Announcement

DC5m United States art in english 173 articles, created at 2016-12-22 00:25 articles set mostly positive rate 3.1
(10.99/11)  1 
0.0
Social media star Adam Saleh removed from Delta plane

Airline launches review after YouTube celebrity says he was forced off New York-bound plane after speaking Arabic. 2016-12-21 16:10 3KB mwcnews.net

(6.45/11)  2 
2.4
Gingrich Says Trump Wants To Drop Draining The Swamp

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is casting doubt over whether President-elect Donald Trump still wants to use the phrase "drain the swamp. " During the course of the election, Trump repeat 2016-12-21 14:20 2KB dailycaller.com

(4.29/11)  3 
0.0
Kremlin says almost all Russia-US dialogue 'frozen'

The Kremlin said Wednesday that nearly all the communication channels between Moscow and Washington were frozen, local media reported. 2016-12-21 13:50 2KB www.digitaljournal.com

(4.17/11)  4 
1.7
Here's Your Ultimate New Year's Eve Party Guide

Dance the night away at these New Year's Eve bashes across the five boroughs. 2016-12-21 14:54 6KB www.dnainfo.com

(3.23/11)  5 
5.9
The Latest: Lewandowski to open firm near White House

The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump (all times EST): 2016-12-21 12:41 8KB www.cbs46.com

(3.12/11)  6 
1.1
Viacom unit head overseeing MTV, Comedy Central to leave

By Liana B. Baker and Jessica Toonkel SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK Dec 21 (Reuters) - Longtime Viacom Inc executive Doug Herzog, who oversees the networks Comedy C... 2016-12-21 17:01 2KB www.dailymail.co.uk

(3.12/11)  7 
6.2
Detroit to get first ever Applebee’s, IHOP combo

The 300-seat restaurant will open downtown near the Renaissance Center 2016-12-21 15:00 2KB rssfeeds.detroitnews.com

(3.10/11)  8 
3.8
Here are all the Twitter executives who flew the coop in 2016

It's a long list, and one that gets extra attention given Twitter’s very public nature, Recode reports. 2016-12-21 17:05 2KB www.cnbc.com

(3.09/11)  9 
3.6
Woof! Wes Anderson reveals his next film and its stars

Update on 'Today in Entertainment: YouTube star says he was booted from a Delta flight; Wes Anderson announces 'Isle of Dogs'' 2016-12-21 15:41 1KB www.latimes.com

(2.15/11)  10 
1.7
Boeing CEO says he assured Trump about Air Force One costs

PALM BEACH, Fla., Dec 21 (Reuters) - Boeing Co Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg met with President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday to address concerns about... 2016-12-21 16:57 1KB www.dailymail.co.uk

(2.15/11)  11 
5.9
The 20 most popular hotels in Las Vegas

From trendy newcomers to longtime stalwarts, Expedia names Vegas' most booked hotels. 2016-12-21 13:00 1KB rssfeeds.usatoday.com

(2.10/11)  12 
3.6
Trump forms new trade council to stop 'exodus of jobs'

On Wednesday, Trump announced he is forming a White House Trade Council. Economist and China watcher Peter Navarro will lead the council. 2016-12-21 16:57 2KB rss.cnn.com

(2.08/11)  13 
6.2
Trump again claims he 'would have won' popular vote

The president-elect claims his strategy was much more "sophisticated" than Hillary Clinton. 2016-12-21 22:16 2KB www.bbc.co.uk

(2.06/11)  14 
3.2
Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth celebrate early Christmas with her family

Miley Cyrus got into the holiday spirit with fiancé Liam Hemsworth, parents Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus, and siblings Trace, Noah, Brandi and Braison Cyrus. 2016-12-21 16:17 2KB www.upi.com

(2.06/11)  15 
1.8
Soldier denied hotel room because he's not yet 21

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — A soldier was denied the chance to rent a hotel room in southwest Florida because he is under age 21, even though a state law waives ... 2016-12-21 16:12 1KB www.dailymail.co.uk

(2.06/11)  16 
1.1
Schumer Is All In For Trump's Infrastructure Plan

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he supports President-elect Donald Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure plan Tuesday, a proposal that's been met with hesitance from GOP lawmakers. 2016-12-21 16:06 2KB dailycaller.com

(2.06/11)  17 
5.0
Meijer will have NES Classic systems Thursday morning

The hard-to-find revamp of the famous Nintendo system has been one of the hottest holiday items 2016-12-21 14:42 1KB rssfeeds.detroitnews.com

(2.06/11)  18 
0.8
Woman goes off on racist tirade in Kentucky JC Penney because Hispanic customer cut the line

An elderly white woman was filmed yelling racial slurs at a Hispanic customer and her friend at a J. C. Penney store in Louisville, Kentucky after one of the women supposedly cut the line. 2016-12-21 13:23 2KB www.dailymail.co.uk

(2.06/11)  19 
1.3
Delta changes policy after doctor incident on Detroit flight

The company said in a statement Monday that effective Dec. 1, Delta flight attendants are no longer required to verify medical credentials. 2016-12-21 13:01 3KB rssfeeds.11alive.com

(2.06/11)  20 
1.8
Lena Dunham Apologizes for Abortion Comment, Donates to Pro-Abortion Fund

The 'Girls' star faced intense backlash after saying she wished she had an abortion during an episode of her podcast last week 2016-12-21 12:32 2KB feedproxy.google.com

(2.04/11)  21 
0.9
In reversal, Navy won't scrap traditional job titles

In the Navy, a corpsman will still be a corpsman. Navy leaders are dumping a plan announced in September to eliminate dozens of enlisted sailors' job titles, some ending in "man. " They said sailors' anger over the changes had become a... 2016-12-21 14:22 899Bytes article.wn.com

(1.13/11)  22 
0.0
Explosion at Christian group building in Canberra, staff unhurt - media

SYDNEY, Dec 22 (Reuters) - A vehicle carrying gas bottles was driven into the headquarters of a Christian lobby group in the Australian capital of Canberra,... 2016-12-21 12:51 1KB www.dailymail.co.uk

(1.07/11)  23 
3.0
Dow 20K is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ for this bull market

Today's market is in the capitulation stage Today's market is in the capitulation stage 2016-12-21 14:01 1KB www.infowars.com

(1.05/11)  24 
3.1
TipRanks: Here are 10 stock picks for next year from the best health-care analysts of 2016

TipRanks presents the top 10 stock ideas for next year from the five best-performing health-care analysts of 2016. 2016-12-21 15:03 1KB www.cnbc.com

(1.05/11)  25 
2.0
2 Chainz Creates ‘The World’s Most Expensive Ugly Christmas Sweater’ To Help Charity

Rapper, 2 Chainz has designed 'The World's Most Expensive Ugly Christmas Sweater' hand-crafted by his personal jeweler, Avianne. 2016-12-21 13:51 2KB chicago.cbslocal.com

(1.04/11)  26 
1.8
Family of Slain ‘Voice’ Singer Sues AEG

The family of Christina Grimmie, the 22-year-old “Voice” contestant who was shot by a deranged fan in June, has filed a lawsuit alleging that the concert promoter and the venue failed t… 2016-12-21 14:58 2KB variety.com

(1.04/11)  27 
0.0
Infinum develops digital platform for The Museum of Broken Relationships

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- After circling the globe with over 40 temporary exhibitions and two... 2016-12-21 14:12 3KB www.prnewswire.com

(1.03/11)  28 
3.6
PRESS DIGEST-Australian News - Dec 22

Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (www.afr.com) Housing affordability shaping up ... 2016-12-21 16:44 1KB www.dailymail.co.uk

(1.03/11)  29 
0.0
Olivia Buckland and Alex Bowen recreate Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom's NAKED paddleboard trip

Love Island's Olivia Buckland and Alex Bowen took some time out of their holiday in Sardinia to recreate Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom's iconic naked paddleboard trip. 2016-12-21 16:01 2KB www.dailymail.co.uk

(1.03/11)  30 
1.0
Oil and the Arctic: what is at stake

A US-Canadian move to block new leases for oil or gas drilling in sovereign Arctic waters is designed to protect an area already severely disrupted by climat... 2016-12-21 14:45 4KB www.dailymail.co.uk

(1.03/11)  31 
1.1
Erdogan Embraces Bana al-Abed, Who Brought Child’s View of Aleppo to Twitter

Bana became a global sensation over the past few months for messages and videos posted to her Twitter account describing the horrors of Syria’s war in intimate detail. 2016-12-21 12:33 3KB www.nytimes.com

(1.03/11)  32 
1.6
‘Mrs. Claus’ dies in car crash while braving icy roads to visit children

The last thing Joyce Daniels did before she died was spread Christmas cheer dressed as Mrs. Claus. Just days before Christmas the Iowa woman who spent the last 15 years portraying Mrs. Claus died in a winter car accident. 2016-12-21 12:16 2KB www.charlotteobserver.com

(1.02/11)  33 
3.1
Parents of US woman held by Taliban hopeful for her release

STEWARTSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — The parents of an American woman being held captive by the Taliban say they are hoping President-elect Donald Trump will broker her ... 2016-12-21 16:55 1KB www.dailymail.co.uk

(1.02/11)  34 
0.0
The strangest Christmas traditions around the world

Flaming goats and red underpants? The holiday household can be a bubbling crucible of weirdness, exacerbated by proximity and eggnog. Merry Christmas! 2016-12-21 16:10 4KB rss.cnn.com

(1.02/11)  35 
0.4
Stunning photos show freak snowfall in Sahara Desert

Incredible photos have captured a freak snowfall in the small Saharan desert town of Ain Sefra, Algeria, on December 19. Luckily, amateur photographer, Karim Bouchetata was there at the time and his images are beautiful. 2016-12-21 15:43 3KB www.digitaljournal.com

(1.02/11)  36 
0.0
Cape Elizabeth narrows town manager finalists to two

Ephrem Paraschak, the town manager of Naples, and Matthew Sturgis, Cape Elizabeth's current tax assessor, are the final two candidates for the position. 2016-12-21 15:26 1KB www.pressherald.com

(1.02/11)  37 
1.4
Nations agree to identify bodies on Falklands

Argentina and Britain agreed on a framework to identify the bodies of dozens of unknown Argentine soldiers buried on the disputed Falkland Islands, Argentina's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. The two countries, which went to war over the islands in 1982 and have had strained relations... 2016-12-21 15:10 994Bytes article.wn.com

(1.02/11)  38 
2.6
Heartwarming video shows girl with autism singing ‘Hallelujah’

DONAGHADEE, United Kingdom -- A powerful video shows a 10-year-old girl with autism singing a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah. " Kaylee Rodgers, who has autism and ADHD, is shown belting the song out for the Killard... 2016-12-21 14:43 1KB myfox8.com

(1.02/11)  39 
3.8
Massive snow sculptures go on display in China

A Chinese festival features massive sculptures created from snow, including massive towers and a snowman measuring more than 100 feet tall. 2016-12-21 14:29 1KB www.upi.com

(1.02/11)  40 
1.3
Energy Dept. Offers $2B Loan to La. Carbon-Storage Project

The Energy Department said Wednesday it is offering a conditional, $2 billion loan guarantee to capture and store carbon dioxide at a planned Louisiana methanol plant, the latest element of President Barack Obama's strategy to slow global warming. The Lake Charles Methanol plant will use... 2016-12-21 13:35 4KB abcnews.go.com

(1.02/11)  41 
1.8
MTV Pulls Racist ‘Resolutions for White Guys’ Video Amid Outrage

Video focused entirely on skin color Video focused entirely on skin color 2016-12-21 13:24 3KB www.infowars.com

(1.02/11)  42 
1.6
Cross Pen Maker Seeks Revival With Flagship Store

The 170-year-old company that makes Cross pens now has a flagship retail store at its new Providence headquarters. The new A. T. Cross Co. store opened Wednesday. CEO Robert Baird says the company's recent move from suburban Lincoln, Rhode Island, to the Foundry complex near downtown... 2016-12-21 12:09 1KB abcnews.go.com

(0.02/11)  43 
3.1
US STOCKS-Wall St eases in muted trading as investors pause

By Tanya Agrawal Dec 21 (Reuters) - U. S. stocks eased in muted pre-holiday trading on Wednesday as investors paused a day after the Nasdaq Composite and the ... 2016-12-21 12:20 3KB www.dailymail.co.uk

(0.01/11)  44 
3.4
Review: 3 children release inspirational self-help books for children (Includes first-hand account)

Author Michael Evans Sr. has three kids, all of which published motivational self-help books for other kids. Digital Journal has the scoop. 2016-12-21 13:31 5KB www.digitaljournal.com

 45 
1.3
EU reprimands ex-commissioner Kroes, recoups cash

By Alastair Macdonald BRUSSELS, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The EU handed an unprecedented public reprimand to a former commissioner on Wednesday for taking allowance... 2016-12-21 17:15 3KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 46 
0.8
The Bachelor's Tiffany Scanlon explains WHY she and girlfriend Megan Marx went topless for their first magazine cover shoot

Tiffany Scanlon and Megan Marx have celebrated their blossoming relationship by posing topless on the latest cover of Maxim magazine. 2016-12-21 17:09 2KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 47 
1.6
Celebrity trainers offer 9 steps for getting back to the gym

Looking to get back into working out after a lengthy or perhaps a lifelong hiatus but feeling intimidated at the thought of squatting alongside hand-standing... 2016-12-21 17:07 5KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 48 
1.7
Bubbly Gogglebox star Sandra can't contain her festive spirit as she visits Father Christmas in his grotto... after her pal Sandra quits show to pursue singing career

Sandra Martin couldn't contain her festive spirit asshe headed to Stephens Green Shopping Centre in Ireland to have her picture taken with Santa in his grotto on Wednesday. 2016-12-21 16:58 3KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 49 
1.3
San Jose boy seeks donations for Marine Corps Toys for Tots program

A San Jose boy has been hard at work collecting donations for the Marine's Toys for Tots program. 2016-12-21 16:56 2KB abc7news.com

 50 
1.8
This analyst's big sigh pretty much sums up Twitter's outlook on Wall Street

The departure of so many executives is "extremely unusual," Mark Mahaney, RBC's managing director and internet analyst, told CNBC. 2016-12-21 16:55 2KB www.cnbc.com

 51 
2.4
KATIE HOPKINS: Fat? Female? Poor little Lena just loves being a victim. Let's hope she never finds out the real meaning of the word

You cannot be a credible young person these days without being a victim, writes KATIE HOPKINS. 2016-12-21 16:53 5KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 52 
2.6
Kourtney Kardashian reveals she bought SIX Christmas trees for her Calabasas mansion

In a post to her website kourtneykardashian.com she wrote: 'Christmas is my favorite holiday and I love to get into the spirit by decorating a bunch of trees! We ended up with 6 trees this year!' 2016-12-21 16:51 3KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 53 
2.2
Maryland officials considered sanctions over 'Serial' audio

BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland officials considered sanctioning the producers of the popular 2016-12-21 16:43 1KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 54 
0.0
Review: Wilson's words sing in Washington's 'Fences'

The blue music of 2016-12-21 16:37 4KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 55 
1.0
Jenna Coleman nails boho chic as she steps out with boyfriend Tom Hughes at VIP screening... after confirming their relationship with smitten PDA

Making an entrance at the Soho Hotel venue, the Victoria star, 30, caught the eye in a smart bohemian ensemble comprised of black turtle neck sweater and sweeping plaid skirt 2016-12-21 16:30 3KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 56 
3.1
Record number of Obamacare sign-ups on HealthCare.gov for 2017 health insurance coverage

About 6.4 million people signed up on the federal insurance exchange amid promises by president-elect Donald Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 2016-12-21 16:30 6KB www.cnbc.com

 57 
2.9
Gallardo to stay with River next year

The trainer added another trophy to his collection with the Copa Argentina last week, and has now put fans' minds at rest with the news he will continue in the job... 2016-12-21 16:22 665Bytes article.wn.com

 58 
2.6
Hollywood's humblest superstar! Tom Hanks responds to fan's note with kind message and special selfie

The A-lister, 60, has added another memorable footnote in his interactions with the public, this time giving a Toronto woman a once-in-a-lifetime thrill as he responded to her letter in inimitable fashion. 2016-12-21 16:14 3KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 59 
2.2
How many U. S. adults are transgender?

Results are in from one of the first comprehensive surveys on the subject 2016-12-21 16:14 2KB www.cbsnews.com

 60 
1.4
Strictly's Ore Oduba shows off incredibly honed physique in Instagram selfie

Ore Oduba's efforts on the dance floor have paid off in many ways, it would seem. 2016-12-21 16:11 4KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 61 
2.1
Emma Stone talks surviving childhood anxiety as she smolders for Rolling Stone cover

America's sweetheart Emma Stone graced the cover of Rolling Stone's January issue and led the first month of the magazine's 50th anniversary year. 2016-12-21 16:10 1KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 62 
2.0
Boy battling leukaemia conducts orchestra

A seven-year-old boy with leukaemia has a wish come true conducting the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. 2016-12-21 16:09 661Bytes www.bbc.co.uk

 63 
2.0
Pirelli calendar star Helen Mirren admits she despairs at being called a sex symbol

Helen Mirren, 71, was recently photographed with no make-up on for the Pirelli calendar. She has spoken out about how she wants it to become a trend and how she's tired of being called a sex symbol. 2016-12-21 16:09 3KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 64 
3.0
Lisa Appleton exposes her bottom in skin-tight skirt and mesh top

The voluptuous former Big Brother star, 48, caught the eye as she made her way into popular local nightspot Menagerie, where she was on hand to help pal Chrissie Wunna celebrate her 36th birthday 2016-12-21 16:07 3KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 65 
3.8
French film on Jerusalem sparks uproar for inaccuracies

The documentary discusses the “knife intifada” and the explosive situation in Israel’s capital. 2016-12-21 16:06 4KB www.jpost.com

 66 
2.2
Mercedes vehicles use 54 per cent more fuel on the road than they claim

A new report has highlighted the average gap between real-world fuel consumption and lab results in cars in Europe is 42 percent, but the gap in Mercedes A and E classes are as high as 56 percent. 2016-12-21 16:04 3KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 67 
0.9
Pixie Lott stuns as she's joined by shirtless Oliver Cheshire for Instagram snap

Pixie Lott and fiancé Oliver Cheshire proved they were made for each other as they shared a sexy, yet comical bathroom snap on Instagram on Wednesday where the male model went topless. 2016-12-21 16:03 3KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 68 
0.3
Has Jesy Nelson got a new beau? Little Mix star spotted in Paris with rumoured love interest Bradley Churchill... following Jake Roche split

The Little Mix star has been spotted out in Paris with her rumoured new beau, Bradley Churchill who apparently landed in the City Of Light by private jet on Wednesday. 2016-12-21 16:02 2KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 69 
3.3
Michigan State Police unveil hat style last worn in 1920s

Troopers will begin wearing the hats on Thursday, Dec. 22. 2016-12-21 16:02 1KB www.mlive.com

 70 
2.7
Chef Maria Vieages returns to Louisiana after cooking for stars

She cooked for Dan Rather, Rue McClanahan who was a pescatarian vegetarian, Carlos Santana, musician and producer Narda Michael Walden, vocalist and guitarist Sammy Hagar, and guitarist vocalist Kevin Campbell. 2016-12-21 16:00 5KB www.nola.com

 71 
1.2
Impact investing growing quickly, but has long way to go -GIIN

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss NEW YORK, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Impact investments, which support social change while making money, have grown rapidly over the last... 2016-12-21 15:56 2KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 72 
1.9
Couple capture video of moose licking their car at Alberta park

A couple out searching for wildlife in Alberta had an unexpectedly close encounter when a moose decided to lick the salt from their car. 2016-12-21 15:54 1KB www.upi.com

 73 
2.7
Jessica Cunningham sizzles in nothing but a fur coat and lingerie in festive snap

She came fourth place in Sunday night's grand finale of The Apprentice 2016. But that hasn't stopped Jessica Cunningham getting out there and hawking her brand. 2016-12-21 15:54 2KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 74 
1.1
US water projects aimed at easing drought to get $225M

The federal government will spend nearly a quarter-billion dollars to finance several dozen projects aimed at easing the effects of drought in the western U. S. and restoring watersheds that... 2016-12-21 15:51 3KB www.cbs46.com

 75 
1.6
Charles Schumer fires longtime staffers just days before the holidays

Incoming Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer has given the axe to a handful of Democratic staffers in the office that produces videos to boost party officeholders. 2016-12-21 15:50 3KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 76 
2.6
Zenbo robot choir sing Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas'

ASUS launched its new robot in a way that is sure to spread some holiday cheer - a choir of Zenbos. Ten bots took the stage in Taiwan singing Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You'. 2016-12-21 15:48 4KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 77 
2.7
The World War II hero Trump has been emulating all along

Donald Trump's words and actions continue to resemble the volatile behavior of an iconic World War II hero, says Jake Novak. 2016-12-21 15:47 8KB www.cnbc.com

 78 
3.7
U. S. manufacturing job openings at 9-year high

The number of job openings in the U. S. manufacturing sector is back to pre-recession levels and three times higher than it was in 2009. 2016-12-21 15:43 4KB rss.cnn.com

 79 
0.0
New casting info for early January extra roles

Although we are at the end of the calendar year, casting calls for movies and television shows being produced in and around metro Atlanta continue. 2016-12-21 15:39 3KB rssfeeds.11alive.com

 80 
1.5
David Barton Gyms Abruptly Close as Other Gyms Scoop Up Members

The longtime New York gyms, known for their nightclub-like atmospheres, shuttered Wednesday. 2016-12-21 22:15 3KB www.dnainfo.com

 81 
2.1
Report: Drug price spikes threaten patient health, ecomomy

The broader economic stability of households across the U. S. might also be affected. 2016-12-21 15:39 6KB chicago.suntimes.com

 82 
2.2
Anti-Muslim Threat At U. Michigan Was A Huge Hoax

A Muslim University of Michigan student who said a man threatened to light her on fire after President-elect Donald Trump's victory was lying about the whole thing, police said Wednesday. The stude 2016-12-21 15:38 2KB dailycaller.com

 83 
5.3
CNN Opinion's Best of 2016

It's been quite a year -- here's a look back on 2016 with twenty of CNN Opinion's most popular articles. 2016-12-21 15:38 17KB rss.cnn.com

 84 
3.3
Liam Neeson can't shake his "Taken" persona in an audition for Santa

“I see you when you’re sleeping. I know when you’re awake” takes on a whole new meaning when Liam Neeson says it 2016-12-21 15:37 1KB www.cbsnews.com

 85 
1.4
Azealia Banks addresses Nicki Minaj after rumors the singer mocked her

She recently revealed she suffered a miscarriage in a now-deleted Facebook post. And after, Azealia Banks took to the social media website yet again to share news of an entirely different manner. 2016-12-21 15:37 2KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 86 
2.2
'Everyone should be ashamed': Mark Wahlberg film Patriots Day slammed for 'disgraceful exploitation' of Boston bombing as victims reveal they were never contacted about the movie

'Everyone involved in this movie should be ashamed of themselves,' wrote Sean Burns in his review of the film, which he labeled 'as disgraceful an exploitation of real-life tragedy as I’ve ever seen.' 2016-12-21 15:32 6KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 87 
2.9
Oscars: Academy Announces 7 Makeup and Hairstyling Finalists

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the seven finalists for this year’s makeup and hairstyling Oscar. The seven films are: “Deadpool” “The Dressmaker” “Florence Fost… 2016-12-21 15:31 1KB variety.com

 88 
0.2
Christmas cheer falls flat in crisis-hit Rio

The Grinch -- in the form of devastating recession, giant corruption and unpaid salaries -- has stolen Rio de Janeiro's Christmas. Things are so tight in Brazil's party city that the traditional giant Christmas tree on the lagoon has been canceled. 2016-12-21 15:30 4KB www.digitaljournal.com

 89 
3.7
Kendrick and Co. celebrate the community and spirit of Nickerson Gardens

“The only thing that changed around here are the color of the projects, the color of the bricks.” 2016-12-21 15:30 5KB www.latimes.com

 90 
2.7
How robots will change the American workforce

Thirty of the world’s top scientists are scheduled to meet at UC San Diego in February to discuss the toughest challenges in robotics and automation, including how to make driverless cars safe for a mass audience. 2016-12-21 15:25 6KB www.sandiegouniontribune.com

 91 
1.1
Scientists Find Snowman Five-Millionths Of An Inch Tall

Scientists at the University of Birmingham discovered a five-millionths of an inch tall nanoparticle that bears a striking resemblance to a festive snowman. The snowman is a platinum-titanium nano 2016-12-21 15:23 2KB dailycaller.com

 92 
0.0
Hedy Weiss' best of Chicago theater 2016

Queen Elizabeth II pronounced the year 1992 "annus horribilis," the Latin term for "horrible year," and while on many fronts that phrase could easily 2016-12-21 15:21 7KB chicago.suntimes.com

 93 
1.0
Ecuador Moves To Close Leading Environmental Organization as Part of Crackdown on Civil Society

Ecuador's Environment Ministry announced yesterday its intention to shutter Acción Ecológica, the country's leading grassroots environmental organization. The move is a clear reprisal to the group's efforts to raise awareness about environmental and indigenous rights concerns over a planned mega-copper mine on the lands... 2016-12-21 15:04 6KB www.commondreams.org

 94 
3.0
Artist Spotlight: Nique Love Rhodes & NLR Experience

The hip-hop, jazz, soul and fun outfit will perform Dec. 29 at Tangent Gallery and Hastings Streeet Ballroom 2016-12-21 15:01 1KB rssfeeds.detroitnews.com

 95 
1.4
Michelle Keegan talks about fears over blonde makeover for Tina and Bobby

The actress snubbed wigs for her role as Tina Moore in new ITV drama, Tina and Bobby - choosing to really get into character and go to the light side. 2016-12-21 15:01 5KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 96 
4.0
OPERA REVIEW: THE BARBER OF SEVILLE

The cast was a pleasant surprise. It consisted mostly of not yet very well known talented Israeli and foreign singers who performed their roles with remarkable artistic capability. 2016-12-21 15:01 2KB www.jpost.com

 97 
1.4
‘Passengers’ reduces meaty premise to ordinary romance

Imagine being trapped on a spaceship with only your lover and a robot bartender for nearly a century _ there isn’t a spaceship big enough or a bar that well-stocked … Imagine being trapped on a spaceship with only your lover and a robot bartender for nearly a... 2016-12-21 15:00 3KB www.sfexaminer.com

 98 
0.0
Deborah Lipstadt finds her voice in ‘Denial’

A guest of the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival, the Holocaust historian and author speaks to the ‘Post’ about her role in the making of a new Holocaust film and the perils of ignoring history. 2016-12-21 14:57 8KB www.jpost.com

 99 
2.5
Maine’s Cioppa named vice president of insurance commissioners association

The association establishes national standards and best practices, conducts peer reviews and coordinates regulatory oversight. 2016-12-21 14:55 1KB www.pressherald.com

 100 
0.0
Sales tax take drops at Jefferson malls heading into holidays, still ahead of 2015 pace

Overall collections increased slightly from the 17 sales taxes levied by the parish. 2016-12-21 14:53 2KB www.nola.com

 101 
0.0
Disney's 10 highest-grossing movies ever

In 2016, Disney became the first movie studio to ever make more than $7 billion in worldwide ticket sales in a single year. 2016-12-21 14:53 1KB www.wxyz.com

 102 
2.6
Rock band Yes headed to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2017

After many years of waiting, rock band Yes is finally headed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as part of its class of 2017. 2016-12-21 14:48 3KB www.digitaljournal.com

 103 
3.6
Lin-Manuel Miranda named AP Entertainer of the year

Miranda was virtually everywhere in popular culture this year — stage, film, TV, music and politics, while engaging on social media as he went. 2016-12-21 14:35 6KB chicago.suntimes.com

 104 
3.4
Spectrum Health releases top 10 baby names of 2016

The Top 10 Baby Names List is released each year by the Family Birthplace at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. 2016-12-21 14:34 989Bytes www.mlive.com

 105 
6.7
Entertainment Calendar: Music, theater and more

Performances by Keegan-Michael Key, Jeff Daniels, Trey Songz and more 2016-12-21 14:32 2KB rssfeeds.detroitnews.com

 106 
5.0
The Dumbest Most Racist Video Ever…. Debunked!

MTV's anti-white hatred blows up in its face MTV's anti-white hatred blows up in its face. 2016-12-21 14:23 839Bytes www.infowars.com

 107 
0.6
Kate Gosselin talks her fears in new episode of Kate Plus 8

Kate Gosselin experienced some discomfort in Tuesday night's episode of Kate Plus 8. With her kids having fun at space camp, they went through an aviation process. 2016-12-21 14:22 2KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 108 
1.9
Head-injury survivors and suicide risk

Letters: There is compelling research to demonstrate that head-injury survivors – even survivors of concussion – are at particular risk of suicide 2016-12-21 14:22 1KB www.theguardian.com

 109 
2.9
Disney gives holiday treat for annual passholders

Walt Disney World's annual passholders are getting a holiday treat at the theme park gates: they'll be able to bypass long lines at the entrances by using special turnstile gateways... 2016-12-21 14:21 698Bytes article.wn.com

 110 
2.0
Homeless advocates go face to face with DC Councilman

People are dying, and not enough is being done about it. That was the message from a group of passionate homeless advocates, who came face to face with D. C. Council members on Wednesday morning. 2016-12-21 14:20 3KB rssfeeds.wusa9.com

 111 
1.9
First Bourbon Fest, now Bloody Mary Festival, coming March 26

New Orleans Bourbon Festival is the same weekend, March 24-26, with its headquarters at the Marriott-Convention Center, 859 Convention Center Blvd. 2016-12-21 14:19 1KB www.nola.com

 112 
1.0
Pinterest-inspired snap goes hilariously wrong when baby son pulls horrified face

When parents Aileen and Angus Baird, from Dundee, tried to capture a Pinterest-style portrait with their newborn son, they found baby Bradley made his feelings about the snap abundantly clear. 2016-12-21 14:10 3KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 113 
3.4
Trump praises Michigan GOP while weighing RNC chairman call

LANSING, Michigan (AP) -- Donald Trump is nearing a decision on who will lead the Republican National Committee and could tap Michigan Republican Party cha 2016-12-21 14:00 4KB mynorthwest.com

 114 
7.4
James Taylor cancels concert in the Philippines due to drug war

James Taylor has canceled his February concert in Manila. 2016-12-21 14:00 2KB feeds.nydailynews.com

 115 
0.6
Trudeau Touts Trump's Support for KXL, Sparking Fears of Pipeline Resurrection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touted U. S. President-elect Donald Trump's support for the Keystone XL pipeline to an audience of business leaders and oil company executives in Calgary, Alberta—the heart of Canada's oil industry—on Wednesday. "If Keystone XL is ever proposed again... 2016-12-21 13:58 3KB www.commondreams.org

 116 
1.0
UK's austerity welfare spending is closer to poorest nations of EU

Britain was only rich EU country to cut welfare as a proportion of GDP over four years – but it does spend more on subsidising housing, says Eurostat 2016-12-21 13:54 3KB www.theguardian.com

 117 
3.1
York Police Department helps kids, families at Christmas

Police in York, South Carolina, along with volunteers, collected donations to give Christmas gifts to 87 kids from 37 families. The gifts included toys, clothing, shoes and most of all - love. 2016-12-21 13:53 3KB www.heraldonline.com

 118 
0.0
House tour: A cloud-like condo in the former NOCCA school building

The couple's condo would fill the space that formerly had been NOCCA's dance studio and black-box theater. What could be a more suitable home for a woman whose life has revolved around acting? 2016-12-21 13:52 5KB www.nola.com

 119 
1.7
Nigerian lawsuit revives billion-dollar oil scandal

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency is reviving a five-year-old scandal involving one of Africa’s richest oil blocs, in which a former petroleum minister and his allies allegedly made $1.1 billion dollars and the… 2016-12-21 13:50 3KB wtop.com

 120 
3.3
Watch the first surgery recorded with Snapchat Spectacles

Shafi Ahmed, a teaching surgeon in the United Kingdom, put on a pair of Spectacles earlier this month to record a hernia procedure for his students. 2016-12-21 13:50 1KB www.aol.com

 121 
0.9
Hyundai's top U. S. executive resigns

WASHINGTON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Co's top U. S. executive Dave Zuchowski has resigned effective immediately and has been replaced on an interim ba... 2016-12-21 13:49 1KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 122 
1.2
She certainly has a spring in her step! Ivanka Trump steps out wearing pretty pastels and sunglasses on the first day of winter after happily celebrating the completion of her upcoming book

The 35-year-old businesswoman donned a white turtleneck featuring pastel geometric patterns and pale pink dress pants as she headed to work on Wednesday. 2016-12-21 13:46 1KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 123 
2.6
Elizabeth Olsen goes make-up free as she showcases her toned physique heading for a workout

The 27-year-old showcased her toned physique as she headed make-up free to the gym on Tuesday in Los Angeles as she kept in shape for the holidays 2016-12-21 13:45 2KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 124 
0.0
Five takeaways from the Lakers' 117-113 loss to the Charlotte Hornets

As the Lakers near the end of their longest road trip of the season, all that’s left in this swing is a Florida back-to-back with the Miami Heat on Thursday and the Orlando Magic on Friday. 2016-12-21 13:45 2KB www.latimes.com

 125 
0.0
US military preparing for biggest Okinawa land return in over 40 years — RT America

The US military announced it is preparing to return thousands of hectares of land in Okinawa to Japan, marking the largest such transfer since 1972. It follows numerous demonstrations against the military's presence on the Japanese island. 2016-12-21 13:41 2KB www.rt.com

 126 
0.4
A tale of two Christmases: Plains and the West brace for a winter storm with blizzards, freezing rain and strong winds forecast while temperatures push 50F in the rest of the country

After a sharp polar vortex last week, much of New England and the northeastern seaboard is set for a warmer Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 2016-12-21 13:41 2KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 127 
3.4
Will car vending machine upend used car sales?

Online used car retailer Carvana opened its newest 'vending machine' last week in Houston, where the gleaming, glass-encased structure sits right off a busy freeway. 2016-12-21 13:38 5KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 128 
1.2
Stolen paintings recovered in Ukraine return to Verona

VERONA, Italy (AP) — Italy's culture minister has traveled to Kiev to recover 17 paintings — including works by Tintoretto, Rubens and Mantegna — that were stolen from a Verona museum and recovered by Ukrainian law enforcement more than seven... 2016-12-21 13:36 798Bytes article.wn.com

 129 
1.9
Zsa Gabor's life was the stuff of legends

To the editor: I worked with Zsa Gabor on an episode of “City” at CBS around 1991. It was a memorable experience for me, but I think Gabor will be remembered less for her acting and more for being herself. (“ Zsa Gabor dies at... 2016-12-21 13:35 1KB www.latimes.com

 130 
0.7
Hey, liberals, stop complaining about the electoral college and get to work

To the editor: Shaking my head in wonderment is about my only response to the campaign to persuade electoral college members to vote contrary to their states’ popular votes. (“ With 304 votes, electoral college seals Donald Trump's election as president ,” Dec. 19) 2016-12-21 13:35 2KB www.latimes.com

 131 
2.9
Jeff Bridges Honored by Santa Barbara Film Festival With Riviera Award

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has selected Jeff Bridges as the recipient of its 2017 American Riviera Award. Bridges will be honored at a tribute celebrating his career on Feb. 9 at… 2016-12-21 13:30 2KB variety.com

 132 
2.6
A. M. notes: Utah is the fastest-growing state, 'Light the World' update, winter is here, chances of a white Christmas

Want to know the news of the day? Here's a look at some of the biggest trending stories around Utah and the United States. 2016-12-21 13:30 4KB www.deseretnews.com

 133 
3.8
State budget director John Roberts to join Blue Cross

Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget director John Roberts is leaving state government for an executive job at Blue Cross. 2016-12-21 13:29 2KB rssfeeds.detroitnews.com

 134 
0.0
Why the Internet may shut down for 24 hours next year

U. S. technology security executive James Carder ominously predicts that the entire Internet will shut down for 24 hours in 2017. 2016-12-21 13:29 1KB www.aol.com

 135 
1.0
Minority Students Fight Over Who Is Most Oppressed

A "Students of Color" conference at the University of California Irvine in late November descended into chaos as attendees couldn't agree on which students of color were experiencing the greatest oppr 2016-12-21 13:22 2KB dailycaller.com

 136 
3.3
Old papers shed new light on South Korea deal with Lockheed Martin

Letters to former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il from South Korean President Park Geun-hye are shedding light on how Park navigated inter-Korea relations. 2016-12-21 13:22 3KB www.upi.com

 137 
3.6
Denver requiring single bathrooms to be gender-neutral

Denver is joining other cities around the country in requiring that standalone public bathrooms be open to anyone who wants to use them. 2016-12-21 13:20 1KB www.washingtontimes.com

 138 
2.4
25 years later: 7 shockwaves from breakup of Soviet Union

The Soviet Union collapsed 25 years ago this Christmas Day, and the impact is still felt. 2016-12-21 13:19 7KB rssfeeds.usatoday.com

 139 
1.7
This law poses the greatest threat to Donald Trump

Trump won't be able to do anything resembling helping friends, family or himself to make a profit off of information while president under the Stock Act. 2016-12-21 13:12 1KB www.aol.com

 140 
2.1
Actelion re-enters talks with J&J in takeover twist

ZURICH, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The takeover battle surrounding Actelion heated up on Wednesday when the Swiss biotech company said it had begun exclusive talks w... 2016-12-21 13:08 1KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 141 
0.0
Audit: Utah spent $4.4 billion in federal funds in 2016

Almost 23 percent of all Utah spending in fiscal year 2016 came from federal funds. 2016-12-21 13:05 1KB www.washingtontimes.com

 142 
0.2
After threat of lawsuit, Paramount metal company promises to clean up toxins

A Paramount metal company vowed to clean up its operations and stop emitting elevated levels of a cancer-causing substance after county and regional air officials threatened to file a joint public nuisance lawsuit this week. Anaplex Corp., one o 2016-12-21 13:03 1KB www.presstelegram.com

 143 
4.5
'I'm incredibly proud of you': praise after pope pops out for new shoes

Francis poses for pictures and blesses shopworker’s crucifix during visit to pharmacy near the Holy See 2016-12-21 13:00 2KB www.theguardian.com

 144 
0.0
Disney-ABC Snapchat Shows: ‘The Bachelor’ Watch Party Aftershow

Snapchat has pulled Disney-ABC Television Group into its expanding original programming orbit, with the parties setting a pact under which the Mouse House’s TV division will produce several o… 2016-12-21 13:00 5KB variety.com

 145 
2.1
York County volunteers 'overjoyed' to give away presents and snacks for 1,000 families

Thanks to a joint effort between community organizers, generous donors and Hobby Lobby, the Feed the Hungry ministry is able to serve up to 1,000 York County families in need for the Christmas season. The ministry held a "God's Grace" event Wednesday in... 2016-12-21 12:56 3KB www.heraldonline.com

 146 
0.2
Study Finds Young Americans Living Home Highest Since WWII

A study found that 40% of young Americans are living home, the highest rate since World War II. Experts point to difficulties getting mortgages as well as rising rents and the general life difficulties of making it on your own. 2016-12-21 12:55 1KB newyork.cbslocal.com

 147 
3.3
Big Sean parts ways with house and sound studio in Hollywood Hills West

Hip-hop artist and record producer Big Sean has sold his home in Hollywood Hills West for $1.925 million. 2016-12-21 12:55 1KB www.latimes.com

 148 
0.8
Today's Dow is a lot different from just 20 years ago

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, a collection of 30 key U. S. stocks, is hovering near 20,000. Here's a look at how much this group of stocks has changed in just the past few decades. 2016-12-21 12:51 5KB rss.cnn.com

 149 
2.9
TOWIE's Georgia Kousoulou rocks a sexy Santa costume as co-stars Chloe and Courtney dress as saucy elves in fun festive snaps

The TOWIE star, 25, rocked a seasonal sexy Santa outfit as she and her co-stars posed for festive social media snaps. 2016-12-21 12:50 1KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 150 
0.0
City National, a major lender to start-ups, is done backing early stage tech companies, say sources

As a tough year for tech start-ups comes to a close, one of the leading providers of venture debt is exiting the market 2016-12-21 12:48 6KB www.cnbc.com

 151 
3.9
WATCH: Firefighters Battle Raging Fire At North Bergen Furniture Store

Video from the scene showed heavy flames and thick black smoke shooting through the roof at Kennedy Furniture on John F. Kennedy Boulevard. 2016-12-21 12:47 1KB newyork.cbslocal.com

 152 
4.2
Lord Jenkin of Roding obituary

Conservative cabinet minister who was the originator of the poll tax and a prime mover in the privatisation programmes of Margaret Thatcher 2016-12-21 12:44 10KB www.theguardian.com

 153 
3.3
12 books to read in 2017 if you want to get rich

From personal finance classics to new releases, these books can help you turn next year into a lucrative one. 2016-12-21 12:40 5KB www.cnbc.com

 154 
0.6
Older Americans Pushed Into Poverty as Feds Garnish Social Security for Student Debt

The federal government is garnishing Social Security checks to recoup unpaid student debt, leaving thousands of retired or disabled Americans below the poverty line and setting the stage for an even bigger problem, according to a new report. 2016-12-21 12:38 5KB www.commondreams.org

 155 
0.0
Tilda Swinton releases Margaret Cho emails about film role diversity

White actor, cast as character in Doctor Strange originally written as Tibetan man, criticised by Asian-American comedian 2016-12-21 12:38 4KB www.theguardian.com

 156 
0.3
Moving US embassy to Jerusalem could provoke violent 'chaos', experts warn

Donald Trump’s oft-stated desire to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv has been seen by many as a grave threat to the Israel-Palestine peace process 2016-12-21 12:36 8KB www.theguardian.com

 157 
4.0
Pennsylvania office worker transforms cubicle into Christmas log cabin

A Pennsylvania office worker took cubicle Christmas decorating to the next level by transforming her work space into a log cabin. 2016-12-21 12:32 1KB www.upi.com

 158 
1.3
Now THAT'S a cold war! Dramatic pictures show fearless Chinese soldiers undertaking extreme training in -27 degrees

Dramatic images show soldiers in China training in wintery conditions. The images taken on December 21 show soldiers lifting tires and crawling through the snow in Heihe. 2016-12-21 12:30 1KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 159 
1.6
How to make gougères (fancy cheese puffs) and more festive holiday appetizer recipes

Whether you’re planning a big holiday dinner or a festive cocktail party, odds are you’ll want some nibbles handy to keep the guests sated and merry. We’ve collected some of our favorite appetizer recipes from our Recipe Database to help you plan your celebrations. 2016-12-21 12:30 4KB www.latimes.com

 160 
1.9
Level 2 water restrictions for Knysna municipality

The Knysna Municipality in the Western Cape has enforced level 2 water restrictions with immediate effect. 2016-12-21 12:28 2KB www.news24.com

 161 
0.5
From drone disasters to some VERY risqué decorations: People share the hilarious Christmas fails that are guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit

With all the stress of last-minute present buying, decorating and preparing to put up with the in-laws, sometimes it's easy to miss the humour in the bizarre situations that arise in the festive season. 2016-12-21 12:25 1KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 162 
0.0
Kerry Wasn't Invited To The Latest Syria Talks

Ambassadors from Russia, Iran and Turkey met in Moscow Tuesday to engage in negotiations regarding the ongoing crisis in Syria, intentionally excluding Secretary of State John Kerry. No U. S. repres 2016-12-21 12:25 3KB dailycaller.com

 163 
3.7
Puerto Rico seeks private sector help to save pension system

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A top designated official for Puerto Rico's governor-elect says he plans to pursue public-private partnerships to rescue a publi... 2016-12-21 12:23 1KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 164 
1.1
The solo route to retirement: Adopting an individual 401(k)

One of the best kept secrets for the nation's 15 million self-employed is the individual 401(k) that allows big tax-deferred contributions. 2016-12-21 12:23 4KB www.cnbc.com

 165 
2.0
Boil water warning issue in Addison, Bridport, and Shoreham

A boil water notice remains in effect in three Addison County towns while water testing is being conducted for possible contamination. 2016-12-21 12:19 1KB www.washingtontimes.com

 166 
2.2
Hurricane Matthew leads to sinkholes on Hilton Head roads

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S. C. (AP) — An official says dozens of sinkholes have opened on Hilton Head Island roads since Hurricane Matthew brushed the island in ea... 2016-12-21 12:18 1KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 167 
3.4
Lufthansa's Eurowings adds air miles with new Munich routes

By Victoria Bryan BERLIN, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Eurowings outlined plans for new routes from Munich on Wednesday, maintaining its rapid expansion but raising co... 2016-12-21 12:12 3KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 168 
5.3
Kanye West cancels plans for European tour

Kanye West's fans won't get to see him perform in Europe anytime soon. 2016-12-21 12:09 1KB rss.cnn.com

 169 
0.3
Christmas presents, sex and alcohol: The things Brits say they would ditch for some winter sun

As the days grow shorter, Brits are so desperate for an extra hour of sunshine that 58 per cent said they would give up their Christmas presents in exchange for a holiday, according to a new study. 2016-12-21 12:07 2KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 170 
1.3
Louis Farrakhan sees new opening for black separatist message

Minister Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, spoke from a podium draped in the red, black and green of the Pan-African flag, a symbol of black pride. 2016-12-21 12:07 8KB www.washingtontimes.com

 171 
0.6
Hilary Duff 'has flirt session with Scott Eastwood at hot LA restaurant as her ex-husband Mike Comrie looks on'

She's newly single after her split with her trainer. And it looks like Hilary Duff is ready to mingle as she was spotted having a flirty time with hunky actor Scott Eastwood on Saturday evening. 2016-12-21 12:06 2KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 172 
1.7
What 2017 may mean for your personal finances

It's been a tumultuous 2016 — both financially and politically. The year may have left some people wondering, what's next? And, how will it affect me? Lackin... 2016-12-21 12:03 7KB www.dailymail.co.uk

 173 
0.9
The Invention Of The White Working Class

History warns us to be very, very careful when using the phrase “white working class.” The reason has nothing to do with political correctness. Rather, it concerns the changing historical definitions of who is “white.” 2016-12-21 12:03 11KB www.commondreams.org

Articles

DC5m United States art in english 173 articles, created at 2016-12-22 00:25

 

 1 /173 

0.0
Social media star Adam Saleh removed from Delta plane
(10.99/11)

Airline launches review after YouTube celebrity says he was forced off New York-bound plane after speaking Arabic.
An American social media celebrity says he was removed from a New York-bound plane in London after speaking Arabic on the aircraft.
Adam Saleh posted video of the incident on Wednesday to his Twitter feed.
"Delta airlines kicked us out for speaking Arabic to my mom on a plane," Saleh tweeted.
By the time of publishing, a recorded clip he posted had been shared more than 300,000 times.
"We're getting kicked out because we spoke a different language," Adam Saleh says in the clip. "This is 2016. Delta airlines are kicking us out because we spoke a different language. "
Addressing one his fellow passengers, he can be seen saying: "I spoke a word [of Arabic], and you said you feel uncomfortable? "
Saleh had been due to fly from London to New York with his friend Slim Albaher, who was also removed.
Saleh said that they were later placed on another flight, having been re-checked by security.
Saleh is a YouTube star, with more than 1.5 million subscribers. Many of his videos feature him carrying out practical jokes.
Delta takes allegations 'seriously'
A statement from Delta Air Lines, posted to its website, read: "Two customers were removed from this flight and later rebooked after a disturbance in the cabin resulted in more than 20 customers expressing their discomfort. "
The airline has launched a review "to understand what happened".
"We are taking allegations of discrimination very seriously; our culture requires treating others with respect," the statement continued.
In a final message before taking off, Saleh told his 257,000 Twitter followers that he would be visiting his lawyer when he arrives in New York, apparently over the incident that had just taken place.
Several people have been removed from planes over the past two years.
In August, Delta removed a Muslim couple travelling from Paris to Cincinnati after a member of staff complained of feeling uncomfortable with them on board.
Also in August, British Muslim siblings were removed from an Easyjet plane travelling from London to Naples after fellow passengers accused them of being members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
In November 2015, an American Muslim cited Islamophobia after being removed from a Lufthansa plane from Newark Liberty International Airport to Istanbul for further questioning.
Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American Relations (CAIR), said that the civil rights group was "reaching out to all parties" to investigate Wednesday's incident involving Saleh.
"We're very concerned about reports of this kind. If the allegations are true, they fit a pattern of these kinds of incidents over the years," he said.
He said "everybody just needs to use their common sense" when it comes to security.
"Despite world events, the world is a diverse place where people speak different languages, wear different attire and look different. That's not justification for removing someone from a plane. "
YouTube celebrity alleges discrimination in latest “Flying While Muslim” incident
charlotteobserver.com
YouTube prankster Adam Saleh says Delta booted him for speaking Arabic
rssfeeds.livingstondaily.com
Adam Saleh video: Delta kicks Arab man and YouTube personality from plane after complaints
wxyz.com
YouTuber Adam Saleh Says He Was Kicked Off Plane for Speaking Arabic
variety.com
YouTube star Adam Saleh says he was booted from a Delta flight for speaking Arabic
latimes.com
YouTube star Adam Saleh removed from Delta flight: 'I spoke Arabic'
upi.com
Passenger says Delta Air removed him from plane for speaking Arabic
dailymail.co.uk
Delta responds to YouTube star Adam Saleh's Arabic discrimination accusation
cbsnews.com

 

 2 /173 

2.4
Gingrich Says Trump Wants To Drop Draining The Swamp
(6.45/11)

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is casting doubt over whether President-elect Donald Trump still wants to use the phrase “drain the swamp.”
During the course of the election, Trump repeatedly used the phrase as a way to illustrate his promise to minimize the bureaucracy in Washington.
Gingrich, who worked as a Trump surrogate and currently serves as an adviser, said the president-elect’s narrative has shifted a bit since the campaign.
“I’m told he now just disclaims that,” he told NPR Tuesday . “He now says it was cute, but he doesn’t want to use it anymore … I’d written what I thought was a very cute tweet about ‘the alligators are complaining,’ and somebody wrote back and said they were tired of hearing this stuff.”
According to Gingrich, Trump is transitioning into a more presidential tone and looking at what the country needs to prioritize.
“I’ve noticed on a couple of fronts, like people chanting ‘lock her up,’ that he’s in a different role now and maybe he feels that as president, as the next president of the United States, that he should be marginally more dignified than talking about alligators in swamps,” he continued. “I personally have, as a sense of humor, like the alligator and swamp language.
While he personally likes the language, he supports Trump’s decision and will follow suit.
“I think it vividly illustrates the problem, because all the people in this city who are the alligators are going to hate the swamp being drained,” he said. “And there’s going to be constant fighting over it. But, you know, he is my leader and if he decides to drop the swamp and the alligator, I will drop the swamp and the alligator.”
Follow Juliegrace Brufke on Twitter
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].
Trump stops the 'drain the swamp' talk as new alligators emerge
latimes.com
Trump adviser says he is ditching 'drain the swamp'
deseretnews.com
Gingrich: Trump ditching ‘drain the swamp’ slogan
rssfeeds.detroitnews.com
Donald Trump backing away from 'Drain the Swamp,' Newt Gingrich says
aol.com
Trump disclaims ‘drain the swamp,’ says it was ‘cute,’ Gingrich says
pressherald.com
Trump won't use 'drain the swamp' anymore, Gingrich says
washingtontimes.com

 

 3 /173 

0.0
Kremlin says almost all Russia-US dialogue 'frozen'
(4.29/11)

The Kremlin said Wednesday that nearly all the communication channels between Moscow and Washington were frozen, local media reported.
"Practically all levels of dialogue with the United States are frozen," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Mir TV, state news agency RIA Novosti reported.
"We don't communicate with one another. Or we do so minimally. "
Russia finds itself locked in its worst standoff with the West since the Cold War over its 2014 annexation of Crimea, the conflict in Ukraine and lingering disagreements about the conflict in Syria.
US State Department spokesman John Kirby assured later Wednesday that "diplomatic engagement with Russia continues across a wide range of issues".
"That we have significant differences with Moscow on some of these issues is well known, but there hasn't been a break in dialogue," Kirby said, adding that Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov had spoken on the phone about the situation in Syria Tuesday.
The Obama administration on Tuesday reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining sanctions on Moscow over Crimea with new financial restrictions on Russian businessmen and companies.
The White House this month also pointed to direct involvement by Russian President Vladimir Putin in cyber attacks designed to impact the US election.
The upcoming presidency of Donald Trump now casts doubt over the future of US policy towards Russia given his apparently softer line on Putin.
The Kremlin strongman has reiterated Moscow's readiness to work with the Trump administration once the president-elect takes office in January, stressing the importance of normalising the countries' relations.
Kremlin says US-Russian ties "frozen"
article.wn.com
Kremlin says almost all dialogue with U.S. frozen -RIA
dailymail.co.uk
Kremlin says U.S.-Russian ties “frozen”
rssfeeds.detroitnews.com
Russia says most communication channels with the U.S. are 'frozen' and there has been a break in dialogue between the two countries
dailymail.co.uk
U.S.-Russia communication channels nearly 'frozen,' Kremlin says
upi.com

 

