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World News Headlines

    The Latest on the Italy bridge collapse (all times local): 10:50 a.m. Italian state radio says the body of a 30-year-old man has been found in the Genoa bridge collapse, bringing the death toll to 42. The report also said rescuers believe all those previously thought missing might now have been accounted for, after an elderly man called local authorities to say he was OK and not involved in Tuesday's tragedy. The local prefect's office, which is issuing official numbers of the dead, said it didn't immediately have information about the latest bodies found. ___ 10 a.m. Italian media say three more bodies have been found in rubble of the Genoa bridge collapse, raising the death toll to 41. Genoa's prefect's office said it didn't immediately have official confirmation of the reports by ANSA news agency and other Italian news media Saturday that the bodies were found by rescuers overnight. ANSA said the bodies were found inside a car smashed under a huge block of concrete from the collapse on Tuesday. It said they were three family members, including a child, who had been traveling for a vacation when their car, with about 30 other vehicles, plunged when the bridge gave way. Two other people are believed to be still missing as rescue work continues.
  • Rescue crews found four more bodies Saturday in the rubble of the Genoa bridge collapse, raising the death toll to 42, Italian media reported, as mourners filled a fairground pavilion for a state funeral for many of the victims found in recent days. Italian RAI state radio said what was believed to be the body of the last person missing in Tuesday's collapse of the Morandi Bridge was that of a 30-year-old man. A few hours earlier, the bodies of an Italian couple and their 9-year-old daughter were found in their smashed car under a big block of concrete, part of tons of material that crashed 45 meters (150 feet) into a dry riverbed and nearby areas when the heavily trafficked major highway span gave way. Relatives had said the family, from northern Italy, had been traveling to catch a ferry for the island of Elba while on vacation. RAI said authorities now believe there are no more missing after an elderly German man called officials to say he wasn't involved in Tuesday's collapse. Genoa's prefect's office said it didn't immediately have official confirmation of the media reports of the latest discovery of bodies by rescuers. Mourners applauded firefighters and others involved in search-and-rescue efforts as they arrived for the funeral on a day of national mourning. By early Saturday, families of 18 victims had confirmed their participation in the funeral and Mass celebrated by Genoa's archbishop, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco. Government leaders also were attending the state funeral. Others opted for private funerals, including one a day earlier for four friends, young men in their 20s, from the southern town of Torre del Greco. At that service, relatives angrily denounced authorities for what they contend is failure to keep the bridge safe. The cause of the collapse is under investigation. Prosecutors have said they are focusing either on possible design flaws or inadequate maintenance.
  • The leader of the Taliban says there will be no peace in Afghanistan as long as the foreign 'occupation' continues, reiterating the group's position that the 17-year war can only be brought to an end through direct talks with the United States. In a message released Saturday in honor of the Eid al-Adha holiday, Maulvi Haibatullah Akhunzadah says the group remains committed to 'Islamic goals,' the sovereignty of Afghanistan and ending the war. The Taliban have had a major resurgence in recent years, seizing districts across the country and regularly carrying out large-scale attacks. From 1996 until 2001, the Taliban ruled in accordance with a harsh interpretation of Islamic law. Women were barred from education and largely confined to their homes, and the country hosted Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.
  • Thousands of stranded people were waiting for rescue Saturday and officials pleaded for more help as relentless monsoon floods battered the south Indian state of Kerala, where more than 190 have died in a little over a week and much of the state is partially submerged. Heavy rains began hitting parts of the state again Saturday morning, slowing attempts to deploy rescuers and get relief supplies to isolated areas, many of which have seen no help for days and can only be reached by boat or helicopter. More than 300,000 people have taken shelter in over 1,500 state-run relief camps, officials said. But authorities and local media outlets said they were being inundated with calls for assistance. 'We are receiving multiple repetetitive rescue requests,' the office of the state's top official, Pinarayi Vijayan, said in a Friday tweet, asking those in need to provide their exact location and nearby landmarks so rescuers can find them. Officials have called it the worst flooding in Kerala in a century, with rainfall in some areas well over double of a typical monsoon season. Heavy rains since Aug. 8 have triggered floods and landslides and caused homes and bridges to collapse across Kerala, a picturesque state known for its quiet tropical backwaters and beautiful beaches. Officials estimate that more than 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) of roads have been damaged, and one of the state's major airports, in the city of Kochi, has been closed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Saturday with the state's top officials, promising more than $70 million in aid. While the central government has dispatched multiple military units to Kerala, state officials are pleading for additional help. 'Please ask Modi to give us helicopters, give us helicopters. ... Please, please!' state legislator Saji Cherian said on a Kerala-based TV news channel, the Indian Express newspaper reported. Modi said that 38 helicopters had been deployed for search and rescue operations in the state, which has a population of more than 33 million. 'We all pray for the safety and well-being of the people of Kerala,' he said in a tweet. Vijayan said initial estimates were that the state had suffered losses of nearly $2.8 billion. At least 194 people have died in flooding in Kerala since torrential rains began on Aug. 8, and 36 more are missing, according to Kerala's disaster management office. More than 1,000 people have died in seven Indian states since the start of the monsoon season, including more than 300 in Kerala.
