DC5m United States mix in english 1144 articles, created at 2016-12-07 18:25


 1 /1144 

Indonesia earthquake kills at least 97 (20.99/21)

Rescue workers searched for survivors Wednesday after 97 people died when a magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia, the U. S. Geological Survey and other sources reported.
Indonesia's national disaster mitigation agency said 78 people suffered serious injuries and dozens more were feared trapped in collapsed and damaged buildings.
The death toll was expected to rise. It has doubled in the last few hours, Indonesia's army said.
TV footage showed rescuers in orange uniforms shining flashlights into the interiors of broken buildings as they searched for signs of life, the Associated Press reported.
The shallow earthquake struck at 5:03 a.m. local time (5 p.m. ET Tuesday) and was centered about 6 miles north of Reuleut, a town in northern Aceh. It had a depth of 11 miles. It did not generate a tsunami.
"The earthquake was felt strongly and many people panicked and rushed outdoors as houses collapsed," Sutopo Nugroho of Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency, said in a statement.
The quake was another terrifying reminder of their region’s vulnerability to natural disasters. More than 100,000 died in Aceh after the Dec. 26, 2004, earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami.
“It was very bad, the tremors felt even stronger than 2004 earthquake,” Musman Aziz, a resident of the area, told the AP. “I was so scared the tsunami was coming.”
More than 40 buildings including several mosques were flattened in the district located 11 miles southwest of the of the epicenter.
At least five aftershocks were felt following the initial quake, according to the disaster mitigation agency.
Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin, the AP said. The 2004 quake and tsunami killed a total of 230,000 people in a dozen countries.
More than half of Indonesia's population of 148 million live in quake-prone areas.

The Latest: Indonesia quake death toll jumps to 97
Powerful Quake Rocks Indonesia, Killing Dozens and Flattening Buildings Video
Death toll in Indonesia quake reaches 93, says provincial government
Rescuers hunt for survivors after earthquake in Indonesia – video report
The Latest: Disaster agency says Aceh quake toll to rise
The Latest: Death toll in quake rises to 25 in 1 district
At least 25 dead in Sumatra earthquake
Frantic rescue underway in Indonesia as quake kills scores


 2 /1144 

President Obama marks 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor attack (19.99/21)

"Over 2,400 American patriots lost their lives in the attack on Pearl Harbor -- military and civilian, men, women and children," Obama said in a statement.
"Their sacrifice galvanized millions of GIs and Rosie the Riveters who answered the call to defend liberty at its moment of maximum peril. In the hours after the attack, President Roosevelt promised that 'the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.' Thanks to the heroism of a generation, we did. "
The President noted that he would be making a historic visit to the USS Arizona Memorial later this month with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
"As a testament that even the most bitter of adversaries can become the closest of allies, I look forward to visiting the USS Arizona Memorial later this month along with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe," he said. "This historic visit will stand as a tribute to the power of reconciliation and to the truth that the United States and Japan -- bound by an alliance unimaginable 75 years ago—will continue to work hand-in-hand for a more peaceful and secure world. "
Abe is the first Japanese leader to visit the site since the end of World War II.
"President Obama's message for the world without nuclear upon his visit to Hiroshima was engraved in the heart of the Japanese people," Abe said earlier this month. "I will visit Pearl Harbor with President Obama. This will be a visit to soothe the souls of the victims. We should never repeat the ravages of the war. "
In May, Obama was the first sitting US President to visit Hiroshima, where in 1945 the US military dropped a nuclear bomb killing more than 100,000 Japanese men, women and children.
Abe's visit to Pearl Harbor is thought to be a way of reciprocating the commitment shown by Obama to Japan-US relations.

Time to reconcile: 2 cities overcome Pearl Harbor legacy
2 cities overcome Pearl Harbor legacy
Japanese leader Abe won't apologize at Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor vet revisits his past on anniversary of 'a date which will live in infamy'
Pearl Harbor: Survivors gather to mark a moment that changed the world
Pearl Harbor Survivors Gather for 75th Anniversary Reunion
Pearl Harbor 75th anniversary: New Orleans at war
Pearl Harbor ceremony in Michigan to mark 75th anniversary of attacks


 3 /1144 

Read stories of Michigan vets who were at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago (18.99/21)

LANSING, MI --"Dec. 7, 1941, a date which will live in infamy, attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. "
Those were the words President Franklin Roosevelt used to address the nation following the attack on Pearl Harbor, 75 years ago. The attack killed more than 2,400 Americans and pushed the country into World War II.
Millions of Americans served in the war, including some 670,000 from Michigan.
In 2014, MLive Media Group began the Michigan Honors project to take a closer look at the Michigan residents who served in World War II and their stories. The series chronicled more than 3,500 living World War II veterans through a searchable database and profiled dozens of men and women who served during the war.
Some of those profiles include:
You can also view a collection of the front pages of MLive newspapers from the day of the attacks.

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A Pearl Harbor survivor spent decades trying to forget it. Then one man got him talking.
Pearl Harbor moves from memory to history
Pearl Harbor survivors tell harrowing tale of rescue
Rock River artist keeps Pearl Harbor alive with painting
Pearl Harbor: 5 survive; 2 will join fallen USS Arizona shipmates
Pearl Harbor: Watch a live dive to sunken Japanese subs


 4 /1144 

Trump is Time magazine's Person of the Year (14.99/21)

Time magazine on Wednesday named President-elect Donald Trump its Person of the Year.
"It's a great honor. It means a lot," Trump said in a telephone interview on NBC's "Today" show.
The magazine's managing editor, Nancy Gibbs, said on the program that Democrat Hillary Clinton was the No. 2 finalist. Gibbs said the choice of Trump this year was "straightforward. "
"When have we ever seen a single individual who has so defied expectations, broken the rules, violated norms, beaten not one but two political parties on the way to winning an election that he entered with 100-to-1 odds against him? " Gibbs said.
The Time cover reads, "Donald Trump: President of the Divided States of America" and the cover image features a photograph of the president-elect sitting in his private residence at Trump Tower.
Gibbs said Time gives the title to the person who has had the greatest influence on events "for better or worse. "
Trump went from fiery underdog in the race for the GOP presidential nomination to defeating Clinton in the Nov. 8 election. Trump won 306 electoral votes, easily enough to make him president when the electors meet on Dec. 19. Clinton won the popular vote.
Gibbs said Clinton "came closer than any woman ever has to winning the White House, and in the process revealed, I think, both the opportunities and the obstacles that women face in the public square. "

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Turbulent day has companies wary of President-elect Trump


 5 /1144 

Frantic rescue underway in Indonesia as quake kills nearly 100 (12.99/21)

MEUREUDU, Indonesia — A strong earthquake rocked Indonesia’s Aceh province early today, killing nearly 100 people and sparking a frantic rescue effort in the rubble of dozens of collapsed and damaged buildings.
Maj. Gen. Tatang Sulaiman, chief of the army in Aceh province, said at least 97 died while four people were pulled from the rubble alive. Another four or five are known to be buried, but he didn’t say if they are dead or alive.
“Hopefully we would be able to finish the evacuation from the rubble before sunset,” said Sulaiman.
The rescue effort involving thousands of villagers, soldiers and police is concentrated on Meureudu, a severely affected town in Pidie Jaya district. Excavators were trying to remove debris from shop houses and other buildings where people were believed buried. TV footage showed rescuers in orange uniforms shining flashlight into the interiors of broken buildings as they searched for signs of life.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said 273 people were injured, about a quarter of them seriously. Some 245 buildings were seriously damaged or destroyed, mostly in Pidie Jaya, including 14 mosques and the remainder largely dwellings and shop houses. Roads also cracked and power poles toppled over.
Aiyub Abbas, the chief of Pidie Jaya district, which is located 18 kilometers (11 miles) southwest of the epicenter, said there was urgent need for excavation equipment to move heavy debris and emergency supplies. Footage showed rescue personnel taking bodies in black bags away from the rubble.
Muhammad Reza Faisal, director of Chik Ditiro General Hospital in Pidie Jaya, said the facility, which was damaged by the quake, was overwhelmed with the numbers of injured and many people were being treated in tents pitched on its grounds. He said five of the quake victims died at the hospital.
The U. S. Geological Survey said the shallow 6.5 magnitude earthquake that struck at 5:03 a.m. (2203 GMT Tuesday) was centered about 19 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Sigli, a town near the northern tip of Aceh, at a depth of 17 kilometers (11 miles). The agency had initially placed its epicenter undersea. It did not generate a tsunami.
For Acehnese, the quake was a terrifying reminder of their region’s vulnerability to natural disasters. More than 100,000 died in Aceh after the Dec. 26, 2004, earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami.
“It was very bad, the tremors felt even stronger than 2004 earthquake,” said Musman Aziz, a Meureudu resident. “I was so scared the tsunami was coming.”
In the capital Jakarta, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said he has ordered all government agencies to take part in the rescue efforts for Aceh, a conservative province that has considerable autonomy from the central government under a peace deal with separatists. The Red Cross Indonesia has deployed emergency response teams and advertised bank accounts for donations. The International Organization for Migration said it had sent an assessment team to Aceh.
Seaside resident Fitri Abidin in Pidie Jaya said she fled with her husband and wailing children to a nearby hill after the quake jolted the family awake early in the morning. They stayed there for several hours until authorities reassured them there was no tsunami risk.
“It terrified me. I was having difficulty breathing or walking,” said Abidin.
She said her husband grabbed hold of her and carried her out of the house.
The family’s house didn’t collapse but the homes of some neighbors did and Abidin is afraid three friends were buried in building collapses.
In Pidie Jaya’s neighboring district of Bireuen, a teacher at an Islamic building school died after being hit by falling debris, said health worker Achmad Taufiq.
Residents of the nearby town of Lhokseumawe ran out of their houses in panic during the quake and many people fled to higher ground.
The world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. The 2004 quake and tsunami killed a total of 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Aceh.

Frantic rescue underway in Indonesia as quake kills scores
At least 97 dead as 6.5-magnitude undersea quake rattles Indonesia, toppling buildings
Devastating earthquake strikes Indonesia’s Aceh, death toll rising
World briefs: Quake rocks Indonesia; dozens dead
Army chief in Indonesia's Aceh province says 4 people have been rescued from quake rubble
Indonesian TV Citing Governor of Aceh Province Says 20 People Killed in Aceh Quake
Deadly quake hits Indonesia, destroys towns
The Latest: Aceh army chief says death toll rises to 54


 6 /1144 

Indonesia quake toll jumps to 97 as more bodies found (9.99/21)

The death toll from a powerful earthquake that struck western Indonesia today has nearly doubled to 97, the military said, as more bodies were pulled from the rubble of scores of shattered buildings.

Deadly quake hits Indonesia, destroys towns
Frantic rescue underway in Indonesia as quake kills scores
Army chief in Indonesia's Aceh province says 4 people have been rescued from quake rubble
Chief of district near epicenter of Indonesia quake says 25 dead, hundreds injured, dozens of ...
Death toll in Indonesia quake reaches 93, says provincial government
The Latest: Indonesia quake death toll jumps to 97
The Latest: Hospital in Indonesia quake zone overwhelmed
Frantic rescue after quake kills dozens in Indonesia


 7 /1144 

Syrian Forces Said to Drive Deeper Into Rebel-Held Aleppo (8.89/21)

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Syrian government forces pushed deeper into Aleppo on Wednesday, seizing areas around the medieval citadel whose narrow streets had long given rebels cover, pro-government websites and conflict monitors reported.
Rebel leaders disputed the claims, but anti-government activists in the area sent increasingly desperate messages saying they believed they would soon be killed or arrested, while civilians said they were squeezing into a smaller and smaller area, with some calling for safe passage out.
Al Manar, Hezbollah’s television channel, quoting Syrian military officials, reported that pro-government forces had allowed rebels to leave the Old City neighborhoods in Aleppo through a designated corridor to other rebel-held areas to spare the historical quarter from further destruction.
Rebels were asking for all civilians who wished to leave to be given safe passage to rebel-held areas, but not to the province of Idlib, where fighters and civilians not wishing to go to government areas have been bused in previous surrender deals. Instead, rebels asked for safe passage to the countryside in the north of the province of Aleppo.
A statement said to be from all the rebel groups in Aleppo, issued on Wednesday, said that Idlib was already too full of displaced people and was a target of intensive Russian and government airstrikes.
The statement also called for a five-day humanitarian cease-fire and for the evacuation of about 500 people in need of emergency medical care, under United Nations supervision with security guarantees. Only then, it said, would the fighters discuss a settlement.
“Once the humanitarian situation has been alleviated in Aleppo city, the parties concerned can negotiate the future of the city,” the statement said. “What Aleppo has experienced in the last five months is nothing short of a war of extermination against its civilian population.”
But the rebels’ bargaining power is shrinking with their territory, and as one of their main backers, Turkey, appears to be slackening support. Government officials say they will not slow their advance, asserting that they are liberating eastern Aleppo from radical jihadists holding people there hostage.
Russian officials have said that anyone who chooses to remain in the rebel-held areas of the city will be considered terrorists and will be “destroyed,” as the foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, said on Tuesday. But no agreement has been reached on how the evacuation would work.
The government has accused rebels of preventing civilians from leaving and of holding them as bargaining chips. Rebels say the routes are not safe and that some civilians are afraid to leave for fear of arrest or conscription once they reach government territory.
Approximately 30,000 have fled to government-held areas of Aleppo from rebel-held districts in the past week, according to international humanitarian officials. Others — it is not known how many — have been displaced from their homes inside the rebel enclave, and still others have fled to a neighborhood controlled by Kurdish militias, hoping to reach other rebel-held areas.
Years of aerial bombing and artillery bombardment have wrecked many eastern Aleppo neighborhoods, destroying medical clinics, schools and homes. Rebels have also indiscriminately shelled government-held neighborhoods in western Aleppo.
The latest round of fighting has killed at least 341 people, including 44 children, in rebel-held Aleppo, and 81 people, including 31 children, in government-held districts, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights , a monitoring organization based in Britain.
The growing chaos in Aleppo came as a suspected Israeli attack hit the Mezze air base, minutes from downtown Damascus, the Syrian capital, according to the Lebanese news channel Al Mayadeen, which showed pictures of the complex burning. The base has been critical to the government’s fight against rebels in nearby suburbs. It also houses a prison.
Israel has periodically struck targets in Syria during the war, apparently targeting Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group, which is fighting on the side of the Syrian government and has long used Syria as a conduit for weapons deliveries from Iran. The attack on the air base would be one of the closest strikes to Damascus and one of the most direct on Syrian government facilities.
Hezbollah’s military press office released a statement saying that Israel had launched surface-to-surface missiles that hit near Mezze air base at 3 a.m., causing a fire but no casualties.

80,000 have fled east Aleppo since start of army operation: monitor
Syrian troops enter Aleppo’s Old City, poised for war’s biggest victory
The Latest: Syrian rebels in Aleppo propose 5-day cease-fire
Syrian rebels in Aleppo propose five-day ceasefire
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Syrian rebels pull back further as military gains in Aleppo
Syrian troops in control of Aleppo's Old City after rebels withdraw
Syrian forces liberate civilians in parts of Aleppo’s Old City (VIDEO) — RT News


 8 /1144 

PIA plane crash: 40 passengers on board in Pakistan (7.99/21)

Pop star Junaid Jamshed was among the 40 passengers on board Pakistan International Airlines Flight PK-661, his manager told CNN.
[Breaking news update at 7:50 a.m. ET]
Pakistan International Airlines Flight PK-661 has crashed, officials said Wednesday.
"The plane had crashed on the border of Abbottabad and Haripur," Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial spokesman Mushaq Ghani said.
The airline said PIA's ATR-42 aircraft was carrying 40 passengers when it lost contact with a control tower on its way from Chitral to Islamabad.
[Previous story, published at 7:47 a.m. ET]
Pakistan International Airlines Flight PK-661 carrying 40 passengers has lost contact with a control tower, the airline said in a statement Wednesday.
"We regret to inform that PIA's ATR-42 aircraft operating as PK-661, carrying around 40 persons lost its contact with control tower on its way from Chitral (Pakistan) to Islamabad a short while ago," the statement said.
"All resources are being mobilized to locate the aircraft. Media will be kept informed as situation develops. "
The ATR-42, a twin-engine propeller plane, is a workhorse of short-haul flying. The aircraft's manufacturer, ATR, is a joint venture between Airbus Group and Italy's Leonardo.

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Pakistani National Carrier's Plane Crashes After Takeoff
Pakistan commercial plane with 40 aboard crashes
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Survivors unlikely in Pakistan plane crash, many bodies burnt - witness
Pakistan plane carrying 47 people crashes


 9 /1144 

Poet, nail art lover among warehouse fire victims (6.59/21)

There was a mortuary worker who dreamed of being a painter or photographer. A poet who texted her father Kurt Vonnegut lines. A music manager known for her love for nail art.

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Oakland warehouse fire: Officials release names of 9 more victims


 10 /1144 

Trump wants Air Force One contract canceled (6.52/21)

This is our look at President-elect Donald Trump's transition and the outgoing Obama administration:
Follow us on Twitter for more, or subscribe to our free daily politics newsletter.
Los Angeles lawyer Debra Wong Yang, the former top federal prosecutor for the region, reportedly is being considered by President-elect Donald Trump to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Yang, a fourth-generation Angeleno who grew up in Chinatown, became the first Asian American woman to serve as U. S. attorney in 2002. Then-President George W. Bush tapped her for the position in the Central District of California, which includes Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.
A former state judge in California, Yang served as U. S. attorney until 2007.
Her cases involved bringing criminal charges against Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano and class-action law firm Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman. She also was instrumental in obtaining guilty pleas in the Credit Lyonnais banking scandal and in getting $1.5 billion in criminal settlements from Boeing Co. and Tenet Healthcare Corp.
After stepping down as U. S. attorney, she joined the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm. Working out of the Los Angeles office, she handles cases involving white-collar crime, corporate compliance, data privacy and matters involving China.
Read more
President-elect Donald Trump vowed Tuesday night to strengthen the U. S. military but limit its use, suggesting a pullback from areas like the Middle East where the country has spent decades trying to broker a peace between warring interests.
"We've spent at last count $6 trillion in the Middle East and our roads have potholes all over, our highways are falling apart, our bridges are falling, our tunnels are no good, our airports are horrible," Trump said at a victory rally in Fayetteville, N. C. "We've got to start spending on ourselves. "
Invoking his "America First" policy, Trump pledged "to only engage the use of military forces when it's in the vital national interests of the United States. "
"We don't want to have a depleted military, fighting all over the place," Trump said.
At the same time, he vowed to boost defense spending by ending the automatic cuts required under the congressional budget-trimming process known as sequestration.
The notion, he suggested, is to build a military so strong it will ward off any threats. "Peace through strength," he called it, echoing the phrase President Reagan used during a massive military buildup during his two terms in office.
Trump appeared in Fayetteville, near the sprawling Ft. Bragg military base, as part of his "Thank You America" tour -- a swing through states he carried in November. His first stop last week was in Ohio; the tour continues later this week in Iowa and Michigan.
In a half-hour speech long on superlatives but short on specifics, Trump also promised to repeal and replace Obamacare with a cheaper and more responsive healthcare system; to vastly improve the care of the nation's veterans; and to vigorously preserve and protect American jobs from being shipped overseas.
"We will defend American jobs," he promised. "We have to look at it almost like a war. "
Michael Flynn Jr. has been let go from President-elect Donald Trump's transition team after spreading online conspiracy theories on Twitter. He is the son of Trump's pick for national security advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn.
"The younger Michael Flynn was helping his father with some administration and scheduling duties early on in the transition process, and he is no longer involved with transition efforts," spokesman Jason Miller said in a teleconference Tuesday.
After an armed gunman fired a rifle in Washington's Comet Ping Pong restaurant on Sunday in anger over a false child sex trafficking rumor, Flynn Jr. continued to promote the so-called PizzaGate conspiracy theory that inspired the shooting. The pizzeria has fended off threats since the story erupted about a month ago.
As Flynn Jr.'s tweets attracted national attention Monday, news broke that he had a government email, suggesting he was part of the Trump transition team – though Vice President-elect Mike Pence denied it on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Tuesday.
The elder Flynn has also spread false stories. A week before the election he promoted a rumor on social media that Hillary Clinton was involved with sex crimes involving children.
Republicans will begin the process of repealing Obamacare on the first day of the new Congress on Jan. 3, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Tuesday.
But don't expect the healthcare law to come to a swift end that soon.
Republicans are wrangling over whether to give themselves two years to devise an alternative to President Obama's signature domestic achievement -- which would push toward the midterm election in 2018. Or they might wait three years, until 2019, when the race for the White House will be underway.
Republicans are hesitant to fully gut the law until they have alternatives in place for the millions of Americans now relying on the Affordable Care Act for their coverage.
"The Obamacare repeal resolution will be the first item up in the new year," McConnell said after senators met with Vice President-elect Mike Pence for their weekly policy lunch.
Pence left senators with the impression that there are steps the administration could quickly take to begin to replace provisions of the law with Republican-preferred ideas. The White House would rely on the regulatory process, which doesn't require congressional action, senators said.
Senate Republicans are optimistic that President-elect Donald Trump's administration, including his choice to lead the Health and Human Services Department, House Budget Chairman Tom Price of Georgia, can begin those kinds of regulatory actions right away.
"Healthcare’s kind of been driven into the ditch by President Obama and his healthcare law," said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). "It’s going to take time to get the cart out of the ditch. "
The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the broad reach of insider-trading laws, ruling that family and friends of corporate insiders can be prosecuted for profiting on secret stock tips even if they don’t pay money or other compensation for the information.
The unanimous decision affirmed the conviction of a Chicago man who made $1.5 million in stock profits by trading on confidential tips that originated from his brother-in-law, an investment banker in California.
The justices rejected claims of defense lawyers who argued that there was no crime because no money exchanged hands between the insider and the stock trader.
Instead, the court said exchanges within a family are like gifts and have value, even if no dollars are paid.
Read more
The California Ku Klux Klan leader who led a “white lives matter” rally that erupted in violence in Anaheim this year was arrested last week in connection with a North Carolina stabbing hours before a Klan parade celebrating Donald Trump’s election, authorities said.
William Hagen and another man were charged with assault after they stabbed another Klan member shortly before the victory parade in Roxboro, N. C., according to Capt. Frank Rose, who oversees criminal investigations for the Caswell County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina.
Read more
Donald Trump sold all of his stocks in June, a spokesman said Tuesday.
Aide Jason Miller was responding to a question from reporters about whether Trump had stocks in Boeing. Earlier Tuesday, Trump said the government should cancel its multibillion-dollar order with Boeing for new Air Force One presidential planes.
Miller confirmed later that he was referring to all of Trump's stocks. He said he was not aware whether Trump had any stocks in Boeing at the time.
The aircraft used by President Obama , built by Chicago-based Boeing Co., have been in service since the Reagan administration and are due to reach the end of a 30-year design life in 2017.
Read more
A Supreme Court majority on Monday appeared to lean in favor of Democrats in Virginia and North Carolina seeking to rein in what they call racial gerrymandering by Republican-controlled legislatures in those states.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who is likely to hold the deciding vote in the case, said he was troubled that Republican leaders drew new election maps by moving more black voters into districts that already had a majority of African American residents and usually favored black candidates.
Read more
Longtime allies of Hillary Clinton who led the well-funded but ultimately unsuccessful shadow campaign against Donald Trump are reasserting themselves as their approach faces scrutiny amid a broader shakeout in their party.
David Brock and James Carville , who have been aligned with Bill and Hillary Clinton for decades, made the case Tuesday morning that they are best equipped to inflict damage on Donald Trump. In unveiling the new focus of American Bridge, their super PAC, the message from the duo seemed targeted as much at fatigued donors still perplexed over the Democrats’ inability to win in November as the reporters assembled on the call.
American Bridge is a nerve center of Brock’s sprawling network of nonprofits, which serve as a clearinghouse for opposition research and rapid response against the GOP. The organization saw considerable success in prior elections, as its trackers stalked opponents and broadcast all their missteps and gaffes, and data nerds dove deep into the backgrounds of political rivals. The model, which Republicans would mimic, showed signs of wear in this latest election, as Democrats struggled to keep up with the new political landscape of Twitter wars and fake news, and voter ambivalence to fact checking.
Brock rattled off data points about Trump’s unpopularity going into office to make the case that his groups were, indeed, highly effective during the campaign. But he also moved to protect his turf. Asked about the possibility of the Democratic National Committee being run by Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison , a progressive favorite supported by Sen. Bernie Sanders and others looking to move the party away from the Clinton faction, Brock said the party should not be run by someone simultaneously serving in Congress.
“I feel strongly that we need a full-time chair,” Brock said.
He promised the retooled American Bridge would aggressively root out fake news and investigate every angle of Trump’s background and potential business conflicts. The Trump presidency, Brock said, “is shaping up to potentially be the most corrupt since the Gilded Age.” He suggested he will recruit Hillary Clinton herself join the fight "once she is ready. "
Carville said: “It would be a dereliction of duty to not do something of this magnitude to oppose an administration that did not receive a majority of votes and whose views do not comport with a majority of people.”
The Supreme Court ruled for Samsung Tuesday in its patent dispute with Apple and set aside a $400-million damages verdict for copying the look of the iPhone .
The justices dealt only with the question of how much the South Korean firm should pay for copying several design features of Apple's smartphone.
A jury found that Samsung had copied several features of Apple's patented design, and a judge said the South Korean firm should pay out its "entire profit" from the sale of its smartphones.
Those damages of $399 million were upheld by a federal appeals court, but they were set aside by the high court in an 8-0 decision Tuesday.
In a brief opinion, the justices said the design features of the smartphones, including its rectangular shape, were a "component" of the product, not the entire product. Therefore Samsung should be forced to pay a lesser amount for copying the look of Apple's iPhone, the court found.
But the high court did not decide on the proper amount. Instead, the justices sent the case back to an appeals court to decide on how much the design features contributed to the value of the iPhone.
GOP leaders are coming to grips with what’s likely to be a complex, at times tortured, relationship with the Trump White House as they balance long-held Republican principles with a desire to avoid direct confrontation with the new president.
Republicans know Donald Trump is no traditional Republican. And privately many conservatives have frowned at his threatened 35% tariff on certain imports and his intervention to pressure Carrier Corp. not to move factory jobs to Mexico.
But they also want to maintain party unity and a strong relationship with the president-elect, lest they end up a target of Trump’s hostile tweets, as happened before the election to House Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy found Monday just how hard it can be to walk that line.
The No. 2 House Republican tiptoed around repeated questions over Trump’s trade policies — seen as at odds with longtime GOP positions on free markets — before finally suggesting with exasperation that the president-elect’s proclamations should not be taken too literally since he’s not yet in the White House.
“Take a deep breath. He’s not sworn in yet,” McCarthy told reporters at his weekly off-camera briefing. “Let’s not predetermine what the outcome of this stuff is.”
Read more
Donald Trump expressed fondness during the presidential campaign for some of the big federal programs that serve the country’s most vulnerable, but whatever warmth he may feel does not seem to be shared by the people he is choosing to run them.
Monday’s selection of Ben Carson , the former pediatric neurosurgeon and Republican presidential hopeful, to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development was the latest move to fit the pattern of stocking the Cabinet with social conservatives deeply skeptical of the government agencies they will be asked to oversee.
Trump chose Carson despite the physician’s protest last month that he lacked the credentials to run a federal agency. As a child, Carson lived in what he has described as a housing project in Detroit. Since becoming a doctor, however, he has had little other direct experience with urban policy or housing issues.
He would assume a post overseeing an agency that was elevated to the Cabinet level as part of President Lyndon Johnson ’s Great Society effort to combat poverty — something Carson has declared an epic failure.
The job would test Carson’s management ability. The department, with an annual budget of $48 billion, oversees big development contracts and the distribution of lucrative grants to communities, and it has been historically susceptible to corruption in times of weak oversight.
Read more
By Monday, a stretch of busy Connecticut Avenue in northwest Washington seemed back to normal, a day after a gunman entered a pizzeria intent on rescuing children trapped in an imaginary sexual abuse ring that Internet conspiracists insist was run by Hillary Clinton and a chief aide.
But it was not back to normal, not with the threat still hanging and no way to brush it aside. The sexual abuse ring is fictional, District of Columbia police said, part of an explosion of made-up news. The danger is real.
"This is a growing national problem — fake news that takes a truly menacing and vitriolic turn, and then fuels this potential for violence," said Bradley Graham, who with his wife, Lissa Muscatine, owns a popular bookstore down the block from Comet Ping Pong, the restaurant that patrons fled Sunday when a man arrived with an AR-15 assault-style rifle and another weapon.
It is also the latest collision of an information ecosphere careening into unknown territory, the guardrails meant to prevent disaster bent useless by the hatred and animosity of the recently concluded presidential campaign.
Read more
Chinese citizens, baffled by President-elect Donald Trump’s latest indictments of their country, have decided to meet him on his home turf: Twitter.
Yin Hao, an engineering graduate student in Guangzhou, started a hashtag on Monday in response to Trump’s Sunday afternoon Twitter storm. The future leader accused China of militarizing the South China Sea, taxing U. S. imports and devaluing its currency — an outdated claim. “Did China ask us if it was OK,” his tweet began.
So Yin started #AskTrumpFirst. The hashtag caught on quickly among Chinese Twitter users, even though the social media site is blocked in China.
People in China can access blocked sites like Twitter using special technology, such as virtual private networks, that sneak around the so-called Great Firewall and skirt censorship rules. Many users directed their responses to Trump's Twitter account.
“I want it to be a Chinese version of the 'Dear Ivanka' movement,” Yin said, referring to an Instagram account that pleads with Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, to address her father’s controversial behavior.
Irreverent social media commentaries offered some of the only response from China to Trump’s latest accusations – officials have stayed silent about his trade provocations.
“We never comment on other countries’ politicians and their personalities,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang at a news conference on Monday, which drew twice as many reporters as usual. "We will not speculate on what motivates President-elect Trump and his team into taking certain moves. "
No, Joe Biden didn’t just announce a presidential run in 2020. But as he’s learned from experience, you never say never.
“I’m not committing not to run. I'm not committed to anything,” the vice president told reporters at the Capitol on Monday night after attending a Senate vote. “I learned a long time ago -- fate has a strange way of intervening.”
Biden might have run this year if not for fate intervening. He seriously weighed a candidacy in 2015 as he and his family grieved the death of his eldest son, Beau, who had brain cancer.
“The [grief] process doesn’t respect or much care about things like filing deadlines or debates and primaries and caucuses,” he said last year as he announced he would not run, saying he didn't have enough time to mount a winning campaign.
But in that same speech, he rededicated himself to public service. Among the causes he pledged to champion was a cure for cancer.
Which is why Biden was even talking to reporters Monday at the Capitol. In his constitutional role as president of the Senate, he presided over consideration of legislation that includes $1.8 billion in funding for cancer research.
Before senators approved the measure, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced a last-minute amendment: to rename the cancer funding provisions in honor of Beau Biden.
“It’s fitting to dedicate this bill’s critical cancer initiatives in honor of someone who’d be proud of the presiding officer today, and that’s his son,” McConnell said as Biden watched, clearly moved. The vice president silently clasped his hands in front of him after the final change was approved, and the chamber applauded in his honor.
Shortly after, Biden was asked about running for president in four years. “Yeah, I am. I am going to run in 2020,” he said. Asked whether he was serious, Biden paused, before acknowledging the role of fate.
It will be an emotional few weeks for Biden as he prepares to leave office. On Wednesday, he'll return to the Senate for a bipartisan tribute to his 36 years as a member of the body, as well as eight as vice president.
On Dec. 18, his family will again mark another tragic anniversary: of the car accident that killed his first wife and infant daughter just after Biden won his first term in the Senate in 1972.
Leaders of the most prominent Muslim American groups have released an open letter to President-elect Donald Trump to "express serious concerns" about his policy proposals and upcoming administration and ask him to protect their community.
The letter, published Monday at with 291 signatures, is endorsed by top officials from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America, Muslim Public Affairs Council and Islamic Circle of North America, as well as dozens of imams, professors, activists and leaders of campus Islamic groups.
Muslim groups have strongly opposed many of Trump's pronouncements and advisor picks since the election, though the letter is one among the first unified responses to the president-elect from members of the faith.
It comes amid reports that Trump is considering a registry of Muslim immigrants, something he suggested during his campaign, and after a spate of violence across the country against Muslim Americans. Some of the violence has been from attackers invoking the president-elect's name. Muslim leaders have argued that Trump's election has emboldened anti-Muslim sentiment.
"During and immediately following this year’s presidential election cycle, American Muslim organizations received more reports of anti-Muslim hate crimes than any other period of time since 9/11. Your recent denunciation of such behavior on '60 Minutes' was a positive first step, and we urge you to clearly and strongly condemn bigotry, hate crimes and bias-based school bullying directed at any American, including American Muslims. We call on you to make mutual respect and acceptance a hallmark of your presidency," the letter says.
"Furthermore, along with many other Americans, we are deeply troubled by reports that your team is actively considering proposals that would target Muslims based on religion and violate their Constitutional rights. Advisors and members of your transition team have proposed a registry of Muslim immigrants and visitors to this country. Shockingly, an advisor cited the internment of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II -- one of the most shameful moments in our nation’s history -- as precedent for targeting Muslims. "
The letter says that Muslims wish Trump "success in upholding our country's founding principles" and that they "will continue to engage all levels of our government to make America great. " They will also hold Trump and "all elected officials accountable for upholding our Constitution and the equal protections it guarantees. "
Signers of the letter, which organizers plan to send to Trump, include Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who became known for his emotional plea against Trump during the Democratic National Convention. They also include Husain Abdullah , a former NFL player for the Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs.
The son of Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Donald Trump's national security advisor, is pushing a conspiracy theory that prompted an armed man to venture into a Washington restaurant Sunday.
Michael Flynn Jr. promoted a theory that erupted about a month ago. The falsehood, dubbed by some as "PizzaGate," claimed that a pizzeria, Comet Ping Pong, and its owner were at the center of a child sex trafficking operation involving top Democrats, including Hillary Clinton's campaign chair, John Podesta.
As the rumor spun up on extremist websites, the restaurant began fending off threats, peaking Sunday when a man with an assault-style rifle walked into the restaurant and fired at least one shot, prompting a lockdown and evacuation, according to police.
The 28-year-old suspect, identified as Edgar Maddison Welch of Salisbury, N. C., said he went to Comet Ping Pong to investigate the PizzaGate rumor. Once he found no evidence of pedophilia, he told police , he surrendered to authorities.
After Flynn's tweets began gaining attention, he doubled down on his defense of the claims. CNN host Jake Tapper questioned Flynn through a private message on Twitter. Flynn tweeted some of Tapper's remarks, saying it was evidence he "hit a nerve. "
Flynn is his father's chief of staff and top aide. The elder Flynn pushed a conspiracy theory a week before the election that Clinton was involved with sex crimes involving children.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory conceded the governor's race Monday, clearing the way for Democrat Roy Cooper to be declared the winner nearly four weeks after election day.
The win by Cooper, the state's outgoing attorney general, gives Democrats an important consolation prize after a disappointing election across the country. However, Republicans retain super majorities in both legislative chambers.
In a video message from his office posted to YouTube, McCrory said, "Despite continued questions that should be answered regarding the voting process, I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken, and we now should do everything we can to support the 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper. "
Read more
President Obama mourned the deaths in last weekend's warehouse fire in Oakland that killed at least 36 , saying in a statement Monday that his administration was in close contact with local and state officials to monitor the response.
"While we still don't know the full toll of this disaster, we do know that an American community has been devastated, and many people — including young men and women with their whole futures ahead of them — have tragically lost their lives," Obama said.
Most of the victims were in their 20s and 30s, police have said, attending a secret electronic music show late Friday at the "Ghost Ship," a piano factory that was being used as an art space.
Noting that Oakland is one of the "most diverse and creative cities" in the nation, Obama pledged the "unwavering support of the American people" as residents there recover.
Authorities are investigating whether any criminal activity led to the fire, one of the worst in modern California history.
Its cause is undetermined. Officials have said the warehouse was being investigated for possible code violations at the time of the fire. Some former residents described it as a cluttered “death trap” lacking fire sprinklers.

AP News in Brief at 12:04 a.m. EST
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 11 /1144 

Syria says it seized nearly 75 percent of eastern Aleppo (5.99/21)

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government forces and allied militias captured Aleppo's centrally located al-Shaar neighborhood from rebels on Tuesday, securing nearly three quarters of the besieged enclave less than two weeks after launching a ground offensive, according to the Syrian…...

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 12 /1144 

Caddie dies during Dubai ladies' golf tournament (5.74/21)

The caddie -- who has not been named -- was treated by medics, but died later in hospital.
The tournament was suspended at 10.30 a.m. local time (06.30 a.m. GMT) Wednesday and will resume Thursday in a shortened 54-hole format.
"We are extremely shocked and saddened by this and have suspended play as a mark of respect," said Ivan Khodabakhsh, chief executive of the Ladies European Tour .
"On behalf of our membership, we offer heartfelt condolences to the individual's family and loved ones. "
Visit for more news and video
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and chief executive of golf in Dubai, said: "We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of this caddie. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this difficult time. May his soul rest in peace. "

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 13 /1144 

Ohio "heartbeat bill" headed to Gov. Kasich's desk (5.54/21)

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An Ohio bill that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected is headed to the governor’s desk. Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled state House voted to approve the so-called “heartbeat bill” Tuesday night after it passed in the Senate earlier in the day, clearing the way for what would be one of the nation’s most stringent abortion restrictions. The legislation would prohibit most abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy after the first detectable heartbeat.
Gov. John Kasich, an abortion opponent, has previously voiced concerns about whether such a move would be constitutional. He has not said whether he plans to sign the measure.
State Senate President Keith Faber, a Republican, said the twice-defeated bill came back up again because of Donald Trump’s presidential victory and the expectation he will fill Supreme Court vacancies with justices who are more likely to uphold stricter abortion bans. Asked if he expects the Ohio proposal to survive a legal challenge, Faber said: “I think it has a better chance than it did before.” The ban would make an exception if the mother’s life is in danger but not in cases of rape or incest, he said. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio said the move would block access to abortion before most women even know they’re pregnant. “This bill would effectively outlaw abortion and criminalize physicians that provide this care to their patients,” said Kellie Copeland, the group’s executive director.
Ohio lawmakers sent a bill to Gov. John Kasich that would outlaw abortions as soon as the first heartbeat is detected.
Under the U. S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling establishing a nationwide right to abortion, states were permitted to restrict abortions after viability - the point when the fetus has a reasonable chance of surviving under normal conditions outside the uterus. The ruling offered no legal definition of viability, saying it could range between 24 and 28 weeks into a pregnancy.

Ohio's 'heartbeat' abortion bill awaits Gov. Kasich's signature
Ohio legislature approves 'heartbeat' abortion bill
Ohio General Assembly approves "Heartbeat Bill," sends it to Kasich for signature
Ohio 'heartbeat' abortion bill heads to Gov. John Kasich
Ohio 'Heartbeat' Abortion Bill Heads to Governor's Desk
Ohio 'heartbeat' abortion bill heads to governor's desk
The Latest: Ohio 'heartbeat' abortion bill heads to governor


 14 /1144 

Man arrested over online threats to Brexit legal challenger Gina Miller (5.53/21)

While London's Metropolitan Police did not name Miller, she confirmed in an email to CNN that the case related to her.
The man was arrested on Monday and later released on bail "pending consideration by the Crown Prosecution Service," police said.
Miller, a 51-year-old investment banker, was the chief claimant in a case that thwarted the UK government's plans to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty -- starting the formal process of Britain leaving the European Union -- without a vote in Parliament.
Following the case, Miller says online trolls sent her rape and death threats.
The UK's Supreme Court has now begun hearing a government appeal of the Brexit case, and is expected to give its ruling in early 2017.
Developing story - more to come

Man arrested over racist threats against Brexit challenger Gina Miller
Man held over online abuse of article 50 campaigner Gina Miller
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Man, 55, is arrested on suspicion of making racist threats to Brexit challenge businesswoman Gina Miller
Police arrest man over threats to UK Brexit lawsuit claimant
Police Arrest Man Over Threats to UK Brexit Lawsuit Claimant
British police arrest man over online threats to Brexit challenger Gina Miller
Man arrested over threats made online to woman behind Brexit legal challenge


 15 /1144 

Thousands protest white nationalist's speech at Texas A&M (5.50/21)

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Texas A&M University hosted white nationalist speaker Richard Spencer, as well as a massive pro-diversity demonstration across the street.
Spencer, the self-described inventor of the alt-right movement, drew about 400 people to his speech Tuesday evening, some of them booing him as he spoke, at the school's Memorial Student Center. An online petition opposing his presence on campus gained more than 10,000 signatures. Across the street at Kyle Field, the school's football stadium, a "unity event" was held in which those in attendance shouted "Aggies Unite! " It drew more than 2,000 people.
"America, at the end of the day, belongs to the white man. Texas is a wonderful place to live and there are a lot of white men's bones in the ground to make that happen. This country does belong to white people -- culturally, socially and politically," Spencer told the audience.
Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp told the crowd at the football stadium his school is no place for racist oratory.
"If you're a purveyor of hate and divisiveness and you want to spew that kind of racism, this is the last campus on earth that you want to come to. There is no place, and there is no university where love and respect for each other and loyalty and commitment to each other is stronger than Texas A&M University. "
Added Michael Young , college president, "We're all so beautifully different. Our cultures, our shapes, our sizes, our ethnicities, our histories, our backgrounds, but our differences enrich us. Our differences make us more complete. Our message will always be louder. It will always be more true. It will always be stronger. It will always mean more. It will always do more. No matter what we do it is fearless. "
Protesters gathered and scuffled with police outside the building where Spencer spoke; two people, neither a Texas A&M student, were arrested, campus police spoke.
Spencer gained attention last month after a video surfaced of him at the annual conference of the National Policy Institute. In it, he praised President-elect Donald Trump 's election victory and it showed his supporters appearing to offer Nazi-style salutes as Spencer shouted, "Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory! "
He was invited to Texas A&M by alumni Preston Wiginton, who has regularly invited far-right speakers to speak at the campus.

WATCH: White Nationalist Speaker Sparks Campus Protests at Texas A&M
Hundreds Protest White Nationalist at Texas A&M University
Richard Spencer's appearance at Texas A&M draws protests
Hundreds Protest White Nationalist at Texas A&M University Video
Hundreds protest white nationalist’s speech at Texas A&M
White nationalist’s appearance at university draws hundreds of protesters
White nationalist Richard Spencer's speech at Texas A&M University protested by hundreds


 16 /1144 

Judge to consider requests to end recount in Michigan (5.45/21)

Detroit — A statewide recount of the Nov. 8 presidential election results could stop following a 10:30 a.m. hearing Wednesday after three days of court battles in two states.
U. S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith will consider requests from the Michigan Republican Party and state officials that effectively would halt the recount in light of a lower-court ruling Tuesday.
Late Tuesday, a Michigan Court of Appeals panel ordered the Board of State Canvassers to reconsider and reject a recount petition filed by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. The court ruled Stein did not qualify for a recount because she had no chance at winning the presidential election.
Stein, the Green Party nominee, received around 1 percent of the vote in Michigan, finishing a distant fourth to President-elect Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Libertarian Gary Johnson.
The Wednesday hearing could bring a dramatic end to a recount and conflicting legal decisions from judges in Detroit, Lansing and a federal appeals court in Cincinnati, and end a recount costing Michigan taxpayers almost $1 million a day.
Wednesday’s hearing could cap a two-day flurry of legal battles. On Sunday, Goldsmith ordered the hand recount of 4.8 million ballots start immediately. But Tuesday, with the recount underway in several counties, the 6th Circuit U. S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati suggested the judge reconsider his order if state courts ruled against Stein, which happened late Tuesday.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Goldsmith will consider requests from the state GOP and Board of State Canvassers to dissolve a temporary restraining order that has prevented state officials from stopping the recount.
Stein has not given up on a recount her lawyers argued is aimed at guaranteeing the integrity of a state voting system and proving whether voters were disenfranchised. Late Tuesday, her lawyers filed an amended lawsuit asking Goldsmith to continue the recount after raising concerns that Michigan’s voting machines are vulnerable to fraud and computer hacking.
If the recount stops, Stein “and every citizen and voter in Michigan will be left victims of a system for recording and tallying votes that is unreliable, vulnerable and unsecure,” Stein lawyer Jessica Clarke wrote.

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 17 /1144 

Official: Refrigerator potential source of deadly fire (5.33/21)

Oakland, Calif. — Investigators honed in on a refrigerator and other electrical appliances as possible causes of the fire at a warehouse in Oakland that killed 36 people, as crews were set to finish their search for bodies.
The death toll in the most lethal building fire in the U. S. in more than a decade was not expected to go higher.
A refrigerator was a potential source of the fire, but it was too soon to say for sure, said Jill Snyder, special agent in charge of the San Francisco office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Snyder said investigators were looking at “anything electrical” on the first floor of the warehouse near the origin of the blaze.
“We have no indication that this was intentionally set,” she said.
Tearful family members visited the scene Tuesday and exchanged hugs hours after the founder of the arts collective that used the warehouse stood near the gutted building and said he was “incredibly sorry.”
Derick Ion Almena said he was at the site to put his face and his body in front of the scene, but he deflected blame for the blaze, saying he signed a lease for the building that “was to city standards supposedly.”
“Everything that I did was to make this a stronger and more beautiful community and to bring people together,” Almena told the “Today Show” on NBC.
The fire broke out during a dance party Friday night in the cluttered warehouse. It had been converted to artists’ studios and illegal living spaces, and former denizens said it was a death trap of piled wood, furniture, snaking electrical cords and only two exits.
Almena did not respond to emails or calls to phone numbers associated with him by The Associated Press. He told San Jose television station KNTV that he didn’t attend the event Friday night and that he and his wife had decided to stay at a hotel because he was exhausted.
City and state officials fielded years of complaints about dangerous conditions, drugs, neglected children, trash, thefts and squabbles at the warehouse, raising questions about why it wasn’t shut down. The district attorney warned of possible murder charges as she determines whether there were any crimes linked to the blaze.
A building inspector who went to an Oakland warehouse on Nov. 17 after receiving a complaint of illegal interior construction left after being unable to get inside.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said late Tuesday the inspector followed procedure and later sent a request to the owner to gain entry. She did not reveal the outcome of that request.
Under the Oakland city code, building officials and fire marshals need court permission to enter commercial lodgings if the owner or manager refuses access.
Building inspectors typically cannot force entry to a property unless there are pressing circumstances, Schaaf said.
Crews had searched 90 percent of the building known as the “Ghost Ship” for bodies as of Tuesday and were expecting to complete the rest of the search by midnight. Fire officials started knocking down parts of the building that they said were structurally unsound.
Alameda County sheriff’s Sgt. J. D. Nelson said that of the 36 victims found, 35 have been identified and 20 of their families have been notified. Officials are still lacking any type of identity for one person.
Stories of the victims’ last minutes, meanwhile, emerged.
Alameda County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said that some of the victims texted relatives, “I’m going to die,” and “I love you.”
Rescue crews found bodies of people “protecting each other, holding each other,” Kelly said.

Oakland fire: Refrigerator fault may have been cause
Official: Refrigerator Potential Source of Deadly Fire
Refrigerator potential source of deadly fire
Fridge probed as potential source of fire that killed 36 at party
Oakland warehouse fire: Refrigerator could be source of blaze that killed 36


 18 /1144 

Resurgent Japan military 'can stand toe to toe with anybody' (5.27/21)

( CNN )Seventy-five years after Japan unleashed one of the most devastating naval attacks in history on the US fleet at Pearl Harbor , the country has again established itself as one of the world's foremost military powers, experts say.

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 19 /1144 

Merkel party backs tougher rules on dual citizens in Germany (5.21/21)

BERLIN (AP) — Members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party voted Wednesday in favor of scrapping rules that allow the children of immigrants to be dual citizens, a call that was opposed by party leaders and met with a swift rebuke from its partners in government.
Until two years ago, German-born children of immigrants from outside the European Union or Switzerland had to pick one nationality between ages 18 to 23 — a rule largely affecting Germany’s Turkish community. Merkel’s current center-left coalition partners, the Social Democrats, insisted on dropping the requirement as part of their price for entering the government after Germany’s 2013 election.
That was never popular with Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union. Delegates at a convention in Essen narrowly backed a motion from the party’s youth wing that advocated returning to the old system.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere had argued against the motion, noting that no potential coalition partner after next year’s election would agree to it.
Wednesday’s decision appears to reflect a desire among some CDU members for a sharper conservative profile. Merkel has sought to cater to that by promising that last year’s huge migrant influx won’t be repeated, backing a partial ban on face-covering veils and calls for tougher rules on deportation.
Merkel’s party leads in polls, but would likely have to turn to one of two left-leaning rivals or a socially liberal pro-business party to form a government. It says it won’t ally with the upstart nationalist Alternative for Germany, which has thrived in polls by attacking Merkel’s policies in the migrant crisis and has backed conservative positions dumped by the CDU.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas, a Social Democrat, said that toughening the dual citizenship rules would be “a gigantic setback for integration.” He said his party wouldn’t agree to such a move.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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 20 /1144 

Pfizer fined for hiking epilepsy drug price 2,600 pct in UK (4.52/21)

LONDON (AP) - British regulators fined U. S. drugmaker Pfizer and distributor Flynn Pharma a record 89.4 million pounds ($112.7 million) Wednesday for increasing the cost of an epilepsy drug by as much as 2,600 percent. Pfizer and Flynn Pharma charged "excessive and unfair prices" for the drug used by 48,000 people in Britain, the Competition and Markets Authority said. Pfizer was fined 84.2 million pounds and Flynn Pharma 5.2 million pounds. "This is the highest fine the CMA has imposed and it sends out a clear message to the sector that we are determined to crack down on such behavior and to protect customers, including the NHS, and taxpayers from being exploited," Philip Marsden, chairman of the case decision group for the investigation, said in a statement. The authority said the companies removed the official brand of Epanutin, Pfizer's name for phenytoin sodium capsules, so they could increase the price. As a result, the National Health Service saw the bill for drug increase to 50 million pounds in 2013, from 2 million pounds in 2012. "The companies deliberately exploited the opportunity offered by de-branding to hike up the price for a drug which is relied upon by many thousands of patients," Marsden said. Pfizer rejected the ruling, saying that Epanutin was a loss-making product and the deal with Flynn Pharma helped secure supplies of the drug for patients. It plans to appeal, as does Flynn Pharma. "In this transaction, and in all of our business operations, we approached this divestment with integrity, and believe it fully complies with established competition law," Pfizer said. Pfizer said the increased price of the drug was still 25 percent to 40 percent lower than the cost of an equivalent medicine by another supplier to the NHS. "The ruling highlights real policy and legal issues concerning the respective roles of both the Department of Health and the CMA, in regulating the price of pharmaceutical products in the U. K.," the company said. "Pfizer will seek clarity on these issues as part of the appeal process. " Regulators around the world are getting tough on drugmakers amid soaring prices that companies say are justified by years of research and product development. In one recent case, drugmaker Mylan said it would pay $465 million to settle allegations it overbilled Medicaid, the U. S. program that provides health insurance for poor people, for its EpiPen, used to provide emergency treatment for severe allergic reactions. In another, Turing Pharmaceuticals' former CEO Martin Shkreli increased the price of Daraprim by 5,000 percent. The drug is the only approved treatment for toxoplasmosis, a life-threatening parasitic infection that mainly strikes pregnant women, cancer patients and AIDS patients. Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pfizer fined record $107 million for hiking drug price as much as 2,600%
Britain fines Pfizer record $107 million for huge drug price hike
UK fines companies for hiking epilepsy drug price 2,600 pct
UK Fines Companies for Hiking Epilepsy Drug Price 2,600 Pct
Pfizer fined £84MILLION for ripping off NHS by hiking price of anti-epilepsy drug
Drug firms fined almost £90m after hiking cost of epilepsy drug to NHS by 2,600%
Britain fines Pfizer record $107 mln for huge drug price hike


 21 /1144 

The U. S. Will Let Taiwan’s President Transit In New York City In a Rebuff to China (4.49/21)

U. S. officials have rejected China’s request that Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen be prevented from making a stopover in New York City next month, as the fallout continues from President-elect Donald Trump’s protocol-busting phone call last

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China urges U.S. to block transit by Taiwan president


 22 /1144 

Chinese ship pulls out of MH370 search, leaving lone ship (4.30/21)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Officials say the sea bed search for the missing Malaysian airliner has been left to a single ship, with a Chinese vessel heading home to Shanghai. ...

