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Man United overhaul under Ratcliffe extends to new technical director

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe continued his overhaul at Manchester United by appointing Jason Wilcox as technical director on Friday. Ratcliffe has assumed control of United’s failing soccer operations since February when he secured a 25% stake in the storied club. A new CEO has been hired and a sporting director is also on his wanted list. Wilcox, who United said would start immediately, is seen as a key appointment ahead of Ratcliffe’s first summer transfer window. He has joined from second division Southampton, where he was the director of football. He was previously the academy director at Manchester City. “He will work with all technical areas of the football department to achieve the highest standards of performance,” United said in a statement. Wilcox is Ratcliffe’s latest hire to have a connection with City. Former City director Omar Berrada was hired as CEO in January. United said at the time that Berrada was key to its determination to “put football and performance on the pitch back at the heart of everything we do.” Berrada, who was chief football operations officer for City Football Group, previously held a senior role with Barcelona. He has yet to begin work at United. Wilcox’s arrival comes after former football director John Murtough stepped down this month. United’s recruitment record has often been criticized during a period of onfield decline since former manager Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013. United has not won the Premier League since then. Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth is also a target for Ratcliffe, the owner of petrochemicals giant INEOS who paid $1.3 billion for his minority stake. Among his other plans for United, Ratcliffe has assembled a task force to look into rebuilding or modernizing the club’s iconic Old Trafford stadium. INEOS director of sport Dave Brailsford and CEO Jean-Claude Blanc have joined the board of the soccer club. Brailsford was credited for his role in the success of British cycling in recent years. Blanc has held prominent positions at Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain. ___ James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson ___ AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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This is the moment CNN anchors watched man set himself on fire outside Trump trial

A CNN camera crew was filming live as a man set himself on fire outside former President Donald Trump’s criminal trial on Friday afternoon, prompting anchor Laura Coates to frantically pivot and react to the horrifying sight in real time. “We have a man who has set fire to himself, our cameras are turning right now, a man has now lit himself on fire outside of the courthouse,” she said, pressing a finger to her earpiece as the cameras shifted focus to the man, who was seen engulfed in flames less than 50 feet away. The incident happened shortly after a full jury panel had been selected in Trump’s historic hush money trial. Coates did her best to describe her reaction to the shocking display, rattling off her observations stream-of-consciousness style. “There is chaos that is happening. People are wondering right now if people are in danger. I’m looking right now across the courtyard, there is a man racing to his aid, there are coats coming off to try to put out the fire. We have members of security details, NYPD is rushing to the scene, a fire extinguisher is right now present,” Coates said as the scene unfolded. “We can smell the air, I can smell the burning of some sort of flesh, of some sort of agent to put out that fire. I see a person whose body appears to be on the ground surrounded by officers. The fire is still burning.”

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Fans thirst over Photoshopped picture of Mark Zuckerberg with a beard: ‘I’d zuck him’

The thirst is real. Fans started lusting over Mark Zuckerberg after a Photoshopped image of him with a beard surfaced on social media. The altered image originated from a video the Facebook co-founder shared on Instagram Wednesday, announcing that his platforms were “releasing the new version of Meta AI.” In the clip, Zuckerberg displayed his short curls as he wore a plain blue T-shirt and a gold chain while speaking to his more than 13 million Instagram followers. “i’d zuck him off,” wrote one user. “Gonna tell my kids this was Jack Harlow,” added another. “OH COME AND ZUCKER THIS BERG,” tweeted a third person. “He needs to grow that facial hair fr he went from Robo-Zuck to Zaddy-Zuck,” said a fourth person on X. For more Page Six you love… Listen to our weekly “We Hear” podcast Shop our exclusive merch “I’ll give him more than just my data,” wrote another user, while a separate person tweeted, “he’s so sexy that way wdf.” This isn’t the first time Zuckerberg — who has a net worth of more than $175 billion — has become the face of a meme. In 2020, the Meta co-founder was spotted surfing in Hawaii on a $12,000 eFoil remote-controlled surfboard while wearing a thick mask of white sunscreen on his face. Barstool Sports CEO Dave Portnoy tweeted a close-up of Zuckerberg’s sunscreen-covered face with the caption, “What’s the point of being rich if this is what you look like when you surf?” Others compared the tech giant to the Joker, a mime and Queen Elizabeth I — who all famously wear white makeup on their faces — and the character Mrs. Doubtfire, played by the late Robin Wiliams, who planted her face in white cake icing in the film.

