CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled Dylann Roof’s attorney does not have to explain publicly why she wants to keep some evidence out of Roof’s Charleston church shooting trial.
Assistant U.S. Public Defender Sarah Gannett wants to block admission of videos, transcripts and other documents affecting Roof’s constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable searches and self-incrimination.
Gannett asked the court’s permission to file the motion under seal, saying to make it public could affect the court’s ability seat an impartial jury in Roof’s trial in November.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel issued an order Thursday saying the motion could be filed under seal and asked prosecutors to respond the same way.
Roof faces the death penalty in the shootings of nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in June 2015.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The origin of “Pokemon Go” is as peculiar as any of the Voltorbs or Snorlaxes that players track and capture in the surprise hit game.
Its hybrid DNA flows from a digital mapping pioneer’s fascination with the world around him, Google’s affinity for offbeat ideas, Nintendo’s comeback quest and a 20-year-old menagerie of animated monsters so popular that it spawned a company just to be its talent agency.
Then all it took was a prank to hatch a mobile video game that has turned into a cultural phenomenon.
APRIL FOOL, POKEMON
Google unwittingly planted the seed for “Pokemon Go” two years ago in one of the many April Fools’ Day jokes the internet company is famous for. In a mischievous 2014 post, Google announced a new training tool, created in conjunction with Pokemon and Nintendo, for hunting Pokemon using Google Maps. Its goal, the company said, was to hire the world’s best Pokemon Master — because it valued technically savvy risk takers who can “navigate through tall grass to capture wild creatures.”
The enthusiastic reaction to Google’s fake “Pokemon Challenge” video resonated within Niantic Labs, a little-known startup that had been incubating within the company — particularly with its founder John Hanke.
MAPS AS A LURE
Hanke was at Google because he’d sold it a digital mapping startup called Keyhole in 2004, providing the 3-D satellite imagery used in Google Earth. He’d overseen a number of maps-related projects until 2010, when he hit upon the idea of using maps to lure people outdoors to explore neighborhoods, see notable places and discover new places to eat, drink or just hang out.
With the goal of building mobile apps and games that encouraged “adventures on foot with others,” Hanke named Niantic after a grounded whaling vessel grounded during the San Francisco Gold Rush of 1849 and converted to a storage building. The remains of the original ship were later found buried near a current San Francisco landmark, the Transamerica Pyramid.
The Niantic name is a reminder that “there is lot of cool stuff beneath the surface of things,” Hanke told The Associated Press in a 2013 interview. A Niantic spokesman said Hanke was too busy working on “Pokemon Go” to comment for this story.
Hanke was ready to found his own independent startup until Google co-founder Larry Page persuaded him he could keep Niantic within the internet’s most powerful company.
In 2014, Niantic set out to turn Google’s Pokemon joke into a breakthrough for augmented reality — a still-nascent field that involves layering digital images onto homes, offices, streets, parks and other real-life settings.
In the case of “Pokemon Go,” this involves smartphone cameras and GPS technology that can project cute and creepy “pocket monsters,” or Pokemon, into the real world, at least as viewed through a phone’s screen.
It helped that Niantic had already built a technological foundation for “Pokemon Go” via an earlier mobile game called “Ingress.” The science-fiction game requires players to visit real-world landmarks and other locations to acquire weapons and gear necessary to gain points, acquire territory and battle an opposing faction.
“Ingress” has been downloaded more than 12 million times. It has such a devoted following that Hanke spent a week in Japan earlier this month to attend a live “Ingress” event in Tokyo — just as the rest of his team was struggling to keep up with the intense demand for “Pokemon Go.”
INGRESS TO POKEMON
Niantic’s negotiations for the rights to use the Pokemon characters got a boost from the fact that Pokemon Co. CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara was himself a fan of “Ingress.” Ishihara’s company, originally named Pokemon Center, manages a sprawling franchise that included games, TV shows and movies — essentially the entire cultural sensation created by childhood insect collector Satoshi Tajiri in conjunction with Nintendo.
