DC5m United States mix in english 471 articles, created at 2016-11-30 12:41


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Mitt Romney says conversation with Trump "enlightening," "interesting," "engaging" (8.99/9)

Mitt Romney had only words of effusive praise for President-elect Donald Trump after dinner with him in New York Tuesday.
“These discussions I’ve had with him have been enlightening, and interesting, and engaging,” the 2012 GOP nominee told reporters outside the Jean Georges restaurant Nougatine, a restaurant in the Trump hotel at Central Park West. “I had a wonderful evening with President-elect Trump.”
President-elect Trump hasn't given any hints as to who he may pick for Secretary of State, but one of his key advisers is speaking up. According...
Admitting that Mr. Trump had succeeded in doing something he had been “unsuccessful in,” Romney said, “He won the general election and he continues with a message of inclusion and bringing people together and his vision is something which obviously connected with the American people in a very powerful way.”
Romney also said he was “impressed” by the transition effort and said of the Cabinet members announced so far that they “are solid, effective, capable people.” Wilbur Ross is expected to be named commerce secretary, and earlier Tuesday, the transition team announced Elaine Chao will be transportation secretary and Rep. Tom Price will be health and human services secretary. Romney knows Price and said they had talked about health care. “What an expert and solid thinker in that arena and others,” Romney said of the Georgia congressman.
“Jeff Sessions is someone who I knew through my campaigns, helped me very early on, he has a distinguished record in the Senate,” Romney said of the attorney general nominee.
Well-known faces seen coming and going from Trump Tower in NYC since Donald Trump won the election
Romney did not acknowledge the things he has said about Mr. Trump in the past, that he has called him a “phony” and a “fraud,” a “con man,” a “fake.” In a speech in March, aimed solely at derailing Mr. Trump’s presidential candidacy, Romney said that his “promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.”
And he also mocked Mr. Trump on foreign policy.
“Now, Donald Trump tells us that he is very, very smart,” Romney said. “I’m afraid that when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart.”
Mr. Trump, Reince Priebus and Romney ate well -- appetizers included young garlic soup, frog legs, and diver scallops. All three had red meat -- prime sirloin for Priebus and Mr. Trump and lamb chops for Romney. All three had chocolate cake.
Romney seemed to suggest that he had undergone a post-election conversion about the president-elect. Mr. Trump’s victory speech and those people he’s made a part of his transition, Romney said -- “all of those things combined give me increasing hope that President-elect Trump is the very man who can lead us to that better future.”

Romeny Says He Has ‘Increasing Hope’ About Trump
Trump can lead US to a better future: Romney
Mitt Romney lavishes praise on President-elect Trump, whom he once called 'fraud'
'Wonderful evening': Mitt Romney full of praise after dinner with Trump – video
Raw: Trump, Mitt Romney Dine in Manhattan
Trump, Romney meet for second time after election
Mitt Romney, potential US secretary of state, hails Donald Trump after dinner
The Latest: Romney says he has 'increasing hope' about Trump


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Hunt begins for cause of crash that wipes out Brazilian team (7.99/9)

LA UNION, Colombia (AP) — Colombia's worst air crash in two decades snuffed out a storybook run by a Brazilian soccer team, and authorities are digging in trying to figure out why a chartered jetliner crashed in the Andes, killing...

Maradona, Messi among those mourning Brazilian team killed in Colombia crash
Colombia plane crash: 71 dead on Brazil soccer team's charter flight
Soccer players killed in plane crash were from Brazilian team dubbed 'South America's Cinderella'
Chapecoense plane crash: victims to be honoured with mass wake at stadium
Chapecoense Team Plane Crash Kills Most Soccer Players On Board
Football mourns as plane crash kills Brazilian players
Brazilian Soccer Team Plane Was ‘Doomed’, Expert Says
Brazilian soccer team’s plane crashes in Colombia; 71 dead


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Duke comes together in second half, beats Michigan State 78-69 in ACC/Big 10 Challenge :: (7.79/9)

Posted 12:58 a.m. today Updated 1:14 a.m. today
Jefferson: We have this inner toughness
Allen: We kept a foot on the gas
By Marilyn Payne
Duke responded to coach Mike Krzyzewski's charge to play smarter and break away in the second half Tuesday night and beat Michigan State 78-69 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge matchup.
The No. 5 Blue Devils (7-1) and the Spartans (4-4) were tied nine times, including a 35-35 halftime score, before Krzyzewski's six-man rotation broke it loose in the second 20 minutes with an 11-0 run.
"During that stretch, it gave us a double digit lead and we were able to protect it," the coach said. "It was led by our freshman, that was the key part of the game. "
Frank Jackson's 11 points were fourth most of the six men who played for Duke, but they helped put the game away.
"We were playing hard but we weren't playing smart," Amile Jefferson said of the first half. "We didn't have any connecting plays. In that second half, we went to Frank three times in a row and we scored all three times. "
"When we get going and put together three or four plays like that it starts to build us up. "
With 13:38 left in the second half, Grayson Allen (24 points) broke a 48-48 tie with a three-point play. Michigan State turned the ball over on the other end and fouled, giving Duke a reset then going to the lone Duke freshman on the court paid dividends.
The rookie's floater his team the largest lead of the game to that point, 53-48. Another Spartan turnover and Jackson layup caused the visitor to call timeout.
Luke Kennard (20 points) made it a 6-0 run after the pause and Allen capped the 11-0 run he started a pair of points from the charity stripe, giving Duke a 59-48 lead.
"We did a really good job of not letting up when they called a timeout," Allen said. "We kept our foot on the gas. We kept that lead for the rest of the game. "
"I look to play aggressive and I think we're learning to play together better," Jackson said. "We're connected as a team out there. Little sparks are what we need. "
Defensively, Krzyzewski got what he wanted from his team before the scoring spurt started.
"It showed up on the defensive end right at the start of that second half," Allen said. "They got a lot of layups in the first half and we came out and strung together some stops in the second half, starting with Matt (Jones) getting stops and forcing some turnovers. "
Spartans head coach Tom Izzo acknowledges his teams turnover habit, and points out that all of the 18 weren't even forced lost possessions, but the Devils defense did show up.
Duke cashed in on the freebies, scoring 19 points of freebies. The six-man squad's fight was also evident in its 16 second chance points.
"It shows the effort we take to compete and ultimately win," Jackson said.
Krzyzewski felt the first half showed which team had practiced -- MSU -- and which hadn't -- his own. Allen has not practiced, he said, and the team he expected to edure physical, tough five-on-five regular practices can barely fill one full five-man practice squad.
But, "they don't give up the ship, the white flag doesn't come up," he said after the starters-plus-one win. Krzyzewski says freshman Jayson Tatum had a good workout Tuesday and is close to where he needs to be to return. K also calls attention to Harry Giles' ability in pregame warmups with his team. Until the guys are healthy though, there is full faith in his few, fully healthy experienced players.
"His confidence in us never stops," Allen said. "Down the stretch, he knows me, Matt and Amile have played for him for a while and Luke's in his second season. He has that confidence in us to lock down the game.
"We can bring it home. "

Photo Gallery: Duke 78, Michigan State 69 | 11.29.16
Undermanned Blue Devils handle Michigan State 78-69
Duke blows past Michigan State in second half
Roles reverse, but Duke retains upper hand on Michigan State – DeCock
Allen leads No. 5 Duke past Michigan State 78-69
Allen leads No. 5 Duke past Michigan State 78-69 ::
Michigan State falls apart in second half, falls to Duke, 78-69
Michigan State stumbles at Duke after second-half blitz, falls to 4-4


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Fidel Castro, who defied US for 50 years, dies at 90 in Cuba (6.44/9)

HAVANA (AP) — Fidel Castro, who led his bearded rebels to victorious revolution in 1959, embraced Soviet-style communism and defied the power of 10 U. S. presidents during his half-century of rule in Cuba, has died at age 90.
With a shaking voice, President Raul Castro said on state television that his older brother died at 10:29 p.m. Friday. He ended the announcement by shouting the revolutionary slogan: “Toward victory, always!”
Castro’s reign over the island nation 90 miles (145 kilometers) from Florida was marked by the U. S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Castro, who outlasted a crippling U. S. trade embargo as well as dozens, possibly hundreds, of assassination plots, died 10 years after a life-threatening illness led him to turn over power to his brother.
Castro overcame imprisonment at the hands of dictator Fulgencio Batista, exile in Mexico and a disastrous start to his rebellion before triumphantly riding into Havana in January 1959 to become, at age 32, the youngest leader in Latin America. For decades he was a source of inspiration and support to revolutionaries from Latin America to Africa, even as Cubans who fled to exile loathed him with equal measure.
His commitment to socialism was unwavering, though his power finally began to fade in mid-2006 when a gastrointestinal ailment forced him to hand over the presidency to Raul in 2008, provisionally at first and then permanently. Castro’s defiant image lingered long after he gave up his trademark Cohiba cigars for health reasons and his tall frame grew stooped.
“Socialism or death” remained Castro’s rallying cry even as Western-style democracy swept the globe and other communist regimes in China and Vietnam embraced capitalism, leaving this island of 11 million people an economically crippled Marxist curiosity.
He survived long enough to see his brother negotiate an opening with U. S. President Barack Obama on Dec. 17, 2014, when Washington and Havana announced they would move to restore diplomatic ties for the first time since they were severed in 1961. He cautiously blessed the historic deal with his lifelong enemy in a letter published after a monthlong silence. Obama made a historic visit to Havana in March 2016.
Raul has announced plans to retire as president when his current term ends on Feb. 24, 2018. Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, a relatively younger leader, is seen as a possible successor, although Raul has said he would stay on as head of the Communist Party.
In the Cuban capital, flags flew at half-staff at public buildings and some foreign embassies across the city Saturday. By midday, the U. S. Embassy’s flag had not been lowered.
Havana’s 23rd Street commercial center bustled with shoppers toting plastic bags and youngsters checking the internet on their smartphones like a normal weekend afternoon. But there was a notable lack of amplified music in this usually sonorous capital.
Official newspapers were published with only black ink instead of the usual bright red or blue mastheads.
Carlos Rodriguez, 15, was sitting in Havana’s Miramar neighborhood when he heard that Fidel Castro had died.
“Fidel? Fidel?” he said, slapping his head in shock. “That’s not what I was expecting. One always thought that he would last forever. It doesn’t seem true.”
“It’s a tragedy,” said 22-year-old nurse Dayan Montalvo. “We all grew up with him. I feel really hurt by the news that we just heard.”
But the news cheered the community of Cuban exiles in Florida who had fled Castro’s government. Thousands gathered in the streets in Miami’s Little Havana to whoop, wave Cuban flags, and bang on pots with spoons. Cars honked horns, and police blocked off streets.
Alex Ferran, 21, headed toward the gathering in front of exile hangout Cafe Versailles with three friends early Saturday morning after his mother and grandmother called him with the news. He was beside himself with excitement.
“We’re here to celebrate. This is history in the making,” Ferran said. “This is insane, dude. Someone died and there’s a parade. This could only happen here.”
Obama said that the United States extended “a hand of friendship to the Cuban people” and that “history will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him.”
Obama said that in the coming days, Cubans “will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner” in America.
President-elect Donald Trump called Castro “a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades.” He said he hoped the death would clear the way “toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.”
He said his administration will do all it can to help Cubans “begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty.”
Fidel Castro Ruz was born Aug. 13, 1926, in eastern Cuba’s sugar country, where his Spanish immigrant father first worked recruiting labor for U. S. sugar companies and later built up a prosperous plantation of his own.
Castro attended Jesuit schools and then the University of Havana, where he received law and social science degrees. His life as a rebel began in 1953 with a reckless attack on the Moncada military barracks in the eastern city of Santiago. Most of his comrades were killed, and Fidel and his brother Raul went to prison.
Fidel turned his trial defense into a manifesto that he smuggled out of jail, famously declaring, “History will absolve me.”
Freed under a pardon, Castro fled to Mexico and organized a rebel band that returned in 1956, sailing across the Gulf of Mexico to Cuba on a yacht named Granma. After losing most of his group in a bungled landing, he rallied support in Cuba’s eastern Sierra Maestra mountains.
Three years later, tens of thousands spilled into the streets of Havana to celebrate Batista’s downfall and catch a glimpse of Castro as his rebel caravan arrived in the capital on Jan. 8, 1959.
The U. S. was among the first to formally recognize his government, cautiously trusting Castro’s early assurances he merely wanted to restore democracy, not install socialism.
Within months, Castro was imposing radical economic reforms. Members of the old government went before summary courts, and at least 582 were shot by firing squads over two years. Independent newspapers were closed and in the early years, homosexuals were herded into camps for “re-education.”
In 1964, Castro acknowledged holding 15,000 political prisoners. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans fled, including Castro’s daughter Alina Fernandez Revuelta and his younger sister Juana.
Still, the revolution thrilled millions in Cuba and across Latin America who saw it as an example of how the seemingly arrogant Yankees could be defied. And many on the island were happy to see the seizure of property of the landed class, the expulsion of American gangsters and the closure of their casinos.
Castro’s speeches, lasting up to six hours, became the soundtrack of Cuban life and his 269-minute speech to the U. N. General Assembly in 1960 set the world body’s record for length that still stood more than five decades later.
As Castro moved into the Soviet bloc, Washington began working to oust him, cutting U. S. purchases of sugar, the island’s economic mainstay. Castro, in turn, confiscated $1 billion in U. S. assets.
The American government imposed a trade embargo, banning virtually all U. S. exports to the island except for food and medicine, and it severed diplomatic ties on Jan. 3, 1961.
On April 16 of that year, Castro declared his revolution to be socialist, and the next day, about 1,400 Cuban exiles stormed the beach at the Bay of Pigs on Cuba’s south coast. But the CIA-backed invasion failed.
The debacle forced the U. S. to give up on the idea of invading Cuba, but that didn’t stop Washington and Castro’s exiled enemies from trying to do him in. By Cuban count, he was the target of more than 630 assassination plots by militant Cuban exiles or the U. S. government.
The biggest crisis of the Cold War between Washington and Moscow exploded on Oct. 22, 1962, when President John F. Kennedy announced there were Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba and imposed a naval blockade of the island. Humankind held its breath, and after a tense week of diplomacy, Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev removed them. Never had the world felt so close to nuclear war.
Castro cobbled revolutionary groups together into the new Cuban Communist Party, with him as first secretary. Labor unions lost the right to strike. The Catholic Church and other religious institutions were harassed. Neighborhood “revolutionary defense committees” kept an eye on everyone.
Castro exported revolution to Latin American countries in the 1960s, and dispatched Cuban troops to Africa to fight Western-backed regimes in the 1970s. Over the decades, he sent Cuban doctors abroad to tend to the poor, and gave sanctuary to fugitive Black Panther leaders from the U. S.
But the collapse of the Soviet bloc ended billions in preferential trade and subsidies for Cuba, sending its economy into a tailspin. Castro briefly experimented with an opening to foreign capitalists and limited private enterprise.
As the end of the Cold War eased global tensions, many Latin American and European countries re-established relations with Cuba. In January 1998, Pope John Paul II visited a nation that had been officially atheist until the early 1990s.
Aided by a tourism boom, the economy slowly recovered and Castro steadily reasserted government control, stifling much of the limited free enterprise tolerated during harder times.
As flamboyant as he was in public, Castro tried to lead a discreet private life. He and his first wife, Mirta Diaz Balart, had one son before divorcing in 1956. Then, for more than four decades, Castro had a relationship with Dalia Soto del Valle. They had five sons together and were said to have married quietly in 1980.
By the time Castro resigned 49 years after his triumphant arrival in Havana, he was the world’s longest ruling head of government, aside from monarchs.
In retirement, Castro voiced unwavering support as Raul slowly but deliberately enacted sweeping changes to the Marxist system he had built.
His longevity allowed the younger brother to consolidate control, perhaps lengthening the revolution well past both men’s lives.
“I’ll be 90 years old soon,” Fidel Castro said at an April 2016 Communist Party congress where he made his most extensive public appearance in years. “Soon I’ll be like all the others. The time will come for all of us, but the ideas of the Cuban Communists will remain as proof that on this planet, if one works with fervor and dignity, they can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need and that need to be fought for without ever giving up.”
Cuba’s government announced that Castro’s ashes would be interred on Dec. 4 in the eastern city of Santiago that was a birthplace of his revolution. That will follow more than a week of honors, including a nearly nationwide caravan retracing, in reverse, his tour from Santiago to Havana with the triumph of the revolution in 1959.
Associated Press writer Anita Snow in Mexico City and AP news researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.
Michael Weissenstein on Twitter:
Peter Orsi on Twitter: at
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cuba returning Castro's ashes to birthplace of the Revolution
After Castro's death, attention turns to Cuba's heir apparent
Aleppo, Colombia, Fidel Castro: Your Wednesday Briefing
World leaders bid farewell to Fidel Castro
World leaders bid farewell to Cuba’s Fidel Castro
Cuba’s Fidel Castro Eulogized at Rally in Havana


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Carrier says it has deal with Trump to keep jobs in Indiana (6.36/9)

Air conditioning company Carrier Corp. says it has reached a deal with President-elect Donald Trump to keep nearly 1,000 jobs in Indiana. Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence plan to travel to the state Thursday to unveil the agreement alongside company officials.
Trump confirmed the meeting on Twitter late Tuesday, promising a "Great deal for workers! "
Trump spent much of his campaign pledging to keep companies like Carrier from moving jobs overseas. His focus on manufacturing jobs contributed to his unexpected appeal with working-class voters in states like Michigan, which has long voted for Democrats in presidential elections.
The details of the agreement were unclear. Carrier tweeted that the company was "pleased to have reached a deal" with Trump and Pence to keep the jobs in Indianapolis.
A transition official confirmed that the president-elect and Pence, who is ending his tenure as Indiana governor, would appear with Carrier officials Thursday. The official insisted on anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the trip ahead of an official announcement.
Trump said last week that he was "making progress" on trying to get Carrier to stay in Indiana.
In February, Carrier said it would shutter its Indianapolis plant employing 1,400 workers and move its manufacturing to Mexico. The plant's workers would have been laid off over three years starting in 2017.
United Technologies Electronic Controls also announced then that it planned to move its Huntington manufacturing operations to a new plant in Mexico, costing the northeastern Indiana city 700 jobs by 2018. Those workers make microprocessor-based controls for the HVAC and refrigeration industries.
Carrier and UTEC are both units of Hartford, Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp. — which also owns Pratt & Whitney, a big supplier of fighter jet engines that relies in part on U. S. military contracts.
In a September debate against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Trump railed against Carrier's plans.
"So many hundreds and hundreds of companies are doing this," Trump said. "We have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us. We have to stop our companies from leaving the United States. "
Carrier wasn't the only company Trump assailed during the campaign. He pledged to give up Oreos after Nabisco's parent, Mondelez International, said it would replace nine production lines in Chicago with four in Mexico. He criticized Ford after the company said it planned to invest $2.5 billion in engine and transmission plants in Mexico.
Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, which represents Carrier workers, said of Tuesday's news: "I'm optimistic, but I don't know what the situation is. I guess it's a good sign. ... You would think they would keep us in the loop. But we know nothing. "
The event Thursday in Indiana will be a rare public appearance for Trump, who has spent nearly his entire tenure as president-elect huddled with advisers and meeting with possible Cabinet secretaries. He plans to make other stops later this week as part of what advisers have billed as a "thank you" tour for voters who backed him in the presidential campaign.

Trump, Pence save nearly 1,000 jobs from moving to Mexico
Trump to announce Carrier plant will stay in U.S. Contact WND
Make America Great Again: Donald Trump reaches deal to keep jobs from going to Mexico
Trump's Carrier deal draws hugely divided reactions
Trump, Carrier to announce deal to keep 1,000 jobs in Indiana
AMERICA BECOMING GREAT AGAIN: Trump Closes Deal To Keep Carrier Air Conditioning Plant In U.S.
Carrier says it has struck a deal with Trump to keep nearly 1,000 jobs in Indiana


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Soccer crash survivors undergo operations in Colombia, probe begins (5.63/9)

LA UNION : Doctors treated traumatized survivors and an investigation was to get underway on Wednesday into an air crash that killed 71 people and wiped out Brazil ’s Chapecoense soccer team en route to a cup final in Colombia.

Colombia plane crash: 71 dead on Brazil soccer team's charter flight
Chapecoense Team Plane Crash Kills Most Soccer Players On Board
Chapecoense plane crash: victims to be honoured with mass wake at stadium
crash survivors undergo operations in Colombia, probe begins
Brazilian soccer team’s plane crashes in Colombia; 71 dead
Brazilian soccer team survivor posts on Instagram before plane crash


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Thousands of Cubans Honor Fidel Castro in a Rally on Revolution Plaza (5.49/9)

(HAVANA) — Regional leaders and tens of thousands of Cubans jammed the Plaza of the Revolution on Tuesday night, celebrating Fidel Castro on the spot where he delivered fiery speeches to mammoth crowds in the years after he seized power.

[WATCH] Cubans mourn death of former leader Fidel Castro
Castro's death is bittersweet for nostalgic Cuban exiles
Who’s Who of Anti-American Elite to Attend Dictator Fidel Castro’s Funeral
ANC leaders to attend memorial services for Castro
World leaders honour Fidel Castro at Havana rally
Cuba’s Fidel Castro Eulogized at Rally in Havana
Raul Castro, regional leaders honor Fidel Castro at rally


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In an abrupt about-face, Romney emerges from dinner with Trump full of frog legs and... (4.51/9)

They talked for more than two hours, they laughed, they munched on carefully prepared frog legs, and afterward, Mitt Romney, once one of Donald Trump's harshest critics, emerged a changed man.

'Wonderful evening': Mitt Romney full of praise after dinner with Trump – video
Romney emerges from dinner with Trump full of frog legs and high praise
Mitt Romney, potential US secretary of state, hails Donald Trump after dinner
Romney, potential U.S. secretary of state, hails Trump after dinner
After slamming Trump in campaign, Romney praises him after dinner


 9 /471 

Hillary Clinton makes surprise appearance at UNICEF gala with Katy Perry (4.32/9)

Hillary Clinton received a standing ovation when she made a surprise appearance at the UNICEF Snowflake Ball in New York City to present her avid supporter Katy Perry with a humanitarian award. Clinton returned to the spotlight after losing the recent election to Donald Trump by giving Perry the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award for her charitable efforts with the organization on Tuesday night. Her appearance at the UNICEF event was a surprise, and Clinton got a sustained standing ovation from the cheering crowd. Scroll down for video Perry burst into tears when Clinton surprised her on stage. Clinton described Perry as someone who has 'the spirit and the energy and the compassion that Audrey Hepburn brought to her work from UNICEF.' She added that Perry had the most Twitter followers, then jokingly added that she 'might have some competition' - an apparent reference to the ever-tweeting president-elect. She described Perry as someone who has 'the spirit and the energy and the compassion that Audrey Hepburn brought to her work from UNICEF. 'We need champions like Katy.' Perry was a staunch and outspoken supporter of Clinton during the presidential race and campaigned for her across the country. In her acceptance speech, Perry praised Clinton for helping use her voice for more than just her hits. 'Hillary has lit that voice inside of me, and that light will never go out!' she shouted. 'It will get brighter and brighter and brighter. Thank you, Hillary. You motivate me and so many millions of people who appreciate you for your incredible work,' Perry said as the crowd gave Clinton another ovation. Clinton has made only one other public appearance at an event since conceding the race to Trump. The Snowflake Ball celebrates UNICEF's lifesaving work for children around the world and has raised $27 million over the past 11 years. 'Truly my work has just begun, and this award is a starting line, not a finish line,' Perry said in her acceptance speech.

Hillary Clinton makes surprise appearance at UNICEF gala
Hillary Clinton Surprises Katy Perry at UNICEF Gala
With no cabinet to build, Hillary Clinton appears with Katy Perry
Hillary Clinton makes surprise appearance at UNICEF Snowflake Ball to present award to Katy Perry


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Cirque Du Soleil Technician Killed During Rehearsal Accident (4.30/9)

A technician working a rehearsal for Cirque du Soleil LUZIA was struck by a lift and later died, the company and police said late Tuesday night.
San Francisco Police initially responded to the accident at 6:43 p.m. in the city's Mission Bay neighborhood.
"The employee was transported to the hospital with life threatening injuries," police said in a statement, adding that investigators would be on scene to determine the cause of the accident.
"It is with immense sadness that we report a fatal accident that occurred on November 29, during the pre-set of the show LUZIA in San Francisco," Cirque du Soleil said in a statement. "One of our employees, a technician on the show, was struck by a lift and passed away from his injuries. "
The company declined to release the individual's name. Tuesday's 8 p.m. show was cancelled.

Accident prompts cancellation of Cirque Du Soliel's Luzia in San Francisco
Cirque du Soleil "Luzia" employee dies in San Francisco
Sources say Cirque Du Soleil technician died in accident before Luzia show in San Francisco
Cirque du Soleil “Luzia” employee dies in San Francisco
Cirque du Soleil show canceled in SF after industrial accident


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Wisconsin judge rejects Jill Stein's request for recount by hand (4.26/9)

A Wisconsin judge has refused to order local officials to conduct the state’s presidential recount by hand.
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein requested the recount last week. She alleged — without evidence — that the state’s voting equipment may have been hacked.
The state Elections Commission has ordered the recount to begin Thursday, but it rejected Stein’s request that county clerks conduct the recount entirely by hand. Stein filed a lawsuit seeking an order for a statewide hand recount.
Stein’s attorneys argued during a hearing Tuesday evening that the best way to determine if a cyberattack occurred is to check ballots by hand against electronic tabulations from Election Day. State lawyers countered there’s no evidence to suggest any attack took place.
Dane County Circuit Judge Valerie Bailey-Rihn refused to issue the order, saying Stein’s team failed to show any mistakes or irregularities that would bring a machine recount into question.

Wisconsin judge refuses to order recount of state's presidential vote by hand
Court hearing set to consider Pa. vote recount
Judge lets Wisconsin officials decide how to perform presidential vote recount
Wisconsin judge rejects election hand count
Jill Stein wires $3.5 million for Wisconsin recount, as error in cost estimate revealed


 12 /471 

San Francisco theater evacuated, suspected gunman detained (4.22/9)

San Francisco police says a man is in custody and a handgun has been recovered from inside a movie theater that was evacuated after officials received reports of a possible gunman. No injuries were reported.
San Francisco Police spokeswoman Officer Grace Gatpandan says authorities received a 911 call Tuesday night of a person possibly armed with a handgun inside a movie theater at the Metreon shopping center.
She says officers responded to the shopping center in downtown San Francisco and evacuated one of the theaters "in an abundance of caution. "
Gatpandan says the investigation is ongoing and that people should avoid the area of Mission and 4th Streets.
Witness Jeff Wincek tells the San Francisco Chronicle that though the theater was dark, he saw the glint of a gun barrel as the man waved the handgun. He says the man stayed seated while others ran out of the theater.

Handgun recovered from Metreon in SF, 1 in custody, no injuries
Cirque du Soleil "Luzia" employee dies in San Francisco
Cirque du Soleil “Luzia” employee dies in San Francisco
San Francisco Theater Evacuated, Suspected Gunman Detained


 13 /471 

Police: Thief stole 86 lb. bucket of gold flakes worth $1.6M (4.18/9)

Police in New York City are looking for a quick-thinking thief who stole an 86-pound bucket of gold flakes worth nearly $1.6 million off an armored truck in Manhattan ...

Police: Thief Stole 86 Lb. Bucket of Gold Flakes Worth $1.6M
Thief stole 86 lb. bucket of gold flakes worth $1.6M
No Rainbow, but Thief Finds a Bucket of Gold on West 48th Street
Bucket of gold flakes valued at $1.6 million stolen from truck


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Official: Blazing Dormitory's Fire Door Was Probably Locked (3.43/9)

An official says a fire exit at a dormitory for girls that caught fire in southern Turkey , killing 12 people, was most probably locked.
The fire blazed through the three-story dormitory housing middle school students in the town of Aladag, in Adana province, late on Tuesday, leaving 11 students and a teacher dead. The fire, believed to be caused by an electrical fault, also injured 2.
The state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Adana Mayor Huseyin Sozlu as saying on Wednesday that either the fire door was locked or that the panicked students were unable to open it.
He added: "Most probably it was locked. "
Authorities, meanwhile, imposed a temporary media blackout that restricts coverage of the fire, citing public order concerns and possible impediments to the investigation.

Official: blazing dormitory’s fire door was probably locked
Fire at a dormitory for girls kills 12, injures 22
Tennessee fires blaze into third day
Official: blazing dormitory's fire door was probably locked


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1 of 2 Escaped California Inmates Captured (3.33/9)

One of two inmates who were still on the run after escaping from a California jail last week has been captured, police said late Tuesday night.
Laron Campbell, 26, and Rogelio Chavez, 33, managed to evade authorities since breaking out of the Santa Clara County Jail on the night before Thanksgiving.
Laron Campbell has been taken back in custody. Being transported back to Santa Clara County. The search continues for Rogelio Chavez
Chavez, Campbell and two other prisoners escaped after sawing through the bars blocking their second-story window and then rappelling to the ground using bed sheets tied together as a rope.
Of the four who managed to escape from the jail on that same day, only Chavez now remains on the loose. Two others were re-captured almost immediately.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff's office declined to say if Rogelio Chavez had been the target of a SWAT situation on Tuesday afternoon, reported KGO, an ABC affiliate.
Police did confirm to KGO that police arrested an alleged accomplice on Monday who is accused of transporting Chavez after he escaped from jail.

1 of 2 inmates who escaped from California jail recaptured
1 of 2 inmates who escaped from California jail is recaptured
1 of 2 Inmates Who Escaped From California Jail Recaptured
Officials: 1 of 2 Inmates Who Sawed Their Way out of a California Jail Last Week Has Been Recaptured
Cops capture one of two California inmates who escaped jail with bedsheet rope


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CIA director warns Donald Trump over the worst mistakes he could make with Iran, Syria... (3.17/9)

The director of the CIA has warned Donald Trump it would be “disastrous” to tear up the US’s nuclear deal with Iran , after the President-elect pledged to do so during his successful election campaign.

CIA's Brennan says tearing up Iran deal would be "folly"
CIA director says ending Iran nuclear deal 'the height of folly'
Tearing up US deal with Iran would be disastrous, says CIA chief
CIA chief warns Trump: Scrapping Iran deal 'height of folly'


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Raul Castro makes his first national address since his brother's death and gives few hints at a new Cuba (3.17/9)

Cuban President Raul Castro joined other world leaders on Tuesday in extolling the legacy of his brother Fidel — but gave little hint about the future direction of the country.
“Fidel dedicated his whole life to solidarity … with the poor,” said the younger Castro, to whom Fidel Castro ceded power 10 years ago in a seamless transfer of leadership. “And for the poor he became a symbol of the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist fight, for the emancipation and dignity of the people.”
Castro spoke for 13 minutes, providing a subdued ending to a 4½-hour memorial service at Revolution Plaza. In conclusion, Castro repeated one of his sibling's trademark closing slogans:
The celebratory eulogies from Castro and other world leaders barely hinted at the fact that Fidel Castro, who died Friday at age 90, was among the most divisive leaders of the 20th century. Castro, a central Cold War figure, led the Cuban revolution that seized power in 1959.
His admirers applauded him as a champion of the oppressed and a resolute foe of U. S. “imperialism.” His enemies have condemned Castro as a Marxist dictator who jailed dissenters and wrecked Cuba’s economy, forcing many to flee the island.
The plaza where the memorial took place is the same expansive venue where Castro had delivered some of his most famous speeches, addressing the masses in fiery orations that inevitably blasted “the empire to the north” — the United States, his longtime antagonist.
Castro even voiced reservations about his younger brother’s move to fashion a limited rapprochement of sorts with the United States and the Obama administration.
Fidel Castro was one of the world’s most polarizing figures, lionized by some as a principled defender of the poor and loathed by others as a repressive dictator.
His divisive legacy can be seen in the guest list of foreign dignitaries attending memorial services for Castro in Havana this week.
Fidel Castro was one of the world’s most polarizing figures, lionized by some as a principled defender of the poor and loathed by others as a repressive dictator.
His divisive legacy can be seen in the guest list of foreign dignitaries attending memorial services for Castro in Havana this week.
Raul Castro, 85, has said he will step down from power in 2018. What direction the leadership will take after the departure of the Castros remains an open question.
Since assuming power, Raul Castro has taken steps to open up Cuba’s economy, allowing more private businesses and giving Cubans greater freedom to travel abroad.
But Castro has not embraced political reforms that would threaten the Communist Party’s control of the island. Nor has he moved to increase freedom of speech or the press, reforms that critics have long demanded.
The island nation is in the midst of a nine-day mourning period that is scheduled to conclude with the burial of Fidel Castro’s ashes in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba. A caravan is slated to leave from Havana on Wednesday carrying his ashes across the country.
The speeches by the younger Castro and other dignitaries followed two days of extraordinary public mourning in Havana. Tens of thousands of Cubans from all walks of life trekked to shrines set up to honor Fidel Castro in Revolution Plaza, often waiting hours for a quick glimpse of flower-bedecked memorials.
Thousands attended a rally in Havana, Cuba, honoring Fidel Castro Tuesday.
The massive outpouring of appreciation and grief yielded images that were a stark counterpoint to the widely viewed visuals of Cuban Americans in Miami celebrating the death of the revolutionary icon.
Many participants hoisted likenesses of Castro, along with Cuban flags, as they walked up Avenida 20 de Mayo toward the plaza.
While paying homage, some mourners also voiced hope that Raul Castro would accelerate efforts to modernize Cuba and energize the island’s long-desultory economy.
“The truth is that Raul Castro has made changes that Comandante Fidel never made, but there’s still a lot to be done,” said Maria Salcedo, 36, who came to offer last respects. “But I hope that the situation on the island gets better especially for my children, that they have a better life than mine.”
Carlos Trejo said he and others came to express “our thanks and admiration” now that Castro is gone.
“And I’m sure that now with Raul Castro things will remain on a positive path,” Trejo added. “He has made changes that have benefited Cubans and we believe that will continue.”
Among the dignitaries who arrived in Havana to pay tribute to Fidel Castro were the presidents of Mexico, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
It was a modest turnout for such a renowned figure, in part reflecting Castro’s controversial legacy and his 10-year formal absence from power. But there was no dearth of accolades on a relatively brisk evening in the Cuban capital.
“Fidel put Cuba on the world map fighting against the greed of the empire,” said Bolivian President Evo Morales , a clear reference to Castro’s longtime archenemy, the United States.
Morales is among a number of left-wing Latin American leaders, including the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez , who regarded Castro as a role model.
During Tuesday’s ceremony, South African President Jacob Zuma extolled Cuba under Castro’s leadership for its aid to independence struggles in Africa, including against the former apartheid government in South Africa.
Notably absent Tuesday was Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Soviet Union was long Castro’s major benefactor.
The Obama administration, which moved to open up relations with Cuba after half a century of mutual antagonism, opted not to send an official delegation to the Castro commemoration.
Multitudes of the mourners were bused to Havana from the countryside and outlying areas, and others attended as part of their official duties with the military, police and other government sectors.
Their route of mourning in recent days took them past armed forces headquarters displaying a replica of the Granma, the yacht that in 1956 transported Castro and his revolutionary comrades from Mexico to Cuba with the aim of overthrowing the U. S.-backed dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
Massive lighted images of a pair of revolutionaries, Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos, look down on Revolution Plaza. Dominating the plaza is a tower and statue in honor of Jose Marti, the 19th century Cuban independence champion revered by both the Castro brothers and their fiercest foes.
On Tuesdsay, many Cubans were clearly expressing authentic grief for the passing of a towering, if divisive, figure here for more than half a century. Relatively few people today recall a Cuba in which Castro was not a dominant presence.
"My grandmother has been crying for two days," said Ariel Vazquez, 8, who accompanied his grandmother, mother and three brothers to a mourning shrine.
The shrine featured an image that was said to be one of Castro’s favorites: a black-and-white photograph of him when he was young, in fatigues in the Sierra Maestra, the mountain range that was a redoubt for guerrillas during the revolution.
Brazilian soccer team plane crash , California university leaders urge Trump to embrace students who are in the U. S. illegally , Metro will pay nearly $300 million to company that widened the 405 Freeway , and newly identified bodies of Pearl Harbor victims returned to families for burial .
Ohio State University had initially advised students there was an active shooter on campus and that they should “Run Hide Fight.”
Known as the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35 is the most expensive weapons program ever, and is intended to replace four aircraft.
Fidel Castro's death late Friday sparked celebrations in Miami , president-elect Trump claims falsely there is widespread voter fraud , more than 154 million Americans shopped during the Black Friday weekend , and a first for robotics scholarship programs .
The Lakers lost a second straight game to the Warriors on Friday, 109-85, and fell to 8-9 on the season.
The Lakers lost a second straight game to the Warriors on Friday, 109-85, and fell to 8-9 on the season.

Cuba returning Castro's ashes to birthplace of the Revolution
[WATCH] Cubans mourn death of former leader Fidel Castro
Castro's death is bittersweet for nostalgic Cuban exiles
After Castro's death, attention turns to Cuba's heir apparent


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Jazz shocks Cavaliers 120-101 to take share of NW lead (3.16/9)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah took a share of the NBA Northwest Division lead with a 120-101 win against Houston on Tuesday, as Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 31 points to lead the Jazz to a fourth straight victory. While the Jazz pulled level with Oklahoma City, two other division leaders had setbacks, with Cleveland losing at Milwaukee and San Antonio suffering a rare home defeat against Orlando, ending the Spurs' nine-game streak. Utah trailed 16-9 in early going against the Rockets but Rodney Hood had 10 points during a 20-5 first-quarter run that turned the game around and the Jazz led from then on. Hood finished with 19 points and Utah set its highest points total of the season. Rudy Gobert recorded his 11th double-double of the season with 16 points and 14 rebounds. James Harden scored 26 points to lead Houston but was an inefficient 8 for 23 from the field. Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo tied a career high with 34 points as the Bucks had a surprisingly comfortable 118-101 win against Cleveland. Antetokounmpo added 12 rebounds while Jabari Parker had 18 points for Milwaukee which led by as much as 22 points in the fourth quarter and Cleveland accepted defeat at that point, resting the starters. LeBron James had 22 points for the Cavaliers, who led by 14 points in the first period but by only two at the end of the quarter. The Bucks turned that into a four point lead at halftime and 18 at the last break. Orlando capitalized on a sloppy performance by host San Antonio and beat the Spurs 95-83. San Antonio committed a season-worst 19 turnovers, which led to 19 Orlando points, and had its lowest score of the season. The Spurs have four home losses in the first two months of this season after falling just once at AT&T Center in 2015-16. Serge Ibaka had 18 points for the Magic, who were coming off four straight defeats. Kawhi Leonard had 21 points for San Antonio. Brooklyn's Sean Kilpatrick scored 31 of his career-high 38 points across the fourth quarter and double-overtime to steer the Nets past the Los Angeles Clippers 127-122, ending a seven-game losing sequence. Detroit shot 49 percent from the field to win 112-89 at Charlotte, led by 24 points from Tobias Harris. New Orleans' Anthony Davis had 41 points and 16 rebounds, helping the Pelicans dominate the undermanned Los Angeles Lakers 105-88.

Jazz beat the Rockets for their 4th win in a row
Hot-shooting Jazz blast the Rockets, 120-101
Hayward scores 31, leads Jazz to 120-101 win over Rockets
Jazz dominate the Rockets, 120-101


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Ducks add another leader scalp with win against Canadiens (3.12/9)

ANAHEIM, California (AP) — Anaheim continued its sharp lift in performance with a 2-1 victory over NHL-leading Montreal on Monday, with Ducks goaltender John Gibson making 39 saves. The Ducks had lost three in a row before wins against division leaders San Jose and Montreal and remain within a point of the Sharks in the Pacific Division. Chicago stretched its lead in the Central with a shootout victory against Florida, as did the New York Rangers in the Metropolitan with a tight victory over Carolina, while Columbus cruised past Tampa Bay. Anaheim goalie Gibson was stellar in net, fending off his first 38 shots before Montreal, having pulled its goalie, got a goal from Andrew Shaw with two minutes left. Richard Rakell and defenseman Cam Fowler scored the Ducks against Canadiens goalie Carey Price, who made 36 saves. Chicago's Richard Panik and Artemi Panarin scored in the shootout to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 win against Florida. Panik also scored in regulation in Chicago's first home game in 16 days, following a seven-game road trip. Florida returned to the ice for the first time since coach Gerard Gallant was fired after a loss at Carolina on Sunday. Interim replacement Tom Rowe took charge for the Panthers, whose goal came from veteran Jaromir Jagr in the third period. New York's Jimmy Vesey scored the tiebreaking power-play goal with 5:12 remaining to lift the Rangers to a 3-2 victory over Carolina. Rick Nash had a goal and an assist while Nick Holden also scored to help the Rangers snap a four-game skid at home. Hurricanes defenseman Ron Hainsey received a double-minor for hooking and an unsportsmanlike misconduct with 6:47 to go and Vesey took advantage 95 seconds later. Viktor Stalberg scored twice in the first period in his return to New York for the first time since leaving the Rangers to sign with Carolina in the offseason. Columbus' Josh Anderson had a goal and two assists as the Blue Jackets thrashed Tampa Bay 5-1. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 26 shots, Scott Hartnell had a goal and an assist, and William Karlsson, Alexander Wennberg and Sam Gagner also scored for the Blue Jackets, who are 8-1-1 in their past 10 home games. Valtteri Filppula scored for the Lightning with less than 3 minutes left to spoil the shutout. Buffalo's Jack Eichel had a goal and an assist in his season debut to lead the Sabres to a 5-4 win at Ottawa. Eichel had missed the first 21 games after spraining his left ankle ahead of the Sabres' season opener Ryan O'Reilly scored twice for the Sabres, while Kyle Okposo and Sam Reinhart also had goals. Mike Hoffman had three goals and an assist for the Senators, and Mark Stone also scored in his 200th NHL game. Philadelphia's Shayne Gostisbehere scored in the ninth round of a shootout to lift the Flyers over Boston 3-2. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto and center Claude Giroux scored in regulation for the Flyers. David Krejci and Brad Marchand had the goals for the Bruins. Toronto notched only its second road win of the season with a 4-2 victory at Edmonton, with Auston Matthews scoring his 10th goal of the season. Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine each scored their 13th goal of the season to help the Jets edge New Jersey 3-2. Detroit's Anthony Mantha scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period and the Red Wings defeated Dallas 3-1. Vancouver's Sven Baertschi scored his second of the night with 2:35 left in regulation as the Canucks downed Minnesota 5-4. San Jose's Brent Burns scored a power-play goal 19 seconds into overtime, giving the Sharks a 2-1 win against Arizona. Nashville's Ryan Johansen and Austin Watson each had a goal and an assist to lead the Predators past Colorado 5-3.

Ducks pass a test by holding off Canadiens
Gibson makes 39 saves, Ducks hold off Canadiens 2-1
Ducks take a little off the top in close shave with Canadiens, 2-1


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NHL Capsules (3.12/9)

Jimmy Vesey scored the tiebreaking power-play goal with 5:12 remaining to lift the New York Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
Rick Nash had a goal and an assist, Nick Holden also scored and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 19 shots to help the Rangers snap a four-game skid at home (0-3-1).
Hurricanes defenseman Ron Hainsey received a double-minor for hooking and an unsportsmanlike misconduct with 6:47 to go and Vesey took advantage 95 seconds later for his eight goal of the season and first since Nov. 12.
Viktor Stalberg scored twice in the first period in his return to New York for the first time since leaving the Rangers to sign with Carolina in the offseason. Cam Ward finished with 25 saves as the Hurricanes lost for the third time in four games.
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Jack Eichel had a goal and an assist in his season debut as Buffalo beat Ottawa.
Ryan O'Reilly scored twice for the Sabres, while Kyle Okposo and Sam Reinhart also scored. Robin Lehner started and gave up one goal on six shots before leaving late in the first period. Anders Nilsson replaced him and stopped 26 shots.
Mike Hoffman had three goals and an assist for the Senators, and Mark Stone also scored in his 200th NHL game. Craig Anderson, making his sixth straight start, made 23 saves.
Eichel had missed the first 21 games after spraining his left ankle ahead of the Sabres' season opener
CHICAGO (AP) — Richard Panik and Artemi Panarin scored in a shootout, and Chicago beat Florida in the Panthers' first game since Tom Rowe took over as interim coach.
Panik also scored in regulation and Corey Crawford made 38 saves in Chicago's first home game in 16 days. The Blackhawks went 3-3-1 on their 12-day circus trip.
Panarin beat Roberto Luongo with a slick backhand in the second round of the shootout. After Aleksander Barkov was stopped by Crawford at the other end, Panik converted his chance with a well-placed wrist shot past Luongo on the glove side.
Florida returned to the ice for the first time since coach Gerard Gallant was fired after a 3-2 loss at Carolina on Sunday night. Jaromir Jagr scored in the third period and Luongo made 32 saves, but the Panthers lost for the third time in four games.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Shayne Gostisbehere scored in the ninth round of a shootout to lift Philadelphia past Boston.
Steve Mason made 45 saves through overtime, and defenseman Michael Del Zotto and center Claude Giroux scored in regulation for the Flyers, who won their second straight.
David Krejci and Brad Marchand had the goals for the Bruins, who lost for the fourth time in five games. Tuukka Rask turned aside 19 shots and seven of nine shooters in the tiebreaker.
Both goalies were outstanding in overtime. Mason snatched a shot by Krejci with about 30 seconds remaining, and Rask slid to his right to stop Giroux's one-timer.
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Mark Scheifele and Patrik Laine each scored his 13th goal of the season to help Winnipeg beat New Jersey.
Blake Wheeler had the other goal for the Jets, and Scheifele added an assist. Connor Hellebuyck made 23 saves in his fifth straight start for Winnipeg.
Devils rookie Miles Wood, with his first NHL goal, and Nick Lappin scored for New Jersey. Cory Schneider stopped 26 shots for the Devils, who had earned at least a point in their previous three games (1-0-2).
Winnipeg has won five straight at home.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Sven Baertschi scored with 2:35 left in regulation to help Vancouver beat Minnesota.
Brandon Sutter and Ben Hutton each had a goal and an assist, and Loui Eriksson and Bo Horvat also scored for Vancouver. Henrik Sedin and Troy Stecher had two assists each and Ryan Miller stopped 38 shots.
Erik Haula scored the tying goal late in the third for Minnesota. Jason Pominville had two goals, Jason Zucker added a goal and an assist, and Nino Niederreiter had two assists. Darcy Kuemper got the start with Devan Dubnyk given the night off and finished with 30 saves.
Baertschi, who has struggled to rediscover his scoring touch that emerged toward the end of last season, tipped Stecher's point shot to cap a crazy third period that saw the teams combine for five goals.
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — John Gibson made 39 saves and Anaheim got goals from Rickard Rakell and defenseman Cam Fowler to beat NHL-leading Montreal.
Andrew Shaw scored with 2 minutes left and Carey Price stopped 36 shots for the Canadiens.
Struggling just a few days ago, the Ducks suddenly look like a different team. They had lost three consecutive games before winning Friday at San Jose, the defending Western Conference champion.
Gibson was stellar in net, fending off his first 38 shots before Montreal, having pulled its goalie, got a late score from Shaw.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Brent Burns scored a power-play goal 19 seconds into overtime and San Jose wrapped up a successful homestand.
Chris Tierney also scored and Martin Jones made 18 saves. The Sharks won four of five games on the homestand and improved to 8-3 overall at the Shark Tank this season.
Max Domi scored the lone goal for the Coyotes, who lost their fifth straight in San Jose. Mike Smith made 40 saves but had no chance on Burns' one-timer in overtime.
Martin Hanzal was called for high-sticking Melker Karlsson with 0.3 seconds left in regulation and the Sharks did not take long to capitalize in the extra period.
DETROIT (AP) — Anthony Mantha scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period and Detroit beat Dallas.
Petr Mrazek stopped 34 shots for the Red Wings, who are 3-0-1 in their last four games for their best stretch in more than a month.
Kari Lehtonen made 17 saves for the Stars. He was pulled for an extra skater with more than 2 minutes left, and the Red Wings took advantage when Steve Ott scored an empty-net goal to make it 3-1 with 1:03 remaining.
Dallas, playing the second of back-to-back games on the road, has dropped two straight and won just three of its last nine overall.
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Auston Matthews scored his 10th goal of the season as Toronto got just its second road win of the season.
James van Riemsdyk, Nazem Kadri and Zach Hyman also scored for Toronto, which has won two straight. Frederik Andersen stopped 28 shots.
Connor McDavid and Andrej Sekera scored for the Oilers, who have lost three in a row. Cam Talbot gave up four goals on 14 shots over the first two periods, and Jonas Gustavsson stopped all nine shots he faced in the third.
Matthews got the Maple Leafs on the scoreboard at 5:45 of the first, and van Riemsdyk made it 2-0 less than 3 minutes into the second. After Sekera pulled Edmonton within one, Kadri restored the two-goal lead at 6:00. Hyman extended Toronto's lead to 4-1 with just over 3 minutes remaining in the middle period.
DENVER (AP) — Ryan Johansen and Austin Watson each had a goal and an assist to lead Nashville past Colorado.
Viktor Arvidsson, Mike Fisher and Kevin Fiala also scored, and Roman Josi had two assists for the Predators.
Pekka Rinne stopped 37 shots, improving to 17-7-2 in his career against the Avalanche. He also finished the month 9-1-2.
Johansen and Watson scored in the first 2:42 of the third period to put Nashville up 5-2. The Predators have won eight of 11.
Mikko Rantanen and Rene Bourque each had a goal and an assist, and Mikhail Grigorenko also scored for Colorado, which has started a five-game homestand 0-2-1.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Josh Anderson had a goal and two assists, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 26 shots and Columbus cruised past Tampa Bay.
Scott Hartnell had a goal and an assist, and William Karlsson, Alexander Wennberg and Sam Gagner also scored as the Blue Jackets beat the Lightning for the second time in five days. Columbus is 8-1-1 in its last 10 home games.
Columbus played sharp defense, kept the puck in Tampa Bay's end and created plenty of good looks and quality shots.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves, and Valtteri Filppula scored for the Lightning with less than 3 minutes left to spoil the shutout.

The Rangers’ power-play tweak that led to Jimmy Vesey’s winner
Rick Nash, Jimmy Vesey lead New York Rangers to victory
Nash, Vesey rally Rangers to 3-2 win over Hurricanes


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Treasury nominee Mnuchin was Trump's top fundraiser (3.10/9)

Steven Mnuchin, President-elect Donald Trump's expected choice to be the nation's 77th treasury secretary, has had a long history as a successful financial executive and a shorter but significant period in a job that ushered him into Trump's inner circle: head of Trump's campaign finance operation.
When Mnuchin, 53, was chosen by Trump as his national finance director in May, he told The Associated Press that the two men had been friends for 15 years. Through his work as finance chairman, Mnuchin (pronounced meh'NEW'-chen) is close to Trump's children and son-in-law, Jared Kushner — a top adviser to Trump — and worked with them on fundraising events.
The campaign raised at least $169 million, in addition to the $66 million that Trump spent out of his own pocket. Though that was far short of what Hillary Clinton raised, it represented an impressive haul given that Trump didn't begin fundraising in earnest until the end of May.
A person familiar with Trump's decision said Tuesday that the president-elect will nominate Mnuchin to the Treasury position. The person would only discuss the nomination on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to reveal it ahead of the official announcement.
If approved by the Senate, Mnuchin would follow in the tradition of two previous treasury secretaries — Robert Rubin in the Clinton administration and Henry Paulson in George W. Bush's. All had vast Wall Street experience gained from years spent working at powerhouse Goldman Sachs.
Yet unlike Rubin and Paulson and unlike President Barack Obama's two treasury secretaries, Timothy Geithner and Jacob Lew, Mnuchin would bring no government experience to Treasury, something that could prove a hurdle in navigating the tricky politics of Washington.
After graduating from Yale in 1985. Mnuchin worked for Goldman Sachs for 17 years. His father, Robert Mnuchin, had himself worked for Goldman for three decades, becoming a partner in charge of equity trading.
The younger Mnuchin amassed his own fortune at the firm and then left in 2002. He worked briefly for Soros Fund Management, a hedge fund led by George Soros, before starting his own investment firm, Dune Capital Management.
As head of this firm, Mnuchin and other investors participated in the purchase of failed mortgage lender IndyMac in 2009 and renamed it OneWest. The failure of IndyMac in 2008 with $32 billion in assets was one of the biggest casualties of the housing bust.
Mnuchin became chairman of OneWest, which was sold to CIT Group in 2015. Before the sale, OneWest faced a string of lawsuits over its home foreclosure practices.
This month, housing advocates filed a complaint asking the Department of Housing and Urban Development to investigate OneWest for possible violations of the Fair Housing Act. The lender failed to place branches in minority communities, provided few mortgages to black homebuyers and preserved foreclosed properties in white neighborhoods while allowing similar homes in minority communities to fall into disrepair, according to the California Reinvestment Coalition and Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California.
CIT declined to respond directly to the complaint but stressed in a statement that it is "committed to fair lending and works hard to meet the credit needs of all communities and neighborhoods we serve. "
Mnuchin also became a major investor in Hollywood, helping finance a number of movies, including the 2009 blockbuster "Avatar. "
As treasury secretary, Mnuchin would be the administration's chief economic spokesman, serving as a liaison not only to Wall Street but also to global investors, a critical role given the trillions of dollars in treasury bonds owned by foreigners. In addition, it would be his job to sell the new administration's economic program to Congress.
Mnuchin will also oversee a sprawling bureaucracy that includes the Internal Revenue Service and the agency that issues millions of Social Security and other benefit checks each month. Treasury also runs the agency that wages the financial war on terrorism.
Even before his nomination was announced, he was being attacked for his ties to Wall Street.
"It's difficult to think of a nominee who better embodies the culture of Wall Street greed than the former Goldman Sachs partner," the Communications Workers of America, a labor union, said in a statement. "Naming Mnuchin as treasury secretary would be a slap in the face of millions of working families who will be victimized by this Wall Street-rigged economy. "
During the campaign, Trump complained about the Dodd-Frank Act, passed in 2010 in response to the 2008 financial crisis and intended to prevent another crisis by tightening financial regulations. He called the increased regulations on banks a "disaster. "
Mnuchin, in an interview with CNBC in July, said he thought Dodd-Frank "needs to be looked at. " But he has not spelled out what changes he would like to see. Yet if Trump decides to back Republican attempts to rewrite the law, Mnuchin could be expected to lead the administration's effort.
Analysts said Mnuchin's years of experience on Wall Street and in managing an investment firm gave him real-world skills that likely appealed to Trump, a business executive who also has never served in government.
"Mr. Mnuchin is highly successful, and he's well-known in financial circles here," said Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at California State University, Channel Islands.
Sohn and other economists, however, suggested that Mnuchin's lack of government experience could prove to be a drawback in selling the administration's economic policies to Congress.
"People who come from Wall Street quickly find that they can't just make a decision and have it happen," said Stanley Collender, a longtime staffer on House and Senate budget committees and now an executive vice president at Qorvis communications. "It's not like being a CEO. There is a lot more compromise involved. "

Early Returns
Treasury nominee Mnuchin was Trump’s top fundraiser
Trump expected to name former Goldman banker Mnuchin for Treasury


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College basketball roundup: It’s eight straight losses for the 49ers (3.07/9)

Lagerald Vick scored a career-high 23 points on near-perfect shooting, Svi Mykhailiuk had 14 and fourth-ranked Kansas rolled to a 91-61 victory over Long Beach State on Tuesday night in Lawrence, Kan.
Josh Jackson added 13 points for the Jayhawks (6-1), who doubled up the 49ers (1-8) at 50-25 out of the break and coasted to their 44th straight win at Allen Fieldhouse.
Justin Bibbins had 13 points for Long Beach State, which has lost eight in a row — all on the road. The 49ers have one more game left on a nine-game trip that covers more than 15,000 miles, and has included loss to North Carolina, UCLA, Louisville, Washington and Wichita State.

No. 4 Kansas pummels Long Beach State
Tuesday’s College Basketball Scores
College roundup: Bowdoin defeats USM in men’s basketball


 23 /471 

Taiwan Protests Against Malaysia's Deportation of Fraud Suspects to China (2.24/9)

Taiwan has expressed its "stern opposition" to Malaysia's deportation of 21 Taiwanese suspected of multi-million dollar telecoms fraud to China, the latest example of a problem that has strained cross-Strait ties. ...

China Tells Taiwan to Stay Out of Hong Kong Debate
China tells Taiwan to stay out of Hong Kong debate
Malaysia deports 74 telecom fraud suspects to China
Malaysia Deports 74 Telecom Fraud Suspects To China
Taiwan protests against Malaysia's deportation of fraud suspects to China


 24 /471 

How It Works: Impeaching a South Korean President (2.23/9)

South Korean lawmakers could vote this Friday on a bill to impeach President Park Geun-hye. She has been accused by state prosecutors of colluding in the criminal activities of a longtime confidante who allegedly manipulated power from the shadows and extorted companies to build an illicit fortune.
The impeachment motion needs the support of at least 200 lawmakers in the 300-seat parliament to pass. There are 172 opposition and independent lawmakers who are expected to vote for Park's removal, which suggests the bill would need the support of at least 28 members of Park's conservative Saenuri Party.
If the bill goes through, Park's presidential status will be suspended and her presidential duties temporarily transferred to the prime minister while the country's Constitutional Court reviews whether her impeachment could be constitutionally justified.
The court would be required to make a ruling within 180 days. If six of the court's nine justices support the impeachment, Park will be officially removed from office. The country then has to hold a presidential election within 60 days.

S. Korean president faces impeachment
How it works: Impeaching a South Korean president
How it works: South Korea impeaches a president


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Andre Drummond ejected after Flagrant-2 foul: 'I'm not a dirty player' (2.14/9)

CHARLOTTE – Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond was ejected during Tuesday's 112-89 win over the Charlotte Hornets.
At the 4:09 mark of the second quarter, Drummond delivered an elbow to the back of Hornets center Roy Hibbert’s head while the two big men were jostling for rebounding position on a Kemba Walker three-pointer.
On replays, Hibbert appeared to flail to draw attention to the shot.
After the officials reviewed the replay, a disbelieving Drummond was ejected after three points, six rebounds and a blocked shot in 13 minutes.
"Look man, I don't make the rules," Drummond said. "I just play the game. They felt like I did something maliciously. Everybody who knows me, knows that the way I play, that's not the type of player that I am, but at the end of the day, it wasn't my call. I just took the consequences and walked off the floor. "
There’s history between Drummond and Hibbert.
While Hibbert was with the Indiana Pacers, he took issue with Drummond after a game in 2013.
“To tell you the truth I was a fan of his until tonight,” Hibbert said. “He is a real good prospect, but it seemed like he was running his mouth a little bit tonight. … He is going to have a bright future — but I was a fan of his.”
The Pistons led the Hornets, 57-54, at halftime. Jon Leuer replaced Drummond in the Pistons lineup to start the second half.
Drummond deflected when asked if the history played a role in his ejection.
"Anybody that knows me, knows I'm not a dirty player," Drummond said. "It's part of the game. He got hit, he did whatever he had to do to get the call. Refs made the call and I was escorted off the floor. Other than that, we won the game and I'm satisfied with that. "
Contact Vince Ellis at Follow him on Twitter @vincent_ellis56.

Rod Beard on the Pistons' win
Caldwell-Pope's all-around game lifts Pistons past Hornets, 112-89
Pistons 112, Hornets 89


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South Korea Opposition to Push Ahead to Try to Impeach Park Amid Scandal (2.07/9)

South Korean opposition parties vowed on Wednesday (30/11) to push ahead to try to impeach President Park Geun-hye, rejecting her offer to resign amid a growing influence-peddling scandal, and called on members of her Saenuri Party to join them. ...

SKorea opposition parties discuss when to impeach president
S. Korean president faces impeachment
How it works: South Korea impeaches a president
South Korea opposition to push ahead to try to impeach Park amid scandal


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RBS fails Bank of England stress test, must bolster capital (2.06/9)

By Huw Jones and David Milliken LONDON, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland must boost its capital buffers after failing this year's stress test of seven British lenders, the Bank of England said on Wednesday. The state-backed lender rushed out a statement following the announcement to say it would take a range of actions, including selling off bad loans and cutting costs to make up the capital shortfall identified by the tests of around 2 billion pounds ($2.49 billion). The unexpected result underlines the litany of problems RBS is grappling with, which include a mounting legal bill for misconduct ahead of the 2008 financial crisis and difficulties selling off assets such as its Williams & Glyn banking business. The lender said it had agreed a plan of action with the Prudential Regulation Authority, the Bank of England's enforcement arm, that should mean it does not have to tap markets to raise the money needed. "RBS has agreed a revised capital plan with the PRA to improve its stress resilience in light of the various challenges and uncertainties facing both the bank and the wider economy," the bank said. RBS is expected to settle soon with U. S. authorities over its alleged mis-selling of mortgage backed securities in the run-up to the crisis, Barclays also fell short by some measures but it will not have to submit a new capital raising plan because it has already announced steps to strengthen its defences, the BoE Financial Policy Committee (FPC) said. Standard Chartered missed some of the test's targets, but it too will not have to take any new steps to bolster its capital buffers as it was already taking measures, the BoE added. The banks' performance in the stress test was worse than many market participants had expected. "Today's performance is worse than predicted, this is the highest average fall in CET1 (a measure of capital) and leverage ratios we've seen in the history of a UK concurrent stress test," said Steven Hall, banking partner at KPMG. This year's health check, the third so far by the BoE since the 2007-09 financial crisis forced taxpayers to bail out lenders like RBS, was the toughest yet, combining shocks to the global and domestic economies. HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide and Santander UK did not reveal any capital inadequacies in the test, the BoE said. Britain's banking system underwent a severe real-life test in June when markets and sterling plummeted in response to Britain's vote to leave the European Union. RBS said it needs an extra percentage point of capital - worth around 2 billion pounds - which could be achieved by further sales of assets, rather than having to tap markets. RBS's new capital plan has already been accepted by the BoE's Prudential Regulation Authority supervisory arm, the BoE said. The BoE has said that the overall level of capital in the UK banking system was satisfactory, equivalent to 13.5 percent of risk-weighted assets. The need for RBS and Barclays to raise their capital holdings does not alter this overall picture. "The Financial Policy Committee judged that, as a consequence of the stress test, the banking system is in aggregate capitalised to support the real economy in a severe, broad and synchronised stress scenario," the FPC said in a statement. Next year, the BoE will introduce a second stress test to run alongside its now annual check. The BoE gave more detail on this second test on Wednesday, saying it will cover a seven-year period - longer than the five years in the basic test - and look at "severe headwinds" challenging profitability. Banks could be required to change their business models to make them more sustainable as they face a prolonged period of low interest rates and uncertainty over Britain's future relations with the European Union after it leaves the bloc. "Changes to business models as the UK withdraws from the EU could have implications for resilience," the BoE said. The BoE is now developing a system-wide stress test to assess the dynamics of broader markets under stress, and will complete an "in depth" assessment of risks from derivatives trades. The FPC also published on Wednesday an assessment of insurers' investment activities, concluding that changes were needed to the EU's insurance rules known as Solvency II. ($1 = 0.8018 pounds) (Reporting By Huw Jones and David Milliken, writing by Lawrence White; Editing by Rachel Armstrong)

RBS fails stress test from the Bank of England; announces revised capital plan
RBS misfortune strike in Bank of England highlight test


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Campus critters are nuts for Penn State's 'Squirrel Girl' (2.06/9)

Penn State students know her as the Squirrel Whisperer, or even Squirrel Girl. Which suits Mary Krupa just fine. Four years ago, the 22-year-old senior became an internet sensation for...

