HONOLULU (AP) — Union workers for video and audio production at Golf Channel events walked out Sunday over stalled contract negotiations, leading to limited coverage of the final round at the Sony Open and two other events in the Bahamas and Florida.
Golf Channel said it has been negotiating an agreement for nine months with International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, a union for tournament technicians at golf tournaments, such as the camera crew.
The strike involves only tournaments that Golf Channel produces.
The network also produces the CareerBuilder Challenge next week in La Quinta, California. CBS Sports produces the following week at Torrey Pines, where Tiger Woods plays on the PGA Tour for the first time in a year.
“Golf Channel has been working on negotiating an agreement for nine months with a union that represents our live tournament technicians,” the network said in a statement. “Those efforts have not yet yielded a resolution, and we look forward to reaching a mutually agreeable contract. However, some technicians have chosen to walk off the job today. We have contingency plans in place, and will continue to deliver coverage.”
It declined further comment, such as how it will provide coverage.
The Sony Open telecast was scheduled for 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern, and starting times are set for the final group to finish in that window. However, the PGA Tour moved up tee times by about an hour, so that the last group finishes around 9:15 p.m.
Some three dozen IATSE members from Local 665 picketed outside the main road into Waialae Country Club in support of the Golf Channel’s technical crew. John Culleeny, an international representative for the union, said its members wanted Golf Channel to meet industry standards. He was not specific on the talking points that stalled negotiations.
The video and audio crew had talked about walking out during the third round Saturday but held back for another meeting. Culleeny said the next meeting was scheduled for Tuesday.
Golf Channel is producing three tournaments next week — the CareerBuilder Challenge, another Web.com Tour event in the Bahamas and the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, a PGA Tour Champions event on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Along with the Sony Open, Golf Channel is televising the second round of the Web.com Tour event in the Bahamas, a 72-hole event that ends on Tuesday. It also is televising the unofficial Diamond Resorts Invitational in Orlando, Florida, for players from the PGA Tour Champions, LPGA Tour and celebrities.
Golf Channel has headquarters in Orlando and likely will be able to have more complete coverage of that event.
The PGA Tour sent notices to its players on all tours notifying them of the labor dispute.
“We are working closely with our partners at the Golf Channel to provide as much television coverage as possible,” the tour said in a statement.
It said fans could follow the tournaments with real-time scoring on its website, through social media channels and PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM for the Sony Open.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s athletic department said Sunday it is reviewing an incident in which a player is seen striking a Texas Tech fan who had joined thousands of others in a postgame celebration.
Video posted on social media by fans at the game in Lubbock, Texas, show forward Wes Harris and other West Virginia players trying to reach the sideline as fans swarmed the court Saturday in celebration of No. 8 Texas Tech’s 72-71 win over No. 2 West Virginia.
The videos appear to show Harris striking a fan who had run into him before Harris is pulled away. Other players were involved in a separate skirmish trying to protect a teammate in the swarm.
“We have been in contact with the Big 12 Conference and Texas Tech and are gathering information regarding yesterday’s court storming in Lubbock,” West Virginia’s athletic department said in a statement.
The incident highlights the potential dangers of fans storming the court. In 2015, the Big 12 passed a measure giving commissioner Bob Bowlsby broad authority to fine schools that fail to keep fans off the court following games.
Big 12 spokeswoman Joni Lehmann said Sunday the league is following its protocols for sportsmanship and ethical conduct and declined further comment.
In 2014, Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart was suspended three games for going into the stands and shoving a Texas Tech fan in Lubbock.
Last January, the Big East Conference fined Marquette $5,000 after fans stormed the Bradley Center court following an upset of top-ranked Villanova.
The Southeastern Conference fined both Auburn and Vanderbilt $100,000 after wins over Kentucky in 2016. That season, a Des Moines Register sports writer broke his leg after being knocked over when fans rushed the court in Ames, Iowa, following Iowa State’s win over rival Iowa.
