Showing posts with label News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label News. Show all posts

Friday, 9 June 2017

Amanda Bynes is sober and wants to get back into acting

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Amanda Bynes is sober and wants to get back into acting
 Amanda Bynes is ready for the next act in her career.

The former child star, 31, said she's sober and eager to start acting again after a tumultuous stretch of years plagued by legal issues.

"I do miss acting and I have something surprising to tell you: I'm going to start acting again," she told journalist Diana Madison on ABC News' "Good Morning America" in what was her first interview in four years.

"I want to do TV," she continued. "Maybe a few guest spots on some shows that I'm a fan of and maybe another TV show where I'm the star of it."

Bynes, who retired from acting in 2012, was arrested that year for driving under the influence, but that charge was ultimately dropped. She was arrested again the following year for criminal possession of marijuana — an incident where she famously tossed what police determined was a bong out of her 36th floor apartment in a Manhattan sky-rise.

She was also twice placed under psychiatric hold and taken to a hospital between 2013 and 2014, with the first time coming after she allegedly sparked a fire on a neighbor's driveway. She was arrested for DUI for a second time as well in 2014.

Happy 30th birthday, Amanda Bynes! As the former child star celebrates a milestone in her life, take a look back at her career as she went from a Nickelodeon celebrity to a troubled teen. Here, Bynes hides behind a massive pair of sunglasses as she makes a rare appearance at Craigs restaurant in West Hollywood. The troubled star narrowly avoided a wardrobe malfunction in a low cut dress using her long blond locks to cover up on Nov. 30, 2015.

"I love it. I learned how to sew," Bynes said. "I make patterns and I want to start a clothing line in the future."

Bynes rose to fame in the 1990s as a star on Nickelodeon's "All That," as well as her own series "The Amanda Show."

She also turned in memorable big screen performances in "She's the Man," "Hairspray" and "What a Girl Wants" during the 2000s, but has not appeared in a film or on TV since 2010, when she starred in the movie "Easy A."
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Mike Schmidt, Jerry Remy split Jerk of the Week for slamming athletes who don’t speak English

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Mike Schmidt, Jerry Remy split Jerk of the Week for slamming athletes who don’t speak English
 Most of the time, a jerk has no idea what he or she is doing, hasn’t the foggiest idea that their actions or words are obnoxious or offensive. Or they simply do not care. This is precisely what makes people who cut you off on the road or who refuse to let you merge in front of them because they’re too busy texting such jerks.

The world of sports gave us two such people this week, who uttered highly offensive and racially insensitive comments on the air basically because they thought nothing of it. They moved their lips, words came out of their mouths, and it never dawned on them until after the fact that what they said was wrong on so many levels. Jerks.

In a radio interview Tuesday morning, Phillies broadcaster Mike Schmidt went in on outfielder Odubel Herrera with a critique so biting that he managed to insult every Spanish-speaking ballplayer on the planet. Schmidt said the Phillies can’t build around the Venezuelan-born Herrera because of the language barrier, questioned his commitment and, ironically, said the kid plays with too much emotion, a heard-before knock that’s been used in the past to insult the passion many Latin players show on the field.

“First of all, it’s a language barrier. Because of that, I think he can’t be a guy that would sort of sit in a circle with four, five American players and talk about the game,” he told WIP morning show host Angelo Cataldi. “Or try and learn about the game or discuss the inner workings of the game. Or come over to a guy and say, ‘Man, you gotta run that ball out.’ Just can’t be — because of the language barrier — that kind of a player.”

Later the same day, NESN Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy barked that translators for players who don’t speak English like Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka should not be allowed out to the mound for conferences with coaches and managers.

Both broadcasters issued predictable apologies not long after their bile hit the airwaves.

“It's been made known to me that my answer on a radio interview this morning to the question, 'Can the Phillies build a team around Odubel Herrera?' was disrespectful to Herrera and Latin players in general,” Schmidt said. “I'm very sorry that this misrepresentation of my answer occurred and may have offended someone. I assure everyone I had no intention of that.”

Remy basically said the same thing. Maybe they shop for apologies at the same place. Insult an entire race of people? Sure, we have something for that right over here.

“Last night during the course of the Red Sox-Yankee game I made some comments that offended a number of people in our audience,” he said. “I’d like to apologize to my colleagues at NESN, to the Boston Red Sox, but most importantly to the fans who were offended by my comments. I sincerely hope you accept my apologies. Thank you very much.”

You’ll notice there is no mention of Tanaka or foreign-born players in his apology.

What’s worse is that both broadcasters are paid to speak on the air. Throwing words and opinions around with so little care about how they land is like a cop irresponsibly playing with his gun in public. It’s like a construction worker dumping a pile of bricks on someone because they did not care enough to be a little more cautious.

Using a player’s inability to speak English against them is flat wrong. Not speaking the language fluently should never deter from a player’s worth on the field. Does speaking the language help them to hit or run or throw? No, it does not.

