LBN- Special Report- Wednesday December 21, 2016

Cops Seek Tunisian Man in Berlin Attack:

German police say they’re seeking a Tunisian man who may have been involved in the Berlin truck attack at a Christmas market on Monday night. Officials initially wrongly arrested a Pakistani man in the attack, which injured dozens and left 12 people dead. An ID said to be found under the driver’s seat of the truck reportedly belongs to an Anis A, but the suspect is expected to use multiple names. Authorities are sifting through 500 leads that might identify the killer and lead to his arrest, and investigators are collecting and analyzing DNA and fingerprints from the scene. “We have many ways to find this person,” said André Schulz, the head of the German Union of Detective Constables. According to CNN, the suspect was arrested in Germany in August with forged documents but was later released. He was attempting to travel to Italy. The Wall Street Journal reported that the suspect was granted temporary asylum in Germany last year but his application to stay long-term was rejected. He was reportedly known to German intelligence services and thought to have connections to ISIS.

Chinese Flee Toxic Smog ‘Airpocalypse’:

Tens of thousands of people are fleeing China’s smog-stricken north after its latest “airpocalypse” began last Friday. Though many have fled the toxic fumes, parts of the country are still under the pollution “red alert,” with nearly 460 million people forced to breathe in the heavy fog and hazardous pollution. Residents and activists have posted photos on social media of themselves wearing industrial-grade dust masks. Some who tried to flee weren’t able to because of airport closures and flight cancellations. Beijing’s Nanyuan airport halted all flights Tuesday, and its Beijing Capital international airport canceled nearly 300. Yang Xinglin, 27, said she requested time off from her job so she could avoid inhaling the smog and fumes. “You ask me why I left Beijing?” she asked. “It’s because I want to live.”

Report: Russia Tested Anti-Satellite Weapon:

Russia is believed to have tested an anti-satellite weapon,sources told CNN early Wednesday. U.S. officials, who tracked it, said they believe it did not destroy anything because it did not create debris. They also believe Russia sent kamikaze satellites, known in Russia as “Kosmos 2499,” which have the power to cripple or destroy U.S. satellites. “We have very good surveillance and intelligence capabilities, so we can see the threats that are being built. So we’re developing capabilities to defend ourselves,” Gen. John Hyten of U.S. Strategic Command told CNN last month. The news comes as Russia stands accused of meddling in the U.S. election to help elect Donald Trump, and just two days after its ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was assassinated.

U.S. Adds More Russians to Sanctions List:

The U.S. Treasury Department has added seven Russians and dozens of companies to its sanctions list because of Moscow’s activities in Crimea and Ukraine. The updated list, released Tuesday, includes Yevgeny Prigozhin, a St. Petersburg businessman known as President Vladimir Putin’s chef. The addition of new names provoked an angry response from the Kremlin, with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov vowing to get revenge. “We will be expanding our lists, we will see how we can respond asymmetrically,” Ryabkov told Russia’s TASS news agency. Prigozhin, known for his Kremlin connections, was added to the list because he provided financial and technological support to top Russian defense officials, the Treasury statement said. He has also been linked to a murky private security contractor that has sent mercenaries to Ukraine and Syria, known as ChVK Vagner. Other individuals on the updated list include executives with ties to Bank Rossiya, including Dmitry Lebedev, chairman of the bank’s board.

Lena Dunham: Sorry for Saying ‘I Wish I Had’ an Abortion:

Lena Dunham has apologized for comments this week that she wishes she’d had an abortion so that she could better fight the stigma involved with the process. “I truly hope a distasteful joke on my part won’t diminish the amazing work of all the women who participated” in her podcast about reproductive choice, Dunham wrote in an Instagram note late Tuesday. “My words were spoken from a sort of ‘delusional girl’ persona I often inhabit, a girl who careens between wisdom and ignorance (that’s what my TV show is too) and it didn’t translate. That’s my fault. I would never, ever intentionally trivialize the emotional and physical challenges of terminating a pregnancy.” Acknowledging that her words have pushed some too far, Dunham concluded, “I know plenty of people will never like a thing that leaves my lips, mea culpas or no, but this apology is for the women who have placed their trust in me. You mean everything to me. My life is and always will be devoted to reproductive justice and freedom.”

