- AD ejected in Pelicans loss
- Police investigate two shootings in Central City within an hour of each other
- Charlie Rose staffers, in limbo, told they will be paid through the end of December
- Researchers raise new questions about the hurricane death toll in Puerto Rico
- Jared Kushner met with special counsel about Flynn
- Tiffany performs ‘Can’t Stop Falling’ on the Twist Stage
- Canal Street-City Park Avenue intersection to reopen next week
- ’80s teen star Tiffany performs at House of Blues Thursday
- No ceiling yet: Kamara continues to make push for NFL’s best offensive rookie
- 14-year-old leads police on high-speed chase through Olde Town Slidell
- Cornering hope: Saints’ Lattimore and Crawley both limited in practice Wednesday
- Group calls on city to take action on lowering inmate count in Orleans Parish
- Royal Sonesta’s ‘Lighting of the Balconies’ will get you in the holiday spirit
- On the road with Blaze Express Courier’s cargo for Coats for Kids
- Coats for Kids from the kids at St. Catherine of Siena School
- Variety details multiple sexual harassment accusations against Matt Lauer
- Garrison Keillor fired by Minnesota Public Radio over claims of inappropriate behavior
- Britain First, the far-right anti-Muslim group retweeted by Trump
- Special counsel delays grand jury testimony amid signs of Flynn deal talks
- Tampa killings suspect charged with 4 counts of murder
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 09:12 PM PST
New Orleans-- Anthony Davis is known for always keeping his cool, but Wednesday night his frustrations with the officiating boiled-over. Fans saw a reversal of roles as DeMarcus Cousins tried to calm-down his teammate, before Davis was given his second technical foul and ejected from the game. It was the first time Davis has been ejected in his career.
"Everybody in there knows AD," Cousins said. "There's got to be some kind of legit reason for him to act out."
"It was kind of a building thing you know?" said Pelicans forward Dante Cunningham. "I don't know if I can say this but I'm not so... You know it was a building thing and it kind of just kept escalation from one play to the next."
AD was tossed with 4:11 to play in the second quarter, but not before he scored 17 points in 17 minutes and grabbed 5 rebounds. After Davis left the game, the Timberwolves went on a 17-6 run, to take a 62-49 lead into the locker room. The Pelicans were never able to recover from losing their leading scorer, and ultimately lost to Minnesota 120-102.
"Well when we lost AD, obviously that changed everything," said Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry. "He did exactly what we told him to do-- take the ball strong to the basket."
"He's definitely a big part of our team," Cunningham said. "A lot of things go through him. We just have to find a way. We've played games without him. We've played games when he's hurt so we have to find a way just to get it done."
Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans with 27 points and 5 assists, while Cousins finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds for his 16th double-double of the season. Andrew Wiggins had a game-high 28 points for the Timberwolves.
The Pelicans (11-10) now hit the road for back-to-back away games. They take-on the Utah Jazz Friday and then the Portland Trailblazers on Saturday.
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 07:49 PM PST
New Orleans – Police are investigating two separate shootings in Central City that left two men wounded.
The most recent happened around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Police say a man was shot in the head in the 1600 block of South Liberty Street. He was taken to the hospital. Police have not given an update on his condition.
An hour before that shooting, another man was shot in the stomach in the 2300 block of Harmony Street. Police haven’t given an update on his condition or a description of the shooter.
Anyone with information can call Crimestoppers at (504)-822-1111.
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 07:41 PM PST
29 NOV 17 22:32 ET
(CNN Money) — Charlie Rose has been notifying the staff of his “Charlie Rose Show” that they will be out of their jobs, and their pay checks, at the end of next month.
According to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, Rose has been calling staff members one by one, thanking them for their work and letting them know they’ll be paid through December 31.
It’s been just over a week since CBS, PBS and Bloomberg cut ties with Rose after the Washington Post published a report from multiple women accusing the now former anchor of unwanted sexual advances. (Rose has said in a statement that he “deeply apologized” for what he admitted was “inappropriate behavior,” but said he did “not believe that all of [the] allegations are accurate.”)
Rose was subsequently fired from his position as co-anchor of CBS “This Morning,” and PBS and Bloomberg announced they would immediately stop airing “The Charlie Rose” show last week. Until this Tuesday, the show’s staff of just under two dozen had been in limbo, unsure of what lay ahead for them.
Sources familiar with the situation said the staff have been “extremely uncomfortable” for the past week as they waited to hear what would happen. One of the sources said staffers felt disappointed that they will only be paid through the end of December, especially considering some had been with the show, and Rose, for more than a decade.
Rose’s production company rented office and studio space from Bloomberg, which along with PBS aired the long-running interview program famous for its stark black background and large round wood table. The show’s employees held Bloomberg ID badges, used Bloomberg emails and were paid through Bloomberg’s systems, but Bloomberg was not technically their employer and therefore not responsible for HR matters, one of the sources said.
