North Korea promises no nuclear weapons use against South, hold talks with US – Trending Stuff

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised to not use nuclear or conventional weapons against South Korea and expressed willingness to hold talks with the United States on denuclearization, Seoul said on Tuesday after a rare two-day visit to Pyongyang.

The Hermit Kingdom added that it’s willing to give up its nuclear weapons if military threats against North Korea subsides, South Korea’s presidential national security director Chung Eui-yong said in comments hours after leaving Pyongyang.

Kim Jong Un and South Korean National Security Director Chung Eui-yong in Pyongyang.  (KCNA via KNS)

“The North side clearly affirmed its commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and said it would have no reason to possess nuclear weapons should the safety of its regime be guaranteed and military threats against North Korea removed,” Chung said in a statement, according to Yonhap News Agency.

WHAT KIM JONG UN’S SISTER REALLY MEANS WHEN CALLING FOR NORTH AND SOUTH ‘UNIFICATION’

“[North Korea] made it clear that while dialogue is continuing, it will not attempt any strategic provocations, such as nuclear and ballistic missile tests.”

– Chung Eui-yong, national security director of South Korea

Chung, who led a 10-member South Korean delegation to Pyongyang for the two-day visit, said the North is ready to have “heart-to-heart” talks with the U.S. about the regime’s potential denuclearization and normalization between the countries.

“It made it clear that while dialogue is continuing, it will not attempt any strategic provocations, such as nuclear and ballistic missile tests,” the statement continued.

North and South Korea agreed to hold summit talks in April at the border. The leaders will establish a “hotline” communication channel to lower military tensions, Chung added.

Kim Jong Un and Chung Eui-yong talked during a two-day visit.  (KCNA via KNS)

The comments mark a major change in tone after months of bombastic threats by the rogue regime to keep developing its nuclear and missile program. Last month’s Pyeongchang Olympics sparked the first talks between the two Koreas that followed a flurry of cooperative steps taken to ease tensions during the Winter Games.

North Korea sent a delegation of athletes, cheerleaders, art troupe and officials to Pyeongchang for the Olympics. Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, labeled by the South’s media as “Kim Jong Un’s Ivanka,” attended the opening ceremony and met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in over a three-day visit. At one point, she even wrote of her “wishes” for closer ties in a guest book at South Korea’s presidential office.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong met during the Winter Olympics.  (Reuters)

“I expect Pyongyang and Seoul to get closer in the hearts of our [Korean] people and the future of unification and prosperity will be advanced,” Kim wrote in Korean in the guest book, according to Yonhap News Agency.

KIM JONG UN’S HARD CURRENCY EXPECTED TO RUN DRY BY OCTOBER, SOUTH KOREAN LAWMAKER SAYS

But the “future of unification” phrase means something far more sinister for the Kim family and his regime. North Korea has touted unification as a “final victory” to the Korean War that ended in an armistice in 1953. In Pyongyang’s view, “unification” means Kim’s brutal dictatorship would overcome the South’s government.

There have been two summits, one in 2000 and another in 2007, held between Kim’s late father, Kim Jong Il, and two liberal South Korean presidents. They resulted in a series of cooperative projects between the Koreas that were scuttled during subsequent conservative administrations in South Korea.

Kim’s apparent olive branch to South Korea and the U.S. comes after months of mounting sanctions against the volatile regime. Kang Seok-ho, of the Liberty Korea Party, previously said the despot is scrambling to keep his regime afloat best the international sanctions was crippling his economy.

“I received an analysis that, if international sanctions against the North continue like this, all of North Korea’s foreign currency earnings and overseas assets will be frozen, and its dollar [reserves] will dry up around October,” Kang said. “At a time like this, our government should further strengthen cooperation with the international community on sanctions against the North.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also said in mid-January there was “a lot of evidence that these sanctions are starting to hurt” North Korea.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

Amazon working to fix Alexa after users report random burst of ‘creepy’ laughter – Trending Stuff

The company acknowledged the issue after some reported their devices had developed an unsettling new skill

The robot wars are coming, and Alexa will have the last laugh.

Amazon acknowledged on Wednesday that some of its Alexa-enabled devices have developed a new skill: creeping out their owners with unexpected and unwarranted bursts of robotic laughter.

Were aware of this and working to fix it, the company told the Verge.

People began reporting the problem with their smart speakers on social media in recent weeks. So my mom & I are just sitting in the living room, neither of us said a word & our Alexa lit up and laughed for no reason, tweeted one woman, Taylor Wade, on 5 March. She didnt even say anything, just laughed.

CaptHandlebar (@CaptHandlebar)

So Alexa decided to laugh randomly while I was in the kitchen. Freaked @SnootyJuicer and I out. I thought a kid was laughing behind me. pic.twitter.com/6dblzkiQHp

February 23, 2018

Another Twitter user reported that Alexa began laughing in the middle of an office conversation: I asked why she laughed and she said, Sorry, I am not sure.

Gavin Hightower (@GavinHightower)

Lying in bed about to fall asleep when Alexa on my Amazon Echo Dot lets out a very loud and creepy laugh… theres a good chance I get murdered tonight.

