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    New virus cases in China continued to fall Wednesday, with 1,749 new infections and 136 new deaths announced after China's leader said disease prevention and control was at “a critical time.” Japan also confirmed more infections of the new coronavirus on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, bringing the total to 542 people among the 3,700 crew and passengers initially on board. The infections have led to heavy criticism of the decision to quarantine passengers on the vessel. The quarantine ends later Wednesday. The updated figures on the COVID-19 illness for mainland China bring the total for cases to 74,185 and deaths to 2,004. New cases have fallen to under 2,000 daily for the past two days. Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke about the efforts to control the outbreak in a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described in state media. Separately, the U.N. secretary general told The Associated Press that the virus outbreak “is not out of control but it is a very dangerous situation.” Antonio Guterres said in an interview in Lahore, Pakistan, that “the risks are enormous and we need to be prepared worldwide for that.” China has locked down several cities in central Hubei province where the outbreak hit hardest, halting nearly all transportation and movement except for the quarantine efforts, medical care and delivery of food and basic necessities. China also may postpone its biggest political meeting of the year, the annual congress due to start in March, to avoid having people travel to Beijing while the virus is still spreading. One of the automotive industry's biggest events, China's biannual auto show, was postponed, and many sports and entertainment events have been delayed or canceled. Many countries set up border screenings and airlines canceled flights to and from China to prevent further spread of the disease, which has been detected in around two dozen countries and caused almost 1,000 confirmed cases outside mainland China. Five deaths have been reported outside the mainland, in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines and France. The largest number of cases outside China is the 542 on the Diamond Princess at a port near Tokyo. The U.S. evacuated more than 300 American passengers, who are now under quarantine in the U.S. On Tuesday, the U.S. government said the more than 100 American passengers who stayed on the ship or were hospitalized in Japan would have to wait for another two weeks before they could return to the U.S.
  • Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign plans to ask for a partial recount of the Iowa caucus results after the state Democratic Party releases the results of its recanvass. Sanders campaign senior adviser Jeff Weaver told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that the campaign has had a representative in contact with the Iowa Democratic Party throughout the recanvass process. 'Based on what we understand to be the results, we intend to ask for a recount,' he said. The campaign expects that the already slim margin separating Sanders from Pete Buttigieg for the lead in Iowa will remain small enough that a recount would make a difference in the outcome. The caucuses were roiled by significant issues in collecting and reporting data from individual precincts on caucus night. There were also errors in the complicated mathematical equations used to calculate the results in individual caucus sites that became evident as the party began to release caucus data throughout the week. The AP reviewed the last reported results of the Iowa caucuses and decided that it remains unable to declare a winner based on the available information. The results, the AP says, may not be fully accurate and are still subject to potential revision. In a recanvass, the Iowa Democratic Party would only update their reported results; they would not correct errors in the math, and party officials have said publicly that the only opportunity to correct the math would be a recount. In a recount, party officials use the preference cards that caucusgoers filled out outlining their first and second choices in the room on caucus night and rerun all the math in each individual precinct. The Iowa Democratic Party states in its Recount and Recanvass manual that 'only evidence suggesting errors that would change the allocation of one or more National Delegates will be considered an adequate justification for a recount.' That means the errors must be significant enough to change the outcome of the overall caucus. Iowa awards 41 national delegates in its caucuses. As it stands, Buttigieg has 13 and Sanders has 12. Trailing behind are Elizabeth Warren with eight, Joe Biden with six and Amy Klobuchar with one. The 41st and final delegate from Iowa will go to the overall winner. The caucus won’t formally come to an end until the recount is completed. In its recanvass request, the Sanders campaign outlined 25 precincts and three satellite caucuses where it believes correcting faulty math could swing the delegate allocation in Sanders’ favor and deliver him, not Buttigieg, that final delegate. ___ Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”
