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Hillary Clinton breaks wrist in bathtub fall in Indian palace 

Hillary Clinton fell in a bathtub while visiting India for a book tour and fractured her wrist, according to a story from DNA India

Clinton was staying at the Umaid Bhawan Palace when she fell, the story said. The Umaid Bhawan Palace was the one-time home of the former royal family of Jodhpur.

News of the fall comes days after a video was widely circulated showing Clinton twice slipping down stairs at the Jahaz Mahal, an ancient retreat built as an inn to accommodate pilgrims who came to Delhi to visit Muslim shrines there.

Clinton is in India on a book tour for her memoir, “What Happened.” She drew criticism this week when she said in a speech in New Delhi, that President Donald Trump has “quite an affinity for dictators” and that he “really likes their authoritarian posturing and behavior.” 

>> Read more trending news

Clinton went on to say Democrats “do not do well with white men, and we don’t do well with married, white women. And part of that is an identification with the Republican Party and a sort of ongoing pressure to vote the way that your husband, your boss, your son, whoever, believes you should.”

According to several sources, Clinton was taken to a private hospital, Goyal Hospital, around 5 a.m. (local time) Wednesday. According to Suresh Goyal, the CEO of the hospital, Clinton “was here for about 15-20 minutes.”

Clinton has had a history of suffering falls in recent years. Five months ago, she had to wear a surgical boot after breaking her toe. She said she fell as she ran down stairs carrying a cup of coffee. 

In 2016, she collapsed as she left a memorial service in New York City for the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Later that day she said she had been suffering from pneumonia and had become dehydrated at the service. Clinton suffered a concussion and a blood clot near her brain after a fall in her home in 2013.

Trump attacked Clinton’s health during the campaign, saying the former secretary of state was not well enough to serve as a president. 

On Thursday, she wore a scarf over her right arm and hand as she toured monuments in the city of Jaipur.



Miami bridge collapse: What is accelerated bridge construction?

The University City Bridge, the pedestrian bridge on the campus of Florida International University that collapsed on Thursday, apparently leaving several dead, was built under a process called Accelerated Bridge Construction.

>> Read more trending news

The bridge, a 950-ton structure, slammed down onto 8th Street, the roadway known as the Tamiami Trail, landing on at least eight vehicles in addition to hitting some pedestrians who were crossing the road at the time.

>>7 things to know about the fiery I-85 bridge collapse

The bridge was put in place about a week ago but had not been opened to pedestrian traffic. The bridge was designed by FIGG Bridge Group, a Boston firm, and built using the ABC method.

>>Where is the Florida pedestrian bridge collapse?

What is Accelerated Bridge Construction and how does it work? Here’s a look at ABC:

  • ABC projects are constructed offsite and moved to the site to be put together and anchored in place.
  • From the Federal Highway Administration: “The most common form of ABC is the use of prefabricated bridge elements. These elements can be fabricated in a controlled environment off-site and assembled in place at the bridge site. This construction method can best be described as building blocks. The prefabricated elements are connected at the site to form a complete bridge. Prefabrication of beams is not a new concept. Virtually all bridges are currently built with prefabricated beams and girders.”
  • According to a website post from FIU on a page that has since been taken down, but was cached by Google, ABC was used to build the bridge to help minimize the disruption to traffic on the eight-lane roadway it went over. “To keep the inevitable disruption of traffic associated with bridge construction to a minimum, the 174-foot portion of the bridge was built adjacent to Southwest 8th Street using a method called Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) and was driven into its perpendicular position across the road by a rig in only six hours on Saturday, March 10.”
  • From the FIU post: “Civil engineering doctoral student Dewan Hossain said: “I would say this is magic. In five hours using that ABC technology and sensors, the bridge is already there. In the classroom, we learn about the design, the construction, the safety – that’s a big issue – and here we’re seeing it actually happening. Here we are establishing a real, practical application of what we learn in the classroom. I would encourage more students to come view these types of projects to enhance what they learn.”
  • The FHA says ABC “uses innovative planning, design, materials, and construction methods in a safe and cost-effective manner to reduce the onsite construction time that occurs when building new bridges or replacing and rehabilitating existing bridges.”
  • The FHA also said about ABC: “A common reason to use ABC is to reduce traffic impacts … because the safety of the traveling public and the flow of the transportation network are directly impacted by onsite construction-related activities. However, other common and equally viable reasons to use ABC deal with site constructability issues. Oftentimes long detours, costly use of a temporary structure, remote site locations, and limited construction periods present opportunities where the use of ABC methods can provide more practical and economical solutions to those offered if conventional construction methods were used.”
  • FIU hosts the Center for Accelerated Bridge Construction, a national center for education about and promotion of ABC.
  • The University City Bridge, built by the Munilla Construction Management, was designed to survive a Category 5 hurricane.

Trump admits that he made up story about trade deficit with Canada

President Donald Trump, in remarks at a fundraiser Wednesday, said he made up a story about a trade deficit with Canada at a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, according to a story from The Washington Post 

“Trudeau came to see me. He’s a good guy, Justin. He said, ‘No, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please,’” Trump could be heard saying on an audio recording The Post reported was recorded at a fundraiser in Missouri.

>> Read more trending news 

“Nice guy, good-looking guy, comes in — ‘Donald, we have no trade deficit.’ He’s very proud because everybody else, you know, we’re getting killed,”

Trump said, then continued, “... So, he’s proud. I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know. ... I had no idea. I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’ You know why? Because we’re so stupid. … And I thought they were smart. I said, ‘You’re wrong, Justin.’ He said, ‘Nope, we have no trade deficit.’ I said, ‘Well, in that case, I feel differently,’ I said, ‘but I don’t believe it.’ I sent one of our guys out, his guy, my guy, they went out, I said, ‘Check, because I can’t believe it.’"

Trump commented in a tweet Thursday after the Post story was published, writing, "We do have a Trade Deficit with Canada, as we do with almost all countries (some of them massive). P.M. Justin Trudeau of Canada, a very good guy, doesn’t like saying that Canada has a Surplus vs. the U.S.(negotiating), but they do...they almost all do...and that’s how I know!"

According to officials with the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the U.S., in fact, has a trade surplus with Canada. 

The audio also captured Trump talking about the North American Free Trade Agreement, calling Mexico “spoiled” and saying, “The best deal is to terminate it and make a new deal.”

He also talked about his upcoming meeting with North Korean President Kim Jong Un and the criticism he is receiving from the press about it.

“They were afraid of being blown up. Then, all of a sudden, they say, 'Let’s not meet,'” he said of reporters, referring to concerns that tensions between the United States and North Korea are increasing the chances of a military — and possibly nuclear — confrontation.

'Beware the Ides of March' -- What does that mean?

Today marks the Ides of March, which may vaguely remind you of a high school English class. Here are some things to know about the 15th day of the month.