February 26, 2018

Amazon did not immediately respond to queries from the Guardian about the nature or cause of the apparent bug, but terrifying your customer base is likely a bad move for a company trying to convince people to install a listening device in their bedrooms.

Wade at least had a simple enough solution to the problem, however: We unplugged her.

After the publication of this article, Amazon announced a fix and apparent explanation for the ghostly laughter. The company suggested in an email that the laughs had occurred in rare circumstances because the speaker was picking up a false positive for the command Alexa, laugh.

Amazon will change the command for laughter to Alexa, can you laugh? and disable the shorter command. It will also program Alexa to preface its simulacrum of human emotion with the phrase: Sure, I can laugh.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

Trump touts House Intel findings of ‘no evidence of collusion’ between campaign, Russia – Trending Stuff

President Donald Trump trumpeted the House Intelligence Committee’s report that it found “no evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians” in an all-caps Twitter post Monday night.

“THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION,” wrote Trump, reiterating the main finding from the panel’s 150-page draft report. 

“We didn’t find any evidence of collusion and I don’t think [special counsel Robert Mueller] will either,” Texas Republican Rep. Mike Conaway, who led the bipartisan investigation, said on “Special Report.”

“We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”

– House Intelligence Committee, Majority Staff

The top Democrat on the committee, California Rep. Adam Schiff, responded to Trump with tweet saying that the panel’s Republicans “lack the courage to stand up to a President of their own party when the national interest necessitates it.”

The committee’s investigation was based on four topics: Russian active measures against the 2016 U.S. election, the U.S. government’s response to the attack, links between Russians and the Trump and Clinton campaigns, and purported leaks of classified information.

“We believe we’ve got the information necessary to answer those for the American people,” Conaway said.

The report also noted that based on its investigation which lasted more than a year, the committee disagreed with the intelligence community’s assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a “supposed preference” for then-candidate Donald Trump.

Rep. Mike Conaway, right, with Rep. Adam Schiff.  (AP, File)

“We disagree with the Intelligence Community’s position that Putin favored Trump,” Conaway told Fox News. He said he had “no contact” with the White House during the probe.

The majority staff on the committee is expected to send the draft report to the minority staff on Tuesday. Once the draft report is adopted by committee Democrats, the report will be submitted to the intelligence community for a declassification review, and following that process, it will be released to the public, officials said, though the timeline at this point is unknown.

“The report’s completion will signify the closure of one chapter in the Committee’s robust oversight of the threat posed by Moscow—which began well before the investigation and will continue thereafter,” Conaway said.  

Schiff, however, fought back. “While the Majority members of our committee have indicated for some time that they have been under great pressure to end the investigation, it is nonetheless another tragic milestone for this Congress, and represents yet another capitulation to the executive branch. By ending its oversight role in the only authorized investigation in the House, the Majority has placed the interests of protecting the President over protecting the country, and history will judge its actions harshly,” the Democratic lawmaker said.

The draft report included 40 other findings, including how Russians used social media to “sow discord” in 2015 and 2016, a “lackluster” pre-election response to Russian measures, how “anti-Trump research” made its way from Russian sources to the Clinton campaign, and “problematic contacts between senior Intelligence Community officials and the media.”

The report also included more than 25 recommendations for Congress and the executive branch to improve election security, U.S. government response to cyberattacks, campaign finance transparency, and counterintelligence practices related to political campaigns and unauthorized disclosures.

“Campaign finance disclosures ought to be a little more wholesome,” Conaway said on “Special Report” referring to the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee’s filing of payments for “opposition research” leading to the anti-Trump dossier as legal matters.

The report’s recommendations on handling leaks are serious, according to Conaway. 

“Leaks of classified information are criminal,” he said. “Leaks can get people killed.”

A committee source told Fox News that the “investigation” portion of the probe was complete, meaning the committee would not interview any additional witnesses as part of its effort.

“I’m sure [committee Democrats] will disagree with bringing the interview phase to a close,” Conaway told Fox News. “I’m sure they will have specific folks they wanted to interview.”

Conaway said that the Republicans on the committee wanted to interview former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but said Schiff “wanted to delay us.” Once Manafort was indicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, the committee decided not to call him for an interview.

Conaway also said that he did not “anticipate” pursuing contempt proceedings against former Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon or any other witnesses who did not respond favorably to the committee’s questioning.

Conaway took over the probe when House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., stepped down in April 2017 after he was accused of making “unauthorized disclosures of classified information, in violation of House Rules, law regulations, or other standards of conduct,” according to the House Ethics Committee which investigated the allegations. Nunes supporters at the time said that it was a “clever political trick” by the Democrats.

“After more than a year, the Committee has finished its Russia investigation and will now work on completing our report,” Nunes said in a statement Monday. “I’d like to thank Congressmen Trey Gowdy, Tom Rooney, and especially Mike Conaway for the excellent job they’ve done leading this investigation. I’d also like to recognize the hard work undertaken by our other Committee members as well as our staff. Once the Committee’s final report is issued, we hope our findings and recommendations will be useful for improving security and integrity for the 2018 midterm elections.”

