Lonzo Ball Will Be the Michael Jordan of Passing, Says Jay Williams

Jay WilliamsLonzo’s Gonna Be Like MJ… Will Revolutionize Game

7/12/2017 8:31 AM PDT

EXCLUSIVE

Here it is … your first Lonzo Ball, Michael Jordan comparison … courtesy of ex-hoops star Jay Williams.

J-Will is FIRED UP about the Lakers star’s potential — and tells TMZ Sports, “That kid is gonna make passing what Jordan made scoring.”

“He makes the game so damn easy for everybody.”

Clearly, the ESPN analyst was impressed by the rook’s 11-assist triple-double over the weekend. 

That was ‘Zo’s first big summer league game for the Lakers, but J-Will’s already convinced the kid’s special — and he’s predicting a $ 200 MILLION contract down the line. 

Oh, and Jay’s got a message for everyone hatin’ on Lonzo’s funky shot …

IT DOESN’T MATTER!!


TMZ.com

Stop having children! Planet Earth will benefit from smaller families, researchers say

As the topic of climate change continues to dominate the political sphere, researchers have announced that the best way to save the planet is to have fewer children. They also announced three other lifestyle changes which can lead to carbon footprint reduction.

Researchers from Sweden’s Lund University identified four ways that people can reduce their carbon footprints, with the most powerful one being to simply have smaller families.

If families were to have one fewer child, it would save an average of 58.6 tons of CO2-equivalent emission reductions per year, according to the report.

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FILE PHOTO © Erik Buraas

“A US family who chooses to have one fewer child would provide the same level of emissions reductions as 684 teenagers who choose to adopt comprehensive recycling for the rest of their lives,” it states.

While that method was the one that carries the most impact, the researchers also suggested three other ways for people to reduce their carbon footprints – eating a plant-based diet, avoiding air travel and living car-free.

The researchers said that not having a car saves about 2.4 tons of CO2 equivalent per year, while avoiding plane travel saves about 1.6 tons of CO2 equivalent per trip. Ditching meat for plants saves 0.8 tons per year.

The researchers determined the four steps after an analysis of 39 peer-reviewed papers, carbon calculators, and government reports which calculate how individual lifestyle choices may help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The scientists then looked at whether governments were adequately promoting effective ways to curb pollution. They studied 10 Canadian high school textbooks, as well as government communications in the US, Australia and Europe, and found they were focused on “incremental changes with a much smaller potential to reduce emissions.”

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 © Rick Wilking

Promoting their own suggestions, the researchers said those actions are much more beneficial to the planet than commonly promoted strategies such as comprehensive recycling (one-quarter as effective as a plant-based diet) or changing household lightbulbs (one-eighth the amount).

Not a single Canadian textbook studied by the researchers suggested having fewer children, despite that being the most eco-friendly action, according to the researchers.

“There are so many factors that affect the climate impact of personal choices, but bringing all these studies side-by-side gives us confidence we’ve identified actions that make a big difference,” lead author Seth Wynes told AFP.

“Those of us who want to step forward on climate need to know how our actions can have the greatest possible impact.”

The report, published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, comes just one day after French President Emmanuel Macron landed in hot water for saying that one of Africa’s main problems was that most women had seven to eight children, prompting his critics to take to social media. 

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‘Fight far from over’: US troops expected to stay in Iraq after ISIS’ defeat

US troops and coalition forces may stay in Iraq even after Islamic State terrorists are totally defeated, the top US commander in Iraq stated on Tuesday, just one day after Mosul was officially declared liberated from the terrorist group.

Iraq’s second largest city was retaken following an eight-month-long operation mounted by Iraqi government troops and US–allied Kurdish Peshmerga fighters with air support from the US-led coalition.

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© Alaa Al-Marjani

“The Iraqi government has expressed an interest in having the US forces and coalition forces remain after the defeat of ISIS [Islamic State, IS, formerly ISIL]. Our government is equally interested in that,” coalition commander General Stephen Townsend said during a video conference, adding that other coalition members may join the mission as it is “still in the decision-making stages.”

