BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The U.S. Navy’s new combat ship, the USS Little Rock, glided past its permanently docked World War II-era namesake Monday and into the Buffalo harbor, where it will be commissioned later this month.
The Dec. 16 ceremony will mark the first time in the Navy’s 242-year history that a combat ship will be commissioned alongside its namesake, organizers said.
The original ship began its service as a light cruiser in 1944 and later was recommissioned as a guided missile cruiser. It was taken out of service in 1976 and is now a floating museum.
Several hundred people lined the Lake Erie waterfront at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park, many waving small American flags, as the smaller, sleeker, higher-tech new ship arrived under escort by the Buffalo Fire Department’s Edward M. Cotter fire boat.
The 389-foot littoral combat ship (LCS) was built in Marinette, Wisconsin, and has a helicopter pad, small boat ramp and can be used by small assault forces. The original USS Little Rock is 610 feet long.
“It’s a very powerful looking ship,” said Laurie Kostrzewski, of Buffalo, who took pictures and video with her phone as it passed. She planned to text them to her son, who just became a U.S. Marine.
“It’s absolutely thrilling. It makes me think of him,” she said.
More than 9,000 people requested tickets to the commissioning ceremony, organizers said.
Brian MacPeek, of Buffalo, held his 3-year-old son, Gavin, in his arms for a better view as the ship sailed into the harbor on the chilly morning.
“It’s amazing,” MacPeek said.
With Gavin waving two small flags with mitten-covered hands, MacPeek said he came to show respect to the crew and other service members.
“I’m teaching my son to honor our military,” he said.
After its commissioning, the Little Rock will sail to Florida to be homeported in Mayport.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie knew her team had to find a way to stop South Carolina’s All-American A’ja Wilson. But then she saw Wilson’s new frontcourt mate, Alexis Jennings, on video before Sunday’s game.
Jennings scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds — eight of them on the offensive end — taking pressure off the Blue Devils as they tried to stop Wilson in a 72-52 win for the No. 5 Gamecocks (8-1).
“It was sort of sobering watching the film preparing for this game,” McCallie said of seeing Jennings play. “She’s got tremendous value for South Carolina. She’s really stepping up quickly.
The game plan for No. 14 Duke (6-2) was made even simpler after injuries to two senior South Carolina guards. Duke packed it in, doubling Wilson and daring someone else to beat them.
Wilson still got her points. The senior scored 18 and pulled down 11 rebounds to start another double-double streak. The Gamecocks scored 54 of their 72 points in the paint and limited themselves to 12 turnovers, stopping much of Duke’s transition game.
“We could have easily said we don’t have this person and that person and felt sorry for ourselves. But we didn’t,” Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley said.
The Blue Devils kept it close in the first quarter and trailed 21-16 after a 3-point play by Lexie Brown. But after Jennings followed a Wilson miss with a score, Duke never got closer than seven the rest of the way.
South Carolina’s defense also did its job, holding the normally sure-shooting Blue Devils to just 38 percent (22 of 58) from the field, well below their 46 percent average this season. Duke came in eighth in the nation shooting 44 percent on 3-pointers but made only 1 of 10 from behind the arc.
The biggest question for South Carolina was would there be enough help for Wilson. She was only one of two returning starters from the national championship team.
But a pair of transfers— Jennings from Kentucky and Lindsey Spann from Penn State — has come through to keep the Gamecocks among the elite.
They also have fit in with South Carolina’s chemistry. Wilson smiled after Sunday’s game and said she was glad she didn’t have to play Jennings again at Kentucky, evoking a wide-eyed reaction.
“We are a pretty close-knit group,” Staley said. “They really get along with each other.”
Duke senior guard Rebecca Greenwell came into Sunday’s game needing two 3-pointers to become the Blue Devils all-time leader in 3s. She left the game still needing those two treys.
Staley put freshman Bianca Jackson on Greenwell, who missed both her 3-pointers and scored just eight points, well below her 17-point-a game average.
“They were definitely right up in our guards’ grills today,” senior center Erin Mathias said.
Duke: The Blue Devils starting backcourt of Brown and Greenwell averaged more than 36 points a game coming in. But they combined for only 21 points on Sunday. Duke was able to hang with South Carolina in the first quarter by shooting 46 percent. But then the shots stopped falling. Duke now has five games against lesser opponents to get ready for Atlantic Coast Conference play.
South Carolina: With Spann nursing a sprained knee and typical starter Bianca Cuevas-Moore still out with her own knee problems, this seemed like a trap for the Gamecocks. But good shooting and ball movement made this an easier-than-expected win. If the defending national champions get this kind of play most nights, they will be in the mix again in March. “By far the best 40 minutes we have put together,” Staley said.
Duke: The Blue Devils start a five-game homestand with a Thursday game against UNC-Greensboro.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks host College of Charleston on Tuesday before a 12-day break for exams.
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SEATTLE (AP) — The fight over the latest version of President Donald Trump’s travel ban returns to two federal appeals courts this week.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments in Seattle on Wednesday, followed by a full complement of 13 judges at the 4th Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, on Friday.