One ship left in MH370 underwater search | Lone ship left searching for MH370 after Chinese vessel pulls out
Chinese ship pulls out of MH370 search, leaving single vessel
Lone ship left searching for MH370 after Chinese vessel pulls out
Chinese Ship Pulls out of MH370 Search, Leaving Lone Ship


 23 /1144 

FBI: No evidence to verify threat against L. A. subway system (4.29/21)

LOS ANGELES -- Authorities said they found no evidence Tuesday to corroborate a bomb threat made to Los Angeles' subway system after a day of jittery commuters and increased security when it came to the city's mass transit network, authorities said Tuesday night.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said the anonymous caller from aboard who warned of a potential attack in a call placed to a tip line did not amount to a credible threat. The threat was expected to be centered around the Universal City station along of a leg of the city's expanding subway system. Universal City is home to Universal Studios Hollywood, the theme park and studio. Authorities also suspect the caller may have provided misleading information in the past.
At a hastily called news conference Monday night, the FBI and Los Angeles-area law enforcement leaders disclosed that they have received a threat, vowed to protect the public and confirmed that they were examining the tip's credibility. Investigators were working to identify the caller's identity and the FBI warned that people reporting false threat information are subject to prosecution.
The bomb threat had Los Angeles commuters on high alert Tuesday morning, as heavily-armed deputies and search dogs were highly visible across the transit system and part of Tuesday's commute.
Garcetti, exiting the subway's Red Line at Wilshire and Vermont on Tuesday morning, encouraged residents to go about their normal business.
"I took the train from Universal City to reassure people this is a great system and a safe system," he said, adding that he wanted to "let people know I'm not asking them to do anything that I wouldn't do myself. "
About 150,000 riders use the city's Purple and Red lines each business day. Garcetti said the stepped-up security, which included temporary barriers at the Universal station, was a "precaution. " But he asked riders to be alert and to say something if they saw something.
"One of the lessons from today is that all of us can be eyes and ears on this system and throughout the city," Garcetti said.

FBI: No evidence threat to LA transit system credible
FBI: 'No Evidence' LA Metro Terror Threat Credible
Los Angeles metro system bomb threat not credible - FBI
The Latest: FBI: No evidence LA subway threat is credible
The Latest: FBI: No Evidence LA Subway Threat Is Credible


 24 /1144 

The 'crazy' Japanese billionaire who met Donald Trump has a 300-year plan (4.23/21)

But the billionaire founder and CEO of Japan's SoftBank ( SFTBF ) loves to make a splash and is rapidly gaining a global profile thanks to a series of big deals.
He met with Donald Trump in New York on Tuesday, after which the president-elect tweeted that "Masa" had agreed to invest $50 billion in the U. S. Son said he would pump the money into startups.
Related: Trump claims credit for $50 billion investment by Japanese firm
Son is obsessed with the future. During an earnings call last month, he said he wanted to be tech's Warren Buffett , and he has a 300-year plan for SoftBank ( SFTBF ). Yes, 300 years.
He wants his company to help break down language barriers and allow people to communicate telepathically.
It may seem odd that a billionaire who wants to make silent communication a reality, just met with a billionaire known for loudly expressing his views at massive rallies. But not for Son.
Related: Is Ivanka Trump mixing Japanese business with pleasure?
He has a track record of meeting directly with world leaders to talk business. Last week, he chatted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi about SoftBank's $10 billion investment in India's technology sector.
In September, he called on President Park Geun-hye to talk about investing in South Korea.
Despite his ability to open doors, he hasn't always had things easy in the U. S. SoftBank paid more than $20 billion to take control of Sprint ( S ) in 2012, but regulators blocked his attempt to merge the struggling mobile carrier with T-Mobile ( TMUS ) in 2014.
After Tuesday's meeting, Son said he decided to back American startups because Trump had made deregulation part of his platform.
Related: Softbank buys Britain's ARM Holdings in record $32 billion deal
Tuesday's announcement wasn't the first deal Son has struck after a huge political shift. SoftBank bought Britain's ARM Holdings in a record $32 billion deal less than a month after the U. K. voted to leave the European Union.
" Brexit did not effect my decision," Son told reporters at the time. "I was waiting to have the cash on hand. "
Early investor in Yahoo and Alibaba
But the timing of the deal meant Softbank bought a prized asset on the cheap, when the pound was down more than 27% against the yen.
SoftBank has invested in some highly-valued tech startups across the world. Among them: personal finance firm SoFi and Uber competitors Ola in India, Grab in southeast Asia and Didi Chuxing in China, according to PitchBook.
Son was one of the earliest investors in Yahoo ( YHOO , Tech30 ) , from which he made a fortune. He also got in early on Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba ( BABA , Tech30 ) , taking a 32% stake in the company.
Related: Big shareholder Softbank dumping nearly $8 billion in Alibaba stock bust nearly wiped him out
SoftBank recently took a hit from its Sprint acquisition. But Son has lost big before. As the bubble burst, he reportedly lost $70 billion in one day. He admits that 99% of his net worth was wiped out in 2000.
His latest big venture is a $100 billion fund launched by SoftBank and the government of Saudi Arabia in October. "Life's too short" to do anything small, Son said recently in India.
An avid Tweeter
Like Trump, Son has a huge following on Twitter, and has used it to post thought provoking questions.
In 2010, Son asked his Twitter followers: "What would be the saddest thing in your life? " The most common answers were death, loneliness and despair, according to SoftBank.
In response, the company added a lofty goal to its corporate philosophy: ensuring no one is left alone. SoftBank partnered with Foxconn to make Pepper, a robot pal that learns to love people.
Son also wants to build computers that invent machines to help raise life expectancy to 200 years.
Ethnically Korean, Son was born in Kyusu, Japan. He went to college in the U. S., graduating from the University of California at Berkeley in 1980 with a degree in economics. When he was 20, he invented a pocket translator he sold to Sharp Corporation for $1 million.
Son founded SoftBank in Japan in 1981 with two part-time workers and a small office. Today, he's worth $18.7 billion, according to Forbes.
When the 59-year-old dies -- a few years from now or when he's 200 -- he has said he wants to be remembered as "a crazy guy who bet on the future. "

Japan's deal maker, Softbank tycoon Masayoshi Son
Japan’s deal maker, Softbank tycoon Masayoshi Son
Trump: Japanese mogul pledges $50B U.S. investment
Trump: Japanese mogul pledges $50 billion US investment


 25 /1144 

Russian military adviser in Aleppo dies of shelling wounds (4.23/21)

MOSCOW, Dec 7 (Reuters) - A Russian military adviser in Aleppo has died of wounds sustained in a mortar attack carried out by Syrian opposition rebels, the Kremlin confirmed on Wednesday, the third Russian fatality in Syria this week. Russian news agencies had previously cited the defence ministry as saying that Colonel Ruslan Galitsky had died after being wounded in the shelling of western Aleppo. Local media in eastern Russia said Galitsky had served as the commander of a tank brigade in Ulan Ude before going to Syria. They said he had been injured in Aleppo on Monday in rebel shelling of a Russian military field hospital. The defence ministry has previously said that two female Russian medics died in and after the same attack. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Galitsky would be posthumously given a top military award. (Reporting by Andrew Osborn, Maria Kiselyova and Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Maria Kiselyova)

Kremlin says exit deal for Aleppo rebels still on agenda
Senior Russian officer dies from wounds in Syria's Aleppo
Senior Russian Officer Dies From Wounds in Syria's Aleppo
Russian military adviser dies after ‘opposition’ shelling in Aleppo – MoD — RT News


 26 /1144 

Study: Thousands of Bangladesh kids working 64 hours a week (4.20/21)

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Thousands of Bangladeshi children who live in the capital's slums are working illegally for an average of 64 hours a week, with many employed by the garment industry making clothing for top global brands, according to…...

Thousands of children in Bangladesh working 64 hours a week, study suggests
Study: Thousands of Bangladesh Kids Working 64 Hours a Week
Bangladesh child labourers toil 64 hours a week: survey
Bangladesh child labourers toil 64 hours a week


 27 /1144 

South Korean President Park Seen Likely to Be Voted Out (4.18/21)

SEOUL—Lawmakers grilled a former aide to President Park Geun-hye and several former government officials on Wednesday over their alleged involvement in an influence-peddling scandal that appears likely to unseat the president from power in a Friday impeachment vote.
That would mark a dramatic downfall for a leader that took office in 2013 pledging to break from the graft-tinged administrations that preceded her. It would also add...

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A look at the rise and fall of South Korea's president
A look at the rise and fall of South Korea’s president
A Look at the Rise and Fall of South Korea's President


 28 /1144 

Dylann Roof's hate-crimes trial to begin after confusion over whether he would represent himself (4.16/21)

Opening statements are set to begin this week in the federal hate crimes trial of Dylann Roof , the self-avowed white supremacist who is charged with killing nine black worshipers at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S. C.
After an extraordinary legal back-and-forth between Roof and his attorneys, many in Charleston and across the nation are bracing for an ugly courtroom spectacle.
Last week, Roof chose to represent himself during the initial stages of jury selection. Yet on Monday, U. S. District Judge Richard Gergel agreed to Roof’s request to reinstate his legal team for the guilty phase of the trial. Roof now plans to represent himself only during the penalty phase, when the jury would decide whether to sentence him to death or life in prison.
Reinstating Roof’s lawyers for the bulk of the trial ends the unsettling prospect that he would personally examine survivors and family members of victims who may testify. Yet it allows the possibility that the 22-year-old may sabotage his sentencing, potentially withholding information about his mental health and encouraging a jury to send him to death row.
The Roof trial marks the first time in U. S. history that the state and federal governments have pursued parallel death row cases for the same defendant. In January, Roof faces a second potential death sentence on charges of murder and attempted murder in a separate state trial.
For many onlookers here and across the country, the facts of the massacre are clear: Several people witnessed Roof shoot worshipers at their Bible study session on June 17, 2015; even Roof’s attorneys note that their client has consistently offered to plead guilty.
“The sole issue,” they argued in a filing last week, is “whether the federal death penalty will be inflicted.”
In a 33-count indictment, the Department of Justice charged Roof with 12 counts of committing a hate crime against black victims, 12 counts of obstructing the exercise of religion and nine counts of using a firearm to commit murder. It sought the death penalty on the basis that Roof “demonstrated a lack of remorse” and “his animosity towards African Americans played a role in the murders.”
In an online manifesto written before the massacre, Roof used racial slurs to describe African Americans and posted images of himself posing with a Confederate battle flag and a Glock .45-caliber pistol.
If Roof tried to hide any evidence of potential mental illness or emotional disturbance from the jury, legal observers say, he would limit jurors’ ability to fully assess his moral culpability.
Early on, Roof’s attorneys filed paperwork stating they planned to introduce expert evidence that would demonstrate “mental disease or defect or any other mental condition bearing on the issue of punishment.”
In a court motion last week, they noted that capital defendants often choose to represent themselves “in order to prevent presentation of mitigating evidence at the penalty phase of their trials that they cannot bear to have revealed.”
“It appears to me that Dylann Roof really wants to live,” said Christopher Adams, a Charleston attorney who specializes in federal court defenses. “However, it seems equally clear he would rather die and get sentenced to death than for the world and the jurors to find out about his mental health situation.”
While a defendant has a constitutional right to represent himself under the 6th Amendment, the 8th Amendment guarantees the right to a fair sentencing, which requires heightened scrutiny in a capital case. The Supreme Court has never ruled on whether a defendant who faces the death penalty may self-represent and deprive the jurors of crucial sentencing information.
“There’s a huge difference in the mind of a jury between someone who is evil and despicable and someone who is mentally ill,” said Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. “When an emotionally disturbed or mentally ill defendant prevents the jury from learning of the nature and extent of his mental illness or disturbance, it has an effect that reverberates through the entire court proceedings.”
The conflict between Roof and his attorneys became public last month when the defense team raised questions about his mental state, asking the judge to declare him incompetent to stand trial. Judge Gergel ordered Roof to take a psychiatric competency assessment, but the precise nature of Roof’s mental health remains unclear because the two-day hearing was closed to the public.
Ultimately, Gergel found Roof capable of standing trial, arguing that the ninth-grade high school dropout had an “extremely high IQ” and was able to understand courtroom proceedings. Yet legal experts note that there is a clear difference between intellectual ability and judgment. “You can have an understanding of the legal process, but that does not mean you are any less mentally ill or emotionally disturbed,” Dunham said.
Reluctantly, Gergel allowed Roof to represent himself, saying he considered it “strategically unwise” but “a decision you have the right to make,” according to the Charleston Post and Courier newspaper. Roof’s death penalty attorney, David Bruck, had his role reduced to standby counsel, advising Roof but unable to make objections or question witnesses.
As Roof struggled to articulate points in jury selection last week and took on a largely passive role, the judge would not allow his standby counsel to make objections. As a result, a process that was expected to take several weeks was over within a week. His former lawyers argued in a motion that the government risked violating Roof’s constitutional rights by refusing to “authorize reasonable, limited assistance” and allow him to “call on experienced counsel the Court appointed to stand by him to help him find the words he needs.”
Some legal observers say Roof’s initial decision to waive counsel has already had an irreversible impact on the trial, allowing the bulk of jury selection to go on without extended questioning by experienced death penalty attorneys. Many observers expect appeals.
On Sunday, Roof filed a motion asking Gergel to let the defense team represent him again. “I would like to ask if my lawyers can represent me for the guilt phase of the trial only,” he requested in a note that was handwritten on lined paper. “Can you let me have them back for the guilt phase, and then let me represent myself for the sentencing phase of the trial?”
As Gergel granted Roof permission to bring his legal team back on board, he warned Roof he could not change his mind again if he disagrees with their performance. He can, however, reverse his decision to represent himself during sentencing.
It is unusual, though not unprecedented, for a death row defendant to act as his own attorney – particularly in a case in which a highly experienced legal team has been provided.
Last year, Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., a white supremacist who killed three people at two Jewish centers in Kansas, received the death penalty after representing himself. He told jurors he didn't care what sentence was handed down and yelled, “Heil, Hitler!” after he was sentenced to death.
In 2013, U. S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan , who killed 13 people at the Ft. Hood military base in Texas, confessed to the shootings in his opening statement, arguing that he had switched sides to become a guerrilla fighter defending the Taliban. During his trial, he did not call witnesses or offer testimony.
Splitting representation with attorneys during the course of the trial, as Roof is proposing, is even more rare. Occasionally, a defendant might represent himself at trial and then, upon becoming despondent after the verdict, turn to a lawyer for the penalty phase. But it is highly unusual for a defendant to ask an attorney to represent him only for the guilt phase.
“Everything about this case is unique,” Dunham said. “I’m not sure we can be surprised by anything that might happen.”
Beyonce leads today’s Grammy nominations with nine , California’s new legislative session began in dramatic fashion , Ben Carson is Donald Trump's pick to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development , and former L. A. County Sheriff Lee Baca was once a powerful and celebrated lawman but now he's at the center of a public corruption trial.
Flowers placed near the site of the Oakland warehouse fire. Video by Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times
Protesting the Dakota Access pipeline (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
The victims of the deadly Oakland fire , who’s to blame for one of the worst fires in California history , Dakota Access pipeline opponents have claimed a big victory for now , and robots are taking over many warehouse jobs in California.
The victims of the deadly Oakland fire , who’s to blame for one of the worst fires in California history , Dakota Access pipeline opponents have claimed a big victory for now , and robots are taking over many warehouse jobs in California .
An all-girls, all-Muslim team financed by online fundraising, 75 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor the family of sailor Edwin Hopkins' finally got to hold his funeral, Nancy Paulikas went into a bathroom at LACMA on Oct. 15, then she vanished, it's been a year since the San Bernardino attack that killed 14 and injured 22, legalized marijuana supporters are worried about Trump's pick for attorney general, more and more Central Americans who can't get into the U. S. are trying to start over in Mexico, and Donald Trump is set to preside over the most affluent Cabinet in U. S. history.
An all-girls, all-Muslim team financed by online fundraising, 75 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor the family of sailor Edwin Hopkins' finally got to hold his funeral, Nancy Paulikas went into a bathroom at LACMA on Oct. 15, then she vanished, it's been a year since the San Bernardino attack that killed 14 and injured 22, legalized marijuana supporters are worried about Trump's pick for attorney general, more and more Central Americans who can't get into the U. S. are trying to start over in Mexico, and Donald Trump is set to preside over the most affluent Cabinet in U. S. history.

'We are still in mourning': Charleston congregants prepare for Dylann Roof trial 'We are still in mourning': Charleston congregants prepare for Dylann Roof trial
Pearl Harbor, Dylann Roof, Starbucks and more: 5 things you need to know Wednesday
Trial to Begin for Charleston Church Shooting Suspect Dylann Roof
No trial delay for Dylann Roof after officer's mistrial


 29 /1144 

Aide Says Trump Sold Stocks in June, Provides No Evidence (3.44/21)

President-elect Donald Trump sold all of his stocks in June as he plunged into the costly general election campaign, his transition team abruptly announced Tuesday. His advisers provided no proof of the transactions and would not explain the apparent sell-off.
The announcement comes amid swirling questions about potential conflicts of interest between Trump's expansive financial holdings and the decisions that will reach his desk as president. Some details of Trump's finances are unknown given that he never released his tax returns during the presidential campaign, breaking decades of precedent.
On Tuesday, Trump said the government should cancel its multibillion-dollar order with Boeing for new Air Force One presidential planes. Asked on a conference call with reporters whether Trump had investments in Boeing, spokesman Jason Miller said the president-elect had sold all of his stocks in June.
Trump's campaign did not announce the sell-off at the time, despite the fact that it could have been politically advantageous for the businessman to be seen taking steps to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Miller, as well as other transition officials and lawyers from the Trump Organization, did not respond to requests from The Associated Press to provide evidence of the transactions.
As of May, Trump reported owning millions of dollars' worth of individual stocks, though he had more money in company specific investments through bonds, mutual funds and private equity investments, according to his 104-page public financial disclosure, which all presidential candidates are required to file. It's not clear whether the comments Tuesday referenced Trump's nonstock holdings.
Trump reported in May an investment in Boeing worth between $50,000 and $100,000. Other investments were in companies — such as Ford Motor Co., V F Corp. and Thermo Fisher Scientific — that in recent years have moved jobs outside the U. S., a practice that Trump heavily criticized during the campaign.
The disclosure also showed Trump held a small amount of stock in Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners and at least $100,000 in the energy company Phillips 66, both of which are involved in the disputed Dakota Access oil pipeline. Earlier this week, the Army declined to issue a permit for the pipeline to cross the Missouri River reservoir in North Dakota. Trump supports construction of the pipeline, and aides say he will review the project after taking office.
All presidents since Ronald Reagan have filed public financial disclosures in their first year in office, though they weren't required to do so until their second year. For Trump, that means he won't have to file another disclosure until mid-2018 unless he chooses to file earlier.
At the time of Trump's apparent June stocks sell-off, the businessman was immersed in the expensive general election campaign. He'd poured more than $47 million of his own money into the primary campaign through a series of loans.
But in June, he adjusted his self-investment strategy, according to federal campaign finance filings. That month, Trump slowed his giving, making monthly campaign donations of about $2 million as his campaign came to rely more heavily on outside donations. He made a late $10 million investment in the final days leading up to the election.
During the first general election debate in September, Trump took a decidedly bleak view of the stock market and the possibility of the Federal Reserve raising short-term interest rates.
"We're in a bubble right now," he said. "And the only thing that looks good is the stock market, but if you raise interest rates even a little bit, that's going to come crashing down. "
Market watchers expect the Fed to raise rates next week in recognition of the improving job market.
Associated Press writers Josh Boak and Stephen Braun contributed to this report.
On Twitter, follow Julie Pace at and Chad Day at

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 30 /1144 

Lucky for us, Trump has Mattis all wrong: Democratic congressman (3.31/21)

Retired Marine general James Mattis was my division commander in the Marines, and the first time I heard him speak was in the windswept Kuwaiti desert on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. Standing atop his Humvee, he told us how he planned to duct tape Saddam Hussein to the front of the truck when we got to Baghdad and drive around the city — and we eager young Marines roared with approval.
This is the kind of story that earned Mattis his nickname “Mad Dog,” and the kind of bravado that attracted President-elect Trump to select him to serve as secretary of Defense.
The good news for our country is that Trump has Mattis all wrong.
The first sign was when Trump expressed surprise after their first meeting that Mattis is opposed to torture. Since then, it has come out that Mattis is, like most foreign policy professionals on both sides of the aisle, opposed to Trump’s desire to rip up the Iran deal. The agreement is far from perfect, but the restrictions and inspections it places on Iran are far better than nothing at all.
In fact, when you get to know Mattis, you quickly learn that he is one of the most thoughtful strategic thinkers we have. A true “warrior scholar,” he co-authored with David Petraeus the counter-insurgency doctrine that turned around the war in Iraq. He’s exceptionally well-read — he assembled a library of nearly 7,000 volumes and can cite passages at will. And most importantly, he’s a truly moral leader.
On the eve of the Iraq invasion, Mattis offered us far more than tough talk. He also reminded us to engage our brains before our weapons, and treat all noncombatants with decency, chivalry, and compassion. He reminded us of the fundamental rights and values for which America stands, and he has never accepted compromising those values even in the brutal pursuit of killing our enemies.
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There are legitimate concerns about his nomination when it comes to the fundamental principle of civilian control of the military. The law requires a former service member to wait seven years before serving as secretary of Defense, and Mattis retired only three years ago. It’s our job in Congress to seriously debate whether to grant an exemption to current law. The importance of this principle merits a standalone bill, not an attempt to shoehorn an exemption into a larger government funding bill as currently planned.
Should the exemption be approved, it would not be without precedent. The last time it was done was on behalf of Democrat Harry Truman , who named George Marshall his Defense secretary in 1950 — less than five years after his retirement from the Army.
Amidst a cabinet that is shaping up to be nearly as unqualified as our new president, including a secretary of Education who has never attended a public school and a Treasury secretary who made millions off foreclosures at the height of the financial crisis, Mattis stands out as a remarkably qualified leader, and I know he is someone who will actually stand up to President Trump. Before Trump realizes this himself, Democrats would be wise to have this debate and then grant an exemption to confirm him as our next secretary of Defense.
Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., is an Iraq war veteran who served under then-Gen. Mattis in the first of four tours of duty in the Marines.
You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page , on Twitter @USATOpinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To submit a letter, comment or column, check our submission guidelines.

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 31 /1144 

How Trump’s Call With Taiwan Could Affect U. S. Goals in Asia (3.27/21)

President-elect Donald J. Trump has already made a significant foreign policy move by speaking on the phone with Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan. The call shattered decades of diplomatic protocol and raised questions about Mr. Trump’s China strategy.
Paul Haenle , the director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing, is well positioned to gauge Mr. Trump’s action and its consequences. Mr. Haenle is a retired United States Army officer whose interest in East Asia began in the early 1990s, with a deployment to South Korea. He had China -related military assignments at the embassy in Beijing and the Pentagon before serving on the National Security Council for five years. He was China director for the council under President George W. Bush and President Obama.
In an edited interview, Mr. Haenle shares his thoughts on the United States-China relationship in the context of Mr. Trump, Taiwan and North Korea’s nuclear program.
What is your assessment of Mr. Trump’s phone call last Friday with Ms. Tsai?
When President-elect Trump deflected criticism of the call by saying it was Tsai Ing-wen that called him, that seemed to play perfectly into China’s hands. The next day, the Chinese foreign minister chalked the call up to “just a small trick by Taiwan.” China will likely now be looking for ways to punish Tsai for the incident. Will the president-elect stand up for Taiwan when that happens? This is one of the real concerns of those who have pushed back against publicizing the phone call.
What do you predict for United States-China-Taiwan relations in the coming years? When you were on the National Security Council, how was this issue managed, and has the nature of the issue evolved since then?
It is difficult to see how Washington, Beijing and Taipei get to a good place on the Taiwan question in the next several years given the leaderships in each capital.
In my own experience working in the White House during the Chen Shui-bian era, tension in the Taiwan Strait sucked up a lot of the oxygen in the U. S.-China relationship. When tension over Taiwan is at the forefront of U. S.-China relations, it can consume our agenda in a way that prevents us from achieving other important policy objectives, such as making progress on the increasingly dangerous North Korea nuclear issue.
What has been the reaction from your Chinese associates after both Mr. Trump’s win in the election and the Trump-Tsai phone call?
Many Chinese I know had concluded during the campaign that Trump would be good for China because he would be a transactional and pragmatic leader. Unlike Secretary Clinton, he might not inject human rights and values in the relationship. Chinese assumed based on his campaign rhetoric that Trump would retreat from Asia, place less emphasis on U. S. alliance commitments and therefore put less strategic pressure on China.
The Trump-Tsai call was a reality check. The most common reaction I have heard in Beijing is a Chinese saying: to give up one’s illusions. It’s increasingly apparent in China that the Trump administration’s vision for the Asia-Pacific will likely mean more strategic pressure, not less. This has been signaled not just on the Taiwan issue, but also in the South China Sea, with Trump’s advisers promising to rebuild the U. S. Navy and repeal defense sequestration, and on North Korea, where Trump has expressed intention to further pressure China in order to make progress on dealing with the nuclear issue.
In the next four years, what do you see as the biggest potential areas of both tension and cooperation in the United States-China relationship?
In my perspective, North Korea is the clearest threat we face in the Asia-Pacific region in the near term. The threat assessment has changed in the past year or two, and there is a growing consensus that this issue will need to be addressed under the next administration through a redoubling of deterrence measures, sanctions and diplomacy. It will be important for the Trump administration to explore whether we can work effectively with China on this issue. If China is unwilling to take necessary steps, the U. S. may need to move forward unilaterally and with allies to put in place more robust sanctions and to strengthen missile defense systems in the region.
This question is connected to how we assess the Trump-Tsai phone call. If we consider dealing with the threat of North Korean or Iranian nuclear proliferation as top national security threats facing the United States, we need to account for whether or not China’s cooperation would be important in achieving those objectives as we outline our strategy in Asia. In that context, it’s hard to understand how it would make strategic sense that the Tsai call would be the first thing the Trump administration would seek to do as it builds a strategy that is tied to broader U. S. regional interests and objectives.
What advice would you give Trump on how to handle the relationship?
While we need to compete with China and deal firmly in areas where we disagree or feel that U. S. interests are being undermined, there are many issues in the world tied to U. S. interests that come back to whether or not the U. S. and China can work together.
From that standpoint, it will be very important for President-elect Trump to meet early on with the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, and to build a personal relationship with him.

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 32 /1144 

Michigan avoids near-disaster with narrow, ugly win over Texas (3.27/21)

ANN ARBOR -- Michigan seemingly did everything it could to lose, but walked out with a win. The Wolverines posted a 53-50 victory over Texas on Wednesday, improving to 6-2 on the season.
Some immediate observations from Crisler Center:
* As far as a non-conference game on December 7 can be a must-win game, this was a must-win game. Michigan had to have it. With non-conference losses to South Carolina and Virginia Tech already on the docket -- two programs that don't exactly stand out on any NCAA Tournament resume -- the Wolverines flat-out could not afford to lose a home game to Texas, which already has dropped double-digit losses Northwestern, Colorado and UT Arlington. Not only did Michigan have to win for the sake of winning, but another loss could have crippled this team's confidence. John Beilein's group has to head to Los Angeles this weekend for a game against No. 2 UCLA. A loss on Tuesday, coupled with a presumed loss on Saturday, would have left this U-M team with a 5-4 record and no breathing room.
* Michigan still isn't playing the way it wants to offensively, not even close. Beilein said after Tuesday's win that he wants some up-pace play with a suitable transition attack. Instead, the Wolverines seem content to run half-court offense possession after possession, often pulling every second off the shot clock. The Wolverines scored two fast-break points in a tedious 61-possession game. For a program that's known for its offense, it seems to be making offense about as difficult as possible.
* On the flip-side, the defense is improving. Inside and outside, the Wolverines consistently defended Texas, avoiding those dreaded stretches of blown possessions. It was especially noteworthy given that the offense seemed to drag so much energy from the team that it was still able to dig-in on the other end. For the most part, every Texas player was held in check, other than Tevin Mack, who topped his season average by four points, scoring 18 against U-M. In the frontcourt, though, Michigan played some of its best post defense of the year against a team with serviceable bigs. While the ball-screen defense was sometimes shaky, including some bad spots for Moritz Wagner, which landed him on the bench with a few fouls, the Wolverines ultimately held their own.

UM's Mo Wagner on pivotal block in win
Michigan snatches victory from Texas
Wagner comes up big as Michigan edges Texas 53-50
Michigan struggles on offense, but survives Texas, 53-50
Moritz Wagner's one-man show lifts Michigan past Texas for hard-fought win
Game thread: Michigan beats Texas, 53-50


 33 /1144 

China accuses Taiwan leader of 'ulterior political intentions' over US stopover (3.24/21)

China has accused Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen of seeking to use a planned transit stop in the US to score diplomatic points.
The comments come amid Chinese rancour over an unprecedented phone call between Ms Tsai and US President-elect Donald Trump.
Asked at a briefing whether China has asked the US to cancel the stop planned for next month, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated China's claim to sovereignty over Taiwan and accused Ms Tsai of political machinations.
"Taiwan's administration and leader always perform some petty moves like a transit diplomacy whose ulterior political intentions are clear for all to see," Mr Lu said.
Ms Tsai plans to stop in the US on her way to visit Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador, among the island's handful of diplomatic allies.
China, which claims Taiwan as a breakaway province, objects to any nation having formal contact with its government.
The island has diplomatic relations with just 22 countries, 12 of which are in Central America and the Caribbean.
The phone conversation last Friday between Ms Tsai and Mr Trump broke a more than four-decade-old precedent barring such direct communication, and set off a firestorm of controversy in Washington over Mr Trump's apparent indifference to diplomatic protocol.
Since the US switched relations from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, the sides have had only unofficial diplomatic dealings, although the US remains a key ally of Taiwan and by law must ensure the island can maintain a credible defence.
China, which split with Taiwan during a civil war in 1949, continues to threaten to use force to reunify with it if deemed necessary.
Beijing cut off contacts with Ms Tsai's government earlier this year over her refusal to endorse the concept that China and Taiwan remain part of a single Chinese nation despite their present state of division.
That brought a shuddering halt to the trend in recent years of warming ties between the former arch-rivals.
In Taipei, presidential spokesman Alex Huang said that Taiwan considered it of equal importance to maintain good relations with both the US and China, but also took a swipe at China's response.
"Such overreaction is unnecessary and is also not conducive to the normal development of (Taiwan-China) relations," Mr Huang was quoted as saying by Taiwan's official Central News Agency.

China warns US on Taiwan leader's planned transit
China Warns US on Taiwan Leader's Planned Transit
China warns US on Taiwan leader’s planned transit


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Trump’s promises to Americans are being kept to corporations (3.24/21)

By Eugene Robinson
Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 | 2 a.m.
President-elect Donald Trump promised to punish U. S. companies that ship manufacturing jobs out of the country. Instead, judging from the way he has handled Carrier, he plans to reward them. Quite handsomely, in fact.
As should be standard practice with Trump, pay attention to the substance, not the theater. United Technologies, the parent company of air-conditioner maker Carrier, has been threatening to move more than 2,000 jobs from Indiana to Mexico. Trump addressed this specifically during his campaign, vowing to hit the company with a punitive tariff.
“If they’re going to fire all their people, move their plant to Mexico, build air conditioners and think they’re going to sell those air conditioners to the United States, there’s going to be a tax,” Trump said on “Meet the Press” in the summer. “It could be 25 percent, it could be 35 percent, it could be 15 percent, I haven’t determined.”
As it turns out, how about zero percent?
In fact, how about giving United Technologies state tax breaks worth about $7 million over the next decade in exchange for moving only 1,300 jobs to Mexico? That’s basically the deal offered by Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who happens to be governor of Indiana (and thus in a position to offer the tax relief).
For the roughly 850 workers who thought they were losing their jobs to Mexico but now will keep them, this is great news. I am happy for them and their families, and I understand why they would feel grateful to Trump. But I don’t understand why anyone else would consider this a good deal — except, of course, the leadership team at United Technologies, which must have sore knuckles from all the fist-bumping.
The company still gets to lay off most of the targeted Indiana workers and replace them with much cheaper Mexican labor. It gets partial compensation from the state government. And instead of worrying about a potential tariff, United Technologies can anticipate a major reduction in the federal corporate tax rate. That’s something Trump promised on the campaign trail — and also, reportedly, in a recent phone call with United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes.
Writing in a Washington Post op-ed, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont put it this way: “Just a short few months ago, Trump was pledging to force United Technologies to ‘pay a damn tax.’ ... Instead of a damn tax, the company will be rewarded with a damn tax cut. Wow! How’s that for standing up to corporate greed? How’s that for punishing corporations that shut down in the United States and move abroad?”
So imagine you’re a CEO who wants to send, say, 5,000 manufacturing jobs overseas. Having learned from the Carrier example, you might begin by announcing that unfortunately you are forced to eliminate 10,000 jobs because of the crushing tax burden. Even if you really want to move the jobs to Vietnam or Kenya, just say you’re looking at possible sites for a new plant in Mexico. That’s sure to get Trump’s attention.
When Trump calls offering tax breaks or enterprise zone incentives or free rounds of golf in Scotland, whatever goodies he tosses in, hold out for a while — then reluctantly, in the spirit of patriotism and Making America Great Again, announce you’ve agreed to cancel half of the 10,000 job cuts. You’d still be meeting your original goal of eliminating 5,000 jobs, only now you’d also have a lower corporate tax bill and a tee time at Turnberry.
The Carrier deal is just the latest piece of evidence suggesting that Trump’s populist rhetoric about championing the working stiff and cracking down on greedy globalist corporations was all a bunch of hooey. His administration is shaping up to be a government of, by and for corporate America.
His nominee for treasury secretary is Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive and hedge fund tycoon. His nominee for commerce secretary is Wilbur Ross, a billionaire industrialist. His pick to serve as Ross’ deputy is Todd Ricketts, the son of a billionaire and the co-owner of the Chicago Cubs. His choice as education secretary is Betsy DeVos, the billionaire daughter-in-law of the co-founder of Amway.
When Trump conducts meetings of his Cabinet, he may not end up being the richest person at the table.
We should pay less attention to what he says, or tweets, and more to what he actually does. So far, this is not a team of rivals but a team of plutocrats. Trickle-down economics isn’t what Trump’s supporters voted for, but it looks like what they’ll get.
Eugene Robinson is a columnist for The Washington Post.

Michael Moore: “The American People Do Not Support” President-Elect Trump
The 5 Easiest and 5 Most Difficult Promises for Donald Trump to Keep
Corporate America Unnerved By Donald Trump


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Former NFL stars Marshawn Lynch, Joshua Johnson raising money for Oakland fire victims, families (3.22/21)

Oakland natives and former NFL stars Joshua Johnson and Marshawn Lynch are raising money for victims of the Ghost Ship fire and their families. Their Fam First Family Foundation is accepting online donations. Click here to make an online donation. You can also make donations in person at Beast Mode Apparel, located in Oakland on Broadway between 8th and 9th streets. They're open on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Latest: More victims in Oakland fire publicly identified
Oakland fire investigators nearing end of search for victims, seeking to zero in on cause
Brooklyn filmmaker who moved to Oakland was among victims of ‘Ghost Ship’ warehouse fire


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Charleston church shooting suspect's trial set to begin (3.20/21)

The white man who authorities said wanted to start a race war by killing nine black people in a South Carolina church is getting ready to stand trial in a city already bruised by a former police officer's racially charged murder trial that

Charleston church shooting suspect’s trial set to begin
Trial to Begin for Charleston Church Shooting Suspect Dylann Roof
Charleston Church Shooting Suspect's Trial Set to Begin
Charleston Massacre trial set to be grisly, horrifying — and heartbreaking


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Duterte defends police accused of killing drug-linked mayor (3.20/21)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte staunchly defended on Wednesday more than two dozen policemen who were accused by the government's main investigation agency of killing a jailed mayor linked to illegal drugs.
Duterte said he still believes the accounts of the policemen, who said Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and another inmate, Raul Yap, died in their cells when they shot it out with police during a Nov. 5 raid in a jail in central Leyte province. The president said he was willing to go to jail for his policemen.
After weeks of investigation, the National Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday it determined that the two inmates died in a police "rubout" and not a shootout. The NBI, the equivalent of America's FBI, said the policemen likely placed pistols and illegal drugs in the cells of the two slain inmates to justify the police raid.
"What the police stated is the truth for me," Duterte said in a speech Wednesday. He added that he would not allow the policemen to go to jail.
The NBI findings cast a black mark on Duterte's deadly anti-drug crackdown, which has alarmed Western governments and human rights groups. There have been suspicions that some of the more than 4,000 slain drug suspects may have been killed deliberately by law enforcers and did not die in gunbattles as claimed by police.
NBI spokesman Ferdinand Lavin said Tuesday the bureau filed murder complaints against the policemen at the Department of Justice last Friday. Prosecutors will rule whether there is enough evidence to indict the policemen.
All the policemen involved in the raid at the jail conspired to kill Espinosa and Yap and cover up the murders, Lavin said.
Espinosa's death has sparked skepticism even among politicians backing Duterte's crackdown because of the apparent brazenness of the killings. He had surrendered to the national police chief in a nationally televised event after he and more than 160 other officials were named publicly by Duterte in August as part of a shame campaign.
Espinosa was later released, but was arrested and jailed in October after being indicted on drug and firearm charges. His son, an alleged drug lord, was arrested in the United Arab Emirates in October and has been repatriated to the Philippines, where he has acknowledged past involvement in illegal drugs.

Philippines' Duterte vows to protect police after inquiry shows "rub out"
‘Duterte bordering impeachability in defending cops in Espinosa slay’
Duterte Defends Police Accused of Killing Drug-Linked Mayor
Duterte defends cops accused by gov't probers of murders
Duterte: I won’t allow cops who killed Mayor Espinosa go to jail


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Three banks fined total of £412m over conspiring to rig interest rate market (3.18/21)

The European Commission has fined HSBC, JPMorgan and Credit Agricole a total of 485 million euro (£412 million) for their role as part of a cartel that conspired to rig interest rate derivatives. The EU's antitrust watchdog said the banks colluded on manipulating euro interest rate derivative pricing elements and exchanged sensitive information "to distort the normal course of pricing". HSBC was fined 33.6 million euro (£28.6 million), Credit Agricole 114.7 million euro (£97.6 million) and JPMorgan 337.2 million euro (£287 million) for breaching regulation. Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: "A sound and competitive financial sector is essential for investment and growth. Banks have to respect EU competition rules just like any other company operating in the Single Market. " The case covers manipulation of financial contracts linked to the benchmark Euribor interest rate in the period between 2005 and 2008. In 2013, antitrust regulators reached a settlement with Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Societe Generale as part of the same case. The Commission added: "The participating traders of the banks were in regular contact through corporate chat-rooms or instant messaging services. "The traders' aim was to distort the normal course of pricing components for euro interest rate derivatives. "They did this by telling each other their desired or intended Euribor submissions and by exchanging sensitive information on their trading positions or on their trading or pricing strategies. "

EU fines HSBC, JP Morgan, Credit Agricole rigging Euribor rate
EU Fines 3 Banks $520 Million Over Rate Market Rigging
EU fines 3 banks $520 million over rate market rigging
EU fines three banks over market rigging


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NBA: Spurs rally, roll toward history on the road (3.15/21)

The San Antonio Spurs erased an early 10-point deficit to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 105-91 on Tuesday and extend their perfect record on the road to 13-0.
The Spurs are closing in on NBA history. They became just the second team to win their first 13 away games, after the Golden State Warriors won their first 14 of last season.
San Antonio notched away win No. 13 without veteran stars Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, with Parker ruled out because of a knee contusion and Ginobili in uniform but on the bench on the second night of back-to-back games.
Kawhi Leonard more than took up the slack, scoring 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting. Australian guard Patty Mills came off the bench to add 15 points, five assists and four rebounds.
Having twice trailed by 10 in the first half, the Spurs were down 46-43 at the interval.
As they did on Monday against the Bucks in Milwaukee, the Spurs produced a big third quarter to take control, out-scoring the Timberwolves 29-18 in the period.
Mills said he didn’t know why the Spurs have been so successful on the road.
“Not sure, mate,” he said. “It’s hard to win an NBA game, especially on the road.
“Maybe (it’s) that extra focus,” he added. “Knowing that we’re in another team’s building and them trying to come out and wanting to beat us, there’s that little bit extra focus or energy.”
Grizzlies win again
The Grizzlies notched their fourth straight win, holding on to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 96-91 in a tight contest in Memphis.
Spanish center Marc Gasol scored 26 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who trailed 77-76 going into the fourth quarter.
After surrendering the lead, the 76ers produced a late 8-0 scoring run to regain a 91-89 advantage with 1:57 to play.
But Memphis power forward Zach Randolph tied the game at 91-91 with a put-back basket with 1:25 remaining.
Gasol made two free throws and Tony Allen made one as the Grizzlies took a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
It was a rewarding return for Randolph, who had missed seven games after the death of his mother on November 25.
“It’s important to get back to working,” Randolph said. “This is what my mother would want me to do. Don’t sit around and be sad. Go back to work.”
He received a standing ovation from Grizzlies fans when the team was introduced.
The Detroit Pistons wasted a 17-point first-half lead but kept their composure to beat the Chicago Bulls 102-91.
Andre Drummond produced 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons, who have won four of their last five games.
Marcus Morris had 13 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope contributed 12 for the Pistons, who also had seven points, five rebounds and 10 assists from reserve Ish Smith.
Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 32 points, six rebounds and four assists. Dwayne Wade added 19 points and seven assists and Taj Gibson had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Point guard Rajon Rondo, back after a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, added 10 points.
But Chicago have lost three straight and six of their last nine.
“We’re hitting a rough patch right now and you’ve got to find a way to fight through that,” Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Despite a sluggish fourth quarter, the Utah Jazz held on to beat the Phoenix Suns 112-105 for their seventh win in eight games.
Gordon Hayward scored 27 points and French defensive standout Rudy Gobert added a career-high 22 points with 11 rebounds and four blocked shots to lead the Jazz.
Devin Booker scored 21 points for the Suns, who rallied from a 23-point deficit but never managed to get in front despite trimming the gap to as little as two points.

Spurs make it 13 straight road wins, beat TWolves 105-91
NBA Capsules
Spurs rally, roll toward NBA history on the road
NBA roundup: Spurs remain perfect on the road


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Georgia executes man convicted of killing his father-in-law (3.14/21)

JACKSON, Ga. -- Georgia executed its ninth inmate this year on Tuesday night, putting to death a man convicted of killing his father-in-law more than a quarter century ago. William Sallie, 50, was pronounced dead at 10:05 p.m. after a lethal injection at the state prison in Jackson. Lawyers who sought to block William Sallie’s execution said he should be granted a new trial because of alleged juror bias, but courts haven’t properly considered that evidence because he missed a filing deadline by eight days at a time when he didn’t have a lawyer, his lawyers said in court filings. Georgia has put to death more people this year than any other state, including Texas with seven. There have been 68 men and one woman executed in Georgia since 1976, CBS affiliate WGCL reports.
Sallie was the 46th inmate put to death by lethal injection, according to officials.
Sallie was convicted of murder in the fatal shooting of John Lee Moore in March 1990. His first conviction and death sentence were overturned because his attorney had a conflict of interest. At his second trial in 2001, a woman eventually chosen as a juror lied during jury selection and failed to disclose domestic violence, messy divorces and a child custody battle that were “bizarrely similar” to Sallie’s case, his lawyers said. They add she later bragged to his attorneys’ investigator that she persuaded her divided peers to vote unanimously for death. The defense team made those arguments in a clemency petition to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, urging it to act as a “fail safe” against a miscarriage of justice. But the board, the only authority in Georgia with power to commute a death sentence, declined to spare Sallie’s life following a clemency hearing Monday. Sallie’s lawyers asked the U. S. Supreme Court to stop the scheduled execution, but it declined. They argued that the high court’s ruling in a pending Texas case with ineffective counsel issues could remove the procedural bars that are keeping the lower federal courts from considering their juror-bias claims. Attorneys for the state have argued the Texas case isn’t similar enough that its outcome would affect Sallie, particularly because that case doesn’t involve a federal petition that wasn’t filed on time. Furthermore, they argue, even if the issues were identical, the federal appeals court in Atlanta is bound by its own precedent - which doesn’t allow such an extraordinary admission of the procedurally barred evidence - and not by the future possibility of new precedent from the Supreme Court. Sallie’s lawyers also have argued in a state court petition that carrying out his execution would violate his constitutional rights. Lawyers for the state rejected those claims and a court dismissed the petition. Sallie’s lawyers appealed to the state Supreme Court, which on Tuesday declined to stop his scheduled execution. His lawyers appealed to the U. S. Supreme Court which also declined Tuesday evening to stop his execution. At the time of the killing, Sallie’s wife was living with her parents in rural south Georgia after having filed for divorce and after the two had fought bitterly over custody of their young son. After cutting his in-laws’ phone lines and breaking into their house about 12:45 a.m. March 29, 1990, Sallie went to the master bedroom and shot John and Linda Moore, according to a Georgia Supreme Court summary of the case. John Moore died from his injuries, and his wife was injured. Sallie then took his wife and her sister to his mobile home, leaving his son behind, the summary says. Sallie released his wife and her sister that night and was arrested a short time later. Sallie’s lawyers have said the shooting was a botched attempt to take his son and leave. There have been 18 executions so far this year in the United States, including those in Georgia and Texas and one each in Alabama, Florida and Missouri. Alabama has one more scheduled Thursday. Sallie received visits Tuesday from six family members, four friends, three clergy members and four paralegals. He accepted a final prayer and recorded a final statement, according to officials, WGCL reports.

Georgia executes man who killed father-in-law
Man convicted in killing of prostitute in Times Square hotel, 9 years later
Georgia executes ninth inmate this year, most in US
Georgia executes convicted killer Tuesday night


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Did authorities miss opportunities to prevent the Ghost Ship fire? New video shows police inside the death trap two months before the deadly blaze - and they did nothing (3.12/21)

City and state officials fielded years of complaints about dangerous conditions, drugs, neglected children, trash, thefts and squabbles at the illegally converted warehouse where 36 partygoers were killed in a weekend fire, with inspectors knocking on the door as recently as two weeks before the blaze. With all the attention from police, child welfare authorities, building inspectors and others, some of those who saw what was going on at the underground artists' colony say they figured time and again that authorities would shut it all down. But they never did. NBC News even obtained a video on Tuesday that shows cops inside the warehouse just two months before the blaze. In the video, two cops are seen in a room packed with flammable woodwork, using a ladder to access the roof so that they could arrest a man who was on top of the building. Derick Almena, who leased the building, said that the man had wandered over from a neighboring building where a party was taking place. Oakland Police have not commented on the video or whether their officers made note of people living in the warehouse, which was not zoned residential. Scroll down for video 'It makes me so sad that all this has been there this whole long time,' said neighbor Phyllis Waukazoo. 'This was an accident waiting to happen. That could have been prevented.' Mayor Libby Schaaf deflected questions about whether more aggressive action by authorities could have prevented the tragedy at the cluttered, ramshackle building known as the Ghost Ship. Most recently, Oakland city inspectors received complaints on November 13 about the warehouse being remodeled into residences and on November 14 about an 'illegal interior building structure,' city records showed Tuesday. City officials sent a violation notice for the first complaint and opened an investigation for the second one. A building inspector who went to an Oakland warehouse on November 17 after receiving a complaint of illegal interior construction left after being unable to get inside. Schaaf said late Tuesday the inspector followed procedure and later sent a request to the owner to gain entry. She did not reveal the outcome of that request. Under the Oakland city code, building officials and fire marshals need court permission to enter commercial lodgings if the owner or manager refuses access. Building inspectors typically cannot force entry to a property unless there are pressing circumstances, Schaaf said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and prosecutors said they are looking into the possibility of criminal charges. Alameda County sheriff's Sgt. J. D. Nelson said Tuesday night that of the 36 victims found, 35 have been identified and 20 of their families have been notified. Officials are still lacking any type of identity for one person. Record searches and interviews indicate that the couple who leased the warehouse and turned it into rented living spaces and artists' studios, Derick Ion Almena and Micah Allison, were already under scrutiny by several agencies. Some of those agencies had been told or could have seen for themselves that the family of five and their dozens of artist tenants were living in a warehouse that had no permit to operate as a living space and allegedly had no proper kitchen, electricity, adequate fire exits or solid stairs. Almena, 46, is on probation for receiving stolen property, an Airstream trailer he was accused of stealing and stashing at the warehouse. The terms of his probation allowed authorities to enter his home without a warrant, records show. Child welfare workers had taken away the couple's three children in mid-2015 but returned them by this past summer, despite the illegal conditions at the warehouse and the children being hungry, infested with lice and frequently truant, Micah Allison's father and other acquaintances said. Almena confirmed in a 2015 document that child welfare workers visited the warehouse at least twice. Child welfare authorities refused to comment on the family, citing privacy laws. In returning the children, the authorities set certain conditions, including that the youngsters be out of the warehouse during the many parties held there, according to those who knew the couple. On the night of the fire, Allison and the three children had checked into an Oakland hotel, according to Almena. All of them survived. Almena said in a TV interview that he had little involvement in the party and had gone to the hotel as well. Allison's father, Michael Allison, said he is left wondering why authorities failed to take quicker, tougher action. 'This whole thing, the city giving them warning after warning after warning, strikes me as bizarre. It's been going on for years,' he said. 'I knew something was going to happen ... but not this.' Under state and city law, commercial buildings must receive annual fire inspections. Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Kelly refused to say whether fire officials had visited the warehouse before the blaze. Zac Unger, vice president of the Oakland firefighters union, said the city has about one-third of the fire inspectors of other cities of comparable size. 'It's a systematic underinvestment in the fire department and a roll of the dice, hoping they'll get away with it,' he said. Noel Gallo, a city councilman who lives a block away and recalled fruitless conversations with Almena over trash and other nuisances, said he will push for more building inspectors and fire marshals. But Gallo noted the city has many occupied warehouses and has to be mindful of the 'desperate' housing shortage in the San Francisco Bay area, where the tech boom has driven up prices and rents. In an interview after the fire, Almena said police also had been in and out of the buildings for years, over thefts and other complaints from the people there. 'They would come in and they would walk through our space and they'd always say "Wow, what an amazing space,"' Almena told San Jose TV station KNTV. Oakland Police Department spokeswoman Officer Jonna Watson said police officers are not trained on zoning laws but pointed out they document every call they respond to. 'The Alameda County District Attorney's office is the lead investigating agency and as the mayor has stated over the last five days, everything will be looked at,' she said.

Could authorities have prevented the tragic Oakland warehouse fire?
Did authorities miss opportunities to prevent tragic fire?
Oakland fire: Complaints filed repeatedly about warehouse


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WikiLeaks' Assange releases statement he gave prosecutors (3.12/21)

LONDON (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has released his statement to prosecutors in which he asserts he is innocent of committing sex crimes while visiting Sweden six years ago. In the statement released Wednesday he denied having sexual intercourse with a woman without using a condom while she was asleep. He said there was only consensual sex involving adults and heavily criticized Swedish prosecutors. His lawyer Jennifer Robinson said the statement is authentic. Ann Oberg, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office in Sweden, said she could not comment on the investigation. She said prosecutors are waiting for a transcript of the interview with Assange that was conducted by Ecuadorean officials at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London last month. Assange sought refuge there more than four years ago.

