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The stories the people closest to Kobe keep remembering

Friday February 21st, 2020 09:42:20 PM

People close to Kobe Bryant share the stories they're looking back on ahead of Monday's memorial.

LeBron's 'Dream Shake' lifts Lakers over Celtics

Monday February 24th, 2020 02:47:40 AM

LeBron James said he had been setting up Jaylen Brown all game to give up the fadeaway jumper that ultimately sealed the Lakers' victory over the Celtics on Sunday night.

Cuban discipline to wait on Mavs' protest ruling

Sunday February 23rd, 2020 10:35:20 PM

The Dallas Mavericks have filed a protest over their loss Saturday night to the Atlanta Hawks, citing a "misapplication of the rules," sources confirmed to ESPN. The New York Times first reported the protest of a call with 8.4 seconds remaining.

Bucks clinch earliest playoff berth in 15 years

Monday February 24th, 2020 03:27:48 AM

The Milwaukee Bucks have clinched a playoff berth 55 days before the NBA postseason is set to begin.

Markieff Morris clears waivers, signs with Lakers

Sunday February 23rd, 2020 10:31:41 PM

Markieff Morris, a former Pistons forward, has cleared waivers and will sign with the Lakers through their $1.75 million disabled player exception.

Young Bucs fan, whose wish was granted, dies

Sunday February 23rd, 2020 09:37:52 PM

Kacey Reynolds, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan whose wish was granted last year when he got to announce the Bucs' 2019 first-round draft pick, has died.







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Biden Places Second in Nevada, Will Earn Coveted Clyburn Endorsement

Monday February 24th, 2020 07:47:20 AM

Former Vice President Joe Biden will finish second in the Nevada Democratic presidential caucuses, NBC News projected Sunday night, and will likely earn seven national convention delegates.

The second-place finish, added to the endorsement of South Carolina’s top Democrat, Rep. Jim Clyburn — which will come Wednesday, NBC News has learned — will give Biden momentum heading into this week’s South Carolina primary.

Official backing from Clyburn, colloquially known as the “South Carolina Kingmaker” for his heavy influence in the state’s Democratic politics, could help cement what Biden has predicted would be a first-place finish in South Carolina. Clyburn, who as majority whip is the third-ranking Democrat in the House, will formally endorse Biden ahead of the primary at an event Wednesday, according to two people with firsthand knowledge.

Read the full story on NBCNews.com

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Trump Receives Warm Welcome in India

Monday February 24th, 2020 06:44:20 AM

Kicking off a whirlwind 36-hour visit to India that emphasizes pageantry over policy, President Donald Trump received a warm welcome Monday on the subcontinent — including a mega-rally named after a traditional Indian greeting — meant to reaffirm ties while providing enviable overseas imagery for a president in a re-election year.

As Air Force One touched down in Ahmedabad in western India, the final preparations were underway for that day’s enviable trio of presidential photo-ops: a visit to a former home of independence leader Mohandas Gandhi, a mega-rally at the world’s second-largest stadium and a trip to the famed Taj Mahal.

Dressed in traditional attire, dancers and drummers lined the red carpet rolled out at the stairs of the presidential aircraft as Trump was poised to receive the raucous reception that has eluded him on many foreign trips, some of which have featured massive protests and icy handshakes from world leaders. In India, he is expected to receive a warm embrace — literally — from the ideologically aligned and hug-loving Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The sun-baked city of Ahmedabad jostled with activity the day before Trump’s arrival as workers cleaned roads, planted flowers and hoisted hundreds of billboards featuring the president and First Lady Melania Trump. Hundreds of thousands of people in the northwestern city are expected to greet Trump for a road show leading to a massive rally at what has been touted as the world’s largest cricket stadium.

Trump’s motorcade will travel amid cheers from a battery of carefully picked and vetted Modi loyalists and workers from his Bharatiya Janata Party who will stand for hours alongside the neatly manicured 22-kilometer (14-mile) stretch of road to accord the president a grand welcome on his way to the newly constructed stadium. Tens of thousands of police officers will be on hand to keep security tight and a new wall has come up in front of a slum, apparently to hide it from presidential passers-by.

“I hear it’s going to be a big event. Some people say the biggest event they’ve ever had in India,” Trump said before he departed Washington. “That’s what the prime minister told me — this will be the biggest event they’ve ever had.”

The “Namaste Trump” rally will be, in a way, the back half of home-and-home events for Modi and Trump who attended a “Howdy Modi” rally in Houston last year that drew 50,000 people.

