroleum development and conservation areas. Kristen Miller, conservation director at Alaska Wilderness League, said the Interior Department spent years working on the plan with tribal and local governments, conservation organizations, the state of Alaska and others. “Abandoning this science-based, common sense approach in favor of oil and gas interests is recklessly short-sighted and will place at risk local indigenous communities and the region’s diverse wildlife that rely on this vital piece of our nation’s public lands,” she said. The petroleum reserve was created in 1923 by President Warren Harding as the Naval Petroleum Reserve and set aside as an emergency oil supply for the Navy. The reserve covers 35,625 square miles (92,269 sq. kilometers). Congress in 1976 renamed the reserve and transferred administration to the Interior Department. The reserve is south of the northernmost U.S. city, Utqiagvik, formerly Barrow. When the current management plan was put in place, the BLM estimated that lands available for development contained nearly three-fourths of the economically recoverable oil in the reserve. The 2013 plan expanded a special conservation area around Teshekpuk Lake, which provides habitat for shorebirds and migratory waterfowl, including black brant, Canada geese and greater white-fronted geese. The plan also created the Peard Bay Special Area, which contains the highest density of spectacled eider nesting areas in Alaska, according to the Alaska Wilderness League. It enlarged the Utukok River Uplands Special Area, used by the western Arctic caribou herd for calving and relief from summer insects. The most aggressive alternative considered by the BLM would allow leasing and oil drilling infrastructure within the entire Teshekpuk area and parts of the Utukok River Uplands.
  • The Trump administration is scaling back chemical plant safety measures that were put in place after a Texas fertilizer plant explosion in 2013 that killed 15 people. The changes announced Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency include ending a requirement that plants provide members of the public information about chemical risks upon request. The Obama era rules followed a fire at the West Fertilizer Co. plant that caused ammonium nitrate to ignite, triggering a massive explosion that ripped open a large crater. Ten firefighters were among those killed. EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler says the changes do away with “unnecessary administrative burdens.” Chemical manufacturers had pushed for the changes. Environmental groups criticized the decision as one that would put people living near chemical plants at greater risk.

Local News

  • The University of Georgia is ranked 13th in the nation for the number of students who study abroad, according to the latest Open Doors ranking from Institute of International Education. UGA was one of only two Southeastern Conference universities and the only institution in Georgia to be ranked in the top 20. Every year, with the backing of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, IIE conducts a survey on U.S. students studying abroad for academic credit and publishes the results in the Open Doors Report. In addition to ranking 13th overall, UGA was ninth in short-term study abroad programs. “We at the Office of Global Engagement are thankful to the UGA leadership for the support of student global experiential learning,” said Yana Cornish, director of global education. “We are proud to support a culture of study abroad among students, faculty and staff and are committed to expanding global experiential learning opportunities to all students, with particular consideration for underrepresented, rural, first-generation and other underserved students.” More than 2,600 UGA undergraduate and graduate students studied abroad in programs facilitated UGA Office of Global Engagement during the 2017-2018 academic year. “UGA’s position in the national rankings reflects the growing demand among students for a study abroad experience, the increased availability of scholarship funding provided by the university and individual donors, and the tireless dedication of our faculty, who are committed to offering academically rigorous programs,” said Noel Fallows, associate provost for the Office of Global Engagement. “Although many of our programs take place during the summer months, they are a year-round commitment for faculty, who work behind the scenes developing cost-effective budgets and preparing culturally immersive courses to create optimal, memorable and transformative international experiences.” Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, added that UGA’s Open Doors ranking underscores the institution’s stature as a national leader in experiential learning. “The University of Georgia is one of the nation’s largest public universities to ensure that all of our undergraduate students benefit from learning opportunities such as study abroad, internships, service-learning and research,” Hu said. “These experiences position students for career success and lay the foundation for a lifetime of engaged citizenship.” Additional information on all UGA Education Abroad programs are available on the StudyAway portal: https://studyaway.uga.edu/
