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Latest from Jay Black

    ATHENS – For about two and a half quarters, Georgia look to be the next in line during this college football guillotine weekend. Top 10 teams seeing their heads and seasons cut off by opponents only armed with little more than a rock and something to fling it with. Missouri might be 1-4 but they can certainly fling the football if you let them. And Georgia’s defense, for the first time all season, was letting somebody run past them. It was 21-21 early in the second quarter. Some back up receiver with nine catches on the season was running about as wide open as a beagle in a pasture. A first string defense that had allowed three TDs all season had given up three touchdowns in about 20 minutes. Freshman Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift get it done (AJC) Warning bells and sirens all over Athens. Georgia was on upset alert. Only problem with trying to pull off an upset is, the little guys can’t given up nearly 700 yards. Oops. This upset scare turned into a 53-28 win. Good enough. During the Georgia Bulldogs Tailgate Show, we heard from several callers before the game who were begging to see Jake Fromm throw it more. Only once this season had the freshman passed more than 15 times in a game. Missouri dared the kid to beat them. They were selling out to stuff the run. Earth to the Tigers. He can and he did. “I’ve never really seen pressure get to him,” said senior nose tackle John Atkins. “He’s always just talking and happy.” A shaky game for Georgia’s quarterback and the Dawgs could very well been in a bit of trouble. Instead Fromm and this offense answered every time. This was UGA’s most balanced performance of the season. Fromm throws for 326 yards, the Dawgs run for 370. Add it all up and good by kitties. “The offense really saved us,” said Kirby Smart. “We had two huge deflating plays defensively and the offense answered the bell.” Fromm and his group proved tonight that, when needed, Georgia can put on its track shoes and put up points as quick as anybody. I have no problem watching UGA throw it 15 times and run for 400 yards. That’s an acceptable way to win a football game. But I know a lot of members of Bulldog Nation wanted and maybe needed to see this team prove it can win another way. Because the big boys in the border states aren’t letting UGA run at will. Sony Michel and UGA’s running game hit 370 yards (AJC) You can check that box off. To be fair, Missouri is not a good football team. Its defense is terrible. But in the history of this university, only one team has put up more than 696 yards in a game. That’s what you do when you face a bad defense. Check. UGA is the No. 4 team in the country and rising. The Dawgs will get everybody’s best shot from here on out. We also saw tonight that this is a football team that can get knocked to the canvas with a couple of crazy punches, get up, and then go pummel the other guy back into his corner. Missouri had 200 yards in the first half. After three quarters it had 221. Defense tweaked, adjustments made, no more Tigers running deep. Game over. “(Missouri) was just taking shots,” said Roquan Smith. “We just have to make those adjustments at halftime and did a little bit better in the second half.” This was not a perfect football game and the Dawgs defense showed they aren’t invincible. The scoring average is going up. But Georgia got put on upset alert and won by 25. If you TV worked this weekend, you know not everybody was so lucky. This is a good thing. “What if we execute at the highest level?” asked Smart. “What if we keep the players in front of us? How good could we be?” I’m pretty sure we still have not seen the best of this football team yet. Which is scary. There will be more upset alerts coming. But UGA got tested by a weaker opponent and eventually crushed them. This is a good sign, especially with the Gators backed up against a wall, desperate for something good to happen. The Dawgs are 7-0. They’ve won games close and they’ve blown out the others. They’ve been pushed and pushed back. There defense has dominated nearly everybody with a running game that’s doing the same. Tonight we saw another side to this team and just in time. Because the real season is about to start.
