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Atlanta United

    Jesús Ferreira scored for the third time in four games and Jesse Gonzalez had seven saves in FC Dallas' 2-0 victory over Atlanta United 2-0 on Saturday. Ferreira, an 18-year-old homegrown, opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Michael Barrios shook a defender at midfield and raced down the right side before bending a low entry around two defenders to Ferreira, who rolled the finish past goalkeeper Brad Guzan from near the spot. Barrios ran onto a long pass from Edwin Cerrillo and then played a cross to a charging Bryan Acosta who first-timed a left-footer into the net to make it 2-0 in the 84th. Atlanta's Josef Martinez converted from the spot in the seventh minute of stoppage time. Gonzalez, a 23-year-old homegrown, had diving stops in the 68th and 82nd minutes for FC Dallas (5-2-1). Atlanta United (1-3-2), which had its 12-game home unbeaten streak — dating to a 3-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls on May 20, 2018 — snapped, had 71.2% possession and outshot FC Dallas 22-8.
  • Adam Jones managed to lay off a couple of pitches he wanted to swing at before settling in against Jesse Biddle. Biddle couldn't find the strike zone, and Jones won the battle. 'Obviously we've got scouting reports that say, 'Make him throw strikes, make him throw strikes,' ' Jones said. 'I took a 2-0 cookie and I took a 3-1 cookie, but I end up getting the big walk. Big for the team. We're grinding it out.' Jones worked a bases-loaded walk against Biddle in the 10th inning and also homered, lifting the Arizona Diamondbacks over the Atlanta Braves 3-2 on Wednesday night. Biddle (0-1) filled the bases and then walked Jones on six pitches. Jones also homered in the fourth inning and scored the tying run in the seventh on Ketel Marte's double. Arizona has won a season-best three straight. 'They just felt like they had to get something started,' Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. 'The next guy was ready to go. One professional at-bat after another. We did exactly what we're supposed to do in those situations, hand it off to the next guy.' It was just the latest bullpen setback for Atlanta. Closer Arodys Vizcaino had shoulder surgery Wednesday and will miss the rest of the season, heightening pressure from Braves fans to sign free agent closer Craig Kimbrel. Arizona's Greg Holland struck out Josh Donaldson and Freddie Freeman in the 10th before Ronald Acuña Jr. looped an opposite-field single to right. Holland ended it by getting Nick Markakis to line out for his fourth save. Archie Bradley (1-1) pitched two scoreless innings for Arizona. Biddle started the 10th by making a two-base throwing error on pinch-hitter Tim Locastro's bunt. He walked Jarrod Dyson, got a little help when center fielder Ender Inciarte slid to rob Eduardo Escobar of a hit, then walked David Peralta and Jones consecutively. Daniel Winkler replaced him and struck out Christian Walker. 'He's going to have to believe in himself and turn the thing loose and attack hitters and not try to throw strikes,' Braves manager Brian Snitker said. 'Turn the ball loose. Trust that baseball guy inside you instead of trying to do too much and be too fine. We've seen him really, really good. He's been a big part of the last two years and he'll get it back again.' Jones cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth with his fifth homer. He's hitting .319 with six doubles, 12 RBI and five walks and has adjusted quickly to playing in the NL after spending his first 13 seasons in the AL. I just like baseball, no matter where I'm playing,' he said. 'I like baseball.' The Braves led 2-0 in the second on Brian McCann's two-run double. Atlanta starter Kevin Gausman allowed two runs, three hits and one walk while matching a career high with 10 strikeouts over seven innings. Arizona starter Zack Godley gave up two runs and five hits in six-plus innings. Matt Andriese replaced Godley after he issued a leadoff walk and escaped a jam by striking out Donaldson with a runner on second. TRAINER'S ROOM Diamondbacks: LHP T.J. McFarland was scheduled to begin a rehab stint at Triple-A Reno in his attempt to return from shoulder inflammation. ... RHP Taijuan Walker, on his way back from Tommy John surgery last year, will throw live batting practice Friday. He felt comfortable following Tuesday's bullpen