Part of the beauty of sports is that games are supposed to be inclusive. Baseball clubhouses have been melting pots of cultures and nationalities for years, and with that infusion of international talent, times change. More Spanish can be heard. Translators for Japanese-speaking players are necessary to bridge these gaps.

So when you insult people who speak a different language, who may need help communicating with others to do their jobs a bit more effectively, it’s low and crass. It’s ironic that Schmidt and Remy, both fluent English-speakers, understood so little about the toxic words they uttered this week.

Maybe they're the ones who really need translators.

That all makes them aloof. But more than anything, it made them jerks this week.

Brian Burke was a jerk on two fronts this week, all in the same public appearance. Burke, the combustible president of the Flames, told the Canadian Club of Calgary on Wednesday that concussions are a part of hockey. And, if you have a problem with that, you’re just not tough enough.

“It’s a full-contact sport. If you choose a full-contact sport, there is a good chance you’ll have a serious injury,” Burke said. “If you don’t want to get a concussion, you can be a swimmer.”

Ouch. Burke is a smart guy, so it was just as puzzling when he called the NHL an “industry leader in concussion identification and treatment.” The NHL is fighting a lawsuit over its handling of head injuries, and the league has been openly criticized for its protocol during games to identify concussions. An example of this is that players are monitored for head injuries following collisions with the ice, but not the boards or other hard objects.

Wonder if P.K. Subban got checked out after that jerk Sidney Crosby bashed his skull into the ice Thursday night. But, we digress.

Burke wasn’t done. He also threatened the Flames would move somewhere else if local taxpayers refuse to cough up money for a new arena. His honesty, as always, is refreshing, but his message was that of a straight-up jerk.

Finally, the Saudi Arabian soccer team, of all countries, ignored a moment of silence for victims of the most recent London terrorist attack this week.

Instead of observing the attack before a World Cup qualifier Thursday, Saudi players went about their pre-game business while Australian players stood at attention. Saudi officials said "this tradition was not in keeping with Saudi culture and they would move to their side of the field and respect our custom whilst taking their own positions on the field.”

In other words, it was not their tragedy to memorialize. The Saudi soccer federation later issued their own statement of apology.

“The players did not intend any disrespect to the memories of the victims or to cause upset to their families, friends or any individual affected by the atrocity," it said. "The Saudi Arabian Football Federation condemns all acts of terrorism and extremism and extends its sincerest condolences to the families of all the victims.”

Just like Schmidt and Remy, the Saudis meant no disrespect. It's basically a darker version of Steve Urkel's "Did I do that?"

And that, right there, is classic jerk behavior.
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Trump claims victory after Comey testimony, calls fired FBI director ‘a leaker’

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Trump claims victory after Comey testimony, calls fired FBI director ‘a leaker’
 President Trump implied in a Friday morning tweet that fired FBI Director James Comey lied during his lengthy testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee a day earlier, but said the remarks cleared his name.

The remarks were the first Trump has personally made since Thursday’s testimony, when the President was uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter.

“Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication...and WOW, Comey is a leaker!” Trump tweeted shortly after 6 a.m. Friday.

What part of Comey’s sweeping testimony vindicated the President wasn’t fully made clear.

The second part of the tweet referred to Comey’s admission that he leaked memos about his meetings with Trump through a friend.

Sending the memos to The New York Times, Comey said, was a bid to push for a special counsel in the case.

Comey’s remarks, which were released the night before, were spiced up Thursday as the fired lawman said the President lied about multiple things.

Kenji Logie (l) claps his hand as he watches former FBI director James Comey testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee at the Building on Bond restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. Logie is one of many worldwide tuned into the testimony, taking place in Washington, D.C. on June 8, 2017.

He opened his remarks by saying Trump’s reasons for firing Comey on May 9 were “lies, plain and simple” and a bid to “defame” him and the FBI.

Marc Kasowitz, the President’s lawyer, fired back at Comey Thursday, saying the President hadn’t asked him to drop an investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Kasowitz also said Comey lied about his meetings with Trump in which the President allegedly asked for loyalty multiple times.
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Judge overturns conviction of former Ohio model jailed for plotting to kill husband’s ex-wife

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Judge overturns conviction of former Ohio model jailed for plotting to kill husband’s ex-wife
 The ex-model jailed for plotting to throw the mother of her stepchildren into a wood chipper is walking free because of a “fatally flawed” indictment.

The prosecution of Tara Lambert, of Columbus, Ohio, shouldn’t have moved forward because of an error in the language used to charge her, the Fourth Division Court of Appeals ruled this week.

Lambert, who is serving a seven-year sentence, could be released from an Ohio correctional facility as soon as Friday, her attorney, Sam Shamansky, told the Columbus Dispatch.

An Ohio jury found Lambert guilty of plotting to kill her husband’s ex-wife, Kellie Cooke, who had custody of his teenage daughters.

Prosecutors said Lambert paid $125 to a would-be assassin — actually an undercover detective — to throw Cooke into a wood chipper.