  • ATHENS Georgia basketball has made it a historical start to the season with Wednesday night's 82-78 win over rival Georgia Tech. It was the Bulldogs' fifth-straight win in the series, the first time that has happened in 79 years, and the 10,205 fans at Stegeman Coliseum couldn't have been more happy. 'This is a huge rivalry,' Georgia coach Tom Crean said. 'I said to the team, there are gong to be things in life that are so much bigger than you, and a game like this is one of them. 'When those seniors can say they never lost those games, that's a big deal.' Junior Rayshaun Hammonds carried the load for the Bulldogs (4-0), matching his season high with 26 points while pulling down 9 rebounds against the Yellow Jackets (2-1). Projected NBA lottery pick Anthony Edwards had 18 points and 8 rebounds, and senior grad-transfer Donnell Gresham Jr. had 13 points and 6 rebounds. Edwards, of course, made history by scoring 53 points in his first two games, eclipsing the freshman record previously held by Georgia and NBA Great Dominique Wilkins (1979). Michael Devoe had 34 points including a last-second, half-court shot to lead Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets opened the Nov. 5 with an 82-81 overtime road win over North Carolina State. Hammonds dominated the first half, scoring 19 of his points through the first 20 minutes. It carried into the second half with Georgia leading by as many as 16 points. 'It's a big win for us,' Hammonds said. 'I haven't lost to them, I don't want to lose to them.' A degree of uncertainty crept into the building with 10:15 remaining, however, when Hammonds picked up his fourth foul while scrambling for a loose ball. Hammonds took his 26 points and 8 rebounds to the bench, and Crean and the Bulldogs turned to freshman Anthony 'Antman' Edwards. Edwards, 1-of-8 shooting to that point with 5 points, drained a 3-pointer on the next trip down to make it 59-48 a the 9:41 mark. It triggered a 10-2 run that Edwards capped with a drive to the basket that made it 66-50. 'We did a good job on Edwards, he made some big plays late,' Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. 'He's a pro, he's going to be one of the top 3 draft picks, pros do that.' The Bulldogs had used a 13-2 run to end the first half and take control of what had been a back-and-forth first half, leading 35-27 intermission. Edwards had just 2 points at the half, and he didn't score his first field goal until hitting a long jumper that made it 42-31 with 17:50 left. The Bulldogs fans came to life, and it was another big crowd. Georgia, in fact, has the second-largest season attendance in school history through four games (35,152), approaching the record set in 1981 when Stegeman Coliseum held 11,200 and drew 38,741 through its first four games. More history will be made when Georgia returns to action at 2:30 p.m. next Monday in the Maui Invitational against Dayton (TV: ESPN2). The Bulldogs, making their first-ever appearance in the prestigious will play again on Tuesday (Michigan State or Virginia Tech) and Wednesday (TBD). DawgNation Georgia basketball coverage Georgia overwhelms Delaware State, Rayshaun Hammonds stars UGA drops The Citadel, Anthony Edwards scores 29 Anthony Edwards having fun, but Tom Crean expects more Tom Crean wants more control against The Citadel RELATED: Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener Georgia basketball strikes exhibition gold vs. Charlotte 49ers Sahvir Wheeler hidden star, directs point after first exhibition Anthony Edwards lives up to hype in exhibition opener Georgia freshman already making basketball history The post Georgia basketball off to historic start, dumps Georgia Tech 82-78 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — A faint, round, red spot just above his shirt collar is the only obvious physical evidence that something happened to Tate Prezzano nearly seven months ago. However, inside the University of Georgia student’s body a bullet fragment remains lodged just one millimeter from his spinal cord after he was shot multiple times near campus.  “One millimeter. One ‘mm.’ It is the smallest measurement you can get in the metric system,” his father, Dobbin Prezzano, said. To Prezzano and his father, the abbreviation “1 mm” has taken on a new meaning: “One man’s mission,” the tagline for the new foundation and scholarship program Tate Prezzano created in the wake of the shooting.  