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    About 130 Central Americans, mostly women and children, have arrived at the U.S. border with Mexico in a 'caravan' of asylum-seeking immigrants that has drawn the fury of President Donald Trump. Two busloads arrived late Tuesday in the Mexican border city of Tijuana at two migrant shelters just steps from one of the most fortified stretches of border separating the U.S. from Mexico. They joined another 50 or so who arrived in Tijuana over the last week or two. Four more busloads of about 200 Central Americans — mostly women and children but including some men, were expected to arrive in Tijuana Wednesday, said Alex Mensing, project coordinator for Pueblos Sin Fronteras, which is organizing the effort. U.S. lawyers planned to lead clinics later this week on U.S. asylum law to tell them what to expect when they seek asylum. The first groups are expected to try to enter the U.S. on Sunday at a border crossing in San Diego. Trump and senior aides have portrayed the caravans and the asylum seekers as evidence of a dysfunctional border and a serious threat. The president tweeted this week that he has issued orders 'not to let these large Caravans of people into our Country. It is a disgrace.' The caravans have been a fairly common tactic for years among advocacy groups to bring attention to Central American citizens seeking asylum in the U.S. to escape political persecution or criminal threats from gangs. But the latest one drew more attention because Trump's attention from almost moment it began March 25 in the Mexican city of Tapachula, near the Guatemalan border, and while it slowly traveled across Mexico. Trump used it as an example to try to win more support for his planned border wall — even though the asylum-seekers plan to turn themselves in to border inspectors. This caravan's numbers pale compared to roughly 200,000 people who were arrested at the border in Texas' Rio Grande Valley during the spring of 2014 during the administration of President Barack Obama, many of them Central American women and children. And thousands of Haitians seeking to enter the U.S. turned themselves in to U.S. border inspectors at the Tijuana-San Diego border crossing, the nation's busiest. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has space to hold about 300 people at the crossing, said Pete Flores, director of the agency's San Diego field office. It turns them over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to determine if they should be held long-term of if they can be released while their cases are pending, often wearing ankle monitors that track their movements. The San Diego border crossing was so overwhelmed by Haitians in 2016 that U.S. officials worked with their Mexican counterparts to create a ticketing system that let the Haitians in over time. Some waited their turn in Tijuana more than five weeks. More recently, asylum seekers have had to wait at most only a few hours, never overnight, Flores said. If asylum-seekers make it through initial screenings with asylum officers by establishing 'credible fear' of being returned to their homelands, they are allowed in and face what can be lengthy proceedings before U.S. immigration judges. Ginger Jacobs, a San Diego immigration attorney who helped Haitians seeking entry to the U.S. in 2016, said Trump's concerns about a rush of Central Americans seeking asylum were 'completely overblown.' 'I don't see this caravan thing being a big deal,' she said. 'I see it as something the port will be able to handle competently and professionally.' Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday that U.S. authorities may detain asylum-seekers 'while their claims are adjudicated efficiently and expeditiously.' Others will be criminally prosecuted for illegal entry, she said. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he may assign additional immigration judges to handle caravan cases. The Juventud 2000 migrant shelter, on the edge of Tijuana's red-light district, is filled with dome-shaped tents to accommodate more than 200 arrivals. Its director, Jose Maria Garcia Luca, said two previous caravans in May and November of last year had about 100 people each. Those who sought asylum reported no significant delays entering the U.S. 'This is nothing like the Haitians,' Garcia Luca said. 'That was chaos.
  • French businessman Vincent Bollore has been given preliminary charges in an investigation into alleged corruption surrounding lucrative port deals in Africa. It was a stunning move against one of France's most powerful tycoons, whose Bollore Group has vast holdings from transport and media to the oil sector. Bollore said in a statement Wednesday that he was released pending further investigation. The statement said he will now 'answer these unfounded accusations.' The Bollore Group's shares plunged after he was detained for questioning Tuesday. The investigation focuses on suspicions around port deals in 2009 and 2010 in the West African nations of Togo and Guinea. Bollore Group is suspected of using communications arm Havas to provide cut-rate services to African leaders, who ensured that another subsidiary would win shipping terminal contracts.