Lambert and her since-divorced husband, Brandon, were in a custody battle with Cooke and her husband, Shawn. Lambert was previously acquitted of a charge that she wanted Shawn dead, too.

She met the detective at a KFC parking lot, prosecutors said, where she gave him the money, personal information and a photo of Cooke.

“I need her away. Gone. Just put her in a chopper, you know like one of those lumberjack chopper things,” Lambert is recorded saying in one tape, the newspaper reported.

Shamansky, who represented Lambert during the appeals process, said prosecutors didn’t specifically lay out her plot.

“Did she buy a gun, for example? The prosecutor had to spell out exactly what that underlying overt act was that contributed here,” he told the newspaper. “The state did not do that.”

Prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.

Judge Peter B. Abele also faulted her trial attorney, James Kingsley, for not spotting the error and trying to get the case dismissed.

Cooke told the Columbus Dispatch she wants Lambert’s departure from prison to be short-lived.

“She’s not innocent. She’s getting off on a technicality,” she said. “We’re not going to let this go. We’re going to fight until she’s back where she needs to be: in prison.”
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Mayor de Blasio continues defense of Brooklyn workout trips, says it keeps him 'connected to the neighborhood'

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Mayor de Blasio continues defense of Brooklyn workout trips, says it keeps him 'connected to the neighborhood'
 Don’t be fooled by the mansion he’s got — he’s still Billy from the block.

Mayor de Blasio continued his strident defense of his circuitous trips from the Upper East Side to Park Slope for his morning workouts Friday — telling WNYC that he doesn’t want to forget where he came from.

“I don't want to be someone who is seeing the world through the prism of Gracie Mansion,” de Blasio said. “I want to be someone who sees the world through the prism of the neighborhood I come from in Brooklyn, and remembers where I came from and all the people who have been part of life here.”

De Blasio, who actually comes from Cambridge, Mass., routinely visits the YMCA in Park Slope. It’s a few blocks from the rowhouse he once occupied, but 12 miles from the taxpayer manse he now inhabits. Hizzoner, who has eschewed the many gyms closer to his new home, thinks the cardio criticism is unfair.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi
“I think this has been really painted in an unfair light,” de Blasio said. “I’m going to do what I think is going to help me be effective and stay connected to the neighborhood I come from.”

“I think this has been really painted in an unfair light,” de Blasio said. “I’m going to do what I think is going to help me be effective and stay connected to the neighborhood I come from.”

The mayor’s grappled with criticism of his fitness routine for years, but recently has come under fire for being chauffeured such a long distance in a caravan of SUVs while urging other New Yorkers to change their own habits to fight climate change.

He insisted New Yorkers don’t care about his gym routine — and again said he needs to take the SUVs, rather than the subway, to the faraway gym for security and efficiency reasons.

“It is literally a 24/7 job. It is, I can’t stop for a moment thinking about this job every hour of every day of every week — as it should be, and I knew that,” de Blasio said. “My obligation is to perform on behalf of the people of New York City, to make good decisions and to get things done for them. I have to do whatever I think is going to allow me to do that.”
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The New York Public Library is offering free e-books for commuters

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The New York Public Library is offering free e-books for commuters
 It's free and you have nothing better to do - read a book, people!

The New York Public Library announced Thursday on its website that it is launching "Subway Library," a new initiative between the New York, Brooklyn and Queens Libraries, the MTA and Transit Wireless that provides straphangers with free access to hundreds of e-books "for all ages."

To access the e-books, subway riders underground will connect to the free TransitWirelessWiFi on their smartphones, or other internet-able devices, and then click on the prompt. They'll then have access to the "e-books, excerpts, and short stories - all ready to read on the train."

To celebrate Subway Library, there will be one train decked out on the inside with a design that mimics the interior of the NYPL's Rose Reading Room in the Main Branch. The train will alternate operation on the E and F lines through Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

Titles available right now to commuters include "Open City" by Teju Cole, "The Nest" by Cynthia d'Aprix Sweeney and Patti Smith's memoir, "Just Kids."
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Teen killed, another wounded after Facebook feud sparked shooting in Brooklyn

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Teen killed, another wounded after Facebook feud sparked shooting in Brooklyn
 An escalating Facebook beef left a teen shot dead on a Brooklyn street and his cousin wounded early Friday after an ambush by two gunmen, authorities said.

Kieth Kyser, 17, was shot in the back and leg when the killers opened fire without saying a word as he walked with Karin Samuels, 14, to buy sandwiches at a local deli.

“Oh my God!” screamed a woman on the street. “He’s dead!”

Samuels survived the 1:45 a.m. gunfire with a bullet to the leg, and Kyser’s sister escaped the premeditated attack scared but unscathed.

“We came right around the block, and they came from behind the bushes,” the 18-year-old sister told the Daily News. “They started shooting. They didn’t say nothing.

“I was right there next to (Kieth). They started shooting.”

Kyser, one of seven kids and an aspiring fashion designer, was best friends with his younger cousin, according to family members. The killing occurred just a half-block from the Kyser home.