Prezzano introduced the foundation Wednesday morning at a news conference at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center, the hospital where he underwent his medical treatment after the shooting. It was the 22-year-old’s first public appearance since the April 22 incident. Prezzano said the focus of his foundation, named the TateTough Foundation after the social media hashtag that began trending during his recovery, is to effect safety and security on college campuses.  RELATED: UGA victim ID’d as lacrosse player; police release sketch of alleged shooter Prezzano is part of UGA’s club lacrosse team and played lacrosse and football at Cambridge High School in Milton.  As the junior communications major was waiting at an Athens bus stop, a man approached him, robbed him and shot him multiple times in the upper part of his body. “Few incidents are more concerning than a young man standing at the bus stop, waiting to go to college, that is accosted by an armed assailant, robbed and shot,” Athens-Clarke County police Chief Cleveland Spruill said in a news conference after the shooting.  It happened about 7:15 a.m. the Monday after Easter, Prezzano said. His bus was scheduled to arrive at 7:18 a.m.  He said he saw something move out of the corner of his eye, and when he looked up a man was pointing a gun at him.  Prezzano was hit in the shoulder, in the neck and in the back of the head. He laid bleeding on the sidewalk, watching cars go by and hoping one would stop.  “I actually saw my bus go by,” he said.  One man pulled over. Phil Haymore, who manages the intensive care unit at Piedmont Athens, was on his way to work when he saw Prezzano on the ground.  “I have a son at UGA. He’s right around Tate’s age,” Haymore said. “As far as I’m concerned, my son was laying on the sidewalk.”  Haymore provided care for Prezzano until emergency medical services arrived and took him to the hospital. He remained there for six days.   A second UGA student was also robbed at gunpoint near the bus stop, which is just south of campus and the Athens Perimeter. That student was not hurt in the incident, which occurred moments before Prezzano was shot. He was able to give police a description of the suspect, which was used to create a sketch. It depicted a man with medium-length braids or dreads. Not long after the sketch was released, GBI special agent Mike Ayers said tips started pouring in from community members. MORE: Gwinnett man arrested in shooting of UGA lacrosse player from metro Atlanta Zarren Garner, 20, of Grayson, was arrested in Gwinnett County the next morning. Spruill said they were able to identify Garner through a number of citizen tips and because of the man’s prior “low-level criminal background.”  Thus began Tate Prezzano’s recovery process. He said he spent about five days a week in physical therapy over the summer. He wasn’t able to take summer classes for his major.  “His typical regimen over the summer of academics and athletics ... was going to be replaced by physical therapy, occupational therapy, aquatic therapy,” his father said.  The foundation is part of Prezzano’s recovery process. The first pillar of its three-part mission is to support Prezzano throughout his doctor visits, therapy sessions and various treatments.  The second part, Prezzano said, is to encourage other athletes.  “Our goal is to promote funding for scholarships at two schools that have been an integral part of and made an impression on Tate: The University of Georgia and Cambridge High School,” the TateTough website said. “The Foundation will award a $1,000 scholarship to one University of Georgia lacrosse player and one Cambridge High School athlete each year that the Foundation can support the effort.”  “This scholarship is going to go to the person (we) feel exemplifies what the ultimate teammate would be,” Prezzano said. “The ultimate teammate, in my opinion, is not necessarily the ‘rah-rah’ guy. It’s not necessarily the all-star or the best player. He’s the kind of person that would come off the field if he needs to, he would go on the field and play a different position, or just kind of do whatever is asked and be reliable.”  But invaluable to the TateTough Foundation is the need to augment campus safety, Prezzano said. The foundation is working with UGA to explore options to make the campus safer, such as improved kiosks and phone apps that would allow for a more immediate response in the case of an emergency. Campus safety is at the top of his mind now that Prezzano has resumed taking classes at UGA.   He is still undergoing physical therapy three times a week. However, he is taking 16 credit hours this semester, he said. After 15 more in the spring and one hour during a May semester, Prezzano will walk with his graduating class, he said.  Prezzano said he hopes the foundation’s mission of encouraging campus safety can reach other colleges. He wants his story to help other students be cognizant of their surroundings.  “We are still figuring the world out,” he said. “We don’t know what to look for.” 
