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World News Headlines

    Amid an unbearable stench, thousands of workers, police and soldiers struggled Wednesday to contain and clean up a flood of sewage that has caused the government to declare a health emergency in one of the most populous parts of Peru's capital. The foul flood was caused by a blockage in a giant pipe that collects 80 percent of the sewage in the San Juan de Lurigancho district. Adding a political element, the pipe was relocated about six years ago by Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction giant that is at the heart of a corruption scandal engulfing elites across Latin America, including Peru. 'It has become clogged: strange material has entered the collector,' said President Martin Vizcarra, who pledged to find those responsible and declared a health emergency. Vizcarra said the pipe is buried at a depth of nine meters (30 feet) and it 'began to sink,' with dirty water flowing into low-lying areas of San Juan de Lurigancho, which has more than 1 million inhabitants. More than 100 police officers rode horses through the waters while dozens of giant suction machines pulled up sewage. Maria Cruz, 80, cried as she used a bucket of clean water to wash two small dolls that had adorned the top of her wedding cake decades ago. 'You can't even breath here,' she said. The flooding began Sunday when millions of liters (gallons) of sewage spilled across more than eight hectares (20 acres) of the borough, reaching depths of two meters (6½ feet), officials said. 'We are worried by the pollution,' said resident Oswaldo Vasquez. Neighbors complained of dirty water coming out of their taps and toilets. While officials have not yet determined who is responsible for the flooding, Vizcarra said the builder of a public works project is responsible for any defect in it for the next seven years. 'And this project doesn't have seven years,' he added. Mayra Cardenas of the communications office of Odebrecht's office in Peru said: 'We will not comment.
  • The Latest on the confidence vote in Greece (all times local): 10:50 p.m. Greece's left-wing prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has narrowly won a confidence vote in parliament days after the governing coalition collapsed. Tsipras received the minimum 151 votes in Greece's 300-seat legislature for his government to survive. His term ends in October. The defense minister in Tsipras' government who leads a small nationalist party, Panos Kammenos, quit the coalition last weekend over a proposed agreement with neighboring Macedonia. The deal calls for the young country to be renamed North Macedonia in exchange for Greece no longer blocking its path to NATO membership. ___ 11:50 a.m. Greek lawmakers are gearing up for a confidence vote in the left-wing government, which lost its parliamentary majority after its coalition partner walked out to protest a deal to normalize relations with neighboring Macedonia. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is expected to narrowly survive the ballot at midnight Wednesday, backed by independent lawmakers and deputies from his former coalition partner who proposed to defy their party's line. Tsipras has strongly defended his efforts to end a 27-year dispute with Macedonia over the country's name — which Greece says implies claims on its own province of Macedonia and on Greek cultural heritage. Under the agreement, which Macedonia has already ratified, the country will be renamed North Macedonia, and Greece will lift its objections to the country joining NATO and the European Union.
  • The speaker of the House of Commons is usually taken for granted, except for those rare moments when Britain is having a legislative meltdown and Parliament gets center stage. And for the Brexit crisis, you might say that the current speaker, John Bercow, is made to ORRR-DUHHH. As a rambunctious Parliament is grappling with the contentious issue, Bercow is trying to stay above the fray even as he plays a major role in shaping the debate. With his stentorian voice, assertive ways and unapologetic manners, he's playing a major role shaping the debate over Britain's troubled withdrawal from the European Union. But along the way, he has ruffled some feathers in the government of Prime Minister Theresa May. He's even been compared to the devil by a tabloid newspaper. The 55-year-old Bercow, who has been speaker since 2009, determines which amendments will be voted on, who will be called upon to speak, and deciding when to use his commanding voice to demand 'order.' Or as he sometimes pronounces it, 'ORRR-DUHHH! ORRR-DUHHH!' Some in the government feel he's opposed to Brexit, and it doesn't help that his wife's car is festooned with an anti-Brexit sticker. Others feel he's simply determined to preserve Parliament's power and put the government in its place. After he was called 'Speaker of the Devil' in a front-page headline this week, Bercow refused to apologize for challenging the government. 'My job is not to be a cheerleader for the executive branch,' he said. 'My job is to stand up for the rights of the House of Commons.' The speaker is supposed to impartial and is required to step down from the political party he or she belonged to when elected. The speaker's primary role is to maintain order, something Bercow does with a certain amount of style. 'The House must calm itself. Zen. Restraint. Patience,' he has said when things threaten to get out of hand. Bercow at times presides over Britain's august legislators as if they were a bunch of unruly kids who won't eat their broccoli. Earlier this year, a former employer accused him of bullying, but Bercow denied the charge.
