Feb 27

Kurt Busch wins his first Daytona 500

Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) — It’s safe to say Kurt Busch and Stewart-Haas Racing are very happy after Busch scored his first-ever win at Daytona in a nail-biter on Sunday.

Up until the very last lap, it appeared a victory at the Great American Race would once again elude Busch.  But then his No. 41 Ford Fusion passed Chase Elliot and Kyle Larson on the final lap to cinch his victory, and his 29th win in the Monster Energy Cup Series.

It didn’t hurt that more than a few of Busch’s competitors were eliminated in crashes, including Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and more.

Busch called the race, particularly the end, “one of the smartest chess games” he’d seen on the track, adding, “We got lucky.”

Here are the top-ten standings in the Monster Energy Cup Series following Sunday’s race:

  1. Kurt Busch — 48 points
  2. Ryan Blaney — 44
  3. AJ Allmendinger — 39
  4. Aric Almirola — 33
  5. Paul Menard — 32
  6. Joey Logano — 40
  7. Kasey Kahne — 30
  8. Michael Waltrip — 29
  9. Matt DiBenedetto — 28
  10. Trevor Bayne — 27

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Feb 27

Warriors clinch playoff berth with win over Nets

Allen Kee / ESPN Images(BROOKLYN, N.Y.) — The Golden State Warriors clinched a playoff berth with a 112-95 victory. The team was without Kevin Durant, who was nursing a hand injury, though he is not expected to miss an extended period of time.

With the win, the Warriors secured their fifth straight playoff berth. The five-year postseason run is the franchise’s second longest stretch. They made the playoffs for six straight seasons from 1946 to 1952.

According to ESPN, the Warriors are the first team to clinch a playoff spot this early on the calendar since the 1985-86 Boston Celtics, who also clinched on February 25th. That Celtics team went on to win the NBA Championship.

Stephen Curry led all scorers in the game with 27 points. Afterwards he told reporters he cherishes their playoff berth because he remembers when the franchise consistently missed the postseason. Curry did not appear in an NBA playoff game until his fourth year in the league.

The team is moving past last year’s NBA Finals loss to the Cavaliers. They set an NBA-record by winning 73 regular season games and held a 3-1 lead in the Finals, but  weren’t able to secure their second championship in as many seasons.

Golden State’s already lost as many regular season games as they did last year, but they hold the NBA’s best record and a comfortable lead in the Western Conference.

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Feb 27

BYU ends Gonzaga's perfect season with upset win Saturday night

DigitalVision/Thinkstock(SPOKANE, Wash.) — BYU spoiled No. 1 Gonzaga’s perfect season after being the Bulldogs 79-71 Saturday night. The loss snaps Gonzaga’s 29-game winning streak, leaving the team just one win away from an undefeated regular season.

In their regular season home finale, the Bulldogs surrendered a ten point second half lead and lost a chance to become just the fourth team since 1991 to finish the regular season without a loss.

The loss won’t hurt Gonzaga’s pursuit of their first ever Final Four appearance, but it could make their path a little tougher. They could be relegated to a number 2 seed in the tournament after they were locked in as a number one seed when they were undefeated. Even if Gonzaga wins their conference tournament, other teams from larger conferences could be picked for the top four seeds instead.

The Bulldogs will play next in the West Coast Conference Tournament, which begins March 3rd.

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Feb 27

Scoreboard roundup — 2/25/17

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Charlotte      99  Sacramento     85
Orlando       105  Atlanta        86
N-Y Knicks    110  Philadelphia  109
Miami         113  Indiana        95
Chicago       117  Cleveland      99
Dallas         96  New Orleans    83
Houston       142  Minnesota     130
Golden State  112  Brooklyn       95

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
L.A. Kings    4  Anaheim         1
OT  N-Y Rangers   4  New Jersey      3
Nashville     5  Washington      2
Columbus      7  N-Y Islanders   0
OT  Montreal      3  Toronto         2
Pittsburgh    4  Philadelphia    2
San Jose      4  Vancouver       1
Colorado      5  Buffalo         3

