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UGA Sports

    Former University of Georgia running back and now Super Bowl champion Sony Michel joined Jimmy Kimmel last night to talk about the big win in Atlanta.
  • ATHENS — While Georgia football doesn’t benefit immediately from Jalen Hurts’ decision to transfer from Alabama to Oklahoma, it only serves to help the Bulldogs in the long run. Hurts, as a graduate transfer, was eligible to play immediately anywhere he chose to go. Here are three ways Georgia benefits from is decision to play for the Sooners: RELATED: Chris Fowler explain’s ‘Pandora’s box’ of CFB transfer world 1. Hurts won’t be starting for a UGA scheduled opponent There’s no question Hurts was a much-coveted player during this offseason, offering leadership and championship game experience. Adding a player and a leader like Hurts might have been enough to get some programs over the hump. Tennessee, most notably, would have been a prime landing spot for Hurts. Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt   was said to have a good relationship with Hurts in Tuscaloosa. Tennessee isn’t on the Bulldogs’ level quite yet from a talent standpoint, but AD Phillip Fulmer has beefed up the Vols’ coaching staff and Hurts would have provided another immediate lift. RELATED: Vols fork out nearly $5 million for Georgia OC Jim Chaney  2. Alabama football weakens in 2019 with Hurts transfer There was a chance Hurts was going to decide to stay in Tuscaloosa and complete his legacy as a Tide legend. UGA fans can breathe a sigh of relief he chose another route. There’s no guarantee Alabama will reach the SEC Championship Game to face Georgia again, but it would be hard to bet against that happening. As big of an issue as it was for Georgia OLB D’Andre Walker to leave the SEC title game with the Bulldogs up 28-21, it still took a special performance from Hurts to exploit the loss of UGA’s sacks leader. Alabama, like Georgia, is stockpiled with talent. But it’s hard to imagine the Tide — or any other program this season — having a 1-2 punch like Hurts and Tagovailoa have proven to be the past two years. Indeed, Alabama’s QB depth was the only thing that stood between the Bulldogs and the 2017 College Football Playoff Championship as well as the 2018 SEC championship and a spot in the CFB Playoffs. 3. Georgia out of QB transfer spotlight for now The Justin Fields’ transfer story probably isn’t finished playing out in the national media yet — there’s still a controversial appeal for immediate eligibility to be filed (and likely won). But Hurts’ transfer talk will boost Oklahoma into the national transfer spotlight as it deals with the fallout of adding another player to its roster, one action triggering another. New College Football transfer destinations: -Brandon Wimbush: UCF -Tate Martell: Miami -Jalen Hurts: Oklahoma -Urban Meyer: Retirement* -SEC fans: Clemson -Florida State fans: 2013 -Alabama fans: 1st grade math * = “Retirement” is short for “USC, when the job comes open” — NOTSportsCenter (@NOTSportsCenter) January 16, 2019 Already, we’ve seen controversy at Ohio State where incumbent Tate Martell has announced his intention to transfer, and now Martell’s grounds for immediate eligibility will be scrutinized and measured against those in other programs. Georgia’s quarterback situation is suddenly quiet — still competitive, but in a more comfortable manner. Jake Fromm is the clear No. 1, and incoming No. 2 Dwan Mathis is eager to learn from Fromm to become the most prepared back-up quarterback he can be heading into the 2019 season. Georgia coach Kirby Smart also has the luxury of having depth at the position in 2019. The Bulldogs added former UGA walk-on and junior college transfer Stetson Bennett for peace of mind. Part of the issue with the Fromm-Fields situation last season was the Bulldogs had no other scholarship quarterbacks.           The post 3 ways Jalen Hurts’ transfer to Oklahoma helps Georgia football appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia football is the No. 1 topic every day on DawgNation Daily — the daily podcast for Georgia Bulldogs fans. Catch up on everything happening with UGA athletics with host Brandon Adams and the cast of DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss UGA coach Kirby Smart’s quest to keep the Bulldogs on top of the SEC. On episodes No. 865 (Jan. 16, 2019) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about 5-star UGA signee Nolan Smith. Georgia football podcast: 5-star signee Nolan Smith already getting attention from ESPN Beginning of the show: 5-star defensive end — and Georgia signee — Nolan Smith is UGA’s most important recruit according to a recent article from ESPN. I’ll talk about the impact Smith could make for the Bulldogs on today’s show and explain why he still might not be UGA’s most important freshmen. 15-minute mark: DawgNation’s Mike Griffith joins the show to discuss the latest on UGA’s search for a defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. 