MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- MARTINSVILLE, Va. (AP) — Darrell Wallace Jr. became the second black driver to win on NASCAR's national level and first in a half-century, taking the Truck Series race Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. Wendell Scott won in Jacksonville, Fla., in December 1963 in what is now known as the Sprint Cup Series, the highest of NASCAR's three national levels. "This means everything," the 20-year-old Wallace said. "This is an emotional win for me, especially doing it in Wendell Scott's backyard. I love coming here to Martinsville, it's always good to me. It finally paid off. I think it's my third trip here. I love coming here. The fans are great here." Wallace, driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, beat Jeb Burton into Turn 1 off a restart with five laps to go. "We congratulate Darrell Wallace Jr. on his first national series victory, one that will be remembered as a remarkable moment in our sport's history," Brian France, NASCAR's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "Darrell's success, following fellow NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate Kyle Larson's win earlier this season, is indicative of a youth and multicultural movement that bodes well for NASCAR's future growth."
Miami's football team will lose a total of nine scholarships and the men's basketball team will lose three, as part of the penalties the school was handed last Tuesday by the NCAA as the Nevin Shapiro scandal presumably drew to a close. Both of those scholarship losses will be stretched out over three years. But for the first time since 2010, the football team will be permitted to appear in a postseason game. The school will also serve three years of probation. Former men's basketball coach Frank Haith, now at Missouri, will sit out the first five games of his team's upcoming season, and three former Miami assistant coaches were handed two-year show-cause bans. Even though the NCAA said Miami lacked "institutional control" when it came to monitoring Shapiro, the university is accepting the decision and does not plan to appeal. The NCAA's Committee on Infractions also showed that the Hurricanes' decision to self-impose sanctions was wise. "The committee acknowledged and accepted the extensive and significant self-imposed penalties by the university," the NCAA said.
Each morning for the past five years, before most of his aides have arrived at the White House, President Barack Obama has read a devotional sent to his BlackBerry, weaving together biblical scripture with reflections from literary and cultural figures. Joshua DuBois, an informal spiritual adviser to Obama who ran the White House faith-based office until earlier this year, writes the devotionals for Obama and has compiled many of them in a forthcoming book, "The President's Devotional," to be released Oct. 22 by HarperOne. A look at some of the devotionals, abridged for space, that have started the president's day: ___ HOLDING OUR PEACE "But the people held their peace and answered him not a word, for the king's commandment was, 'Do not answer him.'" (2 Kings 18:36). Dear God, give me judiciousness in response today. Help me discern when to speak and when to hold my peace. In the end, I know that the victory will be yours, and mine. Amen.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The government reopened its doors Thursday after a battle-weary Congress approved a bipartisan measure to end a 16-day partial shutdown and avert the possibility of an economy-jarring default on U.S. obligations. Early Thursday, President Barack Obama signed the measure, which the House and Senate passed late Wednesday, ending a brawl with Republicans who tried to use the must-pass legislation to mount a last-ditch effort to derail the president's landmark health care law and demand concessions on the budget. The White House directed all agencies to reopen promptly and in an orderly fashion. Furloughed federal employees across the country are expected to return to work Thursday. The impasse had shuttered national parks and monuments, and mostly closed down NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department. Critical functions of government went on as usual and most federal employees won't see their paychecks delayed, but the closure and potential default weighed on the economy and spooked the financial markets. There were signs early Thursday that the federal government was slowly coming back to life. "We're back from the #shutdown!" the Smithsonian Institution crowed on Twitter, announcing that museums would reopen Thursday and the National Zoo in Washington on Friday. Standard & Poor's estimated the shutdown has taken $24 billion out of the economy, and the Fitch credit rating agency warned Tuesday that it was reviewing its AAA rating on U.S. government debt for a possible downgrade.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — It's a boy for Halle Berry and Olivier Martinez. A representative for the 47-year-old actress confirms that the couple welcomed their son on Saturday. Publicist Meredith O'Sullivan Wasson offered no other details. E! News reports Berry delivered the baby at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A woman with a year-old child led Secret Service and police on a harrowing car chase from the White House past the Capitol Thursday, attempting to penetrate the security barriers at both national landmarks before she was shot to death, police said. The child survived. "I'm pretty confident this was not an accident," said Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier. Still, Capitol Police said there appeared to be no terrorist link. The woman apparently was unarmed. Tourists, congressional staff and even some senators watched as a caravan of law enforcement vehicles chase a black Infiniti with Connecticut license plates down Constitution Avenue outside the Capitol. House and Senate lawmakers, inside debating how to end a government shutdown, briefly shuttered their chambers as Capitol Police shut down the building. The woman's car at one point had been surrounded by police cars and she managed to escape, careening around a traffic circle and past the north side of the Capitol. Video shot by a TV camerman showed police pointing firearms at her car before she rammed a Secret Service vehicle and continued driving. Lanier said police shot and killed her a block northeast of the historic building.
Congress plunges nation into federal government shutdown
Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a long-running dispute over President Barack Obama's health care law stalled a temporary funding bill, forcing about 800,000 federal workers off the job and suspending most non-essential federal programs and services.
