Ohtani hits longest career HR; Trout goes deeper

CHICAGO — Shohei Ohtani homered in consecutive innings, including a 459-foot drive that is the longest of his Major League Baseball career, and drove in four runs to lead the Los Angeles Angels over the Chicago White Sox 12-5 on Wednesday.

Mike Trout put the Angels ahead 2-0 with a 461-foot home run in the first that was four rows shy of clearing the left-field bleachers. Taylor Ward also went deep as the Angels hit four two-run homers plus a solo shot, their most home runs in a game this season.

“Those are the guys you lean on,” manager Phil Nevin said. “They can certainly put the team on their backs and carry us, and that’s what they did today.”

Ohtani drove a first-pitch fastball from Lance Lynn (4-6) in the third just to left of straightaway center, where the ball was dropped by a fan who tried to glove it. That 425-foot drive put the Angels ahead 4-1.

Lynn didn’t even bother to turn and look when Ohtani hit a full-count fastball more than a dozen rows over the bullpen in right-center in the fourth. The two-way Japanese star is batting .269 with 15 homers and 38 RBIs to go along with a 5-1 record and 2.91 ERA.

“I’m feeling good right now,” Ohtani said through a translator. “I’m putting good swings on pitches I should be hitting hard.”

Ohtani increased his career total to 13 multihomer games with his first this season. He now has nine home runs of at least 450 feet in his career, all coming in the past three seasons and tied with Ronald Acuna Jr. and Salvador Perez for second in MLB in that span, behind only C.J. Cron, who has 16. He also has 12 career home runs in 31 games against the White Sox, his most against any team not in the American League West.

Trout pulled a hanging curve for his 13th home run and longest of the season. It was the 10th of his career of at least 460 feet, and since he entered the league in 2011, the only players with more at that distance are Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.

Ward hit a two-run homer against Jesse Scholtens in the seventh, and Chad Wallach, pinch hitting for Ohtani, had a solo homer in the ninth off Garrett Crochet.

“Usually when that happens, we’re in a good spot to win,” Trout said.

Trout and Ohtani homered in the same game for the fifth time this season, the most of any duo in MLB. The Angels are 5-0 in those games. It was the 27th time they both homered in a game since they became teammates in 2018, with the Angels going 19-8 in those games.

The Angels hit a pair of 450-foot or more home runs in the same game for the first time since Statcast started tracking in 2015.

Lynn allowed eight runs, eight hits and two walks while hitting two batters in four innings, raising his ERA to 6.55. He has given up 15 home runs, one short of the major league high of the Kansas City RoyalsJordan Lyles. Lynn had won his previous three starts.

“It seemed like he didn’t get away with any today,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “Just one of those days, man.”

Jaime Barria (2-2) gave up one run and four hits in five innings with six strikeouts and two walks.

Los Angeles won two of three from the White Sox after being swept by the Miami Marlins last weekend.

The Associated Press and ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.

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Mississippi Schools Are Offering Lessons for America on Education

This is the second in the series “How America Heals”
in which Nicholas Kristof is examining the interwoven crises devastating parts of America and exploring paths to recovery.

JACKSON, Miss. — The refrain across much of the Deep South for decades was “Thank God for Mississippi!” That’s because however abysmally Arkansas or Alabama might perform in national comparisons, they could still bet that they wouldn’t be the worst in America. That spot was often reserved for Mississippi.

So it’s extraordinary to travel across this state today and find something dazzling: It is lifting education outcomes and soaring in the national rankings. With an all-out effort over the past decade to get all children to read by the end of third grade and by extensive reliance on research and metrics, Mississippi has shown that it is possible to raise standards even in a state ranked dead last in the country in child poverty and hunger and second highest in teen births.

In the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a series of nationwide tests better known as NAEP, Mississippi has moved from near the bottom to the middle for most of the exams — and near the top when adjusted for demographics. Among just children in poverty, Mississippi fourth graders now are tied for best performers in the nation in NAEP reading tests and rank second in math.

The state has also lifted high school graduation rates. In 2011, 75 percent of students graduated, four percentage points below the national average; by 2020, the state had surpassed the national average of 87 percent by one point.

Mississippi’s comeback story

Average high school graduation rate, by state.



National average




Washington, D.C.


2011 graduating class




National average




Washington, D.C.


2011 graduating class


Note: Rates are for public high schools only.

Source: U.S. Department of Education

“Mississippi is a huge success story and very exciting,” David Deming, a Harvard economist and education expert, told me. What’s so significant, he said, is that while Mississippi hasn’t overcome poverty or racism, it still manages to get kids to read and excel.

“You cannot use poverty as an excuse. That’s the most important lesson,” Deming added. “It’s so important, I want to shout it from the mountaintop.” What Mississippi teaches, he said, is that “we shouldn’t be giving up on children.”

The revolution here in Mississippi is incomplete, and race gaps persist, but it’s thrilling to see the excitement and pride bubbling in the halls of de facto segregated Black schools in some of the nation’s poorest communities.

One of the reasons I became interested in writing this series about how we can help those whom America has left behind was the loss of an old school friend when she froze to death while homeless. Since then, I’ve lost too many friends I grew up with to drugs, alcohol and suicide, and as I think about what might have saved their lives, education is high on the list.

But an education system can save people only when it manages to educate them, and America too often falls short. I had heard Mississippi cited for its progress, but frankly, I was skeptical until I visited. On my second day in Jackson, where 98 percent of public school students are people of color, mostly from low-income families, I visited a second-grade classroom.

The class was reading a book, “The Vegetables We Eat.” The children read aloud and debated what vegetables were. Things that are green? Foods that don’t taste good? I was startled to see second graders read words like “vegetables” and “eggplant” fluently and still more astonished to see the entire class easily read the sentence “Where does nourishing food come from?”

Mississippi has achieved its gains despite ranking 46th in spending per pupil in grades K-12. Its low price tag is one reason Mississippi’s strategy might be replicable in other states. Another is that while education reforms around the country have often been ferociously contentious and involved battles with teachers’ unions, this education revolution in Mississippi unfolded with support from teachers and their union.

“This is something I’m proud of,” said Erica Jones, a second-grade teacher who is the president of the Mississippi affiliate of the National Education Association, the teachers’ union. “We definitely have something to teach the rest of the country.”

