ISTANBUL (AP) Turkey declared a national day of mourning and paid tribute to the dead Sunday after two bombings in Istanbul killed 38 people and wounded 155 others near a soccer stadium. The carnage was claimed by a Turkey-based Kurdish militant group.
The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, or TAK, said two of its members had sacrificed their lives in the Saturday night attack that targeted security forces outside the Besiktas stadium shortly after the conclusion of a match.
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It described the blasts as reprisal for state violence in the southeast and the ongoing imprisonment of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. TAK is considered by authorities as a PKK offshoot.
The twin car-and-suicide bombings near the stadium enraged top officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who vowed to hunt down the perpetrators. The attack was the latest large-scale assault to traumatize a nation confronting an array of security threats.
The attack targeted police officers, killing 30 of them along with seven civilians and an unidentified person, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters. He said 13 people had been arrested in connection with the ”terrorist” act.
WILL SMITH TRIAL
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The man who fatally shot retired New Orleans Saints defensive leader Will Smith was convicted of manslaughter, ending a week-long trial in which the defendant insisted he only fired because the popular football star was drunk, violent and had grabbed a gun following a traffic crash on the night of April 9.
Smith was part of the Saints team that lifted the stricken city’s spirits in the years after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, helping carry the team to a winning season in 2006 and a Super Bowl win four years later. His death at the hands of Cardell Hayes, 29, was stunning, even for a city where residents are accustomed to reports of multiple gunfire deaths every week.
Hayes faces a possible sentence of up to 40 years in prison at his sentencing on Feb. 17. Jurors opted for the lesser charge rather than second-degree murder, which would have carried a mandatory life sentence.
Hayes also was convicted of attempted manslaughter for wounding Smith’s wife, Racquel Smith.
MOSCOW (AP) – Russia will accept an International Olympic Committee plan to retest all drug test samples given by its athletes at the 2012 and 2014 Olympics, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko said.
The IOC’s declaration Friday followed the publication of a report by World Anti-Doping Agency investigator Richard McLaren. This alleged that more than 1,000 Russian athletes, including medal winners at the London and Sochi games, had benefited from a state-backed campaign of doping and drug test cover-ups.
Mutko, whose brief as deputy prime minister covers sports policy, also suggested that he does not expect Russia to be barred from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. He said the IOC set a precedent when it decided against a blanket ban for Russia from this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
NEW YORK (AP) – The NFL says no formal complaint was filed last week by the New York Giants, who reportedly alerted the league that the Pittsburgh Steelers were using deflated footballs during their game.
Fox reported that after the Giants forced two turnovers during their 24-14 loss last Sunday, they tested the footballs on their sideline. After both of the footballs tested below the NFL standards for PSI, according to the report, the Giants sent them to the league office.
The NFL issued a statement saying: ”The officiating game ball procedures were followed and there were no chain of command issues. All footballs were in compliance and no formal complaint was filed by the Giants with our office.”
Fox reporter Jay Glazer, who had the report, wrote on Twitter that the NFL was ”correct in saying no FORMAL complaint was FILED, Giants tested balls & informed the NFL they were under legal limit. Giants confirmed.”
BEVERLY, Mass. (AP) – NCAA officials plan to hand deliver an award to the former Boston College baseball captain who inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge that raised millions of dollars for ALS research.
The collegiate sports organization says Pete Frates is unable to attend an awards celebration in Nashville, Tennessee, this January to accept the 2017 Inspiration Award because the neurodegenerative disease is progressing.
So NCAA President Mark Emmert and NCAA honors committee chair Dr. Michael Benson will present the award to him at his home in Beverly, Massachusetts.
Frates was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2012. The disease, also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, weakens muscles, impairs physical functioning and has no cure yet.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised more than $220 million when it took off worldwide on social media in 2014.
NEW YORK (AP) – Lamar Jackson leapt over a loaded field of Heisman Trophy contenders early in the season and by the time he slowed down nobody could catch him.
The sensational sophomore quarterback became the first Louisville player to win the Heisman Trophy, beating out preseason favorite Deshaun Watson of Clemson despite some late-season struggles.
Baker Mayfield finished third and Oklahoma teammate and fellow finalist Dede Westbrook was fourth. Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers was fifth.
Jackson, wearing a red velvet blazer with shiny black lapels, said he could feel his heart pounding in his chest right before his name was announced, and he barely held it together while giving his speech with the former Heisman winners standing behind him on stage.
BALTIMORE (AP) – Donald Trump was greeted with cheers on his arrival at the annual Army-Navy game, basking in one of the nation’s most storied football rivalries as he prepares to enter the White House.
The future commander in chief, protected by panes of bulletproof glass, waved to the crowd Saturday and pumped his fist as he arrived during the first quarter of the 117th game between the military academies at West Point and Annapolis. The game, on a sunny but chilly day, was being held on relatively neutral ground, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Trump, in an interview with CBS Sports announcers Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson, said he was ”totally neutral” on the outcome of the game and quipped that he might make Lundquist, who was retiring from the play-by-play booth, his ambassador to Sweden.