New Greek austerity measures tap cafe culture

DEREK GATOPOULOS, Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greeks have woken up to a new wave of price hikes that have been demanded in return for more international bailout loans, with the highest increases targeting the main ingredients of the country’s cafe culture: Coffee and beer.

Starting Wednesday, Greece’s main sales tax rate, or value added tax, went up from 23 to 24 percent. Taxes were also raised on services used heavily by Greeks forced to cut back on leisure activities due to the financial crisis. Charges increased on internet, fixed telephone and pay TV subscriptions.

The measures were approved by parliament before Greece’s partners in the 19-country eurozone agreed to unfreeze 10.3 billion euros ($11.5 billion) in bailout funds and begin discussions on easing Athens’ debt repayments.

Greece’s left-wing government also overhauled pensions and signed up to ambitious budget targets.

Business owners have criticized the latest tax hike, saying it will hit consumption when the country is already reeling from six years of a financial crisis that has seen the economy shrink by a quarter and unemployment swell — the jobless rate is currently around 24 percent.

“The sixth VAT increase in six years and the second in the last 10 months means that our lives from June 1 get more expensive by 437 million euros per year, while each increase acts as a cut to consumption, turnover and state income,” said Vasilis Korkidis, head of the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship.

Coffee shop owner Katerina Vagena noted that this was the second hike in consumer tax on coffee in the space of a year. Last year, it was raised a whopping 10 percentage points to 23 percent as part of the country’s third international bailout deal.

“The price was already quite high. It’s a country where many people are having difficulty paying 3-3.5 euros. So it’s become a problem and people have stopped coming for coffee,” said Vagena, whose coffee shop in Athens employs five people.

“All we do is pay taxes. They think they get more out of small businesses. But so many businesses were opened by people who were unemployed,” she said. “I think a lot of us will go. And we’ll join the ranks of the unemployed.”

The tax changes will also increase fuel prices.

“The consequences will be negative for the consumer and for us because (people) will surely reduce the amount of gas they use and this will produce a chain reaction,” said gas station owner Antonis Stellas.

World economy risks getting caught in ‘low-growth trap’

 

PARIS (AP) — The world economy risks getting caught in a “low-growth trap” if governments don’t spend more on investments, open up to trade, and make reforms, a top economic forum warned Wednesday.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said in a wide-ranging report that it is increasingly pessimistic about the global outlook and cut its growth forecasts.

Among the risks identified by the Paris-based economic agency, which represents the world’s most developed economies, was a potential British exit from the European Union, volatility in financial markets, and Europe’s inability to find a common response to its refugee flows.

Above all, the OECD said in its Global Economic Outlook that weak growth risks becoming chronic.

“This low growth trap involves a cycle in which diminished expectations become self-fulfilling,” said Angel Gurria, the OECD’s secretary-general.

According to the OECD, firms are too cautious to invest, are holding back innovation and productivity. As a result, households are getting more pessimistic about jobs and the future. The ensuing weaker consumer spending then feeds back into pessimism among companies, creating a vicious cycle.

Though the U.S. economy has improved in recent years, the next biggest economy, China, is slowing. Because it’s a major consumer of raw materials and energy, as well as being a huge exporter and increasingly important consumer, concerns have grown over the state of the world economy.

Elsewhere, the European economic recovery has failed to gain much traction while Japan remains sluggish. And emerging markets are struggling to deal with volatile currencies, high debt and the crash in prices for goods they export — Brazil and Russia, for example, are in deep recessions.

The OECD said countries have relied too much on central banks to stimulate demand and should instead look to strengthen public investment and make their economies more competitive through structural reforms.

It is forecasting global growth of 3 percent this year and 3.3 percent next. Both are down 0.3 percentage point from its last set of forecasts in November.

The OECD reiterated its view that a vote for a British exit from the EU later this month “would depress growth in Europe and elsewhere substantially.”

It estimated that in the case of an EU exit, Britain’s economy could be 5 percent smaller by 2030 than if the country remained in the bloc.

