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MANCHESTER, N.H. — There are no policy positions on his website. He has virtually no paid presence in the states that matter most. And his campaign manager is a high school friend with no experience in presidential politics.

Welcome to the campaign of Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old Indiana mayor who has suddenly become one of the hottest names in the Democrats’ presidential primary season. Yet there is an increasing urgency, inside and outside of the campaign, that his moment may pass if he doesn’t take swift action to build a national organization capable of harnessing the energy he’ll need to sustain his surge in the nine months or so before the first votes are cast.

“I get more inquiries on how to reach him or his campaign than anyone else,” New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said, adding that he’s aware of just one part-time Buttigieg staffer in the state to help coordinate the requests.

“This is what it’s like when you’re having your moment,” Buckley said. “Whether he can capitalize — that’s his challenge.”

Indeed, it’s far from certain that Buttigieg, a gay former military officer, will continue to stand out in a contest that features political heavyweights like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to launch his candidacy later this week. Aware of the daunting road ahead, Buttigieg’s team is plowing forward with an ambitious push to expand his operation, attract new campaign cash and pound the airwaves with virtually every media opportunity available.

In an interview, Buttigieg conceded that his supporters across the country have essentially had to “organize themselves” so far.

“We need to make sure we have the organizational strengths to sustain this wave of support that we’ve been getting for the last almost month and a half now,” he said. “It’s created some challenges to rise this far this fast, but I would put those in the category of a good problem to have.”

Federal filings suggest the campaign had little more than a dozen paid staffers at the end of last month. Buttigieg’s paid presence now exceeds 30, according to campaign manager Mike Schmuhl, who said it’ll be closer to 50 by the end of the month.

Most of the team is based in South Bend, Indiana, while a handful of staffers work from shared “We Work” office space in Chicago and a few others are based in Iowa and New Hampshire. Buttigieg plans to expand his presence in Iowa and New Hampshire and hire paid staff in South Carolina, Nevada and California in the coming weeks.

Still, don’t expect the Democratic mayor to create a giant campaign apparatus in line with Warren, Sanders or even New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker. Buttigieg has the money to build a large organization after raising more than $7 million last quarter, but the core of the near-term campaign strategy hinges on an aggressive fundraising schedule and a say-yes-to-almost-everything media strategy — whether media outlets focused on politics, entertainment or sports — backed by strong debate performances.

Schmuhl said the campaign doesn’t have national political consultants on the payroll and it’s unclear if it ever will.

“We want to build a campaign that’s a little disruptive, kind of entrepreneurial. Right now, it feels like a startup,” said Schmuhl, who first met Buttigieg in high school and later ran former Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly’s first campaign before reconnecting with Buttigieg.

There are clearly organizational challenges as the campaign ramps up, Schmuhl continued, but there is also “tremendous opportunity.”

“We’re in the game,” he said.

As was the case in former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s early campaign appearances, the lack of formal organization has allowed for a certain level of authenticity on the campaign trail as Buttigieg introduces himself to voters. It’s also created challenges.

He’s drawing big crowds in Iowa and New Hampshire, but there were few, if any, campaign staff on hand to take down information from enthusiastic supporters who want to be part of the campaign. While Buckley said he’s aware of only one part-time staffer in the state, a Buttigieg spokesman said the aide was full-time.

And voters eager to learn more about the mayor’s policy positions have been left wanting. Buttigieg has called for ending the Electoral College and expanding the Supreme Court. But in sharp contrast to some of his higher-profile competitors, he has yet to hire a policy director or release any written policies.

New Hampshire Democrat Lauren O’Sullivan, a 35-year-old who attended a house party for Buttigieg over the weekend, said she was initially unsure about the Midwestern mayor after going on his website. She felt she “didn’t know where he stood on any positions.”

She was somewhat reassured after he talked about specific policies at the Saturday house party.

“It was good to see that there is some platform,” O’Sullivan said.

For now, Buttigieg’s team wants to get him in front of as many people as possible.

That’ll include travel to meet voters in the early states on the presidential primary calendar, but after a week on the road in Iowa and New Hampshire, he’ll spend the coming days focused on raising as much money as possible.

This week he’ll launch a California fundraising swing featuring 11 stops across three days. Hollywood has taken an early liking to Buttigieg. Actors including Ryan Reynolds have already written small checks. Others in the entertainment industry are expected to attend events on the California tour, although the campaign declined to name them.

It’s critically important for Buttigieg to focus on fundraising while he’s surging, said Democratic strategist Symone Sanders, who predicted that Buttigieg’s moment is unlikely to last.

“Three weeks ago it was Beto. Now it’s Mayor Pete. Three weeks from now it’ll be somebody else,” she said. “It’s important to have a viable campaign to capitalize on this moment.”

Buttigieg acknowledged his organizational challenges on the campaign trail in recent days.

“Every time I fool myself into thinking I’m a household name, I get a humbling reminder somewhere that not everybody is following the blow by blow,” he said at the New Hampshire house party. He asked voters to join his effort, which he said is now “racing to build an organization to catch up with ourselves.”

Afterward, as some in the crowd eagerly lined up for pictures with the young mayor, 65-year-old retired doctor Wayne Goldner stood in the kitchen and praised Buttigieg’s performance.

The mayor’s getting “very popular,” he said, and rightfully so.

“He’s going to get too big for house parties,” Goldner said. “I think in New Hampshire he’s big enough for the bigger venues already.”


Associated Press writer Alexandra Jaffe in Des Moines, Iowa, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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OKLAHOMA CITY — The kid in Section 105, Row 3, Seat 15 on Sunday night had never seen anything like this before. Not in person, at least.

Not a playoff game.

