LBN – Special Report – Saturday February 18, 2017

DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that in addition to being read daily in all 50 of the United States, LBN is read daily in 26 foreign countries including — China, India, Brazil, England, Germany, Israel, France, Japan, Russia, Australia, South Africa, Korea, Spain, Greece, Mexico, Canada, Cuba among others.

ISIS Command Center in Mosul ‘Destroyed’:

The U.S.-led military coalition fighting against the Islamic State in Iraq said Saturday it had destroyed what it believed was a command center belonging to the terrorist group in western Mosul. “The coalition was able to determine through intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance efforts that ISIS did not use the building for any medical purposes and that civilians were no longer accessing the site,” the coalition said in a statement. While the eastern part of the city has been liberated from the group, the militants are reportedly trying to blend in among civilians in western Mosul, where they are thought to be keeping weapons in schools, hospitals and mosques. There are an estimated 650,000 civilians in the western part of the city. The militant group, perhaps taking advantage of the media blackout in the city, countered the U.S. coalition’s assertion, claiming Friday’s strike did not wipe out a command center but killed more than a dozen civilians.

Pence: U.S. Will ‘Hold Russia Accountable’:

Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday reassured U.S. allies in Europe that the White House would “hold Russia accountable” for its aggression in eastern Ukraine. Pence’s comments at the Munich Security Conference in Germany come amid concerns over President Donald Trump’s seemingly soft stance on Russia, and just days after the national security adviser stepped down over his questionable ties to the Kremlin. Pence also sought to assuage concerns over Trump’s stance on NATO, saying the U.S. would “be unwavering in our commitment to this trans-Atlantic alliance” and that Trump “will stand with Europe.” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis offered similar reassurances to European allies earlier this week, prompting a telling reply from Germany’s defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, who singled out the “secretary of defense’s strong commitment to NATO” rather than the president’s. Trump lambasted the alliance as “obsolete” shortly before taking office, and repeatedly suggested the U.S. could withdraw support of fellow members didn’t spend more.

ISIS is going broke: 

The Islamic State group is hemorrhaging money with every piece of territory it loses, according to a new analysis that found that the group’s “business model” is on the path to failure. The analysis released Saturday by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence and the accounting firm EY found that the self-proclaimed caliphate’s financial resources have been drained substantially since the days beginning in mid-2014 when it captured banks, oil wells and entire warehouses of weapons as it amassed land. The report found that Islamic State revenue has declined from up to $1.9 billion in 2014 to at most $870 million in 2016.

8 People Escape Border Patrol, Scramble Across into Canada:

Eight asylum-seekers fled U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents at the border with Canada on Friday, running straight to Canadian authorities on the other side who helped them scramble across. At least one of the asylum-seekers was carrying a Sudanese passport, according to Reuters. The incident reportedly occurred after U.S. customs agents began to question a man in the front seat of a taxi on the border in Champlain, New York. The U.S. authorities had already seized the passports of the taxi’s passengers when seven of the refugees made a run for it, climbing over mounds of snow as Canadian authorities helped them across. One man who stayedbehind with the U.S. border control agents then told journalists at the scene that he and the others were from Sudan and had been working in the U.S. for two years, adding that “nobody cares about us.” He threw several large pieces of luggage into the snow along the border before running away from U.S. authorities and making his way onto Canadian territory, leaving one U.S. officer shouting at him from behind. The officer reportedly told the Canadian side that the man would have been detained for being in the U.S. illegally. The dramatic spectacle played out as President Donald Trump pushes authorities to crack down on illegal immigrants, with raids reported in various cities across the country in recent days. Reuters had earlier reported that nine asylum-seekers ran over the border.

LBN-SEE IT:…Singer Alison Krauss is releasing a new album, “Windy City,” her first since 2011.

Pakistan Reels After ISIS Bombing Kills 88:

An attack on a Sufi shrine in Pakistan that killed 88 people Thursday has created fear and turmoil within the country, as dozens of suspects were arrested and nearly 40 killed in sweeping raids Friday. The attack, claimed by the Islamic State terror group, was reported to be the deadliest in the country in years. Islamabad reportedly lashed out at Kabul, blaming the bombing on militant sanctuaries across the Afghan border. Pakistan fired a round of artillery shells into Afghan territory, and shut down the Torkham border crossing. But Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the shrine attack immediately. “Sufis always preach peace and brotherhood among people,” he said in a statement, adding that “terrorists once again proved that they have no respect for Islamic values.” Pakistani officials said at least 39 suspects were killed in raids on militant hideouts following the attack. An additional 47 suspects were arrested.

MY REVIEW: “What I respect about LBN is its fearless independence! It doesn’t kiss the ass of the liberals or the conservatives!” —–Rory C., an LBN reader from Atlanta, Georgia.