Mississippi’s success has no single origin moment, but one turning point was arguably when Jim Barksdale decided to retire in the state. A former C.E.O. of Netscape, he had grown up in Mississippi but was humiliated by its history of racism and underperformance.

“My home state was always held in a low regard,” he told me. “I always felt embarrassed by that.”

Barksdale cast about for ways to improve education in the state, and in 2000 he and his wife contributed $100 million to create a reading institute in Jackson that has proved very influential. Beyond the money, he brought to the table a good relationship with officials such as the governor, as well as an executive’s focus on measurement and bang for the buck — and these have characterized Mississippi’s push ever since.

With the support of Barksdale and many others, a crucial milestone came in 2013 when state Republicans pushed through a package of legislation focused on education and when Mississippi recruited a new state superintendent of education, Carey Wright, from the Washington, D.C., school system. Wright ran the school system brilliantly until her retirement last year, meticulously ensuring that all schools actually carried out new policies and improved outcomes.

One pillar of Mississippi’s new strategy was increasing reliance on phonics and a broader approach to literacy called the science of reading, which has been gaining ground around the country; Mississippi was at the forefront of this movement. Wright buttressed the curriculum with a major push for professional development, with the state dispatching coaches to work with teachers, especially at schools that lagged.

Students practice their reading skills at an elementary school in Jackson, Miss.

The 2013 legislative package also invested in pre-K programs, targeting low-income areas. Mississippi made the calculated decision to offer high-quality full-day programs, with qualified teachers paid at the same rate as elementary school staff members, rather than offer a second-rate program to more children.

The pre-Ks get children started on recognizing letters, numbers and sounds, and more important, they help kids adjust to classrooms. In one pre-K that I visited, a girl named Allyson was wreaking havoc as the teacher tried to talk to the class about light and shadow.

Most of the class was sitting on the floor and enthusiastically answering the teacher’s questions. Meanwhile, Allyson was running around the classroom, trying to see if she could run faster than her shadow.

“Every classroom has an Allyson,” another teacher said with a sigh. All the early-grade teachers I spoke to said that the Allysons of Mississippi are less disruptive and more ready to learn after attending pre-K.

Perhaps the most important single element of the 2013 legislative package was a test informally called the third-grade gate: Any child who does not pass a reading test at the end of third grade is held back and has to redo the year.

This was controversial. Would this mean holding back a disproportionate share of Black and brown children from low-income families, leaving them demoralized and stigmatized? What about children with learning disabilities?

In fact, the third-grade gate lit a fire under Mississippi. It injected accountability: Principals, teachers, parents and children themselves were galvanized to ensure that kids actually learned to read. Each child’s progress in reading is carefully monitored, and those who lag — as early as kindergarten and ramping up in second and third grades — are given additional tutoring.

A classroom in Edna M. Scott Elementary School in Leland, Miss.

In classrooms, I saw charts on the wall showing how each child — identified by a number rather than a name — ranks in reading words per minute. Another line showed which children, also noted by number, were green (on track to pass) and which were yellow (in jeopardy). Then there were some numbers representing children who were red and urgently needed additional tutoring and practice.

As third grade progresses in Mississippi, there is an all-consuming focus on ensuring that every child can read well enough to make it through the third-grade gate. School walls fill with posters offering encouragement from teachers, parents and students alike.

“Blow this test out of the water,” wrote Torranecia, a fifth grader, in a typical comment.

In the town of Leland in the Mississippi Delta, one of the poorest parts of America, parents and family members come early on the day of the big exam and line a hallway at the elementary school, cheering madly as the kids walk through to take the test — like champion football players taking the field. And when I visited, 35 new bicycles were on display in the school gym, donated by the community to be awarded by lottery to those who passed.

Bikes, donated by members of the community, for third-grade students who pass the reading test at Edna M. Scott Elementary in Leland, Miss.

Those who did not pass would get a second chance at the end of the school year. Children who fail this second try are urged to enroll in summer school as a last desperate effort to raise reading levels. Those who fail a third time are held back — about 9 percent of third graders — although there is a chance for a good-cause exemption if, for example, a child has a learning disability or speaks limited English.

What happens to the children forced to repeat third grade? A Boston University study this year found that those held back did not have any negative outcomes such as increased absences or placement in special education programs. On the contrary, they did much better several years later in sixth-grade English tests compared with those who just missed being held back. Gains from being held back were particularly large for Black and Hispanic students.

With such a focus on learning to read, one of the surprises has been that Mississippi fourth graders have also improved significantly in math. One possible explanation is that some math problems require reading; another is that children try harder in all subjects when they enjoy school.

The state and the Barksdale Reading Institute also partnered in experimenting with approaches that failed; in those cases, they measured the results and dropped methods that didn’t show gains. They tried to lure family members into visiting schools through drop-in centers, and few showed up. They tried to introduce approaches through teacher training in universities, and this proved expensive and much less successful than dispatching coaches to offer guidance in the classrooms.

Mississippi is also striking for what it didn’t do. For example, it didn’t reduce class sizes: Officials weighed the evidence and concluded that while smaller classes would improve outcomes, spending the money on teacher coaching and student tutoring would help even more.

Nothing worked quite as expected, and everything was harder than it looked. But Mississippi kept testing and tweaking its model, following the evidence where it led. And now second graders can read “nourishing.”

Many white families fled the Mississippi public school system around the time courts forced integration in 1970, so 48 percent of public school students were Black in 2018-19 and 44 percent white — with three-quarters of all pupils labeled economically disadvantaged.

The Rev. Jessie King, the superintendent for the Leland School District, announces the names of students who passed the third-grade reading test at Edna M. Scott Elementary School.
Students who passed the reading test celebrate.

One challenge is that while Mississippi has made enormous gains in early grades, the improvement has been more modest in eighth-grade NAEP scores. Still, the state has made progress in several areas that help upper grades: getting parents more involved and promoting vocational education, in addition to raising high school graduation rates.

Seniors line up to enter the theater for Senior Night, when graduation awards are presented at Callaway High School in Jackson.

The school superintendent in the town of Hollandale, Mario Willis, told me his high school graduation rate was 97 percent, and he explained how his school fights to keep kids. The other day, he said, he had a call from the high school principal about an 18-year-old senior who was dropping out.

