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Mac McClung, Now At 6’2 The NBA Dunk Champ, Wasn’t An Unknown

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NBA Dunk champ

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Mac McClung was far from unknown.

He was a YouTube sensation long before winning the Saturday NBA All-Star dunk contest. It was impossible to count the number of views that videos of McClung had received, ranging from dunks to documentaries, but it was in the hundreds of millions.

But everything seems different now, after this 6-foot-2 boyish-looking guard from a small town in Virginia with trampolines for legs and only two NBA games on his resume became the league’s dunk champion and resurrected an event that had become more criticized than celebrated in recent years.

“He saved the dunk contest,” Shaquille O’Neal said, and countless others agreed.

If they are correct, only time will tell. But an event aimed at creating unforgettable moments — Michael Jordan leaping from the foul line, Vince Carter declaring “it’s over” after a dunk, Aaron Gordon leaping over the Orlando Magic mascot, Dwight Howard donning the Superman cape — took a massive shot in the arm from a player who now has more dunks in the contest (four) than he does in actual NBA games (one).

“It’s a cliche, but you can do whatever you want,” McClung, who is on a two-way contract with the Philadelphia 76ers and playing in the G League, said. “I’ve had so many people, even at the highest level… it doesn’t matter if you’re a young kid and someone who inspires you, someone you respect so much, tells you that you can’t do it. You can make your life and reinvent yourself daily if you manifest and put your mind to it.”

NBA dunk champ

NBA Players Weigh In On the Reigning Dunk Champ

NBA players watching the show in Salt Lake City and elsewhere had incredible reactions.

“Tough,” Cleveland guard Donovan Mitchell exclaimed as he stood courtside while other All-Stars, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had his mouth open in disbelief, recorded the action on their phones.

“Man was a viral (House of Highlights) high school dunk phenom, still working his way to the League, but lemme go get that dunk contest trophy right quick and bring it back to life!!!” said Golden State’s Stephen Curry on Twitter. Unreal.”

McClung is well aware that he is an underdog story. He grew up in Gate City, Virginia, playing football and baseball before deciding in sixth or seventh grade, when he was only 5 feet tall, that basketball would be his priority.

He first went viral in high school for his wide range of dunks, and he has handled all of the attention that comes with internet fame as well as he can for years.

“You must learn how to adapt in this game,” McClung told The Associated Press last year. “I want to be known as someone who can help a team, especially a championship team, and who can be a good energy guy, a good culture guy, and a good locker room guy.”

NBA Dunk Champ

He was Relatively Unknown To NBA Fans

So it’s understandable if he was unknown to NBA fans. Last April, he had the final basket of the 2021-22 NBA season, breaking free for an uncontested reverse dunk to cap the Los Angeles Lakers overtime victory over the Denver Nuggets. That was his third and most recent NBA field goal.

Even if he still needs to establish himself at the NBA level, there’s no doubt that he can play. In high school, he broke records by Allen Iverson and J.J. Redick. In college, he had impressive numbers at Texas Tech and Georgetown.

He’s now a dunk champion. He’s gone viral yet again. The NBA door may open this time.

“I’m not particularly concerned with what other people think, good or bad,” McClung said. “I’m just sticking to my guns. My goal is to make an impact in the NBA, and I intend to work hard until that happens.”

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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Australia Swelters Under Extreme Heat As Rare Early Cyclone Barrels Toward Northern Coast

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A tropical cyclone has rapidly strengthened off Australia’s northern coast, as millions face heat wave conditions expected to last into the weekend.

According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, severe tropical storm Jasper strengthened to the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane on Friday, with maximum winds of 220 kilometers per hour (138 mph).

“Further intensification Friday is possible, and a category 5 system cannot be ruled out,” according to the country’s meteorology bureau.

According to a CNN investigation of National Hurricane Center storm tracks, Jasper is the earliest Category 4 tropical cyclone to form in the Coral Sea since records began in 1900.

The storm, which is 1,195 kilometers (742 miles) northeast of Queensland and moving south at 9 kilometers per hour (6 miles per hour), could hit the coast near Cairns, a city of 250,000 people, with maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour (87 miles per hour) by early Tuesday.

Forecasters believe the expected route could change.

australia

Australia Swelters Under Extreme Heat As Rare Early Cyclone Barrels Toward Northern Coast

During El Nio, a climate trend in the Pacific Ocean along the equator that often reduces rainfall on Australia’s east coast, the storm arrives unusually early.

This year’s system has had an impact on weather all over the world, and it has the potential to significantly impact storm seasons.

Meanwhile, heat advisories are in effect in various states and territories, including New South Wales, which has a population of almost 8 million people.