 4 /173 

1.7
Here's Your Ultimate New Year's Eve Party Guide
(4.17/11)

Start the New Year off in style.
Whether you're looking for an open bar with plenty of dancing or a four-course dinner that's a foodie's dream, there are plenty of New Year's Eve celebrations to help you ring in 2017 without the Times Square crush.
DNAinfo New York has rounded up parties and dinners in all five boroughs to help you start planning your big night out.
To jump to listings in your borough click here: ► Manhattan ► Brooklyn ► Queens ► The Bronx ► Staten Island
MANHATTAN
► The John Dory Oyster Bar
Where: 1196 Broadway, Upper West Side When: Noon to midnight
In addition to it's regular menu, the Upper West Side oyster bar will be serving a three-course prix fixe meal to celebrate New Year's Eve.
► Ocean Prime
Where : 123 W. 52nd St., Midtown When : 5 to 11 p.m.
The seafood-and-steaks spot is offering a special New Year's Eve-only menu featuring an array of decadent dishes — including caviar and Veuve Clicquot champagne, black truffle tagliatelle, seared scallops with bone marrow, and Parma ham-wrapped tilefish, among others.
► Gatsby’s House New Year’s Eve Party at Hudson Terrace
Where: Hudson Terrace, 621 W. 46th St., Hell's Kitchen When: 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Cost: $89
Take a trip back to Roaring '20s New York this New Year's Eve with this costume party that promises the glamor of "The Great Gatsby. " Partygoers will enjoy a 6-hour open bar and dancing. You must be 21 to attend, and tickets to the bash are available here.
► New Year's Eve Family Fireworks Gala on the Cornucopia Destiny Yacht
Where: Pier 36, 299 South St., Lower East Side When: Boarding begins at 8 p.m.; boat sails from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Cost: Tickets start at $189
Toast the new year aboard a boat. This cruise promises a view of New Year's Eve fireworks while you enjoy a dinner buffet, 4-hour open bar, and dancing to a live DJ. You can buy tickets here.
► New Year's Eve Black Tie Bash
Where: Rainbow Room, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 65th Floor, Midtown When: 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Cost: $595
Dust off those tuxedos and ball gowns. This New Year's Eve party features a premium open bar, passed canapes and magnificent views in The Gallery from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Then guests will settle in for a four-course tasting menu, live entertainment and dancing. Top it all off with a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are available here.
► The Slipper Room: The New Years Show
Where: The Slipper Room, 167 Orchard St., Lower East Side When: Doors at 8 p.m.; show at 9:30 p.m. Cost: $50 in advance; $60 at the door
Toast the new year at midnight during this "extravaganza" that will feature burlesque, boylesque, side show and magic. This event is 21 and up.
► The McKittrick Masquerade: A New Year's Eve Bohemian Soiree
Where: 530 W. 27th St., Chelsea When: 10:15 p.m. Cost: Tickets to the McKittrick Masquerade start at $225; Late night entry starts at $100
This masked ball promises an open bar, dancing and special performances to guests decked out in all gold, black, white or red. The party begins when that evening's "Sleep No More" performance ends, and some ticket packages include dinner at The Lodge, the McKittrick's indoor rooftop restaurant. Tickets are available for purchase here.
BROOKLYN
► New Year's Eve Party at Milk River Lounge
Where: Milk River Restaurant & Lounge, 960 Atlantic Ave., Prospect Heights When: 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Cost: General admissions tickets start at $30
If you want to spend your entire night at one spot, this might be the party for you. Milk River will host dinner from 7 to 10 p.m., dancing from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., and breakfast from 3 to 7 a.m. There will be a free champagne toast at midnight.
► BangOn! NYC Presents: New Year's Eve 2016 "Time and Space"
Where: A secret Bushwick warehouse location When: 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Cost: $60 to $140
Head to this secret Brooklyn warehouse party to "cruise through the cosmos under an expansive solar system installation. " The event will feature two stages and a silent disco so partygoers can dance the night away, as well as interactive performances from fire breathers and aerialists. Only ticketholders will be told the exact address of the party.
► Rooftop New Year's Eve
Where: Wahlburgers Coney Island, 3015 Stillwell Ave., Coney Island When: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. (fireworks begin at midnight) Cost: Free to attend
Head to the roof of this burger joint to catch the Coney Island fireworks. The restaurant will have heaters to keep partygoers toasty as well as a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. A full menu with New Year's Eve specials will also be available.
QUEENS
► New Year's Eve Party
Where: Sweet Afton Bar, 30-09 34th St., Astoria When: 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. Cost: $75
This Astoria bar is planning a 3-hour open bar in celebration of the new year. There will also be hors d'oeuvres, specialty cocktails and party favors as well as a champagne toast at midnight.
► New Years Eve at Studio Square
Where: Studio Square, 35-33 36th St., Long Island City When: 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Cost: $35
Sip on unlimited beer, wine and sangria from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. while dancing the night away to a live DJ all night. There will be free party favors for all guests. You can buy your ticket here.
THE BRONX
► Alex Sensation's Official New Year's Eve Party
Where: Salsa Con Fuego, 2297 Cedar Ave., University Heights When: 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Cost: $15 for the first 500 tickets
Watch the ball drop on a 30-foot video wall in at Salsa Con Fuego. For information about dinner or bottle service, call 718-561-6161.
STATEN ISLAND
► New Year's Eve at Above Rooftop
Where: Above Rooftop at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1100 South Ave., Bloomfield When: 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Cost: Tickets start at $79
Party above it all at the new rooftop bar, Above. This New Year's Eve bash features a 3-hour premium open bar, passed hors d'oeuvres, a DJ, champagne toast and party favors. You can also get VIP priority admission and bottle service for $129 a person if purchased before Dec. 18.
Chinese Lantern Festival adds New Year's fireworks display
wral.com
New Year’s Eve events in Metro Detroit
rssfeeds.detroitnews.com
CTA Offers Free Rides On New Year’s Eve For Another Year
chicago.cbslocal.com
Las Vegas Strip to close on New Year's Eve
washingtontimes.com

 

 5 /173 

5.9
The Latest: Lewandowski to open firm near White House
(3.23/11)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump (all times EST): 11:31 a.m. Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's controversial first campaign manager, is starting a political consulting firm and will not be joining the Trump administration. But Lewandowski won't be far. His new firm, Avenue Strategies, will be located about a block from the White House. Lewandowski led Trump's campaign through his improbable victory in the Republican primary, but he clashed the president-elect's family and was fired. Still, he remains close to Trump and says he considered "multiple opportunities within the administration. " Lewandowski is forming the firm with Barry Bennett, a former adviser to Ben Carson, Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Bennett also briefly advised the Trump campaign. ___ 10:46 a.m. A Democratic senator is questioning President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Treasury secretary about his vow to undo some financial regulations and his stake in a bank that profited from the foreclosure crisis. In a letter on Wednesday, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown posed 11 questions to Steve Mnuchin, the former Goldman Sachs executive. The questions range from whether he would be a strong defender of the Dodd-Frank law that imposed financial regulations after the 2008 economic meltdown to whether OneWest, a bank that foreclosed on thousands of homeowners after the housing crisis, got help from the FDIC. Mnuchin headed a group of investors who owned the bank, which foreclosed on more than 36,000 families in California alone - most in minority neighborhoods - according to the California Reinvestment Coalition. Brown is not on the panel that will consider the nomination but he is on the Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction on several financial issues. ___ 10:35 a.m. A leader of Donald Trump's transition says the president-elect is no longer interested in his catch phrase "drain the swamp" of Washington. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said his understanding is that Trump "now just disclaims that. He now says it was cute, but he doesn't want to use it anymore. " Gingrich made the remark in an interview that aired Wednesday on National Public Radio. Trump has said he never loved the phrase. But it has continued to be a popular feature on his post-election tour. And his aides say he remains committed to his underlying swamp-draining policies, such as banning outgoing Trump transition and administration members from lobbying for five years. Transition spokesman Jason Miller said Trump's "ethics reform policies are full speed ahead. " Miller added of the new president and his team: "We're going to change the way business is done in Washington and start putting the American people first. " ___ 7:20 p.m. The Israeli ambassador to the United States is urging the incoming Trump administration to move the U. S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Trump and his nominee for U. S. ambassador to Israel have pledged to move the embassy. But previous Republican presidents have made that promise without following through. Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer says it would be a "great step forward" for peace. He tells a Hanukkah reception at the Israeli embassy in Washington that it would send a "strong message against delegitimization of Israel. " The U. S. and nearly every other country have their embassies in Tel Aviv. Israel considers Jerusalem its capital, but Palestinians claim part of Jerusalem as the capital for a future Palestinian state. U. S. presidents have repeatedly waived a law requiring the embassy to be moved. ___ 2:40 p.m. Donald Trump's children may see his move to the White House as a way to raise money for pet causes. Two recent fundraising pitches featuring the incoming first family were meant to benefit charities. But they also raised the possibility the Trumps are inappropriately selling access. Eric Trump tried auctioning coffee with his sister, Ivanka, to raise money for a children's hospital. Eric and Donald Trump Jr. are named as part of a fundraiser that offered the chance to rub elbows with their father during Inauguration weekend. These events are dissolving as quickly as they become public, suggesting the family is learning on the fly what's acceptable. The Ivanka Trump coffee has been canceled. And on the Inauguration event, Hope Hicks, a Trump spokeswoman, said the sons "are not involved. " ___ Noon: President-elect Donald Trump is considering Jovita Carranza, who worked in President George W. Bush's administration, as his choice for U. S. trade representative. Trump is meeting with Carranza at his home in Florida on Tuesday. Carranza served as deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration under Bush. Trump is also meeting with businessman Luis Quinonez, who runs a company with military and health care ties. Quinonez is said to be under consideration as Veterans Affairs secretary. With just a handful of Cabinet posts to fill, Trump is facing some criticism for a lack of diversity in his senior team, which currently includes no Hispanics. The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials said Tuesday that it was "deeply concerned" at the lack of Hispanics considered for top jobs. Carranza was a member of Trump's Hispanic advisory council during the campaign. ___ 10:14 a.m. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is rejecting calls for a special Senate investigative committee focused on possible interference in U. S. elections by Russia and other countries. McConnell says a finding by U. S. intelligence officials that Moscow hacked Democratic emails in a bid to elevate Donald Trump "is a serious issue, but it doesn't require a select committee. " The Republican leader says in an interview with Kentucky Educational Television that he is "very concerned" that "the Russians were messing around in our elections," but said the Senate intelligence committee is able to investigate it. Senators including Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York and Republican John McCain of Arizona have called for a special Senate committee to investigate efforts by Russia, China and Iran to meddle in U. S. elections. ___ 8:40 a.m. Donald Trump is taking issue with Bill Clinton's criticisms of him. Clinton told a weekly newspaper in New York state earlier this month that Trump "doesn't know much. " Clinton went on to say: "One thing he does know is how to get angry, white men to vote for him. " The ex-president also claimed that the president-elect called him after his election victory over Hillary Clinton. First of all, Trump said in a two-part tweet Tuesday, "Bill Clinton stated that I called him after the election. Wrong, he called me (with a very nice congratulations). " Trump added that Clinton is the one who "'doesn't know much'... especially how to get people, even with an unlimited budget, out to vote in the vital swing states (and more). " The Clinton campaign, Trump says, "focused on the wrong states. " Trump fired off those tweets the morning after he formally won the presidency in Monday's Electoral College tally. Bill Clinton made his comments to The Record-Review, serving the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge. ___ 3:10 a.m. Jumping ahead of investigators, President-elect Donald Trump is blaming Islamic terrorists for deadly violence in Turkey and Germany and vowing anew to eradicate their regional and global networks. Authorities in both countries were still investigating Monday when Trump issued a pair of statements condemning the attacks. The White House had already described the episode in central Berlin, in which a truck rammed into shoppers at a Christmas market, as an apparent terrorist attack. Trump called the brazen shooting of Russia's ambassador to Turkey as he attended a photo exhibit "a violation of all rules of civilized order. " He says a "radical Islamic terrorist" had assassinated the diplomat, Andrei Karlov. Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Corey Lewandowski Opening Consulting Firm In Washington
dailycaller.com
Corey Lewandowski starts consulting firm
rss.cnn.com
Corey Lewandowski, former Trump campaign manager, opens consulting firm a block from White House
washingtontimes.com

 

 6 /173 

1.1
Viacom unit head overseeing MTV, Comedy Central to leave
(3.12/11)

By Liana B. Baker and Jessica Toonkel SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK Dec 21 (Reuters) - Longtime Viacom Inc executive Doug Herzog, who oversees the networks Comedy Central and MTV, is leaving the company next month, according to a memo to employees sent Wednesday from chief executive Bob Bakish. Herzog, a 25-year veteran at Viacom known for helping develop such MTV hits as "The Real World" and Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," is leaving as part of a restructuring following the appointment of Bob Bakish as chief executive officer earlier this month, sources told Reuters. Herzog was most recently president of Viacom's Music and Entertainment Group which also includes VH1, Spike and Logo. Bakish said in the memo that the brands in Herzog's group will now directly report to him. Viacom named Bakish, former head of its international business, as acting chief executive officer at the end of October, then permanent CEO on Dec. 12 as it announced the end of merger explorations with CBS Corp. He is the second high-ranking executive to announce a departure this month. Viacom's head of distribution, Denise Denson, a longtime executive who worked closely with former CEO Philippe Dauman, left earlier in December. ENVY OF PEERS? Bakish thanked Herzog for his "incredible contributions" to Viacom, noting his "sharp creative insight. " In his own memo to his staff, Herzog reciprocated Bakish's praise, telling employees they were "in very good hands" and predicting that Viacom would once again become "the envy of its peers. " Herzog began his career at Viacom as president of MTV Productions in 1984 and became president of Comedy Central in 1995. After leaving the company for a few years, he returned in 2004 to head the music and entertainment group. While Herzog helped elevate MTV and Comedy Central during his tenure, over the past few years both networks have suffered from lackluster ratings and the loss of talent such as Jon Stewart, the former host of "The Daily Show," and Stephen Colbert, the host of "The Colbert Report. " In an interview with Reuters in November, Bakish said fixing MTV is one of his top priorities. (Reporting by Liana B. Baker in San Francisco and Jessica Toonkel in New York; Editing by David Gregorio and Grant McCool)
Comedy Central, MTV head Doug Herzog leaving Viacom
rss.cnn.com
Comedy Central, MTV Chief Doug Herzog Exits Viacom
variety.com
Viacom unit head overseeing MTV, Comedy Central to leave: Sources
cnbc.com

 

 7 /173 

6.2
Detroit to get first ever Applebee’s, IHOP combo
(3.12/11)

Detroit — The menu hasn’t been released yet, but the first ever co-branded restaurant featuring Applebee’s and IHOP will open across from the Renaissance Center late next year.
TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants, a Livonia-based restaurant group, announced Wednesday afternoon the company plans to start work on the 300-seat “Applebee’s Grill and Bar/IHOP concept” inside the Millender Center in April. The 11,939-square-foot restaurant will employ 100 people.
“As we continue to lead the way in the restaurant industry, TSFR is proud to expand our portfolio by uniquely combining two nationally recognized and family-oriented brands into one co-branded restaurant in the City of Detroit,” said TSFR Executive Chairman Mark Schostak in a news release.
“Applebee’s is built on the concept of being a neighborhood grill and bar, which is the perfect complement to the welcoming, family-friendly environment IHOP has delivered for nearly 60 years. We look forward to bringing more jobs to our community and providing an elevated dining experience to all restaurant guests.”
Schostak is leasing the space from Riverfront Holdings, Inc., a General Motors Co. subsidiary.
“(This) demonstrates our commitment to providing a diverse selection of meal options to suit building visitors, office workers and Detroit residents' needs,” said Claudia Killeen, manager of Renaissance Center development, General Motors Company, in a news release. “This offers more selections for people as they can find breakfast, lunch and dinner at a single location when they visit, work or stay in Detroit’s most iconic building.”
Schostak opened Detroit’s first Applebee’s near the Ferndale border on 8 Mile in 2015. The company owns 25 Olga’s Kitchen locations, and several other restaurants in Michigan.
Nation's first IHOP/Applebee's combo restaurant coming to downtown Detroit
mlive.com
First-ever IHOP/Applebee's combination restaurant coming to downtown Detroit
wxyz.com
Detroit to get world's first combination IHOP/Applebee's
rssfeeds.freep.com

 

 8 /173 

3.8
Here are all the Twitter executives who flew the coop in 2016
(3.10/11)

Who is left at Twitter?
The social communications company has always done a poor job of establishing continuity in its most senior ranks. But even by Twitter's standards, 2016 was a tough year for turnover.
If you look back at the company's list of top executives on Jan. 1 of this year, 60 percent have departed. That doesn't include a number of other key VP-level executives running important parts of Twitter's business who also left in the past 12 months.
The revolving door at Twitter's highest ranks is not just a newsy storyline. It's a serious problem for a company trying to navigate a turnaround. A lack of continuity makes it harder to recruit other top talent, and it hinders things like product launches and media deals to have new leaders continually shuffled through the top jobs.
Most of the company's highest-profile departures this year seem to have been voluntary — that is, people are choosing to leave Twitter.
Yes, some folks who left, like CTO Adam Messinger, had been there for a few years and this kind of movement isn't uncommon, especially in the tech industry.
But people don't usually leave a fantastic work environment. And it isn't a coincidence that the Valley's most successful companies, like Facebook and Google and Apple , have kept their executive teams largely intact over the past decade.
Stable leadership usually means direction: A clear path outlining where the company is headed, and what the expectations are for getting there. Beyond live streaming video, Twitter doesn't seem to have that right now. And it's tough to win a game when you don't know what game you're supposed to be playing.
So how have Twitter's top ranks changed over the past year? Here's the list of key departures:
Woof. That's a long list, and one that gets extra attention given Twitter's very public nature. (It's tough to hide these kinds of departures when each executive tweets publicly on the way out.)
The obvious challenge for Twitter heading into 2017: Create some continuity at the top.
Twitter executive exodus put pressure on Dorsey
rss.cnn.com
Two More Twitter Executives Quit In Pattern Of Departures
dailycaller.com
Top Execs Abandoning Twitter Left and Right
infowars.com

 

 9 /173 

3.6
Woof! Wes Anderson reveals his next film and its stars
(3.09/11)

Here's what's new and interesting in the world of entertainment and the arts today:
Wes Anderson has officially announced his new film, an animated feature called "Isle of Dogs. "
While keeping the plot secret in Tuesday's video announcement, the filmmaker did unveil the movie's impressive voice cast, which features many of his frequent collaborators.
Joining Anderson in the video was one of the film's stars, Edward Norton, who shared a little bit about his "Isle of Dogs" role. Norton will be playing one of the "lead dogs" named Rex.
"Isle of Dogs" will also feature Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Scarlett Johansson , F. Murray Abraham, Tilda Swinton, Kunichi Nomura, Harvey Keitel, Akira Ito, Akira Takayama, Koyu Rankin, Yoko Ono, Courtney B. Vance, Greta Gerwig , Frances McDormand, Bob Balaban and Liev Schreiber.
Anderson fans, of course, may be a bit wary learning that his new project revolves around dogs, considering the director's track record when it comes to man's best friend .
"Isle of Dogs" will mark Anderson's return to animation following 2009's "Fantastic Mr. Fox," the positively received stop-motion animated film based on the Roald Dahl children's book.
Anderson's announcement was made in conjunction with his Crowdwise campaign to raise money for the nonprofit Film Foundation .
Watch the video above.
YouTube star claims he was 'thrown off flight for speaking in Arabic'
independent.ie
Wes Anderson announces title, cast for new stop-motion film
upi.com
Wes Anderson’s Next Film ‘Isle of Dogs’: Director Names Cast [VIDEO]
variety.com

 

 10 /173 

1.7
Boeing CEO says he assured Trump about Air Force One costs
(2.15/11)

PALM BEACH, Fla., Dec 21 (Reuters) - Boeing Co Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg met with President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday to address concerns about the replacement costs for Air Force One, which Trump has complained would top $4 billion. "We're going to get it done for less than that," Muilenburg told reporters after the meeting, saying that he discussed a "range of topics" with Trump. (Reporting by Melissa Fares; Writing by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Leslie Adler)
Trump to meet with defense contractors Boeing, Lockheed Martin
dailymail.co.uk
Trump to meet with Boeing, Lockheed Martin CEOs on Wednesday
cnbc.com
The Latest: Trump to meet with Boeing, Lockheed execs
wtop.com

 

 11 /173 

5.9
The 20 most popular hotels in Las Vegas
(2.15/11)

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.
Las Vegas is one of Expedia’s most popular destinations, and the most in demand hotel there is not a glitzy newcomer to the Strip like the Cromwell.
From June 30, 2015 to June 30, 2016, those honors went to Circus , a property that has been around for nearly 50 years. In addition to being a hotel, the property has a casino and theme park.
USA TODAY asked Expedia to review its data to determine the 20 most booked hotels in key U. S. destinations such as Las Vegas, New York, Chicago and Miami.
Other Las Vegas hotels that appeared in the top 20 include iconic properties such as the Bellagio and MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Newer properties such as the LINQ Hotel and Casino and the ARIA Resort and Casino also made the top 20.
Click on the photo gallery above to find out which other properties are Expedia’s most popular in the gaming and entertainment capital of the USA. And stay tuned for Expedia's picks from other popular U. S. destinations.
Trump hotel reaches union contract with workers in Las Vegas
lasvegassun.com
Motorcyclist critically injured in crash in North Las Vegas
lasvegassun.com
Las Vegas Strip to close on New Year's Eve
washingtontimes.com

 

 12 /173 

3.6
Trump forms new trade council to stop 'exodus of jobs'
(2.10/11)

On Wednesday, Trump announced he is forming a new White House National Trade Council that has one goal: "To make American manufacturing great again. "
It's a tall order. The U. S. has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000.
But Trump campaigned as a businessman who knows how to make global deals. Already, his tweets have pressured companies like Boeing ( BA ) and Lockheed Martin ( LMT ) to respond.
Trump is tapping economist Peter Navarro to head up the new trade council. Like Trump, Navarro does not think the Chinese play fairly on trade.
"It's not trade that's the problem, it's the bad trade deals," Navarro said on the campaign trail.
Navarro is the author of " Crouching Tiger: What China's Militarism Means for the World" and produced a documentary titled "Death by China: How America Lost his Manufacturing Base. "
Related: Trump's big cabinet surprise
Navarro and billionaire Wilbur Ross (now Trump's Commerce Secretary nominee) worked together on many of the economic policy details for Trump's campaign. In September, they argued Trumponomics would:
1. Cut government regulations by 10% (details weren't given on which regulations)
2. Eliminate America's $500 billion trade deficit (by renegotiating deals)
3. Expand U. S. energy production (by allowing more drilling and more coal burning)
Trump will be able to balance the budget after fixing trade, regulations and energy policy, Navarro and Ross said. But many experts think that is will be tough.
"Those who suggest that Trump trade policies will ignite a trade war ignore the fact that we are already engaged in a trade war," Navarro wrote in September.
Navarro has a PhD in economics from Harvard and is currently a business professor at University of California-Irvine.
Trump picks China hawk Peter Navarro for new trade post
cnbc.com
Trump stops the 'drain the swamp' talk as new alligators emerge
latimes.com

 

 13 /173 

6.2
Trump again claims he 'would have won' popular vote
(2.08/11)

In his latest Twitter tirade, President-elect Donald Trump has once again claimed he could have won more votes than his rival Hillary Clinton.
"I would have done even better in the election, if that is possible, if the winner was based on popular vote - but would campaign differently," he said.
The Republican insisted his strategy was more "sophisticated".
He won nearly three million fewer votes than the Democratic candidate, but prevailed in the electoral college.
The arcane but all-important institution formally certified him earlier this week as winner of the 2016 presidential election.
But the Manhattan billionaire is apparently still chafing at critics' claims that he lacks a popular mandate.
What exactly is the electoral college?
In two other tweets on Wednesday morning, Mr Trump said: "Campaigning to win the Electoral College is much more difficult & sophisticated than the popular vote. Hillary focused on the wrong states! "
The businessman - who is spending the festive season at his resort in Florida - added: "I have not heard any of the pundits or commentators discussing the fact that I spent FAR LESS MONEY on the win than Hillary on the loss! "
But Mr Trump appears to have conceded finally that he lost the popular vote.
Late last month he erroneously claimed in a tweet that "in addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally".
He later tweeted that there was "serious voter fraud" in Virginia, New Hampshire, and California.
No such electoral illegality has been adduced by US election officials or observers.
Mr Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th US president on 20 January.
They Fought the Donald...And They Won
commondreams.org
Trump tweets on Clinton winning popular vote
cbsnews.com

 

 14 /173 

3.2
Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth celebrate early Christmas with her family
(2.06/11)

NASHVILLE, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Miley Cyrus enjoyed an early Christmas celebration with Liam Hemsworth and her family this week.
The 24-year-old singer got into the holiday spirit Tuesday with fiancé Hemsworth, parents Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus, and siblings Trace, Noah, Brandi and Braison Cyrus.
"Cyrus fam Christmas in full swing," Brandi, a 29-year-old actress, captioned a photo of the group on Instagram.
Noah's puppy Sammy and Hemsworth's dog Dora also joined the family at the party. Miley Cyrus shared a picture of herself with Sammy, writing, "OH EM SAMMMMMYYYY!!!!!! "
She and Hemsworth reconciled in January after ending their engagement in 2013. The 26-year-old actor gave Miley Cyrus a colorful new ring and other gifts for her 24th birthday in November.
"Look at datttt Rainboooowwwwwwww rock! You always know how to make my 'grubby little kid fingers' *SHINE!*!!! " she wrote at the time.
The "Wrecking Ball" singer had showed off her diamond engagement ring from Hemsworth on The Ellen DeGeneres Show the month before. Sources previously told People that the couple are happier than ever since getting back together.
"Miley is a changed person, and she actually seems to enjoy it," an insider said. "[She's] very happy... With Liam back in her life, she seems to enjoy it much more. "
Liam Hemsworth spends Christmas with Miley Cyrus and her relatives in Instagram photo
dailymail.co.uk
Liam Hemsworth celebrates Christmas with Miley Cyrus' entire family -- and looks awkward in the family pic
aol.com

 

 15 /173 

1.8
Soldier denied hotel room because he's not yet 21
(2.06/11)

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — A soldier was denied the chance to rent a hotel room in southwest Florida because he is under age 21, even though a state law waives a minimum age requirement for people with military ID cards. The Fort Myers New-Press (http://newspr.es/2hIcJIh ) reported Tuesday that 20-year-old Army Pvt. Mason Ritums was notified that the Crestwood Suites in Fort Myers, Florida, doesn't rent rooms to anyone under 21. It turns out a state law was passed in 2015 specifically eliminating age requirements for anyone with identification showing they are on active duty. The vice president of the company that owns the hotel says he didn't know about the law. But Collier Dailey tells the newspaper that he would have waived the age policy anyway if he knew Ritums was in the Army. ___ Information from: The (Fort Myers, Fla.) News-Press, http://www.news-press.com
Soldier Denied Hotel Room Because He's Not yet 21
abcnews.go.com
Soldier denied hotel room because he’s not yet 21
wtop.com

 

 16 /173 

1.1
Schumer Is All In For Trump's Infrastructure Plan
(2.06/11)

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he supports President-elect Donald Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan Tuesday, a proposal that’s been met with hesitance from GOP lawmakers.
Trump has repeatedly said the country’s roads, bridges and railways are in a state of disarray and need to be rebuilt. It’s an area he believes can be addressed in a bipartisan fashion.
“We think it should be large,” he said during an appearance on the ABC News program “Powerhouse Politics” podcast . “He’s mentioned a trillion dollars. I told him that sounded good to me.”
While approving of the numbers included in the plan, Schumer said he won’t get behind it if the language uses “gimmicks” like tax breaks for investors.
“We’re not going to oppose something simply because it has the name Trump on it,” he said, “but we will certainly not sacrifice our principles just to get something done.”
Republicans said they support rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, but have voiced concerns over its potential to increase the national debt.
Schumer outlined a number of Trump’s views, including those on trade, which he says align more closely with Democratic ideologies than with President Barack Obama.
“I’m more close to that than I am to Barack Obama or George Bush ’s [positions] and so are a lot of Democrats,” he continued.
Schumer said he’s had numerous friendly conversations with the president-elect since Nov. 8.
Follow Juliegrace Brufke on Twitter
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].
Schumer: Trump’s Trillion-Dollar Infrastructure Plan ‘Sounded Good to Me’
feedproxy.google.com
Schumer: Trump's Trillion-Dollar Infrastructure Plan Sounds Good
newsmax.com

 

 17 /173 

5.0
Meijer will have NES Classic systems Thursday morning
(2.06/11)

Meijer locations across the Midwest will have “limited quantities” of the NES Classic Edition in stock Thursday.
A Meijer spokesman said the Walker, Michigan-based chain will have varying numbers of the hot items at all of their stores. The system, which retails for $59.99, quickly sold out following its Nov. 11 release, and has been one of the most popular items for 2016 holiday shoppers.
The systems will be available at all Meijer locations after 8 a.m. Thursday.
The NES Classic is a miniaturized game system modeled after the original 1985 Nintendo Entertainment System that revolutionized home gaming. The new system plugs directly into a television, and comes loaded 30 games, including “The Legend of Zelda,” “Donkey Kong,” “Super Mario Bros.” and “Super Mario Bros. 3,” “Final Fantasy” and “Metroid.”
The system comes with an original controller but can be paired with some modern Nintendo remotes, too.
Meijer has more than 200 stores throughout Michigan and parts of the Midwest.
ithibodeau@detroitnews.com
Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau
Meijer stores will have NES Classic Edition in stock Thursday
rssfeeds.freep.com
Limited quantities of Nintendo's NES Classic Edition will be available at Meijer
mlive.com

 

 18 /173 

0.8
Woman goes off on racist tirade in Kentucky JC Penney because Hispanic customer cut the line
(2.06/11)

A woman has been filmed yelling at a Spanish-speaking woman to 'go back to wherever the f*** she comes from' after the customer supposedly cut the line in a department store. Footage of the woman's racist, expletive-laced tirade at a J. C. Penney store in Louisville, Kentucky has gone viral after it was posted online on Tuesday night. The elderly white woman was caught on camera berating the Hispanic woman and her friend while she stood behind them in line at the department store at Jefferson Mall. Scroll down for video A witness who posted the video to Facebook, Renee Buckner, said the woman's tirade started after a Hispanic woman was almost finished purchasing items at the register when her friend came over with additional clothing to add to the transaction instead of getting in line. 'It don't bother me if I say it and I hope everybody hears me. I think everybody here probably feels the same damn way I do,' the white woman said. 'Go back to wherever the fuck you come from lady.' The cashier then tells the elderly woman to watch her language before she asks him to 'tell them to go back to where they belong'. 'They come here to live then act like everybody else. Get in the back of the line like everybody else does,' she said. 'You're a nobody. Just because you come from another country, it doesn't make you nobody. 'You're probably on welfare. The taxpayers probably paid for all that stuff. We probably paid for every bit of that stuff, you know that? Probably all of the food they get and everything else.' The woman is set to be permanently banned from the shopping mall once she is identified, officials from Jefferson Mall said. 'We are aware of the video posted online today from one of the department stores. Jefferson Mall strives to create a comfortable and convenient experience for all of our guests and we absolutely do not condone this type of behavior,' officials said in a statement. 'We will work to identify this woman, and once identified, she will be permanently banned from Jefferson Mall, per our Behavioral Code of Conduct.'
Kentucky mall to ban woman for racist, vulgar tirade
article.wn.com
Kentucky Mall to Ban Woman for Racist, Vulgar Tirade
abcnews.go.com

 

 19 /173 

1.3
Delta changes policy after doctor incident on Detroit flight
(2.06/11)

Two months after an African-American doctor's viral Facebook post alleged mistreatment by crew members when she offered to help an ill passenger on a Delta Air Lines flight from Detroit to Houston, the company has announced it will no longer require medical professionals to present identification.
The company said in a statement Monday that effective Dec. 1, Delta flight attendants are no longer required to verify medical credentials. Medical professionals will now be allowed to help based on his or her statement that the individual is indeed a physician, physician assistant, nurse, paramedic or EMT. The company also announced the launch of inclusion training for Delta employees, which will be rolled out to its "frontline employees, with some of the flight attendant groups being the first to participate. "
"As part of the review, Delta found that there is no legal or regulatory requirement upon the airline to view medical professional credentials," the company said. "And, as it becomes more and more common for medical licenses to be verified online, physicians and nurses often do not carry a license with them and some states no longer issue wallet versions. "
The incident surfaced in mid-October after Dr. Tamika Cross charged in a Facebook posting that when she raised her hand to assist a man a few seats ahead of her who was having a health crisis, she was rebuffed by a flight attendant who doubted she was a physician.
"She said to me, 'Oh no, sweetie. Put your hand down. We are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel. We don't have time to talk to you.'"
But Cross said when a white male approached and produced credentials, they accepted his help. Cross could not be immediately reached for comment.
"Whether this was race, age, gender discrimination, it's not right," Cross said in the viral posting which had more than 22,000 comments and 154,000 likes.
Delta Airlines In-Flight Service Senior Vice President Allison Ausband said the flight attendants were following standard procedure on Cross' flight but "the feedback Dr. Cross provided gave us a chance to make flying better.”
Ausband said Cross also met with airline officials to discuss her experience. Cross is a fourth-year resident in the obstetrics-gynecology department of the University of Texas Health System in Houston, according to the school's website — meaning she is licensed to practice medicine although not fully certified in her specialty.
Monday, Cross thanked Delta in a Facebook post, saying she was glad that "this unfortunate situation has brought about change in a major corporation like Delta Air Lines. "
"It is great that this incident was able to produce change and hopefully make other medical professionals, regardless of who they may be, feel comfortable assisting when 30,000 feet in the air," Cross said.
2016 © Detroit Free Press
Delta policy change after black doctor's help refused
dailymail.co.uk
Delta Policy Change After Black Doctor's Help Refused
abcnews.go.com

 

 20 /173 

1.8
Lena Dunham Apologizes for Abortion Comment, Donates to Pro-Abortion Fund
(2.06/11)

Dunham broached the controversial topic on her “ ” podcast, saying I “can say that I still haven’t had an abortion, but I wish I had.” Reaction on social to the star’s comments was severe. “I can’t even imagine how offensive Lena Dunham’s comments are to women who actually had to go through abortions,” one Twitter user. Another person : “FYI an abortion is not something you ‘get to have.’ It’s an awful experience one SHOULDN’T wish for like a gift from Santa.” Within a matter of hours, Dunham had apologized for her comments in a lengthy Instagram message. Under a photo of the word “choice,” Dunham said her “latest podcast episode was meant to tell a multifaceted story about reproductive choice in America.” “I truly hope a distasteful joke on my part won’t diminish the amazing work of all the women who participated [in the podcast],” she continued. “My words were spoken from a sort of ‘delusional girl’ persona I often inhabit, a girl who careens between wisdom and ignorance…and it didn’t translate. That’s my fault. I would never, ever intentionally trivialize the emotional and physical challenges of terminating a pregnancy.” Dunham insisted that her intent was to “increase awareness and decrease stigma” around abortion, and said she takes “reproductive choice in America more seriously than I take literally anything else.” At the end of the message, Dunham asked her supporters to donate to a pro-abortion organization. “You know how in some households you curse and have to put money in a jar?” She asked. “Well in mine, if you mess up your pro-choice messaging you have to give a sizable donation to abortion funds.”
Lena Dunham apologizes for saying she wishes she'd had an abortion
cbsnews.com
Lena Dunham Apology: Abortion Comment Was a ‘Distasteful Joke’
variety.com

 

 21 /173 

0.9
In reversal, Navy won't scrap traditional job titles
(2.04/11)

In the Navy, a corpsman will still be a corpsman. Navy leaders are dumping a plan announced in September to eliminate dozens of enlisted sailors' job titles, some ending in "man. " They said sailors' anger over the changes had become a distraction and they will look for other ways to modernize the... ...
Move to scrap beloved US Navy titles tossed overboard
dailymail.co.uk
Navy To Cancel New Gender Neutral Job Title System
dailycaller.com

 

 22 /173 

0.0
Explosion at Christian group building in Canberra, staff unhurt - media
(1.13/11)

SYDNEY, Dec 22 (Reuters) - A vehicle carrying gas bottles was driven into the headquarters of a Christian lobby group in the Australian capital of Canberra, causing an explosion, local media reported on Thursday. Lyle Shelton, managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby Group, tweeted a photograph of a burned out van and said that no staff were injured. "A vehicle has rammed our office in Canberra & exploded all staff are safe," he posted on Twitter "I do not know the condition of the driver. Prayers appreciated. " A man is believed to have driven the van towards the group's building, according to news.com.au The explosion destroyed the vehicle and blew out some of the windows of the office building, it said. The ACL lobbies national and state/territory governments on Christian values. Most recently it has been campaigning against same-sex marriage. Australian Capital Territory Police did not immediately respond when asked to comment. (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)
Explosion at Christian group building in Canberra, staff unhurt: media
article.wn.com

 

 23 /173 

3.0
Dow 20K is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ for this bull market
(1.07/11)

Back in 1999 we were just coming upon the 10,000 level in the Dow Jones Index.
The entire industry was in a bit of a frenzy, hats were worn, signs were made and the trading floors exploded with applause. The 10,000-level seemed almost unapproachable by many who started in the business back in the early eighties as I did. So, is the recent run up to 20,000 in the Dow worthy of the same attention? Yes and no.
Let’s be clear, this market run up to the 20K level has a much more solid foundation for valuation. We are not looking at a P/E which has been stretched beyond historic norms as was the case in 1999, nor are we looking at a dot com bubble ready to implode.
Read more
Dow 20K should make you want to invest in stocks, analyst says
cnbc.com
Dow 20K is just the 'tip of the iceberg' for this bull market
cnbc.com

 

 24 /173 

3.1
TipRanks: Here are 10 stock picks for next year from the best health-care analysts of 2016
(1.05/11)

TipRanks identified the top health-care analysts of 2016 and found which stocks they like for the new year.
We used a natural language processing algorithm to rank analysts based on two factors:
Dow 20,000 close, but health-care stocks drag it down
presstelegram.com

 

 25 /173 

2.0
2 Chainz Creates ‘The World’s Most Expensive Ugly Christmas Sweater’ To Help Charity
(1.05/11)

(CBS) — What would you be willing to pay for an ugly Christmas sweater? How about $90,000 for a one-of-a-kind sweater?
Rapper, 2 Chainz has designed ‘ The World’s Most Expensive Ugly Christmas Sweater ‘ hand-crafted by his personal jeweler, Avianne.
$90,000 cash. 50 carats of diamonds and 250 grams of gold on the worlds most expensivest ugly Christmas sweater. https://t.co/iJXWTwmqIl pic.twitter.com/4sQ2IV03gJ
— Tity Boi (2 Chainz) (@2chainz) December 16, 2016
The sweater is black with a gold graphic of a dancing Santa, surrounded by diamond snowflakes and Christmas trees. It includes 50 carats of diamonds and 250 grams of gold.
The rapper and jeweler only made one sweater in size large. The proceeds of this sweater is said to go to charity, according to 2chainzshop.com.
“This is extremely rare and only 1 sweater was made,” the sweater description says.
The 2 Chainz shop is also selling other Christmas sweaters in the holiday shop section , on sale for $20, including the popular ‘dabbin’ Santa.’
The site said they released the “Dabbin Santa” sweater last year.
“Last year, we introduced the “Dabbin Santa” sweater as a fun merch item for my fans. What happened was nothing short of extraordinary… thousands of sweaters sold and the inspiration to make a difference in our community. From helping veterans, disabled children, supporting arts education and much more, my team and the T. R. U. Foundation were able to affect countless lives through the “Dabbin Santa” proceeds.”
The site said the mission this year is simple – to help as many people as we possibly can.
“Join our movement. Let’s aspire to inspire and bring cheer this holiday season.”
WATCH: Ugly Christmas Sweaters to Get You in the Holiday Spirit
article.wn.com

 

 26 /173 

1.8
Family of Slain ‘Voice’ Singer Sues AEG
(1.04/11)

The family of Christina Grimmie , the 22-year-old “ Voice ” contestant who was shot by a deranged fan in June, has filed a lawsuit alleging that the concert promoter and the venue failed to provide adequate security.
Grimmie, who finished third on the sixth season of NBC’s “The Voice,” was signing autographs backstage at the Plaza Live Theater in Orlando when she was approached by Kevin Loibl. Loibl, who was armed with two 9-mm handguns and a large hunting knife, shot Grimmie three times before being tackled by the singer’s brother. Loibl then committed suicide.
In its complaint, filed in Orange County, Fla., the Grimmie family alleges that promoter AEG Live and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra Plaza Foundation, which owns the venue, did not take appropriate steps to prevent her death.
VidCon Increases Security After Christina Grimmie Death
Concert-goers were subject to a bag check, but they were not required to pass through metal detectors and were not patted down by security, the lawsuit alleges.
The suit alleges that the theater had used metal detectors and body wands for other events, and should have taken those precautions for Grimmie’s concert. The suit also contends that the general manager of the Plaza Live Theater was let go nine days before the concert, as a “cost-cutting measure.”
The Plaza Live has previously stated that its security measures were adequate. The venue’s representatives also stated that the security personnel did not change during the organizational restructuring that preceded the concert. The venue did add metal-detecting wands at the first concert following Grimmie’s death.
'Voice' singer Grimmie's family sues venue over her killing
cbs46.com

 

 27 /173 

0.0
Infinum develops digital platform for The Museum of Broken Relationships
(1.04/11)

SAN FRANCISCO , Dec. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- After circling the globe with over 40 temporary exhibitions and two permanent outposts in Zagreb and Los Angeles , the Museum of Broken Relationships has established yet another flagship display in the form of an interactive web app.
The museum currently boasts over 2,000 exhibits, many of which are truly peculiar. An axe used to chop up an ex's furniture; a magnifying glass that was necessary to justify just how small one person felt next to their partner; even a small bottle containing tears someone cried after a breakup.
Regardless of motifs, all items are remnants of relationships that came to an end. This unique blend of nostalgia, guilt, anger and affection is translated into a platform through which unfortunate souls can leave an online trail of their breakups.
Developed by Infinum, a design and development agency specialized in building creative digital products, the site is an online extension of the museum. It's envisioned as an emotional platform for the global community of heartbroken individuals.
The digital crowd-sourced project dubbed Brokenships was initiated after museum co-founders caught themselves overwhelmed by all the items sent from all over the world. "Museum exhibits and stories are as varied as the reasons people end up together. The online platform serves the same purpose in a somewhat lighter tone. Users simply pin their break-ups to a world map, but can optionally elaborate with a story and a photo," explains one of the museum's co-founders Drazen Grubisic.
Aside from posting virtual break-up pins, people are invited to donate physical tokens to be considered for permanent exhibition. "We are currently in the process of enlisting our entire collection, offering Brokenships visitors a chance to explore stories which we haven't been able to exhibit as of yet," says Grubisic. He goes on to explain how the platform also serves to communicate new exhibitions around the world.
The project is constantly evolving. With exhibitions currently in Pittsburgh , Copenhagen and Heidelberg , and a few more planned, the Brokenships online platform greets its visitors with a contemplative message: share your break-up story, lock it away or pin it on the global map of broken hearts just so you can remember - you are not alone.
Visit www.brokenships.com to experience the project. To find out more about the platform visit www.infinum.co/client-work/brokenships .
At Infinum , we develop and design great software for both mobile and web. Our clients range from small and exciting companies to large, established enterprises such as banks, insurance companies, media publishers, mobile carriers and others. Many awards prove the quality of our work , the experts working here share their knowledge on our blog , whereas our Facebook and Instagram pages show how much fun we have while doing it. We're a bunch of young people , we appreciate good humour, music, quality code and a friendly work atmosphere.
SOURCE Infinum; Museum of Broken Relationships
AAMCO Launches New, Tailored Point Of Sales System To Enhance Operations
prnewswire.com
Global Computer-aided Design Market in Electrical and Electronics Industry
prnewswire.com
Cogent Communications CEO to Present at Upcoming Conference
prnewswire.com
CIOReview Magazine Names Canon Business Process Services a Top 20 Most Promising Managed Print
prnewswire.com
Permabit VDO Delivers Record-setting Performance on Samsung’s NVMe Reference Design Platform
prnewswire.com

 

 28 /173 

3.6
PRESS DIGEST-Australian News - Dec 22
(1.03/11)

Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW (www.afr.com) Housing affordability shaping up as key issue for 2017 http://bit.ly/2hWfgiE Pressure builds on Seven board over Worner affair http://bit.ly/2hdK4Ma Bega looks to distance itself from Bellamy's problems http://bit.ly/2hUtiPe THE AUSTRALIAN (www.theaustralian.news.com.au) DIY superannuation fund draws younger crowd http://bit.ly/2haU9rm ASIC raps CBA, NAB over forex http://bit.ly/2hUrMwo Tatts close to Macquarie response http://bit.ly/2hWi7rM THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD (www.smh.com.au) Alarm in UK over Macquarie's proposed takeover http://bit.ly/2haT6bc Record homes built in Sydney but still unaffordable http://bit.ly/2igra35 Australia's most popular petrol could be phased out http://bit.ly/2ibyPDR
PRESS DIGEST-New Zealand newspapers - Dec 22
dailymail.co.uk
This Morning from CBS News, Dec. 21, 2016
cbsnews.com

 

 29 /173 

0.0
Olivia Buckland and Alex Bowen recreate Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom's NAKED paddleboard trip
(1.03/11)

Love Island's Olivia Buckland and Alex Bowen took some time out of their holiday in Sardinia to recreate Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom's iconic naked paddleboard trip. The comic duo went to great lengths to mimic the scene, with Olivia managing to track down the exact same yellow tie-dye strapless bikini worn by Katy, by swimwear brand Bantu. Wearing dark sunglasses, there was a difference in that Olivia was sporting several large inkings on his legs. Scroll down for video Alex, who also has multiple inkings across his body, knelt up behind Olivia as he wore a similar to baseball cap to Orlando. Even the paddleboard was the same, with a black and white pattern emblazoned across the front. Olivia and Alex recently revealed that they’re planning their engagement, and that a proposal 'is on the cards. They met while competing on ITV’s Love Island, and have been practically inseparable ever since. And the pair have now revealed their wedding plans, with Alex dropping a major hint that he’s preparing to get down on one knee. When asked if he’s planned a proposal, the reality star, 24, told new! magazine: 'I’m not going to say anything because she’s right here.' Meanwhile, Katy and Orlando were also pictured in the same holiday destination when Orlando revealed a little too much, while in a playful mood. The couple have been inseparable since they were first spotted getting cosy at a Golden Globes party in January. The actor was previously married to supermodel Miranda Kerr and the former couple share their five-year-old son, Flynn. Last month Miranda announced her engagement to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel. Katy meanwhile was married to English comedian and actor Russell Brand in 2010 before the couple split in 2012, and went on to have an on/off romance with singer John Mayer before falling for Orlando's charms. Read the full interview in this week's new! magazine.
Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom dress as Mrs. Claus, Santa for hospital visit
upi.com

 

 30 /173 

1.0
Oil and the Arctic: what is at stake
(1.03/11)

A US-Canadian move to block new leases for oil or gas drilling in sovereign Arctic waters is designed to protect an area already severely disrupted by climate change. A quick tour of the Arctic and what is at stake: - THE ARCTIC - The Arctic Circle, which starts 66.5 degrees north of the equator, marks an area where on at least one day of the year there will be no light or no night -- and that period is longer, the further north you go. It covers more than 20 million square kilometres (7.7 million square miles), an area bigger than Russia, cutting through northern Canada, Alaska, Russia, Scandinavia and Greenland. About a third of the area is land. The part of the Arctic Ocean permanently covered by ice has been diminishing steadily for several decades due to global warming, making the region more accessible to shipping, and thus oil and gas extraction. The record low ice cover -- 3.41 million square kilometres in September 2012 -- was 44 percent below the 1981-2010 average. Some of the ocean falls under the national jurisdictions of the countries it borders, but most is not subject to any national laws or regulations. An Arctic Council created in 1996 to address territorial and political disputes has so far only dealt with peripheral issues such as protocols for sea rescue and oil spills. - ENVIRONMENTAL RISKS - The biggest threat -- driven by the burning of fossil fuels -- is climate change, which has pushed temperatures in the Arctic up twice as fast as the worldwide average. Scientists have calculated that global oil, gas and coal projects already under construction or in operation will push Earth past the threshold of dangerous global warming, heating the planet by more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial era levels. Developing even a portion of the Arctic's massive as-yet-untapped gas and oil reserves would exacerbate climate change even further. The region's human communities and wildlife -- from polar bears to bowhead whales, from seals to sea birds -- are also at risk. Dozens of distinct indigenous cultures within the Arctic depend directly on the ocean and its wildlife for food and income. Oil production, and spills, difficult to clean up in icy conditions, could threaten livelihoods by damaging fragile ecosystems. Dirty fuel from ships operating in the Arctic is also a source of pollution. Climate change, meanwhile, has already had a major impact on these mostly coastal communities, some of which are literally falling into the sea. - NOT ON THE SAME PAGE - The US decision designates the vast majority of its waters in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas -- an area covering some 50 million hectares (125 million acres) -- as "indefinitely off limits" to offshore oil and gas leasing. Canada said all its Arctic waters were off limits. Both the United States and Canada have aggressively developed other fossil fuel resources in the last two decades -- gas extracted via "fracking" and oil from tar sands, respectively. The same is not true for Russia and Norway, whose economies depend heavily on oil, some of which is taken from the Arctic Circle. "The economy-energy balance of the US is not the same as for Russia and Norway," notes Laurent Mayet, France's representative to the Arctic Council. - NOT WORTH THE TROUBLE? - In September 2015, Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell abandoned exploratory drilling operations in the Alaskan Arctic, saying not enough oil and gas had been discovered to make extraction worthwhile. The licence had been granted by the Obama administration. The British company Cairn Energy likewise gave up on its forays, said Pierre Terzian, head of French consulting firm Petrostrategies. "There were no imminent prospection projects" before the joint US-Canadian announcement, Terzian told AFP. "Why go into the Arctic when there is plenty of oil and gas elsewhere that is technically less expensive to extract and does not carry as much risk in terms of image? " French group Total has gone further, renouncing the exploitation of oil fields in the Arctic. "The best insurance for the Arctic is a low price for oil," Terzian added.
US and Canada prevent oil drilling in Arctic waters
mwcnews.net

 

 31 /173 

1.1
Erdogan Embraces Bana al-Abed, Who Brought Child’s View of Aleppo to Twitter
(1.03/11)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has embraced — quite literally — a 7-year-old Syrian girl from Aleppo, famous for her Twitter messages describing life in a war zone.
Mr. Erdogan’s verified Twitter account posted photographs on Wednesday of the president posing with the girl, Bana al-Abed, her family and the president’s wife at the presidential complex in Ankara. The photographs were posted with messages in Turkish and English, including, “Turkey will always stand with the people of Syria.”
Mr. Erdogan’s embrace of Bana was a high-profile triumph for a little girl who had become an icon representing Syrian children living through the nightmare of siege and bombardment, profiled by news organizations and followed by thousands on social media.
Bana posted on Twitter that she and her family were evacuated from eastern Aleppo this week along with thousands of Syrians who had been trapped in the shrinking rebel-held area of the city. A Turkish government official said on Wednesday that Mr. Erdogan sent a special representative to Syria to meet Bana’s family and have them airlifted out of the country to Turkey.
Bana, a little girl with a missing front tooth, became a global sensation over the past few months for messages and videos posted to her Twitter account, @AlabedBana. The account, managed by her mother, Fatemah, described the horrors of war in intimate detail. In some of the messages, Bana was smiling and reading. In others, she posted photographs of a bombed-out building that she said used to be “my reading place.”
This month, The New York Times wrote about Bana, the global attention she has attracted and how the Twitter account has also raised questions of veracity and authenticity in an era of internet hoaxes and fabrications.
Mr. Erdogan has railed against social media platforms like Twitter in the past, particularly when they were used by protesters in Turkey to spread messages of dissent or share leaked documents. He has called Twitter “ the worst menace to society ” and has blocked the platform for brief periods.
At other times, Mr. Erdogan has used Twitter and other online platforms to spread his own messages. During the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July, Mr. Erdogan used the FaceTime app on his cellphone to communicate with and direct his followers.
On Wednesday, after Mr. Erdogan met with Bana at the presidential complex and shared photographs of him hugging the child, she sent her own Twitter message : “Very happy to meet with Mr Erdogan. - Bana #Aleppo”
Aleppo tweeter Bana al-Abed, seven, meets Turkish president
theguardian.com

 

 32 /173 

1.6
‘Mrs. Claus’ dies in car crash while braving icy roads to visit children
(1.03/11)

The last thing Joyce Daniels did before she died was spread Christmas cheer dressed as Mrs. Claus.
She and her husband, Jack, both 79 and longtime residents of St. Charles, Iowa, had played Santa and Mrs. Claus for 15 years.
On their way home from a Santa event at a bank in Winterset on Saturday morning, their car slid off the road outside of the town and landed upside-down in a ditch.
Joyce died. Jack was severely injured, according to The Des Moines Register.
They were still dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus when it happened.
Madison County Sheriff’s Deputy Don Kinney described the roads as “terrible” that day.
The husband and wife were known to brave winter weather to see children at Christmas.
“A few weeks ago, it was cold out, but they went and they saw 148 kids,” Claude Daniels, younger brother to Jack, told the Register.
A short drive of 16 miles “would not keep them from the children that loved seeing Santa and Mrs. Claus,” family friend Katie Beghtel told Inside Edition.
“They had spent the morning with the children in the community and then set off to come home to get spend the rest of their day with family.
“She was a lovely woman and will be greatly missed by so many. She died a very happy woman. She died doing something that she loved so very much.”
Neighbors said the loss was felt more keenly coming just days before Christmas. The couple had five children and a large extended family, longtime neighbor Jerry McDonald told the Register.
He said Joyce had been a stay-at-home mom, and Jack is retired from a Des Moines printing company.
Jack remains in the hospital with a broken shoulder blade and collarbone, and other injuries. On Monday he walked with a walker for first time since the accident, according to Inside Edition.
Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom dress as Mrs. Claus, Santa for hospital visit
upi.com

 

 33 /173 

3.1
Parents of US woman held by Taliban hopeful for her release
(1.02/11)

STEWARTSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — The parents of an American woman being held captive by the Taliban say they are hoping President-elect Donald Trump will broker her release if President Barack Obama doesn't succeed before he leaves office. Jim and Lyn Coleman, of Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, spoke to ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday after a new video appeared showing their daughter Caitlan, her Canadian husband and their two children. In it, they begged their governments to intervene on their behalf with their Afghan captors. Coleman has told her family she gave birth to the two children in captivity. The Colemans say they took solace in seeing their daughter and grandkids looking healthy and in seeing the children for the first time. Canadian officials on Monday called for their unconditional release.
Parents of US Woman Held by Taliban Hopeful for Her Release
abcnews.go.com

 

