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    The Cavaliers' sleeveless black jerseys already had LeBron James' stamp of approval, though a change in shoes might have been the difference Friday night.James had 27 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists, J.R. Smith made the tiebreaking free throw with 48 seconds left, and Cleveland extended its winning streak to seven straight with a 100-99 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.James had season highs in rebounds and assists in his 57th career triple-double. He switched from yellow to black shoes after scoring six points in the first half.'I'm a little weird sometimes,' he said. 'I wasn't playing well, to my standards. I wanted to try and make my second half better than my first half and I was able to make a couple of plays.'For Black Friday, the Cavaliers wore black uniforms. Cleveland also wore black jerseys when it won the first championship in franchise history, but the current edition is minus the sleeves from Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.James is 41-6 in the regular season against Charlotte and the Cavaliers have won 12 of 13, including eight straight against the Hornets.After Smith split a pair from the line, both teams missed 3-point attempts and Charlotte called time with 11.1 seconds left. Jeremy Lamb missed a 3-pointer after the Hornets inbounded at midcourt and the rebound was tapped out to Kemba Walker, but his 3-point attempt fell well short after James got a hand on the shot.James forced Walker to pass the ball on the inbounds play, but the Hornets had one last chance when after Marvin Williams batted the rebound toward midcourt.'I looked up at the timer and there was still one second left,' James said. 'I just tried to fly to get another contest. We were able to get the stop that we needed.'Smith had 16 points, while Kevin Love had 11 points and 13 rebounds for Cleveland.Dwight Howard had 20 points and 13 rebounds for Charlotte, which fell to 1-8 on the road. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marvin Williams scored 17 points for the Hornets, whose three-game winning streak ended.'That's the way Cleveland plays. They're a battle-tested team with those guys,' Williams said. 'That's why they've been to the Finals three straight years and LeBron has been there seven straight years.'Howard's two free throws and Kidd-Gilchrist's layup following James' turnover gave Charlotte a 98-93 lead.James made a foul shot and converted a three-point play, cutting the lead to one. Kidd-Gilchrist hit a free throw but James scored on a drive that tied the game with 1:48 left.Cavaliers point guard Derrick Rose left the team earlier this week to handle a personal matter. Coach Tyronn Lue expects Rose, who has played in just seven of Cleveland's 19 games this season because of a left ankle injury, to return to the team.TIP-INSHornets: G Nicolas Batum (bruised left elbow) was unavailable after being re-injured Wednesday against Washington and is day to day. He has only played in five games because of elbow injuries. Lamb returned to the starting lineup in Batum's spot. ... Charlotte's only road win came against Memphis on Oct. 30.Cavaliers: Rose sustained his injury while driving to the basket on Oct. 20 in Milwaukee. He's averaging 14.3 points in his first season with Cleveland. ... G Iman Shumpert (sore left knee) could return Monday after missing his third straight game.LATE NUMBERSHoward missed all three of his field goal attempts in the fourth quarter, but was 5 of 6 at the free throw line. He was 6 of 9 for the game.'They double-teamed me when I got the ball and didn't allow me to get into a good rhythm down the stretch,' he said.BIG STOPSCleveland coach Tyronn Lue was pleased with the Cavaliers' defense down the stretch'The guys understand what we're doing and what we want,' he said. 'In the second half we held them to 42 points, which was great.'UP NEXTHornets: Host San Antonio on Saturday.Cavaliers: Travel to Philadelphia on Monday.___For more NBA coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball
  • The director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau resigned Friday and named his own successor, leading to an open conflict with President Donald Trump — who announced a different person as acting head of the agency later in the day.That means there are now effectively two acting directors of the CFPB, when there should only be one.Typically an acting director position would be filled according to the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998. But Richard Cordray, along with his resignation, elevated Leandra English, who was the agency's chief of staff, into the deputy director position.Under the Dodd-Frank Act that created the CFPB, English would become acting director. Cordray — an Obama appointee — specifically cited the law when he moved English, a longtime CFPB employee and ally of his, into that position.Within a few hours, President Donald Trump announced his own acting director of the agency, Mick Mulvaney, who is currently director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mulvaney had widely been expected to be Trump's temporary pick for the bureau until a permanent one could be found.Mulvaney is a long-time critic of the CFPB, and has wanted the agency's authority significantly curtailed. So the difference between English and Mulvaney running the agency would be significant.The person nominated to be director of the CFPB requires confirmation by the Senate, and it could be many weeks or months before the person would be able to step into the role permanently. Cordray's move was aimed at allowing his favored successor to keep running the agency for as long as possible before a Trump appointee is confirmed by the Senate.Cordray had announced earlier this month that he would resign by the end of this month. There is wide speculation that Cordray, a Democrat, is resigning in order to run for governor in his home state of Ohio.The CFPB was created as part of the laws passed following the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession. The agency was given a broad mandate to be a watchdog for consumers when they deal with banks and credit card, student loan and mortgage companies, as well as debt collectors and payday lenders. Nearly every American who deals with banks or a credit card company or has a mortgage has been affected by new rules the agency put in place.Cordray used that mandate aggressively as its first director, which often made him a target for the banking industry's Washington lobbyists and Congressional Republicans who believed Cordray was overreaching in his role, calling the CFPB a 'rogue agency.'As director, he also was able to extract billions of dollars in settlements from banks, debt collectors and other financial services companies for wrongdoing. When Wells Fargo was found to have opened millions of phony accounts for its customers, the CFPB fined the bank $100 million, the agency's largest penalty to date.
