Day: July 20, 2017


Dustin’s revealing interview

Dennis Hoffman has been married to his wife, entrepreneur Lisa Hoffman, for 37 years — a rarity in Hollywood. However, the couple insisted it’s a lot easier than one may think.

“We work hard at it,” she told Closer Weekly. “I knew I was going to end up with Dusty, and that my life would be traveling around with him.”

“I say in Hollywood it is like dog years, so you have to multiply that by seven,” the 62-year-old also joked, then added the pair “are more in love” than ever before and their affection for each other “continues to grow.”

But while some couples in Hollywood may meet on set or on the red carpet, the magazine revealed Lisa and Dustin have known each other for nearly a lifetime because his mother was friends with her grandmother. However, they didn’t meet until they both attended a family barbecue when Dennis was 27 and Lisa was 10-years-old.

“Dustin was telling us jokes, playing the piano and encouraging me to dance around the living room,” she previously told Daily Mail Online in 2007. “After we got together, my grandmother reminded me that later that day I had said, ‘I hope he waits for me because I want to marry him.’”

The duo reconnected at Lisa’s grandfather’s funeral when she was 22 and Dustin was 38. They married in 1980 and have been together since.

Lisa told The Daily Telegraph in 2016 that it was also crucial to develop her own identity outside of Hollywood.

“That was an obstacle to overcome, that this is not a celebrity brand,” she said. “I am so far from a celebrity, I just happen to be married to an actor.”

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Bella Thorne's steamy pics

At 19 years old, Bella Thorne is practically a pro at social media. The notoriously candid “Famous in Love” star isn’t afraid to bare it all for her millions of followers. She’s been known to share some rather intimate moments—including a video of her getting a bikini wax—and she’s never afraid to show off a little (or a lot) of skin. Check out 15 of her sexiest photos, below. 


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17 arrested for brutal murders by MS-13 gang in Long Island

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Suffolk County police commissioner Timothy Sini said the MS-13 gang was dealt a “huge blow” by the recent arrests of 17 individuals in connection with a string of murders in Long Island, New York. 

Six of those arrested are juveniles, Sini announced, and the arrests were in connection with five murders this year.

One of the murders made national headlines in April. Four men were lured to a park in Central Islip, N.Y., by two teenage girls and then ambushed with knives, machetes and clubs by a group of MS-13 members.

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“That was one of the most brutal murders we’ve had in Suffolk County,” said Sini on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

More than 170 suspected members of the street gang, which has its roots in El Salvador and Honduras, have been arrested in the county since Attorney General Jeff Sessions visited the area to announce a crackdown in April. 

Many of the gang’s members are in the U.S. illegally, including eight charged in the newest indictments, Sini said.

Charges were also filed in connection with the murders of two teenage girls, Nisa Mickens and Kayla Cuevas. The two were attacked as they walked home from school in Brentwood last September. 

The attack stemmed from a dispute at school between one of the teens and an MS-13 member. The suspected killers were in the U.S. illegally. 

Watch the interview above.

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Surprising fertility facts

If you’re trying to get pregnant (or even if you’re not), you’ve probably heard a lot of rumors about the habits that influence your ability to put a bun in the oven. “Certain sex positions are better for conceiving.” Not true! “Exercising can make it tough for a pregnancy to stick.” Uh, about that… With all of the advice floating around, how are you supposed to know what’s legit and what’s just noise? To set the record straight, we tapped experts and asked which factors affect a woman’s fertility, both positively and negatively. If you’re trying to get pregnant, take note; we bet you’ll be surprised to learn about a lot of these—especially since routines that are “good for you” aren’t always the best for conceiving.

Some lubricants

You know that having regular sex is key to baby making, but if you rely on lube to get things going, you could be undermining your efforts. Water-based lubes (like KY Jelly and Astroglide) can inhibit a sperm’s ability to reach your egg because sperm absorb the water in them, says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., a gynecologist and co-author of The Complete A to Z for Your V.  Meanwhile, Kristin Bendikson, M.D., a fertility specialist at USC fertility, says that petroleum-based lubes may alter the pH level of your vagina, which can kill sperm—and glycerol (another common lube ingredient) also impairs sperm motility. If you’re trying to get pregnant, both Bendikson and Dweck recommend opting for a lube like PreSeed, which is specifically designed for women who are trying to get pregnant.

Certain medications

Dweck says antidepressants are a big culprit here because some types raise the level of a hormone called prolactin in your brain, which can interfere with ovulation. The big takeaway here? If you’re trying to get pregnant, let your doctor know, as it may affect the meds she prescribes you—or advises you to take OTC.


Your weight

Overweight women have higher odds of experiencing fertility issues—and have an increased risk of suffering from pregnancy complications or even a miscarriage, according to research from the Journal of the Turkish German Gynecological Association. However, being underweight can negatively impact your fertility, too. This is because both weight extremes can affect your hormone levels, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and ovulation, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. “Most people don’t realize that if you’re too thin, that can actually be a bad thing,” says Bendikson, who notes that it can make you less likely to ovulate.

