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The road show starts with Vice President Harris and Jill Biden promoting the aid initiative.

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The road show starts with Vice President Harris and Jill Biden promoting the aid initiative.
The road show starts with Vice President Harris and Jill Biden promoting the aid initiative.

The road show starts with Vice President Harris and Jill Biden promoting the aid initiative.

 

President Joe Biden’s top messengers, including his vice president and wife, led a cross-country campaign Monday to demonstrate the benefits of his massive COVID relief initiative, from a vaccination site in the desert West to a grade school on the Eastern seaboard.

This week, Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and their spouses began an extensive tour to support the $1.9 trillion initiative as a way to combat the pandemic while also boosting the economy.

The White House called the trip the “Help is Here” tour after Harris visited a COVID-19 vaccine site and a culinary academy in Las Vegas, while first lady Jill Biden toured a New Jersey elementary school. Biden is scheduled to leave on Tuesday.

At the culinary academy, Harris said, “We want to prevent a situation where people are unsure of what they’re entitled to.” “It’s not about selling it; it’s about educating people about their rights. Consider it something of a public awareness campaign.”

The White House is wasting no time in pushing the relief package, which Biden signed into law last week, in the hopes of gaining traction for the rest of his agenda and avoiding the mistakes made in 2009 when it came to improving the recovery effort. And veterans of President Barack Obama’s administration concede that they did not do enough to support his massive economic stimulus program at the time.

For a day, Biden remained in Washington, announcing that “hope is here in true and tangible ways.” He claims that the increased government spending would fund attempts to help the country recover from the pandemic’s twin crises of health and economics.

At the White House, Biden said, “Shots in guns and money in pockets.” “That is critical. The American Rescue Plan is already accomplishing its goal of making a difference in people’s lives. “We’ve only just begun.”

Biden stated that his administration would achieve two significant milestones in the next ten days: the distribution of 100 million stimulus payments and the administration of 100 million vaccine doses since taking office. To mark the anniversaries, Biden and his top advisers are embarking on the most ambitious travel schedule of his young presidency, visiting a number of possible election battleground states this week.

Republicans were turned off by the sales pitch.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, dismissed Biden’s dose target as “not some audacious aim,” but rather the speed he inherited. He also called Biden’s remarks about Americans working toward the ability to meet in small groups by July 4th “bizarre.”

Despite polls showing widespread public support, the Biden proposal failed to gain Republican support in Congress. Republicans argued that the bill was too costly, particularly considering how far vaccines have advanced against the virus, and that it included too many provisions that were not specifically relevant to the pandemic.

Biden will fly to Pennsylvania on Tuesday and then join Harris in Georgia on Friday, after kicking off the sales campaign with high-profile speeches. Others on his team are in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and New Hampshire, all of which are vital electoral states. Harris’ first official trip in office took place on Monday, which included an unscheduled stop at a vegan taco stand and a coffee stand at the Culinary Academy Las Vegas.

“We want to take some time to communicate directly with the American people to make sure they understand the advantages of the package and how it can help them get through this tough period,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Each day’s theme has been laid out by the White House, with an emphasis on small businesses, colleges, home evictions, and direct checks to the majority of Americans. Jill Biden was accompanied by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on a tour of Samuel Smith Elementary School in Burlington on Monday, where she highlighted the school’s reopening efforts.

Her tour, however, showed the difficulties ahead: in one classroom she visited, only two students were present for in-person instruction, while the other 17 were virtual. The first lady sat down at a desk to greet the distant students.

“I really love being back in a school: Educators, parents, and students, the whole school has rallied to get kids back in the classroom,” she said. “However, despite the best intentions, students are unable to participate, and they are unable to attend every day, which means that their parents are either forced to take time off work or find childcare options. And without support, this school, like schools around the country, would not be able to completely reopen.”