  • The U.S. government made good on its warning to Americans who chose to remain on board a quarantined cruise ship in Japan, telling them they cannot return home for at least two weeks after they come ashore. U.S. officials notified the passengers Tuesday of the travel restriction, citing their possible exposure to the new virus while on board the Diamond Princess. More than 100 U.S. citizens are still on the ship or in Japanese hospitals. A two-week quarantine of the Diamond Princess ends Wednesday. Over the weekend, more than 300 American passengers, including some who tested positive for coronavirus, left Japan on charter flights. Most of them remain under quarantine at military bases in California and Texas, although about a dozen have been moved to a hospital. Some Americans decided to take their chances and stay on the ship. On Tuesday, they were told their names would be put on a travel restriction list. The letter from U.S. health authorities said the passengers would not be issued a boarding pass or allowed on a flight “until you are no longer at risk of spreading infection during travel.” The letter also warned them against trying to enter the country through Mexico or Canada or at a seaport, saying “you will be stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.” ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • Forecasters expected more heavy rains in parts of the flood-ravaged South on Tuesday, prolonging the misery for worried people who still can't get back in homes surrounded by water. Some of the hardest-hit areas were under a flash flood watch, as the National Weather Service said as much as 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain, and even more in some spots — was expected to fall in a short amount of time in central Mississippi. The national Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland, projected the greatest likelihood of heavy rains in a band from eastern Louisiana across central parts of Mississippi and Alabama and into far west Georgia. Authorities around Mississippi's capital city of Jackson warned hundreds of residents not to return home until they get an all-clear following devastating flooding on Monday. The receding flood left muddy water marks on the sides of cars at the Harbor Pines Mobile Home Community in suburban Ridgeland, not far from where managers of the Ross Barnett Reservoir have been trying to contain the swollen Pearl River. Water still surrounded dozens of trailer homes on Tuesday, but the water level had fallen 2 feet (0.6 meters) or more since Monday. Anxious to get back into the home she evacuated on Thursday, Gloria Vera couldn't reach her trailer because it was still surrounded by as much as 5 feet (1.5 meters) of water. She didn't yet know if water got inside. “I took nothing from the house when I left, only the clothes I am wearing,' Vera said in Spanish. Dorothy Freeman felt fortunate because her mobile home was above water and she was able to get back in long enough to feed her cat and pick up personal items including her Bible. “I’m praying for the people in the Jackson area that were hit even harder than us,” said Freeman, 87, who has lived in the community 21 years. Crews were going lot-to-lot to check the duct work beneath mobile homes to determine how many had been inundated by water. The power remained off as a precaution and it wasn't clear when residents would be allowed back home. A near-record rainy winter led to agonizing choices for reservoir managers, who have had to release water that worsens flooding for some people living downstream while saving many other properties from damage. The intensity and frequency of extreme rain events that fuel major flooding have increased in the Southeast, according to the most recent National Climate Assessment, released by the White House in 2018. Southern states are particularly vulnerable to increasingly heavy rains, according to the report, which cites four floods that each did more than $1 billion in damage between 2014 and 2016. In the Savannah, Tennessee, area, two houses slid down a muddy bluff just below the Pickwick Dam on Saturday as the Tennessee Valley Authority released more than 2.5 million gallons (9.5 million liters) per second, adding to the anguish for owners of about 75 flooded properties downstream. Hardin County Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Melvin Martin said the landslide claimed not only two houses, whose residents got out safely, but also about 100 yards (91 meters) of the blufftop road. Meanwhile, most of the homes down by the river are vacation homes that were built on stilts, Martin said. Boat captain Sam Evans, who lives in a historic riverboat on Pickwick Lake, says this year's flooding is among the worst he's seen. Navigating the Tennessee River by boat, he's watched the banks gradually erode, and said it was only a matter of time before the bluff gave way. 'It has slowly been eroding and it finally let go,' Evans told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The area suffered a devastating flood in 2003, but then about 14 years passed without a catastrophe, and developers got busy selling riverfront properties, Evans said. He thinks the buyers weren't fully aware of the danger. 'Out-of-towners came in that didn’t do their homework,' he said. “Here comes a flood and it wipes them out ... Buyer-beware when you buy below the dam. ' Things changed about three years ago, he said. 'We've had three floods in the last three years, about the same time every year,' Evans said. Darrell Guinn, a manager at the TVA River Forecast Center, said Tuesday that the river system is now at level where it can absorb more rain without further impacting flooded areas. Sprawling fields turned into large lakes throughout West Tennessee, including in the small town of Halls, where a cold rain fell steadily Tuesday. A Tennessee Department of Transportation crew worked to close state Highway 88 outside Halls, as water began moving over the road that connects U.S. Highway 51 and the Mississippi River.
