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Health Headlines

    The founder of an Arizona pharmaceutical company is expected to be sentenced in Boston's federal court Thursday for his role in a bribery and kickback scheme that prosecutors said helped fuel the opioid crisis. John Kapoor, the 76-year-old former chairman of Insys Therapeutics, was found guilty of racketeering conspiracy last May after a trial that lasted 10 weeks and led to 15 days of jury deliberation. Prosecutors are requesting a sentence of 15 years in prison, while Kapoor’s attorneys say he deserves no more than a year and a day. Kapoor and others were accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes to doctors across the nation to prescribe the company’s highly addictive oral fentanyl spray, known as Subsys. They were also accused of misleading insurers to get payment approved for the drug, which is meant to treat cancer patients in severe pain and can cost as much as $19,000 a month. In recent court documents, prosecutors characterized Kapoor as the “fulcrum” of the scheme, saying he “did not hesitate to use the authority of his financial position to dictate the criminal strategies employed by Insys.” “It was, in almost every way, Kapoor’s crime,” they wrote. Kapoor's lawyers argue that the bribery scheme was concocted by other executives at the company. In a court filing, they said their client has been portrayed as a “caricature” of a mob boss when he’s really an “immigrant success story.” They say the India-born exec developed Subsys after seeing his wife suffer and die from breast cancer. During his trial, jurors heard from former employees who testified that Insys made a habit of hiring attractive women as representatives to boost sales of the drug. One former sales representative testified that a regional sales manager once gave a lap dance at a Chicago nightclub to a doctor Insys was pushing to write more prescriptions. Jurors also were shown a rap video in which Insys employees danced and rapped around a person dressed as a giant bottle of the fentanyl spray. Prosecutors said the video was shown at a national sales meeting in 2015 and was intended to motivate representatives to push Subsys to doctors. The case was considered the first that sought to hold an opioid maker criminally liable for the drug crisis, which has claimed nearly 400,000 lives over the last two decades. At least two others have since faced criminal charges, but prominent companies including Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, have only faced suits that carry no threat of prison time. After the trial, the company reached a $225 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to end its criminal and civil probes. Insys has since filed for bankruptcy protection, and it’s not clear whether the company will fully pay what’s owed. The company has been approved to sell off Subsys and its other drugs for about $30 million, but it maintains its assets, all told, are worth only $175 million. Along with Kapoor, four others from Insys also were convicted last year, while two pleaded guilty and testified against their former colleagues. Alec Burlakoff, a former vice president of sales who pleaded guilty in 2018, also is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in Boston. Others in the case have been dealt sentences ranging from a year and a day to nearly three years in prison.
  • Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest for international travel, announced on Thursday that it's taking special precautions to screen the droves of Chinese tourists expected for the Lunar New Year holiday after the outbreak of a pneumonia-like virus that has led to China's lockdown of the entire city of Wuhan. Dubai Airports said that, following government guidance, all passengers arriving on direct flights from China will receive thermal screening at the gate upon arrival and be provided with informational brochures. The screening will be conducted at secured, closed gates by teams from the Dubai Health Authority and the Airport Medical Center, Dubai Airports said in a statement provided to The Associated Press. The airport authority would not say whether it expected a drop in passengers from China for the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins Friday, following China's decision to close off Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, where a newly identified coronavirus first appeared last month. Chinese are expected to take an estimated 3 billion trips during the 40-day spike in travel. China shut down train stations, the airport, subways, ferries and long-distance shuttle buses in the city, and local authorities have demanded all residents wear masks in public places. Measures similar to those enacted in Wuhan were being taken at nearby cities in Hubei province, with public transport suspended and theaters, internet cafes and other entertainment centers closed beginning Friday, according to state media reports. The coronavirus family includes the common cold as well as viruses that cause more serious illnesses, such as the SARS outbreak that spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-2003 and killed about 800 people, and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, which developed from camels. So far, most of China's 571 cases have been in Wuhan and a total of 17 people have died, all of them in and around the city. The Lunar New Year is one of the world's largest annual movement of people, and previously Dubai Airports said it was “preparing to welcome thousands of Chinese travelers” ahead of the weekend. Preliminary figures show Dubai Airport welcomed some 3.7 million passengers from China, a 5% increase year-on-year.