  • Even as they won 16 games in a row, the Boston Celtics didn't make it easy on themselves.A 16-point deficit against Atlanta. Down 13 in the fourth to Dallas. Double-digit deficits in three straight games, in fact, that Boston erased en route to the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history.The Celtics knew they couldn't continue to count on comebacks, and Friday night they didn't need one after opening with a blistering first quarter and coasting to a 118-103 victory over the Orlando Magic.'Our guys came out focused, ready to play,' said Al Horford, who had seven of his career high-tying 10 assists in the first quarter. 'We finally got a (first) half going. That first half was the key for us winning that game.'One game after snapping their 16-game losing streak, the Celtics sent the Magic to their seventh straight loss. Kyrie Irving had 17 of his 30 points before halftime as Boston scored 40 points in the first quarter and 73 by the half to rebound from its first loss in more than a month.Still wearing a mask after breaking a bone in his face on Nov. 10, Irving was 9 for 15 from the floor and sank all 10 of his free throw attempts, many with the sold-out crowd chanting 'M-V-P!'Jalen Brown scored 10 points in the first quarter, when Boston opened a 14-point lead. Aron Baynes finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds — his first double-double with the Celtics — and Terry Rozier had a career-high 23 points.Jonathon Simmons scored 14 points and Nikola Vucevic had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Orlando. Aaron Gordon, who was 2 for 10 from the field, said the Magic didn't play like they were eager to end their slide.'We played like it was just another game,' he said. 'We didn't play like they were the first in the East and we are on a losing streak.'Orlando scored the first four points of the game and trailed by just four with less than four minutes left in the first before Boston scored 16 of the next 20 points to take a 40-24 lead. Leading 42-30 early in the second, the Celtics went on an 11-2 run and later got back-to-back 3-pointers from Rozier to open a 28-point lead.'We're not good enough defensively right now,' Magic coach Frank Vogel said. 'And Boston was clicking on all cylinders.'ROSIE OUTLOOKRozier said he wasn't keeping track of his career high, and he certainly didn't seem on the verge of a breakout after scoring 22 points in his previous five games combined.'I'm not perfect,' he said. 'I'm going to have tough games. (But) I'll have games like this.'THE FOURTHTrailing 99-69 after three, the Magic outscored Boston 34-19 in the fourth quarter, when four of the five Celtics starters remained on the bench.Vogel was unimpressed.'You're talking about garbage time,' he said.TIP-INSMagic: Guard Shelvin Mack played for Celtics coach Brad Stevens at Butler. ... The Magic have lost 14 in a row in Boston.Celtics: The Celtics wore their black jerseys for the first time this season. Marcus Morris got the start, which means he is likely to sit out Saturday night's game against the Pacers. He did not play in the Celtics' other back-to-back games this season. ... Stevens picked up a technical foul early in the fourth quarter for arguing a foul call; Arron Afflalo missed the shot, bringing a smile from the coach. ... Shane Larkin did not play after falling hard to the floor and sustaining a 'whiplash-like' injury against Miami.UP NEXTMagic: At Philadelphia on Saturday night.Celtics: At Indiana on Saturday night.___More NBA basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball
  • Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski calls Marvin Bagley III a treasure.The freshman big man had a career-high 34 points and added 15 rebounds, and No. 1 Duke rallied to defeat Texas 85-78 in overtime on Friday in the semifinals of the PK80 Invitational.'I believe ultimately in this kid. I knew he was going to be good, but coaching him every day, he's a treasure, really,' Krzyzewski said. 