In an email obtained by CNN that was sent to the show’s staff on Wednesday, executive producer Yvette Vega wrote that, according to Bloomberg’s global head of HR, if any of the staffers would like to be considered for new positions they could speak with the head of HR directly. Information regarding issues like insurance, she said, would be provided at a later date.
Additionally, the email noted, staffers’ Bloomberg badges will only be active until December 8.
Vega did not respond to emails seeking comment.
Last week, Rose’s lawyer Dick Beattie told NBC News that “Charlie is going to do everything he can to help the young people get placed.” Beattie and Rose did not respond to emails seeking comment.
A Bloomberg spokesperson declined to comment.
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 07:02 PM PST
The actual death toll from Hurricane Maria may be more than eight times higher than the official number from the Puerto Rican government, according to two demographers who conducted a statistical assessment of reported deaths.
The analysis by Alexis Santos, director of graduate studies in applied demography at Pennsylvania State University, and Jeffrey Howard, a demographer and epidemiologist at the US Department of Defense, which has not been peer-reviewed, finds an estimated 518 more people died in Puerto Rico in September 2017, the month of Hurricane Maria, than died during previous Septembers on the island.
That’s “a number of deaths that far exceeds what we would normally expect,” Howard told CNN.
The estimate is not an accounting of individual hurricane deaths, he said, but rather is a statistical look at how many people died the month of the hurricane versus the number that normally would be expected to die in that month. It’s unclear exactly when the extra deaths occurred that month. Hurricane Maria hit on September 20.
The number is a ballpark figure — but it’s substantiated, Howard said, by a recently published CNN survey of 112 funeral homes in Puerto Rico. As part of that investigation, funeral home staff told CNN they saw 499 deaths in the month after the hurricane — September 20 to October 19 — that they claim are related to the storm and its aftermath. “These numbers are very similar and so that leads me to think there’s something to this,” Howard said.
The Puerto Rican government maintains only 58 people died as a result of the hurricane, which slammed into the Caribbean island, tearing roofs off of homes and cutting power and water service for millions of people.
Puerto Rican officials stand by that count as accurate based on the information they have received to date. “As I have reiterated on previous occasions, deaths related to Hurricane Maria are not based on estimates or projections. Likewise, I have always pointed out that cases presented to our consideration will be investigated and will be added to the death cases related to the hurricane, directly or indirectly, based on the evidence presented,” Héctor M. Pesquera, secretary of Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Safety, which oversees the count, said in a statement issued to CNN.
For weeks, the official hurricane death toll has been called into question by CNN, politicians and other news outlets, including BuzzFeed, Vox and Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism. In October, CNN spoke with funeral home directors in Arecibo who questioned the official death toll in that municipality. This month, after receiving tips from readers through an online form, we surveyed about half of the island’s funeral homes to widen the scope.
Reports of deaths to CNN by funeral home staff are, by their nature, subjective. Funeral home directors do often speak with families of the deceased, however. And we asked funeral homes to consult their records in making their estimates.
The day CNN published its latest investigation, November 20, Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Safety issued a press release urging funeral homes to share information about possible hurricane-related deaths. As of Wednesday morning, no funeral homes had come forward with information, said Karixia Ortiz, spokeswoman for the department.
Those who wish to do so can email email@example.com, she said.
Meanwhile, Ortiz said, the Puerto Rican government is still investigating some of the deaths highlighted by CNN’s island-wide survey. One death CNN reported on — that of Quintín Vidal Rolón, in Cayey — was added to the official list on Wednesday night, she confirmed.
The academic death toll estimate has not been peer-reviewed. It was published online on November 21. Still, the methods the researchers employed are well regarded by several academics we’ve spoken to.
Santos and Howard compared the estimated total number of deaths for September 2017 with the average number of deaths for the month of September in the years 2010 to 2016.
The figures for previous years were provided by the Puerto Rico Vital Statistics system. The September 2017 figure came from the Department of Public Safety, which has said 2,838 died that month, with 95% of all deaths being reported, according to the analysis posted online. The researchers estimated the total number of deaths for September and then compared that to the averages for the same month in previous years. “I’m very sure of the number,” Santos said by phone.
The final death counts for September and October of this year have not been released by the Puerto Rican government, Santos said. Those figures are needed, he said, in order to provide a more accurate estimate of deaths that may have been related to the hurricane.
“I didn’t think the discrepancy would be as high as tenfold, but these people did a good job by established methods,” said John Mutter, a professor at Columbia University who researched deaths following Hurricane Katrina and who reviewed the online paper for CNN. “They are likely correct,” he said in an email.
Joshua Goldstein, a demographer at the University of California at Berkeley, also reviewed the estimates at CNN’s request.
“The authors argue that the number of excess deaths following Maria was beyond normal year-to-year fluctuations,” he said in an email. “Their methods appear to be a reasonable first analysis, but the paper’s findings, especially because they have not been through peer review, should not be interpreted as the final word.”
Santos, the Penn State demographer, started working on these estimates after seeing many of his Puerto Rican friends post about possible hurricane-related deaths on social media. He said his mom, who is a nurse in Puerto Rico, also gave him the impression that there may have been more deaths than the government was counting.
