BEIJING (AP) — China's economic growth waned to 7.3 percent last quarter, the lowest rate since early 2009, resuming a slowdown that had been eased by mini-stimulus measures in the second quarter.
The 7.3 percent year-on-year growth reported by China's National Bureau of Statistics was down from 7.5 percent in the second quarter, which had been bolstered by stimulus spending on infrastructure. Growth in the first quarter was 7.4 percent.
Communist leaders are trying to steer China toward growth based on domestic consumption instead of trade and investment, but the slowdown raises fears of politically dangerous job losses.News Topics: Business, General news, Economic growth, Economy
People, Places and Companies: China, Greater China, East Asia, Asia
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Capsules for the NBA's Southeast Division, listed in predicted order of divisional finish by AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds':
LAST SEASON: 44-38, lost to Indiana Pacers 4-2 in second round.
STARTING FIVE: G John Wall (19.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 8.8 apg), G Bradley Beal (17.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.3 apg), F Paul Pierce (13.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.4 apg), F Nene (14.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 2.9 apg), C Marcin Gortat (13.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: Pierce (free agent, Nets), F Kris Humphries (trade, Celtics), F DeJuan Blair (trade, Mavericks).
KEY LOSSES: F Trevor Ariza (trade, Rockets), F Trevor Booker (free agent, Jazz).
COACH: Randy Wittman, fourth season with Wizards (91-122), ninth season overall (191-329).
EYES ON: Beal. Wall is supposed to the brash one, but it was usually more reserved shooting guard who proclaimed on media day that the Wizards have "definitely the best backcourt in the league." The process of backing it up was set back when Beal broke a bone in his wrist in preseason, which should sideline him about six weeks. It's hard to imagine the Wizards going far without his smooth shooting touch.
OUTLOOK: Pretty good, which hasn't been said about the Wizards in a long time. Replacing Ariza's defense will be tough, and Beal will be missed early on, but Pierce adds veteran savvy, and the experience and excitement of last season's return to the playoffs after several dormant years has energized the franchise.
LAST SEASON: 54-28, lost to San Antonio Spurs 4-1 in NBA Finals.
STARTING FIVE: G Norris Cole (6.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.0 apg), G Dwyane Wade (19.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.7 apg), F Luol Deng (16.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.9 apg), F Josh McRoberts (8.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.3 apg), C Chris Bosh (16.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.1 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: Deng (free agent, Cavaliers), McRoberts (free agent, Bobcats), F Danny Granger (free agent, Clippers), F Shawne Williams (free agent, Lakers), G Shabazz Napier (draft, Connecticut).
KEY LOSSES: F LeBron James (free agent, Cavaliers), G James Jones (free agent, Cavaliers), F Shane Battier (retired), G Ray Allen (unsigned), F Rashard Lewis (unsigned), F Michael Beasley (free agent, China).
COACH: Erik Spoelstra, seventh season with Heat (314-162).
EYES ON: Wade. So much of what this team will do is predicated on Wade not having the struggles that slowed him in the NBA Finals last June, plus with him being able to play in more than the 54 regular-season games he appeared in a year ago. If he declines, Miami is probably in trouble.
OUTLOOK: No, the Heat aren't as talented as they've been in the last four years that ended in the NBA Finals. But there's still a proven system and proven stars, plus a solid core of newcomers. Miami will likely get better as the season goes along.
LAST SEASON: 43-39, lost to Miami Heat 4-0 in first round.
STARTING FIVE: G Kemba Walker (17.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 6.1 apg), G Lance Stephenson (13.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 4.6 apg), F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (7.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 0.8 apg), F Marvin Williams (9.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.2 apg), C Al Jefferson (21.8 ppg, 108 rpg, 1.1 bpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: G Stephenson (free agent, Pacers), F Williams (free agent, Jazz), G Brian Roberts (free agent, Pelicans), Noah Vonleh (draft, Indiana), P.J. Harrison (draft, North Carolina).
KEY LOSSES: F Josh McRoberts (free agent, Heat), Luke Ridnour (free agent, Magic).
COACH: Steve Clifford, second season with Hornets (43-39).
EYES ON: Stephenson. He brings some needed playoff experience and intensity to a team coming off a breakthrough season. Stephenson has vowed to control his on-court "antics" and focus on remaining in control. Clifford expects him to become more of a scorer in Charlotte and someone who can take the pressure off Jefferson.
OUTLOOK: Charlotte has a new name and new expectations after reaching the playoffs last season, and the 7-59 campaign from three years ago now seems like a distant memory. After signing free agents Jefferson and Stephenson in back-to-back seasons, the Hornets could compete for a top four seed in the East.
LAST SEASON: 38-44, lost to Indiana Pacers 4-3 in first round.
STARTING FIVE: G Jeff Teague (16.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 6.7 apg), G Kyle Korver (12.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.9 apg), F Paul Millsap (17.9 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 3.1 apg), F DeMarre Carroll (11.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.8 apg); C Al Horford (18.6 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.6 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: G Kent Bazemore (free agent, Warriors), G-F Thabo Sefolosha (free agent, Thunder), F-C Adreian Payne (draft, Michigan State).
KEY LOSSES: G Lou Williams (trade, Raptors), F Cartier Martin (free agent, Pistons), F-C Gustavo Ayon (free agent, Spain).
COACH: Mike Budenholzer, second season with Hawks (38-44).
EYES ON: Horford. Successful recovery from torn right pectoral muscle is key to Hawks' hopes to be more than an also-ran in East. Hawks were third in conference when Horford was hurt and then began dropping to bottom of playoff teams. Horford has made steady progress in preseason, working up to about 20 minutes per game, and hopes to be ready to start in season-opener.
OUTLOOK: There is much stability on the roster and much turmoil in management following racially charged comments from co-owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry, who has taken an indefinite leave of absence. Levenson is selling his majority share. Teague, Horford and others prospered in Budenholzer's scheme he brought from Spurs and Hawks should return to playoffs in coach's second season.
LAST SEASON: 23-59, missed playoffs.
STARTING FIVE: G Elfrid Payton (rookie), G Victor Oladipo (13.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.1 apg), F Tobias Harris (14.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.3 apg), F Channing Frye (11.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.2 apg), C Nikola Vucevic (14.2 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 1.8 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: F Frye (free agent, Phoenix), G Payton (draft, Louisiana-Lafayette) F Aaron Gordon (draft, Arizona), F Devyn Marble (draft, Iowa), G Ben Gordon (free agent, Hornets), G Willie Green (free agent, Clippers), G Evan Fournier (trade, Nuggets), G Luke Ridnour (free agent, Hornets)
KEY LOSSES: G Arron Afflalo (trade, Nuggets), G Jameer Nelson (free agent, Mavericks).
COACH: Jacque Vaughn, third season with Magic (43-121).
EYES ON: Oladipo. The second overall pick in last year's draft, Oladipo showed Magic fans he was worthy of the selection as well as their hopes for the future, finishing second in rookie of the year voting and as first team all-rookie team member. He produced multiple 30-point games and toiled with playing both guard positions. Coaches are excited now to see what he and Payton can produce together.
OUTLOOK: There is plenty to like about the young pieces the Magic have assembled despite not landing the top 3 in this summer's draft. It should produce more wins this season, but this group will need time to mature. It seems general manager Rob Hennigan and Vaughn have the confidence of the Magic bosses, having both had their contract options picked up for 2015-16.News Topics: Sports, Sports trading, Sports transactions, NBA basketball, Free agency, NBA Finals, Men's basketball, Sports business, Professional basketball, Basketball, Men's sports, Events
People, Places and Companies: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Paul Pierce, Nene, Marcin Gortat, Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair, Trevor Ariza, Trevor Booker, Randy Wittman, Norris Cole, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts, Chris Bosh, Danny Granger, Shawne Williams, Shabazz Napier, LeBron James, James Jones, Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis, Michael Beasley, Erik Spoelstra, Kemba Walker, Lance Stephenson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Michael Kidd, Marvin Williams, Al Jefferson, Brian Roberts, Noah Vonleh, Luke Ridnour, Steve Clifford, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll, Al Horford, Kent Bazemore, Thabo Sefolosha, Adreian Payne, Louis Williams, Cartier Martin, Gustavo Ayon, Mike Budenholzer, Danny Ferry, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, Channing Frye, Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, Ben Gordon, Willie Green, Evan Fournier, Arron Afflalo, Jameer Nelson, Jacque Vaughn, Rob Hennigan, North Carolina, Charlotte, United States, North America
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Capsules for the NBA's Central Division, listed in predicted order of divisional finish by AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds':
LAST SEASON: 33-49, missed playoffs.