Trump’s foreign visits have typically been light on sightseeing, but this time, the president and first lady Melania Trump are to visit the Taj Mahal. Stories in local media warn of the monkeys that inhabit the landmark pestering tourists for food and, on occasion, menacing both visitors and slingshot-carrying security guards.

Images of American presidents being feted on the world stage stand in contrast to those of their rivals in the opposing party slogging through diners in early-voting states and clashing in debate. This trip, in particular, reflects a Trump campaign strategy to showcase him in his presidential role during short, carefully managed trips that provide counter-programming to the Democrats’ primary contest and produce the kinds of visuals his campaign can use in future ads. His aides also believe the visit could help the president woo tens of thousands of Indian-American voters before the November election.

The visit also comes at a crucial moment for Modi, a fellow populist, who has provided over a steep economic downtown and unfulfilled campaign promises about job creation. When Trump touches down in Delhi late Monday, he will find a bustling, noisy, colorful capital that also is dotted with half-finished construction projects stalled due to disappearing funding.

The president on Tuesday will conclude his whirlwind visit to India with a day in the capital, complete with a gala dinner meetings with Modi over stalled trade talks between the two nations. Trade tensions between the two countries have escalated since the Trump administration imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from India. India responded with higher penalties on agricultural goods and restrictions on U.S. medical devices. The U.S. retaliated by removing India from a decades-old preferential trade program.

Eyes will also be on whether Trump weighs on in the protests enveloping India over its Citizenship Amendment Act. It provides a fast track to naturalization for some migrants who entered the country illegally while fleeing religious persecution, but excludes Muslims, raising fears that the country is moving toward a religious citizenship test. Passage has prompted large-scale protests and a violent crackdown.

Typically, Trump has not publicly rebuked world leaders for human rights abuses during his overseas trips. But one senior administration official said the U.S. is concerned about the situation and that Trump will tell Modi the world is looking to India to continue to uphold its democratic traditions and respect religious minorities.

Sheikh Saaliq contributed reporting from Ahmedabad, India. Lemire reported from Delhi


Federal Judge Rejects Roger Stone’s Request for Her Recusal

Monday February 24th, 2020 06:13:29 AM

A federal judge denied former Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone’s request for her recusal from a potential new trial, saying in an order Sunday that there was no factual or legal basis to Stone’s claims, NBC News reports.

The judge, Amy Berman Jackson, of U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., sentenced Stone to three years and four months in prison last week for obstructing a congressional investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

In court papers filed Friday, Stone’s lawyers claimed that Jackson couldn’t impartially evaluate his request for a new trial over allegations of juror misconduct.

But Jackson rejected the claims, saying they were speculative and at odds with the U.S. Supreme Court and an appeals case cited in Stone’s motion.

Read the full story on NBCNews.com


After Nevada, Moderates Try to Slow Sanders’ Momentum

Monday February 24th, 2020 05:13:17 AM Alexandra Jaffe and Meg Kinnard

Bernie Sanders’ commanding Nevada caucus victory made him a top target for his Democratic rivals and a growing source of anxiety for establishment Democrats worried that the nomination of an avowed democratic socialist could cost the party in November.

The win solidified Sanders’ front-runner status as the race turned to Saturday’s presidential primary in South Carolina. The Vermont senator was trounced in the state by more than 40 percentage points in 2016, but he is hoping that his success in diverse Nevada will prove to black voters in South Carolina that his campaign has broad appeal.

Any momentum that Sanders gains in South Carolina could be devastating to former Vice President Joe Biden, who is looking to the state for a commanding victory that can keep his candidacy alive through Super Tuesday. The March 3 contests will unfold in 14 states and award one-third of the delegates needed for the Democratic nomination.

With time running short, moderate Democrats grew increasingly nervous Sunday that Sanders’ call for a political “revolution” would drive voters away from the party, both in the matchup against President Donald Trump and in House and Senate races.

“I think it would be a real burden for us in these states or congressional districts that we have to do well in,” South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, the House majority whip and the top-ranking black Democrat in Congress, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Prominent Democrats expect Clyburn will endorse Biden this week. The congressman said he’ll back a candidate on Wednesday — after the next Democratic debate — and pointed to the impact a Sanders nomination would have on House districts Democrats flipped to take control of the House in 2018.

“In those districts, it’s going to be tough to hold on to these jobs if you have to make the case for accepting a self-proclaimed democratic socialist,” he said.

Sanders’ campaign argued he will bring in new and infrequent voters — largely progressives, young people and voters of color — who have been alienated from the process and seek a drastic overhaul of Washington, not merely trying to oust Trump.