The troop levels are not going to be changed in the near future, according to the general.

“So this fight is far from over. So I wouldn’t expect to see any significant change in our troop levels in the immediate future, because there’s still hard work to be done,” he said.

However, the commander speculated that “a future footprint would be smaller and probably use a subset of the bases that we have today.”

The US’ combat mission in Iraq ended in 2011, after which most American troops left, but some of the contingent remained as advisors to the Iraqi army. During Islamic State’s advance in 2014, the Iraqi military was unable stop the terrorists and such a situation should arise again, the US commander said.

“All of us can look back to the end of 2011 when the US and coalition forces left Iraq the last time, and saw what played out in the intervening three years. I don’t think we want to replay that,” Townsend said speaking via video link from Baghdad.

Meanwhile, Townsend stated that Iraq’s future depends more on political reconciliation than military intervention, adding that it is necessary for all citizens to recognize the current government.

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© Mohammed Salem

“What will happen after the defeat of ISIS rides not on whether there’s a coalition presence or not, in my view, but predominantly rides on whether there’s a political reconciliation,” Townsend said. “And we’ve got to make sure – the Iraqis have to make sure after ISIS is defeated, that all Iraqis view the government in Baghdad as their government,” he said.

The operation to retake Mosul, which was an IS stronghold for a long time, has left most of the city in ruins, led to thousands of civilian casualties, and displaced around a million people. Iraqi and US-led forces have been repeatedly blamed for causing civilian casualties during the operation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday that “no conditions were created to allow civilians leave in an organized way,” which may have led to “an increased number of victims.” Amnesty International also issued a damning report slamming the US-led coalition in Mosul for errant and excessive airstrikes, while urging it to publicly admit its failure to protect civilians.

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Tory MPs faced anti-Semitism, intimidation & smears during election campaign – report

MPs faced anti-Semitic attacks, racist abuse, intimidation, smears, death threats and slashed tires during the general election period, a cross-party report into the abuse of parliamentarians says.

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Police stand behind a cordon in Birstall near Leeds, June 16, 2016 © Craig Brough

The new report, by the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism, is demanding new laws and tougher discipline by parties. In an hour-long debate on Wednesday afternoon, MPs will hear first-hand accounts of the incidents.

Examples of recorded abuse during the election period include Tory MP Ameet Jogia being subjected to racist abuse at a polling station. It read: “Vote Labour … Keep P***s out of politics,” a reference to his Pakistani heritage.

Another Conservative MP, Sheryll Murray, reportedly had her election posters daubed with swastikas.

Former Tory minister Andrew Percy, a Jewish convert, says a woman came up to him and tapped him on the arm and said “You’re Zionist scum, you’re a disgrace,” before saying “I’ll need a wash now,” and yelling “Corbyn, Corbyn, Corbyn.”

Another former Tory MP, Andrew Bingham, says he was targeted by an online campaign that accused him of being a “nonce,” slang for a pedophile.

Labour MPs have also been subjected to abuse. Iain Wright says he was assaulted and his family threatened with violence as he was delivering leaflets.

Another Labour MP, Naz Shah, previously suspended for her own anti-Semitic posts, was herself a victim of anti-Semitism at hustings.

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© Britain First

Wednesday’s Commons debate on the abuse of MPs, thought to be the first of its kind, is being staged by Tory MP Simon Hart, who is expected to accuse Jeremy Corbyn’s Momentum supporters of intimidation.

While tabling the debate, Hart warned of a “damaging corrosion of democracy.”

“Rather than just putting out feeble messages online saying you condemn all this, Jeremy Corbyn needs to actually do something about it,” Hart said.

“Mr. Corbyn and the leaders of Momentum need when there even the faintest whiff of the stuff to say ‘You are not welcome in our party or to campaign on our behalf and wear the Labour badge if this is how you’re going to behave.’”