 34 /173 

0.0
The strangest Christmas traditions around the world
(1.02/11)

But no matter what mean things grandma says when she's had a few or how long your sister's kids can run in circles around the fragile -- kids, FRAGILE! -- Christmas tree, it won't beat the crazy of these classic holiday traditions from around the world.
1. Gather 'round the flaming Yule Goat
In certain parts of Scandinavia, nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a giant straw effigy of a goat.
The "Yule Goat," (or julbocken, if you're fancy) originated like most Christmas traditions, in that people aren't exactly sure. It has some roots in Norse mythology, wherein the god Thor rode around in a chariot pulled by goats. But in more recent history, the lore plays out more along the lines of the Christian association of goats as demonic creatures.
Either way, there are lots of goats. Typically, they manifest as cute little ornaments you put on the tree, but some towns erect giant statues of the goat. And sometimes people set those statues on fire. Adorable.
2. Someone needs to potty train that log
In Catalonia, Spain, they have pooping logs.
The Tio de Nadal (Christmas log) or Caga Tio ( crapping log ) is like a cross between a Tamagotchi and a piñata. A few days into December, parents gift their kiddies a friendly looking hollow log for them to care for. Every night, the family "feeds" the log and covers it with a blanket. Then, on Christmas, they sing log songs and beat the log with sticks, ordering it to eliminate. And eliminate it does -- nuts, dates, candies -- and when it can eliminate no more, its swan song comes in the form of some pungent food like onion or herring.
Bear witness to the crapping log:
3. Your Christmas scene? I poop on it
There is a suspicious amount of defecation involved in Catalan holiday celebrations.
The caganer is a traditional sculpture that originated in Catalonia and spread to most of Western Europe. It's basically a little figure that drops trou and poops all over nativity scenes. Why? Honestly, why not -- some say it's a fertility symbol , and others claim the figures are supposed to be a reminder that poop, like death, is a great equalizer. Sometimes people make caganers of celebrities, government officials or royalty.
The figure is typically hidden somewhere in the scene (hopefully, far away from the baby Jesus), and little kids have a blast trying to find it.
4. Hide yo brooms, hide yo wife
In Norway, they have a pretty solid idea of what witches and evil spirits do and do not like. And man, do those spirits love brooms. They also love Christmas, so on Christmas Eve, people hide their brooms so witches and the like won't hang around. For good measure, a male family member may pop his head out the front door and fire off a few blasts from a shotgun to show those spirits who's boss.
5. Krampus is here to scar your children
Kids, meet Krampus. He looks like a goat who has eaten 20 other goats and then walked through fire. He will threaten you with rusty chains and kidnap you if you've been naughty. Sometimes, he is literally an embodiment of Satan.
The same people who brought you the messed up world of the Brothers Grimm are also responsible for Krampus. In Germany, Austria, Croatia and surrounding countries, a guy dressed as Krampus will roam the streets terrifying children and reminding them that with the sweetness and light of Christmas comes an equal and opposite force of darkness and evil, and if you're a naughty little girl or boy, Krampus will cart you off AND EAT YOU. Bye!
6. Wanna see my lucky underwear?!
In Italy, Spain and parts of Central America, people wear red underwear on New Year's Eve. Normal enough: Red has long been considered an auspicious color, and swaddling your bum in it seems like a decent way to start the New Year off on a good, er, foot. But whenever there's underwear involved, you can count on people to get weird about it.
Every year, in the small Spanish town of la Font de la Figuera, people take the opportunity to the fullest and run around in their crimson skivvies. And yes, it's usually freezing cold. It's not a Christmas tradition, but you still have time to pick up a pair of Hanes and traumatize the neighbors. You can tell the judge you were just being cultural.
READ MORE: Unusual New Year party traditions
Christmas season terrorism: A world run over by reality
jewishjournal.com

 

 35 /173 

0.4
Stunning photos show freak snowfall in Sahara Desert
(1.02/11)

Incredible photos have captured a freak snowfall in the small Saharan desert town of Ain Sefra, Algeria, on December 19. Luckily, amateur photographer, Karim Bouchetata was there at the time and his images are beautiful. The town is perched at an elevation of 3,500 feet (1,078 meters), in an area located where the Atla mountains meet the Sahara Desert, Average daytime temperatures in December are usually around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The red rolling dunes surrounding the town of about 35,000 people, while unforgiving most of the year, do cool down during the months of December and January, reports The town of Ain Sefra has a population of about 35,000. It normally doesn't snow there in the winter. The Weather experts have an explanation for the unusual snow event, and an analysis of the weather maps shows that on Monday, temperatures in the region were running about 10 to 15 degrees colder than normal when the snow occurred. This was caused by an unusually strong area of low pressure that passed over the region at a very high altitude. Air was forced to rise rapidly, cooling and creating the rare snow event. “The Gateway to the Desert," as Ain Sefra is known, is located in one of the planet's most hostile environments. The Sahara Desert, the world's largest, spans 3,600,000 square miles (9.4 million square kilometers) and many North Africa countries. The town is perched at an elevation of 3,500 feet (1,078 meters), in an area located where the Atla mountains meet the Sahara Desert, Average daytime temperatures in December are usually around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The red rolling dunes surrounding the town of about 35,000 people, while unforgiving most of the year, do cool down during the months of December and January, reports CTV News Canada, with the average monthly low temperatures dipping to just a few degrees Fahrenheit above freezing. The UK's Telegraph quoted Mr. Bouchetata, who exclaimed, “Everyone was stunned to see snow falling in the desert; it is such a rare occurrence. It looked amazing as the snow settled on the sand and made a great set of photos. The snow stayed for about a day and has now melted away.”Weather experts have an explanation for the unusual snow event, and an analysis of the weather maps shows that on Monday, temperatures in the region were running about 10 to 15 degrees colder than normal when the snow occurred. This was caused by an unusually strong area of low pressure that passed over the region at a very high altitude. Air was forced to rise rapidly, cooling and creating the rare snow event.
Snow falls on Sahara desert for first time in 40 years
upi.com

 

 36 /173 

0.0
Cape Elizabeth narrows town manager finalists to two
(1.02/11)

The Cape Elizabeth Town Council has narrowed its list of finalists for town manager, including its current tax assessor.
Ephrem Paraschak, the town manager of Naples, and Matthew Sturgis, Cape Elizabeth’s current tax assessor, are the final two candidates for the position.
Both candidates will be in Cape Elizabeth on Jan. 3 and 4 for the second part of the interview process.
The public is invited to an informal gathering from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 3 at Thomas Memorial Library to meet both candidates.
That afternoon, each candidate will meet with the town department heads and the superintendent of schools.
On Jan. 4, each candidate will have a second interview with the Town Council.
The council expects to make its decision the following week, with a starting date the same week.
Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form
Send questions/comments to the editors.
3 not so little pigs rescued on Cape Town highway
news24.com

 

 37 /173 

1.4
Nations agree to identify bodies on Falklands
(1.02/11)

Argentina and Britain agreed on a framework to identify the bodies of dozens of unknown Argentine soldiers buried on the disputed Falkland Islands, Argentina's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. The two countries, which went to war over the islands in 1982 and have had strained relations for decades, also agreed to try to increase the number of flights to the remote islands. ...
Argentina, Britain agree to identify bodies from Falklands War
upi.com

 

 38 /173 

2.6
Heartwarming video shows girl with autism singing ‘Hallelujah’
(1.02/11)

DONAGHADEE, United Kingdom — A powerful video shows a 10-year-old girl with autism singing a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
Kaylee Rodgers, who has autism and ADHD, is shown belting the song out for the Killard House Special School’s Christmas show, ITV reports.
On Dec. 18, Nichola Martin posted the video of the performance on Facebook.
In only three days, hundreds of people have posted positive comments on the video.
“Wow what a beautiful voice she has,” wrote one person. “Leonard Cohen would love this,” another said.
“For a child who came in P4 and wouldn’t really talk, wouldn’t really read out in class, to stand and perform in front of an audience is amazing. It takes a lot of effort on Kaylee’s part” said Colin Millar, principal of Killard House Special School.
The video has more than 219,000 views, 3,000 likes and 3,478 shares.
Girl with autism sings heartwarming rendition of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah'
abc7news.com

 

 39 /173 

3.8
Massive snow sculptures go on display in China
(1.02/11)

HARBIN, China, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- A Chinese festival features massive sculptures created from snow, including massive towers and a snowman measuring more than 100 feet tall.
Video from the 29th annual Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Harbin shows off some of the massive snow creations featured in this year's event.
The video, recorded Tuesday, shows amazed spectators taking in massive snow sculptures including a snowflake, a dragon, a castle, and multiple towers.
The expo also features a gargantuan snowman measuring about 111 feet tall.
China Shutters Schools Due To Massive Pollution
dailycaller.com

 

 40 /173 

1.3
Energy Dept. Offers $2B Loan to La. Carbon-Storage Project
(1.02/11)

The Energy Department said Wednesday it is offering a conditional, $2 billion loan guarantee to capture and store carbon dioxide at a planned Louisiana methanol plant, the latest element of President Barack Obama's strategy to slow global warming.
The Lake Charles Methanol plant will use petroleum coke, a byproduct of oil refining, to make methanol, a chemical used in products such as paint, glue, plastics and formaldehyde.
The captured carbon dioxide will be piped to oil fields in Texas, where it will be used to speed up oil production.
The loan guarantee is the first to be offered under an advanced energy program to help promising technologies that are unable to secure private investors.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz called the loan commitment a milestone in federal efforts to capture and store carbon pollution, a key driver of global warming.
Moniz called the Lake Charles project "a big step forward" for economic development and carbon capture, an emerging technology that has so far failed to live up to its promise.
The loan guarantee is among a number of steps the administration has taken in recent weeks as Obama seeks to protect his environmental legacy before President-elect Donald Trump takes office next month.
Obama on Tuesday designated the bulk of U. S.-owned waters in the Arctic Ocean and certain areas in the Atlantic Ocean as indefinitely off limits to future oil and gas leasing. The administration also has completed regulations clamping down on oil companies that burn off natural gas on public lands and preventing coal-mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams.
Meanwhile, the Army has delayed a decision on an oil pipeline to cross under a reservoir in North Dakota, saying it wants more study and tribal input.
The loan guarantee is likely to be more warmly received by Trump than previous actions by Obama. Carbon capture is a key component of so-called clean coal, a concept that has been embraced by Obama and Trump both.
The practice entails catching the carbon emissions from a coal plant or other source and injecting the gas underground for permanent storage or use in speeding oil production. If successful, carbon storage could allow continued burning of coal and other fossil fuels while releasing little of the heat-trapping gas that scientists say is the main cause of global warming.
Lake Charles Methanol expects to break ground next year on a $3.8 billion plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana, 140 miles east of Houston.
Don Maley, the company's president and CEO, said in a statement that the Energy Department's expected loan guarantee "represents the commitment of the federal government to promote innovative, clean fossil-energy technologies" and allow the project to be completed.
The project is expected to create about 1,000 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs. The plant will produce methanol, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and other chemicals from petcoke, a waste product from the refining of heavy crude oil.
Moniz said on a conference call Wednesday that he has had "cordial" conversations with former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Trump's nominee for energy secretary, but did not discuss the Lake Charles plant or other projects under consideration for Energy Department loans.
———
Reach Matthew Daly: http://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC
Energy Dept. offers $2B loan to La. carbon-storage project
cbs46.com

 

 41 /173 

1.8
MTV Pulls Racist ‘Resolutions for White Guys’ Video Amid Outrage
(1.02/11)

MTV deleted its controversial ‘Resolutions for White Guys’ video after the network suffered severe backlash from viewers:
Here’s a copy of the video uploaded to YouTube after MTV deleted the original:
The original video, which received over 11,000 down votes compared to just 89 up votes, told “white guys” they could “do a little better in 2017.”
“Just because you have black friends doesn’t mean you’re not racist,” the video claimed. “You can be racist with black friends.”
“And feel free to take Kanye West, though. You guys can have him.”
West was targeted for meeting with President-elect Donald Trump last week.
Critics of the video called it racist for focusing entirely on skin color and for personally attacking white viewers.
“As an Irish person anytime someone insists all white people are privileged I just have to laugh,” one reddit user commented . “Try reading a history book about Ireland and you’ll hear all about a nation of white people who were anything but privileged.”
Here’s a transcript of the original video:
White male #1: Hey, fellow white guys!
Non-white male #1: It’s about to be a new year.
Black male #1: And there’s a few things we think you could do a little bit better in 2017.
[Title On-Screen: 2017 Resolutions for White Guys]
Non-white female #1: First off, try to recognize that America was never great for anyone who wasn’t a white guy.
Non-white female #2: Can we all just agree that Black Lives Matter isn’t the opposite of all lives matter? Black lives just matter. There’s no need to overcomplicate it.
White male #1: Also, Blue Lives Matter isn’t a thing.
Black male #1: Cops weren’t born with blue skin — right? I mean — yeah! They weren’t born blue.
White male #2: Stop bragging about being woke.
Non-white male #1: Stop saying woke.
White female #1: Learn what “mansplaining” is and then stop doing it.
White male #1: Oh, and if you’re a judge, then don’t prioritize the well-being of an Ivy League athlete over the woman he assaulted.
Black male #1: We all love Beyonce and yeah, she’s black, so of course she cares about black issues. I’m talking to you, Fox News.
Non-while female #2: Feel free to take Kanye West, though. You guys can have him.
Black male #1: You know what you did, Kanye.
White male #2: Nobody who has black friends says that they have black friends.
Black male #1: And just because you have black friends doesn’t mean you’re not racist. You can be racist with black friends.
Non-white male #1: Look, guys, we know nobody’s perfect.
Non-white female #1: But — honestly, you can do a little better in 2017.
White female #1: Some of you guys do a great job. Some of you don’t.
Black male #1: Please cause 2016 was bad. 2017 can’t be worse than this, alright? Cause this is bad.
Facebook: RealKitDaniels
Follow @KitDaniels1776
SUBSCRIBE on YouTube:
MTV yanks '2017 Resolutions for White Guys' video Contact WND
wnd.com

 

 42 /173 

1.6
Cross Pen Maker Seeks Revival With Flagship Store
(1.02/11)

The 170-year-old company that makes Cross pens now has a flagship retail store at its new Providence headquarters.
The new A. T. Cross Co. store opened Wednesday.
CEO Robert Baird says the company's recent move from suburban Lincoln, Rhode Island , to the Foundry complex near downtown Providence is part of a broader strategy to boost talent and reinvigorate the luxury pen brand.
Rhode Island has offered the company $1.9 million in incentives based in part on plans to add 35 new jobs in coming years. Baird says he previously considered relocating to Connecticut but preferred staying in Rhode Island, where the company was founded in 1846.
Most of its pens are now manufactured in China. It's owned by New York private equity firm Clarion Capital Partners.
Cross pen maker seeks revival with flagship store
wtop.com

 

 43 /173 

3.1
US STOCKS-Wall St eases in muted trading as investors pause
(0.02/11)

By Tanya Agrawal Dec 21 (Reuters) - U. S. stocks eased in muted pre-holiday trading on Wednesday as investors paused a day after the Nasdaq Composite and the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit record highs. The Dow came within 15 points of hitting 20,000 level, the historic level it has threatened to breach for several days. "The 20,000 mark is just a number, but it's also a nice chance to step back and plan for the coming year," said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina. "We've had this huge eight-year bull market and now is an opportunity to think if this move and valuations are justified. " U. S. stocks have been roaring ahead since the election, with the Dow up about 9 percent and the S&P 500 6 percent on bets that President-elect Donald Trump's plans for deregulation and infrastructure spending will boost the economy. Still, there are concerns that the recent rally has made stocks too expensive. The S&P 500 is trading at about 17 times expected 12-month earnings, well above the 10-year average of 14, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream. "Valuations are definitely a little on the stretched side, but, at the same time, they're not historically high. So if earnings are going to accelerate in the next year, that can justify some of these valuations," said Detrick. At 10:53 a.m. ET (1553 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was down 17.78 points, or 0.09 percent, at 19,956.84. The S&P 500 was down 2.74 points, or 0.12 percent, at 2,268.02. The Nasdaq Composite was down 14.07 points, or 0.26 percent, at 5,469.87. Six of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the health index's 0.53 percent fall leading the decliners. Celgene fell 2.1 percent to $116.05. The stock was among the biggest drags on the Nasdaq. Accenture fell 3.9 percent to $119.17 after the consulting and outsourcing software services provider's revenue forecast missed estimates. The stock was the biggest drag on the S&P. Twitter fell 3.8 percent to $17.23 after its chief technology officer said he would be leaving the company. FedEx fell 2.5 percent to $193.66 after the package delivery company's quarterly results missed expectations. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,465 to 1,302. On the Nasdaq, 1,624 issues fell and 1,026 advanced. The S&P 500 index showed 13 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 117 new highs and 24 new lows. (Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)
US STOCKS-Wall St little changed in muted pre-holiday trading
dailymail.co.uk
US STOCKS-Wall Street catches its breath after Trump rally
dailymail.co.uk

 

 44 /173 

3.4
Review: 3 children release inspirational self-help books for children (Includes first-hand account)
(0.01/11)

Author Michael Evans Sr. has three kids, all of which published motivational self-help books for other kids. Digital Journal has the scoop. In Never Judge a Fish on its Ability to Climb a Tree, young author, Michael, motivates children to discover their hidden talents. It is geared towards the young artist that is struggling in sports, as well as the athlete who is having difficulties with literature, as well as the writer who is finding mathematics challenging. His inspirational message is for youngsters to not judge themselves by their successes or failures, and instead, they should embrace each day and reach their daily goals to the best of their abilities. In The Fight for Greatness, Matthew is echoing Michael's call for living in the present, and he is teaching his fellow peers to combat their biggest critics: themselves. In his book, it is his dream to become a BMX champion, and he is told that the sport is extremely precarious. As a result, he quit pursing this dream, yet once he meets a BMX champion, he is offered some helpful advice and his attitudes towards the extreme sport change. Finally, in Your First 10 Years of Life, 7-year old Jocelyn breaks down the precious amount of spare time adolescents have in childhood. The vast majority of a child's hours are spent doing requirements such as eating, sleeping, chores and homework, thus leaving little to no time for self-discovery and enjoyment. In her book, Jocelyn is encouraging children to not waste those hours watching television or playing video games. Instead, she is encouraging readers to make every minute an adventure. Most impressive about all three children authors is that they are homeschooled by their dad, Michael Evans, Sr. Their father is a life/career coach, as well as author of The Real Matrix. The Verdict Overall, there is something in it or everybody in these three books, which were all written by children. They are worth more than just a passing glance, and they are recommended for parents and guardians to read as well. They all garner A ratings. All of these three books are available on Amazon: These three children are Michael (age 11), who wrote Never Judge a Fish on its Ability to Climb a Tree, Matthew (age 10) who wrote The Fight for Greatness, as well as Jocelyn (age 7) who penned Your First 10 Years of Life. All of their books are unique and clever and they have neat messages, as their reading audience (children) go through their childhood years. In Never Judge a Fish on its Ability to Climb a Tree, young author, Michael, motivates children to discover their hidden talents. It is geared towards the young artist that is struggling in sports, as well as the athlete who is having difficulties with literature, as well as the writer who is finding mathematics challenging. His inspirational message is for youngsters to not judge themselves by their successes or failures, and instead, they should embrace each day and reach their daily goals to the best of their abilities. In The Fight for Greatness, Matthew is echoing Michael's call for living in the present, and he is teaching his fellow peers to combat their biggest critics: themselves. In his book, it is his dream to become a BMX champion, and he is told that the sport is extremely precarious. As a result, he quit pursing this dream, yet once he meets a BMX champion, he is offered some helpful advice and his attitudes towards the extreme sport change. Finally, in Your First 10 Years of Life, 7-year old Jocelyn breaks down the precious amount of spare time adolescents have in childhood. The vast majority of a child's hours are spent doing requirements such as eating, sleeping, chores and homework, thus leaving little to no time for self-discovery and enjoyment. In her book, Jocelyn is encouraging children to not waste those hours watching television or playing video games. Instead, she is encouraging readers to make every minute an adventure. Most impressive about all three children authors is that they are homeschooled by their dad, Michael Evans, Sr. Their father is a life/career coach, as well as author of The Real Matrix. Overall, there is something in it or everybody in these three books, which were all written by children. They are worth more than just a passing glance, and they are recommended for parents and guardians to read as well. They all garner A ratings. All of these three books are available on Amazon: Never Judge a Fish on its Ability to Climb a Tree The Fight for Greatness and Your First 10 Years of Life
Review: This week’s releases are all about the ties that bind (Includes first-hand account)
digitaljournal.com

 

 45 /173 

1.3
EU reprimands ex-commissioner Kroes, recoups cash

By Alastair Macdonald BRUSSELS, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The EU handed an unprecedented public reprimand to a former commissioner on Wednesday for taking allowances she was not entitled to but stopped short of legal action after recouping the money. A lawyer for Neelie Kroes, who was the Dutch commissioner for 10 years until late 2014, said she repaid 2,000 euros when, in the course of preparing her defence in a separate ethics inquiry into an undeclared offshore directorship, she discovered her accountant had failed to report any of her income for 2015. That mattered because, like her colleagues, she continued to receive a "transitional allowance" from the European Commission after leaving the EU executive -- a payment that would have been lower if she declared substantial sums from other activities. The Commission, which has been trying to douse accusations that the EU is run by a self-serving elite, said in a statement its ethics panel found Kroes, 75, broke rules on two counts. In the case for which she was initially investigated, prompted by leaks of Bahamas registers of company directors, it accepted her apology for not declaring an interest in a firm there when joined the Commission in 2004. She said she did not know she was still listed as holding the unpaid post. But in the financial case that then also came to light, the Commission said she "did not act with the necessary diligence" -- a reprimand EU officials said was the first of its kind. Having been competition commissioner, Kroes later held the digital affairs portfolio under Jose Manuel Barroso. She irked Barroso's successor as president, Jean-Claude Juncker, when she criticised an EU antitrust ruling against Apple in late August. As Kroes is an adviser to another Silicon Valley titan, Uber, that intervention in the case was seen by critics as a conflict of interest with her previous roles. It also came after an outcry over Barroso joining U. S. bank Goldman Sachs to advise on Brexit, weeks after Britain's vote to leave shocked the EU. In September, as the Bahamas Leaks story broke, Kroes' lawyer Stijn Winters said she found an error in a filing on 2015 income to the Commission: "She realised that the salary line on her declaration form with the EU had not been filled in. " The Commission said she reported no 2015 income in a January filing. But on Sept. 20, it said, Kroes sent it new figures. Neither the Commission or Winters would say how much Kroes did not declare but rules governing transitional allowances -- paid to ex-commissioners for up to three years as they look for new jobs -- imply it could have been tens of thousands of euros. The allowance is worth up to about 160,000 euros a year, or two thirds of a commissioner's base salary. However, if they earn more than about 80,000 euros from other activities, then the allowance is cut so it does not boost their total earnings above the roughly 240,000 euros paid to serving commissioners. ($1 = 0.9590 euros) (Additional reporting by Toby Sterling in Amsterdam; editing by John Stonestreet)

 

 46 /173 

0.8
The Bachelor's Tiffany Scanlon explains WHY she and girlfriend Megan Marx went topless for their first magazine cover shoot

They are the first Bachelor lesbian couple. And Tiffany Scanlon and Megan Marx celebrated their blossoming relationship by posing topless on the latest cover of Maxim magazine. On Thursday, Tiffany gushed with pride over the couple's photoshoot while explaining the reason behind their controversial shoot. While sharing her excitement with her fans, the reality TV star went into detail as to why she and Megan decided to strip off for the magazine. 'Hey, just me the real human being with real human emotions behind this account. See my face... I'm excited and I'm super proud of what @megan.leto.marx and I have achieved here,' she began to gloat. 'I knew it would be controversial, I knew it would ruffle feathers, I knew there would be criticism and judgement but guess what, I did it anyway!' The busty blonde went on to explain she chose to pose for the popular men's magazine because 'it was pretty damn awesome to be asked to be on the cover'. '@maxim_aus may be sold as a men's mag, but what does that matter? I really like reading it and they have shown us more support than most others and I am proud to shoot with a publication who is as much about pushing boundaries as we are.' She added: '[Also], I do what I want because I want to; not for anybody else; not to impress or offend or any other reason than because I WANT TO and I honestly don't need anyone's approval. 'I have always and will always continue to advocate acceptance and no labels in all areas of life. I don't label myself or my relationship; I simply live and love and create life on my own terms.' In her truthful post, Tiffany also addressed speculation her relationship with Megan was a publicity stunt. 'If you think that this is some fake anti-feminist, lesbianised sexual, male fantasy then you are only aiding in the judgmental backward thinking of society whether you are straight, gay, bi or however else you choose to label yourself,' she wrote. The former Bachelor contestant also included hashtags for, hater's got no right to hate, stop being so damn judgmental, love is love and don't tell me how to live my life'.

 

 47 /173 

1.6
Celebrity trainers offer 9 steps for getting back to the gym

Looking to get back into working out after a lengthy or perhaps a lifelong hiatus but feeling intimidated at the thought of squatting alongside hand-standing Cross Fitters? Remember, even the little things can help motivate you, like a cool pair of shoes, energizing playlist or cute leggings. And if you hate piloxing (that's Pilates and kickboxing for the newbies), don't go just because it's the cool workout. Pick something you enjoy or you'll end up dreading it. Try these tips from three celebrity fitness trainers around to get you back into your groove in no time. __ LACEY STONE Lacey Stone is a tough-as-nails trainer with a heart of gold. The Los Angeles-based Flywheel instructor was recently chosen as one of the trainer's for Khloe Kardashian's new show "Revenge Body. " The name holds personal meaning for the 35-year-old who relocated from New York a few years ago after a tough break-up to get a fresh start. And she's part of a movement that teaches trainers to empower women in class instead of just focusing on body-conscious messages. IT'S NOT ABOUT THE SCALE: It's about finding a way to be more consistent with your workouts. If you just workout a couple times and expect a better body, you're going to fail. A great goal for beginners is to schedule at least three workouts per week for a month. Every week sign up for a class in advance so you don't allow life to get in the way. Schedule your life around your workouts, not your workouts around your life. CHECK IN WITH A TRAINER MONTHLY: If you've forgotten how to work out, hire a trainer for a few intro sessions to make sure you have proper form, then meet together once a month to set new goals. GET ON A BIKE: I think the best workout to start out with is spin. Everyone has ridden a bicycle before, there's no intimidating choreography, and the room is dark so you will feel safe. The repetitive motion and the loud music is designed to get you out of your head and into your body. __ BETHANY MEYERS Celebs like Karlie Kloss and Sofia Vergara love her Pilates, cardio, strength-training fusion classes at NYC's popular SLT studios. The 30-year-old former dancer boasts whimsical dance moves and motivating ab sessions. She's a master of the Megaformer, a Pilates reformer on steroids, and is working on a new project to inspire body confidence in women through movement. ONLY GOT 20 MINUTES? THAT'S COOL: Don't be afraid to start small. Any amount of movement is better than no movement at all. Twenty or 30 minutes is enough time to still get enough burn to make it count. Don't look at your phone, don't let anyone interrupt you and keep moving the entire time. PLAN SOMETHING FUN ON YOUR REST DAY: Take a day off. Balance is so important so make it part of your workout planning. Allow yourself specific days on which you don't workout. Fill that time with something rewarding like your favorite book by the fire or brunch with friends or playtime with your kids. By creating "on" and "off" days it will help you stick to your routine. DREADING YOUR WORKOUT? TAKE THIS TEST: Will the feeling you have after you work out outweigh the dread you have before you do it? Usually the workout will boost my mood and make me feel stronger and better than before. It helps me remember that it's worth it. __ SULTAN MALIK He served a 14-year prison sentence for armed robbery, crediting his workouts with getting him through several years in solitary confinement. Now, the 36-year-old is an in-demand New York trainer at a boot-camp style gym that hires only ex-cons. Malik is all about mind over matter. He'd never exercised before his life before bars, but says the daily workouts taught him his mind could travel even further than the gains he was seeing in his body. Soon fellow prisoners were asking to train with him. PICK A STRENGTH TRAINING GOAL: Mix up your resistance by using weights, resistance bands, cables and kettle bells. Next, devise a plan based on your goals. Looking to increase muscular endurance? Choose a lower weight where you can do three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions. For muscular growth, choose a medium weight where you can do five sets of eight to 12 reps. And if you're looking to increase overall power, use a heavy weight that will allow one to six reps for one to three sets. LEARN TO MASTER BODYWEIGHT MOVES: Just because you're not lifting weights, doesn't mean you're not building strength. For body weight exercises, try squat variations, lunges, push-ups and pull-ups and triceps and other dips. You're looking to build muscle so start with a small number of reps that can be performed for four to five sets without compromising form. FIND MOTIVATION IN GROUP CLASSES: Energy in group classes is contagious and while everyone has individual goals, the overall goal is to get though the workout not outperform anyone else. No one besides the trainer is paying attention to how well you are doing in class.

 

 48 /173 

1.7
Bubbly Gogglebox star Sandra can't contain her festive spirit as she visits Father Christmas in his grotto... after her pal Sandra quits show to pursue singing career

She's had to say goodbye to her long-time pal Sandi Bogle after she opted to leave Gogglebox to pursue a singing career. But Sandra Martin was all smiles as she headed to Stephens Green Shopping Centre in Ireland to have her picture taken with Santa in his grotto on Wednesday. The bubbly TV personality, 49, couldn't hide her festive spirit as she showed off the fun snap that highlighted her visit with Father Christmas. Scroll down for video Sandi walked away from Gogglebox to pursue an alternative career as a singer. Alongside childhood friend Sandra the bubbly star has proved to be a particular favourite with fans. But her absence from Friday evening's episode, during which she was replaced by Sandra's daughter Chanchez, prompted furious speculation across social media. Sources have since confirmed she has parted ways with the show, telling MailOnline: 'We are delighted that Sandra's daughter Chanchez is to join the show next series. She's a great addition to the cast. 'Sandi has decided to leave the show to pursue her singing career and other opportunities and we wish her all the very best.' Show insiders originally played down Sandi's unexplained absence from its landmark 100th episode prior to a barrage of bemused tweets from fans. 'Sandi had other commitments which meant she was unable to take part in filming for tonight’s episode,' said a show source. 'It's a real shame because it’s the 100th show and it would have been amazing to have a proper celebration. 'They are real characters and viewers love them together. Sandy will be back at a later date.' Sandi previously released seventies disco inspired single Casanova, a cover of soul group Coffee's 1980 hit, in September Tweeting at the time, she wrote: 'OMG PEEPS My Pre Release Preview is out now on ITUNES it’s a banger check it out.' The release came two months after the reality star spoke exclusively to MailOnline about her desire to remain as original as possible by steadfastly refusing to follow celebrity trends. 'No one (is my icon) – I’ve got my own swag – I don’t follow the crowd,' she said in June. 'People know me for my own style. I always have. I just wear what I like and I enjoy wearing all sorts of things.'

 

 49 /173 

1.3
San Jose boy seeks donations for Marine Corps Toys for Tots program

If you are looking for some hope today, we have someone we think you should meet. At a time of year when a lot of kids are so focused on what they can get, this is a story of a boy focused on what he can give. Almost 100,000 toys are heading out to charities in Santa Clara County from the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. It takes a lot of work to do this and one San Jose boy is doing more than his part. You can tell Joey Childs isn't like most 11-year-olds. Just watch him handle a fork lift at his parent's business, Silicon Valley Moving and Storage in San Jose. But if you really want to be impressed, check out what he's done for the Marine's Toys for Tots program. "This year I think I've collected maybe about 150. Last year I did about 250," said Joey Childs. "Oh, we're proud of him. He's a hard worker. He's been a hard worker since he was two," said Cheri Childs, mother. Joey has been doing his toy drive since he was six-years-old. How does he do it? The 5th grader starts in September by making his flyer. "I print out a lot of them and I go street by street door to door and I talk to people and tell them what it's about. And that's how I do it," said Joey. "That's very dedicated," said ABC7's Matt Keller. "It's hard work, but it pays off," said Joey. Donations roll in, and he delivers every year for the past five years. It's something that's caught the attention of the brass at the Marine Corps Reserve Center in San Jose. "You know it's cool coming in here you get to see the base. You get to see the Marines. I learned how to salute the right way," said Joey. "I think he has some good discipline. I think he has a good base there for that. I think he'll be an outstanding Marine if he chooses to take that path," said Staff Sergeant Timothy Stevens, U. S. Marine Corps Reserves. "And he knows how to salute now apparently? " asked Keller. "Yes he does, yes he does," said Staff Sergeant Timothy Stevens, U. S. Marine Corps Reserves.

 

 50 /173 

1.8
This analyst's big sigh pretty much sums up Twitter's outlook on Wall Street

When asked by CNBC about Twitter 's outlook in 2017, RBC analyst Mark Mahaney sighed heavily — which says everything about Wall Street's take on the stock.
Twitter announced late Tuesday that chief technology officer Adam Messinger and vice president of product Josh McFarland would both leave the company , the latest in a string of at least 12 top staffers that have fled the company this year.
The departure of so many executives, particularly from the C-Suite, is "extremely unusual," Mahaney, RBC's managing director and internet analyst, told CNBC's "Fast Money: Halftime Report " on Wednesday.
"One of the challenges of Twitter, really from the beginning, is they've had so much volatility of their management team," Mahaney said. "At the end of the day you are betting on, or investing in, these individuals, and the individuals keep changing. So I think the narrative unfortunately gets worse. "
Mahaney's not alone. Cantor Fitzgerald slashed Twitter's earnings per share estimates for the December quarter, while Mizuho called the C-Suite shake ups " significant investment risks
. "
Analysts surveyed by Factset expect Twitter to log $2.6 billion in total sales this year, and $2.8 million by the end of 2017. But Mahaney said a decline in revenue next year could be the "other shoe to drop" for Twitter.
"We think there's a decent chance that happens, and that's still not reflected in the stock," Mahaney said. "That's why it's still a 'sell.'"
While Twitter has always had unique value, it remains on the radar as a takeover target if the share price declines in the next three or four years, Mahaney said. CNBC reached out to Twitter for comment.
"Getting advertisers to really engage there, given all the noise on that platform, that's been the real challenge," Mahaney said. "I think there's a traditional media buyer out there for this platform. "
Twitter rival, Facebook , is among Mahaney's favorite stock picks for next year.
"WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, each have a billion users and no revenue," Mahaney said. "You turn that revenue needle — if you can do it, and I bet you they can — you do that, that's going to cause a change in the narrative and a re-rating of the stock. "

 

 51 /173 

2.4
KATIE HOPKINS: Fat? Female? Poor little Lena just loves being a victim. Let's hope she never finds out the real meaning of the word

You cannot be a credible young person these days without being a victim. Or even better a persecuted minority. Or the gold standard – discriminated against. Even if you blatantly have to misappropriate a cause because the most challenging thing you’ve fought is genital warts. The Clinton campaign was a perfect example. She was one big ol’ bitch in a pant suit, barking to any American who felt like the underdog; female, gay or Hispanic. Preferably all three. She believed she could win on the victim ticket alone. Sod policy! If you were angry at the hand your were dealt at birth, she was the unlikely champion of your cause. A posh white woman who was the WAG in the White House now obliging her supporters to hold posters saying ‘I’m with her’ – when, as it turns out, she was never going anywhere. Except down. I discovered exactly the same types when I went to the Jungle at Calais to assess the migrant situation there. By far the most heavily represented group (after angry single men from Somalia) were rich white kids enjoying a bit of charity tourism so they could stick it on their CV. Kids without a struggle, misappropriating the migrant one, so they could pretend to be Bob Geldof. Now Lena Dunham - one of Hillary's biggest and (since the result) freaked-out celebrity fangirls has had her very own posh white woman moment. Wanting to be front and centre in the fight for abortion rights, she bemoaned, ‘I have never had one, but I wish I had’. Perpetually outraged types took this vital opportunity to be outraged once more. ‘I can’t even imagine how offensive Lena Dunham’s comments are for women who have actually has to go through with an abortion’, tweeted one man, playing to the offended crowd. Actually son, not that offensive because we are too busy trying to have sex with our husbands more than once a month, getting smear tests and trying not to pee when we sneeze to notice. It’s why half of us only find out we are pregnant when we can’t fit into our jeans and our boobs start leaking unexpectedly. But I don’t need Lena Dunham to see abortion as a cause. And I certainly don’t need her on womb patrol any day of the week. 'My life is and always will be devoted to reproductive justice and freedom,' said Lena. (Comments start at 13:36 mark) No it is not you daft trout. Your life is devoted to trying to position yourself as chief cheerleader for every man-hating opportunity there is. Posing for pictures. Then calling out the guy on photo-shop for trying to make the images a little less frightening. Being overweight and trying to celebrate it, like diabetes type II is the new feminist frontier. I expect she wakes up every day wishing she was black, so she could truly own that cause too. It’s why we ended up with a woman like Rachel Dolezal, who swears she’s Afro-Caribbean, despite the fact both her parents are white. Resigning from her post as President of the Spokane National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (because she is, in fact, white) she said “This is not about me. It's about justice”. Remind you of anyone? Lena? It’s all about ME ME. You wanting to be part of something, to belong to something. To represent. These days it is fashionable to be on the side of the struggle. To reject acceptance in case you are seen as normal. It’s why people got bored of just being gay or lesbian. Acceptance to them is like death. They avoid acceptance like Ebola because to be accepted is to be normalised. And being normal is death. Hence it is more fashionable to be any one of the 71 Facebook gender types on offer. And if colour, sexuality, reproductive rights or migrants aren’t your crusade, there is always something more ubiquitous, like food. Your options for suffering are endless. Maybe you were bulimic, fat, anorexic, bullied for your weight, gluten-free or vegan. Anything. As long as it makes you special. Even regular plebs can join in at coffee shops; ‘I’ll have a soy chi latte decaf with a recycled cup’ Name? ‘W*nker”. Having to have special arrangements made for you is the narrative of the young. It strikes me to be a good vlogger all you really need is an ability to over-share the notion you were bullied at school and an intimate knowledge of the beauty counter at Mac to be a roaring success.. Go home the lot of you. Stop pretending to be part of his struggle, her fight, this cause or that minority. You are young and foolish. Wait a while. When life smacks you in the face and leaves you crushed on the floor, you will need to summon up the big person inside of you to feel better. No one else can do it or you. Not a delusional white woman pretending to be black. Or a posh kid pretending to be Bob Geldof. Certainly not some chubby little halfwit unlikely to need an abortion (I'm sure she's far too organised) to over empathise with something she knows nothing about.

 

 52 /173 

2.6
Kourtney Kardashian reveals she bought SIX Christmas trees for her Calabasas mansion

Kourtney Kardashian likes to overdo it for the holidays. On Wednesday the older sister of Kim and Khloe revealed she bought six Christmas trees for the Calabasas mansion she purchased in 2014 for $8.5m. But the trees are still small in comparison to the ones purchased by sister Kim Kardashian and mom Kris Jenner. Kim's tree is massive, according to pal Jonathan Cheban, who added the thing looked like it belonged in Rockefeller Plaza. He said he saw it when visited the Bel-Air, California home she shares with Kanye West. Kris showed off her tall tree on her Instagram account. It looks to be over 12 feet tall and is situated in the foyer of her sprawling Hidden Hills mansion that she used to share with Bruce Jenner. The 61-year-old shared a look at her holiday decor with Architectural Digest. Kourtney explained on her site why should bought so many trees. In a post to her website kourtneykardashian.com she wrote: 'Christmas is my favorite holiday and I love to get into the spirit by decorating a bunch of trees! 'We ended up with 6 trees this year!' She then explained where they went: 'Two huge trees in the entryway, one in the living room and one in each of the kids' rooms.' The star then talked about how she did it. 'I have decorated our large trees in the past with friends and with help from the kids but now I have Jeff Leatham's team come over and help,' she began. Her former beau Scott Disick was not mentioned. 'This year for our main trees I was going to start all over with new decorations but Jeff was over and he asked, "Aren't the kids excited about seeing all these animal decorations from last year because that's what it's all about? "... and he was right! 'So he brought over some new matte cream globe ornaments to add to the trees which gave them a fresh look and softened the vibe a bit too.' She has three children: Mason, Penelope and Reign. Kourtney added: 'For the actual Christmas trees, we all go to a lot together and have the kids pick out their own trees for their bedrooms. 'It's always really fun to get out the decorations with my kids and go through them and see what we're into or not into each year.' And then there is mama Kris Jenner, who is a part of it all. 'I have a lot of decorations my mom has given me that were in our home when I was growing up,' she said.

 

 53 /173 

2.2
Maryland officials considered sanctions over 'Serial' audio

BALTIMORE (AP) — Maryland officials considered sanctioning the producers of the popular "Serial" podcast for airing Baltimore courtroom audio from the trial of Adnan Syed, a violation of state law. The Baltimore Sun reported (http://bsun.md/2hsiS8o ) Wednesday that officials considered holding the podcast's producers in contempt. Maryland law prohibits the broadcasting of any criminal case. The paper says court officials this year reached out to "Serial" producer Sarah Koenig about how the tapes ended up in the 2014 podcast. Koenig says an attorney gave her team incorrect legal advice about the state's rules on courtroom audio. She's agreed not to broadcast court proceedings in the future. A Maryland Judiciary spokesman, Kevin Kane, says officials decided not to go forward with sanctions in light of the explanation. Syed's conviction was overturned earlier this year. ___ Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com

 

 54 /173 

0.0
Review: Wilson's words sing in Washington's 'Fences'

The blue music of "Fences" sings with a ferocious beauty in Denzel Washington's long-in-coming adaptation of August Wilson's masterpiece of African-American survival and sorrow. Transfers from stage to screen often serve up only a pale reflection of the electric, live-wire theater experience. But Washington, in his good sense, has neither strained to make August's Pulitzer Prize-winning play particularly cinematic nor to "open it up" much from the confines of the staged settings. What we have, instead, is a meat-and-potatoes drama, delivered with full-bodied, powerhouse performances and an attuned ear to the bebop rhythms of Wilson's dense, musical dialogue. The 1957-set "Fences" surely doesn't call for anything like a Stanley Kubrick treatment. Just give us the words and the people, with passion. "Death ain't nothing but a fastball on the outside corner," says Troy Maxson (Washington), a 53-year-old garbage man in Pittsburgh's Hill District. Primarily from the hemmed-in backyard of his brick house he pours forth a torrent of rage, bitterness, pride and anguish. "Fences," part of August's celebrated 10-part, decade-by-decade Century cycle, ought to have been made decades ago. It nearly was once, but Wilson's insistence that a black director make it was deemed impractical by a backward Hollywood. So Washington's "Fences," the first big-screen adaption of any of Wilson's plays, is righting a wrong. The upside to the timing is that it would be difficult imagining better performers than Washington and Viola Davis, who starred together in a 2010 Broadway revival. Wilson claimed to have never seen or read Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" before writing "Fences," but the two works are undeniably linked in their grand, wrenching portraits of bone-tired mid-century American men coming to the realization of how little their lifetime of work has gotten them. Maxson, an illiterate former Negro League baseball star who spent 15 years in prison, is a nine-to-five, blue-collar patriarch in loud revolt against a life that's ground him down. With almost unrelenting bombast, he's at war with the racism that's boxed him in his whole life, with the changing world around him and with his own mortality. Feeling the devil near, Maxson is building a fence to keep him out -- though there are other reasons he's closing himself off. "I ain't goin' easy," he swears while clutching a bottle to an imagined but palpably present devil. No one would doubt his resolve. The other characters operate in reaction to the verbal force that is Maxson. First and foremost is his wife, the demure but formidable Rose (Viola Davis), who gradually moves from the kitchen toward the center of the film. She's a figure of devotion whose own pains and regrets don't spill out until her climactic speech: "I planted myself inside you and waited to bloom," she tells Maxson. It's a knockout moment, delivered by a blistering Davis with tears and snot smeared across her face. The heart of the drama, though, is its father-son story. Jovan Adepo plays Cory, whose college hopes rest on his football skills. Maxson lectures him again and again: "The white man ain't gonna let you get nowhere with that football noway," he tells him. Washington's performance is titanic, surely one of the best of his career. Maxson's deluge of dialogue — all its tale tales, braggadocio and pain — just flows out of him. Washington keeps almost entirely to the play's settings, but the most notable exception is its first scene where Maxson and his friend Jim Bono (a soulful Stephen McKinley Henderson) ride on the back of a garbage truck, up and down Pittsburgh's hills, while Maxson rails against the lack of black drivers. It's an indelible image, and perhaps "Fences" could have used a few more such flourishes. The other obvious visual attempt — a handful of wordless montages — is a misstep, out of sync with the rest of the film. "Fences" may never lose the look and sound of a play, but Washington's close-up focus on the characters only heightens the dignity Wilson bestowed on them. "Fences," a Paramount Pictures release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for "thematic elements, language and some suggestive references. " Running time: 139 minutes. Three and a half stars out of four. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

 

 55 /173 

1.0
Jenna Coleman nails boho chic as she steps out with boyfriend Tom Hughes at VIP screening... after confirming their relationship with smitten PDA

She enjoyed an affectionate display with boyfriend Tom Hughes during a rare outing in London on Sunday morning. And Jenna Coleman was once again joined by the dashing actor as they made a second consecutive joint appearance, this time at a lavish VIP screening of new film Sing Street. Making an entrance at the Soho Hotel venue, the Victoria star, 30, caught the eye in a smart bohemian ensemble comprised of black turtle neck sweater and sweeping plaid skirt. Scroll down for video Fashion conscious Jenna added to her wardrobe with chunky black boots, while a raffish beret proved to be her only visible accessory. The actress was in high spirits as she posed for photos alongside a casual looking Tom and guests including Sri-Lankan star Amara Karan. The VIP event, hosted by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Dominic West, also featured welcome appearances from Sing Street star Lucy Boynton and actress Sophie Taylor. Tom and Jenna have been keen to keep their romance under wraps, despite the rumour mill having first gone into overdrive nearly a year ago. ITV drama Victoria has just been commissioned for a second series, with both Jenna and Tom reprising their roles as the titular Queen and her consort, Prince Albert. The drama is likely to air in Autumn 2017 after ratings averaged 7.7 million viewers and the show took a 29.7% share of viewing figures. Following the premiere of their period drama in August, speculation that they were an item began in September when The Mail On Sunday revealed that they had been enjoying a private romance for almost a year. The source said: 'They’ve been together for months, on and off since last summer.' Another source added: 'The reason the chemistry is so tangible is because they are dating in real life. Those scenes are very real. They are completely hooked on one another.' It was even reported in late September that the duo had moved in together, having known each other in separate acting circles for as long as three years. The pair are said to have first met on BBC2 drama Dancing On The Edge but Jenna was in a long-term relationship with fellow actor Richard Madden at the time. Tom has also had a high profile relationship with Ophelia Lovibond and they had been living together at that time too.

 

 56 /173 

3.1
Record number of Obamacare sign-ups on HealthCare.gov for 2017 health insurance coverage

It is a new record, but will it be Trumped?
Federal health officials Wednesday touted a record 6.4 million customers sign-ups on the federal Obamacare marketplace HealthCare.gov so far this open enrollment season — topping last year's pace during the same time period by 400,000 customers.
And they sharply warned that insurance coverage gains under Obamacare could be lost if President-elect Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans follow through on their threats to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Those threats have led some would-be HealthCare.gov customers to ask whether they should sign up for coverage for 2017, officials revealed.
"The American people don't want to go backwards," said U. S. Health and Human Services Department Secretary Sylvia Burwell, who cited analysis that has projected up to 30 million people would lose coverage if Obamacare were to be repealed without a replacement plan in place.
"These are people's cancer therapies, diabetes medications and mental health treatments on the line," Burwell told reporters during a conference call.
"Every one of the 6.4 million people enrolled represents a story about how the Affordable Care Act has changed health care in America, and why coverage matters," she said.
"We're going to keep moving forward, we're going to finish open enrollment by enrolling more people than ever," said Burwell, who in late January is set to be replaced as HHS secretary by Trump's nominee to the department, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.
She noted that the new record tally for HealthCare.gov — which serves residents of 39 states — comes despite the fact that the monthly premiums for many individual health plans are rising more sharply for this fourth Obamacare enrollment season than they did in prior years.
"Today's enrollment numbers confirm that some of the doomsday predictions about the marketplace are not bearing out," Burwell said. "Some people asked whether customers would sign up... and today, we know that answer is 'yes.' "
Last Thursday was the largest day for an open enrollment ever on HealthCare.gov, with 670,000 plan selections.
Thursday had been the original deadline for selecting a plan that begins coverage effective Jan. 1. But federal officials extended the deadline through this past Monday because of the volume of customers.
Open enrollment for 2017 plans, which began Nov. 1, runs through Jan. 31 — 11 days after Trump is scheduled to be sworn in as president.
Burwell on Wednesday said that more than 30,000 people who have called the customer help line at HealthCare.gov have asked whether they should sign up in a plan given the election of Trump, who has vowed to repeal Obamacare.
"Again, our answer is 'yes,' " Burwell said. "The coverage people sign up for today is a contract for 2017. "
Trump has said he wants to replace Obamacare after its repeal with something "better," but it's not clear what form such a replacement would take. Congressional Republicans have discussed the idea of repealing several key parts of Obamacare, but delaying their repeal for two years or more to give Congress time to craft a replacement.
Experts agree that a wholesale repeal of the law without replacement would lead to losses of coverage of 20 million people or more. And a number of groups have warned that even if a repeal is delayed for several years, there could be losses of coverage for millions of people in the individual marketplace because insurers would be apt to exit that market because of uncertainty over what the replacement would look like.
Not included in Wednesday's tally were the sign-up numbers from Obamacare exchanges run by 11 individual states and the District of Columbia.
Also not included are the millions of automatic re-enrollments expected to be performed for existing HealthCare.gov customers who did not actively shop for a plan yet, and who did not affirmatively opt out of coverage for 2017.
"There will be millions more [customers] than the number we're talking about today," Burwell said. She noted that HHS has expanded its outreach efforts through a variety of social media platforms, including Instagram and Facebook, in an effort to get remaining uninsured people signed up into coverage.
During the prior open enrollment season, for 2016 coverage, all of the government-run Obamacare exchanges signed up a total of 12.7 million customers.
Burwell earlier this year estimated that 13.8 million people would sign up on those marketplaces for 2017 coverage by the end of January.
"We're sticking with our projections," Burwell said Wednesday when asked how the latest HealthCare.gov tally had affected her outlook.
Andy Slavitt, the acting administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said he believed the increase in sign-ups was due to growing awareness among the remaining uninsured about the affordability, for many of them, of the Obamacare plans.
"When the existing uninsured population learns about the affordability of coverage, and the choice of coverage, that really does drive their decision," Slavitt said.
Although many Obamacare plans will see their monthly premium prices increase by double-digit percentage amounts in 2017, a large majority of people who are eligible to buy those plans on HealthCare.gov and the state-run exchanges will be able to find a plan that will cost them less than $75 per month, officials have said.
That reflects the fact that most Obamacare customers qualify for federal tax credits to lower their monthly premiums. Those subsidies are available to people with low and moderate incomes.
Under the ACA, most Americans are required to have some form of health coverage of pay a tax penalty, which in 2017 will be as high as 2.5 percent of adjusted household income.

 

 57 /173 

2.9
Gallardo to stay with River next year

The trainer added another trophy to his collection with the Copa Argentina last week, and has now put fans' minds at rest with the news he will continue in the job...

 

 58 /173 

2.6
Hollywood's humblest superstar! Tom Hanks responds to fan's note with kind message and special selfie

As impressive as Tom Hanks is on the silver screen, he's one heck of a nice guy off of it. The fan-friendly A-lister, 60, has added another memorable footnote in his interactions with the public, this time giving a Toronto woman named Zena Gopal a once-in-a-lifetime thrill after he responded to her letter in inimitable fashion. Gopal said she had written to Hanks - praising his work for the 1996 film That Thing You Do! - as part of a wager she made with friends to see who could get a famous person to respond to them with a selfie (alongside a head shot she sent in). Scroll below for video Three weeks later, Gopal said she heard back from the two-time Academy Award winner, who not only honored her picture request, but accompanied it with a nice note, as well. In a typed letter dated December 8, 2016, on paper with the masthead 'Hanx,' the Big star chatted up his fan about random musings, even apologizing for his scruffy look in the Polaroid photo he responded with. 'Sorry for the beard, but I have some shooting coming up and I must have whiskers,' the Forest Gump actor told Gopal. The Saving Private Ryan star peppered his note to Gopal, a resident of the Toronto, with some local flavor to boot. 'Toronto, huh? Damn fine town,' he wrote. 'Growing fast, all those condo towers down on the lake. Nice views, I guess. 'I have not been there since one of the Film Festival dates sometime back.' After asking Gopal if she was ready for Christmas, Hanks shared his own anecdote about the musically-oriented film he wrote, directed and appeared some 20 years ago. He wrote, 'For the record, I still find myself humming some of the music from That Thing You Do like you. I was always partial to the songs "Dance With Me Tonight" and "Drive Faster. "' He joked about the snapshot he took of himself, telling Gopal, 'This Polaroid has been developing as I have been typing. The thing is scary.' The actor advised Gopal to 'throw deep, always,' before signing his name to conclude the priceless letter. Describing herself as 'totally floored' that the Green Mile star responded, Gopal told CBC News that 'it was just really cool to see that he reads his fan mail.' She added, 'It made me laugh, it really made my day,' noting that she agreed with him about the lightning-fast condo development in the city that produced standout rapper Drake. While most celebs don't have close to this type of correspondence with their fans, most celebs aren't Hanks: The Philadelphia star this past September made a couple's wedding shots newsworthy when he stopped to say hello and pose with them in Central Park. Then, in October, he sent an artist named Denise Esposito a typewriter after she presented him with a book of her sketches. 'How unbelievably cool is that?' Esposito wrote on Reddit.

 

 59 /173 

2.2
How many U. S. adults are transgender?

One of the first comprehensive surveys on the subject estimates that about 1.3 million American adults currently identify as transgender .
The new data is based on answers to a 2014 U. S. government survey of more than 151,000 adults conducted across 19 states.
Transgender people identify with or express a gender identity that differs from the gender they were born with. Researchers say that 0.53 percent of respondents — about one in every 189 U. S. adults — answered “yes” to the question, “Do you consider yourself to be transgender?”
Transgender individuals were more likely to identify as male-to-female (0.28 percent of adults surveyed) than female-to-male (0.16 percent), the study found.
Caitlyn Jenner may be the world's most public transgender star, but she's not alone...
“The transgender population is a racially diverse population present across U. S. communities,” concluded a team led by Dr. Halley Crissman of the University of Michigan. Transgender adults were more likely to be nonwhite than white, the survey found.
Many transgender people face economic hardship. The study found that 26 percent lived below the poverty line, compared to 15.5 percent of non-transgender respondents. Transgender people were also less likely to have attended college, the researchers said.
These inequalities “have negative implications for the health of the transgender population ,” Crissman’s team said.
However, in other respects, transgender people’s lives were similar to those of other Americans. About half of both transgender and non-transgender people were married, for example, and they had roughly the same levels of employment.
The researchers stressed that many transgender people may not have answered “yes” to the survey question out of privacy concerns or stigma, so the numbers reported may still be an “underestimation.”
Still, any accurate representation of what the study authors call this “marginalized” population should further efforts to help improve the lives of transgender Americans, they said.
The challenges many transgender people face mean that many need “support for tackling factors deterring [them] from continuing education, including harassment and discrimination ,” Crissman’s team said.
The findings were published online Dec. 20 in the American Journal of Public Health .