Your exercise routine

You may think that working out and eating well will keep you healthy and make you more likely to conceive. But that’s really only the case if you’re overweight and need to lose a few pounds to improve your fertility (because of the issues mentioned above), says Bendikson. If you’re at a normal weight, working out excessively can affect your hormone levels and lead to your experiencing irregular cycles. And if this over-exercising is prolonged—and coupled with a low-calorie diet—you might stop ovulating altogether.


That being said, exercise can also positively influence your fertility because it promotes heart and lung health, along with emotional wellbeing, says Sheeva Talebian, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist and fertility specialist in New York. The key is to exercise moderately. That way, you’ll reap the fertility-boosting benefits of staying active without overdoing it, says Talebian.

How do you know if you’re over-exercising? Keep an eye on your flow, and discuss any irregularities with your doctor, says Bendikson.

Your genetics

“If your mom had trouble getting pregnant or experienced early menopause, it could be harder for you to get pregnant,” says Bendikson, who says she has noticed an anecdotal link between the fertility of mothers and daughters. Granted, if your mother conceived in her 40s, this is not a guarantee that you will, too, Talebian says. Discuss your family history with your doctor to make sure you know what your genes can tell you about your chances of getting pregnant.

This article originally appeared in Women’s Health

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2 Dead on Tom Cruise Movie Shoot…

Was a tragedy during the production of Cruise’s ‘American Made’ preventable? Conflicting accounts and a pilot in a “death pool” raise questions about safety and the filmmakers’ role in it all: “Hollywood cut corners.”

The villagers saw lights flashing through thick clouds. Then they heard a sound like an explosion. When they stumbled upon the wreckage of a small plane close to a dairy finca near the village of La Clarita, in the Colombian province of Antioquia, there were three men inside, trapped in the fuselage and badly injured but alive. The plane’s tail had sheared off, and the cockpit was a mangled lump of glass and metal. The fuselage and wings were warped and bruised, covered by fallen branches, just a hundred yards below a ridgeline. The villagers ran to get help. When they returned with rescue workers, only one of the occupants was still breathing. He flashed them a thumbs-up sign and even talked. The other two had died.

Plenty of planes go down each year in the mountains and jungles of South America. This one, a twin-engine Piper Smith Aerostar 600, had been ferrying three pilots who were working on a film: Alan Purwin, 51, one of Hollywood’s most sought-after helicopter stunt operators; Carlos Berl, 58, a well-qualified airman who knew how to navigate the red tape of the plane import-export business; and Georgia native Jimmy Lee Garland, 55, who could fly and repair just about anything. The flight took off after a long day of filming for American Made, a Doug Liman feature starring Tom Cruise, 55, as a drug smuggler turned CIA pilot, which is set to be released by Universal Pictures on Sept. 29. Filming had been underway for weeks in the hills in northeast Colombia, near the border with Panama. But the filmmakers were based in Medellin, 35 miles to the southeast. This early-evening flight on Sept. 11, 2015, was supposed to be a short taxi ride home.

American Made depicts the intricacies of flying small airplanes in dangerous conditions, and so in a strange life-imitates-art moment, the crash highlighted one of the film’s central themes. The tragedy since has shifted to a wider set of questions about what happened and who is responsible. More broadly, the crash has raised new concerns about the adequacy of industry standards governing aerial work, including pilot safety. Berl and Purwin are dead, while Garland has been left without feeling across much of his lower body. The families of Purwin and Berl are suing producers Imagine Entertainment, Vendian Entertainment and Cross Creek Pictures for wrongful death and other damages, alleging that, in a rush to wrap up filming and save money, production and aviation companies ignored basic safety considerations. The families of both dead men also are suing each other, and Berl’s family is going after Garland, the survivor, alleging negligence.

To complicate matters, Great American Insurance, which initially indemnified the production companies, recently filed suit in a federal district court in California to disclaim responsibility and look for relief from having to pay under the $50 million general coverage policy, alleging that the flight in question, as well as other flights conducted during the course of production, may have been performed illegally. As each party scrambles to assign blame about what happened in Colombia, allegations suggest that the process to ensure pilots were properly trained and licensed may have been flawed. A judge has placed a gag order on the ongoing legal proceedings, and multiple attorneys representing different parties declined to speak to THR. But in court records, the litigants accuse the production companies and other parties of behaving “unlawfully and carelessly.”