'Because he wants to be really good. All of his teammates love him because he's as hard of a worker as we have.'Gary Trent Jr. added 17 points for the Blue Devils (7-0), who trailed by 16 points in the second half and were forced to play five freshmen once senior Grayson Allen fouled out.Duke advanced to play the winner of Friday night's late game between No. 7 Florida and No. 17 Gonzaga for the title on Sunday.Dylan Osetkowski had 19 points and seven rebounds for Texas (4-1), which fell short of its first-ever victory over a top-ranked team.Bagley had consecutive dunks to give the five-time NCAA champion Blue Devils a 78-73 lead in overtime. Andrew Jones' layup pulled Texas within 78-77 with 1:20 left. Wendell Carter's put-back dunk pushed Duke's lead to 82-78 and Trent's free throws with 11 seconds left sealed the win.'The game kind of slowed down and my teammates found me in the right spots. Coaches, they called plays for me and they believed in me to keep attacking and going to the rim, just trying to create something,' said Bagley, who had 21 points in the second half and overtime.Bagley tied the Blue Devils' freshman scoring record set by J.J. Reddick on Jan. 15, 2003, against Virginia.'He has it,' Krzyzewski said of the 6-foot-11 forward. 'He just has to keep developing it.'Duke trailed by as many as 16 points in the second half, but Bagley's short jumper tied it at 70 and put the Duke fans in the crowd on their feet. Allen fouled out with 2 minutes left in regulation and Kerwin Roach II dunked to put Texas back in front 72-70.Trent made a layup and his free throw gave Duke a 73-72 lead with 32.8 seconds left. Matt Coleman made a free throw on the other end to re-tie it but missed the second and the game went to overtime.It was the sixth biggest comeback in Duke history.The Blue Devils struggled throughout the game from the perimeter and at times from the free-throw line. Duke made just three of 18 3-point attempts for the game and finished with 22 of 36 free throws.Carter finished with 114 points and 11 rebounds.Mohamad Bamba, the Longhorns' 6-11 freshman with a 7-9 wingspan, finished with nine points and 10 rebounds but fouled out with 32.8 seconds left in regulation. Bamba had two blocks.'We showed how good we can be, but obviously there's a lot of things we have to grow on and get better from. And we have to understand the game is 40 minutes long , or in this case, 45 minutes long,' Texas coach Shaka Smart said.The three-day tournament, which is nicknamed the PK80, celebrates Nike co-founder Phil Knight's 80th birthday. The event takes a break on Saturday before resuming on Sunday.Duke and Texas were in the Motion Bracket, playing Friday at the Moda Center, home of the Portland Trail Blazers. Teams in the Victory Bracket played at the adjacent Memorial Coliseum.Roach beat three defenders for a decisive dunk that gave Texas a 42-29 lead and the Longhorns led 43-31 at the break. Roach hit two decisive dunks in the first half, mugging for the courtside cameras.Texas wasn't much better than Duke from 3-point range, making just four of 23 tries.It was the fifth meeting between the teams and Duke has won all of them.BIG PICTUREDuke: Bagley is the first Duke freshman to have five double-doubles over his first seven games.Texas: Kemba Hepa, a senior power forward at Portland's Jefferson High School, committed to Texas this past week. The four-star recruit also considered Gonzaga.AGAINST No. 1: Texas had faced a No. 1-ranked opponent nine previous times, with a 0-9 record. The most recent meeting was on Feb. 29, 2016, when the Longhorns lost 86-56 to No. 1 Kansas.HOW THEY GOT THERE: The five-time NCAA champion Blue Devils defeated surprisingly resilient Portland State 99-81 in their tournament opener on Thursday. Bagley had 18 points and 15 rebounds in the win.Texas advanced with a 61-48 victory over Butler. Jones had 16 points while Bamba had six points and 12 rebounds along with four blocked shots.UP NEXTDuke faces the winner of Friday's late game between No. 17 Gonzaga and No. 7 Florida.Texas plays the loser of Florida-Gonzaga.___More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25
  • Pope Francis heads to Myanmar and Bangladesh with the international community excoriating Myanmar's crackdown on Rohingya Muslims as 'ethnic cleansing' but his own church resisting the label and defending Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi as the only hope for democracy.Francis will thus be walking a fraught diplomatic tightrope during the Nov. 27-Dec. 2 visit, which will include separate meetings with Suu Kyi, the powerful head of Myanmar's military as well as a small group of Rohingya once Francis arrives in neighboring Bangladesh.Francis has defined his papacy by his frequent denunciations of injustices committed against refugees, and he would be expected to speak out strongly against the Rohingya plight. But he is also the guest of Myanmar's government and must look out for the well-being of his own tiny flock, a minority of just 659,000 Catholics in the majority Buddhist nation of 51 million.'Let's