Kristaps Porzingis, Adidas Reportedly Agree to Multiyear Contract

Kristaps Porzingis is set to cash in on an outstanding rookie season with the New York Knicks.

The 21-year-old forward has agreed to a multiyear endorsement deal with Adidas, according to a Wednesday report from Nick DePaula of The Vertical. He will reportedly make between $3 million and $6 million per year as part of the largest shoe deal ever for a European player.

Nike, which sponsored Porzingis last season, has the right to match Adidas' offer.

The Latvian star averaged 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game during his 2015-16 rookie campaign.

While the No. 4 overall pick was met with mixed reactions on draft night, the 7'3" forward exceeded expectations on the court while earning a spot on the NBA All-Rookie Team.

Perhaps his most notable endorsement came from 2013-14 MVP Kevin Durant ahead of a January matchup between the Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder.

"He can shoot. He can make the right plays. He can defend. He's a 7-footer that can shoot all the way out to the three-point line," Durant said, per Royce Young of ESPN.com. "That's rare. And block shots—that's like a unicorn in this league."

Porzingis' strong play and unique skill set led to plenty of popularity both in New York and nationally. According to ESPN.com's Darren Rovell, Porzingis had the fourth-highest-selling jersey in the NBA behind only Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

It's no surprise Adidas is trying to take advantage of a young player on the rise by locking him into a sponsorship deal for the long term. New teammate Derrick Rose is also one of the company's biggest endorsers.      

Source:CNN.com

Mark Cuban explains why buying a 'brutally expensive' private plane was one of his smartest moves

Cuban became a billionaire in 1999 when he sold his second company, Broadcast.com, to Yahoo for $5.9 billion. Since then, the business magnate has made several pricey purchases, including buying the NBA franchise the Dallas Mavericks a year later.

However, in a new column for Men’s FitnessCuban said that the smartest thing he ever spent money on was a private plane.

“It’s obviously brutally expensive, but time is the one asset we simply don’t own,” he wrote. “It saves me hours and hours." 

Cuban purchased his first jet — a Gulfstream V— in 1999 for $40 million. Since then, he’s added two more to his fleet: a Boeing 767 that he rents out and a Boeing 757, which he uses for the Mavs. 

The "Shark Tank” star goes on to say that the most important things in life are family, time, being nice, and avoiding stress, while “trying to have more than the next guy” just isn’t worth it.

Though a private jet might seem like a demonstration of opulence, to Cuban it’s not about showing off his wealth — it’s about effectively using his time so he can attend to what matters. 

“It means I have more hours in my day to spend with friends and family,” he explained to the Wall Street Journal in 2010. “It means I can get more work done. It means I can travel comfortably with my family. It’s a life- and game-changer." 

Source:CNN.com

As Trump sputters, Clinton's campaign prepares for an even nastier race

(CNN)Hillary Clinton and her top aides couldn't be happier that Donald Trump's campaign is imploding around him.

But the last week has also made one thing clear for top Democrats: The more wounded the GOP nominee gets, the nastier he will grow toward Clinton. And the campaign is already preparing its defenses for the third debate later this month.
Clinton aides were shocked -- and caught off guard -- when Trump held a press conference with three women who had previously accused Bill Clinton of sexual impropriety before Sunday's debate. They were even more surprised when those women took seats inside the hall, in front of some of the most prominent Democrats in the country.
Even though aides said that Trump's decision to invite three women "failed" to intimidate Clinton, there is now an acknowledgment inside Clinton's campaign that if the wheels completely come off Trump's campaign, the attacks could grow even more personal.
"This was supposed to be his big moment. His threat, he followed through and it had no effect, so I don't know what he is going to do as an encore," Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton's communications director, told reporters on Monday.
But Palmieri also acknowledged that this won't be his last attempt to dredge up past scandals and allegations to humiliate the former secretary of state.
"She's been through a number of trials over the course of her career and she's certainly not going to let him throw her off or intimidate her from speaking out," Palmieri added.
Clinton also nodded to the astonishing spectacle of Sunday's debate.
"Did anybody see that debate last night," Clinton asked to big applause at Wayne State University in Detroit. "Bet you never saw anything like that before."

Defending Clinton's record

Less than 24 hours after the debate, Clinton and her team have already started to prepare for the third and final contest in Las Vegas later this month.
One line of attack that Trump has effectively leveled against Clinton is questioning what she has accomplished in her 30-year career, arguing that she has plans but should have been able to do more as US senator and secretary of state.
On Monday in Columbus, Ohio, Clinton presented her achievements by decade and compared those moments with points in Trump's life.
"So when Donald Trump talks about what I have been doing for the last 30 years, I welcome that," Clinton said at her largest rally of her presidential campaign. "Because in the 1970s, I was working to end discrimination and he as being sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination."
"In the 1980s," Clinton added, "I was working to improve the schools in Arkansas ... while he was getting a loan for $14 million from his father to start a business."
After slamming Trump for his NBC show "The Apprentice" -- "on the day that I was in the situation room watching the raid the brought Osama bin Laden to justice, he was hosting Celebrity Apprentice" -- Clinton said: "If he wants to talk about what we have been doing the last 30 years, bring it on."

Campaign giddy over GOP 'civil war'

Even as they gird for a nasty last debate of the campaign, Clinton's aides are openly giddy about the fact that Republicans are openly feuding. After boarding the flight, Clinton remarked that it was time to take off so alcoholic beverages could be served.
The Clinton campaign watched on Monday as House Speaker Paul Ryan informed GOP House members on a conference call that he was no longer able to defend Trump — a stunning announcement that sparked chaos inside a party that had already been fractured around Trump's controversial candidacy this year.
"I think it's pretty stunning that the morning after the debate, the speaker of the House has to come out and say that he's no longer going to defend Donald Trump and that each Republican member of Congress has to decide for themselves whether or not they're going to support their party's nominee," Palmieri said.
To twist the knife on the Republican Party, Palmieri added, "It seems that somewhat of a civil war is breaking out in the Republican Party."
After Ryan informed House Republicans that he could no longer defend Trump, the GOP nominee was quick to express his anger on Twitter.
"Paul Ryan should spend more time on balancing the budget, jobs and illegal immigration and not waste his time on fighting Republican nominee," Trump wrote.
Ever since a 2005 video in which Trump casually brags about sexual assault was made public last week, Republicans across the country have begun to pull their support for Trump. Ryan and other congressional leaders have not gone as far as to rescind their endorsement, but plenty of Republicans in tough Senate and House races have rescinded their endorsements.
Clinton was in good spirits after Sunday night's debate, where her campaign aides felt that she effectively dispatched with Trump's attacks and tried to stay focused on speaking to the undecided voters who asked questions during the town hall contest.
Clinton received some good news Monday in a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that was conducted after the lewd 2005 video was made public -- but before Sunday's debate -- that found Clinton with a 14-point lead nationally in a head-to-head matchup against Trump, 52% to 38%. In a four-way race including third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, Clinton leads 46% to 35%.
But even Clinton knew after the debate that her race against Trump, something she cast on Monday in Detroit as a fight between cynicism and hopefulness, was far from over.
Asked on Sunday night whether she was surprised to see her husband's accusers in the audience, Clinton shook her head.
"Nothing surprises me about him, really," she said. "I was surprised by the absolute avalanche of falsehoods I find it almost unimaginable that someone can stand and just tell a falsehood after a falsehood."
Source:CNN.com

High drama on debate night

(CNN)First came the Montagues and the Capulets, then the Hatfields and the McCoys.

Now there are the Clintons and the Trumps.
Two clans whose triumphs and disasters have flared bright across the national stage for a quarter century are now engulfed in a family feud for the modern era.

Kerry calls for probe of Russian, Syrian 'war crimes'

(CNN)US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that Russian and Syrian military strikes against civilians and medical facilities in Aleppo should be investigated as war crimes.

"The regime attacked yet another hospital, and 20 people were killed and 100 people were wounded," Kerry said ahead of a meeting with his French counterpart, citing recent attacks. "Russia and the (Syrian) regime owe the world more than an explanation about why they keep hitting hospitals and medical facilities and children and women."
He added, "These are acts that beg for an appropriate investigation of war crimes. And those who commit these would, and should, be held accountable for these actions."
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault joined Kerry in his condemnation, saying the conflict has reached a "moment of truth" for the UN Security Council, and dismissing the Syrian regime's assertion that it is targeting terrorists in the besieged city of Aleppo, a stronghold of opposition forces fighting the Assad regime.
"These are indeed war crimes," Ayrault told reporters Friday .
"Bombing access to clean water is not against terrorism," he said. "When you bomb a hospital it is the same. We need a ceasefire as soon as possible."
Kerry has been increasingly harsh in his criticism of the Russian government in recent weeks for its intervention in Syria, where Moscow is backing President Bashar al-Assad in the brutal, five-year-long civil war.
Last month, after a brief US and Russian-backed ceasefire agreement fell apart and airstrikes resumed, the secretary of state delivered a blistering address to the UN Security Council, accusing the Assad regime of targeting civilians and Russia of targeting a UN aid convoy.
"How can people go sit at a table with a regime that bombs hospitals and drops chlorine gas again and again and again and again and again and acts with impunity?" Kerry asked at the time. "You're supposed to sit there and have happy talk in Geneva while the regime drops bombs?"
On Friday, Kerry said attacks on medical professionals in Syria are "way beyond" accidental.
"This is a targeted strategy to terrorize civilians and to kill anybody and everybody who is in the way of their military objectives," he said.
Ayrault said he plans to travel to New York ahead of a UN Security Council meeting Saturday, where the French are expected to put forward a resolution that will call for a ceasefire in Aleppo, including a halt to Syrian and Russian air attacks.
Russia is expected to veto the measure, but says it is willing to support a separate UN proposal to escort rebel fighters from the al-Nusra terrorist group out of Aleppo.
Source:CNN.com

Divorced, deceased parents linked to kids' smoking and drinking

(CNN)We know that parents have a profound influence on their child's life, and increasingly, scientific research is connecting the dots between attention or neglect and behavior.

Children who experience the loss of a father or mother early in life are more likely to smoke and drink before they hit their teens, a new study of English families found. This association between parental absence and risky behavior in childhood occurred no matter whether the cause was death, separation or divorce.
In fact, preteens with an absent parent were more than twice as likely to smoke and drink, the researchers discovered. They defined parental absence as the loss of a biological parent before a child reached age 7.
"We know from previous research that people may take up risky health behaviors as a coping strategy or as a form of self-medication, to help them cope with stressful situations," noted Rebecca Lacey, an author of the study and a senior research associate at University College London.
Possible evidence of the link between parental absence and behavior comes from an unlikely source from across the pond: President Obama.
In a new MTV documentary, "Prescription for Change: Ending America's Opioid Crisis," Obama reveals his past drug use: "When I was a teenager, I used drugs, I drank, I pretty much tried whatever was out there, but I was in Hawaii, and it was a pretty relaxed place. I was lucky that I did not get addicted except to cigarettes, which took me a long time to kick."
Notably, Obama's parents divorced around his 3rd birthday, within the parental absence time frame defined by Lacey and her colleagues.
Based on her findings, Lacey says, early life assistance provided to children with an absent parent may help prevent substance use, which might set a pattern and lead to poor fitness later in life.
"Health behaviors established earlier in life are known to track into adulthood," Lacey and her co-authors wrote in their study, published Monday in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Thousands of children studied over time

The research team examined data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study, which records health data for thousands of children born between 2000 and 2002. Among the goals of the study is to collect information on fathers' involvement in children's care and development. After a first survey of the children at 9 months old, surveys collected information for each child at ages 3, 5, 7 and 11 years old.
Overall, the researchers examined the records of nearly 11,000 children. Of these thousands of children, more than a quarter had experienced the absence of a biological parent by age 7.
During their age-11 survey, the children were asked whether they had ever smoked cigarettes or drunk alcohol. Those who had tried booze also answered whether they'd had enough to feel drunk.
The results to the smoking question would soothe the nerves of most parents: The overwhelming majority of preteens said they had not smoked. However, 11-year-old boys were more likely than girls to have tried cigarettes: 3.6% versus 1.9%.
Drinking was much more common among the 11-year-olds. Here again, the boys outnumbered the girls, with one in seven boys reporting that they'd tried alcohol, compared with one in 10 of the girls. Of the preteens who tried drinking, nearly twice as many boys (12%) said they'd had enough to feel drunk, compared with slightly less than 7% of the girls.
Lacey and her colleagues calculated that preteens who had experienced parental absence before the age of 7 were more than twice as likely to have taken up smoking and 46% more likely to have started drinking.
Although the boys were more likely to have reported smoking or drinking, they weren't any more likely than girls to have reported smoking or drinking as a consequence of parental absence, explained Lacey.

Is death more significant than divorce?

One interesting datapoint in the study showed that kids whose parent had died were less likely to have tried alcohol by the age of 11; however, those who had tried it were more than 12 times as likely to get drunk than kids with absent parents due to separation or divorce.
"We need to be a little bit cautious about overinterpreting this result," Lacey said, since the sample population contained very few children who had experienced parental death.
Overall, Lacey and her colleagues believe that a range of factors -- including less parental supervision and unhealthy coping mechanisms on the part of the kids -- may contribute to the association between parental absence and risk behaviors.
Mitch Prinstein, a professor and the director of clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, believes the study covers "an extraordinarily important topic."
"The rate of health risk behaviors like smoking and consumption of alcohol is a serious concern, not just in the UK but in many nations, especially here in the US," said Prinstein, who was not an author of the study. Prinstein added that anything to help us understand which kids are at risk at the earliest age "deserves our attention."

Other adults can make a difference

Though it's "exciting," Prinstein noted that the study had one weakness in that the researchers could not control for factors such as parental depression or physical illness. As a result, no one can say whether a parent's absence was the cause of a child's risky behavior or whether other factors, such as a parent's depression, might have played a more direct role.
"All studies have limitations, of course, so this is not to suggest this (research) is not an important contribution," he said, adding that previous research suggests parental neglect can be a factor leading to risky behavior in children. Though the study focuses on children in the UK, Prinstein also believes the results "might not be culturally bound" and so probably apply to American families.
Still, Prinstein cautions against misinterpreting the results since past studies revealed that "aunts, uncles, grandparents, coaches, members of the neighborhood community can serve a very important role for kids."
Someone who is not in the "formal role of a parent" can still have a "dramatic" and positive influence in the life of a child, he said, and they may even help a child resist peers who have begun to experiment with substances.
Prinstein concluded, "I would hate for anyone to feel stigmatized that what they're providing for a child is not OK if they are offering that child access to other adults, like grandparents and aunts and uncles -- because we know that is very helpful."
Source:CNN.com

A brief, creepy history of clown hoaxes and internet panics

(CNN) In the hills and the cities, on dark highways and back roads, ghoulish scamps wearing face paint and circus regalia are reportedly lurking in wait for passers-by to startle.

Clowns, it seems, are the monster of the moment on social media, even though many of the creepy stories have been debunked by police.
Photos and tales of sinister jokesters are popping out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, fueling panic as Halloween approaches. It's hard to say why clowns are this season's reigning bogeymen, but there are precedents for this candy-colored hysteria.
It started in England three years ago with a rogue Bozo nicknamed the Northampton Clown.

The Northampton Clown

A college student and Stephen King fan frightened residents of a British town by dressing up as Pennywise, the sewer-dwelling jester from the novel "It."
In September and October 2013, Alex Powell would turn up on street corners clutching balloons and greeting pedestrians with Pennywise's catchphrase, "Beep beep."
Powell's friends took pictures of him in dark spots and created a Northampton Clown Facebook page to track his travels. It was a performance art prank that evolved into a viral phenomenon, replete with death threats from vigilante "clown catchers." A month after the Northampton Clown made his debut, a British newspaper, the Mirror, identified Powell as the culprit.

The Staten Island Clown

Not six months later, another mysterious figure began appearing across the pond in Staten Island, New York. Clad in a ruffled yellow suit, white gloves and oversize red shoes, the night-stalking funnyman was spotted at a train station near a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant and at a school play, according to the Staten Island Advance.
The outer borough clown sightings caught the attention of author King, who suggested in a tweet that he should be receiving royalties.
The clown traipsed around town for a few days before a film company called Fuzz on the Lens revealed that the whole thing was staged to promote a movie.

The Wasco Clown

 
During October 2014, a California couple started an art project centered on portraits of a lonely clown with a head wound. The character posed for photos around the small town of Wasco, holding a knot of kaleidoscope balloons in such bleak locales as deserted parking lots, empty fields and abandoned playgrounds.
After the images went viral online, a teen copycat in nearby Bakersfield was arrested for wearing a clown costume and chasing a girl. Local police continued to get calls about scary clown sightings for weeks leading up to Halloween, but no further arrests were reported.

Clown costume ban in France

To prevent problems at a Halloween fest in southern France, a mayor ordered a holiday ban on clown costumes in 2014.
The ban was issued in response to a series of scares involving armed teens in clown masks harassing residents in multiple towns.
As a result, Mayor Pierre Dudieuzere declared that people over the age of 12 were prohibited from wearing clown costumes and face paint at the village of Vendargues' Halloween parade. The clown-free celebration took place without incident.
Source: CNN.com
 

 

US death toll from Matthew climbs to 21 as rescuers save stranded people

(CNN)Rescue crews in the Carolinas worked methodically throughout the day on Monday, plucking people to safety from the flooding left by Hurricane Matthew's deadly haymaker.

Responders pulled people from their submerged homes, situated them in rafts or choppers and whisked them to safe and dry ground.
The storm's US death toll climbed to 21 on Monday, with North Carolina reporting 11 deaths, Florida reporting four, and three each in South Carolina and Georgia.
President Obama on Monday declared a major disaster in North Carolina and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts.
Federal funding is available to people in Beaufort, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Hoke, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt, and Robeson counties.

Flooding in Lumberton

In the eastern North Carolina city of Lumberton, in one of the counties included in the President's disaster declaration, rescuers worked to save 1,500 people stranded by flooding.
"We have people on roofs (there) as we speak," North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said earlier Monday.
The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered flight restrictions over the area so helicopters can rescue them.
Kellie Blue, Robeson County, North Carolina, spokeswoman, said around 3,000 people were sent to shelters after the flooding but the county has no precise figure on the total number residents forced from their homes.
She said ice and water were being shipped in because about 26,000 utility customers in the county lacked water.
Utility crews were working to repair water lines but once water mains were fixed, another road was washed out, and lines burst again.
At one point, she said, people were evacuated to a shelter that had to be evacuated because of flooding.
There are 800 residents living in an evacuation shelter at a high school. Four people remain missing in the county, she said.
Homes, restaurants and business have been lost, she said.
"Our board of education is destroyed," Blue said. "It's completely underwater."
The state reported the evacuation of a prison threatened by flooding. Authorities said 797 inmates from the Neuse Correctional Institution in Goldsboro were taken to other prisons in the state system.
The minimum-security facility for male inmates is near downtown Goldsboro and near the confluence of the Little River and the Neuse River.

Taking shelter at a town hall

Authorities in Marion County, South Carolina, used boats and helicopters to rescue the last members of a group of 150 people who sought shelter against the Lumber River in the Nichols, South Carolina, town hall.
People had been in the town hall since 9 p.m. Sunday, according to Kent Williams, who is the Marion County deputy administrator and a state legislator.
"With the Lumber River and all the rain that Matthew dumped on us, it was more than they could handle. That was pretty much the safest place for them to be," Williams said. "The town hall was the high ground."
Rescue teams took them to a middle school in Mullins.
"The water is rising so fast it's scary. The river is not scheduled to crest until ten in the morning. It's the worst we've seen it," Williams said.

Massive power outages

About 500,000 structures in North Carolina didn't have power Monday.
"That's probably well over 1 million people without power," McCrory said. "That's 10% of our population in North Carolina -- all in a very small area. At least 10%."
Matthew's damage exceeded expectations, Duke Energy said. The power company said it now has to rebuild parts of the electrical system. It said some of the hardest-hit areas "might be without power all week."
More than 469,000 South Carolina customers didn't have power Monday, Gov. Nikki Haley said. She said 8,000 linemen were working to get electricity restored.
And Florida, the first state thrashed by Matthew, still had 169,000 customers without power Monday, Gov. Rick Scott's office said.
Matthew also played havoc with the state's voter registration process. On Monday, a court extended the voter registration deadline because evacuations.
Meanwhile, the state is working to get back to normal. The Kennedy Space Center will reopen on Tuesday at 6 a.m. Employees are being asked to report to work at their regular times. At the same time, recovery operations are continuing and people are asked to be careful on their return.

Dead and missing

The 11 deaths in North Carolina included some victims who drowned after driving onto flooded roads.
"I cannot stress more: If you see a road that's flooded, do not take your car through that road," McCrory said. "If you see a barrier, do not go around that barrier."
Another five people remain missing in North Carolina, McCrory said.
In South Carolina, 66-year-old David L. Outlaw drowned when his wheelchair got pinned down in standing water at a nursing facility's courtyard, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said.
Along with the 21 official storm-related deaths in the United States, a member of a tree-removal crew in Florida clearing debris in left behind by Hurricane Matthew lost his life on Monday when a large log rolled on top of him. The incident occurred shortly before 6 p.m. in the Halifax Plantation community near Ormond Beach in Volusia County's extreme northeast corner, not far from the border with Flagler County.
The US deaths came after Matthew devastated parts of the Caribbean, killing more than 300 people in Haiti, said Paul Altidor, Haitian ambassador to the United States. Others report much higher death tolls.
orecasters warned of more "catastrophic flooding" as North Carolina residents braced for swollen rivers to top their banks in the next few days.
"River levels will rise above major flood stage this morning and remain elevated well into next week," the National Weather Service said.
n addition to avoiding all flooded roads, keep an eye out for downed power lines and weakened bridges and roads that look like they might collapse, the National Weather Service said.
Once back home, "walk carefully around the outside of your home to check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage," the NWS said. "Stay out of any building if you smell gas."
The agency said carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms involving power outages.
"Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage," the NWS said. "Use battery-powered flashlights. Do not use candles. Turn on your flashlight before entering a vacated building. The battery could produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present."
North Carolina's Department of Public Safety offers additional tips on how to safely remove trees and limbs from homes.

Beach house turns into a beach

Grant Lynch garnered national attention last week when he posted video of Matthew's mammoth waves clobbering his Florida beach house.
He returned to his Palm Coast home over the weekend to find the house filled with beach sand.
He tried to walk inside the house, whose floors were covered by what looked like more than a foot of sand.
Source:CNN.com

How To Get Ripped Abs... After 40

We all want great abs. In fact, “abs” consistently rank as the number one body part people are most attracted to AND want to improve most about themselves. So, why is it so darn hard to trim down and tone up your mid-section? I’m going to set the record straight right now and give you the TRUTH about losing that spare tire so you can reveal those lean, defined abs hiding underneath that stubborn layer of belly fat.

First, let me ask you a question: have you been doing countless sit-ups, crunches and side bends hoping to flatten your stomach, but you haven’t noticed a bit of difference whatsoever? 

Heck, maybe you’ve even resorted to trying out those “As Seen on TV” ab gadgets you saw on late night informercials, just to see if anything would make a difference. 

No need to be ashamed… I’ve made this mistake myself. 

In fact, I struggled for years before I finally figured out the truth about getting lean, defined abs.  (I sure wish someone had let me in the info I’m about to share with you before I wasted so much money on useless gadgets and dedicated so many hours to doing “ab-targeted” exercises.)

Here’s the thing about ab exercises that’s so misleading:  When you do ab-targeted exercises like sit-ups, your muscles get sore, which makes you think you’re strengthening your abs.  There you are, crunching away thinking it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be looking beach ready with your rock-solid core, right?

…Yet weeks after you’ve religiously been doing your ab routine, your belly looks just as bloated and squishy as it did before.  All that time and pain for nothing!

Here’s the TRUTH…

Most people think that abs are made to crunch, twist, and bend, but in reality it’s the complete opposite.  The role of your abdominal muscles is to prevent your mid-section from crunching, twisting, and bending.  Yep… you heard it right, your abs are a stabilizing force designed to resist movement in order to protect your spine.

So even though you “feel the burn” when you do crunches and other traditional ab moves, you’re actually putting unnecessary pressure on your back, causing much more harm than good.  These isolated ab exercises can cause lower back injuries by forcing your spine to flex too much, and they do very little to actually strengthen your abs!!

The bottom line: Ab-targeted exercises will NOT burn off belly flab OR strengthen your abs.  Instead, they will make your back weaker and more prone to injuries.

So then how the heck do you get ripped abs?

It’s a lot easier than you might think, once you know what (and what not) to do. 

Here are my top three simple, insanely effective strategies (#3 is my top fat-fighting secret weapon!).  If you actually take my advice, I think you’ll be flat-out amazed at how quickly your belly fat will seem to melt away, finally revealing those washboard abs that have been hiding underneath for all these years.

Alright, let’s get to it…

#1 - Do “Core” Exercises

If you want to get rid of that muffin-top and shrink wrap your waistline, you need to do exercises that hit your entire mid-section, not just your abs!  Your abs are only one part of your “core” and in order to go from having flabby abs to being tight and defined all the way around your middle, you must strengthen your abs AND all of the muscles surrounding them.

Here’s an example of one of my favorite core exercise you can do (I’ve got many more of these to show you later on, so stay with me).

The best plank exercise for ripped abs

To do this exercise, you’re going to start in a “plank” position (keep your body straight, don’t let your butt sag to low or stick up too high). 

Next, raise your left arm out straight in front of you and raise your right leg straight out behind you.  Hold this position for 5 seconds.  Now switch sides.  Repeat 5 times.

