Raiders owner Davis buying WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces



FILE PHOTO: Dec 24, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis on the field before the game against the Denver Broncos at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

January 15, 2021

(Reuters) – Raiders owner Mark Davis on Thursday said he was poised to purchase the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces from MGM Resorts International, expanding his sports footprint in the city.

Davis moved the NFL’s Raiders to Las Vegas from Oakland ahead of the current season and the team plays in the new $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium near the Las Vegas strip, not far from the Aces home at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

“I am excited to announced that I have entered into an agreement to purchase the Las Vegas franchise in the WNBA for MGM Resorts International,” Davis said in a statement.

“I will have more to say once I receive official approval from the WNBA Board of Governors and have had a chance to speak with the players, coaches and administrators of the team.”

The Aces, who moved from San Antonio to Las Vegas before the 2018 season, are stocked with young talent and reached the finals last year behind the outstanding play of league MVP A’ja Wilson.

“We can confirm we have entered into an agreement to sell the Las Vegas Aces to Mark Davis and are awaiting approval from the WNBA Board of Governors,” said George Kliavkoff, president of entertainment and sports at MGM Resorts International.

“Mark is a longtime champion of women’s basketball and we believe he is the right person to lead the Aces into a new era. We will continue our enthusiastic support of the WNBA, NBA and basketball in Las Vegas.”

Davis is also a fan of the city’s other professional sports franchise, the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, who play at T-Mobile Arena on Las Vegas Boulevard.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Christian Radnedge)



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Tony Hsieh: Former boss of Zappos and Las Vegas entrepreneur dies after house fire | US News


Tony Hsieh, the retired boss of fashion brand Zappos who spent years helping develop downtown Las Vegas, has died at the age of 46.

He died several days after suffering injuries in a house fire in New London, Connecticut, surrounded by his family.

A fire chief told US media that firefighters were called to the property at around 3.30am (8.30am GMT) on Friday after reports of a man trapped in a part of a house. He added they had to force their way in and remove the victim, perform CPR and then take him to hospital.

Image:
Mr Hsieh donated millions to help regenerate Las Vegas

Mr Hsieh, a Harvard graduate, joined Zappos, then called ShoeSite, in 1999, and stayed with the brand for 20 years, even after its $1.2bn (£880m) sale to Amazon in 2009.

The company shared a tribute following the announcement of his death, saying: “The world has lost a tremendous visionary and an incredible human being.

“His spirit will forever be a part of Zappos.”

As well as running the fashion firm, Mr Hsieh was known for his work in redeveloping downtown Las Vegas, stumping up $350m for a regeneration project in the city in 2013, shortly after moving his company’s headquarters there.

The money he pledged helped start-ups, restaurants and other businesses get off the ground, in an effort to transform a once-neglected part of the city.

He also wrote a book called Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion And Purpose in 2010, scoring him a place at the top of the New York Times and Washington Post bestseller lists.

Ivanka Trump, daughter of US President Donald Trump, led the tributes on social media, saying: “Celebrating the life while mourning the loss of my dear friend Tony Hsieh.

“Tony was a deeply original thinker always challenging me to reject conformity & follow my heart. Tony was driven by the mission of delivering happiness & brought joy to all who knew him. Rest In Peace Tony”

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos added his condolences on Instagram, saying: “The world lost you way too soon. Your curiosity, vision, and relentless focus on customers leave an indelible mark. You will be missed by so many, Tony. Rest In Peace.”

Pro skater Tony Hawk was also among those sharing memories of Mr Hsieh, writing: “A beautiful tribute to a true pioneer. Tony Hsieh was a visionary. He was generous with his time and willing to share his invaluable expertise with anyone.

“And he was very, very cool.”





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Chelsea Hackett to fight for a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series in Las Vegas


Chelsea Hackett remembers winning her last fight, walking from the cage and then being told she would be challenge for a UFC contract.

That was in March.

“Or 10 days,” she recalls, “before the coronavirus hit”.

Which has made for some wait.

Yet eight months on from being given the biggest news of her promising fight career, 21-year-old Hackett is finally set to enter the Octagon in Las Vegas on Wednesday (Australian time) as part of Dana White’s Contender Series.

Despite her unforced hiatus between fights, the rising Gold Coaster insists she is simply now better prepared for her bout against American Victoria Leonardo.

As part of the White’s Contender Series process, the UFC president hands out contracts to a certain number of winning fighters on each card — with the paperwork largely decided by the appeal of individual wins.

