LBN – Special Report – Tuesday February 7, 2017

Melania Trump Lost Chance to Make Millions, Libel Suit Claims:

A re-filed libel lawsuit by Melania Trump claims that retracted articles that alleged she once worked as a high-end escort have damaged her ability to profit from her unusually high profile. The suit, filed Monday in New York State Supreme Court against the Daily Mail’s site publisher, Mail Media Inc., claims the new first lady “had the unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as an extremely famous and well-known person, as well as a former professional model, brand spokesperson, and successful businesswoman, to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multimillion-dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which Plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world.” The suit was previously filed in Maryland, but a judge dismissed the case this month on the grounds that it shouldn’t be filed in that state. Trump is seeking compensatory and punitive damages of at least $150 million. Her suit against blogger Webster Tarpley, who made the claims in a blog post, has been allowed to move forward in Maryland. Both Tarpley and the Daily Mail issued retractions.

Report: Yemen SEAL Raid Missed Target:

A raid on an al Qaeda compound in Yemen on Jan. 29 failed its primary objective of capturing or killing Qassim al-Rimi, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, military officials told NBC News. The raid killed one U.S. Navy SEAL, 14 al Qaeda fighters, and a number of civilians, including an 8-year-old girl. But al-Rimi is reportedly still alive and releasing audio messages mocking Trump. “The fool of the White House got slapped at the beginning of his road in your lands,” al-Rimi said in a message that military officials said was authentic. The officials said it was unclear whether al-Rimi had been at the compound when it was raided. The Trump administration has declared the raid “a successful operation by all standards,” despite reports from military officials who told Reuters that the raid was ordered without sufficient intelligence, preparation, or group support. Military officials also told NBC News that the White House had agreed to the raid because they decided al-Rimi’s capture would be worth the operation’s risk.

VP May Break Senate Deadlock on DeVos:

Despite a full night of debate, opposition, and public protest, the Senate is poised to confirm Michigan GOP donor Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s nominee for education secretary. Most expect the vote—scheduled for noon Tuesday—to pass by a narrow margin, with Vice President Mike Pence possibly breaking a 50-50 tie. Democrats spent the night in marathon speaking sessions in a show of opposition to DeVos, a billionaire who was publicly ridiculed after her confirmation hearing went poorly. (Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) called it the “most embarrassing” confirmation hearing he’s ever attended.) “Mrs. DeVos demonstrated a complete lack of experience in, knowledge of, and support for public education. She was unable to address basic issues that any New Hampshire school-board member could discuss fluently,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH). Some protesters overnight wore grizzly bear costumes inspired by DeVos’s comment during her hearing that some schools might need guns to defend against bear attacks. Many constituents who were not gathered outside the Capitol spent the evening jamming their representatives’ phone lines. Two GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, have announced they will oppose DeVos.

Report: Trump Upset a Woman Made Fun of Spicer:

According to a Politico report, the White House is still reeling from a Saturday Night Live sketch that took aim at presssecretary Sean Spicer. In particular, sources say that it was Spicer’s portrayal by a woman that hit President Trumphardest, because he was said to believe it made the press secretary appear weak. “Trump doesn’t like his people to look weak,” a top donor told a reporter. The SNL caricature showed a gum-chewing, belligerent Spicer played by Melissa McCarthy in drag. Trump was relatively silent about the sketch on Twitter, an uncharacteristic choice for the easily ruffled commander in chief. According to Politico, the bit “struck a nerve” and created an unease within the West Wing. Spicer on Sunday called the show’s portrayal of the president “too mean.”

Report: Up to 13,000 Hanged in Syria Prison Since 2011:

Syrian officials have killed as many as 13,000 people since 2011 through mass hangings at the Saydnaya Prison, known locally as “the slaughterhouse,” according to Amnesty International. In a report released Tuesday, Amnesty said 20 to 50 people are hanged each week in killings approved by senior government officials. The report called the deaths a “calculated campaign of extrajudicial execution.” “The horrors depicted in this report reveal a hidden, monstrous campaign, authorized at the highest levels of the Syrian government, aimed at crushing any form of dissent within the Syrian population,” said Lynn Maalouf, deputy director for research at Amnesty’s regional office in Beirut. Amnesty International has also allegedly recorded at least 35 different methods of torture in the country, which it says has increased since 2011.

San Francisco to Make Community College Free for All Residents:

All San Francisco students will receive free tuition at the city’scommunity colleges, regardless of the student’s income, the city announced Monday. The program will apply to all San Francisco residents who have lived in the city for one year and one day at the time of their enrollment. The city will fund the $5.4 million program with a new tax on sales of real estate valued at more than $5 million. Some 300,000 full- and part-time students are expected to take advantage of the free tuition. While the program does not cover books or other classroom expenses, full-time students who qualify for financial aid will receive as much as $500 in additional funding, the city said. The program is expected to take effect in the fall.