  • Thousands of people have marched in the capital of Serbia, demanding that the authorities find out who killed a moderate Serb politician in Kosovo a year ago. Holding candles, the crowd Wednesday walked in silence to honor Oliver Ivanovic, who was gunned down in the Serb-dominated northern part of the Kosovo town of Mitrovica on Jan. 16, 2018. No one has been charged in the attack. Assailants fled the scene in a car after shooting Ivanovic six times in the back. Wednesday's march was organized by the same groups behind weeks of protests against Serbia's populist President Aleksandar Vucic. They say finding Ivanovic's killers is crucial for the rule of law and justice. Vucic attended a separate commemoration ceremony for Ivanovic earlier Wednesday. Serbia has refused to recognize Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence.
  • The U.N. human rights office says 'credible sources' indicate that at least 890 people were killed last month during three days of clashes among villages in western Congo. Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. human rights chief, said the perpetrators should be brought to justice over such 'shocking violence' that erupted between the Banunu and Batende communities in the Mai-Ndombe province. Her office said it has launched an investigation, along with national authorities in Congo. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in New York that according to the sources, at least 82 other people were injured during the clashes in four villages. The rights office says Wednesday that hundreds of houses and buildings were also burned down or pillaged in the violence, and an estimated 16,000 people sought refuge in neighboring Republic of Congo across the Congo River. The violence from Dec. 16-18 came just days before Congo's presidential election.
  • The Latest on Zimbabwe protests (all times local): 10:50 p.m. In a grim recounting, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights says it has treated 68 cases of gunshot wounds amid a government crackdown on protests over a fuel price hike. Its statement reports more than 100 other cases of 'assaults with sharp objects, booted feet, baton sticks' and more. The statement late Wednesday also notes a number of bites from the alleged unleashing of police dogs, and the 'dragging of patients with life-threatening conditions' to court. Zimbabwe has faced three days of protests over what is now the world's most expensive gasoline. The government has blamed the opposition for unrest and announced more than 600 arrests. ___ 8:30 p.m. Zimbabwe's state security minister says more than 600 people have been arrested countrywide amid protests over dramatic fuel price increases. Owen Ncube said on state television that 214 of the people have already appeared in court. He thanked security forces for 'standing firm' to restore order and appeals to Zimbabweans to return to work. The economically shattered country has seen three days of protests after the president announced that fuel prices have more than doubled to become the most expensive in the world. ___ 5:25 p.m. Eight-two people have appeared in court in Zimbabwe's capital on charges of public violence amid a government crackdown on protests over dramatic fuel price increases. Internet service is returning hours after the country's largest telecoms company told customers the government forced a shutdown. Zimbabweans have been reporting arrests and gunshot wounds by security forces during three days of protests over the shattered economy and what is now the world's most expensive gasoline. Zimbabwe's president says he is deeply saddened by what he calls 'wanton violence and cynical destruction' while authorities blame the opposition for the unrest. ___ 3:15 p.m. Zimbabwe's president says he is deeply saddened by what he calls 'wanton violence and cynical destruction' during days of protests over dramatic fuel price increases. President Emmerson Mnangagwa's statement in a Twitter post appears to side with authorities who have blamed the opposition for the unrest. Everyday Zimbabweans, meanwhile, are reporting arrests and gunshot wounds by security forces while the internet is cut off. Mnangagwa is on an extended overseas trip seeking foreign investment in the shattered economy while hungry people at home face tear gas as they venture into the streets to seek bread. The president says he understands people's 'pain and frustration' and calls for peace. He notes the right to protest but says the past three days' demonstrations are not peaceful and legal: 'There can be no justification for violence.' ___ 2:10 p.m. Armed police and soldiers are breaking up groups of more than five people in Zimbabwe's capital in a crackdown on protests over dramatic fuel price hikes. Desperation for food has forced some people to venture out in Harare on the third day of protests over what is now the world's most expensive gasoline. But virtually all shops are closed. Police have fired tear gas after a crowd tried to overrun a shopping center that opened to sell bread. Soldiers with AK-47s took charge of the long line. 'This kind of life is unbearable, we have soldiers at fuel queues and now soldiers again are controlling the bread queue,' one man says. 'Are we at war?' Arrests and reported assaults continue as President Emmerson Mnangagwa is on an extended overseas trip trying to encourage foreign investment in the shattered economy. ___ 9:30 a.m. Streets are deserted in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, Wednesday as a general strike continues for a third day to protest the government's decision to more than double the price of fuel. Lawyers for activist Evan Mawarire say armed police are surrounding his house in Harare. Mawarire in 2016 organized the ThisFlag campaign that sparked a string of nationwide anti-government protests. Zimbabwe's largest telecoms company, Econet, has sent text messages to customers saying it has been forced by the government to shut down internet service. 'The matter is beyond our control,' said the statement.