  • Saudi Arabia is preparing to host the annual hajj pilgrimage beginning Sunday, as over 1.6 million Muslim faithful from abroad have arrived in the ultraconservative kingdom. The pilgrimage represents one of the five pillars of Islam and is required of all able-bodied Muslims once in their life. In recent weeks, the faithful have arrived in Mecca from across the world, all chanting 'Labayk Allahuma Labayk,' or 'Here I am, God, answering your call. Here I am.' The hajj offers pilgrims an opportunity to feel closer to God amid the Muslim world's many challenges, including the threat of extremists in the Mideast after the Islamic State group was beaten back in Iraq and Syria and the plight of Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya minority. 'My feeling is indescribable to perform the hajj,' said Imad Abdel-Raheem, an Egyptian pilgrim. 'I also want to pray for all Muslim countries, for them to live free in all places, in Palestine and in Burma, in all places, in Afghanistan and in India.' Men attending the hajj dress in only terrycloth, seamless white garments meant to represent unity among Muslims and equality before God. Women wear loose clothing, cover their hair and forgo makeup and nail polish to achieve a state of humility and spiritual purity. Since arriving, many have circled the cube-shaped Kaaba in Mecca — Islam's holiest site. The Kaaba represents the metaphorical house of God and the oneness of God in Islam. Observant Muslims around the world face toward the Kaaba during their five daily prayers. Muslims believe the hajj retraces the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad, as well as those of the prophets Ibrahim and Ismail — Abraham and Ishmael in the Bible. After prayers in Mecca, pilgrims will head to an area called Mount Arafat on Monday, where the Prophet Muhammad delivered his final sermon. From there, pilgrims will head to an area called Muzdalifa, picking up pebbles along the way for a symbolic stoning of the devil and a casting away of sins that takes place in the Mina valley for three days. At the hajj's end, male pilgrims will shave their hair and women will cut a lock of hair in a sign of renewal for completing the pilgrimage. Around the world, Muslims will mark the end of hajj with a celebration called Eid al-Adha. The holiday, remembering Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son, sees Muslims slaughter sheep and cattle, distributing the meat to the poor. While a holy, once-in-a-lifetime experience for pilgrims, the hajj is by no means an easy journey. The temperature in Mecca and Mina will be around 42 degrees Celsius (107 degrees Fahrenheit). Pilgrims walk between 5 to 15 kilometers (3 to 9 miles) a day. Long lines and even longer waits can strain even the most patient as they weave through the throngs of people. For Saudi Arabia, the hajj is the biggest logistical challenge the kingdom faces. Its ruling Al Saud family stakes its legitimacy in part on its management of the holiest sites in Islam. King Salman's official title is the 'Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,' at Mecca and Medina. Other Saudi kings, and the Ottoman rulers of the Hijaz region before them, all have adopted the honorary title The kingdom has spent billions of dollars of its vast oil revenues on security and safety measures, particularly in Mina, where some of the hajj's deadliest incidents have occurred. The worst in recorded history took place only three years ago. On Sept. 24, 2015, a stampede and crush of pilgrims in Mina killed at least 2,426 people, according to an Associated Press count. The official Saudi toll of 769 people killed and 934 injured has not changed since only two days afterward. The kingdom has never addressed the discrepancy, nor has it released any results of an investigation authorities promised to conduct over the disaster. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia also faces threats from al-Qaida militants and a local faction of the Islamic State group. Days earlier, the Interior Ministry acknowledged arresting a Saudi wearing an explosive vest in the kingdom's central al-Qassim region who shot at security forces. Politics often intrude into the holy pilgrimage. Saudi Arabia under King Salman and his son, the assertive 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have had strained ties with Iran, which boycotted the 2016 hajj They will be there this year, as will Qataris, whose small country on the Arabian Peninsula is being boycotted by Saudi Arabia and three other Arab nations. Meanwhile, a Saudi-led war in Yemen against Shiite rebels drags on without an end in sight. The rebels have fired over 150 ballistic missiles on the kingdom during a conflict that has seen Saudi airstrikes hit markets and hospitals, killing civilians. And perhaps most surprising, Canadians recently found themselves in the cross-hairs of Saudi anger over their diplomats tweeting their desire to see detained women's rights activists released. Those on the hajj said they hoped for better relations across the Muslim world. 'I hope this year would be a good one for the Islamic nations,' said Ahmad Mohammad, an Egyptian pilgrim. 'I hope the situation will be better, and I ask Allah to accept my pilgrimage.