just say it's very interesting diplomatically,' Vatican spokesman Greg Burke responded when asked if Francis' 21st foreign trip would be his most difficult.The Rev. Thomas Reese, an American Jesuit commentator, was more direct: 'I have great admiration for the pope and his abilities, but someone should have talked him out of making this trip,' Reese wrote recently on Religion News Service.Reese argued that Francis' legacy as an uncompromising champion of the oppressed will come up against the harsh reality of blowback for Myanmar's minority Christians if he goes too far in defending the Rohingya against the military's 'clearance operations' in Rakhine state.'If he is prophetic, he puts Christians at risk,' Reese said. 'If he is silent about the persecution of the Rohingya, he loses moral credibility.'Francis isn't known for his deference to protocol and he tends to call a spade a spade. But he has already been urged by the Catholic Church in Myanmar and his hand-picked cardinal, Charles Bo, to refrain from even using the term 'Rohingya,' which is rejected by most in Myanmar.'The pope clearly takes this advice seriously,' Burke said. 'But we'll see together.'Francis has used the term 'Rohingya' in the past, when he condemned the 'persecution of our Rohingya brothers,' denounced their suffering and called for them to receive 'full rights.'Myanmar's government and most of the Buddhist majority don't recognize the Rohingya as an ethnic group, insisting they are Bengali migrants from Bangladesh living illegally in the country. It has denied them citizenship, even though they have lived in Myanmar, also known as Burma, for generations.The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said Francis would likely call for a lasting solution for the Rakhine Muslims that takes into account 'the importance for the people of having a nationality.' He declined in a Vatican Radio interview to use the term 'Rohingya.'Francis had originally intended his 2017 itinerary to involve a visit to India and Bangladesh. But preparations fell apart in India, and Myanmar was added in late, after Myanmar and the Holy See established diplomatic relations during a visit by Suu Kyi to Rome in May.Since then, the situation on the ground has deteriorated badly, after Rohingya militants attacked security positions in poverty-wracked Rakhine in August. Myanmar security forces responded with a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages that the U.N., U.S. and human rights groups have labeled as textbook 'ethnic cleansing.'More than 620,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, where they are living in squalid refugee camps. This week, the U.N. envoy on sexual violence in conflict said the widespread gang rapes and other forms of sexual violence perpetrated against women and girls by the Myanmar military could amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.Burke demurred when asked if the spasm of violence had complicated the Vatican's plans, saying only that 'stuff happens' and 'the trip was going to happen in any case.'Bo, whom Francis named as Myanmar's first cardinal in 2015, has resisted terming the violence 'ethnic cleansing,' saying the military response was disproportionate but that it was 'premature' and unhelpful to put a label on it.He defended Suu Kyi as Myanmar's only hope for democracy, saying criticism against her was 'unfair' and that she was working to implement recommendations by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to improve opportunities for all religious minorities, Christians among them.The Rev. Bernardo Cervellera, editor of the AsiaNews news agency that closely covers the Catholic Church in Asia, said he expected Francis would use the visit to help shore up Suu Kyi, whose international stature has suffered as a result of the crisis even though she is limited constitutionally in what she can say or do against the military.'The question of the Rohingya is a 'casus belli' to eliminate the government of Aung Sang Suu Kyi,' Cervellera said. 'If we take away Aung San Suu Kyi, the military dictatorship returns, which means setting all the minorities on fire.'Francis will host an interfaith peace meeting in the garden of the Dhaka archbishops' residence, at which a small group of Rohingya are expected.Other highlights of the trip include Francis' meeting with Myanmar's Buddhist monks and encounters with Catholic youth capping the visit in each country.The youth encounters 'demonstrate that it's a young church with hope,' Burke said.