Nintendo, meanwhile, had fallen on hard times. Just one month after Google’s Pokemon video, the Japanese video-game maker reported its third yearly operating loss in a row as its lackluster Wii U console cratered.
Not only had it failed to recreate the success of its groundbreaking Wii game system, Nintendo had missed almost every opportunity to jump on new gaming trends. It was particularly resistant to the idea of developing or licensing video games for smartphones.
“Pokemon Go” offered a potential way out of its hole. Nintendo still owns the trademark to all the characters and retains a 32 percent stake in Pokemon Co. Similar-sized stakes are held by Game Freak, a company created by Pokemon creator Tajiri, and Creatures Inc., launched by Ishihara.
GOOGLE LETS GO
The final piece in the “Pokemon Go” puzzle fell into place last August, when Google reorganized itself as a holding company called Alphabet that would in turn own a collection of independent subsidiaries — from large ones like Google itself to tiny ones like Niantic.
But Niantic quickly broke free of Google in order to explore opportunities with companies that might be reluctant to partner directly with the search giant, said long-time technology analyst Rob Enderle. “There are a lot of companies out there that are afraid of Google,” he said.
In addition, Google hasn’t demonstrated much prowess in video games, according to Forrester Research analyst Julie Ask. That makes it even more unlikely Nintendo would entrust one of its most valuable properties to a U.S. company solely owned by Google or its parent.
Niantic laid out its plans for “Pokemon Go” last September, and the following month Google, Nintendo and Pokemon agreed to invest $20 million , with a promise to put up another $10 million if an undisclosed set of goals were met.
Pokemon Co. says the additional investment hasn’t been made yet, even though it looks Niantic is hitting all its targets with the precision of a Pokemon Master.
Associated Press writers Yuri Kageyama and Ken Moritsugu in Tokyo contributed to this story.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Julius Yego wanted to be an athlete, only he couldn’t run very fast.
That can be a significant setback growing up in the highlands of western Kenya, where the best distance runners in the pre-eminent distance-running nation are molded. When it comes to sport, running is just about all that matters in Kenya.
So Yego had to come up with a different plan to succeed.
With the help of a sharpened stick, an “elastic” right wrist, and YouTube videos as a substitute for a coaching manual, he became a javelin world champion instead.
“Javelin is the sport in me, part of my blood,” he said. “I can’t sprint. I can’t compete in the 800 meters or the 100 meters. Javelin is the main talent I had.”
Yego, a world champion who isn’t a distance runner, goes against trends in Kenya and in international track and field in a refreshing way.
Forget convention — imagine a Jamaican winning a world title in the 10,000 meters, or an Ethiopian gold medalist in the 100 sprint.
Even that doesn’t encapsulate the essence of the journey of a boy from a rural farming village in the Great Rift Valley who practiced with sharpened sticks he cut off trees, and used online videos to teach himself to launch a javelin as far as the best from Scandinavia, Germany and Eastern Europe.
He launched one, a sleek metal one, further than them all last year to win the world championship title in Beijing.
When Yego threw 92.72 meters, hurling himself face-first onto the ground as the javelin left that fabulously flexible right hand, he catapulted into the top three best javelin throwers ever. His effort was the eighth furthest in history. Only the great Jan Zelezny (who has six of the top eight throws) and Aki Parviainen have thrown a javelin further.
There isn’t another African on that list of leading throws. There isn’t another non-European in the top 30.
“When I saw the Javelin fly I knew it was a huge, huge, huge throw,” Yego said, recalling that effort.
The first Kenyan to win a world title in a field event. An African record. The first man in 14 years to throw more than 92 meters. Only the fifth man ever to top 92 meters. All tremendous achievements, yet it very nearly didn’t happen.
In Cheptonon village in the Rift Valley, a young Yego thought he could succeed in javelin, believing he had a gift.
“My strength is my hand,” he said. “It is flexible and elastic. Very nice.”
For years, though, he was the only one who believed it.