On Monday, the president also revealed that Gene Sperling, a former Democratic economic policy specialist, would be in charge of overseeing the massive stimulus program, a position that Biden had played in the 2009 economic rescue package. Biden claimed that the goal is to “keep on top of every dollar invested.”

“I learned how crucial it is to have someone who can handle all the moving parts with performance, speed, honesty, and transparency from my experience enforcing the Recovery Act,” the president said.

Direct payments of $1,400 for most single taxpayers, or $2,800 for married couples filing jointly, plus $1,400 per dependent — a total of $5,600 for a married couple with two children — are among the plan’s highlights. People with higher salaries have their subsidies phased out.

Federal unemployment insurance will be extended until Sept. 6 at a weekly rate of $300. Among other provisions, there is $350 billion for federal, local, and tribal governments, $130 billion for K-12 colleges, and about $50 billion to improve COVID-19 testing.

Restaurants and bars who have been forced to close or curtail service will apply for a multibillion-dollar grant, and the package also includes tens of billions of dollars to assist individuals who have fallen behind on rent or mortgage payments.

Doug Emhoff, Harris’ husband, accompanied his wife on the Western journey, stopping by a food relief agency in Las Vegas on Monday and engaging in a listening session with the organization’s partners. Cabinet secretaries will also be on the trip, in addition to the president, vice president, and their spouses. Hundreds of mayors and governors, including Republicans, have agreed to offer interviews to discuss the plan’s implications for their respective communities.

On Monday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited a UPS distribution center in Landover, Maryland, which also delivers vaccines to the Washington region.

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Bruins place John Moore, Chris Wagner on waivers

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Bruins Notebook: Fourth line a work in progress

The Bruins were going to have to make some tough decisions on their roster and, on Saturday, they made a couple of them.

With 27 players left in camp for for 23 roster spots, the B’s placed veterans John Moore and Chris Wagner on waivers, according to multiple reports. Whether any team chooses to take on the vets’ contracts is questionable. The defenseman Moore, currently slotted as the seventh or eight defenseman, has a cap hit of $2.75 million this year and next while Wagner, who lost his regular place on the fourth line last year, has a cap hit of $1.35 million this year and next.

Moore is attempting to come back from hip surgery and has had a good camp. From a financial standpoint, it makes sense that the club would dangle his contract. On the other hand, the B’s have a dearth of ready right shot defenseman in their system and Moore, though a lefty, has played the right side and played it well in camp. Perhaps they believe Brady Lyle, now in Providence, is ready to step up and play in the NHL if need be, or maybe they’re eyeing a player outside the organization.

For Wagner, it seemed telling that with Curtis Lazar out week-to-week with an upper body injury which he suffered in the preseason finale on Wednesday, Karson Kuhlman took Lazar’s right wing spot on the fourth line centered by Tomas Nosek, who appears to have the inside track for that spot, in Friday’s practice. Kuhlman, on a one-way deal with a cap hit of $750,000, would have also required waivers to be sent to Providence.

We’ll find out at 2 p.m. on Sunday if Moore and Wagner clear waivers.

The B’s are also mulling what to do with Jack Studnicka, who also had a strong camp but does not require waivers to be sent to Providence.

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Vikings elevate two cornerbacks off practice squad, waive WR Dan Chisena

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Vikings elevate two cornerbacks off practice squad, waive WR Dan Chisena

With Cameron Dantzler and Harrison Smith both on the COVID-19 list, the Vikings on Saturday elevated two cornerbacks off the practice squad for Sunday’s game against Detroit.

Tye Smith was a standard elevation and Parry Nickerson was a COVID-19 replacement elevation. Unless Nickerson was signed to the 53-man roster, that was the only way he could be eligible for the game since he already has had the two standard elevations this season.

The Vikings also elevated to the roster guard Dakota Dozier, who is out of standard elevations, as a COVID-19 replacement. In order to create a second spot for a COVID-19 replacement, the Vikings waived wide receiver Dan Chisena, a special-teams ace who had made the team last season as an undrafted rookie free agent.

