LBN – Special Report – Tuesday April 4, 2017

Gas Attack Is Said to Kill Dozens in Syria:

A toxic gas attack killed dozens of people in northern Syria on Tuesday morning, including women and children, and sickened scores more, according to medics, rescuers and witnesses in the rebel-held province of Idlib, who said the gas had been delivered by a government airstrike. Victims were shown in one video stretched out on the ground, some foaming at the mouth, apparently in the throes of convulsions, while emergency workers hosed them down to try to remove whatever toxins might still be on their skin. A few hours later, according to several witnesses, another airstrike hit one of the clinics treating victims, who had been farmed out to smaller hospitals and maternity wards because the area’s largest hospital had been severely damaged by an airstrike two days earlier. The European Union and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey condemned the attack and blamed the Syrian government. France called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.


Russia: Suicide Bomber Likely Caused Blast

Russian authorities announced Tuesday that a suicide bomber is believed to have been behind the Monday blast on the St. Petersburg subway that left 14 dead. Officials said they believed a native of Kyrgyzstan who became a Russian citizen was involved in the attack, but declined to name him. However, Kyrgyzstan’s national-security agency identified him asAkbarzhon Dzhalilov, a 22-year-old born in the city of Osh. No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing. Investigators worked Tuesday to piece together what led up to the explosion, and said parts of a suspected bomber were found amid the rubble in the underground system. Forty-nine people remain hospitalized. Russian President Vladimir Putin was in St. Petersburg, his hometown, when the bomb went off, and law-enforcement officials say they are attempting to determine if his visit was among the suspect’s motives. U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly phoned Putin on Monday to offer America’s “full support” in the matter.

* President Trump’s Record-Low Approval Rating Continues to Slide:

President Trump’s job approval, the lowest of any commander in chief since Gallup began tracking the initial months of a president’s term in 1953, has declined again — and not just among Democrats. According to Gallup’s most recent weekly survey, Mr. Trump’s support among Republicans, while still high, has dropped eight percentage points from late January.

Trump Wall Bidders Fear Safety at Site

Contractors bidding on President Donald Trump’s border wall are fearing for their employees’ safety, and some have inquired with U.S. Border Patrol as to whether they will be protected during construction of the proposed structure, according to an AP report. One potential bidder reportedly asked if its employees would be able to carry guns to protect themselves, while another inquired about whether they would be defended from a “hostile attack.” An official told the AP that “four to 10” bidders will be chosen and asked to build prototypes, costing the government between $200,000 and $500,000 each. The official added that the Border Patrol is prepared to provide a “buffer zone” in order to protect the employees working on the wall.

Second Teen Charged in Facebook Live Assault

A second Chicago teen has been charged in connection to the group sexual assault of a 15-year-old that was broadcast on Facebook and viewed by dozens of people online, police said. The first suspect, a 14-year-old boy, was arrested over the weekend. The second teen, a 15-year-old boy, went with his mother to surrender to police Monday, said Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. “He is being questioned before going to juvenile detention,” said Guglielmi. He has been charged with criminal sexual assault and with manufacturing and distribution of child pornography. But police say they have struggled to identify the others who were involved in the assault. “She’s just having such a difficult time even communicating what occurred to her,” Cmdr. Brendan Deenihan said of the teen girl. “We obviously have a video of the incident, so we have verifiable objective evidence of what occurred to this young lady, but she’s just having a very difficult time.”

NCAA Lifts Ban on North Carolina Events

The NCAA is lifting its ban on college sports events being held in North Carolina following the rollback of the state’s controversial HB2, or “bathroom bill.” The association said in a statement Tuesday that it is “actively determining site selections” for future events after it decided that new measure creates an scenario where by “we believe NCAA championships may be conducted in a nondiscriminatory environment.” The statement added: “If we find that our expectations of a discrimination-free environment are not met, we will not hesitate to take necessary action at any time.” The law was rolled back last week after the state’s Democratic governor cut a deal with Republican leaders in the legislature, but gay-rights groups have said the repeal does not go far enough in preventing discrimination against LGBT people. HB2 was labeled as discriminatory against transgender people when it was enacted in 2016 because it required that they use the public bathroom corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificates rather than the gender with which they identify. Analysts say North Carolina venues have lost $600 million in business since that measure went into effect due to boycotts.

WHO READS LBN? Fiction writer Mary Gaitskill:

CONFESSION – U.S. Teen Admits to Pope Assassination Plot

A New Jersey teenager pleaded guilty on Monday to planning to assassinate Pope Francis during his 2015 visit to Philadelphia. Court records show Santos Colon, 17, was charged as an adult in federal court for attempting to provide material support to terrorists. The documents say Colon confessed to asking a sniper to shoot the pope during his homily at the World Meeting of Families’ closing Mass and then plotting to set off an explosive in the aftermath. Colon admitted in court that he asked the “sniper,” who was working undercover for the FBI, to buy the explosives. He faces 15 years in prison, though federal prosecutors have said they never uncovered a motive in the case.

