Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts

McIlroy walks off course at Honda Classic

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Rory McIlroy abruptly walked off the course Friday at the Honda Classic and left everyone wondering what was wrong with golf's No. 1 player.

McIlroy already was 7-over par through eight holes of the second round when he hit his second shot into the water on the par-5 18th at PGA National. He shook hands with Ernie Els and Mark Wilson and was headed to the parking lot before they even finished the hole.

"There's not really much I can say, guys," McIlroy told three reporters who followed him to his car. "I'm not in a good place mentally, you know?"

He said there was nothing wrong physically. When asked about his swing, the 23-year-old from Northern Ireland replied, "Yeah, I really don't know what's going on."

If his golf wasn't shocking enough, the manner in which he left raised plenty of questions about the state of game — and his head — in the month leading to the Masters.

McIlroy, coming off a year in which he won a second major in record fashion, already set himself up for scrutiny when he left Titleist to sign an equipment deal with Nike that was said to be worth upward of $20 million a year.

Nike introduced him with blaring music and a laser show in Abu Dhabi, but it's been all downhill from there.

McIlroy missed the cut in the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship with rounds of 75-75. He took a four-week break, and then was eliminated in the opening round of the Match Play Championship to Shane Lowry in one of the most poorly played matches of the round.

McIlroy played 36 holes with Tiger Woods at The Medalist on Sunday and said Tuesday it was no time to panic.

His management team was expected to release a statement later Friday.

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Minnesota takes down No. 1 Indiana 77-73

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Retaining that No. 1 national ranking has been elusive throughout this wild season in college basketball, and Indiana was the latest to lose at the top — again.

Most important and maybe more challenging for the Hoosiers, however, is holding on to first place in the tough-as-ever Big Ten.

Trevor Mbakwe had 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting and 12 rebounds to help Minnesota take down top-ranked Indiana 77-73 on Tuesday night, the seventh time the No. 1 team in the Associated Press poll has lost this season. Three of those losses were by the Hoosiers, who were No. 1 when they fell to Butler and Wisconsin earlier this season. All three opponents were unranked at the time.

Indiana (24-4, 12-3) has held the No. 1 ranking for 10 of the 17 polls by the AP this season, including the last four, and that will likely change next week. But fending off Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin is what's on the minds of the Hoosiers, who'll take a one-game lead in the conference race into Saturday's game against Iowa.

"Winning the Big Ten was going to be tough whether we won today or lost," said star guard Victor Oladipo, who had 16 points. "We knew it was going to be tough from the jump. Now it's even tougher. But I think my team is ready for it. We just have to go back and see what we did wrong and correct it."

Andre Hollins added 16 points for the Gophers (19-9, 7-8), who outrebounded Cody Zeller and the Hoosiers by a whopping 44-30 and solidified their slipping NCAA tournament hopes with an emphatic performance against the conference leader. The fired-up fans swarmed the court as the last seconds ticked off, the first time that's happened here since a 2002 win over Indiana.

"There were just too many times when that first shot went up and they were there before we were because we didn't get into their bodies," Hoosiers coach Tom Crean said. "We weren't physical enough on the glass. That's the bottom line."

Zeller, the second-leading shooter in the Big Ten, went 2 for 9. He had nine points with four turnovers. Minnesota had 40 points in the paint to Indiana's 22.

Mbakwe, a sixth-year senior, had a lot to do with that. While positing his conference-leading seventh double-double of the season, the 24-year-old Mbakwe was a man among boys in many ways in this game, dominating both ends of the court when the Gophers needed him most. He grabbed six of Minnesota's 23 offensive rebounds, two of them to keep a key possession alive. His off-balance put-back drew contact for a three-point play with 7:22 left that gave the Gophers a 55-52 lead.

Mbakwe was called for a loudly questioned blocking foul, his fourth, with 4:39 remaining on Zeller's fast-break layup and free throw that put the Hoosiers up 59-58. But Austin Hollins answered with a pump-fake layup that drew a foul for a three-point play and a two-point advantage for the Gophers.

The Hoosiers didn't lead again, and Joe Coleman's fast-break dunk with 2:35 left gave Minnesota a 68-61 cushion that helped it withstand a couple of 3-pointers by Christian Watford and one by Jordan Hulls in the closing minutes. That was the only basket Hulls made after halftime. He had 17 points.

"Just the way we bounced back is unbelievable. We showed that we can beat one of the best teams in the country. Now we have to build off this," said Mbakwe, whose team lost eight of its previous 11 games starting with an 88-81 loss at Indiana on Jan. 12. The Gophers were ranked eighth then. They didn't even receive a vote in the current poll. That could change next week.

The Hoosiers are still in position for their first outright Big Ten regular-season championship since 1993. With another home game against Ohio State on March 5, Indiana could still clinch the title before the finale at Michigan on March 10.

For now, though, the Hoosiers have to regroup and re-establish their inside game after the trampling in the post they endured here.

"They were relentless on the glass. We just didn't do a great job of boxing them out," Oladipo said.


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SAfrica: judge in Pistorius case suffers loss

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Last week, the judge who granted bail to Oscar Pistorius was in the international spotlight, presiding over dramatic hearings in a courtroom as the Olympic athlete sat in the dock charged with murdering his girlfriend. This week, the judge is in private mourning.

Desmond Nair, chief magistrate of the Pretoria Magistrate's Court, confirmed Tuesday that he is related to a woman suspected of killing her two children and committing suicide on the weekend.

The revelation was the latest twist in the saga of Pistorius and prominent figures linked to the case against the double-amputee athlete, who faces a charge of premeditated murder in the Feb. 14 shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model who appeared in a television reality show.

The bodies of a woman and her two sons were found Sunday evening at their Johannesburg home by her ex-husband, police Warrant Officer Balan Muthan said. Authorities suspect the woman administered a substance that killed her children, and took her own life by ingesting it as well.

"I can confirm the deceased is my first cousin," Nair told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

The woman's brother, Vishal Maharaj, identified her as Anusha Maharaj. Police said Maharaj was her family name before she married. South African media identified her as Anusha Mooljee.

Muthan said police suspect "she took her own life by ingesting a substance that killed her," and that she "most probably" gave the same substance to her children. Autopsies were conducted Monday and toxicologists were analyzing the substance believed to have killed the three family members.

Suicide notes were found and a murder investigation was underway, Muthan said. He said copies of the notes were admitted as evidence in the probe and declined to comment on the contents.

Eyewitness News, a South African media outlet, said the boys who died were 12 and 17 years old and cited neighbor Claire Osment as saying she rushed outside after hearing screams coming from the townhouse where they lived.

"We asked what happened. The dad just said, 'She has killed my boys.' He was just crying," Eyewitness News quoted her as saying. "He couldn't believe it, he couldn't believe that his sons are gone."

Nair, 44, has presided over a number of high-profile cases, including the 2008 conviction on fraud charges of Sydney Maree, a South African who took American citizenship and became a track star in the United States; a 2011 plea agreement in which rugby player Bees Roux received a five-year suspended prison sentence for the beating death of a policeman; and inquiries into alleged misconduct by magistrates around South Africa.

On Friday, Nair delivered a lengthy discourse on why he was granting bail to Pistorius, including an assertion that prosecutors had not argued persuasively that the Paralympian was a flight risk. Nair criticized shortcomings in the state's investigation, but he also said aspects of Pistorius' account of what happened were not convincing.

Pistorius says he killed Steenkamp accidentally, opening fire after mistaking her for an intruder in his home. Prosecutors alleged he intentionally shot her after the couple had an argument.

Last week, the chief investigator in the case against Pistorius, Hilton Botha, was removed from the inquiry after it was revealed that attempted murder charges against him had been reinstated in early February. The charges relate to a 2011 incident in which Botha and two other police officers allegedly fired on a minibus.

In another surprise, a lawyer for the Pistorius family said Sunday that Oscar's brother, Carl, faces a charge of unlawful, negligent killing for a 2008 road death. That charge had also been dropped and later reinstated.

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Johnson back on top with 2nd Daytona 500 victory

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Jimmie Johnson went two years without a title and suddenly became an afterthought at the Daytona 500.

All the attention went to Danica Patrick and a handful of other drivers.

Not that it mattered Sunday, because look who pulled into Victory Lane.

Five-time is back. Not that he ever went away.

Johnson won his second Daytona 500 on Sunday, a year after he completed just one lap in the race and three months after falling short in his bid for a sixth Sprint Cup title. That so-called drought had made him something of a no-name during Speedweeks.

"In my mind, I didn't feel like I was under the radar," he said. "I felt like we were working hard to put the best product on the track. I guess I was quiet in the overall spectrum of things from the media side. I think people in the garage, people knew we were sitting on a lot of speed and had a very good race car."

But in winning the biggest race of the year, the No. 48 team wasn't sending a message to the competitors.

"I don't think we went anywhere; anybody in the garage area, they're wise to all that," Johnson said.

