Madonna loses custody war for son with ex-hubby Ritchie

New York (AFP) - Pop diva Madonna has settled a bitter custody dispute with former husband Guy Ritchie, agreeing for their teenage son to stay in Britain with his filmmaker father, a US court says.

"Their custody case is resolved," Lucian Chalfen, spokesman for the New York court where the divorced couple had fought for custody of their son Rocco, told AFP on Thursday.

The custody agreement reached Wednesday stipulates that the 16-year-old is to remain with his British father, according to US media reports citing Ritchie's lawyer, Peter Bronstein.

Bronstein was not immediately available to comment.

Madonna, who wanted her son to live with her in the United States, reacted enigmatically on social media. The pop star posted a photo of herself on Instagram wearing a black hoodie with the word "bitch" scrawled across it in red.

Madonna and Ritchie had battled for months for custody of Rocco in US and British courts.

Judges heard that Rocco remained in London with his father after a visit in December last year. Madonna wanted the teen to return to live with her in the State of New York.

The celebrity couple divorced in 2008 after eight years of marriage. Madonna aired her feelings about the painful end to their relation in her album "MDNA", released in March 2012.

The two also have a 10-year-old adopted son, David Banda.

Source:Yahoo.com

Black Lives Matter, but only if they're American

(CNN)Let's be honest: When people say "Black Lives Matter," what they really mean is that Black American Lives Matter.

Not Afro-Brazilian lives, not South Sudanese lives and certainly not Congolese lives. Just black American lives.
In July, as outrage over the police shooting of Alton Sterling dominated the news -- propelling black protesters across the world to the streets, much as Black Lives Matter protesters shut down London City Airport on Tuesday -- 300 people were killed in Juba, South Sudan.
Vava Tampa
 
That same week, an estimated 8,500 people were also killed in Congo, Africa's largest Sub-Saharan country, where proxy wars over control of its mineral resources that go into our mobile phones killed more than estimated 5.4 million between 1998 and 2008 -- and continue to claim 1,500 lives, with 1,100 women and young girls reportedly raped each day.
Yet, as with most killings in Africa, there wasn't any international protest within black communities in the diasporas to defend the humanity of these black people.
I cannot help thinking about this paradox: our preoccupation with the killing of black people in the United States versus our almost overt disregard for the killing of black people in Africa.
Why do we feel strongly enough to take to the streets over the killing of black people in Baltimore, Ferguson, Missouri, or Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but remain silent about killing in the Congo, Brazil or South Sudan?
Is it because Staten Island, Ferguson and Baton Rouge were flooded with media reporters from almost every major news outlet, with vigorous editorial discussion in the morning, noon and evening for viewers around the globe, while crises in the Congo and across Africa barely receive any airtime?
Is it because victims in the United States are black and their killers are white, whereas in places such as the Congo both the victims and perpetrators are black?
Or, perhaps, is it because we still see black people in Africa as primitive, not as fellow humans?
Whichever way you look at it, it cannot be right that our indignation arrives only when black people are killed in the United States.
Friends of mine have offered a predictable rebuttal: Black Lives Matter, I have heard it argued, must remain a US-focused campaign because of the impunity with which white police officers (even in the relatively enlightened 21st century) disproportionately kill black people for, in the words of James Baldwin, no other reason than simply being black: a painful reminder of the compromised existence black people have had in America since 1619.
My answer to this is simple. Police killing of black people in the United States is a symptom of a structural and systemic problem -- so far omitted from conversations -- that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. called white supremacy: the ideology that inspired Nazi Germany, the Berlin Conference, the slave trade, apartheid South Africa, Jim Crow South, the Ku Klux Klan, white privilege, white power and the West's love affair with Africa's strongmen.
This problem doesn't just trouble America. Every black person lives in constant menace of it -- on both a personal and societal level.
According to popular culture, to paraphrase Muhammad Ali, Jesus is white, angels are white and Snow White is white. Outside of popular culture all synonyms for "blackness" in the dictionary are nasty and negative, while every synonym for "whiteness" is positive and beautiful.
 
In Brazil, it is a fact that Afro-Brazilians -- people who self-identify as black or brown and who make up 53% of Brazil's population -- are poor, marginalized and almost three times more likely to get killed than their white counterparts, according to the UN Children's Fund.
At the United Nations, it goes much further. The Rwandan genocide in 1994 is perhaps the most consequential example. At the height of the killing, the UN Security Council decided to reduce its peacekeepers from the meager 2,500 trying to prevent the killing to merely 270, while at the same time sending an additional 6,500 troops to strengthen the already 24,000 UN troops deployed to save lives in Bosnia, where the victims were white.
Understanding this (for this generation and for generations to come) is so crucial and critical that it must be emphasized. Police killing of black people in the United States and the West's support for regimes responsible for mass killing in places such as the Congo are practically inextricable. They both kill black people.
And if our protests in US and UK streets and across the globe on social media are a reflection of our moral outrage, then surely killings in Juba, Congo or Brazil must also be a priority. This means expanding Black Lives Matter from a social policy issue to a foreign policy test in the United States, UK and across the globe. Otherwise our protest looks like a sham and hypocrisy, thinly disguised as moral outrage.
Source:CNN.com

From teenage headmaster to building the 'Harvard' of Africa

(CNN)At just 18 years old, Fred Swaniker became a head teacher.

Since then he's built an empire that he hopes will enrich and empower the entire continent.
"The greatest equalizer in life is education," Swaniker told CNN.
"If you can give people a chance to get this education, then we can actually get people out of poverty, and into the middle class, and then eventually creating wealth for others."
The Stanford Business School graduate, who has been commended by Barack Obama, founded the African Leadership Academy, a residential school for 16 to 19 year-olds in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Good leadership skills = a brighter future for Africa

Swaniker is committed to investing in the next generation and empowering young people to be leaders, but his ambition goes beyond his students; he wants to revolutionize Africa.
"I realized leadership was the single biggest thing that was holding us back from achieving our potential as a continent," he explained.
"The idea... came to me, 'why don't I create a special school for leaders?' If you give a young person a chance to practice entrepreneurship at 17 or 18 in a small way, that will give them the confidence and the practice to do something much bigger."
"Mark Zuckerberg started a little computer project in his dorm room when he was 19. That became Facebook."

Head teacher at 18

After Swaniker's father passed away, his mother decided to open up a school in Botswana. She was a popular teacher in their town, and started a school in a small church room with five students, making her son headmaster.
"It was a lot of responsibility, parents were giving you their most valuable asset really their children. For me to look after and to mold their minds, and determine in some ways the path of the rest of their life."
Within three years the school was doing better than its private competitors, after five the school was the best in the country.
"The best advice my mother ever gave me... is that when you're building a great school, it's not about the buildings, not the facilities," he continued. "What makes a great school are three things - great teachers, great students, and [a] great curriculum."

The African Leadership University

Now, Swaniker is embarking on a new adventure, providing students with the opportunity to split their education between the classroom and the real world. He founded the African Leadership University in 2013 in Mauritius, and hopes to open 25 campuses around Africa by 2060.
"Our aim is to transform Africa by developing what we believe is our most precious resource, which is not gold, it's not oil, it's not all these minerals that we obsess about in Africa - it's the brains of our young people."
"We've been missing the boat, and trying to dig up the resources underground. Our most valuable resource is above ground."

From teenage headmaster to building the 'Harvard' of Africa

african voices change makers spc a_00010727

 

 

 
 

 

 
 
 
Now Playing 'The Harvard of Africa'
'The Harvard of Africa' 08:14

Story highlights

  • Fred Swaniker founded the African Leadership Academy to empower young leaders on the continent
  • ALA has branches in Mauritus and South Africa he hopes to open 25 campuses around Africa by 2060.
  • The Stanford Business School graduate has been commended by Barack Obama for his efforts
  • Swaniker believes good leadership is the key to a successful future for the continent

(CNN)At just 18 years old, Fred Swaniker became a head teacher.

Since then he's built an empire that he hopes will enrich and empower the entire continent.
"The greatest equalizer in life is education," Swaniker told CNN.
"If you can give people a chance to get this education, then we can actually get people out of poverty, and into the middle class, and then eventually creating wealth for others."
The Stanford Business School graduate, who has been commended by Barack Obama, founded the African Leadership Academy, a residential school for 16 to 19 year-olds in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Good leadership skills = a brighter future for Africa

Swaniker is committed to investing in the next generation and empowering young people to be leaders, but his ambition goes beyond his students; he wants to revolutionize Africa.
"I realized leadership was the single biggest thing that was holding us back from achieving our potential as a continent," he explained.
"The idea... came to me, 'why don't I create a special school for leaders?' If you give a young person a chance to practice entrepreneurship at 17 or 18 in a small way, that will give them the confidence and the practice to do something much bigger."
"Mark Zuckerberg started a little computer project in his dorm room when he was 19. That became Facebook."

Head teacher at 18

After Swaniker's father passed away, his mother decided to open up a school in Botswana. She was a popular teacher in their town, and started a school in a small church room with five students, making her son headmaster.
"It was a lot of responsibility, parents were giving you their most valuable asset really their children. For me to look after and to mold their minds, and determine in some ways the path of the rest of their life."
Within three years the school was doing better than its private competitors, after five the school was the best in the country.
"The best advice my mother ever gave me... is that when you're building a great school, it's not about the buildings, not the facilities," he continued. "What makes a great school are three things - great teachers, great students, and [a] great curriculum."
 

The African Leadership University

Now, Swaniker is embarking on a new adventure, providing students with the opportunity to split their education between the classroom and the real world. He founded the African Leadership University in 2013 in Mauritius, and hopes to open 25 campuses around Africa by 2060.
"Our aim is to transform Africa by developing what we believe is our most precious resource, which is not gold, it's not oil, it's not all these minerals that we obsess about in Africa - it's the brains of our young people."
"We've been missing the boat, and trying to dig up the resources underground. Our most valuable resource is above ground."
Named one of 2016's most innovative companies by Fast Company, Swaniker sees the African Leadership University in Mauritius growing to 15,000 employees over the next 30 to 50 years.
"I believe that the transformation of Africa is not a short-term game," Swaniker argued. "I think in Africa we too often focus on quick wins and short term fixes."
"There is no short term quick fix to creating prosperity, and development and peace. You have to take the long-term view."
Source:CNN.com

Cape Verde's remarkable journey to the top of African football

(CNN)Cape Verde, a remote Atlantic archipelago, is not the most likely candidate for soccer supremacy. And yet, remarkably, the island nation has risen from obscurity to the point where, until a few months ago, they were the top ranking team in Africa.

But how? The obstacles standing in the way of the archipelago, 600 km off the west coast of mainland Africa, are many. The standard of league football isn't that high and resources are limited -- for instance teams based in Santiago, the largest island, all play in the same, old-fashioned stadium. Unlike football-mad Nigeria, with a population of 181 million, Cape Verde only has 500,000 people from which to source footballing excellence.
In April 2000, Cape Verde were languishing at 182nd in the FIFA world rankings. They'd never qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations. Known as the Blue Sharks, in reality they were minnows among the big fish of African soccer. But then Cape Verde won the now defunct Amilcar Cabral Cup, a competition between West African countries, and the ball started rolling.
 
Over the following 14 years Cape Verde moved into ascendancy, due in part to the -- sometimes literal -- groundwork of FIFA initiatives. In 1998 the nation had no grass pitches -- now there are 25.
"They made great contributions to the development of football in Cape Verde," explains former president of the Cape Verde FA Mario Semedo. "FIFA projects were indispensable in fostering the soccer culture of the region."
It's a soccer culture that humbled former colonial masters Portugal 0-2 in March 2015 and, but for fielding a suspended player, would have taken them to the World Cup in Rio in 2014.
Caught in the dragnet of national team success is a generation of children hoping to emulate their idols. From Semedo to coach Jose Maria Lobo to national team goalkeeper Nilson Batilha, all agree injecting money into grassroots soccer is key.
"Cape Verde is producing excellent players from the senior level down to the youth level," says Batilha. "There is a lot of talent amongst youth and if we don't invest in youth, we won't be able to have good players later."
Another challenge is talent retention. Batilha is one of the few national team players still based in Cape Verde. Most of his teammates have traveled abroad to play in other leagues in pursuit of glory.
This exodus is mostly keenly felt in those who have turned away from the Cape Verdean national squad. Valencia and ex-Manchester United player Nani was born in Praia but opted to represent Portugal; Gelson Fernandes, once of Manchester City, plays for Switzerland. Soccer royalty such as French international Patrick Vieira and Swedish legend Henrik Larsson could both have played for Cape Verde given their parentage.
 
"Before it was really hard for a player to have any interest in playing for the national team," Semedo admits. "But today things have changed... We have examples of players who have turned down offers to play in other countries so they could play for Cape Verde instead -- and they have no regrets.
"[They] can't buy what we offer them. We give them love, caring and friendship. They aren't admired only when they score a goal or play for the team. Even after retirement, they are cared for; the friendship continues. That is one important aspect about how we and Africa must treat our players so they may contribute to their countries of origin."
They may be able to offer their players love, but former player, coach, and 40 year veteran of Cape Verde soccer Luiz Da Silva says the nation needs to open its coffers if it wants to secure longterm success.
"How is it possible that a team that has made it to the qualifiers, and then qualified [for the African Cup of Nations] must rely on donations to play?" he asks. "That's unheard of."
Cape Verde is not a rich nation, and hardly ever plays friendlies because of the expense incurred. It's a serious handicap, preventing the national coach from experimenting or introducing fresh blood from local teams. Silva argues the lack of trickle-down opportunities stymies soccer at a domestic level.
How long Cape Verde can continue to defy the odds remains to be seen. It's going to take time and money to maintain their remarkable trajectory, and sustained exposure at international level. For the players on the pitch the job is much simpler: keep on winning.
"[Soccer] happens to unify everyone," says captain Marcos Soares. "We hope to continue getting good results so that we can give a good example to the country, particularly for the youth to follow."
Source:CNN.com

Exercise can cancel out the booze, says study

(CNN)You might want to chase that next beer with a little exercise. Exercising the recommended amount "cancels out" the higher risk of cancer death brought about by drinking, a new study revealed. Similarly, physical activity lessened any greater risk of death resulting from any cause due to alcohol.

With its "very high standing" in Western culture, "alcohol will continue to be abused despite the damage it causes to the health of individuals and society in general," said Dr. Emmanuel Stamatakis, senior author of the study, which appeared today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, and an associate professor at the University of Sydney's medical school. Yet, policies to regulate consumption have never worked well, explained Stamatakis. Since people continue to drink, this realistic researcher and his colleagues decided to see whether the harms of drinking might be offset by the benefits of exercising.

Observation over time

Stamatakis and his colleagues gathered data from health surveys conducted in England and Scotland. Then the researchers grouped the study participants -- 36,370 people, all 40 years of age or older -- into three categories: people who are not very active, those who do a moderate amount of exercising, and those who do the most. Next, the research team looked at alcohol use among the participants.
Calculating 5,735 total deaths over an average follow-up period of nearly 10 years per person, and crunching the numbers, the researchers discovered that compared with lifelong abstinence from alcohol, drinking at hazardous levels was linked to a heightened risk of death from all causes. Hazardous drinking is 8 to 20 US standard drinks for women and 21 to 49 for men, as defined by the researchers.
And, the more alcohol units drunk each week, the greater the risk of death from cancer -- even when a person drank less than the recommended maximum per week. The recommended weekly maximum, as defined, is 8 standard drinks for women and 12 for men.
However, all the numbers changed when Stamatakis and his colleagues factored exercise into their equations.
Specifically, they looked at the impact of the recommended amount of weekly exercise for adults, which is 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity. That includes brisk walking, swimming and mowing the lawn, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. HHS also advises strength training for all major muscle groups at least twice a week.
Exercising the recommended amount "appeared to wipe off completely" the inflated risk of cancer death resulting from alcohol, said Stamatakis. Similar physical activity also offset the increased risk of all-cause mortality linked to drinking. Exercising more provided slightly better results.
One thing exercise did not moderate, though, was death risk among those who drank at harmful levels --- "over 20 US standard drinks per week for women and over 28 US standard drinks for men," said Stamatakis.
The results also showed that occasional drinking -- drinking alcohol sometimes but not every week -- was associated with a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease among physically active people.
"I would have expected that the moderating effect of physical activity would be more pronounced for cardiovascular disease than for cancer mortality risk," noted Stamatakis.
 
Because it is an observational study, the results only "suggest a relationship" between exercise, drinking and health benefits, said Michael Hyek, senior director of OhioHealth's McConnell Heart Health Center. The researchers relied on self-reported accounts of lifestyle factors, which may or may not be reliable, and they didn't study eating habits or medication use or other factors that might play a role in how exercise plays into health when drinking is involved, noted Hyek, who was not involved in the research.
Still, Stamatakis believes his study gives "yet another reason" to promote physical activity and make the environment more conducive to physical activity and generally empower people to sit less. "How many more reasons do we need for physical activity to be taken seriously?" he asked.
With this, Hyek has no argument. The benefits of moderate intensity exercise include stress reduction, the prevention, control and reversal of diabetes, and a positive impact on blood pressure, body weight and depression, he explained.
"I know very few chronic medical conditions that exercise will not have a positive impact on," said Hyek. "It's a good thing regardless of what your circumstances are."
Source:CNN.com

Hepatitis A outbreak sickens 89 people in 7 states, CDC says

(CNN)A continuing outbreak of foodborne hepatitis A linked to frozen strawberries has sickened 89 people in seven states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. No deaths have been reported, though 39 patients have been hospitalized.

Health officials confirmed 70 people are ill in Virginia, where the outbreak first appeared, along with additional infections in Maryland (10), New York (1), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), West Virginia (5) and Wisconsin (1).
Hepatitis A is a viral liver infection that is highly contagious but does not result in chronic infection. Symptoms include yellow eyes or skin, abdominal pain, or pale stools. Exposure to the virus can occur by consuming tainted food or through direct contact with another person who has the infection.
Nearly all of the ill people reported drinking smoothies containing strawberries at Tropical Smoothie Cafés in Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia prior to August 8. Some of the victims traveled to these locations on vacation. The strawberries were imported from Egypt.
Generally, Hepatitis A infections have an incubation period of 15 to 50 days before symptoms appear. Because of this long lag time, new cases have developed many days after August 8, when all contaminated food products were removed from the restaurants and more cases are to be expected.
Anyone who consumed a smoothie after August 8 is not thought to be at risk for hepatitis A and available data does not indicate a continued risk at these restaurants, the CDC stated. Tropical Smoothie Café reported switching to another supplier for all restaurants nationwide.
According to the CDC, there are between 1,700 and 2,800 cases of the highly contagious virus each year in the United States. The majority of children who become infected with hepatitis A show no signs of illness, though more than 80% of adults will experience symptoms. Once recovered from their illnesses, patients are protected against reinfection for life.
Along with several states and the Food and Drug Administration, the CDC continues to investigate cases of hepatitis A related to this outbreak.
A hepatitis A vaccine became available in 1995, resulting in a 95% decline in infections, according to the CDC. Taken shortly after exposure, the vaccine or medicine can be helpful to anyone fearing they've come in contact with the virus.
Source:Cnn.com

2 Muslim women, babies attacked in alleged hate crime in New York

New York (CNN)A woman yelling anti-Muslim sentiment allegedly attacked two Muslim women as they pushed their children in strollers in New York, authorities said.

Emirjeta Xhelili, 32, allegedly tried to rip the hijab from the women's heads during the attack in Brooklyn on Thursday.
She struck the women in the face and body, and repeatedly shouted, "this is the United States of America, you're not supposed to be different from us," court documents allege.
Xhelili allegedly told the women, "get the (expletive) out of America (expletive), you don't belong here."
She also attacked their children, pushing one stroller to the ground and rattling the other while two infants sat inside, according to court documents. The 11-month-old and the 15-month-old, along with their mothers, were not seriously injured.

Suspect arrested

Shortly after the incident, New York Police Department officers arrested Xhelili in Brooklyn.
During an arraignment Friday, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office described the incident as a hate crime, charging her with offenses including assault, reckless endangerment of a child and harassment, according to court documents.
The New York Legal Aid Society attorney who represented Xhelili in court could not be reached for comment.

Call for justice

The Council on American Islamic Relations of New York called for justice.
"We urge the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office to prosecute this horrific attack vigorously, sending the message that hate attacks targeting any minority group will not be tolerated," said Afaf Nasher, executive director of CAIR-NY.
"We urge mosques and Islamic institutions to increase security measures, particularly this weekend as the nation marks the solemn occasion of the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, which some may use as an excuse to attack American-Muslims."
The alleged attack comes in the wake of recent murder charges against the alleged killer of a Queens imam and his associate in August.
"CAIR has noted a spike in anti-Muslim discrimination and hate crimes in recent months, which the civil rights groups attributes at least in part to Islamophobic rhetoric used by various public figures," CAIR-NY said in a statement.
Xhelili is scheduled to appear again in court Wednesday. Bail is set at $50,000 bond or $25,000 cash.
Source:CNN.com

Social media swoons at Essence magazine photos of Obamas

(CNN)Turns out, a picture is worth a thousand words. Or in this case, thousands of tweets.

The internet collectively swooned over photos of President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, who grace next month's cover of Essence magazine.
While the Obamas addressed various issues such as their legacy and what it means to African-American children, social media was more focused on their photos.
"I think when it comes to black kids, it means something for them to have spent most of their life seeing the family in the White House look like them," Obama says in the interview. "It matters."
Well, intimate photos matter too, if social media is anything to go by.
Shortly after Essence released the photos this week, the tweets poured in.
"Be right back, gonna make #relationshipgoals memes that have nothing to do with this photo for Facebook & Instagram," Desus Nice tweeted.
Others focused on the first lady's fit physique.
"I would buy a "Michelle Obama's 365 Days of Squats" DVD," @bimadew tweeted. "The disclaimer on the box would read: "This is mostly genes. But you can try, boo"
Others described the President and first lady as "couple goals."
And in true election season fashion, others used the picture to reminisce about the Obamas' last few weeks in the White House.
"Miss you already," @lotusjk1 tweeted.
Source:CNN.com

Alexis Arquette dies at 47: Actress and transgender activist

(CNN) Alexis Arquette, an actress and transgender activist, died Sunday while surrounded by members of Hollywood's famous Arquette family.