  • Mike Bloomberg would sell the financial data and media company he created in the 1980s — which bears his name and made him a multibillionaire — if he is elected U.S. president, a top adviser said Tuesday. Bloomberg would put Bloomberg LP into a blind trust, and the trustee would then sell the company, adviser Tim O'Brien said. Proceeds from the sale would go to Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable giving arm that funds causes from climate change to public health and grants for American cities. The only restriction Bloomberg would put on the sale is that it not be sold to a foreign buyer or a private equity company, O'Brien said. Bloomberg, a Democrat, is currently chief executive of the company. “We want to be 180 degrees apart from Donald Trump around financial conflicts of interest,” O'Brien told The Associated Press. “We think it's one of the biggest stains on the presidency, and Trump's record is his refusal to disengage himself in his own financial interests. And we want to be very transparent and clean and clear with voters about where Mike is on these things.” Indeed, as one of the world's wealthiest people, Bloomberg would have an extraordinarily complicated financial picture to untangle if he wins the presidency. His commitment to selling the company stands in stark contrast to the Republican Trump, who refused to fully divest from his business, instead putting his assets in a trust controlled by his two adult sons and a senior company executive. He has continued to make money from his properties. Bloomberg said in 2018, when he was considering a presidential run, that he would consider selling his business if elected. The company is not currently for sale. He retained ownership in the company when he served as New York City mayor from 2002 to 2013, but gave up his title of chief executive. O'Brien's comment comes amid increasing scrutiny of Bloomberg's wealth and business holdings from his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. He'll face them on the debate stage for the first time on Wednesday in Las Vegas. If he won the White House, the exact timeline for a sale isn't clear, O'Brien said. There's also been no decision on what would happen to Bloomberg Philanthropies. Bloomberg created his own company in 1981, after he was fired from the investment bank Salomon Brothers with a $10 million severance payment. His new venture created the Bloomberg Terminal, a dedicated computer with proprietary software that allowed Wall Street traders, buyers and sellers to see financial transaction data in real time. The terminal quickly became a must-have product around the financial world and has been used by entities including the World Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank. Bloomberg then grew the business to include a financial news arm, which has morphed into a major news wire service. The outlet has faced criticism for allowing its reporters to cover the campaign but blocking them from reporting in-depth investigations into Bloomberg or his Democratic rivals. Newsroom leaders didn't impose similar restrictions on reporting regarding Trump. Bloomberg has also faced renewed scrutiny over lawsuits filed by women at his company alleging discrimination or hostile treatment. Bloomberg has said he won't release women from any nondisclosure agreements they've signed with the company. Bloomberg entered the presidential race in November and has been steadily climbing in national polls, buoyed by $400 million in advertising. Worth an estimated $60 billion, he is entirely self-funding his campaign. ___ Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”
  • MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred apologized Tuesday for what he called a disrespectful reference to the World Series trophy as a “piece of metal.” Even before being asked about it, Manfred said he made a mistake with those comments when trying to deliver a rhetorical point in an interview two days earlier. “I referred to the World Series trophy in a disrespectful way, and I want to apologize for it,” Manfred said. 'There's no excuse for it. ... It was a mistake to say what I said.' MLB players, already upset with Manfred's handling of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal and some of his comments in trying to explain it, became further infuriated by his “piece of metal” comment during a lengthy interview with ESPN on Sunday, the same day he spoke in Florida. Even NBA superstar LeBron James joined the anti-Astros chorus, voicing his anger on social media Tuesday. While speaking at the Cactus League media day in the Arizona desert, Manfred also pledged Tuesday to protect Oakland right-hander Mike Fiers, the ex-Astros pitcher who became the whistleblower when he went public in November to The Athletic. “We will take every possible step to protect Mike Fiers wherever he's playing, whether it's in Houston or somewhere else,” Manfred said. “Mike did the industry a service.' The Astros play their first road game of the regular season March 30 at the A's, who won 97 games each of the past two years to finish second to Houston in the AL West both times. Cubs lefty Jon Lester, a three-time World Series champion — with the Boston Red Sox in 2007 and 2013, and Chicago in 2016 — had some choice words for the commissioner earlier Tuesday. “That’s somebody that has never played our game. You play for a reason, you play for that piece of metal. I’m very proud of the three that I have,” Lester said from the Cubs camp in Mesa, Arizona. 'If that’s the way he feels, then he needs to take his name off the trophy.” Lester said the first thing he shows visitors at his house are the displayed trophies he has won. 