Not a Trail Blazers game.

Not even an NBA game.

Vin Reddy is a die-hard Trail Blazers fan. He lives in New Jersey. He has a Damian Lillard poster on the wall of his bedroom. And he spent his 14th birthday alongside his father, Vasudeva, at Cheasapeake Energy Arena surrounded by a sea of Thunder blue.

Vin sipped a Sprite, lost his mind, and watched his favorite NBA team open a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Final: Portland 111, Oklahoma City 98.

“At first,” his father said, “he was hesitant to be loud… but then, he was jumping on his chair.”

I won’t say that the kid spoke for you, Blazers fans. But I will say: What’s the view from on top of the chair like, Portland?

Russell Westbrook got outplayed by Lillard, again. The Blazers demonstrated far more skill, depth and poise, again. And Portland won, again. But my eyes kept drifting to the chess player in the third row, sitting beside his father, taking it all in on Easter Sunday.

Father, son… and Damian Lillard.

Vin wore blue jeans and a sweatshirt to the game. Also, a pair of Air Jordans. He became a Blazers fan a few years ago because he happened to turn on the television, where he saw Lillard being Lillard.

“I can’t believe how amazing it is up close,” Vin said from his seat, watching warm-ups. “It’s so much more amazing.”

He owns a Blazers baseball cap. He has a Lillard jersey. But this was all new, seeing his favorite player score 24 points in person and stick a dagger in the Thunder’s season.

Be sure, OKC is cooked.

There’s no coming back from this deficit.

Not with Westbrook — who shot 5 for 21 — so distracted trying to upstage Lillard. Not with Paul George’s shoulder ailing. Not with the Blazers locked in, doing all the little things right, while the Thunder are stumbling around the court.

Charles Barkley pointed out at halftime, Lillard is “not trying to compete with Russell. Russell is trying to compete with him.”

Vin saw it. You saw it. I saw it.

One question for Blazers fans: Who do you want next, Denver or San Antonio?

The team won’t entertain that question, of course. It’s too focused on the task at hand. But you and I can. Vin, too.

The Thunder were on their way to tying this series, 2-2, until Portland ripped off an 11-0 run to finish the first half. Then, Lillard shot 5-of-7 in the third quarter, scored 14 points, and tightened the grip around Oklahoma City’s throat.

Not Westbrook’s neck.

The neck of the OKC basketball operation.

Because, beating the team, not the other star player, is the point of the game, isn’t it?

We’ve learned that much in this series.

Late in the fourth quarter, with Portland up 10, Vin’s father reported via text message: “He’s a little tense… running all the permutations and combinations for the 3:35 minutes left.”

See, Vin’s a true Blazers fan.

He didn’t live through Bill Walton’s foot injury, or Sam Bowie’s leg, and he didn’t witness that traumatizing fourth-quarter meltdown in the 2000 playoffs. But Vin is still a Portland fan, and Portland fans worry, even up by 10 points with the other team melting.

The result on Sunday, and the way this series evolved, made me wonder if there was something more powerful going on for a new generation of Portland fans.

Vin’s generation.

His Trail Blazers are carving a new path. They’re creating fresh memories. They’re molding the vision for the franchise future.

One led by Lillard.

I wondered as this playoff series was set up, how similar the fan bases in Portland and Oklahoma City would end up acting. Two small market franchises. Two rabid fan bases. Game 4, for example, marked consecutive sellout No. 387 for the Thunder. Also, the OKC local television broadcast this season was the third-highest rated in the NBA.

That sounds a lot like Portland, no?

I asked Blazers center Enes Kanter about it. He’s played in both cities. And he told me, “the Thunder are the only major sport in Oklahoma City. It’s sort of like Portland is, except maybe for soccer, in that way.”

But in this series, on the court, the Blazers and Thunder have been nothing alike.

One franchise is taking care of business, unselfish to the end. The other spent a lot of energy taunting and jeering when things went right. And when things went wrong, it pretended there was nothing to see.

Portland fans have been louder in this series. Better follows on Twitter, too. And they weren’t plagued with the usual gloomy outlook, even with the majority of sports media picking against them to start the series.

Some Blazers fans aren’t surprised by what they’re seeing.

I know Vin said he wasn’t.

In the third quarter, OKC fans were staring out at the court with a glazed-over look on their faces. Portland fans might be able to relate to that. But it feels so far away. The Thunder are in a funk, and they’ve been there for a couple of months.

OKC fans spent the night in shock. Droves of them walked out of the arena early on Sunday. They’d watched five starters earning more than $101 million in combined salary get outclassed, out-hustled and outplayed by five Blazers making $72 million.

That’s NBA math, though.

The better team is winning the games.

Portland has a firm grip on this playoff series. Game 5 at Moda Center on Tuesday isn’t a gimme. The series isn’t closed out yet, but Oklahoma City doesn’t look like it can win three in-a-row of anything.

Checkers. Arm wrestling. A foot race.

Can’t see it happening.

Blazers fans, enjoy this ride. You’ve paid a price over the years. You had one coming. And you’re watching a fun team refuse to be defined by its past.

I watched Vin as he and his dad stood and hugged in the closing seconds. They stayed to the very end of his first game. Then, they stood, posing for pictures, and smiling, watching the Blazers leave the court and disappear down the tunnel.

So did Vin have a blast? Is he hooked for life?

Said his father: “He refused to leave until they kicked us out.”

Sort of like that basketball team of his.

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Sri Lankan officials inspect St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, after a series of explosions on Easter Sunday at churches and hotels across Sri Lanka killed nearly 300 people and wounded hundreds more.

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Sri Lankan officials inspect St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, after a series of explosions on Easter Sunday at churches and hotels across Sri Lanka killed nearly 300 people and wounded hundreds more.