>> Read more trending stories

Day marks the assassination of Julius Caesar

Most famously on this date, some 2,060 years ago, Roman dictator Julius Caesar died in an assassination by senators at the Curia of Pompey.

Tensions had been simmering between senators and Caesar before his death, fueled by Caesar's continued consolidation of power. However, Caesar considered the senators his allies. Just a few years before his death, Caesar was named “dictator in perpetuity,” a move that further strained relations.

According to historians, 60 senators planned and participated in the conspiracy to kill Caesar in 44 B.C.

Death marked a turning point in Roman history

Caesar was popular with the lower class people of Rome, who saw his death as an unwelcome decision made by the aristocratic class. With Caesar no longer leading, potential leaders waged war to fill the power vacuum.

The civil wars eventually culminated in the end of the Roman Republic and beginning of the Roman Empire.

'Beware the Ides of March' made famous by Shakespeare

In case you really did forget your high school English class, it's worth noting the phrase “Beware the Ides of March” was immortalized by William Shakespeare in his tragic masterpiece “Julius Caesar.”

In the play, a soothsayer warns Caesar to be careful on March 15, although the ruler ignores the mystic with tragic consequences.

Famous line based on historical events

It may come as a surprise to know the well-known phrase was actually inspired by real events.

According to Greek historian Plutarch, a seer really did warn Caesar that he would be at the very least injured by the Ides of March.

Caesar did not heed the warning.

On the day of his death, he saw the oracle and joked that he had made it to the Ides of March, to which the seer responded the day had not yet ended.

So why is it called the "Ides of March?"

The Romans kept track of days on their calendar by dividing each month up into three separate points marking the beginning, middle and end of the month. You may have guessed it, but the Ides fall in the middle of the month, on the 15th of March, May, July and October and the 13th for the rest of the year.

The Ides were sacred and marked a monthly sacrifice to the Roman god Jupiter. Various other religious observances also took place on the Ides of March.

Other famous events on this day

Today isn't just the anniversary of Caesar's death. Here are a few other famous events that have happened today in history:

  • 1972: Forty-six years ago (yes, that number is right) Francis Ford Coppola's three-hour crime epic "The Godfather" first played in theaters. Before "Jaws" came along in 1976, the film was the highest-grossing film ever made. It went on to win three Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture.
  • 1917: Czar Nicholas II was forced by the revolting Russian people to abdicate the throne after ruling the country for more than 20 years. The February Revolution -- so named because Russia used the Julian calendar at the time -- broke out just four days before the czar abdicated his throne.
  • 1767: Our seventh president, Andrew Jackson, was born on this day somewhere between the Carolinas near the end of the colonial era. His exact place of birth is disputed.

NCAA Men’s tournament 2018: Time, channel, odds for March Madness

It’s that time. 

The Men’s NCAA basketball tournament begins on Thursday, as millions fill out their brackets and try to figure out a way to watch the games from their desks at work. 

March Madness will see 68 teams vie for one of two spots in the April 2 championship game.  

>> Read more trending news

Office pool betting has begun in earnest and according to the America Gaming Association, the NCAA tournament is one of the most illegally bet on sporting events of the year. The AGA estimates that only 3 percent of March Madness wagers (about $300 million) will be placed legally.

So how does this all work? Here’s a look at what time the games will be played, what channel, how to fill out a bracket, the odds on winning the whole thing, and more.

When does it start?

The tournament actually started on Tuesday with two of the “First Four” games. The First Four are games played by the eight weakest teams (at least on paper) in the tournament. 

On Tuesday, Radford and St. Bonaventure were winners. On Wednesday, Texas Southern and Syracuse both came out on top.

What channel is it on?

The games are broadcast on several channels so fans can see their favorite teams play and networks can make money. CBS, truTV, TBS and TNT will broadcast the games. The championship game will be on TBS. Galavision will provide Spanish language coverage.

How do I fill out an NCAA tournament bracket?

You can click here to fill out a printable bracket to keep up with your picks. ESPN offers a bracket contest where you fill out a bracket and compete with millions of others trying to pick the winner. No one has ever picked every game correctly in the ESPN bracket contest. (Can you say upset?)

How can I watch the tournament without cable?

You can stream the games live by clicking here. It is the NCAA March Madness Live app.  

Boss Button

Watching the games at work? Then you could need a “Boss Button” to keep your nosy employer from seeing you enjoy the games. The button, one of which is on the March Madness website, lets you one-click to replace the game with a fake screenshot of something more work-appropriate when the boss (read: killjoy) strolls through the office.

What channel is truTV on my television? 

Many of the games will be broadcast on the cable channel truTV. Below is a guide to finding the station on your cable network. You can also go to truTV's website using their channel locator by clicking here.

AT&T Uverse: Channel 164, Channel 1164 (HD) DISH Network: Channel 204, Channel 9430 (HD) DIRECTV: Channel 246, Channel 246-1 (HD) SlingTV: Click Here PlayStation VUE: Click Here Time Warner Cable: Click Here to search by zip code Comcast/XFinity Cable: Click Here to search by zip code Charter Cable: Click Here to search by zip code Cox Communications: Click Here to search by zip code Bright House Networks: Click Here to search by zip code Cablevision/Optimum: Click Here to search by zip code Cable One: Click Here to search by zip code Mediacom: Click Here to search by zip code Suddenlink Communications: Click Here to search by zip code WOW! cable: Click Here to search by zip code

What is the schedule?

Here is the schedule of games, times and the channel they are being broadcast on. 

First Round – Thursday (All times are ET)

(10) Oklahoma vs. (7) Rhode Island

12:15 p.m.


(14) Wright State vs. (3) Tennessee

12:40 p.m.


(13) UNCG vs. (4) Gonzaga

1:30 p.m.


(16) Penn vs. (1) Kansas

2 p.m.


(15) Iona vs. (2) Duke

2:45 p.m.


(11) Loyola-Chicago vs. (6) Miami (Fla.)

3:10 p.m.


(12) South Dakota State vs. (5) Ohio State

4 p.m.


(9) NC State vs. (8) Seton Hall

4:30 p.m.


(16) Radford vs. (1) Villanova

6:45 p.m.


(12) Davidson vs. (5) Kentucky

7:10 p.m.


(11) San Diego State vs. (6) Houston

7:20 p.m.


(14) Stephen F. Austin vs. (3) Texas Tech

7:27 p.m.


(9) Alabama vs. (8) Virginia Tech

9:20 p.m.


(13) Buffalo vs. (4) Arizona

9:40 p.m.


(14) Montana vs. (3) Michigan

9:50 p.m.


(11) St. Bonaventure vs. (6) Florida

9:55 p.m.


First Round – Friday

(10) Providence vs. (7) Texas A&M

12:15 p.m.


(15) CSU Fullerton vs. (2) Purdue

12:40 p.m.


(13) Marshall vs. (4) Wichita State

1:30 p.m.