  • A Turkish court on Wednesday convicted journalists and other senior staff members from the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper on terror charges, in a case that has exacerbated concerns over press freedom. Turkey's official Anadolu news agency said that 14 employees were found guilty of 'aiding a terror group without being a member.' They were handed sentences ranging from 2½ to 7½ years. It wasn't immediately clear if they would spend further time in jail and all are banned from leaving the country. Three people were acquitted. The newspaper said those convicted include editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu, leading journalists and columnists, as well as a cartoonist. Outside the courthouse, Sabuncu called the verdict an 'attack' on journalists aimed to 'stop us from doing journalism in Turkey, to make us fearful when we're doing journalism in Turkey.' He said they would continue their work even if they have to go back to prison. A total of 19 Cumhuriyet staff members were accused of 'sponsoring terror organizations,' including Kurdish militants, a far-left group and the network of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government blames for a failed coup in July 2016. Gulen denies involvement. The court convicted Akin Atalay, the board chairman, but ordered him released from prison. Eleven others were released earlier in the trial after having spent months in jail. Five staff members were tried without being imprisoned. The prosecutions of two defendants who are not in Turkey, including former chief editor Can Dundar, were separated from this case. A man suspected of using a Twitter handle critical of the government was also on trial along with the Cumhuriyet staff. Kemal Aydogdu was sentenced to 10 years for terror group membership and will remain in custody. Authorities arrested tens of thousands on terror charges and dismissed more than 110,000 from government jobs in a massive crackdown that followed the coup. More than 38,000 remain behind bars on alleged links to Gulen. Journalists, opposition lawmakers and activists have been imprisoned. Prominent investigative journalist Ahmet Sik tweeted after his guilty verdict, alluding to Erdogan: 'No dictator in history ever won the war to silence the righteous. We will win.' Kadri Gursel, an influential columnist, said 'the case against journalism would go down in history' in his final defense to the court earlier Wednesday. The journalists were put on trial on the outskirts of Istanbul within the compound of a maximum-security prison. Turkey ranked 157 out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders' 2018 index on press freedom.
  • A senior European Union official has urged Serbia, a candidate for EU membership that is also Russia's key ally in Europe, to keep up its bid to join the bloc. European Council president Donald Tusk said Wednesday in Belgrade that the EU 'is and wants to remain the most reliable partner of Serbia and the Western Balkans,' a region aspiring for EU where Moscow traditionally is vying for influence. Tusk visited Belgrade as part of his week-long tour of Western Balkans to prepare for the May 17 summit of EU and regional leaders. Tusk spoke in Serbian after meeting President Aleksandar Vucic. He said that 'the future of Serbia won't be decided in Moscow or Washington, Ankara or Brussels.' He describes the EU as a 'project with a strategic dimension.
  • The Czech Republic's president suggested Wednesday that his country was considering joining the U.S. in moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But the Czech government, which controls foreign policy, didn't confirm the announcement. President Milos Zeman spelled out the process of moving the embassy, saying it will take place in three steps: An honorary consulate will be opened in Jerusalem next month followed by other Czech institutions before the embassy's actual transfer. Beyond the consulate's opening, he gave no further timetable. He ended his speech at the Prague Castle at a party to celebrate Israel's 70th anniversary by saying: 'Next year in Jerusalem.' In a letter to Zeman, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped he would jointly open the new embassy in Jerusalem at the end of this year. The Czech foreign ministry didn't immediately confirm the embassy's move, though it did say that the opening of the consulate and the Czech cultural center in west Jerusalem is the first step toward having its embassy in the capital of the host country. But it also said the Czech Republic 'fully respects' the common position of the European Union that Jerusalem must be the joint capital of Israel and a future Palestinian state. As that's unlikely to happen soon, the embassy transfer Zeman hopes for is far from being imminent. The Czech presidency is a largely ceremonial post. Zeman previously voiced support for President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which sparked outrage among Palestinians and across the Muslim world. Palestinians claim eastern Jerusalem, territory captured by Israel in the 1967 war from Jordan, as their future capital. Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its eternal capital. ___ Associated Press writer Ian Deitch in Jerusalem contributed to this report.
  • A woman in Spain has found unexpected fame on social media after many found she bore a striking resemblance to U.S. President Donald Trump. A journalist reporting on farming in northwestern Spain posted on Instagram a picture of Dolores Leis dressed in farm clothing with a hoe over her shoulder, prompting thousands of responses. The 64-year-old has since been asked to comment on pressing U.S. policy and international issues — though she has shown more concern for a moth plague threatening her potato crops. 'I say that it must be because of the color of the hair,' Leis told the La Voz de Galicia newspaper Tuesday She is different to Trump on one issue though — she doesn't use a mobile phone and has little interest in online chatter. Leis, who appears standing in the middle of her farming plot, her frowning face looking away from the camera and blond hair held by a diadem, has many fans now. 'Can we replace Trump with this hard working lady?' one responder on Instagram asked. Others, who called Leis 'Trump's Galician sister,' made an online call to research the president's family roots in the Costa da Morte, or Death Coast, the rocky shore in northwestern Spain with a long history of shipwrecks. A Galician native who has lived in the same town since she married her husband four decades ago, Leis works at home and at her farm, where the reporter found her last week planting potatoes. Leis told the newspaper she has not felt overwhelmed by sudden fame because, without a smartphone, the online buzz is easy to ignore. 'I look at everything that my daughters show me, but it never stung my curiosity to have one (phone),' she said. ___ A previous version of this story has been corrected to show that the woman's age is 64, not 70.
