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Trump Protestors Burn American Flag Outside Trump Fundraiser in Los Angeles

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Trump Protestors Burn American Flag Outside Trump Fundraiser in Los Angeles

Protesters against trumps showed their sentiment of the United States by burning an American flag on President Donald Trump’s arrival in Los Angeles for a fundraising case.

According to Chris Holmstrom, CBS Los Angeles, struggles started between various organizations, including Antifa, outside the Beverly Hills Hotel when American flag fired.

Trump followers were frightful to see the flag burning with one stating “really hurt” Old Glory’s sight on fire. “I never saw it all my years,” Gregg Donovan, a Trump fan, said. “In both parties, I was very disappointed. I’ve taken a neutral position. I only stayed there for all the moment with my sign, but the flag burning hurt really. “Per Breitbart: The Beverly Hills police had to react to numerous battles, ending the brawls and splitting the groups. After the scuffles, no arrests were produced, although several individuals were arrested.

During the battles, Trump was hosted by Geoffrey Palmer, a significant Republican donor in a fundraiser during the presidential campaign in 2016.

The Trump fundraiser tickets started with “$1,000 for people, and reach $100,000 for couples who also attend a VIP reception and have a picture chance with the president.” According to reports.

Rajesh is a freelancer with a background in e-commerce marketing. Having spent her career in startups, He specializes in strategizing and executing marketing campaigns.

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‘Jeopardy!’ champion Matt Amodio crosses $1 million mark: ‘This is just a childhood dream’

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‘Jeopardy!’ champion Matt Amodio crosses $1 million mark: ‘This is just a childhood dream’

Amodio, a Yale Ph.D student, has officially become the third player in the game’s history to win over $1 million during regular-season play, earning a total of $1,004,001 during his 28-game streak. (Jeopardy!)

(WTNH) – He ranks third in the “Jeopardy!” Hall of Fame for consecutive games won and highest winnings in regular-season play.

Who is Matt Amodio?

That’s correct.

Amodio, a Yale Ph.D student, has officially become the third player in the game’s history to win over $1 million during regular-season play, earning a total of $1,004,001 during his 28-game streak.

Amodio spoke to WTNH earlier this week, saying he used to dream of becoming a sports legend like Hank Aaron or Babe Ruth throughout his childhood. Instead, he now stands almost side-by-side with Ken Jennings and James Holzhauer.

As fans of “Jeopardy!” know, that’s rarified air: Jennings and Holzhauer rank first and second for total winnings during regular-season play.

“I see my face and my name next to these legends,” Amodio said of his fellow “Jeopardy!” champions. “And I’m like, OK, this is just a childhood dream. And this isn’t real.”

Amodio, a Yale computer science Ph.D. student, says he has far exceeded his own expectations. Heading into next week’s games, he’s officially a “Jeopardy!” millionaire, a feat accomplished by only three other players in the show’s history. (In addition to Jennings and Holzhauer, Brad Rutter has well surpassed the million-dollar mark, though Rutter earned most of his winnings during tournament play.)

Growing up in Ohio, Amodio said he watched “Jeopardy!” all the time with his family. But these days, watching an episode on TV is a totally different experience.

“It’s a crazy feeling,” he said. “I finally got to see what it’s like to be on the stage and have that perspective. And so for the first time I’m watching these episodes and saying ‘Oh, I know where that camera is.’ Or ‘Ah, I know where they’re looking when they’re facing that way.’ And so it gives me that insider feeling”.

Despite all of his success on the show, Amodio has faced a slight bit of controversy for how he plays — specifically, his strategy of starting nearly every one of his responses with “what’s,” instead of “what is.”

Amodio says there’s a reason for this approach, telling “Jeopardy!” fans that he chose “what’s” because it’s the “simplest, most repeatable” phrase he could think of.

He’s not breaking any rules, but he does acknowledge that some of the show’s fans were a bit irritated by him early on.

“I have thick skin. There was a part of me that actually was amused by how annoyed they were,” Amodio said. “But, also in the back of my head, I knew we were only three games in, and they said, ‘I can’t wait for this guy to lose.’ And I was saying, ‘You might have to wait a while.’”

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Readers and Writers: Kate DiCamillo and the story behind the creation of ‘The Beatryce Prophecy’

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Readers and Writers: Kate DiCamillo and the story behind the creation of ‘The Beatryce Prophecy’

“It is written in the Chronicles of Sorrowing
that one day there will come a child
who will unseat a king.
The prophecy states that this child will be a girl.
Because of this,
the prophecy has long been ignored.”
— From “The Beatryce Prophecy”

Kate DiCamillo had only three words in her mind when she began her luminous new novel — monk, moon and goat. Where would she go from there?