 

 60 /173 

1.4
Strictly's Ore Oduba shows off incredibly honed physique in Instagram selfie

‘I got the call (about signing to Strictly) and I called my wife, we were both hysterical when I called her. ‘We sat my mum down in the conservatory and – as a married couple - she thought that it was some very different news. She was actually a bit disappointed that it was Strictly. Hopefully she'll get some other news soon!' Despite her initial reaction, it seems Ore was pleased to show his mum what he can do, as he said: 'They've never seen me do anything, my dad lives in Nigeria. My mum was on the ceiling.’ Shortly before his revelation, he told The Daily Mirror : ‘We are looking forward to having a family but we haven’t necessarily been in one place or one time together. ‘We are waiting for the time to be settled after this whole whirlwind and being in the same city will help.’ Aside from his mum's reaction, the impassioned dancer revealed he is struggling to adjust to life away from training with his beloved partner Joanne Clifton. He said: 'I've got withdrawal symptoms, this is the first time in a month I haven't trained. Yesterday I was crying to think I can't dance with my best friend is so sad.' Gushing about Joanne's guidance, he added: 'I had the best teacher and that's the only reason why I won, is because I have this teacher. The best moment was the day we got partnered up and we had no idea who we'd get... ‘We didn't have much time to connect but I saw that she was a winner in her eyes. Both [brother and sister] Kevin and Joanne would have been so proud of the other for when we got through - it was as if he had won. I didn't want to win, I just wanted to get to the end.' As he toted the glitterball trophy to the studio, he revealed the ornament was not the genuine article: ‘This is not the real one - I only got five seconds with the real one and then they whisked it off. ‘I'll put this one inside the house, there’s not even a festive wreath. There’s been no Christmas because it's just been about the dancing.' Despite being left overwhelmed and humbled by his victory, the Olympics presenter become immediately embroiled in fix claims surrounding his win - which have since been heightened by the BBC refusing to release the 2016 voting figures. Viewers were able to vote for their favourite to win via phone and the website - although many have complained the online system has consistently crashed towards the series' end, fuelling speculation the winner was set in stone. However it has now been reported by the Express that the BBC will not be releasing the final voting figures, as they do not want to distract from the winner’s victory. The broadcasting house also explained that they have not been publishing the stats throughout the duration of the series, out of fear it would 'affect the way that people vote' - despite the show now coming to a close. The BBC said: 'We invite you to vote for the dancers that you liked best, based on their performance in each show and during the series. Releasing voting figures could affect the way that people vote, and also have an impact on the participants. We therefore do not disclose the exact voting figures.' Without confirmation of the stats from Saturday night's final, viewers and fans remain in the dark about which contestant placed in second or third. MailOnline has contacted the BBC for comment. Claims the series was fixed began to swirl last night - when underdog Ore pipped the bookies' favourite Danny to the post for the title. Ahead of the live final, Coral had Danny tipped at odds of 8/11 to lift the coveted Glitterball trophy with Louise Redknapp behind at 13/1. Ore was trailing far behind with odds of 7/1 to win, which left many viewers believing that the competition was just a two horse race.

 

 61 /173 

2.1
Emma Stone talks surviving childhood anxiety as she smolders for Rolling Stone cover

She is getting Oscar buzz for her role in La Land. But as America's sweetheart Emma Stone graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine's January issue, it became evident the acclaim has not gone to her head. The 28-year-old star looked fierce and confident on the front of the magazine, but within its pages, she talked about the debilitating anxiety she suffered from as a young child and how she got through it. The Spider-Man actress wore a thin silk slip in a nude colour that nearly matched her skin tone perfectly with lace hems for the cover shoot, allowing one strap to slide off her shoulder. In the interview, Emma described what it was like to be just seven years old with severe anxiety. 'I was convinced the house was burning down,' she said. 'I could sense it... a tightening in my chest, feeling I couldn't breathe, like the world was going to end.' 'I would ask my mom a hundred times how the day was gonna lay out. What time was she gonna drop me off? Where was she gonna be? What would happen at lunch? At a certain point, I couldn't go to friends' houses anymore – I could barely get out the door to school.'

 

 62 /173 

2.0
Boy battling leukaemia conducts orchestra

A seven-year-old boy battling leukaemia has had his wish come true, conducting the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
Jordan was diagnosed with the disease last year and has undergone months of chemotherapy.
During his treatment he found comfort in music.

 

 63 /173 

2.0
Pirelli calendar star Helen Mirren admits she despairs at being called a sex symbol

She was recently photographed with no make-up on for the latest Pirelli calendar and now Helen Mirren is hoping more women will embrace the natural look and ditch cosmetics altogether. The 71-year-old Oscar winner, who joined the likes of Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman and Penelope Cruz for the 2017 Pirelli calendar shoot, told the BBC: 'I think it would be wonderful if it became a fashion. ‘Things are always cyclical, so I suspect we might’ve reached saturation with the whole selfie thing and maybe we’re moving in another direction. ‘It would be great if we are, without being puritanical, because I love make-up, dressing up, so I don’t want to be “Oh we’ve all got to go without make-up”.’ 'Sex is about having sexual intercourse isn’t it. There should be another word, I think "damn fine" is rather good. 'Sexy I don’t like because I am over that.' Despite her comments, Dame Helen has never shied away from make-up and beauty products during her career. In 2014, she was signed as one of the faces of L’Oreal Paris and has posed in glamorous photo shoots for the brand with full make-up, as well as endorsing a range of products. Speaking last year, she said: ‘In my job I work with great makeup artists and I get to wear Victoria Beckham dresses, but in my other life I get on the tube and bus and go to the supermarket without makeup on.’ The Pirelli calendar for 2017 was shot by German photographer Peter Lindbergh, who chose a selection of actresses of different ages and body types for a series of images he dubs ‘a counter message to [the industry’s] fake beauty ideal’. Instead of a slew of young models, the women featuring in the 2017 edition range in age from Alicia Vikander’s 27 to Dame Helen’s 71 and have posed for the camera wearing no make-up. Speaking about the calendar shoot earlier this year, Miss Kidman said: ‘I know from my own personal life that my husband totally prefers me with no make-up on. ‘I’m sure there’s an enormous amount of men in this room that would say, “I love women with no make-up, when they are at their most natural.”’ The 2016 Pirelli calendar took the first step away from overtly sexual shots by featuring portraits of accomplished writers, filmmakers and artists.

 

 64 /173 

3.0
Lisa Appleton exposes her bottom in skin-tight skirt and mesh top

With the party season in full swing it was a typically spirited Lisa Appleton who stepped out in Manchester on Monday evening. The voluptuous former Big Brother star, 48, caught the eye as she made her way into popular local nightspot Menagerie, where she was on hand to help pal Chrissie Wunna celebrate her 36th birthday. Embracing what has been a consistent theme over recent weeks, Lisa opted for a highly revealing ensemble comprised of sheer mesh top and skin-tight PVC skirt for her latest late night out. Scroll down for video Fully exposing her black lace bra, the busty reality star struck a series of playful poses as she idled outside the bar-restaurant, her first stop of the evening as Lisa and her group of friends made their way to nearby Canal Street. Sporting a cowboy hat at a jaunty angle and casually waving a festive placard bearing the slogan ‘Santa STOP Here,’ she once again ensured she was hard to miss – and even harder to forget. However her latest display was undermined by an unfortunate faux pas after she inadvertently exposed her bare buttocks while bending over to retrieve something from the ground. Lisa rose to fame after she appeared on Big Brother with then-boyfriend Mario Marconi back in 2008 - which saw him pop the question to her in the house. The couple made history as the first couple to get engaged on the show, before they tied the knot on another Channel 4 series, The Wedding House. However in 2013 they called time on their eight-and-a-half year romance after Lisa admitted they had been 'unhappy for a while', after they were duped by conman Selva Carmichael into being followed by cameras for six months to film a fake reality show. 'I had suicidal thoughts I hit rock bottom,' she told MailOnline. 'After Big Brother and all the success, I lost it all. 'I was signing on in Warrington, I was on benefits and I was living on about £30 a week. My marriage was breaking down. I couldn’t get any work.' She added: 'I felt I had lost everything – my career, my marriage, everything, that I felt rock bottom. I felt so low I just wasn’t enjoying life anymore. I felt really emotional. I had a complete breakdown. 'It wasn’t just my work or my relationships. Everything just broke down. I was at that low place where I felt like giving up, that I just had enough. I used to have those dark thoughts of not living.'

 

 65 /173 

3.8
French film on Jerusalem sparks uproar for inaccuracies

An investigative report about Jerusalem that was broadcast on a popular French TV channel this week has sparked an uproar among French Jews and Israelis for its alleged bias against Israel. Jewish French MP Meyer Habib, who represents expats in Israel and other Mediterranean countries, slammed the documentary as being “full of inaccuracies that could result in violence against Israel and French Jews.”
Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.
Pro-Israeli activists and members of the Jewish community in France planned to demonstrate on Thursday in Paris outside the offices of the M6 channel, which broadcast the documentary titled Jerusalem – When the Holy City Tears. The documentary discusses the “knife intifada” and the explosive situation in Israel’s capital. Critics of the film accuse it of being biased and of portraying Jews as almost as responsible for acts of terrorism targeting them as the terrorists themselves. In a strongly worded letter to the CEO of M6, Habib expressed shock and disappointment. “As a representative of French citizens living in Israel, I have received countless messages about the film. Even though the format of the report create an illusion of balance, the tone, comments, choice of content and countless inaccuracies transform it into a biased document against Israel.” Habib said that the “screaming lack of objectivity hurts not only the 150,000 French citizens living in Israel but also the Israeli nation as a whole, its many supporters and anyone who values the truth.” Habib was particularly troubled by an attempt to compare Palestinian terrorists with Jewish residents of the West Bank. He also took aim at the coverage given to Palestinian claims that the purpose of archeological excavation in the City of David is to physically destroy the neighboring Silwan neighborhood. The MP alleged that the systematic portrayal of Palestinians as victims can lead to incitement against Israel and further legitimize violence against Jews in France. However, journalist Vincent Prado, who made a large portion of the documentary, denied such claims. “I said some settlers are terrorists when they burn a baby,” he told The Jerusalem Post , referring to an incident of arson in the West Bank town of Duma in July 2015 that resulted in the death of three Dawabshe family members, including an 18-month-old baby. Prado attributed all criticism against his film to “extremist Jews” who believe his reportage to be pro-Palestinian, as well as to “extremist Palestinians” who slam it as pro-Jewish. “My film is balanced,” he asserted. “Many people have said that to me.” Responding to concerns that the film could spark incitement, he said the documentary simply points out the many problems that exist between Jews and Palestinians, and said “as a journalist, we have to talk about everything, even if some people are not happy.” “I’m not pro-Palestinian or pro-Jewish. I’m just a journalist trying to do my work as best as I can,” he stated. “Should I not talk about [Temple Mount activist and Likud MP] Yehudah Glick or [Islamic Movement leader] Raed Salah?” he asked. This is the type of comparison that Habib objects to. He said that the filmmaker equates Salah and parents of terrorists who glorify terrorism with settlers who “incite violence” because they live beyond the Green Line or visit the Temple Mount. Robert Ejnes, executive director of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions echoed Habib’s sentiment about the report. “It is biased, contains historical flaws and shows a skewed image of Jews in Jerusalem,” he told the Post. Ejnes gave another example. “The film says the region was divided, which resulted in the creation of Israel, and that Jordan gave up a part of its territory, when in fact, Jordan invaded Judea and Samaria.” Prado responded to this by saying that he apologizes if he made a mistake, emphasizing that it was not because he took any side in the conflict.
Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin
Think others should know about this? Please share
| |

 

 66 /173 

2.2
Mercedes vehicles use 54 per cent more fuel on the road than they claim

German car giants Mercedes have been left red-faced again as it emerged the average gap between real-world fuel consumption and lab results for their cars is 54 percent. The Mercedes A and E classes are burning 56 percent more fuel on the road that is claimed in their sales brochures, according to a report by the Transport and Environment's Mind the Gap. Figures show industry-wide statistics are also still skewed with the average gap for cars in Europe at 42 percent, costing drivers around £460 extra a year at the pump. Mercedes is the worst-performing manufacturer, with the C class burning 54 percent more fuel than advertised, compared to the VW Passat, which is measured at 46 percent. The fuel efficiency tests are conducted in the laboratory with many loopholes and flexibilities and are prone to extensive manipulation. Greg Archer, clean vehicles director of Transport and Environment, said: 'Cars that burn 50% more fuel than advertised are deceiving consumers and cheating environmental rules. 'Unless we want the Americans do Europe's job again, the commission and national vehicle approval authorities must investigate Mercedes and Audi and determine if they are using devices to defeat the test.' The average gap across all brands in Europe is quickly growing, jumping from 28 percent in 2012 to 42 percent last year. The gap was 14 percent a decade ago. Audi is the second worst brand with an average gap of 49 percent. In general, most car brands have an average gap higher than 40 percent with Peugeot at 45 percent, Toyota at 43 percent and Volkswagen at 40 percent. The exception is Fiat, which is still operating at 35 percent higher than advertised. Distorted test results deceive European drivers whose cars consume much more fuel than is promised in marketing materials. Mr Archer added: 'There has been no improvement in the average efficiency of new cars on the road for four years because carmakers manipulate tests to achieve their CO2 targets instead of designing the car to be efficient on the road. 'As a result, drivers are being tricked and forced to buy more fuel; governments defrauded of tax revenues; and climate targets undermined. 'More than a year after the Dieselgate broke, we urge regulators in Berlin and the European Commission to get to the bottom of this Autogate.'

 

 67 /173 

0.9
Pixie Lott stuns as she's joined by shirtless Oliver Cheshire for Instagram snap

fiancé Oliver Cheshire proved they were made for each other as they shared a sexy, yet comical bathroom snap on Instagram on Wednesday. The 25-year-old pop princess looked typically stylish while her male model other half steamed things up by going shirtless for the mirror-selfie. Scroll down for video Citing their whereabouts in Palm Springs, California, Pixie looked sartorially savvy in a cropped pearl-detailed jumper, denim skirt and heart-shaped satchel. However all attention was diverted to Oliver, 28, who seemed to have just stepped out of the shower with only a towel covering his modestly. Flaunting his immaculately chiselled torso, the Select Model Management signed hunk oozed sexiness as he ran his hand through his hair while checking out his reflection. 'Cattin with the O cat.' Pixie hilariously captioned the image as she raised one finger up to her face. With both Pixie and Oliver's sensational good looks, it's no wonder they caught each other's attention back in 2010. On Monday, the Mama Do singer exclusively told MailOnline at the BBC Music Awards that she still can't believe she is getting married - and doesn't want to rush the exciting process of planning the nuptials. She confessed that the moment he got down on one knee had left her 'speechless', and that she now never wants to take off her sparkling ring. True to her word, the Essex-born beauty stormed the red carpet once more on Tuesday at the notionmagazine.com re-launch party with her left hand slung on her slender hip, to best show off the exquisite diamond. The blonde beauty also exclusively told MailOnline that she still has not fully processed that Oliver is now her fiancé, claiming: 'It's still sinking in because I wasn't expecting it!' The singer went on to explain that her surprise was heightened by the fact that she was fresh off a long and tiring flight from LA when it happened. She continued :'I just burst into tears [when it happened]. I was so tired and jet lagged as I'd just got back from LA and we'd been at a wedding party the night before... 'I'd had no sleep, so I just burst into tears, for once I was speechless!' before she added with laughter: 'My mascara went everywhere!' The loved-up duo both took to their Instagram accounts to share the happy news - with Pixie sharing a photo of her dazzling diamond ring, adding simply in the photo's caption: 'so happy.' Pixie also added that did not want to wait too long to marry her handsome beau: 'If I don't get time to do it then it'll definitely by 2018 for sure.'

 

 68 /173 

0.3
Has Jesy Nelson got a new beau? Little Mix star spotted in Paris with rumoured love interest Bradley Churchill... following Jake Roche split

She split from beau Jake Roche after an 18-month engagement earlier this autumn. But Jesy Nelson may have already found love again. The Little Mix star has been spotted out in Paris with her rumoured new beau, Bradley Churchill who landed in the City Of Light by private jet on Wednesday. Scroll down for videos The Sun reports that Jesy was then seen posing for pictures in the same square with her bandmate Perrie Edwards. Bradley is best friends with Perrie's beau - footballer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - with the blonde singer rumoured to have introduced the pair. Earlier this month, Jesy and Bradley were also spotted together bowling in London, and were apparently joined by Perrie and Alex, according to the newspaper. And Bradley and Alex were also in the audience to watch Little Mix perform on The X Factor final. The MailOnline has reached out to Jesy's representative for comment. The 25-year-old songstress first sparked split reports when she was spotted without her engagement ring. The couple also unfollowed each other on Instagram and Jesy stopped wearing her engagement ring to public appearances. Jake's mother Colleen Nolan confirmed the split during an appearance on Loose Women. 'It's amicable on both sides,' she said during an appearance on Loose Women earlier this month. 'They're both dealing with it really well and are still good friends. 'It's a lot to handle when you are young.' Jake and Jesy had been engaged for a year and a half with the singer employing the help of Ed Sheeran to propose to Jesy in July 2015, while on stage at the Manchester Evening News Arena.

 

 69 /173 

3.3
Michigan State Police unveil hat style last worn in 1920s

Michigan state troopers have a fresh, new look.
Well, kind of. Actually, it's an old look.
As part of the 100 th anniversary of the Michigan State Police force's founding, law enforcement members will begin wearing a campaign-style uniform hat similar to what original enforcement members of the MSP wore until the early 1920s.
Troopers will begin wearing the hats on Thursday, Dec. 22.
MSP Spokesman Lt. Michael Shaw told the Associated Press that members of the force took a vote and decided to make the switch. Michigan is one of just six states where troopers don't wear campaign hats.
The new design features a black straw hat with a clear-coat protection. It has a traditional four-dent style with an extra-stiff brim. It includes braids of different colors, depending on rank.

 

 70 /173 

2.7
Chef Maria Vieages returns to Louisiana after cooking for stars

Covington resident Maria Vieages is a perfect mix of New Orleans-- or in her words-- "a graduate of St. James the Major, with a Sicilian Mom and a Portuguese dad and some Canary Island Islenos mixed in too. "
But it's taken some time for Vieages to get back to cooking in Louisiana. She's spent a bulk of her career cooking for celebrities in California. But slowly she made her way back.
Radiology to Susan Spicer
In her 30s Vieages was working as a radiology technician at a News Orleans hospital. Bored with her job, she would prepare elaborate lunches to bring to work. Her co-workers loved her cooking. Before she knew it, her co-workers were giving her money on a Friday. She would shop and cook on the weekend and cater lunch for them Monday through Friday of the next week.
"My catering began to grow from the lunches by word of mouth. I realized I needed to pay attention to this business phenomena developing before me," Vieages said. "I began to think about cooking as a real alternative. "
Vieages considered attending culinary school, seeking advice from renowned Chef Susan Spicer.
Spicer told her, "Before you go to culinary school, go get a job in a decent restaurant. In 15 minutes, you will know. You will either walk out the door or you will love it. "
She loved it.
Vieages graduated from the Delgado Culinary Arts program and then volunteered with Frank Brigtsen because she wanted the experience. She apprenticed with the late Willy Coln at the Intercontinental Hotel. She then cooked on the line at the Sazerac and was hired by Emeril at Emeril's Homeplace, the home base of his restaurant empire.
After several years, Vieages opened her own place, Maria's Multiregional Cuisine on Harrison Avenue in Lakeview. She operated her business for over 10 years before things changed.
Washed away
Katrina dumped 14 feet of water in her Harrison location. She lost her house, her business, and most of her customers were no longer there to support it anyway.
"I was trying to decide what to do when a long-time client who had homes in Lakeview and Sonoma contacted me and sent me a plane ticket. I stayed at her place for a week and fell in love with California," she said.
Vieages moved to Santa Rosa, a suburb of San Francisco, where she cooked as a private chef first for wine country tourists at Sonoma and Napa vacation villas and eventually for local celebrities. She cooked for Dan Rather, Rue McClanahan who was a pescatarian vegetarian, Carlos Santana, musician and producer Narda Michael Walden, vocalist and guitarist Sammy Hagar, and guitarist vocalist Kevin Campbell.
Entertainment industry celebrities were not her only customers.
She often cooked for the creator of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. Twice a year she did corporate weekend parties for Google COO Owen Van Natta.
With Maria's quick, witty, and fun-loving personality, a food radio show was inevitable. Television was close behind. She filmed with HG TV's House Hunters on Vacation on the Sonoma episode, which aired June 8, 2009.
Road back
After 10 years, the lure of steamier weather began to call to Maria. She accepted a position in Tampa.
Vieages began returning to New Orleans on a few trips, offering cooking classes at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum including a Pacific-Rim Asian cooking demo.
After a brief stint in Tampa, she returned to the area, settling in Covington. Her friends threw a welcome home party for her.
"I couldn't believe how many people were there. One of my high school teachers was there. My eighth-grade teacher was there. It was incredible, and people started signing up for cooking classes," Vieages said.
Now she is doing private chef dinners, cooking classes, vintner dinners, wine pairing events, pop-ups, cooking videos, and a lot of catering.
Vieages' many food demos are often held at Oil & Vinegar in the Pinnacle Shopping Center in Covington, owned and operated by Covington resident Pemmie Sheasby.
"Pemmie is like my long-lost sister," Vieages said. "We met and immediately connected. We both love food, our customers and like to provide great service with fun and style. "
Local ties, local grub, and local love mean that Vieages' roots are spreading once again to the benefit of local eaters.
"I have cooked in many cities as a private chef and on cruise lines and in vacation destinations. Everyone loves the food from their roots. I try to provide a contemporary take on their personal culinary history. I'm reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, I finally feel like I am back home," she said.
Ann Benoit can be reached at CovingtonTownTalk@gmail.com.

 

 71 /173 

1.2
Impact investing growing quickly, but has long way to go -GIIN

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss NEW YORK, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Impact investments, which support social change while making money, have grown rapidly over the last three years as mainstream institutions such as pension funds and insurance companies have jumped on the bandwagon, a top industry executive said. But the global market, worth at least $77 billion at the end of 2015, has a "long way to go in terms of potential," Amit Bouri, chief executive of the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), said in a recent interview. The non-profit organization was formed to help the industry grow and operate more efficiently. Impact investing, a term coined in 2007, grew out of the desire by socially conscious individuals to extend philanthropy to their financial holdings. But the sector's healthy returns and social impact have spurred every major financial institution, led by Goldman Sachs and BlackRock, to participate in some way, Bouri said. "We have certainly seen the market go from a nascent market to one that is really coming of age," he said. "Impact investing is unintentionally the best kept secret of how you can invest. Most investors don't even think they can invest in a way that answers their social and environmental priorities, while also meeting financial objectives. " Potential investors in Asia include financial services firms and insurance companies, many of whom are new to the impact investing market, Bouri said. Prudential has committed to enlarging its impact investment portfolio to $1 billion by 2020 from $500 million in 2016, Bouri said, citing the asset manager's response a GIIN survey. Its holdings include education, housing and financial services, primarily in the United States. Sixty-two investors, mainly impact investing asset managers, saw their assets grow to $35.5 billion at the end of 2015 from $25.4 billion in 2013, according to the GIIN survey released in early December. During that period, 98 percent of the respondents said, their impact investments performed in line with or exceeded expectations. More than half of the respondents were fund managers and one-fifth were foundations. The survey included only those who had been in the sector since 2013, Bouri noted. (Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Richard Chang)

 

 72 /173 

1.9
Couple capture video of moose licking their car at Alberta park

KANANASKIS, Alberta, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- A couple out searching for wildlife in Alberta had an unexpectedly close encounter when a moose decided to lick the salt from their car.
Alberta Parks issued a warning last week alerting visitors to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park that moose have been seen in the area licking the salt from cars in the Chester Lake and Burstall Pass parking lots, so Theresa and C. J. Malan decided the park might be a good place to start their wildlife search Thursday.
"[C. J.'s] new to Canada, so every time that we have the opportunity to we'll take a drive out and look for wildlife," Theresa told the Bow Valley Crag & Canyon. "We're very respectful of animals and we wouldn't have intruded on the moose's space. We just wanted to spot a moose. "
She said they had just passed Chester Lake and were turning around when they spotted the moose, estimated by experts to be 3 to 4 years old, walking from a clearing to a nearby car, where it started licking the salt from the vehicle.
The couple parked and the moose soon turned its attention on their car.
Theresa posted a video to Instagam showing the moose licking the salt from the front of their vehicle.
She said the moose spent about 30 minutes licking the salt.
"It was totally unexpected," she said. "He was totally gentle, totally chill -- it was a really cool experience. "

 

 73 /173 

2.7
Jessica Cunningham sizzles in nothing but a fur coat and lingerie in festive snap

They are going to give it a go and take it from there.' Of Jessica's sexy snap, the source confirmed that it ties in with Jessica's aspirations to take her business to the next level, despite the fact that Lord Sugar wasn't interested in investing in it. The brunette runs Prodigal Fox - a fashion company that provides women with 'killer apparel' using 'the best fabric from the most luxurious textile capitals of the world.' Modelling plenty of her outfits herself, the source revealed that Jessica is certainly keen to remain in front of the camera, not just behind it. The pictures of The Apprentice star comes after winner Alana Spencer slammed her fellow female competitors for stripping off instead of focusing on business. The 24-year-old, who scooped the £250,000 investment from Alan Sugar on Sunday night's finale, took aim at her co-star for posing for racy shoots in her lingerie. She insisted looks shouldn't play a part in making a success of your brand. On the topic of whether she would pose for racy snaps, she told The Sun : 'Oh God no, I wouldn’t do what they’ve done. I would absolutely not do that. 'The world is not ready to see me in a bikini if I’m honest. All it should come down to is work ethic and business plans. 'If women want to look good and feel better by putting on a bit of make-up and wearing nice clothes, then all power to them. But I don’t think looks should have any bearing.'

 

 74 /173 

1.1
US water projects aimed at easing drought to get $225M

ALBUQUERQUE, N. M. (AP) - The federal government will spend nearly a quarter-billion dollars to finance several dozen projects aimed at easing the effects of drought in the western U. S. and restoring watersheds that provide drinking water to communities around the nation, officials announced Wednesday. The $225 million in funding will be shared among 88 projects, from California's Central Valley to centuries-old irrigation systems in northern New Mexico and thousands of square miles of fragmented streams in Maine. More than half of the projects specifically address drought and water quality. Jason Weller, head of the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, said the federal funding will also generate $500 million more in spending for the projects that will be provided by state, local and private partners. "That's important for us because no one organization has the boots on the ground, the financial resources, the technical expertise needed to deal with drought, invasive species, invasive weeds, be more energy efficient and improve the health of their forests," he said. "It's really incumbent upon us all to work smarter and more effectively together. " Weller pointed to the tens of millions of trees that have died in California due to the epic drought there and other challenges faced by communities bordering public and private forests that are overgrown and unhealthy. He said the dry conditions are putting pressure on watersheds and their ability to provide abundant and clean water. The funding also is aimed at tackling flooding problems in places such as Merced County, California, where storm runoff in recent years has forced road closures and damaged prime agricultural land. Officials say $10 million will go toward the design and construction of a system that will better capture and use snowmelt and precipitation from foothills while protecting infrastructure in the county. Local partners are expected to triple the federal investment in the project. Nearly $18 million is dedicated to projects in New Mexico, where Hispanic families have been using acequias, or earthen canals, for centuries to water their crops. Acequias are located in 12 of the most impoverished counties in New Mexico and many need repairs. Supporters say revitalization of the historic irrigation systems are a matter of social and environmental justice because of their cultural and spiritual importance for the region. In Maine, $6 million is being invested in a restoration project that spans 25,000 square miles. The goal is to reconnect some of the state's high-value aquatic networks that have been damaged by roads and vehicles. The Nature Conservancy group and 18 other partners will be working on that project. In all, the regional conservation program has invested $825 million in nearly 300 projects around the country over the last three years. The program was created by the 2014 Farm Bill. Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

 75 /173 

1.6
Charles Schumer fires longtime staffers just days before the holidays

Incoming Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer has given the axe to a handful of Democratic staffers in the office that produces videos that tout party officeholders, as the chamber moves toward being the primary battleground over the Trump agenda. Some of the aides had decades of Senate experience, but they are being let go as a new party leadership tries to refocus the office to produce more viral content as Democratic senators try to function during unified Republican control of government. 'On Friday, December 16, 2016, my colleagues and I in the Senate Democratic Media Center were informed by the incoming Democratic Leaders office that our services were no longer needed,' one former staffer wrote in an email obtained by Politico. Republicans immediately tried to paint the holiday layoffs as out of step with the holidays. Sean Spicer, spokesman for President-elect Donald Trump, made hay out of the move with a tweet. 'Someone isn't in the holiday spirit,' he wrote, with a link to the article. Trump has held rallies before banks of Christmas trees during his 'thank you tour' that wrapped up last weekend. 'It's incumbent on us to create some of the more creative, buzzy, viral content,' a Democratic aide told the publication. 'The current, existing [office] wasn't built to do that.' Aides said the revamped office would focus on providing video rapid response – meaning to use digital capabilities to get out the party's message and blast the Republican agenda. Schumer is taking over as Senate minority leader with the retirement of Nevada Senator Harry Reid. Schumer himself played a role in building up the Democratic Policy and Communications into more of a 'war room' during Reid's tenure. Schumer has already started bringing in new hires, according to the publication. That would get the new office going as Republicans prepare to move through a slate of Trump cabinet and other nominations as quickly as possible. Trump is also planning to take a series of executive actions as soon as he takes office January 20, with an Obamacare fight and a looming battle over his nomination to fill the vacancy created by the death of Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court (Republicans stalled President Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the post.) A Democratic aide told Fox News : that, 'We are bringing in new people with expertise in digital videos and content for Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. The mission of the revamped SDMC will be to produce more content to make content more creative and catchy, and to do so faster than we've been able to in the past.'

 

 76 /173 

2.6
Zenbo robot choir sing Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas'

A Chinese firm launched its new robot in a way that is sure to spread some holiday cheer - although perhaps not for the reasons the firm hoped. Ten Zenbos took the stage in Taiwan and sang Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' in a festive, and somewhat terrifying, spectacle. Following the performance, ASUS announced that the friendly bot will be available for pre-order starting January 1st – consumers can request a unit for between $620 and $780. Scroll down for videos 'For decades, humans have dreamed of owning such a companion: one that is smart, dear to our hearts, and always at our disposal,' ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih said at the event. 'Our ambition is to enable robotic computing for every household.' Shih also announced that developers and partners from various industries in Taiwan — including those in the education, transportation, e-commerce, entertainment, and cleaning sectors — have partnered with ASUS to extend and enrich the Zenbo experience through dedicated apps and capabilities. The show opened with a single Zenbo on stage singing along to the popular Christmas song. And shortly after, backup singing robotes appeared from behind on two large platforms. The clip is about two minutes of the Zenbos singing and dancing along to the music. Zenbo is a friendly and capable home robot designed to provide assistance, entertainment, and companionship to families and meant to address the needs of each family member in this ubiquitous computing era. And was first unveiled at Computex 2016 in May alongside a new range of mobile phones. As a home care assistant, he proactively provides convenient, spoken reminders of important information, such as doctor's appointments, medication and exercise schedules, and anything else that needs to be remembered. 'Zenbo is a friendly and capable home robot designed to provide assistance, entertainment, and companionship to families and meant to address the needs of each family member in this ubiquitous computing era,' the firm said. 'With a full range of capabilities, including the ability to move independently and understand spoken commands, Zenbo can assist in the home and interacting with him is easy and fun.' Zenbo also monitors the home for emergency situations — such as falls — and immediately responds to them by notifying specified family members on their smartphones, no matter where they are. When they receive an emergency notification, family members can remotely control Zenbo to move nearby and use Zenbo's built-in camera to visually check on their loved one. It can also make video calls, use social media, shop and stream movies and TV shows — using voice commands and guided help. Zenbo is also a fun and educational playmate for kids who entertains them with interactive stories and learning games that foster their creativity and logical thinking skills. With a high-quality, built-in stereo sound system, Zenbo can play children's favorite songs and even dance along to the music, making for fun playtime activity. 'Zenbo is also an expert storyteller who keeps children entertained during the day and helps them fall asleep at night,' the firm boasts. Zenbo includes a built-in library of stories that he tells in a variety of entertaining voices, while displaying accompanying images on his screen and controlling the room lighting to add a new level of interactivity and fun to story time. Zenbo also comes with educational games and an interactive encyclopedia that make learning fun. Zenbo can connect to and control many smart home and traditional devices, including lights, TVs, air conditioners, and more. He can also help out in the kitchen, reading recipes out loud and functioning as a voice-controlled timer, so home chefs can stay focused on cooking. It will also act as a remote-controlled home security camera that is accessible from anywhere via an intuitive smartphone app.

 

 77 /173 

2.7
The World War II hero Trump has been emulating all along

He was unpredictable. He was aggressively combative. He wasn't really that much of a likeable guy. But he was also a winner. No, I'm not talking about Donald Trump during the 2016 election process, I'm talking about the late General George S. Patton. But the reason the description is so reminiscent of the President-elect is that Trump is trying to emulate him. And the more you know about how Patton talked and acted, the better prepared you'll be for Trump's impending presidency.
Trump's admiration for Patton isn't a secret. Even before he formally announced his candidacy for president, Trump started mentioning Patton's name regularly in speeches and interviews. By the time his campaign ended, Trump was mentioning Patton and fellow American war hero General Douglas MacArthur at every rally. Most of the time, he referred to Patton as the kind of leader America needs to defeat ISIS.
But Trump has clearly been copying Patton's methods and teachings in a more all-encompassing way than that. Here's an example from Patton's own words that appears to be one of Trump's guiding principles.
Trump's aggressive, often politically incorrect verbal attacks on his opponents became more than just a passing feature of his campaign. Even since his win, he's only slightly softened his tone. Trump seems to continue to appreciate the purpose of a Patton-like first and constant strike attack strategy: It keeps your opponents on the defensive and everyone else talking about you and what you said.
This was a big reason Trump gained so much attention despite running in a crowded field in the GOP primaries and against America's most famous female politician in the general election. He made everyone else look like the supporting cast.
Look for that combative, strike-first strategy to continue during the rest of the transition period straight through Trump's term in the White House. It certainly has continued through his post-election attacks on CNN, Vanity Fair, former President Bill Clinton, etc. In other words, folks who expect Trump to noticeably tone it down once he takes office don't know Trump and they don't know Patton.
Here's another chestnut from the general that Trump seems to live by:
"There is but one international law; the best Army! "— General George S. Patton
Of course the easiest place for Trump to emulate Patton is in his capacity as the Commander-in-Chief of the U. S. armed forces. Trump is well on his way to doing that. First, he chose the living general most experts believe most resembles Patton — General James Mattis — to be his Secretary of Defense.
In fact, Trump himself continues to introduce Mattis as "the closest thing we have to General George Patton. " But it goes beyond that. Trump has repeatedly complained about what he sees as a weakening of the U. S. military under President Obama. He's calling for steep increases in troop levels and the number of naval ships in the American fleet. That's Pattonesque in many ways.
So too is Trump's continued calls for more secrecy and caginess in American foreign and military policy. Trump often mentions MacArthur and Patton when he says he doesn't want to reveal specific plans for military operations, thus giving the enemy a chance to prepare. During a campaign stop in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina late last year, Trump said, "I don't want my generals being interviewed. "
Patton's bluntness and coarseness went beyond words. The general famously almost ended his military career prematurely by slapping a PTSD-suffering soldier at a Army hospital facility in August, 1943. Army Chief of Staff General George Marshall did not fire Patton as a commander, but he was still sidelined from combat command for almost a year.
As much as that incident hurt Patton's reputation among some people, his aggressive and frightening nature was confirmed in the eyes of America's enemies. This was especially true of the Germans, who feared Patton above all the other Allied generals. Patton was a weapon his superiors saw as a necessary blunt instrument to win the war. That was why Patton was returned to command in Europe and helped speed the pace of the stalled Allied march to Germany in 1944 and 1945.
Much like Patton, many voters see Trump as a similar blunt instrument to smash America's foreign and domestic woes. As president, it's not likely Trump will be slapping any soldiers, but his aggressive style is meant to do more than put his political opponents and media critics off guard.
Like Patton, the added goal is to frighten enemies like ISIS, al Qaeda, and terror-supporting regimes like Iran and North Korea. This might mean a bigger American naval presence in disputed waters, or more anti-ISIS bombing raids in Syria and Iraq. Trump promises not to telegraph those kinds of moves, but no one should be surprised if they happen.
Domestically, look for some kind of very visible and aggressive moves against attacks on the homeland. A big part of this will indeed be verbal as Trump has continued to immediately blame every attack on "Islamist terror" using those exact words usually much earlier than when the perpetrators are actually confirmed. Trump began that trend when he immediately blamed the San Bernardino attack last year on Islamic terror.
Like Patton, Trump is likely to act first and ask a lot of the pertinent questions later in response to any future domestic terror attacks.
"Give me an Army of West Point graduates and I'll win a battle... Give me a handful of Texas Aggies and I'll win a war. " — General George S. Patton
This Patton quote, which underscored the general's belief that the Army brass weren't always the best people to get a dirty job done, seems to have played a role in at least some of Trump's cabinet choices. There's actually a real Texas Aggie in that group in former Texas Governor and Energy Secretary-Designate Rick Perry, who graduated from Texas A&M in 1972.
But "Aggies" are another way of saying the long-held norms about whom we consider to be acceptable cabinet choices don't sit well with the Trump team. That's how you get an oil company CEO picked for Secretary of State, a neurosurgeon chosen to lead HUD, and a pro wrestling industry leader to run the Small Business Administration. They fit Trump's and Patton's image of "doers" being better than the supposedly more polished and qualified.
All of this of course begs the question: Do we really want a president who seems to want to emulate one of America's all time most aggressive and volatile generals? The easy answer is that if Trump ends up as successful in his "battles" and other tests as Patton did, not many people will complain in the end.
Trump has always been betting on that exact outcome. He did just that during his many controversial moves during the election, believing that a victory in November would eventually make the criticisms and doubt irrelevant.
It'll be different once Trump is president. The stakes are higher and negatives are much more serious than just losing an election. But Trump and his supporters have always had a pretty good retort for those who say he's talking or acting too recklessly.
That is, they can and have pointed to the increased number of terror attacks in America and across the world, the growing military and political might of nations like Iran, China, and Russia, and the continuing failures in our public schools and problems with our infrastructure. And while doing so, they can and have asked: "How has the more reserved and accepted way of doing things been working out for us, not just under President Obama but for the last 30-40 years? "
Like Patton, Trump does not respect a lot of the rules his predecessors have upheld for so long. Those who have knee-jerk positive or negative reactions to this are ignoring the fact that no one can predict what results will come from Trump's disrespect for those conventions. All they can do is react to Trump much like his superiors and enemies did throughout his career and consistently expect the next president of the United States to act aggressively and unexpectedly for the next four years.

 

 78 /173 

3.7
U. S. manufacturing job openings at 9-year high

But there already are many job openings right here in America, even in manufacturing. The bigger challenge is filling them.
In October, there were 322,000 job openings in manufacturing -- about the same level as in 2007. It has tripled since hitting a low of 99,000 during the recession in 2009.
Earlier this year, openings rose as high as 400,000 in April, one of highest marks since the Labor Department first started counting the figure in 2000.
Hiring has picked up a little but it hasn't kept pace with openings in recent years.
Experts caution that the rise in job openings doesn't compensate for the millions of manufacturing jobs lost since 2000.
"It's nice to have those jobs back, but the rate of change is not such that you're going to have a renaissance in the Rust Belt," says Joseph Fuller, a professor at Harvard Business School, who has researched job skill trends.
The gap between job openings and job hires in manufacturing has widened this year. There were 271,000 hires in October, meaning, in theory, about 51,000 manufacturing job openings went unfilled in October.
A few reasons -- both good and bad -- help explain why American factories have plenty of openings but not enough hires.
Related: The manufacturing boom that Trump ignores
1. Improving job market : When the job market gains momentum, people start moving jobs, leaving openings that need to be filled. The unemployment rate is down to 4.6% from 10% in 2009 -- a sign that the job market has recovered.
2. Job skills gap : Many employers can't find the workers with advanced job skills required for new types of positions, such as 3D manufacturing or operating complex machinery.
3. Passive recruitment : Some employers post job openings once they see orders for their goods increase. But they may want to be sure the pick-up is here to stay and take a "wait and see" approach before actually hiring a person.
4. Trumped up optimism in manufacturing : Since the election, about 78% of manufacturers are either somewhat, or very, positive about their future outlook, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. That's up from 61% in September. Optimism tends to breed job openings.
Related: High schoolers manufacture plane parts
The problem with the increase in job openings is the quality and type of manufacturing jobs.
Employers aren't looking for assembly workers to stitch new clothes, build furniture or craft beautiful wooden coffee tables. They want workers who have advanced jobs skills -- the 3D manufacturer.
"The low skill, low wage jobs are actually moving away and being replaced by the high-skill, high-wage jobs," says Ahu Yildirmaz, head of the ADP Research Institute.
Back in 2008, half of U. S. manufacturing firms offered jobs that, on average, paid $25 or less per hour. This year, only about 30% of manufacturers are paying $25 or less an hour, according to ADP.
In other words, working class Americans with low skills are finding fewer job opportunities while high-skill jobs go unfilled.
Related: U. S. has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000
The trillion dollar question is whether Trump can bring back loads of manufacturing jobs, as he has promised. Trump's big, $1 trillion infrastructure proposal could be a boon for construction and manufacturing jobs in America. Done right, it would also boost U. S. economic growth.
Optimistic employers may also be betting on Trump's promise to strip away regulations on energy -- a sector that requires lots of parts and equipment supplied by manufacturers.
But not everyone is optimistic. Manufacturing trends can take decades to reverse, and job losses have continued to mount this year.
"Do I really think that's going to change? I guess not... I don't think we're going to see a big increase in manufacturing employment," says Susan Helper, an economics professor at Case Western Reserve University who focuses on manufacturing.

 

 79 /173 

0.0
New casting info for early January extra roles

Although we are at the end of the calendar year, casting calls for movies and television shows being produced in and around metro Atlanta continue.
A nod of thanks goes to Atlanta-based ProjectCasting.com for local casting updates and info.
He loses everything, and must rebuild his church and family, and find his own personal faith.
Filming will take place in January 2017.
Come Sunday Casting Call
Background Roles: Re-occurring
(1). Seeking Caucasian and African American Women as Elders of the Church Age: 48 and up
(2). Seeking Caucasian Men and African American Men to portray Men in Leadership Age: 45 and up (These are the men that will travel as the Ministers and sit in the Pulpit with the Actor.)
You will portray "Devout Men and Women of the Word"
Please send in photos in Church attire. Suits, blazers, button downs, dresses, hats, etc.; Conservative looks.
Currently ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS. Working in January, 2017. Location: Atlanta, GA Rate: TBD (Background position) Shooting Date(s): TBD (will notify)
Send 3 current photos/cell pics Full shot, waist up and headshot.
Include name, age, phone number, height, weight, location/distance to Atlanta, GA. Feel free to list any experience you may have in the Ministry. Please do not submit if this isn’t a position you can take seriously. Looking to capture real devout leaders in the ministry.
The show's director will be viewing the photos.
Email: MhcPraise@gmail.com
Subject Line: Female Elder Age: 48 and up Subject Line: Male Leadership Age: 45 and up
Producers are looking for newborn African American babies, men and women with real medical experience to play doctors delivering a baby along with men and women with real experience to play nurses assisting in delivering a baby.
Star Casting Call
Please email Pic(s), Name and Phone Number to Star@Centralcasting.com. Put what you are submitting for in the subject line.
Manifesto Casting Call
-1 Face Forward -1 Medium Length -1 Full Length / Full Body Shot
PLEASE ALSO INCLUDE YOUR: 1. Legal Name 2. Phone Number 3. Email Address 4. Actual Age 5. Height 6. Weight 7. Top Size 8. Pant Size 9. Shoe Size 10. Current City and State 11. Car Color / Make / Model & Year (please include a picture)
*please ONLY SUBMIT if you are 100% interested, available and VERY SERIOUS about working with us in the ATLANTA, GA and surrounding areas.
Soldiers: Caucasian men to portray 1800's German soldiers. Ages: Late 20's - Early 40's. Coat sizes 36-46 & Pants 28-40.
‘Sleepy Hollow’ Season 4 Casting Call
FITTING TUESDAY 1/3 IN CONYERS
WORKING THURSDAY 1/5 & WEDNESDAY 1/11 IN CONYERS
Rate: $64/8
Soldiers: Caucasian Men to portray 1800’s German Soldiers. Ages: Late 20’s – Early 40’s. Coat Sizes 36-46 & Pants 28-40.
If this is you, please submit your name, phone number, coat & pant sizes and current picture to sleepy@centralcasting.com with SOLDIER in the subject.
(© 2016 WXIA)

 

 80 /173 

1.5
David Barton Gyms Abruptly Close as Other Gyms Scoop Up Members

EAST VILLAGE — An upscale New York gym chain has thrown in the towel.
David Barton Gym — known for its nightclub-like atmosphere — abruptly shuttered New York locations Wednesday, citing "severe competitive pressures," according to a statement on the company's website.
The boutique fitness spot, which first opened in 1992 with the tag line "Look better naked" operated multiple Manhattan gyms, including those in Hell's Kitchen and Astor Place.
"The company deeply regrets this final action, but due to severe competitive pressures, particularly in New York, it has become impossible for these locations to continue," the company said in its statement. "DavidBartonGym greatly appreciates the past patronage of its clients and support of its staff and training professionals.”
Many gym-goers who headed in for the regular workouts Wednesday at Astor Place were shocked to find the doors closed, with the company's closure statement tapped to its doors.
Though the signs posted said members may have received emails explaining the shut down, stunned members who showed up said they received no notice and were floored at the news.
A sign posted on the David Barton Gym location at Astor Place stated it had closed down. (DNAinfo/Allegra Hobbs)
“I love this gym — I left the country and didn’t cancel my membership because I love this gym and when I came back it was here for me,” said Rajasri Narasinhan, 25, explaining she had gone to India for several months and kept her membership during that time.
Narasinhan said she had joined the gym when she lived near Astor Place and had stayed a member even after moving to Crown Heights because she loved the facilities and helpful staff.
“I’m actually really torn and I don’t know why," she said. “I feel like a lot of things change in this neighborhood and in my life, and this is one of those things that was very constant. "
Along with stunned gym members, representatives from gym competitors also showed up at the David Barton Gym at 4 Astor Place Wednesday, trying to quickly offer deals to beleaguered members showing up to work out only to discover the doors were permanently closed.
“All of us at New York Sports Club feel bad these people lost out on their money, and a lot of people can’t even go inside to access their clothes and get their stuff out of the locker,” said NYSC membership consultant Justin Joseph. “If they come to the gym today, we’ll give them a special promotion that’s exclusive to the people who lost out on their membership.”
Joseph was unable to say what the promotion would be, explaining the snubbed members had to either come to a NYSC location or call to get the details on the deal.
A Crunch Fitness rep posted in front of the gym said former David Barton members would get a free three-day membership at their facilities, and would then be treated to an exclusive deal.
“They’re gym-less, so we’re going to give them the best deal possible,” said Crunch rep Nildy Tenorio.
David Barton also shuttered all of its Miami, Boston, Chicago and Bellevue, Washington locations.
The gym's Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Honolulu locations, which are owned by a separate company and "are in markets that are more favorable to the company’s business model," will continue to operate, the company said.

 

 81 /173 

2.1
Report: Drug price spikes threaten patient health, ecomomy

Staggering hikes in some cases higher than 5000% in prices of prescription drugs threaten the health of Americans who can’t afford vital medicines as well as the broader economic stability of households across the U. S., a new congressional report warned Wednesday.
The findings by the Senate Special on Aging summarize the panel’s 2016 investigation of records from four pharmaceutical companies and public hearings that focused on sudden price spikes in decades-old medications and the pricing decisions imposed by drug industry entrepreneur Martin Shkreli and other industry executives.
Turing Pharmaceuticals and Retrophin (RTRX), two firms once headed by Shkreli, embattled drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (VRX) and Rodelis Therapeutics are among companies that dramatically raised prices on some decades-old, off-patent drugs they acquired and controlled through monopoly business models, the report said.
This file photo taken on February 4, 2016 shows entrepreneur and pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli leaving after invoking his Fifth Amendment rights during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. | BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Shkreli has gained widespread criticism from healthcare professionals, patients and even some 2016 presidential candidates for his role in directing drug price increases at Turing and Retrophin.
Valeant’s shares have lost roughly 94% of their value since Aug. 2015 amid multiple investigations and criticism of the company’s drug pricing and distribution policies. Rodelis acquired the rights to distribute a drug used to treat multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and later imposed a 2060% price increase. However, the acquisition was rescinded weeks after the hike.
“The skyrocketing prices of prescription drugs affect every American family, particularly our seniors,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who chairs the committee. “We must work to stop the bad actors who are driving up the prices of drugs that they did nothing to develop … just because, as one executive essentially said, ‘because I can.'”
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., the panel’s ranking minority member, criticized what she termed the “predatory” hedge fund model of drug pricing. She called it “immoral for the patients and taxpayers who ultimately foot the bill — especially for generic drugs that can be made for pennies a dose.”
Retrophin stressed that the Senate report focused on Shkreli’s tenure and concluded the firm appeared to have renounced his business model. “Today, Retrophin is a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company dedicated to delivering life-changing therapies to people living with rare diseases who have few, if any, treatment options,” the company said.
The other firms and Shkreli did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on the report, which focused on the health and economic impact spiraling drug prices can have on ordinary Americans.
One was Isla Weston, a North Carolina infant who was diagnosed with a life-threatening parasitic infection called toxoplamosis in May 2015.
Doctors prescribed Daraprim, a drug that has been available since 1953 and is considered the standard treatment for the infection. But Shannon and Joshua Weston, the baby’s parents, discovered that Turing Pharmaceuticals had raised the per-tablet price of the medication by more than 5000% — from $13.50 to $750 — shortly after acquiring the drug’s rights from another company.
“I was hopeless and depressed at the thought of what would happen to my perfect little girl if I was not able to help her,” Shannon Weston said during a March hearing held by the Senate committee. “I looked into any way I could think of to come up with the almost $360,000 necessary to treat my daughter for a year with a drug that she needed.”
The baby ultimately received at least a year’s supply of the drug for $200 a month from the University of North Carolina Medical Center’s pharmacy, Weston testified.
Isla’s story is a familiar one for thousands of U. S. families. Americans are expected to spend more than $328 billion on prescription drugs in 2016, with more than $50 billion of the total out of pocket rather than from health insurance providers, the report estimated. The federal government will pay an estimated $126 billion of the cost through Medicare, Medicaid and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the report said.
The four companies used variations of a business model that identified and acquired off-patent, sole-source drugs for which “they could exercise de facto monopoly pricing power, and then impose and protect astronomical price increases,” the report said.
Some senior managers of the companies lacked pharmaceutical industry background and, like Shkreli, had hedge fund experience, the report said. Outside iInvestors in some cases helped drive the cost hikes.
“Funny that these small companies still haven’t realized you can raise price aggressively and nobody gets too upset?” the report quotes Dan Wichman, an investor from Broadfin Capital, as telling Shkreli when the pharma entrepreneur was Retrophin’s CEO.
Shkreli himself “was remarkably candid” about his drug-pricing philosophy, the report said.
“The next generation of pharma guys (or the smart ones) understand the inelasticity of certain products. The insurers really don’t care,” Shkreli wrote in an email to a Retrophin investor. “I figure this dynamic may not last forever, you need to maximize opportunities while you can.”
Separately, Shkreli faces a scheduled Brooklyn federal court trial next year on unrelated charges that he illegally used Retrophin as a personal piggy bank by taking company stock and using it to pay investors who’d lost money in hedge fund investments he handled. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.
The Senate panel recommended potential solutions to the drug price spikes, including congressional approval of a Collins-McCaskill bill that would give the Food and Drug Administration 150 days to expedite review of approval of generic drugs. The procedure could speed the U. S. market introduction of generics as competitors for off-patent, brand name medications controlled by one company.
The committee called for increased transparency in U. S. drug prices and recommended federal approval of targeted and temporary drug importation “to combat major price increases in off-patent drugs.”

