Day: April 19, 2017

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Utah Congressman Chaffetz will not seek re-election


Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the outspoken Utah Republican and influential chairman of the House oversight committee, announced Wednesday he will not seek re-election in 2018.

The conservative lawmaker, who’s been in Congress since 2009, confirmed the decision on Facebook. 

“After long consultation with my family and prayerful consideration, I have decided I will not be a candidate for any office in 2018,” he wrote.

Chaffetz, a longtime fixture in Utah politics, has hinted before at potentially running for governor in 2020, and his announcement could be the first step toward that goal. He also has faced an early Democratic challenge for the House seat.

In an exclusive interview on “Your World With Neil Cavuto,” Chaffetz said he may run for office again in the future, but for now he’s going into the private sector. 

“I want to go back to the private sector,” he said. “I want to reintroduce myself to my family.”

He also reiterated while he enjoyed his work in Congress on “this issues,” his family was the motivation in his decision.

“My family is more important and I love them more than I love being a member of Congress or the Senate,” Chaffetz said. 

Chaffetz also discussed the possibility of an open U.S. Senate seat in Utah in the event that Sen. Sen. Orrin Hatch doesn’t run for an eighth term. 

“Mitt Romney, there couldn’t be anybody better, I don’t know if he would do it,” he told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, adding “If I wanted to run I’d be very competitive.” 

“I preach you want to serve, get in, get out, and that’s what I’m doing,” he said.

Chaffetz arrived in Congress nearly a decade ago under rather testy circumstances, defeating GOP Rep. Chris Cannon in a 2008 primary runoff. Cannon refused to meet with Chaffetz after that. 

Chaffetz was more recently a leading figure in Congress’ investigations into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email and server as secretary of state. He hounded the Secret Service over multiple security incidents and scandals during the Obama administration; amid those tensions, the agency even apologized to him after officials wrongly accessed personal information about him. He was a frequent critic of government waste, and showed no hesitation about lambasting alleged culprits who appeared before his committee. 

In his role this year, he’s also had to navigate how to address ethical complaints about the current Trump administration. And he faced an emerging challenge in 2018 from Democrat Dr. Kathryn Allen, who has been on a fundraising spree after seizing on controversial comments he made suggesting low-income people should prioritize health care over buying iPhones. 

Like many of his colleagues, Chaffetz recently encountered a raucous town hall in his home state. Chaffetz said he’s announcing his decision now “to give prospective candidates time to lay the groundwork for a successful run.” 

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report. 



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Trouble brewing for Domino's?


Restaurateurs are calling on Congress to postpone a new calorie-labeling regulation set to go into effect May 5.

The ruling, which was signed into law seven years ago as part of the Affordable Care Act, is seen as an attempt to tackle the country’s growing obesity epidemic. It will require chain restaurants with 20 or more locations to clearly label the calories contained in each menu item.

In the past few years, chains like McDonald’s and Starbucks have begun posting the required information on menu boards—but for pizza restaurants, whose items can vary widely due to the array of toppings, are pushing back.

TURKISH RESTAURANT OWNER SELLING $5,000 ‘TRUMP’ PIZZA WITH

“We’re looking for Donald trump and the administration to strike this down,” Domino’s franchise owner Chris Reisch told Fox & Friends Wednesday morning.

Reisch, who owns 10 Domino’s locations, says there are over 34 million different possible combinations and the new law would require his locations to keep a large book on the counter detailing the specific calorie counts as well as a calculator for customers.

According to the Washington Post, the American Pizza Community, a coalition of national and regional pizza chains, is advocating for an alternative bill– Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act.

A spokesman for the APC told Fox News that the pizza industry is not seeking an exemption from providing caloric information to consumers but has proposed the Common Sense Act to “help alleviate the costs [of providing information] to small businesses while providing better, and more accurate and meaningful nutritional information to consumers, especially at the point of purchase such as online.”

As Domino’s notes, 90 percent of its orders are made online or through its app, where calorie information is already available through its Cal-O-Meter guide.

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As stipulated, the law may cost Domino’s franchisees between $3,000 to $5,000 to implement the necessary menu corrections, plus old marketing materials will need to thrown out. And, says the company, there’s a big potential for lawsuits down the line if calorie counts aren’t accurate.

Says Reisch, “The way the law is currently written, if we display a calorie count for a pizza, and one of our employees were to put too much cheese or too much pepperoni on the pizza, they could face heavy fines and up to a year in jail.”

The Food and Drug Administration, which will oversee and enforce the new rules, says pizza restaurants only need to update menus currently available within locations and online– and the law does not stipulate that new materials or boards be created. 