The death toll matters, experts say, because it can influence aid and government response.
Families of people who are listed as having died in the hurricane also may be eligible to have some funeral expenses covered by the US government, according to a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
It’s also a matter of planning, Santos said.
“A lot of people are asking us why the fixation with knowing the number,” Santos said. “The big issue is not the fixation with the number. It’s more about wanting to know the number so we can make an assessment of the impact of the hurricane — and then we can have a discussion about what policies we need to change in order to prevent excess deaths in the event of another natural disaster.”
“The healing process starts by knowing the truth,” he added.
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 05:34 PM PST
Jared Kushner met earlier this month with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team as part of the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election, according to two people familiar with the meeting.
Mueller’s team specifically asked Kushner about former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who is under investigation by the special counsel, two sources said. Flynn was the dominant topic of the conversation, one of the sources said.
“Mr. Kushner has voluntarily cooperated with all relevant inquiries and will continue to do so,” Abbe Lowell, Kushner’s lawyer, told CNN.
The conversation lasted less than 90 minutes, one person familiar with the meeting said, adding that Mueller’s team asked Kushner to clear up some questions he was asked by lawmakers and details that emerged through media reports. One source said the nature of this conversation was principally to make sure Kushner doesn’t have information that exonerates Flynn.
The meeting took place around the same time the special counsel asked witnesses about Kushner’s role in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and his relationship with Flynn, these people said.
It’s not clear that this is the only time that Kushner will meet with the special counsel’s team.
There are growing indications that the special counsel is having discussions with Flynn about a possible plea deal. Flynn’s attorney told Trump’s legal team last week that he would no longer share information about the investigation.
The White House declined to comment for this story. The special counsel’s office did not comment.
Mueller’s investigators have expressed interest in Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a White House senior adviser, as part of its probe into Russian meddling, including potential obstruction of justice in Comey’s firing, sources familiar with the matter said.
Even before Mueller took over the Russia investigation, the FBI had been looking at Kushner’s multiple roles on both the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team. The 2016 Trump Tower meeting, in addition to meetings with Russia’s ambassador and a Russian government banker, were left off Kushner’s security clearance forms, which had to be revised multiple times.
Other points of focus that pertain to Kushner include the Trump campaign’s 2016 data analytics operation, his relationship with Flynn and Kushner’s own contacts with Russians, according to sources briefed on the probe.
Kushner voluntarily turned over documents he had from the campaign and the transition, and these related to any contacts with Russia, according to a source familiar with the matter. The documents are similar to the ones Kushner gave to congressional investigators.
Their questions about Kushner signal that Mueller’s investigators are reaching the President’s inner circle and have extended beyond the 2016 campaign to actions taken at the White House by high-level officials. It is not clear how Kushner’s advice to the President might relate to the overall Russia investigation or potential obstruction of justice.
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 04:29 PM PST
NEW ORLEANS -- In 1987, Tiffany had her first No. 1 hit with "I Think We're Alone Now." She was just 16 years old at the time.
Thirty years later, she's still performing, and you can see her at the House of Blues Thursday night. Get tickets here.
Tiffany stopped by the News with a Twist studio this week ahead of her show to perform her latest single "Can't Stop Falling."
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 04:09 PM PST
NEW ORLEANS -- It's a holiday miracle.
The construction project that has closed the intersection of Canal Street and City Park Avenue for four months is on schedule, and the intersection is expected to reopen next week.
It closed in July for the Cemeteries Transit Center Project. When it's done, there will be a combined streetcar and bus transfer terminal on Canal Boulevard north of City Park Avenue, making it safer and easier for transit riders to make connections at the streetcar and JeT bus stops.
It will also extend the streetcar line from the end of Canal Street to the foot of Canal Boulevard, as well as upgrade traffic signals and pedestrian crossings between Canal Street and Canal Boulevard.
RTA officials confirmed that the project will be complete within a week, but they weren't able to give a specific day just yet.
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 04:01 PM PST
NEW ORLEANS — In 1987, Tiffany had her first No. 1 hit with “I Think We’re Alone Now.” She was just 16 years old at the time.
Thirty years later, she’s still performing, and you can see her at the House of Blues Thursday night. Get tickets here.
Tiffany stopped by the News with a Twist studio this week ahead of her performance.
Here she is on the Twist stage performing her hit from the 1980s:
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 03:53 PM PST
NEW ORLEANS -- Saints running back Alvin Kamara raised the bar Sunday in Los Angeles in an already stellar rookie season.
Kamara totaled 188 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns in the Saints' 26-20 loss to the Rams.
For the season, Kamara has 546 rushing yards and 548 receiving yards. Kamara has five rushing touchdowns and four receiving scores.
Wednesday, he told reporters that his responsibilities have grown a lot since the start of the season.
According to Fantasy Pros, Kamara has been targeted 69 times this season, fourth most among NFL running backs. The most targeted back is Christian McCaffery of the Carolina Panthers.
