Day: July 28, 2017

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UCLA prof who taught free speech says he was fired for conservatism


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Former UCLA professor Keith Fink, who taught a class on free speech opened up about his firing from the school, saying there is “no doubt” he would still have a job if his views were liberal.

Fink, who filed a formal complaint with his union pointed to the new Chair of the Department of Communication Studies, Kerri Johnson, whom he says has “great disdain for conservative views” as the driving force behind his ousting.

It was “preordained from the day she came in that the school was intent on getting rid of me,” he told “Fox & Friends” on Friday.

“Mr. Keith Fink’s teaching does not meet that standard of excellence,” the school said in a statement, which Fink called a “french farce.”

After the school slashed his class enrollment, students protested Fink’s treatment saying they were prevented from enrolling in his classes.

Fink, who is also an attorney was known at UCLA for defending students if the school tried to “steamroll” their rights. In the last couple of years he acted as an advisor in cases involving Title lX for students who had done “absolutely nothing” but whose futures were threatened by school disciplinary action.

Fink added that he is the most vocal conservative there, and could count the outwardly conservative professors on one hand.

The professor concluded saying that he is saddest because he loves teaching.

“There’s no amount of money that equals the joy I get out of steering someone in the right direction or teaching them a new thought or exposing them to a Bob Dylan song.”


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Proposed gold mine near Yellowstone gets OK despite environmental protests


A Canada company’s controversial bid to prospect for gold near Yellowstone National Park has won approval from Montana regulators despite local opposition.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality granted Vancouver-based Lucky Minerals a license Wednesday to drill exploration holes for gold and other metals in the Absaroka Mountains, 12 miles east of the town of Emigrant and approximately 20 miles northeast of Yellowstone.

“We took a hard look at the comments received and the issues identified,” the agency’s director, Tom Livers, said. “Ultimately, the company has agreed to mitigations beyond what is required in statute.”

Nearly 4,000 individuals, organizations and agencies submitted comments with many opposed to Lucky Mines’ application, according to Mining.com.

Opponents fear the mining operation could harm the local tourism industry and pollute the nearby Yellowstone River, according to the news outlet.

Legislation proposed by U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., would bar future mining claims on 30,000 acres of public lands outside Yellowstone. The Obama administration imposed a two-year ban on those lands last November.

Lucky Minerals’ proposal is on private land, but officials say it might not be economically viable without mining on adjacent public lands.

A representative of conservation group Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition told NBC Montana the group worries the project may one day expand onto public land.

A Lucky Mines vice president, Shaun Dykes, told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that there’s more work to do before the company begins drilling, but he’s happy they’ve gotten past this first step.

“That’s one hurdle done,” he told the paper.

Lucky Mines will be required to post a cash bond before it can begin drilling.

The gulch where Lucky Mines wants to drill was mined in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the paper reported. Companies have been back sporadically in the past few decades.

Lucky Mines believes it will be successful in finding gold because it plans to drill deeper than other companies have, the paper reported.

The price of gold was about $1,267 per ounce the other day.  Gold set a record of around $1,900 an ounce in 2011.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Derek Jeter turns to Michael Dell to keep Marlins bid alive


An investment firm affiliated with personal computer impresario Michael Dell is helping former New York Yankees all-star Derek Jeter fulfill his dream of owning a Major League Baseball team, FOX Business has learned.

MSD Partners – named after the founder and chief executive of Dell Technologies—has agreed to extend $175 million in financing to Jeter in his attempt to purchase the Miami Marlins baseball team, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter. The financing is in the form of preferred stock, which will allow MSD to earn as much as 10 percent dividend if Jeter’s bid to buy the team is successful, these people add.

Jeter heads one of a handful of bidding teams interested in purchasing the Miami Marlins; his bid of around $1.3 billion was said to be short of the necessary cash to purchase the team. But in recent weeks Jeter’s investment banker, former Morgan Stanley executive Gregory Fleming, has been cobbling together commitments from various investors in an attempt to purchase the team, these people say.

It’s unclear how close Jeter is to coming up with the necessary cash, but he has recently received another large commitment from Florida money manager Bruce Sherman for as much as $300 million, these people add.

The other major bidding group is headed by South Florida billionaire Jorge Mas, who is said to be willing to pay around $1.1 billion for the team, these people add.

A spokesman for Jeter didn’t return calls for comment. Fleming declined comment. A spokesman for MSD declined comment, but would not deny the size or the terms of the commitment from the firm to Jeter.

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While Michael Dell isn’t personally working on the Jeter bid, he is said to be aware of the move, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter (through an email, Michael Dell declined comment). An investment team inside MSD Partners, which has done other such transactions, is responsible for the proposed investment.

The Marlins’ current owner Jeffrey Loria has expressed interest in selling the Marlins since late last year, and the bidding war for the team—one of the league’s more mediocre franchises—has captivated Major League Baseball for months because of the high-profile potential owners to have emerged. At one point, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, as well as Tagg Romney, a hedge fund manager and son of 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, were heading bidding groups for the franchise.