It’s also long been an issue in college football.
In 2002, a Miami, Ohio, assistant coach was led off the field in handcuffs for allegedly shoving a Marshall fan who ran onto the field after a game in Huntington, West Virginia. The fan fell, hit his head on the artificial turf and was hospitalized with a concussion. The assistant coach, Jon Wauford, later resigned and a misdemeanor battery charge was dropped.
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An exiled Qatari ruling family member once promoted by Saudi Arabia amid its ongoing dispute with Doha appeared in an online video Sunday claiming he’s being held against his will in the United Arab Emirates, an allegation denied by Abu Dhabi.
The video of Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani, a little-known ruling family member until the boycott of Qatar by four Arab nations, offered new fuel to the monthslong stalemated crisis. It immediately recalled the bizarre, now-reversed resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri while on a trip Riyadh, a Nov. 4 decision that was widely perceived as Saudi-orchestrated at the time.
The UAE’s state-run WAM news agency later said Sheikh Abdullah had freely left the country “at his request.”
The video, immediately aired by Doha-based news network Al-Jazeera, shows Sheikh Abdullah saying he was invited to Abu Dhabi as a guest of “Sheikh Mohammed.” Sheikh Abdullah appears to refer to Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who enjoys strong ties to Saudi Arabia’s rulers.
“I am a guest of Sheikh Mohammed but it is not hosting now, it is now an imprisonment,” Sheikh Abdullah says. “They told me not to leave and I am afraid something will happen to me and they blame Qatar.”
He adds: “I just wanted to let you know that Qatar is innocent in this and I am being hosted by Sheikh Mohammed and anything that happens to me after this is under his responsibility.”
The UAE, one of four countries boycotting Qatar, denied the claim. Authorities pointed to a series of tweets by Ali Rashid al-Nuaimi, who heads Abu Dhabi’s Hedayah counter-extremism center. Al-Nuaimi said that Sheikh Abdullah had asked to move to the Emirates for his “safety.”
“A trusted source confirmed to me that Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani is free to leave the UAE for any destination he chooses and he can leave whenever he likes,” al-Nuaimi wrote on Twitter, without elaborating.
The report on the WAM news agency said Sheikh Abdullah was “free in his movements” while in the UAE.
“He expressed his desire to leave the country where all procedures were facilitated without any interference,” WAM said. It did not say where the sheikh went.
Doha promised to “closely” observe the situation, though it acknowledges it is limited by the boycott, Qatar Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lolwa al-Khater said.
“We have observed in the past similar behavior by the blockading nations where rights of individuals and officials alike are violated in total contravention of international norms, conventions and laws with no clear purpose or valid reasoning,” she said in a statement.
Sheikh Abdullah’s grandfather, father and brother were rulers of Qatar until a palace coup ousted his branch of the ruling family in 1972. His last position in government was as head of the equestrian and camel racing federation decades ago.
Since the crisis, Sheikh Abdullah has held high-profile visits with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Those meetings came as Riydah allowed Qataris pilgrims over the border in August for hajj, a pilgrimage required of every able-bodied Muslim once in their lives.
Saudis then began suggesting Sheikh Abdullah should rule Qatar as an emir in exile, while Saudi-funded television networks provided him coverage. A quickly created Twitter account in his name amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. However, the last tweet on the account came in October and Sheikh Abdullah has not been publicly seen for some time.
Sheikh Abdullah is one of several Qataris exiles to emerge amid the diplomatic crisis, which began June 5 with Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE cutting off Doha’s land, sea and air routes over its alleged support of extremists and close ties to Iran. Qatar has long denied funding extremists and recently restored full diplomatic relations with Iran, with whom it shares a massive offshore natural gas field that made the country and its 250,000-odd citizens extremely wealthy.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia have cultivated even-closer ties in recent years. Emirati troops are deeply involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Sheikh Mohammed of Abu Dhabi is believed to have a close relationship with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The two countries announced plans of forming a tighter relationship in December, helping torpedo an already troubled meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The U.S., which has some 10,000 troops stationed at Qatar’s sprawling al-Udeid Air Base as part of its campaign against the Islamic State group and the war in Afghanistan, has sought to end the crisis. Its military has halted some regional exercises to put pressure on the GCC, which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to resolve the crisis. However, President Donald Trump in the meantime made comments seemingly supporting the Arab nations’ efforts at isolating Qatar, complicating those efforts.