Coinciding with the debate, Labour MPs have written to Tory chairman Sir Patrick McLoughlin accusing the Tories of “vitriolic personal attacks” on Labour candidates, particularly women.

“The Conservatives ran a negative, nasty campaign, propagating personal attacks, smears and untruths, particularly aimed at one of the most prominent women MPs, and indeed the first black woman MP, Diane Abbott.

“Such attacks on politicians, the consequent intimidating and abusive language and threats of violence towards them online, deter many people from entering politics.

“Parties and politicians have a responsibility to set an example, by treating others with dignity and respect, including those with whom we strongly disagree.

“The Conservative Party has instead promoted personal attacks as a core component of its national campaign.”

The Commons debate comes after Prime Minister Theresa May promised a review of the law, saying she had been shocked at the number of colleagues who had talked to her about intimidation and harassment during the general election campaign.

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British economy to cool due to Brexit uncertainty – Moody’s

International rating agency Moody’s has warned the UK economy will slow significantly this year, with growth prospects “materially weaker” if a trade deal allowing access to the EU market is not reached.

The agency stressed that Britain is at risk of a sovereign credit rating downgrade in the case of “no deal.”  The potential lowering will reportedly increase the Treasury’s borrowing costs.

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© Fabrizio Bensch

“The likelihood of an abrupt – and damaging – exit with no agreement and reversion to WTO trading rules has increased compared to our expectation directly after the referendum, with the government so far pursuing objectives that imply a ‘hard’ exit,” the agency said in a press release.

The country may lose its Aa1 rating if “core elements of the UK’s current access to the EU single market” are lost through quitting the bloc.

“It remains unclear whether the UK government can eventually deliver a reasonably good outcome for the UK,” Moody’s says.

Political uncertainty has grown worse after last month’s election returned a hung parliament.

“Political and fiscal risks have increased following the government’s loss of its parliamentary majority in early elections in June, and the government is under significant pressure to raise spending,” says Moody’s.

According to the agency, the current situation will make it harder for Chancellor Philip Hammond to protect the public purse, increasing the risk of a rating downgrade.

“Continuously higher budget deficits than expected and further delays in reversing the rising public debt trend would also be negative for the rating,” Moody’s added.

“In Moody’s base case scenario though, the UK and the EU will manage to agree on a free trade arrangement as this remains in the interests of both sides,” said Kathrin Muehlbronner, the UK analyst for Moody’s.

Last year, the agency downgraded its outlook on the country from “stable” to “negative” following the Brexit vote.

READ MORE: Bank of England keeps interest rates on hold, cuts growth forecast

Earlier, the Standard & Poor’s agency lowered its medium-term growth forecasts for Britain. The firm expected the country’s GDP growth to cool to 1.5 percent in 2017 from 1.8 percent last year.

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UFC's Tony Ferguson Warns Conor McGregor, Coming for that Belt!

Tony Ferguson to Conor:I’m Coming For Your UFC Belt!… If You Still Got It

7/12/2017 7:15 AM PDT

EXCLUSIVE

Tony Ferguson has a loud, finger-waggin’ message for Conor McGregor

I’LL SEE YOU AFTER FLOYD, SON!!

We got T-Ferg leaving the first Mayweather-McGregor press conference at Staples Center Tuesday … and the UFC lightweight contender wasted no time telling McGregor — the UFC lightweight champ — what’s up.

That said, Ferguson — whose next fight isn’t booked — is open to other matchups … like one with Justin Gaethje — who dropped one of the most violent/awesome UFC debuts EVER last week. 

“If he wants his a** kicked we’ll handle that,” Tony told TMZ Sports.

Basically, give the dude whatever gets him the gold. Right now, that’s Conor … unless the Irishman vacates his belt after cashing $ 100 mil vs. Floyd.


TMZ.com

Disgraced former US Gymnastics doctor pleads guilty to child porn charges

Former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, currently facing allegations he sexually abused over 100 females athletes, pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on Tuesday.