Chisena, who was activated off injured reserve on Wednesday after missing the first four days due to an undisclosed injury, had taken one roster spot after Dantzler went on the COVID-19 list Monday and Hand went on it Tuesday. And the Vikings needed two open roster spots to be able elevate both NIckerson and Dozier to face the Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium.

After he was put on the COVID-19 list, Dantzler tweeted that he was fully vaccinated and would be back on the roster soon. But Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on Wednesday would not confirm that.

Smith, elevated off the practice squad for the first time this season, will provide depth at outside cornerback behind starters Patrick Peterson and Bashaud Breeland and top reserve Kris Boyd. Nickerson will be the backup nickelback to Mackensie Alexander.

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Patriots CB Jalen Mills, LB Ronnie Perkins ruled out against Texans

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Patriots CB Jalen Mills, LB Ronnie Perkins ruled out against Texans

Shortly before flying to Houston, the Patriots ruled out cornerback Jalen Mills and rookie linebacker Ronnie Perkins for Sunday’s game against the Texans.

Mills had been listed as questionable with a hamstring injury, after he played a key role in the defense’s strong showing last weekend against Tampa Bay. His absence may force the Pats to start backup Joejuan Williams opposite J.C. Jackson. Williams was a healthy scratch against the Bucs.

Staring nickelback Jonathan Jones could also move outside, though he’s best suited in the slot and at safety and currently dealing with an ankle injury. Jackson and Williams are the team’s only fully healthy corners, with Justin Bethel downgraded to questionable with a hamstring injury.

Perkins has yet to appear in an NFL game.

The Patriots are expected to announce two practice-squad elevations later Saturday afternoon, including at least one offensive linemen. In light of their downgrades, second-year defensive back Myles Bryant could also be a candidate for promotion.

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Retrospective celebrates 30 years of James Sewell Ballet

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Retrospective celebrates 30 years of James Sewell Ballet

Twin Cities dance stalwart James Sewell Ballet has been on its toes for three decades.

In an anniversary showcase celebration Oct. 16-17, performers will revisit favorites from the past along with new hits. The program will also feature a new piece from Da’Rius Malone, who was recently named resident choreographer of the James Sewell Ballet for the 2021-2022 season.

Live musicians will accompany select works.

Details: The Cowles Center – Goodale Theater, 528 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; $30-$25;  612-206-3600 or thecowlescenter.org.

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Source: DA seeking to indict Robert Durst in ex-wife’s death

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Source: DA seeking to indict Robert Durst in ex-wife’s death

NEW YORK — A New York prosecutor will seek an indictment in the coming weeks against millionaire real estate scion Robert Durst for the death of his former wife, Kathie Durst, who disappeared in 1982, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Friday.

Westchester District Attorney Mimi Rocah decided in recent days to take the case to a grand jury in the next week or two, according to the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and did so on condition of anonymity. The grand jury process is expected to take about a month, the person said.

The news was first reported Friday by News 12 in Westchester.

Kathie Durst’s disappearance has shadowed Robert Durst, 78, for years, highlighted in an HBO documentary in which he appeared to admit killing people and culminating last month in his conviction in California for murdering a confidante whom prosecutors say helped him cover up Kathie Durst’s killing.

A message seeking comment was left Friday with the Westchester district attorney’s office, which previously said that it reopened the investigation into Kathie Durst’s death. In a statement issued after Durst’s conviction last month, a spokesperson for Rocah’s office said its investigation was ongoing.

Durst’s lawyer, David Chesnoff, said: “I don’t respond to rumors.”

Robert Durst is jailed in Los Angeles and scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 14 for the 2000 killing of his friend, Susan Berman. His first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Durst, the eccentric heir to a family of New York City developers, is now sick and frail. He sat throughout the trial in a wheelchair, spoke slowly in a strained, raspy voice when he testified in his own defense and read his lawyer’s questions from a tablet giving live transcriptions because he struggles with hearing.