Campus Critters Are Nuts for Penn State's 'Squirrel Girl'
Critters Nuts for Penn State’s 'Squirrel Girl'


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Hillary Clinton, Pizza And A Phony Sex Scandal: The Power Of 'Fake News' (2.06/9)

The internet rumor had the makings of a bizarrely sordid scandal involving a top political aide to Hillary Clinton, allegations of pedophilia and a restaurant in an upscale part of Washington.

Hillary, pizza and a phony sex scandal: the power of 'fake news'
Hillary, pizza and a phony sex scandal


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Oregon severs ties with Mark Helfrich (2.06/9)

Oregon Ducks athletic director Rob Mullens announced Tuesday that head football coach Mark Helfrich would not be back next season, ending his tenure at the school at four years.
"We want to thank Mark for his eight years with the University of Oregon and appreciate his efforts on behalf of Oregon football," Mullens said. "We wish Mark and his family the best. "
Helfrich coached the Ducks to a 37-16 record after taking over from Chip Kelly in 2013. He led the team to the College Football Playoff championship game after the 2014 regular season, but the Ducks went 9-4 in 2015 and fell to 4-8 this season, including a 34-24 defeat at Oregon State on Saturday.
"It is a great honor to have served as the head football coach at the University of Oregon," Helfrich said. "It is with respect and disappointment that we receive this decision. Plain and simple -- we didn't win enough games this season. "
This was the first season since 2004 that Oregon finished with a losing record and without a bowl appearance. The Ducks had won at least nine games in eight consecutive seasons prior to this one.
The unusual development for Oregon, which last fired its football coach in 1976, will be an expensive one.
Due to terms of his buyout, Helfrich, 43, is owed $11.6 million for the remaining three years of his contract, according to The Oregonian. The staff is also owed a combined $3.7 million in buyouts, if none are retained.

Oregon fires Mark Helfrich after 4-8 season
Oregon fires coach Mark Helfrich after four seasons


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Colson's 24 points lead Notre Dame to 92-78 win over Iowa (2.06/9)

Notre Dame couldn't pass, couldn't hang on to the ball, couldn't hold on to a 15-point lead and just about couldn't miss from the free-throw line.
The Fighting Irish were 30 of 33 in foul shooting with Bonzie Colson making all 12 of his attempts, Steve Vasturia made all seven of his and Notre Dame beat Iowa 92-78 Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
"The foul line is an unbelievable weapon for us," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "We get there and then we capitalize when we get there. "
Colson finished with a season-high 24 points and a career-high 17 rebounds for his fourth straight double-double and Vasturia tied a career high with 22 points and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds to pace the Irish (7-0). Colson said he focused on rebounding.
"I just try to play the game and just play like it's my last game and just continue to battle with the bigs and continue to rebound and if I see the scoring opportunity just go to work in that department," he said.
Iowa (3-4) had its largest lead of the second half at 52-50 when Notre Dame hit four straight shots and Iowa missed four straight during a 10-0 run capped by Vasturia driving through the lane for a layup to give Notre Dame a 60-52 lead.
The Irish extended the lead to 79-63 on a jumper by Farrell.
Freshman Jordan Bohanon, whose previous season-high was six points, finished with a team-high 23 points in his first start. Jok, coming off a career-high 42 points against Memphis, struggled throughout, making 4 of 20 shots for 15 points.
"They were really locked into him," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "Those ones he missed tonight were the same ones he made against Memphis. I give Notre Dame credit for that. "
Jok blamed himself, saying he didn't do his part.
"There's no way I should go 4-20 on a given night against anybody. But like I said it was one of those games. I've still got to find a way to make shots, and I didn't do it tonight. "
Iowa: The Hawkeyes were without freshman forward Tyler Cook, their second-leading scorer at 13.7 points game, who underwent surgery earlier Tuesday because of a fractured his right index finger and is expected to be out about three weeks. After two straight losses the Hawkeyes tried to shake things up with three new starters but continued to struggle against Power Five opponents.
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish, who entered the game averaging 7.5 turnovers and 18.5 assists, had four turnovers in less than six minutes, 11 in the first half. The Irish finished with 14 turnovers and just 11 assists, but won comfortably to improve to 7-0 for the third time in 17 seasons under Mike Brey. The Irish also won their first seven in 2001 and got off to their best start at 8-0 in 2010.
The Irish, who were two spots outside the poll on Monday, should have a chance of becoming ranked after their third win against a Power Five opponent.
The Hawkeyes, who had 18 turnovers in each of its past two games against No. 6 Virginia and Memphis, had only six against the Irish. ... Iowa fell to 5-11 in ACC/Big Ten Challenge games. Notre Dame is 3-1. ... The Irish improved to 8-1 vs. Big Ten opponents the past three seasons.
Notre Dame will induct former standout guard David Rivers, who led the Irish to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 1984-88, into its Ring of Honor on Jan. 21 at halftime of its game against Syracuse. Rivers is the sixth-leading all-time scorer at Notre Dame with 2,058 points. He was a first-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Lakers. He was a three-time captain for the Irish.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes return home to play Omaha and Stetson before facing rival Iowa State, which is ranked No. 19.
Notre Dame: The Irish play North Carolina A&T and Fort Wayne at home before neutral-site games against No. 2 Villanova in Newark, New Jersey, and No. 15 Purdue in Indianapolis.

Colson’s 24 points lead Notre Dame to 92-78 win over Iowa
Colson’s 24 Points Lead Notre Dame To 92-78 Win Over Iowa


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Nepal proposes Constitution amendment to meet Madhesis demands (2.05/9)

Nepal 's government has registered the Constitution amendment bill in Parliament despite opposition from CPN-UML , aimed at carving out a new province to meet the demands of agitating Madhesis and other ethnic groups whose protests last year

Nepal proposes constitution amendment to meet ethnic demands
Nepal Proposes Constitution Amendment to Meet Ethnic Demands


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Syria: Israeli jets strike outside Damascus, no casualties (2.04/9)

Syria says Israeli jets have fired two missiles from Lebanese airspace toward the outskirts of Damascus.
The official Syrian news agency, SANA, says the missiles struck the Sabboura area, west of Damascus, early Wednesday and did not cause any casualties. Citing an unnamed military source, it did not specify what the missiles struck.
Damascus residents reported on social media hearing loud explosions around 2 a.m.
The Israeli military had no comment.
Israel is widely thought to have carried out a number of airstrikes in Syria in the past few years that have targeted advanced weapons systems, including Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and Iranian-made missiles, believed to be destined for the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militant group.

Syria: Israeli warplanes fired 2 missiles from Lebanese airspace that struck near capital, no casualties
Israeli warplanes strike near Damascus, launching 4 rockets across border – reports — RT News


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Protesters Against Aussie Refugee Treatment Delay Parliament (2.04/9)

Rowdy protesters demonstrating against Australia's treatment of asylum seekers disrupted Parliament on Wednesday before security officers finally wrested them out.
Around 30 demonstrators shouting from a public gallery drowned out the House of Representatives, where lawmakers had gathered for a combative, daily 90-minute session in which opposition legislators question government ministers about their portfolios. Some protesters appeared to glue their hands to a front railing.
Speaker Tony Smith adjourned the sitting after the first question for 40 minutes while security officers regained order.
Another 20 protesters linked arms in a public area at the center of Parliament House, demanding that Australia resettle refugees who attempt to reach its shores by boat. Security officers forced them into a lift and sent them to the building's basement.
"We are here today because your policies are breaking our hearts," one protester said.
Australia has deterred refugees from coming by boat from Indonesian ports by refusing to ever resettle them. Australia sends boat arrivals to camps in the Pacific island nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea , where they face uncertain futures.
The disruption came as Parliament considers reducing public access to the building because of the security threat posed by extremists.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and other government lawmakers left the chamber during the suspension, while most of the opposition Labor Party remained throughout.
"The reason the Labor Party stayed in here today is because we will never give in to those who wish to shut this Parliament down," opposition leader Bill Shorten said when Parliament resumed. "No matter what the protest, no matter who tries it or what the issue they think it is, this is the exact opposite of democracy. "
Government Minister Christopher Pyne described the disruption as "the most serious intrusion into the Parliament" in 20 years and asked the speaker to investigate.
The Whistleblowers Activists and Citizens Alliance claimed responsibility for the protest.

Parliament House protesters GLUE their hands to the public gallery railing in Canberra
Protesters against Aussie refugee treatment delay Parliament


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Hearing over special prosecutor set in Christie bridge case (2.04/9)

HACKENSACK, N. J. (AP) — A New Jersey judge is set to hear arguments in a citizen's complaint against Republican Gov. Chris Christie in the George Washington lane-closure scandal. Superior Court Judge Bonnie Mizdol will hear arguments Wednesday over Wayne resident William Brennan's request for a special prosecutor. Brennan, a former Teaneck firefighter and attorney by training, alleged in a criminal complaint that Christie violated the state's official misconduct statute by failing to reopen the lanes to the country's busiest bridge in 2013. The Christie-appointed attorney general and Bergen County prosecutor could decide to pursue the misconduct complaint, but have recused themselves. Christie attorney Craig Carpenito said in court documents Brennan doesn't have standing to seek a special prosecutor. Christie has denied wrongdoing in the scandal and was not charged in the incident.

New Jersey Supreme Court to hear affordable housing case
Hearing Over Special Prosecutor Set in Christie Bridge Case


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Woman and two young children injured when car strikes semi-truck (2.02/9)

OTTAWA COUNTY, MI -- Police say a car drifted across the center line of 68th Avenue and crashed into a semi-truck, injuring a woman and two young children.
The woman, 43-year-old Meridith Slater of Ravenna, was taken to Spectrum Health Butterworth hospital and two young passengers in her vehicle were taken to DeVos Children's Hospital. The passengers were ages 6 and 2.
Ottawa County sheriff's deputies said Slater was driving a 2004 PT Cruiser north on 68th Avenue when the vehicle drifted across the center line about 2:55 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29.
The car collided with a southbound semi-truck.
Police said the semi-truck driver saw the car coming across the center line and was able to slow before the crash, lessening the impact.
The woman and two children were last known to be in stable condition.

No criminal charges in long-pole crash that killed Holland Christian teacher
Michigan Lottery numbers for Tuesday, Nov. 29


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Hong Kong's anti-China lawmakers lose appeal over ban (1.45/9)

Two pro-independence Hong Kong lawmakers lost their appeal Wednesday against a ban preventing them from taking up their seats in parliament as Beijing faces accusations of stepping up interference in the city's politics. Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching, deliberately misread their oaths of office, inserted expletives and draped themselves with "Hong Kong is not China" flags during a swearing-in ceremony in October. They are part of a new movement advocating a complete split from Beijing for semi-autonomous Hong Kong, as young pro-democracy campaigners grow frustrated with a lack of political reform. Beijing hit out at the publicly elected pair in a special "interpretation" of the city's constitution earlier in November that effectively prevented them from taking up their seats because of the way they took the oath. Following Beijing's protest, Hong Kong's High Court ruled the two lawmakers should be disqualified from the legislature because their oaths were invalid, in an unprecedented judicial review brought by the city's leader and justice secretary. Yau and Leung appealed, but lost out Wednesday in a judgement that took Bejiing's ruling into account, amid criticism that the separation of powers in Hong Kong has been compromised. The Court of Appeal's judgement referred to Beijing's ruling as giving the "true meaning" to the part of the constitution that requires lawmakers to take an oath of allegiance to Hong Kong as a special administrative region of China. The judgement said the court's duty to apply the city's constitution, known as the Basic Law, outweighed the doctrine of separation of powers and non-intervention. Yau and Baggio were originally offered a second chance at taking the oath by the president of the legislature, but Beijing stepped in to prevent that. Its special interpretation of the Basic Law ruled that any oath-taker who does not follow the prescribed wording of the oath, "or takes the oath in a manner which is not sincere or not solemn", should be disqualified. Wednesday's appeal judgement said there could be "no dispute" that Yau and Leung had declined to take the oath. They are now expected to take their case to the Court of Final Appeal. The judgement came as the government announced plans to take a third democratically elected lawmaker to court over her oath-taking. The department of justice said it would initiate proceedings against teacher Lau Siu-lai, a prominent activist who made her name during the city's mass pro-democracy rallies in 2014. It gave no further detail on the grounds for the case. Lau's oath was rejected during her swearing in as she read the pledge at a snail's pace, leaving long gaps between every word. She was later given a second chance to read it and was able to take up her seat.

Disqualified separatist Hong Kong lawmakers lose appeal
Hong Kong’s Separatist Lawmakers Have Lost a Legal Appeal to Keep Their Seats
China Tells Taiwan to Stay Out of Hong Kong Debate
China tells Taiwan to stay out of Hong Kong debate


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Vietnam grants amnesty to more than 4,000 prisoners (1.28/9)

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam has granted amnesty to more than 4,000 prisoners, including one sentenced to five years in jail for a national security-related crime. Giang Son, deputy chairman of the President's Office, told reporters at a joint press conference Wednesday that 4,384 inmates were granted amnesty under two directives signed by President Tran Dai Quang. "The amnesty once again reflects the policy of leniency of our party and State of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the humane tradition of our nation," Son said. They will be released from their prisons starting Thursday. One of the prisoners is Bui Xuan Kim who was jailed for national security-related crime, according to Senior Lt. Police General Nguyen Van Thanh. Kim has served three years of his sentence for organizing people to flee to neighboring Cambodia. International human rights groups, the U. S. government and some other Western governments have urged Vietnamese government to release all prisoners of conscience jailed for peacefully expressing their views, but Hanoi says only those who broke the law are locked up. Fourteen foreigners will also be released, according to Vice Foreign Minister Ha Kim Ngoc. They include nine from China, three from Laos and one each from South Korea and Australia. | Vietnam grants amnesty to more than 4 000 prisoners


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Closing Arguments Set in Trial in Black Motorist's Death (1.22/9)

After hearing from 55 witnesses during a monthlong trial, a South Carolina jury is set to hear closing arguments in the Michael Slager murder trial.
Slager is the white former North Charleston patrolman charged in the shooting death of 50-year-old Walter Scott as the black motorist ran from a traffic stop in April of last year. The shooting was captured on cellphone video.
The 35-year-old Slager could be sentenced to 30 years to life if convicted by the jury of 11 whites and one black. Closing arguments are set for Wednesday.
Circuit Judge Clifton Newman is expected to decide whether the jury will be allowed to visit the scene of the shooting before closing arguments. He says that if they do, one representative from the defense and one from the prosecution will accompany them but the visit will be closed to the media.
The defense rested its case Tuesday, during which Slager testified he felt "total fear" when Scott got control of his Taser and pointed it at him.
"I knew I was in trouble," Slager said, adding that Scott grabbed the Taser and "was extending his right arm, leaning forward and coming at me. "
Slager testified that he had pulled Scott over for a broken taillight and was planning to give him just a warning ticket. But then Scott bolted from the 1990 Mercedes he was buying from a friend.
"In my mind at that time was: People don't run for a broken taillight. There's always another reason," he testified. "I don't know why he ran. It doesn't make any sense to me. "
The prosecution has said Scott may have run because he was afraid of having to go to jail for being behind on child support.
Slager described yelling "stop" and "Taser! Taser! " as he caught up to Scott and said he fired his stun gun three times. He said Scott fell to the ground and still resisted attempts to subdue him.
"I was scared" and in "total fear that Mr. Scott didn't stop" resisting arrest, Slager said.
The video begins about that point, showing Scott breaking away from what Slager said was their confrontation over the Taser.
"At that point, I pulled my firearm and pulled the trigger," he said. "I fired until the threat was stopped, as I was trained to do. "
The video shows Slager walking back to the spot where they struggled, picking up the Taser and dropping it near Scott's body.
"I must have dropped it by Mr. Scott's body. I don't remember doing that," he said. And when asked if he was trying to plant evidence, Slager said no.
"A lot of this is fuzzy in my mind," Slager testified.
During cross-examination, prosecutor Bruce DuRant again showed the video and asked Slager if the Taser wasn't on the ground just before the shots were fired.
"At the time on April 4, I would say no. But after watching the video, I would say yes," Slager testified. "At the time of the shooting, I didn't know the Taser was behind me. "
Several of Slager's former colleagues at the North Charleston Police Department testified that Slager was an honest man and a good officer.
Joe Stephens, who retired after 24 years called Slager "even-keeled, mild-mannered" while Officer Charles Benton said Slager was known to be truthful.

Closing arguments set in trial in black motorist's death


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No Chicken, No Cafes: Egyptians Scrimp as Prices Leap (1.14/9)

Money had already been tight as food and electricity bills climbed for weeks. So Ashraf Mahrous, a 45-year-old civil servant, warned his wife, "Black days are ahead," when Egypt floated its pound and hiked fuel prices this month.
Mahrous is now looking for a side job. Rising inflation has forced him to stop eating chicken and borrow cash from friends to make ends meet. He also gave up his regular evening cafe visits and slashed his son's allowance.
"We can no longer survive on my salary," Mahrous, a father of two, said. "The situation is very, very difficult. "
Struggling to cope with price increases, some Egyptians are scrimping on meals, buying used clothes or considering moving their children to cheaper schools. Even the better off are feeling the pinch. And more price jumps are likely amid a slew of economic decisions designed to revive a battered economy, lure back investors and end a dollar crunch.
Egypt recently took what many economists say is the necessary step of floating its pound and cutting fuel subsidies as it sealed a $12 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund. The Egyptian pound quickly lost about half its value, plunging to around 18 to the dollar, in a country heavily dependent on imports ranging from food items to raw materials. With salaries remaining largely the same, nearly everyone in the already deeply impoverished country effectively had a sudden, large pay cut.
Multiple previous governments had balked at such moves for fear of stoking unrest. The devaluation came after other steps that increased prices — the introduction of a value-added tax and hike in household electricity prices.
Even before the pound plunge, inflation had stood at 13.6 percent in October. A hard currency crisis led to shortages in medicines and basic staples like sugar. Unrest and uncertainty after Egypt's 2011 uprising has hurt tourism and deterred foreign investors.
"Egyptians are in for a tough time over the next year," said Jason Tuvey, Middle East economist at Capital Economics who expects inflation to peak at more than 20 percent in the middle of next year. While the recent decisions "should ultimately lay the foundations for a period of stronger economic growth ," it will take time before such benefits can be reaped, he said.
Mohamed Abu Basha, senior economist at investment bank EFG-Hermes, said he expects inflation to average 18.5 percent in the fiscal year that ends in July 2017, reaching the highest annual average since at least 2008.
The first signs of relief aren't likely before mid-2017, he said. After that, economic recovery may start as foreign currency shortages ease and investment picks up, he said. Finance Minister Amr el-Garhy said inflation was expected to ease to around 10 percent during the second half of 2017, according to the state-run news agency.
Tuvey predicts inflation won't fall back to single digits until near the end of 2018, and it could take even longer before Egyptians see the rewards for their sacrifices in the form of more jobs and wage growth. Investors want to see more changes to improve the business environment, he said.
"Egypt has all the ingredients to become a manufacturing hub," he said. "To the extent that a weaker pound and economic reforms could spark a move in that direction, we'd certainly see job prospects stem from prospects of growth, and wages as well should pick up. "
Until then, officials have counseled patience and promised to protect the neediest. In a bid to soften the blow, the central bank raised its key interest rates by three percentage points this month and the army is handing out millions of food parcels at discounted prices.
These efforts provide little consolation to Mahrous, who said his daily transportation costs have increased after the fuel subsidy cuts. Food eats up the largest chunk of his salary of 1,300 pounds a month, he said. That leaves him straining to cover other rising expenses, like monthly fees for his son's private lessons, which went up to 175 pounds from 150.
The new costs lent added urgency to a thus-far futile search for a second job that he started after his power bill doubled a few months ago. He said he's been hoping to work as a store clerk "but shop owners are under the same pressures as us. "
So he and his wife are cutting corners.
They turned to cheaper, lower quality brands of the bread, juice and cheese they buy for their kids. They stopped buying whole chickens and have been reduced to making soup out of chicken carcasses — and even the price for that has increased lately, he said.
He blames the government for his troubles and says he'd like to see officials trim their expenses before they ask the poor to tighten the belt.
"We're being slaughtered from all directions," he said. "With the floating of the pound, we've all drowned. "
While the challenges of the poor dwarf those facing the more affluent, they too say they are increasingly feeling burdened.
Winter clothes' prices this season inspired 30-year-old Nilly Zaher to create "Women Against Price Increases," a Facebook group to sell or barter used apparel. It drew more than 900 members since it was founded more than a month ago. Already, the group has expanded to include books and electronics.
"The floating of the pound and talk of even more inflation will probably give rise to more such ideas," she said.
Osman Badran, founder and managing director of a branding agency, says his family's grocery bills have ballooned and he's had to scale back on outings. But it's his three children's education that keeps him up at night.
The pound's plunge meant that their dollar-pegged tuition at a local American school instantly doubled. Unless a deal is reached with the school, parents would have to pay the new Egyptian-pound equivalent of an average of $11,000 per year for each kid, he said. He is now looking into transferring the children.
"Inflation is higher than incomes and salary increases," he said. "The moment the price of the dollar goes up, everything else shoots up. "
To be sure, not everyone is penny-pinching and trendy street-side cafes in upscale neighborhoods like Zamalek and Heliopolis still teem with customers huddled around lattes, burgers or water pipes.
Still, inflation has prompted calls for a boycott of all purchases on Dec. 1 as some blame the hikes on the greed of merchants.
Mervat Makar, who is heeding appeals to refrain from all purchases that day, says the government must monitor prices. "We feel like we're under the mercy of the traders and their whims," she said.
Even Egypt's "food of the poor," a staple of cooked fava beans called ful, has been hit, said one vendor, Ashour Kamel. He said he can't raise prices — some regulars are already cutting back on orders — but higher costs of ingredients from oil to potatoes are chipping away at profits.
"People cannot afford stuff anymore," he said. "You want to make changes, fine, but don't slaughter us. "

No chicken, no cafes: Egyptians scrimp as prices leap


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Investigation team recover black boxes from tragic Brazil football team plane (1.12/9)

Colombian authorities are searching for answers after a charter plane carrying a football team whose Cinderella story took them to the finals of one of South America's most prestigious regional tournaments slammed into Colombia's Andes mountains, killing all but six of the 77 people on board.
The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane's crew declared an emergency and lost radar contact just before 10pm local time on Monday (3am GMT on Tuesday), according to Colombia's aviation agency. It said the plane's black boxes had been recovered and were being analysed.
The aircraft, which departed from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was carrying the Chapecoense team from southern Brazil for Wednesday's first leg of the two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin. Twenty-one Brazilian journalists were also on board.
Colombian officials initially said the plane suffered an electrical failure but there was also heavy rain at the time of the crash.
Authorities also said they were not ruling out the possibility, relayed to rescuers by a surviving flight attendant, that the plane ran out of fuel minutes before its scheduled landing at Jose Maria Cordova airport outside Medellin.
The emotional pain of Colombia's deadliest air tragedy in two decades was felt across the football world.
Expressions of grief poured in as South America's federation cancelled all scheduled matches in a show of solidarity, Real Madrid's squad interrupted its training for a minute of silence and Argentine legend Diego Maradona sent his condolences to the victims' families on Facebook.
Brazil's top teams offered to loan the small club players next season so they can rebuild following the sudden end to a fairytale season that saw Chapecoense reach the tournament final just two years after making it into the first division for the first time since the 1970s.
"It is the minimum gesture of solidarity that is within our reach," the teams said in a statement.
Sportsmanship also prevailed, with Atletico Nacional asking that the championship title be given to its rival, whose upstart run had electrified football-crazy Brazil.
Rescuers working through the night were initially heartened after pulling three people alive from the wreckage. But as the hours passed, heavy fog and stormy weather grounded helicopters and slowed efforts to reach the crash site.
At daybreak, dozens of bodies scattered across a muddy mountainside were collected into white bags. They were then loaded on to several Black Hawk helicopters that had to perform a tricky manoeuvre to land on the crest of the Andes mountains.
The plane's fuselage appeared to have broken into two, with the nose facing downward into a steep valley.
Officials initially reported 81 people were on board the flight, but later revised that to 77, saying four people on the flight manifest did not board the plane.
Three players were among the survivors. Alan Ruschel was reported in the most serious condition, facing surgery for a spinal fracture. Teammates Helio Zampier and Jakson Follmann also suffered multiple injuries, and doctors had to amputate Follmann's right leg.
A journalist also underwent surgery and two Bolivian crew members were in a stable condition, hospital officials said.
The aircraft is owned by LaMia, a charter company that started off in Venezuela but later relocated to Bolivia, where it was certified to operate last January. Despite such apparently limited experience the airline has a close relationship with several premier South American squads.
Earlier this month, the plane involved in the crash transported Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and the Argentina national team from Brazil following a World Cup qualifier match.
The airliner also appears to have transported the national squads of Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela over the last three months, according to a log of recent activity provided by
Before being taken offline, LaMia's website said it operated three 146 Avro short-haul jets made by British Aerospace, with a maximum range of around 1,600 nautical miles - about the same as the distance between Santa Cruz and Medellin.
Hans Weber, an adviser to US aviation authorities, said the air distance between cities was usually measured by the shortest route but planes rarely flew in a straight line - pilots may steer around turbulence or change course for other reasons.
Given the model of the plane and that it was flying close to capacity "I would be concerned that the pilots may have been cutting it too close", Mr Weber said.
Bolivia's civil aviation agency said the aircraft picked up the Brazilian team in Santa Cruz, where the players had arrived on a commercial flight from Sao Paulo. Spokesman Cesar Torrico said the plane underwent an inspection before departing for Colombia and reported no problems.
"We can't rule out anything. The investigation is ongoing and we're going to await the results," said Gustavo Vargas, a retired Bolivian air force general who is president of the airline.
Colombian authorities hope to interview the Bolivian flight attendant who relayed the fuel concerns on Wednesday.
Moments before the flight departed, the team's coaching staff gave an interview praising the airline, saying it brought them good fortune when it flew them to Colombia last month for the championship's quarter-finals, which they won.
The team, from the small Brazilian agro-industrial city of Chapeco, was in the midst of a breakout season advancing last week to the Copa Sudamericana finals after defeating some of the region's top sides, including Argentina's San Lorenzo and Independiente, as well as Colombia's Junior.
Chapecoense were so modest that tournament organisers ruled its 22,000-seat arena was too small to host the final match, which was moved to a stadium 300 miles to the north, in the city of Curitiba.
The team won over fans across Brazil with its spectacular run, with some even taking up a campaign online to move the final match to Rio de Janeiro's iconic Maracana stadium, where the 2014 World Cup finals were played.

Colombia plane crash: 71 dead on Brazil soccer team's charter flight


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Brief lapse proves costly for MSU in loss to Duke (1.12/9)

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But as it has been in several of the Spartans’ losses early in the season, playing a full 40 minutes has eluded them, and at Cameron Indoor Stadium against No. 5 Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, it was a roughly two-minute stretch that determined the outcome.
With game tied at 48, the Blue Devils rattled off 11 straight to take control of a tightly contested battle and hold on for the 78-69 victory.
BOX SCORE: No. 5 Duke 78, Michigan State 69
“I thought we played probably 33, 34 minutes of good basketball,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “But you’re not beating good teams, especially on the road. I should say great team because I think they’ve got a great team. You’re not beating a great team on the road if you don’t play all 40 minutes and that has been a problem for us, so we have to go back to work.”
Michigan State (4-4) was confident coming into the game of a third-place finish last week in the Bahamas at the Battle 4 Atlantis, and it showed early on as the teams were tied at 35 at halftime and went back and forth for the first seven minutes of the second half.
But the persistent problem with turnovers crept up with 18 for the game and 10 in the second half as Duke took advantage with 19 points on those turnovers.
“Those turnovers that lead to layups have been a problem,” Izzo said. “But they’re going to continue to be a problem until we get more disciplined with the ball. There’s too much AAU ball out there and not enough college ball.”
That sort of play led to a tough night for freshman Miles Bridges, who scored 11 points and had nine rebounds but was just 4-for-13 shooting.
“It’s the whole team but got to step up, too,” Bridges said. “I was nonexistent for the whole game, couldn’t get anything going. So just the whole team has got to stay focused.”
Spartans emerge from rugged month fortified for season
Eron Harris was Michigan State’s best offensive weapon for much of the night, scoring 14 points while Nick Ward added 11 and Kenny Goins chipped in 10.
Grayson Allen scored 24 to lead Duke (7-1), whose only loss this season came to Kansas in the Champions Classic. Luke Kennard added 20 points for the Blue Devils while Amile Jefferson scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Frank Jackson chipped in 11.
“We did a lot of things that were pretty good,” Izzo said. “We rebounded decent, did decent job of defending without fouling too much. I thought we did a decent job defensively. I did not think our offense, other than the fast break, was very good. Just got a lot of standing around, no movement. All in all, Duke has got a very good team.”
The game was tight until midway through the second half. Tied at 48 after a fast-break layup from Cassius Winston, things started to go in the wrong direction for the Spartans. Allen converted a three-point play followed by a running layup from Jackson.
It got worse when a Ward put-back dunk was waved off and Jackson dashed in for another layup followed by a Michigan State turnover and a Kennard jumper to give the Blue Devils a 57-48 lead with 12:10 to play before a pair of Allen free throws pushed the run to 11-0.
Michigan State started to trim into the deficit and cut it to 59-53, but a turnover from Bridges led to a Jackson 3-pointer that pushed the lead back to nine. And following another 3-pointer from Kennard, the Blue Devils took their biggest lead at 67-55 with 7:08 to play.
Michigan State cut the lead to 77-69 in the final minute, but it wasn’t enough for a comeback.
“We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball,” guard Lourawls Nairn said. “A lot of unforced turnovers. We’ve got do a better job of taking care of the ball. We played a lot of minutes well. The next step is to put 40 minutes together. That will make us a better team.”
Through the first half, there was good reason for the Spartans to be feeling good as they were tied with the Blue Devils, 35-35. While Bridges was contained for the most part with six points, Michigan State got eight points from Harris while Ward scored six. The Spartans were having trouble corralling Jefferson as the 6-foot-9 senior had 11 points and seven rebounds. Kennard and Allen added eight points each for the Blue Devils.
Michigan State returns home on Saturday to host Oral Roberts at 4:30 p.m. It’s the first home game since hosting Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 20.

MSU's Lourawls Nairn on turnovers
MSU's Miles Bridges on losing focus
Undermanned Blue Devils handle Michigan State 78-69
MSU coach Tom Izzo on loss to Duke
Turnovers cost MSU in loss to No. 5 Duke
Defensive lapses, rebounding costly in NC State’s 88-74 loss at Illinois


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Trump tapping Washington, Wall Street veterans for top jobs (1.11/9)

President-elect Donald Trump is tapping conservatives with deep ties to Washington and Wall Street to fill out key Cabinet roles as he continues to deliberate over his secretary of state.
Trump was moving forward with nominations, including former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as secretary of the Treasury.
Mnuchin's official announcement was expected as early as Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the decision who insisted on anonymity in order to confirm the pick ahead of time.
Trump on Tuesday chose Georgia Rep. Tom Price to oversee the nation's health care system, picking a fierce "Obamacare" critic who has championed efforts to privatize Medicare. And he selected another veteran Republican, Elaine Chao, a former labor secretary and the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to head the Department of Transportation.
Mnuchin, 53, led Trump's finance operations during the presidential campaign and became close to the president-elect and his family. But he has no government experience, which could prove a hurdle in navigating the tricky politics of Washington.
If confirmed by the Senate, Mnuchin would play a central role in shaping Trump's tax policies and infrastructure plans. He would also lead an agency tasked with implementing international economic sanctions.
Mnuchin is expected to be joined on Trump's senior economic team by another financier, Wilbur Ross. The billionaire investor is considered the "king of bankruptcy" for buying beaten-down companies with the potential to deliver profits.
Trump dined on frog legs and scallops with 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Manhattan Tuesday night. After the elegant meal, the former Massachusetts governor — once a vocal critic — praised Trump for succeeding where he had failed, saying the president-elect offers a "message of inclusion and bringing people together. "
The meeting — their second in-person session — came as Trump is publicly weighing several options for secretary of state, including Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and former CIA director David Petraeus.
Trump said on Twitter that he and Vice President-elect Mike Pence will travel to Indiana on Thursday for an event with Carrier, the air-conditioning company. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly used news of Carrier's plans to move some business to Mexico as criticism of Democratic trade policies. Carrier tweeted, "We are pleased to have reached a deal with President-elect Trump & VP-elect Pence to keep close to 1,000 jobs in Indy. "
Price, picked to lead the Department of Health and Human Services after more than a decade in Congress, helped craft House Speaker Paul Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare — a position Trump opposed in the campaign.
Price's selection raised questions about the incoming president's commitment to Medicare, among other popular entitlement programs he repeatedly vowed to preserve before the election. The Georgia congressman led GOP efforts on Capitol Hill to transform Medicare into a voucher-like system, a change that if enacted, would likely dramatically reduce government spending on the health care program that serves an estimated 57 million people.
Trump, in a 2015 interview promoted on his campaign website, pledged not to cut expensive entitlement programs that Republicans have fought for years to cut to help reduce the federal deficit.
He later changed his mind on Medicaid, embracing the GOP concept of turning the program over to the states with a fixed amount of federal "block grant" funding.
Like Price, Chao is well-known in Washington. She was the first Asian-American woman to serve in a president's Cabinet, as labor secretary under George W. Bush.
Her record in that post suggests she would bring a light hand to safety enforcement as transportation secretary. Under Chao at Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration didn't issue a single significant new safety regulation for four years. Mine safety inspectors were cut and inspections reduced.
Mnuchin, Price and Chao would require Senate confirmation.
Transition aides said Trump was likely at least a few days away from a decision on secretary of state.

Early Returns
Trump tapping Washington, Wall Street veterans for top jobs
AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EST


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Islamic State claims Ohio State University attacker was ‘soldier’ (1.11/9)

COLUMBUS — The official news agency of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria labeled the Ohio State University student who smashed his car into a crowd and then slashed at people with a butcher knife a “soldier” of the militant group, according to an organization that monitors extremists.
On Tuesday, the Amaq News Agency, which is linked to IS, also said that the attack — which has renewed calls for concealed carry on campuses — was carried out in response to the group’s “calls to target citizens,” the same language used when the group claimed credit for the Minnesota mall stabbings in September.
The posting does not necessarily mean that Abdul Razak Ali Artan acted at the behest of the terror group, which often claims responsibility for attacks in which it had no actual involvement, said Rita Katz, executive director of the SITE Intelligence Group.
One of Artan’s victims on campus was not ready to rush to judgment Tuesday.
“He was from Somalia. He was an OSU student,” William Clark, professor emeritus in Ohio State's College of Engineering, said.
Mr. Clark suffered deep lacerations above his right ankle and severe bruising on his left leg when he was struck Monday by the car that Artan intentionally ran into a crowd on campus.
“Having been a faculty member for 35 years, I'm only too aware of the things that drive students to do things that they ordinarily wouldn't do,” he said.
Artan had, in a previous interview with the Ohio State newspaper The Lantern, complained about the difficulty of being able to perform his daily prayers on campus.
“I would like to see what all circumstances are that led to him to doing this, whether it's an implication of stresses at school or colleagues,” Mr. Clark said at a news briefing on campus.
“He just graduated from Columbus State [Community College] in the summer or spring,” he said. “The picture of his graduation shows a jubilant young man. To do this just four or five months later, yes, I would be very interested in all the circumstances.”
But Mr. Clark’s comments came as The Associated Press reported that Artan had railed on Facebook against U. S. interference in Muslim lands and warned, “If you want us Muslims to stop carrying lone wolf attacks, then make peace” with the Islamic State group.
He also reportedly said that “seeing my fellow Muslims being tortured, raped and killed in Burma led to a boiling point. I can’t take it anymore.”
Mr. Clark was among those waiting for the all-clear to return to a campus building on West 19th Street on Monday morning following a gas leak when the car operated by Artan roared into the crowd on the sidewalk.
“As I was walking, I suddenly heard a shout and this tremendous crash,” he said. “[The car] came onto the curb and hit one of those large concrete planters. It bounced off, and that did enough damage to stop the car. … As it was stopping, it clipped the back of my right leg, and it basically flipped me in the air and I landed on the concrete.”
He didn't see Artan exit the car from the opposite side or the butcher knife that he used to stab and slice at others. He didn’t hear the attacker say anything, but he heard the screams from those around him and then the shots that killed Artan.
Mr. Clark got to his feet and headed for the building. He didn't realize until later when he saw a trail of bloody footprints on a hallway floor that he’d been injured.
Artan was shot and killed by campus police Officer Alan Horujko, 28, an Ohio State alumnus who joined the campus force less than two years ago. He is currently on paid administrative leave, a routine occurrence in officer-involved shootings.
“If he was here, I'd put my arm around him, and tell him he's got a lot to cope with,” Mr. Clark said. “He's got to live with this for the rest of his life. He did the right thing. … It's my understanding [Artan] was challenged three times to put the knife down.”
Eleven people were injured, mostly by being struck by the car or cut by the knife. All but three have been released from hospitals.
University officials refused to discuss how one of those injured had apparently been shot in the foot. That patient is among those who already have been released.
The hospitals and university have cited various laws in not identifying the majority of victims.
The United Muslim Association of Toledo issued a statement in reaction to the attack.
“In no uncertain terms we condemn this act of inhumanity,” it stated. “We are very sad and disappointed that innocent students were targeted. This is contrary to the teaching of our faith. We wish for a thorough and unbiased investigation in this matter. The Muslim community stands firmly behind the victims in offering our support and prayers.
“Many students from our community are enrolled at Ohio State and we wish for their safety and the safety of the whole Ohio State community,” the statement said.
Monday’s attack has renewed calls to allow students to carry concealed handguns on public college campuses.
Current law prohibits such weapons on campuses, but the state Senate is expected this week to consider a bill in lame-duck session to allow schools to decide for themselves whether to allow those with concealed-carry permits to carry on campus.
Even on campuses where the bans would remain in place, a violation would be reduced to a minor misdemeanor, eliminating the risk of jail time if the offender proves within 10 days that he has a legal permit to carry.
“Fortunately, an OSU police officer was close by and able to shoot and kill the suspect to stop the attack,” said Jim Irvine, president of the Buckeye Firearms Association. “But even so, those being attacked were unable to defend themselves effectively because Ohio law forbids carrying a concealed handgun on school campuses, even if school authorities may be willing to allow it.”
Toby Hoover, founder of Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, said she knew it would not be long before people began to connect the Ohio State attack with gun rights.
“If five people in that same building were armed, when plain-clothed people drew guns, how would you know who the good guys were?” she asked. “It would become chaos. These people are not police. They don’t know how to make decisions, and they don’t know each other.”
House Bill 48, sponsored by Republican Rep. Ron Maag, already passed the House by a vote of 68-29 with Republicans generally favoring it and Democrats opposing it. The Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee was already scheduled this week to hold lame-duck session hearings, consider amendments on the bill, and send it to the full Senate.
The Block News Alliance consists of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio. Jim Provance is a reporter for The Blade. Associated Press and The Washington Post contributed.

Vigil Held for Victims of Ohio State Attack
Islamic State claims responsibility for Ohio University attack


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Hidden Explosive Kills Soldier in Restive Southern Thailand (1.10/9)

Police say a soldier has been killed by an explosive device near an army checkpoint in southern Thailand.
They say the blast on Wednesday left three other soldiers injured. It is the latest violence in a long-simmering insurgency by Muslim separatists who have been fighting for autonomy in Buddhist-majority Thailand's southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat. The three provinces have big Muslim populations.
Lt. Col. Chinnawat Vejthayakorn, the deputy police chief of Yala province, said six soldiers were patrolling a riverfront on motorcycles when an improvised explosive device was remotely detonated as they rode passed an army checkpoint.
Over 6,500 people have been killed in the separatist insurgency, which began in 2004.

Hidden explosive kills soldier in restive southern Thailand


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What Castro funeral RSVPs say about the world (1.10/9)

So, who's coming?
The official guest list goes on for 20 pages, with a varied group of VIPs such as former Spanish King Juan Carlos I, a vice president of the North Korean worker's party and left-leaning actor Danny Glover.
Castro's wife and children, whose existence for years was a state secret, could make a rare appearance. Castro's long-estranged sister Juanita Castro said she would not be leaving exile in Miami to attend the funeral.
Nearly every Latin American head of state will be on hand, though.
The arrival of left-leaning presidents of Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela is no surprise and in fact speaks to how much the world has changed since Fidel Castro took power in 1959.
Shortly after the Cuban revolution, every country in the Western Hemisphere except Mexico broke relations with Cuba, alarmed at Castro's growing alliance with the Soviet Union.
But thanks to a recent boom in leftist governments -- some Castro helped to install, like that of Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega -- the region is now chock-full of Cuba allies.
Many observers will be watching for the interaction between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and Raul Castro. Since late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez began to copy Cuba's socialist and fiercely anti-US government style, Cuba and Venezuela have all but melded into one country.
But with oil prices plummeting, Venezuela has been forced to cut precious oil subsidies to Cuba, leading many to wonder if the Venezuela-Cuba love affair is on the rocks.
Both Colombian government officials and their longtime adversaries the FARC guerrillas are attending. That speaks volumes about how Cuba has changed its role in world affairs.
For decades, Cuba supported the Marxist guerrillas in their attempt to topple Colombia's government, earning the island until 2015 a spot on the US State Department's list of countries that support terrorism.
Opinion: Why to some, Fidel Castro embodied hope
But for the last four years Cuba hosted Colombian peace talks that in November led to a deal between Colombia's government and guerrillas , a big turnaround from the early years, when an isolated Fidel Castro tried to spread his revolution to other countries at the point of a gun.
For decades Cuba was a beacon for would-be revolutionaries and even provided military training to dozens of radical groups, who are sending representatives to pay their respects to the fallen Castro.
CNN's Nic Robertson caught up with Gerry Adams, the former leader of Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, as he stood in the massive line of people in Havana's Revolution Square .
"I'm here because Fidel was a good friend to Ireland," Adams said.
Castro was also "a good friend" to revolutions across Africa. On Tuesday, Zimbabwe's ailing President Robert Mugabe arrived to attend the memorial to Castro.
"Fidel wasn't just your leader, Fidel was the leader of all revolutionaries," Mugabe told Cuban state TV upon arriving at Havana's Jose Martí Airport.
But leaders of the United States and Russia, the two countries that most defined Cuba's international relations, will be conspicuously absent during the memorials.
Despite having made history by restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba and carrying out the first visit to Cuba since the revolution by a US president, Barack Obama will skip Castro's funeral.
What's next for Cuba under Raul Castro?
Obama did not meet with Castro during his landmark trip and the former Cuban leader later attacked him for his Cuba policy.
The US Embassy in Havana is one of the few diplomatic missions in the Cuban capital that has not lowered its flag to half-staff to mark Castro's death.
President-elect Trump has slammed Obama's policy and promised a tougher line on Cuba .
"If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the US as a whole, I will terminate deal," Trump tweeted on Sunday.
While Russia is sending a delegation to Cuba, Vladimir Putin, who met with Castro during his last visit to Cuba in 2015 and promised closer relations with the former USSR's close ally, is not scheduled to travel to the island.
There has been no explanation for Putin's absence, but it may well be that the Russian President is prioritizing the possibility of better relations with the incoming Trump administration over Russia's past ties with an old comrade.

World leaders bid farewell to Fidel Castro


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NHL roundup: Jack Eichel returns, helps Sabres win 5-4 (1.08/9)

OTTAWA, Ontario — Jack Eichel had a goal and an assist in his season debut as the Buffalo Sabres beat the Ottawa Senators 5-4 on Tuesday night.
Ryan O’Reilly scored twice for Buffalo (8-9-5), and Kyle Okposo and Sam Reinhart also scored. Robin Lehner started and gave up one goal on six shots before leaving late in the first period. Anders Nilsson replaced him and stopped 26 shots.
Mike Hoffman had three goals and an assist for the Senators.
Eichel had missed the first 21 games after spraining his left ankle before the Sabres’ season opener.
Rick Nash had a goal and an assist, Nick Holden also scored and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 19 shots to help the Rangers snap a four-game skid at home.
The Blue Jackets are 8-1-1 in their last 10 home games.
Panik also scored in regulation and Corey Crawford made 38 saves.
Florida returned to the ice for the first time since Coach Gerard Gallant was fired after a 3-2 loss at Carolina on Sunday night.
Moen helped the Anaheim Ducks win the Stanley Cup in 2007. He also played for Chicago, San Jose and Montreal.
He reached the playoffs with the Stars in his final season. Moen was bothered by a broken wrist and lower-body injuries last season.
Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form
Send questions/comments to the editors.

Eichel has 2 points in season debut, Sabres beat Senators


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High school girls basketball: Mountain View mauls Brighton 82-45 (1.07/9)

OREM — Second-year Mountain View girls basketball coach Alexis Kaufusi has big plans for her program, and if the Bruins' 82-45 win over Brighton on Tuesday is any indication, those big things may well be in store.
Paced by balanced scoring, a healthy pace and precise offensive execution, the Bruins put it to the Bengals early and often. Tahlia White led the way with a team-high 20 points, with Lavender Briggs and Skye Lindsay adding 18 and 15 points, respectively.
"I'm really proud of how we played tonight because Brighton is a 5A team and a very good team," Kaufusi said. "The girls came out and played hard, and I think last year we were completely underrated. So I wanted the girls to come out and prove that we're here — we're going to be a top team. "
The Bruins battled to the quarterfinal round of last year's 4A playoffs before losing to eventual champion Bountiful. This year, they return several players and have started the season with two wins over top 5A programs, having defeated Pleasant Grove 44-42 in the season-opener last Tuesday.
As its game against Brighton, Mountain View jumped out early — earning a big 18-4 lead after one quarter. It then maintained that lead throughout the second quarter, entering the break up 34-20.
The second half saw the Bruins start off much like they did the first — starting off with a 12-2 run at the start of the third quarter en route to a commanding 60-37 lead at the start of the fourth.
"I liked how we shared the ball and how we got so many players involved," Kaufusi said. "We have so many threats — along with (Briggs) and Tahlia (White) — so it makes our expectations high this year, and I think you saw what we're capable of tonight. "
Kaufusi believes that Tuesday's impressive 82-point output could largely become the rule with her team, rather than the exception, moving forward.
"Our goal is 70 every game, so over 80 isn't that far away from that," she said. "And then we want to hold opponents under 50, like we did tonight. Obviously if you do those things, then you'll see a lot of success. "
Success is something Mountain View has seen a lot of in its storied past — a history that includes several state championships and even a national championship. It's the type of success Kaufusi believes the program can see again.
"I'm constantly reminding our girls of what this program has been, and I think we all know that we're capable of seeing a lot of that same success," she said. "We feel we're going to do some great things here starting this year, so we're definitely feeling great after the performance we had tonight. "
With the win, Mountain View improves to 2-0 on the year and will next take on Olympus. Brighton falls to 0-2 with the loss and will travel north to take on two teams from Idaho this weekend.
Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

Tuesday’s Boys High School Basketball Summaries
Tuesday’s Girls High School Basketball Summaries


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French composer detained in Moscow in plagiarism row (1.05/9)

French composer detained in Moscow in plagiarism row Associated Press - 30 November 2016 03:11-05:00 News Topics: Arts and entertainment, General news, Music, Entertainment, Extortion and threats, Pop music, Crime People, Places and Companies: Moscow, Russia Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Islamic extremist mole in German intel agency a recent hire
Official: blazing dormitory's fire door was probably locked
Protesters against Aussie refugee treatment delay Parliament
Indonesians join thousands of soldiers, police at rallies
How it works: Impeaching a South Korean president
Moise says he's ready for tests facing Haiti's next leader


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Are you voting in Austria's presidential elections? (1.05/9)

Austrians will vote in a rerun of the country’s presidential elections this Sunday, in a race between the far-right candidate Norbert Hofer of the Freedom Party and Alexander Van der Bellen, the former head of the Austrian Green party.
Hofer lost by the narrowest of margins in May – just 31,000 votes – to Van der Bellen but a recount, backed by Hofer’s party, found counting irregularities and the vote was annulled. A further hiccup – the adhesive seals on the postal votes was found to be faulty – delayed the rerun by two months.
While the role of president is largely ceremonial, analysts say that if Hofer wins it could bring about early parliamentary elections.
If you’re voting in the presidential elections this weekend, we’d like you to share your thoughts and hopes with us. You can fill in the form below and we’ll use a selection of responses in our reporting.

Wisconsin judge refuses to order recount of state's presidential vote by hand


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Aptuit anuncia la expansión de su biblioteca de compuestos (1.05/9)

02:00 ET
Preview: Aptuit gibt Ausweitung seiner Substanzbibliothek bekannt
Nov 28, 2016, 08:00 ET
Preview: Aptuit Names Peter Gray as the New Chairman of Aptuit Holdings, LLC

Aptuit gibt Ausweitung seiner Substanzbibliothek bekannt
Aptuit annonce l’extension de sa chimiothèque
Global Sources wins eighth consecutive Gold Award in The Asset Triple A Awards 2016
Evolent Health, Inc. Announces Pricing of $110.0 Million of Convertible Senior Notes Due 2021


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Deadly, destructive wildfires ravage Tennessee tourism town (1.04/9)

In the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, a Tennessee tourist mecca emerged from the smoke, charred and vacant after a swift-moving wildfire. Many buildings were burned to their foundations. ...

Deadly wildfire near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park killed some people in Tennessee
Three reported dead as wildfires rage in Tennessee, US
Tenn. Residents Flee From Deadly Wildfires


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Glamourous protesters pose moodily outside Parliament House (1.04/9)

It was hard to tell whether it was Canberra or Milan after the angry protest at Parliament House when some protesters posed moodily as if they just walked off a catwalk. The female protesters, dressed fashionably with a nonchalant look on their faces, stared into the distance in the aftermath of the protest. They pouted sulkily in the direction of photographers who couldn't get enough of their look, although if they are to have a career in modelling they'll have to put a bit more effort into it. Angry protesters earlier glued their hands to the rails at Parliament House as they chanted from the public gallery in support of asylum seekers. Speaker Tony Smith suspended the session after a group of up to 30 protesters disrupted the parliamentary question time in Canberra on Wednesday. Security officers had to use hand sanitiser in an effort to peel the protester's glued hands off the rails after they struggled to contain or remove them. Dramatic scenes erupted as protesters claimed detention on Nauru and Manus Island represented a 'state of emergency', as asylum seekers continued to be abused. 'We are here today because your policies are breaking our hearts, because every day on Manus and Christmas Island is another day in hell,' one of the protesters said. Liberal MP Christopher Pyne has described the riot as the most serious intrusion to the House 'since the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) organized an invasion of parliament in 1996'. The protesters linked arms, yelled chants, including 'close the camps now' and 'this is a state of emergency'. Most government MPs, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, left the chamber during the protest but Labor leader Bill Shorten remained. 'This is the exact opposition of democracy', Mr Shorten said. A group called Whistleblowers, Activists and Citizens Alliance has claimed credit on Twitter for the protest.

Parliament House protesters GLUE their hands to the public gallery railing in Canberra
Greens' Adam Bandt PRAISES protesters who glued their hands to Parliament House


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Italy referendum: all you need to know about Renzi's crunch vote (1.04/9)

I talians are voting in a referendum on 4 December that is getting a lot of attention and causing concern across Europe. The vote could lead to the resignation of the prime minister, Matteo Renzi, and, some argue, even jeopardise the euro. So what exactly is it all about?
A series of major changes to the Italian political system. These reforms, which affect a third of the Italian constitution, have already been approved by parliament but by a slim margin, thus requiring that they also be passed by referendum.
Under the current system, which was created under Italy’s 1948 constitution, there are two chambers of parliament with directly elected lawmakers, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. Both chambers have equal power – it’s known as “perfect bicameralism” – and both must agree on legislation before it is passed. This means, put simply, that it can take a very long time for things to get done. For example, a law to give children born out of wedlock the same rights as children of married couples took nearly 1,300 days to be approved.
Under the proposed reforms, the Senate would lose almost all its power – the number of senators would be reduced from 315 to 100, and the remaining senators would no longer be elected directly. Instead, the 100 would be made up of lawmakers selected by regional assemblies. Some mayors would also serve as senators.
If the yes campaign wins and the reform is passed , it would mean that most laws could be passed, including Italy’s budget, by the Chamber of Deputies without consultating the Senate, arguably making the whole process of passing laws a lot easier. The Senate would only have the power to weigh in on big items such as other constitutional reforms and the ratification of EU treaties.
It is, which is why the latest polls – before a blackout was imposed ahead of the vote – showed about a quarter of Italians were undecided. Renzi has said that these voters will determine the referendum.
No. Italy is not voting to leave the eurozone or the EU. But there could still be far-reaching implications. First, if the no campaign wins, Renzi has said he will resign. He came into power promising to be a reformer, to drag Italy “out of the swamp” and build a strong centre-left majority, so his loss would be seen as a big blow to people who think his defeat is a rejection of his agenda.
It would also be seen, much like Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, as a victory of populist forces over an establishment party, although the reality – see below – is more complicated. If the no campaign won and Renzi resigned, a new caretaker government would probably take over and new elections could be held as soon as next year.
One reason some observers think this vote is such a big deal is because it could open the door to the election of the Five Star Movement (M5S), a populist, anti-establishment party that has said in the past it wants to call a referendum on the euro.
But even if the M5S took over Palazzo Chigi, it would not mean Italy abandoning the euro anytime soon. Doing that would require a constitutional amendment and another referendum. Euroscepticism is definitely on the rise in Italy , but there is no overwhelming political consensus against the single currency right now.
Good question. For some people, it really is about the constitution and whether these reforms are a good or bad idea.
But for most people, it’s a plebiscite on the prime minister: whether he has done a good job or not. Renzi enjoyed high approval ratings when he first came into power in 2014, but voters are generally frustrated with him for a bunch of reasons, including high unemployment and concerns about the migration crisis. Voting against the referendum has become synonymous with sticking two fingers up at Rome.
The yes camp is led by Renzi and most of his backers in the Democratic party, although there have been some high-level defections.
Big business interests, including the lobby group Confindustria, support the reforms because they think it will make Italy more stable and help the government pass legislation that they argue is necessary but may not be popular, including tax and labour reforms. Investors generally support the reform because they see the referendum as a test of whether Italy is capable of change.
Everyone else, although their reasons vary. Some, but not all, constitutional experts believe the changes are essentially a power grab that will make Renzi, or whoever is sitting in Palazzo Chigi, much more powerful. They argue that the changes would obliterate the delicate balance of power that was designed in 1948 by people who had witnessed the rise of fascism.
All of Renzi’s political opponents on the left and the right are aligned against the constitutional reforms, in large part because they want to force his resignation. Of these, the most vocal critic is the M5S, led by Beppe Grillo, who is essentially arguing for the parliamentary structure to stay as it is.
Yes. One of the ironies of the referendum is that Renzi, who is seeking to change the current system and put more than 200 senators out of work, is seen as the “establishment”, while the populist and anti-establishment parties are defending the status quo.
If the no campaign wins, it will definitely be a defeat for Renzi and a win for Grillo. But it’s more complicated than that. A no victory would – for reasons we won’t get into – force the current government to make a change to a totally separate electoral law. This, in turn, means that if M5S were to win the next election it would probably only get to take a proportionate number of seats in parliament. Under the rules today, the winner takes the majority.
In other words, a no victory could hamper the M5S from assuming power in the future, even though it would be a big win in the short term.
If Renzi loses the vote, he would most likely step down as prime minister. But he has indicated he would stay on as head of the Democratic party, which is still the largest party, so he would still have a lot of influence over what happens next.
Most likely, in the words of Teneo Intelligence analyst Wolfango Piccoli, the political crisis that would ensue after Renzi’s loss would be short-lived. A caretaker government, possibly led by current finance minister Pier Carlo Padoan as prime minister , or culture minister Dario Franceschini, would be created with the help of Sergio Mattarella, the Italian president.
The next challenge would be the fight to win the next election, which could be held as soon as next spring or, at the latest, early 2018. Renzi is a tough politician and would fight to get back into Palazzo Chigi.
No. But almost all of the available polls show Renzi is behind and the country seems to be fed up with him. You never know, though: a whole host of factors, including a simmering scandal in Sicily about M5S, could diminish turnout for no and hand Renzi a victory. He could also get overwhelming support from up to 4 million Italian voters abroad, which could tip the scales in his favour in a close election. It just seems unlikely.
There is a strong chance M5S could win based on current polls, but it is not a certainty. The party’s lack of experience could give Italians pause. One senator, Francesco Palermo, thinks that whoever wins – including M5S – will be far to the right of Renzi, putting much more pressure on Italy’s relationship with the EU, and probably leading to big changes in the country’s handling of the migration crisis.
There is increasing alarm that the political upheaval created by a potential no victory would disrupt plans to recapitalise Italy’s most troubled banks , including Banca Monte dei Paschi of Siena. Shares in Italy’s beleaguered banking sector are down more than 20% since Brexit, in large part because investors are worried about the outcome.
Asked about the concerns this week, finance minister Padoan acknowledged that uncertainty was bad for Italy’s economy but said each of the country’s troubled banks was being dealt with on an individual basis.

Editorial: Italy’s Turn to Vote


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Steven Mnuchin, Expected Treasury Pick, Is an Outsider to Public Policy (1.04/9)

Steven Mnuchin started his career as a trader.
He now appears to have made the political trade of a lifetime: His early pledge of loyalty to the campaign of President-elect Donald Trump has landed him the job of secretary of the Treasury. The position is expected to be announced on Wednesday, people close to the transition said.
Up until the last several weeks, Mr. Mnuchin — an entrepreneur, a Wall Street investor and a Hollywood producer — would have appeared an unlikely choice for the position made famous by Alexander Hamilton. Over his business career, he was never particularly involved in politics, nor did he publicly express an interest in public policy. He never ran a large organization or showed himself to be an accomplished economist.
With his appointment to the Treasury, Mr. Mnuchin would be sidestepping — or passing over — the more conventional paths to having his signature on United States currency and an office neighboring the White House.
On the surface, all of that may make Mr. Mnuchin an outsider of sorts. But he is very much a part of the firmament of the finance world, even if he never reached the corner office of one of Wall Street’s top firms.
He started his career at Goldman Sachs, where his father, Robert, was a legendary trader. He then worked for his Yale roommate, the hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert, who runs Sears Holdings, and later for George Soros, before striking out on his own — with the backing of Mr. Soros — to start Dune Capital Management.
He has spent much of the last decade on the West Coast, where his firm bought IndyMac , a bankrupt housing lender, in 2009 from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and rebuilt it under the name OneWest before selling it for an enormous profit to the CIT Group in 2015.
Along the way, he also developed a side business as a financier of many Hollywood hits. His name regularly appears in the credits of films. Just in the past year, he produced “Sully,” “Storks,” “The Legend of Tarzan” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Mr. Mnuchin is known as a smart, hard-working, talented executive. Henry M. Paulson Jr., the former Treasury secretary who was critical of Mr. Trump during the campaign, was very complimentary of Mr. Mnuchin’s performance at Goldman Sachs.
“I think Steven Mnuchin would be an excellent choice for Treasury secretary,” Mr. Paulson said on Tuesday evening. “He is very talented, has a deep understanding of finance and markets, he knows how to bring people together to get things done, and — importantly — he has a working relationship with and the confidence of the president-elect.”
That confidence and loyalty appear to be what clinched the role for Mr. Mnuchin. Unlike several Trump insiders who have publicly campaigned for jobs, Mr. Mnuchin has remained relatively behind the scenes and never seemed to seek the spotlight.
While Mr. Mnuchin, who served as the Trump campaign’s national finance chairman, was always considered the probable pick for the Treasury, Mr. Trump spent the last two weeks considering others. The most prominent was Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive. Others on the shortlist included David McCormick, president of the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates and the former under secretary of the Treasury for international affairs, according to people involved in the process.
It is hard to discern what policies Mr. Mnuchin will seek to enact beyond those espoused by Mr. Trump. Like the president-elect, he has talked about lowering taxes and lifting regulations, but mostly without describing specifics.
While Mr. Mnuchin’s deepest relationships are with hedge fund managers, investors and big names in Hollywood — less so among the chief executives of the biggest banks and multinational companies — he is expected to be welcomed as what one former colleague described as one of the adults in the administration that the industry will feel it can work with.
Still, he is expected to face a steep learning curve when it comes to working on international trade, where he doesn’t have much previous experience. And even though he both an insider and an outsider, some of Mr. Trump’s supporters and critics may see him as too much of the former.
Mr. Trump criticized Goldman Sachs, Mr. Mnuchin’s former employer, during the campaign, as well as Hillary Clinton for giving paid speeches to the bank.
But anyone looking for hints about Mr. Mnuchin’s ideology may be disappointed: His friends say he is not ideological and that, if anything, his ideology is simply his ambition.
When Mr. Mnuchin decided to back Mr. Trump — much to the horror of some of his friends and peers — he explained it to Bloomberg Businessweek the way a trader would: “Nobody’s going to be like, ‘Well, why did he do this?’ if I end up in the administration.”

Trump expected to name former Goldman banker Mnuchin for Treasury


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Global stocks gain ahead of OPEC meeting (1.03/9)

Global stocks were modestly higher Wednesday, as investors awaited the results of a key meeting of oil producing nations.
KEEPING SCORE: France's CAC 40 gained 0.2 percent to 4,561.55. Germany's DAX edged up 0.2 percent to 10,646.32. Britain's FTSE 100 inched up 0.1 percent at 6,780.37. U. S. shares were set to drift higher with Dow and S&P 500 futures up about 0.1 percent.
OIL WATCH: Oil rebounded despite mounting skepticism that oil producers will reach agreement on curbing output, which could put a floor on prices. Benchmark U. S. crude added 73 cents to $45.96 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose $1.66 to $48.98 a barrel in London in volatile trading.
THE QUOTE: "All eyes will be on Vienna today with Iran and Iraq both digging their respective heels in on production caps. Failure to come up with a viable solution will see oil much lower tomorrow," said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA.
JAPAN ECONOMY: Japan's benchmark was flat after the government reported that industrial production rose 0.1 percent from the month before in October, down from 0.6 percent in September and 1.3 percent in August. Economists said the data showed growth was sustained, but below par.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 was flat, finishing at 18,308.48, and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.3 percent to 5,440.50. South Korea's Kospi gained 0.3 percent at 1,983.48 and India's Sensex gained 0.5 percent to 26,536.49. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.2 percent to 22,789.77, while the Shanghai Composite slipped 1 percent to 3,250.03 on talk regulators might crack down on overseas investments. Shares were higher in Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 112.79 yen from 112.20 yen. The euro rose to $1.0640 from $1.0592.

Asian stocks mixed as markets await OPEC meeting results


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Reckoning for Pelosi as House Democrats vote for leader (1.03/9)

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi faces a challenge to her job as frustrated House Democrats meet to select a new slate of leaders. Pelosi is likely to be re-elected easily Wednesday...