session. ... C Alex Avila and 3B Jake Lamb are throwing and taking swings off the tee in the batting cage, but neither has an immediate timetable to return. Both are on the injured list with a strained left quadriceps. Braves: McCann was reinstated from the 10-day injured list, and C Alex Jackson was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. UP NEXT Diamondbacks: RHP Luke Weaver (0-1, 5.17 ERA) is holding right-handed batters to a .214 average with 12 strikeouts in 42 at-bats. He gave up eight runs in his only career start against the Braves, lasting 4 2/3 innings last year with St. Louis. Braves: RHP Mike Soroka will return from Triple-A Gwinnett to make his first start of the season as Atlanta and Arizona close out a three-game series. Soroka, 21, had a 3.51 ERA in five starts last year before shoulder soreness ended his season early. ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Ezequiel Barco scored in each half and defending MLS Cup champion Atlanta United won for the first time this season, beating the New England Revolution 2-0 on Saturday night. Hector Villalba dribbled from the left channel into the penalty area and fed it back to Barco for the opening goal in the 29th minute. Barco gave Atlanta (1-2-2) a 2-0 lead in the 49th minute when he curled home a right-footed shot from just inside the left corner of the area. DeJuan Jones had a goal for the Revs (1-5-1) that was flagged offside in the 37th minute.
  • Ezequiel Barco came off the bench to score two goals, including an amazing curling effort in the second half, to lift Atlanta United to a 2-0 victory over New England on Saturday at Gillette Stadium. The victory was the first in the league this season for Atlanta United (1-2-2) as it is starting to look more like the fast, aggressive team that last year won the MLS Cup. Manager Frank de Boer and centerback Leandro Gonzalez Pirez on Thursday said they felt that the Five Stripes were due for a breakout game after a team discussion following a 2-0 loss to Columbus two weeks was followed by several solid training sessions. Both of Barco’s goals, his second and third this season, were assisted by Hector Villalba as Atlanta United pounded New England’s goal with 16 shots, six on goal, through the first 80 minutes. De Boer went with a 4-3-3 formation for the second consecutive game but did so with different choices for personnel. Though Designated Players Barco and Pity Martinez were healthy, de Boer instead selected Julian Gressel and Villalba to start alongside Josef Martinez as the forwards. Captain Michael Parkhurst returned to the starting lineup and got the nod at right fullback in place of Franco Escobar, and Jeff Larentowicz also returned to the starting lineup at defensive midfielder with Darlington Nagbe moving up to play as an attacking midfielder. Leaving out Pity Martinez and Barco may not have been surprising because both have yet to make a consistent impact when they’ve started. Pity Martinez had yet to score or provide an assist in three games. Barco, who has looked much better than he did last season, had one goal and no assists in four games. Barco might not have played on Saturday if not for a head injury sustained by Eric Remedi in the first minute. The defensive midfielder bumped heads with New England’s Luis Caicedo. After an examination on the field and the sidelines, Remedi returned to the game. However, he sat down on the pitch in the 15th minute and was subbed off, with Barco coming on. Nagbe dropped back to defensive midfielder. Barco began to affect the game in the 19th minute when he put a pass into space down the right sideline for Gressel to run onto. His cross found Martinez, who totally missed the ball on his shot. Atlanta United broke through in the 29th minute on a goal from Barco. After Atlanta United created a turnover, Martinez hit a nice pass down the left for Villalba to run onto. New England’s Andrew Farrell gave Villalba a path to the end line and he took advantage. He blew past Farrell and hit a simple pass to Barco, who was just a few yards in front of the center of the goal, to one-time for his second goal this season. Barco scored his second goal in the 49th minute to give Atlanta United a 2-0 lead. Struck with his right foot from the left edge of the penalty box, he curved the shot into the upper right corner. It was a shot that received goal of the week consideration in MLS.
