Israeli warplanes have fired missiles targeting Syrian military positions in Homs and the Damascus outskirts in Syria in an attack that killed at least four civilians and wounded another 21, Syrian state media said.
The Syrian military said on Monday that its air defences had confronted the attack, which was launched from Lebanese airspace.
An Israeli military spokeswoman, asked about the report, said: “We don’t comment on such reports.”
Syrian state-run broadcaster al-Ikhbariya said the four civilians including a baby had been killed in Sahnaya, south of Damascus, as “a result of the Zionist aggression”.
State news agency SANA said an additional 21 people had been wounded. SANA also reported that Syrian air defences had brought down a number of the missiles.
In recent years, Israel has carried out hundreds of attacks in Syria that it says have hit its regional arch-foe, Iran, and the Lebanese Hezbollah group, which it calls the biggest threat to its borders.
Iran and Hezbollah are fighting on the side of President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian war, and Israel says they are trying to turn Syria into a new front against Israelis.
“If you ask every [NBA] player if they had their dream scenario, their dream scenario is everyone just wants to be wanted,” Randle told The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears in September 2018. “For me talking to New Orleans, they wanted me. I was a part of their future.”
Fast-forward to now, and it’s clear the Knicks wanted him.
In four seasons with Los Angeles, the 2014 seventh overall pick topped out at 16.1 points per game. All Randle did in his lone season in New Orleans was post a career-high 21.4 points while adding 8.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.
He finished the season on a strong note, averaging 24.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game following the All-Star break.
Randle was first linked to New York when Spears reported in late June that the Knicks had him, along with a number of other big men, on their radar. Spears noted there was mutual interest.
New York had been in the market for frontcourt help after parting ways with Kristaps Porzingis and Enes Kanter this past season.
The Knicks have some young talent in third overall pick RJ Barrett, 2018 ninth overall pick Kevin Knox and 2018 second-round pick Mitchell Robinson. However, they entered the offseason without a consistent scoring threat. Unrestricted free agent Emmanuel Mudiay (14.8 PPG) was the team’s leading scorer among players who finished the 2018-19 season in the Big Apple.
Barrett was arguably the top scorer in this year’s draft class, but it would not be fair to ask him to carry the team as a rookie. Bringing in Randle provides David Fizdale with another scorer, one who should help take some of the pressure off Barrett.
Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong blocked key roads early Monday morning as part of a mass planned pro-democracy rally on the anniversary of the city’s handover to China.
The semi-autonomous Chinese territory has seen historic protests in recent weeks over a controversial extradition bill that would allow suspects to be sent to mainland China to face trial.
More than a million protesters took to the streets of the city twice last month calling for the bill to be scrapped permanently.
Pro-China Chief Execuitve Carrie Lam was forced to shelve the controversial bill last month due to the public backlash but the protesters are demanding her resignation as well as dropping of charges against demonstrators arrested in recent weeks.
Tensions spiked once more in the financial hub as dawn rose on Monday after small groups of mainly young, masked protesters seized three key thoroughfares, deploying metal and plastic barriers to block the way.
Rows of riot police with helmets and shields were facing protesters at Fenwick Pier Street but were not moving on protesters as dawn rose over the financial hub.
The ongoing rallies are the latest manifestation of growing fears that China is stamping down on the city’s freedoms and culture with the help of the finance hub’s pro-Beijing leaders.
Although Hong Kong was returned from British to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997, it is still administered separately under an arrangement known as “one country, two systems”.
The city enjoys rights and liberties unseen on the autocratic mainland, but many residents fear Beijing is already reneging on that deal.
Pro-democracy activists have organised a march every handover anniversary, calling for greater democratic freedoms – such as the right to elect the city’s leader.
They have mustered large crowds in recent years – including a two-month occupation in 2014 – but have failed to win any concessions from Beijing.
This year’s rally comes against the backdrop of unprecedented anti-government protests over the past three weeks that have drawn millions and anger over police using tear gas and rubber bullets to clear crowds.
The demonstrations have morphed into a wider movement against Lam’s administration and Beijing.