The reason this exercise is so effective is because you are not only working your abs, you are strengthening your entire core, toning things up while helping to actually protect your spine!

This brings me to my next tip, which has absolutely nothing to do with exercise, but if you don’t take my advice on this one, you will NEVER get flat abs — no matter how many core exercises you do…

#2 - Cut Out The #1 Belly Fat Causing Food

Sugar makes you FAT!

Sugar is the #1 reason that you carry fat on your belly. That’s right…it’s not fat that makes you fat, it’s SUGAR

That’s because sugar stimulates a fat-storing hormone called insulin, which is secreted by your pancreas.  The more sugar you eat, the more insulin your body secretes… and that means you gain more and more FAT. 

But here’s the worst part…

Of all your body parts, guess where your insulin hormone loves to store fat the most?  Yep, you guessed it — your stomach!

If you ever want to shed belly fat and reveal those lean abs, you MUST eat less sugar.

That is a fact.  But for the times when you DO eat sugar, remember this:

“Don’t drink your sugar, EAT your sugar!”

Memorize it, tattoo it to your forehead…whatever.

Here’s why: when you eat sugar from natural, whole foods (an apple for example), you are consuming the sugar along with fiber from the fruit.  Fiber slows down the uptake of sugar into your bloodstream, preventing your insulin from spiking so that you don’t store gobs of fat.

On the other hand, when you have sugary drinks (yes, even fruit juice!), there is NO fiber.  With every sip, you are essentially telling your body, “Hey, let’s pack on lots of fat!”

Here’s something else you need to understand:  all carbohydrates break down into sugar once they’re in your body.  That’s why foods like bread, pasta, and rice make you pack on the pounds and cause you to feel bloated all the time. 

Now, even though you should cut back on these high-carb foods, I’m not saying you can’t eat carbs at all.  In fact, let me fill you in on a little trick that let’s you “cheat” and eat more carbs — without expanding your waistline…

If you’re going to eat carbs, the best time is AFTER you workout.

You see, after you finish a workout, your glycogen (glucose stored in your muscles) gets depleted.  So when you eat carbs, your body uses the sugar to replenish your muscles first, instead of sending it straight to your gut!

Okay, let’s move on to my #1 best gut-busting secret of all…

#3 - Wake Up Your Metabolism!

Wake up your metabolism!

Your metabolism works around the clock 24/7 to keep your body functioning optimally and it requires fuel to keep running. 

Guess where that fuel comes from? 

Your body fat!  That’s right, your metabolism is fueled by fat.  So by increasing your metabolism, you’re telling your body to burn off MORE fat.

I know, I know.  That sounds easier said than done, but stick with me and you’ll discover how increasing your metabolism is MUCH easier than you think (no matter your age or genetics)…

But first, if you’ve been doing cardio workouts to try and slim down, I have some bad news for you…

Steady-state cardio (like jogging or doing the elliptical) increases the production of a stress hormone called cortisol.  Cortisol causes weight gain and makes it more difficult to burn off stubborn belly fat.  That’s why no matter how much cardio you do, you always hit a plateau eventually.

Even worse, too much cardio accelerates aging!  When you put your body under prolonged stress, you start producing free-radicals, which damages your cells and causes inflammation…and inflammation is what makes you OLD.  Yikes!

Now here’s the good news: science has proven that the most effective way to increase your metabolism is by doing short bursts of high-intensity exercises.  This type of exercise triggers a potent fat-burning effect, known as the “afterburn”, which skyrockets your metabolism and boosts your fat-burn for up to 48 hours after your workout is over

I call this scientifically-proven method metabolic training

Don’t worry, it’s not as technical as it sounds.  Let me explain…

Metabolic training involves specific exercises that activate more of your muscle fibers, which creates a bigger metabolic boost, demanding more fat to be burned for fuel—so you can burn off the flab that’s covering up your abs and KEEP it off.

There’s even more good news.

…Metabolic training stimulates your youth-enhancing hormones so you can slough away old, dead cells — making you look and feel younger.  Yes, it’s the Holy Grail of all workouts!

Look, getting lean, defined abs is easy once you know HOW to trigger the right hormones in your body (and stop the production of the bad hormones that are making you fat and old). 

On the next page, I’ll show you the specifics behind this fast and easy method.  Soon you’ll be able to turn on your youth-enhancing, fat-burning, and lean-muscle building hormones so you can finally uncover your abs without exercising to death or starving yourself …and you’ll even defy the aging process so you can look and feel 10 years younger…

Source: MensHealth.com

Source: ISIS executes hundreds of Mosul area residents

(CNN)ISIS executed 284 men and boys as coalition forces closed in on Mosul, an Iraqi intelligence source told CNN.

Those killed on Thursday and Friday had been rounded up near and in the city for use as human shields against attacks that are forcing ISIS out of the southern sections of Mosul, the source explained.
ISIS used a bulldozer to dump the corpses in a mass grave at the scene of the executions -- Mosul's defunct College of Agriculture in the north of the city, the intelligence source said.
The victims were all shot and some were children, said the source, who wanted anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. CNN could not independently confirm the claim.
The United Nations earlier said it is "gravely worried" that ISIS has taken 550 families from villages around Mosul and is using them as human shields as Iraqi and Kurdish forces battle the terror group for control of Iraq's second-largest city.
Two hundred families from Samalia village and 350 families from Najafia were forced out Monday and taken to Mosul in what appears to be "an apparent policy by ISIS to prevent civilians escaping," Ravina Shamdasani, deputy spokeswoman for the UN Human Rights Office, told CNN.
Meanwhile, ISIS militants attacked security buildings in Kirkuk, 175 kilometers (109 miles) southeast of Mosul.

Latest developments

• The UN human rights chief cites reports that civilians have been shot dead by ISIS.
• Nearly 30 ISIS militants have taken over a building in southern Kirkuk and fired on security forces.
• Twelve people were killed in a separate ISIS attack in Dibis.
• Iraqi-led forces have recaptured at least 100 square kilometers (39 square miles) of territory, CNN analysis shows.

UN had expressed concern

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said his office had evidence of several instances since Monday where ISIS forced civilians to leave their homes in outlying villages and head to Mosul. It also had received reports that civilians suspected of disloyalty had been shot dead.
"We are gravely worried by reports that (ISIS) is using civilians in and around Mosul as human shields as the Iraqi forces advance, keeping civilians close to their offices or places where fighters are located, which may result in civilian casualties," Zeid said.
"There is a grave danger that (ISIS) fighters will not only use such vulnerable people as human shields but may opt to kill them rather than see them liberated," he said.
His office is examining reports that ISIS shot dead at least 40 civilians in a village outside Mosul.
Any ISIS fighters who are captured or surrendered "should be held accountable in accordance with the law for any crimes they have committed," he said.

Security forces surround 2 Kirkuk locations

Dozens of militants targeted four police stations and Kurdish security offices in Kirkuk, spreading themselves out through neighborhoods.
Security forces killed at least seven ISIS militants in Kirkuk, officials there said, but there was no information yet on civilian casualties. Images broadcast on local television showed what appeared to be dead or injured fighters on the street.

Source: ISIS executes hundreds of Mosul area residents

(CNN)ISIS executed 284 men and boys as coalition forces closed in on Mosul, an Iraqi intelligence source told CNN.

Those killed on Thursday and Friday had been rounded up near and in the city for use as human shields against attacks that are forcing ISIS out of the southern sections of Mosul, the source explained.
ISIS used a bulldozer to dump the corpses in a mass grave at the scene of the executions -- Mosul's defunct College of Agriculture in the north of the city, the intelligence source said.
The victims were all shot and some were children, said the source, who wanted anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. CNN could not independently confirm the claim.
The United Nations earlier said it is "gravely worried" that ISIS has taken 550 families from villages around Mosul and is using them as human shields as Iraqi and Kurdish forces battle the terror group for control of Iraq's second-largest city.
Two hundred families from Samalia village and 350 families from Najafia were forced out Monday and taken to Mosul in what appears to be "an apparent policy by ISIS to prevent civilians escaping," Ravina Shamdasani, deputy spokeswoman for the UN Human Rights Office, told CNN.
Meanwhile, ISIS militants attacked security buildings in Kirkuk, 175 kilometers (109 miles) southeast of Mosul.

Latest developments

• The UN human rights chief cites reports that civilians have been shot dead by ISIS.
• Nearly 30 ISIS militants have taken over a building in southern Kirkuk and fired on security forces.
• Twelve people were killed in a separate ISIS attack in Dibis.
• Iraqi-led forces have recaptured at least 100 square kilometers (39 square miles) of territory, CNN analysis shows.

UN had expressed concern

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said his office had evidence of several instances since Monday where ISIS forced civilians to leave their homes in outlying villages and head to Mosul. It also had received reports that civilians suspected of disloyalty had been shot dead.
Iraqi army and militia forces arrive Thursday in Saleh village in the offensive to wrest Mosul from ISIS.
 
"We are gravely worried by reports that (ISIS) is using civilians in and around Mosul as human shields as the Iraqi forces advance, keeping civilians close to their offices or places where fighters are located, which may result in civilian casualties," Zeid said.
 
Pain still raw for Mosul's Christians in Jordan
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 
Pain still raw for Mosul's Christians in Jordan 02:52
"There is a grave danger that (ISIS) fighters will not only use such vulnerable people as human shields but may opt to kill them rather than see them liberated," he said.
His office is examining reports that ISIS shot dead at least 40 civilians in a village outside Mosul.
Any ISIS fighters who are captured or surrendered "should be held accountable in accordance with the law for any crimes they have committed," he said.

Security forces surround 2 Kirkuk locations

Dozens of militants targeted four police stations and Kurdish security offices in Kirkuk, spreading themselves out through neighborhoods.
Security forces killed at least seven ISIS militants in Kirkuk, officials there said, but there was no information yet on civilian casualties. Images broadcast on local television showed what appeared to be dead or injured fighters on the street.
Security forces arrive with armored vehicles Friday after ISIS attacks in Kirkuk, Iraq.
 
Nearly 30 ISIS militants took over an unoccupied building in Domiz district in southern Kirkuk and started firing on security forces there, according to security officials. Iraqi security forces are surrounding the building now, and sporadic clashes continue.
The situation remains tense in the city, with at least two ISIS bombers hiding inside two buildings in southern Kirkuk, security officials said. Security forces surrounded both locations.
 
Local authorities imposed a curfew in Kirkuk.
The media wing of ISIS, Amaq, said online that ISIS fighters had attacked Kirkuk before dawn and taken control of 10 neighborhoods as well as carried out attacks to the north and south of the city.
Previous attacks by ISIS militants on Kirkuk have been attempts either to capture the city from the Peshmerga, as the Kurdish fighters are known, or divert Kurdish troops from the fight in Mosul.
n a separate incident, ISIS militants also attacked a government building in Dibis, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Kirkuk.
Twelve people were killed, including nine Iraqi employees and three Iranian contractors, two security officials told CNN.

Kirkuk assault 'a disruption'

The most likely reason for Friday's assault in Kirkuk is disruption, with ISIS demonstrating it can deploy resources far behind the front lines, CNN's Michael Holmes said near Mosul.
"It's long been thought that there would be something like this going on in more than one place around Iraq as the Mosul offensive got under way," Holmes said. "There's been speculation that there are ISIS sleeper cells, or ISIS fighters, within reach of places like that for some time, from Baghdad to places like Kirkuk."
The city's significance stems its large oil reserves, which are almost as much as those in southern Iraq.

Intense battle around Mosul

Iraqi planes have dropped more than eight million leaflets over ISIS-controlled areas of Anbar, Kirkuk and Nineveh provinces, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said. The fliers ask residents to call in tips to a toll-free phone number.
On Thursday, fighting outside of Mosul as part of the offensive to retake ISIS' last bastion of power in Iraq was the fiercest yet, with Iraqi-led forces meeting strong resistance from militants.
Iraqi Maj. Gen. Maan al-Saadi said 200 ISIS fighters were killed as Iraqi forces captured the Christian town of Bartella, the latest win for the coalition of around 100,000 closing in on Mosul.
Source: CNN.com

Chibok girls: Freed from terrorists, they smile through pain to give thanks

Abuja, Nigeria (CNN)Giggling and chatting among themselves, it's hard to imagine that just one week ago, these girls were at the mercy of one of the world's deadliest terrorist organizations.

As the Chibok girls waited patiently Wednesday to meet the man who signed off on their release -- Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari -- it was remarkable to see the physical transformation from emaciated and haggard looking former hostages to seemingly carefree and happy young women.
The faded and torn clothes they arrived in have since been replaced with tailored and brightly colored fabrics that concealed their still painfully-thin frames.
 
In their first interactions with any media organization, CNN's Isha Sesay met most of the 21 girls at the meeting held at the presidential villa.
They posed for photos and politely but shyly answered questions about their well-being. Although in their early 20s, the Chibok girls appear trapped in their schoolgirl personas, their development seemingly arrested by two and a half years in captivity.
One, Rebecca Mallum, was chosen to thank the President and address the crowd.
As she rose, Mallum burst into song and the other girls stood to join her.
Afterward, the young woman said: "We are happy to see this wonderful day because we didn't know we would come back to be members of Nigeria. Let us thank God for his love. Let us pray for the rest in the Sambisa now. Let God help us to be together."
But underneath the quiet and withdrawn smiles of the Chibok girls lie the unimaginable horrors of their time in captivity.
Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls and women, ages 16 to 18, in the middle of the night at a boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria, in April 2014, drawing global outrage. Scores of the girls remain missing.
CNN has spoken to a parent who said their daughter has revealed some of the ordeal that she and her classmates went through.
The parent, who asked not to be named because of safety concerns, told CNN that during their time with Boko Haram, the girls were forced to build their own basic shelter, using plastic bags for roofing.
According to the parent, one of the Chibok schoolgirls had refused to marry a Boko Haram fighters and was told she would be killed. In the end, she was given 100 lashes, the daughter said.
On the day of release last week, the parent was told by their daughter that Boko Haram lined up the girls early in the morning and read out their names one by one, they were then told they would be set free.
Now the Chibok girls face the long road to recovery. Some have expressed a desire to return to school but for now, they remain in a medical facility in the capital Abuja where they are undergoing intense psychological evaluations.
 
The Nigerian government says its now time for them to experience the best of what life has to offer.
Buhari promised to take over responsibility for their welfare and personal and professional goals.
He said: "These dear daughters of ours have seen the worst that the world has to offer. It is now time for them to experience the best that the world can do for them."
Source:CNN.com

Is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie the most influential woman in Africa right now?

(CNN)Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was named as the new face of Boots No7 beauty range, Tuesday, further securing her position as one of the most influential African women in the world.

The move is more than a meaningless celebrity endorsement. Adichie's love of makeup is no secret: "I love make-up and its wonderful possibilities for temporary transformation. "And I also love my face after I wash it all off," she said in a statement published in British Vogue.
"There is something exquisitely enjoyable about seeing yourself with a self-made new look.
"And for me that look is deeply personal. It isn't about what is in fashion or what the rules are supposed to be."
Adichie has not hidden her issues with the beauty industry. Like many women of color in the spotlight, she has previously admitted to carrying her own foundation with her at all times, in case the makeup artist does not have her shade.
She has also spoken about the false promises peddled to women to world over. "I think much of beauty advertising relies on a false premise -- that women need to be treated in an infantile way, given a 'fantasy' to aspire to..." she said in an interview with British Vogue.
"Real women are already inspired by other real women, so perhaps beauty advertising needs to get on board."
The public seem to think Boots got it right with Adichie, choosing someone that is both relatable and influential.

We should all be feminists: on stage, on the catwalk, in schools

When Adichie talks, people listen, quote her in songs, print her words on T-shirts and send her words to every 16-year-old in Sweden.
Beyoncé Knowles quoted Adichie's TEDxEuston speech 'We Should All Be Feminists' so heavily in a single named Flawless, that she named her a contributing artist.
While Adichie was not too impressed with some of the reactions to the citation -- people expected her to say Beyoncé made her career -- she did eventually acknowledge it, stating it as a different type of feminism to hers, but adding that both are effective.
More recently Adichie's words appeared on the catwalk at Paris Fashion Week. Italian fashion designer and Dior's first ever female creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, had the words 'We should all be feminists' on a T-Shirt in her ready-to-wear SS17 collection.
Adichie was also front row at the show, and her speech was included in the soundtrack.
In the world of education, Adichie has also made her mark. In December 2015, the Swedish Women's Lobby and publishing house Albert Bonniers launched a campaign gifting Adichie's We Should All Be Feminists speech to all high schools in Sweden.
A third book written by Adichie is being made into a film, her short story "The Thing Around Your Neck" that's being adapted by Ghanaian filmmaker Akosua Adoma Owusu.

To the first lady with love

Politically, Adichie is finding her voice too. This month Adichie wrote a moving thank you note to First Lady Michelle Obama in a New York Times piece, alongside feminist Gloria Steinem, author Jon Meacham and actress Rashida Jones.
"Women, in general, are not permitted anger," she wrote candidly.
"But from black American women, there is an added expectation of interminable gratitude, the closer to groveling the better, as though their citizenship is a phenomenon that they cannot take for granted."
She was also called on to write an op-ed for the same publication on Nigeria's failed promises, in which she documents her thoughts on Buhari's rise to power and presidency, in which she stated: "[Buhari] had an opportunity to make real reforms early on, to boldly reshape Nigeria's path. He wasted it."

Views on motherhood

This summer Adichie announced she was the mother of a baby girl. Private as she is, the public have been keen to learn from Adichie, prompting her to release her feminist manifesto on how to raise a child -- a letter of fifteen suggestions written as though to a friend who has recently given birth.
"Teach her to reject likeability," she writes. "Her job is not to make herself likeable, her job is to be her full self, a self that is honest and aware of the equal humanity of other people."
Ending with a humble acknowledgment of her position as a source of endless guidance: "Do you have a headache after reading all this? Sorry. Next time don't ask me how to raise your daughter feminist."
Source:CNN.com

Kevin Meaney, comedian and actor, dies

(CNN)Standup comedian and actor Kevin Meaney, who made numerous appearances on late-night TV and was famous for delivering the line, "That's not right," has died, his agent said Friday.

Meaney was found at his home in Forestburgh, New York, agent Tom Ingegno said. His age and the cause of death weren't immediately known.
Meaney was scheduled to perform Saturday night in Rhode Island, according to his website.
After his first HBO special in 1986, Meaney was catapulted to the spotlight and debuted on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson the following year, according to Meaney's website. He returned to the show a dozen times.
Meaney starred in the CBS sitcom "Uncle Buck," which ran for one season in 1990, and appeared on "Saturday Night Live."
Fellow comedians were quick to offer condolences on Twitter.
Source:CNN.com

Fierce. Kind. Unsinkable. After a turbulent summer, Draymond Green is ready to rediscover himself

t’s a simple question. Four little words.

But Draymond Green is struck silent. And quite easily so.

He stares ahead, then at the floor. Rocks back and forth. Fiddles with the drawstring on his shorts. Goes to speak. Stops.

Nearly 20 seconds pass. He is surprised by the fact he’s caught off guard.

“Aw, man,” is all his husky baritone offers. “Let me think.”

He sits on a folding chair at the far end of the Golden State Warriors’ downtown Oakland practice facility. It’s two hours after a spring practice and most of his teammates have already departed.

He repeats the question out loud. The words hang in the air. The silence confounds.

Who is Draymond Green?

“Man, I guess…I mean…,” Green stammers. “What I’m trying to say is…”

He laughs nervously. Steels himself.

“OK, there’s the Draymond Green you see out on the floor,” he explains. “But that’s not me. I mean, it is, but there’s more. People see the fiery guy, the competitive guy, the trash talk and everything. But they don’t see the love and compassion. They don’t see the person. They don’t see the real me who values his friends and puts people first. I put everyone and everything before myself. That’s me.

“I could just give you a bunch of words,” Green continues, “but I want you to understand. People don’t see what’s underneath. At the end of the day, I care for you. It’s not just about how I am on the basketball court.

“I got real love for you,” he says. “That’s what allows my teammates to accept me.”

But Green’s tendency to operate on the razor’s edge has threatened to erode the goodwill his leadership and likability have earned him. His forgettable summer began with a leg to the groin of Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams in the Western Conference Finals, followed by a costly suspension in Game 5 of the NBA Finals for striking LeBron James in the same region.

A month later, he was arrested in East Lansing, Michigan, at 2:28 a.m. for slapping a Michigan State football player outside a restaurant. (Green agreed to a plea bargain and paid a $560 fine.)

Then he accidentally posted a Snapchat picture of his private parts during Team USA’s training camp before heading to the Rio Olympics, which began his tour of contrition.

“I’m human, and I make mistakes,” Green says. “I learned a lot about myself. And I wouldn’t change anything that happened this summer. It helped me grow as a person, and it helped me grow as a leader, and it’s helped me grow as a man. You learn from adversity more than anything because it allows you to see so much. It really allows you to see things in a different way.”

Self-reflection aside, the onus is on Green to walk a straight path lest he exhaust the remainder of his credibility as the vocal leader of a potentially historic dynasty.

“That’s life, and things do happen, but the thing is they can’t happen again because I am a leader, and I’m in a position of responsibility,” Green says.

“I’m going to still be me. That’s something that will never change.”

— Draymond Green

His remorse and willingness to be open with management about his difficulties have served to speed up the recovery process in the eyes of his teammates and coaches.

“He’s been upfront with us about everything,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr says. “He’s learned quite a bit this summer. We still rely on him for energy and leadership.

“He’s talked about taking the next step in terms of keeping his edge and not allowing it to spill over,” Kerr continues. “We’re not good when Draymond doesn’t play with that fire and energy, but he’s got to know where to draw the line.”

“The word that comes to mind is mercurial,” says Bruce Fraser, a Warriors assistant/player development coach. “He’s up and down. He’s emotional. Sometimes it can hurt or help him just like it can hurt or help our team. But you have to take the good with the bad.”

Green says he’ll make the necessary changes but won’t tone down his trademark intensity.

“I’m going to still be me,” he says. “That’s something that will never change.”

✦ ✦ ✦

Draymond Green and Kevin Durant hated each other from the start. The no-name rookie and the All-Star. Green was annoying as hell and wouldn’t shut up. Draymond's mom didn’t like Durant, either. She was as loud as her son. She yelled at the skinny enemy from the sidelines, too.

Draymond would push and shove Durant. He knew KD’s skill set was above his own. So he compensated by being loud. By being tough. By being Draymond.

They would cuss and bitch at each other.

The battles were fierce. KD was killing it. Draymond threw elbows. They had words after timeouts. They were not friends.

Durant was big on getting respect from his peers. He told Draymond he hadn’t proved anything yet.

“But I didn’t back down from him,” Green says. “At first I was like, ‘Who is this dude?’”

And then it happened. Slowly. They realized they liked each other.

They couldn’t know their heated opposition was a precursor to one of the most important friendships of their respective careers. It wasn’t hate—it was fun.

Image title

Draymond Green and Kevin Durant of the USA men's national team stand on the court during a game against Nigeria on August 1, 2016, at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. (Getty Images)

KD needed approval. Day Day loved to bust balls. The yin to each other’s yang. The respect grew over time, especially over the summer when they played together on Team USA in the Olympics.

“I can’t tell you exactly when we became friends,” Green says, “but when it’s real and genuine, you can’t pinpoint it. The more time you spend with somebody, the more your relationship grows. I think we were together for 37 days this summer. I just realized, man, I like that dude because he’s a lot like me.”

Green was famously involved with Durant’s recruitment to Golden State, to the point of embarrassment about the dozens of texts he sent him during the first week of July. He got up early on the day of Durant’s announcement and shot him one last text for good measure.

During the Olympics, the pair spent most of their downtime on the team’s cruise-ship headquarters playing cards and talking about what they wanted to accomplish. Green said he would show Durant around the Bay Area.

In the preseason, the pair have taken to shooting contests after practice and dinner on off days.

But the official stamp on their friendship came at the expense of Durant when Green recently made fun of his premature balding on Snapchat.

“If Draymond kids, he cares,” says Fraser, the three-year assistant who is known for his strong relationships with his players. “Dray is such a good voice for Kevin on the floor. He’s constantly pumping him up and encouraging him. Kevin’s just trying to fit in, and it can be tough. There is a transition period no matter how good you are, and Draymond is making it as easy as possible on and off the floor.”

“Well, he’s passing him the ball and telling him to shoot,” Kerr says with a chuckle. “So that helps.”

✦ ✦ ✦

It all started because she sat in the wrong section. After arriving late to a game at Arthur Hill High, Mary Babers-Green, Draymond’s mom, was forced to sit in the visiting Saginaw High section. Draymond was still in middle school.

As always, Mary was the loudest voice in the gym. Her taunts and barbs were often punctuated by a deliciously wicked cackle and the occasional expletive. She cheered for Hill and rode the refs unmercifully. A brute sitting several rows up began jawing with the boisterous woman, telling her to pipe down.

But she only got louder. Because that’s what she does. She gave up a hundred pounds to the antagonizing teen but unabatedly proceeded to spew junk.

He began pelting her with Peanut M&M’s. She’d had enough.

“If you don’t stop throwing those things at me, I’m gonna drag you down the steps,” she said forcefully. Another zipped by.

“He has to be an assh--e because that's what his team needs.”

— Mary Babers-Green, Draymond's mother

Several police officers converged on Babers-Green, and a loud argument ensued. After several minutes, she was restrained, and four officers picked her up by her arms and legs and tossed her out of the gym. Protesting all the while, she said the elbows she landed more than made up for the public embarrassment.

