NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees and AL batting champion DJ LeMahieu worked Friday to put in place a six-year contract worth about $90 million, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement is subject to a successful physical.LeMahieu, who turns 33 in July, became the first player to win undisputed batting titles in both leagues. He won his first AL batting title last year ,at .364, the highest average for an AL batting champion since Minnesota’s Joe Mauer hit .365 in 2009, after winning the NL championship with Colorado in 2016.A three-time All-Star, LeMahieu signed a $24 million, two-year contract with the Yankees in January 2019. He had 10 homers and 27 RBIs in the shortened 2020 season after hitting .327 with 26 homers and 102 RBIs in his first season in New York.LeMahieu started his big league career with the Chicago Cubs in 2011, then was traded to Colorado. He has a .305 average with 85 homers and 478 RBIs in 10 big league seasons, and he has won three Gold Gloves at second base.___More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
NEW YORK (AP) — When Joe Biden addresses the country for the first time as president, his inaugural speech is likely to echo calls for unity that predecessors have invoked since the first time George Washington was sworn in.Unity has since been a theme, and an anxiety, for many incoming presidents, who have faced economic and social crises and moments when the very future of the U.S. was in doubt. Historians mention the first inaugural speeches of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln as possible parallels for Biden, who has said his goal is to “restore the soul” of the country.Biden, who assumes office just two weeks after an armed seige of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump, will preside over a nation in which millions believe Trump's baseless claims that the election was stolen. Few presidents have faced such questions about their own legitimacy. “Unity has always been an aspiration," says presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. “It seems like whenever we have foreign policy flare-ups, we use the word freedom. But when we have domestic turmoil we use the word unity.”The United States was forged through compromise among factions that disagreed profoundly on slavery, regional influence and the relative powers of state and federal government. When Washington assumed office in 1789 he cited the blessings of providence in noting that “the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most governments have been established.” Jefferson was the third U.S. president, and the first whose rise was regarded by opponents as a kind of emergency. The 1800 election won by Jefferson marked the beginning of competing political parties — Jefferson was a leader of the Democratic-Republican Party, losing incumbent John Adams a Federalist — and critics regarded the new president as a dangerous atheist. "JEFFERSON — AND NO GOD!!!” was how one Federalist paper described Jefferson's candidacy. Adams did not attend the inauguration, a breach rarely repeated although Trump has vowed to do the same.“Let us then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind," Jefferson urged in his address. "We are all republicans: we are all federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this union, or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it."Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, a Federalist who administered the oath of office to Jefferson, wrote later that the speech was “in the general well judged and conciliatory.” Lincoln's pleas were more dire, and tragically unmet, despite what historian Ted Widmer calls his “genius to combine urgency with literary grace.” Seven out of 11 future Confederate states had seceded from the U.S. before he spoke, in March 1861, over fears he would end slavery. The Civil War would begin a month later. “We are not enemies, but friends,” Lincoln had insisted, reminding fellow Americans of their “mystic chords of memory” while also warning that resistance to the will of voters would destroy democracy. "A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does of necessity fly to anarchy or to despotism,” he said. Historian David Greenberg, whose books include “Nixon's Shadow" and “Republic of Spin,” cites Richard Nixon's inaugural in 1969 as another speech given at a time of social turmoil. The U.S. was violently divided over the Vietnam War and civil rights, and Nixon himself had long been seen as an unprincipled politician exploiting fears and resentments — appealing to what he would call “the silent majority.” His speech at times was openly and awkwardly modeled on the 1961 inaugural of John F. Kennedy, who had defeated Nixon in 1960. “We are caught in war, wanting peace. We are torn by division, wanting unity,” Nixon stated. “We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another — until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices.”Some presidents asked for unity, others asserted it. Franklin Roosevelt, elected in a landslide in 1932 during the Great Depression, said in his first inaugural speech: “If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize as we have never realized before our interdependence on each other.” Four years later, having won by an even greater landslide, he declared the country had “recognized” a need beyond financial help, a “deeper” need, “to find through government the instrument of our united purpose.” Unity can prove more imagined than real. When James Buchanan spoke in 1857, three years before the Civil War, he claimed that “all agree that under the Constitution slavery in the states is beyond the reach of any human power except that of the respective states themselves wherein it exists.” Rutherford B. Hayes, whose presidency was marked by the retrenchment of federal troops from the post-Civil War South and ongoing resistance from Southern whites to equal rights for Blacks, declared during his 1877 inaugural that true peace could be achieved through the “united and harmonious efforts of both races” and the honest work of local self-government. “A president often claims the country is ‘united’ behind a belief when it’s more wishful thinking than reality,” Widmer says. “I’m not sure how many Americans wanted to do something for their country after JFK asked them to — although there were impressive new kinds of volunteers, like the Peace Corps. And I think that many Americans still appreciated help from the government, even after Ronald Reagan declared that ‘government is the problem.’ That’s the problem with soundbites: They often oversimplify.”