  • Pakistan's cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan was sworn in as prime minister on Saturday despite protests by opposition parties, which accuse the security services of intervening on his behalf in last month's elections. Khan' s Tehreek-e-Insaf party won the most seats in the July 25 national elections but fell short of an outright majority. It allied with independents to form a coalition, and Khan was elected by the National Assembly on Friday. Khan had campaigned on promises to combat Pakistan's endemic corruption and break powerful landowners' monopoly on political power. Opposition parties have held regular protests since last month's election, alleging vote rigging by the powerful security establishment. Security officials have rejected the allegations, and Khan has vowed to investigate the charges of voting fraud, saying neither he nor his party was involved in any wrongdoing. 'We have not committed any rigging,' he told lawmakers in a speech after being sworn in. Khan secured 176 votes in the assembly on Friday, defeating the opposition's candidate, Shahbaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League, who got 96 votes. Sharif and his party's lawmakers disrupted Khan's speech by chanting slogans against him. Khan responded by saying no one could blackmail him through such protests. Khan has promised 'ruthless accountability' to combat corruption, and has said he will move to a small house in Islamabad rather than live in the lavish prime minister's residence. Khan acquired a reputation as a playboy during his cricketing years but embraced conservative Islam after entering politics. His first wife was the wealthy British heiress Jemima Goldsmith, whom he married in 1996. Their two sons live with Goldsmith. He married his second wife, British journalist Rehman Khan, in 2015, but they divorced within a year. Earlier this year, he married his spiritual adviser, Bushra Maneka, who attended Saturday's ceremony when Khan took the oath as premier. Khan emerged as a critic of the so-called War on Terror after the 9/11 attacks, accusing the United States of fueling extremism by carrying out drone strikes in Pakistan that killed civilians. He has also expressed support for a controversial law that makes blasphemy against Islam punishable by death. His critics in Pakistan have branded him 'Taliban Khan,' accusing him of sympathizing with extremists. Khan has denied those charges, and struck a more moderate tone in this year's campaign, saying he was committed to defeating Islamic extremists and cultivating good relations with the U.S., which for years has demanded that Pakistan do more to combat militancy. Khan has expressed support for a peace process in neighboring Afghanistan that would end 17 years of war between the U.S.-backed government and the Taliban.
  • A strong earthquake shook southern Costa Rica near the border with Panama on Friday evening, toppling items from store shelves and knocking out power in places, but authorities said there was no major damage or reports of serious injuries. The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.1 quake struck at 5:22 p.m. at a depth of about 12 miles (19 kilometers). Its epicenter was about 12 miles (19 kilometers) north of the town of Golfito. The USGS initially estimated the magnitude at 6.0. Alexander Solis, president of the National Emergencies Commission, said there were a handful of localities where power failed and objects fell without serious consequences. He said hospitals were only reporting some people having suffered panic attacks. 'We have checked in practically the entire country with no reports at this time of important damage,' Solis said. Ellery Quesada, a journalist with Channel 9 in Palmar Norte, near the epicenter, told The Associated Press that the quake was felt strongly in the region, some power poles had reportedly toppled and several aftershocks were felt afterward. The USGS recorded at least one subsequent temblor of magnitude 4.6. Earlier it had calculated the magnitude at 4.9. Photos circulating on social media showed shattered wine bottles and other products lying on shop floors in Palmar Norte. In neighboring Panama, civil defense officials said via Twitter that the quake was felt strongly in the border provinces of Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro but no damage had been detected. Panamanian media reported shaking was felt at a stadium in the city of David where a youth baseball championship game was being played, but play was not halted.
  • Two South American nations are stiffening entry requirements for the flood of Venezuelans fleeing their nation's economic and humanitarian crisis, a move that could make their plight even more arduous. Authorities in Peru announced Friday that they will follow Ecuador's recent decision to require Venezuelans reaching the border to enter with a passport, a document that has grown increasingly difficult to obtain in Venezuela. The decision drew an immediate rebuke from authorities in Colombia, which has become a gateway for hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans leaving their homeland. Many are crossing through the Andean nation on their way to other places in Latin America. Though his own country already imposed its own often ignored entry requirements for Venezuelans, Colombia Migration Director Christian Kruger warned that the new passport rule in neighboring Ecuador could create a bottleneck at the Rumichaca International Bridge connecting the two countries. Officials estimate over 4,000 Venezuelans crossed from Colombia into Ecuador each day over the bridge earlier this month. 'We are immensely worried about the consequences this might present,' he said. According to the United Nations, 2.3 million Venezuelans have fled since 2014 as their country reels from hyperinflation and severe shortages of everything from food and medicine to ink and paper for passports. Over 1 million Venezuelans have arrived in Colombia in less than two years, with many using the mountainous nation as a bridge to Ecuador and Peru, where some believe they will have better luck finding jobs and applying for asylum. More than a half million Venezuelans have entered Ecuador since January, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency. In Peru, officials recorded more than 5,000 Venezuelan entries on a recent single day. 'The exodus of Venezuelans from the country is one of Latin America's largest mass-population movements in history,' William Spindler, the spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said earlier this month. Colombia began requiring Venezuelans to present a passport or border card allowing for short trips into the nation earlier this year. But thousands still sneak in through hundreds of illegal entry points along the 1,370-mile (2,200-kilometer) border with Venezuela. Colombian officials recently agreed to provide legal status to 442,000 who participated in a registry for migrants without valid documents. A border crossing from Venezuela into the Brazilian city of Pacaraima was closed earlier this month after a judge ruled it should be shuttered until a program to relocate Venezuelan refugees could keep pace with the hundreds arriving each day. That decision was later reversed by an appellate court. Peruvian Interior Minister Mauro Medina said the passport requirement is needed to ensure an orderly migration. 'If something happens to them, we have a way to identify them,' he said. 'Also, some bad apples — who don't represent the majority, who are decent people — filter in and police should have the adequate tools to identify them.' Peruvian migration officials estimate between 17,000 and 25,000 Venezuelans are now in southern Ecuador with the intention of heading on to Peru, Chile or Argentina. They will have until Aug. 25 to enter without a passport. Kruger, the Colombian official, said the new passport rule is unlikely to stem the tide of migrants and called on Ecuador and other nations to work together on dealing with the crisis in crafting common-sense policies. 'Requiring a passport isn't going to stop this migration,' Kruger said. 'This isn't a migration of people leaving their country just because they want to. They're leaving because they need to.