Documents show aggressive sales tactics at Trump University

ELLIOT SPAGAT, Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Trump University gave employees detailed instructions on how to entice people to enroll in its real estate seminars, from targeting people making at least $90,000 a year and choosing words of flattery that are most persuasive to picking music for the gatherings — The O’Jays’ “For the Love of Money.”

The “playbooks” for the now-defunct business owned by Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, were unsealed Tuesday in a class-action lawsuit by customers who say they were defrauded. Last Friday, a judge who has earned Trump’s scorn sided with attorneys for The Washington Post who argued that the public had a right to know what was previously confidential.

The documents outline how employees should guide customers through “the roller coaster of emotions” once they have expressed interest.

“The motivation that they experienced can die quickly as the realities of their daily lives take over. It is our job to rekindle that motivation … to make them once again see the potential of achieving their dream,” according to a “sales playbook.”

A 2009 playbook quotes a Yale University study that found the most persuasive words in the English language are: you, new, money, easy, discovery, free, results, health, save, proven, guarantee and love.

“They share three characteristics: they are simple, familiar and dramatic.”

“The words ‘I noticed’ have a powerful subconscious effect on people because they send a subliminal message to them that they stood out in the crowd, that they are attractive or charismatic or that they impressed you,” the playbook continues. “People love recognition and attention.”

Trump University offered a three-day seminar for $1,495, using it as a springboard to sell more expensive “Trump Elite” packages for up to $34,995 a year.

“You don’t sell products, benefits or solutions — you sell feelings,” according to the sales playbook.

Trump University’s core customers are identified in the documents as male heads of households between 40 and 54 years old with annual household incomes of at least $90,000, a college education and a net worth of more than $200,000.

One way to identify buyers is to ask what they do for a living. “Let them know that you’ve found an answer and a way for them to change their lifestyles.”

During one-on-one conversations, “you may begin with some small-talk to establish rapport but do not let them take control of the conversation,” a playbook reads. “You must be very aggressive during these conversations to in order to push them out of their comfort zones.”

“If they complain about the price, remind them that Trump is the BEST!! This is the last real estate investment they will ever need to make.”

For those who have hit credit limits, employees are told to suggest they dip into savings or identify other “seed capital.”

“Money is never a reason for not enrolling in Trump University; if they really believe in you and your product, they will find the money,” a playbook reads.

Trump University is the target of two lawsuits in San Diego and one in New York that accuse the business of fleecing students with unfulfilled promises to teach secrets of success in real estate. Plaintiffs contend that Trump University gave seminars and classes across the country that were like infomercials, constantly pressuring customers to buy more and, in the end, failing to deliver.

Trump has maintained that customers were overwhelmingly satisfied with the offerings — a point that his attorneys repeated after the documents were unsealed. The documents included testimony from several satisfied customers.

“Much of the unsealed evidence, including declarations and surveys from former Trump University students, demonstrates the high level of satisfaction from students and that Trump University taught valuable real estate information,” said Jill Martin, vice president and assistant general counsel for The Trump Organization. “Trump University looks forward to using this evidence, along with much more, to win when the case is brought before a jury.”

The documents show meticulous attention to details such as seating at seminars. Room temperature should be set no higher than 68 degrees, and music should be The O’Jays’ “For the Love of Money” — which Trump also used on his reality TV show “The Apprentice.”

Employees are told to avoid speaking with the news media.

“Reporters are rarely on your side and they are not sympathetic,” a 2010 playbook reads.

The 6-year-old case in San Diego is scheduled to go to trial shortly after the November presidential election.

Trump has railed against U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who ordered the documents unsealed. At a rally in San Diego on Friday, he accused the judge of being “hostile” and a “hater of Donald Trump,” and raised questions about his ethnicity.

“The judge, who happens to be, we believe, Mexican, which is great, I think that’s fine,” Trump said of Curiel, who was born in the U.S.

It was the second time Trump has brought up the judge’s ethnicity as he complained about his treatment.

Mitsubishi Materials, Chinese WWII slave workers reach deal

MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Mitsubishi Materials Corp., one of dozens of Japanese companies that used Chinese forced laborers during World War II, reached a settlement covering thousands of victims Wednesday that includes compensation and an apology.

The deal was signed in Beijing with three former workers representing the company’s more than 3,000 Chinese victims of forced labor, Mitsubishi Materials said in a statement.

