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Showing posts from September 4, 2020

Britney Spears' boyfriend Sam Asghari leaps to her defense after Instagram commenter calls her posts 'scary': 'We need more people like her'

Britney Spears' live-in boyfriend Sam Asghari leaped to her defense this week after an Instagram commenter criticized her account. Writer Kelly Oxford commented on Britney's page: 'This account finally got too scary for me,' prompting a reply from Sam, who is in his 20s. The dreamboat wrote: 'what’s so scary about being the biggest superstar in the world being herself (authentic, funny, humble) without caring what others think....' Side by side: Britney Spears' live-in boyfriend Sam Asghari leaped to her defense this week after an Instagram commenter criticized her account He added: 'we need more people like her and less Karen’s. also Instagram installed this button that you can hit to unfollow about 10 years ago…' Britney's fans screen-grabbed the exchange and posted it to social media where it did the rounds this Friday. Sam's Instagram defense went viral a day after Britney doubled down on her fight for more control of her conservatorship

R.Kelly asks to be released from federal prison after he was attacked by inmate, 39, who said 'the government made me ambush him'

R. Kelly has asked a Chicago judge to release him on bail after he was assaulted by a fellow inmate, who wrote in a newly released motion that 'the government made attack' the singer. Lawyers for Kelly filed a motion on Friday asking that the apparent gang member who violently ambushed him on August 26 be acquired for questioning under oath.   Details corroborated Jeremiah Shane Farmer, the convicted Latin Kings member who confessed to the attack, could help Kelly's sixth appeal for release from federal prison.  It also could help a claim from Kelley's attorney, Michael I. Leonard, that faculty at the Bureau of Prisons facility even encouraged Farmer to attack his client.  Lawyers for R.Kelly have for Jeremiah Shane Farmer be questioned under oath about his August 26  attack on the singer Farmer, 39, is at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, Illinois, over a mandatory life sentence for a racketeering conspiracy connected to a 1999 double homicide. He was

Erin Holland candidly reveals the one body insecurity she has ahead of stripping off on The All New Monty... and reveals how fiancé Ben Cutting reacted to her going on the show

She's set to strip off on Seven's The All New Monty: Guys and Gals later this month.   And now model and singer Erin Holland has revealed that baring all didn't come easy.  The 31-year-old told The Daily Telegraph that she's felt insecure about her 'flat chest' her whole life, but found doing the show was 'liberating.' 'I'm actually really self-conscious': Erin Holland candidly revealed this week the one body insecurity she has ahead of stripping off on The All New Monty 'I am actually really self-conscious about the fact that I am flat chested,' Erin told the publication.  She added: 'I couldn't care less about getting up in front of people and performing but showcasing the part of my body that I dislike the most was definitely the hardest part.'  The former Miss World Australia added that despite being insecure about her chest, she has no plans of getting any cosmetic enhancements. Candid: The 31-year-old told The Daily

New Zealand suffers two coronavirus deaths in just 24 hours including a former Cook Islands prime minister - after going 102 days without a single case of community transmission

A former prime minister of the Cook Islands turned Auckland GP is one of two people in New Zealand to die from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. Joe Williams, 85, and an Auckland father-of-four aged in his 50s succumbed to the deadly virus in New Zealand, after 99 days without any loss of life. Aotearoa enjoyed 102 days without cases of in the community before the emergence of a new cluster in Auckland. On Saturday, health officials announced another two cases linked to that cluster, as well as a third new case picked up within the country's border regime. There are currently 112 active cases in New Zealand, with one receiving treatment in an intensive care unit in Waikato Hospital. Foreign Minister Winston Peters said he was saddened by Dr Williams' passing. "As a doctor, a health researcher and as a politician, Dr Williams made a serious mark on the communities he served. He will be greatly missed in both New Zealand and the Cook Islands," he said. "Dr Williams wa

U.S. appeals court deals blow to Democrats' bid to get testimony from ex-White House lawyer McGahn