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Mind-bending optical illusion asks you to find hidden animal – only ‘loyal’ people can

Would you consider yourself to be a loyal person? Well, if you can’t find the animal in this mind-bending optical illusion, it turns out that you’re perhaps not because only loyal people can spot it. You’ve got only five seconds to spot it as well, which makes it even harder as it seems impossible to find. The brain teaser, which was shared on Bright Side’s YouTube channel, confused its 44 million subscribers as it showed an ordinary scene with a village made up of huts and trees. But when they confessed that there was an elephant hidden within the picture, people still struggled to spot it. According to the creators, what you spot first can reveal if you “value tradition” or whether you’re a “great listener”. If you immediately see the elephant, you might be characterised as respectful and loyal. But if you only see the huts and trees, it means you “value tradition”. The trick to finding the mammal lies in searching for a minimalistic outline rather than the actual animal, but where is it? Many simply cannot spot the elephant in the image. But, if you want to know where it is to satisfy your curiosity, then on the ground, you’ll find the feet and toes nestled between the straw huts. Meanwhile, the elephant’s body is outlined by the remaining birds and the tree. According to a poll, just 5.7% of people saw the elephant first. Bright Side said that it would reveal your “true personality type”, but in the comments, someone penned: “Let’s be real, nobody saw the elephant”. If you’re ready for another challenge, there are plenty more brain teasers you can complete. Whether they test your memory skills, quick-thinking or powers of observation, there’s no greater thrill than beating the clock. Why not attempt to spot the strawberry among the watermelons? Or, if you’re up for something a little more tricky, you can try to spot the animal within the zig-zag image. Or, see whether you have a ‘highly intelligent mind’ by working out the next number in the baffling maths sequence. Did you spot the elephant in the image? Let us know in the comments.

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Actor Jon Voight Says President Trump Is ‘The Only Way’ to Restore Justice Amid Mideast Conflict

Hollywood veteran Jon Voight has once again voiced his support for former President Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee prepares to face off against the sitting president, Joe Biden, in November. “Bring back what was lost. We must bring back the safety of this great country. We must bring back our greatest achievements that once were blooming. My friends of all colors, all religions, all nations—we must remember a given truth: One love, under God,” the 85-year-old declared, speaking against a backdrop of the American flag. Addressing the ongoing Middle East conflict, Mr. Voight claimed President Trump was “the only way” forward in facilitating peace and justice in the region. “This life is full of injustice, this land of Israel is in danger, the land of the free—the USA—is in danger. Let us all come together and make these countries safe again. We must stop this war. We must stop this darkness. This negative plague that is lingering. How? Vote, for the only president that can save these countries once and for all,” the actor urged. “Let all nations bloom, let them shine. And my friends, the only way, President Donald J. Trump—he and only he can take this hardship and turn it into a magnificent triumph. He can wipe out this swamp and bring glory, bring justice. And he will help save Israel and warn these enemies that they will pay the price of their injustice for their disgraceful actions,” he continued. The “Midnight Cowboy” actor endorsed the business magnate in the 2016 presidential election, telling Breitbart News in March of that year, “He’s an answer to our problems.” “We need to get behind him. The Republicans need to unite behind this man,” Mr. Voight told the publication. “We need somebody to go in and reconstruct us in a sort of way, get us back to where we were, who we need to be.” On April 15, President Trump’s hush money trial kicked off in a Manhattan courtroom, marking the first-ever criminal trial of a United States former president. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta rejected the former president’s request to pause a slew of lawsuits amid his ongoing criminal trial. The civil suits, waged by several police officers stationed at the U.S. Capitol, as well as by members of Congress, seek to hold the former president liable for the events of Jan. 6, 2021. President Trump has been very vocal about his thoughts on the hush money trial, which he has called a “scam” and a “political witch hunt.” “This is an assault on America. Nothing like this has ever happened before; there’s never been anything like it. Every legal scholar said this case is nonsense, it should never have been brought. It doesn’t deserve anything like this,” President Trump said, addressing the media outside the Manhattan courtroom on Monday. “People that don’t necessarily follow or like Donald Trump said this is an outrage that this case was brought. This is political persecution—this is persecution like never before,” he continued. “It’s a case that should have never been brought. It’s an assault on America.”