WikiLeaks' Assange Releases Statement He Gave Prosecutors
Julian Assange defies Swedish prosecutors by releasing rape statement
Assange releases full testimony to Swedish prosecutors 6yrs after first arrest — RT UK


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Broken finger sidelines India's Ajinkya Rahane for final two England Tests (3.12/21)

India will be without middle-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane for his home Test in Mumbai and the fifth match of their series against England next week too after he broke his finger in net practice. Rahane, who has been short of runs even as India have opened up an unassailable 2-0 lead with two to play, will be replaced by the uncapped Manish Pandey in the hosts' squad for the final two Tests. The Board of Control for Cricket in India revealed Rahane's injury in a press release, which added that key seamer Mohammed Shami's sore knee may force him out of the fourth Test - starting at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday - with Shardul Thakur called up as like-for-like cover. Pandey has 18 limited-overs caps - while Thakur, two years younger at 25, has no international experience. The BCCI statement read: "(Our) Medical team confirms that India batsman Ajinkya Rahane sustained an avulsion fracture on his right index finger and has been ruled out for the remaining two Test matches of the Paytm series - 2016 against England. "A ball stuck Rahane during the practice session today. "Manish Pandey has been included in the team as a replacement for Rahane. " India are loth to take any chances with Shami's long-term fitness. The BCCI added: "Mumbai medium-pacer Shardul Thakur has been called as back up for Mohammed Shami, who is nursing a sore knee. "The medical team is closely monitoring his progress, and a decision on his participation will be taken before the start of the fourth Test match. " Virat Kohli spoke shortly after net practice, but before confirmation of Thakur's call-up as cover for Shami. The India captain made it clear then that Shami's participation was in doubt - but also that, in Bhuvneshwar Kumar especially, he has great faith in others to deliver if necessary. Kohli said of Shami: "After the Mohali Test, he felt a bit of soreness in his knee. "We need to take a collective call on him, because he has had a history of knee surgery. We don't want to push a player to an extent where we lose him for the whole season. " He is confident India will still have an effective pace attack, whether Shami is fit or not. "Whoever has stepped in (previously) has given a match-winning performance," added Kohli. "Bhuvi has come in at St Lucia once and Kolkata once, and both times he has picked up five wickets and been the match-winner for us. "I am not worried, because the guys sitting outside are waiting for opportunities. " He has been impressed by the efforts of Shami and his fellow frontline seamer Umesh Yadav in this series so far - and praised them for their discipline and stamina. "One area they have really worked hard on is their consistency and understanding (that) you don't necessarily have to come at the batsmen all the time. "It's important to have patience in a particular session - and for that you need to get fitter to bowl those disciplined lines. "You might bowl those four-five overs and feel it's a waste of my energy, that I need to utilise my energy to pick up wickets. "Then you bowl three overs and go for 25 runs - which turns the session completely, compared to those four overs going for five runs and putting extra pressure on the batsman to make that mistake. " Kohli is delighted too with India's successful team ethos of late. "It's a process they have followed, a routine they have been part of - where they get physically stronger, mentally stronger. "They are pretty happy playing their roles - and as a captain, that's the most important thing in a team when people are willing to play their roles and (are) not desperate or selfish at any stage of the game. "I think that's been a key factor for us to get the results that we wanted and come back from difficult situations. " India expect to welcome KL Rahul back to open the batting alongside Murali Vijay, having recovered from an injured left forearm, with wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel fitting back into the middle order.

India's Rahane out of series, Shami doubtful for Mumbai
SA-born Jennings insists he’s ‘very English’
India batsman Ajinkya Rahane ruled out of the final two Test matches against England
India v England, 4th Test, Mumbai: Gap between Tests has benefitted us - Virat Kohli


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Danish suspect in police shooting jailed for 4 weeks (3.12/21)

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A 26 year-old Danish man has been jailed for four weeks on suspicion of shooting a Danish policeman in the head outside a police station in suburban Copenhagen. ...

Danish suspect in police shooting is jailed for 4 weeks
Danish Suspect in Police Shooting Is Jailed for 4 Weeks
Waukegan Police: Weekend Confrontation With Suspects Was Textbook Example Of Restraint


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Trump takes flak for national security adviser pick (3.10/21)

Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn, the 57-year-old former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has been selected as the next US national security adviser.
He has also spread false stories and re-tweeted anti-Semitic threats. He's been criticized for dabbling in conspiracy theories and Islamophobia, for his questionable ties to foreign governments and for mishandling classified information while at the DIA, a post he was pushed out of.
On Monday, 53 non-profit groups appealed to Trump to reconsider the appointment, as lawmakers publicly questioned Flynn's judgment and demanded that he disavow fabricated conspiracy theories such as the "Pizzagate" story -- which his son Michael Flynn Jr. promoted -- alleging that Democrats ran a child sex ring out of a Washington pizza restaurant.
"It is incumbent on Trump, his nominee for National Security Advisor, General Flynn, and his entire team to disavow these falsehoods and conspiracy theories," the top Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Adam Schiff, said in a statement. "They will soon have a country to run, and God help us if they conduct the nation's affairs like their transition -- without the willingness or ability to separate fact from fiction. "
The NSA job doesn't require congressional approval, unlike Cabinet posts.
The non-profit groups, a mix of religious and social justice organizations, said they respected Flynn's 33 years in uniform, but claimed that his appointment would damage US standing in the world and pose a threat to national security.
"General Flynn's appointment as National Security Advisor is a frightening prospect for anyone who values America's national security and ability to promote stability and prosperity around the globe," the group wrote. "We call on you to rescind it immediately. "
Flynn's inflammatory comments have drawn public scrutiny, and now the spotlight is widening to include his son, who also has a history of spreading fake news and conspiracy theories. The younger Flynn's online activities came under fire most recently after an armed man who believed the Pizzagate rumors entered the Washington restaurant and fired shots.
Flynn's son becomes a lightning rod for criticism
The younger Flynn insisted afterward on Twitter that rumors about the pedophilia ring were true until they could be disproved.
The restaurant, whose patrons are puzzled by the rumors and aghast that a beloved neighborhood institution has been targeted, has unequivocally denied the stories.
Flynn's son had been on the transition team doing scheduling work for his father, according to Trump spokesman Jason Miller. He has since left the team, though Trump officials wouldn't explain why.
Government sources told CNN's Jake Tapper that a security clearance had been requested for the younger Flynn.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence wouldn't answer Tapper's repeated questions on "The Lead" Tuesday about whether he knew the transition team sought the security clearance. Instead, Pence said the younger Flynn had merely been helping his father with scheduling and administrative matters.
The son's tweets fit into a pattern of spreading false and inflammatory stories that his father has already established, critics have charged. In their letter, the non-profit groups decry what they called Flynn's "history of bigoted and deceitful statements," particularly with reference to Islam.
Flynn has tweeted that "fear of Muslims is rational" and made no distinction between ordinary Muslims and radical Islamic terrorists. "This is Islamism and it is a vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people on this planet and it has to be excised," he said in one speech.
He's also retweeted anti-Semitic comments. After Hillary Clinton's campaign said that Russia was behind a hack of the Democratic National Committee -- an assessment reached by the US Intelligence Community -- and had done it to help Trump's campaign, Flynn erupted on Twitter.
"The corrupt Democratic machine will do and say anything" to get Clinton into the White House, Flynn wrote as he retweeted a Twitter account that made reference to Judas.
" 'The USSR is to blame!' " the tweet read. "Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore. "
And more than once he has been tagged in his tweets an anti-Semitic commentator named Jared Wyland, who has tweeted about the "liberal Jewish Media. "
Sen. John McCain lends his support
Some key Republicans, however, are signaling their support for the controversial retired general.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, the Republican who heads the Senate Armed Services Committee, was asked by CNN's Dana Bash whether he had concerns that a future national security advisor would, among other things, spread false news stories. "I feel comfortable," McCain said.
The retired three-star general ran intelligence for the US Joint Special Operations Command, which includes SEAL Team 6 and Delta Force, before moving on to command the Defense Intelligence Agency, the US military's overall intelligence organization.
Flynn was fired by the Obama administration after two years as the head of DIA. Four US officials serving at the time told CNN it was because of his contentious management style.
On at least two occasions, his handling of classified information came under scrutiny, leading to informal reprimands but no charges of wrongdoing, according to reporting by CNN's Barbara Starr.
Questions about foreign ties
Flynn attributed his dismissal to White House anger that he insisted on identifying radical Islamic terrorism as the greatest threat facing the US.
In retirement, Flynn began advising Republican candidates, eventually speaking at the Republican National Convention, where he led the crowd in chants against Clinton, shouting, "Lock her up! " from the stage.
Flynn's ties to foreigners and other governments have also raised concerns.
Lobbying disclosure documents filed in September revealed that even as Flynn was received classified intelligence briefings during the campaign, he was lobbying on behalf of overseas clients.
The Flynn Intel Group, which advertises itself as "all source intelligence support to global challenges," was working for a Turkish-American businessman with ties to Turkey's president, even as he was getting the sensitive briefings. Flynn has defended Turkey's crackdown on dissent
and advocated that the US extradite a Pennsylvania resident who President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses of staging a July coup attempt.
Flynn said he would sever his ties to the business if he became a formal member of the Trump administration.
Flynn also had financial ties to Russia, in the form of a paid speaking gig with Russia Today , a TV network founded by the Kremlin. In sharp contrast to current military leaders who see Russia as a geopolitical threat, Flynn wants to build closer cooperation with Russia even as the country has annexed Crimea and supported the Syrian regime.
Schiff said that "the incoming President would be better served by someone with a healthy skepticism about Russian intentions, and willing to be guided by the unequivocal intelligence we have of Russian's malignant policies towards the U. S. and our allies. "

Officials Frustrated As Congress Sticks City With Bulk Of $35-Million Trump Security Tab
Michael Flynn, Trump national security pick, under fire for social media posts
Trump's likely pick for Homeland Security chief is Gen. John Kelly


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Biden not planning on 2020 bid, but will 'never say never' (3.09/21)

NEW YORK (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden is continuing his coy approach to a possible 2020 presidential bid. For now, it's no. The Democrat told Stephen Colbert on CBS' "Late Show" Tuesday, "I don't plan on running again, but to say you know what's going to happen in four years is just not rational. " He added, "I can't see the circumstance in which I'd run, but what I've learned a long, long time ago, Stephen, is to never say never. " The comments came a day after Biden said, with a slight smile to a reporter, "I'm going to run in 2020. " Biden told Colbert his decision not to run in 2016 was right for his family, even though he was "best prepared at this moment to lead the country. "

SEE IT: Vice President Biden tells Stephen Colbert he doesn’t plan to run for President in 2020, but ‘never say never’
Biden stokes 2020 buzz on Colbert: 'I've learned to never say never'
Biden continues discussing 2020


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Huffington Post nombra sucesora para Ariana Huffington (3.08/21)

NUEVA YORK (AP) — El Huffington Post nombró a la editora del New York Times Lydia Polgreen como sucesora de la fundadora del diario digital, Ariana Huffington, como editora jefe de la publicación. El diario anunció el nombramiento el martes. Polgreen trabajaba en el New York Times desde hace 15 años, donde recientemente fungió como editora jefe asociada y directora editorial de NYT Global. Polgreen, de 41 años, dijo que el trabajo del Huffington Post es una "oportunidad única en la vida". El "problema básico" de los medios para anticipar la victoria de Donald Trump en los comicios presidenciales del mes pasado en Estados Unidos ilustra "las maneras en las que el periodismo no ha podido ir más allá de sus propios límites". Ariana Huffington dejó la empresa en agosto.

New York Times editorial director to head up Huffington Post
Huffington Post names founder Ariana Huffington's successor
Huffington Post Names Founder Ariana Huffington's Successor


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Weakened Angela Merkel embarks on tough election campaign (3.08/21)

Angela Merkel's conservatives gave her an 11-minute standing ovation after handing her another term as party chief but also issued a warning in re-electing her with the worst score since she became German chancellor.
With the mixed verdict Tuesday from her party rank and file on her bid for a fourth term, Merkel embarks on her toughest election campaign weakened by her liberal refugee policy that has polarised Europe's biggest economy.
While 89.5 percent is hardly a score to be scoffed at, it fell just short of the 90 percent of Christian Democratic Union delegates seen as a crucial threshold.
"It shows that she has lost confidence but has not fully regained it," said Spiegel Online.
Rheinische Post daily agreed, saying that "it is clear that this chancellor is no longer strong enough to simply use 'you know me' to win the 2017 elections," referring to a previous Merkel slogan.
"That attitude, which helped her in the 2013 (general election) campaign, almost led to her doom in the refugee crisis. For too long, she has trusted her party and voters to simply follow her," it said.
- 'Losing to the right' -
Merkel's decision last September to let in people fleeing war has become her Achilles' heel, as public resentment mounted after more than a million asylum seekers have arrived in Europe's biggest economy since the start of 2015.
The displeasure has been manifested in setbacks for her party in five consecutive state elections this year, as the upstart populist AfD recorded a surge of support on the back of their campaign railing against migrants.
Delegates at the CDU's annual congress are particularly anxious to halt a further haemorrhage of supporters to the AfD, as three more state elections loom next year in the run-up to the nationwide polls.
"We're winning few voters from the left, but we're losing a lot to the right," said delegate Eugen Abele, accusing Merkel of positioning the party too far left and giving room for the AfD to stake a claim to the party's right.
- 'No mission' -
Recognising the public resentment over her refugee policy, Merkel has ditched last year's mantra of "we can do this".
Rather, she laid out a tough stance on immigration and even called for a partial ban on the Muslim full-face veil, as she pleaded with her delegates for help in her fight for a fourth term.
Wolfgang Reinhart, CDU lawmaker in the Baden-Wuerttemberg state parliament, told AFP he welcomed the chancellor's "new tone" stating that refugee and migration policies will become more restrictive.
But he also recognised that "we still don't have a way to deal with the new nationalism and populism" challenge put by the AfD.
For the Green party's parliamentary chief Anton Hofreiter, Merkel was pandering to the conservative right with her new stance.
"The CDU is leaving the liberal middle-ground and shifting right," he told Die Welt daily.
The regional daily Lausitzer Rundschau was harsher in its criticism of the battle strategy outlined by Merkel on Tuesday, saying it "lacked the rational power to convince" and showed "no mission".
"The chancellor and her CDU are lucky that the right in Germany hasn't found someone as determined and unscrupulous as Donald Trump," it said.

Setting sights on fourth term, Merkel vows tough line on migration
Op-Ed: Merkel portrays herself as a safe pair of hands ... with a small shift ...
‘Brexit,’ Angela Merkel, Donald Trump: Your Wednesday Briefing


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For young people like me, there's only one choice as #Ghana Decides (3.06/21)

It makes me wonder if our so-called Dubai isn't a big (corruption-tainted) white elephant. In the last few years, my life has not changed. I grew up riding cramped, unreliable buses, and my fear is if we keep President John Mahama in power I'll still be on the same cramped bus 10 years from now.
I have watched the skylines of Accra, Tema, and Kumasi change beyond recognition with the spread of glass and concrete office buildings, consequences of the oil boom, but many of these spaces lie empty. There are no businesses to rent them or hire the people to work in them. Like many of these infrastructural projects there seems to be a disconnect between the projects, both public and private, and the people.
As a student, life is very, very hard. Student nurses and teachers had their allowances cut by the government, who only promised to reinstate them after public pressure.
Decent jobs are hard to find, so for us who are on our way into the job market, it's a scary place. Many of our facilities are out of date, and while it's nice our president is opening ICT centers, there's no point paying money to attend them when there are not firms to hire you once you've finished.
Nana Akufo-Addo, the presidential candidate for the opposition, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has spent the last two years travelling the country, visiting communities and listening to what the people have to say. I started off skeptical of his campaign. He's not young, this is his third time running for president and his party was mired in a nasty public fight earlier this year.
There's the constant message from the incumbent party saying the NPP is violent, and the biggest question still lingers: what does he have to offer? For me, his biggest selling point is his integrity. He has proven himself to be a man that the people trust. He is already independently wealthy, and has demonstrated he has no interest in getting rich by stealing from the government. In the age of political bribery scandals and flagrant corrupt practices, a leader who sets an example is sorely needed as president.
I believe with Akufo-Addo and his team leading the nation, we can get the country back on track and back to work, because they have a plan. He won't be irresponsible with our resources, and hopefully he will get our public sector in shape and move our country in the right direction. The simple promise of reserving 30% of locally tendered government contracts for businesses headed by young entrepreneurs opens up so many possibilities for young people like myself.
My country Ghana is at a crossroads and we have a big decision to make. This will be the first election I choose to vote in, and though I have "rocked on" with President John Mahama's free concerts, I have chosen Nana Akufo-Addo and I can't wait for December 7. My vote will hopefully be for a future that will allow me to fly to the real Dubai, not just fly over it.

Ghanaians go to the polls to choose next president
Nana Akufo-Addo, Ghana's veteran runner-up
Ghana decides: Economy takes centre stage


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Italian Prime Minister Renzi to resign on Friday (3.06/21)

By Francesca Piscioneri and Steve Scherer ROME, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will hand in his resignation on Friday, a parliamentary source said, as President Sergio Mattarella seeks to slow the pace of an unfolding political crisis. Renzi vowed to resign in the early hours of Monday after a bruising referendum loss, but Mattarella, whose powers include naming prime ministers and dissolving parliament, asked him to stay on until the 2017 budget passes in a parliamentary vote scheduled for later on Wednesday. The reason Renzi's resignation was delayed until Friday was unclear, but Mattarella wants parliament to draft a new electoral law before any ballot is held, a source close to the president said on Tuesday, a move likely to push back any vote until spring. Italy is not due to hold a parliamentary election before 2018 but there is growing consensus among party leaders to hold it a year earlier. Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, head of a small centre-right group, said it should take place in February. Meanwhile, Italy is still looking for a way to prop up its debt-laden banks, especially struggling Monte dei Paschi di Siena, its third-biggest lender, which may require government involvement. Two sources told Reuters on Tuesday that the government was preparing to take a 2-billion-euro controlling stake in Monte dei Paschi by purchasing junior bonds. On Wednesday, a Treasury spokesman denied Italy was poised to ask for a loan from the European Stability Mechanism to support its banking sector. Later on Wednesday, the top brass in Renzi's Democratic Party will meet to hammer out a strategy. Renzi is still leader of the PD, which has the largest number of parliamentarians, so it is unlikely any new government could be formed without his backing. The PD plans to support a government of national unity, which would have to include parties currently in opposition, two party sources said on Tuesday. If such a government is not possible, then the PD wants an early election, they said. Infrastructure Minister Graziano Delrio, a PD member and close ally of Renzi, said on Tuesday the best solution would be for an interim government to be put in place to quickly change the electoral law so an election could be held "in the spring". (Additional reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Italy's "demolition man" the architect of his own downfall
Renzi starts final days as Italy premier with party huddle
Renzi Starts Final Days as Italy Premier With Party Huddle


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Critic's Notebook: Michael Moore, Ana Navarro Slam 'Malignant' Trump on Van Jones' CNN Special (2.66/21)

9:30 PM PST 12/6/2016
Frank Scheck
Hosting a CNN special dubbed The Messy Truth , political commentator Van Jones explored how Americans are feeling about the election a month later.
It turns out that nobody’s feeling very good.
Featuring both Hillary and Trump voters as well as specials guests Rick Santorum, Republican strategist Ana Navarro, and filmmaker Michael Moore, the show began with a folksy, impassioned appeal by Jones, who decried the nation’s fractured state.
“This is America,” he began. “At some point we have got to do better.” He went on to lay blame on both major political parties, saying that they both “kinda suck” and pointing to Democrat “elitism” and Republican “bigotry and bias.” He added that while he didn’t expect the two sides to agree during the program, he hoped that they would engage in “constructive disagreement.”
Based on the results, he’s going to have to host a lot more shows.
The hour began with a segment depicting Jones’ road trip to Ohio, which had the feel of a National Geographic ethnographic exploration. There, cake box in hand, he visited an Ohio family of Democrats, including three grown children, who had voted for Trump despite having supported Obama in the last two presidential elections.
They had “voted for change,” explained the father. All of them, that is, except his wife, who voted Democratic down the line but declined to cast a vote for Hillary. “She scared me,” she said of Hillary, although admitting that Trump scared her as well.
“We are what makes the world go round,” the patriarch explained about the manufacturing companies in the Rust Belt, adding, in a subtle paraphrase of Trump’s trademark line, “We truly want to make America better.” When Jones asked him what he actually wanted Trump to do, he replied, “We want him to come to the area.” These are people who are clearly starved for attention, and it’s safe to say that now they’ve got it.
Back at the studio in New York City’s Time Warner Center, Jones talked with Santorum, whom he described as “America’s sweater vest-wearing superdad.” (Unfortunately, the last time we had one of those, he turned out to be an alleged serial rapist.)
Admitting to his guest that “we live in different bubbles,” the host quickly turned the conversation to race, asking Santorum if he had been bothered by Jones’ comment shortly after the election that it was a sign of an American “whitelash” against a black president.
“You stirred up my family,” Santorum replied, before going on to say that if anyone was to blame for America’s increased racial tensions, it was Obama, apparently for having brought up the issue.
Santorum continued his bizarre line of reasoning in response to a question from a Muslim law student who described the “devastation and fear in the eyes” of her family members and friends after Trump’s election.
“You should feel much better about religious liberty” under Trump than Obama, Santorum told her, while Jones was probably wondering if the whole program had been a big mistake.
Santorum’s worst moment came in response to a tearful appeal by a young undocumented Mexican immigrant who was brought to this country when she was seven years. Now an engineering instructor, and terrified that she’ll lose her career and be deported, she asked Santorum what advice he would give her.
In a display of the sort of compassionate conservatism that we can expect to see for at least the next four years, Santorum advised her to leave the country. “Give the gift that America’s given you to the world,” he said in his most Mister Rogers tone. Except he made it clear she wasn’t welcome in his neighborhood.
Navarro quickly jumped in, praising the young woman as the sort of person America should value and imploring her to stay and fight, and to be public about it. “Anonymity is no longer an option,” Navarro told her.
Navarro, who’s essentially broken from her own party, delivered a fiery diatribe against Trump’s hateful, racist rhetoric. “Donald Trump released the Kraken,” she thundered, earning points for the savvy pop culture reference.
But Navarro was a pussycat compared to Michael Moore, one of the few Democrats who actually forecast Trump’s victory months before it happened. (Perhaps Moore should become the new head of the Democratic National Committee.)
“I got over my five stages [of grief] back in June,” Moore commented, pointing to his having accurately predicted that Trump would win the four “Brexit states” of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. “I live in Michigan…I don’t live in the bubble,” Moore pointed out.
Even while decrying the Democrats, who lost two of the last five presidential elections despite having won the popular vote — “They lose when they win!” he marveled — Moore advised them to “take some comfort” in the fact that the majority of Americans voted against Trump. Moore also sharply disagreed with a voter who said that he supported Trump because of his pro-American trade policies.
“He hasn’t done anything for you yet,” Moore told him. “He raised the issue,” the man responded.
Jones tried to persuade Moore that the Democrats should work with the president-elect, arguing that if they didn’t it would only lead to the sort of paralysis that’s afflicted Washington for years. But Moore would have none of it, describing Trump as a “malignant narcissist” and saying that it was the “responsibility” of Congressional Democrats to “block and obstruct.”
“This is not a kumbaya moment,” Moore declared, adding that the day after Trump is inaugurated, the Republican majority Congress would pass “one piece of suffering after another.”
Ah well. So much for “constructive disagreement.”

Michael Moore: “The American People Do Not Support” President-Elect Trump
Michael Moore torches Trump during CNN town hall
Michael Moore: Dems In Congress ‘Represent the Majority,’ Their Responsibility to ‘Obstruct’ Trump


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GOP adds measure to stopgap bill to aid Mattis' confirmation (2.64/21)

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a stopgap spending bill that would also expedite the likely confirmation of President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Defense secretary next year.
Word of the bill came around the same time that Trump formally announced he had selected retired Gen. James Mattis for the top Pentagon job. Congress needs to change the law so a former military man can serve in the civilian post.
The spending measure would keep the government running through April and also contains $10 billion in supplemental war funding and $4 billion more for disaster relief for Louisiana and other states as key additions.
Under current law, Congress would need to pass legislation next year to grant Mattis an exception from a law that requires a seven-year wait for former members of the military to serve in the post. Tuesday’s provision would speed up action on the waiver though Democrats could still filibuster it.
The bill would also deliver $170 million in long-delayed help for Flint, Michigan, to fix its lead-tainted water system.
The underlying spending bill would prevent the government from shutting down this weekend and buy several months for the new Congress and incoming Trump administration to wrap up more than $1 trillion worth of unfinished agency budget bills. Republicans promise an immediate infusion next year of additional money for the Pentagon and may be eying the appropriations bills as vehicles to reverse a slew of Obama administration regulations.
Democrats complained the GOP measure shortchanged New York City by giving it just $7 million for police overtime costs for protecting Trump, who lives in midtown Manhattan. And they complained that a provision to help retired Appalachian coal miners keep their health benefits for a few months was woefully inadequate.
The bill attracted attention as the final legislative locomotive to leave the station before Congress closes shop this year. Nothing else on Capitol Hill’s agenda had the power to tow other unfinished legislation into law.
The White House and Main St. Republicans were denied in a bid to revive the Export-Import Bank’s ability to approve export financing deals exceeding $10 million. But the trucking lobby won permanent relief from recent Transportation Department rules mandating more rest and overnight breaks for long-haul drivers.
The $4 billion disaster package contains $1.8 billion for community development grants, much of which would go to rebuild homes damaged or destroyed by devastating summertime floods in Louisiana, Hurricane Matthew, and other disasters. Another $1 billion would go to the Army Corps of Engineers for flood and coastal storm protection projects and another $1 billion would repair damaged highways.
The $10.1 billion provided for Pentagon and State Department anti-terror efforts gave the Obama administration most of its $11.6 billion request.
One major dispute centered on protecting health care benefits for about 16,000 retired union coal miners facing the loss of coverage on Dec. 31. Both Democrats and Republicans from Appalachian coal states pressed for help for retired miners and their widows. House Republicans resisted offering help for the union members and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered only a short-term solution through April 28.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., protested that McConnell’s fix would only last for a few months vowed to push for a permanent solution. He’s vowing to block any Senate effort to move quickly on unrelated legislation until the miners’ fight was settled.
“Over two years ago, we promised the retired coal miners of America — we promised them and most of their families — and these are a lot of widows now — and we promise them that they would have their health care benefits, which were guaranteed to them, and their pensions,” Manchin said.
At issue are health benefits for retirees whose companies declared bankruptcy in recent years.
The Obama White House had requested $35 million to reimburse New York City for providing security for Trump and New York Democrats were upset when just $7 million was made available.
“Republicans’ failure to fully reimburse NYPD for its efforts to protect President-elect Trump is beyond disappointing,” said Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N. Y., who called the $7 million just a “down payment on the way to making New York City whole.”
The overall measure would keep the government running through April 28.
The legislation also officially funds the first, $872 million installment of a $6.3 billion measure — slated for a final vote in the Senate on Wednesday — to boost medical research and speed drug approvals. That measure also includes a $1.8 billion cancer research “moonshot” strongly supported by Vice President Joe Biden, as well as $1 billion over two years to prevent and treat abuse of opioids and other addictive drugs.
Lawmakers are again denying themselves a cost-of-living pay hike that’s fallen out of favor.

Trump introduces Mattis as defense secretary nominee at N.C. victory rally
WATCH: Donald Trump Announces Defense Secretary Pick
Lawmakers wrapping up work, eyeing the exits


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Aleppo's Old City captured by Assad regime following rebel retreat (2.48/21)

ALEPPO, Syria, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad 's regime on Wednesday captured Aleppo's Old City after rebels retreated -- giving the government control of three-quarters of east Aleppo, a human rights group said.
Rebels first captured east Aleppo four years ago and made it a stronghold. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels retreated from the Old City after a regime offensive captured the Bab al-Hadid and Aqyul districts.
Assad's forces seized the Old City early Wednesday, increasing the likelihood the besieged rebels will be defeated as some debate whether to withdraw. Most rebel groups have agreed in theory to a withdrawal plan, but a small number of powerful hardline groups oppose it, The Washington Post reported.
After a pause in hostilities, Assad's regime began a new offensive to capture east Aleppo on Nov. 15, which has caused more than 730 civilian deaths and has led 80,000 civilians to flee the section of the city. Rebels on Wednesday called on the United Nations to oversee a five-day cease-fire to carry out medical and civilian evacuations from the east, where there is a humanitarian crisis.
"People have flocked there and the system can't cope. There are no resources, all day there is bombing," said Col. Abo Bakr, a representative of a group allied with the Free Syrian Army.

Syrian rebels crushed as Assad's troops take control of Aleppo's Old City
Aleppo rebels call for five-day ceasefire, talks about city's future
Syrian troops in control of Aleppo's Old City after rebels withdraw
Monitor says Syrian army seizes Aleppo Old City from rebels


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IS Launches Overnight Attack Against Iraqi Troops in Mosul (2.39/21)

Iraqi army said on Wednesday that Islamic State militants launched an overnight attack against security forces in the southeastern part of Mosul, a day after the troops advanced deeper into the city.
The attack "inflicted heavy losses," Iraqi Army Sgt. Maj. Hakim Saranbii told The Associated Press without giving specific casualty figures or further details. Iraqi Defense Ministry officials in Bagdad did not immediately comment.
The setback came after Iraq's army on Tuesday rolled into the southeastern neighborhood of al-Salam, taking a hospital before meeting stiff resistance from IS militants. Convoys of dozens of armored Iraqi special forces and army Humvees could be seen moving into the southeastern neighborhood Wednesday morning.
"What we see here is the enemy reacting to a new axis of advance," said coalition spokesman U. S. Army, Col. John Dorrian, explaining that the new push putting increased pressure on IS.
After the advance on Tuesday, Iraqi forces said that they pushed the front line back more than 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) and retook Mosul's al-Salam hospital, but only a few hundred meters (yards) appeared to be secured and clashes continued into the evening.
When Iraqi forces initially launched a push into eastern Mosul in early November, troops came under heavy counterattacks after advancing too far too quickly. Islamic State militants depend on suicide car bombs and sniper fire to derail the security forces, as well as a network of underground tunnels.
The Iraqi government has not publicized the casualty figures for government troops and paramilitary forces fighting in Mosul and elsewhere in northern Iraq. Last week, the U. N. said in a report that nearly 2,000 members of the Iraqi forces were killed last month, but after coming under fire from the media arm of the Iraqi military, it announced it would discontinue publishing casualty figures for Iraq's security forces.
Backed the U. S.-led international coalition, Iraqi government troops and paramilitary forces launched a campaign in October to dislodge IS from Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city and IS's last major urban bastion in the country.

IS launches overnight attack against Iraqi troops in Mosul
Iraqi advance into Mosul breaks stall, gains ground
Islamic State attacks Iraqi soldiers in Mosul


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UAE Calls Ohio Police Killing of Emirati 'Painful Incident' (2.24/21)

The United Arab Emirates has called the police killing of an Emirati man in Ohio a "painful incident" that the country's diplomats would investigate, just months after another citizen of the U. S.-allied Arab nation was wrongly accused in Ohio of being an Islamic militant.
The shooting death on Sunday of Saif Nasser Mubarak Alameri made front page news Wednesday in the UAE, a federation of seven sheikdoms on the Arabian Peninsula. Online, stunned Emiratis shared a smiling black-and-white photo of the 26-year-old university student with the Arabic hashtag "Saif Nasser is in the hands of God. "
Police in Hudson, Ohio, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Cleveland, say Alameri was speeding and driving erratically Sunday on the Ohio Turnpike when he sideswiped another vehicle, causing his car to flip onto the roof. They say Alameri fled the scene of the crash, forcing responding Hudson police officers and Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers to search for him in nearby woods.
A Hudson police officer fired shots at the man during a struggle, the city said. The officer was treated for minor injuries and has been placed on paid administrative leave. The officer hasn't been identified.
The Summit County medical examiner's office said Alameri was shot once in the head.
Jill Del Greco, a spokeswoman for the Ohio attorney general's office, said investigators from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which is examining the shooting, will be meeting with representatives of the United Arab Emirates.
The UAE's Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said its officials would talk to local authorities.
"In light of this follow-up, and after details of the painful incident are clarified by the authorities, the ministry will issue a more comprehensive statement," undersecretary Mohammed Mer al-Raisi said late Tuesday in a statement.
The United Arab Emirates, home to Dubai, is a major U. S. ally in the region. American drones and aircraft involved in the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria fly out of its air bases. The UAE also deployed forces to Afghanistan after the U. S.-led invasion following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks by al-Qaida.
But this is the second incident in months involving police officers near Cleveland and an Emirati citizen. In June, Emirati businessman Ahmed al-Menhali was detained at gunpoint by police in Avon, Ohio, while wearing a traditional white kandura, or ankle-length robe, and headscarf. His arrest came after the family of a hotel clerk wrongly told police that al-Menhali was pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group.
The city of Avon later apologized to al-Menhali, who was briefly hospitalized after the incident. It also saw UAE authorities warn Emiratis traveling abroad to avoid wearing traditional garments.
Gillispie reported from Cleveland.

UAE calls Ohio police killing of Emirati 'painful incident'
UAE calls Ohio police killing of Emirati ‘painful incident’


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Maserati crashes into Brookhaven home, driver killed - Story (2.21/21)

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. - A man died early Wednesday morning after smashing a car into a home in Brookhaven.
According to investigators, the wreck stemmed from an attempted traffic stop in Buckhead on Peachtree Road at Lenox Road around 2:30 a.m. The driver of a Maserati, according to Georgia State Patrol, was not staying within traffic lines and when a trooper tried to pull the driver over, he sped off.
A pursuit followed and moved into Brookhaven, but the chase was called off after about three minutes.
Roughly ten minutes later, the driver of the Maserati lost control and crashed into a home on North Druid Hills Road in Brookhaven. Troopers believe high speeds and possible intoxication led to the crash.
The driver was killed and a female passenger was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. No word yet on her condition.
GSP said the family inside the home was not injured.

Driver of Maserati dies after crashing into Brookhaven home
1 dead, another injured in Durham car wreck


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Philippine rebels threaten to end monthslong cease-fire (2.20/21)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine communist rebels warned President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday that they may be forced to end their monthslong cease-fire and resume fighting if he does not suspend the government’s counterinsurgency program and withdraw troops from rebel-influenced areas.
The Communist Party of the Philippines said that if Duterte fulfills the demands by January and releases remaining political detainees through an amnesty, it can guarantee the cease-fire’s extension, helping to foster peace talks brokered by Norway.
New People’s Army guerrillas, however, will be forced to engage troops if the president presses the military’s deployment of troops in what the rebels claim as “guerrilla zones” in the countryside, the outlawed party said in a statement.
“He will only have himself to blame if this forces the hand of the Communist Party of the Philippines to terminate its unilateral cease-fire declaration,” it said.
While no fighting has erupted since both sides declared separate cease-fires in August, the Maoist guerrillas have complained that troops continued to be deployed in rebel areas to carry out surveillance and other counterinsurgency operation in what they say are violations of the government’s own truce.
The military is unlikely to relent to the rebel demands. It has denied rebel allegations that it has violated the government cease-fire by deploying counterinsurgency troops in rural areas where the rebels claim to have influence. Troops deployed in rural areas were either accompanying government workers or helping to carry out rural projects, military officials say.
Lt. Gen. Eduardo Ano, a longtime combat intelligence officer who was inaugurated as the new military chief of staff Wednesday, said the military would support government efforts for the peaceful resolution of armed conflicts.
“But even as we uphold and respect the primacy of peace, make no mistake about it, we shall remain to be a lethal force capable of destroying any threat to our nation,” Ano said. “We will not let our people cower in the face of lawlessness and terrorism.”
Battle setbacks, surrenders and infighting have weakened the rebel group, which is blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the United States.
A confidential Philippine government assessment obtained by The Associated Press says the guerrillas had declined to 3,800 fighters with more than 4,500 firearms in the first half of the year, with about 700 of the country’s 42,000 villages affected by the insurgency.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Wings rally from 2-goal deficit to win shootout thriller (2.20/21)

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.
This one went into a shootout Tuesday, with the Red Wings coming through with a gutty 4-3 victory.
Thomas Vanek and Henrik Zetterberg scored the shootout goals, Zetterberg with his second game-winner in that fashion, and Petr Mrazek stopped 3-of-4 shots.
It was the Red Wings’ sixth game past regulation in the last eight games, but only the second that’s gone all the way into the shootout.
BOX SCORE: Red Wings 4, Jets 3, shootout
The Red Wings are 5-1-2 in their last eight games.
Mrazek made a pair of game-saving saves including Bryan Little on a breakaway.
Anthony Mantha and Thomas Vanek scored second-period goals, tying the game 3-3.
The Red Wings’ penalty kill was a big difference in the middle period, extinguishing two Winnipeg power plays.
Mantha cut the Winnipeg lead to 3-2 with his fourth goal, one-timing as pass from Dylan Larkin.
Larkin wheeled around the net and centered a pass to Mantha left open near the post at 10:59.
The assist was only the second of the season for Larkin, whose last helper was opening night Oct. 13 in Tampa.
After the Red Wings killed the second Jets power play, Vanek tied it at 17:52.
Xavier Ouellet found Vanek left wide open near the dot, and Vanek deftly redirected Ouellet’s short pass from the point past Hellebuyck.
The opening 20 minutes were all Winnipeg, although the Jets enjoyed some fortunate bounces.
Captain's guidance has Wings' Mantha NHL-savvy
Mrazek had a frustrating first period for the Red Wings, allowing three goals on the 16 shots but had little help in front of him.
On the first goal Jets forward Andrew Copp (Ann Arbor/Ann Arbor Skyline), deflected a point shot from Ben Chiarot from the point, Copp’s fourth goal.
After Tatar quickly tied it 1-1 24 seconds later.
Hellebuyck stopped Danny DeKeyser’s shot from the top of the slot, but laid the puck to the side where Tatar was skating.
Tatar put back the rebound with Connor Hellebuyck battling to regain his footing.
The goal was Tatar’s fourth goal and ended a seven-game goal drought while entering Tuesday’s game with only one goal in his past 12 games.
But the Jets regained the lead at 11:22 on Dustin Byfuglien’s third goal.
Byfuglien came down the ice on a 2-on-1 rush with star rookie Patrik Laine, who carried the puck into the zone.
Laine passed to Byfuglien who bobbled the pass but quickly regained control, then pinpointed a shot past Mrazek
Laine got on the scoresheet again scoring his 17th goal – tying Laine for the league lead with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby - giving Winnipeg a 3-1 lead.
Laine’s shot going off the chest of Mike Green and past Mrazek at 13:06 of the third period, just 1:43 after Byfuglien had regained the Jets’ lead.
For one game, at least, the Red Wings created and manufactured offense that had been missing for most of the season.
“We’re not happy about it, obviously we’d like to score more goals,” said Nyquist, mired in a severe scoring slump with no goals now in his last seven games and one goal over his last 21 games. “A lot of guys in this room would have liked to score more goals. It’s just something we have to keep working on, putting pucks on net.

Red Wings rally to win shootout in Winnipeg
Red Wings erase 2-goal deficit, beat Jets in shootout


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Wings sharpen shootout ways, take down Jets (2.19/21)

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.
Not this season.
As has been the case recently the Red Wings went past regulation time Tuesday, all the way to the shootout, and defeated Winnipeg 4-3.
It was 2-1 in the shootout with Thomas Vanek and Henrik Zetterberg (who had the game-winner) supplying the offense and Petr Mrazek three game-saving saves.
The Red Wings are now 4-0 in the shootout this season after having gone 13-29 the previous four campaigns.
BOX SCORE: Red Wings 4, Jets 3, SO
“Our goalies have done a real good job,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “It’s hard to say for sure (what the difference is) but I would say the goaltenders have worked hard at it, we don’t do a lot of shootout in practice because we don’t practice enough, but certainly those guys have done a good job and the guys have done a good job scoring goals.”
Winning these shootouts and winning in overtime regularly — this was the Red Wings’ sixth game stretching past regulation in the last eight games — the Red Wings are 5-1-2 in their last eight games (4-2 past regulation).
“It’s nice to get that second point, especially where we are in the standings,” Zetterberg said. “We need all the points we can get. Once you get there (overtime) you might as well go for the second (point).
“We had a few big saves from Petr and then you have to be a little bit lucky when it goes into overtime and shootout and we had the bounces tonight.”
Said Blashill: “They (points) are crucial right now. We need to get as many points as we can, keep grinding away points, because everybody in the league seems to be getting points and we have to do the same thing.”
Mrazek made a pair of game-saving saves including on Bryan Little on a breakaway.
The Red Wings overcame a sluggish first period, falling behind 3-1, to rally.
Anthony Mantha and Thomas Vanek scored second-period goals, tying the game 3-3. Tomas Tatar scored in the first period.
“Blash wasn’t real happy with our first period,” Mantha said. “Everyone in here knew it wasn’t the way we had to play.”
Blashill saw the energy he needed from his team the final 45 minutes.
“I didn’t think we had the jump, the compete level, that’s necessary for us to be successful,” Blashill said. “The one thing I’ve said a lot is we’ve got great culture in the locker room, great leadership, and they responded. They came out in the second and third (periods) and played much better hockey.”
The Red Wings outshot Winnipeg 10-3 in the third period, not allowing a shot until past the halfway point of the period.
“For about 15 minutes I didn’t face a shot but you have to stay focused and watch the puck,” said Mrazek, who had to be sharp on a couple of Winnipeg chances late in regulation. “You never know when the puck is coming to you.”
Mrazek overcame a frustrating first period to keep the Red Wings in the game.

Red Wings rally to win shootout in Winnipeg
Wings sharpen shootout ways, taking down Jets
Red Wings erase 2-goal deficit, beat Jets in shootout


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Trump asks Terry Branstad friend of China's president to become Ambassador to Beijing (2.18/21)

The governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, has reportedly accepted President-elect Donald Trump's offer to be U. S. ambassador to China. Branstad called Chinese President Xi Jinping a 'long-time friend' when Xi visited Iowa in 2012. Trump will need a charming and diplomatic ambassador in Beijing who can smooth over relations after he committed a faux pas last week by accepting a phone call from Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen. Taiwan has been considered a 'renegade province' since 1949, when the Chinese nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) set up a state there after being defeated by Mao's communists in the Chinese civil war. KMT leader Chiang Kai-Shek set up the Republic of China - as opposed to the People's Republic of China, which rules the mainland - but it has struggled to be recognized diplomatically. Trump's transition team have confirmed he was meeting Branstad, 70, but have not confirmed what job he was being offered. But Fox News said he had been offered the job after a meeting at Trump Tower in New York. Trump's conversation with President Tsai was the first such contact with Taiwan by a U. S. president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter adopted a 'One China policy' in 1979, recognizing only the Beijing government. China suspects Tsai wants to push for the formal independence of Taiwan, which has managed to build a flourishing economy over the years despite formally being a pariah state. Only 22 countries recognise Taiwan and they are mainly small countries in Latin America, Africa or the Pacific. Meanwhile it has emerged that former Senator Bob Dole - who was the Republican presidential candidate in 1996 - was paid to lobby Trump on behalf of Taiwan. Dole, who works for the lobbying firm Alston & Bird, received $140,000 from Taiwan between May and October this year. Speaking of Taiwan's hopes of diplomatic recognition from the U. S., Dole told the New York Times : 'They’re very optimistic. They see a new president, a Republican, and they'd like to develop a closer relationship.” Dole is believed to have been instrumental in getting Trump to take the controversial call from Tsai. China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said they were also concerned about Tsai stopping off in the U. S. next month en route to Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador, three of the countries which are among the 22 which recognize Taiwan. Mr Lu told reporters 'transit diplomacy' is among the 'petty moves' employed by Taiwan and the 'ulterior political intentions are clear for all to see'. Although China claims Taiwan is a breakaway province, Beijing has never sought to conquer the island, although many Taiwanese fear an invasion and the country has bought significant arms from U. S. companies in a bid to defend itself. White House spokesman Josh Earnest claimed Trump was a diplomatic 'rookie' for taking the call from Tsai and said: 'Some of the progress that we have made in our relationship with China could be undermined by this issue flaring up.'

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Iowa governor Branstad is Trump's pick as China ambassador: Bloomberg
Iowa governor Branstad is Trump's pick as China ambassador - Bloomberg
Terry Branstad, Iowa governor, accepts China ambassador post: report


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How Iran closed the Mosul "horseshoe" and changed Iraq war (2.17/21)

By Dominic Evans, Maher Chmaytelli and Patrick Markey BAGHDAD/ERBIL, Iraq, Dec 7 (Reuters) - In the early days of the assault on Islamic State in Mosul, Iran successfully pressed Iraq to change its battle plan and seal off the city, an intervention which has since shaped the tortuous course of the conflict, sources briefed on the plan say. The original campaign strategy called for Iraqi forces to close in around Mosul in a horseshoe formation, blocking three fronts but leaving open the fourth - to the west of the city leading to Islamic State territory in neighbouring Syria. That model, used to recapture several Iraqi cities from the ultra-hardline militants in the last two years, would have left fighters and civilians a clear route of escape and could have made the Mosul battle quicker and simpler. But Tehran, anxious that retreating fighters would sweep back into Syria just as Iran's ally President Bashar al-Assad was gaining the upper hand in his country's five-year civil war, wanted Islamic State crushed and eliminated in Mosul. The sources say Iran lobbied for Iranian-backed Popular Mobilisation fighters to be sent to the western front to seal off the link between Mosul and Raqqa, the two main cities of Islamic State's self-declared cross-border caliphate. That link is now broken. For the first time in Iraq's two-and-half-year, Western-backed drive to defeat Islamic State, several thousand militants have little choice but to fight to the death, and 1 million remaining Mosul citizens have no escape from the front lines creeping ever closer to the city centre. "If you corner your enemy and don't leave an escape, he will fight till the end," said a Kurdish official involved in planning the Mosul battle. "In the west, the initial idea was to have a corridor... but the Hashid (Popular Mobilisation) insisted on closing this loophole to prevent them going to Syria," he told Reuters. The battle for Mosul is the biggest in Iraq since the U. S.-led invasion of 2003. In all, around 100,000 people are fighting on the government side, including Iraqi soldiers and police, "peshmerga" troops of the autonomous Kurdish region and fighters in the Popular Mobilisation units. A U. S.-led international coalition is providing air and ground support. Iraqi army commanders have repeatedly said that the presence of civilians on the battlefield has complicated and slowed their seven-week-old operation, restricting air strikes and the use of heavy weapons in populated areas. They considered a change in strategy to allow civilians out, but rejected the idea because they feared that fleeing residents could be massacred by the militants, who have executed civilians to prevent them from escaping other battles. Authorities and aid groups would also struggle to deal with a mass exodus. KILL BOX Planning documents drawn up by humanitarian organisations before the campaign, seen by Reuters, show they prepared camps in Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria for around 90,000 refugees expected to head west out of Mosul. "Iran didn't agree and insisted that no safe corridor be allowed to Syria," said a humanitarian worker. "They wanted the whole region west of Mosul to be a kill box. " Hisham al-Hashemi, an Iraqi analyst on Islamist militants who was briefed on the battle plan in advance, also said it initially envisaged leaving one flank open. "The first plan had the shape of a horseshoe, allowing for the population and the militants to retreat westward as the main thrust of the offensive came from the east," he said. About a week before the launch of the campaign, Lebanese Shi'ite Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, a close ally of Iran, accused the United States of planning to allow Islamic State a way out to Syria. "The Iraqi army and popular forces must defeat it in Mosul, otherwise, they will be obliged to move to eastern Syria in order to fight the terrorist group," he said. Hezbollah is fighting in support of Assad in Syria. Hashid spokesman Karim al-Nuri denied that Tehran was behind the decision to deploy the Shi'ite fighters west of Mosul. "Iran has no interest here. The majority of these statements are mere analysis - they are simply not true," he said. Nevertheless, securing territory west of Mosul by the Iranian-backed militias has other benefits for Iran's allies, by giving the Shi'ite fighters a launchpad into neighbouring Syria to support Assad. If Islamic State is defeated in Syria and Iraq, Tehran's allies would gain control of an arc of territory stretching from Iran itself across the Middle East to Lebanon and the Mediterranean coast. RUSSIAN PRESSURE Iran was not the only country pressing for the escape to be closed west of Mosul. Russia, another powerful Assad ally, also wanted to block any possible movement of militants into Syria, said Hashemi. The Russian defence ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. One of Assad's biggest enemies, France, was also concerned that hundreds of fighters linked to attacks in Paris and Brussels might escape. The French have contributed ground and air support to the Mosul campaign. A week after the campaign was launched, French President Francois Hollande said any flow of people out of Mosul would include "terrorists who will try to go further, to Raqqa in particular". Still, the battle plan did not foresee closing the road to the west of Mosul until Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi agreed in late October to despatch the Popular Mobilisation militias. "The government agreed to Iran's request, thinking that it would take a long time for the Hashid to get to the road to Syria, and during that time the escape route would be open and the battle would still proceed as planned," Hashemi said. The Hashid move to cut the western corridor was announced on Oct. 28, 11 days after the start of the wider Mosul campaign. Fighters made swift progress, sweeping up from a base south of Mosul to seal off the western route out of the city. Abadi "was surprised to see them reaching the road in just a few days," Hashemi said. "The battle has taken a different shape since then - no food, no fuel is reaching Mosul and Daesh (Islamic State) fighters are bent on fighting to the end. " IRAQ STRONGHOLD Once the Iraqi Shi'ite militia advance west of Mosul had begun, Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi told his followers there could be no retreat from the city where he first proclaimed his caliphate in July, 2014. Those tempted to flee should "know that the value of staying on your land with honour is a thousand times better than the price of retreating with shame," Baghdadi said in an audio recording released five days after the Shi'ite militias announced they were moving to cut off the last route out. Since then his fighters have launched hundreds of suicide car bombs, mortar barrages and sniper attacks against the advancing forces, using a network of tunnels under residential areas and using civilians as human shields, Iraqi soldiers say. A senior U. S. officer in international coalition which is supporting the campaign said that waging war amidst civilians would always be tough, but the Baghdad government was best placed to decide on strategy. "They've got 15 years of war (experience)... I can't think of anyone more calibrated to make that decision and as a result that why as a coalition we supported the government of Iraq's decision," Brigadier General Scott Efflandt, deputy commanding general in the coalition, told Reuters. "The opening and closing of that corridor, hypothetically, realistically, did not fundamentally change the plans of the battle," he added. "It changes how we prosecute the fight, but that does not necessarily make it easier or harder. " But the Kurdish official was less sanguine, saying the battle for Mosul was now "more difficult" and could descend into a long drawn out siege similar to those seen in Syria. It could "turn Mosul into Aleppo," he said. (Reporting by Patrick Markey and Maher Chmaytelli in Erbil and Dominic Evans in Baghdad; additional reporting by John Irish in Paris and Tatiana Ustinova in Moscow; writing by Dominic Evans; editing by Peter Graff)

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Discrimination against Latinos in United States has risen, study says


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Libyan force takes ISIS-occupied city (2.17/21)

BENGHAZI , Libya — The last buildings occupied by Islamic State militants in Sirte have fallen into hands of Libyan fighters on Tuesday, officials said, as the fighters celebrated in the streets of the final ISIS stronghold in Libya.