 

 82 /173 

2.2
Anti-Muslim Threat At U. Michigan Was A Huge Hoax

A Muslim University of Michigan student who said a man threatened to light her on fire after President-elect Donald Trump’s victory was lying about the whole thing, police said Wednesday.
The student grabbed national headlines in the days after Trump’s election victory when she claimed she was stalked by an intoxicated 20-something man with bad body odor and an unkempt appearance. The man, she said, forced her take off her hijab and threatened to set her on fire with a lighter if she did not.
Despite the lack of evidence for the woman’s claims, they were immediately treated as true by various media outlets, as well as by the university itself, which immediately condemned the incident as a “hateful attack.” The incident was also seized upon by the Center for American-Islamic Relations, which tried to explicitly tie the supposed attack to Trump’s election as president.
Now, more than a month later, Ann Arbor police say the whole attack was a sham. Police Lt. Matthew Lige announced that officers reviewed many hours of surveillance footage from the area where the supposed attack occurred. Not only were they unable to find any evidence of the attack, they were also unable to find any evidence the student was in the area at the time. The attack also had no eyewitnesses.
Despite the collapse of the woman’s story, police are still refusing to identify her. Because the crime she reported was a felony, police say she may be charged with a felony herself for false reporting.
The Michigan student’s story is just the latest high-profile “hate crime” to fall apart under scrutiny. Other bogus hate crimes have been exposed in Louisiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, California, and elsewhere.
Send tips to [email protected] .
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

 

 83 /173 

5.3
CNN Opinion's Best of 2016

Here's a selection of some of the most popular opinion pieces of 2016. The opinions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of the authors.
Roxanne Jones: Beyonce gets Super Bowl show right
February 9
"There were nods to Michael Jackson, to Black Greek step shows, to Malcolm X and a salute to the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panthers. For a minute, watching Beyonce and those strong black women sporting black berets and big afros march out onto the field, I forgot I was watching a Super Bowl performance. For the first time I felt like I wasn't just a spectator of the game but that the game had become a part of my black experience in America. With just a few lyrics, Beyonce connected with black women everywhere. Her performance became personal. "
Read more here.
Roxanne Jones, a founding editor of ESPN Magazine and former vice president at ESPN, has worked as a producer and as a reporter at the New York Daily News and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
David Axelrod: A surprising request from Justice Scalia
February 14
"Justice David Souter, Scalia's longtime colleague on the court, had just announced his retirement, creating a vacancy for President Obama to fill. Scalia figured that as senior adviser to the new president, I might have some influence on the decision -- or at least enough to pass along a message.
'I have no illusions that your man will nominate someone who shares my orientation,' said Scalia, then in his 23rd year as the court's leading and most provocative conservative voice. 'But I hope he sends us someone smart.'
A little taken aback that he was engaging me on the subject, I searched for the right answer, and lamely offered one that signaled my slight discomfort with the topic. 'I'm sure he will, Justice Scalia.'
He wasn't done. Leaning forward, as if to share a confidential thought, he tried again.
'Let me put a finer point on it,' the justice said, in a lower, purposeful tone of voice, his eyes fixed on mine. 'I hope he sends us Elena Kagan.'"
Read more here .
David Axelrod is CNN's senior political commentator and host of the podcast " The Axe Files. " He was senior adviser to President Barack Obama and chief strategist for the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns.
Jay Parini: Why the hate for Hillary Clinton?
March 20
"Her achievements in Congress and at the State Department can't be denied, though many will try. Don't forget her courageous China speech on the rights of women, her aggressive work on climate change and her skill as a senator in guiding the Children's Health Insurance Program through Congress. She helped to negotiate a ceasefire with Hamas during a tense moment in Israel. I think of her successes in forging alliances in South America, Africa and Asia, and her part in establishing tough sanctions against Iran. That's only the beginning.
And yet people hate her. Her negative ratings, in fact, have been shockingly high for someone this close to the nomination of her party. Indeed, one of the most frequently posed questions to the candidate herself is some version of 'Why don't they like you?'
Of course, Republicans have known for a long time that Hillary Clinton is an unusually strong candidate, and this terrifies them. So they have seized on talking points like Benghazi (for which she bears little or no responsibility) and her email scandal. On the latter, even columnist Ruth Marcus -- certainly no fan of Clinton's -- recently wrote in The Washington Post that 'there is no clear evidence that Clinton knew (or even should have known) that the material in her emails was classified.' As we've seen, neither Benghazi nor the email trouble are likely to put off Democratic voters, who regard them as Republican talking points. "
Read more here.
Jay Parini , a poet and novelist, teaches at Middlebury College in Vermont and is the author of "Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal. "
Danny Cevallos: Abby Wambach's arrest for a crime that makes no sense
April 4
"Why? Why do people who otherwise would never commit a crime somehow get arrested for drunken driving? Sure, it's a question of personal responsibility, but why is it so much easier for upstanding citizens to refrain from all other crimes, except DUI?
It's the mixed signals. Most other criminal activity unambiguously violates our social norms. There's no 'gray area' when it comes to smoking meth at a cocktail party, for example. Most crimes are also social faux pas, such that you would neither engage in, nor tolerate the behavior from a peer.
With DUIs, however, there are mixed messages. Most people are surprised to learn that it's not actually illegal to drink and drive. Technically, it's only illegal to drive while 'impaired' by alcohol. What does 'impaired' mean? "
Read more here.
Danny Cevallos ( @CevallosLaw ) is a CNN Legal Analyst and a personal injury and criminal defense attorney practicing in Pennsylvania and the U. S. Virgin Islands.
Marilynn Wann: What Amy Schumer should have said
April 8
"Fat is a floating signifier. It can attach to anyone at any moment. Ask Amy.
But why do we care what anyone weighs? Well, the stakes are high when being thin or fat determines whether you'll be loved, respected, hired, promoted, dated, married, able to travel, buy clothes, see people who look like you in mainstream media, get unbiased medical care, and count as a person -- or not. (And these are just a few examples.)"
Read more here .
Marilyn Wann is a longtime fat activist and weight diversity speaker, author of the "FAT! SO? " book, and creator of Yay! Scales.
John D. Sutter: 'There's no more land'
April 8
"Shortsighted government officials have strangled the Mississippi River with so many dams and levees that it doesn't deliver the soil that's needed to rebuild the marshes. Instead, all of that useful dirt, which normally would be deposited slowly as the river wiggles across a wide and free delta, is rushed out to the bottom of the sea. Oil and gas canals and pipelines, meanwhile, have carved up what's left of the marsh, making it more vulnerable to collapse. "
Read more here.
John D. Sutter is a columnist for CNN Opinion who focuses on climate change and social justice. Follow him on Snapchat , Facebook and email.
Stephanie Coontz: The awkward truth of 'make America great again'
April 29
"Idealizing the era when America was the economic powerhouse of the world, bipartisanship reigned and male breadwinner families were the norm requires overlooking much else. Nostalgia is never random. We cherry-pick the past, highlighting what we like and leaving out the things we don't, even if they were closely intertwined.
So when Trump says let's "make America great again" and Clinton says let's make it 'whole again,' they neglect to mention how much the prosperity of the postwar era depended on a system of regulation and taxation that neither of them shows any inclination to reinstate. "
Read more here.
Stephanie Coontz teaches history at the Evergreen State College and wrote the newly revised "The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap. "
Mel Robbins: Show rape victim's letter to your sons
June 7
"We women know all too well about victim blaming, alcohol as an excuse for assault. It's not alcohol that's raping women; it is men.
Our sons, all the young men in our lives need to be told: Alcohol is never an excuse. As the victim wrote: 'Is it a factor? Yes. But alcohol was not the one who stripped me, fingered me, had my head dragging against the ground, with me almost fully naked.'"
Read more here .
Mel Robbins is a CNN commentator, legal analyst, best-selling author and keynote speaker.
Michael D'Antonio: Donald Trump isn't crazy
August 2
"As 16 Republican primary opponents failed to stop Trump's momentum, the idea that he is crazy seemed to miss the mark. The word "crazy" conjures up a person who is so plagued by delusions, or perhaps hallucinations, that he makes no sense at all.
Consider his success, both before and during his pursuit of the presidency, and it's hard to argue that Trump suffers from such a profoundly distorted view of reality.
In fact he has long demonstrated a keen awareness of how our society worships celebrity and rewards those who can attract the limelight and hold its focus. "
Read more here.
Michael D'Antonio, the author of "The Truth About Trump," is writing Trump Watch, a series of columns on President-elect Donald Trump for CNN Opinion.
Peter Bergen: Bin Laden's spectacular miscalculation
September 8
"For so long the two great oceans of the Atlantic and the Pacific had protected America from its enemies, but no more.
Yet, for all their tactical success the 9/11 attacks failed strategically and, in the end, achieved precisely the opposite of what Osama bin Laden had intended.
There are, of course, differences between the post-World War II era and the post 9/11 era. The long-term aftermath of Pearl Harbor was not only a decisive Allied victory in the war but also decades of American leadership and dominance.
After its initial success in Afghanistan following 9/11, victory was not decisive for the United States. Instead, American forces continued to be at war with a number of shadowy jihadist groups, most recently ISIS, and this now seems like a quasi-permanent state of affairs that could persist well beyond the next presidency. "
Read more here.
Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst, a vice president at New America and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. He is the author of "United States of Jihad: Investigating America's Homegrown Terrorists. "
CNN Commentators: Who won the first presidential debate?
September 27
David Gergen : "By all traditional standards of debate, Mrs. Clinton crushed. She carefully marshaled her arguments and facts and then sent them into battle with a smile. She rolled out a long list of indictments against Donald Trump, often damaging. By contrast, he came in unprepared, had nothing fresh to say, and increasingly gave way to rants. As the evening ended, the media buried him in criticisms.
Even so, I doubt she has put him away. "
S. E. Cupp : "In contrast, Trump mostly did the job he had to do. To move undecideds, he had to hammer one point home: Clinton is a politician who doesn't get it. Over and over again, he attacked her as more of the same, out of touch, and a politician who hasn't gotten it right. He didn't go after her character or personal issues, for the most part -- which voters know well. She outmanned him on specifics and details. But his attacks were far more effective than hers. "
Read more here.
Dean Obeidallah: Trump's beef with SNL is no laughing matter
October 16
"[Trump's] message was clear: Mock me, and I might sue you.
Couple all this with Trump's calls during this campaign to change the libel laws to make it easier for him to sue media outlets who unfairly criticize him, and this is no laughing matter.
Would a President Trump use the apparatus of the federal government -- such as the Federal Communications Commission -- to intimidate comedians and dissuade them from mocking him? Yes, I know we have a First Amendment, but alarmingly I bet there are Trump supporters who would go along with anything Trump asks for, even if it was flat out unconstitutional. (Trump has bragged as much, claiming he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and his supporters would stand with him.)"
Read more here .
Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, writes frequently for CNN. He is co-director of the documentary "The Muslims Are Coming! ", editor of the politics blog "The Dean's Report" and a columnist for the Daily Beast.
Sally Kohn: A letter to my daughter about Trump
October 24
"You know some of what Donald Trump has said and done in this campaign. You hear it on the news, kids talk about it at school. 'I hate Donald Trump,' you said the other day during breakfast. Please don't. Don't hate one sad man with a lot of power and little self-restraint. And don't hate the people who are enthusiastically supporting him. Donald Trump is running a campaign of hate, and hate cannot be solved by hate but by empathy and understanding. "
Read more here.
Sally Kohn is an activist, columnist and television commentator.
Paul Callan: Time for FBI director Comey to go
October 28
"Trashing the Justice and FBI rule books in the interest of 'openness' is likely to put the FBI front and center in one of the most contentious presidential races in recent US history. J. Edgar Hoover loved to influence elections, but he had the good sense to keep quiet about it. "
Read more here.
Paul Callan is a CNN legal analyst, a former NYC homicide prosecutor and currently is "of counsel" to the New York law firm of Edelman and Edelman, PC, focusing on wrongful conviction and civil rights cases.
Tim Naftali: The secrets first ladies always keep
November 5
"With all the attention on former first lady Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information at the State Department and the possibility that Melania Trump might become first lady in 2017, it might be a surprise to some readers that historically, FLOTUS has had access to classified materials without ever having to get a security clearance.
The first lady has access to secrets at the discretion of POTUS, the president of the United States. And the president has enormous authority over the use and distribution of the nation's secrets. "
Read more here.
Tim Naftali is a CNN presidential historian and clinical associate professor of history and public service at New York University and was the founding director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum.
Ana Navarro: I'm voting for Hillary Clinton
November 7
"I had hoped that a week before the election, Trump would be losing Florida by a large enough margin that my vote wouldn't matter. But darn it, my home state is too close to call. Florida could be the decisive state (again) as to who ultimately becomes the next president of the United States. I thought back to the 2000 election, which was decided by 537 votes in Florida. I thought about how I would feel if the same thing happened in 2016. I thought and I thought and I thought....
Then I cast my vote for Hillary Clinton. Let me rephrase that. I cast my vote against Donald Trump. I did it without joy or enthusiasm. I did it out of civic duty and love for our country. "
Read more here.
Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist and commentator, was national Hispanic campaign chairwoman for John McCain in 2008, national Hispanic co-chair for Jon Huntsman's 2012 campaign and was supporting Jeb Bush's candidacy for 2016.
Timothy Stanley: Liberals, chill out about Trump victory
November 9
"Everyone should calm down. The last few hours have actually shown that the transition from Obama to Trump will be smoother than folks fear. Trump's victory speech was his best yet: gracious and even touching. "
Read more here.
Timothy Stanley is a historian and columnist for Britain's Daily Telegraph. He is the author of " Citizen Hollywood: How the Collaboration Between L. A. and D. C. Revolutionized American Politics. "
Drawing the drama: Cartoonists from around the world on Trump's defeat of Clinton
November 9
Cartoonists around the world react to the outcome of the 2016 U. S. election.
View gallery here .
Jonathan Tasini: Tear up the Democratic Party
November 9
"There is only one silver lining in yesterday's election results, which will allow a con man, a pathological liar, a bold racist and a sexual predator to succeed the first African-American president.
We can now launch a difficult but urgent mission — shaking the Democratic Party down to its foundation, ejecting the failed Bill/Hillary Clinton economic and global worldview and standing up for a set of populist, sound economic and foreign policy principles that could earn majority support. "
Read more here.
Jonathan Tasini ( @jonathantasini ) is a frequent commentator on CNN and is a Bernie Sanders supporter. He is the author of "The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America. "
Van Jones: The messy truth that divides Trump and Clinton voters
November 12
"I got tired of just sitting on the CNN set, talking about Donald Trump voters.
So, days before the 2016 election, I decided to fly into a battleground state -- and talk to them.
I visited Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where a major battle was fought in America's Civil War. I wanted to know one thing: Are we on the verge of another civil war?
What I learned surprised me. The answers are even more important, now that Trump has won. "
Read more here.
Van Jones is president of Dream Corps and Rebuild the Dream, which promote innovative solutions for America's economy. Follow him on Twitter @VanJones68.

 

 84 /173 

3.3
Liam Neeson can't shake his "Taken" persona in an audition for Santa

“I see you when you’re sleeping. I know when you’re awake” takes on a whole new meaning when Liam Neeson says it in a threatening tone a la “Taken.”
In a video for the “Late Show,” Neeson is shown “auditioning” for a job as a mall Santa.
This week, the Kansas City, Kansas, police department was on the take. Each officer in this room got at least a grand, courtesy of the anonymous,...
When the manager asks him to try again in a less intimidating way, Neeson insists he has the character down.
“Do you do you understand what Santa is saying here?” he asks. “He’s making a list -- naughty, nice. He’s detailed. He’s singleminded. He’s an eye in the sky bringing swift judgment “
As for the reindeer who trampled over Grandma?
“I will look for him. I will find him. I will kill him.”
Watch to see his full audition.

 

 85 /173 

1.4
Azealia Banks addresses Nicki Minaj after rumors the singer mocked her

She recently revealed she suffered a miscarriage in a now-deleted Facebook post. And just hours after her announcement, Azealia Banks took to the social media website yet again to share news of an entirely different manner. The 25-year-old rapper addressed international pop star and longtime rival Nicki Minaj , 34, in a rant on Tuesday in which she suggested the Starships singer should 'slim down a bit' and 'decrease [her] butt size.' The rift began when screenshots of Minaj's new mobile game Nicki Minaj: The Empire popped up on Twitter. In the screenshots, players of the game pointed out that the Grammy-nominated songstress may have taken aim at Banks. The app - which was released in time for Nicki's birthday on December 8th - has a character who prompts users: 'Have you listened to the newest Fan2Sea album? It's like what a mermaid song would sound like!' In what could hardly be a coincidence, Azealia's 2012 mixtape is titled 'Fantasea' and features a mermaid for the cover art. Though this first comment may seem harmless, it is the next speech bubble that sent social media into a frenzy. 'Sort of like a really loud, obnoxious screech that goes on for hours.' This prompted the 212 singer - who is notorious for her social media feuds - to take to Facebook and address Minaj. 'Nicki girl...now listen. Don't start throwing shade cause you miss safaree and know that I've actually made a BANGER with him (sic),' Banks began, referencing an unreleased song she recorded with Nicki's ex boyfriend. 'Don't get mad, get even. Slim down a bit (especially in your neck and arms). Decrease the but just a bit (I've seen your butt make some really expensive dresses look really cheap),' she continued. Banks, who's had harsh words to say about Nicki before, went on to call the Anaconda singer a 'Gaga-knock off.' Nicki met Azealia's since-deleted rant with silence, and Azealia, whose Twitter account has been deleted, posted on Facebook again: 'Hope you lot got your screenshots. It's all jokes guys. Calm down and enjoy the holiday.'

 

 86 /173 

2.2
'Everyone should be ashamed': Mark Wahlberg film Patriots Day slammed for 'disgraceful exploitation' of Boston bombing as victims reveal they were never contacted about the movie

Patriots Day arrives in theaters on Wednesday, just in time to take advantage of the big holiday weekend box office. The film is being sold as retelling of the Boston Marathon bombing, which took place less than four years ago and left three dead and close to 300 injured after brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev placed two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the race. It stars Mark Wahlberg in the leads role as Sgt. Tommy Saunders, a man who was at the finish line when the bombs exploded and there when police finally captured Dzhokhar after a lengthy standoff. The problem for some however is that it is a fictional character, who has led to some reviews eviscerating the film and its cast. 'Everyone involved in this movie should be ashamed of themselves,' wrote Sean Burns in his review of the film, which he labeled 'as disgraceful an exploitation of real-life tragedy as I’ve ever seen.' Meanwhile, victims of the bombing and their families have also voiced their concerns and distaste for the film, while also revealing that they were never even contacted before or during the making of the movie. Scroll down for video 'The narcissism is grotesque,' wrote Burns on North Shore Movies. 'In Patriots Day, Wahlberg can’t even walk down the street without people stopping him just to say what a great guy he is. 'After every big scene, someone in the cast takes a moment to tell Tommy he did a good job, and thanks him for being there.' Burns goes on to write later in the review that the focus on Wahlberg is one of the film's biggest problems, referring to the actor as a 'former-underwear-model-turned-hamburger-salesman.' 'The movie spends so much time fellating its bogus hero, were it about an actual living person Patriots Day would feel like a North Korean propaganda film,' states Burns. 'But instead it’s just the tasteless delusions of a vain movie star recreating his hometown’s most horrifying moments so he can dress up and play policeman.' He then adds: 'A few years ago Wahlberg famously claimed he could have stopped 9/11 if only he had been on one of the planes. These fantasies of inserting himself into national tragedies are something he really should be discussing with a therapist.' The Boston Globe was not thrilled with the film either, but they were far less offended. 'Peter Berg’s movie, starring Mark Wahlberg in an invented role, is neither great nor gawdawful,' writes Ty Burr. 'It’s professionally made, slickly heartfelt, and is offered up as an act of civic healing. At best, it’s unnecessary. At worst, it’s vaguely insulting.' Then, there are the victims of the tragedy who will see the worst day of their life put on the big screen by a movie studio and Hollywood A-listed like Berg and Wahlberg who have been paid millions for their work and stand to make millions more. Marc Fucarile spoke about his issues with the film last month while appearing on The Kirk & Callahan show on WEEI. When asked what his thoughts were about the film he stated very simply: 'I'm not OK with it.' In that same interview Fucarile also revealed that no one from the film asked to speak or meet with him when they were making the picture. Fucarile lost his right leg in the bombing, and actually handed his foot to the first firefighter that rushed to his side. He then told the firefighter: 'I have a little boy, and I have a fiancee. I don't want to die.' Fucarile was then transported from the scene in the back of a paddy wagon due to a shortage of ambulances and put in a medically induced coma because he was so close to death. When he awoke he began the process of undergoing countless surgeries, so many that he says even he cannot give an exact number. Finally, after 100 days, he was the last of the victims to be released from the hospital. Two years after the attack Fucarile was called to testify during Dzhokhar's trial. He sat just ten feet away from the bomber as he gave his testimony, staring him down the entire time. Dzhokhar refused to look at Fucarile. Then, one year later, he completed the marathon for the first time as a hand cyclist. Fucarile was interviewed on Kirk & Callahan again last week after seeing the film though, and said: 'Surprisingly it was really good.' He said that he had been convinced to take a look at the picture by Jessica Kensky and her husband Patrick Downes, two other victims who lost legs that day. Fucarile also said of the film at one point: 'It was good to see what happened in the city while I was in a coma.' Kensky, who eventually lost both of her legs as a result of the attack, said she too was very hesitant to watch the film. When asked at a press conference last week if the film got the story of that day right, she responded by saying: 'It can feel OK, they can feel respected, they can feel proud and happy it was done, but "right" is so hard because what happened to us was just anything but right.' The family of Martin Richards, the youngest of the three victims to die during their attack, reportedly refused to let producers use their son's name in the film Burns wrote in his review. He said that instead the child is referred to as 'the eight- year-old dead kid under a blanket.' The Boston tragedy will be on the big screen again next year too, with Jake Gyllenhaal starring as victim Jeff Bauman in Stronger, a film based on Bauman's book about the tragedy. That is a more personal story about the after math and Bauman's fight to learn to walk again after losing both legs. He was waiting for his wife Erin to finish the race when the bomb exploded. This past April, Eric finally got the chance to complete the race for the first time.

 

 87 /173 

2.9
Oscars: Academy Announces 7 Makeup and Hairstyling Finalists

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the seven finalists for this year’s makeup and hairstyling Oscar.
The seven films are:
“Deadpool”
“The Dressmaker”
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
“Hail, Caesar!”
“A Man Called Ove”
“Star Trek Beyond”
“Suicide Squad”
On Jan. 7, all members of the Academy’s makeup artists and hairstylists branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films. Following the screenings, members will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration.

 

 88 /173 

0.2
Christmas cheer falls flat in crisis-hit Rio

The Grinch -- in the form of devastating recession, giant corruption and unpaid salaries -- has stolen Rio de Janeiro's Christmas.
Things are so tight in Brazil's party city that the traditional giant Christmas tree on the lagoon has been canceled. There aren't even municipal holiday lights in the streets.
And in shops, would-be Santas are feeling more ho-hum than ho-ho.
"It's a really flat Christmas. People are not energized," said Daniela Santiago, 41, searching for children's presents in a store that sells cheap Chinese-made toys and decorations. "Most of my friends and family are feeling down. "
Unemployed since she lost her human resources job, Santiago lives with her mother, a school teacher who hasn't received a full salary since September.
It can be hard to remember that just four months ago Rio de Janeiro was hosting the Olympic Games.
Today in the "Marvelous City" the main subjects of conversation are crime and what everyone simply calls "a crise" -- the crisis.
"A crise" is shorthand for Brazil's crippling recession, the near bankruptcy of Rio's state government, investor flight, nearly 12 percent unemployment, and a corruption scandal tainting politicians all the way up to President Michel Temer.
Customers at a hairdressers in Copacabana "talk about the crisis all the time," said barber Jorge Almeida, 41, who said his sister-in-law, a doctor, is another of those state employees who haven't been paid for two months.
Estimating that business was down 20 to 30 percent compared to the last weeks of 2015, Almeida said: "Haircuts are taking second place to what's really necessary -- like food. "
- Beach blues -
Rio's New Year bash -- a party that sees about two million people pile onto Copacabana beach for the midnight countdown -- is also feeling the blues.
The city said Monday that the gigantic fireworks display, one of the most famous around the world, will be pared back by 25 percent: down to 12 minutes from the normal 16.
At one of the beach chair rental huts, manager Elaine Maria Silva, 29, said the usual pre-New Year's buzz is missing.
"There's still no (music) stage set up. Usually by now it would have been," she said, surveying Rio's most popular stretch of sand, which even on a weekday morning teemed with sun worshippers, joggers and swimmers.
The most dramatic holiday absence in Rio this year is the 174-foot (53-meter) Christmas tree structure usually built on a floating platform at the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, site of this August's Olympic rowing and canoe events.
Bradesco Seguros, the company that used to pay for the tree and its spectacular lighting, warned city hall that it could not foot the whole bill this year. By November, with no other sponsors joining the party, officials confirmed there was no hope.
"It used to be a big event," said Fabio Ferreira de Souza, 40, who sells drinks by the side of the photogenic lagoon. "Now with no tree, there's no one coming. "
Economists say Brazil should slowly climb out of recession in 2017, but few Rio residents feel optimism. Meanwhile, the corruption-fueled political mess in the capital Brasilia is only intensifying.
Jack de Haan, longtime owner of the Raul Jewelry store in Copacabana, recalled that Brazil was on a roll when he immigrated here from Holland 30 years ago. Gradually, though, the country failed to match its promise.
This Christmas period, he said, is "terrible. "
"Last week I sold nothing. Five days selling nothing with such a beautiful shop," de Haan, 63, said, his melancholy words at odds with the glitter of the Brazilian topaz, agate, crystal, and other semi-precious stones he sells.
"It's a shame... Politics, corruption -- if it wasn't for that it would be a different Brazil. "

 

 89 /173 

3.7
Kendrick and Co. celebrate the community and spirit of Nickerson Gardens

“The only thing that changed around here are the color of the projects, the color of the bricks.”
That’s rapper Jay Rock telling The Times about the place where he grew up, Nickerson Gardens housing project. On Tuesday afternoon, Rock returned to Nickerson to throw the third-annual community concert and toy drive featuring big-name artists such as Kendrick Lamar , Schoolboy Q, SZA, and Ab-Soul.
When Rock took the stage to perform his tribute to Watts, “Hood Gone Love It,” the crowd went wild, rapping along with the lyrics and screaming for more songs. It felt good to see someone who made it.
Rock also served as emcee for the event, which was sponsored by Top Dawg Entertainment and featured other members of the label’s roster. The show brought thousands from across Los Angeles to the Nickerson baseball field on 113th Street and Compton Avenue.
“If I could lead by example and show these kids, ‘Look I came from just where you came from, and you can do this too,’” Rock said afterward. “Just to impart that in their brains and give them some type of encouragement, some type of motivation — whether it’s doing music or whatever they’re doing in their life that’s positive and they come back to give back, that’s important.”
His performance was one of several that celebrated and honored the spirit of Nickerson Gardens, an often ignored community whose roots run deep, particularly in the hip-hop community.
Raised in what’s considered the largest public housing development in the West, Top Dawg Entertainment founder Anthony Tiffith was inspired to give back and help others in need. For the first time, the event was split into two days this year. On Wednesday, volunteers will distribute thousands of donated toys to children in the neighborhood.
Tuesday’s show imparted a sense of community, with Councilman Joe Buscaino addressing the crowd before the music started.
“Nowhere in the country are you going to find an amazing Christmas concert in a housing development but here in Watts,” Buscaino said, eliciting cheers. For many attendees, who came from places like Santa Monica and Hollywood, it marked their first trip to the neighborhood.
It looked like any other outdoor music festival — a large stage, short musical acts, several hipster types in attendance. Near the front, young people with phones and arms raised were eager to get a close-up view of their favorite performers. They mingled alongside families with small children, equally enthralled with the music.
Each artist performed a handful of their most popular hits, and the only female performer, neo-soul singer SZA, dressed in a pink T-shirt and baggy, ripped jeans, got the crowd to sing along to mellow songs “Warm Winds” and “Babylon.”
”What ya’ll wanna hear?” Wiz Khalifa , draped in a large leopard-print coat, asked the crowd before launching into “Pull Up.”
The rapper was one of several surprise guests, including O. T. Genasis and ASAP Rocky.
Sporting a maroon hoodie, Grammy winner Kendrick Lamar stepped in front of the stage and began rapping a crowd favorite that begins in near silence: “If Pirus and Crips all got along/ They’d probably gun me down by the end of this song/ Seem like the whole city go against me/ Every time I’m in the street I hear….”
Everyone knew the rest, jumping up and down when the beat dropped. After finishing “M. A. D City,” Lamar told the crowd to “make some noise for yourself.” Lamar, who was born and raised in Compton, has close ties to the community and closed the concert with his rallying-cry anthem, “Alright.”
When the show ended, children and adults from the neighborhood swarmed Jay Rock, eager to snap pictures and thank him for coming back. Born and raised in Nickerson Gardens, resident Emmie Robbins loved seeing the support of the hip-hop community in his own backyard.
“This is the only event where we see different faces and cultures coming out to the projects. It’s a special thing,” Robbins said, holding his 1-year-old nephew on his hip. “[Jay Rock] never forgot where he came from. He won’t turn down the neighborhood. We respect that.”
Mexico explosion , Jonathan Gold "Goldbot," reality TV contestant slain , Silver Lake Reservoir .
When detectives went to a home in the 5000 block of West 106th Street in Lennox, they found Lisa Marie Naegle’s body in a shallow grave.
David Vasquez lives in Ontario but is now on the run with at least three warrants out for his arrest. Stacey Butler reports.
A San Pedro nursing instructor who went missing over the weekend was found buried in the backyard of one of her students. He has been arrested. Tom Wait reports.
A San Pedro nursing instructor who went missing over the weekend was found buried in the backyard of one of her students. He has been arrested. Tom Wait reports.

 

 90 /173 

2.7
How robots will change the American workforce

Thirty of the world’s top scientists are scheduled to meet at UC San Diego in February to discuss the toughest challenges in robotics and automation, including how to make driverless cars safe for a mass audience.
The experts are being brought together by Henrik Christensen, the prominent Georgia Tech engineer who was hired in July to run UC San Diego’s young Contextual Robotics Institute.
Christensen said at the time, “I want to build a research institute that, ideally, will be in the top five in the world five years from now. Why not see if we can make San Diego ‘Robot Valley.’”
The February forum is being eyed as a step toward raising the university’s visibility in robotics, a field defined by grand advances and embarrassing setbacks. Christensen sat down with The San Diego Union-Tribune this week to talk about what’s likely to happen in the near term. The following is an edited version of that conversation:
A: We see two trends. We will use robots and automation to bring manufacturing jobs back from overseas, primarily from Southeast Asia. At the same time, we will see some jobs get displaced by automation. There will be fully automated, driverless transportation in this country by 2020, and that will eliminate some jobs now held by workers like truck drivers and taxi drivers.
A: To be honest with you, we don’t know. There was a recent study on this by the National Academies, but there wasn’t enough good data to make it clear what the outcome will be. We do see a lot of change occurring. Amazon is printing books at its local distribution centers, then sending them on to customers. They print the book, put a cover on it, and off it goes. That cuts down on transportation jobs and costs.
A: It’s happening today. This program has been in existence for more than a year. The last estimate I heard was that 65 percent of the books Amazon delivers are printed in its local distribution centers. Amazon wants to do (widespread) deliveries of groceries, too.
A: My own prediction is that kids born today will never get to drive a car. Autonomous, driverless cars are 10, 15 years out. All the automotive companies — Daimler, GM, Ford — are saying that within five years they will have autonomous, driverless cars on the road.
A: I love to drive my car, but it’s a question of how much time people waste sitting in traffic and not doing something else. The average person in San Diego probably spends an hour commuting every day. If they could become more productive, that would be good.
With autonomous, driverless cars, we can put twice as many vehicles on the road as we have today, and do it without improving the infrastructure.
A: There would be no need to have parking garages in downtown San Diego. In theory, you’d get out of the car and say, ‘Pick me up at 4 p.m.’ Long-term — we’re talking 20 years into the future — you're not even going to own a car. A car becomes a service.
A: We have to think of this in terms of how can we realize mass transportation. I would like to have trucks that don't drive during rush hour. I’d like McDonald’s and others to make deliveries outside of rush hour.
A: My expectation is that the city of San Diego would have taxes based on when you use the transportation system. So if you want to make deliveries at 8 a.m., when everyone else is on the road, it would be more expensive to use the freeway.
We will see significant displacement of taxi drivers, truck drivers, all of these transportation functions. So the question is: What will they do? The unskilled laborers are the ones who are in danger. They have jobs that can easily be done by robots. The question is, “Can we retrain those people fast enough for the new jobs that will be created in areas like manufacturing?”
A: California is in a relatively good position on this. But I used to live in Georgia, where 34 percent of the population never finishes high school. They’re not going to be able to get retrained to do these new jobs. That’s why it’s very important that we make sure that people’s education is high enough that they can get retrained later.
A: I think what they’re saying is that whether you have a job or you don’t have a job, you have a minimum basic income that’s guaranteed for life. We are starting to see trends like this. In Sweden, they recently reduced the number of work hours per week from 40 to 30, and they still have seven weeks of vacation every year. That is going toward a socialistic model where you guarantee a basic level of income.
I think that in the U. S., that would be a really hard thing (for lawmakers to approve). It would lead to significantly higher taxes, it would require a departure from the current political system.
A: I think we’re going to see robots that are going to learn from you. They’re going to use potentially all of the data that’s available about you.
We would like to build a robot that would help (elderly people) stay in their house another five years. The cost of going to a managed-care facility is somewhere around $80,000 a year. If you could stay in your home, the cost would only be about $20,000.
When we build the robot, we would want it to know: What is your personality? When do you get up in the morning? When do you go to bed? Are you a tennis person? A TV person? I think people would want the robot to be highly customized to them.
The real question is, who else has access to that data? Is it going to be companies like Facebook, Google and Apple? Are we confident that they are not going to abuse that information to try to sell you information, or sell it to somebody else?
A: I think we have been very ignorant about privacy. But we're getting to a point right where we are starting to pay attention.
A: I don’t think we’re there yet. I think all of intellectuals are worried about it. But if you go and talk to everyday people, it’s not such a big deal. Unfortunately, I think things have to get a lot worse before they get better.
When the hack hits their personal lives, people will say we need to stop it. But it’s not going to be an easy thing to fix.
Bullet coating proves it: Wallis the rhino was shot
Father Joe's Nativity auction nets more than $23,000
Padres exploring potential reunion with Jake Peavy

 

 91 /173 

1.1
Scientists Find Snowman Five-Millionths Of An Inch Tall

Scientists at the University of Birmingham discovered a five-millionths of an inch tall nanoparticle that bears a striking resemblance to a festive snowman.
The snowman is a platinum-titanium nanoparticle and appears to have recognizable features including eyes, a nose, and a mouth. The features are precious-metal platinum clusters embedded in the snowman’s titanium dioxide face.
“In the nano regime atoms are the building blocks of nanoscale structures,” Dr. Saeed Gholhaki, one of the scientists to discover the snowman, said in a press statement. “Sometimes the building blocks, in this case platinum cores, can assemble in an interesting way to resemble familiar objects like the face of a snowman!”
Platinum is highly functional in performing chemical transformations making it a sought after metal for scientific use in nanotechnology. The technology used to identify the nano-snowman holds great interest for the energy and medical industries, as it could allow them to target individual atoms.
“By combining titanium and platinum atoms in a nanoparticle, we can reduce the need to use rare and expensive platinum, and also maintain that which we have used,” Dr. Richard Palmer, head of the nanoscale physics research at the University of Birmingham, wrote in a press statement. “This could affect a number of applications where platinum is used such as creating green hydrogen for cleaner energy use; generating low energy electrons in radiotherapy that can kill cancer cells; and to perform chemical transformations to create pharmaceutical products.”
Follow Andrew on Twitter
Send tips to andrew@ dailycallernewsfoundation.org .
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected]

 

 92 /173 

0.0
Hedy Weiss' best of Chicago theater 2016

Queen Elizabeth II pronounced the year 1992 “annus horribilis,” the Latin term for “horrible year,” and while on many fronts that phrase could easily be applied to 2016, the Chicago theater scene defied the global norm. This was a powerhouse season — ranging from that great “elephant in the room” (the smashing Chicago edition of “Hamilton,” the first post-Broadway company of Lin Manuel-Miranda’s mega-hit musical), to a vast, citywide celebration of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, to a series of bravura one-person shows. I’d dub it an “annus mirabilis,” or “wonderful year.”
Here is my “top picks” list; it easily could have been twice as long:
“LEARNING CURVE” (Albany Park Theater Project): Staged on all three floors of a shuttered Chicago parochial school, this fully immersive work (created and performed by a cast of 33 youth artists, under the direction of APTP artists and Third Rail Projects of New York) led audiences of 40 people through a stunning sequence of scenes capturing the life of a richly diverse group of students as they navigated the classrooms, halls, library, locker room and hidden spaces of a Chicago high school. A wondrous, one-of-a-kind masterwork, the piece featured the unique alchemy of APTP’s extraordinarily skilled young performers, and evoked life in a Chicago high school in ways that were so real, yet so imaginative — so disturbing, and so life-confirming — that you wanted to grab hold of every politician and school bureaucrat and say: Experience this show, and then do something.”
“MAN IN THE RING” (Court Theatre): The latest entry into the ever-popular genre of “boxing drama,” this fearsome play by Michael Cristofer received a stellar world premiere at Court Theatre, where, under Charles Newell’s volcanic direction, the tale of the disgraced six-time world champion, Emile Griffith (played brilliantly in the prime of his career by Kamal Angelo Bolden, and in anguished old age by Allen Gilmore), came vividly and poignantly to life. I am no fan of the blood sport, but this haunted and haunting play was an exploration of love far more than violence. The ensemble cast moved through it as if in a dream.
Allen Gilmore (seated on bed) as the elderly Emile Griffith, surrounded by Sean Michael Sullivan (from left), Melanie Brezill, Sheldon Brown, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Thomas Cox, Gabriel Ruiz and Jacqueline Williams in “Man in the Ring,” at Court Theatre. (Photo: Michael Brosilow)
“END OF THE RAINBOW” (Porchlight Music Theatre): Angela Ingersoll’s knockout performance as Judy Garland in “End of the Rainbow — the “play with music” about the last tragic months in the life of the legendary performer, left audiences gasping. Ingersoll, a huge talent, not only looked like a Garland clone, but captured every gesture and note of the iconic performer while at the same time making the role entirely her own. Jon Steinhagen’s portrayal of her piano accompanist also was ideal. As I’ve said many times, these Porchlight productions should be moved to the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place where they would enjoy great tourist traffic.
Jon Steinhagen and Angela Ingersoll in the Porchlight Music Theatre production of “End of the Rainbow.” (Photo: Kelsey Jorissen)
“TUG OF WAR” (Chicago Shakespeare Theater): Director Barbara Gaines’ vivid, two-part distillation of six Shakespeare history plays (some familiar, others rarely staged) explored foreign expansionism in its first installment, and the civil strife involved in claiming the British throne in the second. In the process, it brilliantly captured the insanity of nations locked in a state of perpetual war, both abroad and at home. And while some marathon projects can feel like endurance tests, Gaines’ high energy, effortlessly modern approach to the text was thrillingly realized by a formidably skilled company of actors and musicians who played a total of 100 roles and somehow remained standing at the end. The continual infusion of live music — from Bach and the blues, to contemporary pop and folk anthems — provided an additional electric charge.
“DRY RUN” (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble): This extraordinarily powerful, no-holds-barred play about abortion — written by Ruby Rae Spiegel while still a Yale undergrad — captured the fear and desperation of a tough but terrified teenage girl on a high school swim team, and the more disciplined but naive teammate she manipulates into helping her through an unwanted pregnancy. Its Midwest debut by Rivendell featured two young actresses — Bryce Gangel and Jessica Ervin — who gave such raw, fearless, excruciatingly soul-bearing performances that you forgot they were acting in this harrowing play.
Jessica Ervin (from left), Bryce Gangel and Charlotte Thomas in the Rivendell Theatre production of “Dry Run.” (Photo: Michael Brosilow)
“SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE” (Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook): The Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller songbook can easily serve as a musical guide to the sound of rock ‘n’ roll from the 1950s through the early ’60s. The pair forged their careers in New York, yet the Chicago sound was never far from their work, and it was the inspired idea of director Marilyn Milgrom Dodge to give this popular revue a Chicago backdrop that evoked the glory days of Maxwell Street. The terrific onstage musicians, paired with a dynamite ensemble, made such classics as “Yakety Yak,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Stand By Me” shake, rattle and roll in a new way.
“JESUS HOPPED THE ‘A’ TRAIN” (Eclipse Theatre): This riveting account of the fates of two inmates being held at New York’s infamous Riker’s Island prison — one of three productions in a season devoted to the plays of Stephen Adly Guirgis — was at turns explosive and heartbreaking. The fierce performances by D’Wayne Taylor and Johnathan Nieves as the accused, along with Anish Jethmalani’s razor-sharp direction, made this a memorable meditation on the meaning of truth, justice and faith.
“NORTHANGER ABBEY” (Lifeline Theatre): This sparkling jewel of a musical by George Howe, inspired by the Jane Austen novel of the same name, came with a ravishing score full of beautiful melodies and sophisticated lyrics, an ideally talented and diverse cast led by the lovely Stephanie Stockstill, and flawless direction by Elise Kauzlaric. The show, which should unquestionably enjoy a future life, was, like the work of Austen, marked by intelligence, wit and emotional truth as it looked at the power of art and the complexity of love, and at the painful transition from innocence to experience.
Namir Smallwood plays Tom Joad and Kona N. Burks is Ma Joad in The Gift Theatre production of ‘The Grapes of Wrath.” (Photo: Claire Demos)
“THE GRAPES OF WRATH” (The Gift Theatre): John Steinbeck’s Joad family — the Depression era Dust Bowl migrants who left Oklahoma for the green fields of California — is an epic tale. But on a tiny storefront stage, director Erica Weiss’ Gift Theatre revival of Frank Galati’s stage adaptation of the classic proved that “epic” is all about the emotional punch of the work. The show featured standout turns by Kona N. Burks as Ma Joad and Jerre Dye as Jim Casey, the preacher-turned-activist.

 

 93 /173 

1.0
Ecuador Moves To Close Leading Environmental Organization as Part of Crackdown on Civil Society

Reprisal comes after the group's public defense of Shuar indigenous peoples in conflict over Chinese copper mine
WASHINGTON - Ecuador's Environment Ministry announced yesterday its intention to shutter Acción Ecológica, the country's leading grassroots environmental organization. The move is a clear reprisal to the group's efforts to raise awareness about environmental and indigenous rights concerns over a planned mega-copper mine on the lands of the Shuar indigenous people in the southern Ecuadorian Amazon. Then yesterday evening the national police raided the offices of the Shuar federation, FICSH, detaining its president, Agustín Wachapa.
"We reject the assertion of the Ministry of the Environment that we have violated national law," said Acción Ecológica in a statement released after the announcement. "We have been scrupulous in our compliance with the law, and our actions are in full harmony with [the government's] National Plan for Good Living 2013-2017," which calls for participatory management of the country's environmental treasures like the Amazon.
Nonetheless, a government memo advocating for the closure – obtained by Acción Ecológica – cites the group's awareness-raising efforts about "the serious environmental impacts and the ecosystem that would result from the extractive activity" in the Cordillera del Condor – the location of the Chinese mining operation – "and to the violation of the rights of indigenous communities living in this area. " In its closure notification, the government goes so far as to claim that Acción Ecológica has violated the Constitution by allegedly straying from its mission.
Acción Ecológica began sounding the alarm about likely rights violations occurring since last week as a conflict between the Shuar community of Nankints, the government, and EXSA intensified. The situation escalated after the forced removal of Shuar families from their ancestral territory to make way for the mining operations that were initiated without prior consultation with the community, as stipulated by international norms and jurisprudence and despite the fact that the Shuar had requested dialogue about the project on multiple occasions in previous months. Nankints and the surrounding area are now under a state of emergency and heavily militarized.
"The government is trying to shutter Acción Ecológica for doing its job," said Kevin Koenig, Ecuador Program Director with Amazon Watch. "This is a witch hunt which illustrates the Correa administration's rollback of rights for civil society and indigenous peoples. "
The heightened tensions resulting from the state of emergency have also spilled over into neighboring Amazonian provinces. On Monday , the Kichwa of Sarayaku in Pastaza province, who have publicly declared support for the Shuar and called for dialogue, intercepted 11 soldiers traveling unexpectedly through their ancestral territory, in order to investigate the soldiers' presence. After talks with the governor of Pastaza and the Brigade commander, the soldiers were peacefully and safely released to Ecuadorian authorities, yet the government now claims Sarayaku kidnapped the soldiers and has reportedly fired the governor.
The government gave Acción Ecológica 24 hours to offer a response to the closure order and ten days to present detailed evidence on the charges against it. In its statement Acción Ecológica said, "we will continue to defend the rights of both humans and nature. "
The action against Acción Ecológica is not the first time the administration of Rafael Correa has sought to dissolve the organization. In a 2009 attempt to shut it down, the administration similarly argued that the group had veered away from its registered organizational mission. The government had to reverse course after evidence provided by Acción Ecológica call the government's bluff, as well as due to significant national and international outcry.
The Correa administration did successfully shut down the environmental organization Fundacion Pachamama in 2013 after it supported a protest denouncing new oil concessions on indigenous lands in the country's southern Amazon region.
Acción Ecológica celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, and is largely responsible for the country's modern environmental movement. On issues ranging from resource extraction, climate change, GMOs, deforestation, free trade, ecological debt, and globalization, Acción Ecológica has been an instrumental and outspoken voice in shaping environmental policy and corporate accountability in Ecuador and beyond. It was the founding member of Oilwatch, a south-to-south network of resistance to oil activities in tropical countries, and was one of the first groups to explicitly make the call to Keep It In The Ground, which has become a worldwide movement and scientific mandate to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
Many of the Correa administration's landmark environmental initiatives actually originated with Acción Ecológica, like the 2007 Yasuni-ITT initiative, which sought to keep close to a billion barrels of crude in the ground underneath Yasuni National Park in exchange for financial contributions equaling half of the country's forgone revenue. After Correa pulled the plug on the initiative and approved drilling, the group spearheaded the formation of Yasunidos, a national grassroots collective that gathered over 750,000 signatures to force a vote on drilling plans in Yasuni. And the groundbreaking inclusion of the Rights of Nature in the country's 2008 Constitution, which constitutionally enshrined the rights of mother nature, would not have happened without the organization's work.
###
Amazon Watch is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. We partner with indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability and the preservation of the Amazon's ecological systems.
Global Climate Funds Targeted by Trump Team's Latest Questionnaire
'Incredible Victory': Obama Bans Drilling in Parts of Arctic and Atlantic
Trump Receives Right-Wing Wish List to Gut Rules on Climate, Nutrition, Wages
'I Used to Do It Personally': Philippines President Boasts About Killing People

 

 94 /173 

3.0
Artist Spotlight: Nique Love Rhodes & NLR Experience

A weekly feature showcasing local artists
Name: Nique Love Rhodes & the NLR Experience
Sound: Rhodes and her five-piece band play hip-hop, jazz, soul and funk with a socially conscious message. This Detroit native considers herself an activist and motivational speaker as well as a musician.
History: The NLR Experience has performed at the African World Fest in Detroit, the Hip-Hop Caucus in Ann Arbor and in local clubs like Magic Stick, Jazz Cafe and the Crofoot.
Next: Hear Nique Love Rhodes & the NLR Experience live Dec. 29 at the Tangent Gallery and Hastings Street Ballroom for an event titled Party for Passports for the People. It’s aimed at helping African-Americans, trans people and women get passports. The event also includes musicians Mahogany Jones and Deekah Wyatt, plus DJs. “Less than 5 percent of black Americans have passports,” poet and event emcee Fiyah Angelou says. “For many of us, a passport for us and the members of our family is an essential part of an emergency plan.” Doors open at 8 p.m. and cover is a $10 minimum donation.

 

 95 /173 

1.4
Michelle Keegan talks about fears over blonde makeover for Tina and Bobby

I went through a massive transformation to play Tina. The colourist, Vernon Deysel, did a great job with changing the colour of my hair. 'I was apprehensive at first but I wanted to embrace the character fully. A lot of actors make dramatic changes to their appearance for the characters they are playing. I thought this was a great role and I wanted to give everything to it.' When it came to the football side of the show, which focuses on the marriage of England legend Bobby Moore to Tina, she said she turned to husband Mark Wright for some facts. She adds: 'Mark is a West Ham supporter and knew a lot about both of them. He gave me the low down on Bobby’s teammates, Geoff Hurst, Martin Peters, Jack Charlton, Malcolm Allison and Noel Cantwell. 'Being from Essex Mark told me what Bobby meant to people here, how he was regarded as one of the greatest defenders, what a legend Bobby was and what he meant to football. To hear it first hand was unbelievable.' It wasn't the only bonding experience Michelle took away from the job - she became very close to co-star Patsy Kensit, who plays her onscreen mother Betty. Michelle explains: 'Tina was very close to her mum. They depended on each other. In a way Tina looked after her mum as much as her mum looked after her. They were more like sisters whilst Tina was growing up. Best friends and very, very close. When her mum died I think it broke her heart. 'Patsy was sitting next to me at the read-through and throughout it she would often hold my hand. She became that mother figure and really looked after me.' Her discussion about work comes after she hinted that she's ready to settle down. In an interview with Fabulous magazine this weekend, the actress - who turns 30 next year - admitted that she was always feeling 'broody' but she and husband Mark Wright 'go through phases' of wanting to start a family. 'Our marriage is going really well. We’re happy. I don’t want to constantly say: "We’re happy, we’re fine," because why validate it? If we’re happy, we’re happy.' Michelle went on to address romantic links with her male co-stars, saying that the on-screen passion between characters never 'really' bothers Mark. 'Before I got with Mark, he knew what I was doing,' she explained. 'People like to build it up like it’s really embarrassing for him, but he’s seen it so many times, I don’t think it fazes him.' The star admitted that while Mark is keen to start a family, there are no immediate plans to try for a baby. 'I’m always broody, but we’re not planning anything,' said Michelle. ' Both of us go through phases.' In the meantime, she said that when her stepbrother's baby is born next year she'll be sure she gets her 'baby fix'. It seems even Mark's close mum Carol is ready to become a grandmother, nonetheless. Speaking to new! magazine in November, Carol enthused: 'I will be [a grandmother] soon, I'm sure. 'And they reckon they come like buses, so I know that's going to happen to me.' Rumours of a split between Mark and Michelle began earlier this year when she was spotted on multiple occasions without her ring, but a representative for the star claimed that she merely left her band at home when filming. However, a source close to the pair reportedly told The Sun that the couple's hectic schedules had led to a turbulent first year of marriage. Michelle had been hard at work filming Our Girl as well as ITV drama Tina and Bobby, while Mark remained home in Essex. Mark's representative said at the time: 'This is a fabricated story from a mysterious unknown "pal". Yawn.' Last month, Michelle appeared on The Jonathan Ross Show and shared her story of how Mark proposed to her in Dubai back in 2013, explaining how it was all a huge, romantic surprise. She said: 'It was all planned, it was when we were in Dubai when we were on holiday and it was four days into the holiday so I had no idea and he did it on the beach and there was a table set out with a waiter and candles.' 'When we first started speaking actually, I did say that one day I’d like to get proposed in white dress and all that, the fairy tale. 'He told me a story that on the beach there was going to be a white party so I got a white dress, didn't think anything of it because it was two years down the line but he had it all planned out so I wore the white dress, I was on the beach it was very romantic.' Earlier this year, Michelle revealed that Mark was planning the perfect Christmas at near his family home this year. ‘We’re having an Essex Christmas and it will be amazing,’ Mark told The Daily Mirror, in November.

 

 96 /173 

4.0
OPERA REVIEW: THE BARBER OF SEVILLE

The recently established Jerusalem Opera deserves congratulations for a successful, lively, fast-moving production of Rossini’s opera The Barber of Seville. Naturally, there still were some childhood diseases. Stage director Davide Garattini’s obsession with modernity, for instance, tended to transgress the boundaries of plausibility and good taste. Why Rosina’s food shop should be more contemporaneous than a doctor’s apartment was left unexplained.
Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.
Singers and minor actors wandered purposelessly around the overpopulated stage, diverting the audience’s attention from the main plot. On the whole, though, it was a fairly amusing stage production. Paolo Vitale’s sets were abstract, except for the food shop, consisting mainly of movable segments that could be shifted around according to need, leaving much to the audience’s imagination. The cast was a pleasant surprise. It consisted mostly of not yet very well known talented Israeli and foreign singers who performed their roles with remarkable artistic capability. In the title role, Gabriele Ribis’ warm, friendly baritone was a humorous Figaro, though sometimes more clownish than suits this, the plot’s most clever, role. His initial aria, Largo il factotum, was an encouraging promise for the delights to come. As Almaviva, Oshri Segev’s appealing tenor was a convincing, though not very impassioned lover. In the role of Bartolo, Alexandre Diakoff’s overbearing bass-baritone represented a self-important, arrogant Bartolo, delivering Rossini’s typical tongue twisters with virtuosity. Denis Sedov’s dark bass was a menacing Basilio in his La calumnia (“slander”) aria, though somewhat lacking in subtle nuances. Mima Millo’s cute soprano was a charming Rosina with polished coloraturas, yet too shouting on the higher notes. Conducted by Omer Arieli, the Ashdod symphony Orchestra provided the instrumental support accurately – occasionally somewhat too accurately, without adjusting to the singers’ flexibilities of tempo. One is looking expectantly to the Jerusalem Opera’s next productions.
Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin
Think others should know about this? Please share
| |

 

 97 /173 

1.4
‘Passengers’ reduces meaty premise to ordinary romance

Imagine being trapped on a spaceship with only your lover and a robot bartender for nearly a century _ there isn’t a spaceship big enough or a bar that well-stocked to make it sound appealing.
This is the issue at the center of the ostensibly “romantic” sci-fi drama “Passengers.”
While romance is the intended effect, the film’s real premise is imbued with some seriously creepy undercurrents about bodily autonomy, consent and stalking. But instead of turning it into a horror movie, these issues are all breezily glossed over with the sex appeal of stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.
The spaceship is the Avalon, 30 years into a 120-year autopilot journey to the planet colony Homestead II with 5,000 passengers on board, encased in pods that keep them in a state of suspended animation. The pod of Jim Preston (Pratt) malfunctions after a meteor hits, and he wakes up a full 90 years early. The ship remains frustratingly on autopilot, and no amount of helpful robots can put Jim back into suspended animation.
Unable to engineer himself back into suspended animation, Jim partakes of the ship’s lavish accommodations, which grow tiresome after a year. He descends into a drunken, pants-less, suicidal depression, until he spots the lithe figure of Aurora Lane (Lawrence) in her pod, and develops a crush.
He checks out her profile, reads her writing (she’s a journalist), eats cereal next to her. Though he wrestles with the decision, he ultimately decides to wake up his dream girl, effectively dooming her to a life and death aboard this spaceship.
But before then, he’s the only available guy around to date, and they fall in love. Until Aurora finds out about what Jim did, and is justifiably enraged.
The quandary of being stuck on a spaceship with only your ex and a robot bartender (Michael Sheen) is quickly tossed aside for the high stakes action as the ship starts to malfunction.
As they try to troubleshoot, the film takes on the tenor of a very high-stakes version of yelling at an iPad or trying to bypass an automated phone menu.
Ultimately, what’s a rather intriguing premise, replete with meaty themes to chew on — time as a prison, class, colonialism, artificial intelligence _ eschews all that to focus on sexy space fun times, turning Jim’s morally reprehensible choice into a meet cute, and a love story for the ages.
The problem is that one can’t help but think of better, more interesting movies based on this premise.
Most glaringly, what if Aurora were the subject, not the object? This is Jim’s story, not hers; we’re to sympathize with nice guy Jim, who fell in love with her mind, he claims. But the film could have been more intriguing if it were from her perspective, or even if it were more balanced.
Tyldum and Spaihts could have steered into the inherently problematic issues at hand, creating something far darker and more complex. Instead, it’s all French robot waiters and Champagne cocktails and sex in the cafeteria.