  • The latest on a van attack in Toronto which killed 10 people and injured 14 (all times local): 12:30 p.m. A Buddhist temple in Toronto has identified one of the victims of Monday's van attack as a Canadian citizen who came to the country from Sri Lanka. The Mahavihara Buddhist Meditations Center says Renuka Amarasingha (am-uh-ruh-SEEN'-yuh) was from Horana, Sri Lanka. She was 45 and lived with her 7-year-old son. Chief monk Ahangama Rathanasiri Thero (AN'-guh-mah Rah-than-ah-SEER'-ah THEER'-oh) says Amarasingha worked at school cafeterias and attended the temple frequently, sometimes helping arrange religious ceremonies. Friend Thilina Pelendage says she was known for her humorous nature and for never forgetting people's birthdays. Pelendage says that she had no other relatives in Toronto and that another family in Toronto's Sri Lankan community with whom Amarasingha once lived plans to care for her son. The temple will make funeral arrangements. Toronto police say the 10 people killed and 14 injured in the attack were 'predominantly' women.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron drew sharp contrasts with President Donald Trump's worldview Wednesday, laying out a firm vision of global leadership that rejects 'the illusion of nationalism' in a candid counterweight to Trump's appeals to put 'America first.' In the spotlight of a speech to the U.S. Congress, Macron was courteous but firm, deferential but resolute as he traced the lines of profound division between himself and Trump on key world issues: climate change, trade and the Iran nuclear deal. A day after the French leader had put on a show of warmth and brotherly affection for Trump at the White House, his blunt speech prizing engagement over isolationism reinforced the French leader's emerging role as a top defender of the liberal world order. 'We can choose isolationism, withdrawal and nationalism. This is an option. It can be tempting to us as a temporary remedy to our fears,' Macron said. 'But closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world. It will not douse but inflame the fears of our citizens.' Issuing a bleak warning, he urged against letting 'the rampaging work of extreme nationalism shake a world full of hopes for greater prosperity.' It was a marked shift from the simpatico Macron of only a day earlier during his state visit at the White House. In his first year as France's president, Macron has carefully cultivated as close a relationship to Trump as any world leader can boast. But addressing a joint meeting of Congress — an honor granted only occasionally to leaders of close U.S. allies — Macron confronted his differences with Trump head-on. As Trump weighs pulling out of the 2015 Iran accord, Macron made clear that France will not follow his lead. 'We signed it at the initiative of the United States. We signed it, both the United States and France,' Macron said. 'That is why we cannot say we should get rid of it like that.' He saved some of his most pointed comments on Trump administration policy for the issue of climate change, implicitly lamenting the president's moves to withdraw from the global emissions pact reached in Paris. Macron said that humans are 'killing our planet' and added: 'Let us face it: There is no Planet B.' 'On this issue, it may happen we have disagreements between the United States and France. It may happen, like in all families,' Macron said. 'But that's for me a short-term disagreement.' It was an allusion not to an impending Trump about-face, but to the prospect of America choosing a different path under a successor, whoever that may prove to be. Asked by French reporters about his comments later during a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Macron said with a smile that he doesn't expect Trump to rejoin the Paris accord, but does expect that America will. Macron's hour-long speech to Congress, delivered in English, provoked obvious delight from congressional Democrats, who erupted repeatedly in cheers and standing ovations for the visiting Frenchman — a contrast to the mostly silent reaction from Republicans in the House chamber. To some, it was an ironic reminder that more than a year after being walloped by Trump in the election, Democrats have yet to coalesce behind either a cohesive message or a messenger, still plaintively searching for the kind of energetic, fresh-faced leader that Macron represents. For Macron, the exuberant reception may have been equally ironic. At home, Macron does not enjoy the same level of applause or enthusiasm. A centrist in France, he's currently criticized more from the left than the right, notably for ending France's famed worker protection, and he's often derided as the president of the rich. Still, his soaring speech to Congress and closely watched visit to the United States have buttressed the notion that Macron, more than any other world leader, now carries the torch for the rules-based international system of freedoms, free markets and democratic governance that Western nations have championed since World War II. Trump's positions on trade and overseas obligations have chipped away at America's position as the spokesman for that movement. And German Chancellor Angela Merkel, seen in recent years as the inheritor of that role, has faded somewhat amid domestic political challenges in her country. That France sees itself as uniquely equipped to help fill that void seemed evident as Macron called for communal action to address 'urgent' threats to what he called fundamental values. 'Today, the international community needs to step up our game and build the 21st century world order,' he said. It wasn't all criticism from Macron. He sought to showcase the historic bond between the U.S. and France, touting the two allies' 'constant attachment to freedom and democracy.' Yet he also mentioned 'fake news,' a point of contention between Trump and others, and warned that lies disseminated online are threatening freedoms worldwide. In friendly fashion, he recounted trans-Atlantic links from the earliest days of the United States, Macron talked about a meeting between Ben Franklin and the French philosopher Voltaire, 'kissing each other's cheeks.' In an apparent reference to his affectionate rapport with Trump this week, Macron mused: 'It can remind you of something.' ____ Associated Press reporters Alan Fram and Laurie Kellman in Washington and Angela Charlton and Sylvie Corbet in Paris contributed to this report.