'I'm proud of them. That’s a lot of years, a lot of hard work. You can’t just bring it down like that,” the five-time All-Star said. Manfred, after meeting with the general managers and managers of teams who train in Arizona, said he has taken great pleasure in presenting the past five World Series championship trophies since he became the commissioner. James sent a two-part tweet Tuesday imploring Manfred to listen to the upset players. The three-time NBA champion said he knows that he would be irate and uncontrollable if he found out he had been cheated out of a championship, punctuating his comment with an asterisk-filled expletive, and adding the hashtag #JustMyThoughtsComingFromASportsJunkieRegardlessMyOwnSportIPlay. “Listen here baseball commissioner listen to your.....players speaking today about how disgusted, mad, hurt, broken, etc etc about this,' James wrote in part, adding, “you need to fix this for the sake of Sports!” ___ AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley contributed. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • LeBron James is stepping to the plate for ballplayers furious over baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred's handling of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scam. The four-time NBA MVP and star with the Los Angeles Lakers unleashed in two tweets Tuesday, echoing calls for harsher punishments made by baseball stars Mike Trout, Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger, among others. “Listen I know I don’t play baseball but I am in Sports and I know if someone cheated me out of winning the title and I found out about it I would be ... irate!' James tweeted. “I mean like uncontrollable about what I would/could do! Listen here baseball commissioner listen to your..... players speaking today about how disgusted, mad, hurt, broken, etc etc about this. Literally the ball is in your court(or should I say field) and you need to fix this for the sake of Sports!” James' tweets included the hashtag #JustMyThoughtsComingFromASportsJunkieRegardlessMyOwnSportIPlay” Manfred issued a report last month detailing Houston's cheating scheme during its 2017 World Series championship season involving a video monitor and a trash can located near the team's home dugout. Manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were banned for one year by the league and subsequently fired by Houston. The only player mentioned in the report was since-retired Carlos Beltrán, who lost his job managing the New York Mets in fallout from the scandal. No other players have been punished because Manfred promised them immunity as part of the league's investigation. The Astros staged a team-wide apology last week at the start of spring training, but many players from the 29 other clubs say Houston's remorse felt insincere. Rather than opening spring camps with sunny optimism as usual, baseball Trout, a three-time MVP, ripped Houston and questioned MLB's discipline. Bellinger claimed the Astros stole the '17 title from his Dodgers. Judge, runner-up to Houston's Jose Altuve in the '17 MVP race, said the Astros “cheated and you didn't earn it.' “That's how I feel,' Judge said Tuesday. 'It wasn't earned. It wasn't earned the way of playing the game right and fighting to the end and knowing that we're competing, we're competitors. The biggest thing about competition is laying it all out on the line, and whoever is the better player, better person comes out on top. To know that another team had an advantage that, nothing you can really guard against, I just don't feel like that's earned.” ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement subpoenaed a sheriff's office in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, on Tuesday for information about two Mexican citizens wanted for deportation, a move that is part of a broader escalation of the conflict between federal officials and local government agencies over so-called sanctuary policies. ICE, the Homeland Security agency responsible for arresting and deporting people in the U.S. illegally, served the Washington County Sheriff's Office in Hillsboro, Oregon, with the subpoenas in an attempt to get more information about two men, including one who has already been released from custody, said ICE spokeswoman Tanya Roman. Deputy Shannon Wilde, a spokeswoman with the sheriff's office, said Tuesday that her agency was preparing a statement and had no immediate comment. Proponents of sanctuary policies say they allow people to feel safe reporting crime without fear of deportation, while those opposed to them say the inability of local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities helps shield criminals. Oregon’s 1987 sanctuary state law, the nation’s first, prevents law enforcement from detaining people who are in the U.S. illegally but have not broken any other law. Authorities in the state won’t hold in custody those who committed crimes and have finished their sentences to be picked up by federal immigration agents, unless they have a warrant signed by a judge. A U.S. judge ruled in August that the Trump administration cannot withhold millions of dollars in law enforcement grants from Oregon to force the state to cooperate with U.S. immigration enforcement. Since January, ICE has issued similar immigration subpoenas in California, Colorado, Connecticut and New York. Tuesday's subpoenas were the first issued in Oregon. The action means the agency could ask a federal judge to order Washington County to comply and hold it in contempt of court if it doesn't. It was unclear what options were available to the sheriff's office, which is subject to the state's sanctuary law. The subpoenas relate to two separate cases, both involving Mexican nationals, Roman said. The first person, a 39-year-old man, was sentenced to more than six years in an Oregon prison for sexual abuse. He was transferred to the Washington County Jail last month and ICE filed an immigration detainer asking the jail to hold him. Roman said he currently faces additional charges of displaying a child in sexual conduct, sexual abuse and sodomy. The agency did not provide the man's name. The second person, a 44-year-old man, was released from the Washington County Jail late last year after serving a sentence for driving under the influence of intoxicants. Hillsboro, Oregon, the Washington County seat, is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Portland.