Syria army takes all of Aleppo Old City
Hate-filled graffiti is taking over the city


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Pfizer fined record £84.2m for overcharging NHS (2.16/21)

Drugs hulk Pfizer has been fined a record £84.2m by a UK’s foe watchdog for overcharging a NHS for an anti-epilepsy drug.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) also fined distributor Flynn Pharma £5.2m for a 2,600% cost boost for a drug in 2012.
NHS spending on a capsules rose from £2m a year in 2012 to about £50m in 2013.
UK prices for a drug were many times aloft than in Europe, a CMA said.

Pfizer fined record $107 million for hiking drug price as much as 2,600%
Pfizer fined £84MILLION for ripping off NHS by hiking price of anti-epilepsy drug


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Foxconn says in preliminary discussions to expand its US operations (2.13/21)

Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer and a major Apple Inc supplier, said on Wednesday that it was in preliminary discussions to expand its operations in the United States.
"While the scope of the potential investment has not been determined, we will announce the details of any plans following the completion of direct discussions between our leadership and the relevant US officials," it said in a statement.
Foxconn is formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.

Foxconn says in preliminary discussions to expand U.S. operations
Apple supplier Foxconn is in talks to invest in the U.S.
Foxconn says in preliminary discussions to expand its U.S. operations


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Trump got it wrong. China is spending big to prop up its currency (2.12/21)

Beijing burned through $69 billion in November as its currency came under pressure following Donald Trump's victory in the U. S. presidential election.
China's foreign currency war chest fell below $3.1 trillion, the lowest level since March 2011, according to official data released Wednesday.
The depleted reserves provide further evidence that Trump is mistaken when he claims China has been keeping its currency, the yuan, artificially low to make exports more competitive. Economists say that was probably true in the past, but the yuan strengthened significantly between 2005 and 2014.
More recently, China has in fact been spending hundreds of billions of dollars to buy its own currency and stop it falling too rapidly.
The Chinese economy has been slowing in recent years after decades of breakneck growth, and huge sums of money have been flowing out of the country, putting pressure on the yuan.
Related: Trump attacks China on trade but misses the mark
Sharp drops in the currency in August 2015 and January 2016 set off panic in global markets.
When money leaves China, it means people are selling yuan for dollars, euros and other currencies. China appears to be trying to balance that by drawing on its reserves of foreign currencies. It's a strategy many countries use, but it can drain "rainy day" reserve funds.
The big decline in China's cash stockpile last month shows that the central bank "had to step up intervention in the face of a surging U. S. dollar and more rapid capital outflows," said Capital Economics in a note.
The drop is the steepest since January , when Beijing went through about $100 billion.
Related: China's currency just hit lows not seen since the financial crisis
Since Trump's election victory, the U. S. dollar has soared against many currencies on expectations of a rate hike by the U. S. Federal Reserve this month and the potential for higher U. S. growth and inflation.
That's helped push the yuan, or renminbi as it's also known, to its lowest levels against the dollar in about eight years. Meanwhile, the amount of money pouring out of China appears to be accelerating, analysts say.
More than $540 billion has left the country this year, nearly 10% higher than during the same period in 2015, according to estimates last month from the Institute of International Finance.
And the momentum has probably intensified since then.
"It seems likely that capital outflows in November were the largest since the panic about the renminbi at the start of the year," the Capital Economics report said.
Still, talk of a new "renminbi crisis" was premature because the big leap in the dollar is unlikely to be repeated in the coming months, making it easier for China to manage its currency's gradual depreciation, the research firm said.

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JPMorgan fined $360 million for manipulating key interest rate (2.12/21)

The European Commission on Wednesday announced €485 million ($520 million) in fines against three banks -- Credit Agricole ( CRARY ) , HSBC ( HSBC ) and JPMorgan ( JPM ) -- that colluded in order to manipulate the Euro Interbank Offered Rate, or Euribor.
The regulator said the banks had acted as a "cartel. "
The fines were based on the banks' sales in Europe and the scope of their wrongdoing. JPMorgan faced the largest penalty, while Credit Agricole was fined €115 million ($123 million) and HSBC must pay €33 million ($35 million).
JPMorgan denied manipulating the rate, which is used to determine interest rates on financial products around Europe.
"We did not engage in any wrongdoing," the bank said in a statement. "We will continue to vigorously defend our position against these allegations, including through possible appeals to the European courts. "
In a statement, HSBC also denied any wrongdoing and said it was reviewing its legal options.
Credit Agricole did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Four other banks -- Barclays ( BCS ) , Deutsche Bank ( DB ) , RBS ( RBSPF ) and Societe Generale ( SCGLF ) -- reached a settlement with Europe in 2013 as part of the same investigation. They paid fines of €820 million ($879 million) in total.
Related: 5 big banks pay $5.4 billion for rigging currencies
Euribor is used to set rates on everything from home loans to complex derivatives. Major banks submitted information on a daily basis in order to set the rate.
Euribor became the subject of far-reaching inquiry in the wake of the financial crisis. Its cousin -- the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) -- was also investigated over manipulation.
European Commission investigators found that banks were able to manipulate Euribor rate between 2005 and 2008 by using chat rooms and instant messages to coordinate the submissions used to set the benchmark.
"The participation in such schemes was very lucrative for the banks," said Margrethe Vestager, Europe's top competition official. "Tiny tiny movements in the Euribor rate can have a huge impact because of the volumes of trading. "

EU Fines 3 Banks $520 Million Over Rate Market Rigging
EU fines 3 banks $520 million over rate market rigging


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Michigan's Moritz Wagner shows his other side, and that could change everything (2.12/21)

ANN ARBOR -- Heading into a huddle in the final minutes of Tuesday night's got-to-have-it home game against Texas, John Beilein called for Mark Donnal.
Moritz Wagner needed to come out. It was crunch time -- time to sub offense for defense. Beilein had timeouts in his pocket and could afford to go possession by possession. Donnal has always been a better defensive option than Wagner.
But assistant coach Billy Donlon tugged Beilein back. He pointed out that, believe it not, Wagner was doing well hedging on the Longhorns' ball screens.
"So we stayed with him," Beilein said later.
Wagner ended up as the hero, offensively and defensively, and delivered perhaps the biggest step forward in his college career. In a game the Wolverines won ugly, 53-50 , he scored a team-high 15 points and grabbed five rebounds to go with two assists and two steals in 26 minutes.
He also added two defensive plays that counted far more than any stat. They showed progress. They showed tangible growth.
Since arriving at Michigan, Wagner has displayed the natural offensive instincts long tied to a European brand of basketball. He is comfortable with the ball in his hands. He can score in a variety of ways. He's smooth. He can shoot.
More than anything, he always knows where he is, where the hoop is, and how to get from A to B.
On defense, it's been R to Z to D to M. Wagner has been everywhere and nowhere, all at once.
"Most of the time, I know where I am, but the coaches want me to be somewhere else," he joked Tuesday. "That's the problem most of the time. "
After Donlon urged Beilein to keep Wagner in the game against Texas, though, the fruit of a year-plus of work showed itself.
First, on a drive by Texas point guard Kerwin Roach Jr., Wagner held his position in the paint with his hands straight in the air. Roach ran into the meat of the defense and lost the ball, leading to a turnover. The Longhorns were clinging to a 50-49 lead, but watching it slip away.
Luckily for them, though, Michigan's offense was in a tug-of-war between abysmal and nonexistent. The Wolverines made two field goals over the previous 10-plus minutes.
Looking to give U-M the lead, Zak Irvin capped a brutal offensive night by driving into a closet and attempting an off-balance layup with 19 seconds to go. He missed.
Showing that offensive intuition, Wagner, without seeing the basket, snagged the offensive rebound and flipped up a put-back with 16 seconds left.
"I just trusted myself," he said.
Michigan was up, 51-50, and needed a defensive stop to secure an improbable win. This was a team that missed 16 of its previous 23 shots and committed eight second-half turnovers.
Wagner remained in the game for the final possession. Michigan had a few fouls to give.
With six seconds left, Texas guard Eric Davis Jr., drove across the lane looking for a window. Instead, he got Wagner. The rangy 6-foot-11 forward slid stride-for-stride with Davs, a 6-3 guard, and kept his positioning without bumping Davis.
Davis put up a would-be game-winning shot.
Wagner, who entered the night with 11 blocks in 401 career minutes played, swatted it back, being careful not to hit Davis' arm. A half-full Crisler Center erupted. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman secured the loose ball and was fouled.
Emotions flowed. While Wagner is thoughtful and earnest in interviews, he has a wild streak on the court. After stuffing Davis, he paraded out to midcourt, hyping up the U-M student section, yelling, waving his arms.
Beilein fully approved.
"This is a team that is not -- their personality does not exude that type of excitement," he said. "We're a little bit laid back. "
Wagner recalled the play later.
"I saw the pick and roll, and I saw him not even looking for the big man, so I obviously didn't want to get a foul, so I waited until he got down (into the post), so I could reach the ball better," he said. "To be honest, it's just an instinct play. You can't really explain that. "
That said it all.
Wagner was asked, "Instinctually, could you have done that one year ago? "
"That's a very good question," he replied, brooding over it. "I don't know. "
Beilein does.
"Those would have been fouls last year," the coach said.
On Tuesday, they were game-changing plays by a game-changing player. Wagner's offensive skills are so high-end that he's forced Beilein to play him at times despite brutal moments on the defensive end. Like Texas coach Shaka Smart said Tuesday: "There's a lot of things to like on him. He can shoot. He's 6-11. He can put the ball on the floor. Make free throws. He's a good player. "
But now the other side might be catching up.
"He's making major steps defensively right now," Beilein said.
And that, in turn, could change everything.
"Defensively," Wagner said, "I'm getting there. "

Moritz Wagner snatches victory for Wolverines
Wagner comes up big as Michigan edges Texas 53-50
Moritz Wagner's one-man show lifts Michigan past Texas for hard-fought win


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Ghana president, longtime opposition leader face off in vote (2.12/21)

ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — Voters in Ghana are choosing Wednesday between their incumbent leader and a three-time opposition presidential candidate amid widespread concerns about the credibility of the country's electoral commission. ...

Italian president pushes for new voting law before election
Ghana begins voting in presidential election
Ghana President, Longtime Opposition Leader Face off in Vote


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Through Tuesday, December 6, 2016 (2.12/21)

Need a break? Play a quick game of solitaire or Sudoku. Or take one of our fun quizzes!
Photos and video of Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, James Taylor and other honorees.

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Somali forces retake port town from faction loyal to Islamic State (2.11/21)

By Abdiqani Hassan QANDALA, Somalia Dec 7 (Reuters) - Soldiers loyal to Somalia's government retook control of a port town on Wednesday from insurgents who had declared allegiance to Islamic State, officials there said. Hundreds of pro-government fighters have been converging on Qandala in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland since it was seized last month by forces led by insurgent leader Abdiqadir Mumin "We now control Qandala port town. The IS fighters ran away into the hills without fighting," Puntland's minister for planning, Shire Haji Farah, told Reuters in the northern coastal town. Mumin used to be a commander with al Shabaab, a much larger Islamic insurgent force that is battling the weak Western-backed government to impose a strict interpretation of Islamic law. Qandala was the first town he took since declaring allegiance to Islamic State last year. It remains unclear what sort of link he has forged with the global militant group. (writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Armed groups take control of Libyan town near oil ports -officials
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Libyan forces clear last Islamic State holdout in Sirte


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Another strong performance could boost Auckland coach's ambitions (2.10/21)

WELLINGTON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - The Club World Cup could not have come at a better time for Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx, with the Spaniard hoping a good performance in Japan from the Oceania champions could enhance his prospects of finding a job with a professional side. Wellington Phoenix, New Zealand's only professional team, are currently without a coach after Ernie Merrick unexpectedly resigned from the A-League club on Monday. The 44-year-old Tribulietx, shortlisted for the vacant job at the Brisbane Roar last year, has been mentioned as a possible replacement for the Scot in Wellington. Tribulietx only recommitted to amateurs Auckland in late July having been in talks with professional clubs in eastern Europe before deciding to return for one more season and another shot at the tournament in Japan. Tribulietx has led the eight-time Oceania champions at five Club World Cups and the team, comprised of up-and-coming New Zealand players and journeymen former professionals, have often surprised the fully-professional sides at the tournament. They finished third at the 2014 edition in Morocco, losing 2-1 to Argentina's San Lorenzo in the semi-finals before beating Mexico's Cruz Azul on penalties. Tribulietx will be assisted by 40-year-old former New Zealand international Ivan Vicelich, who was still playing for Auckland until last year but was able to finally hang up his boots after the side built up some depth. "We've had very good preparation. The squad Ramon and the club have put together is very strong and we've worked really hard over the past couple of months," Vicelich said. "Unfortunately there's a couple of injuries in Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi and Mario Bilen that keep key players away from us. "But the strength in our squad is good and we've got the players who can step up. " (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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Bolivia detains airline's president as crash probe advances (2.10/21)

COCHABAMBA, Bolivia (AP) — The head of the charter airline whose plane crashed in the Andes last week was detained by Bolivian prosecutors for questioning Tuesday as authorities look into whether the tragedy that killed 71 people stemmed from negligence. ...

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Thai prime minister cautions news media on lese majeste law (2.10/21)

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's prime minister warned Wednesday that the BBC could be prosecuted if an online report published by its Thai-language service about the country's new king is found to have violated the law safeguarding the monarchy's reputation. ...

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Thailand: 'No Exceptions' on Lese Majeste for News Outlets
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Obama defends counterterrorism plan before handover to Trump (2.10/21)

TAMPA, Fla. — Closing out two terms as a president at war, Barack Obama staunchly defended his counterterrorism strategy as one that rejected torture, held to American values and avoided large-scale troop deployments, in what was seen as an implicit effort to shape the strategy his successor might employ.
Mr. Obama came to MacDill Air Force Base, home to U. S. Special Operations Command and Central Command, to give his final speech on national security. He delivered a strident argument for his reliance on drone strikes and U. S. commandos rather than ground wars like those launched in Iraq and Afghanistan by his predecessor. Mr. Obama emphasized the need for the U. S. to uphold its values by respecting the rights of Muslims and trying terror suspects in civilian courts.
“We can get these terrorists and stay true to who we are,” Mr. Obama said.
“Rather than offer false promises that we can eliminate terrorism by dropping more bombs, or deploying more and more troops, or by fencing ourselves off from the rest of the world, we have to take a long view of the terrorist threat,” Mr. Obama told troops gathered in an airplane hangar. “We have to pursue a smart strategy that can be sustained.”
In describing the nature of the threat after eight years of his leadership, Mr. Obama sought to strike a careful balance, arguing at once that “violent extremism will be with us for years to come” and that terrorists “don’t pose an existential threat” to the U. S. He said unlike previous wars against other nations, it was unlikely this conflict would end with a “clearly defined victory.”
Though White House officials said the speech was planned before Donald Trump was elected, Mr. Obama’s remarks were viewed as clearly tailored to address some of Mr. Trump’s proposals.
In a warning that appeared aimed at Mr. Trump, who has called for barring Muslim immigrants temporarily, Mr. Obama said the U. S. doesn’t impose religious tests. He forcefully defended his decision to bar the use of torture against detainees while chastising Congress for refusing to let him shutter the Guantanamo Bay detention center, which Mr. Obama called a “blot on our national honor.”
Amnesty International USA urged the incoming commander in chief to heed Mr. Obama’s advice, arguing that the speech “offers lessons for Trump.”
Mr. Obama acknowledged he wasn’t entirely successful in what he has described as his push to take the U. S. off its wartime footing. He has been forced to rely on more than 15-year-old law, passed by Congress after 9/11, as the legal underpinning for his campaign against the Islamic State group, but pointed the finger at Congress for failing to update it.
“Democracies should not operate in a state of permanently authorized war,” Mr. Obama said.
For his part, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called the law’s “expansive interpretation” an “unfortunate legacy” of the Obama administration.
“We’ve had this confluence of interests between the Congress and the administration — a Congress that didn’t want to vote on it and an administration that didn’t want to tie its own hands,” he said at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “Now we go into a new administration where the door is left so wide open that there’s no meaningful congressional limitation on the president-elect’s ability to go to war.”
Mr. Trump has said little about how he intends to combat extremist groups, arguing that ambiguity and unpredictability are assets that deny the enemy a chance to plan ahead. Still, all signs suggest he’ll pursue a more muscular, military-driven approach, including his selection of hawkish aides for his team such as retired Gen. Michael T. Flynn for national security adviser.
The president-elect has argued that Mr. Obama’s decision to withdraw the bulk of troops from Iraq created a power vacuum that allowed IS to form and seize territory. Mr. Obama said that was because Baghdad refused to sign a pact granting legal protections to U. S. troops to stay, though officials have acknowledged privately over the years that Mr. Obama never forcefully pushed for such a deal.
Mr. Obama came into office telling a war-weary nation he would wind down two wars and prevent new ones. Mr. Obama said his use of drones, for example, had saved civilian lives, arguing that airstrikes would have been less precise and ground troops more deadly.
“You have to weigh the alternatives,” Mr. Obama said.
But Mr. Obama’s approach most notably came up short in Syria, where Mr. Obama long ago predicted that Syrian President Bashar Assad would lose his grip on power. Assad’s control appears stronger than it has in years while the brutal civil war rages on.
While U. S. troop casualties declined significantly under Mr. Obama’s approach, the U. S. is now fighting in far more corners of the globe, which Mr. Obama attributed to a metastasizing extremist threat.
The U. S. is currently launching strikes in Syria, Somalia, Libya and Yemen, according to a report to Congress the White House released this week. Additional U. S. troops and assets are also in Jordan, Djibouti, Turkey, Egypt and Cameroon to support counterterrorism missions, while other overseas operations remain classified.
Much of the counterterrorism mission is being carried out not by traditional ground troops who have traditionally done most of the fighting in U. S. wars, but by commandos like the Army Delta Force and Navy SEALs. Their agility, advanced training and light footprint make them attractive for fighting in places where the U. S. doesn’t want to get bogged down.
Before taking the stage for his speech, Mr. Obama met with top military leaders at the base, including Gen. Raymond Thomas, who heads U. S. Special Operations Command. He also told troops serving at the base that it had been the privilege of his lifetime to serve as their commander in chief.

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Bangladesh court confirms death for Islamic group leader (2.09/21)

NEW DELHI (AP) — Bangladesh's Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld death sentences for the leader of a banned Islamic group and two of his associates found guilty in a 2004 grenade attack on a British envoy. ...

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Carolina Herrera says it’s an honor to dress Melania Trump (2.09/21)

David Goldman / AP
Melania Trump, wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, is introduced during a campaign rally Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Manchester, N. H.
By Nekesa Mumbi Moody, Associated Press
Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 | 1:02 a.m.
NEW YORK — While a few designers have made news saying they would not dress the future first lady, Carolina Herrera said she'd be honored if Melania Trump wore one of her outfits.
The famed designer spoke about Trump on the red carpet before she got an honor of her own Monday night from the Women's Leadership Council at Lincoln Center.
Who might dress the wife of President-elect Donald Trump has become an issue after designers Sophie Theallet and Tom Ford, who have both dressed first lady Michelle Obama, said they wouldn't do so for Mrs. Trump, a former model.
But when asked if she would, Herrera said, "Of course I will, as the first lady of this country I will. Of course. "
She added, "It is an honor to dress the first ladies of the country and it's something to do for the United States. It's not for myself. It's for the public. "
Obama has worn Herrera while in the White House.
Herrera was lauded for her 35 years of fashions at the event by Emmy Rossum and Seth Meyers, among others. Diana Ross sang a mini-concert in Herrera's honor, including hits like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "I'm Coming Out. "
Rossum and Meyers both used wedding dress tales to testify about the greatness of Herrera
The "Shameless" actress said Herrera, whom she called "the chicest women alive," was the first to design for her on the red carpet, and over the years, helped her get out of her comfort zone.
"She persuaded me to embrace increasingly bolder and brighter prints," Rossum said. "She dared me to stand out. "
Rossum said she excitedly called Herrera to design her gown for her upcoming wedding.
"I knew without question that only she could make the wedding dress of my dreams, and she has approached that task with the same care, elegance and enthusiasm that only she can," Rossum said. "I couldn't be more honored at the thought of wearing her dress on my big day. "
Meyers' wife also wore Herrera for their wedding. On the day, the late night comedian recalled how his wife came down with food poisoning and had to go to the hospital, but rallied for the ceremony.
"I was still concerned as to how she would look as she walked down the aisle, because I have to be honest, she did not look great in the hospital," he said to laughs. "It was problematic, because I put on the tuxedo, I looked fantastic. "
But his fears were allayed when she put on her Herrera gown.
"I cannot tell you how much it meant to me and how in awe I was when my wife walked down the aisle after she had been lying on that gurney, on those fluids, and it was all such a credit to this Carolina Herrera wedding gown she was wearing," he said. "She was completely transformed. "

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Critics worry after Trump security chief fuels conspiracies (2.08/21)

WASHINGTON (AP) - On issues of national security and intelligence, no one is likely to have more influence in Donald Trump's White House than retired Gen. Michael T. Flynn. Yet Flynn, Trump's incoming national security adviser, has gained prominence in Republican politics by fueling conspiracy theories and Islamophobic rhetoric that critics warn could create serious distractions - or alienate allies and embolden enemies - if it continues. "His job is to ensure that the White House is focused at all times on all of the threats that the United States faces abroad," said Julianne Smith, a former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden. She said she was "deeply troubled" by a Flynn tendency to promote fake news stories on his Twitter feed. "You don't want to have a distracted national security adviser," said Smith, who now directs the strategy and statecraft program at the Center for a New American Security. She was among several national security experts who raised concerns Tuesday about Flynn's willingness to share bad intelligence on a social media feed as he prepares to move to the West Wing. Flynn served until 2014 as the head of U. S. military intelligence. Although he left that job over disputes with the Obama administration over policy and his management of the Defense Intelligence Agency, he is widely regarded as a top intelligence officer, a job that requires an understanding of the power of disinformation. The issue of sharing fake news was highlighted when Flynn's son, Michael G. Flynn, tweeted about the false idea that prompted a shooting at a Washington pizza parlor. He had been promoting a conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton's allies had been operating a secret pedophilia ring in the restaurant and noted it would remain a story until "proven to be false. " Vice President-elect Mike Pence acknowledged Tuesday that the younger Flynn was helping his father with scheduling and administrative items during the presidential transition but told CNN "that's no longer the case. " Asked repeatedly whether a security clearance was requested, Pence refused to answer directly. "Whatever the appropriate paperwork was to assist him in that regard, Jake, I'm sure was taking place," he said. Trump's team did not clarify whether Michael Flynn Jr.'s departure from Trump's transition team was related to the tweets. Less than a week before the election, the elder Flynn tweeted a link to a story that falsely claimed Clinton emails contained proof of money laundering and sex crimes with children, among other illegal activities. The incoming national security adviser called the baseless story a "must read" and instructed his followers: "U decide. " Flynn also promoted conspiracy theorists, some of them white supremacists, throughout the campaign even as he emerged as Trump's highest profile national security adviser. He encouraged his followers to read a book by Mike Cernovich, whose website has suggested Clinton's campaign chairman was part of a "sex cult with connections to human trafficking. " Flynn also tagged white nationalist Jared Wyand, whose website is popular with "alt-right" followers. Flynn's appointment is not subject to Senate confirmation. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Tuesday that Flynn's willingness to promote fake news "raises profound questions about his suitability for this important position. " Trump's team did not respond to questions about Flynn's social media activity. Pence praised Flynn more broadly on Tuesday, even as he distanced the incoming administration from Flynn's son. "We are so grateful and honored to have Gen. Flynn as our nominee for national security adviser. He brings an extraordinary wealth of experience," Pence said. The role of national security adviser has varied by administration, but usually centers on coordinating the policy positions of the secretaries of state and defense, the attorney general and other members of a president's team. It is an especially important position because of the national security adviser's access to the president in the West Wing of the White House. Flynn's office will be steps away from the Oval Office, proximity that allows him to act as a gatekeeper on a wide range of issues, including matters of war and peace as well as diplomacy and intelligence. He is expected to have more direct access to the president than national security officials in the Cabinet. Aside from attending Trump's daily intelligence briefings and senior staff meetings, Flynn will also oversee the National Security Council, a White House department that has grown to about 400 people involved in making policy recommendations. Flynn, who turns 58 in December, served for more than three decades in the Army. "If the national security adviser is going to be the direct conduit between the president and the national security world, of course it's a concern that adviser is being taken in by conspiracy theories and fake news," said Tom Nichols, a professor at the U. S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, where Flynn obtained a master's in national security and strategic studies in 2001. Whoever has the president's ear on international affairs, Nichols said, should have "a firm grip on what's true and what's false. " ___ AP writers Julie Pace and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington and Matt O'Brien in Providence, Rhode Island contributed to this report. Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Zetterberg's keen eye lifts Red Wings over Jets, 4-3, in shoot-out (2.08/21)

WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Henrik Zetterberg’s attention to detail led to the game-winning shoot-out goal on Tuesday night.
Zetterberg backhanded in the deciding tally and the Detroit Red Wings came back from a two-goal deficit to beat the Winnipeg Jets, 4-3, on Tuesday night.
The veteran forward watched how teammate Frans Nielsen almost scored on Connor Hellebuyck earlier in the shoot-out and followed his lead — with a little twist, making sure he lifted his shot high over the goalie.
“When Nielsen took his attempt, (Hellebuyck) went down when he tried to deke him,” Zetterberg said. “I thought I’d do the same (but go high off the backhand).”
Thomas Vanek also scored on Hellebuyck in the shootout, and Patrik Laine had Winnipeg’s tally against Petr Mrazek.
Tomas Tatar, Anthony Mantha and Vanek scored in regulation for Detroit, which has at least one point in seven of its last eight games (5-1-2).
“Right now, the standings are so tight one or two points could make a great difference at the end of the year,” Mantha said.
The Jets got goals from Andrew Copp, Dustin Byfuglien and Laine, whose 17th of the season tied him for the NHL lead with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby.
Byfuglien and Laine each added an assist for Winnipeg, which is 4-1-1 in its past six games.
“We just weren’t playing the same game (as we did) in the first period,” Laine said. “That can’t happen against a good team like this. They will come back into the game right away and that happened tonight.”
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Hellebuyck made 27 saves, while Mrazek stopped 31 shots.
“He played amazing again,” Mantha said of Mrazek. “He’s been really solid lately. He showed us that he could be a great goaltender.”
Winnipeg had a 3-1 lead late in the first period, but Vanek tied it with 2:08 left in the second on a re-direction.
Winnipeg was leading, 28-16, in shots on goal after two periods but didn’t get its first in the scoreless third until more than 12 minutes had passed.
That’s similar to the slow start the Red Wings had to start the game.
Detroit didn’t have a shot on goal before Copp tipped in teammate Ben Chiarot’s point shot to open the scoring at 6:41 of the first period with Winnipeg’s seventh shot.
But the Wings’ second shot on goal 24 seconds later was Tatar’s marker off a rebound to tie it, 1-1.
Zetterberg assisted on the goal, extending his point streak to five games with three goals and three assists.
Byfuglien made it 2-1 at 11:22 and then Zetterberg’s turnover in the Wings’ end led to Laine’s goal 1:44 later.
The long blast appeared to glance off a Detroit stick and then defenseman Mike Green on the way past Mrazek at 13:06.
Laine has four goals and a pair of assists in his past six games.
Winnipeg outshot the Wings, 16-7, in the opening period.
A turnover by Jets defenseman Toby Enstrom in his own end led to Mantha’s goal at 10:59 of the second period to make it 3-2.
Vanek tied it at 17:52 with a re-direction of Xavier Ouellet’s shot.

Wings goalie Petr Mrazek on the 4-3 win over the Jets
Red Wings erase 2-goal deficit, beat Jets in shootout


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British premier tells Gulf she's 'clear-eyed' on Iran threat (2.07/21)

British Prime Minister Theresa May has told Gulf leaders meeting in Bahrain that she's "clear-eyed" on the threat posed by Iran. May's comments on Wednesday came at the end of...

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UPI Almanac for Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 (2.07/21)

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 7, the 342nd day of 2016 with 24 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Jupiter and Saturn. The evening stars are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Neptune, and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Sagittarius. They include Italian sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1598; Theodor Schwann, German physiologist and co-originator of cell theory, in 1810; novelist Willa Cather in 1873; composer Rudolf Friml ("Indian Love Call") in 1879; department store chain founder Richard Sears in 1863; actors Eli Wallach in 1915 and Ted Knight in 1923; linguist Noam Chomsky in 1928 (age 88); actor Ellen Burstyn in 1932 (age 84); rock/folksinger Harry Chapin in 1942; baseball Hall of Fame member Johnny Bench in 1947 (age 69); singer/songwriter Tom Waits in 1949 (age 67); basketball Hall of Fame member Larry Bird in 1956 (age 60); and singer/TV host Nicole Appleton in 1974 (age 42).
On this date in history:
In 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the U. S. Constitution.
In 1909, Leo Baekeland patented the process for making Bakelite, giving birth to the modern plastics industry.
In 1925, five-time Olympic gold medalist and future movie Tarzan Johnny Weissmuller set a world record in 150-yard free-style swimming.
In 1931, U. S. President Herbert Hoover refused to see a group of "hunger marchers" at the White House.
In 1941, Japan launched a sneak attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii , catapulting the United States into World War II. The attack killed 2,403 people, wounded hundreds, destroyed 188 planes and crippled the U. S. Pacific Fleet. The following day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called Dec. 7 "a date which will live in infamy. "
In 1972, Apollo 17 was launched on the last scheduled manned mission to the moon.
In 1983, the first execution by lethal injection took place at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.
In 1987, Mikhail Gorbachev became the first Soviet leader to officially visit the United States since 1973 .
In 1988, an estimated 25,000 people died in a powerful earthquake in Armenia .
In 1991, President Mikhail Gorbachev fired the Gen. Vladimir Lobov, chief of staff of the Soviet Union's armed forces , and replaced him with Viktor Samsonov, an officer who defied the August coup attempt.
In 1992, the destruction of a 16th-century mosque by militant Hindus touched off five days of violence across India that left more than 1,100 people dead.
In 1993, U. S. Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary revealed the United States had conducted 204 underground nuclear tests from 1963 to 1990 without informing the public.
In 2002, Azra Akin, a 21-year-old model from Turkey, won the Miss World competition two weeks after Muslim-Christian violence in Nigeria killed more than 200 people, forcing organizers to move the pageant to London.
In 2004, Hamid Karzai was sworn in as Afghanistan's first popularly elected president .
In 2007, the South Korean coast guard struggled to contain the largest oil spill in Korea following a collision between a barge and an oil tanker that spilled 10,000 tons of oil into coastal waters.
In 2012, Arizona Lottery officials said a 37-year-old suburban Phoenix man claimed his half of a record-breaking $587.5 million Powerball drawing but wished to remain anonymous (he was later identified as Matthew Good of Fountain Hills). It was announced earlier that Mark and Cindy Hall of Dearborn, Mo., won the other half of the big prize.
In 2013, Merrill Newman, 85-year-old Korean War veteran/tourist held in North Korea for more than a month, returned to the United States .
A thought for the day: "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. " -- Albert Einstein

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NBA: Magic topple Wizards despite Wall’s 52 points (2.07/21)

Fifty-two points from John Wall weren’t enough for the Washington Wizards on Tuesday as they fell 124-116 to the surging Orlando Magic.
Wall became the fourth NBA player to score 50 or more points in a single game this season.
He connected on 18 of 31 shots, including five of eight from three-point range, but with little help from his supporting cast the Wizards lost for the third time in four games.
The Magic, meanwhile, closed out a five-game roadtrip with a flourish.
Reeling from four straight defeats when they departed on their road trip, they upset the Spurs in San Antonio, narrowly lost to the Grizzlies in Memphis, beat the 76ers in Philadelphia and surprised the Pistons in Detroit.
Elfrid Payton scored 22 of his career-high 25 points in the first half, connecting on nine of 12 shots from the field on the night.
With Tuesday’s win, they snapped a 13-game skid against the Wizards in games in which Wall played.
Payton made his first nine shots and he was a perfect three for three from three-point range as the Magic posted their highest point total of the season.
Jeff Green scored 20 points, Jodie Meeks 18 and Nikola Vucevic 10 off the Magic bench. Led by Payton, Orlando’s reserves outscored Washington’s 73-22.
“We’re growing on that end of the floor,” Magic coach Frank Vogel said of Orlando’s offense.
“We didn’t play well early in the season, but some of the guys are finding their spots, and I’m finding ways to use them. We got several great contributions, starting with Elfrid Payton. (He) came off the bench, having the game of his life. He was terrific tonight.”
The Wizards pulled within 115-107 with 3:43 remaining, but a three-pointer from Green capped a 5-0 burst for the Magic that effectively extinguished any hope of a comeback by Washington, who were out-scored 40-28 in the second quarter and trailed by as many as 20.
“Unacceptable,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said of his team’s second-quarter defense.
“We have to be able to sustain a sense of urgency possession by possession,” Brooks added. “It was spotty at best. Until we do that, we’re going to put ourselves in a bad position.”

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Christmas gifts for underprivileged kids stolen from church (2.06/21)

WATERTOWN, Conn. (AP) - Police in Connecticut are investigating the theft of dozens of toys collected for underprivileged children from a Watertown church.
Police tell The Republican-American ( ) of Waterbury that someone entered the locked First Congregational Church between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Monday and took about 36 wrapped gifts.
The gifts included toys, clothes and diapers.
Investigators say there were no signs of forced entry at the church, and last weekend was the deadline for gift collection, so the thief likely knew the items were there.
Anyone who knows anything about the theft is asked to call Watertown police.

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Aid in South Sudan: We're mopping up while the tap is still running (2.06/21)

I n September, South Sudan joined a club where the fees are exorbitant and no one really wants to be a member. Along with Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia, it became one of the countries that has produced more than a million refugees.
We all know the story. The birth of South Sudan in 2011 brought with it such hope and promise. But now, engulfed in a deadly and bitter conflict fuelled by a power struggle leading to ethnic-related violence, hope is dying and the future looks bleak.
At Mercy Corps the way we view the world is to find opportunity in crisis. But, for the first time in my career, I am finding this tough. The people of South Sudan are resilient, but with the number of needing support to feed themselves and their families having doubled over the last year (now at 4.8 million) and most indicators of development on a downward spiral, it is difficult to identify the positives. And the truth is that although the war is at the heart of this crisis, short-term donor strategies and funding, crippling bureaucracy and a peace deal that the international community is holding on to, but which many South Sudanese have lost faith in, are all playing their part in making the situation worse.
No one is denying that conditions in South Sudan are gruelling. We work in a tense situation of ongoing conflict and violence trying to deliver aid to the most vulnerable. And while the fact that my team’s lives are on the line day in day out, is concerning to me as their country director, it is not what is keeping me awake at night. Our profession comes with certain risks, which we knowingly accept. As aid workers we are trained to manage and implement programmes in times of conflict. We do this responsibly and sustainably, so that despite the fragility of the environment, we can move people along the road from relief to recovery.
But in South Sudan, we are not able to do this and it is this that grieves me. Just to begin with, we are suffering from diminished humanitarian capacity in the country, after the surge in violence in July, many humanitarian and institutional staff left and are yet to return. Moreover, while the NGO community perseveres in continuing to share best practice and recommendations for programmatic responses – both for urgent relief and medium term recovery – we are consulted only occasionally by donors on their strategies despite our rich on-the-ground experience and knowledge of what communities want and need.
For example, NGOs implement more than 70% of all programmes in South Sudan, but yet the main support from state actors is provided through pooled funding. What this means is that money is firstly put into a common pot, and from there it is donated to NGOs. This is not only an expensive way to operate, but it slows down implementation. Donating direct to NGOs would be more efficient, especially as there is no shadow of a doubt that the needs of South Sudanese people are exigent and cannot wait.
However, the most pressing concern affecting recovery is that the vast majority of our funding is received in short tranches: a couple of months, a couple of months and then another couple of months. What this means is that we are unable to plan long-term and nothing is guaranteed. We establish our programme, hire staff, implement for perhaps five months, and then wind down the programme again. We may (or may not) receive more funding for that programme, and so we start the cycle all over again. This is the reality in which we are working. We can do better.
In July, Mercy Corps with support from the British government began implementing a programme to stimulate economic recovery in some of the most inaccessible areas in Unity state. This is a four-year programme, virtually unheard of in the recent times in South Sudan. We are providing cash transfers to households and traders to kick-start market recovery, as well as provide business training and livelihoods support for fishing and farming. It is precisely this type of programming that allows us to work sustainably in a manner that builds capacity and ultimately, enables the project to be taken over by the community. It is also more cost effective as we can plan efficiently, procure smarter, recruit better, and engage communities more meaningfully.
We cannot say that our programmes will not be interrupted by violence and conflict, but should this mean that we surrender all hope to help the South Sudanese people move forward beyond urgent relief and handouts? No. It means we adapt, we change our way of thinking and working. It means that donors become more flexible in their approach and understand that when there is an uptick in violence we will need to pivot from our recovery programmes to urgent relief, and then when we can, back again. Around the world, Mercy Corps has implemented programmes with such nimbleness to shift between relief and recovery to fit the context, it requires trust, partnership, and commitment.
Without this change in approach, I will not be surprised if more international organisations leave South Sudan, or scale back their operations in the next six months. While we must have a peace deal that is firm, assuring and definite, that ensures the protection of civilians as well as aid workers, we also desperately need donors to reinvest and recommit to the future of South Sudan.
Deepmala Mahla is the South Sudan country director for Mercy Corps. Follow @Deepmala_Mahla on Twitter.
Join our community of development professionals and humanitarians. Follow @GuardianGDP on Twitter.

AP reporter deported from South Sudan
South Sudan deports AP journalist, agency says it is over his reporting


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UN agency says Iran no longer in violation of nuclear deal (2.06/21)

A U. N. agency says Iran is no longer in violation of its nuclear agreement with six world powers because it has reduced its store of heavy water.
Heavy water cools reactors that can produce substantial amounts of plutonium used to make the core of nuclear warheads. A recent report from the U. N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency said that Tehran had slightly more heavy water stored than the 130 metric tons (143.3 tons) called for by the deal between it and six world powers.
A new confidential IAEA report obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press says the agency verified Tuesday that an Iranian export shipment of 11 metric tons (over 12 tons) of heavy water had arrived at its destination.
The agency did not specify the destination but diplomats say it's Oman.

UN Agency Says Iran No Longer in Violation of Nuclear Deal
Iran to sign oil, gas deals with Shell


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Men's World Cup ski races rescheduled for Italy, Norway (2.06/21)

OBERHOFEN, Switzerland (AP) — Men's World Cup ski races canceled in Canada have been rescheduled for Italy and Norway. The International Ski Federation says a super-G will be held in Santa Caterina, Italy, on Dec. 27 and a downhill will be contested on Feb. 24 in Kvitfjell, Norway. Both races have been added on to existing race programs. The races were originally scheduled for Lake Louise, Alberta, on Nov. 26-27 but were canceled because of a lack of snow.

Men’s World Cup ski races rescheduled for Italy, Norway
World Cup skiing: Faivre sweeps to Val D'Isere victory


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'Mannequin Challenge' Video Leads to Arrests in Alabama (2.06/21)

A "mannequin challenge" video of people staging a shootout has led to the arrests of two men in Alabama and the seizure of several guns and marijuana.
Madison County Sheriff's Office Capt. Mike Salomonsky tells local news outlets the video led investigators to serve a search warrant Tuesday morning at a Huntsville home.
The search turned up two handguns, a shotgun, a rifle and marijuana that appeared to be packaged for sale.
Officers arrested 23-year-old Terry Martez Brown and charged him with drug paraphernalia possession, loitering and promoting prison contraband.
Also arrested was 49-year-old Kenneth Fennell White, who's charged with first-degree marijuana possession and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The video has been shared 86,000 times since it was posted to Facebook on Nov. 9.
It's unclear if Brown or White have attorneys.

WATCH: Gun-wielding mannequin challenge leads to two arrests and weapons and drugs seized
'Mannequin challenge' video leads to arrests in Alabama


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Gambia leader's upset heartens families of the disappeared (2.06/21)

KANIFING, Gambia (AP) — Fatoumata Sawaneh tried to hold back tears while talking about her father, one of hundreds of people who disappeared during the 22-year reign of President Yahya Jammeh in this tiny West African country. ...

Gambia leader’s upset heartens families of the disappeared
Gambia Leader's Upset Heartens Families of the Disappeared


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NATO chief laments 'serious' security problems in Ukraine (2.06/21)

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says security problems are undermining peace efforts in eastern Ukraine, as a routinely violated cease-fire barely holds in the separatist Donbass region. ...

NATO chief urges West to keep pressuring Russia over Ukraine
NATO Chief Laments 'Serious' Security Problems in Ukraine


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Study: ‘Obamacare’ repeal-only would make 30M uninsured (2.06/21)

Washington — Repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law without a clear replacement risks making nearly 30 million people uninsured, according to a study released Wednesday.
Republicans say that won’t happen because they are working on replacement legislation for a President Donald Trump to sign. Nonetheless, the complex two-stage strategy the GOP Congress is contemplating has raised concerns.
The plan is for Congress to first use a special budget-related procedure to repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, next year. The effective date of that repeal would be delayed by months or years to give lawmakers time to write replacement legislation.
The replacement law would presumably do many of the same things that “Obamacare” does, such as subsidizing coverage and protecting people with health problems. But it would not involve as much federal regulation, and it would eliminate a highly unpopular requirement that most Americans get health insurance or face fines.
Wednesday’s analysis from the nonpartisan Urban Institute looks at a scenario where “repeal” goes through, but “replace” stalls. It predicts heavy collateral damage for people buying individual health insurance policies independent of government markets like Though nonpartisan, the Urban Institute generally supports the goal of extending coverage to all Americans. Previously it has criticized some of the subsidies provided under Obama’s law as insufficient.
The new analysis warns that repealing major parts of the health law without a clear replacement could upend the health insurance market for people buying their coverage directly, outside of the workplace. That group has grown substantially under the health care law, but also includes millions of other customers.
The study found that 22.5 million people would lose coverage directly due to repeal of the law’s subsidies, Medicaid expansion, and its individual requirement to carry health insurance.
Another 7.3 million would become uninsured because of the ripple effects of market upheavals. That could happen if insurers lose confidence in the Republican promise of a replacement and abandon the individual market. A key industry worry is that a repeal law would get rid of subsidies and mandates but still leave insurers on the hook for covering people with health problems.
The number of uninsured people would rise to nearly 59 million in 2019, and the nation would have a higher uninsured rate than when the ACA passed in 2010, the study found.
Federal and state governments would save tens of billions of dollars, but the potential price would be social dislocation and a political backlash.
“This scenario does not just move the country back to the situation before the ACA,” the study concluded. “It moves the country to a situation with higher uninsurance rates than was the case before the ACA’s reforms.
“To replace the ACA…with new policies designed to increase insurance coverage, the federal government would have to raise new taxes, substantially cut spending, or increase the deficit,” the authors added. That’s because the taxes used to finance Obama’s coverage expansion would also be repealed.
Republicans say they won’t allow chaos to happen.
“We are not going to rip health care out of the hands of Americans,” House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said in a recent interview with Associated Press reporters and editors. “Republicans are going to give Americans choices and an appropriate transition.”

Study: 'Obamacare' Repeal-Only Would Make 30M Uninsured
Study: 'Obamacare' repeal-only would make 30M uninsured


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10 Things to Know for Today (2.06/21)

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. EARTHQUAKE ROCKS INDONESIA'S ACEH PROVINCE The 6.5-magnitude temblor kills at least 97 people and sparks a frantic rescue effort in the rubble of dozens of collapsed and damaged buildings. 2. WHAT TRUMP IS PROMISING TO DO The president-elect vows to "heal our divisions and unify our country" as he prepares to meet with some of the victims of last week's car-and-knife attack at Ohio State University. 3. SURVIVOR RECALLS FEAR, ANGER ON DAY OF PEARL HARBOR Jim Downing, now 103, plans to return to Hawaii with other survivors to mark the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack that plunged the U. S. into World War II. 4. REBELS CORNERED FURTHER IN EASTERN ALEPPO Syrian troops and their allies seize more ground in the city's ancient quarters, widening control over the besieged enclave that has been in rebel hands since 2012, state media and an activist group says. 5. HOW PARK'S TENURE IS VIEWED Facing impeachment, the South Korean president has been marred by a standoff with North Korea, a deadly ferry disaster and claims that she tried to curb free speech and labor rights. 6. SPREAD BY TRADE AND CLIMATE, BUGS BUTCHER AMERICA'S FORESTS An expanding army of speck-sized Hemlock woolly adelgid is draining the life out of trees nationwide. 7. FROM REFUGEE TO AIR FORCE PILOT Transport plane Capt. Safia Ferozi is Afghanistan's second female pilot, a sign of the efforts to bring more women into the armed forces. 8. WHO WILL FACE SKEPTICAL LAWMAKERS The CEOs of AT&T and Time Warner will try to convince senators that a merger will mean innovative new experiences for consumers. 9. TRAFFIC SIGNAL EXPERIENCE ABOUT TO CHANGE Audi debuts a traffic technology that allows cars to "read" a how long it'll take for a red traffic light to turn green. 10. RASHAAN SALAAM REMEMBERED AS MORE THAN A GRIDIRON STAR The former Colorado running back was found dead in a park less than 2 miles from the field where he carved out a Heisman Trophy winning career. Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

10 Things to Know for Today - 7 December 2016
Where DAPL opponents ride out storm; Grammys drink up 'Lemonade' (10 things to know for Wednesday)


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Djokovic has not worked hard enough, says Becker (2.06/21)

By Zoran Milosavljevic BELGRADE, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic lost his momentum in the second half of last season and was toppled as the world number one by Andy Murray because his work-rate dropped, the Serbian's former coach Boris Becker said on Wednesday. Speaking a day after the two terminated their cooperation by mutual consent, German Becker said Djokovic's need to spend more time with his family had derailed him on the court. "He didn't spend as much time on the practice court in the last six months as he should have and he knows that," said Becker, who helped Djokovic to six grand slam titles after they teamed up in December 2013. "Success like this doesn't happen by pushing a button. Success like this doesn't just happen by showing up at a tournament. You have to work your bottom off because the opposition does the same," he told Sky News. "The profession of a tennis player is probably the most selfish one in sports because it has to be about you and he is the first to say he is a family man, so of course his wife and the rest of his family had to take back seats. "They don't spend enough time together. I had it too, 20 years ago. It is just the nature of the beast, being a tennis player. " Having completed a career slam when he won his maiden French Open title in June, Djokovic suffered an astonishing loss of form. He crashed out of Wimbledon in the third round to American Sam Querrey and made a first-round exit at the Rio Olympics at the hands of Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro. Djokovic then lost the U. S. Open final to Swiss Stan Wawrinka, a defeat six-times major champion Becker said was a massive psychological blow to the Serb. "I know the U. S. Open loss in the final against Stan hurt," he said. "I think that is what he needed maybe in a funny way was to lose a little bit, to realise what it is like to lose, because he hasn't been losing for two and a half years. "I am sure the fact that he lost the number one ranking to Andy Murray is going to hurt. "But he has got to go back to work. He has to go back to the office and practice these hours and refocus on what made him strong in the first place. " (Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Novak Djokovic splits with coach Boris Becker
Djokovic gives Becker the boot


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Mistrial in 'open and shut' police shooting stuns observers (2.06/21)

COLUMBIA, S. C. (AP) — The video was unambiguous: A white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man in the back as the man ran away.
But a South Carolina jury was unable to agree on a verdict in one of the nation’s ghastliest police shootings, with a lone holdout forcing a mistrial. The outcome stung many African-Americans and others. If that kind of evidence can’t produce a conviction, they asked, what can?
“There’s a jury full of people and they cannot decide if it’s illegal to shoot someone who is running away from you?” said activist Johnetta Elzie, who is black. “What do you say about a country that feels this way about black people? If you can’t see the humanity in that, I don’t know what we’re talking about anymore.”
Prosecutors plan to retry former officer Michael Slager, who is scheduled to be tried separately next year on federal charges that he violated Walter Scott’s civil rights.
North Charleston city officials approved a $6.5 million civil settlement for Scott’s family earlier this year. Slager remains free on bail.
South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley voiced her support for Scott’s family, saying in a statement that justice “is not always immediate, but we must all have faith that it will be served.”
Scott, 50, was killed in April 2015 after he was shot five times. A barber on his way to work recorded the shooting on his cellphone.
The panel of 11 white jurors and one black juror deliberated for 22 hours. At one point, a juror sent a letter directly to the judge saying he could not “with good conscience approve a guilty verdict” and that he was unlikely to change his mind. As they weighed their decision, jurors also asked the judge to explain the legal difference between fear and passion and inquired whether the self-defense standard was the same for officers as ordinary citizens.
NAACP President Cornell Brooks called the jury’s decision “a disappointing delay in the delivery of justice.” Hours after the mistrial, a tweet from three Black Lives Matter co-founders said, “Some days the hashtag is too painful to participate in.”
Elzie, one of the first protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal 2014 shooting of Michael Brown by a white officer, said word of the hung jury left her numb.
“When it comes to justice and black people in America, I don’t expect it,” she sighed.
Randall Kennedy, a black Harvard University law professor and author of several books on race relations, had difficulty reconciling the law with the mistrial, which he called “frightening.”
“It appeared as though it was open and shut,” said Kennedy, a native of Columbia, South Carolina. “Obviously, this is a case of some criminal action on the part of this police officer. Is it at all plausible that you have a man running and a police officer says, ‘I’m firing in self-defense?'”
He added: “It’s at this point that people are truly exasperated and say, ‘Do we really have anything that can seriously be called the administration of criminal justice?’ Can we reach people? Are people even persuadable?”
On the day after the mistrial, Charles Witherspoon sat in the main library in Columbia, reading the newspaper. He followed the trial closely and is well-versed in the facts of the case, like the 17 feet that separated Scott and the officer when he began firing at Scott.
Witherspoon, who is black, had no doubt Slager was guilty of murder, but the mistrial did not come as a surprise. It’s an outcome the 54-year-old South Carolina native has come to expect.
“Murder is murder — unless you are a police officer,” he said. “Someone is always going to find a way out for a police officer.”
National Action Network South Carolina President James Johnson urged people to give the second trial a chance before they get angry. He said he heard rumors of people threatening to “burn” Charleston, but he does not think it will happen.
“I urge the people to let the justice system take its course. Let’s wait on the next trial before we decide to do anything stupid. We’ve got to live here. We don’t want people coming from outside of Charleston” to protest, said Johnson, who is black.
Kennedy said the retrial points to the belief that the initial result was wrong.
“It’s a good thing that people are paying a lot of attention to this and that they are shocked,” he said. “What will really be terrible is when something like this happens, and people are not shocked.”
Whack covers urban affairs for The Associated Press and reported from Philadelphia. Seanna Adcox in Charleston, South Carolina, contributed to this report.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Mistrial in ‘open and shut’ police shooting stuns observers
Mistrial in 'Open and Shut' Police Shooting Stuns Observers


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Audi launches red light-reading cars in Las Vegas (2.06/21)

Working on the theory that a driver who knows when a red light will turn green is more relaxed and aware, car giant Audi is unveiling in Las Vegas a technology that enables vehicles to "read" traffic signals ahead and tell the motorist how long the wait will be.
It is a simple display for the driver - a dashboard traffic signal icon and a timer next to the digital vehicle speed and area speed limit displays already common in newer cars.
The technology behind it is more complex. It uses 4G LTE cellular communication between the vehicle and a centralised traffic management control network - dubbed vehicle-to-infrastructure or "V2I". Audi offers it through a subscription service not unlike commercial satellite radio. The company calls it "traffic light information".
Company executive Pom Malhotra terms it "time to green".
"You don't have to constantly stare at the traffic light. You have that information right in front of you," Mr Malhotra told reporters who test-drove the system in vehicles on and around Las Vegas Strip on Tuesday.
Unable to see the light because there is a tour bus ahead? No problem. The icon says you have 37 seconds.
"A lot of behaviour in the car changes," Mr Malhotra said. "You have time to relax your hands and shoulders... time to hand a milk bottle to your child in the back seat ... while knowing you're not taking attention away from the road. "
Audi and Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada officials said on Tuesday that Las Vegas was picked for the first-in-the-nation debut because it has a single centralised traffic management centre covering all jurisdictions in Clark County, a region nearly the size of New Jersey.
Mr Malhotra said Audi hopes to expand the system soon to other big US cities, including places like Los Angeles, which have patchwork traffic management systems run by varying jurisdictions in a sprawling urban landscape.
The Las Vegas-area programme, dubbed the Freeway and Arterial System of Transportation, or Fast, collects data and synchronises 1,300 traffic signals in a region home to more than two million people and host to more than 40 million tourists a year. It also has 508 cameras and freeway flow detectors, and controls 106 message signs and freeway on-ramp meters.
Tina Quigley, transportation commission general manager, said other car companies will be able to tap into the Las Vegas data, which she said should improve mobility and safety - particularly in the congested Las Vegas Strip tourist corridor and around McCarran International Airport.
About 150 Audi owners are using the system in Las Vegas, Mr Malhotra said.
The car company official called the debut of the commercial service "a small step forward in V2I", but a key demonstration of the kind of technology that will enable vehicle-to-vehicle communication and driverless cars.
Using cellular communication for smart car systems differs from vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-traffic signal programmes using dedicated short-range communication.
DSRC has been tested since 2012 at the University of Michigan, said Debra Bezzina, senior programme manager for the Ann Arbor Connected Vehicle Test Environment. The university Transportation Research Institute programme is backed by several federal traffic safety, research, trucking and transit agencies, and pilot programmes are scheduled for Wyoming, New York and Tampa, Florida.
Ms Bezzina said properly equipped vehicles with DSRC are able to detect traffic signal phase signals at intersections.
"If the light has turned yellow, it can tell the driver'You're not going to make the light'," she said.
Audi spokesman Mark Dahncke said his company expects other car makers will develop similar cellular-enabled technology, or could piggyback with its programme contractor, Traffic Technology Services.
"We are blazing a trail that does not lock anyone else out," said Mr Dahncke.