 

 98 /173 

0.0
Deborah Lipstadt finds her voice in ‘Denial’

"I’d rather have no movie than the wrong movie, no movie than a movie that played with the truth,” says Deborah Lipstadt, the historian whose work and life are the basis for Denial, a new movie about how she was sued for libel by Holocaust denier David Irving. The movie will open the 18th Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival on December 24 at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. Lipstadt will appear at that screening and another one on December 25, and will do a Q&A at both.
Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.
The festival, which features more than 40 international and Israeli films, will run until December 29. Denial will open at theaters around Israel on December 29. Lipstadt, the author of many books and the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, was understandably cautious when producers approached her about turning her book – History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier (now re-released under the title, Denial: Holocaust History on Trial) – into a movie. As a historian, her professional reputation is based on the accuracy of her work, and Hollywood is notorious for playing fast and loose with the truth to make a movie more crowd-pleasing or dramatic. But she is very happy with the finished product, which stars Rachel Weisz as Lipstadt. During her discussions with screenwriter David Hare, she realized that “David Hare got it, David Hare understood that this was a story that couldn’t be jazzed up, that this was a story about facts, and that if you’re going to tell a story about facts, you have to be factual. “Irony of ironies, one critic said about the movie that what was missing was a high point in the courtroom,” where Lipstadt should have confronted Irving. “That wasn’t going to happen in the movie because that wasn’t what happened” in court. Lipstadt worked closely with the filmmakers to create a movie that stays true to life, in its depiction of the bizarre saga of the libel suit that David Irving brought against Lipstadt in 1996, and which went to trial in 2000. The law in the UK is different from the US, and the burden of proof was on Lipstadt: She had to show that Irving had deliberately distorted the truth. While her initial impulse was to bring in Holocaust survivors to testify and to confront him in court, her British legal team advised against it and used methodical historical research to prove that Irving had lied in his work. It was an interesting and unusual experience for this academic to see an Oscar-winning actress portraying her on the big screen, but she enjoyed working with Weisz. “Rachel is a first-rate actor, a professional’s professional... She wanted to do this right, she wanted to get as much information from me as possible. She wanted to draw me out.” In an early scene, the films showed Lipstadt lecturing, when she was unexpectedly interrupted by Irving, who sought to turn her class into a debate on whether the Holocaust occurred. Weisz “called me the morning before she was going to film it, and she said, ‘Tell me what you were feeling, tell me what you were experiencing.’ And I said, ‘I was like a deer in the headlights, I was totally blindsided by the fact that he showed up. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have a strategy. If they threw him out, he could say, ‘Aha! I’m a martyr.’ If he stayed in and kept disrupting, the students would think, ‘Who is this man?... Why is she not answering him? Maybe he knows facts she doesn’t know’... If you look at her face in the movie, you get it, she was at wit’s end. There were many moments like this that she captured in the film.” Seeing the movie brought back memories of the trial, which was a sometimes frustrating experience. “I was like a fish out of water for a good part of it. I’m not used to being a fish out of water... David Hare used to talk about films like Erin Brockovich, 12 Angry Men and Norma Rae, stories of the people who don’t have a voice... and in the course of the story they find their voice. I had a voice and I had to silence it – that’s a strange kind of thing.” But now, promoting the film, she does have a voice. She wants it understood that she did not have to prove that the Holocaust took place, only that Irving deliberately lied about it. “We didn’t want to dignify deniers. You don’t have a trial to prove that World War II happened. You don’t have a trial to prove the Korean War happened.” Lipstadt and her legal team proved their case against Irving by scrutinizing his work. “We followed his footnotes back to the sources, we showed that virtually every time he dealt with the Holocaust there was some lie, some obfuscation, some changing of dates, some misinterpretation of what was said.” While she acknowledged that every historian looks back and sees that “some mistake crept in that you just didn’t catch, this wasn’t that... This was deliberate, premeditated.” Her book, and the film, go into detail about his claims, giving many examples. “By doing that we really pulled the ground out from under deniers in the sense that they’re saying, ‘oh, we’re just historians looking at the historical record.’” While the trial in Denial has a happy end, she does see a disturbing trend in the willful disregard for historical truth in public discourse. “Stephen Colbert, years ago, used to talk about something called ‘truthiness.’ You know, ‘If I insist something is true, if I yell loud enough, if I really believe it, then it has to have credibility.’ So we’ve seen that in the Brexit debate in England, we’ve seen that in the American elections, we’ve seen that in the debate over the environment, we’ve see that in the debate over vaccines and autism, and even now in the United States there’s a conspiracy theory about Sandy Hook where those children were murdered... that it was all a made-up deal by the Obama administration to get gun-control legislation.” She cites other mind-boggling “absurd conspiracy theories” such as the story of Muslims dancing in Jersey City to celebrate 9/11, the Birther Movement that questioned whether President Obama was born in the United States, and the recent Pizzagate story, in which the Clintons were accused of running a pedophilia and human trafficking ring out of a pizza parlor. “What’s dangerous is now you have people planting these stories, it’s not just mistakes creeping in... Conspiracy theories long predate the Holocaust, but Holocaust denial has been a template for this, whether [those who propagate these conspiracy theories] know it or not. Holocaust denial dresses up lies in respectable clothing... Years ago, I became concerned about Holocaust denial when students would come up to me and say, ‘How do we know The Diary of Anne Frank was genuine? How do we know the gas chambers were real?’ And these were good kids taking my classes, these were kids who fought to get in... What had happened was that [through the Internet] they were influenced by the deniers without realizing it... This is a very scary trend.” Asked about the antisemitic harassment of reporters who have criticized Donald Trump in print, and the recent uptick in hate crimes, Lipstadt said, “This is more than just some crackpots. I want to be very careful here. I don’t want to say that there is a growing trend... but it doesn’t take a lot of people to do dangerous things. And I think that what’s been unleashed in the United States and other parts of the world during this election, is that a genie that already existed has been let out of the bottle, and you don’t need a lot of people to do a lot of damage. I hate the analogies to the Holocaust. The Holocaust was state-sponsored genocide. We’re not looking at state-sponsored murder or state-sponsored discrimination, but we’re looking at people who have been emboldened; and whether it’s against Muslims or Jews or homosexuals, they’ve been emboldened to do things they never would have done before... These haters don’t stop with one group.” Describing a recent incident where a Muslim New York policewoman was harassed by a crowd, Lipstadt cautioned against discounting the seriousness of occurrences like these. “People who hate like that and are prejudiced like that are dangerous, and Jews should know those kinds of dangers.”
Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin
Think others should know about this? Please share
| |

 

 99 /173 

2.5
Maine’s Cioppa named vice president of insurance commissioners association

The head of Maine’s Bureau of Insurance has been named to an executive post with a national trade association.
Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa has been elected vice president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for 2017. Cioppa served as the organization’s secretary-treasurer this year, according to a release from the bureau.
“I’m honored to continue to serve on the NAIC’s Executive Committee, as well as on various other working committees,” Cioppa said. “It’s gratifying to be part of a group of people who share a common mission and duty to the consumers in each state and each member US-territory, while at the same time supporting and regulating the insurance businesses and products we all rely on.”
NAIC regulators establish national standards and best practices, conduct peer reviews and coordinate regulatory oversight.
Cioppa has served as Maine’s insurance superintendent since 2011. He joined the bureau in 1988 as a statistician, then served as supervisor of the workers’ compensation section before to becoming deputy superintendent in 1998.
Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form
Send questions/comments to the editors.

 

 100 /173 

0.0
Sales tax take drops at Jefferson malls heading into holidays, still ahead of 2015 pace

As holiday shopping in Jefferson Parish enters its last frenetic phase before Christmas, retail sales figures from October for its malls and shopping centers indicate a 3.7 percent dip in spending compared with the same month last year.
However, overall sales tax collection for the first 10 months of the year increased slightly compared to 2015, according to data compiled by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, the official tax collector.
In October 2015, $3.38 million in revenue was collected from area malls, more than the $3.25 million recorded in October 2016. For the last quarter of 2015, a total of $14.5 million was collected from the mall areas.
Monthly decreases at the Lakeside and Clearview malls in Metairie and the Esplanade Mall in Kenner were offset with increased collections at the Westside Shopping Center and the Oakwood Mall in Gretna, according to October's data.
Figures for November and December 2016 won't be released until January and February, respectively.
Here's how much Jefferson Parish collected in sales taxes in July
Sales taxes makeup 25 percent of the locally generated revenue in the parish government's operating budget. For the 2017 budget, sales taxes are expected to generate $147.8 million of the parish's nearly $600 million in parishwide revenues.
Overall, sales tax collections for October from the 17 taxes levied increased $191,249 or 0.55 percent higher than 2015, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Cumulatively, sales tax collections through October are running about 0.22 percent more than from the same 10 months last year; $215.3 million compared with $214.9 in 2015.

 

 101 /173 

0.0
Disney's 10 highest-grossing movies ever

This month, Disney became the first movie studio in history to earn at least $7 billion in worldwide ticket sales in a single year.
Blockbusters like "Finding Dory," "Zootopia," "The Jungle Book" and current hit "Rogue One" helped propell Disney to a record-breaking year in 2016 but box office success is nothing new for the company. Disney has been cranking out a steady stream of hits for decades.
Take a look back at Disney's 10 highest-grossing movies of all time in this photo gallery .
Disney's 10 highest-grossing movies ever (GALLERY)
Also, take a look below at the movies that made up Disney's $7 billion year in 2016.
You will find more statistics at Statista
Clint Davis covers entertainment and trending news topics for the Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.

 

 102 /173 

2.6
Rock band Yes headed to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2017

After many years of waiting, rock band Yes is finally headed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as part of its class of 2017. "What an honor this is for us and all involved with the history of this band," said guitar player Steve Howe in a press release, prior to thanking all of the Yes fans for their dedication and passion over the decades, as well as for "keeping the flag flying. " "It is the fans who have constantly demanded our inclusion. They have been heard," the acclaimed guitarist added. Drummer Alan White noted in a press statement that they look forward to accepting this "esteemed award next spring," which will be in honor of our fallen brother, Chris Squire. Whited added that Squire would have been "delighted to see his musical vision finally receive such recognition. " The members of the band which will be formally inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, as well as the late bass player and founding member Chris Squire. In addition, former Yes is known for such classic rock hits as "Roundabout," "Close to the Edge," "I've Seen All Good People," "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Starship Trooper," among many others. They have sold over 50 million records throughout their career in the music industry, which spans nearly five decades. To learn more about iconic progressive group Yes, check out their Yes has been previously nominated twice, and this induction will occur just one year shot of their 50-year anniversary as a rock group. "What an honor this is for us and all involved with the history of this band," said guitar player Steve Howe in a press release, prior to thanking all of the Yes fans for their dedication and passion over the decades, as well as for "keeping the flag flying. " "It is the fans who have constantly demanded our inclusion. They have been heard," the acclaimed guitarist added. Drummer Alan White noted in a press statement that they look forward to accepting this "esteemed award next spring," which will be in honor of our fallen brother, Chris Squire. Whited added that Squire would have been "delighted to see his musical vision finally receive such recognition. "The members of the band which will be formally inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, as well as the late bass player and founding member Chris Squire. In addition, former Yes members Jon Anderson on vocals, Bill Bruford on drums, Tony Kaye on keyboards, Rick Wakeman on keyboards and guitarist Trevor Rabin will be inducted. Yes is known for such classic rock hits as "Roundabout," "Close to the Edge," "I've Seen All Good People," "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and "Starship Trooper," among many others. They have sold over 50 million records throughout their career in the music industry, which spans nearly five decades. To learn more about iconic progressive group Yes, check out their official website Yes, Rock and Roll, Hall of fame

 

 103 /173 

3.6
Lin-Manuel Miranda named AP Entertainer of the year

NEW YORK (AP) — Winning a Pulitzer Prize and a clutch of Tony Awards in a single one year would be enough for anyone. Not Lin-Manuel Miranda. Not in 2016.
The “Hamilton” writer-composer picked up those honors and also earned a Golden Globe nomination, won the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History, wrote music for a top movie, and inspired a best-selling book, a best-selling album of “Hamilton” covers and a popular PBS documentary.
A new honor came Wednesday when Miranda bested Beyonce, Adele and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, among others, to be named The Associated Press Entertainer of the Year, voted by members of the news cooperative and AP entertainment reporters.
This June 12, 2016 file photo shows Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of “Hamilton” performing at the Tony Awards at the Beacon Theatre in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
“There’s been more than a little good luck in the year itself and the way it’s unfolded,” Miranda said after being told of the honor. “I continue to try to work on the things I’ve always wanted to work on and try to say yes to the opportunities that I’d kick myself forever if I didn’t jump at them.”
Miranda joins the list of previous AP Entertainer of the Year winners who in recent years have included Adele, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lawrence, Lady Gaga, Tina Fey and Betty White. The animated Disney juggernaut “Frozen” captured the prize in 2014, and “Star Wars” won last year. (By the way, Miranda wrote one of the songs in “The Force Awakens.”)
When he hosted “Saturday Night Live” in October, he somewhat tongue-in-cheek acknowledged the rarity of having a theater composer as host, saying: “Most of you watching at home have no idea who I am.”
They surely must by now.
Miranda was virtually everywhere in popular culture this year — stage, film, TV, music and politics, while engaging on social media as he went. Like a lyric he wrote for Alexander Hamilton, it seemed at times that the non-stop Miranda was working as if he was “running out of time.”
Julio D. Diaz, of the Pensacola News Journal, said Miranda “made the whole world sing, dance and think. Coupled with using his prestige to become involved in important sociopolitical issues, there was no greater or more important presence in entertainment in 2016.”
In this May 16, 2016 file photo Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” reacts after receiving an honorary degree during the University of Pennsylvania commencement ceremony in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Among the things Miranda did this year are asking Congress to help dig Puerto Rico out of its debt crisis, getting an honorary doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, performing at a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton on Broadway, lobbying to stop gun violence in America and teaming up with Jennifer Lopez on the benefit single “Love Make the World Go Round.”
He and his musical “Hamilton” won 11 Tony Awards in June, but perhaps his deepest contribution that night was tearfully honoring those killed hours before at an Orlando nightclub with a beautiful sonnet: “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside,” he said. “Now fill the world with music, love and pride.”
He started the year onstage in the Broadway hit “Hamilton” (which in 2015 had won a Grammy and earned Miranda a MacArthur genius grant) and ended it with a Golden Globe nomination for writing the song “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana,” which was on top of the box office for three weeks this month, earning $165 million.
“I’ve been jumping from thing to thing and what’s been thrilling is to see the projects that happen very quickly kind of exploding side-by-side with the projects I’ve been working on for years,” Miranda said.
Though theater fans have long cherished his fluency in both Stephen Sondheim and Tupac, “Hamilton” helped Miranda break into the mainstream in 2016. The groundbreaking, biographical hip-hop show tells the true story of an orphan immigrant from the Caribbean who rises to the highest ranks of American society, told by a young African-American and Latino cast.
The cast went to the White House in March to perform songs from the show for the first family and answer questions from school children. A version of the show opened in Chicago in October and a production is slated to land in California next year and in London soon.
When the gold-winning U. S. women’s gymnastics team returned from the Rio Olympics, where do you think they wanted to go? “Hamilton,” naturally, which they did in August.
Dwayne Johnson and Lin-Manuel Miranda perform onstage at the world premiere of Disney’s “Moana” at the El Capitan Theatre on Monday, November 14, 2016 in Hollywood, CA. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
The show’s effects were felt across the nation this year, cheered by politicians, stars and rappers alike and even helping shape the debate over the nation’s currency (Hamilton stays on the $10 bill, in part due to Miranda’s show.)
But the musical also sparked controversy when the cast delivered a pointed message about diversity to Vice President-elect Mike Pence while he attended a performance in November. President-elect Donald Trump demanded an apology, which did not come.
That kerfuffle was part of a “Hamilton”-heavy fall that included an album of celebrity covers and songs called “The Hamilton Mixtape,” as well as a documentary on the show that aired on PBS and attracted more than 3.6 million television viewers.
Erin O’Neill of The Marietta Times said Miranda dominated entertainment news this year but, more importantly, “opened a dialogue about government, the founding of our country and the future of politics in America.”
There’s more Miranda to come in 2017, including filming Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns” with Emily Blunt (due out Christmas 2018) and an ambitious TV and film adaptation of the fantasy trilogy “The Kingkiller Chronicle.”
“I’m back in a planting mode after a harvest,” Miranda said, laughing.

 

 104 /173 

3.4
Spectrum Health releases top 10 baby names of 2016

Newborn Lincoln Kutzli gets a loving kiss from his mom Jenelle. The name Lincoln is a newcomer to the Top 10 Baby Names List released each year by the Family Birthplace at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)
Emma's mom, Marisa Mier, said her baby's name includes an E to honor two great grandmothers (Eva and Emmaline), an M for her, (Marisa), and the letter A to honor Mier's stepmother, April. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat)

 

 105 /173 

6.7
Entertainment Calendar: Music, theater and more

KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY AND THE 313 WITH TIM MEADOWS
The star of Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele,” Keegan-Michael Key performs an evening of improv with the 313, a Los Angeles-based comedy group with Detroit roots. Key is from Detroit and co-founded Planet Ant theater in Hamtramck. The 313 also includes Nancy Hayden, Andy Cobb, Maribeth Monroe, Larry Joe Campbell, Tim Robinson (of the new Comedy Central show “The Detroiters”) and Marc Evan Jackson. “Saturday Night Live” alumn and Highland Park native Tim Meadows will open the show with a short stand-up set and he’ll also be part of the ensemble. 8 p.m. Thurs. $20-$135. 5200 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 833-7900.
“A MAN CAN CHANGE: THE WORDS, MUSIC, ART AND STORIES OF 7 MEN”
Joel Fluent Greene assembled and hosts this event that features performances by Pierre Anthony, Khary Kimani Turner, Trey A. Simon, King Thomas Moore, Ben Will and Greene. Comedian Coolaide and musician and poet jessica Care moore are also part of the festivities. 8 p.m. Fri. 315 E. Warren, Detroit. (313) 494-5800.
JEFF DANIELS
Actor and musician Jeff Daniels returns to his Chelsea theater for a series of acoustic performances. 7 p.m. Mon.-Tues., 2-7 p.m. Wed., 7 p.m. Dec. 29, 8 p.m. Dec. 30 and 3 and 8 p.m. Sat. $78-$88. 137 Park, Chelsea. (734) 433-7673.
MENORAH IN THE D
A family-friendly event Tuesday with menorah lighting, fire juggling, light show, marshmallow roasting and other events. 3-5 p.m. Jewish Family Festival; 5-6 p.m. Menorah lighting ceremony; 6-8 p.m. After Glow party. Free, $10-$15 for after party. 800 Campus Martius, Detroit. menorahinthed.com.

 

 106 /173 

5.0
The Dumbest Most Racist Video Ever…. Debunked!

MTV continues its “anti-racism” crusade by collectively demonizing an entire group of people based on their skin color.
Share this video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIaWTSaoZ0M
SUBSCRIBE on YouTube:
Follow on Twitter: Follow @PrisonPlanet
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paul.j.watson.71
*********************
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com .

 

 107 /173 

0.6
Kate Gosselin talks her fears in new episode of Kate Plus 8

Kate Gosselin experienced some discomfort in Tuesday night's episode of Kate Plus 8. With her kids having fun at space camp, they went through an aviation process that involved them sinking down to a water surface while remaining inside the simulator. As a protective mother, the 41-year-old was a little skeptical watching her kids take part of this, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. As her children listened to the lifeguard, she explains how it works if they were ever inside a helicopter that crashed into water. Clearly, this didn't leave Kate too pleased with the idea of seeing her kids in a crash scenario. This stems from the fact that she doesn't have the same adventurous traits that they have. 'That one was interesting to me because I don't like water, can't really swim,' the reality star admitted. She's okay with flying, but not to the point where it involves crashing into the water. 'I was that afraid of it,' Kate continued. 'And my kids were that amount as excited about it.' Kate's twin daughters, Mady and Cara, 16, mentioned that they're not really big fans of going underwater. This is because they like to keep their makeup on. There's also the matter of helmets not exactly being the accessory to keep things 'fashionable.' Kate's sextuplets, on the other hand, were down to try this out. They were able to see the humor of the situation even when one of their counselors mentioned that the pilot is crashing due to lack of sleep. As their mom prepared to watch her children go down, she wished them luck and asked them to get out safely. As the simulator made its way down, the water started building up around everyone. But it was all for safe fun as the group cheered and enjoyed themselves. Kate added that there's 'no way in the world' she'd be able to survive this. The mother of eight made an appearance on The Dr. Oz Show last week where she discussed her ex-husband Jon. Now that he's out of the picture, the star explained what her kids want right now. 'They want a dad who's there for them,' Kate said . 'If I'm gonna be really honest, there was kind of the old Jon and the new Jon and none of us can quite understand, like, what happened there.' 'I mean, they coined it years ago, old daddy and new daddy,' she continued. 'That's understandable, but, like, hard to kind of digest for all of us.'

 

 108 /173 

1.9
Head-injury survivors and suicide risk

Sarah Wollaston MP rightly urges the government to identify suicide risks ( Curbs needed on pro-suicide sites, say MPs as toll mounts , 19 December). There is one very grave one which the national suicide strategy takes no account of. There is compelling research to demonstrate that head-injury survivors – even survivors of concussion – are at particular risk of suicide and should receive the same attention and supervision from medical professionals as other high-risk groups, such as prisoners, mental health patients and those with a history of self-harm. A large epidemiological survey carried out in Denmark , which covered 145,440 head-injury patients, noted that suicides were more than double the norm after skull fracture, triple after concussion and four times after brain haemorrhage.
If my husband and I had known this we would have been more vigilant with our own son after his head injury, and might not have lost him to suicide. Joanna Lane Coulsdon, Surrey
• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com
• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

 

 109 /173 

2.9
Disney gives holiday treat for annual passholders

Walt Disney World's annual passholders are getting a holiday treat at the theme park gates: they'll be able to bypass long lines at the entrances by using special turnstile gateways...

 

 110 /173 

2.0
Homeless advocates go face to face with DC Councilman

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - People are dying, and not enough is being done about it. That was the message from a group of passionate homeless advocates, who came face to face with D. C. Council members on Wednesday morning.
The event was organized by the People for Fairness Coalition. For the last two days, the organization has been honoring and remembering the 46 homeless people who passed away in the last year.
"They had a voice," said Robert Warren, the director for the coalition. "And they had names. And they had faces. And we just want to try and remember them. "
The event, being held for the fourth year in a row, began Tuesday night, as the coalition lead a candlelight vigil to honor those who died. The programming continued Wednesday morning, as a group of approximately 20 people entered city hall to confront councilman.
"It's just really so sad," said Warren. "That we live in the greatest country on this Earth. And we have people dying - living and dying on the streets. "
The group confronted Councilman Jack Evans first, who was leaving his car.
"Forty-six people died in the streets last year," said one man to Evans. "If 46 people died in the Wilson Building in one year, we would call it an epidemic. "
When Evans was asked whether he would support $8.5 million in funding for 535 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), he responded pretty decisively.
"Absolutely," he said. "Let's make it happen. "
Evans then referred the group to Councilman Phil Mendelson, who is the chairman for the committee responsible for putting together the budget. Inside Mendelson had a more tempered response.
"We will see what we can do about the funding," he said. "But it's more than just a question of funding. It's whether we're actually making improvements to the system with the dollar. "
Back outside, advocate Jesse Rabinowitz, from Miriam's Kitchen, said these deaths should be a wake-up-call.
"D. C. has a budget of $13 billion," he said. "Yet 46 people from the homeless community died last year. Many on the streets. Something doesn't add up. "
Other than funding, the group is also calling on Council to make the homeless a protected class under the D. C. Human Rights Act of 1977, which would make discriminating against the homeless illegal. The group was also asking for the Council to fully fund "Homeward DC," a plan created by the government, non-profit partners, and community members to end homelessness by 2020.

 

 111 /173 

1.9
First Bourbon Fest, now Bloody Mary Festival, coming March 26

There just aren't enough festivals in New Orleans. So Bloody Mary Festival is coming, March 26, from noon to 4:30 p.m. at The Howlin' Wolf, 907 S. Peters St., New Orleans.
According to the event's Eventbrite page , Bloody Marys will be offered by the following restaurants and bars:
- Dante's Kitchen - Rosedale - The Maison - Bar Tonique - Cafe Fleur de Lis - Louisiana Sisters
New Orleans Bourbon Festival is the same weekend, March 24-26, with its headquarters at the Marriott-Convention Center , 859 Convention Center Blvd.
At Bloody Mary Fest, attendees can vote on the "People's Choice" Award. "
"Enjoy 2 hours of unlimited tastes of TEN of the Big Easy's most delicious and innovative Bloody Marys, made by the finest restaurants and bars in the New Orleans Area," reads the Eventbrite invitation. It also promises local food, drink and live entertainment.
You must be 21 to enter. Click here to buy tickets, which range from $39 to $45. The $39 price is an early-bird discount that ends Dec. 25.

 

 112 /173 

1.0
Pinterest-inspired snap goes hilariously wrong when baby son pulls horrified face

It's a picture-perfect family moment: proud parents sharing a kiss as they cuddle their newborn son. That is, until you notice the horrified expression on the baby's face. Aileen and Angus Baird, from Dundee in Scotland, were determined to recreate a heart-warming family portrait that Aileen had spotted on Pinterest, but baby Bradley inadvertently foiled their plans with his look of outrage. Mum-of-three Aileen, 34, said she couldn't control her laughter when she saw the photograph, which was snapped by the couple's ten-year-old daughter, Bethany. 'When I looked at my phone after my daughter Bethany took the picture I burst out laughing and couldn't speak,' she said. 'My husband asked what I found so funny so I turned the phone to him and said 'look at that expression!'. 'I had no idea how he managed to pull that face as he didn't make any sound. 'He looks like he's a little old man, crying out "make them stop! "' Bradley, who was born on November 14, was monitored for six days in Ninewells Hospital's special care baby unit (SCBU) before his proud parents Aileen and Angus could take him home. This was all the more poignant given their first-born daughter Sophie died at just a day old of an unexplained neonatal death. Aileen said: 'I've got an obsession with taking photos, this comes from the fact that sometimes photos are all you have left. 'We were very excited to be able to bring Bradley home. 'It had been a horrendous pregnancy as I was in and out of hospital on a monthly basis due to my Crohn's, gall stones and high blood pressure. 'It's just a miracle to have a healthy 8lb 8oz baby boy considering I was so unwell. 'While Bradley was in SCBU I was scrolling through my phone looking on Pinterest for newborn photos to give me some inspiration.' Aileen and Angus attempted to recreate the picture with the help of ten-year-old daughter Bethany who was behind the camera. Aileen said: 'Bradley's brother Benjamin (six) and sister Bethany are thrilled to have their little brother home. 'Bethany offered to take some pictures and then went straight up to her bedroom - when I showed her the picture she laughed and said she hadn't realised he was pulling that face. 'He's a gorgeous little boy - that facial expression says he's definitely had enough.'

 

 113 /173 

3.4
Trump praises Michigan GOP while weighing RNC chairman call

LANSING, Michigan (AP) — Donald Trump is nearing a decision on who will lead the Republican National Committee and could tap Michigan Republican Party chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel for a leadership post Friday during his visit to Grand Rapids.
The niece of 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney was an early Trump supporter and helped him notch a surprise win in a state that previously had championed Democrats in six consecutive presidential elections. McDaniel is scheduled to speak at Trump’s rally.
Yet whether McDaniel gets the party chairmanship appeared unsettled Friday, according to several people close to Trump.
While Trump’s incoming White House chief of staff Reince Priebus is pushing McDaniel, other Trump confidantes such as Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon favor Nick Ayers, a senior aide to Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
Priebus, who currently leads the RNC, has been publicly silent about who he wants as his successor. But he backs McDaniel because he believes she will maintain the investments he has made in party data and infrastructure, according to three people who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.
The RNC showdown echoes power struggles between Priebus on one side and Bannon and Conway on the other for influence over Trump. That dynamic is also playing out with a lack of consensus over the president-elect’s choice for secretary of State. Trump has said he is considering Mitt Romney, another Priebus favorite, for that Cabinet position.
As the incoming president, Trump’s choice for RNC chairman and other party leadership positions carries immense sway with the party’s 168 members, who will vote on the team early next year.
Whoever takes the chairmanship will face immediate pressure to hold onto control of Congress in 2018.
Trump singled McDaniel out for praise during a packed New York City fundraiser Wednesday. Supporters and donors gathered for a private thank-you session, whose attendees included McDaniel, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and about 1,000 others.
“The president-elect gave a big shout-out to Ronna” and said she had a “big opportunity,” Schuette said.
After executing Michigan’s GOP election plan to victory, she next converted the state GOP into Trump’s recount legal team. She retained top lawyers who persuaded the state appeals court this week to deny Green Party candidate Jill Stein’s call for a recount.
McDaniel did not respond to requests for comment Thursday but told The Associated Press last month she’d be “interested in whatever Mr. Trump wants.”
Some close to Trump are recommending Ayers. Ayers was the Republican Governors Association executive director in 2010, a successful year for Republican state executives, and was a key adviser to Pence’s 2012 governor’s race. He joined Trump last summer, mainly helping Pence. He now advises Pence, who is chairman of the transition.
“Trump allies are encouraging Nick to run,” Trump spokesman Jason Miller told the AP this week.
Ayers counts heavyweights former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former RNC chairman, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and incoming Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens among his backers.
“The fact is Nick wins,” said Greitens, whom Ayers advised during his 2016 campaign. “I am 100 percent behind Nick Ayers.”
__
Beaumont reported from Des Moines, Iowa.
__
Associated Press writers Julie Pace and Julie Bykowicz contributed to this report from Washington.
__
Follow Beaumont and Eggert on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/TomBeaumont and https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

 114 /173 

7.4
James Taylor cancels concert in the Philippines due to drug war

James Taylor has canceled his February concert in Manila, saying reports of summary executions of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines without judicial proceedings are "deeply concerning and unacceptable. "
The American singer-songwriter tweeted Wednesday that he had been looking forward to performing in Manila and that it saddened him to cancel the concert. He apologized to his Filipino fans and said all tickets sold for the Feb. 25 performance at Manila's Mall of Asia Arena would be fully refunded.
Taylor said his scheduled concerts in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand would not be affected.
Since taking office in June, President Rodrigo Duterte has overseen a crackdown on illegal drugs that has left more than 6,000 people dead, alarming Western governments and human rights watchdogs. Philippine government officials have defended police actions during the crackdown.
James Taylor concert had me singing the middle-aged blues
While acknowledging that drug addiction is a worldwide problem that seriously harms society, Taylor criticized the anti-drug campaign.
"For a sovereign nation to prosecute and punish, under the law, those responsible for illegal trade in drugs is, of course, understandable, even commendable," Taylor tweeted. "But recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process are deeply concerning and unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law. "
Dozens of tweets from people reacting to Taylor's message praised the musician and voiced respect for his stand. Others urged other artists to follow his lead, while a handful of Duterte supporters said Taylor should see the situation for himself instead of basing his opinion only on media reports.

 

 115 /173 

0.6
Trudeau Touts Trump's Support for KXL, Sparking Fears of Pipeline Resurrection

President-elect Donald Trump is 'very supportive' of Keystone XL, the Canadian prime minister said
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke at the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. (Photo: Reuters/Todd Korol)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touted U. S. President-elect Donald Trump's support for the Keystone XL pipeline to an audience of business leaders and oil company executives in Calgary, Alberta—the heart of Canada's oil industry—on Wednesday.
"If Keystone XL is ever proposed again the massive and sustained opposition to its approval will be like nothing we've seen. " —David Turnbull, Oil Change International
"He actually brought up Keystone XL and indicated that he was very supportive of it," Trudeau told members of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce of his conversation with Trump after the election, according to Reuters. "I will work with the new administration when it gets sworn in [...] I'm confident that the right decisions will be taken. "
Trump has repeatedly and vocally expressed support for Keystone XL, among many other fossil fuel projects.
During his talk in Calgary, Trudeau also characterized as a "major win" for workers his administration's approval last month of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and Enbridge's Line 3 project.
(Environmentalists, on the other hand, characterized the approval of two additional tar sands pipeline projects as a "betrayal" of Trudeau's campaign promises to fight climate change.)
The embattled Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport tar sands oil from Alberta to Texas, was finally rejected by President Barack Obama in 2015 after years of protest and campaigning from a wide coalition of activists and citizens.
"Keystone XL would imperil countless communities as well as our climate, and President Obama was absolutely right in finally rejecting it last year," said Oil Change International's David Turnbull to Common Dreams. "The movement to stop Keystone is one of the most inspiring and powerful collections of landowners, ranchers, Native Americans, and concerned citizens all across the county that we've ever seen. If Trump tries undo President Obama's wise decision, this movement won't be standing idly by. In other words: Bring it on. "
"It's not clear that the market conditions even support a re-application from [Keystone XL owner] TransCanada," Turnbull added, echoing recent news reports , "but if Keystone XL is ever proposed again, the massive and sustained opposition to its approval will be like nothing we've seen. One only need to look to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's inspiring opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline for a taste of what's to come. "
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
Vowing to Protect Science, Climate Movement 'Ready for Fight' With Trump
'Incredible Victory': Obama Bans Drilling in Parts of Arctic and Atlantic
Feds Deny LNG Export Through Oregon – Developer Turns to Trump
Trump’s Carbon-Obsessed Energy Policy and the Planetary Nightmare to Come

 

 116 /173 

1.0
UK's austerity welfare spending is closer to poorest nations of EU

Britain’s version of austerity is more aligned to the poorest nations of the European Union, according to figures from Brussels which reveal the UK was the only rich EU country to cut welfare spending as a proportion of GDP between 2011 and 2014.
France, Germany and Italy increased spending on welfare, as did the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Denmark, Luxembourg, Finland and Austria. Even Portugal, Spain, Slovakia and Poland marginally increased the proportion of national income they spend on welfare.
France pushed spending from 32.7% to 34.3% and Germany raised the level from 28.6% to 29.1%, while Italy managed to commit 30% in 2014 compared with 28.5% in 2011.
But the UK cut the amount it spends on what Eurostat calls social protection (as a proportion of GDP) over the four years from 29.1% to 27.4%.
Its compatriots in the austerity camp are Estonia , Latvia, Lithuania, Ireland, Greece, Hungary and Romania.
Britain is also among the lowest spenders per head of population, matching the EU average, but falling behind Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Denmark, Finland and Sweden.
France and Germany both spent 131% of the average, though this failed to match the 140% spent by Denmark.
Slovakia spent 52% of the EU average while Ireland managed 87%, bringing it close to Italy’s 98% per capita.
The UK also spent more as a proportion of GDP than any other country on subsidising housing, illustrating the importance since the financial crash in 2008 for successive governments to subsidise tenants in private housing .
Housing benefit accounted for 7.7% of all benefits compared with 1.4% in Spain and 4.2% in Sweden. Only Denmark and the Netherlands come close, spending 6.5% and 6.4% respectively.
Britain is among the majority of nations to spend more on pensions and “old age and survivors” than “sickness, healthcare and disability,” as the European commission’s statistical agency puts it.
Pensions account for 43.1% of all benefits in the UK compared with 37.2% for the health service and 10.4% for families and children.
Germany is one of the few countries to spend less on pensioners than health, with 39.2% of benefits going to older citizens and 42.8% spent on healthcare.

 

 117 /173 

3.1
York Police Department helps kids, families at Christmas

York County councilmember William "Bump" Roddey pitches his idea to paint 'Football City, USA' on a Rock Hill water tower near the downtown area. He says the concept would help cement Rock Hill as a tourist destination in the Southeast, and pay homage to the many football talents developed in the area.
Patti-O Grill restaurant in Clover, South Carolina is open Christmas Day - but all the food is free for the needy. The volunteers cook and serve and open the restaurant to people in the community who need a meal, gifts or companionship and love.
Growth focuses on quality of life for students and non-students alike
The South Pointe Stallions defeated the Hartsville Red Foxes Saturday at the 4A state championships in Columbia. The Rock Hill team has taken the title for three straight years. The stands at Williams-Brice Stadium — home to the Gamecocks — were filled with Stallions fans Saturday to watch their team defeat the Red Foxes 51-28.
The Rock Hill Gray-Y all-star youth football team prepared to defeat Dillon in the state championship game on Friday with a pizza party and hoop-throwing at the Upper Palmetto YMCA in Rock Hill. The 11- and 12-year-old all-stars are chosen from nine teams in the Gray-Y league and won the state championship in 2015.
Students at South Pointe High School in Rock Hill painted menacing faces on teachers and watched their school performing groups Friday during a pep rally. The Stallion football team will play in Saturday's 4A state title game against Hartsville.
Students from the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind got a surprise visitor in a red suit while they sang for River Hills/Lake Wylie Lion Club in Lake Wylie, SC.
Students at Ebenezer Avenue Elementary School had a blast picking up a bag of apples each, thanks to the efforts of Walmart and Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. Students received several apples as a part of Santa Express, which is designed to distribute holiday gifts to thousands of students in North and South Carolina.
Six-year-old Malina Brooks of Fort Mill sent birthday party invitations to friends and family but instead of gifts, the child asked for items to donate to the Children's Attention Center. The birthday girl and her father dropped off bags of cereal, snacks, socks, underwear and gift cards at the center, which is a home for abused and neglected children.
Chester mom Angela Blackwell, accused of killing her 4-day-old baby by placing him in a refrigerator, appeared for a bond hearing Thursday. Her husband, Jeffrey Lewis, and others spoke in support of Blackwell. The baby, which was unresponsive when taken to a local hospital, died Feb. 27, 2016. Blackwell, who said she took special needs classes in school, is charged with homicide by child abuse.

 

 118 /173 

0.0
House tour: A cloud-like condo in the former NOCCA school building

Sometimes, in the course of human events, trajectories collide with extraordinary results. Such is the story of a dilapidated Uptown former schoolhouse and a couple who joyfully combine theatrics and ice cream.
As the building was being converted into upscale condominiums a few years ago, actress and voice-coach-to-the-stars Francine Segal and her husband, Jerry Segal, owner of the Haagen-Dazs franchise in the Riverwalk shopping center, bought a unit in the former LaSalle School, which later became the first home of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. The couple's condo would fill the space that formerly had been NOCCA's dance studio and Back Box theater. What could be a more suitable home for a woman whose life has revolved around acting?
After an extensive renovation, tall double doors now open into the couple's sleek entrance hall, where a pair of Art Deco, Rockefeller Center-style sconces frame an Italian plaster wall panel of "The Nine Muses Plus Apollo. " The sconces came from Francine's parents' Canal Street store, Graff's, and were painstakingly restored by Tulane University glassblower Christopher Gray.
"So there's like a neo-classical theme around here," Francine said as she recently showed a visitor around. "We bought the (wall) panel from the Waldorf Astoria. It's the first piece of art we collected, and we had to go to the bank to borrow money for it.
"We were so poor back then," she said, recalling the days she spent in New York as an aspiring thespian. It was there that she met Jerry in an incident reminiscent of author David Sedaris' tale of working as a holiday elf at Macy's.
"I had a part time job selling pogo sticks at Macy's during Christmas," Francine said. "Jerry was merchandising manager, and I met him when I fell off a pogo stick. I had dated too many actors, so I thought this might be a good thing. "
Back in the condo, just off the hallway, it's debatable which is more enticing: Francine's tiny office with its wall of career photos or the jewel-box powder room, with its gold and silver leaf walls, a bawdy early-20th-century bronze chandelier, a stylized Mario Villa mirror and a full-size mural recreation of Gustav Klimt's "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer" ("Woman in Gold") executed by artist and condo decorator Robert Valley.
"I want to feel like I'm walking into Gustav Klimt's world," Francine said of the powder room. But it's clear her heart is in the office, with its tall window illuminating framed photos of her acting or voice clients, including Heath Ledger, Kathy Bates, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Lange, Miley Cyrus and Zac Efron -- and of Francine portraying Maria Callas in Le Petit Theatre's production of Terrence McNally's "Master Class. "
Back in the hallway, Al Hirschfeld's prints of Callas and Tallulah Bankhead dominate a wall that leads to the towering great room, an open floor plan that incorporates the kitchen, living and dining areas as easily as it once accommodated NOCCA dance classes.
The list of designers involved in the space's transformation reads like rolling credits at the end of a film. In addition to work by Robert Valley, design consultant Natasha Shah provided initial ideas, while Francine envisioned the four ionic-style pilasters that now are spaced between the 14-foot-tall arched windows. Wes Ulmo created the pilasters.
The gray Venetian plaster walls complement the original wood floors, with their multiple coats of white paint. In this ultra-cool environment, Segal placed an expansive white sofa, a favorite nesting place of 15-year-old Maltese "Bogey. "
"I never sit; I lie down," Francine said, "so I had to have a sectional. And I can look over at the wall of white frames (above the fireplace), which evolves over time. I can put anything I want in the openings, because I never stay the same. "
In the dining area, oversized Corinthian columns create a base for a formal dining table crowned by a glass top. In the kitchen area, a niche displays custom Greek and Roman masks, carrying out the condo's neoclassical theme.
Over a Rococo console table, artist Kevin Gillentine's painting, "Waking Day," changes with the light flowing in through the tall windows. Nearby, a glossy white Pleyel grand piano (once played by NOCCA graduate Harry Connick Jr.) glistens in the same light.
In the master bedroom -- the former NOCCA Black Box theater -- Robert Valley created a tented ceiling from which hangs a Venetian glass chandelier. In a corner, an English, circa-1860 palanquin sedan chair is a showpiece.
"Can you imagine moving the Pleyel and the palanquin from our previous house? It wasn't easy," Francine said. "But now I feel like I'm floating in a cloud in the bedroom. "
It required many takes to reach the glamour of the Segals' LaSalle School condo, but Cecil B. De Mille would be proud of it.
Like a good director, Francine said, "I always respect the final product. "
Know of a cool New Orleans-area house worthy of our Home Tour features? Send information and a few photos to InsideOut@nola.com or call Susan Langenhennig at 504.717.7696.

 

 119 /173 

1.7
Nigerian lawsuit revives billion-dollar oil scandal

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency is reviving a five-year-old scandal involving one of Africa’s richest oil blocs, in which a former petroleum minister and his allies allegedly made $1.1 billion dollars and the state oil company $210 million.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission filed suit Tuesday in the federal high court charging former petroleum minister Dan Etete, former justice minister Mohammed Bello Adoke and businessman Aliyu Abubakar with fraud and money laundering of hundreds of millions of dollars in the sale of the bloc. The money came from a Nigerian escrow account at the London branch of JPMorgan Chase, according to the court document.
The story of the Malabu OPL 245 oil bloc already is being investigated in the United States, Britain, Italy and France. The accusations are typical of the corruption that has impoverished Nigeria, which has the continent’s biggest economy and second-largest oil production.
Separately, Nigeria’s legislature is investigating why the state got so little of the proceeds of a deal brokered by Bello Adoke in 2011 to resolve an ownership dispute involving British-Dutch oil multinational Shell, Italian Eni, Etete’s Malabu Oil, Abubakar’s Rocky Top Resources and Nigeria’s state oil company.
Earlier this year, Italian prosecutors raided the headquarters of Shell in The Hague and Eni in Milan. Global Witness, the corruption watchdog that has long pursued the case, said that “Shell and Eni have always denied knowledge of the corruption at the heart of this deal … exposed their investors to massive risks and have been tainted by this theft from Nigerian citizens.”
Etete could not be reached for comment Wednesday on the latest court challenge, though he and the others involved have declared their innocence.
In a statement, Bello Adoke emphasized that he did not benefit from the deal, which he said saved the government from a breach of contract suit in which Shell was claiming $2 billion. He called the charges “orchestrated plans to bring me to public disrepute in order to satisfy the whims and caprices of some powerful interests on (a) revenge mission.”
Malabu Oil paid $20 million for OPL 245 in 1998 under a contract awarded by Etete, who was then petroleum minister in the regime of military dictator Sani Abacha. The bloc is said to hold 9 billion barrels of crude and an unquantifiable amount of natural gas.
When civilian rule came in 1999, the government of Olusegun Obasanjo seized the bloc and invited multinationals to bid on it.
Ten years later, to end a protracted legal battle preventing exploration of Nigeria’s most valuable oil bloc, Bello Adoke, then justice minister and attorney general, brokered a deal by which Shell and Eni paid $1.1 billion to Malabu and $210 million to Nigeria for an exploration license.
___
Associated Press reporter Bashir Adigun contributed to this report from Abuja, Nigeria.
comments
Need a break? Play a quick game of solitaire or Sudoku. Or take one of our fun quizzes!
Try these Christmas dinner recipes to please your holiday crowd.

 

 120 /173 

3.3
Watch the first surgery recorded with Snapchat Spectacles

You can now watch a surgery filmed via Snapchat Spectacles.
Shafi Ahmed, a teaching surgeon in the United Kingdom, put on a pair of Spectacles earlier this month to record a hernia procedure for his students.
SEE ALSO: Sextacles: How Snapchat's new Spectacles are being used in the sack
Around 200 students watched as he explained the procedure in 10-second snippets, showing different parts of the anatomy and detailing various procedures such as the initial incision.
He had an assistant hit record, so he didn't have to keep pulling off his gloves or re-washing his hands.
You can watch the shortened and blurred version above, or watch the full four-minute video (which has more than 82,000 views as of this writing, even though it was only uploaded on Dec. 11), below. If you aren't into medical content, maybe give it a miss.
We're not sure why Ahmed chose to demonstrate the surgery on Spectacles, but we're guessing the idea seemed pretty natural to him, given he appears to be wearing Google Glass in his YouTube profile picture.
More from Mashable : Mistakenly released 'Mummy' reboot trailer is so bad it's very, very good Genius site tracks the Twitter apologies issued by UK transport companies A Russian embassy's Twitter account is taking shots at the U. S.

 

 121 /173 

0.9
Hyundai's top U. S. executive resigns

WASHINGTON, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Co's top U. S. executive Dave Zuchowski has resigned effective immediately and has been replaced on an interim basis by the company's general counsel, a company spokesman said Wednesday. Trade publication Automotive News said Zuchowski, who has been chief executive of Hyundai Motor America since 2014, was fired for failing to meet sales objectives, but Hyundai spokesman Chris Hosford declined to confirm the report. Hyundai's U. S. sales are up 2 percent through November, while U. S. auto sales are up 0.1 percent. (Reporting by David Shepardson)

 

 122 /173 

1.2
She certainly has a spring in her step! Ivanka Trump steps out wearing pretty pastels and sunglasses on the first day of winter after happily celebrating the completion of her upcoming book

Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules of Success, in June, joking that the publication was like her fourth child. The book, which is being released on March 7, covers everything from career and home life, and in it's description, Ivanka boasts that it 'will equip you with the best skills' she has learned from people she has met over the years. This week was a big one for Ivanka and her family, who celebrated the Electoral College formally electing her father Donald as the nation's 45th president. Donald has been open about his desire for his eldest daughter and her husband Jared Kushner to join his administration, and the couple are rumored to be moving to Washington, D. C. during his presidency. Although Ivanka is busier than ever, she couldn't resist posting a sweet snapshot of her children over the weekend.

 

 123 /173 

2.6
Elizabeth Olsen goes make-up free as she showcases her toned physique heading for a workout

It's the season when a few of us let our health regime slide in favour of a few indulgences. But Elizabeth Olsen was staying right on track as she got set for a grueling work out in Los Angeles. The 27-year-old showcased her toned physique as she headed make-up free to the gym on Tuesday. Dressed head to toe in black, her clinging outfit flaunted her flat tummy and slim frame. She added a splash of colour with neon blue and pink sneakers. With her clear skin and perfect bone structure, the actress never looks anything other than perfect even without make-up. The youngest Olsen sister left her honey locks loose, as she stepped out into the sunshine. Elizabeth has a busy year ahead as she will reprise her role as Wanda Maximoff/ Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Infinity War, which is currently filming and set for release in May 2018. She's also teamed up with her Avengers: Age of Ultron co-star Jeremy Renner in Taylor Sheridan's directorial feature film debut, Wind River. The beauty is also starring as Taylor Sloane, a social media influencer with a seemingly-perfect life in Los Angeles, in Matt Spicer's Ingrid Goes West. Both will premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. She's also starring in road-trip movie Kodachrome opposite Ed Harris and Jason Sudeikis.

 

 124 /173 

0.0
Five takeaways from the Lakers' 117-113 loss to the Charlotte Hornets

As the Lakers near the end of their longest road trip of the season, all that’s left in this swing is a Florida back-to-back with the Miami Heat on Thursday and the Orlando Magic on Friday.
Here are five takeaways from Tuesday night’s 117-113 loss to the Charlotte Hornets , in which the Lakers gave up a 19-point lead.
1. Defense continues to be an issue for the Lakers, and probablly will be in the foreseeable future. The reason the Lakers got out to an early lead over the Hornets was they shot the ball incredibly well in the first half. As soon as Charlotte put the brakes on the Lakers’ offense, the game completely changed. Getting better defensively will be a slow process, as this road trip has made clear.
2. Jordan Clarkson and Nick Young have combined for 24 three-pointers in the past two games. They combined for 12 Tuesday night with Clarkson making a career-high seven and Young five.
3. Tarik Black tried to test his ankle a few games ago, but he’s still experiencing some swelling and didn’t participate in Tuesday’s team shootaround because of soreness.
4. Julius Randle had a better defensive game than offensive game. When he saw his shots weren’t falling, he said he worked to make sure he could affect the game in other ways. Lakers Coach Luke Walton said after the game he wanted to see more consistency out of Randle. He said Randle will be “brilliant” at times, while other times he won’t be himself. Walton’s standards are high for Randle.
5. Randle’s plan all along was to go home for the Lakers’ off day and then miss one practice to be with his fiancee, who is expecting a baby soon. He returned in time for Tuesday morning’s shootaround still waiting for the pending baby. “He needs to make up his mind,” Randle said.
-
The Rams fell to the Seahawks, 24-3, at CenturyLink Field in Seattle as rookie Jared Goff was knocked out of the game.
Wanna fly and flip through the air? There's a school for that. Benjamin Crutcher, our curiosity correspondent, goes for a day to see what it takes to be a trapeze artist.
The Rams wasted no time firing Coach Jeff Fisher after a 42-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, which gives fans hope for the team's future success in Los Angeles.
The Rams wasted no time firing Coach Jeff Fisher after a 42-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, which gives fans hope for the team's future success in Los Angeles.

 

 125 /173 

0.0
US military preparing for biggest Okinawa land return in over 40 years — RT America

The land return involves around 4,000 hectares of forest area, roughly half of the land in the Northern Training Area in the villages of Kunigami and Higashi, Kyodo News reported.
The move, which is based on an agreement reached between Washington and Tokyo in 1996, will see Okinawa's role in hosting US military facilities in Japan drop from 74 percent to about 70 percent, in terms of land area.
The return will be the biggest transaction of its kind since 1972, when the formal post-war occupation of Japan by US forces ended.
A Thursday ceremony has been organized by Okinawa's central government to mark the land return.
However, the burden will still remain comparatively large for tiny Okinawa, which comprises less than 1 percent of Japan's total land area.
Lieutenant General Lawrence Nicholson, the top commander of the US military in Okinawa, said in a statement that the decreased training area "will not deteriorate our commitment to our ability towards working with the government of Japan and our partners in the Japan Self-Defense Forces in mutual defense of this country. "
He went on to state that there are plans to return more land in the coming years, because "we are respectful of the feelings of Okinawans that our footprint must be reduced. "
However, the land return comes in exchange for six helipads in the retained area, which are likely to be used by US Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft – a condition of the 1996 agreement which has been met with opposition from Okinawa's government and citizens.
Okinawa governor Takeshi Onaga, who has stepped up his demand to remove all Ospreys in the prefecture, has said he will join a citizens' rally to protest a recent crash-landing of a US Marines Osprey, the same day the central government will hold its land return ceremony.
In addition to safety concerns and noise related to the use of Ospreys, Okinawans have long protested the large presence of US forces on the island, citing crimes and accidents linked to the military bases.
Residents staged one of the biggest protests in two decades over the summer, with more than 50,000 people gathering to rally against the heavy US military presence on the island, after a local woman was murdered by an ex-marine.

 

 126 /173 

0.4
A tale of two Christmases: Plains and the West brace for a winter storm with blizzards, freezing rain and strong winds forecast while temperatures push 50F in the rest of the country

America will wake up to two very different Christmases over the weekend with fierce winter storms predicted on one side of the country and mild, drizzly conditions forecast for the other. After a sharp polar vortex last week, much of New England and the northeastern seaboard is set for a warmer Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Temperatures in New York and Washington DC will rise up to between 47 and 50F before Saturday with only slight dustings of snow scheduled in rural areas. By contrast, those in the Plains and north west are bracing for a 'potent' winter storm with lows plummeting to 11F. A flurry of sleet, freezing rain and strong, icy winds will batter Washington, Oregon and Idaho on Friday before making its way towards Nevada, Utah, Montana and North Dakota on Christmas Eve. Billings in Montana could see temperatures drop as low as 11F on Christmas Day, according to The Weather Channel's predictions. It will strike Minnesota, Wyoming, South Dakota, and eastern parts of Nebraska on Christmas Day, tailing off into rain and higher temperatures (around 60F) in southern Colorado. Illinois, Indiana and Ohio will see warmer conditions but come under some light rain. The storm will not go as far as New York where, on the eastern tip, temperatures will rise to 45F. 'After a frigid couple of weeks across the eastern half of the U. S., a shift in the pattern is anticipated this week and into the upcoming holiday weekend,' AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio said. Massachusetts may see some snow on Christmas Eve while a mix of snow and rain showers New England. Highs of 82F are predicted in Florida where a record temperature of 86F was recorded last week. The chances of a white Christmas are slim in portions of the country unaffected by the storm.

 

 127 /173 

3.4
Will car vending machine upend used car sales?

If brick-and-mortar stores fear Amazon and e-commerce as a threat to their existence, used car dealers may be terrified by the newest development in their industry: a car vending machine. Yes, it's real. And no, you can't shake it to get a free one. Online used car retailer Carvana opened its newest 'vending machine' last week in Houston, where the gleaming, glass-encased structure sits right off a busy freeway. Scroll down for video The eight-storey automated garage - three levels higher than the first version which debuted in Nashville a year ago - holds 30 cars. It dispenses used vehicles in four delivery bays, but only to customers who have the special coin to make it work - which they receive after completing an online purchase. This is a marketing gimmick, of course. But the company believes it could prove a valuable part of the strategy to win customers over by completely overhauling the dreaded process of buying a used car, something notoriously difficult and plagued by the fear of sales people taking advantage of prospective buyers. 'Our view of what we are trying to do is make the experience a high quality one that customers love,' Carvana co-founder and CEO Ernie Garcia told AFP. The goal, he said, is 'to make car buying fun.' He said the founders did not start out planning to be an online site, but aimed to rethink the car buying transaction from start to finish and find ways to 'differentiate economically, through the entire pipeline.' The first step was to take a page out of Amazon's book and get rid of dealerships, which Garcia says adds $400 to the price of a car. Another $1,400 goes to pay sales personnel. Carvana, which launched in 2013 and is now in 21 markets after adding 12 this year, stores its cars far outside cities in areas where rent is cheap. The company says this year it saved customers more than $1,400 on average on purchase prices compared to the Kelley Blue Book suggested price, the industry standard. The typical concern for customers buying a used car is whether they can trust that the vehicle is safe and reliable, and whether they are paying too much. And even in the best of cases, the process can take several hours of paperwork to complete a purchase through a traditional dealer. Carvana offers online comparison shopping, refurbished vehicles, financing options and trade-ins all on its web portal, and Garcia says the fastest purchase was completed in seven minutes. The company also provides free delivery as soon as the next day, or pickup at one of the vending machines. Delivery costs $150, so Garcia says the vending machine is another way for Carvana to trim costs. However, as part of the new service they are offering $200 to buyers who prefer to fly to Houston to pick up from the vending machine, and transportation from the airport. The company also offers a seven-day test drive period, which allows customers the possibility of a full refund. 'There is a lot of evidence that an easy-to-use return policy is a way to improve the car-buying experience,' said Garcia, who compared the policy to online shoe retailer Zappos, which overcame skepticism about buying shoes without trying them on with its painless return policy. He said about half of the customers who return cars switch to another vehicle. 'It's very clear from the customer response that what we're doing works,' Garcia said. Carvana's revenues more than doubled this year to $350 million from $150 million in 2015, and just $40 million in 2014. The first year of operation saw just $4 million in business. And the firm this summer raised another $160 million in funding, bringing the total to $460 million. Carvana is not the first company to try to rethink the used car buying experience. There are many other online options, and CarMax became a big disrupter with its no-haggle pricing, easy trade-ins and reputation for straight-dealing. But CarMax also uses traditional dealerships, frequently in areas where other car dealers are located. Could the vending machine upend the sales model and make CarMax go the way of Blockbuster? The once-ubiquitous video rental stores collapsed quickly after the arrival of DVD delivery service Netflix and online streaming. Garcia declined to say. Nor would he provide details on sales at the Nashville vending machine, except to comment that 'the response we have seen has been overwhelming.' As a result, the company is looking to add more. 'We're trying to expand as quickly as we responsibly can,' he said. 'We're looking to build out more.' News reports say the company was trying to acquire land near Richmond for another machine, but withdrew the application after locals raised concern about the amount of light from the building.