The Saints host the Panthers at 3:25 pm Sunday. The winner takes first place in the NFC South with four games to play.
Both teams are 8-3. The 7-4 Falcons host Minnesota.
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 03:34 PM PST
SLIDELL, La. — A 14-year-old "joyriding" without a driver's license led Slidell Police on a high-speed chase Tuesday evening that ended when he crashed head-on with another vehicle.
According to Slidell Police, at about 5:30 p.m., an officer tried to stop the driver of a black 2013 Lexus R35 for driving with no headlights.
The driver fled and led Slidell Police on a chase through Olde Town Slidell, ultimately ending after the driver crashed head-on with another vehicle on Bayou Liberty Road.
After the crash, the driver fled on foot, but was later apprehended by Slidell Police K-9 Quest and his handler, Officer Clint McCall.
Slidell Police said they were shocked to discover the driver was a 14-year-old boy from Slidell.
Investigators learned that the14-year-old took the Lexus SUV, which belonged to his friend's father. The vehicle was for sale, and the 14-year-old told police he was taking the SUV for a "test drive" because he was considering purchasing the vehicle.
After contacting the vehicle's owner, he stated the vehicle was indeed for sale, but the 14-year-old did not have permission to drive the vehicle.
It was later discovered that the young teen took the keys to the SUV, unbeknownst to the owner or his son. The teen claimed he fled from police because he knew he didn't have a driver's license and did not want to go to jail.
The 14-year-old and the driver of the vehicle struck on Bayou Liberty Road were both taken to local hospitals for minor injuries.
The 14-year-old was booked into the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center on the following charges: Aggravated Flight from an Officer, Resisting an Officer by Violence, Reckless Operation of a Motor Vehicle, Negligent Injury, No Headlights, No Driver's License, and Unauthorized Use of a Movable.
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 03:32 PM PST
METAIRIE, La. — The chances of the Saints winning Sunday at home against Carolina could increase.
Starting cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley both practiced Wednesday in a “limited” role according to the report sent by the Saints to the National Football League.
Lattimore has an ankle injury, Crawley an injury to his abdomen. Both did not play in Sunday’s 26-20 loss in Los Angeles to the Rams.
The winner of Sunday’s Panthers-Saints game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome takes the outright lead in the NFC South. Both clubs have won 8 and lost 3.
Saints linebacker A.J. Klein, who joined the club in free agency from Carolina earlier this season, said the Panthers feed off the running of quarterback Cam Newton.
Newton is running more. In September in a loss to the Saints, he ran three times. Last week, in a win over the New York Jets, Newton carried the ball 9 times.
Three Saints did not practice. They are offensive tackle Terron Armstead (thigh/shoulder), tight end Coby Fleener (concussion), and safety Marcus Williams (groin).
Kickoff Sunday is 3:25 pm.
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 03:18 PM PST
NEW ORLEANS -- A local criminal justice watchdog group took to the steps of City Hall today to demand action on the number of prisoners being held in Orleans Parish.
The Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition wants the city to decrease the number of prisoners in Orleans Parish. They say the number of beds at the Orleans Parish Justice Center exceeds the maximum 1,438 beds in jail.
According to the group, the city also has been using the Temporary Detention Center on Perdido Street -- built after Hurricane Katrina as a temporary facility -- to house inmates. The coalition says there are more than 200 inmates being housed in the temporary facility.
"OPPRC has been working for years to limit the number of people incarcerated in the jail. Six months ago, (the) City Council committed to passing a law to enforce the bed cap, yet no such ordinance has been introduced. Instead, the Temporary Detention Center —which
The group says they want to see action within 90 days.
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 02:09 PM PST
NEW ORLEANS– Tonight, the Royal Sonesta New Orleans will have their 13th annual “Lighting of the Balconies.” This is when they light up all the balconies that can be seen on Bourbon Street.
The festivities begin at 6 p.m. Singer, Quiana Lynell and All-Stars Band will be performing Christmas music. News with a Twist Reporter Kenny Lopez will be the emcee for the second year in a row. There will be surprise guests possibly traveling from the North Pole to take part in the fun.
Two very special children, Landon Arceneaux and Miley Carbo from Children’s Hospital will be the ones to “flip the switch,” which light up the balconies. The balconies stay lit throughout the holiday season.
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 01:34 PM PST
NEW ORLEANS - How do all those coats donated to Coats for Kids get to the kids?
The first stop is Young's Dry Cleaning.
And they get there thanks to the folks from Blaze Courier Express who donate their trucks, their time and their drivers.
WGNO News with a Twist features guy Wild Bill Wood is on the road with Charles Wolf. Charles is on his way with some pretty precious cargo.
If you have a coat to donate, you can take it to any one of the following locations:
ST. TAMMANY PARISH
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 01:31 PM PST
METAIRIE, La - It's been a busy day at St. Catherine of Siena School.
WGNO News with a Twist features guy Wild Bill Wood is there because it's Coats for Kids Day.
Every year, around this time, kids bring coats, slightly loved, maybe even new, to give other kids who don't have coats.