  • A billionaire has offered to pay striking doctors in Zimbabwe to help end a months-long protest over grave hospital conditions as the economy crumbles, and a doctors' group on Thursday said it was encouraging members to embrace the money and return to work. But Dr. Masimba Ndoro, vice president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association, warned that “nothing much has changed” in the conditions at public hospitals that include the lack of basic items such as bandages and gloves. Relatives of patients are still expected to buy such items and, in some instances, bring buckets of water as Zimbabwe's once-envied health care system reflects the southern African nation's general collapse. “It breaks a doctor’s heart to ask a patient who clearly cannot afford bread to buy their own blades, bandages and even dressing solutions, painkillers and antibiotics,” Ndoro said. Doctors abandoned work four months ago to press for better salaries and working conditions, saying their roughly $100 monthly pay is not enough to get by. The action became one of Zimbabwe's longest doctors’ strikes in history. The majority of people in Zimbabwe already are battling to put food on the table, let alone afford expensive private medical care or drugs. “It is in the interests of both the patients and the doctors to go back to work,” Ndoro told The Associated Press. He said his organization, which represents about 1,600 junior doctors at public hospitals, is asking members to accept the offer by Zimbabwean telecoms billionaire Strive Masiyiwa. Masiyiwa through his charity late last year offered to pay doctors a “monthly subsistence allowance” of roughly $300. Doctors are also offered transport to and from work. The Higherlife Foundation charity announced Tuesday that it had reopened the offer, which more than 300 doctors had signed up for before it closed in December. Ndoro said more needs to be done to fix the health sector. Often the best a doctor can do is diagnose and write a prescription for patients who usually ask relatives for help to buy drugs at private pharmacies, where prices are steep because of shortages at public hospitals. Critics say the collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy is making hollow President Emmerson Mnangagwa's promises to change the country's fortunes when he took power in 2017 after longtime leader Robert Mugabe stepped down under pressure. Since then, inflation has spiked to about 500% amid shortages of gas, food and even drinking water. Electricity cuts of up to 18 hours a day have led some rural hospitals to ask relatives to take bodies to private funeral parlors or conduct quick burials to keep them from decomposing in their mortuaries. Health Minister Obadiah Moyo on Wednesday told the state broadcaster that the situation is improving. “They (doctors) are back in full force. We want to be able to work together as one team, everyone has a role to play,” he told the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. But many doctors and other health professionals such as nurses seem to share little of the minister’s optimism and are looking for a way out. “I don’t have the actual numbers but many doctors have left the country,” Ndoro said. “A lot are pursuing greener pastures. They may not yet have left, but they are definitely going to leave.”
  • Shortly before authorities closed off the Chinese city at the epicenter of an outbreak of a new virus, the World Health Organization sent a team led by country representative Gauden Galea to check conditions on the ground in Wuhan, an inland city of more than 11 million people. The five-member team on Monday and Tuesday visited a local biosafety lab, a branch of China’s Center for Disease Control, a hospital retrofitted with increased safety protocols and the airport. Galea spoke with health care workers, epidemiology inspectors and city officials who described and demonstrated how authorities are tracking, treating and combating the disease. The Associated Press interviewed Galea at the WHO office in Beijing on Thursday. Q: CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE SITUATION ON THE GROUND RIGHT NOW IN WUHAN? A: It was very important for us to understand what was the extent of the outbreak and to get a bit of local color on the reports. It’s one thing looking at dry tables and presentations, it’s another thing to see it on the ground and meeting the front-line workers and getting their own experience of the outbreak. ... The situation has changed a lot already. Q: TO CONTAIN AN OUTBREAK, IS THIS KIND OF TRAVEL BAN USUALLY EFFECTIVE? WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND SOME OF THE PITFALLS? A: To my knowledge, trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science. It has not been tried before as a public health measure, so we cannot at this stage say it will or will not work. If this is happening we will note carefully to what extent it is maintained and how long it can take. There are pros and cons to such a decision. Such a decision obviously has social and economic impacts that are considerable. On the other hand, it demonstrates a very strong public health commitment and a willingness to take dramatic action. It sends a message to Wuhan, to China and to the rest of the countries. It remains to be seen what it’s effect will be. Q: WERE YOU ABLE TO SEE HOW MANY PATIENTS WERE LOCATED AT THE HOSPITAL? DID IT SEEM LIKE THE RESOURCES WERE OVERWHELMED? A: The numbers of cases being handled are indeed quite large. The hospital that we attended, Zhongnan Hospital ... had construction put in place since the epidemic was identified in order to be able to provide the right patient flows, the right triage for patients with fever. So that they all go through one direction and there isn’t a mixture of patients. There’s rapid identification of whether this is a known case with some condition that is more conventionally treated and whether this is a suspect case. These flows and procedures were demonstrated to us and we have to say that the example we have seen is very much good practice. We have to commend the health care workers that we met, who are extremely well-informed, correctly using procedures and personal protective equipment, who are very optimistic – cautious but optimistic – in their dealings both with us and with the patients that we saw being processed. Q: WE'VE SEEN MODELING AND EXPERTS SAYING THAT THERE WILL EVENTUALLY BE THOUSANDS OF CASES. HOW SERIOUS IS THIS GOING TO GET? A: The numbers of cases are not in themselves a measure of seriousness. ... One of the patterns that we have seen is that as milder cases are detected, there has been a reduction in the percentage of the rate of people dying but it is too early to reach a full conclusion. We are now daily hearing of massive increases in the numbers. Part of that increase is coming from the processing of specimens earlier. Another part is a broadening of the case definition. So numbers are going to increase. Even if they are in the thousands, this would not surprise us. That is not an indicator of seriousness. Indeed it is very, very good to get and identify as many cases as possible. ___ Associated Press writer Yanan Wang contributed to this report.