“How those three words led to ‘The Beatryce Prophecy,’ I have no idea,” DiCamillo said with a laugh during a phone conversation from her Minneapolis home. “The story is smarter than I am. It’s about getting out of my own way and following these characters I care about.”

Those characters, who live in medieval times, include a girl who breaks the law by knowing how to read, a timid monk, and a loyal but fierce goat, one of DiCamllo’s most endearing characters.

DiCamillo, who is always fun to talk with, is one of the nation’s most popular children’s writers (although she insists her books are for all ages) with a total of 37 million copies in print worldwide. “The Beatryce Prophecy” aimed at middle-grade readers, is her 10th novel. She’s also written 13 chapter books, including the Bink & Gollie series with Alison McGhee, another about toast-loving pig Mercy Watson, and Tales From Deckawoo Drive.

Honored with two prestigious American Library Association Newbery Medals (for “The Tale of Despereaux” and “Flora and Ulysses”), she is former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

DiCamillo is 57, barely over 5 feet tall, and could pass for one of her young fans. She grew up in Florida and followed a friend to Minnesota, hoping her boyfriend would propose marriage. He didn’t and she stayed, even though she arrived — without socks — during one of this state’s coldest winters. She worked at a variety of jobs, including order fulfillment at the Bookmen distributorship in Minneapolis.

By the mid-1990s, DiCamillo was discouraged about being a writer. She was poor, her legs hurt from standing on concrete floors at the Bookmen, and she was accumulating more and more rejection slips. Thanks to the encouragement of author Jane Resh Thomas, she kept going, and in 1998 she won a Minnesota McKnight Artist Fellowship. Two years later, “Because of Winn-Dixie,” the story of a girl and her dog, was accepted for publication and became a bestseller.

Now,  two decades after her debut, DiCamillo is having a big year. Besides the new book, there are paperback film tie-in editions of  “Flora & Ulysses” and “The Tiger Rising.”

A GOAT’S SOUL

“The Beatryce Prophecy” centers on Beatryce, found by Brother Edik curled up in the barn of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. She’s bloody and dirty, hanging onto the ear of Answelica, the monastery’s ill-tempered goat. With a hard head and yellow eyes, Answelica is introduced in the book’s first three pages, the funniest DiCamillo has written:

“Answelica was a goat with teeth that were the mirror of her soul — large, sharp, and uncompromising.”

“I am so glad you thought those first pages were funny,” DiCamillo says, adding she wanted her readers to laugh. It’s this ability to turn a goat into an unlikely memorable character that makes DiCamillo’s fans love her.

Brother Edik is worried because years earlier he had prophesied — it’s written in the Chronicles of Sorrowing — that a girl would unseat a king. Now that girl has arrived, and he doesn’t know what to do. She doesn’t remember how she got to the monastery or anything about herself, including her name. But to the monks’ astonishment, she can read and write, talents unheard of in girls because they are forbidden to be literate.

The king, who knows about the prophecy, is looking for this girl who wants to kick him off his throne. So Brother Edik keeps her safe by cutting her hair to the scalp and dressing her like a monk. But she cannot stay in the monastery and so the girl, the goat and the monk set out to see the king, along with cheerful Jack, whom Beatryce is teaching to read.

Slowly, the girl’s memory returns and she knows she is Beatryce, daughter of a noble family. Meanwhile, the motley crew is being chased by the king’s men.

If you ask DeCaillo what the book is about, she’ll tell you she is the worst person to answer that question. Writing it, she says, was like trying to recapture the fragments of a dream.

“You can kind of remember, but it’s just out of your reach,” she says of this dream-like state. “It’s not anything to look at too directly or control too much. I don’t outline, so I never know what’s going to happen or how the story is going to unfold. Then a character like Answelica shows up and it’s a gift. I thought, ‘Boy, oh boy. This goat is stronger and smarter than me. I hope she doesn’t run away with the whole story.’ But she led us through it and kept us safe”

Then there’s Brother Edik, who sees beauty in the world. Edik has one wandering eye, which rolls around while the other eye looks straight ahead.

“I don’t know why he has this kind of eye,” DiCamillo says. “I kind of see the characters and that is what I saw. I really feel him and his ability to see beauty and life everywhere. Everybody, every goat, every tree, contains surprises and singularity for him. If you see the world that way, it’s easier to love it.”

BEATRYCE IN THE CLOSET

It isn’t unusual for an author to abandon a book when it isn’t working for some reason. That’s what happened to DiCamillo with “The Beatryce Prophecy.”