The ban targets about 150 million potential travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
The administration is appealing rulings in Hawaii and Maryland that largely blocked the ban as discriminatory. Critics say the ban constitutes the “Muslim ban” Trump promised during his campaign.
The administration insists it’s necessary for national security.
The arguments come as Trump continues to stoke anti-Muslim sentiment. Last week, he drew a rebuke from British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office when he retweeted a string of inflammatory videos from a fringe British political group.
WASHINGTON (AP) — CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Saturday that he sent a letter to a top Iranian military official warning him that the United States would hold Tehran accountable for any attacks it conducted on American interests in Iraq.
Pompeo, who has voiced staunch opposition to Iran, said he sent the letter to Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and elite Quds Force, but the general didn’t read it.
“I sent a note. I sent it because he had indicated that forces under his control might in fact threaten U.S. interests in Iraq,” Pompeo said at a defense forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in Simi Valley, California. “He refused to open the letter — didn’t break my heart to be honest with you.”
“What we were communicating to him in that letter was that we will hold he and Iran accountable … and we wanted to make sure that he and the leadership of Iran understood that in a way that was crystal clear.”
Pompeo said Iran is working to strengthen its influence throughout the Middle East. As a Republican congressman from Kansas, Pompeo was highly critical of the Iran nuclear deal, which the U.S. and other nations negotiated with Tehran to lift sanctions in exchange for reductions in its nuclear program. Pompeo said Iran is currently in compliance with that agreement.
In Iran, Mohammad Mohammadi Golpaygani, the chief of staff for the country’s supreme leader, said Soleimani ignored the letter. “Recently, when … the CIA chief through one of his contacts in the region sent a letter to Gen. Soleimani, he responded by saying, ‘I did not either receive or read the letter. I have nothing to tell these people’,” Golpaygani said.
In a wide-ranging panel discussion, Pompeo would not answer questions about speculation that he could replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. Pompeo, an outspoken conservative, has a close relationship with President Donald Trump and personally delivers an intelligence briefing to the president nearly every day.
Pompeo declined to say whether he has had conversations with Trump about the possibility of replacing Tillerson, saying only that he was very focused on his job as CIA director.
On North Korea, Pompeo said U.S. intelligence on the progress of Pyongyang’s nuclear missile program is good.
“I think we have a pretty good understanding of the scope and scale of their program and how far they are making progress towards being able to reliably deliver that system against the United States,” Pompeo said.
He said U.S. intelligence agencies believe that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un does not have a good idea about how tenuous his situation is domestically and internationally.
“Those around him are not feeding him the truth about the place that he finds himself — how precarious his position is in the world today. It’s probably not easy to tell Kim Jong Un bad news,” he quipped.
Pompeo said the U.S. hopes that economic and diplomatic actions being leveled at North Korea, along with pressure from China, will resolve the nuclear threat “in a way that doesn’t require the military outcome that I know no one is excited to advance.”
Former CIA director Leon Panetta, who appeared with Pompeo, criticized Trump for his brazen tweets, particularly his decision late last month to retweet a string of inflammatory videos from a fringe British political group purporting to show violence being committed by Muslims. The tweets drew sharp condemnation from world leaders and civil rights groups.
He said the White House should have a disciplined message and that Trump should use Twitter to advance his policies.
“I know the president loves to tweet. Frankly, if I had my way, I’d take that tweeter and throw it out the window,” said Panetta, who also served as White House chief of staff and secretary of defense. “It just raises a little bit of concern about stability.”
Pompeo disagreed. He said Trump’s tweets have actually helped the intelligence agencies.
“I have seen things the president has put on his Twitter account actually have a real-world impact on our capacity to understand what’s going on in other places in the world,” Pompeo said. “That is, our adversaries responded to those tweets in ways that were helpful to us to understand command and control issues, who is listening to what messages, how those messages are resonating around the world.”
The Holiday season is all about our favorite sweet treats like hot cocoa, gingerbread cookies and candy canes. But if you’re looking for healthier alternatives, this Next Big Thing might just be what you’ve been waiting for.
They look just like the typical cakes you may find at your local bakery, but instead of the floury batter and sugary frosting, these cakes are made of fresh veggies. We were so excited when we heard about them, we had to put them to the taste test ourselves!
So what do you think — would you bite into this Next Big Thing? Vote and tell us your opinion in the comments section below. Or submit your video comments to email@example.com. We will feature the results of the poll and some of your comments on the show!
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A former Forever 21 employee at a Providence, Rhode Island, store is suing the retailer after she says someone installed a hidden camera in the employee restroom and secretly filmed her.
The federal lawsuit filed Tuesday in New York says video that shows the plaintiff partially undressed was disseminated to “thousands of online viewers” on pornographic websites.
The woman worked at the store in 2011. Her lawyer says she didn’t become aware of the video until December 2016, after someone informed her of its existence.
The suit accuses Forever 21 of negligence, saying it did not equip the employee locker room with any security features.
It seeks $2 million in damages.
Forever 21 has not responded to a request seeking comment. A message was left Saturday for the company’s attorney.