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Feds Push Back Against Judge and Say Troubled California Prison Should Be Shut Down Without Delay

LOS ANGELES—Federal officials are pushing back against a judge’s order that would delay the planned closure of a troubled women’s prison in California where inmates suffered sexual abuse by guards, according to court documents. Following the Bureau of Prison’s sudden announcement Monday that FCI Dublin would be shut down, U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ordered an accounting of the casework for all 605 women held at the main lockup and its adjacent minimum-security camp. In response, the bureau has filed court papers questioning the authority of the special master appointed by the judge on April 5 to oversee the prison, who’s now tasked with reviewing each inmate’s status. The judge’s order amounts to “a de facto requirement” for the bureau to keep the prison open, U.S. attorneys wrote in Tuesday’s filing. But plans for the closure and transfer of inmates “cannot be changed on the fly,” especially because the facility faces a “significant lack of health services and severe understaffing,” according to the filing. “The Court not only lacks jurisdiction to impose such a requirement, but it is also antithetical to the overall objective of safeguarding inmate safety and welfare,” the documents say. “Extensive resources and employee hours have already been invested in the move.” A painstaking review of each incarcerated woman’s status would “ensure inmates are transferred to the correct location,” the judge wrote in her order Monday. “This includes whether an inmate should be released to a BOP facility, home confinement, or halfway house, or granted a compassionate release.” It wasn’t clear Thursday how long the process could take. Advocates have called for inmates to be freed from FCI Dublin, which they say is not only plagued by sexual abuse but also has hazardous mold, asbestos and inadequate health care. They also worry that some of the safety concerns could persist at other women’s prisons. A 2021 Associated Press investigation exposed a “rape club” culture at the prison where a pattern of abuse and mismanagement went back years, even decades. The Bureau of Prisons repeatedly promised to improve the culture and environment—but the decision to shutter the facility represented an extraordinary acknowledgment that reform efforts have failed. Groups representing inmates and prison workers alike said the imminent closure shows that the bureau is more interested in avoiding accountability than stemming the problems. Last August, eight FCI Dublin inmates sued the Bureau of Prisons, alleging the agency had failed to root out sexual abuse at the facility about 21 miles (35 kilometers) east of Oakland. It is one of six women-only federal prisons and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said inmates continued to face retaliation for reporting abuse, including being put in solitary confinement and having belongings confiscated. They said the civil litigation will continue. The AP investigation found a culture of abuse and cover-ups that had persisted for years. That reporting led to increased scrutiny from Congress and pledges from the Bureau of Prisons that it would fix problems and change the culture at the prison. Since 2021, at least eight FCI Dublin employees have been charged with sexually abusing inmates. Five have pleaded guilty. Two were convicted at trial, including the former warden, Ray Garcia. Another case is pending.

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Co Down baby who doctors said wouldn’t survive 48 hours now thriving

A Newtownards mum and her premature son were told that they “may not last 48 hours” following an emergency C-section in the Ulster Hospital. Now, 15 months later Rachel Irvine is planning to run the Belfast Marathon as a way of giving back to those who supported her and her son Oliver during that time as he continues to defy the odds. On January 13, 2023, Rachel was preparing to finish up in work and start her maternity leave when she felt something concerning and went to the doctor to be checked out, fearing that something could be going wrong with her pregnancy. Read more: Craigavon mum opens up on baby daughter’s rare condition after ‘traumatic’ birth She rang the emergency out of hours line and was told that her symptoms were not too concerning, but one day later she was being rushed into theatre to undergo an emergency C-section that ended up lasting for four hours, more than four times longer than a standard procedure. Following this, Rachel had lost a lot of blood and had her womb removed from her body in order to be repaired before being put back in place. Her family were also told that she and Oliver may not last the next 48 hours and that there was a significant risk that Oliver could become brain damaged. While the first few weeks of Oliver’s life were very tough on both him and his mum, he has since gone on to defy the odds and is a happy and healthy young boy who has “left doctor’s gobsmacked”. As a way of saying thank you to everyone who supported them during those worrying two weeks, Rachel is now planning to run the Belfast Marathon to raise funds for charity Tiny Life and the NICU unit of the Ulster Hospital. Speaking to Belfast Live, Rachel said: “While I was pregnant with Oliver everything appeared to be going very normal and it was very concerning when we were told that I would have to go for an emergency c-section and the worrying outcomes that could result from it. “But after a very tough two weeks we were finally able to make it home and I am so proud of Oliver who has defied the odds and is very healthy and happy young boy. “But we wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for the amazing doctors and nurses at the Ulster Hospital who looked after us during such a difficult time and the charity Tiny Life who have provided us with so much support ever since. “A few weeks after Oliver’s birth, I made the commitment that I was going to run the marathon the following year for the hospital and I am looking forward to the challenge and saying thank you to those who have done so much for us. “We have attended TinyTime each month since and have made many friends along the way. He has even visited the NICU ward too. “This fundraising is my thank you to everyone that helped along the way, we wouldn’t be here without you all.” If you would like to donate to Rachel’s fundraising appeal you can do so via this link. For all the latest news, visit the Belfast Live homepage here and sign up to our daily newsletter here.