Meanwhile, interviews with those involved and an analysis of court and FAA documents have revealed other troubling developments. The Federal Aviation Administration frequently conducts “surveillance” of movie sets and pilots, which often amounts to routine pilot checks, equipment installations and protocol issues. But federal documents show that Purwin and one of his companies, Helinet, were on the FAA’s radar often. In 1996, Purwin was the pilot in command of a helicopter when it crashed, killing his fellow pilot and business partner. And Purwin had a broad restriction on his Airline Transport Pilot certificate that would have prevented him from piloting any fixed-wing aircraft in some of the weather and regulatory conditions encountered during the filming of American Made. Several pilots and safety experts with entertainment industry experience say Purwin was one of a handful of maverick Hollywood pilots known for taking unnecessary risks and being “dangerous.” Three people in the Hollywood flying community say in interviews that Purwin had been placed into what a group of pilots casually referred to as a “death pool,” a group of risk-taking pilots who were deemed to be the next ones most likely to perish in a crash.

What this means for the rash of lawsuits ramping up in court is unclear. Jeff Korek, a New York-based attorney representing the Berl family, argues his client’s suit is an attempt to hold the industry responsible for its poor safety standards. “The impact of the loss of their father and only real parent simply cannot be overstated,” says Korek. “We hope to put a dent in the pocketbook of the motion picture industry. We want the industry to understand and practice one concept, which the Berl family would expect to be put ahead of all other considerations in the making of a film, namely, safety before profits at all times.”

In many ways, working on American Made was a pilot’s dream. Based on real events, the film is set in the 1980s drug-smuggling era, when Colombian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar and others were funneling tons of drugs north via mules, boats and maneuverable twin-engine planes. The movie follows the true story of Barry Seal (Cruise), a drug runner recruited by the CIA to go after Escobar. The production called for plenty of flying in remote, dramatic landscapes over jungle canopies or a few feet off the ocean. And the pilots would get a chance to fly a plane that other pilots often view as racy and daring, the airborne equivalent of Formula One race cars. The Aerostar 600 was designed to be light, very fast and able to carry large payloads. But the plane had a poor safety record and, among many pilots, a reputation as a “widow-maker.”

Carlos Berl grew up in a family of pilots in Venezuela, where his parents had settled after fleeing Austria and the Nazis after World War II. The perils of piloting small planes in South America during the 1980s became evident when traffickers stole the Berls’ twin-engine Turbo Commander. The Berls bought another one, but the cartel returned and said they would take it if the family didn’t sell. Carlos, the second of the four brothers, eventually moved to Florida and later New York. He kept flying, racking up an array of licenses. The rules guiding airplane licenses and certificates are complex; pilots need different licenses to pilot various types of planes, and those certifications require maintenance, medical checks and frequent training. By 2015, he had a G-IV, one of the most difficult licenses to obtain, usually reserved for corporate jet pilots. That year, Javier Diaz, a family friend who lived not far from Berl’s home in Dobbs Ferry, New York, approached Berl with a proposition. A former investment banker, Diaz had parlayed his passion for flying into a gig as a helicopter pilot and ran a company in the area. Diaz told Berl he wanted help with some routine flying on the set of a movie starring Cruise about drug smuggling in South America.

Berl’s family says he placed a premium on safety, and FAA records appear to support that claim. Between 2008 and 2015, Berl voluntarily took 12 classes and seminars from the FAA’s Safety Team programs, where he received online training and attended in-person courses with certificated instructors. His younger brother Andres, who learned to fly at Carlos’ side, says his brother always used instrumentation meticulously and participated in annual factory training sessions. On paper at least, Berl seemed to be a pilot’s pilot.

Still, Diaz’s offer initially didn’t excite him. He told his family he was worried about getting dragged into a contractual relationship that might hinder his life. But Diaz persisted. Berl had long experience bringing airplanes in and out of South America; he knew the regulations well; he spoke Spanish. Eventually, Berl agreed to help with some initial flight plans and with ferrying a plane from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Colombia. Eventually, he grew excited, says Jenny, Berl’s 24-year-old daughter. The first trip to South America went well. Berl stayed in swanky hotels, ate meals and snagged pictures with Cruise and flew home without incident. (The actor, through a spokesman, declined comment for this story.)

Then in September, Diaz called again. He told Berl that producers wanted Berl to return to Colombia for more work. Specifically, they needed someone to fly the Aerostar 600 home to Florida. Designed in the late 1960s, the plane was known among pilots as “the world’s fastest piston twin.” It was a sleek model prized for its speed, even if it sometimes came at the expense of safety. There have been more than 260 deaths involving the plane in 191 accidents around the world since 1969, according to the Aviation Safety Network. A 1998 review published by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association concluded Aerostars had “a clear-cut distinction as fast and alluring airplanes that will eat you alive at the maintenance shop or at the slightest hint of relaxed vigilance on the controls.”

In other words, piloting an Aerostar wasn’t for the uninitiated. “Pilots often call that plane the Death Star,” says Chris Palmer, a safety and risk assessment consultant who has worked on hundreds of Hollywood productions. “You had better be darn good in that craft if you’re going to fly it.” But Berl, an expert in so many planes, had never stepped foot in one. Andres Berl says his brother wasn’t interested in flying it without advanced training. He says Berl asked Diaz repeatedly whether he could get some training, but it never materialized. “It’s not like a car,” says Andres. “Unless you’ve flown it before, you need a certificate with a trained pilot who signs your logbook.”