  • Central Florida has gone from winless to unbeaten in 729 days.Less than two years after finishing 0-12, the 12th-ranked Knights completed the first unbeaten regular season in program history on Friday with a wild 49-42 victory over No. 19 South Florida.Not only does the victory give UCF one of the most remarkable turnarounds in Football Bowl Subdivision history, but it also clinched the American Athletic Conference's East Division title. The Knights (11-0, 8-0 AAC, CFP No. 15) will host Memphis in the conference title game on Dec. 2.'This place is really special and tonight I saw a glimpse of what it could be,' said UCF coach Scott Frost, who inherited a team that finished winless in 2015. 'We started at the bottom two years ago. I knew we could be good but not that it could happen this fast.'I got to be honest if you told me at the beginning of the year that I would be sitting here at 11-0. I would have called you crazy.'In a game with 1,186 yards of offense — including a school-record 605 from South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers — it ended up being special teams that made the difference.The Bulls (9-2, 6-2) tied it at 42 when Flowers connected with Darnel Salomon for an 83-yard touchdown, and then found D'Ernest Johnson for a 2-point play. On the ensuing kickoff, UCF's Mike Hughes found an opening on the right side of USF's coverage before breaking through and changing direction up the left sideline for a 95-yard touchdown with 1:28 remaining.'We definitely needed a big play. I had a couple of cutback lanes and was able to find a crease,' said Hughes, who has two kick return touchdowns this season.Hughes' touchdown capped a crazy 53-second span where the Knights took an eight-point lead, South Florida tied it and then the Knights took the lead for good.'It's a blur. I'm going to have to watch a replay to remember all of what happened,' Frost said. 'I was on the headset kind of in disbelief that we gave up that touchdown. I was hoping we could get a decent return to midfield so that we could make a first down or two to be in field goal range. Man, he hit that thing full speed.'McKenzie Milton, who was 29 of 44 for 373 yards and four touchdowns, said his heart skipped a couple beats watching the return.'I thought we were going to have the chance to go down for a two-minute drill and he took the game out of our hands. I don't want to say I'm happy but I'm really happy he did that,' Milton said.South Florida drove to midfield late, but Mitchell Wilcox fumbled after a 10-yard catch at the Knights' 45 and it was recovered by Chequan Burkett.Coach Charlie Strong said that up until Hughes' return, the Bulls had done a good job on kickoff coverage that he decided to go with his normal unit.'I could have run my victory kickoff which was all my guys and a lot of my starters on defense,' he said.UCF led 21-7 late in the first quarter but South Florida took a 34-28 lead with 3:41 remaining in the game on Flowers' 24-yard touchdown run, which marked the first time this season that the Knights had trailed in the second half.UCF scored on its first three drives but then had only one touchdown on the next 10 as USF went to six-defensive back defense.'We did some good things against it but weren't expecting it. That's not a defense you typically practice much against,' Frost said.THE TAKEAWAYUSF: Flowers gets forgotten among college football's star quarterbacks, but his career puts him among the most productive ever. He became the sixth player in FBS history with 60-plus passing touchdowns and 40 or more rushing scores.UCF: The Knights are in the driver's seat for possibly making a major New Year's bowl for the second time in five seasons.RECORD DAYS NOT ENOUGHFlowers set USF single-game records for total offense and passing yards (503). He had 348 passing yards alone in the first half.'That was a tough one, a tough loss. ... You look at the performance by Quinton and it was a great performance. Offensively, we were able to match them score by score,' Strong said.Flowers, who was 24 of 45, had six completions of 30 yards or more. He also had three runs of 15 yards or more.'I was telling myself whatever you have to do, just do it. I was locked in and mentally focused,' he said.Tryre McCants had already set a USF single-game receiving record with 6 minutes remaining in the first half and finished with 227 yards on nine receptions.RUMOR MILLFrost is likely to draw interest from Florida and Nebraska, but he said after the game that he would not be meeting with Gators officials on Saturday.'I'm my representative, and I'm going to be with my wife and baby,' he said. 'Probably in the next 24 hours I will get rid of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.'UP NEXTUSF: The Bulls prepare for a third straight bowl appearance and ninth overall.UCF: The Knights will try to make it 2-0 against Memphis this season. They beat the Tigers 40-13 in September. And then they'll see if Frost remains their coach.___More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25___Follow Joe Reedy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/joereedy