  • A former Louisiana State University student was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison for his role in the alcohol-related hazing death of a freshman from Roswell, but a judge suspended all but 2½ years of the term, according to local media reports.  Matthew Naquin was also sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service, three years of probation when released and he must pay a $1,000 fine, The Advocate reported.  Naquin, 21, of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, was convicted in July of negligent homicide in the September 2017 death of Max Gruver.  Gruver, 18, died after a hazing incident at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house, according to investigators. He had an alcohol level of .495% — more than six times the legal limit for drivers — at the time of his death, the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office previously said.  LSU President F. King Alexander temporarily suspended all Greek activities after Gruver’s death. The fraternity’s national headquarters also suspended the LSU chapter. Gruver was a 2017 graduate of Blessed Trinity High School and planned to study journalism at LSU. He loved sports and helped coach younger children, including his sister’s basketball team, according to his family.  “Max was very lovable. He cared a lot about people,” Eugene Gruver, Max’s grandfather, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the day after his death. “He was bright, he was intelligent. He was so talented. He knew all about sports.” Prosecutors placed the bulk of the blame for Gruver’s death on Naquin. At trial, they told the jury Naquin ripped up Gruver's bid card and made it his personal mission to keep Gruver out of the fraternity, the Advocate previously reported. During the ritual, when Gruver answered questions about the fraternity incorrectly, prosecutors said Naquin forced him to drink. In July, two other former LSU students were each sentenced to a month in jail for their roles in Gruver’s death.  Sean-Paul Gott, 22, of Lafayette, Louisiana, and Ryan Matthew Isto, 20, of Butte, Montana, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor hazing charges.
  • Planing to see the Georgia Bulldogs play at Mercedes-Benz for the SEC Championship on Dec.7?  Be aware of some rules and policies before heading to the game. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.  Leave your cash at home  In March, Mercedes-Benz Stadium became the first to adopt a stadium-wide cashless policy, a news release said. However, cash-to-card kiosks will be available at the Delta Sky360 Club, Mercedes-Benz Club, and by the team store. Fans can insert cash into a machine that will give back a pre-paid Visa card, with no transaction fee.  Don’t take just any bag Fans are encouraged to take clear bags to games for security reasons. Fans can take a one-gallon plastic freezer bag, or a clear bag no larger that 12 by 6 by 12 inches, according to SEC policy.  All bags will be checked at the secondary security perimeter set around the stadium and the Georgia World Congress Center.  For fans that take a bag, there will be four bag exchange locations: outside gates 1 and 2 of the stadium, and at the Georgia World Congress Center’s  Gold Deck and Hall B. Football fans will be charged $5 per bag they exchange. At Gate 1, fans can use the BinBox app to use a small locker for $5, a medium locker for $7, and a large locker for $9.  The clear bag policy exempts wallets and clutch purses that may be no bigger than 4.5 by 6.5 inches including the handle or strap.  There are exceptions to the the rule for medically necessary items.  Do your pom-poms or shakers have a paddle or a stick handle?  Mercedes-Benz stadium has a no stick handle policy for pompoms and shakers. Only those with a paddle handle will be allow inside the stadium, according to a news release. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Kirby Smart opened the football portion of his Monday press conference talking about injuries, updating media on his banged-up offensive line and hobbled go-to receiver. It was a pre-emptive strike. The Georgia football head coach doesn't want to be asked abut the specifics, or go down the laundry list of players limited, or out or dealing with injuries. The media viewing portions of practices have been closed the past two weeks, the Bulldogs understandably not wanting opponents to know who is healthy enough to go through drills, and who has been sitting out. Georgia's football season is on the line once again this Saturday and Smart is no different than any other coach in the sense