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    WWE Super ShowDown 2020 boasted an interesting card with major potential to make big waves for that pirate ship heading toward WrestleMania 36.

    Multiple titles were on the line, and momentum could be seized by Superstars looking to impress in these final weeks before the biggest show of the year.

    But these Saudi Arabia shows have had spotty records. Often, the big matches, like Goldberg vs. Undertaker from last year, fail to deliver, and the roster is left in worse shape, despite all the potential for success.

    How did this year’s show play out? What were the biggest positives and negatives that stood out from the rest of Thursday’s event?

    Presented in order of appearance, here are the highlights and low points from Super ShowDown 2020.

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    WWE Super ShowDown 2020 results

  • The O.C. defeated The Viking Raiders by pinfall.
  • Gauntlet Match: The Undertaker won the Tuwaiq Trophy.
  • John Morrison and The Miz defeated The New Day by pinfall to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship.
  • Angel Garza defeated Humberto Carrillo by pinfall.
  • Seth Rollins and Murphy defeated The Street Profits by pinfall to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship.
  • Mansoor defeated Dolph Ziggler by pinfall.
  • Brock Lesnar defeated Ricochet by pinfall to retain the WWE Championship.
  • Steel Cage Match: Roman Reigns defeated King Corbin by pinfall.
  • Bayley defeated Naomi by pinfall to retain the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
  • Goldberg defeated Bray Wyatt by pinfall to win the Universal Championship.

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    Par for the course with WWE events, the pre-show wasn’t worth paying much attention to.

    This is not the least bit surprising, as the kickoffs never have the best content. It’s typically 45 minutes of recaps, video packages and panel analysis to break down angles that aren’t complex enough to need that discussion.

    For those who don’t watch the weekly television content, that’s fine. But for dedicated fans, it’s needless background noise until a match begins.

    Unfortunately, the featured match this time was The Viking Raiders against The O.C. in a bout that was fine but ultimately pointless.

    It had absolutely no build beyond just being a rematch of what happened at the last Saudi Arabia show. After seeing these two teams go at it enough times in the past, rinsing and repeating with no extra hook just doesn’t excite, despite how talented Erik, Ivar, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are.

    Intermittent audio issues also popped up here and there with the studio crew still having their microphones live during Ricochet’s promo and the commentary team glitching out. It’s not the end of the world, but problems like that just added more fuel to the fire.

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    The Tuwaiq Trophy Gauntlet Match was very much “take it or leave it” rather than a true low point or highlight. It’s all about which elements you focus on.

    You might have thought the R-Truth bits were funny or cringy. Perhaps you’re mad Andrade’s stock dropped with this loss, or it doesn’t matter to you. Fans of Rey Mysterio are undoubtedly disappointed he didn’t compete.

    But The Undertaker’s entrance remains one of the coolest things in WWE history, and his surprise appearance trumps everything else in the segment. He did one move (a chokeslam) and didn’t even bother to take off his hat and coat, yet he still stole the show.

    The trade-off from AJ Styles taking such a quick loss is that we should get a legitimate match at WrestleMania between The Phenomenal One and The Phenom.

    Will that be worth it, or will this end up being a strange segment that led to an oddball moment that hyped up an eventual disappointing? Time will tell.

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    Admittedly, the finish to the SmackDown Tag Team Championship match wasn’t as smooth as it should have been, with Kofi Kingston’s askew roll-up leading into a weak chair shot from John Morrison. However, the title change itself is a noteworthy moment of this show.

    All too often, WWE makes the mistake of holding off on something like this, only to pull the trigger with crowning new champions soon after. That could have happened again on Friday’s SmackDown or with Elimination Chamber on March 8, but the right call was made.

    The New Day forged its Hall of Fame legacy long ago and has no need to keep the belts. Morrison and The Miz, though, had to win these titles to validate their reformation.

    Now that they’re the champions, it shows they didn’t take a step back in their careers and that they successfully made a transition to focus on the tag team gold instead of singles titles.

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    Listen to the crowd every Monday night and try to hear the overwhelming support for Humberto Carrillo to get revenge on Angel Garza and Andrade. You’ll notice it isn’t there.