When asked about the pizza industry’s concerns that franchises could be sued or fined if an employee gets too liberal with toppings, FDA spokeswoman Deborah Kotz disputed the claim to the Post.

“The regulations allow a range of calories to be placed on the menu to address precisely this situation,” Kotz said of made-to-order meals. “Additionally, the agency plans to spend the first year on education and outreach, not on enforcement.”



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Kansas students who uncovered principal's secret invited to White House Correspondents' Dinner


Six student reporters from Pittsburg High School in Kansas have been invited to the White House Correspondents Dinner for calling into question their incoming principal’s credentials.

The students earned the invitation to the April 29 event following an article they wrote that examined the qualifications of Amy Robertson, who had been hired as the school’s principal. An investigation and subsequent report by the school’s Booster Redux newspaper led to revelations that Robertson had obtained her education credentials from Corllins University, an institution known for allowing students to purchase degrees.

According to The Morning Sun, Robertson’s degrees were made up. She subsequently resigned from her position.

Students Patrick Sullivan, Connor Balthazor, Trina Paul, Maddie Baden, Kali Poenitske and Gina Mathew will now attend the annual dinner all expenses paid, courtesy of the Huffington Post.

“It’ll be a great experience,” said Pittsburg Superintendent of Schools Destry Brown. “I think it’s a great opportunity for them. My gosh, it’s a once in a lifetime experience.”

“We are pretty excited,” said Emily Smith, the Booster Redux adviser. “We are very honored they thought of us!”

The dinner is hosted by the White House Correspondents’ Association.



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Georgia race: GOP vows to unite, beat Ossoff after forcing runoff – VIDEO: Handel on Georgia race: I will prevail – OPINION: 'Resist Trump' is not a winning strategy


Democrats put their hope in political upstart Jon Ossoff to deliver a rebuke to President Trump in Tuesday night’s Georgia congressional election. It didn’t quite work.

Now, after forcing the front-runner into a June 20 runoff, Republicans are vowing to unite and defeat the Democrats’ chosen candidate in two months.

Trump, who used a robocall and his Twitter account in the contest’s closing days to push Republicans to the polls, taunted Democrats on Wednesday morning, casting the upcoming final contest as “Hollywood vs. Georgia.”

Ossoff was the clear leader once the dust settled in Tuesday’s crowded special election for the Georgia House seat once held by Republican Tom Price, now Trump’s health secretary.

He garnered 48 percent. Top Republican vote-getter Karen Handel, former Georgia secretary of state, got just 20 percent.

But Ossoff’s haul fell short of the majority threshold required to outright win, despite him getting support from prominent Democrats and celebrities and attracting millions of dollars in outside donations. He raised over $8 million, compared with Handel’s roughly $460,000. Under the so-called “jungle primary” system, the top two candidates – Ossoff and Handel – will head into the June runoff.

The two-candidate race immediately changes the dynamics in the contest.

Heading into Tuesday, 18 candidates were competing — 11 Republicans, five Democrats and two independents. Democrats mostly consolidated support behind Ossoff, a 30-year-old filmmaker and former congressional aide. Republicans, by contrast, were sharply divided and split their vote among several contenders.

With just two candidates in the race, Republicans are vowing to close ranks behind Handel’s candidacy.

“Republicans are united and ready to do everything we can to elect Karen to Congress,” National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers said in a statement.

Handel told “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday morning that she’s already spoken to most of her GOP competitors in a push to unite the party.

“This district has a long legacy of Republican leadership,” she said. “What’s at stake here is bigger than any one person, and we will unite.”

She credited Trump with helping get out the vote and vowed, “I will prevail.”

Ossoff is sounding equally confident. At an Atlanta rally Tuesday night, he said, “We will be ready to fight on and win in June if necessary.”

He slammed Republicans for their “dark money” and negative ads – Handel countered that most his funding came from outside the district, and reprised criticism that Ossoff doesn’t even live in the Sixth District.

Ossoff has acknowledged he lives just outside the district, so his girlfriend is closer to work.

The result Tuesday night tees up another hard-fought contest in June likely to draw even more national interest. Some Republicans have suggested Trump could personally campaign in Georgia now that it’s a two-person race, while Democrats plan to keep up the pressure – after falling short in another recent House special election in Kansas.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement Wednesday morning that the Georgia outcome showed voters are “fed up with Republican leadership.”

“Jon Ossoff is in a strong position to become the first Democrat to represent the Georgia 6th in nearly 40 years. And while Republicans have their backs against the wall, Democrats will keep their foot on the gas through Election Day because the residents of Georgia’s 6th district deserve a representative who will fight for them,” he said. 