Johnson's win came on the same day that Patrick, who became the first woman in history to start a Sprint Cup race from the pole, again made history as the first woman to lead laps in the Daytona 500.

She ran inside the top 10 almost the entire race, kept pace with the field and never panicked on the track.

Her only mistakes were on pit road, where she got beat on the race back to the track, and on the final lap, when she was running third but got snookered by the veterans and faded to eighth. That's going to stick with Patrick for some time.

"I would imagine pretty much anyone would be kicking themselves about what they coulda, shoulda have done to give themselves an opportunity to win," she said. "I think that's what I was feeling today, was uncertainty as to how I was going to accomplish that."

There were several multicar crashes, but no one was hurt and none of them approached the magnitude of the wreck that injured more than two dozen fans in the grandstand at the end of the second-tier Nationwide Series race on the same track a day earlier. Daytona International Speedway workers were up until 2 a.m repairing the fence that was damaged in the accident, and track officials offered Sunday morning to move any fans who felt uneasy sitting close to the track.

Several drivers said the accident and concern for the fans stuck with them overnight and into Sunday morning, and Johnson was quick to send his thoughts from Victory Lane.

"I just want to give a big shout-out to all the fans, and I also want to send my thoughts and prayers out to everybody that was injured in the grandstands," Johnson said.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., whose father was killed in this race 12 years ago, was involved in Saturday's accident but refocused and finished second to Johnson, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate.

"Me personally, I was just really waiting to get the news on how everybody was, how all the fans were overnight, just hoping that things were going to improve," Earnhardt said, adding that he "wasn't really ready to proceed until you had some confirmation that things were looking more positive."

The race itself, the debut for NASCAR's new Gen-6 car, was quite similar to all the other Cup races during Speedweeks in that the cars seemed to line up in a single-file parade along the top groove of the track. It made the 55th running of the Daytona 500 relatively uneventful.

When the race was on the line, Johnson took off.

The driver known as "Five-time" raced past defending NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski on the final restart and pulled out to a sizeable lead that nobody challenged over the final six laps.

Johnson and Keselowski went down to the wire last season in their race for the Sprint Cup title, with Johnson faltering in the final two races as Keselowski won his first Cup championship.

Although it was a bit of an upset that stuck with Johnson into the offseason, it gave him no extra motivation when he found himself racing with Keselowski late Sunday for the Daytona 500.

"As far as racing with Brad out there, you really lose sight of who is in what car," Johnson said. "It's just somebody between you and the trophy. It could have been anybody."

Once Johnson cleared Keselowski on the last restart he had a breakaway lead with Greg Biffle and Patrick behind him. But as the field closed in on the checkered flag, Earnhardt finally made his move, just too late and too far behind to get close enough to the lead.

Earnhardt wound up second for the third time in the last four years. But with all the crashes the Hendrick cars have endured in restrictor-plate races — teammate Kasey Kahne was in the first accident Sunday — team owner Rick Hendrick was just fine with the finish.

"We have a hard time finishing these races. Boy, to run 1-2, man, what a day," Hendrick said. Jeff Gordon, who was a contender early, faded late to 20th.

And Johnson considered himself lucky to be the one holding the trophy at the end.

"Man, it's like playing the lottery; everybody's got a ticket," he said. "I've struck out a lot at these tracks, left with torn-up race cars. Today we had a clean day."

Mark Martin was third in a Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. Keselowski, who overcame two accidents earlier in the race, wound up fourth in Penske Racing's new Ford. Ryan Newman was fifth in a Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing and was followed by Roush-Fenway Racing's Greg Biffle, who was second on the last lap but was shuffled back with Patrick to finish sixth.

Regan Smith was seventh for Phoenix Racing, while Patrick, Michael McDowell and JJ Yeley rounded out the top 10.

Patrick was clearly disappointed with her finish. When the race was on the line, she was schooled by Earnhardt, who made his last move and blocked any chance she had.

Still, Patrick became the first woman in history to lead laps in the 500 when she passed Michael Waltrip on a restart on Lap 90. She stayed on the point for two laps, then was shuffled back to third. She ended up leading five laps, another groundbreaking moment for Patrick, who as a rookie in 2005 became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and now is the 13th driver to lead laps in both the Daytona 500 and the Indy 500.

"Dale did a nice job and showed what happens when you plan it out, you drop back and get that momentum. You are able to go to the front," Patrick said. "I think he taught me something. I'm sure I'll watch the race and there will be other scenarios I see that can teach me, too."

Earnhardt was impressed, nonetheless.

"She's going to make a lot of history all year long. It's going to be a lot of fun to watch her progress," he said. "Every time I've seen her in a pretty hectic situation, she always really remained calm. She's got a great level head. She's a racer. She knows what's coming. She's smart about her decisions. She knew what to do today as far as track position and not taking risks. I enjoy racing with her."

Johnson, one of three heavyweight drivers who took their young daughters to meet Patrick — "the girl in the bright green car" — after she won the pole in qualifications, tipped his cap, too.

"I didn't think about it being Danica in the car," Johnson said. "It was just another car on the track that was fast. That's a credit to her and the job she's doing."

The field was weakened by an early nine-car accident that knocked out race favorite Kevin Harvick and sentimental favorite Tony Stewart.

Harvick had won two support races coming into the 500 to cement himself as the driver to beat, but the accident sent him home with a 42nd place finish.

Stewart, meanwhile, dropped to 0-for-15 in one of the few races the three-time NASCAR champion has never won.

"If I didn't tell you I was heartbroken and disappointed, I'd be lying to you," Stewart said.

That accident also took former winner Jamie McMurray, his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, and Kasey Kahne out of contention.

The next accident — involving nine cars — came 105 laps later and brought a thankful end to Speedweeks for Carl Edwards. He was caught in his fifth accident since testing last month, and this wreck collected six other Ford drivers.

The field suddenly had six Toyota drivers at the front as Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing drivers took control of the race. But JGR's day blew up — literally — when the team was running 1-2-3 with Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch setting the pace.

Kenseth, who led a race-high 86 laps, went to pit road first with an engine problem, and Busch was right behind him with a blown engine. Busch was already in street clothes watching as Hamlin led the field.

"It's a little devastating when you are running 1-2-3 like that," Busch said.

Hamlin's shot disappeared when he found himself in the wrong lane on the final restart. He tried to hook up with Keselowski to get them back to Johnson, but blamed former teammate Joey Logano for ruining the momentum of the bottom lane.

Hamlin offered a backhanded apology to Keselowski on Twitter, posting that he couldn't get close enough because "your genius teammate was too busy messing up the inside line 1 move at a time."

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Daytona ready for race, willing to relocate fans

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Fans feeling unsafe after the horrific crash at Daytona International Speedway can change seats for NASCAR's biggest race.

Track President Joie Chitwood says workers successfully repaired a section of fence — 54 feet wide and 22 feet high — that was shredded Saturday when Kyle Larson's car went airborne on the final lap of a second-tier race and crashed through the barrier that separates cars from fans. Large pieces of debris, including a tire, sprayed into the upper and lower section of the stands.

The crash injured more than 30 people, raising more questions about fan safety at race tracks. NASCAR President Mike Helton said "most everybody" had been released from local hospitals, but there are a "few still being treated."

Chitwood says if any fans are uncomfortable with their up-close seating for Sunday's Daytona 500, officials will work to move them.

"If fans are unhappy with their seating location or if they have any incidents, we would relocate them," Chitwood said Sunday. "So we'll treat that area like we do every other area of the grandstand. If a fan is not comfortable where they're sitting, we make every accommodation we can."

Track workers finished repairs about 2 a.m. Sunday, having installed a new fence post, new metal meshing and part of the concrete wall.

Officials decided not to rebuild the collapsed cross-over gate, which allows fans to travel between the stands and the infield before races.

Daytona has a grandstand remodel planned. Chitwood said the injuries could prompt a redesign that might include sturdier fences or stands further away from the on-track action.

"It's tough to connect the two right now in terms of a potential redevelopment and what occurred," Chitwood said. "We were prepared yesterday, had emergency medical respond. As we learn from this, you bet: If there are things that we can incorporate into the future, whether it's the current property now or any other redevelopment, we will.

"The key is sitting down with NASCAR, finding out the things that happened and how we deal with them."

Daytona reexamined its fencing and ended up replacing the entire thing following Carl Edwards' scary crash at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama in 2009. Edwards' car sailed into the fence and spewed debris into the stands.

"We've made improvements since then," Chitwood said. "I think that's the key: that we learn from this and figure out what else we need to do."

NASCAR plans to take what remained of Larson's sheared car along with debris back to its research and development center in Charlotte, N.C., for testing.

"We'll bring in the best and brightest," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's senior vice president for racing operations. "Anything we can learn will be put in place. ... Fans are our first priority. Obviously we want everybody to be safe at an event. We've talked to the speedway. We're confident in what's in place at today's event. Certainly still thinking about those affected, but we're confident to move forward for this race."

The 12-car crash began as the front-runners approached the checkered flag. Leader Regan Smith attempted to block Brad Keselowski for the win, triggering a pileup that could have been much worse.

Larson's burning engine wedged through a gaping hole in the fence. Parts and pieces of his car sprayed into the stands, including a tire that cleared the top of the fence and landed midway up the spectator section closest to the track.

The 20-year-old Larson stood in shock a few feet from his car as fans in the stands waved frantically for help. Smoke from the burning engine briefly clouded the area, and emergency vehicles descended on the scene.

Ambulance sirens could be heard wailing behind the grandstands at a time the race winner would typically be doing celebratory burnouts.

"It was freaky. When I looked to my right, the accident happened," Rick Harpster of Orange Park said. "I looked over and I saw a tire fly straight over the fence into the stands, but after that I didn't see anything else. That was the worst thing I have seen, seeing that tire fly into the stands. I knew it was going to be severe."

In 1987, Bobby Allison's car lifted off the track at Talladega while running over 200 mph, careening into the steel-cable fence and scattering debris into the crowd. That crash led to the use of horsepower-sapping restrictor plates at Talladega and its sister track in Daytona, NASCAR's fastest layouts.

As a result, the cars all run nearly the same speed, and the field is typically bunched tightly together — which plenty of drivers have warned is actually a more dangerous scenario than higher speeds.

"That's one of the things that really does scare you," Allison said Sunday. "But it's always a possibility because of the speeds, where they are."

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Grief besets family of Pistorius' slain girlfriend

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Far from the courtroom drama that has gripped South Africa, the family of Oscar Pistorius' slain girlfriend has struggled with its own private deluge of grief, frustration and bewilderment.

The victim's relatives also harbor misgivings about efforts by the Olympian's family to reach out to them with condolences.

Pistorius, meanwhile, spent Saturday at his uncle's home in an affluent suburb of Pretoria, the South African capital, after a judge released him on bail following days of testimony that transfixed South Africa and much of the world. He was charged with premeditated murder in the shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine's Day, but the athlete says he killed her accidentally, opening fire after mistaking her for an intruder in his home.

"We are extremely thankful that Oscar is now home," his uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said in a statement that also acknowledged the law must run its course. "What happened has changed our lives irrevocably."

The Pistorius family took steps to lower its profile on social media after someone hacked into the Twitter account of his older brother, Carl, family spokesman Janine Hills said.

"Carl did not tweet this afternoon, out of respect to Oscar and Reeva," Hills said in a statement. "We are busy cancelling all the social media sites for both Oscar's brother and his sister."

Mike Steenkamp, Reeva's uncle, told The Associated Press that the family of the double-amputee athlete initially did not send condolences or try to contact the bereaved parents, but had since sought to reach out in what he described as a poorly timed way. After Pistorius was released on bail in what amounted to a victory for the defense, Arnold Pistorius said the athlete's family was relieved but also in mourning "with the family" of Reeva Steenkamp.

"Everybody wants to jump up with joy," Mike Steenkamp said, speculating on the mood of Pistorius' family after the judge's decision. "I think it was just done in the wrong context, completely."

A South African newspaper, the Afrikaans-language Beeld, quoted the mother of Reeva Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, law school graduate and participant in a television reality show, as saying the family had received a bouquet of flowers and a card from the Pistorius family.

"Yes, but what does it mean? Nothing," June Steenkamp said, according to the Saturday edition of Beeld. She also said Pistorius' family, including sister Aimee, a somber presence on the bench behind the Olympian during his court hearings in the past week, must be "devastated" and had done nothing wrong.

"They are not to blame," June Steenkamp said. According to Beeld, she said she had hoped to plan a wedding for her daughter one day.

In an affidavit, 26-year-old Oscar Pistorius said he was "absolutely mortified" by the death of "my beloved Reeva," and he frequently sobbed in court during the several days during which his bail application was considered. However, prosecutor Gerrie Nel, suggested in a scathing criticism that Pistorius was actually distraught because his vaunted career was now in peril and he was in grave trouble with the law.

"It doesn't matter how much money he has and how good his legal team is, he will have to live with his conscience if he allows his legal team to lie for him," Barry Steenkamp, Reeva's father, told Beeld.

"But if he is telling the truth, then perhaps I can forgive him one day," the father said. "If it didn't happen the way he said it did, he must suffer, and he will suffer ... only he knows."

Barry Steenkamp suffered "heavy trauma" at the loss of his daughter and his remarks to the newspaper partly reflect how he is working through it, said his brother, Mike Steenkamp.

Steenkamp was cremated in a funeral ceremony on Feb. 19 in her family's hometown of Port Elizabeth on South Africa's southern coast. Mike Steenkamp delivered a statement about the family's grief to television cameras, at one point breaking down in tears.

The three-story house where Pistorius is staying with his aunt and uncle lies on a hill with a view of Pretoria. It has a large swimming pool and an immaculate garden.

Pistorius was born without fibula bones due to a congenital defect and had his legs amputated at 11 months. He has run on carbon-fiber blades and was originally banned from competing against able-bodied peers because many argued that his blades gave him an unfair advantage. He was later cleared to compete. He is a multiple Paralympic medalist, but he failed to win a medal at the London Olympics, where he ran in the 400 meter race and on South Africa's 4x400 relay team.

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Pistorius granted bail pending murder trial

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — In an agonizingly slow announcement, a magistrate allowed Oscar Pistorius to go free on bail Friday, nine days after the Paralympian was arrested in the Valentine's Day killing of his girlfriend.

Pistorius' family members and supporters shouted "Yes!" when Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair made his decision after a more than 1 hour and 45 minute explanation of his ruling to a packed courtroom.

Radio stations and a TV news network in South Africa broadcast the audio of the decision live, and even international channels like the BBC and CNN went live with it, underscoring the huge global interest in the case.

Nair banned cameras from Friday's dramatic bail hearing and complained about cameras constantly "flashing" in Pistorius' face the previous three days of hearings, saying the spectacle made the athlete look like "some kind of species the world has never seen before."

Nair set the bail at 1 million rand ($113,000), with $11,300 in cash up front and proof that the rest is available. The magistrate said Pistorius must hand over his passports and also turn in any other guns that he owns. Pistorius also cannot leave the district of Pretoria, South Africa's capital, without the permission of his probation officer, Nair said, nor can he take drugs or drink alcohol.

The double-amputee Olympian's next court appearance was set for June 4. He left the courthouse in a silver Land Rover, sitting in the rear, just over an hour after the magistrate imposed the bail conditions.

The magistrate ruled that Pistorius could not return to his upscale home in a gated community in the eastern suburbs of Pretoria, where the killing of Reeva Steenkamp took place.

Pistorius' uncle, Arnold Pistorius said: "We are relieved at the fact that Oscar got bail today but at the same time we are in mourning for the death of Reeva with her family. As a family, we know Oscar's version of what happened on that tragic night and we know that that is the truth and that will prevail in the coming court case."

Pistorius' senior defense lawyer, Barry Roux, told reporters the defense is satisfied with the bail.

Nair made the ruling after four days of arguments from prosecution and defense in Pistorius' bail hearing. During Friday's long session in Pretoria Magistrate's Court, Pistorius alternately wept and appeared solemn and more composed, especially toward the end as Nair criticized police procedures in the case and as a judgment in Pistorius' favor appeared imminent.

Nair said Pistorius' sworn statement, in which he gave his version of the events of the shooting during the predawn hours of Feb. 14 in a sworn statement, had helped his application for bail.

"I come to the conclusion that the accused has made a case to be released on bail," Nair said.

Pistorius said in the sworn statement that he shot his girlfriend — a model and budding reality TV contestant — accidentally, believing she was an intruder in his house.

Prosecutors say he intended to kill Steenkamp and charged him with premeditated murder, saying the shooting followed a loud argument between the two.

Sharon Steenkamp, Reeva's cousin, had said earlier that the family wouldn't be watching the bail decision and hadn't been following the hearing in Pretoria.

"It doesn't make any difference to the fact that we are without Reeva," she told The Associated Press.

Despite the bail decision, prosecution spokesman Medupe Simasiku said: "We're still confident in our case," outside court.

Pistorius faced the sternest bail requirements in South Africa because of the seriousness of the charge, and his defense lawyers had to prove that he would not flee the country, would not interfere with witnesses or the case, and his release would not cause public unrest.

Nair questioned whether Pistorius would be a flight risk and be prepared to go "ducking and diving" around the world when he stood to lose a fortune in cash, cars, property and other assets. Nair also said that while it had been shown that Pistorius had aggressive tendencies, he did not have a prior record of offenses for violent acts.

He criticized Hilton Botha, the previous lead investigator in the case, for not doing more to uncover evidence that the Olympian had violent tendencies.

"There is ample room and ample time to do that by looking at the background of the accused," he said.

But while Nair leveled harsh criticism at former lead investigator Botha for "errors" and "blunders," he said one man does not represent the state's case and that the state could not be expected to put all the pieces of its puzzle together in such a short time.