The student lived in poverty and had a single mom who was unemployed, so the family’s economic situation was desperate. Not seeing a way out, the young woman left school and took a restaurant job.

That’s when the school went all out to bring the student back. School officials repeatedly visited the young woman at home. They spoke to her mother, and they talked her employer into arranging work hours for her after school.

So now she is back in school, on track to graduate.

Other states, particularly Alabama, have adopted elements of Mississippi’s approach and have improved outcomes — but not nearly as much as Mississippi has. Perhaps that’s because those states’ leaders didn’t work as hard or because Alabama until recently didn’t have a must-pass third-grade reading test, but it’s also true that Mississippi has been guided by a visionary leadership team that may be difficult to recreate elsewhere.

Barksdale recruited Kelly Butler, a former teacher, to run his reading institute, and she provided much of the vision for the state. Two Teach for America veterans, Rachel Canter and Sanford Johnson, in 2008 founded an organization called Mississippi First that has been a tireless advocate of raising standards.

All of these education leaders, along with Superintendent Wright, reinforced one another and brought in others with fresh ideas who were utterly committed to lifting Mississippi standards — and as state test results improved, politicians responded with pride and allocated more funds to the cause. Last year, Mississippi passed a major increase in teacher pay.

Since so much of the debate about K-12 education is about teachers’ unions and whether they prevent improvement, let me make the point that the states with arguably the best public schools (such as Massachusetts and New Jersey) have strong teachers’ unions while the state with some of the most-improved schools (Mississippi) has weak teachers’ unions. We needn’t get bogged down by debates over unions.

The education reform movement that for decades captured the imagination of tech executives, documentary makers and presidents from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama and Donald Trump has fizzled. We no longer hear presidents and opinion makers regularly describe education as the civil rights issue of our time. Many people seem to have given up and moved on.

Mississippi is one answer to that sense of exhaustion and futility. And other states are noticing. Education Week reported that 31 states have passed legislation on evidence-based reading instruction. Many school systems, most recently New York City’s, are adopting the science of reading, based partly on the success in Mississippi and elsewhere.

Education reformers have often thought it hopeless to tackle state public school systems directly and so have pursued the equivalent of bank shots: Run effective charter schools, for example, and public schools can adopt lessons learned. Mississippi raises the question of whether we truly need bank shots. Or maybe for the United States, the whole state of Mississippi is the ultimate bank shot.

The Barksdale Reading Institute is developing a free online tool, Reading Universe, to make the state’s approach to reading available to all schools in America and around the world. The idea is that kids everywhere should have the same opportunities to learn and graduate as, say, students in high-poverty schools in the Delta.

Thank God for Mississippi.

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Conservatives Complain Chick-fil-A Has ‘Gone Woke’ Over D.E.I.

The fast-food chain, once a darling of conservatives, has joined other corporations in pursuing diversity, equity and inclusion policies, prompting some on the right to accuse it of going “woke.”

Chick-fil-A drew fierce criticism this week from conservatives calling out the fast-food chain for its diversity, equity and inclusion policy and questioning the hiring of an executive to be in charge of such efforts.

The backlash has made Chick-fil-A one of the latest companies to draw public condemnation over “culture war” flash points like L.G.B.T.Q. rights or seeking fair treatment for racial or ethnic groups that have been historically underrepresented. Several companies and brands have also been at the center of such criticism in recent months, including Bud Light, Target and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chick-fil-A itself has drawn controversy in the past, though more typically from the left.

This week, many conservatives have rebuked Chick-fil-A, pointing to a corporate policy on its website that details the company’s focus on “ensuring equal access,” “valuing differences,” and “creating a culture of belonging,” under the title, “Committed to being Better at Together.”

Critics also singled out the chain’s hiring of Erick McReynolds to head its D.E.I. efforts, but that is also not a new development.

Citing that policy, Wade Miller, an executive director for Center for Renewing America, a conservative think tank, said on Twitter that he could no longer support the company as a customer: “Everything good must come to an end.”

Jeff Clark, a former Justice Department official who was implicated in former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, said on Twitter that Chick-fil-A’s policy was “disappointing.”

“Chick-fil-A has gone woke,” wrote Ian Miles Cheong, a right-wing critic with 625,000 Twitter followers. The conservative commentator Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA shared a similar sentiment with his 2.2 million followers.

It was unclear why Chick-fil-A was only drawing criticism now for its D.E.I. efforts, since the company has long had such a policy in place. As for Mr. McReynolds, company records show that he had been the company’s vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion since at least 2020.

The chain, known for its fried chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, declined to comment on Wednesday.

Chick-fil-A has been on the spotlight in the past over matters of inclusion, but for different reasons and from a different direction.

Chick-fil-A was a founded by S. Truett Cathy, a religious man who wanted to have his business closed on Sundays so that his workers could rest and worship if they wanted to do so. The company, which says its corporate purpose is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us,” had aligned itself with conservative causes by donating to groups that tried to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States.

In 2012, its president and chief operating officer spoke in favor of traditional marriage, inviting protests from advocates for same-sex marriage. The company had also been criticized for closing on Sundays because of religious beliefs.

Under pressure, the company later stopped almost all donations to organizations that opposed equal rights for people of different sexual orientation.

The chicken chain was criticized again in 2019 for making charitable donations to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, two groups that had been criticized by L.G.B.T.Q. advocates. The company then stopped making donations to those groups.

Corporate companies have had policies that promote diversity, equity and inclusion in some form for decades, largely to avoid discrimination on the basis of race, sex or religion. In recent years, these policies have increasingly been gathered under the acronym D.E.I.

Ivuoma Onyeador, a Northwestern University professor whose research examines how people understand discrimination and disparities, said that companies have D.E.I. policies to ensure that “their employees and customers and clients from marginalized backgrounds are having the same experience as employees, customers and clients from dominant groups or well-represented backgrounds.”

Those policies “signal to employees from marginalized backgrounds, or racial minorities, that the companies care about their experiences,” Dr. Onyeador said. “That’s the benefit of having these programs.”

Stephanie Creary, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania whose research focuses on inclusion in the workplace, said that D.E.I. efforts have traditionally focused on issues such as anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, mentoring and sponsorship programs.

Over the years, Dr. Creary said that “D.E.I. practices have become broader in scope, particularly in terms of the dimensions of difference on which they focus, including religious values.”