“I got in a couple good shots,” she says. “Shoot, had to let them know. But to me, it was the funniest thing ever."

A role model was born.

Asked to describe her son’s personality, Babers-Green responds sarcastically: “Which one? Let’s see, how do I describe Draymond?”

She usually emphasizes the second syllable of her second son’s name—Dray-MOND.

Much like when her son faced the same question, the words easily escape her. “He’s that person that wants to be all things to all people,” Babers-Green says. “He wants to be a friend to everyone. That’s why it upsets me so much when they talk bad about him on social media, because they don’t know who Dray is.

“When he’s doing his job, he has to be an assh--e because that’s what his team needs. They need his fire because the Warriors don’t have any alpha males on the team. His attitude is ‘I can handle it,’ and he just wants to make sure you’re OK.”

But even Babers-Green has insisted Draymond learn to rein in his fiery nature—the one he inherited from her—if it comes at the expense of the team. She could do without the technical fouls.

“I hate it,” she says. “I hate it, but I understand. That’s where his passion goes too far. It’s like, ‘Dray, relax.’ The refs are there to do a job, but they don’t understand your passion. I’ve told him a hundred times, 'Just be quiet!'”

Chris Palmer

Illustration by Dadu Shin

October 21, 2016

Bleacher Report

It’s a simple question. Four little words.

But Draymond Green is struck silent. And quite easily so.

He stares ahead, then at the floor. Rocks back and forth. Fiddles with the drawstring on his shorts. Goes to speak. Stops.

Nearly 20 seconds pass. He is surprised by the fact he’s caught off guard.

“Aw, man,” is all his husky baritone offers. “Let me think.”

He sits on a folding chair at the far end of the Golden State Warriors’ downtown Oakland practice facility. It’s two hours after a spring practice and most of his teammates have already departed.

He repeats the question out loud. The words hang in the air. The silence confounds.

Who is Draymond Green?

Image title

Draymond Green warms up with Team USA before a July 26, 2016, game against China at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. (Getty Images)

“Man, I guess…I mean…,” Green stammers. “What I’m trying to say is…”

He laughs nervously. Steels himself.

“OK, there’s the Draymond Green you see out on the floor,” he explains. “But that’s not me. I mean, it is, but there’s more. People see the fiery guy, the competitive guy, the trash talk and everything. But they don’t see the love and compassion. They don’t see the person. They don’t see the real me who values his friends and puts people first. I put everyone and everything before myself. That’s me.

“I could just give you a bunch of words,” Green continues, “but I want you to understand. People don’t see what’s underneath. At the end of the day, I care for you. It’s not just about how I am on the basketball court.

“I got real love for you,” he says. “That’s what allows my teammates to accept me.”

But Green’s tendency to operate on the razor’s edge has threatened to erode the goodwill his leadership and likability have earned him. His forgettable summer began with a leg to the groin of Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams in the Western Conference Finals, followed by a costly suspension in Game 5 of the NBA Finals for striking LeBron James in the same region.

A month later, he was arrested in East Lansing, Michigan, at 2:28 a.m. for slapping a Michigan State football player outside a restaurant. (Green agreed to a plea bargain and paid a $560 fine.)

Then he accidentally posted a Snapchat picture of his private parts during Team USA’s training camp before heading to the Rio Olympics, which began his tour of contrition.

“I’m human, and I make mistakes,” Green says. “I learned a lot about myself. And I wouldn’t change anything that happened this summer. It helped me grow as a person, and it helped me grow as a leader, and it’s helped me grow as a man. You learn from adversity more than anything because it allows you to see so much. It really allows you to see things in a different way.”

Self-reflection aside, the onus is on Green to walk a straight path lest he exhaust the remainder of his credibility as the vocal leader of a potentially historic dynasty.

“That’s life, and things do happen, but the thing is they can’t happen again because I am a leader, and I’m in a position of responsibility,” Green says.

“I’m going to still be me. That’s something that will never change.”

— Draymond Green

His remorse and willingness to be open with management about his difficulties have served to speed up the recovery process in the eyes of his teammates and coaches.

“He’s been upfront with us about everything,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr says. “He’s learned quite a bit this summer. We still rely on him for energy and leadership.

“He’s talked about taking the next step in terms of keeping his edge and not allowing it to spill over,” Kerr continues. “We’re not good when Draymond doesn’t play with that fire and energy, but he’s got to know where to draw the line.”

“The word that comes to mind is mercurial,” says Bruce Fraser, a Warriors assistant/player development coach. “He’s up and down. He’s emotional. Sometimes it can hurt or help him just like it can hurt or help our team. But you have to take the good with the bad.”

Green says he’ll make the necessary changes but won’t tone down his trademark intensity.

“I’m going to still be me,” he says. “That’s something that will never change.”

✦ ✦ ✦

Draymond Green and Kevin Durant hated each other from the start. The no-name rookie and the All-Star. Green was annoying as hell and wouldn’t shut up. Draymond's mom didn’t like Durant, either. She was as loud as her son. She yelled at the skinny enemy from the sidelines, too.

Draymond would push and shove Durant. He knew KD’s skill set was above his own. So he compensated by being loud. By being tough. By being Draymond.

They would cuss and bitch at each other.

The battles were fierce. KD was killing it. Draymond threw elbows. They had words after timeouts. They were not friends.

Durant was big on getting respect from his peers. He told Draymond he hadn’t proved anything yet.

“But I didn’t back down from him,” Green says. “At first I was like, ‘Who is this dude?’”

And then it happened. Slowly. They realized they liked each other.

They couldn’t know their heated opposition was a precursor to one of the most important friendships of their respective careers. It wasn’t hate—it was fun.

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Draymond Green and Kevin Durant of the USA men's national team stand on the court during a game against Nigeria on August 1, 2016, at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. (Getty Images)

KD needed approval. Day Day loved to bust balls. The yin to each other’s yang. The respect grew over time, especially over the summer when they played together on Team USA in the Olympics.

“I can’t tell you exactly when we became friends,” Green says, “but when it’s real and genuine, you can’t pinpoint it. The more time you spend with somebody, the more your relationship grows. I think we were together for 37 days this summer. I just realized, man, I like that dude because he’s a lot like me.”

Green was famously involved with Durant’s recruitment to Golden State, to the point of embarrassment about the dozens of texts he sent him during the first week of July. He got up early on the day of Durant’s announcement and shot him one last text for good measure.

During the Olympics, the pair spent most of their downtime on the team’s cruise-ship headquarters playing cards and talking about what they wanted to accomplish. Green said he would show Durant around the Bay Area.

In the preseason, the pair have taken to shooting contests after practice and dinner on off days.

But the official stamp on their friendship came at the expense of Durant when Green recently made fun of his premature balding on Snapchat.

“If Draymond kids, he cares,” says Fraser, the three-year assistant who is known for his strong relationships with his players. “Dray is such a good voice for Kevin on the floor. He’s constantly pumping him up and encouraging him. Kevin’s just trying to fit in, and it can be tough. There is a transition period no matter how good you are, and Draymond is making it as easy as possible on and off the floor.”

“Well, he’s passing him the ball and telling him to shoot,” Kerr says with a chuckle. “So that helps.”

✦ ✦ ✦

It all started because she sat in the wrong section. After arriving late to a game at Arthur Hill High, Mary Babers-Green, Draymond’s mom, was forced to sit in the visiting Saginaw High section. Draymond was still in middle school.

As always, Mary was the loudest voice in the gym. Her taunts and barbs were often punctuated by a deliciously wicked cackle and the occasional expletive. She cheered for Hill and rode the refs unmercifully. A brute sitting several rows up began jawing with the boisterous woman, telling her to pipe down.

But she only got louder. Because that’s what she does. She gave up a hundred pounds to the antagonizing teen but unabatedly proceeded to spew junk.

He began pelting her with Peanut M&M’s. She’d had enough.

“If you don’t stop throwing those things at me, I’m gonna drag you down the steps,” she said forcefully. Another zipped by.

“He has to be an assh--e because that's what his team needs.”

— Mary Babers-Green, Draymond's mother

Several police officers converged on Babers-Green, and a loud argument ensued. After several minutes, she was restrained, and four officers picked her up by her arms and legs and tossed her out of the gym. Protesting all the while, she said the elbows she landed more than made up for the public embarrassment.

“I got in a couple good shots,” she says. “Shoot, had to let them know. But to me, it was the funniest thing ever."

A role model was born.

Asked to describe her son’s personality, Babers-Green responds sarcastically: “Which one? Let’s see, how do I describe Draymond?”

She usually emphasizes the second syllable of her second son’s name—Dray-MOND.

Much like when her son faced the same question, the words easily escape her. “He’s that person that wants to be all things to all people,” Babers-Green says. “He wants to be a friend to everyone. That’s why it upsets me so much when they talk bad about him on social media, because they don’t know who Dray is.

“When he’s doing his job, he has to be an assh--e because that’s what his team needs. They need his fire because the Warriors don’t have any alpha males on the team. His attitude is ‘I can handle it,’ and he just wants to make sure you’re OK.”

But even Babers-Green has insisted Draymond learn to rein in his fiery nature—the one he inherited from her—if it comes at the expense of the team. She could do without the technical fouls.

“I hate it,” she says. “I hate it, but I understand. That’s where his passion goes too far. It’s like, ‘Dray, relax.’ The refs are there to do a job, but they don’t understand your passion. I’ve told him a hundred times, 'Just be quiet!'”

✦ ✦ ✦

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Draymond was raised in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in Saginaw, Michigan, which locals affectionately dubbed The Nickel. The tiny three-bedroom house he shared with Babers-Green, older brother Torrian Harris and sister LaToya Babers was a hub of activity that buzzed with laughter and the drama of extended family and neighbors.

After his senior year in high school, in which he led Saginaw High to a 27-1 record and a Michigan Class A state championship and was named Fourth Team Parade All-American, Green started hanging out at all hours, going to clubs and getting in fights.

When Draymond got in trouble, his mom usually knew about it before he got home. His transgressions were usually kid stuff, but she knew how easily things could escalate. She quickly became fed up.

“We’re done with this, buddy,” she told him when he walked in the door one night after she waited up for him.

She had him enroll in summer school at Michigan State to get him out of Saginaw. Even gave him her Impala to sweeten the deal.

Soon, Green found his groove at the next level after butting heads with Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo, managing to adjust his fiery nature in accordance with an unfamiliar system.

Green’s passion both aggrieved and excited Izzo.

He was a fireball of emotion in practice. He would scream. He would cuss. He would punt balls up to the concourse level. He’d knock over trash cans. He was a freshman.

He was particularly volatile when it came to the War Drill, a brutal five-on-five rebounding exercise few players looked forward to. But Green loved it. Five players on defense would position themselves inside the lane. The offense lined up along the three-point line. After a coach would intentionally miss a shot, the defense would fight to keep the offense out of the lane and secure the ball.

Green and white practice jerseys crashed together like front lines in an epic war movie. More often than not, the drill would lead to fights, which Izzo didn’t exactly discourage so long as nobody got hurt and there wasn’t an underlying cause other than the moment’s intensity.

Draymond was usually in the middle.

“He’d be getting in fistfights with guys,” Spartans teammate Austin Thornton says. “Seemed like there were brawls all the time. He’d get off a couple punches, end up wrestling on the ground. There were headlocks, torn jerseys, everything. But it was all about love and competition. It was never from a bad place. He never wanted to hurt anyone. He considered his teammates family.

“After practice, he’d be the first one to put his arm around you, then start making jokes. He knew when to be competitive and when to be supportive. But he went at it with just about everybody.”

Green would challenge his teammates on all things. After his junior year, Thornton invited a group of his teammates to hang out at the lake by his parents’ 30-acre ranch in Sand Lake, Michigan. They swam and rode Jet Skis.

None of the players had ever ridden horses before when they set eyes on the Thorntons’ stable of quarter horses.

“I bet I’ll be the first one to get up on that horse and ride it by myself,” Green said to Michigan State teammate and now-Minnesota Timberwolves forward Adreian Payne, a burly power forward who had never seen a horse that close up before.

After getting acquainted with a mare named Stormy—16 hands high—and walking her around the enclosure, Green mounted the equine.

“It was the funniest thing to see,” Thornton says. “His feet almost touched the ground when he was riding. But that’s just Day Day.”

Green led the Spartans to three conference championships in four years and garnered Big Ten Player of the Year honors, along with a host of other awards after his senior season. None of them were more special than the Glue and Guts Award he picked up at the team banquet at the end of his last year. His teammates stood and cheered. Izzo’s heart burst.

✦ ✦ ✦

Wardell Stephen Curry II, the Brilliant Blur, is changing the game of basketball before our eyes. The awe-inspiring improvisation of step-back, no-look threes mocks defenses designed to thwart it. His wizardry with the basketball is pumped into living rooms and mobile devices and our new consciousness nightly.

But the man who sits directly across from Curry in the Warriors locker room, about a corner three away, is no less an agent of change.

The improbability of Green’s bewildering rise has yielded a cavalcade of praise and put him on a short list of second-rounders to sign a contract in excess of $80 million. His 2015-16 numbers—14.0 points, 9.5 rebounds and 7.4 assists a game—resulted in the most productive season in NBA history according to plus/minus statistics that measure how a team fares when a player is in and out of the lineup.

His career is a divine avoidance of the scrap heap. He is an underdog who, by the force of his will and contagious cult of personality—and constant study—has become one of the best players on the planet.

Curry pull-ups gloriously live forever on Vine. Klay Thompson’s perfect release gets raves from broadcasters. But Green dominating 7'1" Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert—pushing him five feet away from his comfort zone—swatting San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard’s shot at the rim while helping the helper and improbably stopping Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook at full tilt on the break wins games.

“He’s like our Energizer Bunny,” Curry says. “There’s days when you just don’t have it in games or practices, and he’s the one who picks us up. Sometimes your body is catching up to you and you’re just tired. But he has it every night and every practice.”

“In 10 years, when people ask these guys who's the best teammate they ever had, I want the answer to be Draymond Green.”

— Draymond Green

“He’s just so assertive,” new teammate David West says. “It’s the force of his personality. He’s always moving and always talking. He makes you bring it.”

He screams in the locker room. At Kerr. At opposing coaches. At Kevin Garnett. He rolls his eyes. He flexes. He throws up his hands. He imposes his will. He puts his arm around you. Tells you how proud he is. Tells you he loves you.

“It makes him a real person,” former Warriors center Festus Ezeli says. “He’s not just someone you work with—he’s someone you connect with.”

“As a human being, he has a high emotional quotient and is a loving soul,” Warriors co-owner Peter Guber says. “I learn from him every day. He cares. He feels. He’s kind.”

“In 10 years, when people ask these guys who’s the best teammate they ever had,” Green says, “I want the answer to be Draymond Green.”

Still, critics, loyalists and trolls battle over Green’s authenticity. He may be the most divisive player to never average 15 points.

Despite leading the NBA playoffs in technical fouls, skirmishes and war cries, ad campaigns for the products he endorses don’t play up his fiery persona. He appears in the NBA’s Lean In campaign, which endorses men’s support of women in both the home and the workplace.

Everything about his career feels accidental. Yet his timing is as impeccable as his fit is snug. Guber likens it to a movie.

“Draymond is Jack Nicholson in the original Batman,” says Guber, who has produced more than 40 movies. “He was the villain in a sense, but all the kids loved him. He was the most interesting character. He wasn’t the star of the picture, but he had a role to play and played it with such excitement. The movie depended on him. He was predictably unpredictable.”

✦ ✦ ✦

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Draymond Green reacts against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena on June 19, 2016, in Oakland, California. (Getty Images)

Draymond Jamal Green sits at his locker after the Warriors' Game 2 victory over a plucky Blazers squad in the second round of the NBA playoffs. There’s no rhyme or reason why Mary gave him the middle name Jamal.

“I just thought it sounded good,” Babers-Green says.

There’s no reason a Frankenstein of body parts and indifference and peculiarity and unreasonable enthusiasm should be one of the NBA’s best players.

And then you see it. The incongruence of Green’s awkward perfection.

It’s Mary. It’s Saginaw. It’s being too small and too fat. It’s being nobody. Combined, they transcend improbability and plant a flag. The underdog label fades with deliberate speed. Even if the words take time.

The pudgy kid made it.

It’s a complex question after all.

Who is Draymond Green?

“Look around this room,” he says after that playoff victory over the Blazers. “Look at these guys. This is why I do this. This is why I fight. This is why I love.”

Thompson sits quietly at his locker. Curry whispers to daughter Riley.

“Basketball is a perilous industry,” Guber says. “Fortunes wax and wane. Draymond’s intellectual curiosity will carry him far beyond this sport. He will continue to learn and grow. We are all in transition. We’re all learning from each other. I tell him the only thing I have in my life is my experiences. Everything else is rented.”

We are all in transition. This Mary knows.

“I can’t help him,” Babers-Green says as her voice lowers with the realization. “Not anymore. He’s a man now. This is the life he chose. This is his world. I can’t fly to California and make it all better. But I will always be his mom.”

And Draymond will always be her son.

Source:CNN.com

The Clinton Foundation's gender pay gap worried campaign

Hillary Clinton says men and women should make equal pay. But the Clinton Foundation's leadership team had an average $81,000 average gender pay gap, according to the most recent figures available.

This pay gap was so wide that the Clinton campaign worried that the "huge discrepancies" would be noticed by journalists, according to internal Clinton campaign emails exposed by WikiLeaks.

The stark numbers come from the foundation's public 990 tax forms for the year 2014, which list the highest-paid employees. The Clinton Foundation identifies its top leaders, all executives with titles like CEO, director or senior adviser.

That list included four women and nine men. The men averaged $291,000 in total pay. The women averaged $210,000. Many of the men clearly outranked the women in the leadership team.

The women earned 72 cents for every dollar a male executive made on average.

That's worse than the national average Clinton cites in her "equal pay for equal work" speeches. The national average is 79 cents on the dollar.

The foundation's pay gap was even wider in 2013, when the highest-paid women earned 63 cents for every dollar made by the highest-paid men.

The foundation has not yet released last year's salary data.

In another batch of stolen emails published by WikiLeaks, the foundation listed the salaries of its 62 employees working in 2011.

On average, the women made 89 cents on the dollar compared to the men. The average woman made $62,000. The average man made $70,000.

The payroll that year included 36 women and 26 men.

The foundation's pay scale would seem to clash with Clinton's stump speeches on equal pay.

"The failure to ensure equal pay for women also impacts families and the broader economy... it devalues the work that women do," Clinton said in a New York City speech on April 12.

Clinton's presidential campaign spotted the pay gap in February 2015 -- and acknowledged its severity, according to emails exposed by WikiLeaks.

"There are huge discrepancies, and it wouldn't surprise me if they went here next," public relations expert Ian Mandel warned the Clinton campaign.

He was alerting Clinton's presidential campaign manager, Robert Mook, and the research director at Hillary for America, Tony Carrk. At the time last year, reporters were probing equal pay during Clinton's tenure at the State Department.

CNNMoney reached out to all three women at the bottom of the list in 2013, but it received no reply.

Nonprofit tax documents are publicly available for review. However, they only list the salaries of the highest-paid employees. It's unclear if the pay gap is better or worse for lower level jobs at the Clinton Foundation.

Asked about the gender salary gap, the foundation pointed to a blog post written by president Donna Shalala on Tuesday.

"Recent allegations on pay discrepancies at the Clinton Foundation are inaccurate. These calculations are based only on a handful of salaries that do not provide an accurate portrayal of the leadership and staff at Clinton Foundation," she wrote.

She noted that 64% of the foundation's employees in the United States are women. However, she did not address the pay scales for those employees.

Clinton's presidential campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Source:CNN.com

 

Former NFL player arrested for alleged $10 million fraud

The federal government has charged a former NFL player with allegedly defrauding investors out of more than $10 million.

Merrill Robertson Jr. was arrested on Wednesday on criminal charges related to fraud, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

 

The Securities and Exchange Commission also announced a civil case against Robertson. They say he and a business partner, who the SEC also sued, promised to invest money they raised but instead used it to pay for personal expenses.

Robertson and his partner co-owned a company called Cavalier Union Investments LLC.

According to the SEC complaint, Robertson raised funds from contacts that he had at the Fork Union Military Academy and the University of Virginia.

The scheme allegedly defrauded elderly individuals, former coaches, donors, alumni and employees of the schools.

Related: Jake Peavy and Mark Sanchez ripped off in $33 million scheme

Robertson played briefly for the Philadelphia Eagles in the early 2000s. He was a linebacker at the University of Virginia and majored in anthropology.

According to his website, which was still active on Wednesday, Robertson "has a dynamic background in sales and financing."

The complaint acknowledges that at one point Robertson held licenses to sell securities but is not currently registered as a broker.

The website also boasted a client list that included "athletes, entertainers, institutions, wealthy individuals, churches and everyday people."

Robertson's attorneys didn't respond to requests for comment.

Related: How can you find an honest financial adviser?

According to the SEC, Robertson said he would put investors' money in diversified holdings. Instead he and Vaughn allegedly spent it and used it to repay earlier investors, according to the SEC.

They also purchased "cars, family vacations, spa visits, luxury goods, educational expenses for family members, and a luxury suite at a football stadium," the complaint said.

The SEC claimed the pair lied about employing advisers.

"[I]t did not have any funds or investment advisers and was functionally insolvent shortly after it was formed," the complaint said.

The only investments made by Cavalier Union Investments were restaurants that failed by 2014, the government said.

CNN.com

She Never Spoke of It to Her Husband. Then She Heard the Trump Tape.

In 30 years of marriage, Nancy Fagin had never told her husband about “the handling” — how, as an eighth grader volunteering at a small natural history museum in Chicago, she was sexually molested by a security guard.

That changed last week. As the couple discussed Michelle Obama’s speech condemning Donald J. Trump’s treatment of women as “intolerable,” Ms. Fagin, 62, who spent her career running a specialty bookstore in Chicago, turned to her husband and said that something had happened to her.

“I just sort of had to say that,” Ms. Fagin later said in an interview.

Her husband, Ron Weber, 75, said he responded by talking about how his former wife had also been assaulted.

“It’s widely occurring, and most women don’t bring it up,” he said.

Far from the campaign trail, the shock waves about Mr. Trump’s crude language, captured in a recording, and accusations against him of sexual assault by numerous women are reverberating through marriages and relationships across the country. Couples say they are talking to each other about the degradation of women in new ways and revealing assaults that had been buried for years.

For the first time, women say, they are telling their husbands and boyfriends about the times they were groped at nightclubs or on a subway, flashed on the street, shushed or shouted down at work.

Some men, in turn, said they were starting to see how gender could shield them from needing to defensively palm their keys as they walk to a car, from being trailed home by a stranger, from having co-workers rate their bodies.

The conversations are revelations for people who have raised children together and shared the most intimate details of each other’s lives. They have brought some couples closer but splintered others, revealing a rift in how two partners view sexual harassment and men’s and women’s places in the world.

In North Carolina, the tapes of Mr. Trump’s vulgar comments and the women’s accusations became the breaking point of a 52-year-old woman’s relationship. Her boyfriend questioned some of the women’s allegations. The woman, who was sexually abused as a child, said she believed them. They argued and argued. Then they agreed it was time to break up. They did.

The tapes of Mr. Trump had “just triggered a moment of clarity for me,” said the woman, who declined to be identified on such a private matter.

She said Mr. Trump’s remarks and the subsequent allegations were “like seeing a public service announcement warning you about abusers.”

Some men said they felt a reflected sadness and anger as they absorbed stories about what their partners had gone through.

In Deerfield Beach, Fla., Gene Goldman felt an urge to protect his wife from an assault that happened decades ago. In San Diego, a man who had told his wife over the years not to bring up pain from her past fell silent as she recounted how she had been assaulted.

In the Willamette Valley of Oregon, April Ekstrom, 49, said Mr. Trump’s words had hit such a deep nerve that she was angry at her husband, Jon, for not being angrier. He is a Republican who is supporting Hillary Clinton this year, but Ms. Ekstrom felt he needed to do more. On a drive to the Oregon coast this past weekend, she urged him to call their three daughters and tell each that he abhorred the comments.

“I have a feeling I will,” Mr. Ekstrom said.

Kristen Little, 31, a tuberculosis and H.I.V. researcher in Washington, has been incredulous over the male politicians and television commentators who rushed to say that neither they nor anyone they knew engaged in what Mr. Trump called “locker room banter.”

Photo

 

Heather Hunter and her husband, Chris Griffith, at home in Plano, Tex. Until recently, Ms. Hunter had never told her husband about being groped. Credit Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times

Maybe so, Ms. Little said. But nearly every day, she faces a barrage of this from strangers on the street: Hey, hottie. I wish I was your bike seat.

A 2014 survey of 2,000 people in the United States commissioned by Stop Street Harassment, a nonprofit organization, found that 65 percent of women said they had been verbally or physically harassed in public places. About one in four men said they had been harassed.

“I don’t think it’s out of the ordinary,” Ms. Little said. “I find it incredibly hard to believe that these kinds of conversations aren’t happening in groups of men, just based on what men feel free to shout on the street at me every day. Literally every day.”

On a rooftop in the U Street neighborhood of Washington, Ms. Little and a group of mostly male friends had just finished watching the second presidential debate when the conversation tilted to what she experienced every day on the street.

“They were like, ‘Whoa, those kinds of things happen to you?’” Ms. Little said. “They know from an academic perspective that sexism is a very real thing. But I don’t think they grasp the very low-level sexual harassment that women deal with day in and day out because they don’t see it. They can’t see it.”