A Trump-prompted call in September between Qatar’s ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and the Saudi crown prince that offered a chance at negotiations also broke down in mutual recriminations.
Associated Press writer Fay Abuelgasim contributed to this report.
Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellap . His work can be found at http://apne.ws/2galNpz .
CAIRO (AP) — Barely a week after authorities set a date for Egypt’s presidential elections, two hopefuls have launched their campaigns with criticism of general-turned-president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi’s rule, with one promising to end “repression” if elected and the other claiming the incumbent is establishing a dictatorship.
El-Sissi has yet to formally announce whether he will run in the March 26-28 election, but he is virtually certain to contest and win another four-year term in office. He said in October he would decide after he sees voters’ feedback on his track record over the past four years.
On Sunday, he announced on his Twitter account a conference to be held later this week in which “we will together review the journey of success.” He was alluding to last week’s announcement by his office that he would field questions from among those submitted by Egyptians online.
Neither of the two presidential hopefuls — prominent rights lawyer Khaled Ali and former lawmaker Mohammed Anwar Sadat — pose a serious challenge to el-Sissi’s chances of re-election, but both appear willing to take advantage of the opportunity to air scathing criticism of his rule during an election season.
Sadat, nephew of Egypt’s late leader Anwar Sadat, has posted a promotional video on social media networks in which he touts himself as capable of restoring “people’s rule” and bringing an end to “corruption” and “oppression.”
“They say Egypt is a quasi-state and that we are very, very poor,” Sadat said in a voiceover, referring to two el-Sissi phrases that have been widely criticized as too harsh. “It’s time we said enough to corruption, to oppression and misrepresentation. People can if given a chance,” he said.
Thrown out of parliament last year amid allegations he leaked official documents to foreign diplomats, Sadat went on to outline what he intends to do if elected, which apparently includes reforming domestic and foreign policies, but he offered no specifics or how he would finance those measures.
Criticism of el-Sisi by Ali, the rights lawyer, was more direct and focused on the difficulties of running against an incumbent who commands vast resources, from a loyal media to state institutions.
He bemoaned that he was entering a race “knowing that those who rule this nation cannot accommodate integrity … Yes, we have taken on a battle that some see as impossible to win, not because of the strength of our rival, but because of the injustices in the conditions of the competition, its circumstances and context.”
“We chose this path so that no one comes one day and says ‘where was this generation when they were building a dictatorship?'” he told reporters Thursday.
Besides Ali and Sadat, the lineup of hopefuls include Egypt’s former chief of staff, Sami Annan, who on Thursday posted on his Facebook account that his party has nominated him to run. Two former generals — him and el-Sissi — could therefore now potentially run against each other. Such a contest could undermine the appearance of a united front for a proud military establishment which has produced all but two of the country’s presidents since the early 1950s.
But it’ still early days before it is known whether any of the candidates will be eligible to run.
Under the constitution, any would-be candidate must gather formal “recommendations” from at least 20 elected members of parliament, or alternatively 25,000 recommendations from voters, with a minimum of 1,000 each from 15 of Egypt’s 29 provinces.
Most lawmakers have already recommended el-Sissi, who has led a heavy crackdown since 2013 that has jailed thousands of opponents, mainly Islamists but also secular activists, including many of those involved in the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Under his rule, street protests are banned, human rights groups have been placed under severe restrictions and several rights campaigners have been banned from foreign travel or had their assets frozen. Many critics in the media have been silenced. He has also been trying to revive the battered economy and brought a level of security to the streets not seen since the 2011 uprising.
