Ego, publicity at stake when stars and TV critics meet
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Jerrod Carmichael, lamenting what he called the “terrible” state of TV comedy, asked his audience if they’d seen some of it. Staring back at the comedian was a hotel ballroom filled with journalists whose job it is to cover television.
“I think they see all of it,” helpfully offered Ramy Youssef, his fellow producer and star of their new Hulu sitcom.
“Poor y’all,” Carmichael said, a sympathetic coda to a semiannual event in which broadcast networks, cable channels and streaming platforms parade the shows and stars they hope will get attention from the 250 members of the Television Critics Association and, in turn, viewers.
The group, TCA for short, has been meeting twice a year, winter and summer, since it was founded in 1978. TV producers, actors and sometimes executives trek to a hotel — or more accurately, limo there, and mostly within upscale L.A.-adjacent areas — to answer questions about their shows and mingle with reporters at cocktail parties for more questions.
The stars are easy to spot: they’re well-dressed. Reporters, not so much, but they have the upper hand and a microphone during the Q&A sessions that are the core of the roughly two-week-long event. Adherence to the journalistic maxim of “no cheering in the press box” means celebrities face the unnerving sound of silence as they step out on an ad hoc stage.
‘Empire’ actor charged with making false police report
CHICAGO (AP) — “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett was charged Wednesday with making a false police report when he said he was attacked in downtown Chicago by two men who hurled racist and anti-gay slurs and looped a rope around his neck, police said.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said prosecutors charged Smollett with felony disorderly conduct, an offense that could bring one to three years in prison and force the actor to pay for the cost of the investigation into his report of a Jan. 29 beating.
Authorities were trying to get in touch with Smollett’s attorneys to “negotiate a reasonable surrender,” Guglielmi said. That could involve the actor, who is black and gay, turning himself in to a Chicago police station.
Police did not have a time frame for how long the actor would be given.
“We are trying to be diplomatic and reasonable, and we’re hoping he does the same,” Guglielmi said.
Democrats’ resolution against Trump emergency coming Friday
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats will file a resolution Friday aimed at blocking the national emergency declaration that President Donald Trump has issued to help finance his wall along the Southwest border, teeing up a clash over billions of dollars, immigration policy and the Constitution’s separation of powers.
Though the effort seems almost certain to ultimately fall short — perhaps to a Trump veto — the votes will let Democrats take a defiant stance against Trump that is sure to please liberal voters. They will also put some Republicans from swing districts and states in a difficult spot.
Formally introducing the measure sets up a vote by the full House likely by mid-March, perhaps as soon as next week, because of a timeline spelled out by law. Initial passage by the Democratic-run House seems assured.
The measure would then move to the Republican-controlled Senate, where there may be enough GOP defections for approval. The law that spells out the rules for emergency declarations seems to require the Senate to address the issue too, but there’s never been a congressional effort to block one and some procedural uncertainties remain.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., seemed to predict approval, telling colleagues in a letter that her chamber will “move swiftly” to pass it and “the resolution will be referred to the Senate and then sent to the President’s desk.”
Feds: Coast Guard lieutenant compiled hit list of lawmakers
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Coast Guard lieutenant who was arrested last week is a “domestic terrorist” who drafted an email discussing biological attacks and had what appeared to be a hit list that included prominent Democrats and media figures, prosecutors said in court papers.
Christopher Paul Hasson is due to appear Thursday in federal court in Maryland after his arrest on gun and drug offenses, but prosecutors say those charges are the “proverbial tip of the iceberg.”
“The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct,” prosecutors wrote in court papers .
Hasson, who works at the Coast Guard’s headquarters in Washington, has espoused extremist views for years, according to prosecutors. Court papers detail a June 2017 draft email in which Hasson wrote that he was “dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth,” and pondering how he might be able to acquire anthrax and toxins to create botulism or a deadly influenza.
In the same email, Hasson described an “interesting idea” that included “biological attacks followed by attack on food supply” as well as a bombing and sniper attacks, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.
US: Alabama woman who joined Islamic State is not a citizen
WASHINGTON (AP) — An Alabama woman who joined the Islamic State group in Syria won’t be allowed to return to the United States with her toddler son because she is not an American citizen, the U.S. said Wednesday. Her lawyer is challenging that claim.
In a brief statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave no details as to how the administration made their determination.
“Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States,” he said. “She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport nor any visa to travel to the United States.”
But Hassan Shibly, a lawyer for the woman, insisted Muthana was born in the United States and had a valid passport before she joined the Islamic State in 2014. He says she has renounced the terrorist group and wants to come home to protect her 18-month-old son regardless of the legal consequences.