 

 128 /173 

1.2
Stolen paintings recovered in Ukraine return to Verona

VERONA, Italy (AP) — Italy's culture minister has traveled to Kiev to recover 17 paintings — including works by Tintoretto, Rubens and Mantegna — that were stolen from a Verona museum and recovered by Ukrainian law enforcement more than seven...

 

 129 /173 

1.9
Zsa Gabor's life was the stuff of legends

Of course she was known for her glamour and beauty, but she actually had a very clever wit, a great sense of humor and she loved to laugh. Hers wasn’t the best way to reach the age of 99, but her life is the stuff of legends.
One thing is for sure: Gabor was an especially unique human being who can never ever be replaced. Rest in peace, Zsa “dahlink.”
..
A few weeks later, I was dining at Nate ’n Al in Beverly Hills while the baby was nibbling on a bagel the waitress had strung on a ribbon around his neck. Out of nowhere, this time, Zsa Gabor, in her unmistakable voice cooed, “Oh my God, how dahlink!” The next thing we realized, our son had been bussed by her too.
My son doesn’t quite appreciate it, but perhaps one day he will be able to brag about being one of the few (the only?) men of his generation kissed by not just one, but two of the fabulous Gabor sisters.
David Vasquez lives in Ontario but is now on the run with at least three warrants out for his arrest. Stacey Butler reports.
A San Pedro nursing instructor who went missing over the weekend was found buried in the backyard of one of her students. He has been arrested. Tom Wait reports.
-
Mark Mester reports for the KTLA 5 Morning News on Dec. 20, 2016.
Mark Mester reports for the KTLA 5 Morning News on Dec. 20, 2016.

 

 130 /173 

0.7
Hey, liberals, stop complaining about the electoral college and get to work

Every voter in 48 states plus the District of Columbia knew that whichever candidate received the most votes in their state would be awarded all of that state’s electoral votes. This system hasn’t varied much in more than 200 years.
And while we’re on the subject of our federalist system, I caution my fellow Democrats to consider carefully their desire to overturn the electoral college or any other plans they may favor to disrupt the long-standing division of authority between the states and the federal government.
As the onerous possibilities of a Donald Trump presidency began to sink in after the election, I was cheered to hear Gov. Jerry Brown say that California would do everything legally possible to prevent the federal government from obstructing our climate change policy. If President-elect Trump begins to dismantle the regulatory systems that protect Americans, he may discover that the Democratic states will become his worst nightmare.
..
Now that more than 2.8 million more Americans cast their votes for Hillary Clinton than for Trump, it would appear candidate Trump was correct. The election was rigged, as the candidate with nearly 3 million fewer votes was elected.
I’m not a big Twitter fan, but it’s nice to check back periodically to see how opinions change.
..
Racking up huge wins in a few states is no way to win in a republic with 51 separate electoral contests. What is clear is that the major media centers of New York, Los Angeles and Washington do not decide elections for the rest of the country.
We need to pay attention to more than ourselves and stop silly exercises like trying to get the electors to disregard the will of the people in their states. We Democrats need to do some serious soul-searching and stop making excuses. We were whipped fair and square, and need a nationwide strategy to win.
David Vasquez lives in Ontario but is now on the run with at least three warrants out for his arrest. Stacey Butler reports.
A San Pedro nursing instructor who went missing over the weekend was found buried in the backyard of one of her students. He has been arrested. Tom Wait reports.
-
Mark Mester reports for the KTLA 5 Morning News on Dec. 20, 2016.
Mark Mester reports for the KTLA 5 Morning News on Dec. 20, 2016.

 

 131 /173 

2.9
Jeff Bridges Honored by Santa Barbara Film Festival With Riviera Award

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has selected Jeff Bridges as the recipient of its 2017 American Riviera Award.
Bridges will be honored at a tribute celebrating his career on Feb. 9 at the Arlington Theatre, culminating with his role as a Texas Ranger in “ Hell or High Water .” He has received Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for best supporting actor as well as the National Board of Review Award for best supporting actor.
Bridges received the best actor Academy Award for “Crazy Heart” in 2009 and was nominated for “The Last Picture Show” (1971), “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” (1974), “Starman” (1984), “The Contender” (2000), and “True Grit” (2010). Other credits include “The Big Lebowski,” “The Fabulous Baker Boys,” “The Fisher King,” “The Morning After,” “Jagged Edge,” “Against All Odds,” and “Seabiscuit.”
Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams to Be Honored by Santa Barbara Film Festival
“Jeff Bridges shows us in ‘Hell or High Water’ that an already great artist can continue his growth. I may go as far as saying that this is his best performance,” said SBIFF executive director Roger Durling. “It’s truly special to be able to celebrate Jeff – for he’s not only a dear friend of SBIFF – but he is a timeless legend in our industry.”
The American Riviera Award was established to recognize actors who have made a significant contribution to American cinema. The 2016 honorees were “Spotlight” cast members Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Mark Ruffalo.
Honorees from the past 12 years were Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, Robert Redford, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock, Mickey Rourke, Tommy Lee Jones, Forest Whitaker, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Bacon, and Diane Lane.

 

 132 /173 

2.6
A. M. notes: Utah is the fastest-growing state, 'Light the World' update, winter is here, chances of a white Christmas

Here’s the news of the day for Dec. 21.
Utah is the fastest-growing state
Data from the U. S. Census Bureau show that Utah’s population grew by 2.03 percent from July 2015 to July 2016, which makes the Beehive State the fastest-growing state in the nation , according to the Deseret News.
Utah’s neighbors, Nevada, Idaho and Washington, sit close behind. North Dakota previously topped the list — it was the fastest-growing state for the last four years — but people decided to leave the state this year, the Deseret News reported.
Americans have chosen to move to Utah because of the state’s economic opportunities, economic expert Pam Perlich told the Deseret News.
Michael Webster and his wife, Kendle, are two new Utahns who couldn’t ask for more from the state.
"I like my job considerably more than before,” he said. “And having family so close and having so much more to do here. It just feels like there's so much more of a community here. "
New suspect after German attacks
Just days after a truck rammed into a Christmas market, killing 12 people and injuring 49, police are on the hunt for a Tunisian man associated with the attacks , according to BBC.
Officials found a temporary-stay permit, which identified the man as Anis A, who was born in the city of Tataouine. The search is underway in the northern state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It’s possible the attacker was injured during the attack.
LDS Church’s ‘Light the World campaign finds success
In late November, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a new initiative for the holiday season called “Light the World” — featuring a service schedule that resembles an advent calendar.
And so far, it’s done well, according to the Deseret News.
The video that launched the campaign has received 34 million views, while the 25 shorter videos that explain aspects of the campaign generated 30 million views. In total, the project has received more than 68 million views since late November.
This will break previous records set in Easter and Christmas 2014.
“The initiative's launch included two static billboards and four digital boards in Times Square, pointing people to Mormon.org. The church has promoted the campaign on billboards around the world,” according to the Deseret News.
It’s the shortest day of the year
Don’t be surprised it’s dark most of the day. It’s officially the shortest day of the year , according to the Boston Globe.
That’s because today is the first day of winter. The season began at 5:44 a.m., at least in astronomical terms, the Boston Globe reported. The season for meteorologists began near the beginning of December.
But don’t worry. We won’t be in the dark for too long.
“There is only around nine hours of possible daylight this time of year,” the Boston Globe reported. “We will only gain a few seconds of it each day for the rest of the week. But don’t despair: We will be gaining a minute a day by the end of January’s first week, and two minutes a day by the fourth week.”
Here are your chances of a white Christmas
White Christmases are things dreams are made of. But will you get to see one?
Probably not. According to USA Today, the polar vortex hit the country about a week too early for that to happen. A warm shift will move through the country ahead of the holiday weekend.
But there are parts of the country that will see some colder temperatures, increasing the possibility of snow, like in the Midwest, some areas of the Northeast and, of course, the Western mountains, according to USA Today.
In fact, KSL predicts a mix of rain and snow on Saturday, Christmas Eve. With any luck, there may be some snow on Christmas Day.
He really iced it
One man tried to golf while standing on sheets of frozen ice.
It didn’t go so well , according to Time magazine.
“In a video clip, this fearless golfer takes a swing while on the ice and completely misses the ball, which is pretty embarrassing on its own,” according to Time. “To add insult to injury, however, his swing cracked the ice between his feet, leading to him being fully submerged into the freezing water beneath the surface.”

 

 133 /173 

3.8
State budget director John Roberts to join Blue Cross

Lansing — State Budget Director John Roberts is leaving Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration in February for a new job at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to help the health insurance giant grow its Medicare business beyond the state’s borders.
Roberts announced his departure last week, but did not disclose the private sector job he was taking.
Andy Hetzel, vice president of communications at Blue Cross, confirmed Wednesday that Roberts will join the insurer’s Emerging Markets Division as vice president of administration to focus on growing the company’s Medicare Advantage plans through insurers in other states.
“We’re still developing the Medicare side of the business right now, but there’s huge growth potential there and we’re very excited about it,” Hetzel said.
Roberts, who has run the State Budget Office since 2014, will be in charge information technology, project management, procurement and special projects, according to Blue Cross.
“John’s portfolio is going to be fairly broad,” Hetzel said. “John brings valuable management experience from his previous positions and we are thrilled to welcome him to his new role.”
Roberts declined a request Wednesday for an interview about his new job, a spokesman said. He is remaining Snyder’s budget director until early February, when the governor pitches his annual budget proposal to the Legislature.
December and January are among the busiest months of the year for the State Budget Office as it works with state departments to craft a spending proposal for the next fiscal year and adjusts to revenue
The emerging markets division of Blue Cross includes its wholly-owned subsidiary, Accident Fund, a national workers compensation insurer based in downtown Lansing.
Roberts will report to Liz Haar, executive vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield and head of the emerging markets division, according to the company.

 

 134 /173 

0.0
Why the Internet may shut down for 24 hours next year

US technology security executive James Carder ominously predicts that the entire Internet will shut down for 24 hours in 2017.
Carder is the chief information officer for U. S. technology security vendor Log Rhythm, a company that specializes in security information and event management software with a global presence.
The CIO warns that criminals this year were "testing missiles by shooting them into the ocean," with attacks on sites like Spotify and Twitter that took them down for a few hours.
Carder told Business Insider he believes that if attackers can take down a large chunk of the United States Internet for a few hours, that a 24-outage isn't far from reach. He also mentioned that an attack like this would cause financial markets to tank.
The executive also predicted that we might see hackers targeting major media sites like CNN and Fox News causing the fake news issue to only get worse.
RELATED: Federal data hack, U. S. government, data breach

 

 135 /173 

1.0
Minority Students Fight Over Who Is Most Oppressed

A “Students of Color” conference at the University of California Irvine in late November descended into chaos as attendees couldn’t agree on which students of color were experiencing the greatest oppression from an “anti-blackness” establishment.
Reports of the fractured conference were limited to a few Facebook shares until this week. According to the College Fix , the trouble all began when students arrived on Nov. 19 to discover the conference had already adopted a theme and that was to focus on the particular struggles of African-Americans against racism. Students not identifying as African-American immediately began arguing that other ethnic groups of color suffered equal or greater discrimination.
What was described by event organizers as a “safe place” became a very angry one at one well-attended workshop. Some students demanded to know why “anti-blackness” seemed to be the only issue on the agenda when, they argued, Muslims are exposed to greater discrimination and subject to bombing in the Middle East.
Later, the UC Irvine Student’s Association, responsible for the ethnic dialogue, cancelled some “break-out” sessions, where conference participants could discuss issues informally, due to fears that they could break into more fighting.
Finally, a mass demonstration was called-off because students again couldn’t agree on what to demonstrate against. Some even balked at repeating the chant that they were asked to recite at the planned protest.
Disappointed students shared their grief over the conference’s breakdown on the student association’s Facebook page .
Student Robert Gardner expressed his unhappiness over the “trauma some of the organizers made…It was really hurtful to have other marginalized identities silenced because a small fringe of organizers decided that their oppressions are more important (talk about Oppression Olympics)…”
Gardner added that he did not “appreciate one of the organizers calling my friend a bitch because of the chants she was told to say.”
Manny Quintero, another participating student suggested: “Hey next time remember, all lives matter, it’s the most inclusive slogan outthere (sic).”
Follow David on Twitter

 

 136 /173 

3.3
Old papers shed new light on South Korea deal with Lockheed Martin

SEOUL, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Letters to former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il from South Korean President Park Geun -hye are shedding light on how Park navigated inter-Korea relations during her years as a lawmaker.
The letters and draft documents, obtained by South Korean magazine Weekly Kyunghyang in March and October, are being considered again from a different perspective in the wake of the political scandal that has culminated in Park's impeachment and the trial of her influential friend Choi Soon-sil.
According to the Kyunghyang, some of the documents also show evidence Seoul's national intelligence service placed systematic "pressure" on Jean-Luc Valerio, the president of European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company Korea, which led to an unexpected decision during Park's term to select next-generation fighter jets from EADS competitor Lockheed Martin.
In November, multiple South Korean press reports and opposition party politicians had claimed Choi influenced the decision to choose Lockheed Martin's F-35A fighter jets in 2013.
Lockheed Martin has since denied allegations that any of the company's executives met with Choi, or that the corruption suspect had any hand in a joint U. S.-South Korea decision to deploy the U. S. missile defense system THAAD, according to local newspaper Donga Ilbo.
The letters from Park the Kyunghyang obtained date from 2002-05, and some are written on letterhead from the Europe-Korea Foundation.
Park wrote the letters in an amicable tone, reflecting the atmosphere of an era before Pyongyang began testing nuclear weapons.
The documents also show evidence Park used her position as a lawmaker and as the director of the Europe-Korea Foundation to build channels of civic exchange with the North in 2002.
The visit was highly publicized at the time but little information about the four-hour meeting between Kim and Park has been disclosed.
The letters show Park had a strong interest in establishing a Pyongyang branch of the foundation and in bringing North Korea's Pochonbo electronic band to the South.
The Europe-Korea Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea. The latter organization was investigated by Seoul's spy agency in 2012, according to the Kyunghyang, possibly in connection to inter-Korea activities.

 

 137 /173 

3.6
Denver requiring single bathrooms to be gender-neutral

DENVER (AP) - Denver is joining other cities around the country in requiring that standalone public bathrooms be open to anyone who wants to use them.
City councilors unanimously approved a change to the city’s building code on Monday requiring that all new and existing bathrooms be labeled with signs designating them as gender neutral. Bathrooms that have more than one stall will remain labeled as being for men or for women only.
Members of Denver’s LGBTQ Commission advocated for the change but some small businesses also supported it, seeing it as a way to avoid lines at one bathroom while another stood empty.
Cities including New York and Seattle as well as California have passed laws requiring gender-neutral single restrooms.
Denver businesses have until May 2018 to change the signs.

 

 138 /173 

2.4
25 years later: 7 shockwaves from breakup of Soviet Union

MOSCOW — Twenty-five years ago this Christmas Day, the Soviet Union disappeared.
A superpower was suddenly gone and 15 new countries appeared in its place: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Armenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
"The Soviet Union broke up without a civil war, thank God,” says Yevgeny Roizman, 54, a historian and mayor of Yekaterinburg, Russia’s third-largest city, which borders Siberia. "But huge empires always go down with a lot of noise. The process is not over. It will be many years before all the damage can be undone. "
Indeed, political systems, economies, cultures and military alliances have undergone varying transformations that continue in some countries and have stalled or reversed in others. "Now, it’s like the Soviet era is a phantom pain," Roizman adds.
People who remember living under the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics — the USSR — have mixed feelings whether those were the good old days or the bad old days.
In Kazan, in central Russia, Alexander Andreev, 64, a retired oil worker, recalls the end of Soviet life as a time of chronic food shortages. His his wife would wake him at 5 a.m. so he could stand outside the store near their home in hopes of buying an item before it ran out. "It was only a few minutes’ walk away and it didn’t open until 6 a.m. Most days there would be a long line. If I was in the first 10 we would get cottage cheese or sour cream. If not, only milk," he says.
"I cried so much," says Andreev’s wife, Tatiana, 65, of this period. "I was worried about the children. We were constantly adding things to the food to make it go further," she says. "Now, within reason, we can buy anything. Different kinds of cars. We can travel. We don’t want to go back. "
But her husband is a bit nostalgic. While Communism was not a political system he admired, the Soviet Union was a place where there was "real unity" between the people of the different republics. "In this way, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin was right," Andreev says. "The breakup was the worst thing that happened to us. "
Here are seven things that have happened since the 1991 breakup:
1. WEALTH GAP GROWS
After 74 years of authoritarian communist rule in which supposedly everyone was equal, Russia is the world’s most unequal country, according to a 2016 Credit Suisse global wealth report: 75% of its wealth is controlled by the richest 1%. In 1991, there were no billionaires in Russia. Today, there are 77 with a combined net worth of $283 billion, according to Forbes ’ list of richest people.
2. CHANGE IS TRAUMATIC
The transition to new systems was cataclysmic. "It wasn’t the collapse of the Soviet Union that was the problem," says Michael McFaul, U. S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. "It was the economic dislocation. It created an economic depression that was far harsher than what was experienced in the United States in the 1930s. "
3. BALTICS LOOK WEST
The tiny Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have joined the European Union and NATO and adopted a Western liberal democratic order. But they are nervous about their vulnerability to Russian expansion, fearing they would be easiest to swallow up and wondering if U. S. President-elect Donald Trump will uphold NATO members' commitment to defend any other member that is attacked.
4. SATELLITES VEER OFF
Former Soviet-sphere nations in Europe have gone their own way. Poland, free of Soviet dominance, has turned western to become the largest economy in Central Europe. It is now a member of the EU and NATO, along with former Soviet satellites Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Romania.
5. REPRESSION PERSISTS
Belarus is one of the world’s most repressive regimes, where criticizing the president can lead to a lengthy jail term. Uzbekistan and other ex-Soviet Central Asian "Stans" have enjoyed stable leadership and big oil revenues, but corruption and human rights abuses remain endemic. "It’s becoming harder and harder to speak out against these crimes and it is worse now than it’s been at any point since Soviet times," says Svetlana Gannushkina, 74, a former Russian lawmaker, now a human rights lawyer. Gannushkina is regularly named as a potential Nobel peace prize winner.
In Russia's predominantly Muslim and restive province of Chechnya, "there is no law, no constitution, only the order of (Chechnya leader) Ramzan Kadyroz,” Gannushkina says of Russian President Vladimir Putin's ally. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say Kadyroz uses public shaming, torture and abductions to keep a tight grip on the province, which waged a guerrilla war for independence against Russia for more than a decade before conceding defeat in 2009.
6. RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY FADES
Russia embraced democracy after the Soviet breakup but has been sliding back toward authoritarianism. Putin, who has called the collapse of the Soviet Union the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century," has undermined civil liberties as he tightens his grip on power. He has jailed critics, imposed restrictions on news and social media, reclaimed Crimea from West-leaning Ukraine, abetted pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, cracked down on foreign non-profit groups and stoked the flames of right-wing nationalism.
After years of neglect, the military has been restored and has taken a lead role in Syria to help President Bashar Assad win a five-year-old civil war. "Putin thinks the state is legitimate because it is the state," says Alex Kliment, a Russia specialist at Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy. "He has a philosophical belief that popular revolutions against state power are always illegitimate, and always end in tears. "
7. RUSSIA TILTS TO TRUMP
Russia has developed one of the world’s most sophisticated cyber-warfare networks — one that the CIA believes interfered in America’s election to help Trump. The president-elect has dismissed the allegation, but Congress vows to look into it. Whatever the outcome of that investigation, Russia and Trump seem to be on a path toward friendship and international cooperation that would have been inconceivable after Russia reclaimed Crimea in 2014. Trump has spoken positively about Putin and his choice for secretary of state, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who has negotiated energy deals with Russia, said he has "a very close relationship" with Putin.
Follow Kim Hjelmgaard on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram .

 

 139 /173 

1.7
This law poses the greatest threat to Donald Trump

President-elect Donald Trump will not be able to do anything resembling helping friends, family members or himself to make a profit off of information he gains while being president under the implementation of the Stock Act.
The Stock Act, passed by congress in 2012 explicitly bars the president, congress members and executive branch officials from using insider knowledge to make money.
According to the Huffington Post, the Law isn't difficult for most people to obey, but with Trumps unprecedented conflicts of interest, choice to leave control of his business in the hands of his children, and decision as of now not to completely divest himself of his businesses, it will present a problem.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, The lead author of the stock act Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said in regards to obeying the law, "It's very difficult. So, it's not surprising that most put all of their business interests in blind trusts.
Although the possibility of Trump breaking the law might seem high, it's is not clear what would happen if he violated the law because some scholars believe that since the president runs the executive branch he cannot be prosecuted by the Justice Department.
The only clear way to prosecute a president who may have violated federal law would be for congress to impeach him or her.
RELATED: Trump becomes president-elect of the United States

 

 140 /173 

2.1
Actelion re-enters talks with J&J in takeover twist

ZURICH, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The takeover battle surrounding Actelion heated up on Wednesday when the Swiss biotech company said it had begun exclusive talks with former suitor Johnson & Johnson about a "strategic transaction". J&J confirmed the talks. The announcement could dash the hopes of French drugmaker Sanofi, which has been circling Actelion and which had making good progress in its negotiations, according to a person familiar with the matter. In a new twist Actelion said it was restarting talks with U. S. healthcare group Johnson & Johnson, which had walked away from a possible takeover earlier this month. Actelion has a market value of 23.2 billion Swiss francs ($22.62 billion) at Wednesday's closing price of 215 Swiss francs in Switzerland. U. S. shares in Actelion rose 11 percent after the announcement, although the Swiss company said "can be no assurance any transaction will result from these discussions". Sanofi declined to comment. ($1 = 1.0255 Swiss francs) (Reporting by John Revill in Zurich, additional reporting by Matthias Blamont in Paris; Editing by Michael Shields)

 

 141 /173 

0.0
Audit: Utah spent $4.4 billion in federal funds in 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Almost 23 percent of all Utah spending in fiscal year 2016 came from federal funds.
The Deseret News reports (http://bit.ly/2hHSj21 ) that according to a new state audit, Utah spent nearly $4.4 billion in federal funds in the budget year that ended June 30.
The federal government requires Utah to annually audit its financial statements and its federal programs as a condition of receiving federal money.
The audit is aimed at ensuring compliance for each major federal program. In the report, Utah developed a plan for agencies to correct any accounting deficiencies and errors identified.
___
Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.com

 

 142 /173 

0.2
After threat of lawsuit, Paramount metal company promises to clean up toxins

A Paramount metal company vowed to clean up its operations and stop emitting elevated levels of a cancer-causing substance after county and regional air officials threatened to file a joint public nuisance lawsuit this week.
Anaplex Corp., one of two companies air regulators found to be contributing to levels of hexavalent chromium hundreds times above average notified district officials on Tuesday they would comply with strict regulations of the facility.
Findings of the carcinogen last month by the South Coast Air Quality Management District prompted public protests from residents, some who said they had been complaining about odors from the metal processing facilities for year.
The district sought orders to partially shut down or modify Anaplex’s operations contributing to the release of the compound. Aerocraft Heat Treating Co., the second company, came to a negotiated agreement that an independent hearing board of the district approved last Friday.

 

 143 /173 

4.5
'I'm incredibly proud of you': praise after pope pops out for new shoes

Pope Francis was the toast of social media after successfully completing his latest groundbreaking mission: popping out of the Vatican to buy himself some new footwear.
The 80-year-old pontiff visited a pharmacy near the Holy See on Tuesday to pick up a pair of the orthopaedic shoes he wears to reduce the pain caused by chronic sciatica.
The visit was filmed and snapped on smartphones by a handful of customers who were in the shop at the time. Francis posed for pictures and blessed a crucifix belonging to one of the shop’s staff.
A selection of pictures was posted on a Facebook page belonging to Martina Duarte, a bar worker in Rome, with the caption: “A Tuesday with the pope … my love I am incredibly proud of you!”
Many online comments were similarly breathless in tone. A post on the Italian daily La Repubblica’s site called for Francis to be immediately installed as the new mayor of Rome, while another simply noted, presumably with a disbelieving shake of the head: “The greatness of this man!”
It was not the first time the former Jorge Bergoglio has created a sensation by leaving his modest lodgings in the St Martha boarding house to get essential supplies. There was similar excitement in September 2015 when he was spotted at his optician near the Spanish Steps in Rome’s historic centre.
That in turn recalled the general stupefaction around the time of his election in 2013 when it emerged that he not only carried his own briefcase but also paid his own hotel bills.
Many suspect an element of image construction in these well-publicised moments. But Francis’s frugality and fondness for mingling with ordinary people predates him becoming pope.
As bishop of Buenos Aires, buses were his favoured mode of transport, and after becoming pontiff he admitted the thing he most missed was enjoying the anonymity that would allow him to go into Rome and have a pizza.

 

 144 /173 

0.0
Disney-ABC Snapchat Shows: ‘The Bachelor’ Watch Party Aftershow

Snapchat has pulled Disney- ABC Television Group into its expanding original programming orbit, with the parties setting a pact under which the Mouse House’s TV division will produce several original shows for the social service.
First in the Snapchat queue under the deal: a watch-party aftershow for ABC’s “ The Bachelor ” to debut Jan. 3 — the morning after the premiere of the 21st season of the reality-dating franchise, starring Nick Viall (pictured above), a two-time runner-up on “The Bachelorette.” Episodes of “Watch Party: The Bachelor” are expected to run 3-5 minutes each and will be available for 24 hours on Snapchat. The series will appear in the Snapchat Discover section, with the season finale to be produced as a Snapchat Live Story.
Over the next few months, Disney-ABC Television plans to roll out several additional episodic shows on Snapchat, but execs declined to provide details on what’s coming up. The deal covers distribution to Snapchat users in the U. S.
“We’ve been exploring ways to tell stories on mobile, and Snapchat was a very exciting canvas for us to work on,” said John Frelinghuysen, executive VP of digital media strategy and business development for Disney-ABC TV.
Snapchat Launches ‘Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ Offshoot
Snap Inc. has already run original shows from NBCUniversal under a multiyear pact , including skits from “ The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” a series for “The Voice,” and a weekly talk show from E!. In addition, ESPN and the NFL also produce original shows exclusively for Snapchat.
For ABC, the deal with Snapchat — which claims to have more than 150 million daily users — is a straight-up play to reach younger audiences, which are increasingly tuning out TV. The network is angling to spur interest in shows like “The Bachelor” as well as make money from ads sold against original content pumped into Snapchat’s video engine.
As part of the deal, Disney-ABC will develop and sell advertising packages incorporating Snapchat’s 10-second full-screen video ads. Frelinghuysen said the Snapchat inventory may be sold in a bundle with linear TV ad buys, or separately to digital-only sponsors.
“Disney-ABC have rewritten the rules for how to develop daring, fun and adventurous series for TV, mastering formats ranging from scripted to reality and from drama to comedy,” said Nick Bell, Snap Inc.’s VP of content. “They will be a vital partner as we continue to expand our lineup of shows on Discover.”
“Watch Party: The Bachelor” will feature “celebrities, comedians, super fans and infamous Bachelors and Bachelorettes,” according to Disney-ABC and Snapchat. A rotating cast of commentators will convene each week to watch and dish on the previous night’s installment in a living-room setting. The 11-episode series is being produced by ABC in collaboration with Warner Horizon Television and Snapchat.
Snapchat Maker Snap Inc. Files for IPO (Report)
The power of Snapchat, with its swipe-happy user base, is undeniable. The service can generate millions of video views in just a few hours, as ABC’s Live Story for the 2016 Oscars did. Snap Inc. is now in the process of adding original scripted and unscripted shows from other networks and studios to Discover.
For the near term, Snap is focused on bringing out a small number of high-profile original shows that can become tentpoles. “We believe in scarcity,” said Sean Mills, head of original content. “If you curate a select amount of premium content, you can bring a huge audience to that.”
Mills describes Snapchat Shows as character- or format-driven single-narrative video productions. The initiative represents the third pillar of Snap Inc.’s media strategy. Snapchat Discover, first launched in January 2015 , to date has centered on magazine-like Editions, comprising photos, animations, text, video and other content produced by outside editorial partners including BuzzFeed, CNN and ESPN. Then there are Live Stories , which are collections of Snaps submitted by users in specific locations that are edited and curated by Snapchat producers.
Snapchat has developed best practices for how to produce original shows for the platform, after testing concepts with political show “Good Luck America,” produced by Snapchat head of news Peter Hamby, which ran during the 2016 election season.
For example, all Snapchat Shows are produced with vertical video, because completion rates for that orientation are nine times what they are for horizontal video, according to Mills. Snapchat also generally breaks up shows into 20-second chapters, allowing users to flip forward and backward through the videos. The originals team also has learned that shooting a hosted show with someone seated across a desk doesn’t work; instead, the shot has to be pulled in close, as if the subject were creating a selfie Snap.
“We’ve been trying to be thoughtful about how it should work,” said Mills. “How long should an episode of mobile television be? What are the rules of storytelling in that environment? You have a user with a thumb hovering over the screen essentially, so you have to grab them right away.”
ABC, in a separate digital promo for the next season of “The Bachelor,” this week launched a fantasy league for “The Bachelor” in partnership with ESPN , with a sweepstakes awarding prizes to the players who make the most accurate predictions as season 21 unfolds.

 

 145 /173 

2.1
York County volunteers 'overjoyed' to give away presents and snacks for 1,000 families

Nearly 700 students are auditioning for 160 slots with the Carolina Crown Drum Corps. The world champion performance ensemble travels the country each summer. An audition camp was held at Nation Ford High School this weekend.
Calvin White and his family see hundreds of cars slowly drive by their house near the intersection of Ole Woods Drive and Hwy. 901 in Rock Hill each year in December. They drive by to see the flickering lights, numerous jolly Santas, nativity scenes, music and reindeer. White even dresses as Santa some nights. The family has decorated the yard for more than 15 years and acquired a Disney display this year to add to the show. Tell us about your Christmas lights. Contact Tracy Kimball at tkimball@heraldonline.com.
Authorities released a video Friday showing Dylann Roof confessing to the shooting death of nine people at a Charleston church last year. This is the first time since testimony in the death penalty trial, the jury got to hear his voice. The video confession was taken by the FBI at the Shelby, N. C., police department where he was being held after he was arrested.
Rock Hill's Williams and Fudge had some fun before donating 300 bikes to Toys for Happiness Thursday. The bikes will go toward the Holiday Partners toy drive. The United Way of York County program is a partnership between WRHI's Toys for Happiness, The Herald's Empty Stocking Fund that brings toys to York County families in need.
The theme of this year's Fort Mill Christmas parade through the downtown area was "Christmas Around the World. " This year, the town awarded prizes for floats and marchers in several categories.
Autumn Love of Rock Hill was thankful Wednesday when S. C. Highway Patrol officers James Reap and Phillip Harrell pushed her car out of six lanes of busy rush hour traffic to safety.
Watch Fort Mill Times correspondent Mac Banks slurp down a whole large container of beef gravy to raise $50 for Community Cafes. To make a donation, go to https://youtu.be/-j9_jeh-5Tw
Gregory's Marine
Don Murfin received AARP’s top volunteer award, the Andrus Award. Murfin runs three cafes in two York County communities, Lake Wylie and Fort Mill, serving free meals and encouraging fellowship. Murfin was presented with the award at Sisk Memorial Baptist Church in Fort Mill.
Gov. Nikki Haley made another visit to Fort Mill Wednesday to help officially open the LPL Financial high-rise and campus In Kingsley II near downtown. Haley is no stranger to Kingsley, having attended groundbreaking and ribbon cutting events at the Fort Mill commerce site.

 

 146 /173 

0.2
Study Finds Young Americans Living Home Highest Since WWII

(CBS Local) – Despite an economy on the upswing, combined with the current unemployment rate being its lowest in recent years, more young Americans are living with their parents than ever before.
The Wall Street Journal found, in sifting through information provided by real estate company Trulia, that more young Americans are living home than they have since 1940.
‘Young American’ is described as someone between 18 and 24, and the numbers are in: in 2015, 40% of young Americans lived with either their parents, siblings or other relatives. That number had been on the rise in recent years despite the economy growing out of the recession, where in previous economic cycles the amount of those living with their parents would decrease as the economy increased.
Time claims that experts point to difficulties getting mortgages as well as rising rents and the general life difficulties of making it on your own.
The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies found that despite there being five million more Americans under 30 since 2006, the number of households is only up a relatively puny 200,000.

 

 147 /173 

3.3
Big Sean parts ways with house and sound studio in Hollywood Hills West

Hip-hop artist and record producer Big Sean has sold his home in Hollywood Hills West for $1.925 million.
The Mediterranean-style house, built in 2006, came on the market in July and was listed at about $2 million prior to the sale. Big Sean, whose legal name is Sean Anderson, bought the house three years ago for $1.675 million, records show.
The multilevel home in Hollywood Hills West features several balconies and city and canyon views.
Sited on a hillside lot, the three-story home features hardwood and stone floors, walls of windows and a media room. There are five bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms including one bedroom currently used as a sound/recording studio.
A living room with a fireplace, an updated kitchen and a dining area also lie within 4,235 square feet of interior space.
Multiple balconies and patios extend from rear and take in city and canyon views. There’s also a two-car garage.
Mica Rabineau of Nourmand & Associates was the listing agent, according to the Multiple Listing Service.
Big Sean, 28, has released three studio albums, including last year’s hit record “Dark Sky Paradise.” He is a featured artist on Justin Bieber’s “Purpose,” which is up for a Grammy for album of the year.

 

 148 /173 

0.8
Today's Dow is a lot different from just 20 years ago

My first job as a financial journalist just out of college was at a magazine that no longer exists called Financial World, or FW, for short, That was June 1995.
Nearly half of the companies that were Dow components back then are no longer in the Dow. Some don't even exist anymore. Here's a look at what happened to them.
1. AlliedSignal merged with Honeywell ( HON ) in 1999 and changed its name to Honeywell -- which was removed from the Dow in 2008.
2. Alcoa ( AA ) -- or Aluminum Company of America as it was known until formally changing its name in 1999 -- got kicked like an aluminum can out of the Dow in 2013. It was replaced by Nike ( NKE ).
3. AT&T ( T , Tech30 ) could wind up becoming my new boss if its deal to buy CNN owner Time Warner ( TWX ) passes regulatory muster. But it's no longer a Dow stock.
Baby Bell Verizon ( VZ , Tech30 ) replaced AT&T in 2004. A year later, another Baby Bell (and Dow component) SBC bought its former parent and renamed itself AT&T. But the Dow hung up on AT&T again in 2015 and replaced it with Apple ( AAPL , Tech30 ).
4. Bethlehem Steel was removed from the Dow in 1997 and went bankrupt in 2001. Needless to say, there are no more steel companies in the Dow.
Related: Next stop for the Dow? 20,000
5. Eastman Kodak ( KODK ) disappeared from the Dow like a faded photograph in 2004. It also went bankrupt but it has reemerged as a slimmer and more digitally-focused company.
6. It's almost inconceivable to imagine the Dow without General Motors ( GM ) in it. GM was added to the Dow in 1925, but it was removed in 2009 following its bankruptcy filing and was replaced by Cisco Systems ( CSCO , Tech30 ).
7. 1999 was not a good year for Goodyear ( GT ). That's when the company famous for its tires and blimp was kicked out of the Dow.
8. International Pape ( IP ) r has actually been removed from the Dow twice. The most recent time was in 2004, ending a 48-year stay in the index. But IP's preferred shares made an appearance in the Dow in 1901 -- for just a few months before being kicked out.
9. Philip Morris changed its name to Altria ( MO ) in 2004. But Altria's status as a Dow component went up in smoke in 2008.
10. Sears ( SHLD ) still exists. But the perennially money-losing retailer -- which also owns Rain Man's least favorite store Kmart -- is a shell of its former self. Sears Roebuck left the Dow in 1999 after a 75-year stay in the index.
11. Texaco is now part of Chevron ( CVX ) , which is also in the Dow. Texaco was removed in 1997. And Chevron actually got kicked out of the Dow too in 1999 -- before Chevron and Texaco merged. Chevron was added back in 2008. Whew. Get it? Got it? Good.
12. Union Carbide was bought in 1999 by Dow Chemical ( DOW ) -- which, despite having Dow in its name and a ticker symbol of DOW , is not in the Dow.
Related: The Trump rally has been stunning and broad. How long will it last?
13. Westinghouse Electric merged with TV giant CBS ( CBS ) in 1995. The company changed its name to CBS in 1997 -- and was thusly removed from the Dow. The remainder of Westinghouse is now owned by Japanese conglomerate Toshiba.
14. Millennials may not remember Woolworth, the five-and-dime icon that was once one of America's most popular retailers. Woolworth, which had the super cool ticker symbol of Z, closed all its stores in 1997 and was removed from the Dow that year.
But Woolworth still lives on -- sort of. Woolworth also owned some other retail chains. It renamed itself as Venator and later changed the name again to a little company you may have heard of called Foot Locker ( FL ).
Several other Dow stocks have come and gone during the past two decades.
AIG ( AIG ) was added in 2004 and kicked out in September 2008 after it almost imploded during the financial crisis and required a massive government bailout.
Kraft ( KHC ) (which is now Kraft Heinz) replaced AIG -- only to be removed in 2012 after the company split into two. UnitedHealth ( UNH ) replaced it.
Related: Greed is back on Wall Street
Travelers Group changed its name to Citigroup in 1999 following their merger. Citi ( C ) got kicked out of the Dow in 2009, and was replaced by Travelers ( TRV ) -- which used to be part of Citi and was spun out in 2002. Whew again!
Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ ) and Bank of America ( BAC ) were added to the Dow in 1997 and 2008 respectively. And both were shown the Dow door in 2013.
Johnson & Johnson ( JNJ ) , Home Depot ( HD ) , Pfizer ( PFE ) , Visa ( V ) , Goldman Sachs ( GS ) , Microsoft ( MSFT , Tech30 ) , Intel ( INTC , Tech30 ) and Walmart ( WMT ) are all relative Dow newbies too.
So who might be joining the Dow in the next few decades? Facebook ( FB , Tech30 )? Google ( GOOGL , Tech30 )? Amazon ( AMZN , Tech30 )? Mega-unicorns like Uber and Airbnb that are still private? And what Dow components would they potentially replace?
Heck, there could be companies that don't even exist yet which could be Dow components in 2036. So it will be interesting to see just how high (or low for you bears) the Dow will be two decades from now.

 

 149 /173 

2.9
TOWIE's Georgia Kousoulou rocks a sexy Santa costume as co-stars Chloe and Courtney dress as saucy elves in fun festive snaps

Her social media pages are littered with glamorous selfies. So with Christmas just around the corner, there's no surprise that TOWIE's Georgia Kousoulou decided to share a saucy seasonal snap as she slipped into a saucy Santa outfit. The reality star, 25, looked like a sexy Mrs. Claus as she donned a plunging micro mini-dress and thigh-grazing stockings, while seductively blowing a kiss to the camera. Scroll down for video The velvet frock was completed with a festive furry white trim, while her candy-striped stockings drew attention to her long and lean pins. Georgia completed her fun festive look with matching red stilettos and long gloves. In true TOWIE style, the Essex-born beauty was preened to perfection with her highlighted blonde tresses perfectly coiffed into bouncy curls. But Georgia wasn't the only TOWIE girl showcasing her sassy seasonal style in social media snaps. And Monday night's seasonal finale turned out to be an emotional episode, as it was Danielle Armstrong's last one. The fan favourite endured yet another row with former flame James Lock, admitting she had to break out of the cycle.

 

 150 /173 

0.0
City National, a major lender to start-ups, is done backing early stage tech companies, say sources

In late November, City National Bank's Rod Werner made a bunch of phone calls to his colleagues at venture capital firms with an unfortunate message.
City National was getting out of the venture debt market, meaning no more lending to early stage start-ups. The firm was instead focusing more on bigger companies and private equity.
RBC acquired Los Angeles-based City National last year for $5 billion, and in the deal assumed a growing portfolio of high-risk debt tied to young technology companies.
In an official statement to CNBC.com, City National offered a softer message, and a spokesperson declined to comment on anything regarding regulators.
"We will continue to bank early stage companies — and technology companies across the board — but we are narrowing our focus on the types of loans we make and expanding efforts to lend to more established companies," City National said. "Working with RBC Capital Markets, we believe we can be a vibrant contributor to the growth of a wide range of technology companies and entrepreneurs. "
RBC's U. S. banking regulator is the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which also oversees City National.
City National's departure from early stage dealmaking leaves a gap in a niche corner of the start-up financing world, where only a handful of banks operate, most notably Silicon Valley Bank. It's also another sign that certain pockets of capital are drying up as investors reckon with the weakest tech IPO market since the financial crisis and a rationalization in valuations from the heady unicorn days.
During the start-up financing boom, which peaked in mid-2015, City National was a particularly aggressive provider of debt. Werner joined City National in 2012 to start the venture practice after spending two decades at Comerica , one of the other leaders in the market. Comerica is experiencing changes of its own, with Greg Belanger, president of the tech and life sciences practices, retiring in October.
Comerica confirmed Belanger's departure and said the bank hasn't determined his successor yet.
City National's Werner is known by everyone in the venture universe, and he's said to be quite the salesman. He has courtside seats at Oracle Arena for Golden State Warriors games and isn't shy about inviting prospective borrowers to join him, sources said. City National is a sponsor of the Warriors through the end of this season.
In late 2014, CNBC reported on City National's expansion in tech and the pressure the bank was putting on market pricing. The emergence of City National and a few other players pulled rates down by 15 to 20 percent over the course of a year, bankers said at the time.
Cheap debt was a boon for start-ups, as it opened the door to affordable capital without forcing founding teams to give up ownership. As recently as October, City National participated in a $14.3 million financing of marketing analytics start-up Metamarkets .
"Over the last three years, they've been an extremely important participant in the venture debt financing market, particularly in technology," said Haim Zaltzman, a partner at law firm Latham & Watkins in San Francisco and an expert in venture debt.
Zaltzman estimates the venture and growth-stage debt market, which includes early and late-stage deals, equals about $12 billion to $15 billion a year. On the equity side, venture capitalists invested $59 billion in U. S. start-ups last year, the most since the dot-com bubble of 2000, according to the National Venture Capital Association.
However, the NVCA reported in October that the number of companies receiving funding has dropped for five straight quarters.
With venture investors getting more discerning, start-ups are vanishing at an accelerated pace. Notable names like One Kings Lane , Beepi, FlightCar and Vouch either shut down or sold for a fraction of their latest valuation. More companies closing their doors leaves City National and other lenders facing heightened risk that debt won't get repaid.
"Some banks finally realized, we don't understand this sector as well as we thought we did," said Dan Myers, CEO of Bridge Bank , one of the remaining venture debt providers. "Ultimately they made the decision to ramp down or exit. "
At the time it was acquired, City National had $22.5 billion in outstanding loans and leases, a 17 percent increase over the prior year.
The bank didn't break down its venture business, but said California represented 72 percent of total loans outstanding. Many of City National's customers are in the entertainment industry.
Bridge is gobbling up some of the business that others are leaving behind, Myers said. The bank is also playing into the trend of smaller tech-focused lenders getting acquired. Bridge was bought by Western Alliance last year, and Square 1, another small competitor, was purchased by PacWest.
Myers said the exit of some banks shouldn't have much of an impact on the market because the remaining players, with the help of bigger balance sheets, "have the ability to pick up additional activity that's more than sufficient. "
SVB has also been steadily bulking up. Loans to venture-backed companies climbed 19 percent to $1.1 billion in the year ended in September over the prior 12 months, the Santa Clara, California-based bank said.
There are also a number of nonbank lenders in the market, including Western Technology Investment, TriplePoint Capital and Hercules Capital. But those companies tend to offer higher-priced debt than banks at less favorable terms to borrowers.
Still, venture capitalist Jeff Richards, managing partner at GGV Capital, said there's a core set of venture debt providers that aren't going anywhere, and it's important that they remain active. Richards said about three-quarters of GGV companies rely on those issuers for some level of debt.
"When the market turns, those guys stay in the market because they have super-strong relations with VCs and founders," Richards said. "The tourists go home. "

 

 151 /173 

3.9
WATCH: Firefighters Battle Raging Fire At North Bergen Furniture Store

NORTH BERGEN, N. J. (CBSNewYork) — Firefighters are on the scene of a massive fire at a furniture store in North Bergen.
Video from the scene showed heavy flames and thick black smoke shooting through the roof at Kennedy Furniture on John F. Kennedy Boulevard.
PHOTOS: Raging Fire At North Bergen Furniture Store
The smoke could be seen from across the Hudson River in Manhattan.
Firefighters are responding to a fire on JFK Blvd in North Bergen, NJ. Photo taken from Manhattan side of Hudson River. (Photo: Joe Cingrana/CBS Local)
It appears the fire started in the back of the store and then spread to the front.
It broke out around 11 a.m. Wednesday.
No injuries have been reported.

 

 152 /173 

4.2
Lord Jenkin of Roding obituary

The former Conservative cabinet minister Patrick Jenkin, Lord Jenkin of Roding, was a diligent and loyal member of successive Margaret Thatcher administrations. He was also the originator of the poll tax policy that eventually brought the prime minister down in 1990.
By that time, Jenkin, who has died aged 90, was already in the House of Lords , but it was he who commissioned the original ministerial studies looking into reforming local government finance with a brief to replace rates on property with a tax that everyone would have to pay. A tall, distinguished-looking man, he played a large part in the Thatcher government’s early privatisation efforts but often contrived to give the impression of political haplessness.
Jenkin was seen as the poll tax’s godfather, but as environment secretary between 1983 and 1985, he had already pursued Thatcher’s vendetta against local government in an attempt not only to curb its spending but also the influence of Labour-controlled city authorities, particularly in London. His dutiful administrative and political skills were, however, ultimately no match for Ken Livingstone and other council leaders, and he was replaced by his more resolute and quick-footed deputy, Kenneth Baker.
Jenkin was technocratic and slightly austere rather than charismatic. His reputation for lacking political empathy – or perhaps just common sense – had already been sealed in 1974, when Edward Heath ’s government had attempted to impose a three-day working week to curb energy use in the face of a miners’ strike. In a brief incarnation as minister for energy at the end of Heath ’s government, he urged the public to save electricity by brushing their teeth in the dark. It then emerged that Jenkin himself used an electric toothbrush, and his north London home was photographed with lights on in every room.
This off-the-cuff remark and the reaction to it perhaps pointed to why Jenkin, although periodically described as a “big beast” of the Tories in the 1970s and 80s, ultimately never quite reached the political heights. The ministerial posts he held – chief secretary to the Treasury and energy minister under Heath, then successively health and social services secretary, industry secretary and environment secretary in Thatcher’s cabinets were worthy rather than the chief offices of state to which he might have aspired.
Although he started off as a Keynesian Tory at the Treasury, he saw the way the wind was blowing and latterly followed the monetarist line. In his valedictory speech in the Lords in December 2014, when he became the first peer to resign on grounds of age, he complained characteristically mildly that he had never made it to the front row in the annual cabinet photograph.
Patrick was the great-grandson of Henry Fleeming Jenkin , the inventor of the cable car and professor of engineering at Edinburgh University; the grandson of Charles Frewen Jenkin , the first professor of engineering science at Oxford; and the son of Charles, an industrial chemist for the Shell oil company, and his wife, Margaret (nee Sillar). Though Patrick was born in Edinburgh, the family lived in London.
Throughout his education at the Dragon school in Oxford, Clifton college, Bristol, and Jesus College, Cambridge, Jenkin admitted that he never had a science lesson. But he eventually sat on and chaired various parliamentary science and technology committees, and pronounced himself flabbergasted when given an award for making an outstanding contribution to scientific study by urging scientists to communicate more with the public.
Jenkin, who did his national service with the Cameron Highlanders (1945-48), was a member of the first postwar wave of young Conservative politicians at Cambridge, where he was a contemporary of Geoffrey Howe and obtained a first-class degree in law. He became a barrister, specialising in income tax law, went into industry as secretary of the Distillers Company’s chemicals and plastics division (1957-70) and served on Hornsey borough council (1960-63).
In 1964 he succeeded Sir Winston Churchill as the Tory MP for Wanstead and Woodford in north-east London’s Essex suburbs, a seat he held until translated to the Lords in 1987. He was soon marked out as ministerial material and became an opposition Treasury spokesman under his mentor and hero Iain Macleod. The latter’s sudden death within a few weeks of becoming chancellor of the exchequer following Heath’s election victory in 1970 was deeply destabilising to the new government and its economic policy.
Jenkin called it an appalling disaster and he, as financial secretary to the Treasury, promoted two years later to become chief secretary, found himself having to implement public expenditure cuts to curb inflation, the first inklings of what was to become standard Tory policy in coming decades. His eventual promotion to energy minister came in the midst of the three-day week crisis just before the government went down to defeat in the February 1974 election.
In opposition, Jenkin loyally supported Heath’s leadership bid against Thatcher, but thereafter served as a frontbench spokesman for energy and then social security and health, taking charge of that department in office following the Tories’ return to power in 1979. In 1981 he became industry secretary and two years later environment secretary, supposedly a safe pair of hands as Thatcher sought first to consolidate and to transform the government’s relationship with the nationalised industries and then local government.
There was no sign that Jenkin dissented in any way from these policies and he initiated reforms, starting with the process of decentralising the NHS and then linking state pension increases only to the rise in prices. At industry, as a former businessman, he was responsible for the privatisation of British Telecom.
His move in 1983 to the environment ministry to take on local government and particularly the inner-city Labour authorities was much less happy. Radical Labour leaders such as Livingstone, and Derek Hatton in Liverpool, were undoubtedly provocative as they sought to challenge the government, sometimes at the expense of running their own authorities efficiently. But Thatcher was increasingly antipathetic to all local council independence, Tory as well as Labour, and Jenkin found himself in direct confrontation, constantly wrong-footed by Livingstone over the Greater London council and having to explain why the government was so hostile to local democracy. It was an awkward stance that ultimately also harmed the Tories, hamstringing their councillors and inadvertently cutting off the local government experience that many of the party’s own MPs had profited from before entering the Commons.
As it was, Jenkin, charged with capping local authority spending and then, once Thatcher grew impatient, with abolishing the metropolitan councils and the GLC altogether, found support even on the government benches and in the Lords becoming ambivalent. As a disgruntled Heath remarked: “The government had achieved the inconceivable in swinging the population of London behind Livingstone.”
As a corollary – and perhaps more to the former Treasury minister’s taste – Jenkin commissioned an inquiry into the reform of the rating system which eventually came up with the poll tax, the policy whose unpopularity, inequity and sheer inoperability would eventually bring down Thatcher herself.
Jenkin’s inability to deliver local government reform or present the reasons for it convincingly led to his sacking in 1985, and he stood down as an MP to go to the Lords at the general election two years later. He resumed both a business career with directorships and advisory roles, of which the most important was his chairmanship of Friends Provident (1988-98) and serving on public bodies, such as his chairmanship of the Forest Healthcare NHS trust (1991-97).
He was an assiduous attender and speaker in the Lords but, at the age of 88 in December 2014, taking advantage of a reform of the house’s procedures, became the first peer to retire, saying that, after 50 years in parliament, he felt he had done enough.
In a valedictory speech he said: “I am getting on a bit … I have done what I can offer and it is best to bow out and let others carry on … there has to be a constant infusion of new blood with people who have current experience so it seems incumbent on oldies to hand over to a younger generation.”
Despite his technocratic reputation, Jenkin had a liberal streak: early in his parliamentary career, he and a handful of other young Tories had supported the imposition of sanctions on Ian Smith ’s breakaway regime in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and much later he became a convinced supporter of gay marriage. Referring to his speech in the Lords in a debate on the issue in 2012, he told the Daily Telegraph : “I finished with a piece of theology which said that the love between two people, whether the same sex or opposite sex, has its parallels with the love of God for the human race” – and found himself inundated with messages of support from gay campaigners as a result.
Away from political life, Jenkin was an accomplished musician and gardener, carpenter and bricklayer at the family’s holiday home in Scotland.
In 1952 he married Monica Graham. She survives him, along with their daughters, Nicola and Flora, and sons, Charles and Bernard, the latter of whom also became a Tory MP.
• Charles Patrick Fleeming Jenkin, Lord Jenkin of Roding, born 7 September 1926; died 20 December 2016

 

 153 /173 

3.3
12 books to read in 2017 if you want to get rich

Research shows that 88% of wealthy people devote at least 30 minutes a day to reading. If it works for them, it could work for you.
Below, we've rounded up 12 of our favorite books, from personal finance classic to new releases, to work your way through over the next 12 months. Here's to a prosperous 2017!
Journalist Napoleon Hill researched more than 500 self-made millionaires, including Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Charles M. Schwab, before releasing this 1937 best-seller.
Hill's timeless personal fiance classic will help you understand that getting rich is more about mentality above anything else. In fact, he barely mentions the words "money," "wealth," or "finances. " Rather, he explains the psychological barriers that hold many people back from building fortunes — and teaches you how to start thinking your way to success.
Rich people tend to believe starting a business is the fastest way to make money. This read, endorsed by self-made billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett , will teach you just how to do that... but not the way a conventional business book does.
Don't let the 1969 publication date throw you off. While a lot has changed in the business world since the 1960's, the fundamentals of building a strong business have not, Gates writes, adding, "Brooks's deeper insights about business are just as relevant today as they were back then. "
One of the most effective ways to build wealth is to invest. At least, if you do it correctly.
Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group and creator of the world's first index fund, details the simplest and most efficient investment strategy: Investing in low-cost index funds .
Legendary investor Warren Buffett also says that every investor, large and small, should pick up a copy.
If a blurb by Buffett doesn't entice you, get directly inside the billionaire's head with this collection of letters and notes written by the "Oracle of Omaha. "
The 700+ page book offers a clearer picture of Buffett's philosophies on business, investing, and life.
What does it take to be a billionaire? Best-selling author Tim Ferriss' latest book explores the daily routines and habits of celebrities, professional athletes, hedge fund managers and others.
For a sneak peak, check out one, peculiar habit that the wealthiest, most successful people share.
Nearly a century ago, Clason revealed the "secret" to getting rich in his 1926 personal finance classic.
It turns out that the "secret" isn't much of one. All it takes to get rich is mastering a few simple concepts, such as paying yourself first and living within your means , which Clason preaches via a collection of entertaining parables.
Kiyosaki shatters the myth that you need to earn a lot of money to get rich in this best-seller. By telling the story of two dads — his own, and the father of his best friend — he explains how to build wealth even with a small salary.
Additionally, Kiyosaki challenges the popular belief that your house is an asset, details the differences between how rich people and average people choose to get paid, and emphasizes the critical difference between an asset and a liability.
Self-made millionaire and financial advisor David Bach exposes a handful of money misconceptions in his easy-to-read best-seller.
You don't need a budget, you don't need to make a lot of money, and you don't even need willpower to accumulate a fortune, he writes.
When Steve Siebold started interviewing hundreds of millionaires and billionaires, he was "completely broke and searching for answers about success I wasn't finding in the classroom," he writes.
"What I discovered was, to get rich, I had to learn to think like a rich person. ... Once I changed my thinking, the money started to flow. "
Anyone has the opportunity to build wealth, he stresses in "How Rich People Think," and it all starts with changing your mindset. For a sneak peak, check out the number one way rich people view the world differently than the average person.
As Siebold says, to get rich, you have to learn from those who have already done it. Self-made millionaire Grant Cardone knows a thing or two about managing money: The entrepreneur has built five companies and a multi-million dollar fortune.
While Cardone offers some contrarian advice — he discourages investing in a 401(k) plan and buying a home — his wealth-building strategies helped him go from broke at 25 to earning his first million by age 30 .
"Shark Tank" investor and entrepreneur Daymond John turned $40 worth of fabric into a $6 billion brand, FUBU. Along the way, he's been rejected a lot and has lost a lot.
Being broke, however, offers at least one major advantage: It sparks creativity and out-of-the-box solutions, he explains in "The Power of Broke. "
Don't write off your chances of wealth and success if your bank account is low, he suggests. Use it to your advantage.
If you want to earn more in 2017, a simple yet often overlooked strategy is to negotiate your salary .
If you're nervous about approaching your boss to ask for a raise, try Cohen's best-seller. It will help you get what you want, and what you deserve.