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Updated at 12:53 a.m. ET Monday

Nearly 300 people were killed and hundreds more wounded after explosions tore through Sri Lanka in a series of coordinated blasts that struck three churches and three hotels. It marked the country’s worst violence since the end of its civil war in 2009.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said Monday the death toll had risen to 290 dead with more than 500 wounded, according to The Associated Press.

A top police official reportedly had alerted security officials 10 days earlier about a threat to churches from a radical Islamist group, National Thowheeth Jama’ath. It was unclear what precautions, if any, had been taken, or whether that group had played any role in the assaults, according to The New York Times.

A relative of a victim of the explosion at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo grieves at the police mortuary.

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A relative of a victim of the explosion at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo grieves at the police mortuary.

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Sri Lanka’s prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, pointedly said he and other ministers had not been warned, in what appeared to be a sign of the recent frictions within the government hierarchy, the paper adds.

The blasts started as people gathered for Mass on Easter Sunday. In Colombo, the country’s capital, bombings were reported at St. Anthony’s Shrine and three high-end hotels: the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury.

Sri Lankan security personnel keep watch outside St. Anthony’s Shrine following the blast at the church.

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Sri Lankan security personnel keep watch outside St. Anthony’s Shrine following the blast at the church.

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Explosions were also reported at St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, north of the capital, and at Zion Church in Batticaloa, in the country’s Eastern Province. A police spokesman, Ruwan Gunasekara, said at least 207 people were killed and 450 wounded in the attacks.

The blasts gave way to sounds of screams and cries as billowing smoke could be seen from the streets. Inside the churches, devastated worshippers stood near pews covered in rubble and blood. A similar scene of destruction was reported at the luxury hotels that were attacked.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but police say 13 suspects linked to the explosions have been arrested, The Associated Press reported. Sri Lanka’s defense minister, Ruwan Wijewardene, described the violence as a terrorist attack carried out by religious extremists and said he believed they were part of one group.

Security personnel walk past debris outside Zion Church in the eastern city of Batticaloa following the explosion at the church.

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Security personnel walk past debris outside Zion Church in the eastern city of Batticaloa following the explosion at the church.

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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who condemned the “cowardly” attacks, told reporters that information about the bombings appeared to have been received in advance. “We must look into why adequate precautions were not taken. Neither I nor the ministers were kept informed,” he said at a news conference.

St. Sebastian’s Church posted photos of the aftermath on Facebook, pleading for relatives to “come and help if your family members are there.”

Harsha de Silva, Sri Lanka’s minister of economic reforms and public distribution, said he visited the shattered churches, and he described the horrific scenes. “I saw many body parts strewn all over. Emergency crews are at all locations in full force,” he said on Twitter.

Sri Lankan police stand at the site of the explosion in a restaurant area of the luxury Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo.

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Sri Lankan police stand at the site of the explosion in a restaurant area of the luxury Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo.

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“It was a river of blood,” a shopkeeper named N.A. Sumanapala near St. Anthony’s Shrine told The New York Times. “Ash was falling like snow,” he said. “I saw limbs and heads. There were children too.”

After the explosions, the government announced a curfew, which has since been lifted.

Easter services scheduled for Sunday evening were canceled, Sri Lanka’s state news agency reported, and the government moved to block social media sites, including Facebook and Instagram, to stop the spread of false information. The Sri Lanka Red Cross said misinformation had already begun to spread online about its building being attacked, and it sought to dispel the rumor.

In Colombo, a woman is helped near St. Anthony’s Shrine, the site of one of multiple explosions in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

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In Colombo, a woman is helped near St. Anthony’s Shrine, the site of one of multiple explosions in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday.

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Security forces were deployed to religious sites, and Sri Lanka’s president, Maithripala Sirisena, told defense officials to set up a national operations center for investigations.

“We will go after them,” Defense Minister Wijewardene vowed. “Whatever religious extremism that they are following, we will take the necessary actions against them and will stop these groups from operating in this country in the near future.”

Wijewardene also said that three police officers had lost their lives during a search for suspects after explosives detonated.

Hospital workers transport a body on a stretcher at a hospital morgue following the explosion at a church in Batticaloa.

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Hospital workers transport a body on a stretcher at a hospital morgue following the explosion at a church in Batticaloa.

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The foreign minister said at least 27 foreigners were killed. A Portuguese national, a Dutch national, two Turkish engineers, at least three British citizens and several Chinese citizens were reported among the dead.

“Several American citizens” were also among the victims, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department told NPR.

U.S. officials are advising Americans in Sri Lanka “to remain sheltered in place and to follow news reports,” the spokesperson said. The U.S. Embassy in Colombo gave Americans who might need help a phone number to call to reach embassy staff.

Sri Lankan Special Task Force personnel raid a house — after a blast killed police searching the property — in the Orugodawatta area of Colombo.

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Sri Lankan Special Task Force personnel raid a house — after a blast killed police searching the property — in the Orugodawatta area of Colombo.

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World leaders offered their condolences as details of the assault mounted.

During his Easter Sunday Mass at the Vatican, Pope Francis took time to offer condolences to victims of what he called “such a cruel act of violence.”

An injured Sri Lankan woman lies on a stretcher as hospital workers transport her at the District General Hospital in Negombo, following the explosion at St. Sebastian’s Church.

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An injured Sri Lankan woman lies on a stretcher as hospital workers transport her at the District General Hospital in Negombo, following the explosion at St. Sebastian’s Church.

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President Trump tweeted a message of support for Sri Lanka on Sunday morning, saying, “The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka. We stand ready to help!”