PHOENIX (AP) — The pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol last week aimed to “capture and assassinate elected officials,” federal prosecutors said in court documents. The remarks came in a motion prosecutors filed late Thursday in the case against Jacob Chansley, the Arizona man who took part in the insurrection while sporting face paint, no shirt and a furry hat with horns. Prosecutors say that after Chansley climbed up to the dais where Vice President Mike Pence had been presiding moments earlier, Chansley wrote a threatening note to Pence that said: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”Pence and other congressional leaders had been ushered out of the chamber by the Secret Service and U.S. Capitol Police before the rioters stormed into the room. “Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States Government,” prosecutors wrote in their memo urging the judge to keep Chansley behind bars. Gerald Williams, Chansley’s attorney, didn’t return a phone call and email Friday morning seeking comment. A detention hearing is scheduled in his case for later Friday. The FBI has been investigating whether any of the rioters had plots to kidnap members of Congress and hold them hostage, focusing particularly on the men seen carrying plastic zip tie handcuffs and pepper spray. Prosecutors raised a similar prospect on Friday in the case of a former Air Force officer who they alleged carried plastic zip-tie handcuffs because he intended “to take hostages.” But so far, the Justice Department has not publicly released any specific evidence on the plots or explained how the rioters planned to carry them out.Chansley, who calls himself the “QAnon Shaman” and has long been a fixture at Trump rallies, surrendered to the FBI field office in Phoenix on Saturday. News photos show him at the riot shirtless, with his face painted and wearing a fur hat with horns, carrying a U.S. flag attached to a wooden pole topped with a spear. QAnon is an apocalyptic and convoluted conspiracy theory spread largely through the internet and promoted by some right-wing extremists. Chansley told investigators he came to the Capitol “at the request of the president that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021.”An indictment unsealed Tuesday in Washington him with civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, disorderly conduct in a restricted building, and demonstrating in a Capitol building.