Josh White, 29, a lawyer, was among the friends who said he was stunned by Ms. Little’s stories of being groped, heckled and followed, and he said it had shown him a blind spot.

“It was really astonishing how different our experiences are,” he said. “Guys, we don’t talk about these issues amongst ourselves. Why would we? A lot of the time you have to have someone push you in that direction or plant the seed to get you talking.”

Couples on the Republican side of America’s political divide found themselves having similar conversations that ended in the conclusion that Mr. Trump was still their candidate.

In the Denver suburb of Centennial, Jeff and Antonette Smith recalled the night six years ago when one of Ms. Smith’s colleagues dismissed her efforts to weigh in during a discussion about company balance sheets. That night, they went online together to scout out masters of business administration programs that would move her higher in the corporate world.

Neither was thrilled about having Mr. Trump as the Republican nominee, but they agreed that the tapes would not change their vote.

“He was a guy’s guy,” Mr. Smith said of Mr. Trump, noting that he had run beauty pageants. “He was surrounded by beautiful women. He shouldn’t have said them, I agree. That being said, we have so many larger problems to worry about.”

Left or right, couples said they cared less about the candidates’ own rocky personal lives and marriages than about how their policies and words would affect their lives, and their children’s.

In the Dallas suburb of Plano, Heather Hunter and her husband, Chris Griffith, were watching an MSNBC program on which two women’s accusations against Mr. Trump were being discussed when a panelist, the journalist Ana Marie Cox, paused, took a deep breath and said, “I was brought back by that statement to something that happened to me when I was a young woman.”

Out tumbled stories of what Ms. Hunter had gone through. The men who groped her on a Madrid subway when she was 19 and studying abroad. The man at a bar who stuck a camera under her skirt.

“We’ve been together for seven years, have been married for five, and we’ve never talked about these things,” Mr. Griffith said. “Guys, we kind of know that stuff is there. We do know these things are out there. But that it’s happened to Heather and there’s nothing I can do about it other than support her and talk to her — it makes me feel helpless.”

 

Source:NY times

Hackers Used New Weapons to Disrupt Major Websites Across U.S.

SAN FRANCISCO — Major websites were inaccessible to people across wide swaths of the United States on Friday after a company that manages crucial parts of the internet’s infrastructure said it was under attack.

Users reported sporadic problems reaching several websites, including Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb, Reddit, Etsy, SoundCloud and The New York Times.

The company, Dyn, whose servers monitor and reroute internet traffic, said it began experiencing what security experts called a distributed denial-of-service attack just after 7 a.m. Reports that many sites were inaccessible started on the East Coast, but spread westward in three waves as the day wore on and into the evening.

And in a troubling development, the attack appears to have relied on hundreds of thousands of internet-connected devices like cameras, baby monitors and home routers that have been infected — without their owners’ knowledge — with software that allows hackers to command them to flood a target with overwhelming traffic.

A spokeswoman said the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security were looking into the incident and all potential causes, including criminal activity and a nation-state attack.

Kyle York, Dyn’s chief strategist, said his company and others that host the core parts of the internet’s infrastructure were targets for a growing number of more powerful attacks.

“The number and types of attacks, the duration of attacks and the complexity of these attacks are all on the rise,” Mr. York said.

Security researchers have long warned that the increasing number of devices being hooked up to the internet, the so-called Internet of Things, would present an enormous security issue. And the assault on Friday, security researchers say, is only a glimpse of how those devices can be used for online attacks.

Dyn, based in Manchester, N.H., said it had fended off the assault by 9:30 a.m. But by 11:52 a.m., Dyn said it was again under attack. After fending off the second wave of attacks, Dyn said at 5 p.m. that it was again facing a flood of traffic.

A distributed denial-of-service attack, or DDoS, occurs when hackers flood the servers that run a target’s site with internet traffic until it stumbles or collapses under the load. Such attacks are common, but there is evidence that they are becoming more powerful, more sophisticated and increasingly aimed at core internet infrastructure providers.

Going after companies like Dyn can cause far more damage than aiming at a single website.

Dyn is one of many outfits that host the Domain Name System, or DNS, which functions as a switchboard for the internet. The DNS translates user-friendly web addresses like fbi.gov into numerical addresses that allow computers to speak to one another. Without the DNS servers operated by internet service providers, the internet could not operate.

In this case, the attack was aimed at the Dyn infrastructure that supports internet connections. While the attack did not affect the websites themselves, it blocked or slowed users trying to gain access to those sites.

Later in the day, Dave Allen, the general counsel at Dyn, said tens of millions of internet addresses, or so-called I.P. addresses, were being used to send a fire hose of internet traffic at the company’s servers. He confirmed that a large portion of that traffic was coming from internet-connected devices that had been co-opted by type of malware, called Mirai.

Dale Drew, chief security officer at Level 3, an internet service provider, found evidence that roughly 10 percent of all devices co-opted by Mirai were being used to attack Dyn’s servers. Just one week ago, Level 3 found that 493,000 devices had been infected with Mirai malware, nearly double the number infected last month.

Mr. Allen added that Dyn was collaborating with law enforcement and other internet service providers to deal with the attacks.

In a recent report, Verisign, a registrar for many internet sites that has a unique perspective into this type of attack activity, reported a 75 percent increase in such attacks from April through June of this year, compared with the same period last year.

The attacks were not only more frequent, they were bigger and more sophisticated. The typical attack more than doubled in size. What is more, the attackers were simultaneously using different methods to attack the company’s servers, making them harder to stop.

The most frequent targets were businesses that provide internet infrastructure services like Dyn.

“DNS has often been neglected in terms of its security and availability,” Richard Meeus, vice president for technology at Nsfocus, a network security firm, wrote in an email. “It is treated as if it will always be there in the same way that water comes out of the tap.”

Last month, Bruce Schneier, a security expert and blogger, wrote on the Lawfare blog that someone had been probing the defenses of companies that run crucial pieces of the internet.

“These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well the companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down,” Mr. Schneier wrote. “We don’t know who is doing this, but it feels like a large nation-state. China and Russia would be my first guesses.”

It is too early to determine who was behind Friday’s attacks, but it is this type of attack that has election officials concerned. They are worried that an attack could keep citizens from submitting votes.

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia allow internet voting for overseas military and civilians. Alaska allows any Alaskan citizen to do so. Barbara Simons, the co-author of the book “Broken Ballots: Will Your Vote Count?” and a member of the board of advisers to the Election Assistance Commission, the federal body that oversees voting technology standards, said she had been losing sleep over just this prospect.

“A DDoS attack could certainly impact these votes and make a big difference in swing states,” Dr. Simons said on Friday. “This is a strong argument for why we should not allow voters to send their voted ballots over the internet.”

This month the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, and the Department of Homeland Security accused Russia of hacking the Democratic National Committee, apparently in an effort to affect the presidential election. There has been speculation about whether President Obama has ordered the National Security Agency to conduct a retaliatory attack and the potential backlash this might cause from Russia.

Gillian M. Christensen, deputy press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, said the agency was investigating “all potential causes” of the attack.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said on the NBC News program “Meet the Press this month that the United States was prepared to respond to Russia’s election attacks in kind. “We’re sending a message,” Mr. Biden said. “We have the capacity to do it.”

But technology providers in the United States could suffer blowback. As Dyn fell under recurring attacks on Friday, Mr. York, the chief strategist, said such assaults were the reason so many companies are pushing at least parts of their infrastructure to cloud computing networks, to decentralize their systems and make them harder to attack.

“It’s a total wild, wild west out there,” Mr. York said

Source:NY Times

Immunotherapy Offers Hope to a Cancer Patient, but No Certainty Drawing on his immune system to fight Hodgkin’s lymphoma, my friend saw a stunning improvement. Then came the relapses.

DENVER — A cancer patient nicknamed the Steel Bull got his death sentence on a gloomy March Wednesday in 2015.

He was 47, his given name Jason Greenstein, but he had earned the moniker from his oncologist for his stubborn will during more than four years of brutal chemotherapy and radiation treatment — all of which had failed.

That Wednesday, March 4, his left side bulged with 15 pounds of tumor, doubling in size every few weeks. Lumps of Hodgkin’s lymphoma cells swelled in his lungs, making it hard to breathe, impinging a nerve and nearly paralyzing his left hand. Yet Mr. Greenstein, ever the optimist, was not prepared for his doctor’s frank words when he displayed his latest symptom: tumors along his right jawline, the first spread of cancer to that side.

The oncologist, Dr. Mark Brunvand, said he excused himself to the hallway to gather his emotions. When he returned a moment later, he looked Mr. Greenstein in the eye.

“You are going to die,” he remembers saying. “And because you’re my friend, it’s my job to make you as comfortable as possible.” Behind the doctor stood Mr. Greenstein’s case manager, Poppy Beethe, crying.

DENVER — A cancer patient nicknamed the Steel Bull got his death sentence on a gloomy March Wednesday in 2015.

He was 47, his given name Jason Greenstein, but he had earned the moniker from his oncologist for his stubborn will during more than four years of brutal chemotherapy and radiation treatment — all of which had failed.

That Wednesday, March 4, his left side bulged with 15 pounds of tumor, doubling in size every few weeks. Lumps of Hodgkin’s lymphoma cells swelled in his lungs, making it hard to breathe, impinging a nerve and nearly paralyzing his left hand. Yet Mr. Greenstein, ever the optimist, was not prepared for his doctor’s frank words when he displayed his latest symptom: tumors along his right jawline, the first spread of cancer to that side.

The oncologist, Dr. Mark Brunvand, said he excused himself to the hallway to gather his emotions. When he returned a moment later, he looked Mr. Greenstein in the eye.

“You are going to die,” he remembers saying. “And because you’re my friend, it’s my job to make you as comfortable as possible.” Behind the doctor stood Mr. Greenstein’s case manager, Poppy Beethe, crying.

What happened next qualified as well beyond “dramatic response.” A few days later, Mr. Greenstein agreed to try a last-ditch drug called nivolumab that was being tested for Hodgkin’s. It dripped into his veins, just like those body-racking chemotherapy treatments. But this time, there were no harsh side effects. And this time, the outcome was very different.

Three mornings later, Mr. Greenstein woke up to shock from his girlfriend.

“Jason, you’ve got to see this!” she said. She looked at his back, where the cancer had so bulged that she affectionately called him Quasimodo. “Your tumors have shrunk!”

In an eye blink, after years of agonizing and futile treatment, Mr. Greenstein’s cancer would disappear. Within weeks after that first treatment, his doctors declared him in remission.

It was a result that put him at the vanguard of a new generation of cancer treatment called immunotherapy that casts into sharp relief the harshness of how we have long treated cancer and the less grueling way we might. Immunotherapy’s aim is to prompt the immune system, which is often stymied by cancer, to attack tumors with the zeal and sophistication that it attacks other diseases. The concept, at least in a primitive form, stretches back more than a century, but only in recent years have therapies been developed that show its true promise — and, for now, its limitations.

In that astonishing span of six weeks, few of immunotherapy’s successes seemed as dramatic as Mr. Greenstein’s. “His story is not just one in a million,” Dr. Brunvand marveled, but “one in 20 million.”

On a personal level, this stunning medical reversal was not entirely surprising to Mr. Greenstein’s family and friends. Jason and I were in a tight circle of high school buddies in Boulder, Colo. To us, he has always been a fierce competitor who attacked the world with passion, humor and unbridled optimism — along with, at times, inattention to detail and procrastination. Life was always an adventure, including Jason’s death match against cancer, which he allowed me to chronicle.

Then again, cancer is not easily beaten. And for all its promise, immunotherapy for now brings more disappointment than marvel for the majority of patients. The end of this story, sadly, allows no easy ebullience. Not for medicine. Not for Jason.

In the Shadow of Cancer

When the symptoms hit in 2010, Jason was living in Las Vegas, where he had started a company called Green Man Group. It sold trinket boxes to casinos for use as gifts.

Jason went to both law and business school and was obsessively entrepreneurial. He loved selling and schmoozing with customers on a noon-to-midnight instead of 9-to-5 clock. Visiting casinos, he crisscrossed the country in an aging Chrysler Concorde, often with Skoal tobacco packed in his lip. He had come from tobacco users; his dad had smoked cigars, his mom cigarettes since age 14.

It was unseasonably warm on May 10 when Jason, driving back to Las Vegas from Arizona, felt his throat tickle and his head hurt. His legs had felt heavy for several months. Several days later, he attacked the symptoms with a homegrown remedy: He downed most of a 12-pack of Bud Light Chelada.

“It didn’t work out too well,” he said with a laugh, looking back. He felt worse in the morning.

My first memories of Jason come from the dugout. We were teammates for years in Little League. I was a two-bit player and Jason a perennial All-Star — center fielder and shortstop, leadoff hitter. He had the same gifts in football and basketball. Not just that — he was funny, self-effacing, a good student and a good guy. His junior high nickname was Golden.

But all was not golden for Jason. One morning in eighth grade, our friend Tom Meier found him in the locker room, sobbing. Jason had learned the day before that his dad, Joel, at 46, had been told he had colon cancer.

“Here was the strongest person I knew, and he was absolutely shattered,” Tom said.

Over the years, Jason’s friends and family would debate the extent to which his father’s cancer and eventual death, in the summer before our senior year of high school, unmoored Jason. He had been Jason’s first coach and chief advocate, attending every game, often chomping a stogie, stoic and hunch-shouldered. In the weeks before he died, he watched Jason, a 5-foot-9 point guard, help lead Boulder High School to a state basketball championship game.

After his father’s death, Jason’s senior-year grades tanked such that he had to explain them to Occidental College, where he was to play basketball and baseball. A manic side of Jason became more prominent. He never settled down with a family, and his businesses came and went. His inimitable passion remained, while his follow-through sometimes faltered.

“Dad was his guru; I don’t know how to describe it,” Guy Greenstein, Jason’s older brother, and one of five siblings, told me. “When my dad was gone, he was left to flounder a bit.”

After Jason first felt sick, one doctor diagnosed mononucleosis, but two courses of antibiotics did not work. Each week, he felt more rundown, until one day in August, he could not get off the couch. “It reminded me of my dad,” Jason reflected. “He had never done that before, and then he started lying on the couch.”

At summer’s end, a family doctor told him he had Hodgkin’s. It was the best case of a bad-case scenario — Hodgkin’s has a 95 percent cure rate.

No problem, Jason thought, I’ll get it cured and move on.

Beaten Down by Treatment

In 1990, Dr. Brunvand, was climbing Mount McKinley when he and his group got a distress call from 19,600 feet. Seven Japanese climbers needed rescue in 100-mile-an-hour winds. Dr. Brunvand, then huddled at 17,000 feet, helped bring six of the climbers back alive. His tenacity made him a perfect match for Jason, and he knew what he would be putting Jason through.

Dr. Brunvand, 60, a bow-tie-wearing veteran in his field, likens traditional chemotherapy to napalm. It kills not just cancer but other rapidly dividing cells, like the ones in the gut, hair follicles and mouth. “When you have cancer, you spread napalm on it and burn everything to the ground.”

Jason received his first treatment in September 2010 in Denver. A thin nurse with a kind smile hooked him to an IV. He tried to read, and felt like he did not belong with the line of sick people in chemo chairs. Into his veins dripped a four-drug cocktail called A.B.V.D. that has been in wide use since the 1980s.

After chemo, he described feeling “the sickest you’ve ever felt but multiplied by 10.”

In spring 2011, after a brief remission, Jason became one of the unlucky few with Hodgkin’s; his cancer recurred in his chest wall. He moved to the next level of treatment, “salvage” chemotherapy with the acronym ICE. Side effects: diarrhea, bruising, bleeding, hair loss, sore mouth.

That winter, he got a round of high-dose chemotherapy followed by a stem-cell transplant. Before the transplant, he met a psychologist at the Colorado Blood Cancer Institute, and, to prove his zest for life, Jason played air guitar and sang to her, wearing sunglasses.

But when the psychologist, Andrea Maikovich-Fong, went to see him in the hospital after his transplant, he was slumped in a hoodie. “He looked like this shadow sitting there. He looked up with his eyes, and not his chin, and said: ‘This is terrible,’” she recalled.

This was what I, and others, began to see. Cancer had not beaten Jason yet; treatment was starting to. When we talked by phone, he sometimes wept about his pain, exhaustion, pill regimen — 15 medications or more daily, an alphabet soup of drugs, from acyclovir to fight infection to Zofran for nausea.

Once, he showed up at the hospital after an all-night drive from Las Vegas with his red blood cell count so depleted (20 percent of normal) it could have killed him en route. He crawled to the elevator, where he was discovered, and then, while being wheeled away, joked with Dr. Brunvand that he had been in Las Vegas spending money on “hookers and blow.”

“It’s hard not to love a guy who sees God with one eye and the seedy side with the other,” Dr. Brunvand said.

In fall 2013, Jason was in remission again, finally, he said, feeling like himself. Then, the morning after his beloved Denver Broncos were crushed in the 2014 Super Bowl by the Seattle Seahawks, Jason’s phone rang. It was Ms. Beethe, his case manager. “Jason, I have some bad news.” Another relapse, tests showed.

“I didn’t know what was worse,” Jason grimly joked later, “getting cancer again, or the Broncos losing. Any true Bronco fan would say it’s a tie.”

Jason came up with an analogy to describe being a patient in a fight with cancer; in his analogy, healthy people live in a village on a beautiful Tahitian island while cancer patients float around it in canoes.

“The doctors pull on the rope and pull me back to the pier. I can still visit the people in the village. But I’m drifting further and further,” Jason said. “All around me are coffins — the people who died from cancer. I’m waiting for my canoe to turn into a coffin.”

A few weeks after the Super Bowl, his friends planned a weekend for him in Boulder to, without putting so fine a point on it, say goodbye. Tom came from Minnesota and I from San Francisco. Jason, true to form, showed up to his own party two hours later than everyone else, having made a marathon drive from Las Vegas. At the end, we all said goodbye in the parking lot. I assumed I’d never see Jason again.

Crossing a Threshold

Jason battled for another year, until March 2015, when he received his death sentence and his family met with Dr. Brunvand to plan hospice care. Without much hope, they agreed to take a flier on a drug called nivolumab, part of the new frontier of immunotherapy.

Nivolumab had been approved for advanced melanoma in 2014. An article published that year in The New England Journal of Medicine reported the drug’s remarkable effect on relapsed Hodgkin’s patients, albeit in just 23 people. Dr. Brunvand’s team managed to get a dose, though it was not yet on the market for Hodgkin’s, through a program called “compassionate use.”

Dr. Brunvand expected little. The evidence was scant, Jason so far gone.

“When I start to pray, I know it’s time to let go,” Dr. Brunvand said. “I’d started to pray for Jason.”

Immunotherapy is based on the fact that once the immune system recognizes cancer and gears up to fight it, something remarkable happens: The immune system is rendered helpless.

Scientists believe that the cancer sends signals to put the brakes on our T-cells, which are the ones that fight disease. A crucial way the tumor tricks T-cells is by displaying on its surface a protein that is recognized by the T-cell through a receptor called PD-1. It stands for “programmed death.” It tells the T-cell to, in effect, self-destruct.

This might seem like a serious design flaw. After all, why would immune cells commit suicide? It turns out that the PD system is essential to survival: It is fail-safe against the immune system attacking our own bodies (see: lupus, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis). Sometimes we want our bodies to halt the system; cancer takes advantage of this survival mechanism.

As Jason slogged through chemo, researchers around the country were experimenting with developing a so-called PD-1 inhibitor for cancer so as to unleash the immune system. This concept was at the heart of the nivolumab treatment that Jason was about to receive.

On March 13, Jason’s girlfriend, Beth Schwartz, drove him to his first treatment. On the ride, he was not thinking about surviving, but about having his pain managed well enough to see his nephew Jack play that night in the state high school basketball tournament.

Midafternoon, Jason sat in a recliner in the bleak, boxy room. A nurse in a blue gown cleaned his central line, an intravenous port in Jason’s chest. She gave him steroids. Jason couldn’t move his left arm or close his hand, the nerve so squeezed by Hodgkin’s.

She hung a translucent bag from an IV pole. It held saline and 200 milligrams of nivolumab. The treatment lasted an hour. At least there were no side effects; this was not scorched earth but immune-system tinkering. Then Jason went to his nephew’s game and sat with a former high school teammate, Dan Gallagher, who thought: “He looks so bad, I wonder if he’ll make it through the night. It was like looking at his dad again.”

Three mornings later, when Beth exclaimed that Jason’s tumor had shrunk, she wondered if she might be imagining things. So she decided to take pictures each day of his back.

\

Crossing a Threshold

Jason battled for another year, until March 2015, when he received his death sentence and his family met with Dr. Brunvand to plan hospice care. Without much hope, they agreed to take a flier on a drug called nivolumab, part of the new frontier of immunotherapy.

Nivolumab had been approved for advanced melanoma in 2014. An article published that year in The New England Journal of Medicine reported the drug’s remarkable effect on relapsed Hodgkin’s patients, albeit in just 23 people. Dr. Brunvand’s team managed to get a dose, though it was not yet on the market for Hodgkin’s, through a program called “compassionate use.”

Dr. Brunvand expected little. The evidence was scant, Jason so far gone.

“When I start to pray, I know it’s time to let go,” Dr. Brunvand said. “I’d started to pray for Jason.”

Immunotherapy is based on the fact that once the immune system recognizes cancer and gears up to fight it, something remarkable happens: The immune system is rendered helpless.

Scientists believe that the cancer sends signals to put the brakes on our T-cells, which are the ones that fight disease. A crucial way the tumor tricks T-cells is by displaying on its surface a protein that is recognized by the T-cell through a receptor called PD-1. It stands for “programmed death.” It tells the T-cell to, in effect, self-destruct.

This might seem like a serious design flaw. After all, why would immune cells commit suicide? It turns out that the PD system is essential to survival: It is fail-safe against the immune system attacking our own bodies (see: lupus, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis). Sometimes we want our bodies to halt the system; cancer takes advantage of this survival mechanism.

As Jason slogged through chemo, researchers around the country were experimenting with developing a so-called PD-1 inhibitor for cancer so as to unleash the immune system. This concept was at the heart of the nivolumab treatment that Jason was about to receive.

On March 13, Jason’s girlfriend, Beth Schwartz, drove him to his first treatment. On the ride, he was not thinking about surviving, but about having his pain managed well enough to see his nephew Jack play that night in the state high school basketball tournament.

Midafternoon, Jason sat in a recliner in the bleak, boxy room. A nurse in a blue gown cleaned his central line, an intravenous port in Jason’s chest. She gave him steroids. Jason couldn’t move his left arm or close his hand, the nerve so squeezed by Hodgkin’s.

She hung a translucent bag from an IV pole. It held saline and 200 milligrams of nivolumab. The treatment lasted an hour. At least there were no side effects; this was not scorched earth but immune-system tinkering. Then Jason went to his nephew’s game and sat with a former high school teammate, Dan Gallagher, who thought: “He looks so bad, I wonder if he’ll make it through the night. It was like looking at his dad again.”

Three mornings later, when Beth exclaimed that Jason’s tumor had shrunk, she wondered if she might be imagining things. So she decided to take pictures each day of his back.

The evidence startles. On Day 1, his left half still looks like the Incredible Hulk, a veritable watermelon protruding. If you squint, you can see it shrinking by Day 3. Then, at two weeks, he looks slender, normal definition having returned. He had more nivolumab. Then he went for a follow-up appointment.

What happened to my cancer, he asked Dr. Brunvand, using an expletive.

“I watched the moon landing in 1969, and it was a similar sense of awe,” Dr. Brunvand said. “It was that same sense we’d crossed a threshold,” he said, adding, “I’d just seen the power of the immune system.”

This is when I started taking notes. How could this be possible? Was this, indeed, a miracle?

I spoke to Dr. John Timmerman, an oncologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was among the researchers on the paper in The New England Journal of Medicine. I told him Jason’s story, and he said, “Wow.”

But he also said, “I have seen some pretty remarkable cases similar to this.”

In 2013, Dr. Timmerman treated a 27-year-old woman “near death’s door,” in such pain she could hardly move or sit down. She took the drug. The results: “A miracle,” he said. “The next time she came in, two weeks later, she popped up on the exam table on her butt and my jaw dropped.”

In almost the same breath, Dr. Timmerman offered a warning. “We’re in the honeymoon period,” he said, and for one crucial reason: “Patients are responding. They are also relapsing.”

Sometimes, tumors return in a few months or a year, sometimes not.

“I stay awake at night trying to get us beyond the honeymoon,” Dr. Timmerman said. “How do we leverage this into a cure?”

Dr. Brunvand, who had worked in his first AIDS clinic in 1986, hopes immunotherapy leads to fruitful, pain-free lives for cancer sufferers just as antiretroviral drugs have for people with H.I.V. In summing up his hopes for immunotherapy in cancer, he says, simply, “Think Magic Johnson.”

If Dr. Brunvand is right, some future Jason might not only survive but also not be driven to the edge by the treatment itself. For now, though, life on medicine’s cutting edge is no bowl of cherries, not with your survival at stake. Jason relapsed in August 2015.

Independence Day

On Aug. 13, a resplendent Colorado day, Jason pulled up to my in-laws’ house in Denver, where I was visiting. He was a broken man. He moved slowly, hunched at his shoulders, wore Ray-Bans and looked to me like a character in “Dallas Buyer’s Club.”

We sat in the backyard. Jason sobbed.

“No matter how many times they tell you you’ve got cancer, you don’t get used to it,” he said.

He mourned the toll it had taken on his family, especially on his mother, who supported him emotionally and financially.

“I think it would be easier for everyone if I was dead.”