It's our mission here at News with a Twist and WGNO to warm up kids who'd otherwise have to face a cold season.
Like the kids from St. Catherine of Siena, you can help, too.
If you have a coat for a kid, you can donate until January 21 at any of these locations:
ST. TAMMANY PARISH
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 01:25 PM PST
NEW YORK– Variety reports that during a two-month investigation done by the magazine, they talked to three women who claim they were sexually harassed by Matt Lauer.
Some of the claims, according to Variety, include that Lauer reportedly giving a colleague a sex toy as a present, including an explicit note about how he wanted to use it on her.
Another report claims he called a female employee to his office, dropped his pants and showed her his penis. The Variety report claims after the employee didn’t do anything, he reprimanded her for not engaging in a sexual act with him.
The Variety article goes on to say that despite Lauer being married, according to accounts from more than 10 current or former employees, he was fixated on women, their bodies and their looks, and was known for making lewd comments.
On Wednesday, Lauer was fired from NBC News after an employee filed a complaint about “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace,” the network announced.
Savannah Guthrie made the announcement at the top of the “Today” show. “We are devastated,” she said.
His sudden ouster came as a shock to viewers — but not as a complete surprise to his “Today” show colleagues. They knew that multiple news outlets were investigating Lauer’s off-camera conduct.
One of those outlets, The New York Times, was in touch with an accuser who then met with NBC lawyers and human resources officials on Monday evening.
The accuser’s attorney, Ari Wilkenfeld, said in a statement that he and his client met with representatives from NBC’s human resources and legal department on Monday at 6 p.m.
“Over the course of several hours, my client detailed egregious acts of sexual harassment and misconduct by Mr. Lauer. In fewer than than 35 hours, NBC investigated and removed Mr. Lauer,” Wilkenfeld said. “Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly and responsibly, as all companies should when confronted with credible allegations about sexual misconduct in the workplace. It is our hope that NBC will continue to do what it can to repair the damage done to my client—their employee—and any other women who may come forward. While I am impressed by NBC’s response to date, I am awed by the courage my client showed to be the first to raise a complaint and to do so without making any demands other than asking the company do the right thing. This is how the system should work.”
An investigation ensued on Tuesday. A decision was made to terminate his employment on Tuesday evening — a swift turnaround time.
NBC News chairman Andrew Lack, a close friend of Lauer’s, called and talked with him, according to a source with knowledge of the process.
Lack told staffers on Wednesday morning that Lauer was accepting of the decision and expressed remorse, the source said.
The details of the woman’s complaint have not been made public. But Lack said in a memo to staff that “it represented, after serious review, a clear violation of our company’s standards.”
The source said the woman alleged that the inappropriate behavior occurred while Lauer was in Russia covering the Winter Olympics in 2014.
An NBC News spokeswoman declined to comment.
Lack’s memo said it was the first complaint lodged against Lauer in his career at the network. But it also said “we were also presented with reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident.”
Indeed, Lack and other NBC News executives have known for weeks that The Times and Variety magazine were working on investigations into Lauer’s behavior.
Variety’s New York bureau chief Ramin Setoodeh said on Twitter that he and his colleague Elizabeth Wagmeister have been doing reporting “about serious sexual harassment allegations against Lauer” for two months.
“NBC was aware” of the reporting, Wagmeister tweeted. “There are multiple women we’ve spoken to with far-ranging accusations against Lauer. The power of journalism has never been more evident with this cultural change.”
A spokeswoman for Lauer said he has no comment at this time. Lauer may release a statement later on Wednesday.
The firing of Lauer removes one of the most recognizable personalities on television at a time when morning news programs are increasingly important to network news divisions.
“This is a sad morning at ‘Today’ and NBC News,” Guthrie said at the top of the 7 a.m. hour. “As I’m sure you can understand, we are devastated. I’m heartbroken for Matt.”
Guthrie also said she was heartbroken for the woman who accused Lauer of misconduct, noting “it’s long overdue” that women feel comfortable coming forward against abusive men.
Kotb, on the set with Guthrie, said she has known Lauer for years and “loved him as a friend and a colleague.”
“It’s hard to reconcile the man who walks in every day” with the person who was identified in the complaint, she said.
Lauer, 59, was named a co-anchor of “Today” in January 1997 after three years as the newsreader.
He co-anchored NBC’s coverage of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and other historic news events.
His contract calls for him to be paid tens of millions a year. It reportedly ran through 2018.
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 01:10 PM PST
Garrison Keillor, a fixture of public radio and the creator of “A Prairie Home Companion,” has been fired because of allegations of misconduct.
Minnesota Public Radio said it was terminating its contracts with Keillor and his private media companies, citing “allegations of his inappropriate behavior with an individual who worked with him.” It did not elaborate on the nature of the allegations.
“I’ve been fired over a story that I think is more interesting and more complicated than the version MPR heard,” Keillor said in a statement posted to his website. “It’s some sort of poetic irony to be knocked off the air by a story, having told so many of them myself, but I’m 75 and don’t have any interest in arguing about this.”