Experts said that D.E.I. efforts were bolstered after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by the police in 2020 spurred nationwide protests calling for social justice and police accountability.

“The Floyd moment felt like a shift,” Dr. Onyeador said. “The 2020 moment, the Black Lives Matter moment over the last decade, has brought lots of these discussions to the forefront in a particularly unique way.”

Alvin Tillery, the director of the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy at Northwestern, said that protests in the summer of 2020 revealed to corporations that many of their workers, especially younger ones, were “aggressively committed to racial justice.”

“The corporate diversity programs shifted from these kind of benign discussions of recruiting and nonconscious bias to an active discussion of accountability for antiracism and gender equity,” Dr. Tillery said.

In an internal report, Chick-fil-A said that in 2020 the commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts “took on special significance for us as we proactively pursued new ways to work against racism, systemic or subtle, throughout the communities we serve.”

The report, which does not explicitly refer to the social justice protests from that year, said that the company held dozens of listening sessions “to better understand and address racial injustice.”

Those efforts informed the company’s plans “to address racial injustice,” the report said.

Corporations in the United States have to follow federal laws — such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 — that make it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex or a disability.

Dr. Tillery said that many companies have D.E.I. policies to avoid the potential consequences of discriminatory practices.

“If companies don’t want to face lawsuits, or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints, it makes sense for them to have equity policies to make sure that there are no racial gaps,” Dr. Tillery said.

Some companies also see D.E.I. as part of a moral commitment to justice and higher ideals. Dr. Onyeador added that many see a “business case for diversity..”

She described that as “the idea that being a more diverse company, or having a more inclusive climate, increases performance outcome for a company.”

This has put companies like Chick-fil-A at odds with some customers. It has also led to a political backlash among Republicans seeking to appeal to conservative voters. In Florida, for example, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican candidate for president, recently signed legislation defunding diversity programs at the state’s public universities and colleges.

Dr. Onyeador said that she believes conservatives have conflated increased D.E.I. efforts with support for other social justice efforts, such as the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Because they’re against D.E.I. policies or ‘wokeism,’” Ms. Onyeador said, “they’re struggling with the connection between Chick-fil-A, as a company that they see as on their side, that is also engaging in this other work.”


Rishi Sunak Is Still Haunted by Boris Johnson and Liz Truss

Boris Johnson’s misadventures still make headlines, but Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s bigger problem is high inflation and soaring bond yields reminiscent of those that toppled Liz Truss.

LONDON — From the moment Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain took occupancy of 10 Downing Street last October, he has been haunted by his predecessors: Boris Johnson, defenestrated after serial scandals, and Liz Truss, deposed after an ill-fated foray into trickle-down economics.

On Thursday afternoon, Mr. Sunak’s government faces a deadline to turn over Mr. Johnson’s Covid-era text messages, diaries and notebooks to a committee investigating Britain’s handling of the pandemic. It is the latest chapter in what seems like a never-ending reckoning with Mr. Johnson’s messy tenure.

Yet for all the headlines that Mr. Johnson’s misadventures have commanded in recent weeks — including new allegations of flouting Covid lockdown rules — it is the ghost of Mr. Sunak’s short-lived predecessor, Ms. Truss, that economists say should keep him up at night.

Yields on British government bonds soared last week to nearly the levels that brought down Ms. Truss after only 45 days in office. While the cause of this spike is very different from that under Ms. Truss — fears that inflation is deeply rooted in Britain rather than horror at the previous government’s proposed tax cuts — the political cost to Mr. Sunak could be almost as grave, with an election looming in the next 18 months.

Mr. Johnson’s story “is, to some extent, surface froth,” said Tim Bale, a professor of politics at Queen Mary, University of London. “That isn’t to say that the Boris Johnson soap opera can’t damage Sunak,” he added. “But what drives voters is the more profound question of the economy.”

On that issue, the market gyrations are a bad omen. They signal that investors believe the Bank of England will have to hike interest rates a lot further to tamp down Britain’s stubbornly high inflation, which could tip the struggling economy into recession. Fear of rate hikes led to the cancellation of nearly 800 mortgage deals, which hurt people who are trying to buy homes.

Workers at Canary Wharf in London this month.Andy Rain/EPA, via Shutterstock

It also raises the risk that Mr. Sunak will fall short of one of his cardinal pledges as prime minister: to cut inflation in half by the end of 2023. Although the inflation rate dipped below double digits last week, to 8.7 percent, prices for food remained unexpectedly high. Britain has now diverged from Germany, France and Spain, where inflation is much lower and is dropping faster than the economists predicted.

“The notion of ‘sick man of Europe’ has struck again, and when that happens, it’s hard to shake it off,” said Jonathan Powell, a former chief of staff to Prime Minister Tony Blair. “Sunak keeps being dragged back to the bad old times.”

In the case of Mr. Johnson, those bad old times include the lockdown-breaking parties held in Downing Street in 2020 and 2021, which resulted in police fines for both the prime minister and Mr. Sunak, then serving as chancellor of the Exchequer.

The latest flap began when the chairwoman of the Covid-19 Inquiry, Baroness Heather Hallett, asked the Cabinet Office to hand over all communications between Mr. Johnson and fellow ministers during the pandemic, including WhatsApp messages, which have become a favored way for officials to stay in touch.

The Cabinet Office has so far balked, arguing that it has a responsibility to protect the privacy of ministers. It has refused to hand over what it calls “unambiguously irrelevant” material. Ms. Hallett has pressed for unredacted versions of messages, contending that it is the job of the inquiry committee to decide what information is relevant to its investigation of the government’s Covid policy.

The Cabinet Office, analysts said, is wary of setting a precedent and concerned that the disclosure of personal exchanges could embarrass senior officials, including Mr. Sunak. More than 100,000 WhatsApp messages belonging to a former health secretary, Matt Hancock, were leaked to the Daily Telegraph in February, offering an unflattering glimpse into how senior officials talked about the pandemic.

In one text exchange, Mr. Hancock mocked “Eat Out to Help Out,” a program designed to lure people back to restaurants, which was sponsored by Mr. Sunak. He referred to it as “eat out to help the virus get about.”

In another, the government’s top civil servant, Simon Case, warned that Mr. Johnson was a “nationally distrusted” figure who should not announce new social-distancing rules during a bleak phase of the pandemic in 2020.

