LBN – Special Report – Thursday February 2, 2017

NO SURPRISE – U.S. Says Widow of Orlando Nightclub Killer Knew of Attack Plans: 

A federal prosecutor said Wednesday that Noor Salman, the widow of the man who killed 49 people at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub last June, knew that her husband was planning the assault that became one of the deadliest mass shootings in United States history. “She knew he was leaving that night to do the attack, and her actions contributed to the deaths of 49 people,” Sara Sweeney, an assistant United States attorney, said during a hearing here in Federal District Court, where a shackled Ms. Salman appeared for the third time since being indicted under an antiterrorism statute. “I knew when he left that he was going to commit the attack,” Ms. Salman told the authorities, according to Ms. Sweeney, who also said she knew her husband was carrying firearms and a backpack stuffed with ammunition. A lawyer for Ms. Salman, Charles D. Swift, said her statement was a result of intimidation by investigators in the hours after Omar Mateen opened fire at the Pulse nightclub, where 53 people were also wounded.

Trump Blasts Iran Over Missile Test:

President Donald Trump on Thursday blasted Iran over a recent missile test, a day after the White House put the country “on notice” without elaborating. “Iran has been formally put ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile. Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them,” Trump wrote on Twitter, echoing his criticisms of the Iran nuclear pact. In another tweet, he said: “Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the U.S. came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: $150 billion.”


Trump at Prayer Breakfast: Pray for ‘Apprentice’ Ratings:

At the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. onThursday, President Donald Trump asked attendees to pray for the TV ratings for “The Apprentice,” the reality TV show that he personally used to host. He referred specifically to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the show’s new host. “The ratings went right down the tubes” when Schwarzenegger took over, Trump said. “It’s been a total disaster. … I want to just pray for Arnold, if we can, for those ratings, OK?” Trump left the show when he launched his presidential bid in 2015, but remains an executive producer. Schwarzenegger responded almost immediately in a video posted to his Twitter account: “Hey, Donald. I have a great idea. Why don’t we switch jobs? You take over TV, because you’re such an expert in ratings. And I take over your job—then people can finally sleep comfortably again.”

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Trump to Focus Counter-Extremism Program Solely on Islam:

The White House has decided to revamp the U.S. counter-extremism program to focus solely on Islamist extremism, according to Reuters. The news agency interviewed five sources who had reportedly been briefed on the subject. The program will no longer target any other groups, including white supremacists who have carried out shootings and bombings in the United States. Instead, the program, now called “Countering Violent Extremism,” will be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism.” The change is consistent with President Trump’s rhetoric during the 2016 campaign and in his first two weeks as commander in chief.

WHO READS LBN? Actor Tobias Menzies:

LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER:   ***The Federal Reserve is waiting for more information about the Trump administration’s economic plans, just like everyone else. After its first policy making meeting of the year, the Fed said on Wednesday that its economic outlook remained essentially unchanged since its previous meeting in December. The nation’s slow-and-steady economic expansion has continued, with little sign in the latest data that it is flagging or accelerating. And as expected, the Federal Open Market Committee, which makes monetary policy, left the Fed’s benchmark interest rate unchanged.   ***From the spread of fake news to a nasty court fight in Texas, it has been a rough few months for Facebook. But company executives can take heart in two things: Despite an audience nudging toward two billion users, more and more people are still flocking to the service, and more and more advertisers are spending money on it. Facebook’s fourth-quarter sales, announced Wednesday, handily beat Wall Street estimates. And even a $500 million jury verdict that went against the company earlier in the day did little to diminish enthusiasm about its finances. Facebook said sales had totaled $8.8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, up 51 percent compared with a year ago, surpassing analysts’ expectations of $8.5 billion. Not surprisingly, user growth is at a peak.

White House: ‘Bad Hombres’ Comment to Mexican President Was ‘Lighthearted’:

The White House said Thursday that President Donald Trump’s reported suggestion to the Mexican president that the U.S. would send troops to control the “bad hombres down there” was “lighthearted.” According to the Associated Press, which obtained an excerpt from the phone call, Trump told Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto: “You have a bunch of bad hombres down there. You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.” Mexico’s foreign-relations bureau told the AP that the “negative statements” it reported “did not occur during said telephone call. On the contrary, the tone was constructive.” Last week, it was reported that Peña Nieto canceled a meeting with Trump in Washington over Trump’s repeated declaration that Mexico would pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico southern border.