The victims were among about 40,000 Chinese brought to Japan in the early 1940s as forced laborers to make up for a domestic labor shortage. Many died due to violence and malnutrition amid harsh treatment by the Japanese.

Under the settlement, Mitsubishi Materials will pay 100,000 yuan ($15,000) to each of the Chinese victims and their families. The victims were forced to work at 10 coal mines operated by Mitsubishi Mining Corp., as Mitsubishi Materials was known at the time.

Mitsubishi Materials said it would try to locate all of the victims. The company’s payments would total 370 million yuan ($56 million) if all of them come forward.

Most hailed the settlement as a victory for their cause.

“World War II ended 70 years ago. Our forced labor case today has finally come to a resolution. We have won this case. This is a big victory that merits a celebration,” One of the victims, Yan Yucheng, 87, told reporters.

Representatives of other ex-laborers, however, said they weren’t convinced Mitsubishi Materials’ apology was sincere, citing a desire by Japanese firms to ease widespread anti-Japan sentiment among Chinese, many of whom feel the country has yet to show true contrition for its invasion and wartime atrocities.

“The company did it not for reconciliation, but to try to relieve the pressure on the Japanese government,” said Kang Jian, a lawyer representing 60 former workers who filed a case against Mitsubishi Materials in a Chinese court.

Responding to the settlement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing would pay close attention to how Japan deals with such matters. “China urges Japan to adopt a responsible attitude and properly handle the relevant issue of history,” Hua said at a daily briefing.

At the signing ceremony, held at a downtown Beijing hotel, Mitsubishi Materials “expressed its sincere apologies regarding its historical responsibility to the former laborers and the apologies were accepted by the three former laborers,” the company’s statement said. It promised to “continue to seek a comprehensive and permanent solution with all of its former laborers and their families.”

Mitsubishi Materials also said it would construct memorials at the sites where the company’s mines were located and organize memorial ceremonies.

The settlement comes two years after several groups representing the victims and their families filed a compensation lawsuit against Mitsubishi Materials. The sides negotiated a deal, though one of the groups, representing 37 plaintiffs, rejected the settlement that was finally reached, according to Japan’s Kyodo News agency.

Japan’s government has long insisted that all wartime compensation issues were settled under the postwar peace treaties, and that China waived its right to pursue compensation under the 1972 treaty with Japan that established diplomatic relations between Beijing and Tokyo. Lawsuits filed in Japan by Chinese and Korean victims of Japanese wartime aggression, including former forced laborers and sex slaves, had previously been rejected.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry acknowledged the country’s wartime use of Chinese forced laborers after wartime documents were found in the early 1990s.

The settlement announced Wednesday is the first ever that Mitsubishi Materials has reached with former forced laborers. At least two other Japanese construction companies — Kajima Corp. and Nishimatsu Co. — have taken similar steps to compensate smaller groups of victims.

Last year, Mitsubishi Materials apologized for its harsh treatment of former U.S. prisoners of war, who were also used by the company as forced laborers.

Hearing could reveal more about evidence in Will Smith death

KEVIN McGILL, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The suspect in the April shooting death of retired New Orleans Saints star Will Smith is expected back in court Wednesday.

Evidence in the case against Cardell Hayes is likely to be discussed during the discovery hearing.

Hayes was indicted on a second-degree murder charge in Smith’s slaying. Hayes was also indicted on a charge of attempted second-degree murder in connection with the wounding of Smith’s wife in the shooting.

Police have said the shooting occurred after Hayes’s Hummer hit Smith’s Mercedes SUV from behind on the night of April 9.

Hayes’ defense lawyer, John Fuller, has said Hayes was not the aggressor and that a witness saw a gun in Smith’s possession. Police say a loaded gun was found in Smith’s vehicle.

Smith was heralded as a leader on the Saints team that rebounded with the hurricane-stricken city and won the Super Bowl after the 2009 season. He stayed in the area after his 2012 retirement and was active with various charities in his adopted city.

Smith was shot seven times in the back and once along his side, the coroner said. The attorney for Hayes has pointed out that Hayes stayed at the scene of the shooting until police arrived.