  • WSB sports director Jay Black is blogging live from Georgia Radio Booth. Check back often for stats and notes during the game.  FIRST QUARTER
  • If you want a fun experiment, go to your Google machine and type “Millenials are” but don’t finish it and just look at what the auto fill options are. You see phrases like millennials are lazy, millennials are stupid, millennials are killing everything, millennials are killing the beer industry, millennials are killing lunch (lunch?, but I like lunch), millennials are killing everything. You get the point. The previous generations are not impressed with the newest one. In a related story, water is wet. It’s no surprise that older people think this younger crowd expects everything to be handed to them and they don’t have to work for anything. It’s the “everybody gets a trophy” generation (of course the trophies suggested and handed out by the older folks complaining now, but that’s another column). This chorus might be heard the loudest when it comes to college football players. Fans complain about players who transfer from one school to the next until they find more playing time. Coaches moan that these kids don’t want to compete for a spot at a better school, they just want to go where the road is easy. So if that premise is true everyone, it would seem Kirby Smart’s university would not be a great place for the spoiled high school kid to attend college. If there was a word bubble around this coach’s press conferences, the word ‘”competition” would have to be one of the big words in the middle. Smart sure does bring it up all the time. When it comes to kickers, or offensive line or defensive backs and especially the quarterback. Like last week. Many members and one Vanderbilt head coach sort of rolled their eyes when Smart refused to name a starting QB last week. “We compete every position every week,” said Smart. “It’s not something we have to announce. We are not announce who the starting left corner or right corner is. We will announce it based on how they practice.” I have no doubt all coaches are aware that competition makes you better. Heck this is true in the business world, in the radio world and in your own family (see sibling rivalries, well maybe). The catch is, finding the people that buy in and want the competition. To Smart’s credit, it appears he’s seeking out the guys who don’t want a starting spot handed to them. The ones that say, “I’m the best and I’m going to prove it. Bring it.” Many people, myself included, were a little surprised that a QB as highly rated as Jake Fromm picked Georgia knowing full well that Jacob Eason was here too. The top quarterback in his class. “I don’t think Jake Fromm cares about the depth chart,” Smart said before Fromm’s first start at Notre Dame. “He wanted to be a Georgia Bulldog all his life. That’s what he chose to do. It didn’t matter who was here.” And now of course, Georgia has its third stud QB coming to Athens in as many years. “Coach Smart hasn’t promised me any playing time,” said Justin Fields, the top dual-threat QB in this year’s class who committed to UGA last week. “The only thing he’s promised me is he’s going to play the best player.” Or the bevy of running backs that keep signing up for Running Back U. Elijah Holyfield didn’t have a problem with Sony Michel and Nick Chubb here. And those three didn’t scare off D’Andre Swift, who in turn hasn’t frightened Zamir White, another 5-star stud. If that’s not enough, UGA is still trying to grab 4-star James Cook from Florida. May the best man win. So with all this talent, what’s Smart’s sell line for these running backs? “You just turn on the tape of the last game,” Smart said. “And say, ‘Do you want to be one of those guys? Or do you want to be one of the guys that’s pass-[protecting] for everybody else in the country?’ They’re throwing there.” And that answer is easy. What running back says “I want to block coach, I don’t need the ball.” But back to the quarterback issue. It’s seems unlikely that Fromm, Eason and Fields will be on the same team next year. Franky, no one would blame someone if they left, because the point is to play. Still, how did all of these guys end up in this position in the first place? Because it’s easy to convince running backs that rushing 15 times a game and being a healthy member of a stable is better than getting your head pounded in 30 times a night. Quarterback is a different beast. You only play one. Evidently Smart’s pitch to his QBs and his RBs and his DBs and all his other players is the same. “We tell every player we recruit that we’re going to go out the next year and try to recruit somebody as good or better than you,” Smart said. “We’re very forward thinking in that. We tell them honestly that, hey, you have to come here and compete because we’re going to try to bring guys in behind you that are just as good or better and so would you if you were in our shoes.” Use whatever cliché about competition you want. Iron sharpens iron, etc. But Georgia is 6-0 in year two with a team that really looks legit. The battles that are happening in practice can only help. So bring it on. May the competition continue.
  • NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Roses are red, violets are blue. Oh how I’ve enjoyed watching Nick and Sony run to the moon. That’s it. That’s all the poetry I’ve got. But I do have a serious point. Georgia claims its Running Back U and the pipeline seems stocked with strong understudies, but I’m really going to miss these running backs when they are gone. Nick Chubb’s vision sets him apart for any other back I’ve seen at UGA It’s been a lot of fun to bear witness to the Chubb and Michel Show and today might have been the best episode yet. Georgia stats in this 45-14 beating of Vanderbilt are hard to do in video game land, much less real life. I’m aware that the Commodores rush defense is pretty pitiful, but they still had 11 guys out there. Sony and Nick and this giant offensive line made it look like nine. UGA rushing yards: 423 Yards per carry: 7.8 (54 carries) Rushing first downs: 21 Yards per rush on first: 6.1 Rushing yards in second half: 250 Rushing yards in third quarter: 172 Combined rush yards for Chubb and Michel: 288 Need I say more? “I tell you what,” Kirby Smart told the UGA radio network on WSB after the game, “they are a dynamic duo. What a blessing to have them back. They are tough kids.” Georgia is 6-0 for only the third time since Herschel Walker left and this is a game Mr. Walker would love. UGA strategy is right out of the Vince Dooley 1980s playbook. Run like crazy, play defense like crazy and don’t screw it up. But no longer is one stud expected to carry everybody else on his back. Nick Chubb needed 16 carries today to run for 138 yards. His average is 15 carries a game. Michel popped 150 on 12 totes. His average carries per game before today? 