  • The overnight attack on a hotel complex in Nairobi that left 14 dead was quickly claimed by the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, which has targeted Kenya with several devastating assaults in recent years, leaving hundreds dead. Here's a look at the group which has been called the deadliest in Africa: ___ WHAT IS AL-SHABAB? Al-Shabab, meaning 'the youth' in Arabic, emerged in neighboring Somalia more than a decade ago as the chaotic Horn of Africa country was deep in warlord-led fighting. The extremist group, linked to al-Qaida, has been fighting to establish an Islamic state in Somalia based on Shariah law. Its members are mostly Somalis but include many foreign fighters. Recently al-Shabab has fought a splinter group of fighters who have claimed allegiance to the Islamic State organization. Al-Shabab is fighting Somalia's fragile central government, which is supported by a multi-national African Union force that expects to pull out in the next few years and leave security to Somalia's military. The extremists once controlled large parts of Somalia, including most of Mogadishu, the capital, but a concerted effort by the AU and Somali forces in 2015 pushed al-Shabab out of most urban centers. The group still operates in large swathes of rural Somalia and mounts violent suicide attacks on high-profile targets such as hotels and checkpoints in Mogadishu. Al-Shabab is blamed for Somalia's deadliest attack, a massive truck bomb in Mogadishu in 2017 that killed well over 500 people. ___ WHY DOES AL-SHABAB ATTACK KENYA? Al-Shabab has vowed retribution after neighboring Kenya sent troops into Somalia in 2011 to battle the extremists. The Kenyans' deployment came after al-Shabab kidnapped tourists in Kenya's popular Lamu resort area on the Indian Ocean near the Somali border, a blow to the lucrative tourist industry. Tuesday's violence came three years to the day after al-Shabab attacked a Kenyan military base in Somalia, killing scores of people. Al-Shabab has staged several attacks inside Kenya, including the 2013 attack on Nairobi's Westgate Mall in which 67 people were killed and the 2015 attack on Garissa University in which 147 people, mostly students, were killed. The extremists have also targeted schools and bus transport near the porous border with Somalia, at times singling out Christians. This latest attack occurred a short distance from Westgate Mall and again appeared to target wealthy Kenyans and expatriates. ___ ARE U.S. AIRSTRIKES WEAKENING AL-SHABAB? Shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump took office in early 2017, he vowed to step up military action against al-Shabab. Last year the U.S. carried out nearly 50 airstrikes, some targeting top extremist leaders. The airstrikes may pressure al-Shabab to stay on the move, but the extremists are still able to renew their ranks. Al-Shabab continues to operate in rural areas across Somalia, enriching itself with a widespread system of 'taxation' on travelers and cargo. It now competes with the new IS-linked fighters in extorting Somali businesses. The latest Nairobi attack used 'almost identical tactics' to al-Shabab's frequent attacks on hotels in Mogadishu, said Matt Bryden of Sahan Research, an expert on the extremists. The airstrikes hamper the group but have not 'seriously degraded al-Shabab's capability to mount strikes either inside or outside Somalia,' Bryden said. Airstrikes alone cannot defeat the extremists, he said, and must be combined with more ground-based attacks as well as a non-military campaign to win over residents of extremist-held areas. ___ Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa
  • The spokesman for a Tuareg group in Mali says gunmen have attacked two villages in the country's central Menaka region near the border with Niger, killing at least 20 people. Mohamed Ag Albachar of the Azawad self-defense group, said Wednesday that armed men attacked two villages on Tuesday, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Menaka. The attackers killed 20 civilians, including elderly people, and some security personnel also died in the attack. The attack has not been claimed but it bears the marks of jihadists who stage attacks in the region in retaliation against Tuaregs who are fighting against the Islamic State. Attacks against civilians have increased in Mali's Menaka area since 2018, when the U.N.'s mission in Mali documented 100 cases of human rights violations there.
  • Czechs are paying tribute to a university student who burned himself to death in Prague 50 years ago to inspire resistance against the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. Jan Palach's self-immolation shocked the country but failed to produce an immediate impact. The hard-line communist regime established after the invasion harshly persecuted dissenters. But Palach's action on Jan. 16, 1969 did inspire weeklong protests two decades later and the Velvet Revolution led by Vaclav Havel later in 1989 that ended Czechoslovakia's communist era. The 20-year-old Palach set himself on fire five months after the Warsaw Pact countries crushed liberal reforms known as the Prague Spring. He died three days later. Commemorative events are being held at Charles University, where Palach was a student, and elsewhere in the Czech Republic.
