LBN – Monday, January 15th, 2018

*President Trump on ‘Sh*thole Countries’: ‘I’m Not a Racist’

President Donald Trump told members of the White House press corps traveling with him in Florida on Sunday that he is not a racist, in response to lingering questions following reports that he called El Salvador, Haiti and African nations “shithole countries.” Speaking at Trump International Golf Course on Sunday, Trump said, “I’m not a racist. I’m the least racist person you’ll ever interview.”

*LBN-INVESTIGATES: Mohammed Is Most Popular Name For Newborn Boys In Holland For 2nd Year Straight.

*DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that LBN is read daily in 26 foreign countries from China to India, from Brazil to Russia, from Japan to Germany, from Israel to France, from England to Australia, from South Africa to Canada, from Mexico to Iraq and more.

*FCC Chief: False Hawaii Missile Alert ‘Absolutely Unacceptable’

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai on Sunday said the false ballistic missile alert that was sent to Hawaii residents on Saturday was “absolutely unacceptable,” and that the incident was under investigation. “It caused a wave of panic across the state—worsened by the 38-minute delay before a correction alert was issued,” Pai said in a statement. “Moreover, false alerts undermine public confidence in the alerting system and thus reduce their effectiveness during real emergencies.” Pai added that Hawaii’s government “did not have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to prevent the transmission of a false alert.” Just after 8:00 a.m.local time on Saturday, Hawaiians received an alert notifying them of an incoming ballistic missile, noting that it was “not a drill.” Officials scrambled to issue a correction and inform residents that the alert was actually sent in error.

*Pope Francis: World Is at the Brink of Nuclear War

Pope Francis on Monday said he is “truly afraid” of an imminent nuclear war, warning that the world is “at the very limit.” “I am truly afraid of this. One accident is enough to precipitate things,” he told reporters as he departed for a visit to Chile and Peru. The pontiff did not single out any countries in particular, but his warning came after a false missile alert in Hawaii triggered panic on Saturday. Residents frantically texted their loved ones goodbye and went fleeing for shelter, fearing a nuclear attack by North Korea. Authorities later said the erroneous warning had been sent out in error.

*Military Quietly Prepares for a Last Resort: War With North Korea

Across the military, officers and troops are quietly preparing for a war they hope will not come. At Fort Bragg in North Carolina last month, a mix of 48 Apache gunships and Chinook cargo helicopters took off in an exercise that practiced moving troops and equipment under live artillery fire to assault targets. Two days later, in the skies above Nevada, 119 soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division parachuted out of C-17 military cargo planes under cover of darkness in an exercise that simulated a foreign invasion. Next month, at Army posts across the United States, more than 1,000 reserve soldiers will practice how to set up so-called mobilization centers that move military forces overseas in a hurry. And beginning next month with the Winter Olympics in the South Korean town of Pyeongchang, the Pentagon plans to send more Special Operations troops to the Korean Peninsula, an initial step toward what some officials said ultimately could be the formation of a Korea-based task force similar to the types that are fighting in Iraq and Syria. Others said the plan was strictly related to counterterrorism efforts. In the world of the American military, where contingency planning is a mantra drummed into the psyche of every officer, the moves are ostensibly part of standard Defense Department training and troop rotations. But the scope and timing of the exercises suggest a renewed focus on getting the country’s military prepared for what could be on the horizon with North Korea.

*Abbas Calls Oslo Accords Dead and Blasts U.S.: ‘Damn Your Money!’

President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority said on Sunday that Israel had killed the Oslo Accords and angrily assailed the Trump administration over its handling of the conflict. He vowed to reject American leadership of any peace talks and urged Palestinians to reconsider their signed agreements with Israel. “We will not accept for the U.S. to be a mediator, because after what they have done to us — a believer shall not be stung twice in the same place,” Mr. Abbas said. “The deal of the century is the slap of the century,” he added, mocking the still-undefined peace initiative that the Trump administration has been working on and promoting in the region. “However, we’ll get back at them.”

*LBN-INVESTIGATES: Guess which state has the highest poverty rate in the country? Not Mississippi, New Mexico, or West Virginia, but California, where nearly one out of five residents is poor. That’s according to the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, which factors in the cost of housing, food, utilities and clothing, and which includes non-cash government assistance as a form of income. Given robust job growth and the prosperity generated by several industries, it’s worth asking why California has fallen behind, especially when the state’s per-capita GDP increased approximately twice as much as the U.S. average over the five years ending in 2016 (12.5%, compared with 6.27%).

*BRUTAL – Double Suicide Bombing Kills Dozens in Baghdad

At least 38 people were killed Monday when two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a busy street market in central Baghdad. The attack occurred during rush hour in the city’s Tayran Square, leaving at least 105 people injured. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing, which comes after a lull in recent attacks in the Iraqi capital. Iraqi and U.S. officials had warned that the so-called Islamic State might strike back with such insurgent-style attacks after being driven out of territories throughout the country.

*Agency That Sent False Missile Alert in Hawaii Gets Death Threats

Hawaiians are so mad over the bogus missile alert sent to their phones over the weekend that they’re calling in death threats to the agency responsible, according to a new report. The threats came in through the agency’s public phone line, a spokesperson for Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency told Hawaii News Now. “We understand that members of our community are angry about Saturday’s false alarm, and we are looking at these messages as individuals blowing off steam,” the spokesperson said in a statement issued to the outlet. “While we take any threat against our personnel seriously, we are doing our best not to escalate the situation.”