11.7. Oh and there’s three other guys and a QB who take off with it too. This can only be a good thing. I know there’s something a bit magical about watching a running back take it time and time and pile up 30 carries a game. But this here is a much better plan. Georgia never has a tired back and they are all studs. Just ask Vanderbilt’s coach. “It’s dead legs,” said Derek Mason about his defense. “These guys need to work on tackling fundamentals.” This is going to come in handy in the final quarter of close games and the final quarter of the potentially special season. Georgia is a running team with backs who won’t be tired. Seems like a good strategy if you can pull it off. Part of the reason Georgia is one of the most feared rushing teams in America is the plan for a big, bruising earth clearing offensive line is coming together nicely. There aren’t many questions left about this young group. “Not right now,” said UGA analyst Eric Zeier. “You can see them start to jell about three games ago. Each game they are getting stronger and stronger.” There’s no more looking for the right combo or in practice or early on. Isaiah Wynn, Kendall Baker, Lamont Gaillard, Solomon Kindley and Andrew Thomas are your big uglys now and they playing exactly the kind of ball that Smart and Jim Chaney were hoping for. Sony Michel came to Athens as sort of a scat back, now he can do it all. “Our line blocked their tails off,” said Michel. “They’ve grown through preparation. They go out there and grind, so when they get out here it’s easier for them.” But the praise in this column belongs to the seniors holding the rock. Nick Chubb crossed the 4,000 yard rushing barrier in this game. He’s inching closer to the top five in SEC history. And he’s not in any Heisman conversation. He might even be underrated. Sony Michel is the best back up in college football and might have had the same stats Chubb has if he could have avoided those nagging injuries. Both will be great pros and that’s why they weren’t supposed to be here. With the short shelf life of a running back and the loss of millions just one hit away, no one would have faulted Chubb and Michel for bolting for the money. Instead, these performers came back out for their encore. “We can never repay them for what they have done for this university, because they came back,” said Smart. “They didn’t come back for themselves; they did it for everyone else on the team.” Maybe Georgia would still be unbeaten without these guys, but that seems highly unlikely. Instead UGA is moving up in the polls again with fascinating possibilities ahead. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel deserve all the accolades on and off the field that are given to them. Hopefully some shiny trophies will be there when the curtain closes on this show for good.    
  • WSB Sports Director Jay Black blogs live from Nashville, so check back often for notes and stats for UGA radio booth.  FIRST QUARTER
  • I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. And I was there. I still can’t quite believe it now. The 2016 Georgia Bulldogs lost to Vanderbilt. At home. In a real football game. “I’m sick to my stomach,” said Kirby Smart after that 17-16 defeat. “I’m embarrassed by the performance.” Yes that was the scene in Athens a year ago. It’s hard fathom that Georgia lost to Vanderbilt on that gray, cloudy day in Athens. It might be just as hard to imagine that only one year later, that team has turned into this team. 5-0 and ranked No. 5 in America. King Kirby and his nation have nothing to be embarrassed about right now. Last year, Smart said “this one is on me.” He was correct because he’s the coach. I wrote after the game. “So at least he knows what to say, but that’s easy. The hard part is, does he know how to fix it?” I think now we have a pretty good answer. Seems like he knew the repairs. It truly is amazing what a second year under a coach will do for a program. How 365 more days of the same message causes this much growth in a football team. “We’ve grown up a little bit as a team,” said Smart. “I think they’ve seen the evidence in the practice habits they have.” These are basically the same players that lost to the Commodores, despite statistically dominating that football game. UGA allowed 171 yards in that game. That was the fewest yards a Smart coach team had given up until last week. Kirby’s team lost that first game, the next it won by epic proportions (41-0 at Tennessee if you’re just waking up from your coma). This is an improvement. Through five games, there aren’t many parts of the 2016 team that you wished you had on the 2017 squad (Isaiah McKenize returning punts?). The only thing that has dropped statistically is the passing yards, but why throw it when your defense keeps giving you a short field and you can run the ball? What has impressed me the most is how Georgia has turned around nearly all aspects of its special teams. Special teams screw ups are one of the quickest ways to get upset. It’s the main reason why the Commodores won this game last year (and Zach Cunningham didn’t help either). Georgia has allowed minus-4 yards total in punt return yards this season. That is number one in America. Last year UGA was 51st in this category. A year ago, Rodrigo Blankenship and the other kickers had touchbacks on kickoffs 36 percent of the time (65th in America). This year, that number has more than doubled to 75 percent (11th in America). That’s a pretty good fix. Cameron Nizialek might be UGA”s MVP (AJC) When Blankenship kicks the ball out of the end zone and Cameron Nizialek keeps forcing fair catches, there’s no free points. You make the offense score on Georgia defense. In a related story, Georgia has  given up the fewest yards in the SEC. I think that’s a successful plan. I know, Georgia will always be expected to lose a game it shouldn’t until it wins all the games it should. But it really is hard to believe that’s going to happen in the next two weeks. That being said, the air gets a little thinner when you get closer to the top. Nobody on this football team has played for a 5-0 Georgia team before. So can they handle it? You’ll hear all the clichés from the players about taking it “one game at a time” and “blocking out the noise” and “keep chopping wood.” Etc. But I was a little surprised to hear Kirby Smart — sort of — acknowledge that things do change a little when you rise from a good team to a contender. “I don’t know that you coach them any harder,” said Smart on Tuesday. ” I certainly think you’ve got to pay attention to detail more. Every little thing you better be on top of…because success sometimes breeds complacency and that’s one thing we won’t stand for here, is to be complacent.” So now a set of problems have arrived. The whole country is watching what the Dawgs do from here. Has Kirby Smart equipped his team to handle that attention? We will find it. But that’s a much better issue to have than trying to figure out what to do after losing to Vanderbilt on homecoming. We’ve really have come a long way in one year.
