MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jerry Kill’s unexpected return to Minnesota with his rebuilding team was a predictably emotional night for New Mexico State’s new coach.
After some apparent reconciliation with P.J. Fleck, Kill was given an up-close reminder that a Gophers program he never wanted to leave is still in pretty good shape.
Mo Ibrahim rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns for Minnesota in his seamless comeback from a season-ending injury in the opener a year ago, and Fleck and the Gophers overwhelmed the Aggies 38-0 on Thursday night to spoil a homecoming of sorts for Kill.
“I guess I take it as a blessing that I got the opportunity to come back,” said Kill, who had a cordial pregame conversation with Fleck, his former assistant at Northern Illinois of whom he’d been critical in the past.
Fleck and Kill shared an extended postgame handshake, too, after Minnesota outgained New Mexico State a whopping 485-91 in total yardage. Fleck said he approached Kill by thanking him for his impact on his career.
“I appreciate Jerry’s passion, because I know how bad Jerry loves this place,” Fleck said. “The one thing I’ll say is, ‘So do I.’ I know how he feels, because I want to be here. It’s a very special place to me, and I couldn’t imagine not being here.”
Ibrahim, who tore his Achilles in the loss to Ohio State last Sept. 2, started his sixth college season in style. He bounced off and bashed into the Aggies over 21 carries, extending his school-record streak of 100-plus yards to 10 straight games and moving into a tie with Marion Barber III for second place in Gophers history with 35 career touchdowns.
The return of Kill was even more remarkable in Minnesota, where he inherited a bottomed-out program in 2011 and won the Big Ten Coach of the Year award in 2014 before epilepsy-related health problems forced him to retire midway through the 2015 season.
“We gave everything we had and more,” Kill said. “I crashed and burned, and that’s my fault. But I’m very happy that Coach has taken it and continued to build and taken it to the next level.”
The 61-year-old Kill didn’t wind up retiring, working in various capacities at five different schools before taking the job this season at independent New Mexico State through a connection with athletic director Mario Moccia. The Aggies, who will join Conference USA next year, were 2-10 last season and finished with only one winning record (2017) in the past 20 years.
Kill once vowed to never again set foot on Minnesota’s campus after the firing of his defensive coordinator and successor as head coach, Tracy Claeys. Kill also ripped Fleck in a 2019 radio interview for what he felt was a disrespectful description of the state Kill and Claeys left the program in when Fleck brought in his distinctly different brand in 2017.
Tanner Morgan, another one of the four sixth-year standouts who came back for one more college try with the Gophers after a 9-4 finish in 2021, had 174 yards on 13-for-19 passing and rushed for two touchdowns.
Trey Potts, who like Ibrahim returned from a season-ending 2021 injury, had 17 carries for 89 yards and a score. Potts was seriously hurt at Purdue on Oct. 2 and spent six days in a hospital before being cleared to travel back to Minnesota. The Gophers never disclosed the nature of that injury.
“It’s first and foremost a very important lesson for everybody to learn from those two guys about how to respond from two very adverse situations,” Morgan said.
Diego Pavia, who threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in New Mexico State’s opening loss to Nevada, got another start and completed 2 of 5 passes for 10 yards.
Freshman Gavin Frakes entered in the second quarter and finished 2 of 7 for 43 yards. He was intercepted in the end zone in the fourth quarter by Terell Smith, ending the only drive longer than 16 yards for the Aggies.
Kill’s first home game with Minnesota on Sept. 10, 2011, was against none other than New Mexico State. The Aggies held on to beat the Gophers 28-21 in a finish marred by a frightening seizure Kill suffered on the sideline on a steamy afternoon with a kickoff temperature of 88 degrees.
Minnesota won a rematch on the road in 2013 and beat New Mexico State again in 2018. That game and this one were scheduled in 2009 as a two-game contract that guaranteed a total of $1.05 million to the Aggies.
New Mexico State: Unhappy about hitting the road for a Big Ten foe just five days after the first game, Kill told Moccia he only wants one payout game per season in the future. The Aggies also play at Wisconsin and Missouri this year. They ran only 33 plays, a single-game program record for the fewest against a Minnesota defense.
Minnesota: The run-pass balance the Gophers are striving for behind the direction of offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca, who returned after two seasons away, will have to wait another week. They ran the ball 57 times, including on 12 of 13 plays during a touchdown drive that took 12:58 off the clock into the second quarter.