*LBN-HOLLYWOOD INSIDER:   ***Brad Grey is in talks with top leadership at Viacom to step away from his role as Paramount Pictures Chairman and CEO, two individuals familiar with the matter said. Grey and his parent company are in ongoing discussions about a new position that would keep him in the fold, one of the insiders said. The talks come nearly two weeks after Viacom CEO Bob Bakish made a public mandate for improved financial performance at the studio.

UNIQUELY, LBN: Erica D., an LBN reader from San Francisco, California.

LBN-VIDEO LINK: Shields and Brooks on Trump using the press as a punching bag, Michael Flynn’s sacking —– https://youtu.be/Ix4fSdvuQrU

LBN-NOTICED:   ***Kanye West having brunch at ABC Kitchen in NYC.   ***Stephen Sondheim at a preview of theJake Gyllenhaal musical “Sunday in the Park With George” in NYC.   ***Vogue Paris Editor-in-Chief Emmanuelle Alt at dinner at Omar’s in NYC with photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.   ***Kendall Jenner and A$AP Rocky at Beautique in NYC.   ***Melissa McCarthy and  Lorne Michaels at the Wayfarer in NYC.   ***Rob Gronkowskipartying at Miami nightclubs LIV and Rockwell.

LBN-R.I.P.:   ***Robert H. Michel, who became the longest-serving Republican leader in the history of the House of Representatives while earning a reputation as a genial conciliator who worked with Democrats to get major legislation passed, died on Friday in Arlington, Va. He was 93. His death, at a hospital there, was confirmed by his son-in-law David Norcross, who said Mr. Michel had had pneumonia and the flu.

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LBN-COMMENTARY by Alev Aktar: When Hollywood’s most glamorous actresses hit the red carpet at Sunday’sOscars, their bods will be made hotter with an arsenal of enhancers, from“chicken cutlet” bra inserts to Spanx. And in some cases, the ladies will be packing another concealed weapon: butt pads.The caboose boosters are the latest awards-season essential, creating curves back there without the pain, expense and risks of surgery or endless reps in the gym. “Butt pads are a tool for a specific look — they work best to emphasize your body with a very slinky body-hugging gown or pants,” says fashion expert and television personality George Kotsiopoulos. In January, Kristen Bell became the first celeb to come out of the tush-cushion closet when she Instagrammed a hilarious pre-Golden Globes close-up of her bolstered granny panties. When the actress posed for awards-show photos in her black-sequined Jenny Packham gown, her own globes appeared well-rounded.

LBN-COMMENTARY by Joshua David Stein: Revolutions can start anywhere—harbors. fruit markets, smoky cafes. So why not from the bed, too? That, I suppose, is the premise of Arianna Huffington’s obsession with sleep, embodied in last year’s book The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time and by much of the content on her new wellness site, Thrive Global. Huffington’s response to most everything that ails us mimics the title of Adam Mansbach’s book Go the Fuck to Sleep. Feeling burned out and stressed about your life? Go the fuck to sleep. Need a simple life hack to make you ten times more productive? Go to sleep. How to fix Donald Trump’s nightmare administration? As Huffington told CNBC at Davos, it would all be OK if he just got a little more shut-eye: “[Trump] is the poster child of sleep deprivation.”

LBN-COMMENTARY By Charles Krauthammer: It’s a Watergate-era cliche that the cover-up is always worse than the crime. In the Mike Flynn affair, we have the first recorded instance of a cover-up in the absence of a crime.  Being covered up were the Dec. 29 phone calls between Flynn and the Russian ambassador to Washington. The presumed violation was Flynn negotiating with a foreign adversary while the Obama administration was still in office and, even worse, discussing with Sergey Kislyak the sanctions then being imposed on Russia (for meddling in the 2016 elections). What’s wrong with that? It is risible to invoke the Logan Act, passed during the John Adams administration, under which not a single American has been prosecuted in the intervening 218 years. It prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign powers. Flynn was hardly a private citizen. As Donald Trump’s publicly designated incoming national security adviser, it was perfectly reasonable for him to be talking to foreign actors in preparation for assuming office within a month.

LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:….

LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***Derek Jeter’s pregnant wife, Hannah Davis, had to be rescued by firefighters after she got stuck in an elevator for nearly 30 minutes at a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition event. Davis, who posed in Mexico for a spread in the magazine just before learning she is expecting a girl with the former Yankees captain, appeared at Thursday’s Manhattan event in a shimmering asymmetrical gown that revealed her small bump. Sources at the SI party at 415 Fifth Avenue in NYC said Davis stayed until the end of the party and left around 10 p.m., taking an elevator down one floor with fellow swimsuit model Hannah Ferguson.

LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu

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