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Pacers Clip Hawks 101-85 to Even Series


Christopher Trotman/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Paul George was not going to let the Indiana Pacers continue to struggle.

George had 27 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists as the Pacers rallied to defeat the Atlanta Hawks 101-85 on Tuesday night in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series.

"That's why he was in the MVP conversation early," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "He always does those types of things, guarding the best perimeter player, rebounding the ball, deflecting the ball. His hands were all over the place. It makes him one of the most complete players in the game when he plays like he did tonight."

The Pacers trailed 38-27 during the second quarter and were down four at halftime.  They came out surging in the second half, outscoring Atlanta 31-13 in the third quarter to seize control of the game.

Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 19 points.  Game 3 will be played on Thursday night in Atlanta.  The Pacers have only two wins there since December 2006.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Ukraine Security Chief: At Least 130 Russian Officers Leading Efforts in Eastern Ukraine


Genya Savilov//AFP/Getty Images(KIEV, Ukraine) -- At least 130 members of the Russian intelligence service and military are leading uprising efforts in Eastern Ukraine, the director of Ukraine's national security service said Tuesday.

In a Google Hangout sponsored by the Atlantic Council, security official Valentyn Nalyvaichenko explained there were as many as 30 special troops or officers of Russia's intelligence service, the GRU, working in the Slaviansk region, plus another 100 in Donetsk.

"They are not alone," he added, saying that they recruited pro-Russian locals.

The information was provided through three GRU officers detained and questioned by Ukraine, and Nalyvaichenko says they have already identified "two main organizers" responsible for unrest in the region. A criminal investigation has been launched.

The security chief also confirmed reports that a military plane in Sloviansk was hit by gunfire. Addressing Ukraine's response to the crisis, he explained Kiev's best option to "calm down the situation" is to obtain more funding from the central government to provide "more support to maintain normal life" for local authorities, according to the Atlantic Council.

Nalyvaichenko also cited reliance on international civilian mediators from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to help persuade pro-Russian separatists to stand down.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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University of Central Florida Student Says Fraternity Rejected Him Based on Sexuality


iStock/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- The Greek system at the University of Central Florida is the subject of harsh scrutiny after a student claimed a fraternity rejected him because of his sexuality.

George Dumont, 19, said representatives of Beta Theta Pi made it clear he wasn't going to join because he is gay.

"It nearly broke me, to be honest," Dumont said. "...I've been through a very dark period where, you know, I probably wouldn't be here today if it weren't for a couple of really close friends."

The former UCF cheerleader took to social media to bring attention to his case, posting his story to YouTube. Meanwhile, the president of the 70-member chapter responded to the allegations, denying them and explaining that the same time Dumont was rejected, another gay student was initiated.

Mediation talks are planned between the parties involved to resolve the discrimination claim. University spokesperson Chad Binnette said the meetings will involve diversity experts, psychologists, and several department heads.

"The goal is to provide support for students who also many not know where they can turn for help if they feel like they're a victim or witness of bias," Binnette said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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IRS Awards Bonuses to Employees Who Didn't Pay Taxes


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Internal Revenue Service gave out $2.8 million in bonuses to workers with conduct issues, including those who didn't pay their federal taxes, a new report finds.

The announcement from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration explained that though the award program for IRS employees was in line with federal regulations, more than 1,100 people with "tax compliance problems" received more than $1 million in cash bonuses and more than 10,000 hours in time-off awards.

J. Russell George, Treasury inspector general, said the awards are desiged to reward the employees for a "job well done, and that is appropriate, because the IRS should encourage good performance." However, George acknowledged the conflict in giving bonuses to those who failed to pay their dues.

The audit was conducted under new federal guidance issued requiring agencies to reduce spending on their awards programs. It was also found that more than 2,800 employees with conduct issues resulting in disciplinary action received more than $2.8 million in awards and extra time off.

The report recommends that the IRS Human Capital Officer looks toward implementing a policy that requires management to consider such issues before presenting bonuses. As a result, the agency plans to conduct a study by the end of June to put a plan in motion.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Watch Emma Stone Make Andrew Garfield Eat His Words About What's Feminine


Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for Sony Pictures(NEW YORK) -- Emma Stone certainly keeps Andrew Garfield on his toes.

During a recent Q&A about their new film The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Stone challenged her real-life boyfriend when he called sewing "feminine."

Asked by a child how Spider-Man got his costume, Garfield, 30, replied that he made it after taking sewing and needlepoint classes.

"It's kind of a feminine thing to do," he added, "but he really kind of made a very masculine costume."

Stone, 25, piped up, asking, "It's feminine, how?" -- prompting Garfield to respond, "It's amazing how you took that as an insult."

However, he immediately began to backpedal, and even threw in a personal story about his family.

"I would say that femininity is about more delicacy and precision and detail work and craftsmanship — like my mother, she’s an amazing craftsman. She in fact made my first Spider-Man costume when I was three. So I use it as a compliment. To compliment the feminine not just in women but in men as well. We all have feminine in us, young men."



Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Bill Ackman’s Secret Deal for Herbalife Whistleblower


Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Rubenstein Communications(NEW YORK) -- In his year-long campaign against the embattled Herbalife company, Wall Street hedge fund manager Bill Ackman secretly promised a disgruntled former company executive as much as $3.6 million over 10 years if he lost his job after providing information to government investigators and the media.

Ackman’s firm so far has paid the whistleblower $80,000 under the arrangement, according to the former Herbalife executive’s lawyer.

“It was the right thing to do,” Ackman told ABC News.

The hedge fund run by the prominent Wall Street investor, known for his “short” positions, stands to make $1 billion if the price of Herbalife’s stock collapses as a result of his allegations the company is a fraud, a charge the company strongly denies.