STARTING FIVE: G Kyrie Irving (20.8 ppg, 6.1 apg, 3.6 rpg), G Dion Waiters (15.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.0 apg), F LeBron James (27.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 6.3 apg), F Kevin Love (26.1 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 4.4 apg), C Tristan Thompson (11.7 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 0.9 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: F James (free agent, Heat), F Love (trade, Timberwolves), F Shawn Marion (free agent, Mavericks), F Mike Miller (free agent, Heat), F James Jones (free agent, Heat).
KEY LOSSES: F Andrew Wiggins (trade, Timberwolves), F Luol Deng (free agent, Heat), F Anthony Bennett (trade, Timberwolves), G Jarret Jack (trade, Celtics), F/C Tyler Zeller (trade, Celtics), G/F C.J. Miles (free agent, Pacers).
COACH: David Blatt, first season.
EYES ON: James and Blatt. The four-time MVP came home after four years in Miami, where James matured as a person and grew as a player, winning two NBA titles and taking the Heat to four straight finals. The 29-year-old has been under pressure his entire career, but never like this as the Cavaliers are expected to win a championship, something no Cleveland team has done since 1964. Blatt was a successful international coach, but will have to prove he can adjust to the NBA.
OUTLOOK: Blatt has installed an uptempo offense to maximize the Cavs' immense firepower. Defense, though, will determine how far Cleveland goes this season along with how well all the talent meshes. It could take some time, and there are bound to be bumps in the road, but there's no reason why this team shouldn't win the Eastern Conference title.
LAST SEASON: 48-34, lost to Washington Wizards 4-1 in first round.
STARTING FIVE: G Derrick Rose (15.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.3 apg), G Jimmy Butler (13.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.6 apg), F Mike Dunleavy (11.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.3 agp), F Pau Gasol (17.4 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 3.4 apg), C Joakim Noah (12.6 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 5.4 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: Gasol (free agent, Lakers), G Aaron Brooks (free agent, Nuggets), F Doug McDermott (draft, Creighton).
KEY LOSSES: F Carlos Boozer (amnesty, Lakers), G D.J. Augustin (free agent, Pistons).
COACH: Tom Thibodeau, fifth season with Bulls (205-107).
EYES ON: Rose. The former MVP's long awaited comeback lasted all of 10 games a year ago because of a torn meniscus in his right knee. He sat out the previous season recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee. Now that he's back again, some big questions remain. Can he stay healthy? And can he regain his old form?
OUTLOOK: The Bulls wooed Carmelo Anthony in free agency and ultimately wound up with Gasol. As consolations go, that's not bad. With Rose back and Gasol in the mix, the Bulls believe they can contend for the Eastern Conference championship.
LAST SEASON: 56-26, lost to Miami Heat 4-2 in Eastern Conference finals.
STARTING FIVE: G George Hill (10.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.5 apg), G Rodney Stuckey (13.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.1 apg), F C.J. Miles (9.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.0 apg), F David West (14.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.8 apg), C Roy Hibbert (10.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.1 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: G Stuckey (free agent, Pistons), F Miles (free agent, Cavaliers), F Damjan Rudez (free agent, Spain).
KEY LOSSES: G/F Paul George (broken right leg), G Lance Stephenson (free agent, Hornets), G Evan Turner (free agent, Celtics).
COACH: Frank Vogel, fifth season with Pacers (167-100).
EYES ON: The replacements. Indiana opens the season without its two most dynamic offensive players (George and Stephenson) and a supporting cast Vogel insists will make the Pacers competitive. How do the Pacers replace those scorers? Hibbert and George Hill have promised to be more aggressive, while Stuckey, Miles, Rudez, second-year swingman Solomon Hill and 3-point specialist Chris Copeland will all have bigger roles this season.
OUTLOOK: Losing Stephenson hurt. Losing George a month later will force Indiana to put the title hopes on hold. Reaching the playoffs this season would be a major feat. Advancing in the playoffs would be better than expected.
LAST SEASON: 29-53, missed playoffs.
STARTING FIVE: G Brandon Jennings (15.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 7.6 apg), G Jodie Meeks (15.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.8 apg), F Josh Smith (16.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 3.3 apg), F Greg Monroe (15.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 2.1 apg), C Andre Drummond (13.5 ppg, 13.2 rpg, 0.4 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: G Meeks (free agent, Lakers), F Caron Butler (free agent, Thunder), G D.J. Augustin (free agent, Bulls), F Cartier Martin (free agent, Hawks), F Joel Anthony (trade, Celtics).
KEY LOSSES: G Rodney Stuckey (free agent, Pacers), G Chauncey Billups (retirement), F Charlie Villanueva (free agent, Mavericks), G Will Bynum (trade, Celtics).
COACH: Stan Van Gundy, first season with Pistons, ninth season overall (371-208).
EYES ON: Van Gundy not only takes over as coach, but he's also Detroit's new team president. He'll have the task of trying to revive a franchise that has missed the playoffs the last five seasons. There's some legitimate talent on this roster in Smith, Monroe and Drummond, but those big men didn't mesh all that well in 2013-14. Perhaps a new coach can figure out how to get more out of this roster.
OUTLOOK: The Pistons tried to bolster their outside shooting with their offseason acquisitions, although Meeks is already going to miss the start of the season with a back problem. Van Gundy the coach will try to help Detroit end its playoff drought, but if the Pistons flounder again and Monroe leaves, Van Gundy the team president may be more crucial to this team's immediate future.
LAST SEASON: 15-67, missed playoffs.
STARTING FIVE: G Brandon Knight (17.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.9 apg), G Kendall Marshall (8.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 8.8 apg), F Ersan Ilyasova (11.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.3 apg), F Jabari Parker (rookie), C Larry Sanders (7.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 0.8 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: Parker (draft, Duke), G Marshall (free agent, Lakers), G Jerryd Bayless (free agent, Celtics), F Jared Dudley (trade, Clippers).
KEY LOSSES: G Ramon Sessions (free agent, Kings), F Jeff Adrien (free agent, Rockets).
COACH: Jason Kidd, first season with Bucks, second season overall (44-38).
EYES ON: The Bucks' new era. From new owners, to the new coach, to first-round pick Parker, the franchise has a needed dose of fresh blood. Parker and fellow 19-year-old forward Giannis Antetokounmpo are two cornerstones in general manager John Hammond's rebuilding plan. Progress will be slow, but the Bucks hope to re-energize fans and gain support for a new arena.