  • China decided Thursday to lock down three cities that are home to more than 18 million people in an unprecedented effort to try to contain a deadly new viral illness that has sickened hundreds and spread to other cities and countries in the Lunar New Year travel rush. Police, SWAT teams and paramilitary troops guarded Wuhan's train station, where metal barriers blocked the entrances at 10 a.m. sharp. Only travelers holding tickets for the last trains were allowed to enter, with those booked for later trains being turned away. Normally bustling streets, shopping malls, restaurants and other public spaces in the city of 11 million people were eerily quiet. In addition to the train station, airport, ferry, subway and bus services were also halted. Similar measures will take effect from Friday in the nearby cities of Huanggang and Ezhou. Theaters, internet cafes and other entertainment centers were also ordered closed, further increasing the economic costs of the response to the outbreak. “To my knowledge, trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science,' Gauden Galea, the World Health Organization's representative in China, told The Associated Press in an interview at the WHO's Beijing office. “It has not been tried before as a public health measure. We cannot at this stage say it will or it will not work.' The illnesses from a newly identified coronavirus first appeared last month in Wuhan, an industrial and transportation hub in central China's Hubei province. The vast majority of mainland China's 571 cases have been in the city. Other cases have been reported in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. One case was confirmed Thursday in Hong Kong after one was earlier confirmed in Macao. Most cases outside China were people from Wuhan or who had recently traveled there. A total of 17 people have died, all of them in and around Wuhan. Their average age was 73, with the oldest 89 and the youngest 48. Images obtained from inside Wuhan following the closure showed long lines and empty shelves at supermarkets, as residents stocked up for what could be weeks of relative isolation. That appeared to be an over-reaction, since no restrictions have been placed on trucks carrying supplies into the city, although many Chinese still have strong memories of shortages and privations in the years before the country's recent economic boom. Such sweeping measures are typical of China's authoritarian communist government, although their effectiveness in containing the outbreak remains uncertain. Local authorities in Wuhan have demanded all residents wear masks in public places and urged government staff to wear them at work and for shopkeepers to post signs for their visitors, Xinhua news agency quoted a government notice as saying. Xinhua cited the city's anti-virus task force as saying the measures were taken in an attempt to “effectively cut off the virus spread, resolutely curb the outbreak and guarantee the people's health and safety.” Liu Haihan left Wuhan last Friday after visiting her boyfriend there. She said everything was normal then, before human-to-human transmission of the virus was confirmed. But things have changed rapidly. “(My boyfriend) didn't sleep much yesterday. He disinfected his house and stocked up on instant noodles,' Liu said. “He's not really going out. If he does he wears a mask.' The significant increase in illnesses reported just this week come as millions of Chinese travel for the Lunar New Year, one of the world's largest annual migrations of people. Chinese are expected to take an estimated 3 billion trips during the 40-day spike in travel. While state broadcaster CCTV has largely ignored the outbreak to emphasize traditional observances of the festival, reports have filtered in of events such as temple fairs being canceled in cities including Beijing. Analysts have predicted the reported cases will continue to multiply. “Even if (the number of cases) are in the thousands, this would not surprise us,' the WHO's Galea said, adding, however, that the number of cases is not an indicator of the outbreak's severity, so long as the mortality rate remains low. The coronavirus family includes the common cold as well as viruses that cause more serious illnesses, such as the SARS outbreak that spread from China to more than a dozen countries in 2002-2003 and killed about 800 people, and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, which developed from camels. China is keen to avoid repeating mistakes with its handling of SARS. For months, even after the illness had spread around the world, China parked patients in hotels and drove them around in ambulances to conceal the true number of cases and avoid WHO experts. In the current outbreak, China has been credited with sharing information rapidly, and President Xi Jinping has emphasized that as a priority. “Party committees, governments and relevant departments at all levels must put people's lives and health first,” Xi said Monday. “It is necessary to release epidemic information in a timely manner and deepen international cooperation.” Health authorities were taking extraordinary measures to prevent additional person-to-person transmissions, placing those suspected to be infected in plastic tubes and wheeled boxes where air passed through filters. The first cases in the Wuhan outbreak were connected to people who worked at or visited a seafood market, which has since been closed for an investigation. Experts suspect the virus was first transmitted from wild animals but the virus also may be mutating. Mutations can make it deadlier or more contagious. WHO plans another meeting of scientific experts Thursday on whether to recommend declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, which it defines as an “extraordinary event” that constitutes a risk to other countries and requires a coordinated international response. Many countries are screening travelers from China for illness, especially those arriving from Wuhan. North Korea has banned foreign tourists, a step it also took during the SARS outbreak and in recent years due to Ebola. Most foreigners going to North Korea are Chinese or travel there through neighboring China. ___ Associated Press researcher Shanshan Wang in Shanghai contributed to this report.