  • ATHENS — Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason is pretty sure Jake Fromm will be Georgia’s starting quarterback this week. Kirby Smart won’t say whether Mason is right. Mason said earlier in the day that he believed Fromm would be the starter, and that Smart was “not fooling me” by not naming a starter.  “Let’s quit with the coaching dramatics,” Mason said, while smiling, at his weekly press conference in Nashville. Asked about Mason’s comments, and whether Mason was right that Fromm would start, Smart declined to say. “Derek Mason’s entitled to his opinion,” Smart said. “Derek Mason’s not at our practices. He doesn’t watch our practice tape, that I know o. So I’m not really concerned with those comments.” Smart was asked if it was important to keep that kind of information away from opposing coaches. “I don’t know if it’s important to keep it away from the other team as much as we keep it your our team, and we know what’s going on with our team, to make sure that each of our players understands and knows how important practice is, whether they will be on the trip or not, whether they will be on special team or not,” Smart said. “I don’t get into much of that stuff. I just try to make our team better and the guys who can practice and the guys who can play, I want to try and get those guys better.” Fromm has guided the offense as Georgia has jumped out to a 5-0 start and a No. 5 national rankings. Eason, who started all but one game last season, sprained a knee ligament in the first quarter of the opening game and just returned to action at Tennessee. Smart said the coaches have sat down and discussed the situation with both quarterbacks. “They’ve both been great,” Smart said. “They understand the situation. We have talked to them, and explained the situation. They both completely understand. They see it from our perspective, and the team’s perspective. And the team goals and team focus. As long as that’s put first, then all the right decisions are made based off that. And they realize that. “And those decisions are made off practice. Both those guys are mature and understand exactly what we’re doing, and they’ve responded well in practice.” For more coverage of Georgia football, head to our partners at Dawgnation.com
  • Georgia handed Tennessee it’s worst home loss since 1905. The reward is UGA’s highest ranking in four years. UGA (5-0, 2-0) climbed two spots to No. 5 after the 41-0 win over the Vols. The last time the Bulldogs were ranked this high was before the 2013 loss to Clemson to open that season. This is the first time the Dawgs have been 5-0 since 2012. A win Saturday against Vanderbilt would give UGA its best start since the SEC championship year of 2005. Georgia is an early 16 point favorite against Vanderbilt. The Georgia Bulldogs Tailgate Show starts at 8 a.m. Saturday on WSB. Kickoff is at Noon from Nashville. 