He successfully relied on that coalition Saturday to dominate his Democratic rivals in Nevada, pulling far ahead of Biden, the second-place finisher, and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who came in third. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren landed in fourth, while Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and California billionaire Tom Steyer were in a close race for fifth as the Nevada Democratic Party continued to tabulate results.

Sanders celebrated the win in Texas, a top Super Tuesday prize and a state that Democrats see trending their way thanks to a growing Hispanic population and opposition to Trump in the suburbs.

Sounding like a candidate who had already secured the nomination, Sanders told thousands of cheering supporters who filled a basketball arena on the campus of the University of Houston that he would win in the state both next month and next fall.

“If working people and young people of this city, black and white and Latino, gay or straight, if our people stand together, come out to vote, we’re going to win here in Texas,” he said.

Sanders was announcing a plan to provide universal, government-funded child care until age 3 and universal pre-kindergarten programs after that. In an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday night, he said he’d pay for it using part of the proceeds from his previously announced wealth tax, which would be levied annually on fortunes worth more than $32 million.

Sanders’ new status was clear as most of his rivals sharpened their focus on him.

On Sunday, Buttigieg ripped Sanders’ for his massive and often combative online following, saying the nominee’s job “is to call people into our tent, not to call them names online.”

Speaking to a crowd of thousands gathered in a high school football field in Arlington, Virginia, Buttigieg said Democrats should nominate someone who will focus on “mobilizing, not polarizing the American majority.”

“Politics will be fierce sometimes, but it is not just combat,” he said.

But some Democrats were worried that the new focus on Sanders may be too little, too late. For months, as several Democrats jockeyed to become the chief alternative to Sanders, they largely attacked each other on debate stages and in ads while taking relatively few punches at the Vermont senator.

Indeed, even after Sanders’ strong finish in Nevada, Warren avoided launching a direct hit at Sanders even when asked directly whether a Sanders nomination would be a risk for the Democratic Party. The Massachusetts senator is aligned with Sanders on a number of key policies and competing with the Vermont senator for many of the same progressive voters.

Speaking to reporters in Denver, Warren instead continued her attacks on rival Mike Bloomberg, calling him the “riskiest candidate standing on that stage because of his history of hiding his taxes, his history of harassment of women and his history of defending racist policies.”

Bloomberg, for his part, asked to delay a CNN town hall that was planned for Monday until Wednesday. The move will allow the billionaire former New York mayor to spend more time preparing for this week’s debate.

“The country can’t afford to let Bernie Sanders skate by another debate without a focus on his extreme record,” said Bloomberg spokesperson Galia Slayen. “Mike is preparing for Tuesday’s crucial debate, and looks forward to taking part in CNN’s town hall on Wednesday.”

Party leaders have been reluctant to appear to be putting their thumb on the scale, so as not to rile Sanders voters and further divide the party. It was not clear Sunday that there was any new strategy to try to knock Sanders off course or consolidate support behind a single moderate.

“We gotta hope that some of these candidates develop political skills quickly,” said James Carville, a Democratic strategist and one of the noisiest anti-Sanders voices in the party. “The risk in losing the election is deep and profound. We just gotta pray.”

Dan Pfeiffer, a former adviser to former President Barack Obama, said if no candidates drop out before Super Tuesday and the moderates continue to split the delegate, Sanders likely has a lock on the nomination.

“It’s just simple math,” Pfeiffer said, noting that he’s not advocating that any candidates drop out to stop Sanders, and that he doesn’t ascribe to the belief among some Democrats that Sanders can’t win.

“Each of these campaigns have a legitimate rationale for staying in the race,” he said of Sanders’ opponents.

On Sunday, those Sanders opponents pledged to stay in the race through South Carolina, and several signaled they would stay in through Super Tuesday.

Who’s Running for President in 2020?

The field of Democratic 2020 presidential candidates is packed, though some have already dropped out. Those still in the race include a former vice president, senators, businessmen, House members, a former governor and a mayor. As for the GOP, a former governor and former congressman are vying to challenge President Trump.

Click the photos to learn more

Updated Nov. 20, 2019
Note: Incorrect information about Michael Bennet’s cancer diagnosis and titles for Joe Sestak and William Weld have been revised on July 29, 2019, 3:17 p.m. ET.
Credit: Jo Bruni, Emma Barnett, Asher Klein, Dan Macht, Kelly Zegers / NBC;  Photos: Getty Images

Klobuchar rallied supporters near the North Dakota-Minnesota border, speaking to voters in her home state, which votes on March 3, followed by North Dakota on March 10. Warren campaigned in Colorado, also a Super Tuesday state.