GOP leaders set for House vote on medical research bill
Utah House Democrats name their legislative leaders


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Rocket Internet narrows losses at main start-ups (1.03/9)

BERLIN, Nov 30 (Reuters) - German e-commerce investor Rocket Internet said on Wednesday it had managed to rein in losses at its main start-ups and said it had plenty of cash to keep funding the businesses. Founded in Berlin in 2007, Rocket has built up dozens of businesses ranging from online fashion to food delivery in a bid to replicate the success of Amazon and Alibaba in new markets. As it seeks to prepare the start-ups for stock market listings and respond to investor concerns about mounting losses, it has shifted its focus towards turning its businesses profitable, even at the expense of slower revenue growth. Rocket said aggregate revenue of selected companies grew by 31 percent to 1.58 billion euros ($1.68 billion) in the first nine months of the year, a slight slowdown from a growth rate of 32 percent in the first half. The aggregate adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin improved to a negative 17.5 percent from negative 34.4 percent a year ago, with 2.6 billion euros of cash still available. Rocket has pledged that the 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion)it burnt through in 2015 will mark a peak for losses and promises to make three start-ups profitable by the end of 2017. Rocket's Global Fashion Group (GFG), which like Rocket is backed by investors Kinnevik of Sweden, last week reported that revenue growth slowed in the third quarter although its losses narrowed. ($1 = 0.9413 euros) (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Victoria Bryan)

German retail sales post sharpest rise in more than 5 years in Oct
TABLE-German retail sales +2.4 pct m/m, -1.0 pct y/y in October
PRESS DIGEST - Bulgaria - Nov 30
Lufthansa say pilot strikes cost 10-15 mln euros a day


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West Pullman firehouse window damaged by gunfire (1.03/9)

A window of a firehouse was damaged by gunfire Tuesday night in the West Pullman neighborhood on the Far South Side.
Officers were called at 10:38 p.m. to the Engine 75 fire station 11958 S. State St. for reports of criminal damage to city property after a bullet went through a side window, according to Chicago Police.
No injuries were reported and no one was in custody as of early Wednesday, police said.

Man shot in Englewood
Bullet grazes man's head in Near West Side shooting


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China's blue-chip index snaps 7-day winning streak on liquidity worries (1.03/9)

SHANGHAI, Nov 30 (Reuters) - China's blue-chip stock index slid on Wednesday, snapping a 7-session winning streak, as raw material stocks tanked after commodity prices were hit by fears of a liquidity squeeze. The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.7 percent, to 3,538.00 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 1 percent to 3,250.03 points. For the month, CSI300 was up 6.0 percent, while SSEC was up 4.8 percent, in their biggest monthly advance since March. Echoing the recent strong rally, a Reuters poll showed Chinese fund managers have raised suggested equity exposure for the next three months to the highest since June. However, analysts said moves by China's central bank in recent days to shore up a sliding yuan were sucking additional liquidity from the system and raising fears of a cash crunch. Coking coal futures and construction product steel rebar tumbled, while Shanghai lead and zinc led steep falls across base metals. Yuan borrowing costs surged after the central bank pulled funds from the financial system, making investments in commodities and equities more expensive and less attractive. Shares in big-cap industry leaders took a breather, while investors were also selling resources shares on a broad retreat in futures market after major commodity exchanges introduced further measures to tame wild price moves. Index heavyweights material and energy stocks slumped, dampening sentiment in the market. Most sectors lost ground. Properties were among the few sectors making gains, thanks to China Evergrande further boosting its stake in China Vanke. (Reporting by Luoyan Liu and John Ruwitch; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Hong Kong stocks rise on Wall Street gains, China slips
China's yuan firms on state bank support, set for worst month since Aug 2015
China commodities, stocks slide as weak yuan spurs fears of liquidity squeeze
Shanghai metals sour on worries over China regulation, liquidity


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Washington No. 4, Michigan No. 5 in CFP rankings (1.03/9)

Washington moved up to No. 4 in the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday, bolstering its chances of playing for a national championship.
The Huskies (11-1) were the beneficiaries of Michigan's double-overtime loss to No. 2 Ohio State (11-1), which dropped the Wolverines (10-2) into the fifth slot and on the outside looking in.
However, Washington still has to get by No. 8 Colorado (10-2) in Friday's Pac-12 Championship and even then is not assured of a slot in the CFP semifinals -- a point reinforced by the chairman of the selection committee.
"The separation between No. 4 Washington and No. 5 Michigan is extremely small," Kirby Hocutt acknowledged Tuesday during the release of the latest rankings.
Unbeaten Alabama (12-0) has a firm grip on the No. 1 slot heading into the Southeastern Conference championship game against No. 15 Florida (8-3) on Saturday.
Second-ranked Ohio State also appears to have cemented a berth even though the Buckeyes will not be playing in the Big Ten title game, which will pit No. 6 Wisconsin (10-2) against No. 7 Penn State (10-2).
Although Penn State owns a victory over Ohio State, even a convincing win by the Nittany Lions over Wisconsin would not hinder the Buckeyes' national title aspirations.
"They're not close in the eyes of the selection committee," Hocuff said of Ohio State and Penn State.
Clemson (11-1) moved up a spot to No. 3 but faces a date with No. 23 Virginia Tech in the ACC championship game Saturday night. A loss by the Tigers could open the door for Michigan to rejoin the final four.
Wisconsin has won six in a row following consecutive tight losses against Michigan (14-7) and Ohio State (30-23) and will be rooting for defeats by Clemson and Washington to keep its longshot hopes alive.
Oklahoma (9-2) and Oklahoma State (9-2), who will clash for the Big 12 championship, sit at Nos. 9 and 10, respectively.
The final CFP rankings will be unveiled Sunday at noon ET (ESPN).

5 big takeaways from latest College Football Playoff rankings


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Leah Remini's Scientology doc reveals Tom Cruise wanted to kill 60 Minutes on church (1.03/9)

Speaking ahead of the show's premiere on Tuesday, the actress-turned-journalist explained how the church held such huge sway over Scientologists lives - to such an extent that they allegedly tried to exploit her career for their benefit. While working on King of Queens, she was constantly pressured to try and covert her co-star Kevin James, she claims. 'It's always, "Why are you not getting Kevin James in? You're not setting a good example. You're not getting the director in. " There was always pressure to make a Scientologist out of the people you were working with,' she said. Yet Remini always refused to broach the subject with James. But she said that wasn't the end of Scientology meddling in her career. They also allegedly tried to get Remini to remove a reference to Katie Holmes from the show, while on another occasion, she says they put pressure on her to use her sway as an actress to get Leslie Moonves to kill a '60 Minutes' story on Scientology. The church even got Tom Cruise to put in a call to Remini to try and persuade her, the actress says. 'I got a call from the church and Tom (Cruise) to call Les Moonves and use my influence to squash the story,' she said. 'He said, "I don't give a s**t if it's you, if it's Tom Cruise, if it's Jenna Elfman, you're all going to get the same story from me. " And I said, 'OK.' When she told the church, 'Hey, I tried,' she says they 'weren't happy.' 'Tom is very protected in the church and the church will go to any means to ensure that he stays in. 'Seeing the 'church' attack those who were speaking out, those who gave their life, life savings, their children to this organization that were once considered exemplary Scientologists or staff members of the church to being liars, bitter apostates, and what ever vile sophomoric, vitriolic adjective they can find overnight says a lot about the organization,' she said in a Q&A on Reddit. Remini added that while she was debating leaving Scientology, she had felt isolated by the church's policies which she said prevented her from confiding her doubts in anyone. 'I felt alone,' she said. 'If you ever confided in friends then you were (as policy dictates)... reported and turned in. Very 1984, very George Orwell.' A Scientology representative has fiercely refuted all Remini's allegations, claiming that she 'is in it for the money and now tries to pretend otherwise.' $1.5 million was in response to the 'horrific and libelous letters' they had sent her. 'They were trying to stop this show from happening. They were trying to disparage my name and my reputation with 20/20 and ABC and the public at large. So that was my response to what they were doing. I actually haven’t sued them, so I’m not going to see one red cent.' Remini did not comment on whether she planned to donate the profits from her book or the show. But she also demanded to know if the church planned to return money from donors 'coerced under false pretenses' or the $3 million she said she'd invested. T he Scientology spokesman also claimed she was ' hypocritical ' for calling the church bullies, claiming she had sought out former church members who were 'bullies' themselves. The actress, who claimed Scientology 'brainwashed' members and its practices satisfied 'all the checkmarks for what a cult is', said on the Today show she planned to keep doing battle with the church to give victims the strength to speak out and fight back. 'I'm not a big fan of bullies, so it is part of who I am,' said a defiant Remini. 'I was a fighter in the church. This is what they taught me, so I'm going to continue my fight, but I'm on the right side of that fight now. I just want to send the message that I'm not going to sit back and allow it to go on.' Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath premiered on November 29 at 10pm on A&E. The trailer for the new program even features one man who claims that he was 'hammered' in the face by none other than David Miscavige, the leader of the Church. 'My whole life I was a very dedicated Scientologist,' says Remini at the beginning of the trailer 'I didn't find out what I had done was a lie.' The trailer then goes on to show some of her emotional meetings with former Scientologists, many of whom claim they are still being forced to deal with the church. One woman breaks down as she details how the Church broke her family apart. 'All the money we spent to try and hang on to my family. They've been owning me for all these years,' says the woman, who is comforted by an older man that appears to be her husband. The camera then flashes to a family photo that has the faces of two younger people blurred, suggesting perhaps that they are still members of the church and have cut off contact, as those who leave Scientology are considered a Suppressive Person. Another woman details how she was allegedly a victim of statutory rape, and claims that the church did nothing to address the situation. 'I was 14 when I started in Scientology. I had a boss who was 35-years-old and we had sex,' says the woman. 'Then the organization did not tell my mother, did not tell police. They're going to sweep it under the carpet and it will all be over with.' The camera then cuts to an emotional Remini who says in voiceover: 'Fight for your family. Fight for your daughters and your sons. 'Let's get to the abuses, let's get to the abortions.' She then closes by saying: 'Wake up.'

7 accusations from ' Leah Remini: Scientology,' including statutory rape, physical abuse


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Windsor: U-M has ‘feel’ of team worth of College Football Playoff spot (1.03/9)

The College Football Playoff selection committee gave Michigan an opening. It may be slim, but it’s undeniably there.
It’s safe to say that after the Wolverines snagged the No. 5 slot in the CFP’s latest rankings released Tuesday evening , just a “razor-thin” margin away from No. 4 Washington. The Huskies play in the PAC-12 title game this Friday against No. 8 Colorado, and if they lose, the committee will have a hot mess through which to sift for that final spot in the playoff.
Yes, both No. 1 Alabama and No. 3 Clemson play in conference title games, too. But the Tide isn’t losing. It’s possible Clemson could fall to Virginia Tech, an average 9-3 squad that lost to Syracuse earlier this year. It’s also possible Donald Trump will stop tweeting.
So, assume the first three spots are taken — No. 2 Ohio State doesn’t play and isn’t going anywhere; and the fourth spot is a lock for the Huskies if they beat Colorado. After all, the selection committee chair, Kirby Hocutt, said there was very little separation between U-M and Washington. A win for the Huskies should only add to that margin.
But the Huskies can certainly lose … to a team U-M has already beaten — Colorado. If this happens, expect U-M to grab that last spot.
Why? Because the Wolverines are, simply put, one of the best four teams in college football, both by metric and, more viscerally, by feel. Don’t think for a minute that the 12-member selection committee didn’t watch what happened in Columbus Saturday.
► Related : How U-M stacks up against other CFP contenders
The Wolverines looked like the better team for most of that game. They were on the road, relying on an injured quarterback who couldn’t throw the ball down the field, against a bitter rival that happened to be ranked No. 2.
Hocutt even mentioned U-M’s performance in a teleconference Tuesday evening.
“Impressive game,” he called it.
He’d been asked why the Wolverines fell only one spot despite losing, and why the separation was so close to Washington’s, even though the Huskies’ have one less loss. Not only did he point to the Wolverines’ performance, he listed U-M’s strength of schedule and its three top-10 wins as favorable metrics.
He also kept coming back to this: The committee’s top priority was to identify and rank the four “very best teams in college football.”
He did not say the four most deserving teams. Or the four teams that have the best résumés based on traditional measurements. He left himself and the committee he chairs some wiggle-room.
They will need it if Washington loses and they want to slide U-M into the No. 4 slot instead of leapfrogging the winner of this Saturday’s Big Ten title game, No. 6 Wisconsin or No. 7 Penn State.
Whoever wins that game will have a better win-loss record that the Wolverines — both teams are currently 10-2, like U-M. And winning the conference championship does count for something in the eyes of the committee.
► Related : Jabrill Peppers wins three Big Ten awards on defense, special teams
But it’s only one of four major metrics they are instructed to use to distinguish teams who are otherwise negligibly separated. The other three are strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups, and win-loss records versus common opponents.
Well, U-M beat both Wisconsin and Penn State and has a better strength of schedule than either team. The argument those schools will have is obviously a conference title. Yet as Hocutt pointed out, the committee doesn’t have to weigh those four metrics in any particular order.
This gives it freedom, especially if many of them simply think one team looks like it’s better than another.
All of which to say is the Wolverines, with a Washington loss, have a real shot at making this playoff. Mostly because college football is — to some degree — still a beauty pageant. Which means this process is still subjective.
It was easy to hear in Hocutt’s voice. And that favors Michigan.
Other than Alabama, no team looked as consistently dominant — when healthy — as the Wolverines. With a little bit of luck, they might get another shot to show it.
Contact Shawn Windsor: 313-222-6487 or Follow him on Twitter @shawnwindsor. Download our Wolverines Xtra app for free on Apple and Android devices!

5 big takeaways from latest College Football Playoff rankings


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Kansas park cameras capture monsters, Santa and more (1.02/9)

GARDNER, Kan. -- Motion-activated cameras intended to capture images of mountain lions in a Kansas park have instead snapped pictures of pranksters dressed as animals, monsters and Santa Claus. Police said they found the images on the two cameras at the park in Gardner on Monday. Interspersed among images of skunks and coyotes were photos of people wearing costumes pretending to be lions wrestling, a gorilla, various monsters and an old person with a walker. And of course Santa made an appearance during the three nights of high jinks. Cpl. Robert Huff said it was “pretty comical” and “creative.” The pranksters have not come forward. The cameras were established this month to investigate reports of mountain lions. No mountain lions were detected. Gardner is 30 miles southwest of downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

Santa Clara Co. Sheriff's say escapee captured in Antioch


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Islamic Extremist Mole in German Intel Agency a Recent Hire (1.02/9)

Germany's domestic intelligence service says an employee suspected of trying to pass along sensitive material to Islamic extremists had only been working for the agency for a short time.
The agency, known as the BfV, told The Associated Press the 51-year-old German man started "not long ago" and had "been inconspicuous during the application process, training and at work. "
The agency wouldn't provide further details, but Germany's Der Spiegel magazine reported Wednesday the former banker joined the agency in April and was tasked to watch Islamic extremists himself.
The magazine reported that he attempted to provide information in an extremist chat room online, but his chat partner turned out to be a BfV agent himself and caught him.
Spiegel reports the man was a recent convert to Islam .

Islamic extremist mole in German intel agency a recent hire


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Largest All-Female Expedition Braves Antarctica to Fight Inequality, Climate Change (1.02/9)

The largest all-female expedition to Antarctica, comprising 76 scientists, is due to set sail from Argentina on Friday (02/12) in a quest to promote women in science and highlight the impact of climate change on the planet. ...

Largest all-female expedition braves Antarctica to fight inequality, climate change


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Palm Oil Industry Watchdog Lax on Human Rights: Critics (1.02/9)

Human rights abuses at palm oil plantations are going unpunished by the industry watchdog due to weak rules, critics say, as an Amnesty International report on Wednesday (30/11) exposed severe violations at Indonesian plantations. ...

Palm oil industry watchdog lax on human rights - critics


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Oil prices may plunge to $20 if OPEC fails to clinch deal — RT Business (1.02/9)

A marathon meeting of OPEC experts on Monday failed to reach an agreement for OPEC ministers to discuss on Wednesday.
For two months OPEC officials and non-OPEC producers such as Russia have been vague on details and grand on hollow comments, hints, suggestions, and optimism that a deal will be reached.
Analysts are a bit more optimistic now than they were in late September. However, it seems that the rift between OPEC’s biggest three - Saudi Arabia on the one hand, and Iran and Iraq on the other hand - is just as wide as it was two months ago.
The chances of OPEC ministers reaching a deal on Wednesday are still pretty much 50/50, Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst at Energy Aspects, said in an interview with Bloomberg on Monday. Should a deal fail, however, the oil market will see a “sharp correction” and oil prices may plunge to US$20, Sen noted. A no-deal would be met with a very negative perception by the market, and the impression OPEC would be leaving is that this is the end of the cartel, the analyst said.
Essentially, all want to cut but there are no details, the analyst went on to comment on OPEC’s bumpy road to the Vienna meeting.
Essentially, the showdown (again) comes down to the Saudi vs. Iran-Iraq positions.
More on Iran Won’t Cut, Boldly Ask Saudis To Cut 1 Million Bpd
The Saudis would like to see oil at US$60, but this time around, they seem firm in their stance that they won’t do all the cutting, as they have traditionally done, and as Iran and Iraq are probably expecting them to do again. Saudi Arabia needs higher oil prices to shore up the budget gap that has opened with the oil price crash. Iran and Iraq are digging in their heels and are pleading exemptions, hoping to put the Saudis in a corner and expecting them to do the cuts, again.
The Saudis, on the other hand, are not having their bitter regional rival Iran staying exempt from OPEC actions and reaching pre-sanction levels.
According to a ZeroHedge tweet from Monday, the Saudis have reportedly offered Iran to freeze at 3.7 million bpd, below Tehran’s ask of 3.97 million bpd.
Iraq, for its part, is seeking a freeze at 4.546 million bpd, according to Dow Jones. Other OPEC members, especially the Saudis, are not too benevolent to let such Iraqi proposal for just a freeze pass.
More on Shell Considering Dumping Its Iraqi Oil Fields
The internal OPEC discord is not that there isn’t lack of will, or lack of logic, it’s about the “ political baggage of those countries ”, according to Energy Aspects’ analyst Sen.
Saudi Arabia, which has been trying to get all OPEC members on board on a collective action, changed the rhetoric two days ago, with its oil minister Khalid al-Falih saying that OPEC does not actually need to cut production to rebalance the markets.
The Saudis, however, need higher oil prices, with their budget revenues shrinking due to lower prices. The question is: will they be able to overcome regional and political differences in the name of the higher oil price? Will an OPEC-only cut (if member countries agree to and stick to it, that is) help rebalance the oil market? Will the cartel need a little helping hand from Russia, for example, to tip the supply-demand fundamentals? Will Russia go beyond just ‘joining efforts’ to reduce supply only after it sees a real OPEC deal?
The bad news is that there are too many conundrums left to solve less than 24 hours before Wednesday’s meeting. The good news is that we’ll only have to wait for one day - not two months - to see if OPEC can get things done this time around.
This article was originally published on

Leaner and meaner: U.S. shale greater threat to OPEC after oil price war


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Trump taps billionaire investor Ross for commerce secretary (1.02/9)

Wilbur Ross, the billionaire investor considered the "king of bankruptcy" for buying beaten-down companies with the potential to deliver profits, is expected to join President-elect Donald Trump's senior economic team as commerce secretary.
The nomination could be announced as early as Wednesday. A senior transition official, who wasn't authorized to publicly discuss the matter and requested anonymity, told The Associated Press about it last week.
Reputed by Forbes to be worth nearly $3 billion, Ross would represent the interests of U. S. businesses domestically and abroad as the head at Commerce. His department would be among those tasked with carrying out the Trump administration's stated goal of protecting U. S. workers and challenging decades of globalization that largely benefited multinational corporations.
With a Florida home down the road from Trump's Mar-a-Lago retreat, the 78-year-old Ross played a role in crafting and selling the president-elect's tax-cut and infrastructure plans. Ross has suggested that much of America is disgruntled because the economy has left middle-class workers behind and says Trump represents a shift to a "less politically correct direction. "
"Part of the reason why I'm supporting Trump is that I think we need a more radical, new approach to government — at least in the U. S. — from what we've had before," Ross told CNBC in June, referring to Trump's blunt tone and sweeping promises to reinvigorate economic growth.
Despite his embrace of populist rhetoric, Ross has enjoyed a patrician lifestyle. He frequently commutes between his offices in New York and home in Palm Beach, Florida, according to Haute Living magazine. He maintains an art collection worth more than $100 million that includes works by the Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte. A graduate of Yale University, he pledged $10 million to help build its management school.
For 24 years as a banker at Rothschild, Ross developed a lucrative specialty in bankruptcy and corporate restructurings. He founded his own firm, W. L. Ross, in 2000 and earned part of his fortune from investing in troubled factories in the industrial Midwest and in some instances generating profits by limiting worker benefits. That region swung hard for Trump in the election on the promise of more manufacturing jobs from renegotiated trade deals and penalties for factories that outsourced their work abroad.
A specialist in corporate turnarounds, Ross buys distressed or bankrupt companies at steep discounts, then seeks to shave costs and generate profits. Some of those cost reductions have come from altering pay and benefits for workers. Since 2000, his firm has invested in more than 178 companies.
Ross most prominently created four companies through mergers and acquisitions that focused on steel, textiles, autos and coal. In some cases, Ross has sold the companies he packaged to even larger globe-spanning companies. In 2005, he sold the International Steel Group, which included the former Bethlehem Steel, to the Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.
And while his investments appear to have proved generally lucrative, they have also at times brought troubling publicity.
In early 2006, the Sago coal mine owned by Ross exploded, triggering a collapse that killed a dozen miners. Federal safety inspectors in 2005 had cited the West Virginia mine with 208 violations.
Ross said afterward that he knew about the safety violations but that the mine's management had assured him that it was a "safe situation. "
"Oh, my God, it's the worst week of my entire life," Ross told ABC News, days after the collapse.
If confirmed by the Senate as commerce secretary, Ross would oversee nearly 47,000 employees and a budget of roughly $8 billion.
Among its responsibilities, the Cabinet-level department provides data on the economy through the Census Bureau and monitors the environment through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
One former commerce secretary, Donald Evans, noted that a prime responsibility is opening up markets around the world for U. S. companies and workers.
"What you are is ambassador to the world from America," said Evans, who served under President George W. Bush. "It's critically important when you go to other countries that, first and foremost, you care about them, the citizens of their country. "
That advice clashes somewhat with the promises made by Trump, who campaigned on the doctrine of putting "America first. " The president-elect told voters that Mexico, China and other countries had played U. S. trade negotiators for fools.
"Under a Trump administration, no American citizen will ever again feel that their needs come second to the citizens of foreign countries," Trump said in April.

Trump chooses Chao for Transportation chief and Obamacare critic as Health secretary


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‘It is high time Saudi women started driving,’ Saudi prince posts on Twitter — RT News (1.02/9)

The prince posted a letter titled “It’s high time that Saudi women started driving their cars.”
“Preventing a woman from driving a car today is an issue of rights similar to the one that forbade her from receiving an education or having an independent identity,” the royal family member wrote in the letter.
Alwaleed said that allowing women to drive will lead to job growth, citing an “urgent social demand predicated upon current economic circumstances.”
Today, it is not just a “social luxury” for women to drive, but a “necessity,” the prince added.
Alwaleed’s point of view is quite unusual for member of the country’s royal family – or any Saudi government institution for that matter. Earlier this month, the country’s most influential advisory body, the Shura Council, voted against even considering letting women drive.
While a male member of the Council suggested that the matter should be reviewed, the proposition didn’t manage to obtain the 50 plus one percent support needed from the 150 council members, 30 of whom are women.
Back in April, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud said that he was “not convinced about women driving,” citing mainly social, non-religious reasons and arguing that “it is an issue that relates to the community itself that either accepts it or refuses it.”
At the same time, Saudi Arabia’s top cleric, the Grand Mufti, described driving as “a dangerous matter that exposes women to evil,” in particular, men with “weak spirits” who are “obsessed with women.”
The cleric also pointed out a woman’s family would be in dark as to her whereabouts if she was driving alone.
While driving is technically allowed for women in Saudi Arabia, in actuality, it is banned, as a local license is needed to drive, and those aren’t issued to female citizens.
There have been attempts to defy the ban. Last year, women’s rights campaigner Loujain al-Hathloul received a 10-week jail sentence after she drove from the United Arab Emirates to the Saudi border in protest.
Saudi Arabia remains the only country in the world where women aren’t permitted to drive.
Last year, under the late King Abdullah, female advisers were appointed to the Shura Council, and women were given the ability to vote and run in municipal elections. Authorities also said that divorced and widowed women would be allowed to obtain family ID cards for their children in future, so that they could register them in schools and with healthcare services, according to Human Rights Watch.
However, male guardianship still stands, forbidding women from marrying, traveling, enrolling in higher education, or getting a passport without permission from a male relative or guardian.

Saudi prince Alwaleed says women must drive


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Trial begins for man accused in fatal 2-by-4 beating (1.02/9)

A trial is underway for a man accused of beating a Rhode Island junk car dealer to death with a two-by-four over a deal gone wrong.
Opening statements were heard Tuesday in the murder and assault trial of 48-year-old Daniel Lastarza in Providence.
Prosecutors say the July 2014 altercation that led to the death of 34-year-old Jonathan Stack started as an argument over a bogus sale at Stack's North Providence car dealership that apparently involved Lastarza and another man.
Prosecutors say Stack and his employee confronted Lastarza's friend at a bar. They say the altercation moved outside and Lastarza struck Stack and his employee with a two-by-four.
Defense attorney Christopher Smith says Stack and his employee were the aggressors, and indicated he would be arguing self-defense.

Trial Begins for Man Accused in Fatal 2-by-4 Beating


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Ordinary people trained to save lives in shootings, attacks (1.02/9)

STONY BROOK, N. Y. (AP) " It's become a hallmark of terror attacks and school shootings: the fateful minutes or hours when the wounded are hunkered down, waiting for the violence to play out and for help to arrive. In Monday's car-and-knife attack at Ohio State University, one of the 11 wounded victims hid in a campus building for nearly 90 minutes before police gave the all-clear and she could be treated. When a gunman opened fire at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub, in June, a woman...

Ordinary People Trained to Save Lives in Shootings, Attacks


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Indonesia protests awaken fears for minority Chinese (1.02/9)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) " The capital of Muslim-majority Indonesia is on edge ahead of what is expected to be a second massive protest by conservative Muslims against its Christian governor and no group more so than its Chinese minority. They have reason to be concerned. The movement against the governor, who is being prosecuted for allegedly insulting the Quran, has overflowed with racial slurs against his Chinese ancestry, an unnerving sign in a country with a history of lashing out...

Indonesia Protests Awaken Fears for Minority Chinese


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Colombia peace accord wins Senate approval (1.02/9)

Colombia's Senate has approved a revised peace accord between the government and the FARC rebel group, taking a first step toward ratifying an agreement that was rejected by voters.
The text, which was renegotiated after an earlier version was given a thumbs down in the October 2 national referendum, now must be approved by the lower house of the Colombian Congress.
Members of the Centro Democratico, the right-wing party that has led the opposition to a peace deal, walked out of the Senate in protest before Tuesday night's vote.
The measure then passed by a vote of 75-0.
"Long live peace, long live Colombia," shouted Senate president Mauricio Lizcano as he closed the session.
The accord seeks to end a 52-year-old armed conflict between the FARC -- Colombia's largest leftist guerrilla group -- and the state.
Colombian voters, however, wary of a deal that goes easy on rebel leaders, dealt an unexpected blow to the process when they voted against it.
The sides returned to the negotiating table in Havana and produced a new version that President Juan Manuel Santos insists takes into account the opposition's objections.
Rather than risk rejection in another referendum, Santos, who won the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, decided to submit the revised accord to the Congress for approval.
His chief rival, ex-president Alvaro Uribe, has rejected the modified deal.
Uribe has insisted, for instance, that FARC leaders should not be allowed to run for office while still serving sentences for atrocities.
He demands any new accord be passed by referendum.
The conflict has killed at least 260,000 people and displaced seven million, according to authorities.

Colombian Senate backs new Farc peace deal


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Navy to scatter vet's ashes near site of 1963 sub sinking (1.02/9)

A submarine left a U. S. Navy base in Connecticut this week carrying the cremated remains of a veteran who will be buried at sea in the area where a submarine sank in 1963...

Navy to Scatter Vet's Ashes Near Site of 1963 Sub Sinking


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Mayor to speak with college president over US flag decision (1.02/9)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — The mayor of a Massachusetts city will speak this week with the president of a college that decided to stop flying U. S. flags after students allegedly burned a flag in

Mayor to Speak With College President Over US Flag Decision


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These old men: Carter, near 40, leads NBA's elder statesmen (1.02/9)

Vince Carter is no longer the NBA's highest flyer, though he's certainly not ready to be grounded. Once one of basketball's most ferocious dunkers who put opponents on posters long before there were internet Vines, he can no longer rely just on his athleticism. Nearing 40 years old, the guy who famously put his arm through the rim while winning a dunk contest now often plays below it. Like everyone who wants to keep playing toward middle age, it's about the mind now as much as the legs. "That's how I was able to stay around this long, is just, I learned the game," Carter said. "Not being able to play. Everybody can play basketball, but learning the ins and outs of the game is what has kept me around. " Same with Manu Ginobili in San Antonio, Jason Terry in Milwaukee, Paul Pierce in Los Angeles and Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas, who follow Carter as the oldest players in the NBA this season. "Basketball is a game a lot of people don't understand," Terry said. "When you are not as athletically gifted, you still have your brain. I learned from none other than Jason Kidd. " Terry plays for Kidd now but they were teammates in Dallas when the Mavericks won the 2011 NBA title. Kidd by then was well past his dynamic days as a nightly triple-double threat, a guy who burst into the league with everything but a reliable jumper and left it at 40 ranked third in career 3-pointers. "As I got older, the speed limit started coming into effect. Instead of going 55, I could only go 45," Kidd said. "But, you know, when things started to go a little bit slower, you got to see things a lot better. For me, things were a lot clearer. As you get older, that's the best time to get better at the game. You can always learn, you can always do something different. For me it was shooting the ball. If I wanted to play for a while I needed to make an outside shot. " Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant made similar transitions, outworking and outsmarting opponents when they could no longer just outplay them. Now Carter, who will turn 40 on Jan. 26 and ranks in the top 25 in career points and games played, does the same in Memphis — where he surpassed Jordan this season as the oldest player to score 20 points off the bench. Like Jordan, he played at North Carolina for "the mastermind, Dean Smith," as Carter called him, where even as a teenager he was being prepared for how he would need to play 20 years later. "So he taught us how to learn the game, how to take your abilities and dominate to the best of your ability," Carter said. "And with that being said, as I've gotten older, just the little things that we tend to not want to do as a young guy stuck with me, as far as just the little things that we say a lot of guys make mistakes on. " Carter acknowledges tiring of the endless "play the right way" mantra preached at Chapel Hill, but now he lives it. He can't just jump over players like he did to Frederic Weis in the 2000 Olympics , though he quickly earned the trust of first-time coach David Fizdale, who had Carter on the floor defending 21-year-old Andrew Wiggins to spark the Grizzlies' comeback victory over Minnesota in their season opener. "Again, I've said this before, I don't put limitations on anyone because of age, whether it's youth or because they're one of the elder statesman," Fizdale said. "Vince Carter, he's a veteran, he's a professional, he stays in shape. I always remind people he was the best athlete in the NBA, so his falloff athletically isn't the same as an average athlete's falloff. " Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said the key for players who are effective into their mid-to-late 30s is their work ethic, and he marvels at what the 38-year-old Nowitzki puts himself through to keep playing on legs that support his 7-foot frame, particularly in this season when he's battled an injured Achilles tendon. Medical enhancements have helped, with teams providing such improvements for their players that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban believes young players entering the league now should be able to play into their 40s if they have the talent. "When I first got to the NBA, taking care of your health meant not eating Twinkies before a game," Cuban said. "Guys would smoke cigarettes, they'd drink, there would be beer — people sometimes would have a beer at halftime. There literally were bars in locker rooms. Things have changed. "The things that we let players do 15 years ago that created inflammation and created orthopedic issues in their bodies, we know not to do as much anymore. " Carter has prolonged his career by becoming a reserve for the last five seasons, and by resisting the urge to create the spectacular highlights that made him the leading vote-getter to the All-Star Game four times. The Grizzlies say he's questionable to play Wednesday in Toronto, his first NBA home, after hurting his hip Monday. He still gets the internet buzzing — and occasionally surprises himself — with some vintage Vinsanity, but mostly skips the unnecessary risks to preserve his body to get through the long NBA season. And how many more after this? "I don't know yet," he said. "I'm still flying. It's not time yet. " ___ AP freelance writers Joe DiGiovanni and Andrew Gruman in Milwaukee contributed to this report.

These old men: Carter, near 40, leads NBA’s elder statesmen


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Judge orders Officer Betty Shelby to stand trial for shooting unarmed man (1.02/9)

TULSA, Okla., Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The Tulsa police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man was ordered by a judge Tuesday to stand trial after deciding there is enough evidence for her to do so.
Judge Deborrah Ludi-Leitch told Tulsa Officer Betty Shelby during a pretrial hearing that police helicopter and dashcam video evidence is enough for her to stand trial for shooting Terence Crutcher during a traffic stop in September.
"I think the defense will be some type of justification for her actions," Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzeiler said after the hearing. "We, obviously, made an argument against that. "
On Sept. 16, Shelby saw Crutcher's SUV parked in the middle of a two-lane highway. After getting out of the car, Crutcher ignored most of the instructions Shelby gave him and started moving toward his car. When he appeared to be about to reach through an open window of the SUV, Shelby shot him.
Kunzweiler says she overreacted in the heat of the moment because Crutcher had his hands up, did not attack her and he does not believe she could not "see any weapons or bulges indicating a weapon was present. "
Shelby's defense lawyer says she acted properly considering Crutcher had not listened to all of her instructions, and turned out to be high on PCP during the stop -- justifying her reaction when he lifted his arm and motioned toward the car.
Crutcher's family insists the window was closed, with the family's attorney saying video evidence shows "an unprovoked and unjustified killing of Terence Crutcher. "
Shelby's next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 15.

‘I was scared,’ ex-officer on trial for murder in shooting of unarmed black man testifies


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Indonesians Join Thousands of Soldiers, Police at Rallies (1.02/9)

Thousands of Indonesians have joined interfaith rallies around the country organized by the military in an attempt to demonstrate national unity as religious and racial tensions divide the world's most populous Muslim nation.
Police estimated that 30,000 people attended a rally Wednesday at the national monument in Jakarta, the capital, but said half of them were either from the military or police.
Security forces are bracing for a second massive protest by conservatives Muslims in Jakarta on Friday against the city's minority Christian governor, who is being prosecuted for alleged blasphemy. The first protest Nov. 4 turned violent.
Organizers of Wednesday's rallies, led by the military chief, Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo, also invited students and leaders of the six religions recognized in Indonesia.
Rallies were also held in other big cities.

Indonesians join thousands of soldiers, police at rallies


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Scores arrested in first 'Fight for $15' protest since Trump win as minimum wage workers march for increased salaries (1.02/9)

Scores of demonstrators were arrested on Tuesday as US fast-food and airport workers led nationwide 'Fight for $15' protests calling for higher pay and union rights in their first major action since Donald Trump was elected president. Protesters have rallied in 340 cities on Tuesday, including Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego, New York, Minneapolis, Austin and Houston. Trump, an international property developer and reality TV star with no government experience, swept into power with promises of creating jobs, especially for downtrodden Americans. The president-elect - who at various times on the campaign trail suggested US workers were overpaid, but also that the minimum wage should be raised - is due to take office on January 20. '(Trump) needs to be held accountable for his promises,' said Hector Figueroa, president of 32BJ, a property service workers union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union that backs 'Fight for $15'. Fast-food workers, home care and child care providers, janitors and Uber drivers organized by the campaign targeted McDonald's Corp restaurants in several major cities. Protesters also rallied at busy airports such as O'Hare International in Chicago and Logan International in Boston. More than 300 protesters gathered before dawn at Zuccotti Park in New York City, banging drums and chanting slogans. 'When we started demanding $15 ... people thought we were crazy, but we were just demanding the basic minimum to survive,' said protestor Alvin Major, 50, a Guyanese immigrant who lives in Brooklyn and works at a KFC restaurant. 'Right now I can barely pay my bills,' said Major, who has four children and a wife who is ill. Police reported multiple arrests in several cities after protesters clogged traffic. The arrests included 26 in New York City, 36 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 39 in Detroit, and 40 in Los Angeles. There were protests but no arrests in New Orleans, Las Vegas, St. Louis, Missouri and Memphis, Tennessee, police said. US-born Kisha Rivera, 41, recently moved her family from Puerto Rico to Chicago, where she now earns $10.50 an hour cleaning airline cabins. She joined baggage handlers and other airport employees for Tuesday's protests, which did not disrupt travel. 'Even though I work 40 hours a week ... the wages aren't enough to survive in this city,' said Rivera, a widow who receives state food assistance and social security survivor benefits for the younger of her two children. President-elect Trump said last year that US workers' wages were 'too high' and made the nation uncompetitive, but this year, he has said the minimum wage should rise, with states taking the lead. Trump's as-yet-unannounced choice for Labor Secretary will have a big impact on the administration's approach to wages, working conditions and unions. McDonald's said in a statement that it invests in its workers by helping them to earn degrees and on-the-job skills. The company last year raised the average hourly pay to around $10 for workers in the restaurants it owns. However, most US McDonald's workers are employed by franchisees who set their own wages. Opponents to raising the minimum wage say higher costs will force restaurants to cut hiring, and that some businesses would not survive. Hopes for an increase in the $7.25-per-hour federal minimum wage were dashed earlier this month by the election of a Republican-controlled US Congress. Still, voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington approved state minimum wage increases, encouraging advocates to continue pressing their case at the local levels. Home care worker Sumer Spika, 37, carved out time between her morning and evening shifts to join the Minneapolis protest. 'This is what I had to do for someone to listen,' said Spika, who makes $12.93 per hour as a state employee. She is a member of an SEIU-affilated union, but earns no overtime.

Durham demonstrators arrested while protesting higher minimum wage


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Anderson Cooper responds to Donald Trump's tweet storm bashing CNN (1.02/9)

Anderson Cooper on Tuesday night hit back at Donald Trump for his anti-CNN tweets that were made while AC360 aired. The cable news host risked opening a feud with the president-elect by making a snide remark about Trump's alleged failure to receive intelligence briefings. Cooper said he was surprised the president-elect had taken time to watch the show while preparing to lead the country. 'When I first heard that he was tweeting about something that was on this broadcast ... I kept thinking, "Doesn't he have, like, a briefing book on ISIS to be reading last night? "' Cooper said. Cooper also mentioned that Trump's tweets 'were factually incorrect'. Panelists reminded Cooper that Trump has been declining his daily intelligence briefings. Still, Cooper said he was grateful the future president was taking time to tune in to CNN. 'There's a huge amount of information ... for him to be absorbing now. 'I appreciate he is watching the show. ... But what is he doing?' Cooper said to his panel. Trump lashed out on Twitter, criticizing CNN as he faced questions about his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Trump retweeted a string of messages on Monday night from supporters over voter fraud allegations. The tweets were critical of a CNN reporter who dismissed the accusations calling them 'blatant and baseless'. 'CNN is so embarrassed by their total (100%) support of Hillary Clinton, and yet her loss in a landslide, that they don't know what to do,' he wrote. Trump was still upset about the report that he continued the Twitter tirade Tuesday morning, writing: 'I thought that CNN would get better after they failed so badly in their support of Hillary Clinton however, since the election, they are worse!' Trump has responded to a recount effort by arguing that illegal voting happened in the November election, but he has offered no proof. He has singled out Virginia, California and New Hampshire, but there has been no indication of widespread election tampering or voter fraud in those states or any others. There has however been no form of official investigation into the allegations. The President-elect claimed on Twitter on Sunday that he would have won the popular vote if it were not for 'the millions of people who voted illegally.' 'In addition to winning the Electoral College by a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,' he said. 'Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California - so why isn't the media reporting on this? Serious bias - big problem!' he followed up later. It was the latest in a string of outbursts since Clinton's camp joined Green Party candidate Jill Stein in her efforts for a recount in three major electoral college states: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Anderson Cooper responds to Trump's latest tweetstorm


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Justin Nojan Sullivan pleads guilty to plotting US terrorism attacks (1.02/9)

A North Carolina man who plotted U. S. terror attacks with a member of the Islamic State group has pleaded guilty to terrorism. Justin Nojan Sullivan, 20, pleaded guilty in federal court in Asheville on Tuesday to one count of attempting to commit an act of terrorism transcending national boundaries. He planned an attack at a concert, bar or club where he believed as many as 1,000 people would die, according to federal officials. 'Justin Sullivan planned to kill hundreds of innocent people,' said John A. Strong, a special agent in charge of the FBI's office in Charlotte. 'He pledged his support to ISIL and took calculated steps to commit a murderous rampage to prove his allegiance to the terrorist organization.' Sullivan said in court that he planned shootings in North Carolina and Virginia that would cause mass casualties, according to U. S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose. He also claimed he had 'frequent and direct communications' with Junaid Hussain - an Islamic State member who asked him to make a video of the attack. Hussain, who was responsible for online recruitment and providing inspiration for attacks in Western countries, began conspiring with Sullivan by June 2015. Hussain was killed in a U. S. drone strike in Syria in August 2015. But then Sullivan discussed those plans on social media with an undercover FBI employee, whom Sullivan tried to recruit to participate in the attacks, according to authorities. He asked the undercover FBI employee to build silencers and told him that he planned to carry out his attack in the next few days. Federal authorities have said they began investigating Sullivan after his father called 911 in April 2015 saying his son was destroying religious items in their home. He was arrested at the family's home without incident on June 19, and later told investigators that he planned to carry out an attack in the coming days when his parents were expected to be out of town. He also had offered to pay the undercover employee for killing his parents, who he believed would interfere with his terrorism plans. A sentencing hearing hasn't been scheduled, although both sides agree a life sentence is appropriate. Sullivan also faces state charges in the death of his neighbor, John Bailey Clark, who was killed in December 2014. At the hearing Tuesday, he didn't say he had killed Clark; however, prosecutors reserved the right to prove the charge at the sentencing hearing. Authorities have said Sullivan killed Clark and stole the man's money so he could buy an assault rifle to carry out the attacks.

20-Year-Old in North Carolina Planned to Murder Hundreds for Islamic State


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'Thank the aliens': Thousands displaced for China's huge telescope (1.02/9)

Humanity’s best bet at detecting aliens is a giant silver Chinese dish the size of 30 football fields -- one that simultaneously showcases Beijing's abilities to deploy cutting-edge technologies and ignore objectors' rights as it seeks global prominence. The five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) in the country's southwest, which was launched in September and cost 1.2 billion yuan ($180 million) to build, is the world’s largest radio telescope. Once fully operational, FAST will be able to peer deeper into space than ever before, examining pulsars, dark matter and gravitational waves -- and searching for signs of life. Authorities also hope it will bring tourist dollars to the province of Guizhou, one of China’s poorest regions. But it comes at the cost of forcibly displacing about 9,000 villagers who called the site in Pingtang county their home. Many were outraged at being forced to leave the valley surrounded by forested karst hills and hundreds of families are now suing the government, with some cases being heard this week. Octogenarian Han Jingfu drank pesticide days after being made to sign a relocation contract and died at his front door, neighbours and relatives said. China built FAST as part of efforts to take on international rivals and raise its embarrassingly low tally of Nobel Prizes, explained Peng Bo, director of China's National Astronomical Observatories, which oversees the telescope. The 500-metre-wide (1,640 feet) dish dwarfs its nearest competitor, the US's Puerto Rico-based Arecibo telescope, which is only 305 metres across. “We said we had to be a little more daring, because we had to surpass the US no matter what,” Peng said. “I think we can get a few Nobel prizes out of it. We as Chinese people really want to win them.” The world's most populous country and second-largest economy has so far only won one scientific Nobel, awarded last year to chemist Tu Youyou for medicine. FAST's receivers are more sensitive than any previous radio telescope, and its pioneering technology can change the shape of the dish to track celestial objects as the Earth rotates. It could catalogue as many pulsars in a year as had been found in the past 50, Peng said. But he acknowledged that FAST will be overtaken by the larger Square Kilometre Array telescope in South Africa and Australia, which will be built over the next decade. - 'Pushed into a corner' - FAST needs a five kilometre-wide (three miles) “radio silence” buffer zone around it with electronics banned in order to reduce interference with the sky's much fainter frequencies. Relocated residents would “enjoy better living standards”, the official Xinhua news agency said when the dish was completed in July. "Villagers in nearby communities admired their luck, saying they should ‘thank the aliens’," it added. But villagers allege land grabs without compensation, forced demolitions and unlawful detentions, and up to 500 families are suing the Pingtang county government. Lu Zhenglong, whose case was heard Tuesday, said officials demolished his house without warning or consent when he was not even present, burying his furniture. “What would have happened if I had been inside?” he told AFP, adding that authorities had "pushed ordinary people into a corner. It’s really unbelievable”. A neighbour also surnamed Lu said: “They’ve chased us all off to some wasteland and ordered us to live there with no way to maintain our old standards of living. For 90 percent of us, basic survival is a problem. " The rubble of their homes now lies under soil and new saplings in a tourist park just outside the radio silence zone, with a museum, a space-themed hotel and visitor reception facilities which will sell tickets for nearly $100 each. According to the Pingtang county government website, the park was aimed at "high-end people from developed cities” and cost more than 1.5 billion yuan -- more than the telescope itself. - 'Eye to the sky' - Meng Xiujun, whose Elites Law Firm in the southern city of Guangzhou is handling most of the cases, said officials tried to intimidate him, telling him he should “see the bigger picture for a key national project”. But he told AFP: “This isn’t just a matter of economic interests -- once you start asking average citizens to kneel down or beat them, it becomes about human rights and problems with China’s rule of law.” The Pingtang county government did not respond to requests for comment by AFP. Andreas Wicenec, head of data intensive astronomy at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Australia, said that FAST had "world class" potential and its engineering was “absolutely a marvel”. Unusually, the FAST programme was “remarkably, extremely open” to outside collaboration, he said. It's not clear how many tourists have visited the park since it opened -- almost none were present when AFP visited recently. But authorities have high hopes. Along the roadside, government-sponsored billboards emblazoned with the dish declared: “Rapidly build a unique astronomy tourism site based on ‘China’s eye to the sky’”.

Thousands displaced for China's huge telescope


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Number of sickened after Thanksgiving meal rises, including 3 who died (1.02/9)

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco Bay Area health officials warned the public Tuesday to throw out any leftovers from a community Thanksgiving meal they suspect killed three people and sickened at least 14 people.
Officials are still trying to determine what specifically caused the illnesses, but they appear to have narrowed the source to a church-sponsored meal held at the American Legion hall in Antioch, California. The free, community meal is an annual event that this year turned tragic. Thursday’s feast hosted by the Golden Hills Community Church served 835 people, including residents of assisted living facilities, homeless people and anyone who wanted a holiday meal, health officials said. All those who got sick ate food from the event and most became ill within 24 hours, said Dr. Louise McNitt, deputy health officer for Contra Costa County. The three people who died were admitted to the hospital on Friday and Saturday. More details about their deaths were not immediately available. As of Tuesday, one person remained hospitalized and the rest were recovering at home. Those who got sick ranged in age from teenagers to their 70s.
Autopsies on the three people who died were taking place Tuesday, but county officials have yet to release their names, according to the Contra Costa County coroner’s office, CBS San Francisco reported .
“Anyone with food from this event should not eat it, and should throw it away,” McNitt told a news conference Tuesday. “This is likely a food-borne illness, but our investigation is ongoing.” The food came from a variety of sources. There were turkeys, hams and sweet potato dishes donated by volunteers who cooked them at home and other items that were prepared on-site, like instant mashed potatoes and stuffing, gravy and green beans that came from packages and were reheated, said Dr. Marilyn Underwood, environmental health director for Contra Costa Health Services. Officials had initially said Monday that eight people got sick, including the three who died, and thought all those sickened lived at the same assisted living facility, leading to suspicion that they could have become sick from food eaten at home or elsewhere. But by Tuesday, as the numbers increased, officials learned that the 17 people were residents from at least three assisted living facilities. Not all 17 attended the church meal; some were family members of people who worked at the facilities who ate leftovers brought home to them. Some of them, including the three who died, lived at facilities called Minerva’s Place and Minerva’s Place IV in Antioch, the East Bay Times reported. “It’s tragic. They were thinking that they would have a good Thanksgiving, and now they have passed away,” Emerito Gonzalez, an administrator at the residences was quoted as saying. “I just want to know what happened. I don’t want this to ever happen again.”

Officials say at least 3 dead, 17 sickened from Thanksgiving meal


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JGBs edge down slightly; 10-year sale awaited (1.02/9)

TOKYO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Japanese government bonds edged down on Wednesday as investors positioned for the next session's 10-year sale. The 10-year yield rose 1 basis point (bp) to 0.020 percent , though it remained shy of a nine-month high of 0.045 percent struck on Friday. December 10-year JGB futures ended down 0.07 point at 150.56. The 20-year yield and the 30-year yield both climbed 1 bp to 0.450 percent and 0.570 percent, respectively. November JGB trading was marked by upward pressure on yields, tracking U. S. Treasuries, whose prices dropped to multi-month lows after the U. S. election on Nov. 8. Investors sold U. S. debt on the expectation that U. S. President-elect Donald Trump's administration will boost fiscal spending and stoke inflation. The impact on JGBs was blunted by the Bank of Japan's monetary policy. Under its framework outlined in September, the central bank controls the JGB yield curve control and guides the benchmark 10-year yield to around zero percent. "JGBs at least tried to follow outside markets, but we are now under the BOJ's yield curve control," said Keiko Onogi, senior strategist, Daiwa Securities. "As long as the BOJ keeps its current monetary policy, I expect the 10-year JGB yield will stay around zero," she added. The JGB market shrugged off data released early on Tuesday which showed that Japan's industrial output rose in October from the previous month. Manufacturers said production likely bounced sharply this month, in a sign of a tentative pickup in factory activity. (Reporting by Tokyo markets team; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Nikkei ends flat as investors wary before OPEC meeting
Hong Kong stocks rise on Wall Street gains, China slips
FOREX-Dollar edges up as US yields resume rise, OPEC meeting awaited


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1 arrested after 1 shot dead at southwest valley apartment complex (1.02/9)

By Ricardo Torres-Cortez ( contact )
Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 | 10:36 p.m.
A person was shot and killed and a suspect was arrested Tuesday night in the southwest valley, according to Metro Lt. Leon Desimone.
Officers were called to an apartment complex in the 7800 block of Rainbow Boulevard, south of Warm Springs Road, Desimone said about 10 p.m.
Further information, including the gender of those involved, as well as what preceded the shooting, was not immediately available.

Man shot in Englewood


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NBA roundup: Bucks cruise past the defending champs (1.02/9)

Giannis Antetokounmpo tied a career high with 34 points and the host Milwaukee Bucks surprised the Cleveland Cavaliers , 118-101, on Tuesday night.
Antetokounmpo added 12 rebounds and five assists as Milwaukee ended Cleveland’s four-game winning streak.
Jabari Parker had 18 points and Michael Beasley had 17 off the bench for the Bucks.
LeBron James had 22 points for the Cavaliers, who fell to 13-3. Kyrie Irving added 20 points.
Milwaukee led by 22 points in the fourth quarter and cruised past the defending champions, who benched their starters midway through the final period. The Bucks outscored Cleveland by 14 points in the third quarter.
Cleveland rode hot early shooting to a 14-point first-quarter lead, but Milwaukee closed on a 10-0 run and trailed by only two at the end of the period. Antetokounmpo and Beasley sparked Milwaukee in the second quarter as the Bucks built an advantage of eight points before leading 58-54 at the half.

NBA roundup: Bucks put an end to Cavaliers’ winning streak


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Chicago Cubs ink OF Jon Jay to $8 million deal (1.02/9)

The Chicago Cubs signed outfielder Jon Jay to a one-year, $8 million contract Tuesday as they prepare for center fielder Dexter Fowler 's potential departure.
Fowler, who helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908 last month, rejected a $17.2 million qualifying offer Nov. 11 and is expected to draw plenty of interest on the free-agent market this offseason.
Jay, 31, spent his first six seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals before batting.291 in 347 at-bats with San Diego last season. His playing time was limited by a forearm injury that sidelined him for two months and the Padres' desire to use younger players in September.
"One of the things that I respected is that the Cubs made it clear they are careful about the players they go after and recruit," Jay's agent, Nez Balelo, told ESPN. "The Cubs have built a chemistry over the past two seasons they believe has helped them evolve into a winner. I believe Jon Jay checked all of their boxes. "
Jay joins a crowded outfield that includes Albert Almora Jr., Jason Heyward , Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler and Ben Zobrist .
The left-handed batter is a career .287 hitter with an on-base percentage of .352 while his .996 fielding percentage is the highest among active center fielders.

Levine: Jon Jay Signing Just The Beginning For New Cubs’ Additions


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Kilpatrick, Nets rally for double-OT victory over Clippers (1.02/9)

CP3 mimicked giving CPR on a night that looked like lots of laughs for Los Angeles.
Funny turned to fiery by the end, as an enraged Doc Rivers was thrown out as his team blew one in Brooklyn.
Sean Kilpatrick scored 31 of his career-high 38 points after the third quarter and the Nets stopped a seven-game losing streak with a 127-122 double-overtime victory over the Clippers on Tuesday night.
The Clippers started the game without Blake Griffin, ended it without Rivers and dropped their third straight game by coughing up an 18-point lead while not showing enough respect for the game in their coach's mind.
"We were walking around like we done something and that bothers me because we've done (nothing). We haven't done (anything)," Rivers said. "For us to walk around against a team, that to me is playing their hearts out every night just to win one game, us to walk around like we done something, it bothers me on a basketball level. "
Chris Paul had 26 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, but the best guard on the floor in crunch time was Kilpatrick, who also had a career-best 14 rebounds.
Brook Lopez added 27 points for the Nets, who trailed 86-68 with 2 minutes left in the third quarter.
"We were down 20, then next minute you know we just kept chipping it down," Kilpatrick said. "Then next minute I knew we were down four, and I was like yo, it's on now. It's game time. "
DeAndre Jordan had 21 points and 23 rebounds for the Clippers, who rested Griffin, their leading scorer, ahead of a game in Cleveland on Thursday.
"Anybody in the league knows, they say, you mess with the game and like you said, the basketball gods got us," Paul said.
The Clippers started 39-year-old Paul Pierce, who had played in just two games, in place of Griffin. Pierce had played just 17 minutes all season but logged 29 minutes in this one, such an increase in workload that Paul pushed down on his chest a few times on the court at one point, pretending to give CPR after Pierce fell on his back while being fouled on a dunk attempt.
The Clippers were serious by the end.
Rivers was tossed late in the first OT, becoming enraged and having to be held back by Clippers players and assistants as he tried to get at referee Ken Mauer. Rivers appeared upset about a call on the other end of the floor, walking out of the coaching box and almost all the way to the Nets bench.
Mauer said crossing over midcourt was an automatic technical and the second was for language and behavior.
Rivers missed Kilpatrick's masterful finish, which he capped with a three-point play with 13.5 seconds left.
The Nets, still playing without point guard Jeremy Lin, ended a skid that started with a 127-95 loss at the Clippers on Nov. 14.
Los Angeles had lost in Detroit and Indiana in its last two games, managing just 70 points Sunday against the Pacers in its lowest-scoring game in 13 years. Rivers pointed to some defensive lapses as the bigger concern, and they certainly struggled to stay in front of Kilpatrick, who was just 3 for 14 after three quarters.
Clippers: J. Redick made a 3-poiner in his 75th straight game, tying one of Stephen Curry's streaks for sixth-longest in NBA history. Curry's NBA-record 157-game streak was snapped earlier this season.
Nets: Coach Kenny Atkinson still couldn't give a timetable on Lin, saying the point guard who missed his 12th straight game with a strained left hamstring was working hard and "progressing as planned. "
The Clippers have increased their spending on biometrics this season, and Rivers — first name Glenn — was asked if he relied on that to determine Griffin would sit.
"I clearly didn't, I'm not smart enough to use biometrics," Rivers said. "But the people we hired did, and they told me biometrically that this would be a good day for him to rest. "
Clippers: Visit Cleveland on Thursday night. The Clippers have lost the last four meetings.
Nets: Host Milwaukee on Thursday night, opening a home-and-home series against former Nets star and coach Jason Kidd's Bucks, who have won the last five meetings.

Sean Kilpatrick has game of his life as Nets stun Clippers in 2 OT


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Australian theme park to reopen 6 weeks after 4 deaths (1.02/9)

GOLD COAST, Australia (AP) — An Australian theme park said Wednesday that it will reopen more than six weeks after four people died in a ride malfunction.
Dreamworld on Queensland state’s Gold Coast will reopen to the public with several of its rides operating on Dec. 10, the park owner Ardent Leisure Group told the Australian Securities Exchange.
The Thunder River Rapids ride, in which four people died when a raft overturned on Oct. 25, will never reopen.
The rest of Dreamworld’s rides will progressively open as they are signed off as part of a safety review, the company said.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Australian Theme Park to Reopen 6 Weeks After 4 Deaths


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Frightened by Donald Trump? You don’t know the half of it (1.02/9)

Y es, Donald Trump’s politics are incoherent. But those who surround him know just what they want, and his lack of clarity enhances their power. To understand what is coming, we need to understand who they are. I know all too well, because I have spent the past 15 years fighting them.
Over this time, I have watched as tobacco, coal, oil, chemicals and biotech companies have poured billions of dollars into an international misinformation machine composed of thinktanks, bloggers and fake citizens’ groups. Its purpose is to portray the interests of billionaires as the interests of the common people, to wage war against trade unions and beat down attempts to regulate business and tax the very rich. Now the people who helped run this machine are shaping the government.
I first encountered the machine when writing about climate change. The fury and loathing directed at climate scientists and campaigners seemed incomprehensible until I realised they were fake: the hatred had been paid for. The bloggers and institutes whipping up this anger were funded by oil and coal companies.
Among those I clashed with was Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI). The CEI calls itself a thinktank, but looks to me like a corporate lobbying group. It is not transparent about its funding, but we now know it has received $2m from ExxonMobil , more than $4m from a group called the Donors Trust (which represents various corporations and billionaires ), $800,000 from groups set up by the tycoons Charles and David Koch , and substantial sums from coal, tobacco and pharmaceutical companies.
For years, Ebell and the CEI have attacked efforts to limit climate change, through lobbying, lawsuits and campaigns. An advertisement released by the institute had the punchline “Carbon dioxide: they call it pollution. We call it life.”
It has sought to eliminate funding for environmental education, lobbied against the Endangered Species Act, harried climate scientists and campaigned in favour of mountaintop removal by coal companies. In 2004, Ebell sent a memo to one of George W Bush’s staffers calling for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to be sacked. Where is Ebell now? Oh – leading Trump’s transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Charles and David Koch – who for years have funded extreme pro-corporate politics – might not have been enthusiasts for Trump’s candidacy, but their people were all over his campaign. Until June, Trump’s campaign manager was Corey Lewandowski , who like other members of Trump’s team came from a group called Americans for Prosperity (AFP).
This purports to be a grassroots campaign, but it was founded and funded by the Koch brothers. It set up the first Tea Party Facebook page and organised the first Tea Party events. With a budget of hundreds of millions of dollars, AFP has campaigned ferociously on issues that coincide with the Koch brothers’ commercial interests in oil, gas, minerals, timber and chemicals.
In Michigan, it helped force through the “right to work bill”, in pursuit of what AFP’s local director called “taking the unions out at the knees”. It has campaigned nationwide against action on climate change. It has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into unseating the politicians who won’t do its bidding and replacing them with those who will.
I could fill this newspaper with the names of Trump staffers who have emerged from such groups: people such as Doug Domenech , from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, funded among others by the Koch brothers , Exxon and the Donors Trust; Barry Bennett, whose Alliance for America’s Future ( now called One Nation ) refused to disclose its donors when challenged; and Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, funded by Exxon and others. This is to say nothing of Trump’s own crashing conflicts of interest. Trump promised to “drain the swamp” of the lobbyists and corporate stooges working in Washington. But it looks as if the only swamps he’ll drain will be real ones, as his team launches its war on the natural world.
Understandably, there has been plenty of coverage of the racists and white supremacists empowered by Trump’s victory. But, gruesome as they are, they’re peripheral to the policies his team will develop. It’s almost comforting, though, to focus on them, for at least we know who they are and what they stand for. By contrast, to penetrate the corporate misinformation machine is to enter a world of mirrors. Spend too long trying to understand it, and the hyporeality vortex will inflict serious damage on your state of mind.
Don’t imagine that other parts of the world are immune. Corporate-funded thinktanks and fake grassroots groups are now everywhere. The fake news we should be worried about is not stories invented by Macedonian teenagers about Hillary Clinton selling arms to Islamic State, but the constant feed of confected scares about unions, tax and regulation drummed up by groups that won’t reveal their interests.
The less transparent they are, the more airtime they receive. The organisation Transparify runs an annual survey of thinktanks. This year’s survey reveals that in the UK only four thinktanks – the Adam Smith Institute, Centre for Policy Studies, Institute of Economic Affairs and Policy Exchange – “still consider it acceptable to take money from hidden hands behind closed doors”. And these are the ones that are all over the media.
When the Institute of Economic Affairs, as it so often does, appears on the BBC to argue against regulating tobacco, shouldn’t we be told that it has been funded by tobacco companies since 1963? There’s a similar pattern in the US : the most vocal groups tend to be the most opaque.
As usual, the left and centre (myself included) are beating ourselves up about where we went wrong. There are plenty of answers, but one of them is that we have simply been outspent. Not by a little, but by orders of magnitude. A few billion dollars spent on persuasion buys you all the politics you want. Genuine campaigners, working in their free time, simply cannot match a professional network staffed by thousands of well-paid, unscrupulous people.
You cannot confront a power until you know what it is. Our first task in this struggle is to understand what we face. Only then can we work out what to do

Frightened by Trump, Inspired by Fidel


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Edge Computing Consortium is Established to Deepen Digital Transformation (1.02/9)

BEIJING , Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Edge Computing Consortium (ECC) was officially established in Beijing, China. This initiative was jointly created by Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Shenyang Institute of Automation of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), Intel Corporation, ARM, and iSoftStone.
The ECC aims to build a cooperative platform for the edge computing industry that will give impetus to openness and collaboration in the Operational Technology (OT) and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industries, nurtures industrial best practices, and stimulates the healthy and sustainable development of edge computing.
Today's global digital revolution is driving a new round of industrial restructuring. Through the digital transformation of industries, products are incorporated into intelligent interconnection. In-depth coordination and convergence of OT and ICT help improve industrial automation, meet the customized requirements of products and services, promote full-lifecycle transformation from products to service operations, and trigger the innovation of products, services, and business models. This will have a lasting impact on the value chain, supply chain, and ecosystem.
Yu Haibin, Chairman of the ECC and Director of Shenyang Institute of Automation, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said, "In the 13th Five Year Plan, China launched two national strategies, integration of digitization and industrialization, as well as 'Made in China 2025'. This requires much on ICT and OT convergence. Edge Computing is key to supporting and enabling this convergence. Meanwhile, industrial development is also facing a turning point.
"Industrial automation technology systems will evolve from layered architecture and information silos to IoT, cloud computing, and Big Data analytics architecture. Amidst the evolution, edge computing will bolster distributed industrial automatic self-control architecture. Therefore, the ECC will keep an eye on the design of the architecture and the choice of technical roadmap, as well as promoting industrial development through standardization. In addition, building an ecosystem will also be focused," continued Yu Haibin.
The ECC is in pursuit of the OICT concept that OT, information technology (IT), and communications technology (CT) resources should integrate and coordinate with each other, and stick to the spirit of consensus, unity, and win-win cooperation, to drive forward the ECC's healthy development. The ECC strives to advance cooperation among industry resources from government, vendors, academics, research, and customer sectors.
The Edge Computing Consortium's White Paper was also released at the 2016 Edge Computing Industrial Summit, during the ECC's launch ceremony. It puts emphasis on the edge computing industry's trends and major challenges, elaborates on the definition and content of edge computing, displays the ECC's top-level design and operational model, and formulates the reference architecture and technological framework of edge computing, guiding the ECC's future development.
Photo -
SOURCE Edge Computing Consortium(ECC)

Finnair Adopts iOS Enterprise Apps from IBM to Accelerate Digital Transformation
Global Sources wins eighth consecutive Gold Award in The Asset Triple A Awards 2016
Evolent Health, Inc. Announces Pricing of $110.0 Million of Convertible Senior Notes Due 2021


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Mets finally realize Yoenis Cespedes is ‘worth the aggravation’ if they want to win World Series (1.02/9)

SO HOW did the Mets go from wanting no part of Yoenis Cespedes on a long-term deal a year ago to pushing aggressively to lock him up through 2020? Simply put, they were smart enough to recognize their window to win a championship is now, and they didn’t stand a chance without the Cuban slugger.
They still have concerns, to be sure, about whether the four-year, $110 million deal is going to make their high-maintenance superstar less than motivated to give his best effort over the course of 162 games.
But I believe GM Sandy Alderson is also more convinced there is something vital about having a player on a team with World Series expectations who has proven he thrives under the bright lights of New York.
As late as the Aug. 1 trade deadline the Mets thought Jay Bruce could essentially replace Cespedes, if it came to that. And then they found out otherwise as the lefty outfielder looked overwhelmed coming over from Cincinnati.
Yoenis Cespedes returning to Mets on 4-year, $110M deal
So basically the Mets are willing to accept the headache that Cespedes has been on occasion, knowing the contract could make him more of a migraine at times, as the price they have to pay to win a championship. As one Mets person put it a couple of weeks ago, discussing Alderson’s change in stance regarding Cespedes from last winter:
“Sometimes you just have to recognize that certain guys, in the right circumstances, are worth the aggravation.’’
The circumstances matter here. The Mets believe that with their young pitching likely to be healthy again, they’re primed for a run at a title, and people who know Alderson well say he burns to win one.
“One thing you should never underestimate is how competitive Sandy is,’’ one person close to Alderson said after the news of the Cespedes deal broke. “He’s conservative in a lot of ways but he’s willing to gamble on this guy because he wants to seize the moment.”
Mets need to follow up Cespedes contract with another mega-deal
In doing so, Alderson, as well as the Wilpons, deserve kudos for operating like a big-market team again, which is what everyone has been screaming for since the Mets’ payroll fell to the Tampa Bay/Oakland range a few years ago.
Yes, this was a New York move, to be sure, as Alderson followed his game plan by pushing aggressively and getting the early decision he wanted, giving him plenty of time now to consider his options in trading Bruce.
And that looms as a significant tandem move here. If Alderson is all-in on trying to win a title right now, he has to know that he needs a stronger bullpen, all the more so because a domestic-violence suspension looms for Jeurys Familia.
In Bruce he has a trade chip, but it can’t be simply to unload the $13 million the right fielder is owed for 2017, the final year of his contract. Despite his rough adjustment to New York, Bruce still hit 33 home runs last season, and has value for teams in need of power.
The Blue Jays had interest in him at the trade deadline last season, and could be very much in need of power if Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista leave as free agents. Problem is their bullpen is thin, especially after Brett Cecil just signed with the Cardinals as a free agent, but 26-year- old righthander Joe Biagini showed potential in his first season in the big leagues as a middle reliever.
The Padres may be rebuilding, but they might want Bruce’s home-run power on a one-year deal, and they have some solid relievers, including lefty Brad Hand, a pitcher the Mets have shown interest in previously.
Alderson has time to scour the market, but if the Mets really wanted to act like a big-market team again, they could get in on the bidding for Kenley Jansen or Mark Melancon.
That’s not happening, of course. Things haven’t changed that much at Citi Field, and who knows if they’ll ever go back to being one of the top-payroll teams in baseball, as they were a decade ago. Or pre-Madoff.
In truth, signing Cespedes might even cause them to cut corners here and there, when it comes to re-signing lefty specialist Jerry Blevins, for example.
So this isn’t necessarily the start of a new era or anything. But at least it shows a willingness to cash in on their window to win.
In addition to paying Cespedes $27.5 million per year, the second-highest annual salary ever in the majors for a position player, behind only Miguel Cabrera, the Mets committed $17.2 million to Neil Walker on a one-year qualifying offer that the second baseman took because his market was compromised by late-season back surgery.
And when you consider that Alderson made bold moves at the trade deadline each of the last two seasons, you could almost see this coming. He’s surely got reservations about committing all that money to Cespedes, but as Cubs president Theo Epstein said after trading for Aroldis Chapman in July:
“If not now, then when?”
Somewhere on Tuesday, Alderson may have had the same thought.