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson outside of Parliament in March.Peter Nicholls/Reuters

“In a sense, this is our first WhatsApp inquiry,” said Jill Rutter, a former civil servant who is now a senior research fellow at the U.K. in a Changing Europe, a think tank in London. “One of the problems is that officials do things in deeply casual ways on WhatsApp. They mix the personal with policy and politics.”

On Wednesday evening, Mr. Johnson said he had submitted a trove of text messages and other material to the Cabinet Office, and he challenged officials to hand it over to the inquiry in unredacted form.

That further complicates the dilemma for the government, since officials had earlier said they no longer had access to the material. It puts Mr. Sunak in an awkward spot, since the government could face a legal challenge if it refuses to comply, which appears likely.

Mr. Johnson has had a chilly rapport with Mr. Sunak since last July, when Mr. Sunak’s resignation as chancellor set the stage for Mr. Johnson’s downfall.

The former prime minister expressed anger last week when the Cabinet Office referred fresh claims to the police that Mr. Johnson had violated lockdown regulations by inviting friends to his country residence, Chequers.

“Nobody has very high expectations of Boris Johnson,” Ms. Rutter said, “but Rishi Sunak may be worried about what might be disclosed.”

Given that the inquiry may not conclude until 2027, the prime minister does not have to fear the information coming out until after the next election, which he must call by January 2025. But he will not have that luxury with the economy, which is casting a long shadow over the future of his Conservative Party.

Mr. Sunak, a former Goldman Sachs investment banker, succeeded in calming the markets after he replaced Ms. Truss and reversed her policies. Her budget-busting tax cuts were viewed as so reckless that financial analysts took to calling Britain’s elevated bond yields a “moron risk premium.”

“In contrast to the moron risk premium, which was driven by crashing the institutions and generally appearing incompetent, this is quite different,” said Jonathan Portes, a professor of economics at King’s College London. “This is pretty clearly down to the recent inflation numbers.”

Where some analysts say Mr. Sunak erred was in setting a hard target for cutting inflation, especially since the Bank of England, not the government, possesses the levers to do that. What once looked like an easy win now looks touch and go.

“The market thinks the U.K. has a persistent inflation problem, relative to other advanced economies,” Professor Portes said.

Mr. Sunak heading to the House of Commons for his weekly Prime Minister’s Questions last week.Kin Cheung/Associated Press


Danny Masterson Found Guilty of Raping 2 Women in Retrial

The case against a star of the sitcom “That ’70s Show” drew widespread attention because of accusations that the Church of Scientology had tried to discourage his accusers.

A jury in Los Angeles on Wednesday convicted Danny Masterson, the actor best known for his role on the sitcom “That ’70s Show,” of having raped two women in a case that drew widespread attention because of accusations that the Church of Scientology had tried to discourage his accusers.

The jury deadlocked on a charge that Masterson had raped a third woman, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

The mixed verdict came after a jury deadlocked on all three charges in November, resulting in a mistrial. The retrial lasted more than a month, and jurors deliberated for more than a week before finding him guilty of two counts of rape by force or fear.

Masterson, 47, was taken into custody after the verdict. He will face up to 30 years to life in state prison when he is sentenced on Aug. 4, the district attorney’s office said.

Prosecutors said that Masterson, who played Steven Hyde on “That ’70s Show” from 1998 to 2006, raped three women at his home in the Hollywood Hills between 2001 and 2003. He was charged in 2020 and had pleaded not guilty. A spokeswoman for Masterson’s legal team said the lawyers had no immediate comment after the verdict on Wednesday.

The case was closely watched in part because of accusations by two of the women that the Church of Scientology, to which they and Masterson belonged, had discouraged them from reporting the rapes to law enforcement, according to court documents. The church has strongly denied that it pressures victims.

Although both trials centered on the same allegations, Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo of Los Angeles Superior Court allowed prosecutors to tell jurors directly in the second trial that Masterson had drugged his three accusers, The Associated Press reported.

Prosecutors suggested the possibility of drugging only in the first trial, as they presented testimony that the women felt disoriented and confused after Masterson gave them alcoholic drinks.

Masterson’s lawyer, Philip Cohen, had argued that the women’s stories were inconsistent and that there was no physical evidence of drugging and “no evidence of force or violence,” The A.P. reported.

“I am experiencing a complex array of emotions — relief, exhaustion, strength, sadness — knowing that my abuser, Danny Masterson, will face accountability for his criminal behavior,” one of Masterson’s accusers, who was identified in court documents only as N. Trout, said in a statement released by a public relations firm for lawyers who are representing her in a lawsuit against Masterson and the Church of Scientology.

Another accuser, who was identified in court documents only as Christina B., said in the same statement that she was “devastated” that the jury had deadlocked on the charge that Masterson raped her in 2001 when they were in a relationship.

“Despite my disappointment in this outcome, I remain determined to secure justice, including in civil court, where I, along with my co-plaintiffs, will shine a light on how Scientology and other conspirators enabled and sought to cover up Masterson’s monstrous behavior,” she said.

According to a trial brief filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office in September, Christina B. had reported the rape to the church’s “ethics officer” or “master at arms,” who told her, “You can’t rape someone that you’re in a relationship with” and “Don’t say that word again.”

According to the brief, Masterson raped a third woman, identified only as Jen B., in April 2003 after he gave her a red vodka drink. About 20 or 30 minutes later, she felt “very disoriented,” the brief states.

According to the brief, Masterson raped her after she regained consciousness on his bed. She reached for his hair to try to pull him off and tried to push a pillow into his face, the brief states. When Masterson heard a man yelling in the house, he pulled a gun from his night stand and told her not to move or to “say anything,” adding expletives, the brief states.

Jen B., after seeking the church’s permission to report the rape, received a written response from the church’s international chief justice that cited a 1965 policy letter regarding “suppressive acts,” the brief states.

To her, the response signaled that if she were to report a fellow Scientologist to the police, “I would be declared a suppressive person, and I would be out of my family and friends and everything I have,” the brief states. Still, she reported the rape to law enforcement in June 2004, the document states.

N. Trout told her mother and best friend about the rape, but not the church, the brief states.

“If you have a legal situation with another member of the church, you may not handle it externally from the church, and it’s very explicit,” she said, according to the brief. She added that she “felt sufficiently intimidated by the repercussions.”