Hayes owns a tow-truck company and last year played in a semiprofessional football league.

As investigations continue, Louisville’s Pitino looks ahead

GARY B. GRAVES, AP Sports Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Rick Pitino raved about Louisville’s potential next season, suggesting Tuesday that the Cardinals’ length and speed mirrors the strengths of the 1996 NCAA championship squad he coached at archrival Kentucky.

That’s high praise for a team that must replace its top three scorers, but it’s a way for the coach to try and move past a tumultuous season of scandal that engulfed his program.

Several investigations are ongoing into escort Katina Powell’s book allegations that former Louisville basketball staffer Andre McGee paid her and other strippers to perform for recruits and players from 2010-14. The school has self-imposed several penalties, including a postseason ban from last year’s NCAA Tournament and reductions in scholarships and recruiting visits.

Pitino has been mum about whether the NCAA has interviewed him as part of its investigation. But he talked about the scandal in the past tense Tuesday as he discussed next season’s bright prospects.

“It still bothers me, I’m not going to lie to you,” Pitino said. “It bothers me when a trust is broken, and I still have sleepless nights thinking (why) you did something like this. …

“You put it behind you by getting encouraged and excited about this schedule, the team we have and the potential to be a contender for a championship next year.”

There is so much potential, that Pitino foresees Louisville being able to show the same strengths as that Kentucky team that earned one of his two titles as a coach.

The group has a major void to fill.

Sophomore center/forward Chinanu Onuaku is entering the NBA draft along with graduate transfers Trey Lewis and Damion Lee, a trio that combined for more than 37 points per game in helping the No. 16 Cardinals finish 23-8.

Despite the departures, Louisville returns plenty of size up front with 6-foot-10 senior Mangok Mathiang, who’s progressing from a season-ending foot injury. He’ll be joined by Anas Mahmoud and Matz Stockman, two 7-footers, and forwards Jaylen Johnson, Ray Spalding and Deng Adel — whom Pitino said he expects “big things” from.

“I’ve been toying all spring because I’ve had time on my hands with a style that would fit this team best,” Pitino said, “but we’re going to try to play just like that basketball team. (By) no means do I say we have that type of talent.

“But we have that type of length, that type of quickness, that type of athleticism, so we are going to play like that team.”

Pitino named Mathiang and junior guard Quentin Snider (9.4 points per game, team-high 109 assists) as co-captains of a team that also returns dynamic guard Donovan Mitchell.

Though Louisville’s self-imposed sanctions include eliminating one scholarship for 2017 and 2018, and 30 fewer days to recruit, Pitino said the investigation hasn’t hurt the school on the recruiting trail. The Cardinals will welcome their first high school All-American since 2011 in 6-7 guard/forward V.J. King.

“We haven’t had any resistance whatsoever and we’re off to a great start,” Pitino said of recruiting, adding that he’d like to surrender the scholarships for this year if possible.

With a challenging schedule featuring neighboring Indiana, Purdue along with its usual Atlantic Coast Conference docket and annual Bluegrass showdown against Kentucky, Pitino suggested that looking ahead was the only choice.

“We want to get everything behind us,” Pitino said. “It was a very difficult year emotionally, it was a very difficult year for all of us and we’d like to put every single thing behind us. Sometimes you cherish the past, and other times you’d like to forget the past.”

Alabama’s Saban rips satellite camps, Harbaugh fires back

MARK LONG, AP Sports Writer

DESTIN, Fla. (AP) — Alabama coach Nick Saban said Tuesday he wasn’t going to talk about satellite camps — and then he ranted about them.

And he clearly got Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh’s attention.

“I don’t know how much it benefits anybody because all the people that say this is creating opportunities for kids, this is all about recruiting,” Saban said at the Southeastern Conference’s annual meeting. “That’s what it’s about. … What’s amazing to me is somebody didn’t stand up and say here’s going to be the unintended consequences of what you all are doing.”

Saban’s words didn’t take long to reach Ann Arbor.

Harbaugh responded on Twitter, saying, “‘Amazing’ to me — Alabama broke NCAA rules & now their HC is lecturing us on the possibility of rules being broken at camps. Truly ‘amazing.'”