“My plan was always been to have a UFC contract by the end of 2020,” said Hackett, whose Contender Series spot was initially confirmed following her win over Rhiannon Thompson at Eternal MMA 52.

“Going into that fight, only myself and my team knew that a win could get me the shot. Then afterwards, I was so excited.

“I couldn’t wait.”

Nor could COVID-19.

“Initially, everything got so hectic I thought the series would be off,” Hackett said.

“They were cancelling sporting events everywhere and, of course, I was super upset.

“But I knew this was a global thing and there were a lot of people worse off.

“So I just kept training, kept working … and crossed my fingers.”

Then in June, it was announced the Contender Series was definitely on.

“But we still didn’t know if I could even travel to America because of the restrictions,” she said. “Almost all the fighters on that show are from the United States.

“So it’s taken a big effort for me to get here.

“When I eventually found out it was still going ahead, I was jumping out and down I was so excited.”

Despite only boasting a 3-0-1 MMA career, Hackett’s relationship with combat sports goes all the way back to the age of eight, when she took up taekwondo.

She continued into the professional ranks, becoming a Muay Thai world champion, before switching to MMA and her current push for a UFC contract.

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Las Vegas police charge driver after man pushed a cyclist to her death, fell out a minivan window, hit his head on a lamppost, and died at the scene


Police mugshot of Rodrigo Cruz, 22, who was arrested for one count of Open Murder, Duty to Stop at the Scene of an Accident, and for Violating the Conditions of his Parole on October 26, 2020. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
  • Driver charged after his passenger pushed a cyclist to her death from a fast-moving minivan before falling out of the window, hitting his head on a lamppost, and dying

  • The pair pulled up alongside Michelle Weissman, who was in her mid-fifties. Giovanni Medina Barajas leaned out of the window to push her, knocking her to the ground and she died from the impact, according to the Associated Press.

  • Lt. Raymond Spencer told the Associated Press that the momentum of pushing her caused Barajas to fall out of the car, skid at least 150ft before hitting his head on a lamppost and dying at the scene.

  • Rodrigo Cruz, 22, has been charged with one count of open murder, duty to stop at the scene of an accident, and for violating the conditions of his parole from a 2016 robbery case, the LVMPD said.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In a bizarre and tragic series of events, a man pushed a female cyclist to her death from a minivan before falling out of the window, hitting his head on a lamppost, and also dying.

Rodrigo Cruz, 22, had been driving down Hollywood Boulevard in Las Vegas accompanied by 20-year-old Giovanni Medina Barajas, who was later identified by the Las Vegas Sun, in the passenger seat on Sunday morning. 

They pulled up alongside Michelle Weissman who was on her bike and Barajas leaned out of the window to push her and she was knocked to the ground, dying from the impact, according to the Associated Press.

Lt. Raymond Spencer of the Homicide Squad told the Associated Press that the momentum of pushing her also caused Barajas to fall out of the car and skid at least 150ft before hitting his head on a lamppost and dying at the scene.

During a media briefing held later that day, he said: “You have a woman who was out riding her bicycle and they pull up next to her and strike her, causing her to die.

“It’s an absolute senseless act. There’s no reason behind this that I can tell you why it occurred, other than complete stupidity.”

Cruz who was apprehended by police later that day said he continued driving and left the scene because he figured Barajas was uninjured, the Las Vegas Sun added. Cruz was charged in a Las Vegas court on Wednesday.

The charges were one count of open murder, duty to stop at the scene of an accident, and for violating the conditions of his parole from a 2016 robbery case,  the LVMPD said.  He had been on parole from the at the Clark County Detention Center since July.

Weissman worked as Hotel Manager of the Cannery Casino Hotel in Las Vegas which is owned by Boyd Gaming.

In a statement seen by Insider, they said: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic and senseless loss of our team member, Shelli. 

“She was well-known and well-liked by the entire Cannery team, and we will miss her. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this very difficult time.”

 

Read the original article on Insider





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Teofimo Lopez overcomes Vasyl Lomachenko in Las Vegas


Lopez (right) remains undefeated after beating Lomachenko

Teofimo Lopez beat Vasyl Lomachenko by a unanimous points decision in Las Vegas to become the undisputed world lightweight champion.

The American’s win over the Ukrainian means he now adds the WBA, WBO and WBC ‘Franchise’ titles to his IBF belt.

Lopez, 23, dominated the first half of the fight and, despite a late rally by Lomachenko, was awarded a 116-112, 119-109, 117-111 win by the judges.