OUTLOOK: Things seemingly can only get better after last season's 67-loss debacle. Kidd needs Sanders to shake off a 2013-14 season plagued by injuries and off-court issues, and solid point guard play from Knight and Marshall. Parker already seems like a polished veteran off the court, and Antetokounmpo is drawing attention for more than just his last name.News Topics: Sports, Sports trading, Athlete injuries, Sports transactions, NBA basketball, Men's basketball, Sports business, Athlete health, Professional basketball, Basketball, Men's sports
People, Places and Companies: Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Shawn Marion, Mike Miller, James Jones, Andrew Wiggins, Luol Deng, Anthony Bennett, Tyler Zeller, C.J. Miles, David Blatt, Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, Aaron Brooks, Doug McDermott, Carlos Boozer, D.J. Augustin, Tom Thibodeau, Carmelo Anthony, George Hill, Rodney Stuckey, David West, Roy Hibbert, Damjan Rudez, Paul George, Lance Stephenson, Evan Turner, Frank Vogel, Solomon Hill, Chris Copeland, Brandon Jennings, Jodie Meeks, Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, Caron Butler, Cartier Martin, Joel Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Charlie Villanueva, Will Bynum, Stan Van Gundy, Brandon Knight, Kendall Marshall, Ersan Ilyasova, Jabari Parker, Larry Sanders, Jerryd Bayless, Jared Dudley, Ramon Sessions, Jeff Adrien, Jason Kidd, Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Hammond
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Capsules for the NBA's Southwest Division teams, listed in predicted order of divisional finish by AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski:
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
LAST SEASON: 62-20, won NBA title.
STARTING FIVE: G Tony Parker (16.7 ppg, 5.7 apg, 2.3 rpg), G Danny Green (9.1 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 41.5 percent 3s), F Kawhi Leonard (12.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.7 spg, 52.2 percent FG), F Tim Duncan (15.1 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 1.9 bpg, 3.0 apg), C Tiago Splitter (8.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 52.3 percent FG).
KEY ADDITIONS: Assistant coach Ettore Messina, assistant coach Becky Hammon.
KEY LOSSES: None.
COACH: Gregg Popovich, 19th season.
EYES ON: Leonard. He took his game to another level in the NBA Finals, performing brilliantly on both ends of the floor to win the MVP award and set himself up for a big-money extension. Popovich has already called him the next face of the franchise, and the unflappable Leonard has given no one a reason to doubt the sage coach's confidence.
OUTLOOK: Everyone is back, because that's what the Spurs do. About the only thing the Spurs haven't done yet is win back-to-back titles. Why not this year? With Popovich managing minutes and having his team ready to roll in the playoffs better than any other coach, and an unselfish and seemingly ageless trio of stars in Duncan, Parker and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs are primed to make a run at a sixth championship.
LAST SEASON: 49-33, lost to San Antonio Spurs 4-3 in first round.
STARTING FIVE: G Jameer Nelson (12.1 ppg, 7.0 apg), G Monta Ellis (19.0 ppg, 5.7 apg), F Chandler Parsons (16.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.0 apg), F Dirk Nowitzki (21.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg), C Tyson Chandler (8.7 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 1.1 bpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: G Nelson (free agent, Magic), F Parsons (free agent, Rockets), C Chandler (trade, Knicks), G Raymond Felton (trade, Knicks), F Al-Farouq Aminu (free agent, Pelicans), F Richard Jefferson (free agent, Jazz).
KEY LOSSES: F Shawn Marion (free agent, Cavaliers), G-F Vince Carter (free agent, Grizzlies), G Jose Calderon (trade, Knicks), C Samuel Dalembert (trade, Knicks), F-C DeJuan Blair (trade, Wizards).
COACH: Rick Carlisle, seventh season.
EYES ON: Parsons. Essentially got a max contract at three years, $46 million when the Mavericks signed him to an offer sheet that Houston declined to match. He says he wants to be a marquee player now that he's out of the shadow of James Harden and Dwight Howard. He'll get to ease into that role since the Mavericks still have Nowitzki and Chandler is back.
OUTLOOK: Several factors are fueling expectations of a high finish in the tough Western Conference, starting with the return of Chandler, the emotional leader for the franchise's only championship in 2011. Ellis and Parsons give the Mavericks their best chance yet to have a leading scorer not named Nowitzki for the first time since 2000.
LAST SEASON: 50-32, lost to Oklahoma City Thunder 4-3 in first round.
STARTING FIVE: G Michael Conley (17.2 ppg, 6.0 apg, 1.51 spg), G Courtney Lee (9.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.5 apg), F Tayshaun Prince (6.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.6 apg), F Zach Randolph (17.4 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 2.5 apg), C Marc Gasol (14.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 3.6 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: G/F Vince Carter (free agent, Mavericks), G Jordan Adams (draft, UCLA), F/C Jarnell Stokes (draft night trade/Jazz).
KEY LOSSES: G/F Mike Miller (free agent, Cavaliers), F Ed Davis (free agent, Lakers), F James Johnson (free agent, Raptors).
COACH: Dave Joerger, second season.
EYES ON: Gasol. He played only 59 games last summer after hurting his left knee, but he spent the summer losing some weight and getting stronger. He is going into the final year on his contract making fans worried this might be his last season in Memphis. The Grizzlies keep saying signing Gasol to a new contract is their top priority once they can start talking numbers in mid-December.
OUTLOOK: Controlling owner Robert Pera shook up the front office in May, gave Joerger an extension and spent some money to support his Grizzlies with a mental endurance coach. The Grizzlies will not be satisfied with extending the franchise-record four straight playoff berths, and they believe their bench is deep enough to help them make a run back to the Western Finals even in the stacked conference.
LAST SEASON: 54-28, lost to Portland Trail Blazers 4-2 in first round.
STARTING FIVE: G Patrick Beverley (10.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.7 apg), G James Harden (25.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 6.1 apg), F Trevor Ariza (14.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.5 apg), F Terrence Jones (12.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.1 apg), C Dwight Howard (18.3 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 1.8 bpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: F Ariza (trade, Washington), G Jason Terry (trade, Sacramento), F Kostas Papanikolaou (trade, Portland), F Jeff Adrien (free agent, Milwaukee).
KEY LOSSES: F Chandler Parsons (free agent, Dallas), F Omri Casspi (free agent, Sacramento).
COACH: Kevin McHale, fourth season.
EYES ON: Harden. He was fifth in the league in scoring last season, but received plenty of criticism for his defense this offseason after the Rockets were eliminated by Portland in the first round of the playoffs. He starred for the USA team that won the World Cup in 2014 and has vowed that he'll improve as a defender this season. He's also focused on becoming more of a leader in his third season with the Rockets.
OUTLOOK: With Howard and Harden the Rockets have a core for success and are almost guaranteed another trip to the playoffs. The key will be if the other starters can step up and if Ariza can improve their lackluster defense. If those two things happen, the Rockets could make it to the second round — or beyond — for the first time since 2009.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
LAST SEASON: 34-48, 12th in Western Conference.
STARTING FIVE: G Jrue Holiday (14.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 7.9 apg), G Eric Gordon (15.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 3.3 apg), F Tyreke Evans (14.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 5.0 apg), F Anthony Davis (20.8 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 2.8 bpg, 1.6 apg), C Omer Asik (5.8 ppg, 7.09 rpg, 0.8 bpg)
KEY ADDITIONS: Asik (trade, Rockets), F John Salmons (free agent, Hawks), G Jimmer Fredette (free agent, Bulls)
KEY LOSSES: G Anthony Morrow (free agent, Thunder), F Al-Farouq Aminu (free agent, Mavericks), C Jason Smith (free agent, Knicks).
COACH: Monty Williams, fifth season.
EYES ON: Anthony Davis. He improved significantly last season, being named to his first All-Star squad in only his second season as a pro. The 21-year-old also was among the leaders on Team USA en route to winning the FIBA World Cup in Spain in August. Davis won a national title with Kentucky in college and also was part of a gold medal squad at the 2012 London Games. But he's still seeking his first taste of the NBA playoffs, and knows that doing so will likely hinge on his production and leadership.