Car company offering red light-reading vehicles in Las Vegas
Car company offering red light-reading vehicles in Las Vegas ::


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Cambodian deputy opposition leader reconciles with premier (2.06/21)

Cambodia's deputy opposition leader who was pardoned from jail time for ignoring a court summons has returned to parliament, saying he and Prime Minister Hun Sen have agreed to reconcile.
Kem Sokha and fellow lawmakers of the Cambodia National Rescue Party last month ended a six-month boycott of parliament to protest what they said was politically motivated harassment after several were stripped of parliamentary immunity and sued by Hun Sen's government. Opposition members said they returned to parliament to seek a political truce.
Kem Sokha was granted a royal pardon on Dec. 2 at Hun Sen's request.
Kem Sokha said he and Hun Sen agreed to resolve their differences through talk.

Cambodian Deputy Opposition Leader Reconciles With Premier
Cambodia opposition leader returns to parliament after royal pardon


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Thailand vows to crack down on 'illegal' news content after BBC targeted (2.06/21)

Thailand's government will not back down from prosecuting news outlets that publish "illegal" content, the defence minister has said, after the BBC's bureau in Bangkok came under scrutiny for an article about the country's new king.
The British broadcaster's Thai-language service, a relative newcomer, caused a stir when it published an article on King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun's personal life as crown prince.
It included details of three marriages that ended in divorce and other material that cannot be published in the Thai news media.
Thailand has strict lese majeste laws against insulting the monarchy, which carries a penalty of three to 15 years in prison.
"Whatever is illegal will be processed accordingly, no exceptions," defence minister Prawit Wongsuwan told reporters.
In the days after the article was published on December 2, the day after Vajiralongkorn ascended the throne, the BBC office in Thailand received multiple visits from the Thai army and police.
The BBC shut the office this week but continues to broadcast and publish on its website, although the link to the article about Vajiralongkorn is now blocked in Thailand.
"Officials were just doing their jobs when they searched this news agency," Mr Prawit said.
The article sparked outrage among Thai royalists. The Facebook group "V for Thailand" has been vigorously criticising the BBC, and posted the BBC's Bangkok phone number on its page, encouraging its followers to call and harass people who work there.
Thai police arrested a student on Saturday for sharing the BBC article, releasing him on bail the next day. It was the first arrest under lese majeste law since Vajiralongkorn became king.
It appeared to be the first case involving material produced by a respected mainstream media outlet, although previous cases have involved content from several foreign tabloids.
Mainstream media have had stories about the Thai monarchy censored, by blocking their websites and the voluntary stopping of distribution of editions of magazines and newspapers in Thailand, including The Economist and the International New York Times.
Critics of the lese majeste law, known as Article 112, say it is used to silence political dissidents. The military regime that took power in a 2014 coup has especially cracked down on commentary on the internet.

Thailand to investigate BBC over profile of new king - minister
Thailand: 'No Exceptions' on Lese Majeste for News Outlets


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Australian teen jailed over foiled plot to set off bomb (2.06/21)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) " An Australian teenager who was planning to set off a homemade bomb similar to the one used in the Boston Marathon bombings was sentenced on Wednesday to seven years in prison. Victoria state Supreme Court... ...

Teenager jailed for seven years over Melbourne terrorism bomb plot Teenager jailed for seven years over Melbourne terrorism bomb plot
Teenager jailed for seven years for Australia terror plot


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No. 5 Duke beats No. 21 Florida 84-74 in Jimmy V Classic (2.06/21)

Amile Jefferson had career highs of 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead No. 5 Duke to an 84-74 victory over No. 21 Florida on Tuesday night in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden .

Top 25 basketball: Duke defeats Florida 84-74
Duke tops Florida 84-74 in Jimmy V Classic


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Thailand opens investigation into BBC for alleged insult of new king (2.06/21)

Thailand has opened an investigation into the BBC’s local language service for alleged defamation and blocked access to an online profile of the country’s new king, less than a week after he succeeded to the throne.
The biography was published on Friday by BBC Thai a day after King Maha Vajiralongkorn accepted the title following the death of his father, Bhumibol Adulyadej , on 13 October.
General Prawit Wongsuwan, deputy prime minister and minister of defence, said that authorities were investigating whether the article breached the country’s strict lèse-majesté (wounded majesty) laws.
Around 10 police officers visited the BBC office on Tuesday but found it closed. They reportedly helped themselves to a delivery of Yakult milk drink left at the door before leaving. Members of the army arrived later to ask about the police visit.
The BBC did not provide a comment for this article.
Anyone who “defames, insults or threatens” a member of the Thai royal family can face three to 15 years in jail on each charge. Under the law, the government is compelled to investigate any case raised by a member of the public.
The BBC profile explained how the new king was educated in Thailand, the UK and Australia, and flies his own Boeing 737 when travelling abroad.
It said questions were raised about his fitness to succeed to the throne when he was formally titled as heir in 1972, adding that he does not command the same level of respect his father built during seven decades on the throne.
When attempting to access the article in Thailand, a message appears from the ministry for digital economy and society, announcing that the website contains “inappropriate information”.
Following its publication in Thai, angry comments were posted on Facebook including physical threats and the location of the BBC’s Bangkok office.
On Saturday, anti-government activist Jatupat Boonpattaraksa was arrested for sharing the article on his Facebook page. He was released on bail on Sunday.
The ruling junta, which took power in a military coup in 2014, positions itself as a defender of the monarchy and has sought to appease ultra-royalist factions by pursuing anyone deemed to have breached lèse-majesté.
Last year, military courts jailed two people under the law, one for 30 years and the other for 28, for posts on Facebook.
The coronation of the new monarch will be held some time after Bhumibol’s cremation next year.

Thailand to investigate BBC over profile of new king - minister
BBC under investigation for profile of new Thai king


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Double from Schwartz lifts Blues over Canadiens in overtime (2.05/21)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis' Jaden Schwartz scored his second goal of the game in overtime, leading the Blues over NHL Eastern Conference pacesetter Montreal 3-2 on Tuesday. Montreal took one point from the loss to eke its lead in the Atlantic Division out to five, while Pacific Division leader Edmonton also took a point from an overtime loss at Buffalo and that was enough to give the Oilers the outright divisional lead. Among other key results, Philadelphia snatched a last-gasp victory in overtime against Florida to extend the Flyers run of wins, while the Islanders beat the Rangers in the all-New York clash. St. Louis trailed 2-0 early against Montreal and its run of avoiding home losses in regulation was in jeopardy, but goals from Schwarz and Paul Stastny forced overtime and extended that streak to 13 games. Tomas Plekanec and Paul Byron scored for Montreal, which completed a five-game trip 2-3. Buffalo's Rasmus Ristolainen scored from the left circle 57 seconds into overtime to give the Sabres a 4-3 win against Edmonton. It was a second Sabres goal in 86 seconds of on-ice time, after Evander Kane had scored with 29 seconds left in regulation to force the extra period. Kane had two goals and Brian Gionta also scored as Buffalo rallied after squandering a 2-0 first-period lead. Leon Draisaitl, Milan Lucic and Jordan Eberle scored for the Oilers, who are unbeaten in regulation in their past five away games. Philadelphia's Jakub Voracek scored with 8.6 seconds left in overtime to lift the Flyers to a 3-2 win against Florida. Wayne Simmonds scored both goals in regulation for the Flyers, who have won six straight games; their longest streak in five years. Aleksander Barkov and Jussi Jokinen scored for the Panthers, who won just one of six games on their road trip. The New York Rangers went 0-for-6 on the power play in losing 4-2 to the Islanders; including a 6-on-3 advantage over the final 32 seconds. Andrew Ladd, John Tavares, Jason Chimera and Scott Mayfield scored for the Islanders while goaltender Jaroslav Halak stopped 36 shots. Jimmy Vesey and Marc Staal scored for the Metropolitan Division-leading Rangers, who have alternated wins and losses in regulation in their past eight games. Detroit rallied from a two-goal deficit and won 4-3 after a shootout at Winnipeg. Henrik Zetterberg backhanded in the deciding goal in the shootout against Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck. Tomas Tatar, Anthony Mantha and Thomas Vanek scored in regulation for the Red Wings, who have at least a point in seven of the past eight games. The Jets got goals from Andrew Copp, Dustin Byfuglien and Patrik Laine, whose 17th of the season tied him for the NHL lead with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby. Chicago's Marian Hossa had two goals as the Blackhawks beat Arizona 4-0 to maintain a three-point gap atop the Central. Calgary's Sean Monahan scored on a power play midway through the third period, lifting the Flames over Dallas 2-1. New Jersey's Taylor Hall scored a goal and delivered a crushing check that knocked Vancouver defenseman Philip Larsen out of the game as the Devils edged the Canucks 3-2. Nashville's Roman Josi scored a power-play goal early in the third period to give the Predators a 4-3 win against Colorado, which has lost six successive games.

Schwartz gets 2nd goal in OT, Blues beat Canadiens 3-2
Jaden Schwartz lifts St. Louis Blues over Montreal Canadiens in OT


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Police: 2 shot, 2 hurt after fight outside Annandale home (2.04/21)

ANNANDALE, Va. (AP) - Fairfax County police say two women were shot and a third woman and a girl also needed medical treatment after a fight outside an Annandale home.
Police said in a statement that officers were called to Davian Drive on Tuesday evening for a report of a shooting.
Police say two women, aged 19 and 20, were found shot nearby and were taken to a hospital. A girl injured during the fight was taken to a hospital and a third woman was treated after she suffered a medical emergency. Police say none of the injuries are life-threatening.
Police say they have recovered a gun. They say the people involved all knew each other and they don’t believe there is any threat to public safety.

Fight that involved shooting leaves 4 injured in Fairfax Co.
Gauteng cop, family gunned down in their home


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Libyan militias launch assault on vital oil terminals (2.04/21)

Libyan militias that were expelled from the eastern city of Benghazi are now advancing toward the country's vital oil terminals, seeking to establish control over Libya's primary revenue source.
The so-called Benghazi Defense Force launched its assault on Wednesday, taking over three eastern towns including the al-Sidra terminal, according to lawmaker Tarek al-Jaroushi, who is the head of the national security committee in the internationally-recognized parliament.
Libya is split into two governments, with an internationally recognized parliament in the east that has refused to approve the U. N.-brokered government in the capital, Tripoli.
The clashes have raised fears of another mini-civil war erupting around the oil fields, amid speculation that the Tripoli government could throw its support behind these militias and their power play.

Armed groups take control of Libyan town of Ben Jawad, close to major oil ports -officials
Libyan Militias Launch Assault on Vital Oil Terminals


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Amy Schumer responds to critics of recent 'Barbie' casting: 'They can scream as loud as they want' (2.04/21)

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Amy Schumer is fighting back against critics and internet trolls who have attacked the comedian's appearance since being cast in an upcoming Barbie film.
"Very very honored to be nominated for 2 Grammys and to be considered to play an important and evolving icon. Is it fat shaming if you know you're not fat and have zero shame in your game? I don't think so," the actress wrote on Instagram Tuesday alongside a paparazzi photo of herself wearing a one-piece bathing suit.
"I am strong and proud of how I live my life and say what I mean and fight for what I believe in and I have a blast doing it with the people I love. Where's the shame? It's not there. It's an illusion," she continued.
"Thanks to everyone for the kind words and support and again my deepest sympathy goes out to the trolls who are in more pain than we will ever understand. I want to thank them for making it so evident that I am a great choice. It's that kind of response that let's you know something's wrong with our culture and we all need to work together to change it. "
"Anyone who has ever been bullied or felt bad about yourself I am out there fighting for you, for us. And I want you to fight for yourself too! We need to laugh at the haters and sympathize with them. They can scream as loud as they want. We can't hear them because we are getting [expletive] done. I am proud to lead by example. "I say if I'm beautiful, I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story. I will" #thegirlwiththelowerbacktattoo," Schumer concluded.
The response comes as internet backlash against Schumer reached an all-time high after she was announced to be portraying Barbie in a new theatrical film. Detractors claim the star does not fit Barbie's slim appearance and signature look.
The plot, according to Deadline , will follow Schumer as she is kicked out of Barbie-land for not being perfect enough. After going on in an adventure in the real-world, Schumer will then return to Barbie-land with a newfound acceptance of herself.
Schumer and her sister Kim Caramele are said to be working on the script by Hilary Winston with production set to start in spring for a summer 2018 release date.

Amy Schumer’s summary to physique shamers: we am clever and unapproachable of how we live my life
Amy Schumer responds to critics over possible Barbie role


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Man carrying gas can, matches arrested near Rockefeller tree (2.04/21)

Associated Press
Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 | 1:02 a.m.
NEW YORK — Police in New York City have arrested a man who they say was carrying a gas can and matches and acting erratically near the Rockefeller Center tree.
Police say 38-year-old Yuriy Alterman threw a bottle into the street, became combative and screamed at officers when they approached him Tuesday afternoon in midtown Manhattan.
They say he was carrying a red can containing a liquid that smelled like gasoline, matches as well as a book called "Son of Hamas," which is about the son of one of Hamas' founders. He told officers that he didn't intend to set anything on fire.
Police say he didn't get close to the tree.
The Bronx man has been charged with making terroristic threats and disorderly conduct. It's unclear if he has an attorney.

'Erratic' man with gas can arrested in midtown Manhattan
Man Arrested For Terror Threat Near Rockefeller Christmas Tree With Gas Can, Matches, And Book About Muslim Terrorists


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Tuesday's roundup: No. 1 Villanova gets past La Salle (2.04/21)

Philadelphia — Jay Wright led Villanova on a tour around the concourse of the Palestra, the basketball shrine that has served as the hardwood home for many of the game’s greats.
Wilt Chamberlain played high school ball here. Kobe and LeBron, too.
There’s even a spot dedicated to the greatest Villanova team of all — at least, at the time the display was installed — the 1985 national champions. The Palestra curators might want to clear space for ‘Nova’s 2016 title team — and maybe even prep a new wing for this year’s Wildcats.
Jalen Brunson scored 26 points and Josh Hart had 21 to help No. 1 Villanova hold off La Salle 89-79 on Tuesday night.
“I just wanted to remind them of the history, remind them of the tradition, of what happens in here,” Wright said.
La Salle (4-3) came oh-so close to making an upset happen.
Johnnie Shuler and Pookie Powell made late 3-pointers that kept the deficit at seven. La Salle, which has never defeated a No. 1 team, got more late help from long range when Jordan Price popped a 3 that made it a four-point game.
La Salle fans went wild. The Wildcats seemed shaken.
But the great city teams that decorated the 89-year-old walls of the ol’ gym nestled on Penn’s Ivy League campus don’t really lose to unranked underdogs.
And the national champs weren’t going down to La Salle.

Top 25 Capsules
College basketball roundup: No. 1 Villanova tested in win


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Langford, Winston lead MSU past Youngstown State (2.04/21)

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Joshua Langford scored a career-high 15 points while guard Cassius Winston handed out nine assists in Michigan State’s 77-57 victory over Youngstown State at the Breslin Center.
“I think we took another step, a small step though,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “What I was most excited about was we really challenged Josh and Cassius the last two games. The turnovers are down — we had 16 assists and two turnovers with our point guards and that’s phenomenal. But Cassius’ defense and Josh’s defense was the difference early in the game.”
Early in the game was when Michigan State (6-4) went on a 19-2 run to open an early 19-4 lead. Youngstown State clawed back into it, however, with a 10-0 run and trailed only 37-30 at halftime.
But Izzo adjusted his starting lineup to open the second half, inserting Langford, Winston and freshman Nick Ward instead of bringing them off the bench. It paid off as the Spartan turned a five-point game into a blowout with several minutes left in the game.
“We just want to accept the challenge he gives us,” Langford said. “Coach Izzo is not making anything up. He’s been doing it a long time and what he sees and tells us is all true. For us to become great players we have to listen to him. That’s the reason we all came here, to become better players. We have to go out there and listen to him and compete.”
Getting that competition from Langford is exactly what Michigan State needs at this point of the season, and the fact Winston is coming along and Ward continues to be an offensive force could position the Spartans well for when Bridges does return.
In the meantime, getting Langford to be the player everyone expects him to be will be critical. He was hampered early in the season with hamstring injury but is just now working at 100 percent. For the 6-foot-5 guard, it’s not the physical part that has been limiting him, however.
“I feel like it’s more mental with me,” said Langford, who was 6-for-8 shooting. “I just wanted to come in and say I was going to give my all, give my teammates my all. I wasn’t thinking about trying to score at all. I just wanted to come out and defend and rebound and run the floor.”
Winston is convinced Langford is just scratching the surface.
Freshmen aren’t only Spartans seeking consistent play
“You all haven’t seen Josh’s full potential yet,” Winston said. “Not even nowhere close to what he can be for this team and what he can be for this country. He’s gonna keep making progress and get when he gets to his full ability and what he should be we will be a much better team because he’s a talented kid.”
While Langford and Winston drew plenty of praise, the Spartans also got 13 points each from Ward and senior Eron Harris while sophomore Matt McQuaid added 11 points.
Matt Donlan scored 21 to lead Youngstown State (5-5), which was without leading scorer and Flint native Cameron Morse. Francisco Santiago added 13 points for the Penguins.
“In their building without our best scorer, I had hoped that we could get to 65 or 70 points,” Youngstown State coach Jerry Slocum said. “We just didn’t have enough and they had a lot.”
The Penguins had plenty in the first half as they overcome the early push by the Spartans and outscored them 26-18 over the final 12 minutes of the first halt to trail Michigan State, 37-30, at halftime.
Ward and Langford each scored eight for the Spartans in the first half while Michigan State scored 14 on the break and had 20 points from its bench. It finished the game with a 23-7 advantage on the break while its bench outscored Youngstown State’s 43-9.
Youngstown State continued to put pressure on the home team early in the second half and trimmed the deficit to five thanks to four early 3-pointers. But that’s when Winston took over the offense and sparked Michigan State as the lead grew to 22 points.
“We did a lot of good things,” Winston said. “The biggest thing was the energy level, especially at the beginning of the game.
The energy level was maybe the biggest of the season. We played with energy but played smart at the same time. We made good plays and sound decisions and we’ve got to keep building on that, because that is what wins us games.”

Spartans guard Joshua Langford on beating the Penguins
Michigan State 77, Youngstown State 57


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Darling gets first shutout; Blackhawks beat tired Coyotes (2.04/21)

Marian Hossa had two goals, Scott Darling made 22 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-0 on Tuesday night to snap a two-game slide.
Artem Anisimov and Dennis Rasmussen also scored to help Chicago maintain a three-point lead over St. Louis in the Central Division.
Darling made a handful of tough stops but wasn't heavily tested in his first shutout this season and third of his career. He started his third straight game in place of No. 1 goalie Corey Crawford, who had an appendectomy in Philadelphia on Saturday.
The 37-year-old Hossa scored his team-leading 13th and 14th goals in his 27th game — surpassing his total of 13 last season in 64 contests.
Mike Smith blocked 23 shots as the Coyotes lost their fifth straight and completed a quick road trip, playing their second game in two nights. Arizona lost 4-1 on Monday night at Columbus with Louis Domingue in goal in the second contest of a home-and-home set with the Blue Jackets.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews sat out his seventh straight game with an upper-body injury. Coach Joel Quenneville said earlier on Tuesday he hopes Toews will rejoin the Blackhawks when they travel to New York next week to face the Rangers and Islanders.
Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook left with 6:38 left in the second period following a hit from Jordan Martinook that threw him awkwardly against the boards.
Anisimov's power-play tip-in from the edge of the crease with 4:23 left in the first period opened the scoring. He was set up by Patrick Kane's pinpoint feed from the lower right corner and deflected the puck just under Smith's pads.
Barely a minute after Darling made a point-blank save on Tobias Rieder, Hossa and Rasmussen struck for goals 19 seconds apart early in the second to boost Chicago's lead to 3-0.
The 37-year-old Hossa flashed his skill to complete a 2-on-1 with Ryan Hartman at 6:26 that made it 2-0. Hossa controlled Hartman's cross-ice pass with his right skate, kicked it to his stick and then stuffed a shot under Smith's glove from the edge of the crease.
Smith stopped Richard Panik from the doorstep moments later, but Panik jumped on the rebound behind the net and shoveled it in front to Rasmussen.
Hossa completed the scoring by converting a breakaway with 3:16 left. He beat Smith with a wrist shot on the stick side after being sent in by Niklas Hjalmarrson's pass.
NOTES: Referee Gord Dwyer left after the first period with an illness. ... Crawford, expected to miss two to three weeks, has begun off-ice exercises. ... Arizona entered having allowed a league-high 850 shots. ... Chicago D Trevor van Riemsdyk played in his second contest since being activated from IR (upper body) last Friday and missing 20 games. He skated at Philadelphia on Saturday, but sat out Sunday against Winnipeg. ... Chicago D's Michal Kempny and Michal Rozsival were healthy scratches, as were Arizona C Tyler Gaudet and D Kevin Connauton.
Coyotes: Host Calgary on Thursday night.
Blackhawks: Host the New York Rangers on Friday night.

Darling Gets 1st Shutout Of Season As Blackhawks Blank Coyotes, 4-0
Blackhawks coast past Coyotes; Brent Seabrook injured


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Prince Harry touches down in London for ICAP charity event (2.03/21)

Prince Harry today joined London City brokers on for a charity fundraising day - fresh from a whirlwind trip to see his girlfriend Meghan Markle in Toronto. He helped to close deals for the global firm ICAP and generate money for a range of good causes including his African organisation, Sentebale. Harry was joined by Sophie, Countess of Wessex, while celebrities from the world of sport, television and entertainment are also expected to take part. Harry had earlier made a 1,700 mile diversion to Toronto on the way back from his official tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen, to spend time with the actress. His visit came just days after Ms Markle stepped out in the city wearing a necklace with the couple's initials side-by-side on her chest. The 35-year-old actress, who has been dating the royal for several months, was pictured shopping on Saturday - the day before Harry's arrival - holding a bunch of pink roses. She was also wearing the personalised gold necklace that appears to be subtly decorated with the letters M and H. The 14 karat gold necklace is by Los Angeles-based designer Maya Brenner, whose jewelry has been worn by celebrities including Kendall Jenner, Mila Kunis and Ashley Graham. Harry hopped on a flight to get back to London in time for his official visit to the annual ICAP charity day, which sees city traders donate all of their profits from the day to a series of charities. On Wednesday, he was also wearing a piece of jewellery identical to the one Ms Markle has - a blue, black and white beaded bracelet. Leading the arrivals were Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Tulisa Contostavlos, Mollie King and Jon Snow. All the global revenues from trading during ICAP's 24th charity day will go to a number of causes around the world, including Sentebale, a charity of which Harry is patron. Founded by Harry and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho in 2006, Sentebale supports orphans and vulnerable children, many of whom are affected by the HIV/Aids epidemic and extreme poverty. ICAP is an inter-dealer broker which matches buyers and sellers who want to trade in a range of products, from interest rates to commodities. Since 1993 its charity day has raised almost £127 million for charities around the world, with more than 60 ICAP offices worldwide taking part annually. Last year, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined stars at the 23rd ICAP annual Charity Day in the City of London. Some of the organisations supported by the couple benefited from the 2015 event - SkillForce, of which William is patron, as well as SportsAid and Place2Be which Kate represents. The couple laughed and giggled as they met groups of outlandishly dressed brokers, none more so than the '' men of the Central European MIRS Desk, who deal in interest rate swaps.

Oakland warehouse fire victim Nick Walrath sent a text to his girlfriend saying he loved her
Harry to join City brokers on trading floor for charity fundraising day


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Vauxhall Corsa fires: Calls for inhabitant information sharing (2.03/21)

Calls have been done for a inhabitant database to record automobile fires following incidents involving Vauxhall models.
BBC Watchdog has found sum of automobile fires are not always upheld to a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
Transport name cabinet member Rob Flello MP pronounced a database would “help a consumer to know that their automobile is as protected as it could be”.
Vauxhall recalled 220,000 Zafira B cars in 2015 following a array of fires.
And this year, Watchdog investigated a spate of fires involving Vauxhall Corsa D models .
Mr Flello MP said: “I cruise a database would positively assistance a consumer.
“But it would also, of course, assistance a manufacturer to make certain a cars that we buy are a safest cars possible.”
Chris Blackwell, from a Chief Fire Officers’ Association, pronounced a database would capacitate people to analyse a information and mark trends happening.
Julie Reynolds, from Chatham, told Watchdog of a impulse her Vauxhall Corsa D exploded as she got out of a automobile in Mar 2013.
She arrived during work when her manager told her to get out moments before “the whole automobile went up”, she said.
“The misfortune thing is my son could have been in that car,” Ms Reynolds, from Chatham, said. “I wouldn’t have got him out in time.”
She added: “The whole automobile went up.
“There was one large explosion. All a windows went in. And afterwards a subsequent explosion. And afterwards another explosion. And a engine fell to a ground. we was only in shock. we was only crying.”
Vauxhall pronounced it had been suggested by BBC Watchdog of 6 fires relating to a Corsa D.
It pronounced it had examined dual of a cars and not rescued any production fault, though a remaining 4 cars could not be inspected.
The manufacturer pronounced it would check any automobile glow if a automobile could be done available.
In a statement, it said: “Better entrance to information about automobile fires could assistance all manufacturers with early showing of reserve issues.
“Vauxhall is operative by a attention physique to know what information pity opportunities could be put in place to yield larger prominence in this area.”
Vauxhall certified there had been a error with a tiny collection of Corsa Ds with a 1.4 Turbo petrol engine, though Watchdog pronounced business have also reported problems with other models.
Bethan Powell, from Manchester, beheld fume entrance from a dashboard of her Corsa Energy and pronounced within mins a whole automobile was on fire.
Ciaran Kenny, from London, left his Corsa SXI in a supermarket automobile park though returned to find it on fire.
And Tish Cochrane, from Hampshire, pronounced her daughter’s Corsa SRI detonate into abandon while it was moving.
Gareth Llewellyn, arch executive of a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), that collects information about intensity automobile defects, said: “Vauxhall has reliable to DVSA that it will yield owners who don’t feel protected regulating their Corsa D influenced with choice ride until their automobile is repaired.
“We have done it transparent that it is critical Vauxhall quickly rectifies a problems and it has taken too prolonged for a manufacturer to strengthen a customers.”
The group is operative with a Department for Transport “to cruise serve action”, he added.
See a full news on Watchdog, BBC One, 8pm Wednesday

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German chief firms ‘can explain remuneration over shutdown’
No confirmed reports of fires starting in Corsa heating system, says Vauxhall


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Barcelona's incredible pass map as they break their own Champions League record (2.02/21)

Lionel Messi may not have broken Cristiano Ronaldo's Champions League group stage goal record on Tuesday night, but Barcelona still made history against Borussia Monchengladbach. As they soared to a 4-0 win over the Bundesliga outfit at the Nou Camp, Luis Enrique's side were busy breaking their own record. Barca attempted 993 passes over the course of the 90 minutes, the most ever in a Champions League game since records began in 2003-04. The ratio equates to just over 11 passes attempted every minute. Remarkably the Catalan club make up the entirety of the top five for most attempted passes in a Champions League. Tuesday night's effort beat their previous record of 971, set against Rubin Kazan back in December 2010. But it was 2012 which proved the peak of Barcelona's passing model in Europe. They record 960 passes against Bayer Leverkusen in March 2012, and then in two ties against Celtic they notched up 957 and 955. Since the heady days of Pep Guardiola's reign, Barca had not managed to match their impressive passing record. But finally Luis Enrique has overhauled his predecessor's total as he hunts a second Champions League triumph of his reign. The 2015 champions sailed into the last 16 of the competition, with victory over Gladbach ensuring they edged Manchester City to top spot in the group. Messi opened the scoring, taking him to 10 goals in the group stage so far, but he was unable to match his long-term rival Ronaldo's record of 11, set last season. Arda Turan completed the scoring with a hat-trick as Barca finished the group stage in style by routing the German side.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi falls short of matching Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo's Champions League group stage goal record
Champions League: Arsenal, Barcelona march into last 16


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Oakland woman visits Ghost Ship memorial: 'Your lives meant something' (1.53/21)

The scene at 31st Avenue and International Boulevard is being cleared of debris from the Ghost Ship warehouse fire. As crews work to remove the rubble and Oakland searches for the cause, people from all over the Bay Area are visiting memorials to honor the victims whose lives were cut short, many of whom were artists, musicians and creatives. Several people placed a single candle or handwritten note down near the memorial site on 31st Ave. near the Wendy's restaurant that has been closed for three days due to recovery efforts. Others just stood and stared. Many came and set down candles and looked at the messages written on everything from notebook paper to canvas. Helen, a hospice nurse from Oakland, expressed her sorrow by coming to the Oakland intersection where the fire happened. When asked why she came she said, "These are kids in our community, and this is my community. I couldn't not come. ""Their lives meant something, and made the world better," she said. Helen says her daughter is a dancer, and has been to places like the Ghost Ship and recalled the terrifying notion of not being able to reach her for eight hours on the night of the deadly fire. When asked if she had a message to the victims, or the Oakland arts community she said,"Keep making art. We need it more than anything. "Follow ABC7News on Instagram

Brooklyn filmmaker who moved to Oakland was among victims of ‘Ghost Ship’ warehouse fire
Full complaints against Ghost Ship warehouse released
Oakland native and Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong sends message to Ghost Ship victims
Friends recall music manager Kiyomi Tanouye as 'absolutely inspiring' after Ghost Ship fire
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Family, friends share memories of Ghost Ship fire victims
9 names released, 35 of 36 victims ID'd in Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire
Heartbreak in LGBT community for lives lost in Oakland Ghost Ship fire


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New Zealand passport robot tells applicant of Asian descent to open eyes (1.34/21)

SYDNEY, Dec 7 (Reuters) - A New Zealand man of Asian descent had his passport photograph rejected when facial recognition software mistakenly registered his eyes as being closed. Richard Lee's attempt to renew his passport was blocked after he submitted the picture to an online passport photo checker run by New Zealand's department of internal affairs. The automated system told the 22-year-old engineering student the photo was invalid because his eyes were closed, even though they were clearly open, according to a copy of the notification posted on social media site Facebook. "No hard feelings on my part, I've always had very small eyes and facial recognition technology is relatively new and unsophisticated," Lee told Reuters. "It was a robot, no hard feelings. I got my passport renewed in the end. " Up to 20 percent of passport photos submitted online are rejected for various reasons, an Internal Affairs spokesman said. "The most common error is a subject's eyes being closed and that was the generic error message sent in this case," he said. The lighting in Lee's first photo was uneven, but a later one was accepted, he added. (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Man's passport photo rejected because computer thought his eyes were closed
Passport Robot Tells Applicant Of Asian Descent To Open Eyes


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Google expects all of its energy in 2017 to come from renewable sources (1.28/21)

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Google , which used the same amount of power as the San Francisco, announced Tuesday it expects to use nothing but renewable energy sources in its data centers and offices in 2017.
With commitments to buy 2.6 gigawatts of wind and solar energy, Google's senior vice president for technical infrastructure, Urs Hölzle, said in a blog post the company claims to now the largest corporate user of renewable energy in the world and will power 100 percent of its operations with the power it has been buying for the last several years.
"Electricity costs are one of the largest components of our operating expenses at our data centers, and having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy," Hölzle wrote.
As renewable energy costs have come down during the last six years, Google has been signing deals with renewable energy companies, starting with a 114-megawatt purchase from a wind farm in Iowa in 2010. The company now has at least 20 renewable projects, most of which are wind and solar, in communities where they have either offices or data centers.
In total, the company says, they have committed to spending at least $3.5 billion, most of which is in the United States, that is expected to help local municipalities -- with tax revenue and greater access in those locations to renewable energy.
The power Google buys is dumped directly into local power grids, cancelling out the huge amount of energy the company uses to power the billions of users on Gmail, YouTube and other Google services.
"As we look to the immediate future, we'll continue to pursue these direct contracts as we grow, with an even greater focus on regional renewable energy purchases in places where we have data centers and significant operations," Hölzle wrote. "Our ultimate goal is to create a world where everyone -- not just Google -- has access to clean energy. "

Google will run entirely on renewable energy within next year


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European shares on a Q4 high as banks gain further ground (1.24/21)

LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Wednesday with the regional banking index hitting an 11-month peak after Credit Suisse announced further costs cuts and Italian banks poised for their best two-day run since 2012. The STOXX Europe 600 Banks index was up 1.6 percent after climbing to its highest level since January. Credit Suisse rose 4 percent after announcing more than 1 billion Swiss francs ($991 million) in extra cost cuts. Italian banks rose 2.2 percent, with Reuters exclusively reporting Italy was preparing to take a 2 billion euros controlling stake in Monte dei Paschi di Siena as the bank's hopes of a private funding rescue faded following Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's decision to quit. Italian banks are now up nearly 12 percent since Monday's close. Shares in Monte dei Paschi di Siena were up 8.9 percent, a day after Italian banks climbed 9 percent on short covering before a European Central Bank meeting this week and after Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said he would step down following the referendum's defeat. Miners tracked stronger metals prices, with the European sector index rising 2.1 percent. The STOXX 600 was up 0.6 percent in early trades. (Reporting by Atul Prakash, Editing by Vikram Subhedar)

Britain's FTSE rises again, as banks and miners lead cyclical charge
EU optimistic Basel bank capital deal can be reached in January
European shares hit Q4 high as banks advance further
Monte dei Paschi bolsters European stocks, ECB looms
Copper climbs, buoyed by better demand and lower stocks
China stocks snap losing streak, helped by resources shares
Outages brighten European refineries' year-end profit prospects
Credit Suisse to cut costs further, lowers targets


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England captain Alastair Cook backs opening partner Keaton Jennings to seize opportunity (1.22/21)

Alastair Cook will go into Thursday’s fourth Test with his 11th opening partner since the retirement of Andrew Strauss four years ago after confirming that Keaton Jennings will make his debut for England here in Mumbai. England will throw another rookie into their line-up for the fourth Test following injury to Haseeb Hameed as they desperately try to salvage something from this demanding series in the last two Tests. ‘Keaton is going to open the batting and it’s another great opportunity for a guy to come in and play,’ said Cook of the South African-born Durham opener. ‘He’s in good touch and has been spending a bit of time in the middle with the Lions so tomorrow’s going to be a very special day for him.’ Cook said there were similarities to his own debut in India in 2006 when he was called up from an 'A' tour of West Indies and hit a Test century in Nagpur. ‘It’s similar to what happened to me 10 years ago, flying in around 48 hours before the game,' he said. 'I’d never met him properly and the whole thing could be a bit daunting for him but having Stokesey around has helped. 'He seems a really good guy with a good head on his shoulders and we wish him all the best. ‘It’s disappointing with Has being ruled out because of his hand because we’ve obviously found a player there but if Keaton comes in and does well it can only add to our talent pool.’ The England captain was unable to name the rest of his side with Stuart Broad still struggling with the foot injury that ruled him out of the third Test in Mohali. ‘It’s probably about 50-50 with him and we’ll know a bit more at the end of this session,’ said Cook, perhaps a little optimistically. ‘We’ll make a decision on our bowling line-up in the next 12 hours.’ If Broad is unable to play England will have to decide whether to throw in another Test debutant in left-arm spinner Liam Dawson or an extra seamer in Jake Ball or Steven Finn. Whatever team they play, England, two down here with two to play, will be hoping to repeat their famous win at the Wankhede Stadium four years ago. ‘It’s quite nice coming to a ground where we’ve got good memories,' said Cook. 'Clearly it doesn’t count for much other than the feel good factor because not many of these guys were here then but Mumbai has historically been a good place for us so hopefully we can play well.’ England have returned to work after a four-day break in the week since the last Test which many of the team, including Cook, spent in Dubai. ‘We hope it was a worthwhile exercise,' he said. 'It was a change of scenery for the guys and certainly they feel re-energised. To have five days off during a busy tour can do the players the world of good both physically and mentally and I don’t think sitting around here for four days would have done us much good. 'And personally for me it was great to see my family. It was great to not worry about cricket and instead worry about hanging nappies.' Cook insisted he agreed with coach Trevor Bayliss’s call for England to be more positive here in an attempt to get back in the series. ‘It was clearly a message I knew was coming out,' said the England captain. 'We chatted at the end of that game as a leadership group and discussed how we wanted to play and what had happened since our first game when we scored at three and a half runs an over at Rajkot. 'We do have to take the second innings at Vizag out of it because I wonder if there was a hangover from that as we did go back into our shells. ‘The clear message is that we want to play a bit more aggressively with positive intent because Trevor likes that and it was the message in his first game with us. Rajkot was our blueprint and we played really well there and hopefully we can go back to that level. ‘I think our philosophies are the same. We’re trying to win games of cricket for England and that doesn't change. My batting over a long period of time has been about wearing the opposition down and batting for long periods but that doesn’t change my intent. 'There are definitely different approaches you can play to that method. It’s not just about hitting fours and sixes. It’s the intent to score runs and it’s a good message we need to keep banging on about.’

Jennings confirmed as Cook's opening partner
Jennings to be Cook's latest opening partner for England
Keaton Jennings will open alongside Alastair Cook in fourth Test against India


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German industry output rises less than expected in October (1.22/21)

By Michael Nienaber BERLIN, Dec 7 (Reuters) - German industrial production rose less than expected in October due to stagnating factory output and falling energy activity, suggesting Europe's biggest economy started the fourth quarter on a weak footing. The surprisingly feeble data, published by the Economy Ministry on Wednesday, dampened hopes that the German economy is set for a strong rebound after its quarterly growth pace halved to 0.2 percent over the summer months. Industrial output edged up by 0.3 percent in October on the month, the data showed, undershooting the consensus forecast in a Reuters poll for a rise of 0.8 percent. The slight increase was driven by a 1.7 percent jump in construction output, the strongest monthly gain since February. But manufacturing production was almost flat, edging up only 0.1 percent, and energy output fell 0.5 percent. "Overall, industrial production had a subdued start to the fourth quarter," the Economy Ministry said in a statement, adding that the recent strong rise in industrial orders had yet to result in stronger output. Data released on Tuesday showed industrial orders rose at their fastest pace for more than two years in October, boosting expectations that the industrial sector will prop up German growth in the coming months. "Together with the slightly improved global economy and the brighter sentiment indicators, this points to a certain revival in industry in coming months," the ministry said. Commerzbank economist Ralph Solveen said the industrial output figure for October was not that bad after all, adding production would further increase in the coming months. "Industry will show a decent performance in the fourth quarter," Solveen said. ING-Diba economist Carsten Brzeski said an acceleration of the entire German economy in the final quarter still seemed realistic, but new risks were already looming. "Particularly the uncertainty surrounding the future path of economic policies in the U. S. could weigh on the industry in the months ahead," Brzeski said. The United States is Germany's single most important trading partner and the protectionist rhetoric of President-elect Donald Trump has unnerved many exporters in the euro zone. The German government expects strong private consumption and higher state spending to propel growth of 1.8 percent in 2016, the strongest rate in five years. For 2017, it predicts a slowdown to 1.4 percent due to weaker exports and fewer workdays. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Madeline Chambers and Ralph Boulton)

German industrial production up only slightly in October


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Athletics-Ethics Board extends IAAF officials' suspension (1.18/21)

By Mitch Phillips LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Three senior athletics officials have had their provisional suspension from the sport extended by the IAAF's Ethics Board as it continues its investigation into their alleged involvement in a suspected cover-up of Russian doping cases. Nick Davies, who was chief-of-staff to International Association of Athletics Federations president Seb Coe, was initially suspended along with his wife Jane Boulter-Davies and IAAF medical manager Pierre-Yves Garnier in June. On Wednesday the Ethics Board issued a statement saying the suspensions had been extended until Jan. 31 2017 "to allow for the conclusion of the disciplinary investigative process, including any hearing ensuing from the investigations. " Davies stood down from his role last December pending the investigation into a "potential breach of the IAAF's code of ethics". The Ethics Board statement on Wednesday added: "Each of the three individuals continue to enjoy the presumption of innocence and the extension of the orders for provisional suspension should not be interpreted as any departure from the principle that each individual is to be considered innocent until the conclusion of the disciplinary investigative process. " The investigations relate to an email reportedly sent by former IAAF consultant Papa Massata Diack to his father, the then-IAAF president Lamine Diack, in July 2013 that allegedly showed the three suspended IAAF officials were in receipt of, or had knowledge of, a cash payment to withhold details of attempted cover-ups of Russian doping cases. Other emails leaked earlier this year showed Davies had discussed with Papa Diack developing a media strategy to limit the news impact of a series of positive tests by Russian athletes ahead of the 2013 Moscow world athletics championships. MEDIA STRATEGY Davies said that the mail was merely "brainstorming for a media strategy" and that he had done nothing wrong. Last month he told the Daily Mail: "I was conned and never for a second was I told, or thought, this money was to ensure cover-ups of doping in Russia. That would have been abhorrent to me. "I thought I could trust Lamine Diack and it was my job to promote and protect the image of the IAAF and the World Championships. I was never mixed up or aware of the criminal activities which are now in the public domain. " French authorities are investigating Lamine Diack and Papa Diack on charges of corruption and money laundering. Papa Diack has denied any involvement in bribery or corruption and says his father Lamine is also innocent. At the time of the initial suspensions in June, the Ethics Board said that Davies, a former IAAF general secretary and head of communications, received an undisclosed cash payment in 2013 from Papa Massata Diack, "the circumstances and concealment of which call into question whether the payment was intended to have and/or in fact produced any manipulative effect. " Boulter-Davies allegedly received, or knew about, a payment to Davies. Garnier allegedly received an undisclosed cash payment at the direction of Lamine Diack and "retained some part of the sum even when aware of its apparent impropriety". (Editing by Ken Ferris)

Farrell, Howley and Borthwick join Lions coaching team
UK govt will publish statement on Brexit strategy before triggering Article 50
Lawyer challenging government in Brexit trigger case says parliament motion is not enough
EU optimistic Basel bank capital deal can be reached in January
Barca outcast Vidal stakes his claim for more game time
European shares hit Q4 high as banks advance further
EMERGING MARKETS-Lira at one-week high; fragile emerging assets advance further
Monte dei Paschi bolsters European stocks, ECB looms


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NHL’s new concussion spotters have had spotty results so far (1.16/21)

NEW YORK (AP) — Connor McDavid hit the ice, chin first, and a concussion spotter at least played a part in pulling him from the game.
The Edmonton Oilers captain and budding star was not stunned by the jarring trip to the ice, but that someone watching him play recently against Minnesota determined he should be evaluated for a concussion.
A few days later, McDavid still wasn’t happy he missed the last several minutes of the second period against the Wild before being cleared to play in the third in a game the Oilers lost in overtime.
“It happened at an important time of the game and it could happen at even worse times,” McDavid said Tuesday. “You know, what if it’s overtime or it’s a playoff push or it’s late in the third period and stuff like that? I think they definitely have to take that into consideration.”
Welcome to the NHL’s latest attempt to keep players healthy — at least above the shoulders — as they get bigger and faster and the stakes get higher on the ice and in court.
“I think it’s a good thing,” Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “Unfortunately, I think litigation is what finally brought it to this.”
The NHL is facing a class-action lawsuit over head injuries suffered by former players alleging the league had resources to do a better job preventing head trauma.
This season, the league has touted “enhanced” changes to its concussion protocol, including adding a staff of nationally certified athletic trainers with hockey experience to monitors games on TV from NHL headquarters in New York with the power to remove players from games.
Two months in, the NHL has declined to say how many players have been pulled off the ice by the anonymous spotters, nor is it detailing their diagnosis rate.
The truth is, it may be tricky to track who makes the call when a player is called off the ice. Is it a spotter at league headquarters? An in-arena spotter? The medical staff behind the benches?
And even with all those layers of observation, some concussions slip through the cracks and simply aren’t diagnosed during a game.
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist provides a recent example.
Hornqvist wasn’t spotted by anyone remotely or up close in Washington on Nov. 16 for a possible concussion, but recalled telling the team’s trainer he felt “a little off,” after the game and went through testing to determine if he had a concussion. He did get diagnosed with a concussion and was out for two weeks, but he doesn’t blame anyone for missing signs during the game.
“You probably get hit every single shift, so they can’t take you out after every single shift,” Hornqvist said.
Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen, meanwhile, said he doubts he’ll play another shift of hockey. Franzen has not played since Oct. 10, 2015, because multiple concussions — perhaps 10 of them, he said — have affected his vision, given him headaches and made him so tired he has slept for two or three straight days.
“I think having spotters is a step in the right direction, but there’s almost too much pressure on them and it’s only going to get worse in the playoffs,” said Franzen, who had 18 postseason points in 2008 when he helped the Red Wings win their last Stanley Cup. “When one of the best players gets taken out of the game, he, the coach and the GM may not like it. I do think it’s better for the players, but I don’t have all the answers.”
The NHL’s board of governors is scheduled to meet Thursday and Friday in Florida. The group is expected to discuss its possible participation in the 2018 Olympics. The NHL Players’ Association recently rejected the league’s offer to agree to a deal to allow the world’s best hockey players to go for gold in South Korea in exchange for extending the collective bargaining agreement through 2025.
The NHL announced Montreal’s Carey Price, Chicago’s Patrick Kane, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and McDavid were leading their divisions in votes by fans for the All-Star Game. The league released the top five players in each division and none of them seems to be an out-of-place journeyman like John Scott, who was voted into last year’s game as a lark. Scott ended up being the All-Star MVP in part because he played despite objections he said he got from the NHL.
The Western Conference-leading Chicago Blackhawks host the New York Rangers on Friday night. The Rangers are tied with Pittsburgh atop the Metropolitan Division.
AP Hockey Writers John Wawrow, Stephen Whyno and AP Sports Writer Will Graves contributed to this report.
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NHL's new concussion spotters have had spotty results so far


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Paris winter pollution worst in 10 years (1.14/21)

Paris is suffering its worst and most prolonged winter pollution for at least 10 years, the Airparif agency which measures the levels said Wednesday.
The peak is due to the combination of emissions from vehicles and from domestic wood fires as well as near windless conditions which means pollutants have not been dispersed, the agency said.
For a second consecutive day, city officials imposed traffic reduction measures.
Private cars with registration plates ending in even numbers were banned from the road from between 5:30 am and midnight Wednesday. On Tuesday, cars with odd-numbered plates were affected by the measure.
Public transport in the city, from metro trains to buses, was free to encourage commuters to leave their cars at home.

Paris makes all public transport free in battle against 'worst air pollution for 10 years'


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Tuesday’s high school roundup: Country Day rallies (1.12/21)

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Freshman point guard Wendell Green led Country Day with 15 points, but it was junior forward Kolin Demen’s late 3-pointer and senior guard Paul Mocur’s layup that completed the comeback and put Country Day on top for the dramatic win.
“We’re learning on the fly here,” Country Day coach Mark Bray said. “They play hard and that’s how it’s going to be all year, but we’ve got a lot of growing pains we’re going to have to go through.”
After going into the break up 31-20, Canton was able to stretch its lead to 18 points by scoring the first seven of the third quarter.
That’s when Country Day found itself, scoring 14 straight and finishing the quarter on an 18-3 run to cut its deficit to three heading into the final quarter.
“We didn’t make a lot of shots after the start of the second half,” Canton coach Jim Reddy said. “We couldn’t set our full court defense that was affecting them in the first half, and we just weren’t good enough defensively in the half court.”
The loss was the first time Canton had tasted defeat during the regular season in more than a year after going 20-0 before its first-round exit from last year’s state tournament.
Sophomore point guard B. Artis White scored 11 in the first quarter to power Canton to a 21-10 lead, but he was held to one basket the rest of the game. He finished with 17 points.
Mocur finished with 12 and Demens nine with nine rebounds.
Vinson Sigmon scored 10 for Canton.

Tuesday’s boys’ high school basketball summaries
Tuesday’s girls high school basketball summaries
Tuesday’s high school swimming, wrestling results


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Myanmar stops migrant workers going to Malaysia after Rohingya row (1.11/21)

YANGON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Myanmar has stopped workers going to Malaysia after Malaysia's leader criticised its treatment of Muslims, while Indonesia joined a growing chorus of concern about the fate of Myanmar's stateless Rohingya Muslims. Violence in Myanmar's Rakhine State, home to many Rohingyas, has become the biggest challenge facing Aung San Suu Kyi's eight-month-old government and has sparked international criticism that the Nobel Peace Prize winner has done too little to help the Muslim minority. At least 86 people have been killed and about 30,000 displaced in a Myanmar army crackdown in Rakhine State, launched after attacks on police posts near the Bangladesh border on Oct. 9 in which nine policemen were killed. The prime minister of mostly Muslim Malaysia, Najib Razak, on the weekend described the violence as "genocide" and called for foreign intervention. Myanmar on Tuesday summoned Malaysia's ambassador over what it described as Najib's "unverified and unsubstantiated allegations". The deputy permanent secretary of Myanmar's Labour Ministry, Maung Kyaw, said Myanmar workers had been temporarily stopped form going to Malaysia because of security worries. He declined to comment when asked if the ban was in response to Najib's criticism, saying only it was "because of the ongoing situation". "We instructed all licensed overseas employment agencies to pause sending migrant workers to Malaysia effective December 6 as there are reasons to worry about their security," Maung Kyaw told Reuters. It was not clear how long the freeze would last, he said. Labour-short Malaysia hosts about 147,000 Myanmar migrant workers, according to latest data available from Myanmar. A "sizeable number" of undocumented workers from Myanmar are also in Malaysia, Myanmar officials say. Myanmar authorities have rejected accusations from residents and rights groups that soldiers have raped Rohingya women, burnt homes and killed civilians during the latest crackdown. Ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and the Rohingya Muslims have lived separately in Rakhine State since clashes in 2012 in which more than 100 people were killed. Indonesia's foreign minister Retno Marsudi said on Wednesday she had expressed her concern to Aung San Suu Kyi over the treatment of Rohingya Muslims. "I have conveyed Indonesia's concern to State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi about the situation in Rakhine State," Marsudi said in a statement after the two met in the Myanmar capital. "The Myanmar government has opened its doors for humanitarian aid from Indonesia to reach Rakhine State. " Indonesia has the world's biggest Muslim population. There are more than 135,000 Myanmar refugees living in Malaysia, including about 55,000 Rohingyas, according to the U. N. refugee agency UNHCR. Myanmar says the Rohingya are not Myanmar citizens but illegal migrants form neighbouring Bangladesh. (Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Additional reporting by Rozanna Latiff in KUALA LUMPUR, and Kanupriya Kapoor in JAKARTA; Writing By Yimou Lee; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Myanmar halts workers to Malaysia as Rohingya crisis grows
Myanmar Bans Workers Going To Malaysia As Rohingya Crisis Grows
Myanmar bans workers going to Malaysia as Rohingya crisis grows


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The Latest: Thousands deployed in quake rescue effort (1.11/21)

The Latest: Thousands deployed in quake rescue effort Associated Press - 7 December 2016 02:53-05:00 News Topics: General news, Science, Disaster planning and response, Earthquakes, Search and rescue efforts, Accidents and disasters, Building collapses, Natural disasters, Structural failures, Accidents People, Places and Companies: Indonesia, Aceh Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Frantic rescue underway in Indonesia as quake kills scores


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Woman at heart of South Korean scandal refuses to testify (1.10/21)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Ahead of an impeachment vote later this week, lawmakers took turns grilling a K-pop music director, a fashion designer and nearly a dozen others said to be linked to a woman at the heart of…...