  • It began with cars exploding and several armed young men, wrapped in ammunition belts, sauntering onto the scene. It was declared over nearly 20 hours later with at least 14 people killed, 700 people evacuated and the Islamic extremist attackers 'eliminated.' Overnight, scores of frightened people hid in washrooms, offices and elsewhere as gunfire popped and security forces hunted the gunmen. Here's a rough timeline of what occurred in the deadly attack on a luxury hotel complex in Kenya's capital. ___ Tuesday, 3 p.m. Reports begin to spread of an explosion and gunfire at the Riverside Drive complex, which includes a hotel, shops, restaurants and offices in Nairobi's upscale Westlands neighborhood. Several cars are ablaze in a parking lot as security forces stream in and people run or are carried from the scene. Police quickly call it a terror attack. ___ 4:30 p.m. Plainclothes police with guns drawn hurry from shop to shop to look for trapped civilians and an unknown number of attackers. A black plume of smoke rises from the scene. Sporadic gunfire continues. ___ 5 p.m. The Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab claims responsibility and says its members are still fighting inside. Survivors rushing from the scene, some in tears, report seeing bodies. ___ 6 p.m. Kenya's national police chief says special forces are trying to flush out the attackers and look forward to 'bringing the situation to normalcy in the shortest time possible.' Kenyans watch the police response closely after officers took hours to respond to a deadly attack on the nearby Westgate Mall in 2013. ___ 7 p.m. A Kenyan police officer among the first responders says 'there was no time to count the dead,' with bodies seen in restaurants downstairs and in offices upstairs. Gunfire continues. ___ 8:30 p.m. Kenya's national police chief gives the first official details of the attack, saying it began with an explosion that targeted three vehicles outside a bank while a suicide bomber blew up in the hotel lobby, severely wounding bystanders. He calls the operation 'still ongoing.' ___ 11 p.m. Kenya's interior minister says all buildings have been secured and security forces are in the final stages of 'mopping up.' There is still no official toll of dead or wounded. ___ 11:30 p.m. Kenya's Citizen TV airs what it calls surveillance footage that shows four attackers, young men in ammunition bandoliers, splitting up as they calmly walk across an outdoor area of the complex. ___ Wednesday, 1 a.m. Some family members say loved ones are still trapped inside even after Kenyan authorities called all buildings secure. One woman says her brother is hiding with over 10 other people. ___ 2 a.m. A Kenyan police officer says 15 bodies have been taken to the morgue. Anguished family and friends gather there. ___ 4 a.m. Kenya's interior ministry says 'no further threat to the public exists' and that civilians who had been 'secured' in one building have been safely evacuated. ___ 6:45 a.m. Another explosion and gunfire are heard, shortly after scores of survivors who had still been holed up in part of the complex are freed. They reunite with relieved friends and family and recount a long night of cowering in hiding places while listening to nearby gunfire. ___ 9:00 a.m. Bursts of gunfire are still heard from the complex. ___ 10:30 a.m. Kenya president says 14 'innocent people' are dead and declares the attack over, saying all the terrorists have been eliminated.' ___ 3:30 p.m. A new blast is heard at the complex, 24 hours the attack began. Witnesses say security forces are conducting a painstaking sweep for any explosives the attackers left behind in a final attempt at carnage.

Local News

  •  Gov. Brian Kemp unveiled plans Wednesday to create a new state anti-gang task force and devote $69 million in one-time funds for school security grants, as he began to outline more specifics of his first-year agenda days after taking office. The Republican also promised to deliver an “historic and well-deserved” pay raise for Georgia’s public school teachers at his State of the State address on Thursday. Kemp said he would hike teacher pay by $5,000 during the campaign, but he’s likely to divvy up the raise over several years. His remarks came at the Georgia Chamber’s annual Eggs & Issues breakfast, the second in a series of events this week where Kemp will lay out many of his priorities. At the events, he has pledged to work across party lines after a divisive election that he narrowly won.  His school safety plan will include $30,000 for each of the state’s 2,294 public schools to use as they see fit for school security – such as hiring officers, paying for cameras or metal detectors or more data analysis. As another part of the plan, he said he would put a mental health counselor in all 343 state public high schools to “engage with struggling students and help provide the resources needed to prevent disruptive, aggressive and potentially violent behavior.”  “The classroom should be a safe haven for students - not a hunting ground for school shooters,” he said. And his anti-gang initiative will include $500,000 in initial funds to form a task force with a “highly qualified group of experienced law enforcement personnel” to work with district attorneys and law enforcement officials to target gang violence. Each of the initiatives were staples of his campaign for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams. It’s another reflection of how Georgia Republican leaders are promising to focus on pocketbook issues rather than fights over social divides that energize the GOP’s rural base, after stinging electoral setbacks in Atlanta’s dense suburbs. To reinforce that point, House Speaker David Ralston announced a new initiative – a House panel focused on arts and entertainment – that aims to grow Georgia’s film industry and other creative businesses. During the campaign, Kemp said he would pour a total of $90 million into school safety initiatives, with plans that also included financing a school safety division within the Georgia Department of Education.  It’s the latest in a series of efforts by Georgia Republicans to address safety initiatives after mass shootings at schools without delving into a debate over new gun control measures.  Case in point: House and Senate lawmakers last year allocated $16 million in school safety funding after the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla. school left 17 people dead. A range of gun-related proposals, meanwhile, stalled in the Legislature.  The November election heightened the divide. Top Georgia Democrats bucked years of pro-gun positions last year to embrace new restrictions, such as a ban on assault rifles and waiting periods.  And leading Republicans, including Kemp and just about every other high-profile GOP candidate, pushed to aggressively expand where people can carry firearms.  Since his election, Kemp has said he would continue to champion Second Amendment rights. But he’s been notably non-committal about a plan he supported in the campaign to let people carry concealed firearms without a permit. Gang violence Kemp’s “stop and dismantle” program also played a central role in his run for governor. He first unveiled it in April as part of a broader push to emphasize crackdowns on crime and illegal immigration.  The plan would create a statewide Gang Strike Team to help local authorities combat the crime and give the state Attorney General more power to prosecute gang members.  Kemp would also pour an unspecified amount of state funding to improve a database created in 2010 to track gang members and launch a public awareness campaign on the dangers of gang-related crime.  The proposal dovetails with Kemp’s campaign-trail rhetoric, which echoed President Donald Trump’s focus on targeting MS-13 and other violent gangs as a linchpin of his criminal justice policy. 