  • Armenia's new prime minister has marked his first 100 days in office by calling a rally that has attracted about 100,000 enthusiastic supporters. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian took office in May after spearheading weeks of protests that forced the resignation of his predecessor. The 43-year-old former journalist had tapped simmering public discontent over the anemic economy and rampant corruption in the impoverished ex-Soviet nation. Pashinian told the jubilant crowds that converged on the capital's main square Friday that they represent the ultimate source of power. He promised that he would call such rallies in the future to seek public approval for any major policy move. Pashinian also rejected claims of a chill in Armenia's relations with Russia, its main sponsor and ally, pledging that ties with Moscow will remain strong.
  • Al-Qaida's chief bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, who was behind the 2009 Christmas Day plot to down an airliner over Detroit and other foiled aviation-related terror attacks, was killed in a U.S. drone strike, Yemeni officials and a tribal leader said Friday. The killing of al-Asiri deals a heavy blow to the group's capabilities in striking western targets and piles pressure on the group that already lost some of its top cadres over the past years in similar drone strikes. A Yemeni security official said that al-Asiri is dead; a tribal leader and an al-Qaida-linked source also said that he was killed in a U.S. drone strike in the eastern Yemeni governorate of Marib. The tribal leader said that al-Asiri was struck, along with two or four of his associates, as he stood beside his car. He added that al-Asiri's wife, who hails from the well-known al-Awaleq tribe in the southern governorate of Shabwa, was briefly held months ago by the UAE-backed forces and later released. Al-Qaida itself has remained silent about its top bomb maker. Instead of the typical 'eulogies' on militant websites, the Yemeni source said the group is trying to hunt down suspected 'spies' who might have tipped off the U.S. on his whereabouts leading up to the strike. The security official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to brief reporters. The tribal leader and al-Qaida-linked source requested anonymity fearing for their safety. The confirmation of al-Asiri's death follows a U.N. report this week saying that the 36-year-old Saudi national, who is among U.S.'s top most wanted militants, may have been killed in the second half of 2017. Al-Asiri is believed to have built the underwear bomb that a Nigerian man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, tried to detonate on a passenger jet over Detroit in December 2009. He is also behind bombs hidden in printer cartridges placed on U.S.-bound cargo jets in 2010. U.S. intelligence over the past years believed that al-Asiri and his confederates were constantly working to improve their bomb designs so that they could get past airport security. In July 2014, the Transportation Security Administration banned uncharged mobile phones and laptops from flights to the United States that originated from Europe and the Middle East. Al-Asiri, who studied chemistry in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, even once placed explosives inside his younger brother's clothes in a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's interior minister, Mohammed bin Nayef, in 2009. The brother, Abdullah, died in the explosion while the top U.S. counterterrorism ally was slightly wounded. The U.S. has long viewed the al-Qaida's Yemeni branch as its most dangerous affiliate, in part because of al-Asiri's expertise in explosives. Since 2014, the U.S. has offered $5 million for information leading to his capture. He is thought to have escaped death many times in U.S. drone strikes in Yemen. Al-Asiri's last known statement was a 2016 audio message threatening Saudi Arabia and the U.S. after the kingdom killed 47 al-Qaida suspects in one of its largest mass executions since 1980. Vowing to continue battling America, he said at the time that the Saudis would be dealt with in a 'different way,' without elaborating. Wanted by the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Interpol, al-Asiri fled his native Saudi Arabia — home of 15 of the 19 suspected hijackers in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — for Yemen, along with other militants escaping a crackdown in the kingdom. Once in Yemen, they merged with local al-Qaida militants who escaped from a Yemeni prison in 2006 to form Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. Since 2015, al-Qaida has exploited the turmoil in Yemen as a Saudi-led coalition imposed an air, land, and sea blockade and waged war on Yemen's Iranian-aligned rebels, known as Houthis, who gained control of the capital, Sanaa, forcing President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee the country. Amid the chaos, AQAP has expanded its territory, occupied entire cities, looted security camps, banks, and collected taxes from locals. The Saudi-led coalition, and in particular its key member the United Arab Emiratis, later claimed to have defeated al-Qaida and forced it to pull out of the territories under its control. An Associated Press investigation however revealed that the coalition struck a series of deals with al-Qaida, offering tribal leaders cash to pay off militants to give up territory without fighting, something both the U.S., the UAE, and al-Qaida have denied. The U.N. report on Monday, which first raised allegations that al-Asiri may have been killed, also said that al-Qaida's global network 'continues to show resilience,' with its affiliates and allies much stronger than the Islamic State group in some places, including Somalia, Yemen, South Asia and Africa's Sahel region. It added that Yemen's lack of a strong central government 'has provided a fertile environment for' AQAP's expansion and estimated its strength inside Yemen at between 6,000 and 7,000 fighters — compared to IS militants who only number between 250 to 500 fighters. Al-Qaida's top havens in Yemen are in the central Bayda and eastern Marib provinces. But since 2015, it has suffered heavy losses in leadership as U.S. drone strikes killed off top cadres, including co-founder Nasser al-Wahishi, who was Osama bin Laden top aide. Veteran al-Qaida leader, Qassim al-Rimi, succeeded al-Wahishi. ___ Al-Haj reported from Sanaa, Yemen.