  • Health officials said Wednesday they are actively monitoring 16 people who came into close contact with the traveler to China who became the first U.S. resident with a new and potentially deadly virus. The man, identified as a Snohomish County, Washington, resident is in his 30s, was in good condition and wasn't considered a threat to the public. The hospitalized man had no symptoms when he arrived at the Seattle-Tacoma airport last week, but he started feeling ill. He had traveled to China in November, flying home to Washington state Jan. 15 before the start of U.S. airport screening. Investigators will make daily phone calls to those 16 who had contact with him, including some who sat near him on his flight, to check if they have symptoms. They will not be asked to isolate themselves unless they start feeling ill. “This may be a novel virus, but this is not a novel investigation,” said John Wiesman of the Washington State Department of Health at a Wednesday briefing for reporters. The patient is doing well in an isolation unit at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, about 30 miles north of Seattle. The virus can cause coughing, fever, breathing difficulty and pneumonia
  • The Trump administration is coming out with new visa restrictions aimed at restricting “birth tourism,' in which women travel to the U.S. to give birth so their children can have a coveted U.S. passport. The State Department planned to publicize the rules Thursday, according to two officials with knowledge of the plans who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The rules would make it more difficult for pregnant women to travel on tourist visas. In one draft of the regulations, they would have to clear an additional hurdle before obtaining the visas — convincing a consular officer that they have another legitimate reason to come to the U.S. The Trump administration has been restricting all forms of immigration, but the president has been particularly plagued by the issue of birthright citizenship — anyone born in the U.S. is considered a citizen, under the Constitution. He has railed against the practice and threatened to end it, but scholars and members of his administration have said it's not so easy to do. Regulating tourist visas for pregnant women is one way to get at the issue, but it raises questions about how officers would determine whether a woman is pregnant to begin with, and whether a woman could get turned away by border officers who suspect she may be just by looking at her. Consular officers right now aren't told to ask during visa interviews whether a woman is pregnant or intends to become so. But they would have to determine whether a visa applicant would be coming to the U.S. primarily to give birth. Birth tourism is a lucrative business in both the U.S. and abroad. American companies take out advertisements and charge up to $80,000 to facilitate the practice, offering hotel rooms and medical care. Many of the women travel from Russia and China to give birth in the U.S. The U.S. has been c racking down on the practice since before Trump took office. Although there are scattered cases of authorities arresting operators of birth tourism agencies for visa fraud or tax evasion, coming to the U.S. to give birth is fundamentally legal. And women are often honest about their intentions when applying for visas and even show signed contracts with doctors and hospitals. There are no figures on how many foreign women travel to the U.S. specifically to give birth. The Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for stricter immigration laws, estimated that in 2012, about 36,000 foreign-born women gave birth in the U.S., then left the country. The draft rule is “intended to address the national security and law enforcement risks associated with birth tourism, including criminal activity associated with the birth tourism industry,” a State Department spokesperson said.
  • President Donald Trump appeared to suggest in a television interview Wednesday that he’s willing to consider entitlement cuts in the future, a move that would mark a tectonic shift from his stance during his 2016 run for the White House. Trump suggested he was open to a cut in social safety net benefits, such as Medicare and Social Security, in comments during a CNBC interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. While Trump has repeatedly talked up strong economic growth, the federal budget deficit has swollen as his administration has pressed for tax cuts and increased government spending. Asked if entitlement cuts would ever be on his agenda, Trump responded, “At some point they will be.” As a candidate for the White House, Trump stood apart from much of the GOP primary field as he vowed to oppose cuts to Social Security and Medicare, while also ensuring every American had health coverage. In the CNBC interview, Trump called tackling entitlement spending “the easiest of all things” and suggested higher economic growth would make it easier to reduce spending on the programs. “Well, we’re going — we’re going to look,” Trump said. “We also have assets that we’ve never had. I mean we’ve never had growth like this.” Asked for clarification following the interview, White House spokesman Judd Deere noted there had been “no benefit cuts” under Trump, and said the president has kept “his commitment to the most vulnerable Americans, especially those who depend on Medicare and Social Security.” The budget deficit is expected to reach $1 trillion this year, according to projections by the Congressional Budget Office. Early in his presidential campaign, Trump said he was a different sort of Republican, one who would not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. The Medicaid promise was ultimately abandoned. The unsuccessful Republican drive to repeal “Obamacare” would have also limited future federal spending on that federal-state health insurance program for low-income people. More recently, Trump’s 2020 budget called for deep cuts in Medicare payments to hospitals. Although the White House countered that the proposal would not scale back benefits for seniors, Democratic congressional leaders and a major hospital group denounced the plan. As a candidate in the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump had seemed to draw a line against cuts to major benefit programs. “Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security, they want to do it on Medicare, they want to do it on Medicaid,” he said at a 2015 event in New Hampshire. “And we can’t do that. And it’s not fair to the people that have been paying in for years and now all of the sudden they want to ... cut.” The head of an advocacy group created to defend the Affordable Care Act said Trump tipped his hand with his comments in Davos. “The president has made it clear that he wants to make draconian cuts to both Medicare and Medicaid — something that the American people vehemently oppose — and today he said he’s going to try again,” said Leslie Dach, chairman of Protect Our Care.
  • Chinese state media says the city of Wuhan is shutting down outbound flights and trains as new virus spreads more widely.