  • Thousands of South African workers have demonstrated around the country against a proposed minimum wage, accusing President Cyril Ramaphosa's government of being hostile to labor. Members of the South African Federation of Trade Unions on Wednesday marched in downtown Johannesburg and other cities. They said the planned minimum wage of $1.60 per hour is too low and will only deepen poverty in South Africa. Workers from some unions not affiliated with the strike did not participate in the protest. There were reports of blocked roads, stone-throwing and looting in some parts of the country. South African media outlets say some unrest is linked to local dissatisfaction over an alleged lack of government services. Ramaphosa took office in February after the resignation of Jacob Zuma, whose presidency was tainted by scandals.
  • The Latest on the Syria conflict (all times local): 1 a.m. The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross says the organization has been 'flooded' with about 13,000 requests in the last six months from Syrians looking for missing family members. Peter Maurer told a small group of journalists at U.N. headquarters in New York on Wednesday that before then the ICRC only had 'requests in the hundreds.' He said the surge in requests is probably related to Syrians returning to places in the country where there is no active combat and worrying about family members. Maurer said the ICRC has also been 'slightly more pro-active' on the issue of missing Syrians. He said the requests have come from all areas of Syria, neighboring countries and even globally. As for successful reunifications, Maurer said 'numbers are in the tens to fifties.' ___ 7 p.m. The U.N.'s deputy humanitarian chief says attacks on civilians in Syria and their homes, schools and health facilities 'have reached some of the highest levels since the conflict began' seven years ago. Ursula Mueller told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that the needs of people in Syria also 'could not be higher,' with 13.1 million people in need of aid, including some 5.6 million 'in acute need.' She said the U.N. verified 72 attacks on health facilities in the first three months of 2018, compared to 112 attacks in 2017. Mueller says access across conflict lines also 'remains extremely constricted.' She said over 160,000 people left the Damascus suburbs of eastern Ghouta between March 9 and April 15. She says the situation in Idlib province 'remains catastrophic, with almost 400,000 people displaced since mid-December, in addition to tens of thousands who were displaced from eastern Ghouta and eastern Qalamoun.' ___ 5:55 p.m. A Syrian filmmaker says Russian state media have used images from the set of his 2016 movie to claim that video footage from an April 7 suspected poison gas attack in Syria was staged. Humam Husari describes it as a 'desperate and cheap attempt by Russian TV to deny the obvious attack on Douma.' The April 22 reports by Russia's Rossiya-1 and Channel One try to back up the Russian and Syrian government narrative that there was no chemical weapons attack in Douma, and that videos purporting to show victims of the attack were faked. Husari says that in one segment, the reports use behind the scenes images from the set of his short film called 'Chemical,' as it was being filmed in the eastern Ghouta region in 2016. Husari told The Associated Press on Wednesday that his production, which is still a work in progress, is a fictional short drama based on the chemical weapons attack in Ghouta that took place in 2013. ___ 5:45 p.m. The global chemical weapons watchdog says its team of inspectors has visited for the second time a Syrian town hit by an alleged chemical attack earlier this month and taken samples. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in a statement on Wednesday that samples taken by the team in the town of Douma, just east of Damascus, will be sent to OPCW designated laboratories for analysis. The OPCW's fact-finding mission visited Douma for the first time over the weekend, two weeks after the April 7 attack. Their entry into the town was delayed by security fears. More than 40 people were killed in the suspected chemical weapons attack in the town. The OPCW team is mandated to establish whether chemical weapons were used, but not to apportion blame. ___ 3:35 p.m. U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock says he expects donors to pledge 4.4 billion dollars in humanitarian aid for Syria and neighbors sheltering its refugees for 2018. Lowcock told reporters during an international donor conference in Brussels on Wednesday involving around 85 delegations