35-minute mark: I discuss other SEC headlines including new Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis backtracking on some recent comments about his old boss, Nick Saban. End of show: I discuss the hype surrounding UGA’s game vs. Notre Dame in September and share the Gator Hater Updater. The post Georgia football podcast: 5-star signee Nolan Smith already getting attention from ESPN appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS, Ga. — Tom Crean’s postgame press conferences typically go straight to the point, and Tuesday night’s was no different. What happened in the 69-49 loss to No. 12-ranked Kentucky? “They are really good, we missed a lot of open shots, they’ll get better, we’ll get better, but the bottom line is outside of basketball-wise,   our maturity, mental toughness has got to pick up when things are not going well for us,’ Crean said. RELATED: Georgia can’t stop Kentucky despite sellout crowd and hot start “I know we don’t have a lot of guys that have been through a lot of   battles where they were the guy expected to carry the team the team, but that’s not an excuse, now we have to step it up and keep going.” Georgia is 0-6 this season when tied or trailing at the half, and in embarrassing losses to Tennessee (96-50) and now the Wildcats, the Bulldogs’ didn’t show much fight on defense or in 50-50 scrambles. Crean, with the Bulldogs (9-7, 1-3) SEC next facing Florida at noon on Saturday, sounds like a man on the verge of making changes. “It would-be different if I was hammering guys and pulling   guys out left and right because we’re missing shots, but I’m not doing that, but I’m going to have to start doing it if we’re not going to guard better on the defensive end,” Crean said. “And I’m going to have to make an adjustment at the start of the second half. “I don’t want to say we’re listless, but we’re not nearly where we need to be aggressiveness-wise. I’m going to deep dive into that to see if we need to make changes at the start of the second halves.” Kentucky used a 9-0 run to open the second half on Tuesday and blow open what had been a contested game through the first half, The Wildcats held a slim 35-31 lead at intermission despite UGA making only 2-of-13 shots in the first half. Georgia senior point guard William “Turtle” Jackson, who was 1-of-8 shooting and 0-for-5 from 3-point range, said the team would be ready to go back to work at practice on Thursday. He didn’t say anything about getting extra shots on his own on Wednesday, the team’s off-day. More time in the gym shooting is often what separates good teams from great teams, and the numbers suggest it’s something the Bulldogs clearly more of to be competitive in the SEC. Georgia was 326 of 351 in 3-point shooting last season and entered Tuesday night 238th of 351 teams. RELATED: Tom Crean has plan for Georgia basketball guard issues “Our four main guards were (2 of 19) from the three,” Crean said. “We let it affect our transition defense, a couple of turnovers that make no sense …. “ Georgia also committed more turnovers (14) than assists (12), giving UK a 14-6 edge on points off turnovers. “There were a couple of times we didn’t look at our target, and they shot the gap,” Crean said, explaining some otherwise puzzling give-aways. “We had a couple seniors do that, and it’s a joke when you get in your senior year at Georgia, you can’t make those passes.” Kentucky also outscored Georgia 40-22 in the paint, even after senior center Derek Ogbeide opened the game with three dunks in the opening five minutes. Ogbeide didn’t score after that, finishing with as many turnovers (3) as rebounds (3). What happened to Ogbeide, Crean was asked. “We tried to make some plays that weren’t there, he didn’t roll quite as hard a couple times as he could have, we got him the ball in the post and he was tentative with it,” Crean said. “They clamped down a bit, that was part of it,” he said. “But when we throw Derek the ball, he needs to score or get fouled, he doesn’t need to sit there and have like an hourglass, where time is wasting. I tell him that every day, we’re throwing you the ball for a reason, don’t stand there and wait, cut, I mean, rip it open, drive it, go score, or that’s when the length starts to take over or he rushes. “We work on those things, he’s got to get better, and I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t think that he could.” Crean said he’s going to continue to emphasize the positives, and he said he has been happy with how hard his team practices and their focus coming into games. Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean The post WATCH Tom Crean: Georgia basketball ‘maturity, mental toughness has got to pick up’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Not quite ready for primetime. That’s all you can say about Georgia Bulldogs at the moment. The players want it. The fans want it. Tom Crean wants it in the worst way. They just don’t have the horses to run with the likes of Kentucky just yet. Or Tennessee. Or Auburn. Or Arizona State. That’s not meant to be a negative take on Tuesday night’s game between the Bulldogs and No. 12 Kentucky. On the contrary. Despite the 69-49 loss, Georgia’s really not that far away from being ready for primetime. All they’re missing at the moment is a guard or two. A point guard in particular. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the point guard they needed was playing for the opponent Tuesday. Ashton Hagans was a longtime UGA commitment under former Georgia coach Mark Fox. He backed out of that decision after Mark Fox was fired at the end of last season and Crean was unable to convince Hagans he should come anyway. For the record, Kentucky John Calipari said before Tuesday’s game he didn’t “flip” Hagans. “The family contacted us,” Calipari insisted. Doesn’t matter. Hagans was fair game, a casualty of Georgia’s decision to part with Fox. The Georgia students knew this, and they booed Hagans heartily every time he touched the ball and chanted “traitor, traitor, traitor!” every time Hagans went to the foul line. The problem was they were booing and chanting a lot, because Hagans had the ball in hands a lot. And when he did, good things were usually happening with it. Hagans was clearly motivated and might have been forcing the issue a bit early as he started off 1-of-7 shooting. But he