As Berl waited for word in New York, he ordered the Aerostar manual with a map of the instrument panel and began to study. In the meantime, he asked Diaz to prepare paperwork to legally import the plane back from Colombia to the U.S. A few days later, Andres says Carlos discovered that Diaz hadn’t prepared that paperwork. Furious, Berl told his brother he would cancel the trip to Colombia. (Diaz declined repeated requests for an interview.) That night, Sept. 9, 2015, the two brothers parted ways at a train station in Westchester County. They agreed to see each other the next day. But a day later, Carlos was gone. “I guess Diaz convinced him,” says Andres, shrugging his shoulders during an interview. Later that day, Berl called daughter Jenny and told her he was going to be on set. “I told him to give me a call when he was done,” she says. It was the last time they spoke.

Like Berl, Jimmy Lee Garland didn’t have any experience with Hollywood. But he knew planes, and he knew how to fix them. Soft-spoken and polite, he had grown up in Georgia and spent most of his adult life there flying planes. He was pleasantly surprised when movie producers showed up one day at the Cherokee County Airport, where he ran S&S Aviation. Garland had licenses to fly many types of planes. He also taught aviation, and before he knew it, he and Cruise were soaring and floating in Garland’s Cessna 414, a twin-engine transport aircraft that would become one of two planes Cruise flies in American Made. Garland worked as Cruise’s double in the film. (FAA records show that Cruise first got a private pilot’s license in 1994 and obtained his commercial license in 1998.)During filming, Garland gave him lessons specific to the Cessna, sitting by his side while Cruise manipulated the controls. He noticed that Cruise “liked to participate in the stunts.” Eventually Cruise was doing all the flying himself, says Garland. “He’s a very good pilot.”

Toward the end of August, says Garland, the producers asked him to return to Colombia to fly the Cessna and help as a mechanic on that plane and the Aerostar. For the next few weeks, he flew all over the country, down to the edge of the Amazon jungle and along the borders of Peru and Brazil. He’d never done anything like it before, and it struck him as a “once-in-a-lifetime adventure.” By September, after long days of shooting in Santa Fe de Antioquia, Garland was commuting regularly back to Medellin, where he and a business partner stayed in a plush hotel. To kill time, they ate steak dinners and played blackjack at the local casino, where the dollar was worth 3,200 pesos. The flight back to Medellin on Sept. 11 was a routine part of that week’s work.

Dawn in the farming region of Llano de Ovejas had been clear, and villagers had reported stars visible in the sky in the morning. After filming had wrapped for the day, the Aerostar took off around 5:30 p.m. and headed south. Without any radio contact or communication with air traffic controllers, it rose to 8,500 feet, following in the path of two helicopters that had left minutes earlier, one of which was ferrying Cruise home for the night. As the plane picked up speed, tracing lush mountainous ridges, a cloud bank was settling in on the summits that circle the valley where Medellin sits.

Garland blacked out when the plane crashed. Colombian media reports indicate that he spoke to his rescuers, but Garland claims not to recall any of it. He says his first memory is waking up in a hospital nine days later trying to rip a respirator out of his throat. The crash left him with a shattered vertebra, collapsed lung, herniated diaphragm, 10 broken teeth, broken ribs, a broken jawbone and a cracked skull on both sides of a dislodged eye socket. His body veered close to sepsis in the hospital, but he recovered. A small piece of steel keeps his skull together. He’s undergoing extensive physical therapy. “It took me about a month to gather my wits,” he says. Liman, 51, has stayed in touch, sending him articles about spinal injuries, emails and a Christmas card. (The director declined comment for this story.)

Berl’s lawsuit states unequivocally that Garland was piloting the plane when it crashed, with Berl as his co-pilot. But Garland, in two interviews, categorically denied piloting the craft that day. “I was there as a mechanic,” he insists. The Purwin family suit claims Purwin was along in a passenger seat to provide additional instruction, but Garland says he can’t recall, so it’s impossible to say with any certainty. Of the three men, Purwin was the only one with a Hollywood résumé. He had worked on blockbusters and tentpole franchises, including Tropic Thunder, Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers, along with about 100 other movie and TV productions. Early in his career, he had put together elaborate helicopter stunts for The A-Team and Airwolf. With his wife, Kathryn, Purwin had founded Helinet Aviation, and the company was a successful industry go-to for high-end aerial and camera work. He had donated a helicopter to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and he had worked with rescuers after Hurricane Katrina, providing medical transport to hospitals and patients free of charge.