Los Angeles prosecutors say Durst shot Berman at her Los Angeles home in December 2000 as she was preparing to tell police about her involvement in Kathie Durst’s death. She had told friends she provided a phony alibi for him after his wife vanished, prosecutors said.

“He’s a narcissistic psychopath. He killed his wife and then he had to keep killing to cover it up,“ Deputy District Attorney John Lewin said after Durst’s conviction in the Los Angeles case.

Kathie Durst was 29 and in her final months of medical school when she vanished on Jan. 31, 1982. She and Robert Durst, who was 38 at the time, had been married nearly nine years and were living in South Salem, near the Connecticut border. Her body was never found. At the request of her family, she was declared legally dead in 2017.

Robert Durst claimed to police that on the night of her disappearance, he’d put her on a train to New York City, had a drink with a neighbor and then spoke with Kathie Durst by telephone while she stayed at their Manhattan apartment. They’d been fighting earlier in the evening, he said. A few weeks before that, Kathie Durst went to the hospital with facial injuries she said were caused by Robert Durst.

In the 2015 HBO documentary “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst,” he admitted he made up the details about seeing his neighbor and talking to Kathie Durst by phone, saying he did so because he was “hoping that would just make everything go away.”

In the same documentary, after filmmakers confronted Durst with evidence linking him to Berman’s killing, he stepped off camera and muttered to himself on a live microphone in the bathroom: “Killed them all, of course.”

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Texas clinics cancel abortions after court reinstates ban

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Texas clinics cancel abortions after court reinstates ban

By PAUL J. WEBER

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas abortion clinics on Saturday canceled appointments they had booked during a 48-hour reprieve from the most restrictive abortion law in the U.S., which was back in effect as weary providers again turn their sights to the Supreme Court.

The Biden administration, which sued Texas over the law known as Senate Bill 8, has yet to say whether it will go that route after a federal appeals court reinstated it late Friday. The law bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected, usually around six weeks, before some women know they are pregnant. It makes no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

The White House had no immediate comment Saturday.

But for now at least, the law is in the hands of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which allowed the restrictions to resume pending further arguments. In the meantime, Texas abortions providers and patients are right back to where they’ve been for most of the last six weeks.

Out-of-state clinics already inundated with Texas patients seeking abortions were again the closest option for many women. Providers say others are being forced to carry pregnancies to term, or waiting in hopes that courts will strike down the law that took effect on Sept. 1.

There are also new questions — including whether anti-abortion advocates will try punishing Texas physicians who performed abortions during the brief window the law was paused from late Wednesday to late Friday. Texas leaves enforcement solely in the hands of private citizens who can collect $10,000 or more in damages if they successfully sue abortion providers who flout the restrictions.

Texas Right to Life, the state’s largest anti-abortion group, created a tip line to receive reports of violators. About a dozen calls came in after U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman suspended the law, said John Seago, the group’s legislative director.

Although some Texas clinics acknowledged they had briefly resumed abortions on patients who were beyond six weeks, Seago said his group had no lawsuits in the works. He said the clinics’ public statements did not “match up with what we saw on the ground,” which he says include a network of observers and crisis pregnancy centers.

“I don’t have any credible evidence at the moment of litigation that we would we would bring forward,” Seago said Saturday.

Texas had roughly two dozen abortion clinics before the law took effect. At least six clinics resumed performing abortions after six weeks of pregnancy during the reprieve, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

At Whole Woman’s Health, which has four abortion clinics in Texas, president and CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller said she did not have the number of abortions her locations performed for patients beyond six weeks but put it at “quite a few.” She said her clinics were again complying with the law and acknowledged the risks her physicians and staff had taken.

“Of course we are all worried,” she said. “But we also feel a deep commitment to providing abortion care when it is legal to do so, we did.”