 

 154 /173 

0.6
Older Americans Pushed Into Poverty as Feds Garnish Social Security for Student Debt

'Hard-earned Social Security checks should not be siphoned off to pay interest and fees on student loan debt,' says Elizabeth Warren
"We could have hundreds of thousands of American seniors living in poverty due to garnished Social Security benefits if this trend continues," said Sen. Claire McCaskill of Montana. (Photo: Kate Gardiner /flickr/cc)
The federal government is garnishing Social Security checks to recoup unpaid student debt, leaving thousands of retired or disabled Americans below the poverty line and setting the stage for an even bigger problem, according to a new report.
The data from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), compiled at the behest of Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), showed that people over the age of 50 are the fastest-growing group with student debt, outpacing younger generations—and compared to younger borrowers, older Americans have "considerably higher rates of default on federal student loans. " This leaves them open to having up to 15 percent of their benefit payment withheld, in what's called an "offset. "
In 2015, the GAO reported (pdf), the Department of Education collected about $171 million in defaulted student loan debt through Social Security offsets from 114,000 people, the majority of that from borrowers aged 50 or older and receiving disability benefits. About 38,000 were above age 64, and more than three-quarters of older borrowers took out the loans to cover their own education, rather than to pay for their children's schooling. The typical monthly offset was slightly more than $140. And more than 70 percent of the money collected through offsets went toward interest and fees, as opposed to the loan balance.
"This report demonstrates just how draconian these Social Security offsets are and how there seems to be a failure at all sorts of levels of this policy," Persis Yu, the director of the Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project at the Boston-based National Consumer Law Center, told MarketWatch .
Meanwhile, the report states: "Older borrowers who remain in offset may increasingly experience financial hardship. Such is the case for a growing number of older borrowers whose Social Security benefits have fallen below the poverty guideline because the offset threshold is not adjusted for increases in costs of living. "
Indeed, the program—which itself may be under threat from a Trump administration —already hands out insufficient benefits , with the GAO noting that "a growing number of these older borrowers already received Social Security benefits below the poverty guideline before offsets further reduced their income. "
As shown in the chart below, this impacts tens of thousands of borrowers:
In its report on the "disturbing" trend, the Washington Post noted :
Some people have been granted financial hardship exemptions, while others have successfully applied for permanent disability discharge of their loans through the Education Department. But researchers at the GAO are critical of the agency's byzantine application process that puts borrowers at risk of falling back into garnishment. If people do not submit annual documentation to verify their income, their loans can be reinstated and the cuts can resume.
In turn, Warren decried the tactics described in the report as "predatory and counterproductive. "
"The hard-earned Social Security checks that are the sole source of income for millions of seniors should not be siphoned off to pay interest and fees on student loan debt," she said in a statement. "It's no wonder many Americans don't think Washington works for them: our government is shoving tens of thousands of seniors and people with disabilities into poverty through garnishment every year—and charging them $15 every month for the privilege—just so that the Department of Education can collect a little bit more interest and keep boosting the government's student loan profits. "
What's more, with Americans 65 and older seeing their total student loan debt grow by 385 percent since 2005, McCaskill warned that these numbers are merely "the tip of the iceberg of what may be to come. "
"We could have hundreds of thousands of American seniors living in poverty due to garnished Social Security benefits if this trend continues," she said, "and we shouldn't allow that to happen. "
Social Security Works and Student Debt Crisis, two non-profits working on different aspects of the burgeoning crisis laid out in the GAO's report, last year pledged to "always fight in solidarity with each other. "
On Wednesday, Student Debt Crisis tweeted:
Alarming @USGAO report: Disabled/elderly student loan borrowers having social security garnished. We join @SSWorks to demand this stops!
— StudentDebtCrisis (@DebtCrisisOrg) December 20, 2016
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
In Time for Christmas: A Social Security Plan Only Scrooge Could Love
The Invention Of The White Working Class
Waging Class War in Comfort
Teaching Civics in the Time of Trump

 

 155 /173 

0.0
Tilda Swinton releases Margaret Cho emails about film role diversity

The Hollywood actor Tilda Swinton has published the full text of an email exchange she shared with the American comedian Margaret Cho, after the comic said Swinton had treated her “like her house servant” during a discussion about diversity in the Marvel film Doctor Strange.
Swinton released the email conversation to a US website after Cho told a US podcast that she and Swinton had a “fight” over the fact that the British actor had been cast in the movie as the Ancient One, a character who was Asian in the original comic book series.
Cho, a stand-up comic whose work frequently focuses on race and gender issues, told TigerBelly last week that Swinton had contacted her to say “she didn’t understand why people were so mad about Doctor Strange and she wanted to talk about it, and wanted to get my take on why all the Asian people were mad”.
“[She] was like, ‘Could you please tell them … ’” Cho told the podcast. “I’m like, ‘Bitch, I can’t tell them … I don’t have a yellow phone under a cake dome.’”
But after an account of the podcast was published by the website Jezebel , Swinton’s representative forwarded what he called “the entire unedited and only conversation she has ever had with Margaret – with her gratitude for the opportunity to clarify”.
While Cho had characterised their conversation as a “fight”, the tone of the emails, on the surface at least, is more cordial. Swinton first contacted Cho on 13 May this year, saying that while they had never met, “I’m a fan”, and she wanted to ask a favour.
“The diversity debate – ALL STRENGTH to it – has come knocking at the door of Marvel’s new movie DR STRANGE,” Swinton wrote, but said she was unaware of the debate since she didn’t use social media. “I would really love to hear your thoughts and have a – private – conversation about it.”
In response, Cho declared herself in turn “a big fan of yours”, then wrote: “The character you played in Dr Strange was originally written as a Tibetan man and so there’s a frustrated population of Asian Americans who feel the role should have gone to a person of Asian descent.”
The broader debate, Cho wrote, was to do with the “whitewashing” of Asians in American films. “Our stories are told by white actors over and over again and we feel at a loss to know how to cope with it.”
Marvel has repeatedly been forced to defend Swinton’s casting, with the film’s screenwriter hinting the character’s race was changed from Tibetan to avoid upsetting China .
Similar accusations have been made by Asian-American actors about a range of films including Ghost in the Shell , in which Scarlett Johansson was cast as the manga character Major Motoko Kusanagi, renamed Major for the movie, and Aloha , in which the part of a quarter-Chinese, quarter-native Hawaiian called Allison Ng was played by the blonde, blue-eyed Emma Stone.
In her response to Cho, Swinton wrote that Marvel had made “a conscious effort to shake up stereotypes” by casting Chiwetel Ejiofor in a role that was originally white, and that she had personally been cheered by the fact the “wise old Eastern Geezer Fu Manchu” part had been offered to her as a woman in her 50s.
“Diversity is pretty much my comfort zone,” she wrote. “The idea of being caught on the wrong side of this debate is a bit of a nightmare to me.”
Cho responded by saying that she accepted that as an artist Swinton was “about diversity”, “but this particular case of the Ancient One is just another in a long list of ‘whitewashed’ Asian characters, and so you’re likely to feel the heat of history.” She suggested that Swinton could help by producing more films with roles for Asian-Americans, to which the actor replied that she was currently developing a part Korean-language film with a number of Korean leads.
Contacted for a response after Swinton published her emails, Cho released a statement saying: “Asian actors should play Asian roles. I believe my emails stand on their own and should be taken for the spirit in which they were intended.” She remained a “huge fan” of Swinton, she said.

 

 156 /173 

0.3
Moving US embassy to Jerusalem could provoke violent 'chaos', experts warn

Donald Trump’s plan to move the Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be a “game changer”, according to diplomats, as senior Palestinian officials warn that the move could provoke regional violence.
Criticised by international legal experts, analysts and former senior US officials, the proposal has heightened concern over what the president-elect’s policies would mean for an already moribund Israel-Palestine peace process and the future of a two-state solution.
In recent days, potential officials with the incoming administration have repeatedly made clear Trump’s desire to relocate the embassy early in his presidency.
That has included remarks by senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway and David Friedman, the controversial pro-Israel hardliner Trump has nominated to be his new ambassador to Israel. Friedman said last week he looked forward to serving in Jerusalem.
And following Trump’s nomination of Friedman, the president-elect’s transition team spokesman, Jason Miller, again reiterated the issue in a briefing for reporters. “This is a commitment that the president-elect made numerous times on the campaign trail, that he remains firmly committed to.”
The US embassy has been housed in a modernist concrete cube on Tel Aviv’s HaYarkon Street since the 1960s. Moving to Jerusalem would mark a reversal of almost seven decades of US policy that has until now decreed that the final status of Jerusalem, whose eastern – and largely Arab – side has been occupied by Israel since 1967, should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians.
In recent days, however, an escalating war of words has erupted between Israeli and Palestinian officials, and others, over the potential consequences of moving the embassy to Jerusalem.
On Tuesday evening, Israel’s ambassador to the US weighed in. Ron Dermer, a rightwing figure close to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long had a cool relationship with the Obama administration, described the move of the embassy as a “great step forward to peace”, denying it would inflame tensions in the region.
But his comments follow remarks by Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official and peace negotiator, who warned in answer to a question from the Guardian on Friday that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would result in the “destruction of the peace process as a whole”.
Speaking at a gathering of journalists following the nomination of Friedman as Trump’s pick for ambassador, Erekat added: “If you were to take these steps, of moving the embassy, annexing settlements in the West Bank – you are sending this region down the path of something that I call chaos, lawlessness and extremism.”
During the traditional lighting of Hanukah candles at Israel’s embassy in Washington on Tuesday, Derner said the move “should have happened a long time ago” and added he believed the relocation would “send a strong message against the delegitimisation of Israel”.
Both George W Bush and Bill Clinton made similar promises during their campaigns, and in 1994 Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act which explicitly calls for relocation. But successive presidents have refrained from moving the embassy out of concern over the potential ramifications for US diplomacy in the Middle East.
Trump’s most definitive statement on the issue came in the middle of the election campaign.
“We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem – and we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel,” he said to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) lobbying group.
If there is a difference with his predecessors, it is that Trump’s team has shown no signs of backing down on that commitment, instead emphasising it as a key foreign policy objective.
To some, that has suggested the influence of his advisers on an Israel-Palestine issue is dominated by his son-in-law Jared Kushner – whose family charity has given money to one of the West Bank’s most hardline settlements, Yitzhar – and Friedman, who has raised money for another hardline settlement.
“We were told by US officials that Kushner and Friedman are the ones who are advising Trump on the Israel-Palestinian issue,” said one Palestinian official.
If Palestinians are alarmed by the issue, US officials dealing with the Israel-Palestine question appear equally concerned over what the implications of such a sharp policy U-turn might be.
“It’s not a question of bricks and mortar,” said one, speculating, as others have, that the move could be accomplished easily by re-signing the large US consulate in Jerusalem. “It is a question of policy.”
In the wider diplomatic community, the move is seen as a “game changer” and one with multiple risks attached despite Dermer’s reassurances, including the risk of renewed violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
If the change in policy itself is one concern, another has been the way in which it has been articulated in such ad hoc fashion by Trump advisers.
Dan Kurtzer, a former US ambassador to Egypt and Israel and now an academic,described his surprise at Friedman’s breach with state department protocols.
“The president hasn’t been sworn in yet, the secretary of state hasn’t spoken about this, and [Friedman’s] already talking about the policy he is going to change. This is unheard of,” said Kurtzer.
But despite all this, Trump associates have not said when a move might happen.
Trump’s spokesman Miller has avoided the issue, and while it appears the practical and policy implications have been discussed by US officials in Jerusalem, it seems no concrete steps are likely to be made until after Trump’s inauguration next month.
If Friedman is guiding Trump’s policy on Israel and Palestine, he has already set up the conditions for confrontation with the US state department over the issue.
In a speech in October to Trump supporters in Jerusalem – before his nomination as ambassador – Friedman made his views clear, accusing state department officials of “antisemitism”.
“The lifers in the state department are absolutely, positively committed to never moving the embassy to Jerusalem. What’s different about Donald Trump? You all know Donald Trump. If there is anybody in the world politics who could stand up to the state department it is Donald Trump.
“When Donald Trump has his first meeting with the lifers in the state department and they say: ‘Mr Trump, with all due respect, you have only been president for a couple of days, we’ve been living here for the last 20 years, we don’t do it that way, we do it this way, we don’t move the embassy, that’s been state department policy for 20 years’ – the reaction from Donald Trump is going to be, ‘You know what, guys? You’re all fired!’”
All of which has left Palestinian officials such as Erekat holding on to the faintest of hopes: that some US institutions will put a brake on the issue.
“We will see, will he do it? I don’t think they will do it,” Erekat told journalists. “I think the United States, at the end of the day, is a country of institutions and they’re guided by their veteran interests, and not the interests, I believe, of this person or that person,” Erekat said.
If the move does occur, however, other Palestinian officials have warned they will fight the move in the UN, including the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour.
“If people attack us by moving the embassy to Jerusalem, which is a violation of security council resolutions, it is a violation of resolution 181 of the UN general assembly that was drafted by the US … it means they are showing belligerency towards us,” Mansour said. “If they do that, nobody should blame us for unleashing all of the weapons that we have in the UN to defend ourselves, and we have a lot of weapons in the UN.”

 

 157 /173 

4.0
Pennsylvania office worker transforms cubicle into Christmas log cabin

HORSHAM, Pa., Dec. 21 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania office worker took cubicle Christmas decorating to the next level by transforming her work space into a log cabin.
‎Dennine Cardonick Chaffin, an employee at Toll Brothers in Horsham, posted a video to Facebook showing her coworker's ornate cubicle.
The video shows Melissa O'Neill's work space has been transformed into a log cabin, with the logs made from large cardboard tubes and cotton standing in for snow.
The cabin is decorated with boughs of holly, ribbons, stockings, and two small Christmas trees.
"We had a cubicle decorating contest at work and one of our employees, Melissa O'Neill, made a log cabin complete with 2 trees outside and a sled inside," Chaffin wrote.

 

 158 /173 

1.3
Now THAT'S a cold war! Dramatic pictures show fearless Chinese soldiers undertaking extreme training in -27 degrees

Dramatic images show soldiers in China training in wintery conditions. The images taken on December 21 show armed soldiers from the frontier inspection station taking part in 30-day-long extreme cold weather training in Heihe, located on the border with Russia. On December 21, the average temperature in Heihe was -22 degrees with a low of -27. The soldiers make up just one division of the People's Liberation army, known to be the largest army in the world with some 2.3 million active personnel.

 

 159 /173 

1.6
How to make gougères (fancy cheese puffs) and more festive holiday appetizer recipes

Whether you’re planning a big holiday dinner or a festive cocktail party, odds are you’ll want some nibbles handy to keep the guests sated and merry. We’ve collected some of our favorite appetizer recipes from our Recipe Database to help you plan your celebrations.
Gougères, the Gruyère cheese-flavored pastry puffs, are bound to be a hit at any party. This recipe pairs Gruyère with finely-grated Parmesan (two cheeses!), along with a touch of chile powder for a little heat. Serve the puffs warm, or make them ahead of time and serve at room temperature.
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes | Makes about 2 dozen
Note: Adapted from Renee Erickson’s “A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus.” She suggests making them just before serving or baking them early in the day and then recrisping them in a 400-degree oven just before serving.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon piment d’Espelette or chile powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups plus (about 6 3/4 ounces) flour, sifted
5 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon or Jacobsen, for finishing
1. In a large saucepan, heat the butter, milk, salt, piment d'Espelette and nutmeg together over low heat until the butter has melted completely. Add the flour, stirring vigorously until the mixture forms a paste, then cook, stirring and smearing the dough constantly, until the mixture starts to smell nutty and small beads of fat form on the surface of the dough that's just come off the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes total. (I usually stop stirring when my arm hurts too much to continue. It will be thick, like sugar cookie dough.)
2. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and set aside until the dough has almost reached room temperature, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set them aside.
3. When the dough has cooled, with the machine on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until the batter re-forms between each egg and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. When you have added all the eggs, mix in the Gruyère and Parmesan on low speed.
4. Using two spoons, form the batter into golf ball-sized balls and arrange them on the prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart, dipping the spoons into a bowl of warm water between each one to keep the dough from sticking. Sprinkle the gougères liberally with the sea salt.
5. Bake for 10 minutes. Without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 25 more minutes, or until the gougères are brown and crisp on the outside and half hollow in the center.
6. Serve immediately, or set aside to cool on racks no more than a few hours before serving.
Each gougères, without garnish salt: Calories 113; Protein 5 grams; Carbohydrates 7 grams; Fiber 0; Fat 7 grams; Saturated fat 4 grams; Cholesterol 57 mg; Sugar 1 gram; Sodium 220 mg
Chef Marcus Samuelsson talks about the inspiration for his restaurant in the heart of Harlem, the Red Rooster. He describes the restaurant as a vibrant and rich epicenter of color, culture and flavor.
Spring chef Tony Esnault uses seasonal vegetables from the farmer's market to prepare his Legumes de Saison. Video by Liz O. Baylen
Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen director Noelle Carter shows how to make your pie crust borders stand out.
Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen director, Noelle Carter, shows how to blind bake a pie crust.
Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen director Noelle Carter, shows how to check for a thoroughly cooked chicken.
Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen director Noelle Carter, shows how to check for a thoroughly cooked chicken.

 

 160 /173 

1.9
Level 2 water restrictions for Knysna municipality

Johannesburg – The Knysna Municipality in the Western Cape has enforced level 2 water restrictions with immediate effect, it announced on Wednesday.
“With the storage dams levels dropping, the water flowing over the Knysna River weir by a mere 10mm and the Gouna River’s flow coming to a standstill, the Knysna Municipality has been forced to implement Level 2 Water Restrictions with immediate effect," said Mayor Eleanore Bouw Spies in a statement.
“This level brings punitive water tariffs into immediate effect and an additional 50% of the approved water consumption tariff will be applied to consumption exceeding 20kl/month.”
The municipality said its potable water is restricted to human consumption and business use.
Residents were asked not to water their gardens, wash their cars and boats.
Residents were also asked to retrofit their taps, showerheads and other plumbing equipment with water efficient devices.
Bouw-Spies instructed businesses to implement water recycling systems on their premises.
“This measure is especially relevant to all car washes in the area. Our Law Enforcement Officers are currently checking on recycling systems, and where it is found to be lacking will be instructing the business to adhere to this within a month.
“Our Law Enforcement officers will be out in force to ensure that nobody breeches these new water restrictions,” said Bouw-Spies.
She said last week, Knysna’s daily target of 8ml a day was not met as residents used 16.3Ml a day.
Sedgefield’s target daily water consumption is 1.9Ml a day and its residents used 2.9Ml a day during the same period.
“We are asking all residents and visitors to be our eyes and ears on the ground and report water abuse. As previously communicated, no mercy will be shown to anybody caught wasting water and they will receive hefty fines. "
In June, a state of disaster was declared in all the country’s provinces, except Gauteng, due to the drought.

 

 161 /173 

0.5
From drone disasters to some VERY risqué decorations: People share the hilarious Christmas fails that are guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit

With all the stress of last-minute present buying, decorating and preparing to put up with the in-laws, sometimes it's easy to miss the humour in the bizarre situations that arise in the festive season. From being gifted two different self-help books to risque decorations, and even some festive graffiti, people have decided to share their most entertaining (and occasionally humiliating) Christmas blunders. And, luckily, the folks over at Bored Panda have put together a gallery of the best photos their users have submitted. FEMAIL have rounded up a few of our favourites, including a child's Christmas jumper featuring a urinating Santa, and a dog who's been locked out of the Christmas tree - with its owner erecting a black metal fence to protect his decorations. Other highlights include a woman who decided to take her exams dressed as a Christmas tree and a nativity scene featuring the baby Jesus playing Twister

 

 162 /173 

0.0
Kerry Wasn't Invited To The Latest Syria Talks

Ambassadors from Russia, Iran and Turkey met in Moscow Tuesday to engage in negotiations regarding the ongoing crisis in Syria, intentionally excluding Secretary of State John Kerry.
No U. S. representative attended the talks, nor was the United Nations invited to attend. The lack of any Western representation is yet another sign that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, his Russian and Iranian allies will have their way in Syria, solidifying another failed attempt on Kerry’s part to seek a diplomatic solution to the problem.
The U. S. Department of State maintained a positive view of the negotiations, despite being left out of them.
“[If the talks] lead to a sense of calm enough in Syria that political talks can resume, then that would be great and that’s what we’d like to see,” State Department Spokesman John Kirby told the New York Times Tuesday. He added a skeptical note, saying that “we have seen repeated promises to a appropriately influence the Assad regime in the right way on the cessations of hostilities and seen those fail.”
Kerry’s previous attempts at negotiation in Syria were all abject failures. His meetings with his Russian counterpart earlier this month effectively handed the war-torn city of Aleppo over to Assad’s forces, which led to several civilian massacres. The White House congratulated Kerry’s “skilled, principled, tough, tenacious diplomacy” preemptively when asked about the deal which effectively handed over the most important battleground in Syria.
Kerry initially met with various interested parties in Geneva in February ostensibly to reach a potential ceasefire agreement. The talks began Feb. 1 and were suspended only two days later. A tentative “cessation of hostilities” was concluded Feb. 27, but it fell apart almost immediately after Russia and Syria resumed air strikes shortly after it was finalized. Another attempt at a truce failed in late September, leading Kerry to cut off bi-lateral talks with Russia in early October. Kerry resumed talks in Lausanne, Switzerland Oct. 15. The meetings failed to produce any tangible results.
Turkey’s attendance at the talks comes at a time when its relations with both the U. S. and Russia risk falling apart completely. The assassination of the Russian ambassador in Turkey Monday by a Turkish special police offer risked scuttling the meeting, but Russia insisted the talks would continue unfettered.
Follow Russ Read on Twitter
Send tips to [email protected] .
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

 

 163 /173 

3.7
Puerto Rico seeks private sector help to save pension system

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A top designated official for Puerto Rico's governor-elect says he plans to pursue public-private partnerships to rescue a public pension system underfunded by more than $40 billion and expected to run out of money next year. Omar Marrero told reporters on Wednesday that revenue from the partnerships is key given that the U. S. territory has been unable to access markets amid a worsening economic crisis and ongoing multimillion-dollar defaults. Marrero is the designated executive director of the Authority of Public-Private Alliances. He said he will turn to the private sector for help offering services that the cash-strapped government cannot provide. His comments come a day after a federal control board that is overseeing Puerto Rico's finances urged the government to consider privatizing certain assets.

 

 164 /173 

1.1
The solo route to retirement: Adopting an individual 401(k)

When many of America's 15 million self-employed workers think about retirement planning, fear and confusion are often abound. Freelancers and owner-only businesses frequently think they're too small for a 401(k), or believe that starting a plan is too pricey. In actuality, setting up and managing an Individual 401(k) can be simple and straightforward, and newer digitally enabled providers even allow owners to quote and set up a plan online.
If you're looking for ways to reduce your 2016 tax bill and plan for retirement, starting an Individual 401(k) plan may be a smart move before yearend. But remember, it's always a good idea to talk with a trusted financial consultant and tax advisor before moving ahead with any retirement or business planning decisions.
Here are three ways Solo 401(k)s can benefit owner-only businesses.
With an Individual 401(k), business owners can make tax-deferred contributions totaling $53,000 if they are under the age of 50 – a figure that jumps to $59,000 once the contributor turns 50 or older (depending on income). That's significant and could even drop you down a tax bracket while also putting away a meaningful amount for retirement.
With the self-employment rate among workers age 65 years and up reaching 15.5 percent last year, this threshold offers the potential to shelter much more money than other retirement vehicles (including the IRA's upper limit of $5,500-$6,500) and may help you catch up on retirement goals if you've fallen behind.
Solopreneurs can reach their Individual 401(k) cap by profit-sharing up to 20 percent of net reported income if they operate an LLC, or 25 percent of W-2 compensation if the business is incorporated. Individuals can also make personal contributions as an employee of up to $18,000 ($24,000 once they're 50 or older) to help them reach the maximum contribution amount.
This same limit holds true in employer plans, but in that case, company contributions go to all participating employees, making it costlier and more difficult to reach the $53,000 limit. Since you are both the employer and employee in an Individual 401(k), you have the flexibility to pay yourself and contribute as an employee, an employer or both.
Individual 401(k)s may be a good fit for businesses with more than one owner. The tax-deferral benefits are available to multiple owners and spouses who derive income from the business, ensuring partnerships and collective owners can also leverage these vehicles.
But once a business hires employees who do not hold an ownership stake (or less than five percent) in the company, it's required to convert the plan to an employee-based 401(k).
One reason that 401(k) plans are often considered complex and confusing is a government requirement that subjects them to nondiscrimination and other tests that confirm a 401(k) plan benefits all enrolled employees, not just a niche group of owners or highly compensated employees. Since Individual 401(k)s only cover owners and their spouses, there is no conflict of interest and this added testing does not apply.
The deadline for Individual 401(k) plan adoption is fast approaching, so if you want to maximize tax-deferred income and retirement contributions for 2016 don't wait. You must purchase your plan by December 31 and you'll have until your tax deadline to make employer contributions. Typically, you have until March 15, 2017 to make contributions if you run an S-Corp and C-Corp, and until April 18, 2017 if you are an LLC, sole proprietor or have a 1099.
You may have great plans to expand your business, hire employees and perhaps even cash out down the road. In the meantime, an Individual 401(k) can help you plan for your future retirement goals while also reducing today's tax obligations.

 

 165 /173 

2.0
Boil water warning issue in Addison, Bridport, and Shoreham

ADDISON, Vt. (AP) - A boil water notice remains in effect in three Addison County towns while water testing is being conducted for possible contamination.
Vermont Public Radio reports (http://bit.ly/2h1WfXp) that the boil water warning was announced Monday afternoon for the 1,600 customers of Tri-Town water in Addison, Bridport, and Shoreham following two leaks and an outage that left the water system vulnerable to possible groundwater contamination.
Officials at Tri-Town water say it’s unknown what caused the leaks.
The state requested that a precautionary boil water notice be issued on Monday afternoon.
Water testing is being conducted to look for the presence of fecal coliform and E. coli.

 

 166 /173 

2.2
Hurricane Matthew leads to sinkholes on Hilton Head roads

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S. C. (AP) — An official says dozens of sinkholes have opened on Hilton Head Island roads since Hurricane Matthew brushed the island in early October. Community Development Director Charles Cousins told the Hilton Head Island Town Council on Tuesday that more than two dozen sinkholes have appeared on the island's roads since the storm. The Island Packet reports (http://bit.ly/2i0ID0e) that Cousins says rains from the hurricane disrupted or washed away fill sand under roads, and storms after Matthew keep making the problem worse. Cousins says the repair process is slow because the island must get a state permit before filling each sinkhole. The town is currently putting steel plates over the holes. ___ Information from: The Island Packet, http://www.islandpacket.com

 

 167 /173 

3.4
Lufthansa's Eurowings adds air miles with new Munich routes

By Victoria Bryan BERLIN, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Eurowings outlined plans for new routes from Munich on Wednesday, maintaining its rapid expansion but raising concerns that the budget airline owned by Germany's Lufthansa is not paying enough attention to cutting costs. Lufthansa has made Eurowings its main focus in the battle with market leaders Ryanair and easyJet for leisure passengers in Europe and a vehicle for consolidation. And it is set to become Europe's third largest low-cost carrier after deals to rent 33 crewed planes from Air Berlin and to take over Brussels Airlines lifts its fleet to 180 planes from 93 by 2018. Eurowings said it would fly to 32 destinations from Munich, traditionally a Lufthansa hub, from summer 2017, including tourist destinations in Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain, as well as London and Paris. CEO Karl Ulrich Garnadt also said Eurowings plans long-haul routes from Munich from 2018. The airline, which also spans Germanwings, already flies to destinations such as Cuba and Thailand, but only from Cologne. Experts are concerned the Eurowings structure is too complex and that the integration of various different airlines could distract it from bringing down its unit costs. "They've made a big commitment to the Air Berlin wet lease and the question is whether gaining that market share will be of tangible value," independent consultant John Strickland said. Eurowings aims to reduce unit costs to easyJet levels and wants to bring them down to 5.8 euro cents by 2020, a 28 percent reduction over 2015 levels. But analysts say this is not enough, with easyJet at 4.39 cents in 2015 and Ryanair at 2.08 cents. Lufthansa is also weighing up taking over the rest of struggling Air Berlin, a source told Reuters, confirming earlier German media reports. Air Berlin is part-owned by Etihad, which last week signed a code share deal with Lufthansa and said it was exploring further options for cooperation. Lufthansa could use the additional Air Berlin planes and slots to prevent Ryanair and easyJet from expanding too quickly in Germany, Union Investment fund manager Michael Gierse said. But he expressed concern that rapid expansion could make Eurowings fall behind on costs. "They want to reach the level of easyJet, but it's a tricky path. There's airports in Europe, such as Brussels, where Ryanair has even ousted easyJet," said Gierse. Eurowings said it wanted to be profitable in 2017 after start-up losses in 2016, and confirmed its cost targets, adding it had ensured "competitive" rates for the Air Berlin lease. "Our hands are full. We don't have much capacity to handle anything else in 2017," Garnadt said when asked whether Eurowings could take on more of Air Berlin. (Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Peter Maushagen; Additional reporting by Jens Hack in Munich; Editing by Alexander Smith)

 

 168 /173 

5.3
Kanye West cancels plans for European tour

The rapper has canceled the European leg of his Saint Pablo tour, CNN has confirmed.
The tour was set to include stops in Paris, the UK and Germany, although no dates had been set and no tickets had gone on sale.
The cancellation, first reported by TMZ , comes just one month after West scrapped the remainder of his tour dates for 2016.
Related Link: Kanye West hospitalized for exhaustion
The day after West announced he would not be continuing his tour, he was hospitalized at UCLA Medical Center for what a source close to him described as exhaustion. West remained in the hospital under observation for nine days.
West's increasingly bizarre behavior has become troublesome to his fans. The rapper showed up late for shows, cut concerts off early and went on several lengthy rants during his performances. Topics of those rants included his support for President-elect Donald Trump, the media and his anger at his mentor Jay Z and his wife Beyonce.
Two weeks after West was released from the hospital he flew to New York to meet with Trump and discuss his concerns about violence in his hometown of Chicago. Trump told reporters after the meeting that West was a "good man" and that they had been "friends for a long time. "
West's reps were not immediately available for comment.

 

 169 /173 

0.3
Christmas presents, sex and alcohol: The things Brits say they would ditch for some winter sun

As the days grow shorter, Brits are so desperate for an extra hour of sunshine that 58 per cent said they would give up their Christmas presents in exchange for a holiday, according to a new study. And this isn’t the only sacrifice that the nation is prepared to make, 63 per cent said they’d ditch a daily indulgence such as coffee, chocolate, sex and alcohol for just an extra hour of daylight. The research revealed the debilitating effects that the short, dark days of winter can have on Brits with 60 per cent complaining it makes them feel depressed, gain weight or lose their libido. The study, by Days Inn Hotels, found that up to 38million Brits would gladly swap everything under their Christmas tree for a sunshine break this winter. The study of 2,000 Brits also found that during this dark season, the nation would be grateful for just an extra hour of sunshine each day. It revealed the top ten things that people would ditch if they could fight off the darkness of winter for just an hour. Surprisingly, chocolate, box sets and alcohol were found to be the top three hypothetical sacrifices. These three were followed by coffee, an hour’s sleep and sex. After this, the next three things sunshine deprived Brits would give up for warmth and lighter days are their mobile phones, their favourite foods and time with their partners. Rather than being perceived as an indulgence, sunshine seems to be vital for Brits during the bleak winter. The survey found that almost a third of people (32 per cent) claim the shorter days leave them feeling depressed. A further 35 per cent say the season causes them to gain wait and decreases their libido. Despite Christmas parties, family gatherings and festive events filling most people’s calendars this month, over one in ten people (13 per cent) said that the lack of sunlight impacts their desire to socialise in the winter months and they end up staying in. But rather than making the most of the cosy season and enjoying hygge, almost one in ten Brits (eight per cent) admitted that shorter days made them more likely to have arguments with their family.

 

 170 /173 

1.3
Louis Farrakhan sees new opening for black separatist message

CHICAGO (AP) - Minister Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, spoke from a podium draped in the red, black and green of the Pan-African flag, a symbol of black pride.
It was the week after Donald Trump won the presidency. The result had delighted a new generation of white supremacists, and Farrakhan was analyzing the political landscape.
In a speech before the State of the Black World Conference in New Jersey, he warned, “The white man is going to push. He’s putting in place the very thing that will limit the freedom of others.” Then he pointed to the crowd, smiled and said, “That’s what you needed,” as motivation to finally separate from whites.
“My message to Mr. Trump: Push it real good,” Farrakhan said, building to a roar that drew applause and cheers. “Push it so good that black people say, ‘I’m outta here. I can’t take it no more.’”
After a presidential campaign that emboldened white identity politics, the Nation of Islam, a black separatist religious movement, is positioning itself as newly relevant.
Some watchdogs who monitor Farrakhan say his latest appeal is a desperate grasp at significance for a group far from its heyday. However, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremism, has found black separatism growing alongside white supremacy, creating a more favorable environment for the Nation’s teachings.
“Racial nationalism of all kinds is on the rise,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Theresa X, an alcohol and drug counselor from Northern California, said after this “vicious” election, she hoped others, including her Mexican American relatives, would follow her into the Nation of Islam, which she joined in the 1980s. “I think they should,” she said in a phone interview. “They’re afraid.”
The Nation has been largely closed off to outsiders, making it impossible even for those who follow the movement closely to gauge its strength. Neither Farrakhan nor the head minister of the movement’s Mosque Maryam in Chicago, Ishmael Muhammad, responded to interview requests.
Still, Farrakhan and his message of black empowerment clearly have an ongoing impact. The Million Man March he organized in 1995, drawing hundreds of thousands to Washington, remains a cultural touchstone, and hip-hop artists praise him in their music. The Nation has an extensive prison ministry, along with health and social service programs, and the movement’s militia, the Fruit of Islam, provides security at public housing and elsewhere.
That name recognition and high level of organization has left the Nation well situated to take advantage of the current political moment, including the emergence of Black Lives Matter protests over police shootings of black men.
“We have to turn to each other,” said Nation member Duane Muhammad, 63, a Chicago-area elected official who helps produce videos of Farrakhan.
In Chicago, Nation members stood between police and marchers at a post-Thanksgiving protest last year over the killing of black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white police officer. Marchers blocked traffic and store entrances along the Magnificent Mile shopping district, and Nation members “formed a line and made sure we were OK,” said Ja’Mal Green, a Chicago activist.
Zain Abdullah, a Temple University professor who specializes in Islamic studies, noted the Nation first gained national prominence in 1957 following their stunningly disciplined Harlem protest after police beat Nation member Johnson Hinton. “Before that, the membership was a couple of hundred. After that, people were coming to the temple to listen and join,” Abdullah said.
Online, the Nation’s presence has grown. Sunday services from Mosque Maryam are streamed live. Farrakhan’s public speeches and sermons are on YouTube. He has more than 637,000 followers on Facebook and 462,000 on Twitter.
Mikal Nash, a professor at Essex County College in Newark and author of “Muslims in Newark, New Jersey: A Social History,” said he has noticed increasing interest in “the voice of people like Minister Farrakhan much the same way there’s been an interest in the voice of Donald Trump.”
During the campaign, Trump called Mexican immigrants rapists, advocated policies that put Muslims under general suspicion and drew an endorsement from the Ku Klux Klan. The president-elect has been criticized for being slow to condemn white supremacists.
“I think people are attracted to those voices as a result of a racially polarized society,” Nash said. “This election, you could see the whole issue of race arose more than any election in my lifetime.”
During the campaign, Farrakhan sent mixed signals about Trump, indicating the minister saw some reflection of his worldview in the candidate’s rhetoric, including the Republican’s talk of a “global power structure” that has rigged the economy. Farrakhan has long promoted conspiracy theories, blaming Israel and Jews for the Sept. 11 attacks, and accusing Jews of controlling the American government.
In an extensive interview last January with Alex Jones of InfoWars, a conservative website that traffics in conspiracy theories, Farrakhan described Trump as a “businessman par excellence” and agreed with Trump’s proposal to more strongly vet refugees from Muslim countries, pointing to the resentment generated by American policies in the Muslim world.
“The hatred for America is in the streets now,” Farrakhan told Jones. “Now, if you let them in and you don’t vet them carefully, you might be letting in your own destruction.”
During a February address on Saviours’ Day, an annual event commemorating the movement’s founder, Farrakhan praised Trump for confronting Republican establishment candidates like Jeb Bush. “Not that I’m for Trump, but I like what I’m looking at, because I know by Allah’s grace where it’s leading,” Farrakhan said.
Then, he noted that Trump had previously told some Jewish leaders he didn’t need their donations for his campaign. A couple of months earlier, Trump had said to the Republican Jewish Coalition, “You’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money,” and “You want to control your own politician.”
Farrakhan said in his sermon, “Anytime a man can say to those who control the politics of America, ‘I don’t want your money,’ that means if I don’t take your money, you can’t control me. And they cannot afford to give up control of the presidents of the United States.”
For longtime Nation watchers, the praise held an echo of the 1960s, when then Nation leader Elijah Muhammad tried to make common cause with the American Nazi Party over their desire for whites and blacks to live separately.
Abdullah said he’d be surprised if the Nation membership increased significantly in the age of Trump, mainly because the movement demands so much from its followers, including a strict diet, several daily prayers and extensive study of the movement’s beliefs. Still, Abdullah said conditions are ripe for spreading the minister’s views.
While the Nation shares some practices of mainstream Islam, the movement, which started in 1930s Detroit, deviates from the orthodox faith in significant ways, including on race. Mainstream Islam teaches the unity of all believers no matter their ethnicity.
“Because of the failure of integration, I think we’re finding that people are attracted to, out of their frustration, Farrakhan’s message. It often speaks to self-determination and black uplift,” Abdullah said. “Middle class blacks are finding they don’t have the kind of integration or gains they expected because of civil rights gains. Black college students are actually now realizing that education is not going to protect you from police brutality. Farrakhan becomes appealing to people because of this.”
____
AP Religion Writer Rachel Zoll reported from New York.
___
This story has been corrected to fix the capitalization of Laquan McDonald’s first name.

 

 171 /173 

0.6
Hilary Duff 'has flirt session with Scott Eastwood at hot LA restaurant as her ex-husband Mike Comrie looks on'

She's newly single after her split with her trainer boyfriend. And it looks like Hilary Duff, 29, is already ready to mingle as she was spotted having a flirty time with hunky actor Scott Eastwood, 30, on Saturday evening. The two stars were seen chatting it up late night at celeb hot spot Catch LA, where Duff's ex husband Mike Comrie was also dining. According to a source for E! News , the Younger starlet hit up the restaurant with a female friend around 11 PM, and as Eastwood entered the restaurant he made his move and initiated conversation with the actress. 'Hilary was all smiles and looked happier than ever despite her recent split,' said the source. Hilary and Scott next reportedly left the restaurant together and continued their outing at 1OAK nightclub, where they were seen chatting throughout the night. Hilary's ex and the husband of her four-year-old son Luca was also spotted arriving at the restaurant on Saturday. The exes - who split in 2014 - are amicable despite their divorce, which may explain why Hilary felt comfortable to flirt with another man in Mike's presence. No obvious PDA between Scott and Hilary was reported, but this could potentially be the start of a blossoming love interest. Duff recently broke up with her trainer boyfriend Jason Walsh after five months of dating. And despite reportedly hanging out with both ex Comrie and The Longest Ride star on Saturday night, the most important man in Hilary's life right now is her son Luca. The season finale of Younger aired last week, and now the Cinderella Story star has the time to spend a happy holiday with her little boy.

 

 172 /173 

1.7
What 2017 may mean for your personal finances

It's been a tumultuous 2016 — both financially and politically. The year may have left some people wondering, what's next? And, how will it affect me? Lacking a crystal ball, we asked a few economic experts what they think 2017 may hold in store for Americans' personal finances. Here's their take on what to expect in the year ahead: Q. What's the job market going to look like? A. "The job market in 2017 will be about as good as it gets," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "There are currently a record number of job openings and layoffs are at record lows. " Job growth should be strong next year, with more jobs across all pay scales, Zandi said. With the economy at full-employment, pay increases should also be as large as they've been in a decade, and well above the rate of inflation. The only soft spots Zandi sees will be in energy and other commodity-related industries, manufacturing that is sensitive to global trade, and industries being disrupted by technology, such as print media or brick-and-mortar retailing. "2017 will be a great year if you're looking for a new job or a better one," he said. However, while the job market is good, it's taking longer than ever to get hired, said Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at Glassdoor. The interview process now takes 22.9 days on average to complete in the U. S. as employers conduct additional screenings to find the right candidate, Chamberlain noted in a recent report. Don't expect jobs to look the same once you land them, either. Chamberlain predicts that automation will change every job. There may also be a shift away from flashy benefits packages in some industries in 2017. In the tech industry particularly, where fun perks are the norm, employers may be looking at which benefits give them the most bang for their buck. He also predicts employers may finally take action to level the gender pay gap, thanks to greater awareness, data availability and pay transparency. Q. Will gas prices go up? A. 2017 will likely be another cheap year to fuel your car, but not quite as good as 2016, several energy experts said. A huge global glut in the oil supply has driven down prices in recent years, meaning consumers pay less at the pump. As of mid-December, gasoline is averaging $2.115 a gallon in the U. S., said Tom Kloza, global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service. He expects 2016 will be the cheapest year for American motorists since 2004, when the average price was $2.265 a gallon. But recently OPEC — short for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries — recently agreed to cut production beginning in January to restore some stability to the market. If the cartel's members follow through, global oil production will slow, but not by much. And while there is a likelihood that supply and demand will rebalance in 2017 under the OPEC agreement, Kloza said it's also possible that various countries will cheat on production pledges. That could mess with oil and gasoline prices. He expects prices will range from $2.10-$2.75 a gallon nationwide over the course of 2017, with seasonal and regional fluctuations. Patrick DeHaan at GasBuddy.com said he expects the national yearly average will be 20 to 30 cents a gallon higher than this year. With Americans driving an average of 15,000 miles a year each, using about 600 gallons of gasoline, that means someone driving a normal passenger vehicle will pay about $120 more on gas in 2017 than this year, DeHaan said. Q. What should I expect from interest rates? A. The Federal Reserve slightly raised its key interest rate this month and said it may raise rates up to three more times in 2017. But that doesn't spell disaster for borrowing in the year ahead. The Fed move will likely lead to higher rates for credit cards, home equity loans and adjustable-rate mortgages first. That means this is the time to pay down high interest rate debt and insulate yourself from variable rate debts, said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com. Don't lose sleep over auto loans if you are in need of a new set of wheels, as a rate hike of this size has an inconsequential effect on affordability. And most student loans are federal and charge fixed rates. But if you have private loans, you may want to look at your financing options as these often charge variable rates and may be impacted. House shopping? That's a mixed bag — mortgage rates were already volatile before the rate hike and that's likely to continue. McBride said that even with hikes, mortgage rates will likely stay closer to 4 percent than 5 percent in 2017. That's still low by historical standards. Savers may finally begin see some improvement in rates for savings and CDs. But it may take a while for that to play out, McBride warned. And keep in mind that three potential hikes are just a prediction. This time last year the Fed said it would raise interest rates four times in 2016, but it has done so only once. "I'll believe it when I see it," McBride said. Q. And what about my taxes, will they really change? A. There's potential for some major changes to the tax system next year under president-elect Donald Trump's proposals. According to his action plan, Trump will simplify the tax system and lower the tax burden on Americans, primarily the middle class. He aims to reduce the number of tax brackets from seven to three. And he says Americans will be able to deduct their childcare and eldercare expenses from their taxes, among other changes. The average family could see a 3 to 5 percent reduction in their tax bill under Trump's proposals, said David Prokupek, CEO of Jackson Hewitt. While these are just proposals, Prokupek suspects they will move forward given their priority in Trump's agenda and for the Republican-led Congress in place. Even if it takes time, tax law changes such as these are almost always retroactive. So even if it's passed later in the year, it will apply to all of 2017. The proposal is not without some controversy, however. An analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found that about 8 million families, including a majority of single-parent households, would actually see higher tax bills under Trump's proposals. But Trump's advisers deny that he will raise taxes on middle-income Americans and say the president-elect would instruct Congress to avoid such hikes. As for the taxes you owe or the refund you're due come April — that falls under existing law. ___ AP Writer Christopher S. Rugaber contributed to this report

 

 173 /173 

0.9
The Invention Of The White Working Class

Employees who will lose their jobs at the Indianapolis Carrier factory stood with union members and Bernie Sanders supporters at a rally in April of 2016. (Photo: Annie Ropeik/Indiana Public Broadcasting)
History warns us to be very, very careful when using the phrase “white working class.” The reason has nothing to do with political correctness. Rather, it concerns the changing historical definitions of who is “white.”
Eduardo Porter in the New York Times , uses this construction to ask, “Did the white working class vote its economic interests?” He claims that current data shows white people losing out to blacks and Hispanics in getting their fair share of the new jobs created since 2007:
Despite accounting for less than 15 percent of the labor force, Hispanics got more than half of the net additional jobs. Blacks and Asians also gained millions more jobs than they lost. But whites, who account for 78 percent of the labor force, lost more than 700,000 net jobs over the nine years.
Porter further argues this is happening because blacks and Hispanics live mostly in the thriving urban areas while most white people live in declining rural areas.
Only 472 counties voted for Hillary Clinton on Election Day. But....they account for 64 percent of the nation’s economic activity. The 2,584 counties where Mr. Trump won, by contrast, generated only 36 percent of America’s prosperity.
Porter therefore believes that the white working class flocked to Trump as a way to protest their economic decline.
But this conclusion is flawed: Neither the studies nor Porter provide a definition of “white working class.” Is it all white people? Does it include management? Professionals? We’re not told. Nor do they provide any evidence that the actual work experiences of white and black working people are starkly different no matter how the class is defined. Rural America, also, is not lily white. Hispanics and African Americans make up a total of 17.5 percent of rural and small town America. Further, the research grounding my book Runaway Inequality shows that working people as a whole (defined as the 85 percent of us who are production and non-supervisory employees) have seen their real wages fall since the late 1970s ― all shades, all colors. Finally, most of the new jobs created are low-wage, part-time service sector jobs ― jobs that often pay poverty wages. As the Wall Street Journal reported in 2015, “More than 40% of the jobs added in just the past year have come in generally lower-paying fields such as food service, retail and temporary help.” So getting the lion’s share of these jobs is not a pathway to prosperity.
Dog Whistle Whites
What these studies and reports do accomplish however is to sound the latest dog whistle about race in America. They create an image in our minds of a coherent white working class, hunkered down in the declining manufacturing sector ― white rural workers who have needs and interests different from black and brown urban workers. In doing so, this image feeds into a long history of white working class creationism that divides working people by race.
An early instance of this process took place in the aftermath of Bacon’s rebellion (1675), during which Nathanial Bacon united black slaves, and white indentured servants into a rebellious army against Virginia planter elites. (It was less than a noble enterprise in that Bacon wanted more government attacks against Native Americans.) After the rebellion was put down, plantation owners gave special privileges to poor whites in order to drive a wedge between them and black slaves. It worked.
A dramatic redefinition of “white” took place during the late 19th and early 20th centuries as mass immigration and colonialization expanded. So called race scientists studied cranial size and shapes, skin color, and hair texture to create a biology of race. By 1911, the U. S. Immigration Commission published its Dictionary of Races or Peoples , that listed 29 separate races. The Southern Italian race, for example, is described as “excitable, impulsive, highly imaginative...having little adaptability to highly organized society.”
Race science defined “white” as a narrow category that excluded virtually everyone who didn’t come from northern Europe. By the First World War, U. S. immigration policy was informed by early IQ tests given to immigrants on Ellis Island that supposedly showed that “87% of Russians, 83% of Jews, 80% of Hungarians, and 79% of Italians were feeble-minded.”
Management “Race Science”
These race scientists created a vast hierarchy of races seen in the chart below designed for a Pittsburgh steel company in 1926. It is based on the idea that each “race” by its intrinsic nature possesses certain skills and attributes that makes it suitable to certain work tasks.
This “science” provided the rationale for dividing the workforce by ethnic group which had the added virtue of weakening worker solidarity and keeping unions at bay. This became particularly acute after 4 million workers went on strike at the end of WWI. The largest strike involved 350,000 steel workers that finally collapsed after 14 weeks of pitched battles. It is highly likely that the skills chart was designed to prevent such a resurgence.
(One can only speculate why the Jewish “race” was placed at the bottom of the hierarchy. One reason may be because two of the largest unions in the country ― the Amalgamated Clothing Workers and the International Ladies Garment Workers Union were Jewish led and contained hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrant workers. So if you hired Jewish workers into the steel industry, the odds were high they might be predisposed to unionism or be union plants.)
The Whitening of America
A confluence of events rapidly changed the definition of white in the1930s and 40s. The rise of American industrial unionism successfully organized “unskilled” immigrant workers, blacks and Hispanics into broad-based unions. So much for the race chart.
The mobilization for WWII further melded together all the “lower” ethnic groups except for black, brown and yellow. And after the atrocities at the Nazi death camps were revealed, the earlier race science industry was thoroughly discredited.
What causes the definition of race to change?
The definition of “white” and of “race” in general depends on the needs of the most powerful elements of society. To justify slavery and Jim Crow, race science gave Southern elites a justification for denying human rights to millions with darker skin colors.
The “science” of the early 1900s created finely grained racial hierarchies that conveniently justified immigration restrictions and colonialism. Colonial powers argued that since their “race” was at the top of the ladder, they had the right and the duty to rule lesser peoples and their countries.
To successfully mobilize America against the “master race” and the “yellow peril” during WWII, American leaders permitted “white” to be broadened to include most of what previously had been considered lesser races. (However, racist Southern Democrats and their lock-down control of Congress made sure that black and brown people were denied New Deal benefits and therefore would continue to suffer as separate races. The Japanese internment camps further heightened the idea of a separate race of “Orientals.”)
So what color is Obama?
White mother, black father means you are black? White? Half-black? Half white?
That kind of question leads us to think about race as a biological as well as a sociological category. Skin color is real biology isn’t it? And what about sickle-cell anemia?
But folk science is not real science. One in 13 African-American babies is born with a sickle-cell trait. Sickle cell trait can also affect Hispanics, South Asians, Caucasians from southern Europe, and people from Middle Eastern countries.
Similarly, every effort to construct a black or white race through genetics has failed. No one yet has found a gene that signals a separate race.
Here’s a fact of life that may startle you. Eighty-five percent of all genetic variation is among people within a population and only 15 percent of the variation among humans is between different populations and continents. This means that any two black people chosen at random will have far more genetic differences from each other than a randomly selected white and a black person. Biologically speaking the old cliché is true: There is only one race ― the human race.
What is Race?
Over a century ago, W. E. B. Dubois put forth perhaps the clearest, most exact definition of race: “A Negro is a person who must ride Jim Crow in Georgia.”
He understood, as should we, that race always is a social construction, a human invention used to create a hierarchy of power. It is not genetics. It is not biology. And in the case of the “white working class” it’s not even accurate sociology.
When we invent the white working class, we whitewash an increasingly diverse manufacturing workforce. Take the workforce at Carrier, which is in the news because of Trump’s effort to prevent its jobs from moving to Mexico. Isn’t it a perfect example of a beleaguered and declining white working class in Indiana, looking to Trump for help?
No, the Carrier workforce is 50 percent African-American. Half of the assembly line workers are women. Burmese immigrants make up 10 percent of the employees.
Drop the dubious “white working class” construction and we’ll see that Porter is asking the wrong question. It’s not whether the imagined white working class voted for its own economic interests by voting for Trump.
Rather, the real question is this: Is it even possible for working people of all kinds to vote their economic interests given the corporate orientation of both parties?
What do you think?
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
Les Leopold, the director of the Labor Institute in New York is working with unions, worker centers and community organization to build a national economics educational campaign. His latest book, Runaway Inequality: An Activist's Guide to Economic Justice (Oct 2015), is a text for that effort. All proceeds go to support this educational campaign. (Please like the Runaway Inequality page on Facebook.) His previous book is The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance destroyed our Jobs, Pensions and Prosperity, and What We Can Do About It (Chelsea Green/2009).
Waging Class War in Comfort
The 'Good Girls Revolt' is the Untold Political Story of 2017
Austerity on Trial as Flint Emergency Manager Slammed With Criminal Charges
Bad News for America’s Workers


Total 173 articles.
Items detected: 1978, scanned: 1978, accumulated: 173, inserted: 173, empty media: 51, not matched limits: 223, skipped: {total: 1805, by unique value: 262, by limits: 54, by similarity: 59, by unicity: 0, dates: 26, by classifier: 1430, by blacklist: 2, by mandatory tag: 1805}, bad dates: 1, similar from same domain: 156; tag `description` the same value found 36 times; tag `title` the same value found 376 times; the same images URLs found 70 times; total 19 languages detected: {u'fr': 8, u'en': 2091, u'nl': 2, u'pt': 1, u'af': 5, u'vi': 2, u'ca': 5, u'de': 29, u'sw': 1, u'sv': 6, u'da': 7, u'cy': 1, u'no': 1, u'fi': 1, u'it': 4, u'et': 2, u'ro': 6, u'id': 3, u'es': 3}; {u'text': {u'chars': 795906, u'bytes': 3410656, u'words': 120965, u'sentences': 5203}}
Created at 2016-12-22 00:25