Yoenis Cespedes lands $110 million deal from New York Mets


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Ibaka's 18 points help Magic upend sloppy Spurs 95-83 (1.02/9)

All of Orlando's early season struggles were forgotten in one charmed night.
Serge Ibaka had 18 points and the Magic took advantage of a sloppy game by San Antonio, winning 95-83 on Tuesday to snap the Spurs' nine-game winning streak.
"We scratched and clawed, that's what we needed to do," Orlando coach Frank Vogel said. "We're a desperate team. We needed a win and we needed to play with that kind of desperation. "
San Antonio committed a season-high 19 turnovers in its worst scoring performance of the season. The Spurs have four home losses in the first two months of this season after falling just once at AT&T Center in 2015-16.
"They played very well," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "I thought their defense was really solid, and I thought it put us on our heels most of the game. "
Orlando entered having lost eight of 11, but they were looser and more fluid than San Antonio from the start.
The Magic's Aaron Gordon and Bismack Biyombo even fell to the court laughing after colliding while simultaneously attempting and failing to throw down a dunk off an alley-oop pass from D. J. Augustin in the third quarter.
It was one of the few missteps in Orlando's first victory in 11 games against San Antonio.
"Frank is a great coach, he's a very positive guy and believes in us wholeheartedly," Gordon said. "When you have that backing, you feel that you are capable. Tonight, we came out and we put the pieces together for a full game and it's a beautiful thing. "
The Magic shot 45 percent from the field and were 6 for 15 on 3-pointers in snapping a four-game skid.
Evan Fournier scored 13 points and Nikola Vucevic had 12, but it was on the defensive end that Orlando shined.
San Antonio backed up a lethargic first half with an even more anemic third quarter. The Spurs shot 6 for 19 in the third, turning the ball over four times while being outscored 30-21.
"The ball is not moving," San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili said. "We're forcing the issue too much. We're kind of stuck. So, hopefully we get the ball moving better and sharper. "
The Spurs' turnovers resulted in 19 points for the Magic.
"We were denying," Gordon said. "We were taking the Spurs out of their rhythm offensively and making them look for second and third and fourth options. When you do that the whole night, that wears on a team. "
San Antonio's backcourt of Tony Parker and Danny Green combined to shoot 1 for 10 with five turnovers and four points.
Kawhi Leonard had 21 points to lead the Spurs and LaMarcus Aldridge added 16.
After going with its twin towers of Aldridge and Pau Gasol to start the game, San Antonio went with a smaller lineup in the second half. Neither option worked well.
"We had to win both halves two very different ways," Voegel said. "They went big in the first half and we had to match their bigs and keep them off the glass and then they went small in the second half and then with an ultra-small lineup with four guards and a big and Serge has that versatility to still guard perimeter players while we stayed with who we are. "
Ibaka finished with seven rebounds and a blocked shot.
Magic: The Magic's last victory against the Spurs was Dec. 23, 2010, when they upended San Antonio 123-101 in Orlando. ... The Magic are undefeated in three games against the Southwest Division this season. ... Orlando has made at least one 3-pointer in 756 straight games, the fifth longest streak in league history. ... The Magic have three losing streaks of at least three games through 18 contests this season.
Spurs: The Spurs observed a moment of silence prior to the game for the Brazilian soccer club Chapecoense and other passengers killed when a plane crashed into a Colombian hillside Monday night. ... San Antonio got its first loss in eight games with its projected starting lineup of Leonard, Aldridge, Gasol, Parker and Green. ... Dewayne Dedmon returned after missing six straight games with a sprained left knee. Dedmon had six points and eight rebounds in 16 minutes. ... Gasol has played in 1,073 career games, moving past Hall of Famer Michael Jordan for 79th on the career list.
While San Antonio has lost four games at home, they have yet to lose on the road this season, which puzzles the Spurs.
"It is hard to explain, even for us players who are on the floor competing," Gasol said. "It is not like we are trying to lose games at home and go on the road and get all of them. "
San Antonio can become the third team in league history to open a season with 11 straight road wins with a victory Wednesday at Dallas.
The Spurs have won 10 straight road games, matching the start by the Boston Celtics in 1961 and 1962. Golden State holds the league mark with 14 straight road victories to open last season and the New York Knicks won 12 straight in 1970.
Orlando guard Elfrid Payton said he is "great" after injuring his right ankle by landing on teammate C. J. Watson's foot with 7:40 left in the final quarter. Payton exited and got X-rays following the game but said he was fine after returning to the locker room without any noticeable limp.
Magic: At Memphis on Thursday night.
Spurs: At Dallas on Wednesday night.

Ibaka’s 18 points help Magic upend sloppy Spurs 95-83


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Panik, Blackhawks beat Panthers 2-1 in shootout (1.02/9)

Richard Panik raised his stick in the air with his left hand as he skated away from a defeated Roberto Luongo.
At long last, his slump was over.
Panik scored in regulation and then had the deciding goal in a shootout, helping the Chicago Blackhawks beat Florida 2-1 on Tuesday night in the Panthers' first game since Tom Rowe took over as interim coach.
Artemi Panarin also scored in the tiebreaker and Corey Crawford matched a season high with 38 saves in Chicago's first home game in 16 days. The Blackhawks went 3-3-1 on their annual circus trip.
"That was a long trip. We were excited to come back home," Crawford said.
Panarin beat Luongo with a slick backhand in the second round. After Aleksander Barkov was stopped by Crawford at the other end, Panik converted his chance with a well-placed wrist shot past Luongo on the glove side.
"I'm really grateful for Corey being behind us," Panarin said through a translator. "If it weren't for him, the last couple games would have turned out differently. We're lucky to have him. "
Florida (11-10-2) returned to the ice for the first time since coach Gerard Gallant was fired after a 3-2 loss at Carolina on Sunday night. Jaromir Jagr scored in the third period and Luongo made 32 saves, but the Panthers lost for the third time in four games.
"We got back to getting pucks to the net, getting 39 shots against a heck of a hockey club," said Rowe, who was serving as Florida's general manager at the time of the coaching change. "So a lot of positives and a lot to build on after tonight. "
Chicago (15-6-3) played without captain Jonathan Toews, who missed his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury. Fellow center Artem Anisimov left in the third after teammate Duncan Keith's shot went off the inside of his lower right leg.
"We'll see how he is. He seemed to be OK," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We'll know more tomorrow. "
The Blackhawks carried a 1-0 lead into the third, but the Panthers made the most of 69 seconds of leftover power-play time from Niklas Hjalmarsson's second-period hooking penalty. Jonathan Marchessault's centering pass went off Keith, and Jagr poked it in for his fourth of the season and No. 753 for his career.
Florida had a chance to grab the lead when Crawford lost his stick after he was tripped by teammate Vinnie Hinostroza. But the goalie slid over in time to stop a shot from Derek MacKenzie and then fell on the puck after it went off the post.
Crawford also made a nice right pad save on Mark Pysyk with 8:09 to go, and stopped Jagr in front in the final minute.
"I thought Jagr was unreal," Rowe said. "In this building with the speed they come at you with, and Jags was really unbelievable down low. "
Florida had 100 seconds of power-play time in overtime, but Chicago killed it off. Luongo turned away two nice moves by Patrick Kane, and Crawford stopped Aaron Ekblad in the final seconds of OT.
It was a really nice night for each goaltender, right from the start.
Luongo got over to stop Panarin, and Crawford made a great pad save on Barkov before the Blackhawks jumped in front in the first. Panik got loose for a breakaway and slipped a backhand by Luongo for his seventh goal with 2:10 left in the period.
It was Panik's first goal since Oct. 22, stopping a 17-game drought. The winger had no points and a minus-2 rating in his previous 13 games.
"(Dennis) Rasmussen flipped it over and the D-man touched it," Panik said. "So I had a breakaway and a nice score. A goal helps you with your confidence. "
The Panthers and Blackhawks each killed off a penalty during a scoreless second. Crawford also made a flashy glove save on a big drive by Keith Yandle, and Luongo stopped a long shot by Gustav Forsling.
NOTES: Jagr played in his 1,652nd game, passing Chris Chelios and moving into a tie with Mark Recchi for fourth on the NHL's career list. ... Toews did not participate in the morning skate, and Quenneville said he is questionable for Thursday night's game against New Jersey. ... Chicago D Brian Campbell played his first game against Florida since he left the Panthers for a one-year deal with the Blackhawks during free agency.
Panthers: Visit the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night.
Blackhawks: Host the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.

Blackhawks Beat Panthers 2-1 In Shootout


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Davis scores 41, Pelicans rout short-handed Lakers 105-88 (1.02/9)

Jrue Holiday doesn't concern himself with who is guarding Anthony Davis, or how many defenders flock to the Pelicans' prolific power forward.
Given Davis' recent form, Holiday just wants to get him the ball.
"I'd give it to him with four people on him," Holiday said. "It doesn't really matter. He scores that easily. "
Davis had 41 points and 16 rebounds, helping New Orleans dominate the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers 105-88 on Tuesday night.
The Lakers expected to be healthier with forward Julius Randle returning to the lineup following a three-game absence because of a hip injury, but about two minutes into the game, starting shooting guard Nick Young was carried off with a strained right Achilles tendon.
Lou Williams scored 16 points for the Lakers and Randle finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, but Los Angeles was in a 20-point hole by the second quarter and never recovered.
"The first half we shot ourselves in the foot" by playing poor defense, Randle said. "In the second half, we played well defensively; we just missed a lot of open shots that we usually make. "
Davis, meanwhile, is now averaging 31.8 points per game for New Orleans and shows no sign of slowing down. He's scored 36 or more in four of his last six games, breaking 40 twice in that span.
"I put in so much work to try and better myself as a basketball player, and when I'm on the floor I feel like no one can stop me," Davis said. "It's just making the right read. "
And when he has help, New Orleans can be tough to beat.
Playing in his seventh game since returning from personal leave, Holiday started for the first time this season and scored 22 points.
"He got us off to a good start," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said, noting that Holiday also played well defensively. "Having him out there, it's just a calming effect and obviously having him out there with A. D. — that combination is really good for us. "
Omer Asik added 10 points and 11 assists while New Orleans snapped a two-game skid.
Lakers: With Williams outscoring his teammates in New Orleans, it marked the 14th time in 19 games that a reserve has been the Lakers' high scorer. ... Los Angeles, which entered sixth in the NBA in scoring, fell about 20 points off its average of 108.2 points per game. ... Timofey Mozgov had 10 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
Pelicans: Forward Anthony Brown played nearly 22 minutes against the Lakers, who had cut him at the end of training camp. Lakers coach Luke Walton said before the game that he views Brown as an NBA player but didn't have room for him on the roster because he wanted to maintain more of a veteran presence in the locker room, opting to retain Metta World Peace instead. Brown finished with seven points, six rebounds and two assists.
The 6-foot-11 Davis didn't have any dunks — somewhat unusual for him — but he scored in just about every other way possible. There were turnarounds from the post, mid-range jumpers, as well as off-balance floaters and runners as he was fouled.
When the Lakers briefly threatened to get back in the game, cutting their deficit from 28 to 19 in the third quarter, Davis answered with a driving layup and straightaway 3.
"I was just trying to take over the game and not let them come back," Davis said.
Davis, who also had four steals, three assists and two blocks, even dived to the floor to fight for a loose ball with New Orleans up by 24 in the third quarter, tying up Luol Deng for a jump ball.
The Lakers said Young is slated to have an MRI on Wednesday to better gauge the severity of his injury. Walton said "it will be tough" on his team if Young has to miss a substantial amount of time, particularly with fellow guard D'Angelo Russell (left knee) already injured. Walton said he'd likely have to break up a reserve unit that has been among the highest scoring in the NBA to fill the guard spots, adding, "We'll have to get creative. "
Lakers: Visit Chicago on Wednesday night.
Pelicans: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.

Anthony Davis, Pelicans continue recent home dominance with 105-88 win over the Lakers


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Gostisbehere, Mason lift Flyers over Bruins 3-2 in shootout (1.02/9)

With just one prior shootout attempt on his NHL resume, defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere took his own advice Tuesday night to score the game-winning goal against Tuukka Rask in the Philadelphia Flyers' 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins.
"I really noticed his hands were low, so I said I'm going to go in there and just chip one high," Gostisbehere said after netting the decisive goal in the ninth round of the shootout. "Thankfully, it worked out. He got a piece of it, but it had enough to get in there. "
Steve Mason made 45 saves through overtime, and defenseman Michael Del Zotto and center Claude Giroux scored in regulation for the Flyers, who won their second straight to improve to 11-10-3.
"Mase was the best player on the ice tonight," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said. "He got the two points tonight; it was a heck of a performance from him. "
David Krejci and Brad Marchand had the goals for the Bruins (12-10-1), who lost for the fourth time in five games. Rask turned aside 19 shots and seven of nine attempts in the tiebreaker. He also denied Jakub Voracek's third-period penalty shot to keep the score tied, but eventually dropped to 12-4-1.
"We feel like we played all right all three periods," said Bruins forward David Pastrnak, stopped five times by Mason. "We had an awesome game. (Almost) 20 shots in the first period and at the end of the game we had 47. "
Both goalies were outstanding in overtime. Mason snatched a shot by Krejci with about 30 seconds remaining, and Rask slid to his right to stop Giroux's one-timer.
After falling behind 2-0 on first-period goals by Del Zotto and Giroux, the Bruins tied it on third-period tallies by Krejci and Marchand just 1:18 apart.
Krejci spoiled Mason's shutout bid 4:26 into the third when he one-timed a pass from defenseman Torey Krug through Mason for his third goal of the season and first since Nov. 13.
With the teams skating 4-on-4, Marchand found space in the crease and jammed Krug's rebound under Mason for his seventh goal of the season, second on the Bruins behind Pastrnak's 13.
"It shows character that you can come back in the third period being down 2-0," Rask said. "We played real good in the third. So that is a positive. A point is a point and we will take it. "
The Flyers had a chance to regain the lead at the 6:23 mark when Voracek was hooked from behind by Bruins defenseman Joe Morrow and awarded a penalty shot. Rask got his right pad on Voracek's attempt to keep the score 2-all.
The Flyers also failed to score on a third-period power play after Marchand was called for roughing Giroux with 6:36 remaining.
The Bruins were held silent on their own power play following a tripping penalty to Flyers rookie Travis Konecny.
Ranked second in the NHL in goals and shots, the Flyers opened the game with 19 first-period shots on Rask and scored on two of them when Del Zotto and Giroux netted goals 1:32 apart.
Del Zotto's goal was his second of the season and came on a rising slap shot from the left point that beat Rask over his right shoulder with 6:04 remaining in the period.
Bruins forward Austin Czarnik was whistled for slashing just 4 seconds after Del Zotto's goal, and Boston defenseman Brandon Carlo made things worse for the Bruins when he broke his stick. The Flyers connected when Giroux snapped a pass from Voracek past Rask for his fifth goal of the season and fourth on the power play.
Giroux's goal also snapped a nine-game drought.
It was the third time in four games the Bruins, who rank fourth in the NHL in penalty killing, allowed a power-play goal.
The Bruins carried a 30-15 shots advantage into the third period.
NOTES: Bruins D John-Michael Liles sat out with a concussion sustained Sunday when he crashed headfirst into the boards. D Zdeno Chara missed his fourth straight game with a lower-body injury. As a result, D Kevan Miller played in his fourth game of the season and Morrow played in his ninth. ... The Flyers' second-ranked power play has scored in 15 of their 24 games this season. ... Claude Julien coached his 727th game for the Bruins, moving him past Milt Schmidt and into sole possession of second place on the franchise list behind Art Ross (772).
Flyers: Visit the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
Bruins: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night.

Bruins come back from 2 goals down but fall to Flyers in shootout


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LSU pulls away from Houston 84-65 (1.02/9)

Antonio Blakeney scored 23 points as LSU pulled away in the second half for an 84-65 non-conference victory over Houston on Tuesday.
Blakeney, whose fast-break layup with one second remaining gave the Tigers a 39-38 halftime advantage and led an 8-0 run which enabled LSU (5-2) to take control of the game early in the second half. Blakeney made two baskets, one a 3-pointer, as the Tigers went ahead 53-42 with 15:50 to play. Houston (5-1) did not trail by fewer than nine points the rest of the way.
Blakeney scored 14 points, hitting a season-high 10 field goals, and grabbed five of his eight rebounds in the second half.
"In the second half, we did a great job executing offensively," LSU coach Johnny Jones said. "On the defensive end, we were getting stops. As the game continued, our guys did a tremendous job competing at a high level against one of the better teams we will face prior to conference. "
LSU shot 50 percent from the field (36-of-72), including 44 percent on 3-pointers (8-of-18). But, the difference in the game was on the backboards, where the Tigers outrebounded the Cougars 46-28. LSU turned 20 offensive rebounds into 23 second-chance points.
"Winning the war on the boards and getting second-chance points was a focus," Blakeney said. "That's why coach (Jones) started sending me to the glass.
"Craig (Victor) and all the bigs were trying to get rebounds because we got beat on the boards in the Bahamas. We were just trying to correct our mistakes. "
Three LSU players besides Blakeney scored in double figures. Brandon Sampson had 16 points, all but two in the first half. Victor had 13 points and nine rebounds in his first start of the year. Aaron Epps, who was replaced by Victor in the lineup, had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Rob Gray was the top scorer for Houston with 19 points. Damyean Dotson added 13 points, while Devin Davis had 12. The Cougars were badly beaten inside as they were outscored 46-26 in the paint.
"We didn't play very well at all in any area in the first half, but we had a chance to get the lead," Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. "I didn't see a lot of pop tonight. Their size was a factor. We had three starters who did not get a defensive rebound. We have to be a rebounding team. "
LSU: The Tigers, who lost two of three games last week at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, remained unbeaten at home with their fourth straight victory. LSU, which blocked nine shots and made seven steals, lost 105-98 in overtime at Houston last season.
HOUSTON: The Cougars failed in their attempt to open a season 6-0 for just the fourth time in school history. Houston was badly beaten in its first true road game of the season.
LSU's Craig Victor was suspended from the team for the first three games of the season. Victor, a returning starter, came off the bench for all of the Tigers' games in the Bahamas. Victor provided a spark in his first start - not only with his 13 points and nine rebounds, but also with a career-high four steals. Meanwhile, freshman point guard Skylar Mays came off the bench to hand out 11 assists - the most for a LSU player in Johnny Jones' five seasons as coach.
Houston was no match inside for LSU, but the Cougars also struggled mightily with their shooting. Coming into Tuesday's game, Houston was shooting 51 percent from the field, including 46 percent on 3-pointers. The Tigers held the Cougars to 40 percent from the field (21-of-52), including 29 percent on 3-pointers (5-of-17). Houston made just eight field goals in the second half.
The Tigers never trailed by more than four points in the first half. Brandon Sampson was the player responsible for keeping LSU within striking distance of Houston. Sampson made five of his seven field goal attempts in the first half, including 4-of-6 on 3-pointers. Sampson made two of his 3-pointers in a 90-second stretch late in the first half when the Cougars had built leads of three and four points.
LSU: The Tigers will take a two-week break for semester exams before returning for a home game against North Carolina Central on Dec. 13.
HOUSTON: The Cougars play host to Prairie View on Saturday.

Johnny Jones: LSU played 'best 40 minutes' of season against Houston


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US auto safety agency wants you to complain more (1.02/9)

The U. S. government wants more people to complain about auto safety problems.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing a rule requiring automakers put labels on sun visors of all new vehicles with instructions on how to file safety complaints.
The labels would be glued to passenger visors and tell people that complaints could bring an investigation or a possible recall.
The agency uses consumer complaints to spot safety problems. In 2015, it didn't have enough people to thoroughly analyze the 75,000 complaints that came in, and it hasn't received additional funding since.
The labels were required by Congress in 2012.
Complaints can be filed by telephone, internet or mail.
The agency will take comments on the proposal until Jan. 27. It could be years before labels are required.

US Auto Safety Agency Wants You to Complain More


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Moise Says He's Ready for Tests Facing Haiti's Next Leader (1.02/9)

Repeating their stance from last year's annulled election, Haitian voters appear to have reached outside the intrigue-heavy political class to pick a first-time candidate to steer the deeply divided country as president for the next five years.
Jovenel Moise, an entrepreneur who routinely sticks to an optimistic tone, said Tuesday that he is looking forward to the challenge of building consensus with lawmakers and helping fix a political culture perpetually at war with itself.
"I am working hard to be close with the Parliament because there's no way a president can work without deputies, without senators," Moise told The Associated Press in his first interview with an international news agency since officials issued preliminary results indicating he won a Nov. 20 election redo in a landslide.
If the preliminary results withstand challenges by three of his closest rivals in coming weeks, Moise earned the presidency with 55 percent of the votes in a field of 27 candidates. He got 385,000 votes more than his nearest competitor, Jude Celestin, who had 19 percent of the vote.
Haiti's electoral council will not certify the preliminary results until all challenges are resolved by a special tribunal. Electoral winners are to be certified Dec. 29.
In a presidential election held in October 2015, Moise finished at the top of 54 candidates in first-round results after ads for the government-backed candidate blanketed Haitian TV and radio for weeks. A businessman from northern Haiti, he had never run for office until he was hand-picked to be the Tet Kale party candidate by outgoing President Michel Martelly.
Opponents quickly alleged fraud by Haiti's electoral council and Martelly's political operation. An array of rights groups, local election monitors and others made similar charges. The disputed results were annulled following a review of a special Haitian commission.
Some critics continue to view his ascent with suspicion, suggesting Martelly is using the candidate as a proxy. Moise laughed off the criticism, saying it is mostly about the snobbery of political elites in the capital.
"In Haiti, when you come from the countryside, the people here in Port-au-Prince , they think they know everything. But it's not true and I'm the example. In the countryside you have good people also — with knowledge, with vision, with capacity," Moise said in the interview at his campaign office.
The 48-year-old father of three said Martelly would be an adviser when he becomes president, and he wants to study his predecessor's successes and mistakes. Other previous presidents will also serve as advisers, he said.
Moise laid out his top priorities for strengthening the hemisphere's poorest country, a plan that focuses on agriculture, education, energy reform, and foreign investment.
Reviving an economically blighted countryside, including Haiti's southwest region, which was devastated by last month's Hurricane Matthew, is perhaps his main goal as he has repeatedly spoken about agriculture as the engine of his homeland's fragile economy.
Although almost 80 percent of rural households farm, agriculture receives less than 4 percent of the government's budget despite the persistent litany of natural disasters afflicting mostly subsistence farmers.
During his campaign, Moise touted his business background in agriculture as a central selling point.
In 2014, he launched the Agritrans banana exporting joint venture with the government on about 2,470 acres (1,000 hectares) in northeast Haiti with a $6 million loan approved by Martelly's administration. He proudly refers to himself by his campaign moniker, "Neg Bannan Nan" — Banana Man in Haitian Creole.
His first business venture was an auto parts company in Port-de-Paix, and he also distributed drinking water and created a project to bring renewable energy to several towns.
Moise's first hurdle is getting past electoral challenges from other candidates. Electoral authorities say they will thoroughly investigate all accusations of irregularities.
A revamped Provisional Electoral Council has been trying hard to show that the Nov. 20 election, organized with mostly Haitian resources, was clean in a country where accusations of vote-rigging and election fraud have long been common and are sometimes accurate. But three of the council's nine members declined to sign the preliminary tally sheet, one of them telling local radio that he was "uncomfortable" with the results.
A monitoring team from the Organization of American States said Tuesday that its observations were in line with Haiti's preliminary tally.
Robert Fatton, a Haitian-born politics professor at the University of Virginia , said he wasn't surprised that losing political factions are claiming vote-rigging again. "This is the traditional way of dealing with defeat in Haiti," he said.
Fatton noted that in spite of some irregularities and logistical problems, the election was perceived by virtually all observers, both national and foreign, as fair and free.
"The next few weeks and months will be bumpy and will test Jovenel Moise's statecraft and capacity to move the country in a new and hopeful trajectory," he said.
David McFadden on Twitter:

Moise says he's ready for tests facing Haiti's next leader


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World briefs: Haiti election results may be disputed (1.02/9)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — An eerily calm Haiti woke up Tuesday to a president-elect and more uncertainty as three of the losing candidates vowed to legally challenge preliminary presidential results.
Jovenel Moise, a banana plantation owner and the handpicked choice of former President Michel Martelly, won 55.67 percent of the votes in the Nov. 20 redo presidential elections — well ahead of his closest rival, Jude Celestin, according to preliminary results announced late Monday night by Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council, or CEP.
While the votes are enough for Mr. Moise, 48, to win the presidency outright against 26 other candidates and avoid a runoff, Mr. Celestin, along with third and fourth place finishers Jean-Charles Moise and Maryse Narcisse, pledged to fight the results in court.
TOKYO — Embattled South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday that she would allow the National Assembly to determine her fate, signaling that she would resign over a corruption and influence-peddling scandal if lawmakers so demanded.
Opposition parties in the National Assembly, with the support of dozens of lawmakers from Ms. Park’s Saenuri party, planned to bring a motion to impeach the president as soon as Friday. Analysts predicted there was a good chance the motion would succeed.
But Ms. Park’s announcement will likely bring that process to a halt — and some in the main opposition Minjoo, or Democratic, party believe it was Ms. Park’s intention to create a split within the pro-impeachment camp.
Some Saenuri lawmakers indicated Tuesday they would prefer to amend the constitution instead, allowing presidents to serve two, four-year terms.
TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday approved one controversial pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the Pacific Coast, but rejected another.
He approved Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline to Burnaby, British Columbia, but rejected Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat, B. C. These are the first major pipeline decisions for him.
Apple scored a victory in the global battle to control the future of mobile payment technology after the Australian competition regulator refused to grant a group of local banks permission to negotiate collectively over the introduction of Apple Pay.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said Tuesday in a draft ruling it was “not satisfied” that the likely benefits from allowing the banks to negotiate with Apple as a bloc outweighed the negatives.
Also in the world ...
Jacob Zuma has survived a bid to topple him as South African president, the governing African National Congress party said Tuesday.

Haiti vote results contested, spark protests


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National briefs: EPA to review widely used chemicals (1.02/9)

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday released a list of toxic chemicals that will be the first reviewed under a recently enacted law that gives regulators increased authority to ban substances shown to endanger human health.
EPA’s move comes after a key revision to the Toxic Substances Control Act that passed Congress earlier this year. The list includes such common chemicals as asbestos and trichloroethylene that have for decades been known to cause cancer, yet EPA lacked the legal authority to ban their use.
Over the next three years EPA will study whether the listed chemicals present an “unreasonable risk to humans and the environment.” The agency will then have two years to mitigate that risk through regulations, which could include banning the chemicals from use.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Members of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians on Tuesday celebrated becoming the first tribe in Indiana to have land returned to it from the federal government, a move expected to dramatically change the landscape of gaming in the state with what is expected to be its largest casino.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs has approved plans for a $400 million development that calls for an 18-story hotel and casino on nearly 166 acres in South Bend that officially on Monday was placed in trust. Tribal Chairman John Warren recalled being overcome with emotion when he got a call Friday from Lawrence Roberts, principal deputy assistant secretary of Indian Affairs, telling him the tribe, which already has 3,204 acres at three sites in southwestern Michigan, would now also have land in Indiana.
Mr. Warren wouldn’t comment on casino plans, saying he wanted to focus on an Indian tribe having sovereign land in Indiana for the first time in 200 years.
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — Kellogg announced that it will no longer advertise on, the website formerly run by one of President-elect Donald Trump’s top aides, Steve Bannon.
Kellogg made the decision as soon as it was alerted by consumers to the presence of its ads, spokeswoman Kris Charles said Tuesday.
Breitbart has been condemned for racist, sexist and anti-Semitic content.
CHARLESTON, S. C. — After three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, C. J. Hardin wound up hiding from the world in a backwoods cabin in North Carolina. Divorced, alcoholic and at times suicidal, he had tried almost all the accepted treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder: psychotherapy, group therapy and nearly a dozen different medications.
Then, in 2013, he joined a drug trial testing whether PTSD could be treated with MDMA, the illegal party drug known as Ecstasy.
Based on promising results, the Food and Drug Administration gave permission Tuesday for Phase 3 clinical trials of the drug. If successful, the trials could turn an illicit street substance into a potent treatment for PTSD.
Also in the nation ...
Health officials are trying to find out what caused three people to die and five more to fall ill following a Thanksgiving-themed community dinner in California. ... As many as 2,000 veterans planned to gather next week at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to serve as “human shields” for protesters who have for months clashed with police, organizers said.

Dingell lauds EPA for evaluating toxic chemical


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Controversial MD police shooting video released (1.02/9)

LAUREL, MD (WUSA9) - WUSA9 has obtained video of a controversial officer-involved shooting that injured a man in Prince George's County this Spring.
It happened in April as Laurel police responded to an alarm call at the Indus Food International Market.
According to a City of Laurel press release, published in April, officers encountered a male teenager when they got to the scene. The officers allegedly told the 15-year-old to stop. The City of Laurel said the teen refused, so officers then decided to taze him.
After that, four Laurel officers then searched the rest of the property for any more suspected burglars.
Body camera video shows an officer on the scene switching a flashlight and gun between his hand as he peers into a door.
The officer then opens the door and fires his weapon.
The video later reveals that the officer had hit Rashawn Curbeam, 20, of Nottingham, Maryland. Curbeam had fallen to the ground on the other side of the door.
The officer immediately runs toward Curbeam to give him first aid. The video showed that Curbeam had been shot in the back.
At the time of the shooting, the City of Laurel called the officer's actions "unintentional". The city's press release added the officer had been startled by Curbeam's movement in the dark.
Read the City of Laurel's Press Release Here
Curbeam's lawyer, Patrick Preller, disagreed with that assertion. He released this statement to WUSA9:
"First, this was not a police justified shooting. Mr. Curbeam was unarmed, shot in the back and not posing a threat to the officer when he was shot down. We believe the video speaks for itself, and while we understand the Laurel Police Department deems this tragedy an accident, we disagree and believe the video shows otherwise. Police officers are in a unique position of power and authority in our communities; and as such they have a responsibility to be transparent and accountable for their actions. They are specifically trained only to use deadly force when necessary. Deadly force was clearly not necessary in this instance, and even under the most generous interpretation of the officer's actions in this event, there is no possible interpretation under which the officer's actions were warranted or should be excused. "
The officer who shot Curbeam has not been named. However, the City of Laurel says he is a 17-year veteran of the force who also serves as a SWAT team member and firearms instructor.
Sources also tell WUSA9 that a Prince George's Grand Jury recently chose not to indict the officer for his actions in the case.
Preller said he was disappointed with the grand jury's decision. He said his law firm plans to file a motion with the court to seek a copy of the grand jury testimony.
"Grand jury proceedings are not open to the public and as such, we were not permitted to attend that hearing to see what evidence was presented against the officer," Preller said.
WUSA9 has learned that Curbeam is expected to appear in a Prince George's County court next week to face burglary charges in connection to the case.
A spokesperson for the City of Laurel declined to give WUSA9 a comment regarding the new body camera video when asked late Tuesday night.

Durham police release 5-day report detailing fatal officer-involved shooting ::


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Cops verifying role of arrested suspect in US Embassy bomb scare (1.01/9)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The police are now verifying the extent of an arrested man’s involvement in the attempted bombing of an area near the US Embassy in Manila on Monday.
Rayson Kilala, who also goes by the name Rashid Kilala, was apprehended in Bulakan town, Bulacan province, at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. His listed address is No. 092 Barangay Bagumbayan.
When reached by phone at 2 p.m., the Central Luzon police director, Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, said the involvement of Kilala, 34, in that incident, was being verified.
The arresting team consisted of the Bulacan Provincial Public Safety Company, Bulakan municipal police and Manila Police District (MPD).
Kilala was brought to the Manila Police District for further investigation.
Earlier, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa released the computerized sketch of the man seen by a bystander as having left something at the area near the US Embassy on Monday. SFM

Arrested men in Bulacan persons of interest, not yet suspects—NCRPO
Man suspected of leaving IED near US embassy arrested


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China offers Myanmar support to end ethnic unrest near border (1.01/9)

BEIJING, Nov 30 (Reuters) - China told Myanmar on Wednesday that they should work together to stabilise their shared border, in the wake of a series of attacks by ethnic armed groups on Myanmar security forces and thousands of people crossing into China to escape the violence. The attacks this month dealt a major blow to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi's top goal of reaching peace with ethnic minorities, while China is worried about the risk of violence in northern Myanmar spilling onto its side of the border, as it did last year, when five Chinese people were killed. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a visiting Myanmar delegation, led by peace commission chair Tin Myo Win, that Beijing was worried by the deteriorating situation and repeated a call for an end to military action and for talks to resolve disputes. "Both sides should properly use the China-Myanmar high-level diplomatic and military mechanism to jointly maintain the peace and stability of the China-Myanmar border region," a Foreign Ministry statement paraphrasing Wang said on Wednesday. The sudden escalation in fighting comes as the Myanmar government grapples with a conflict in northwestern Rakhine that has sent hundreds of Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh, posing a new challenge to Nobel peace prize winner Suu Kyi, who swept to power last year on promises of national reconciliation. Previous fighting along the border pushed thousands of people into China. And Wang expressed support for Myanmar's internal peace process and China's readiness to help. "China is willing, in accordance with Myanmar's wishes and on the precondition of not interfering in Myanmar's internal affairs, to play a constructive role in this regard," Wang said. The ministry said Tin Myo Win explained the peace process and that Myanmar understood China's concerns and hoped to get Chinese support for ameliorating the situation. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

China's yuan firms on state bank support, set for worst month since Aug 2015
Lufthansa say pilot strikes cost 10-15 mln euros a day


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Elaine Chao's record suggests skepticism on new safety regs (1.00/9)

Elaine Chao 's record as secretary of labor suggests she'd have a light hand when it comes to safety regulation as head of the Transportation Department and would seek to shift responsibility from the federal government to states where

Ex-labor secretary now Trump's choice for transportation post


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NEWSMAKER-Australia's ANZ Bank says increasingly cautious on property lending (1.00/9)

By Jamie Freed SYDNEY, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Australia and New Zealand Banking Group has become more cautious about lending to apartment developers and buyers due to concerns that parts of the market are oversupplied and household incomes have stagnated. Shayne Elliott, CEO of Australia's third-largest bank by market value, told Reuters in an interview the bank had gone "quiet" in funding new developments in Melbourne's central business district and that there had been overbuilding in Brisbane. "The second thing is to actually provide mortgages for people who are going to buy those apartments... again we haven't really been aggressive in that sector," he said. Approvals to build new Australian homes sank a shocking 12.6 percent in October from a month earlier, confounding forecasts of a 1.5 percent rise and marking the biggest drop since mid-2012. Asked about overall market conditions, Elliott said: "It doesn't mean it's a calamity or a disaster but it does mean we should be cautious. " He said it wasn't clear if a potential decline in values for small inner-city units being built in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and often favoured by foreign buyers would have a contagion effect on other sections of the market. ANZ could cope with property price falls of up to 40 percent and a near-doubling of unemployment - the worst case scenario it runs as part of its stress-testing. "It doesn't mean profitability would stay but in terms of soundness and survival, capital ratios, the ability to lend look okay," he said, adding that ANZ's mortgage portfolio had an average loan-to-value ratio of 52 percent. Elliott also said he was concerned that wage growth in Australia had stagnated, with household income falling in some parts of the country. At a Reuters Newsmaker event earlier in the day, he cited the example of a Western Australian worker who was paid A$200,000 ($149,500) a year during the resources boom but had his wages cut to A$80,000 after the rout in commodity prices. Elliott said that sort of experience, along with a trend towards more part-time work, had led ANZ to be increasingly cautious about lending. That caution was echoed by Bank of Queensland Chairman Roger Davis who told an annual general meeting on Wednesday the bank was "cautious about increasing household debt, housing affordability and serviceability, growing under-employment and declining participation in the labour market. " Elliott added that Australia's financial regulator also required banks to stress test mortgages for a 3.25 percent rise in interest rates. He said he would not rule out the possibility of his bank raising mortgage rates in a move that was out of step with the central bank cycle, as had sometimes occurred in the past. "It is absolutely reasonable to expect that," he said. But he played down the prospect of ANZ needing to raise equity next year as a result of any regulatory changes that might require it to hold more capital. The bank's Tier 1 capital ratio stood at 9.61 percent as of Sept. 30. That rises to 9.8 percent when the planned sale Asian retail and wealth banking assets to Singapore's DBS Group is included. ANZ has placed several other assets up for sale, including its A$4.5 billion wealth and insurance business and minority stakes in four Asian banks, in a move that could release further capital, Elliott said. ($1 = 1.3378 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Jamie Freed; Additional reporting by Martin Howell and Byron Kaye; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

Boult set to return for ODI opener against Australia


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From Miranda Kerr to Nicole Kidman, a look back at some of Dolly magazine's most iconic covers in its 46-year history (1.00/9)

From the gossip to the interviews and the relationships to the beloved Dolly Doctor, since its inception in 1970, Dolly magazine has served as a bible for teenage girls. And so, the news on Wednesday that it is set to close was met with a heavy heart and a hefty dose of nostalgia. Here, FEMAIL looks back at some of Dolly's most iconic covers in its 46-year history. With appearances from household names including a young Nicole Kidman, Miranda Kerr, Kate Moss, Alison Brahe and Miley Cyrus, it's as much a trip down memory lane as it is a tribute to a dearly-loved publication.

Dolly magazine closes after 46 years


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Data leak on Europol terror group investigations - Dutch TV (1.00/9)

AMSTERDAM, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Information on numerous international investigations into terrorism groups compiled by Europol was accidentally left online, unguarded by any password, a Dutch television programme reported on Wednesday. Europol, which helps European Union national police organisations cooperate, could not immediately be reached for comment. The television programme Zembla cited the Europol's adjunct director Wil van Gemert as acknowledging the incident. According the programme, the leak was caused by a former employee who took dossiers home, against Europol policy, and put them on a hard drive connected to the Internet without realising it was accessible to anyone. Zembla did not republish the dossier, which it said contained information about 54 different police investigations, including the names and telephone numbers of suspects. Van Gemert was quoted saying it did not appear that the dossier had been seen by anyone other than Zembla researchers, but he could not rule it out. Privacy campaigner and Dutch Member of the European Parliament, Sophie In't Veld, tweeted: "Huge data leak. Will call for @EU_Commission and @Europol director to come and inform @Europarl_EN. " (Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Demergers and destruction: activists press Europe conglomerates


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Implats group approves development of $264 mln Mupani mine in Zimbabwe (1.00/9)

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 30 (Reuters) - South Africa's Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd (Implats) and Zimplats' board have approved the development of the $264 million Mupani Mine, which will increase the Zimbabwe unit's mineral reserves, the company said on Wednesday. * Implats said in a statement that the mine has a design capacity of 2.2 million tonnes per annum by 2025 and will increase Zimplats' mineral reserves by 3 million ounces to 9 million ounces of platinum. * The first mining teams will be deployed in January 2021. * The mine will employ 1,000 full-time employees at full production and will be financed through Zimplats' internal resources. * Zimplats Chief Executive Alex Mhembere said the mine will ensure that the Zimbabwe unit maintains production of 260,00 ounces of platinum per annum. * "This investment is an important development for Zimbabwe and will provide much needed support to the local economy at an extremely difficult time, reinforcing our commitment to sustain and grow our investments in the country," Mhembere said. * Platinum mines are under pressure from President Robert Mugabe's government to refine the metal locally as the southern African nation seeks to derive more value from its minerals. * Zimplats ships its platinum matte for further processing at refineries in South Africa. (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Susan Fenton)

High ferrochrome prices could speed sector consolidation -sources


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Alvarez hits back at De Lima: Who are you calling a liar? (1.00/9)

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday lashed back at Senator Leila De Lima who called on Alvarez to look at himself in the mirror after he called De Lima a serial liar.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, Alvarez was asked for his reaction to De Lima’s advice to Alvarez to look at himself in the mirror, after the Speaker called De Lima a liar for constantly denying her alleged links to the drug trade that was being investigated by the House of Representatives.
READ: De Lima lashes at Speaker, vows to face her detractors
De Lima called Alvarez “narrow minded.”
Alvarez returned the question to De Lima and asked her what his was lie about when all the House wanted to do was investigate her for her alleged role in the proliferation of drugs at the New Bilibid Prison.
“What have I lied [about]? Ano ang pinagsisinungaling ko rito? In fact, ‘yung House of Representatives, we conducted the hearings in aid of legislation, investigating the proliferation of drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison. Gusto lang namin malaman kung ano ‘yung nangyari, why the illegal drugs proliferated in the New Bilibid Prison during her incumbency as the Department of Justice Secretary,” Alvarez said.
(What have I lied about? What was my lie? In fact, we in the House of Representatives conducted the hearings in aid of legislation, investigating the proliferation of drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison. We just want to know what happened, why illegal drugs proliferated in the New Bilibid Prison during her incumbency as the Department of Justice Secretary.)
READ: Show-cause order vs De Lima served to Senate
Alvarez said it was only De Lima’s own opinion when she said she was only obstructing her own persecution when she gave the advice to her former driver and lover Ronnie Dayan not to show up at the House probe.
Dayan was arrested and brought to the House where he testified that he delivered drug kickbacks for De Lima from Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.
The House has issued a show cause order asking De Lima to explain why she tried to obstruct the testimony of a witness in the House investigation.
READ: De Lima to let Senate act on House show-cause order
“That’s from her own point of view. You know, what’s difficult with Senator De Lima is she is a serial liar. Lahat na lang sinungaling, siya na lang ‘yung nag-iisang nagsasabi ng totoo. You know, the people are intelligent enough, matalino ang sambayanan, alam nila kung sino ‘yung nagsisinungaling at sino ‘yung nagsasabi ng totoo (Everyone to her is a liar, only she is the one telling the truth. The people are intelligent enough, the public is smart enough to know who is lying and who is telling the truth),” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said the House is mulling on three options against De Lima: issue a warrant of arrest for contempt of court, file an ethics complaint against her before the Senate, or file a case for disbarment before the Supreme Court.
Alvarez defended lawmakers who asked lewd and sexually charged questions to Dayan about his affair with De Lima, adding that the details of the affair must be disclosed to reveal what kind of person De Lima is.
Alvarez said the House has to break the image De Lima portrayed as an uncorrupted graft buster when she was justice secretary.
“Hindi naman umabuso ano, because ganito ‘yung sitwasyon. Here is a woman who pretends to be clean and pino-portray niya ‘yung sarili niya as graft buster, crime buster, talagang ano siya, malinis,” Alvarez said.
(They did not become abusive. Here is our situation: here is a woman who pretends to be clean and portrays herself as a graft buster, crime buster, that she’s clean and not corrupt.)
“So how do you demolish her credibility? So dapat palabasin mo ‘yung what kind of a person is she. Ano ‘yung pagkatao niya. So kailangang malaman ‘yun ng sambayanan,” he added.
(So how do you demolish her credibility? We have to reveal what kind of person she is, what’s her personality, which the public needs to know.)
READ: House, Senate concur: Ethics rap, not arrest warrant, vs De Lima
In a separate interview with GMA News also on Wednesday, Alvarez advised De Lima to tell the truth to the nation.
“Ang payo ko sa kanya ay harapin na niya ‘yung katotohanan, maging honest na siya doon sa sambayanan. Tama na ang pagsisinungaling.)
(My advice to her is, face the truth, be honest to the nation. Enough with the lies.)
“Alam na ng taong bayan kung sinong nagsisinungaling at sinong nagsasabi ng totoo,” he added.
(The nation knows who is lying and who is telling the truth.)
Despite a threat to have De Lima arrested, the leaders of both Houses of Congress have agreed to just let De Lima face an ethics complaint for allegedly convincing Dayan to go into hiding and snub the House probe.
De Lima has said she would not honor the show cause order and snub the House as a “kangaroo court.” JE
Dayan: De Lima asked me to hide after House subpoena
De Lima: Am ready to face arrest but not a ‘kangaroo’ court

De Lima urges public: Continue to fight for what is right


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Trampoline parks ‘need some-more reserve measures’ (1.00/9)

There should be some-more reserve measures in place during trampoline parks, a organisation of organisations including British Gymnastics has said.
The organisation has created a array of manners that they trust will make trampoline parks safer.
Although parks have to accommodate health and reserve regulations, there are no manners on how they are built and run.
But Angela Nash from Rebound trampoline park in Leicestershire pronounced reserve was their categorical priority.
“Here they have to wear hold socks, hair tied back, you’re not authorised to wear jewellery, they all go by a reserve lecture video that shows them a dos and don’ts,” she said.
Indoor trampoline parks are customarily done adult of several trampolines subsequent to any other. They can embody slides, see-saws and bridges to burst off.
There are no sum on how many people have harm themselves while trampolining, though a call comes after a park in Dalkeith, Midlothian, reported some-more than 100 incidents in 3 weeks final year. It was after sealed down. ‘Safer environment’
There are 13 organisations in sum subsidy a breeze guidelines, including a International Association of Trampoline Parks and a Royal Society for a Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
Rules suggested by a organisation embody lighting all a bedrooms good so that there is transparent prominence and stuffing any wall or identical barrier that is within 1.5m of an area where trampolines competence be dismounted.
Olympic china medallist Bryony Page, who became a initial British lady to win an Olympic trampoline award in Rio this year, told a BBC: “Trampoline parks are a good place to get started.
“But a categorical thing there is there need to be reserve discipline that are set so people can know where a dangers competence start and they can have a fun time in a safer environment.”
RoSPA said: “The guidelines, published as breeze for conference until 1 Dec 2016, find to assistance park managers brand a pivotal risks during both a pattern and operational stages, with a aim of substantiating an effective proceed to handling – though not wholly stealing – a risk of damage to business and staff.”
RoSPA pronounced once a discipline are finalised, it would like to see all existent blurb trampoline centres announce their correspondence within 18 months.
According to a International Association of Trampoline Parks, a series of trampoline parks in England and Wales has increasing from only 6 during a finish of 2014 to roughly 100 in 2016.
Doctor Tina Newton, from Birmingham Children’s Hospital, told a BBC that injuries from trampolining can be severe, generally from those used during home.
She said: “I’ve seen damaged arms, damaged legs, legs removing stranded in springs, children descending off and spasmodic nasty conduct injuries, though customarily damaged arms and legs.”
Follow Sima on Twitter Number of trampoline parks in England and Wales
November 2014 – 6 parks
November 2015 – 32 parks
November 2016 – 98 Parks, with dual some-more approaching to be open by Christmas
Source: International Association of Trampoline Parks

Brexit: UK prepared to ‘buy in’ trade experts


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HS Boys Basketball Roundup: Charlotte Catholic upsets No. 11 Weddington (1.00/9)

↑ Rocky River: Ravens beat Ardrey Kell Tuesday for the first time since February 2013.
↑ Catholic coach Mike King: Showing again that he’s one of the best coaches around, leading his team to an upset of No. 11 Weddington. This year, King graduated the majority of his 2016 state championship team, and lost 6-8 sophomore center BJ Mack, a Virginia Tech recruit, to Charlotte Christian. But Catholic upset Weddington Tuesday and pretty soon, King will add a few players who are playing football. Bottom line? Catholic ain’t done.
↑ Hamsah Nasirildeen, Concord: US Army football All-American ain’t bad in hoops. He had 16 points in 80-46 win over South Rowan.
Riley Berger, Charlotte Catholic: 15 points plus game-winning free throws with 5.9 seconds left in an upset win over No. 11 Weddington.
Stephen Edoka, Concord First Assembly: 30 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and four blocks plus game-winning 3-point shot in a 74-73 upset at No. 6 Cannon. Edoka, a 6-foot-5 junior, moved to Charlotte from Nigeria this year. He hit the shot with 11 seconds to play.
DeAngelo Epps, Charlotte Country Day: 21 points, 12 rebounds, three steals for the 6-5 sophomore in a win over Hickory Grove.
Madison Monroe, SouthLake Christian: 27 points in a 64-45 win over Charlotte Latin. Monroe, son of former N. C. State star Rodney Monroe, is averaging 24 points per game.
Jae’Lyn Withers, North Mecklenburg: 6-8 sophomore center, son of former West Charlotte All-Observer star Curtis Withers, had 26 points, nine rebounds in a 59-42 win over East Meck.
No. 1 North Mecklenburg 59, East Mecklenburg 42: The Vikings improved to 6-0 on the season, getting 26 points from Withers, 13 points and four assists from Jalen Lowery and eight assists and six rebounds from junior point guard Vaud Worthy.
Greenboro Day 73, No. 2 Providence Day 52: Providence Day led 29-27 at halftime after a half-court 3-point shot by junior point guard Devon Dotson at the buzzer, but Greensboro Day ran away with a 19-7 third quarter when the Bengals’ snuffed the Chargers offense. A 27-16 fourth quarter finished the job. Temple recruit JP Moorman dominated the smaller Chargers. The 6-foot-8 senior had 16 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for the nationally ranked Bengals (8-0). Jordan Perkins had a team-high 20 points, five assists and four rebounds.
Moorman and the bigger Bengals outrebounded Providence Day 37-23.
Providence Day was led by junior guards Trey Wertz (game-high 23 points, seven rebounds, two assists) and Dotson (17 points, nine rebounds, six assists).
No. 3 Concord Robinson 79, Central Cabarrus 69: Robinson (1-1) beat its Cabarrus County rival behind big games from Lavar Batts (18 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two steals), Vi’chon Means (15 points, four rebounds, two steals) and Jamari Roberts (13 points, eight rebounds, two blocks). Isaiah Salter had 26 for Central.
No. 4 Charlotte Christian 56, Mount Tabor 43: Charlotte Christian, down four after the first quarter, outscored Mount Tabor (1-1) 23-1 in the second quarter to take a lead it never gave up. Junior Blake Preston, who picked up his first offer from Campbell University Tuesday, led the Knights with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Senior Rob Peterson had 14 points, 11 rebounds and sophomore point guard JC Tharrington had 12 points, seven assists and three steals. Isaiah Wilkes led Mount Tabor with 10.
Concord First Assembly 74, No. 6 Cannon 73: Concord First Assembly ended a three-game losing streak when 6-5 junior guard Stephen Edoka scored on a 3-point shot with 11 seconds left. Coach Frank Cantadore called an isolation play for Edoka and he delivered. Weston Edwards had 18 for First Assembly (5-3). Cannon School (2-5), the preseason No. 1 Sweet 16 team, has now lost four straight. The Cougars got 18 points from Phillip McKenzie and 12 each from Jairus Hamilton and Qon Murphy.
No. 7 Independence 70, Olympic 52: Senior guard Chea Johnson had 17 points, five rebounds and two assists for the Patriots (2-1). Jaylen McGill had 16 for the Trojans.
No. 9 Forest Hills 66, North Stanly 64: Nas Tyson had 17 points and Tyrese Barbour 15 in a close win for Forest Hills (2-0). Bryson Childress had 22 for North Stanly (1-3).
Charlotte Catholic 58, No. 11 Weddington 56: Charlotte Catholic pulled off the upset at home when junior guard Riley Berger sank two free throws with 5.9 seconds left. Weddington’s Ryan Schwieger, who scored a game-high 29 points, missed a 3-point shot at the buzzer that would’ve won it. Trey Kloiber led the Cougars with 19 points. Berger had 15 and Luke Harkins added 12.
No. 12 Lincoln Charter 78, Piedmont Charter 34: Junior point guard Kody Shubert had 26 points, six steals and four rebounds -- plus one huge lob (see video below) -- in an easy win. London England added 16 points and four steals. Lincoln Charter (4-0) led 54-13 at halftime.
Carmel Christian 73, Victory Christian 65: Myles Pierre, a sophomore guard, had eight points and 13 rebounds. His game-tying 16-footer sent the game into overtime. Donovan Gregory had 23 points and 12 rebounds for Carmel, Marten Maide had 22 points and Zach Prevette had 13 for Carmel.
Charlotte Country Day 57, Hickory Grove 50: Sophomores DeAngelo Epps (21 points) and Alex Tabor (14) led the Bucs (2-3) to the win. Country Day jumped out to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter. Hickory Grove (4-2) got 16 points from KJ Freeman, 13 from Austin Hadden and 11 from Cartier Jernigan.
Community School of Davidson 62, Pine Lake Prep 47: Brandon Ellington had 19 and Joey Knox 15 for Community School, which outscored Pine Lake 21-12 in the fourth quarter. Wallace Foutch had 17 for Pine Lake and Alex Cuff 10.
Garinger 54, West Meck 52: Tybuis Cannon hit a step-back buzzer beater for Garinger in the win. Garinger, which got 20 points from Demetrius Martin and 12 from Moza Kamara, outscored West Meck 16-9 in the fourth quarter.
Lake Norman 71, Hough 67: Lake Norman (2-1) trailed going into the fourth quarter, but outscored Hough (1-2) 22-11 to win. Ryan Spence had 23 for Lake Norman. Damon Early led Hough with 14.
Mallard Creek 74, Providence 42: The Mavericks (1-2) led 22-6 after the first quarter and cruised to an easy win. Eric Reed and Dajuan Cunningham-Brown had 11 points for Mallard Creek and Elliot Glenn added 10. Providence fell to 0-4. Johnny Heidt led Providence with 15 points.
Rocky River 74, Ardey Kell 69: Ardrey Kell’s David Kasanganay had a career-high 22 points and Jarod Carrier had 18 in the loss.
Concord 80, South Rowan 46: Concord got an easy win with four big performances: Hamsah Nasirildeen (16 points, nine rebounds, eight steals); Andrew Metcalf (16 points, four rebounds); Jordan Stowe (15 points, four rebounds); and Jacob Irby (13 points, six rebounds).
Fort Mill Nation Ford 49, Lancaster 33: Zeb Graham had 17 points and Eric Moulds 10 to lead Nation Ford (2-1).
Fort Mill 73, Rock Hill South Pointe 60: Ryan Heriot had 26 points as Fort Mill improved to 3-0. Ryan DeLuca chipped in with 12. Fort Mill outscored South Pointe 23-3 in the third quarter.
North Gaston 65, Bessemer City 58: North Gaston (2-0) rallied from being down with 6:15 to play. North scored 18 straight points to end its road win. Tommy McNeal led North with 22 points and Cam Adams had 14. Bessemer City (0-1) got 15 from Trel mcLean and Malique Nelson.
Spartanburg Day 85, Gaston Day 68: National top five 2018 recruit Zion Williamson scored 30 of his 43 points in the first half (see video below), when his team led 45-27. Gaston Day played without two starters, John Crump and Quan McCluney. MJ Armstrong (20 points, five assists, two rebounds), Nate Hinton (19 points, four assists, three rebounds), Brandon Reeves (14 points) and Demi Adelekun (13 points, 10 rebounds) led the Spartans.

Girls HS Basketball Roundup: Rocky River stun previously unbeaten No. 7 Ardrey Kell


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Atlanta Falcons CB Desmond Trufant finished for the season (1.00/9)

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant was placed on season-ending injured reserve list due to his pectoral injury, the team announced on Tuesday.
Trufant is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair the pectoral on Thursday.
Trufant suffered the injury in Week 9 and was holding out hope he could return to help the Falcons (7-4) pursue a playoff spot.
Trufant, in his fourth season, was a Pro Bowl selection in 2015 and developed into Atlanta's top defensive player.
Even with Trufant, the Falcons rank last in the NFL in pass defense while allowing 282.2 yards per game.
Second-year pro Jalen Collins will replace Trufant as the starter.
The Falcons also added cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson and center Trevor Robinson to the roster and waived punter Matt Wile.
Wilson posted 73 tackles and one interception in 34 games with the Tennessee Titans over the past three seasons. Robinson played in 37 games over four seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers.
Atlanta also signed offensive lineman Kevin Graf to the practice squad.

Carolina Panthers place C Ryan Kalil on injured reserve


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New nursing neophyte purpose announced (1.00/9)

Aspiring nurses can shortly enrol on a new on-the-job tutelage role, a supervision says.
From Sep 2017, adult to 1,000 NHS staff will be means to take adult a training though carrying to go down a required university track to get a nursing degree.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says it complements a nursing associate purpose announced a year ago.
Both initiatives aim to offer stretchable routes into nursing in England.
They competence also give students an affordable approach to train, given ministers devise to throw tyro bursaries for nurses in Sep 2017.
Student nurses during university are now entitled to bursaries of £4,500 to £5,500 if they live in London – on tip of a extend of £1,000 any year during their course.
The march fees are also covered.
But a supervision has due scrapping these and introducing university fees to move health staff in line with other students.
The NHS will still yield some financial support towards losses such as transport costs for placements. Learn while we earn
Trainees on a tutelage intrigue will typically be saved by a trust they work for and can join a march during opposite stages, depending on their education and experience, and stay in work while learning.
Similarly, nursing associates get their training paid for while remaining in work.
At a finish of a training – that will customarily take 5 years – a helper neophyte will have a nursing degree, since a competent nursing associate would still need some-more training to turn a purebred nurse.
The Royal College of Nursing pronounced it was good news that there would be some-more training places and opportunities for staff, though it would be critical to safeguard any new courses over educational needs.
Its arch executive, Janet Davies, said: “Nursing has progressed over many years, we contingency be clever to learn from a lessons of a past when tyro nurses were mostly seen as nursing on a cheap.
“We contingency be clever we do not emanate a two-tier complement that reduces equivalence of opportunity.
“We need to attract people of all ages and from different backgrounds into a profession.”
Mr Hunt said: “Nurses are a lifeblood of a NHS, though a routes to a nursing grade now close out some of a many caring, merciful staff in a country.
“Not everybody wants to take time off to investigate full time during university, so by formulating hundreds of new neophyte nurses, we can assistance medical assistants and others strech their intensity as a entirely lerned nurse.”
Chief nursing officer Prof Jane Cummings said: “The nursing grade tutelage offers a new, sparkling track into nursing that is open to some-more people either they are operative within a NHS already or would like to pursue a career in nursing.”