Muslims in Sri Lanka have also condemned the violence. All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama, a Sri Lankan-based group of Islamic clerics, denounced the attacks on Christian places of worship.

Sri Lanka, a small island nation in the Indian Ocean, is primarily Buddhist. Less than 10% of the country identifies as Catholic, according to Sri Lanka’s Department of Census and Statistics.

The Kingsbury hotel in Colombo after it was rocked by an explosion on Easter Sunday.

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The Kingsbury hotel in Colombo after it was rocked by an explosion on Easter Sunday.

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Religious and ethnic tensions have plagued the tropical country for years. A civil war started in 1983 and ended in 2009 after security forces defeated the Tamil Tigers, rebels who were fighting for an independent homeland.

During that time, they carried out a series of attacks, including bombings of a holy Buddhist temple and the Central Bank in Colombo.

Sunday’s violence came just ahead of the 10-year anniversary of the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war.

“We don’t really have all the answers we want about who was behind the attacks,” the U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka, Alaina Teplitz, told NPR. “I don’t believe they were linked to that conflict period, but for a country trying to recover, trying to achieve reconciliation among the ethnic and religious groups here, this is not going to support that effort.”

This is a developing story. Details may change as more information becomes available.

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Phil Foden’s first Premier League goal lifted Manchester City to 86 points on Saturday

It is as you were at the top of the Premier League after victories for Liverpool and Manchester City this weekend, but this season’s title race continues to produce plenty of talking points.

Jurgen Klopp’s team broke their own top-flight points record at Cardiff City Stadium, while City edged closer to a Premier League-best of their own.

BBC Sport takes a closer look at the weekend’s key stats…

Title holders close in on record – but will it be enough?

If Pep Guardiola’s team win their remaining games, they will become the first club to retain the Premier League title since rivals United did so in 2009.

Even if they are pipped to the post by Liverpool, City can still set a new record points haul for a reigning Premier League champion.

Saturday’s 1-0 win against Tottenham lifted them to 86 points, the highest tally for a defending champion since Sir Alex Ferguson’s United finished on 89 points in 2011-12 – only to be denied back-to-back titles by Sergio Aguero’s memorable injury-time winner against QPR.

The biggest ever points haul by the reigning Premier League title holders is 92, set by United in the 42-game season of 1993-94. Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea accrued 91 points in 2005-06 – the highest tally since the division was reduced to 20 teams in 1995-96.

If City maintain their current points-per-game ratio of 2.53, they will end the season on 96 – just four shy of their record-breaking 100-point tally from the 2017-18 season.

Highest final points haul of reigning Premier League champions
Season Reigning champions Final points
1993-94 Manchester United 92
2005-06 Chelsea 91
2008-09 Manchester United 90
1994-95 Manchester United 88
2007-08 Manchester United 87
2018-19 Manchester City 86*

Whether that will be enough to win City the league remains to be seen, particularly with Liverpool in such breathtaking form. The Reds’ 2-0 win at Cardiff on Sunday lifted them back above Guardiola’s team and on to 88 points – their best ever total in a Premier League season.

Adjusting to three points for a win, Liverpool have only earned more in a top-flight campaign in 1978-79 (98) and 1987-88 (90).

Can anyone really beat anyone in the Premier League?

While Liverpool and City continue to blaze a trail at the summit, it has been a forgettable campaign for the teams at the other end of the table – who have endured a miserable record against the division’s top sides this season.

Teams who started the day in the top six have won all 33 of their league games against sides in the bottom three – a top-flight record, surpassing 30 wins in such fixtures in the 1891-92, 1978-79, 1985-86, 2001-02, 2011-12 and 2013-14 seasons.

Perhaps as a consequence, the points gap between sixth place and third bottom in the Premier League also appears to be widening.

Manchester United, who were beaten 4-0 by Everton on Sunday, are currently 33 points above Cardiff. If they win the Manchester derby on Wednesday they will extend that gap to 36 points, which would equal the top-flight record set at the end of the 2013-14 season.

Then, Tottenham finished sixth on 69 points with 18th-placed Norwich City ending the campaign on 33 points.

Biggest points gap between sixth place and third bottom in the Premier League
Season Sixth place Third bottom Points gap
2013-14 69 (Tottenham Hotspur) 33 (Norwich City) 36
2016-17 69 (Manchester United) 34 (Hull City) 35
2009-10 64 (Aston Villa) 30 (Burnley) 34
2018-19 64* (Manchester United) 31* (Cardiff City) 33*
2017-18 63 (Arsenal) 33 (Swansea City) 30

Bacuna’s losing run goes on

If someone had told Juninho Bacuna back in July he would start 13 league games for Huddersfield in his first season in England, he might not have been too disappointed.

Unfortunately for the 21-year-old midfielder, he has ended up on the losing side on all 13 occasions – a Premier League record for a single campaign.

Bacuna, who joined the West Yorkshire club from Eredivisie side FC Groningen last summer, suffered his latest reverse against Watford on Saturday – a result that keeps the already-relegated Terriers rooted to the foot of the table.

The Dutch Under-21 international played 45 minutes of Town’s 1-0 win over Wolves in February, having come on as a half-time replacement for Demeaco Duhaney.

Former Sunderland midfielder Sean Thornton and ex-Reading defender Kalifa Cisse shared the previous record, having lost all 11 of their league starts in 2002-03 and 2007-08 respectively.

Bacuna might just settle for a place on the bench in Huddersfield’s next game – a trip to league leaders Liverpool on Friday.

