LBN- Special Report- Wednesday December 14, 2016

Trump’s NatSec Adviser Shared Classified Info Without Permission:

Ret. Army Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who was picked to serve as President-elect Donald Trump’s White House national security adviser, “inappropriately shared” classified information with foreign military officers in Afghanistan, The Washington Post revealed Wednesday. According to a U.S. Army investigation of the incident in 2010, Flynn did not act “knowingly” in sharing the classified information, and “there was no actual or potential damage to national security as a result,” thus no punishment for the general. Due to the classified nature of the investigation itself, the Post reported, the documents are limited in scope and do not reveal the exact nature of the secrets Flynn revealed. However, former U.S. officials familiar with the case told the newspaper that Flynn was accused of telling allied military officers about the activities of other U.S. agencies in Afghanistan, reportedly including the Central Intelligence Agency.

LBN-INVESTIGATES: An examination of the Russian hacking operation — based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response — reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack. The D.N.C.’s fumbling encounter with the F.B.I. meant the best chance to halt the Russian intrusion was lost. The failure to grasp the scope of the attacks undercut efforts to minimize their impact. And the White House’s reluctance to respond forcefully meant the Russians have not paid a heavy price for their actions, a decision that could prove critical in deterring future cyberattack.

DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that LBN is read daily in 26 foreign countries all over the world – from China to India, from Germany to Japan, from England to Israel, from Brazil to Russia, from France to Australia, from South Africa to Mexico, from Canada to Korea.

LBN-INVESTIGATES: Horizon Pharma charges more the $2,000 for a month’s supply of prescription pain reliever that is the combination of two cheap drugs available separately over the counter. Another company, Novum, sells a small tube of a prescription skin rash cream, containing two inexpensive decades-old medicines, for nearly $8,000.  What is key to the companies’ business plan of raising prices by 1,000% or more? The answer: coupons that deliver Horizon’s pain reliever Vimovo and Novum’s skin cream Alcortin A for as little as nothing to the patient, while leaving America’s health system to pick up much of the rest of the price.

Aleppo Evacuation Plan Shattered by More Bombs:

Syrian activists say warplanes have again begun bombing eastern Aleppo, threatening an already-shaky ceasefire deal established between rebels and pro-government troops. A withdrawal, meant to allow evacuation by civilians and rebel forces, was supposed to start at dawn Wednesday. Instead, shelling resumed in the morning. Buses that had been set aside to aid in the evacuations returned to their depots. Many interpreted the return of the empty green buses as a signal that the ceasefire agreement was off entirely. Rebels and activists who remained in the city’s last rebel-held territory said the area was struck with dozens of rockets since the alleged withdrawal was set to begin. Ibrahim al-Haj, a spokesman for the Syrian Civil Defense first responders, said, “They are using all forms of weapons.” Turkish officials accused President Bashar al-Assad’s forces of trying to sabotage the ceasefire agreement. “We see now that the regime and other groups are trying to obstruct this [deal],” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. “This includes Russia, Iran, forces supported by Iran and the regime.”

Netanyahu to Iran: ‘Don’t threaten Israel, we’re a tiger not a rabbit’: 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu conveyed a message to Iran on Wednesday, warning the Islamic Republic’s leaders, “Don’t threaten us, we are not a rabbit we are a tiger. If you threaten us you endanger yourself.” Netanyahu sent the message after being asked during his visit to Kazakhstan by President Nursultan Nazarbayev if he wants to send a message to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who was scheduled to visit Kazakhstan next week.


Studies: Extensive Brain Defects Seen in Zika-Infected Babies:

Babies whose mothers were infected with Zika are highly likely to experience brain damage, even when microcephaly is not present. According to three new studies published Tuesday, the virus may continue replicating in infant’s brains well past birth, causing more damage over time. Even if microcephaly isn’t present at birth, it can still emerge as a baby ages. In addition to smaller-than-average brain and skull development, babies who were exposed to Zika experienced dead spots and empty spaces in the brain, as well as congenital deafness and cataracts. Some of the babies in one study experienced seizures. Ernesto T. A. Marques Jr., an infectious-diseases specialist, said still others had to be fed through tubes because they could not swallow and their intestines had trouble moving food along. The studies showed conflicting likelihoods of transmitting infection—and defects—onto babies based on how sick their mother was and at what point during pregnancy she became infected. “This shows once again that microcephaly is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Albert I. Ko, an epidemiologist at Yale University.