“I had started this book in 2009, worked on it a very short time, then put it aside and forgot about it entirely. I don’t remember why,” DeCamillo recalled. “Maybe it was just too emotionally close to my mother’s death that year. I wanted to write something funny and started working on ‘Flora & Ulysses,’ about a squirrel who gets sucked into a vacuum cleaner.”

That story was inspired by the vacuum cleaner belonging to her mother, Betty Gouff DiCamillo, to whom she dedicated the new book.

In 2017, DiCamillo was cleaning out her office closet and found the draft of the first part of a story about a girl named Beatryce. She sat down on the floor and read it as though it had been written by someone else.

“I thought, ‘This goat! This girl! I have to tell this story,’ ” she recalls. “I started writing two days later, following the characters through their world. I realized they learned how precious, important and powerful reading and writing can be. Maybe I knew in an emotional way it was about my mother and my own struggles learning to read.”

As a child, DiCamillo was desperate to read but she couldn’t do it.

“In those days, they taught reading with phonics that made no sense to me,” she recalls. (Phonics correlates an individual sound with its corresponding letter or letter group.)

“I was almost hysterical. I came home from school wailing to my mother. She said, ‘For Pete’s sake, calm down. You are smart. You can memorize the words.’ She made a heap of flashcards and after school we worked on memorizing. It worked, and what a gift from her. It was like, ‘Everybody get out of my way now.’ I wasn’t fully myself until I could read. That runs through all of ‘Beatryce,’ the importance or being able to read and write. My mother always saw me as a reader and that’s the first way I identify myself today.”

LEARNING FROM THE KIDS

“I never fully understand a book until I stand in front of a kid and talk about it,” DiCamillo says.

She discovered the importance of her young readers’ input way back when she stood in front of a class for the first time to talk about “Because of Winn-Dixie.”

“The teacher said, ‘We are going to talk about the book’s themes,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘We are?’ I literally started sweating. I had no idea about themes. The class discussed it and the teacher put themes up on the blackboard. When I got to my car I wrote them down so I’d have an answer for the next class.”

This personal connection with her fans when she’s signing books is what she missed during the months of COVID isolation when she couldn’t make personal appearances.

“Almost invariably there’s a kid in line telling me something he liked about one of my books and and I think, ‘This is why I came.’ Sometimes they say things to me they don’t want to say in front of anybody else,” she says. “It’s that intimacy that’s lost when you do it virtually.”

PANDEMIC WALKING AND WRITING

1632580982 311 Readers and Writers Kate DiCamillo and the story behind the
Author Kate DiCamillo and her dog, Ramona.

DiCamillo spent the lockdown months at home with Ramona, her mischievous, 5-year-old miniature Goldendoodle, named for Beverly Cleary’s popular novels.

“We walked and walked and walked,” DiCamillo recalls of their outings.  “We walked so much one of my friends asked if Ramona was getting enough protein because she looked a little skinny.”

When they weren’t walking, DiCamillo was working.

“I started writing fairytales,” she says. “It’s three novellas that will be published separately. Writing kept me calm and grounded.”

While she was walking and working, she was also anticipating publication Sept. 28 of “The Beatryce Prophecy,”

She needn’t have worried about how the book would fare, since it received starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, which called the novel “A book with an angelic soul.”

SOME THINGS IT’S ABOUT

And now we’re back to the beginning of this story. What is “The Beatryce Prophecy” about? Putting together everything DiCamillo said, it’s about love of reading and writing, the wonder of the natural world, the power of a girl with words, the loyalty of a goat and friendship.

This is what Beatryce thinks as she holds onto the ear of  Answelica the goat:

” I am Beatryce.I have friends in the world.
I no longer have hair. But I have friends.”

‘BEATRYCE PROPHECY’ BOOK LAUNCH

  • What: Kate DiCamillo introduces “The Beatryce Prophecy” in her first live appearance since COVID isolation.
  • When/Where: 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, in the Talking Volumes reading series: Fitzgerald Theater, 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul.
  • Admission: $30
  • Information: mprevents.org
  • Publisher/Price: Candlewick Press, $19.99
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Ex-stars John Randle, Kevin Williams call for Vikings to put up statue of Purple People Eaters

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Ex-stars John Randle, Kevin Williams call for Vikings to put up statue of Purple People Eaters

Hall of Famer John Randle believes a statue of the Purple People Eaters should be erected outside of U.S. Bank Stadium. And another former star Vikings defensive tackle has seconded the motion.

The Purple People Eaters were Minnesota’s famous defensive line that terrorized opponents from the late 1960s until the late 1970s.