eventually settled down and really made the Bulldogs feel his present in the second half. He made a 3 and two fast-break layups in the first four minutes to push the Wildcats out to a sudden 13-point lead in what had been until then a tight game. And he kept it up from there. Hagans was also the catalyst of another 8-0 run, scoring on a fast-break dunk and feeding E.J. Montgomery for an alley-oop on another nifty drive. Hagans finished with a career-high 23 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals. Contrast that with the line of Georgia’s starting point guard. Turtle Jackson had 2 points on 1-of-8 shooting, 0-for-5 from 3 and 2 assists. Everybody in Stegeman Coliseum was thinking the same thing: “Man, how much different would the Bulldogs look with Hagans on their team.” That narrative hasn’t been limited to the Kentucky game. Georgia was a victim of the same level of backcourt deficiency in its loss to No. 11 Auburn this past Saturday. It was not lost on anybody that the Tigers’ two leading scorers from that game both were guards from Georgia, Jared Harper of Mableton’s Pebblebrook High (22 points, 7 assists) and Bryce Brown of Tucker High (15 points). Crean knows this. Georgia’s working on it. They Bulldogs reportedly are in on some of the top point guards in the nation. A master identifier and acquirer of talent at Marquette and Indiana, Crean knows what great guards look like and how to sign them. Trouble is, none of them are going to be in a Georgia uniform this season. They’re are a few in other uniforms, though, including the one in blue Tuesday. The post Georgia Bulldogs not ready for primetime until they fix guard issues appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — A sellout crowd and strong start wasn’t enough for the Georgia basketball program to snap a losing streak to Kentucky that has now reached 12 games. The Bulldogs (9-7, 1-3) dropped a 69-49 decision to the No. 12-ranked Wildcats (13-3, 3-1 SEC) in an ESPN-televised affair on Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum. Nicolas Claxton left his best on the floor, leading the team with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Georgia was an atrocious 4-of-27 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc, missing on several open shots as Kentucky ran away with the game. Many of the sellout crowd left at the 9:01 mark after Kentucky went on an 8-0 run accentuated by two dunks, building a 16-point lead. Things grew worse, as the Bulldogs missed their final nine shots in the game, many of the fans marching out the aisles as UK dribbled out the clock. Kentucky hasn’t lost to Georgia in basketball since a March 7 defeat in 2013 in Athens (72-62). The Wildcats opened the second half on a 9-0 run, the first seven points scored by Kentucky point guard and one-time Georgia commit Ashton Hagans. Hagans scored a career-high 23 points for the Wildcats, and it marked the second straight game the opposing team’s leading scorer was a Georgia high school product. Rayshaun Hammonds, who entered the night as the Bulldogs’ leading scorer, didn’t get his first points until the 14:54 mark, hitting two of three free throws to cut the lead to 44-33. It was an uninspiring performance from Hammonds, who finished with 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting and 4 rebounds. Kentucky held a 35-31 lead at the half, shooting 46.7 percent from the floor while the Bulldogs were struggling from the perimeter, just 2-of-13 beyond the 3-point arc through the first 20 minutes. Georgia opened the game in impressive fashion with five dunks and a free throw, leading 11-6 at the 14:12 mark on a Claxton dunk. The proved to be the highlight of the night. The Wildcats answered with a 12-3 run that took less than 3 minutes, off and running in transition as the Bulldogs missed four of five shots . Georgia came back to tie the game at 27-27 on a Claxton drive at the 4:55 mark that capped a 10-4 run. The Bulldogs missed seven of their final eight shots in the first half, yielding the lead to Kentucky at intermission Georgia returns to action with a noon home game against Florida (TV: CBS) before another sellout crowd at Stegeman Coliseum. The Bulldogs next five home games are sold out, with the Feb. 20 home game with Mississippi State the first one remaining with tickets available through the box office. The post Georgia basketball can’t stop Kentucky, falls 69-49 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • It looks like Kirby Smart used one of his trademark moves on the recruiting trail on Tuesday. The UGA football coach apparently did some of his recruiting across in Atlanta via helicopter, which has been nicknamed the “Kirbycopter.” Very few things let a recruit know that a college head coach has arrived on your campus like a helicopter landing nearby. In fact, the whole student body was probably aware. In Smart’s defense, even if he wasn’t using the helicopter for theatrics, it’s definitely the best way to get around that awful Atlanta traffic. Eagle’s Landing Christian is located in the southeast part of the city. Head coaches only have limited days they can be on the road to recruit in person, per NCAA rules. This time last year, Smart used the Kirbycopter to visit as many as 1 5 high schools in one day. For more detailed information on UGA recruiting, please read DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell’s daily recruiting notebook.   