“I am ready to take over the world,” Lopez said.

The result means he is the youngest fighter to become a four-belt undisputed champion and he maintains his unbeaten record with 16 wins from 16 bouts.

The fight between the two rivals had been eagerly awaited but took place without any fans because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lomachenko, 32, was kept quiet early on and, although he put in a strong effort in the later rounds, it was not enough to stop him suffering a second defeat from his 15 fights.

“I think I won the fight,” Lomachenko said after his first loss in six years. “But I am not going to argue it now.

“In the first half of the fight he won more rounds. In the second half I took it over. I don’t agree with the scorecards.”



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Velázquez’s Las Meninas: A detail that decodes a masterpiece



However bizarre it may seem, consuming búcaro clay to alter one’s pigmentation was less dangerous than some contemporary alternatives to skin lightening, such as smearing one’s face with Venetian ceruse (a topical paste made from lead, vinegar and water) which resulted in blood poisoning, hair loss, and death. That’s not to say the ingestion of búcaro clay wasn’t without its own unpredictable reactions, including a perilous depletion of red blood cells, paralysis of muscles, and the destruction of one’s liver. It also triggered hallucinations. According to the well-known autobiography of a contemporary female painter and mystic, Estefanía de la Encarnación, published in Madrid in 1631, an addiction to snacking on búcaros resulted not only in a death-in-lifeless of pallor but heightened spiritual awareness. Though she laments that it took her “a full year” to “rid me of this vice”, the narcotic effect nevertheless unleashed visions that enabled her “to see God more clearly”.

When we map the physiological and psychotropic effects of búcaro dependency on to the perennial puzzle of Las Meninas, the painting takes on a new and perhaps even eerier complexion. As the epicentre of the canvas’s enigmatic action, the altered and altering consciousness of the Infanta, whose fingers are wrapped around the búcaro (has she just taken a nibble?), suddenly expands to the mindset of the painting. Look closely and we can see that Velázquez’s brush is pointing directly at a pigment splotch of the same intense pulsating red on his palette as that from which the búcaro has been magicked into being. As spookily peaky in pallor as a genie conjured from a bottle, the Infanta appears too to levitate from the floor – an effect delicately achieved by the subtle shadow that the artist has subliminally inserted beneath the parachute-like dome of her billowing crinoline dress. Even the Infanta’s parents, whose images hover directly above the lips of the búcaro, begin to appear more like holographic spirits projected from another dimension than mere reflections in a mirror.

Suddenly, we see Las Meninas for what it is – not just a snapshot of a moment in time, but a soulful meditation on the evanescence of the material world and the inevitable evaporation of self. Over the course of his nearly four decades of service to the court, Velásquez witnessed the gradual diminishment of Philip IV’s dominion. The world was slipping away. The crumbly búcaro, a dissoluble trophy of colonial exploits and dwindling imperial power that has the power to reveal realms that lie beyond, is the perfect symbol of that diminuendo and the letting go of the mirage of now. The búcaro ingeniously anchors the woozy scene while at the same time is directly implicated in its wooziness. Simultaneously physical, psychological, and spiritual in its symbolic implications, the búcaro is a keyhole through which the deepest meaning of Velázquez’s masterpiece can be glimpsed and unlocked.

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Henley sails to three-stroke lead in Las Vegas



Oct 17, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Russell Henley hits a shot out of the bunker on the seventh hole during the third round of the CJ Cup golf tournament at Shadow Creek Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

October 18, 2020

(Reuters) – American Russell Henley carded a flawless, five-under-par 67 to seize a three-stroke lead on Saturday at the CJ Cup, where an elite field stands between him and his first PGA Tour title in three-and-a-half years.

Henley, who sank a 22-foot putt on 10 for one of his five birdies of the day, told reporters he had struggled with his confidence in recent years but appeared calm and completely in control at Shadow Creek Golf Course after pouring work into retooling his short game.

“I putted really well. Left myself in some good spots to make some birdies and had some really nice par saves and scrambled well. Did a lot of good things,” said Henley, who has had just two bogeys through three rounds.

The 31-year-old, who finished tied at 27 in last week’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, had three consecutive birdies on the back nine and said he hoped to keep the momentum up in the final round.

“You can go low out here, the greens are great and it’s gettable, but you’ve got to play well to do that. You’ve got to do everything well,” he added. “I’ve got to just keep my head down and play a good round for me.”