He asked for ice for his dry lips.

But would you believe it? Jason wasn’t done.

He went in for radiation treatment, and soon appeared to have beaten the cancer back again.

“It’s awesome. I’m so psyched, dude,” he told me on Oct. 5. He was thinking of new business ventures, including working with a cancer doctor and researcher to develop an immunotherapy company. “I’m living proof!”

In early April this year, I called him to check in. Jason did not pick up or call back. After several days, I called Dr. Brunvand.

“Jason’s relapsed,” he said. “Ten days ago.”

He had been shoveling snow at his mother’s house when he felt his back go out. In excruciating pain, he went for an M.R.I. and other tests. They found evidence of Hodgkin’s in a vertebrae in the middle of his back and in the lining of his spinal column. Soon, his seventh vertebrae fully collapsed, an agonizing compression fracture, due in part to years of bone-density-depleting therapies.

“The treatment is killing him,” his mother, Catherine, told me when I arrived to visit on April 19. Jason sat in a recliner in the living room, in such agony he could hardly move. Heavy pain medications made him delirious.

The next day, it took three nurses to gently lower him into a wheelchair outside the hospital, where he got a course of immunotherapy to treat Hodgkin’s in his spinal column.

On May 17, the Food and Drug Administration approved nivolumab for patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in cases like Jason’s, where the patient has relapsed or the cancer has progressed after a transplant.

Jason got his last dose of the drug in late May. On June 1, he got the results of his latest scan. The tests showed no trace of cancer. But he was still in the hospital, virtually immobile, recuperating from surgery to stabilize his back with rods, and facing complications from coming off pain medications and steroids.

On June 21, I woke to a text from Dr. Brunvand. “Jason has taken a dramatic turn for the worse.”

Jason, who had been in the hospital for more than 70 days rehabilitating from the surgery, had suddenly stopped talking, his eyes closed most of the time, glassy and not home when open. Flummoxed, Dr. Brunvand could not find anything on brain or blood scans, ultimately deciding it was encephalopathy, meaning his brain had temporarily shut down to flush out toxins.

Too many drugs for too many years. Specifically, Dr. Brunvand reasoned, the awakening of his immune system had led to inflammation in the nervous system.

Jason was moved to intensive care, where he had a feeding tube, catheter, intubation. Dr. Brunvand ordered a spinal tap to give him steroids to combat the inflammation. But frankly, we all braced ourselves.

“I think he’s lost the fight in him — and why wouldn’t he?” his mom told me.

I sent a text for his sister to read to him: “Richtels send their love.”

Over the next few days, Jason remained enveloped, struggling not to be pulled under by toxins, as he had been doing for years against cancer. On July 4, his girlfriend was sitting by his side in the intensive care unit when his eyes popped open.

Source:NY times

Meet kid who got super-rare 100% in AP calculus

NDIANAPOLIS — Truman Bennet has always been good at math.

His parents, he said, placed an emphasis on math when he was young. And now, as an 18-year-old Marion High School senior, his math skills have paid off.

Bennet is one of just 18 students in the world to achieve a perfect score — earning every point possible — on the Advanced Placement Calculus AB exam, putting him among  0.006% of students who took the exam, according to the College Board.

"It’s just amazing," he said. "Just to be part of an elite group of people like that."

The AP Calculus AB is equivalent to a first semester college calculus course, according to the College Board, the organization that administers the exam. Topics covered include concepts and skills of limits, derivatives, definite integrals and the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. AP exams are graded on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score possible.

Bennet was notified of his perfect score on the calculus exam in July after taking the exam in May, but he received notification from the College Board late last week. He attributed his success to in-class preparation, coordinated by his teacher, Doug Porter.

"You know, something like this is a feat that I would have never imagined," Porter said. "Nothing like this happens by accident; it’s a product of a lot of hard work, and Truman does not cut any corners."

“Nothing like this happens by accident; it’s a product of a lot of hard work, and Truman does not cut any corners.”

Doug Porter, math teacher

Porter has been a math teacher for 23 years, 11 of those spent teaching AP calculus. He said he had never thought one of his students would get a perfect score, although Marion students consistently exceed national average passing results.

When Bennet took the exam, he paid to have his free response questions returned and asked Porter to grade them using online rubrics, he said.

"I looked at the rubric and I said: 'Truman, I don’t see any mistakes in this,' " Porter said. But there was still room for possible error among the 45 multiple choice questions.

But Bennet's exam was perfect. And Porter deflected the credit Bennet gave him.

"That's Truman: No matter what he does or accomplishes, he’s always quick to praise others or to build others up," Porter said. "I’m so proud of him."

Bennet said word of his score got around and that people have been congratulating him all week.

"It’s still crazy," he said. "Kids at school that you’ve probably never talked to before and probably never will talk to again, telling you congrats."

In addition to his perfect score on the calculus exam, he scored a 5 on the AP Statistics exam. He said he plans to take four other AP exams at the end of this academic year.

His advice for other students who aspire to achieve perfect scores on their AP exams? Practice and grade yourself honestly.

"See what kind of questions you’re struggling with, which ones you’re not," he said. "Really, you need to be picky with yourself so when you take the exam, you do exactly what you want."

Bennet said he hopes to study mathematics in college and earn a doctorate to become a college professor. He already has been accepted to Ball State University, has applied to Purdue University and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and plans to apply to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"I don’t know exactly how to include it on my application yet," he said. "This definitely doesn’t hurt."

Source:USA Today.com

Time Warner shares soar on AT&T's interest

Shares of Time Warner soared more than 8% Friday after reports surfaced that it's in advanced talks to be acquired by telecom giant AT&T.

AT&T's interest in buying Time Warner, which owns HBO, Warner Bros., CNN and TNT, first surfaced Thursday in a Bloomberg report. But their talks have advanced and an agreement could come as early as this weekend, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Time Warner couldn't be reached for comment Friday. AT&T, which owns DirecTV and provides wireless and Internet services, also couldn't be reached for comment.

Consumers are rapidly flocking to digital media and increasingly ditching their traditional cable and satellite TV offerings. In response, telecommunications service providers are eager to diversify their revenue sources beyond just providing their "pipes" for distributing media content.

In July, Verizon, which offers cable TV, wireless and Internet services, agreed to pay $4.8 billion to buy Yahoo's core businesses, including Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Finance. Last year, Verizon also paid $4.4 billion to buy AOL.

AT&T has been moving more slowly to broaden its media content portfolio. Last year, it paid about $49 billion to buy satellite TV service provider DirecTV, a deal that expanded its pay-TV market reach nationwide. With more customers subscribing to its Internet, wireless and TV offerings, AT&T now plans to focus on buying more media and entertainment companies, Bloomberg reported.

Time Warner's assets, particularly HBO, sports programming and Warner Bros., are highly prized by other media companies.  In July, 2014, 21st Century Fox, controlled by billionaire mogul Rupert Murdoch, offered to pay about $80 billion for Time Warner, or $84 a share in cash and stock. If completed, it would have been at the time the largest media merger since the disastrous AOL purchase of Time Warner for $162 billion in 2000.

A month later, Murdoch withdrew the offer after Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes said his company was worth more and rejected it.

Time Warner once operated a cable TV service unit, but spun it off in 2009 to focus on media content businesses. Time Warner Cable, the spun-off business, was acquired by Charter Communications last year for $56 billion.

Source:USA Today.com

WikiLeaks exposes what voters disdain — and candidates fail to fix

The WikiLeaks controversy has exposed the underbelly of a Washington culture that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump voters disdain.

The trove of hacked emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta shows Clinton’s easy relationship with Wall Street as she collected millions of dollars in speaking fees, as well as attempts by foreign governments to curry favor with a former president, Bill Clinton, while dangling offers of donations to his family foundation.

“It’s a pretty unprecedented window” into the inner machinations of Washington power brokers, said John Wonderlich, executive director at the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington-based group that advocates transparency in government. “The thing that might become hardest to deal with are the foreign donations,” he said. “That stuff is going to be a headache for years.”

While there’s no evidence of textbook “pay to play” or that the Clintons granted favors in exchange for donations, combined, the emails feed cynicism many voters in both parties have about politicians.

They show that, from the very beginning of Clinton’s campaign, her aides struggled to craft a simple message that conveys her core beliefs. For instance, one email from August 2015 showed her chief speechwriter mulling how to signal her opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline without saying it herself and, essentially, “second-guessing the president in public.”

Most of the releases, though, demonstrate benign staff deliberations that normally remain private.

“What you’re seeing with these emails is the sausage being made of a campaign,” said Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute. “The press is being manipulated extraordinarily here with these incremental dumps” that spur stories, he said. WikiLeaks claims it has an estimated 50,000 emails that are being released in batches.

“Normally you would get all the emails and decide what is newsworthy and what is not,” he said.

Clinton stresses that the exchanges were hacked by a group conspiring with the Russian government seeking to hurt her campaign and help Trump. While they’ve refused to confirm the veracity of the emails, they haven’t disavowed them.

The most controversial emails remain those illuminating her relationship with Wall Street and foreign actors, especially May 2013 comments to a large Brazilian bank that her dream was a hemispheric trade zone with “open trade and open borders.”

Anger at the political system powered both Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s primary challenger, and won them millions of passionate followers.

Clinton has promised to call for a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, a 2010 ruling that allowed for unlimited corporate and union independent political spending, in her first 30 days as president and has endorsed legislation clamping down on lobbyists posing as “consultants."

Trump recently offered a five-point plan to “drain the swamp” by putting constraints on administration officials and members of Congress becoming lobbyists. While Clinton’s proposal is a first step in addressing the relationship between moneyed interests and preferential access to lawmakers, neither platform amounts to major campaign finance reform that would relieve lawmakers of the need to spend countless hours on the phone asking for campaign contributions from wealthy contributors.

What's more, “Neither candidate has talked about strengthening FOIA or about how government ethics rules should work,” said Wonderlich, referring to the Freedom of Information Act. “That’s definitely been missing from the campaign," he said.

Hillary Clinton takes part in the final presidential

Hillary Clinton takes part in the final presidential debate in Las Vegas on Oct. 19, 2016. (Photo: Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY)

 

The emails

A number of speech excerpts suggest she’s more sympathetic to Wall Street than she may appear on the stump.

► In an Oct. 24, 2013, speech to Goldman Sachs, Clinton seemed to suggest the banking industry was unfairly blamed after the financial collapse, even calling for less regulation. “We need banking. I mean, right now, there are so many places in our country where the banks are not doing what they need to do because they're scared of regulations, they're scared of the other shoe dropping, they’re just plain scared, so credit is not flowing the way it needs to to restart economic growth,” she said.

She continued: “There was a lot of complaining about Dodd-Frank, but there was also a need to do something because for political reasons, if you were an elected member of Congress and people in your constituency were losing jobs and shutting businesses and everybody in the press is saying it's all the fault of Wall Street, you can't sit idly by and do nothing.”

► A later email from her lead speechwriter Dan Schwerin, regarding a draft of an October 2014 paid speech to Deutsche Bank, suggests she adjusted her rhetoric on Wall Street for political purposes. “I wrote her a long riff about economic fairness and how the financial industry has lost its way, precisely for the purpose of having something we could show people if ever asked what she was saying behind closed doors for two years to all those fat cats,” he said.

Foreign dealings

Some of the emails show foreign governments the U.S. suspects of aiding terrorist groups trying to ingratiate themselves with a former president and secretary of State.

In 2014, Clinton stated in an email that the Saudi and Qatar governments were “providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL.” Two years prior, Qatar wanted to give Bill Clinton $1 million for his birthday, according to an April 16, 2012, email from Amitabh Desai, the Clinton Foundation's foreign policy director.

“Qatar … Would like to see WJC ‘for five minutes’ in NYC, to present $1 million check that Qatar promised for WJC’s birthday in 2011,” wrote Desai. In the same conversation, Qatar was seeking advice about investment in Haiti in education and health. Importantly, there is no evidence Clinton accepted that money or met with the officials.

Undercutting the campaign message

Some emails have been taken out of context and misconstrued. For instance, online vitriol over comments that Clinton allegedly made that she “hates everyday Americans” is untrue. She said she hates the phrase “everyday Americans.”

Other emails cut against a core narrative the Trump campaign has sought to create, that the Clintons were using their family foundation for personal profit.

Chelsea Clinton in particular comes across as a mindful of ethics considerations by seeking tougher internal rules regarding potential conflicts of interest and outside income — or, as she wrote, she was seeking to “professionalize the Foundation.”

In 2011 Chelsea Clinton wrote Podesta and others expressing concern that her father  "was told today of explicit examples at CGI of Doug/Teneo pushing for — and receiving — free memberships — and of multiple examples of Teneo 'hustling' business at CGI.” Teneo is a consulting firm founded by Clinton confidante Doug Band.

In one December 2011 email, she complained about an individual having allegedly called members of Parliament on Bill Clinton's behalf for Teneo clients “without my father's knowledge" leading to "comparisons between my father and Tony Blair's profit motivations. Which would horrify my father.”

As for Hillary Clinton's other major liability, the personal email system she used while at the State Department, Republicans have alleged that Clinton was seeking to withhold her email communications from government investigators.

Yet in the immediate aftermath of The New York Times report uncovering her use of a private server, Jim Margolis, a Clinton strategist, asks “if there is a release of the 55,000, are there others that are not being released?”

Source:USA Today.com

Defense Secretary: Forces ready in 'weeks' for battle to retake ISIS capital

(CNN)Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday it will be only a matter of weeks before the US and its allies are ready to drive ISIS from Raqqa, its symbolic capital in Syria.

The preparations come amid fears the terror group is plotting an attack somewhere around the world from inside the city.
Carter told reporters at a NATO meeting in Brussels that getting troops in place for the siege of Raqqa would be undertaken within weeks but declined to offer more specifics.
The plan "has us generating those forces in a matter of weeks ... generating them and positioning them for the isolation of Raqqa," Carter said.
"That's what I'm going to say," he said, adding, "And not many weeks."
It has been "long planned" that the US-backed assault on Mosul -- which started earlier this month -- Iraq and Raqqa would be overlapping, Carter said.
The top US commander in Iraq, Gen. Stephen Townsend, told reporters via satellite that it is "imperative to get isolation in place around Raqqa" because intelligence reports show there is "significant external operations attacks planning" taking place inside the city.
"We actually aren't sure how pressing it is, and that's what's worrying," Townsend said, noting he was limited by what he could say in a public forum. "We know they are up to something, and it's an external plot. We don't know exactly where; we don't know exactly when."
Carter said the military has "the resources we need" to undertake the operations in both Mosul and Raqqa at the same time.
"We're going to win this, and so if there's anything we need to do to accelerate, I'm prepared to ask for it," he said.
Carter addressed the issue in between meetings with his NATO counterparts, where the anti-ISIS mission is expected to be a major focus.
The transatlantic alliance is planning to boost its participation in that effort, committing to new aerial surveillance flights and a ramped-up presence in the Black Sea region, on the doorstep of its adversary, Russia.
Aside from training Iraqi military officers in Jordan, NATO had largely avoided direct involvement in the anti-ISIS fight, leaving it to individual member states -- all of whom are involved in the US-led coalition -- to make their own commitments.
The alliance hopes the new surveillance flights "will improve the coalition's overall air picture by providing surveillance and situational awareness, thereby making the skies safer," acting NATO spokesman Dylan White said Tuesday. "This is a meaningful contribution to the (anti-ISIS) effort and a clear signal of NATO's determination to help fight terrorism."
That determination, officials emphasized, is a longstanding one, despite recent criticism of NATO by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg pushed back on suggestions the US presidential campaign was driving the changes, as Trump has claimed.
"NATO has played a key role, has been in a front line in a fight against terrorism for many, many years with our operation in Afghanistan, training Iraqi officers supporting Tunisia, Jordan and many other ways," said Stoltenberg. "As I stated many times, the adaptation of NATO -- where you focus more on intelligence, where you step up of our efforts to fight terrorism, where we increase defense spending -- is not related to (the) US election campaign."
Deterring potential Russian aggression in Eastern Europe is also high on the agenda at this week's NATO gathering.
In his remarks to reporters, Carter announced the US will be contributing a persistent rotational combat armored brigade to Europe early next year to strengthen deterrence in the region.
Source:CNN.com

Clinton campaign wages new war against James Comey

(CNN)Hillary Clinton on Saturday questioned FBI Director James Comey's decision to write to congressional leaders about emails uncovered in the bureau's probe into Anthony Weiner, saying the timing of such a move was "unprecedented" and "deeply troubling."

"It's pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election," Clinton told supporters in Daytona Beach, Florida, where the crowd booed at the mention of Comey's letter. "In fact, it's not just strange, it's unprecedented and it's deeply troubling because voters deserve to get full and complete facts."
Clinton called on Comey to swiftly release more information, saying he must "explain everything right away, put it all right on the table."
Clinton also swiped at Republican rival Donald Trump, saying he's "doing his best to confuse, mislead and discourage the American people" over the issue.
"Of course, Donald Trump is already making up lies about this," Clinton said.
The Democratic nominee's comments here marked an escalation in the Clinton campaign's full-out war against Comey in the final 10 days of the election.
Earlier in the day, just hours after Comey made the stunning announcement on Friday that the FBI is examining newly unveiled emails that appear to be "pertinent" to the now-closed investigation into Clinton's private server, top campaign officials unleashed a blistering attack on the FBI director, accusing him of being irresponsibly "light on facts" and "heavy on innuendo."
On a conference call with reporters, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta accused Comey of failing to be "forthcoming with the facts." Podesta blasted both the timing and contents of the letter Comey sent to congressional leaders on Friday, summing the director's actions as "providing selective information."
Campaign manager Robby Mook echoed Podesta's call for more information from Comey and suggested that the FBI has now waded into political territory.
"The Justice Department's longstanding practice is: Don't do anything seen as trying to influence an election," Mook said. "It's completely unfair to Secretary Clinton and it's really unfair to the voters."

'Hillary's not going to be distracted'

The sharp criticism marked an extraordinary rebuke of the head of an agency historically known for its political independence. And it guarantees that Comey -- already a polarizing presence for his role in probing Clinton's email use as secretary of state -- will be a central political figure in the election's final days.
As Clinton prepared to fly to Florida for a two-day swing through the battleground state, Podesta was defiant: "We're not going to be distracted and Hillary's not going to be distracted in the final days of this election over nothing."
Both Podesta and Mook emphasized the possibility that the emails that the FBI is now examining -- uncovered as part of the bureau's investigation into Clinton aide Huma Abedin's estranged husband, Anthony Weiner -- may not reveal new information.
"Reports indicate that many of these emails are likely to be duplicates," Podesta said. "It's in fact entirely possible all the emails in question are just that -- duplicates."
Donald Trump continued to trumpet the news at a campaign stop in Golden, Colorado, Saturday afternoon, wondering if Clinton would keep Abedin as an adviser.
"Huma's been a problem," Trump said. "I wonder if Huma's going to stay there. I hope they haven't given Huma immunity because it seemed that everybody that walked down the sidewalk got immunity. She knows the real story. She knows what's going on."
Abedin, one of Clinton's closest confidantes, regularly travels with Clinton and was with the candidate on Friday when the FBI news broke. However, Abedin was notably absent on Saturday as Clinton traveled to Florida.
Comey was sworn in as FBI director in 2013 for a 10-year term. That means if Clinton were to win in November, Comey would serve under her administration unless she chose to remove him.
A Clinton aide later said Saturday that Clinton took the FBI news "like a champ." The aide added that Clinton and her top aides were well aware that the last two weeks of the campaign would not be entirely smooth and that Clinton's reaction reflected that.
"She is in a good state of mind," the aide added.

Sudden turn

The new attacks on Comey are a sudden turn for Clinton's campaign, which sang the FBI director's praises for his initial findings in the Clinton email case.
Clinton aides, in conversations with reporters and in statements, highlighted the fact that Comey was a Republican known for his fierce independence, touting him -- and his investigators -- as career professionals. Surrogates were told to highlight Comey's testimony to Congress and note his political affiliation and track record.
In an interview on CNN's "Situation Room" in July, Clinton press secretary Brian Fallon went after Republicans for criticizing Comey after the FBI concluded it would not press criminal charges against Clinton.
"It seems they were disappointed with the outcome of the FBI investigation so they decided to put the director in a hot seat and second-guess his decision," Fallon said at the time. "I think it is a bad look for House Republicans to be second-guessing a career prosecutor who is a registered Republican, No. 2 official at the Justice Department under George Bush and was even deputy council on the committee investigating the Clintons in the 1990s."
Ironically, the Clinton campaign now finds itself voicing similar concerns as some Republicans when it comes to the FBI's handling of emails uncovered in its Weiner investigation.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an outspoken Trump supporter, wrote on Twitter Saturday: "If there are really more than 10,000 emails in the weiner-Abedin computer the FBI should release all Monday. Americans have a right to know," he wrote.
Gingrich added: "We should not be forced to vote with ten thousand or more emails still hidden by the FBI. John Podesta and Hillary Clinton are right."
Source: CNN.com

Jose Fernandez had cocaine, alcohol in system during fatal boat crash

CNN)Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez had cocaine in his system when he and two friends were killed in a boat crash last month off Miami Beach, the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner's office said Saturday.

Associate Medical Examiner Kenneth Hutchins listed "boat crash" as the cause of death and also said Fernandez was legally drunk with a blood-alcohol concentration of .147.
Fernandez, 24, suffered blunt-force injuries to the head and torso, along with skull and jaw fractures when the boat he was in hit a jetty near Miami Beach in the early morning hours of September 25.
Fernandez and two friends, Emilio Jesus Macias and Eduardo Rivero, were found dead later that morning after their boat was discovered near South Pointe Beach on Government Cut.
Coast Guard personnel on patrol noticed the vessel upside down on the north end of a rocky jetty shortly after 3:15 a.m.
Authorities have not determined who was piloting the boat, which Fernandez owned.
Autopsies determined that Macias and Rivero had levels of alcohol below the legal limit in Florida, which is .08. Rivero also had traces of cocaine in his system, the medical examiner's report said.
Authorities are conducting a homicide investigation.
A native of Santa Clara, Cuba, Fernandez was a beloved sports figure in the city where so many of his countrymen have settled and prospered. Drafted by the Marlins in 2011, he rose to become the franchise's marquee pitcher, the National League Rookie of the Year 2013 and a two-time all-star.
His death stunned Miami and the baseball world, where he was a popular figure with teammates and opponents.
Source:CNN.com

FedEx cargo plane burns at Fort Lauderdale airport

(CNN)A FedEx cargo plane caught fire on the runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday afternoon, causing the airport to shut down for several hours, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

 
Video shot by an onlooker at the airport showed a fireball exploding out of the damaged aircraft and recorded the startled cries of people watching.
The pilot and copilot escaped harm using a rope ladder on the right side of the aircraft, according to Mike Jachles of Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue. No members of the ground crews were hurt, he added.
The fire occurred after the plane's landing gear collapsed as it touched ground, the FAA said. The Boeing MD-10 was operating as Flight 910 from Memphis, Tennessee, where FedEx is based.
Most of the fire damage occurred on the plane's exterior near the left wing and engine, Jachles said. The interior of the plane appeared to be undamaged
The plane was carrying FedEx shipments and US Mail, he said.
FedEx Services Senior Communications Specialist Davina Cole said the company was cooperating with authorities. Boeing has not yet responded to a request for comment.
The Florida airport's south runway reopened for air traffic at 7 p.m., according to the airport's Twitter account. The north runway remains closed while the investigation of the FedEx plane fire continues.
Source:CNN.com

Russian gamers race to prevent nuclear 'war'

(CNN)"Attention! Attention!" blares the Russian voice from a loudspeaker. "The nuclear bombs will be launched in one hour."

Inside a room styled as a Soviet-era nuclear bunker, a couple of Russians race to prevent a catastrophic strike on the United States.
Their quest -- the latest craze in Moscow -- is to find the nuclear launch codes and deactivate a hidden red button, which has already been pressed by a mad Russian general.
It's complete fantasy; just an interactive game hosted in a building in a former industrial area of the city, harking back to the fears of the Cold War.
But amid the current tensions with Russia, in which potential nuclear confrontation with the West has again been raised, it feels a little unsettling.

A nation preparing for conflict

But Russian officials have been preparing the nation for the possibility of conflict, stoking deep-seated concerns about a standoff with the West, Russia's old Cold War rival.
Russian television has been broadcasting a mass training exercise, involving up to 40 million people across the country. It is designed to prepare responses, the government says, for a chemical or nuclear attack.
The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry issued this picture from a nationwide civil defense drill
 
The video shows emergency workers with protective suits and gas masks leading the civil defense rehearsal, the biggest of its kind since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It suggests the Kremlin wants Russians to take the threat of war very seriously.
Of course, all-out conflict between Russia and the West remains highly unlikely.
Analysts say the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction -- or MAD -- still holds as a deterrent, just as it did during the Cold War.
But with tensions growing over Syria, Ukraine, and the Baltic states, analysts say a small risk of contact, misunderstanding and escalation between the nuclear superpowers has become very real.
"I don't think nuclear war is likely," says Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs, a prominent foreign policy journal.
"But when two nuclear superpowers are operating with their military machines in the same area, very close to each other and they don't have proper coordination, any unintended thing can happen," he told CNN.