He got very little help as his career progressed, so he turned instead to the internet.
He’d make his way to the closest internet cafe to his village and watch YouTube videos of the great Zelezny, his favorite, and others. Then he’d go home and put into practice what he’d seen. It was still tough. As recently as 2008, Yego, training alone and unnoticed, considered giving up when he was overlooked for the world juniors.
“At that point I didn’t want to do the javelin because there was no support,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press in Kenya. “Support was for the 800 meters … up to the marathon. They overlooked the field events.”
He stuck at it, though, and threw 75 meters in 2010. Encouraged, he kept watching the online videos, tweaking his training and technique. He won the All-Africa Games title in 2011 with a national record. More YouTube.
In the buildup to the 2012 Olympics, Yego got the chance to go to Finland and work with coach Petteri Piironen. After returning home, he kept in contact with Piironen through Skype. He still consulted his quasi-coach, too: YouTube.
Yego made the Olympic final by going past 80 meters. A Commonwealth Games title came in 2014 with 83.87. And then last year in Beijing, the world championships gold.
People are taking notice now.
Yego is a star in Kenya, where he’s known as the “YouTube man.” He’s quite happy with the attention after spending so many years being ignored for the distance runners.
“Being a world champion is a great thing,” said Yego, who now wears sponsored training gear emblazoned with ‘92.72.’ “Everyone looks at you.”
The unorthodox throwing style, sometimes flying headlong onto the ground as he releases the javelin to give it every last bit of power and momentum, also makes good viewing.
“The falling is not a technique,” he said. “Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Faced with those options a decade ago, Yego made it happen — with some help from the internet.
Follow the Rio de Janeiro Games and Julius Yego’s attempt to win javelin gold for Kenya at http://summergames.ap.org/
NEW YORK (AP) — Roger Ailes built the Fox News Channel into a ratings juggernaut, one that successfully presented a conservative alternative to mainstream news and garnered a large new audience in the Age of Trump.
But you don’t have to look too far down the road to see big challenges that have nothing to do with Ailes’ untimely departure .
While Fox has been the top-rated U.S. cable-news channel for 14 years, overall cable news audiences have been shrinking outside of presidential elections. More than half of Fox’s viewers are over 65, says data tracker Nielsen, compared to just 15 percent of Americans as a whole. They’re also more conservative than the general public, at a time when younger generations are trending more liberal, according to Pew . And it’s lagging in the digital efforts that many analysts consider key to attracting young people.
TV remains the dominant news source, but smartphone-addicted younger people are spending less time with it. Some 84 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds get news from social media like Facebook, and increasingly on their phones, according to Pew Research Center. Research firm eMarketer has predicted that digital ad spending will surpass TV ad spending in the U.S. next year for the first time.
“Fox News has been far more of a TV-centric business than a web or mobile business, if you compare it even to CNN,” said BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield. He pointed out as one example CNN’s spot on Snapchat’s Discover page, which spools up video and quick-read articles from media companies. Snapchat, a messaging app, is a blockbuster hit with young adults and teenagers.
And even if they were watching TV, the young people advertisers identify more as Democrats than Republicans by a 54-30 margin, according to a GenForward poll . They may not want to watch a channel so identified with conservatives.
None of that means Fox is likely to fade anytime soon. Demographic change moves slowly, and the channel’s strategy has been extraordinarily successful in a TV-centric world, earning it a core group of intensely loyal viewers that drew advertisers and made it a must-have for cable providers. Bernstein Research analyst Todd Juenger says in a research note that Fox News viewers are so addicted they’d be more likely to switch cable providers than give up the channel.
Some analysts scoff at the notion that Fox News has a problem with younger viewers.
“There’s a lot of concern in professional media circles that Fox (News) is going to disintegrate because it has an old audience,” said DePauw University media studies professor Jeffrey McCall. “I don’t think the brand is going to go away.” Fox’s ability to position itself as a news source that’s an alternative to the mainstream media has staying power, he says.