The tournament, typically part of the PGA Tour’s Asian swing, was moved to the Las Vegas venue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and features a crowded field of top talent warming up for the Masters next month, including world number three Justin Thomas (68) and the reigning PGA Championship winner Collin Morikawa (71), who were five and six strokes back from the lead, respectively.

Four-time PGA Tour winner Xander Schauffele, who led the pack headed into the weekend, slipped down the leaderboard after carding a disappointing two-over-par 74 to share second place with fellow Americans Talor Gooch (69), Jason Kokrak (68) and Lanto Griffin (66).

(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by William Mallard)





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Prince Harry, Campbell Brown Las Vegas run in revealed


AFL great Campbell Brown has revealed a wild encounter he shared with Prince Harry inside a Las Vegas nightclub.

The former Hawthorn and Gold Coast star says he was eventually escorted away from the former royal after they enjoyed a vodka-induced chinwag and showed off their moves on the dance floor of the iconic XS Night Club inside the Wynn Casino.

Speaking as part of the Thirsty Camel Thirsty for a Good Story campaign, Brown revealed he was in Las Vegas in 2011 with Gold Coast Suns teammates when he broke the team’s midnight curfew to party with the Duke of Sussex.

“Coach Guy McKenna had been pretty specific, we had a young group, he wanted a 12 o’clock curfew. We sort of agreed on that, went out for dinner and had a few drinks,” he said.

“We only had this one night, we trained pretty hard so we felt like we needed to reward ourselves, so I decided that I was going to break curfew. I knew there was a nightclub called Excess that was pretty good on a Monday night.

“We’re walking through the back part of Excess. I was just looking around and I see a Prince Harry lookalike, a guy with red hair, I said to Matty Warnock ‘Ha, Prince Harry!’, we keep walking and then I stop and I look and I go ‘I actually reckon that is Prince Harry!’

“I walk up, there were two skinny sort of guys, they were sort of overlooking the booth he was in, he was sitting in there with three other guys. I said ‘Harry!’ He looks across at me and I said ‘I knew it was Prince Harry!’”

The member of the House of Windsor was in Vegas as part of his fighter pilot training in the United States, but was sitting in a private booth inside the nightclub when Brown spotted him.

Brown says he was aware of getting told to move on as soon as he struck up the conversation with Harry and immediately went into his vault of AFL stories to keep the Prince entertained.

“I thought I better keep him engaged here because Scotland Yard standing over there, they were pretty keen to move me along,” he said.

“I’m out of my drink now so I lean in I grab the drink I pour myself a Vodka cranberry!”

He admits his party antics went a bit too far when his favourite song at the time — Pitbull’s Give Me Everything — started blasting through the nightclub speakers.

“Eventually I’ve got this habit that every hour on the hour I undo a button after midnight,” he said.

“I’ve looked down at my watch and it was about two o’clock so I’ve undone my buttons and on comes my favourite ever song, ‘Give Me Everything’.

“I start dancing to this song and I undo my button and I turn to Harry and I start to try undo his buttons and I get a tap on the shoulder saying time to move on mate. I looked at Harry pleadingly, he’d waved them away the first couple of times and he sort of just said nice to meet you and off I went. You can’t manhandle the prince!”

The best part of Brown’s story is that he was able to pull off the perfect crime without being punished for violating curfew — but only because a member of the Suns’ coaching staff protected him.

Nursing a hangover, Brown was told the next morning he had been spotted out and about in the early hours of the morning.

He still avoided detection from head coach McKenna.

“One of the coaches came up to me and said ‘Did you break curfew last night?’ I said ‘Nah nah’, he goes ‘So you weren’t at Excess last night?’ I said ‘Nah nah’”, Brown recounted.

“He goes ‘That’s funny because as I was walking through the crowd to go to the bathroom with the CEO and a couple of the coaches, I looked up and I saw you. Then as we get a bit closer we see you in a booth with Prince Harry, how do they know each other!?’

“So he took them the long way to the toilet and they never saw me until now I suppose!

“Feels good to be a part of Prince Harry’s wild weekend. He’s probably smart to offload me when he did otherwise there might’ve been a lot more trouble!”

Brown’s hilarious tale comes after Supercars star Scott McLaughlin and Leigh Montagna both recently revealed their own hilarious run-ins as part of the Thirsty Camel series.

Montagna revealed last month the night he and teammate Nick Dal Santo partied with David Beckham and Katy Perry at Halloween party hosted by Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine.