Fox News’ Jason Donner contributed to this report. 



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Abraham Lincoln fights corruption accusation in newfound letter for sale


A long-lost letter, written by Abraham Lincoln responding to accusations of getting in the way of a corruption investigation, is worth more than $80,000 – and it is now for sale.

This letter was one of several that were left in an abandoned house and lost for many years.  

HANDWRITTEN LETTER FROM ABRAHAM LINCOLN FOR SALE

“This is a remarkable find,” said Nathan Raab, the principal at The Raab Collection. “We have no doubt it will find an appreciative new home.”

The letter, dated Feb. 12, 1864, was addressed to Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase, who Lincoln believed was behind “all the mischief” in an accusation that infuriated him.

One of Lincoln’s enemies and one of Chase’s allies stated that Lincoln was thwarting an investigation of corruption in front of Congress, which was actively working to find corruption.  

NORTH KOREA USES FAKE ABRAHAM LINCOLN LETTER TO CRITICIZE OBAMA

Lincoln defended his reputation in the letter, saying Chase’s ally’s claims of an “endeavor to smother the investigation…among other things, that whatever might be developed, the President would take no action” are false.

“The public interest can not fail to suffer in the hands of this irresponsible and unscrupulous man,” he wrote.

This rare historical document written by our nation’s 16th president is being sold by The Raab Collection for $85,000.



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PA Mcdonald's owner details drive-thru encounter with 'Facebook killer'


The multi-state manhunt for Steve Stephens, the so-called “Facebook killer,” came to an abrupt end Tuesday morning after an employee at a Pennsylvania McDonald’s recognized him.

Stephens was on the run for nearly 48 hours after he gunned down a Cleveland man at random and posted a video of the horrific crime to Facebook.

When he pulled up to the drive-thru window of a McDonald’s restaurant outside Erie, Pennsylvania, Tuesday and ordered a 20-piece McNuggets and fries, the employee who took his money recognized him and dialed 911.

Stephens pulled up to the next window, where restaurant owner Thomas DuCharme Jr. and a supervisor tried stalling him by telling him his fries weren’t ready.

Stephens didn’t want to wait. He took his McNuggets and drove off.

State troopers quickly arrived on the scene and began pursuing Stephens. He fatally shot himself in the head after a brief pursuit.

On “Happening Now” today, Jenna Lee spoke to DuCharme about the scary situation.

DuCharme explained that after the employee at the first drive-thru window identified Stephens, she called DuCharme over.

When he confirmed that it did appear to be Stephens, the employee called the police, while DuCharme and one of his supervisors addressed him at the second window.

“My supervisor actually was the one that talked with him for a second,” DuCharme said. “We said that his fries would be up in a minute if he wouldn’t mind waiting.”

He said that Stephens appeared agitated, saying he couldn’t wait for his fries and he had to go.

“I just wanted to make sure that my employee that was in the back drive-thru actually got through to the police while he was still on my parking lot,” DuCharme said, adding that they only managed to stall Stephens at the window for 15 to 20 seconds.

Luckily, he said, a state trooper was there as soon as Stephens pulled out of the restaurant’s parking lot.

“We’re all very proud of how we handled it. We’re all very proud of the Pennsylvania state police for being there so quickly,” DuCharme said. “And of course all of our thoughts and prayers in the restaurant are for all the families that have been affected by this.”

Watch more above, and see Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s comments on the “Facebook killer.”


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Styles spills on Swift


Harry Styles is opening up on his past relationship with Taylor Swift.

The 23-year-old British singer and member of boy band One Direction gave a candid interview to Rolling Stone where he finally spoke out about what it was like dating the pop star.

TAYLOR SWIFT DONE FIGHTING SPOTIFY

Styles recalled when he first met the 27-year-old singer at an awards show in 2012, which lead to a second a date, a walk in Central Park. However, when the private moment was captured by paparazzi, the couple instantly became global news. The duo would break up the following month, reportedly after a rocky Caribbean vacation.

KENDALL JENNER DATING HARRY STYLES

“When I see photos from that day, I think, ‘Relationships are hard at any age,’” explained Styles. “And adding in that you don’t really understand exactly how it works when you’re 18, trying to navigate all that stuff didn’t make it easier. I mean, you’re a little bit awkward to begin with. You’re on a date with someone you really like. It should be that simple, right? It was a learning experience for sure. But at the heart of it — I just wanted it to be a normal date.”

Styles also acknowledged that at least two of Swift’s songs, “Out of the Woods” and “Style,” are considered to be about their brief romance.