Kremlin playing up fears

It is a risk the Kremlin seems keen to play up, with state television upping its hardline rhetoric in recent weeks.
In its flagship current affairs show, Russia's top state news anchor, Dmitry Kiselyev -- dubbed the Kremlin's propagandist-in-chief by critics -- recently issued a stark warning of global war if Russian and US forces clash in Syria.
"Brutish behavior towards Russia could have nuclear dimensions," he declared.
The Russian defense ministry has also released details of the latest intercontinental ballistic missile being added to its nuclear arsenal.
The Satan 2, as it's known, will be the world's most destructive weapon, guaranteeing Russia's place as a top nuclear power.
It is an apocalyptic vision that adds a further sense of realism to the fantasy quest being acted out by gamers in Moscow.
"I know that now in schools in Russia they tell the children that our main enemy is the US," said Alisa Sokoleva, another Moscow gamer.
"But it sounds ridiculous to me and I'm totally sure that war is impossible," she adds.
The quest game players - pretending to be a special ops team - are the only ones who can avert war
 
Back in the fake Cold War bunker, the Russian gamers have cracked the launch codes and deactivated the missile launch. The United States, it seems, has again been saved from this virtual Russian nuclear attack.
Hopefully, the real world will be spared such a confrontation too.
Source:CNN.com

Final Tribe Called Quest album coming

(CNN)Rapper Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest was working on a new solo album when he died of complications from diabetes in March.

Now, his group is releasing what they said is their final album.
In a letter posted on his Facebook page Thursday night, Tribe member Q-Tip said their reunion last year on the "Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" sparked creativity.
It was our first TV performance in 18 years," the rapper wrote. "The energy for us that night was one that we hadn't experienced on stage together in some time!"
That night was also the night of the terrorist attack in Paris -- and as Q-Tip explained -- an impetus for the group to record again.
"As we left 30 Rock I felt the need, we all did, to get back to the studio and start that cookup!! So we got to it," he wrote.
"It was coming together nicely and as you may know we lost our brother, may God rest his soul on March 22," Q-Tip wrote. "But he left us with the blueprint of what we had to do."
One of the pivotal hip hop acts of the 1990s, Phife Dawg, Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad have long been revered by fans.
The group famously split in 1998 and both Phife and Q-Tip launched solo careers. The 2011 documentary "Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest," directed by actor Michael Rapaport, traced the group's influence along with its eventual disbanding.
In his announcement, Q-Tip said "this isn't filled with old Phife bars" but the album will feature fellow rap artists Busta Rhymes and Consequence.
A Tribe Called Quest's new music will debut November 11.
Source:CNN.com

Kim Kardashian West thieves 'weren't there for jewels'

CNN)The concierge who was held at gunpoint with Kim Kardashian West has revealed more details about the robbery.

The hotel employee who goes by Abdulrahman sat down with "Entertainment Tonight" to share details about the daring heist on October 3 in Paris. A group of men surprised him and the reality star, making off with millions of dollars' worth of jewelry from Kardashian West.
"They weren't there for jewels at first; they were there for money," Abdulrahman told the show.
Kardashian West was bound on that terrifying night and has since greatly reduced her social media presence and public outings.
There had been speculation that a 20-carat diamond ring she showed off on her social media accounts had prompted the heist.
But Abdulrahman said that for the robber communicating with them it "was just a ring I think. He didn't stop asking for money."
"(The robber) ... doesn't understand English, and also she didn't understand French, and the guy was asking for money, money, money," he said. "She believed that they were there for her ring. She showed her hand ... there is no ring, and the guy is like, 'Where is the ring?' At the moment she gave him her ring -- it was on a table close to the floor -- she gave her ring to the guy ... and he put it in his pocket."
Pocketing the massive diamond didn't stop the thief from demanding money.
"He put the jewels in his (backpack) and he left the bag open, that is why he lost some jewels and the gold in the hotel," Abdulrahman said.
Police continue to investigate, but there have been no arrests.
Source:CNN.com

Michael Phelps on secret marriage and new baby

(CNN)Michael Phelps is now owning up to secretly getting married.

The Olympian filmed a Facebook Live stint Thursday in which he admitted that he and Nicole Johnson tied the knot June 13 in Paradise Valley, Arizona.
The admission came as Phelps and some friends were playing golf.
"I've been married for a while," he said. "A couple months. I had to keep it a secret from y'all. I had to keep it hush-hush from you guys."
When one viewer asked why he didn't go public with the marriage, he answered, "Just because." The superstar athlete gave interviews after the Olympics and discussed looking forward to his future wedding.
Then Phelps hinted that a infant son Boomer may be getting a little brother or sister.
"Thank you for the beautiful comment," Phelps said. "Baby number two may be coming soon. Who knows, though?"
Phelps and Johnson got engaged in February 2015. Johnson gave birth to their son, Boomer, in May.
Source:CNN.com

The MIT grad building Nigeria's first STEM campus

CNN)Most graduates of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston have their choice of six-figure-salary jobs after graduation.

But for one graduate, a different calling has meant he's sacrificed a comfortable life and taken a big risk to follow his dream: to open Africa's first STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) campus in Nigeria.
Nigerian-American Obinna Ukwuani, who grew up in Washington D.C., went back to Nigeria for eighth and ninth grades as his family felt it was important for him to know his roots. He had a revelation when he returned during his freshman year at MIT.
"I met up with my peers, the friends and classmates I'd met during my time there and it was shocking to see how far behind me they were. It was a very real experience for me," says Ukwuani. The edge, he realized, was due to his schooling in the United States. The imbalance he recognized, he says, "was an injustice."
"In the U.S., if you work hard, you'll be fine in this life. So I had that moment where I knew I wanted to improve things in Nigeria."
Obinna Ukwuani is following his dream of opening a STEM school in Nigeria.
 

Robotics boot camp

Ukwuani's sudden realization eventually led to the launch of a robotics summer school in Lagos for high school students from 2012 to 2014. The Exposure Robotics Academy taught 113 boys and girls from 17 states around Nigeria how to code and build robots.
he five-week residential program hired MIT students to mentor Nigerian high school students in a program sponsored by Shell Oil.
Recently, a documentary based on the program, "Naija Beta", won "Best Documentary Film" at the Roxbury International Film Festival. He's hoping on repeating the experience with a new STEM school.

Taking risks

It's early days but initial investment for the school, to be called Makers Academy, is happening, and Ukwuani's sleepless nights are starting to pay off.
"I really believe in what I'm doing," he says.
After writing a business plan, Ukwuani spent five months shopping it around before four investors came forward, each offering a $50,000 investment.
"It's a long-term model. It could be a decade before they get their money back," he says.

Makers Academy

Ukwuani believes Nigeria's biggest issue presently is that the country doesn't produce anything. "We import everything, and it comes back to education. We're not doing a good job," he says. He's hoping to change that. When the school opens in Abuja (he projects this will happen in 2018 or 2019), Ukwuani is aiming for 600 students living on the Makers Academy campus.
While there are other schools in Africa offering STEM education, the Academy would be the first innovation center where students have access to tools such as laser-cutters, 3D-printers, woodworking equipment and more, says Ukwuani.
Similar to himself, the students will possess a certain proficiency in mathematics and an aptitude for building things.
"I was taking things apart when I was 10 years old. If you had purchased a remote control car, I would rip it apart and put it back together," recalls Ukwuani.
The current economic situation in Nigeria could be a benefit, he says. The recession is forcing people to bring kids studying abroad back to Nigeria. "Now more than ever we need more options -- and we don't have them." Hopefully Makers Academy will be the first of many for Nigeria's youth.
Source:CNN.com

Man shot dead outside US Embassy in Kenya after knife attack

Nairobi, Kenya (CNN)A police officer shot and killed a man who stabbed him as he stood guard outside the US Embassy in Nairobi Thursday, authorities said.

"The officer fired back in self-defense and managed to kill (the attacker). My officer is in hospital in a stable condition. The victim died on the spot," Vitalis Otieno, the Gigiri division commanding officer of the Nairobi Police, told CNN.
The man killed was a Kenyan national, police said, but they are not releasing his name while the case is under investigation. His motive was not immediately clear.
The officer was stabbed in the head, Otieno said. Further details about the officer's injury weren't immediately available.
The US Embassy confirmed that a shooting had taken place outside its premises and said none of its staff members were involved.
Photos circulating on social media showed what appeared to be the man, lying lifeless next to a pool of blood as a uniformed officer looks over him, taking notes.
The US Embassy is located in Nairobi's Gigiri district among several other embassies and United Nations offices.
Source:CNN.com
 

Trump: 'Now it's up to the American people to deliver justice'

Sterling Heights, Michigan (CNN)Donald Trump urged voters Sunday to "deliver justice at the ballot box" on Election Day, hours after the FBI announced that its review of newly discovered emails did not change its earlier conclusion to not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton.

Trump, speaking at a rally here, did not directly refer to FBI Director James Comey's announcement. But his remarks amounted to his first public response to the decision, and the Republican nominee argued that Clinton is "guilty" of federal crimes and said a "rigged" system was protecting Clinton.
"Hillary Clinton is guilty. She knows it, the FBI knows it, the people know it, and now it's up to the American people to deliver justice at the ballot box on November 8," Trump said. "Unbelievable. Unbelievable how she gets away with it."
Trump also cast doubt on Comey's conclusions, just over a week after the Republican nominee praised the FBI director for announcing the review of the emails, which were discovered as part of the bureau's investigation into Anthony Weiner's sexting.
"Right now, she is being protected by a rigged system. It's a totally rigged system. You can't review 650,000 emails in eight days. You can't do it folks," Trump said, mischaracterizing the number of emails the FBI was reviewing for connections into the private server Clinton used as secretary of state.
The FBI took custody of electronic devices containing 650,000 emails in its investigation into Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, but identified a smaller subset of those emails as linked to Clinton.
The FBI announced Sunday that its review of those emails had not changed the conclusions it reached over the summer, when Comey recommended no charges be filed after a year-long investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server, even though he called her handling of classified information "extremely careless."
Still, even as the FBI cleared Clinton for the second time, Trump argued that "the investigations into her crimes will go on for a long time."
"The rank-and-file special agents at the FBI won't let her get away with her terrible crimes," Trump said.
Trump served up his first response to the FBI's announcement on Sunday before a packed and rowdy crowd of supporters at an amphitheater in this Detroit suburb, where supporters cheered loudly and belted a raucous cry of "Lock her up! Lock her up!" as Trump addressed his rival's email controversy.
Trump will return to Michigan -- which hasn't voted for a Republican presidential nominee since 1988 -- once more before voters head to the polls on Tuesday, holding his final campaign rally in the state on Monday night.
Trump is trailing in the polls here, but advisers to the billionaire's campaign have argued that they see an opening to make inroads.
Former President Bill Clinton stumped in the state on Sunday as Democrats look to protect the state from falling in the Republican column, and the Democratic nominee herself will also hold a rally in Michigan on Monday.
Source:CNN.com

28 hours: Leading the Mosul attack, under fire, then trapped

Mosul, Iraq (CNN)For more than 28 hours, CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon and photojournalist Brice Laine were with Iraqi special forces during their push into ISIS-held Mosul. It was a new phase of the liberation operation -- switching from villages and open terrain to a dense city that a well-equipped ISIS is determined to defend.

Their convoy was leading the operation Friday when it came under attack multiple times.
Vehicles were destroyed, soldiers were hurt. Troops and journalists sought shelter in a succession of houses, calling for backup again and again.
Inside the armored vehicles, hiding with families in houses, Arwa Damon kept notes amid the heat of the battle. Here is her account, with occasional strong language. It has been lightly edited for clarity.

Friday, 9 a.m.

We are in Samah, in the east of Mosul.
Soldiers are spotting suspected ISIS fighters down side roads.
A frantic radio call: "Yellow car to the right."
For more than 28 hours, CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon and photojournalist Brice Laine were with Iraqi special forces during their push into ISIS-held Mosul. Their convoy was leading the operation Friday when it came under attack multiple times. Here, on Friday at 9 a.m., soldiers make a frantic radio call: "Yellow car to the right."
 
"Another two cars on the right -- a Kia and a white one," spots the soldier next to me. He sees a third car and calls it over the radio. "Three cars, disappeared into the side streets."
The gunfire is all over the place. It's nonstop. Our MRAP armored vehicle is filled with the smell of gunfire from all the shooting outside.

9:30 a.m.

A voice comes over the ISIS radio frequency that the Iraqis are monitoring: "I am surrounded." We have no idea where he might be.
A bulldozer is with our convoy, heading up the side streets.

9:54 a.m.

Samah is now behind us. Hay al-Ulamaa is ahead of us.

9:56 a.m.

Some voice coming through on the monitored ISIS radio: "Save me, need medical." The voice is very choppy, frantic.

9:57 a.m.

We're moving into Kirkukli neighborhood.
The roads are quite narrow. There are some open lots, but the roads the convoy is winding through are narrow with low-hanging electrical cables
Radio call: There is a car bomb in Khadraa neighborhood.

10:03 a.m.

We just emerged onto a large road between two neighborhoods.
The gunfire is much more intense -- a lot is outgoing fire. The incoming makes ping sounds as it hits the side of our vehicle.

10:37 a.m.

We've stopped.
"Sniper on the right."
I need to pee.
A bearded man comes out of a house next to where we are stopped and hangs up a white flag.
A white rag was hung outside a home next to where Arwa and her team are stationed.
 
"Do not allow the civilians to leave," comes the radio call. "It's too dangerous for them."
Gunfire is erupting again. It's the constant cacophony of war.
From the monitored ISIS radio channel: "Get ready to fire mortars."
The soldiers radio a warning to the entire unit.

11 a.m.

There's a massive firefight down a street.
We go into the house of the man who hung the flag. It's actually a rag he tied to a pole.
His family cowers inside.
The man's daughter, Nour, is 19. She can't stop crying -- afraid of the shooting and that the soldiers will take her father away.
The man who hung the white rag on the pole walks back into his house after bringing out tea for the soldiers.
 
The man gives the soldiers tea and biscuits. Outside, the shooting continues down a main road.
We go out.
Two soldiers drag a body back. It's a wounded man, an older man. No one knows who he is.
 
He was driving a yellow taxi toward the troops. They ordered him to stop and then fired.
Brice filmed the whole thing. He had stopped his car, started quickly walking towards us. One soldier shouted for him to stop, another to sit, another to come. Bullets fly. He falls into a ditch. One soldier screams: "Why did you shoot him?"
The driver died shortly after.
Two soldiers drag a wounded man across a road. The man was fired upon after driving a taxi toward the troops. The man later died.
 

11:27 a.m.

The shooting continues.
The old man's body is wrapped in a pink floral blanket. The medic next to him is cutting and folding bandages.
The body of the man who had been driving the taxi is wrapped in a pink floral blanket.
 
The soldiers are chatting. Now that there is a break, they are asking us where we are from and if we are married.

11:46 a.m.

Everyone scrambles for the vehicles.
The gunfire just got too intense -- grenades thrown into the street right behind us. At least three of them.
Second Lieutenant Wael Saheb-Ali is hurt -- a chunk of shrapnel flew across the back of the vehicle, lodging itself above his left eye. Just a minute earlier, he was telling Brice that he was recently engaged and wants to get married and have children as soon as the war is over.
Brice films a gun battle down the street.
 
Another jumps into the armored vehicle with some shrapnel to the thigh.
Another explosion just outside the window.
Another grenade.
They want to make it across the street, where the shooting is heaviest, to treat the injuries, but we can't move.
An ISIS radio voice asks for backup.
A captain we are with takes a selfie with us, then yells for a route to be opened up so we can move out.
He scrolls through pictures of his family, shows me a photo of his wife and his six kids. He was born in 1984. He tells me I look 46. For the record, I am 39.

11:57 a.m

We are about to cross the main road.
Or not.
We are still in the same spot. Air is thick with that smell of munitions. It sort of sticks in your nose; it's very distinctive.

12:05 p.m.

It's gone silent. Somehow that's creepier than the firefights.
A couple of shots ring out.

12:11 p.m.

We made it across the street, shots pinging off the armored vehicle.
"Did you see them?" the men ask each other.
"Two or three, around 100 meters from us."

12:31 p.m.

A massive flash of orange.
A massive explosion just as we were stopped.
My ears are ringing.
The door to the vehicle couldn't come up fast enough.
Everyone is coughing from the dust and dirt kicked up by the blast.
Out the back window I saw a family running, a family with kids.
It was a suicide car bomber, the soldiers said.
I can't stop thinking about that family. And all the others.

12:36 p.m.

Another massive explosion.
I just saw the aftermath of the first one. A Humvee behind us is immobile. Soldiers are running for cover. One helping another who must be wounded.
The aftermath of a suicide car bomb is seen through a window.
 

12:40 p.m.

Our communications are down.
"We are in a bad place," the driver says.
That is not what anyone wants to hear.
Something just went off in front of us.
Now we can hear the hiss of incoming fire.

12:45 p.m.

Radio communications are back up.
"There are no aircraft. We are under heavy fire," the captain says into the radio. "Mortars, grenades, suicide bomber."
 
Our tire is shot out ... we hear the hiss of the air going out.
We are trapped. All we can do is watch the street corners for car bombs. Wait for rockets, mortars, missiles.

12:56 p.m.

They need to evacuate the wounded, but they can't.
Radio calls are getting a bit frantic.
The battalion commander may have been wounded.

1:12 p.m.

The Humvee a couple of vehicles down is on fire. The blaze is massive. There are small explosions coming from it.
We don't know what caused the explosions. We're told that the soldiers inside managed to get out of it before it exploded.
Two Humvees are moving up.

1:21 p.m.

A commander is on the radio, trying to bolster morale.
"You liberated all of Iraq. A burning Humvee -- this should drive you forward. You are special forces. You are the heroes of Iraq. You freed all of Iraq. The entire world is watching you."

1:41 p.m.

A motorcycle lays abandoned on the ground. The driver jumped from it while it was still moving and ran away.
 
A motorcycle just came at the convoy. Soldiers fired. Brice sees it happening, the driver, in his mid-40s, long beard and traditional "Afghan" clothing, jumps from his moving bike and runs away. His bike is now lying on its side. The soldiers fear it is loaded with explosives, but it does not blow up.

1:55 p.m.

This fight is nothing like that of the outskirts. This is in the side streets, against an enemy that knows them and rules the rooftops.

Holy shit. That is the craziest crap I have seen. A white car just went flying down the side street in front of us. Right between the battalion. Then a rocket-propelled grenade came flying in.
They keep calling for air power.
This fight is nothing like that of the outskirts. This is in the side streets against an enemy that knows them and rules the rooftops. The rooftops of homes that have civilians inside.
"There is heavy incoming, heavy incoming," the captain calls on the radio. "We need air power now! We are getting hit from all sides."

2:13 p.m.

We just took a direct hit. I don't know what it was.
My ears are ringing. Brice has a small wound on the side of his head.
Brice sits with a head injury at a civilian house after their MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle took a direct hit.
 
The captain has a head wound. One of the guys is hit in his shoulder.
I have blood on me, but it's not mine.

3:06 p.m.

We are in a civilian house, crowded into a room with the family that lives here.
The mother and five children are all huddled into a corner, almost as if they are trying to make themselves as small as possible.
The guys we are with are here, too. They don't have vehicles to evacuate -- all their vehicles were ruined, there are only three left that are mobile.

3:10 p.m.

That was an airstrike, or so they said.
There are two families here -- two neighbors. The women and six kids are all crammed behind the dresser.

3:45 p.m.

The family living in the house in which the team was stationed served everyone fried eggs and bread, despite their lack of food supplies.
 
The family we are with made fried eggs and bread for everyone. Even in the worst of times people who have nothing will give everything. The jets are buzzing overhead now.

3:51 p.m.

Radio call: "The jets are overhead. It's almost over. They are almost finished in your area."
Crazy outgoing fire again. I think backup may have finally arrived.

4:05 p.m.

A vehicle burns down the street.
 
 
"Is that my vehicle on fire?" a soldier walks in and asks.
There is gunfire everywhere again. One of the soldiers says ISIS is filming the burning vehicles. "How do you know?" I ask. There is a tall building, I am sure they are. They did this before, he says.
They started to move the wounded, but there is too much incoming fire.
"Are you leaving with the wounded?" I'm asked.
"Yes please."
Brice notes that it will be dark in an hour and a half. The blood has dried on his face.

4:12 p.m.

There is no backup yet.
Time is going by very slowly. Explosions are shaking this house.

4:19 p.m.

It's the counterterrorism guys. Or so they tell each other. The commander is here somewhere on this block.
The backup unit is 100 meters away, they say, but can't get here. "We don't even have vehicles to withdraw," one says.
A radio call about an attack from the rear. And fire from the right and left.

4:29 p.m.

There are still a lot of explosions. Some so powerful they are shaking the house. The kids are screaming.

5:04 p.m.

We have no other choice. We are surrounded.

A soldier, himself just shot in the leg, came to clean up Brice. And then there was another explosion. And more wounded came in.
They have a plan. They need to clear a couple of blocks to reach another of the units.
"We have no other choice. We are surrounded."

5:38 p.m.

We have been moved to another house, maybe 10 meters down the road. We had to jump into a Humvee. The guys are really looking out for us.
We are now with the wounded in what feels like the last house standing. The entire road outside is littered with the wreckage of the convoy. Broken down and burnt-out vehicles. The gunfire is endless.
There is another family here in the room next door.
No one was under any illusion that the battle for Mosul was going to be easy or simple, but I think the ferocity of it is really driving home how tough this fight is going to be. Faces are somber.
The men around us are all moaning in pain.

5:56 p.m.

"We should have split up and taken three or four roads, not all come down one. We should have secured the homes," says Lt. Ahmed, who treated Brice. It turns out he's not a medic but he's been helping everyone.
We are sitting on a rickety, white metal swing. The sun has gone down and we can see the sliver of a crescent moon.
They have moved some of the wounded to the entrance -- maybe help or transport is on the way. They have 20 or more wounded, Ahmed says. One dead.

6:05 p.m.

They are moving the wounded. I think to up the street a little. And they said the major took two Humvees to get the Diyala battalion. Their communications are down. Our Thuraya satellite phone died hours ago.

6:20 p.m.

The walking wounded are trading stories. About how groups of ISIS fighters, each with three to four men, are hiding in homes. Even homes with civilians in them.
The commander comes in and tells the walking wounded they need to swap guard duty.
"Is backup coming or is it a lie?" one soldier demands to know.

7:34 p.m.

We just drove the gauntlet in a Humvee with the wounded and one body. We arrived at another house with the wounded.
It's quiet back here. The family whose home it is has kind gentle faces. I am calling the matriarch Umm Abdullah -- she doesn't want her identity disclosed, and the family doesn't want to be filmed. They are still scared ISIS might come back.
We talk and laugh. We tell random stories. About how schools are closed so the boys haven't been to university but their mom still wants them to marry. About how the family hid their satellite dish from ISIS. About how the husband looks so much better clean shaven and wondering when ISIS will be guaranteed gone so he can get the beard off.
The family feeds everyone even though they have so little. We talk about favorite foods, giggling over different accents and pronunciations.
They have that dark but utterly charming Iraqi humor.
"Come, I will cradle you to sleep," Umm Abdullah says. "But I am too fat! I might roll on you and squish you!" Her daughter-in-law models the head-covering ISIS would make them wear. Then she asks why my hair isn't white yet. Her hair is, and she's 46. We joke it's the ISIS effect.

11:15 p.m.

It's going off again outside. This is supposed to the backup coming.
"We are fucked," a soldier says on the phone. "We have been besieged for 10 hours. We have 20 wounded, we have no vehicles left."
Brice asks if it's worth filming. He's sleepy and in pain.
"God give them strength," the mom, Umm Abdullah, says. "It's only 11. We still have a full night of this?"
This family has nothing left. They sold their gold and car to make money. Why didn't you leave, I ask. The father worked at the electrical company. It was a good salary but then the salary stopped. By then it was too late.
The kids don't flinch or cry. Everyone quickly falls back asleep.

Saturday, 8:11 a.m.

There is still no backup.
Arwa and the team sit while waiting for backup.
 
We keep being told that it's coming. The soldiers are hearing the same thing but everyone's reaction is similar. "Yeah, yeah, they said that 20 hours ago."
The guys are all talking. "The men only have two magazines left, and they are one or two houses away from us." Then they saw a group of 10 moving across the rooftops.
"This is nothing," says a soldier. He's 25. "We might spend three or four months like this."

8:20 a.m.

They cleared some roads and then blocked them with the bulldozer, one man says. But overnight, ISIS removed the blockade. He laughs, wincing at the pain in his side -- he has two gunshot wounds, he says.

8:34 a.m.

Suicide car bombs are spotted coming. It's gone mad outside.
The mom of the family is crying. "We aren't going to survive. We need to get out of here. Even if three or four of us die, the rest will survive."
A machine gun is going off.
"Save the rounds, save the rounds," someone says.
Umm Abdullah is praying under her breath.

8:39 a.m.

Explosions shake the house.
Umm Abdullah, who had stayed inside, not wanting to show the troops her face, now heads out to beg them for help.
"Don't worry, no one will get to you, we are here," she's told. We want to believe him. We -- us, the family, even the soldiers -- all want to believe him.

8:48 a.m.

Time is crawling again. The family is crying, hiding under the stairs. They are begging to go to their neighbors. But each time they try to make a run for it, the fighting is too intense.
The kids are crying. They don't want to die.

9 a.m.

Three sand-colored Humvees are circling. The soldiers say they are not theirs; they are suicide bombs. A strike hits something massive. One of the Humvees in front of the house is hit.

9:15 a.m.

More frantic calls telling commanders they are going to die, they are going to run out of ammunition. Anyone who can fight go to the roof, anyone who can fire -- to the roof.

9:30 a.m.