WASHINGTON — The political stare-down on Capitol Hill shows no signs of easing, leaving federal government functions — from informational websites, to national parks, to processing veterans' claims — in limbo from coast to coast. Lawmakers in both parties ominously suggested the partial shutdown might last for weeks. A funding cutoff for much of the government began Tuesday as a Republican effort to kill or delay the nation's health care law stalled action on a short-term, traditionally routine spending bill. Republicans pivoted to a strategy to try to reopen the government piecemeal but were unable to immediately advance the idea in the House. National parks like Yellowstone and Alcatraz Island were shuttered, government websites went dark and hundreds of thousands of nonessential workers reported for a half-day to fill out time cards, hand in their government cellphones and laptops, and change voicemail messages to gird for a deepening shutdown. The Defense Department said it wasn't clear that service academies would be able to participate in sports, putting Saturday's Army vs. Boston College and Air Force vs. Navy football games on hold, with a decision to be made Thursday. And the White House said Wednesday that President Barack Obama would have to truncate a long-planned trip to Asia, calling off the final two stops in Malaysia and the Philippines.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida (AP) — Tiger Woods was voted U.S. PGA Tour player of the year for the 11th time on the strength of his five big wins and return to No. 1 in the world. It was the third time Woods won the Jack Nicklaus Award despite not winning a major. He made up for that with two World Golf Championships and The Players Championship among his five wins. No one else won more than twice this year, and Woods won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average and the tour money title. “It’s been an incredible year to have won five times, two of those World Golf Championships and one Players,” Woods said on a conference call on Friday. “It’s been just a fantastic year all around. It’s also an incredible feeling to be voted by your peers, and to have that type of respect is something that’s very humbling.” The tour does not release the percentage of votes won or even who finished second.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida appeals court is ordering a new trial for a woman sentenced to 20 years to prison after she fired a warning shot in a wall during a dispute with her husband. The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that a judge did not properly instruct the jury handling the case of Marissa Alexander. But the appeals court also said the judge was right to block Alexander from using the state's "stand your ground" law as a way to defend her actions.
The president's comments to official unwittingly recorded by microphone at UN general assembly
NEW YORK -- President Barack Obama says he hasn't had a smoke in years – thanks in no small part to first lady Michelle Obama. Obama was chatting privately with a U.N. official Monday and said he hoped the official had quit smoking. The exchange was caught on camera and aired on CNN. After the official appeared to ask Obama about his own cigarette use, Obama said he hadn't had a cigarette in probably six years. He added, with a broad grin, "That's because I'm scared of my wife." Obama has acknowledged over the years struggling with tobacco use. Mrs. Obama said in 2011 that her husband had finally kicked the habit. Monday's exchange came on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
A new biopic on slain rapper Tupac Shakur is coming. Morgan Creek Productions and Emmett/Furla Films announced in a Thursday news release they are in final negotiations to partner on the production of "Tupac." The picture will begin filming next year in Atlanta. Gunned down in 1996 in Las Vegas, Shakur's murder has not been solved. He remains a towering figure in rap music, the subject of Elvis-like conspiracy theories and one of two slain symbols with Biggie Smalls of the East Coast-West Coast beef that ruled rap for a time in the 1990s. The film will be executive produced by Shakur's mother, Afeni Shakur. The news release says the film will center on Shakur's life, but makes no mention of who will star as the rapper or who will direct.
CHICAGO -- Chicago rapper Common says his hometown needs to better understand the young people contributing to its violence problem and be more consistent in efforts to help them. Common's comments Friday at a city-sponsored music conference came hours after 13 people were wounded in an attack at a park on the city's southwest Side. Among the wounded was a 3-year-old boy who was shot in the face. The Grammy-award winning hip-hop artist told The Associated Press that gang violence may have increased, but so has poverty and other challenges. Common has spoken before about the violence in his hometown. He has established a foundation that helps expose disadvantaged young people to the creative arts. He says he and other rap artists have to do more to help stem the violence.
The Washington Navy Yard began returning to nearly normal operations three days after it was the scene of a mass shooting in which a gunman killed 12 people.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An unarmed man who was shot and killed by a police officer in North Carolina after a car wreck was a former football player for Florida A&M University, school officials said Sunday. Jonathan A. Ferrell, 24, played for the school in 2009-10 and had recently moved to North Carolina. Early Saturday, he had apparently been in an accident and was seeking help at a nearby house, according to a statement from Charlotte-Mecklenburg police. A woman answered the door and, when she didn't recognize the man, called 911. Officers responding to the breaking-and-entering call found Ferrell a short distance from the home, police said. As they approached him, Ferrell ran toward the officers and was hit with a Taser. Police said he continued to run toward them when officer Randall Kerrick fired his gun, hitting Ferrell several times. Ferrell died at the scene.
The PS4 will cost $399. Microsoft Corp.'s rival Xbox One will cost $499. Microsoft has not announced an exact launch date.
The new deal gives Netflix the rights to show all movies released by Weinstein Co. and its subsidiary, Dimension Films, before they appear on pay-TV channels. That makes it more competitive with channels like HBO and Showtime that have traditionally been the first place to see films after their theatrical runs.
President Barack Obama assured disabled veterans Saturday that his administration is making progress on reducing a backlog of disability claims and said the number of requests for assistance has fallen by nearly one-fifth since peaking at more than 600,000 just a few months ago.
Acupuncture isn't just for humans anymore. A clinic in Gainesville is providing holistic health care for animals.
A social worker at a Westchester County mental health center has been accused a raping a client in the first criminal case stemming from a new state hotline meant to protect disabled New Yorkers.
Family members told media outlets that Zachary Reyna contracted Naegleria fowleri _ an amoeba that causes deadly brain infections _ while knee boarding with some friends in a ditch near his house in LaBelle on Aug. 3.
The boardroom drama may be over, but J.C. Penney is still grappling with an uncertain future. William Ackman has resigned from J.C. Penney's board as part of a deal to resolve an unusually public battle between the activist investor and the struggling department store operator.
With just 50 days until Floridians are able to go online and shop for private health insurance under a new federal law, hundreds of volunteers are fanning out across the state to inform people about the law and the coverage opportunities available under it.