    Try as hard as WWE might try to get that story over, it just isn’t translating well. There’s no deep investment in this feud—it just happens to keep going on and on as if that were the case.

    It’s exhausting watching the same match over and over, especially when this just happened on this week’s Raw. To make things worse, Garza won that one and this one.

    Nothing even changed in the dynamic of the feud. No momentum shifted balance. Any alternative match would have been a better use of this time.

    At best, these repetitive matches get a smattering of cheers whenever something athletic and interesting happens, but that isn’t even a consistent thing. All the down time between those spots is just dead air. This storyline should have been put to rest a while back.

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    There isn’t much to examine about Seth Rollins and Murphy against The Street Profits. None of it will stand the test of time, no moments were particularly memorable, and it wasn’t the best match of the night.

    But it was a solid match from start to finish. Sometimes that’s all you can ask for.

    The Street Profits had a decent enough showing that they’re still in the title hunt, but the belts are still around the waists of The Monday Night Messiah and his top disciple. That makes sense, as the spotlight is more on that stable than Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford.

    While Rollins and Murphy stood tall, The Street Profits had their moments to shine and didn’t leave looking bad.

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    While this contest was not as good as Mansoor’s last match against Cesaro, it was still a step in the right direction.

    By how little WWE uses the Saudi Arabian outside of these shows, it’s extremely transparent he’s a pet project for Saudi Arabia more than anything else. But he’s proved himself to be a more-than-capable Superstar who should get more opportunities than that.

    Even if that doesn’t come to pass, at least the crowd is invested in Mansoor’s career and gets riled up any time he appears. Lots of happy faces were in the audience, which means that mission was accomplished.

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    After the past bunch of years, if you expected anything other than Brock Lesnar completely dominating Ricochet, you only have yourself to blame.

    WWE consistently books The Beast Incarnate in very short squash matches. He’s one of the most protected Superstars in company history. Even when he’s against multitime world champions and legends, he wrecks them like they’re nothing.

    Of course Ricochet wasn’t going to stand a chance. However, it’s still disappointing he wasn’t booked to even get a single move in, as Lesnar easily swatted away his one and only chance at a strike.

    It’s sad there can be no faith in WWE to follow up Ricochet’s laughable challenge with something that will rehab his credibility, as he’ll undoubtedly lose to Styles on Raw and then disappear into nothingness. Then, WWE will wonder why fans don’t see him as a top star, rather than point the blame at themselves for not booking him as such.

    But his sacrifice is at least supposed to be in service of a greater cause. The stronger Lesnar looks heading into WrestleMania, the better it will be for Drew McIntyre. It will mean more if McIntyre beats the strongest version of the WWE champion possible.

    Then again, if Lesnar retains in April, then this will have been for nothing, so this is another instance when a bad thing may pave way for something good as a trade-off, but we won’t know for several weeks.

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    This feud should have ended at TLC. At the very least, after being dragged out through December and January, Royal Rumble should have been the culmination.

    But WWE kept Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin going all the way until this show, acting as if this would be the glorious conclusion to an epic storyline.

    It’s easy to be lazy and slap a steel cage gimmick onto this and let the promotion do itself. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to write this match off as nothing worth going back to see if you missed it.

    The strengths of the feud between The Big Dog and The Lone Wolf—if any—never included the in-ring action. They are brawlers and not technical artists.

    Locking them between the ropes and preventing them from using weapons and having more freedom was a flawed formula, and it showed with how bland this was.

    Rather than a feeling that Reigns truly got his revenge, the biggest relief here is that this story is at least finally done.

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    Far from the most exciting match on the card, even among some underwhelming contests, this was fine.

    The most important part of this is just that it happened at all. It’s not as monumental or history-making as Lacey Evans vs. Natalya, but it’s great that the women’s division continues to get these opportunities to compete in Saudi Arabia.

    It still left much to be desired, though. Even after all these months, Bayley still hasn’t clicked as a heel. She comes off more as trying to copy a generic heel template than someone who is a natural villain.

    The ending, for instance, is an example of a decent idea with weak execution. Bayley locking Naomi’s foot in her shirt was interesting, but the impact of ramming her head into the mat afterward didn’t land like it should have, which took away from the moment.

