LBN – Friday, December 8th, 2017

*Russia: North Korea Is Ready for Direct Talks With the U.S.

North Korea is now ready for direct talks with the U.S. over the nuclear standoff that has caused fear the world over, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The diplomat said he informed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about the breakthrough Thursday in Vienna, where the two met. The State Department has said North Korea would need to express a serious willingness to give up its nuclear arsenal before the U.S. is willing to open a direct dialogue. “We know that North Korea wants above all to talk to the United States about guarantees for its security. We are ready to support that, we are ready to take part in facilitating such negotiations,” said Lavrov. “Our American colleagues, [including] Rex Tillerson, have heard this.”

*NOW HIRING – U.S. Economy Added 228,000 Jobs in November

The U.S. economy added 228,000 jobs in November, exceeding analysts’ estimates and holding the unemployment rate at 4.1%—the lowest it’s been since December 2000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics report early Friday showed hiring in major sectors, including manufacturing, construction and health care. Average hourly earnings rose 5 cents from October. The figures appear to bolster the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee’s plan to raise interest rates when the panel meets next week.

*Al Franken to Resign From Senate Amid Harassment Allegations: 

Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, in an emotional speech on the Senate floor, announced on Thursday that he would resign from Congress, the most prominent figure in a growing list of lawmakers felled by charges of sexual harassment or indiscretions. At turns defiant and mournful but hardly contrite, Mr. Franken called it “the worst day of my political life,” as he denied allegations of groping and improper advances from at least six women. Instead, as his Democratic colleagues looked on, he took a parting shot at President Trump and Roy S. Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama; both have also been accused of sexual misconduct. “I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office, and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party,” Mr. Franken said.

*Trump and Junior Got Email Offering ‘WikiLeaks Documents’

Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., and others in their organization received an email two months prior to the 2016 election offering them access to hacked “WikiLeaks documents,” CNN reported Friday morning. The email, which was provided to congressional investigators, was reportedly sent Sept. 4 from someone listed as “Mike Erickson.” In terms of the pre-election timeline, the email came several months after the Democratic National Committee leaks but before the dump of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails. Trump Jr. claimed this week that he had “no recollection” of any such emails, and investigators are trying to figure out whether the note was a legitimate attempt to share the decryption key and a website URL for real WikiLeaks documents.

*LBN-INVESTIGATES: Nearly half of humans believe in alien life and want to make contact, a survey in 24 countries has found, in what researchers said helps to explain the lasting popularity of the “Star Wars” franchise 40 years after the first movie was screened. On the eve of the release of “The Last Jedi”, researchers published findings that 47 percent of more than 26,000 respondents believe “in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations in the universe”.

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*SORRY – Slovenian Magazine Apologizes to Melania for Escort Claims:

Slovenian magazine Suzy on Friday apologized to first lady Melania Trump for suggesting she worked as an “elite” escort while working as a model. The allegation was published in an August 2016 article. The magazine said on Friday that the article “was understood as if Melania Trump conducted the escort job. We have no proof for that. So we apologize. We had no intention to hurt and offend Mrs. Trump.” Trump filed a libel lawsuit against the publication.

*U.K. Agrees to $50B Payment in First Phase of Brexit Deal

British Prime Minister Theresa May secured a deal in the first phase of Brexit negotiations in the early hours of Friday morning. The deal ended a tense standoff over the issue of the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland—the contentious issue of customs and Irish cross-border trade will now be negotiated in the second phase. London agreed to pay as much as $50 billion to settle its existing obligations to the European Union, and will now be allowed to move on to wider trade negotiations.

*Ex-Cop Found Not Guilty After Shooting of Unarmed Man: 

Former Mesa, Arizona, Police Officer Philip “Mitch” Brailsford was found not guilty Thursday of second-degree murder in the 2016 shooting of an unarmed man. He was also found not guilty of reckless manslaughter. Daniel Shaver, 26, was shot in a hotel hallway. Video of the events leading up to his death showed him on his knees begging for his life. Mark Geragos, a lawyer for Shaver’s widow, called the shooting an “execution” and said on Thursday: “The justice system miserably failed Daniel [Shaver] and his family.”

*LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER:   ***Almost a year ago, after heavy criticism from President-elect Donald J. TrumpFord Motor Company canceled plans to build a $1.6 billion car plant in Mexico and announced that it would instead equip a Michigan factory to make electric and hybrid models. Now the automaker is changing its plans again, saying it intends to assemble new battery-powered cars in Mexico, not Michigan. But the Michigan location will get an even larger investment than previously planned and will focus on making a range of self-driving cars.