Pitman, the federal judge who halted the Texas law Wednesday in a blistering 113-page opinion, was appointed by President Barack Obama. He called the law an “offensive deprivation” of the constitutional right to an abortion, but his ruling was swiftly set aside in a one-page order by the 5th Circuit.

That same appeals court previously allowed the Texas restrictions to take effect in September, in a separate lawsuit brought by abortion providers. This time, the court gave the Justice Department until 5 p.m. Tuesday to respond.

Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, urged the Supreme Court to “step in and stop this madness.” Last month, the Supreme Court allowed the law to move forward in a 5-4 decision, although it did so without ruling on the law’s constitutionality.

A 1992 decision by the Supreme Court prevented states from banning abortion before viability, the point at which a fetus can survive outside the womb, around 24 weeks of pregnancy. But Texas’ version has outmaneuvered courts due to its novel enforcement mechanism that leaves enforcement to private citizens and not prosecutors, which critics say amounts to a bounty.

The Biden administration could bring the case back to the Supreme Court and ask it to quickly restore Pitman’s order, although it is unclear whether they will do so.

“I’m not very optimistic about what could happen at the Supreme Court,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, about the Justice Department’s chances.

“But there’s not much downside either, right?” he said. “The question is, what’s changed since the last time they saw it? There is this full opinion, this full hearing before the judge and the record. So that may be enough.”

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Taliban say they won’t work with U.S. to contain Islamic State

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Taliban say they won’t work with U.S. to contain Islamic State

ISLAMABAD — The Taliban on Saturday ruled out cooperation with the United States to contain extremist groups in Afghanistan, staking out an uncompromising position on a key issue ahead of the first direct talks between the former foes since America withdrew from the country in August.

Senior Taliban officials and U.S. representatives are to meet Saturday and Sunday in Doha, the capital of Qatar. Officials from both sides have said issues include reining in extremist groups and the evacuation of foreign citizens and Afghans from the country. The Taliban have signaled flexibility on evacuations.

However, Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen told The Associated Press there would be no cooperation with Washington on containing the increasingly active Islamic State group in Afghanistan. IS has taken responsibility for a number of recent attacks, including a suicide bombing Friday that killed 46 minority Shiite Muslims and wounded dozens as they prayed in a mosque in the northern city of Kunduz.

“We are able to tackle Daesh independently,” Shaheen said, when asked whether the Taliban would work with the U.S. to contain the Islamic State affiliate. He used an Arabic acronym for IS.

IS has carried out relentless assaults on the country’s Shiites since emerging in eastern Afghanistan in 2014. It is also seen as the terror group that poses the greatest threat to the United States for its potential to stage attacks on American targets.

The weekend meetings in Doha are the first since U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan in late August, ending a 20-year military presence as the Taliban overran the country. The U.S. has made it clear the talks are not a preamble to recognition.

The talks also come on the heels of two days of difficult discussions between Pakistani officials and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in Islamabad that focused on Afghanistan. Pakistani officials urged the U.S. to engage with Afghanistan’s new rulers and release billions of dollars in international funds to stave off an economic meltdown.

Pakistan also had a message for the Taliban, urging them to become more inclusive and pay attention to human rights and minority ethnic and religious groups.

Afghanistan’s Shiite clerics assailed the Taliban rulers following Friday’s attack, demanding greater protection at their places of worship. The IS affiliate claimed responsibility and identified the bomber as a Uyghur Muslim. The claim said the attack targeted both Shiites and the Taliban for their purported willingness to expel Uyghurs to meet demands from China. It was the deadliest attack since U.S. and NATO troops left Afghanistan on Aug. 30.

Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Program at the U.S.-based Wilson Center, said Friday’s attack could be a harbinger of more violence. Most of the Uyghur militants belong to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which has found a safe haven in the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan for decades.