Arquette was 47. Brother Richmond Arquette and brother-in-law Todd Morgan confirmed the death to CNN.
Arquette was best known for film roles, including one in "The Wedding Singer" and another in "Pulp Fiction."
Born Robert, Arquette was the sibling of actors Rosanna, David and Patricia Arquette.
A 2007 film about her transition to becoming a woman, "Alexis Arquette: She's My Brother," was popular on the film festival circuit.
"Our brother Robert, who became our brother Alexis, who became our sister Alexis, who became our brother Alexis, passed this morning September 11, at 12:32 am," Richmond Arquette wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday.
In February, actor David Arquette reportedly said during an appearance on "Kocktails with Khloe" that Alexis no longer identified as transgender.
"She was like, 'Yeah, sometimes I'll be a man, sometimes I'll be a woman. I like to refer to myself as gender suspicious,'" David Arquette said.
Richmond Arquette wrote that Alexis was with brothers, sisters, a niece and "several other loved ones" at the end. David Bowie's song "Starman" was playing.
Richmond Arquette described Alexis to CNN as "a force" who "died as he lived, on his own terms" and said he was happy to have been "with him as he began his journey onward."
A cause of death was not specified.
Alexis Arquette began acting at an early age. Her first role was as a transvestite named Georgette in the 1989 film "Last Exit to Brooklyn."
She would go on to appear in dozens of roles from low-budget movies to television roles.
Arquette was one of the earliest high-profile advocates for transgender rights and said she identified with being a woman at a young age.
In 2009 she told Dr. Drew Pinksy during an interview on "Larry King Live" that she was born into "a pretty liberal family."
"I've worn makeup since I was 12," Arquette said. "They weren't in denial so much as their fear was that if I came out as transgender and live my life as a woman that might receive a lot of flak from people on the street."
On Sunday Patricia Arquette tweeted "Breaking through the veil singing Starman" with a link to that Bowie song, and "My first best friend - Cosmic Dancer" with a link to the T. Rex song.
Actress Roseanne Barr tweeted, "Hail hail a vagenius has vacated this realm! RIP Alexis Arquette." Barr included a photo of Arquette backstage at Barr's talk show in 1999.
Singer Boy George also paid homage to Arquette, who famously portrayed a Boy George-inspired singer in the 1998 film "The Wedding Singer."
"R.I.P. my sister Alexis Arquette," Boy George tweeted. "Another bright light gone out far too soon. Love to the family and all that loved Alexis."
Source: CNN.com
 

Wells Fargo customers livid over phantom accounts

Brian Kennedy was surprised when he logged onto the Wells Fargo website to pay his mortgage and discovered he had a checking account he never asked for.

And it had a negative balance of $60 for two months of fees and penalties.

Kennedy went to his local Wells Fargo branch to complain, and the account was promptly closed. But the bank charged him a $1 fee for the privilege. He reached into his pocket and handed the bank officer a dollar bill to close the account he never wanted.

"It really pissed me off," said Kennedy, a retiree in Westminster, Maryland. "They expect people to not be paying attention and hope you don't notice. I've got a high credit score and I want to keep it that way. As soon as rates drop enough I'm going to refinance out of their mortgage."

Wells Fargo (WFC) has agreed to pay $185 million in fines, and it fired 5,300 employees after admitting they had secretly set up more than 2 million unauthorized accounts to meet sales targets.

The $60 that Brian Kennedy was hit with was part of an estimated $2 million in improper fees cited by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Jeanne Young of South Amboy, New Jersey was also really angry at Wells Fargo. She was signed up for a credit card she never asked for. In response, she closed her Wells Fargo checking account and refinanced her mortgage away from the bank. Her fiance moved his IRA out of the bank.

"I was livid about the whole thing. I don't trust them. There's no doubt in my mind it was deliberate," said Young, who works for an insurance agent. She said she's concerned that having a credit card account opened and closed has dinged her credit score.

Janice Redding, a retiree from Greenville, South Carolina, said she assumed that the bank employee at her local branch had mistakenly hit the wrong button when a line of credit was opened in her name. She had asked about her credit card account just before she got a notice in the mail about the line of credit.

"I didn't think too much more about it," she said. "I called the 800-number, and I let the person there know I didn't appreciate it being done. He apologized to me."

Redding said she was concerned that someone might run up a large balance on the line of credit. "I don't have any money to start with," she said.

But unlike Kennedy and Young, she said she's not ready to leave Wells Fargo, even after her experience.

"I've been with them since 1990. I hate to say anything negative about them. They're my bank," she said.

Source:CNN.com

 

San Francisco will have one of the largest U.S. bikeshare programs -- thanks to Ford

Taking a Ford to work is about to mean something totally different in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The car manufacturer announced on Friday it will be sponsoring the Bay Area Bike Share program's expansion, which will bring a total up 7,000 bikes -- up from 700 -- to the region.

While the new bikes will start hitting the pavement in spring 2017, the San Francisco area will boast the second largest bikeshare network (behind New York) in the U.S. by the end of 2018, thanks to the Ford partnership.

The name of the system -- which is run by bikeshare network startup Motivate -- will change to Ford GoBike. Access to the bikeshare network, such as renting a bike for the day, will be accessible via a Ford app.

"It's going to have a profound impact on how people move around the Bay Area," said Motivate spokeswoman Dani Simons. "This will reach every few blocks in San Francisco, from the bay to the beach."

Simons said it will work closely with Ford on research and development for the bikeshare program, and use the car company's technology to improve the overall experience.

Unlimited rides will be offered for $14.95 a month, while a discounted rate of $5 a month will be offered to low-income residents.

Ford (F) also announced this week it is acquiring Chariot, a shuttle service based in San Francisco. The move is a reminder of Ford's interest in defining itself not as a car company but as a mobility company.

In addition, Ford is investing in multi-modal transportation and autonomous vehicles, as tech and transportation experts forecast huge changes in how we get around cities.

Source:CNN.com

Fewer teens pregnant, but it's not because they're having less sex

Teen pregnancy is way down. And a study suggests that the reason is increased, and increasingly effective, use of contraceptives.

From 2007 to 2013, births to teens age 15 to 19 dropped by 36 percent; pregnancies fell by 25 percent from 2007 to 2011, according to federal data (PDF).
But that wasn't because teens were shunning sex. The amount of sex being had by teenagers during that time period was largely unchanged, says the study (PDF), which was published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health. And it wasn't because they were having more abortions. Abortion has been declining among all age groups, and particularly among teenagers.
Rather, the researchers from the Guttmacher Institute and Columbia University found that "improvement in contraceptive use" accounted for the entire reduced risk of pregnancy over the five-year period.
"By definition, if teens are having the same amount of sex but getting pregnant less often, it's because of contraception," said Laura Lindberg, the study's lead author and a Guttmacher researcher.
No single contraceptive method stood out as singularly effective, said the researchers. Instead, they found that teens were using contraceptives more often, combining methods more often, and using more effective methods, such as the birth control pill, IUDs and implants.
Also, the use of any contraceptive at all makes a big difference, said Lindberg. "If a teen uses no method they have an 85 percent chance of getting pregnant [within a year]. Using anything is way more effective than that 85 percent risk."
The downturn in teen births actually dates back to the early 1990s, the authors say, with the rate dropping by 57 percent between 1991 and 2013. The increase in contraceptive use dates to the mid-1990s, with the use of any contraceptive at the most recent sexual encounter rising from 66 to 86 percent from 1995 to 2012.
Valerie Huber, who advocates for programs that urge teens to wait to have sex rather than provide information about contraception, says the study is biased toward birth control.
"As public health experts and policymakers, we must normalize sexual delay more than we normalize teen sex, even with contraception," said a statement from Huber, president and CEO of Ascend, a group that promotes abstinence education. "We believe youth deserve the best opportunity for a healthy future."
More recent policy changes could help drop the teen pregnancy rate even more. One is the Affordable Care Act requirement that boosted insurance coverage for contraception, starting in 2012. The other is the 2014 recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics that sexually active teenagers be offered "long-acting reversible contraception" methods such as implants and intrauterine devices, which are highly effective and do not require any additional action, such as remembering to take a daily pill.
But Lindberg noted that just as for older women, teens should be offered a full choice of contraceptives. "In the end, the best method for anyone is one that they are willing and able to use."
Source:CNN.com

French PM: Terror threat is 'maximal'

(CNN)The French prime minister issued a stark warning to the country on Sunday: France remains a target for terror and the country will suffer new attacks.

"The threat is maximal," Manuel Valls said in an interview with the Europe 1 radio station. "We have seen it again in the past few days, the past few hours, and even as we speak. Every day intelligence services, police and gendarmerie thwart attacks and dismantle Iraqi-Syrian networks."
Valls said authorities were monitoring around 15,000 people in France who they believe are in the process of radicalization. Earlier, French officials had said 10,000 people were on their "fiche S" list, used to flag radicalized individuals considered a threat to national security.
"We have almost 700 jihadists -- French or French residents -- fighting in Iraq and Syria, " Valls said.
"Out of these 700 jihadists, I'd like to remind (people) that there are 275 women and several dozens (of) minors," he added. An additional 196 French jihadists died in Iraq and Syria, he said.
His comments came after police last week thwarted an ISIS plot to attack the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
On Saturday, French authorities charged a woman whose name was given as Ornella G, in connection to the plot. She was charged with "terrorist criminal association to commit crimes against people" and "attempted assassinations as an organized gang in connection with a terrorist enterprise," according to the Paris prosecutors' office.
Ornella G and three other women were arrested after a car containing five gas cylinders was found abandoned near the cathedral, a major tourist draw in central Paris.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Friday the women were part of a cell directed by ISIS from Syria. One of the women had a letter in her purse swearing allegiance to ISIS, Molins said. Another woman had been engaged to be married to two known terrorists.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said earlier this week that the women were radicalized and likely had been planning an "imminent and violent" attack.
France has been under a state of emergency since the Paris terror attacks in November, and authorities have struggled to monitor thousands of domestic radicals on their radar.
Source:CNN.com

Nigerians vent frustrations against President Buhari

Lagos (CNN)It was supposed to be a rallying cry for unity in a nation deep in recession crisis.

However the launch of President Buhari's 'Change Begins With Me' campaign quickly went south as Nigerians took to Twitter to vent their frustrations against his government.
During a national address on Thursday, the president said: "The campaign principle is simple, each of us must live the change we want to see in our society."
He added: "Before you ask, 'where is the change they promised us,' you must first ask, 'how far have I changed my ways."
Angry Nigerians poured scorn on the initiative. Some felt the sentiment was tone deaf and failed to address the myriad problems Nigerians face on a daily basis. Top of that list is an economy in freefall and mass youth unemployment.
Last month, Nigeria's second quarter GDP fell by more than two percent compared to last year, after slipping by 0.4% in the first quarter. Two consecutive quarters of decline mean Nigeria has now slid into recession.
While he has been tough on corruption, Nigerians feel his authoritarian approach is out of touch when he needs to inspire hope for better times.
Many used the #changebeginswithme hash tag to let the president know he has failed in his earlier promise to deliver change
Buhari also recently launched a "War Against Indiscipline" -- one of his flagship schemes when he was first in power more than 30 years ago.
Source:CNN.com

Ugo Udezue: The man who wants to build Africa's NBA

Lagos (CNN)Ugo Udezue is a man on a mission

His goal is to create a sports empire to rival one of the most lucrative and successful franchises in the world; the NBA.
"I woke up one day and said, 'I have to do something,'" Udezue told CNN. "Africa has the best talent in sports, look at, even LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Their lineage is from Africa."
The former basketball player and NBA agent is now CEO of the African Basketball League (ABL), which aims to promote the sport on the continent and discover and cultivate young talent.

Finding the new LeBron James

"The motivation is more about creating an opportunity for all those kids I see that are seven foot tall walking down the streets not doing anything," he said.
"I want to cultivate all our LeBron James and our Kevin Durants here in Africa for Africa. We have the talent."
The ABL is currently active in four countries with a total of six teams, but Udezue's goal is to cover the continent.
"In the next three years we'll be in 20 countries in Africa," he continued. "We want to create an opportunity for each individual franchise and each individual city to be a whole business entity that is profitable and can create jobs."

Boosting the economy

Udezue recognizes the difficulties in building a venture like this from the ground up, particularly during trying economic times.
"We're working on a system where there is no industry," he said. "You have to find people to hire, you have to train them and you can't be forceful"
But he sees the ABL as the perfect way to boost sports-mad Nigeria's lagging economy.
"The NBA generates billions of dollars into the economy of the United States. Why can't we do that here? Everybody claims they're sports fans, [then] invest in it! It's a business," he said.

ore popular than football?

Although interest is growing in basketball it is not as popular on the continent as football. Udezue is aware that building a strong fan base will take time, but he's confident it will happen.
"What we're doing is so organic, he said. "You can't just bring a product from United States or Europe and think Africa is gonna take it like that. There's so much we're capturing in this first season, I think when we get to the next season it's going to be more seamless."
"Believe in Africa. Believe and don't be frustrated with what's going on. There's going to be change, it's coming. We're going to do this here in Africa."
Source: CNN.com

Justin Timberlake concert film heading to Netflix

(CNN)You can soon have a front row seat to a Justin Timberlake concert anywhere you watch Netflix.

The pop star's 20/20 Experience World Tour film called, "Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids," will drop on the streaming service October 12.
Netflix announced the acquisition Friday, ahead of the movie's premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The film's Oscar winning director, Jonathan Demme ("The Silence Of The Lambs") called the project "a space age music film."
"There's tremendous dancing in this piece. He's got an extraordinary band called the Tennessee Kids," Demme told Rolling Stone. "Huge horn section, two lead guitars, two drummers, eight dancers, four exquisite background singers. And we caught them on their last performance."
The movie was shot at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas -- the final stop of the two-year tour.
In the film's trailer, Timberlake summed up the spirit of the night in three words: "What a run."
Source:CNN.com

Trump finally admits it: 'President Barack Obama was born in the United States'

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump finally admitted Friday that "President Barack Obama was born in the United States," reversing himself on the issue that propelled him into national politics five years ago.

Trump sought to end his longstanding attempt to discredit the nation's first African-American president with just a few sentences tacked on at the end of an event to unveil his new hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.
But the issue isn't likely to die down any time soon -- especially as Trump continues to falsely blame Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for starting the "birtherism" controversy. Clinton spoke earlier Friday and said Trump's acknowledgment of Obama's birthplace doesn't go far enough and that he must also apologize.
"For five years, he has led the birther movement to delegitimize our first black president," Clinton said at an event in Washington. "His campaign was founded on this outrageous lie."
Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961.
The President dismissed Trump's criticism Friday, joking with reporters at the White House and saying, "I was pretty confident about where I was born."
The birtherism controversy exploded Thursday evening when Trump said in an interview with The Washington Post that he still wasn't prepared to acknowledge Obama's birthplace. Within a few hours, the campaign released a statement -- attributed to his spokesman -- that said Trump now believes Obama was born in the United States.
Trump finally said the words out loud Friday morning.
"President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period," Trump said. "Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again."
The developments over the past day were steeped in political motivations. With 53 days before the presidential election, Trump is moving into a margin of error race with Clinton and trying to broaden his appeal while maintaining his grip on the GOP base. Trump has made strenuous attempts to improve his dismal standing among minority voters and moderate Republicans in recent weeks, many of which see birtherism as racially motivated and an insult to Obama.
He is also aiming to take the issue of Obama's birthplace and legitimacy off the table by the time of the crucial debate with Clinton on September 26.
Trump has declined other opportunities in the past two weeks to refute his original birtherism.
When local Philadelphia TV station WPVI asked Trump on September 2 about his past statements about Obama not being born in the US, Trump replied: "I don't talk about it anymore. I told you, I don't talk about it anymore."
He repeated the same line when asked about it during a gaggle with reporters aboard his plane last week.
And in an interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly last week, Trump again said, "I don't bother talking about it."
Trump's extraordinary attempt to prove Obama was not a natural born US citizen and was therefore not qualified to be President started on the conservative fringe but incredibly gathered pace and became a major issue. The White House initially tried to ignore the birtherism movement as the work of conspiracy theorists but Trump's huge media profile propelled the issue through conservative media and it eventually gathered traction.
The saga only ended in a surreal and extraordinary moment in American politics when the sitting President went to the White House briefing room in April 2011 and produced his long-form birth certificate.

Trump campaign blames Clinton

In his statement Thursday night, Trump spokesman Jason Miller said, "Mr. Trump did a great service to the President and the country by bringing closure to the issue that Hillary Clinton and her team first raised."
He was referring to a controversy from the 2008 Democratic primary fight between Obama and Clinton. In a March 2008 interview with "60 Minutes," Clinton said she took then-Sen. Obama's word that he was not a Muslim, but when pressed if she believed he was, she replied, "No. No, there is nothing to base that on -- as far as I know."
Clinton, however, was not questioning Obama's birthplace.
Clinton slammed Trump's comments to the Post while speaking at a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute event in Washington Thursday, saying he needs to stop his "ugliness" and "bigotry."
"He was asked one more time: Where was President Obama born? And he still wouldn't say Hawaii. He still wouldn't say America. This man wants to be our next president? When will he stop this ugliness, this bigotry," she said. "This is the best he can do. This is who he is. And so we need to decide who we are."
Clinton's campaign later tweeted, "President Obama's successor cannot and will not be the man who led the racist birther movement. Period."

Trump finally admits it: 'President Barack Obama was born in the United States'

Story highlights

  • The statement appeared steeped in political motivations
  • Trump has attempted to improve his dismal standing among minority voters and moderate Republicans

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump finally admitted Friday that "President Barack Obama was born in the United States," reversing himself on the issue that propelled him into national politics five years ago.

Trump sought to end his longstanding attempt to discredit the nation's first African-American president with just a few sentences tacked on at the end of an event to unveil his new hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.
But the issue isn't likely to die down any time soon -- especially as Trump continues to falsely blame Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for starting the "birtherism" controversy. Clinton spoke earlier Friday and said Trump's acknowledgment of Obama's birthplace doesn't go far enough and that he must also apologize.
"For five years, he has led the birther movement to delegitimize our first black president," Clinton said at an event in Washington. "His campaign was founded on this outrageous lie."
Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961.
The President dismissed Trump's criticism Friday, joking with reporters at the White House and saying, "I was pretty confident about where I was born."
The birtherism controversy exploded Thursday evening when Trump said in an interview with The Washington Post that he still wasn't prepared to acknowledge Obama's birthplace. Within a few hours, the campaign released a statement -- attributed to his spokesman -- that said Trump now believes Obama was born in the United States.
Trump finally said the words out loud Friday morning.
"President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period," Trump said. "Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again."
The developments over the past day were steeped in political motivations. With 53 days before the presidential election, Trump is moving into a margin of error race with Clinton and trying to broaden his appeal while maintaining his grip on the GOP base. Trump has made strenuous attempts to improve his dismal standing among minority voters and moderate Republicans in recent weeks, many of which see birtherism as racially motivated and an insult to Obama.
He is also aiming to take the issue of Obama's birthplace and legitimacy off the table by the time of the crucial debate with Clinton on September 26.
Trump has declined other opportunities in the past two weeks to refute his original birtherism.
When local Philadelphia TV station WPVI asked Trump on September 2 about his past statements about Obama not being born in the US, Trump replied: "I don't talk about it anymore. I told you, I don't talk about it anymore."
He repeated the same line when asked about it during a gaggle with reporters aboard his plane last week.
And in an interview with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly last week, Trump again said, "I don't bother talking about it."
Trump's extraordinary attempt to prove Obama was not a natural born US citizen and was therefore not qualified to be President started on the conservative fringe but incredibly gathered pace and became a major issue. The White House initially tried to ignore the birtherism movement as the work of conspiracy theorists but Trump's huge media profile propelled the issue through conservative media and it eventually gathered traction.
The saga only ended in a surreal and extraordinary moment in American politics when the sitting President went to the White House briefing room in April 2011 and produced his long-form birth certificate.

Trump campaign blames Clinton

In his statement Thursday night, Trump spokesman Jason Miller said, "Mr. Trump did a great service to the President and the country by bringing closure to the issue that Hillary Clinton and her team first raised."
He was referring to a controversy from the 2008 Democratic primary fight between Obama and Clinton. In a March 2008 interview with "60 Minutes," Clinton said she took then-Sen. Obama's word that he was not a Muslim, but when pressed if she believed he was, she replied, "No. No, there is nothing to base that on -- as far as I know."
Clinton, however, was not questioning Obama's birthplace.
Clinton slammed Trump's comments to the Post while speaking at a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute event in Washington Thursday, saying he needs to stop his "ugliness" and "bigotry."
"He was asked one more time: Where was President Obama born? And he still wouldn't say Hawaii. He still wouldn't say America. This man wants to be our next president? When will he stop this ugliness, this bigotry," she said. "This is the best he can do. This is who he is. And so we need to decide who we are."
Clinton's campaign later tweeted, "President Obama's successor cannot and will not be the man who led the racist birther movement. Period."

The 'birther' controversy

Regardless of the controversy's origins, Trump has used it to launch his political career. In 2011, he emerged as one of the fringe movement's leaders, repeatedly seeking to cast doubt on Obama's citizenship and legitimacy in office.
"I have people that have been studying (Obama's birth certificate) and they cannot believe what they're finding ... I would like to have him show his birth certificate, and can I be honest with you, I hope he can," Trump said on NBC's "Today" show. "Because if he can't, if he can't, if he wasn't born in this country, which is a real possibility ... then he has pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics."
He continued to make media appearances and call Obama's birthplace into question on Twitter, eventually pushing Obama to release his long-form birth certificate -- which proves he was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961, and was certified by Hawaii's registrar -- at a White House news conference.
At his news conference, Obama said that it was time to put to rest an issue that had dogged his White House since he took office in 2009.
"We're not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers," Obama said at the time, in a clear reference to Trump.
But the real-estate billionaire, in a response that seemed outlandish at the time, but in retrospect looks like a template for the fact-challenged approach he adopted in his presidential campaign, claimed credit for getting Obama to produce evidence of his birthplace.
"Today I'm very proud of myself because I've accomplished something that nobody else was able to accomplish," Trump said in New Hampshire, after Obama's news conference.
In subsequent years, Obama jabbed fun at the birtherism controversy and used it to ridicule Trump, most memorably in a savage takedown of Trump at the White House Correspondent's Dinner in 2011.
"Now, I know that he's taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald," Obama said.
"And that's because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter -- like, did we fake the moon landing? What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?"
Source:CNN.com

Poured or Peeled, Why You Need Fruits and Veggies

Despite the best of intentions, consuming the ideal amount of healthful foods is easier said than done. Take the produce department: U.S. Department of Agriculture research finds Americans waste 15 to 20 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables they purchase each year. One option is purchasing canned items—especially if you have kids.