S Korea officials want woman at heart of scandal to testify
Woman at Heart of South Korean Scandal Refuses to Testify
S.Korea security seeks to round up woman at heart of scandal


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China forex reserves plunge amid surging dollar (1.10/21)

China's foreign exchange reserves plunged by $69 billion in November to a five-year low, according to central bank data released Wednesday, as policy-makers battled to support the yuan currency against a resurgent dollar. The world's largest hard-currency stockpile dropped to $3.05 trillion, its fifth-straight monthly contraction and the largest month-on-month decline since January, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said. Stubborn capital outflows and official attempts to shore up the yuan by selling foreign exchange were the likely main causes, Capital Economics said in a research note, adding the fall was slightly larger than expected. The yuan has slid against the dollar, plumbing eight-year lows in recent weeks. The dollar has been lifted by growing expectations of a Federal Reserve interest rate hike by year's end, which could encourage a tide of capital flowing toward US assets. For China's government, the capital-flight fears have been compounded by a record-setting spree of overseas investment by Chinese companies. Chinese authorities have sought to stem the outflows by placing new restrictions on overseas investment. "This increase in capital outflows does seem to have unnerved Chinese policy-makers who in recent weeks have moved to tighten capital controls," Capital Economics China economist Julian Evans-Pritchard said in the research note, but added it was "premature" to talk of a renewed crisis in the yuan. But tighter capital controls "run against any hopes of reform or internationalisation of the yuan", Michael Every of Hong Kong's Rabobank NA told Bloomberg. "And all these fun and games come before we have even seen President Trump. " China, which manages the yuan's movement, has in recent months steadily weakened the rate around which the currency is allowed to trade. Last month it put it beyond 6.9 to the dollar for the first time in more than eight years as the surging greenback pressured the Chinese unit. It has come back slightly since then. Wednesday's reference rate was at 6.8808 yuan to the dollar.

China November forex reserves fall to $3.05 trillion, lowest since 2011
China Nov forex reserves fall more than expected to lowest in nearly 6 years
China Nov forex reserves fall more than expected to $3.05 trillion, lowest since 2011


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Twitter founder feels 'complicated' about Donald Trump's tweeting (1.10/21)

For the first time, Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, has described his “complicated” feelings about the US president-elect Donald Trump’s use of the social media service.
Speaking at the Code Commerce conference in California, Dorsey demurred when asked if he felt responsible for Trump’s election. “America is responsible for Donald Trump being president,” he said, before conceding that, more than any other candidate, Trump excelled in his use of Twitter.
“He’s known how to use it for quite some time. I think it’s an important time for the company and service. And having the president-elect on our service, using it as a direct line of communication, allows everyone to see what’s on his mind in the moment. I think that’s interesting. I think it’s fascinating. I haven’t seen that before.
“We’re definitely entering a new world where everything is on the surface and we can all see it in real time and we can have conversations about it. Where does that go? I’m not really sure. But it’s definitely been fascinating to learn from.”
Asked how he felt about Trump’s use of the service, Dorsey said: “Complicated”.
“I feel very proud of the role of the service and what it stands for and everything that we’ve done, and that continues to accelerate every single day. Especially as it’s had such a spotlight on it through his usage and through the election.”
More than any other social network, Twitter has taken a stand against the surge of far-right activity that followed Donald Trump’s victory. A few days after the election, the company announced a host of new safety features , including a crackdown on hate speech and a renewed focus on training its moderators to better react to threats of violence and hateful conduct.
“The amount of abuse, bullying, and harassment seen across the internet has risen sharply over the past few years,” Twitter said at the time. “In the worst cases, this type of conduct threatens human dignity, which we should all stand together to protect.”
That same day, Twitter banned a host of notable “alt-right” users , members of the far-right subculture who push a meme-filled variant of traditional white supremacist views. Banned accounts included that of Richard B Spencer, a white nationalist Trump supporter who hosted a conference last month where supporters gave Nazi salutes.
While Twitter has received praise from some for taking action, the move has also raised difficult questions for the company: what would it do if the president-elect tweeted views that his supporters have been banned from the network for expressing?

President-elect Donald Trump defends Twitter use: 'I think I am very restrained'
Jack Dorsey says Twitter is not responsible for Trump's election, but it's 'complicated'


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Shares in Monte dei Paschi rise strongly at open (1.09/21)

MILAN, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Shares in Monte dei Paschi shot up more than 9 percent in early trade on Wednesday after sources said Italy is preparing to take a controlling stake in the troubled bank. The Treasury is considering buying 2 billion euros ($2.1 billion) in Monte dei Paschi's subordinated debt held by retail investors and convert it into shares. Italy's banking stock index rose 1.9 percent. ($1 = 0.9328 euros) (Reporting by Valentina Za, editing by Agnieszka Flak)

Monte dei Paschi bolsters European stocks, ECB looms
EMERGING MARKETS-Lira at one-week high; fragile emerging assets advance further
FOREX-Dollar edges up vs yen as traders eye ECB meeting for cues
Lawyer challenging government in Brexit trigger case says parliament motion is not enough
China stocks flat as investors watch regulatory moves; Hong Kong up
Italy preparing to take controlling stake in Monte dei Paschi-sources


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High school basketball player with autism hits three-pointer in first game (1.09/21)

Here’s a feel good story for you as we approach the holidays.
A high school student, who goes by the Twitter handle, @Matt—8Harry, shared a video of his friend Isaiah playing for the school’s basketball team.
Isaiah, according to Matt, has autism and it was his first game playing for the team, which appears to be from Brooklyn, Ohio.
Of course, Isaiah receives a pass at the wing and swishes a three-pointer, sending the crowd and his team into a frenzy.
Isaiah seemed to soak up the moment too, jumping up and down celebrating as they got back on defense.
That’ll be a moment he’ll cherish for a long time.

Tuesday’s boys’ high school basketball summaries
Tuesday’s girls high school basketball summaries


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Parliament's SABC inquiry gets rolling today (1.08/21)

Mamelodi Sundowns need to go to the Fifa Club World Cup with the mentality of being there to win and not just to make up the numbers‚ says the club’s high on confidence Percy Tau.

SABC refuses to hand over documents to Parliament inquiry
SABC members walk out of Parliament inquiry
SABC inquiry begins in Parliament


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Red cards set to be introduced for unruly player conduct (1.08/21)

By Sudipto Ganguly MUMBAI, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Cricketers could be 'red-carded' by umpires and ejected from the ground for the duration of a match from next October after the sport's lawmakers on Wednesday recommended on-field sanctions to address declining standards of player behaviour. The world cricket committee of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the guardian of the game's laws, has recommended that a player should be removed from the field for threatening an umpire, physical assault or any other act of violence. Match officials currently report players or incidents to the match referee at the end of the day after which action is taken. Following a two-day meeting in Mumbai, MCC world cricket committee chairman Mike Brearley said umpires needed to be empowered to impose on-the-spot sanctions, noting that there were more disciplinary problems in the lower-tier leagues. "There was a survey done of the umpires and 40 percent said they are considering giving up the game or giving up umpiring because of verbal abuse," former England captain Brearley told reporters at the Wankhede Stadium. "Anecdotal evidence from people who are familiar with leagues in parts of England say that the behaviour has got worse. "The umpires have to be respected and given the best possible chance and I think cricket is the only game in which there isn't this possibility of an in-match punishment or deterrent. " ROLE MODELS The committee discussed sanctions like run penalties and sin bins but felt it would be hard to apply them consistently around the world. "It got to the state where something had to happen to prevent those things happening on the international stage," former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, a member of the committee, said. "The modern player now understands their role in society, about being role models, and want to play the game the right way for younger kids. " The committee also decided that no changes were required to the current ball-tampering laws despite recent incidents. The age-old practice of shining the cricket ball has become a grey area for some cricketers who called for clarity after South Africa captain Faf du Plessis was declared guilty of ball-tampering by the International Cricket Council last month. Television footage appeared to show du Plessis applying saliva to the ball while sucking on a sweet during the Hobart test against Australia leading to him being sanctioned and losing his entire match fee. The committee also agreed that the game had tilted too far in favour of the batsmen and therefore recommended specific bat size limitations to the edges and depth of a bat. The new laws will be implemented at all levels of the game from Oct. 1 next year, subject to approval by the MCC's main committee. (Additional reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

India's Rahane out of series, Shami doubtful for Mumbai
Jennings to be Cook's latest opening partner for England
Cricket to introduce red cards to deal with 'extreme' cases and could come into use by next Ashes tour
MCC set to introduce red cards to cricket


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Atletico move on from tragedy at Club World Cup (1.08/21)

By Andrew Downie SAO PAULO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Before they became famous the world over for their incidental part in the tragedy of last week's Chapecoense air disaster, Colombia's Atletico Nacional had established themselves as South America's team of the year. The Medellin club were unquestionably the dominant side in the region in 2016 after lifting the Copa Libertadores in July and then reaching the final of the Copa Sudamericana just four months later. Unlike in Europe, where clubs play either the Champions League or the Europa League, clubs in South America can take part in both the region's club competitions and Atletico dominated both. Whether they have what it takes to beat Real Madrid in the Club World Cup, should both fulfil their billing as favourites and make the final, is another question. European teams have won the Club World Cup for eight of the last nine years and the financial gulf between the continents means the Colombians will be hard-pushed to prevent Real making it nine in 10. To make matters worse, they arrive in Japan having played more than 80 games already this season and without several of their best players, who were snapped up by wealthy European and Mexican clubs after their stellar season. It is a tribute to the talent-spotting of the backroom staff and the coaching savvy of Reinaldo Rueda that Atletico remained competitive in the second half of the year -- reaching the semi-finals of the Colombian league and the Copa Sudamericana final. The latter was awarded to Chapecoense after most of the Brazilian team were killed in a plane crash as they approached Medellin airport last week. Atletico lost the Intercontinental Cup 1-0 to AC Milan in 1989 in their only previous experience of FIFA's premier club competition. Rueda values attacking football and Atletico's strength comes alive in their opponent's half. Macnelly Torres and Alejandro Guerra are effective as creative attackers, and up front they have speedy right winger Orlando Berrio. Highly rated 23-year old Miguel Borja, signed from Cortulua in June, has scored 39 goals so far this year, including five in four games during their triumphant march to the Copa Libertadores. Borja looks set for a big-money transfer and he will not be alone in thinking of this tournament as one of the best shop windows possible. Rueda may not be around much longer either. When asked to name his favourite piece of music on a talk show earlier this year, he chose the Champions League theme tune because, he said, his dream was to coach in Europe. (Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Real Madrid aiming to add Club World Cup title to honors
Second-chance Sundowns hit Club World Cup ahead of schedule
Kashima target Club World Cup final despite quick turnaround
Club World Cup offers coaching test for America's big moustache
Club World Cup looks ripe for reform


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Belgium arrests 3 over Syria recruiting, terror charges (1.07/21)

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgian authorities have arrested three of eight people they picked up earlier this week during anti-terror raids centering on the recruitment of people to fight in Syria. The prosecutor's office said Wednesday it charged two people from Kosovo and a Serb with "participation in the activities of a terrorist group. " All three are in their twenties. Police detained the eight during nine searches in homes in northern and central Belgium early Tuesday. Five were let go.

Three charged in Belgium over suspected IS support
Belgium Arrests 3 Over Syria Recruiting, Terror Charges


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2 children among 3 dead in Indiana house fire (1.07/21)

BRAZIL, Ind. (AP) — An 18-year-old woman, her 4-year-old brother and her 4-month-old daughter have died in a raging house fire produced flames and heat so intense that it drove back firefighters attempting to rescue them, a fire chief said.
A 6-year-old boy was being treated at a hospital for non-life-threatening respiratory injuries following the fire Monday night, Brazil Fire Chief Jake Bennett said. The boy’s condition was not available Tuesday afternoon.
“When the first fire engine arrived the crew found flames blowing through windows on the 1st and 2nd floors and heavy fire from floor to ceiling on both stories through a large percentage of the structure, along with heavy black smoke,” Bennett said in a news release. “The size of the fire and the extent of its spread prior to arrival created significant challenges for firefighters.”
The fire killed Raven Elizabeth Rose Tedder; 4-month-old Zoiey Alaweigh Jane Tedder; and 4-year-old Shyloi Leeland Dale Stewart, the brother of the woman, acting Clay County Coroner Tyler Tutterow said. All pronounced dead at St. Vincent Clay Hospital in Brazil, located about 55 miles southwest of Indianapolis.
The name of the 6-year-old was not immediate released.
Eleven people were living in the partially brick home, and most had escaped the blaze by the time firefighters arrived, Bennett said.
“First-arriving firefighters rapidly performed a search in the area where occupants were thought to be,” he said. The missing could not be located and after two attempts, firefighters were forced back out because of fire and intense heat.
The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Brazil fire and police departments are investigating.
This story has been corrected to show the age of the boy being treated at a hospital is 6, not 4..
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Refrigerator potential source of deadly fire


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Derrick Rose could miss Knicks' game vs. Cavaliers with back issue (1.07/21)

MIAMI — Derrick Rose's goal of playing all 82 games is in jeopardy.
The point guard left Tuesday's 114-103 victory over the Heat in the third quarter and will be reassessed before tonight’s nationally-televised showdown against the Cavaliers.
Rose, who finished with 10 points in 25 minutes, noticed something was off, but is unsure of the root of his back pain.
“It calmed down. It’s just spasms. Usually when you have back spasms or back problems, it comes from somewhere else — it could be hamstring, it could be groin, could be something else,” he said. “(Tuesday night), my right side, my right leg, everything was fatigued and kind of quit. (Wednesday) we'll be able to find out what it is.
Carmelo Anthony scores season-high 35 in Knicks' win over Heat
“One of the plays when I tried to go up, I had no lift to my layup. That’s when I knew I had to get pulled.”
For once, Joakim Noah and LeBron James can agree on something: boycott Donald Trump.
Noah, the historical LeBron agitator, was unaware of James’ protest of the Trump brand until told by the Daily News. He then called James’ actions “good,” and said he’d probably do the same by not patronizing the president-elect’s hotels. “I think it’s just a comfort level, you know. Stick to your principles. Whoever you are,” Noah said. “Trump is our president. But that doesn’t mean we have to stay at his hotel.”
Knicks' Phil Jackson says he shouldn't have brought up LeBron
The Trump SoHo — where some of the Cavaliers are staying — is no longer owned by Trump but the building still has his name on it.
Noah’s position isn’t surprising considering his history. He has been one of the most outspoken athletes against violence and guns, having decided against attending a team-arranged dinner with Army cadets during training camp at West Point because war was against his beliefs.
The Cavs’ J. R. Smith will miss tonight’s return to the Garden and may miss even more games with a hyperextended left knee. The Cavs said an MRI taken on the former Knick’s knee on Tuesday did not reveal any structural damage, but Smith did not make the trip to New York. He got hurt in the first quarter of Cleveland’s victory in Toronto on Monday night and returned to Cleveland to undergo tests.

Derrick Rose may miss Cavaliers showdown with back spasms


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Inquest opens Viola Beach deaths after car crashed into Swedish canal (1.06/21)

The members of British band Viola Beach crashed into a canal after driving past flashing warning lights on the approach to a bridge in Sweden, their inquest has heard. All four members of the Warrington band - Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe and Jack Dakin - were killed along with their manager Craig Tarry when their hire car plunged 25 metres off a bridge near Stockholm. The men, aged between 19 and 35, were in a Nissan Qashqai driven by Mr Tarry when it crashed into a section of the bridge which was being raised for a passing ship and plunged into the canal on February 13. At the opening of an inquest into their deaths today, Cheshire Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg said that, from the injuries they suffered, it is believed none of them would have suffered. Warrington Coroner's Court was told that the band had a 'hectic schedule' that included a date in Reeves's hometown of Guildford the night after their deaths. The rockers had just played their first overseas gig at Where's The Music festival in Norrköping and were driving to a hotel before a scheduled flight back to the UK from Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Swedish police, who were called to the incident at about 2.30am, said the car had driven through warning signs and a flashing barrier some 50 metres before the opening. The car crashed into the raised section of the bridge, then dropped into the canal and was submerged 15 seconds later, the inquest was told. A tanker that had requested the bridge to be lifted then passed over the crash spot and 'contact' between the tanker and car could not be ruled out, the coroner heard. Technical examination showed there was nothing wrong with the car, or the signalling or barrier system or the procedure for raising the bridge, and the road was wet but not frozen with ice. Post-mortem reports by medics in Sweden, read to the courtroom which was packed with family members of the band, revealed all died from head injuries apart from Mr Lowe whose cause of death was given as drowning. Witnesses say the vehicle appeared to brake, but continued on, driving in the middle of the road with the white lines between the wheels and through two barriers. When the collision happened the bridge was around 3m above its usual position. The car was going between 70-90kmh. Bridge operators said that driving through barriers was an 'extremely uncommon occurrence' and only recall it happening once before. Graham Bennett, the band's agent, said Mr Tarry was in the driver's seat when he left the festival at around 12.10am. Mr Bennett said Mr Tarry had been offered a drink at the festival but declined and offered it to him instead. A post-mortem report found no traces of alcohol or drugs in his body. Benedict Dunn, River Reeves's father, said his son had been 'following his dream' at the time of his death. Inspector Lars Berglund, lead investigator on the case, said: 'No shortcomings in signalling could be demonstrated. No error or negligence had taken place. 'The carriageway was wet but not frozen, and the road surface was not slippery. 'The driver of the vehicle was Craig Tarry. It was not possible to see influence of drugs or alcohol. 'Speed cameras earlier show the accident vehicle travelling at 108km/h in a 100km/h limit.' Inspector Bergland added: 'There's no evidence that the vehicle was driving too fast or in a manner to attract attention of others. Braking just before the first barrier took place through the active influence of the driver. 'It's not possible to ascertain why the driver chose to pass stationary vehicles in the left hand lane and drive through the lower barrier.' Viola Beach, who had featured on BBC Introducing, a programme showcasing up-and-coming music artists, described themselves as an 'indie pop' band. Their debut album was posthumously released and their debut single Swings & Waterslides entered the official singles chart, topping the iTunes chart as tributes poured in from the music world. After the crash, a statement from the families of the band's members said: 'We are tremendously proud of everything the boys achieved in such a short space of time. 'Craig, Jack, Kris, River and Tom shared a huge passion, talent and dedication to music.'

Viola Beach manager drove through barriers into bridge, inquest told
Inquest into deaths of young British band Viola Beach to begin


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John Mahama, Ghana's affable but embattled president (1.06/21)

Ghana's President John Mahama is a man of the people who is known for his good humour, but has been forced onto the back foot by his country's lacklustre growth. Mahama, now 58, came to power in 2012 after narrowly defeating the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, who is also running in Wednesday's presidential election. But his government went on a spending spree, causing Ghana's political titan and former president Jerry Rawlings to describe Mahama's ministers as "babies with sharp teeth. " The global commodity rout hurt Ghana -- a global exporter of oil, gold and cocoa -- but the ballooning debt made things much worse. With stuttering electricity, double-digit inflation and a depreciating cedi, this West African nation was forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund for help. Corruption scandals have plagued his government, but Mahama, an affable statesman who is popular with the public, has worked to stay above the fray with his slogan "Putting people first. " "The saying goes that when the going gets tough, the tough get going," a smiling Mahama said in a November interview. - Climbing trees, hunting squirrels - In his eloquent 2012 autobiography, "My First Coup d'Etat", Mahama describes life in Accra's elite boarding school juxtaposed with going back to the northern village where his family is from, climbing mango trees and hunting squirrels with slingshots. "Bole was not on the national grid, but we had a little diesel generator, which meant ours was the only house in town with lights," Mahama writes. Born to the son of a minister overthrown in a 1966 coup -- which he describes as an "unspeakable period of violence" -- Mahama later graduated from university with a history degree. He went to Moscow in 1988 for a post-graduate degree in social psychology, where he grew "more and more disillusioned with socialism, realising that Ghana has to find its own transformative way, away from ideological dogmas. " In 1996, he joined the NDC, where he later served as minister of communications. Mahama became vice-president of Ghana in 2009 under President John Atta Mills. When Mills died unexpectedly in 2012, Mahama became president and won the election that year. "JM", as he's called by those close to him, is a member of the Assemblies of God, "a multi-faith family consisting of Christians and Muslims". Mahama says he's a big fan of Afrobeat, music originating from Nigeria that's an intoxicating fusion of blues, jazz and funk.

Voting begins in Ghana's election as Mahama runs for second term
Ghana’s Mahama accuses foe of undermining confidence in voting


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College Basketball Scores (1.06/21)

Bucknell 75, Fairfield 64
California 62, Princeton 51
Harvard 86, Northeastern 80
Monmouth (NJ) 81, Wagner 71
Navy 76, Bryant 74
New Hampshire 80, American U. 70
Providence 95, Brown 57
Rhode Island 51, Old Dominion 39
Robert Morris 64, Duquesne 60
Rutgers 79, CCSU 37
Sacred Heart 91, Mass.-Lowell 82
Seton Hall 68, Hawaii 57
St. Bonaventure 81, Hofstra 75
Stony Brook 62, Lehigh 57
Villanova 89, La Salle 79
Belmont 78, Lipscomb 76
Chattanooga 96, Marshall 85
Duke 84, Florida 74
Florida St. 98, Southern Miss. 49
Furman 61, Liberty 58
Miami 82, SC State 46
Morgan St. 85, Manhattan 82
NC Central 79, LIU Brooklyn 56
Tennessee 90, Presbyterian 50
UNC-Asheville 78, Elon 67
Vanderbilt 90, High Point 63
Virginia 76, East Carolina 53
Wake Forest 91, Charlotte 74
Winthrop 106, Greensboro 63
Wofford 116, Virginia Wise 56
Ball St. 80, Bradley 63
Cent. Michigan 107, Green Bay 97
Dayton 91, Saint Joseph’s (IN) 59
DePaul 80, Lamar 61
Evansville 69, Bowling Green 66
FAU 79, Ohio St. 77
Illinois 85, IUPUI 77
Kansas 105, UMKC 62
Kansas St. 74, Prairie View 55
Marquette 84, Fresno St. 81
Michigan 53, Texas 50
Michigan St. 77, Youngstown St. 57
Minnesota 74, NJIT 68
Missouri 81, Miami (Ohio) 55
Notre Dame 87, IPFW 72
Purdue 97, Arizona St. 64
Wichita St. 75, Saint Louis 45
Arkansas 84, Houston 72
Arizona 79, UC Irvine 57
Colorado St. 93, UA Fort Smith 69
San Francisco 91, San Francisco State 59
Utah 87, Utah Valley 80
Utah St. 84, Great Falls 51
Need a break? Play a quick game of solitaire or Sudoku. Or take one of our fun quizzes!
Photos and video of Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, James Taylor and other honorees.

Tuesday’s College Basketball
NBA Basketball Box Scores


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Utah Jazz preserve win over Suns after blowing 23-point lead (1.06/21)

SALT LAKE CITY — Two big questions surfaced during the fourth quarter of the Utah Jazz’s scarier-than-expected 112-105 win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.
1. How in the world did the Jazz give up another 23-point lead to another sub-.500 team?
2. Was that a pass or a lob from Shelvin Mack to Rudy Gobert?
Regardless of the answer to the second question, the result was a pretty sweet no-look reverse dunk by Gobert, who had a career-high 22 points with 11 rebounds and four blocks.
"I thought it was a pass,” Gobert said. “I wasn’t sure. I just took the ball and put it in. "
That alley-oop (or alley-oops) dunk with 17.1 seconds remaining all but clinched a game that nearly got away from the Jazz.
“It was great, especially at that time we really needed a basket,” Jazz forward Boris Diaw said. “They were pressing and pressing the whole quarter to come back, so it was a big thing.”
A big pass, right, Mack?
“Pass. We talked about that play before. Even when I made a floater he was open and let me know,” said Mack, who had 12 points and four assists. “Sometimes with Rudy, I’ve got to make sure he knows you’re throwing him the ball, and the second time he was ready for it.”
It helped the Jazz, now 14-9, preserve a positive outcome that looked like it might slip away on a night that saw Rodney Hood reaggravate his strained hamstring and not play most of the second half and Hayward suffer more pain to his injured left ring finger.
Hayward continued his strong play, finishing with 28 points, five rebounds and four assists after X-rays revealed that his stinging finger wasn't rebroken.
“It’s throbbing pretty good right now. I could really feel it for the rest of the game, but that’s how it is,” Hayward said. “I just have to play through it. We needed a win tonight, so I had to get back out there.”
Devin Booker led Phoenix (6-15) with 21 points.
Joe Ingles put Utah up 92-69 late in the third quarter with a long jumper, and it seemed as if the home team was going to cruise to a victory over an Earl Watson-coached Suns squad.
The huge lead steadily dissipated in the fourth quarter, which has turned into a trend for the Jazz.
Utah led Denver by 23 points on Saturday, but the Nuggets fought back to within nine before the Jazz closed them out.
On Monday, the Jazz led the Lakers by 19 before holding on for a victory after L. A. crept within four late.
In this one, the Suns' Brevin Knight scored 10 in the fourth and the Jazz offense went missing as Phoenix rallied to eventually tie the score at 103-103 on a Leandro Barbosa jumper with 3:07 to go.
Utah did just enough in the final three minutes to earn its third straight game and seventh victory in eight outings.
The close-out began when Joe Johnson stole the ball and passed it to Gordon Hayward for a break-away dunk.
Mack then gave Utah a four-point edge with an 8-foot floater.
Gobert hit two free throws — on a 10-for-11 night from the charity stripe — after being fouled on purpose with 44 seconds left to boost the lead to six.
Knight gave the Suns some late hope with a layup, but Mack and Gobert paired up on the next possession to wrap it up.
“We executed offensively at the end. We got the shots that we wanted. Rudy made a great play. Shel made a great play,” Hayward said. “Then we got the stops we needed to. It might have only been a couple of stops but we got them when we needed it and we got the win because of that.”
JAZZ NOTES: Hayward (6,869 points) surpassed Jeff Hornacek (6,848) for the 11th spot on the Jazz’s all-time scoring list. Boris Diaw and Joe Johnson, both former Suns, each scored 13 points. Diaw also had a season-high six assists to lead the Jazz in that statistical category. Former Jazz coach and player Tyrone Corbin is an assistant on former Jazz guard Earl Watson’s coaching staff with Phoenix. Utah has won five straight against the Suns. The Jazz will take Wednesday off before facing Golden State on Thursday night.

Hayward scores 28, Jazz hold on for 112-105 win over Suns
Jazz survive late push by the Suns to win, 112-105


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Wednesday sports on TV/radio (1.06/21)

7 California vs. Seton Hall, FS1
7 Southern Illinois at Louisville, FSD+
7 Georgia Tech at Virginia Commonwealth, ESPNU
7 George Mason at Penn State, BTN
7 Detroit Mercy at Toledo, WFDF
7:30 George Washington at Temple, CBSSN
8 TCU at SMU, ESPN News
8 Valparaiso at Kentucky, SEC
9 Davidson at North Carolina, ESPN2
9 Howard at Maryland, ESPNU
9 Creighton at Nebraska, BTN
9 Oral Roberts at Oklahoma, FSD+
9:30 Princeton vs. Hawaii, FS1
11 Washington at Gonzaga, ESPN2
7 Connecticut at Notre Dame, ESPN2
9 European Hong Kong Open, GC
1 a.m. European Hong Kong Open, ESPN
4 a.m. Thursday Dubai Masters, GC
7 Detroit at Charlotte, FSD/WMGC
8 Cleveland at New York, ESPN
10:30 Golden State at L. A. Clippers, ESPN
8 Boston at Washington, NBCSN
10 PRCA Finals, CBSSN
2:30 Champions, Sevilla at Olympique Lyonnais, ESPN2
2:30 Champions, Borussia Dortmund at Real Madrid, FS1
2:30 Champions, Leicester City at Porto, FSD

What's on TV? Detroit sports listings for Dec. 7


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President-Elect Continues “Thank You” Tour In North Carolina (1.06/21)

FAYETTEVILLE, N. C. (CBSNewYork/AP) — President-elect Donald Trump, a political newcomer who touts his corporate skills, turned businessman-in-chief Tuesday, first demanding the government cancel a multibillion-dollar order for new presidential planes and then hailing a Japanese company’s commitment to invest billions in the U. S.
“We will defend American jobs. We have to look at it almost like a war,” Trump thundered in North Carolina, vowing to keep companies from moving overseas during the second stop of his “thank you” tour to salute his supporters. “We want the next generation of innovation and production to happen right here in America.”
Trump was far less bombastic than during the tour’s kickoff in Ohio last week, striking more of the healing notes traditionally delivered by a president-to-be in the weeks after a bruising election.
“We will heal our divisions and unify our country. When Americans are unified there is nothing we cannot do — nothing!” he told the crowd in Fayetteville. “I’m asking you to dream big again as Americans. I’m asking you to believe in yourselves.”
The Republican businessman largely stuck to the script Tuesday — and, in a change, even stopped the crowd when it started to boo the media — and avoided some of the score-settling and scorched-earth rhetoric that defined his campaign and was present again last week in Cincinnati. He also repeated his vow to fortify the nation’s military and brought Marine Gen. James Mattis on stage, officially naming his choice to be Defense Secretary after teasing it last week.
Departing New York with General James 'Mad Dog' Mattis for tonight's rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina! See you soon! #ThankYouTour2016
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2016
President Obama flew to Tampa Bay Tuesday in the current Air Force One to thank servicemen and women at U. S. Central Command.
He offered an alternative to Trump’s promise to bomb ISIS into dust.
“Rather than offer false promises that we can eliminate terrorism by dropping more bombs, we have to take a long view of the terrorist threat and we have to pursue a smart strategy that can be sustained,” he said.
Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden visited New York Tuesday and told Stephen Colbert he’s thinking about running for president in 2020.
“Hell, Donald Trump’s gonna be 74, I’ll be 77, in better shape. I mean what the hell,” he said to thunderous applause.
Earlier in the day, Trump plainly telegraphed that when he takes office in six weeks he’ll take an interventionist role in the nation’s economy — as well as play showman when he sees a chance. The celebrity businessman’s declaration about Air Force One caused manufacturer Boeing’s stock to drop temporarily and raised fresh questions about how his administration — not to mention his Twitter volleys — could affect the economy.
“The plane is totally out of control,” Trump told reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower. “I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money.” Earlier he had tweeted that the deal’s costs were “out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!”
Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2016
As for Air Force One, the government has agreed that Boeing will build two new planes, which would go into service around 2024. That means Trump might never fly on the aircraft, which carry U. S. presidents around the globe.
The Air Force has pressed for a faster schedule, saying the aging current Boeing 747s are becoming too expensive to repair and keep in good flying shape. The overall deal for researching, developing and building new planes was to be about $3 billion, but costs have been reported to be rising.
The General Accountability Office estimated in March that about $2 billion of the total — for work between 2010 and 2020 — was for research and development on complex systems, not for building the actual aircraft. The inflated $4 billion figure Trump cited appears to include operation and maintenance as well.
Boeing responded to Trump Tuesday in a statement: “We are currently under contract for $170 million to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft that serve the unique requirements of the president of the United States. We look forward to working with the U. S. Air Force on subsequent phases of the program allowing us to deliver the best planes for the president at the best value for the American taxpayer.”
The $170 million figure is just for a portion of the research and development efforts.
Trump had tweeted in 2013 that he owned Boeing stock, but a spokesman said Tuesday he sold all of his stock holdings in June. That sale was not publicized by the campaign at the time, and aides did not reveal how much cash it might have generated.
If Trump had held onto his stock portfolio, he would have been required to repeatedly file reports with the U. S. Office of Government Ethics. A 2012 update of the Ethics in Government Act obliges presidents and other senior government officials to report such transactions.
Trump now uses his own plane, a Boeing 757, which he has outfitted with white leather and gold, a large flat-screen television and a bedroom. But as president it is expected that he would travel aboard the Air Force jet, which is equipped with special safety, defensive and communications equipment. Air Force One also has seating for reporters; Trump generally does not allow the press on his own plane.
Later this week, Trump will use that plane to travel to rallies in Iowa and Michigan, And on Saturday, Trump will attend the 117th annual Army-Navy football game. The game between the two military academies often draws the commander in chief; both Barack Obama and George W. Bush have attended in recent years.
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Trump takes 'thank you' tour to North Carolina


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Brazil Supreme Court deal might keep Senate head in place -report (1.05/21)

By Anthony Boadle BRASILIA, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Brazil's Supreme Court is seeking an agreement to resolve a constitutional crisis that would let the indicted head of the Senate keep his post if he agrees to step out of the presidential line of succession, major newspapers reported on Wednesday. The Supreme Court will meet at 2 p.m. (1600 GMT) to decide whether to uphold or overturn an injunction by one of its justices ordering the removal of Renan Calheiros as Senate president, after he was indicted for embezzlement last week. Calheiros, whose mandate in charge of the chamber expires when Congress goes into its Christmas recess in a few days, refused to step down on Tuesday, heightening a standoff between the legislature and judiciary. Calheiros is second in line to the presidency after the speaker of the lower house. Amid fears that the crisis could derail the passage of a major reform to tackle Brazil's massive budget deficit, investors have been closely watching the situation. Until it is resolved, the Senate has suspended business. The Brazilian real strengthened more than 1 percent in early trading as concerns eased that Calheiros' ouster could delay the approval of the constitutional cap on public spending growth. The benchmark Bovespa stock index rose 0.5 percent in early trading. Newspaper Folha de S. Paulo also reported that the man in line to lead the Senate if Calheiros steps aside, Senator Jorge Viana, was thinking of giving up his leadership role. The paper cited unnamed sources who spoke with Viana on Monday. Viana, whose leftist Workers Party opposes the government's austerity agenda, was reported on Tuesday to be considering a suspension of all votes scheduled for this year if he were to assume the presidency of the Senate. (Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Lisa Von Ahn)

Despite dueling court rulings, Mich. recount continues
Brazil Supreme Court deal might keep Senate head in place - report


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#IfMalemaWasPresident trends on Twitter (1.05/21)

More specifically‚ they imagined what the firebrand leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters‚ Julius Malema‚ would do if he took office in the Union Buildings.
#IfMalemaWasPresident trended on Twitter with some people weighing in with serious policy changes‚ some were frivolous‚ and others just nasty.
According to supporters‚ the cost of data would come down‚ e-tolling would be scrapped‚ local manufacturing would be supported‚ and poor service delivery tackled. There would also be some adjustments to the practice of paying for a bride.
Vusi Mahlangu foresaw an extension of the EFF’s reclamation of resources campaign and a whites-only enclave in the Karoo being shut down.
Bad guy ‏@IamLungile‚ is clearly not a fan‚ and suggested Juju was well-versed in the art of double-speak.
‏@Maile_gee suggested that Malema would appoint his sworn enemy‚ the president of the African National Congress Youth League‚ to protct him.
‏@giftgift97 didn’t quite see the light side of the hashtag.
#IfMalemaWasPresident we might joke around about this but one thing we don't realise is that he is in it for himself and not anyone else. — (@giftgift97) December 7, 2016

Zim social media anger over Mugabe's SONA
What Twitter has to say about #IfMalemaWasPresident


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Forget populism — Trump’s picking orthodox Republicans (1.05/21)

The prevailing opinion on President-elect Donald Trump is that he’s unpredictable, a man of no fixed views who transcends traditional notions of right and left.
“Donald Trump is post-ideological,” Trump’s campaign pollster, Tony Fabrizio, said at a Harvard University conference last week.
With Trump, “you will have no idea each morning what’s going to happen,” former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said earlier, “because he will have no idea.”
Maybe. But if you watch what Trump does, not what he says — which at this point, mostly means the choices he makes for Cabinet positions — he doesn’t look unusual at all.
In Trump’s picks for economic and domestic policymaking jobs, there’s a consistent underlying thread. And no, it’s not that so many of them are billionaires.
It’s Republican orthodoxy. Trump’s choices have all been thoroughgoing conservatives who believe in the free market, deregulation and, wherever possible, privatization of government functions.
Most of them could have been nominated by any GOP nominee, including Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio.
There’s nary a populist among them – not even the conservative kind.
“Conservatives are happy,” Scott Reed, a political advisor to the business-establishment U. S. Chamber of Commerce, told me. “It’s a mainstream conservative list of very competent people.”
Take a look at the names.
Steven Mnuchin , the choice for Treasury, is a billionaire who worked for Goldman Sachs before buying a bank of his own. (Like Trump, he was once a Democrat, but he’s a Republican now.) Mnuchin says his first priority is cutting taxes, especially corporate taxes.
Wilbur Ross , the Commerce secretary in waiting, is another billionaire investor. His main cause is negotiating better trade deals, but he also wants to dismantle most of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law.
Tom Price , at Health and Human services, is a six-term GOP congressman who wants Medicare and Medicaid revamped and managed mostly by the private sector – once Obamacare is repealed, of course.
Betsy DeVos, the choice for Education, is a champion of privately run charter schools and voucher plans to help parents pay private school tuition. Before Trump, she supported Jeb Bush.
At Transportation, Elaine Chao spent eight years in George W. Bush’s Cabinet, and she’s married to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. It’s hard to get much more establishment than that.
Ben Carson , the former neurosurgeon, may add a dash of eccentricity at Housing and Urban Development — in part because he has no real experience in housing policy — but his views are pretty standard for the GOP. Carson once called fair housing a "failed socialist experiment" and told a television interviewer that “poverty is really more of a choice than anything else.”
There’s not a populist insurrectionist in the bunch.
“This is a business-friendly Cabinet of pragmatists,” a top corporate lobbyist in Washington told me, asking for anonymity to protect his multinational clients. “These are people orthodox Republicans can work with.”
What happened to all the populism in Trump’s platform that made him the champion of so many white working-class voters? It’s been quietly downsized since election day.
The wall Trump promised to build along the southern border is now a fence.
The trillion-dollar infrastructure program to build roads, bridges and airports has shrunk to $550 billion, and most of that — if Congress agrees — will be private sector investment, not government money.
“Drain the swamp?” Yes, there’s a rule barring lobbyists from serving in the transition — but they can get around it simply by revoking their lobbying registration.
Trump and Ross say they still plan to renegotiate NAFTA and other trade deals, but they plan to do it patiently, not abruptly. “Tariffs are the last thing,” Ross told CNBC last week. “Tariffs are part of the negotiation.”
That doesn’t mean Trump has forgotten his working-class voters.
He’s offered them a series of grand gestures. He’s renounced his salary as president. He’s said he’ll cancel the contract for a new Air Force One to save money. He jawboned Carrier into keeping 730 jobs in Indiana in exchange for $7 million in tax credits.
All brilliant marketing, and enough to launch a victory tour – rallies in Ohio last week, North Carolina Tuesday night, Iowa and Michigan next.
So far, in practice, Trumpism looks like mainstream conservatism plus tougher trade negotiations – and now, circuses. Just like the campaign.
Beyonce leads today’s Grammy nominations with nine , California’s new legislative session began in dramatic fashion , Ben Carson is Donald Trump's pick to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development , and former L. A. County Sheriff Lee Baca was once a powerful and celebrated lawman but now he's at the center of a public corruption trial.
Flowers placed near the site of the Oakland warehouse fire. Video by Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times
Protesting the Dakota Access pipeline (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
The victims of the deadly Oakland fire , who’s to blame for one of the worst fires in California history , Dakota Access pipeline opponents have claimed a big victory for now , and robots are taking over many warehouse jobs in California.
The victims of the deadly Oakland fire , who’s to blame for one of the worst fires in California history , Dakota Access pipeline opponents have claimed a big victory for now , and robots are taking over many warehouse jobs in California .
An all-girls, all-Muslim team financed by online fundraising, 75 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor the family of sailor Edwin Hopkins' finally got to hold his funeral, Nancy Paulikas went into a bathroom at LACMA on Oct. 15, then she vanished, it's been a year since the San Bernardino attack that killed 14 and injured 22, legalized marijuana supporters are worried about Trump's pick for attorney general, more and more Central Americans who can't get into the U. S. are trying to start over in Mexico, and Donald Trump is set to preside over the most affluent Cabinet in U. S. history.
An all-girls, all-Muslim team financed by online fundraising, 75 years after the attack on Pearl Harbor the family of sailor Edwin Hopkins' finally got to hold his funeral, Nancy Paulikas went into a bathroom at LACMA on Oct. 15, then she vanished, it's been a year since the San Bernardino attack that killed 14 and injured 22, legalized marijuana supporters are worried about Trump's pick for attorney general, more and more Central Americans who can't get into the U. S. are trying to start over in Mexico, and Donald Trump is set to preside over the most affluent Cabinet in U. S. history.

Trump formally unveils Defense Secretary pick, talks jobs in North Carolina


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Airline boss is arrested and could face manslaughter charge over plane crash that wiped out Brazilian football team (1.05/21)

The head of the charter airline whose plane crashed in Colombia wiping out a Brazilian football team has been arrested and could face a manslaughter charge. LaMia boss Gustavo Vargas and two other employees of the tiny Bolivia-based charter airline were taken to a prosecutor's office in Santa Cruz for up to eight hours. Bolivian Attorney General Ramiro Guerrero said the initial investigation is into possible criminal failure to follow safety procedures but added: 'It could easily turn into a manslaughter case.' All are being questioned about their roles in letting a British-built short-range jet attempt a more than four-hour flight from Santa Cruz to Medellin, Colombia, for which it barely had enough fuel, in violation of aviation norms. Prosecutors will decide whether they should be held in jail over the crash in which 71 people were killed. The plane was carrying Brazil's Chapecoense football team to the opening match in the Copa Sudamericana tournament's finals when it crashed on November 28 sending shockwaves through the global sporting community. Earlier on Tuesday, Bolivia demanded Brazil expel a Bolivian air traffic controller who travelled there to provide authorities information about the crash. Bolivian Interior Minister Carlos Romero said Celia Castedo had illegally bypassed migration controls on her way out of the country in an attempt to flee justice. He said Castedo was being sought as part of a broad investigation into Bolivia's air travel authority after the November 28 crash. 'There is no argument to justify an asylum request,' Romero said. 'Logically, in a case like this there should be a process of automatic expulsion (from Brazil).' Federal prosecutors in Brazil said late on Monday that the woman had come to them in the border city of Corumba after the Bolivian air travel authority accused her of negligence. Brazilian TV station Globo reported Castedo was seeking asylum in Brazil and that she had questioned a flight plan showing the intended route would push the limits of the plane's maximum possible flight time. Bolivian authorities on Thursday suspended the license of LaMia, which was bringing the Chapecoense club to the finals of the Copa Sudamericana. Bolivia's government has replaced the management of its air travel authority in order to ensure a transparent investigation. Brazilian prosecutors said they would meet on Wednesday with their Colombian and Bolivian peers to investigate the crash.

Prosecutors Detain Bolivian Owner of Crashed Chapecoense Plane Operator
Airline chief arrested after Colombia plane crash


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Apple blames external damage for flaming China iPhones (1.05/21)

Apple has blamed 'external physical damage' for causing a handful of iPhones to explode or catch fire in China, and insisted its handsets posed no safety problem. A Shanghai consumer watchdog said last Friday it had received eight recent reports of iPhones that spontaneously combusted while being used or charged. The US tech giant said it had retrieved units for analysis and conducted thorough tests on phones which had experienced 'thermal events', but brushed off safety concerns. Reports of the exploding handsets came fresh on the heels of Samsung's worldwide Galaxy Note 7 safety fiasco. But Apple insists this problem will not become as widespread as Samsung's. 'The units we've analysed so far have clearly shown that external physical damage happened to them which led to the thermal event,' the statement issued late last night said. 'We treat safety as a top priority and have found no cause for concern with these products.' The company also denied being slow to respond, after the state-run Shanghai Consumer Council urged it to address consumer complaints. The watchdog's report quoted one woman as saying her iPhone 6s Plus exploded in August, shattering the screen and leaving the battery and back of the phone blackened. The council said it had received a sixfold surge in total complaints against Apple in the past two months. These also included sudden shut-downs of the iPhone 6 and 6s even though batteries still had enough power. The council did not say where the complaining iPhone users were located. Apple last month offered to change iPhone 6s batteries for Chinese users who complained of the sudden shutdowns, but said the problem did not constitute a safety issue. While many doubted the iPhone 6 was at fault, top-ranking comments expressed frustration that foreign brands could set high prices and yet not guarantee safety. Samsung suffered a severe blow over its Galaxy Note 7's woes, recalling some 2.5 million units after reports of the product catching fire. 'I still worry about the iPhone in case there is indeed a problem, but it's not investigated,' said Mr Liu, a 21-year-old student in Beijing. 'The news did make me change my Apple habits,' he told Reuters. 'For example, I don't dare play with the phone in bed and if it heats up I quickly throw it aside.'

Apple Blames External Damage For Flaming China iPhones
iPhone 6 battery fires in China caused by external damage, says Apple


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TV tonight: 'Hairspray Live,' 'Lethal Weapon' (1.05/21)

Shut Eye Hulu
Burn Notice’s Jeffrey Donovan returns to TV as a small-time fortune-telling con man who suddenly sees the light. Unfortunately, enlightenment doesn't sit well with the head of the clan that runs Los Angeles’s psychic storefront empire, a matriarch played by Isabella Rossellini.
Lethal Weapon Fox, 8 ET/PT
Christmas is coming, bringing with it painful memories for Riggs of holidays spent with his late wife. Not that Murtaugh is much happier. He’s dealing with a neighbor’s excessive decorations.
Hairspray Live NBC, 8 ET/PT
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron follow their best live musical, The Wiz, with a production that holds promise of being even better. All the pieces seem to be in place. The show itself is strong, with a superbly catchy score from Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and an ever-more timely story about embracing and celebrating our differences. The behind-the-scenes team is led by two experienced directors: Tony winner Kenny Leon and Grease Live’s Alex Rudzinski. And the cast — which includes Jennifer Hudson, Ariana Grande, Kristin Chenoweth and Martin Short — looks hard to beat. Best of all, perhaps, this new version gives original Broadway star Harvey Fierstein a chance to preserve his iconic Broadway performance, which is reason enough to support another production. Sure, it could all still go Sound of Music south, by why not opt for optimism?

Listen to the soundtrack for 'Hairspray Live!' now
Your guide to NBC's 'Hairspray LIVE!'


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British and Irish Lions coaches are announced as Warren Gatland picks England pair (1.04/21)

Warren Gatland will look to appoint further 'specialist' coaches in the coming months to supplement his British & Irish Lions backroom team for next year's New Zealand tour. The head coach revealed today that Rob Howley, Steve Borthwick and Andy Farrell will join him as coaches for the 10-match tour in June and July 2017. That means Howley will go on his third tour as a coach, after representing the Lions as a player in 1997 and 2001. Farrell links up with the Lions again too, having coached the defence in Australia three years ago. But for Borthwick it will be his first Lions experience. And the England forwards coach said: 'It's a huge honour to be involved. There have been some fantastic Lions forwards coaches in the past - Jim Telfer, Andy Robinson, Warren himself, Graham Rowntree - and it's a real privilege to be chosen.' And Gatland will look to expand his team in the coming months. 'In the next couple of months we'll bring some specialists into the set-up,' he said. 'We're delighted with the quality of the coaches we have here and there's no rush at the moment but we want to speak to the right people, get their permission and release to strengthen [the backroom staff]. 'One of the things we learned from 2013 was the pressure on the coaches. You aren't preparing just one team, it's two teams every week and it's relentless. 'Sometimes there are two or three training sessions a day with one team and then you are thinking about three, or four days time. 'We need to add to this coaching team and I'm looking forward to the potential quality that's out there.' The list of names banded around for potential roles includes former Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan, who won Olympic gold in the summer, and Scotland backs coach Jason O'Halloran. But Gatland laughed off the speculation saying he had not heard of some of the people reported to be joining his team. Will Greenwood was another name mentioned but he ruled himself out on social media. The 2003 World Cup winner tweeted: 'Flattered and humbled to be linked with @lionsofficial coaching team. Rumours gather momentum!! But I will be a supporter!! Nothing More.'