The SEC was at the forefront of wanting satellite camps banned. Harbaugh has been front and center on using the camps to boost recruiting outside Michigan, even hosting a high-profile one in Florida earlier this year.

The Division I Council approved a proposal last month requiring Football Bowl Subdivision schools “to conduct camps and clinics at their school’s facilities or at facilities regularly used for practice or competition.” The measure, which was endorsed by the SEC, also said “FBS coaches and non-coaching staff members with responsibilities specific to football may be employed only at their school’s camps or clinics.”

But the NCAA Division I Board of Directors rescinded that ban in early May. With the ban lifted, SEC coaches reluctantly started taking part in satellite camps.

“Now we do have prospects in those camps and we do see how they do, but that’s not what the camp is for,” Saban said. “Not from our standpoint. So why would we be promoting somebody else’s camp anywhere? Because it’s the same thing I said before: This is the only sport where the high school still mattered. What they did at the high school mattered. All you’re doing is allowing all these other people that we spend all of our time at the NCAA saying, ‘You can’t recruit through a third party.’ You can’t be involved with third-party people and that’s exactly what you’re doing, creating all these third parties that are going to get involved with the prospects and all that.

“And who gets exposed on that? I go to a camp and I’m talking to some guy I don’t know from Adam’s house cat and he’s representing some kid because he put the camp on, and then I’m in trouble for talking to this guy? And who even knows if the guy paid to go to the camp. Is the NCAA going to do that? I mean, we do that at our camp. We have people responsible. They’re called compliance folks. What kind of compliance people do we have at these camps?”

Saban also said the camps are “bad for college football.”

The Crimson Tide coach added “there needs to be somebody that looks out for what’s best for the game, not what’s best for the Big Ten or what’s best for the SEC or what’s best for Jim Harbaugh, but what’s best for the game of college football — the integrity of the game, the coaches, the players and the people that play it. That’s bigger than all of this.”

Saban said each of the Power Five conferences continue to campaign for what they want, often creating the kind of chaos that surrounded satellite camps earlier this year.

Saban said someone should be overseeing all of it. Asked who he would want in the role, Saban didn’t have anyone specific in mind.

“I don’t have a candidate. I’m not in politics,” he said. “I’m just telling you what I think, what needs to be done.”

Venus Williams fails to join Serena in French Open quarters

HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Tennis Writer

PARIS (AP) — Venus Williams was unable to join her sister in the French Open quarterfinals, failing in a bid to get back to that stage at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament for the first time in a decade.

Finally back on court after her fourth-round match was postponed twice because of rain, the No. 9-seeded Williams lost to No. 8 Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday.

Williams, a seven-time major champion, started well enough, taking a 2-0 lead before dropping eight games in a row. She managed to produce only six winners in all, while committing 24 unforced errors.

Williams was the runner-up to younger sibling Serena at Roland Garros in 2002, but her most recent trip to the quarterfinals in Paris came all the way back in 2006.

Wasting no time at all after waiting two days to play, defending champion Serena moved closer to her record-equaling 22nd Grand Slam title with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over 18th-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in only 62 minutes.

The match originally was scheduled for Monday, but showers forced cancellation of an entire day of play at Roland Garros for the first time in 16 years. Then, on Tuesday, more rain allowed for a total of only 2 hours of play around the grounds, and all fourth-round matches on the top half of the women’s draw were pushed back again.

While Wednesday was cloudy and chilly, with the temperature barely breaking 60 degrees (16 degrees Celsius), at least the drizzle stayed away, allowing for progress in the brackets.

Finally in action in Wednesday’s opening match at Court Philippe Chatrier, Serena looked very much like a 21-time Grand Slam champion facing a 21-year-old who has only reached one major quarterfinal, a year ago in Paris.

Serena had an 8-0 edge in aces, a 27-10 advantage in total winners, forced Svitolina into 22 mistakes, and saved seven of eight break points.

After losing in the U.S. Open semifinals last year, and the Australian Open final in January, Serena is trying once more to pull even with Steffi Graf’s Open-era mark of 22 major titles.

In the quarterfinals, Serena will face either No. 12 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain or unseeded Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan.