Nassar admitted dumping hard drives containing thousands of child porn images in his trash and paying $ 49 to wipe a laptop memory in autumn last year to ‘impede and obstruct’ police investigating allegations of sexual abuse from dozens of female athletes against him.

The 53-year-old pleaded guilty to three charges, each carrying up to 20 years in prison. The illicit images, some of which show Nassar sexually assaulting girls under the age of 12, were found by investigators in September 2016.

READ MORE: Former USA Gymnastics doctor accused of sexual abuse

Sentences for more than one crime usually run consecutively, but at the federal hearing in western Michigan, US District Judge Janet Neff that sentences for some of his crimes could run consecutively.

“Victims and the public can be assured that a day of reckoning is indeed in Dr. Nassar’s future,” Acting US Attorney Andrew Birge said after the hearing, AP reported.

Nassar will be sentenced on November 27 over the child pornography charges.

As part of a plea deal, the US government said it won’t prosecute the former doctor for traveling internationally between 2006 and 2013 with the intention of engaging in sexual conduct with minors.

Nassar was part of USA Gymnastics between 1996 and 2015 and was a sports medicine specialist at Michigan State University, involved in treating gymnasts in the region. He was fired by the university in 2016.

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© Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

He maintains his innocence in three cases in which he is alleged to have molested a total of nine girls at his campus clinic, home or a gymnastics club in the Lansing, Michigan, area.

Nassar is accused of penetrating the vaginas of female athletes with his fingers, without using gloves, while treating their injuries, prosecutor Angela Povilaitis said. Sometimes the parents of young gymnasts were present in the room.

One girl, identified as Victim A., 16, told a court hearing in June that she was 11 when the abuse took place, adding that the doctor displayed signs of arousal during the examination.

Another woman, Rachael Denhollander, 32, claimed that Nassar sexually abused her when she was 15.

The former doctor is also being sued by more than 100 women or girls, mostly former gymnasts, who claim he molested them during appointments. Some allegations go back as far as the 1990s. Initial concerns about Nassar were raised when the Indianapolis Star reported that USA Gymnastics mishandled complaints about sexual misconduct involving the doctor and coaches.

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Facebook Messenger to introduce ads worldwide in effort to boost revenue

The next time you open Facebook Messenger to contact friends or family, you may find yourself scrolling through unwanted advertisements. The chat app admits it is rolling out ads for all users in an effort to boost revenue, after conducting initial tests.

Facebook announced the ad rollout on Tuesday, stating that there will be three variations of ads. 

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© Roland Weihrauch / DPA / Global Look Press

The first is referred to as ‘Messenger ads’, which are found in the home tab of the app. When people tap on an ad, they will either be sent to a website or a Messenger conversation with the business behind the ad.

The second type is ‘Click to Messenger ads’, which Facebook says “takes full advantage of the personalized nature of messaging by driving people to a conversation after they interact with the ad in Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger.”

Lastly, ‘Sponsored messages’ will allow businesses to re-engage with people who have previously started conversations with them.

“People already spend time on Messenger interacting and conducting commerce with businesses and brands they love, and now with Messenger ads, they have an opportunity to discover experiences directly on their home tab,” Facebook wrote in its announcement, adding that 1.2 billion people use the app each month.

The reason behind the ads is simple, according to Messenger Head of Product Stan Chudnovsky, who told VentureBeat it was all about making money.

“[Advertising is] not necessarily everything, but it’s definitely how we’re going to be making money right now. And going forward, there are some other business models we are exploring as well, but they’re all around ads one way or another,” Chudnovsky said

READ MORE: Facebook job ads suggest ‘mind reading’ social networks could soon be a reality

Most Messenger users in Australia and Thailand are already seeing ads, as those countries were chosen by Facebook for initial tests. However, users in other parts of the world may still have a fair number of ad-free days ahead of them.

“A small percentage of people will begin to see ads in their Messenger Home tab towards the end of this month as we build ads inventory…we will gradually look to extend this to more people over the coming months,” Facebook wrote.