“Nine out of 10 American children are not eating enough vegetables, and 6 out of 10 kids do not eat enough fruit,” says Rich Tavoletti, Executive Director, Canned Food Alliance. “A recent NHANES study showed that kids who ate canned fruits and vegetables increased their overall consumption of fruits and vegetables, enjoyed a better diet quality overall and increased intakes of certain nutrients. We recommend keeping all forms of fruits, vegetables and beans on hand, whether they are canned, fresh, frozen, dried or 100 percent juice.”

Food for thought

According to the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences, canned foods often provide needed nutrients at a lower cost. Canned foods also require no refrigeration and little preparation.

“Unfortunately,” Tavoletti explains, “there is a misperception that ‘fresh is always best,’ leaving consumers confused about what they should feed their families.” Canned foods, in some cases, are actually more nutritious, because of the canning process. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, one-half cup of canned tomatoes provides 11.8 milligrams of lycopene, compared with 3.7 milligrams found in one medium fresh, uncooked tomato.

Getting creative

School Nutrition Association President Becky Domokos-Bays says fruits and veggies, overall, are playing a bigger role.

“School cafeterias are using a variety of methods to promote healthier choices to students. Often, the first hurdle is getting students to take that first bite. Through taste tests, free samples and produce-of-the-month promotions, schools are gradually introducing students to unfamiliar produce.”

For breakfast, choosemyplate.gov suggests decorating your child's cereal bowl with a smiley face using sliced bananas, raisins and an orange slice. Tavoletti adds, “Adding fiber-rich foods, and vegetables like spinach or a can of vitamin A-packed pumpkin, can spice things up and provide essential vitamins kids need to grow.”

Source:Health.com

Wells Fargo drumbeat grows louder. House launches investigation

Wells Fargo's headaches are quickly piling up. The bank is now facing an investigation and hearing from the powerful House Financial Services Committee over the opening of millions of fake accounts.

The chairman of the committee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, revealed it is launching an investigation and said Wells Fargo (WFC) CEO John Stumpf will be called on to testify at a hearing later this month.

Additionally, the House Financial Services Committee sent a letter to Wells Fargo requesting documents related to the bank's controversial sales tactics and that corporate officers be made available for transcribed interviews.

"The Committee is very concerned by these serious allegations and is investigating Wells Fargo's questionable sales practices," a letter signed by Hensarling to Wells Fargo reads.

The potential for a House hearing on Wells Fargo was signaled earlier on Friday by Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, where the bank is based.

"I remain concerned that mere financial penalties may not be enough to prevent this from happening again," Waters said in a statement last week, after Wells Fargo agreed to pay $185 million in fines over the fake accounts scandal.

The issue is likely personal for Waters as her district includes parts of Los Angeles, the city that filed a landmark lawsuit against Wells Fargo in 2015. The scandal was first brought to light by the L.A. Times, which in 2013 chronicled the pressure-cooker sales culture at Wells Fargo that led to the illegal activity.

Wells Fargo is grappling with further fallout. The Department of Justice recently issued subpoenas to Wells Fargo as part of a federal investigation, a U.S. official told CNN on Wednesday.

And on Tuesday, Stumpf will be in the hot seat as Elizabeth Warren and her colleagues on the Senate banking committee hold a Wells Fargo hearing. Warren has already suggested she's skeptical Wells Fargo management was unaware of the illegal activity of this scale.

"This was a staggering fraud," Warren told CNN recently. "Come on...this went on for years and they didn't smell anything in the air about fake accounts?"

If Wells Fargo senior executives were truly in the dark, Warren also said that means "this is simply a bank that is too big to manage."

That's precisely what activist group Public Citizen suggested in a shareholder resolution filed on Friday. Citing Wells Fargo's "massive fraud," the resolution calls on Wells Fargo to hire independent experts to explore whether breaking the bank up would make financial sense.

"Given the urgency of its management problems," the resolution reads, Wells Fargo's board should consider studying "whether it might more likely remain on the right side of the law under a trimmer organizational structure," the resolution reads.

Source:CNN.com

 

Pakistan mosque: Suicide attack leaves 25 dead

Peshawar, Pakistan (CNN)A suicide attack at a Pakistani mosque in the country's tribal areas killed at least 25 people Friday, an official told CNN.

Jamaat-ul-Ahra, a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban, has claimed responsibility for the bombing that also injured 34 people, according to the group's spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan.
The attack took place at one of the biggest mosques in Mohmand Agency, a district in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas north of Peshawar, said Naveed Akbar, assistant administrator for the agency.
Two children under the age of 10 were killed in the blast while four children under the age of 10 are among the injured, Akbar said.
The official said the suicide bomber detonated his device inside the packed hall of the mosque, which has a capacity of 100 to 150 people.
Screams could be heard after the blast, and body parts were found scattered around the mosque, Akhbar said. He said the death toll is likely to grow.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the attack in a statement.
"The cowardly attacks by terrorists cannot shatter the government's resolve to eliminate terrorism from the country," he said.
Jamaat-ul-Ahra has carried out several major attacks in Pakistan this year, including a bombing on August 8 that targeted lawyers and journalists and killed more than 72 people.
Source:CNN.com

Who could be Zimbabwe's next president?

(CNN)At 92, Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for longer than most Zimbabweans have been alive, taking office in 1980 after a brutal war and negotiated peace deal.

In his early years in power, Mugabe was hailed as a visionary leader who reconciled with former colonial rulers and promoted one of the most impressive education systems on the continent.
But he has since presided over an economic meltdown, violent suppression of dissent, and a regime frequently accused of corruption, and suppressing human rights.
In recent months, rumors of Mugabe's health have swirled unabated. It has become a parlor game for Zimbabwean's on social media to track his presidential plane in case he is spirited out of the country. Rumors of his death have surfaced -- more than once.
On his return from a recent trip, Mugabe dealt with those rumors head-on. "Yes, I was dead, it's true I was dead. I resurrected as I always do. Once I get back to my country I am real," he told assembled reporters.
But the president is 92 and, inevitably, someone will eventually take his place in power. Here is a short list, by no means comprehensive, of some people you should be watching.

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Nicknamed "Ngwena" (The Crocodile) because of his ruthlessness, Emmerson Mnangagwa has held various senior posts in the country's defence and internal security apparatus.

Emmerson Mnangagwa is Zimbabwe's co-Vice President, justice minister, and one of the most powerful figures in the country.
Nicknamed "The Crocodile" for his political cunning and also, perhaps, for the name of the guerrilla group he helped lead during the fight for independence, Mnangagwa is a feared figure in Zimbabwe -- not only for his closeness to Robert Mugabe, but also for his hold on the state security apparatus.
Mnangagwa was the country's spy chief in the 1980s when a campaign of terror was unleashed by the North Korean-trained fifth brigade against political opponents and civilians in Matabeleland known as the Gukurahundi.
The killings are still an open sore in Zimbabwe, but Mnangagwa has denied involvement and reportedly blamed the army.
Many feel that Mnangagwa is biding his time. Constitutionally, he would become president of Mugabe leaves the stage.

Joice Mujuru

Former vice president Joice Mujuru speaks during the launch of her party, Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) on June 19, 2016.

For most of Joice Mujuru's political life, she was considered the ultimate insider in Zimbabwe power politics. She became Vice President until she was purged by Robert Mugabe in 2014 for allegedly plotting against the longtime ruler.
Mujuru has impeccable liberation struggle credentials. As a teenager she joined the war of independence and took the name Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood). She claimed to have downed a military helicopter with a machine gun, and has held government and political posts since independence in 1980.
Mujuru and her then-husband Solomon Mujuru -- a liberation stalwart himself -- were accused of benefiting from the so-called farm invasions, by taking at least one formerly white-owned farm. Mujuru's business interests in mining have also faced scrutiny.
Solomon Mujuru, Zimbabwe's first post-independence military general, died in a suspicious fire in 2011.
Joice Mujuru was long seen as a potential successor to Mugabe, but faced increasing criticism -- particularly from first lady Grace Mugabe -- and was expelled in late 2014 from the Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
She formed the Zimbabwe People First Party earlier this year, which could be a major contender in the 2018 elections.

Grace Mugabe

Grace Mugabe with the current President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe.

Grace Mugabe began an affair with the much older Robert Mugabe while working as a secretary in State House in the 1980s.
But over the years, Mugabe's second wife has garnered significant power and influence and has frequently been talked about as a potential successor to the President.
While Grace Mugabe doesn't share the struggle credentials of other potential successors, her proximity to the long-time president has been a powerful tool.
Known as a blunt speaker, she helped push Joice Mujuru from her position of power by claiming she was power hungry and untrustworthy.
Grace Mugabe has expansive business interests in Zimbabwe and, like her husband, is on an EU and US targeted sanctions list.
She is praised for her extensive philanthropic work, particularly for orphans, but her lavish shopping sprees gave her the nickname "Gucci Grace."
And many Zimbabweans both inside and outside the political elite appear resentful of her influence in government.

Morgan Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe's former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai created the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

A longtime opposition leader and trade union activist, Morgan Tsvangirai has been a staunch critic of Robert Mugabe since the late 1990s.
A former member of the ruling Zanu-PF, Tsvangarai formed the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that helped defeat a 2000 referendum on constitutional referendum that would have extended Mugabe's rule and sanctioned the expropriation of white-owned land.
After a strong showing in parliamentary elections, Tsvangarai faced a series of treason charges and lengthy trials, but was acquitted.
In 2007, Tsvangirai and other MDC activists were brutally beaten by police after being arrested on his way to a government protest rally.
svangirai lost to Mugabe in a presidential election runoff in 2008. The ballot was marred by widespread accusations of intimidation and violence by the ruling party.
The disputed vote led to a power-sharing agreement between Mugabe, Tsvangarai and Arthur Mutambara, leaving Tsvangarai as Prime Minister.
Tsvangarai lost his position when the agreement folded after another disputed election in 2013, where he lost handily to Mugabe. He alleged widespread fraud but withdrew his court challenge.
Many in Zimbabwe we have spoken to feel that the years of political fighting, infighting and personal tragedy (Tsvangarai lost his wife in 2009 to a car crash) could have taken a toll.
Source:CNN.com

 

 
 

 

 
 
 
Now Playing Young Zimbabweans...
Young Zimbabweans face up to Robert Mugabe 03:21

Story highlights

  • Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for longer than most Zimbabweans have been alive
  • Leading contenders to replace him include his wife, a key ally and several opposition figures

(CNN)At 92, Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for longer than most Zimbabweans have been alive, taking office in 1980 after a brutal war and negotiated peace deal.

In his early years in power, Mugabe was hailed as a visionary leader who reconciled with former colonial rulers and promoted one of the most impressive education systems on the continent.
But he has since presided over an economic meltdown, violent suppression of dissent, and a regime frequently accused of corruption, and suppressing human rights.
 
In recent months, rumors of Mugabe's health have swirled unabated. It has become a parlor game for Zimbabwean's on social media to track his presidential plane in case he is spirited out of the country. Rumors of his death have surfaced -- more than once.
On his return from a recent trip, Mugabe dealt with those rumors head-on. "Yes, I was dead, it's true I was dead. I resurrected as I always do. Once I get back to my country I am real," he told assembled reporters.
But the president is 92 and, inevitably, someone will eventually take his place in power. Here is a short list, by no means comprehensive, of some people you should be watching.
 

Nollywood takes center stage at the Toronto International Film Festival

(CNN)The city of Lagos will take center stage at the Toronto International Film Festival [TIFF] Thursday.

The commercial capital of Nigeria has been chosen as part of the 'City to City' programme. Each year a city is selected and filmmakers living and working there are showcased. Previous featured cities include; London, Mumbai and Seoul, this year eight Nigerian films will be screened.
"Lagos is entirely unique," said Cameron Bailey the programme curator in a statement. "The city of Fela Kuti's music has also given birth to one of the world's most vibrant film industries."
"The 1,000 low-budget features 'Nollywood' produces each year generate about $1 billion in box office. Now, from that commercial hotbed, a new generation of filmmakers is emerging to both advance and challenge Nollywood."
For TIFF International Rising Star Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama, global recognition of the world's second largest film industry has been a long time coming.
"It's about time for Nollywood to start getting the right attention," the actress told CNN.
"I know our movies get exported, but it almost seemed like it's because we have [Nigerian] immigrants in different parts of the world. It was still our audience demanding for it. But now a huge film festival like TIFF, this isn't just Africans in Canada. Now we've gotten attention from a major film festival. "
addition to the recognition, Iyamah-Idhalama hopes the films will showcase the wide range of Nigerian storytelling and change perceptions about Nigerians.
"A movie like 93 days is talking about Ebola and heroism in Nigeria. It's almost an oxymoron; Nigeria and heroes," she said. "We're now beginning to tell stories that will motivate the average person to make a difference."
Iyamah-Idhalama, who stars in three of the films featured at TIFF, including '93 Days' and 'The Wedding Party,' started acting in 2012, a time she says the industry started to shift.
"People were beginning to see hope," she explained. "People were beginning to take the arts more seriously...a lot of things were happening. You could see there was a major shift that was beginning to happen."
Nollywood generates an estimated $600 million a year and is extremely popular at home, but the industry still faces challenges.
"We have grown tremendously," she continued. " [But] we still have a long way to go. There's still a structure that needs to be put in place, we still need to build an ecosystem but we've come a long way."
One of the major challenges facing the industry is piracy, rampant due to weak copyright laws and enforcement. According to the World Bank for every legitimate copy of a movie sold, nine are pirated, costing the industry billions in revenue.
At a time where the Nigerian economy continues to stall, Nollywood has been touted as a lifeline but only if these challenges are tackled head on by the government.
"Let's be honest our economy is not the best right now, but we are a people that push through tribulation," she said.
"Entertainment is always our fallback, if we get the support that we need from the government trying to curb piracy and put certain laws in place we can do better work," she continued. "We can export [that] and get the box office numbers without having to go through oil or agriculture."
Despite the challenges, Iyamah-Idhalama is hopeful and excited about the opportunities TIFF will bring the industry. "I'm just excited to have the opportunity to tell African stories as an African."
The Toronto International Film Festival has been celebrating the best of international and Canadian cinema for over 40 years, they introduced the City to City programme eight years ago. The 41st Toronto International Film Festival runs September 8 to 18, 2016.
Source:Cnn.com

iROKO: Why Netflix may have to chill Africa ambitions

(CNN) When Netflix announced its launch in Africa earlier this year, many assumed the $30 billion streaming juggernaut would steamroller local competitors on its path to global domination.

To the doomsayers, prospects appeared particularly bleak for the "Netflix of Africa" -- iROKO, the Nigerian streaming platform which is currently the largest on the continent.
"Netflix is here to eat the food from the bowls of my children," lamented iROKO founder Jason Njoku, 35 in a blogpost shortly after the announcement.
But his sentiment was firmly tongue-in-cheek. The company was about to make its own ambitious statement.
On January 25, iROKO announced $19 million of new funding from heavyweight international investors, including French TV network Canal+, to "scale its operations and expand aggressively across the continent."

Home advantage

Njoku was born and educated in the UK, but his understanding of Nigerian conditions and culture has been key to building one of the nation's most successful start-ups.
The entrepreneur recognized that despite the enormous popularity of Nigeria's "Nollywood" film industry -- the world's second largest by volume -- no major distribution network existed.

iROKO: Why Netflix may have to chill Africa ambitions

To the doomsayers, prospects appeared particularly bleak for the "Netflix of Africa" -- iROKO, the Nigerian streaming platform which is currently the largest on the continent.
"Netflix is here to eat the food from the bowls of my children," lamented iROKO founder Jason Njoku in a blogpost shortly after the announcement.
But his sentiment was firmly tongue-in-cheek. The company was about to make its own ambitious statement.
On January 25, iROKO announced $19 million of new funding from heavyweight international investors, including French TV network Canal+, to "scale its operations and expand aggressively across the continent."

Home advantage

Njoku was born and educated in the UK, but his understanding of Nigerian conditions and culture has been key to building one of the nation's most successful start-ups.
The entrepreneur recognized that despite the enormous popularity of Nigeria's "Nollywood" film industry -- the world's second largest by volume -- no major distribution network existed.
 
From 2010, Njoku began pursuing small-time producers across the country, securing the rights to thousands of titles. He cataloged them first on YouTube channels, and then iROKO platforms.
The entrepreneur recalls facing constant crises; from battles with pirates, to angry producers, to having his Google services suspended.
But the audience has grown rapidly -- iRoko racked up over 300 million video views in 2015. The company has also expanded, employing over 100 staff between offices in Lagos, London and New York.
Njoku believes in constant renewal, and the latest funding round will support tailoring the service to local needs.
"We have effectively discontinued desktop streaming," says the 35-year-old. "Holding a 3G signal for long periods in Sub-Saharan Africa is almost impossible."
Instead, the company will focus on the fast-growing mobile market -- Nigeria has the highest proportion of mobile Internet users in the world -- with packages to suit user budgets.
"The connected devices are overwhelmingly Android," says Njoku. "People typically use less than 500 megabytes a month, so we have to build a product that makes sense in that world."
Njoku is confident Netflix will be unable to match his company's subscription rates of $1.50 a month, and that the challenger will struggle to deliver quality streams with Nigerian connection speeds.

Patriotic pride

Beyond prices and devices, Njoku feels his greatest advantage is the exclusive library of "Nollywood" content, which has a fiercely loyal following.
"If you look at Nigerian TV there is Hollywood stuff available but people prefer Nollywood," he says. "It's similar to India where Bollywood is the over-index. Nigeria has Nollywood. Africa has Nollywood. That's the content of preference and I don't see that changing anytime soon."
The entrepreneur intends to maintain this edge by scaling up production of original content, with a target of 300 hours in 2016, including the glossy series "Husbands of Lagos."
Content will also be localized through the introduction of a translation feature for dubbing shows into new languages such as Swahili, Zulu and French -- all of which are spoken by huge populations on the continent.
Such advances have impressed international media giants, leading to new opportunities.
"Integrating popular content production and mobile SVOD (subscription video on demand) perfectly matches our group's entertainment vision in French-speaking Africa," said Jacques du Puy, president of Canal Plus Overseas, in announcing a partnership deal with iROKO.

Stream becomes flood

The arrival of Netflix is unlikely to harm iROKO, according to Sarah Lacy, technology journalist and editor of Pando.com, who has reported on the company since its early days.
"In general it's always better for the big global companies -- see Facebook vs. a million local social networks," says Lacy. "But new companies that are extremely differentiated will always do well. I'd put iROKO in this camp because they have a unique body of content."
Lacy suggests iROKO may also benefit from Netflix's arrival, as it could lead to improved digital infrastructure and faster connection speeds.
Such development could encourage an even more crowded marketplace. Streaming services such as Kenya's BuniTV and South Africa's Showmax are already planning to expand their reach.
As smartphone penetration continues to soar in the region, there will be growth opportunities for entertainment providers. But new arrivals will have to earn their share.
 
Source:CNN.com

The iPhone 7 hits stores -- but some models are already sold out

Apple fans are finally laying their hands on the brand new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

Eager customers joined long lines in cities like Sydney, Hong Kong, London, New York, Boston and San Francisco on Friday as the new models went on sale, more than a week after they were unveiled.

 

Apple (AAPL, Tech30) is releasing the phones, which are water resistant and feature beefed-up cameras, in more than 25 countries around the world. But people who haven't reserved one in advance won't be able to be too picky about the color -- or get the larger model. Apple said earlier this week that the iPhone 7 Plus is completely out of stock online.

"During the online pre-order period, initial quantities of iPhone 7 Plus in all finishes and iPhone 7 in jet black sold out and will not be available for walk-in customers," the company said in a statement.

However, some consumers who thought carriers might have the larger model in stock were disappointed as the day progressed.

"The iPhone 7 Plus is not available in stores this morning, so customers who wish to get iPhone 7 Plus should go [online] to place an order," a Verizon spokeswoman told CNNMoney.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile said its stores had "limited inventory at launch," with shipping dates as far away as the end of November for black iPhone 7 Plus devices.

Your best bet of finding an iPhone 7 Plus may be directly through Sprint. A spokesperson told CNNMoney "most of our retail stores have [the iPhone 7 Plus] going into [today]."

An AT&T spokesperson has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Many customers who couldn't get a device aired their complaints on Twitter.

If you're not in a rush and don't fancy spending your morning waiting on a sidewalk, you can order an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus online through Apple or a number of retailers.

iphone 7 london release

According to Apple's website, the jet black version of the iPhone 7 Plus won't ship until November in the U.S. All other colors, including matte black, will ship in two to three weeks if ordered online directly from Apple. Those wait times could change.

The 4.7-inch iPhone 7 starts at $649 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus starts at $769.

Outside an Apple Store in Hong Kong, sports coach Kala Singh said he'd reserved his matte black iPhone 7 a week ago. "I always upgrade my phone when they change the number," he said.

iphone 7 hong kong release

Singh opted not to go for a jet black version because he said he'd heard it's easy to get finger smudges on them.

But at the same store, Tsang Yan-yee said she was "a little bit upset" that she'd had to settle for a rose gold iPhone 7 instead of a jet black one. She also said she was disappointed with Apple's controversial decision to remove the phone's headphone jack.

Source:CNN.com

Entire San Francisco high school football team kneels for national anthem

An entire high school football team in San Francisco decided to take a knee for the playing of the national anthem and intends to continue throughout the season, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Mission High is believed to be the first high school team to take a knee en masse after individual players have taken a knee on teams across the country in the last week.

Being based in San Francisco, the team has had a front row seat to the movement spurred by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Among the core values in the school’s mission statement is “we serve the needs of individuals and the interests of a diverse community.” That diversity is reflected in a football team made of white, African-American, Latino and Asian players.

Coach Greg Hill, who is an African-American, decided to stand while his players took a knee.

“I decided I’d stand for them,” he told the Chronicle. “I’m gonna stand for my team.”

The decision to kneel was broached by team captain Niamey Harris and the other captains. They said they intended to kneel and asked their teammates to join them.

Harris said the captains said, “This is for helping everybody else in the world to understand that black people and people of color are going through difficulties and they need help. It’s not going to take care of itself.”

Harris, who is an African-American, lives a few blocks from where city police officers killed Mario Woods in December, sparking protests throughout the city of San Francisco and a Justice Department review.

Source:USA Today.com

One Direction alum Zayn Malik developing boy band drama for NBC

(CNN)Zayn Malik's One Direction days might be behind him, but a new TV project with NBC will have the singer calling upon his boy band experience in a major way.