  • First warmer then colder then...  Rinse and repeat the roller coaster ride. Dramatic temperature drop over the weekend as first of multiple Polar air masses come down from Canada this month and next. Coldest air of the season to date by Monday. In the transition another big snowstorm in the Midwest to New England. Could Atlanta see a few snow flakes? Yes not out of the question but I would not hold your breath. As of now at least, it looks like even if we did it would be brief and not last or matter with no accumulation outside of NE mountains and most of us won’t see any snow. The sharp change to sharply colder is the real story. As I’ve said repeatedly in past blogs since Fall, the prospect for snow or ice looks alive before we warm up in April. As in the rest of life, the meeting of cold and moisture is all about the timing. The pattern looks to turn ripe but we have to wait till we have an actual system to watch. 
  • There is an advisory from the Sheriff’s Office in Elberton: investigators say at least two Elbert County residents have been the victims of recent telephone scams. They say one victim wired and lost almost $4,000 after being told he’d won a sweepstakes. Another woman says she is out nearly $1,000 after getting a phone call from someone claiming to be her grandson, saying he needed money to get home from Mexico.  Elbert County Sheriff Melvin Andrews says anyone receiving such a call should report it to the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office at 706-283-2421 or the appropriate law enforcement agency in your community. 
  • Briana Hayes, a second-year health promotion student from Baxley, was crowned Miss University of Georgia 2019 at the annual scholarship competition held Jan. 12 in the UGA Fine Arts Auditorium. A 2017 graduate of Appling County High School, she is the daughter of James and Danita Hayes. Fourth runner-up in the competition was Katie Gamel, a second-year biology and psychology major from Douglasville; third runner-up was Deborah Stephens, a fourth-year music/vocal performance major from Hoschton. Irielle Duncan, a third-year biology and psychology major from Lawrenceville received second runner-up honors, and Karson Pennington, a third-year student from Augusta pursuing a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in political science/international affairs, was named first runner-up. The “Floreida Harrell Miss Congeniality Scholarship,” selected by the contestants, was awarded to Nidhi Patel, a third-year biology major from Brunswick. The “People’s Choice Award,” voted on by the audience, was given to Georgia House, a third-year psychology major from Calhoun. Hayes also received the award for “Best Interview.”   Hayes holds a number of leadership roles in the UGA community. She is a Student Government Association senator, a Presidential Leadership scholar and a member of the Dean William Tate Honor Society. An Honors student, Hayes volunteers in the after-school program at Thomas Lay Park in Athens. “Taking my first walk as Miss University of Georgia felt surreal.” Hayes said. “In that moment, I thought of where I came from. I grew up in Baxley, a small town in rural Georgia, and now in front of me was the opportunity to represent the flagship institution of the state. I am so grateful for the compassionate community I grew up in, and I am humbled to attend such an astounding university.” “During my reign, I look forward to expanding my platform, ‘Creating Believers,’ as I work to inspire today’s youth to find their purpose and give back to their communities,” she said. Hayes is scheduled to compete in the 75th Annual Miss Georgia Scholarship Competition in June in Columbus; the winner of that competition will represent Georgia in the 2020 Miss America Competition. The Miss America Organization, at the local, state and national levels, represents the largest private scholarship foundation for women in the United States. This year, scholarship assistance totaling more than $45 million was available to contestants at all three levels. The Miss America Organization, established in 1921, is a nonprofit civic corporation. The Miss UGA Scholarship Competition is a program of the Tate Student Center within UGA’s Division of Student Affairs.