The post Kirby Smart cruises in helicopter to recruit Atlanta area appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Kristen Eargle is the gift that keeps on giving. Georgia fans surely will recall the remarkable coach’s wife from Austin Peay University who inspired us all as the Bulldogs prepared for what before then was thought to be a meaningless season-opening game against faceless FCS program last August. But then we learned of little Lindsey Eargle, the daughter of Austin Peay offensive line coach Joshua Eargle and Kristen. The couple had only recently gone public with the financial and emotional struggles that had befallen their family as a result of the mysterious and relentless disease that ravaged their 5-year-old daughter. Out of that was born the #ForTheLoveOfLindsey fundraising campaign. It had only just begun when DawgNation, us, shared the Eargles’ story with the Bulldog Nation, you. Some beautiful things happened after that as Georgia fans did what they do best, which is to get behind a worthy cause. Facilitated by that enormous initial financial outpouring from the Bulldog Nation, hundreds of thousands of dollars have since been raised For the Love of Lindsey, and the Eargles’ lives have been transformed. And now, today, for the rest of the story. RELATED: Dawg Nation comes up big for Austin Peay family In addition to her roles as mother and wife, Kristen Eargle works for Austin Peay’s athletic department as a kind of in-house sports personality. Educated and trained as a journalist, Eargle serves sideline reporter during the Governors’ football games and hosts the coach’s show each week during the season. And now she has parlayed her experiences into a wonderful new podcast called “Coach’s Wife Life.” You may have heard of her guest this week. It was Mary Beth Smart, wife of the Georgia football coach who goes by the name Kirby. In her 36-minute interview with Mary Beth, Eargle confirms what I have always known — that Mary Beth is the secret to all of Kirby Smart’s success, at Georgia and all points before that. I’m only half-kidding. Completely honored to have Mary Beth Smart, @KirbySmartUGA, @FootballUGA Head Coach! She shares what she enjoys most about her role and how she heard my daughter Landrey’s story & what prompted her to give. #DawgNation #ForTheLoveOfLandrey https://t.co/WTO5aP9QbR pic.twitter.com/wbGTCG11BI — Coach's Wife Life (@CoachsWifeLife1) January 14, 2019 Eargle is a truly gifted interviewer, and the bonds between her and Mary Beth Smart are evident as she delves into the home life that Mary Beth and Kirby share with their children and few of us ever see. Here are a few of the revelations she uncovers: That Mary Beth and Kirby try to sit down once a week to watch to a TV show. This past season that came on Wednesday nights for the Netflix series “Shooter;” That even above all the national championship wins at Alabama, her favorite football memory of all now is Georgia winning the SEC Championship over Auburn in 2017; That her oldest son, Weston, has gotten interested to the point that he now asks Kirby “fans’ questions” like, “who’s gonna start at quarterback this week, Dad?,” which she discourages; That she is intimately involved in recruiting and it is her favorite part of being a coaches’ wife; That Kirby takes losses “extremely hard,” and so does the rest of the family; That she thinks it’s “silly” when people refer to her as “The First Lady of Georgia Football.” Believe me, that’s doesn’t even qualify as a snippet of the fun and enlightening insights Eargle uncovers. You must give it a listen to appreciate them all. RELATED: Eargle family plans to thank Bulldogs at halftime of game One touching and funny anecdotes Mary Beth shares is the reason her three children were not on the field with her at halftime when she surprised the Eargles with a check for $5,000 at halftime. It was because they had been “acting up” in the first half and that was her punishment for them. “As soon as I got down there I regretted not bringing them,” Mary Beth said, “because that’s what this was all about, coaches’ wives and families.” Have a listen for yourself. I found it enjoyable, enlightening and refreshing. It’s a nice respite from what has seemed like an endless stream of college football and coaching drama surrounding Georgia since the conclusion of the season. It’s also reaffirming. I’ve always suspected it’s the women behind coaches that make the great ones great. The post Georgia’s Mary Beth Smart shares secrets of being a successful coach’s wife with Kristen Eargle appeared first on DawgNation.

News

  • A California girl managed to avoid a man following her in a car as she walked through a Vacaville neighborhood by hiding behind a parked truck. >> Read more trending news  Home surveillance video captured the incident, which happened earlier this month, and shows the girl being followed by a dark colored Pontiac driven by an adult man. The girl is clearly trying to avoid the man as he repeatedly turns around and tries to approach her. Vacaville police Capt. Matt Lydon said when the girl first noticed she was being followed, she walked to a different neighborhood and the driver followed.  Trending: Children find their lost puppy hanging from noose in woods behind home “As she walked into the adjacent neighborhood, she saw the Pontiac again,” Lydon said, according to KRON-TV. “She hid behind a parked truck on the street as the male went up and down the street a couple of times attempting to get her attention and attempting to have a conversation with her.” The video shows the girl hide behind the truck as the car repeatedly drives by, backs up and stops as the driver tries to engage in a conversation with her. >> Trending: Opossum found living in 7-year-old’s bedroom for 3 days before parents find it  When the car appears to drive off, the girl takes off running. Police are hoping someone may be able to help identify the driver and the car.