A grenade or a mortar lands in the courtyard outside. More people are wounded.
The guys want airstrikes. One soldier is angry.
"ISIS uses the white flag and hides its fighters and they attack us. It happened twice yesterday."

9:50 a.m.

The guys are laughing again. Backup is here, finally, 22 hours later.
Down one of the streets, they saw Iraqi counterterrorism vehicles, but they need to circle around.
It was the walking wounded who held this position -- them and the handful of soldiers who survived unscathed.
"This is nothing," Lt. Ahmed says. "In Baiji refinery we were like this for four months. They were air-dropping supplies."
He has an able air about him that gives confidence to the men. He is calming and confident. Shot in the leg but still fighting.

9:58 a.m.

And then it kicks off again.
The family is hiding in the small bathroom. The whoosh of a coalition airstrike. There have been a couple of those, followed by brief moments of silence that are almost more unnerving than the fighting. And then some more firing.

11 a.m.

A couple more airstrikes. They have a whoosh that sucks the air out before impact.
One just took out the house behind this one -- the house that the ISIS guy was firing from. It's a flattened pancake. They say it was empty of civilians.
Rubble is seen through a window. An airstrike took out the house behind the one in which Arwa and Brice were staying.
 
We find out there were eight ISIS fighters in it.

11:05 a.m.

The family left. Umm Abdullah was angry. Scared angry. The kind of angry you get at life but you don't know who to direct it to.
They ran out quickly. I wanted to hug Umm Abdullah, but she didn't even glance in my direction. They ran out without their shoes.

Noon

The soldiers on the roof are blowing through their ammunition. There are ISIS fighters two blocks over. It just doesn't end. The airstrikes are coming in.

12:30 p.m.

These guys are all veterans of the battle to take the Baiji refinery. "This is nothing," they say, starting to tell stories. "We had viewing holes in the wall and once a guy went to look through it and an ISIS eyeball was staring at him."
Relief is coming. The units are getting closer.

1:44 p.m.

We are out. We are so fortunate. All we can think of are the families, those kids, the fear on their faces. The soldiers who are still fighting, the knowledge that it will only get worse.
Source:CNN.com

Democrats falling short on pre-emptive poll-watching lawsuits

Washington (CNN)Republican lawyers have successfully fended off several pre-emptive lawsuits filed by Democrats across the country accusing Donald Trump's campaign of "conspiring to threaten and intimidate minority voters in urban neighborhoods from voting in the 2016 election."

Democrats are seeking temporary restraining orders against the Trump campaign and Republicans, as they raise the alarm of possible voter intimidation due to comments from the GOP nominee and others.
But while judges have at times been sympathetic, Democrats have now failed in each case where a hearing has been held: Ohio, Nevada and Arizona. Late Sunday, they filed a request to the US Supreme Court in the Ohio case. It's an uphill climb for the Democrats who face the possibility of a 4-4 court that could deadlock and simply affirm the lower court order that went in Trump's favor.
Monday, federal judges will hold hearings in two additional states, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
By and large the rulings have been victories for the Trump campaign but experts say that the Democrats did manage to bring the issue to the forefront.
"Although the Democrats did not prevail in these cases, they did at least force the Republican Party to state, for the record, that they will not engage in voter intimidation," said Joshua A. Douglas, an election law expert at the University of Kentucky College of Law. "That by itself is important, as it means that the Republican Party is on record saying they will comply with all state voting laws."
The challenges from the Democrats share much of the same language, charging that Republican state parties, the Trump campaign and Roger Stone, who runs an organization called "Stop the Steal," are in violation of the Voting Rights Act and the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.
In Arizona and Nevada, the judges declined to issue injunctions against the Republicans.

Ohio case to the Supreme Court?

A district court judge in Ohio did rule against the Trump campaign and issued an injunction on Friday. In a broad ruling, Judge James Gwin of the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio mostly sided with Democrats against Trump. He issued an order restricting both campaigns of "interrogating, admonishing, interfering with, or verbally harassing voters" and also banned parties from "gathering or loitering" at polling places and "taking photos" of voters in and around the voting place."
Chad A. Readler, a lawyer for the Trump campaign, filed an emergency motion with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals lambasting the lower court's order charging that if left to stand it would "irreparably" harm the campaign "as well as any unsuspecting citizen who falls in the district court's cross-hairs."
"Intimidating voters is illegal, and the campaign does not remotely condone such conduct," Readler wrote.
On Sunday, a three-judge panel of appellate judges lifted the order, giving another victory to the Trump campaign. The court said the Democrats had failed to demonstrate a likelihood of success. A full panel of judges on the court declined to hear an appeal.
Sunday night, Democrats filed an emergency request with the Supreme Court asking justices to vacate the order from the 6th Circuit.
"Over the past several months, Donald J. Trump has warned that the 2016 election will be stolen from him unless supporters in Ohio and elsewhere swarm urban communities and "watch," "[a]nd when [I] say 'watch,' you know what I'm talking about, right?" Marc Elias, a lawyer for the Democrats argued in briefs with the high court. "Trump has said "[t]he only way we can lose . . . and I really mean this . . . is if cheating goes on."
Elias, also argued that a three judge panel of the federal appeals court ruled even before the Democrats were through filing their briefs.
"The Sixth Circuit ordered the stay notwithstanding that it did not call for or receive a substantive response brief from Applicant and, by its own admission, had not yet reviewed the critical evidence on which the District Court relied," he wrote.
Source:CNN.com

Feds: NSA contractor's secrets theft 'breathtaking'

Washington (CNN)A former government contractor who's charged with stealing thousands of classified and sensitive intelligence files committed "breathtaking" crimes, according to a new filing from federal prosecutors.

Harold Thomas Martin, III, 51, has been charged with stealing government property and unauthorized removal of classified materials. He was arrested in late August, but his case was only made public earlier this month.
In its filing Thursday, the government said they may bring charges against Martin beyond those he currently faces, including violations of the Espionage Act.
Before his arrest, Martin worked as a contractor to the National Security Agency through consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, which fired him after he was charged. He has a long history working with sensitive government intelligence, and served in the US Navy and Naval Reserves for more than 10 years, reaching the rank of lieutenant.
In a filing from prosecutors Thursday arguing that Martin should be kept in custody until his trial, the government alleged there is "overwhelming" evidence that Martin committed the crimes.
"Throughout his government assignments, the Defendant violated that trust by engaging in wholesale theft of classified government documents and property -- a course of felonious conduct that is breathtaking in its longevity and scale," prosecutors wrote.
A hearing on Martin's detention is set for Friday.
The filing contained more detail on the thousands of documents prosecutors say they found in Martin's home and vehicle -- which they say was parked in the open and used to drive around members of the public as it contained top secret documents. The information he had digitally, the feds said, was equivalent to approximately 50,000 gigabytes, enough to store 500 million documents containing images and text.
Martin had classified information dating from 1996 to 2016, the government said, including a document "regarding specific operational plans against a known enemy of the United States and its allies." That document was not only classified but marked need-to-know only, and Martin should not have been privy to that information, prosecutors said.
Also found were files containing personal information of government employees, and an email chain with "highly sensitive information" on the back of which were handwritten notes "describing the NSA's classified computer infrastructure and detailed descriptions of classified technical operations."
Prosecutors characterized the notes as seemingly intended for a non-intelligence community audience.
Among the documents the FBI believes Martin stole were some detailing a hacking tool that the NSA developed to break into computer systems in other countries, law enforcement sources said when he was arrested. Documents detailing the tools were posted on the Internet in recent months, though no connection to Martin has been offered.
FBI investigators haven't concluded what Martin's motivation was for stealing the documents. So far, they don't believe he did it for a foreign country.
The filing did note that Martin was skilled in internet anonymization, encryption and had used encrypted communications, though they did not say to what end.
Prosecutors conclude that Martin is a serious risk if released. Not only is his alleged theft substantial, they wrote, but he represents a flight risk and would be a significant target for any adversary of the US now that his case has been made public.
In a subsequent filing, Martin's attorneys argued he presents no flight risk, noting as the government does that he does not have his passport. Given that his wife and home are in Maryland and noting his military service, they said there was no reason nor legal basis to deny him bail.
"There is no evidence he intended to betray his country," they wrote.
They also attached a list of individuals charged with similar crimes none of whom were detained prior to trial.
Source:CNN.com

Is There A Solution For Constant Fatigue?

PALM SPRINGS, CA (HH) -- According to patients at the Center for Restorative Medicine, a new discovery has completely transformed their lives.

Founder and Director Dr. Steven Gundry is a world-renowned heart surgeon, a best-selling author, and the personal physician to celebrities such as Tony Robbins. But his latest medical breakthrough could be the most important accomplishment of his career.

In a dramatic press conference yesterday, Dr. Gundry unveiled a simple — yet highly effective — solution to symptoms that plague millions of Americans over 40: low energy, low metabolism and constant fatigue.

He went on to say that persistent fatigue can be a warning sign for much more serious health problems…including diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease.

“When you’re feeling low energy, that’s your body screaming HELP!” He told the crowd of reporters and medical professionals.

Dr. Gundry’s radical solution was inspired by a breakthrough with a “hopeless” patient who had been massively overweight, chronically fatigued and suffering from severely clogged arteries.

The secret to his breakthrough? “There are key ‘micronutrients’ missing from your diet,” Dr. Gundry told the room. “If you can replenish them in very high dosages, the health results are astonishing.”

This unorthodox philosophy is what led Dr. Gundry to create the world’s first at-home treatment for fatigue — which has since become remarkably successful with his patients.

“They’re reporting natural, long-lasting energy without a ‘crash’ and they’re feeling slim, fit and active,” he revealed yesterday.

Source:CNN.com

When Do You REALLY Need a Check-Up?

When you get into the swing of everyday life it can seem like a real pain to have to head to the doctor or the dentist when you’re not sick just for a check up. So how often do you actually need to go? It varies based on what part of the body we’re talking about.

Breast Exam

For checking the breasts for lumps this can be done at home and should be done once a month. You should be checking for any weird lumps or changes to the breasts, and the best time to check is a few days after your period ends.

Skin

To keep up on checking your skin for any changes with things like moles, you should be checking your own skin about once a month as well. If you notice anything that has appeared suddenly or changed it might be worth it to get checked out. Anything with an irregular border, large, uneven color pattern, or asymmetrical should be treated with caution as well.

Teeth

You should be heading to the dentist for a cleaning about every six months. They will also check for anything more important going on and suggest treatment if necessary. In between your cleanings you should of course call the dentist if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

Physical Exam

A general physical from your primary doctor should be scheduled once a year. This will usully check your weight, blood pressure, and breast exam for women. They can also add on tests that check things like your hormone levels and blood count to make sure everything is running smoothly in the body.

Gynecologist

You only need to head to the gynecologist for a general pap smear every three years…but only if you have had three in a row that show up normal and are in a monogamous relationship that has no risk factors as far as your sexual health goes. If you are sexually active with multiple people you should still get to gynecologist at least once a year or more if you engage in risky behavior. When you get a general pap smear the doctor will scrape the cervix to test the cells and check for any abnormalities. This can help catch things like HPV and cervical cancer in the off chance that they occur. Even if you don’t go to get a pap smear, you might want to get a general pelvic exam every year. During that procedure the doctor will feel around to check for things like cysts or infection.

Eyes

You should be getting your eyes checked every two years if you do not currently wear glasses to check for changes in the eyes. If you do you should be heading to the doctor each yera to make sure that your current corrective prescription is still accurate if you wear glasses or contacts.

Thyroid

People over the age of 35 should begin getting their thyroid checked about every five years.

Health.com

Will This Common Spice Help You Lose Weight?

Amomon means “fragrant spice plant” in Arabic and Hebraic and in Italian, canella means “little tube”. These are a few of the many terms given to the popular spice known as cinnamon. Dating back as far as 2800 B.C., Chinese writings describe cinnamon as an important part of the culture, so much so that over the years this spice was traded right up there with silver. Nowadays we find it in sweetened cereals, baked goods and sprinkled on various foods such as yogurt. Yet, many do not consider it’s wealth of healing capabilities including the potential as a weight loss remedy.

In the Mix

Cinnamon is derived from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree grown and harvested mostly in Sri Lanka but also found in Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Burma. After a cinnamon tree grows for about six to eight years it is cut down leaving a stump to allow it to grow again making it a very sustainable practice. It is then stripped from the bark, dried and packaged as sticks for export.

Fighting Fat

Several studies have been published regarding the weight loss properties of cinnamon. This includes it’s unique ability to be used for Type 2 diabetes which is a disease often resulting from obesity. When ingested, the spice seems to slow down glucose absorption within the intestines while stimulating insulin production. This normalizes blood glucose levels which in turn can indirectly decrease weight gain.

The Studies

The Department of Human Nutrition, NWFP Agricultural University, Peshawar, Pakistan conducted a study titled, ‘Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes’ and concluded that, “The results of this study demonstrate that intake of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes and suggest that the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”

The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published a study from the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Ball State University, Muncie, IN called, “Effect of ground cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose concentration in normal-weight and obese adults.” finding that, “These results suggest cinnamon may be effective in moderating postprandial glucose response in normal weight and obese adults.”

A Pro Comments

Columbia University and New York Giants team nutritionist Tara Ostrowe comments to Reader’s Digest on the benefits of this spice, “Cinnamon really is the new skinny food…Scientists already credit cinnamon in helping lower blood sugar concentration and improve insulin sensitivity.  When less sugar is stored as fat, this translates to more help for your body when it comes to weight loss.”

Talk to your doctor about incorporating daily cinnamon into your healthy diet and exercise program. Add it to your tea, oatmeal, fruit, toast or anything else you can think of as a small amount will go a long way and potentially assist in your weight loss mission.

Source:Health.com

James Comey: The man Democrats and Republicans hate

Washington (CNN)No one knows who will win the White House on Tuesday. But there's already one undisputed loser from the ferocious presidential campaign: James Comey.

The FBI director cleared Hillary Clinton for a second time Sunday in the probe over her private email server. But the damage to her campaign -- and his own reputation -- is unlikely to quickly heal.
With his highly public handling of the email probe and his resulting entanglement in the political tumult, Comey accomplished the unusual feat of antagonizing each side of the partisan divide. In the aftermath, his stature is diminished and his future in a Clinton or Donald Trump administration is highly uncertain.
Comey's new status as one of Washington's most polarizing leaders is a stunning twist for someone who long enjoyed the genuine respect of both parties. If he hoped his Sunday letter to lawmakers informing them that a review of new emails potentially tied to Clinton's server would quell the political storm swirling around him, he was mistaken.
Democrats pilloried him for influencing the final days of an already vitriolic campaign and Republicans accused him of caving to political pressure and questioned how the bureau could review thousands of emails so quickly.
"Right now, (Clinton) is being protected by a rigged system," Trump said at a rally in Sterling Heights, Michigan.
"It's a totally rigged system. You can't review 650,000 emails in eight days. You can't do it folks," Trump said, mischaracterizing the number of emails the FBI was reviewing. Sources with knowledge of the investigation have told CNN the number is in the tens of thousands.
Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said Comey "unfairly hurt the campaign of one candidate and changed the tenor of this election."

Can Comey continue?

Comey is three years into a 10-year appointment at the FBI. But there are now serious questions about whether his position is still tenable going forward — regardless of who becomes president.
By late Sunday, neither Clinton nor Trump supporters would definitively say their candidate still had confidence in Comey.
"It's not my place to come in and say if Director Comey is doing a good job or not a good job," Trump's senior communications adviser Jason Miller told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room." "It is clear that the system is rigged. It is clear that this investigation has not been handled very well from the beginning."
Asked on "The Situation Room" whether he had confidence in Comey, Rep. Sean Duffy, a Trump supporter, said "I don't have any information from inside the FBI to make that conclusion right now."
Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a Clinton supporter, also refused to say whether he had confidence in the FBI chief.
"Director Comey has a good reputation and he's been a law enforcement professional for many years," Butterfield said.
Still, he expressed concern about the initial letter sent to Congress at the end of last month.
"I am still evaluating why he would send such a letter to Congress," Butterfield said.
Comey recognizes he's in a tough spot even after the election. But an official said he's given no indication he will resign.

FBI's reputation at stake

The FBI chief's future isn't all that's at stake. The political storm surrounding Clinton's emails and the FBI's handling of them threaten to tarnish the bureau itself.
Republicans are suspicious of the extent to which the FBI is being constrained by President Barack Obama's Justice Department. Democrats are worried that leaks and probes into the Clinton Foundation are indications that rank-and-file FBI agents are upset by Comey's decision not to seek indictments of Clinton.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine made a stunning charge Saturday that elements of the FBI were trying to throw the election to Trump -- a contention that would seemingly make it difficult for Comey to work in a Clinton administration.
"Comey knew that the FBI is not only a leaky sieve but there were people within the FBI actively working—actively working—to try to help the Trump campaign," Kaine said in an interview with Fusion. "This just absolutely staggering, and it is a massive blow to the integrity of the FBI."
From the start, the FBI probe into Clinton and Comey's handling of it has drawn him onto political ground anyone in his position would prefer to avoid. And it's been a reminder that once officials like Comey, who by definition required to be nonpartisan, enter the political crossfire, it's nearly impossible to get out with their character and prestige in place.
"The destruction of James Comey by political pressure is painful to watch," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, tweeted on Sunday. "He is being twisted into an indefensible pretzel of contradictions."
If Clinton loses the election on Tuesday, Democrats are certain to blame Comey, since she saw her comfortable leads in opinion polls over Trump erode following his first letter to Congress just over a week ago.
If she wins, but her margin is narrow, or if Democrats fail to win back the Senate, Comey will also be accused of actions that had the effect of suppressing the Democratic vote and influencing the election.
"This should never have happened," Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings said on "The Situation Room," arguing that Comey should never have sent the initial letter to Congress in the first place. "Unfortunately, Donald Trump and his associates have blown this thing up like Director Comey should have known."
Source:CNN.com

Stocks jump after FBI clears Clinton again

 

The FBI is moving financial markets again.

The Mexican peso soared, U.S. stock futures climbed and markets across Asia rallied after FBI Director James Comey said Sunday that the agency is sticking to its view that Hillary Clinton should not face criminal charges over her personal email server.

 

The news comes just over a week after Comey sent stocks into the red with the shock announcement that the FBI was looking into new emails as part of its investigation into Clinton's personal server. That added to uncertainty about the outcome of Tuesday's presidential election, contributing to a nine-day losing streak for the S&P 500 -- its longest since 1980.

Investors have generally been worried about the prospect of a Donald Trump victory. They are concerned about his restrictive stance on trade policies and unpredictability. Clinton is seen as less of a risk.

Stocks, a risky asset, had suffered recently in favor of safer holdings as polls showed a tightening presidential race.

The mood changed after the new FBI announcement.

"Safe havens had attracted inflows for the bulk of last week, and today saw a quick reversal of those trends," Matt Simpson, a senior market analyst for ThinkMarkets, said Monday.

The Japanese yen, which is seen as a low risk investment in times of uncertainty, plunged more than 1% against the dollar Monday. Gold also dropped.

Related: Citigroup says a Trump win would cause immediate stock drop

Riskier assets surged. Japan's Nikkei rose 1.4% and Australian stocks added 1.1%. U.S. stock futures also showed healthy gains, with the S&P and Dow both up 1.2%.

Citigroup on Friday predicted that a victory for Trump could send the S&P 500 plunging 3% to 5%. A Clinton win wouldn't move stocks significantly, it said.

The Mexican peso, which acts as a key indicator of how markets think Trump is faring, leaped 1.7%. In recent weeks, the peso has been moving in the opposite direction to Trump's poll numbers.

Trump's proposals -- including a wall along the Mexican border and the renegotiation of NAFTA, a key regional trade deal -- have caused particular concerns for the Mexican economy.

Source:CNN.com

 

$73 million Bombardier jet makes first flight

Bombardier completed the first test flight of its new Global 7000 business jet Friday, in a move aimed at breathing new life into sagging demand for private aircraft.

The plane and train maker said its prototype flew for 2 hours and 27 minutes from its factory near Toronto. The aircraft reached a speed of 240 knots or about 276 miles per hour and an altitude of 20,000 feet as pilots tested the jet's controls.

The Global 7000 boasts a 54-feet 7-inch long cabin, which is meant to appeal to private buyers seeking the most opulent flying experience. It is the largest and longest range business jet designed by the Canadian plane maker.
 

When it begins flying in the second half of 2018, it will cruise as high as 51,000 feet and dash at 92.5% of the speed of sound and seat up to 17. Each one costs $72.8 million.

bombardier global 7000 first flight

The Global 7000.

Bombardier says the jet will fly as far as 7,400 nautical miles at a slower speed in a single stretch with eight passengers and four crew aboard. That's enough to connect New York with Shanghai or London with Buenos Aires, and it's as far as a much-larger Boeing or Airbus airliner can fly with 300 passengers.

The current-generation of Global jets that Bombardier makes is the company's single biggest revenue generator for its aerospace division. However, production in its factories and at its rivals have been falling amid political and economic woes in Russia, China, the Middle East and South America.

Bombardier hopes the Global 7000 will stimulate demand and represent a cash-cow for the plane maker.

Bombardier, U.S. rival Gulfstream and France's Dassault are fighting for well-heeled buyers of the biggest business jets.

Dassault delivered its first Falcon 8X last month and Savannah, Georgia-based Gulfstream has been pumping out its G650 since 2012. That model and an extended range sibling can fly 7,500 nautical miles non-stop. Both compete with Bombardier's Global.

Source:CNN.com

 

Good news, internet: The web is getting more secure

While reports of major hackings continue to make news, the sites you visit are safer than ever before.

In fact, the web is more secure than it was just a year ago.

 

That's because more websites are finally using encrypted connections, according to Google's transparency report. More than half of the pages loaded by Google's Chrome desktop browser on the web now use HTTPS -- and two-thirds of total time is spent on encrypted websites.

Sites that use HTTPS -- compared to HTTP -- let you securely pay for things online, check your bank account, and view and share sensitive data. To do so, it encrypts communications between the browser and web server, so information is protected against hackers or eavesdroppers.

You can tell when you're on a secure website by seeing "HTTPS" and a padlock in your browser's address bar.

"A web with ubiquitous HTTPS is not the distant future," Chrome security engineers wrote in a blog post on Thursday. "It's happening now, with secure browsing becoming standard for users of Chrome."

Google (GOOGL, Tech30) began collecting Chrome browsing data in April 2015 when it discovered less than half of pages people viewed were secure. Meanwhile, about 60% of web traffic using Chrome on a Mac currently accesses encrypted sites, compared to 51% on Windows and 43% on Android. Google didn't report iOS traffic.

But there's still a long way to go: Of the top 100 non-Google websites globally, just 34 have HTTPS by default.

Eventually Google hopes it will become standard. To achieve ubiquity, the company will start naming and shaming sites that don't use it.

Starting in January, Chrome will mark sites that use HTTP connections as "not secure." It will begin by looking at sites that collect passwords or credit cards, eventually calling out all insecure sites on the web.

As privacy concerns loom, experts advise to make sure a website uses HTTPS before you enter a password or personal information.

Source:CNN.com

Hong Kong sadist: British banker's descent into depravity

(CNN)Rurik Jutting seemed to have it all.

He was a young, intelligent British banker earning half a million dollars a year, in the teeming metropolis of Hong Kong.
Jutting was also overweight, perpetually intoxicated and increasingly depraved.
On a balmy October evening in 2014, Jutting returned home with a 23-year-old Indonesian woman he'd met via Craigslist.
Eight days later, she was found dead in his upscale apartment, her body stuffed in a suitcase on the balcony. Another Indonesian woman lay dead with her throat slit on the floor, which was covered in blood, cocaine and torture devices.
Two years later, Jutting, now 31, is on trial at Hong Kong's High Court, charged with two counts of murder and one of preventing lawful burial.
"(These are) the narcissistic ramblings of Rurik Jutting, of the Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, newly soon to be unemployed and now a rapist and a murderer," he said in one of the many drug-fuelled, manic videos he made on his iPhone over the course of that shocking week.
The major facts of the case are agreed by both sides. But Jutting has pleaded not guilty to murder, claiming diminished responsibility, saying he wasn't in his right mind.
He has pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter, a plea rejected by the prosecution.
The jury is expected to begin deliberations on Tuesday, November 8.
The following account is based on court documents and evidence and testimony given to the jury since the trial started on October 24.
 
In order: Seneng Mujiasih, Rurik Jutting and Sumarti Ningsih
 

Cocaine, vodka and porn

"He is almost boasting about what he has done" -- Dr Richard Latham, forensic psychiatrist, at Jutting's trial
In October 2014, Jutting lived in an expensive, stylish apartment in the heart of Hong Kong's Wan Chai, a busy commercial and residential area that's home to the city's red-light district.
Like most Hong Kong apartments, it was small -- just one bedroom, a toilet and a living area with open kitchen -- but rent wasn't cheap, more than HK$20,000 (US$2,580) a month.
It was also a mess, just like its then-occupant's life. By 2014, Jutting would later tell psychiatrists in prison, he was drinking up to two bottles of spirits every day, on top of several cans of the energy drink Red Bull.
He told them he was using cocaine regularly -- up to 10 grams in a 24-hour period -- and spending large sums of money on prostitutes, especially ones who were submissive.
Rurik Jutting's former apartment building, J Residence, in Hong Kong.
 