Backsinszky, who lost to Serena in the 2015 French Open semifinals, can make it back to that stage if she beats 58th-ranked Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands next.

Bertens reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal by beating 15th-seeded Madison Keys of the United States 7-6 (4), 6-3.

Bertens eliminated a seeded player for the third time in the tournament, after upsetting No. 3 Angelique Kerber, the Australian Open champion, in the first round, then No. 29 Daria Kasatkina in the third round.

Warriors-Cavaliers are the 14th NBA Finals rematch

TIM REYNOLDS, AP Basketball Writer

MIAMI (AP) — It’ll either be repeat or redemption.

A rematch will decide.

Cleveland and Golden State are about to reunite in the NBA Finals, starting Thursday night in Oakland, California. It’s the 14th Finals rematch.

A good sign for Cleveland, which lost to Golden State last season: Six of the last seven teams that lost the Finals one year won the rematch encounter.

A good sign for Golden State: The only exception to that trend came in 1997 and 1998, when Utah Jazz lost back-to-back to the Chicago Bulls — a team that featured current Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

Of the previous 13 rematches, defending champions have retained their title six times.

A look at the past rematches:

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MINNEAPOLIS LAKERS vs. NEW YORK KNICKS

1952: Lakers 4, Knicks 3.

George Mikan averaged 21.7 points and 17.4 rebounds, and the Lakers beat the Knicks in seven games. The teams alternated wins and losses in each game.

1953: Lakers 4, Knicks 1.

Mikan was dominant again, averaging 20.8 points. The Knicks took Game 1 on the road, but the Lakers won the next four — keyed by two two-point triumphs.

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ST. LOUIS HAWKS vs. BOSTON CELTICS

1957: Celtics 4, Hawks 3.

A tremendous series, with four of the seven games decided by two points — including Game 7, the Celtics winning 125-123 in double overtime.

1958: Hawks 4, Celtics 2.

Denied a title the previous year, Hawks star Bob Pettit averaged 29.3 points and 17 rebounds — with 50 points in the Game 6 clincher.

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1960: Celtics 4, Hawks 3.

Tom Heinsohn averaged 22.4 points, Bill Russell averaged 24.9 rebounds and the Celtics got four double-digit wins, including a 122-103 victory in Game 7.

1961: Celtics 4, Hawks 1.

More of the same. Heinsohn led the Celtics in scoring again at 22 points, Russell grabbed an astounding 28.8 rebounds and Boston easily defended its title.

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LOS ANGELES LAKERS vs. BOSTON CELTICS

1962: Celtics 4, Lakers 3.

Lakers stars Elgin Baylor (who had a 61-point game, a Finals record) and Jerry West were brilliant, averaging 72 points per game. But the Celtics rallied from 3-2 down. Bill Russell averaged 22.9 points and 27 rebounds for Boston.

1963: Celtics 4, Lakers 2.

Baylor and West averaged 63 points per game. The Celtics, with Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn and Russell leading the way, had too much depth and balance.

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1965: Celtics 4, Lakers 1.

Boston left little doubt, winning Game 1 by 32 points and Game 5 by 33 points. Jerry West averaged 33.8 points in vain for the Lakers; Sam Jones averaged 27.8 points for Boston.

1966: Celtics 4, Lakers 3.

Up 3-1 at one point, the Celtics were forced to a Game 7 in Red Auerbach’s final season. Boston escaped with a two-point win for its eighth straight title.

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1968: Celtics 4, Lakers 2.

Boston blew a big lead in Game 5 at home but won in overtime, then closed it out on the road in Game 6 behind 40 points from John Havlicek.

1969: Celtics 4, Lakers 3.

The Celtics’ dominance over the NBA continued, Boston winning its 11th title in a 13-year span. Jerry West won the MVP award, in a losing effort.

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1984: Celtics 4, Lakers 3.

Cedric Maxwell’s 24 points in Game 7 and an MVP performance from Larry Bird lifted the Celtics to their 15th world title.

1985: Lakers 4, Celtics 2.

Game 1 was the “Memorial Day Massacre,” a 148-114 Boston win. But the Lakers won four of the next five games, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the MVP.