OUTLOOK: The Pelicans expect the inside presence of the 7-foot Asik to give Davis the freedom to provide help defense farther from the basket, release quicker on the fast break and expand his all-court game. Williams is also trying to determine whether the 6-6 Evans can thrive as an undersized small forward. If so, that would give New Orleans four proven double-digit scorers in its starting lineup. If the club can stay healthy — something it couldn't do last season — it could emerge as a playoff contender.News Topics: Sports, Sports trading, Sports transactions, NBA basketball, 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, FIBA Basketball World Cup, International basketball, Men's basketball, Sports business, Professional basketball, Basketball, Men's sports, Events
People, Places and Companies: Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter, Becky Hammon, Gregg Popovich, Manu Ginobili, Jameer Nelson, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Al-Farouq Aminu, Richard Jefferson, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter, Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, DeJuan Blair, Rick Carlisle, James Harden, Dwight Howard, Courtney Lee, Tayshaun Prince, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Jordan Adams, Jarnell Stokes, Mike Miller, Ed Davis, James Johnson, Robert J. Pera, Patrick Beverley, Trevor Ariza, Terrence Jones, Jason Terry, Kostas Papanikolaou, Jeff Adrien, Omri Casspi, Kevin McHale, Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Anthony Davis, Omer Asik, John Salmons, Jimmer Fredette, Anthony Morrow, Jason Smith, Monty Williams, Texas, Dallas, San Antonio, United States, North America
Capsules for the NBA's Northwest Division teams, listed in predicted order of divisional finish by AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski:
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
LAST SEASON: 59-23, lost to San Antonio 4-2 in Western Conference finals.
STARTING FIVE: G Russell Westbrook (21.8 ppg, 6.9 apg, 5.7 rpg), G Reggie Jackson (13.1 ppg, 4.1 apg, 3.5 rpg), F Kevin Durant (32.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 5.5 apg), F Serge Ibaka (15.1 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.7 bpg), C Steven Adams (3.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.7 bpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: G Anthony Morrow (free agent, Pelicans), F Mitch McGary (draft), G Sebastian Telfair (free agent, China).
KEY LOSSES: G Thabo Sefolosha (trade, Hawks), F Caron Butler (free agent, Pistons), C Hasheem Thabeet (free agent, 76ers), G Derek Fisher (retired).
COACH: Scott Brooks, eighth season.
EYES ON: Westbrook. With Kevin Durant out for the early part of the season with a Jones fracture in his right foot, Westbrook, a three-time All-Star with top-shelf athleticism and the confidence to match, will be relied upon to carry the load. While Westbrook sat out for two months last season recovering from knee surgery, Durant was a dominant scorer, yet, he kept his teammates involved and they flourished around him. Westbrook, generally considered a top-five talent, has an unexpected chance to prove he can do the same.
OUTLOOK: The Thunder are on the verge of breaking through with the addition of Morrow, one of the league's best 3-point shooters. If Durant's injury is as minor as the team says, the Thunder have as good a chance as any team of representing the West in the NBA Finals.
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
LAST SEASON: 54-28, lost to the San Antonio Spurs 4-1 in the second round.
STARTING FIVE: G Damian Lillard (20.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.6 apg), G Wesley Matthews (16.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.4 apg), F Nicolas Batum (13.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 5.1. apg), F LaMarcus Aldridge (26.2 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 1.5 apg), C Robin Lopez (11.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 0.9 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: G Steve Blake (free agent, Golden State Warriors), C Chris Kaman (free agent, Lakers).
KEY LOSSES: G Mo Williams (free agent, Timberwolves)
COACH: Terry Stotts, third season.
EYES ON: Aldridge. The three-time All-Star posted season highs last season for points and rebounds. The Blazers have made it clear they want to keep Aldridge, but the talented forward will wait until the offseason to ask for the max contract. Owner Paul Allen and general manager Neil Olshey personally visited Aldridge this past summer to make sure he knows the team wants him to stick around for a long time.
OUTLOOK: With the return of all of their starters and boosted by last year's appearance in the conference semifinals for the first time in 14 years, the Blazers will no doubt compete in the robust West. The team made a smart move this summer with the acquisition of Kaman to complement Lopez. It assures that Aldridge will have a big man on the floor with him most of the time.
LAST SEASON: 36-46, finished fourth in Northwest Division and missed playoffs.
STARTING FIVE: PG Ty Lawson (17.6 ppg, 8.8 apg, 1.6 spg), G Arron Afflalo (18.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.4 apg with Magic), F Kenneth Faried (13.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.2 apg), F Danilo Gallinari (16.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.5 apg in 2012-13), C Timofey Mozgov (9.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.2 bpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: F Afflalo (trade, Magic), G Gary Harris (draft), C Jusuf Nurkic (draft).
KEY LOSSES: PF Anthony Randolph (trade, Bulls), G Evan Fournier (trade, Magic).
COACH: Brian Shaw, second season.
EYES ON: Gallinari. Hasn't played since blowing out his left knee against Dallas on April 4, 2013. He's gone through three surgeries and countless hours of rehab to get back on the court. Gallinari said he's beginning to feel like his old self again. He averaged 16.2 points a game and hit 135 3-pointers in 2012-13, numbers Shaw wouldn't mind seeing repeated.
OUTLOOK: The Nuggets were hit hard by injuries in Shaw's first season in charge as J.J. Hickson and Nate Robinson suffered knee injuries and JaVale McGee missed a chunk of the season with a left tibia stress fracture. Shaw's hoping the acquisition of Afflalo will be the piece that returns the Nuggets to the playoffs after sitting out last season for the first time since 2002-03.
LAST SEASON: 40-42, 10th in Western Conference.
STARTING FIVE: G Ricky Rubio (9.5 ppg, 8.6 apg, 2.3 spg, 38.1 percent FG), G Kevin Martin (19.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 38.7 percent 3s), F Andrew Wiggins (17.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.0 bpg for Kansas), F Thaddeus Young (17.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.1 spg for 76ers), C Nikola Pekovic (17.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 54.1 percent FG).
KEY ADDITIONS: F Young (trade, 76ers), F Wiggins (trade, Cavaliers), G Mo Williams (free agent, Trail Blazers), F Anthony Bennett (trade, Cavaliers), G Zach LaVine (draft).
KEY LOSSES: F Kevin Love (trade, Cavaliers), head coach Rick Adelman (retired).
COACH: Flip Saunders, first season.
EYES ON: Wiggins. He was the key piece that got the Timberwolves to part way with Love, the disgruntled face of their franchise. Wiggins was the No. 1 pick in the draft and has been heavily hyped since he was a young boy playing in Canada. If Wiggins can realize the potential many believe he has, the rebuilding process post Love should be much less painful than it was when they traded Kevin Garnett.
OUTLOOK: Making his return to the bench for a second tour in Minnesota, Saunders believes the Wolves are a lot closer to being in the hyper competitive Western Conference playoff mix than many think. The Wolves hope that better chemistry and a mix of youth and experience will make them a surprise. Maybe if they played in the East. It's likely they're at least a year away from being a factor.
LAST SEASON: 25-57, 15th in Western Conference
STARTING FIVE: G Trey Burke (12.8 ppg, 3 rpg, 5.7 apg), G Alec Burks (14 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.7 apg), F Gordon Hayward (16.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 5.2 apg), F Derrick Favors (13.3, 8.7, 1.2 apg), C Enes Kanter (12.3, 7.5 rpg, 0.9 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: Coach Quin Snyder, G Dante Exum (draft), F Trevor Booker (free agent), F Rodney Hood (draft), F Steve Novak (trade, Raptors), G/F Carrick Felix (trade Cavaliers).
KEY LOSSES: F Marvin Williams (free agent, Hornets), F Richard Jefferson (free agent, Mavericks), C Andris Biedrins (waived).
COACH: Quin Snyder, first season.
EYES ON: Hayward. The Jazz matched Charlotte's four-year, $63 million offer for their restricted free agent in the offseason. Hayward averaged career highs in points, rebounds and steals (1.4 per game) while leading the Jazz in scoring and minutes. He was the first Jazz player to average 16 points, five rebounds and five assists since Pete Maravich.