But Purwin’s death has led to a quiet reckoning among pilots and safety experts who are closely examining his record. In 1996, during filming for a commercial directed by Michael Bay, Purwin was piloting a Bell/Tsirah Cobra helicopter when a rotor blade clipped a boulder, resulting in a crash that killed his fellow pilot and business partner Michael Tamburro. Tamburro’s wife, Tammy, sued Purwin and received a $7 million settlement. One aviation expert with decades of experience in Hollywood says that Purwin, whom he knew personally and professionally, was “frankly, a terrible pilot, and it was his incompetence that killed his partner.” In a recent interview, Tamburro’s widow declined comment on the 1996 crash and said Purwin was a “dear friend.” An FAA spokesman, Ian Gregor, said that an examination of Purwin’s records found mostly run-of-the-mill reviews and complaints. There were a few “actual problems,” says Gregor, but most of it was “routine.” FAA records show that some of these “actual problems” involved accidents and complaints from the public. The regulatory agency issued Purwin warnings after breaches in standard protocol. In 2010, the camera ball on Purwin’s helicopter broke when it struck an electrical power wire. In 2012, Purwin was cited for flying too close to the Malibu Pier. In that case, the FAA reported that “enforcement” began in January, and the next month Purwin received a “warning notice.” All told, dozens of incidents (which the FAA defines as potentially hazardous situations) go back several years. FAA authorities say that incidents on a pilot’s record are expunged after five years or less, which could explain why the FAA had no record of Purwin’s 1996 helicopter crash in its files.

Meanwhile, since the crash in Colombia, Purwin’s licensing has come under added scrutiny. According to publicly available FAA documents, he had what’s known as an Airline Transport Pilot license. It’s one of the highest ratings a pilot can get. However, FAA records show that Purwin’s ATP was specific to helicopters and did not apply to fixed-wing aircraft. Mark Nathan Boss, a designated pilot examiner who tested Purwin and issued him a commercial license, says Purwin’s ATP “doesn’t transfer to airplanes.” FAA records show that Purwin’s ATP license came with an officially noted limitation that read, “The carriage of passengers for hire on airplanes on cross-country flights in excess of 50 nautical miles or at night is prohibited.”

That particular clause may not be relevant to the crash in Colombia because flights and crashes in foreign countries are adjudicated by different agencies with different rules. But Purwin’s ATP limitation would have applied to any flight originating inside the U.S. On Aug. 19, 2015, three weeks before the Aerostar crashed in Colombia, a flight-tracking website shows that the same plane filed another flight plan. It originated in Clearwater, Florida — where Cruise maintains a personal home and the Church of Scientology has a major base of operations — and ended in Kingston, Jamaica. Berl was elsewhere on that date. Garland denies that he ever piloted an Aerostar from Florida to Jamaica. But that flight may be relevant to the litigants in the case, including Great American Insurance, because it originated on U.S. soil and appears to have been conducted during the production window of American Made. An FAA official says that the flight would have been illegal if Purwin was acting as the pilot-in-command because of the limitation on his ATP. Of course, Cruise could have been piloting the plane, but because the FAA does not keep records of past flight plans longer than 15 days, the full picture remains incomplete. But even if Cruise was properly licensed, there still could be a legal issue. FAA regulations state that any plane used for carrying passengers for hire must be listed on what’s called a 135 certificate, and several aviation experts who work regularly in Hollywood say that flights conducted during paid film projects often require that designation. An FAA official confirms that the company that owned the Aerostar did not possess that 135 certificate for fixed-wing planes. Answers to questions regarding who piloted the plane and whether it was properly certified may emerge during the ongoing litigation.

Great American initially indemnified the studios after the crash, to the tune of $50 million. But in May, in a rare reversal, the company filed a complaint in a federal district court against the producers, as well as Berl and Purwin, alleging that multiple flights conducted during the filming of American Made were “unlawful.” The policy stipulated that the choice of pilots for flights made during filming was to be “at the discretion” of Fred North, the film’s aerial flight coordinator. Great American argues that the plane may have been used for an “unlawful purpose,” though it doesn’t specify what that could be. It also points to the ambiguity about who was piloting the plane, or whether that person was “properly certificated, qualified and rated under the applicable law for the operation involved.” If, as the Purwin suit suggests, Berl was piloting the plane at the time of the crash, the insurance company claims the flight would have been unlawful because a passenger was in the aircraft without a properly certified flight instructor giving lessons.

The Berl family is alleging that the movie’s producers, Garland and Purwin hurried Berl onto the Aerostar in Santa Fe de Antioquia at the last minute before the flight took off for Medellin and then told him that the short flight south would be considered his training, even though Berl had requested extra training on the aircraft before agreeing to take the controls. The Berl suit says the terrain of the flight path that night was “unsuitably difficult for such an instructional flight, especially one conducted in a rushed and unscheduled manner in an aircraft with limited flight data and weather instrumentation.” In interviews, several people have alleged that the crew was “rushing” to get back to Medellin that night in order to keep ahead of delays that had plagued production. One aviation expert who agreed to be interviewed on the condition of anonymity says that FAA officials with direct knowledge of the crash later told him that a dispute of some sort took place just before the three men boarded the plane. “Apparently there was an argument about needing to leave immediately, even though they had some information about the weather that they should have stayed behind,” says this source. “But it was the jungle, and they wanted to get out of there. I was just told there was intense pressure to get out as soon as possible. That causes shortcuts.” And one lawyer familiar with the details of the case claimed that Cruise had been on the plane “just moments before” it took off. It was not possible to verify that claim. (Garland declined to comment.) The Berl lawsuit alleges that this apparent rush to save time and money “compromised safety.” Andres Berl is more blunt: “Hollywood cut corners.”