  • Dale Earnhardt's death on the final lap of the Daytona 500 may have saved Ryan Newman's life. Earnhardt died 19 years ago Tuesday, the same day Roush Fenway Racing said Newman was awake and talking to doctors and family following his own harrowing accident on the last lap of the biggest race of the year. Earnhardt died instantly when he hit the wall at Daytona International Speedway in what is considered the darkest day in NASCAR history. It triggered a chain reaction of safety improvements as the sanctioning body put a massive emphasis on protecting its drivers. So it was jarring when Newman went airborne on the final lap of Monday night’s rain-rescheduled Daytona 500 — a grim reminder that racing cars at 200 mph inches away from other drivers will never be safe. Newman had just taken the lead when fellow Ford driver Ryan Blaney received a huge push from Denny Hamlin that put Blaney on Newman’s bumper. At that point, Blaney said his only goal was to push Newman across the finish line so a Ford driver would beat Hamlin in a Toyota. Instead, their bumpers never locked correctly and the shove Blaney gave Newman caused him to turn right and hit a wall. His car flipped, went airborne, and was drilled again in the door by another driver. That second hit sent the car further into the air before it finally landed on its hood and slid toward the finish line at Daytona International Speedway. His spotter pleaded with Newman on the in-car radio “Talk to me when you can, buddy,” but no words came from the driver. An industry so accustomed over the last two decades to seeing drivers climb from crumpled cars with hardly a scratch held its breath as it took nearly 20 minutes for the 42-year-old to be removed from the car. It was another two hours before NASCAR said Newman was in serious condition at a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Roush Fenway Racing said Tuesday that Newman “is awake and speaking with family and doctors. Ryan and his family have expressed their appreciation for the concern and heartfelt messages from across the country. They are grateful for the unwavering support of the NASCAR community and beyond.” No information was given on specific injuries. This was a scare NASCAR has dodged for 19 years. Carl Edwards sailed into a fence at Talladega in 2009, climbed from the burning wreckage and then jogged across the finish line to complete the race. Kyle Larson in a 2009 Xfinity Series race flew into the Daytona fencing and walked away unscathed even though the front half of his car had been completely torn away. Kyle Busch crashed into a concrete wall at Daytona the day before the 500 in 2015. He broke both his legs and still was able to get himself out of the car. Five months later, Austin Dillon ripped out a section of Daytona fencing, landed upside down in a destroyed race car, and after he was pulled to safety by team members, he flapped both hands in the air for the crowd in a tribute to the signature celebration of the late bull-rider Lane Frost. Perhaps it has created a false sense of security in today’s cars because so many drivers have walked away from so many accidents. “The number one thing that NASCAR always does is put safety before competition, you've got to have a car that's safe,” said Hamlin, who went on to win his third Daytona 500 in the last five years. “You've got to have all your equipment that's safe, and the sport has been very fortunate to not have anything freak or weird happen for many, many years. But a lot of that is because of the development and the constant strive to make things better and safer. “I thank my lucky stars every day that I came in the sport when I did.” Just five years before Hamlin arrived on the scene, Earnhardt was the fourth driver to die of a basilar skull fracture in an eight-month span. Adam Petty was killed in a 2000 crash at New Hampshire, a mere hundred or so yards from where Kenny Irwin had a fatal impact two months later. Tony Roper was killed in October in a crash at Texas. But Earnhardt’s death shook the sport to its core. The seven-time champion was the toughest man anyone knew and no crash was going to claim The Intimidator. Only Earnhardt was an old-school racer still using his preferred routines. He wore customized open-faced helmets, sat low in his seat in a position that almost looked as if he was reclined, and, allegedly adjusted his seatbelts from the recommended installation settings to a position that suited his comfort level. NASCAR acted quickly and speculation over Earnhardt’s seat belts led teams to move from traditional five to six-point safety harnesses. NASCAR also encouraged its drivers to begin wearing a head-and-neck restraint system, and by August of that year 41 of the 43 drivers in the field at Michigan were using them. The device was not made mandatory until 2001, after Blaise Alexander was killed in an ARCA race at Charlotte. Tony Stewart resisted the device because he argued it made him feel claustrophobic in the car, but NASCAR refused to let him on track until he put on the restraint. The HANS device is now mandatory in nearly every professional racing series, from Formula One to IndyCar and even dirt racing. Indianapolis Motor Speedway had already been developing softer walls, and NASCAR finally got on board with the process after Earnhardt’s death. Although the SAFER Barriers are credited to