that the figure was his 'best guess' based on commitments made so far. He said 'we've made a good start,' even though the pledges would fall well short of the estimated 7 billion dollars the U.N. is seeking. Lowcock thanked the EU, Germany and Britain for making large offers. ___ 1:30 p.m. Russian diplomats are planning to bring a group of Syrians to the international chemical weapons watchdog who the Russians claim were filmed in 'staged videos' of an alleged chemical attack on the town of Douma earlier this month. Russian Embassy spokesman Mikhail Sobolev said Wednesday that about 15 Syrians will attend a meeting at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on Thursday to brief member states. The OPCW, which has sent a team of inspectors to Syria to investigate the alleged attack, had no immediate comment. The event is part of an ongoing clash of narratives between the West and Syria and its key ally Russia about the April 7 attack. Opposition activists and first responders in Douma say the attack was carried out by government forces and killed more than 40 people. The U.S., France and Britain also blamed the Syrian government, and launched punitive airstrikes a week after the attack. Six days after the incident, Russia's Defense Ministry accused Britain of direct involvement in staging video images of alleged victims. Britain vehemently denied the Russian accusation. ___ 1:20 p.m. The Russian military has indicated it will supply the Syrian government with a sophisticated air defense system, after condemning a missile attack launched by the U.S., Britain and France earlier this month. Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi said in a statement Wednesday that Russia will supply Syria with 'new missile defense systems soon.' Rudskoi did not specify the type of weapons, but his remarks follow reports in the Russian media that Moscow is considering selling its S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Syria. Top Russian officials said earlier this month that Moscow may reconsider a pledge it gave a decade ago not to provide Syria with the S-300 system in light of the airstrikes on Syria earlier this month. Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Over two weeks after being the subject of an FBI raid, President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer filed notice in a California federal court on Wednesday that he would exercise his right against self-incrimination, and refuse to answer questions about a lawsuit linked to a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, who has claimed she had a past affair with Mr. Trump. “Based upon the advice of counsel, I will assert my 5th amendment rights in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York,” Cohen said in a court declaration. The legal battle centers on the $130,000 payment – which Daniels said amounted to ‘hush money’ – to keep her quiet before the 2016 election, money which Cohen has publicly acknowledged that he paid. In his court filing on Wednesday, Cohen made clear “the FBI seized various electronic devices and documents in my possession, which contain information relating to the $130,000 payment.” Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, immediately seized upon the decision by Cohen, labeling it a ‘stunning development.’ This is a stunning development. Never before in our nation’s history has the attorney for the sitting President invoked the 5th Amend in connection with issues surrounding the President. It is esp. stunning seeing as MC served as the “fixer” for Mr. Trump for over 10 yrs. #basta — Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) April 25, 2018 Meanwhile, the President seemed to be ready to personally get involved in Cohen’s legal battle over the evidence seized in the FBI raids, which involved information and electronic devices in his home, office and hotel room in New York. In a letter sent to Federal Judge Kimba Wood in New York, lawyers for Mr. Trump wrote, “our client will make himself available, as needed, to aid in our privilege review on his behalf.” It’s not clear what documents the government has seized from Cohen which would involve the President, what subjects they might cover, and how it is related to any investigation of Cohen. Judge Wood set a Thursday midday hearing to get an update from the FBI on what exactly was seized in the April 9 raids, and what has been duplicated and shared with Cohen and his lawyers. For now, those documents are in the hands of a special FBI team, which is not linked to the investigation of Cohen; the judge has suggested she might appoint a “special master” to oversee the handling of that evidence.