McCall also suggests that millennials might grow more conservative as they age. That common notion, however, clashes with academic findings that suggest political identity tends to gel in early adulthood.
Fox has done some digital experiments, including a live Q&A on Facebook during the GOP debate it aired last August, which drew a startling 24 million viewers (just less than the Grammys). It’s also streaming video on Facebook from this week’s Republican National Convention.
While those may not be as ambitious as rival efforts, analysts like McCall suggest that may not matter much to Fox right now, given its older audience. Those viewers aren’t “the kind of people who are going to be getting news off Twitter in same way as someone in their 30s or 40s,” he said.
Fox News did not answer questions for this story about its digital efforts.
TOKYO (AP) — The wait is over for “Pokemon Go” fans in Japan.
Players began tweeting about it as soon as it was available Friday morning, and the Pokemon Co. and the developer of the augmented reality game, U.S.-based Niantic Inc., confirmed its launch.
“Pokemon Go” is expected to be a huge hit in Japan, the country of the character’s birth. Fans have been eagerly awaiting its release since it first came out more than two weeks ago in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, and then spread to become a blockbuster hit in more than 20 countries.
“The best part is that I just got the first three (characters), I felt like, ‘Yes!'” university student Shuta Saito said in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, a popular spot for fans of animation and games.
One of the Japanese creators of the game apologized for the delay in a video with the American head of Niantic posted on the internet.
“To everyone in Japan: I am sorry to make you wait for so long,” said Jyunichi Masuda, the head of development at Game Freak Inc., the developer of the original Pokemon game. “‘Pokemon Go’ can now be played in Japan.”
In the game, players search for digital creatures that pop up on smartphone screens as they move through real-world locations. The game’s success has sent the stock price of Nintendo Co. soaring. The Japanese game maker, in partnership with Game Freak, released the original Pokemon game in the mid-1990s, and owns the trademarks to all the game’s characters.
The launch in Japan includes a tie-up with McDonald’s Japan that is seen as a potential expansion of the game’s revenue base beyond the sale of in-app purchases.
Financial details have not been disclosed, but McDonald’s said that about 400 of its 2,900 restaurants in the country are designated as “gyms” where players can battle on their smartphones. The other 2,500 are “Pokestops,” where players can get “Poke Balls” and other items they need to play the game.
Because the game uses GPS, it can drive potential customers to a store in a way that other games cannot. “They are adding a new way to make money through mobile games by virtue of the GPS element in the game, and I think this deal is just the first of many to come,” said Serkan Toto, a Tokyo-based games industry consultant.
Keito Sato, 17, walking with school friends in Tokyo’s Roppongi area, said he’s been playing since he learned about the game’s release via Twitter. He was hoping to test his skills in a battle at a McDonald’s, but realized he had not reached a sufficient level to do so.
In Akihabara, 19-year old student Yuchi Mori said he was undeterred by the multiple reports of “Pokemon Go”-related traffic accidents and other mishaps elsewhere. He downloaded the game as soon as a school exam ended Friday morning.
“Well I suppose using the smartphone while walking is dangerous, and small kids could be taken away by suspicious people, but I think it’s alright as long as each individual stays careful,” said Mori, a Pokemon fan since he was 6-years old.
As anticipation built toward the Japan release earlier this week, the government issued nine safety-related rules for “Pokemon Go” players to follow. Niantic CEO John Hanke asked users to play with care.
“When you go out to play, keep your head up, look around, enjoy the world around you and be safe,” he said in the video message.
Associated Press videojournalist Emily Wang contributed to this story.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey will be able to extend detention times for suspects and issue decrees without parliamentary approval under a three-month state of emergency approved Thursday by lawmakers following last week’s attempted military coup.
Parliament voted 346-115 to approve the national state of emergency, which gives sweeping new powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had been accused of autocratic conduct even before this week’s crackdown on alleged opponents. Erdogan has said the state of emergency will counter threats to Turkish democracy.