“When we began our investigation into what occurred leading up to the 2016 elections, our ultimate goal was to make timely recommendations for Congress, the executive branch and for states to improve election security in advance of the 2018 election. The clock is ticking,” committee member Tom Rooney, R-Fla., said. “We’re now nine months out, and the threat of Russian interference has not diminished. Make no mistake: this is a close to just one chapter in the threat posed by Moscow – which began well before the investigation – but our work does not stop here, and this Committee’s oversight over Russian threats to the U.S. will continue.”

Republicans on the committee, though, have expanded their investigation of the Trump dossier, seeking answers from Obama administration officials, including a former staffer for Vice President Joe Biden. Nunes sent a questionnaire to the former Biden staffer, whose husband worked for Fusion GPS, the firm behind the dossier, seeking answers to when the administration was made aware of the dossier.

Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

Tom Petty died of accidental drug overdose, medical examiner says – Trending Stuff

(CNN)Musician Tom Petty died of an accidental drug overdose of several medications, a statement from his family, posted on tompetty.com, and a news release from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner said Friday.

“Despite this painful injury he insisted on keeping his commitment to his fans and he toured for 53 dates with a fractured hip and, as he did, it worsened to a more serious injury.

“On the day he died he was informed his hip had graduated to a full-on break and it is our feeling that the pain was simply unbearable and was the cause for his over use of medication,” according to the statement from Dana Petty, his wife, and Adria Petty, his daughter.

The medical examiner’s news release said the autopsy found these drugs in Petty’s system: fentanyl, oxycodone, acetyl fentanyl and despropionyl fentanyl, which are opioids; temazepam and alprazolam, which are sedatives; and citalopram, an antidepressant.

The cause of death was “multisystem organ failure due to resuscitated cardiopulmonary arrest due to mixed drug toxicity” and the manner of death was “accident,” the medical examiner’s news release said. Petty also suffered from coronary artery atherosclerosis and emphysema, it said.

Acetyl fentanyl has not been approved for medical use in the United States and there are no published studies on safety for human use. It is classified as a schedule I drug.

Fentanyl, a powerful prescription painkiller, has created a national health crisis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that of the more than 64,000 US overdose deaths in 2016 from all drugs, more than 20,000 were attributed to synthetic opioids, many of them related to fentanyl and its variations.

Fentanyl has previously struck the music world. Prince died of an overdose of the drug at his home in 2016.

Petty collapsed at his home in Malibu and was taken to UCLA Medical Center, where he died. At the time, his manager attributed the death to cardiac arrest.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers first came to fame in the 1970s, breaking through to the mainstream with their third album, “Damn the Torpedoes.”

With that group and as a solo artist, Petty had a string of hits across the decades, including “Free Fallin’,” “American Girl” and “I Won’t Back Down.” The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Petty collaborated with numerous artists over the years, including Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks, Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and the Grateful Dead. He joined fellow music legends Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison in 1988 to form The Traveling Wilburys.

Petty and the Heartbreakers had finished a summer tour with three performances at the Hollywood Bowl not long before his death.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly states the date of Petty’s death. He died on October 2, 2017.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

Categories CNN

House Intel finds ‘no evidence of collusion’ between Trump campaign and Russia – Trending Stuff

The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence said Monday it found “no evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” as its Russia investigation starts to come to a close.

Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who has led the committee’s bipartisan investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates during the 2016 presidential election, announced Monday that the panel had completed a more than 150-page draft report, with its initial findings and recommendations.

“We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians,” the committee said in a statement Monday.

“We have found no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”

– House Intelligence Committee, Majority Staff

“We didn’t find any evidence of collusion and I don’t think [Mueller] will either,” Conaway said on “Special Report.”

The committee’s investigation was based on four topics: Russian active measures against the 2016 U.S. election, the U.S. government’s response to the attack, links between Russians and the Trump and Clinton campaigns, and purported leaks of classified information.

“We believe we’ve got the information necessary to answer those for the American people,” Conaway said.

The report also noted that based on its investigation which lasted more than a year, the committee disagreed with the intelligence community’s assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a “supposed preference” for then-candidate Donald Trump.

Rep. Mike Conaway, right, with Rep. Adam Schiff.  (AP, File)

“We disagree with the Intelligence Community’s position that Putin favored Trump,” Conaway told Fox News. He said he had “no contact” with the White House during the probe.

The majority staff on the committee is expected to send the draft report to the minority staff, led by ranking member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., on Tuesday. Once the draft report is adopted by committee Democrats, the report will be submitted to the intelligence community for a declassification review, and following that process, it will be released to the public, officials said, though the timeline at this point is unknown.

“The report’s completion will signify the closure of one chapter in the Committee’s robust oversight of the threat posed by Moscow—which began well before the investigation and will continue thereafter,” Conaway said.  

Schiff, however, fought back. “While the Majority members of our committee have indicated for some time that they have been under great pressure to end the investigation, it is nonetheless another tragic milestone for this Congress, and represents yet another capitulation to the executive branch. By ending its oversight role in the only authorized investigation in the House, the Majority has placed the interests of protecting the President over protecting the country, and history will judge its actions harshly,” the Democratic lawmaker said.