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars “State of the Franchise” was packed with new information about the fan experience, stadium, Downtown development and more. 1. New season, new look- The Jags have unveiled their new uniforms, which are designed to honor tradition. The two-tone helmets are gone, in favor of a shine-finished traditional look, and the numbering is more simple and modern. The uniforms also have features, like increased ventilation around sweat areas, which are aimed at giving the team a competitive advantage.  GALLERY: New uniforms for the Jacksonville Jaguars For the first time, the team has teal pants- and teal will now be the “Color Rush” uniform, instead of the gold ones the Jags have been using in prior years. Teal is also the alternate uniform, and expected to be worn several times over the season.  2. Cheaper concession options- Concession “classics” will now be only $5 at the stadium. These include hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, fries, and soft drinks. Fans will also still be allowed to bring in food, in accordance with the team’s policy and the NFL’s clear bag rule.  3. Your dog can now cheer for the cats- Among the changes inside of the stadium, the Jags are building a dog daycare/park in partnership with Pet Paradise. This will be on the South End Zone fan deck, will have a water feature, and will only be open on gamedays. Dogs will be pre-screened to ensure they are up to date on shots and have the right temperament for this environment. Fans will be able to see the action inside of the park, but only trained staff will be in with the dogs themselves.  4. Expect a crowd- Tarps will NOT be back at EverBank Field, meaning there are about 3,500 additional tickets being sold every game. There are also a handful of new premium seating options the team rolled out, which they say have already been snatched up. The Jags are also projecting their highest season ticket renewal rate and new season ticket sales, since they started tracking that in 2004.  5. Honoring the military- The team emphasized that veterans and members of the military are not only important to the City of Jacksonville, but to the Jags themselves. The Jags have the highest concentration of veterans in market, compared to other NFL markets. To celebrate that, the North End Zone fan deck is being rebranded in partnership with the veteran-owned business Grunt Style. In addition to creating a competition area for fans and a “hometown pride” area, this is also where the team will celebrate a veteran of the game and veteran business owner of the game, and ring the fourth quarter bell.  6. London will keep calling- The Jags are proud of being the team that has played the most London games of any other in the NFL. They said that game is valuable strategically and in terms of revenue, and they will work on protecting their position. Meanwhile, the UK fan club continues to grow, now standing at more than 86,000 members.  The Jags play the Eagles in London on October 28th at 9:30AM.  7. TIAA Bank going beyond the stadium- We got our first look at the new signage we’ll see at the stadium, as EverBank Field becomes “TIAA Bank Field” before the next football season, but TIAA Bank also announced a pledge to help the community.  The Jaguars and EverBank- which is becoming TIAA Bank- are launching the One Team. One Home. Initiative. They’re partnering to contribute $1 million in the next five years to help build and repair homes in Northeast Florida. This will be a collaboration with Habitat for Humanity affiliates, as well as volunteers and Jags players. EverBank is also pledging additional money to build and repair 100 homes in Florida where TIAA has an existing presence.  8. Lynyrd Skynyrd planning a big homecoming- The band will bring their farewell tour to EverBank Field on September 2nd. They’ll be joined by Kid Rock, Jason Aldean, and others, in a day-long event that also includes food trucks and games.  9. Sports Complex development- The team is still negotiating a redevelopment of the Jacksonville Shipyards, but they’re now expanding on that by pitching a $2.5 billion redevelopment in the Sports Complex. The first step is expected to be Lot J- which could see three mixed-use buildings and a “live arena”. To compensate for the loss in parking, a 3,000 space parking garage would go up where there’s currently a retention pond.  The team says this would be a public/private partnership, but they don’t have an estimate yet on what they would ask for from the City.  GALLERY:Shipyards redevelopment If the Hart Bridge ramps are taken down- which is something the City is currently pursuing- the Jags and their partner The Cornish Companies would seek to continue developing, with a high-end hotel, convention center, upgraded marina and more along the River.  10. A big schedule faces the team in 2018- Technically, this came out after the State of the Franchise, but in the spirit of all this Jags news, it’s also worth mentioning that the team’s schedule is out! Let us know what you think of the announcements on Facebook:
  • It’s a big day for Jaguars fans with Thursday’s kick-off of the NFL Draft from Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium. The Jags enter the draft with seven picks, including the 29th overall selection. A big first-round party will be held in Jacksonville for fans who want to celebrate any new additions to the team. In what the team is calling the largest draft party on the First Coast, fans will be flocking to Daily’s Place and the Dream Finder’s Home Flex Field Thursday night from 6:30 to 11:30 pm. Fans will be able to celebrate with team members beginning at 6:30, with fans’ first chance to see the team’s new uniforms up close to follow at 7:15. TV coverage of the first round of the NFL Draft will appear on video boards in both the amphitheater bowl and flex field. The free event will feature player autograph opportunities and special draft day merchandise and concessions for all guests.  Registration is required. Parking will be free on a first-come, first-served basis in Lots C, E, G, M, W, Y, Maxwell House and Tailgaters. You’ll be able to get in at Gates 1 and 4. Keep in mind there will be multiple events in Downtown Jacksonville on Thursday night, so Gator Bowl Blvd. will be closed between A. Phillip Randolph and Talleyrand Ave beginning at 4:30 pm.