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Las Vegas Coronavirus Relief Task Force Partnered With Company Tied To UAE Intelligence


A company that owns an app that some allege may have been secretly used by the autocratic regime of the United Arab Emirates to spy on people may have gained an entry point into Southern Nevada, after a COVID-19 relief task force in Nevada struck a deal in May with the company — despite the company’s ties to the UAE’s intelligence services.

Both the firm, Abu Dhabi–based Group 42, and the private-sector Nevada COVID-19 Response, Relief, and Recovery Task Force said in a press release that Nevada had obtained “vital testing materials thanks to a long-term partnership with the UAE and G42.”

According to the press release, the government of the UAE donated coronavirus test kits, and G42 offered its expertise and technical capabilities, as well as help with an “innovative genomic study” at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, the press release said.

Former CEO of MGM Resorts Jim Murren, the head of the task force, said in the release that “resources from G42 will substantially increase our ability to conduct COVID-19 testing and research to help us mitigate the effects of this virus.”

But what Murren appears not to have known is that G42 was involved in building a digital tool allegedly used by the intelligence services of the United Arab Emirates.

G42, an artificial intelligence company, is the only registered shareholder of ToTok, a chat app that was the subject of an exposé in the New York Times in December. Downloaded millions of times around the world, ToTok may have been used by the UAE’s intelligence services to collect data on people who use it, their conversations, and their images, according to the Times’ analysis of the app.

The app’s creator was listed as a company called Breej Holding, but according to the Times, it was “most likely a front company affiliated with DarkMatter, an Abu Dhabi-based cyberintelligence and hacking firm where Emirati intelligence officials, former National Security Agency employees and former Israeli military intelligence operatives work. DarkMatter is under F.B.I. investigation, according to former employees and law enforcement officials, for possible cybercrimes.”

After the New York Times investigation, both Google and Apple removed ToTok from their app stores.

Bill Marczak, a researcher at Toronto-based digital research group Citizen Lab who has written extensively about G42, said he was surprised when he first saw the news of the Las Vegas deal. “It raises a question about what data this company is getting access to,” he said.

Along with Breej Holdings and DarkMatter, G42 is part of an opaque web of companies linked to the powerful Abu Dhabi royal Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who oversees much of the country’s national security apparatus. A Reuters investigation in January 2019 found that DarkMatter recruited former NSA operatives to spy on suspected militants, other governments, and human rights activists.

G42 shares a number of staff with DarkMatter, including its CEO, Peng Xiao. The company has said previously it has no connection to DarkMatter.

On Wednesday, a representative for ToTok told BuzzFeed News, “ToTok is a private company that is led by a group of international entrepreneurs and engineers. ToTok does not spy on its users and the company has no connections to any government entity.”

On the same day, a spokesperson for G42 told BuzzFeed News, “G42 was ToTok’s first investor and has also acted as an incubator in the early days of ToTok’s development. G42 still provides the startup with counsel on various legal and accounting matters, but ultimately ToTok is an independent commercial company. ToTok’s daily operations and all strategic decisions about the company, product, and technology are managed by the ToTok executive team.”

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Murren was asked if he had heard of ToTok, and said, “No, I haven’t.”

He added that “G42 had no involvement on the [lab] project.”

He said G42 had only brokered an introduction to the government of the United Arab Emirates, which sent supplies, including coronavirus test kits. He said the company did not provide resources, technology, or expertise to the lab at the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is run by the University Medical Center.

Murren said staff at Nevada’s University Medical Center held a call with G42 to discuss using artificial intelligence in population health and genomic studies, as well as coronavirus testing.

The lab started doing tests last Thursday, Murren added.

“The genomic study was the original intent of the conversation we had with G42,” Murren said. Because G42 is an AI company, he said he hoped to discuss “health security” measures that could be taken in casinos, like thermal cameras to screen for fevers.

“I hope to have those discussions with G42 in the future, but there has been no follow-up on more sophisticated studies,” he said.



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Smoke Billows From 5,000-Acre Fire Near Las Vegas



A hearth that began on Mount Charleston, about 40 miles west of Las Vegas, on Sunday, June 28, experienced grown to all over 5,000 acres by the early hrs of Monday, incident info explained. The Humboldt Toiyabe Countrywide Forest Company said the Mahogany wildfire was % contained and that evacuation orders were in put for Lee Canyon. The Nationwide Weather Provider reported that the fireplace spread swiftly “due to rising downslope winds” and warned motorists to “use caution” owing to the smoke plumes. This footage, filmed at a nearby lodge, displays the smoke mounting more than Mount Charleston on June 28. Credit: Jennifer Shydler via Storyful



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