NEW YORK - A U.S. appeals court on Monday, in a victory for the Trump administration, ordered the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a Democratic-led House of Representatives panel seeking to enforce a subpoena issued to former White House Counsel Donald McGahn. In a 2-1 decision that Democrats vowed to appeal, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the House Judiciary Committee’s lawsuit had to be dismissed because Congress had never passed a law authorizing such litigation. “Because the Committee lacks a cause of action to enforce its subpoena, this lawsuit must be dismissed,” Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith wrote for the majority. The committee had sought testimony from McGahn, who left his post in October 2018, about President Donald Trump’s efforts to impede former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation that documented Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. McGahn declined to testify before the committee after the Ju

WikiLeaks, key player in 2016 U.S. election, suffers brief outage

WASHINGTON - Secret-spilling website WikiLeaks, a pivotal player in the email leaks that buffeted the 2016 U.S. presidential election, suffered a brief outage on Monday. Visitors to the site were met with an error message saying the security certificate used to ensure private communication with its users had expired and that access was forbidden. WikiLeaks effectively became invisible to most internet users, a problem that was fixed several hours later when a new certificate was installed. The blooper came at a particularly trying time for WikiLeaks, whose jailed founder Julian Assange is fighting extradition from Britain to the United States over charges connected to the disclosure of U.S. diplomatic secrets by former Army private Chelsea Manning in 2010. Assange would later go on to publish tens of thousands of emails belonging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, a development that might have contributed to her loss in the 2016 election. A Senat

Trump pushes to keep tax returns from NY prosecutor, eyes possible Supreme Court appeal

NEW YORK - President Donald Trump on Monday urged a federal appeals court not to let Manhattan’s top prosecutor have his tax returns, saying “the deck was clearly stacked against” him, and said he would ask the Supreme Court to intervene if necessary. The argument was made in a filing with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, which on Tuesday will hear arguments on Trump’s bid to delay Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s subpoena for the tax returns during Trump’s appeal. Absent a delay, Trump requested a stay to give the Supreme Court time to consider his request. A spokesman for Vance declined to comment. The district attorney is seeking eight years of tax returns from Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA in connection with a criminal probe of the president’s business practices. Trump has fought the subpoena for a year. He suffered a defeat in July when the Supreme Court rejected his claim of immunity from criminal probes while in the White House. The tax

Exclusive: U.S. threat to pull WADA funding could leave Americans out of Olympics

TORONTO - America’s top athletes could be banned from the Olympics and other major international sporting events if the United States follows through on its threat to withdraw funding from the World Anti-Doping Agency , anti-doping leaders told Reuters. The U.S. threat has sent shockwaves through the anti-doping community and prompted several governments to urge WADA to introduce legislation that would find the U.S. non-compliant with the WADA Code, effectively barring American athletes from international competition. “The consequences of a withdrawal of WADA funding by the U.S. could be more severe and far reaching for American athletes,” WADA president Witold Banka told Reuters. “We have been approached by a number of governments of the world that were shocked by the threats from the U.S. government supported by USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency). “These governments want us to consider an amendment to the compliance standard meaning that non-payment by a government of its WADA

Oregon man says Portland shooting was self defense

- A 48-year-old Oregon man said he acted in self defense during the fatal shooting of a supporter of a right-wing group in Portland as he thought he and a friend would be stabbed, Vice News reported on Thursday. “I had no choice. I mean, I, I had a choice. I could have sat there and watched them kill a friend of mine of color. But I wasn’t going to do that,” Michael Reinoehl said in a video interview published by Vice News about the Saturday shooting of Aaron Danielson, 39. Reinoehl did not say he shot Danielson in the fragment of video shown by Vice News before the full interview is aired on Thursday night. The Oregonian newspaper reported Reinoehl was under investigation in the killing that took place after Danielson, a supporter of the Patriot Prayer group, participated in a rally in support of President Donald Trump. Portland police did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Reinoehl, a self-declared anti-fascist, was active in Black Lives Matter demonstrations against