  • Two women are dead, including a 2016 candidate for a Delaware State Senate seat, in a Pennsylvania murder-suicide that investigators said was sparked by one woman’s affair with the other’s husband.  Radnor Township police officials reported Tuesday that Jennair Gerardot, 47, of Wilmington, Delaware, broke into the rental home of 33-year-old Meredith Sullivan Chapman on Monday and waited for Chapman to return home from work at Villanova University, where she was recently named an assistant vice president.  According to the Villanovan, the university’s newspaper, Chapman started her new job a week before she was killed. She lived in the house where she died about the same length of time.  “Couldn’t be more excited...,” she wrote online Monday, about two hours before she was killed. “Just a week on the job and I’m already feeling the love from #NovaNation.” When Chapman arrived home Monday evening, Gerardot shot her once in the head before turning the gun on herself. Gerardot also died of a single gunshot wound to the head, Radnor Township Deputy Chief Christopher Flanagan said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.  >> Read more trending news A Taurus Tracker .357 Magnum revolver was found at the crime scene, with two of its seven rounds missing.  Investigators believe Gerardot took a train from Delaware to Chapman’s home – while wearing a wig and clothing later found discarded in a bag at the scene -- and broke in through the front door, cleaning up the glass so her target would not notice anything wrong when she came home.  “It’s not a love triangle. You had a man who was married that was having an affair with this other woman,” Radnor Township Police Superintendent William Colarulo said during the news conference.  “The wife knew about it. And this was a calculated, planned attack,” Colarulo said. “She broke into the house. She was lying in wait, and she shot her as soon as she walked in, and then she shot herself.  “There were emails and text messages indicating what she planned to do. Detectives are still sorting that out.” Flanagan said Tuesday that officers were called to Chapman’s home just after 7 p.m. Monday after receiving a 911 call reporting two people down and blood inside the residence. They were met in the driveway by Gerardot’s husband, Mark Gerardot, who said he believed his wife might be inside the house.  The officers went inside the home and found both women dead in the kitchen. Flanagan said that Mark Gerardot, 49, told police officers that he and his wife were having domestic problems that also involved Chapman. Investigators said he had been led to believe that Chapman would be meeting him nearby for dinner.  The Courier-Express in DuBois, Pennsylvania, reported that Mark Gerardot was waiting for Chapman to show up when he began receiving disturbing text messages from his wife. He went to Chapman’s home because of those messages and found the bodies.  See the entire Radnor Township police news conference, streamed live Tuesday by the News Journal in Wilmington, below.  Chapman’s neighbor, Melissa DeJoseph, told the Inquirer she saw the victim drive up between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. and, with a bag over her shoulder, walk toward the door. A few seconds later, she heard sharp noises from inside the house. “In my head, I was, like, ‘Is that a gunshot? No, it can’t be a gunshot,’” DeJoseph told the Inquirer.  Other neighbors also reported hearing the gunshots.  Chapman was married to Luke Chapman, a former Newark city councilman, but they were no longer living together, the Inquirer reported. Luke Chapman announced earlier this year that he would not run for a fourth term in office.  Prior to her position at Villanova, Meredith Chapman served as senior director of marketing for the University of Delaware, where she also got her college degree. She also taught at the university as an adjunct professor.  She worked on several political campaigns, as well as on Capitol Hill, where she collaborated with former Vice President Joe Biden when he was a Delaware state senator, according to her Facebook page. She served as communications manager for then-U.S. Rep. Mike Castle in 2007 and 2008, the News Journal reported.  Chapman ran unsuccessfully for a Delaware State Senate seat in 2016, losing the election to opponent Dave Sokola. Sokola expressed shock at the news of Chapman’s slaying. “Kathy and I are stunned by the news about Meredith and I’m deeply, deeply saddened to learn that such a promising young woman’s life has been cut so short,” Sokola wrote on Facebook. “I’ve always respected my opponents and Meredith was certainly no exception. She was sharp, hard-working and motivated by a sincere desire to serve her community. She was bound for great things and it’s tragic for that light to go out so soon. “I’ve also had the privilege to work with her husband, Luke, over the years, and he especially is in our hearts today. We wish him strength, peace, and privacy in what we know is an incredibly difficult and painful time.' Like Sokola, Chapman’s friends expressed shock on social media.  “I’m absolutely floored,” Richard Wisk wrote. “Meredith, RIP, you will be missed tremendously.” Colleen Auer-Smith described Chapman as a bright light and a “ray of sunshine.” “Why of all people? I don’t understand,” Auer-Smith wrote.  A family spokesperson described Chapman as a “beacon of light” to all who knew her in a statement obtained by the News Journal. “She loved her family fiercely, was a compassionate friend and among the most talented and innovative professionals in her field,” the statement read. “Her death was sudden and tragic, but will not define who she was to the thousands of people who loved her. Her family is devastated, heartbroken and requests privacy and respect as they grieve.” Mark Gerardot worked as a creative director at the University of Delaware until earlier this month, when he left that position. Before her move to Villanova University, Chapman was his supervisor, the News Journal reported.  He and his wife also previously ran their own marketing and design company, the Inquirer reported.  Jennair Gerardot also spent five years as marketing manager for a South Carolina-based marketing company, Circor Instrumentation, before leaving that job in December.  According to a post she wrote on the NextDoor neighborhood app in February, she left her position at Circor because of her husband’s new job at the University of Delaware.  The Inquirer, which tracked down Gerardot’s post, reported that she went on NextDoor pleading for help with her marriage. “I just transferred to Delaware in December for my husband’s new job, and he’s telling me he wants a divorce,” she wrote, according to the newspaper. “I don’t know anyone and am completely clueless to the area.” She asked for a recommendation for a reputable, successful and driven divorce lawyer.  Gerardot returned to NextDoor in March.  “Please recommend an EXCELLENT marriage counselor for couple on the brink of divorce,” she wrote.  The Inquirer reported that the posts did not make clear whether the couple ever sought counseling. 