  • KNOXVILLE, Tenn. —  Raise your hand if you saw this one coming? Ok, all the liars put their hands down now. Anybody else? We can pretty much say now that there are three outcomes for the 2017 Georgia football team: It’s going to be a great season (winning the SEC East), it’s going to be a special season (playoffs) or there is going to be some soul crushing agony on the way (a catastrophic upset). There’s really no in between at this point. For those that were tired of Georgia being mediocre and those bored with 8-4 and 9-3 records, you will not have to worry about that this year. Unless, maybe eight defensive starters tear their ACLs in the next two weeks. If you’re trying to contain yourself, you can make the argument that Mississippi State was way overrated (and by proxy, LSU is going to need another coach) and that Tennessee is in deep trouble. But OMG this defense is so good. 41-0? In Knoxville? Are you serious? Roquan Smith (3) and J.R. Reed (20) were the top two tacklers today (AJC) “They are buying into the culture of toughness and effort,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said on WSB. “Running to the ball and running the ball on offense.” That’s the formula and is it working. It might be the 1980s formula, but retro is chic right now. This was a win from the Dooley days. Georgia enjoyed its biggest victory over Tennessee since a 44-0 whoopin in 1981. That was also the last time UGA blanked UT. To make it even better, this is the first time anybody shutout the Vols since Steve Spurrier’s Gators in 1994. “To do that to an SEC team and a great team like Tennessee is an amazing feeling,” said safety J.R. Reed. “And to get that goose egg at their place is amazing.” Yes J.R. this was amazing, but points off for not finding another adjective. It’s about the only thing he or his defense did wrong this afternoon. Georgia’s defense was so dominant the Volunteers punted more times than the UT band played Rocky Top. And for this we are all grateful. This is – for my money – the loudest stadium in the SEC and for one quarter it was an issue.  But in the second half, the loudest sound you heard was Big Orange booing their coach and their team. Did I mention, it was a 41-0 shutout? “It wasn’t expected,” said running back Sony Michel. “But eventually I knew it was going to get out of control because our defense was so passionate about getting the offense the ball back.” UGA’s offense rushed for 294 and gave up 62 on the ground. What more do you need to know? Except maybe that it had seven rushing yards in the first quarter. There was a time when this thing was sort of teetering. Tennessee couldn’t do anything, but really neither could the Dawgs. They scored twice but had terrific field position to do it. This generation of Bulldogs might have something to truly celebrate (AJC) Enter Nick Chubb. The senior broke off three big runs in the second quarter to make it 17-0, the bus driver was looking for his keys. Chubb 20 th career 100 yard rushing game moves him into the top 10 in SEC history for career rushing yards. “They kept grinding,” said Smart. “It wasn’t there early but they kept grinding. It’s hard to run the ball in this league.” If you are picking nits, you could say that Jake Fromm played the role of freshman in Neyland Stadium to perfection. 7-for-15 for 84 yards and an interception isn’t exactly ideal, but he proved he is capable of running the football. And besides who cares. It’s 41-0 over Tennessee. All is quiet at Neyland Stadium. For once. “To see these kids have success after as hard as they work, it means so much,” said Kirby Smart. “For that 12 hour window you get to enjoy it a little bit.” None of these UGA players were alive when Tennessee got beat this bad, nor were they alive when Tennessee failed to score a point in a college football game. It’s a night few will forget. But if this keeps up, this generation of Bulldogs and their fans will have something to really remember.  
  • WSB Sports director Jay Black blogs live from the UGA radio booth at Neyland Stadium. So check back often for notes and analysis while you watch and listen to UGA vs UT. FIRST QUARTER  
  • Jay Black

    Sports Director

    Jay Black is the sports director of News 95.5 and AM-750 WSB and is the statistican for the Georgia Bulldogs Radio Network. He is also the technical director of Atlanta's Morning News with Scott Slade. Jay is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

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News

  • The organ transplant of a 2-year-old boy who was born without a kidney will likely be stalled for months. The reason? His father’s latest arrest. Anthony Dickerson, 26, is no stranger to the criminal justice system. He has been in and out of jail on misdemeanor theft charges and a first-degree forgery charge since 2011, according to Gwinnett County jail records. Just this month, he was released on a $2,600 bond on charges of fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer and possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of attempted felonies. But Dickerson promised that his son would be the one thing he did right in his life, the child’s mother, Carmellia Burgess, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. So when he found out he was a match to donate his kidney to Anthony Jr., he jumped at the chance to help. The family was “hysterical” when they found out the day of the planned surgery Oct. 3 that Emory University Hospital had changed the plan. “They’re making this about dad,” Burgess said. “It’s not about dad. It’s about our son.” In a letter The AJC obtained from Burgess, a hospital official said the surgery would be pushed back until Dickerson could provide evidence he has complied with his parole officer for three months. “We will re-evaluate Mr. Dickerson in January 2018 after receipt of this completed documentation,” the hospital representative said in the letter. Emory officials refused to answer The AJC’s questions about the decision or its policies, and Gwinnett law enforcement agencies have not responded to requests for comment. Janet Christenbury, an Emory spokeswoman, said in a statement the hospital is committed to the highest quality of care for its patients.  “Guidelines for organ transplantation are designed to maximize the chance of success for organ recipients and minimize risk for living donors,” Christenbury said. “Because of privacy regulations and respect for patient confidentiality, we cannot share specific information about our patients.” Burgess said news of the hospital’s decision caught her by surprise because Emory had earlier been supportive of the dad being the donor. The hospital even requested Dickerson’s temporary release from jail, according to a letter from Emory’s Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program to the Gwinnett County jail where Dickerson was being held. “If Mr. Dickerson could be escorted to Emory for blood work and a pre-operative appointment tomorrow, September 29, we will be able to continue with the scheduled surgery,” an Emory official said in the letter dated Sept. 28. Even though jail records show Dickerson was released Oct. 2, the child’s surgery has not been rescheduled for this year. Burgess created a web petition to urge the hospital to allow the surgery sooner. It has garnered more than 18,400 signatures, but Burgess said she doubts the petition will make a difference. A GoFundMe page also was set up with a $1,000 goal. “I’m just taking it day by day,” she said. “That’s all we can do.” In other news:
  • British police are investigating three new allegations of sexual assault against film producer Harvey Weinstein, all made by the same woman. In another blow to the Hollywood titan after he was ejected from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, France's president said Sunday he was working to rescind Weinstein's prestigious Legion of Honor award. In the new British allegations, London's Metropolitan Police force said Sunday that the woman reported being assaulted in London in 2010, 2011 and 2015. The force said officers from its Child Abuse and Sexual Offenses Command are investigating. The woman's name has not been made public. The force also did not name Weinstein, in keeping with its policy of not identifying suspects who have not been charged. But it said the allegations involve a man against whom another accusation was made Wednesday. That alleged assault — reported to have taken place in west London during the late 1980s — also is being investigated. British actress Lysette Anthony says she reported to police on Wednesday that Weinstein raped her in her west London home in the late 1980s. Anthony, 54, who appears on the British soap opera 'Hollyoaks,' told the Sunday Times newspaper that Weinstein raped her in the late 1980s after showing up at her London home. She said she was left feeling 'disgusted and embarrassed' after the attack. 'It was pathetic, revolting,' she was quoted as saying in a Thursday interview. 'I remember lying in the bath later and crying.' Dozens of women have made allegations of sexual harassment and assault against the movie mogul in recent days, some dating back decades. Weinstein denies non-consensual sexual activity. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took the almost unprecedented step Saturday of revoking Weinstein's membership. It said it did so 'to send a message that the era of willful ignorance and shameful complicity in sexually predatory behavior and workplace harassment in our industry is over.' Weinstein, who backed many British movies including 'Shakespeare in Love' and 'The King's Speech,' also has been suspended by the British film academy. The fallout from the multiplying accusations against Weinstein also reverberated in France on Sunday. French President Emmanuel Macron said he had 'started the procedures' to revoke Weinstein's Legion of Honor award. Rescinding the honor is rare, although it also happened to another American: disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. Weinstein was given the prestigious French award in 2012 by then-President Nicolas Sarkozy after the French film 'The Artist' won multiple Oscars. Weinstein's company produced the film, and he predicted in an interview with The Associated Press at the time that it would augur a new 'golden age' of French cinema. French actresses are among those who have accused Weinstein of sexual wrongdoing, notably during his multiple appearances at the Cannes Film Festival. Macron said he wants to speed up procedures for investigating and prosecuting sexual harassment in France to encourage more women to come forward. ___ Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.
  • The Latest on the explosion in Somalia's capital (all times local): 7:30 a.m. Qatar's foreign minister says his country's diplomatic mission in Somalia was hit by the massive truck bombing in Mogadishu. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Twitter early Monday morning: 'The attack on (hashtag)Qatar diplomatic mission in Mogadishu will not deter our support for (hashtag)Somalia's democracy, security and stability.' He did not elaborate. It was unclear if any Qataris were hurt in the blast. Officials in Doha did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Somalia has found itself torn by the boycott by four Arab nations of Qatar. Saudi Arabia is the Somali government's biggest benefactor, while the United Arab Emirates has trained the country's military and launched a high-profile aid appeal this year. Somalia has meanwhile allowed Qatari aircraft to increasingly fly through its airspace as Arab nations have closed theirs off. A Somali state in September broke with Somalia's central government in Mogadishu, saying it backed the boycotting nations. ___ Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. ___ 12:45 a.m. Somalia's information minister Abdirahman Osman says the death toll from Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu has risen to 276, with about 300 people injured. It is the deadliest single attack in Somalia's history. The toll is expected to rise. Somalia's government has blamed the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not yet commented. ___ 12:40 a.m. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is 'sickened' by the deadliest single attack in Somalia's history. Guterres in a tweet Sunday night urged 'unity in the face of terrorism.' Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu killed at least 231 people. Another 275 are hurt. Somalia's government has blamed the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not yet commented. Officials fear the death toll will rise. ___ 10:05 p.m. The United States is condemning 'in the strongest terms' the deadliest single attack in Somalia's history. The State Department statement expresses condolences to victims and wishes a quick recovery for the injured. Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu killed at least 231 people. Another 275 are hurt. The U.S. calls the attack 'senseless and cowardly' and says it will stand with Somalia in its fight against extremism. ___ 6:35 p.m. Qatar says its embassy was 'severely damaged' in the deadly truck bombing in Somalia's capital. A foreign ministry statement Sunday says the embassy's charge d'affaires was 'slightly injured in the explosion but he is now in a good health, and the rest of staff are fine.' Saturday's blast killed at least 231 people. It is the deadliest ever attack in the Horn of Africa nation. ___ 5:50 p.m. The United Nations special envoy to Somalia calls the deadly truck bombing in the capital 'revolting' and says an unprecedented number of civilians have been killed. A statement from Michael Keating says: 'I am shocked and appalled by the number of lives that were lost in the bombings and the scale of destruction they caused.' Saturday's blast struck a densely populated neighborhood of Mogadishu. The death toll has risen to 231. It is the deadliest ever attack in the Horn of Africa nation. Keating says the U.N. and African Union are supporting the Somali government's response with 'logistical support, medical supplies and expertise.' ___ 5:45 p.m. The U.S. Africa Command says U.S. forces have not been asked to provide aid following Saturday's deadly attack in Somalia's capital. A U.S. Africa Command spokesman tells The Associated Press that first responders and local enforcement would handle the response and 'the U.S. would offer assistance if and when a request was made.' A Somali senator says the death toll from the massive truck bomb blast in Mogadishu has risen to 231, with 275 people injured. It is the deadliest ever attack in the Horn of Africa nation. ___ 5:35 p.m. Angry protesters have taken to the streets in Somalia's capital a day after a massive truck bomb killed at least 231 people. The protesters who gathered at the scene of the blast are chanting against the attack, the deadliest ever in the Horn of Africa nation. The government has blamed the Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group for what it calls a 'national disaster.' Al-Shabab has not commented but often targets Mogadishu with bombings. ___ 5:20 p.m. A senator says the death toll from a massive truck bomb blast in Somalia's capital has risen to 231. Abshir Abdi Ahmed says 275 others were injured. He cites doctors at hospitals he has visited in Mogadishu. Saturday's blast is the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation. Many of the bodies in hospital mortuaries are yet to be identified. ___ 3:05 p.m. Local journalists say one freelance journalist was killed in Saturday's massive bombing in Somalia's capital and several were injured. Voice of America says one of its reporters, Abdulkaidr Mohamed Abdulle, is among the injured. Police and hospital sources say the death toll from the truck bomb in Mogadishu has risen to 189 in what is the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation. — Abdi Guled in Mogadishu. ___ 2:35 p.m. The death toll from a massive explosion in Somalia's capital has risen to 189 with over 200 others injured, police and hospital sources say, making it the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation. Doctors are struggling to assist hundreds of horrifically wounded victims, with many burnt beyond recognition. Somalia's government has blamed Saturday's truck bombing in Mogadishu on the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not commented. — Abdi Guled in Mogadishu. ___ 1:25 p.m. The United States is joining the condemnation of Saturday's massive truck bombing in Somalia's capital that left scores dead. A statement by the U.S. mission to Somalia says that 'such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.' The U.S. military this year has stepped up drone strikes and other efforts this year against the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, which is based in Somalia and often targets Mogadishu. ___ 1:20 p.m. The International Committee of the Red Cross says four volunteers with the Somali Red Crescent Society are among the dead after a huge truck bombing in Somalia's capital. A statement Sunday says 'this figure may rise as there are a number of volunteers still missing.' Security and medical sources say at least 53 people are dead after what Mogadishu residents call the largest explosion they've ever witnessed. Officials have pleaded for blood donations. More than 60 people are injured. Somalia's government has blamed the al-Shabab extremist group, which has not commented. ___ 10:45 a.m. Security and medical sources say the death toll from Saturday's truck bomb blast in Somalia's capital has risen to 53 as hospitals struggle to cope with the high number of casualties. More than 60 others are injured. Police Capt. Mohamed Hussein says many victims died at hospitals from their wounds. Somalia's government has yet to release the exact death toll from an explosion many called the most powerful they had ever witnessed in Mogadishu. Ambulance sirens still echo across the city as bewildered families wander in the rubble of buildings. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has joined thousands of people who responded to a desperate plea by hospitals to donate blood for the wounded victims. The al-Shabab extremist group often targets high-profile areas in the capital with bombings.