“We’ll start slow,” Chudnovsky told VentureBeat. “When the average user can be sure to see them we truly don’t know because we’re just going to be very data-driven and user feedback-driven on making that decision.”

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EU court should be guarantor of expats’ rights after Brexit – chief EU negotiator

The EU’s many differences with Britain on citizens’ rights, including the role of the EU court, need to be sorted out before talks on a trade deal can start, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said on Wednesday.

“We want EU citizens in Britain to have the same rights as British citizens who live in the EU,” Michel Barnier told a news conference in Brussels, adding that the current British position did not guarantee equal rights.

Barnier said the European Court of Justice should be the “ultimate guarantor” of those rights, and if Britain opposed this “it would create uncertainty.”

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© Clodagh Kilcoyne

Britain wants to regulate citizens’ rights under British law.

He said there should be progress on all three priority Brexit issues before talks on a wider future relationship could start. As well as citizens’ rights the other priority areas are Britain’s exit bill and borders.

“These three priority subjects for the first phase of negotiations are inseparable. In other words, progress on one or two of these topics will not be sufficient to move on to discussions about our future relationship with the United Kingdom,” Barnier said.

Commenting on British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s quip on Tuesday that the EU could “go whistle” for big payments from Britain as part of the Brexit deal, Barnier said: “I’m not hearing any whistling, just the clock ticking.”

Barnier dismissed some UK politicians’ accusations that the Brexit bill was a ransom bill, with the EU motivated by a desire to punish Britain.

“It is simply a matter of settling the accounts. It is not easy, it costs a lot, in any separation. We are not asking from Britain a single euro, a single pound more than what it agreed to pay,” Barnier said.

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Duma passes bill on protection of Russian state data networks

Russia’s lower house has approved a bill that defines which of the country’s informational infrastructure is to be considered critical, while setting a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment for hackers that attack it.

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© Mal Langsdon

In the final draft of the bill published on the State Duma’s website, critical informational infrastructure is defined as data systems and telecommunication networks belonging to Russian state bodies and agencies, as well as automated control systems used in the defense industry, healthcare, communications sector, transport, banking and finance, energy industry, and several more industry sectors, like the nuclear, space, and fuel. The list also includes organizations engaged in science and research. 

The head of the lower house’s Committee for Informational Technology and Communications, MP Leonid Levin, said the draft also orders the creation of a National Coordination Center for Computer Incidents – an “organization created by a federal body of executive power and charged with the task of creating and running a state system for detecting and preventing hacker attacks and repairing the damage inflicted by such attacks on the data resources of the Russian Federation.”

The bill also gives a yet to be identified authority the responsibility of drawing up the full list of objects to be considered critical informational infrastructure. These can be owned by Russian companies, private persons, or foreign citizens or companies, but their interests must be officially represented by Russian legal entities.

The same bill also stipulates that exerting “unlawful influence” on the critical informational infrastructure of the Russian Federation is to be punished by up to 10 years in prison, along with an official ban on assuming certain posts.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Irina Yarovaya, Chairperson of the State Duma Committee on Security and Countering Corruption © Michael Klimentyev

The bill now needs to be approved by the upper house and signed by the president to become law. If everything goes smoothly, it is expected to come into force on January 1, 2018.

In late 2016, Russia updated its doctrine on information security to emphasize the increase in attacks against its infrastructure by foreign hackers, as well as attempts by foreign governments to influence Russia’s internal affairs. The doctrine also mentioned the negative impact the rapid surge in data flow has had on international security, as it can be employed by organized crime, extremists and terrorists.

The document said that, in order to counter these threats and challenges, Russia must build strategic deterrents and make an effort to prevent conflicts that stem from the use of data technologies, as well as neutralize foreign propaganda targeting Russia’s historical and patriotic values. The doctrine also said critical information infrastructure should be strengthened as means of protecting against cyberattacks.

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