(15) Georgia State vs. (2) Cincinnati 

2 p.m.


(15) Lipscomb vs. (2) UNC

2:45 p.m.


(10) Butler vs. (7) Arkansas

3:10 p.m.


(12) Murray State vs. (5) West Virginia

4 p.m.


(10) Texas vs. (7) Nevada

4:30 p.m.


(9) Kansas State vs. (8) Creighton

6:50 p.m.


(14) Bucknell vs. (3) Michigan State

7:10 p.m.


(16) Texas Southern vs. (1) Xavier

7:20 p.m.


(13) Charleston vs. (4) Auburn

7:27 p.m.


(16) UMBC vs. (1) Virginia

9:20 p.m.


(11) Syracuse vs. (6) TCU

9:40 p.m.


(9) Florida State vs. (8) Missouri

9:50 p.m.


(12) New Mexico State vs. (5) Clemson

9:57 p.m.


Below is the schedule for games in the second round, the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight, the Final Four and the championship game. Check back here for an updated list of games as the tournament progresses.

Second round: Saturday, March 17

(1) Villanova vs. (9) Alabama

12:10 p.m.


(2) Duke vs. (7) Rhode Island

2:45 p.m.


(5) Kentucky vs. (13) Buffalo

5:15 p.m.


(3) Tennessee vs. (11) Loyola

6:10 p.m.


1 Kansas vs. (8) Seton Hall

7:10 p.m.


(4) Gonzaga vs. (5) Ohio State

7:45 p.m.


(3) Texas Tech vs. (6) Florida

8:40 p.m.


(3) Michigan vs. (6) Houston

9:40 p.m.


Second round: Sunday, March 18

(2) Purdue vs. (10) Butler

12:10 p.m.


(3) Michigan State vs. (11) Syracuse 

Approximately 2:40 p.m.


(2) North Carolina vs. (7) Texas A&M 

5:15 p.m.


(2) Cincinnati vs. (7) Nevada 

6:10 p.m.


(4) Auburn vs. (5) Clemson 

7:10 p.m.


(9) Kansas State vs. (16) UMBC 

Approximately 7:40 p.m.


(1) Xavier vs. (9) Florida State 

Approximately 8:40 p.m.


(5) West Virginia vs. (13) Marshall 

Approximately 9:40 p.m.


Sweet 16: Thursday, March 22

7:00 p.m. -- Second round winners (CBS)

7:15 p.m. -- Second round winners (TBS) 

9:30 p.m. -- Second round winners (CBS)

9:45 p.m. -- Second round winners (TBS) 

Sweet 16: Friday, March 23

7:00 p.m. -- Second round winners (CBS)

7:15 p.m. -- Second round winners (TBS) 

9:30 p.m. -- Second round winners (CBS)

9:45 p.m. -- Second round winners (TBS) 

Elite Eight: Saturday, March 24

6:00 p.m. -- Sweet 16 winners (TBS)

8:30 p.m. -- Sweet 16 winners (TBS) 

Elite Eight: Sunday, March 25

2:00 p.m. -- Sweet 16 winners (CBS)

4:55 p.m. -- Sweet 16 winners (CBS) 

Final Four: Saturday, March 31

6:00 p.m. -- Elite Eight winners (TBS)

8:30 p.m. -- Elite Eight winners (TBS) 

National Championship: Monday, April 2

9:00 p.m. -- Final Four winners (TBS)

What are the odds?

So, who will likely win the tournament? According to the online betting site Bovada, Villanova is the best bet. 

Here are the odds for each team. If you are not sure how to bet on the games but want to give it a go, there’s a primer on the site to help you. 

Villanova +600 Virginia +650 Duke +800 Michigan State +1100 Kansas +1200 Purdue +1200 Cincinnati +1200 Arizona +1200 Michigan +1400 North Carolina +1400 Xavier +1500 Gonzaga +1500 Kentucky +1600 West Virginia +2500 Texas Tech +4000 Tennessee +4000 Wichita State +4000 Missouri +5500 Auburn +6000 Ohio State +8000 Florida +9000 Houston +10000 Providence +10000 Rhode Island +15000 Texas A&M +15000 TCU +15000 Clemson +15000 TCU +15000 Clemson +15000 Miami +15000 Oklahoma +20000 San Diego State +20000 Virginia Tech +20000 Arkansas +25000 Alabama +2000 Davidson +25000 Seton Hall +25000 Texas +25000 Loyola +25000 NC State +25000 Syracuse +25000 Butler +30000 UCLA +30000 Creighton +35000 Florida State +35000 Arizona State +50000 Kansas State +50000 Marshall +50000 Montana +50000 Nevada +50000 New Mexico State +50000 Stephen F. Austin +50000 Wright State +50000 Bucknell +70000 UMBC +100000 Buffalo +100000 Cal State Fullerton +100000 Charleston +100000 Georgia State +100000 Iona +100000 Lipscomb +100000 LIU Brooklyn +100000 Murray State +100000 North Carolina Central +100000 UNC Greensboro +100000 Pennsylvania +100000 Radford +100000 South Dakota State +100000 St. Bonaventure +100000 Texas Southern +100000

Enough National School Walkout: Live updates

Students across the United States and around the world will walk out of their classrooms Wednesday in solidarity with the victims and the survivors of the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The walkout, #EnoughIsEnough, is set for 10 a.m. local time. It will last 17 minutes, one minute for each person killed in the shooting that took place one month ago Wednesday.

According to the Women’s March Youth Empower, more than 3,000 groups have registered to take part in the walkout. The organizers of the event, many of whom are survivors of the shooting, said they hope the walkout will focus attention on gun control reform.

Organizers have seen some movement on gun issues in Floridawhere Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill last week that raised the minimum age for all gun purchases from 18 to 21, created a waiting period for prospective gun buyers, allowed for some school employees to be armed and banned bump stocks, the devices that allow for some weapons to fire more quickly.

What the bill didn’t do was ban the sale of assault weapons, something organizers had hoped for.

The Associated Press reported that free speech advocates are prepared to go to bat for students who may face disciplinary action for walking out of class. The American Civil Liberties Union issued advice for students who walk out, saying schools can’t legally punish them more harshly because of the political nature of their message. In Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Texas, some lawyers said they will provide free legal help to students who are punished.

Here are the specifics of Wednesday’s event.

Time: The walkout will take place at 10 a.m. in every time zone.

Place: Students, teachers and administrators from across the country and in European countries have said they will participate. So far, 3,000 groups have registered with ENOUGH National School Walkout. Those participating are expected to walk out of class but stay on school grounds.

How schools will participate: It’s up to the student organizers, and depends on what the school will allow. Some students are planning a “lie-in," in which they will lie down to symbolize those killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Others are having discussions on gun issues and some are observing minutes of silence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Live updates

Who is Gina Haspel, the new CIA director nominee?