    At least this gives Bayley another victory so she can say she’s gone through nearly the whole blue brand’s worth of talent. Here’s hoping her challenger for WrestleMania is Sasha Banks and not just a rematch with someone who failed to beat her over this past year.

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    Carrying on with the running theme of the show, your mileage may vary on the Universal Championship situation depending on your priorities.

    Is it more important that the bigger mainstream star has the title? In that case, Goldberg winning is a positive and you can argue at least Bray Wyatt took multiple Spears and a Jackhammer before he no-sold it after the match. That helps his credibility even in taking this loss.

    But is it more important to you that the younger star should have gone over? If that’s true, you’re bound to hate this, as it’s another example of WWE going with an older wrestler and saying it doesn’t trust the roster to be a draw.

    The match itself was as bare bones as expected. We have no idea if Goldberg will face Reigns or John Cena at WrestleMania or how that will play out.

    So again, like in other matches at Super ShowDown, hindsight is going to dictate whether this was a good decision or a terrible one. There isn’t enough context at the moment to fully judge it as a highlight or a low point.

    Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.

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CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. (AP) — A suburban Chicago man charged in the beating death of his 5-year-old son asked Thursday for a judge, not a jury, to decide his fate when he stands trial.

Andrew Freund Sr. made the request during a brief hearing in McHenry County court, the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reported.

“Is this what you want to do?” Judge Robert Wilbrandt asked Freund after his lawyer, Henry Sudgen, said Freund was waving his right to a jury trial. “Yes,” Freund replied.

Freund and Andrew “AJ” Freund Jr.’s mother, Joann Cunningham, were charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of the boy, whose body was found last April in a shallow grave near the family’s Crystal Lake home.

According to police, the parents killed the boy, wrapped his body in plastic, buried it and then reported him missing. Video of the bruised boy that was found on Cunningham’s cellphone prompted Andrew Freund Sr. to lead investigators to where they had buried him.

Cunningham pleaded guilty to murder in December and on Thursday, the judge ordered that she return to court on April 30 for sentencing.

According to the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald, Sugden explained that a jury trial would have been held outside the county because of the widespread publicity the case has generated. He said the issues of the case are legal, not factual, but he didn’t elaborate.

“The issue in this case is not for a jury,” he said. “The issue is for a judge.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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The lake-effect snow machine began cranking into high gear on Thursday with some of the heaviest bands pouring off Lake Erie and Lake Ontario into western New York and kicking up whiteout conditions at times. Travel concerns increased throughout the …

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That news preceded another wave of selloffs, wiping out earlier gains. All three major indices in the New York Stock Exchange entered the day in correction territory, or down at least 10 percent from all-time highs.

— Caitlin Oprysko

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I was expecting a lot of Borderlands 3 information to be doled out at PAX today, but I don’t think I was expecting quite this many news items all at once. There’s a lot to go through between paid and free future Borderlands content, big DLC and smaller events, a Mayhem rework and hell, even a movie.

But for now we’ll start with what is sure to delight many players and then move on to the rest of it.

Borderlands 3 Steam Launch

Yes, it’s finally happening. Whatever blood oath Gearbox swore to the Epic Store is ending and the game will now appear in both stores starting on March 13. And before you ask, yes, there will be cross-play with the Epic Store, and other features like “mailing weapons” from one platform to another. I am slightly confused about whether or not this is fully cross save, as in your character progress transfers between both storefronts, and I’m asking some follow-up questions about that as we speak. (Update: You are indeed sharing save files across both versions of the game, so, cross-save.)

Guns, Love And Tentacles DLC

Borderlands 3’s second DLC has been revealed, and it’s based around a wedding between Hammerlock and Jakobs, who as you might recall, got engaged during the end credits of the base game. You may be wondering where the “Guns and Tentacles” come in, but that’s because the ice planet they’re getting married on (not exactly Aruba) is host to the corpse of a dead vault monster that is worshiped by a local cult. A local cult that wants to disrupt the upcoming wedding, and that simply will not do.