The draft report included 40 other findings, including how Russians used social media to “sow discord” in 2015 and 2016, a “lackluster” pre-election response to Russian measures, how “anti-Trump research” made its way from Russian sources to the Clinton campaign, and “problematic contacts between senior Intelligence Community officials and the media.”

The report also included more than 25 recommendations for Congress and the executive branch to improve election security, U.S. government response to cyberattacks, campaign finance transparency, and counterintelligence practices related to political campaigns and unauthorized disclosures.

“Campaign finance disclosures ought to be a little more wholesome,” Conaway said on “Special Report” referring to the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee’s filing of payments for “opposition research” leading to the anti-Trump dossier as legal matters.

The report’s recommendations on handling leaks are serious, according to Conaway. 

“Leaks of classified information are criminal,” he said. “Leaks can get people killed.”

A committee source told Fox News that the “investigation” portion of the probe was complete, meaning the committee would not interview any additional witnesses as part of its effort.

“I’m sure [committee Democrats] will disagree with bringing the interview phase to a close,” Conaway told Fox News. “I’m sure they will have specific folks they wanted to interview.”

Conaway said that the Republicans on the committee wanted to interview former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, but said Schiff “wanted to delay us.” Once Manafort was indicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, the committee decided not to call him for an interview.

Conaway also said that he did not “anticipate” pursuing contempt proceedings against former Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon or any other witnesses who did not respond favorably to the committee’s questioning.

Conaway took over the probe when House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., stepped down in April 2017 after he was accused of making “unauthorized disclosures of classified information, in violation of House Rules, law regulations, or other standards of conduct,” according to the House Ethics Committee which investigated the allegations. Nunes supporters at the time said that it was a “clever political trick” by the Democrats.

“After more than a year, the Committee has finished its Russia investigation and will now work on completing our report,” Nunes said in a statement Monday. “I’d like to thank Congressmen Trey Gowdy, Tom Rooney, and especially Mike Conaway for the excellent job they’ve done leading this investigation. I’d also like to recognize the hard work undertaken by our other Committee members as well as our staff. Once the Committee’s final report is issued, we hope our findings and recommendations will be useful for improving security and integrity for the 2018 midterm elections.”

“When we began our investigation into what occurred leading up to the 2016 elections, our ultimate goal was to make timely recommendations for Congress, the executive branch and for states to improve election security in advance of the 2018 election. The clock is ticking,” committee member Tom Rooney, R-Fla., said. “We’re now nine months out, and the threat of Russian interference has not diminished. Make no mistake: this is a close to just one chapter in the threat posed by Moscow – which began well before the investigation – but our work does not stop here, and this Committee’s oversight over Russian threats to the U.S. will continue.”

Republicans on the committee, though, have expanded their investigation of the Trump dossier, seeking answers from Obama administration officials, including a former staffer for Vice President Joe Biden. Nunes sent a questionnaire to the former Biden staffer, whose husband worked for Fusion GPS, the firm behind the dossier, seeking answers to when the administration was made aware of the dossier.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/

‘They hate individual freedom’ – Trending Stuff

Wayne LaPierre spoke at CPAC in the wake of the Florida school shooting, mounting an unrepentant defense of gun rights

The head of the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) has broken his silence more than a week after the Florida school shooting with a vituperative attack on gun control advocates, accusing them of exploiting the tragedy to push their agenda.

Wayne LaPierre, whose lobby group faces an unprecedented challenge from the activism of students, including survivors of the massacre, sought to paint his opponents as elites and socialists hellbent on undermining Americans constitutional rights.

The elites dont care not one whit about Americas school system and schoolchildren, he told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the National Harbor in Maryland. If they truly cared, what they would do is they would protect them. For them, its not a safety issue, its a political issue.

They care more about control, and more of it. Their goal is to eliminate the second amendment and our firearms freedoms so they can eradicate all individual freedoms… They hate the NRA, they hate the second amendment, they hate individual freedom.

Addressing a sympathetic audience of conservative grassroots activists, LaPierre continued: They fantasise about more laws stopping what other laws have failed to stop. So many existing laws were ignored. They dont care if their laws work or not. They just want to get more laws to get more control over people. But the NRA the NRA does care.

The massacre of 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida, last week was the second deadliest shooting at an American public school and has spurred extraordinary protests across the country. The debate reached a watershed on Wednesday when students and teachers confronted US Senators in a noisy town hall event televised live by CNN; there were raucous cheers for the idea of sweeping bans on assault weapons.

LaPierres name was initially kept off the agenda at the annual CPAC to protect him from media scrutiny. The NRA often prefers to stay out of the spotlight in the wake of a major shooting.

LaPierre sought to put the warnings in the wider context of a socialist enemy within, who he said oppose our fundamental freedoms enshrined in the bill of rights. He claimed that the Communist Manifesto and Karl Marx were ascendent on university campuses, describing socialism as a political disease.

The NRA chief warned the packed ballroom: You should be anxious and you should be frightened. If these so-called European socialists take over the House and the Senate and, God forbid, they win the White House again our American freedoms could be lost and our country will be changed forever, and the first to go will be the second amendment to the US constitution the right to bear arms.