OUTLOOK: The Jazz are seriously young, with 15 of the players invited to training camp 25 or younger. But rather than being a liability, this could be an advantage for the Jazz. The young squad will be more easily teachable as Snyder looks to install his own system and improve on a defense that was ranked last in the league last season. And since the team has really nowhere to go except up, their youthful energy could serve them well.News Topics: Sports, Sports trading, Athlete injuries, Sports transactions, NBA basketball, Free agency, Men's basketball, Sports business, Athlete health, Professional basketball, Basketball, Men's sports
People, Places and Companies: Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams, Anthony Morrow, Mitch McGary, Sebastian Telfair, Thabo Sefolosha, Caron Butler, Hasheem Thabeet, Scott Brooks, Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Robin Lopez, Steve Blake, Chris Kaman, Mo Williams, Terry Stotts, Paul Allen, Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Kenneth Faried, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic, Anthony Randolph, Evan Fournier, Brian Shaw, J.J. Hickson, Nate Robinson, JaVale McGee, Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Andrew Wiggins, Thaddeus Young, Nikola Pekovic, Anthony Bennett, Zach LaVine, Kevin Love, Rick Adelman, Flip Saunders, Trey Burke, Alec Burks, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Quin Snyder, Dante Exum, Trevor Booker, Rodney Hood, Steve Novak, Carrick Felix, Marvin Williams, Richard Jefferson, Andris Biedrins, Texas, Minnesota, Portland, San Antonio, United States, North America, Maine
Capsules for the NBA's Pacific Division teams, listed in predicted order of divisional finish by AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski:
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
LAST SEASON: 57-25, lost to Oklahoma City 4-2 in second round.
STARTING FIVE: G Chris Paul (19.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 10.7 apg), G J.J. Redick (15.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.2 apg), F Blake Griffin (24.1 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.9 apg), F Matt Barnes (9.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.0 apg), C DeAndre Jordan (10.4 pgg, 13.6 rpg, 2.5 bpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: G Jordan Farmar (free agent, Lakers), F/C Spencer Hawes (free agent, Cavaliers), G Jared Cunningham (free agent, Kings), G Chris Douglas-Roberts (free agent, Hornets).
KEY LOSSES: G Darren Collison (free agent, Kings), G/F Jared Dudley (trade, Bucks), F Danny Granger (free agent, Heat), G Willie Green (waivers, Magic), C Ryan Hollins (free agent, Kings).
COACH: Doc Rivers, second season.
EYES ON: Steve Ballmer. He could rival Mark Cuban of the Mavericks for most excitable owner in the NBA with his over-the-top enthusiasm. Hawes, a 7-footer, was a key addition to the frontcourt as a backup to Griffin and Jordan. Paul, Griffin and Jordan enter their fourth season together with expectations running high to win the franchise's first NBA title.
OUTLOOK: Ballmer, the former Microsoft CEO, spent a record $2 billion to buy the team and has vowed to give Rivers and his players whatever they need to win a championship. If the Clippers don't at least advance to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history, their season will be considered a disappointment.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
LAST SEASON: 51-31, lost to Los Angeles Clippers 4-3 in first round.
STARTING FIVE: G Stephen Curry (24.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 8.5 apg), G Klay Thompson (18.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.2 apg), F Andre Iguodala (9.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.2 apg), F David Lee (18.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 4.2 apg), C Andrew Bogut (7.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.8 bpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: G Shaun Livingston (free agent, Nets), G Leandro Barbosa (free agent, Suns/Brazil), F Brandon Rush (free agent, Utah), F Jason Kapono (free agent, Greece).
KEY LOSSES: C Jermaine O'Neal (retired), G Steve Blake (free agent, Blazers), G Jordan Crawford (free agent, China).
COACH: Steve Kerr, first season.
EYES ON: Kerr. He won three NBA titles playing for Phil Jackson in Chicago and another two for Gregg Popovich in San Antonio but has never been a coach, spending the last few years as a TNT broadcaster after serving as the Phoenix Suns' general manager. He takes over a talented team that ownership believes underachieved last season under Mark Jackson, who was fired after three years.
OUTLOOK: The starting lineup might be as good as any in the NBA, the bench should be better and if they can stay healthy — a big if the past two years, especially with Bogut — the Warriors should be among the favorites in the Western Conference.
LAST SEASON: 48-34, ninth in Western Conference.
STARTING FIVE: G Eric Bledsoe (17.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 5.5 apg), G Goran Dragic (20.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.9 apg), F P.J. Tucker (9.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.7 apg), F Anthony Tolliver (6.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 0.7 apg) or Markieff Morris (13.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.8 apg), C Miles Plumlee (8.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 0.5 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: G Isaiah Thomas (sign and trade, Kings), Tolliver (free agent, Hornets).
KEY LOSSES: F Channing Frye (free agent, Magic).
COACH: Jeff Hornacek, second season.
EYES ON: The backcourt. This team is built around point guards and, with the addition of Thomas, the Suns plan to have two good ones on the court at all times. The Suns, arguably the most surprising team in the NBA a year ago, thrived when Bledsoe was healthy and teaming with Dragic. Thomas would rather start but says he's content to come off the bench as long as the minutes are about the same.
OUTLOOK: Hornacek wants the Suns to play even faster than they did a year ago, when they led the NBA in fastbreak points. The team didn't do much to strengthen its frontcourt, counting on second-year center Alex Len to show improvement and Plumlee to make progress in his second full season. The Suns could be a better team than a year ago and still not make the playoffs in the tough Western Conference.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS
LAST SEASON: 27-55, 14th in Western Conference.
STARTING FIVE: G Jeremy Lin (12.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 4.1 apg), G Kobe Bryant (13.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 6.3 apg), F Wesley Johnson (9.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.6 apg), F Carlos Boozer (13.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.6 apg), C Jordan Hill (9.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 0.9 bpg).
KEY ADDITIONS: Lin (trade, Rockets), Boozer (amnesty waivers, Bulls), F Ed Davis (free agent, Grizzlies), F Julius Randle (draft, Kentucky), G Ronnie Price (free agent, Magic).
KEY LOSSES: C Pau Gasol (free agent, Bulls), G Jodie Meeks (free agent, Pistons), G Jordan Farmar (free agent, Clippers), G Kendall Marshall (waivers, Bucks), G Kent Bazemore (free agent, Hawks).
COACH: Byron Scott, first season.
EYES ON: Bryant. The 36-year-old superstar is back for his 19th season with the Lakers after playing in just six games last year. He appears fully healthy after two major injuries, but Bryant's notoriously thin patience will be tested by this patchwork lineup of castoffs, backups and Plan B's. If the Lakers struggle as much as expected, look out for the fireworks.
OUTLOOK: It hasn't been this bleak in Lakerland in decades. It's tough to say Los Angeles has improved last season's 27-win team, and the injury problems that crippled last year's lineup have already sprouted again in the preseason with Nick Young's long-term absence. If Bryant and Steve Nash are a healthy semblance of their old selves, the Lakers have a chance to contend for a postseason berth. If not, they'll almost certainly miss the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1976.
LAST SEASON: 28-54, 13th in Western Conference.
STARTING FIVE: G Darren Collison (11.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.7 apg), G Ben McLemore (8.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.0 apg), F Rudy Gay (20.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.1 apg), F Reggie Evans (5.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 0.7 apg), C DeMarcus Cousins (22.7 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 2.9 apg).
KEY ADDITIONS: Collison (free agent, Clippers), G Ramon Sessions (free agent, Bucks), F Omri Casspi (free agent, Houston), G Nik Stauskas (draft, Michigan).
KEY LOSSES: G Isaiah Thomas (trade, Suns), F Quincy Acy (trade, Knicks), C Aaron Gray (free agent, Bulls).
COACH: Michael Malone, second season.
EYES ON: Cousins. He's among the best centers in the NBA, but also the most unpredictable. Cousins has led the league in technical fouls the past two seasons and earned several fines and suspensions for his behavior. He also can be an unstoppable force on the court when he controls his emotions, and he played a big role in helping the U.S. win gold at the FIBA World Cup this summer.
