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The Latest: Mavericks pay tribute to Bryant by retiring 24

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Dallas Mavericks are paying tribute to Kobe Bryant by permanently retiring his number 24. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Bryant transcends basketball. Cuban's tribute was one of several around the NBA as players, coaches and fans were stunned by the news of Bryant's death. In the Memphis-Phoenix game Sunday, the Grizzlies won the opening tip and immediately took a 24-second clock violation. When the Suns took possession, they stayed in the backcourt for an 8-second violation – the 24 and 8 seconds representing Bryant’s two numbers during his NBA career.


Grammy Awards honor LA icons Nipsey Hussle, Kobe Bryant

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The 2020 Grammy Awards has been filled with tributes to Los Angeles icons as the night honored and celebrated the lives and legacies of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and rapper Nipsey Hussle, who won his first Grammy posthumously Sunday. The Grammys kicked off with a performance in honor of Bryant, who died hours before the awards began. And later in the show Hussle’s collaborators and friends, including DJ Khaled, John Legend, Meek Mill, Kirk Franklin, Roddy Ricch and YG, gave an all-star tribute to the man who died last year.


Music mainstays and newcomers speak out on Grammy inclusion

NEW YORK (AP) — Drama over fairness and inclusion at the Grammy Awards is carrying over to music's big night Sunday. Newcomers and mainstays in the industry supported Sean “Diddy” Combs and his powerful speech putting the Recording Academy on a clock to fix the nomination process. Legend Smokey Robinson warned on the red carpet, “All that is hidden will come to light.” And soulful singer Lucky Daye said, “I think if they smart, they listen to Diddy.” Combs' words came after the academy's CEO, Deborah Dugan, was ousted and claimed the Grammys are rigged and filled with conflicts of interest.


Trump peace plan could boost embattled Israeli leader

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Washington Sunday night vowing to “make history” as he prepared to meet President Donald Trump for the unveiling of the administration's much-anticipated plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the meeting in Washington looks set to serve mostly as a sideshow to the two allied leaders' serious legal problems. The Palestinians have not even been consulted in drawing up the much-trumpeted plan and have preemptively rejected the U.S. proposal. The unveiling of the Mideast plan comes while President Trump faces his impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate and the Israeli Parliament holds a hearing to discuss Netanyahu’s request for immunity after he was indicted on corruption charges. Both men seem eager for a diversion.


China extends Lunar New Year holiday as new virus toll rises

BEIJING (AP) — China has expanded sweeping efforts to contain a viral disease by postponing the end of the Lunar New Year holiday to keep the public at home and avoid spreading infection as the death toll rose to 80. Hong Kong announced it would bar entry to visitors from the mainland province at the center of the outbreak. Travel agencies were ordered to cancel group tours nationwide. Increasingly drastic anti-disease efforts began with the Jan. 22 suspension of plane, train and bus links to Wuhan, the city of 11 million people where the outbreak began last month. That lockdown has expanded to a total of 17 cities with more than 50 million people in the most far-reaching disease-control measures ever imposed.


AP source: Bolton says Trump tied Ukraine funds to probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former national security adviser John Bolton recounts in a draft of his forthcoming book that President Donald Trump said he wanted to maintain a freeze on military assistance to Ukraine until it aided political investigations into his Democratic rivals. The revelation challenges the defense offered up by Trump and his attorneys in his Senate impeachment trial. It also raises the stakes as the chamber decides this week whether to seek sworn testimony from Bolton and other witnesses. Bolton's account was first reported by The New York Times and confirmed to The Associated Press by a person familiar with the manuscript.


China temporarily bans wildlife trade in wake of outbreak

BEIJING (AP) — China is temporarily banning the trade of wild animals following a viral outbreak in Wuhan, saying they will “severely investigate and punish” violators. The ban will continue until “the epidemic situation is lifted nationwide” in order to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus and block potential sources of infection and transmission. The outbreak of the new virus linked to a wildlife market in central China prompted renewed calls for enforcement of laws against the trade in and consumption of exotic species. Demand for wild animals in Asia, especially China, is hastening the extinction of many animal species as well as being a risk to human health.


Workers criticize Amazon on climate despite risk to jobs

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Hundreds of employees are openly criticizing Amazon's record on climate change despite what they say is a company policy that puts their jobs at risk for speaking out. On Sunday, more than 300 employees of the online retail giant signed their names and job titles to statements on blog post on Medium. The online protest was organized by a group called Amazon Employees For Climate Justice, an advocacy group founded by Amazon workers that earlier this month said the company had sent letters to its members threatening to fire them if they continued to speak to the press.


Who can topple Trump? Dems' electability fight rages in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The fight for the Democratic presidential nomination is raging across Iowa as the party's leading candidates and their allies deliver losing arguments that focus on who's best positioned to defeat President Donald Trump. Self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders has emerged as a central figure in the electability debate. New polls show him gaining strength just eight days before Iowa's first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses on Feb. 3. That strength is causing concern among his more moderate Democratic rivals. They fear he's too radical to beat Trump in November.


3 missing after barge crash on Mississippi River

LULING, La. (AP) — Three people are missing after two barges collided on the Mississippi River. The Coast Guard said in a news release that crews are searching for three people after two towing vessels crashed near the Luling Bridge in Louisiana. The Coast Guard said one of the vessels sank in the river. A section of the river as closed to boats because of a possible chemical release. Officials say there are no immediate health concerns. The waterworks and industries along the river were told to close water intakes from the river as a precaution.

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