The Purwin suit echoes many of the same charges but makes the parallel accusation that as a passenger, he died because the men in the cockpit, including Berl, shouldn’t have been piloting the plane. All of which raises the question of what role North, the aerial coordinator for the movie, may have played. Through an attorney, North declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation. The production companies also are keeping quiet for now, citing the judge’s gag order. One experienced Colombian pilot who is knowledgeable about the details of the Aerostar crash agreed to share his thoughts about the ill-fated trip on the condition of anonymity. “I fly there regularly, and I would have stayed on the ground that day,” he says. “You have to have experience to fly in Colombia. You cannot fly here like you fly in Miami, where there’s not a mountain anywhere. If you fly in South America, you have to be very trained in the conditions.” The Colombian authorities still are investigating the crash, and their report is expected soon.

Whatever final thoughts the three men shared in the cockpit that day likely never will be clear, unless Garland recovers his memory and decides to speak. From his years of flying in Venezuela, Berl would have recognized the sudden inclement weather patterns that could abruptly emerge. For years, Escobar had used these hills, the fog, the slipstream and the presence of multiple, identical small planes in the ether to great advantage in his rise as the continent’s most prolific drug trafficker. The moviemakers no doubt had wanted to capture that sense of elusive beauty, the thrill of flight, escape and maybe even freedom. It wasn’t yet 6 p.m. when the plane arced high, made an attempt to cross a ridgeline — and failed. The small craft dropped, smashed into a tree and began to splinter, carving a violent path through the fields on a steep hill, coming to rest, finally, in tatters on a terraced hillside, under a grove of chestnut trees. Eventually, Garland made it home alive. Purwin and Berl never did. The question now is whether it was a tragedy that could have been prevented.

This story first appeared in the July 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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Top US Air Power on show

The US Air Force put on an astounding show at one of the biggest military airshows in the world, the Royal International Air Tattoo.

Held each year at RAF Fairford in England, the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) invites air forces for three days of air displays showcasing world class flying and aircraft. The event also raises money for the RAF Charitable Trust.

The theme this year honored US air power, recognizing the seventy years of the US Air Force (USAF).

The United States featured a formidable air power with a wide range of outstanding aircraft and pilot talent including USAF KC135 Tankers, F-15 Strike Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Participants had the chance to see other amazing American aircraft including the F-25 Lightning 2 Fifth Generation fighter jet and the F-22 Raptor with its vectored thrust that drew astounded responses from the crowds.


The Thunderbirds performed in their F-16s, showcasing American precision and top flying talent with extraordinary high speed passes, with a thunderous response from the crowds.

And it was a rare opportunity to see some American aircraft that seldom make appearances, like the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber.

Here are three of the exciting aircraft featured this year: the B-52 Stratofortress, the B-2 Stealth Bomber and the U-2 Dragon Lady.


The B-2, aka the “Stealth Bomber” or “Spirit” brings massive firepower to a fight. It can unleash both conventional and nuclear munitions.

Made by Northrop Grumman, the B-2 Spirit is a multi-role heavy bomber. It can deliver that firepower rapidly all over the world undeterred by enemy defenses.


The aircraft possesses ultra “stealth” and this allows it to penetrate deep into enemy territory undetected. It can overcome advanced air defenses and decisively strike heavily defended areas.

How is it so stealthy? Much of that is classified, but a combination of its iconic shape, advanced materials and a special coating all play a role in making it undetectable by the enemy.


The B-52 can unleash the widest array of weapons, including powerful options like cluster bombs, gravity bombs, cluster bombs and precision guided missiles.

In fact, like the B-2, this aircraft can unleash both nuclear and precision guided conventional ordnance.

Dubbed the Stratofortress, the B-52 has been a strategic bomber for the U.S. for more than 40 years.


It can fly at high subsonic speeds and at high altitudes up to about 50,000 feet.

Made by Boeing, the B-52 is a long-range, heavy bomber that the U.S. military uses for a range of missions.

For example, in a mere two hours, two B-52s can scan and monitor 140,000 square miles of ocean surface – that is some serious reconnaissance and surveillance.

All B-52s can be equipped with two electro-optical viewing sensors, a forward-looking infrared and advanced targeting pods to augment targeting, battle assessment, and flight safety, thus further improving its combat ability.

For night operations, B-52 pilots often wear night vision goggles (NVGs).


The U-2 is an epic spy plane. Made by Lockheed Martin, it can fly along the edge of space. It flies so high (around 70,000 feet) that U-2 pilots wear suits similar to astronaut suits.