Lam – who has kept out of the public eye since her climbdown and has record low approval ratings – is expected to attend a flag-raising ceremony on the harbourfront early on Monday, marking the moment the city returned to Chinese ownership 22 years ago.
Sam Mu, an artist, was with a small group of friends waving black flags on Monday morning close to where the ceremony was due take place.
“It’s a symbol of how are city is falling,” he told AFP. “Our city’s freedoms are shrinking, it’s going in a more authoritarian direction.”
Activists, who are mainly young students, have vowed to keep up their civil disobedience campaign in the coming weeks.
“Whatever happens we won’t lose heart, that’s why we’ll keep taking to the streets,” Jason Chan, a 22-year-old accountant added. “Resistance is not a matter of a day or a week, it is long term.”
The pro-democracy rally is scheduled to take place on Monday afternoon, following the same route the two mass rallies last month took – from a park to the city’s legislature.
Permission for a separate pro-Beijing rally has been granted to start at the same time in the same park – raising fears of confrontations.
On Sunday, tens of thousands of pro-establishment protesters rallied in support of Hong Kong’s police.
Many waved Chinese flags and hurled insults at anti-government demonstrators camped nearby, highlighting the deep ideological fissures now dividing the finance hub.
Swingman Jeremy Lamb must have caught the Indiana Pacers‘ eye during his career-best scoring season in 2018-19 because they agreed to a three-year, $31.5 million contract with the seven-year veteran Sunday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
The trade clearly didn’t work out for the Thunder considering Harden elevated himself to league MVP and became one of the best offensive players of his generation. What’s more, Lamb never posted more than 8.5 points per night in any of his three seasons with OKC.
Charlotte traded for him before the 2015-16 campaign and then signed him to a three-year contract extension.
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He delivered in a bigger offensive role when no longer playing alongside Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant and set a career high in scoring in each of his four seasons with the Hornets. He improved from 8.8 points per game in 2015-16 to 9.7 in 2016-17 to 12.9 in 2017-18 to 15.3 in 2018-19.
Lamb also posted a career-best 5.5 rebounds per game last season and showed a willingness to battle on the glass from the backcourt.
While he is just27 years old and has demonstrated constant improvement as a wing scorer, Lamb’s new team surely wants to see him bolster his three-point shooting after a drop from 37.0 percent in 2017-18 to 34.8 percent last season. If he can do that, he could take advantage of the openings created alongside Pacers guard Victor Oladipo.
Lamb is also a versatile defender who is quick enough to stick with ball-handlers and tall enough (6’5″) to challenge outside shots. Charlotte’s defensive rating was 108.9 when he was on the court and dropped to 111.5 when he was off it last season, per NBA.com.
The Connecticut product won’t be the flashiest signing this offseason, but he is a valuable role player who has demonstrated potential as an offensive playmaker and defender.
SAN FRANCISCO — Kamala Harris might be reveling in her sudden burst of attentionafter roasting Joe Biden over racial issues on the debate stage last week, but a backlash is already brewing.
Biden supporters and Democrats who have attended the former vice president’s events in the days after the first nationally televised debate, are describing Harris’ assault on Biden as an all-too-calculated overreach after she knocked him on his heels in a grilling over busing and his remarks on segregationist senators.
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“She played low ball, which was out of character. And he didn’t expect it, nor did I,” said Lee White, a Biden supporter who attended his remarks at the Jesse Jackson Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “She should not have gone that route. She’s much too intelligent, she’s been able to be successful thus far, why do you have to do that.”
One major Biden supporter from California who declined to be named for publication said Harris’ direct attack on Biden was a mistake that would haunt her.
“It’s going to bite her in the ass,” the supporter noted. “Very early on there was buzz … Biden-Kamala is the dream ticket, the best of both worlds.’’
After this week, “That shit ain’t happening.”
The criticism of Harris over her rough treatment of Biden is among the first signs of backlash — including in her home state — against the California Democrat who had a breakout moment in the first presidential debate. It’s also a sign of the goodwill and loyalty that many still feel toward that the vice president, who has managed to keep many of his backers in his camp, even amid criticism of what was roundly viewed as a subpar debate performance. Indeed, sources say Biden walked away with a $1 million haul after two fundraisers in San Francisco alone this weekend.