Most defeats when starting in the Premier League
Season Player Starts Defeats when starting
2018-19 Juninho Bacuna (Huddersfield) 13 13
2002-03 Sean Thornton (Sunderland) 11 11
2007-08 Kalifa Cisse (Reading) 11 11
2002-03 Marcus Stewart (Sunderland) 9 9
2002-03 Kevin Kyle (Sunderland) 9 9
2015-16 Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) 9 9

Youngster Foden opens Premier League account

Phil Foden’s fifth-minute diving header earned City all three points against Tottenham at Etihad Stadium

City’s win against Tottenham was a far cry from Wednesday’s thrill-a-minute Champions League quarter-final second leg, but Phil Foden is unlikely to forget it in a hurry.

The 18-year-old achieved the latest milestone of his burgeoning career by scoring his first Premier League goal in the victory at Etihad Stadium, which saw them temporarily leapfrog Liverpool at the top of the table.

One of City’s standout performers against Spurs, Foden earned his team all three points with a superb diving header from Aguero’s cutback.

Foden is only the third player born in the 2000s to score in the top flight. Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon, 18, became the first earlier this season when he netted in the Cottagers’ 4-2 defeat at Cardiff in October, with 18-year-old Southampton forward Michael Obafemi scoring in the Saints’ 3-1 win at Huddersfield two months later.

The England Under-21 international is also the third youngest City player to score in the Premier League after Micah Richards and Daniel Sturridge.

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The United States, the European Union and Russia will be closely watching Zelenskiy’s foreign policy pronouncements to see if and how he might try to end the war against pro-Russian separatists that has killed some 13,000 people.

U.S. President Donald Trump phoned Zelenskiy and pledged to support Ukraine’s territorial integrity, while European Council President Donald Tusk congratulated the Ukrainian people on what he called a show of democratic maturity.

Zelenskiy said on Sunday he planned to continue European-backed talks with Russia on a so far largely unimplemented peace deal and would try to free Ukrainians imprisoned in Russia, which is holding 24 Ukrainian sailors among others.

Viktor Medvedchuk, the Kremlin’s closest ally in Ukraine, last week outlined ways in which Ukraine and Russia could mend ties, though Zelenskiy has given no indication of being open to the prospect.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Ukraine now had a chance to “reset” and unite its people.

Zelenskiy has pledged to keep Ukraine on a pro-Western course, but has sounded less emphatic than Poroshenko about possible plans for the country of 42 million people to one day join the European Union and NATO.

Poroshenko, who conceded defeat but said he planned to stay in politics, said on social media he thought Zelenskiy’s win would spark celebrations in the Kremlin.

“They believe that with a new inexperienced Ukrainian President, Ukraine could be quickly returned to Russia’s orbit of influence,” he wrote.

Critics accuse Zelenskiy of having an unhealthily close working relationship with a powerful oligarch called Ihor Kolomoisky, whose TV channel broadcasts his comedy shows.

Zelenskiy has rejected those accusations.

One of the most important and early tests of that promise will be the fate of PrivatBank, Ukraine’s largest lender, which was nationalized in 2016.

The government wrested PrivatBank from Kolomoisky as part of a banking system clean-up backed by the IMF, which supports Ukraine with a multi-billion dollar loan program.

But its fate hangs in the balance after a Kiev court ruled days before the election that the change of PrivatBank’s ownership was illegal, delighting Kolomoisky but rocking the central bank which said it would appeal.

Zelenskiy has repeatedly denied he would seek to hand PrivatBank back to Kolomoisky if elected or help the businessman win compensation for the ownership change.

The IMF will be watching closely too to see if Zelenskiy will allow gas prices to rise to market levels, an IMF demand but a politically sensitive issue and one Zelenskiy has been vague about.

Zelenskiy gave few new policy details on Sunday, but said he wanted a new general prosecutor to replace incumbent Yuriy Lutsenko, and spoke of wanting new generals to work in the army.

His unorthodox campaign traded on the character he plays in the TV show, a scrupulously honest schoolteacher who becomes president by accident after an expletive-ridden rant about corruption goes viral.

Zelenskiy has promised to fight corruption, a message that has resonated with Ukrainians fed up with the status quo in a country that is one of Europe’s poorest nearly three decades after breaking away from the Soviet Union.

View an election graphic here

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ORLANDO – Like an all-business boxer systematically taking apart a foe with a flurry of strategic punches, Toronto Raptors superstar forward Kawhi Leonard went to Orlando’s body, landed a few devastating head shots and ultimately seemed to break the will of the Magic and a fanbase filling the Amway Center with noise and hope.

Now, after Leonard used his massive hands and expansive wingspan to batter them for 34 points and one defensive disruption after another in the Raptors’ 107-85 Game 4 victory, the Magic find themselves in a daunting 3-1 hole as they head back to Toronto in hopes of staving off elimination.

“He was great tonight, he played a helluva game and can score in so many ways,’’ Magic all-star center Nikola Vucevic said of Leonard, who made 10 of his first 15 shots and recorded his second 30-point game of the series. “I feel like we could have helped (Aaron Gordon) a little more on some of the pick-and-rolls and some of the stuff when he was driving. But he’s a great player and a tough matchup. He can score in a lot of ways, he’s seen a lot of different matchups thrown at him. But again, we could have done a better job of helping A.G.’’

A little more than a week after stunningly winning Game 1 in the best-of-seven, first-round playoff series, the Magic have dropped three straight – the final two coming at a raucous Amway Center seeing playoff basketball for the first time in seven seasons. Like in Friday’s disappointing 98-93 Game 3 loss, the sellout crowd 19,087 was left wanting because of the all-around brilliance of Leonard, who made 12 of 20 shots and grabbed six rebounds, two steals and two blocks.

