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December 27, 2018

ANTARCTICA SOLO

American man first to solo across Antarctica unaided

UNDATED (AP) — An Oregon man has become the first person to traverse Antarctica alone without any assistance.

Colin O’Brady, of Portland, finished the 932-mile (1,500-kilometer) journey across the continent in 54 days, lugging his supplies on a sled as he skied in bone-chilling temperatures.

O’Brady documented the entire journey on his Instagram page, and says it came to an end Wednesday after he covered the last 77 miles (124 kilometers) in one big push to the finish line.

His wife, Jenna Besaw, says she and O’Brady’s family stayed up all night watching his progress using an online tracker and that he called as soon as he finished to tell them “I did it!”

Though others have traversed Antarctica, they either had assistance with reinforced supplies or kites that helped propel them forward.

BURGLARY SUSPECT-RIDE

Officials: Man broke into home, got owner to give him a ride

WATERBORO, Maine (AP) — Authorities in Maine say a man broke into a home, had a bite to eat, watched TV and even got a car ride from his unsuspecting victim.

The York County sheriff’s office said 35-year-old Derek Tarbox broke into a Waterboro home Sunday afternoon, took a shower, got dressed in the homeowner’s clothing and was watching television when the homeowner arrived. The intruder said he mistakenly thought the house belonged to a friend and asked for a ride home.

The homeowner told authorities that seemed plausible, so he drove him to a house in Hollis, which actually belonged to Tarbox’s relatives. The victim later realized his home had been ransacked.

Tarbox, who was arrested in Limrick, was due to be arraigned on burglary and other charges Wednesday. It was unclear if he has a lawyer.

ORGANIC FRAUD-CHARGES

US says thousands were victims of organic grain fraud scheme

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Prosecutors say thousands of individuals and businesses were victims of a large-scale scheme in which ordinary corn and soybeans were fraudulently marketed nationwide as “certified organic.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said in a filing Wednesday that potentially “tens of thousands” were defrauded by Randy Constant and his associates into paying a premium for products that they didn’t want.

Constant, of Chillicothe, Missouri, and three others have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Constant, who owned an Iowa grain brokerage, acknowledged that he sold $142 million worth of corn, soybeans and wheat over a 7 ½ year period that wasn’t organic despite his representations.

Constant was aware that most of his product was grown using non-organic methods. The buyers included companies who processed the grain into other products that were marketed as organic.

MUSIC-MARIAH CAREY

Mariah Carey’s Christmas classic sets new record on Spotify

NEW YORK (AP) — Mariah Carey’s 24-year-old Christmas classic is so popular it set a new one-day streaming record on Spotify on Christmas Eve.

Chart Data reported that “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” released in 1994, was played 10.8 million times Monday on Spotify. The song bested the record set by rapper-singer XXXTentacion, who logged 10.4 million streams with “SAD!” a day after his death in June.

Spotify wouldn’t comment on the news when reached by The Associated Press. Carey called the new feat “such an amazing Christmas gift” in an Instagram post on Tuesday.

Every holiday season “All I Want for Christmas Is You” begins to climb the Billboard charts as its popularity resurfaces. This year the song reached a new peak when it hit No. 6 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

Carey’s 1994 “Merry Christmas” album is spending its fourth week at No. 1 on R&B charts.

SPORTS BETTING-TRIBES

Indian casinos across US wary of betting on sports books

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Native American tribe in Mississippi earlier this year became the first to open a sports book on tribal lands outside Nevada following a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

But months after tribes cheered the end of a ban on sports betting, only two have opened sports books. That’s because the regulatory challenges and low-margin nature of the business have prompted them to carefully weigh whether their casinos truly need the amenity.

Many casinos need state approval to add sports betting to their offerings.

Few Indian casinos have an enviable location like the Choctaw and many need state approval to add sports betting to their offerings.

Indian casinos started small three decades ago, but they have grown to be an annual $32.4 billion segment of the U.S. gambling industry. The roughly 475 casinos operated by nearly 240 tribes create jobs for tribal members and profits that help pay a variety of services, including health care and housing.

BILLS FAN-DISNEY WORLD

Avid football fan battling cancer gets trip to Disney World

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — An avid Buffalo Bills fan from Texas who’s battling cancer has been given a trip to Disney World thanks to the efforts of a fan club known as the Bills Mafia.

Ezra Castro is known as Pancho Billa for his game-day outfit that includes a sombrero and facemask in the NFL team’s red, white and blue colors.

The 39-year-old mortician from Dallas has attended numerous Bills games on the road and at New Era Field in Orchard Park, earning him the honor of being named the inaugural member of the Buffalo Fan Wall of Fame.

Last Sunday while watching the Bills-Patriots game at a Dallas-area bar with other Buffalo fans, the Bills Mafia surprised him with an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World in Florida for him, his girlfriend and their two young children.

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