“I would love to see a statue in front (of U.S. Bank Stadium) of the Purple People Eaters because when you talk about the Minnesota Vikings, you talk about the Purple People Eaters,’’ Randle, who starred for the Vikings at defensive tackle from 1990-2000. said recently. “That’s where it started, Minnesota Vikings football.’’

Kevin Williams, a Vikings defensive tackle from 2003-13 who will be inducted next Sunday into the team’s Ring of Honor at a home game against Cleveland, liked what Randle said.

“Definitely, that’s something they should look into,’’ Williams said. “That sounds like a great idea. You see these other teams put their great players outside their stadium. I mean, who is more deserving than those guys?”

The Purple People Eaters initially consisted of Alan Page (who played for Minnesota from 1967-78) and Gary Larsen (1965-74) at defensive tackle and Carl Eller (1964-78) and Jim Marshall (1961-79) at defensive end. Page and Eller are in the Hall of Fame and Larsen and Marshall each made two Pro Bowls.

When Larsen retired, defensive tackle Doug Sutherland (1971-80) took his place on the legendary line.

“I never thought a thing about it, but, yeah, that would be a heck of an honor,’’ Larsen said about the suggestion by Randle and Williams. “That would be something else, posing for a statue.”

Randle said he grew up admiring members of the Purple People Eaters. He was honored to meet them after he joined the Vikings.

“I remember when they put Jim Marshall in the Ring of Honor (in 1999),’’ Randle said. “I told him, ‘Thank for what you guys have done.’ …  And when I went into the Hall of Fame (in 2010 in Canton, Ohio), there were lot of Hall of Famers there, but when I saw Alan Page, it was almost like being christened by the queen, a feeling of knighthood. Because for me, that was the standard. That was one of the greatest stories, seeing him there.’’

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Working Strategies: Tips for surviving your annual performance review

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Working Strategies: No, really — ‘Why do you want this job?’

Fall is here, along with the fourth quarter of the business calendar. In some companies, annual performance reviews are right around the corner.

Amy Lindgren

For many employees, being reviewed can be a fraught process, too heavily weighted with measures that seem to lack meaning, such as the ubiquitous scale of 1 to 5 — based on what as the actual meaning of 5?

If you’ve heard of (or had) bosses who refuse to give a top ranking (because nobody’s perfect, and they don’t want you resting on your laurels), then you may already feel a bit jaded about the process. How can you be motivated by a system in which you can never achieve the goal?

In truth, managers aren’t thrilled by these systems either. It’s stressful to rank employees, especially when the forms seem to ignore the most important aspects of someone’s job. Now with so many people working remotely or covering more roles, managers may be even more challenged in this process.

If managers and employees both dislike performance reviews, why does the practice persist? That question does get asked from time to time. On balance, despite the drawbacks, it’s better for employees to work in a system that uses some kind of review, rather than one that doesn’t. If nothing else, it’s an annual opportunity to clear the air about duties and expectations.

Since the actual protocols differ from one company to the next, there isn’t a universal set of steps for succeeding at your next performance review. Even so, the following tips might give you a head start.

Ask for the form in advance. Assuming your company uses a form or some other prepared document, ask for it a month or more before your review would be scheduled. This lets you think about the areas you’ll be evaluated on, while getting started on any information you’re expected to prepare.

Review past evaluations. If you’ve been with this employer awhile, you’ve probably been through this process already. Past reviews will remind you of goals you’d intended to reach this year, along with other areas of improvement. They’ll also prepare you mentally for the process itself.

Talk to co-workers. If others have already been through their reviews, consider asking how it went. You don’t need to get personal. Just, “Did you think the process was different this year?” might be enough to elicit advice.

Gather your data. Did you take on extra duties this year, or cover different areas of your department? What did you learn that you might be taking for granted now, such as remote meeting processes? Did you hit or miss your work goals? Answering these kinds of questions might be a requirement of your review preparation process but if not, it’s still good data to have ready.

Mind your language. In the meeting itself, there are some things you want to avoid saying. For example, leave out unneeded modifiers such as “kind of” – as in, “I kind of led the transition process this year.” If you weren’t given official leadership status, the modifier is understandable but it’s still not strategic. Try this instead: “When the transition process gained momentum, I stepped forward to lead the stages taking place in my work area. That included.. and … and …”

Along the same lines, this isn’t the place to use “we” when “I” is justified. In the above example, saying “Our team took responsibility for…” might accurately be replaced with “I led our team in taking responsibility for…”

Ask for what you want. In many ways, this is the Year of the Employee. You don’t have free reign to get anything your heart desires, but you almost certainly have more leverage than you realize. Managers are losing sleep over worker retention issues when they’re already short-handed. Reasonable requests for schedule accommodations, tuition assistance or pay increases have more chance of success now than might usually be the case.

