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Murder trial

Prosecutor mocks Pistorius

The chief prosecutor laughed scornfully at an answer from Oscar Pistorius during the Olympic athlete’s murder trial Thursday, mocking the man who shot his girlfriend. The judge sternly instructed the prosecutor to restrain himself and he apologized — then went right back to trying to pick holes in the testimony of the double-amputee runner.

It was a harsh day of cross-examination in Pretoria, South Africa, for Pistorius, challenged relentlessly about his account of the moments just before he killed Reeva Steenkamp, as well as circumstances related to several firearms charges against him, including the firing of a gun in a crowded restaurant.

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Prosecutor Gerrie Nel often sought to goad Pistorius, accusing him of being self-obsessed and hiding the truth about the death of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model whom he shot through a closed toilet door in his home.

Dressed in a dark suit, Pistorius, 27, responded methodically and in a soft monotone, and only occasionally did his voice rise. He did not break down in tears as he has previously this week in the witness box and did not look at Nel, instead facing the red-robed judge, Thokozile Masipa, on the dais.

The prosecutor seized on virtually every opportunity to challenge the star athlete’s credibility, asserting that he had a string of unlikely excuses for why he wasn’t to blame in the gun charges he faces on top of murder. In casting doubt on the Olympian’s honesty, Nel was pushing the prosecution’s argument that Pistorius is also lying that he killed Steenkamp by mistake, thinking she was an intruder, in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day last year.


Eli Manning has surgery

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is going to start the offseason training program with a surgically repaired left ankle. The Giants said Manning had arthroscopic surgery to relieve some lingering discomfort in the ankle he sprained in the regular-season finale against Washington. Manning expects to be able to run in six weeks.


Former players file lawsuit

Nine former professional hockey players have filed a lawsuit against the National Hockey League that says the league “intentionally created, fostered and promoted a culture of extreme violence.”

The suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, is the latest in a growing string of challenges to the NHL. Like suits brought by retired NFL players, the complaint said the NHL failed to take adequate steps to warn the players of the dangers of the sport and deliberately promoted violence for profit.

College hockey

Minnesota, Union advance

Justin Holl scored a short-handed goal with 0.6 seconds left to give Minnesota a 2-1 victory over North Dakota in the NCAA hockey semifinals in Philadelphia.

Minnesota (28-6-6) will face Union College (31-6-4) in the title game Saturday night. Union beat Boston College 5-4 in the first semifinal at Wells Fargo Center.

College football

UNLV ineligible

The UNLV Rebels will not be eligible for the Mountain West championship game or a bowl berth in 2014 after failing to reach the minimum Academic Progress Rate score, the NCAA ruled.


Brazil says it will be ready

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he has been “reassured” by Brazil’s president that the country will be ready to host the World Cup in June.

Powell banned 18 months

A Jamaican disciplinary panel banned former 100-meter world-record holder Asafa Powell for 18 months after the veteran sprinter tested positive for a banned stimulant last June.

Powell’s backdated ban begins from the date of his sample collection on June 21, 2013, during national trials for the world championships. That means he’s eligible to return to competition on Dec. 20, about a month after he turns 32.

Powell issued a statement through his publicist saying his defense team will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.


• The Carolina Panthers added depth at tight end, signing four-year NFL veteran Ed Dickson from the Baltimore Ravens to a one-year contract.

• Missouri men’s basketball coach Frank Haith kicked Zach Price off the team, ending the forward’s career with the Tigers before it began. Price, a transfer from Louisville, was arrested twice last week on four counts of suspicion of assault.

• A police investigation of a suspected burglary involving Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham has been closed without an arrest, primarily because of reluctant witnesses who fear retaliation and harassment for bringing a complaint.

• Utah State football coach Matt Wells agreed to a contract extension through the 2018 season.

• D.C. United midfielder Lewis Neal was suspended for a game by MLS for dangerous play against the Revolution’s Andrew Farrell.

• Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to miss the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona because of a leg injury.

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