Local News

  • The Georgia House Rural Development Council, created by the House to find ways to boost rural Geiorgia's economic fortunes, is looking to encourage multi-county industrial partnerships. Committe co-chair State Rep. Terry England says that came out of a meeting in Elberton this week. He notes one such authority covering several counties east of Atlanta attracted a Facebook data center this year. He says this would particularly benefit smaller counties without the resources to land such an economic plum. He says those counties would share the cost of building industrial parks-and then share the revenue. The Council plans more meetings and will report recommendations back to state lawmakers by year's end. 
  • Colorado State football coach Mike Bobo released a statement after news broke of his hospitalization due to numbness in his feet. In his statement released on Twitter, Bobo said he was thankful for the support he and his family have received while he’s undergone testing is looking forward to the upcoming football season. “I am currently in the process of a multiple day treatment for a peripheral neuropathy, and continue to be encouraged by the results of the ongoing medical testing,” Bobo said in part. “While I’ve been hospitalized, I have been able to remain in close contact with our staff and watch practice film in preparation for our season opener against Hawaii.” Colorado State released a statement Monday from Bobo and Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker which announced Bobo was hospitalized after a Rams scrimmage Saturday and then admitted to a hospital to undergo further testing after consulting doctors. A former Georgia quarterback, Bobo coached at the University of Georgia under Mark Richt as the quarterbacks coach from 2001-2006 and offensive coordinator from 2007-2014. In three seasons at Colorado, Bobo holds a 21-18 record.
  • Did you miss all the rain, thunderstorms and risk of severe weather? Well, it’s all expected to return Friday, whether you missed it or not.    It’ll also set the precedent going forward for the weekend and beginning of next week, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brad Nitz said. Friday morning should be free of rain, and drivers should only have to contend with some light fog, Nitz said.  However, storms should roll into North Georgia around 2 p.m., and those should run through the evening commute, potentially causing problems for drivers. “We're looking at isolated to scattered (storm) coverage through 5 p.m.,” Nitz said. “As they come in, they could pack a punch.”     The risk of isolated severe thunderstorms is mostly north of I-20 and includes most of North Georgia and eastern Georgia, Nitz said. The storms present the possibility of 60-mph winds, small hail, downpours and frequent lightning. The worst of the storms should be over before the Braves take on the Colorado Rockies at 7:35 p.m. at SunTrust Park.  Friday’s 60 percent chance of rain increases to 70 percent Saturday, Nitz said. The rain chance remains above 60 percent through Tuesday. The cloud cover should lower temperatures into the mid-80s Saturday and beyond, but the added humidity and moisture should thicken the air, increasing how hot it feels outside, Nitz said.
  • There are now indictments for two men from Madison County, charged in a deadly shooting in Athens: David and Martin Garcia are cousins, 22 and 18 years old, from Hull. They’re accused in the June 4 death of Saheed Snow, who was shot and killed on Nellie B Avenue in Athens. Athens-Clarke County Police say it was apparently a drug-related shooting.  There are now indictments for Jonathan Herbert: the 30 year-old former Gwinnett County school teacher was arrested last month in Hall County, accused of biting a 14 year-old girl in the buttocks while she swam in Lake Lanier on the Fourth of July. Herbert is facing criminal counts that include sexual battery and public intoxication.    A Dawson County man is indicted on charges stemming from allegations that he stole money from a baseball umpire’s association and used it to pay prostitutes: Timothy Ryan is 55 years old, from Dawsonville. 