“If the (IS) claim is true, China’s concerns about terrorism in (Afghanistan)–to which the Taliban claims to be receptive—will increase,” he tweeted following the attack.

Meanwhile, the Taliban began busing Afghans who had fled from the insurgents’ blitz takeover in August and were living in tents in a Kabul park back to their homes in the country’s north, where threats from IS are mounting following the Kunduz attack.

A Taliban official in charge of refugees, Mohammed Arsa Kharoti, said there are up to 1.3 million Afghans displaced from past wars and that the Taliban lack funds to organize the return home for all. He said the Taliban have organized the return of 1,005 displaced families to their homes so far.

Shokria Khanm, who had spent several weeks in one of the tents in the park and was waiting Saturday to board the Taliban-organized bus back home to Kunduz, said she isn’t concerned about the growing IS threat in the northern province.

“At least there we have four walls,” she said but added that she was nervous about the future after fighting between the Taliban and Afghan government troops had destroyed her house.

“Winter is on the way. There is no firewood. We need water and food,” she said.

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High school soccer notebook: Dedham High girls chasing TVL Small title

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High school soccer notebook: Dedham High girls chasing TVL Small title

When Dedham High made the jump from the Bay State Conference to the Tri-Valley League in 2017, it was with an eye toward creating a more competitive atmosphere for its teams against schools of similar size.

One Marauder program that never needed a boost in the BSC was girls soccer, which won eight Herget titles in a 14-year span from 1999 to 2012 despite being the smallest school in the division.

That dominance hadn’t translated in their transition to the TVL until this fall as Dedham is the last unbeaten team in a stacked league, entering the weekend at 6-0-5 and bidding for their first TVL Small title.

“I know people think we have a good league, but I don’t think people realize just how good it is,” said veteran Dedham coach Don Savi of the TVL. “This year you have at least 10 teams that should make the tournament, and the league is doing well in the new rating system because we have done well out of the league. There is definitely no drop-off from the Bay State Conference.”

A big key for the Marauders this year has been consistency as they have given themselves a chance to win each time out. Dedham sits one point behind defending champion Dover-Sherborn in the Small as it prepares for is second trip through the division, and has gone 3-0-2 so far against the Large side.

With strength of schedule paramount this year, Dedham aggressively booked two quality Division 1 squads out of the BSC for nonleague contests. The Marauders battled Natick to a 1-1 tie earlier and had Newton North on Saturday.

“I just think we have been focused every game and ready to play,” said Savi. “Word gets out quickly that you have a pretty good team so we get everyone’s best shot and in turn we have to be ready to play every game, so we have done a nice job of showing up every day.”

The catalyst for that attitude is senior Abbey Finn, a Providence-bound center midfielder who is the heartbeat of the attack. Finn is in her third season with the Marauders as she spent her freshman year with an academy team, making her unable to play for Dedham.

“At the time, it didn’t seem like a difficult decision, but now that I have played three years I wish that I could have played freshman year so I could have had the freshman experience I guess,” said Finn. “Club and high school are so different. It’s a super cool experience to be able to play with my friends and be able to have fun with the game and not stress as much.”

Finn has registered five goals and three assists through 11 games, but her influence is felt far beyond the numbers.

“When we got her back it raised our skill level and the people around her,” said Savi. “She plays endline to endline and doesn’t take anything off, so when you see your best player doing that, they say I have to give 100 percent, too.”

Finn comes from a soccer family. Her father, John Finn, was boys soccer coach at Catholic Memorial for several years and instrumental in her development.

Younger sister Ava Finn is a freshman with the Marauder varsity, stepping immediately into a crucial role for the Dedham defense as starting center back. The Marauders have not surrendered more than one goal in a game this year despite having a sophomore making her varsity debut in net, Chea Michaelidis, who has recorded six shutouts.

The elder Finn is part of a talented senior class that has four other starters it leans on heavily in forwards Jamie McDonough — Dedham’s leading scorer with seven goals — and Alyssa Keane, midfielder Catherine Morse, and defender Kate Dooley.