“It’s tough, man, because these fans have been waiting for these games for so long and it’s really disappointing to not give them a win,’’ said Evan Fournier, who bounced back from his nightmarish one-of-12 shooting in Game 3 with 19 points on Sunday. “That’s a big reason why we want to come back here for a Game 6.’’

Leonard played a major role in getting Magic forwards Jonathan Isaac and Aaron Gordon in early foul trouble and he often disrupted an Orlando offense that made 42 percent of its shots and only seven of 33 3-point shots. Orlando turned the ball over 17 times – errors that led to 21 points for a Toronto team that was first in the NBA this season in points scored off of turnovers.

“To me, it’s the turnovers, the rebounding game and then the same thing – the purpose of play,’’ Magic coach Steve Clifford lamented. “They are hard to play against and you can see it early in the game. We’re going to have to move the ball. It’s going to have to be inside-out. And then, if we make a couple, we can’t go back to, `I can score on these guys.’ We have to understand how we have to play in order to play well. It takes a lot of discipline.’’

Gordon did his best to match Leonard’s production, scoring 25 points by making 10 of his 17 field goals. But it was far from being enough – especially with center Nikola Vucevic (11 points and five rebounds) and super sub Terrence Ross (five points on one-of-five shooting) struggling all night to get clean looks against Toronto’s aggressive and trapping defense. Vucevic, who had a career-best 60 double-doubles on the season, had notched just one such accomplishment in four games against Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka.

After his Magic were hit with two Leonard haymakers in the two games in Orlando, Gordon said the Magic have to go to Toronto still thinking they can flip the best-of-seven series around.

“We’re going to go to Toronto and, obviously, look for a win,’’ Gordon said. “We’ve shown that we can win there before and, that’s what we’re going to do. That’s the idea – go out there and fight – definitely fight – and potentially get back here (for a Game 6). We get a win out there, then the series is up for grabs.’’

Nothing will be up for grabs if the Magic don’t reverse their rebounding disadvantage. Two nights after missed rebounds hurt their chances of rallying in the fourth quarter, the Magic got smashed 45-34 on the boards. Toronto had seven offensive rebounds that it turned into 11 points.

Orlando was outrebounded by 11 boards just six times all season – but not once after a Jan. 19 home loss to Milwaukee. The Magic had rebounding edges of plus-six, plus-19, plus-10 and plus-seven in the four regular-season games against the Raptors. After winning the rebounding battle in Games 1 and 2, the Magic have been outboarded in Games 3 and 4.

“We don’t have a lot of room for error,’’ Clifford said. “You can make an argument that the biggest difference was their Game 3 offensive rebounding and the same happened tonight. We weren’t hitting (while rebounding); we’re going to have to hit. Look at the strengths of the team – if turn the ball over, it’s going to be a problem. And if we don’t win the rebounding game by a pretty significant margin, it’s not going to happen for us.’’

Another very telling statistic of the Magic’s plight over the past three games: Veteran point guard D.J. Augustin, the Game 1 hero with his game-winning three, has scored just 24 points in the past three games after pumping in 25 in the opener. Toronto’s move to switch 6-foot-6 shooting guard Danny Green onto the 6-foot Augustin has greatly limited his looks, holding him to nine, seven and eight points on Sunday.

“They’re a long team and they’re all over the place,’’ Augustin said. “Once you get by one guy, somebody else is there to step up. They’re playing good defense. We’ve got to make the right play, make the simple passes and don’t wait until the last minute.’’

Following the Magic’s brief run in the third quarter, the Raptors proceeded to drain most of the drama out of the night by making an efficient 53.3 percent of their shots and 39.3 percent from 3-point range.

“It was great (winning twice in Orlando),’’ Leonard said. “Road wins are the best, especially in the playoffs. We all know the job (in the series with the Magic) isn’t done yet.’’

Serge Ibaka chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds, while reserve guard Norman Powell added 16 points. Pascal Siakam scored 16 points and took turns with Leonard early in the game battering the Magic and building a 16-point halftime lead.

Primarily, though, it was Leonard’s all-out assault – both offensively and defensively – that did Orlando in all night.

“It’s just part of the game because you know he’s a really good player, he’s established and you know Kawhi is going to make shots,’’ Gordon said of Leonard. “The demoralizing part about it is that we know that we’re a better team than we’ve shown and how we’re playing. That’s the demoralizing part of it.’’

The series now shifts back to Toronto once again for Friday’s Game 5. The Magic will use Monday as a travel day and Game 5 will be played Tuesday at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena. The Magic were victorious there twice this season – once during the regular season in late February and in last Saturday’s Game 1 following a game-winning 3-pointer by Augustin.

“We’ve got to regroup,’’ Ross said. “We’ve got to do it fast and we’ve got to watch film and understand better what we need to do. We’ve got a way to play and I just think we’ve got to figure that out. They’re throwing all sorts of coverages at us and we’ve got to figure something out.’’

Down 16 at intermission, Orlando saw the deficit swell to as much as 19 points before stringing together its best stretch of the night. And when Ross buried a 3-pointer just before the third-quarter buzzer, Orlando was within 82-70 by the start of the fourth.

Repeatedly run off the 3-point line by a Toronto defense determined to not let him beat them, Ross missed his first three shots before the buzzer-beater. Orlando came into Sunday with 11 victories in which it rallied in the fourth quarter after trailing at the end of three periods. However, no such rally was possible on Sunday because of Orlando’s inability to handle the ball against Leonard and the Raptors’ suffocating defense.

“This is how you win games in the playoffs,’’ said Leonard, who was rested in 22 games during the regular season so that he would be fresh and healthy for the postseason. “It’s not a one-man team. We all did it collectively throughout the whole year. It showed tonight.’’