  • Nine explosions hit multiple churches, hotels and other locations in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 300 people and injuring hundreds more, according to The Associated Press and other media outlets. >> Read more trending news  The victims included at least four Americans, State Department officials said Monday. Here are the latest updates:  Update 11:30 p.m. EDT April 23: Police said the death toll in the Easter attacks has risen to 359 and more suspects have been arrested. Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara also said Wednesday morning that 18 suspects were arrested overnight, raising the total detained to 58. The prime minister warned on Tuesday that several suspects armed with explosives were still at large. Update 1 p.m. EDT April 23: Sunday’s bombings claimed the lives of 45 children, officials with the United Nation’s Children’s Fund said Tuesday in a statement. “Many children have lost one or both parents, and countless children have witnessed shocking and senseless violence,” UNICEF officials said. More than 320 people were killed and 500 injured in the bombings. Update 7:11 a.m. EDT April 23: The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the deadly Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, the Guardian and the Washington Post are reporting. The group, which has lost all the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria, has made a series of unsupported claims of responsibility. Update 5:55 a.m. EDT April 23: Sri Lankan officials said the death toll from Sunday’s bombings has risen to 321, the Guardian and the Washington Post reported Tuesday. The news came as Sri Lankan Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the attacks were “carried out in retaliation” for the deadly mosque shootings in New Zealand last month, according to The Associated Press. So far, at least 40 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks, authorities said. Meanwhile, the country observed a day of mourning, including a three-minute moment of silence Tuesday morning. Mass burials also were held in Negombo, the Guardian reported. Officials have declared a state of emergency in Sri Lanka, giving military officials “enhanced war-time powers,” the AP reported. Authorities also are facing criticism amid reports that a top police official sent a letter April 11 to four security agencies warning that terror group National Towheed Jamaar was planning suicide bombings at churches, the AP reported. Update 9:45 p.m. EDT April 22: Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, issued a statement in response to the bombings.  “Today as a nation we mourn the senseless loss of innocent lives this past Easter Sunday. I would like to thank the military and police forces, the medical personnel and all those who have worked bravely and tirelessly without concern for their own safety, to ensure the safety and security of our citizens. It is imperative  that we remain unified as Sri Lankans in the face of this unspeakable tragedy.” A three-minute moment of silence for the victims of the explosions will be held at 8:30 a.m. local time, according to BBC reporter Azzam Ameen. Update 8 p.m. EDT April 22: The two Australians who officials said had been killed in the explosions have been identified by a family member. Sudesh Kolonne told Australian Broadcasting Corp. his wife, Manik Suriaaratchi, and their 1-year-old daughter Alexendria were killed in an attack in Negombo, which is north of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo. Kolonne said he was outside when the explosion happened. “I heard a huge noise and I jumped into the church and I saw that my wife and my daughter were on the floor,” he said. “I just saw my daughter on the floor and I tried to lift her up, (but) she was already dead. And (then) exactly the same… next my wife is there.” Kolonne said he and his family moved from Melbourne to Sri Lanka in 2014 when his wife started a consultancy business.  “I don’t know what to do,” he said. “We used to go to that church every Sunday. We never expected this.” Update 4:50 p.m. EDT April 22: A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed to The AP that the agency is providing assistance with the investigation into the bombings. She would not provide specifics. Update 3:50 p.m. EDT April 22: In an email to parents, officials at Sidwell Friends, a private school in the Washington-area, confirmed one of their students was killed in Sunday’s bombings, The Washington Post reported. School officials identified the student as Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa, a fifth-grade boy who had been on leave in Sri Lanka for the last year, according to the Post. “Kieran was passionate about learning, he adored his friends, and he was incredibly excited about returning to Sidwell Friends this coming school year,” school officials said in the letter. “We are beyond sorry not to get the opportunity to welcome Kieran to the Middle School.” State Department officials said earlier Monday that at least four Americans were among the nearly 300 people killed in Sunday’s attacks. Officials with the English education management company Pearson confirmed that one of the company’s Denver-based employees had also been killed in the bombings. Update 3 p.m. EDT April 22: Officials with the U.S. State Department confirmed Monday that at least four Americans were among the nearly 300 people killed in Sunday’s bombings in Sri Lanka. The department said that in addition to those killed, several others were seriously injured. Officials gave no details about the identities of the victims, citing privacy concerns. Earlier Monday, officials with the English education management company Pearson confirmed that one of the company’s Denver-based employees had been killed in the bombings. Pearson CEO John Fallon said Dieter Kowalski died shortly after arriving at his hotel in Sri Lanka for a business trip. Update 2:10 p.m. EDT April 22: President Donald Trump said he spoke Monday to Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe after a series of bomb attacks in the country. In a tweet, Trump said he told Wickremesinghe “the United States stands by him and his country in the fight against terrorism.” “(I) also expressed condolences on behalf of myself and the People of the United States,” Trump wrote. Earlier Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed the government would provide “all possible assistance” to help in the investigation. Update 1:50 p.m. EDT April 22: Sri Lankan President Maithrpala Sirisena declared April 23 a national day of mourning in a statement obtained Monday by The Associated Press. In the statement, Sirisena said he planned to meet with foreign diplomats to seek international assistance. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier Monday that the U.S. would provide “all possible assistance” to help in the investigation. Officials said nearly 40 foreign tourists from 11 countries were killed in Sunday’s attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.  Update 11:20 a.m. EDT April 22: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday mourned the victims of Sunday’s bomb attacks in Sri Lanka and promised the government would provide “all possible assistance” to Americans and Sri Lankans alike. Related: Sri Lanka attacks: Who are the National Thowheed Jamath? “We urge that any evil-doers be brought to justice expeditiously and America is prepared to support that,” he Pompeo said. “We also stand with the millions of Sri Lankas who support the freedom of their fellow citizens to worship as they please.” Pompeo confirmed that Americans were among those killed in Sunday’s attack, though he didn’t specify the number of American victims. “It’s heartbreaking that a country which has strived so hard for peace in recent years has been targeted by these terrorists,” he said. Related: Sri Lanka attack: Danish billionaire loses three of his four children in bombings Update 9:50 am. EDT April 22: A Denver man has been identified as one of the nearly 300 people killed Sunday in bombings in Sri Lanka, his employer confirmed Monday. Dieter Kowalski worked as senior leader of the operation technical services team for Pearson, an education management company. Though the company is based in England, Kowalski worked in Pearson’s Denver office, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.  “Colleagues who knew Dieter well talk about how much fun he was to be around, how big-hearted and full-spirited he was,” Pearson CEO John Fallon said in a statement shared with company employees and posted Monday on LinkedIn. “They tell of a man to whom we could give our ugliest and most challenging of engineering problems, knowing full well that he would jump straight in and help us figure it out. Dieter, they tell me, was never happier than cheer-leading for our customers and our company and inspiring people in the best way he knew how – by helping them to fix things and doing it with joy, happiness and grace.” Fallon said Kowalski died shortly after arriving at his hotel Sunday for a business trip. Update 7:55 a.m. EDT April 22: Three children of Anders Holch Povlsen, who owns Bestseller clothing, were killed in Sunday’s attacks, The Associated Press is reporting. The 46-year-old Danish billionaire, who is also the largest shareholder in ASOS, and his family were on vacation in Sri Lanka, the AP reported. Authorities said 39 foreigners were among the 290 people killed in Sunday’s attacks.  Meanwhile, a vehicle parked near St. Anthony’s Shrine, one of the churches that was bombed Sunday, exploded Monday as police tried to defuse three bombs inside, according to the AP. At least 87 bomb detonators have been found in Colombo, officials said. Police have detained at least 24 suspects in connection with Sunday’s bombings. Update 5:15 a.m. EDT April 22:  Government officials said the National Thowheed, a Sri Lankan militant group, was responsible for Sunday’s deadly attacks, the Guardian is reporting. However, a government spokesman said an “international network” helped the attackers. Seven suicide bombers caused six of the nine explosions Sunday, a forensic analyst told The Associated Press. Authorities also said a second Chinese citizen and two Australian citizens were among those killed in Sunday’s attacks. So far, the dead include citizens of the United States, India, Britain, China, Australia, Japan and Portugal, the AP reported. Meanwhile, a Sri Lanka military official said crews defused a homemade pipe bomb discovered late Sunday on a road to the airport outside Colombo, the AP reported. Update 12:10 a.m. EDT April 22: The death toll in the bombings has increased to 290 and more than 500 people have been wounded, according to police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara. Among those killed are five Indians, who were identified in tweets from India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, The AP reported. China and Portugal also said they lost citizens, and the U.S. said “several” Americans were also killed in the bombings. The AP reported Sri Lankan officials said they would examine reports that intelligence failed to heed or detect warnings of a possible suicide attack.  “Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence,” Telecommunications Minister Harin Fernando said in a tweet, according to The AP. “Therefore there was a delay in action. Serious action needs to be taken as to why this warning was ignored.”  