Trump's U.S. EPA chief claims climate-change fight hurts the poor

WASHINGTON - The head of the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday accused Democrats of hurting the poor with policies aimed at fighting climate change, and said the agency would keep supporting development and deregulation if President Donald Trump is re-elected. The speech, on the EPA’s 50th anniversary, laid out agency priorities if Trump wins a second term in office. It reflected the gaping ideological divide between Democrats and the administration, which has loosened regulations for pollution and vehicle fuel efficiency and promoted oil and gas drilling. “Some members of former administrations and progressives in Congress have elevated single issue advocacy – in many cases focused just on climate change ... over the interests of communities within their own country,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a speech that was streamed live on YouTube. Critics said the administration’s deregulatory agenda has undermined public health by rolling back water and air protection

Juul to drastically cut workforce, explore exiting some markets

- Juul Labs Inc said on Thursday it would make a “significant” cut to its global workforce and explore pulling out of some European and Asia-Pacific markets to save cash and weather a tumultuous period for the e-cigarette industry. The company, partly owned by Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc, is planning to lay off about 1,200 employees, more than half its workforce, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. ( “No final decisions have been made and we will continue to go through our evaluation process,” a Juul spokesman said. E-cigarette sales have slowed in the United States, Juul’s home market, as increased regulatory scrutiny following a rise in teenage vaping and a ban on the sale of popular flavors have hit demand. "It has seemingly become even easier to sell combustible cigarettes than vapor products," Juul said in a blog post. ( Altria’s 35% stake in Juul, valued at $12.8 billion in December 2018, dwind

How Abe's right-hand man made his play for Japan's top job

TOKYO - In the days leading up to Shinzo Abe’s surprise resignation last month as rumors of his ill health swirled in Japan, the prime minister’s right-hand man, Yoshihide Suga, was courting a ruling party boss whose backing could make him king. In a secluded dining room in an upscale Tokyo hotel, Suga met with Toshihiro Nikai, the secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party , for a traditional Japanese meal. They shared stories from their youth when they both worked as secretaries for powerful politicians, according to a columnist who dined with them. The dinner, Nikai’s third with Suga in as many months, came little over a week before Abe stepped down as Japan’s longest-serving premier and highlighted the kind of alliance-building that has made Suga the leading candidate to replace him. At the dinner, Suga thanked Nikai for keeping a firm grip over the LDP, saying it had allowed Abe’s administration to execute its policies with ease, according to Fumiya Shinohara, the politic

Brazil's coronavirus cases pass the four million mark: ministry

BRASILIA - Brazil has recorded more than 4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 43,773 new cases and 834 deaths from the disease caused by the virus reported in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday. Brazil has registered 4,041,638 cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll from COVID-19 has risen to 124,614, according to ministry data, in the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak outside the United States.

UNICEF says drugmakers can produce unprecedented vaccine quantities for COVID-19

NEW YORK - Unprecedented quantities of vaccines could be produced by 28 manufacturers in 10 countries over the next two years to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said on Thursday, as it announced it would help lead efforts to procure and distribute them. UNICEF’s role is part of a COVID-19 vaccine allocation plan - known as COVAX and co-led by the World Health Organization - that aims to buy and provide equitable access to the shots. So far, 76 wealthy nations committed to joining the COVAX effort. UNICEF said the 28 vaccine manufacturers had shared their annual productions plans for COVID-19 vaccines through 2023. A UNICEF market assessment “revealed that manufacturers are willing to collectively produce unprecedented quantities of vaccines over the coming 1-2 years.” But drugmakers have signaled the projections are “highly dependent on, among other things, whether clinical trials are successful, advance purchase agreements are put in place, funding is

Biden condemns Portland violence, says Trump 'recklessly encouraging' it

DETROIT - Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Sunday called violence at protests in Portland, Oregon, unacceptable and challenged President Donald Trump to stop “recklessly encouraging” it, after one person was killed during clashes between rival groups. Demonstrations against racism and police brutality have swept the United States since the death in May of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Protests have roiled downtown Portland every night for nearly three months following Floyd’s death, and police there said they had made arrests after one person was shot to death on Saturday night. “I condemn violence of every kind by anyone, whether on the left or the right. And I challenge Donald Trump to do the same,” Biden said in a statement, adding that “we must not become a country at war with ourselves.” “What does President Trump think will happen when he continues to insist on fanning the