A first half that started with so much promise quickly fizzled because of the all-around brilliance of Leonard, and the Magic found themselves in a daunting 58-42 at intermission. Forced to send two defenders at Leonard, the Magic were left exposed defensively and Toronto repeatedly made them pay with eight 3-point shots – by seven different players.

Down 11-0 and 10-0 in the previous two games – both losses – the Magic got off to a much better start on Sunday. They led 9-1 and sat at 13-10 after drilling the first six shots of the game. However, turnovers were once again an issue, jump-starting Toronto’s fastbreak game. Bothered by Leonard’s length in the passing lanes, the Magic’s gave the ball away six times in the first quarter and eight times in the opening half – errors that led to 11 Toronto points.

Leonard caused and took advantage of Orlando’s foul trouble in the first half. Isaac picked up two fouls in less than four minutes and a third came 38 seconds into the second quarter. Later in the half, Gordon had to commit a third foul to prevent a Leonard dunk off a steal.

Unlike in Friday’s Game 1, when Leonard had his shot blocked four times in the early going and he turned it over six times in the game, the former NBA Finals MVP was the picture of efficiency. He made six of nine shots and five of six free throws for 18 first-half points.

“He’s a great player and there’s nothing to say about what he’s doing,’’ Augustin said of Leonard, a former NBA Finals MVP and a two-time winner of the Defensive Player of the Year award. “We’ve just got to do our best to try and contain him. I think A.G. has been playing great defense on him, but he’s just one of those guys in the league where there’s just not much you can do to stop him. We just have to try and control all of the other guys and do as well as we can against him.’’

While being at wit’s end about what to do with Leonard, Augustin wasn’t ready to surrender this series to the Raptors just yet.

“It’s not over until it’s over,’’ Augustin said. “We’ve got to go in there and try to get us another win like we did in Game 1. Then, come back and do well on our homecourt. Just keep playing, that’s really all you can do now. If we lose, we go home, and we have to have that in our minds.

“We have to keep chipping away,’’ Augustin said. “If we go down, we have to keep chipping away and if we go up, we have to stay with it. We’ve got to keep fighting because that’s all we can do now. We have another game to play and you never know what can happen in the playoffs.’’

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.

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‘American Idol’ recap: Season 17, Episode 14 |

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Tomas Hertl scored a short-handed goal 11 minutes 17 seconds into the second overtime to lift the San Jose Sharks to a 2-1 win over the host Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday night, forcing a Game 7 in their first-round Western Conference playoff series.

Just 31 seconds after Barclay Goodrow was called for slashing Brayden McNabb, Hertl recovered a loose puck, skated in alone and beat Marc-Andre Fleury with a seemingly stoppable wrist shot from the top of the slot to force the deciding game on Tuesday at San Jose.

Hertl’s goal was the first short-handed winner in N.H.L. history in a game that lasted more than one overtime.

Logan Couture also scored for the Sharks, and Martin Jones had a playoff career-high 58 saves. San Jose has won two straight after being forced to the brink of elimination.

Jonathan Marchessault scored for Vegas, and Fleury stopped 27 shots.

With the Golden Knights carrying momentum over from Marchessault’s goal that tied the score with 8:40 left in the second period, and a penalty kill that carried into the third, Jones’s biggest save came against Reilly Smith, whose point-blank one-timer was stopped. Moments later, Jones snuffed out Mark Stone’s slap shot from the circle.

The Sharks made it 1-0 with 6.5 seconds left in the first period, when Vegas defenseman Deryk Engelland misplayed the puck in the neutral zone. Couture gathered it up, maneuvered around Nate Schmidt and fired past Fleury’s glove side.

Marchessault tied it as he gathered a rebound off Shea Theodore’s shot from the point and lifted the puck over Jones’s right pad with a swift backhand. It gave Marchessault a goal in three consecutive games.

Both goalies came up with big saves during the first extra period. First, Jones stopped Max Pacioretty’s one-timer with 9:57 left. Then with roughly three minutes left, Fleury and defensemen Jon Merrill and Colin Miller combined to stop the puck just short of the goal line on a scramble.

BRUINS 4, MAPLE LEAFS 2 Brad Marchand had two goals and an assists as Boston won at Toronto, forcing a Game 7 in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

Torey Krug and Jake DeBrusk also scored, and David Pastrnak had two assists to help Boston avoid elimination. Tuukka Rask stopped 22 shots for the Bruins, who will host the deciding game on Tuesday night.

Morgan Rielly and Auston Matthews scored for Toronto in a series in which neither team has managed back-to-back victories and each has won twice on the road. Frederik Andersen finished with 37 saves.

The Maple Leafs, who lost to the Bruins in seven games in 2013 and last spring, have not advanced to the second round since 2004.

“You try to forget the past, whether it’s this series or last year’s series,” DeBrusk said, “and understand they’re going to come out with everything they’ve got, and so are we.”

FLYERS REMOVE SMITH STATUE The Philadelphia Flyers removed a statue of the singer Kate Smith from outside Wells Fargo Center, two days after covering it amid allegations of racism against the 1930s star who had a popular recording of “God Bless America.”

“The N.H.L. principle ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ is at the heart of everything the Flyers stand for,” the team president Paul Holmgren said in a statement. “As a result, we cannot stand idle while material from another era gets in the way of who we are today.”

The Flyers and the Yankees had suspended use of Smith’s recording of “God Bless America” amid conflicting claims about several of her songs, including a 1939 song “That’s Why the Darkies Were Born.”

Smith’s connection with the Flyers started in 1969 when a team executive ordered her version of “God Bless America” to be played instead of “The Star Spangled Banner.” That led to her performing the song several times before big games in the 1970s. The team erected the statue in 1987, the year after she died.