  • An Ohio teen has been charged with aggravated murder in the fatal shooting of his 11-year-old brother, an act that police officials said was premeditated.  Streetsboro Police Department officials said that officers and city fire medics responded just after 9:30 p.m. Monday to the boys’ home, where they found the 11-year-old with a single gunshot wound. He was taken to a hospital, where he later died.  “The victim’s 13-year-old brother was taken into custody in what appears to be a premeditated shooting,” police officials said in a statement.  Police and Streetsboro school officials identified the victim as Caleb Lishing. The older brother has been identified as Elijah Lishing, a student at Bio-Med Science Academy in Rootstown.  News 5 in Cleveland reported that the Elijah Lishing fled the scene on foot, but was found nearby. He was arrested and booked into the Portage County Juvenile Detention Center.  The boys’ were with a babysitter when the shooting took place. News 5 reported that the sitter frantically called 911 to get help. “Something terrible has happened,” the woman said in the call, which the news station obtained. “I’m babysitting two kids. There’s blood everywhere.” The caller told police that Caleb Lishing went to bed around 8:30 p.m. and his brother, a short time later. When she heard a ‘pop,” she ran into the younger boy’s bedroom. “The other boy came out and said, ‘What was that?’ and I ran in here,” the babysitter said.  Caleb Lishing had a hole in his neck and the room smelled of gunpowder, News 5 reported.  “He’s got blood just pouring out of his mouth,” the caller said. “I don’t think he’s breathing.” The babysitter did CPR on the victim until paramedics arrived. The Record-Courier in Kent reported that the woman screamed for Elijah Lishing, but he didn’t respond. “He’s 11 years old and I don’t know where his brother went,” the woman said of Caleb Lishing. “I heard a pop and there’s blood in his chest.” >> Read more trending news Elijah Lishing is accused of shooting his brother with a .357 Magnum stolen from his grandfather’s home. The Record-Courier reported that the teen had to break into a locked gun cabinet to get the weapon.  He is accused of taking apart part of the cabinet when he couldn’t find the key, which the grandfather kept at a different home, the newspaper reported.  Monday’s shooting isn’t the first time police were called to the Lishing home. Police reports indicate that officers were called to the house four days before the homicide after Elijah Lishing’s stepmother reported that he was being “unruly.”  The teen, who expressed thoughts of harming himself, was taken to a behavioral health center for evaluation, News 5 reported. It was unclear what treatment he may have received.  The boys’ parents were out of the country at the time of the shooting, but were on their way home after being contacted by investigators, the Record-Courier said.  Caleb Lishing’s slaying is the first homicide in Streetsboro in nearly 20 years.  “It doesn’t happen here,” Lt. Patricia Wain, a police department spokeswoman, told News 5. “It’s traumatizing. A lot of our officers here have kids that age, so to have to walk into that and see that and take that call, it’s very difficult.” A statement from Streetsboro City Schools administrators said that the school community was “shocked and saddened” by the death of Caleb Lishing, who was in the fifth grade.   “Caleb was a well-liked student by his peers and teachers, and (he) loved coming to school each day,” the statement said. “He was a gentle soul who loved to read and talk to the adults around him.” More than 20 grief counselors were on hand Tuesday to talk with students, faculty, staff members and parents about the loss. The counselors were also offering advice on how to recognize warning signs of potential trouble in children.  Children who are depressed may complain of feeling sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent or caregiver or worry excessively that a parent may die,” officials said on the district website. “Older children may sulk, get into trouble, be negative or grouchy or feel misunderstood. Youth are more likely to respond to treatment if they receive it early in the course of their illness.” Police officials asked for respect and kindness toward the family in a statement on the department’s Facebook page.  “We ask that you keep the family in your thoughts during this difficult time,” the police statement said. “While we respect that everyone may have strong feelings about the incident, we request that you keep your comments positive with respect to the family and our community as they grieve their loss.” Elijah Lishing was due in juvenile court for an initial appearance Wednesday afternoon. A judge issued a gag order in the case to protect the teen’s identity, but the ruling was handed down after police had already released his name and details of the case, the Record-Courier said. 

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