“She’s an American. Americans break the law,” said Shibly, a lawyer with the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “When people break the law, we have a legal system to handle those kinds of situations to hold people accountable, and that’s all she’s asking for.”
Fire in old part of Bangladesh’s capital kills at least 69
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A devastating fire raced through buildings in an old part of Bangladesh’s capital and killed at least 69 people, officials and witnesses said Thursday.
About 50 other people were injured and the fire in Dhaka was mostly under control after more than nine hours of frantic efforts by firefighters.
The Chawkbazar area where the fire was burning is crammed with buildings separated by narrow alleys. The neighborhood is a mix of residential and commercial, with buildings that commonly have shops, restaurants or warehouses on the ground floors.
The blaze started late Wednesday night in one building but quickly spread to others, fire department Director General Brig. Gen. Ali Ahmed said.
The death toll rose to 69, with many of the victims trapped inside the buildings, said Mahfuz Riben, a control room official of the Fire Service and Civil Defense in Dhaka.
Climate threat doubter is leading effort to advise Trump
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is exploring the idea of forming a special committee to look at climate change and security risks, with the effort being coordinated by a 79-year-old physicist who rejects mainstream climate science.
A “discussion paper” obtained by The Associated Press asks federal officials from an array of government agencies to weigh in on a proposed executive order that President Donald Trump would sign establishing the “Presidential Committee on Climate Security.”
A memo to those federal officials asks them to direct any questions to William Happer, a member of Trump’s National Security Council and a well-known critic of mainstream climate science findings.
“Happer would be a fringe figure even for climate skeptics,” said retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. David Titley, now a professor of meteorology at Pennsylvania State University.
Several climate scientists agreed with Titley, including Georgia Tech’s Kim Cobb, who said Happer’s “false, unscientific notions about climate change represent a danger to the American people.”
Authorities announce Houston officer case review, FBI probe
HOUSTON (AP) — Prosecutors will review more than 1,400 criminal cases that involved a Houston officer who the police chief has accused of lying in an affidavit justifying a drug raid on a home in which officers shot and killed two residents, authorities said Wednesday.
The FBI also announced that it is opening an investigation to determine whether any civil rights were violated as a result of the raid and shooting last month.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said at a news conference that he welcomed the FBI investigation “in the spirit of transparency.”
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said her office’s review will look at cases spanning decades that involved Officer Gerald Goines, a 30-year department veteran. Twenty-seven of those cases are active.
“Although the criminal investigation of Officer Goines is ongoing, we have an immediate ethical obligation to notify defendants and their lawyers in Goines’ other cases to give them an opportunity to independently review any potential defenses,” Ogg said in a statement.
Lawyers for El Chapo concerned by juror misconduct claims
NEW YORK (AP) — El Chapo’s lawyers raised concerns of potential juror misconduct and were reviewing their options Wednesday after a member of the jury at the Mexican drug lord’s trial told a news website that several jurors looked at media coverage of the case.
The juror told VICE News that at least five members of the jury at Joaquin Guzman’s trial followed news reports and Twitter feeds about the case, against a judge’s orders, and were aware of potentially prejudicial material that jurors weren’t supposed to see.
Guzman, 61, was convicted Feb. 12 on drug and conspiracy charges that could put him behind bars for the rest of his life. Jurors deliberated for six days after three months of testimony. He is set to be sentenced in June.
Guzman’s lawyer, Eduardo Balarezo, said the issues of potential juror misconduct raised in the VICE article “are deeply concerning and distressing.”
“The juror’s allegations of the jury’s repeated and widespread disregard and contempt for the Court’s instructions, if true, make it clear that Joaquin did not get a fair trial,” Balarezo said in a statement. “We will review all available options before deciding on a course of action.”
Samsung folding phone is different – but also almost $2,000
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Samsung unveiled a highly anticipated smartphone with a foldable screen in an attempt to break the innovation funk that has beset the smartphone market.
But it’s far from clear that consumers will embrace a device that retails for almost $2,000, or that it will provide the creative catalyst the smartphone market needs.
The Galaxy Fold, announced Wednesday in San Francisco, will sell for $1,980 when it is released April 26.
Consumers willing to pay that hefty price will get a device that can unfold like a wallet. It can work like a traditional smartphone with a 4.6 inch screen or morph into something more like a mini-tablet with a 7.3 inch screen.
When fully unfolded, the device will be able to simultaneously run three different apps on the screen. The Galaxy Fold will also boast six cameras: three in the back, two on the inside and one on the front.
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