Borthwick, Farrell, Howley to help Gatland on '17 Lions tour
Farrell, Howley and Borthwick join Lions coaching team
Warren Gatland's British and Irish Lions coaching team - pen pics
Steve Borthwick, Andy Farrell and Rob Howley are Warren Gatland's Lions coaches
Steve Borthwick likely to be named as one of Warren Gatland's Lions assistants


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Lebanese army arrests terrorist suspects over links to soldier shooting (1.04/21)

BEIRUT, Dec 7 (Reuters) - The Lebanese army on Wednesday said it had arrested four people in connection with the fatal shooting of a soldier and the wounding of a second on Sunday at a military installation in northern Lebanon. Four people were arrested in dawn raids in Beqaa Safrin, the town where the attack took place, and weapons used in the shooting were seized, an army statement carried by the state National News Agency said. An army source said the men were Lebanese and belonged to an Islamic State terrorist cell. Northern Lebanon has seen a number of security incidents in recent years, especially near the Syrian border, often in a spillover from the civil war in the neighbouring country. The army often fires at suspected jihadist militants in the border area around the town of Arsal, about 60 km (40 miles) southeast of the Lebanese city of Tripoli. (Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Islamic State attacks Iraqi soldiers in Mosul
To vote against UK govt is to thwart EU referendum -minister
Two Turkish soldiers killed in bomb blast near Syria's al-Bab - CNN Turk


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Erik Thomson leaves co-presenter Jessica Mauboy giggling with embarrassment as she struggles to read autocue at AACTA Awards (1.04/21)

She's a triple threat in the entertainment industry.
But Jessica Mauboy, 27, was left red-faced as she struggled to read the autocue at the AACTA Awards in Sydney on Wednesday.
Having to resort to reading from a piece of highlighted paper, co-presenter Erik Thomson, 49, lightheartedly joked live on-air: 'She can sing, act and dance, but she can't see.'
'She can sing, act and dance, but she can't SEE': Jessica Mauboy, 27, was left embarrassed when co-presenter Erik Thomson, 49, lightheartedly made fun of the singer's inability to read the autocue
Jessica took to the stage to present the Best Lead Actor Film AACTA Award, alongside the 800 Words actor Erik Thomson.
The songstress, clad in a flirty ruffled black frock and sporting a short brunette wig, had to resort to reading the autocue from a piece of highlighted paper.
Erik quipped: 'She can sing, act and dance, but she can't see,' resulting in laughter from the audience and leaving Jessica giggling with embarrassment.
Erik quipped: 'She can sing, act and dance, but she can't see,' resulting in laughter from the audience and leaving Jessica embarrassed
New look: While taking to the stage, Jessica sported a flirty black ruffled frock, and a short brunette wig
Jessica certainly had an eventful night at the annual awards ceremony.
Upon her arrival, the Sapphires star made a bold arrival in a semi-sheer pink frock.
Strategic cut-out detailing offered ample cleavage, while layer upon layer of tulle made for a dramatic train.
She's not shy: Upon her arrival at the awards ceremony, the songstress made a bold arrival in a semi-sheer pink frock that showed off ample cleavage
Delicate: Strategic tulle fabric under the bust, cinched in at Jessica's waist
Jessica's brunette tresses were swept into a chignon at the nape of her neck, while her facial features were enhanced with a flawless complexion, defined brows, lashings of mascara and a nude lip.
Moments later, the popular personality took to the stage to perform her hits in a flirty blue ensemble.
Fringing from the waist down added an extra flair to the revealing attire.
Beauty: Jessica's brunette tresses were swept into a chignon at the nape of her neck, while her facial features were enhanced with a flawless complexion, defined brows, lashings of mascara and a nude lip

Jessica Marais pulls awkward facial expression as she goes braless at the AACTAs
Marta Dusseldorp goes braless in sheer gown at the AACTA Awards in Sydney
Alex Nation flaunts her cleavage in a VERY plunging gown as she attends the 2016 AACTA Awards with her Bachelor beau Richie Strahan
Kerri-Anne Kennerley happily smiles in a sheer blue gown at the AACTA Awards...following her husband John's arrival home from hospital after a freak accident left him paralysed
Jessica Mauboy has ANOTHER fashion fail as she wears ill-fitting see-through low-cut pink gown at the 2016 AACTA Awards


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Is Australia headed for its first recession in 25 years? (1.04/21)

The country's GDP contracted 0.5% in the three months through September, according to official data published Wednesday.
The unexpectedly poor result is Australia's first quarterly dip in more than five years. But its streak of a quarter century without a recession -- defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction -- remains intact for now.
Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison called the disappointing data a "wake-up call," but he but refused to speculate whether a recession might be around the corner.
Related: How Australia has gone 25 years without a recession
"You will find out in three months," Morrison told reporters Wednesday, adding that "there are a lot of things to be positive about. "
Analysts said a drop in construction activity, low commodity prices and political uncertainty were responsible for the poor numbers.
The last time Australia had a recession was in the second half of 1991. No other advanced economy has managed to avoid one over the same period, according to International Monetary Fund data.
Related: Australia is fighting over how hipsters spend their money
Commonwealth Bank of Australia's Chief Economist Michael Blythe told CNNMoney that unusually bad weather had hampered construction, while a close and divisive election in July hurt confidence among consumers and businesses.
But he said he thought Australia was likely to avoid a recession thanks to a rise in commodity prices and increased infrastructure spending.
Stephen Koukoulas, managing director of Sydney-based consultancy Market Economics, agreed that Australia's economy has the resilience to bounce back.
"Most recessions are caused by a policy change, fiscal austerity or a global shock, and we don't have any of those right now," he told CNNMoney. "I think we'll see something of a rebound in the December quarter. "

Teenager jailed for seven years for Australia terror plot


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No fear: Brexit, Trump, Italy fail to rattle market (1.04/21)

The Dow hit a new all-time high Monday. And CNNMoney's Fear & Greed Index , which measures seven indicators of market sentiment, is now pointing to Extreme Greed. Even the iShares MSCI Italy ETF ( EWI ) , which owns major Italian companies, was up.
Welcome to the brave new world where investors pretty much assume that the anti-establishment vote will prevail: Britain leaving the EU. Donald Trump. And now Italy.
Forget about more Brexit surprises At this point, a country voting to preserve the status quo would qualify as a shocking political upset that might unsettle the market.
But are investors blindly buying stocks and blissfully ignoring (or even worse, forgetting?) all the things that used to scare them?
Michael Block, chief strategist at Rhino Trading Partners, joked in a report Monday morning that the market now seems to be cheering for more political upheaval.
"The lesson investors and traders are getting is that everything is a buying opportunity and you need to not miss the boat," he wrote.
"Heck, all we need is a coup d'etat in India and the entire Belgian banking system to go kablooey and the S&P 500 will be at 3,000 by Christmas Eve," he added. (The index would have to go up another 800 points, or 37%, in the next 3 weeks to hit 3K.)
It is a bit surprising that investors have shrugged off nearly all the major political shockwaves.
Related: Trump's attack on China trade misses the mark
Consider this. Trump tweeted on Friday about speaking on the phone with the president of Taiwan -- a major diplomatic no-no -- and stocks still moved higher Monday.
Trump stepped up his criticism of big U. S. multinational businesses as well over the weekend, threatening to slap tariffs of 35% on companies that move more jobs overseas. That would be disastrous for profits. And stocks continued to rise.
And global investors simply shrugged off the Italy news, despite worries that a "No" vote would lead to more problems for struggling Italian banks and increased instability in Europe.
"The markets reversed themselves after Brexit in a little over a week, overnight with Trump's election and now have barely batted an eye with the Italian vote," wrote Tom Siomades, head of Hartford Funds Investment Consulting Group, Monday.
"There is a 'can do' sense sweeping the market right now and pretty much anything that is potentially negative is getting shoved to the side," he added.
Related: European markets calm even as Italian bank stocks slump
But how long can this last? Block is worried that investors are too complacent, saying that he is "not all-in on the Trump miracle. "
He's not alone.
"It would be naïve to think geopolitical risk has passed post-Brexit and the U. S. election. We believe it's just getting more interesting," wrote David Lafferty, chief market strategist with Natixis Global Asset Management in a report Monday morning.
"While markets have reacted favorably towards Trump's growth agenda in the U. S., this weekend's dust-up with Taiwan/China certainly won't be the last," he added. "His inexperience and bombastic style should provide plenty of thrills and spills. "
In other words, the populist tidal wave sweeping across the United States and Europe could usher in the beginning of a new era of volatility and market turmoil as opposed to the end of it.

The New Statesman Cover | Brexit to Trump


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Bonsai App Launches with Alec Monopoly at Dundas Square (1.04/21)

TORONTO , Dec. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Shop Bonsai™ will be taking over Dundas Square to commemorate the Toronto -based startup's nation-wide launch. Shop Bonsai™ is Canada's first mobile retail marketplace curated for the millennial male. Launching with hundreds of local and international brands, Bonsai provides millennials a unique way to shop one-of-a-kind labels and browse daily content. The iOS application is the first editorial-driven retailer that's designed to integrate house-created content within a seamless retail shopping experience.
Logo -
With the large influx of international luxury and independent labels in the Canadian market, Bonsai's merchants use the platform to optimize their digital touch points in an increasingly digital age. Brands can manage products and pricing in real-time with a personal concierge service and in-house creative team to stay on top of the latest design trends.
Bonsai's disruptive technology elevates the mobile content experience, giving users access to daily style updates from influencers and photographers from around the world. The product will launch with editorial features produced at home in Toronto and abroad in Los Angeles , Boston , New York and Hong Kong ; featuring brands such as Bang and Olufsen , Shwood , Kollar Clothing , Get Fresh Company , and Tokyobike.
Founded with the collective vision of millennials Saad Siddiqui , Kunal Khemani and Justin Laird in February of 2016, Shop Bonsai™ fills a void in the marketplace as a pillar of culture and commerce.
From December 13-16 , Bonsai invites the public to celebrate art, culture and style in the heart of Toronto. By taking over the centre of Dundas Square with an interactive design exhibit built out of stacked shipping containers, Bonsai stands to deflect all the shopping madness by inviting Toronto into its world of editorial content. For the first time, experience shopping without nosy salespeople or dye tags. Bonsai is changing the way users shop with meaningful and relevant content.
The week will commence with famed graffiti artist Alec Monopoly performing a live art installation. Monopoly's rebellious subject matter revolves around the corporate greed that gave rise to the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. His symbolisms of revolution and uprising capture Bonsai's markedly anti-retail approach to shopping.
Come witness the launch of Toronto's best-kept secret and become the first to join the #retailrevolution.
For press inquiries, please contact .
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SOURCE Shop Bonsai

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Q4 Desktop déploie des améliorations axées sur le client pour perfectionner et automatiser le flux


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Gift of the Day: A must-have for Vernors fans (1.04/21)

These candles don't have any of the fizzy, nose-ticking qualities of the iconic pop that is Vernors, but they're still super festive.
They've got a light ginger scent. $14.95 each at Detroit Artifactry, 2135 Michigan Ave., Detroit.
Info: 313-974-7734 or

JDV: Fans can help Boks through dark days


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Gen. John Kelly Emerges as Strong Contender for Homeland Security Secretary (1.04/21)

Retired four-star Marine Gen. John Kelly, the former head of U. S. Southern Command, who has met with president-elect Trump several times in recent weeks, has emerged as a strong contender for secretary of homeland security, ABC News has learned.
Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has been another contender.
Kelly's name was confirmed by multiple senior Trump transition sources as garnering serious consideration.
The DHS position has been one of the trickiest to fill: the agency is one of the largest in the federal government and is one of the most challenging posts, given the broad and evolving security threats.

Trump's likely pick for Homeland Security chief is Gen. John Kelly


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David Beckham shares video of son Cruz listening to his If Everyday Was Christmas song (1.03/21)

His mother, Victoria Beckham , rose to fame as a Spice Girl, while his father, David Beckham , enjoyed a career as one of the world's most celebrated football players. But on Wednesday morning, it was 11-year-old Cruz Beckham's turn to enjoy a moment in the spotlight, as he listened to his debut charity single, If Everyday Was Christmas, play on the radio. His dad David shared a short video on Instagram of his offspring sitting at the breakfast table, grinning shyly as he heard his voice ring out over the airwaves. Scroll down for video Looking smart in his school uniform, Cruz darted his eyes away from the camera - as he listened to his personalised announcement for London's Capital before sleigh bells greeted his song. As Cruz's tuneful voice began to belt out the festive lyrics, retired footballer David was heard gleefully yelling: 'Woo! Nice!' David uploaded the video to Instagram, alongside the caption: 'Not his average morning before school... Proud of my little man with his new Christmas single and also helping children around the UK with the proceeds from this.' Speaking on Good Morning Britain on Wednesday morning, he called the situation 'sickening' and said Cruz 'should be at school.' Clear to state that he wasn't criticising Cruz himself, Piers said: 'It's not his fault. He's 11. But how did he manage to release this? It's sickening.' Piers believes that if Cruz wants to be a pop star, he should go through the 'hard graft' like other singers, not just release something because his parents are famous. But Susanna Reid, thought he was being a little unfair, saying: 'It's for charity, Piers.' X Factor star Matt Terry appeared on the show and Piers asked said to him: 'An 11-year-old is trending on Twitter. Does it annoy you?' Matt tactfully replied: 'We all just have different paths. If I had that chance, I would jump at it.' Richard Arnold added: 'He has a great voice.' But Piers interjected: 'He should be at school, poor kid.' Susanna continued: 'Let's put the grinch back in his box.' Piers said that Cruz's manager, Scooter Braun, who manages Justin Bieber has been giving him 'what for' on Twitter. Piers wrote: 'He's an 11yr-old child being cynically pimped out by his famous parents with your collusion. Be proud Scooter!' But Scooter replied: 'He is an 11 year old who wanted to make a song to help other kids. Once again Piers shows why he is a jackass and why his show was cancelled.' Piers also wrote: 'Stop pretending this is about charity when it's about promoting Brand Beckham & making YOU a ton of money off another young kid's back.' To which Scooter replied: '@piersmorgan how about you match him dollar for dollar to the charity? Instead of criticizing step up and help these kids the way Cruz is.' Cruz's father, David, who also appeared in the FaceTime interview, said: "I'm really proud. He's having fun, he's enjoying it. " Morgan, getting out a "sick bucket", said: 'I say why don't you go to school, mate, because you're not famous, your parents are famous... stop putting these kids into the public domain while simultaneously saying privacy.' The night before, Scooter wrote: 'Smashed it @CruzBeckham! Getting it now on iTunes.' Adding some balance, Susanna also said she felt that it was good that Cruz was using his platform to raise money for charity. Cruz said, during an interview with Capital FM, where the song was first played: 'I’m so excited. It’s two of my favorite things – singing and Christmas!' The young lad spilled the beans about his parents as he played the game Mr and Mrs Beckham during the Capital interview. Asked who was more likely to fall asleep on the sofa while watching TV, he replied: 'Definitely my mum.' Quizzed about who is more likely to say a naughty word, he added: '100% my mum.' He said his singer-turned-fashion designer mother was also more likely to tell a bad joke. Asked who takes the longest to get ready, he replied: '100% my mum. My dad takes about 10 minutes, my mum takes about 10 hours.' But when questioned about who is 'more likely to embarrass you', he added: 'Definitely my dad.' David also photobombed the video as he kept a watchful eye over his special boy. Retired soccer superstar David, 41, also posted an adorable video of Cruz dressed in his school uniform at the family breakfast table listening to his song being played on the radio and admitted it was not a regular day in the Beckham house as his son made his first steps as a pop singer. His post read: 'Not his average morning before school... Proud of my little man with his new Christmas single and also helping children around the UK with the proceeds from this... #ifeverydaywaschristmas @cruzbeckham @AppleMusic @globals_make_some_noise (sic)' Victoria - who found worldwide fame as a member of the Spice Girls - also took to Instagram to lavish praise on young Cruz, whose career is being masterminded by Scooter Braun who was responsible for giving the world Justin Bieber. And it seems as though the 42-year-old fashion designer called in a favour from Rodney Jerkins as she revealed the American music producer - who previously recorded with The Spice Girls - was responsible for creating the track with Cruz. Victoria - who also has three other children, Brooklyn, 17, Romeo, 14, and five-year-old Harper with her husband David -posted: 'Love a choir at Christmas!! x Super proud of @cruzbeckham Thank u @rodneyjerkins X VB #IfEveryDayWasChristmas link to @applemusic in my bio @globals_make_some_noise (sic)' The extremely catchy Christmas track features Cruz singing the line: 'If everyday was Christmas and I can't be with you, underneath the mistletoe, kiss you when nobody knows.' Twitter went wild over Cruz's new single with people divided over whether or not he was old enough to become a pop star. One person wrote: '#Cruzbeckham Too young in MY opinion! @justinbieber has already proved this in the last couple of years that it affects you later!' Another said: '#GMB totally agree with piers about Cruz Beckham it's not right.' A third wrote: 'Cruz Beckham is an 11 year old pop star??? Not sure what to make of this. Surely he needs to just be a kid first.... or is it good timing?' Yet plenty of people were already big fans of Cruz. One wrote: 'Cruz Beckham Xmas song is actually grand. So catchy. Makes me want my first xmas with Chelsea super soon.' Another said: 'Cruz Beckham's Christmas song is honestly so adorable.' A third wrote: 'Who knew an 11 year old could make so many old people mad cruz beckham is rising so sit down.' Later on, Phillip Schofield defended the Beckham's decision to allow Cruz to be put into the spotlight. He said to Rylan Clark-Neal on This Morning on Wednesday: 'What's wrong with bringing out a Christmas single? It's all for charity.' A spokesperson for the Beckhams declined to comment to MailOnline. The youngest of the three Beckham boys, also launched his Instagram account on Monday, overseen by talent manager and record label owner Braun, 35, and has already racked up 114,000 followers. According to TMZ , Scooter is friends with Cruz's famous parents David and Victoria, and the pair trust he's the right man to nurture their son's talent. Meanwhile, Cruz's first Instagram post, in which he performs a sweet song while making a beat with a glass and his hands, has already been watched 222,000 times. A second clip of him singing the Faith Evans hook in Twista's 'Hope' a capella also delighted viewers notching up 283,000 views. He then uploaded a snap of himself holding a skateboard, captioning the snap: 'Welcome to my new page. Something exciting to share with you all this week!'. Unsurprisingly, it generated thousands of 'likes' and even pledges of adoration, with one fan responding: 'A new Justin Bieber has risen.... such an angelic voice'. In 2006 Scooter scouted Baby singer Justin after watching his YouTube videos online. The manager, who owns two record labels - School Boy Records and Raymond-Braun Media Group (RBMG), flew Justin out to Atlanta for a sound test. Scooter's RBMG company, co-owned with R&B singer Usher, introduced Justin to music executive L. A. Reid, who eventually signed the singer with Island Def Jam Records. The pair share such a close bond that Justin even sang at Scooter's wedding to his South African-born wife Yael Cohen, 27, performing All You Need Is Love. Dad David aroused suspicion that Cruz was recording his own music at the end of last month. The football legend shared a cute Instagram snap of his son singing into a microphone at producer Rodney Jerkins' studio, last Saturday. He simply captioned the photo '@rodneyjerkins', leaving it unclear as to whether or not Cruz was being recorded. Jerkins has produced songs and albums for superstars such as Bieber, Jennifer Lopez and the Spice Girls, selling more than 160 million records worldwide. Keeping in tune to the R&B song flawlessly, it's clear the youngster has a talent, and fans of the Beckhams have gone wild for him on social media. His mother turned her back on her pop career after the Spice Girls' reunion tour in 2007 to focus on her fashion empire. His brothers Brooklyn, 17, and Romeo, 14, are also already carving out careers at young ages ; Brooklyn has dabbled in modelling and is a keen photographer, while Romeo is a Burberry model. The family share a close relationship with the British fashion house, and the brand's Chief Executive Officer previously said of a 2014 Christmas campaign involving Romeo: 'This festive campaign is a celebration of everything we love at Burberry; the trench coat, the cashmere scarf, incredible music, our British weather, and working with great and talented people. 'It continues to be an utter joy working with Romeo – he has charm, style and great energy! I’m delighted that he’s the lead role in our festive campaign.' Meanwhile, there was a backlash earlier this year when Brooklyn was chosen to snap Burberry's This Is Brit fragrance campaign, with some observers claiming the appointment was nothing but nepotism. But Bailey once again leapt to his defence, saying: 'Brooklyn has a really great eye for image and Instagram works brilliantly for him as a platform to showcase his work. 'His style and attitude were exactly what we wanted to capture in the spirit of this new Brit fragrance campaign and I am loving the shots of Saturday's live shoot which looks incredible.'

Cruz Beckham, 11, releases debut holiday song for charity
Piers Morgan slams David and Victoria Beckham over son Cruz's music on GMB


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Man in critical condition after Little Rock police shooting (1.03/21)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Little Rock police chief says an officer shot and critically injured a man who reportedly told police dispatch he had fatally shot some people. But police say no weapon was found on the man, identified as 30-year-old Gary Johnson, and no victims were located. Little Rock Police spokesman Richard Hilgeman says a man told police dispatch Monday that he had killed "some people who were attempting to rob him. " Police Chief Kenton Buckner says authorities believe Johnson was the person who called 911. Hilgeman said Tuesday that responding officers found Johnson was standing on a porch with both hands in his pockets. He says Officer Kalvin Snow opened fire after Johnson quickly took his hand out of his pocket and extended his arm toward officers.

Man, 49, in serious condition after East Garfield Park shooting


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Digital Asset says blockchain platform allows confidential trades (1.03/21)

By Anna Irrera Dec 7 (Reuters) - Digital Asset Holdings, a blockchain startup backed by some of the world's largest banks, said on Wednesday it had developed a platform to allow traders to use blockchain technology without giving out confidential information on their trades. The new platform provides a solution to confidentiality issues holding back adoption of the nascent technology in financial markets, according to a report issued by the company, which is led by former JPMorgan banker Blythe Masters. Blockchain, which first emerged as the software underpinning cryptocurrency bitcoin, is a shared record of transactions and asset ownership that is maintained by a network of computers on the internet. This means every user on a network could potentially have access to the details of every transaction. While this reduces risks associated with discrepancies in data records held by different firms, it also makes it inadequate for use in certain securities markets where participants would be at a disadvantage if they disclosed their positions. Digital Asset's platform solves the privacy issue by dividing the distributed ledger of transactions into two components: one where participants can confidentially store their transactions data, and another that is shared by all participants without the confidential data, according to the report. The new platform will form the basis of the technology that Digital Asset is building for financial institutions including Australian stock exchange ASX and U. S. post trade services provider the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, it said. The company was earlier this year awarded a contract to replace the Australian Stock Exchange's clearing and settlement systems with its blockchain based software. It now expects its project with ASX to enter into production at the end of 2017 and be ready for commercial use in 2018 following approval by the exchange and its stakeholders, according to Dan O'Prey, the company's chief marketing officer. "This is the output of two years of hard work and confronting production requirements," O'Prey told Reuters. While enthusiasm around blockchain in financial markets has exploded over the past year, the technology has yet to be deployed to run large financial processes such as the clearing and settlement of equities markets. Research firm Greenwich Associates polled more than 130 executives working on blockchain in capital markets in June and found that transaction confidentiality was their top security concern, with 56 percent of respondents citing it as their primary worry. Other than solving the confidentiality issue, Digital Asset's technology can also interact with existing financial protocols, meaning that it could be implemented in a given market without the need for all participants to be running on a blockchain based system, according to the company. Founded in 2014, New York-based Digital Asset is one of the most high profile startups in the nascent blockchain industry. Earlier this year it raised more than $60 million from large financial institutions including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, CME Group, Deutsche Borse and Citigroup. (Editing by Carmel Crimmins and Andrew Hay)

Copper climbs, buoyed by better demand and lower stocks
Foxconn says in preliminary discussions to expand U.S. operations


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Germany urges Israel to scrap "illegal" settlement bill (1.03/21)

BERLIN, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Germany urged Israel in unusually strong language on Wednesday to scrap legislation that would legalise Israeli settlement homes built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, saying this would break international law. Germany tends to be more reserved than other European nations in its criticism of Israel due to the legacy of the Nazi Holocaust, but it has objected in the past few years to Israeli settlement expansion on land Palestinians want for a state. Israel's parliament gave initial approval on Monday to a revised bill on the settlement homes, a move that has drawn international condemnation and follows the victory in the Nov. 8 U. S. presidential election of Donald Trump, one of whose aides has hinted at a more tolerant U. S. stance on settlements. A German Foreign Ministry spokesman told a regular government news conference: "We're extremely concerned about this development and have noted with consternation statements made by Israeli government officials during this debate. "Such a bill violates international law," he said, adding that Israel would undermine its commitment to finding a "two-state solution" - a Palestinian state in territory Israel captured in a 1967 war - if the bill were passed. Asked whether Germany and the European Union should punish Israel with economic or diplomatic sanctions, the spokesman said: "We don't think that sanctions would be the right path in this case to make headway in the Middle East peace process. " The last round of U. S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in April 2014, with settlements among the key issues. Most countries consider Israeli settlements on occupied land to be illegal. Israel disputes this. Israel's Knesset voted 60-49 in favour of the amended bill on Monday. It must pass three more votes at unspecified future dates before becoming law. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a gamble this week by voting for the measure, risking international censure and possibly legal action in order to appease far-right members of his coalition who have been emboldened by Trump's election. Israeli critics and Palestinians have said the settlements legislation is tantamount to a land grab that would further distance prospects for a two-state solution ending the generations-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber; editing by Mark Heinrich)

Merkel's conservatives toughen tone on integrating migrants in Germany


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Police: Thieves steal prescriptions from Buckhead Walgreens - Story (1.03/21)

ATLANTA - Atlanta police said thieves broke into a Walgreens in Buckhead and stole prescriptions early Wednesday morning.
It happened just before 3 a.m. in the 2200 block of Peachtree Road.
Police said several thieves pried open the door and took several types of drugs, including Oxycodone, Morphine and Methamphetamine.
Investigators said store security accessed surveillance video remotely and began tracking a device taken during the burglary. The device was tracked to a location near a Motel 6 on Delk Road in Cobb County.
Police said two suspects who matched the description of the thieves in the video had checked into the Motel 6.
One of the suspects left the motel and is now in police custody. Meanwhile, Cobb County detectives are attempting to get a warrant to enter the motel, where police believe the second suspect remains.

1 dead, another injured in Durham car wreck


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AACTA Awards 2016: Prinnie Stevens, Zoe Ventoura and Dami Im don velvet despite heat (1.03/21)

It's the summer-time red carpet known for chiffon displays and glittering gowns. But it seems the unofficial theme this year might have been velvet, with multiple actresses donning the heavier crushed fabric at the AACTA Awards in Sydney on Wednesday. Clearly not worried about the humid heat on the day, singer and Trolls star Dami Im donned a midnight blue suit as she arrived on the red carpet. The former X Factor Australia winner's ensemble featured a fitted jacket without a blouse underneath, as slivers of skin were visible from between the partially buttoned jacket. Featuring an interesting neckline, with the collar flipped up and into the neck, the jacket also included retro puffy shoulders, giving the ensemble an 80s feel. Adding green marble pointed toe heels underneath her flared culottes, the singer held her a gold quilted chain handbag against her waist like a clutch. Dami completed her ensemble with a range of encrusted jewels, including a chocker, stud earrings and multiple rings. The Eurovision performer kept her straight raven locks in a neat ponytail, with her signature fringe across her forehead. While the performer's make-up was kept dramatic, with healthy eye-shadow and dark lips. Zoë Ventoura, 35, also oped for the deep blue hue but gave the winter fabric a more summer-friendly feel with a sleeveless and plunging design. The former Packed To The Rafters star channelled old Hollywood glamour with her belted gown. The daringly-low neckline showed off a generous amount of cleavage, while the remaining fabric skimmed over her enviable curves. An embellished white clutch, pearl drop earrings and her stunning wedding rings acted as accessories. An elegant up-do with several strands framing her face, drew attention to a flawless complexion, a smoky brown eye and a glossy nude lip. Former The Voice contestant Prinnie Stevens also opted for the on-trend look but went for a more risque design in the thick fabric. Donning an emerald green knee-length wrap-style dress, the star of the stage musical The Bodyguard ensured she flashed plenty of flesh with a plunging neckline and thigh-high split. The brunette beauty's long balayaged locks were curled and cascaded down her back, paired with dramatic eye make-up and a nude lip. She completed the outfit with strappy nude heels.

AACTA Awards 2016: Samuel Johnson wins Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama
AACTA Awards 2016: Tammy MacIntosh flaunts cleavage as she makes a bold arrival
Georgia Love opens up about losing her mother to she attends the 2016 AACTA Awards in a stunning black gown without her beau Lee Elliott
The worst dressed on this year's AACTA Awards red carpet


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Police investigating stabbing near Sparta (1.03/21)

SPARTA TOWNSHIP, MI -- A 23-year-old Sparta Township man was hospitalized Tuesday evening after being stabbed multiple times during a physical altercation.
The victim was transported to Spectrum Hospital via ambulance. His condition is unknown.
Kent County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, to the scene of a reported assault at the Riverview Trailer Park.
According to police, a verbal altercation between the victim and a 25-year-old Sparta Township man turned physical. During the altercation, the 25-year-old stabbed the victim an "unknown amount of times. "
The suspect fled the scene in a vehicle, police said.
Investigation into the incident is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call the Kent County Sheriff's Office at 616-336-3113, or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

Police investigating Tuesday evening stabbing in Sparta
Police suspend investigation into reported rape at U.


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Man shooting up heroin in parking ramp interrupted by policeman on Segway (1.03/21)

KALAMAZOO, MI -- A police officer patrolling a downtown parking ramp interrupted a man preparing to inject himself with heroin Tuesday night.
At 9:45 p.m. Dec. 6, a Kalamazoo Public Safety Officer conducting a directed patrol on the Station 1 Segway encountered a man hunched over near a wall in the Arcadia Parking Ramp #4 at 300 N. Rose St., according to a news release from the department.
The man appeared to be working on something.
The officer discovered the man was loading a needle with heroin recently prepared in a kitchen spoon. The officer prevented the man from injecting himself with the potentially deadly drug by taking him into custody without incident.
The 28-year-old Kalamazoo man was arrested for Possession of Heroin and three unrelated, outstanding warrants and was lodged at the Kalamazoo County Jail, where he awaits arraignment.
The area of the arrest was thoroughly checked for needles and other items of drug paraphernalia, which were seized and packaged per policy.
Heroin use remains a public safety health concern due to the recent spike in overdose deaths, authorities said.
Anyone have information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety at 337-8994 or Silent Observer at 343-2100

Man, 49, in serious condition after East Garfield Park shooting


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I was just the ginger who went to make African kids laugh, says Harry as he tries to shake off 'party prince' reputation and insists it's 'boring to be bad' (1.03/21)

His rebellious antics earned him the title of 'Party Prince'. But Prince Harry is now more likely to be seen doing charity work on the world stage than dressing up - or stripping off - for a late night soiree. And the 32-year-old, who is dating actress Meghan Markle, appears to have completely turned his back on his rebellious antics, saying 'it is boring to be bad'. Broadcaster Tom Bradby claims the royal made the comments during a new ITV documentary the pair made together about Harry's charity work in the Aids-stricken southern African nation of Lesotho. Bradby, a former royal correspondent, said Harry opened up about his own life as he returned to the country. The Prince displayed his signature humility as he remembered his first trip to the nation on his gap year, aged 19. He said he was 'just literally being the ginger, white prince who has come to try to make these kids laugh'. The programme also captures the moment Harry is reunited with Mutsu, a teenager orphaned by Aids. The pair first met when Mutsu was four and have remained in regular contact. Writing in the Christmas issue of Radio Times, Bradby said: 'The film is also rather revealing about who he is and where he is in life. 'He talks candidly about the past, the present and his own future. But mostly he talks about how fired up he is about his position and what he can do with it. 'There is, he says, too much focus on the bad news in life. It's great to be good, he tells us, and boring to be bad.' Bradby described the relationship between Harry and Mutsu as 'as heart-warming as anything you will see this Christmas'. The prince first took part in a film about Lesotho 12 years ago, before he joined the Army. He went on to set up the charity Sentebale in memory of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales and has visited the country many times. Bradby, who worked with Harry on his original film, described how the prince, seven years after his mother's death, 'was a bruised young man with a lot to say'. In 2004, The Forgotten Kingdom - Prince Harry in Lesotho, which was made by ITN for ITV, helped raise the profile of Lesotho's Aids epidemic and attracted more than £1 million in donations for what was then the Red Cross Lesotho Fund. The documentary will be broadcast on ITV on Monday December 19 at 9pm.

Oakland warehouse fire victim Nick Walrath sent a text to his girlfriend saying he loved her


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Liberal Democrats fined for leaving out payments from 2015 election expenses (1.03/21)

The Liberal Democrats have been fined the maximum £20,000 by a watchdog for failing to declare almost £185,000 of their 2015 general election expenses. The Electoral Commission said it had also referred the matter to the Metropolitan Police to see if any criminal offences have been committed. The investigation found that 307 payments totalling £184,676 were missing from the Lib Dems' spending return without a reasonable excuse. In addition, invoices supporting 122 out of the 307 payments were missing from the party's return, the Electoral Commission said. The watchdog said Tim Gordon, the party's chief executive and registered 'campaigns officer' had committed offences under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act. Bob Posner, director of political finance and regulation at the Electoral Commission, said the case showed why the watchdog should be given powers to impose higher penalties. He said: 'Our investigation uncovered systemic failures in ensuring that the rules were being followed. 'The party and its officers co-operated fully throughout the investigation. However, this is an experienced party that failed to meet the basic requirements of the law, and cases like this undermine voters' confidence in our political finance system. 'This is why we have applied the highest financial penalty available to us. 'This also highlights why we have been calling on the UK Government to make higher sanctioning powers available to us. 'With millions of pounds being spent by large parties looking to form national governments, a fine of £20,000 is no longer a strong enough deterrent to ensure the rules are properly followed.' A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: 'We always endeavour to ensure our reports of national campaign expenses are completed in full, in good time and according to all applicable rules. 'These mistakes, caused by issues with a small number of local accounting units, were a result of human error and failures of process. 'We are taking steps to ensure these mistakes are not repeated in future. We will co-operate fully with any investigation.' The Commission has also notified the Metropolitan Police of a possible criminal offence if party officials knowingly or recklessly signed a false declaration in relation to the above spending. The Liberal Democrats suffered a mauling at the hands of the electorate in 2015, keeping just eight of the 57 seats they had won in 2010. The campaign cost more than £3.5million. The party has been trapped in the doldrums of single-digit poll figures ever since but was boosted last week by a shock by-election victory in Richmond Park.

Lib Dems fined £20,000 for undeclared election spending
Watchdog fines Lib Dems £20,000 over undeclared general election payments


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Union leader says Trump lied about Carrier deal (1.03/21)

Donald Trump touted his deal to keep more than 1,000 jobs at an Indiana Carrier plant as his first major achievement as president-elect.
But a union leader says Trump " lied his ass off " about how many jobs would stay in Indiana.
Related: Trump's official picks for cabinet and administration
Chuck Jones is the president of United Steelworkers Local 1999 and was a vocal Bernie Sanders supporter. He said he learned Carrier would only keep 730 productions jobs in Indianapolis. Beyond that, 550 of his union members would be out of a job.
More from Newsy: Palin Criticizes Trump's Carrier Deal
Carrier's parent company, United Technologies, planned to outsource 1,350 jobs to Mexico, where wages are a slim $6 an hour — almost six times lower than in Indianapolis, where employees rake in around $34 an hour. Carrier officials say there is no way to compete with the benefits of outsourcing labor.
That's not what Trump told the press when he visited the plant, though.
"United Technologies and Carrier stepped it up and now they're keeping — actually the number's over 1,100 people, which is so great," Trump said.
United Technologies received $7 million in tax credits over the next 10 years in exchange for keeping the Indianapolis workers at the plant.
Related: Here's who Trump has appointed to senior leadership positions
More from Newsy: Bringing Back Manufacturing Jobs Might Be Harder Than Just A Tax Cut
The company is still moving forward with a plan to relocate 700 factory jobs in Huntington, Indiana, to Mexico.
Jones says he plans on having more meetings with Carrier in the coming months to negotiate for those who will be laid off, asking for things like extra vacation time.
Jones says jobs will likely start moving south of the border in May 2017. The process will take roughly two years.
More from Newsy : Republican-Led Congress And Trump Agree On Their First Steps — Sort Of James 'Mad Dog' Mattis Nominated As Trump's Secretary Of Defense Donald Trump May Assemble The Wealthiest Cabinet In Modern US History

Trump & Obama speeches show leaders with different worldviews


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Pistons' bench keys effort to run past Bulls, 102-91 (1.03/21)

The Detroit Pistons locker room was scarce late Tuesday night.
With the Delta Air Lines charter waiting to fly the team to Charlotte for tonight’s game against the Hornets, the usual suspects left postgame media duties to the reserves who had carried the evening minutes earlier in a 102-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls and Jimmy Butler.
The Pistons (12-11) were able to hold on after coughing up a 17-point, first-half lead and win for the sixth time out of the last eight games.
And it was the Pistons bench and starter Tobias Harris (22 points, seven rebounds) who retook control with a late 12-0 run that turned a four-point deficit into an 83-75 lead with 7:28.
Darrun Hilliard (nine points) completed the run with a corner triple, which brought Palace fans from their seats.
“Just moving the ball, sharing the ball, playing great defense, getting easy shots,” Hilliard said after he had donned a pink ball cap afterward. “In that little stint, we stopped them a couple of times. Jimmy Butler made a couple of difficult shots, but we had to come out and keep sharing the ball.
“It worked out for us.”
► Related : SVG going to stay with Hilliard in Pistons rotation for now
Not only would blowing a large lead have been embarrassing for the Pistons, but the Bulls (11-10) were completing a weary four games in five nights stretch.
But after falling behind in the first half, Butler (32 points) and Dwayne Wade (19 points) fueled a comeback that saw the Bulla take a 75-71 lead with 10:21 remaining.
But that’s when the lineup of Harris, Hilliard, Jon Leuer, Aron Baynes and Ish Smith took over with the 12-0 run.
Except for inserting Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for Hilliard and a brief stint from Andre Drummond, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy finished with the lineup.
“That group that we came in with played extremely well,” Van Gundy said. “They just turned the game, played great defense and held them to 19 points in the fourth quarter but it was that group, they just played well. We brought (Caldwell-Pope) back into the game, we brought Andre back into the game - until they started grabbing him.
“But for the most part we finished the game with that group, we just let them play. They played extremely well.”
Aron Baynes had six points and five rebounds in the run in finishing with eight points and nine rebounds.
Drummond finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Reggie Jackson struggled in his second game of the season after missing the first 21 games rehabbing his left knee. He finished with seven points and seven assists on 2-for-9 shooting.
Ish Smith shot horribly in going 2-for-11, but dished out 10 assists.
The Bulls looked like they had suffered a tough loss the previous night against the Portland Trail Blazers at the United Center.
The Pistons quickly jumped to an early 10-point lead behind the energy of Drummond.
Drummond’s fast-break dunk gave the Pistons a 14-9 lead.
Then Jackson found Drummond for alley-oop dunk at the 6:01 mark of the first quarter to up the Pistons lead to 16-9.
And his tip-in at the 4:05 mark gave the Pistons a 23-13 lead.
But Rajon Rondo, who was suspended for Monday night’s game against the Blazers, scored five points in a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to four at 23-19.
But the Pistons surged and took a 32-21 lead into the second quarter behind Drummond’s 10 points, three rebounds and two blocked shots.
It looked as if the Pistons would run the Bulls back to Chicago in the second quarter.
A Jackson steal near mid-court turned into an overhead flip toward the Pistons basket turned into Drummond dunk, giving the Pistons a 51-34 lead with 3:47 left in the first half.
But the Bulls closed the half on a 10-0 run with Butler scoring eight points during the stretch, closing the Pistons lead to seven at 51-44 going into halftime.
Contact Vince Ellis at Follow him on Twitter @vincent_ellis56.

Pistons beat Bulls 102-91 for fourth win in 5 games


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High Court Sides With Samsung in Patent Dispute With Apple (1.03/21)

The Supreme Court unanimously sided with smartphone maker Samsung on Tuesday in its high-profile patent dispute with Apple over design of the iPhone.
The justices said Samsung may not be required to pay all the profits it earned from 11 phone models because the features it copied from the iPhone were only a part of Samsung's devices.
Cupertino, California-based Apple had won a $399 million judgment against South Korea-based Samsung for infringing parts of the iPhone's patented design, but the case now returns to a lower court to decide what Samsung must pay.
The case is part of a series of disputes between the technology rivals that began in 2011. Apple accused Samsung of duplicating a handful of distinctive iPhone features for which Apple holds patents: the flat screen, the rounded rectangular shape of the phone and the layout of icons on the screen.
At issue was how much Samsung is required to compensate Apple under an 1887 law that requires patent infringers to pay "total profit. " Apple said that means all the profits from the phone sales, while Samsung argued it was limited to profits related to the specific components that were copied.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the court that the law does not require damages to be based on the entire product, but can be limited to only a component of the product. The decision overturned a ruling from a federal appeals court in Washington, which said that Apple was entitled to all the profits.
But the high court declined to lay out a specific test for how such damage awards should be calculated. Sotomayor said doing so was not necessary and the justices left it up to lower courts to resolve.
Samsung had argued that the hefty award ignored the fact that its phones contain more than 200,000 other patents that Apple does not own. Apple said the verdict was fair because the iPhone's success was directly tied to its distinctive look.
Samsung already has handed the $399 million over to Apple, but was hoping to get some of that money back with a favorable Supreme Court ruling. None of the early-generation Samsung phones involved in the lawsuit remains on the market.
In a statement, Apple said the company is optimistic that lower courts "will again send a powerful signal that stealing isn't right. "
"Our case has always been about Samsung's blatant copying of our ideas, and that was never in dispute," the company said. "We will continue to protect the years of hard work that has made iPhone the world's most innovative and beloved product. "
Samsung in a statement called the ruling a victory "for all those who promote creativity, innovation and fair competition in the marketplace. "
The patent battle between the technology titans was being closely watched by other industry giants. Companies including Google, Facebook and eBay sided with Samsung, arguing that the verdict was an excessive windfall for copying a few features of the iPhone.
On the other side, sportswear manufacturer Adidas and jewelry maker Tiffany & Co. said allowing Apple to recover all the profits Samsung earned would discourage "design pirates" and protect companies that invest in creative designs.
"This removes a threat for technology companies," said Janelle Waack, a Washington, D. C., lawyer specializing in patent law. "The products that incorporate technology are not automatically going to get stung with a patent infringement suit that's going to cost them all of the profits from their product. "

High court rules on Apple-Samsung dispute, insider trading case


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Pistons reserves are the stars in win over Bulls (1.03/21)

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Auburn Hills — In the fourth quarter, with the game in the balance, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy stuck with the group that got him there.
And it wasn’t the starting five.
The group had Tobias Harris and four reserves, but they did what they needed to get the Pistons over the hump and back into a decisive lead.
They saved the Pistons, who squandered a 17-point lead in the second quarter but bounced back to take a 102-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night at The Palace. It’s the Pistons' sixth win in the last eight games and kicks off a streak of three games in four days, continuing tonight in Charlotte.
BOX SCORE: Pistons 102, Bulls 91
They group, which included Ish Smith, Darrun Hilliard, Jon Leuer, Aron Baynes and Harris, played extended minutes and Drummond and Caldwell-Pope only subbed in during the final few minutes to provide a respite, all while playing shut-down defense and keeping the Bulls at bay.
“That group that we came in with played extremely well; they just turned the game. We played great defense and held them to 19 points in the fourth quarter,” Van Gundy said. “They played well and other than Ish’s 10 assists and Tobias’ scoring, it wasn’t numbers. They played very well at both ends and we stuck with them and let them finish the game.”
Harris finished with 22 points and seven rebounds in 40 minutes and Baynes added eight points and a season-high nine rebounds. Smith had an off shooting night (2-of-11), but chipped in seven points, five rebounds and 10 assists.
Van Gundy wasn’t afraid to go against the grain and stick with the group that got him there, rather than go back to the starters, who were good, but didn’t match the production that the second unit provided, especially in the critical juncture in the fourth quarter, when they opened with a 72-71 deficit.
“That’s really hard, for guys like Marcus (Morris), Andre and Reggie (Jackson). They’re really good players and they want to be in those situations; it’s tough for them,” Van Gundy said. “But for me, it would have been hard to pull that group off the floor. It’s not like they were hanging in there or outplaying that other group by just a little bit — they were dominant in that stretch and there was no way to break that lineup.”
Video: Highlights from Detroit's 102-91 win over Chicago
After Nikola Mirotic opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, Harris answered with a 3-pointer and Baynes followed with six straight points, including a dunk, a putback and two free throws. Hilliard added a corner 3-pointer, to make it a 12-0 run and an 83-75 lead with 7:29 left.
Jimmy Butler (32 points, six rebounds and four assists) looked to lead another comeback, with six straight Bulls points down the stretch and a lay-in from Isaiah Cannan to cut it to 89-83 with 5:03 remaining.
Van Gundy’s sticking with that reserve group paid off, as they were able to put the game away with some clutch shots, even after Drummond and Caldwell-Pope subbed for Baynes and Hilliard.
“We were just moving the ball and playing great defense and getting easy shots for each other. In that little stint, we just stopped them a couple times and Jimmy made a couple difficult shots,” Hilliard said. “It shows he trusts us and has confidence in us. Any time the starters aren’t up to par, he knows he can go to the bench and we’ll come out with energy.”
Pistons' Van Gundy admires Wade's longevity
Drummond finished 15 points and 10 rebounds and Caldwell-Pope had 12 points for the Pistons (12-11).
The Pistons jumped out to an 8-0 lead behind back-to-back 3-pointers by Morris and Harris. Jackson (seven points and seven assists in 18 minutes), in his second game back from knee tendinitis rehab, was fouled on a 3-pointer and made two of the three free throws.
The Bulls answered with seven straight points, with a 3-pointer by Rajon Rondo, a lay-in by Dwyane Wade (19 points) and a hook by Taj Gibson.
Drummond had one of his best halves of the season, playing with energy on both ends of the court. He helped out defensively and helped protect the basket, then worked toward the rim on putbacks and easy dunks.
He scored eight of the Pistons’ next 10 points, with a tip-in, a dunk and two-alley-oops. Morris (13 points) also had a jumper during the flurry, part of a 10-4 spurt that opened the lead to 21-11 at the 5:02 mark of the first quarter.
The lead got to 47-30 after a strong drive by Jackson and a free throw by Caldwell-Pope. But Butler scored 14 of the Bulls’ final 18 points of the half and fueled their closing 10-0 run, which made it 51-44 at halftime.

Pistons beat Bulls 102-91 for fourth win in 5 games


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Jubilant Libyan militias declare victory over IS in Sirte (1.03/21)

LONDON — Libyan fighters declared victory over the Islamic State group at its coastal stronghold of Sirte on Tuesday, ending the extremist group’s ambitions for a caliphate on the southern shores of the Mediterranean.
“The battle is finally over,” said Reda Eissa, a spokesman for the coalition of militias from nearby Misrata that led the assault. “Our fighters are ecstatic. We still have to comb through the city and make sure we got them all, but we are so, so happy.”
The Libyan fighters’ apparent success was another defeat for IS as its plans for a militant empire buckle on multiple fronts across the Middle East. In Sirte, the Misratan militias finally ousted the remaining IS fighters from a cluster of houses after a grueling six-month assault that pitted suicide bombers and snipers against Libyan forces backed by U. S. warplanes.
After moving into Sirte in 2014, IS seized a 150-mile stretch of coastline and instituted a brutal reign that included public killings and the imprisonment of migrants as sex slaves. The city became a transit hub for fighters traveling to Tunisia, as well as a supply stop and medical treatment center for Islamists fighting in eastern Libya.
The Misratan brigades began their drive toward IS positions in Sirte in May. U. S. warplanes joined the effort in August, carrying out at least 490 sorties over the city while house-to-house fighting raged in the streets below.
Even as the Misratan brigades celebrated Tuesday, analysts warned that IS could still regroup in other parts of Libya by exploiting the economic ruin and political vacuum that has dogged the country since the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.
“I’m concerned that about the pockets of marginalization, and in some areas pre-existing [extremist] presence, that they could use to reconfigure,” said Frederic Wehrey, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, citing the presence of IS forces in Tripoli, Benghazi and the desert town of Sabha.
IS fighters could carry out bombings in an attempt to destabilize the fragile U. N.-backed government in Tripoli, the capital, Mr. Wehrey said. But it is unlikely that IS will be able to capture such a significant town again, he added.
During the battle for Sirte, both sides faced accusations of human rights abuses.
Many of the sex slaves held by IS in Sirte were African migrants captured as they crossed the Libyan Desert in hopes of reaching the coast so they could make the perilous sea journey to Europe. At least 100 women and children who escaped Sirte during the fighting, many from Eritrea, are being held at a prison in Misrata where they have given accounts of being abused and gang-raped.
The Libyan fighters from Misrata have faced accusations of torture and summary killings. A video recently emerged showing Misratan militiamen interrogating and threatening to kill an IS fighter named Mletan. Photographs that later circulated online showed the mutilated body of what appeared to be the same man being dragged along a street.
Hanan Salah, a Libya researcher at Human Rights Watch, said Tuesday that she had received reports from Libya that some public hospitals in Misrata had refused to treat civilians fleeing Sirte on suspicion that they were members of IS.
“The authorities are required to provide medical care to all those fleeing the fighting and who are in need of it, without distinction,” Ms. Salah said.
The fall of Sirte coincides with a concerted drive against IS in the Iraqi city of Mosul and a rapidly shifting fight in Syria. On Tuesday, Iraqi forces started shelling part of western Mosul as they prepared to open a new front in a battle now in its eighth week.
The Misrata militias now in control of Sirte nominally fight under the banner of the U. N.-backed government in Tripoli, led by Prime Minister Fayez Serraj — one of three rival administrations vying for control of Libya. The United States also supports the unity government.
But the government is weak, having failed to extend its authority even over Tripoli since it started work in March. And many leaders of the Misrata militias are more concerned about Gen. Khalifa Hifter, a strongman who dominates Benghazi and the east of the country, than about IS.
During a tour of the Sirte battlefield in June, Misratan commanders said they believed IS fighters were being controlled secretly by Gen. Hifter as part of his wider ambition to seize control of Libya. There is little evidence to back that assertion — Gen. Hifter is fighting against IS militants, although opportunistic alliances are common on all sides of the conflict — but the heated talk illustrates the difficulty of bringing the country to a political settlement.
Last week in Tripoli, the most violent clashes in two years erupted between competing factions, and one group blocked a major highway with shipping containers. Mr. Serraj’s administration was left to watch helplessly.
The U. N. envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, said he was “extremely alarmed” by the clashes, and Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman, said Monday that the warring factions should rally behind the faltering unity government.
Another uncertainty in Libya concerns the policy of the new administration of President-elect Donald Trump. On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to defeat IS but said he was averse to becoming involved in foreign countries.
Mr. Trump’s expressed willingness to work with Russia and Egypt could lead to an alignment of U. S. efforts with those two countries’ policies in Libya. Egypt is a strong supporter of Gen. Hifter, but the Obama administration has kept its distance from the general, who once worked for the CIA.

Libyan forces clear last Islamic State holdout in Sirte


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Spring, Mason lead Minnesota back to 74-68 win against NJIT (1.03/21)

Akeem Springs came off the bench to score 19 points and Nate Mason added 18 for Minnesota, which came from behind in the second half and escaped with a 74-68 victory against NJIT on Tuesday night.
Springs and Mason each hit four 3-pointers as Minnesota was 9 of 21 from beyond the arc. Freshman Amir Coffey added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Gophers (8-1), who have equaled their win total from last season.
A back-and-forth affair saw 13 lead changes, but NJIT never led by more than three points before Minnesota used a 7-0 run to take a 65-61 lead.
"This is a scary time of year in the sense of, you know, you get a lot of home games, obviously the names are not as big as some of the other big ones, so you've got to get your guys to understand you can lose to anybody," Gophers coach Richard Pitino said. "You see it every single night, and you try to tell your guys over and over again, and sometimes just feeling it is a nice wake up call. "
Rob Ukawuba led the Highlanders (5-5) with 18 points. NJIT committed just seven turnovers but shot 34.2 percent from the field and was 8 of 32 from 3.
"We're a program that's on the rise and we're past moral victories, to be honest with you," Highlanders coach Brian Kennedy said. "This is a game that hurts a lot to lose because we felt if we played the way we know we're capable of playing, it was going to be a good game. "
NJIT: The Highlanders continued to show they can hang with the Big Ten. Two years ago on the same day, NJIT went on the road and beat No. 17 Michigan. Earlier this season, the Highlanders went to Purdue and had the game within single digits in the final minutes before losing 79-68. NJIT averaged 61.1 per game and forced 16.44 turnovers per game heading into Tuesday. Against Minnesota, the Highlanders shot 73 times and forced 14 turnovers.
Minnesota: Pitino tried to beef up the nonconference portion of the schedule. After posting wins against St. John's, Arkansas and on the road at Vanderbilt, the Gophers stumbled against the Highlanders, who entered the game 267th in the nation in the Ratings Percentage Index.
NJIT guard Damon Lynn entered the game as the active scoring leader in Division with 1,927 points. He had scored at least 20 in six of the team's first nine games.
Mason took the brunt of the defensive responsibility and helped hold Lynn to 12 points on 5-of-24 shooting.
"Never really let him get an open look the whole night," Kennedy said of Mason. "Damon's had a great, great career for us. I wouldn't trade that kid for anybody in the country. He just had an off night shooting tonight. "
"I think tomorrow's really going to help the team; seeing how we respond, seeing if we're hungry," Springs said. "We got hit in the mouth and it's good for us. I think tomorrow is what's really going to see if we respond the way we should respond. If we come in hungry, and like coach says, if we work. "
NJIT: A road-heavy month continues for the Highlanders, who play at Kent State on Dec. 10. NJIT has just one home game in the month of December.
Minnesota: Tuesday's game was the start of five straight nonconference games at home before the Gophers open the Big Ten at home against Michigan State. Minnesota hosts Georgia Southern on Dec. 9.

