Month: April 2017


Report: Dr. Sebastian Gorka to accept role outside White House

Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Trump, will soon accept a position outside the White House, two sources told The Washington Examiner on Sunday.

Gorka’s new role will deal with the “war of ideas” involved in countering radical Islamic extremism and will entail an appointment to a federal agency, , a senior administration official said.

Gorka has served for months on the Strategic Initiatives Group, an internal organization within the White House, and as a national security adviser. His exit from the White House comes amid increased speculation that a reported lack of a security clearance prevented him from fully performing in his job.

But a source told the Washington Examiner that Gorka’s role in SIG was always meant to be temporary and suggested he had been placed there while administration officials created a terrorism-related position for him elsewhere in the government. An official said Gorka has been in a “holding pattern” while he waited for the position, which will not be at the State Department, to be established.

A spokesman for the National Security Council said he did not “personally know” the details about Gorka’s move.

Click here to read more from The Washington Examiner



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Famed climber Ueli Steck killed near Mount Everest

Famed Swiss climber Ueli Steck was killed Sunday in a mountaineering accident Sunday near Mount Everest in Nepal, expedition organizers said.

Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks told the Associated Press Steck was killed at Camp 1 of Mount Nuptse.

Steck’s family said in a statement on his website the exact circumstances of his death were still unclear.

“The family is infinitely sad and asks that the media refrain from speculating about his death out of respect and consideration for Ueli,” the statement read. “As soon as reliable information about Ueli Steck’s death becomes available, the media will be informed.”

His body has been recovered from the site and been taken to Lukla, where the only airport in the Mount Everest area is located.

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Steck was planning to climb the 29,035-foot Mount Everest and nearby Mount Lhotse next month.

He was the first casualty in the spring mountaineering season in Nepal that began in March and will end in May. Hundreds of foreign climbers are on the mountains to attempt scale Himalayan peaks in May when there are a few windows of favorable weather.

The 40-year-old Steck was one of the most-renowned mountaineers of his generation. He was best known for his speed-climbing, including setting several records for ascending the north face of the Eiger, a classic mountaineering peak in the Bernese Alps that he climbed in two hours and 47 minutes without using a rope.

In 2013 he achieved the first solo climb of the Annapurna south face in Nepal after almost losing his life in a fall there in 2007. For that he received the “Piolet d’Or” — considered the Oscar of mountaineering — the following year.

In 2015, Steck decided to climb all 82 peaks in the Alps higher than 4,000 meters traveling between mountains by foot, bike and paraglider only. He completed the feat in 62 days, helping cement his reputation as the “Swiss Machine.”

In a recent post on his website, Steck mused about the transience of success in mountaineering and the inevitable decline that comes with age.

“A record is broken again and again, and the world keeps on turning,” he wrote. “You are getting older and there comes a time when you have to adjust your projects to your age.”

Steck suffered a setback during his last trip to Everest, in 2013, when he became involved in a violent altercation with a group of local guides.

On his return this year, he aimed to perform a quick climb of Everest and Lhotse, including an overnight stop at more than 8,000 meters, an altitude that’s known as the “death zone” because the human body’s performance is reduced to 20 percent of its normal rate.

Asked about the upcoming expedition, Steck told Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger in an interview last month:

In an interview last month with the Swiss publication Tages-Anzeiger, Steck said when he was on Everest, he could “stop at any point.”

“The risk is therefore quite small. For me it’s primarily a physical project,” he told the daily. “Either I get through, or I don’t have the strength for the whole traversal.”

“Of course I want to climb Everest and Lhotse,” Steck told the paper when asked about his measure of success. “But that’s a very high goal. Failure for me would be to die and not come home.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Bourdain’s biggest secret…

At this point in his career, Anthony Bourdain has nailed the art of packing.

As someone who spends more time on the road than at home, the host of CNN’s “Parts Unknown” has expertly curated his list of what to put in his suitcase. He knows exactly what’s worth taking and what’s better left at home.

However, Bourdain’s packing list is, like the man himself sometimes, a bit surprising.

In an interview with The New York Times, Bourdain revealed that he travels with a “sneaky credit card that turns into a knife” on every trip. Although he admitted that the knife is not of the highest caliber, “it might be a rude surprise should someone grab you from behind as you enter your hotel room,” he said.

Also in his luggage is a sweatshirt or light down jacket that can double as a pillow, three or four Moleskine notebooks, a couple of gi (or jiu-jitsu uniforms), and at least one physical book, which is generally a work of fiction.

There are a few other things Bourdain revealed in the interview. Like fellow celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, he doesn’t eat the food on airplanes and prefers to do his dining in the airport.

He also advised travelers to show up at the airport ready for security. Bourdain doesn’t pack liquids or gels in his carry-on, he goes through without a belt or any jewelry, and he complies with TSA rules “like a recidivist convict.”

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Girl banned over outfit

A South Carolina college student’s gym selfie has gone viral after she claimed her school gym recently kicked her out for wearing a crop top.