The NBA gave Orlando coach Steve Clifford a call recently, telling him he had to do a better job of keeping his mask on during games.Clifford’s answer was concise.“Yes, sir,” he said.He didn’t argue. He knows the rules, and how important they are.It has been a rough week for the NBA, with nine games postponed since Sunday amid positive COVID-19 tests for some players and potential exposures determined through contact tracing keeping others off the floor for several days. The league and the National Basketball Players Association earlier this week stiffened the protocols that players must live by during these delicate times, and coaches aren't exempt from saying they need to be more diligent on the safety front as well — particularly when it comes to masks.Properly wearing masks is part of life now, not just NBA life, as part of the effort to fend off the coronavirus. But when coaches feel the need to yell — which, let’s face it, is often — many still succumb to the urge to tug the mask down and make sure their voice is heard without whatever muffling can be caused by a thin piece of fabric.“It isn’t always easy,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said of in-game mask life. “Sometimes I’m in the huddle or on the floor, and I’m doing all kinds of things to try to keep my mask on (and) let guys hear me, and after the third time they say ‘Coach, I can’t hear what you’re saying,’ you try to pull it down quick. But I’ve got to try to limit that the best I can. And sometimes in the heat of battle, it’s difficult."The postponed games, going back to Sunday, have involved 13 teams. It was also learned this week that 16 players tested positive in recent days, which was more than the NBA had seen in the last five weeks combined. And next week's report has the potential to be equally bad, possibly worse.Boston didn’t play for a full week and had three games pushed back. Miami lost twice in Philadelphia with half its roster unavailable because of virus-related issues, most of those involved players having to sit out after reviews of their contact-tracing data. Phoenix had a three-game homestand wiped away because the Suns didn’t have enough players to field a team.The league ramped up the protocols as part of its response, putting in strict, albeit temporary, limits on what players can do both at home and on the road — essentially limiting them to practices, games, workouts and tending to essential matters. Additional testing is under consideration, and stricter mask rules also apply to coaches.“Your form of communication has to change,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But I can’t even believe how much of the norm this has become. I’ll be in my hotel room, by myself, a lot of times with my mask on and not even realize it.”Most NBA games are being played with no fans or just a few in the seats, yet games are still loud thanks to tons of piped-in fake cheers and boos, along with booming music. So even without crowds, crowd noise exists.Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard said, “at times,” it’s tough to hear coach Tyronn Lue.“But he’s doing a great job of communicating in time-outs or in practices, before games and meetings,” Leonard said. “We just have to have a focus and lock-in, just keep building our team chemistry and we’ll know what we are doing.”Clifford is a big-time mask proponent, and has been since even before the league restarted last season in the Walt Disney World bubble near Orlando. He has been preaching the values of mask-wearing for months.“I think there were seven of us who got a call from the league about ‘Keep your mask on,’” Clifford said. “So, I’m going to do better, no matter what. I have some masks that are easier for the guys to hear than others. I’m just going to wear the right mask. I’ve got to do better."___More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Police and firefighters evacuated a Creighton University dormitory after a student at the Nebraska school told emergency room staff that she had tried to make the poison ricin in her dorm room in an attempt to harm herself.Officials also temporarily shut down the Creighton University Medical Center emergency room on the university's campus in Omaha as a precaution, the Omaha World-Herald reported. The scramble to head off any possible ricin exposure began around 9 p.m. Thursday, when police were contacted, Omaha Police Officer Joseph Nickerson said. The woman told emergency room staff that the ricin-making materials were still in her dorm room, so staffers contacted police and fire departments, Nickerson said.About 50 Creighton students were evacuated from Davis Square apartments and moved to other campus housing. Nickerson said a hazardous materials crew cleaned the building. Normally, about 260 students would occupy Davis Square, officials said, but the coronavirus pandemic has closed in-person classes at the university, leading to fewer students living in dorms.Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. When extracted and purified, it can be used as a lethal poison. A few milligrams is enough to kill an adult if it’s eaten, injected or inhaled. There is no antidote for ricin poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.___This story has been corrected to indicate that police were contacted on Thursday, not Friday.