Police said three teens approached Kyser and the others as they walked along Broadway.

One of the teens reached out as if offering a handshake — and the other two reached for their guns and started blasting, cops said.

Neighbor Debbie Lewis, 57, said she heard as many as nine rapid-fire gunshots giving way to howls of grief in the darkness.

“People were hysterical, crying,” said Lewis, a mother of two. “It sounded really horrible ... From the way it sounded, it seemed like he died right away.”

A bottle of pink Vitamin Water, its contents spilled on the pavement, marked the spot where Kieth was killed. The teen was carrying his favorite drink when the shooting began.

EMTs rushed the two bleeding teens Kings County Hospital, where Kieth died. Family members said Samuels was recovering from his wounds.

Friends told detectives Kieth was feuding with someone on Facebook before he was shot. No details on the cyberspat were immediately released.

Cops nabbed one of the suspected shooters after he tried to hide inside a Broadway bodega about a mile from the killing.

The suspect told workers in the store he had just shot two people and was looking for a place to lay low until the police left.

Cops were questioning the suspect, and charges against him were pending. The man in custody has a dozen prior arrests, including a rape case, and was wanted for a Queens stabbing last September.

“We’re trying to figure out if there’s any video or any witnesses,” said NYPD Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey.

The slain teen’s 21-year-old sister remembered her younger brother as a guy who cared about other people.

“He was a good, loving person,” she said. “He cares about everybody that was around him. If you didn't have it, he gave it to you. He loved everyone around him. You could not stay mad at him. All he did was crack jokes every day.”
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Cosby jurors hear why he apologized to his accuser’s mother

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Cosby jurors hear why he apologized to his accuser’s mother
 Jurors at Bill Cosby's sex assault trial heard for the first time Friday the comedian's excuse for why he apologized to his accuser's mom a year after he allegedly drugged and assaulted her daughter.

Cosby wasn't on the witness stand but prosecutors introduced more of the comedian's prior deposition testimony.

"I'm apologizing because I'm thinking this is a dirty old man with a young girl. I apologized. I said to the mother it was digital penetration," Cosby said in the decade-old sworn testimony that was part of a civil lawsuit he settled with the woman's daughter, Andrea Constand.

Sections of the deposition were unsealed two years ago in a different legal proceeding and became a driving force behind prosecutors' decision to charge Cosby with three counts of aggravated indecent assault on December 2015.

The felony case was filed just days before the 12-year statute of limitations deadline on the alleged January 2004 felony attack.

In his civil deposition testimony and interview with police, Cosby claimed his contact with Constand was consensual.

Constand, 44, testified Tuesday and Wednesday that Cosby penetrated her with his fingers against her will.

She said he gave her three blue pills to help with stress, assured her they were "herbal" and then groped her breasts, put his hand in her pants and forced her to masturbate him while she lay incapacitated on a couch inside his suburban Philadelphia mansion.

Cosby, 79, has pleaded not guilty in the case, claiming he gave Constand some Benadryl and then initiated sexual contact that ended with Constand reaching orgasm.
Bill Cosby, arrives with supporters, from left, Joe Torry and Lewis Dix, for his sexual assault trial at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Thursday, June 8, 2017.

During the deposition read to jurors Friday, Cosby admitted he spoke to Constand's mom by phone on Jan. 14, 2005 - and not only apologized but also fielded questions about the pills he supplied.

Asked why he didn't simply tell the concerned mom that he gave her daughter an over-the-counter allergy medication, Cosby said he felt like he was being "attacked."

He said Constand was on the phone too and he tried to get her to tell her mom "about the orgasm."

He said Constand's mom was antagonistic.

"I'm not going to argue with somebody's mother who is accusing me of something," he said.

When asked why he didn't discuss the pills during a second conversation with the mom, Cosby responded with only two words: "The parrot."

He explained that he believed a beeping sound that mom Gianna Constand attributed to a pet parrot was actually caused by a recording device.

Sobbing Bill Cosby accuser testifies: ‘I wanted it to stop’

"You believe you were being taped?" Constand's lawyer Dolores Troiani asked in the deposition.

"Yes," Cosby replied.
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Actress Glenne Headly, who starred in ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,’ dead at 62

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Actress Glenne Headly, who starred in ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,’ dead at 62
 Glenne Headly, who starred in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" and "Mr. Holland's Opus," has died.

She was 62.

Headly, an Emmy-nominated actress and original member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, was currently filming the Hulu series "Future Man," her rep confirmed to the Daily News.

"It is with deep sorrow that we confirm the passing of Glenne Headly," her rep told The News. "We ask that her family's privacy be respected in this difficult time."

Headly is survived by her husband Byron McCulloch and son Stirling.

The actress portrayed Janet Colgate in the 1988 flick "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" with Steve Martin and starred alongside Warren Beatty in "Dick Tracy" (1990).

