FBI Arrests Man for Jewish Center Threats:
The FBI has arrested a man accused of making as many aseight threats against Jewish Community Centers nationwide, officials announced Friday. Juan Thompson, 31, of New York was identified by authorities as the man arrested in St. Louis. Federal prosecutors say he engaged in a “campaign to harass and intimidate.” Prosecutors claim he “appears to have made at least eight of the JCC threats as part of a sustained campaign to harass and intimidate” the woman after their relationship ended. More than 100 Jewish centers, including schools, across the country have received bomb threats this year, ABC reports. No bombs have been found at any of the locations where threats were reported.
Jeff Sessions Recuses Himself From Russia Inquiry:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions
, facing a storm of criticism over newly disclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States, recused himself on Thursday from any investigation into charges that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. His announcement, delivered at a terse news conference, came after a day of rapid-fire developments in a murky affair that has shadowed President Trump
, jeopardized his closest aides and intensified pressure for a full inquiry into Moscow’s attempts to influence the election as well as the policies of the new administration. Many top Democrats demanded Mr. Sessions’s resignation, and a growing number of Republicans declared that he should not take part in any investigation into the case, given his own still largely unexplained role in it.
Trump on Sessions Fracas: A ‘Witch Hunt’:
Following Attorney General Jeff Sessions
’s decision to recuse himself from “any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States,” President Trump
issued a statement in which he called the situation a “witch hunt.” “Jeff Sessions is an honest man. He did not say anything wrong. He could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional,” Trump said. “This whole narrative is a way of saving face for Democrats losing an election that everyone thought they were supposed to win. The Democrats are overplaying their hand. They lost the election and now, they have lost their grip on reality. The real story is all of the illegal leaks of classified and other information. It is a total witch hunt!” Sessions recused himself after The Washington Post
reported that he spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak
on multiple occasions and did not disclose it in his Senate confirmation hearing.
STUNT – Mexican Lawmaker Climbs Border Fence to Show That a Wall is ‘Absurd’:
Mexican congressman Braulio Guerra
, who represents the state of Queretaro, tweeted photos and a video of himself on top of a 30-foot tall fence on the U.S.-Mexican border to demonstrate that a border wall is “totally absurd.” He said in the video: “I was able to scale it, climb it, and sit myself right here. It would be simple for me to jump into the United States, which shows that it is unnecessary and totally absurd to build a wall.” He added, “It’s easy, and it shows how unnecessary this project, this political rhetoric from Donald Trump
Arkansas Plans to Execute 8 Men in 10 Days:
The state of Arkansas plans to execute eight men over the span of just 10 days, said Gov. Asa Hutchinson
. The state has not executed anyone in 11 years, but will end that break starting April 17, when it begins to carry out all eight sentences by lethal injection, according to its current schedule. “This action is necessary to fulfill the requirement of the law,” Hutchinson told CNN on Thursday. “But it is also important to bring closure to the victims’ families who have lived with the court appeals and uncertainty for a very long time.” The sheer number of executions in such a small window of time is “unprecedented” in the United States, said Robert Dunham
, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. Only 31 states currently carry out the death penalty.
WHO READS LBN? Popular comedian Erica Rhodes
MS-13 Gang Members Indicted in Killings of Long Island Teenagers:
Federal prosecutors in New York on Thursday announced theindictment of 13 gang members for the brutal killing of three high-school students on Long Island last fall. The indicted members of the MS-13 gang allegedly attacked and butchered two high-school girls with a machete and baseball bats last September. Another victim, the girls’ classmate, disappeared last June, and his body was later found at an abandoned psychiatric hospital. Officials said Nisa Mickens, 15, and Kayla Cuevas, 16, were allegedly ambushed after a social-media feud. Their classmate, 18-year-old Jose Pena-Hernandez, was allegedly killed by fellow gang members after being lured to the woods to meet them. “While violence and brutality are trademarks of the MS-13 gang, the murders of these three teens are particularly disturbing,” U.S. Attorney Robert Capers
said at a press conference. The 13 gang members are facing a slew of charges, including seven murders, attempted murders, arson, and conspiracy, Capers said. The MS-13 gang, otherwise known as La Mara Salvatrucha, is considered one of Long Island’s largest and most violent street gangs. It’s thought to have originated in Los Angeles in the 1980s before spreading to other communities, with many of its members having fled civil war in El Salvador. The indictment of the gang’s 13 members—with 10 of them identified by prosecutors as undocumented immigrants from El Salvador and Honduras—comes amid a heated national debate over immigration.