Christmas 2016 might be a cheapest ever


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Trump suggests unconstitutional punishments for flag burners (1.00/9)

NBC News Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss joins MSNBC's Brian Williams to respond to Donald Trump's suggestion that those who burn the U. S. flag should lose their citizenship or be jailed.

List of potential conflicts of interest for Trump growing


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Tuesday’s high school wrestling summaries (0.19/9)

106: Nathaniel Friedman (PDS) over Justyn Black (SCA) (Dec 9-2) 113: Tristan Black (SCA) over Joey Ricco (PDS) (Dec 6-2) 120: Jake Framm (PDS) over (SCA) (For.) 126: Spencer Tate (PDS) over (SCA) (For.) 132: Kevin Coyle (SCA) over Jacob Cruz (PDS) (Dec 10-4) 138: Nick McAllister (PDS) over Ryan Helms (SCA) (Fall 2:37) 145: Max Wallach (PDS) over (SCA) (For.) 152: Harrison Helms (SCA) over (PDS) (For.) 160: Ben Joyner (PDS) over Ben Leonard (SCA) (Fall 1:22) 170: Sam Clark (SCA) over Adam Stegall (PDS) (Fall 2:41) 182: Roman Rubrecht (SCA) over Gil Gerber (PDS) (Dec 5-1) 195: Giorgio Antonacci (PDS) over (SCA) (For.) 220: Samuel Cronquist (SCA) over (PDS) (For.) 285: Ike Ekwonu (PDS) over (SCA) (For.)
Charlotte Country Day: 16, Southlake Christian Academy: 44
106: Justyn Black (SLCA) won by forfeit
113: Double Forfeit
120: Tristan Black (SLCA) won by tech fall over Will Shircliff (CCD), 15-0
126: Double Forfeit
132: Kevin Coyle (SLCA) won by decision over Sam Davis (CCD), 7-2
138: Max Spada (CCD) pinned Ryan Helms (SLCA), :37
145: Gus Benson (CCD) won by forfeit
152: Harrison Helms (SLCA) won by forfeit
160: Ben Leonard (SLCA) won by forfeit
170: Josiah Connors (CCD) won by major decision over Dawson Conway (SLCA), 19-10
182: Roman Rubrecht (SLCA) won by forfeit
195: Hampton Gilchrist (SLCA) won by forfeit
220: Cam Cronquest (SLCA) won by forfeit
285: Double forfeit
Charlotte Country Day: 9, Providence Day: 65
106: Nathaniel Friedman (PD) won by forfeit
113: Joey Ricco (PD) won by forfeit
120: Jake Framm (PD) won by tech fall over Will Shircliff (CCD), 17-0
126: Spencer Tate (PD) won by forfeit
132: Sam Davis (CCD) won by decision over Jacob Cruz (PD), 10-5
138: Max Spada (CCD) pinned Nick McAllister (CCD), :58
145: Max Wallach (PD) pinned Gus Benson (CCD), 1:33
152: Elliott Campbell (PD) won by forfeit
160: Ben Joyner (PD) won by forfeit
170: Gil Gerber (PD) pinned Josiah Connors (CCD), 1:35
182: Adam Stegall (PD) won by forfeit
195: Giorgio Antonacci (PD) won by forfeit
220: Double forfeit
285: Ike Ekwonu (PD) won by forfeit

Tuesday’s Boys High School Basketball Summaries
Tuesday’s Girls High School Basketball Summaries


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Activists superglue hands in Australia parliament protest (0.02/9)

Protestors demanding the closure of offshore detention camps for boatpeople disrupted Australia's parliament Wednesday with some supergluing their hands to railings in the public gallery. Speaker Tony Smith suspended question time in what cabinet minister Christopher Pyne said was the most serious intrusion into parliament in 20 years. The group of around 30 activists began chanting loudly soon after the session began, shouting "close the camps" and "where is your moral compass? ". Some superglued their hands to the public viewing gallery railings as security tried to remove them, with guards using hand sanitiser to help peel them free, television images showed. They were eventually pulled from the chamber, some forcibly. The protesters, from the Whistleblowers Activists and Citizens Alliance, said offshore detention represented a "state of emergency". "Parliament shutdown by @akaWACA ," the grassroots alliance said on Twitter. The same group stormed the stage and forced Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to stop speaking during a major economic address in Melbourne in August. Canberra sends asylum-seekers trying to reach Australia by sea to isolated outposts on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island, with the detention camps' conditions widely criticised by refugee advocates and medical professionals. UN special rapporteur Francois Crepeau this month said Australia's "punitive approach" to boatpeople had tarnished its human rights record following an 18-day mission that took him across the country and to Nauru. The government has defended its position as necessary to stem waves of migration by people from war-torn Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and the Middle East, with many dying at sea during the treacherous journey. "I wondered whether we could press on... we could not," said Smith in explaining why he took the rare step of suspending parliament, which resumed some 40 minutes later when the protestors were taken away.

Greens' Adam Bandt PRAISES protesters who glued their hands to Parliament House
Pro-asylum seeker protesters force suspension of Australian parliament


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US, UK, France not eager to provide aid for liberated parts of eastern Aleppo – Russia’s MOD — RT News (0.01/9)

“While Western countries and representatives of various international organizations were vocal about the need to make humanitarian deliveries to eastern Aleppo possible when it was fully under rebel control, they seem to have lost interest in helping the stricken residents now that they’ve been liberated by government forces,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday.
READ MORE: Obama administration never aimed to fight terrorism in Syria – Russia
“In the last few weeks, they [Western countries] were insistently demanding that humanitarian convoys be ensured access to the rebel-held parts of eastern Aleppo. However, now, two days since over 90,000 Aleppo residents were liberated from the terrorists, it turns out that not a single offer to provide humanitarian help to them has been submitted either by the office of UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, or the UK, the French foreign ministries, or the US State Department,” Konashenkov elaborated, adding that nothing is preventing aid deliveries at the moment.
Konashenkov says the apparent reluctance of Western governments to provide aid to East Aleppo’s recently liberated residents now that it’s actually possible to deliver it suggests that those powers weren’t really concerned about those supplies reaching the civilian population in the first place.
“Apparently, this aid was intended for some other people living in the eastern Aleppo neighborhoods,” he said, implying that it had really been meant for the militants fighting the Syrian government there.
In the meantime, Syria’s Russian-backed military operation in eastern Aleppo is in full swing, with scores of civilians flooding into government-controlled parts of the city from rebel-held areas.
On Wednesday, 5,629 civilians, including 2,855 children, fled rebel-controlled neighborhoods for parts of the city that have been freed by Syrian forces, Konashenkov said.
All received shelter in humanitarian centers specially set up by the authorities to accommodate them. Some 150 field kitchens have been dishing out much-needed hot meals.
On Tuesday, Konashenkov called the advances made by the Syrian army this week “a radical breakthrough,” adding that half of the territory previously controlled by the militants in eastern Aleppo has now been freed, paving the way for the liberation of over 80,000 Syrians, who have been suffering from food shortages and a lack of adequate medical care.
Due to the tremendous success of the large-scale operation, the militants have been losing control of the situation and been unable to use civilians as living shields to hinder airstrikes as in the past. Terrorists groups such as Al-Nusra Front went to great lengths to prevent civilians from leaving via humanitarian corridors, shooting at them if they attempted to flee and threatening those remaining with execution if they should try.

France calling for UNSC meeting on Aleppo to divert attention from Mosul – Russian UN envoy — RT News


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NBA-Highlights from Tuesday's NBA games (0.01/9)

Nov 29 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights from National Basketball Association games on Tuesday: Nets 127, Clippers 122 (2OT) Sean Kilpatrick scored 31 of his career-high 38 points in the fourth quarter and two overtime periods, and the Brooklyn Nets stopped a seven-game losing streak by rallying for a wild 127-122 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday. Kilpatrick finished off Brooklyn's first win since Nov. 12 in Phoenix by providing the final margin with 13.5 seconds left. He drove through the lane, flipped up a layup while getting fouled by DeAndre Jordan and made the basket. Before the three-hour, five-minute marathon finished, the Nets had to withstand game-tying three-pointers by Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford. Magic 95, Spurs 83 Serge Ibaka scored 18 points and Nikola Vucevic added 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench as Orlando ended a 10-game losing streak against San Antonio. Evan Fournier added 13 points, Aaron Gordon scored 11 and Efrid Payton 10 as the Magic (7-11) snapped a four-game skid this season. The Spurs' Kawhi Leonard led all scorers with 21 points, while LaMarcus Aldridge hit for 16 points and Manu Ginobili added 13 for San Antonio (14-4), which lost for the first time in 10 games. Bucks 118, Cavaliers 101 Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 34 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Bucks over the defending NBA champions. Antetokounmpo hit 13 of 19 shots and finished with five steals and two blocked shots, setting the tone for a Bucks' offense that shot 53.5 percent and made 7 of 19 3-point attempts. Jabari Parker added 18 points and Michael Beasley 17. LeBron James led Cleveland with 22 points but scored just eight over the final three quarters. Pelicans 105, Lakers 88 Anthony Davis recorded his 11th double-double of the season -- finishing with 41 points and 16 rebounds -- as New Orleans ended a two-game losing streak with its fifth consecutive home victory. Davis recorded a double-double featuring at least 20 points and 10 rebounds for a fourth consecutive game. It was the seventh time this season that Davis finished with at least 35 points and 10 rebounds. Los Angeles (9-10), already playing without point guard D'Angelo Russell (knee), lost shooting guard Nick Young to a strained right Achilles just 1:50 into the game. Pistons 112, Hornets 89 The Pistons lost star center Andre Drummond to an ejection late in the first half but rolled to just their second road win of the season. Tobias Harris led the Pistons with 24 points, going 9 of 12 from the field on a night when the Pistons shot 48.9 percent and hit a season-high 12 3-pointers. Drummond was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected with 4:09 remaining in the first half, with the score tied 46-46. The Pistons went on to lead 57-54 at halftime, and then they dominated the second half. Jazz 120, Rockets 101 Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 31 points and Rudy Gobert added 16 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots as Utah won its third straight home game. Rodney Hood added 19 points for the Jazz before leaving with a right hamstring strain in the third quarter. James Harden scored 26 points and dished out seven assists to lead the Rockets and Eric Gordon chipped in 24 points off the bench.

NHL-Highlights from Tuesday's NHL games


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Poland - Factors to Watch Nov. 30 (0.01/9)

Following are news stories, press reports and events to watch that may affect Poland's financial markets on Wednesday. ALL TIMES GMT (Poland: GMT + 1 hour): Q3 GDP The statistics office is scheduled to release a second estimate of third quarter gross domestic product (GDP) with a breakdown of growth at 0900 GMT. FLASH CPI The statistics office is scheduled to release a flash estimate of November consumer price index (CPI) at 1300 GMT. GDP FORECAST DOWNGRADE Poland's economy will likely grow by 2.5 percent to 3 percent this year, Finance Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said late on Tuesday, revising downward a previous forecast of 3.4 percent. TREMOR IN COPPER MINE At least six miners are missing and two died after a tremor occurred at the Rudna copper mine in Polkowice in southwestern Poland, state news agency PAP reported on Tuesday. JSW State-run coking coal producer JSW may replace another state-run firm - utility Enea - in the Warsaw bourse blue-chip WIG20 index as part of a quarterly reshuffle that is to be announced on Thursday, Parkiet daily reported. PGNiG It is absolutely necessary for Poland to construct a gas link to Norway to reduce reliance on imports from Russia, the chief executive of Polish state-run gas firm Piotr Wozniak told Gazeta Polska daily. ****Reuters has not verified stories reported by Polish media and does not vouch for their accuracy.**** For other related news, double click on: Polish equities E. Europe equities Polish money Polish debt Eastern Europe All emerging markets Hot stocks Stock markets Market debt news Forex news For real-time index quotes, double click on: Warsaw WIG20 Budapest BUX Prague PX (Reporting by Warsaw Newsroom)

Czech Republic - Factors To Watch on Nov 30


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Video: volley of shots fired during standoff in Avondale following truck chase (0.01/9)

In this video taken by a witness Tuesday night (Nov. 29) from the Exxon gas station in Avondale, police exchange gunfire with 41-year-old Christopher Kent Garcy following a truck chase that ended in Avondale. Authorities say Garcy led police on a chase for over 40 minutes starting in the North Shore before he crashed a white Chevy pickup pulling a utility trailer into a ditch near the intersection of Highway 90 and Jamie Boulevard.
A standoff ensued that lasted over an hour, ending with Garcy surrendering to police.
Authorities say Garcy kidnapped a woman in Lacombe after the two met online. Blindfolded and with her wrists zip-tied, she escaped from the truck just before it reached the Causeway Bridge and is now safe.
Multiple witnesses reported hearing over a hundred shots lasting several minutes. A Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office reserve deputy received a graze wound to his finger during the gun battle, according to Sheriff Newell Normand. Authorities said Garcy was wounded and placed in an ambulance, but it was unclear whether his wound was caused by gunfire.

Video: truck chase in Avondale, shots fired


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The Bachelor's Noni Janur puts on cheeky display while swimming at Bondi Beach (0.01/9)

She's the Bachelor girl turned beach babe who recently made the move to Sydney. And on Wednesday, Noni Janur made the most of the good weather by taking to Bondi Beach in a VERY revealing swimsuit. The brunette beauty wore a cheeky red one piece which showcased her ample assets and curvy derrière. Scroll down for video The 26-year-old wore her brunette locks out loose over her back while she surveyed the water. The bikini designer wore barely any make up, with mascara and her freckles visible. Noni kept her jewellery simple for the dip in the ocean, wearing a beaded bracelet on her right wrist and a silver ring. She showed off her spirited side with her eclectic collection of tattoos on display. After looking across the water, Noni took the plunge and walked up to her knees in the gentle waves. The TV beauty looked as if she had taken some inspiration from another red swimsuit wearer - Pamela Anderson. Putting her arms over her head, the curvy brunette dived into the ocean. And as she submerged into the water, Noni made quite the cheeky display. Her round derriere was up in the air, her high-cut swimsuit exposing her tanned buttocks. After her dive underwater, Noni looked refreshed and took a moment to enjoy the cool waves. Noni's hair was slicked back down her neck and back as she gazed around her. But she doesn't splash around in the water for long, and soon made her way back to the beach.

The Bachelor's Noni Janur flaunts assets and torso post workout Instagram snap


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UP Diliman alumni condemn Marcos burial at Libingan (0.01/9)

Several prominent alumni of the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) student council released a statement condemning the hurried burial given to late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Signed by more than 390 former members of the University Student Council (USC), the group called for action from past and present UP students to stand and oppose the burial.
“In the dark times of the regime of the dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, the UPD USC, along with student organizations and publications, was abolished to quell the dissent of the youth against a repressive government,” the statement read.
“Many student leaders, activists, and journalists were abducted, tortured, raped, and murdered under his authoritarian rule.”
The group also called President Duterte as “directly responsible” behind the interment. It also held accountable the nine Supreme Court justices who voted against the petitions opposing the Marcos burial.
The signatories include now prominent lawmakers, journalists and professionals who once served as chair, vice chair, councilors and representatives of the student council.
Few of the undersigned are Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, journalists Malou Mangahas, Atom Araullo and Roby Alampay, Commission on Human Rights chair Chito Gascon, and former Kabataan Party-list Rep. Mong Palatino.
They came from different years of service, as well as different political parties.
“We stand against the deliberate attempt to revise history and to erase the memory of those who fought for our democracy,” it read. “They may have buried a tyrant, but they can never bury our spirit to fight for the truth.” JE

Reconciliation after Marcos’ burial? Not yet, says ex-senator


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SEC charges ex-Maine developer Liberty hid funds to slash size of settlement fine

Federal securities officials want former Portland developer Michael A. Liberty to pay all of a nearly $6 million fine that he accepted in a settlement, six years after he said he was too deeply in debt to shell out the full amount.
Liberty, who pleaded guilty Monday in a separate Maine case to making illegal campaign contributions, is challenging the Securities and Exchange Commission’s demand that he pay the remaining $5.4 million of the fine for allegedly defrauding investors, including three government pension funds. He had previously paid $600,000 after convincing a court that he was unable to pay all of it.
Liberty, who grew up in Gray and now lives in Florida, agreed to settle the SEC allegations in 2010 without admitting or denying guilt. The SEC said Liberty improperly diverted more than $9 million of a $100 million venture capital fund established by Liberty to himself or associates, including $4.5 million for his personal benefit.
The fund also lost $18 million in failed investments that the SEC said were improperly directed by Liberty. Investors in the fund included the pension funds for public employees in the city of Philadelphia and the states of Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
In the unrelated campaign funding case, federal prosecutors have recommended that Liberty, 56, be fined up to $40,000 and be sentenced to six months in jail after he admitted that he arranged for employees, family members and others to make campaign contributions in a 2012 presidential primary, then reimbursed them as a way to evade individual limits on political contributions. The presidential candidate was not disclosed. Liberty made personal contributions to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2011 and 2012.
Liberty is best known in Maine for his real estate developments in the 1980s, including two office towers at 100 Middle St. in Portland and the Chandler’s Wharf waterfront condominiums. But his proposal for a huge office and retail project on Long Wharf led to a referendum to restrict the waterfront to marine-uses-only development, and Liberty was often portrayed as a symbol of development run amok in the city.
In the SEC case, after agreeing in 2010 to the fine of nearly $6 million, Liberty told the SEC his net worth was negative $29 million, so the judge in the case cut the fine to $600,000, with a stipulation that Liberty’s financial reports had to be truthful.
In September, the SEC filed a motion saying that Liberty hid money and lied about being deeply in debt. The motion said Liberty was spending lavishly during the period he claimed a negative net worth. He also bragged at the time to potential investors that his stock in Mozido, a Texas-based startup founded by Liberty that focused on mobile phone payment technology, was worth $127 million, the SEC said.
“The commission now seeks to ensure that violating the securities laws does not remain profitable for Liberty,” the SEC said in its filing with a federal court in Philadelphia. The venture capital fund that Liberty founded, Keystone Venture, was based in Pennsylvania and had raised $100 million, much of it from the pension funds, for investments in technology companies.
Liberty’s Philadelphia lawyer, Jay Dubow, said “the SEC is just wrong” in its allegations and that Liberty was telling the truth about his financial condition at the time.
In a counter-filing, Dubow said Liberty hired a forensic accounting firm that “engaged in a meticulous and time-consuming process” to develop a report for the court on his financial situation and that Liberty gave the company access to his financial records. The report said Liberty had about $2 million in annual living expenses and “frequently borrowed funds from friends and other sources” to cover loans and expenses.
According to the SEC filing, Liberty doesn’t have personal bank accounts and instead uses limited liability companies to pay his personal expenses, along with Xanadu Partners, a fund that the SEC says Liberty set up as a trust for his children. That allows Liberty to conceal how much money he has and protect it from creditors, the SEC alleges.
The SEC says Liberty steered millions into Xanadu and then told his financial officers to keep his involvement with the account secret because of “legal issues I’ve had,” according to an email that the commission said Liberty sent to a business associate. The SEC said Liberty never disclosed his funds in Xanadu to the SEC at the time of the settlement, but deposited nearly $25 million in Xanadu accounts over the course of a little more than two years, ultimately spending it or transferring it to banks, including several in Maine.
Liberty’s financial filing with the court said Xanadu had no value, the SEC alleges, but his lawyers said that is because the fund was established for his children and Liberty received no financial benefit from it.
The SEC said it was difficult to track Liberty’s spending.
“The expenses in the Xanadu checking account range from the mundane (Rite-Aid, Toys ‘R Us, Starbucks, Best Buy, Publix) to luxury travel (tens of thousands of dollars at the Beverly Hills Hotel, St. Regis and Mandarin Oriental, among other brands), to cars (over $25,000 paid to Mercedes Benz),” the SEC said. “Liberty spent tens of thousands of dollars on restaurants and food at a time he proclaimed to be insolvent.”
The filings note that in May 2009, while Liberty was asserting to the SEC that his net worth had deteriorated, he and his wife spent over $33,000, a typical amount, on the Visa card issued to Xanadu. In June of that year, he charged $45,000 on the Xanadu Visa, including for two separate stays at the St. Regis Hotel in Atlanta and a $2,700 canoe.
The SEC called Liberty’s use of the Xanadu accounts “a shell game,” pointing out that millions were moved from those accounts to banks.
“What was all this money used for?” the SEC filing asked. “That question remains unanswered, but what is certain is that Liberty utterly failed to provide the commission with fair and complete disclosure of his finances.
“Liberty exclaims in his email that ‘Money never sleeps, baby!’ and it’s clear that neither do his various accounts,” the SEC filing said.
Dubow said Liberty disclosed all of the financial entities he owned or had money in at the time of the settlement, and that the spending referenced by the SEC occurred after the settlement was reached. Dubow’s court filing said that in the financial reports submitted to the court at the time of the settlement, Liberty freely admitted that he spent a lot on living expenses.
Dubow also said the value of the Mozido stock that Liberty mentioned reflected investments that had been made in the company, not the actual market value of the stock if Liberty had tried to sell it.
The SEC is expected to file a response in December, Dubow said, and after that the judge could rule on the SEC motion or schedule a hearing. Besides the $5.4 million, the SEC is also seeking unspecified civil penalties.
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Margaret Drabble's The Dark Flood Rises is a significant achievement Ed Balls and Honey G: why reality TV has succeeded where western democracy has failed

“Now it is autumn and the falling fruit/and the long journey towards oblivion.” Although D H Lawrence’s prose is not particularly fashionable these days, his raw, arcane poetry continues to exert a startling power and exude presentiment. Margaret Drabble, for her 20th novel, has chosen for its title and epigraph a refrain from Lawrence’s valedictory “The Ship of Death”: there are numerous endings in the book, but it is Lawrence’s restless revolt against mortality which hovers spectacularly throughout. This nervous energy is most present in the novel’s jittery protagonist, Francesca Stubbs.
Fran is an archetypal Drabble character, an older version of her heroines from the 1960s and early 1970s: educated, dogged, middle class, self-improving. “Through our own mortal ingenuity, we are reaching a historical phase when we are beginning to fear old age and longevity more than we fear death,” Drabble wrote in a recent article. Fran, a seventysomething employed by a charity to research viable living arrangements for the so-called third age, “can’t understand the human race’s desire to perpetuate itself, to go on living at all costs”. Or, put more bluntly: “It’s fucked up old age itself.”
As she beetles around the country, checking out care homes and attending sheltered housing conferences, driving too fast and relishing the prosaic delights of overnight stays at a Premier Inn and a glass of cheap Merlot swigged in front of regional television, Fran’s train of thought is unfettered, densely allusive. It ranges over history’s ironic demises and famous last words, from Aeschylus’s death, alleged to have occurred by falling tortoise, to exits closer to home.
Her childhood friend Teresa is in the final stages of a terminal illness, “dying with such a style and commitment that Fran is deeply impressed by this late passage”; her own first husband, a retired surgeon, is complacently and suavely bedridden in a Kensington mansion block in London, his night terrors assuaged by Classic FM and a dual fixation on the late Maria Callas and his carer Persephone. Imminent death is not, of course, the province of only the elderly, as Drabble reminds us, in a book that soon threatens to become littered with more corpses than a Scandi crime thriller, albeit of an erudite variety.
Fran’s son, Christopher, has recently lost his girlfriend Sara, “taken ill very suddenly in a very large bed in a large luxury hotel on the Costa Teguise on the island of Lanzarote” while on holiday. A last supper of local limpets may or may not have been the catalyst for her expiration, which is relayed somewhat in the manner of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events. Christopher, a good-natured arts presenter whose trademark rakish glasses are not dissimilar to those of a certain BBC culture editor, was in awe of Sara, an outstanding human rights documentary-maker whose final project, on the plight of refugees from the Western Sahara, is now likely to be shelved.
Mordant wit and a strong humanitarian concern coexist in this novel; Lawrence’s ship of death becomes a metaphor for desperate people fleeing war and famine in rickety boats, washed up on inhospitable European beaches. So, too, does his “dark flood”, with low-level volcanic eruptions in the Azores and an increasingly waterlogged rural south-west England, gloomily monitored through the internet by Fran’s hermit-like daughter, Poppet, as withdrawn as her brother is outgoing.
For Teresa, a Catholic, and for Fran’s friend Josephine, a Cambridge adult education teacher (retired, to Fran’s horror, to one of the same sanitised independent living facilities she professionally recommends but secretly deplores), the afterlife, whether spiritual or secular, is definitely worth cultivating. Jo’s indefatigable tapestry work and her accidental research into a minor literary figure who died in the Spanish Civil War seem as ephemeral and yet as necessary as the intellectual legacy of the nonagenarian expatriate Bennett Carpenter, who, together with his younger partner, befriends the bereaved Christopher and welcomes him into their home on Lanzarote.
In terms of its plotlessness, The Dark Flood most closely resembles Drabble’s 1980 book, The Middle Ground , a series of contemplations on urban disaffection. While her writing can be high-handed, the novel is a significant achievement, admirable and truthful. To quote Lawrence, despairing and heroic, once more: “Look! We Have Come Through!”
Margaret Drabble and Penelope Lively will be in conversation at the Cambridge Literary Festival on 27 November
Ah, Saturday night television. A respite from the troubles of the rest of the world, where white male mediocrity is championed, where the whims of the public are humoured on a global stage, where experience is trumped by controversy and entertainment factor. Oh, wait...
The worlds of international politics and reality TV have never had more overlap. So, why, just a few weeks after novelty candidate Donald Trump won the US presidential elections, did double-left-footed Ed Balls bow out of Strictly Come Dancing , and modern-day one-woman minstrel show Honey G finally get voted off The X Factor? How are television programmes able to prevent gimmick triumphing over talent at the final hurdles when our political systems are not?
Is it thanks to the voting systems? Strictly and The X Factor have similar approaches, albeit with key differences. The X Factor encourages the public to vote for its favourite acts – the two least popular will then be turned over to the panel of four judges, who will vote to save their favourite of the remaining two.
Strictly , always more self-consciously fair than The X Factor , with a focus on improvement and skill over sheer fun, takes the judge’s opinions into greater consideration – the final ranking half based on public votes and half based on judge’s scores. Again, the final two acts are turned over to the judges to choose from.
This week, both Strictly and The X Factor ’s electoral colleges succeeded in vanquishing their novelty acts. “I have to do what I think the public would expect me to do in this position, and I also think one of the acts has gone as far as they can go now,” Simon Cowell said as Honey G was eliminated.
Meanwhile, on Strictly , the judges unanimously decided to send Ed Balls home. Craig Revel Horwood and Darcey Bussell cited competitor Judge Rinder’s better “technical” ability, while Bruno Tonioli added, “I have to choose the better dancers.”
Basically – “It was funny at first, but this has gone on long enough, and we all know you’re not the best in the race.”
You know the world’s in a sorry state when you start wondering if an electoral college consisting of Len Goodman and Nicole Scherzinger might be an effective damage limitation strategy for future political elections.
But, sadly, it would be disingenuous to pretend that Simon Cowell and Craig Revel Horwood are to be thanked for making a bold and courageous defence of meritocracy, and in doing so saving the British public from themselves. For Ed and Honey G to get to the bottom two in the first place, their public support had to be dwindling. As both competitions neared their close — X Factor has two weeks left while Strictly has one more — viewers were simply over the joke.
I don’t know why we are more likely to elect Boris Johnson Mayor of London (twice), throw four million votes at Nigel Farage, or elect Donald Trump POTUS than we are to allow Ed Balls or Honey G get to the final stages of competitions fairly lacking in talent to begin with. But looking to Saturday night TV for answers to the world’s most pressing problems was always doomed to fail.


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Downtown Biddeford’s all abuzz, but the parking’s a buzzkill

It’s been four years since a trash incinerator was removed from downtown Biddeford, ushering in a new phase of redevelopment for the former mill town once dubbed “Trashtown USA.”
Sprawling brick mills are being transformed into housing, retail and industrial spaces. New shops have opened on Main Street. And a burgeoning restaurant scene is gaining regional and national attention.
But the land where the Maine Energy Recovery Co. trash incinerator once stood sits empty, save for a small section used as a parking lot.
The former Maine Energy property – an 8.5-acre riverfront parcel on Lincoln Street – is championed by city officials as a prime development spot that could further propel the city’s revitalization. They’re confident Biddeford can attract a significant development project for the site, but say the city first needs to address the lack of downtown parking that has kept some employers away. City officials say two companies recently opted not to move to the city because of parking concerns, decisions that cost Biddeford about 700 jobs.
“We’re at a crossroads. To maximize development and stabilize taxes, we have to have the parking infrastructure downtown,” Mayor Alan Casavant said. “It’s not a question of doing nothing. We absolutely have to do something in terms of parking.”
Discussions about how to provide more parking downtown and in the mill district have popped up regularly since 2012, when the City Council voted to buy the Maine Energy property for $6.65 million from parent company Casella Waste Systems. When city leaders first broached the idea of building a parking garage a short time later, some residents bristled at the idea, saying it was something private developers should pay for, not the city. Opponents even led a successful push for a referendum to ban parking meters downtown because meters had been mentioned by city officials as part of a parking management plan that would include a parking garage.
Now, the City Council is taking its first significant step forward on the parking matter by issuing a request for proposals for the location and design of a downtown parking garage. It will be up to the City Council to decide if a parking garage will be built and where it would be located.
City Councilor Marc Lessard said building a parking garage will provide opportunities for more businesses to move to Biddeford and can be paid for by revenue from the garage.
“This is a good tactic to look to for further revitalization of the downtown,” he said during a council meeting this month.
Developers who are investing in Biddeford say it is critical for the City Council to approve a parking garage so that further redevelopment isn’t stymied by the shortage of spaces.
“There’s no way all the mills can be redeveloped and filled with tenants, whether it be housing or office space or light manufacturing businesses, without more parking being available,” said developer Nathan Szanton, whose $15 million Lofts at Saco Falls opened in September adjacent to the Maine Energy property. “It would be a very savvy move for the city to build a parking structure.”
But opponents, including a member of the citizen watchdog group Concerned Citizens of Biddeford, say the city shouldn’t be on the hook for the $7 million or more it would cost to build a parking garage that may benefit a limited part of the city.
Before Maine Energy closed, city officials and developers said the presence of a trash incinerator in the middle of the 35-acre mill district was a wet blanket on development. The city fielded complaints about trash trucks, odors and emissions from the company’s smokestacks.
Almost immediately after Maine Energy closed in December 2012, developers began buying property and announcing new projects. More than $65 million in new projects has been completed or is under way, including a $50 million housing project in the former Lincoln Mill.
Szanton announced the Lofts at Saco Falls shortly after the City Council voted to buy the Maine Energy property.
“That changed overnight with the MERC decision and we got under contract almost right away,” he said. “It had an immediate and drastic effect.”
The Lofts at Saco Falls has 80 units, 70 of which were already rented when the building opened in September. The last 10 apartments were rented within a week, primarily to people moving to Biddeford from Portland and other southern Maine towns. The Lofts at Saco Falls rents 80 parking spots on the Maine Energy property from the city and would shift those spots to a parking garage if one is built.
Developer Doug Sanford, credited with leading the way with mill redevelopment in the city over the past decade, has invested more than $5.6 million since 2012 in the Pepperell Mill Campus, creating at least 125 new jobs and absorbing more than 150,000 square feet of vacant space.
Downtown commercial buildings are selling, on average, nearly 59 percent above assessed value, generating $38.3 million in new value and $716,000 in additional property tax, according to data compiled by the city. Residential properties in that area are selling for 12 percent above assessed value, adding $14.5 million in additional value and $287,000 in taxes.
“All those different businesses and entities were improbable before Maine Energy,” Casavant said. “The removal of Maine Energy completely changed the landscape, not just physically but also psychologically in making investors believe this area has potential.”
Daniel Stevenson, the city’s economic development director, said the large projects, coupled with the opening of new restaurants and shops, show that the City Council’s decision to buy the Maine Energy property is now paying off, even if the property has yet to be redeveloped. Stevenson said city officials believe the property is a desirable location for redevelopment, but initial talks with businesses and developers always include questions about parking. Businesses looking to move to Biddeford and developers interested in investing there want certainty when it comes to parking, he said.
This year, two companies decided not to move to the mill district because there was not enough parking available, City Manager Jim Bennett said, declining to name the companies because they haven’t made public announcements about their relocations. One company would have brought more than 450 jobs, while the other had about 250, he said. Both had average salaries of $50,000 and each decided to locate elsewhere in southern Maine.
“We think if there was long-term certainty and solutions, those dynamics may have been different,” Bennett said.
Tony McDonald, a broker and partner with CBRE The Boulos Company, said parking is a necessary part of an office or residential development climate, particularly in a rural state where there is limited public transportation.
“I don’t think any sane developer would make an investment without knowing parking was available,” he said. “They don’t have to necessarily own it or control it, but it has to be there so their tenants can find a place to park.”
The city’s growing interest as a destination and the demand for downtown housing also are indicators that demand for parking will continue to grow, Bennett said.
The latest Census data shows the city is now the fastest-growing community in Maine for people under 30. The median age in Biddeford is 34, significantly lower than the median ages of 42.7 for Portland and 43.5 for the state as a whole.
Bennett said many of those people are young professionals who are driven out of the Portland market by high housing prices or who want to live in an up-and-coming urban environment.
“I think there’s a certain buzz here,” Bennett said. “The community has a raw ‘it’ factor that’s attracting people to the city.”
Stacy Cooper, owner of Biscuits & Co. on Alfred Street, hears and sees that buzz regularly. She opened her restaurant two years ago after winning a business startup incentive contest co-sponsored by the city. Foot traffic and business has continued to increase since Biscuits & Co. opened, especially as other new businesses open and more people move to the area, she said. “When people get here, they discover there is a lot going on,” she said.
Casavant, the mayor, believes locals are starting to notice the changes downtown and says people now tell him they understand the need for more parking. But he recognizes there may still be resistance to the idea of the city building a parking garage instead of relying on a private developer to do it. City councilors and staff say the garage would not be funded in a way that raises property taxes, instead relying on revenue generated by the garage to pay debt service on the project.
“This is a significant vote for the city. No one will vote for a parking garage that will raise taxes,” Casavant said.
Howard Hanson, a Biddeford resident, urged the City Council during its Nov. 16 meeting to really think about how a parking garage would impact taxpayers before moving forward.
“We have a tax rate right now that’s getting into the stratosphere,” he said. “To put another burden right now onto the people who pay taxes in this city is going to be very difficult. I think we need to have a lot of clarity before you even vote on this.”
Bennett said proposals are due by Dec. 16, when the council will begin the process of looking at the best location to build a garage he estimates could cost $7.8 million to $14 million. City councilors will not make any decisions about the parking garage before January and – if they approve a garage – a construction bid wouldn’t be awarded until summer. Nevertheless, Bennett is optimistic about the path the city is on.
“All the pieces are starting to align,” he said.
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Vietnam seizes smuggled ivory hidden in timber

Vietnamese authorities have seized nearly a ton of ivory smuggled from Africa after locating nearly five tons in five previous shipments to the same port in the past two months.
Ho Chi Minh City's deputy customs chief, Le Dinh Loi, said the ivory seized Monday and Tuesday was hidden inside timber in two containers that arrived at Cat Lai port and was en route to neighboring Cambodia.
The smugglers packed the ivory with wax and sealed it inside emptied-out timber, he said Wednesday.
The seizures came less than two weeks after officials from more than 40 countries met at an international conference on illegal wildlife trade in Hanoi, Vietnam's capital.
Vietnam is one of the world's major transit points and consumers of ivory and rhino horn.


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Ohio man gets life sentence for rape, murder of half-sister

An Ohio man sentenced to juvenile detention as a teen for the December 2012 murder and rape of his 3-year-old half-sister will now serve life in prison for the crime.


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Germany’s Lufthansa cancels 890 flights as strike continues

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s largest airline, Lufthansa, says it has canceled 890 flights for the day after pilots again extended their strike in an ongoing dispute over wages.
Lufthansa said Wednesday that some 98,000 passengers on short- and long-haul flights are affected.
The Cockpit union has been staging strikes with 24 hours’ notice since last week, and it remains far apart from Lufthansa in a pay dispute that has dragged on for more than two years.
So far the strikes have not affected Lufthansa subsidiaries such as Eurowings, Germanwings, Austrian Air and Swiss.
Cockpit is seeking retroactive raises of 3.66 percent a year going back 5½ years.
Lufthansa offered Friday to increase pilot pay by 4.4 percent by mid-2018, and make a one-time payment equal to 1.8 monthly salaries in lieu of past raises.
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Analysis: S. Korea leader again buys time, but failure looms

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — She pulled off a deft bit of political maneuvering, probably born of desperation. Now South Korea’s president has a sliver of breathing space as impeachment closes in and millions throng the streets to clamor for her to just go away.
For Park Geun-hye, the next few days, perhaps the most crucial in her presidency, will determine what political price will she pay, and exactly how much time she has bought.
Park’s offer to shorten her term in office if a bickering parliament can set up a legal pathway to doing so has been widely criticized as a stalling ploy aimed at luring back members of her conservative party who supported impeachment. That support by former Park loyalists is crucial if a coalition of opposition parties is going to secure the necessary impeachment votes.
Park’s conditional resignation proposal, if it delays impeachment, could give her time to search for a way to exit with some sense of grace, rather than be impeached and stripped of power while a court reviews whether to drive her from office.
To some extent, she has already succeeded in wriggling some of the way out from what had very recently looked like an impossible political situation.
What had seemed to be an inexorable legislative march toward impeachment has slowed, though it’s not yet clear how much.
Some of Park’s former allies who’d turned against her now say that an impeachment vote originally planned for Friday should be pushed back a week. Some influential members of her ruling party also called Wednesday for impeachment efforts to pause while lawmakers examine how to set up a legal roadmap for Park’s resignation proposal.
Opposition parties agreed Wednesday to push for an impeachment vote Friday, but will regroup and try again Dec. 9 if they don’t have enough initial support to impeach Park over what state prosecutors say was collusion with Choi Soon-sil, a confidante who allegedly had a large say in government affairs. Choi held no official government position, and allegedly used her ties to the president to pressure companies into giving money to foundations and companies Choi controlled or established.
Park denies prosecutors’ claims.
While the politicians scramble to regroup, the president’s speech has angered many citizens. After all, they say, if Park really cared about what most South Koreans say they want, she would have simply resigned.
Instead, she appears to be looking to regain just enough of her former allies’ backing to at least delay the effort to get the necessary two-thirds support needed in parliament for impeachment.
This puts opposition lawmakers in something of a bind.
Where they once had a strong momentum for impeachment provided by huge protests each weekend, they now may face painful negotiations in a deeply divided parliament. This means navigating a splintered ruling party and the sometimes conflicting views of various opposition parties.
Although unlikely, legislative squabbling could even allow Park to limp across the finish line of her single, five-year term in early 2018.
All the while, everyone must gauge how this will play in December 2017 presidential elections, and the widely expected presidential campaign of Ban Ki-moon, who is finishing up his term as U. N. secretary general.
So Park may have bought herself some time. But she has done nothing to change the widespread feeling here that she must go.
If lawmakers fail to impeach her Friday, this may become especially clear on Saturday.
As has happened the last five Saturdays, hundreds of thousands of people are again expected to choke downtown Seoul’s streets in a party-like atmosphere of defiance. This could allow lawmakers to win back the energy they will need to unite disparate groups in parliament and push through an impeachment vote.
In the end, Park’s political machinations may only delay the inevitable.
Foster Klug is AP’s Seoul bureau chief. He has covered the Koreas since 2005. Follow him at
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Rare ferrets settling in, making babies at new Colorado home

Dozens of slinky, ferocious and rare ferrets are settling in and making babies at their new home in Colorado , one year after they were released at a wildlife refuge outside Denver.


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1 killed when car veers off LA roadway into homeless encampment

LOS ANGELES -- One person was killed and three others were injured Tuesday after a car that had been traveling along the southbound 405 freeway in Van Nuys left the roadway and crashed into a homeless encampment, authorities said, CBS Los Angeles reports.
The accident took place just before 6:15 p.m. Tuesday on the southbound Interstate 405 at Sherman Way in Van Nuys.
Fire crews responding to an accident just off the freeway near Sherman Way found one person trapped beneath the car and several others injured, the Los Angeles Fire Department said. The Fire Department says one person was crushed and died at the scene.
The injured, including the driver, were taken to hospitals in conditions ranging from fair to critical, the Fire Department said. The person who died suffered massive crush injuries from the weight and impact of the car, authorities said.
The cause of the accident is being investigated.


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Clinton team sees recount effort as waste of resources

Hillary Clinton's aides and supporters are urging dispirited Democrats to channel their frustrations about the election results into political causes — just not into efforts to recount ballots in three battleground states.
The former Democratic presidential candidate and her close aides see the recount drive largely as a waste of resources, according to people close to Clinton. The effort is being fueled by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who's formed an organization to try to force recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
"Believe me if there was anything I could do to make Hillary Clinton the next president of the United States I would," said former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a longtime Clinton supporter. "But this is a big waste of time. "
Aides say Clinton is focused on moving past her unexpected defeat and has devoted little attention to the recount or thinking about her political future. She's been spending time with her grandchildren and going for walks near her Westchester home. Sightings of Clinton hiking with her dogs and shopping at a Rhode Island bookstore went viral on social media.
"There have been a few times this past week where all I wanted to do was curl up with a good book and our dogs and never leave the house again," Clinton said in an emotional speech at a gala for the Children's Defense Fund, her one public appearance since her loss.
Former President Bill Clinton, meanwhile, has been poring over the election results, second-guessing decisions by top campaign aides and intensely trying to figure out how his wife lost the white working-class voters who were the base of his electoral coalition, say people familiar with the campaign.
Clinton's team was aware of possible discrepancies soon after the election, telling top donors on a conference call four days after the election that they were looking into potential problems in the three states. But while many campaign staffers believe Russian hacking influenced the outcome of the election, blaming foreign actors for incursions into campaign and Democratic National Committee emails, they've found no evidence of the kind of widespread ballot box tampering that would change the results of the race — or even flip a single state.
Still, some dejected Clinton supporters have been unwilling to accept the results. Stein has raised $6.5 million for her recount campaign, according to a count posted on her campaign website on Tuesday. That's nearly double the roughly $3.5 million she raised during her entire presidential bid.
Some former Clinton aides have asked frustrated supporters to donate their dollars to what they view as more constructive causes, like state parties or the Democratic candidate in Louisiana, where a Dec. 10 runoff will be the party's last chance to pick up a Senate seat this year.
"I wouldn't give a dollar to Jill Stein," said Adam Parkhomenko, a longtime Clinton aide. "Volunteers, supporters and Democrats, they want to pick themselves up and get back out there. The best vehicle to do that is the Louisiana Senate race. "
Clinton's team conducted an exhaustive investigation into the possibility of outside interference in the vote tally, tasking lawyers, data scientists and political analysts to comb over the results. They contacted outside experts, examined the laws governing recounts and double-checked all the vote tallies.
The campaign found no "evidence of manipulation," wrote Marc Elias, the general counsel for Clinton's campaign, in an online essay. But, he said, Clinton agreed to minimal participation in Stein's effort, largely to make sure that her interests are represented. They put out a call for volunteers to monitor the proceedings and are relying on local lawyers to handle filings and other legal matters.
Clinton is under pressure to participate from her supporters, some of whom have struggled to accept the election results given her lead in the popular vote, which has grown to more than 2.3 million in the weeks after the Nov. 8 election.
"Now that a recount is underway, we believe we have an obligation to the more than 64 million Americans who cast ballots for Hillary Clinton to participate in ongoing proceedings to ensure that an accurate vote count will be reported," Elias wrote.
Clinton's lawyers filed motions with a Wisconsin judge on Tuesday looking to join Stein's lawsuit demanding that Wisconsin officials recount ballots by hand. The state elections commission will formally began the recount on Thursday.
Stein's organization has also filed for recounts in six of Pennsylvania's largest counties and says it plans to file a petition Wednesday demanding a Michigan recount.
"It's election law malpractice to not have your lawyers sitting around the table with Jill Stein's lawyers," said Adam Ambrogi, elections program director at the bipartisan Democracy Fund. "It is just due diligence. "


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Fire breaks out at Kansas City pipeline

SMITHVILLE, Mo. -- Authorities say there were no injuries as a result of a blaze that erupted when a gas pipeline ruptured north of Kansas City, Missouri. A Platte County Sheriff’s Department dispatcher said the fire was reported about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Platte County, north of Kansas City and not far from Kansas City International Airport. A glow in the sky was visible from KCI, CBS affiliate KCTV reports.
The fire was later put out.
The responding Southern Platte Fire District said the blaze resulted from a pipeline explosion, though the cause was unclear. The identity of the owner or operator of the pipeline was not immediately available. The Kansas City Fire Department says the pipeline carries ethane and propane. Joe McBride, a spokesman for the airport, said the blaze was not affecting flights at the airport and was not on airport property.


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Vietnam upholds 20-month jail term for land grab protester

HANOI, Nov 30 (Reuters) - A high-profile Vietnamese activist on Wednesday lost a bid to overturn a 20-month jail term for protesting against illegal land grabs, her lawyer said, after a judge upheld a lower court ruling that had outraged human rights groups. Vietnam's boom in real estate in recent years has spurred protests by small landowners evicted to make way for construction projects. Many say the evictions are illegal, with authorities paying inadequate compensation. The Hanoi city court did not alter the prison sentence for Can Thi Theu, 54, lawyer Ha Huy Son told Reuters after the half-day hearing. "The sentence remains unchanged," Son said. It was not immediately clear if Theu planned to appeal against the verdict in a higher court. Theu, who has been in jail since her arrest in June, appealed against the sentence handed down in September for leading protests outside government offices. She had previously served a 15-month jail term, for opposing officials on duty, before being freed in July 2015. Vietnam's human rights record is in the spotlight, as it shows no sign of let-up in the jailing and intimidation of activists, bloggers and dissidents, despite an aggressive pursuit of closer economic and diplomatic ties with the West. New York-based Human Rights Watch has called for Theu to be released immediately. "The Vietnamese government should urgently amend the land law and its grievance processes to protect farmers' rights, not to punish them for voicing their opinions and demanding action on their claims," it said in a statement. (Editing by Clarence Fernandez)


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‘Yamato (California)’ Review

Depicting the underbelly of a Japanese town dominated by a U. S. airbase, “Yamato” is like a kick in the butt to the apolitical and inward-looking attitudes of Japan’s film industry and domestic market. Evoking the economic and psychological burdens of America’s military presence on a rudderless female wannabe-rapper, writer-director Daisuke Miyazaki asks whether his compatriots are colonized within their own country. Gleefully abrasive and opinionated about Japanese and Americans alike, Miyazaki dissects his generation’s cultural angst as few of his contemporaries have done. So despite a disappointingly ending, the film deserves a release in the U. S. to represent the Japanese civilian view in the ongoing debate of American foreign policy.
Yamato, a town in Kanagawa, near Tokyo, is home to Atsugi Airbase, the largest U. S. naval base in the Pacific Ocean. Although Yamato is the ancient, but still widely used name for Japan, it has an ironic ring considering how the local residents regard their own soil as a “special zone” of California. This being Miyazaki’s hometown, nothing escapes his intense scrutiny, beginning with a long take of a giant junkyard, and closing in on high school dropout Sakura (Hanae Kan) rapping to herself inside. Though the actress’ performance is pedestrian, her lyrics (“living in a radioactive, contaminated country, dodging the brainwashing…”) strip away Japan’s Olympic publicity image.
When she goes home, it’s just another dump: Only a curtain divides her bedroom from her geeky brother Kenzo’s space, while garbage and used appliances pile up in the backyard. These snippets of suburban life may recall Yu Irie’s “8000 Miles” trilogy about rappers stuck in the drab town of Saitama. However, while Irie’s works are harmless, offbeat slacker comedies, there’s more indignation to Yamato’s sense of squalor, as the town’s residents seem enervated by the sense of dependency reinforced by the foreign presence.
Sakura’s single mom, Kiko (Reiko Kataoka), is dating an American G. I. named Abby Goldman, whose daughter, Rei (Nina Endo), is visiting from America. Since Kiko has to work, she asks Sakura and Kenzo to take good care of Rei.
Although Rei hails from San Francisco, she’s cheerful, courteous, and speaks perfect Japanese. Her host family’s insistence on treating her like a foreigner, Kiko’s desperation to please, and Kenzo’s euphoria over rare female company are both funny and pathetic. At first, Sakura is downright hostile, but it doesn’t take long for her icy pose to dissolve, after discovering Rei knows a thing or two about hip-hop.
A lively, unpredictable dynamic develops as they hang out at a cheap general-goods chain called Don Quixote, a comic cafe, and a local mall — all dives Sakura takes for granted as sad proof of her downscale existence. Nonetheless, they’re novelties to Rei. Still, there are limits to their superficial cultural exchange, so it’s not surprising that their ad hoc friendship could easily turn sour. When Sakura is uneasy about rapping for Sakura, the latter, in a drunken fit, accuses her new friends of being copying America, with no original modern culture of their own.
Since Miyazaki spent his childhood in Chicago but later returned to Yamato, Sakura and Rei could be viewed as two sides of his own self-image, which in turn reflects the post-war identity crisis many Japanese experience. Sakura’s description of the elusive Abby, who never appears onscreen, as “like a friend or father” who taught her about hip hop — but who also uses her family, and even dumps his own daughter on them — symbolizes Japan’s ambivalent feelings towards America as a protector and freeloader.
The plot could have packed a more provocative punch when it added a Korean girl gang and a homeless community into the mix, but instead, it ties things up in a neat, heartwarming bow that proves out-of-character and out-of-tune with it’s general edginess.
Kan, a 26-year-old Japanese-Korean who made her debut in Seijun Suzuki’s “Pistol Opera,” was once accused of being anti-Japanese because she played an ethnic Korean terrorist in “Pure Asia.” This controversial past combined with her aloof image makes her an ideal choice for the cranky, neurotic misfit. Rising British-Irish-Japanese actress-model Endo laces her cuteness with just the right dose of spite.
Best known for her cinematography in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s films, Akiko Ashizawa refrains from a stylized, polished approach to convey a warts-and-all realism. Sound designers Hwang Yong-chang and Yasuhiro Morinaga’s live recordings of deafening sounds of fighter jets hover over almost every outdoor scene, and form a vexing whir even when the characters are indoors, echoing longtime complaints of noise disturbances by residents near airbases all over the country.


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Sarah Jessica Parker holds up a wine glass as she leads jovial salute at Art Basel party

She has many reasons to celebrate. And Sarah Jessica Parker looked to be absolutely jubilant as she lead a toast at L'Eden By Perrier-Jouet's part at Art Basel. The 51-year-old looked ecstatic as she raised her glass at the crowded Miami venue on Tuesday. Holding up her champagne glass the stunner shined in a sequin gown while decorating her hair with a large flower decoration. Meanwhile, just the day before the Sex And The City star joined Reese Witherspoon for the launch of DirecTV Now at Venue 57 in New York City on Monday. The dynamic duo were at the event for the launch of DirecTV Nows new streaming service, which now also features channels dedicated to both stars. Consumers can subscribe to different levels and can stream between 60 to 120-plus channels, starting at $35 monthly and there is also a free 7-day trial. The live TV streaming service is available on smartphones, tablets, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. John Stankey, CEO of AT&T's entertainment group, wants to 'address a new audience.' The launch was especially close to Reeses heart as the actress plans to create a new entertainment destination featuring high quality and exclusive content. Moreover, she wants it to feature female-driven stories. She posted a photo on Instagram of her speaking at the event with the caption: 'So excited to partner with @att and #DirecTVNow to bring @hellosunshine's female-driven content to their customers!' The busy mother and actress also has her own fashion brand Draper James , which she was also promoting today on social media. She posted a picture of herself in a picturesque bed in floral pajamas holding her laptop. The blonde beauty captioned the photo: 'Who else takes #CyberMonday very seriously?! Christmas shopping here I come! (P. S. @draperjames has a big, sparkly sale too!)'


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Jennifer Aniston reveals how hubby Justin Theroux surprised her on Thanksgiving

Justin Theroux gave wife Jennifer Aniston the prefect surprise on Thanksgiving: himself. The actress revealed on Ellen how she though she would be spending the holiday without her hubby, who was stuck in Germany. 'Everyone came to the house and no one really understood that Justin was not going to be there and you just saw everybody’s face just start to fall,' she recalled. 'The whole room got really depressed. 'I was like, "Guys: I’m here! I understand Justin‘s not here, but it’s going to be okay!’” Jennifer said, before hinting the reaction wasn't too enthusiastic. 'I gave the toast at the head of the dinner table, which is usually me and Justin. And I gave, I guess, a very unimpressive toast where people were like "meh, great. Let's eat". 'Then salads came out and everyone was just very somber and next thing you know, turkey walks in and there was another turkey holding that turkey,' she revealed. 'And that was my hubby! He came in with the turkey. The Friends star has been with Justin since 2011, and married him in August last year. The 47-year-old was then challenged to a game of Ellen's favourite game, Heads Up — but with a twist. In honour of her latest film Office Christmas Party - in which co-stars Olivia Munn and Jason Bateman don snowman fat suits - the duo had to act out the words wearing inflatable sumo suits. Understandably, each struggled when trying to portray any hip movement - including twerking, hula dancing. Meanwhile getting down to make snow angels or perform yoga presented another set of challenges, but they pulled off a respectable score nevertheless.


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NPR Dutifully Plays Obamacare Cheerleader After Price Nomination

Now that Tom Price is officially the nominee to be the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, a mild panic has broken out among Democrats and their media cohorts. Since Price has been one of the most vocal and cogent critics of the Affordable Care Act, Trump’s threat to dismantle it once in office just became more real. Democrats know that won’t be easy to do even with a determined White House and Republicans in Congress working together, but it’s important for them to act as if Obamacare was just given an eviction notice.
Today, as if on cue, NPR touted a new government report issued to reassure everyone that the government is making healthcare consumers in America happy.
The number of people who have trouble paying their medical bills has plummeted in the last five years as more people have gained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act and gotten jobs as the economy has improved. A report from the National Center for Health Statistics released Wednesday shows that the number of people whose families are struggling to pay medical bills fell by 22 percent, or 13 million people, in the last five years. And that’s good news, according to consumer and health policy advocates. “The effect on families is profound,” says Lynn Quincy, director of the Healthcare Value Hub at the Consumers Union. “Health care costs are a top financial concern for families, far above other financial concerns.” Quincy says the number one determinant of whether people can pay medical bills is whether they have insurance. “The fact that this report shows it’s getting easier, it seems like we should lay a good part of this at the door of the ACA,” she says. The decline in families worrying about medical bills corresponds with a huge increase in the number of people who have health insurance. In 2011, 46.3 million in the U. S. were uninsured. In June of this year, that figure had fallen to 28.4 million people. Much of that increase is due to the Affordable Care Act, whose insurance exchanges were launched in 2013 for coverage starting in 2014.
This certainly was a surprise follow up to two months of Facebook posts by people showing notices from their insurance companies detailing the outrageous premium hikes they’ll be facing in 2017. It’s almost as if someone is being less than forthcoming here.
If, like me, you are skeptical of a government assessment of government’s functionality, then the report can be taken with a grain of salt.
The reality is that middle class Americans who are self-employed (“Present”) are being priced out of having any coverage at all. The NPR reporting here waxes on about the importance of just being covered, and the relief that comes with that. There is no exploration whatsoever of the impact on the self employed. On the contrary, the picture being painted is so rosy one can almost smell flowers blooming.
After going on and on detailing this health insurance coverage utopia that no one I know is aware of, the article got to its primary propaganda duties:
But Quincy says simply having coverage is the key. “People speak loudest when they are faced with increasing deductibles and increase cost sharing,” she says. “But nothing determines the affordability of care than that binary equation: Do you have coverage or do you not?” The report comes just as President-elect Donald Trump is naming officials to his health policy team who are determined to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Trump has pledged to repeal and replace the health law, and on Tuesday named Rep. Tom Price, R-Georgia, a vocal opponent of Obamacare, to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. Repealing the law would hurt the people who are seeing relief from high medical bills as highlighted in this report, says Jay Angoff, a former Missouri insurance commissioner who helped implement the Affordable Care Act at HHS. “There are millions of people who have coverage under Obamacare,” Angoff says. “What are they going to tell those guys?”
Maybe Angoff should revisit that question after next year.


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Jack Frost bites Britain: Country wakes up to a coating of ice after temperatures plunged to -10C... but winter doesn't start until TOMORROW

For England and Wales, it was their coldest November night since 2010. The Met Office expects slightly less chilly evenings from tonight onwards as clouds move down from Scotland. But the colder temperatures are likely to return this weekend and some areas could still get a fair amount of frost. In Scotland there could be bright spells but cloud cover in the west may be thick enough for patches of rain. The Shetland Islands are expected to receive lengthy but light showers and gales are forecast for the far north. The middle band of the UK is likely to see fog patches around Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and the Vale of York. However they will clear after the morning to sunny skies as clouds move down from the North. The southbound clouds are expected to lift the mercury slightly as they push down towards central and northern regions and elevate overnight temperatures slightly. Meteorologist Sophie Yeomans said conditions were slightly colder than the average daytime temperatures for this time of year but this could be the result of a temporary cold spell. On Wednesday, London and Cardiff are expected to peak at 4C (39F), Glasgow to reach 9C (48F) and Edinburgh to head towards 8C (46F). The colder conditions come as the Local Government Association’s (LGA) annual winter readiness survey shows that councils are well prepared for plummeting temperatures with a substantial stock of grit. About half are at the limit of storage capacity, and the LGA said gritters will be out treating thousands of miles of roads whenever overnight temperatures drop below zero in the coming days. LGA transport spokesman Martin Tett said: 'We are well prepared for the cold, with 1.2 million tonnes of salt stockpiled and a fleet of state-of-the-art gritters ready to be deployed.' Public Health England has warned people to remember that “cold does kill” even in places that are not experiencing the coldest temperatures. December 1 marks the beginning of meteorological winter, which lasts until February 1.


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Nov. 30-Dec. 1: GLIDE Holiday Jam, Light in the Grove, A John Waters Christmas, Politics at the Dinner Table, Naked and Famous, SOMArts' Touch On

Glide Holiday Jam : Michael Franti, Sheila E, Goapele and Paula West appear in the seasonal concert in honor of the charitable organization’s co-founders Janice Mirikitani and Reverend Cecil Williams. [7 p.m., Masonic, 1111 California St., S. F.]
Light in the Grove 2016 : World AIDS Day is being observed at the ticketed fundraiser, including a ceremony with musical performances, the “Lifetime of Commitment” award for Alvin Baum and 10 acres of illumination to honor those who lost their lives. [6 to 9 p.m., AIDS Memorial Grove, Bowling Green and Nancy Pelosi drives, Golden Gate Park, S. F.]
A John Waters Christmas : The filmmaker and raconteur’s acclaimed one-man show is a rapid-fire monologue in which he shares his religious fanaticism for Santa Claus and an unhealthy love of real life holiday horror stories. [8 p.m., Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., S. F.]
Breakfast at Tiffany’s : Director Blake Edwards’ timeless film starring Audrey Hepburn hits theaters as part of TCM’s Big Screen Classics series. [2 and 7 p.m., Century 20, 1901 Junipero Serra Blvd., Daly City]
Surveillance Self-Defense : The SF Newtech session, led by John Adams, former head of security at Twitter, begins with a discussion about online security followed by a hands-on workshop. [7:30 p.m., Covo, 981 Mission St., S. F.; register at]
Politics at the Dinner Table : The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture hosts the panel discussion with Navina Khanna of HEAL Food Alliance, Nina Ichikawa of Berkeley Food Institute, Michael Dimock of Roots of Change and Anna Lappé of Real Food Media. [6 p.m., Port Commission Hearing Room, second floor, 1 Ferry Building, S. F.]
Snow Tha Product : The catchy San Jose rapper (aka Claudia Feliciano) headlines a show with openers Woke and Fool Boy Marley. [8 p.m., Social Hall, 1270 Sutter St., S. F.]
The Naked and Famous : The indie electronic band from New Zealand headlines; XYLØ, an electronic brother-sister duo, opens. [8 p.m., Fox, 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland]
Robbie Robertson : The guitarist and songwriter of The Band fame is on tour promoting his memoir “Testimony.” [7 p.m., Dominican University, Angelico Concert Hall, 50 Acacia Ave., San Rafael]
Touch On : The monthlong exhibition, a “deep inquiry into the multifaceted nature of touch” curated by James Fleming and Kelly Lovemonster with works by 14 artists, opens with a reception. [6 to 8 p.m., SOMArts, 934 Brannan St., S. F.]
Soulful Christmas : The rousing holiday show, a celebration of more than 20 years of gospel with musical director Yvonne Cobbs and the legendary Lorraine Hansberry Theatre Choir, kicks off a five weekend run with a preview. [7 p.m., Buriel Clay Theater, 762 Fulton St., S. F.]
Lil Durk : The South Side Chicago rapper released his second studio album “LilDurk2x” in the summer. [8:30 p.m., New Parish, 579 18th St., Oakland]
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale : The period musicians perform the epic Handel oratorio “Joshua,” in which the story of the Biblical hero is brought to life. [7 p.m., Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., S. F.]
An Evening with Edward P. Jones : The Z Space 2016 fundraiser hosts journalist Belva Davis in conversation with the Pulitzer Prize-winning author following a performance by the theater troupe Word For Word of Jones’ “All Aunt Hagar’s Children.” [7 p.m., Z Space, 450 Florida St., S. F.]
Alex Webb-La Calle : The show, a survey of pictures shot by the Magnum photographer throughout Mexico from 1978 to 2007, opens with a reception. [5:30 p.m., Robert Koch Gallery, 49 Geary St., S. F.]
Beyond The Headlines-Mission Live : The photography show of work by journalism students and the staff of the Mission-based newspaper El Tecolote opens with a reception. [6 to 9 p.m., Front Page Gallery. Bungalow 615, City College of S. F., 50 Phelan Ave., S. F.]
Riches to Rags : Standup performers Richard Sarvate, Abhay Nadkarni and Samson Koletkar — three techies turned comics — take on life, love, marriage, kids, politics, immigration, cars and gentrification in their new show. [6 and 8 p.m., Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View]
The Golden Girls-The Christmas Episodes : The show, which features four drag queens performing episodes from the classic TV show live onstage, begins its annual holiday run; Jan Wahl, critic from KRON TV, is opening night’s celebrity guest. [8 p.m., Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St., S. F.]
It’s a Wonderful Life Radio Play: Douglas Morrisson Theatre stages the classic tale about idealistic George Bailey, whose life unfolds as he considers ending it on one fateful Christmas Eve. [8 p.m., 22311 N. Third St., Hayward]
Alice in Winterland : Alice @ 97.3’s annual holiday concert (it’s sold out) features OneRepublic, Train and The Last Bandoleros. [7:30 p.m., Masonic, 1111 California St., S. F.]
Day with(out) Art : Yerba Buena Center for the Arts observes the national day of action and mourning in response to the AIDS crisis with a screening of “Compulsive Practice,” a compilation of clips from the compulsive, daily video practices of artists and activists who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. [4 to 6 p.m., 701 Mission St., S. F.]
Jingle Ball : Wild 94.9’s annual holiday concert features Shawn Mendes, The Chainsmokers, Charlie Puth, Diplo, Tove Lo, Alessia Cara, Lukas Graham and Daya and a guest appearance from Niall Horan. [7:30 p.m., SAP Center, 525 W. Santa Clara St., San Jose]
Cave Clove : The indie four-piece from Oakland releases its self-titled album (which has expanded from the group’s original Americana sound) on a bill with The Donkeys and Kelly McFarling. [9 p.m., Starline Social Club, 2236 MLK Jr. Way, Oakland]
Mr Little Jeans : The Norwegian electro-pop artist (aka Monica Birkenes) recently released the EP “Fevers,” with the pop hymnal “Stitches.” [9 p.m., Slim’s, 333 11th St., S. F.]
Linda Eder : The Broadway and pop star brings her holiday cabaret show to the Bay Area for three performances. [8 p.m., Feinstein’s at the Nikko, 222 Mason St., S. F.]
Craig Packer : The expert on lion conservation speaks about his book “Lions in the Balance,” which offers a “timely, humorous and brutally honest account of lion behavior, ecology and conservation to date.” [7 p.m., Jewish Community Center, 3200 California St., S. F.]
Performing Diaspora : CounterPulse’s 2016 new works program spotlights radical choreographers, with SAMMAY’s “silbihan,” a multimedia piece that reflects on experiences of first-generation Pilipina-American daughters, and dana e. fitchett’s “unending,” which strives for authenticity and “rejects oppressive narratives,” particularly those of black life in America. [8 p.m., 80 Turk St., S. F.]
Brit + Co Holiday House : The three-week long pop-up, which offers craft and activity classes, DIY stations and gifting stations by Jo-Ann, opens for the season. [11 a.m. to 8 p.m., 2120 Union St., S. F.]
Jingle and Mingle : Children of Shelter — an organization serving homeless children — hosts its annual benefit, featuring the opportunity to bid on one-of-a-kind designer wreaths. [6:30 p.m., Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop, Presidio, S. F.]