*LBN-HEALTH WATCH:   ***Women who rely on birth control pills or contraceptive devices that release hormones face a small but significant increase in the risk for breast cancer, according to a large study published on Wednesday. The study, which followed 1.8 million Danish women for more than a decade, upends widely held assumptions about modern contraceptives for younger generations of women. Many women have believed that newer hormonal contraceptives are much safer than those taken by their mothers or grandmothers, which had higher doses of estrogen. The new paper estimated that for every 100,000 women, hormone contraceptive use causes an additional 13 breast cancer cases a year. That is, for every 100,000 women using hormonal birth control, there are 68 cases of breast cancer annually, compared with 55 cases a year among nonusers.

*LBN-SPORTS INSIDER:   ***LeBron James isn’t someone you’d ever want to pick a fight with. A video of a spectator heckling James from the sidelines in Chicago has blown up on Twitter as the anonymous fan told him to “stop crying” before criticizing his hairline. James was obviously getting annoyed with the fan’s ongoing abuse and began mouthing back from the bench. His teammates looked to be enjoying the exchange as the four-time NBA MVP piped up with a savage comeback for the chirpy fan during the Cavaliers’ 113-91 win over the Bulls this week.

*LBN-HOLLYWOOD INSIDER:   ***Ronan Farrow left Hollywood power agency CAA, after Harvey Weinstein reportedly tried to interfere with Farrow’s exposé on him by storming into the office of a CAA partner. The New York Times reported this week that in mid-September, when Farrow was writing his first bombshell piece on Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct, Weinstein “stormed into” the office of CAA honcho Bryan Lourd to complain.

*LBN-NOTICED:   ***Dustin Hoffman, Claire Foy and Renée Fleming at “Springsteen on Broadway” in NYC.

*LBN-VIDEO LINK:  A Millennial Job Interview:  https://youtu.be/Uo0KjdDJr1c

*LBN-SITE OF THE DAY:

LibriVox

Librivox makes all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet.

*LBN-VIDEO LINK:  “Without Notes” with Susan Estrich – Episode 5: That Was Then, This Is Now.—  https://youtu.be/gpq8aT3a5cU

*LBN-COMMENTARY by David Brooks: A lot of good, honorable Republicans used to believe there was a safe middle ground. You didn’t have to tie yourself hip to hip with Donald Trump, but you didn’t have to go all the way to the other extreme and commit political suicide like the dissident Jeff Flake, either. You could sort of float along in the middle, and keep your head down until this whole Trump thing passed. Now it’s clear that middle ground doesn’t exist. That’s because Donald Trump never stops asking. First, he asked the party to swallow the idea of a narcissistic sexual harasser and a routine liar as its party leader. Then he asked the party to accept his comprehensive ignorance and his politics of racial division. Now he asks the party to give up its reputation for fiscal conservatism. At the same time he asks the party to become the party of Roy Moore, the party of bigotry, alleged sexual harassment and child assault. There is no end to what Trump will ask of his party. He is defined by shamelessness, and so there is no bottom. And apparently there is no end to what regular Republicans are willing to give him. Trump may soon ask them to accept his firing of Robert Mueller, and yes, after some sighing, they will accept that, too. That’s the way these corrupt bargains always work. You think you’re only giving your tormentor a little piece of yourself, but he keeps asking and asking, and before long he owns your entire soul.

*LBN-COMMENTARY by Kevin Fallon: Perhaps the most remarkable thing about I, Tonya, the raucous free skate of a biopic of Tonya Harding, is that we’re not, in fact, watching a biopic of Nancy Kerrigan. At any other time, it would be easy to see cash-grabbing studios eager to create a nostalgic, inspiring film about the delicate ice princess victimized in one of the craziest sports scandals in history: At the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Kerrigan was clubbed on the right knee with a police baton, an attack reportedly orchestrated by Harding’s husband, Jeff Gillooly. The camera footage of Kerrigan bellowing, “Why?” following the incident made her triumphant return to the rink months later, where she performed one of the best skates of her life, all the more heartwarming. A comeback fit for the Hollywood screen. Yet 23 years later, here we are with a film that’s a pointed middle finger to all that, and with eyes on its own unlikely golden prize: Director Craig Gillepsie’s alternately humanizing and hilarious biopic of Tonya Harding, with designs to be a major player at this year’s Oscars.

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*LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***Oscar-winning Australian actor Geoffrey Rush has begun legal proceedings against the Sydney Daily Telegraph newspaper. The filing, for defamation, was made Friday in an Australian federal court. The paper last month led with allegations that Rush had engaged in “inappropriate behavior” two years ago, while he was engaged in performances of “King Lear” by the Sydney Theatre Company. The STC provided the paper with a statement saying that a complaint had been made, but it did not detail the allegations and said that the complainant had asked for the matter to be dealt with confidentially.

LBN E-Lert Edited By Dan Gaylord