Temperatures in Sydney, the state capital of New South Wales, are anticipated to reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on Saturday, thanks to strong, dry winds.

Due to the elevated risk of bushfires, some Sydney schools were forced to close on Friday, and a total fire ban was in effect in some parts of NSW.

On Friday, regions of South Australia received a “catastrophic” fire rating, the highest on the scale, indicating that lives and property are likely to be lost if a fire starts.

australia

Parts of New South Wales and Victoria have extreme fire risk ratings.

The heat is expected to subside by the end of the weekend and into early next week.

With frequent heat waves, excessive rains, and destructive bushfires, Australia is one of the most vulnerable countries to the effects of climate catastrophe.

Earlier this year, amid Australia’s warmest winter since records began in 1910, more than 20 runners in the Sydney Marathon were hospitalized due to heat exhaustion.

Ski resorts, including the country’s largest, Perisher, also closed early owing to a lack of snow.

Fears were especially high because the devastating 2020 Black Summer fires, the country’s worst in decades, are still fresh in the minds of millions of Australians.

The fires consumed 10 million hectares (24.7 million acres), killing hundreds and destroying over 3,000 homes.

SOURCE – CNN

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Azerbaijan And Armenia Agree To Prisoner Swap And To Work Towards Peace Deal

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Azerbaijan and Armenia have agreed to exchange prisoners and work toward restoring relations and a peace agreement to end a decades-long conflict, which the US and EU have applauded.

According to a joint statement issued by Azerbaijan’s state news agency, AZERTAC, Azerbaijan will swap 32 prisoners of war for two military personnel.

“The Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan both believe that there is a historical chance for the region to achieve long-awaited peace.” The two countries “reaffirm their intention to normalize relations and reach a peace treaty based on the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity,” according to the statement. The breakthrough resulted from conversations between the offices of Azerbaijan’s president and Armenia’s prime minister.

“An agreement has been reached on taking tangible steps towards building confidence between two countries,” the statement says.

armenia

Azerbaijan And Armenia Agree To Prisoner Swap And To Work Towards Peace Deal

According to Matthew Miller, a spokesperson for the US State Department, the prisoner swap was “an important confidence-building measure” as the two countries worked toward a peace agreement.

“We commend Azerbaijani President (Ilham) Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister (Nikol) Pashinyan for their joint efforts to lay the groundwork for a more peaceful and prosperous future for the people of the South Caucasus,” the statement read. “The United States will continue to strongly support efforts to reach a durable and dignified peace.”

“Establishing and deepening the bilateral dialogue between sides has been a key objective of the EU-led Brussels process: today’s progress is a significant step,” said EU Council President Charles Michel on X. “I now encourage the leaders to finalize the … peace deal ASAP.”

The neighboring countries have been at odds for decades over Nagorno-Karabakh, an area in the Caucasus Mountains.

After mounting a quick 24-hour attack, Azerbaijan reclaimed control of Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic-Armenian enclave within its boundaries, in September.

armenia

Azerbaijan And Armenia Agree To Prisoner Swap And To Work Towards Peace Deal

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has been controlled by Armenian rebels for decades. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars over Nagorno-Karabakh, and cease-fire agreements have proven unstable.

Armenia admitted earlier this year that the province was part of Azerbaijan, but there are still disagreements about the future of its administration.

The latest progress on prisoner swaps and repairing relations came as delegates from both countries gathered in Dubai for the COP28 climate conference.

The statement also stated that Armenia would withdraw from consideration to host the annual UN-backed climate meeting next year and that Azerbaijan hoped other nations would support its bid.

armenia

Azerbaijan And Armenia Agree To Prisoner Swap And To Work Towards Peace Deal

There is a vacancy for the summit host for COP29 in 2024, which, according to UN standards, should be hosted in Eastern Europe. Before Thursday, the two countries had been obstructing each other’s candidacy in the voting process.

A vote among the region’s nations determines the year’s host country. Russia voted against numerous countries that are members of or allies of the European Union.

Azerbaijan is a big oil and gas producer that has been strengthening ties with Russia. Oil and gas account for about half of the country’s GDP and over 90% of its exports.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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U.K News

Ukraine Makes New Push To Defeat Russia’s Electronic Warfare

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A drone video that appeared to show a targeted strike blowing up three antennas on the roof of an apartment building surfaced online in early November. The Ukrainian drone commander who shared it claimed to have destroyed a Russian Pole-21 electronic warfare equipment near Donetsk on the eastern front.

Regarding electronic warfare, Ukraine is already catching up to Russia.

This attack also demonstrates Kyiv’s urgency to destroy Moscow’s technology on the battlefield, indicating how critical it may be for the war’s future.