Sarah Villafañe, a student at the College of Charleston, recalled the encounter with George Street Fitness Center employees on Facebook. She wrote that when she walked into the gym, she was asked to put on a different shirt, but she worked out anyway because she had worn the midriff-baring tank top and black leggings all day at school and there wasn’t an issue. Plus, she shared on Facebook, she didn’t have anything except flannel to change into.


Villafañe shared that a male employee approached her while she was working out, whereby an argument ensued.

“He says, ‘Are you gonna put a shirt on?’” Villafañe wrote in the post. “And I said, ‘Well if this isn’t a shirt … no. I’m not gonna put a shirt on.”

On Facebook, Villafañe aired her grievances toward the gym.

“I literally bought this outfit to work out in because it’s COMFORTABLE,” she wrote. “What is the issue? Why can’t I work out in this outfit? Is my belly button distracting to the general 85% male demographic that your gym serves? I’m forced to leave, WHY? Honestly I’m so floored that I just got kicked out for this.”


Villafañe raises the heated topic of controversial dress codes that some say unfairly target young women. But a spokesman for the College of Charleston told Yahoo! Style that Villafañe wasn’t kicked out because she was violating school dress code, but rather because the shirt posed a danger to herself and other gym-goers.

“The College of Charleston and many other Colleges and universities follow best practices that require people in the gym to wear a full shirt while working out in order to minimize skin exposure to possible infectious agents,” Mike Robertson, senior director of media for the College of Charleston, told Yahoo! Style.


He referenced the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s (NATA) warning that athletic settings may be vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases. NATA does not recommend full clothing to prevent infection, but it does encourage college and university gyms to maintain clean environments, Yahoo! Style reported.

Robertson told that the rules apply to men and women, and the news station reported that the facility’s dress code is displayed at its entrance. Although they don’t ban midriffs outright, the rules do require wearing “athletic attire” including “T-shirts, running shoes, sneakers, shorts, or pants” and “footwear.”


Still, if the comment thread on Villafañe’s Facebook post is any indication, whether the rule unfairly targeted her based on her sex or if her outfit posed a real health threat is up for debate.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the April 19 post had received more than 1,400 reactions, nearly 500 comments, and over 500 shares.

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IBM CEO says a lower tax rate, territorial tax system will enable growth

IBM President and CEO Ginni Rometty said Sunday that America needs a revamp of its tax system, particularly the corporate rate, in order to improve growth and make the country more competitive.

“I’m very pleased to see the broad sort of pillars of this tax proposal put out,” Rometty said of President Trump’s plan during an interview with Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Rometty said two parts of the president’s plan, which was rolled out Wednesday, will help IBM: the corporate tax rate, which Trump wants to lower to 15 percent from 35 percent, and a territorial tax system.

“This territorial system—that’s a modern, international tax system that allows you to move your profits around,” she explained. “If you have those two tenets in a good spot that make America competitive, that enable growth and that will also spur investment, I think you’ve got a good plan.”

Some companies have moved their headquarters overseas largely due to the heavy burden of taxes imposed by the U.S. government. For example, in 2014, fast food chain Burger King merged with Canada’s Tim Horton’s, another fast food chain known for their coffee and donuts, for more than $11 billion and created a joint company called Restaurant Brands International. RBI is headquartered north of the border, where Canada’s federal corporate tax rate is 26.5 percent.

Assuming the Trump administration follows through with its plan to reduce the corporate tax rate, Rometty said companies could start bringing money back from overseas.

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“If you make America one of the most competitive places, that’s where the money will come. It’s really quite clear—there isn’t a mystery about that. So that’s why I think this is going to be good,” she said.

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Bringing back jobs to America has also been a primary goal of Trump’s presidency thus far. Rometty said there are millions of jobs available in the U.S., both in the tech industry and others, but Americans don’t have “contemporary skills” to fill the vacancies.

“This has been one of the biggest areas—workforce development—that we feel strongly,” she said. “I’ve dedicated a lot of time with the administration. They’re very open to this and to helping on this. I think it is public-private that has to happen to fix education. We have a chance, I think, to fundamentally change the face of skills in our country now.”

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Union outraged after NWA's 'F— Tha Police' sung to dining officers

A police union’s Facebook post claiming officers were treated disrespectfully at a North Carolina BBQ joint has gone viral, according to a report Sunday.

The Raleigh Police Protective Association on Friday accused workers at a Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q in Garner of singing N.W.A.’s song “F— Tha Police” to the officers as they were having a meal, WTVD reports.

The post went viral and has been shared more than 2,000 times, the station reported. The post sparked comments online calling for a boycott of the restaurant.

“THANK YOU Smithfields Chicken & Barbeque Jones Sausage location for the class and professionalism as you sang “F- the police” as my brothers at Raleigh Police Department attempted to eat at your restaurant,” the union’s Facebook post union president Matthew Cooper wrote Friday on Facebook. “The manager sang along as well. Do you really feel that was appropriate?”