Forty percent of Americans back Trump executive order on TikTok: Reuters/Ipsos poll

WASHINGTON/ NEW YORK - Forty percent of Americans back President Donald Trump’s threat to ban videosharing app TikTok if it is not sold to a U.S. buyer, according to a Reuters/Ipsos national poll, suggesting that many support the effort to separate the social media upstart from its Chinese parent. The poll published Monday, which surveyed 1,349 adult respondents across the United States, found that 40% backed Trump’s recent executive order forcing China’s ByteDance to sell its TikTok operations in the United States by Sept. 15. Thirty percent of the respondents said they opposed the move, while another 30% said they didn’t know either way. The responses were largely split along party lines, and many of those who agreed with Trump’s order said they do not know much about TikTok. Among Republicans, for example, 69% said they supported the president’s order while only 32% said they were familiar with the app. Twenty-one percent of Democrats also supported Trump’s order and 46% said they

Portland mayor urges restraint, renunciation of violence after fatal shooting

- Officials in Portland, Oregon, said on Sunday they were braced for an escalation of protest-related violence that has convulsed the city for three months, citing social media posts vowing revenge for a fatal shooting amid weekend street clashes between supporters of President Donald Trump and counter-demonstrators. “For those of you saying on Twitter this morning that you plan to come to Portland to seek retribution, I’m calling on you to stay away,” Mayor Ted Wheeler told an afternoon news conference, urging individuals of all political persuasions to join in renouncing violence. He also lashed out at Trump for political rhetoric that he said “encouraged division and stoked violence,” and brushed aside a flurry of weekend Twitter posts from the president criticizing Wheeler and urging the mayor to request help from the federal government to restore order. “It’s an aggressive stance. It’s not collaborative,” Wheeler said of Trump’s tweets. “I’d appreciate it if the president would

Trump defends accused Kenosha gunman, declines to condemn violence from his supporters

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump on Monday sided with a 17-year old charged with killing two people during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, saying the accused gunman was trying to get away and would have been killed by demonstrators if he had not opened fire. Trump on Tuesday will visit Kenosha, the site of protests against police brutality and racism since Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot seven times by police on Aug. 23 and left paralyzed. On the third night of protests, Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, shot three protesters, two fatally, with an assault rifle. “He was trying to get away from them ... And then he fell and then they very violently attacked him,” Trump said at a briefing. “I guess he was in very big trouble ... He probably would have been killed.” Rittenhouse has been charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree homicide and one count of attempted homicide, and his lawyer has said he plans to argue self-defense. The Republican president, who has made law

Zuckerberg, Chan to donate $300 million for U.S. elections to deal with COVID-19 pandemic

- Facebook Inc Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan will donate $300 million to help the U.S. election process deal with challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The amount will be donated to two non-partisan organizations for recruiting poll workers, renting polling places, and buying PPE kits for poll workers, Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post on Tuesday. ( “There will be historic levels of voting by mail, and increased need for poll workers and equipment to support contact-free voting,” Zuckerberg said.

White House says Senate Republicans may take up COVID-19 bill next week

WASHINGTON - Senate Republicans are likely to take up their COVID-19 relief bill next week offering $500 billion in additional federal aid, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said on Tuesday, adding that the administration was still weighing help for U.S. airlines. In an interview on CNBC, Meadows said he expected Senate Republicans’ legislation would be “more targeted” than House Democrats’ offer and could either be used as a building block or be passed on its own while negotiations continue. Congressional negotiations on further federal intervention amid the novel coronavirus pandemic remain at a standstill after the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives passed its $3.4 trillion measure back in May. Republican President Donald Trump and his administration have said they could support a $1 trillion bill. Democrats offered to split the difference with a roughly $2 trillion compromise, but there has been little movement. Meadows told CNBC the administration “was nowhere clo