Malik is teaming up with prolific TV producer Dick Wolf for a new drama that will center on the "highs and lows of a wildly successful boy band," read an announcement from Universal Television and NBC on Tuesday.
The show, titled "Boys," is currently in development.
"Dick Wolf is a legend," Malik said in the statement, "and the opportunity to work with him and NBC to create a compelling drama series is awesome."
NBC promises the drama will provide "an inside look" into the pressures that come with worldwide success and feature original music.
"It's exciting to be diving into this project with such passionate and prolific producers," said Jennifer Salke, president of NBC Entertainment. "Zayn certainly brings an authentic point of view to this world where kids are catapulted into fame at a dizzying speed. On top of our excitement around the creative ideas being discussed, we have a lot of respect for the musical and digital ambitions behind the project."
Malik and Dick and Noelle Wolf will executive produce the project, along with others.
"Boys" marks Malik's first foray into scripted TV.
Malik was part of teen-adored British boy band One Direction for five years before leaving in 2015. He released his first solo track in January.
Two-time Emmy winner Wolf currently produces "Law & Order: SVU," "Chicago Fire," "Chicago P.D.," "Chicago Med" and the upcoming "Chicago Justice" for NBC.
Source:CNN.com

Aleppo strikes trap children in rubble

(CNN)Bloodied toddlers wail on a hospital bed. Rescuers pull a baby from rubble, unsure whether the child will survive.

The latest videos from rebel-held eastern Aleppo purportedly show scenes from a nightmare that a joint US-Russian peace plan was supposed to resolve.
Instead, there's been more violence in Syria as diplomacy seems to have failed once again. Air raids are worse than before the ceasefire went into effect, the opposition says.
Activists say the wounded children in footage from the besieged city were hit by airstrikes as the Syrian government announced a new offensive in the area.

Hundreds of airstrikes

About 200 airstrikes have pummeled neighborhoods in eastern Aleppo since Friday morning, said Ammar al-Selmo, the head of the Syria Civil Defense group, a volunteer emergency medical service.
Rescue teams are still working to extract people from the rubble, he said.
Al-Selmo estimated that more than 100 people have been killed and hundreds more injured within Aleppo neighborhoods by the airstrikes. This figure does not include neighborhoods in the countryside. CNN could not immediately confirm the death toll.
During a rescue operation overnight Friday into Saturday, at least five members of the Syria Civil Defense, also known as the White Helmets, were injured by a nearby airstrike, al-Selmo said. One of those hurt is in critical condition.

Trapped in rubble

An activist with the opposition-aligned Aleppo Media Center, Mujahed Abu Aljood, told CNN on Friday that more than 60 airstrikes rained down that day.
He said the center believed more than 50 people, including children, were trapped in rubble in different areas of Aleppo.
"Civil defense crews are incapable of extracting them from underneath the rubble due to the intense airstrikes on the city of Aleppo," he said. "Since midnight until now, there are eight dead people and 10 injured as a result of the airstrikes."
\
The AMC cited the Syria Civil Defense as saying that Russian jets were involved in an airstrike north of Aleppo; CNN has reached out to Russian authorities for comment, but has yet to receive a response.

United Nations takes a stand

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that the Syrian offensive's airstrikes, incendiary weapons and bunker-buster bombs in densely populated places may amount to war crimes, the Ban's spokesman said Saturday.
"The secretary-general is appalled by the chilling military escalation in the city of Aleppo, which is facing the most sustained and intense bombardment since the start of the Syrian conflict," the statement said. "The secretary-general considers this a dark day for the global commitment to protect civilians."
The secretary-general urged the international community to unite and say it will not tolerate the indiscriminate use of power weapons against civilians.

Rebels launch counterattack

Syrian rebels, meanwhile, launched a counter-offensive against government forces Saturday to try to retake the area north of the city that was lost to the government earlier in the day, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
There were conflicting reports as of late Saturday about the success of the counterattack.

Trading blame

The fragile ceasefire that went into effect on September 12 fell apart less than a week later after US-led coalition forces struck a Syrian position, killing scores of soldiers.
The US military did not dispute the strike, but characterized it as "unintentional" and relayed its "regret" to Syria through Russia.
The strike has erupted in a diplomatic row between the US and Russia, the brokers of the ceasefire.
After an attack on an aid convoy -- which no one has admitted to carrying out -- and the new fighting, the head of the United Nations acknowledged the international community's failure.
"The Syrian tragedy shames us all," the secretary-general said. "The collective failure of the international community should haunt every member of this Council."
Speaking at the United Nations on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called for an investigation of the latest violence.
"It is essential to prevent the disruption of these agreements and to carry out an unbiased and impartial investigation of the incidents," Lavrov said.
Rooting out terrorism groups in Syria, he said, "is absolutely important in order to have truces and reconciliation."
The United States has pointed its finger at the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, blaming it for the breakdown of the cessation of hostilities and demanding the grounding of all military aircraft.
US Secretary of State John Kerry called on Syria and Russia to end aerial bombardment of eastern Aleppo, stating there is "no chance" of peace without an end to military operations and coordination between the parties.
Al-Assad on Thursday said the United States is not interested in a ceasefire, but that his government is ready and willing to commit to one.
"I believe that the United States is not genuine regarding having a cessation of violence in Syria," he told the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency.

Attacks intensify

The latest air strikes on Aleppo come after 20 people were killed and the city's main water pumping station was destroyed, according to the media center.
The military operation, conducted by Syrian forces, formally marked the end of the short-lived ceasefire that sought to quell violence, coordinate efforts to defeat ISIS and allow aid to enter the besieged city.
The UN children's agency said the damage Thursday to the water pumping station, plus the retaliatory closure of another serving the western part of Aleppo, left almost 2 million people in the city without access to running water.
"Depriving children of water puts them at risk of catastrophic outbreaks of waterborne diseases and adds to the suffering, fear and horror that children in Aleppo live through every day," said Hanaa Singer, UNICEF representative in Syria.
Syria's military announced the "start" of military operations in eastern Aleppo, warning residents to keep away from specific sites and centers of "armed terrorist groups," according to state-run news agency SANA.
Activists say allied Russian forces have participated in the strikes, though Moscow has not confirmed its involvement.

Obstacles to aid

An airstrike on Monday destroyed a Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) aid convoy in Urum al-Kubra, west of Aleppo, prompting the United Nations to halt its aid operations in Syria.
Russia denied carrying out the strike, instead charging that the convoy was hit by a "terrorists' pickup truck carrying a large-caliber mortar," according to Russian state news agency Tass.
The fire station is Aleppo was reduced to rubble.
 
A convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid did reach the besieged town of al-Muadamiyah in the Damascus countryside, a UN spokesperson told CNN on Thursday. It's an interagency humanitarian effort of the United Nations and SARC, carrying aid for 7,000 people, according to a tweet from the SARC.
Syrians in eastern Aleppo and other besieged cities and towns are facing a dire shortage of food, medicine and other supplies. The country's civil war, which is in its sixth year, has so far claimed the lives of more than 400,000 people and sparked a refugee crisis, according to the United Nations.
Source:CNN.com

4 arrested, hundreds feared dead after migrant boat capsizes off Egypt

(CNN)Four crew members were arrested Thursday after an overloaded boat believed to be carrying 450 migrants capsized off the Egyptian coast, according to state-run Nile TV.

The men were detained on possible charges of "human trafficking and involuntary manslaughter." One of them is the owner of the vessel.
Hundreds of migrants are feared dead after Wednesday's sinking, with just 163 people rescued and 51 bodies recovered, according to the country's military and state media.
The boat had set off from Egypt and was heading for Italy when it was found 12 nautical miles northeast of the town of Rashid -- also known as Rosetta -- in El Beheira Governorate on Wednesday afternoon.
State media said the boat had a maximum capacity of 150 people, but 450 had been crammed aboard. Smugglers were charging 35,000 Egyptian pounds ($3,951) for an Egyptian and $3,000 for foreigners to make the dangerous journey from Egypt to Europe, state media said.
Mahmoud Aly spent Wednesday going between hospitals along the coast. His brother and cousin were on the boat.
He told CNN his cousin was rescued but his 24-year-old brother is missing. "The boat had more people than it could take. It's a wooden boat," he said.
He said his family would spend the night on the beach waiting for boats to resume the search and rescue efforts at daylight. "We saw the last boat after sunset. Seven people were on board."

Hope for survivors dwindling

"Only dead bodies came out of the sea today, no survivors," Mohamed Abu Arab, a Rashid-based fishermen, told CNN.
Meanwhile Mohamed Nasrawy, whose brother was on the boat, spent the night and the early hours of Thursday on the beach looking for his sibling.
At least three families who have been searching for loved ones said so far it had mainly been local fisherman involved in the rescue mission.

People gather in Rashid, as the search and rescue operation continues on Thursday September 22.

4 arrested, hundreds feared dead after migrant boat capsizes off Egypt

Story highlights

  • The boat, believed to be carrying 450 people, was bound for Italy
  • More than 3,200 people have died attempting the dangerous crossing this year

(CNN)Four crew members were arrested Thursday after an overloaded boat believed to be carrying 450 migrants capsized off the Egyptian coast, according to state-run Nile TV.

The men were detained on possible charges of "human trafficking and involuntary manslaughter." One of them is the owner of the vessel.
Hundreds of migrants are feared dead after Wednesday's sinking, with just 163 people rescued and 51 bodies recovered, according to the country's military and state media.
A relative of a person on board the capsized boat, pictured in the port city of Rashid, Egypt.
 
The boat had set off from Egypt and was heading for Italy when it was found 12 nautical miles northeast of the town of Rashid -- also known as Rosetta -- in El Beheira Governorate on Wednesday afternoon.
State media said the boat had a maximum capacity of 150 people, but 450 had been crammed aboard. Smugglers were charging 35,000 Egyptian pounds ($3,951) for an Egyptian and $3,000 for foreigners to make the dangerous journey from Egypt to Europe, state media said.
Survivors of a boat that capsized in the Mediterranean on Wednesday sleep in an Egyptian police station.
 
Mahmoud Aly spent Wednesday going between hospitals along the coast. His brother and cousin were on the boat.
He told CNN his cousin was rescued but his 24-year-old brother is missing. "The boat had more people than it could take. It's a wooden boat," he said.
He said his family would spend the night on the beach waiting for boats to resume the search and rescue efforts at daylight. "We saw the last boat after sunset. Seven people were on board."

Hope for survivors dwindling

"Only dead bodies came out of the sea today, no survivors," Mohamed Abu Arab, a Rashid-based fishermen, told CNN.
Meanwhile Mohamed Nasrawy, whose brother was on the boat, spent the night and the early hours of Thursday on the beach looking for his sibling.
At least three families who have been searching for loved ones said so far it had mainly been local fisherman involved in the rescue mission.
People gather in Rashid, as the search and rescue operation continues on Thursday September 22.
 

'This is a disaster'

Arab told CNN that he and other fisherman are used to finding three, four or five bodies from failed migrant crossing attempts.
"But we haven't seen this before," he said of the number of bodies from the latest incident. "This is a disaster."
Survivors from the capsized boat in a hospital in Rashid.
 
Fishermen were the first to spot the capsized boat Wednesday, Arab said, and have been assisting the coast guard in the search for survivors. "Everyone is helping. All security agencies are involved."
Most of the survivors he has seen were Egyptian, he said, but he believes there were also people from Sudan and Somalia.

Week of arrests

The Egyptian military has regularly announced efforts to combat illegal immigration. On the same day the boat capsized, the coast guard foiled an illegal immigration attempt, rescuing 294 on board a boat off the shore of El-Alamein, according to a military statement.
A day earlier, the Egyptian military arrested 68 people on a boat trying to make its way to Europe. They were captured off the coast of Matrouh.
Survivors from the boat sit in a police station in Rashid on September 21.
 
Last week, the country's navy thwarted two attempts by people trying to cross from Egypt to Europe. More than 400 would-be migrants of various nationalities were arrested in that operation.

A perilous journey

Migrants are leaving African countries in large numbers for Europe, often in overcrowded, rickety boats. The perilous voyages often turn fatal.
Many of the refugees using the central Mediterranean route -- which runs roughly from Libya or other north African countries to Italy -- are from Nigeria, Eritrea and Gambia, according to the International Organization for Migration.
This year, over 300,000 have arrived in Europe by sea, landing mostly in Greece and Italy, according to UN estimates. Almost 30% are children.
Of those attempting the crossing, 3,211 people are believed to have died at sea, added the report.
Source:CNN.com

Olympic runner Feyisa Lilesa: 'I will be killed if I go back to Ethiopia'

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)When Ethiopian runner Feyisa Lilesa raised his hands and crossed his wrists above his head in a defiant political gesture as he approached the finish line at the Rio Olympic marathon, it put the spotlight on his home nation.

"Crossing my wrists in Rio has already had a great impact on my life," he said. "I am now separated from my dear mother, my supportive wife and my precious children in Ethiopia who I miss dearly."
With his simple gesture, Lilesa joined a long list of athletes who have used the global sports stage to protest what they describe as injustices in their home countries.
In his case, the crossed wrists symbolized the handcuffs of political prisoners and dissidents in Ethiopia, who he said have been imprisoned for protesting against the taking and selling of land belonging to the Oromo people to foreign investors.
The Oromo are Ethiopia's largest ethnic group and make up at least a third of Ethiopia's 100 million people. But they have been marginalized for decades, with tensions rising recently as the government promoted development that took over Oromo farmland.
"In November, the government forced farmers off their land and we began to peacefully protest. Since then, human rights organizations say around 500 people are dead. I say that over 1,000 have died; this includes at least 12 people that I know from my home district of Jaldu in Oromia," Lilesa said.
CNN has not been able to independently verify the claim that 1,000 people have been killed since protests began.
Last month, Ethiopia's Communications Minister Getachew Reda described the figure of 1,000 as "nonsense" but he would not offer a figure for the number of protesters who have died. "This game of numbers has no merit," he said at the time.
CNN has tried to contact the Ethiopian government by telephone several times for further comment on these allegations but those attempts have not been successful.
Previously, Reda said Ethiopia's security response to the protests is standard police protocol -- to disperse "rioters." Some protesters have been armed with guns and hand grenades, he said.
As for Lilesa, Reda said he was "entitled to make" a "political statement. That is his right," Reda said. "It's not about holding one political view or another."
Lilesa, who says his family named is correctly spelled as Lelisa but appears differently on his passport and in reporting of his Rio political gesture, spoke of his anguish at what he feared was happening at home.
"Families do not know what happened to their sons and daughters after they were taken by the army and police. We all know someone who has been killed or disappeared," Lilesa told CNN in an email interview.

Olympian fears backlash from government

The marathon runner is now effectively a political exile, estranged from his family and friends and afraid to go back to his country again, despite assurances from the Ethiopian government that he will receive a hero's welcome.
Reda told CNN that Lilesa is an "Ethiopian hero."
"I can assure you nothing is going to happen to his family, nothing is going to happen to him."
However, Lilesa told CNN he did not believe these assurances. "This government says one thing and does something different. I know if I go back to Ethiopia, I will be killed, arrested, or put on a list of people never allowed to leave the country again. The government security has killed hundreds of people for just doing what I did."
After the Olympics, Lilesa stayed on in Brazil for weeks and has now traveled to the US where he has received a special skills visa to train for upcoming races there, he said.
Despite fearing for his safety, Lilesa said he had no regrets following his actions.
"I would have regretted if I had returned to Ethiopia without taking the opportunity to make the situation of my people known in this way and make their voices heard," he said in the email interview from Washington DC.
"My people were yearning to be heard... to let their condition be known and because of my protest... now people know who the Oromo are and what they face," he added.

Runner calls for change in Ethiopia

Lilesa says he has received an outpouring of support since the Olympics.
"People make the sign wherever I go," he said.
A crowd funding site has raised more than $160,000. The site was set up by someone in the US who says he recognized that Lilesa would need support following his anti-government protest.
Lilesa, who has two children in Ethiopia, said he misses his family but added: "I know that the families of all those who are lost and those who are maimed are just as precious. Mine is no different from theirs."
He hopes to one day go back to Ethiopia but, he said, not before things change drastically for those persecuted there.
"We need change in Ethiopia," he said.
"I look forward to a day when all people of Ethiopia can live in peace, with their full rights protected. Like all other people, the people of Ethiopia want justice, free speech, accountable government and a free press."
Source:CNN.com

Fearless young Zimbabweans face up to world's oldest leader

Harare, Zimbabwe (CNN)Zimbabwe has known only one leader since independence. First as prime minister, then president, there has only been Robert Mugabe at the top for the last 36 years.

There have been challenges, opposition and violence, but the 92-year-old leader has always known how to deal with dissent and stay in power, frequently using brutal tactics.
But now there are protesters, young and leaderless, united by social media.
Erstwhile confidants of Mugabe, themselves liberation war heroes, are emerging to challenge him for political leadership.
And members of the security forces, so key to maintaining order, are no longer unquestioningly loyal. Are all of the ingredients finally in place for a change in Zimbabwe.
We're not afraid of what will come," says anti-Mugabe activist Hardlife Mzingu.
That's what the activists would have you believe. They are a new breed for Zimbabwe, growing up under Mugabe, and they seem fearless and ready to be counted.
"Let them see us," says Hardlife Mzingu of the Tajamuka campaign. Translated, the movement's name means 'we are fed up'.
Unlike previous opposition movements, they don't have a single leader to depend on, who could disappear or be discredited; instead they have social media to reach and unite thousands.
"We have a future that is being destroyed in this country. And it is our role in this country to rebuild that future," says Mzingu.
"These are young people, across the political divide, across creeds, across social divisions in the country, who have met and resolved they have to fulfill our generational mandate."
That mandate, he says, is to push Mugabe out. For weeks now they've stood up to Mugabe's security forces on the streets of the capital Harare in what are quickly becoming weekly protests.
Armed with smart phones, they capture the confrontations. There's the video of the protester dressed in bright red on the steps of the courthouse, turning briefly to face the five riot police that surround him. He raises his arms and they raise their batons, beating him from all sides.
It's videos like that, and the countless still images of abuse shared on Whatsapp, that are driving these activists. But they know, for the movement to work, it needs to take hold outside of the capital city and in the rural strongholds of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.
As dusk approaches, we follow them away from our meeting spot at an upscale shopping center and down one of the roads leading outside of Harare.
"Wait here," says one of the activists as they slip through the gate of a nondescript cement house.
A few moments later they return and invite us in. A crowd of about 30 sits in the backyard as chickens scuttle around.
Community members plan their next demonstration against Robert Mugabe after a court ruled against a police order suspending protests.
 
All of them are wearing white "Mugabe must go" t-shirts. They say the t-shirt alone could get them beaten or arrested.
"How many people from your area can we count on tomorrow?" one of the leaders asks those gathered. "One hundred? Can we count on that? If you bring 100 people, we'll make sure to provide you with transportation."
"Tomorrow" is another protest planned over social media. The courts have just overturned a government order banning demonstrations for two weeks and the activists don't want to waste any time getting back on the streets, where they expect to face tear gas and worse.
"We are not afraid of what will come," says Mzingu.

POLICE LOYALTY WAVERS

Zimbabwean anti-riot police chase opposition activists in August in Harare.
 
The same court ruling has put Mugabe's security forces on edge. For days we've been trying to set up a meeting with a veteran Harare police officer and now that face-to-face is in jeopardy. He's been called in to another emergency meeting on how to deal with the expected fresh round of protests; he's not sure if he can make it.
For more than three decades, Mugabe has used state security to brutally crush dissent. The response from police has always been an unquestioning, unwavering loyalty to him and obedience.
But that too is changing and so are our plans. The police officer texts to say he's on his way.
He could lose his job or worse, get arrested for what he's about to tell us. But he's determined to talk. We are hiding his identity for his protection.
What he says smashes the veneer of unity in Zimbabwe's state security apparatus.
"I think people don't know what is actually happening in Zimbabwe, particularly within government institutions like the police, the army," he says. "They see us on the streets beating up people, they think it is from our own liking, but that is not the case."
He says following orders is becoming harder and harder for his fellow officers and that they are being used as political pawns. Demands from Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party trump their training, their orders.
A protester throws a street sign with  Mugabe's name on it during clashes in August.
 
"We are briefed by our superiors, we are briefed not to beat up people, but when we are on the ground, the instructions changed," he says.
Those new instructions, he says, outline a very clear order of escalation. "Eventually we are going to use live ammunition. They talk of the use of tear smoke, they talk of the use of animals, of dogs and horses and the like, and the last one is the use of firearms. In that order."
 
A presidential spokesman denied allegations that Mugabe's party is ordering the police to attack protesters.
"It's not the case," said George Charamba simply.

"LIVE AMMUNITION IS NEXT"

Anti-riot policemen surround an activist at Harare Central Police Station in August.
 
But the revelations shed a new light on the repeated allegations of abuse by state security in Zimbabwe.
Prominent human rights lawyer Harrison Nkomo says that Mugabe is running roughshod over the Zimbabwean constitution, which guarantees the right to protest.
"One would want the government to hear those voices and implement on their concerns," Nkomo says in his office, around the corner from where some of the biggest demonstrations have occurred. "But instead we are getting the opposite. We don't want you to say out your views. And how do we make sure you are not heard? We crush you before you express yourself."
When asked if he's afraid someone is going to be killed, the police officer answers without hesitation.
"If the momentum of these demonstration continues, I think eventually they are going to use live ammunition. That is my worry."

REVOLUTIONARY ONCE MORE

Protesters set up a burning barricade as they clash with police in Harare in August.
 
The government appears to be settling in for a battle with street protests, but some say the real danger for Mugabe comes from within.
We drive out into Mashonaland, about 90 minutes from the capital, past giant commercial farms growing wheat and citrus. Many of them were taken from white farmers and foreign corporations and handed to Mugabe loyalists under the government's "land reform" program after independence from white rule.
One such farm is now owned by Agrippa Mutambara. We arrive as he is giving farm hands orders, gray suit pants hitched over his blue shirt with suspenders.
During the bloody liberation struggle of the 1960s and 1970s, Mutambara called himself "Dragon" and he was a key field commander. After independence he took diplomatic posts in the critical ally nations of Cuba, Russia and Mozambique.
Agrippa Mutambara called himself "Dragon" during his days as a general. Now he supports the opposition.
 