  • Gyasi Zardes scored in his return from international duty to help the Columbus Crew beat Atlanta United 2-0 in a match slowed down by soggy field conditions on Saturday night. Zardes stopped from a full run and stepped back to create space in the penalty area to finish Robinho's cross, making it 2-0 with a low shot in the 39th minute. Zardes had a goal in an international friendly against Ecuador on March 21 and added and an assist against Chile on Tuesday. Pedro Santos opened the scoring for the Crew (3-1-1) in the second minute, pouncing on a deflection for his first goal in over a year. Brad Guzan saved a penalty for Atlanta United (0-2-2) in the 58th minute.
  • Atlanta United will soon expand its presence in Cobb County.   The Marietta City Council on Thursday approved a contract to sell 17 acres at 849 Franklin Gateway to Atlanta United for $9.6 million. The team will use the land to expand its training operations, and the new building will sit next to an existing 30,000-square-foot facility and near six full-sized practice fields.   Thursday’s vote also extended Atlanta United’s current lease of 33 acres owned by Marietta for its existing training facility for another five years. Councilman Joseph Goldstein voted against the proposal, as he said he had some concerns about extending the lease under the terms outlined in the contract. Councilman Reggie Copeland was not present. Daniel Cummings, Marietta’s economic development manager, told Council members that it was “exciting” to see this transaction take place. Marietta has for several years pushed revitalizing Franklin Gateway and pitched it as the city’s future. Some apartment buildings there had fallen into disrepair, attracting crime. Marietta used bonds to buy and tear down the Preston Chase apartments that once stood on the land. Since the city launched those redevelopment efforts, Cummings said vacancy rates of buildings have dropped to about 5 percent and leasing prices have increased. “I think this is a fantastic day and one that we have been working diligently towards,” Cummings said. READ | For redeveloped street, professional soccer brings more change Atlanta United’s high-tech, $60 million training facility opened for the team’s inaugural 2017 season, a year before the team became Major League Soccer champions. The company remains mum on what it plans for its expansion, however. Catie Griggs, vice president of business operations for Atlanta United, said it was “premature” to provide details on the specifics of the new building. She also said it’s too early to speculate on a timeline for construction and opening. This particular land was under consideration by a company to build a Topgolf-like entertainment venue in Marietta. The city in 2018 entered negotiations and approved a contract to sell the property to Drive Shack, which had plans to build a 64,000-square-foot golf entertainment venue. Drive Shack proposed opening an indoor/outdoor facility with 96 hitting bays on three floors. However, those plans were scrapped when the company gained a new CEO, and the City Council voted to terminate its contract with the company. With that wrinkle now in the rear-view mirror, Mayor Steve Tumlin commended Thursday’s move, adding that Marietta is a “winning city in a winning county.” He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that while he was “disappointed” with the breakdown of the deal with Drive Shack, Atlanta United’s commitment will have a positive impact on Marietta and Cobb County. “This is amazing,” he said.