President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Gina Haspel will be nominated as the first female director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The move came after Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and announced that CIA Director Mike Pompeo would take his place.

>> Read more trending news

Trump, talking to reporters Tuesday morning about Haspel, "She's an outstanding person who also I've gotten to know very well."

Who is Gina Haspel? Here are a few things you may not know about her.

  • She is 61 years old.
  • She is a career intelligence officer and has worked for the CIA since 1985.
  • Haspel ran a CIA prison in Thailand in 2002. According to The New York Times, Haspel was part of the Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program which “oversaw the torture of two terrorism suspects.”
  • The Washington Post reported that Haspel  was part of a group of CIA officials involved in the decision to destroy videotapes of interrogation sessions that left some detainees  on the brink of physical collapse.” 
  • She served as chief of staff for the director of the National Clandestine Service.
  • In 2013, she was nominated for the position of deputy director of the National Clandestine Service. The National Clandestine Service is in charge of covert operations across the globe. She was not confirmed for that position after senators questioned her actions in the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program. 
  • Haspel served as the deputy director of the National Clandestine Service for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action.
  • She was appointed deputy director of the CIA by Trump in February 2017.
  • She has been awarded the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism; the Donovan Award; the Intelligence Medal of Merit; and the Presidential Rank Award, the most prestigious award in the federal civil service.
  • She is well-respected in the intelligence community.

Here, from the CIA press release, are some responses to the announcement of her nomination:

Charles Allen, former assistant director for collection at CIA: “As a CIA officer of 47 years, I can say without reservation that Gina Haspel has my strongest support in her appointment as Deputy Director. A deeply experienced clandestine officer who has held senior positions both at home and abroad, Ms. Haspel is not only an outstanding operations officer but also a recognized program manager and an exceptional leader. She has selflessly dedicated her life to the Agency and to the security of the nation. CIA officers and Intelligence Community leaders writ large will applaud her selection.”

James Clapper, former director of National Intelligence: “I am very pleased to learn of Director Pompeo’s selection of Gina Haspel as Deputy Director. It speaks well of him for picking a seasoned veteran of the Agency who is widely and deeply respected by the workforce as well as those outside the Agency. She has the broad-gauged experience from both foreign and domestic assignments to serve as the right-arm for Director Pompeo. I am particularly gratified, since she has also been a strong proponent for integration, not only within CIA, but across the Intelligence Community.”

Michael Hayden, former CIA director: “What a wonderful choice for Deputy Director, one that will be celebrated by current and former Agency officers alike. Ms. Haspel has responded with dignity, professionalism and honor to everything the Agency and nation have asked her to do. I am sure that she will be for Director Pompeo what Steve Kappes was for me --- a trusted friend, lieutenant and guide to the sometimes opaque corridors of American espionage.”

Stephen Kappes, former deputy director of CIA: “A person of great honesty and integrity, Gina Haspel is a highly skilled Agency professional who has a complete understanding of all the parts of the intelligence business. Given her vast experience both at home and abroad, she is able to work effectively and collaboratively across the many elements of the National Security establishment. She is mission-focused, leads actively and never shies away from the difficult tasks. To these tasks, she also brings creativity and a sense of innovation, both of which will be important in a fast-changing world. Gina Haspel is an excellent choice to fill the Deputy’s role and support the new Director in his movement forward.”

Fran Moore, former director for Intelligence at CIA: “Gina Haspel is an outstanding choice for Deputy Director. She is a seasoned, collaborative officer of great integrity who will be a tremendous partner for Director Pompeo in leading CIA.”

Michael Morell, former deputy director and twice acting director of CIA: “I applaud the appointment. Ms. Haspel will serve Pompeo, the Agency, and her country extremely well. She is widely respected throughout the Agency, and she will be welcomed in the new job by both current and former employees. I worked closely with Haspel from 2006 until my retirement from the Agency in 2013. During that time, I found her to be simply exceptional. She provides advice based on facts and analysis of facts. She gets things done in a quiet, yet effective way, and she is calm under fire. She appreciates the work of all CIA officers – analysts, scientists, and support specialists, as much as she appreciates operations officers.”

Mike Rogers, former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: “I have had the privilege to work with Ms. Haspel during challenging and intense times for our nation’s security. She is an exceptional leader, patriot and consummate professional. She showed the savvy and grit needed in difficult situations that have garnered respect of colleagues and adversaries alike. Her commitment to the mission and rule of law are unparalleled."


Who is Emma Gonzalez, one of the organizers of the ‘March for Our Lives’ event?

Days after the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., a young woman with a buzz cut stood before television cameras and challenged lawmakers to make MSD the last school to see students killed in its hallways.

The high school senior, Emma Gonzalez, along with calling out state and federal officials for “B.S.,” told those listening that day that “it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see."

>> Read more trending news

Since the Feb. 14 shooting, Gonzalez has followed her own advice, helping to organize a movement to push those who are blocking progress on gun control out of the way. One of the organizers of “March for Our Lives,” a rally set for Washington D.C. on March 24, Gonzalez has said she hopes to get legislation banning assault weapons passed, and that the downfall of the National Rifle Association would make the deaths of the 17 people killed at MSD High School almost “bearable.”

Gonzalez, who was forced to huddle in the school’s auditorium with classmates during the shooting at her school, was part of a nationally televised town hall, has been interviewed and profiled by media around the country, and has become the face of the student movement born out of Parkland.

Here are some things you may not know about Gonzalez.

About Gonzalez:

  • She is 18 and a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
  • She was in the auditorium when mass shooter Nikolas Cruz pulled the fire alarm to draw students and teachers into the hallway and the line of fire.
  • She holed up in the auditorium, searching Google News for updates on the shooting at the school.
  • She gave an 11-minute speech at an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale two days after the shooting.
  • She has two siblings.
  • Her father is an attorney for a cybersecurity company; her mother is a math tutor.González identifies as bisexual. She revealed the fact in an op-ed she wrote for Vogue.
  • She did not cut her hair off because of the shooting. She said it’s hot in Florida and her hair was “just an extra sweater I’m forced to wear.” She said she made a Powerpoint presentation to convince her parents to let her shave her head. “It worked.”
  • She has lived in Parkland her entire life.
  • Her father and members of his family immigrated from Cuba.
  • She is one of the organizers of the upcoming march in Washington D.C.
  • She was set for college in the fall but now says she and other members of the movement “Never Again” will put off college plans for a while.
  • She has 1.2 million followers on Twitter – all since the shooting, she did not have an account on Twitter prior to Feb. 14.