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Beyoncé performs onstage at Coachella on April 14, 2018.

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Beyoncé performs onstage at Coachella on April 14, 2018.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

On Wednesday, Beyoncé released two major projects. On Netflix, a new documentary captures the process of putting on headlining appearances at last year’s Coachella Music Festival. She also surprise-released a double-length live album that contains just some of the highlights from Beyoncé’s two ambitious Coachella performances. Both projects are called Homecoming, and they help immortalize a huge stage show full of dancers and drum lines and impeccable choreography and songs that reach across Beyoncé’s career.

Show Notes:

The audio was produced and edited by Jessica Reedy.

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LOS ANGELES — One of my most firmly held beliefs in my life is that joy doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Joy doesn’t exist without pain. The highs don’t happen without the lows. We don’t experience the wonders of the mountaintop without also experiencing the depths of the valley. This isn’t just true in life, but in soccer as well. If you don’t experience crushing defeats, you have no idea how sweet the victories are.

There’s no doubt about what happened Sunday night at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. The Seattle Sounders were roundly defeated by Los Angeles Football Club. Seattle was the worse of the two marquee teams in MLS in every way. You, reader, probably already know that. You suffered the pain of that 90 minutes, too. It wasn’t fun. At all.

Suffering pain can teach us life lessons, but it can also teach us soccer lessons. Ever try to grab a hot pan from the oven without a mitt? That’s a mistake you only make one time. If we’re going to be dramatic—and let’s be honest, I do have a knack for the dramatic—a season of soccer can be a lot like a season of life. Highs and lows. Joy and pain. Mountaintops and deep valleys. And a lot like in a season of life, there are some lessons that only need to be learned once.

If the Seattle Sounders want to compete for the Supporters’ Shield, they need to ensure that the pain they experienced on Sunday afternoon in LA only happens once during this season. You can’t win every game. You have space in life to be fallible. The Sounders entered this match as the last unbeaten team in Major League Soccer, having that title for only 48 hours after the Houston Dynamo lost to the LA Galaxy on Friday night. As it is in life, the pain needs to inform the joy. Learn from it and grow.

One pain that the Sounders experienced against LAFC was a disorganized and disinterested back line. All the goals they conceded were bad, but none were worse than the fourth. No communication. No organization. No one tracking their man. There are a few lessons that can be learned there, but the specifics will certainly be talked elsewhere on the pages of this fine website.

After experiencing the lows of a loss like that, I find it helpful to look at the bigger picture. So, let’s do that. The Sounders came into this match as the last unbeaten team in the league this season—and they had the best points-per-game record. Neither of those things are true now. That’s okay. Even the best boxers take one on the chin from time to time. It makes you feel alive, I’m told. The Sounders took one on the chin Sunday night. A historically great defensive team looked all over the place against possibly the best attack that Major League Soccer has ever seen.

One lesson that the Sounders need to learn: what to do when Chad Marshall can’t play. Both Kim Kee-hee and Roman Torres had very poor afternoons in LA. The former looks like a Defender of the Year candidate playing on the right side of defense, but when he’s forced to play with Torres (and, subsequently on the left side of the defense) his quality suffers massively. Torres’ best days are behind him, that’s for sure, but as long as he is still a Sounders player, he needs to find a way to play better. Plain and simple.

This might sound incredibly daft, but I thought the Sounders played well at 4-1 down. Sure, LAFC easily cruised into the LA sunset, but Seattle was far more organized with Gustav Svensson and Nouhou playing on the backline. Svensson could and should be slotted into the left-sided center back position when Marshall can’t play.

As they fly back to Seattle on Sunday night, the Sounders can still consider themselves one of the top teams in MLS, but they still have room to improve. By now, we’ve gotten used to midseason signings turning an impossibly bad season into a late surge into the playoffs. Through seven matches I’m relatively sure that won’t need to happen—the Sounders are still off to their best start in franchise history. But with that said, I think the performance Sunday night showed the areas of the pitch where the Sounders should target with signings in the summer.

As I mentioned above, Svensson looked decent at the center of the defense. But, sliding him back there means sacrificing his role in midfield. I don’t expect Cristian Roldan to play as poorly as he did again this season, but the Sounders could really use another top level central midfielder. I’m not interested in rehashing the Ozzie Alonso debate, but I think the lack of depth in that position should be addressed. After all, Svensson isn’t getting any younger.

The Sounders could and should also target a younger center back to fill the Marshall-sized hole that exists when the big man can’t play and when he (sadly, eventually) hangs up his boots. I’m not in the business of predicting when that will happen, but the contingency plan for replacing the best defender in MLS history needs to be clear. After several seasons of attacking talent being infused into the roster during the summer transfer window, they should be looking to shore up their defense during the next window.

Now, do not misunderstand my point. I do not think the Sounders are all of a sudden a crap team. Far from it, actually. They are still a really, really good MLS team and they even showed that at times during Sunday’s match. Sometimes we do this thing as fans—I catch myself doing this all the time. But soccer, like life, is not binary. It is a logical game, but it does not happen with eithers and ors. It happens, just like life, with boths and ands. Next Sunday night, the Sounders could find themselves even on points with LAFC, the team that just categorically hosed them.

It is absolutely a joy to be alive, reader. I sit here watching the California sunset kiss the skyline of Los Angeles, as I did many times as a child. I flew to Los Angeles to write about this soccer game. I had an idea of how it would go, but my expectations weren’t met. But, you know what? That’s life sometimes. Pain teaches you joy. This could definitely be the case during a Seattle Sounders season that has every opportunity to be a special one.

On this Easter Sunday, weeping may tarry the night but joy does come in the morning.

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