Biden was in South Carolina, the state his campaign hoped would revive his candidacy after poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire and only modest improvement in Nevada. The former vice president resisted predicting victory in South Carolina and said he isn’t banking on Clyburn’s endorsement, a blessing that could help Biden shore up support with the black voters his campaign has long argued will be the springboard to a nomination. Clyburn said Sunday he had heard from Democrats disappointed in Biden’s debate performances.

Democrats will debate on Tuesday in Charleston, South Carolina. Steyer said Sunday he has qualified for that debate, after missing the mark for the stage in Nevada.

Jaffe reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Nicholas Riccardi in Denver, Will Weissert in Houston, Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento, California, and Bill Barrow in Charleston, South Carolina, contributed to this report.


Buttigieg Questions 3rd Place Finish in Nevada, Cites Errors

Sunday February 23rd, 2020 08:23:45 PM Michelle L. Price

Pete Buttigieg’s campaign has questioned his third-place finish in Nevada’s caucuses and called for the state’s Democratic Party to release a more detailed breakdown of votes and address reports of more than 200 problems allocating votes in Saturday’s caucuses.

In a letter sent to the state party late Saturday night and provided to The Associated Press on Sunday, the Buttigieg campaign said the process of integrating four days of early voting into in-person caucuses held Saturday was “plagued with errors and inconsistencies.”

The campaign also said it received reports that volunteers running caucuses did not appear to follow rules that could have allowed candidates to pick up more support on a second round of voting.

Bernie Sanders won Nevada’s caucuses, with Joe Biden a distant second and Buttigieg in third.

“Currently our data shows that this is a razor-thin margin for second place in Nevada, and due to irregularities and a number of unresolved questions we have raised with the Nevada Democratic Party, it’s unclear what the final results will be,” Buttigieg’s deputy campaign manager Hari Sevugan said in a statement.

Nearly 75,000 people cast votes during four days of early caucus voting — almost as many Democrats who participated in Nevada’s 2016 caucuses. Their votes, cast at sites anywhere in the county, had to be routed by the party back to the voter’s home precinct and added to the in-person votes cast Saturday by their neighbors.

Buttigieg’s campaign said it received more than 200 reports of problems merging the early votes, including cases where the early votes weren’t used, were incorrectly read or the wrong early vote data matching another precinct was used to calculate whether a candidate had enough support.

The claim matches a Biden campaign precinct captain who told The Associated Presshe witnessed two precincts on Saturday where caucus organizers announced midway through that they had switched the vote numbers for the precincts, before switching them back and forth at least four times.

The Buttigieg campaign called for the party to release more detail of the votes, including a breakdown of early votes cast by home precincts.

Nevada Democratic Party spokeswoman Molly Forgey said the party is continuing to verify and report results and is not going to offer a more detailed breakdown than it already planned to provide.

“As laid out in our recount guidance, there is a formal method for requesting a challenge of results,” Forgey said.

The party’s rules say any request for a recount must be filed by 5 p.m. Monday.

The Buttigieg campaign did not immediately have a comment on whether it intended to seek a recount.


Passage to India: Trump Ready for Warm Embrace, Adulation

Sunday February 23rd, 2020 05:55:43 PM Jill Colvin and Jonathan Lemire

It was the Trumpiest of offers.

A rally at one of the world’s largest stadiums. A crowd of millions cheering him on. A love fest during an election year.

President Donald Trump’s packed two-day visit to India promises the kind of welcome that has eluded him on many foreign trips, some of which have featured massive protests and icy handshakes from world leaders. He is expected to receive a warm embrace from the ideologically aligned and hug-loving Prime Minister Narendra Modi, complete with a massive rally soon after his arrival Monday and then a sunset visit to the Taj Mahal.

After hosting Modi at a “Howdy Modi” rally in Houston last year that drew 50,000 people, Modi will return the favor with a “Namaste Trump” rally (it translates to, “Greetings, Trump”) at the world’s largest cricket stadium in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad. Tens of thousands are expected to line the streets.

Modi “told me we’ll have 7 million people between the airport and the event,” Trump said to reporters Tuesday, then raised the anticipated number to 10 million when he mentioned the trip during a Thursday night rally. Indian authorities expect closer to 100,000.

“I’ll never be satisfied with a crowd if we have 10 million people in India,” Trump said. And as he left the White House on Sunday for the flight to India, the upcoming spectacle was on the president’s mind again: “I hear it’s going to be a big event. Some people say the biggest event they’ve ever had in India. That’s what the prime minister told me — this will be the biggest event they’ve ever had.”