  • “We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks. Not because we’re going to be another statistic about mass shooting in America, but because … we are going to be the last mass shooting.”That’s going to be Marjory Stoneman Douglas in that textbook and it’s going to be due to the tireless effort of the school board, the faculty members, the family members and most of all the students. The students who are dead, the students still in the hospital, the student now suffering PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), the students who had panic attacks during the vigil because the helicopters would not leave us alone, hovering over the school for 24 hours a day.” 
  • “I didn’t think it would go viral at all,” she said of the speech she gave days after the shooting. “It went so far and so fast. I’ve got celebrities tweeting about me. I wanted people to feel what I was feeling.”
  • “I feel like we’ve been writing these arguments for years,” she said of the movement for stricter gun control. “I utilized the things we’ve been taught. This school is full of people who are old enough to know when they’re being lied to.”
  • “What would make the death(s) bearable is if the NRA was destroyed and if we were the ones to destroy it, at least for me.”
  • “As the days go by, I’m kind of realizing I might not have a choice in that,” she said of going to college in the fall. “Do I have any right to feel like I deserve to go to college?”

Conway accused of Hatch Act violation; what is the Hatch Act?

At least twice last year, White House aide Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act, according to the Office of Special Counsel.

Conway, an aide to President Donald Trump, has been notified that she was in violation of the law two times in 2017. The violations occurred when Conway gave interviews from White House grounds to Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” and CNN’s “New Day” defending the president’s support of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in his run for a U.S. Senate seat. Trump backed Moore who was accused of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls in the 1970s when he was a district attorney in Alabama.

>> Read more trending news

The Office of the Special Counsel said Conway advocated “for and against candidates,” which violated the act. The Office of the Special Counsel is not connected to Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

What is the Hatch Act and what is the penalty for violating it? Here’s a look at legislation.

What is the Hatch Act?

The goal of the Hatch Act is to “to ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect federal employees from political coercion in the workplace, and to ensure that federal employees are advanced based on merit and not based on political affiliation.” The act was established in 1939 and most recently updated in 2012.

Which federal employees are included under the Hatch Act?

A handful of federal employees, including the president and vice president, are exempt under the act. Here is a list of those included in the act:

  • Administrative law judges (positions described at 5 U.S.C. § 5372)
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Contract Appeals Boards (positions described at 5 U.S.C. § 5372a)
  • Criminal Division (Department of Justice)
  • Defense Intelligence Agency
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Federal Election Commission
  • Merit Systems Protection Board
  • National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  • National Security Agency
  • National Security Council
  • Office of Criminal Investigation (Internal Revenue Service)
  • Office of Investigative Programs (Customs Service)
  • Office of Law Enforcement (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)
  • United States Office of Special Counsel
  • Secret Service
  • Senior Executive Service

What are they prohibited from doing?

Those employees under the act may:

  • Register and vote as they choose.
  • Assist in voter registration drives.
  • Express opinions about candidates and issues.
  • Participate in campaigns where none of the candidates represent a political party.
  • Contribute money to political organizations or attend political fundraising functions.
  • Attend political rallies and meetings.
  • Join political clubs or parties. 
  • Sign nominating petitions.
  • Campaign for or against referendum questions, constitutional amendments, municipal ordinances.

They may not:

  • Be candidates for public office in partisan elections.
  • Campaign for or against a candidate or slate of candidates in partisan elections.
  • Make campaign speeches.
  • Collect contributions or sell tickets to political fundraising functions.
  • Distribute campaign material in partisan elections.
  • Organize or manage political rallies or meetings.
  • Hold office in political clubs or parties.
  • Circulate nominating petitions.
  • Work to register voters for one party only.
  • Wear political buttons at work.

What is the penalty?

Penalties range from a reprimand or suspension to removal from federal employment. The Merit System Protection Board determines if a hearing is needed to address the finding of a violation of the Hatch Act, and considers whether removal is appropriate on the basis of the seriousness of the violation.

The department the employee works for could also be called to forfeit federal funds equal to two years’ of pay at the rate the employee was receiving at the time of the violation

National school walkout: When is it; what will happen

On school campuses across the United States Wednesday, students, teachers and parents will be taking part in a walkout to focus attention on the fight to end gun violence in schools.

Called the “ENOUGH National School Walkout,” the event was organized by students working with the Women’s March Youth Empower to call for action on gun control and to remember the 17 killed by Nickolas Cruz at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Fla., last month. 

>> Read more trending news

According to organizers, the goal of the walkout is "to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship.”

Here are the specifics of the event.

What time: The walkout will take place at 10 a.m. in every time zone.

Where: Students, teachers and administrators from across the country and in European countries have said they will participate. So far, 2,000 groups have registered with ENOUGH National School Walkout. Those participating are expected to walkout of class but stay on school grounds.

How will schools participate: It’s up to the student organizers, and depends on what the school will allow. Some students are planning a “lie-in” where they lie down to symbolize those killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Others are having  discussions on gun issues and some are observing minutes of silence.

How long will it last: It will last 17 minutes, one minute for each person killed at Stoneman Douglas High School.

Will students get into trouble for participating: That is up to the school district. Many schools have said they will tolerate a walkout if it is orderly. Others have threatened to discipline students if they leave class.

For more information: Click here to see any events planned for your area.

Easter 2018: Quotes about the holiest day on the Christian calendar

This year Easter, the holiest day in the Christian calendar, lands on April 1. 

That day will mark the end of the Lenten season, and see the celebration by billions of believers of the promise of eternal life with God.

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Here are what some people say about Easter.

  • “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.” – Pope John Paul II 
  • “Christ not only died for all: he died for each.” – Billy Graham
  • “The symbolic language of the crucifixion is the death of the old paradigm; resurrection is a leap into a whole new way of thinking.” – Deepak Chopra
  • “Easter is very important to me, it's a second chance.” – Reba McEntire
  • “Easter may seem boring to children, and it is blessedly unencumbered by the silly fun that plagues Christmas. Yet it contains the one thing needful for every human life: the good news of Resurrection.” – Frederica Mathewes-Green
  • “The first thing that stuck in the minds of the disciples was not the empty tomb, but rather the empty grave clothes – undisturbed in form and position.” – Josh McDowell
  • “It is at Easter that Jesus is most human, and like all humans, he fails and is failed. His is not an all-powerful God, it is an all-vulnerable God.” – Michael Leunig
  • “During the first 13 centuries after the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, no one thought of setting up a creche to celebrate Christmas. The pre-eminent Christian holiday was Easter, not Christmas.” – Nancy Pearcey
  • “He is not here. He is risen.” – Mark 16:6
  • “Our old history ends with the cross; our new history begins with the resurrection.” – Watchman Nee
  • “Without the resurrection, the cross is meaningless.” – Billy Graham
  • “Jesus Christ did not come into this world to make bad people good; He came into this world to make dead people live.” – Lee Strobel
  • “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” – John 11:25
  • “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone but in every leaf of springtime.” – Martin Luther
  • “Christ the Lord is risen today, Sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply.” – Charles Wesley’s hymn “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”

Toys ‘R’ Us considers closing U.S. stores: reports

Toys “R” Us will close all its stores in the United States after a worse than expected holiday season and the collapse of a restructuring plan, the Wall Street Journal is reporting.

The retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017, has plans to liquidate its U.S. holdings after abandoning plans to restructure the company, The Journal reported, citing sources close to the matter.

>> Read more trending news

In February the company announced plans to close 200 stores. That announcement came not long after the company said 184 U.S. stores would be closed.

The company had been working to restructure its debt – nearly $5 billion worth – according to a story from Bloomberg News. 

Citing a source who asked not to be named, Bloomberg reported that the search for a buyer for the company had not been successful.

Both stories point out that the situation could change, and the option to close the properties in the United States is only one proposed plan.

Reuters reported that talks to restructure the company were continuing, and that other options were still being explored.

St. Patrick's Day 2018: How did it get started; why corned beef and cabbage; who is Patrick?

Start looking for shamrocks, get that “Kiss Me I’m Irish” T-shirt out of the drawer, and fire up the Crock Pot for corned beef and cabbage because March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day.

>> Read more trending news 

There will be celebrations honoring Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, by more people around the world than could fit on the island to which he's credited with bringing Christianity.

Here's a quick look at St. Patrick's Day and everything green that goes with it.

What is St. Patrick's Day?

The first celebration of Patrick's life was an annual religious holiday held on March 17, the day it is believed that he died. The celebrations were feast days in honor of Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century.

Who was St. Patrick?

Patrick was believed to have born in Roman Britain (Scotland), the son of a wealthy family. His name was Maewyn Succat. He was kidnapped when he was 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped after, he said, God told him to run from his captors to the shore, where a boat would be waiting for him to take him back to Scotland. He fled, the boat was there and he headed home, but he didn't stay.

He returned to Ireland as a priest using the name Patrick. He worked there for the rest of his life to convert the Irish, who, at the time, practiced Celtic polytheism (Celtic paganism).

While he was never officially canonized, his followers regarded him as a "saint in heaven," thus he received a feast day from the Roman Catholic Church and the title of "saint."

How is it celebrated?

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in various parts of the world. Until the 1970s, St. Patrick's Day was a religious celebration in Ireland, and the pubs in the country were closed.

Laws were passed then to open up the pubs for celebrations on March 17, and soon after, the country's leaders decided to market the holiday, highlighting Irish culture for tourism purposes.

The observance of St. Patrick's Day in Dublin, alone, has grown to a massive multiday celebration where around 1 million people take part.

In the United States, millions celebrate the holiday, whether they are of Irish descent or not. Two of the largest celebrations are in New York -- which hosts a five-hour parade -- and Chicago -- where city officials dye the river green.

Many people wear something green on that day, signifying a link to the color most associated with Ireland. Others lift a pint (or two) of beer at a pub or try corned beef and cabbage or Irish stew.

About that tradition of celebrating the day by eating corned beef and cabbage -- there's nothing more Irish than that, right?

About that tradition, well, we need to talk. Truth be told, corned beef and cabbage is about as Irish as a McDonald's Shamrock Shake.

Back in the day, people in Ireland would have celebrated the feast day with a meal of Irish stew and soda bread, or maybe a meal of pork and potatoes, which was inexpensive.

What has become a tradition of eating corned beef and cabbage to celebrate St. Patrick's Day likely grew out of the fact that those foods were less expensive for immigrants who came to America. They substituted beef for pork and cabbage for potatoes.

OK, at least the snake story is true, right?

Sorry, but that's a bit of blarney, too. There were no snakes in Ireland, so Patrick didn't really have anything to drive out of the country, with the exception of the druids.

Some think the story that Patrick drove the snakes into the sea was really an allegory for him driving the pagan practices out of the country to make room for Christianity. Others say it just makes for a good bit of gab.


Say what?

Let's say you want to impress your friends and throw out a few Gaelic phrases on Friday.

You will probably want to start with "Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit!" That means "Happy St. Patrick's Day to you!"

It's pronounced: lah leh PAH-drig SUN-uh gwitch.

Native Irish speakers would shorten it to "Lá 'le Pádraig," a more casual way of offering good wishes on St. Patrick's Day. It's pronounced: lah leh PAH-drig.

If you want to impress your friends in a pub, you might want to throw out, "Pionta Guinness, le do thoil," or "A pint of Guinness, please." It's pronounced: Pyunta Guinness leh duh hull.

St. Patrick's Day by the numbers

  • There are 450 churches in the United States named after St. Patrick. Perhaps the most famous is in New York City.

  • It takes 40 pounds of dye to turn the Chicago River green for St. Patrick's Day.

  • According to the U.S. Census, 650,000 babies are named Patrick in a year.

  • A little more than 20 percent of the residents of Massachusetts say they are Irish; 20.6 of those in New Hampshire claim Irish ancestry.

  • According to Wallet, the value of a leprechaun's pot of gold is $1.22 million. That's 1,000 gold coins weighing 1 ounce each.

  • A crystal bowl of shamrocks is given by the president of Ireland to the president of the United States each St. Patrick's Day.

  • There are 16 places in the United States named Dublin.

  • 34.7 million U.S. residents claim to be of Irish descent.

  • 83 percent of those surveyed say they intend to wear green on St. Patrick's Day.

Sources:; Wiki How; Quora; National Geographic; Time and

Daylight saving time 2018: Seven things to know about ‘springing forward’

You may want to store up some extra sleep in the next few weeks because you are about to lose an hour of it.

Come March 11 at 2 a.m. most of America will be “springing forward” as daylight saving time kicks in, giving us another hour of sunlight.

Here’s a look at seven things you may not have known about daylight saving time.

  1. “Spring forward and fall back” is an easy way to remember how to set the clock when daylight saving times begins and ends. You set your clock forward one hour at 2 a.m. on March 11. You’ll set it back one hour at 2 a.m. on Nov. 4.
  2. In the United States, daylight saving time began on March 21, 1918. U.S. government officials reasoned that fuel could be saved by reducing the need for lighting in the home.
  3. Ancient agrarian civilizations used a form of daylight saving time, adjusting their timekeeping depending on the sun’s activity.
  4. Many people call it daylight savings time. The official name is daylight saving time. No ‘s’ on ‘saving.’
  5. Benjamin Franklin came up with an idea to reset clocks in the summer months as a way to conserve energy.
  6. A standardized system of beginning and ending daylight saving time came in 1966 when the Uniform Time Act became law. While it was a federal act, states were granted the power to decide if they wanted to remain on standard time year-round.
  7. Arizona (except for the Navajo, who do observe daylight saving time on tribal lands), Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands do not observe daylight saving time.

What is an ‘inclusion rider,’ the phrase Frances McDormand said during her Oscar speech?

On Sunday night, Frances McDormand won the best actress Oscar for her role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

McDormand used her acceptance speech to recognize all the women nominated for awards in this year’s Academy Awards ceremony and to alert producers that going forward, she would be asking for something else in contract negotiations.