Tony Romo Leaving Football for Broadcasting

Longtime Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is retiring from football and plans to pursue a career in broadcasting, ESPN reports. The Cowboys are expected to officially release Romo on Tuesday, and he has “received interest” from CBS, Fox, and NBC to be a sports color commentator. According to ESPN, Romo, 37, made his decision largely due to his overall health. Romo is a four-time Pro Bowler and is the Cowboys’ franchise leader in pass yards, pass touchdowns, and passer rating.
LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER:   ***The record pace of auto sales in the United States is slowing down, leaving investors increasingly bearish on auto stocks. But there is one exception. Tesla, the electric-vehicle upstart, continues to surge. On Monday, Tesla surpassed Ford Motor in market value for the first time and moved within striking distance of General Motors, starkly illustrating the growing gap in investors’ optimism over its future versus the prospects for the traditional carmakers from Detroit. While G.M. and Ford may have strong profits and healthy balance sheets, Tesla offers something Wall Street loves much more: the potential for dramatic growth.
LBN-MUSIC INSIDER:  ***Rap mogul Suge Knight has claimed a new documentary about rapper Tupac Shakur has finally “nailed” the truth about his murder. The former CEO of Death Row Records was with Shakur the night he was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996. Knight, who is currently behind bars awaiting a separate murder trial, has never revealed the identity of the person he believed was responsible for his friend’s death. He has now alleged that the details in “Tupac Assassination: Battle for Compton,” co-directed by Richard Bond and Michael Douglas Carlin, are true, Music News has reported.
LBN-HEALTH WATCH:   ***It’s safe to say, we’re pretty comfortable with moving past topical treatments when it comes to tackling aging. According to the Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia, our annual spend on minimally or non-invasive cosmetic procedures (think chemical peels and anti-wrinkle injections) topped the $1 billion mark for the first time last year. That’s a lot of frown lines. But what about those of us who are looking for a more natural route in line with our clean living lifestyles? Enter: cosmetic acupuncture, which works at three different levels as an anti-aging treatment. Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Cosmetic Acupuncturist Dr. Vivian Tam says it’s a “triple threat” approach as it targets weakened and drooping muscles to tighten, lift and tone. Nice.

LBN-NOTICED: ***An over-flowing audience of L.A. influencers was in attendance last night for the “City Talk” Conversation series in the private room of the elegant Baltaire restaurant in Brentwood to see Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. In a discussion moderated by “City Talk” founder Michael Levine, the spirited conversation touched on everything from what is the most difficult part of the Chief’s job to illegal immigration. Power lawyer Tom Girardi said to the group –  “Let’s face it, everyone in this room has a tough job but not as tough as the Chief of Police.” Also in attendance were many of L.A. prominent media but the conversation was all off-the-record.

LBN-R.I.P.:   ***Katy Feeney, a longtime senior executive for Major League Baseball, died on Saturday in Maine while visiting relatives. She was 68. Major League Baseball announced her death but did not specify a cause or where she died in Maine. Baseball officials said she died in her sleep and had not shown any sign of illness. She lived in New York.

LBN-COMMENTARY by DAVID BROOKS: The health care bill failed. The odds of successful tax reform are remote, and in any case an actual proposal is months away. If we lived in a normal country our president would use the current moment to try to get a win — to try to pass something that would help people, demonstrate that Washington can function and rebuild his brand. If we lived in a normal country the Trump White House would launch a major initiative to combat opiate addiction. There are roughly two and a half million Americans addicted to opioids. Between 1999 and 2015, the number of those who died rose from 8,200 annually to 33,000. That means that over two years more Americans died of opiate addiction than died in the entire Vietnam War. As Christopher Caldwell pointed out in a powerful essay called “American Carnage” in First Things, the opioid crisis is killing at a higher rate than crack or any other recent plague. At the peak of the crack epidemic there were about two deaths per 100,000 Americans. Today, the opioid epidemic is killing 10.3 per 100,000. The national spotlight has been put on this crisis, but the situation is getting worse, not better. The Washington Post reported that in Stark County, Ohio, for example, the number of opioid-related deaths has increased by 20 percent in the past year. The county just asked the state to send over a cold storage trailer because the morgue is already full.


LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***In case of an emergency… pass the vodka. Miranda Lambert‘s assistant always makes sure the country superstar has a bag of booze at all times. “My assistant packs — I call it my nanny bag — she packs a bag of liquor for emergencies, for meltdowns and things like that,” Lambert told Sounds of Nashville. The nanny bag came in handy recently when Lambert’s flight to the ACM Awards was canceled and her tour manager rented the singer and her crew a bus to drive to Las Vegas: –

LBN E-Lert Edited By Dan Gaylord

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