  • The federal government took Ohio's side Tuesday in a lawsuit over a state law prohibiting doctors from performing abortions based on a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. “Nothing in Ohio's law creates a substantial obstacle to women obtaining an abortion,” the Justice Department said in a filing, 'and nothing in the Constitution or Supreme Court precedent requires States to authorize medical providers to participate in abortions the providers know are based on Down syndrome.' The disputed law is among nearly two dozen abortion restrictions that Ohio has enacted under the most recent two administrations. A ban on abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, twice vetoed by then-Gov. John Kasich but signed into law by fellow Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, is also on hold amid a legal challenge. Government attorneys argue that Ohio's Down syndrome law doesn't actually outlaw any abortions, it only places restrictions on providers. Taking up an argument used by the law's supporters, including the abortion-opposing Ohio Right to Life, federal attorneys also told the court the law protects against discrimination based on disability, sticking with the principle established in other laws, such as the Americans for Disabilities Act. The full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to rehear the case after a three-judge panel agreed with a lower court that the 2017 law was likely unconstitutional. That left in place a federal judge's earlier order placing enforcement of the law on hold. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Ohio Department of Health, the state medical board and county prosecutors to overturn the law on behalf of Planned Parenthood and several abortion providers. The law specifically would outlaw abortions in cases where there is a positive test result or prenatal diagnosis indicating Down syndrome. Physicians who perform such an abortion could be charged with a fourth-degree felony, stripped of their medical license and held liable for legal damages under the law. A pregnant woman would face no criminal liability. Abortion rights groups say the law falls into a category of restrictions called “reason bans,” which they argue attempt to get into the mind of a pregnant woman as she decides whether to continue or end a pregnancy. Ohio joins Indiana, Louisiana, North Dakota and Kentucky among states that have enacted abortion restrictions in cases of a fetal Down syndrome diagnosis. Four of the five enacted laws have drawn legal challenges, and a similar proposal sent in November to Pennsylvania's governor was vetoed.

Local News

  • A newly announced candidate for a seat in the Georgia House will speak to Athens Democrats tonight: Mokah Johnson is running against Republican Representative Houston Gaines. She’s the featured speaker at this evening’s meeting of local Democrats, set for 6 o’clock at the Library on Baxter Street.  From the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee Facebook page…   We've organized a special program, 'Civil Rights, Then and Now,' to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Week. Come hear Mokah Johnson, of the Athens-Anti-Discrimination Movement; Beto Cacao, of DIgnidad Immigrante; and Hattie Whitehead, of the Linnentown Project.
  • The Athens Area Habitat for Humanity holds its annual gala tonight: it’s underway at 6:30 at the Cotton Press on Oneta Street in Athens. From the Athens Habitat For Humanity Facebook page…   Athens Hab celebrates our local partners and supporters at our annual gala, this year hosted by Epting Events at the Cotton Press. Come enjoy great food, live music, cash bar, inspirational speakers, and fellowship as we give thanks for a successful drive to raise $30,000 to complete Lydia's Homeplace, a joint project with Lydia's Place to create housing for homeless college students in our area. All donors giving $80 or more by January 23rd are invited!
  • A northeast Georgia judge says she will not be a candidate for reelection: Northern Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Lauren Watson says she won’t be the ballot for the May 19 elections.  Judge Watson, an attorney in Madison County, was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal two years ago as a replacement for retired Judge Thomas Hodges and has worked in a judicial circuit that covers Madison, Oglethorpe, Elbert, Franklin, and Hart counties.  The funeral for former Franklin County Probate Judge Eddy Fowler is scheduled for Sunday at the Ginn Memorial Chapel in Carnesville. Fowler, who also worked as a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy, died earlier this week at a hospital in Lavonia. 
  • Georgia travels to Fayetteville this Thursday to take on No. 20/21-ranked Arkansas at 6 p.m. CT/7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network. Courtney Lyle and Carolyn Peck will call the action from Bud Walton Arena.    » Arkansas is the fifth top-25 team the Lady Bulldogs have played this season. This is the first of four-straight games against top-25 squads coming up on Georgia’s schedule over the next couple of weeks.    » Three of Georgia’s seven losses this season have come against teams currently ranked in the top-10 of both the Associated Press and Coaches polls (No. 1/2 Baylor, No. 9 Mississippi State and No. 10 UCLA).    » Georgia head coach Joni Taylor owns a 5-1 record against Arkansas during her head coaching career. The Lady Bulldogs have won five of the last six and 13 of the last 15 meetings against the Razorbacks. Overall, Georgia is 34-6 against Arkansas, including a 14-3 mark in Fayetteville.    » The Lady Bulldogs defeated Auburn this past Sunday in front of nearly 5,000 fans at Stegeman Coliseum. The win snapped a three-game losing skid in SEC play.    » Georgia’s bench outscored Auburn’s bench by an impressive 34-4 margin. The Lady Bulldogs were down 17-9 at the end of the first quarter before the lineup of Chloe Chapman, Shaniya Jones, Caitlin Hose, Stephanie Paul and Malury Bates provided Georgia a spark in the second quarter.    » Lady Bulldog guard Shaniya Jones had her best game of the season against Auburn. She scored a career-high 21 points in 21 minutes of action. Jones hit 5-for-6 from the field and scored 11 points in the third period.    Scouting Arkansas » The Razorbacks rank third in the nation in points per game, averaging 86.9 points per contest this season. Chelsea Dungee, one of the top players in the Southeastern Conference, paces Arkansas with 20 points per game. Dungee has scored in double figures in all but one contest and has totaled 20 or more points nine times. Arkansas boasts a 15-3 overall record, with its only losses in SEC play coming to Texas A&M and South Carolina.    Series Breakdown Overall: Georgia leads, 34-6 In Athens: Georgia leads, 17-2 In Fayetteville: Georgia leads, 14-3 Neutral Sites: Georgia leads, 3-1 Current Streak: Georgia has won five of the last six Last Meeting: Arkansas W, 86-76 (3/7/19) Largest Margin of Victory: Georgia W, 87-54 (2/24/96) Largest Defeat: Arkansas W, 66-45 (2/24/02)   Last Meeting Against Arkansas The Georgia Lady Bulldogs fell to Arkansas, 86-76, in the SEC Tournament on March 7, 2019 at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville. 