The church said in a statement in April that it “has no policy prohibiting or discouraging members from reporting criminal conduct of anyone, Scientologists or not, to law enforcement.”

“Quite the opposite,” the statement said. “Church policy explicitly demands Scientologists abide by all laws of the land.”


Trump Was Taped Discussing Sensitive Document He Had After Leaving Office

Federal prosecutors obtained the recording as part of their investigation into the former president’s handling of classified documents.

Federal prosecutors investigating former President Donald J. Trump’s handling of classified material have a recording of Mr. Trump from 2021 discussing a sensitive military document he had kept after leaving the White House, two people briefed on the matter said.

The recording, in which Mr. Trump also indicated he knew the document was secret, could undermine his repeated claim that he had already declassified material that remained in his possession after he left office. Prosecutors are scrutinizing whether Mr. Trump obstructed efforts by federal officials to retrieve documents he took with him after leaving office and whether he violated laws governing the handling of classified material.

The existence of the recording was reported earlier by CNN.

The tape was made during a meeting Mr. Trump held in July 2021 with people helping his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, write a memoir of his 10 months in the White House, according to the people briefed on the matter. The meeting was held at Mr. Trump’s club at Bedminster, N.J., where he spends summers.

Until now, the focus of the documents investigation has been largely on material Mr. Trump kept with him at Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence in Florida, rather than in New Jersey.

Mr. Meadows did not attend the meeting, but at least two of Mr. Trump’s aides did. One, Margo Martin, routinely taped the interviews he gave for books being written about him that year.

On the recording, Mr. Trump began railing about his handpicked chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, who was described in media accounts at the time as having guarded against Mr. Trump’s striking Iran in the final days of the presidency, according to the people briefed on the matter.

Mr. Trump then began referencing a document that he had with him, saying that it had been compiled by General Milley and was related to attacking Iran, the people briefed on the matter said. Among other comments, he mentioned his classification abilities during the discussion, one person briefed on the matter said. Mr. Trump can be heard handling paper on the tape, though it is not clear whether it was the document in question.

The Justice Department obtained the recording in recent months, a potentially key piece in a mountain of evidence that prosecutors have amassed under the special counsel, Jack Smith, since he was appointed in November to oversee the federal investigations into Mr. Trump.

Ms. Martin was asked about the recording during a grand jury appearance, according to two of the people briefed on the matter.

Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, said in a statement that “leaks from radical partisans behind this political persecution are designed to inflame tensions and continue the media’s harassment of President Trump and his supporters.” He accused prosecutors of interfering with the election through the investigation, which began in early 2022.

Mr. Trump has long touted what he claimed was his ability to automatically declassify materials and has even said he could do so with his mind.

His allies have insisted he had a standing order to declassify material when he took it from the Oval Office to the White House residence, a claim that several former senior administration officials have suggested is nonsense. Members of his legal team have cautioned his aides not to lean too heavily on that argument as a defense in the documents case.

That claim was raised most vocally by Kash Patel, a close adviser to Mr. Trump who testified to a grand jury under an immunity deal forced on him by prosecutors.

The recording obtained by the special counsel’s office could help prosecutors undercut any argument by Mr. Trump that the documents he had taken from the White House upon leaving office were declassified. It could also assist them in making a case that Mr. Trump was aware that his abilities to possess — and to show off — classified materials were limited.

Investigators have been asking witnesses about General Milley in various interviews for several weeks, although they have generally left unclear what they were looking for.

Investigators have several if not all of the recordings of book interviews that Mr. Trump gave, according to two of the people familiar with the events.

In one interview, Mr. Trump said he had taken “nothing of great urgency” when asked if he had anything in his possession.

Mr. Trump has equivocated when asked if he ever showed any classified documents to people once he left the White House. At a CNN town hall event in May, he said, “Not really. I would have the right to. By the way, they were declassified after.”

Mr. Meadows, in his book, appeared to echo Mr. Trump’s claim about General Milley.

“The president recalls a four-page report typed up by Mark Milley himself,” the book said. “It contained the general’s own plan to attack Iran, deploying massive numbers of troops, something he urged President Trump to do more than once during his presidency. President Trump denied those requests every time.”

Yet according to a person familiar with the document in question, the report was not written by General Milley and in fact dates to an earlier period in the Trump administration, when Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Jim Mattis was the defense secretary.

General Milley has been interviewed by investigators about the matter, according to one person briefed on the discussion.


Prosecutors in Trump Documents Case Scrutinize Handling of Security Footage

Investigators are trying to determine if there was any attempt to obstruct them from getting access to footage from a security camera near the room where classified material was stored.

For the past six months, prosecutors working for the special counsel Jack Smith have sought to determine whether former President Donald J. Trump obstructed the government’s efforts to retrieve a trove of classified documents he took from the White House.

More recently, investigators also appear to be pursuing a related question: whether Mr. Trump and some of his aides sought to interfere with the government’s attempt to obtain security camera footage from Mar-a-Lago that could shed light on how those documents were stored and who had access to them.

The search for answers on this second issue has taken investigators deep into the bowels of Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s private club and residence in Florida, as they pose questions to an expanding cast of low-level workers at the compound, according to people familiar with the matter. Some of the workers played a role in either securing boxes of material in a storage room at Mar-a-Lago or maintaining video footage from a security camera that was mounted outside the room.

Two weeks ago, the latest of these employees, an information technology worker named Yuscil Taveras, appeared before a grand jury in Washington, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Taveras was asked questions about his dealings with two other Trump employees: Walt Nauta, a longtime aide to Mr. Trump who served as one of his valets in the White House, and Carlos Deoliveira, described by one person familiar with the events as the head of maintenance at Mar-a-Lago.

Phone records show that Mr. Deoliveira called Mr. Taveras last summer, and prosecutors wanted to know why. The call caught the government’s attention because it was placed shortly after prosecutors issued a subpoena to Mr. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, demanding the footage from the surveillance camera near the storage room.

The call also occurred just weeks after Mr. Deoliveira helped Mr. Nauta move boxes of documents into the storage room — the same room that Mr. Deoliveira at one point fitted with a lock. The movement of the boxes into the room took place at another key moment: on the day before prosecutors descended on Mar-a-Lago for a meeting with Mr. Trump’s lawyers intended to get him to comply with a demand to return all classified documents.