“We can be proud of her nonetheless, but her ambition got it wrong about Joe,” said former Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, the first African American woman to serve in the Senate. “He is about the best there is; for her to take that tack is sad.”
Harris stunned Biden in the debate, knocking him back on his heels by noting his past “hurtful” efforts to work with segregationists and what she defined as his opposition to school busing. Harris’ emotional recounting of her own experience in the Berkeley school district as a child who was bused to more segregated schools — “that girl was me,’’ she said — became a defining debate moment, and bruised Biden’s status as the Democratic front-runner.
But one of Biden’s supporters called the attack by Harris “too cute by half” after her campaign tweeted out — and quickly began merchandising — a photo of Harris as a young girl. “Couldn’t they at least pretend that it was semi-organic?” the Biden supporter asked, referring to the planned nature of Harris’ debate night ambush.
Some Biden loyalists said they thought it was misleading of Harris to attack Biden on civil rights, given what they said was his lifelong advocacy on that front.
White, who is African American, said of the underlying segregationist issues Harris attacked: “I thought it was old news.”
Sam Johnson, a Columbia, S.C.-based public affairs consultant who represents many minority clients, accused Harris of “desperately overreaching.”
“I don’t think a lot of folks are saying, ‘well, there’s a lot of credibility of her going after Biden,’” said Johnson, who has not backed a 2020 candidate. “I don’t think it was received by the majority of folks as an attack that is going to move the needle. Most folks aren’t looking at that as something where, hey, ‘Biden was against civil rights carte blanche.’”
“It was planned, and it was staged and it was rehearsed — and they were ready to raise money on it,’’ another Bay Area Biden supporter said of Harris’ roundhouse punch.
But former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown — whose patronage of Harris helped put the then-Alameda County assistant district attorney on the political map in her early years — bridled at the suggestion that Harris may have muddled her political future with her attack on Biden. He told POLITICO that the vice president has no one to blame but himself for a lackluster and unprepared performance.
“They better hope she would accept [a VP nomination],’’ he said. “Otherwise, he’s a guaranteed loser.”
But Brown, who also served as speaker of the California Assembly, said Biden’s stunned reaction only underscored that — on the issue of civil rights — he has so far failed to be completely honest with voters and should simply admit his past unpopular actions and positions.
“At this point, she may be the only life raft he has,’’ he added, “because, as of this moment, he’s on the Titanic.”
Biden, in comments to supporters this weekend, appeared to acknowledge the possibility that his quest may not end in success — an unusual departure from the script of most presidential candidates who confidently toss off phrases like “as your next president.”
Speaking to about 150 backers in the bay-side Marin County community of Belvedere, Biden dismissed the idea that he was making a sacrifice to run for president, but said that he felt an obligation at a time when the country is at a crisis point with the Trump presidency.
“My family and I believe very strongly that you kind of have certain things fall in your wheelhouse,” he said. “It doesn’t mean I’m going to win, doesn’t mean I’m the only person who can be a good president, I’m not saying that.”
He told two different audiences that civil rights is a lifelong “passion’’ and also made reference to his Democratic competitors. While never mentioning Harris by name, he appeared to address her sharp criticism about working with segregationists, pushing back at the notion that reaching across the aisle is an outdated notion.
“I know I’m criticized heavily by my qualified contenders who are running,” he said, “when I say, ‘folks, we’ve got to bring the country together.’”
“Some will say, ‘well, that’s old Joe, they’re the old days,’’ he said. “[But] if that’s the old days,’’ he told supporters, “we’re dead … that’s not hyperbole.”
Former San Francisco Supervisor Leslie Katz, who has known the former San Francisco district attorney for years and is a member of Harris’ finance committee, defended the senator’s approach.
“She was giving him a chance to address the issues that would plague him. … She was gracious, and she personalized it: She said she didn’t think he was a racist,’’ Katz said. “What stunned me was that he wasn’t prepared for that topic, and he needs to figure that out, sooner rather than later.”
Debbie Mesloh, a longtime Harris adviser, also defended Harris’ question to Biden as on the mark — and entirely fair. “She was ready, and she was bold, and she delivered,’’ she said. “She really showed what she can do.”