I get that it’s 2020 and we’re all progressive and stuff now so it’s easy to brush past this, but I really have to say how neat it is to have an entire DLC based around two gay characters getting married. I mean, look at that cover art! Amazing. Hammerlock’s sexuality isn’t new (we knew he was gay in BL2) and his relationship with Jakobs was a storyline in BL3, but this still feels like a significant, very cool moment all the same. In a game full of really dumb jokes, Jakobs and Hammerlock often felt like the emotional core of the game (if you dug deep enough to find one) and I am very excited to help them save their wedding. This DLC launches March 26.

Gaige Is Back

It wouldn’t be Borderlands DLC without bringing back a character from one of the past games, so it’s been revealed that Gaige the Mechromancer is returning as the Jakobs-Hammerlock wedding planner. And I assume the biggest “plan” is murdering the cult who is trying to disturb the wedding, so that will be fun.

Past Gaige, it does seem like there are a number of new enemies from this DLC, stuff we didn’t even see in past games, or if they’re not new, they appear to be heavily modified and not just “here’s a bunch of loader bots and renamed Psychos” like we saw in Moxxi’s Heist (even if I did like that DLC overall).


We are promised additional legendaries and new class mods. We do not appear to be getting any more skill points, but I am less clear on what I hoped for, a fully new skill tree for each class, as it appeared as if a new skill or two was shown off in the trailer. That would be amazing, but waiting for confirmation on that.

Mayhem 2.0

Now we move into April, where we are promised are grand Mayhem 2.0 rework at last. I mean, they did say 2020, but that’s…pretty far into 2020. We don’t know exactly all the details of that yet, but they are overhauling the existing modifiers at the very least, and there are 25 new modifiers ranging from Big Head Mode to “the floor is lava” where you have to keep moving and can’t keep still. There are ten Mayhem levels.

Revenge of the Cartels

Also in April, we will have our next free holiday-type event, albeit one not based on any real holiday. Revenge of the Cartels will have us hunting down specific targets and be rewarded with new loot. Not sure how long this is going to run, but probably longer than the week of the Broken Hearts Day event.

Guardian Takedown

It’s going to take until May to arrive, but Borderlands 3 is getting another free Takedown to join the original Maliwan one. This will be Guardian themed, an enemy type that only popped up near the end of the game, and should be structured similarly to the last one.

DLC 3 and 4

Gearbox confirmed that yes, they’re still making two more DLCs for Borderlands 3 as originally promised. The third one is in summer 2020 and contains both Outlaws and Dinosaurs. Maybe that’s the actual title? I don’t know. There is concept art of cowboys riding alien dinosaurs. Randy hinted at DLC 4 being Krieg focused.

I am really excited for the Guns, Love and Tentacles DLC, and if it’s anywhere near as good as the Moxxi’s Heist DLC, I should not be disappointed. I kind of hoped that Mayhem 2.0 would get here in time for that release, but I guess it needs more work. More information to come, but I think this was a solid amount info given and the game seems like it’s in a healthy state.

Follow me on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick up my new sci-fi novel Herokiller, and read my first series, The Earthborn Trilogy, which is also on audiobook.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook said today that factories in China that manufacture the company’s products are reopening as “China is getting the coronavirus under control.” The comments came from a preview of an upcoming interview with Fox Business.

Here is a transcript of what Cook said in the snippet shared by Fox Business (Cook’s comments begin at 0:40):

It feels to me that China is getting the coronavirus under control. I mean you look at the numbers, they’re coming down day by day by day. And so I’m very optimistic there.

On the supplier side, we have suppliers — you know, iPhone is built everywhere in the world. We have key components coming from the United States, we have key parts that are in China, and so on and so forth.

When you look at the parts that are done in China, we have reopened factories, so the factories were able to work through the conditions to reopen. They’re reopening. They’re also en-ramp, and so I think of this as sort of the third phase of getting back to normal. And we’re in phase three of the ramp mode.

Technically, Cook is correct — the number of new cases within China is actually slowing, according to Chinese authorities. But there are new outbreaks in other areas of the world, including South Korea, Italy, and Iran. So the coronavirus will still likely have global economic effects, and it’s unclear how its continued spread will impact other aspects of business, travel, public health, and policy.