OUTLOOK: Sacramento made strides late last season behind Cousins and Gay, who showed they could score with any of the NBA's best duos. Whether Malone can get the Kings to play team defense remains a major question. Sacramento also is stuck in a difficult division and a deep conference, so even if they improve the Kings will likely end up in the same spot they've finished the last eight seasons: in the draft lottery.News Topics: Sports, Sports trading, Athlete injuries, Sports transactions, 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, FIBA Basketball World Cup, NBA basketball, International basketball, Free agency, Men's basketball, Sports business, Athlete health, Events, Professional basketball, Basketball, Men's sports
People, Places and Companies: Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Blake Griffin, Matt Barnes, DeAndre Jordan, Jordan Farmar, Spencer Hawes, Jared Cunningham, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Darren Collison, Jared Dudley, Danny Granger, Willie Green, Ryan Hollins, Doc Rivers, Steve Ballmer, Mark Cuban, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, David Lee, Andrew Bogut, Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, Brandon Rush, Jason Kapono, Jermaine O'Neal, Steve Blake, Jordan Crawford, Steve Kerr, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Mark Jackson, Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, P.J. Tucker, Anthony Tolliver, Markieff Morris, Miles Plumlee, Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, Jeff Hornacek, Alex Len, Jeremy Lin, Kobe Bryant, Wesley Johnson, Carlos Boozer, Jordan Hill, Ed Davis, Julius Randle, Ronnie Price, Pau Gasol, Jodie Meeks, Kendall Marshall, Kent Bazemore, Byron Scott, Nick Young, Steve Nash, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, Reggie Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Ramon Sessions, Omri Casspi, Nik Stauskas, Quincy Acy, Aaron Gray, Los Angeles, Sacramento, California, United States, North America
NEW YORK (AP) — America has rejected the idea of cappuccino-flavored Lay's potato chips.
Frito-Lay says "Wasabi Ginger" won its contest that gives people a chance to create a new flavor, beating out the coffee-flavored chips and the two other finalists — "Mango Salsa" and "Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese."
Parent company PepsiCo Inc. says about 1 million total votes were cast online for the "Do Us A Flavor" promotion, a sales driver it has launched in more than a dozen countries.
In the U.S., bags of the four finalist flavors hit shelves in late July and people were able to vote on Facebook and Twitter for their favorites through this past weekend. It was the second year for the U.S. contest, which is designed to send customers to stores in search of the flavors. Last year's winner, Cheesy Garlic Bread, is still on shelves.News Topics: Business, Food and drink, General news, Lifestyle
People, Places and Companies: Pepsico Inc, United States, North America
BEIJING (AP) — China's economic growth down to 7.3 percent last quarter, lowest level in more than 5 years.News Topics: Business, General news, Economic growth, Economy
People, Places and Companies: China, Greater China, East Asia, Asia
DENVER (AP) — A terror suspect challenging the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program wants prosecutors to reveal how they built their case against him.
In motions filed Monday in federal court in Denver, attorneys for Jamshid Muhtorov said they need to know about the government's surveillance methods so they can challenge their legality in court.
Attorneys want to know about each surveillance technique, when it was used and what evidence it yielded so they can determine whether investigators illegally gathered evidence against Muhtorov and co-defendant Bakhityor Jumaev, federal public defender Virginia Grady wrote in the filing.
The Muhtorov case touches on concerns raised by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about the government's expanding spying practices. It was the first time the Justice Department disclosed that it would use information gained from one of the government's warrantless surveillance programs against an accused terrorist.
Muhtorov was accused in 2012 of providing material support to an Uzbek terrorist organization active in Afghanistan. The evidence against him consists largely of phone calls and Internet communications.
But defense attorneys say the government probably relied on other still-secret surveillance techniques in its investigations of Muhtorov and Jumaev. Grady said it's their constitutional right to know the facts.
The government's withholding of the information is keeping other defendants from challenging sweeping new forms of surveillance, she wrote.
"By now, it is clear that the government routinely employs legally untested surveillance methods in aid of investigations like this one — and that it often seeks to conceal those methods in order to avoid court review," Grady wrote. The government's disclosure of its use of recording devices and secret wiretapping in other criminal cases allowed courts to set guidelines for their use, she added.
Muhtorov, who was arrested with $2,800 in cash, two shrink-wrapped iPhones, an iPad and a GPS, has denied the charges against him. Prosecutors have not responded to the filings.News Topics: General news, Legal proceedings, Government surveillance, Government programs, Terrorism, Domestic spying, Government and politics, Crime, Intelligence agencies, Military intelligence, Law and order, Political issues, War and unrest, Human rights and civil liberties, Social issues, Social affairs, Military and defense, National security
People, Places and Companies: Edward Snowden, Denver, Colorado, United States, North America
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's Tass news agency says the CEO of French oil giant Total SA was killed when his corporate jet collided with a snow removal machine during takeoff at Moscow's Vnukovo airport.
Airport officials told Tass that the collision occurred at 11:57 p.m. Moscow time Monday, killing Total CEO Christophe de Margerie and three crew members, all of them French citizens.
A representative of the transport investigative committee tells Tass that the French-made Falcon 50 business jet, headed for France, collided with the snow removal machine during takeoff.
Airport officials tell Tass that visibility at the time was 350 meters (1,150 feet). Airport officials say the driver of the snow removal machine was not hurt.
De Margerie, 63, rose through the ranks at Total to become CEO in 2007.News Topics: Business, General news, Corporate management, Transportation accidents, Aviation accidents and incidents, Accidents, Plane crashes, Airport operation, Aircraft manufacturing, Corporate news, Personnel, Accidents and disasters, Transportation, Transportation infrastructure, Transportation and shipping, Industrial products and services, Industries, Aerospace and defense industry
People, Places and Companies: Total Sa, Moscow, Russia, Eastern Europe, Europe
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (AP) — Results from Argentine football:
Argentina Primera AWednesday's Match
Godoy Cruz 4, Tigre 3Friday's Matches
Gimnasia LP 0, Olimpo 0
Quilmes 0, Atletico Rafaela 0Saturday's Matches
Banfield 1, Estudiantes 1
San Lorenzo 1, Independiente 2
Defensa y Justicia 1, Lanus 2Sunday's Matches
Rosario Central 2, Newell's 0
Racing Club 2, Velez Sarsfield 0
River Plate 3, Belgrano 0
Godoy Cruz 2, Boca Juniors 3Monday's Match
Tigre 1, Arsenal 1News Topics: Soccer, Men's soccer, Sports, Men's sports
MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand (AP) — Luke Ronchi struck a personal best 99 from 83 balls to halt an unfolding collapse and lead New Zealand to 230 as it batted first Tuesday in the series-opening limited-overs cricket international against South Africa.
New Zealand lost three wickets, including captain Brendon McCullum (16), with its total at 68 and appeared to be in danger of falling short of a competitive score after being sent in to bat.
Morne Morkel dismissed McCullum and dangerous allrounder Corey Anderson with consecutive deliveries in the 16th over as New Zealand tumbled from 68-2 to 68-5. But the Australian-born Ronchi restored the New Zealand innings in partnerships of 65 with Tom Latham (29) and a record 74 with Trent Boult for the last wicket.News Topics: Sports, Cricket
People, Places and Companies: Tom Latham, South Africa, New Zealand, Southern Africa, Africa, Oceania
MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand was dismissed for 230 in 45.1 overs Tuesday, batting first in the opening limited-overs cricket international against South Africa:
New Zealand 230 (Luke Ronchi 99, Tom Latham 29; Imran Tahir 2-37, Vernon Philander 2-38, Morne Morkel 2-39, Ryan McLaren 2-59).News Topics: Sports
People, Places and Companies: Tom Latham, South Africa, New Zealand, Southern Africa, Africa, Oceania
REDMOND, Wash. (AP) — Microsoft has given its new CEO Satya Nadella a pay package worth $84.3 million, most of it in the form of long-term stock awards.
A regulatory document filed Monday shows Nadella got a salary for the fiscal year that ended June 30 of $918,917 and a $3.6 million bonus. He also was given stock awards worth nearly $79.8 million but most of the payments will be made over several years.