  • Athens-Clarke County Police say gunshots that were fired into a home off Linda Avenue were apparently in retaliation to earlier shootings that happened on Oak Hill Drive and Pamela Drive in Athens. A suspect in those shootings—identified now as Johntavious King—was arrested and booked into the Clarke County jail earlier this week. The search for suspects in the most recent shooting was, at last report, ongoing. There have been no injuries in any of the shootings. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — My debut for the Georgia football “ask the expert” feels very appropriate in that the subject matter in running backs. Of all the positions I’ve covered in college football, this is the one where I feel most qualified based on the fact I have covered some of the best running backs in SEC football history. While a journalism student in college I covered the Detroit Lions when Barry Sanders was the running back. Every handoff brought me to the edge of my seat in the Pontiac Silverdome, and I’ve only seen a few backs since then that can do that. Some of them I’ve had the good fortune of covering. The Stephen Davis-James Bostic duo on undefeated 1993 Auburn was special, and Shaun Alexander is the most talented running back in Alabama history in my opinion. The Jamal Lewis-Travis Henry-Travis Stephens trio at Tennessee was dynamic, and later, a Vols’ backfield with two 1,000-yard rushers in Gerald Riggs Jr. and Cedric Houston was among the most underrated. Arian Foster came along later for Tennessee, and you could see his talent his true freshman yea. I moved to the Michigan State beat in 2012 where Le’Veon Bell and Jeremy Langford were waiting to impress. My return to cover the Vols saw Jalen Hurd, Alvin Kamara and John Kelly sharing the backfield. They are all NFL talents, and I believe current UT back Ty Chandler could be special, too. Now, Georgia, and the first thing I did was look at the games last year and review the recruiting tape of Zamir White and “Little” James Cook. RELATED: Georgia LB raves about running back James Cook That brings us to today’s question:   @ChipTowersDN here’s one for you both.  With all the depth at running back, what are the chances of seeing more 2 back sets this year?  Saw it a few times last year, but not much. #keepemguessing — Michael McCollum (@mgmccollum) August 17, 2018   I’ll come right out and say it: Cook has captivated me from the time I saw his highlights. Not because of what he did — most all FBS backs are run away from the competition in high school. It’s where Cook did it. You don’t see guys run away that easily on the high school football field of South Florida. But there was Cook, electrifying and dazzling against future FBS players. Usually I put the videos at the bottom of the story, but you got to watch this — look at the change of direction and acceleration from Cook: James Cook High School Highlights Now you know why Monty Rice said: “I’ve never played against a running back like Cook before, he has his own little style, and it’s very unique.” Question is: What does Jim Chaney think? My guess is Georgia’s base offense will be single back, three-wide and one tight end. When two backs are in the game, I’d guess it would be in shot gun, and sometimes one might go in motion as a receiver. That’s what I saw on video from last year’s games, and it worked well. I could see Chaney doing it most often in passing situations or in the two-minute offense. D’Andre Swift looks strong and appears to be the starting back. Elijah Holyfield has had some camp moments, but I’m always somewhat skeptical of junior and senior backs having breakout years — seems their star would have already shined. But if you go with a second back, whether it’s Cook, Holyfield, Brian Herrien or White, who do you take off the field? RELATED: Kirby Smart explains why Georgia football offense personality still unsresolved Do you subtract a Demetris Robertson or Mecole Hardman? Because it sure looks to me like Riley Ridley is emerging as a go-to guy and Terry Godwin is proven. Ideally Cook will grow to be the same size as his big brother, 6-foot, 210-pound Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings. But for now, “Little” Cook — as Monty Rice calls him — is listed at 5-10, 190. Not big enough to be a three-down back in the SEC. I’m of the Alabama football mindset of utilizing bigger, stronger backs as primary ballcarriers. If anyone can appreciate that, it’s Georgia fans who have first-hand memories of the greatest SEC back of all time, Herschel Walker. So my answer isn’t as definitive as maybe you’d like, but hopefully it provides some perspective. Oh, and for those who wonder what I think of White, I’m reserving judgement until he gets that bulky knee brace off.       The post Georgia football likely to utilize 2-back formations in shot gun most often, but when and who? appeared first on DawgNation.
