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April 9, 2014

Eight-year-old Lacey Holsworth, who gained national attention for her friendship with Michigan State basketball player Adreian Payne, died this morning.

The unlikely friendship between the Spartans' senior standout and the young girl battling cancer began more than two years ago, when the basketball team visited Lansing's Sparrow Hospital. Payne was especially struck by Holsworth, who couldn't walk at the time, as she was paralyzed by a massive tumor wrapped around her spine and abdomen.

"She calls me her 'Superman,' but she's the one who's got the super strength," Payne told columnist Drew Sharp. "If I can bring her a little bit of happiness to help her forget everything for a little while, then that's what I want to do."

Holsworth's cancer appeared to have gone into remission, but it returned last fall. Still, the Spartans' little fan made the trip to New York to watch MSU play in the NCAA tournament, and Holsworth even accompanied Payne during his walk out onto the court for MSU's "Senior Night" in March:

Coach Tom Izzo said he spoke with Payne early this morning.

"All I talked to him about is, some people go a lifetime without giving anything to somebody or making anybody else's life better," Izzo said. "I'm so proud of [Payne] and the rest of our guys, and I'm proud of Lacey and her family. If there's any way to go with dignity, she went." Sarah Eberspacher

8:21 a.m. ET

Donald Trump's big mouth might have gotten him into trouble once again after he called the trade imbalance between China and the United States a "rape."

"We can't allow China to rape our country. And that's what they're doing. It's the greatest theft in the history of the world," Trump said Sunday during a rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

"I thought those were a really bad use of words. But whatever. That's what he does, and I guess that's what gets him those primary voters," Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski observed afterward.

While Sunday was the first time Trump used the word "rape" to describe the actions between China and the U.S. this election season, CNN reports he used similar language in 2011 when he claimed "China is raping this country" while touring a defense manufacturer in New Hampshire.

Trump has also come under fire for bragging about an endorsement from boxer Mike Tyson, who was convicted of rape in Indiana. Ted Cruz has spoken out against the endorsement, telling CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday, "I don't think rapists are tough guys. I think rapists are weak, they're bullies, and they're cowards. And Donald may be really proud of his support from a convicted rapist." Jeva Lange

7:59 a.m. ET
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

On Sunday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said he has accepted the resignation of his chief of staff, Tom Angel, amid mounting criticism of racist, sexist, and anti-Muslim emails Angel had sent as the No. 2 official in the Burbank Police Department in 2012 and 2013. "This incident is one that I find deeply troubling," McDonnell said. "Despite the Sheriff's Department's many recent efforts to fortify public trust and enhance internal and external accountability and transparency, this incident reminds us that we and other law enforcement agencies still have work to do." The Los Angels Times had obtained Angel's emails through public records request, and published 15 pages of them on Wednesday.

McDonnell, elected as a reformer in 2014, said he will begin random audits of the work emails of sheriff's department employees and meet with different community groups to "share thoughts and ideas about improving our understanding of the varied cultures and orientations and deepening our appreciation of the many ethnicities and religions that are part of the vibrant fabric of the population we serve." Several of the emails mocked Muslims, and another one was a forwarded joke about a student who did poorly on an exam: "I took my Biology exam last Friday. I was asked to name two things commonly found in cells. Apparently 'Blacks' and 'Mexicans' were not the correct answers."

Angel did not respond to requests for comment from the L.A. Times, but previously he told the newspaper that he never meant to embarrass or demean anyone and that he found it unfortunate that his work emails were subject to the state's public records law. Peter Weber

7:48 a.m. ET
Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

The ultimate underdog story is on the cusp of unfolding in England's Premier League as a team with 5,000-to-one odds at the start of the season waits with bated breath to learn if they will be crowned the champions.

Leicester City is small fry in the legendary Premier League, which boasts the distinction of being the richest and most-watched soccer league in the world. But up against giants like Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea, the Leicester City Foxes only narrowly dodged relegation last season and have stunned the nation as they've fought their way this season to the impossible.

Leicester City had their first shot at taking the title on Sunday but failed to clinch the championship by drawing 1-1 against Manchester United. Because of the standings, Tottenham must tie or lose to their archrival, Chelsea, during Monday's 3 p.m. EDT match in order for Leicester to win the championship.

Because of the standings, Chelsea has very little to play for, while Tottenham is fighting to stay in the title race for another week. However, Chelsea might fight especially hard to knock their rivals out of the race.

"It’s not ours until we've got both hands on the trophy," Leicester City captain Wes Morgan said Sunday. "We'll be watching and waiting tomorrow night."

Catch the game on TV at 3 p.m. EDT, on NBCSN for an English stream or NBC Universo for the game in Spanish. The match will also be streamed online at NBC Sports Live Extra. Learn more about the key players and matchups in the game at SB Nation. Jeva Lange

7:00 a.m. ET

The Obamas have decided to stay in Washington, D.C., for a couple more years — well, not Malia — so youngest daughter Sasha can finish up high school. "Our decisions has actually presented a bit of a dilemma, because traditionally presidents don't stick around after they're done," President Obama said at Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner. That was the set-up for a pre-recorded video in which Obama broods about his post–White House plans. In the short film, Obama seeks advice from Vice President Joe Biden, takes advice from former House Speaker John Boehner, tells NBC's Chuck Todd to do something rude to himself, and pokes fun at his own "mom jeans."