Martin tweeted on Friday that his household was mourning the loss of Headly, calling her a "beloved friend, actress, and comic genius."
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Texas deputy sheriff, husband charged with choking death of 24-year-old man outside Denny’s

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Texas deputy sheriff, husband charged with choking death of 24-year-old man outside Denny’s
 A Texas deputy sheriff and her husband have been indicted for the choking death of a 24-year-old man outside of a Denny’s last week.

A grand jury indicted Deputy Chauana Thompson and husband Terry Thompson with the death of John Hernandez.

The husband and wife, who face life in prison, turned themselves in on Thursday night and by early Friday posted bail, which was set at $100,000 each.

Hernandez died last week after he was taken off life support. He’d been unconscious since May 28 when he got into an altercation with Terry Thompson outside of the Denny’s in suburban Houston.

Chauna Thompson turned herself in Thursday night after a grand jury indicted her for Hernandez's death.

Witnesses, including Hernandez’s widow, testified to the grand jury for almost full day about the incident.

Reports indicate that Hernandez was with his wife and daughter at the Denny’s, and had been drinking.

Hernandez was captured on surveillance video going outside to urinate by his car.

That’s when Thompson, who was with his children, engaged with Hernandez, according to reports.

Chauna Thompson and her husband, Terry Thompson, right, face life in prison if convicted.

Chauna Thompson was off duty at the time, arrived in a separate car and called police, the Houston Chronicle reported.

She was charged with accessory to murder, according to the newspaper.

Eyewitnesses told local media they begged Terry Thompson to release Hernandez from a chokehold.

"The man was turning purple," Denny’s worker Melissa Trammell told the Houston Chronicle. "We begged him to get off the man and he wouldn't."

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez last week asked the Department of Justice and the Texas Rangers to assist in the investigation.

Terry Thompson’s lawyer, Scot Courtney, expressed dismay that his client was charged with intentionally killing Hernandez.

“I’m extremely disappointed the grand jury chose to indict,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “I don't believe the evidence shows that.”

The indictment came a day after over 150 people rallied in downtown Houston for Hernandez. They chanted “Justice for John Hernandez,” “Brown lives matter” and “No estan solos,” which is Spanish for “you are not alone, according to the Houston Chronicle.
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Jerry Seinfeld blasts the Kardashians: ‘These people are not doing anything interesting’

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Jerry Seinfeld blasts the Kardashians: ‘These people are not doing anything interesting’
 What's the deal with the Kardashians — they don't do anything!

That's the takeaway Jerry Seinfeld supplied in a new interview slamming the famous family — and reality stars in general — for putting a product on TV that doesn't measure up to classic comedies of the past.

The funnyman told the website Mr Porter that he was very unhappy when he discovered his daughter tuning in to "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" on her phone.

"The one time I really, really got upset was when my daughter was watching the Kardashians on her phone in her bed and I could not take that scene," Seinfeld told the site. "For someone who for their whole life, television was the Olympics of being a comedian. It was only for the very best. You had to have everything."

"I'm offended by reality television on many levels and that show of course is the premier example of reality television," he continued. "These people are not doing anything interesting."

Of course, the comedian co-created and starred in one of the most beloved sitcoms of all-time, "Seinfeld," for nine seasons from 1989 to 1998.

Despite being a show about nothing, “Seinfeld” was named the second best-written series of all time by the Writer's Guild of America in 2013.

Susan, played by Heidi Swedberg, is George's one true serious relationship. The two even become engaged. Susan appears in 28 episodes, and in that time George puts her through the wringer. While she decides to date women for a time, they still connect and get engaged. But George can't commit! He tries to get her to end things, but she ultimately dies after licking wedding envelopes containing toxic glue.

Seinfeld added that he's unsure if his daughter still watches his series, but notes he hasn't seen her do so in a while.

It's not the first time Seinfeld has made headlines this week. He was caught on camera denying pop star Kesha a hug during a TV interview, but later suggested he didn't realize who she was.

"When you get to be my age and you've done a couple things, you have your own reality. In my reality, I don't hug a total stranger," he told Extra.
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New York lottery scammers get prison time for secretly claiming winning tickets for people in debt

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New York lottery scammers get prison time for secretly claiming winning tickets for people in debt
 These lotto winners have a lotto nerve.

Two New Yorkers were tossed behind bars in the state’s first-ever arrests of lottery scammers accused of secretly claiming winning tickets for people who owe child support, back taxes or other debts.

Neil Ferguson, 50, of Manhattan, raked in $273,139 after claiming 91 winning tickets over the same period.

Both were charged with criminal tax fraud after a joint investigation by the state Gaming Commission and the Department of Tax and Finance.

“This is a unique partnership that we formed and one that we’re excited about in that we have a novel way of finding these individuals,” said Lee Park, spokesman for the New York State Gaming Commission.

“We expect there to be more of these cases in the future.”

The arrests were revealed roughly two weeks after a Daily News published an investigation on frequent lottery winners.