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL

BYU                       79  (1) Gonzaga      71
(2) Villanova             79  (23) Creighton   63
(3) Kansas                77  Texas            67
(5) UCLA                  77  (4) Arizona      72
(6) Oregon                75  Stanford         73
(8) North Carolina        85  Pittsburgh       67
Iowa St.                  72  (9) Baylor       69
Miami                     55  (10) Duke        50
(11) Kentucky             76  (13) Florida     66
(12) West Virginia        61  TCU              60
Michigan                  82  (14) Purdue      70
(17) SMU                  69  UConn            61
(18) Virginia             70  NC State         55
(19) Florida St.          76  Clemson          74
(20) Saint Mary’s (Cal)   70  Santa Clara      56
Iowa                      83  (24) Maryland    69
(25) Wichita St.          86  Missouri St.     67

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Feb 27

Father of dead Navy SEAL refused to meet Trump, calls for investigation

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The father of William “Ryan” Owens, a U.S. Navy SEAL who died in a military raid in Yemen last month, is demanding answers from the Trump administration.

In an interview with the Miami Herald published Sunday, Bill Owens said he refused to see President Trump when he and his daughter Ivanka Trump paid their respects at Dover Air Force Base with the Owens family for the dignified transfer.

“I told them I didn’t want to make a scene about it, but my conscience wouldn’t let me talk to him,” Owens said to the Miami Herald.

Chief Special Warfare Operator Ryan Owens was the only U.S. service member to die in a January raid  on an al-Qaeda compound carried out by SEAL Team Six, the elite Navy special operations unit involved in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Officials told ABC News the raid in southern Yemen targeted three senior leaders with al-Qaeda and was intended to gather intelligence on the terror group.

The Trump administration claimed the raid was a success and hit back against critics like Sen. John McCain, who noted reports that the mission killed a number of civilians along with the Navy SEAL.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer criticized McCain in a press briefing, saying that “anybody who undermines the success of that raid, owes an apology and [does] disservice to the life of Chief Owens.”

Bill Owens told the Miami Herald he wants an investigation into his son’s death.

“Don’t hide behind my son’s death to prevent an investigation,” he said to the Miami Herald.

“I want an investigation. … The government owes my son an investigation.”

U.S. Central Command has confirmed to ABC News that there is a 15-6 investigation underway into Owens’ death “as we routinely do anytime there is a death of our of valued brothers and sisters during operations.” 

A 15-16 is standard for the death of any deployed U.S. military service member and is typically conducted by the unit. A White House official told ABC News an investigation would occur and “it is standard operating procedure to investigate any mission that results in a fatality.”

Central Command has not launched a 15-6 investigation into the mission itself.  It is still conducting a review known as a credibility assessment into civilian casualties.  They’ve acknowledged some civilian deaths from the incident and are determining if there were more. 

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Feb 27

White House spokesperson on call for special prosecutor in Russia probe: We're not 'there yet'

ABC News(WASHINGTON) —  A White House spokesperson pushed back on calls for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s alleged interference in the presidential election, suggesting such talk is premature.

“I don’t think we’re there yet,” said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House’s deputy principal press secretary, told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos on This Week Sunday. “Typically, you go through a congressional oversight review. We’re doing that. Let’s not go to the very end of the extreme. Let’s let this play out the way it should.

Stephanopoulos asked Huckabee Sanders about a top Republican’s call for an independent investigation of Russia’s alleged meddling in the election.

When Bill Maher on his show Real Time pressed GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California on whether President Trump’s appointee as attorney general, Jeff Sessions, should investigate reports that members of President Trump’s campaign had contact with Russian officials, Issa agreed an independent prosecutor is needed.

Issa told Maher, “You cannot have somebody — a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions — who was on the campaign and who is an appointee … You’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office.”

Attorney General Sessions oversees the FBI and the Justice Department which — separate from any congressional committee reviews — is investigating Russia’s alleged meddling in the election and reported contacts between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials

Huckabee Sanders said on ABC’s This Week on Sunday that Congress should complete its review first, which she said she is confident will show that Trump associates had not involvement in Russia’s actions.

“Whatever review that Congress wants to do, I think that’s the first step,” she said. “There are two committees that are currently doing that. We’re extremely confident that, whatever review, they’re all going to come to the same conclusion — that we had no involvement in this.”

Huckabee Sanders also suggested that a Russia probe is not something “that the American people care about.”

“At some point, we get to a place where we’ve got to move on and start focusing on the things that the American people care about, and I don’t think this is it,” she said.

Stephanopoulos also asked Huckabee Sanders why the president decided not to attend this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he will not be attending the annual dinner of White House journalists which presidents traditionally attend.