  • The Trump administration backtracked Friday on its decision to order the Palestinians' office in Washington to close, instead saying it would merely impose limitations on the office that it expected would be lifted after 90 days.Last week, U.S. officials said the Palestine Liberation Organization mission couldn't stay open because the Palestinians had violated a provision in U.S. law requiring the office to close if the Palestinians try to get the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis. The move triggered a major rift in U.S.-Palestinian relations that threatened to scuttle President Donald Trump's ambitious effort to broker Mideast peace before it ever got off the ground.Yet the United States delayed shuttering the office for a week while saying it was working out the details with the Palestinians, before abruptly reversing course late Friday, as many Americans were enjoying a long Thanksgiving Day weekend. State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez said the U.S. had 'advised the PLO Office to limit its activities to those related to achieving a lasting, comprehensive peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.'Vasquez said even those restrictions will be lifted after 90 days if the U.S. determines the Israelis and Palestinians are engaged in serious peace talks. The White House, in an effort led by Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner, has been preparing a comprehensive peace plan to present to both sides in the coming months.'We therefore are optimistic that at the end of this 90-day period, the political process may be sufficiently advanced that the president will be in a position to allow the PLO office to resume full operations,' Vasquez said.The reversal marked a serious departure from the administration's interpretation of the law only a week earlier. Officials had said then that, one way or another, the office had to close because Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a U.N. speech in September, had called on the ICC to investigate and prosecute Israelis. That same law, though, says that the president can let the office re-open after 90 days despite an ICC push if serious Israeli-Palestinian talks are underway.Asked how the Trump administration explains its new interpretation of about what must happen if the Palestinians call for an ICC investigation, Vasquez said: 'These actions are consistent with the president's authorities to conduct the foreign relations of the United States.'There were no indications that the Trump administration had initially moved to close the office as part of a premeditated strategy to strengthen its hand in eventual peace talks. Instead, officials explained the move by saying Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a strict interpretation of the law, determined that Abbas' speech had crossed the legal line.The chaos that ensued after the announcement, with the U.S. unable for several days to explain if the office was truly closing and when, indicated it had caught much of the government off-guard.Still, the move led the Palestinians to issue an angry response last weekend threatening to suspend all communication with the U.S. Additionally, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused the U.S. of bowing to pressure from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government 'at a time when we are trying to cooperate to achieve the ultimate deal.'Vasquez said the original position had never been intended to create leverage or impose pressure. The State Department said that the administration is actively working to pursue lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace.The requirement about the mission closing stems from a little-noticed provision in U.S. law that says the U.S. cannot allow the Palestinians to have a Washington office if they back the international court's move to investigate or prosecute Israeli nationals for alleged crimes against Palestinians.Abbas said at the United Nations in September that the Palestinians had 'called on the International Criminal Court to open an investigation and to prosecute Israeli officials for their involvement in settlement activities and aggressions against our people.'The PLO is the group that formally represents all Palestinians. Although the U.S. does not recognize Palestinian statehood, the PLO maintains a 'general delegation' office in Washington that facilitates Palestinian officials' interactions with the U.S. government.The United States allowed the PLO to open a mission in Washington in 1994. That required President Bill Clinton to waive a law that said the Palestinians couldn't have an office. In 2011, under the Obama administration, the U.S. started letting the Palestinians fly their flag over the office, an upgrade to the status of their mission that the Palestinians hailed as historic.Israel opposes any Palestinian membership in U.N.-related organizations until a peace deal has been reached.The Israelis and Palestinians are not engaged in active, direct negotiations. But Trump's team, led by Kushner, is working to broker a deal aimed at settling the intractable conflict.The Trump administration has not disclosed details about its effort to achieve an agreement that ostensibly would grant the Palestinians an independent state in exchange for an end to its conflict with the Israelis. Kushner and other top Trump aides have been shuttling to the region to meet with Palestinians, Israelis and officials from Arab nations.The Palestinians, publicly supportive of the U.S. effort, are nonetheless skeptical because Trump's close ties to Israel suggest whatever deal he proposes might be unfavorable to them.___Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP
  • Bret Bielema was welcomed to Arkansas by thousands of fans during a Razorbacks basketball game, and in return he promised to deliver the school's first Southeastern Conference football championship.Bielema's exit came with much less fanfare on Friday when the former Wisconsin coach was fired in a tiny corner office of Razorback Stadium — moments after the Razorbacks ended their disappointing season with a 48-45 loss to Missouri .'I've never been let go of in my entire life, so this is a first for me,' Bielema said while holding back tears several times. 'I've had quite a few coaches that have moved on and they always say, whether it's right, wrong or indifferent, that you want to leave the place better than when you got here, and I know that's happened, there's no doubt.'The loss brings an end to a shockingly poor five-year performance from a coach who led the Badgers to three straight Rose Bowl appearances before he was hired at Arkansas following the 2012 season. Bielema ends his tenure with the Razorbacks with an overall record of 29-34 overall, including 11-29 in the ultra-competitive SEC.He was told of his firing by interim Arkansas athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples after the Razorbacks and Bielema left the field following the loss to the Tigers. Cromer Peoples told Bielema of his firing in the coach's office next to the visitor's locker room in Razorback Stadium, which Arkansas is using this season as its home while the stadium undergoes a $160-million renovation.Cromer Peoples, who is serving as athletic director after Jeff Long was fired two weeks ago, said it was important for her to tell Bielema of the change quickly after the game so that he could talk to the team before they left campus.'There's no question that coach Bielema and his staff have made a positive impact on the lives of our student-athletes ...,' Cromer Peoples said. 'But in the end we have not been able to sustain the success on the field that is expected and is required at the University of Arkansas. We must win games.'Cromer Peoples said she's asked Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads, the former Iowa State head coach, to serve as the interim coach.She also said she plans to start a coaching search immediately, and that she's not concerned about possibly hiring a head coach while a seven-person search committee aids Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz in the pursuit of a new athletic director.'I don't think you need a permanent AD in order to make an offer,' Cromer Peoples said. 'I think you need an AD, and we have one.'Bielema was signed with Arkansas through the 2020 season, thanks to an extension he signed following his second season in 2014 when the Razorbacks improved to 7-6 after a 3-9 record in his first year.His average annual salary over the six-year contract was $4.25 million, and the deal contained a buyout clause that stated Arkansas would have to pay Bielema $15.4 million if he was fired without cause prior to 2018. The buyout dropped to $11.7 million to start 2018, and it was immediately unclear if the school would be forced to pay the full $15.4 million, or if the two sides reached a settlement for a lesser amount.Cromer Peoples said the athletic department's fundraising arm, the Razorback Foundation, would handle discussions about Bielema's buyout. Bielema's agent, Neil Cornrich, didn't immediately return a message from The Associated Press seeking comment.'I definitely want to coach again,' Bielema said. '... I don't know (what's next); I've never been in this situation.'Bielema's hiring was considering somewhat of a coup nationally when he was lured from Wisconsin by Long in December of 2012.The Razorbacks were coming off a scandal-ridden eight months started by former coach Bobby Petrino's motorcycle accident and revelation that he had hired his mistress to a position in the athletic department. They had just finished a disappointing 3-9 season under interim coach John L. Smith in 2012, and Bielema brought with him instant credibility — thanks to a 68-24 record in seven seasons with the Badgers.Arkansas struggled mightily in Bielema's first season in 2013, losing its final nine games of the season on the way to a 3-9 record. However, the Razorbacks put an end to a program-worst 17-game SEC losing streak a year later and finished 7-6 — including a season-ending bowl win over former Southwest Conference rival Texas.The progress continued in 2015 when Arkansas defeated Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl to finish 8-5, and the Razorbacks appeared on their way to a third straight season of improving their win total in 2016 when they started the season 7-4. They ended the season with devastating back-to-back losses to Missouri and Virginia Tech, though, to end the season 7-6 — with both losses coming after Arkansas built large first-half leads.The hangover from those losses continued into 2017, as did a two-year struggle on the offensive line. After allowing a combined 36 quarterback sacks in Bielema's first three seasons, Arkansas gave up 35 sacks in 2016 and 35 more this season.'Thank you @BretBielema for believing in me and being a truly special coach and leader of men,' Arkansas senior quarterback Austin Allen posted on Twitter.For a coach whose identity revolved around his ability to develop top offensive linemen such as former Wisconsin All-American Joe Thomas, the falloff in line play left Bielema both frustrated and searching for answers for much of the last two seasons after former offensive line coach Sam Pittman left for Georgia following the 2015 season.Bielema said 'overwhelming' injuries were a problem for Arkansas this season, in particular to some of its top offensive players.Top running back Rawleigh Williams, who was second in the SEC in rushing in 2016, suffered a career-ending neck injury during the spring. Also, No. 1 wide receiver Jared Cornelius injured his Achilles and was lost for the season, while starting quarterback Austin Allen missed four games with an injured shoulder.Lastly, center Frank Ragnow — one of the top offensive linemen in the country — suffered a high ankle sprain and missed the season's final five games.___More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_Top25___Follow Kurt Voigt on Twitter @Kurt_Voigt_AP