Anticipating the shape of the state's case at trial, he said he had serious questions about Pistorius' account: Why he didn't try to locate his girlfriend on fearing an intruder was in the house, why he didn't try to determine who was in the toilet and why he would venture into perceived "danger" - the bathroom area - when he could have taken other steps to ensure his safety.

"There are improbabilities which need to be explored," Nair said, adding that Pistorius could clarify these matters by testifying under oath at trial.


AP Sports Writer Gerald Imray and AP writer Carley Petesch contributed to this report from Johannesburg.

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Prosecutors: Pistorius top cop should be dropped

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Prosecutors reinstated attempted murder charges against a policeman leading the murder investigation into Oscar Pistorius, in the latest twist in a case that has captivated South Africa and threatens to bring down a national idol.

The announcement that detective Hilton Botha faces reinstated charges in connection with a 2011 shooting incident came a day after he testified for the prosecution in Pistorius' bail hearing, and by all accounts bungled his appearance. He acknowledged Wednesday that nothing in the world-famous athlete's account of the fatal Valentine's Day shooting of his girlfriend contradicted what police had discovered.

The spokeswoman for the nation's prosecutors urged that Botha be removed from the Pistorius case.

Pistorius, an Olympic runner whose lower legs were amputated when he was less than a year old, claims he mistook girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder when he shot her through a locked door in a bathroom in his home. Police said Pistorius fired four shots, hitting Steenkamp three times.

Bulewa Makeke, spokeswoman for South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority, acknowledged Thursday that the timing of the attempted murder charges against the detective was "totally weird" but said Botha should be dropped from the case against the athlete. However, Makeke said the charges against Botha were reinstated on Feb. 4, before his testimony Wednesday and even before Steenkamp was killed. Police said they were notified Wednesday of the reinstated charges which stem from a 2011 shooting incident in which Botha and two other officers allegedly fired at a minibus.

Makeke indicated the charges were reinstated because more evidence had been gathered. She said the charge against Botha was initially dropped "because there was not enough evidence at the time. But then, obviously the investigation continued up to the fourth (of) February and the senior public prosecutor was in a position to make a decision to reinstate the case."

She emphasized that it is a decision for police and not prosecutors whether to take Botha off the Pistorius case, one that has riveted the world's attention and is bringing scrutiny on South Africa's justice system.

"Is he going to be dropped from the case? I don't know. I think the right thing would be for him to be dropped," Makeke said outside Pretoria Magistrate's Court shortly before Pistorius' bail hearing went into a third day. "Obviously there will be consultations between the two (police and prosecutors) to determine what is the best course of action."

Pistorius' main sponsor Nike, meanwhile, suspended its contract with the multiple Paralympic champion, following eyewear manufacturer Oakley's decision to suspend its sponsorship. Nike said in a brief statement on its website: "We believe Oscar Pistorius should be afforded due process and we will continue to monitor the situation closely."

Botha was summoned unexpectedly by the magistrate at the start of Thursday's proceedings and was questioned for around 15 minutes before being excused — but only after it took him around 40 minutes to get to the courtroom.

Pistorius' bail hearing began on Tuesday and is already running behind schedule, with it expected to have been completed on Wednesday.

Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair asked the defense of Pistorius' bail application: "Do you think there will be some level of shock if the accused is released?"

Defense lawyer Barry Roux responded: "I think there will be a level of shock in this country if he is not released."

Opposing bail for Pistorius, prosecutor Gerrie Nel painted a picture of a man "willing and ready to fire and kill," and said signs of remorse from Pistorius did not mean that the athlete didn't intend to kill his girlfriend.

"Even if you plan a murder, you plan a murder and shoot. If you fire the shot, you have remorse. Remorse might kick in immediately," Nel said.

As Nel summed up the prosecution's case opposing bail, Pistorius began to weep, leading his brother, Carl Pistorius, to reach out and touch his back.

"He (Pistorius) wants to continue with his life like this never happened," Nel went on, prompting Pistorius, who was crying soflty, to shake his head. "The reason you fire four shots is to kill," Nel persisted.

Earlier Thursday, Nair questioned Botha over delays in processing records from phones found in Pistorius' house following the killing of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and budding reality TV contestant.

"It seems to me like there was a lack of urgency," Nair said as the efficiency of the police investigation was again questioned after Botha conceded to a string of blunders on the second day of the hearing.

They did not discuss anything relating to the attempted murder charges against Botha and if he should continue on the case. Police say that Botha and two other police officers fired at a minibus they were trying to stop, and will appear in court in May to face seven counts of attempted murder.

Pistorius, in the same gray suit, blue shirt and gray tie combination he has worn throughout the bail hearing, had stood ramrod straight in the dock as the magistrate arrived Thursday and then sat calmly looking at his hands as Roux picked apart the prosecution's argument. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the athlete was slumped over and sobbing uncontrollably at times as detail was read out of how Steenkamp died in his house.

Roux continued to cast doubt on the state's case and the investigation, following up after lead investigator Botha conceded Wednesday that police had left a 9 mm slug in the toilet where Steenkamp died, had lost track of illegal ammunition found in the home and that Botha himself had walked through the scene without protective shoe covers, possibly contaminating the area.

"The poor quality of the evidence offered by investigative officer Botha exposed the disastrous shortcomings of the state's case," Roux said Thursday. "We cannot sit back and take comfort that he is telling the truth."

Roux also raised issue of intent, saying the killing was not "pre-planned" and referred to a "loving relationship" between the two.

He said an autopsy showed that Steenkamp's bladder was empty, suggesting she had gone to use the toilet as Pistorius had claimed. Prosecutors claim Steenkamp had fled to the toilet to avoid an enraged Pistorius.

"The known forensics is consistent" with Pistorius' statement, Roux said. The lawyer said the evidence does not even show Pistorius committed a murder. In summing up the defense argument in the bail hearing, Roux asked that bail restrictions be eased for Pistorius.

Nel presented the prosecution's case before proceedings ended for the day, and said that Pistorius hadn't given guarantees to the court that he wouldn't leave the country if he was facing a life sentence. Nel also stressed that Pistorius shouldn't be given special treatment.

"I am Oscar Pistorius. I am a world-renowned athlete. Is that a special circumstance? No." Nel said. "His (Pistorius') version (of the killing) is improbable."

Nel said the court should focus on the "murder of the defenseless woman."

Botha also testified earlier Thursday — and after he was surprisingly recalled — that he had investigated a 2009 complaint against Pistorius by a woman who claimed the athlete had assaulted her. He said that Pistorius had not hurt her and that the woman had actually injured herself when she kicked a door at Pistorius' home.

Botha was only questioned briefly before he was excused by Nair, but South Africa's prosecuting authority and the police still had to make a decision over whether the 24-year police veteran would be removed from the investigation because of the charges against him.

The hearing was to continue Friday morning, with the possibility of magistrate Nair ruling then if Pistorius can be freed on bail before trial.


AP Sports Writer Gerald Imray in Johannesburg contributed to this report.

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Armstrong facing Wednesday deadline with USADA

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lance Armstrong is facing a Wednesday deadline to decide whether he will meet with U.S. Anti-Doping Agency officials and talk with them under oath about what he knows about performance-enhancing drug use in cycling.

The agency has said Armstrong's cooperation in its cleanup effort is the only path open to Armstrong if his lifetime ban from sports is to be reduced.

Armstrong has given mixed signals about whether he plans to talk with USADA officials. Armstrong attorney Tim Herman previously suggested Armstrong would not meet with USADA before the agency's original Feb. 6 deadline. The two sides then agreed to give Armstrong another two weeks to work out an interview with investigators.

Armstrong previously denied using performance-enhancing drugs, but in January admitted doping to win seven Tour de France titles.

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Pistorius says no intentions to kill girlfriend

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius told a packed courtroom Tuesday that he shot his girlfriend to death by mistake, thinking she was a robber. The prosecutor called it premeditated murder.

The double amputee said in an affidavit read by his lawyer at his bail hearing that he felt vulnerable because he did not have on his prosthetic legs when he pumped bullets into the locked bathroom door. Then, Pistorius said in the sworn statement, he realized that model Reeva Steenkamp was not in his bed.

"It filled me with horror and fear," he said.

He put on his prosthetic legs, tried to kick down the door, then bashed it in with a cricket bat to find Steenkamp, 29, shot inside. He said he ran downstairs with her, but "She died in my arms."

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel on Tuesday charged the 26-year-old athlete and Olympian with premeditated murder, alleging he took the time to put on his legs and walk some seven meters (yards) from the bed to the bathroom door before opening fire. A conviction of premeditated murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in jail.

The Valentine's Day shooting death has shocked South Africans and many around the world who idolized Pistorius for overcoming adversity to become a sports champion, competing in the London Olympics last year in track besides being a Paralympian. Steenkamp was a model and law graduate who made her debut on a South African reality TV program that was broadcast on Saturday, two days after her death.