His mother had named him Rurik, meaning "great one, special one," and when he left the UK in 2013 he seemed likely to live up to it.
But by the time he arrived in Hong Kong in 2013 everything was going downhill.
He didn't have a girlfriend, or any long-term friendships and his job was on the rocks after he was moved within the bank in 2012 when his section was deemed a "serious risk" due to "a violation of regulations," the court heard.
"(He was) boastful, had a high opinion of himself (but it was) a thin shell that can be broken. Underneath he can feel pain and despair, had a fragile sense of self-esteem," forensic psychiatrist Dr Richard Latham told the jury.
Latham diagnosed Jutting with a narcissistic personality disorder -- he didn't feel empathy like normal people -- and determined that he was developing into a sexual sadist.
First victim Sumarti Ningsih
 

Sumarti

"She was a really, really nice person," Jutting in an iPhone video after the murder
Sumarti Ningsih, known as Alice, did not want to go home with Jutting when he contacted her on October 25.
They'd had sex for money before, after Jutting found her listing on Craigslist. That time, Jutting told police, he had been rough with her -- he held her down, used sex toys on her.
Feeling uncomfortable, she asked to leave early, even though it meant she had to pay back half the money. He had agreed.
"(It was) the first time I got sexual satisfaction from hurting another person," he would tell police.
Ningsih first arrived in Hong Kong in 2011 to be a domestic helper, working for subsistence wages as maids and child minders for Hong Kong's families like tens of thousands of other Indonesian and Filipina women.
Ningsih had a young son of her own, living in Indonesia with her family. He was just five years old when he lost his mother.
Her cousin, who asked not to be named out of concerns for her privacy, told CNN she'd been like a big sister to her.
They left together for Hong Kong to make a better life for themselves. "We wanted to make a change, wanted a better life, and to help our family," she said.
Ningsih had a five year old son when she was killed.
 
The same cousin would later be called to identify her body.
Her mother told CNN Indonesia last month she had been the family's breadwinner. "I've lost my child and I won't see her again," she said.
In 2014, after a brief return to Indonesia, Ningsih flew back to Hong Kong on a tourist visa.
When Jutting contacted her on October 25, the Indonesian woman was very reluctant to see him.
She hadn't forgotten his vicious treatment of her last time -- and asked if she could bring a friend, according to what Jutting told police.
Jutting refused, offering her as much as HK$10,000 (US$1,290) to spend the night. Eventually she agreed.
Security cameras captured the two entering the J Residence apartment complex at 3.38 a.m. on October 25.

We played a bit

"Why did I kill her?" -- Jutting interrogation tape, Hong Kong police, November 2
Jutting couldn't get an erection after they took cocaine together -- he never could when using the drug -- so he took a different tack.
"We played a bit," Jutting told police. "I got rough with her in the course of that -- it went from consensual to non-consensual."
Using purple rope, he tied Ningsih up, sending photos of her to his cocaine dealer.
For three days, in escalating degrees of cruelty, Jutting tortured his captive, telling her he'd kill her if she didn't cooperate.
He filmed her on his phone as he debased her, in videos so shocking the judge at his trial wouldn't allow some of them to be shown to the public gallery.
"Do you want me to hit you?" he asked her on the tape. "If you say yes, I'll hit you once. If you say no, I'll hit you twice."
At other times, he goes from asking if she loved him, commending her for being a "good girl", to threatening her with harsher violence.
In a postmortem examination, the coroner would say there were signs he had clamped her nipples with pliers and whipped her repeatedly with a belt.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, October 27, Jutting slit her throat, He later told police he had thought about letting her go, in his more lucid moments, but in the end he killed her in the shower, her hands tied behind her back.
Less than five minutes after he had killed Ningsih, Jutting was filming himself, flustered and shirtless. He moves the phone from his face to her motionless body on the bathroom floor.
Jutting said he hadn't planned to kill her. He thought about jumping off the balcony, then and there.
But he couldn't deny he had enjoyed the torture, the feeling of being in complete control. "She was my property and there to please me," Jutting spoke into his iPhone camera in one of his first videos after the killing. "Frankly, I am addicted."
Over the next three days, he takes more cocaine, courtesy of his dealer who was making regular visits to his apartment, and made more videos on his iPhone.
In some he details his plans for further torture and rape, in others he talks about how he is going to go to prison for life. "Don't think I should watch my videos ... I am an ugly fat f**k now. Used to be good looking but now (I'm) an utterly f**ked up loser."
At one point, he moves Ningsih's body from the shower, tying it up in cords and wrapping it in sheets before putting it in a suitcase, out on the balcony.
At some stage, he changes his automatic work email message.
"I'm out of the office. Indefinitely. For urgent enquiries, or indeed any enquiries, please contact someone who is not an insane psychopath. For escalation please contact God."
On October 31, Jutting came up with a plan -- he would leave the body in his apartment, block up the doors and then fly back to the UK. He would say goodbye to his parents before going into a police station to hand himself in.
He never booked the tickets though -- instead, he went out to buy torture instruments to use on his second victim.
Suneng Mujiasih worked as a waitress in Hong Kong.
 

Seneng

"I don't know why I chose her ... she was at that point simply prey" -- Jutting in police interviews, November 2
Jutting's first stop was a sex shop, then on the way home, he stopped off at a hardware store.
Back in his apartment, iPhone recording again, he showed off his haul.
"In this bag we have cord, zip ties, what's this, oh it's a big hammer," Jutting said while recording on his iPhone. He showed off sandpaper, pins, nails and pliers.
Seneng "Jesse" Mujiasih, 26, was working as a waitress at New Makati, a bar in Wan Chai, on that Friday night.
A friend of hers, Wan Chai bar owner Robert Van Dem Bosch, saw her. She told him she was going to have "great night."
He described her as strong, a "beautiful, happy, good-looking woman."
"She was trying to make a better life for later, the money she made here, she didn't throw away on all kinds of things," he said.
"Maybe make up and nice clothes to look good, but the rest of the money she saved and sent to her home country of Indonesia to build a house," he told CNN.
She was going to retire to Indonesia, Van Dem Bosch said.
Jutting offered her as much as HK$20,000 (US$2,580) to stay for the weekend. Security cameras captured Jutting ushering his second victim inside the apartment complex just before midnight.
After they entered the apartment she immediately commented how messy it was -- he joked she should be his regular cleaner.
She removed her clothes and they sat on the couch -- where she saw his makeshift gag, hidden under one of the pillows.
Mujiasih leaped up, shocked, yelling in Bahasa Indonesian, Jutting would later tell the police. In response, he grabbed the knife he'd hidden underneath a cushion and held it to her throat, telling her to shut up or he'd kill her.
She ignored him, continuing to yell for help.
He killed her, shoving the blade down onto her throat.

'I'm trying to surrender'

"I am just very high on coke and feel zero emotions," Jutting in iPhone video after second murder
One woman lay dead on the floor of his living room. Another was decaying in a suitcase on the balcony.
His apartment was covered in blood, cocaine and torture tools.
Jutting walked out on the balcony, where he thought he could see people looking at him. He was sure they had called the police.
Looking through the peephole in his apartment door, he saw two police officers outside. He barricaded the door with boxes. Still he could see the door handle moving.
On early November 1, Jutting called the police on his Blackberry. He'd soon hand over his iPhone, including all his recorded videos, for evidence.
"My name is Rurik Jutting, I'm sitting in my flat in Wan Chai. I'm trying to surrender myself to the multiple, I don't know if they are the police, or army, or special forces around me and I don't really know what they want me to do," he told the responder.
The responder had no idea what was happening. There were no police at Jutting's apartment. He had imagined them. He called the cops on himself.
Rurik Jutting Hong Kong murder background_00000619
 

'They weren't sex objects'

"I am sure you will never forget the reality of the horror that those women had to endure" -- defense attorney Tim Owen, closing argument
In Hong Kong's High Court, two years later, Jutting appeared largely composed.
His parents didn't attend the trial, or any family members, but it was packed with journalists, many of whom had been flown half way around the world by the British tabloid media to cover the case of Hong Kong's "American Psycho" killer.
His appearance shocked those in the public gallery -- his once curly hair has been cut short and he had lost a significant amount of weight since 2014.
When his videos of his torture of Ningsih were played to the jury -- drawing audible gasps -- he closed his eyes.
At other times, especially during his defense, he appeared more animated, chatting to and exchanging notes with his lawyers.
His defense attorney Tim Owen, told the jury their defense of diminished responsibility was "a concession to human frailty."
"I am not asking you to feel sympathy for Rurik Jutting. I am not asking you to feel sorry for him," he said in his closing remarks.
"(But by October 2014) Rurik Jutting was about as far from normal as it is possible to be."
The prosecution attorney, in his summing up, shifted the jury's attention from Jutting to the two women who had been buried in unremarkable graves in Indonesia, two years before.
"They were living human beings. They weren't sex objects."
Source:Cnn.com

Nigeria investigates reports that officials raped displaced women

(CNN)Nigeria has launched an investigation into reports alleging that government officials raped and sexually abused women and girls who survived Boko Haram violence.

The move comes after Human Rights Watch published a report detailing accounts by dozens of women and girls who said they were sexually abused or coerced into sex.
The women said they were raped or abused by camp leaders, vigilante group members, policemen and soldiers at camps in Borno State's capital, Maiduguri. The camps were set up to offer aid to people displaced by fighting in Nigeria's northeast.
Nigeria's Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has set up a special team "to immediately commence thorough Investigation into all cases of alleged sexual abuses, exploitation, harassments, gender-based violence and professional misconduct," a statement from the inspector general's office said Thursday.

Police: Security at camps to be beefed up

Some of the victims had escaped captivity by terror group Boko Haram, only to become victims at the camps where they sought refuge, the rights group said. Many of the women were impregnated by their abusers at the camps. Several victims were drugged before they were raped.
The inspector general called on HRW to make available to the investigation team any additional information about the 43 cases of abuse featured in the report that could assist the police inquiry.
He has taken measures to beef up security at the camps and said any acts that violate the human dignity of displaced people by individuals or groups in the camps or anywhere in the country will be handled in accordance with the law, according to the statement.

Borno State governor: 'We must act now'

Following the HRW report, Borno State Gov. Kashim Shettima has revealed plans to request law enforcement agencies to deploy female and male undercover detectives to all camps for internally displaced people in Borno State "to spy on culprits and bring them to book," according to a statement from his office.
"Sadly and very sadly indeed, the (Internally Displaced People) camps have become avenues that horrible stories of sexual slavery, prostitution rings, drug peddling and other social vices are emanating from," the governor said.
"Sexual harassment of female IDPs is a desperate situation," he said. "None of us would fold arms if his or her daughter is in position to be sexually harassed, so we must act now."

Displaced by fighting

Dubbed the world's deadliest terror group, Boko Haram has launched attacks in northern Nigeria and surrounding areas for years.
More than 20,000 people have been killed since 2009 when the conflict began. Nearly 2.5 million have been displaced.
Boko Haram, which in the local Hausa language means "western education is sin," wants to institute a strict form of Sharia law in Nigeria.
Its mass abductions and attacks on soft targets, including schools, mosques and churches, have prompted stark international condemnation.
Source:CNN.com

Ivory Coast: Powering Africa's fastest growing economy

(CNN)Following many years of political turmoil and civil conflict, business is back - and booming - in the Ivory Coast.

This prosperous West African country is Africa's fastest growing economy in 2016, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The country's phenomenal growth rate of 8.5 percent greatly contrasts with the rest of sub-Saharan Africa which has only seen three percent growth.
But not every Ivorian is reaping the rewards. While the economy powers ahead, many citizens have been left behind, with the World Bank estimating that nearly half of the population still lives in poverty.
Despite the reality for many on the ground, the IMF predicts the country's GDP will increase by an average of 7.4 percent between 2017 and 2020.

Investing in the Ivory Coast

After a decade of absence, the African Development Bank returned in 2014, moving its headquarters from Tunisia back to Abidjan.
"As soon as the bank came back and prior to that, the growth opportunities from peace and stability were tremendous," says African Development Bank Senior Vice President, Frannie Leautier.
In recent years, the African Development Bank has contributed to one of the biggest private infrastructure projects in the country: the impressive Henry Konan Bedié (HKB) bridge.

Bridging the gap

The HKB bridge spans across the Ébrié Lagoon, connecting the wealthy residential side of Abidjan in the north to the city's business and industrial districts in the south.
The bridge has greatly improved the quality of life in Abidjan, cutting 30 minutes off the average driver's total commute time.
Building the expressway took three years and cost a mighty $250 million. The African Development Bank contributed $65 million toward its completion. "These are usually expensive projects. You need to bring in multiple players," says Leautier.

Bringing power to the people

Further key investments in the country can be seen in the rapidly advancing energy sector. In the past 20 years, independent electricity producer, Ciprel, has invested $560 million to meet the growing demand.
"Power demand has grown by 10 percent each year for the last five years," says Ralph Olayé, Business Development Director of Ciprel's parent company, Eranove.
Ivory Coast is blessed with both natural resources to produce hydropower and gas to produce thermo-power. According to Olayé, the country "serves a powerhouse for the region".
Despite the country's extensive national grid, meaning more than 80 percent of residents live a few meters from the electricity line, only a small portion of Ivorians have access to power at home.
"Currently the number of population that is connected to the grid is in the tune of 40 percent," says Olayé.
This is owing to the fact that many Ivorians cannot afford to buy and install meters. The government is working on doing away with the initial cost of providing a meter through a program called "Electricité pour tous" (Electricity for All).
"We expect growth to become more inclusive so that the population will benefit more than what is has," says the IMF's Ivory Coast Mission Chief, Dhaneshwar Ghura.
Source:CNN.com

Pence will lead Trump transition

Washington (CNN)Vice President-elect Mike Pence assumed control of President-elect Donald Trump's transition efforts Friday as part of a shakeup that reduced New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's role.

Christie, who began leading the presidential transition in the months before Trump's surprise victory, will now serve as a vice-chairman to the transition effort alongside Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Dr. Ben Carson and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, all of whom have been close confidantes of the billionaire during his presidential campaign.
"I am proud to have run the pre-election phase of the transition team along with a thoroughly professional and dedicated team of people," Christie said in a statement.
Trump said in a statement that Pence "will build on the initial work" Christie accomplished "to help prepare a transformative government ready to lead from day one.
"The mission of our team will be clear: put together the most highly qualified group of successful leaders who will be able to implement our change agenda in Washington. Together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding this nation -- specifically jobs, security and opportunity," Trump said.
The New York Times first reported the shakeup.
Trump also announced a 16-member executive committee advising the transition efforts composed of Trump's children, some of his top political supporters and some of the top advisers to his campaign, including Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and campaign CEO Steve Bannon, who are both leading contenders to be named White House chief of staff.
Trump also formalized the staffing of his transition team, including naming Sessions' chief of staff, Rick Dearborn, as executive director.
Dearborn, a longtime Sessions aide, had been working on the transition for some time as a chief legislative affairs and policy official and was the organizer of Trump's campaign policy shop in Washington before that.
Trump's senior campaign staff will also transition to roles with the presidential transition organization, largely retaining the same roles they had with the campaign. Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway will serve as senior adviser.
Sources also told CNN top Pence staffers Marc Short and Nick Ayers will be heavily involved.

Bridgegate scandal hurt Christie's standing

Pence, the governor of Indiana and a former member of Congress, is not the first vice president to lead transition efforts. Former Vice President Dick Cheney played a leading role in the transition leading up to George W. Bush's presidency.
A Christie aide cited Cheney's role in explaining the staff shakeup.
"This is what Bush did post election with Cheney. I saw tweets on demotion. That's the absolutely wrong take," the aide said.
Pence was tapped for the post in part because of his deep and longstanding relationships with both Republicans on Capitol Hill and Republican governors. The role will complement Pence's efforts during the campaign in urging Republicans to rally around Trump's candidacy.
The decision to backbench Christie comes as the New Jersey governor faces intensifying scrutiny over his role in lane closures of the George Washington Bridge after two of his former aides were convicted in the scandal. Christie has denied any wrongdoing, but federal authorities continue to probe his role in the incident.
Several sources familiar with the process said the Bridgegate scandal and questions over Christie's loyalty to Trump were factors in the decision. While Christie was one of Trump's earliest prominent backers, he disappeared from the public eye after the surfacing of the 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape in which Trump bragged about groping women.
Christie has also had a tenuous relationship with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has been intimately involved in transition efforts, stemming from Christie's prosecution of Kushner's father.

'It's kind of chaos'

Sessions had taken on much of the leadership of the planning effort, the sources said, despite Christie retaining the chairman title. While Christie had made frequent visits to D.C. early in the transition process, he was not seen in the office for weeks leading up to the election.
While the nearly 100 staffers working on the transition had been toiling for weeks to prepare for a potential Trump administration, even those in the transition had not expected it to come to fruition. A source close to the transition said the staffers were networking last week, looking to line up post-election jobs as they prepared for a loss.
That left the transition in a state of shock when Trump was elected. Though they had done the work to prepare a Trump administration, the mogul himself had not been actively involved and staff weren't immediately able to put plans into action.
"I think it's kind of chaos. I don't think anyone was ready for what happened," the source said. "They have a plan in place, it's just a question of whether Trump's OK with it."
The reshuffling of the transition and addition of many of the campaign's heavy hitters -- who had been detached from the transition as they worked toward the election -- comes the first day that Trump has held a meeting with his transition team.
With Trump's engagement, the transition is expected to now be able to get going in earnest on planning his agenda, developing policy and vetting and naming Cabinet officials.
The transition team compiled possible names for Cabinet positions in advance, but has added vetting staff in recent days to be able to begin the process of clearing those names ahead of what will likely be tense Senate confirmation hearings in the new administration, according to a source familiar with the process.
Source:CNN.com

Voter turnout at 20-year low in 2016

Washington (CNN)Voter turnout this year dipped to nearly its lowest point in two decades.

While election officials are still tabulating ballots, the 126 million votes already counted means about 55% of voting age citizens cast ballots this year.
That measure of turnout is the lowest in a presidential election since 1996, when 53.5% of voting-age citizens turned out.
As election officials go through outstanding ballots -- such as provisional ballots and those with write-ins -- the turnout figures will change.
But it would take another 18.7 million votes to reach the high point for turnout of 2008, when nearly 64% of voting age citizens cast a ballot.
Early results in some of the key states that propelled President-elect Donald Trump to his win reveal that more voters cast ballots this year than in 2012, even though overall turnout was down.
In Florida, nearly 9.4 million ballots were cast, compared to 8.5 million in 2012. Michigan saw 4.8 million compared to 4.7 million four years ago. And in North Carolina, the 4.7 million ballots this year was about 138,000 more than last cycle.
Full measures of turnout won't be clear for as long as several more weeks, when election officials in the various states finish tabulating and certify the results. The figures also do not include people of age who are ineligible to vote or have not registered.
Source:CNN.com

Democrats try to pick up the pieces

Washington (CNN)The sting of defeat is still fresh.

But Democrats are embarking on a soul-searching exercise to determine how they ended up in the political wilderness, losing the House, the Senate and the White House at a time when President Barack Obama's approval ratings are at record highs.
Hillary Clinton may very well still win the popular vote, and there are myriad theories about why Democrats fell short when it came to electoral college math: inaccurate polling and modeling, an unprecedented surge of white voters for Trump, Clinton's failure to ignite enough enthusiasm and excitement among women, blacks and Latinos.
But the former secretary of state's stunning losses in the Rust Belt spoke to deeper problems facing a Democratic Party that has become unmoored from its roots. Most stark in the results was the party's disconnect from white working-class voters.
The primary exposed the deep divide between the progressive and centrist wings of the party, which clearly have not healed. And strategists learned the hard way just how difficult it is to replicate the Obama coalition without the President at the top of the ticket.

Baffled Democrats

As they sift through the results, most baffling to some Democrats was how some voters who supported Obama in 2008 and 2012 ended up backing Trump.
As Clinton retreated to private life in Chappaqua, New York, and the President prepares to leave office, it was clear that there was no consensus about who should lead the party, or even lead the discussion about where the party needs to go after Tuesday.
Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer will play leading roles. But there are broad policy disagreements among them, as well as competing objectives. Schumer, for example, must keep his eye on the 2018 races when he will have slew of Democrats up for re-election in conservative states.
Clinton's unexpected losses in industrial states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania -- as well as the razor-edge race in Michigan, which CNN has not called — underscored the view of Democratic strategists who privately complained throughout 2016 that Clinton hadn't found a message that connected with working-class Americans.
Though polls showed many Latinos and women were repelled by Trump before Election Day, Trump actually slightly outperformed Mitt Romney among Latinos. And Clinton drew a slightly smaller share of women to the polls than Obama did in 2012, according to exit polls.
She won the lowest share of union households of any Democrat since 1980 -- notching 51% of union households to Trump's 43%, according to exit polls. By comparison, Obama won 59% of union households in 2008.
Trump's campaign was vacuous. Many of his policy proposals were unachievable, even in the eyes of his supporters. Yet his populist message struck a chord with voters across the ideological spectrum.
"Clearly what this election demonstrated -- from the primaries through the general election -- was that the centrist, more moderate wing of the (Democratic) party has no standing with working class and middle class voters in this country," said Jeff Weaver, who was campaign manager for Clinton's Democratic rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
"It's time for the progressive wing to reassert themselves and offer a bold agenda to the American people," Weaver said. "The real losers in this campaign were the Democratic and Republican establishments. People clearly wanted change. Trump became the vehicle for that change in the general election. I think many people voted for him in spite of his outrageous positions, as opposed to in favor of them. So we need to demonstrate to people that we stand with them, not with the wealthy and powerful."
Though Clinton was raised in a middle-class household familiar with economic struggles, she never managed to find a message that connected with struggling working class families. That was particularly ironic considering she ran against a billionaire who lives in the penthouse of a gold plated tower.
Long before Trump was viewed as a real contender, Bill Burton, a former adviser to Obama, recalled discussing the message challenges facing Democrats in 2016 as far as two years ago.

Obama coalition

He argued then that no one would be able to recreate the Obama coalition, because Obama was simply a uniquely talented candidate and "special guy." Democrats already knew at that time, he said, that they had a problem with middle-class white voters "that we're not paying attention to." He believed that if the party didn't fix that, they couldn't win.
"And that's what happened," Burton said in an interview Thursday. "We couldn't win a race where we didn't have enough white voters to make up for the gaps in the Obama coalition. There's any number of reasons for that -- from (FBI Director) James Comey to Donald Trump having a message that appealed in middle America."
"There's going to be a lot of soul searching, and there's no one answer for it -- anyone who suggests that there is, is just wrong," he said. "In 2020, we've got to be thinking about a coalition of voters that builds on the Obama coalition to the best that we can, but also reaches out to a big group of voters in the middle of the country who feel like they've been left behind."
The conversation about how to do that will unfold over many months, after operatives and activists have time to digest the data and missteps from this campaign.
One early proxy for the internal struggles of the party will be the election of the party's chair next year.
On Thursday, Sanders said he would back Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota as the next chair of the Democratic National Committee and attributed Tuesday's losses to a lack of enthusiasm.
Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean pointed to what he views as party infrastructure problems Thursday, as he also threw his hat into the ring for party chair.
"The Dems need organization and focus on the young," Dean tweeted. "Need a fifty State strategy and tech rehab. I am in for chairman again."
Donna Brazile is currently serving as the party's interim chair through March 2017 after stepping in replace Debbie Wasserman Schultz in July when Wikileaks released emails showing that Democratic officials tried to help Clinton clinch the nomination, instead of playing the role of neutral arbiter in determining the nominee.
Democratic strategist and CNN commentator Hilary Rosen noted that the margins in battleground states where Clinton lost were relatively close, making the discussion about what to do even more complex.
Many Democrats were stunned by the fact that Clinton and Trump were separated by only about a percentage point in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—and the race in Michigan still looks even closer than that.
Sanders supporters noted it was hard to imagine him losing states like that in the Industrial Midwest. (Obama won Michigan, which is still too close to call, by 9.5 percentage points in 2012).
"What I don't think even a win would have masked, though it would have masked it more easily, is the divide between center left and left" in the party, said Rosen, a Clinton supporter.
She noted that many Sanders supporters will argue he might have done more to galvanize young voters and the Democratic base, but that could have come at the expense of votes from independents and centrists that Clinton won.
In the annals of history, the election may be remembered as having been decided by Pennsylvania, Wisconsin -- which nudged Trump over 270 electoral votes -- and Michigan, where the vote count continues.
When Trump's advantage in those three states is tallied, it currently amounts to close to 110,000 votes out of tens of millions that were cast (the final turnout figure may not be known for some time).
"By virtue of those 110,000 votes, we're now going to have the conversation in the Democratic Party that we thought the Republicans were going to have in their party," Rosen said.
Source:CNN.com

Walmart, Target, Best Buy roll out Black Friday deals

Walmart, Target and Best Buy have rolled out their Black Friday plans.

Target (TGT) will open its doors at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Best Buy (BBY) stores will open an hour earlier at 5 p.m. Best Buy will also close at 1 a.m. early Friday and reopen at 8 a.m.

 

And Walmart (WMT) will start a Black Friday event at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Most Walmart stores are open 24 hours.

All three major retailers are also announcing expanded plans for digital and in-store deals.

Walmart says the majority of its Black Friday deals will be available on its website starting at 12:01 a.m. ET on Thanksgiving. It's advertising HDTVs from $125 to $398, drones for as little as $30 and more than 750 DVDs and Blu-ray movies starting at $1.96.

Best Buy is offering hundreds of dollars in savings on Macbook Airs and DSLR cameras. The company is also selling video games for less than $30 and the Fitbit Charge 2 for less than $130, savings of $30 and $20, respectively.

Target, meanwhile, is offering a selection of deals through Thursday, including 30% off shoes and 25% off Apple TV models. The company says it is also bringing back its 10 Days of Deals and Black Friday Presale promotions.

Source:CNN.com