NBA Capsules


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Germany: 3 teens go on trial over bombing a Sikh temple (1.02/21)

BERLIN (AP) — Three teenagers have gone on trial in Germany over an explosion at a Sikh temple in the western city of Essen. Prosecutors say the defendants, who are German-born Muslims, met on social media where they became radicalized and hatched a plan to kill people they considered to be "infidels. " In a statement ahead of Wednesday's trial, prosecutors said two defendants, a 16 and 17-year-old, are accused of detonating a fire extinguisher filled with explosives at the entrance of the temple on April 16. One person was seriously injured and two people suffered minor injuries. Another 17-year-old defendant is accused of planning the attack. The teens are charged with attempted murder and serious bodily harm. Their names weren't published and media were excluded from the trial because the defendants are minors.

Germany: 3 Teens Go on Trial Over Bombing a Sikh Temple


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India records huge spike in 'honor killings' in 2015 (1.02/21)

India has registered nearly an 800 percent spike in the number of so-called honor killings reported last year, leading state officials and women's rights groups to urge investigations into how such crimes persist.
Indian police registered 251 cases of honor killing in 2015, compared with just 28 a year earlier when India began counting them separately from murder, according to a statement this week by Junior Home Minister Hansraj G. Ahir to India's Parliament.
The surge could partly reflect more willingness by people to report such crimes, which many still consider just punishment for women and men who defy communal customs by marrying outside of their religion, clan or caste. Often, the perpetrators are relatives seeking to punish young couples for bringing "shame" to the family.
Women's rights activists say the government must pass legislation to recognize the crime as unique in order to target perpetrators for prosecution.
"These figures show that the government has to take this as a priority," said Sudha Sundararaman, head of the All India Democratic Women's Association.
Though police are now asked to count honor killing separately, the lack of a separate law defining such crimes means that some officers still record them in the larger murder category and do not investigate the cases further, she said.
Honor killings are still common enough among Hindus and Muslims to regularly make newspaper headlines in a country where most marriages are arranged by families. Most cases are reported in northern states such as Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, where caste councils wield enormous power in village life.
The highest number of honor killings recorded last year was in Uttar Pradesh, where police counted 131 killings compared with just two cases in 2014, Ahir said, citing data from the National Crime Records Bureau.
State police officers were skeptical. Such a jump "is astronomical" and needs to be looked into, Deputy Inspector General D. K. Chaudhary said.
Women's activists say that's missing the point, and that having 279 honor killings recorded over two years still vastly underestimates the actual numbers. One 2011 study suggested about 900 people are murdered in honor killings ever year in India. The study by the All India Democratic Women's Association was based on surveys conducted nationwide.
"There is severe under-reporting of such honor crimes. Families are often ashamed to report such crimes," said Annie Raja of the National Federation of Indian Women.
Raja said the situation had worsened in the last few years, noting an increasing trend in village councils run by unelected elders promoting conservative, anti-women values in the name of preserving Indian culture and tradition.
Some observers also noted that social changes were creating friction in communities, as more women step away from traditional home-making roles to join the work force. That makes them more likely to want to delay marriage, while also increasing the chance of finding partners outside of their community.
"There has been a backlash of conservatism," Raja said. "Young people are facing violence and attacks from their families if they fall in love. "
Analysts say that even as politicians push for better health care and education for girls, they have been unwilling to act against village councils that influence large numbers of voters.
"Indian society is unwilling to accept the choices made by young women when it comes to their marriage," said Ranjana Kumari of the Centre for Social Research, a New Delhi-based think tank. "People also have to learn to respect women. "

India Records Huge Spike in 'Honor Killings' in 2015


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SunPower widens cost-cutting plan to include job cuts, plant closure (1.02/21)

Dec 7(Reuters) - SunPower Corp, the No. 2 U. S. solar panel maker, said on Wednesday it would lay off about 25 percent of its workforce, or 2,500 employees, and close one plant as part of a cost-cutting plan it announced last month. Solar companies have been hard hit after stiff competition pushed prices of solar panels lower and as customers held off purchases in the hope of a further decline in prices. SunPower, majority owned by French energy giant Total SA , said it expects to incur restructuring charges of $225-$275 million through the end of 2017. The company said in November the cost-cutting measures would include lowering operating expenses in 2017 to about $350 million and more than halving its capital budget for the year to about $100 million. (Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

British PM May unveils steps to deepen defence cooperation with Gulf


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1-year-old drowns in bathtub on Detroit's east side (1.02/21)

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit Police say a 1-year-old child is dead this morning after drowning in a bathtub in a home located in the 10700 block of Balfour on the city's east side.
Police say the mother noticed her 4-year-old child had wet the bed, so she started a bath for her. We're told the mother fell back asleep and was woken up by the 4-year-old who had discovered the 1-year-old dead in the tub.
Police say the 1-year-old was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.
An investigation is ongoing.

1-year-old girl drowns in bathtub on east side


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The most valuable XI in the world… and Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t in it! Why two Manchester United players make the cut but Real Madrid star doesn't (1.02/21)

Cristiano Ronaldo might have a guaranteed place on the podium when it comes to the Ballon d'Or at the end of every year, but the Portuguese maestro has missed out on one place among greats. The CIES football observatory has crunched the numbers and worked out the most valuable players in the world. They have then been organised into a starting line-up by Spanish newspaper AS. While Ronaldo may have been ranked among the top four most valuable players, that was not enough to earn him a place in the XI. Unfortunately for the Real Madrid man, there are three attackers that are considered more valuable than him by CIES - and all three have taken precedence. All three will rankle Ronaldo and Real supporters alike. The first is, unsurprisingly, his great rival Lionel Messi. Messi, valued at £161million to Ronaldo's £110m, takes up a slot on the right side of the front three. But the Argentinian is not the most valuable player in the world according to CIES. That honour is bestowed upon Messi's Barcelona team-mate, Neymar. The Brazilian is worth a staggering £212m according to the Swiss organisation, which is just under double the current transfer record set by Paul Pogba after he moved to Manchester United in the summer. And the third member of the attacking triumvirate - picked to play through the middle by AS - is probably the most shocking. It is Ronaldo and Real's city rival Antoine Griezmann, whose stature in the footballing world has grown exponentially since his move to Atletico Madrid in 2014. The diminutive France international has struck 50 goals in just 88 games for Diego Simeone's side. That is probably why CIES have chosen to rank him third in the world's most valuable players table, at £115m. It is unfortunate for Ronaldo, who is valued at more than any other player in the side, that positional inflexibility means he was left out by the Spanish newspaper. After all, David de Gea, Marquinhos, Leonardo Bonucci, Raphael Varane and Aymeric Laporte are all worth under half of Ronaldo's value according to CIES. But the decision makes sense because the 31-year-old is unlikely to be asked to fill in goal, in defence or in central midfield any time soon. The midfield, unsurprisingly, includes Pogba. The 23-year-old became the most valuable player ever in the summer when he joined United from Juventus. He is widely regarded as the best young midfielder on the planet. Another player who could lay claim to the same title is Marco Verratti. Signed by Paris Saint-Germain from minnows Pescara for around £12m, he is now worth a staggering £62m. And the other name in the side is another who has seen his value rise hugely over the years. He may be on the sidelines right now, but Philippe Coutinho is valued at £63m, a significant leap from the £8m Liverpool spent to sign him from Inter Milan.

REVEALED: The best-paid player in the world - and it's not Messi or Ronaldo


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Drug dealer 'White Boy Rick' pushes for reduced sentence (1.02/21)

A Detroit-area drug dealer nicknamed "White Boy Rick," who has been in prison for 28 years for crimes when he was a teen, is making another effort to get his sentence reduced.
The Detroit News reports ( ) a lawyer for Richard Wershe (WER'-she) filed a petition Tuesday in U. S. District Court asking the court to reverse state court orders and send his case for immediate resentencing.
The 47-year-old Wershe is serving a life sentence with occasional opportunities for parole. Michigan's parole board so far has declined to release him.
The petition says his no-parole sentence violates Eighth Amendment prohibitions on cruel and unusual punishment as well as Michigan's constitution. It says parole proceedings haven't considered Wershe's "youthfulness at the time of his offense or his demonstrated rehabilitation, growth and maturity. "

Drug Dealer 'White Boy Rick' Pushes for Reduced Sentence


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Settlers in the West Bank hopeful as Trump prepares to take over the White House (1.02/21)

Yoni Binyamin lives on a windy, contentious hilltop slated for demolition, but she is convinced her community will not only remain but also continue to grow after Donald Trump becomes U. S. president.

Trump Victory Spurs Israeli Talk of West Bank Annexation


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Second trailer for 'Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events' released (1.02/21)

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Netflix has released a second trailer for their upcoming release of Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events.
Starring Neil Patrick Harris as the villainous Count Olaf, the clip starts with Patrick Warburton lighting a match and saying, "If you're interested in stories with happy endings, that story is streaming elsewhere" -- a take on the first line of the book the movie is based on.
"I would advise all our viewers to watch something more pleasant instead," he continues.
Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events. tells the story of orphaned children Violet (Malina Weissman), Klaus (Louis Hynes) and Sunny Baudelaire as they are forced to live with their uncle Count Olaf following the mysterious deaths of their parents.
All episodes will stream January 13, 2017.

WATCH: No happy endings in ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’


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We have a bullying problem‚ admits Stellenbosch school after two assault videos go viral (1.02/21)

Pupils filmed two attacks at Luckhoff High School – which took place four days apart last month – and the footage has made international news headlines.
Jessica Shelver‚ spokesperson for Western Cape MEC of Education Debbie Schafer‚ said the department was shocked to see a second bullying video emerge on social media on Tuesday‚ prompting officials to hold an emergency meeting with school management on the same day.
“The school acknowledged that they have behavioural challenges at the school and that running a punitive process‚ as they have been‚ simply isn’t working‚” she told TMG Digital.
A Grade eight pupil was left bleeding from the head after the first assault on November 24. An aggressive classmate shook her head around‚ smashed a knee into her face and punched her in the head.
A smaller girl was verbally assaulted and punched in the head by a larger girl during the second incident on November 28.
Disciplinary hearings are being held against both bullies and one will face a charge of assault in the Stellenbosch Magistrates’ Court.
Principal Chris Jooste is facing a public backlash on the school’s Facebook page‚ which has not posted anything about the incidents. Irate parents and people who have viewed the viral videos resorted to posting dozens of scathing comments under photographs of the school football team’s achievements on Tuesday. They complained that the page had been closed to public reviews.
Tarin Scharneck posted this comment: “I would really love to see a press release on what you have done to stop the bullying at your school. Your lack of communication on this matter shows nothing but condonation of the act.”
Cheryl Ingram said: “This is appalling – and not a single comment from the school.”
The page appeared to have been sanitised by Wednesday morning with most of the negative comments removed.
Earlier this week‚ Jooste told an SABC journalist in an audio interview that he was only aware of one bullying incident - the first viral video.
“Is this the first time it happened at the school?” asked Neo Motloung. “According to my mind‚ it’s the first time it happened‚ yes‚” he replied. But a second video surfaced soon afterwards.
“It is evident that the school needs to plan for both medium- and long-term interventions to address the issue of bullying‚ and this is needed to be done in a holistic manner‚” said Shelver.
Several steps have been taken by the department in collaboration with other partners to address bullying at the school. They include:
- A partnership with Child Welfare Stellenbosch along with the Ida’s Valley community to address violence within homes‚ schools and the community.
- Life orientation educators should focus on equipping learners with knowledge and skills to deal with conflict in a healthy and safe manner. The importance of values such as empathy and respect for each other should form part of the content.
- The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) will assist with a workshop for the teachers to assist and guide them with regard to their role and responsibility in the safekeeping and protection of learners.
- Teachers from Luckhoff will be sent on a leadership and character-building programme early next year. Anti-bullying awareness campaigns and interventions will be run at the start of the school year at the school as well as throughout the district.
- There will be anti-bullying workshops at the school with the representative council of learners and parents.
- As bullying is apparent in communities and is a barrier to learning‚ an anti-bullying conference will be held in 2017‚ targeting members of school management teams and school governing bodies from the Cape Winelands Education District‚ to equip them with skills to prevent and address bullying in the correct manner.
“The WCED’s Safe Schools hotline is available to schools‚ teachers‚ parents and learners to report all school crime and abuse‚ and aims to contribute to a safe and crime-free school environment‚” said Shelver.
The Safe Schools call centre can be reached at toll-free number 0800 45 46 47.

Second bullying video emerges from Stellenbosch school


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Suspect foiled by 90-year-old Holocaust survivor arrested (1.02/21)

NEW YORK (AP) — Police in New York City say they've arrested a would-be mugger whose attempt to steal a Holocaust survivor's purse was thwarted when the then-90-year-old woman fought back. Forty-nine-year-old Lillian Maduro was arrested Monday and charged with robbery and assault in connection with the Sept. 27 incident in Greenwich Village. Authorities say Maduro sneaked up behind Gina Zuckerman and tried to grab her bag from her utility cart. Zuckerman was knocked down during the assault, but wouldn't let go of her bag. Police say Maduro fled and remained on the loose until a DNA sample helped link her to the crime. Zuckerman, who needed five stitches on her right arm, says her "inner lioness" came out when she was attacked. It's unclear if Maduro has an attorney who could comment.

Suspect Foiled by 90-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor Arrested


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Married Couple Found Shot To Death In Burbank Home (1.02/21)

CHICAGO (CBS) — A 62-year-old woman and her 64-year-old husband were found shot to death inside their home Tuesday evening in southwest suburban Burbank.
About 5:30 p.m., a relative found the couple dead at the house in the 8500 block of Laramie Avenue, according to Burbank police.
Officers found a firearm nearby, and there were no signs of forced entry or “further foul play,” police said.
“While this is an ongoing investigation, there is no threat to the community or to the public,” police said.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office withheld their names Tuesday night. Autopsies were scheduled for Wednesday.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2016. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Married couple shot to death inside Burbank home


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Macedonia to hold early vote after corruption allegations (1.02/21)

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Macedonia is holding an early general election after a nearly two-year political crisis that has roiled the government and threatens the Balkan nation's ambitions of joining NATO and the European Union. Sunday's vote was called as part of a deal to address the crisis, which was sparked by opposition reports that the government was behind a large-scale illegal wiretapping operation that targeted 20,000 people, including politicians, judges, journalists, police and religious leaders. Over several months, opposition leader Zoran Zaev released audio of dozens of wiretapped phone conversations that he said indicated former conservative Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and his aides were involved in multimillion-dollar corruption deals, tampered with election results and brought spurious criminal prosecutions against opponents. The conservatives vehemently rejected the charges, saying the wiretaps were conducted by unnamed foreign spies and accusing Zaev of plotting a coup. Gruevski is under investigation by the country's Special Prosecution branch and has already been charged with enticement and carrying out a criminal act against public order. The scandal led to months of street protests and has been the worst political crisis in Macedonia, which gained independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991, since the country survived an ethnic conflict between government forces and members of the ethnic Albanian minority in 2001. Gruevski, who had headed the government since 2006, stepped down earlier this year as part of a Western-brokered deal to defuse the crisis. The agreement included holding early elections, which have been postponed twice so far. Signed by the heads of the country's four main political parties, the deal created an interim government that lead Macedonia to the early vote and established a special prosecution office to examine the wiretap scandal. Nearly 1.8 million registered voters are eligible to choose 123 lawmakers for the unicameral parliament. In all, six political parties and five coalitions are running, while three parliamentary seats are reserved for the diaspora. Gruevski, 46, heads a 25-party coalition titled "For a Better Macedonia" and is seeking a secure majority of 63 seats by promising 70,000 new jobs and decreasing the unemployment rate from 24 percent to 17 percent. He blames the opposition and others for creating the political crisis. "Millions of euros have been invested in this scenario and the campaign of the opposition," Gruevski told supporters in the capital of Skopje. "They do not think of your well-being or that of the country. " Running against him is the 42-year-old Zaev, who heads a left-leaning coalition called "For Life in Macedonia. " He has described the election as "a choice between doom and life" and accuses the conservative government of massive theft, social injustice and corruption. "Gruevski understands what is good for himself only, not what is good for the people," he said. Ethnic Albanians, meanwhile, comprise a quarter of Macedonia's 2 million people, and their vote has a considerable influence on the forming of a new government. An ethnic Albanian political party that emerged from former guerrilla fighters, Democratic Union for Integrations, and the Democratic Party of Albanians are the main contenders among the ethnic minority.

Macedonia to Hold Early Vote After Corruption Allegations


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Army Corps of Engineers said the government SHOULD approve controversial Dakota Access pipeline but was overruled by bureaucrats (1.02/21)

A bureaucrat overruled a recommendation by the Army Corps of Engineers which would have allowed construction of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline to go ahead. The company behind the project had sought an easement to begin construction. But following months of sometimes violent protests the Army Corps of Engineers said on Sunday it would find another path for the pipeline. Now it has been reported that the corps recommended approval but because the pipeline was 30 inches in diameter it had to be referred up to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Jo-Ellen Darcy, a civilian. Her spokesman, Moira Kelley, told NBC News : 'Ms Darcy had the authority to make the decision on behalf of the Department of the Army, and she did so.' When asked why Ms Darcy decided to go against the Corps of Engineers' recommendation, Ms Kelley said: 'The Army decided that the totality of circumstances call for additional analysis, a more robust consideration of alternatives, and additional public information.' Those who oppose the pipeline say its construction threatens land on the Standing Rock reservation, which is believed to be sacred to the Lakota nation, sometimes referred to as the Sioux. But they also point out that if the pipeline were to leak it could pollute the crucial Ogallala aquifer, which supplies drinking water to thousands of people across the Great Plains. Before she was appointed to her current job in 2009, Ms Darcy spent years working in environmental protection working on a variety of issues, including the Safe Drinking Water Act. A spokesman for Donald Trump said on Monday the president-elect is in favor of building the Dakota Access pipeline, and will revisit the decision to halt construction until it can be routed around land belonging to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. Trump spokesman Jason Miller said the crude oil conduit was 'something that we support construction of, and we'll review the full situation once we're in the White House and make an appropriate determination at that time.' Ms Darcy said in a statement Sunday: 'Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it's clear that there's more work to do.' 'The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.' She also added the new routes will be explored using an environmental impact statement, 'with full public input and analysis'. Representative Kevin Cramer, a North Dakota Republican, said the move was a 'chilling signal to others who want to build infrastructure in this country.' 'I can't wait for the adults to be in charge on Jan. 20,' said Cramer, a supporter of President-elect Donald Trump, who will be inaugurated as president on that day. The company building the $3.8 billion oil pipeline slammed the Obama administration. Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners released a statement Sunday night calling the decision 'just the latest in a series of overt and transparent political actions by an administration which has abandoned the rule of law in favor of currying favor with a narrow and extreme political constituency.' The Standing Rock Lakota tribe and its supporters have long argued the project would threaten Lake Oahe as a water source and cultural sites. Thousands of demonstrators at the Oceti Sakowin campsite erupted into cheers and cries of Mni Wiconi – 'Water is life' – went up from the crowd as Sunday's news spread. Moments after the decision was announced, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Council Chairman Harold Frazier told that he was 'shocked' by the news. The $3.8 billion pipeline running through North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois is mostly complete, except for a segment planned to run under Lake Oahe, which protesters resisted for several months. Faith Spotted Eagle, an elder of the Ihanktonwan tribe, said: 'The easement has been denied. We have all come to this gathering being hosted by Mother Earth. I love you all.' Shailene Woodley, star of the 'Divergent' movies and 'The Fault in Our Stars', who had previously been arrested while protesting told a huge crowd: 'We feel so honored to have been a small part of this movement.' In a statement, Standing Rock tribal chairman Dave Archambault II said: 'Today, the US Army Corps of engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. 'Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternate routes.' 'The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe will forever be grateful to the Obama administration for this historic decision,' he added. But that decision could be short-lived. Trump takes office in just 43 days.

Trump not saying what he'll do about Dakota Access pipeline


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Top lawyer fighting Brexit appeal continues case for third day at Supreme Court (1.02/21)

The top lawyer opposing the Government's Brexit appeal is due to continue his case at the Supreme Court. Lord Pannick QC appears for Gina Miller, the investment fund manager and philanthropist who won a historic ruling against the Government at the High Court last month. On November 3, three judges in London decided that Prime Minister Theresa May lacked power to use the royal prerogative to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and start the two-year process of negotiating Brexit without the prior authority of Parliament. Lord Pannick will continue to present his case before a panel of 11 Supreme Court justices on the third day of the Government's challenge against the High Court's ruling. Members of the public queued early once again on Wednesday to gain a place in court to witness the landmark proceedings. On Tuesday, James Eadie QC, for the Government, insisted that it does have the legal power to use the prerogative to trigger Britain's exit from the European Union following the June 23 referendum which resulted in a leave vote. But Lord Pannick countered that no such power exists. He declared: "Parliament is sovereign. What Parliament created, only Parliament can take away. " Mr Eadie rejected the suggestion that the Government's Brexit strategy was an "affront" to parliamentary sovereignty. Mrs May has made it clear she still intends to give an Article 50 notification by the end of next March to start the leave negotiations with 27 other EU countries. The case is due to finish on Thursday with a ruling in the new year.

Brexit: article 50 supreme court hearing day three – live updates


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Ex-commander welcomes appeal for Marine serving life sentence for killing Afghan (1.02/21)

The former commanding officer of Royal Marine Sergeant Alexander Blackman has welcomed the decision to grant a fresh appeal in the case. Blackman, also known as Marine A, is serving a life sentence for murdering a wounded Afghan captive but an independent review concluded he faces the "real possibility" of having his conviction quashed following the presentation of new evidence. His former commanding officer, Colonel Oliver Lee, who resigned his commission in protest soon after Blackman was sentenced, said he was "extremely pleased" at the latest development in the case and said a "much more balanced and full picture" of the circumstances surrounding the killing needed to be considered. The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) has referred the conviction to the Courts Martial Appeal Court. Blackman was found guilty of murder at a court martial at the Military Court Centre in Bulford, Wiltshire, in 2013. But the presentation of new evidence relating to Blackman's mental health at the time of the death in Helmand - and the fact that an alternative verdict of unlawful act manslaughter was not available during the trial - means the case will return to the court. The decision marks the latest step in the fight by Blackman's wife, Claire, to clear her husband's name. Col Lee said the court martial should have taken greater account of the acute stress Blackman was under at the time. He said : "I took a view that the proceedings against Sgt Blackman hadn't been balanced and that in order for him to be dealt with justly - I don't seek to condone his behaviour or exonerate him from his responsibilities - but in order for him to be dealt with justly, not leniently, a much more balanced and full picture of the situation in which he found himself needed to be presented to those who were making fundamental decisions surrounding his future. " The former officer told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "What should happen to him now - and it's why I'm extremely pleased about the outcome of yesterday's CCRC announcement - is largely... that his case is considered in the round, in the broadest sense, such that he is dealt with in a fair manner. " Blackman, who was serving with Plymouth-based 42 Commando, quoted Shakespeare as he shot his victim at close range with a 9mm pistol after the Afghan had been seriously injured in an attack by an Apache helicopter. Footage from another Marine's helmet-mounted camera showed Blackman shooting the Afghan prisoner in the chest. Blackman was then heard telling him: "There you are. Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c***. It's nothing you wouldn't do to us. " He then turned to comrades and said: "Obviously this doesn't go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention. " During the trial, Blackman, of Taunton in Somerset, said he believed the victim was already dead and he was taking out his anger on a corpse. Two other servicemen - known as Marine B and Marine C - were acquitted of murder.

Life sentences not a 'silver bullet' for killer drivers in SA


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Popular Vermont punk music venue is closing its doors (1.02/21)

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A popular Vermont punk music venue, established with the help of the wife of U. S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, is closing after 32 years. Vermont Public Radio reports ( ) 21 bands played at Saturday's final show at 242 Main in Burlington. The city of Burlington, which owns the building, is closing it down due to structural problems. The venue called itself the country's oldest, all-ages punk club and prided itself on being a substance-free space for teenagers and others to gather. Jane Sanders helped set up the venue in the 1980s as director of the Mayor's Youth Office. Bernie Sanders was mayor at the time. Burlington plans to start a series at different venues around the city called 242 Main Presents. It's aimed at giving young performers an outlet for their work. ___ Information from: WVPS-FM,

Burlington punk music venue has final show before closing


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Pitso climbs world stage (1.02/21)

The Brazilians will become the first Southern Africa club to compete at the CWC when they play their first match at Osaka's 40000-seater Suita City Football Stadium on Sunday.
They will meet the winners of a playoff tomorrow between Japan's Kashima Antlers and New Zealand's Auckland City.
Mosimane says by winning the CAF Champions League, Sundowns have demonstrated that Southern African football is finding its feet internationally.
Aware of the responsibility of representing Africa at the CWC, he says he hopes Sundowns could at least reach the semifinals.
"I think, when I look at it differently, [Southern Africa] has done exceptionally," Mosimane says.
"I saw Namibia winning the Cosafa Cup (in 2015). Normally Cosafa is Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia. So there's a bit of change there.
"I see Banyana representing us on the world stage, Zesco United reaching the Champions League semifinals, Zimbabwe qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 10 years.
"Then I think the region has come up strongly.
"I would be happy if we made the semifinals to make sure that we put Africa in the top four in the world.
"Because in the World Cup, with national teams, it's not happening. But now we have an opportunity to make it with a club.
"I said: 'Maybe I could not make it with Bafana [as coach in 2010- 2012]. So I'll win the tournament that represents Africa through the club'. "
Should Sundowns beat Antlers or City, they will face South American champions Atletico Nacional of Colombia in the semifinals.

Mosimane: PSL clubs need to think globally


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Sleepy driving: It's as dangerous as drunk driving (1.02/21)

The consequences for not getting seven hours of sleep per night go beyond yawning and drinking coffee the next day - at least, for anyone getting behind the wheel.
Sleep deprivation can rank higher than drunken driving as a risk factor for traffic crashes, according to a new study from the AAA Foundation in Washington, D. C.
Traffic crash risk climbs for a driver with the loss of just one hour from the recommended seven-hour sleep cycle, according to the report.
By the time a driver hits the road with four hours of sleep or less, the crash risk is comparable to the crash risk associated with a blood alcohol content of roughly 0.12-0.15.
"Individuals who have slept for less than 4 or 5 hours in the past 24 hours are likely to be substantially impaired," according to a summary of the study.
According to the AAA Foundation :
As a result, AAA warns drivers that getting less than seven hours of sleep may have deadly consequences.
"You cannot miss sleep and still expect to be able to safely function behind the wheel," said Dr. David Yang, executive director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, in a news release.
"Our new research shows that a driver who has slept for less than five hours has a crash risk comparable to someone driving drunk. "
The crash risk escalates as the amount of sleep decreases:
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety issued the new report, "Acute Sleep Deprivation and Risk of Motor Vehicle Crash Involvement," on Tuesday.
The not-for-profit foundation sponsored the research, which used the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's crash survey data from 2005-2007. That data involved crashes from 6 am to midnight, with drivers reporting their sleep amount and pattern.
The AAA Foundation researchers sought to add an element to that data, providing answers to the fact that "the relationship between specific measures of sleep deprivation and crash risk has not been quantified in the general driving population," according to the report's summary.
Wondering if you're OK to drive while tired? Here are symptoms of drowsy driving:
And here are tips for driving longer distances:

Giovanna Fletcher discusses how to make sure you don't lose yourself after becoming a mother


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Chief says manpower was issue in apartment blaze that injured firefighters (1.02/21)

FLINT, MI - A Flint apartment complex fire that left three firefighters injured last month pushed the Flint Fire Department to its limits that day.
Not only did it require every firefighter on duty that day -- 14 in all -- the fire at Village Shores Apartments also forced the city to call in mutual aid because the department's two ladder trucks were both in the repair shop.
"We didn't have enough people," said Flint Fire Chief Ray Barton said. "Realistically, we needed double what we had. "
Three firefighters hospitalized after blaze at Flint apartments
Help is on the way but it could be February before the city has 33 more firefighters expected to be hired under a new $3.8 million federal grant.
Fire station to reopen, 33 firefighters to be hired with $3.8M grant
Barton said he is interviewing 130 candidates over the next two weeks for the open positions.
Those chosen still will need to pass physicals and drug screens. The new hires will be selected by the first of the year, Barton said, but there are other things that must also take place before they begin working.
"It takes time," Barton said. "(Human resources), just like all of the other city departments, is understaffed. "
The Federal Emergency Management Agency allows Flint six months to hire the 33 firefighters as part of the two-year Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response, or SAFER, grant program.
Even with additional firefighters, Barton said the injuries the firefighters received at the Nov. 22 blaze may not have been able to be prevented.
"Fires are unpredictable," he said. "We still don't understand why there was a flash. It changed so quickly. (Firefighters) did everything they were supposed to. "
None of the three firefighters injured missed any work, Barton said.
Both of Flint's ladder trucks also are operational, Barton said.
"Our trucks - it's really not the age - it's our usage, it's our run volume," he said. "The issue on that fire was manpower. "

Authorities: Firefighter hurt in suspicious fire at home


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Italian director clarifies ‘Last Tango’ butter rape scene (1.02/21)

ROME — Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci is clarifying details about the infamous butter rape scene in the “Last Tango in Paris.”
Bertolucci says the only novelty sprung on actress Maria Schneider was the butter — not the simulated rape, which he said was written into the script.
“Some people thought, and think, that Maria wasn’t informed about the rape,” said a Bertolucci statement carried by the ANSA news agency Monday.
“False! Maria knew everything because she had read it in the script, where it was described,” he said. “The only novelty was the idea of the butter.”
The controversial film made headlines in recent days after a 2013 interview surfaced in which Bertolucci said neither he nor Marlon Brando had told Schneider of their plans to use the stick of butter during the scene.
He said he and Brando came up with the idea on the morning of the shoot and decided not to tell Schneider because he wanted her to react “as a girl, not as an actress.” Bertolucci wanted her, he said, to feel “the rage and the humiliation.”
Schneider, who died in 2011, spoke often about the scene between her, then aged 19, and Marlon Brando, then 48, even saying in a 2007 Daily Mail interview that she “felt a little raped” by her co-star and director.
In the statement, Bertolucci said the controversy was “ridiculous.” He criticized commentators for being so “naive” as to think that what they see on screen actually happens.
“Those who don’t know that in film, sex is (almost) always simulated, probably also think that every time John Wayne fires, someone actually dies.” TVJ
Bernardo Bertolucci Describes the ‘Last Tango in Paris’ Backlash as a ‘Ridiculous Misunderstanding’

Italian director clarifies 'Last Tango' butter rape scene


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Ukrainian police say 10 injured in Champions League violence (1.02/21)

Ten people were injured in fighting between supporters of Dynamo Kiev and Turkish team Besiktas around a Champions League game between the teams, Ukrainian police said on Wednesday.
A police statement said of the 10, all of whom were described as "foreigners," eight were injured on Tuesday in beatings and two were stabbed in clashes near the stadium, which will host the 2018 Champions League final. There were no further details about the seriousness of the injuries.
Police said none of the 10 agreed to give an official statement.
Video footage online shows large crowds fighting in the street, some using sticks and fireworks as weapons. Some Besiktas fans also clashed with police inside the stadium, but authorities said another, larger confrontation nearby was avoided.
"Coordinated activity (by police and National Guard units) made it possible to prevent a mass fight between football fans of both teams, with around 200 people on each side, near the sports arena," police said.
Messages on forums used by Ukrainian hooligan groups said fans of various Ukrainian clubs banded together to fight Turkish fans.
There has long been bad blood between fan groups from the two countries, and there were clashes when Turkish club Fenerbahce visited Ukraine in September to play Zorya Luhansk.
Turkish newspaper Sabah, which is close to the government, said "tens of people" were attacked by "masked individuals in military uniforms" targeting Besiktas supporters. Some injured Turkish fans flew home on the first available fight, the newspaper reported.
Dynamo Kiev fans have repeatedly been involved in violence and racist incidents in recent years, including coordinated attacks by far-right fans on black supporters during a Champions League game against Chelsea last year.

Fans stabbed in Kiev before Champions League tie


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4 migrants die, 34 rescued en route from Morocco to Europe (1.02/21)

Moroccan authorities say four migrants have died and 34 have been rescued after their inflatable boat capsized between Morocco and Spain. Moroccan state news agency MAP reported that Morocco's royal...

Morocco says four migrants drown, 34 rescued


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Kerry, Russia's Lavrov to meet in Hamburg to discuss Syria (1.02/21)

A spokeswoman for Russia's Foreign Ministry says U. S. Secretary State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are meeting for talks later in the day. Maria Zakharova said at...

Kerry to try again with Russia on Syria talks


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France arrests 3 in connection with June police killings (1.02/21)

PARIS (AP) — French police have arrested three men in connection with the killing of two police officials earlier this year by an extremist claiming loyalty to the Islamic State group. Paris prosecutor's office said Wednesday that three people with links to attacker Larossi Abballa, who was killed in a police raid in June, were arrested Monday and placed in custody. The suspects are aged 22, 25 and 39. Authorities say two of them have ties to radical Islam. On June 13, victim Jessica Schneider, a police administrator, and police commander Jean-Baptiste Salvaing were stabbed at their home in Magnanville, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) west of Paris. Their 3-year-old son survived the attack. Abballa was shot dead when police stormed the home to rescue the child.

France Arrests 3 in Connection With June Police Killings


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Survey finds Afghans more pessimistic on security, future (1.02/21)

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghans are increasingly uncertain about their future, less confident in their government and more pessimistic than before on issues such as security, corruption, and rising unemployment, according to a survey released on Wednesday.
The annual survey by the San Francisco-based Asia Foundation has a record number of 65.9 percent of Afghans polled saying their country is moving in the wrong direction, up from 57.5 percent the previous year.
By contrast, 29.3 percent of Afghans polled said they believe their country is moving in the right direction — down from 36.7 percent in 2015 and the lowest level since the foundation started the surveys in 2004.
It also reveals that Afghans in 2016 were more dissatisfied with the economy.
The foundation polled 12,658 Afghan men and women in interviews conducted between Aug. 31 and Oct. 1 in all 34 provinces of the country. The poll, released in Kabul on Wednesday, has a 1.6 percent margin of error.
The survey has Afghan people in 2016 being more pessimistic than ever before — a mood that appears to reflect a sustained change in sentiment related to perceptions of security, the economy, and government achievements, the foundation said.
Afghanistan has been facing major political and security challenges since the withdrawal of international combat troops at the end of 2014. Also, President Ashraf Ghani has been dealing with a stepped-up insurgency by the Taliban seeking to topple the government as well as an affiliate of the Islamic State group, which emerged over a year ago and has expanded its footprint, especially in the country’s east.
Some Afghans reflected the survey’s findings in comments to The Associated Press.
Ali Yawar, a 38-year-old carpet weaver, said he hasn’t had much business in the past two years.
“I should say that all businesses have dropped, not only carpets,” he said, adding that every man wants want better security and job opportunities so he can stand on his own two feet — and not look for charity.
“Afghanistan is emerging from decades of war and conflict. For the moment, a sense of personal safety and empowerment remains elusive,” Abdullah Ahmadzai, the Asia Foundation’s representative in Afghanistan, was quoted as saying in the survey’s findings. At the launch of the survey in Kabul, Ahmadzai said that 2016 has been the largest survey in terms of the number of Afghans that the foundation polled but that it also recorded the lowest levels of public optimism.
The highest rate of optimism was recorded in 2013, when 58.2 percent of Afghans said the country was moving in the right direction.
The 2016 survey also found that more people consider lack of education opportunities and illiteracy as the biggest problems facing Afghan women — 36.1 percent of those polled, up from 20.4 percent in 2015.
“The findings this year illustrate Afghans’ dissatisfaction with their government, job growth, and household finances,” Ahmadzai said.
According to the survey, since 2007, insecurity has been the most commonly given reason for why the country is moving in the wrong direction, followed by unemployment, corruption, bad economy and bad government.
The Asia Foundation’s annual survey is the longest-running and broadest nationwide survey of Afghan attitudes and opinions.
Since 2004, it has polled more than 87,000 Afghan men and women from all walks of life, providing a unique portrait of evolving public perceptions of wide-ranging issues such as security, economy, governance and government services, elections, media, women’s issues, and migration.
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Survey Finds Afghans More Pessimistic on Security, Future


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Magnitude-5.8 quake rattles Trinidad, nearby islands (1.02/21)

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) — An earthquake rattled Trinidad and Tobago and nearby Caribbean islands on Tuesday but there were no immediate reports of any significant damage or injuries. ...

Mag-5.8 quake rattles Trinidad, nearby islands; no damage


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7 dead in latest China mine blast; 60 miners killed in week (1.02/21)

BEIJING (AP) — Seven coal miners are dead and another four still missing after a gas explosion in a central province in the latest deadly accident to strike China's mining industry, authorities said Wednesday. ...

Seven killed in latest China mine blast


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Hospital employee in DC arrested for sexually assaulting patient (1.02/21)

WASHINGTON — An emergency room technician at United Medical Center, in Southeast D. C., has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a woman who was receiving treatment at the hospital.
D. C. police said Premarcos Simon, 51, of Waldorf, Maryland, was arrested and charged with first-degree sexual assault of a patient, during the course of treatment.
Simon told NBC Washington he denied the allegations and he did not sexually assault anyone.
In a statement, hospital officials said they would not comment on the circumstances during the internal and police investigations.
D. C. police asked “anyone who has information about this subject committing similar crimes” to call them at 202-727-9099.
Simon has been released on bond until his next appearance in D. C. Superior Court, set for Dec. 16.
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Photos and video of Al Pacino, Mavis Staples, James Taylor and other honorees.

Iraqi asylum seeker Zaid K arrested for sexually assaulting students in Germany


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World's oldest bank BMPS in trouble — Here’s what you need to know (1.02/21)

It is the oldest lender in the world and it has been making headlines for several months amid concerns it doesn't have the financial firepower to cover its bad debts.
The European Banking Authority said last July that it would have the greatest difficulty among all European banks in covering its toxic loans.
As a result, Monte dei Paschi di Siena announced in November it would seek 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) in fresh capital during the month of December to improve its capital position. But the plan is currently at risk, following the government's defeat in a recent referendum, sparking broader concerns over the fragile banking system.
Investors have become more skeptical about recapitalizing Italian banks in the wake of Sunday's referendum. They are concerned over the increased political instability, as the Italian prime minister prepares to resign, and a potential slowdown of the economy.
In an attempt to reassure investors, media reports on Tuesday suggested that the Italian government is preparing to participate in the 5 billion euro recapitalization.
Reuters reported, citing anonymous sources, that the Italian government is planning to take a 2 billion euro controlling stake of BMPS using taxpayers' money.
The bank's shares were up almost 8 percent at 10 a.m. London time on the news.
However, a potential state participation could go against European rules and bring further problems to the Italian authorities.
European rules dictate that bank bailouts should firstly be at the expense of investors and not at the taxpayers.
If Italy opts for injecting taxpayers' money, the European Commission – which oversees competition rules – could fine Italy for illegal state aid.
Apart from rising problems with Europe, a state bailout could spur anti-establishment and anti-European sentiment among Italian voters at a time when support for Eurosceptic movements is on the rise.
BMPS needs funding and its recapitalization process has to take place quickly to avoid a potential collapse of the third-largest bank in Italy and contagion to other banks.
The Italian banking system has been for a long time a drag in the country's economy due to its high level of non-performing loans.
"With the economy turning around, nonperforming loans (NPLs) appear to be stabilizing at about 18 percent of loans, one of the highest in the euro zone," the International Monetary Fund said in a report issues last summer.
"High NPLs are adversely affecting profitability—profit margins are among the lowest in Europe—and weighing on banks' ability to extend credit," the IMF added.
Credit Ratings agency Fitch said in a note on Tuesday that the referendum result could also damage plans for recapitalization of other Italian banks, including UniCredit.
That would "have negative implications for the broader banking sector, whose attractiveness with investors has already reduced significantly during 2016. The sector's ability to access the institutional markets for funding and capital, which has become more difficult and expensive this year, could deteriorate further," Fitch warned.
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Is Bette Nash the world's oldest flight attendant?


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Officials: Suspect killed after attacking deputy with oar (1.02/21)

FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. (AP) — A Florida deputy sheriff shot and killed a suspect who authorities say beat the deputy with an oar in a lake. Lake County Sheriff's Office spokesman Fred Jones tells local news outlets that deputies responded Tuesday night to a hit-and-run incident in which the suspect crashed into a store and then another vehicle. The suspect ran and ended up in a lake in Fruitland Park. Jones says that when deputies caught up, the suspect began to strike a deputy with an oar. Jones says the deputy, who was in chest-deep water, used a stun gun on the suspect. He says the suspect again tried to hit the deputy in the head with the oar, which is when the deputy shot him. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. No further information has been released.

Officials: Suspect Killed After Attacking Deputy With Oar


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Charter school for at-risk students to open in Kalamazoo in January (1.02/21)

KALAMAZOO, MI -- A charter school focused on working with dropouts and at-risk students in Muskegon, Grand Rapids and Detroit is opening its doors in Kalamazoo next year.
Kalamazoo Covenant Academy will target students who have dropped out, are at-risk of dropping out and are in need of special services like child care, said Sam Joseph, chief executive officer of Covenant Charter Academies. Joseph obtained a charter from Grand Valley State University in 2015 and plans to begin class in January 2017, as soon as renovations are complete on a recently-purchased location.
"The mission of my school is to prevent youth homelessness and youth incarceration," Joseph said. "For the drop-out students those are the two alternatives to education. "
READ MORE: Click her to read Kalamazoo Covenant Academy's contract with GVSU
The academy will operate out of a former PNC bank at 400 W. Crosstown Parkway and could house up to 200 students ages 16-22. Students will complete the Michigan Merit Curriculum to earn a high school diploma.
Students can enroll at any point in the year and receive an individualized education plan in flexible face-to-face and online learning sessions.
Joseph said his schools are antithetical to "tough love" boot camp-style alternative education programs. Teachers at the academy, many of whom have children of their own, are trained to be empathetic of each student's situation.
"These kids dropped out of schools not because they can't study, but because there are barriers in the environment where they were learning," Joseph said. "You try to break the barriers and they will come to school. (It's) also a place where they feel loved and respected. "
His program also links students to social services they might need.
According to the academy's charter, students will in most cases be dropouts or "on the verge of dropping out. " The academy will focus on young adults who have decided to return to high school, Joseph said, and once they are properly counseled as to how they can achieve their goals will seldom present disciplinary issues.
Most have the potential to succeed but are presented with a variety of compounding personal circumstances that make it almost impossible to achieve a high school diploma, he said.
Almost half will qualify as homeless under the federal McKinney-Vento Act because they do not live with custodial parents or legal guardians, the charter stated.
Joseph is the former executive director of Covenant House Michigan, which operates charter schools for at-risk children in Detroit and Grand Rapids. Joseph retired from Covenant House and formed his own nonprofit, which opened Muskegon Covenant Academy last fall at the invitation of Muskegon County school superintendents.
Marc Schupan, CEO of Schupan and Sons, a Kalamazoo-based recycling business, heard a presentation by Joseph about the Muskegon school and urged him to open a similar school here.
While there are already 13 alternative education programs available in Kalamazoo County's school districts, Joseph believes Covenant could fill an underserved niche and would not impact attendance at other alternative programs in Kalamazoo County.
"We take kids who have dropped out of those programs and nobody wants them," he said. "I always say we don't compete with anybody. We are not stealing children, I say (other schools) lost them. "
An MLive analysis of state data showed more families are sending students to charter schools or participating in schools of choice, particularly in urban school districts. Kalamazoo County is not immune to the trend, but school officials believe it is less persistent due to area schools' cooperation and history of not treating enrollment as a zero sum game -- even if per pupil funding can create competition.
Charter school enrollment across the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Services Agency area has stayed stagnant since 2009, at 3 percent of the total full-time students. From 2009 to 2015, charter school enrollment across the state increased 33 percent.
KRESA Superintendent David Campbell said he is impressed with the number of options available for dropouts in the county, but did acknowledge there is a problem with young adults not earning their diploma.
Among the nine public school districts based in Kalamazoo County, 78 percent of the Class of 2015 graduated in four years, and about 9 percent were dropouts. The remaining 13 percent continued to pursue their diplomas.
For the Class of 2013, 80 percent had degrees six years after starting high school, 17 percent had dropped out and 3 percent were still in school.
According to 2015 Census data, an estimated 9 percent of Kalamazoo County's population between the ages of 18-24 lacked a high school diploma or GED. This was disproportionate among gender lines; 14 percent of the male population and 4 percent of women.
"What we need is more young people desiring to get their education," Campbell said. "We have plenty of capacity. Most of the 13 programs in the county have room to grow. "
Kalamazoo Public Schools Superintendent Michael Rice said in an ideal world, all of Kalamazoo County's alternative education programs would be at capacity before a new one is added. This would reduce duplication of services and ensure that a community's resources aren't being stretched too far.
However, Rice said the extent to which Kalamazoo Covenant Academy will compete with other alternative education programs is yet to be decided.
"Whether they pull students away is an open question," Rice said, based on how focused the academy is on attracting students who have dropped out.
Local schools could have a positive relationship if Covenant enrolls students who are off their radar, he said.
Rice said sometimes "life gets in the way" for dropouts, and they would be better served by returning to KPS programs to take advantage of the Kalamazoo Promise and pursue higher education.
"Young people (sometimes get) sidetracked, it doesn't indicate incapability," Rice said.
Joseph agreed that the Promise is "wonderful," but only for those who can earn it.
"Nobody is blaming (local) school districts, but this particular niche must be addressed," Joseph said. "It's a social issue. "
The total enrollment of Kalamazoo Covenant Academy is expected to increase to 200 students by its fifth year of operation.
Joseph is currently seeking teachers and board members.

Charting a course to integration: Let charter schools help


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Manchester City new boy Gabriel Jesus reveals Etihad switch was an opportunity too good to let go (1.02/21)

Gabriel Jesus has explained his decision to join Manchester City, claiming it was opportunity too good to let go. The teenage forward signed for City from Palmeiras for £27million four months ago but was allowed to see out the Brazilian league season, helping his side win the title. Jesus made his first visit to Manchester since signing at the weekend to watch his soon-to-be team-mates lose 3-1 to Chelsea. And the 19-year-old old has revealed that a switch to the Premier League giants was simply too good an offer to turn down whilst promising to rejoin his former club one day. 'Sometimes you have an opportunity and can't let it go,' the Brazilian told Goal. 'That is what happened to me. 'Manchester City can help me, and I can help Manchester City too through my performances. 'I arrive with high expectations and I'm aiming to repay the faith shown in me and the affection shown by all of the fans. 'But, when I come back to play in Brazil, I will play for Palmeiras again.' The highly-rated youngster is currently resting after being granted a holiday by new manager Pep Guardiola. 'He has gone nearly three years without a holiday,' Guardiola explained recently. 'They played the Olympic Games, won the gold medal, and then immediately after he played again with Palmeiras. 'He needs a little bit of time to rest, maybe two weeks, three weeks, one month, I don't know, we are going to see. He just came to start the contact, to see where he is going to live, where he is going to work, the place, and that's all.'

Gabriel Jesus: Man City move too good to turn down


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India's central bank says cash crisis is hurting the economy (1.02/21)

The central bank slashed its growth forecast for the current financial year by half a percentage point, citing "uncertainty" resulting from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's shock decision to ban 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.
The ban, which was announced on Nov. 8, abruptly took 86% of legal notes out of circulation and led to an acute cash shortage.
More than 90% of daily transactions in India are made using cash, and analysts predict the disruption could knock 1% off India's 7.3% growth rate over the next two quarters.
The central bank also sees evidence of slower growth as millions of Indians continue to line up to deposit canceled notes.
"Supply disruptions in the backwash of currency replacement may drag down growth this year," the central bank said in a statement. "The [economic] assessment is clouded by the still unfolding effects. "
The RBI said it expects damage from the cash crunch to be temporary, but downgraded one of its key economic indicators. The bank now expects growth of 7.1% for the current financial year, down from its previous estimate of 7.6%.
Related: India's boom continues but for how much longer?
While it expects slower growth, the RBI chose to keep the rate at which it lends to banks at 6.25%. That decision surprised economists, many of whom had expected the bank to cut rates in an effort to counter the cash crunch.
"If economic activity has been damaged as much as many fear, the RBI's wait-and-see approach will come to be seen as complacent," wrote analysts at Capital Economics.
Related: India just made it even harder to get hold of new cash
The central bank, which is responsible for printing replacement rupee notes, also defended its role in the cash shortage.
"The decision [to ban the notes] has not been taken in haste, but after detailed deliberations," said Urjit Patel, who became RBI chief in September. "High secrecy had to be maintained. "

India cbank unexpectedly keeps rates unchanged as cash crunch roils economy


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Mom battling breast cancer says she was ‘violated and humiliated’ during TSA search (1.02/21)

LOS ANGELES — A woman battling breast cancer said she felt violated and humiliated in a public TSA search at Los Angeles International Airport Sunday after two security agents put her through what she called an aggressive pat-down.
Denise Albert, co-host of "The Moms," was traveling through LAX security when two TSA agents pulled her aside for a manual search because she was trying to bring a necessary medical cream with her on her flight, Albert told WPIX.
"I always let them know I have a medical port and that I am wearing a wig," says Albert, who is also a frequent guest on WPIX's morning show.
Albert said she has brought the cream on previous flights and has shown it to TSA agents before without issue. This time, she was told if she wanted to carry the cream, she would need to undergo a full pat-down with pressure.
She posted a video to her Facebook page of the two TSA agents "aggressively attempt[ing] to do a body cavity search in public" after making Albert remove her shoes and explaining that they needed to conduct a full body search using "as much pressure" as they needed to.
Albert said she told the agents she could not remove her shoes since she was not wearing socks and had an infection on her feet, a side effect of her treatment and chemotherapy. So they let her sit down and remove her shoes.
"After at least 20 minutes of sitting there because they were debating how to proceed, I told them my feet were freezing," Albert's post reads. "Also a side effect from chemo. They refused to help me. "
Then, after a female TSA agent "forceabl[y] and aggressively" put her hands down the back of Albert's jeans, the agents explained they would have to "apply pressure from head to toe" which presented another set of problems for Albert. She wears a wig and did not want them to remove it, and has a lumpectomy medical port in her chest, which she did not want agents to touch.
"I started crying," said Albert. "It was overwhelming and horrific. I could not believe what was happening. "
After the female agent conducted a search and a supervisor arrived, Albert said her bags were emptied and she was made to feel humiliated once again after another agent joked about the fake eyelashes in one of Albert's bags.
"I told her, it's because I don't have real ones from my cancer treatment," Albert's post reads. "I would have thought at that point, the humiliation would have ended.
"The 2 TSA agents in my video went too far. I hope no one ever experiences this. "
The minute-long video posted to Facebook does not show the agents going through Albert's bag or them making any comments about what she was carrying.
Albert said that according to her understanding of TSA policy, and as a TSA PreCheck passenger, she should have not been required to remove her shoes because of her medical condition, and agents were supposed to ask if she had any tender areas they shouldn't touch.
Albert said they "didn't listen when I told them I did [have tender areas]. "
She said she's going public with her experience with the goal of ensuring TSA agents are trained properly, and they know protocol when it comes to medical patients.
After getting a supervisor involved, Albert was allowed to eventually board the plane.
"I understand security and that these people have a job to do," says Albert. "But they were out of line. "
Albert told PIX11 she filed an online complaint with the TSA that night and received this form response:
The TSA provided PIX11 with an initial comment on the incident:
All TSA employees are trained on screening passengers with medical conditions and disabilities, and their training emphasizes treating passengers with dignity, respect and sensitivity, a spokeswoman for the agency said.
All airline passengers must undergo screening and the spokeswoman said all screening procedures have been developed to make sure passengers can be screened regardless of their disability or medical condition.

Mom with breast cancer is left 'violated' by TSA agents who tried to perform 'a body cavity search in public' after she notified them of a medical cream in her bag