  • Economists from the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business are in south Georgia today: they’re offering an economic forecast for Albany in a noon-hour luncheon at the Hilton Garden Inn in Albany. From the University of Georgia… The Economic Outlook series features a rotating lineup of experts from the Terry College of Business and Selig Center for Economic Growth. For more information on the 2018-19 speakers, please continue reading below. In addition, attendees at each location can expect to hear from a local business leader, sharing key insights for the local economy.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Kentucky coach John Calipari raised eyebrows last spring when he said Georgia basketball head coach was one of the top three jobs in the SEC. First-year coach Tom Crean has yet to make that a reality. Crean’s Bulldogs are 9-7 overall and 1-3 in the SEC at what’s essentially the hallway point of the season. RELATED: Georgia basketball coach demands more maturity, toughness “Here’s what Tom is doing, he’s playing a different style, he’s spacing the court, he’s bringing people out, they are long and active and they offensive rebound the crap out of the ball, that’s what he’s got them doing,” Calipari said Tuesday night. “This game got away from them in the end, really the beginning of the second half, and then we kept it there. “ Like every game I’ve watched, they had their chances. At Auburn they had their chances to be right there and win the game, and that’s a hard place to play. So he’s doing a good job with this team.” Georgia has indeed competed. WATCH: Tom Crean says it comes down to hustle points at Auburn Crean’s system has provided an offensive liberation of sorts, with players enjoying more offensive freedom through the Bulldogs’ spacing. Florida is next up on the Bulldogs’ schedule, the Saturday noon game at Stegeman Coliseum already sold out. Georgia has impressed in wins over Oakland, Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt, and nearly pulled off an upset over then-ranked Arizona State. “It seems it’s just a matter of getting players who can shoot effectively from 3-point range, as UGA’s struggle from the perimeter has been real. Kentucky led just 35-31 on Tuesday night despite Georgia hitting just 2-of-13 from 3-point range in the first half of a 69-49 loss to the Wildcats. RELATED: Kentucky wins 12th straight over Georgia, overcomes sellout crowd The Bulldogs rank 287th in the nation out of 351 teams (and 12th of 14 teams in the SEC) in 3-point shooting accuracy (31.6 percent). The rise of 6-foot-11 sophomore forward Nicolas Claxton has been a highlight for the team, wit Claxton leading the SEC in rebounding (9.4 per game) and blocked shots (3.3) while leading UGA in assists (2.1 per game) and in scoring (12.6 points per game). “He’s a unique player, and all the tape I’ve watched, I like what Tommy is doing with him, pushing him a different places around the floor at times, at the rim, at times, at the top of the key, letting him shoot,” Calipari said. “He’s letting him grow and living with it, and   9 rebounds and 12 points (Tuesday night), that’s pretty good stuff.” Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari The post WATCH: John Calipari analyzes Georgia basketball, complimentary of Nicolas Claxton appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — While Georgia football doesn’t benefit immediately from Jalen Hurts’ decision to transfer from Alabama to Oklahoma, it only serves to help the Bulldogs in the long run. Hurts, as a graduate transfer, was eligible to play immediately anywhere he chose to go. Here are three ways Georgia benefits from is decision to play for the Sooners: RELATED: Chris Fowler explain’s ‘Pandora’s box’ of CFB transfer world 1. Hurts won’t be starting for a UGA scheduled opponent There’s no question Hurts was a much-coveted player during this offseason, offering leadership and championship game experience. Adding a player and a leader like Hurts might have been enough to get some programs over the hump. Tennessee, most notably, would have been a prime landing spot for Hurts. Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt   was said to have a good relationship with Hurts in Tuscaloosa. Tennessee isn’t on the Bulldogs’ level quite yet from a talent standpoint, but AD Phillip Fulmer has beefed up the Vols’ coaching staff and Hurts would have provided another immediate lift. RELATED: Vols fork out nearly $5 million for Georgia OC Jim Chaney  2. Alabama football weakens in 2019 with Hurts transfer There was a chance Hurts was going to decide to stay in Tuscaloosa and complete his legacy as a Tide legend. UGA fans can breathe a sigh of relief he chose another route. There’s no guarantee Alabama will reach the SEC Championship Game to face Georgia again, but it would be hard to bet against that happening. As big of an issue as it was for Georgia OLB D’Andre Walker to leave the SEC title game with the Bulldogs up 28-21, it still took a special performance from Hurts to exploit the loss of UGA’s sacks leader. Alabama, like Georgia, is stockpiled with talent. But it’s hard to imagine the Tide — or any other program this season — having a 1-2 punch like Hurts and Tagovailoa have proven to be the past two years. Indeed, Alabama’s QB depth was the only thing that stood between the Bulldogs and the 2017 College Football Playoff Championship as well as the 2018 SEC championship and a spot in the CFB Playoffs. 