“We have a really good group of leaders on this team,” said Finn. “The senior class is super close and we just make a really good, positive environment for the rest of the team.”

But the player that comes closest to matching Finn in impact is junior Lily Roslonek, her partner in the middle of the field that has a penchant for making things happen.

“She is just relentless,” said Savi. “She has a motor that just doesn’t quit.”

Dedham has enjoyed plenty of postseason success under Savi, winning South sectional titles in both Div. 2 and 3. The Marauders landed at No. 5 in Div. 3 when the MIAA released the first edition of the girls soccer ratings and could be primed for another deep tournament run.

“We will see how the draw goes, but we will come to play,” said Savi. “We are excited for it. With the new format we will see how it plays out, but there are a lot of good teams there. It won’t be easy.”

Ratings review

The much-anticipated soccer ratings that will be used for seeding in the new statewide tournament format this fall hit the MIAA site on Monday, and for the most part the system seemed to work as designed by rewarding teams for their full body of work.

The ratings should increase in accuracy as the season progress and their may be some bugs early on, but here are some things of note in the first look:

• Expect plenty of prelims — The new tournament format guarantees a berth for the top 32 teams by rating in each of the five divisions, but also any that have a .500 record or better. Initially, it looks like there will be several teams that will qualify outside of the top 32 in all divisions, including some fields that project to be particularly crowded. Div. 3 girls, for instance, would have 46 of the 67 teams eligible, creating 14 preliminary round contests.
• Strength of schedule matters — The days of garnering a high seed by beating up on a soft slate are over. For example, a 6-0-1 record only earns Essex Tech the No. 23 spot in the Div. 3 boys draw while an 8-0-2 mark has Lynn Classical all the way down at No. 44 in Div. 1 girls.
• Hingham at the head of the class — Harbormen squads nearly topped both Div. 1 ranks as the boys took the top spots and the girls were second behind Bishop Feehan. The South Shore did particularly well when it comes to placing both boys and girls squads with Plymouth North in Div. 2 (boys No. 4/girls No. 1), Norwell in Div. 3 (boys No. 4/girls No. 6) and Cohasset in Div. 4 (boys No. 3/girls No. 4).

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Boston Marathon bomber faces revived death sentence in high court

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Boston Marathon bomber faces revived death sentence in high court

Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s case will come before the U.S. Supreme Court this week as his attorneys try to spare the convicted terrorist’s life.

Biden administration lawyers will pitch their arguments on Wednesday — two days after this year’s delayed Boston Marathon goes ahead — as to why the nation’s top court should reinstate the death penalty for Tsarnaev after an appeals court overturned it last year.

Tsarnaev’s guilt in the deaths of three people in the shocking bombing near the finish line of the marathon in 2013 is not at issue in the case the justices will hear Wednesday. He’ll never see freedom again — at issue now is just whether he should be sentenced to life in prison, or death.

Nor is the court likely to ponder the administration’s aggressive pursuit of a capital sentence for Tsarnaev even as it has halted federal executions and President Biden has called for an end to the federal death penalty.

Instead, the main focus will be on evidence that Tsarnaev’s lawyers wanted the jury to hear that supported their argument that his older brother, Tamerlan, was the mastermind of the attack and that the impressionable younger brother was somehow less responsible. The evidence implicated Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a triple killing in Waltham on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The federal appeals court in Boston ruled last year that the trial judge made a mistake in excluding the evidence and threw out Tsarnaev’s death sentence. There’s a second issue in the case: whether the trial judge did enough to question jurors about their exposure to extensive news coverage of the bombing.

The Trump administration, which carried out 13 executions in its last six months, quickly appealed. When the new administration didn’t indicate any change of view, the court agreed to review the case.