There’s also the matter of why Cook may be saying this now. His comments are likely intended to reassure investors that the company’s business is on solid footing, as Apple and other tech stocks have fallen in recent days over continued worries and news about the coronavirus.

Last week, the company said in a rare investor update that the global effects of the coronavirus outbreak would lead to lower second quarter revenue than expected, in part because of the outbreak’s effect on iPhone manufacturing. In that update, Apple said its iPhone factories had reopened but that they were “ramping up more slowly than we had anticipated.”

Coronavirus hasn’t affected just Apple — it’s had a wide-ranging impact on the tech industry. The Verge has a guide to the coronavirus right here if you want to learn more about it.

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Somewhere around hour six of Love Is Blind, I worried I’d lost all perspective on reality. Netflix’s smash-hit dating show begins as an easily dismissed pseudo experiment: a group of single 20- and 30-somethings, mostly straight, first get to know potential mates while lounging in individual “pods”, with a wall between them (just like in The Fantasticks!). Good looks and whatever other aesthetic concerns are out of the equation; these relationships are based on the true connection of conversation. (It does help, though, that everyone is good-looking.) Things get less theoretical and more actual when, after only a week or so, several of the couples get engaged sight unseen, only meeting face to face after the first proposal, then embarking on a fraught month of cohabitation on the way to a quickie wedding.

This is The Bachelor condensed and reshaped, a throwback to the old gimmick reality days of 20 years ago with a decidedly contemporary veneer of earnest, faux sociology. (90 Day Fiancé without all the despairing geopolitics, maybe.) Because it’s on Netflix, a platform not exactly built for traditional week-in, week-out reality shows, Love Is Blind has a tang of the almost otherworldly. It’s not quite a traditional dating show that you’d watch while soaked in wine on a friend’s couch over the course of a few months. But it’s not a discrete documentary, either. It’s located in a strange place between those poles, largely staged and synthetic, and yet at times startlingly real.

It’s in that chasm where one loses one’s grip on the actual world, especially if you, like our brave and masochistic contestants, are facing a big life change, particularly of the romantic variety. My boyfriend and I are planning on moving in together in a couple of months, and after steeping myself in all ten episodes of Love Is Blind over the course of 24 hours, I couldn’t tell if I was thrilled about this impending development, terrified of it, or frankly if I had any idea what love and romantic commitment actually were to begin with. In its clumsy, powerful way, Love Is Blind lays bare the artifice—or, at least, the uncertainty—at the heart of any long-term coupling. For a short, intense burst, anyway: I slept on Love Is Blind after watching the finale late last night, and now feel a bit less worked up about the show than I did in the bleary wee hours.

Still, something about the show’s mind-altering effect lingers. Waking up this morning, I had the sense that a disorienting, and yet somehow also clarifying, crucible has been passed through, but had no way to assess its value. Post-Love Is Blind, I feel both fuller and less-than; it’s like learning a bad secret.

The finale is equal parts bruising and cathartic. Don’t read any further if you don’t want to be spoiled, though part of me wants to say screw it— you shouldn’t watch this salvia in TV form at all, so why not find out how it ends?

Anyway. The last episode is all about the weddings, the five remaining couples negotiating jangled nerves and nagging doubts as they head to the altar, one pair at a time. What’s surreal about all this is not that these people are getting married after such a short time. It’s how much genuine emotion they and their loved ones manage to wring out of the whole shoddily arranged thing.

There are real tears—from parents, from siblings, from friends—that exist right alongside entirely justifiable skepticism. It’s an interesting study in how we can doubt our perceived reality while also wholeheartedly engaging with it. The love between these couples, relative strangers to one another, seems so unreal—and yet that little, niggling chance that something true is actually can snare even the biggest skeptic for a second. It’s like how only six inches of running water can knock over an upright adult.

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Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew P. Napolitano argued Thursday that the Trump administration’s criminal case against WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is unconstitutional.

Mr. Napolitano, a former New Jersey state Superior Court judge, claimed that prosecuting Mr. Assange for releasing classified government material runs afoul of the First Amendment.