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump's speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation (all times EDT): 7:40 p.m. President Donald Trump is using his appearance in front of a conservative think tank to argue the U.S. should celebrate and preserve its history, 'not tear it down.' Trump is pointing to a movement to take down Confederate status as well as other symbols of the country's difficult past. He says, 'Now they're even trying' to take down statues of Christopher Columbus. He asks, 'What's next?' Trump also says young Americans should be taught to honor the flag and national anthem and proudly recite the Pledge of Allegiance. He tells the group, 'You understand that our glorious heritage is the foundation of everything we hope to achieve.' __ 7:25 p.m. President Donald Trump is taking his tax plan sales pitch to the conservative Heritage Foundation. Trump is expected to tell the group's President's Club on Tuesday evening that his plan will be a boon to the economy, resulting in a $4,000 pay raise for the average American. That claim has been met with skepticism from tax experts and Democratic lawmakers who say the administration's math is flawed. Trump is also expected to talk about other issues important to the group, including the Constitution, his appointment of conservative judges, border security and his 'peace through strength' foreign policy approach. That's according to a senior administration official who previewed the speech earlier Tuesday on condition that he not be named.
  • A 19-year-old man from Kerrville, Texas, who is a relative of the boy and was visiting family in Lynnwood, Washington, has been booked into the Snohomish County Jail for first-degree murder of 6-year-old Dayvid Pakko. >> Read more trending news A police statement alleges the 19-year-old admitted to filling a bathtub with water with the intention of drowning Dayvid, then called the boy to the bathroom, picked him up and placed him face-down in the water, and held his head underneath for approximately 30 seconds before Dayvid became still. The statement from police then alleges the 19-year-old left the boy face down in the water for approximately six minutes before he wrapped the boy's body in a blanket and placed him in a cardboard box, which he used to dispose of the body in the nearest garbage dumpster.  'It's a tragic ending to a long search operation,' said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Shari Ireton. Authorities said the body was found about 2 a.m. Tuesday in a dumpster at the Bristol Square Apartment complex on 44th Avenue West. The body was found by officers with the Violent Offenders Task Force. In cases of missing children, the officers, who represent several law enforcement agencies, are deployed to check on registered sex offenders in the area. That's when they found the child's body. Detectives are working on getting a search warrant and are processing the crime scene, where they're expected to be working for several hours.  Once a search warrant is obtained, detectives will go through the apartment building and dumpster for evidence. The boy was reported missing about 5 p.m. Monday. Crews, including 100 volunteers, searched the area of 44th Avenue West between 156th Street and State Route 99, just outside the Lynnwood city limits. According to the Sheriff’s Office and relatives, Dayvid stayed home sick from school Monday.  The boy lives with his mother, who was at work when he disappeared. He was last seen about 2:30 p.m. The Sheriff's Office said Dayvid was under adult supervision while he was at home, but did not say who he was with. The Snohomish County medical examiner will determine the boy's cause of death.
  • Northern California homeowners allege in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. failed to adequately protect its power lines before the region's deadly wildfires, a theory that state investigators are considering as they try to determine the cause. The lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court on behalf of Santa Rosa homeowners Wayne and Jennifer Harvell says drought-like conditions over the summer put fire dangers 'at an extraordinarily high level,' particularly after heavy winter rains increased vegetation. It says PG&E failed to trim and remove vegetation as it should have. PG&E Corp., the utility's parent company, said Friday that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection was investigating its power lines and equipment as a possible cause of the fires that have killed at least 41 people and destroyed 6,000 homes. The California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates PG&E, would investigate only if state fire investigators determine that that the utility's equipment is suspected as a cause. That could lead to significant fines and penalties. The San Francisco-based utility said it would not speculate on causes of the fire and that it was cooperating with investigators. PG&E says it has told state regulators of seven incidents of damage to its equipment, including downed power lines and broken poles. It did not say whether they may have caused or contributed to the fire. Gerald Singleton, an attorney representing other homeowners and renters, said winds were strong but PG&E should have anticipated them. 'We can't get rid of all possible risks,' he said. 'It really is based on reasonableness — and that is what their duty is.' PG&E shares jumped 7.5 percent, or $4.01, to close at $57.44 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. Still, the shares are down 17 percent since Wednesday. Earlier this year, the utility commission fined PG&E $8.3 million for failing to maintain a power line that sparked a massive blaze in Northern California that destroyed 549 homes and killed two people. A state fire investigation found the utility and its contractors failed to maintain a gray pine tree that slumped into a power line igniting the September 2015 fire in Amador County. Previously, California regulators fined PG&E $1.6 billion for 2010 natural gas explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area city of San Bruno that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. Also Tuesday, U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris of California wrote the Federal Communications Commission to express concern that the federal government has yet to adopt rules that would require wireless carriers to more precisely target neighborhoods with orders to evacuate. As fires rapidly spread Oct. 8, authorities sought to avoid alarming unaffected residents. 'These emergency services are caught in a bind between notifying individuals in imminent danger and risking mass panic. As a result, these services are compelled to rely on emergency messaging systems with far less reach and far less capacity,' they wrote.