The magistrate ruled that Pistorius faces the harshest bail requirements available in South African law.

Nel told the court that Pistorius fired into the door of a small bathroom where Steenkamp was cowering after a shouting match. He fired four times and three bullets hit Steenkamp, the prosecutor said.

"She couldn't go anywhere. You can run nowhere," prosecutor Nel argued. "It must have been horrific."

Pistorius sobbed softly as his lawyer, Barry Roux, insisted the shooting was an accident and that there was no evidence to substantiate a murder charge.

"Was it to kill her, or was it to get her out?" he asked about the broken-down door. "We submit it is not even murder. There is no concession this is a murder."

He said the state had provided no evidence that the couple quarreled nor offered a motive.

Nel rebutted: "The motive is 'I want to kill.'"

There were affadavits from friends of Pistorius and Steenkamp read out by defense lawyer Roux in the bail hearing.

The statements described a charming, happy couple. The night before the killing, they said, Pistorius and Steenkamp had canceled separate plans to spend the night before Valentine's Day together at his home.

As details emerged at the dramatic court hearing in the capital, Steenkamp's body was being cremated Tuesday at a memorial service in the south-coast port city of Port Elizabeth. The family said members had arrived from around the world. Six pallbearers carried her coffin, draped with a white cloth and covered in white flowers, into the church for the private service.

June Steenkamp, the mother, said the family wants answers.

"Why? Why my little girl? Why did this happen? Why did he do this?" she said in an interview published Monday in The Times newspaper.

Outside the court, several dozen singing women protested against domestic violence and waved placards urging Pistorius be refused bail. "Pistorius must rot in jail," one placard said.

South Africa has some of the world's worst rates of violence against females and the highest rate in the world of women killed by an intimate partner, according to a study by the Medical Research Council. Another council study estimates a child or woman is raped every four minutes. While homicide rates have dropped, the number of women killed by current or former partners has increased, said the council's Professor Rachel Jewkes. At least three women are killed by a partner every day in the country of 50 million, she said.

Steenkamp campaigned actively against domestic violence and had tweeted on Twitter that she planned to join a "Black Friday" protest by wearing black in honor of a 17-year-old girl who was gang-raped and mutilated two weeks ago.

What "she stood for, and the abuse against women, unfortunately it's gone right around and I think the Lord knows that statement is more powerful now," her uncle and the family spokesman Mike Steenkamp said after her memorial.

He said the family had planned a big get-together at Christmas but that had not been possible. "But we are here today as a family and the only one who's missing is Reeva," he said, breaking down and weeping.

Pistorius was born without fibula bones and had them amputated when he was 11 months.

The man known as the Blade Runner because of his running prostheses has lost several valuable sponsorships estimated to be worth more than $1 million a year.

On Tuesday, the athlete was ousted from a pro-gay campaign being launched in Cape Town, organizers said. In a video axed from the campaign, Pistorius says "You don't have to worry. You don't have to change. Take a deep breath and remember, 'It will get better.'"


Associated Press writer Michelle Faul contributed from Johannesburg and AP photographer Schalk van Zuydam from Port Elizabeth.

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West beats East 143-138 in NBA All-Star Game

HOUSTON (AP) — The NBA's career scoring leader in the All-Star game, Kobe Bryant has never been just about offense.

"I'm known for my defense," Bryant said. "I can defend. I'm pretty smart with my defense."

Pretty good, too. Ask LeBron James.

Bryant blocked James' jumper, turning it into a dunk by Kevin Durant that helped the Western Conference put away the East 143-138 on Sunday.

Bryant may not leap like Blake Griffin, but he can still get up when he needs to, especially when the defenseless part of the All-Star game is over and it's time to stop somebody — even the league's best player.

On Michael Jordan's 50th birthday, the players most often compared to him turned the final minutes into a 1-on-1 duel, and it went to Bryant — the guy Jordan said he'd pick between the two based on his five championship rings. That's one less than MJ and four more than King James.

"It was a great block," Durant said. "I haven't really seen any MVP get a jumper blocked like that. It was a really great play."

Chris Paul had 20 points, 15 assists and won MVP honors, and Durant scored 30 points. Griffin finished with 19, joining his Clippers teammate, Paul, in creating Lob City deep in the heart of Texas.

"You just want to play fast. I like to throw the lob. I like to see guys hit 3s," Paul said. "When we're out on the court with all that firepower, why wouldn't you want to make passes? You've got KD filling one of the lanes, you've got Blake, Kobe on the wing. There's nothing like it."

Bryant added a second late block of James, the MVP of the 2006 game here after leading a big East comeback. This time, he scored 19 points but shot only 7 of 18 after making 60 percent of his shots in six straight games before the break.

Carmelo Anthony led the East with 26 points and 12 rebounds.

"I think we played really good defense at the end of the game as a team," Durant said. "Kobe was really going with the ball. It's tough to stop LeBron, but he did his best. He was able to block a few of his shots. But CP did a really good job of keeping us in the game."

The first dunk of the game came 16 seconds in, Paul throwing a pass to Griffin as part of the West's 7-0 start. The West led after each of the first three quarters, though was never ahead by more than eight points through three periods.

They finally pushed it into double figures early in the fourth fueled by former Oklahoma City teammates Russell Westbrook and James Harden, but couldn't put it away until a late run behind the guys from the city of Los Angeles — who along with Lakers center Dwight Howard gave Los Angeles all but one of the West's starting spots.

Paul hit two 3-pointers, Bryant made a layup, and his block of James led to Durant's dunk that made it 136-126. Griffin had one last forceful dunk to help close it out, throwing a pass to himself off the backboard and climbing high in his neon green sneakers to slam it home and make it 142-134.

Harden had 15 points in his home arena, where the sights of the game were on the floor and the sounds were at the rim — which shook repeatedly after thunderous dunks for most of the game before, as usual, players tried to make some stops down the stretch.

Players' sneakers were a variety of pastels and fluorescent colors that looked like they came right from Easter Sunday church, many clashing so badly with their multi-colored socks that they may as well have been created by spilling out random paint buckets.

James and Dwyane Wade wore purple, and Griffin's neon look was also sported by the usually not-so-loud Tim Duncan and Brook Lopez.

But the NBA's high-flyers sure could leap in them.

Durant slammed one down so hard at one point that he stumbled backward after landing, appearing woozy. He came in as the career leader in points per game with 28.3 and may have won a second straight MVP award if not for Paul's big finish.

But the Kobe-LeBron matchup down the stretch showed that even in an All-Star game, when it's time to determine a winner, the 34-year-old Bryant is all business.

"It was all in good spirit, man. It was just two guys that love to compete, love to go at it. So I had a lot of fun," said James, who at 28 has plenty of time to catch up to Jordan and Bryant in when it comes to NBA championships.

Bryant finished with only nine points, but had eight assists. Griffin shot 9 of 11 from the field and didn't miss until trying to violently throw one down from a few feet away from the basket.

Indiana's Paul George scored 17 and Kyrie Irving had 15 for the East.

Not everybody had it so easy. Chris Bosh shot two airballs in the first quarter and was booed, tossed up another in the second, and had Tony Parker dribble the ball through his legs on defense. He was even pulled down the stretch by his own coach, Erik Spoelstra, right after Bryant blew right by him for a layup.

Bosh finished 3 of 9. Wade had 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting, the best performance of the three Heat players in the starting lineup. He and James helped the East pull out a two-point win in the 2006 game here, but the West didn't play Bryant-level defense back then.

"Second time in Houston, it was great," Wade said. "We didn't get the win, but we are all winners, because all 24 of us are All-Stars. So it was great."

There were plenty of laughs, players performing comedic skits and poking fun at each other on the Toyota Center's massive overhead scoreboard. Even the celebrities that surrounded the court — Westbrook almost crashed into Beyonce and Jay-Z while trying for a first-half steal — seemed entertained.

Two of Houston's biggest basketball stars, Hakeem Olajuwon and Yao Ming, who was honored after the first quarter, and Olympic gold medalists Usain Bolt and Gabby Douglas were among the athletes who weren't in the game.

Players wore warmup jackets with patches commemorating their individual and team career accolades during a lengthy pregame that included a performance by Ne-Yo. They actually warmed up twice, needing to get loose again after watching and being introduced during the elaborate show.

The game capped a weekend of change in Texas, where David Stern presided over his final All-Star game as commissioner and players' association executive director Billy Hunter was voted out of office — a result he seems likely to contest.

Boston's Kevin Garnett said before coming to Houston he thought his 15th All-Star selection would be his last, and turned it over to the young guys early. He played only 6 minutes of the first half before calling it a night.


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Hirscher wins worlds slalom at home in Austria

SCHLADMING, Austria (AP) — Overall World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher won the men's slalom title Sunday on the last day of the skiing world championships for his first individual gold medal at a major event.

Cheered loudly by a home crowd of 35,000, the Austrian overcame the pressure of expectation to earn the host nation its second gold of the worlds, after the mixed team event.