Ask what your manager wants. Not to be forgotten in this process is the manager, who likely oversees your career path in the company. What is the vision for the coming year and your role in the department? What goals does he or she have that you can help fulfill? Finding alignment between your goals and your manager’s goals is the sweet spot of the annual performance review; achieving this can make the process a valued tool rather than a dreaded ordeal.

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Franklin rallies past Duxbury in second half

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Big second half leads Springfield Central to road win at BC High

DUXBURY — Franklin head coach Eian Bain made it a point that he doesn’t have a bend-but-don’t-break type of defense, but his team surely doesn’t panic.

Trailing 14-0 with 7:16 left in the first half, the Panthers (3-0) rattled off 27 unanswered points and shut out Duxbury in the second half en route to a 27-14 non-league road victory Friday night.

Mack Gulla was outstanding in the trenches banging helmets for most of the game until he broke out a 45-yard off-right tackle touchdown run to seal the win with 1:35 remaining in the game. Gulla finished the game with 151 yards on 23 carries.

“Once we kind of settled down and realized the dogfight we were in we started to make those plays in the big moments,” said Bain. “Those are the best four defensive linemen in the state especially (Delby Lemieux), made life hard and we had to live in the life of two-three-four yards and then get them to wear down.”

Duxbury was in control early as Matt Festa was rolling to his right and left in the first half. Festa found his usual partner in crime Brady Madigan for a 22-yard touchdown and followed up that series with a 30-yard pass to Chris Walsh as Walsh laid out in the end zone for the circus catch and the 14-0 lead.

The defensive line for Duxbury, led by Lemieux, was up for the challenge, but the ground-and-pound game of Gulla set up Franklin’s screen and play-action in the backfield in the second quarter.

Shane Kindred scored on an end-around from right to left to go in from 18 yards out after some nifty footwork broke two tackles inside the 5-yard line, but Lemieux was at it again with the blocked extra point to leave the Panthers trailing, 14-6, with 3:43 left in the first half.

After a six-play drive stalled, Duxbury punted the ball away with only 39 seconds left on the clock and Franklin didn’t waste one second.

The clock seemed to expire as Will Tracey stepped out of bounds at the Dragons’ 35-yard line, but the officials put two seconds back on the clock. Jared Arone went to Tracey again, Tracey climbed the ladder, and pulled down the touchdown as time expired to give the Panthers all the momentum going into the lockers for the break.

“We could have easily taken the clock at that point, but I trust our kids. We ran a quick screen, a penalty happened, and we hit a quick out and bang — they had great coverage, but Will Tracey is the captain of the basketball team for a reason,” added Bain.

Duxbury again controlled the clock in the third quarter with an 11-play drive that stalled at the Panthers’ 10-yard line as Festa just couldn’t make the sticks on a 4th-and-3 quarterback keeper. The drive ate up 5:50 of the clock but Gulla was just about to punch in for work again and Duxbury knew they missed a golden opportunity.

“We didn’t execute there and it was a big play in the game, we had the momentum, and they made plays and we didn’t,” said Duxbury head coach Matt Landolfi. “(Gulla) is a beast, tough to take down so this is going to make us better as a team and that’s the plan and why you play (Division 1) teams and get better as a springboard.”

On the next series, Gulla carried the ball nine out of the first 11 plays from scrimmage as the Panthers marched the field into the fourth quarter. Gulla’s hard work between the tackles set up Arone for his second passing touchdown of the game and finished off the 90-yard series with a beautiful inside post route underneath by Will Deschenes as Arone hit the senior wideout in stride from 30 yards out.

Franklin held the 21-14 lead with 10:50 to go but Gulla was just too much down the stretch as he finally found the end zone on his 23rd carry of the game to lift Franklin to the victory.

Arone was super-efficient and finished 13-of-16 for 164 yards with two touchdowns for the Panthers, who face Mansfield next week.

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Brown leads St. Mary’s to big victory over Bishop Feehan

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Brown leads St. Mary’s to big victory over Bishop Feehan

ATTLEBORO — To this point in the high school football season, St. Mary’s (Lynn) has embraced the role of underdog in each of its matchups, and the formula seems to be working. Despite having to compete with schools from higher divisions, the Spartans have managed to find ways to win week in, week out.

Thanks to a fantastic performance by David Brown, that trend continued on Friday night. The junior running back racked up 18 carries for 140 yards and a trio of touchdowns, as St. Mary’s (3-0) opened its Catholic Central League slate with a massive 28-14 victory over Bishop Feehan on the road.