A police officer’s post prompted the union’s post, according to the station.

The Raleigh News & Observer reported Saturday that Cooper said in an interview that there were a couple of officers who were sung to, though he would not give the exact number.

He said the police association spoke to the owner of the restaurant, David Harris, and accepted his apology.

Harris promised on Facebook a “thorough investigation and terminate anyone employed that doesn’t share our RESPECT of ALL law enforcement.”

The Raleigh Police Department said late Saturday that it was working with the restaurant to “resolve the issue.”

“The Raleigh Police Department appreciates the long term and strong relationship it continues to have with Smithfield’s,” it said.

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SpaceX forced to scrub Falcon 9 rocket launch

SpaceX was forced to cancel the planned launch Sunday of a Falcon 9 rocket due to a sensor issue, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The launch was scrubbed less than a minute before liftoff and a new launch is planned for Monday at 7 a.m. at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The Falcon 9, according to the paper, will send one of its launch vehicles into space from the Space Coast and it will be carrying a spy satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office.

The launch will be the first time SpaceX is doing business with the U.S. Department of Defense, which has previously worked exclusively with United Launch Alliance, a SpaceX competitor.

The SpaceX launch is big industry news, as it signals a competitive bidding process on national security contracts.

“This satellite was going to launch from Florida anyway,” Space Florida’s chief of strategic alliances Dale Ketcham said previously. “But it reflects more competition. That will drive down prices and could result in it being cheaper to get into space, meaning more launches. Competition is a good thing.”

“It’s a very big deal,” Justin Karl, program coordinator of Commercial Space Operations at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, told the Sentinel. “For government orbital launches, there are very few flight provider options. That is a huge segment of a changing market they have potentially captured.”

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Two arrested after Los Angeles shooting spree kills 1, injures 3

Police in Southern California have arrested a man and a woman in connection with a shooting at a hotel that may be connected to a series of attacks in the Los Angeles suburbs Saturday that killed one man and injured three other people. 

The rampage began at around 2:15 p.m. local time Saturday when police say two people — at least one of them armed — forced a woman from her green SUV in Pico Rivera, a community southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

At approximately 4 p.m., authorities began receiving reports of a man and woman shooting at pedestrians from the car. The shootings were reported in three suburban communities —  Pico Rivera, La Mirada, and Whittier.

Fox 11 reported that the deceased shooting victim was identified as Jose Sahagun, 33, of Norwalk, Calif. Sahagun was shot in La Mirada at around 4 p.m. and was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he was pronounced dead. The conditions of the other victims were not immediately available.

“It doesn’t appear they were target-specific or gang related,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Ryan Rouzan said, adding that the investigation is ongoing.

It’s unclear what the shooting victims were doing when they were shot, something Rouzan said would be revealed in the ongoing investigation.

Investigators later recovered the unoccupied SUV at a park in Whittier a taround 6:30 p.m. The woman’s condition was unknown, but Rouzan said she had not been shot.

Fox 11 reported that the man and woman were arrested at a hotel in Whittier approximately two hours later.  Sgt. Mike Ellis of the Whittier Police Department told the Los Angeles Times the suspects were found with a gun in a different stolen vehicle. Ellis added that at least one of the suspects had gunshot wounds, which he said were not inflicted by law enforcement. 

The suspects were arrested on suspicion of grand theft auto. The investigation is ongoing. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click for more from KTTV.

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Kourtney's really racy snaps

Kourtney Kardashian is having fun on her vacation with sister Kim Kardashian and their clique of famous females… maybe too much fun.

In a racy Instagram post from the trip on Wednesday Kourtney Kardashian wrote “This is how we do it down in Puerto Rico” alongside an image of herself in a thong swimsuit. The problem? She’s in Mexico – at least, according to the many paparazzi snapping shots of the crew’s every move.

Kim Kardashian also shared a snapshot of her barely there look while on vacation while her older sister posted plenty of swimsuit snaps of the whole group.


A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

VIVA 🇲🇽 !!

A post shared by Kourtney Kardashian (@kourtneykardash) on


A post shared by Kourtney Kardashian (@kourtneykardash) on

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Creepy clown, snake menacing children in North Dakota, police say

North Dakota police say they are investigating a menacing report involving a creepy clown and a man with a snake.

Fargo police responded to an apartment building Saturday evening in response to a report the pair were scaring several children, WDAZ-TV reported.

Authorities say the snake was a boa constrictor about 3-to-4-feet-long, the station reported.

Police interviewed the clown and his alleged cohort and they could face a felony charge of terrorizing, according to the station.

The clown had a knife, KVLY-TV reported, citing a witness.

The witness said the two men approached the children, asked if they “wanted to see a dead body” and threatened to kill them, the station reported.

The witness told the station the kids ran home and the two men went back to their apartment in another building.

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