Self-Driving Ubers Arrive in San Francisco:

Uber has unveiled its fleet of self-driving cars in a second U.S. city in three months: San Francisco. Now passengers in the Bay Area can ride in the semi-autonomous Volvo XC90, in which a driver sits in the front seat but does not need to control the vehicle. The first U.S. city to experiment with the vehicles was Pittsburgh. “In coming to San Francisco, there are lots of new things that are being added,” said Anthony Levandowski, chief of Uber’s Advanced Technology Group. “We’re able to handle rain and more inclement weather, and we’re also able to handle now heavy bicycle traffic, which is much more prevalent in the city of San Francisco… And of course the hills are kind of a fun thing.” The expansion to a new city will allow the company to gather data that it can use to improve the vehicles and technology.

LBN-NOTICED:   ***Georgina Chapman, Kyle MacLachlan, Dasha Zhukova and their kids seeing “immersive play” “Pip’s Island” at Skylight Modern in NYC.   ***U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr. and Rocco Ancarola at former Frank Sinatra haunt Antique Bar and Bakery in Hoboken, NJ.

LBN-R.I.P.: Alan Thicke has died at the age of 69 — leaving behind a legacy as a sitcom star both on-camera and behind the scenes. The “Growing Pains” star passed away from a heart attack on Dec. 13 while playing hockey with his 19-year-old son Carter.   ***Bob Krasnow, a well-traveled music executive credited with revitalizing Elektra Records in the 1980s and ’90s with a varied roster that included Metallica, Anita Baker and Björk, died on Sunday in Wellington, Fla. He was 82. The cause was organ failure, his son, Mitchell, said.

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LBN-COMMENTARY by Thomas L. Friedman: Maybe it will all turn out O.K. If it does, put me down as promising to applaud. But my fellow Americans, whatever mix of motives led us to create an Electoral College majority for Donald Trump to become president — and overlook his lack of preparation, his record of indecent personal behavior, his madcap midnight tweeting, his casual lying about issues like “millions” of people casting illegal votes in this election, the purveying of fake news by his national security adviser, his readiness to appoint climate change deniers without even getting a single briefing from the world’s greatest climate scientists in the government he’ll soon lead and his cavalier dismissal of the C.I.A.’s conclusions about Russian hacking of our election — have no doubt about one thing: We as a country have just done something incredibly reckless. There is actually something “prehistoric” about the cabinet Trump is putting together. It is totally dominated by people who have spent their adult lives drilling for, or advocating for, fossil fuels — oil, gas and coal. You would never know that what has actually made America great is our ability to attract the world’s smartest and most energetic immigrants and our ability “to develop technology and to nurture our human capital” — not just drill for coal and oil, remarked Edward Goldberg, who teaches at N.Y.U.’s Center for Global Affairs and is the author of “ The Joint Ventured Nation: Why America Needs a New Foreign Policy.”

WHO READS LBN? Popular deli owner Izzy Freeman


LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***Bruce Springsteen’s 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible is up for auction. The Boss bought the car for $2,000 in 1975, and it sold at a 2011 auction for $468,000.   ***Tarek and Christina El Moussa may have only announced their split on Monday, but they’ve been secretly separated for nearly eight months. In fact, the Flip or Flop stars are living separately and have already started dating other people.   ***During an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence shared a unique picture of her and her mom with the audience. In the shot, her mother is holding a glass of wine while sitting in a chair and smirking at the camera. Behind her, Lawrence looks like she is kneeling and smiling at the camera in unison. Unbeknownst to the audience—and her mom sitting there—the star was actually peeing while the photo was taken.

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