“Most people in the state see St. Mary’s as a small school in Lynn, Division 6,” Brown said afterward. “They don’t think we have a chance against any team that’s a bigger school … so (this is) a really big win for us.”

Brown wasted little time with getting his banner night underway. On just the second play from scrimmage in the opening quarter, the junior took a handoff from Ali Barry, shrugged off a few tackles, then broke off a 52-yard touchdown scamper to put the Spartans ahead, 7-0, just 1:07 into the action.

Bishop Feehan (2-1) would respond on its opening possession a few minutes later, as senior Aidan Crump connected with Matt Saunders for a 26-yard touchdown to make it a 7-7 contest with 6:13 to play in the stanza.

However, Brown was far from finished. With 1:15 to play in the first quarter, the junior appeared to be stood up after a short gain. But he would break loose, then proceed to shed countless tacklers as he rumbled to the house for an incredible 24-yard touchdown rush to make it 14-7.

“I kind of lost my balance at the first broken tackle,” Brown chuckled. “Then, the kid didn’t really come at me, so I used a stiff arm, then it was just about putting in strength. … I just saw the end zone, and I knew I was going for it. Nothing was going to stop me.”

With 4:38 remaining in the first half, Brown took a swing toss from Barry, then jogged in for a 5-yard touchdown run, as the Spartans extended their lead to 21-7.

After the Spartans blocked a punt attempt by Bishop Feehan, St. Mary’s would capitalize, as junior running back Derick Coulanges found the end zone from two yards out to put his team ahead, 28-7, a lead which the Spartans would never relinquish.

Barry added nine carries for 94 yards for St. Mary’s in the victory.

For Bishop Feehan, it was a difficult night, and things were only magnified by the absence of star running back Nick Yanchuk, who suffered a leg injury during a game with Attleboro last week.

Case Mankins would add a 1-yard rushing touchdown for the Shamrocks in the third quarter to cap the scoring.

Crump finished 8-for-24 passing, closing his night with 129 yards and a score. Cameron Burns rushed 15 times for 99 yards in the effort.

“I’m proud of my team,” said St. Mary’s coach Sean Driscoll. “Because the last couple of weeks, we’ve gotten our first team out in the second half, but to finish a complete game is big for us, especially in this league.”

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Witness: Taliban hang dead body in Afghan city’s main square

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Witness: Taliban hang dead body in Afghan city’s main square

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban hanged a dead body from a crane in the main square of Herat city in western Afghanistan, a witness said Saturday, in a gruesome display that signaled a return to some of the Taliban’s methods of the past.

Wazir Ahmad Seddiqi, who runs a pharmacy on the side of the square, told The Associated Press that four bodies were brought to the main square and three bodies were moved to other parts of the city for public display.

Seddiqi said the Taliban announced in the square that the four were caught taking part in a kidnapping and were killed by police.

Ziaulhaq Jalali, a Taliban appointed district police chief in Herat, said later that Taliban members rescued a father and son who had been abducted by four kidnappers after an exchange of gunfire. He said a Taliban fighter and a civilian were wounded by the kidnappers but “the four (kidnappers) were killed in crossfire.”

Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, one of the founders of the Taliban and the chief enforcer of its harsh interpretation of Islamic law when they last ruled Afghanistan, told The Associated Press this week that the hard-line movement will once again carry out executions and amputations of hands, though perhaps not in public.

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Leading Off: Nolan Arenado, Cardinals seek franchise-best 15th straight win

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Leading Off: Nolan Arenado, Cardinals seek franchise-best 15th straight win

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

RED-HOT REDBIRDS

The soaring Cardinals will try for a franchise-record 15th consecutive victory when they play the Cubs at Wrigley Field. St. Louis swept a doubleheader from Chicago on Friday, equaling a 14-game run by the team in July 1935. The winning streak has rocketed the Cardinals into control of the second NL wild card, leading Philadelphia by five games.

Left-hander Jon Lester (7-6, 4.59 ERA) is slated to pitch for St. Louis against Chicago right-hander Adrian Sampson (3-3, 2.84).

WHAT’S THE SCENARIO?

With a little help, Tampa Bay and Milwaukee can both clinch division crowns.

The defending AL champion Rays, who secured a postseason spot Wednesday, need a victory at home over Miami and a Boston loss to the Yankees at Fenway Park to win their second consecutive AL East title.

Corbin Burnes and the Brewers, already assured their fourth straight playoff berth, would wrap up their first NL Central championship since 2018 with a victory at home against the Mets and a loss by St. Louis to the Cubs in Chicago.