New Mexico State plays at UTEP on Sept. 10.
Minnesota hosts Western Illinois on Sept. 10.
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Lawyers for the US tell a UK court why WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange should face spying charges
LONDON (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange won’t find out until next month at the earliest whether he can challenge extradition to the U.S. on spying charges, or if his long legal battle in Britain has run out of road.
Two High Court judges said Wednesday they would take time to consider their verdict after a two-day hearing in which Assange’s lawyers argued sending him to the United States would risk a “flagrant denial of justice.”
Attorneys for the U.S., where Assange has been indicted on espionage charges, said he put innocent lives at risk and went beyond journalism in his bid to solicit, steal and indiscriminately publish classified U.S. government documents.
Assange’s lawyers asked the High Court to grant him a new appeal — his last roll of the legal dice in the saga that has kept him in a British high-security prison for the past five years.
The judges overseeing the case reserved their decision, and a ruling on Assange’s future is not expected until March at the earliest.
If judges Victoria Sharp and Jeremy Johnson rule against Assange, he can ask the European Court of Human Rights to block his extradition — though supporters worry he could be put on a plane to the U.S. before that happens, because the British government has already signed an extradition order.
The 52-year-old Australian has been indicted on 17 charges of espionage and one charge of computer misuse over his website’s publication of a trove of classified U.S. documents almost 15 years ago. American prosecutors allege Assange encouraged and helped U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning steal diplomatic cables and military files that WikiLeaks published, putting lives at risk.
Lawyer Clair Dobbin, representing the U.S. government, said Wednesday that Assange damaged U.S. security and intelligence services and “created a grave and imminent risk” by releasing the hundreds of thousands of documents — risks that could harm and lead to the arbitrary detention of innocent people, many of whom lived in war zones or under repressive regimes.
Dobbin added that in encouraging Manning and others to hack into government computers and steal from them, Assange was “going a very considerable way beyond” a journalist gathering information.
Assange was “not someone who has just set up an online box to which people can provide classified information,” she said. “The allegations are that he sought to encourage theft and hacking that would benefit WikiLeaks.”
Assange’s supporters maintain he is a secrecy-busting journalist who exposed U.S. military wrongdoing in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have long argued that the prosecution is politically motivated and he won’t get a fair trial in the U.S.
Assange’s lawyers argued on the first day of the hearing on Tuesday that American authorities are seeking to punish him for WikiLeaks’ “exposure of criminality on the part of the U.S. government on an unprecedented scale,” including torture and killings.
Lawyer Edward Fitzgerald said there is “a real risk he may suffer a flagrant denial of justice” if he is sent to the U.S.
Dobbin said the prosecution is based on law and evidence, and has remained consistent despite the changes of government in the U.S. during the legal battle.
She added that the First Amendment does not confer immunity on journalists who break the law. Media outlets that went through the process of redacting the documents before publishing them are not being prosecuted, she said.
Assange’s lawyers say he could face up to 175 years in prison if convicted, though American authorities have said the sentence is likely to be much shorter.
Assange was absent from court on both days because he is unwell, WikiLeaks said. Stella Assange, his wife, said he had wanted to attend, but was “not in good condition.”
Assange’s family and supporters say his physical and mental health have suffered during more than a decade of legal battles, including seven years in self-exile in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
“Julian is a political prisoner and he has to be released,” said Stella Assange, who married the WikiLeaks founder in prison in 2022.
“They’re putting Julian into the hands of the country and of the people who plotted his assassination,” she added, referring to unproven claims by Assange’s lawyers that he was a target of a CIA plot to kidnap or kill him while he was in the Ecuadorian Embassy.
Supporters holding “Free Julian Assange” signs and chanting “there is only one decision — no extradition” protested outside the High Court building for a second day.
Assange’s legal troubles began in 2010, when he was arrested in London at the request of Sweden, which wanted to question him about allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two women. In 2012, Assange jumped bail and sought refuge inside the Ecuadorian Embassy.
The relationship between Assange and his hosts eventually soured, and he was evicted from the embassy in April 2019. British police immediately arrested and imprisoned him for breaching bail in 2012. Sweden dropped the sex crimes investigations in November 2019 because so much time had elapsed.
A U.K. district court judge rejected the U.S. extradition request in 2021 on the grounds that Assange was likely to kill himself if held under harsh U.S. prison conditions. Higher courts overturned that decision after getting assurances from the U.S. about his treatment. The British government signed an extradition order in June 2022.