  • A year ago, Nevada was the only state where single-game sports bets were legal, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman expected to be successful in persuading the Supreme Court to maintain that status quo. Listen to him now. 'What we've learned is it's another point of engagement for fans. It started with daily fantasy sports and ultimately, I think, if you're interested in sports betting, you're going to have an increased opportunity to engage in the game,' Bettman said Thursday. 'Our hope is it causes people to watch more games, whether it's existing avid fans who consume more or casual fans who want to place a bet or two.' Bettman's reversal on sports betting has been quick and dramatic, and he's not alone. His comments came at an event that would have been unthinkable as recently as last summer: a sports gambling summit at the MGM National Harbor casino where team owners and league executives celebrated their newfound closeness with sportsbook operators. They sat on panels talking about the business opportunities that accompany legal betting and mingled over cocktails and hors d'ouevres prepared by celebrity chef Bryan Voltaggio. The Supreme Court ruled last May that any state can legalize sports betting if it chooses, and since then the action has been swift. Sports gambling is now legal in eight states, with more than 20 others at least considering legalization. Even after the Supreme Court decision, the leagues and the casino industry maintained an adversarial stance in statehouses, with the NBA and MLB in particular lobbying for a percentage of gambling revenue, calling it an 'integrity fee' they would use to fight off attempts at game-fixing or similar scandals. But no state that has legalized sports betting has mandated those fees, leaving the leagues and sportsbook operators to work out deals on their own. The two-day gathering, which concluded Thursday, was organized by the American Gaming Association, a casino-industry trade group that spent years trying to persuade sports leagues to embrace legal gambling, arguing it would increase fan engagement and open up new revenue streams. 'It isn't just about what the states have done from a legislative enactment perspective but the fact that 30-plus commercial agreements and deals among many of the people in this room have taken place, and that's where the action should be,' said Bill Miller, CEO of the AGA. 'And that's why I think our level of success from the perspective of who wanted to come, who we invited and who said yes, was because they believe this is a commercial endeavor at this point.' In addition to Bettman — who took the occasion to announce the league's deal with bookmaker William Hill — executives from the NBA, MLB, MLS and the PGA Tour participated in panel discussions. While they kept a lower profile, the NFL and the NCAA also sent representatives to the conference. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican whose administration took the fight over sports betting prohibition to the Supreme Court, urged gambling companies to embrace sensible regulations, arguing that successful implementation at the state level will prevent the federal government from getting involved. Sens. Orrin Hatch and Chuck Schumer have introduced a bill to regulate sports gambling at the federal level. Two team owners showed up to talk about the way legal sports betting could transform their venues: Ted Leonsis of the Washington Wizards and Capitals and Jeff Wilpon of the New York Mets. Washington's mayor has already signed a bill legalizing sports gambling that has yet to take effect. At Leonsis' urging, the new law allows city stadiums and arenas to apply for sports-betting licenses, and Leonsis this month bought out a popular sports bar at Capital One Arena in downtown Washington, with plans to turn that space into a sportsbook. 'You have a sportsbook in the arena, maybe we have 20,000 people to watch us play on the road. I'd like to bring 20,000 people in to watch football games and go to our partner site and eat and gamble. That would be a fantastic reengineering of what we can do with our building,' Leonsis said. 'I want to make the building the iconic, most important convener place for the community. This will allow us to do it.' Wilpon said the ability to bet on sports at Citi Field, home of the Mets, would help attract younger fans to the ballpark, along with events featuring the New York Excelsior, his esports franchise in the Overwatch League. Although the summit featured a discussion of problem gambling, there was little talk among the headliners about the potential drawbacks of closer ties among the gambling industry, teams and leagues. Gambling proponents see in-game mobile betting in particular as a huge untapped business opportunity, and that sort of betting can be particularly enticing to gambling addicts, said Keith Whyte, executive director of the National Council on Problem Gambling. 'You can gamble on a thousand different events during a game, and at $5 a bet that's a significant financial risk,' said Whyte, who attended the conference. 'You can have a fan with a gambling problem spending tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars quote-unquote 'supporting' their favorite club.' ___ Follow Ben Nuckols at https://twitter.com/APBenNuckols ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-Sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • ATLANTA (AP) - Ezequiel Barco came on in the 67th minute and scored three minutes later to help Atlanta United tie the Philadelphia Union 1-1 on Sunday night. Defending champion Atlanta (0-1-2) used a series of quick passes to move to ball from the left to the right side where Julian Gressel first-timed a high entry and Barco side-netted a header inside the far post. Brenden Aaronson, an 18-year-old homegrown making his MLS debut, ripped a right-footer that, as it went through the legs of Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, deflected off the defender's leg past goalkeeper Brad Guzan to give Philadelphia (0-3-0) the lead in the 47th minute. Atlanta had 71.4-percent possession - finishing with 669 passes compared to just 267 by the Union - but came up empty on a handful of chances. Josef Martinez, who set an MLS record with 31 goals last season, missed wide left on a shot early in the second half and later had his bicycle shot stopped by goalkeeper Andre Blake.