Electronic warfare, or EW, uses electromagnetic weapons or techniques. Both forces deploy it in this battle, primarily through electronic jammers that disrupt GPS-guided targeting systems, leading rockets to miss their objectives.

After nearly six months of Ukraine’s sluggish and grinding counteroffensive, it is evident that Russia has created not only great physical barriers but also formidable electronic defenses, and Ukrainian forces on the front lines must react rapidly.

ukraine

Ukraine Makes New Push To Defeat Russia’s Electronic Warfare

The drone commander with Ukraine’s 59th Motorized Brigade, which carried out the early November strike, Pavlo Petrychenko, believes that successfully destroying these systems is crucial if Ukraine is to take more land. Since the summer, there has been an increase in the frequency of Ukrainian military and media claims of successful strikes against Pole-21 systems.

“At the beginning of the conflict, they used electronic warfare to interfere with our communication, our walkie-talkies, radiocommunications, telephones, and drones,” he told CNN via video chat from near Avdiivka on the war’s eastern front, which is currently the scene of some of the bloodiest fighting.

“However, as we began to receive foreign equipment, they began to use these systems to suppress our weapons.”

“Since (the both US-provided) HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) and Excalibur 155 (an extended range artillery projectile) are guided by satellites, electronic warfare is actively used by (Russia) as one element of the defense against us,” Petrychenko said in a statement.

A flaw in Ukraine’s NATO-supplied armor
And this is the issue for Ukraine. Russian jammers have exploited the technological advantage of Ukraine’s Western-supplied arsenal of “smart” – guided – weapons.

Precision-guided missiles and guided multiple-launch rocket systems, such as HIMARS, are more vulnerable to electronic warfare than unguided weapons due to their reliance on GPS to hit their targets. Unguided weapons, which were common in both Russia and Ukraine’s Soviet-era stocks before 2022, do not.

ukraine

Ukraine Makes New Push To Defeat Russia’s Electronic Warfare

The Pole-21 device, designed to jam GPS signals to defend Russian assets from approaching drones or missiles, is only one component of Moscow’s expanding electronic arsenal.

The Kremlin’s playbook includes jamming, as well as “spoofing” GPS – a method that effectively fools an adversary drone or missile into thinking it is somewhere else – which also impairs radar, radio, and even cell connections.

According to state news agency TASS, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin told a government meeting in September that production of major types of military equipment, including EW, had more than doubled in the first eight months of the year.

According to experts and Ukrainian officials, Russia has now fully incorporated electronic warfare into its forces.

In a recent essay, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, Valery Zaluzhny, stated that Russia is now mass producing what he refers to as “trench electronic warfare.”

“The tactical level of Russian troops is saturated with (this equipment),” Zaluzhny said, adding that despite equipment losses, Moscow maintains “significant electronic warfare superiority.”

Zaluzhny also singled out American-made Excalibur shells, adding that their “capability has been significantly reduced, because the targeting system (using GPS) is very sensitive to the influence of enemy electronic warfare.”

Maj. Charlie Dietz, a Pentagon spokesperson, stated that “while the impact of Russian jamming has been observed” in certain US-supplied systems, including HIMARS rocket launchers, “it has not rendered these systems ineffective.”

ukraine

Ukraine Makes New Push To Defeat Russia’s Electronic Warfare

According to Dietz, the agency has mitigated those vulnerabilities, including “substantial efforts to re-engineer and update these systems.” Updates are “being implemented as quickly as possible to counteract the effects of EW jamming,” he added.

Right now, the best hope they have is that videos of his early November drone strike go viral, according to Petrychenko. With so many Ukrainian troops on social media, any viral clip like this would serve as a manual, assisting them in identifying Russian antennas on the battlefield.

This is shifting the game outside of Ukraine.

“I think what you’re seeing play out in Ukraine is very much a glimpse into what modern warfare looks like today,” said Kari Bingen, director of the Aerospace Security Project at the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former Pentagon principal deputy undersecretary for defense. She envisions a future where “electronic warfare capabilities and tactics are integrated into conventional force operations.”

ukraine

Ukraine Makes New Push To Defeat Russia’s Electronic Warfare

According to Dietz, a Pentagon spokesperson, the United States is “actively evaluating and adapting its strategies” in electronic warfare, which he sees as a “fundamental aspect of contemporary and future military engagements.”

Fedorov stated that Ukraine is actively investing in electronic warfare while also following in the footsteps of his drone program by promoting indigenous production.

And he is open about the fact that Ukraine requires assistance from its Western partners in terms of both equipment and knowledge.

“We have all the technology we need in the West.” The question may be how to use it, which is important. We must consider the next technological level of the conflict.”

SOURCE – (CNN)

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