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U.S. wrestlers banned from competition in Iran

Iran on Friday banned U.S. wrestlers from participating in the Freestyle World Cup competition this month in response to President Donald Trump's executive order forbidding visas for Iranians, the IRNA news agency reported.

>> Read more trending news

Iran foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told IRNA that a special committee reviewed the case and "eventually the visit by the U.S. freestyle wrestling team was opposed."

The decision is the first action taken by Iran in response to Trump's executive order banning visas for seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, The Associated Press reported. Iran said earlier this week that it would take retaliatory action.

The competition in Kermanshah is Feb. 16-17.

U.S. freestyle wrestlers have competed in Iran since 1998 after an absence of nearly 20 years. Since then, Americans have attended wrestling competitions hosted by Iran 15 times. Iranians have made 16 visits to the U.S. as guests of USA Wrestling since the 1990s.

Super Bowl 2017: Bargains on TV sets from Walmart, Best Buy, Target and hhgregg

An estimated 188 million will watch the New England Patriots take on the Atlanta Falcons Sunday in Super Bowl LI.

Each year the game is consistently the most watched broadcast on television, and this year, as many as 15 million of us are in the market for a new TV set to watch it on, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

>>For complete coverage of Super Bowl LI, click here 

According to the NRF, more than 43 percent of viewers say they are watching the game for the game, 24 percent say it’s the commercials that get them to watch, 15 percent just like hanging out with their friends for a fun afternoon, and 12 percent are watching for the halftime show. This year, Lady GaGa is performing at halftime.

It’s a good time to be in the market for a new set – the options on today’s flat screen TVs seem endless.

Here are a few deals from Walmart, Best Buy, Target and hhgregg  to consider if you want a new set before Sunday’s game.

 Walmart

Best Buy

Target

 hhgregg

Law enforcement: Beware of fake Super Bowl tickets

Every year, devoted fans desperate for a seat at the Super Bowl shell out big bucks for what turn out to be counterfeit tickets. Even if the tickets fans buy off-market are authentic, there’s a chance they could have been reported stolen or lost by the original buyers, rendering them useless.

>> Read more trending stories  

Even more people buy what they think are genuine NFL hats or jerseys but have really been swindled into purchasing fake stuff.

On Thursday morning, representatives from the NFL, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Houston Police Department, Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the Harris County Constable’s Office teamed up for a news conference warning consumers and would-be counterfeiters that a formidable force is on guard.

>>For complete coverage of Super Bowl LI, click here   

“Operation Team Player,” as the joint endeavor is called, has already resulted in the seizure of 260,000 sports-related items, worth an estimated $20 million, and there have been 56 arrests and 50 convictions, according to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement tip sheet released during the conference.

The NFL, as it does each year, has obtained a court order allowing the immediate seizure of fake tickets or merchandise, said NFL Vice President of Legal Affairs Dolores DiBella.

Mike Buchwald, senior counsel at National Football League, displayed several authentic Super Bowl tickets and detailed the many intricate features embedded to thwart counterfeiters – raised surfaces, hologram images and such. Criminals selling fakes are ever more sophisticated in creating copies, he said, and every year customers get hoodwinked.

“Every year, we see fans who arrive at the stadium on game day only to be turned away,” he said. “No matter how real the ticket may look, a fake ticket will not get you into the game.”

Photos: Celebs who support Falcons, Patriots

Manuary Steak Night

13th Annual “Freezin’ For A Reason” Polar Plunge 

WBAB invites you to take the Plunge with JOE ROCK and raise money for the athletes of the Special Olympics New York. Saturday, March 4thNorth Hempstead Beach Park in Port WashingtonRegistration: 10am-11:30amPLUNGE AT NOON Click here to join TEAM WBAB or start your own team! Help raise money for the athletes of Special Olympics New York by asking your friends, family, co-workers, etc. to support you in taking the PLUNGE!  Then, take a dip or slow crawl into the chilly waters of Hempstead Harbor.  Every Plunger that raises $125 receives an official Plunge sweatshirt. Raise more money and receive more great prizes! Want to help, but not take the plunge? CLICK HERE to donate and help Joe reach his fundraising goal. Special Olympics New York has 64,659 athletes training and competing year-round in 22 Olympics-style sports. Our athletes and their families or caregivers are NEVER CHARGED to participate! It costs $400 to support training and competition for one athlete for one sports season. Set your Plunge goal at $400 and you have sponsored an athlete for an entire season! For more details or for help signing up, call (631) 254-1465.

Super Bowl security: From protests to prostitution, authorities are ready

Fans headed to the Super Bowl should expect to see strict security measures and a flood of law enforcement personnel, but the measures they don’t see are just as important.

>> Read more trending stories 

“We hope you don’t see us this week,” Perrye K. Turner, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Houston division, said during a joint news conference with local and federal officials. “But have no doubt we are there. Protecting our city is a partnership.”

More than 40 agencies are coordinating on security, and officials from various agencies repeated that there’s “no known credible threat” looming as the game nears.

“All eyes around the world will be on this event, so we’ve got to make sure we’re prepared,” said Chip Fulghum, the Department of Homeland Security’s acting undersecretary for management. “We’re prepared. As Vince Lombardi said, if we work together, we will win, and that’s what we’re doing.”

>> For complete coverage of Super Bowl LI, click here   

Fans won’t be able to tailgate outside the stadium before the Super Bowl and should expect security measures that are probably familiar to those who attend NFL games. No book bags, briefcases, coolers or large purses will be allowed. Women can bring in small clutch bags about the size of a hand. Prepare to go through a metal detector and a security pat-down.

“Security is always our top priority. We look to balance that with minimal inconvenience to fans,” Fulghum said. “We have visible security and behind-the-scenes security as well.”

The Houston Police Department serves as the lead agency in coordinating security efforts. Chief Art Acevedo said he gives security preparation an A-minus, only because there’s always room for improvement. There have already have been some Super Bowl-related arrests: some petty theft cases, pickpocket, a case of public intoxication and a man who tried to get in without proper ticketing, which turned out to be a mental health issue.

“We’ve made six trademark counterfeiting arrests ... that led to the seizure of 10,000 items with a retail value of $500,00,” he said. “We’re not going to let people steal intellectual properties.”

His department is focused on the issue of human trafficking. Arrests made for solicitation have already freed three women who said they were forced into prostitution, he said.

The police department, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and federal authorities also are mindful of the large protests that have sprung up around the country in opposition to President Donald Trump’s recent executive order on immigration and refugee resettlement. With all eyes on Houston on Sunday, it’s a good bet that demonstrators might seek to capitalize on the prominent event to elevate their message.

Acevedo said his department has a good relationship with local activists and is used to handling large protest uprisings. He warned people bent on destruction who might seek to infiltrate community protests that they will be outnumbered by activists, who don’t want their message hijacked by a few rogue elements with mayhem in mind.

Former Washington, D.C., Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, who is now head of security for the National Football League, reminded fans to be vigilant, report anything suspicious and not to trust ticket scalpers.

“Buyer beware,” she said. “If you’re buying from a third party, you don’t know what you’re getting. Every year we have some very heartbroken fans.”

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