Now, he has turned his back on Mugabe, saying he is tired of the way the ruling party used fear and intimidation as its main tools.
"We attained independence, yes. We were able to exorcise the colonial demon. In its place we also created another demon. Until there is a change in the way that government is run in Zimbabwe, the revolution must continue," he says.
It was that outspoken criticism, he says, that caused about 50 Mugabe loyalists to pile out of trucks and cars to try to invade his farm recently.
"They said 'you are a traitor,' then some of them started scaling the fence. At that time I took my pistol and cocked it. When I did that, they all went down."
Mutambara is part of a growing number of senior politicians and war veterans who are joining Joice Mujuru's Zimbabwe People First Party.
Mujuru, a former Vice President, was turfed out of ZANU-PF in 2014. Now, she hopes to exploit the divisions in the ruling party and the discontent in the country, in the belief that can lead to triumph in the 2018 scheduled elections.

A PERFECT STORM

People burn worthless note bearers' cheques in Harare in August.
 
Right now, Zimbabweans have a lot to be protesting about. Put simply, the country is running out of cash.
Since the hyperinflation of 2009, Zimbabwe depends largely on the US dollar. And the cash liquidity crunch is extreme.
Each day, long lines form at banks in the capital, as citizens try to pull out their money. Banks place a cap on withdrawals to avoid a bank run.
Former teacher Kudzai Gonorenda, waiting in line outside a bank in Harare, says that makes everyday life almost unbearable.
"If you have money in the bank, but you can't access that money, because of the cash crisis, then it is difficult," he said.
The government has been struggling to pay its civil servants -- a large chunk of the national budget -- and has paid late or less than usual when it can.
Proposals to print a so-called bond note pegged to the dollar have been met with protests and suspicion by the general public.
Though the International Monetary Fund does commend the government for making some tough reforms, it says that no more loans will be forthcoming until it clears the $1.8 billion in debt that it holds with multilateral lenders.
A deal to get emergency funding, though, is not off the table yet.

A NEW ALLIANCE

A vender sells fruit in Harare's Epworth neighborhood,the scene of several protests in recent months.
 
The macro-economic crunch is made worse by a crippling drought that will leave more than four million people in need of help, according to the United Nations.
Exacerbated by a punishing El Niño cycle, farmers in large parts of the country have been unable to grow their crops. And the cash-strapped government doesn't have the funding to provide substantial help.
One long-time Zimbabwe watcher calls it a "perfect storm."
Among the civil servants who are paid months late, if at all, is the police officer who spoke to us.
"Our bosses, they have got allowances that they can actually use to sustain themselves. But for the lower ranks, as in my case, you can't source money from anywhere," he says.
It's a thread of anger that we hear time and again in Harare. An anger between the politically powerful haves and the have-nots. And it's creating what could be a new kinship, a new alliance.
"The very same people we are beating, some of them are my schoolmates," says the police officer. "Some of them are my friends, or people we live with in the community."
Source:CNN.com
 
 
Armed with smart phones, they capture the confrontations. There's the video of the protester dressed in bright red on the steps of the courthouse, turning briefly to face the five riot police that surround him. He raises his arms and they raise their batons, beating him from all sides.

Obama: African-American museum helps tell fuller story of America

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama said Saturday that the new Smithsonian museum devoted to African-American history elevates the often-overlooked impact of black Americans and will help others better understand the breadth of the American story.

"This national museum helps to tell a richer and fuller story of who we are," Obama, the first African-American president, said at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.
"By knowing this other story we better understand ourselves and each other. It binds us together. It reaffirms that all of us are America, that African-American history is not somehow separate from our larger American story," he added. "It is central to the American story."
Saturday's opening ceremony for the museum also was attended by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and Chief Justice John Roberts. Thousands are expected to have descended on the National Mall this weekend to celebrate the museum's opening.
Calling it an "act of patriotism" to understand African-American history and the struggles of all Americans, Obama said "a great nation doesn't shy away from the truth."
"We're not a burden on America or a stain on America or an object of shame and pity for America. We are America," Obama said. "And that's what this museum explains."
"Hopefully, this museum makes us talk to each other and listen to each other and see each other," he added.
Obama also said the museum can provide context to the current national debate on the relationship between law enforcement and black communities that recently made headlines following the police shooting deaths of black men in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
"Perhaps it can help a white visitor understand the pain and anger of demonstrators in places like Ferguson (Missouri) and Charlotte. But it can also help black visitors appreciate the fact that not only is this younger generation carrying on traditions of the past, but within the white communities across the nation, we see the sincerity of law enforcement officers and officials who, in fits and starts, are struggling to understand and trying to do the right thing," he said.
"It reminds us that routine discrimination and Jim Crow aren't ancient history. It's just a blink in the eye of history," Obama continued.

Star-studded event

Saturday's event included musical performances by Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle and Denyce Graves, as well as appearances by Robert De Niro and Angela Bassett, who read the words of black poets and historians.
The effort to bring this museum to life began decades ago but was finally set in motion in 2003 when Bush signed a bill creating it. Ground was broken in February 2012.
The Smithsonian says the museum is the only one in the US exclusively focused on African-American life, history and culture, but organizers say it is also meant to capture the story of all Americans.
One of those who have worked for years to see this museum come to life is educator and historian Lonnie Bunch, founding director for the museum.
Asked what does it mean to him to see it finally open, he said, "It means that finally the African-American story on the National Mall is accessible to everybody, and in many ways it means that my ancestors are smiling," he told CNN. "This is framed in a way that this is everybody's story. It is not a black people's story. It is a story of America."

Slavery and freedom at focus

Officials said the chronicling of slavery and freedom are the centerpiece of the museum. That exhibit contains such items as a slave cabin from South Carolina, a bill of sale for a 16-year-old girl for $600, shackles used on slaves and a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.
There is also an exhibition focusing on the fight against segregation, which discusses the era from end of Reconstruction through the Civil Rights Movement. Here, visitors see such things as abolitionist Harriet Tubman's hymn book to a dress Rosa Parks was making shortly before she was arrested for not giving up her seat on a segregated bus; a Tuskegee airplane used to train African-American pilots for World War II flights; a segregated Pullman train car as well as a stool from the Woolworth store where there were sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1960; and separate water fountains.
A separate section examines the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power era of the 1960s and 1970s and other activism remembering many activists, including Lewis and Dr. Martin Luther King.
The museum holds more than 3,000 artifacts -- with many contributed from ordinary Americans from across the country. There are also tens of thousands of other artifacts which have been contributed which could be rotated later into exhibition space.
There are also many iconic items celebrating the achievements in sports, music, television and film including Michael Jackson's fedora hat worn during his 1984 "Victory Tour," boxer Muhammad Ali's headgear, musician Chuck Berry's Cadillac, baseball star Jackie Robinson's bat, some of Olympian Gabby Douglas' items as well as a statue honoring American athletes who held their hands up as a demonstration of solidarity during the 1968 Gold Medal ceremony.

Obama featured

One exhibit honors the legacy of Obama's election. During an interview airing Friday, he voiced his appreciation for all of those whose work helped make the museum happen.
"We were an outgrowth of Frederick Douglass and white abolitionists who partnered with him," Obama told ABC News. "We were the consequence of these Freedom Riders. Of all races. Young people idealistically coming down here and being willing to challenge an unjust system."
Also interesting is the design of the building. Sitting next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall, the exterior is made up of 3,600 bronze-colored panels. The architects of the building drew on imagery from both African and American history for the outer layer, saying they were trying to reach towards the sky to express faith, hope and resiliency. The building is three-tiered and is inspired by a traditional wooden column that features a crown or corona -- or African headdress -- at the top.
At night, the corona glows from the light within the building.
Source:CNN.com

Yahoo facing lawsuits in the wake of massive data breach

Yahoo is facing lawsuits from people who fear their accounts have been hacked and claim the company was "grossly negligent," putting their financial and personal data at risk.

Two lawsuits, both filed in California, also allege that Yahoo (YAHOF) did not adequately disclose the breach that exposed private information of at least 500 million users.

A lawsuit filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in San Diego alleges the hack leaked personal information and caused an "intrusion into personal financial matters." A similar complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in San Jose on Friday says Yahoo was "grossly negligent" in dealing with and reporting the security breach.

Both plaintiffs are bringing the class-action complaints on behalf of all users affected by the breach. The news was first reported by the Mercury News.

The hack, announced on Thursday, took place in late 2014. Security experts say the security breach -- which included personal information like email addresses, dates of birth, and security questions -- may be the biggest ever.

Related: Did Yahoo do enough to prevent the massive hack?

David Casey, who is representing plaintiffs Jennifer Myers and Paul Dugas in the San Diego class-action case, said a handful of people had contacted his firm before Yahoo admitted accounts were compromised, claiming their personal information was somehow compromised.

"We have had a number of people approach us who had things accessed such as their tax accounts or credit cards, and they couldn't figure out how people were getting into those," Casey told CNNMoney. "When this was disclosed, they went 'Whoa, there's an explanation.'"

The complaint alleges Yahoo took an "unusually long period of time" uncovering the breach, and in the two years since it was hacked and disclosed, people were at risk of identity theft.

Plaintiff Ronald Schwartz, a New Yorker filing his claim in San Jose, claims the breaches put him and others at risk of identity theft. "Yahoo was so grossly negligent in securing its users' personal information that it says that it did not even discover the incident until the summer of 2016," the complaint states.

Casey said he anticipates hundreds of similar cases will be filed across the country. Eventually the federal court system will likely combine them all into one class-action case.

Suzanne Philion, a spokesperson for Yahoo, said the company does not comment on ongoing litigation. Verizon agreed to buy the Yahoo's core properties for $4.83 billion in July, and it's unclear how the security breach will impact the sale.

Source:CNN.com

 

Twitter skyrockets on more takeover rumors

Are Twitter's days as an independent company numbered? Twitter stock soared 20% Friday after CNBC reported that the company is moving closer to selling itself.

Twitter (TWTR, Tech30) has been viewed as a takeover target for some time now. The Financial Times also reported Friday that Twitter has hired Goldman Sachs to advise it on a sale. If true, it makes sense: Twitter CFO Anthony Noto used to work for Goldman Sachs.

 

Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL, Tech30) has been mentioned often as a logical suitor. Twitter chairman Omid Kordestani used to be an executive for Google. Buying Twitter could help Google compete more effectively with Facebook (FB, Tech30) in the social media realm.

CNBC reiterated on Friday that Google was interested in Twitter. But CNBC also said that business software company Salesforce.com might also be looking to buy Twitter. It's not immediately clear what benefits Twitter would bring to Salesforce.

Related: Twitter's Thursday Night Football livestream is a touchdown

For what it's worth, Salesforce (CRM, Tech30) CEO Marc Benioff is an active tweeter with nearly 275,000 followers. Salesforce rival Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) is making a big bet on social media as well with its plan to purchase LinkedIn (LNKD, Tech30).

And Salesforce chief digital evangelist (yes, that's a thing in 2016) Vala Afshar curiously chose on Friday morning to tweet (naturally) his 4 reasons why people should use Twitter.

Salesforce would not comment for this story. But Afshar clarified his comments about Twitter -- on Twitter, of course -- later Friday. He said his thoughts about Twitter were his personal views, not Salesforce's.

Representatives from Twitter and Google were not immediately available for comment.

There was also a rumor going around Friday that Verizon (VZ, Tech30) might be bidding for Twitter as well. Verizon already owns AOL and is in the process of buying Yahoo's core business -- a deal that could be impacted by Yahoo's huge cybersecurity breach.

But Verizon quickly shot down the speculation. Verizon spokesman Bob Varettoni told CNNMoney that even though it usually chooses to not comment on market rumors, the talk of a Verizon purchase of Twitter "is entirely false."

Still, many on Wall Street and Silicon Valley feel that Twitter would be better off as part of a larger company than remaining independent.

Twitter is livestreaming the presidential debates this year. And despite recent success with other livestreaming events -- most notably Thursday night NFL games -- user growth has slowed at Twitter over the past few years.

There is a perception that the company is more of a niche social media site that will never attract as big of an audience as Facebook and its Instagram subsidiary. Privately-held Snapchat has emerged as a top rival now as well.

Related: Can Twitter be the next ESPN?

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also runs the payments startup Square (SQ). And some investors have wondered if it really makes sense for Dorsey to stay in control of both. Selling Twitter could allow Dorsey to focus more on Square.

Twitter's board met earlier this month. And the topic of whether or not the company should sell was expected to be one of the key things discussed.

Media companies News Corp (NWSA). and 21st Century Fox (FOXA) -- both controlled by Rupert Murdoch -- have been cited as possible Twitter acquirers too. So has NBC parent company Comcast (CMCSA).

There has also been chatter that Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer -- who are two of Twitter's largest shareholders -- could team up to take the company private.

And earlier this year, there were rumors that influential Silicon Valley investors Marc Andreessen and Silver Lake Partners could team up to make a bid.

It's also worth noting that Twitter co-founder and board member Evan Williams, who now runs the hot blogging platform Medium, told Bloomberg last month that Twitter would "have to consider the right options" if a takeover offer was made.

The writing seems to be on the wall for Twitter. Wall Street wants the company to sell itself. I actually tweeted those two sentences earlier Friday morning. And I had 46 characters to spare!

Source:CNN.com

Kmart's sales have fallen off a gigantic cliff

The magnitude of Kmart's downfall is stunning.

Once one of America's leading discount retailers, Kmart raked in $37 billion in sales in its 2000 fiscal year. Last year Kmart registered only $12.1 billion in sales.

That's a dramatic 67% sales plunge in a little more than a decade. Americans have likely noticed the decline in their towns. Kmart had 2,165 stores in 2000. Now it has only 979.

Compare that with Target (TGT), one of the biggest beneficiaries of Kmart's crumble. During the same period, Target's sales nearly doubled to $72.6 billion. Even Kmart's sister brand Sears looks slightly better, with its revenue falling "only" 54% to $17 billion last fiscal year.

So what went so wrong at Kmart?

Kmart sales

Some analysts point the finger at Eddie Lampert, the investor who bought Kmart when it was in bankruptcy in 2003 and quickly married it with Sears to form Sears Holdings (SHLD). Today Lampert is the combined company's chairman, CEO and leading shareholder.

"What he's done brilliantly is manage these brands into oblivion while squeezing billions of dollars of cash into his elusive businesses," said Robin Lewis, CEO of The Robin Report, a retail strategy newsletter.

Management missteps: Lampert was a hedge fund whiz kid, but Lewis argues that he had little knowledge of how to operate retail brands. He said Lampert showed no intention of ever truly trying to turn either Kmart or Sears around.

"It's my opinion that he planned this from the very beginning," he said.

Mark Cohen, a former Sears senior executive, echoed that sentiment.

"Lampert has demonstrated exactly no capacity to manage either business effectively," said Cohen, the former CEO of Sears Canada. (Cohen said he was forced out in 2004 after refusing to resign amid a disagreement with former Sears CEO Alan Lacy.)

"He's run it into the ground," Cohen said.

Trying to avoid another bankruptcy: Of course, Kmart was in trouble before Lampert bought it. Kmart filed for bankruptcy in 2002 in the midst America's economic recession and slumping sales.

Sears spokesman Howard Riefs disputed the notion that Lampert is to blame.

"Eddie is a long-term owner-investor who has invested significant equity capital demonstrating commitment in the company," he told CNNMoney.

Neil Saunders, an analyst at Conlumino, a retail research agency, said that Lampert has done a decent job of managing the financial side of the business to keep the company afloat. Late last fall, investors cheered after Sears announced plans to raise $2.5 billion by selling off hundreds of prized stores to a newly formed real estate investment trust, or REIT.

Related: Best Buy surges. It should thank Apple

'Asset strip'? Yet observers have taken issue with these complex financial maneuvers and have suggested Lampert is simply trying to squeeze further value out of the company to enrich himself.

Sears raised eyebrows last fall when it announced an unusual deal to borrow $400 million from Lampert himself. Some analysts questioned the transaction as an obvious conflict of interest.

"He's now extracting the last vestiges of value by monetizing what's left. This is an asset strip," said Cohen.

Sears (SHLD) stock has been a weak performer over the past five years -- down more than 50% -- although it has rallied this year.

Related: McDonald's has supersized problems

Target should say thanks: Management missteps have been magnified by the turbulent nature of the retail industry.

"Without leadership, businesses decline, especially volatile businesses like retailers which don't hold patents and don't have proprietary products," said Cohen, who is now director of retail studies at Columbia Business School.

The implosion of Kmart has been very helpful to rivals like Wal-Mart (WMT) and, especially, Target. Other winners include Macy's (M) and Kohl's (KSS).

Related: Have you ever worked in retail? CNNMoney wants to hear your story

More work to do: Sears told CNNMoney that the company remains focused on returning Kmart to "profitability and relevancy" by clarifying its brand, enhancing customer relationships and improving operational effectiveness.

He pointed to substantial improvements in Sears' profitability over the past three quarters.

"That said, we still have much work to do," Riefs said.

Saunders said that in some ways it seems like Sears has "given up on Kmart." In the future, Kmart could be relegated to the status of a niche retailer focused solely on urban areas.

"There is a possibility Kmart could disappear," he said.

Source:CNN.com

In America's drug death capital: How heroin is scarring the next generation

Huntington, West Virginia (CNN)Sara Murray tends to two dozen babies in the neonatal therapeutic unit at Cabell Huntington Hospital. They shake. They vomit. Their inconsolable, high-pitched screams pierce the air. The symptoms can last for hours, days or months.

Graceful and soft-spoken, Murray is a seasoned nurse tirelessly defending the innocent. But even she gets worn down. On difficult days, she seeks a moment of refuge behind her desk and wonders: How did we get here?
These babies -- her babies -- are the youngest, most vulnerable victims of a raging epidemic.
They are heroin babies, born addicted.
Her third-floor unit, a calm and quiet space with dim lighting, is meant to accommodate 12 babies, but it's been two years since the numbers were that low. One in 10 born at the hospital endures withdrawal from some type of drug -- heroin, opiates, cocaine, alcohol or a combination of many.
That's about 15 times the national average.
The figures reflect a startling reality about this Appalachian town of 49,000 on the banks of the Ohio River: One in four residents here is hooked on heroin or some other opioid, local health officials say. That's a staggering 12,000 people dealing with opioid addiction, in a state with the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation.
The truth is nearly everyone in Huntington is a victim of this epidemic: parents whose children lie about their habits and steal from their homes, fathers and mothers who outlive their daughters and sons.
Most devastating is the impact on the youngest generation growing up in this toxicity: children who witness their parents' descent into a living hell, or are abandoned, or born addicted.
"It's frustrating, it's sad and it's heart-wrenching," says Murray, a nurse for the last 26 years. "My personal passion is for the baby and that they have a voice."
On this day, August 15, Murray and her staff of eight nurses are particularly concerned about one baby boy. The mother won't reveal the name of the dope she's on, which makes it unnerving for the nurses trying to treat him.
Most of the infants' parents are absent, and the possibility that they are somewhere shooting up lingers like the babies' screams.

The first overdose

It's about 3:30 p.m., the heat nearing triple digits, when Lt. David McClure pulls his blue-striped ambulance SUV to a crash near the West Huntington Bridge. First on the scene, the senior paramedic with Cabell County EMS finds a compact car stuck on a curb in the median.
The hum of the engine grows louder as he walks toward the vehicle. Through a rolled-down window, McClure sees a 21-year-old woman hunched toward the steering wheel. Her chin touches her chest. Drool dribbles out of her mouth. Her breaths are few and far between.
"Can you hear me?" he yells near her face. "Can you hear me?"
After shifting the car into park, McClure lifts her eyelids and shines a penlight into her pupils. Both are the size of pinpoints -- a sure sign of an opioid overdose. When he looks down, he spots a syringe in her lap.
McClure has grown accustomed to drug overdoses -- his crew responds daily to such calls. You name it, he's seen it: Moms passed out with their kids still seat-belted. Dads sprawled on floors, their toddlers within an arm's reach of heroin. Never once has a heroin user thanked McClure for saving his or her life. Sometimes they complain about the interruption of their high.
With minutes left to save the woman on the bridge, another paramedic sets up a bag-valve mask to squeeze air into her lungs. Together he and McClure place her on a stretcher and roll her toward an ambulance. They search her left arm for a decent vein and, after finding an unscarred one, pierce her skin with a needle containing an opioid blocker called naloxone. The drug, known for reversing overdoses, can save heroin users on the brink of death.
Within two minutes, she blinks her eyes, wincing with discomfort from the stark lights in the back of the ambulance. Outside the window, a Cabell Huntington Hospital billboard towers over the crash scene with a foreboding offer: "No appointment necessary."
By the time she's transported there for treatment, the next message from dispatch reverberates across town.
"They're just showing up and dying."

'All hell broke loose'

Tragedy has defined this town before. In November 1970, a plane carrying members of Huntington's beloved Marshall University football team smashed into a mountainside, killing 75 players, coaches and supporters.
Huntington lost more than 25,000 residents in the last several decades as factories tied to coal mines closed.
 
The terms "before the crash" and "after the crash" became part of the town's legacy. The movie "We Are Marshall" captured Huntington's spirit in the crash's aftermath as the community came together and healed. Today Huntington must rally against a very different and relentless foe. Heroin use has grown so prevalent that a new catch phrase has emerged: "Narcanned," the brand-name for the opioid blocker that reverses overdoses. As in, "How many times have you been narcanned?"
It's not uncommon to hear an addict say 3, 4, 5 times.
A new number will emerge from this day: 28 overdoses in a five-hour span. The ordeal will stretch every resource in Huntington, clogging the emergency rooms in the town's two hospitals, testing the resolve of the most hardened medics and prompting a manhunt for the peddler of a batch of heroin laced with an unknown substance.
The victims' ages will range from 19 to 59. They'll turn up in homes and alleys, a Marathon convenience store bathroom and a Burger King parking lot. They'll include a father and son shooting up together. A husband and wife. A recovering addict who relapses.
It's the moment "all hell broke loose," Huntington Mayor Steve Williams will say later.
The moment everyone knew was coming. The moment no one knew how to stop.