LBN-HOLLYWOOD INSIDER:   ***Yoko Ono is producing a film that will explore her complex relationship with John Lennon, documenting the couple’s love story and anti-war causes. Anthony McCarten (Theory of Everything) will write the as-yet-untitled movie, and Michael De Luca (The Social NetworkMoneyballCaptain Phillips) and Immersive Pictures’Josh Bratman will co-produce. Forget popcorn and Milk Duds.   ***Booze is the next step in cinemas’ fight against flagging attendance. For decades, local and state laws prevented movie chains from offering alcoholic beverages in regular auditoriums. Only dine-in theaters could offer booze by securing a restaurant liquor license, while some high-end cinemas — including the Landmark and ArcLight in L.A. — offered beer and wine in designated 21-and-over auditoriums. During the past two years, 32 states have relaxed their laws, allowing theaters to serve alcohol in any auditorium. “It is the fastest-growing amenity in our industry,” says George Patterson, senior vp food and beverage at AMC. “Dollar for dollar, alcohol doesn’t cannibalize candy, soda or popcorn. If I put a bar in, I can almost guarantee my food and beverage revenue will go up. Over 70 percent of our guests are over the age of 21.”

Donald Trump’s Longtime Doctor Says President Takes Hair-Growth Drug: 

President Trump takes medication for three ailments, including a prostate-related drug to promote hair growth, Mr. Trump’s longtime physician, Dr. Harold N. Bornstein, said in a series of recent interviews. The other drugs are antibiotics to control rosacea, a common skin problem, and a statin for elevated blood cholesterol and lipids. Dr. Bornstein, who spoke by telephone in four interviews over the past month, also said that Mr. Trump takes a daily baby aspirin to reduce the risk of a heart attack. Over all, he pronounced Mr. Trump healthy and his medical care “as exactly up to date.”

LBN-HEALTH WATCH:   ***Men whose prostate cancer comes back after surgery are more likely to survive if, along with the usual radiation, they also take drugs to block male hormones. The finding, published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, comes from a long-running study that experts say will help clarify treatment for many patients. After surgery to remove the prostate, more than 30 percent of men have a recurrence, and until now there has not been clear evidence about the best way to stop the disease from killing them. Most are given radiation, but prescribing drugs to counter the effects of male hormones has been inconsistent.

LBN-VIDEO LINK: Thomas Friedman: Trump ‘will suck your brains out’ – BBC Newsnight —–

LBN- COMMENTARY by Thomas B. Edsall: All wars have unintended consequences, including culture wars. A look atcontemporary television and film demonstrates that in one sense social and cultural liberalism have won the day. Polls confirm a steady leftward shift over recent decades in attitudes toward same-sex marriage, equality of the sexes and diversity in both education and the workplace. At the same time, liberal victory in the cultural revolution of the 1960s and 70s, with its emphasis on so-called postmaterialist values — personal fulfillment, openness to new ideas, and support for previously marginalized populations — had its costs, which political analysts have been reckoning. Those costs have become particularly evident in the eruption over the past year of the Brexit vote in Britain, the increasing power of anti-immigrant parties across Europe and the ascendance of right-wing populism in America.

LBN-COMMENTARY by Michael Levine (Media expert and author – Disparaged by critics as the new opiate of the masses, “mourning sickness” is the relatively recent phenomenon of collective public grieving for murder victims and celebrities who have died. Princess Diana’s death in 1997 prompted one of the most widespread examples of this in the UK, where makeshift memorials quickly became gathering places for public displays of mourning. The advent of the Internet provided the public with a new forum in which to share their grief.

LBN-SPOTLIGHT: The customer service “wow” examples that you read in business books and hear from customer service speakers and consultants are often taken from premium brands: five-star hotels, Nordstrom, Apple, REI, Mercedes-Benz, or from companies with decidedly unique resources, such as Amazon. They all passionately adhere to the “Broken Windows, Broken Business” theory. ——


LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***Kim Kardashian is testifying in her Paris robbery case. The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star met with French authorities in a New York City hotel Wednesday morning about her traumatic experience in October in which she was gagged, bound and held at gunpoint. She is hoping to help them identify two of the robbers as well as give them a detailed account of what happened.   ***Amid her ongoing divorce drama with estranged husband Tarek El MoussaChristina El Moussa has found new love. The Flip or Flop star was spotted by In Touch magazine with her boyfriend Gary Anderson, who is a contractor. Although the HGTV couple announced their split in mid-December, the two had been secretly separated for eight months, giving them plenty of time to move on. Both Tarek and Christina admitted to People magazine that they had been seeing other people.   ***David Cassidy is wrapping up his 50-year career. The 66-year-old entertainer says he will play his final West Coast concerts this month and plans to retire at year’s end. Cassidy says in a statement on his website Wednesday that “traveling and my arthritis” have made performing around the country difficult in recent years.

LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu 

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