Unsealed Documents Outline F.B.I.’s Reasoning in Clinton Case: 

The F.B.I. told a federal magistrate judge in Manhattan in a sealed affidavit shortly before Election Day that there was probable cause to believe that emails belonging to Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, contained classified information, according to a redacted copy of the affidavit. The affidavit, which was unsealed on Tuesday along with related materials in Federal District Court, was filed on Oct. 30 in support of the F.B.I.’s request for a warrant to search a laptop containing the emails. The government appears to have based its warrant request on the theory that because Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin had exchanged many classified emails using Mrs. Clinton’s personal server, there was likely to be classified material in the additional emails discovered on the laptop, as well. The affidavit, in a redacted reference that a law enforcement official said was to Ms. Abedin, noted that she typically communicated with Mrs. Clinton’s email account on a daily basis, and that the bureau had found more than 4,000 work-related emails between them from 2009 to 2013.

Walmart Won’t Sell ‘Bulletproof: Black Lives Matter’ Shirts After Police Protest:

Walmart has agreed to quit selling shirts that say “Bulletproof: Black Lives Matter” after the president of the national Fraternal Order of Police asked for the item to be dropped. The president, Chuck Canterbury, had also asked that the stores stop selling all other shirts carrying the words “Black Lives Matter,” but Walmart refused that request. Canterbury’s letter called the shirts “offensive.” He added, “I am concerned that allowing these articles to be sold in this way will damage your company’s good name amongst FOP members and other active and retired law-enforcement officers.” He continued, “Commercializing our differences will not help our local police and communities to build greater trust and respect for one another.” In a statement, Walmart said Tuesday night that the stores offer millions of items from different parties, including those that say Blue Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter, and All Lives Matter.

2 Former Flint Emergency Managers Charged Over Tainted Water: 

A criminal investigation into this city’s water crisis reached into the top ranks of supervision over Flint on Tuesday as Michigan officials announced felony charges against two former state-appointed emergency managers, accusing them of fixating on saving money rather than on the safety of residents.The managers, who were appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to lead Flint out of fiscal distress, were charged over their roles in the public health crisis prompted by the city’s switch to a new water source, as well as the delays in responding to residents’ complaints as they suffered the devastating effects. Announcing the charges at a banquet center not far from the Flint River, Bill Schuette, the state’s attorney general, described “a fixation on finances and balance sheets” as at the root of what happened in Flint, where the water has been tied to the lead poisoning of children and the deaths of 12 people from Legionnaires’ disease.

LBN-HEALTH WATCH: Two numbers are particularly emblematic of what science had to tell us about fitness this year. The first is 42 percent and represents the extent by which people’s risk for premature death rises if they are out of shape, according to a study published in July. That number almost equals the risk of early death associated with heavy smoking. The second figure is $2,500 and is the amount of money that each of us most likely could save annually on medical costs related to heart disease if we walked for 30 minutes most days, according to a wonderfully pragmatic study released in September. In other words, exercise science this year taught us that being inactive could potentially cost us years from our lives and many thousands of dollars from our wallets.

LBN-R.I.P.:   ***Fran Jeffries, a lithe, silky-voiced singer and dancer who performed a show stopping samba in the 1963 film “The Pink Panther” and tantalized Tony Curtis with a seductive performance of the title song in “Sex and the Single Girl” a year later, died on Thursday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 79. The cause was multiple myeloma, her granddaughter Zoë Sandler said on Tuesday.


LBN-MUSIC INSIDER:   ***James Taylor has canceled his February concert in Manila, saying he finds reports of summary executions of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines without judicial proceedings“deeply concerning and unacceptable.” The American singer-songwriter tweeted Wednesday that he had been looking forward to performing in Manila and that it saddened him to cancel the concert. He apologized to his Filipino fans and said all tickets sold for the Feb. 25 performance would be refunded.

LBN-NOTICED: Ben Stiller at Gina La Fornarina on the Upper West Side in NYC.   ***Jerry Seinfeld seeing “Tiny Beautiful Things” in NYC.   ***Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor at Cirque du Soleil’s “Paramour” in NYC.   ***Sting backstage at Broadway show “The Encounter” in NYC.   ***N.Y. Giants star Kerry Wynn at Sojourn on the Upper East Side in NYC.   ***Orfeh at Mamo with Rob Shuter toasting Orfeh’s sold-out cabaret show with her husband, Andy Karl.

LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***Alec Baldwin isn’t making big league money to play Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.” As the 58-year-old actor revealed in an interview with the New York Times published Tuesday, he earns just $1,400 per appearance. While it takes Baldwin just seven minutes in the makeup chair to transform into the president-elect, the actor knows that portraying Trump goes far deeper than donning his signature hair.


LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu

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