  • Tim Tebow's goal going forward is simple: Play ball!Professional baseball, to be more specific.The former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback said Friday that he spends three-to-five days each week training for baseball, getting himself ready for Year 2 of his pro career in the New York Mets organization.'I didn't take any time off,' he said Friday.Tebow gets the work in around his off-the-field job as a college football analyst for the SEC Network, which takes him to schools throughout the Southeastern Conference from September until January.The TV gig has not dulled Tebow's desire to make a mark in baseball, where he spent this past season with two Class A clubs, Columbia in the South Atlantic League and Port St. Lucie in the Florida State League — both in the Mets system.'Loved it from the first at bat to the last at bat, it was a great experience,' Tebow said.Tebow, 30, was a good high school baseball player and on track to get looked at by Major League teams until he chose to play football at Florida. He was part of two national title teams with the Gators, became a first-round NFL draft pick and spent three seasons with Denver and the New York Jets. Looking for a challenge, Tebow relaunched his baseball career with a tryout camp in 2016 and was signed by the Mets soon after.'I think the other thing I really enjoy is I love competing,' Tebow said. 'So baseball is fun because you get to play every night.'Tebow's stats were not exactly eye-popping — he hit .226 in 126 combined games with the two teams and had eight home runs, 52 RBIs and 126 strikeouts — but he believes he made huge strides from his first game to his last and can build on that next season.'I don't even feel like remotely close to the same player (in April) from fundamentals, pitch recognition, the outfield, running bases,' Tebow said. 'That was the first after dropping (baseball) for 12 years. I was learning on the fly.'Tebow remembered how he would work on his skills with minor league coaches or Mets roving instructors that he had not practiced in earnest in a dozen years.'It's not just being able to do it, it's being able to do it as fast as possible,' Tebow said. 'And that's how you make the jump to the next level.' Tebow's charisma and popularity made him a must-see attraction in minor league baseball. Fans filled parks, home and away, to catch a glimpse of Tebow in the outfield or at bat as a designated hitter.There were even fans at the taping of Tebow's 'SEC Nation' show Friday wearing his No. 15 Columbia Fireflies jersey. Tebow appreciated the applause. Now, he wants to earn it with better play. He didn't provide any detail his training regimen, only saying he would hit as often as possible. There will be no organized instructional league this offseason before spring training starts.'You look at what you need to work on and it's working on those things,' Tebow said. 'Because it's really hard to balance competing at a high level with learning and building on fundamentals.'Tebow said he's got a strong relationship with New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and all the coaches he's worked with so far. His next stop is spring training with the focus on improvement.'Don't focus on the end result. Don't focus on where you are right now,' he said. 'Focus on this is what I've got to do to get better.
  • Charlie Rose, who was fired this week by CBS News and whose program was canceled by PBS in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations from multiple women, had accolades from two universities rescinded Friday.Panels at both Arizona State University and the University of Kansas met this week and coincidentally came to the same decision on the same day.Arizona's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication gave Rose an award for journalism excellence in 2015. But the actions reported about Rose were too 'egregious' to ignore, according to Dean Christopher Callahan.'The actions victimized young women much like those who make up the overwhelming majority of Cronkite students — young women who deserve to enter workplaces that reward them for their hard work, intelligence and creativity and where they do not have to fear for their safety or dignity,' Callahan said in a statement.Callahan said the action was mostly symbolic. But he hoped it would send a message that sexual misconduct would not be tolerated. The award has never been revoked since it was created in 1984. Past recipients include Bob Woodward, Diane Sawyer and Christiane Amanpour.The William Allen White Foundation, which supports journalism education at the University of Kansas, presented Rose an award last spring. The National Citation award has been bestowed on a journalist annually since 1950. Other recipients include Bob Woodward and Gwen Ifill.After the allegations against Rose surfaced, the foundation's board of trustees voted to revoke the honor. In a news release, officials said Rose 'does not exemplify the ideals of this award.'Eight women who worked for or wanted to work for Rose told the Washington Post Monday that the veteran newsman groped them, openly walked around nude or said sexually inappropriate things on the job.The fallout for Rose was swift. After initially suspending him, CBS News fired Rose from its morning show Tuesday. Three women at the network have since come forward with complaints with two saying he grabbed them inappropriately.PBS, which broadcasts his eponymous interview program, cut ties with Rose.In a statement earlier this week, Rose apologized for his actions and said he was 'deeply embarrassed.