WILD CHASE

The Yankees and Red Sox continue a three-game set at Fenway Park with huge postseason implications. New York beat Boston 8-3 on Friday night to pull within a game of the Red Sox for the top AL wild card. Toronto and Seattle are two games behind the Yankees.

Left-hander Nestor Cortes (2-2, 2.79 ERA) has been on a bat-missing roll this month for New York, striking out 30 and walking six over 22 1/3 innings spanning four starts. He’ll oppose Red Sox righty Nick Pivetta, who is winless in his past five starts and allowed four runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Yankees on Aug. 18.

TUNING UP

Clayton Kershaw (10-7, 3.27 ERA) makes his third start since returning from the injured list when the Los Angeles Dodgers play at last-place Arizona. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has allowed two runs and struck out 13 over 9 1/3 innings since missing more than two months with inflammation in his left elbow.

The defending World Series champions are a game behind first-place San Francisco in the NL West, though both teams have clinched a playoff berth. Anthony DeSclafani (12-7, 3.23) pitches for the Giants in Colorado.

RANGER DANGER

The Phillies put their NL East hopes on emerging left-hander Ranger Suarez (6-5, 1.60), who is 1-2 with a 1.99 ERA in 10 starts since moving from the bullpen to the rotation in August. The 26-year-old will face the Pirates in a matinee as Philadelphia tries to gain ground on first-place Atlanta.

Right-hander Wil Crow (4-7, 5.77) is slated to start for Pittsburgh.

CEASE DESISTS

The AL Central champion White Sox were dealt a potential blow to their playoff prep when starter Dylan Cease was struck in his pitching arm by a comebacker Friday night. The club said Cease has a bruised right triceps and X-rays were negative after he was hit by a one-hopper from Cleveland’s Bradley Zimmer in the sixth inning.

Cease attempted a few practice pitches before leaving the field, interrupting a shutout performance. He exited with nine strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings, lowering his ERA to 3.95.

BANNED BLUE JAY

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Albany County coronavirus update, September 25

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102 new positive cases Albany County’s Sept. 17 COVID report

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Albany County

ALBANY COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany County Executive Dan McCoy provided the latest report on the county’s progress on vaccinations and controlling the spread of the coronavirus. 

As of Friday, it is reported that 71.2% of all Albany County residents have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, and 65.3% have been fully vaccinated. The first dose vaccination rate for the county’s 18+ population is now up to 82.2%. More information on vaccination rates can be found at the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker at the link here.

County Executive McCoy announced that the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Albany County is now at 28,432 to date, with 87 new positive cases identified since Friday. The county’s five-day average of new daily positive cases is now up to 92.8. Albany County’s most recent seven-day average of percent positive rates is now 4.1% and the Capital Region’s average rate is 3.8%.

Among the new daily cases of COVID identified in the county, 18 reportedly had close contacts to positive cases, 68 did not have clear sources of infection at this time, and one is a healthcare worker or resident of a congregate living setting.

Health officials say there are now 550 active cases in the county, down from 561 Friday. The number of people under mandatory quarantine decreased to 1,030 from 1,156. So far 89,060 people have completed quarantine to date. Of those who completed quarantine, 27,882 of them had tested positive and recovered – an increase of 92 additional recoveries.

The County Executive reported that there were two new hospitalizations since Friday, and 34 county residents are still hospitalized with the virus. There are currently seven patients in ICU’s, down from eight since the last update. There are no new COVID deaths to report and the death toll for Albany County stands at 401 since the outbreak began.

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Canadians home after Huawei CFO resolves US charges

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Canadians home after Huawei CFO resolves US charges

By ROB GILLIES

TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hugged two Canadians who landed in Canada on Saturday following what amounted to a high-stakes prisoner swap involving China, the U.S. and Canada.

Trudeau greeted Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor after their plane landed in Calgary, Alberta early Saturday. The men were arrested in China in December 2018, shortly after Canada arrested Meng on a U.S. extradition request. Many countries labeled China’s action “hostage politics.”

Live footage on CTV’s news network showed the two men being hugged by Trudeau on the tarmac in the early morning.

The two left China just after a top executive of Chinese communications giant Huawei Technologies reached a deal with the U.S. Justice Department over fraud charges and flew from Canada to China.

The chain of events involving the global powers brought an abrupt end to legal and geopolitical wrangling that for the past three years has roiled relations between Washington, Beijing and Ottawa. The three-way deal enabled China and Canada to each bring home their own detained citizens while the U.S. wrapped up a criminal case against a prominent Chinese tech executive that for months had been mired in an extradition fight.