Trump’s motorcade will travel amid cheers from carefully picked and screened Modi loyalists and workers from his Bharatiya Janata Party. They will stand for hours alongside the neatly manicured 22-kilometer (14-mile) stretch of road to accord Trump a grand welcome.

Trump generally dislikes foreign travel and prefers being home in his White House bed; in fact, he noted to reporters upon his departure from the White House that it was a long trip to India and that he was only going to be there one night. But he has a particular affinity for India. He owned a hotel and casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, named the Trump Taj Mahal, and he owns multiple properties in India.

“There’s a lot of color. This is a loud and boisterous country, and that exactly in some ways really fits with the Trump style,” said Tanvi Madan, a senior fellow and director of The India Project at the Brookings Institution. She said Trump is likely to get a king’s welcome from a country well-rehearsed in the art of adulation. A half-million people gathered to hear President Dwight D. Eisenhower speak in 1959; former President Jimmy Carter had a village named after him — Carterpuri.

“In some ways, American presidents go to India to feel loved,” said Madan. She predicted Trump would receive an even grander welcome because the Indians recognize it’s something Trump expects and that could keep them in his good graces.

“It’s not about him, per se, for them. It is the U.S. relationship for India is crucial,” she said.

India has spent weeks making preparations for the visit. At a cost of almost $14 million, the government is blanketing the city with ads of Trump and Modi and hastily erected a half-kilometer (1,640-foot) brick wall beside the road Trump will take to the stadium, which officials are rushing to finish in time for Trump’s arrival.. Critics say the wall was built to block the view of a slum inhabited by more than 2,000 people. Stray dogs have been caught and exotic trees planted.

Trump’s foreign visits have typically been light on sightseeing, but this time, the president and first lady Melania Trump are to visit the Taj Mahal. Stories in local media warn of the monkeys that inhabit the landmark pestering tourists for food and, on occasion, menacing both visitors and slingshot-carrying security guards.

Presidents have often used trips overseas to bolster their electoral prospects. Images of American presidents being feted on the world stage stand in contrast to those of their rivals in the opposing party slogging through diners in early-voting states and clashing in debate.

This trip, in particular, reflects a Trump campaign strategy to showcase him looking presidential during short, carefully managed trips that provide counterprogramming to the Democrats’ primary contest and produce the kinds of visuals his campaign can use in future ads. His aides also believe the visit could help the president woo tens of thousands of Indian-American voters before the November election.

Some of Trump’s past trips have been overshadowed by diplomatic snafus and political gaffes. When Barack Obama was running for president, his reception in Germany in front of a massive crowd was featured prominently in an attack ad casting him as a mere “celebrity.”

Beyond the optics, there are serious issues to address as India faces a slumping economy and ongoing protests over a citizenship law that excludes Muslims.

Trade tensions between the two countries have escalated since the Trump administration imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium from India. India responded with higher penalties on agricultural goods and restrictions on U.S. medical devices. The U.S. retaliated by removing India from a decades-old preferential trade program.

Though trade will be on the agenda, Trump and administration officials are playing down expectations.

“Well, we can have a trade deal with India, but I’m really saving the big deal for later on,” the president said.

India has been embroiled in protests over its Citizenship Amendment Act. It provides a fast track to naturalization for some migrants who entered the country illegally while fleeing religious persecution, but excludes Muslims, raising fears that the country is moving toward a religious citizenship test. Passage has prompted large-scale protests and a violent crackdown.

Typically, Trump has not publicly rebuked world leaders for human rights abuses during his overseas trips. But one senior administration official said the U.S. is concerned about the situation and that Trump will tell Modi the world is looking to India to continue to uphold its democratic traditions and respect religious minorities.

Trump is also expected to weigh in on the fate of the disputed territory of Kashmir. The Muslim-majority territory claimed by both Hindu-nationalist led India and Pakistan. Trump has offered to mediate and has encouraged India and Pakistan to work together to resolve their differences.

But there is likely to be little public divide between Trump and Modi, two leaders with a similar love of bravado and adoration. At the “Howdy Modi” event last fall, which incongruously linked the Indian prime minister with Texas’ cowboy culture, the two world leaders took the stage hand in hand at a rock concert-like setting that will be dwarfed by the scene in Ahmedabad

“Get ready to say #NamasteTrump,” tweeted the city, the largest in Modi’s home state of Gujarat, as it geared up to welcome the American president on his maiden India visit as president. It also invited people to join “#theBiggestRoadShowEver.”

___

Follow Colvin on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@colvinj and Lemire at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire








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