King denies tearful Efimova in 100m breaststroke

RIO DE JANEIRO Lilly King of the United States won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 100 meters breaststroke on Monday, denying Russia's Yulia Efimova who was greeted with resounding boos from the Rio de Janeiro crowd.Katie Meili of the United States took the bronze, with London 2012 champion Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania fading in the second length to finish seventh.There were loud jeers before the start of the race for Efimova, who has twice been suspended for doping offences.The 24-year-old world champion won a legal challenge last week to get herself reinstated to the Olympics, having previously been excluded because of her doping record.King swam a strong first 50 meters and led at the turn, with Efimova well back in fourth place. The Russian surged forward in the second half of the race and appeared to be catching her rival, but King finished powerfully in an Olympic record time of one minute 4.93 seconds, with Efimova 0.57 seconds behind."It just proves that you can compete clean and still come out on top," King said. Before leaving the poolside, she patted the Russian on the back.Efimova, who after months of uncertainty learned only last Friday that she could compete, broke down after the race in front of reporters, crying into the arms of a friend. "I can't say that I'm happy, it's just good that I was able to compete," she said."I can't remember the last time I slept properly ... I've been completely without sleep for the last month. The last three weeks in particular were horrendous."The Russian said had wanted to win gold to prove her critics wrong."That's why I'm so upset that I didn't manage it, I knew that lots of people were counting on me." After the victory ceremony, the two Americans wrapped themselves together in the Stars and Stripes flag, while Efimova stood awkwardly to the side. BIGGER MARGIN The margin was more comfortable than in the heats and semi-finals, where King had beaten her rival by 0.01 and 0.02 seconds respectively. Efimova was also jeered at both those swims.Revelations of state-sponsored Russian doping overshadowed the build-up to the Olympics and led to more than 100 competitors being excluded, including the country's entire athletics and weightlifting teams.Russia was banned on Sunday from the Paralympics that will follow.Efimova was one of several Russians who successfully argued in legal appeals last week that having served their original doping suspensions, they should not be punished again for the same offense by being barred from Rio.She was banned between October 2013 and February 2015 after testing positive for traces of the anabolic steroid DHEA, and also briefly suspended after testing positive for meldonium this year. (Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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J.K. Rowling bids farewell to Harry Potter at 'Cursed Child' gala

LONDON A new "Harry Potter" play that opened to swooning reviews and delighted gasps from the audience marks the end of the journey for the beloved boy wizard, his creator J.K. Rowling said at the play's premiere in London on Saturday.Billed as the eighth installment in the series, the play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" and a book based on its script have helped awaken a new wave of Pottermania five years since the previous episode was made into a movie. Throngs of fans crowded bookstores for the midnight release of the book, hours after the play in London's West End theater district dazzled theatre-goers with swishing capes, billowy wraiths floating overhead and illusionist tricks of actors appearing to vanish into thin air.Asked if the book and play heralded a new phase of stories, Rowling told Reuters: "No, no.""He goes on a very big journey during these two plays and then, yeah, I think we're done. This is the next generation, you know," said Rowling, who later appeared on stage during a standing ovation at the end of the show. "So, I'm thrilled to see it realized so beautifully but, no, Harry is done now." Based on a story by Rowling, playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany, "Cursed Child" picks up the story 19 years later, featuring Potter as a 37-year-old overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic and father of three.The play, a marathon affair running over five hours and split into two parts, is sold out through May 2017. Enthusiasts from around the world queued outside the ornate Palace Theatre for a glimpse of Rowling and the cast of the production. Many in attendance at the show said it lived up to its billing in reviews as a thrilling theatrical spectacle, with deft stagecraft that drew audible gasps at times. "It was magical. I sat on the edge of my seat the whole time," said Kylie Cruikshamsks, 32, a big Potter fan. "There was a lot to live up to and they did it." Another spectator, 32-year-old Ashley Nottingham, said he was left speechless: "It's blown away every theatrical boundary I've ever known." The play opens ahead of the November movie version of Rowling's Potter spinoff book "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," and follows the opening in April of a second Harry Potter attraction within a theme park, this time at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.The British writer said she found it easy to put her Potter creation onstage thanks to the vision for the show."(It) chimed perfectly with the material I had about the next generation and I could see it would work perfectly," she said. "So, I never wanted to write another novel, but this will give the fans something special." (Additional reporting by Alex Fraser; Writing by Deepa Babington; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Firefighters battling California blaze face hot, dry conditions on Tuesday