Pushing the same agenda on school security as Donald Trump, he insisted: The whole idea from some of our opponents that armed security makes us less safe is completely ridiculous. If thats true, armed security makes us less safe, lets just go ahead and remove it from everywhere.

He continued: We must immediately harden our schools. Every day young children are being dropped off at schools that are virtually wide open, soft targets for anyone bent on mass murder. It should not be easier for a madman to shoot up a school than a bank or jewellery store or some Hollywood gala.

Schools should be the hardest target in this country. Evil must be confronted with all necessary force to protect our kids.

He ended his speech, which was met with a standing ovation, by repeating the notorious mantra he had issued after the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012: To stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun.

In an earlier speech, the NRAs national spokeswoman singled out the media for criticism. Dana Loesch said: Many in legacy media love mass shootings. You guys love it. Now Im not saying that you love the tragedy. But I am saying that you love the ratings. Crying white mothers are ratings gold to you.

Under intense public pressure, there has been speculation that Trump might use his credibility with Republicans to take on the NRA, one of his strongest backers. But on Thursday he tweeted full support: What many people dont understand, or dont want to understand, is that Wayne, Chris [Cox] and the folks who work so hard at the @NRA are Great People and Great American Patriots. They love our Country and will do the right thing. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

The president reaffirmed his proposal to address school shootings by giving some teachers guns, tweeting that it would be a great deterrent to killers. He suggested a little bit of a bonus for trained teachers who are armed.

Trump, who held a listening session with students and parents on Wednesday, also said he would advocate for tightening background checks for gun buyers, with an emphasis on mental health, and lifting the age limit to 21 to buy some types of guns policies less likely to please the powerful pro-gun lobby group.

Many attendees at CPAC expressed support for the idea of arming teachers.

Debi Millman, a fundraiser based in Los Angeles, suggested it was more realistic than restricting a country already awash with guns. How many millions of them are there? Youre never going to be able to keep evil out. A better solution for me is have the schools be able to defend themselves. If criminals know that if they attack a school theyll get their heads blown off, thats a good idea.

Randi Green, a personal trainer from Los Angeles, interjected: Except for the fact most teachers are liberals and would baulk at the idea.

Green was sceptical about the students at Parkland who had been speaking out. Theyre definitely being manipulated, she said. Everybody has a voice but these are young kids and I dont think they know better than lawmakers. I thought they were very disrespectful in the way they speak to people. I think the parents are rooting them on.

Scott Pio, 33, wearing a red Make America great again cap, also backed the proposal for teachers to carry and conceal firearms. We can arm everybody else around important people, why cant we arm everybody around our students, especially as they are soft targets? What are people so afraid of? Even city council managers are already protected by guns.

Pio, a software engineer from Fairfax, Virginia, also suggested making schools more secure, with only one point of entry, and increasing the number of security guards on site. But he was opposed to a ban on semi-automatic weapons. There are plenty of people in rural areas who use guns to protect their homes and go hunting. But Im OK with raising the age to 21 for assault rifles.

Chris Davis, 44, a police officer from Pennsylvania, said he was impressed by the students who have spoken out but criticised liberal campaigners demanding tighter gun controls. These same people say President Trump is a tyrant. The reason you have the second amendment is to protect yourself from a tyrant.

Todd McKinley, 40, a retired soldier from Kingsport, Tennessee, added: The left called him Hitler, but then they want to grab all guns just like Hitler did.

bottom

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

‘I hear you’ – Trump uses cue card to remind him to listen to shooting survivors – Trending Stuff

The US president was pictured holding a briefing note that appeared to be a reminder for him to show empathy to school shooting survivors visiting the White House

Briefing notes captured by photographers at US president Donald Trumps White House listening session with survivors of gun violence show that he needed to be reminded to say I hear you.

Close-up pictures of the note revealed that it had five points, of which the first was a reminder to ask the question: What would you most want me to know about your experience. The second question listed is: What can we do to make you feel safe?

The presidents note also prompted Trump to ask survivors for their ideas, or what resources they think might be needed.

But it is the final note I hear you that has attracted the most criticism, with the implication that without a prompt the president would be unable to show sympathy towards those affected by school shootings, some of whom had travelled from Florida for the occasion.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

‘Pillar of the community’ deported from US after 39 years to a land he barely knows – Trending Stuff

Amman, Jordan (CNN)With nothing but the clothes on his back and less than $300 in his pocket, Amer Adi was put on a planeand deported to Jordan, the country he left 39 years ago to pursue his American dream.

As he walked out, his siblings, nephews and nieces broke out in cheers. But they were soon in tears.

Adi fell to his knees, a broken man in his mother’s arms. 

“I have mixed feelings, very mixed feelings. I’m so happy, so glad to be here, my home, to see my mother, my brother, my family, my friends, that makes me proud and happy,” Adi told CNN at the airport. 

“At the same time, I feel so sad of what happened to me. I’m so sorry to tell you what happened is unjust, not right, and everyone back there knows that. What the Trump administration is doing is — you can’t even explain it,” said Adi.

Adi lived in America for nearly 40 years. He has a wife who is a US citizen, and four daughters who are also US citizens. He owns several businesses in his adopted hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. A week ago, he was deported. 