Microsoft said Nadella's actual compensation for the company's fiscal year 2014 is worth $11.6 million after excluding the long-term stock awards and a $13.5 million one-time retention award he received before his promotion to CEO.
Nadella was named CEO in February and is only the third chief executive in the company's history.
The Redmond, Washington-based company said in the regulatory filing that it had to change its pay structure because its former CEOs, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, were not given stock awards. That was because they were already among Microsoft's largest shareholders.
Nadella's pay package includes a long-term performance-based stock award valued at $59.2 million. Nadella won't receive any of that until 2019 and it will depend on the performance Microsoft's stock relative to other companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index.
The Microsoft CEO made headlines earlier this month with remarks he made at a women-in-computing conference, where he suggested that women don't need to ask for raises and should just trust that the system will pay them what they're worth. The comment drew immediate criticism, although Nadella later said he was repeating advice that he'd been given in his own career.
He apologized and later announced in a companywide memo that all Microsoft Corp. workers will receive expanded training on how to foster an inclusive culture.
The Associated Press formula for executive compensation calculates an executive's total compensation during the last fiscal year by adding salary, bonuses, perks, above-market interest the company pays on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock and stock options awarded during the year.News Topics: Business, Technology, Executive compensation, Corporate stock, Corporate management, Corporate news, Personnel, Wages and salaries
People, Places and Companies: Microsoft Corp, Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Washington, United States, North America
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — A six-pack won't be enough for Madison Bumgarner if the San Francisco Giants win the World Series.
The Giants ace chugged four beers after beating Pittsburgh in the NL wild-card game, upped the count to five following the NL Division Series clincher against Washington and six when San Francisco won the NL Championship Series over St. Louis.
"I don't know if I can hold any more than that," he said after earning the NLCS most valuable player award last week. "I had to keep it going, though. We'll see if we keep winning. We don't want to change anything up."
Bumgarner starts the World Series opener on Tuesday night as the Giants try to become the first NL team to win three World Series titles in a five-year span since the St. Louis Cardinals of 1942-46. James Shields goes for the Royals, back in the Series for the first time since winning the 1985 title.
Just 25, Bumgarner already is 2-0 with 15 shutout innings in Series play and is 2-1 in four starts this postseason with a 1.42 ERA. He followed Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez as a rookie in the 2010 Series. He pitched three-hit ball over eight innings in a 4-0 Game 4 win at Texas that put San Francisco within of its first title since 1954.
Two years later, he pitched after Barry Zito and allowed two hits over seven innings in a 2-0 win at AT&T Park in Game 2 as the Giants swept Detroit.
Now, with Cain sidelined since the All-Star break because of an elbow injury that needed surgery, the left-hander has become the ace. A native of Hickory, North Carolina, Bumgarner has a farm with horses and cattle. He is said to have given his wife a cow ahead of their wedding.
Bumgarner is part of a Southerner corner contingent of pitchers in the Giants' clubhouse that includes Georgian Tim Hudson and Alabamian Jake Peavy. Bumgarner takes the mound to the Marshall Tucker Band's "Fire on the Mountain."
"Our locker room definitely took a step toward the redneck side at the start of this year, that's for sure — in a good way," Hudson said. "I think every team needs a little redneck in them."
And manager Bruce Bochy, while born in France, spent time living in North Carolina and Florida. Grits are served to players ahead of day games.
"I like my rednecks, they're a good bunch of guys," Bochy said. "They come out, they get after it and play the game right. It's a very diverse group. ... We do have a unique group of rednecks."
Shields, a 32-year-old right-hander, also is unbeaten and unscored on in the Series: He pitched Tampa Bay to its lone win in 2008 when he allowed seven hits over 5 2-3 innings in a 4-2 victory over Philadelphia. Kansas City acquired him from the Rays in December 2013, hoping he would help transform a young team into a contender.
"He's kind of just turned the clubhouse around, really," manager Ned Yost said. "He brought a definite winner's attitude with him, and he's not only molded but he's mentored our players in that fact."
Shields is 1-0 with a 5.63 ERA this offseason. He told the Kansas City Star he passed a kidney stone last week during the ALCS.
"I haven't pitched the way I wanted to. There is no doubt about it," he said. "So I'm a big believer in amnesia. I've been doing it my whole entire career."
AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this report.News Topics: Sports, MLB World Series, MLB baseball, Baseball, Tree nut farming, Events, Professional baseball, Men's sports, Crop farming, Agriculture, Industries, Business
People, Places and Companies: Madison Bumgarner, James Shields, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, Jake Peavy, Bruce Bochy, Ned Yost, Kansas City, St. Louis, Missouri, United States, North America
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The NHL suspended Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov indefinitely Monday after the two-time Stanley Cup winner's arrest on suspicion of domestic violence.
Voynov was booked and released at the Redondo Beach jail after his arrest early Monday morning at a Torrance hospital on suspicion of corporal injury to a spouse, Redondo Beach police Lt. Joe Hoffman said. The 24-year-old Russian defenseman posted $50,000 bail.
"These developments are of great concern to our organization," the Kings said in a statement. "We support the NHL's decision to suspend Slava Voynov indefinitely during this process, and we will continue to take appropriate action as the legal proceedings and the investigation by the NHL take their course."
Craig Renetzky, the attorney representing Voynov, told The Associated Press that Voynov hasn't yet been charged with a crime. His next court date is Dec. 1, Renetzky said.
"We're still investigating with the police," Renetzky said. "It's very early on in the proceedings. We're just asking everybody to be patient, because arrests don't always lead to charges and convictions."
The soft-spoken Voynov was a key contributor to the Kings' two championship teams in the past three seasons, playing an aggressive two-way game from the blue line. The Siberia native also played for Russia at the Sochi Olympics.
"He's not familiar with our legal system, so he had a lot of questions," Renetzky said.
Redondo Beach police responded to a neighbor's report of a woman screaming and crying in Voynov's neighborhood on Sunday night, but couldn't find anyone, Hoffman said. About 90 minutes later, Voynov was arrested after a nurse at the Torrance hospital called police to report the alleged victim was being treated for injuries that "alarmed" the emergency-room staff.
Police didn't release the alleged victim's name or her relationship to Voynov, citing her confidentiality rights. A couple must be married, in a relationship, cohabitating or have a child together for an alleged crime to fall under the statute cited by the arresting officers.
Hoffman said additional charges could be filed against Voynov because a child was in the house shared by the defenseman and the alleged victim, although Voynov isn't the child's father.
The NFL has received widespread criticism in recent months for its handling of domestic violence charges against several players, and the NHL moved swiftly in response to the allegations against Voynov, even though he hasn't been charged. Voynov will be paid by the Kings during the investigation, but isn't allowed to participate in practices or games.
The NHL's collective bargaining agreement allows it to suspend players during a criminal investigation "where the failure to suspend the player during this period would create a substantial risk of material harm to the legitimate interests and/or reputation of the league."
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said he is confident in his league's policies, noting in a recent interview in Los Angeles that the league provides education and frequent counseling to its players.
Voynov is the second prominent Russian NHL player to be accused of domestic violence in a year. Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov was arrested last October after allegations were brought against him by his girlfriend, but he wasn't suspended by the league, and the case was dropped in December.
Voynov earned a spot in the Kings' lineup as a rookie during their run to their first Stanley Cup title in 2011-12. He scored a career-best 34 points last season, and he has two assists in six games this season, including an assist in a victory over Minnesota on Sunday afternoon.
The Kings signed Voynov to a six-year, $25 million contract extension in June 2013, paying him $3 million this season with escalating salaries through 2019.
The Kings had a day off from practice Monday after winning their last four games despite the season-long injury absence of defenseman Jake Muzzin. Los Angeles' next game is Thursday at home against Buffalo.