Harris, meanwhile, was met in her hometown of San Francisco like a conquering hero post-debate, facing a sea of ebullient supporters at a packed #LGBTQ fundraiser during San Francisco’s PRIDE weekend.
But after reveling in the moment, Harris also delivered a reality check about the long campaign still ahead.
“It will be tough. It will be excruciating. It’s going to be a long haul,’’ she told them.
“We’re going to have good weeks. We’re going to have bad weeks. It’s not going to be given to us … but we are going to be joyful about this,’’ she said. “As much success as we’ve had — there’s still much to do.”
In his 13th year in the league, Redick is coming off one of his finest seasons to date. He averaged a career-high 18.1 points on 44 percent shooting. His 39.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc was second on the team to only Mike Scott (41.2 percent in 27 games), and Redick had the highest three-point percentage among Sixers players who made at least 28 appearances and finished the season in Philadelphia.
The guard is a career 41.3 percent shooter from distance.
Prior to Redick’s arrival in 2017, Philadelphia was in the midst of a five-year playoff drought as “The Process” continued. The Sixers went two-for-two in playoff appearances with Redick in the mix, as his veteran presence and consistent perimeter shooting provided a boost to a young core that lacked both.
Redick nearly left Philadelphia for the Indiana Pacers last summer, as he revealed on his podcast(via The Score’sMitch Robinson) in July 2018. He ultimately wound up re-signing with the Sixers, but this time around, he has decided it was time for a change after a second-round exit.
Redick will now move on to his fifthorganization as he continues to chase that elusive championship ring. He will join a rebuilding Pelicans roster centered around Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball and more after New Orleans traded Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 30-year-old will have a long road to recovery after suffering a ruptured Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, his first game back after missing over a month with a calf strain.
Per Wojnarowski, he is expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season.
As Faizal Khamisa of Sportsnet noted, most former NBA players have taken about eight to 12 months to return from the injury. Durant’s former teammate DeMarcus Cousins needed about a full year to return to the court after suffering an Achilles injury in January 2018.
His new team would be smart to remain conservative with his recovery and not force him back too soon.
Despite the injury concern, there is no question about Durant’s ability on the court. The 2013-14 MVP has already earned 10 All-Star selections in his 12-year career, adding four scoring titles to his resume.
He has been one of the most consistent players in the NBA over the past decade, finishing in the top 11 in win shares in nine of the last 10 years, per Basketball Reference. The only exception came in 2014-15 when an injury limited him to just 27 games.
Durant has also showed the ability to step up when it matters as well, earning the Finals MVP award in each of his two healthy years with the Golden State Warriors. He also averaged a league-best 32.3 points per game during the playoffs last season while the team couldn’t close out the title without him.
Even if he can’t return to 100 percent of his former self, the forward is still one of the best in the NBA and a game-changing player on the court.
This would be a major boost for the Nets, who can become a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference just two years after losing 54 games.
Alongside Irving and Jordan, Durant provides another upgrade to a team that has an impressive young core with Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen.
He can alter the landscape of the NBA if he returns in time for the 2020 playoffs, but in any case he will likely be a major factor in future seasons under his new deal.
Authorities have halted flights at the only functioning civilian airport in Libya‘s capital after it was hit by forces loyal to renegade General Khalifa Haftar, amid rising tensions between the eastern-based commander and Turkey.
Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which has been waging an armed campaign to seize Tripoli from the United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), said on Sunday its air force destroyed a Turkish drone parked at Mitiga airport.
“Our fighter [jets] targeted and destroyed a Turkish Bayraktar aircraft as it was taking off,” the LNA said in a statement on Facebook. “The aircraft had been prepared to target our armed forces’ positions,” it said.
Earlier on Sunday, Turkey’s foreign ministry accused Haftar’s forces of arresting six of its citizens, and warned that the LNA would become a “legitimate target” if the Turks were not released immediately.
For its part, the LNA said it had arrested two Turks in the northeastern oil town of Ajdabiya.
Gharyan: Libya’s UN-recognised forces retake strategic Haftar base
Ankara has supplied drones and trucks to forces allied to the GNA, while Haftar’s GNA has received backing from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, according to diplomats. Turkey says it is in Libya to support “regional peace and stability”.
Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed, reporting from Tripoli, said airport authorities had air traffic until further notice following the air raid.
“Authorities at Mitiga airport said the air strike hit near the runway with no substantial damage,” he said.
The LNA launched an offensive on April 4 to capture the capital but it has been pushed back by the Tripoli government’s forces.
Pro-GNA fighters this week retook the strategic town of Gharyan, in a surprise attack and a major setback for Haftar.
Following the loss of Gharyan during a GNA operation he accused Ankara of backing, Haftar ordered his forces to target Turkish companies, ban flights and arrest Turkish nationals in Libya, his spokesman said on Friday.
Ankara has warned that it is ready to retaliate against attacks.
Haftar’s Tripoli offensive has upended UN-led plans to stabilise Libya after years of conflict that have left the oil-producing country divided and caused living standards to plummet.
Kevin Durant‘s free-agent tour isn’t expected to last long with a decision expected to come Sunday night.
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the two-time NBA Finals MVP will make his announcement on his company-owned business network.
PerMarc Steinof the New York Times, the Golden State Warriors will offer Durant the full five-year max extension worth $221 million as soon as free agency opens at 6 p.m. ET.
Wojnarowskireported the Warriors, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers are the four teams Durant will talk to, though not all of them will be in-person meetings.
“There is expected to be some combination of face-to-face meetings and communications by other means with Durant and his business manager, Rich Kleiman, front-office sources told ESPN,” Wojnarowski wrote.
The Athletic’sMarcus Thompson IIreported Stephen Curry is in New York, along with team president Bob Myers, to speak with Durant as part of Golden State’s pitch.
Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported Durant and Kawhi Leonard have discussed the possibility of teaming up, with the Clippers and Knicks mentioned as the most likely destinations if that happens.
Durant will likely end up missing the entire 2019-20 season rehabbing his ruptured Achilles. The 30-year-old averaged 26.0 points and 6.4 rebounds in 78 games for the Warriors last season.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times: “Minnesota is at the top of D’Angelo Russell’s free-agent wish list as the opening bell nears, league sources say—with the Timberwolves increasingly confident they can make the necessary salary-cap moves to land him.”
Stein added that the Los Angeles Lakers are also gunning for Russell, calling their interest “undeniable,” though he added that “Minnesota has made the All-Star guard its top priority in free agency knowing that the Brooklyn Nets mere hours away from the momentous addition of Kyrie Irving.”
While the Wolves can focus on Russell, the Lakers are still reportedly in the running for Kawhi Leonard. Until he makes his decision or makes it clear he isn’t interested in the Lakers, they’ll be in something of a holding pattern.
The Wolves find themselves in their own holding pattern, needing to clear the cap space to be able to sign Russell.
ButKeith Smithof Yahoo Sports reported Saturday that “multiple teams have heard that Minnesota is confident that they can trade AndrewWigginsthis summer. Doing so could open up the cap space necessary to sign Russell, who is tight with Karl-Anthony Towns.”
Getting off of Wiggins’ huge contract—he’s owed $122.3 million over the next four seasons—would be a huge accomplishment for new Wolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas. But moving off the salary for the stagnating Wigginsandsigning Russell this summer—with teams like the Lakers also reportedly interested—would be an absolute coup.
While Wiggins has never offered an impact on the defensive end, hasn’t developed a consistent three-point shot (33.2 percent from deep for his career) and has devolved into atruly inefficientscorer, Russell is fresh off his best season as a pro. He averaged 21.1 points and 7.0 assists per game, shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from three.
He’s become one of the game’s craftier pick-and-roll operators—a role heplayed frequentlyin Brooklyn’s offense—and a one-two punch of Towns and Russell would be a lot of fun, at least on the offensive end. Add in Robert Covington and Jarrett Culver on the wings, and the Wolves could have quite the foursome to build around.
Everything will depend upon the Wolves moving Wiggins and Russell choosing them in free agency. It’s possible that Russell is using the Wolves to leverageevery last dollarout of the Lakers. But it feels like a real possibility he could end up with Minnesota.