The first activity came Friday afternoon when Meng Wanzhou, 49, Huawei’s chief finance officer and the daughter of the company’s founder, reached an agreement with federal prosecutors that called for fraud charges against her to be dismissed next year and allowed for her to return to China immediately. As part of the deal, known as a deferred prosecution agreement, she accepted responsibility for misrepresenting the company’s business dealings in Iran.

“These two men have been through an unbelievably difficult ordeal. For the past 1,000 days, they have shown strength, perseverance and grace and we are all inspired by that,” Trudeau said a hastily called news conference late Friday night.

News of Meng’s pending return was a top item on the Chinese internet and on state broadcaster CCTV’s midday news report, with no mention made of the release of Kovrig and Spavor.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reposted on social media a report on Meng having left Canada, adding “Welcome home.”

Video was also circulated online of Meng speaking at Vancouver International Airport, saying; “Thank you motherland, thank you to the people of the motherland. You have been my greatest pillar of support.”

The deal was reached as President Joe Biden and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have sought to tamp down signs of public tension — even as the world’s two dominant economies are at odds on issues as diverse as cybersecurity, climate change, human rights and trade and tariffs. Biden said in an address before the U.N. General Assembly earlier this week that he had no intention of starting a “new Cold War,” while Xi told world leaders that disputes among countries “need to be handled through dialogue and cooperation.”

“The U.S. Government stands with the international community in welcoming the decision by People’s Republic of China authorities to release Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig after more than two-and-a-half years of arbitrary detention. We are pleased that they are returning home to Canada,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

As part of the deal with Meng, which was disclosed in federal court in Brooklyn, the Justice Department agreed to dismiss the fraud charges against her in December 2022 — exactly four years after her arrest — provided that she complies with certain conditions, including not contesting any of the government’s factual allegations. The Justice Department also agreed to drop its request that Meng be extradited to the U.S., which she had vigorously challenged, ending a process that prosecutors said could have persisted for months.

After appearing via videoconference for her New York hearing, Meng made a brief court appearance in Vancouver, where she’d been out on bail living in a multimillion-dollar mansion while the two Canadians were held in Chinese prison cells where the lights were kept on 24 hours a day.

Outside the courtroom, Meng thanked the Canadian government for upholding the rule of law, expressed gratitude to the Canadian people and apologized “for the inconvenience I caused.”

“Over the last three years my life has been turned upside down,” she said. “It was a disruptive time for me as a mother, a wife and as a company executive. But I believe every cloud has a silver lining. It really was an invaluable experience in my life. I will never forget all the good wishes I received.”

Shortly afterward, Meng left on an Air China flight for Shenzhen, China, the location of Huawei’s headquarters.

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies. It has been a symbol of China’s progress in becoming a technological world power — and a subject of U.S. security and law enforcement concerns. Some analysts say Chinese companies have flouted international rules and norms and stolen technology.

The case against Meng stems from a January 2019 indictment from the Trump administration Justice Department that accused Huawei of stealing trade secrets and using a Hong Kong shell company called Skycom to sell equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. The indictment also charged Meng herself with committing fraud by misleading the HSBC bank about the company’s business dealings in Iran.

The indictment came amid a broader Trump administration crackdown against Huawei over U.S. government concerns that the company’s products could facilitate Chinese spying. The administration cut off Huawei’s access to U.S. components and technology, including Google’s music and other smartphone services, and later barred vendors worldwide from using U.S. technology to produce components for Huawei.

The Biden White House, meanwhile, has kept up a hard line on Huawei and other Chinese corporations whose technology is thought to pose national security risks.

Huawei has repeatedly denied the U.S. government’s allegations and security concerns about its products.

Meng had long fought the Justice Department’s extradition request, with her lawyers calling the case against her flawed and alleging that she was being used as a “bargaining chip” in political gamesmanship. They cited a 2018 interview in which then-President Donald Trump said he’d be willing to intervene in the case if it would help secure a trade deal with China or aid U.S. security interests.

Last month, a Canadian judge held off on ruling whether Meng should be extradited to the U.S. after a Canadian Justice Department lawyer wrapped up his case saying there was enough evidence to show she was dishonest and deserved to stand trial in the U.S.

Comfort Ero, the interim Vice President of the International Crisis Group, Kovrig’s employer, said they have been waiting for more than 1,000 days for the news.

“Michael Kovrig is free. To Beijing: We welcome this most just decision. To Ottawa: Thank you for your steadfast support for our colleague. To the United States: Thank you for your willingness to support an ally and our colleague. To the inimitable, indefatigable, and inspiring Michael Kovrig, welcome home!” Ero said in a statement.

____

Associated Press writer Jim Morris in Vancouver, Canada, contributed to this report.

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