  • GEORGIA’S OWN #11: RB ZAMIR WHITE ATHENS — The term “freak” probably is overused in sports. But with regard to Georgia’s Zamir White, it suits him perfectly. And that goes beyond the Adonis-like body and size/speed combination White showed up with to UGA. No, White is a bit of a medical freak. It goes back to the very beginning with him. As detailed by DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell during White’s recruitment, doctors recommended White’s mother abort her pregnancy due to severe underdevelopment around the end of the first trimester. When he was born, the first 100 days of White’s life were spent in intensive care. As a newborn, White’s tiny body endured multiple surgeries. They had to address issues such as cleft lip, cleft jaw, kidney function, cysts, and other minor and major malformations. Initially, he was given 10 days to live. From his first breath, White was having to overcome adversity. But as all the world can see he turned out considerably better than “just fine.” “I’m really just happy he’s here,” said his mother, Shanee White. “It is not all this football stuff.” Zamir White has not missed a preseason snap despite wearing a significant metal brace to protect the right knee that required ACL surgery last December. (Steven Colquitt/UGA)       With that context, it’s easy to understand why White wasn’t about to let a little ol’ torn ACL slow down his development as the next great back to sign with Georgia. And he hasn’t. To cut to the chase, White will be available to play in the Bulldogs’ season opener against Austin Peay on Sept. 1. And word is, he would’ve been ready if that game had been played on August 1 as well. That’s when Georgia opened preseason camp, and White has been “full go” since the first whistle. The only thing limiting him is a somewhat cumbersome metal brace on his right knee. He longs for the day in the not-too-distant future when he’ll be able to play without it. “He could take the knee brace off and practice, but it’s precautionary,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said after the Bulldogs’ first scrimmage of the preseason. “It’s a little rigid and it’s not comfortable for him. He’s not out there feeling like he’s his old self yet. … But he is cleared and he’s safe to practice. He just doesn’t like having that knee brace on.” That he’s already working out full speed with the Bulldogs does not make White a medical miracle. His timeline to recovery from a simple tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is not unusual in modern-day sports medicine. But White was fortunate to have been able to enlist Georgia in his treatment and recovery. White actually incurred the knee injury in a playoff game with Scotland High School on the night of Nov. 17 last fall. It came on his last carry in the fourth of quarter of game his team led by 25 points. White came out of the game knowing he’d taken a helmet blow to the knee, but didn’t realize he was seriously injured. White remained on the sideline the rest of the game and signed autographs for fans for at least a half-hour afterward in 30-degree temperatures. Then he went home and crashed inn advance of an early wake-up call for an unofficial recruiting trip to UGA. It was only after walking around Sanford Stadium and up and down the stands that White realized he might have more than a bruise. He mentioned it to Ron Courson, Georgia’s director of sports medicine, and a routine examination on the spot revealed that a ligament indeed was torn. A month later, surgery was performed by UGA doctors in Athens. As an early enrollee with the Bulldogs, White’s rehabilitation began in earnest upon his arrival on campus. White’s progress was evident in April during Georgia’s spring practices. By the end of them, he was already running full speed through position drills with the rest of the backs. He was held out of contact and any competitive scrimmage situations, but otherwise was getting in work and learning the offense. Fast forward to the summer, and a video was released by UGA of White high-kicking and hitting and moving in a Taekwondo workout in the Payne Athletic Center. It was on Aug. 2, the first official day of Georgia’s preseason camp, that Smart pronounced White “full go.” “I don’t know in this day and age you would say (White’s recovery) was quick,” Smart said. “I think he’s on schedule or a little ahead of schedule. He got injured last year in football season. It’s not a miracle he’s back going. He is pretty special when it comes to rehab, buying in, doing wrestling, doing karate. He does all these extra things like Nick (Chubb) did. That part — his effort and all the work — is incredible.” As a result, Georgia fans will get to see what all the fuss is about. And with White, there has been a lot of fuss made. That’s what happens when one is a consensus 5-star prospect and the No. 1-rated running back in high school. His numbers at his little school in Laurinburg, N.C., were ungodly — 2,086 yards and 34 TDs in 11 games as a senior and a gaudy per-carry average of 14.1 yards. White regularly draws comparisons to a couple of other great Georgia backs from small-town North Carolina, Todd Gurley of Tarboro and Tim Worley of Lumberton. Both of them wowed the masses with the Bulldogs and earned riches in the NFL. The thinking is that this young man who has come to be called “Zeus” is on a similar path. First, White will have to get through one of the most intense running back competitions in Georgia history, which is saying something. Sophomore D’Andre Swift is the heir apparent to succeed the last greats, Chubb and Sony Michel. Talented juniors Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien have been patiently biding their time and awaiting their opportunities. And fellow freshman signee James Cook, brother of Dalvin, has turned heads with his quickness and broken-field running. But White is thought to have all the characteristics Georgia looks for in great backs. He has the size and strength to punch the football into the A and B gaps of the defense while also possessing the speed get around the end and outrun defensive backs to paydirt. That script has yet to be written. But optimism abounds. The early chapters in the Book of Zeus certainly have been incredible, especially that first one. If White plays the way coaches and recruiting analysts expect, he’ll be another reason Georgia “Owns the East.” The post Own the East: Georgia’s Zamir White has been overcoming adversity from the start appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart isn’t exactly sure how his offense is going to look from play to play this season right now. Smart, however, said he’ll have a better idea following the Bulldogs’ second scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday. “ Scrimmage two is kind of a defining moment,” Smart said this week. RELATED: Kirby Smart explains why Georgia offense a work in