The Trump Organization ultimately turned over the surveillance tapes, but Mr. Smith’s prosecutors appear to be scrutinizing whether someone in Mr. Trump’s orbit tried to limit the amount of footage produced to the government.

They asked Mr. Taveras an open-ended question about if anyone had queried him about whether footage from the surveillance system could be deleted.

It remains unclear what investigators learned from questioning Mr. Taveras in front of the grand jury and whether they were able to make any headway in their efforts to determine if steps had been taken to interfere with the handing over of the surveillance tapes.

But the focus on the tapes is the latest effort by Mr. Smith to determine whether Mr. Trump or his aides engaged in any sort of obstructive behavior. Prosecutors are examining whether the former president has in effect been playing games with government officials in different agencies for more than a year — including the Justice Department, which issued a subpoena for all classified documents in Mr. Trump’s possession last May, and the National Archives, which sought to retrieve reams of presidential records from Mr. Trump that he held onto after leaving office, some of which included classified material.

There is no indication that Mr. Taveras is a subject of Mr. Smith’s investigation.

Mr. Deoliveira’s lawyer, John Irving, did not respond to a message seeking comment.

All three men — Mr. Taveras, Mr. Deoliveira and Mr. Nauta — have been questioned extensively by prosecutors over their roles in handling the boxes and the tapes. Mr. Trump’s aides maintain that nothing nefarious took place, and that activities that prosecutors are treating with suspicion were simply part of efforts to comply with the subpoenas or were routine conversations that happened without the participants knowing in some cases about the existence of the subpoenas issued by the Justice Department for the security footage and for the classified documents in Mr. Trump’s possession.

Nonetheless, one person briefed on the events said the interactions concerning the security tapes were enough to arouse suspicion among Mr. Smith’s investigators. Moreover, people briefed on witness interviews say, it has become clear that Mr. Smith views a number of people connected to Mr. Trump with skepticism.

Both Mr. Irving and the lawyer representing Mr. Nauta and Mr. Taveras, Stanley Woodward Jr., are being paid by Mr. Trump’s political action committee, Save America, which itself has been under scrutiny by Mr. Smith’s team. Prosecutors are looking into whether the group raised money from donors by claiming it would be earmarked for legal challenges to 2020 election, but that Mr. Trump’s aides knew he had lost.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday about a conversation between an unnamed I.T. worker and an unnamed maintenance worker at Mar-a-Lago.

Mr. Taveras’s grand jury appearance was not the first time that Mr. Smith’s team has focused on the question of how the security tapes at Mar-a-Lago were handled. Prosecutors have also issued subpoenas to Matthew Calamari Sr. and his son, Matthew Calamari Jr., who have long overseen security issues for the Trump Organization.

The prosecutors have sent separate subpoenas to the company seeking surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago, people with knowledge of the matter said. The first such subpoena was issued last June, and since then, prosecutors have sent several more subpoenas for a wider array of footage, one person with knowledge of the matter said.

The prosecutors appear to have sought the footage in order to get a clearer picture of the movement of the boxes of documents at Mar-a-Lago. But there were gaps in the footage, the person said, and the prosecutors have also been examining whether someone intentionally stopped the tape or if technological issues caused the gap.

The prosecutors have also subpoenaed a software company that handles all of the surveillance footage for the Trump Organization, including at Mar-a-Lago, The New York Times previously reported.

The attempts by Mr. Smith’s team to get to the bottom of what was happening with the boxes and the tapes reflect a fundamental challenge that prosecutors have faced since the start of the documents investigation: Mr. Trump’s post-presidential world at Mar-a-Lago is as much of a mishmash of loyalists and other officials as his chaotic White House was, and those who surround him most at his private club are employees with whom he has developed direct personal relationships over years.

Mr. Nauta was a military aide serving as a valet in the Trump White House, requiring a level of intimate proximity to the president that few staff members develop. After the Trump administration ended, Mr. Nauta retired from the military and went to work for Mr. Trump directly. And Mr. Deoliveira once parked cars at the club, a Trump aide said.

Before working on the information systems at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Taveras managed them at the Trump International Hotel and Tower and at the Trump SoHo Hotel, according to his LinkedIn page.


Texas Governor Names Interim Attorney General After Paxton Impeachment

Gov. Greg Abbott chose John Scott, a former deputy attorney general, to head the office while Attorney General Ken Paxton faces impeachment charges.

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas on Wednesday named John Scott, a longtime ally and a former Texas secretary of state, to serve as an interim replacement for the suspended attorney general, Ken Paxton, while Mr. Paxton faces trial in the State Senate.

Mr. Paxton was impeached by the state House of Representatives on Saturday over charges that he had used his elected position to benefit himself and a campaign donor.

Mr. Abbott, in a statement announcing his decision, said he chose Mr. Scott to “step in as a short-term” replacement while Mr. Paxton battles 20 articles of impeachment in a Senate trial expected to start late this summer. Mr. Scott served as a deputy attorney general under Mr. Abbott.

John Scott, a former Texas secretary of state, was chosen by Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas to serve temporarily as Texas’ attorney general. Eric Gay/Associated Press

In announcing his choice, Mr. Abbott cited Mr. Scott’s past experience as a former deputy attorney general who “knows how the Office of Attorney General operates.”

Mr. Scott served as Mr. Abbott’s top deputy for civil litigation when the Republican governor served as attorney general before becoming the state’s chief executive in 2015. Mr. Scott also served on an interim basis as Texas secretary of state, the chief elections officer appointed by the governor, for just over a year before stepping down in December 2022.

“His decade of experience and expertise in litigation will help guide him while serving as the state’s top law enforcement officer,” Mr. Abbott said. The governor’s statement did not include Mr. Paxton’s name or offer any comments on the accusations against him.

Mr. Scott, who has more than three decades of legal experience, also served as the chief operating officer of the state’s Health and Human Services Commission.

During the political turbulence following Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election victory over Donald Trump, Mr. Scott briefly represented the former president in an unsuccessful lawsuit against the certification of Pennsylvania’s vote after other attorneys quit. Mr. Scott himself stepped away from the litigation three days later, saying in a court filing “that Plaintiffs will be best served” by his withdrawal, according to news accounts.