For more than 20 years, his life has been a legal battle. But with the help of an Ohio congressman, he was able to remain in the US. That all changed when US President Donald Trump took office last year and doubled down on immigration.  

Since he entered office, Trump has called for a sweeping overhaul of the immigration system, and has empowered federal authorities to ramp up arrests and deportations of undocumented immigrants

Immigration arrests have increased by 42% since Trump took office, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The legal battle

In the 1980s, Adi held a green card. But he lost his permanent resident status in the early 1990s, after moving to Brazil for three years with his wife. When he returned, Adi tried to apply for a new card, but was rejected.

Immigration officials accused him of having a sham marriage with his American ex-wife.

 His ex-wife had signed a statement alleging marriage fraud. According to Adi, his lawyer and multiple media interviews with Adi’s ex-wife, she was coerced into making the statement after immigration officials showed up at her door.

In 2007, she signed an affidavit retracting her statement and denying the marriage was fraudulent.

Despite the affidavit, he was unable to gain legal status. In 2009, he was issued with a deportation order.                                                                                                                              

A ‘pillar’ of the community

Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan describes Adi as a “pillar” of their community, who creates jobs with his multiple businesses and distributes hundreds of turkeys to the poor on Thanksgiving.

For years, the House Democrat has been fighting for Adi to remain in America and it was his efforts that secured consecutive stays of the deportation order.

“If you would see the breadth of support that this gentleman has, from whether it’s his Italian-Irish Catholic congressman or an African-American Pentecostal Republican woman who is supporting him or the working-class people I saw in his shop the day they thought he was going to get deported … to show support for him,” Ryan told CNN in an interview.

Among Adi’s businesses are a hooka bar, a convenience store and a deli. 

“He has a Jewish attorney whose father survived the Holocaust … this person has brought this community together in Youngstown, Ohio,” Ryan added.

While Adi’s deportation order was issued in 2009, ICE did not proceed with the deportation. He was, instead, required to routinely check in with the agency, which he was diligent about, according to his lawyer David Leopold. In 2013, Ryan presented a private bill — legislation specific to a person and not affecting overall policy — to Congress, which would get him a more thorough review of his case. He has presented the bill several times since then.

Having the private bill in motion meant Adi was granted a two-year stay. Under Trump, though, ICE reduced the deportation stay to six months, according to Ryan.

Last September, an ICE field office put an ankle bracelet with a GPS monitor on Adi. He was then told to make arrangements to leave the US, according to his lawyer. 

In a statement to CNN, ICE said that he would be allowed to return only if the bill is finally passed.

“While ICE acknowledges Congress’s authority to pass legislation providing immigration benefits to non-citizens, alien beneficiaries need not be present in the United States for a private immigration relief bill to be introduced, considered and/or enacted.  An alien who is granted relief through the enactment of a private immigration bill can lawfully travel back to the United States,” the statement read. 

 After conducting a comprehensive review of Adi’s case, ICE said in the statement that it has chosen not to grant a stay of removal.

Over the past decade, Adi’s immigration case has “undergone exhaustive judicial review at multiple levels of the nation’s courts, including before the immigration courts, federal appeals courts and U.S. district court. In each review, the courts have held that Adi does not have a legal basis to remain in the US,” ICE said in the statement.

Adi’s last few months were a rollercoaster of emotions, expecting deportation amid the ramped-up crackdown on illegal immigration across the US as part of the Trump administration’s stance on the issue.

Adi and his second wife Fidaa, a US citizen, arranged to leave the United States at their own expense in early January. They sold the family home and prepared to say goodbye to everyone.

“ICE agents were to meet them at the airport and remove his ankle bracelet before he boarded the flight,” Adi’s attorney told CNN. “On January 4th, ICE called to say that they canceled the departure date — that he should not depart as scheduled and that no new date was set.” 

But according to Leopold, Adi was asked instead to report to ICE local headquarters on January 15 for a routine check-in to discuss the case. Adi was escorted by several supporters including Ryan, but he was taken into custody without being given a reason.

Adi was not able to see his family before being put on a plane to Amman on January 30.

A 40% rise in arrests

Over the past year tens of thousands have been arrested by ICE, according to Human Rights Watch. Many, like Adi, are deeply rooted in their communities and have no criminal convictions.

More undocumented immigrants have been arrested under the Trump administration, while deportations have lagged behind the rates of the Obama administration.

Last year, ICE’s deputy Director Thomas D. Homan said that under Trump’s administration, undocumented immigrants “should be afraid,” explaining that anyone who has violated the law should be looking over their shoulder. ICE has made clear that while they still prioritize criminals, they also prioritize undocumented immigrants with final deportation orders and do not consider anyone exempt from being arrested or put into deportation proceedings.

“I don’t think there is any question that this is the new normal … To watch these families get ripped apart is the most heart-breaking thing any American citizen could ever see … Because you are for these families, it doesn’t mean you are not for a secure border,” said Ryan.

 “I am for a humane pathway for good people who want to participate in the American dream and who have contributed to this country for 40 years and are an American in every sense of the word,” he said.

A day after arriving in Amman, a city he barely recognizes now, Adi was still in shock and disbelief.