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Scoop: Barron Trump ‘Stop Bullying’ autism video replaced by apology

The “Stop the Bullying” video that suggested that Donald Trump’s son Barron might be autistic is no more.
On Tuesday, TMZ reported that Melania Trump got a retraction from James Hunter, who apologized and said the video he posted on Nov. 11 was “false, defamatory and malicious.”
In its place is a new video, with text set to heartfelt music, which says, “It was incredibly irresponsible of me to diagnose Barron Trump using a selection of misleading videos. I falsely correlated him trying to stay awake and occasionally doing quirky things, with him suffering from autism.”
Hunter also said he didn’t mean to hurt the Trumps, but wanted to educate about autism.
The new post comes after Melania engaged attorney Charles Harder, who apparently threatened to sue the YouTube user, calling his initial video an example of bullying, with “false statements and speculation about a 10-year-old boy for the purpose of harassing him and his parents.”
The original video went viral after Rosie O’Donnell (a longtime enemy of Donald), shared the link with the caption, “Barron Trump autistic? If so, what an amazing opportunity to bring attention to the autism epidemic.”
It should be noted that O’Donnell’s 3-year-old daughter Dakota has been diagnosed with autism.
It may be a bittersweet end of an era, but there also will be joy and remembrances on Saturday, when the Chinese Folk Dance Association honors its 57-year legacy with its final performance, “Dancing Phoenix Celebrates,” at 2 p.m. at the Chinese Culture Center Auditorium in San Francisco.
Founded in 1959 by Jackson Chan with the help of Him Mark Lai, the trailblazing amateur group (and school) introduced Chinese folk dancing to the U. S., and, through the years, nurtured artists from China who went on to form their own companies, including Lily Cai and Hai Yan Jackson. Peter Pau, cinematographer for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” was one of its dancers, too.
Currently headed by Shannon Yip, the group’s last show promises to offer varied dances from China’s national minorities, as well as pay tribute to its supporters and performers.
There are no updates about the possible release of Kanye West, who remains hospitalized (and undiagnosed) in Southern California following a meltdown last week; wife Kim Kardashian apparently has been at his side, but his kids, 3-year-old North and 11-month old Saint, have not visited.
Oakland Raider Dexter McDonald is 25. … Model Chrissy Teigen is 31. … Actress Kaley Cuoco is 31. … Actress Elisha Cuthbert is 34. … Singer Clay Aiken is 38. … Actress Sandra Oh is 46. … Actor-director Ben Stiller is 51. … Singer Billy Idol is 61. … Guitarist Shuggie Otis is 63. … Singer-actor Mandy Patinkin is 64. … Playwright David Mamet is 69. … Director Ridley Scott is 79.


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Bangladesh players fined for female guests - reports

The Bangladesh Cricket Board has levied a record fine on two national team players for what it called "serious" breaches of discipline after they reportedly entertained female guests in their hotel rooms. Pace bowler Al-Amin Hossain and batsman Sabbir Rahman were both fined around $15,000 for "serious off-field disciplinary breaches" during the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20 tournament, said the BCB in a statement late Tuesday. It gave no details of the charges against the players, but the Prothom Alo daily reported online that they had taken female guests to their hotel rooms during the tour. "The players have been reminded of their responsibility as national cricketers and have been warned that any repetition of similar acts of indiscretion in the future will result in harsher penalty," the BCB said. The BPL is modelled on the glitzy Indian Cricket League and has been blighted by match-fixing scandals, prompting authorities to suspend the meet for two years. Seven franchises are playing in the current edition, which includes such major names as Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi, West Indies’ Chris Gayle and Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara. The fines are the highest ever imposed on a Bangladeshi player on disciplinary grounds. Al-Amin's amounts to 50 percent of his BPL contract money for playing for the Barisal Bulls while Sabbir's is equal to 30 percent of his pay from the Rajshahi Kings. The BCB also fined Sabbir and Afghan cricketer Mohammad Shahzad 15 percent of their match fees over an onfield bust-up Shahzad, who was also banned for two matches, nudged Sabbir with the bat when the Bangladeshi player celebrated his dismissal during a match on Monday.


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Lack of sleep costs US economy up to $411 BILLION per year, report claims

A lack of sleep among the U. S. working population is costing the economy up to $411 billion a year, a new report warns. Researchers consulted national business reports and peer-reviewed sleep data from five different countries to predict the economic effects of sleeplessness. They found America to suffer the most from a tired workforce, losing just over 1.2 million working days a year to exhaustion - either from workers taking days off or not performing at their prime. The study, by the non-profit research firm the RAND Corporation, also warns a lack of sleep drastically raises mortality risk. 'Improving individual sleep habits and duration has huge implications, with our research showing that simple changes can make a big difference,' said lead author Marco Hafner. 'Our study shows that the effects from a lack of sleep are massive. 'Sleep deprivation not only influences an individual's health and wellbeing but has a significant impact on a nation's economy, with lower productivity levels and a higher mortality risk among workers.' The study defines 'poor sleep' as less than six hours a night, while the optimum amount is somewhere between seven and nine hours. Those who do not reach the six-hour mark have a 13 percent higher mortality risk than people who sleep eight hours, they found. The ones in between - with about six-and-a-half hours' sleep - also suffer; they have a 7 percent higher mortality risk than their better-rested colleagues. In total, the U. S. loses just over 1.2 million working days a year due to sleep deprivation among its working population. Productivity losses at work occur through a combination of absenteeism, employees not being at work, and presenteeism, where employees are at work but working at a sub-optimal level. The study - 'Why Sleep Matters - The Economic Costs of Insufficient Sleep' - also chronicles the economic losses of sleeplessness in the UK, Canada, Germany, and Japan. The US has the biggest financial losses (up to $411 billion, which is 2.28 percent of its GDP) and most working days lost (1.2 million) due to sleep deprivation among its workforce. This was closely followed by Japan (up to $138 billion, which is 2.92 percent of its GDP, and around 600,000 working days lost). Germany (up to $60 billion, which is 1.56 percent of its GDP, and just over 200,000 working days lost) and the U. K (up to $50 billion, which is 1.86 percent of its GDP, and just over 200,000 working days lost) have similar losses. Canada was the nation with the best sleep outcomes, but still has significant financial and productivity losses (up to $21.4 billion, which is around 1.35 percent of its GDP, and just under 80,000 working days lost). Radner insists small changes can make a big difference. 'If those who sleep under six hours a night increase their sleep to between six and seven hours a night, this could add $226.4 billion to the U. S. economy,' he explains.


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Khloe Kardashian pairs her Good American jeans with plunging tank during factory visit in LA... after slamming sweatshop allegations

Production on the hit E! show was briefly stopped in October after Kim Kardashian was robbed in Paris at gunpoint. Rumors that Keeping Up With The Kardashians took another break arose after Kanye West was hospitalized for exhaustion and sleep deprivation. 'It means a lot to me to make my denim in the US and to be employing good wages to all of my hardworking employees.'


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In the kitchen: Cookies and other homemade holiday gifts

If the holidays season can be likened to a race, we’ve just about made it to the home stretch. Congratulations. Perhaps we dusted off the punch bowl — and our cocktail recipes — when we hosted that Halloween party barely a month ago. Then we put the oven — and all the pots and pans and maybe our nerves — through their paces when we tackled Thanksgiving last week. (Hopefully, you’ve recuperated.) And now? It’s officially baking season, that sweet spot before the end of the year when we stock up on homemade cookies and other family favorites to take to potlucks and gatherings, wrap up as gifts, and set out at the holiday parties yet to come.
We’ve gathered together some of our favorite holiday cookie recipes, as well as a few unique homemade gift ideas. We’ve also compiled a list of fun and creative ideas for the foodie on your gift list.
— Noelle Carter
From wedding cookies to pecan pie bars, Linzer cookies to gingerbread, rugelach, sugar cookies and bourbon balls, we all have that one cookie that defines the holidays. Whether you’re looking for a lost family favorite or are curious about trying something new (cardamom cookies, perhaps?), our cookie recipes are tested in the Test Kitchen before they’re printed, so you can count on them to work. We have hundreds of recipes to choose from.
Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen director Noelle Carter shows how to roll dough.
If you’re looking for homemade gift ideas that go beyond a tin of cookies or a tray of brownies, consider one of these. Please the hot sauce fan in your life with a jar of homemade Sriracha salt. Wrap up a batch of dark sea salt caramel candies. And give the outdoor enthusiast or avid camper a container of all-purpose baking mix — just add water and a little oil and you can whip up a batch of pancakes, biscuits or dumplings in almost no time.
This year, we kept the Golden State in mind when we came up with our annual holiday gift guide — many of the items are locally made or produced. From ice cream to olive oil to chocolates, coffee mugs, preserves and more, you’ll find something for the discriminating food lover on your list.
Turnips, parsnips and rutabagas may not make the list when it comes to Most Popular Vegetable, but root vegetables have a surprising depth of flavor and are perfect for a variety of cold-weather preparations. Check out some of our favorite root vegetable recipes.
Brazilian soccer team plane crash , California university leaders urge Trump to embrace students who are in the U. S. illegally , Metro will pay nearly $300 million to company that widened the 405 Freeway , and newly identified bodies of Pearl Harbor victims returned to families for burial .
Ohio State University had initially advised students there was an active shooter on campus and that they should “Run Hide Fight.”
Known as the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35 is the most expensive weapons program ever, and is intended to replace four aircraft.
Fidel Castro's death late Friday sparked celebrations in Miami , president-elect Trump claims falsely there is widespread voter fraud , more than 154 million Americans shopped during the Black Friday weekend , and a first for robotics scholarship programs .
The Lakers lost a second straight game to the Warriors on Friday, 109-85, and fell to 8-9 on the season.
The Lakers lost a second straight game to the Warriors on Friday, 109-85, and fell to 8-9 on the season.


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Anti-Marcos group taunts Bato: Pray for clouds

MANILA — The heavens seemed to have not listened to Police Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa’s plea for rain, as sunny skies welcomed anti-Marcos protesters on Wednesday at the People Power Monument in Quezon City.
As preparations were underway for the 4 p.m. program, “Siklab BAYANi Para sa Katotohanan,” organizers and policemen alike sought for shade to escape the mid-afternoon heat.
Jozy Acosta-Nisperos, one of the event’s organizers, taunted Dela Rosa and asked for the police chief to “pray for clouds.”
“He should pray for clouds so that it wouldn’t be too warm,” Nisperos told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in an interview.
On Monday, the Philippine National Police chief told reporters in a press briefing that he would call on all police chaplains to pray for rain, in effect discouraging protesters from coming out and voicing their opposition to the Duterte administration’s approval of the burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani last Nov. 18.
“We don’t have to prepare for everything. We will give them all they want. They can have the streets, parks, plazas. Go ahead, we will not block them provided they will not make any trouble,” Dela Rosa said.
He added: “I will just require all priests in the chaplain service here in the PNP to pray for rain. The priests will pray for rain to prevent the protesters from massing [on Edsa].”
Nisperos said the Coalition Against the Marcos Burial had its own prayer warriors, who not only sought for the “safety and success” of their event but also for good weather.
Maria Serena Diokno, the newly resigned chair of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and Bonifacio Ilagan, convener of the Coalition Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang have been confirmed as speakers in Wednesday’s program, which would run till midnight. SFM


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'My marriage is on the rocks': Women confess the shocking reasons they're trying to get pregnant WITHOUT telling their partners

One user admitted that despite her and her husband's marriage being on the rocks, she is still 'secretly wanting to get pregnant because I still think my husband would make a great father.' Another said that they are secretly trying to get pregnant because 'I want this so bad it feels right.' Others, however, have taken a more drastic approach to getting pregnant. A women said that despite their boyfriend thinking that they are on birth control, they have in fact come off it and are trying to get pregnant. One woman even admitted they her and her partner aren't ready for children but despite this, 'every time my husband and I have sex, I try to get pregnant. 'I want to have his children already!' Wannabee-mothers admitted other devious ways to try and get pregnant. A woman confessed: 'I'm secretly trying to get pregnant by a guy I'm not in a relationship with just because I want a baby.' Another woman wrote: 'Secretly I want to get pregnant. Problem? 'I'm not married and I'm afraid it would kill my mom.' Others even dared to admit their most shameful confessions and said that they are simply trying to get pregnant by their ex boyfriend 'so that I can put him in my trap.' Likewise, another woman said that the man she's sleeping with doesn't know the only reason she is having sex with him is because she is trying to get pregnant. The final Whisper confession comes from a mother who already has a six-month-old baby daughter. She admits that her and her fiance are 'lucky' to be able to afford to buy things for her but she is secretly hoping she falls pregnant again. Ultimately, the men have no say about whether or not they wish to be a father and these confessions prove the great lengths some women are willing to go too to have one.


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SA Car of the Year: Which car do you think deserves the title?

EARLY LEAD: The Opel Astra takes a commanding lead in our Readers' Car of the Year poll. We'll be running the poll for at least a few more months so cast your vote. Image: Wheels24
Cape Town - The 2017 SA Car of the Year competition is garnering mixed reactions, at least according to initial votes in our homepage poll.
The 10 finalists have been revealed by the South African Guild of Motoring Journalist (SAGMJ), following a vote cast by a 28-member Jury, elected by their peers, of an original list of 35 eligible vehicle ranges.
SA's next CoTY will be crowned in March 2017. Wheels24's Sergio Davids and Janine Van der Post will be judges at the 2017 SA Car of the Year competition.
Voting for SA's next Car of the Year
The SAGMJ will put each of the finalists through its paces at the Kyalami Grand Prix circuit on February 1 and 2 before final voting takes place. When we first asked Wheels24 readers which car should take the coveted title, the Audi A4 grabbed an early lead. Now, the Opel Astra is miles ahead of the pack... It's still early and with at least four months until the announcement, who knows which car might grad the title of " Readers' SA Car of the Year ". We've also included some team opinions at the end of the article.
In case you need a refresher on the 10 Car of the Year finalists: Full list below the clip
Which car do you think should be crowned SA's 2017 car of the year? Vote here .
Readers make their mark
We asked our readers: 'Which car do you think should be crowned SA's 2017 car of the year?' Opel Astra - 521 Volkswagen Tiguan - 302 Hyundai Tucson - 253 Toyota Fortuner - 249 Audi A4 - 233 Honda Civic - 136 Jaguar F-Pace - 148 Mazda CX-3 - 164 Volkswagen Passat - 91 Renault Kadjar - 69
Which car do you think deserves the title of 2017 SA Car of the year? Cast your vote here! Email us or reach us via Facebook and Twitter .
The Wheels24 team and TopCar's Calvin Fisher choose their top 3 finalists:
TopCar editor Calvin Fisher :
VW Passat : I drove its predecessor for a year and swooned. The new one is handsome, performs like the new Audi A4 and can be had for significantly less money. It even managed to beat out the usual segment champion’s in TopCar’s saloon shootout earlier this year. No longer the frumpy sibling.
Hyundai Tucson: From Tucson to IX35 and now back to Tucson... the compact SUV from Hyundai has grown from strength to strength. Now no longer a budget prospect, the Korean marque have made the switch to quality and it shows here. If it’s within your budget, you won’t regret it.
Mazda CX3: That naturally-aspirated engine here is a free-revving gem, and reason enough to elevate this elevated hatchback into the big leagues. It's the most fun you can have in this segment, and relatively affordable too - why wouldn't you get one?
Sean Parker:
Volkswagen Tiguan: The second-gen mid-size SUV pushes the goalpost even further with a comfortable ride, stylish exterior and fuel-saving bits like cylinder deactivation.
Renault Kadjar: A solid effort from Renault with its new Kadjar. Good build quality, ergonomically on point and strong engines make for a compelling package in the SUV segment. It could be a dark horse in this competition.
Audi A4 : The odd one out of my three choices, as it isn't an SUV but the A4's premium cabin, exceptional damping and powerful petrol turbo and diesel engines translates into a fantastic sedan.
Charlen Raymond :
Honda Civic: It offers a good balance between a compliant ride quality and an involving driving experience. What could count against it, though, is the underwhelming CVT gearbox and engine that needs some 'winding-up'. Still, the all-round package is very commendable.
Opel Astra: The Astra’s drive is on par with what the segment offers, but the car comes standard with technology and features that are optional on the competition - if it is offered at all. The Astra entered the South African market off the back of winning the 2016 European Car of the Year title and a few moments of driving the car makes it easy to understand why.
Volkswagen Tiguan: On looks alone the Tiguan could win it, but that is only one part of the Tiguan’s arsenal. It has the technology to enhance occupants' safety and buckets of on-road presence. The drivetrain is responsive and when cruising along at constant speeds, two of the four cylinders will deactivate to conserve fuel.
Which car do you think should be crowned SA's 2017 car of the year? Vote here .
@AutoTraderSA @WesBank @SAGMJ sweet melodies????
The competition The 2017 Coty Jury will put the finalists through structured testing procedures in early February 2017, before scoring each finalist against its direct class competitors on aspects that include: • Affordability • Cabin Styling, Layout, and Ergonomics • Engine • Engineering Integrity and Build Quality • Exterior Design • Overall Excellence • Ride Quality • Steering and Handling • Technology • Transmission • Value for money


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Cate Blanchett, 47, looks ageless in glittering gown at Pedro Almodovar event in New York

She played the flawlessly beautiful elf queen Galadriel in The Lord Of The Rings. in New York on Tuesday. The 47-year-old Australian beauty certainly caused a stir as she flaunted her ageless figure in a flattering gown at the opening night of his career retrospective, which was held at the city's prestigious Museum of Modern Art. Mother-of-four Cate certainly looked every inch the Bobby Dazzler in her eye-catchng golden gown, which she coupled with a pair of towering red stilettos. The saucy starlet recently moved to the Big Apple to play Anna Petrovna in The Present, a re-imagination of Anton Chekhov's play Platonov by her playwright husband Andrew Upton. On her favorite thing about the city, she said: 'This is going to sound banal, but the cut and thrust of it. 'You look over the guard, and it's the park, and then, like Versailles, you've go this central garden and this crazy jungle on every side of it.' Indeed. And while Cate is focused on her upcoming play while juggling her family, her sons' 'focus is slightly different than mine.' She recalled that when she told them about possible exhibitions to view or old movies to see in the NYC, 'they came back with the best place to buy Cronuts. It keeps it real, I guess.' Meanwhile, it was the second time this week Cate had turned heads at a high profile event, as she donned a hideous multicoloured top, with matching ridiculous spectacles, when she presented a tribute award to her friend Amy Adams at the Gotham Independent Film Awards in New York on Monday. Amy received a tribute at the ceremony and described the honour as 'coming full circle', after scooping the breakthrough actress award 11 years ago. Speaking on the red carpet, she said: 'I always feel like 42 is young to get a tribute, but I'm really honoured.'


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Andy Carroll set to return from injury as West Ham travel to Manchester United in EFL Cup

Slaven Bilic has strongly hinted Andy Carroll will finally end his latest injury nightmare by featuring for West Ham against Manchester United on Wednesday night. The striker has not played for more than three months since damaging his knee in the Europa League clash with Romanian side Astra Giurgiu in August. But Bilic is leaning towards including the 27-year-old in some capacity in the EFL Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford, ahead of a fuller involvement against Arsenal on Saturday. The Serbian admitted it would be 'suicidal' given Carroll' s wretched history with injuries to field him for 90 minutes in each fixture, but indicated he would feature for around half an hour at Old Trafford. Bilic is determined to tread with caution, given Carroll's running tally of days missed through injury currently stands at 990 across his career and a staggering 129 games. But with this cup run offering a chance to change the outlook of what has been a dire season, and with his striking options diminished by the injury-enforced absence of striker Diafra Sakho, Bilic is keen to call on Carroll. He said: 'For Andy Carroll it should be good to play 20 minutes or half an hour, and then Saturday. That is crucial. You can't keep the players in the fridge and then throw them in and expect them to score again or score a hat-trick like he did at Upton Park last time against Arsenal. 'So for Andy, and every player in that condition, it would be great to be a part of the game, but if you are talking about 90 minutes on Wednesday and 90 minutes on Saturday it is suicidal. But nobody is talking about that. But 15, 20, half an hour should be good. 'The Arsenal game is more important, ok, but this one is also important for us.' This cup fixture will pit West Ham against United for the second time in a week following their 1-1 draw in the Premier League on Sunday. Jose Mourinho has since been charged for his behaviour after kicking a water bottle and he has an ally in Bilic, who has felt a degree of sympathy with his counterpart over his latest controversy. Bilic said: 'I like him and I have a good relationship with him. I am very proud to have a very good relationship with him. 'I would like the rules to be a little bit looser but I can understand them totally - if we are asking the fans to behave good then we should be the example for them.'


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Russia and Belarus close to solving gas price dispute - minister

MINSK, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Russia and Belarus are close to solving a dispute over gas prices, Belarussian Energy Minister Vladimir Potupchik told reporters on Wednesday. The long-term allies have been at odds since the start of the year over how much Minsk should be paying Russia's Gazprom for gas supplies following a slump in global energy prices. Potupchik said Minsk had sent Moscow new proposals on how to solve the row and that he expected officials from the two countries to hold talks this week. "We are close to a resolution," said Potupchik. Minsk, which says a gas price set by Gazprom of $132 per 1,000 cubic meters is too high, has been paying less on delivery since the start of the year and Gazprom says it is owed $270 million for the first six months of 2016. Since the start of July, in a move interpreted as an attempt by Russia to put pressure on Minsk, Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft has been pumping about 40 percent less oil to Belarus than in the second quarter of this year. Belarus, which received 21 billion cubic metres of gas from Gazprom in 2015, has previously said it sees $73 per 1,000 cubic metres as a fair price for gas. (Reporting by Andrey Makhovsky; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Alexander Winning)


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Duck for cover! Severe thunderstorm warning for Australia's east coast as residents brace to be hit by giant hail

The whole eastern coast of Australia is under threat from severe thunderstorms on Wednesday evening. Warnings in are in place for all states in the east and large hailstones, destructive winds and heavy rainfall are expected. The Bureau of Meteorology has issued warnings for New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and the ACT. Flash flooding may occur in all areas and hailstones larger than five centimetres wide are expected to fall in places. State Emergency Services have advised people to move cars under cover or away from trees, secure or put away loose items around homes, yards and balconies and keep at least eight metres away from fallen power lines or objects that may be energised, such as fences. Other advice recommends keeping clear of creeks and storm drains, avoiding travel through flood water, unplugging computers and appliances, avoiding using phones during the storm, staying indoors away from windows, and keeping children and pets indoors as well. In Melbourne, residents have been warned to brace for a second round of deadly thunderstorm asthma as wild weather is set to batter Victoria. The state's chief health officer, Professor Charles Guest, has urged people with a history of asthma to remain indoors and keep medication close at hand with storms forecast for Gippsland and the state's north-east. 'People with asthma should always carry their inhaler or reliever,' Professor Guest said in a statement on Wednesday. On the Gold Coast on Wednesday a traffic controller was struck by lightning during a severe thunderstorm. Ambulance officials said the woman was holding a stop-go roadworks sign at Helensvale hit by lightning about 3.20pm on Wednesday. She had no visible injuries but was taken to Gold Coast University Hospital as a precaution. The storm also brought golfball-size hail to the southern outskirts of Brisbane and smaller hailstones to the CBD. Just after 4pm Energex was reporting almost 5000 customers were without power in the Logan area, with 877 affected in Brisbane. The central cell had passed over the city's CBD by 4.15pm but the weather bureau's warning remained for damaging winds, heavy rain and large hailstones for areas around Moreton Bay and Deception Bay by 4.50pm. A teenager was also injured during the storm after a tree fell on him at Forest Lake, in Brisbane's southwest, with paramedics taking him to Lady Cilento Children's Hospital.


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House show-cause order vs De Lima proper—Aguirre

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II. INQUIRER PHOTO
The House of Representatives did the right thing in issuing the show-cause order against Senator Leila de Lima in its probe on illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said.
Congress issued the show-cause order requiring De Lima to explain why she should not be cited in contempt for ignoring the summons for her in its inquiry on the NBP drug trade and for instructing her former driver and lover Ronnie Dayan to hide and also snub the probe.
Aguirre said the issuance of the order was proper because De Lima’s action of instructing Dayan to ignore the Congressional inquiry was done in her private capacity and that the Senate need not be dragged into the issue as an institution.
“That (show cause order) should be done because (the act of preventing Dayan from testifying) was done by De Lima in her private capacity. And so the House could cite her in contempt not as a member of the Senate but as a private person interfering with the proceedings of the House,” Aguirre said.
Aguirre, who spearheaded the fact-finding probe on the NBP drug trade, stressed that the claim of De Lima that what she did was just to give an advice to Dayan and not an order is already a matter of defense.
“Well that’s her defense. It’s good that she raises her defense and stop accusing me and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez this time of concocting lies against her,” he said.
Last Tuesday, House committee on justice chairman Rep. Reynaldo Umali and Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas served a show-cause order for De Lima before the Senate.
Several congressmen and senators met last Monday night to discuss the matter and thwart possible clash between the two chambers of Congress.
It was agreed that the show-cause order would be addressed only to De Lima and not the Senate as an institution and that the House would not issue a warrant of arrest against her and just file an ethics complaint before the Senate should she defy the order.
De Lima has refused to honor the order, saying the House has no jurisdiction over her. RAM


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Baertschi scores late to help Canucks beat Wild 5-4

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Sven Baertschi is starting to get his groove back for the Vancouver Canucks.
The Swiss forward scored with 2:35 left in regulation Tuesday night to cap a combined five-goal outburst in the third period, lifting the Canucks to a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Wild.
Baertschi, who had a goal and two assists in his last outing before missing consecutive road games with a foot injury, tipped a point shot from Troy Stecher to cap the scoring on a night Vancouver fall behind 2-0 and also blow a 4-2 lead.
“They played well right away, but we stuck with it,” Baertschi said. “They got the two goals (in the third) which set us back a little bit, but consistency was key for us and it didn’t really phase us.”
Baertschi has been looking for consistency this season after having 15 goals and 13 assists in 69 games in his first full NHL season last year.. He didn’t score his first goal until the 14th game this year, but has played better in recent weeks alongside linemates Bo Horvat and the rejuvenated Alexandre Burrows.
“The chemistry is coming along and we’re starting to create more and more,” said Baertschi, who has three goals and seven assists. “Pucks are going in as of late. That’s a good sign.”
Brandon Sutter and Ben Hutton each had a goal and an assist, and Horvat and Loui Eriksson also scored for Vancouver, which has won consecutive games for the first time since starting the season 4-0. Henrik Sedin and Stecher had two assists each and Ryan Miller stopped 38 shots.
Erik Haula scored the tying goal late in the third for Minnesota. Jason Pominville had two goals, Jason Zucker added a goal and an assist, and Nino Niederreiter had two assists. Darcy Kuemper got the start with Devan Dubnyk given the night off and finished with 30 saves.
Tied 2-2 through two periods, Eriksson gave Vancouver its first lead 1:09 into the third with his sixth of the season when he finished off a scramble after the Wild failed to clear the puck from their zone.
Horvat then tipped a shot past Kuemper for his team-leading eighth at 2:08 to give the Canucks a two-goal edge.
“Goals and tips, weird bounces,” said Kuemper, who was making his fifth start. “It was not a fun one.”
But the Wild struck right back when Zucker blocked Erik Gudbranson’s point shot and moved in alone on Miller before beating the Vancouver goalie with a nice backhand deke at 3:20 for his third.
Kuemper then made a great stop on Eriksson off a feed from Markus Granlund just over a minute later to keep the Wild within one.
Haula rewarded his goalie by scoring his third on a tip of Ryan Suter’s point shot with 5:49 left in regulation.
Trailing 2-0 midway through the second with just 10 shots on the night, the Canucks came to life on back-to-back power plays to tie it. Sutter tipped Stecher’s blast from the point at 9:23 for his sixth before Hutton pinched down from the point on another man advantage just 1:59 later to roof a loose puck at the side of the net for his third.
Hutton’s goal marked just the second time this season Vancouver’s power play had connected twice in the same game, and the first since Oct. 22.
“I thought the power play was opportunistic,” Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. “There are other nights we’ve had better power plays, but Stecher had a good point shot on one and Hutton did a good job coming down the backside.”
Already without Christopher Tanev, who has been out with a lower-body injury since early November, the Canucks were missing the other half of their top defensive pairing after it was revealed Monday that Alexander Edler required surgery on a broken finger suffered in Saturday’s shootout victory in Colorado.
With the youngest defense in the NHL as a result of Edler’s injury, the Canucks knew they would have to play a simple, error-free game, but were instead exposed early in the first. Luca Sbisa, one of the veteran members of the current corps at age 26, misplayed a puck at the Vancouver blue line to allow Niederreiter to swoop in on Miller before Pominville was buried the rebound for his fourth into an open net at 5:07.
The Canucks thought they had tied it with 5:18 left in the period when Henrik Sedin scored what looked to be his sixth, but the call on the ice was overturned after Minnesota challenged that Sutter had interfered with Kuemper.
Pominville then made it 2-0 with his second of the game and fifth of the season on a shot off the rush at 3:24 of the second that beat Miller under the blocker.
NOTES: Edler is expected to be out four to six weeks. … Henrik Sedin had two assists to give him 69 points (13 goals, 56 assists) in 81 career games against Minnesota. … Wild D Jared Spurgeon celebrated his 27th birthday Tuesday.
Wild: At Calgary on Friday night in the middle game of a five-game trip.
Canucks: Host Anaheim on Thursday night.
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Home And Away’s Ada Nicodemou shares cheerful Instagram selfie with her co-stars… after estranged husband Chrys posts cryptic memes about heartbreak

'Even in anger I don't think those words could ever come out of my mouth,' Chrys wrote in a caption. '#ARGO to anyone and everyone that I'm dead to.' Argo is an urban term for 'f**k you.' 'Those 4 (sic) words will really come back and bite you one day... Have a great weekend everybody,' he added, alongside smiley laughing and crying emoticons. Last week, he also shared a meme which read: 'If only our tongues were made of glass. How much more careful we would be when we speak.' Then on Monday evening, he shared an of shattered glass followed by a meme about heartbreak. 'That moment when you can actually feel the pain in your chest from seeing or hearing something that breaks your heart.' He was seemingly referring to his son Johnas, four, who he shares with Ada, 39, writing in his caption: 'I'm sure today wont be the last time my boy breaks my heart. With being the first time it really is a hard pill to swallow.' 'I know he wouldn't have the slightest of an idea.. he is pure, he is innocent.' 'Still doesn't make the feelings disappear,' he wrote, alongside the hashtags 'my life,' 'my everything,' 'my boy,' 'my best mate,' and 'my love.' It comes after he confirmed last week that Ada had found love again with millionaire businessman Adam Rigby. According to The Daily Telegraph , Chrys wrote on Facebook: 'I wish her the best of luck with any future relationships.' 'Yes it is true that Ada has found a new interest,' he wrote. 'Yes I am totally fine with it.' He added: 'She deserves all the happiness in the world. Time heals all wounds.' Chrys, who shares one son with Ada, Johnas, four, said they were both complete because of their little boy and don't need a love interest to be happy. 'I'm quietly confident that I can say that we both don't need to find love to be happy, as we have been blessed with our beautiful son Johnas, anything else is a bonus.' The restaurateur also has an older daughter from a previous relationship. Woman's Day reported last week that Ada had moved on with Adam. Friends of the soap actress told the publication that Ada is 'finally enjoying life again' with her new man. The new couple were pictured kissing and holding hands during a romantic date in Surry Hills, Sydney. 'Ada is in such a good place, you can see it written all over her face,' a source told the magazine. 'It's still early days but you can tell Adam is making her happy.' Openly clutching hands and stealing kisses during their date night, onlookers told the magazine that the pair had undeniable chemistry. 'It was like Ada and Adam were the only people in the room.' Adam became the founder and CEO of online community network Nabo after launching web company Jump On It, which made him millions. He is also said to be a fitness buff and enjoys overseas travel. Reports emerged back in February that Ada had split from Chrys after nine years of marriage. Rumours that Ada had moved on then emerged a few months later in May. A source told Woman's Day at the time: 'Ada has hinted to a few in her close circle that she has a "special friend" in her life at the moment'. Ada, who plays Leah Patterson-Baker on Seven's Home and Away , and Chrys reportedly separated in November of last year. It was said that the immense grief they faced since their second son, Harrison, was stillborn in 2014, was largely to blame. Woman's Day reported that Chrys moved out of the family home before Christmas, last year. A friend of the couple added to the publication that their relationship began a downhill spiral in August, one year after the heartbreaking passing of their son Harrison.


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Duterte warns Maute group: Don’t force me to wage war

President Rodrigo Duterte is not keen on declaring war against any group but warns the ISIS-linked Maute group not to “force my hand to do it.”
“I do not want to wage a war against Filipinos but I told them that they have to stop. Sana huwag na lang tayong umabot ng giyera (I hope we don’t have to go to war). So I am doing everything to prevent a war,” Duterte told reporters in an ambush interview in Cagayan de Oro on Wednesday.
The President was at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City to visit the soldiers wounded on Tuesday in a roadside blast in Marawi City.
Duterte told the terrorist group not to force him to declare war against them.
“ Ang sinabi ko, wala, wala akong … Sinabi ko hindi ko naman sila tinatakot sabi ko lang na ayaw ko, ayaw ko makipag-giyera (Not that I’m scaring them, I just said I don’t want to go to war), but do not force my hand to do it,” he said.
The Commander in Chief said military operations against the Maute group would not stop.
“They have to go on with the operations. What is there to stop? Wala naman nagpapakita ng sincerity diyan (Nobody shows sincerity there) so the fight goes on,” he said.
State forces engaged in a firefight with the Maute group after the latter occupied the town hall of Butig, Lanao del Sur, several other buildings and houses in the town.
As of posting time, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said they had recovered 85 to 90 percent of Butig town from the hands of the Maute group.


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Cuba Gooding Jr gets handsy with Rihanna at 30th FN Achievement Awards

It may have been the Footwear Awards. But Cuba Gooding Jr was all hands on Tuesday night. Rihanna arrived at the IAC Headquarters in New York to pick up her Shoe of the Year Award for her Fenty Creeper. But Ms Fenty had a creeper of her own to deal with when she passed the Oscar-winner at the bar. The 48-year-old wasn't about to let the singer slip from his grasp - quite literally - as he good-naturedly grabbed her wrist as he she attempted to take her leave. The pair were all smiles during the encounter, so the Work hitmaker didn't seem too offended by the Rude Boy's maneuver. Earlier the 28-year-old proudly showed off her own black and white Fenty Puma Creepers as she arrived on the red carpet of the 30th Footwear News Achievement Awards. She kept the rest of her look casual cool as she had a blinged out anklet just above her footwear and sported all-black including long-sleeved top. The Barbadian beauty also rocked black velvet maxi skirt along with matching long gloves with a shimmering silver detailing on them. She also rocked an on-trend dad hat with 'securite' embroidered on it along with hoop earrings. Her signature brunette tresses were tucked under the cap and worn down as she let her natural looks show with complimentary make-up including a swipe of shiny lip. After 30 years of the event, Rihanna became the first woman to win the award. Accepting, she said she was 'proud to be a woman and proud to be a young woman from Barbados, especially,' reported. Kanye West picked up the honour last year won the award for his Yeezy Boost 350 in 2015 and Stan Smith won for the Adidas Stan Smith sneaker in 2014.


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British parliament passes bill forcing people to register if they want to watch porn

The House of Commons has passed a Bill that forces people to ask to be allowed to see porn and bans many sex acts from appearing in adult videos.
The Digital Economy Bill received an unopposed third reading from MPs, meaning that it is on its way to becoming law. As such, it will force pornographic websites to add age verification checks that won't let people watch videos until they sign up to a special verification programme.
It will also put into law new rules that will allow videos depicting unusual practices from adult websites. That clause, which provoked anger this week, bans anything from being made available online in the UK that wouldn't be allowed on a commercially available DVD.
The law has been criticised both by free speech advocates and security experts, who argue that the age verification measures will make people unsafe. But it has also been criticised by people who argue that pornographic material will still be available through non-adult websites like Twitter.
Culture minister Matt Hancock said the changes will see children protected by "one of the most robust" regimes in the world - but admitted the proposals are "not a utopia" and will not cover Twitter.
He said: "There is a difference between websites that provide commercial pornography and platforms on which others can upload images, and getting this right among that second group is much harder than around the first group.
"And so what we are proposing to do is to put forward this Bill to deal with the large swathe of the problem and to get this working properly and to deal with the mainstay of the problem and then see how it's working.
"I appreciate that for those who really want to access porn online then if they are really intent on doing that then there is a big challenge in stopping that. "
He said the Bill is "not a utopia but it is a very important step".
His comments came after former culture secretary John Whittingdale warned that children are increasingly accessing porn through social media sites such as Twitter.
Fellow Tory Maria Miller, chairwoman of the Women and Equalities Committee, urged ministers to put more pressure on these platforms to take down porn that can be viewed by children.
She said: "Isn't it fair to say that four years ago providers like Twitter told us it was impossible to take down visual images of children being sexually abused? But now, quite rightly, there is a code of practice in place.
"Surely, where there is a will there is a way, and he has already proved that he can make significant progress. Should he not be putting more pressure on organisations like Twitter? "
The Bill, which will be debated in the Lords, contains measures to improve broadband services and crack down on "IT crooks" who use computer software to buy tickets before selling them for sky-high prices.
It also transfers the responsibility and cost of free TV licences for the over-75s to the BBC.
Mr Brennan said Labour welcomed many of the measures in the Bill including the rules on age verification for porn sites, but said the Conservatives had missed an opportunity to draw up a more ambitious blueprint to boost the digital economy.
He said: "This Bill attempts to cover everything but I'm afraid there are quite a few holes in it, because a Digital Economy Bill would look much better if it properly recognised the importance of the digital economy to the whole country. "
He said it should have been "more ambitious" in delivering ultra-fast broadband and mobile networks, boosting digital skills and beefing up cyber security.
But Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said the Bill will "cement the UK's status as a world leading digital economy".
She said: "It will help people connect to high-speed broadband, expanding their personal opportunities and stimulating economic activity.
"It will improve public services thanks to better information management. And it will protect the vulnerable from some of the hazards of the digital world. "


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Deep playoff runs not hurting Penguins, Sharks and Blues

In the opening days of training camp, Eric Fehr could sense that the Pittsburgh Penguins hadn't had much rest since winning the Stanley Cup in mid-June. That fatigue affected the runner-up San Jose Sharks more than it did the Penguins early on. But both teams are again among the best in the NHL at the quarter mark of the regular season. So much for the Stanley Cup hangover. "There's challenges that come with playing late into last year, but I think kind of the belief and trust and what we need to do and understanding our roles, that part of it's there," Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said. "When you talk about teams that kind of go through that, sometimes it's fatigue, other times it's maybe your mindset. " Fehr said the Penguins' mindset is "hungry," though unsatisfied is perhaps a better word. The Penguins had the fourth-most points in the league through Monday, but they're not terribly happy with parts of their game, including balancing the workload of goaltenders Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury. Carl Hagelin, who was on the 2014 Eastern Conference champion New York Rangers team that started the next season 10-8-4, said the good start by Pittsburgh was due to carving out wins even when the level of play wasn't championship caliber. "It happens a lot: You go deep in the playoffs and you kind of have a slow start," Hagelin said. "For those first 10 games when we weren't playing great but we found a way to get points, I think that's key, especially coming back from winning the Stanley Cup and a lot of people are saying it's hard to get points early. " The Tampa Bay Lightning were excelling before Steven Stamkos tore the meniscus in his right knee, an injury that will cost him four to six months. Tampa Bay has dropped three in a row, but coach Jon Cooper recently said his team was prepared for life without Stamkos from when the star forward broke his leg in 2014 and missed time last season with a blood clot. "I know that feeling three years ago when Stammer went down, we were kind of a rattled group and it took us a little while to find our way," Cooper said. "I think the shock value is not as tough as it may have been in the past. " Continuity has helped the Penguins and Sharks, even though San Jose has been streaky. Coach Peter DeBoer said his team's "formula" is being hard to play against with good goaltending and timely offense, and unsurprisingly defenseman Brett Burns, captain Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton and Logan Couture have led that charge. The Blues traded goalie Brian Elliott to Calgary and lost captain David Backes and right winger Troy Brouwer in free agency but haven't floundered despite some inconsistency. "We've had a lot of ups and downs already this year and hopefully as the season goes on we'll be able to manage the roller coaster ride a little bit better," forward Kyle Brodziak said. "When we're playing well, we can play with anyone in the league. " FAST CATS The "philosophical divide" that led to the Florida Panthers firing Gerard Gallant also means they'll play much differently under interim coach/GM Tom Rowe, who preaches a faster pace. "This team is built for speed and skill," Rowe said. "All you have to do is watch what Pittsburgh did last year - the way they played and the way they attacked the puck and the way they made every step of the opponent difficult by pressuring is how we want to play. It's a fun way to play, the players like playing that way and that's what the fans want to watch. " GOALIE SURPRISES Carolina's Michael Leighton on Sunday won his first NHL game since Dec. 30, 2010, in his first start since Jan. 27, 2013. Another journeyman, 30-year-old Flames netminder Chad Johnson, is 5-2-0 with a 1.72 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in his past seven starts. "I think it's just my game has grown from when I first came in the league to where it is now," Johnson said. "It just comes down to opportunity. When you play more, people I guess recognize it a little bit more and pay attention a little bit more. " STREAKING The Columbus Blue Jackets are 8-1-1 in their last 10 home games after beating the Lightning 5-1 on Tuesday. SLUMPING The New York Islanders have won just three of their past 10 games. GM Garth Snow has given coach Jack Capuano the so-called vote of confidence. LEADERS (through Monday) Goals, Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh), 15; Assists, Connor McDavid (Edmonton), 19; Points, McDavid, 29; Goals-against average, Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay), 1.50; Save percentage, Carey Price (Montreal), 0.946. GAME OF THE WEEK Jonathan Toews could be back from an upper-body injury as the Chicago Blackhawks visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon. ___ Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at. Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Sofia Richie keeps it comfy in hoodie as she lunches with Nicola Peltz and Anwar Hadid in West Hollywood

Sofia Richie and Nicola Peltz have both been romantically linked to Justin Bieber this year. But the two blonde starlets haven't let that get in the way of their friendship. The pair were joined by fellow young star Anwar Hadid as they enjoyed lunch at Mauro's Cafe at Fred Segal in West Hollywood. Nicola kept warm in a cropped, fitted sweater, which she paired with a set of leggings. The blonde completed her look with a set of heeled ankle boots and trendy shades. The 21-year-old completed her look with a set of dainty earrings and a green Chanel purse. Back in May Nicola was spotted on dates with Justin Bieber in LA then months later Sofia dated the Purpose singer. They split in September. The threesome's friendship would not be uncommon in the small world of Hollywood. Prior to their lunch outing, Nicola and Sofia, 18, have shared pictures with each other on social media. Additionally, Nicola posted a snap with Bella Hadid, which explains her friendship with the model's brother, Anwar. Anwar might have been spending time with his famous gal pals, as he possibly missed his two famous sisters. Bella and Gigi have jetted off to France to walk in this year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. The youngest of the Hadid clan, 17, shared a picture of his big sisters on Instagram on Tuesday. The teen simply captioned the picture with a beating heart.


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Philip Morris CEO looks towards phasing out cigarettes-BBC

LONDON, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Philip Morris International , the world's largest international tobacco company, could eventually stop selling cigarettes, its chief executive told the BBC on Wednesday, as it launched its alternative product IQOS in the UK market. The company's IQOS smokeless cigarette which is already on sale in over a dozen markets including Japan, Switzerland and Italy, heats tobacco enough to produce a vapour without burning it. The company believes that makes it much less harmful than cigarettes. "I believe there will come a moment in time where I would say we have sufficient adoption of these alternative products... to start envisaging, together with governments, a phase-out period for cigarettes," Andre Calantzopoulos said in an interview on BBC Radio 4. "I hope this time will come soon," he added. (Reporting by Martinne Geller in London; Editing by Greg Mahlich)


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Tricky Santa brainteaser leaves the internet scratching their heads

With the Christmas season well and truly upon us, there's no end of festive puzzles sweeping the web. However the latest eye-boggling brainteaser to leave the internet scratching their heads may just be the trickiest yet. The Where's Wally-style quiz challenges users to spot the Father Christmas carrying a sack bursting with cash among a sea of Santas. Scroll down for the reveal... With over 160 to choose from, the figures are almost identical with matching hats and brown bags - except for their coats being different shades of red. To make matters even more complicated, each bearded Santa is holding a sack overflowing with green presents - the exact same colour as the wad of cash. However, eagle-eyed users have spotted that the Santa with the most dough is located towards the bottom right of the picture - third row up, third from the right. The puzzle, created by Vouchercloud, is just the latest in a series of festive brainteasers to leave the internet bamboozled in recent weeks. Yesterday, a spot-the-object puzzle from Playbuzz asked users to find the unique snowflake in a series of pictures. It is said that no two snowflakes are the same - however, in these pictures all of them are identical bar one, but can you find the odd one out? Scroll down for the reveals In each of the 12 images, spotting the snowflake proves fiendishly tricky as the subtle difference is often barely noticeable. Some of the illustrations feature as few as six different flakes, with the larger graphics proving easier to spot. However, the more snowflakes featured in the picture the trickier it becomes to seek out the odd one out. In one image featuring 33 snowflakes, only the most eagle-eyed players will be able to spot the non-matching snowflake hidden among the flurry. Earlier this week, a Christmas movie puzzle was infuriating netizens as they were asked to spot 25 iconic festive films, one for every day of advent, in just one picture. The festive scene hid some of the world's best loves Christmas flicks, including vintage favourites as well as modern classics. Devised by money saving site MagicFreebiesUK, the movies include Ghostbusters 2, Elf, Bad Santa, The Grinch, Trading Places, and many more. While iconic characters such as Home Alone's Kevin McCallister and Buddy the elf can easily be spotted in the foreground of the image, other films will need a closer inspection to uncover. Eagle-eyed viewers will be able to spot Love Actually's Billy Mack accompanied by his sexy Santa band mates on the billboard advertising his new single. And Aardman's Arthur Christmas also makes a subtle appearance leaning from the window of the building on the right. Only superfans will be able to spot the It's a Wonderful Life reference which comes in the form of the stars and galaxies in the sky - paying tribute to George Bailey's guardian angel. The reference to Edward Scissorhands is, again, not immediately obvious with the only hint coming in the form of an ice sculpture. This is not the first festive puzzle to emerge this year with an eye-boggling Christmas brainteaser doing the rounds earlier this month. In a group of reindeer users are asked to spot a little red-breasted robin perched on one of their backs. He’s sitting snug, staring straight at you while you're trying to figure out exactly where he is. A recent brainteaser from Focus will really test your eyes and see whether you can see the difference between the robin and the reindeer. The red noses of the reindeers camouflage the robin’s red-breast perfectly. There are a number of confusing elements to the puzzle, such as reindeers with patterned horns, red and yellow scarves and Santa hats which draw your eye away from the Robin. The company behind the puzzle,, say the puzzle represents the winter sun you could enjoy if you're planning to jet off on holiday anytime soon.


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Gov’t troops retake 80 percent of Butig from Maute group

Government troops have recovered about 80 percent of the area occupied by the Maute terrorist group in Butig, Lanao del Sur since Saturday, the military said on Wednesday.
“If we are talking of the entire completion of the task in fully retaking and recovering that portion of Butig that they have occupied, we are now at 80 percent,” Armed Forces public affairs chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said.
He added that while the rebels have retreated and there are no longer firefights going on, there are still improvised explosive devices to watch out for.
“We still need to do clearing operations,” Arevalo said.
READ: Troops fight to retake Lanao Sur town from terrorists
Soldiers have also retaken the old municipal hall of Butig, where the Philippine flag was replaced by the Islamic State flag by the rebels. They have also recovered a madrasah (educational institution) and a national high school.
As of posting time, operations still continue. The number of wounded soldiers has increased to 35. The military cites that 61 have been killed from the Maute terror group, while the wounded rebels were at 12. JE


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Ski resort to open with $6.5M shortfall after fraud case

JAY, Vt. (AP) — A ski resort whose owner and president were accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of massive fraud months ago is set to open for the season on Saturday with what a federal receiver overseeing it says is a $6.5 million shortfall.
In a court filing last week, the receiver said the Jay Peak resort is expected to have lost that amount in the offseason. He said the resort typically loses money during the offseason but a prudent operator would have built up cash during the winter season to get through it. He said that didn’t happen because owner Ariel Quiros “wrongfully diverted millions of dollars.”
Quiros, a Miami businessman, and former Jay Peak president Bill Stenger were accused by Vermont and the SEC in April of misusing $200 million raised from foreign investors for developments through a special visa program. Quiros also is accused of improperly diverting $50 million for his personal use.
Quiros’ lawyer did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday. Stenger has settled his case with the SEC.
Besides the cash shortfall, Jay Peak’s tram needed more than $5 million in repairs and maintenance, receiver Michael Goldberg wrote.
The Jay Peak resort, along with Burke Mountain Resort, also owned by Quiros, owed vendors $5.1 million in overdue bills. The receiver has said he paid the vendors for all goods and services provided after April and plans to start to pay past due amounts in season when cash flow improves.
A $13.3 million settlement with Citibank will be used to keep Jay Peak and the Burke hotel fully operational until they are sold and to pay some of the claims from vendors and contractors who worked on the hotel and various developments, Goldberg has said.
Jay Peak, which says it offers “the East’s best skiing and snowboarding,” features a year-round indoor waterpark, an ice arena and championship golf course.
The four-season resort, in northern Vermont near Canada, has come off a very successful summer with a record number of weddings from spring through fall, which has helped the sentiment among staff, said Steve Wright, who became general manager in April.
Season pass sales are down about 8 percent, but that could be from the bad snow year last season, while vacation bookings for upcoming holiday periods are up from last year, which was a record at this time last year, he said.
Area businesses, which often cater to Jay Peak resort visitors, are a little apprehensive coming off a poor season last year but are trying to be optimistic, said Mike Murphy, owner of the Snow Job ski shop in Jay. He said when Jay Peak does well local businesses do well and he’s felt from the beginning the Jay Peak receivership seemed to be focusing on the correct things.
“But you do wonder if there’s ultimately going to be enough money to make it all happen,” he said.
Jay Peak said it planned to meet with local businesses to discuss its status.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Mazenod College teacher allegedly hypnotised students at the Melbourne school

A high school teacher has been stood down after he allegedly hypnotised students and asked one to touch himself. Mazenod College principal Christian Fini removed the teacher from the school on Thursday after being informed of the 'irregular behaviour' by another staff member at the Catholic boys' school. 'These actions are outside the limit of the professional expertise which teachers are employed to perform at Mazenod and outside the legitimate activity of a school,' Father Fini wrote in a letter to parents on Monday night. The teacher in question was relieved from his position on Thursday after allegedly asking one of his students to touch himself inappropriately during a hypnotherapy session, the Herald Sun reports. Catholic Education Melbourne spokesman Stephen Elder has commended the actions of the school. 'Any unprofessional conduct by a staff member or inappropriate contact between a staff member and students is totally unacceptable' Mr Elder said in a statement. A police spokesman confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that they: 'received a report of a teacher hypnotising students at a school in Mulgrave.' 'The incident allegedly occurred on November 23 and detectives from the Box Hill Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Team are investigating.' Father Fini says they are speaking with students and families involved in year 10 and 11.


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Tuesday's Sports in Brief

LA UNION, Colombia (AP) — Colombian authorities searched for answers into the crash of a chartered airliner that slammed into the Andes mountains while transporting a Brazilian soccer team whose Cinderella story had won it a spot in the finals of one of South America's most prestigious regional tournaments. All but six of the 77 people on board were killed.
The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane declared an emergency and lost radar contact just before 10 p.m. Monday (0300 GMT Tuesday), according to Colombia's aviation agency. It said the plane's black boxes had been recovered and were being analyzed.
The aircraft, which departed from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was carrying the Chapecoense soccer team from southern Brazil for Wednesday's first leg of the two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin. Twenty-one Brazilian journalists were also on board the flight.
Colombian officials initially said the plane suffered an electrical failure but there was also heavy rainfall at the time of the crash. Authorities also said they were not ruling out the possibility, relayed to rescuers by a surviving flight attendant, that the plane ran out of fuel minutes before its scheduled landing at Jose Maria Cordova airport outside Medellin.
LONDON (AP) — British police investigating sexual abuse in soccer have received calls from 250 people, the government announced, as FIFA said the high-profile scandal could lead to offenses by youth development coaches being exposed worldwide.
In a day of developments, Chelsea also opened an investigation into an employee from the 1970s who is now dead, while the English Football Association acknowledged it was braced for compensation claims.
Former professionals have been speaking publicly for the first time over the last two weeks about the ordeals they went through as youngsters. Some of the victims previously gave evidence to convict offenders without being named but new allegations are also being reported.
Police Scotland joined seven forces in England by confirming it was looking into abuse claims.
FIFA does not believe Britain is the only country where the game has been exploited by pedophiles, and world soccer's governing body is ready to offer "psychological support" to victims.
UNDATED (AP) — Oregon has fired coach Mark Helfrich after a disappointing 4-8 season, and just two years after getting the Ducks within a victory of the program's first national championship.
Helfrich was head coach of the Ducks for four seasons, leading the team to the first College Football Playoff championship game after the 2014 season. But Oregon faltered this year with a five-game losing streak, and finished at the bottom of the Pac-12 North with just two conference wins.
After taking over when Chip Kelly left in 2013, Helfrich went 37-16. He had an $11.6 million buyout on his contract with the Ducks.
Helfrich met with athletic director Rob Mullens on Tuesday night and was told was being dismissed. Helfrich issued a statement saying he was honored to have served at Oregon.
UNDATED (AP) — Ohio State held firm at second in the College Football Playoff rankings, putting the Buckeyes in position to become the first team to be selected to the final four without winning its conference.
Alabama was No. 1 in the second-to-last rankings, followed by Ohio State, Clemson and Washington. The Crimson Tide, Tigers and Huskies all play conference championship games this weekend and presumably would be in good shape to make the playoff if they win. The final rankings and playoff pairings will be released Sunday.
Michigan dropped to five after losing to Ohio State. Wisconsin was sixth and Penn State was seventh. The Badgers and Nittany Lions will play for the Big Ten title in Indianapolis on Saturday.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former NFL star Darren Sharper was sentenced to a 20-year prison term, ending a tour of shame and punishment in the courthouse where he first admitted drugging and raping women in four states.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor denounced Sharper's "horrible conduct" and "disgraceful abuse of trust" during the hearing that concluded prosecutions that unmasked the popular former all-pro safety and Super Bowl champ as a serial rapist.
Under the terms of a plea deal negotiated with prosecutors in four states, Sharper will be eligible for parole in about eight years because California law requires he serve half his sentence and he has already been behind bars more than two years since his arrest.
But he will probably serve more time if an appeals court upholds an 18-year prison sentence handed down by a New Orleans federal judge who rejected the deal as too lenient. Sharper has appealed that harsher sentence.


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Two-wheel takeover: bikes outnumber cars for the first time in Copenhagen

Denmark ’s capital has reached a milestone in its journey to become a cycling city – there are now more bikes than cars on the streets. Can other cities follow?


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Police investigate alleged assaults involving Napa football team

Police in the North Bay are investigating an assault involving members of a high school football team. The incident involves multiple players and happened several weeks ago. Parent Marta Sandoval is alarmed about an assault which happened at Napa High School involving members of the football team. "Members of the Napa football team were assaulting other teammates," said Captain Jennifer Gonzales of the Napa police department. "Grabbing them, holding them down. "Police won't say if it was a hazing incident or comment on any injuries suffered by parties involved. The incident was first reported on Nov. 19. Parent Marta Sandoval believes one player suffered the worst of the misconduct. "The school has not notified us," she said. "They haven't told us if the students who assaulted this young man has been arrested, are they still in class with my daughter? "District spokesperson Elizabeth Emmett said, "We want to emphasize safety is the top priority for our kids, prime concern. "The Napa Valley Unified School District is doing its own investigation into the incident. "They're talking with football players, coaches, staff about exactly what happened," said Emmett. So far no disciplinary action against players has been taken and no arrests have been made.


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CCTV shows shocking moment man attacks driver with a shovel in road rage incident

It should have been a simple swap of insurance details after a minor traffic shunt - but shocking CCTV footage shows a road rage truck driver gradually moving into full scale meltdown against two workmen in a lorry.
Initially the trucker - in high-vis green boiler suit - defiantly took mobile phone pictures of the pair at the roadside after their respective vehicles pulled over the hard shoulder of a motorway.
But when the workmen took their own pictures of the motorway maintenance flat-bed truck to get its number plate, the driver got abusive, angrily remonstrated with one of the men and attempted to grab his phone off him.
When the workmen - both in orange hi vis-jackets - retreated to their HGV, the flat bed trucker jumped back in his vehicle and deliberately reversed it at high speed into the lorry trashing its front end.
He then jumped out of his seat, stormed up to the cabin of the HGV and ripped off one of the wing mirrors as he tried to get access to continue the row.
On realising it was locked, he returned to his flat bed truck grabbed a shovel then stormed back to the HGV and smashed the driver's side window as the two workmen cowered in terror inside. He eventually drove away from the scene.
Greater Manchester Police said the two workmen escaped injury but were severely shaken by the attack which occurred at around midday on November 9 on the Westbound carriageway of the M62 in Eccles, near Salford.
Officers said the flat bed truck and the lorry had collided as they both accessed the M62 motorway from the anti-clockwise M60, and both had pulled onto the hard shoulder. The entire incident was captured on roadside CCTV cameras.
PC John Cavanagh said: "This attack was unbelievable, and has been clearly captured on CCTV. Luckily neither of the men were seriously injured however they have been left terrified by the incident.
"The driver and passenger in the lorry were just trying to get on with their day's work when they collided with the man in the pick-up truck, accidents happen and they were attempting to deal with the situation in an appropriate manner.
"No one could have anticipated the level of violence they would then fall victim to. I am appealing for anyone who may recognise the driver of the pick-up truck to get in touch as soon as possible. It was broad daylight and the man can be clearly seen, someone must know who he is. "


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COMMODITIES-China liquidity fears trigger exodus from steel to rubber

By Josephine Mason and Melanie Burton BEIJING/MELBOURE, Nov 30 (Reuters) - An exodus of cash from steel to rubber to zinc threatened a blistering months-long rally across global commodity markets on Wednesday, triggered by fresh concerns about liquidity in China, the world's second largest economy. Retail and institutional investors scrambled to exit bullish bets and shore up cash amid government efforts to steady the sliding yuan currency and curb capital outflows. Coking coal futures and construction product steel rebar posted their biggest one-day falls on record, while Shanghai lead and zinc led steep falls across base metals and rubber dropped sharply. "Both longs and shorts are fleeing the commodities market," said Liu Xinwei, steel analyst at Sublime. "Capital is flowing into risk-free products, as the treasury bond prices fall and yields increase. " Yuan borrowing costs surged after the central bank pulled funds from the financial system, making investments in commodities and equities more expensive and less attractive. Analysts said the selloff was long overdue after a months-long surge in steel and iron ore, China's largest commodity futures markets, which fed into a recent speculative surge in copper, zinc and lead. Shanghai copper hit 3-1/2-year highs earlier this month, while steel rebar futures touched their loftiest level since April 2014 on Tuesday. Still, the reversal was stunning in both its speed and size, reflecting the major role China's retail investors with an appetite for risk play in global commodity markets. Coking coal futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange and steel rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 8 percent and 7 percent respectively, while iron ore dropped 8 percent, one of its worst daily performances since the contract launched three years ago. Technical and computer-driven selling and book squaring ahead of the month and year-end added pressure for a second straight day of selling, after China's major commodity exchanges introduced new measures to tame the spectacular rally. Shanghai zinc and lead plunged 7 percent, while nickel, tin and copper slid 4 percent or more, dragging down London Metal Exchange metals. SELLOFF OVERDUE The selling wiped out some of the massive gains in base metals seen over the past few weeks fueled by hopes that U. S. President elect Donald Trump would boost infrastructure spending. A reduction in China's steel capacity along with robust infrastructure spending has fuelled a 90 percent spike this year in prices of construction steel product rebar. Analysts said a reversal was long overdue as the scale of the rally driven by speculative cash was not justified by fundamentals. Demand for steel and copper in China, the world's top commodities market, from infrastructure and construction is relatively steady, but supplies are relatively robust. "If the cost of borrowing has gone higher, then obviously the bubble will come off a little bit," said Bonnie Liu, General Manager of GF Futures in Hong Kong. "Technically we probably will see further selling, but probably we will see buying into the dips will be the strategy for next year. " (Additional reporting by Muyu Xu in BEIJING; Editing by Richard Pullin)


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Mel Gibson, 60, jets into LAX with girlfriend Rosalind Ross, 26, as she covers baby bump in coat and scarf

Mel Gibson and his younger girlfriend jetted into LAX Airport on Tuesday night. The couple, who've been dating for two years, first debuted their romance in public at the Golden Globe Awards in January this year. It was announced in September that they were expecting their first child together. 'Mel and Rose are so excited about the baby,'a friend told People magazine. 'Mel loves being a dad and he and Rose can't wait to be parents together. The last two years have been some of his happiest years he's ever had.' Mel has already fathered seven children with ex-wife Robyn Moore: Hannah, 36, twin boys Christian and Edward, 34, William, 31, Louis, 28, Milo, 26, and Thomas, 17. He also has a six-year-old daughter, Lucia, with former partner Oksana Grigorieva.