PARIS (AP) — France’s first baby panda has made his grand public entrance by acting like many five-month-olds — climbing all over his mother, who looked like she just wanted to rest instead.
Mostly hidden from view since his birth in August, the panda named Yuan Meng left his den on Saturday for his first public appearance. BFM TV video showed him endlessly crawling over his mother, who at one point gathered the black-and-white ball of fur to her side before he escaped again to climb over her.
French first lady Brigitte Macron, considered the panda’s “godmother,” announced the panda’s name at a ceremony in December at Beauval Zoo, south of Paris, attended by Chinese officials. It means “the realization of a wish” or “accomplishment of a dream.”
Video assistant referees were trialed in domestic English soccer for the first time this week.
Unfortunately for Southampton, they aren’t being used in the Premier League.
Southampton conceded a 90th-minute equalizer in its 2-2 draw at Watford on Saturday after Abdoulaye Doucoure forced the ball into the net with his right hand.
Southampton’s players protested but neither the referee nor his assistants saw an offense. A VAR surely would have.
“If VAR had come in, we probably wouldn’t get that,” said Watford captain Troy Deeney, who set up Doucoure’s goal, “but today we got it. It’s the luck of the draw.”
Used for the first time in England for the national team’s friendly against Germany in November, VARs were deployed in domestic soccer this week for the FA Cup third-round game between Brighton and Crystal Palace on Monday. They were also used for the League Cup semifinal between Chelsea and Arsenal on Wednesday.
They remain a source of debate, but incidents like the one at Vicarage Road may yet hasten their arrival.
Here’s a look the rest of Saturday’s games, where there were wins for Tottenham — on another record-setting day for Harry Kane — West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace and West Ham:
Harry Kane overtook Teddy Sheringham as Tottenham’s record scorer in the Premier League era (since 1992) with a second-half double in a 4-0 win over Everton
The England striker moved onto 98 goals, one more than Sheringham, and reached 20 goals in the league for the fourth consecutive year.
Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen scored the other goals at Wembley Stadium as Tottenham moved level on points with fourth-place Liverpool, whose game in hand is against Manchester City on Sunday.
Held 0-0 at home by Leicester, Chelsea has recorded three straight goalless draws across three competitions — and four in its last seven games.
Leicester dominated at Stamford Bridge until the 68th minute when Ben Chilwell was sent off for a second yellow card, and then easily saw off Chelsea’s late rally.
Chelsea missed the chance to climb into second place above Manchester United, instead moving level on 47 points. Both teams are 15 adrift of Man City.
West Bromwich Albion forward Jay Rodriguez is set to be investigated by the English Football Association for an alleged remark made to Brighton defender Gaetan Bong during West Brom’s 2-0 win.
Neither club has commented on the nature of Rodriguez’s alleged comment to the Cameroon international, but it has been reported to the referee and he will be obliged to include in it his report. That means the matter will be examined by the FA.
In an incident that took place during the second half at The Hawthorns. Rodriguez pinched his nose after clashing with Bong, who alerted the match officials moments later.
It overshadowed West Brom’s first win in 20 league games, with Jonny Evans and Craig Dawson scoring the goals from corners.
WEST HAM, PALACE CONTINUE REVIVALS
Crystal Palace and West Ham both won to continue their revivals under their new managers.
Palace didn’t have a point or a goal after seven games, but Roy Hodgson has engineered a turnaround that has seen the team lose just once in the league since then. The latest win was 1-0 against Burnley, courtesy of Bakary Sako’s first-half goal.
Sitting level on points with Palace is West Ham, which has only lost one of its last eight games under David Moyes, who replaced the fired Slaven Bilic in early November.
West Ham won at Huddersfield 4-1, with Marko Arnautovic scoring one goal and setting up two more for Manuel Lanzini.
In the other game, Newcastle drew 1-1 with last-place Swansea, which is four points from safety.
Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80