Lottery winner just makes deadline to claim $24.1 million
Lottery winner Merle Butler and his wife Patricia Butler display the winning ticket during a press conference in Red Bud, Illinois on April 18, 2012 announcing that the Butlers were winners of $218.6 million during the multi-state Mega Millions lottery.

State law calls for winners of prizes worth at least $600 to settle their child support and tax debts before they’re allowed to collect any money.

Officials say Moran-Barrera and Ferguson acted as corrupt middlemen for shady lotto winners eager to rake in big bucks despite owing money to the state.

The so-called discounters agreed to cash in the winning tickets in exchange for a cut of the prize money. They appeared on investigators’ radars after failing to pay taxes on the winnings, officials said.

“The New York Lottery ensures that claimants who owe child support, back taxes or public assistance obligations first pay what is rightfully owed before collecting any winnings,” said Gweneth Dean, of the state Gaming Commission.

“With the help of our partners in Tax and Finance, we are putting a stop to those who try to circumvent financial obligations through discounting schemes.”

Lawyer Mike Jurena, who represented Moran-Barrera and Ferguson at their arraignments, declined comment.

As part of the investigation, officials also suspended the licenses of seven lotto retailers accused of abetting the scheme.

Six are located in the Bronx; one in Manhattan.
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Dog fired from police force finds new life as greeter at Australian governor’s mansion

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 Dog fired from police force finds new life as greeter at Australian governor’s mansion       Tweet     email
 He wasn’t cut out for the police force, but his friendliness got him new work in politics.

Gavel, a German Shepherd, was booted from the police dog academy in Australia because he was too friendly.

Police said Gavel often greeted strangers and “did not display the necessary aptitude for a life on the front line,” according to BBC.

But he found a new home with the Governor of Queensland, where he was previously fostered as a puppy before heading to the academy.

Gavel arrived at the home of Governor Paul de Jersey last April when he was just six weeks old.

At the time, police had high prospects for the German Shepherd.

"Gavel comes from a long line of pedigree... if the family bloodline is anything to go by, in 16 months Gavel will be tracking and catching criminals as a proud member of the Queensland Dog Squad!" a police statement at the time said, according to BBC.

The aspiring K-9 officer couldn’t live up to his family reputation, however.

What he lacked in police gruffness, he made up for in political charm.

He hung up his police coat and was reposted to the Goverment House in Queensland earlier this year, tasked with greeting guests and tour groups.

“Gavel’s new full title is ‘Gavel VRD’ (‘Vice-Regal Dog), and he will now wear a specially-made Government House coat, emblazoned with the Governor’s Personal Standard, the St Edward’s Crown and the brolga, the official bird emblem of Queensland,” reads a February statement from the Queensland governor’s office.

Indeed, the German Shepherd is seen in multiple photos sporting his custom coat or a scarf of the local rugby team.

A spokesman for de Jersey told the Brisbane Times that Gavel was a “valued and much-loved” part of the governor’s house.

"Gavel on occasions sits in on briefings with the Governor," he said.
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Pregnant subway stabbing victim lashes out at poet who randomly attacked her: ‘I want this man to die’

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Pregnant subway stabbing victim lashes out at poet who randomly attacked her: ‘I want this man to die’
 It was a crime without reason or rhyme.

A five-months pregnant woman, speaking Friday from her hospital bed, recalled the violent explosion that followed when she accidentally bumped into a deranged Bronx straphanger.

Once-popular Harlem street poet Derrick Wilson simply snapped during the Friday night subway ride, gashing Shaday Tripp in the throat and stabbing her friend Zakia Lewis twice in the arm, cops said.

“When he stabbed me, I started running through the doors on the train saying ‘Somebody call an ambulance!’” the 24-year-old woman said. “I was just holding my neck, and all the blood just came out.

Suspect stabs pregnant woman on Bronx subway train

“I want this man to die,” the mom-to-be continued. “That’s what I feel like. He almost killed me.”

Wilson, 50, has a rap sheet with 15 prior arrests. He was arrested after good Samaritan straphangers grabbed him on the platform in the Prospect Ave. station, said NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.

Tripp said the Thursday evening incident started innocuously when she accidentally bumped Wilson’s leg. She was sitting on her girlfriend’s lap aboard the crowded uptown No. 2 train when her leg hit his.

“I said, ‘I’m sorry,’” she recalled. “He said, ‘You keep touching me with your leg’ — and started cursing. And after then he stood up ... and he grabbed the knife out of his pocket and stabbed me.”

The knife was wrapped in a rag and stuffed inside the chest pocket of Wilson’s suit.

Wilson, whose works include “Don’t Beat Your Children or They’ll Turn Out Like Me,” was once a well-known Harlem figure, selling his books of poetry in the subways.

Wilson somehow suffered a puncture wound to his neck during the melee.

Lewis, 21, suffered a minor wound and was discharged early Friday.