“I have two words for you: inclusion rider,” McDormand said.

It’s not a phrase many are familiar with. An “inclusion rider” is a demand that can be part of an actor’s contract if they wish. It is a clause attached to the contract that requires producers of the film to reach a certain level of diversity when hiring the cast and crew.

Stacy Smith, the founder of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California, was one of the first people to advance the concept of requiring companies to hire members from different cultural groups.

Smith told The Guardian that she had already worked on the language to be used in contracts for actors who are interested in inclusion riders.

“The typical feature film has about 40 to 45 speaking characters in it,” Smith said. “I would argue that only eight to 10 of those characters are actually relevant to the story. The remaining 30 or so roles -- there’s no reason why those minor roles can’t match or reflect the demography of where the story is taking place. An equity rider by an A-lister in their contract can stipulate that those roles reflect the world in which we actually live.” 

What is the ‘Einstein visa’ Melania Trump was issued?

First lady Melania Trump became a U.S. citizen after getting a type of visa that is reserved for immigrants with “extraordinary ability,” according to a story in The Washington Post.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says the EB-1, or the so-called “Einstein visa” that Trump was issued, is reserved for individuals who “have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager.”

>> Read more trending news

The first lady came to the United States in 1996 on a tourist’s visa. Subsequently, she stayed in the country to work as a model from October of that year until 2001 by applying for and being granted an H-1B visa. The H-1B visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa. The visa allows foreigners to work in the United States on a temporary basis for up to six years.

Click here for a further explanation of the H-1B visa.

In 2000, Trump began applying for the EB-1 visa. She was modeling in the United States under the name Melania Knauss at that time. At the time, she was not yet married to Donald Trump.

Melania Trump was approved for the EB-1 in 2001 and became a U.S. citizen in 2006.

What is an EB-1 visa and how do you get one? Here is what the visa covers and who is eligible for one:

Who is eligible for an EB-1?

The EB-1 visa is not an easy document to get. Those who apply for one must be a member of one of three immigration classifications and must meet three of 10 criteria recognized by the USCIS.

Here is what the USCIS says about the EB-1 visa:

“You may be eligible for an employment-based, first-preference visa if you have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager. Each occupational category has certain requirements that must be met.”

Extraordinary ability: You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required. You must meet three of 10 criteria below or provide evidence of a one-time achievement (i.e. Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic medal)

Outstanding professors and researchers: You must demonstrate international recognition for your outstanding achievements in a particular academic field. You must have at least three years of experience in teaching or research in that academic area. You must be entering the United States in order to pursue tenure or tenure track teaching or comparable research position at a university or other institution of higher education. You must include documentation of at least two listed below and an offer of employment from the prospective U.S. employer.

Multinational manager or executive: You must have been employed outside the United States in the three years preceding the petition for at least one year by a firm or corporation and you must be seeking to enter the United States to continue service to that firm or organization. Your employment must have been outside the United States in a managerial or executive capacity and with the same employer, an affiliate or a subsidiary of the employer. Your petitioning employer must be a U.S. employer. Your employer must have been doing business for at least one year as an affiliate a subsidiary or as the same corporation or other legal entity that employed you abroad.

You must meet three out of the 10 listed criteria below to prove extraordinary ability in your field:

  • Evidence of receipt of lesser nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence
  • Evidence of your membership in associations in the field which demand outstanding achievement of their members
  • Evidence of published material about you in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Evidence that you have been asked to judge the work of others, either individually or on a panel
  • Evidence of your original scientific, scholarly, artistic, athletic, or business-related contributions of major significance to the field
  • Evidence of your authorship of scholarly articles in professional or major trade publications or other major media
  • Evidence that your work has been displayed at artistic exhibitions or showcases
  • Evidence of your performance of a leading or critical role in distinguished organizations
  • Evidence that you command a high salary or other significantly high remuneration in relation to others in the field
  • Evidence of your commercial successes in the performing arts

How did Melania Trump fit into the categories and evidence required?

Melania Trump’s attorney, Michael Wildes told The Post that she “was more than amply qualified and solidly eligible,” for the EB-1 visa, but would not comment on the evidence she presented to be considered for the special visa.

She was a model in Europe and then the United States and was on the cover of British GQ and featured in a Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. She had been modeling in New York in the years before she applied for the EB-1 and married Donald Trump.

According to the Post story, State Department records show that Knauss was one of only five people from Slovenia who received permanent residency cards or “green cards” under the EB-1 program in 2001, the year she received hers. A total of 3,376 were granted green cards via the EB-1 system that year. A green card is a permit that allows someone who is not a native to live and work permanently in the United States.

Testimonials are part of the process, and if she received a testimonial from her future husband, a real estate mogul in New York City, that could have gone a long way toward raising her profile, according to Susan McFadden, a lawyer who specializes in visas at the Gudeon and McFadden law firm in London.

"An experienced lawyer knows what the U.S. citizenship and immigration services are looking for, and how to bring out of the client's background things that will be attractive to the agency,” McFadden told the BBC.

Who is NRA head Wayne LaPierre?

Wayne LaPierre serves as executive vice president and chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association. The NRA is the largest gun rights advocacy organization in the country.

Who is Wayne LaPierre? Here are a few things you may not know about him.  

  • Wayne Robert LaPierre Jr. was born on Nov. 8, 1949, in Schenectady, New York. His family moved to Roanoke, Virginia, when he was 5 years old.
  • He was raised a Roman Catholic.
  • He spent a good portion of his career as a lobbyist.
  • He volunteered for the 1972 presidential campaign of Democrat George McGovern.
  • He earned a master’s degree in government and politics from Boston College.
  • He was on the boards of the American Association of Political Consultants, the American Conservative Union, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
  • LaPierre became executive vice president and chief executive officer of the NRA in 1991. The NRA has 5 million members.
  • He once told a friend his dream job was to retire from the NRA and open an ice cream stand in Maine.
  • He is married. His wife, Susan, is also involved in the NRA.
  • He makes nearly $1 million a year in salary.
  • He hosts a weekly syndicated television program called “Crime Strike.” In addition, he has a weekly podcast and offers a short broadcast on gun rights every weekday. LaPierre says he opposes universal background checks, an assault weapons ban (as it was proposed in 2013) and any limits to access to semi-automatic weapons by law-abiding Americans.
  • He says he supports armed security guards in schools, creating a computerized universal mental health registry of those judged to be incompetent and Project Exile, which mandates severe sentences for all gun crimes, especially illegal possession. He is an author and has written several books on gun safety and gun rights.

Do video games lead to mass shootings?

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin told a radio host the day after the mass shooting at a Florida high school, he believes the “culture of death that is being celebrated” in violent video games and movies are the trigger for violence.

Bevin, in an interview with radio host Leland Conway, said violent video games that glorify murdering people and even allow players to rack up points for showing less compassion was at the core of the increasing number of attacks on schools, churches and concerts.