*LBN-INVESTIGATES: An estimated half of all college students struggle with food insecurity, even at elite flagship universities like the University of California, Berkeley, and selective private schools like Northwestern University. Former foster youth, L.G.B.T. students and students of color are at substantially increased risk. Food insecurity is strongly linked to lower graduation rates. The new economics of college led us into this mess. The cost of higher education is at an all-time high, which is in sharp contrast to the declining income and wealth of most American families. And while a college degree is no guarantee of employment, it still greatly increases the odds of a middle-class life. It makes sense that students work hard to go to college to achieve stability, and it is tragic that many fail to complete degrees because they cannot escape poverty long enough to focus on their studies.

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*LBN-INVESTIGATES: In 1936, the German government paid about US $25 million, raised through taxes, to stage the Olympics in Berlin. In 1972, when the Olympics were held in Munich, it cost almost 70 times that amount.

*LBN-HOLLYWOOD INSIDER:   ***While disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is reportedly running low on cash, his former company has managed to keep paying its employees in the wake of the scandal that rocked the company. Final details are being hammered out in a sale of the Weinstein Co. that is expected to be announced as soon as this week, sources tell Page Six. The film firm’s being bought by a group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, whose offer reportedly includes renaming the company and installing a women-led board.

*LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER: This week, CVS, the American pharmaceutical giant, has pledged to stop “materially altering” all of the imagery associated with its beauty products — in stores, on its website and on social media. Starting in April, the photographs women see when they go to buy a CVS brand lipstick or perfume or moisturizer will not have been so smoothed, color-corrected or otherwise remastered as to produce overwhelming insecurity in the shopper.

*LBN-VIDEO LINK: Bruce Lee Lightsabers Scene Recreation —   https://youtu.be/FQC29joihwU.

*LBN-INVESTIGATES: A new survey has revealed that one in four non-believers pray when confronted by tough times – despite insisting they are not religious. For atheists and agnostics, personal crisis or tragedy is the most common reason for them to resort to prayer, with a quarter admitting they pray for comfort or to feel less lonely.

*LBN-BOOK NEWS:   ***Shortly before his death in February 2016, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spoke favorably of Donald Trump’s presidential run. “Justice Scalia thought it was most refreshing to have a candidate who was pretty much unfiltered and utterly frank,” said the late jurist’s literary collaborator, Bryan Garner, a legal dictionary editor who spent two weeks in 2016 traveling with Justice Scalia through several Asian countries. The justice thought well of Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor whose campaign for the Republican nomination stalled, said Mr. Garner, whose memoir of a decade-long friendship, “Nino and Me,” comes out Tuesday

*LBN-VIDEO LINK: Why It Takes So Long To Get Off An Airplane — https://youtu.be/5-RNMAHqHAg.

*LBN-SPORTS INSIDER:   ***It was all a bunch of Mularkey. A week after the Titans owner gave him a vote of confidence and a day after reports that he and the team were working on an extension, Mike Mularkey is out. The head coach of the Titans is no longer the head coach of the Titans, the team announcing the split Monday because “the two parties couldn’t come to an agreement over the future.”

*LBN-SITE OF THE DAY:

Band Camp
Bandcamp’s mission is to create the best possible service for artists and labels to share and earn money from their music, and for fans to discover and enjoy it. Bandcamp gives you instant, unlimited streaming access to your Bandcamp purchases, lets you explore a vast catalog of music by artists from every corner of the globe, and opens your ears to the extraordinary with their radio show, the Bandcamp Weekly.

*LBN-R.I.P.:   ***Doug Harvey, the Hall of Fame umpire who became a commanding presence and a symbol of excellence in a career spanning 31 National League seasons, died on Saturday in Visalia, Calif. He was 87. His death was confirmed by his wife, Joy.   ***Dolores O’Riordan, singer and front woman of Irish indie-rock back The Cranberries, has died aged 46.

*LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:…

*LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard’s show came to a halt on Saturday night when a man collapsed. Suchard was mid-way through an act at Town Hall in New York City when people started crowding around the older gentleman in the front row. “Someone shouted to call 911,” a spy told us. Suchard, 36, told the crowd to remain seated while they waited for paramedics to arrive and assured the audience that the man was conscious, but “felt a little under the weather.” The audience burst into applause 10 minutes later as paramedics wheeled him out. We’re told the man is ok and was sitting in the waiting room after the performance.Taking in the performance were Jerry Seinfeld and his wife Jessica and their children Sascha and Shepherd, who were brought up on stage for one of the tricks.   **The funeral of Bobby Zarin will be on Monday, with a service for the beloved businessman and husband of Jill Zarin in the city, followed by a burial in the Hamptons. There will be several days of shiva. Bobby died on Saturday after a long battle with cancer.   ***Harold Ford Jr. is happy he is no longer accused of sexual harassment and is looking forward to taking on Morgan Stanley, which fired him last month for unexplained misconduct. “I am gratified to learn that Morgan Stanley now acknowledges what I always knew, that I did not engage in any acts of sexual misconduct or harassment,” Ford said in a statement. “I only wish for the sake of my good name and reputation that they had admitted the truth five weeks ago.” The statement came the day after I reported that Ford’s friends feel he was railroaded by Morgan Stanley, because he was fired less than 24 hours after he had denied any wrongdoing.

LBN E-Lert Edited By Dan Porush