  • Economic forecasters from the University of Georgia and its Terry College of Business are on the road again today, in Augusta for the Augusta-area economic outlook luncheon: it’s set for noon at the Marriot in downtown Augusta. From the UGA Master Calendar…   The Georgia Economic Outlook series brings the expertise of the University of Georgia Terry College of Business to nine cities across the state, offering you specific and reliable insights into next year’s economy. Learn about the nation’s economic trajectory, the trends shaping our state’s fiscal outlook, and what to expect in your local area for the upcoming year from forecasts based on data and analysis from the Selig Center for Economic Growth.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Former Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas might want to make sure his wardrobe includes plenty of things that match with brown. Thomas, an Outland Trophy Finalist and All-American for the Bulldogs last season, is being sidelined projected as the first-round pick for the Cleveland Browns in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Browns have the 10th overall pick, and Thomas one of the record 111 underclassmen from the college ranks to declare himself eligible for the draft is widely considering the top offensive tackle in the draft class. The ClevelandBrowns.com website will be paying particularly close attention to Thomas throughout the draft process as its roundup reflected the former Georgia captain a popular choice among NFL draft analysts. Among those projecting Thomas to the Cleveland Browns at No. 10 are: Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network Dane Brugler, The Athletic Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News Benjamin Solak, The Draft Network Josh Edwards, CBSsports.com Brugler reportedly noted Thomas has 'shock absorbers' for hands in assessment. Thomas has been projected to be selected by other teams by other analysts, but the Browns' projection is far and away most popular. That said, the NFL draft process is just getting underway ,with players' draft stock rising and falling at the Senior Bowl this week, and the NFL combine in Indianapolis fast approaching. Thomas' athleticism, skill work and disposition figure to make him a strong candidate to improve his stock once he starts meeting with teams and performs at the NFL combine. Indeed, Thomas has been projected as high as the No. 4 overall pick in the New York Giants (CBS Sports). Iowa's Tristan Wirfs and Alabama's Jedrick Wills appears to Thomas' biggest competition in the draft at the offensive tackle position. Both are also widely projected first-round picks. The draft ranking for Thomas from No. 4 to No. 10 is higher than any of the other Georgia players in the upcoming draft class. The Bulldogs have two other juniors, tailback D'Andre Swift and quarterback Jake Fromm, who have received first-round draft projections, but neither as high as Thomas. Georgia also has two other underclass offensive linemen coming out, junior guard Solomon Kindley and redshirt sophomore Isaiah Wilson. Both Kindley and Wilson have been trimming up their football frames to be in prime condition for the NFL combine. Kindley and Wilson, both, figure to improve their stock at the combine. The NFL Draft takes place April 23-25 in Las Vegas, Nevada. DawgNation: Georgia in the NFL draft ESPN labels Georgia a 'loser' in NFL early entry process Eli Wolf, Charlie Woerner, Brian Herrien, Tyrique McGhee shine in all-star games Todd McShay projects Georgia QB Jake Fromm to have first-round talent Closer look at Jake Fromm's decision, factors and faith Georgia OG Solomon Kindley comes off ankle injury, makes NFL leap The post Georgia football's Andrew Thomas first-round NFL draft lock, Cleveland popular projection appeared first on DawgNation.