Banksy Opens Hotel on Bethlehem Barrier Wall:
Notorious British street artist Banksy
has opened a hotel in Bethlehem against the barrier wall separating the Palestinian territories from Israel. The Walled Off Hotel is made up of 10 rooms, with politically themed art on nearly every wall. The hotel was opened to the media Friday, and it is reportedly aimed at bringing tourists and jobs to an area that has been left desolate by the conflict. It will be available for bookings this month through the website, The Guardian
reports. Banksy, who tends to avoid comment on his work, left a message spray-painted onto a wall: “If we wash our hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless we side with the powerful—we don’t remain neutral.”
Egyptian Court Clears Way for Hosni Mubarak’s Release:
Egypt’s top appeals court cleared former President HosniMubarak
of any responsibility for the killing of hundreds of people during the 2011 protests that ended his 30-year rule, sweeping away the final legal hurdle to Mr. Mubarak’s release from detention.The ruling drew cheers from Mr. Mubarak’s supporters, who have in recent years cast off the stigma once associated with his name to air increasingly vocal demands for his release. But it represented a bitter landmark for the millions of Egyptians who risked their lives to oust Mr. Mubarak and his circle during the heady, 18-day uprising in early 2011. None of the Mubarak-era figures who grew rich and influential during his time in power are still in jail. The sole exception is Mr. Mubarak himself, who has been under guard for years at the Maadi Military Hospital in Cairo, at a room overlooking the Nile.
Snapchat is a business built in large part on disappearing messages and adding animated dogears and flower crowns to users’ selfies.As of Thursday, that business is worth about $34 billion — more than the market value of the old-line media company CBS, and about three times the size of another social media company, Twitter.Snapchat has made paper billionaires of its 20-something founders five times over. In making its stock market debut in spectacular fashion — its shares rising 44 percent on their first day of trading — Snapchat’s parent, Snap Inc., has blazed a trail for other technology darlings like Uber and Spotify that remain privately held. It elated Wall Street institutions eager for a prominent initial public offering when few had surfaced for months.
LBN-HOLLYWOOD INSIDER: ***The epic envelope snafu that rocked the Oscars is still sending aftershocks through Hollywood. Oscars producer Michael De Luca has been buzzed about as a replacement for Brad Grey as Paramount Pictures CEO — but now the move’s in doubt. “De Luca produced the Oscars [with Jennifer Todd], and was about to get the job at Paramount,” said a source. “Now, because of the Oscar disaster, he is very likely not to get it.” “Fifty Shades of Grey” producer De Luca has revealed of the envelope incident: “It was like the Hindenburg.”
LBN-NOTICED: ***Drew Barrymore at Carmine’s Times Square in NYC. ***Rihanna at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Mass., while in town to receive a Harvard Foundation award. ***Ray Liotta at Nello in NYC. ***Kelly Ripa dancing to hip-hop guru DJ Chuck Chillout at the Edison Ballroom in NYC. ***Bill O’Reilly at Frank’s Steaks on Long Island. ***Alex Rodriguez and Jeb Bush seeing the Miami Hurricanes beat Duke in Coral Gables, Fla. ***Legendary comedy agent Danny Robinson having dinner at the elegant Baltaire steakhouse in Brentwood Wednesday night.
LBN-SPOTLIGHT: “If knowing yourself and being yourself were as easy to do as to talk about, there wouldn’t be nearly so many people walking around in borrowed postures, spouting secondhand ideas, trying desperately to fit in rather than to stand out.” —– www.TheExcelCommunity.com
LBN-SEE IT:…. Gwyneth Paltrow and her boyfriend, Brad Falchuk, are “Instagram official”
LBN-VIDEO LINK: The New Kid with Tyler Posey
, a writer and producer of sensual R&B songs who was best known for a memorable collaboration with Marvin Gaye
on the 1976 album “I Want You,” died on Feb. 23 in Marina del Rey, Calif. He was 77. His wife, Carol
, said the cause was complications of prostate cancer.
