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Votto hits 1st career leadoff homer in Reds' 4-1 win

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Joey Votto hit his first career leadoff homer and Tucker Barnhart and Jesse Winker also connected for the Cincinnati Reds, who beat the San Diego Padres 4-1 Thursday night to snap a four-game losing streak. The Padres, who had a three-game lead in the NL West on Saturday, have lost four straight for the first time this year and trail the Los Angeles Dodgers by 1 ½ games. Votto, 35 and in his 14th big league season, was batting leadoff for the third straight game and just the fourth time in his career. He drove rookie Chris Paddack's third pitch to right-center, his second. Barnhart, batting ninth while starter Tanner Roark batted eighth, hit a two-run shot to right with two outs in the fifth. The homer was upheld after a video review. Winker homered off Phil Maton with one out in the ninth, his fifth. Roark (1-0) earned his first win in his fourth start. He held the Padres to one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings, struck out five and walked two. Raisel Iglesias struck out the side in the ninth for his third save. The Padres put runners on first and second with one out in the sixth to chase Roark. Zach Duke came on and struck out Eric Hosmer before Robert Stephenson came on and allowed Manny Machado's ground-rule double. He then struck out Franmil Reyes to end the inning with runners on second and third. Paddack (0-1) allowed three runs and three hits in six innings while striking out five and walking one in his fourth start. He struck out the side in the third, including Votto looking to end the inning. UP NEXT Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (0-1, 7.43) is scheduled to make his fourth start Friday night in the second game of the four-game series. Padres: LHP Matt Strahm (0-2, 4.26) is scheduled to make his fourth start. ___ More AP MLB:...

Want to Build Your Brand on Social Media? Here Are Some Quick Tips.

While social media continues to evolve such as in terms of the popularity of certain platforms, the ways in which social media algorithms prioritize content and the types of content users want to engage with, brands need to recognize that the business of social media is still built on community and human-to-human engagement. In other words, even though social media looks quite different now than it did on early-internet communication mediums such as chatrooms and bulletin boards, the social aspect still remains. People use social media because they want to connect with other individuals, and they want to be entertained, inspired and form emotional bonds with others. That means that being successful on social media requires humanizing your brand through people rather than acting like an advertiser. And this principle will likely only become more important as social media shifts from a one-to-many communication style to focus more on one-to-one interactions. Focus on building relationships. Recently, I attended the seventh annual Social Media Marketing World conference in San Diego, which has grown to almost 5,000 attendees comprised of marketing professionals from around the world. There, I connected with some of the preeminent social media marketing experts to get their insights into how to be successful business-wise on social media. One of those individuals is Roberto Blake, a creative entrepreneur who has built a large social media following and is the owner of digital agency Create Awesome Media. As he explains, attaining long-term business success on social media requires building relationships with people regardless of the platform you're using. "You also have to account for the fact that there might not be a long shelf-life to these platforms, and people...

Medical association blasts military's transgender policy

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A new Trump administration regulation set to go into effect Friday directs military secretaries to kick out transgender service members who refuse to serve in their birth sex and "given an opportunity to correct those deficiencies." The American Medical Association told The Associated Press on Thursday the policy and its wording mischaracterizes transgender people as having a "deficiency" and defies science by classifying the need to transition to another gender among "administratively disqualifying conditions" that include those the Pentagon has labeled as a "congenital or developmental defects." The new regulation strips transgender troops of rights they only recently secured under the Obama administration to serve openly and receive care if they choose to transition to another gender. The Defense Department said its use of the words "deficiencies" is military lingo for when an individual fails to meet standards to maintain a lethal force. Lt. Col. Carla Gleason said it is not a reference to gender dysphoria, a condition of extreme distress from not identifying with one's biological gender. The department says transgender people can serve if they remain in their biological sex. It would allow current service members who transitioned before the Pentagon issued its directive, though the government has also said it retains the right to eliminate that protection. "The only thing deficient is any medical science behind this decision," said American Medical Association President Dr. Barbara L. McAneny. "The AMA has said repeatedly that there is no medically valid reason - including a diagnosis of gender dysphoria - to exclude transgender individuals from military service." The Pentagon issued a directive March 12 stating military secretaries may kick out someone "on the basis of conditions and...