progress Georgia is loaded with talent across the board, but particularly at the skill positions where running backs, tight ends and receivers are vying for play calls. “You want your best players on the field, so if our best players on the field are four wideouts and no tight ends, we better have some good tackles and be able to block well because we don’t have edges,” Smart said. “But if our best players are tight ends, then we’ll have three of them out there. If our best are backs, we’ll have two of backs and maybe two receivers.” The intense competition playing out in fall camp will go a long way toward determine who is on the field. Once that’s determined, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney can play Dr. Frankenstein with the playbook, the Bulldogs’ operating behind a monstrous offensive line. RELATED: Georgia football 5-star receivers getting outplayed in practice “We’ve got a set of plays, our core belief that we always have, which is balance, being powerful, being able to run the ball at our will, not somebody else breaking our will,” Smart said. “[But] as far as having it formed by any shape or form, I don’t think we’ll have that until the two-deep is set on the offensive line and how the top 10 shake out and the alignment that we’re going to be able to work with this season. I don’t think that will play out until even after scrimmage two.” RELATED: Georgia gets receivers back on the field from injury Some questions were answered in the first scrimmage, both quarterbacks proving they can manage the huddle, and running backs breaking loose on substantial runs. But Smart wants to see who can do it consistently, and the second scrimmage will go a long ways toward determine how Georgia will open the season at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 1 against FCS Austin Peay at Sanford Stadium. Georgia football Kirby Smart 8-16-18     The post Georgia football second scrimmage ‘defining moment’ in offensive evolution appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football true freshman James Cook opened eyes at the Bulldogs’ open practice on Aug. 4,  and apparently he has continued to excel through fall drills. RELATED: James Cook catches Kirby Smart’s eye at open practice Georgia linebacker Monty Rice made it clear on Thursday that he has been impressed with all of the backs, and particularly Cook. “I’ve never played against a running back like Cook before, he has his own little style, and it’s very unique,” Rice said. “He’s very tough to cover …   you can’t be looking at the quarterback when you cover him, or you’ll watch them complete the pass.” Rice has had an impressive offseason himself, making a team-high 14 tackles in the G-Day game to put himself in position to win a starting job. Rice said nothing has been determined at linebacker yet, himself working at both “Mike” and “Will.” From the sounds of it, Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will have a hard time sorting through the offensive weapons. RELATED: Kirby Smart explains offensive personality still evolving Elijah Holyfield tore through the first-team defense in the first scrimmage, and Rice said the defense is eager to atone in the upcoming second scrimmage on Saturday. “I don’t want to see Brian Herrien, Holyfield or [D’Andre] Swift run for 60 yards on a play, not against us,” Rice said. RELATED: Watch Elijah Holyfield run through first-team defense They’ve all impressed, Rice indicated. “Little Cook never stops running, he’s fast, I mean, just fast,” Rice said. “Then you’ve got Holyfield   Brian, Swift, Prather [Hudson], Zamir [White], there’s a bunch of them, and they are all pretty good.” Cook, 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, is the younger brother of NFL tailback and former Florida State star Dalvin Cook. He was one of the last freshmen in the 2018 class to arrive on campus. RELATED: Kirby Smart confirms James Cook on campus Cook and the Georgia backs could find the going tougher on Saturday. “We just have to get better on our techniques,” Rice said, “and if we get our techniques right, we can prevent those big runs.” Georgia football LB Monty Rice The post WATCH: Georgia linebacker Monty Rice raves about ‘Little (James) Cook’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • PRACTICE OBSERVATIONS ATHENS — It was another stifling hot day on Woodruff Practice Fields on Thursday as the Georgia Bulldogs conducted their 12th practice of preseason camp in full pads. Good thing for the hard-working, and always-running receivers that they welcomed two back to their number. Senior Terry Godwin and freshman Kearis Jackson, each were dressed out and going through position drills during the 15-minute media viewing period. Godwin, the Bulldogs’ leading returning receiver from last year, has been out for most of camp with what coach Kirby Smart has described as a “not too serious” knee injury. Jackson, an early enrollee who turned some heads last spring, has been battling a hamstring injury. While Georgia’s offense got back those two targets, they were missing one other one from the tight ends group. Luke Ford, a 6-foot-6, 252-pound true freshman from Carterville, Ill., was reportedly involved in a minor motorcyle accident Thursday morning, according to ugarivals.com. Ford was not seriously hurt but did suffer some sort of foot injury, the fan site reported. UGA has yet to confirm the report. Other observations: Redshirt freshman receiver Matt Landers seems to have added significant weight to his 6-foot-5 frame, though he’s still listed on the roster at 200 pounds. Landers also seems to have moved up in the rotation. Georgia’s defensive backs were really getting after it during position drills. Defensive coordinator and secondary coach Mel Tucker was having them work on moving toward the ball carrier even though engaged in a lock-down block by the wide receiver. It made for some great individual matchups, with freshman Otis Reese facing off against fellow freshman Tyson Campbell and senior Deandre Baker locking up with J.R. Reed. Cornerback Tyrique McGhee (broken foot) was still sidelined as expected. Freshman corner Divaad Wilson, who suffered a knee injury in the spring, continued to run on the side under the guidance of team trainers. Georgia continued to mix and match on the offensive line. Kirby Smart said Wednesday the Bulldogs are simply trying to identify the best fill-ins in the case of an injured starter. The top five still appears to be LT Andrew Thomas, LG Kendall Baker, C Lamont Gaillard, RG Ben Cleveland and RT Isaiah Wilson. Speaking of Wilson, the 6-7, 340-pound redshirt freshman from Brooklyn appears to have completely remade his body. More importantly, there have been no reports of him falling out of preseason workouts due to the heat, as was often the case a year ago. The post Practice report: Key wide receivers back on the field for Bulldogs appeared first on DawgNation.