SEE IT: Man accused in Portland stabbings says he’s ‘not guilty’

Wilson was charged with attempted murder, assault, menacing and weapons possession. Sporting soiled hospital scrubs and a scraggly beard, he stared at his feet and said nothing as he was led Friday to a Bronx Criminal Court arraignment.
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Officer Jeronimo Yanez says he saw Philando Castile's hand on gun before fatally shooting him

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Officer Jeronimo Yanez says he saw Philando Castile's hand on gun before fatally shooting him
 The Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile says he was afraid for his own life and saw the motorist's hand on a gun before opening fire.

Jeronimo Yanez, 29, took the stand in his manslaughter trial on Friday, saying that Castile, whose death sparked nationwide protests, did not obey his orders.

The 32-year-old was shot and killed at a traffic stop in the Twin Cities’ St. Anthony last July, with much of the country viewing the aftermath when his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds began streaming on Facebook Live.

The elementary school cafeteria worker, who told the officer that he had and was licensed to carry a firearm, had been reaching for his ID or seatbelt when Yanez opened fire, Reynolds said.

Whether the officer saw Castile's gun has become a key issue in his trial.

Squad car video shows that Yanez said immediately after the shooting he did not know where the gun was, but also claimed that he told Castile to get his hand off of the weapon.

The officer contended Friday that he fired after seeing parts of Castile’s weapon.

“I told him not to reach for it,” a visibly agitated Yanez is heard saying on Reynolds’s video, where he continues to point his gun at the driver as he lie in his seat bleeding.

Video from a police squad car includes Castile saying “I’m not pulling it out,” as Yanez shot seven times.

The bullets nearly struck Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter in the back seat, forensic scientist Lindsey Garfield testified Wednesday.

Prosecutors have said that Yanez should have taken steps to keep the situation from rapidly escalating into a shooting, such as asking the driver where his gun was.

Witnesses said that the gun was in Castile’s pocket when he was taken out of the car.

However, the defense contends that Yanez only had split seconds to react, with the officer himself saying “I didn’t want to shoot Mr. Castile at all” as he became emotional on the stand Friday.

His lawyers have also pointed to the presence of THC in the driver’s system as possible evidence that his reaction time may have been slowed.

Yanez’s testimony came as his team began calling witnesses for their defense, which is expected to stretch into next week.

He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of second-degree manslaughter.
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CNN fires Reza Aslan over tweets blasting Trump

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CNN fires Reza Aslan over tweets blasting Trump
 CNN dumped another contributor who ridiculed President Trump.

Reza Aslan, who launched the high-minded non-fiction series "Believer" three months ago, was fired by the network after he slammed Trump as a "piece of s---" among other criticisms on Twitter — days after Kathy Griffin was booted by CNN for her shocking photo of a beheaded Trump.

"CNN has decided to not move forward with production on the acquired series 'Believer with Reza Aslan,'" CNN said in a statement to Variety. "We wish Reza and his production team all the best. "

The ousting comes after Aslan condemned Trump on Twitter for using the recent terror attack in London to preach the need for his controversial travel ban.

Aslan, 45, expressed his disappointment over the ousting Friday afternoon on Twitter.

"Believer means a great deal to me and to the countless viewers it’s reached," he said in a statement. "Its message of religious tolerance of religious tolerance and exploration is extremely important right now. I am deeply grateful to CNN for giving me the opportunity to launch the show and to amplify my voice on their network."

"In these politically charged times, the tenor of our nation’s discourse has become complicated and I recognize that CNN need to protect its brand as an unbiased news outlet. Similarly, I need to honor my voice."
He issued an apology for his remarks earlier in the week.

Kathy Griffin: Trump family is ‘trying to ruin my life'

"I should have used better language to express my shock and frustration at the president's lack of decorum and sympathy for the victims of London. I apologize for my choice of words," he said.

His "Believer" series followed Aslan as he traveled around the world to experience different religions and their traditions. It lasted one season.

His firing comes less than two weeks after Griffin was relieved of her duties as a contributor to CNN's New Year's Eve coverage alongside Anderson Cooper — a role she had held for a decade.

Griffin sparked major controversy last month when a photo of her posing a bloody, decapitated Trump mask surfaced online.

She's since apologized for the photo, but claimed in an emotional press conference last week that the Trump family is bullying her with their public remarks condemning the gory image.
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NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

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NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week
 A roundup of some of the most popular, but completely untrue, headlines of the week. None of these stories are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out; here are the real facts:

THE FACTS: The story shared widely by correctly quotes the White House press secretary as saying President Donald Trump “and a small group of people” knew the meaning of a word widely believed to be a typo in a tweet. The satire site then attributed several other quotes to Spicer that he did not say, including assertions that Trump was legally permitted to decide how English words are spelled, as “one of the perks of being president.”

THE FACTS: The story shared by numerous websites claims Muslims criticized Trump during a flag burning in late May outside a New York City mosque. Some versions include an AP photo of a crowd of people burning a U.S. flag. The photo was taken in 2012 in Bangladesh, where Muslims protested the release of a film they felt was anti-Islam. Another photo depicting the supposed leader of the mosque is actually a picture of British Muslim activist Anjem Choudary.