  • ATLANTA (AP) - When the final whistle blew, Atlanta United half-heatedly celebrated a moral victory. That's all they had. The reigning MLS Cup winners were bounced out of the CONCACAF Champions League by Monterrey on Wednesday night, leaving only one U.S.-based team in a tournament that seems certain to add another prize to Mexico's trophy case. There is little doubt that Liga MX remains the king of North America. 'I think we are getting closer and closer,' Atlanta coach Frank de Boer said after a 1-0 victory over Monterrey, which nevertheless won the two-game series by a 3-1 aggregate. 'But they have a history that is much longer the U.S. We have to accept that.' Sporting Kansas City is the lone MLS team left in the continental championship, which has been dominated by Mexico's top division since the current format began in 2008. Liga MX clubs have won 10 straight titles and are an overwhelming favorite to make it 11 in a row, having claimed three spots in the semifinals after Monterrey, Santos Laguna and UANL knocked off MLS teams in the quarterfinals. Sporting will host Panama's Independiente in the final quarterfinal match Thursday night, looking to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first match. MLS has made a few scattered challenges to Liga MX's dominance, most notably in 2018 when FC Toronto put a major effort into capturing the Champions League title (at the expense of its domestic season, it turned out). The team made it all the way to the final, becoming only the third MLS team to get that far in the league era before losing to Chivas in a dramatic final that was decided by penalty kicks. Atlanta, which captured the MLS Cup title in only its second season and has rewritten the league's attendance records with a rabid fan base, was intent on making another strong showing in the Champions League. But, after rallying to knock off Costa Rican club Herediano in the opening round, United's fate was essentially sealed when Rayados scored two late goals for a 3-0 victory at Monterrey in the opening leg of the quarterfinals. Playing a defensive-minded style in the second leg, the Mexican club throttled the home team before United finally struck for its only goal of the series, a flick into the top left corner by Josef Martinez after a nifty give-and-go with Darlington Nagbe allowed him the Atlanta striker to slip behind four defenders in the area. United didn't come close to another goal, which would've put a bit of heat on the Mexican powerhouse. 'It's very hard to know exactly how far the MLS is from the Liga MX,' said Monterrey midfielder Miguel Layun. 'Here, you are growing up very fast and very well. I don't know. It's just about time. We need to improve ourselves too, and our league, if we want to keep it that way. But it's going to be hard. At some point, it's going to be a very similar level.' It hasn't happened yet. In the quarterfinals played Tuesday, MLS Supporters' Shield winner New York Red Bulls faltered late in a loss to Santos Laguna, while UANL breezed past U.S. Open Cup champion Houston Dynamo with a pair of shutout wins. New York's setback might have been the most compelling evidence yet of a major hurdle MLS faces because its season runs from spring to fall, rather than the fall-to-spring alignment that is common for major leagues around the world, including Liga MX. The Champions League comes at the very start of the MLS season, when teams are just coming out of training camp. Liga MX, which uses a split-season format, has already completed its fall Apertura and is in well into its spring-ending Clausura . After losing 2-0 at home in the opening game against Santos Laguna, the Red Bulls tied the series by scoring two early goals in the second leg at Torreon. Alas, they couldn't hold on, giving up four goals in the final 18 minutes to lose the game, as well as the series by a 6-2 aggregate. United midfielder Jeff Larentowicz also noted that Atlanta United gave up two late goals at Monterrey, when it looked as though the team might escape with a manageable 1-0 defeat. 'That's not a coincidence,' he said. 'Teams from Liga MX are comfortable for 60 or 70 minutes - and then they put their foot on the gas. That certainly can be attributed to the timing of the season. They're in a different form than the MLS teams are.' Another factor working against MLS: a salary cap. The U.S.-based league allows its teams to sign only three players who are exempt from tight financial rules, while Liga MX has no such restrictions. The Mexican teams clearly have more depth, which comes in very handy when playing multiple games in a week as part of the Champions League and domestic leagues. 