Even without the emergency measures, his government has already imposed a crackdown that has included mass arrests, mass firings and the closure of hundreds of schools. Erdogan said the new powers would allow the government to rid the military of the “virus” of subversion, blaming the coup attempt on a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen. The cleric has denied any knowledge of the attempted coup.
“This is a state of emergency imposed not on the people, but on (the state) itself,” declared Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. “We will, one by one, cleanse the state of (Gulen’s followers) and eliminate those who are trying to harm the country.”
The government hopes the state of emergency will be lifted within 40 to 45 days, said Yildirim’s deputy, Numan Kurtulmus.
Turkey immediately said it was partially suspending the European Convention on Human Rights, allowing it more leeway to deal with individual cases, by invoking an article most recently used by France and Ukraine. The Council of Europe said it had been informed of Turkey’s decision, and that the convention will still apply, but that individual exceptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Meanwhile, video emerged of soldiers firing at crowds who rushed to defend the government during the failed coup. Footage from CCTV cameras above the Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul showed soldiers shooting at a man who had his hands up as he approached tanks that were blocking traffic. Other footage, obtained from the Turkish Dogan news agency, showed a mob attacking surrendering soldiers on the bridge after daybreak.
On Thursday, thousands of people again gathered at the bridge to protest the failed coup. Waving Turkish flags, the crowd walked across the bridge linking the European and Asian sides of the city, some defiantly chanting, “Our martyrs are immortal, our nation cannot be divided!”
Since the July 15 coup attempt, the government has arrested nearly 10,000 people. More than 58,880 civil service employees — including teachers, university deans and police — have been dismissed, suspended, forced to resign or had their licenses revoked for allegedly being Gulen followers.
Turkish state media said Thursday that another 32 judges and two military officers had been detained by authorities.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, slammed the state of emergency move.
Speaking ahead of the vote, CHP lawmaker Ozgur Ozel said the decision would amount to a “civilian coup” against Parliament and was a display of “ingratitude” to all the legislators who had gathered in the assembly Saturday to oppose the coup attempt.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek defended the move, saying he hoped the state of emergency would be short-lived. He said it would be used to go after “rogue” elements within the state and that there would have been “carnage in the streets” had the military coup succeeded.
Simsek said that “standards of the European Court of Human Rights will be upheld,” but didn’t elaborate.
“There will be no curfews. There will be no restriction of movement other than for the suspects,” Simsek said.
Amnesty International said it recognized that the government had to take measures to prevent another coup attempt, but warned that under the state of emergency, dismissed civil servants would not be able to challenge the decrees in administrative courts and detention periods would be extended.
“Our concern is that government is going well beyond what might be considered a legitimate response to the coup attempt,” said Andrew Gardener of the group’s Istanbul office.
“People are being pursued without any evidence that they participated in this coup,” he said, adding that the government is “targeting people for their political affiliations. It’s not upholding the rule of law.”
Under the Turkish constitution, the emergency measures allow the government to “partially or entirely” suspend “the exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms,” so long as that doesn’t violate international law obligations.
A state of emergency has never been declared nationwide although it was declared in Turkey’s restive, Kurdish-dominated southeast between 1987 and 2002. There, governors imposed curfews, called in military forces to suppress demonstrations and issued search warrants.
Martial law was imposed across the country for three years following a successful military coup in 1980.
In other developments, a soldier allegedly linked to the attack on a hotel where Erdogan had been vacationing during the foiled coup was arrested in southwestern Turkey, the state agency Anadolu reported Thursday. The lieutenant was one of about 30 soldiers said to be involved in the hotel attack in the resort of Marmais.
The attackers arrived minutes after Erdogan had left the hotel, according to official reports.
In Greece, a court sentenced eight Turkish military personnel who fled there aboard a helicopter during the coup attempt to two months in prison for entering the country illegally.
Turkey has demanded their return to stand trial for alleged participation in the coup attempt. The eight, who deny involvement, have applied for asylum in Greece, saying they fear for their safety if they are returned.
El Deeb reported from Istanbul.