Hirscher held onto his first-run lead to finish in a combined time of 1 minute, 51.03 seconds. Felix Neureuther of Germany was 0.41 seconds back in second. Hirscher and Neureuther are also 1-2 in the World Cup discipline standings.

Two-time former champion Mario Matt of Austria took third, 0.65 behind.

"It's awesome," Hirscher said. "I forced myself to think, 'There's nothing at stake, it's just ski racing, it's just a game.' That helped me to handle the pressure. The atmosphere was sensational, super. I had to be careful not to blow it all for them."

Hirscher missed the 2011 worlds because of a broken foot. On Thursday, he injured his back and neck during training but finished second to Ted Ligety in GS the next day and followed it up with Sunday's win. It was the 14th gold in slalom for Austria.

His father and coach, Ferdinand Hirscher, called it "a wonderful day."

"It was very tense as we had to change something on the setup of his boots this morning," Ferdinand said. "But Marcel always stays cool. He tries not to think about titles and championships. He just concentrates on the information the coaches are giving him before a run."

Italian great Alberto Tomba said the Austrian's achievement was "super, super."

"I said three days ago, Marcel is going to win," said Tomba, the 1996 world slalom champion. "It's super he's done it. Felix and Mario were also great."

Ligety, a three-time champion, failed to finish when the American lost his balance and his left boot clicked out of the bindings 15 seconds into his run.

Olympic winner Giuliano Razzoli of Italy skied out on the bottom part in his first run, and defending world champion Jean-Baptiste Grange of France finished 2.43 off the lead in 12th place.

Neureuther, who trailed Hirscher by 0.28 after the first run, won his first individual medal at a major competition.

"It's fantastic," Neureuther said. "I usually try to hide my emotions but I can't do that now. I've finally done what I've tried to do many times before at big events. I am really happy and proud."

Neureuther helped Germany win bronze in the team event. Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who won the women's super-combined title, added two more medals for Germany.

"Everybody was talking about this duel: Marcel vs. Felix — and that's what it was," Neureuther said. "I just tried to avoid the mistakes I made at other championships."

Matt won the world slalom title in 2001 at home and again in 2007. He led the race briefly after a strong second run but was overtaken by both Neureuther and Hirscher.

"You have to fully attack but avoid making it a useless run," Matt said. "I lost a bit of time with a small mistake on the bottom, but I have to be satisfied with bronze."

The course caused many racers problems as mild temperatures softened the top layer of snow.

"The snow felt weird," Hirscher said, and Neureuther added it was "extremely difficult to gain speed on this course. You just don't get the right feeling on it."

Ligety's attempt to win a fourth medal failed shortly after starting his first run.

"I just kind of made a mistake," Ligety said. "I wanted to go really hard forward on the ski and I just peeled it right out of the back of the binding."

Ligety, who also captured the super-G and super-combined titles, could have equaled the 45-year record held by French great Jean-Claude Killy, who won four golds in 1968.

Ligety helped the United States top the medals table, even without Lindsey Vonn, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opening race. Mikaela Shiffrin added another gold in the women's slalom, and Julia Mancuso took bronze in super-G.

"It was an awesome world champs," Ligety said. "Of course it was a bummer to go out in the slalom. I just had the ski peel off again, which has been happening this year ... I feel pretty good for the most part. I'm not at the level of consistency of Hirscher or Felix, but I still feel like I have good speed relative to those guys. I just don't put together runs like those guys do."

Ligety's teammates David Chodounsky and Will Brandenburg also failed to finish the opening run.

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Beckham must wait before making PSG debut

SAINT-GERMAIN-EN-LAYE, France (AP) — David Beckham will have to wait at least one more week to make his debut for Paris Saint-Germain because his coach says he needs to get in better shape.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti ruled out the 37-year-old former England captain for Sunday's match against Sochaux in the French league.

"He will stay here and work," Ancelotti said Saturday. "He will stay here and improve his physical condition. He still needs to work, and with a week's work he will be ready the following week against Marseille."

PSG hosts title rival Marseille on Feb. 24 and again three days later in the French Cup.

"I think he can play easily against Marseille after one week more training, no problem," Ancelotti said. "I will make the decision whether he starts or not."

Beckham, looking to win a league championship in a fourth country, started full training with PSG this week and has not played since his last appearance for the Los Angeles Galaxy on Dec. 1. He worked out last week in London with personal fitness trainers.

"The level of French football is high, there is a lot of rhythm, a lot of intensity," Ancelotti said, adding he plans to use Beckham either in a defensive central midfield role or out wide on the right.

"He brings his experience, his quality, his professionalism. These are the things we need from David," said Ancelotti, who is close to Beckham after coaching him at AC Milan. "I'm not just keeping him for the Cup or the Champions League. He can play in every match."

Entering this weekend's matches, PSG leads Lyon by six points and Marseille by eight.

"We are in very good form at the moment," Ancelotti said, referring to PSG's unbeaten start to the year.

PSG took a step toward reaching the Champions League quarterfinals by winning 2-1 at Valencia this week.

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Yankees razz Youkilis for Red Sox remarks

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Kevin Youkilis' new teammates were waiting to razz him when the third baseman walked into the New York Yankees clubhouse.

Youkilis made the back page of two New York newspapers Friday for telling reporters at the first day of spring training that "I'll always be a Red Sox."

"I was basically defining that, as a player, I'll be a Red Sox, and a White Sox, and a Yankee for life," Youkilis said Friday. "Three storied franchises. I'm excited to be part of this, and be with the Yankees. Trust me, there's no way that was meant to say my heart is in Boston or anything like that. My heart is here with the Yankees."

Youkilis took part in his first workout with the Yankees on Thursday after flying from California to Tampa.

"I think guys are having fun with it, joking around," Youkilis said.

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Olympian Oscar Pistorius charged with murder

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Paralympic superstar Oscar Pistorius was charged Thursday with the murder of his girlfriend who was shot inside his home in South Africa, a stunning development in the life of a national hero known as the Blade Runner for his high-tech artificial legs.

Reeva Steenkamp, a model who spoke out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women, was shot four times in the predawn hours in the house, in a gated community in the capital, Pretoria, police said.

Hours later after undergoing police questioning, Pistorius left a police station accompanied by officers. He looked down as photographers snapped pictures, the hood on his gray workout jacket pulled up, covering most of his face. His court hearing was originally scheduled for Thursday afternoon but has been postponed until Friday to give forensic investigators time to carry out their work, said Medupe Simasiku, a spokesman for the prosecution.

South Africans were shocked at the killing. But while Pistorius captured the nation's attention with his Olympic quest, police said there was a recent history of problems involving him. Police spokeswoman Brigadier Denise Beukes said the incidents included "allegations of a domestic nature."

"I'm not going to elaborate on it but there have been incidents (at Pistorius' home)," Beukes said. Police in South Africa do not name suspects in crimes until they have appeared in court but Beukes said that the 26-year-old Pistorius was at his home at the time of the death of Steenkamp and "there is no other suspect involved."

Pistorius' father, Henke, declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press, only saying "we all pray for guidance and strength for Oscar and the lady's parents."

Neither Pistorius' agent Peet van Zyl nor coach Ampie Louw could be reached while Pistorius' own cellphone went straight to voicemail.

Pistorius' former coach, Andrea Giannini, said he hopes it was "just a tragic accident." Giannini said he believed that Pistorius had been dating Steenkamp for "a few months."

"No matter how bad the situation was, Oscar always stayed calm and positive," Giannini told the AP in Italy. "Whenever he was tired or nervous he was still extremely nice to people. I never saw him violent."

Yet Pistorius had troubles in his personal life. In February 2009, he crashed a speed boat he was piloting on South Africa's Vaal River. Witnesses said he had been drinking before the crash and officers found alcoholic beverages in the wreckage, though they acknowledged at the time they hadn't conducted a blood test on the athlete. Pistorius broke his nose, jaw and several ribs in the crash, as well as damaged his eye socket and required some 180 stitches to his face.

In November, Pistorius also found himself in an altercation with a local coal mining millionaire over a woman, South African media reported. Eventually, the two men involved the South African Police Service's elite Hawks investigative unit before settling the matter.

Pistorius owned firearms and posted a photograph of himself at a shooting range in November 2011 to the social media website Twitter, bragging about his score.

"Had a 96% headshot over 300m from 50shots! Bam!" he tweeted.

Police said that earlier reports that Steenkamp may have been mistaken for a burglar by Pistorius did not come from the police. Several local media outlets initially reported that the shooting may have been accidental.

Capacity Relations, a talent management firm, earlier named model Steenkamp as the victim of the shooting. Police spokeswoman Lt. Col. Katlego Mogale told the AP that officers received a call around 3 a.m. after the shooting.

A 9 mm pistol was recovered and a murder case opened against Pistorius.