Loria paid $158 million for the team back in 2002, and the Marlins have struggled in recent years both on the field (the team is 47-53 so far this year) and financially with high levels of debt and operating losses. Still Loria could fetch a significant premium in any sale given the scarcity of MLB teams available to be purchased.

MSD is an offshoot of Dell’s family office investment fund, which manages his net worth, estimated at more than $20 billion that he accumulated largely through the eponymous personal computer company. In 2013, Dell Inc. was taken private by a consortium of private equity firms and other lenders, though Michael Dell himself is said to retain a 70 percent interest in the outfit.

While some people close to the deal say the Dell investment pushes Jeter closer to winning the Marlin’s bid, others are skeptical. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and league officials must approve any transaction, and those officials are said to be wary about the use of debt or debt-like financing structures to buy a team, particularly one like the Marlins, which already has a significant amount of debt on its balance sheet.

Preferred stock, while considered a form of equity, also holds features that resemble debt. Like debt, preferred stock guarantees the holder a fixed payment either monthly or quarterly in the form of a dividend. Also in the case of bankruptcies, preferred shareholders are treated along the lines of debt holders in that these investments are paid off ahead of common stock holders when a business is liquidated.

“The league hates debt and any sale has to be approved by the league,” said one baseball executive with knowledge of the matter.

It’s unclear if the other bidders, such as Mas, are using debt or debt-like financings for their bid. But Mas has indicated that he could buy the team outright with his own money and a few outside investors, since he has a net worth of more than $1.5 billion and runs an infrastructure company MasTec as well as private equity interests. A spokesman for Mas didn’t return calls for comment.

Jeter, meanwhile, is said to have placed very little of his net worth, estimated at around $185 million according to Bankrate, his bid. With that, people close to the league commissioner’s office say Manfred favors the Mas bid, particularly given Mas’s ties to the South Florida community.

As FOX Business was first to report, Mas has indicated he might pull his bid if Loria and David Samson, the team’s president who is working on the sale, do not provide him with an exclusive window to buy the team at his price of around $1.17 billion.

A spokesman for the Marlins didn’t return calls for comment.



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Manhunt underway after 2 killed in North Carolina, including body found in trunk – Escaped inmate suspected of killing assistant warden's daughter


North Carolina police are looking for a man suspected of killing two Charlotte residents Thursday morning.

A manhunt is now underway for Vurnel Smith Jr., 40.

Police were alerted to the killings by an injured woman who drove herself to the hospital and told police there might be other victims. When police began investigating, they found a dead body in the trunk of the car. Investigators are working to identify the deceased male found in the trunk.

The woman led investigators to the home of Jacquline Gordon-White, who police said was dead when they arrived at the scene.

Police with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department are asking the public to call 911 if they see the suspect or his vehicle.

Smith is a 6’5 black male and weighs approximately 230lbs. The CMPD tweeted he was last seen driving a black 2017 Honda with PAS-9116 North Carolina plates.

Terace Garnier is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in Columbia, South Carolina. Follow her on twitter: @TeraceGarnier



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Couric, Yahoo split


Katie Couric is officially moving on.

Recode reported Friday the 60-year-old journalist, who ended her web interview show for Yahoo, will work with the site on a “project” basis.

“Over the last four years, Katie has created a vast portfolio of work that has been equal parts inspiring, thought-provoking and fun to watch,” a spokesperson for Oath told Recode. “We’re proud of everything she has accomplished and look forward to exploring ways to work together in the future.”

Former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer previously secured Couric to sign on in late 2013 as a global news anchor, prompting an interview show that stirred headlines.

Recode added that while Couric did a series of top-level interviews with major figures, her work was difficult to find on the site. It added other outlet’s coverage of her work garnered better placement on Yahoo’s home page than her actual reports.

Still, Couric garnered success with the web series. Oath claimed that since joining Yahoo in 2014, Couric and her team have generated nearly 1 billion video views. Her most successful program was an interview with former government security programmer Edward Snowden in Moscow.

Her contract, reportedly worth $10 million in cash and stock, ran out in March, but was extended to June. While Oath CEO Tim Armstrong was interested in continuing the relationship, Couric allegedly wanted to move on and work on a case-by-case basis.

But Couric is already keeping busy. She was the executive producer of National Geographic’s “Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric,” which was released on the network earlier this year. She is currently involved with a six-part documentary series with National Geographic exploring major social issues.

In addition, she runs a “Katie Couric” podcast and is aiming to expand her own production company. So far, it has produced a cooking and travel show.



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Louisiana inmate who escaped prison is suspected of killing assistant warden's daughter


An inmate who escaped from a Louisiana prison on Thursday is reportedly suspected of murdering the assistant warden’s daughter before he was shot dead by police.

The Louisiana Department of Corrections said 39-year-old Deltra Henderson vanished from the David Wade Correctional Center in Claiborne Parish on Thursday afternoon. Henderson stole a car and crashed it not far from the prison complex, according to USA Today.