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Branham athletic director saga takes another turn at latest school board meeting

SAN JOSE — Supporters of former Branham athletic director Landon Jacobs have taken another step in their fight to find out specifically why the popular administrator – who on Friday morning was named the school’s teacher of the year in a vote by his peers – was removed last month from his position. The group revealed at a school board meeting on Thursday night that it has filed a public records request to access all written communication and emails between superintendent Robert Bravo, Branham principal Lindsay Schubert and members of the board regarding Jacobs’ situation, plus details from any investigation into allegations that the athletic director mishandled funds. The request was filed on April 10. MORE BRANHAM Column: Can that many supporters be wrong about Landon Jacobs? Formal complaint provides more details about why Landon Jacobs was dismissed Former AD declines teaching reassignment, uncertain about future Branham community strongly defends dismissed AD at school board meeting Longtime Branham AD loses his job. The school’s community wonders why. According to the California Public Records Act, the board has 10 calendar days to release the correspondence or provide an explanation why it cannot meet the request. Campbell Union High School District Board of Trustees president Jason Baker confirmed during Thursday’s meeting that the district received the request and is in the process of reviewing it. The board meeting Thursday was much more emotional than the one two weeks ago, when there was mostly a civil tone among the hundreds who came to support Jacobs. Karen Hojans, a Branham sports booster, criticized Bravo and the board Thursday for posting the job opening for Jacobs’ old position on April 5, just a day after the community voiced its concerns about the saga to the board. “You ignored us,” Hojas said. “No response, no nothing. Completely silent on that subject.” Bravo took exception, cutting off Hojas in the middle of her comments. “That’s not true,” he said “I didn’t say anything to you when you asked for him to stay.” A group of Jacobs supporters, led by sports boosters, filed a formal complaint against Schubert on April 4 in hopes of putting the issue on a board meeting agenda. However, the board told the group it won’t do that until Bravo writes a formal response to the complaint. According to sources close to the situation, the superintendent has 30 days to respond. He sent back 14 clarifying questions to the filer who submitted the complaint on behalf of the group, sources said. The 12-page document alleges Schubert unjustly removed Jacobs this spring and assistant athletic director Heather Cooper last fall while creating a culture that does not support high school sports. Jacobs, who presided over the Branham athletic department for 14 years, was offered a reassignment to Del Mar High School last month to teach history. He declined the offer last week. After news broke of his dismissal, supporters organized a change.org petition that has nearly 1,500 signatures as of Friday morning. At Thursday’s session, Jacobs’ supporters also criticized Bravo’s response to their comments at the last board meeting. After many of the supporters of the dismissed athletic director left the room, Bravo defended Schubert and criticized what was being written on social media. “I am deeply concerned that on social media and in other forums, adults are not modeling civil discourse for our students,” Bravo said after the public comments two weeks ago. Heather Miksch, a Jacobs supporter, said Thursday that she was disappointed in the response Bravo gave at the meeting on April 4. “Dr. Bravo had an excellent opportunity in his superintendent remarks to show leadership and deescalate the controversy by taking responsibility for the actions happening at his school,” Miksch said. “He did not. Instead, he embarked on a monologue so bizarre and devoid from reality … I find it disheartening that he resorted to gaslighting and maligning your own community for only speaking out because we love one of your schools so much.” On Thursday, Bravo apologized for his comments from the previous meeting, saying he did not mean to disparage the community. “That was not my intent and not what I was trying to do,” Bravo said. “I thought I was recognizing and appreciating those folks that spoke last time … For those who felt I was trying to minimize the issue, I apologize to you if that’s how you feel.”

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