Associated Press writer Christopher Weber contributed to this report.News Topics: Sports, Athlete compensation, Sports transactions, Athlete injuries, Domestic assault, Sports team and league operation, NHL hockey, Violence in sports, Sports governance, Arrests, Celebrity legal affairs, Crime, Sports business, Athlete health, Assault and battery, Violent crime, General news, Sports industry, Media and entertainment industry, Industries, Business, Professional hockey, Hockey, Men's hockey, Men's sports, Violence, Social issues, Social affairs, Law and order, Celebrity, Entertainment, Arts and entertainment
People, Places and Companies: Slava Voynov, Gary Bettman, Semyon Varlamov, Jacob Muzzin, Los Angeles, Russia, Torrance, California, United States, North America, Eastern Europe, Europe
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand's prime minister has laid out a three-year government agenda that includes returning the country's books to surplus, conducting a vote on whether to change the nation's flag, and tightening the rules on terrorist fighters.
Prime Minister John Key outlined his plans Tuesday at a ceremonial opening of the nation's 51st Parliament. His National Party won a decisive election victory last month that saw it return to power for a third consecutive term.
In accordance with New Zealand parliamentary tradition, Key's opening speech was delivered by the governor general, Sir Jerry Mateparae.
In the election, the National Party won 47 percent of the vote and 60 of Parliament's 121 seats. It has formed a governing alliance with several smaller parties.News Topics: Business, General news, Government and politics, Parliamentary elections, Elections
People, Places and Companies: John Key, Jerry Mateparae, New Zealand, Oceania
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — More than 2.3 million voters have already cast ballots for the November midterm elections, and both Republicans and Democrats are claiming the early voting numbers work to their advantage.
Florida continues to dominate early returns, with more than 891,000 votes cast by late last week. A contentious governor's race tops the ballot in that state.
Registered Republicans have cast almost half of the early votes. Republicans say their lead proves momentum for Gov. Rick Scott, who trails Democratic challenger, former Gov. Charlie Crist in many polls.
In Iowa, where a Senate race will help determine which party controls the chamber in January, Democrats hold a narrow lead out of almost 200,000 ballots cast.
But Republicans say they're making a more concerted early voting effort than in past elections.News Topics: General news, Government and politics, Elections, Voting, Political parties, Political organizations
People, Places and Companies: Rick Scott, Charlie Crist, Iowa, Florida, United States, North America
WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans have a dismal view of Congress, yet Republicans are widely expected to keep and possibly increase their majority in the House of Representatives in next month's elections. That's not just a reflection of President Barack Obama's own diminishing popularity. It's largely the result of a shrewd Republican strategy that has tilted the electoral playing field in the party's favor.
That strategy goes back to the 2010 elections, when Republicans rode a wave of dissatisfaction with Obama to capture the House. Less noticed, but perhaps more important, they aggressively sought — and won — control of legislatures in crucial states.
State legislatures don't often affect national politics. But once a decade, after the U.S. census, most are involved in redrawing their states' congressional districts. By taking control of key state legislatures right after the 2010 census, Republicans were able to shape congressional maps in their favor. They spread out Republican voters to increase their chances of winning more seats, while packing as many Democratic voters as possible into the fewest districts.
The Republican advantage is significant. In the 2012 elections, Democratic candidates for the House received 1.4 million more votes than their Republican opponents, yet the party maintained a 33-seat majority. It was only the second time since World War II that the party receiving the most votes didn't win a majority of House seats.
The upshot is that independent experts give Democrats little chance to retake the House this year. That means Republicans will continue to have powerful leverage to block Obama's second-term agenda on issues including immigration and gun control. That agenda is further threatened by the Republicans' solid prospects for capturing the Senate. That chamber is not affected by redistricting because senators are elected in statewide votes.
The practice of manipulating congressional districts for political gain, known as gerrymandering, has a long history in the United States. It has been pursued enthusiastically for two centuries by all parties. But the Republican Party's success at it this decade has been historic: In 2012, Republicans achieved a 33-seat majority in the House, even though the party's candidates as a group got 1.4 million fewer votes than their Democratic opponents.
This year, redistricting gives Republicans a big edge at a time they face a mixed political picture. Obama's approval ratings are at their lowest level and, historically, the party of the president tends to lose seats in midterm elections. But Americans are divided over which political party they would rather see win control of Congress, which has had approval ratings below 20 percent for the past year, according to AP-GfK polling.
How did Republicans gain their districting advantage? It started with a plan called REDMAP.
At its core were the changes stemming from the 2010 census. The census figures on state populations determine how many seats in the 435-member House each state will have. Then it's usually up to legislatures and governors to divide up the seats within their states.
REDMAP, which stands for Redistricting Majority Project, targeted races in states that were expected to gain or lose congressional seats as a result of the census. Republicans spent more than $30 million through REDMAP to help elect legislative majorities in important states like Ohio, Michigan and North Carolina, said Chris Jankowski, former president of the Republican State Leadership Committee.
Nearly all 50 U.S. states have two legislative chambers. Before the 2010 election, Republicans had majorities in 36 state legislative bodies. Afterward, the party controlled 56, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In almost half the states, Republicans won control of the entire redistricting process.
In all, Republicans controlled the process of drawing the boundaries for 210 House districts, compared to just 44 districts for Democrats, according to statistics compiled by Justin Levitt, a law professor and redistricting expert at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. The rest were drawn by divided government, the courts, or in a handful of mostly western states, independent commissions.
"I think Democrats made a terrible mistake. They did not put nearly enough attention or resources into legislative races at the state level," said Matt Bennett, a former aide to President Bill Clinton.
The redistricting strategy helped Republicans keep control of the House in 2012 even though Obama's sweeping re-election victory showed America as a whole leaning Democratic. Obama received nearly 5 million more votes than Republican Mitt Romney.
Geography has also helped Republicans in some states, where large numbers of Obama's votes were packed into heavily Democratic congressional districts. As a result, Romney won 17 more House districts than Obama.
Lopsided districts help explain why Congress is so polarized. The divide is reflected in demographic differences, which can shape the debate on a variety of issues. On immigration, for example, the average Democratic district has about twice as many Hispanic residents as the typical Republican district. This helps explain why House Republicans have less incentive to pass an immigration bill that would provide a path to citizenship for millions of people living in the U.S. illegally; after Republican House leaders unveiled such a plan in January, a bill never made it to a vote.
Some Republican leaders argue that is the wrong approach as America becomes more diverse. But most House districts represented by Republicans are overwhelmingly white, with relatively few minorities.
"That's not going to last forever," said William Frey, a demographer at The Brookings Institution. "Sooner or later, demography is not on the side of those places staying isolated."
Associated Press senior research coordinator Cliff Maceda contributed to this report.
Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter at http://twitter.com/stephenatapNews Topics: General news, Government and politics, House elections, Elections, Voting districts, Redistricting, Legislature, Political parties, Demographics, Political approval ratings, Censuses, United States Census, Immigration, Political organizations, Social affairs, Public opinion, Events, Social issues
People, Places and Companies: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Mitt Romney, United States, North America
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) — The consolidated class-action lawsuit by former NHL players against the league over concussion-related injuries has been filed in federal court.
Attorneys for the ex-players filed the complaint Monday in Minnesota. The case had been assigned to U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson. It's a combination of several lawsuits previously filed.
Dan LaCouture, Michael Peluso, Gary Leeman, Bernie Nicholls, David Christian and Reed Larson are the former players serving as six class representatives. They are seeking a jury trial for unspecified financial damages and NHL-funded medical monitoring for neurological disorders.
They are alleging that the league had the knowledge and resources to better prevent head trauma, failed to properly warn players of the risks, and promoted violent play that led to their injuries.News Topics: Sports, Lawsuits, Class action lawsuits, Athlete injuries, Legal proceedings, Sports medicine, NHL hockey, Law and order, General news, Athlete health, Health, Professional hockey, Hockey, Men's hockey, Men's sports
People, Places and Companies: Susan Richard Nelson, Minnesota, United States, North America