Border chaos forces truckers to wait hours, sometimes days

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) - To deal with a surge of migrating Central American families, the Trump administration has reassigned so many inspectors from U.S.-Mexico border crossings that truckers are waiting in line for hours and sometimes days to get shipments to the United States. Truckers have been sleeping in their vehicles to hold spots in line in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. The city brought in portable toilets, and an engine oil company hired models in skin-tight clothing to hand out burritos and bottled water to idled drivers. "My family doesn't recognize me at home anymore," Jaime Monroy, a trucker who lives in Ciudad Juarez, said after sleeping overnight in his cabin with a truck full of wooden furniture. "I leave at 3 in the morning and come back at 10 at night." The waits are a reminder that even though President Donald Trump walked back his threat to close the border, the administration has created significant impediments for truckers, travelers and shoppers with its redeployment of customs agents. Business leaders are starting to lose patience as they struggle to get products to American grocery stores, manufacturers and construction sites. "This is a systemwide issue," said Paola Avila, chairwoman of the Border Trade Alliance, a group that advocates for cross-border commerce. All along the 2,000-mile border, wait times have increased. "There's no point in redirecting commerce elsewhere. There's no solution. Everyone's feeling this." The traffic congestion comes as a growing number of families from Central America have been arriving at the border in recent months, overwhelming the federal government. So far, the administration has reassigned 541 border inspectors to other jobs, including processing migrants, providing...

Judge blocks Trump's asylum policy but delays enforcement

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A U.S. judge on Monday blocked the Trump administration's policy of returning asylum seekers to Mexico as they wait for an immigration court to hear their cases but the order won't immediately go into effect. Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco granted a request by civil liberties groups to halt the practice while their lawsuit moves forward. He put the decision on hold until Friday to give U.S. officials the chance to appeal. The launch of the policy in January in San Diego at the nation's busiest border crossing marked an unprecedented change to the U.S. asylum system, government officials and asylum experts said. Families seeking asylum typically had been released in the U.S. with notices to appear in court. President Donald Trump's administration says the policy responds to a crisis at the southern border that has overwhelmed the ability of immigration officials to detain migrants. Growing numbers of families are fleeing poverty and gang violence in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The lawsuit on behalf of 11 asylum seekers from Central America and legal advocacy groups says the Trump administration is violating U.S. law by failing to adequately evaluate the dangers that migrants face in Mexico. It also accuses Homeland Security and immigration officials of depriving migrants of their right to apply for asylum by making it difficult or impossible for them to do so. Under the new policy, asylum seekers are not guaranteed interpreters or lawyers and don't get to argue to a judge that they face the potential of persecution or torture if they are sent back to Mexico, Judy Rabinovitz, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, said at a March court hearing. Seeborg appeared skeptical of the lawsuit's argument that the...

Sydney Brenner, who helped decipher genetic code, dies at 92

LA JOLLA, Calif. (AP) - Sydney Brenner, a Nobel Prize-winning biologist who helped decipher the genetic code and whose research on a roundworm sparked a new field of human disease research, has died. He was 92. The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California, where Brenner spent part of his seven-decade career, said he died Friday in Singapore. "He will be remembered in perpetuity for his brilliant discoveries that ushered in a new era of science and a new generation of scientists," said Ronald Evans, a biologist at the institute. Brenner shared the Nobel Prize in medicine in 2002 for his contribution to work unraveling how genes control cell division. He and two colleagues, John Sulston and Robert Horvitz, traced a transparent roundworm known as C. elegans to determine how cells divide and create something new. The findings on programmed cell death were key to understanding how cancers develop and laid the groundwork for making C. elegans a major model organism in research. His most important contribution to science, however, was the work he did with Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of DNA, and others to determine the genetic code. In 1961 they demonstrated that DNA is made up of a series of three nucleotides called codons, which encode the amino acids that make up a protein. He also helped discover messenger RNA, the molecule that directs the cell's production of amino acids. Born in South Africa in 1927, Brenner spent much of his early career in Britain, earning his PhD from the University of Oxford. Later, he joined the University of Cambridge and shared an office with Crick for 20 years. In the early 1990s, Brenner went to California where he first worked at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla and later rejoined Crick as a distinguished...

A year later, Trump's 'zero tolerance' border policy frays

SAN DIEGO (AP) - As the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy hits its anniversary, the promise to criminally prosecute everyone who crosses the Mexico border illegally has been forced to evolve. Today the reality is families come first. A surge in family arrivals, largely from Guatemala and Honduras, has led Border Patrol agents to shift attention from preparing criminal cases to caring for children in detention facilities, driving families to border stations and performing hospital watch on the growing number of migrants who require medical attention. "We are spending so much time and effort and money to care for families," Border Patrol spokesman Ross Wilkin said. "The numbers are through the roof." Caring for children traveling alone is also taxing resources, as is a new administration policy to return asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts, Wilkin said. The effects can be seen in the diminishing impact of one of the Trump administration's hallmark immigration policies. In San Diego, just seven migrants filed into the jury box of a wood-paneled courtroom Wednesday in the clothes they wore a day earlier. That's when agents found some of them hiding in a large drainage pipe and thick brush in a rugged, remote area. It was a stark contrast to September, when up to 40 went through the jury box every day, 20 at a time. Court was canceled in San Diego on March 27 for the first time since zero tolerance was introduced in California in July, several months after it was announced nationally, because prosecutors did not file any cases, said Jami Ferrara, who represents defense attorneys on a court panel to address the policy. In McAllen, Texas, only two people were sentenced at a hearing Monday, according to a...