As Mr. Scott steps into the attorney general’s position, six top staff members have taken a leave of absence to help defend Mr. Paxton in the upcoming impeachment trial, according to reports in The Daily Wire website and The Texas Tribune.

The employees include the office’s top appellate lawyer, Solicitor General Judd Stone, who served as a clerk to the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and was later chief counsel to U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, and the litigation chief Chris Hilton, who has made news recently by denouncing lawmakers’ moves toward impeachment.

As secretary of state, Mr. Scott had a “close working relationship” with Mr. Paxton and the attorney general’s office as a defendant in litigation against the state’s voting laws, said Sam Taylor, who served as secretary of state for communications under Mr. Scott. “That was true regardless of who the secretary was, including John Scott,” Mr. Taylor said.

The Texas Senate, which will decide whether to convict Mr. Paxton and remove him from office, adopted a resolution this week that calls for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Senate’s presiding officer, to choose a date “no later than” Aug. 28 to convene the court of impeachment. A seven-member Senate committee will prepare recommended rules of procedure for the trial to be submitted to the Senate on June 20.

The House, serving as the equivalent of a grand jury, has named 12 impeachment managers to prosecute the case, including the five members of the House General Investigating Committee that conducted the once-secret investigation that led to the impeachment.


Heat: Need ‘all five guys’ to slow Jokic, Nuggets

DENVER — The Miami Heat understand that if they want to win the 2023 NBA championship they are going to have to slow down Nikola Jokic. They know the challenge of doing that has proven to be difficult for the rest of the league, but it’s an assignment they believe they are ready for heading into Game 1 of the NBA Finals against Jokic and the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.

“He’s very unique,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Wednesday. “He doesn’t really have any noticeable weaknesses in terms of his size, his skill set. He’s one of one in the myriad of ways that he can impact the game and impact winning.”

In order to make the two-time MVP’s life on the floor more difficult, Heat star Jimmy Butler and his teammates know they are going to have to keep an eye on the big man everywhere he goes on the floor.

“Guarding him as a team with all five guys,” Butler said. “He does everything so well, and we’re going to have to be in the gaps, we’re going to have to gang rebound. We can’t have defensive lapses. We’re just going to have to get after it. I think at the end of the day, he’s a major key, as DJ Khaled would say, and we’re going to have to lock in.”

Heat center Bam Adebayo figures to get the majority of the time guarding Jokic. Heat big men Kevin Love and Cody Zeller didn’t play much at all at the end of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics, but Spoelstra said that matchups and minutes could unfold differently in this series. For his part, Adebayo reiterated that the key in guarding Jokic was making him take “tough shots.”

“Force him into tough shots, and live with the result,” Adebayo said. “That’s the biggest thing for me. I feel like this is one of those series where he becomes very dangerous when you let his teammates get involved, and he can make those incredible passes and end up with 12 assists.”

As the Heat prepare for Jokic, they do so with a business-like approach that has defined their postseason run. They sounded both confident and focused during media day on Wednesday and they have followed the tone that Butler continues to set for the group.

“I would like to say that I’m never rattled,” Butler said. “I’m very calm. I’m very consistent in everything that I do, whether it’s before the game, after the game, during the game, and I think when my guys look at me like that, they follow suit in every single way.

“I love that about them because they’re never shook. No matter what. We could be down, people can think that we’re out, and all of a sudden we’re right back in this thing and it’s because we do the same thing every day. We love being around each other. We want to see each other succeed. We really do enjoy when each other play well, and we’re going to continue to do that, never going to get rattled, and we’re going to see where we end up.”

Spoelstra echoed a similar tone while praising the culture that Nuggets coach Michael Malone and his staff have created around Jokic and their team.

“I don’t know why maybe the mainstream media have kind of slept on Denver,” Spoelstra said. “But when we saw them in the bubble, we thought, all right, this team is going to be doing basically what they’re doing this year, then up until now. We thought this would be a run for a long time. If Murray didn’t get hurt, they probably would have had a couple of Finals berths. That’s how great of a duo they are and a system Mike and his staff have built that really fits.

“I think, we all think they’re legit, and in some ways, it’s a mirror image series, not in terms of style, but teams that probably have been overlooked, underestimated, built a chip on their shoulder over that. It’s lined up to be a great competition.”

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Sevilla beat Roma in shootout for 7th UEL title

Sevilla beat AS Roma 4-1 on penalties on Wednesday to win the Europa League for a record-extending seventh time, handing Jose Mourinho his first defeat in six European finals.

Five months after scoring the winning penalty in the World Cup final for Argentina, Gonzalo Montiel converted the clinching spot kick to seal the shootout win after the match finished 1-1 following extra time in Budapest.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

“Sevilla is a great team, we knew that,” Mourinho said after the match. “They have the experience and good quality players that we don’t have. We played a great first half, Sevilla reacted in the second half. After that, it was balanced.

“Over the 120 minutes, we had the best chances to win. Then penalties are penalties, you score, you save them.”

Sevilla keeper Yassine Bounou, who made it to the semifinals of the 2022 World Cup with Morocco, saved spot kicks from Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibanez while Sevilla were flawless in their execution, scoring their first four.

“I have lived a lot of moments like this, and I understood that you have to be very calm to face these moments,” Bounou said. “My colleagues also gave me a lot of calm and security. It’s been a year of emotions with the World Cup and now this. I always said that I’m a club worker, ready to defend Sevilla. [Manager] Jose Luis Mendilibar trusted me and I had to repay that trust.”

Sevilla, the undisputed kings of the Europa League, have now won all seven of the finals they have played in the competition, and are well-versed in the drama of the occasion, having seen their opponents score first in the last four finals.

Paulo Dybala gave the Italians the lead from a counter-attack in the 35th minute but Sevilla then took control of the game and found the equaliser thanks to an own-goal by Mancini in the 55th minute.

The win means Sevilla, who have never lost a Europa League final, will compete in next season’s Champions League despite finishing outside the top four in the LaLiga.

Sevilla’s Erik Lamela, who played for Roma from 2011-13, said: “It was a very difficult match, against my former team. I love them very much, but football is like that. This is my first title, I’ve waited a lot and I’m so excited.

“Maybe it wasn’t our best match, but I think we deserved for the effort made this year. The team has never stopped.”

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this story.

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