Firefighters in drought-hit California who are battling a 50-square-mile wildfire could be hampered by triple-digit heat, wind gusts up to 30 mph and low humidity on Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service. About 3,000 firefighters have been fighting to contain the so called Sand Fire on the rugged northwestern fringes of the Los Angeles National Forest since Friday. The blaze has killed one person, found in a burned-out car parked in a driveway, and destroyed at least 18 homes. An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people were forced to evacuate but late on Monday, fire officials lifted the evacuation order for the majority of residents.The fire was just 10 percent contained on Monday evening as crews backed by bulldozers labored to hack buffer lines around its perimeter as it cast a pall of smoke and soot over a wide area. An air quality advisory was in effect in the area of the fire until Tuesday midnight local time after much of the Los Angeles basin was dusted with a thin layer of fine white ash from the fire over the weekend. Among the properties to go up in flames was the landmark Sable Ranch, a popular location for television and movie shoots. About 300 miles to the north, another fire ravaged a hilly area near the scenic coastal city of Carmel-by-the-Sea, churning through 16,100 acres (6,500 hectares) and destroying 20 homes, authorities said. The so-called Soberanes Fire, burning in the Los Padres National Forest in Monterey County, threatened 1,650 structures by Monday evening and was only 10 percent contained, the U.S. Forest Service said. The causes of the two fires were under investigation. They are among some 3,750 blazes large and small to have erupted across California since January, a higher-than-normal total, collectively scorching more than 200,000 acres (80,940 hectares), state fire officials said. The biggest so far was last month's Erskine Fire, which consumed 48,000 acres (19,429 hectares) northeast of Bakersfield, killing two people and destroying about 250 structures.By comparison, the 2003 Cedar Fire ranks as the biggest on record in the state, burning more than 273,000 acres (110,480 hectares) and killing 15 people. (Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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Apple wins dismissal of lawsuit over MacBook logic boards

Apple Inc won the dismissal on Thursday of a lawsuit accusing it of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook laptop computers that contained "logic boards" it knew were defective, and which routinely failed within two years.U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco said the plaintiffs, Uriel Marcus and Benedict Verceles, failed to show that Apple made "affirmative misrepresentations," despite citing online complaints and Apple marketing statements calling the laptops "state of the art" or the "most advanced" on the market."Plaintiffs have failed to allege that Apple's logic boards were unfit for their ordinary purposes or lacked a minimal level of quality," Alsup wrote. "Both plaintiffs were able to adequately use their computers for approximately 18 months and two years, respectively."Alsup gave the plaintiffs until Jan. 22 to amend their lawsuit, which sought class-action status, against the Cupertino, California-based company. Omar Rosales, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Apple did not immediately respond to a similar request.The plaintiffs claimed that Apple's sale of MacBooks since May 20, 2010, violated consumer protection laws in California and Texas, where the lawsuit began last May before being moved.They also contended that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was told about the defective logic boards in 2011, but did nothing. Logic boards contain computer circuitry and are sometimes known as motherboards.A separate and still pending lawsuit in California accuses Apple of defrauding consumers by selling MacBook Pro laptops in 2011 that contained defective graphic cards, causing screen distortions and system failures. MacBooks are part of Apple's Mac line of desktop and laptop computers. The company reported unit sales in that business of 18.91 million in its latest fiscal year.The case is Marcus et al v. Apple Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 14-03824. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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Philistines were more sophisticated than given credit for, say archeologists

ASHKELON, Israel Philistines were no "philistines", say archaeologists who unearthed a 3,000-year-old cemetery in which members of the biblical nation were buried along with jewelry and perfumed oil.Little was known about the Philistines prior to the recent excavation in the Israeli port city of Ashkelon. The famed arch enemies of the ancient Israelites -- Goliath was a Philistine -- flourished in this area of the Mediterranean, starting in the 12th century BC, but their way of life and origin have remained a mystery.That stands to change after what researchers have called the first discovery of a Philistine cemetery. It contains the remains of about 150 people in numerous burial chambers, some containing surprisingly sophisticated items.The team also found DNA on parts of the skeletons and hope that further testing will determine the origins of the Philistine people.We may need to rethink today's derogatory use of the word philistine, which refers to someone averse to culture and the arts, said archaeologist Lawrence Stager, who has led the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon since 1985. "The Philistines have had some bad press, and this will dispel a lot of myths," Stager said.Stager's team dug down about 3 meters (10 feet) to uncover the cemetery, which they found to have been used centuries later as a Roman vineyard.On hands and knees, workers brushed away layers of dusty earth to reveal the brittle white bones of entire Philistine skeletons reposed as they were three millennia ago. Decorated juglets believed to have contained perfumed oil were found in graves. Some bodies were still wearing bracelets and earrings. Others had weapons. The archeologists also discovered some cremations, which the team say were rare and expensive for the period, and some larger jugs contained the bones of infants. "The cosmopolitan life here is so much more elegant and worldly and connected with other parts of the eastern Mediterranean," Stager said, adding that this was in contrast to the more modest village lifestyle of the Israelites who lived in the hills to the east.Bones, ceramics and other remains were moved to a tented compound for further study and some artifacts were reconstructed piece by piece. The team mapped the position of every bone removed to produce a digital 3D recreation of the burial site.Final reports on the finds are being published by the Semitic Museum at Harvard University. (Editing by David Goodman)

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