that he doesn't want to give away any more information than necessary. The No. 4-ranked Bulldogs (9-1, 6-1 SEC) play host to No. 24 Texas A&M (7-3, 4-2) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Sanford Stadium (TV: CBS). It's a Georgia team that survived Auburn, 21-14, despite being out-gained 158 yards to 2 yards in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs were missing three offensive by the end of the contest. Smart revealed after last Saturday's game that Ben Cleveland missed two practices following his SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week performance against Missouri. On Monday, Smart acknowledged that Georgia's Swiss Army Knife Offensive Lineman Cade Mays would miss time on the practice field. On Tuesday, Smart offered some hope, albeit, limited. Cade has been out there working, and Ben has practiced,' Smart said on Tuesday. 'Cade didn't do much yesterday, he did a lot more today as far as reps, we're hopeful he'll be able to go.' For receiver Lawrence Cager, who has been playing with a separated shoulder, Smart said it's a matter of how much he could 'sustain.' Even the staff photographer, Lauren Chamberlain, has been held out of action this week after her sideline collision with Brian Herrien. But Georgia has a fair share of players who have been playing despite injuries, receivers Tyler Simmons (shoulder) and Demetris Robertson (hamstring) both appearing somewhat limited, as well as defensive lineman David Marshall (foot) and offensive linemen Isaiah Wilson (ankle) and Trey Hill (ankle). Others simply don't put the pads on and thus don't get asked about anymore: Defensive back Tyrique McGhee (foot), receiver Tommy Bush (groin), quarterback D'Wan Mathis (head), lineman Justin Shaffer. Georgia football injury report WR Lawrence Cager (shoulder) probable WR Tyler Simmons (shoulder) probable C Trey Hill (ankle) probable OG Ben Cleveland (foot) probable DL David Marshall (foot) probable OL Cade Mays (ankle) questionable DB Tyrique McGhee (foot) doubtful QB D'Wan Mathis (head) out WR Tommy Bush (groin) out OL Justin Shaffer (neck) out Georgia football DawgNation Kirby Smart reveals redshirt plan for Georgia senior defensive lineman WATCH: Gus Malzahn says Auburn 'stuffed' Georgia in 4th quarter Georgia football stars make short list for Outland Trophy, Nagurski Award WATCH: Georgia QB Jake Fromm says offense must get better Georgia in select company, clinches third-straight SEC East Division title Jimbo Fisher says Jake Fromm as good as anyone in the country The post Georgia football injury report: Offense hobbled entering Texas A&M battle appeared first on DawgNation.
  • There's a different way to look at the bottom line for Georgia-Texas A&M this week. Especially in terms of what Jimbo Fisher and Kirby Smart bring to the table. Try a bottom line that charts $14,371,600. That is the reported combined 2019 salaries for the head coaches for that big SEC clash on Saturday. Read that line again. Digest that $14.3 million part. That's the number according to the latest 2019 salary figures in the annual USA Today report on coaching salaries for NCAA football . Fisher, who signed a 10-year deal worth $75 million in December of 2017, ranks as the fourth-highest paid head coach in college football. It makes one wonder why the nachos will not be $14.30 inside Sanford Stadium on Saturday. Fisher still has a robust buyout of $60 million. ( That means Jimmy Sexton's great-great-grandchildren are also getting Gucci every Christmas. Sexton represents five of the nation's 10-highest paid coaches and almost all of the SEC.) Smart comes in at No. 5 on that listing. His buyout is a mere $24.2 million for the remaining years on his deal. Several coaches, such as Auburn's Gus Malzhan (No.6) are slated to receive yearly pay hikes that will also take them into the $7 million per year range in 2020, too. The USA Today study places a somewhat unexpected name at the top. It was not Nick Saban, but still the head coach of the defending national champions nonetheless. Clemson's Dabo Swinney rates No. 1 on that database with a total compensation figure of $9,315,600 for 2019. Saban follows at No. 2 ($8.9 million) and Jim Harbaugh ($7.504 million) round out the top 3. The SEC also flexes the power of its TV deals and respective fan bases by placing the head coaches from five of its member schools among the top 10 in that survey. Mississippi State pays Joe Moorhead $3,050,000 on that listing. It will rank him last in the SEC, but that windfall places him at No. 48 out of the 122 coaching salaries tracked in that database. The post Jimbo Fisher and