LBN-COMMENTARY by David Brooks: Donald Trump gave us Trumpism at its best on Tuesday night. And that was useful because it gave us a view of the political movement he represents, without the clownish behavior.The first thing we learned was that Trumpism is an utter repudiation of modern conservatism. For the last 40 years, the Republican Party hasbeen a coalition of three tendencies. On Tuesday, Trump rejected or ignored all of them.There used to be Republican foreign policy hawks, people who believed that it was in America’s interest to serve as a global policeman, actively preserving a democratic world order. Trump explicitly repudiated this worldview, drawing instead a sharp distinction between what’s good for America and what’s good for the rest of the world. There used to be social conservatives, who believed that the moral fabric of the country had been weakened by secularism and the breakdown of the family. On Tuesday, Trump acted as if this group didn’t exist. He didn’t mention a single social issue — abortion, religious liberty, marriage, anything.
LBN-COMMENTARY by Tony Blair: Outrage is easy; strategy is hard. Outrage provides necessary motivation. But only strategy can deliver victory. The emotional response to the rightist populism sweeping the West is one of protest and dismay. But if there is to be an effective fightback, there has to be a cool analysis of what is happening, why and what can be done.Politics is being reshaped, and this phenomenon is the same whether it is in the United States or in Europe. At stake inthe forthcoming elections in France and Germany will be the future of Europe and, possibly, of European liberal democracy.The rightist populism, on both sides of the Atlantic, is intent on blowing up traditional conservative politics and replacing it with a new coalition, comprising traditionally left-leaning supporters in working-class communities who feel left behind by globalization and traditionally right-leaning supporters who hate liberalism. Both constituencies believe that traditional culture is at risk from immigration and “political correctness.” Both believe in the nation-state as opposed to international alliances. Both feel let down by the so-called elites and think that the solution is an authoritarian figure strong enough not to care what a biased establishment thinks about him.
LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:….
LBN-OVERHEARD: ***Jessica Biel
is turning 35 today and she’s got a lot to celebrate. Sure, there’s the whole Mrs. Justin Timberlake
part of it, and the fact that she just attended theOscars looking like an Oscar herself in a gold KaufmanFranco gown topped with a $2 million gold and diamond Tiffany necklace. She’s also mom to 1 1/2-year-old son Silas
, and family life has never looked sweeter for the star. But the birthday girl is also about to make her return to TV in a starring role in USA’s The Sinner
, one of those de rigueur anthology series that, in season one, follows Biel’s Cora, a wife and mom who one day seemingly goes berserk all of a sudden (the promo pic of a blood-stained Biel is a clue as to what sort of trouble she gets into). Then Bill Pullman
‘s detective Harry Ambrose has to figure it all out, etc. ***“Flip or Flop” star Tarek El Moussa
opened up to “The Doctors” on why his marriage to co-star Christina ended up as, well, a flop. “I feel like if we had better communication, we would have had a better relationship,” Tarek, 36, confessed on an episode of the syndicated series airing Monday. Tarek, who battled thyroid cancer and then testicular cancer during the marriage, believes a combination of mixed communication, overnight fame and his terrifying health problems ultimately led to the highly publicized divorce. ***Former Vice President Joe Biden
’s surviving son, Hunter
, hasn’t just dumped his wife for his late brother’s widow, he has squandered his family’s money on hookers, strip clubs and drugs, according to divorce papers obtained by The Post. The papers, filed last week by Hunter Biden’s soon-to-be ex, Kathleen
, offer a sordid peek behind the squeaky-clean image of the popular ex-veep’s family.“His spending rarely relates to legitimate family expenses, but focuses on his own travel (at times multiple hotel rooms on the same night), gifts for other women, alcohol, strip clubs, or other personal indulgences,” Kathleen Biden says of Hunter in the papers filed in Washington, DC, Superior Court on Feb. 23.In filing the explosive allegations, Kathleen — who lives with the youngest of the couple’s three daughters in the capital — is seeking to limit Hunter, 47, to a $5,000-a-month allowance. ***The newest member of the McDermott household has arrived. Tori Spelling
and husband Dean McDermott
welcomed their fifth child, Beau Dean McDermott
, on Thursday.
LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu
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