Nine overdoses within minutes

Capt. Derrick Ray with Cabell County EMS gets out of his ambulance at the "showing up and dying" scene. Authorities treat it like a "mass casualty" event. Ambulances, police cars and fire trucks line Sycamore Street. Local TV crews set up too, cameras rolling. It's shortly after 3:30 p.m.
Ray knows the neighborhood well. He's responded to calls there many times. Residents here tend to cuss him, then ask for his help when their lives need saving.
Today is one of those days.
A police officer enters a small ranch house and injects naloxone into the thighs of two users who appear dead. Both revive. Two others are groggy, but not so far gone they need to be narcanned. Ray heads next door to a tiny low-income apartment complex.
In a shady narrow courtyard, he finds three women, ages 23, 27 and 32. Two lay unconscious in the grass. The third crawls on the ground with her arms raised like a zombie from "The Walking Dead."
Acting fast, paramedics pump oxygen into the victims' lungs and administer naloxone to all three.
A supervisor with two decades of experience and dough-boy looks, Ray catches a breath when his phone rings. It's McClure, who has finished treating the woman who crashed her car on the bridge. He wants guidance: Where should he go next?
By 2013, the year Williams became mayor, opioid abuse had spiraled so far out of control that Cabell County's fatal heroin overdose rate rose to nearly 13 times the national average.
Officials have responded with a series of progressive policy initiatives, from a needle exchange program to help curb hepatitis outbreaks to landing a donation of 2,200 naloxone auto-injectors (worth $1.5 million) to be given away to residents. Williams also took the unprecedented step for such a small town of appointing a drug czar, responsible for getting everyone -- paramedics and pastors, judges and jailers, cops and community leaders -- on the same page to combat the opioid epidemic.
Unlike other drugs that came to West Virginia, Williams says, heroin doesn't discriminate, affecting both men and women, white and black, homeless and lawyers, grandchildren as young as 12 and grandparents approaching 80. The mayor never knows who might overdose, so he carries a naloxone injector everywhere he goes.
On days like today, the priorities shift from running heroin out of town to saving lives. The mayor hopes residents can be spared the coffin.

'God's star in heaven'

It's been nearly a decade since Teddy Johnson buried his 22-year-old son. News of the overdose outbreak hits hard, but he's not surprised given heroin's takeover.
Teddy Johnson polishes the grave of his son, Adam, who died of a heroin overdose in 2007.
 
Why has the problem only worsened?
The 65-year-old father has warned of the scourge the last nine years, long before heroin reached historic levels in Huntington. He's stared down his son's dealer in court and an undocumented immigrant connected to a Mexican cartel responsible for distributing black-tar heroin in the region. Neither dared return his glare.
Every week Johnson visits his son's gravestone in Spring Hill Cemetery. He trims the grass with a hedge clipper and weed whacker. He polishes the stone with a rag and granite cleaner. He outlines the engraved letters of his son's name with a black Sharpie.
Then he steps backs and takes a look at the inscription: "Adam Tyler Johnson: Our star on earth, God's star in heaven."
The father runs a plumbing shop founded by his grandfather 78 years ago. He's expanded the business to make showcase bathrooms, designer kitchens and dynamic outdoor patios. Adam, who was a history major at Marshall University, was in line to become the fourth generation to carry on the family business.
Instead, visitors to the showroom are greeted by memorials to Adam.

Police chief: Find the heroin

Shortly before 4 p.m., Capt. Rocky Johnson, commander of the Huntington Police Department's special investigations unit, prepares to lead a drug raid at Marcum Terrace, a cluster of two-story, red-brick public housing units that dot a hill on the city's east side. The neighborhood is home to the town's poorest folks, a place where fistfights get posted on YouTube and scores are settled with knives. A preacher says baby's shoes hanging from telephone wires indicate drop-off sites for drug dealers.
The complex is within a stone's throw of where first responders earlier treated seven overdoses.
Johnson's phone rings. It's the chief, Joe Ciccarelli.
"Are you monitoring the radio traffic?" Ciccarelli asks. "We're having all these overdoses."
Patrolman Jacob Felix prepares to go out on a call. More than 50% of his job, he says, is responding to heroin overdoses.
 
When Ciccarelli joined the force in 1978, Huntington only had about a dozen known heroin addicts. Officers chased after those few users and monitored parking lots for people smoking weed. Now, the addicts have multiplied. Though the drug has origins south of the border, the chief says the dealers here are "so far down the chain, they can't spell Mexico."
He orders Johnson to abandon the raid. There's a new assignment: Find the source of today's heroin.
 
Dressed in jeans and T-shirts, Johnson and his nine undercover officers break cover and shift gears. If the spread of this particular batch isn't reined in quickly, dead bodies will be found all over Huntington.
Johnson and his officers begin conducting interviews. They're told an out-of-towner, a man about 6 feet 4 inches and built like a middle linebacker, cruised through the neighborhood about an hour before the first overdose occurred. His nickname was Benz, though he drove a white Chevy Cruze.
Some residents say he handed out free samples; others say he sold a new product.
When he stopped and took a stroll, witnesses tell police, scores of people followed.
It was like he was the pied piper.

A mother needs her fix

Andrea has followed the lure of the high for a decade now. She shoots up twice a day regardless of costs. Addiction has robbed her of her job, friends and family.
She agrees to be interviewed and photographed on the condition that her last name be withheld. She says paramedics saved her life twice. She sought refuge in rehab once -- attending a 30-day treatment center. She stayed clean for more than eight months -- 264 days to be exact. She shook her habit but kept her friends, staying in a circle that led to relapse.
Andrea trades dirty needles for clean ones at the health department's exchange program.
 
The 36-year-old former nurse says her three children -- ages 18, 14 and 11 -- live with her grandmother. Her own mother and father refuse to speak to her. Her oldest son, she says, hates her. Her daughter, the youngest of the bunch, found her on the bathroom floor two years ago.
The girl cries and prays for her mother.
In spite of today's overdoses, Andrea chases her fix and chooses to shoot up anyway. Prayers be damned.

Never again

"The devil has come to Huntington," Sara Murray says. It's as simple and complicated as that.
Newborns in the nurse's hospital ward weren't just exposed to heroin; the pregnant addicts have often downed alcohol, taken prescription painkillers or dabbled with the latest fad, the anti-seizure drug Neurontin.
Most babies in the unit will likely suffer long-term neurological problems. Nearly 1 in 10 can expect to suffer from Hepatitis C in their lifetime.
When babies are born with drugs in their systems, state child protection workers are notified. Murray recalls one shattering case where doctors and nurses believed a fussy baby boy would be in danger if sent home with his parents. She says they shared notes with child protection services about the family's behavior and pleaded on the child's behalf.
Murray rarely knows the outcome when a child leaves her care, but this time the case made headlines in the local paper. The father was arrested, accused of killing the boy.
She and her fellow nurse, Rhonda Edmunds, made a pledge: "That will never happen on our watch again."
They lobbied the hospital to open a neonatal therapeutic unit. As heroin use climbed, so did the number of babies suffering from withdrawal. Their fussiness disturbed the care of others in the neonatal intensive care unit. The therapeutic unit opened a year later.
Sara Murray is a registered nurse and co-founder of Lily's Place, a facility for addicted babies.
 
The two continued their dedication by opening a separate facility, called Lily's Place, to provide a homier environment for babies exposed to drug use before birth. Each newborn has a separate room, and young mothers are taught skills for dealing with their babies. Most of the moms want to learn; some do not.
Nearly all the children get sent home with a parent. Most of the time it's their birth mom or dad. Once in awhile, they go to foster care or are put up for adoption, but that's a rarity.
One mother confided to Murray that she finally got help when her child was 4 months old and she couldn't recall if she'd fed her baby at all one day. The mother asked a relative to care for the child while she went into treatment.
Murray worries about the addicts who don't feed their babies and don't call someone for help. She empathizes with their chemical dependency but says it's difficult to hear parents prioritize their fix over their family with a simple justification: "I like being high."
"We have generational addiction and that's their normal. It was their mother's normal. It was their grandmother's normal," Murray says. "And now, it's their normal."
A normalcy that is completely abnormal.

Overdoses everywhere

Lt. McClure marches up a footpath that cuts through brush behind Marcum Terrace. The next victim is splayed out beneath a hollowed out area of bushes, amid needles and a heap of sticks and water bottles piled up like a campfire.
Time for naloxone.
Less than 20 feet away, on the other side of the path, Capt. Ray comes across an overdosed man lying on a bed of brush. Another life saved.
Sweat drips from beneath the bill of Ray's brown EMS baseball cap. The oppressive heat won't let up. Neither will the overdoses.
Capt. Derrick Ray takes naloxone out of a first-responder's kit. Many residents carry the opiate blocker in case they encounter an overdose.
 
A commotion erupts outside an apartment. People scream for a medic. As Ray makes his way down the narrow sidewalk, distrustful bystanders pull out cell phones and record his every move.
He can't let the cameras faze him. Another man is down, clutching groceries in one hand, a bag of needles in the other.
The overdose count nears 20.

'They can't unring the bell'

It's nearly 5 p.m., closing time at the Cabell County Courthouse, as Family Court Judge Patricia A. Keller wraps up another day of child support cases. Within the hour, the 58-year-old West Virginia native is home and flipping on the news in her living room. She stands there in shock, unable to focus on preparing dinner.
How many overdose victims are parents, she wonders. Will those families fracture?
Keller never thought drugs would consume her court. Fifteen years ago, she was mostly setting visitation schedules for alcoholic dads. Now at least a third of the cases she sees involve protecting children from the havoc wreaked by opioid addiction.
Every week Keller decides whether moms and dads who have lost custody, like the ones at Lily's Place, can see their children again. Whenever possible, she prefers to create avenues for heroin users, including mothers like Andrea, to regain visitation rights. First, they must typically meet with a counselor and submit to random drug tests.
Far too often, addicts aren't willing participants. In some cases, parents show up high to her chambers, if they show up at all. Sadly, some parents lose their children for good.
"When people have been in the madness of their addiction, being a good parent is the last thing on their minds," Keller says. "When they start to become clean, they can't unring the bell."
Diapers with parents' notes hang on the wall at Lily's Place, which cares for newborns suffering from withdrawal.
 
Likewise, Keller never thought her job would also mean being a counselor. But she can't ignore the fact that about three of every four parents in her court are so poor they can't afford a lawyer. She's encouraged dads struggling with heroin addiction to get clean needles at the exchange. Other times, she's offered moms literature about recovery programs.
Keller also presides over a local drug court that's one of West Virginia's largest. Founded in 2008, it gives nonviolent criminals with a high risk of reoffending or relapsing a chance at treatment instead of incarceration. Half of the participants drop out, leading them back to prison. For the other half who graduate, 9 out of 10 don't commit another crime, Keller says.
But the drug court has limitations: Addicts can only get help once they're in the criminal justice system, a point where families have already suffered the consequences. For those who want assistance before that point, it can be hard to find.
"A lot of people want to get help," Keller says. "But we don't have enough treatment beds. It's so frustrating. You've got to get it for them as soon as they're ready."

Resurrected in recovery

While the 6 o'clock news airs, Will Lockwood sits in a crowd of about 70 at the Expression Church of Huntington, a refuge for recovering addicts sandwiched between Cabell Huntington Hospital's emergency room and Spring Hill Cemetery.
Tim Hazelett, an administrator with the county's health department, takes the stage and acknowledges the string of overdoses that have occurred this afternoon. Then he uses the pulpit as a teachable moment.
The people who are overdosing, he says, are in need of help. Put out the word, he tells the crowd. There's a batch of heroin laced with something that can kill you -- so stay away from it.
He dives into a PowerPoint presentation, 37 slides in total, that describe how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an overdose, how to administer an intranasal form of naloxone and what to do if a child overdoses.
Lockwood, who helped organize this session, relates to every word. The 25-year-old overdosed four times in a three-year period. He's stayed clean for nearly two.
Two summers ago, he embarked on a mission to end his life by means of a lethal fix.
He holed up in room No. 216 of the Coach's Inn, a dingy pink motel where passersby can see walking skeletons stumble from room to room. Lockwood overdosed for what he hoped would be the last time. When he awoke, his drug dealer pounded his chest in a bathtub, cold water running down his face.
He stood and, as he came to his senses, glimpsed at his reflection in the mirror. His body-builder frame had withered by more than 60 pounds.
"You are worth more than this," he told himself. "You have a son. You have a family. You know exactly what you need to do."
Now Lockwood works as a peer coach for The Lifehouse, a faith-based recovery center that helped him get sober. As part of his job, he mentors men who are desperately trying to quit.
"I empathize with the people of this community," he says. "A lot of them don't want to be in this situation. Truly, what it boils down to is fear."
Fear of rejection. Fear of judgment.
Tonight, everyone learns the value of life-saving intervention. When the naloxone course ends, worship begins. Lockwood and the rest of the congregation proclaim their commitment to God, to one another and to themselves. Many of his fellow worshippers have skirted death -- in biblical terms, resurrected.

The fallout

Just blocks away, as the church service continues, a man stiffens in the bathroom at the Marathon convenience store. His legs, contorted, stick up straight in the air. His pupils are dilated.
A woman lies sprawled on the floor, beneath the sink.
This is one of Lt. McClure's final stops -- almost exactly 12 hours into a shift that began at 7 a.m. His clothes are drenched in sweat and the stench of a hard day's work.
Two more get narcanned.
A man and woman overdosed in this Marathon gas station bathroom.
 
Almost two hours later, as darkness falls, Mayor Williams' phone buzzes once again. He swipes his screen. It's an update from Huntington Fire Chief Carl Eastham. The victim of the final overdose -- a 19-year-old woman just outside the city limits -- has made it alive to Cabell Huntington Hospital.
"There have been no OD deaths that we can find at either hospital," Eastham texts a few minutes before 9 p.m.
"Thank heaven for that," the mayor replies, before firing off another text: "Obviously carfentanil has arrived."
"Appears that way," Eastham writes.
 
Source:CNN.com

Could your fitness tracker sabotage your diet?

(CNN)Wearable technologies can monitor your physical activity or your allergies. Increasingly, they are part of our everyday lives. But a new analysis comparing two sets of dieters discovered that those wearing activity trackers lost less, not more, weight than the tech-free dieters.

"We went in with the hypothesis that adding the technology would be more effective than not having the technology, and we found just the opposite," said John Jakicic, author of the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"One of the things we didn't study here was, maybe these things are really effective for people gaining weight, but maybe that's different from helping people lose weight," said Jakicic, a professor and director of the Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh. "We need to do a lot more digging in the data to understand that."

How do I lose weight and keep the pounds off?

It's not only dieters who ask this question; it's researchers, too.
"We've been doing this weight-management stuff for a very long time and realized that we have really good approaches to help people lose weight in the first three to six months," Jakicic said. He wondered whether the increasingly popular wearable devices might help.
"Activity monitors started coming onto the market in a commercial sense in the early 2000s, but they've really picked up steam in the last couple of years," observed Jakicic. The idea behind the new study, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, was to compare two sets of dieters: those with wearable activity monitors and those without.
Jakicic acknowledges having received past funding from Jawbone, a wearable device company, and both he and two other researchers have received past honorariums from Weight Watchers International.
For the new study, the researchers enlisted the help of 470 adults between the ages of 18 and 35. Each participant's body-mass index fell within the range of 25 to 39; commonly, 25 to 29 is considered "overweight," and 30 to 39 is considered "obese." Slightly more than three-quarters of the participants were women, and not quite a third were non-white.
The researchers randomly divided participants into two groups for a 24-month weight loss study.
Both groups participated in a group-based, face-to-face weight loss intervention. "We find those to be the most effective way to deliver these programs and cost-effective way to deliver these programs," Jakicic said. All the participants received counseling around nutrition and physical activity: the basics of healthy eating and activity.
"But beyond that, more importantly, it's not just 'here's what you eat, and you need to exercise more,' " Jakicic said. Instead, the program was grounded in behavioral theory that helps patients understand why they are struggling and what's getting in the way.
"How do I make it work today when yesterday it didn't work?" Jakicic suggested.

Calls and texts

Group sessions were scheduled weekly for the initial six months and monthly between months seven and 24. During those later months, participants also received brief (just 10 minutes at the longest) telephone calls once each month and weekly text messages.
Half the participants were provided with and encouraged to use a commercially available wearable technology (with a Web-based interface), while the other half simply recorded their activity on a website.
What happened? The change in weight at 24 months differed "significantly" by intervention group: The group wearing activity monitors lost, on average, 7.7 pounds compared with an average loss of 13 pounds for those walking "naked." However, the researchers reported that both groups showed improvements in body composition, fitness, physical activity and diet.
Dr. Barbara Berkeley, a board-certified physician in both internal and obesity medicine, points to a simple statement in the study that indicates there were no "significant" differences between diet intake and physical activity for the two groups.
"That means that something is amiss," said Berkeley, who was not involved in the new study. She explained that if there was "absolutely no difference" between what the two groups ate and how much they exercised, the average weight losses "should be the same whether the study subjects wore a device or not."
Berkeley observed that studies on dieting are "notoriously hard to do," so adding exercise into the mix makes accurate research doubly difficult. The main issue is that any long-term study must rely on the participants self-reporting what they ate and how much they exercised, so accuracy is naturally a problem.

Wearable but in the drawer

Jakicic is eager to look more closely at the data, but he and his colleagues have come up with a few hypothetical explanations for the unexpected result.
"Anecdotally, these devices tend to work or people tend to engage with them for about three months or so, and after that, a lot of people start throwing them in the drawer. They get bored with them," Jakicic said.
Another possibility: Not everyone likes wearables. Instead, many people feel " 'I got this device, and I just hate it,' " he said.
Berkeley, the author of "Refuse to Regain: 12 Tough Rules to Maintain the Body You've Earned," noted that "weight loss is much more dependent on scrupulously following a weight-reducing diet than on exercise." Generally, she said, diet is more important than exercise during the active weight loss phase, but exercise becomes much more important during weight maintenance.
"It's entirely possible that those who were paying more attention to the exercise part of their regimen [because of the wearable device] were less scrupulous about their intake," Berkeley said. She added that exercising can often cause dieters to "feel that they've 'earned' the chance to eat more."
Source:CNN.com

Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and the search for the perfect PR Hollywood divorce

Celebrity marriages have not had the best of times: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. Middle-aged, male A-list stars are taking a beating. The situation has become so dire that the celebrity news channel E! Online is predicting the “End of an era for celebrity idol worship”.

But nothing quite prepared the celebrity world for the totalling of Brangelina.

Related: Brad Pitt: FBI evaluating whether to investigate airplane incident

From alimony to palimony to the rise of the pay-as-you-go marriage (the wage-earning party to pay into a separation fund throughout the length of the marriage so there are no surprises when or if the marriage eventually ends), Hollywood couples have long been pioneers when it comes to marital innovation, but the end of Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie has left a nuclear pall over Hollywood-land.

The normally loquacious PR Howard Bragman, known for containing tabloid feeding frenzies, offered no advice. “Just sad to me,” he wrote in an email.

In some instances, say managers, both parties should be able to walk away with their careers and box-office potential enhanced. But the Brangelina marriage crack-up already looks to be heading in the opposite direction, with reports of the FBI looking into “an incident” on a flight the Pitt-Jolie family took on 14 September.

Pitt was reportedly “lawyering up” after the FBI announced the agency “is continuing to gather facts and will evaluate whether an investigation at the federal level will be pursued”.

“This one is going to end with both of them having their images bruised,” predicts Allison Hope Weiner, a lawyer and journalist who has covered Hollywood for more than 15 years.

What is clear is that in this confrontation nothing is left to chance and the leaks that appear in the media – usually via celebrity website TMZ’s host Harvey Levin, are deliberate and highly strategised.

“They know that if they can get to Harvey first, and he publishes first, they can set the tone because the rest of the media consider TMZ a first-party source,” says one talent manager familiar with the frontlines of Hollywood scandal. “Angelina needs some kind of leverage to go for full custody for the kids.

“If you’re wise enough you can see that websites like TMZ granulate – serialise – everything because it creates entertainment product for them to carry it. They’re making money off it.”

It’s no mystery, then, that barely a week into the split, the children are already the focus of the battle. On Thursday, the LA Times received a leak that Pitt was subject to the FBI investigation over the private plane trip back from France last week.

Image conscious: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie at the Cannes film festival in 2011. Photograph: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

As TMZ reported: “Sources familiar with the situation tell us, Brad, Angelina and their kids were on a flight last Wednesday when he allegedly got wasted on the private jet. He allegedly went wild, screaming at the kids.”

The website continued: “We’re told the plane landed at an airport around 8pm, and witnesses say Pitt continued his rant on the tarmac, and even tried leaving in one of the fuel trucks.”

In her divorce filing, Jolie listed the couple’s date of separation as the following day, 15 September, and it was later suggested that the LA county department of children and family services had looked into the incident.

Related: Queen of divorce: Angelina Jolie hires expert in separating Hollywood royalty

Though LA celebrity divorce lawyers routinely deny leaking to TMZ – and blame court clerks for those leaks – both anti-Pitt items suggest that Jolie’s publicists and lawyers (she is represented by divorce specialist Laura Wasser) are setting the pace.

“How do you think the media find out that a parent is being investigated for not properly caring for a child?” says Weiner. “In many instances, the existence of an investigation is leaked to the press.”

By Friday, Pitt was fighting back, reportedly enlisting the help of attorney Lance Spiegel, who has worked with celebrities such as Charlie Sheen and Michael Jackson. One source told People magazine: “He was appealing to her to do this quietly – not to save the marriage but to consider the wellbeing of the children – and it was ignored. He is just wrecked by this.

“He was willing to do anything, change any habit, change any lifestyle, to do what had to be done to make this work,” adds the source. “And by ‘make this work’ that means doing what has to be done to make even a split one that is amicable and in the best interests of the children.”

Jolie’s demands are already clear: The actor, 41, has asked for physical custody of the children and is requesting that Pitt be granted visiting rights, while Pitt wants shared custody, sources have said.

While none of that is entirely new or surprising, the PR battle over both stars’ parenting skills is well under way, according to Weiner: “It’s managed so the client looks like a loving and caring parent. In some cases, nannies are instructed to walk in the back so parents can be photographed with their children and look as if they have no professional help with parenting.

“Moreover, paparazzi are informed when to catch parents out at the park with their children, providing an opportunity for the star to be photographed ‘spending quality time’ with his or her child.”

Related: How Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt defined the 21st-century fame machine

Could a celebrity divorce ever be harnessed to engineer a career lift? The answer, in at least one high-profile case, seems to be yes.

When Gwen Stefani divorced British rocker Gavin Rossdale for allegedly cheating with the nanny – “the two of us have come to the mutual decision that we will no longer be partners in marriage; we remain partners in parenthood” – Stefani came swinging back with a new relationship (Blake Shelton), and heartbreak-linked new material: a duet (Go Ahead and Break My Heart); a hit album (This is What Truth Feels Like) and a TV show (The Voice).

“They may say that but it’s a racket among the lawyers,” says the talent manager. “They want to inflame and create issues that extend the back-and-forth. Then it becomes a media thing – a crisis – and that becomes licence to bill.” And that’s before the whole thing gets wrapped up in a non-disclosure agreement.