  • LEXINGTON, KY.Neither Georgia nor Anthony Edwards may have seemed particularly impressive as the Bulldogs have stumbled out to a 1-4 start in SEC play. But don't tell that to Kentucky's John Calipari, who gushed about the team the No. 10 Wildcats defeated 89-79 Tuesday night at Rupp Arena. 'Tom's done a great job,' Calipari said of Georgia's second-year coach Tom Crean. 'They're going to win games. I just told their team as we walked off, you're as good as anybody we've played. Go win some games.' Their start was ridiculous. Now let's see where they go. Tom's terrific and I think they'll be fine. At this point, I want them to beat everybody.' The Bulldogs would settle for at least two in a row and soon. The loss to the Wildcats was their fourth in the last five games and 14th in a row to Kentucky overall. RELATED: Too little, too late from Georgia star Anthony Edwards at Kentucky But as Calipari pointed out, Georgia's league schedule has been a bit front-loaded. This was the second time they've played Kentucky (14-4, 5-1 SEC) and they've also played then-No. 5-ranked Auburn and Mississippi State on the road. Georgia (11-7) gets three of the next five at home, including Saturday's 5:30 p.m. game against Ole Miss (9-8, 0-4). The Bulldogs insist they'll be no less confident as they move into the next stretch of the season. 'We've just got to continue to learn,' Crean said. 'For where we're at youth wise, as many new guys as we have and starting three freshmen in here, we've got to go through some things so we can grow into some things. That's how I see my team right now.' Kentucky steps out of the conference Saturday with a road trip to Texas Tech, then comes home to face Vanderbilt before kicking off February at Auburn. Georgia's cause would be helped if Edwards could ever put two halves together again. Once again, the star freshman struggled in the opening half, going scoreless for the first time all year on 0-for-5 shooting, 0-for-2 from 3-point range. He rallied to score 16 points in the second half, but also fouled out and finished with five turnovers and just one rebound. 'I'm guessing the scouting report was to deny me the ball and not really let me touch it,' Edwards said. 'When I did touch, I was usually double-teamed. So I was trying to get the ball out of my hands in a hurry. I couldn't really do anything.' Edwards, a 6-5 guard from Atlanta, is projected as an NBA lottery pick. Calipari warned people who want to write off him as 'overrated' not to be too hasty. 'It's hard for young guys, especially when everybody's paying special attention to him,' Calipari said of the nation's leading-scoring freshman (19 points per game). 'Now all the sudden, every pick-and-roll, they hold him a lot longer. Every drive, they leave their men to go get him. So, it's like he's playing (against) a box-and-one all night, and he still gets baskets. That tells you how good he is.' The Bulldogs actually had Kentucky worried a few times Tuesday. They led twice in the first half and were within a single bucket twice in the second half. But every time Georgia would get close the Wildcats would answer with another run. Kentucky led by as many as 16 points in the second half, but the majority of the game was contested within a single-digit margin. Georgia sophomore Tye Fagan was able to pick up some of Edwards' slack in the first half. The 6-3 guard scored 12 of his 14 points the second-most in his career in the first half. Also, freshman Toumani Camara scored all 10 of his points in the first half as Georgia made a brief charge shortly before halftime. Rayshaun Hammonds had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs. Atlanta native and one-time UGA commit Ashton Hagans led the Wildcats with a career-high 23 points. That's the second time Hagans has scored 23, the other time also coming against Georgia. He has averaged 19.7 points against the Bulldogs. Twice in the second half, Georgia got to within three points, the second time 57-54 at 12:36 on a high-arcing Edwards jump shot. But that was followed in short succession by two Edwards turnovers and one by Hammonds, and Kentucky converted all three into points to pull away again. Crean said the Bulldogs are not despondent or disillusioned by the recent struggles. 'There's no moral victory, right? That's not what I'm saying here. But we brought a very young team into this environment and battled,' he said. 'This is an incredible environment, and for a team to come in here and battle like that. We're growing up. It's a hard league to grow up in and to win in, but I'm not worried about morale.' Said Edwards: 'We've got a great team. I've got great teammates beside me and we're going to keep fighting and keep working to get better.' DawgNation Georgia Basketball Georgia comes up short in hard-fought loss at Kentucky Mississippi State wins battle of Bulldogs in Starkville, decisively Anthony Edwards puts the squeeze on Tennessee in blowout win Georgia falls in first SEC road game of season at Auburn Georgia basketball delivers signature Top 10 win at Memphis Freshman Anthony Edwards discloses injury, status Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Tom Izzo on Georgia: 'That was an incredible comeback' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss Rayshaun Hammonds wrecks Georgia Tech Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener Georgia freshman already making basketball history The post Kentucky's John Calipari says don't write off Georgia basketball just yet appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia basketball simply couldn't keep up with Kentucky in Rupp Arena on Tuesday night. The No. 15-ranked Wildcats (14-4, 5-1 SEC) took down the Bulldogs (11-7, 1-4) by an 89-79 count. It was UK's 14th straight win in the series, and their second this season. Kentucky guard Ashton Hagans, from Cartersville, Ga., led the Wildcats with 23 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Georgia junior Rayshaun Hammonds scored 16 points and pulled down 8 rebounds, giving Coach Tom Crean the type of road effort that was missing in a loss at Mississippi State on Saturday. UGA freshman Anthony Edwards, meanwhile, scored 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting. But