Kirby Smart both rank among the NCAA's highest-paid coaches appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Rayshaun Hammonds says he just wants to win, and now that the 6-foot-8, 240-pounder has figured out what it will take from him, Georgia basketball could prove dangerous. Hammonds matched his season high in scoring with 26 points, also leading the young Bulldogs with 9 rebounds in their 82-78 win over an experienced and battled-tested Georgia Tech on Wednesday night. It was Georgia's fifth-straight win in the rivalry, the first time that has happened in 79 years. RELATED: Anthony Edwards helps spark historical start to season 'Rayshaun has had a breakthrough,' second-year Georgia coach Tom Crean said Wednesday night. 'You never known when breakthroughs are going to come, (and) you never know how breakthroughs are going to come, and you can't plan them. 'They have to be natural and he's doing a good job. Ray is letting things come to him.' Anthony Edwards, one of 10 new players on the team and a 6-5 combo guard projected to be a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, explained why the ball went inside to Hammonds throughout the first half. 'They were pressing me and Tyree (Crump) hard when we were getting the ball,' Edwards said. 'So if they are pressing us, we've got the best four man in the country, he's going to eat.' Indeed, Hammonds scored 19 of his points in the first half, helping Georgia take a 35-27 lead to intermission. 'I thought [Rayshaun] Hammonds was a stud tonight,' Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. 'Obviously, we recruited him hard, too. He's a really good basketball player and he really had a great game and is a big difference maker for them, especially in that first half. 'That was the difference tonight, what Hammonds did in the first half, that set the tone.' Crean has been challenging Hammonds to be a difference-maker and set the tone in practice, too, harping on him publicly and privately to become more consistent. Edwards can score all the points and make all the highlights, but if Hammonds doesn't provide a physical presence in the paint, Georgia will likely miss the NCAA Tournament for what would be the seventh time in the past eight years. The Bulldogs' hopes took a major hit last summer when All-SEC sophomore Nicolas Claxton left for the NBA, adding to attrition that included six seniors and three underclassmen transfers. Georgia lost more than 56 percent of its scoring off last year's team and 63 percent of its rebounding. But Edwards has come in with a signing class that ranked fifth in the nation, and the 10 new players have brought enough firepower and positive energy to help get Hammonds going. 'The incoming freshmen took a lot of stress off me, because they can play,' said Hammonds, who was ranked the 51st-best player in the 2017 class coming out of Norcross. 'We have dogs, nobody is scared to get on the floor. The main focus is to play physical, you don't want to get punked by other teams.' Hammonds has proven he can supply the muscle as well as provide an outside touch, connecting on 2 of 4 attempts beyond the 3-point arc against Georgia Tech. 'Rayshaun did a great job leading us,' Edwards said, 'and we followed.' Georgia basketball's Anthony Edwards and Rayshaun Hammonds Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean DawgNation Georgia basketball c Georgia overwhelms Delaware State, Rayshaun Hammonds stars UGA drops The Citadel, Anthony Edwards scores 29 Anthony Edwards having fun, but Tom Crean expects more Tom Crean wants more control against The Citadel RELATED: Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener Georgia basketball strikes exhibition gold vs. Charlotte 49ers Sahvir Wheeler hidden star, directs point after first exhibition Anthony Edwards lives up to hype in exhibition opener Georgia freshman already making basketball history The post Georgia basketball forward Rayshaun Hammonds breakthrough' wrecked Georgia Tech appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia basketball has made it a historical start to the season with Wednesday night's 82-78 win over rival Georgia Tech. It was the Bulldogs' fifth-straight win in the series, the first time that has happened in 79 years, and the 10,205 fans at Stegeman Coliseum couldn't have been more happy. 'This is a huge rivalry,' Georgia coach Tom Crean said. 'I said to the team, there are gong to be things in life that are so much bigger than you, and a game like this is one of them. 