IndyCar’s development, NASCAR contributed to the research costs and began installation in the corners at its tracks. The softer walls slowly evolved to more areas of tracks following hard hits by Jeff Gordon, Elliott Sadler, and other top stars. After Busch broke his legs at Daytona by hitting a part of the wall not protected with energy-absorbing foam, NASCAR increased installation of the safety measure across the entire series. NASCAR also began requiring containment seats – more of an amusement park ride-style setup than a traditional car seat. Development was done to improve helmets, restraint systems and cockpit safety. Then came in 2006 the Car of Tomorrow, built specifically as the safest stock car ever run in NASCAR. The car had energy-absorbing foam in the doors and tougher crush zones. The car was a tank, designed to keep drivers alive. The car was replaced by the “Gen 6” in 2014 with a new chassis aesthetic changes, and it will be replaced next year by the “Next-Gen” car designed to cut costs, improve competition and give manufacturers wider access to personalized identification. It will be as safe as NASCAR can build it, but no innovation can guarantee the safety of any driver. “We know the risks,” Juan Pablo Montoya told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Montoya in 2012 slammed into a jet dryer at Daytona in a collision that caused an immediate fireball and had the tough Colombian gingerly walking away from the scene. But Montoya did walk away, as did Corey LaJoie on Monday night after hitting Newman’s flying car directly on the driver’s side. LaJoie’s car caught fire but he was able to get out onto the track, where he dropped to his knees and waited for medical personnel. That’s what everyone waited for with Newman, too, but the length of time it was taking the safety crew to attend to his overturned car and his silence on the radio was ominous. Hamlin’s team was widely criticized for celebrating the victory, but team owner Joe Gibbs insisted they had no idea Newman’s situation was serious. “If you think about all the wrecks that we've had over the last, I don't know, how many number of years, and some of them looked real serious, we've been so fortunate,” Gibbs said. “Participating in sports and being in things where there's some risk ... in a way, that's what (drivers) get excited about. We know what can happen. You just don't dream that it would happen.” Newman appears to be improving, a welcome relief the day after NASCAR’s showcase event ended in horror. Newman was lucky; Justin Wilson was not in a fatal 2015 IndyCar fluke when a broken part from the leader bounced on the track and hit him in the head nearly 18 positions back in traffic. Newman’s accident is part of the thrill that draws fans to the sport, and an adrenaline rush that fuels the drivers. That he survived is because of nonstop work on safety for nearly two decades. That work will never end.
  • A final chapter in the horrific saga of a Utah woman who vanished about a decade ago and the killings of her young sons in a fiery attack by their father years later began Tuesday with opening statements in a lawsuit against Washington state over the boys' deaths. Josh Powell was suspected in the 2009 disappearance of his wife, Susan Cox Powell, when he killed the boys, 7-year-old Charlie and 5-year-old Braden, in 2012. A Washington state caseworker had brought them to his home for a supervised visit, but he locked her out, attacked the boys with a hatchet, poured gasoline on them, and killed them and himself in an explosive house fire. Susan Powell's parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, of Puyallup, Washington, sued the state Department of Social and Health Services, alleging that its negligence helped contribute to the deaths of their grandsons by their father. The lawsuit was thrown out in 2015 but was revived last year by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The trial, which began in Pierce County Superior Court on Tuesday, is expected to last four weeks, KOMO-TV in Seattle reported. Susan Powell was reported missing in December 2009, when the family was living in West Valley City, Utah. Josh Powell was never charged in his wife's disappearance, claiming he had taken his sons on a middle-of-the-night camping trip in freezing temperatures. Unsealed documents said authorities found Susan Powell's blood on a floor next to a sofa that appeared to have been recently cleaned. Investigators also found life insurance policies on Susan Powell and determined that Josh Powell had filed paperwork to withdraw her retirement account money about 10 days after her disappearance. Her body has never been found. Josh Powell moved to Washington state with the two boys but battled with his wife's parents over custody of the children. A state judge allowed him to have supervised visits, during which he locked the social worker out and killed the children. The Coxes' attorney, Anne Bremner, said the state Department of Social and Health Services should have known Josh Powell was a danger to the boys, in part because they witnessed what happened during the midnight camping trip. 'The most important thing we'd like to see is a change, really, in the actions and policy of DSHS in that — don't look at the reunification of the family at any cost. Rather, look at the best interests of the child,' Bremner said.