“The American dream started 40 years ago for me … I built this whole thing scratch from nothing. Even if anybody wants to stop that American dream, I won’t let them. I’m going to keep the fight going,” an emotional Adi told CNN.

The hardest thing, he said, is being away from his family.

“I miss my wife, the kids,” he said, choking back tears. “I miss Youngstown. I miss everybody.”

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

Categories CNN

Paul Ryan deletes tweet about tax cuts after Twitter backlash – Trending Stuff

Washington (CNN)House Speaker Paul Ryan deleted a tweet Saturday touting the GOP tax overhaul after critics called him out for appearing out of touch with the reality of low-income individuals’ financial situations.

“A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week … she said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for the year,” Ryan tweeted with a link to the full article.

A basic Costco membership costs $60 a year.

People, including several prominent Democrats, noted on social media that $1.50 per week is not a significant pay bump.

“Paul Ryan deleted his embarrassing tweet of a blatant admission because he and Republicans don’t want you to know the truth: the #GOPTaxScam is a gift to corporate America and the top 1% at your expense,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, tweeted. “He also doesn’t want you to know he got $500.000.00 from the Koch family.”

Jon Favreau, a former Obama staffer, tweeted: “As a thank you for passing a $1 trillion corporate tax cut, Paul Ryan received $500,000 in campaign contributions from the Koch brothers, which would probably cover the cost of buying a Costco.”

“Remember, if you don’t think benefits like an extra $1.50 a week and free Hostess snacks are good enough, you’re the one who’s out of touch,” he added.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, also tweeted a link to the since-deleted Ryan tweet, writing: “Wells Fargo, fresh off of defrauding millions of Americans, gets $3.4 billion.”

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted with a screen shot of Ryan’s tweet: “Guess someone told Paul Ryan you shouldn’t go around praising yourself for giving a working person an extra $1.50 a week — because he deleted this tweet.”

Ryan’s office did not immediately return CNN’s request for comment.

Ryan’s challenger also took the opportunity to fundraise off the flub.

Randy Bryce, the Democrat running to unseat Ryan in Wisconsin, tweeted: “Moments ago, @PRyan deleted this tweet after we told him just how out of touch he was. Show Paul Ryan what you think of his tax bill. Chip in $1.50 now to help us repeal and replace Ryan permanently this November.”

Republicans passed a major tax overhaul in December, which was considered one of Ryan’s primary focuses in Congress.

Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

Categories CNN

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel makes anti-GOP jabs after first professing positivity – Trending Stuff

The unique monster movie “The Shape of Water” took home the award for best picture at the 2018 Academy Awards on Sunday as host Jimmy Kimmel and some stars brought things to a political place during Hollywood’s biggest award show of the year with jabs at President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and even Fox News viewers.

Despite calling for a show filled with positivity, both the host and stars like Common, Kumail Nanjiani and Lupita Nyong’o made the movie-centric show political.

Kimmel began with an old-timey announcement in which he listed the stars in attendance, making his first political jab with “Black Panther” actress Lupita Nyong’o.

ANNE HATHAWAY TALKS ABOUT DRESS THAT SHOWED OFF WAY TOO MUCH

“The stunning Lupita Nyong’o, she was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya,” Kimmel said at the top of the show. “Let the tweetstorm from the president’s toilet begin!”

From there, the host launched into a positive monologue that poked fun at the whirlwind year in Hollywood, which saw the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements dominate the headlines and previous award shows. In commenting on the year’s diversity, he highlighted “Get Out” helmer Jordan Peele.

“We don’t make films like ‘Call Me By Your Name’ for money. We make them to upset Mike Pence.”

– Jimmy Kimmel

“Jordan is only the first person in 90 years to be nominated for directing, writing and best picture for his debut film,” he said. “What a debut it was. None other than President Trump called ‘Get Out’ the best first three quarters of a movie this year.”

The final political jab came when discussing the gay romance film “Call Me By Your Name.” The host noted that the film, despite being an Oscar-nominated feature, did not score big at the box office.

OSCAR DOUBLE STANDARD? ACCEPTANCE SPEECHES SHORT, MOVIE MONTAGES LONG

“We don’t make films like ‘Call Me By Your Name’ for money,” he quipped. “We make them to upset Mike Pence.”

He lauded the actual Oscar statue, noting its age of 90 and taking a swipe at Fox News viewers in the process: “Oscar is 90 years old tonight, which means he’s probably at home tonight watching Fox News.”

He also said the Oscar, “Keeps his hands where you can see them, never says a rude word, and most importantly no penis at all. He is literally a statue of limitations.”

Sam Rockwell took home the Oscar for best supporting role for his part in “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.”  (AP)

The host ended his opening monologue by explaining that winners are allowed to say whatever they want in their acceptance speech, encouraging people to comment on the recent shooting in Parkland, Fla. as well as other activism with regards to the #MeToo movement.

From there, the show launched into its first trophy of the evening, with Sam Rockwell taking home the Oscar for best supporting role for his part in “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

WEINSTEIN STILL A PRESENCE AT OSCARS

In later quips, the host commented on the recent departure of Hope Hicks from the White House, joking there was now a lack of hope at the White House.