'When those seniors can say they never lost those games, that's a big deal.' Junior Rayshaun Hammonds carried the load for the Bulldogs (4-0), matching his season high with 26 points while pulling down 9 rebounds against the Yellow Jackets (2-1). Projected NBA lottery pick Anthony Edwards had 18 points and 8 rebounds, and senior grad-transfer Donnell Gresham Jr. had 13 points and 6 rebounds. Edwards, of course, made history by scoring 53 points in his first two games, eclipsing the freshman record previously held by Georgia and NBA Great Dominique Wilkins (1979). Michael Devoe had 34 points including a last-second, half-court shot to lead Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets opened the Nov. 5 with an 82-81 overtime road win over North Carolina State. Hammonds dominated the first half, scoring 19 of his points through the first 20 minutes. It carried into the second half with Georgia leading by as many as 16 points. 'It's a big win for us,' Hammonds said. 'I haven't lost to them, I don't want to lose to them.' A degree of uncertainty crept into the building with 10:15 remaining, however, when Hammonds picked up his fourth foul while scrambling for a loose ball. Hammonds took his 26 points and 8 rebounds to the bench, and Crean and the Bulldogs turned to freshman Anthony 'Antman' Edwards. Edwards, 1-of-8 shooting to that point with 5 points, drained a 3-pointer on the next trip down to make it 59-48 a the 9:41 mark. It triggered a 10-2 run that Edwards capped with a drive to the basket that made it 66-50. 'We did a good job on Edwards, he made some big plays late,' Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. 'He's a pro, he's going to be one of the top 3 draft picks, pros do that.' The Bulldogs had used a 13-2 run to end the first half and take control of what had been a back-and-forth first half, leading 35-27 intermission. Edwards had just 2 points at the half, and he didn't score his first field goal until hitting a long jumper that made it 42-31 with 17:50 left. The Bulldogs fans came to life, and it was another big crowd. Georgia, in fact, has the second-largest season attendance in school history through four games (35,152), approaching the record set in 1981 when Stegeman Coliseum held 11,200 and drew 38,741 through its first four games. More history will be made when Georgia returns to action at 2:30 p.m. next Monday in the Maui Invitational against Dayton (TV: ESPN2). The Bulldogs, making their first-ever appearance in the prestigious will play again on Tuesday (Michigan State or Virginia Tech) and Wednesday (TBD). DawgNation Georgia basketball coverage Georgia overwhelms Delaware State, Rayshaun Hammonds stars UGA drops The Citadel, Anthony Edwards scores 29 Anthony Edwards having fun, but Tom Crean expects more Tom Crean wants more control against The Citadel RELATED: Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener Georgia basketball strikes exhibition gold vs. Charlotte 49ers Sahvir Wheeler hidden star, directs point after first exhibition Anthony Edwards lives up to hype in exhibition opener Georgia freshman already making basketball history The post Georgia basketball off to historic start, dumps Georgia Tech 82-78 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia stars have made the short list for two of the most prestigious awards in college football, the Outland Trophy and the Nagurski Award. Junior left tackle Andrew Thomas was named one of six semifinalists for the Outland Trophy, which recognizes the top interior lineman on offense or defense. Outland Trophy semifinalists OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia OC Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin DT Derrick Brown, Auburn OT Penei Sewell, Oregon OG John Simpson, Clemson OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa. Reed, a senior safety, is one of five finalists for the Nagurksi Award, which recognizes the best defensive player in college football. SS J.R. Reed, Georgia DT Derrick Brown, Auburn LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson DB Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota DE Chase Young, Ohio State Georgia DawgNation stories Kirby Smart reveals redshirt plan for Georgia senior defensive lineman WATCH: Gus Malzahn says Auburn 'stuffed' Georgia in 4th quarter WATCH: Georgia QB Jake Fromm says offense must get better Georgia in select company, clinches third-straight SEC East Division title UGA stock report: Bulldogs cash in at Auburn with 21-14 win Georgia game ball, punter Jake Camarda kept Tigers backed up Brian Herrien, Jake Fromm pray for injured UGA photographer The post Georgia stars Andrew Thomas, J.R. Reed semifinalists for Outland Trophy, Nagurski Award appeared first on DawgNation.