$1.2 Billion Harvard Haul Erased by Investment Losses:

Harvard University raised a record $1.2 billion in donations in the fiscal year 2016, but that total was quickly erased by $2 billion in investment losses and spending, Bloomberg News reports. Harvard’s donation total was the most by any U.S. university, and colleges together collected a record $41 billion for the year, according to the Council for Aid to Education. The survey, released Tuesday, said Stanford University collected the second-highest amount, with $951 million in donations. Harvard has a $35.7 billion endowment, and its previous donation record was $1.16 billion, which it raised two years ago.

Trump’s Labor Pick Hired Undocumented Maid:

President Donald Trump’s pick for labor secretary employed an undocumented maid, The Huffington Post reports. Andrew Puzder, CEO of the fast-food chains Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., reportedly told Senate and Trump administration officials that he had hired an undocumented woman as household help. Reached for comment, Puzder told The Huffington Post that “My wife and I employed a housekeeper for a few years, during which I was unaware that she was not legally permitted to work in the U.S. When I learned of her status, we immediately ended her employment and offered her assistance in getting legal status. We have fully paid back taxes to the IRS and the state of California and submitted all required paperwork.” Under previous administrations, this type of admission might end a confirmation process. Two of Bill Clinton’s attorney-general picks withdrew from confirmation hearings after it was revealed that they had both hired undocumented nannies. But some Republicans told The Huffington Post that Trump’s picks would likely be judged by different standards than their predecessors, and that Puzder’s admission might not necessarily end his Cabinet bid.

Israeli Law Retroactively Legalizes Settlements:

The Israeli Knesset approved a highly contested bill Monday that would retroactively legalize Israeli settlements on private Palestinian property in the West Bank. The measure, passed with a 60-52 vote, would apply to approximately 55 settlements throughout the occupied West Bank and has been criticized as an attempt by the Israeli government to annex parts of Palestinian land. The settlements, built on privately ownedPalestinian property, were previously illegal under Israeli law. The law’s opponents, including members of the Knesset, called the law a “de facto annexation” of Palestinian land, and warned that it could make Israel a target for war-crimes charges by the International Criminal Court, which is already investigating the legality of Israeli settlement efforts. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu initially opposed the law, then told lawmakers to put the law on hold until he discussed it with President Donald Trump this month. On Monday, Netanyahu reversed his position, backing the bill. He said he had told the Trump administration of his decision in advance.

Putin Critic Was Poisoned, Wife Says:

The wife of a prominent Kremlin critic says he was critically poisoned by an unknown substance. Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr., one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s best-known critics, became critically ill and was placed on life support last week, mirroring a similar episode in 2015. Doctors diagnosed Kara-Murza with “acute poisoning by an undetermined substance,” his wife told RFE/RL. His blood, hair, and fingernails are reportedly being sent to a laboratory in Israel for a second opinion. “We want to get some samples tested again to try to determine what this ‘unidentified’ substance may be,” his wife said. Kara-Murza, 35, is comatose in a Moscow hospital, were doctors say his organs have failed. He experienced a similar sudden illness in 2015, and has stated he believes he was poisoned during the 2015 incident. Both times, he was visiting Moscow when he suddenly became sick. A part-time U.S. resident, Kara-Murza works for the group Open Russia, where he has called on the U.S. to impose sanctions against Russian politicians. Putin has been accused of authorizing the deaths of other critics, including political rivals and journalists.

Great Labels Wins Best of Los Angeles Award 2017 for “Best Women’s Luxury Consignment Boutique”:

For more than two decades, Great Labels (, located in Santa Monica, has brought high-end designer clothing and accessories to the closets of budget-conscious fashion fanatics on the Westside. Imagine guilt-free Gucci, priced-to-move Prada, discounted Dior, and why-is-it-so-reasonable YSL. Picture an opportunity to hang out with Coco Chanel, Lanvin, YSL, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Christian Louboutin. Of course, everything at Great Labels is handpicked and must meet the highest standards. The “Best of Los Angeles Award” community was formed three years ago and consists of over 2,800 professional members living and working in Southern California. It celebrates the best people, places and things in Los Angeles with a slogan “No Ads. No B.S. Only the Best.” “The mission of the community is to celebrate the best of Los Angeles, and allowing its community members to connect with other members who share the highest standards of quality and integrity,” says DeRose. “This company is my dream come true. They say do what you love and prosperity will follow, and it certainly has for me. I am honored to receive this award from The Best of Los Angeles Award community,” Andrea Waters, Founder of Great Labels.


LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu

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