When Depp and Heard’s marriage hit the rocks earlier this year amid reports of domestic violence, a settlement was quickly agreed before any further damage could be inflicted.

The couple concluded their relationship with this, somewhat enigmatic, statement: “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm. Amber wishes the best for Johnny in the future.”

THE PRICE OF SEPARATION

Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren

The couple divorced in 2010 following reports of Woods’ serial infidelity. Details of the financial settlement have not been disclosed, but US media reports suggest the former Mrs Woods will receive more than $100m (£77m).

Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving

Reports suggest the film director paid $100m to Irving after they divorced in 1989. The couple had been married for three and a half years but cited career-related pressures as a reason for separating.

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise

The couple, pictured, adopted a son and daughter, Connor Antony and Isabella, and were married for 11 years, separating in 2001. Cruise cited irreconcilable differences. It was not disclosed how the couple divided their £214m joint fortune.

Mel Gibson and Robyn Gibson

After their 30-year marriage ended in 2011, Robyn, the mother of Mel’s seven children, was reported to have been awarded half of her ex-husband’s estimated $850m fortune.

Source: MSN.com

Monty Python's Terry Jones diagnosed with rare dementia

(CNN)Terry Jones, best known for his part in the British comedy group Monty Python, has been diagnosed with a rare form of dementia, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts confirmed today.

"Terry has been diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a variant of Frontotemporal Dementia," a representative for Jones said in a statement released through BAFTA. "This illness affects his ability to communicate and he is no longer able to give interviews."
The statement came along with news that the academy will present its Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television to Jones.
Though famous for Python, the 74-year-old has also written and directed drama films, presented documentaries, composed operas, written short stories and published poems.
Primary progressive aphasia is described by the National Aphasia Association as a rare neurological syndrome that affects a person's ability to communicate. The syndrome is often a result of strokes or head injuries and can occur in other neurological disorders, including brain tumors and Alzheimer's disease.
Symptoms often begin about age 60 and gradually worsen over time. People with primary progressive aphasia can eventually lose their ability to understand written or spoken language.
Most people with the condition are between 40 and 80, though men are affected twice as often as women, the association said. Although some patients may benefit from speech therapy, no medicines exist to treat the condition.
"Of course this has been no secret to us for some years but he did manage to make O2!" his Monty Python co-star Eric Idle said Friday on Twitter, referring to the group's reunion performances in London in 2014.
Formed in 1969, Monty Python also included Terry Gilliam, John Cleese, Michael Palin and Graham Chapman, who died in 1989. Jones directed some of the troupe's best-known films, including "The Meaning of Life," "Life of Brian" and "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
"We are very much looking forward to celebrating the work of Terry Jones during the ceremony with a look back at his work from 1969 to the present day," said Hannah Raybould, director of BAFTA Cymru.
Source:CNN.com

Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo welcome baby

(CNN)"The Voice" coach Adam Levine has a new girl in his life.

The Maroon 5 singer and his wife, model Behati Prinsloo, have welcomed a daughter, E! reported.
Dusty Rose Levine is a first child for the couple, who documented the pregnancy on social media.
The couple married in 2014.
Early on during the pregnancy, Levine posted a photo comparing bellies with his wife and a caption that read, "Week 20 and I'm finally popping! #impregnanttoo."
Source:CNN.com

Kevin Garnett Leaves Behind Legacy as NBA's Most Beloved Bully

Kevin Garnett is leaving the Minnesota Timberwolves and the NBA relatively quietly, and that's a little weird for a player whose career has been defined by high volume and confrontation.

Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune reported the iconic forward won't play for the Wolves this season after Garnett and the team agreed to a buyout Friday. Garnett announced his retirement on Instagram shortly thereafter.

A genuine game-changer and indisputably one of the best players the league has ever known, Garnett leaves behind a complicated legacy. Underlying his competitive greatness was a sort of selective ferocity. Wildly intense and devoted to winning, KG will be remembered nearly as much for his mold-busting game as his countless episodes of chippy on-court barking.

It's just that the targets of his intensity were often soft ones, and his willingness to follow through on all that scowling chatter seemed to often depend on the readiness of the victim to fight back.

This is how you describe a bully—albeit one more widely revered and generally celebrated than most.

Because bullies take cheap shots that inspire responses like this from Charlie Villanueva (via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports): "K.G. called me a cancer patient. K.G. talks a lot of crap. He's [probably] never been in a fight. I would love to get in a ring with him. I will expose him."

There was also the time he bonked the mighty Andrea Bargnani and then threw his hands to the sky proclaiming innocence:

In contrast, Garnett was decidedly less willing to push the envelope with more formidable figures such as Carmelo Anthony and Metta World Peace—players with actual track records of on-court fighting.

Perhaps to his credit, an older Garnett eventually began picking on guys his own size. Though Dwight Howard's reputation for silliness doesn't exactly make him a high-risk target.

Chances are, if you've got a favorite KG memory, it involves him yelling like a man possessed or verbally tearing into a foe. Even if the moment that sticks in your mind is an actual basketball play (and Garnett had plenty of terrific ones), the odds are good he does some post-highlight shouting, or at least frowns a little.

And it's telling that one of the most seared-in images from a surefire Hall of Fame career involves a hit...that Garnett received and didn't return:

Anthony Peeler wasn't even slightly intimidated by Garnett's prodding. The thing is, after Peeler decked Garnett in Game 6 of the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals, KG obliterated the Sacramento Kings with 32 points, 21 rebounds, five blocks and four steals in a Game 7 win.

This is an important distinction to make: The complicated or selective nature of his non-basketball intensity never applied to Garnett's play. He was uniformly monstrous in that regard.

Which is partly why we'll also never forget when it led to ultimate success:

And more yelling.

In the end, we need to be careful about this discussion because we can't very well fault Garnett for being less physically violent than he otherwise might have been. Nobody's saying he should have fought everyone who took issue with his needling. That's ridiculous.

This is all just to say that the complete picture of KG has always featured two sides—even for his teammates.

Here's Jackie MacMullan on that point from her 2015 ESPN The Magazine feature:

Former teammate Chauncey Billups maintains that Garnett is the most unselfish superstar of his era and the most dynamic leader he has seen. Then again, if Towns is devoured by KG's fire, he wouldn't be the first. A partial list of ex-teammates who have endured the wrath of the Big Ticket includes Glen "Big Baby" Davis, Mason Plumlee, Ray Allen, Wally Szczerbiak, Rajon Rondo, Rasho Nesterovic, Patrick O'Bryant and Deron Williams. Some have survived to be welcomed into Garnett's inner circle; others are forever dead to him. 'If you don't meet his expectations," says Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, "he has no use for you.'

It's encouraging that Garnett's final mentorship role seems to have gone well. Whatever tough love he gave Karl-Anthony Towns seems to have built a bond.

Without question, Garnett is one of the best players we'll ever see. He changed the NBA in more ways than one, repopularizing the prep-to-pro leap and establishing the template for the modern multiskilled big man. In many ways, he was a perfect basketball player. But there's also this strange wrinkle to his legacy where the one trait that came to define him, intensity, was so obviously flawed.

Consider it an overarching example of the type-defying versatility and uniqueness we'll remember him for.

Source:CNN.com

Hurricane Matthew: Largest evacuation since Sandy

(CNN) As Hurricane Matthew sets its sights on the US, more than 2 million people have already been urged to flee their homes, with more evacuations likely as the deadly storm makes its way past the Bahamas.

State officials in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia cautioned residents not to hunker down at home if they live in the hurricane's potential path.
Not all of the millions of people in Matthew's path have been ordered to leave, but the mandatory evacuations are the largest since Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012.
Early Thursday the hurricane, which already has killed at least 15 people in several Caribbean countries, was about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Nassau, Bahamas, and 295 miles (480 kilometers) from West Palm Beach, Florida.
The National Hurricane Center isn't saying that Matthew will make landfall in Florida, but that the center of the storm will get "very near" the Atlantic Coast, possibly as a Category 4 hurricane.
Matthew was packing 115 mph (185 kph) winds as the eye neared the Central Bahamas, the National Hurricane Center said.
President Barack Obama warned Americans in the storm's path to pay attention and take any evacuation orders seriously. He said if the core of the storm strikes Florida, it could have a "devastating effect."
Early Thursday the hurricane, which already has killed at least 15 people in several Caribbean countries, was about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Nassau, Bahamas, and 295 miles (480 kilometers) from West Palm Beach, Florida.
The National Hurricane Center isn't saying that Matthew will make landfall in Florida, but that the center of the storm will get "very near" the Atlantic Coast, possibly as a Category 4 hurricane.
Matthew was packing 115 mph (185 kph) winds as the eye neared the Central Bahamas, the National Hurricane Center said.
President Barack Obama warned Americans in the storm's path to pay attention and take any evacuation orders seriously. He said if the core of the storm strikes Florida, it could have a "devastating effect."
Scott has repeatedly warned that a direct hit by Matthew could lead to "massive destruction" on a level unseen since Hurricane Andrew devastated the Miami area in 1992. He has activated 1,500 National Guard members in preparation for the storm.
The voluntary and mandatory evacuations currently stretch from the Miami area all the way north to the Florida-Georgia border.
St. Johns County officials ordered 14,000 residents in St. Augustine, the oldest city in the US, to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Matthew starting at 6 a.m. ET Thursday.
Texroy Spence, of Deerfield Beach, Florida, loads plywood onto his car at the Home Depot on Tuesday.
 
Many residents found long gas lines Wednesday. However, Scott said the state is not experiencing any gas supply or distribution shortages. He also warned of the potential for prolonged power outages.
Airline passengers were urged to call before leaving for the airport. Fort Lauderdale's airport is to close Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and FlightAware.com says almost 250 flights are canceled at Miami International.
Scott said state offices will be closed Thursday and Friday in 26 counties. Six hospitals had started to evacuate patients, he added.
Palm Beach residents cleared many grocery store shelves ahead of the storm.

Hurricane Matthew: Largest evacuation since Sandy

Story highlights

  • Matthew has forced the largest mandatory evacuation since Hurricane Sandy
  • Obama: Storm could have a "devastating effect" on Florida
 

Are you affected by Hurricane Matthew? If it is safe for you to do so, WhatsApp us on *+44 7435 939 154* to share your photos, experiences and video. Please tag #CNNiReport in your message.

(CNN)As Hurricane Matthew sets its sights on the US, more than 2 million people have already been urged to flee their homes, with more evacuations likely as the deadly storm makes its way past the Bahamas.

State officials in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia cautioned residents not to hunker down at home if they live in the hurricane's potential path.
Not all of the millions of people in Matthew's path have been ordered to leave, but the mandatory evacuations are the largest since Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012.
 
Early Thursday the hurricane, which already has killed at least 15 people in several Caribbean countries, was about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Nassau, Bahamas, and 295 miles (480 kilometers) from West Palm Beach, Florida.
The National Hurricane Center isn't saying that Matthew will make landfall in Florida, but that the center of the storm will get "very near" the Atlantic Coast, possibly as a Category 4 hurricane.
Matthew was packing 115 mph (185 kph) winds as the eye neared the Central Bahamas, the National Hurricane Center said.
President Barack Obama warned Americans in the storm's path to pay attention and take any evacuation orders seriously. He said if the core of the storm strikes Florida, it could have a "devastating effect."
 

Florida braces for direct hit

Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned 1.5 million residents they had 24 hours to get ready, or better yet, get going.
 
How to prepare for a hurricane
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
How to prepare for a hurricane 01:00
Scott has repeatedly warned that a direct hit by Matthew could lead to "massive destruction" on a level unseen since Hurricane Andrew devastated the Miami area in 1992. He has activated 1,500 National Guard members in preparation for the storm.
The voluntary and mandatory evacuations currently stretch from the Miami area all the way north to the Florida-Georgia border.
St. Johns County officials ordered 14,000 residents in St. Augustine, the oldest city in the US, to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Matthew starting at 6 a.m. ET Thursday.
Texroy Spence, of Deerfield Beach, Florida, loads plywood onto his car at the Home Depot on Tuesday.
 
Many residents found long gas lines Wednesday. However, Scott said the state is not experiencing any gas supply or distribution shortages. He also warned of the potential for prolonged power outages.
Airline passengers were urged to call before leaving for the airport. Fort Lauderdale's airport is to close Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and FlightAware.com says almost 250 flights are canceled at Miami International.
Scott said state offices will be closed Thursday and Friday in 26 counties. Six hospitals had started to evacuate patients, he added.
Palm Beach residents cleared many grocery store shelves ahead of the storm.
In Jupiter, resident Randy Jordan told CNN affiliate WPEC people were pushing and shoving their way through the local Home Depot to buy supplies ranging from batteries to flashlights.
Residents still had a sense of humor. Olivia A. Cole posted a photo on Twitter of an empty grocery shelf, save for eight cans of a soup typically enjoyed in another part of the country. "South Florida wants to survive #HurricaneMatthew. But we'd rather die than eat clam chowder," Cole joked.

Hurricane Matthew: Largest evacuation since Sandy

Story highlights

  • Matthew has forced the largest mandatory evacuation since Hurricane Sandy
  • Obama: Storm could have a "devastating effect" on Florida
 

Are you affected by Hurricane Matthew? If it is safe for you to do so, WhatsApp us on *+44 7435 939 154* to share your photos, experiences and video. Please tag #CNNiReport in your message.

(CNN)As Hurricane Matthew sets its sights on the US, more than 2 million people have already been urged to flee their homes, with more evacuations likely as the deadly storm makes its way past the Bahamas.

State officials in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia cautioned residents not to hunker down at home if they live in the hurricane's potential path.
Not all of the millions of people in Matthew's path have been ordered to leave, but the mandatory evacuations are the largest since Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012.
 
Early Thursday the hurricane, which already has killed at least 15 people in several Caribbean countries, was about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Nassau, Bahamas, and 295 miles (480 kilometers) from West Palm Beach, Florida.
The National Hurricane Center isn't saying that Matthew will make landfall in Florida, but that the center of the storm will get "very near" the Atlantic Coast, possibly as a Category 4 hurricane.
Matthew was packing 115 mph (185 kph) winds as the eye neared the Central Bahamas, the National Hurricane Center said.
President Barack Obama warned Americans in the storm's path to pay attention and take any evacuation orders seriously. He said if the core of the storm strikes Florida, it could have a "devastating effect."
 

Florida braces for direct hit

Florida Gov. Rick Scott warned 1.5 million residents they had 24 hours to get ready, or better yet, get going.
 
How to prepare for a hurricane
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
How to prepare for a hurricane 01:00
Scott has repeatedly warned that a direct hit by Matthew could lead to "massive destruction" on a level unseen since Hurricane Andrew devastated the Miami area in 1992. He has activated 1,500 National Guard members in preparation for the storm.
The voluntary and mandatory evacuations currently stretch from the Miami area all the way north to the Florida-Georgia border.
St. Johns County officials ordered 14,000 residents in St. Augustine, the oldest city in the US, to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Matthew starting at 6 a.m. ET Thursday.
Texroy Spence, of Deerfield Beach, Florida, loads plywood onto his car at the Home Depot on Tuesday.
 
Many residents found long gas lines Wednesday. However, Scott said the state is not experiencing any gas supply or distribution shortages. He also warned of the potential for prolonged power outages.
Airline passengers were urged to call before leaving for the airport. Fort Lauderdale's airport is to close Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and FlightAware.com says almost 250 flights are canceled at Miami International.
Scott said state offices will be closed Thursday and Friday in 26 counties. Six hospitals had started to evacuate patients, he added.
Palm Beach residents cleared many grocery store shelves ahead of the storm.
In Jupiter, resident Randy Jordan told CNN affiliate WPEC people were pushing and shoving their way through the local Home Depot to buy supplies ranging from batteries to flashlights.
Residents still had a sense of humor. Olivia A. Cole posted a photo on Twitter of an empty grocery shelf, save for eight cans of a soup typically enjoyed in another part of the country. "South Florida wants to survive #HurricaneMatthew. But we'd rather die than eat clam chowder," Cole joked.

Mandatory evacuations in South Carolina

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley gave evacuation orders for the coastal counties of Charleston and Beaufort.
An estimated 250,000 residents evacuated from Charleston and Beaufort, said Kim Stenson, the director of South Carolina Emergency Management. He said as many as 200,000 people will leave Thursday.
Tempers apparently flared during the slow traffic out of Charleston. A man got out of his truck at point where vehicles were being redirected, removed a traffic cone and sped away. Police chased the man until he stopped on a dead-end road. Berkeley County Chief Deputy Mike Cochran told CNN that the man fired at deputies and police officers, who shot back and wounded the man.
The man was hospitalized, but his condition is unknown.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation changed the directions of eastbound traffic lanes to accommodate the exodus of people leaving coastal cities like Charleston.
 There were traffic jams on I-26 as far west as Columbia, South Carolina.
 
But as thousands fled inland Wednesday, not everyone chose to evacuate. In Charleston, which likely will see the powerful storm's impact this weekend, some people were boarding up businesses.
"I think we're staying put," Cheryl Quinn told CNN's Stephanie Elam.
Quinn and her husband said they were fine a year ago when Charleston endured heavy rain after a brush with a big storm.
"It was kind of a party down here. I hate to say that," because storms can be scary, she added.
Still, Quinn has reserved a hotel room just in case.

North Carolina playing it by ear

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency for more than half the state's 100 counties. So far, though, the governor has not urged residents to evacuate.
The changing forecast now predicts the storm won't have as great an impact on the state as once feared, and Matthew might even turn around before it gets there.
"We're just going to have to play it by ear and have our resources ready," the governor said.
Officials are still concerned areas in eastern North Carolina that were recently flooded will see drenching rains from Matthew.
Source:CNN.com
 

Two Brussels police officers stabbed in terror attack, prosecutor says

(CNN)A man stabbed two police officers in the Brussels district of Schaerbeek on Wednesday in what officials say was a terror attack.

A third police officer overpowered the suspect, identified only as Hicham D. The suspect was shot in the leg but his injury isn't life-threatening, according to the Federal Prosecutor's Office.
The third officer was "slightly injured," according to a statement from the prosecutor's office.
"In the framework of the terrorist attack against two police officers in Schaerbeek, a house search was conducted today at the residence of the suspect Hicham D, situated in Schaerbeek, Avenue de la Reine," the statement said.
No weapons were found in the search in Belgium's capital city. The office declined to release further details related to the search.
The injured police are "not in a life-threatening condition," the prosecutor's office said.
A 17-year-old French high school student, Stan Racine, witnessed the attack.
"The suspect pulled out a knife and attacked a policeman, and hurt him in the stomach and leg," he told CNN. "The policeman then pulled out his pistol and shot the suspect in the leg."
Racine said the suspect then shouted something in what he believed was Arabic.

Bomb scare

Separately, the city's Gare du Nord railway station was closed for an hour because of a bomb alert, Reuters reported, adding that operations resumed after bomb disposal teams checked the area.
The attack comes as the city remains on a high terror alert at level three, one below the highest level.
Suicide bombers struck the city's airport and a subway station on March 22, killing 32 people and injuring more than 300.
Experts have said that Brussels has become a hotbed of terror in Europe. The alleged mastermind of the Paris attacks in November last year, which killed 130 people, was arrested in Belgium.
The offender will face a judge specializing in terrorism cases to decide on any detention details, the prosecutor's office said.

A security perimeter has been set around the scene of the stabbing.

Source:CNN.com

Violence erupts at South Africa student protest

(CNN)Police fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at protesters who were voicing frustration over the cost of university education at a Johannesburg university.

Details of the unrest at Wits University on Tuesday were widely shared on social media. Some protesters threw rocks as police and private security guards tried to clear the scene.
However, Twitter users -- using the hashtag #feesmustfall -- said that some students also offered flowers to the police, and shouted "we want peace."
Student leader Mcebo Dlamini condemned "police brutality" but was later arrested, according to reports from witnesses at the scene.
The fees issue sparked previous violent protests in South Africa last year, when demonstrators barricaded universities and stormed the South African Parliament to press their message that university education in the country is too expensive, among other issues.
President Jacob Zuma later announced that universities would not increase fees in 2016 as planned. Students celebrated, but many posting on social media said fees remained too high and worried about what would happen after 2016.
Last month, a fresh wave of protests and unrest broke out at universities across South Africa after the government announced fees will rise next year, with an 8% cap. This university has been shut down for the past two weeks.
It reopened this week, but the senior executive team at the university said in a statement issued Tuesday that a group of students wearing balaclavas had refused to disperse at the main campus in Braamfontein and there had been an attempt to disrupt lectures.
"We have reports of two students being arrested and one student and one staff member being injured," a further statement added.
They advised staff and students not involved in the protest to stay indoors and lock the doors.
Major General Vuyisile Ngesi, a spokesman for the South African Police Service, told CNN Tuesday: "At the moment we cannot determine the exact number of protestors but it was a considerably huge number of the student population involved.
A student is detained by anti-riot police as they disperse a demonstration over fee increases at the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg on October 4, 2016
 
"Police used tear gas, rubber bullets as well as stun grenades to disperse the protesters in order to prevent them from taking the protest action to the streets closest to the university."
"The situation is calm now on campus but the police are present and monitoring the situation," added Ngesi.

Other protests

There were reports of unrest at other universities this week too. The hashtag #UCTshutdown was widely shared on Twitter, relating to the University of Cape Town.
One Twitter user, Nigel Patel, posted a picture Monday of what appeared to be majority white students, commenting: "These are the kids you are opening UCT for."

Violence erupts at South Africa student protest

A student runs from an exploding stun grenade thrown by anti-riot police as they disperse a demonstration by students over fee increases at the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg on October 4, 2016.
 

Story highlights

  • Missiles thrown at police during a fees demo
  • Police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets
 

(CNN)Police fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at protesters who were voicing frustration over the cost of university education at a Johannesburg university.