Tsarnaev’s lawyers have never contested that he and his brother set off the two bombs near the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013. Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China; Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager from Medford; and 8-year-old Martin Richard, who had gone to watch the marathon with his family, were killed. More than 260 people were injured.

During a four-day manhunt for the bombers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Officer Sean Collier was shot dead in his car. Boston Police Officer Dennis Simmonds also died a year after he was wounded in a confrontation with the bombers.

Police captured a bloodied and wounded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Watertown, where he was hiding in a boat parked in a backyard, hours after his brother died. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, had been in a gunfight with police and was run over by his brother as he fled.

Tsarnaev, now 28, was convicted of all 30 charges against him, including conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction and the killing of Collier during the Tsarnaev brothers’ getaway attempt. The appeals court upheld all but a few of his convictions.

A convicted murderer who is pleading with a jury to lock him up for life, rather than vote for his execution, has wide leeway to present evidence that he thinks would make a death sentence less likely.

The 2011 killings, defense lawyers said, went to the heart of their argument that Tsarnaev was deeply influenced and radicalized by his revered brother, who already had shown a capacity for extreme violence. The younger sibling was less responsible for the marathon mayhem, they said.

“The evidence thus made it vastly more likely that Dzhokhar acted under Tamerlan’s radicalizing influence and that Tamerlan led the bombings,” Ginger Anders, Tsarnaev’s leading Supreme Court lawyer, wrote in a high-court filing.

For its part, the administration contends that it does not contest the older brother’s leadership role, and that defense lawyers were able to make that case. Still, the jury sentenced Tsarnaev to death, acting Solicitor General Brian Fletcher wrote.

Tsarnaev “made the choice to commit a terrorist attack against children and other innocent spectators at the marathon, and the jury held him accountable for that choice,” Fletcher wrote.

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At flooded restaurant near Bangkok, the special is a splash

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At flooded restaurant near Bangkok, the special is a splash

NONTHABURI, Thailand — A flood-hit riverside restaurant in Thailand has become an unlikely dining hotspot after fun-loving foodies began flocking to its waterlogged deck to eat amid the lapping tide.

Now, instead of empty chairs and vacant tables, the Chaopraya Antique Café is as full as ever, offering an experience the canny owner calls “hot-pot surfing.”

If you like your food washed down with plenty of water, this is the place for you.

Shortly after the water tops the parapet, the first diners arrive. Before long, the deck is crammed with carefree customers happily tucking in as if dining in a deluge is the norm.

The wait staff — some clad in rubber boots — step gingerly through the swirl that quickly rises to more than 50 centimeters (20 inches).

The restaurant, in Nonthaburi near Bangkok, opened in February in a riverside location that perfectly complements its antique architecture and décor.

But a recent severe tropical storm and heavy monsoon rains combined to raise the river’s water level. Add in the tides and the result has been daily inundation.

Coming straight after a monthslong coronavirus shutdown, it could have spelled disaster. Instead — boosted by publicity in the Thai media — it’s now so popular that customers need to make reservations.

“This is a great atmosphere. During this flood crisis this has became the restaurant’s signature attraction. So I wanted to challenge myself and try out this new experience,” 24-year-old Siripoj Wai-inta said as he munched his food with the water creeping up his shins.

The owner has dubbed the experience “hot-pot surfing.” When a passenger boat motors past you find out why. The delighted scramble to avoid a soaking from the wave is the moment everyone waits for, and with one passing every 15 minutes, no one goes home disappointed.

It’s TV presenter Titiporn Jutimanon’s first restaurant venture. He says he was worried what would happen when the floods came.

“It turns out the customers have a great reaction. They are happy. We can see the atmosphere of customers enjoying the experience of eating in the water. So a crisis has turned into an opportunity. It encourages us to keep the restaurant open and keep customers happy.”

Best of all, he says, it means he can keep his staff happy by keeping them employed. So, even amid harsh economic times, the only thing that needs a bailout is the restaurant itself.

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