it was a case of too little, too late from Edwards, who had just one rebound and turned the ball over five times. Edwards was heldscoreless in the first half as Kentucky staked out to a 41-35 lead at intermission. The Bulldogs had their moments, using a 9-0 run to claim a 29-28 lead with 5:34 left in the first half. Donnell Gresham Jr. sparked the burst with a 3-pointer and also capped it with a jumper that triggered a John Calipari timeout. Kentucky responded with a 7-0 run of its own the first 78 seconds out of the timeout to reclaim control of the game. Georgia held a surprising 19-17 advantage on the glass in the first half, but the smaller Bulldogs could not sustain that advantage. UK out-rebounded Georgia 21-12 in the second half, even as Edwards awoke from his first half slumber. Edwards finally scored two minutes into the second half after missing his first five shots. Edwards hit his next three shots, too, pulling the Bulldogs to 57-54 with 12:38 left. It was as close as Georgia got the rest of the night. Kentucky came back at the Bulldogs with a 12-2 run, and Georgia couldn't get closer than seven points the rest of the night The Wildcats wonthe first meeting between the teams by a 78-69 count in Athens, coming back from nine points down in front of a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum crowd in both team's SEC opener on Jan. 7. Georgia returns to action at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum against Ole Miss. The Bulldogs are 9-1 on their home court this season. The post Georgia basketball falls at Kentucky, too little, too late from Anthony Edwards appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Kirby Smart is typically pretty transparent, but the Georgia fifth-year head coach didn't let on the sort of overhaul or the extremes he was prepared to go to in order to improve the offense. 'We'll look at it,' Smart said on Dec. 18, asked about the Bulldogs' offensive philosophy. 'But we want to score points.' RELATED: Kirby Smart's amazing offseason of change at Georgia A month later, Georgia had landed the highest-rated (PFF) grad-transfer QB on the market, the OC from the NFL's most prolific pass game in 2018 and a quarterbacks coach Smart knew first hand from his Valdosta State days The Bulldogs still have work to do, and the Feb. 5 National Signing Day will certainly be worth tuning into. Georgia went 12-2 last season with a 5-1 mark vs. Top 25 teams and a third-straight SEC East Division title. But Smart, who insists on setting the bar at a championship level each fall, has continued to reach higher and push for more on his coaching staff and within his team. Complacency, Smart said, is the enemy of the team's aspirations and played a role last season. : When you're not hungry, you become average, and some of that, I think, has affected us in the past,' Smart said after the 26-14 Sugar Bowl win over Baylor. 'And we've got to find a way in this program to not let that creep in and keep that same hunger you have as a young player because we've had it happen to several guys that were really hungry, and then they become full.' Nobody in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall will be getting too comfortable anytime soon. Indeed, incoming freshman QB Carson Beck is probably just now growing comfortable with the competition ahead of him on campus, and UGA has already added a 5-star in the 2021 class. Brock Vandagriff, a 5-star prospect from nearby Bogart who ranks as the No. 1 -ranked Pro Style quarterback in the 2021 class, made his verbal pledge on Tuesday. Mike Griffith and Connor Riley discuss the repercussions of Smart's latest moves and additions on Tuesday's 'On The Beat' show, and what it means for the program. Georgia football On The Beat, 1-21-20 More from DawgNation UGA adds offseason excitement, stars endorse new OC Todd Monken WATCH: 2021 commit Brock Vandagriff shares story with DawgNation Podcast: Brandon Adams shares his take on Brock Vandagriff addition Kirby Smart has turned Georgia offense upside down Social media reacts to addition of 5-star QB Brock Vandagriff Why Buster Faukner a perfect complement to Todd Monken The post WATCH: Georgia football early offseason breakdown, Brock Vanagriff addition, appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Brock Vandagriff is the newest 5-star commitment for the Georgia Bulldogs. The nation's No. 8 overall prospect (247Sports Composite ratings) chose Georgia earlier today. He was once committed to Oklahoma. Bet a lot of folks knew that. Maybe they also knew that he ran for 1,001 yards at a rate of 7.3 yards per carry as a high school sophomore. But what about his kickoffs? Or his big-time leg at punter? How 'bout the fact that he caught 34 passes during his freshman season at Prince Avenue Christian in nearby Bogart? Or that he threw his first high school pass off a jet sweep from the receiver spot? It was, of course, a touchdown. That's just the beginning of the information superhighway when it comes to all things Vandagriff. Check out the featured video above or the embedded version below for a breakdown on all things Vandagriff, including His favorite route to throw? How did Georgia keep the recruiting channels open after he committed to Oklahoma? His description of some real adversity he deal with during his junior year What was the reason he chose Georgia? What sort of connection his first name has to the Florida Gators? Did he really finish out a game last season with a broken fibula? Why did he choose to de-commit from Oklahoma? What sort of changes does he see in store for the offense at UGA? Brock Vandagriff: Getting to know Brock on DawgNation Prince Avenue Christian 5-star QB Brock Vandagriff commits to UGA Social media reacts strongly to Brock Vandagriff choosing Georgia DawgNation Daily: Breaking down what Vandagriff means to the Bulldogs Brock Vandagriff breaks down his 'Junior Day' unofficial visit, plans quick return Vandagriff previews big UGA visit, opens up on his Oklahoma de-commitment Just how competitive is Brock Vandagriff? Check out this early DawgNation story The post Brock Vandagriff: Watch the new 5-star Georgia commitment share his story appeared first on DawgNation.