TAYLOR SWIFT FANS BEWARE, SECURITY IS ON HIGH ALERT NOW

“I mean, I don’t know if they’re about me or not… but the issue is, she’s so good, they’re bloody everywhere,” he said. “I write from my experiences; everyone does that. I’m lucky if everything [we went through] helped create those songs. That’s what hits your heart. That’s the stuff that’s hardest to say, and it’s the stuff I talk least about. That’s the part that’s about the two people. I’m never going to tell anybody everything.”

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“She doesn’t need me to tell her they’re great,” he added. “They’re great songs… It’s the most amazing unspoken dialogue ever.”

Styles did have a special message for Swift.

“Certain things don’t work out,” he explained. “There’s a lot of things that can be right, and it’s still wrong. In writing songs about stuff like that, I like tipping a hat to the time together. You’re celebrating the fact it was powerful and made you feel something, rather than ‘this didn’t work out, and that’s bad.’ And if you run into that person, maybe it’s awkward, maybe you have to get drunk… but you shared something. Meeting someone new, sharing those experiences, it’s the best s—t ever. So thank you.”



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Wounded veteran in viral Boston Marathon video touched by attention – How a double amputee veteran went from Afghanistan to Congress


The wounded veteran who captured the hearts of viewers across the country when he crossed the Boston Marathon finish line carrying his running guide and the American flag said he is overwhelmed by the attention.

“I had no idea it would go this viral,” Earl Granville, a 9-year veteran of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard on “Fox and Friends” on Wednesday. “It was just a spur of the moment.”

He said he was running down Boylston Street with his guide Andi Piscopo when he decided to pick her up and walk the last 100 yards with her on his back. They were part of the Achilles Freedom Team, a group of wounded warriors who have become marathoners.

WOUNDED VET RUNNING BOSTON MARATHON CARRIES RACE PARTNER ACROSS FINISH LINE

Granville lost his left leg and two close friends to an IED blast nine years during his third tour in Afghanistan.

“I just gotta say I got lucky and I’m grateful,” he said. “It’s guys like those … that I do this athletic events for – to show the world that we can fight this adversity.”

After this injury, Granville competed in multiple marathons including Boston, New York, Chicago and Detroit all using a hand-bike. He said two friends – one who is double amputee – challenged him to run it this year.

It wasn’t easy. Throughout the race, Granville’s leg kept cramping up and had to stop several times at medic tents.

After the fourth time, he figured out that the “only option is to keep walking or quit and I wasn’t going to quit.”

WOUNDED WARRIORS RUN BACK-TO-BACK MARATHONS, STARTING IN BOSTON

A video of Granville crossing the finish line has been viewed more than 8 million times since posted on Monday. The veteran said he is proud to be a reminder to people of what is good in our country.

“Four years ago, our nation came under attack from a terrorist threat,” he said. “Seeing the resilience in the city of Boston … we can learn to pick ourselves up and go through any tragedy.”



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AMERICAN AIRLINES Pilots Say Uniforms Making Them Ill Too…


American Airlines pilots will be surveyed about reactions to the carrier’s new uniforms after about 100 reported rashes, itching and other symptoms similar to those experienced by hundreds of flight attendants.

Some aviators said recently they had red, swollen eyes and a general ill feeling even though they had been wearing the new clothing since September, according to Dennis Tajer, an Allied Pilots Association spokesman. The union plans to ask pilots later this week for feedback on reactions and advise them on what steps to take in response, he said Wednesday.

“They have to be fit for duty,” Tajer said in an interview. “If the uniform is making them not fit for duty, then something has to change.”

American distributed 1.5 million pieces to 70,000 employees in its first major uniform change in 30 years. The airline has declined to recall the clothing.

Twin Hill, a unit of Tailored Brands Inc., supplied the new uniforms and has worked with the airline and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants on testing since employees began reporting reactions. So far, nothing has been found to cause the problems.

Read more: The mystery of American’s ailing flight attendants

American offered employees several options to replace uniform pieces, including an alternate supplier for flight attendants and customer service agents. Pilots have been given non-wool and cotton versions from Twin Hill, and the airline is working to secure another option, said Ron Defeo, a spokesman for American Airlines Group Inc.. Employees also are being allowed to wear old uniforms.

“Whatever they find in their survey, we’re happy to meet and discuss it with them,” he said. “We’ve shown we’re willing to work and find solutions. We’d do the same with pilots.”

The flight attendants’ union has said more than 3,000 of their members have filed complaints since receiving the uniforms. American sets the count among all employees at about 800, including four pilots.

A representative for Tailored Brands didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The pilot cases were reported Tuesday by the Chicago Business Journal.