The whole video is good, but the highlight is probably when Obama decided he had to get his Washington, D.C., driver's license and visited the local DMV. "What's the name?" the DMV employee, Kat, asked when Obama's number was finally called. "Barack Hussein Obama," he said. "Yikes," she grimaced. "Well, since you don't have a driver's license, you're going to need a birth certificate." If you remember the whole "birther" flap, you can probably guess where that is going, and they go there with pretty impressive acting chops and impeccable comedic timing. Watch below. Peter Weber

5:57 a.m. ET
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Children ages 1-3 have shot somebody with a gun they found more than once a week in the U.S. this year, and in most cases, they were the victim, too. According to a Washington Post count, toddlers were involved in at least 23 shootings between Jan. 1 and the April 29. In 18 of those cases, the children shot themselves, and nine of those toddlers died. In the other five cases, the toddler shot another person, and two died — on April 27, a 2-year-old boy fatally shot his mother in the car after a gun slid out from under the front seat, and in February, a 3-year-old boy shot and killed his 9-year-old brother in Alabama.

The rate of toddler-involved shootings is not uniform across states, with Georgia notching eight such shootings since the beginning of 2015, Texas and Missouri tied for second place with seven shootings, while Michigan and Florida each have six. There are probably some legal and cultural reasons for the variations in toddler shootings, but it's "still largely a guessing game," says The Post's Christopher Ingraham. "And it's a game made much more difficult by Congress' efforts to restrict the type of gun research that agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are allowed to conduct." You can read more at The Washington Post. Peter Weber

4:47 a.m. ET

The annual White House Correspondents' Dinner is an odd tradition, where the president of the United States and a carefully selected comedian roast the rich, famous, and powerful people in the room, including the president, and also members of the news media, while the whole world can watch on C-SPAN. President Obama's zingers have generally been met with positive reviews — except by Donald Trump — and Saturday's roast was no exception. Larry Wilmore, this year's featured comedian, bombed. Or, at least, his routine wasn't universally embraced inside the room (CNN's Wolf Blitzer gave Wilmore some hard stares, while Don Lemon gave him the finger).

But as The Washington Post's Callum Borchers (and lots of people on Twitter) pointed out, another certain comedian who hosted a show following The Daily Show at Comedy Central also was met with uncomfortable, sometimes sparse laughter when he hosted the "nerd prom" back in 2006.

And Stephen Colbert has done pretty well for himself. More to the point, Borchers notes, "in hindsight, few would disagree with the underlying critique of Colbert's satire," that President George W. Bush had invaded Iraq on false pretenses and the media had not asked enough questions or challenged Bush adequately in the lead-up to the invasion. Wilmore's most trenchant critiques on Saturday were about race — which wouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone who's watched Wilmore's Nightly Show — though he also got in the expected jabs at the 2016 candidates as well as Obama. Will Wilmore's performance age well? You can judge his 22-minute set below. Peter Weber

3:56 a.m. ET

On Monday, Craig Wright released evidence purporting to prove that he is "Satoshi Nakamoto," the pseudonymous inventor of digital currency Bitcoin. Wright, an Australian computer scientist and entrepreneur, told BBC News and The Economist that he was coming forward reluctantly. "I have not done this because it is what I wanted," he told BBC News. "It's not because of my choice." Wired and Gizmodo claimed Wright was the Bitcoin founder in December, though there has been a history of mispointed finders: A March 2014 report in Newsweek wrongly identified Dorian S. Nakamoto, a California physicist, as the Bitcoin founder.

Along with the BBC and The Economist, Wright shared his evidence beforehand with GQ. It includes digital coins that only Satoshi Nakamoto would have, including "blocks used to send 10 Bitcoins to Hal Finney in January [2009] as the first Bitcoin transaction," Wright said, referring to a renowned cryptographer he says helped turn Bitcoin into reality. "I was the main part of it, but other people helped me," he added. BBC News spoke with Bitcoin experts who believe that Wright really is Nakamoto, but The Economist is a little skeptical.

"Our conclusion is that he could well be Mr. Nakamoto, but that nagging questions remain," The Economist said. "In fact, it may never be possible to prove beyond reasonable doubt who really created Bitcoin. Whether people, particularly Bitcoin cognoscenti, actually believe Mr. Wright will depend greatly on what he does next, after going public." Wright did tell The Economist where he came up with the name, citing the 17th century Japanese philosopher and merchant Tomonaga Nakamoto, a free trade proponent, though he wouldn't reveal where "Satoshi" came from ("Some things should remain secret," Wright said).

The Economist also points out that the Bitcoin community is enmeshed in a big debate about the direction the cryptocurrency should take, and that if Wright is accepted as Nakamoto, "his return from obscurity would most certainly change the dynamics of the debate about Bitcoin’s future direction." You can watch Wright talk to BBC News below. Peter Weber

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