THE FACTS: Numerous false stories of Walmart bananas being tainted with HIV blood have circulated online in recent weeks, some with attached photos of bananas with reddish streaks. Walmart spokeswoman Molly Blakeman tells the AP the retail giant doesn’t know of any illnesses such as HIV linked to bananas purchased there. Walmart says the red streaks seen in some bananas come from a naturally occurring, harmless bacterial growth known as mokillo.

THE FACTS: The story posted by a website named Universe of Nature claimed what would have been an extraordinary birth took place at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. Hospital spokeswoman Whitney Ertel tells the AP the hospital has never delivered 11 babies during a single birth, and doesn’t employ a doctor named in the story on its labor and delivery team. Similar false stories have been circulating online for several years, including one about a woman in India delivering 11 babies at once.

THE FACTS: A worker was in fact killed when he got trapped in a massive pressure cooker at a Bumble Bee facility in California in October 2012; two workers pleaded guilty to charges related to the death and the seafood giant paid $6 million to settle charges. The death didn’t cause any recalls of the tuna, however, despite claims in stories shared recently by numerous websites. ——— This new weekly fixture is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing efforts to fact-check claims in suspected false news stories.
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Terrifying moment woman on cellphone falls into open sidewalk cellar

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Terrifying moment woman on cellphone falls into open sidewalk cellar
 A 67-year-old woman walking down a New Jersey street glanced down at her phone only a moment before she plunged down a sidewalk opening and into a cellar.

The woman’s son, who was not named, told CBS2 he was grateful his mother survived the fall, but emphasized that it wasn’t just the distraction of her cellphone that caused the spill. She’s legally blind and diabetic and was checking the time because she was feeling a bit nauseous, he said.

“When I first saw the video, my heart dropped,” he told the news station. “It was painful to watch.”

Surveillance video sees the woman making her way down the street Thursday afternoon right in front of Acme Windows in Plainfield. Just before she reaches the cellar doors, flung wide open, she pulls out her cellphone and then flips over the door head first and into the basement six feet below.

Emergency crews responded a little after noon and pulled the woman, who was not identified, out of the basement on a stretcher. Police said she was seriously hurt in the fall, but is now in stable condition.

She had been in town from Florida to visit her son when the tumble occurred, according to CBS2.

Police said the doors were open for gas line repairs.

The woman’s son added she has difficulty seeing “blended colors” and wished the workers had put up cones or some sort of sign.

Martin Delgadillo was standing outside his barbershop on Somerset St. when the woman plunged into the cellar.

“She was looking at her phone — last minute — she hit the door and fell right in,” he told NBC New York. “I thought texting and driving was a bad thing — now it’s texting and walking.”
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Trump ‘100%’ willing to testify under oath about Comey, but won't comment on tapes

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Trump ‘100%’ willing to testify under oath about Comey, but won't comment on tapes
 WASHINGTON — President Trump refused to say whether he taped his private conversations with James Comey on Friday, before accusing Comey of perjury.

Trump then claimed Comey's testimony proved there was "No collusion, no obstruction, he’s a leaker but we want to get back to running our very great country."

"Yesterday showed no collusion, no obstruction. We are doing really well," he continued. “Some of the things he said just weren’t true.”

STASIS: Comey shows how Trump runs the White House like mob family
Kenji Logie (l) claps his hand as he watches former FBI director James Comey testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee at the Building on Bond restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. Logie is one of many worldwide tuned into the testimony, taking place in Washington, D.C. on June 8, 2017.

The comments come after Trump bashed Comey on Twitter Friday morning, accusing him of lying.

“Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication...and WOW, Comey is a leaker!” he tweeted.
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Abandoned newborn in Jonas Brothers backpack found in Arizona parking lot

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Abandoned newborn in Jonas Brothers backpack found in Arizona parking lot
 A newborn baby was found abandoned inside a Jonas Brothers backpack in an Arizona grocery store parking lot, and 911 audio shows the girl had been born just hours before she was discovered.

The girl was found wrapped in a blanket inside a backpack and left in a shopping cart, Azcentral reported.

A pedestrian reported her to a Food City store manager, who called police.

“Hi, um, I just found a newborn baby,” the store manager can be heard saying while the baby screams in the background. “And she’s beautiful.”

The store manager, whose name is redacted from the recording, told the fire department, also on the line, that he believed the baby had just been born. He reported that her umbilical cord had been cut but remained attached to her body.

A newborn baby was found stuffed inside a Jonas Brothers backpack and left in a shopping cart in a grocery store parking lot in Arizona, police said.

“I’ve never dealt with anything like this before,” he said.

The girl’s mother was nowhere to be found, and the customer who first reported the baby was also long gone, the store manager said.

A fire department officer helped the Good Samaritan check the baby’s vital signs.

He reported that she was breathing and appeared to be in good health.

“This is so sad,” he said.

Police responded to the scene and took the girl to a nearby hospital, where she is doing fine.

The Arizona Department of Child Services has been notified, police said.
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