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Republican State Sen. Mike Walsworth, State Police Col. Kevin Reeves and Rep. Jack McFarland confirmed Henderson’s escape and said the inmate killed a person while he was on the run — but the name of the victim wasn’t released.

Officials said they found Henderson hiding in a home on prison property later Thursday afternoon and officers surrounded the building. Henderson opened fire, and officers shot back, killing him.

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Henderson had been at the prison since 2001 after he was convicted for attempted armed robbery, aggravated burglary and cocaine distribution. His release date was set for March 28, 2025.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  



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NASA Astronaut and Marine Col. Randy Bresnik set to blast off on space station mission


NASA Astronaut and Marine Corps Col. Randy Bresnik will join his record-breaking colleague Peggy Whitson on the International Space Station Friday.

Bresnik, who flew combat missions as a Marine pilot during Operation Iraqi Freedom, blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:41 a.m. ET. Cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy of Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency are accompanying Bresnik on the six-hour trip aboard a Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft.

The trio will spend more than four months together on the ISS before returning to Earth in December. NASA says that Bresnik will perform a host of experiments in space, which include investigating how microgravity affects stem cells and the factors that govern stem cell activity.

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Bresnik, like his fellow crewmembers, will also see the Great American Solar Eclipse a total of three times, Space.com reports. With the space station orbiting Earth every 92 minutes, ISS crew will get multiple chances to catch the four-hour eclipse on Aug. 21.

The veteran, who was selected as an astronaut in May 2004, is making his second trip to the ISS and his first long-duration mission. In 2009, he flew aboard space shuttle Atlantis to the station.

Bresnik, Ryazanskiy and Nespoli are expected to reach the space station at 6 p.m. ET.

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In April, Whitson clinched the record for most days in space by an American when she clocked up a cumulative 534 days. This is Whitson’s third long-duration stay on the International Space Station – she will have spent more than 650 days in space by the time she returns to Earth in September.

No stranger to records, Whitson became the first woman to command the International Space Station in 2008, and on April 9 2017 became the first woman to command it twice. In March, she also clinched the record for most spacewalks by a female.

In addition to Whitson, Bresnik will also join fellow NASA astronaut Jack Fischer on the ISS.

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U.S. Air Force Col. Fischer arrived at the ISS in April and is scheduled to return to Earth in September.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers



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TODD STARNES: True patriots must cut ties with Boy Scouts


The time has come for every red-blooded, God-loving patriot to sever ties with the Boy Scouts of America.

On Thursday the Boy Scouts (and those who identify as Boy Scouts) took it upon themselves to apologize for President Trump’s speech delivered to some 40,000 people at the National Scout Jamboree.

In doing so the leadership of the BSA has brought shame and disgrace upon what was once a storied and revered organization.

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“I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree. That was never our intent,” BSA Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh wrote.

He went on to say the BSA regrets “that politics were inserted in the Scouting program.”  You can read his entire screed by clicking here. 

Who – exactly – was offended by the president’s remarks?

Read more at ToddStarnes.com.

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary. His latest book is “The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again.” Follow him on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.



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Catherine Zeta-Jones new brand


Catherine Zeta-Jones has thrown her hat into the lifestyle ring.

The Academy-award winning actress announced on Friday that she’s joining the ranks of celebs like Gwyneth Paltrow, Zooey Deschanel and Tori Spelling, all of whom have added Lifestyle to their personal brand.

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Zeta-Jones has been using Instagram to drop hints about her style desires, even creating a personal hashtag (#StyleByZeta) that she uses to tag her decorations. But she didn’t make her plans fully known until today on People.com, where she confirmed she will “launch her own lifestyle brand this fall.”

Details of her newest business plan are sparse, but a source also told People that “Zeta-Jones has been working on her lifestyle brand for years and has had a lot of interest from various partners but has only just found the right fit.”

On her Instagram, Zeta-Jones posted an enticing: “Stay tuned…” If her current photos filed under the “stylebyzeta” tag are any indication of what is to come, fans can probably except to see a mix of vintage meets contemporary with a European flair.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS

Guess we’ll have to wait and see for sure.



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Mom dies after giving birth to twins following dad's gunshot death


Three young siblings are being cared for by family members after both parents tragically died just weeks apart. On July 11, Jevaughn Suckoo, 26, was shot and killed at an apartment complex in West Palm Beach, CBS 12 reported. Three days later, his girlfriend, Stephanie Caceres, gave birth to twins, but developed fatal complications stemming from the delivery.

In addition to the newborns, named Jevaughn Jr., and Lailah, the couple leaves behind a 21-month-old daughter.  

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“I think right now we’re just very focused on the children, making sure that they’re OK,” Joni Saunders, Suckoo’s aunt, told CBS 12.

According to the family’s GoFundMe page, Caceres, 24, developed an infection after giving birth and was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).

“Like everything Stephanie did in life, she battled hard for 10 days. On July 26th, the almighty also decided to call to heaven another angel,” the post read.

The fundraiser, which was established on July 27, has raised more than $14,000 to go toward caring for the couple’s children. 



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