“I cannot in conscience bring danger to a great organization I’ve worked hard for since 1969. I am sorry for all the poets whose work I won’t be reading on the radio and sorry for the people who will lose work on account of this. But my profound feeling is that of gratitude, especially to my wife Jenny, and for this painful experience that has brought us even closer together.”
Keillor added that he is “deeply grateful,” for his years working on “A Prairie Home Companion,” and other productions.
MPR, which produces “A Prairie Home Companion,” said it was notified of the allegations last month, and that they related to his conduct while he was responsible for production of the show.
Keillor, 75, created the folksy variety program in 1974 and hosted it for decades until he retired last year.
MPR said it will stop rebroadcasting episodes of “A Prairie Home Companion” from the Keillor era. It also said it will change the name of the show, which is now hosted by Chris Thile.
“Garrison Keillor has been an important part of the growth and success of MPR, and all of us in the MPR community are saddened by these circumstances,” said MPR president Jon McTaggart.
The radio network said that it retained an outside law firm to conduct an investigation.
Keillor, in an op-ed for The Washington Post published on Tuesday, had defended Minnesota Democratic Senator Al Franken, who was recently accused by Leeann Tweeden of groping and kissing her without her consent during a USO tour in 2006.
Keillor wrote that calls for Franken to resign were “pure absurdity.”
Speaking to the National Press Club in 1994 about his work on “A Prairie Home Companion,” Keillor made an aside about sexual harassment. “We should be careful though not to make the world so fine and good that you and I can’t enjoy living in it,” he said. “A world in which there is no sexual harassment at all is a world in which there will not be any flirtation.”
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 12:59 PM PST
The Twitter account of US President Donald Trump on Wednesday retweeted three inflammatory videos posted by the deputy leader of the UK far-right group Britain First. Here’s what we know about it.
Founded as a political party in 2011, Britain First is an ultra-nationalist organization that opposes immigration and claims to have “a proven track record of opposing Islamic militants and hate preachers.”
According to Searchlight, a magazine that investigates and reports on far-right and fascist groups, Britain First emerged as a splinter group following a collapse in support for the far-right British National Party.
But it is far from being a mainstream organization in the UK. It has no elected representatives at any level of British politics and was “deregistered” as a political party earlier this month by the UK Electoral Commission. Its occasional protests rarely attract crowds of more than a few dozen.
In its mission statement, Britain First describes itself as “a patriotic resistance and ‘frontline’ for our long suffering people” that will “restore Christianity as the bedrock” of national life and put British workers first.
“We want our people to come first, before foreigners, asylum seekers or migrants and we are overtly proud of this stance,” it says. “We will not stand back and watch as our people are made second class citizens by leftwing-liberal policies and political correctness.”
The mission statement says that it would end all immigration to the UK.
The videos retweeted by Trump’s account allegedly depict Muslims assaulting people and, in one video, smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary.
They were posted by Jayda Fransen, the party’s deputy leader since 2014, who reacted jubilantly online, highlighting that the videos had been shared with Trump’s nearly 44 million followers. “GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP!” she wrote in all caps.
Fransen, who has about 60,000 followers of her own on Twitter, is no stranger to controversy — or the UK legal system.
She was found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment in November 2016 for abusing a Muslim woman wearing a hijab while she was with her four children. Fransen was fined.
She also faces four charges of causing religiously aggravated harassment as part of a Kent Police investigation into the distribution of leaflets and the posting of online videos during a rape trial of four men of Afghan origin in May. She pleaded not guilty to the charges at a court hearing in October, CNN affiliate ITV News reported.
On November 19, she was arrested and charged for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior after a speech made in Northern Ireland against terrorism. She has not yet entered a plea but in a Twitter video, party leader Paul Golding described the charges as without merit.
In 2015, a court temporarily barred Fransen and Golding from entering mosques or Islamic centers without prior invitation. Police had asked for the ban following a Britain First demonstration in Luton, a town with a large Muslim population, in which the group was accused of offensive actions and remarks. The following year, police obtained an injunction from the High Court that banned the pair from mosques for three years.
Britain First has not yet responded to a CNN request for comment.
On its website, Britain First says it “rejects racial hatred in all its forms” and that members of ethnic minorities regularly attend its events. CNN has not been able to verify that claim.
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 12:54 PM PST
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has postponed an anticipated grand jury testimony linked to his investigation into Michael Flynn amid growing indications of possible plea deal discussions.
Additional witnesses were expected to be questioned soon including a public relations consultant hired by Flynn’s lobbying firm who was given an early December date deadline to appear before the grand jury, according to a person at the company.
Ahead of the delay, the impression was that the testimony needed to happen soon, the source said.
“Time seems to be of the essence,” said the source at Sphere Consulting, the PR firm where the consultant worked.
The grand jury testimony was postponed, the person said, with no reason given. There could be many reasons for a delay, including scheduling issues.
The consultant’s expected testimony comes as the investigation into Trump’s former national security adviser’s business dealings has taken a new turn.