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Migrant crisis a challenge to Christian unity, claims bishop

The ongoing migrant crisis has caused discord within churches in Europe and raises questions about its identity and future, a Catholic bishop told a high-level EU summit on Tuesday. ...


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Snow Shovelling at your Finger Tips – Shovler App

(Source: Texas Health Resources ) Unlike some industries, there really isn't a 'slow season' when it comes to a number of emergency room visits a hospital will see, and as ...
JAIPUR: Forty-one-year-old Jameel Ahmad, who was arrested by the ATS for his alleged links with IS, was in touch with some Pakistani nationals and was preparing himself for ...
(Source: City of Hilltown, PA ) Posted: 11/29/2016 10:00 AM Reminders & Tips for Hilltown Township Roads Snow Removal Plows travel in the same direction as normal traffic ...
(Source: Bracknell Forest Borough Council ) 29 November 2016 The cold snap has arrived and looks likely to continue for a few days. Here are few tips to keep warm and well. ...
(Source: City of Pittsburgh, PA ) PITTSBURGH, PA (November 29, 2016) - The Office of Mayor William Peduto and the City of Pittsburgh Department of Parks & Recreation ...
Below are the exact picks I have made in the | The Times-Picayune Pick 'Em League, and the picks against the spread are added in as lagniappe. If you would like to join our NFL Pick 'Em League, the rules are simple: Choose the winner of each NFL game each week, then move them around in the order you feel most confident. You then receive points based on how many wins...
Only the sturdy need apply to this career. Mix cold weather, hard work and good pay, and you have a mix for a financial future. The Lawnsmith is a business in the Pikes Peak area that has been serving our community for more than 30 years. It is on a mission to...
Meghan Doelling shovels her driveway with the help of her dogs, Stella and Zeke, in Centerville on Monday as Wasatch Front residents dealt with the first major snowstorm of the season. According to KSL meteorologist Grant Weyman, the storm should drop 3 to 6 inches of snow in the valleys and more on the benches by late Monday night. The mountains should see 1 to 2 feet by...
(Source: METRA - Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation ) (November 29, 2016) - Metra has completed its preparations for winter weather in anticipation of a challenging snow season ahead. Some long-range forecasters, including the Farmers' Almanac, are predicting an exceptionally cold and snowy winter. 'Snow, ice and cold temperatures make winter travel a ...
WINTERSPORTS -- The winter backcountry season is kicking into gear near Sherman Pass, and some snow-goers planned ahead and secured reservations to ski or snowshoe into the Snow Peak Cabin. If you didn't get to the cabin in the past year and a half, you may not know about a major upgrade to one of the more challenging aspects of visiting the Colville National Forest shelter. As...


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Trump claims mirror conspiracy-pushing website

Some of the most incendiary claims made by Donald Trump -- both before and after his election -- appear to be based on a US website denounced as a purveyor of hoaxes and conspiracy theories...


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Boris sparks cabinet row by calling for residency rights for illegal immigrants who have escaped detection for ten years

But it caused fury, and one colleague said: 'It's an insane idea and would make ordinary Brits furious. A lot of us round the table couldn't believe Boris is still going on about this'. The minister told The Sun: 'Privately, Boris is still the most pro-immigration member of the Cabinet.' A spokesman for Mr Johnson said last night there was no row at the meeting. He said: 'Boris reiterated what he has said publicly before about amnesties, including during the EU referendum campaign. He feels he has a moral responsibility to raise it, as it is what he believes. 'Any suggestion that there was strong disagreement expressed during the meeting is wrong;' Home Secretary Amber Rudd was not infuriated, a source said, and asked him for more thoughts after the meeting. But the Prime Minister is known to oppose any amnesty, and Mr Johnson has previously had a swipe at Mrs May, when she was Home Secretary. In 2015 he said there was an 'inertia on our ability' to deport illegal immigrants and it was impossible for the Home Office to restrain numbers from the EU. Philip Hammond also backed Mrs May at the time. It came after Mr Johnson, then Mayor of London, said it was a 'shame' for illegal migrants to be able to earn money on the black market but not pay taxes. He told LBC radio: 'I'm the great-grandson of Turkish immigrants – where would my family be if London hadn't given sanctuary to [my great-grandfather]? So I'm totally in favour of people being able to make their lives in another country.' Mr Johnson said he was in favour of 'controlling the numbers' of migrants as many councils struggled to cope with the costs of providing services to them. Asked by a caller to the radio show whether he still backed an amnesty for those here illegally for more than 12 years, something he first floated in 2008, he said it was 'not a bad idea'. He estimated there were up to 750,000 illegal migrants in Britain, 500,000 of those in London alone. 'These people cannot contribute to the economy in their taxes,' he said. 'They are not here legally and we're not making money out of their illegal activity and that, it seems to me, is a great, great shame.'


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Kanye West is 'desperate to make music in hospital' and is 'sketching fashion designs in bed'

Kanye West is desperate to make music in hospital but has been told to 'rest'. The 39-year-old rapper - who has always been a slave to his work - has reportedly been asking is wife Kim Kardashian West if he can have music equipment at his bedside and see his Yeezy fashion designs, but the 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians' star has told him he must focus on getting better. A source told Us Weekly : 'Kanye keeps wanting to work. At the hospital, he requested that recording equipment be brought to the hospital so he can record in his bed.' 'And he has kept asking to see sketches of his fashion lines. He continues to want to work and Kim has to keep telling him to rest.' The 36-year-old beauty has been spending several hours a day at her husband's side at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angles after he experienced a 'psychotic breakdown' last week, but she is reportedly determined to keep their kids North, three, and 11-month-old Saint away from the hospital until the 'Famous' hitmaker is on the mend. However, the little ones are allowed to visit their father at the Resnick Neuropsychiatric ward at UCLA, where Kanye is currently receiving treatment, providing they are accompanied by an adult. The 'Bound 2' hitmaker was rushed to hospital over a week ago after he reportedly began hallucinating and lashed out at paramedics. Since his admission, doctors have been keeping a constant eye on the rapper as they're worried for his mental state and his safety. An insider recently said: 'In the hospital he has been very paranoid and is under constant watch for his safety. He's still there because clearly he's not doing well. Kim does spend hours with Kanye every day. She says that Kanye is on many different medications and that his doctors are figuring out proper doses. Kim says that not much has changed since he was admitted and that his doctors seem concerned.'


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Jai Courtney flaunts his six pack and chiseled physique in Bondi

He's known for his enviably good looks and impressive physique. And Jai Courtney wasn't shy about showing off the goods as he stepped out shirtless in Sydney's Bondi over the weekend. The 30-year-old was accompanied by his gorgeous girlfriend Mecki Dent. The Spartacus actor proudly displayed his muscular torso in nothing but a pair of white shorts. He showed off his ripped six pack, V-line, and rock hard chest for all to see as he paraded up and down the footpath. Despite relocating to Hollywood in 2012 for his career, Jai insists that he still calls Australia home. 'This [America] is where I reside for now, but if I have a family I wouldn't raise them anywhere else,' he told Confidential after calling Australia '100 per cent' his home. He also indicated his intentions to move back to his homeland when the time is right. He continued: 'This makes sense right now, and it's good — I like LA, you have to find your version of it that works for you. But I look forward to the day that I can move home.' The hunky star is best known for his roles in Suicide Squad, Jack Reacher, and Terminator Genisys.


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Kate Fischer signs with celebrity agent Max Markson as she promotes her weight loss journey

James Packer's ex-fiancée Kate Fischer previously revealed she was content away from the spotlight and working in aged care. However, it appears she's had a change of heart with the reclusive personality - who now goes by the name of T'ziporah Malkah - signing with celebrity agent Max Markson this week. It comes after the former model also revealed plans to shed some weight, after ballooning to 118.5kgs. Scroll down for video 'I'm excited to be representing T'ziporah,' Max told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday. 'My main goal is to help her with her health and help her to lose weight,' he said. 'Her Doctor has told her that unless she loses weight she will get diabetes and also be unable to continue her work as a carer for dementia patients because of the potential damage to her back.' 'T'ziporah is a wonderful hard working woman who I admire greatly. She is vivacious, fun witty and smart,' he added, gushing about his new client. Max is well-known for previously representing the likes of Lara Bingle and currently manages The Block's Suzi Taylor. T'ziporah told Kyle and Jackie O this week that only recently she put on 30kgs, saying it happened after a 'close friend' and potential love interest, went away for work. The former model said she fell into depression after they went away and would gorge on pizza and drink vodka. 'Only a few months ago I was weighing in around 85-90kg. I made friends with somebody, who was 'just a friend'. We both enjoyed cooking, so we'd cook a lot together,' T'ziporah said. 'Then my friend had to go away for work, had to leave. I had been in self-imposed exile for several years, and I really hadn't had a close friend for a while... so I just got so sort of depressed.' 'There was a loss. I'm a bit of an emotional eater,' she said. 'I was always a yo-yo dieter. When I was doing the modelling I was about 58kgs... which is underweight for my height.' 'For years I'd been on a diet and I thought bugger it,' Tziporah also talked about the pressure to remain thin. Tziporah's new interview comes after she told New Idea magazine that her doctor has ordered her to shed 20kg, before it's too late. 'I'm going to lose at least 20kg, hopefully much more. I'm way too heavy, and it's time to trim down,' she explained to the publication. 'This is doctor's orders - he says I'm morbidly obese. My blood pressure is high and I'm likely to die prematurely unless I lose weight. So my life depends on this.' She also revealed she secretly had lap band surgery ten years ago but it didn't work and she had it promptly removed. Last month Kate told Daily Mail Australia that she was happy with her new figure, saying: 'I know I'm overweight but I'm comfortable with that.' The actress looks barely recognisable from her days in the spotlight, where she was known for her glamorous lifestyle and for being the arm candy of billionaire James. She now works as a therapist and has embraced orthodox Judaism. She and James split in 1998 after being together for five years. She previously said how she had no interest in being in the spotlight and said on Facebook that she prefers to be addressed by her Hebrew name and also claimed news of her weight gain - which first emerged in 2010 - was getting 'old'. 'Kate got fat! Kate got fat! Kate got fat is older news than Moses,' she said, before adding: 'And anyway that's not my legal name anymore.' She also thanked her friends and supporters for 'checking in' after she disappeared from the media spotlight 10 years ago. 'Thanks guys for checking in with me. I'm no longer desirous of being a public figure but I've noticed a bit of interest in this page in the last 24 hours so I thought I'd say G'day,' she continued. In her about me section, Kate - who recently posed for a magazine in lingerie - added: 'As mentioned earlier I retired from the public life close to ten years ago. I do not grant interviews and have no interest in being in the public eye. 'I work in the health care industry and very much enjoy helping others. I am content in most ways and appreciate my life being a private one now,' she concluded.


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Online trading company IG posts "strong" second quarter

Nov 30 (Reuters) - Online trading company IG Group Holdings Plc said it continued to perform in line with expectations, after a "strong" second quarter. * Higher operating costs in the first half related to client recruitment were offset by "good revenue delivery", IG, which was founded in 1974 as the world's first spread betting firm, said in a brief trading update on Wednesday. * IG, which holds 40 percent of the UK financial spread betting market by number of active primary accounts, has over 152,600 active clients according to its website. (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair)


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15 awaiting verdict in Air France bosses' ripped-shirt case

BOBIGNY, France (AP) — Fifteen current and former Air France workers are awaiting a verdict in a case of alleged violence during a union protest last year at the airline's headquarters that saw two company executives flee over a fence...


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Grandson of mafia boss Carmine 'The Snake' Persico arrested for allegedly attacking stranger

The namesake grandson of Carmine 'The Snake' Persico (pictured) was arrested after allegedly attacking a stranger at a NY bar
The namesake grandson of a notorious New York mafia boss was arrested after allegedly attacking a complete stranger because he 'looked familiar'.
Carmine Persico, 25, had recently undergone eye surgery and hit the man after borrowing his lighter outside the Kettle Black bar in Brooklyn.
Charles Pickering, 22, was stabbed in the abdomen and suffered a broken jaw. He was hospitalized for three days.
Pickering said he had never met Persico before the attack and only learned of his connection to the notorious Colombo crime family after looking his name up online.
'I got my lighter back already and he was like, "Oh, you look familiar", so I turn around and all of a sudden he just hits me,' Pickering told the New York Post .
Three of Persico's friends allegedly jumped in to help with the brutal beating.
Persico allegedly dropped his keys as the group fled the scene. They were then picked up by a bystander who had tried to stop the assault, sources said.
Police used an electronic key to unlock the abandoned 2015 Chrysler 200 parked near the bar and then traced it back to Persico.
Carmine Persico, 25, allegedly attacked Charles Pickering, 22, because he 'looked familiar'. Persico had recently undergone eye surgery to improve his vision
He has been charged with first-degree assault and second-degree gang assault. His three alleged accomplices remain at large.
Persico was freed on $5,000 bond.
It was revealed during an arraignment that he plans to join the US Navy after he fully recovers from the laser surgery he underwent to improve his vision, sources said.
Although his alleged attacker comes from a family with a long line of crime, Pickering said he wasn't worried because 'it's the 21st century'.
Persico's 83-year-old grandfather, known as Carmine 'the Snake', was sentenced to 100 years in prison after he was convicted in the historic Mafia Commission case, along with bosses of the Genovese and Lucchese crime families.
The younger Persico's uncle Alphonse 'Allie Boy' Persico is currently serving a life sentence for ordering a hit on a mob rival.
His father Lawrence is believed to be delivering pizzas for Mia's Pizza Shop in Brooklyn.
Persico's uncle Alphonse 'Allie Boy' Persico (pictured attending court in 1987) is serving a life sentence for ordering a hit on a mob rival


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Amanda Seyfried is pregnant, shows off baby bump

Amanda Seyfried is pregnant!
The 30-year-old actress is expecting her first child with her fiancé, actor Thomas Sadoski, Seyfried's publicist Evelyn Karamanos confirmed to USA TODAY.
Seyfried showed off a small baby bump at a Givenchy event on Tuesday. She is the face of the fashion house's new Live Irrésistible fragrance.
Seyfried and Sadoski, 40, confirmed their engagement to USA TODAY in September.
Last year, the actress revealed she was starting to think about having children. "I keep feeling like my eggs are dying off," she told Marie Claire U. K. in August 2015 ( via E! News ), while dating actor Justin Long (they split the following month). "I need to get on it…I want a child. Badly. I want to be a mother, badly. That's what I feel. I've been feeling it for like, two years. I'm not ready but nobody's ready. It changes everything…so how can you ever be ready for that? "
Seyfried and Sadoski started dating this spring while filming their upcoming drama, The Last Word.
The couple first met on Broadway in 2015 as co-stars in The Way We Get By , a Neil LaBute play about a one-night stand.
People reported news of the pregnancy first.


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A Paris satellite town's unabashed shift to the far right

Emilie Fougerolles voted for the far left in 2012 and is "troubled by the racism" of France's far-right National Front, but nevertheless she is seriously thinking of voting for its presidential candidate Marine Le Pen next year.
The 34-year-old sales clerk lives in the Paris dormitory town of Mantes-la-Ville, one of 10 cities the National Front (FN) seized control of during municipal elections in 2014.
Since then, residents are relieved that "nothing has changed in our daily lives," Fougerolles said in the low-rise town some 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of the French capital.
The string of jihadist attacks that have claimed 238 lives in France since January 2015 have contributed to the shift in the town of around 20,000 inhabitants.
- 'Permanent fear' -
"We live in permanent fear," said Fougerolles, who was especially shaken by the jihadist murder in June this year of a police officer and his companion in Magnanville, just a few kilometres away.
One of her four daughters was taking a judo class only 200 metres (yards) away from the scene of the attack at the time.
That was when Fougerolles began taking an interest in Le Pen. "She has good ideas when it comes to terrorism," Fougerolles said. "If her name weren't Le Pen I would have no doubts at all about voting for her. "
The 48-year-old FN leader is the youngest daughter of the fiery and openly xenophobic Jean-Marie Le Pen, who led the party for nearly 40 years.
Since succeeding him in 2011 she has worked to shed the party's racist and anti-Semitic image while hoping to capitalise on economic gloom and concern about Europe's biggest migrant crisis since World War II.
As part of this strategy, she has reportedly instructed FN mayors not to make waves in their cities.
Cyril Nauth, a 35-year-old history and geography teacher and the first FN mayor in the Paris region, failed to see through on his campaign promises to block a new mosque in Mantes-la-Ville, though he has cut subsidies to civic groups.
Le Pen has also seized on the fears generated by the attacks with promises of boosting security and countering perceived Islamic inroads into French society.
The so-called "de-demonising" strategy has translated into votes, and the party won 28 percent in the first round of last year's regional elections, though it was defeated in the run-off when the mainstream parties worked together to block it.
Now, thanks partly to deep disarray on the left, voter surveys predict that Le Pen will come in second or even first in the first round of the presidential vote in April, qualifying her for the May run-off.
She is then tipped to lose, most likely to the newly chosen rightwing candidate Francois Fillon.
But after the shock election of Donald Trump in the United States, no-one is writing off Le Pen's chances.
- 'I won't hide it' -
Franck Party, a 49-year-old supermarket manager, said he would "never" have voted for Jean-Marie Le Pen because he is "too over the top," but he has voted FN since Marine took over.
"Her positions on defending France's identity resonate with me," he said, adding that he opposes "mass immigration" and the "dictatorship of Brussels".
Like Party, many residents of Mantes-la-Ville, which is slightly poorer than the national average, make no bones about voting FN.
"I won't hide it," said Alain Baudouin, a 56-year-old former carworker who has taken early retirement, slamming "these immigrants who have everything".
A former mason who gave his name only as Frederic agreed, saying he was sacked "because of Turkish and Polish workers", adding: "Vive the FN".
Patricia, a 58-year-old woman who works at Mantes-la-Ville's town hall, said she did not regret voting FN in the 2014 municipal elections, and said she would vote for Le Pen in 2017.
Like Fougerolles, she has seen little change in the city. "Maybe the streets are cleaner? " she said, before adding that for her the main thing is: "We need to revitalise France! "
A woman in her 70s who declined to give her name said she voted for the FN mayor because she was "fed up of state handouts and immigrants. "
But when it comes to the presidency, she said she preferred Fillon. Being mayor is "after all not the same as running a country," she said.


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Namibia’s ‘unique’ saxophonist Suzy Essies

Suzy Essies is a saxophonist from Namibia who has played with Nigerian luminary Wizkid and South Africa’s Jimmy Dludlu.
She’s been revelation a BBC about operative on her entrance manuscript and training jazz and a sax to immature kids in a Namibian collateral Windoek.


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OPEC begins debate on oil cuts amid deep disagreement

By Rania El Gamal and Alex Lawler VIENNA, Nov 30 (Reuters) - OPEC began on Wednesday debating a deal to curtail oil production and prop up the price of crude, with Iran and Iraq resisting pressure from Saudi Arabia to participate fully in any action. Ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries started an informal meeting at 0700 GMT at the Vienna Park Hyatt hotel and were due to begin a formal gathering at OPEC headquarters at 0900 GMT. "There will be an agreement today," an Iraqi delegate said as he entered the hotel. "I'm optimistic," said Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, adding there had been no request for Iran to cut output. On Tuesday, Iran wrote to OPEC saying it wanted Saudi Arabia to cut production by as much as 1 million barrels per day (bpd), much more than Riyadh is willing to offer, OPEC sources who saw the letter told Reuters. The 14-country group, which accounts for a third of global oil production, made a preliminary agreement in Algiers in September to cap output at around 32.5-33 million bpd versus the current 33.64 million bpd to prop up oil prices, which have halved since mid-2014. OPEC said it would exempt Iran, Libya and Nigeria from cuts as their output has been crimped by unrest and sanctions. The deal was seen as a victory for Iran. Tehran has long argued it wants to raise production to regain market share lost under Western sanctions, when its political arch-rival Saudi Arabia increased output. In recent weeks, Riyadh changed its stance and offered to cut its output by 0.5 million bpd, according to OPEC sources, while suggesting Iran limit production at around 3.8 million bpd - in line with or slightly above the country's current output. Tehran has sent mixed signals, saying it wanted to produce as much as 4.2 million bpd. Iran's letter to OPEC suggested Saudi Arabia should cut output to 9.5 million bpd. Iraq has also been pressing for higher output limits, saying it needs more money to fight the militant group Islamic State. Iran and Iraq together produce over 8 million bpd, only slightly behind long-time leader Saudi with 10.5 million bpd. The argument between Iraq and Saudi Arabia mainly focuses on whether Baghdad should use its own output estimates to limit production or rely on lower figures from OPEC's experts. Brent crude rose 1.5 percent on Wednesday to more than $47 a barrel after heavy losses a day earlier. Some analysts including Morgan Stanley and Macquarie have said oil prices will correct sharply if OPEC fails to reach a deal, potentially going as low as $35 per barrel. (Additional reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Shadia Nasralla and Lisa Barrington; Writing by Dmitry Zhdannikov; Editing by Dale Hudson)


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Cossack songs and Ugandan dance on UNESCO’s heritage list

Ugandan traditional music, which is dying out partly because it requires materials from endangered species, has been placed on UNESCO’s protected “Intangible Cultural Heritage” list, along with Portuguese pottery and Ukrainian Cossack songs. A UNESCO world heritage committee, meeting in Addis Ababa Tuesday, decided to include Uganda’s Ma’di bowl lyre music and dance, one of appeared first on The Japan Times. > ...


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Marine who strangled pregnant wife of his colleague and dumped her body down a mine shaft after learning she was carrying his baby is jailed for life

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. Her body was found at the bottom of a mine shaft two months after she vanished. Corwin was arrested the following day in Alaska and charged with her murder but denied it. An autopsy revealed the teenager was pregnant when she died, with prosecutors later alleging the baby was Lee's and not her husband's. On November 1, Lee interrupted his murder trial to admit killing the woman. He at first claimed the killing was the result of his anger when Corwin admitted to molesting his young daughter. The marine said he himself was down and contemplating suicide because he had not been deployed as hoped. He claims he spun in to a violent fit of anger when Corwin confessed to molesting his six-year-old and strangled her, throwing her body down the mine shaft when he realized she was dead. Prosecutors slapped down the claim, insisting he had been researching how to kill the young woman before she vanished. They said he had looked up how to dispose of bodies on the internet before taking Corwin to the desert under the pretense of a romantic evening night out. Jonathan and Erin had been married for two years when she was killed. He discovered she was having an affair with Lee in March, 2014, five months before she vanished, but was told it had been fleeting and was over. On the day of her disappearance, Erin told her husband she was going to the desert to take photographs, USA Today reports. Her family provided family statements at Lee's sentencing on Tuesday. 'Erin's murder has pushed and stretched and broken us in ways that no family should endure,' her sister-in-law, Deeanna Heavlin, said.


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Fillon's economic shock therapy for France risks side effects

By Leigh Thomas PARIS, Nov 29 (Reuters) - On paper, French presidential favourite Francois Fillon's free-market plans to cut business taxes, relax labour laws and shrink the public sector should give corporate France a shot in the arm and boost economic growth. But his reforms are likely to come at the cost of showdowns with labour unions and public-sector workers who face losing jobs in a country where strikes can often drag on for several weeks if not months. He could also clash with Berlin over a ballooning budget deficit, while a sales tax hike that would help pay for his other plans risks dampening consumer spending. Fillon, an admirer of late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, is the centre-right candidate for the presidential election in May, when he will go up against far-right leader Marine Le Pen and a yet-to-be selected Socialist opponent. If victorious, he would have a popular mandate to enact his free-market reforms following deep disenchantment with Socialist President Francois Hollande's failure to fulfil pledges to slash high unemployment of about 10 percent and deliver growth. Fillon says he would introduce 50 billion euros ($53 billion) in tax cuts - worth about 2.5 percent of GDP - with most of that targeting companies' payroll tax. The loss of state revenue would be partially offset with a 2 percentage point increase in value-added sales tax, by far the government's biggest source of tax revenue. Economists liken the move to a currency devaluation - something outside French authorities' power as a member of the euro zone - because firms could sell at more competitive prices abroad while importers face higher prices, thus improving the overall terms France trades on with the rest of the world. "The aim is to rebalance France's growth model towards exports and away from solely relying on consumption," said economist Emmanuel Jessua at Coe-Rexecode think tank. There are precedents in France, notably when conservative former President Nicolas Sarkozy, with Fillon as his prime minister, tried to cut payroll taxes in the final months of his term in 2011. Sarkozy's successor Hollande unpicked the programme once he came to office and introduced instead a tax credit scheme to reduce the payroll taxes companies pay. Fillon would turn that scheme into a permanent reduction in payroll charges, while also going further than Sarkozy's plans by also cutting the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, from 33 percent currently. 'BOSSES BACK FILLON' Fillon, a former labour minister, would also reduce the complexity of the labour code, make firing workers easier, and also axe France's 35-hour legal cap on the working week and raise the retirement age to 65 from 62-63. "He's taken on board all of our concerns," the head of the MEDEF employers association, Pierre Gattaz, told journalists. "There's a lot of bosses backing Fillon. " With proposals to shrink the public sector and spending by cutting 500,000 civil service jobs and reducing unemployment benefits, critics have characterised Fillon as a man who threatens France's cherished welfare system. Fillon's plans to cut public spending to 49 percent of output by 2022 would still leave it well above the current OECD average of 45 percent. Nonetheless the conservative, who lives in a Loire valley chateau, makes an easy target for hardline unions eager to show that they remain relevant after years of declining influence. "When workers are not happy, and retired people are not happy, they go on strike, factories have to shut," the head of the CGT union Philippe Martinez said. "When a majority of workers are on strike the economy suffers. " Though he insists he will not water his plans down, on Monday, Fillon retreated on prime time television from a suggestion he would privatise basic healthcare. FISCAL FUDGE With spending cuts coming gradually after the tax cuts, Fillon accepts that the initial strain on the budget means he will have to tear up the current government's plans to cut the deficit to less than 3 percent of output next year. Instead, his programme would let the deficit balloon to as much as 4.7 percent of GDP next year before gradually coming down as tax cuts gradually lift the overall growth rate. France's partners in Berlin have not forgotten that a similar fiscal strategy by Sarkozy at the start of his term left the French finances vulnerable when the financial crisis struck in 2008-2009. EU Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici, a French Socialist close to Hollande, has said he would not cut Fillon any slack for overshooting the 3 percent target. Playing in Fillon's favour is an emerging international consensus, including at the European Commission, supporting looser fiscal policy as long as it helps growth. The OECD estimates that near record-low borrowing rates mean France like other countries can afford some fiscal slack after years of sweating to rein in the finances. "They have cash they found on the sidewalk, so they don't have to be budget neutral," OECD chief economist Catherine Mann told Reuters. ($1 = 0.9424 euros) (Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Additional reporting by Yves Clarisse and Michel Rose; Editing by Andrew Callus and Pravin Char)


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For Mosul perfume trader, militants meant business

By Ulf Laessing MOSUL, Iraq, Nov 30 (Reuters) - When Islamic State fighters came to Hamza Samih's perfume shop in Mosul they issued two orders - get rid of the perfumes and colourful bras they said were unholy, and set up separate doors for men and women. Then the militants, Samih says, became his best customers. "They were the ones with money. They bought perfumes for themselves and for their wives," the 23-year-old storekeeper said of the Islamic State forces who were driven out of his street on Sunday by Iraqi special forces. The militants overran Mosul two years ago, imposing their ultra-hardline interpretation of Sunni Islam over Iraq's main northern city and policing everything from women's clothing to the length of men's beards. They are now being driven out in the biggest military operation in Iraq since the 2003 U. S.-led invasion. Troops have pushed them out of around a quarter of the city in an advance now in its seventh week. Samih says the militants' draconian edicts almost put him out of business by forcing women, his main customers, to cover themselves in black, not use perfume in public and stay indoors. "Daesh (Islamic State) banned most of my products. Makeup was forbidden, most perfumes for women and men, and this," he said, pointing to a picture on his cell phone of a showcase full of green and blue bras he had to destroy. Products with large logos in English were also banned. "Only small scribblings were tolerated," Samih said, standing in front of the shut shop he runs with his family. But while most of the population struggled to get by, residents say the militants enjoyed a privileged existence. Some drove expensive cars and stayed in looted luxury villas, according to Samih's neighbours and relatives - voicing a common refrain among residents in Mosul districts recaptured from Islamic State. With Samih's regular customers forced out, he became dependent for business on the militants, some of whom were acquiring high-end habits. "They went for the expensive foreign brands... Some had four wives," he said. He did not say how the militants distinguished between perfumes which were acceptable and those which were banned. The army hopes people like Samih will reopen businesses quickly to bring life back to normal in recaptured areas of Mosul, a message delivered in person on Monday by the commander of the army's counter terrorism unit, who came to Samih's Aden district escorted by seven Humvees carrying masked gunners. Surrounded by officers, Lieutenant-General Talib Shaghati walked form house to house, holding up a baby and promising an ululating woman that Islamic State will be defeated soon. But in an indication of the shaky security, his guards took no chances when they later drove him a few blocks closer to the front, where the boom of the artillery guns could be heard. Soldiers had set up street barricades with stones and trucks and put bulldozers on standby to prepare for suicide bombings. Shaghati's driver parked his Humvee next to a house where he briefly greeted soldiers before his escorts whisked him back into the jeep, pushing aside bystanders and driving him back to his base outside Mosul. Back at the perfume shop, Samih said it was too soon to resume trading. "I'm not ready to open the shop yet. We need stability," he said, looking exhausted. (Editing by Dominic Evans and Peter Graff)


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Jackpot rigging scandal grows in scope as trials near

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A prosecutor says two brothers accused of conspiring to fix lottery games in five states had rigged another drawing for which they claimed a jackpot and planted software on additional computers that would have enabled them to fix more games if they hadn’t been caught.
Trials are scheduled in Iowa early next year for Eddie Tipton, a former lottery computer technology official, and his brother Tommy Tipton, a former deputy sheriff and justice of the peace in Texas. They’ll be tried separately on a charge of ongoing criminal conduct. Eddie Tipton, who was previously convicted of a separate lottery fraud, faces an additional charge of money laundering.
The trial for Tommy Tipton, 52, is scheduled for Jan. 23 and the trial for Eddie Tipton, 53, is set for Feb. 13.
A third man charged in the conspiracy, Texas businessman Robert Clark Rhodes II, has reached a plea agreement and is expected to testify against the Tipton brothers. Rhodes is a long-time friend of Eddie Tipton.
Prosecutors allege Eddie Tipton took advantage of a false random number generating program he designed and placed in lottery computers that allowed him to predict winning numbers on specific days of the year.
Tipton’s job at the Urbandale, Iowa-based Multi-State Lottery Association was to write software designed to randomly pick numbers for lottery computers used for various games by 37 state and territorial lotteries.
In documents filed Monday, Assistant Iowa Attorney General Rob Sand revealed for the first time that the random number generating program allegedly used in the scheme was found on an Indiana lottery computer and another at the MUSL headquarters in Iowa. A computer expert will testify that the software had not been activated and no additional lottery games in the states are believed to have been compromised.
But, the program installed on the two computers as recently as August 2013 shows “the intention to continue lottery fixing into the indefinite future,” Sand wrote in court documents filed in Tommy Tipton’s case.
Sand alleges the conspiracy netted more than $2 million in winnings from two 2005 Colorado lottery tickets, a 2007 Wisconsin MegaBucks ticket, two 2010 Kansas 2by2 tickets and a 2011 Oklahoma Hot Lotto ticket.
Previously only one Colorado ticket had been disclosed but court documents filed in Tommy Tipton’s case allege a second Colorado ticket was involved in the game-fixing scheme.
Tipton won the two lottery prizes in Colorado and one in Oklahoma. He convinced friends to cash the tickets for him to remain anonymous.
His attorney, Mark Weinhardt, filed a motion to dismiss the charge in October, saying the state cannot prove he committed a crime.
“Once one looks beyond the headlines at the substance of the state’s allegations against Tommy, it becomes apparent this prosecution is driven by inertia but not by either facts or law,” Weinhardt wrote.
Eddie Tipton has pleaded not guilty and his attorney, Dean Stowers, said the state cannot prove software on the computers was illegal.
“The state’s recent filings inaccurately characterize the facts and anticipated testimony of various witnesses,” he said Tuesday, asserting that he expects a jury to conclude no crime has been committed.
The biggest win would have been a 2010 Iowa Hot Lotto ticket worth $16.5 million, but the jackpot was never paid because Iowa doesn’t award jackpots to anonymous ticketholders and it was never revealed who bought it. Sand alleges it was Eddie Tipton, which Tipton denies.
Court documents indicate Rhodes will testify that in 2010 Tipton gave him the ticket and asked him to reach out to acquaintances to cash it in. Rhodes also will say that Eddie told him that he and his brother had won a fixed lottery game in Colorado. Rhodes also will detail how he won a $783,257 jackpot in Wisconsin in 2007 and claimed it under a business name to conceal his identity.
A plea hearing for Rhodes is set for Dec. 7.
Eddie Tipton was fired by MUSL after he was initially charged with fraud in January 2015 related to the 2010 Iowa Hot Lotto ticket. He was convicted last year on two counts of fraud but one was thrown out by a state appeals court in July.
The new charges were filed in October 2015 when investigators found what they believe are connections to Tipton in the other four state jackpots.
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Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Skeletons of 27 children found in 'extremely rare' Black Death burial pit

More than half of 48 skeletons found in an "extremely rare" 14th-century Black Death burial pit were those of children, archaeologists said.
The mass burial has been uncovered at the site of a 14th-century monastery hospital at Thornton Abbey, near Immingham, in North Lincolnshire, by a team from Sheffield University.
The presence of such a large burial site - which included both male and female adults as well as 27 children - suggests the community was overwhelmed by Black Death and left unable to cope with the number of people who died, they said.
The Black Death was one of the worst pandemics in human history. It devastated European populations from 1346 to 1353 and resulted in the deaths of an estimated 75 to 200 million people.
The disease is documented to have reached Lincolnshire in the spring of 1349.
The team said they sent teeth samples from the skeletons found at the Thornton Abbey site to McMaster University in Canada, where ancient DNA was successfully extracted from the tooth pulp. DNA test revealed the presence of Yersinia pestis, the bacterium responsible for the plague.
Dr Hugh Willmott, Sheffield University's Department of Archaeology, said: "Despite the fact it is now estimated that up to half the population of England perished during the Black Death, multiple graves associated with the event are extremely rare in this country, and it seems local communities continued to dispose of their loved ones in as ordinary a way as possible. "
Dr Willmott said the only two previously identified 14th-century sites where Yersinia pestis has been identified are historically documented cemeteries in London, where the civic authorities were forced to open new emergency burial grounds to cope with the very large numbers of the urban dead.
He said: "The finding of a previously unknown and completely unexpected mass burial dating to this period in a quiet corner of rural Lincolnshire is thus far unique, and sheds light into the real difficulties faced by a small community ill-prepared to face such a devastating threat. "
The archaeologist, who has been working at the site since 2011, said items found at the abbey have also shed light on the lives of those who lived there.
He said one artefact found in the excavated hospital building was a small Tau Cross pendant, which some people thought was a cure for St Anthony's fire, a term used to describe a variety of skin conditions.
He said: "While skeletons are interesting, they just represent the end of somebody's life and actually what we are interested in as archaeologists is the life they led before they died.
"One of the ways we can connect with that is through the everyday objects they left behind.
"Before we began the dig, the site was just an ordinary green field grazed by sheep for hundreds of years, but like many fields across England, as soon as you take away the turf, layers of history can be revealed by archaeology. "
Dr Diana Mahoney Swales, of the University of Sheffield's Department for Lifelong Learning, who is leading the study of the bodies, said: "Once the skeletons return to the lab, we start properly learning who these people really are.
"We do this by identifying whether they are male or female, children or adults. And then we start to investigate the diseases that they may have lived through, such as metabolic diseases like rickets and scurvy, which are degenerative diseases for the skeleton.
"However, for diseases such as plague, which are lethal, we have to use ancient DNA analysis to investigate that further. "
:: The project will feature on the BBC's Digging For Britain programme on December 13.


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Karlie Kloss wears bizarre waist-high boots as she attends New York party

She's sitting out this year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. But that doesn't mean Karlie Kloss is taking a break from fashion. The 24-year-old stunner wore some fashion forward boots on Tuesday to a party in New York. The model sported some waist high boots that looked to be a hybrid between chaps and footwear. Completing her ensemble was an Adidas shirt, a choker, and a dark jacket. The stunning 24-year-old supermodel shared news of her absence from the VS annual show in an Instagram snap showing her with the Angels in 2013 that she posted Sunday. She captioned it: 'Thinking of the Angels and my entire @victoriassecret family as they make their way to Paris today. 'Unfortunately this year I have a work obligation that is keeping me from Paris. I'm sad to miss it but am wishing everyone all the best from afar! 'There is truly no show quite like the VS Fashion Show, and there is no feeling quite like walking on that magnificent runway. 'To all my girls walking, good luck and enjoy every minute of it!!! I can't wait to see you all shine bright over in Paris ❤ all my love xx kk.' Karlie didn't reveal what the 'work obligation is' that will keep her away from the fun. She first appeared on the show in New York in 2011 and became an official Angel in 2013, only to leave the lingerie brand in 2015. Her last year on the VS catwalk was December 2014 in London. The 2016 show will tape on Wednesday at the Grand Palais in Paris and air on CBS on December 5.


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Rangers captain Lee Wallace proud of never-say-die spirit after last-minute wins over Dundee and Partick Thistle

Rangers captain Lee Wallace insists recent late winners are a sign of spirit rather than struggle at the Ibrox club. It took a second-half brace from substitute Joe Dodoo against struggling Partick Thistle on Saturday - the second with almost the last kick of the game - to hand the Light Blues a 2-1 win. The previous week a stoppage-time header from substitute Harry Forrester gave the Gers a narrow 1-0 home victory over another bottom-six side, Dundee. Ahead of the Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday night, Wallace claimed those late counters were testament to the side's character. 'It actually pleases me that we have that bit about us,' said the Scotland defender. 'If we had not won these games the questions might have been that we don't have that resilience, we don't contain that character in the team, that we have not got that never-say-die attitude. 'So it pleases me. Getting the three points is crucial, the fact that we managed to do it, leaving it late last week and the week before, it doesn't make any difference.' Rangers are looking to cement second place against Hearts, whom they lead by three points with Aberdeen two points behind in third place. Mark Warburton insists he will move to bolster his squad in January but only if the players are the right fit. Chairman Dave King last week said money would be made available in the transfer window for the Gers boss. Warburton will use those funds but only if any potential new recruits add something tangible to the squad. He said: 'We move in January if the right player or players become available. 'January is a really tough window, and I'm sure most people will tell you that as if you are panicking you either spend too much or you get the wrong person. 'So we have to get the right people to come here to add quality and value to what we already possess. 'So if the right person becomes available, then we will move absolutely, and we have lost one or two. 'Any window is important, and it is the opportunity to make a change. You have to get the right players in and you can be more damaged by getting the wrong person in at the wrong time. If it is the right person who can fit into the team on and off the pitch, then we will move.'


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Retailers ready for holiday rush, stress shopping local

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year for retailers.
From the people streaming into stores to grab the best deals on the morning of Black Friday to the panicking of procrastinating parents hoping to find a particular gift for their child on Christmas Eve, November and December are make-or-break months for retail businesses.
In Gillette, retailers are gearing up for the season even as the community goes through its first season after hundreds of coal mine layoffs and a sharp economic downturn.
Stores are extending hours, offering promotions and putting up their holiday decorations, reported the Gillette News Record (
Now more than ever, Gillette retailers are emphasizing the importance of shopping locally as they search for ways to deal with the added challenges of competing with internet shopping and large nationwide chains.
Karen Cook, owner of Pat’s Hallmark Shop, said business has been up and down for her, but she’s not depending on this shopping season to save her year.
“Certainly it would be nice to make up the little ground that we lost, but it’s not like we’re down so far that if we don’t make it up it’s going to be a terrible year,” Cook said.
Gail Winterholler, co-owner of Heaven to Earth, said her business has been pretty steady all year thanks to its diverse range of products. And Allison Kaplin, owner of Wyoming Art and Frame, said sales have been down some, but nothing dramatic to cause concern.
Even though they’re surviving through the economic downturn, the importance of the holiday season is not lost on them.
Fairly local
Although some people go out of town to do their Christmas shopping, Cook said they should be able to find everything they’re looking for locally.
“Almost everything they need, they could find if they go out and look and ask,” she said. “People ought to do all of their shopping here.”
When customers come into Cook’s shop on Gillette Avenue and can’t find what they’re looking for, Cook said she will direct them to another store on the street. If that doesn’t work, then she refers them to another local retailer, “because we want people to stay here in Campbell County.”
“Everybody’s working hard to do things to help each other out, and that’s really important,” Cook said.
“I think it’s really important to remind people to keep their money in their community,” Kalpin added.
Jessica Seders, director of Gillette Main Street, said she’s trying to educate people on what it means to shop locally, not just for businesses, but for the community as a whole.
Seders said that with many nonprofit organizations losing funding this year, shopping at local stores is even more important this season because of the Optional 1 Percent Sales Tax.
“We circulate those dollars, we’re able to provide social service programs, fund parks and street maintenance,” and many other things, Seders said.
So when a customer shops in the community, he or she is supporting not only the local stores, but countless local projects and nonprofits around the area.
People might not be able to donate $500 to an organization, Seders said, but if they spend money at a local store, they can at least know that some of that money will go back to help make Campbell County a better place. And in tight economic times, every little bit counts.
“When you shop online, it does not support our 1 Percent (tax),” Seders said, adding that although it might be cheaper to order something online, in the long run it might end up costing more.
It’s when the economy is down that the need for social services often goes up.
“Times like these when families are struggling, it’s the wrong time to not support local businesses,” Seders said. “There are programs that could be funded and continued if we supported the local merchants.”
Facing the competition
Online shopping is growing in popularity because of its convenience. It’s easier than going to a store, and sometimes can be quicker and cheaper. Free shipping doesn’t hurt, either.
So how can the small stores compete with the online giants? By excelling where Amazon does not, Cook said. Going to a store offers a physical component that isn’t offered by a website.
“A lot of customers like to go into a store and touch and feel (what they’re buying), and people can come in and try on stuff, see the colors of what you’re buying,” she said. “And I think a lot of customers just like getting out and about, seeing their friends. It’s a social thing.”
Another important thing is customer service. When shopping online, the closest one can get to an actual conversation is an exchange over email. Not so with stores, which often offer a personal connection to the customer.
“I think that’s really important, and as a consumer I appreciate that when I go to a local business and they’re able to help me because they know me,” said Winterholler.
“You get great customer service, and if you have an issue, we’ll take care of you,” Cook said.
Seders agreed.
“What’s great about our small stores is customer service,” she said. “Knowing their customers personally when they walk in, that’s what we’re looking for, that connection, and that’s what they’re able to offer.”
Winterholler said it also helps to have loyal customers.
“We really have a huge customer base that is very loyal, and so a lot of times they’ll try here first instead of going online,” she said.
Kalpin said the store has been around for about 40 years and that it has an established client base, not just locally, but nationwide and overseas as well. That has helped the store from getting hit too hard by the economic downturn.
Due to the nature of her store, Kalpin said she doesn’t lose much business to online shopping. Her main competitors are the big box retailer. She said she lets her products speak for themselves.
“Yeah, you can go to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby and get the cheaper frame,” she said. “But our quality is what keeps us ahead in the game. I can’t tell you how many frames get brought in from chain stores where they fall apart or are just a disaster.”
The weather outside isn’t that frightful
Cook said she hasn’t seen many Christmas shoppers yet, in part because of the unusually warm weather Gillette has been experiencing lately, but that should change once the temperature drops.
“It gets cold out, you get more in the mood,” she said. “It’s a little hard to buy ornaments in shorts. You think of the cold weather and the snow, you think of Christmas.”
Seders said that when the weather is cold, people are less likely to drive out of town and are more likely to do their shopping locally.
“On some of our coldest, windiest days, that’s when some of our merchants report higher profit days,” she said.
Cook already has taken advantage of the holiday shopping season. Her store has extended its hours in November and December, staying open later on weeknights and opening its doors on Sunday.
Other stores will soon do the same thing, Seders said.
Winterholler said she enjoys the holiday season, even though it keeps her busy.
“We get to be part of the surprise, because people are buying gifts, we get to wrap them special,” she said. “So, as far as preparing, it’s just the anticipation of knowing that those special gifts are going home to somebody, that’s the nice part for us.”
Winterholler has picked up a few tips during her nearly seven years at Heaven to Earth, including how to survive the Christmas season, which can be chaotic at times.
“I would say take your vitamins, get a good sleep and then enjoy your customers,” she said.
Information from: The Gillette (Wyo.) News Record,


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Play with fire and you might get art

RAWLINS, Wyo. (AP) - Lifting the weighty lid of her kiln, a roar of hot air blasting her face, Marge McCrea dips a pair of black iron tongs into a luminous inferno.
Carefully she lifts out a leaf, glowing red, and quickly brings it out to a nearby steel tin, the lid held aloft by Susann Ward. McCrea deposits the leaf into the tin and a gout of flames burst forth, igniting a nest of sawdust and newspaper. Ward sets the lid down, smothering the flames and the tin oozes black smoke into the clear autumn air.
Though their art comes complete with smoke, a cauldron, and plenty of flash and fire, these Rawlins women aren’t practicing witchcraft.
They’re making pottery, reported the Rawlins Daily Times (
“Sue is the alchemist,” McCrea said. “She ordered powdered glazes, which are kind of dangerous to work with, but we work with them.”
Specifically they are making Raku pottery. Raku is a form of pottery that first came out of Japan, a word that means “enjoyment.”
“Every piece is unique and original,” Ward said. “You don’t know what the temperature is, how much paper we have, what kind of reaction we’re going to get.”
McCrea has been doing ceramics for about 30 years, and Raku for five. She and Ward both worked at the Rawlins Middle School, and the two fell in together out of a shared passion for pottery.
Hand-molding their sculptures, which range from pots, vases, tiles and an ornate leaf out of clay, any future Raku sculpture will be fired once in process called bisque firing.
After that, glazes are applied and then they are fired again up to at least 1,850 degrees. After four-and-a-half hours, the pieces are taken out hot, and placed in the tins - more officially known as reduction chambers - where they burn up the fuel within and, in the process, suck all the air out of the chamber. Cooling in air-tight conditions produces a wild array of colors, and there’s exhilaration in unveiling each piece.
“There’s a lot we still haven’t tried that we’ve discussed and talked about,” Ward added. “We added the sawdust and the newspaper and we kind of perfected what ignites real fast, but the sawdust can give a different color. We’ve come up with a combination that we’re using that gives us a hot fire and lots of flame, but then gives us some of that color from the wood as well.”
Ward has a wide smile on her face with each piece she unveils. From the fires of inspiration came works of art, and the colors manifested by this method of pottery have a wild intensity that catches the eye right away. It’s no surprise that McCrea intends to display the sculptures she’s made at her art gallery in downtown Rawlins, Red Desert Arts. In December she’ll be displaying and selling the pieces she’s made.
“We want people to be aware of the aesthetics of doing this and to appreciate the art of it and I think unless they really see what we go through they’ll wonder why this tiny piece is 80 bucks, because we risked our lives to make it.”
Her gallery space doubles as a maker’s space. It contains a potter’s wheel and space to make pottery available to rent, should a muse inspire anyone to pick up some clay and try their hand.
“It’s not for the faint of heart,” Ward said.
Information from: Rawlins (Wyo.) Daily Times,


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Giving new life to old devices

SANTA FE, N. M. (AP) - Douglass Schocke’s retirement hobby started at a small kiosk inside La Montañita Co-op, where he helped shoppers with small computer repairs and took in old equipment with the hope it could be updated, recycled or donated.
Now, as technology has begun reaching obsolescence ever faster, Schocke’s hobby has expanded into the not-for-profit Computer Charity NM, located in a four-room office park on Rosina Street.
On a recent visit, Schocke had towers of old personal computers stashed in corners and bursting from storage shelves. Wires and cables were stuffed into boxes and drawers, and a back loading dock had just received 100 bulky old television sets from the Angel Fire Resort for recycling. The nonprofit also has a half dozen employees who take in old equipment, strip out the metal, copper and other parts, then reuse what is possible.
Some days the 76-year-old former college professor is surprised about what has become of his retirement. “I think I’m doing something useful,” he said. “I could sit on my ass all day and watch TV, but I’d probably go nutty.”
Schocke is one of this year’s 10 Who Made a Difference honorees for his decades-long work with Computer Charity NM, an organization that has given some 600 computers to low-income families and made affordable reused units available to all who need them.
People who come in for assistance are asked to show proof they are low-income in order to receive a free computer. “He charges if you can pay for it, and if you can’t pay he doesn’t charge,” said Mari Grana, an 80-year-old writer who stumbled upon the shop more than three years ago and became a regular customer. “I think he’s doing something worthwhile. He’s giving children the opportunity to have a machine.”
Mike Harcharik, office manager for the organization, said they can’t refurbish everything that comes in the door. “We get computers that are 10 or 12 years old - that’s like having a car that goes 25 miles per hour on the interstate.”
The recycling portion of the organization was established to support the nonprofit work - and is a large reason Schocke can pay his seven employees. Some months he also pitches in money from his own funds - a college pension, military disability and Social Security - to cover expenses.
The organization takes pride in the fact that every item it accepts is reprocessed for use or recycled, with even cables and connectors - and who doesn’t have a box of those stashed in a closet? - shipped out to be melted away so the copper can be tapped.
Many old PC units come from the State of New Mexico, where agencies often switch out desktop computers every three years. Most systems need upgrading after just 18 months, said Schocke.
Computer Charity NM helps clients at The Life Link, a nonprofit focusing on substance abuse, mental health and housing, get a computer and get online. For many people, Schocke said, having internet access is the only way they can apply for a job.
The organization also works with residents at St. Elizabeth Shelter; has set up computers at schools, senior centers and the Democratic Party headquarters; and has worked with tribal communities in Arizona and New Mexico.
Schocke was raised in Oxford, Ohio. He enlisted in the U. S. Army at age 18, serving both in Alaska and as part of a Special Forces unit in Central America from 1961 to 1965. He returned opposed to the Vietnam War and became active in Vietnam Veterans Against the War, a group started by Secretary of State John Kerry and other vets who saw combat.
But Schocke’s main calling was teaching on the college level. When he pursued a master’s degree in the social sciences at Florida State University, he tinkered with computers and became the person many in the department sought out for help. The same thing happened during his 32-year teaching stint at Northern Virginia Community College, which has several campuses in suburban Washington, D. C.
In New Mexico, he has taught part-time for The University of New Mexico Los Alamos branch and for Highlands University. But it’s no surprise that he spends most days fiddling with and cobbling away on outdated technology to try to give it new life.
As a sign above his desk reads, “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.”
Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican,


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Local pastry chef dishes up care packages for troops

BUFFALO, Wyo. (AP) - Maria Domingue has more than 700 cookies in her freezer. Some have chocolate chips, some peanut butter and others have raisins; but every one of them is homemade. With just she and her husband living alone in their Buffalo log cabin, there’s no way the cookies are for them. These cookies have a much greater purpose; to bring hope and optimism to troops serving overseas and on the home front.
“This is my life,” said Domingue, “the soldiers.”
Domingue sends between 600 and 800 cookies every month to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and anywhere else they’re needed. A student of Sheridan College’s culinary and hospitality management program, Domingue has a full commercial kitchen in the basement of her cabin. This is where she does her baking for the troops well as for her pastry business, Flour Power. This isn’t a seasonal project, she doesn’t do this because it’s the time of year for giving - this is a year-round dedication, one of many when it comes to the military.
Standing in her bakery, American flag bandanna wrapped around her hair, Domingue opened a binder that is at least six inches thick. It’s filled with the names of all the soldiers that have died in battle since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started. The binder is divided by months, and each month Domingue sends the families of the fallen soldiers a card to let them know that their son or daughter isn’t forgotten. She doesn’t just send cards, though, often times she gets them in return.
“These are all the cards that I’ve gotten back from parents,” said Domingue, holding out a basket full of cards and reading one that said, “‘Hello, dear Maria, you’re an amazing lady to be remembering us and our family on the death of our son.’”
The proceeds from Flour Power go toward paying for the supplies and postage for this endeavor. Domingue spends around $200 a month on card postage alone.
It’s no mystery why Domingue is so dedicated to the military, though. Not only was her father in the military for more than 30 years, all four of her sons serve in some way - three in the military and one on the police force.
It was after her third son, Staff Sgt. Nick McCauley, was injured that Domingue started this venture.
“Our son got blown up and injured in 2007 when he arrived in Iraq,” said Domingue as water started to pool in her eyes. “We got the phone call, he’d been injured, they couldn’t find him.”
McCauley had been in a Humvee with two other men when the Humvee was blown up by an IED. The driver died in the blast and the other man lost his leg. McCauley pulled both men from the Humvee, along with his comrade’s limb, before collapsing. Among other injuries, McCauley suffered from multiple concussions and a collapsed lung. He remains a sharpshooter sniper in the U. S. Army.
McCauley lost his dog tags, making it an excruciating process for his family to find him. This included an attempt from his oldest brother, Justin, who’s in the U. S. Army National Guard, to go up through his chain of command to try and locate him. Domingue said it was McCauley’s drunken decision of a boorish chest tattoo - a cruder version of “Kiss me I’m Irish,” - that finally led the nurse to be able to identify him and tell Domingue that her son was safe and had been airlifted to Germany.
When he was then sent to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D. C., there was a master sergeant there to greet the soldiers as they arrived. The master sergeant was from Soldiers’ Angels, a volunteer program helps active soldiers and veterans. Domingue hadn’t heard of the group before, and after this she started to see commercials for the group and decided to volunteer.
These efforts didn’t start with cookies and cards. Domingue and her husband Terry Heim used to send backpacks to injured soldiers that were airlifted out of war zones. They had a pair of sweatpants, a sweatshirt, socks, underwear, toiletry bags, a homemade blanket and a note telling them not to give up.
“So they wouldn’t arrive at the hospital in their bloody uniforms,” Domingue said. “They had something to cover up with and knew that somebody cared about them.”
Now, Domingue said she finds out from chaplains what different units need. Individual soldiers can contact her to send cookies and care packages, which include everything from toothpaste to playing cards. She said soldiers only have the supplies allocated to them from the government.
“There’s no shopping mall in the desert, there’s no Walmart or K-Mart,” said Domingue, “so they depend solely on parents or friends or complete strangers to send them things.”
Art Oswald, who currently has class with Domingue, was in the military for 28 years and was the recipient of one of Domingue’s care packages while stationed in Afghanistan.
“It’s a pleasant surprise when you’re downrange and you get those things,” said Oswald. He later added, “it makes a big difference.”
Though he personally only received one package, he said he knows other soldiers who received up to 70 care packages from Domingue. He said the anticipation alone led to a change in morale, just to know the packages were coming.
“A lot of these guys don’t get care packages,” said Oswald. “They either don’t have families, or things of that nature. So when she does that it boosts morale 100 percent.”
Oswald said that her efforts don’t stop with those still in the military. She also takes care of veterans, including the veterans at Sheridan College. And after being on the receiving end of these packages and now sharing a classroom with Domingue, he has nothing but the greatest respect for her.
“As a person, let’s just put it this way,” Oswald said, “I would take a bullet for her.”
Domingue just finished sending out November’s anniversary notes and said she will start on December to ensure every soldier is remembered. For her, it’s more than a good deed - it is her life. Though it can be seen by the flag she displays proudly from her cabin and in the patriotic art that resides on walls in every room, it’s mostly seen through unwavering dedication for nearly a decade.
“I grew up military, I saw the sacrifices and you know, meeting some of these soldiers and the letters I get from the parents,” said Domingue, “it’s like - I’ll never forget them.”
Information from: The Sheridan (Wyo.) Press,


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Producer Rocio Scenna on International Emmy-Nominated‘La Casa del Mar’

Although Argentina is one of Latin America’s production powers which has most openly embraced genres of late in both film and television, Juan Pablo Laplace’s Intl. Emmy-nominated TV series “ La Casa del Mar ” stands apart. A missing girl thriller set at a village resort on the Argentine coast, on one hand, it taps into recent currents in contemporary European thrillers. On the other, set in modern-day Argentina, it finds a tone all of its own. That gives rise to a series that stands as a business and artistic model of one way that far more Latin American series are likely to go in the near future. Co-produced by Buenos Aires-based Cisne, founded by Laplace and Rocío Scenna , the series was not only nominated for an Emmy in Best Drama but currently vies for five Tato Awards including best fiction program, actress and cinematography. Bidding fair for quality TV production in Argentina, “La Casa del Mar” was financed by a combination of private sector producers and state coin from Argentina’s Incaa Film Institute. The show was created, produced and directed by Juan Pablo Laplace who tragically died on July 8 , having made one of the most successful series on OnDirecTV. Variety talked to Scenna about “La Casa del Mar.”
What TV references did you start working with on “La Casa del Mar”? And how did you develop its themes moving into Season 2?
“Twin Peaks,” “True Detective,” “The Killing,” among others. It’s not that “La Casa del Mar” has any particular link with these series, but they were important references. Especially “Twin Peaks,” a unique classic. And the other two were important to us because of how they treated tone, plot and acting in the context of a crime thriller, creating a language of their own, which was Juan Laplace’s main goal. The second season continues the story of Laura Ramos, her family and the investigation of police inspector Pelazas. We wanted to underscore the factor of politics and power that are linked to police work, which is a very Latin American take. Juan Laplace worked alongside [Argentine dramatist] Lautaro Vilo for the second season. It was a very enriching experience.
One prominent element in the series is the music and how it adds to this thriller a completely different tone. What were you looking for with it?
The music is from Noroeste, we worked with them on our previous series, “Perfidia.” For us, the music had to complement this particular language that we were working on. Juan worked with Pedro Gómez and Martín Chebli Murad trying to generate with the music moments of transition, tension and plenitude.
Many actors worked both on “La Casa del Mar” as well as “Perfidia,” also directed by Juan Laplace. What were the reasons for using the same actors?
Mainly because they did an excellent job on “Perfidia” and Juan was very comfortable working with them. Actors need to work with their emotions and to do that they need to feel comfortable in order to give their best. Juan always rehearsed a lot with them before beginning shooting. Working with actors that you already know and feel are part of the team is a great advantage for a series. In that sense, new actors are always a great challenge and we had a great experience in the second season of “La Casa del Mar” where many new talents joined the team like Soledad Villamil (who was recently nominated for best actress for the Tato Awards), Federico Olivera, Luis Luque and Norman Briski, among others.
”La Casa del Mar” has great production values in every department including the participation of renowned actors such as Dario Grandinetti, and a mix of public and private sector finance. When you set out to make these series, were you conscious that you were helping to create new, groundbreaking models for Argentine TV, seen in the thriller format and the series’ far shorter length?
With the first season, we won funding from Argentina’s Incaa Institute, via its federal fiction series contest. We knew we had a great opportunity and a huge challenge. We had premiered on public TV our previous series “Perfidia.” It had seen local and international success. But the money from the prize wasn’t enough so we looked for partners to really make the series we dreamt about and we found StoryLab and DirecTV. We also had support from the city of Necochea. We knew we were doing something different that no one had done combining a state contest with private sector moneys. It wasn’t easy to open up that route but it was a great experience.
What is Cisne currently working on?
We are of course at a stage of many changes and harvesting the results from work well done. The International Emmy Awards nomination was very important. It opened many doors and is a great window for the international industry and a great opportunity for growth. There’s a lot of interest in the remake of “La Casa del Mar” for the English-speaking market. “Perfidia” will be made in the U. K. by the production company DLT. Juan Laplace was my partner in and outside the company so I want to continue what we built together. With our team we are developing film and TV projects. We do high-quality fiction, that’s our specialty. The gameplay is to continue with a new TV project called “Angels in Buenos Aires” and a feature film that we are developing. We would love to keep working on future projects with both StoryLab and DirecTV with whom we had an excellent experience.
What are the key factors conditioning your work and key trends now driving Argentine TV production?
Over the last years, TV production in Argentina has changed radically. The market has opened up to new players like us, small production companies that with the help of subsidies have been able to gain a foothold in the market. INCAA funding is going very much in the right direction since it combines private and the public finance from the get-go. In Argentina, audience consumption of series is on the upswing and will continue to grow. Our challenge is to continue to pursue standards of international quality. “La Casa del Mar” aired in Latin America on the channel OnDirecTV that also programs series like “Fargo” the original “The Killing,” “Deutschland ’83” and we have to rise to that challenge.
How do you think “La Casa del Mar” could help change the future Argentine TV?
Series transcend frontiers, we consume series all around the world. And we achieve that with local product. The way audiences consume TV is changing incredibly fast. Regarding fiction series, quality will be increasingly important because now the spectator is the one who decides. There’s less chance to impose content like happened and continues to happen in free-to-air and cable TV. Audience have more and more power. Once again we have to rise to the challenge.


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Ministers want controls on skilled and unskilled EU workers, say sources

The British government wants to implement an immigration regime under which controls would be applied to both skilled and unskilled European workers, the Guardian understands.
Ministers have told colleagues they want a tough system that is profoundly different to the one that currently exists, with restrictions at all levels.
But sources have suggested that they and officials are now looking at a regime in which European citizens would be treated preferentially to migrants coming to the UK from the rest of the world.
Theresa May wants free movement to be a red line in Brexit negotiations and has been reported to support the idea of EU citizens being able to travel freely for holidays, to study or to marry, but with a robust visa scheme for those wanting to work.
The Guardian understands that there have also been discussions about a second, more liberal immigration system under which free movement would stay but with an “emergency brake” if immigration levels became unacceptably high.
The system, which would have a registration system for EU nationals, goes beyond what David Cameron proposed in his renegotiation but is in line with concepts that have been used by other countries with access to the single market.
However, May has told cabinet colleagues that while the emergency brake scheme should be kept on the table, it is not her preferred option as it does not provide an adequate shift from what already exists.
Amber Rudd, the home secretary, has also said privately that she does not want an emergency brake implemented.
The question of what Britain’s immigration looks like is at the heart of an ongoing battle between MPs and business leaders who campaigned for Brexit, not least because its toughness could dictate the level of economic access granted to Britain.
The prime minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat , became the most recent European leader to argue that curbing immigration would mean the UK would have to leave the single market.
The campaign group Open Britain has advocated an emergency brake because it is a concept that has been used for non-EU countries that are still part of the European Economic Area and so have access to the single market.
Tim Farron , the Liberal Democrat leader, responded to the latest suggestion by saying that the government was heading towards a “hard Brexit” if it was unwilling to maintain an open system. “Cracking down on skilled workers will hurt our economy. What makes Britain best is when we are open, tolerant and looking towards the world,” he said.
And Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, will warn on Wednesday that he will push for a special deal for the capital if the government fails to ensure it has adequate access to skilled workers.
“London’s businesses must retain access to the skilled workforce they need in order to grow – it’s absolutely essential to protecting jobs, growth and tax revenues across Britain over the next decade,” Khan will say in a speech to the Institute of Directors.
“I will keep pushing the government to recognise this vital need in their negotiating position – but it doesn’t look like they are listening. He will say that if that continues he will look for a “London-specific solution” with the City of London corporation suggesting a visa system that varies by region.
But Brexit-supporting MPs said it was right to put in place restrictions, even for skilled workers. Peter Lilley, a Tory MP on parliament’s Brexit committee, argued that access to cheap skilled labour had allowed British employers to “put training on the backburner”.
He argued that the result was that countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Sweden had four times the proportion of technically and vocationally skilled workers, which he said was a disaster in Britain’s education system.
He also said it was important to cut back on migration levels because of shortages of housing. However, he was not supportive of any better treatment for European citizens over those in other parts of the world.
“Our current system is racist and would continue to be racist if we had a system with preference for EU.” The plans could cause concern among other Brexit supporters who told British people with Commonwealth heritage that they were being unfairly discriminated against in the immigration system during the referendum campaign. The issue persuaded Bangladesh restaurant owners to come out in favour of Brexit.”
John Springford, director of research, at the Centre for European Reform, argued that it seemed likely that May would consider a preferential system for Europeans because if not they would face getting no more than a “basic free trade deal” from the EU27.
He also argued that restrictions on skilled workers were also likely if the prime minister wanted to achieve her goal to drastically reduce net migration to the tens of thousands.
“We have one of the most highly skilled immigrant populations in the developed world, with the highest numbers of people with degrees, so if you are serious about trying to get down to below 100,000 you will have to reduce the number of skilled migrants that come from the EU,” he said. “If you want to reduce the numbers you’ll need a significantly different regime.”