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LOS ANGELES LAKERS vs. NEW YORK KNICKS

1972: Lakers 4, Knicks 1.

The Knicks rolled in Game 1, and after that it was all Lakers. Wilt Chamberlain (19.4 ppg, 23.2 rpg) wins MVP honors, leading the Lakers to the win.

1973: Knicks 4, Lakers 1.

Turnabout was fair play; the Lakers grabbed a 1-0 lead and then the Knicks won out. It was Chamberlain’s last game, and the Knicks’ most-recent title.

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SEATTLE SUPERSONICS vs. WASHINGTON BULLETS

1978: Bullets 4, Sonics 3.

Seattle led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 — but the Bullets took Games 6 and 7. Wes Unseld was Finals MVP, averaging 9 points and nearly 12 rebounds per game.

1979: Sonics 4, Bullets 1.

Gus Williams averaged 28.6 points, Finals MVP Dennis Johnson added 22.6 points and Seattle won the last four games of the series.

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LOS ANGELES LAKERS vs. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

1982: Lakers 4, 76ers 2.

Magic Johnson caps an MVP performance with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists in Game 6, and the Lakers win in Pat Riley’s rookie coaching season.

1983: 76ers 4, Lakers 0.

Moses Malone averaged 25.8 points and 18 rebounds, and the 76ers capped a dominant playoff run with a one-sided romp in the Finals.

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LOS ANGELES LAKERS vs. DETROIT PISTONS

1988: The Lakers win their second straight title, taking Games 6 and 7 by a combined four points. James Worthy scored 36 points in Game 7 for the Lakers.

1989: Detroit’s so-called “Bad Boys” proved best, sweeping to the title behind Joe Dumars’ 27.3 points per game.

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UTAH JAZZ vs. CHICAGO BULLS

1997: Bulls 4, Jazz 2.

Michael Jordan wins MVP honors, he and Scottie Pippen average 52 points and the Bulls hold off Karl Malone, John Stockton and the Jazz.

1998: Bulls 4, Jazz 2.

Jordan’s sixth and final championship was capped by a 45-point effort, punctuated by the go-ahead jumper in the final seconds of Game 6.

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SAN ANTONIO SPURS vs. MIAMI HEAT

2013: Heat 4, Spurs 3.

Ray Allen’s 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 saves Miami, then LeBron James takes over late in Game 7 as the Heat go back-to-back.

2014: Spurs 4, Heat 1.

The Spurs split the first two games at home, then got two big wins in Miami and finished it off at San Antonio in Game 5 for their fifth title.

Ballet dancer in Russia acid attack released on parole

 

MOSCOW (AP) — A Bolshoi dancer convicted in 2013 for his role in an acid attack that scarred the face and eyes of the famed Russian ballet’s artistic director has been paroled, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Russian news agencies quoted the dancer’s lawyer Sergei Kadyrov saying that Pavel Dmitrichenko was released Tuesday after a parole commission upheld his request for an early release.

Dmitrichenko was found guilty of asking an ex-convict to attack Sergei Filin, who ended up losing much of his sight after acid was tossed onto his face outside his Moscow home. Dmitrichenko was sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison in 2013.

Filin’s lawyer, Tatyana Stukalova, told Rossiya-24 television that she would appeal the ruling because she says Dmitrichenko poses a danger to her client.

The January 2013 attack and the ensuing trial revealed deep divisions at Russia’s most renowned theater. Some Bolshoi dancers sided with Dmitrichenko, who insisted that he never contracted to have the attack done, only complained about Filin.

Much of the trial centered less on Dmitrichenko’s role in the attack than on whether or not Filin’s management of the ballet company could have driven him to the crime. As part of his defense, the dancer cited several incidents in which troupe members were driven to tears by the artistic director.

Six months after the attack, the Russian culture ministry that oversees the Bolshoi Theatre replaced the long-serving director general who was embroiled in a war of words with Filin’s opponents.

Filin stayed on as the ballet’s artistic director while undergoing treatment and rehabilitation until the Bolshoi last year refused to sign a new contract with him. It hired Makhar Vaziev, who left La Scala in Milan for the job in Moscow.