Flynn’s attorney told Trump’s legal team last week that he would no longer share information about the investigation, a move that signals Flynn is beginning conversations with the government that could involve a plea deal or a cooperation agreement. ABC News reported that Flynn’s attorney met with special counsel’s attorneys on Monday.
Sphere’s government relations arm, SGR LLC Government Relations and Lobbying, is one of several companies Flynn Intel Group hired to work for Inovo BV, a Netherlands-based company owned by Turkish businessman Ekim Alptekin, according to filing made by Flynn Intel Group under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Inovo hired Flynn to research Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric who Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused of being behind the 2016 attempted military coup to overthrow him, the filing said.
Inovo paid Flynn’s group $530,000 for the research, which was supposed result in a video documentary but it was never finished. Sphere’s SGR was paid $40,000.
Sphere has been cooperating for months with the investigation. The inquiry was originally opened before the appointment of the special counsel, according to the source. Sphere, which was subpoenaed around June, was described as “a cooperating witness at best.” Sphere has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Interviews conducted by special counsel investigators have included questions about the business dealings of Flynn and his son such as their firm’s reporting of income from work overseas, two witnesses interviewed by the team told CNN. The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires people acting as agents of foreign entities to publicly disclose their relationship with foreign countries or businesses and financial compensation for such work.
Another area of interest to Mueller’s team is Flynn’s alleged participation in discussions about the idea of removing Gulen, who has been living in exile in Pennsylvania, sources said. In the past, a spokesman for Flynn has denied that such discussions occurred. Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, has called reports of an alleged kidnapping scheme “outrageous” and “false.” Kelner could not be reached for comment.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for the special counsel, declined to comment.
Flynn disclosed its work for Inovo in a lobbying disclosure form in September 2016. Months later, in March 2017, it filed a FARA disclosure form stating “because of the subject matter of the engagement, Flynn Intel Group’s work for Inovo could be construed to have principally benefitted from the Republic of Turkey.”
Sphere entered the assignment in August 2016 when it was approached by Bijan Kian, Flynn’s business partner, to publicize the proposed documentary to promote investing in Turkey, according to the Sphere source. At Flynn’s direction Sphere created a Gulen-themed Monopoly graphic, according to Flynn’s FARA disclosure. A lawyer for Kian declined to comment. No explanation was given for why the graphic was created.
Two other consultants hired by Flynn, journalists David Enders and Rudi Bakhtiar, a former CNN anchor, were brought in to work on the documentary, according to the FARA form. The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the investigation, reported the Federal Bureau of Investigation has contacted Enders and Bakhtair to set up interviews. Enders and Bakhtiar have not responded to CNN’s requests for comment.
The documentary was never completed. But Sphere did place Flynn’s election day op-ed on Gulen in The Hill newspaper, according to the source at the company and the FARA filing. Flynn’s FARA filing distances that op-ed from the work he did for Inovo acknowledging it was shared with Inovo but: “To the best of our knowledge, Inovo did not communicate with the Republic of Turkey regarding the op-ed or provide the draft op-ed to the government.”
Through Flynn and Kian, Sphere met Alptekin, the Turkish businessman, who wanted Sphere to do PR work to get Gulen extradited, according to the source at Sphere.
According to a memo sent to Flynn’s firm, Sphere told Alptekin in November, when the firm first met with him, that none of this should be done through a publicity campaign, but rather should pursued through lawsuits.
Posted: 29 Nov 2017 12:51 PM PST
After a nearly two-month search, Tampa police arrested and charged a 24-year-old man with four counts of murder in connection to a series of fatal shootings that had terrified residents in the city’s Seminole Heights neighborhood.
Howell Donaldson III was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon at a nearby McDonald’s after police recovered a gun that they said had been used in the four killings.
Donaldson admitted that he owned the gun but did not admit to the killings, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said, but police are convinced that they finally caught the person responsible.
“We’ve had other guns, but we knew this was the one,” Dugan said. “Now the work begins to shore up the case and get a full prosecution.”
The arrest came 51 days after the first of four shootings in Seminole Heights, each of which targeted citizens doing ordinary things, like waiting at a bus stop or crossing the street. The four seemingly unconnected victims were each killed — but not robbed — while walking alone at night within a half-mile area, police said, leading to fears of a serial killer on the loose.
In the past month, officers swarmed the tree-lined neighborhood, advising residents not to go outside alone, to be alert and keep their porch lights on. Some residents stopped walking their dogs, running outside, going for walks or waiting for the bus alone, saying they no longer felt safe.
Police said they didn’t yet know the motive for the killings or why the Seminole Heights neighborhood was chosen.
“he was friendly and nice to the cops, but he didn’t give us anything, tell us why he was doing it or anything like that,” Dugan said.
For weeks, officials had said they were not calling the shooter a serial killer. But on Wednesday, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said he was proud of the city, which “has now spent the last 51 days dealing with a serial killer.”