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Venezuelan protester shot in head in heavily repressed 'mother of all marches'


A young man who was taking part in a protest against the Venezuelan government was seriously wounded by a gunshot on Wednesday morning. Witnesses told Fox News the protester was lying on a pool of blood after he was shot in the neck and forehead.

The man was rushed to a hospital on a fellow protester’s motorcycle.

“A ‘colectivo’ [pro-government armed group] arrived and started shooting,” the witness said. “People responded with stones. A couple of motorcyclists, both wearing red, shot to the crowd and hit the boy,” said the witness, who requested anonymity.

“Some people left [the march], but most stayed and kept walking, albeit their mood was visibly low.”

The ‘mother of all marches’ kicked off at 10 a.m. ET from 26 designated points of Caracas, the capital. The different groups had planned to walk peacefully all the way to the Ombudsman’s Office to demand full respect for the opposition-controlled Parliament and an electoral timetable to replace the embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

VENEZUELA PROTESTERS THROW EGGS, OBJECTS AT PRESIDENT DURING RALLY AS UNREST GROWS

In different points of the city, protesters were burning effigies of Maduro, the handpicked successor of late President Hugo Chavez whose socialist rule is blamed for the crippling economic crisis.

“Tomorrow begins a new stage of the struggle, which will not stop until we have elections,” said the opposition leader Henrique Capriles on Tuesday.

“With its messages and the detention of innocent people, the government is trying to demobilize us, but Venezuelans are going to show the government that we are not afraid,” he said.

VENEZUELA’S MADURO TO PROVIDE GUNS TO 400,000 LOYALISTS AMID PEAKING TENSION

According to local political analyst John Magdaleno, the risks of violence are especially high Wednesday given the government’s response the past few weeks.

“Faced with higher levels of mobilization, the government is responding with greater doses of repression,” he said. “The government’s message seems formulated in military terms, boasting its power over the Armed Forces and the militia.”

But members of the opposition movement, which includes political leaders, artists, academics and representatives of different labor unions, said they are prepared.

“The government is going to repress the people, perhaps faster than before, and we are prepared for that, without violence. They are the violent ones, we just want to resume the democratic course,” Francisco Marquez, a youth leader with the opposition, told Fox News on the eve of the rally.

He said they will be equipped with Malox (an antacid that reduces the effect of the tear gas), bicarbonate in water, gloves to return bombs and some will wear masks.

“We just want to assert our rights,” he said.

FIFTH PROTESTER KILLED AS VENEZUELA UNREST INTENSIFIES

Wednesday’s events are the culmination of a violent wave of protests started on April 1, triggered by the Supreme Court’s decision to strip the legislature of its last remaining powers.

Six people have died, dozens injured and more than 200 have been detained in the latest spark of violence.

During the past few weeks, security forces have fired tear gas and rubber bullets to block at least five previous attempts to reach the Ombudsman’s Office. Some of the demonstrations were dispersed by police helicopters, while armed groups controlled by the government called “colectivos” have reportedly shot at the crowd.

Wednesday’s protests are not expected to be any different. On Tuesday evening, Maduro activated “Plan Zamora,” a military, police and civilian operation aimed at defeating an alleged coup against him “operated by the U.S. State Department and the Venezuelan right.”

“Attention: Activate the green phase of Plan Zamora to defeat the coup d’etat, the escalation of violence under the military, police and civil structure of the state,” the president said, addressing the Armed Forces in a meeting with the high political and military command.

Maduro also said that the alleged coup was supported by the president of the National Assembly, Julio Borges, adding that Borges must be tried for calling for the coup in an intervention he made earlier on Tuesday at the national assembly.

In addition to “Plan Zamora,” President Maduro is counting on the “unconditional support” of hundreds of thousands militiamen — civilians loyal to the government who have been handed Russian rifles for the “defense of the country.”

Congressman Diosdado Cabello, a powerful Chavista leader, has warned the opposition demonstrators won’t reach their destination and announced a counter rally of more than 60,000 motorcyclists that will make their way from Petare, east of the city, to downtown Caracas. Along the route, there will be a couple of exit points that will intersect with the opposition rally.

“They won’t enter Caracas, don’t provoke us,” Cabello warned. “Be careful if, we may go there (to the opposition protest).”

But the opposition coalition Table of Democratic Unity (MUD) is not caving in, and reiterated its call to take part in the massive march. In a statement, MUD said the government is coming up with “the imaginary wars and nonexistent conspiracies.”

Maduro late Tuesday accused the U.S. State Department once again of trying to promote a military intervention. He’s expected to address supporters at a rival march.

Alex Vasquez is a freelance reporter living in Caracas, Venezuela.

 



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