In an op-ed published online by Fox News, the columnist and legal expert reasoned that Mr. Assange’s conduct should be shielded by the U.S. Constitution’s right to freedom of speech. Mr. Napolitano also writes a column for The Washington Times.

Mr. Napolitano made his case as the U.S. Department of Justice seeks to extradite Mr. Assange from the U.K. to stand trial for charges related to running the WikiLeaks website.

Citing a landmark decision reached decades earlier following the publication of the so-called Pentagon Papers, a trove of classified documents about U.S. involvement in Vietnam, Mr. Napolitano wrote that “the court ruled that all truthful matters material to the public interest that come into the hands of journalists — no matter how they get there — may lawfully be disseminated.”

“The Pentagon Papers Case is a profound explication of one of the great values underlying the freedom of speech; namely, the government cannot lawfully punish those who publish truths it hates and fears,” Mr. Napolitano wrote later in the op-ed.

“Regrettably, the Trump administration is pretending the Pentagon Papers Case does not exist. It is manifesting that pretense in its criminal pursuit of international gadfly and journalist Julian Assange,” he added.

Mr. Assange, a 48-year-old Australian, is wanted in the U.S. for charges related to receiving and publishing classified U.S. military and diplomatic documents provided in 2010 by former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. He faces 18 criminal counts, including mostly violations of the U.S. Espionage Act, and the possibility of decades in prison if extradited and convicted.

“When lawyers blatantly reject well-accepted law for some political gain, they violate their oaths to uphold the law. When government lawyers do this, they also violate their oaths to uphold the Constitution,” Mr. Napolitano opined, adding that the Trump administration’s reasoning for seeking Mr. Assange “shows a pitiful antipathy to personal freedom.”

“Might all of this be part of the Trump administration’s efforts to chill the free speech of its press critics — to deny them breathing room?” he added. “After all, it has referred to them as ‘sick,’ ‘dishonest,’ ‘crazed,’ ‘unpatriotic,’ ‘unhinged’ and ‘totally corrupt purveyors of fake news.’ “

Indeed, President Trump has frequently smeared media outlets who have critically covered his administration, all the while praising more laudatory organizations such as Fox News.

He also previously hailed WikiLeaks while running for president over its release during the 2016 race of stolen documents damaging to his former Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Mr. Napolitano, on his part, previously called Mr. Assange a “hero” after the WikiLeaks publisher was arrested in London last year in connection with a U.S. extradition request.

More recently, Mr. Assange’s legal team referenced a Fox News report during his extradition trial this week in which the WikiLeaks publisher was described on the network as a “terrorist,” according to an NBC News reporter in attendance.

Extradition proceedings for Mr. Assange are scheduled to continue Thursday at Woolwich Crown Court in London prior to a second round of hearings being held beginning in May.

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Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury hold all the world heavyweight belts between them

Promoter Eddie Hearn says talks for a heavyweight unification fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are under way and they “can’t let politics get in the way” of it happening this year.

Joshua’s promoter Hearn says everyone involved is desperate to make the fight happen as soon as possible, but he admits staging the bout in the United Kingdom could be a challenge.

“We’ve got two Brits who can unify and become the undisputed champion of the world, we must take that chance and we will take it,” he told BBC Sport.

The British heavyweights now hold all of the division’s belts between them, after Fury, 31, beat Deontay Wilder, 34, to claim the WBC title last weekend.

“Three months ago [Wilder and Andy Ruiz’s promoter] Al Haymon and the Americans had the heavyweight division on lockdown, now we control it all,” Hearn added.

“Everyone is combined to try and make it happen and talks are already under way.

“Because me, AJ, Tyson Fury, [Fury’s co-promoter] Bob Arum, all these people, they want that fight to happen.”

‘We want the fight in the UK’

Hearn says the preference is to stage the fight, likely to be in winter 2020, in the UK.

It is anticipated the contest will take place after Fury’s rematch with Wilder and after Joshua faces mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, a fight Hearn says he expects to announce next week for 20 June at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

However, Hearn warned that ultimately money will talk when it comes to the venue, having already staged Joshua’s last fight with Andy Ruiz in Saudi Arabia.