Update 9:50 p.m. EDT April 21: Japan has confirmed at least one citizen death and four injuries from the bombings. The country has issued a safety warning to Japanese people in the country, telling them to avoid mosques, churches and public places like clubs, malls and government offices, The AP reported. Foreign Minister Taro Kono expressed solidarity with Sri Lanka and sent his condolences to victims of the explosions. He also said Japan was committed to “combating terrorism.” Update 5:40 p.m. EDT April 21: The Associated Press reported that, according to internet censorship monitoring group NetBlocks, social media has been blocked across the country after the attacks. Most services, including YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook have been temporarily blacked out to curb false information spread, according to Sri Lankan officials. According to NetBlocks, such blackouts are usually ineffective. Related: Sri Lanka explosions: Sri Lanka shuts down social media in wake of Easter attacks “We are aware of the government’s statement regarding the temporary blocking of social media platforms,” Facebook, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp, said in a statement to The AP. “People rely on our services to communicate with their loved ones and we are committed to maintaining our services and helping the community and the country during this tragic time.” Update 3:28 p.m. EDT April 21: Police have 13 suspects in custody, impounded a vehicle they believed was used by suspects and located a safe house used by the attackers.  Related: Photos: Easter Sunday blasts at Sri Lanka churches, hotels kill dozens No one has claimed responsibility for what Sri Lankan officials have described as a terrorist attack by religious extremists. Update 9:28 a.m. EDT April 21: Police have so far arrested three people in connection to the blasts, The Guardian reported. A motive for the bombings is still unclear, investigators said.  Update 8:46 a.m. EDT April 21: At least 207 people were killed and 450 hurt in Sunday’s attacks, The Associated Press is reporting. Officials said eight blasts targeted three churches, three hotels, a guesthouse and an area near a Dematagoda overpass, the AP reported. Authorities reportedly have arrested seven people in connection with the incidents. Update 8:07 a.m. EDT April 21: Sri Lankan officials say at least 190 people, including at least 27 foreigners and two police officers, were killed in Sunday’s attacks, The Associated Press is reporting. Seven people have been arrested in connection with the eight explosions, which rocked at least three churches and three hotels, as well as a guesthouse, officials said. Update 7:35 a.m. EDT April 21: President Donald Trump tweeted condolences to the Sri Lankan people Sunday morning. “The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka,” Trump tweeted. “We stand ready to help!” Update 7:19 a.m. EDT April 21: Hours after explosions at Sri Lankan churches and hotels left dozens dead and hundreds more injured, Pope Francis prayed for the victims during his annual Easter message at the Vatican. Related: Sri Lanka explosions: Pope denounces attacks during Easter blessing “I wish to express my heartfelt closeness to the Christian community (of Sri Lanka), wounded as it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence,” Francis told the crowd in St. Peter’s Square, according to Vatican News. He later added: “I entrust to the Lord all those who have tragically perished, and I pray for the injured and all those who suffer as a result of this tragic event.” Every year after leading Easter Mass, the pope delivers an “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and the world”) message, which addresses global issues and conflicts. Update 5:32 a.m. EDT April 21: Two more blasts have been reported in Sri Lanka. A seventh explosion hit a hotel in Dehiwala, and an eighth blast was reported in the capital, Agence France-Presse is reporting. Update 4:20 a.m. EDT April 21: At least 156 people were killed in blasts at three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka, Agence France-Presse is reporting. The dead include 35 foreigners, officials said. Update 3:34 a.m. EDT April 21: At least 137 people were killed in blasts at three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka, Agence France-Presse is reporting. The dead include 45 people in Colombo, 67 in Negombo and 25 in Batticaloa, officials said. At least nine of the people killed were foreigners, the news agency reported. More than 500 people were hurt in the explosions, according to The Associated Press. Original report:  Explosions hit three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing dozens of people and injuring nearly 300 more, news outlets are reporting. According to The Associated Press, blasts occurred Sunday morning at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and a church in Batticaloa. Explosions also rocked the Kingsbury, Cinnamon Grand and Shangri La hotels in Colombo, the BBC reported. The Agence France-Presse news agency said 52 people died in the blasts. At least 283 people were taken to the hospital, the AP reported. Suicide bombers may have caused at least two of the church blasts, a security official told the AP.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Britney Spears appeared on Instagram on Tuesday evening to tell her fans that “all is well.” >> Read more trending news In the very brief Instagram video, Spears checked in, saying she “just needed time to deal,” but promised that she would be back very soon. “I wanted to say hi, because things that are being said have just gotten out of control!!! Wow!!! There’s rumors, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said. I am trying to take a moment for myself, but everything that’s happening is just making it harder for me. Don’t believe everything you read and hear. These fake emails everywhere were crafted by Sam Lutfi years ago... I did not write them. He was pretending to be me and communicating with my team with a fake email address. My situation is unique, but I promise I’m doing what’s best at this moment 🌸🌸🌸 You may not know this about me, but I am strong, and stand up for what I want! Your love and dedication is amazing, but what I need right now is a little bit of privacy to deal with all the hard things that life is throwing my way. If you could do that, I would be forever grateful. Love you” Earlier this month, Spears checked herself into a mental health facility as her father, Jamie Spears, continues to have health issues, according to TMZ. The celebrity news site reported that, according to unnamed sources, the singer has been distressed over her father’s illness, which the site claims is not getting better. In January, Spears announced that she was putting her planned Las Vegas residency — and the rest of her career — on hold for the sake of her father. The 37-year-old Spears has sons aged 13 and 12. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Children as old as 12, and even 13, may find themselves back in car booster seats under new legislation signed into law by Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee. >> Read more trending news  The new law updates children’s car seat regulations, requiring all children under 4 feet, 9 inches tall to ride in car booster seats.  According to House Bill 1012, children are required to sit in booster seats in vehicles “until the vehicle lap and shoulder seat belts fit properly, typically when the child is between the ages of eight and twelve years of age, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, or must be properly secured with the motor vehicle's safety belt properly adjusted and fastened around the child's body.” The new law also requires all children under 13 to ride in the back seat and requires children under 2 to ride in rear-facing car seats. “Children aged 2 to 4 can be forward-facing in a car seat until they reach the specifications for a booster seat,” according to the new law. >> Trending: Opossum found living in 7-year-old’s bedroom for 3 days before parents find it  People in violation of the law can be ticketed.
  • An Ohio 9-year-old boy performing in drag at a Lancaster bar prompted an Ohio lawmaker to introduce a bill to expand the definition of child endangerment. State Rep. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, introduced House Bill 180 to prohibit a performance in a bar where a child simulates sexual activity. The business could lose its liquor license and the parent could face misdemeanor criminal charges, if the bill becomes law. >> Read more trending news “Given our heightened focus on human trafficking and the role money plays in trafficking children, I knew I had to take action to make sure this activity does not occur again,” Schaffer said. “We can do better to protect innocent children and we must do better.” Related: Video of the boy’s performance Jacob Measley has been performing as Miss Mae Hem for several months, according to The (Toledo) Blade. His performance includes cartwheels, high kicks, splits and dancing in costume. He got interested in drag queens while watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, a reality TV show, with his mom, Jerri Measley, The Blade reported. She could not be reached for comment on this story. Video of a Dec. 1, 2018 performance at JD Hendersons bar in Lancaster led to complaints and an investigation by Lancaster police and state agencies, said Lancaster Mayor David Scheffler. No law violations were found, he said. After the investigations ended, a “social media outbreak” occurred when a website purporting to be the city of Lancaster made it sound like it was an ongoing issue, Scheffler said. “It was all dead, gone, over. Investigation found no violations. Then someone anonymously on this site posted inaccurate information.” The posting led to threats of violence and demands to close the bar from people across the country, the mayor said. “It got really nasty.”
  • A Georgia woman has pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing her husband and four children, and stabbing a fifth child, who survived, the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office said. >> Read more trending news Isabel Martinez, 35, entered guilty pleas to five counts of murder, one count of aggravated assault and one count of cruelty to children Tuesday. Martinez's defense attorney, Don Geary, said she pleaded guilty, but mentally ill. Martinez called 911 on July 6, 2017. When paramedics arrived at her Loganville home, they found Martinez with her wrists slashed. Martinez’s husband, Martin Romero, 33, was found stabbed to death, along with 10-year-old Isabela Martinez, 2-year-old Axel Romero, 7-year-old Dacota Romero and 4-year-old Dillan Martin-Romero. Diana Romero, then age 9, was found with stab wounds, but survived. Diana Romero told a DFCS worker that Martinez began stabbing the children first; when Martin Romero tried to stop her, Martinez stabbed him, according to a DFCS report. Martinez was not crying or screaming as she killed her family members, and told Diana Romero that she was “going to the sky to see Jesus,” Diana Romero told a DFCS worker. Martinez confessed to the killings in the following hours and was arrested, according to the DA’s office. Later, she claimed a “family friend” committed the stabbings in her Loganville home, but she did not give police the name of that alleged friend.  The Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office declined to seek the death penalty in this case in part due to Martinez’s “apparent mental issues,” District Attorney Danny Porter said in 2018. Family and neighbors said Martinez was depressed in the weeks before she killed her family. Her father had died and Martinez was unable to attend the funeral in Mexico. She worried that he would go to hell because he practiced witchcraft, her brother-in-law, Orlando Romero, told the AJC. She told a Department of Family and Child services worker after her arrest that she felt a “devil-like spirit” was trying to take her children when they were playing in the ocean near Savannah shortly before the killings.  Martinez was sentenced to five life sentences with the possibility of parole plus 21 years after entering her plea Tuesday, according to the DA’s office.