During the Cold War, the first U-2A was built in utter secrecy by the legendary Lockheed Skunk Works. It first flew in 1955 and now more than 60 years later it is still used for critical missions today. It is an ultrahigh altitude reconnaissance aircraft.


It is often described as the most difficult plane to fly in the world. One of the reasons for this is that it has a very unique, and extremely challenging, bicycle-like landing gear.

Whether day or night and in good or bad weather, the U-2s can deliver high-altitude surveillance and reconnaissance. It delivers important imagery and other data in real time to teams on the ground.

Once a crucial tool during the Cold War when it flew over Soviet space to gather information, U-2s are now used for a range of purposes from aerial eavesdropping  to saving American military lives by surveying areas in Iraq and Afghanistan and identifying dirt patterns that reveal where IEDs are hidden.  

Allison Barrie is a defense specialist with experience in more than 70 countries who consults at the highest levels of defense and national security, a lawyer with four postgraduate degrees, and author of the definitive guide, Future Weapons: Access Granted, on sale in 30 countries.  Barrie hosts the new hit podcast “Tactical Talk”  where she gives listeners direct access to the most fascinating Special Operations warriors each week and to find out more about the FOX Firepower host and columnist you can click here or follow her on Twitter @allison_barrie and Instagram @allisonbarriehq.


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'Flip' star has moved on

Things appear to be heating up between Christina El Moussa and her new boyfriend.

The “Flip or Flop” star brought her boyfriend Doug Spedding on a vacation with her little sister to Bali. Her sister’s boyfriend also tagged along.

El Moussa, who is separated from her co-star Tarek El Moussa, shared pictures of the romantic getaway on Instagram but quickly deleted them.

“Had so much fun spending the week in Bali … some much needed R&R. So nice spending time with my little sis and our BF’s,” she wrote.

In the first picture, El Moussa and Spedding look cozy as they posed with monkeys.

The next picture was a group shot of the two couples at the beach with cups in hand.

She also shared a shot of her and Spedding by the pool at sunset.

The mom-of-two told Fox News in May she was really excited for her trip to Bali.

“I am traveling to Bali with my sister and am excited to get real zen…yoga and spiritual healers,” she told us.

She’s also planning a big trip to South Africa.

“We will be visiting orphanages, wine tasting in Cape Town and going on safari at Ulusaba. Can’t wait!”

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Woman who wore fake penis, tricked blindfolded friend to have sex with her sentenced

A British woman who pretended to be a man by wearing a prosthetic penis and tricking her blindfolded friend into having sex with her was sentenced Thursday to 6 ½ years in prison.

Gayle Newland, 27, was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault in June after a retrial, the BBC reported. She was initially sentenced to eight years in prison on November 2015 when she was found guilty for the same charges, but the conviction was overturned last year when officials declared the judge handling the case was not fair and balanced.


A close friend claimed Newland tricked her by pretending to be a man named Kye Fortune, who she believed was her boyfriend. Newland and the friend met while they were attending he University of Chester in 2011, The Guardian reported. Newland duped her friend by creating a Facebook page when she was 15 years old to take on the male persona, putting photos of an American man on there to make it more believable.

The friend said in court she was unaware Newland was Fortune because she was always wearing a blindfold when they met. Newland would then wear a strap-on prosthetic penis when they had sex.

“There was no point until the day I took the blindfold off that I thought for one second that a woman was the person behind this,” the friend said in court.


She added that she never would have consented to having sex with Newland if she knew it was her supposed friend. The friend also said she was blindfolded when the pair were hanging out.

Newland was sentenced to an additional 6 months in jail for defrauding her former employers when she worked at an Internet advertising agency. Newland allegedly created 10 fake client profiles between 2014 and 2015. 

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Is 78-year-old “Auntie” Maxine Waters seriously going to make a run for the White House in 2020?

Speculation is increasing as it’s revealed the California congresswoman and darling of Trump haters nationwide will be making an appearance in the early presidential primary state of New Hampshire on Sunday.

“According to an invitation, obtained by WMUR from Democratic sources, Waters will be in the state on July 23 for the picnic to be held at the Miller Farm in New Durham,” WMUR reports, where she will hobnob with the Strafford County Democratic Committee.

President Trump has been a favorite punching bag for Waters, who seems to spin a new conspiracy theory about his administration and aides every few days.

Waters has been intentionally antagonistic towards the president’s supporters, as well.

During a screed on the House floor in March, Waters played the race card and the patriotism card against supporters of the president.

“Mr. Speaker, my position against this president and his administration is clear. I oppose this president. I do not honor this president. I do not respect this president,” Waters said during a nearly 9-minute speech.

“African-Americans have struggled and fought historically, many African-Americans have paid a huge price fighting for justice and equality in this country, have died for it. I don’t have to call the names of Martin Luther King and all the others. We have paid a price, we have fought.