3. Georgia out of QB transfer spotlight for now The Justin Fields’ transfer story probably isn’t finished playing out in the national media yet — there’s still a controversial appeal for immediate eligibility to be filed (and likely won). But Hurts’ transfer talk will boost Oklahoma into the national transfer spotlight as it deals with the fallout of adding another player to its roster, one action triggering another. New College Football transfer destinations: -Brandon Wimbush: UCF -Tate Martell: Miami -Jalen Hurts: Oklahoma -Urban Meyer: Retirement* -SEC fans: Clemson -Florida State fans: 2013 -Alabama fans: 1st grade math * = “Retirement” is short for “USC, when the job comes open” — NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) January 16, 2019 Already, we’ve seen controversy at Ohio State where incumbent Tate Martell has announced his intention to transfer, and now Martell’s grounds for immediate eligibility will be scrutinized and measured against those in other programs. Georgia’s quarterback situation is suddenly quiet — still competitive, but in a more comfortable manner. Jake Fromm is the clear No. 1, and incoming No. 2 Dwan Mathis is eager to learn from Fromm to become the most prepared back-up quarterback he can be heading into the 2019 season. Georgia coach Kirby Smart also has the luxury of having depth at the position in 2019. The Bulldogs added former UGA walk-on and junior college transfer Stetson Bennett for peace of mind. Part of the issue with the Fromm-Fields situation last season was the Bulldogs had no other scholarship quarterbacks.           The post 3 ways Jalen Hurts’ transfer to Oklahoma helps Georgia football appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS, Ga. — Tom Crean’s postgame press conferences typically go straight to the point, and Tuesday night’s was no different. What happened in the 69-49 loss to No. 12-ranked Kentucky? “They are really good, we missed a lot of open shots, they’ll get better, we’ll get better, but the bottom line is outside of basketball-wise,   our maturity, mental toughness has got to pick up when things are not going well for us,’ Crean said. RELATED: Georgia can’t stop Kentucky despite sellout crowd and hot start “I know we don’t have a lot of guys that have been through a lot of   battles where they were the guy expected to carry the team the team, but that’s not an excuse, now we have to step it up and keep going.” Georgia is 0-6 this season when tied or trailing at the half, and in embarrassing losses to Tennessee (96-50) and now the Wildcats, the Bulldogs’ didn’t show much fight on defense or in 50-50 scrambles. Crean, with the Bulldogs (9-7, 1-3) SEC next facing Florida at noon on Saturday, sounds like a man on the verge of making changes. “It would-be different if I was hammering guys and pulling   guys out left and right because we’re missing shots, but I’m not doing that, but I’m going to have to start doing it if we’re not going to guard better on the defensive end,” Crean said. “And I’m going to have to make an adjustment at the start of the second half. “I don’t want to say we’re listless, but we’re not nearly where we need to be aggressiveness-wise. I’m going to deep dive into that to see if we need to make changes at the start of the second halves.” Kentucky used a 9-0 run to open the second half on Tuesday and blow open what had been a contested game through the first half, The Wildcats held a slim 35-31 lead at intermission despite UGA making only 2-of-13 shots in the first half. Georgia senior point guard William “Turtle” Jackson, who was 1-of-8 shooting and 0-for-5 from 3-point range, said the team would be ready to go back to work at practice on Thursday. He didn’t say anything about getting extra shots on his own on Wednesday, the team’s off-day. More time in the gym shooting is often what separates good teams from great teams, and the numbers suggest it’s something the Bulldogs clearly more of to be competitive in the SEC. Georgia was 326 of 351 in 3-point shooting last season and entered Tuesday night 238th of 351 teams. RELATED: Tom Crean has plan for Georgia basketball guard issues “Our four main guards were (2 of 19) from the three,” Crean said. “We let it affect our transition defense, a couple of turnovers that make no sense …. “ Georgia also committed more turnovers (14) than assists (12), giving UK a 14-6 edge on points off turnovers. “There were a couple of times we didn’t look at our target, and they shot the gap,” Crean said, explaining some otherwise puzzling give-aways. “We had a couple seniors do that, and it’s a joke when you get in your senior year at Georgia, you can’t make those passes.” Kentucky also outscored Georgia 40-22 in the paint, even after senior center Derek Ogbeide opened the game with three dunks in the opening five minutes. Ogbeide didn’t score after that, finishing with as many turnovers (3) as rebounds (3). What happened to Ogbeide, Crean was asked. “We tried to make some plays that weren’t there, he didn’t roll quite as hard a couple times as he could have, we got him the ball in the post and he was tentative with it,” Crean said. “They clamped down a bit, that was part of it,” he said. “But when we throw Derek the ball, he needs to score or get fouled, he doesn’t need to sit there and have like an hourglass, where time is wasting. I tell him that every day, we’re throwing you the ball for a reason, don’t stand there and wait, cut, I mean, rip it open, drive it, go score, or that’s when the length starts to take over or he rushes. “We work on those things, he’s got to get better, and I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t think that he could.” Crean said he’s going to continue to emphasize the positives, and he said he has been happy with how hard his team practices and their focus coming into games. Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean The post WATCH Tom Crean: Georgia basketball ‘maturity, mental toughness has got to pick up’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Not quite ready for primetime. That’s all you can say about Georgia Bulldogs at the moment. The players want it. The fans want it. Tom Crean wants it in the worst way. They just don’t have the horses to run with the likes of Kentucky just yet. Or Tennessee. Or Auburn. Or Arizona State. That’s not meant to be a negative take on Tuesday night’s game between the Bulldogs and No. 12 Kentucky. On the contrary. Despite the 69-49 loss, Georgia’s really not that far away from being ready for primetime. All they’re missing at the moment is a guard or two. A point guard in particular. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the point guard they needed was playing for the opponent Tuesday. Ashton Hagans was a longtime UGA commitment under former Georgia coach Mark Fox. He backed out of that decision after Mark Fox was fired at the end of last season and Crean was unable to convince Hagans he should come anyway. For the record, Kentucky John Calipari said before Tuesday’s game he didn’t “flip” Hagans. “The family contacted us,” Calipari insisted. Doesn’t matter. Hagans was fair game, a casualty of Georgia’s decision to part with Fox. The Georgia students knew this, and they booed Hagans heartily every time he touched the ball and chanted “traitor, traitor, traitor!” every time Hagans went to the foul line. The problem was they were booing and chanting a lot, because Hagans had the ball in hands a lot. And when he did, good things were usually happening with it. Hagans was clearly motivated and might have been forcing the issue a bit early as he started off 1-of-7 shooting. But he eventually settled down and really made the Bulldogs feel his present in the second half. He made a 3 and two fast-break layups in the first four minutes to push the Wildcats out to a sudden 13-point lead in what had been until then a tight game. And he kept it up from there. Hagans was also the catalyst of another 8-0 run, scoring on a fast-break dunk and feeding E.J. Montgomery for an alley-oop on another nifty drive. Hagans finished with a career-high 23 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals. Contrast that with the line of Georgia’s starting point guard. Turtle Jackson had 2 points on 1-of-8 shooting, 0-for-5 from 3 and 2 assists. Everybody in Stegeman Coliseum was thinking the same thing: “Man, how much different would the Bulldogs look with Hagans on their team.” That narrative hasn’t been limited to the Kentucky game. Georgia was a victim of the same level of backcourt deficiency in its loss to No. 11 Auburn this past Saturday. It was not lost on anybody that the Tigers’ two leading scorers from that game both were guards from Georgia, Jared Harper of Mableton’s Pebblebrook High (22 points, 7 assists) and Bryce Brown of Tucker High (15 points). Crean knows this. Georgia’s working on it. They Bulldogs reportedly are in on some of the top point guards in the nation. A master identifier and acquirer of talent at Marquette and Indiana, Crean knows what great guards look like and how to sign them. Trouble is, none of them are going to be in a Georgia uniform this season. They’re are a few in other uniforms, though, including the one in blue Tuesday. The post Georgia Bulldogs not ready for primetime until they fix guard issues appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — A sellout crowd and strong start wasn’t enough for the Georgia basketball program to snap a losing streak to Kentucky that has now reached 12 games. The Bulldogs (9-7, 1-3) dropped a 69-49 decision to the No. 12-ranked Wildcats (13-3, 3-1 SEC) in an ESPN-televised affair on Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum. Nicolas Claxton left his best on the floor, leading the team with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Georgia was an atrocious 4-of-27 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc, missing on several open shots as Kentucky ran away with the game. Many of the sellout crowd left at the 9:01 mark after Kentucky went on an 8-0 run accentuated by two dunks, building a 16-point lead. Things grew worse, as the Bulldogs missed their final nine shots in the game, many of the fans marching out the aisles as UK dribbled out the clock. Kentucky hasn’t lost to Georgia in basketball since a March 7 defeat in 2013 in Athens (72-62). The Wildcats opened the second half on a 9-0 run, the first seven points scored by Kentucky point guard and one-time Georgia commit Ashton Hagans. Hagans scored a career-high 23 points for the Wildcats, and it marked the second straight game the opposing team’s leading scorer was a Georgia high school product. Rayshaun Hammonds, who entered the night as the Bulldogs’ leading scorer, didn’t get his first points until the 14:54 mark, hitting two of three free throws to cut the lead to 44-33. It was an uninspiring performance from Hammonds, who finished with 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting and 4 rebounds. Kentucky held a 35-31 lead at the half, shooting 46.7 percent from the floor while the Bulldogs were struggling from the perimeter, just 2-of-13 beyond the 3-point arc through the first 20 minutes. Georgia opened the game in impressive fashion with five dunks and a free throw, leading 11-6 at the 14:12 mark on a Claxton dunk. The proved to be the highlight of the night. The Wildcats answered with a 12-3 run that took less than 3 minutes, off and running in transition as the Bulldogs missed four of five shots . Georgia came back to tie the game at 27-27 on a Claxton drive at the 4:55 mark that capped a 10-4 run. The Bulldogs missed seven of their final eight shots in the first half, yielding the lead to Kentucky at intermission Georgia returns to action with a noon home game against Florida (TV: CBS) before another sellout crowd at Stegeman Coliseum. The Bulldogs next five home games are sold out, with the Feb. 20 home game with Mississippi State the first one remaining with tickets available through the box office. The post Georgia basketball can’t stop Kentucky, falls 69-49 appeared first on DawgNation.