NEW YORK (AP) — Kyrie Irving's absence from the Brooklyn Nets has cost him nearly $1 million.The NBA fined the point guard $50,000 on Friday for violating its health and safety protocols, and said he could return to team activities Saturday.The league added that he would forfeit his salary for each game he misses during a five-day quarantine period that would end Saturday if he continues to test negative for the coronavirus. He's already missed two, which means he has lost more than $900,000 of his $33.5 million salary.Irving has missed the last five games while away from the Nets for personal reasons. He was seen in a video on social media during his absence at an indoor family party while not wearing a mask.The league's protocols prohibit attending indoor social gatherings of 15 or more people or entering bars, lounges, clubs or similar establishments.Irving is the second player to be fined for that. The other is his new teammate, James Harden.The Nets have not explained the reasons for Irving's absence, leaving it to him to do when he returns. Their next game is Saturday against Orlando.“Without a doubt, the organization’s disappointed with not having any one of our players, in this particular case Kyrie, not amongst us, not in the trenches with us and so forth,” general manager Sean Marks said Thursday during a news conference to discuss the trade for Harden. “So I don’t want to speculate and say why he’s out and so forth. I've had conversations with him and I’ll continue to have conversations and we look forward to him being back in the gym, where he will address this.” In December, Irving was was fined $25,000 by the NBA for not speaking to the media during preseason.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey's top gambling regulator is threatening to fine sports books operating in his state that ask customers to cancel requests to cash out money from their accounts, saying the practice is ongoing and “unacceptable.”In some cases, sports books have offered to give players cash bonuses if they cancel withdrawal requests, according to David Rebuck, director of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.In a letter posted Wednesday to the division's website, Rebuck did not name the sports books who have engaged in this practice, nor did he say how many complaints the division has received of such activity.But he wrote that trying to talk customers out of withdrawing funds from their accounts violates numerous state rules.“Patrons who request withdrawals have the right to receive their funds as expeditiously as possible," he wrote. "Operators should clearly understand that the Division will take regulatory action and impose civil penalties whenever patrons are improperly encouraged or incentivized to rescind their withdrawal requests for the purpose of resuming gaming activity.”New Jersey has become the national leader in sports betting in the U.S., taking more than $6 billion worth of such wagers last year. In December, its casinos and horse tracks took nearly $1 billion in sports bets, setting the latest in a string of national records for the most money wagered on sports in a single month.Its regulatory structure is considered to be among the most stringent in the nation, and has served as a model for numerous other states as they adopted their own sports betting legislation over the past three years.Still, the head of the Stop Predatory Gambling organization on Friday accused the New Jersey attorney general's office, which oversees the DGE, of “moral hypocrisy” for launching high-profile litigation against the opioid industry, while treating sports books with much more leniency.“This is a naked attempt by online gambling operators to get citizens to lose more money,” said Les Bernal, the group's director. “What New Jersey should be doing is suspending and fining them, not just some long-winded letter threatening future action.”The attorney general's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.This kind of activity is not limited to New Jersey. The United Kingdom's Gambling Commission recently ordered its licensees to stop “reverse withdrawal options" until further notice out of concern over gamblers who may engage in excessive betting during coronavirus lockdowns.New Jersey regulations do not require withdrawals to be processed immediately; an unspecified amount of time can be taken to verify a customer's identity and investigate any fraud or money laundering concerns.But as soon as those concerns have been laid to rest, the customer must be given his or her money without further delay, officials said.“In the period between a withdrawal request and the actual release of funds to the customer, patrons reported contact from providers encouraging or enticing them to reverse the withdrawal request and wager the funds,” Rebuck wrote. “It has been reported by some patrons that they were even offered bonus money to reverse a pending withdrawal request.”He said such an offer of bonus money would be considered “an aggravating factor” in any disciplinary action against a sports book.Richard Schwartz, president of Rush Street Interactive, which operates PlaySugarhouse.com in New Jersey, said his company approved more than 75% of online player cash-out requests “in real time” during the fourth quarter of last year.“Our automated payout system protects our players by enabling them to cash out quickly so they don’t otherwise cancel their payout requests and continue gambling with their winnings,” he said.___Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — It could be a profitable weekend for lucky lottery players as two of the largest jackpots in U.S. history will be on the line.Numbers will be drawn Friday night for the $750 million Mega Millions prize, the fifth-largest jackpot ever. On Saturday, players will have a chance at a $640 million Powerball prize, the eighth-largest jackpot.It's been nearly two years since a lottery jackpot has grown so large. No one has won either game's top prize in months.The listed jackpot amounts refer to winners who opt for an annuity, paid over 30 years. Winners nearly always choose cash prizes, which for Mega Millions would be an estimated $550.6 million and for Powerball would be $478.7 million.The odds of winning Mega Millions are one in 302.5 million. For Powerball, it's one in 292.2 million.Mega Millions and Powerball are both played in 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Powerball also is offered in Puerto Rico.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's impeachment and the fallout from the Jan. 6 attack of the Capitol by pro-Trump loyalists (all times local):10:25 a.m.Defense Department officials are scrambling to call governors and asking whether they have any more National Guard troops they can send to Washington to help protect the Capitol and the city.A defense official familiar with the discussions says law enforcement leaders and other authorities have now determined that they'll need about 25,000 National Guard troops. And they say that number could still grow.As of Friday morning, officials had commitments from states for close to 22,000 members of the Guard. That's according to the official, who wasn't authorized to publicly discuss internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.In recent days, defense and military leaders have said they understand that states are also facing their own looming protests and the first priority of the governors is to protect their own capitals. The number of Guard officials are seeking to help protect the District of Columbia in the run-up to Wednesday's inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden has increased almost daily. Defense and law enforcement authorities have been revising the numbers as they go through rehearsals and other drills to determine how many and where they need the Guard reinforcements to help lock down Washington.—Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor___HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IMPEACHMENT AND THE FALLOUT FROM THE JAN. 6 RIOTING AT THE CAPITOL:President Donald Trump is facing an impeachment trial in the Senate that could begin on Jan. 20, the day Democrat Joe Biden is inaugurated as America's 46th president. Trump was impeached on Wednesday, one week after he encouraged a mob of loyalists to “fight like hell” against election results and the Capitol became the target of a deadly siege. The FBI is warning that armed protests by violent Trump supporters are being planned in all 50 state capitals as well as in Washington.Read more:Justice Department watchdog opens probe of response to riotCapitol rioters included highly trained ex-military and copsPelosi’s nine impeachment managers hope to ‘finish the job’Amid cacophony since Capitol siege, key officer stays silentGOP senators in spotlight as second impeachment trial loomsTrump impeachment trial to focus on his attacks on electionImpeachment complicates the early days of Biden’s presidency___HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON:10 a.m.The Justice Department’s internal watchdog says it will investigate how the department and its agencies prepared for and responded to last week’s riots at the U.S. Capitol. The investigation by the inspector general’s office will examine whether information was appropriately shared by the Justice Department to other law enforcement agencies about the potential for violence. The inspector general said it “also will assess whether there are any weaknesses in DOJ protocols, policies, or procedures” that hampered preparation and response to the events.The review is one of multiple ones launched by inspectors general, including at the departments of Homeland Security and Defense and at the Interior Department, which oversees the Park Police.The initiation of the review signals concern among the watchdogs that the preparations for, and response to, the breach of the Capitol by loyalists of President Donald Trump was lacking.
AMSTERDAM (AP) — The European Union's drug regulator said Friday that COVID-19 vaccine documents stolen from its servers in a cyberattack have been not only leaked to the web, but “manipulated" by hackers. The European Medicines Agency said that an ongoing investigation into the cyberattack showed that hackers obtained emails and documents from November related to the evaluation of experimental coronavirus vaccines. The medicines agency, which regulates drugs and medicines across the 27-member EU, had troves of confidential COVID-19 data as part of its vaccine approval process. “Some of the correspondence has been manipulated by the perpetrators prior to publication in a way which could undermine trust in vaccines,” the agency said. It said that given the devastating toll of the pandemic, there was an “urgent public health need to make vaccines available to EU citizens as soon as possible.” The EMA insisted that despite that urgency, its decisions to recommend the green-lighting of vaccines were based “on the strength of the scientific evidence on a vaccine’s safety, quality and efficacy, and nothing else.”The agency, which is based in Amsterdam, came under heavy criticism from Germany and other EU member countries in December for not approving vaccines against the virus more quickly. The EMA issued its first recommendation for the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine weeks after the shot received approval in Britain, the United States, Canada and elsewhere. The European Medicines Agency recommended a second vaccine, made by Moderna, for use earlier this month. A third shot made by AstraZeneca and Oxford is currently under consideration by the agency. The EMA said law enforcement authorities are taking “necessary action” in response to the cyberattack. __Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at:http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccinehttps://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak