*WAKE-UP! Tech Distractions Blamed for Rise in Traffic Fatalities:
The messaging app Snapchat allows motorists to post photos that record the speed of the vehicle. The navigation app Waze rewards drivers with points when they report traffic jams and accidents. Even the game Pokémon Go has drivers searching for virtual creatures on the nation’s highways. When distracted driving entered the national consciousness a decade ago, the problem was mainly people who made calls or sent texts from their cellphones. The solution then was to introduce new technologies to keep drivers’ hands on the wheel. Innovations since then — car Wi-Fi and a host of new apps — have led to a boom in internet use in vehicles that safety experts say is contributing to a surge in highway deaths. After steady declines over the last four decades, highway fatalities last year recorded the largest annual percentage increase in 50 years. And the numbers so far this year are even worse. In the first six months of 2016, highway deaths jumped 10.4 percent, to 17,775, from the comparable period of 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “This is a crisis that needs to be addressed now,” Mark R. Rosekind
, the head of the agency, said in an interview.
*Trump to Dismantle Trade Deals on Day 1:
President-elect Donald Trump
is planning to follow through on campaign talk of totally overhauling the world’s network of tradedeals, according to a memo drafted by his transition team. CNN reports the administration will either renegotiate or withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, and renege on deals that don’t put American jobs first. “The Trump trade plan breaks with the globalist wings of both the Republican and Democratic parties,” the document reads. “The Trump administration will reverse decades of conciliatory trade policy. New trade agreements will be negotiated that provide for the interests of U.S. workers and companies first.” The main principles of the memo include the NAFTA overhaul, stopping the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, halting “unfair imports,” and ending “unfair trade practices.”
*Obama: Trump Used ‘Troubling Rhetoric’ to Win:
said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump
and others in the Republican party won partly because they were able to effectively “moblize people” using rhetoric that was “troubling” and “not necessarily connected to facts.” Speaking from Athens, Greece, Obama said Trump played on Americans’ “anger and fear” of globalization to win the presidency. He added, “That sometimes gets wrapped up in issues of ethnic identity or religious identity or cultural identity. And that can be a volatile mix.” The president didn’t cite any specific quotes, but made reference to the oft-repeated concept that Trump’s appeals to the anti-trade, anti-immigrant sentiments of working-class whites helped secure his election. The remarks come just days after Trump and Obama met at the White House for what was described as a cordial, “excellent” meeting. On Monday afternoon, during his pre-trip press conference, Obama claimed that Trump told him he’s interested in preserving “strategic relationships” with nations abroad.
*Leaked Memo: Britain Has No Brexit Plan:
British Prime Minister Theresa May
insists the country will formally trigger its withdrawal from the European Union in March, but a leaked internal memo shows there is still no coherent plan for Britain’s exit. The document—purported to have been drafted by consultants—offered a snapshot of how government departments were preparing to negotiate the terms of Britain’s exit from the union and the fallout from going it alone. “Despite extended debate… no common strategy has emerged,” said the memo, which was leaked to The Times
and the BBC. The British government is working on more than 500 Brexit-related projects, which could require 30,000 additional staff to manage.
*Google and Facebook Take Aim at Fake News Sites:
Over the last week, two of the world’s biggest internet companies have faced mounting criticism over how fake news on their sites may have influenced the presidential election’s outcome. On Monday, those companies responded by making it clear that they would not tolerate such misinformation by taking pointed aim at fake news sites’ revenue sources. Google kicked off the action on Monday afternoon when the Silicon Valley search giant said it would ban websites that peddle fake news from using its online advertising service. Hours later, Facebook, the social network, updated the language in its Facebook Audience Network policy, which already says it will not display ads in sites that show misleading or illegal content, to include fake news sites.
*Snowden Warns of More Domestic Spying Under Trump:
has warned that a Donald Trump
presidency will likely see a spike in domestic spying as “sheer authoritarianism” takes over. Speaking at a teleconference in Buenos Aires, the former National Security Agency contractor-turned-whistleblower said Trump’s win in the presidential race was indicative of a new government based on a “trust in personalities” rather than in capable leaders. “We are starting to substitute open government for sheer authoritarianism, agovernment based not upon the principle of informed consent granted by people who understand its activities but rather a trust in personalities, a trust in claims, a trust in the hope that they will do the right thing,” he said. New officials “who have a very different set of values and can govern in the dark” may defy the government’s earlier pledge to scale down indiscriminate spying on its own citizens. “If government does actually win our trust, because they go for some years and they do operate in a way that we should support, what happens when it changes?” he asked, referring to Trump taking over. “This is kind of the challenge that we’re facing today in the United States with the result of the last election.”
*Germany Bans ‘True Religion’ Muslim Group and Raids Mosques:
A German organization that calls itself the True Religion and that is known for distributing German-language copies of the Quran was outlawed on Tuesday, after the authorities accused it of recruiting jihadists to fight in Iraq and Syria. Thomas de Maizière
, the German interior minister, said the government had banned the True Religion organization, which is also known as Read (as in the instruction to read the Quran), because it acted as a “collecting pool” for would-be Islamist fighters. Starting on Tuesday morning, officers raided 190 premises in more than half of Germany’s 16 states. Materials were secured, but there were no detentions, Mr. de Maizière said. “The organization brings Islamic jihadists together under the pretext of the harmless distribution of the Quran,” Mr. de Maizière told reporters in Berlin, stressing that the authorities were acting against the group because of its work to foster violence, not because of its faith. “A systematic curtailment of our rule of law has nothing to do with the alleged freedom of religion,” he said.
*LBN-MUSIC INSIDER: ***Bruno Mars will take his 24K Magic act on the road in 2017 with a massive, 85-date world tour. The world tour kicks off in Antwerp, Belgium on March 28th and jets around Europe before opening its North American leg July 15th at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. The 24K Magic Tour will crisscross the continent, including two nights each at Chicago’s United Center and Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, before concluding with a four-night stand at Los Angeles’ The Forum November 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th.
***Film producer Mike Flint
having dinner last night at the popular Areal restaurant on Main Street in Santa Monica. ***Matthew McConaughey
shopping on the fifth floor of Bergdorfs in NYC with his wife Camila Alves
. ***Eddie Alvarez
at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House with 20 friends and family members before being pummeled by Conor McGregor
at Madison Square Garden in NYC. ***Nick Jonas
and “Pitch Perfect” franchise star Skylar Astin
at a dress rehearsal of Broadway show “Dear Evan Hansen”. ***Famed photographer Harry Benson
at a screening of his film, “Harry Benson: Shoot First,” at the Gold Coast International Film Festival. ***Renowned rock ‘n’ roll photographer, Jimmy Steinfeldt
having dinner at the famed Vito Italian restaurant in Santa Monica. ***Respected direct marketing specialist, Craig Valine
having dinner at The Coral Tree Cafe in Brentwood.
*WHO READS LBN? Film director Kenneth Lonergan
— the greatest basketball player of all time — is too big for a normal two-hour biopic. The NBA and CAA (Creative Artists Agency) are shopping a 10-hour authorized documentary about Jordan. Production has not yet started, but the film will mostly be about His Airness’ comeback in the late ’90s (after his stint playing baseball), when he won three of his six championship rings. The producing team is led by Mike Tollin
, who spearheaded ESPN’s acclaimed “30 for 30” series and is partners with Peter Guber
in Mandalay Sports Media. The project has been pitched to ESPN, Showtime, HBO and Fox Sports, and Jordan’s reps are looking for a deal somewhere north of $20 million.
*THINK FREELY – READ LBN:
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*LBN-R.I.P.: Gwen Ifill, a groundbreaking journalist who covered the White House, Congress and national campaigns during three decades for The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC and, most prominently, PBS, died on Monday at a hospice in Washington. She was 61. The cause was complications of uterine cancer, her brother Roberto said.
*LBN-COMMENTARY by David Brooks:
Smartphones change death. When I heard that Gwen Ifill had died on Monday I pulled out my phone and scrolled through the photo album. There were pictures of Gwen and her “NewsHour” colleague Judy Woodruff laughing uproariously together, doing little exploding fist-bumps, which I sneakily took while she was heroically covering the political conventions this year. There was a picture of her joyously driving a boat full tilt during a “NewsHour” party a few summers ago, the wind blasting into her clothes and face. There were pictures of her posing with friends of mine who had come to visit the set. Everybody who came wanted a picture with Gwen. Every reminiscence you read about Gwen will describe her smile. It was not subtle. It shone from her face like some sort of spiritual explosion.
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Michael Levine (Media expert and author — www.MichaelLevineMedia.com) : Researchers have expressed concern that many Internet users assume the Google search engine represents reality, and that if some information is not on Google, it is either not important or it does not exist.
*LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:….
***The battle over Sofía Vergara
’s frozen embryos with ex-fiancé Nick Loeb
has taken a shocking turn. The actress is demanding Loeb reveal the names of two former girlfriends who underwent abortions around 20 years ago. A California judge upheld Vergara’s request that Loeb, 41, name the women who terminated their pregnancies many years ago. A horrified Loeb appealed the decision, but the Court of Appeals backed Vergara. Vergara’s legal team wants to quiz both women under deposition to probe Loeb’s sexual past, but he fears the women’s names could become public due to the high-profile nature of the case, and the women could face intense scrutiny and shame. ***Kelsey Grammer
is now a father of seven. The 61-year-old and wife Kayte Grammer
welcomed son Auden James Ellis
on Monday, a rep for the actor said. “The name was chosen to honor the great poet W.H. Auden
and James is after another great poet and singer, James Taylor
— two of our favorites,” the couple said. ***Pop patriarch Joe Simpson
has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The 56-year-old father of Jessica
and Ashlee Simpson
underwent successful surgery after being diagnosed two months ago, People reports. He is in recovery and back to work as a celebrity photographer, sources told the magazine.
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