Pistorius enjoyed target shooting with his pistol and an online advertisement featuring him for Nike read: "I am a bullet in the chamber." An article in January 2012 in The New York Times Magazine described him talking about how he pulled a pistol to search his home when his alarm went off the night before an interview. At Pistorius' suggestion, he and the journalist went to a nearby target range where they fired at targets with a 9 mm pistol. At one point, Pistorius told the writer: "If you practiced, I think you could be pretty deadly."

Asked how often he went target shooting, Pistorius replied: "Just sometimes when I can't sleep."

Police have still not released the name of the woman, but the publicist for Steenkamp confirmed in a statement that the model was dead.

"We can confirm that Reeva Steenkamp has passed away," Steenkamp's publicist Sarit Tomlinson said. "Our thoughts and prayers go to the Steenkamp family, who have asked to have their privacy respected during this difficult time, everyone is simply devastated. She was the kindest, sweetest human being; an angel on earth and will be sorely missed."

Tomlinson said Steenkamp, known simply as Reeva, was one of FHM's (formerly For Him Magazine) 100 Sexiest Women in the World for two years running, appeared in countless international and national advertisements and was one of the celebrity contestants on the reality show "Tropika Island of Treasure," filmed in Jamaica.

She and Pistorius were first seen publicly together in November at an awards ceremony in Johannesburg. Later, she began mentioning the athlete in public messages on Twitter.

She also tweeted messages urging women to stand up against rape as well as her excitement about Valentine's Day. "What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow?" she tweeted. "It should be a day of love for everyone."

Pistorius made history in London last year when he became the first double-amputee track athlete to compete in the Olympic Games, propelling him to the status of an athletics superstar.

Having had both his legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday because of a congenital condition, he campaigned for years to be allowed to compete against able-bodied athletes. Having initially been banned because of his carbon fiber blades — which critics said gave him an unfair advantage — he was cleared by sport's highest court in 2008 and allowed to run at the top events.

He competed in the 400 meters and on South Africa's 4x400 relay team at the London Games, making history when his selection for South Africa's team was confirmed at the very last minute. He also retained his Paralympic title in the 400 meters in London.

South Africa's Sports Confederation and Olympic committee released a statement on Thursday saying they had been "inundated" with requests for comment but were not in a position to give out any details of the shooting. The International Paralympic Committee also said it wouldn't comment in detail apart from offering its condolences to the victim's family.

South Africa has some of the world's highest murder rates, with nearly 50 people killed each day in the nation of 50 million. It also has high rates of rape, other assaults, robbery and carjackings.

U.N. statistics show South Africa has the second highest rate of shooting deaths in the world, second only to Colombia.

"The question is: Why does this story make the news? Yes, because they are both celebrities, but this is happening on every single day in South Africa," said Adele Kirsten, a member of Gun Free South Africa. "We have thousands of people killed annually by gun violence in our country. So the anger is about that it is preventable."


Imray reported from Cape Town, South Africa. Associated Press writer Michelle Faul contributed to this report from Johannesburg.

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IOC President Rogge to meet with wrestling leader

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — IOC President Jacques Rogge will meet with the head of wrestling's governing body to discuss ways the sport can fight to save its place in the 2020 Olympics.

The IOC executive board removed wrestling from the program of the 2020 Games on Tuesday, cutting it from the list of 26 sports at last year's London Olympics.

The decision, which still must be ratified by the full IOC in September, has been widely criticized by wrestling organizations around the world.

Rogge said Wednesday he's been contacted by Raphael Martinetti, the president of international wrestling federation FILA, and was encouraged by the sport's determination to remain in the games.

"We agreed we would meet at the first opportunity to have discussions," Rogge said at a news conference at the close of a two-day board meeting. "I should say FILA reacted well to this disheartening news for them.

"They vowed to adapt the sport and vowed to fight to be eventually included in the 2020 slot."

Wrestling, which remains on the program for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, still has a chance to stay on the list for 2020 — if it manages to convince the IOC to reverse the board's decision.

Wrestling now joins seven other sports in applying for one opening on the 2020 program: a combined bid from baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and the martial art of wushu.

The IOC executive board will meet in May in St. Petersburg, Russia, to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020 inclusion. The final vote will be made at the IOC general assembly in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

IOC officials said it's possible the board could decide to put forward three sports for consideration, including wrestling.

"The vote of yesterday is not an elimination of wrestling from the Olympic Games," Rogge said. "Wrestling will participate in the games in Rio de Janeiro. To the athletes who train now, I say, 'Continue training for your participation in Rio. Your federation is working for the inclusion in the 2020 Games.'"

Rogge was asked whether Tuesday's decision marked an end to wrestling in the Olympics.

"I cannot look into a crystal ball into the future," he said. "We have established a fair process by which the sport that would not be included in the core has a chance to compete with the seven other sports for the slot on the 2020 Games."

Rogge said he was fully aware of the backlash to the decision against wrestling, a sport which dates back to the ancient Olympics and featured in the inaugural modern games in 1896.

The head of the Russian Olympic Committee said Wednesday he would write to Rogge to appeal the IOC board's decision. Wrestling has been one of Russia's strongest sports: Soviet and Russian wrestlers have won 77 gold medals.

"We knew even before the decision was taken whatever sport would not be included in the core program would lead to criticism from the supporters of that sport," Rogge said.

The board voted after reviewing a report by the IOC program commission that analyzed 39 criteria, including TV ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity. With no official rankings or recommendations contained in the report, the final decision by the 15-member board may have included political and sentimental factors.

Modern pentathlon — a five-sport discipline dating back to the 1912 Games — had been widely expected to face removal from the program but lobbied successfully to save its status.

Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., the son of the former IOC president, is a vice president of the International Modern Pentathlon Union and a member of the IOC board.

FILA said Tuesday it was "greatly astonished" by the decision, adding that the federation "will take all necessary measures to convince the IOC executive board and IOC members of the aberration of such decision against one of the founding sports of the ancient and modern Olympic Games."

The last sports removed from the Olympics were baseball and softball, voted out by the IOC in 2005 and off the program since the 2008 Beijing Games. Golf and rugby will be joining the program at the 2016 Games in Rio.

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Snedeker on the rise with Pebble win

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Everything about Brandt Snedeker moves at warp speed, including his rapid rise into golf's elite.

He talks so fast that he always seems to be a few words short of a complete sentence. He plays fast, giving his hips a quick swivel to set his position before pulling the trigger. Even his putts go into the hole quickly, most of them struck with purpose instead of hope.

But when he reached the 18th tee box at Pebble Beach, he had to wait for the fairway to clear before taking a victory stroll up one of the prettiest closing holes in golf.

And that was OK with him.

"There's not much better place to be on the planet with a three-shot lead on that tee box," Snedeker said Sunday. "It felt pretty special there."

Indeed, Snedeker is in a special place.

With his 10th consecutive round in the 60s, Snedeker finally had a trophy to show for his astounding start to the 2013 season. He knew the opening seven holes were critical, and he made an eagle and three birdies to build a quick lead. He realized a late birdie would give him a cushion, and he fired at the flag on the par-3 17th to 10 feet below the cup and holed the putt. He closed with a 7-under 65 for a two-shot win over Chris Kirk in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

It was the fifth win of his career, and his fourth in the last 22 months. But it's the last six months that have really turned heads.

He captured the $10 million FedEx Cup prize with a win at the Tour Championship, where he held off the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Luke Donald going into the final round. He played in his first Ryder Cup. He started this year with a third-place at Kapalua, and runner-up finishes in consecutive weeks to Woods and Phil Mickelson, both of whom had big leads going into the final round.

Go back to the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs last August and Snedeker now has six top 3s in his last nine starts. Since missing the cut at the PGA Championship, he has broken par in 33 out of 37 rounds. No wonder he now is No. 4 in the world, the best ranking of his career.

"Just hard to put into words, to have a stretch of golf like I had the last couple of months," Snedeker said. "Something you dream about. Something you think that you can do, but you don't really know until you actually put it together. And I have.

"I'm really enjoying this, and hopefully can parlay this into the best year of my career."

Snedeker set the tournament record at 19-under 267, one shot better than Mickelson (2007) and Mark O'Meara (1997), who each had a 20-under 268 when Poppy Hills (par 72) was part of the rotation. It has been replaced by Monterey Peninsula, which is a par 70.

Chris Kirk closed with a 66 to finish alone in second, though he was never closer than two shots of the lead on the back nine and finished with a birdie. Kirk finished on 269, a score that would have been good enough to win all but four times at Pebble Beach since this tournament began in 1937.

"We've had a lot of tournaments like that on tour this year where somebody has really just kind of blitzed the field," Kirk said. "I felt like I played well enough to win a golf tournament and came up a little bit short."

Snedeker could have said the same thing — except for Woods at Torrey Pines, and Mickelson going obscenely low to win the Phoenix Open.

He wasn't about to take a back seat to anyone at Pebble Beach.