Anthony Joshua beat Mexican-American Andy Ruiz on points in Saudi Arabia in December

“Everyone says, ‘tell the guys not to worry about the money, just do it in England’, but it doesn’t work like that, unfortunately,” Hearn said.

“Everyone wants to do it in England, I want it in the UK, AJ wants it in the UK, Fury will, but these guys have teams who will say ‘can you tell us all the offers.’

“If one offer is five times the other, then that is where they are going.

“But our job is to make sure the money is in the UK, whether we have to beg for it, go to the government for it, whatever we have to do to make that fight in the UK.

“It is the undisputed world heavyweight championship between two Britons. If we can do it in the UK, it is something that will never, ever be forgotten.

“But we could be talking it being worth an extra £40, £50, £60 million each having it elsewhere.

“And we can’t forget this is prize fighting. Whilst everyone wants the fight in England, remember you can get hurt in this sport, we have seen fighters lose their lives recently in this sport.

“We can’t take these fighters for granted and we will try and deliver everything we can for them.

“But if we can make it in Britain, I’ll even become popular, so that will be the aim.”

‘We can’t let the politics get in the way’

Hearn says he is happy to sit down with rival promoter Frank Warren and promised fight fans that politics between the promoters will not prevent the all-British showdown from becoming a reality.

Warren told the BBC’s Costello and Bunce podcast that “Eddie boy has his nose pressed up against the window looking in,” but Hearn dismissed the notion of the two being unable to work with each other.

Tyson Fury gained a seventh-round win over Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas

“It’s good for British boxing,” Hearn said. “But we’ve got to keep our heads. If we start digging at each other and making it all about ego and stuff like that, I am not really interested in that, all we have to do is make the fight.

“To do that we have to sit down with Bob Arum and [management company] MTK, who call all the shots on Tyson Fury, and try and make it happen. We will always have pot-shots at each other, but the key is it is not about me, it is not about Frank Warren, it is about the people who can make this fight happen and that is us and Bob Arum.

“We can’t let the politics get in the way.

“I’m happy to sit down with Frank.

“I’m not saying ‘leave him alone and I will deal with Bob’, we will all sit down together to make it happen.

“When there is an opportunity like this, I will never let ego get in the way, I won’t say I won’t deal with Frank.

“It’s not my style. If we can deliver for the broadcasters and the fans, let’s make it happen.”

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“We are in good shape right now…if the weather holds up.”

That was the message from Manitoba’s Infrastructure Minister in releasing our province’s first flood outlook of the season on Thursday afternoon.

Ron Schuler says southern Manitoba has been enjoying just the kind of weather that is needed leading up to the spring thaw.

“Future snow and future spring rain will determine the extent of spring runoff and potential high water situations along the Red River,” says Schuler.

Schuler says a positive factor has been the rate of snow sublimation. Snow sublimation is the direct transition of snow to vapour. Schuler says the moisture content of the snow has come down throughout the Red River Basin, which is an important factor.

“We’ve seen a lot of sublimation taking place,” he says. “Not just here in Manitoba, but we noticed it substantially in the Dakotas.”

Manitoba Infrastructure’s Hydrologic Forecast Centre is modelling the current conditions with three possible future weather scenarios. With favourable conditions, forecasters expect similar water levels to 2019. Last year, the Red River Floodway was put into service but Highway 75 from Winnipeg to Emerson remained open.

Schuler says average weather conditions this spring will result in water levels similar to 2011 along the Red River. In that year, Highway 75 was closed for 29 days.

Unfavourable weather could lead to a run-off nearing 2009 levels. That year, Highway 75 was closed for 37 days.

While southern Manitoba is calling for a chance of minimal flooding, the National Weather Service says the risk for significant flooding continues to be substantial for areas along the Red River, south of the border. It says the risk of major flooding is greater than 65 per cent along the Red River at Pembina, Grand Forks and Fargo.

Schuler says the reason why Manitoba’s flood forecast seems more favourable is because we have received much less snow than Fargo. In fact, the National Weather Service says for much of the Red River Basin, snowfall has been between 125 and 275 per cent above normal since December 1st.

“We will have a lot more room to absorb water,” says Schuler.

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