“One of the things we say in the South is if a Girl Scout egged your house, would you buy cookies from her? I think that this is a pretty similar scenario,” Huckabee Sanders said.

Huckabee Sanders said, “This wasn’t a president that was elected to spend his time with reporters and celebrities. This is a president who campaigned on speaking directly to Americans, and that’s what he’s going to spend his time doing.”

A day prior to his tweet, Trump doubled down on his attacks on the media at the Conservative Political Action Conference. He repeated his assertions that “fake” news is the “enemy of the people,” specifically hitting the press for using unnamed sources.

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Feb 27

25-year-old named as suspect in New Orleans parade crash that injured 28

New Orleans Police Department(NEW ORLEANS) — 25-year-old man has been named as a suspect in connection with a New Orleans incident of a pickup-truck driver plowing into a crowd of parade spectators, which injured at least 28 people, police said.

Three victims remain hospitalized, according to police.

The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office identified Neilson Rizzuto as the suspect and released a list of charges he faces, including: first-degree negligent vehicular injuring; hit-and-run driving causing serious injury; and reckless operation of a vehicle.

Rizzuto had a blood alcohol level of .232, well above the legal limit, police said.

He’s expected to appear in court later Sunday afternoon.

The crash occurred around 6:40 p.m. during one of the busiest nights of Mardi Gras, and at a time when New Orleans typically sees an influx of tourists, eager to celebrate the holiday in the city.

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Feb 27

Hundreds of headstones damaged at Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia

WPVI-TV(PHILADELPHIA) — Hundreds of headstones at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia were damaged on Sunday.

Police said more than 500 headstones were broken or overturned at Mt. Carmel Cemetery in an act of vandalism, according to ABC affiliate WPVI-TV.

A $10,000 reward is being offered by the Mizel Family Foundation, through the Anti-Defamation League, for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible, WPVI-TV reports.

Aaron Mallin of New Jersey told WPVI-TV he discovered the wrecked tombstones when he came to visit his father’s grave.

“It’s just very disheartening that such a thing would take place,” he said to WPVI-TV.

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Feb 27

Manhunt launched for a man linked to two murders in Mississippi

Neshoba County Sheriff(HATTIESBURG, Miss.) — A manhunt is underway for man who is wanted in connection with two murders, according to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

Alex Bridges Deaton, 28, is considered “armed and extremely dangerous,” and remains at large Sunday after having been connected to at least three crimes, authorities said.

Officials said Deaton is connected to Brenda Pinter, who was found murdered Thursday afternoon, and he is wanted in the shooting early Friday of a jogger, who was wounded by “a white male with facial hair.”

Deaton is also wanted in connection with 30-year-old Heather Robinson, who was found murdered on Friday afternoon inside her home at the Vineyards Apartments near the Castlewoods subdivision in Rankin County, after the sheriff’s department received a request for a welfare check.

A deputy and a family member entered the home and found her dead, according to Sheriff Bryan Bailey of Rankin County.

Deaton is wanted for aggravated assault and murder by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

Robinson’s white 2012 GMC Acadia SUV was missing when her body was found, and authorities say that it’s possible Deaton could still be driving that vehicle.

The jogger told police that the shooter fired at her out of the driver’s window of a small white SUV, which fits the description of the Acadia.

The vehicle bears a Mississippi Nurses Foundation tag with the number F396 NF.

Deaton may have fled the state, and a law enforcement source told ABC News that he is believed to be in Oklahoma as of Sunday afternoon.

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Feb 27

25-year-old named as suspect in New Orleans parade crash that injured 28

New Orleans Police Department(NEW ORLEANS) —  A 25-year-old man has been named as a suspect in connection with a New Orleans incident of a pickup-truck driver plowing into a crowd of parade spectators, which injured at least 28 people, police said.

 A police officer was among the injured, authorities said.

The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office identified Neilson Rizzuto as the suspect and released a list of charges which authorities said he faces. They include: first-degree negligent vehicular injuring; hit-and-run driving causing serious injury; and reckless operation of a vehicle.

 The crash occurred around 6:40 p.m. during one of the busiest nights of Mardi Gras, and at a time when New Orleans typically sees an influx of tourists, eager to celebrate the holiday in the city.

Police said Saturday that they suspected the driver was intoxicated.

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