Snedeker started the final round tied with James Hahn, a 31-year-old rookie from the Bay Area, with Kirk one shot behind. He set the tone early with a 4-iron into the par-5 second hole that was on the edge of the left green. It hit the collar and kicked slightly to the right, rolling toward the pin until it settled 4 feet behind the cup.

"Kind of lucky, but it was a good shot, and to end up where it did was a great way to start the day," he said.

Hahn hit his approach high and pure, and it nearly hit Snedeker's ball before stopping 6 feet away. Hahn missed. Snedeker made. It was like that over the front nine.

Snedeker started to pull away with a 3-wood that came off the edge of the green, ran by the cup and stopped 20 feet away for a two-putt birdie. Then, he holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the seventh and was on his way.

Most impressive about Snedeker this week was bouncing back from bogey. He made five bogeys for the entire week, and four times made birdie on the next hole. On Sunday, his lone mistake was knocking an 18-foot birdie off the green and three-putting for bogey at No. 9.

The answer, like everything else about him, was fast and furious.

He knocked in a 25-foot birdie putt on the 10th, and then holed from 15 feet for birdie on the 12th. Right when it looked as though he would make another bogey on the par-3 12th, he made par from just short of 10 feet.

There's a reason Snedeker led the PGA Tour in putting last year, though it's his driving that has vastly improved. Snedeker studied some statistics last year that showed his odds of hitting the green go way up when he starts in the fairway. And once he's on the green, he's tough to beat.

Hahn, who shot 70 and tied for third, was looking forward to learning something from his debut in the final group, and he saw Snedeker put on a clinic.

"I learned that he is a better guy than he is a golfer. The dude is world class," Hahn said. "He's obviously one of the best, if not the best golfer right now, and possibly for the last year. But how he conducts himself as a person on an off the golf course, that's also world class. He deserved to win today. ... I'm sure if you ask him, it was never a doubt that he was going to win the golf tournament."

Snedeker concurred.

"I definitely didn't want to do anything but win today," he said. "I was out there for one purpose and one purpose only, and I was extremely focused all day. I did a great job of staying patient and I did a great job of playing the golf course the way you're supposed to play it."

And the outcome was just what he expected. The way he has been playing, it shouldn't have been any surprise to anyone.

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Paternos issue report, challenge Freeh's findings

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — A new report commissioned by Joe Paterno's family challenges the conclusion by former FBI director Louis Freeh that the late Penn State coach conspired to hide child sex abuse allegations against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

The Paterno family's critique, released Sunday, argues that the findings of the Freeh report published last July were unsupported by the facts.

Former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, one of the experts assembled by the family's lawyer to review Freeh's report last year to Penn State, said the document was fundamentally flawed and incomplete.

Freeh's report reached "inaccurate and unfounded findings related to Mr. Paterno and its numerous process-oriented deficiencies was a rush to injustice and calls into question" the investigation's credibility, Thornburgh was quoted as saying.

In a statement released Sunday through a spokesman, Freeh defended his work.

"I stand by our conclusion that four of the most powerful people at Penn State failed to protect against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade," he said.

Paterno's family released what it billed as an exhaustive response to Freeh's work, based on independent analyses, on the website

"We conclude that the observations as to Joe Paterno in the Freeh report are unfounded, and have done a disservice not only to Joe Paterno and the university community," the family's report said, "but also to the victims of Jerry Sandusky and the critical mission of educating the public on the dangers of child sexual victimization."

Freeh's findings also implicated former administrators including university president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and retired vice president Gary Schultz. Less than two weeks after the Freeh report was released in July, the NCAA acted with uncharacteristic speed in levying massive sanctions against the football program for the scandal.

"Taking into account the available witness statements and evidence, it is more reasonable to conclude that, in order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity, the most powerful leaders at Penn State University — Messrs. Spanier, Schultz, Paterno and Curley — repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky's child abuse" from authorities, trustees and the university community, Freeh wrote in releasing the report.

The former administrators have vehemently denied the allegations. So, too, has Paterno's family, though it reserved more extensive comment until its own report was complete.

The counter-offensive began in earnest this weekend. The family's findings said that Paterno:

— Never asked or told anyone not to investigate an allegation against Sandusky 12 years ago, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2001.

— Never asked or told former administrators not to report the 2001 allegation.

— And never asked or told anyone not to discuss or hide information reported by graduate assistant Mike McQueary about the 2001 allegation.

"Paterno reported the information to his superior(s) pursuant to his understanding of university protocol and relied upon them to investigate and report as appropriate," the family's analysis said.

Paterno's widow, Sue, broke her silence Friday in a letter to hundreds of former players informing them of the report's impending release. "The Freeh report failed and if it is not challenged and corrected, nothing worthwhile will have come from these tragic events," she wrote.

"I had expected to find Louis Freeh had done his usual thorough and professional job," Thornburgh said in a video posted on "I found the report to be inaccurate in some respects, speculative and unsupported to the record compiled ... in short, fundamentally flawed as to the determinations made to the role — if any — Mr. Paterno played in any of this."

Freeh, in his report, said his team conducted 430 interviews and analyzed over 3.5 million emails and documents. The former federal judge said evidence showed Paterno was involved in an "active agreement to conceal" and his report cited email exchanges, which referenced Paterno, between administrators about allegations against Sandusky in 1998 and 2001.

Sandusky, 69, was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison in October after being convicted last summer of 45 criminal counts. Prosecutors said assaults occurred off and on campus, including the football building.

His arrest in November 2011 triggered the turmoil that led to Paterno's firing days later. Under pressure, Spanier left as president the same day. Curley was placed on administrative leave, while Schultz retired.

Spanier, Curley and Schultz are awaiting trial on obstruction and conspiracy, among other charges. They have maintained their innocence.

Critics have said that Freeh's team didn't speak with key figures including Curley, Schultz and Paterno, who died in January 2012 at age 85. The authors of the emails referenced in Freeh's report, which included Curley and Schultz, were not interviewed by Freeh, the family's analysis said.

Spanier spoke to Freeh six days before the report was released July 12.

"They missed so many key people. They didn't interview most of the key players, with the exception of President Spanier, who at the last minute we brought in and interviewed at a time when frankly the report ... was pretty well all prepared," Thornburgh said on the video.

Freeh said he respected the family's right to conduct a campaign to "shape the legacy of Joe Paterno," but called the critique self-serving. Paterno's attorney was contacted for an interview the coach, he said, and Paterno spoke with a reporter and biographer before his death but not Freeh's team.

Curley and Schultz also declined numerous requests for interviews, Freeh said. They have been facing criminal charges since November 2011.

Freeh on Sunday cited grand jury testimony by Paterno in 2011 in which Paterno said a graduate assistant relayed to him a 2001 allegation against Sandusky of a "sexual nature" with a child.

He referred to a key point in the July report in which he said Spanier, Schultz and Curley drew up a plan that called for reporting Sandusky to the state Department of Public Welfare in 2001. But Curley later said in an email that he changed his mind "after giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe."

Said Freeh on Sunday: "These men exhibited a striking lack of empathy for Sandusky's victims by failing to inquire as to their safety and well-being, especially by not even attempting to determine the identity of the child" in the 2001 allegation.

The Paterno family report said Freeh chose not to "present alternative, more plausible, conclusions" about Paterno's actions.

Sue Paterno had directed the family lawyer, Washington attorney Wick Sollers, to review Freeh's report and her husband's actions. Sollers brought in Thornburgh, as well as former FBI profiler and special agent Jim Clemente, described as a child molestation and behavioral expert.

Also brought in was Dr. Fred Berlin, a psychologist from Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Medicine whose profile lists him as the founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic.

The analysis included interviews, including of Paterno before his death, as well as a review of documents and testimony and "information from our access to the lawyers for other Penn State administrators."

The Paterno family's analysis said Freeh's report turned into a platform for scapegoating Paterno rather than seizing on an opportunity to educate about identifying child sex abuse victims, and ignored "decades of expert research and behavioral analysis regarding the appropriate way to understand and investigate a child victimization case."

It said expert analysis showed Sandusky "fooled qualified child welfare professionals and law enforcement, as well as laymen inexperienced and untrained in child sexual victimization like Joe Paterno." The coach respected Sandusky as an assistant, but knew little about Sandusky's personal life, the analysis said, though Freeh's report "missed that they disliked each other personally, had very little in common outside work, and did not interact much if at all socially."

Penn State removed a bronze statue of Paterno outside Beaver Stadium on July 22. The next day, the NCAA in levying sanctions said Freeh's report revealed "an unprecedented failure of institutional integrity leading to a culture in which a football program was held in higher esteem."

The NCAA improperly relied on that report and never identified a rules infraction "based on Sandusky's crimes, much less an infraction by Penn State that implicated the NCAA's jurisdiction and core mission of ensuring competitive balance," the Paterno family report said.

A four-year bowl ban and steep scholarship cuts were included among the sanctions, while 111 wins between 1998 and 2011 under Paterno were vacated. It meant Paterno no longer holds the record for most wins by a major college coach.



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