“But guess what? Despite the fact that America has not always been there for us, we’ve always been there for America. We have fought in America’s wars. We have suffered discrimination, we have suffered isolation and undermining. But we stand up for America, oftentimes when others who think they are more patriotic, who say they are more patriotic, do not,” Waters said.

“When we fight against this president, and we point out how dangerous he is for this society and for this country, we’re fighting for the democracy. We’re fighting for America. We’re saying to those who say they’re patriotic but they’ve turned a blind eye to the destruction that he’s about to cause this country, ‘You’re not nearly as patriotic as we are.’”

Waters made it clear her mission is not to represent her constituents, but destroy Trump.

The president “is not good for America,” she said.

“African-Americans know this. The Black Caucus understands this. And for those members of the Black Caucus representing our leadership, who went to meet with him, they have laid out to him all of this, what our care and concerns are all about. But in the final analysis, we really don’t expect anything from him.

“And my mission and my goal is to make sure that he does not remain president of the United States of America,” Water said.

Waters already has the backing of key far-left thought leaders.

In April, Salon Editor-at-Large d. Watkins published a video on Twitter in which he provided 5 reasons “why Maxine Waters should be our next president.”

“Maxine understands the people,” Watkins said as his #5 reason.

“Number 4, Maxine Waters has an amazing reputation of being a fearless, outspoken advocate for women, the poor, children, people of color — pretty much everybody that was left out of the Trump campaign,” he said.

Watkins said #3 is because of her opposition to the war in Iraq.

“That’s something that (Hillary) Clinton, (George W.) Bush, (Donald) Trump, (John) McCain, all of those people couldn’t really figure out,” he said.

Watkins said Waters “loves the Millennials and we love her back,” he said.

His justification was that Waters’ is “learning our language and using the internet.”

Watkins’ number one reason?

“She’s not afraid to attack the right,” he said.

“These are tough times and in tough times we need a tough leader,” Watkins said. “That’s why I nominate Maxine Waters to be our next president.”

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Suspicious death at resort

Twenty-year-old Abbey Conner died during a family vacation to Mexico in January, and her loved ones still don’t understand why.

Abbey and her older brother Austin, 22, had both been found face-down in a pool at the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, after arriving just a few hours earlier with their mother and stepfather from Wisconsin, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Abbey and Austin were both pulled from the water and rushed to a hospital, where Austin recovered. Abbey, on the other hand, was pronounced brain-dead after suffering what medical reports called an “anoxic brain injury.”

She was moved to a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and her family took her off life support a short while later on January 12.


The police in Mexico insisted Abbey suffered an “accidental drowning” on the night of the incident, but her family was never convinced — and now a report from the family’s attorney’s report only seems to confirm their suspicions.

“If it was an accident, where was everybody?” asks Florentino Ramirez, the U.S. attorney hired by Abbey’s mom and stepdad, Ginny and John McGowan. “It just doesn’t make sense. There are too many open ends.”

Ramirez detailed those open ends in his report, which found that local authorities only interviewed three hotel staffers in the wake of the incident, completely ignoring the bartender who served Abbey and Austin, or a woman who noticed Abbey and Austin acting strange while trying to exit the pool.

During a visit a few months after Abbey’s tragic death, an attorney working with Ramirez also claimed to have seen the bartender mixing “alcoholic drinks with alcohol of bad quality and in great amounts” for the young people at the swim-up bar.

But perhaps most convincingly, Austin claimed that he and his sister weren’t trying to get drunk; in fact, they were supposed to be meeting their parents for dinner at the time they were found in the pool. Austin said they merely had a few shots of tequila and something that looked like a “Jagerbomb” before he blacked out. Austin had somehow hit his head, too, given the “golf-ball sized lump” on his forehead.

“I’ve been in college for five years and had my fair share of drinks before,” Austin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “No way in hell I’m putting my face down in a pool and going to sleep.”


Abbey and Austin’s father, too, believes there was something fishy about the liquor they were served.

“Somebody had to slip them some type of drug,” said Bill Conner.

Ramirez believes someone may have tried to knock Austin out in order to rob or kidnap him or Abbey, though none of their belongings were stolen.

In any case, the Iberostar resort isn’t very forthcoming with new information, much to the McGowans’ frustrations.

“They did not seem to think this was serious,” according to Ginny McGowan.

This isn’t exactly the first time the Iberostar has served as the setting for suspicious activity. In 2015, a married couple drinking at the nearby Iberostar Paraiso Maya experienced something similar: The wife blacked out and woke up vomiting in her hotel room, and her husband broke his hand and couldn’t remember how.

Abbey’s family is still trying to piece together the events of that night in January, but her father, Bill Conner, is taking some comfort in the fact that 22-year-old Loumont Jack, from Florida, is alive thanks to an organ donation — a heart, specifically — from Abbey.


Conner even paid a visit to Jack in June, listening to his daughter’s heart through a stethoscope.

“Abbey is alive inside of him — it’s her heart having him stand up straight,” he told CBS News.

A representative for the Iberostar Paraiso del Mar was not immediately available for comment. 

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