Meanwhile, the Australian parliament last week called for Assange to be allowed to return to his homeland.
Andrew Wilkie, an Australian lawmaker who attended the hearing, said he hoped that sent a strong message to the U.K. and U.S. governments to end the legal fight. “This has gone on long enough,” he said.
Associated Press video journalists Kwiyeon Ha and Jo Kearney contributed to this report.
Biden to create cybersecurity standards for nation’s ports as concerns grow over vulnerabilities
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order and created a federal rule aimed at better securing the nation’s ports from potential cyberattacks.
The administration is outlining a set of cybersecurity regulations that port operators must comply with across the country, not unlike standardized safety regulations that seek to prevent injury or damage to people and infrastructure.
“We want to ensure there are similar requirements for cyber, when a cyberattack can cause just as much if not more damage than a storm or another physical threat,” said Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser at the White House.
Nationwide, ports employ roughly 31 million people and contribute $5.4 trillion to the economy, and could be left vulnerable to a ransomware or other brand of cyberattack, Neuberger said. The standardized set of requirements is designed to help protect against that.
The new requirements are part of the federal government’s focus on modernizing how critical infrastructure like power grids, ports and pipelines are protected as they are increasingly managed and controlled online, often remotely. There is no set of nationwide standards that govern how operators should protect against potential attacks online.
The threat continues to grow. Hostile activity in cyberspace — from spying to the planting of malware to infect and disrupt a country’s infrastructure — has become a hallmark of modern geopolitical rivalry.
For example, in 2021, the operator of the nation’s largest fuel pipeline had to temporarily halt operations after it fell victim to a ransomware attack in which hackers hold a victim’s data or device hostage in exchange for money. The company, Colonial Pipeline, paid $4.4 million to a Russia-based hacker group, though Justice Department officials later recovered much of the money.
Ports, too, are vulnerable. In Australia last year, a cyber incident forced one of the country’s largest port operators to suspend operations for three days.
In the U.S., roughly 80% of the giant cranes used to lift and haul cargo off ships onto U.S. docks come from China, and are controlled remotely, said Admiral John Vann, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard’s cyber command. That leaves them vulnerable to attack, he said.
Late last month, U.S. officials said they had disrupted a state-backed Chinese effort to plant malware that could be used to damage civilian infrastructure. Vann said this type of potential attack was a concern as officials pushed for new standards, but they are also worried about the possibility for criminal activity.
The new standards, which will be subject to a public comment period, will be required for any port operator and there will be enforcement actions for failing to comply with the standards, though the officials did not outline them. They require port operators to notify authorities when they have been victimized by a cyberattack. The actions also give the Coast Guard, which regulates the nation’s ports, the ability to respond to cyberattacks.
Jill Biden is announcing $100 million in funding for research and development into women’s health
WASHINGTON (AP) — Jill Biden on Wednesday announced $100 million in federal funding for research and development into women’s health as part of a new White House initiative that she is heading up.
The money is the first major deliverable of the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research, which was announced late last year. The money comes from the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, or ARPA-H, which is under the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
The first lady announced the ARPA-H Sprint for Women’s Health during an appearance in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Biden has said women don’t know enough about their health because the research historically has been underfunded and lacking. The White House initiative aims to change the approach to and increase funding for women’s health research.
The $100 million will be used to invest early in “life-changing” work being done by women’s health researchers and startup companies that cannot get private support, Biden said.
“We will build a health care system that puts women and their lived experiences at its center,” she said. “Where no woman or girl has to hear that ‘it’s all in your head,’ or, ‘it’s just stress.’” Where women aren’t just an after-thought, but a first-thought. Where women don’t just survive with chronic conditions, but lead long and healthy lives.”
President Joe Biden created the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health in 2022 to work on advancing solutions to health issues. The agency is part of what he called his “ unity agenda.”
In the coming weeks, the agency will solicit ideas for groundbreaking research and development to address women’s health, according to the White House.
The first lady said last year when the White House initiative was announced in November that it grew out of meeting she had had with Maria Shriver, a women’s health advocate and former California first lady. Shriver, Biden said, spoke of the need for a public-private effort to close the gaps in women’s health research. Shriver also participated in Wednesday’s announcement in Massachusetts.
The White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research is led by Jill Biden and the White House Gender Policy Council.