Details of the unrest at Wits University on Tuesday were widely shared on social media. Some protesters threw rocks as police and private security guards tried to clear the scene.
However, Twitter users -- using the hashtag #feesmustfall -- said that some students also offered flowers to the police, and shouted "we want peace."
Student leader Mcebo Dlamini condemned "police brutality" but was later arrested, according to reports from witnesses at the scene.
The fees issue sparked previous violent protests in South Africa last year, when demonstrators barricaded universities and stormed the South African Parliament to press their message that university education in the country is too expensive, among other issues.
President Jacob Zuma later announced that universities would not increase fees in 2016 as planned. Students celebrated, but many posting on social media said fees remained too high and worried about what would happen after 2016.
Last month, a fresh wave of protests and unrest broke out at universities across South Africa after the government announced fees will rise next year, with an 8% cap. This university has been shut down for the past two weeks.
It reopened this week, but the senior executive team at the university said in a statement issued Tuesday that a group of students wearing balaclavas had refused to disperse at the main campus in Braamfontein and there had been an attempt to disrupt lectures.
"We have reports of two students being arrested and one student and one staff member being injured," a further statement added.
They advised staff and students not involved in the protest to stay indoors and lock the doors.
Major General Vuyisile Ngesi, a spokesman for the South African Police Service, told CNN Tuesday: "At the moment we cannot determine the exact number of protestors but it was a considerably huge number of the student population involved.
A student is detained by anti-riot police as they disperse a demonstration over fee increases at the Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg on October 4, 2016
 
"Police used tear gas, rubber bullets as well as stun grenades to disperse the protesters in order to prevent them from taking the protest action to the streets closest to the university."
"The situation is calm now on campus but the police are present and monitoring the situation," added Ngesi.

Other protests

There were reports of unrest at other universities this week too. The hashtag #UCTshutdown was widely shared on Twitter, relating to the University of Cape Town.
One Twitter user, Nigel Patel, posted a picture Monday of what appeared to be majority white students, commenting: "These are the kids you are opening UCT for."
Patel told CNN the picture was taken in a law lecture on the UCT campus, adding: "I don't want to comment too much on the picture, but found that it is a strong statement on the privilege and divide that exists at UCT."
Amid the protests, students at a number of universities have said they want to return to lectures.
According to Professor Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University, 77% of students polled wanted to return to class.
"Our job is to protect the rights of everyone, including the students and staff who want to learn and work," he said.
"The protestors acknowledge that access to quality higher education for the poor and what is referred to as the missing middle is a national problem that cannot be resolved by any single institution."
Source:CNN.com

The 81-year-old woman pimping BMW's rides

(CNN)

There aren't many people like Esther Mahlangu.
Collaborating with BMW would be a dream for any designer, but for the 81 year old South African Ndebele artist it's all in a days work.
Twenty five years ago, Mahlangu created an iconic BMW Art car, and now she's teamed up with the German car giants again for a new project.
The BMW Individual 7 Series decorated with Mahlangu's work will be unveiled at this year's Frieze Fair in London with the car going up for auction at the same event.
Mahlangu's unique artwork is rooted in Ndebele tradition, where women in the Ndebele tribe decorate the walls of houses in vibrant patterns and colors. These striking designs symbolize significant events and serve as a means of communication within the community.
Of her second collaboration with BMW, Mahlangu said in a statement: "The patterns I have used on the BMW parts marry tradition and to the essence of BMW. When BMW sent me the panels to paint I could see the design in my head and I just wanted to get started ... My heart was full of joy when BMW asked me to paint for them again."
BMW isn't the only prestigious brand to have featured Mahlangu's striking artwork.
Last month she unveiled a partnership with Belvedere, teaming up with the beverage company for their RED campaign, in the fight against AIDS. She teamed up with Swedish sneaker brand Eytys to create a special pair of sneakers embroidered with her art work. Her paint work has even been featured on the tails of British Airways planes.
Despite her iconic status in South Africa and her popularity across the globe Mahlangu maintains she's still the same person.
" ... My art has taken me all over the world and I have seen many places," she said in a statement. "I have painted many walls and objects and my work is in many museums but I am still Esther Mahlangu from Mpumalanga in South Africa..."
Source:CNN.com

What is the polio-like illness paralyzing US children?

(CNN)Polio is a highly infectious disease that can lead to paralysis -- even death. Thankfully, most children today are unfamiliar with the virus, as it was eliminated from the United States in 1979.

But this week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a spike in a mysterious polio-like illness, confirmed this year in nearly half of the states in the country. From January 1 to August 31, 50 people in 24 states were diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis. Most of the cases are in children.
Like polio, AFM affects the body's nervous system -- specifically, the spinal cord -- and can cause paralysis. Unlike polio, there is no vaccine for AFM.
What we know: AFM first spiked in August 2014. By the end of that year, 120 people had been diagnosed in 34 states. The year 2015 saw just 21 people diagnosed in 16 states. Cases diagnosed in September of this year will be reported at the end of October.
What we do not know: the exact cause of the illness, though scientists think it is most likely the result of a viral infection. Other potential culprits include environmental toxins, genetic disorders and Guillain-Barré syndrome, according to the CDC.
 
"This is a very rare condition, but I think it's important that we take it seriously because it does have long-term and potentially disabling consequences," said Dr. Kevin Messacar, a pediatric infectious disease physician and researcher at Children's Hospital Colorado.

What is acute flaccid myelitis?

"The key with AFM is that it's sudden onset," said Dr. Manisha Patel, AFM team lead at CDC and a practicing pediatrician. "Symptoms include limb weakness, facial drooping and difficulty swallowing and talking.
"AFM is an illness that can be seen with a variety of different causes. The most famous one is polio, but there are also enteroviruses, which are circulating very broadly in the US and other countries."
"What we saw ... is that the majority of children had a fever and a respiratory illness," said Messacar. "Five days later, they would develop pain in the arms and legs, and weakness followed."
Messacar and his colleagues have followed their hospital's 12 AFM patients since 2014. He said most of them are doing better than when they first came into the emergency room, but the majority continue to have some level of disability.
"It's important to understand that there's a wide spectrum of severity of this disease," said Messacar. On one end, you see mild weakness in one extremity, he said. On the other, you've got children who have lost the ability to breathe on their own, and exhibit complete paralysis in their arms and legs.
Patel and Messacar agree: There are no known proven, effective therapies. Both doctors stress the importance of recognizing the early signs of AFM and seeking care as soon as possible.
"A doctor can tell the difference between AFM and other diseases with a careful examination of the nervous system, looking at the location of the weakness, muscle tone and reflexes," according to the CDC's website. "Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be very helpful in diagnosing cases of AFM."
"Finally, by testing the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF, the fluid bathing the brain and spinal cord), clinicians can look for findings suggestive of AFM," according to the CDC.
There is no cure for AFM. Treatment only focuses on alleviating symptoms.

How worried should you be?

"CDC is always concerned when there is a serious illness that is affecting the public, especially when it's affecting children," said Patel. "We're looking closely at what might be causing this, and what might put someone at risk for AFM."
In the meantime, Patel encourages practicing what she calls "general prevention strategies" -- washing your hands with soap and water, getting vaccinated and preventing mosquito bites.
Why is this important? AFM has also been liked to West Nile virus and other viruses in that family, according to the CDC; in particular, Japanese encephalitis and Saint Louis encephalitis. No link has been established between AFM and the Zika virus.
There is some good news here. "Enteroviruses tend to appear in the late summer and early fall, and go away in the winter," said Messacar. "So we expect to see [AFM cases] decrease based on the epidemiology of enteroviruses."
"We understand this condition better than we did in 2014, but there's still a lot to learn," said Messacar. "The process is slow, but progress is being made."
Source:CNN.com

5 Foods That Are Healthier Than You Think

Sometimes foods we love land in the nutritional “dog house” because of a negative news story. And then it doesn’t matter what health experts say, or what new research comes to light. In our minds we come to think of these foods as unhealthy choices.

Take these five much-maligned foods. Experts now agree: eating these former food vices might actually make you a healthier, happier fiftysomething.

Eggs
Perceived as a vice because:
Eggs, or specifically the yolks, are rich sources of cholesterol. And since the plaque that clogs arteries and damages hearts is made up mostly of cholesterol, “people sort of connected those dots,” explains Walter Willett, Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard. But “there was never any data that showed that people who ate more eggs had higher risk of heart attacks.”

Good for you because:
An extensive body of research confirms that cholesterol in the diet has very little impact on blood cholesterol levels. (Foods high in saturated and trans fats are what raise blood cholesterol.) So the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines now recommend that it’s OK for healthy people to eat up to seven eggs per week. Rich in protein and a good source of everything from Vitamin D to phosphorous, eggs illustrate the “good things come in small packages” rule of thumb.

Coffee
Perceived as a vice because:
Plenty of people still see coffee drinking “as an unhealthy habit, along the lines of smoking and excessive drinking, and they may make a lot of effort to reduce their coffee consumption or quit drinking it altogether, even if they really enjoy it,” says Harvard scientist and professor Rob van Dam.

Good for you because:
When Harvard researchers looked at the coffee drinking habits of 130,000 volunteers (healthy men and women in their 40s and 50s) and then followed these volunteers for 18-24 years, they saw no evidence that drinking up to six cups of coffee a day increased risk of death from any cause.

“Our findings suggest that if you want to improve your health, it’s better to focus on other lifestyle factors, such as increasing your physical activity, quitting smoking, or eating more whole grains,” says van Dam.

Of course, he’s talking about black coffee here. All bets are off when you start adding copious amounts of sugar and cream and whip them up into a slushy frozen confection.

One exception to the rule: People who have a hard time controlling their blood pressure or blood sugar might want to avoid coffee or switch to decaf. Caffeine is a stimulant and going overboard might increase heart rate and raise blood pressure.

Wine
Perceived as a vice because:
Drinking too much red wine can raise blood pressure and it may increase risk for several types of cancer. And when a 2014 Italian study found that the antioxidant resveratrol, often credited for conferring some of the health benefits in red wine, didn’t reduce cardiovascular disease, cancer, or deaths, it again raised the question: Is red wine good for health?

Good for you because:
While they didn’t find benefits to reservatrol in the Italian study, lead researcher Dr. Richard D. Semba of Johns Hopkins University says other studies have shown that red wine, dark chocolate and berries can reduce inflammation and still appear to protect the heart. “It’s just that the benefits, if they are there, must come from other polyphenols or substances found in those foodstuffs,” he says.

Avocados
Perceived as a vice because:
Pinned by dieters with a scarlet “F” for fattening, the 21 grams of fat in a small avocado do sound a bit rich. If you focus on total fat it’s easy to lump the fruit with other guilty indulgences like quarter pound burgers (20 grams of fat), scoops of rich, premium ice creams (17 grams of fat) and buttery croissants (18 grams.) Yet, unlike these favorite fatty splurges, the bulk of fat in avocados is the “healthy-for-the-heart” monounsaturated variety.

Good for you because:
A 2015 study from the American Heart Association finds that eating one avocado per day as part of a moderate fat diet can drop LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, nearly 14 points.

“We need to focus on getting people to eat a heart-healthy diet that includes avocados and other nutrient-rich food sources of better fats,” says Penny M. Kris-Etherton, senior study author and chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee.

And if you eat that avocado at lunch all the better. Loma Linda University researchers find that eating half an avocado at lunch helps squash food cravings for three to four hours after the meal, which could prevent a diet-busting case of the afternoon munchies.

Peanut Butter (Peanuts)
Perceived as a vice because:
It’s fine for the grandkids, but this quintessential sandwich spread has “too much fat” for many fiftysomethings. So they skip it all together. Same goes for peanuts. Many people believe pretzels are a better snack than peanuts or peanut butter.

But a 2010 study shows that refined carbs (like pretzels) might be worse for the heart than saturated fats. “The obesity epidemic and growing intake of refined carbohydrates have created a ‘perfect storm’ for the development of cardiometabolic disorders,” says Harvard researcher Frank Hu.

One good strategy, he suggests, is “replacing carbohydrates (especially refined grains and sugar) with unsaturated fats and/or healthy sources of protein.” Peanuts (and peanut butter) are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats and contain generous amounts of protein.

Good for you because:
Researchers at Penn State, who had volunteers eat peanuts as part of a high-fat meal, might have figured out why peanuts are good for the heart.

“Previous studies have shown that individuals who consume peanuts more than two times a week have a lower risk of coronary heart disease,” lead researcher on the new study, Xiaoran Liu, said. “Our new study indicates that the protective effect of peanut consumption could be due, in part, to its beneficial effect on artery health.”

Source:CNN.com

Kylie Minogue won't tie knot until Australia legalizes same-sex marriage

Kylie Minogue won't tie knot until Australia legalizes same-sex marriage

Singer Kylie Minogue, right, and Joshua Sasse pose for photographers upon arrival for the Brit Awards 2016 at the 02 Arena in London, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
 

(CNN)Australian-born singer Kylie Minogue and her fiancé, actor Joshua Sasse, are taking a stand in support of same-sex marriage.

Minogue, 48, and Sasse, 28, got engaged in February. The couple say they won't walk down the aisle until Australia's government recognizes same-sex marriage.
"There are chances of a Melbourne wedding," Sasse said. "But me and Kylie have talked about it and... until this law has passed in Australia, we will not be getting married."
They might not be tying the knot any time soon. Australia's main opposition party has vowed to oppose Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's suggested national referendum on the issue.
"I simply can't fathom on any level whether it's moral, religious, or anything, that I have the right to get married and to marry the person I love, and that somebody else doesn't just because of their own sexual orientation," Sasse said Thursday in an interview with CNN affiliate the Seven Network.
"That is not what equality is all about."
Sasse has launched a campaign, "Say I Do Down Under," selling T-shirts that promote same-sex marriage in Australia.
The shirts benefit Australians for Equality, a coalition of organizations advocating for legalization through a "free vote of parliament," rather than a referendum.
The movement is attracting high profile supporters including Australian singer Sia, actress Margot Robbie, American TV host Kelly Ripa, and country music icon Dolly Parton, with whom Sasse and Minogue are shown in a photo posted on Sasse's Instagram account earlier this week.
Robbie even wore her "Say I Do Down Under" shirt on television this past weekend as she hosted the 42nd season premiere of NBC's Saturday Night Live in New York.
The country's conservative Liberal government had planned to hold a national plebiscite, similar to a referendum, on whether or not to allow gay couples to marry in February 2017.
But the opposition Labor Party said the government should simply make same sex marriage legal without a national vote, avoiding a vicious debate over LGBT rights and savings millions of dollars in election funding.
Source:CNN.com

P-Square meets Picasso: How DJ Moma took Afrobeat to the Guggenheim

(CNN)The undulating sounds of Nigerian sensation P-Square echo throughout the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Manhattan, as priceless art hangs on the towering white walls.

Sudanese-born DJ Moma is on the decks, churning out Afrobeats, Caribbean Soca sounds and R&B at Art after Dark, as crowds fawn over Picassos and Mondrians long after the museum's usual closing hours.
Even with the extreme global success of African music, these scenes are still a rarity in New York's nightlife - let alone a world-famous art museum, but that's all changing.
"Recently, the world has started to catch up to African sensibilities. There's been a shift, whereas before we were trying to adjust to the western world and now the western world is adjusting to us," says Mohamed Hamad, known in the industry as DJ Moma.
With a DJ career spanning 15 years and residencies at venues all over the city, Moma is serving sounds of the diaspora to the mainstream party scene. Playing parties for the likes of Drake, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, John Legend and J-Cole -- he is one of the select few in the business to consistently champion African music as a fixture in his set.
"Parties have become really segregated and polarised - all hip-hop, all house or all EDM [electronic dance music], there's no room for a lot of DJ's to play around. We chose to stick to our own format and just play everything," he says.
Born in Khartoum in 1976, he spent his life following his father's senior job at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) that took the family from Paris to Doha and eventually Queens, New York.
"My older sister, who worked at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, would take me to parties with her friends from work that came from international backgrounds. They would always play songs like Premiere Gaou [by Ivorian Zouglou artists Magic System] and Karolina [by Congolese musician Awilo Longomba]. Before the time of afrobeats, these were the African classics and I got to hear them from early on," he says.
A trained electrical engineer, Moma spent the next thirteen years alternating between a corporate day-job and nights spinning with the likes of DJ legend Tony Humphries, Q-Tip from renowned rap-group A Tribe Called Quest and Questlove from hip-hop and neo-soul band, the Roots.
In 2014 Moma played in Africa for the first time -djing at a series of parties in Dakar, Nairobi, Zanzibar and Dar-es-Salaam, with radio appearances in his birth-place, Khartoum.
This move followed the huge success of the signature daytime party, Everyday People, that Moma co-founded with friends and fellow East Africans, Brooklyn creative Saada Ahmed and celebrity chef Roblé Ali.
In 2015, they joined forces with Okay Africa, the largest online platform for African culture launched by The Roots and Okayplayer, Nairobi and Dakar's DJ Cortega and New York based producer Kashaka to host Everyday Afrique.
Drawing crowds of 1500 to 2000 people, the rooftop party is a celebration of African music and culture - with an unspoken dress-code of trendy prints hailing from the continent and Yoruba-inspired body-painting by Nigerian visual artist Laolu Senbanjo
"As displaced Africans, we often try to assimilate with our environment and the local culture. But now, there's this reversal where members of the diaspora sprinkled across the West are looking back to what's happening on the continent for influence, flavour, style and guidance."
Source:CNN.com

Amazon wants Prime members to read a book

Amazon (AMZN, Tech30) is bundling another benefit into its Prime program -- books.

Starting Wednesday, Prime members can pick from more than 1,000 digital books, magazines, short works and comic books at no extra cost through Prime Reading.

Subscribers can access reads from any Kindle or Fire tablet or on the Kindle apps for iOS and Android. The rotating selection includes "The Hobbit," "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," "The Man In the High Castle" and magazines like Sports Illustrated, People and National Geographic Traveler.

Prime membership costs $99 per year and includes unlimited free two-day shipping on many products. Prime also gives users access to Amazon's library of movies, TV episodes, music and audio books, along with unlimited photo storage.

Shares of the company hit an all-time high this week, and its market value is approaching $400 billion. That puts Amazon ahead of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) as the fourth most valuable company in the United States after Apple (AAPL, Tech30), Google's parent Alphabet (AB100MOM) and Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30).

Source:CNN.com

Why the Future of Texas Program Hinges on Saturday's Red River Rivalry

Last season, Charlie Strong and Texas stunned Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry and saved his job.

If he wants to stay in Austin, he'll have to repeat the feat this weekend.

It's the middle of the third season of the Strong era, and the roller coaster that has featured offensive ineptitude and a revolving door of quarterbacks in 2014 and 2015, then sudden offensive promise with true freshman quarterback Shane Buechele at the helm in 2015 is about to go flying off the tracks.

Why?

Because Strong—a defensive coach by trade—has neglected his side of the ball while fixing the Longhorns' offensive issues that plagued them during his previous two seasons.

Texas' defensive unit ranks 116th in the country in scoring defense (38.3 points per game), has given up 47 or more points in three of four contests in 2016 and 38 or more in five of the last seven games overall.

Those struggles forced Strong to make drastic changes this week, when he demoted defensive coordinator Vance Bedford to secondary coach and took over the play-calling responsibilities himself in what clearly is a desperation move—even though he'll never admit it.

Strong commented on the move according to Texas' official site:

I don't think it's desperate or desperate measures. Talking with the defense and defensive staff, they understand. They understand what we need to get done. It's not this big desperation, all of the sudden, 'Hey, coach, you've got to.' I know this. That, 'Hey, I've done it before and I can see where I can help us.' And sometimes you feel like you need new energy and eyes, and hoping this will be a good move for that, which it will be.

If you can't decipher that code, let me do it for you. 

It means: "Psst, Tom Herman: Don't you go falling in love with LSU over the next couple of months. Because we're coming."

The current Houston head coach has spent time at Texas, Texas Lutheran, Sam Houston State and Rice during his career. He also led Ohio State to the national title as the Buckeye offensive coordinator in 2014, guided Houston to a New Year's Six bowl berth in 2015 and has combined his lethal offense with the nation's sixth-best defense in 2016 (250 yards per game).

He's the elixir for what ails Texas, and LSU already has a jump-start on courting the hottest coaching commodity in America (through his agent, of course) after it fired former head coach Les Miles following a 2-2 start.

 

 
Chris Covatta/Getty Images
Houston head coach Tom Herman

 

The problem at Texas begins and ends with Strong, who has not gained any traction save for the week after beating what we now know is a mediocre Notre Dame team in the Longhorns' first game this year.

"When you're the head coach, you have to have your fingerprints in everything—offense, defense and special teams," said former Miami and North Carolina head coach Butch Davis, who's now an analyst for SiriusXM and ESPN. "Your forte might be offense or defense, but if you let one side of the ball go completely untouched with every little emphasis on it, you're going to have problems."

Strong being pulled in the direction of fixing his offense—which he did by hiring offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert and running more of a power attack out of the spread with tempo—put too much on Bedford's shoulders.

"Charlie trusted Vance, who's a close friend," Davis said. "He probably gave him too much leeway and said, 'OK, Vance can spin this ball and I'll try to get the offense fixed. I'll get quarterback Shane Buechele ready and get the running game going.'"

 

 
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Texas head coach Charlie Strong

 

As a result, you've seen confusion with Football 101, including confusion on where to line up and with missed tackles.

"What we are doing is we are freezing and all of a sudden the guy freezes us and he takes off and we just can't get restarted, whereas he's on the move," Strong said Monday of his team's defensive woes, per the official website. "If you're stationary and a guy is on the move, you have no chance at all to tackle him, zero chance. Every time he's going to beat you."

What's more, Texas' lack of focus on special teams created a debacle for the ages against Oklahoma State last week, when the Cowboys blocked three extra points.

"To get three extra points blocked in one game, that's unheard of," Davis said. "You might get one in a season or two in a decade. But three in one game? I've never heard of that."

Strong wants a different voice for his defense, in the hopes that it will spark a change. 

If the plan to fix the defense is simply "a different voice" heading into a rivalry game against an Oklahoma team that's averaging 492.5 yards per game, 6.86 yards per play and 39.5 points per contest, it will be a long afternoon deep in the heart of Texas—one that will define the future of Strong and his program.

"It's like the kid who's sticking his finger in the dike, and there's a leak, and then another leak and another," Davis said. "Before long, you run out of fingers."

As Finger noted in the quote from Red McCombs, the possibility of change is already out there among Texas' powerbrokers, all of whom will undoubtedly look squarely in Herman's direction. 

The Red River Rivalry has always mattered for bragging rights.

But for the second straight year for Strong, it's personal. He was carried off the field following last season's 24-17 win over Oklahoma, which eventually went on to play in a national semifinal against Clemson. That was after a 1-4 start for the Longhorns and enough offensive problems to fill the Cotton Bowl.

The script for this season's annual showdown with the Sooners is essentially the same, with the plot twist coming on Strong's side of the ball instead of the other. 

A good defensive performance from the Longhorns will hold off the posse for now.

More of the same, and the wheels will start spinning at a high rate toward Herman. Even though Texas would likely have plenty of pull if and when the job opens up, it can't let LSU get too much of a head start.

Source: CNN.com