>> Read more trending news

"There are video games that, yes, are listed for mature audiences, but kids play them and everybody knows it, and there's nothing to prevent the child from playing them," Bevin told Conway. "They celebrate the slaughtering of people. There are games that literally replicate and give people the ability to score points for doing the very same thing that these students are doing inside of schools, where you get extra points for finishing someone off who's lying there begging for their life."

Bevin has called out the makers of video games before where players score points for killing. Bevin posted an 11-minute video on Facebook where he said violent videos were a “cultural problem” that sparked the incident.

"We are desensitizing young people to the actual tragic reality and permanency of death," Bevin said. "This is a cultural problem."

Bevin has stepped up his attack, calling out other cultural influences such as music, television and movies, slamming them for violent lyrics or plots.

"Why do we need a video game, for example, that encourages people to kill people?" Bevin said. "Whether it's lyrics, whether it's TV shows, whether it's movies, I'm asking the producers of these products, these video games and these movies, ask yourselves what redemptive value, other than shock value, other than the hope you'll make a couple of bucks off it. At what price? At what price?"

According to a story from The Miami Herald, Nikolas Cruz, the  2018 Stoneman Douglas school shooter, would play video games for up to 15 hours a day. Cruz family friend and neighbor Paul Gold, who owns a film and video production company, said he sometimes played a game or two with Cruz.

The games Cruz liked to play were violent ones, he told The Herald.

“It was kill, kill, kill, blow up something, and kill some more, all day,” Gold said. 

Bevin isn’t the only one speaking out against violent video games. Others have pointed to such games as inspiration for similar attacks. But is there evidence that links playing violent games with taking a rifle and shooting people at a high school or some other venue?

The psychological community is split. 

A study by researchers at the University of York in York, England, found no evidence that adults who play violent video games were any more likely to commit a violent act then those who do not play the games.

The study of 3,000 participants released in January showed the games do not “necessarily increase aggression in game players.

The York study also examined the realism of the games and whether that had an effect on the way players later acted. They looked at games that used characters that moved and reacted as a human would, not just an animated character. Researchers concluded that “there is no link between these kinds of realism in games and the kind of effects that video games are commonly thought to have on their players.”

The York researchers pointed out in their conclusions that the tests were conducted on adults. "We also only tested these theories on adults, so more work is needed to understand whether a different effect is evident in children players."

A 2015 study by the American Psychological Association contradicts the York study in part. The APA study found that playing violent video games is linked to increased aggression in players, but that there is “insufficient evidence” to link game playing with criminal violence or delinquency.

Those conducting the study stressed that while an increase in aggression was seen in the subjects of the study, the games’ effect on certain people with certain risk factors needs to be studied further.

“We know that there are numerous risk factors for aggressive behavior,” said Mark Appelbaum, the chairman of the task force that conducted the study. “What researchers need to do now is conduct studies that look at the effects of video game play in people at risk for aggression or violence due to a combination of risk factors. For example, how do depression or delinquency interact with violent video game use?”

A study of 105 Canadian teenagers – boys and girls – found that the teens that spent more than three hours a day playing violent video games were in danger of delayed emotional development .

Mirjana Bajovic, the author of the study, noted that not all the teens playing violent games showed a delay in emotional development, and that no correlation existed between the level of emotional development and those who played nonviolent games. Bajovic did note that the time spent playing those games was the main factor in influencing “empathic behavior and tendencies.

A study published in Psychological Science led researchers to conclude that for some, assuming an identity in a video game can have real-world impact.

Researchers asked 200 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to choose to be either a villain or a hero in a video game, and what they saw was an impact in levels of consideration in the students.

“Our results indicate that just five minutes of role-play in virtual environments as either a hero or a villain can easily cause people to reward or punish anonymous strangers,” said Gunwoo Yoon, lead author of the study.

The students were given the choice to serve chocolate sauce to a stranger or to serve hot chili sauce. Researchers found that those who chose to play the hero – in this case, cartoon character Superman – would serve chocolate to the stranger. Those who assumed the villain role – Voldemort from the Harry Potter novels – would serve the chili sauce. 

The choices from the students were measured after as little as five minutes of playing the games. 


Who are the top 10 recipients of NRA money?

In the 2016 election, the NRA spent $11,438,118 to support Donald Trump’s campaign and donated $19,756,346 to groups opposing Hillary Clinton’s. However, the bulk of the contributions have gone to House and Senate members. Here is a look at the top 10 recipients of NRA contributions.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, “the totals are a combination of money given to the member's campaign or leadership PAC from gun rights or gun control PACs or individuals in the 2016 cycle (2015-2016).

“The total dollar amounts comprise donations made by the National Rifle Association, its affiliates, and its members, as well as “outside money” consisting of campaign spending conducted on behalf of political candidates by NRA political action committees, in all campaign cycles since 1989.

“In addition, money spent by outside groups supporting and opposing these candidates is included in the total.”

Here is a list of the top 10 Senate and House members with the most contributions from the NRA. 

For the complete list from the Center for Responsible Politics, click here.


Who is Hope Hicks? 13 things to know about the White House communications director

Who is Hope Hicks and how did she get where she is at the age of 29? 

>> Read more trending news

Here are 13 things to know about her

  1. She was named interim White House communications director on Aug. 16, after Anthony Scaramucci left the job. She was appointed permanent White House communications director on Sept. 12, and 28 at the time, she is the youngest White House communications director in history.
  2. Her parents met in Washington. She grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut.
  3. She, along with her sister, Mary Grace, worked as a model. Among other jobs, she worked for Ralph Lauren at age 11, and appeared on the cover of the novel series “Hourglass Adventures.”
  4. Her father and grandfather worked in public relations. Paul Hicks, her grandfather, headed up public relations for Texaco. Her father was the chief executive officer of the Americas for Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and was in charge of public affairs for the NFL. He is managing director of the Glover Park Group
  5. She went to college at Southern Methodist University. She was on the lacrosse team.
  6. When she graduated from SMU she began work in public relations in New York City. Her second job was at the Hiltzik Strategies public relations firm.
  7. Ivanka Trump was a client of Hiltzik Strategies. Hicks met Ivanka Trump through the firm and eventually went to work for her handling public relations for her fashion line. 
  8. When Donald Trump decided to run for president he made her head of communications for the campaign.
  9. During the campaign, she transcribed Trump’s tweets. He dictated them aloud, according to New York magazine.
  10. She is well-liked and trusted by Trump. Trump said in an interview with The New York Times that Hicks, “will often give advice, and she’ll do it in a very low-key manner, so it doesn’t necessarily come in the form of advice. But it’s delivered very nicely.”
  11. On Dec. 22, 2016, Trump announced she would be the White House director of strategic communications. 
  12. Hicks made the January 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. 
  13. She is paid $179,700 – the maximum salary for a White House staffer.
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