Later, after the best documentary feature award went to “Icarus,” a film that portrays an unflattering look at doping in sports, particularly with regards to the recent scandal in Russia, Kimmel made another jab at the current political climate.

“Now at least we know Putin didn’t rig this competition, Right?”

“I did it all by myself,” Janney joked before launching into her speech, in which she thanked a bird.

Kimmel wasn’t the only one getting political throughout the night. Stars Kumail Nanjiani and Nyong’o took the stage to share a message of support to Dreamers ahead of announcing “Shape of Water” as the winner of best production design.

“Like everyone in this room and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers. We grew up dreaming of one day being in the movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood and dreams are the foundation of America,” Nyong’o said.

“To all the dreamers out there,” Nanjiani continued. “We stand with you.”

The next major award of the evening went to Allison Janney, who took home the Oscar for best actress in a supporting role for her work on “I, Tonya.”

“I did it all by myself,” she joked before launching into her real speech, which included a thanks to her bird co-star from the hit ice skating biopic. 

In the biggest stunt of the evening, Kimmel wanted to thank moviegoers for their contribution to the industry. He  enlisted the help of celebrity volunteers from the crowd to surprise a group of unsuspecting people at a nearby theater who thought they were seeing “A Wrinkle in Time.”

The starpower for the stunt included Ansel Elgort, Mark Hamill, Guillermo del Torro, Gal Gadot, Lupita Nyong’o, Emily Blunt, Armie Hammer, Lin Manuel Miranda and Margot Robbie

Kimmel and Gadot entered first before inviting the others in, armed with candy, a hot dog cannon and sandwiches.

“This is so much better than the Oscars,” Gadot said, before Kimmel noted that the theater had a stench of marijuana.

“It’s true,” she said. “Not that I would know.”

From there, Kimmel asked a random audience member to introduce Tiffany Haddish and Maya Rudolph to introduce the next category.

Dave Chappelle took the stage soon after to introduce a musical performance from Common and Andra Day to perform “Stand Up for Something” as an ode to American activism with politically charged lyrics about topics like the NRA, the Parkland shooting, immigration, feminism and Puerto Rico.

As they sang, famed activists Alice Brown Otter (Standing Rock Youth Council), Bana Alabed (author and Syrian refugee), Bryan Stevenson (Equal Justice Initiative), Cecile Richards (Planned Parenthood Action Fund), Dolores Huerta (Dolores Huerta Foundation, United Farm Workers of America), Janet Mock (#GirlsLikeUs), José Andrés (ThinkFoodGroup), Nicole Hockley (Sandy Hook Promise), Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter) and Tarana Burke (Me Too) took the stage behind them, with one holding up a Puerto Rican flag at the end of the performance.

Common and Andra Day performed a song accompanied by activists at the 2018 Oscars.  (Reuters)

After that, a pre-taped segment in which actors, directors and many more spoke about the diversity of the year and the rise of diversity and the “#MeToo” and Time’s Up movements. The segment was a complete about-face from last year, in which the awards were criticized for a total lack of diversity.

“Some of my favorite movies are movies by straight white dudes about straight white dudes,“ Nanjiani said in the video. ”Now straight white dudes can watch movies starring me and you relate to them. It’s not that hard, I’ve done it my whole life.”

“I remember going to see ‘Wonder Woman,’ sitting in the theater and hearing women cry at this big action extravaganza. And something clicked,” Berry Jenkins said. “And I’ll say it, this is what white men feel all the time, and all these women are having this experience for the first time. I imagine it will be the same thing when people go see ‘Black Panther.’”

From there, “Call Me By Your Name” was awarded best adapted screenplay right before Jordan Peele took home an historic trophy for best screenplay with “Get Out.” 

Soon after, though, the first female nominated for best cinematography, Rachel Morrison, lose out to Roger A. Deakins for “Blade Runner 2049.”

From there, “Shape of Water” took home the award for best musical score and the animated film “Coco” won best song for “Remember Me” before the special musical tribute to the artists we’ve lost this year. 

Eddie Vedder took the stage to sing Tom Petty’s “Room at the Top” as images of departed actors, directors and others in showbusiness flahsed on screen. John Heard, Martin Landau, Glenne Headly, Roger Moore, Sam Shepard and Jerry Lewis were given special mention.

From there, it was time for the biggest awards of the night, starting with best director.

“These four men, and Greta Gerwig,” Emma Stone joked while announcing the nominees, noting the only female-nominee in the category.

Guillermo del Torro ultimately took home the trophy, though.

He thanked everyone for giving him and everyone in showbusiness an opportunity to “erase the lines in the sand.” 

“We should continue doing that when the world tells us to make them deeper.”

The coveted award for best actor in a leading role came next, with Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren taking the stage to discuss the “#MeToo” movement. They announced Gary Oldman for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in “The Darkest Hour.”

“Put the kettle on, I’m bringing Oscar home,” he said to his 99 year old mother watching at home.

From there, Jennifer Lawrence and Jodie Foster took the stage to announce Frances McDormand as the winner of best actress in a supporting role for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri.”

While accepting her award, the star asked every female that was nominated in any category in 2018 before making a plea to Hollywood to finance their stories and their projects. Her parting words for the academy were “inclusion rider.” 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/