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Croatia's anti-abortion lobby finds new ways to spread its message

Search the internet in Croatia for abortion clinics and the top result on Google appears, at first glance, to be a website offering information to women about the procedure.
But is in reality part of a nation-wide campaign aimed at discouraging women from terminating their pregnancies.
Women who abort, the website claims, risk depression, sexual dysfunction, cancer, drug addiction and suicidal thoughts.
One of the phone numbers it lists is for Meri Bilic, a woman who works at the Bethlehem Centre for Unborn Life, one of five facilities across Croatia offering refuge to pregnant women driven by family or financial circumstances to consider a termination. In exchange for keeping the foetus, the centres offer free board and lodging for a year.
Bilic and the Bethlehem centres are part of a growing movement to end abortion in predominantly Catholic Croatia, where a right to termination has been enshrined in law for decades but increasingly difficult for women to access.
The newest member of the European Union, Croatia has one of the lowest rates of abortion in Europe , falling dramatically since the country broke away from Yugoslavia in the 1990s, during a war that reawakened a sense of national identity rooted for many Croatians in their Catholic faith.
A recent investigation suggests the official figures do not tell the whole story.
Fearing stigma and blocked by a large number of doctors who refuse to perform abortions in public hospitals on grounds of faith, many Croatian women are forced to have unregistered terminations in private clinics.
Pregnant women who seek help due to family or financial problems are often directed by the state to Catholic-run shelters, which in Bethlehem’s case can include mix warnings of damnation with promises of salvation.
With the rise to power in 2016 of a conservative government, the legal right to choose abortion is now under direct threat, echoing developments in Poland in October where only mass protests halted parliament from instituting a near-total ban on the procedure.
It has parallels, too, with moves in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia to restrict abortion, and in Kosovo where social stigma is fuelling illegal terminations.
“The position of women in society is … under threat [and] becoming the space where an ideological battle is being fought for the profile of Croatian society,” said Croatian sociologist Valerija Barada.
In 1980, according to the World Health Organisation, there were 701 abortions per 1,000 live births in Croatia, then part of a socialist Yugoslav federation where abortion rates were generally high.
The figure began falling rapidly with the outbreak of war in 1991 when Croatia declared independence, and by 2014 had dropped to 76 per 1,000 live births, the lowest rate in the Balkan region compared with 156 in Albania, 168 in Montenegro, 195 in Slovenia, 201 in Macedonia, 259 in Serbia, 401 in Romania and 416 in Bulgaria.
A general fall in eastern Europe is partly explained by the more widespread use of effective contraception. But in Croatia there are other reasons too, rooted in a rise in “traditional values”.
Today, abortions in Croatia are allowed at public hospitals and one private clinic in the capital, Zagreb. But of 375 doctors certified to carry out the procedure, just over half refuse to do so on the basis of a 2003 law that introduced the right to conscientious objection, according to a 2014 report by the ombudsperson for gender equality.
Critics say the right to object is poorly regulated, leaving some areas of the country with barely any doctors prepared to carry out abortions.
The story of Sani, who asked for her surname not be used, is not unusual. When she fell pregnant in 2011 aged 18, the public hospital in Split told her none of its doctors performed abortions. So Sani called her gynaecologist. “She told me she’s bringing babies onto the earth, not killing them,” Sani said.
Finally, Sani told her boyfriend’s parents, who arranged an abortion with a doctor in a private clinic. On Sani’s medical record, the termination is recorded as a miscarriage. She paid €340, more than twice the official average in public hospitals.
“Hidden abortions” like Sani’s almost certainly account for the fact that while the number of legal abortions has fallen rapidly, the proportion of terminations registered as occurring for medical reasons has more than doubled from 21% to 48% between 1998 and 2014, according to state statistics.
This shift tallies with a broader shift in public discourse, in which women who terminate a pregnancy are vilified.
In May, up to 10,000 people took part in a rally in Zagreb called March for Life, proclaiming the sanctity of the family. At the head of the march was the conservative movement’s most prominent leader, Željka Markić. Next to her was Sanja Orešković, the wife of the then prime minister Tihomir Orešković.
“Every reasonable person will choose life over death, and everything else is just nonsense and fear,” Orešković told reporters.
It was the first march of its kind in Croatia, and a sign of the times.
In October, the Catholic anti-abortion activist group 40 Days for Life published on Facebook a call to prayer outside a hospital in the eastern town of Vukovar, where they had learned a woman was due to have an abortion there the next day.
The hospital ordered an internal investigation and the state attorney’s office ordered its own inquiry amid uproar among rights groups over how confidential medical details were leaked.
Catholic clergyman Pater Marko Glogović opened the first Bethlehem house in 2010 in the town of Karlovac. The organisation now offers accommodation for 19 women and their children for up to a year.
Glogović said Karlovac centre had housed 70 pregnant women since opening, on condition they go through with the pregnancy. It has received more than €300,000 from unspecified donors over the past three years, according to financial reports filed at the ministry of finance.
“In general we are always full, but since mothers sometimes stay only a short time, we can always take in new ones,” Glogović.
He added that he had nothing to do with the abortion clinic website, but supported its intentions. “I did not encourage or create, nor am I the editor of this site, but I certainly give them my blessing as they are a symbol of the David versus Goliath fight against lies and violence towards women and children,” he said.
Silvija Stanić, who runs an organisation called Step by Step which offers counselling and psychological support to young pregnant women, said she did not have any direct experience with Bethlehem but had reservations about their message.
“What I have heard about Bethlehem is that it’s a house for women to give birth in. If the alternative to sleeping under a bridge is an institution where she has a roof over her head, of course it is a rescue. But I wonder, at what price?
“The separation of religious principles from the state … is extremely important, but it’s not happening in this case. This is experimentation with a person’s life,” Stanić said.
Nevertheless, Bethlehem says it regularly receives referrals from the authorities. “Doctors and nurses will let us know if a girl needs help,” said Blaženka Bakula, the head of the Bethlehem house in Zagreb. The house she runs, she added, has “wonderful cooperation” with the Centre for Social Welfare, the main state welfare body.
The ministry of social policy and youth declined to comment.
The authorities have so far rejected criminal complaints about the abortion clinic website. In response to a complaint by the ombudsperson for gender equality, Višnja Ljubičić, the interior ministry said in early 2016 that it had found no criminal wrongdoing.
Masenjka Bacic is a freelance print and broadcast journalist from Split. This article was produced as part of the Balkan Fellowship for Journalistic Excellence, supported by the ERSTE Foundation and Open Society Foundations, in cooperation with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.


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Why Britain needs a written constitution

W hen David Davis , secretary of state for Brexit, responded to the High Court’s decision that only parliament has the authority to trigger article 50, he became unusually incoherent : “Parliament is sovereign,” he said, “has been sovereign, but of course the people are sovereign.”
The “sovereignty of parliament” is a unique feature of Britain’s once durable uncodified arrangements. From 1688, monarchical absolutism, aristocratic privilege and capitalist energy combined into a new form of rule: cabinet government accountable to a parliament of Commons and Lords under the crown. It created an engine of global conquest with built-in checks that protected the kingdom from would-be dictators and, especially, democracy. It rested on domestic consent, and no effort or skill was spared to ensure this. But consent was – and was seen as being – the opposite of allowing “government by the people”.
This is why the outcome of the Brexit referendum is constitutional dynamite for Britain. The assumption was that it would confirm the status quo: that deference, self-interest and fear of the consequences would renew consent for the old regime with a remain vote.
Instead, consent was withdrawn. A new sovereign – “the people” – has now displaced the old. Unless minds change, the Commons and Lords – both with remain majorities – must vote to leave the EU. By terminating the 1972 European Communities Act, “parliamentary sovereignty” will be restored only as a technicality: for in fact and in spirit the referendum drove a stake through its heart. The “will of the people” must now prevail. Those who resist are “enemies of the people” , as the Mail described the high court judges.
This is the raw meat of dictatorship. A new and democratic constitution is now essential, one that rests on popular sovereignty but protects the rights of all. To achieve it we have to reawaken England’s passionate constitutional culture that marked out the country from the time of the Levellers to the first world war.
Let’s start with first principles. A constitution sets out the rules for how a society’s rules are made or changed, and all constitutions do three things.
First, they establish the authority that different centres of power have, how they relate to one another, and how these relations can be changed. This is where the famous separation of powers comes in – or, in the case of the UK, does not come in: between the executive (the government and civil service), the legislature (which makes laws but does not administer them) and the judiciary (which adjudicates what is lawful when this is disputed).
Second, all constitutions define the powers and rights of citizens, in our case, citizen-subjects. Do individuals have the right to vote, to assemble, to free speech, to property, to equal treatment; and how are these rights protected? Can the executive imprison us or invade our liberty through surveillance without due cause? If not, how must it establish such cause?
Third, all constitutions express the aspirations of the society. This might be to be nonracist (South Africa), or Islamic (Iran), or to be liberal and not fascist (Germany) or universal (France). Aspiration need not be part of the main constitutional document. Thus, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is the aspiration of the US constitution but appears in the Declaration of Independence. Historically, England-Britain, as the firstborn nation, felt it had no need of vulgar aspiration: after all, everyone else aspired to be like us.
When David Cameron announced the referendum on 20 February, he said: “The choice goes to the heart of the kind of country we want to be … You will decide.” This compressed together all three aspects of our constitution: how power is exercised, the rights of citizens, and our aspiration as a country. When Cameron did not get the answer he wanted, Britain was turned upside down. For the Mail is right in this respect, if no other: the people have the prerogative now. Whatever the supreme court decides, “the will of the people” trumps an uncodified constitution.
It was once the plaything of a privileged elite. When he was head of the civil service and secretary to the cabinet, Robin Butler was asked by a student what the constitution was. He replied: “ It is something we make up as we go along. ” His “we” was not the “we” of “we, the people”. He meant those like him. Today, Butler’s establishment has been driven from power by an even narrower, political-media caste. Our constitution has become something Rupert Murdoch and Paul Dacre make up as they go along. They took advantage of the deceitful way Butler’s predecessors had taken the UK into the EU, pretending this did not undermine the sovereignty of parliament and that our continental partners’ far-reaching political-cultural project was for us only a matter of economic and instrumental advantage. Yet, as an uncodified multinational entity inside a larger multinational one actively codifying its reach, the nature of British rule could not but be threatened.
To share sovereignty with Europe, Britain needed its own democratic constitution. The argument influenced New Labour. We got our Human Rights Act, a Scottish parliament, a London mayor, and a Freedom of Information Act; and we rid the Lords of most hereditary legislators. Together the reforms broke the informal checks and balances of the old regime while unleashing the national question. But Blair opted to preserve executive power rather than be checked by a new settlement.
Today the embrace of executive dictatorship by the Tory government and the nativist right is even more extreme than Blair’s. In the name of “the people” they seek to break any resistance to Brexit. In so doing they have opened the final battle over the old order. It may take a 20-year confrontation, but the framework of 1688 cannot determine the revolution unleashed by Brexit, not least because Northern Ireland and Scotland have already undergone a form of constitutional normalisation, which is why they felt safe enough to vote to stay in the EU.
The irony is that by leaving the EU, we English now find ourselves in even more need of grownup, European-style arrangements. The outcome could be a federal UK, if Scotland agrees. That is for the future. What is clear now is that England must bury its arbitrary, hyper-centralised empire-state. For even a newfangled supreme court cannot preserve the unwritten constitution that is being shredded by Brexit.


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Australian Senate gives PM milestone victory, then defeat

By Colin Packham SYDNEY, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull secured the passage of some cornerstone legislation on Wednesday but quickly suffered an embarrassing defeat of a government plan for a lower "backpacker tax" on work done by young, foreign visitors. Turnbull, facing pressure over a slump in his standing in opinion polls, was able to secure the passage of a law setting up a building-industry regulator after he struck a deal with independent senators. The prime minister has pinned his political fortunes to the introduction of a building-industry regulator, using the Senate's rejection of earlier such legislation as a trigger to call an election in July, when he secured a narrow victory. But soon after securing passage of legislation on a regulator, the Senate rejected a government proposal to lower the tax paid by foreign travellers on income they earn, often in rural jobs such as fruit picking. Turnbull now faces the prospect of angry rural voters who argue the current 32.5 percent "backpacker tax" poses a risk to exports of fruit, which are set to earn a record A$2.27 billion ($1.70 billion) next season. "We remain optimistic that we can persuade the Senate to change its mind," Turnbull told reporters in Canberra. Turnbull this week said his government had reached an agreement with independent senators to lower the tax to 15 percent. The Senate, however, rejected that deal, passing an alternative rate of 10.5 percent. Without a compromise by Friday, the tax rate will be fixed at 32.5 percent on Jan. 1. Turnbull has been expected to focus on economic reform, a traditional area of strength for conservative governments like his, but he will need to turn around negative polls to avoid internal challenges, political analysts say. "One of the rationales for replacing Abbott was the 30 consecutive bad polls, he will need to arrest the slide in popularity to avoid a similar pressure," said Haydon Manning, professor of political science at Flinders University, referring to previous prime minister, Tony Abbott. ($1 = 1.3376 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Colin Packham)


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All-American pick-up trucks aim to lure China's wealthy

By Jake Spring GUANGZHOU, China, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Automakers Ford and General Motors are aiming the pick-up truck, an iconic staple in the United States, at upmarket buyers in China, where most associate trucks with farmers and construction workers. "The Chinese call it pika, pika - a very low-end worker's (vehicle). But the (Ford F-150) Raptor is totally different," said Wesley Liu, Ford's Asia-Pacific sales director, ahead of this month's Guangzhou autoshow. Trucks are largely restricted to overnight driving in most Chinese cities, but four provinces - Yunnan, Liaoning, Hebei and Henan - have this year launched trial programmes allowing them into urban zones in an attempt to stimulate production as economic growth, and car sales, slow. With those looser restrictions, U. S. pick-up makers aim to distance their trucks from local models made by Great Wall Motor , Jiangling Motors Corp (JMC) and others - and appeal to Chinese premium buyers, like Meng Shuo. The 32-year-old founder of an investment consultancy, who already owned a Chevrolet Camaro when he bought an F-150 pick-up truck five years ago through an unofficial grey market importer. He has since traded it in for a Toyota Tundra, and also owns a Mercedes luxury sedan and Porsche and Mitsubishi sports cars. Ford said in April it would bring a high-performance version of its F-series - the best-selling vehicle in the U. S. for 34 years - to China, the world's biggest auto market. A spokesman said the company is studying whether to also bring a mass-market model such as the F-150 or Ranger pick-up to China, depending on demand and future regulations. "The people who buy the Raptor maybe own some other premium vehicle already. This is another toy," Liu said. The truck is aimed at four types of buyers, he said - the wealthy, who want to stand out from the crowd; business owners, who want more than a traditional commercial vehicle; drivers who want a single car for all situations; and "gearheads", who just like the mechanics. Even as Chinese authorities throw vast subsidies at green, clean auto technologies, the growing wealth of Chinese consumers has driven a boom in larger cars and sport-utility vehicles (SUV). With margins now under pressure in the crowded SUV sector, automakers see potential profits in high-end foreign pick-ups. Ford and GM - which displayed its Chevrolet Colorado and Silverado trucks around the Guangzhou show, with t-shirt clad urban cowboys and an all-leather rock band selling the trucks' macho, all-American appeal - have not yet announced prices for their pick-ups, expected to be launched next year. But they should command a sizeable premium to locally made models as China slaps a 25 percent tax on imports. PICKING UP For now, pick-ups are a tiny fraction of China's market. IHS Markit sees sales increasing by 14 percent this year to 368,791 pick-up trucks, but that would still be only 1.4 percent of China's light vehicle market. By contrast, sales in the U. S. are forecast at 2.7 million pick-ups, about 15 percent of the market. Yan Ningya, an official involved in the Hebei pilot project, said the province, home to Great Wall and other automakers, accounts for half of China's pick-up production. The trial has not yet resulted in higher production, he told Reuters, but the local government will need a year from the pilot project's launch in May to gauge its impact. After that, the central government may do more to drive production, possibly reclassifying pick-ups as passenger cars rather than commercial vehicles, he said. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which directed the provinces to launch the pilot projects, did not respond to a faxed request for comment. "China's pick-up truck market will be very large in the future," said Yan, noting domestic brands would likely upgrade their trucks to meet the tastes of middle-class drivers. (Reporting by Jake Spring and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)


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Stretch of road in Big Horn Mountains closes for winter

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Department of Transportation has closed a scenic road in the Big Horn Mountains early for the winter season due to snowy weather.
The Casper Star-Tribune reports ( that U. S. 14A was closed to traffic between Lovell in north-central Wyoming and Burgess Junction on Tuesday. Last year, the road’s seasonal closure took place on Dec. 1, the end of the fall hunting season. This year’s hunting season wraps up Wednesday.
The department’s Jason Fleming says in a news release that winter weather and slick roads are causing safety concerns for motorists on the highway.
The 22-mile stretch of road typically reopens by Memorial Day weekend.
Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune,


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Blake Griffin gets a rest, but it’s not his idea

Way back in August, when the NBA first released its 82-game schedules, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers and his assistants and the personnel in charge of biometrics had already decided to rest some of their players during the season.
For Blake Griffin , that moment came Tuesday night, when Rivers gave the forward the night off as the team played the Brooklyn Nets .
Griffin said the Clippers showed him all the science on why he should sit out the game. So he decided not to argue when he talked to the group Monday afternoon in Rivers’ hotel room.
“After a little bit, I just said, ‘If this is what you think is best for the team,’ I’m going to do it,” Griffin said. “I definitely presented my case. I wasn’t as well prepared as I would have liked to be.”
Rivers said the injured right calf that slowed Griffin down somewhat against Indiana on Sunday was not a factor in sitting his All-Star. Griffin suffered the injury against Detroit last week.
The Clippers are in the middle of a six-game trip and have two more stops left, in Cleveland on Thursday night and New Orleans on Friday night.
Rivers probably will sit at least another of his starters before the Clippers return home, probably deciding among Chris Paul , J. Red-ick and DeAndre Jordan.
“It’s frustrating,” Griffin said after the Clippers’ loss to the Nets. “I was frustrated before the game — especially now, it’s even worse. But if this is what our staff and our coaching staff and our training staff feels is best, then we as players have to do that.”
Griffin expects to play at Cleveland.
Though it’s nothing like his run with Boston, where Paul Pierce spent the first 15 years of his career and won an NBA title in 2008, he does have a history with the Nets.
Pierce, who started his first game of the season in place of Griffin, played one season for Brooklyn, in 2013-14.
Since he’s retiring at the end of this season, his 19th, Pierce relished his final game in Barclays Center. Pierce had five points.
“I’m looking at every arena where I’m not going to come back as a special place,” he said.
“Obviously, I’ve got some history here from playing here. But every arena that I go to walk into for the last time, especially on this East Coast trip, it brings back memories. It’s a special feeling.”


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Korean streaming service VIU launched in PH

PCCW Media Group, a Hong-Kong based telecommunications titan, has launched VIU, their Over The Top (OTT) and in-demand streaming site that offers a surplus of Korean entertainment for Filipinos. In collaboration with the Inquirer Group and Megamobile, the company yearns to appease Filipinos’ thirst for “Hallyu”, or Korean cultural wave entertainment.
VIU is the first convenient Asian video-streaming service in the country that showcases 10,000 content hours of entertainment from Korea’s “Big 4″ TV stations–Seoul Broadcasting System, Korea Broadcasting System, Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation, and CJ E&M.
Just eight hours after it is aired on local Korean channels, VIU stockpiles fresh episodes of Korean reality shows, soap operas, and music videos, subtitles it in English, and broadcasts it on the service for free. Aside from accessing content on their desktop and their mobile devices, users can download content and continue watching offline, anywhere and anytime.
Users can watch a marathon of “Hallyu”, including “Poet Warrior Youth”, “Dr. Romantic”, “Sweet Stranger and Me”, “Descendants of the Sun”, and “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo”. Meanwhile, the streaming service also streams “K1 Headlines”, Korea’s most influential entertainment news portal, and “Fanbites”, a series that tackles topics on Korean culture and informative news. VIU also allots a separate section for Korean medical dramas and reality shows for easier access and viewing.
Citing that 77 percent of Filipinos indulge in Korean drama and music sprees every time, Janice Lee, Marketing Director of PCCW Media Group, describes the Philippines as the company’s “dream market”, and that entering the country is an astounding success on their part.
“With growing affluence, increasing broadband adoption and online increasing penetration of smartphones, we see a great potential in this market where online video consumption is fast becoming a part of the daily habits for over 55 million internet users in [the] Philippines,” she said.
“VIU’s download features will fulfill their need. We are confident that our Philippines’ launch will replicate the rapid growth we have experienced in the region,” Lee added.
Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, President and CEO of Philippine Daily Inquirer, mentioned how Filipinos, chiefly the young generation, broaden their choices to other Asian markets and enjoy watching up-to-date episodes of their favorite shows through the internet and social media.
“Millennials want immediacy and flexibility in watching their favorite content and they yearn for Asian and especially Korean content. They are avid users of computers and mobiles and now they can access their video of choice on the move using their mobile and not confined to the desk,” she said. “As such, VIU is an irresistible proposition to these elusive Millennials with its cross-platform viewing synchronization and premium content with the fast sub-titled version which come all free”.
Since its launch in October 2015, PCCW managed to draw four million users and 28 million views from Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and India. Other Asian content, such as Japanese and Taiwanese entertainment, will also be handily available for the 55 million Filipino internet users.
The VIU app can be downloaded for free at Apple Store and Google Play. Desktop users can visit to delight in non-stop Hallyu and premium Korean entertainment.


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Nancy Kaffer: Workers subsidize business in economic incentive scheme

If the state required every business to rebate a percentage of its revenues to employees, they'd call it socialism.
But a bill that passed a state Senate committee Tuesday promises a different redistribution of wealth: Instead of paying taxes to state government, employees at up to 15 Michigan companies could pay as much as $250 million in taxes directly to their employers.
As currently configured, businesses slated to receive tax rebates or abatements — economic development incentives doled out by the state to companies that meet certain criteria — pay taxes to the state. The state calculates how much money each abatement or rebate is worth, and cuts a check to the company.
►Related: Panel approves Michigan tax breaks for out-of-state jobs ►Related: 7 things to watch during Michigan Legislature's lame-duck session
Companies involved in this program would circumvent that system.
It bears repeating: This legislation would allow a business that creates new jobs to keep the taxes it withholds from employees' paychecks. The taxes employees pay to fund government services like roads, schools, public safety and social services would be diverted directly into their employer's pocket.
Over the last six years, Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and the GOP-led state Legislature have shifted much of the burden of paying for government from businesses to individuals. As the share of taxes businesses pay has decreased, and the share people pay has increased. But this newest scheme is a irresponsible abdication of the centuries-old duties of government, and a naked nod to state government's concern for profits above people.
The word that keeps coming to mind here is "serfdom. " That's the feudal economic arrangement in which serfs, the bottom rung of the medieval social ladder, worked for the lord of the manor, who collected the benefit of their labor. In return, the lord was obliged to provide some level of protection and justice to his serfs, along with the chance to do a little subsistence farming for their own benefit.
The logic behind this legislation — and this is a really generous use of the word — is apparently to whoop up economic development, in part by cutting out the middleman and streamlining the abatement process.
But sometimes, the middleman exists for a reason.
As detailed in this legislation, the Michigan Strategic Fund would strike an agreement with businesses: If certain job creation targets were met, companies could retain between 1% and 100% of the taxes they're withholding from employees' checks. Companies would pay 5% of the employee pay they've withheld to the fund, for administrative costs.
From a practical standpoint, it's hard to understand how lawmakers — or Michigan taxpayers — can reasonably expect to ensure business are paying what they ought. The legislation includes a requirement that companies directly subsidized by their employees' taxes deliver periodic reports to the Michigan Strategic Fund, explaining what tax payments they've made and why. Thanks to state freedom of information laws, documents and records created by governments are accessible to the public. But because the businesses in question belong to the private sector, neither those reports nor the business' accounts would be subject to public — or even legislative — scrutiny.
"It’s a piece of 'trust me' legislation, and I’m just not very trusting," said Mitch Bean, former director of the nonpartisan state House Fiscal Agency, now of Great Lakes Economic Consulting. "Employees have to file W2s, but if it doesn’t match up to what you actually collect, how do you know if the business is doing what it's supposed to do? "
And then there's that other thing:
"The notion that we’re going to pay our taxes to our employer rather than to the state?... Taxing is one of the roles of government, so we’re just going to turn everything over to the private sector? Philosophically it doesn’t make sense, and practically it doesn’t make sense," Bean said.
And that's not even considering the relative value of tax incentives, something Gov. Rick Snyder has called a budgetary heroin drip, to job creation.
But it can be difficult for business to estimate exactly how much they'll pay in wages, and thus how much employee pay they'll withhold as taxes, in any given year. A boom may mean payroll swells; a recession may mean jobs lost.
Snyder has said that because the value of abatements is prone to change, it's difficult for government to account for them. That's doubly true of this scheme — and if the payroll of a company making a partial withholding decreases abruptly, said Eric Lupher, president of the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council, the state could be left in the lurch.
Economists and analysts disagree about whether economic development incentives actually lead to more jobs, or more big business relocations, or more anything — except dollars drained from the state and local governments that can't be used on those aforementioned roads, schools and cops.
"Generally, we’ve not been big fans of the sort of tax capture that this uses," Lupher said. "They currently exist at the local level to fund development authorities, brownfield authorities, tax increment finance authorities. The issue at the local level is that you're taking taxes voters approved for libraries and public safety and diverting them to economic development. "
Courts have ruled, Lupher says, that local new developments have an economic benefit that effectively reimburses local governments for taxes lost, with no net harm.
"The question at the state level with these things, is would these development occur but for the use of these economic development tools? That remains to be seen. "
Approved by the state Senate Tuesday, the bill now moves to the House, where it's expected to pass, barring a public outcry.
So let's work on that, shall we?
Contact Nancy Kaffer:


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New mom Blac Chyna shows off slimmed down physique in thigh-skimming LBD and sexy boots

She's been working hard to shed the post-baby weight, and new mom Blac Chyna was not at all shy to show off her hard-earned physique as she left a studio in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. The 28-year-old looked absolutely incredible in a clingy, thigh-skimming LBD with long sheer sleeves that highlighted her slimmed down frame to full effect. Chyna smiled as she stepped outside, parading her exquisite legs in thigh-high black boots. Her hair was styled in loose and glossy ringlets, and her stunning complexion was made all the more radiant with earthy eye shadow, dewy cheeks, and light pink lipstick. She had a Louis Vuitton backpack slung across her shoulders and carried her keys in her hand. The model must have been stopping people in their tracks as she strolled towards the unmissable purple Lamborghini her fiancé, Rob Kardashian, had given her. Perhaps Chyna was headed back to her home, which she now reportedly shares with Rob. On Tuesday People reported Rob had moved back into his fiancee's Calabasas mansion after leaving the residence in the spring due to constant arguing. The reason is the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star wants to be closer to his daughter Dream, who was born on November 10. 'Rob wants to live with Chyna and spend every day with Dream,' said a Kardashian source. 'He is making a big effort to get along with Chyna. She seems very happy with him. They are getting along great and enjoying parenting together.' And the former recluse has turned out to be an excellent father. 'Rob is super hands-on with Dream,' a source told the site. 'She's changed his life. She makes him want to be better. And he’s spending a lot more time with his family.' It helps that he has a sunnier outlook on life. 'Rob is so much happier now. He is obsessed with his baby girl!' said a source.


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More Stormers eyeing careers abroad?

Cape Town - Following reports linking Cheslin Kolbe with a move to France, more Stormers players are rumoured to be considering moves abroad.
French website, , reported earlier this week that Toulouse were interested in signing the fullback after the conclusion of next year’s Super Rugby competition.
And according to Kwese Sports , centre Huw Jones, prop Oliver Kebble, hooker Scarra Ntubeni and loose forwards Rynhardt Elstadt and Nizaam Carr are also considering leaving the beleaguered franchise after next year’s Super Rugby competition.
The moves would hardly be surprising, with WP Rugby in financial strife, having applied for liquidation.
Kolbe’s agent, Dane Galley, meanwhile confirmed to Netwerk24 that his player’s contract with WP expires at the end of the 2017 season.
Galley said there were several clubs interested in the services of the fleet-footed Kolbe, but did not mention a specific club.
Kolbe, 23, was influential for the Stormers in Super Rugby this year and many thought that he had done enough to force his way into the Springbok set-up.
But national coach Allister Coetzee wasn't interested, and has instead utilised Willie le Roux, Johan Goosen and Pat Lambie in the No 15 jersey.
Kolbe was also a member of the South African Sevens side that won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics.


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Victim of deadly crash caused by fleeing suspects identified

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Officials have identified a Billings woman who died a week after being injured in a crash related to a cemetery shooting.
The Billings Gazette reports ( ) that 45-year-old Diana Rae Chandler died Nov. 18. Officials are awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine her cause of death.
Chandler was struck by a pickup truck fleeing the Mountview Cemetery, where several gunshots were fired on Nov. 10.
The suspect had hit several cars waiting at a red light. Chandler was an occupant of one of those vehicles and was not involved in the earlier shooting.
An investigation is ongoing.
Information from: The Billings Gazette,


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Tuesday's roundup: Sharper draws 20-year sentence

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor denounced Sharper’s “horrible conduct” and “disgraceful abuse of trust” during the hearing that concluded prosecutions that unmasked the popular former all-pro safety and Super Bowl champion as a serial rapist.
Under the terms of a plea deal negotiated with prosecutors in four states, Sharper will be eligible for parole in about eight years because California law requires he serve half his sentence. He already has been behind bars more than two years since his arrest.
But he probably will serve more time if an appeals court upholds an 18-year prison sentence handed down by a New Orleans federal judge who rejected the deal as too lenient.
Sharper has appealed that harsher sentence.
The 41-year-old Sharper sat quietly in court in orange jail scrubs and never addressed the court or two emotional victims who spoke about evenings where he secretly slipped drugs in their shot glasses and insisted they drink.
“I started vomiting, my head was pounding and I had trouble seeing clearly,” said one victim, who said her rape Jan. 15, 2014 was “the worst night of my life.”
The second woman, identified as Jane Doe 4, was with a friend when they were drugged by Sharper in his hotel room in 2013, hours after they met at a Sports Illustrated 50th anniversary party.
Sharper retired from the league in 2011 after a 14-year career with the Packers, the Vikings and, finally, in New Orleans with the Saints, where he won a Super Bowl.
The NFL will start games played in London at 1 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. London time, next season, according to a report.
The games had been starting at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.
... The NFL suspended Bills offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson 10 games for what the player’s agent said stems from his client using marijuana to relieve the effects of Crohn’s disease.
Henderson’s agent, Brian Fettner, called the league’s decision “heart breaking,” and added he cannot appeal the suspension because NFL officials don’t allow an exemption for medical marijuana use.
Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III has been cleared for contact, paving the way for him to play again this season.
Griffin has been sidelined since breaking a bone in his left shoulder late in the Sept. 11 opener against the Eagles. He returned to practice last week, but still had to pass another medical test to make sure his injury had healed enough to absorb hits.
“Beyond blessed to have an opportunity to get back on the field with my brothers,” Griffin said through a Browns spokesman.
The Browns (0-12) have a bye this week, but Griffin will likely start the Dec. 11 game against the Bengals.
... Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is moving forward in the recovery from surgery on his right knee.
Peterson ran some short sprints in the team’s indoor facility, while the athletic training staff supervised and his teammates went through practice. With five games remaining in the regular season, there’s no timetable for Peterson’s return, but the four-time All-Pro pick still could be ready for action sometime in December.
“He looked good to me,” cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. “I’m just amazed at the things that he can do.”
The Vikings trail the Lions by one game in the NFC North. Detroit swept the season series.
... The Panthers placed center Ryan Kalil (shoulder) and his primary backup Gino Gradkowski (knee) on injured reserve.
Carolina signed free agent center Ryan Wendell and offensive tackle Dan France (Michigan State) from the Browns practice squad.


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Car show in Davidson raises money, awareness for those with autism

Five hundred cars and a crowd fueled donations to IGNITE Community Center for young adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome.
About 5,000 people visited Ingersoll Rand’s North American Headquarters and Corporate Center in Davidson on Nov. 26 for Ray Evernham’s fourth annual AmeriCarna LIVE car show, presented by MSC Industrial Supply Co. and
A former NASCAR championship crew chief, Evernham said he saw a need when his son, Raymond John, 25, graduated from high school. Five years ago, he helped to start the IGNITE Community Center in Davidson, “a clubhouse where they can learn banking skills, driving skills, job skills, cooking skills and social skills so that they can live independently,” said Evernham.
One year after the center opened, the car shows began with about 250 cars. “We thought ‘the only thing we really know a lot about is cars, so to get everybody together for a car show makes sense to us,” he said.
This year the number of cars swelled to 500, with the $100,000-plus proceeds being donated to the Evernham Family — Racing for a Reason Foundation, to support the IGNITE Community Center.
In addition to helping the cause, many of the car owners enjoyed showing their pride and joy to anyone who would stop by for a chat. Charlotte resident Rob Smeltzer completed the display of his red, 1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS with 128 feet of rope lights along with a model of his car in the engine compartment.
Amidst the chrome and red paint, a small, mirrored disco ball hung above the model car that was on a rotating stage above the chrome air filter. To some it resembled a dancing hall more than an engine compartment.
For other car owners, this was a fun way to enlighten others. Benjamin McCall, 14, drives in The Autism Sprint in Fayetteville and uses his father’s car to help spread awareness for autism while he races. The car is covered in puzzle pieces, and for a donation, a person with autism can be featured on one of the pieces, with the proceeds being donated to The Autism Society of North Carolina.
The McCall 270 Micro Sprint car won the IGNITE Choice award for Jody McCall, Benjamin’s dad.
As a spectator, Cornelius resident Molly Argenta, 8, leaned over, slightly inside the driver’s seat of the futuristic looking, 2016 Polaris Slingshot — a three-wheel, open cockpit vehicle — when her sister Emma Argenta said, “That should be in a movie.”
The girls’ mother, Cheryl Argenta and grandfather, Doug Dede, agreed the car looked like something from a Transformer movie.
“One of my favorite cars,” Evernham said, “is probably not the prettiest cars here. It’s a 1937 Chevrolet Pick-up truck. The man who has it, it was his dad’s truck, he grew up around the truck and has just kept it on the road for all these years. To me that is just as important as any Ferrari here.”
Evernham said he hopes more people will come next year.
“If they want to come to a celebration where people are really giving unselfishly, for a good cause, and more importantly making a difference in the community; either raising awareness about people on the autism spectrum or actually helping these people. This is an incredible place of love and unselfishness every year,” he said.


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Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers explains tech, while DeAndre Jordan calls out team after loss to Brooklyn Nets

NEW YORK -- While Doc Rivers' demonstrative ejection will draw plenty of attention, DeAndre Jordan believes the Los Angeles Clippers ' sudden swoon has more to do with them feeling their early season success a tad too much.
Rivers had to be held back by players and assistant coaches after he was ejected in the first of two overtimes during the team's 127-122 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.
With 18.6 seconds left in the first overtime and the Clippers trailing 117-115, Rivers walked past midcourt, almost to the Nets' bench, to argue a foul called by official Lauren Holtkamp.
Rivers was whistled for a technical foul and then handed a second technical and an automatic ejection by lead official Ken Mauer, which set Rivers off.
"I thought it was an awful tech," Rivers said after the Clippers lost for a third straight time on the road.
"Honestly, I think you guys know why the tech was called," Rivers continued. "The official who had nothing to do with the play thought I was yelling at Lauren, and I wasn't. Actually, she said, 'Doc you're right,' or whatever, 'let's walk back.' We were walking. We weren't even arguing. So it was the damnedest tech to give at that time.
"What the league is going to do, they're going to fall back on, 'He crossed half court.' You'll see tomorrow, that's what they're going to say. And we're going to all know that's not the real reason. I don't think an official that has nothing to do with the play should be giving someone a tech. That's my thing. That's why I got upset. He didn't even know what we were talking about. It wasn't even an argument. But listen, that had nothing to do with the game, and that's not why we lost the game. "
Mauer explained to a pool reporter that Rivers earned the first technical foul for "crossing over midcourt. That's automatic. " Mauer then said the second technical came because of Rivers' "behavior. "
"Do I need to explain it to you? " Mauer said. "Watch the tape. Behavior, language warrants a second technical foul. Warranted an ejection after getting a first technical foul. "
Though the Clippers (14-5) still managed to force a second overtime without Blake Griffin , who sat out the game to rest , L. A.'s third straight road loss led Jordan to bluntly assess the team.
"I think we are smelling ourselves a little bit," said Jordan, who had 21 points and 23 rebounds. "We haven't done s---. Nothing. We were No. 1 in the West for a couple of weeks? That don't mean nothing. At all.
"I feel like we took that for granted. We thought we were a lot better than we really are. We got to continue to get better and have respect for the game. "
Rivers felt that Tuesday was the first time this season the Clippers came into a game with the wrong attitude and mentality.
"We just hadn't played well the other two [losses] but we came in the game with the right attitude," Rivers said. "Tonight, we got good all of the sudden. We were walking around like we done something. And that bothers me. Because we've done crap. We haven't done crap.
"And for us to walk around against a team -- to me, that is playing their hearts out every night to just win one game -- for us to walk around like we have done something, it bothers me on a basketball level. I didn't like it. "


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Latino, black and Asian populations grow while white families have less children

More white people are dying than being born in a third of the states, according to new research. The death rate among Caucasian Americans outstripped the birth rate in 17 states in 2014, compared to just four in 2004, the University of New Hampshire found. While Latino, black and Asian populations continue to grow, soaring death rates among white middle-aged Americans - combined with the fact that white families are having less children - mean certain states are seeing falling Caucasian populations. White Americans are reportedly dying faster thanks to a silent 'epidemic' of deaths from suicides, drug and alcohol poisoning. The trend, which affects both rural or desert areas, such as Nevada and Arizona, to states with large metropolitan areas, such as California, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, has already begin to shake up America's demographics. 'The fact that this was going on in states that contain such a substantial part of the U. S. population stunned even me,' Kenneth Johnson, sociology professor at the university and co-author of the research told the Wall Street Journal . 'We're probably going to see it in several more states' in the years to come. The research, based on data from the National Center for Health Statistics, focuses on white births and deaths from 1999 to 2014. ncreased competition with China for the rising number of deaths from suicides, drug and alcohol poisoning. Meanwhile, death rates for black and Hispanic men and women in rural areas have fallen. Justin Pierce and Peter Schott believe they can trace back the uptick back to 2000, when President Bill Clinton decided to relax the rules on major imports. Until then, the potential remained for U. S. lawmakers to reintroduce the 1930s Smoot-Hawley legislation at any time, the Washington Post reports. The law placed onerous tariffs on imported goods from China and elsewhere to offer more protection to U. S. industries that would be affected by close competition from the country, such as plastic and textile manufacturers. The legislation had weakened over time but lawmakers retained the ability to reimpose the sky high tariffs, meaning that potential investors were taking a significant risk as Chinese companies had no assurance they could continue trading with the US. Clinton changed that in 2000 when he wrote the lower tariff into law - something that Pierce and Schott say had a devastating impact on U. S. industry. American factories, which couldn't compete with China's cheap labor force, shut down in droves, while thousands upon thousands of middle-aged white Americans, without college degrees, were laid off. Unable to cope, many turned to drugs, alcohol or even took their own lives, according to the research. Pierce and Schott estimate that increased Chinese imports were responsible for 1.3 overdose or alcohol-related deaths in 100,000 people and 0.4 suicides in the same number, in counties where the economy was based on industries vulnerable to threat from China. The surge in deaths amidst white, middle aged Americans was so significant that Dr Anne Case and Dr Angus Deaton, of Princeton University, compared the 'silent' epidemic to the Aids epidemic in the US. They said: 'Poisonings overtook lung cancer as a cause of death in 2011 in (the middle) age group, suicide appears poised to do so.' Case and Deaton were the first to highlight the worrying increase in mortality rates last year in separate research. Behavioral change, prevention and better treatment has generally brought down mortality rates for those aged 45 to 54, since 1970. These reductions in morbidity have made lives longer and better, the researchers said, adding it is widely assumed these improvements will continue. However, Dr Case and Dr Deaton revealed that presumption does not extend to Caucasian Americans in midlife. They found 'a marked deterioration' in the morbidity and mortality of middle-aged white non-Hispanics in the US since 1998. Their research shows this pattern is exclusive to the US, and is not reflected in other rich nations. Nor, they add, is it seen among African Americans or Hispanics within the US. They estimate that had the white mortality in the US rate held at its 1998 value, 96,000 lives would have been saved between 1998 and 2013. And had it continued to fall as it had between 1978 and 1998, 488,500 deaths would have been avoided from 1999 to 2013. This figure is comparable to the number of deaths caused by the Aids epidemic in the US. While death rates related to drugs, alcohol and suicides have risen for middle-aged whites across the board, the largest surge are seen among those with the least education. For those with a high school degree or less, deaths caused by drug and alcohol poisoning rose four fold, suicides increased by 81 per cent, and deaths caused by liver disease and cirrhosis jumped 50 per cent. All-cause mortality rose by 22 per cent for this least-educated group. While the sudden turnaround in mortality is only partly understood, the researchers said an increase in the availability of opioids, including heroin, in the late 1990's are a potential reason. The authors wrote: 'The CDC estimates that for each prescription painkiller death in 2008, there were 10 treatment admissions for abuse, 32 emergency department visits for misuse or abuse, 130 people who were abusers or dependent, and 825 non-medical users. 'In this period (1998-2013), the US saw falling prices and rising quality of heroin, as well as availability in areas where heroin had been previously largely unknown.' And they said financial stress may have also played a key role. 'Although the epidemic of pain, suicide and drug overdoses preceeded the financial crisis, ties to economic insecurity are possible,' the authors note. The study is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said struggling rural economies said the Obama administration was aware of the crisis and was launching new programs aimed at tackling drug-related deaths.


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Johansen, Watson help Predators beat Avalanche 5-3

Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne worried that a one-goal advantage heading into the third period wouldn't be enough for the Predators on Tuesday night.
Ryan Johansen and Austin Watson provided him with some quick insurance.
Johansen and Watson scored in the first 2:42 of the third, and both had an assist in the Predators' 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
"We got really timely goals," Rinne said. "It was a big game for Colorado — they weren't going away. "
Viktor Arvidsson, Mike Fisher and Kevin Fiala also scored, and Roman Josi had two assists for the Predators, who have won eight of 11.
Rinne stopped 37 shots, improving to 17-7-2 in his career against the Avalanche. He also finished the month 9-1-2.
A tight game was busted open by Johansen and Watson, who made it 5-2 early in the third.
"It gave us a little bit of a cushion," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "Because you knew that they were going to keep coming, offensively. "
Mikko Rantanen and Rene Bourque each had a goal and an assist, and Mikhail Grigorenko also scored for Colorado, which is 0-2-1 on a five-game homestand.
Calvin Pickard, starting in place of Semyon Varlamov for the second consecutive game, stopped 28 shots before he was pulled with 1:50 remaining. Pickard is 4-2-1 in seven starts this season.
"They made us pay on a few different plays," Pickard said. "If you give them chances, they are going to bury (them). "
Arvidsson put Nashville up 2-1 just 7 seconds into the second period. He took an expert pass from P. K. Subban and beat Pickard on the glove side. It tied a franchise record for the quickest goal to a start a period, according to the team.
The Predators scripted the play coming out of intermission.
"Great play by Subby, great play by Arvi to break through the D and put it top shelf," Johansen said. "That was a big goal for us. "
The Avalanche have struggled mightily all season early in periods. Colorado forward Matt Duchene said it's a problem that needs to be fixed immediately.
"I don't know why we aren't prepared for the start of periods," he said. "It's like we are on our heels; we don't want to make mistakes rather than we want to go out and win. I mean, it can't happen. "
Fiala made it a two-goal advantage 3:04 into second, but Bourque cut it to 3-2 with his eighth of the season.
Fisher put the Predators ahead with 5:08 left in the first. After Colorado turned the puck over in its own zone, the Nashville captain took a pass from Watson and placed it under Pickard's armpit for his fifth goal of the season.
Rantanen tied it 66 seconds later for Colorado.
NOTES: The Predators finished their brief trip 1-1-0 after losing to Winnipeg 3-0 on Sunday. "It was huge for us to get some points on the road," Watson said.. Nashville LW James Neal (upper-body injury), the team's leading goal scorer, missed his second consecutive game. He had 10 goals before he was placed on injured reserve Saturday. ... D Ryan Ellis and forward Colton Sissons also are on IR with upper-body injuries for the Predators. .. Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog (lower body) missed his sixth straight game. ... Varlamov has been cleared to return from a wrist injury but served as Pickard's backup. ... Colorado RW Jarome Iginla appeared in his 1,495th game, tying Phil Housley for 17th on the career list.
Predators: Begin a three-game homestand Saturday against the New Jersey Devils.
Avalanche: Continue their homestand Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.


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For the Record

Ford Motor Co.: In the Nov. 24 Business section, a Q&A with Ford CEO Mark Fields said that Ford makes the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle Clarity. It is made by Honda.
If you believe that we have made an error, or you have questions about The Times’ journalistic standards and practices, you may contact Deirdre Edgar, readers’ representative, by email at , by phone at (877) 554-4000, by fax at (213) 237-3535 or by mail at 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. The readers’ representative office is online at .


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Burns' OT goal leads Sharks past Coyotes 2-1

All it took was an overtime power play for the San Jose Sharks to change a frustrating pattern this season against the Arizona Coyotes.
Brent Burns scored a power-play goal 19 seconds into overtime and the Sharks avenged a pair of one-goal losses to the Coyotes earlier this month with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday night.
After losing twice in Arizona despite a decided advantage in shots, San Jose came out on top this time.
"I thought we deserved the win," coach Peter DeBoer said. "We worked hard enough for the win. We stuck with it. I liked our composure tonight. It would have been easy at different points to get frustrated or get impatient. That's what they wait for. But we didn't. It took us more than 60 minutes but we found a way. "
Chris Tierney also scored and Martin Jones made 18 saves. San Jose won four of five games on the homestand and improved to 8-3 overall at the Shark Tank this season.
Max Domi scored the lone goal for the Coyotes, who lost their fifth straight in San Jose. Mike Smith made 40 saves but had no chance on Burns' one-timer in overtime.
Martin Hanzal was called for high-sticking Melker Karlsson with 0.3 seconds left in regulation and the Sharks did not take long to capitalize in the extra period.
San Jose set up quickly in the offensive zone after Logan Couture carried the puck in. Joe Pavelski then fed Burns at the top of the faceoff circle for the big shot that beat Smith for his ninth goal of the season.
"Cooch made a great play on the entry, had good poise with the puck, brought that guy in and reversed it back, set it up and Pav just made a great play coming around the top," Burns said.
Coyotes coach Dave Tippett was upset about the penalty.
"That power play shouldn't have been at the end," he said. "It was a hand pass that wasn't called and they give Hanzal a penalty. That's the way the breaks go sometimes. "
The Coyotes jumped on top midway through the second when Domi took a cross-ice pass from Radim Vrbata and beat Jones with a shot to the short side for his fourth goal of the season.
Alex Goligoski then hit a goalpost on the following shift for Arizona and the Coyotes couldn't get anything else past Jones.
"Smitty played great but we have to find a way to get our offense going outside of our zone a lot faster," Domi said. "That would make easier to get some chances. "
San Jose found its stride again and tied the game late in the period when Tierney skated out from the corner and jammed a puck past Smith from in close.
"That's what we were kind of preaching a little bit, that it was going to be a dirty goal," Tierney said. "He was kind of seeing everything and he was on his game like he has been the last couple times we played them. "
Both teams came close in a scoreless first period. Patrick Marleau appeared to strike first for San Jose with a wicked backhander only to have the goal waved off for offside after a replay review.
A few minutes later, Hanzal tipped a shot from Vrbata on the power and the puck deflected off both posts and rolled along the goal line before being cleared by Marc-Edouard Vlasic.
NOTES: Coyotes D Oliver Ekman-Larsson left the game after the second period with an upper-body injury. ... Mikkel Boedker got his first assist of the season on Tierney's goal, ending a 12-game points drought. ... Karlsson returned to the Sharks' lineup for the first time since Nov. 12 after being sidelined by a lower-body injury.
Coyotes: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
Sharks: Visit Los Angeles on Wednesday.


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Boston police officer, MMA fighter appeals desk duty ruling

Sean " The Cannon " Gannon's claim to fame was a bloody, bare-knuckle fight he had with another mixed martial arts fighter. His day job as a Boston police officer hasn't been quite as action-packed.


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Charlotte Christian School embarks on $8M expansion

Charlotte Christian School continues to build out its campus, breaking ground on a new worship and performing arts center just two years after opening its Hendrick Center for Arts and Science.
“Our families remain committed to our mission and desire to support the campus expansion and development,” said Barry Giller, CCS head of school.
The Center for Worship and Performing Arts is part of the school’s strategic plan, which was developed in 2011. The two-story, 21,000-square-foot building will contain a 520-seat auditorium, a black-box theater, a scene shop and dressing rooms for student performers. There also will be space for visual arts students to display their projects.
The center will be built directly behind the Hendrick Center for Arts and Science, which faces Sardis Road. Construction begins in December and should be completed by the fall of 2017.
The building will cost about $8 million, which is being raised in a funding campaign, according to the school.
CCS plans to hold its weekly chapels in the new auditorium — now, the gatherings are held in the Lamb Johnson Gym, the school’s main gym. The Center for Worship and Fine Arts will be the school’s first auditorium, which will relieve the gym of hosting of plays, concerts, chapels, assemblies and other large events, which it has done for almost 40 years.
“Students will appreciate having a dedicated space for worship and a more intimate environment as we open God’s word,” Giller said. “All of our plays, musicals and concerts will now be in a professional setting with fantastic acoustics, amazing technology and all the support structures a stellar fine arts program deserves.”
Arts classes have classroom space on campus, including a band studio, choir room and rehearsal studio.
Charlotte Christian’s arts programs and students regularly recognized for excellence. The school offers 38 fine arts classes, including choir, broadcasting, orchestra and drama, and it produces musical each year involving students of all ages.
The performing arts program has received 24 Wells Fargo Blumey Award nominations for upper school musicals since the award began in 2012, and it has won five. Theater students also have won honors at the Wingate Shakespeare Festival, the North Carolina Theatre Competition Christians in Theatre Arts competitions.
For the second consecutive capital project at Charlotte Christian School, Rick and Linda Hendrick are the lead donors. Three of their grandchildren attend the school.
Rick Hendrick, owner of the Hendrick Motorsports team, said he and his wife recently attended a play at CCS that his granddaughter was in.
“They work so hard to tear down the gym and rearrange things to have plays,” Hendrick said. “They should have the facilities that all the other schools have.
“We just love the school,” he added. “We have never felt so strongly about our foundation for our family and our grandkids.”
Charlotte Christian opened in 1950, and Giller said the school is at capacity in most grade levels because of “the board’s steadfastness in pursuing the mission of the school.
“Our students and families value the passion and commitment of our teachers, the Christ-centered commitment of the school and the balance that is offered to each student as they pursue to hone their academic, fine arts and athletic talents.”
The school has more development plans in the works, including work on the northern part of its 55-acre campus. Additions will include a new athletic center, tennis courts and more competition fields for soccer and lacrosse.


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Woods has 10 more years in him, says Nicklaus

Nov 30 (Reuters) - While some pundits have questioned whether Tiger Woods will ever regain top form after being sidelined for 15 months due to back issues, Jack Nicklaus thinks he could compete at the highest level for another decade and challenge his record of 18 majors. Woods, who turns 41 next month and won the last of his 14 majors at the 2008 US Open, will make his comeback at this week's Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. He has not played on the PGA Tour since August 2015, having undergone back surgeries in September and again in October of that year, and not won anywhere since 2013. However, Nicklaus said it was perhaps only the mental side of the game which had prevented him from returning sooner. "I've always thought that he's got at least another 10 years of good competitive golf in front of him if he's healthy and as talented as he is," Nicklaus was quoted as saying by BBC Sport. Woods, who spent a record 281 consecutive weeks as world number one but has now fallen to 898th in the rankings, needs four majors to tie Nicklaus's record. "I don't think anything is safe," added the 76-year-old. Woods had planned to return at last month's Safeway Open in California but withdrew three days before the opening round, saying his game was not sharp enough. "He keeps saying he is fine... he's ready to play, yet he has not come back to play. That probably is the five inches between his ears that is the part that he's having trouble with. "(He) has got to re-evaluate that and find out what's going to happen to him and how can he mentally get himself back into the idea of playing golf again. " (Reporting by Debanjan Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford; )


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Federal investigators look into Billings workplace death

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - The Yellowstone County Coroner’s Office has identified a Billings man who died in an industrial accident at an auto repair shop.
The Billings Gazette reports ( ) that authorities say 64-year-old Robert Bruce Johnson had been working on a wrecker on Sunday when a mechanical failure caused the raised cab to fall on him. He was found dead Monday morning at JH Motors.
Billings police have determined the death was accidental.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration began its own investigation Tuesday.
The administration’s director in Billings, Art Hazen, says JH Motors is cooperating with the investigation.
Information from: The Billings Gazette,


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Johnny Hatley dies while trying to revive wife Teresa with CPR

A man died of a heart attack while giving his wife CPR. Authorities say that Johnny Hatley, 67, of New London, North Carolina, was home Sunday morning when his wife, Teresa Ann Brooks Hatley, 66, collapsed. Johnny reportedly rushed to his wife and began to administer CPR, however, he had a heart attack in the process and died at the scene, according to Stanly News and Press. Authorities believe his wife was already dead. Their daughters, Shelly Palmer and Lisa Hammill, are devastated but comforted by the fact that they died together. 'Obviously, he could not live without her,' Hammill told the outlet. The couple, who had been married 31 years, owned Fast Stop Food Stores of New London, but the locals just knew it as 'Johnny's.' The pair had built up a loyal clientele. 'I don’t think Johnny ever turned anybody away,' Hammill said. Cashier Tabitha Alanis wrote on Facebook: 'I will miss these two so much. I still cant believe they are gone... I'm still waiting on my phone to ring, and hear Johnny say "Well Tabbyloo what days you workin' this week? " So I could say "That's what you get paid the big bucks to figure out! " 'I loved all his silly sayings and quick comebacks.' They also had a son, David, who has special needs, according to the family. 'It was just what they did. They made it work, whatever the circumstances or obstacle,' Palmer said.


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Tuesday's roundup: Keene's 36 leads Central over William & Mary

Marcus Keene matched a career-high with 36 points to lead Central Michigan in a 91-81 home victory over William & Mary Tuesday.
Braylon Rayson added 23 points and Josh Kozinski 15 for the Chippewas (6-2). Omar Prewitt scored 26 for William & Mary (3-3).


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Oil patch murderer needs treatment, not prison

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — An attorney for a mentally disabled man serving a 100-year prison term for killing a high school teacher in the Northern Plains’ oil patch asked the Montana Supreme Court on Tuesday to vacate his sentence and place him under the custody of state health officials.
The killing of Sherry Arnold in the once-quiet town of Sidney called attention to a major spike in crime following an oil boom that swept eastern Montana and western North Dakota.
Arnold, 43, was killed when Michael Keith Spell of Parachute, Colorado, and an accomplice attempted to abduct her while she was jogging before dawn near her house in January 2012.
Defense attorney Wendy Holton said in Tuesday’s appeal brief that Spell needs to be in a treatment setting such as Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs, not the state prison.
Spell is said to be functionally illiterate with an IQ score of 70, which “falls into the mental retardation range,” according to Holton. Keeping him in prison amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the U. S. and Montana constitutions and puts him at risk of manipulation by other inmates, she said.
“Michael’s disabilities require that he be placed in a facility that has training and experience in dealing with developmentally disabled adults,” Holton wrote.
Prosecutors were reviewing Tuesday’s court filing and had no immediate comment. The office of Attorney General Tim Fox must respond to Spell’s appeal within 30 days, said spokesman Eric Sell.
Spell was convicted by a state judge last year after pleading guilty to murdering the popular math teacher. Co-defendant Lester Van Waters Jr. received 80 years in prison on a charge of deliberate homicide by accountability.
Since he arrived at Montana State Prison in April 2015, Spell has had three major disciplinary violations, said Department of Corrections communications director Judy Beck. He was found guilty by prison officials of fighting with another inmate in May 2015, flooding his cell and refusing to obey a direct order in June 2015 and assaulting another inmate this April.
After the assault, Spell was transferred from a medium security cell block to a high security area. He’ll remain there until he can earn his way back with good behavior, Beck said.
He’s due to be eligible for parole in 2037.
During his trial, Spell was spared a potential death sentence when state health officials agreed with defense experts who said he was mentally disabled. Defense attorneys also argued that he was incompetent to stand trial, but state District Judge Richard Simonton rejected that claim.
The murder occurred as drilling for oil in the region’s Bakken shale formation drew people from around the country who flooded into the rural region for work.
In the days before the crime, Spell and Waters traveled to Sidney from Colorado, looking for work in the oil patch and using crack cocaine throughout their journey.
Waters allegedly told Spell during the trip that crack “brought the devil out in him,” and he began talking about kidnapping and killing a woman, according to an affidavit filed by prosecutors.
After the pair spotted Arnold along a Sidney street, Spell tried to grab her, leading to a struggle in which Arnold was choked or otherwise asphyxiated, authorities said. Spell and Waters buried her body in a field outside Williston, North Dakota, where it was found more than two months after her death.
Arnold’s death galvanized state and federal law enforcement agencies to devote more resources to fighting crime in the area. Criminal offenses peaked in 2012 but have remained above historical levels, according to a report published last year by the Montana Board of Crime Control.
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California hospitals take obesity fight to supermarkets

Enter a US supermarket and the dilemma is all-too common: Will what I buy be healthy? Fattening? A substitute? That's when many wish they had a specialist at their side. "Shop with Your Doc," a program organized by a network of hospitals in California, aims to help with that, stationing doctors and nutritionists in supermarkets to aid customers in navigating food choices in a country where a third of the population is obese. Chih-I Lee, shopping in a supermarket in the city of Irvine, admits that she has a weakness for fizzy soft drinks but assures that her three children do not drink them and they eat all their vegetables. Sara Foronda worries about diabetes, which runs in her family, and struggles to look away from alluring cookies on display. Mike Keegan wants to buy organic products but sometimes they are too expensive so he takes home substitutes. All are pushing shopping carts at a supermarket in the small city of 260,000 residents located about 37 miles (60 kilometers) southeast of Los Angeles. And suddenly they cross paths with a white coat-clad woman. She is Monica Doherty, a nurse specialized in family medicine. "We are educating consumers on healthy options to help them maximize their health," said Doherty, all the while clarifying consumers' misconceptions and giving advice including recipes. Substitute mashed potatoes with cauliflower puree, for example, or sweet soft drinks with carbonated water, no sugar added, she suggested. That is valuable advice to shoppers making their way down aisles crammed with mouth-watering temptations, much of it processed and packaged. - Nutrition training - Obesity is an epidemic in the United States, affecting 32.6 percent of the population, according to the World Health Organization, and 36.5 percent, according to the US government. Although California has a relatively lower incidence, at 24.2 percent, Orange County, where Irvine is located, has an alarming rate: six out of 10 adults there are obese. "Obesity many times is multifactorial, and poor choices in the grocery store is one piece of it," said Richard Afable, the doctor who is chief executive and president of St. Joseph Hoag Health, in an interview. St. Joseph Hoag Health has been organizing these "Shop with Your Doc" days for three years now, and usually holds them during the holiday season when people tend to throw dietary caution to the wind. The program aims to indirectly fight obesity by being focused on education, "almost training in nutrition," Afable said. Similar programs have sprung up in other states, such as Arizona and Pennsylvania, and some of the major supermarket chains employ nutritionists. At the Irvine supermarket, the fight for healthier eating begins at the entrance, where a smiling Marina Sarwary offers to take customers' blood pressure. And while the cuff tightens and the reading is registered, she offers dietary recommendations. Doherty, meanwhile, is in the aisles, escorted by Jai Coutra, a program employee whose job is to hand out complimentary bags with brochures and a container and spoon to help teach healthy eating. "Trying to encourage you to look at the balance in your diet: eating whole grain and avoiding processed food, less sugar, taking away the sodium," he told Foronda in the vegetables section. The 40-year-old stay-at home mother, fearing diabetes, said it was difficult to stay away from sweets. "It's hard because you go up and down the aisle and you see cookies and I try to get away from the cookies, I get an apple, or yogurt with berries," she said. - Real cost - "They are saying 'eat a little smarter, little bit healthier' and I'm already there, looking at labels -- before I never used to do that," said Keegan, 56, a computer warehouse manager. Healthy food is more expensive, especially in the United States where the government subsidizes crops like corn and soybeans, key ingredients in junk food. Getting people to eat better is part of a big socioeconomic problem, according to experts. "We too often confuse affordable food with cheap food," wrote Mark Bittman, a food journalist who is a fellow at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy group, in his blog. The long-term solution "starts with making sure that every American has enough money to buy good food at its real cost," said Bittman, a former columnist for The New York Times. To do that, he said, would require food policy that encourages agriculture at its true cost, helping the 14 percent of the US workforce whose livelihoods depend on producing that food. That idea, however, looks difficult to achieve.


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Heidi Klum shows off her incredible figure in skintight bodysuit as she celebrates her Ocean Drive cover shoot

The 43-year-old put her incredible figure on full display in a second skin one-piece for her Ocean Drive magazine cover party in Miami on Tuesday. Heidi kept her look all black with sparkling bracelets, multiple rings and matching hued earrings. While at the event, the beauty posed in front of a Roche Bobois desk she designed to help support UNICEF. In her Ocean Drive magazine cover story, Heidi stated: 'I have no problems with nudity at all. I've very free.' She explained: 'I feel comfortable and don't care if someone sees my nipples necessarily - it's okay to see the nipple.'