'Money's everything,' Larentowicz said. 'MLS has continued to stress their desire to beat and compete with Mexican teams. They feel like it's incredibly important. But it's tough if you're not spending the same money.' No matter what happens in Kansas City's series, it seems highly unlikely that MLS will finally break through this year. North America is ruled by Liga MX. 'The gap is still there,' Larentowicz said with a sigh. 'Obviously.' ___ Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry ___ For more AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Atlanta United’s first pursuit of a trophy this season is over. The Five Stripes, the defending MLS champions, were knocked out of the Champions League in the quarterfinal round by Monterrey on Wednesday with a 1-0 win in the game, but 3-1 aggregate loss in the two-game series. Josef Martinez scored Atlanta United’s goal in front of an announced attendance of 40,048 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta United had hopes of becoming the first MLS team to win this version of the Champions League, but a combination of a bad draw that matched them up against Monterrey, arguably the best team in the Western Hemisphere, and not enough time to learn manager Frank de Boer’s new formation and tactics as well as each other, combined to prematurely end the pursuit. Atlanta United can now turn its attention to trying to make up points lost in its first two games in MLS when it hosts Philadelphia on Sunday. Atlanta United is 0-1-1 in the league this season. De Boer again on Wednesday went with the core group of starters, most of whom started each of the previous five games. The only change was Jeff Larentowicz at centerback in place of the suspended Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, and Mike Ambrose, who has started two games at right wingback, moved to his natural left side at wingback in place of Brek Shea. TRENDING STORIES: Mother of 2 gunned down in gas station robbery; manhunt on for masked killers Angry dad brings loaded AK-47 to school because son called crying, police say Bus driver pulled over on way to pick up kids, charged with DUI De Boer said on Tuesday that there would be tweaks made to the tactics to try to create more goal-scoring opportunities. Atlanta United had scored more than one goal in just one of its previous five games and been shut out twice. The aggressiveness was there with Ezequiel Barco, Pity Martinez, Josef Martinez and the wingbacks taking turns making runs into spaces behind Monterrey’s defense. Atlanta United came close to taking a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute when Barco threaded a pass through six defenders for Josef Martinez to run onto. As he reached the ball in the penalty box and swiped at it with his right foot, Monterrey goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero came out, dove to his right, reached out his right hand, and knocked away the weak shot. Other than two free kicks in dangerous places, Atlanta United didn’t come close to scoring again until Julian Gressel put a pass across the face of Monterrey’s goal near the 57th minute. No one was there to tap it in. Despite the emphasis on creating chances, Atlanta United still put just two shots on goal through 72 minutes despite Barco, Josef Martinez and Pity Martinez, attackers Atlanta United paid more than $30 million in transfer fees to sign, leading the front line. The Rayados hit the crossbar twice in a span of seconds near the 73rd minute but couldn’t score. Atlanta United attacked but Darlington Nagbe’s shot, which appeared destined for the lower left corner, was tipped out in the 75th minute. Atlanta United finally broke through in the 77th minute when Josef Martinez and Nagbe exchanged passes. The sequence ended with Martinez slamming a shot into the upper right corner from just a few yards out. Atlanta United appeared to score in the 83rd minute when Nagbe put a shot into the corner, but it was waived off because of a foul committed by Josef Martinez before the shot. The 40,048 was the smallest announced attendance for an Atlanta United game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The previous low was 41,012 for a U.S. Open Cup game against Chicago on June 20, 2018. While small for Atlanta United, it did set a record for the largest crowd ever to watch a U.S. Open Cup game.          

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.