Police said they received a tip on Tuesday around 2:40 p.m. from a McDonald’s employee about a man who had a gun in a bag at the fast food restaurant. The McDonald’s is about two to three miles from where the killings took place.
Donaldson worked at that McDonald’s, Dugan said, and went there earlier in the day. He gave a coworker a gun in a paper bag for safe-keeping, the chief said. The coworker then gave the weapon to a police officer, who called for backup and detained Donaldson for more questioning.
The coworker told police that Donaldson had expressed his intention to leave the state, according to the criminal affidavit.
Donaldson purchased a Glock firearm on October 3 and picked it up on October 7 after the mandatory waiting period, the affidavit states. He also purchased SIG brand Smith & Wesson .40 caliber ammunition on October 7, according to the affidavit.
In an interview with police, he said that no one else had control of the firearm since he purchased it, according to the affidavit. He also said he was unfamiliar with Seminole Heights.
Fired SIG brand Smith & Wesson .40 caliber cartridges were found at three of the shooting scenes, according to the affidavit. An examination of Donaldson’s Glock firearm and the cartridge casings recovered at the scenes showed that the casings had been fired from his weapon, the affidavit stated.
Location data on his cell phone corresponded to an address near the killings at times when three of the murders occurred, according to the affidavit.
In addition, the report states that Donaldson consented to a search of his vehicle, where police found clothing similar to that worn by the suspect in surveillance footage. The clothing appeared to have the presence of a suspected blood stain, the affidavit stated.
Dugan told reporters late Tuesday night about the arrest of Donaldson, even though they hadn’t finished drawing up the charges against him. He said they wanted to get out the news of the arrest quickly to reassure the Seminole Heights community.
“The real goal is to let the people of Seminole Heights be able to get a good night’s sleep,” Dugan said. “It’s been 51 days that they’ve been terrorized in their neighborhood and it is about letting these families know that we’re going to bring this person to justice, and letting this neighborhood get some rest.”
Donaldson is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Thursday. He has not retained an attorney and will likely be appointed one at his court appearance.
Suspect was on university basketball team
Donaldson attended St. John’s University in New York beginning in fall 2011 and graduated in January 2017, according to Brian Browne, executive director of University Relations.
He was a walk-on for the men’s basketball team during the 2011-2012 season but never played in a game, Browne said.
His freshman-year suitemate at St. John’s said Donaldson introduced himself as “Trai” in the fall of 2011. The suitemate, who asked to not be identified, said they lived in the same suite the entire year, until Donaldson got an off-campus apartment.
When college friends sent the former suitemate Donaldson’s mugshot early Wednesday morning, “my mouth dropped,” the former suitemate said, still in shock.
“It’s just like, what? Not Trai. I just don’t see what his motive would be.”
His first impression of Donaldson was that he was quiet, although the suitemate admitted that was typical the first few days of school. He said Donaldson had the best manners, dressed very well, and was a sneakerhead.
He said he never saw him angry, and at parties, he said Donaldson was a wallflower.
“[Trai was] just a regular guy,” the former suitemate said. “Nothing stood out as violent.”
Officials said they still had several unanswered questions about the motive for the killings.
“We’re still trying to figure out this person’s ties to the neighborhood,” Dugan said. “We’re not sure why he was in this neighborhood or what his motive is. There’s still a lot more to go in this investigation.”
The victims seem to have been selected at random, leaving the community on edge as the number of unsolved shootings mounted.
Relief in Tampa
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who had visited Seminole Heights last week, said he had seen “firsthand the pain that these crimes have caused across the community.”
“In Florida, we have absolutely zero tolerance for this type of evil behavior and anyone responsible will be held to the fullest extent of the law,” he said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Scott thanked Tampa police and other law enforcement agencies for working around the clock to solve the confounding case.
“Why somebody would have it in their mind to go take four individuals’ lives, I just don’t get it,” Scott said. “And I don’t know that we’ll ever understand.”
Buckhorn praised the “tired” law enforcement authorities who had worked 24 hours a day to solve this case.
“Today was a good day. Today, the good guys won. Today, Seminole Heights can sleep,” he said.
“Today we begin the healing process. And today, the judicial process starts. And it will end. And I can promise you that when it does end, that this community will be a better place. Because I know where this guy is gonna spend his eternity.”
Family member reaction to arrest
Maria Rodriguez, the stepmother of Naiboa, told CNN she was happy no more people will be harmed.
“We’re relieved to a point. Justice has been served so far,” she said.
Rodriguez said her family plans to follow the legal proceedings in the case.
“I want to be there because I want this person to get the death penalty,” she said.
In late October, Dugan released blurry video of a “person of interest” wearing a hooded jacket casually walking down a street near one of the killings.
The police chief released new video about two weeks ago showing a similar-looking person with the same gait who was present near the last shooting, that of Felton. The person in the video, Dugan said then, had become a suspect.
Based on a witness statement, Dugan initially described the suspect as a black male between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches with a thin build and a light complexion. The surveillance images were in black and white.
The suspect was wearing all black and a black baseball cap and armed with a large black pistol, police said.
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