The agreement between Ackman and the former executive, Giovanni Bohorquez, was signed in June 2013 but required both sides to keep it confidential.

Two months later, the New York Times published a critical article about an alleged problem in 2011 at an Herbalife manufacturing plant based on internal documents provided by a person described only as a “former employee, who was granted anonymity out of fear of retribution from the company.” The article said the former employee’s legal bills were being paid by Ackman.

Herbalife says the former employee is Bohorquez and that any alleged manufacturing problems were quickly and safely resolved.

In December, after extensive discussions with his attorney, Bohorquez agreed to be interviewed on camera by ABC News for a report about his experience inside the Herbalife executive offices.

During the on-camera interview, which Ackman’s public relations team helped to arrange and which Bohorquez’s attorney attended, Bohorquez flatly denied he was being paid anything by Ackman or receiving any benefit other than his travel expenses and lawyers’ fees and legal costs.

“I’m not getting a benefit,” he said.

Asked last week why he did not disclose the additional arrangement with Ackman during the interview, Bohorquez said his answers were truthful because he had not invoked the provisions at the time and so had not yet collected any money.

“I didn’t tell you because I was not looking at using it,” he said.

His lawyer, Stephen D. Alexander, said ABC News did not ask “the right questions” and should have assumed there was more to the indemnification arrangement for Ackman to cover legal costs than Bohorquez said.

“We described the fact that he was indemnified for litigation,” Alexander said, but added, “We never told you, I admit, about the terms of the indemnification agreement.”

Bohorquez, who left Herbalife in 2011, said he lost his new job at a chain of laundromats before the ABC News interview due to the stress of being a whistleblower. He said he began collecting the $20,000 monthly payments under his arrangement with Ackman a few weeks after the ABC News interview because his wife had also lost her job.

“This opportunity to do justice to the things that I saw came up, and Pershing Square [Ackman's hedge fund] indemnified me from what would happen if I were to lose my job,” Bohorquez said.

Ackman said he thought Bohorquez and his lawyer had disclosed the deal.

“He should disclose it, absolutely. Absolutely,” said Ackman.

But Ackman’s own public relations team also failed to reveal the secret arrangement prior to the interview.

Bohorquez’s lawyer, Alexander, finally revealed the secret arrangement to ABC News in March after a New York Times story raised questions about financial ties between Ackman and others speaking publicly against Herbalife.

Ackman said he agreed to the deal after Bohorquez balked at going public because he feared his disclosures could make it difficult for him to find work at an executive level.

“Giovanni could not afford to take the company on. We thought his story was important,” Ackman told ABC News. “Being a whistleblower is a very dangerous thing to do if you want to get a job."

Bohorquez is one of the few insiders to ever talk critically about Herbalife.

Under the terms of the generous deal, a copy of which was provided by Ackman, Bohorquez was entitled to receive as much as $250,000 a year for 10 years if he lost his then-current job at a national chain of laundromats as a result of his “disclosures” to the media or the government.

The contract provides a five-percent raise every year, and $500,000 more if he loses out on possible public offerings from his then-employer. If he finds a new job that pays him less than $250,000 a year, Pershing will make up the difference. Taken together, the total value to Bohorquez over 10 years could be as much $3.61 million.

The deal requires Bohorquez to actively look for work and to be truthful in all of his statements about Herbalife to the media and government.

“You should judge for yourself whether Giovanni is an honest man or not,” Ackman said. “I think Giovanni will be viewed as a hero.”

Ackman acknowledges spending more than $20 million in a lobbying and media campaign against Herbalife.

“I will pursue Herbalife to the end of the earth,” he told ABC News.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Chef Symon’s Seven Tips to Help You Start Gardening this Earth Day


ABC/ Craig Sjodin(NEW YORK) -- You know Chef Michael Symon as the co-host of ABC’s The Chew. But what you may not know on this Earth Day is that Symon comes from a long line of gardeners.

“My grandfather had his own garden, my father had his own garden, and I’ve had my own garden for over 20 years,” Symon said in an interview with ABC News Radio.

“There’s something so soothing about digging in the dirt,” he said. “With the stress we all have in our day-to-day lives, there’s nothing better to me than going out in the morning with a cup of coffee and putzin’ around in my garden.”

Symon’s garden includes multiple varieties of heirloom tomatoes and chilies, eggplants and “every herb under the sun that you could fathom.”

Here are seven tips from Chef Symon that will have you gardening -- and eating! -- in no time:

Take a cue from the sun.
“You always need sun. The best sun is morning sun,” he said. “So when you’re planning on where to put your garden in your yard, stand outside and look where you’re getting the best morning sun. And that’s a very good place to start.”

Mix it up!
Never plant something in the same place two years in a row, Symon said. “Tomatoes take certain nutrients out of the soil that peppers may not, so you want to keep moving things around your garden. There are even parts of my garden that I leave dormant for a year or two to kind of rejuvenate the soil.”

Space ‘em out.
“Plants are like people. If you crowd them a little bit and they actually touch as they’re growing, they tend to grow better. You know, they’re happier. You need less water. You need less fertilizer.  And you could grow more in a compact space.”

Consider composting.
“We always keep a big compost at our house,” Symon said. “We’re using coffee grounds” and other things to create and maintain healthy soil.

Get to know Mother Nature.
“Understand what bugs eliminate other bugs,” he said. For instance, “if you have a lot of slugs (in your garden), let ladybugs in. They’re typically going to eliminate a good amount of those. Eliminate certain pests by adding other pests.”

Get the kids involved.
“It’ll make them less picky eaters because they’ll always want to try to cook things that they’ve grown.”

Use your taste buds.
“Things that taste good together typically grow well together,” Symon said. “Next to my tomatoes will be basil or peppers or eggplant.”

NOTE: some responses have been edited for brevity.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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