Day: July 28, 2017


Leo making lifestyle change

Leonardo DiCaprio is best known for his acting repertoire, but it’s his off-screen work that may leave the most lasting mark on the earth.

For years, DiCaprio has been on the forefront of the environmental movement, often appearing in documentaries and even starting the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which is “dedicated to the long-term health and well-being of the Earth’s inhabitants.”

And while DiCaprio has long been celebrated for his conservation work, there is one area where he is criticized more than any other: his use of private planes to attend environmental galas.

In his 2016 Oscar acceptance speech, DiCaprio said: “Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this.”

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However, as The Daily Mail noted, the actor/environmentalist also flew from Los Angeles to New York City six times in six weeks on a private plane in 2014, racking up some serious carbon miles, and making him one of those “big polluters” he mentioned in his speech.

As Forbes calculated, if DiCaprio took commercial flights for all of his travels in 2014, he’d be responsible for 44 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, or more than twice the yearly amount of the average American citizen.

But now, to offset his carbon footprint — and perhaps to offset some of the criticism he’s endured — DiCaprio says he will fly commercial to his foundation’s fourth annual awards gala in St. Tropez. There, he will also dine on a sustainably sourced pescatarian meal, according to W Magazine.

DiCaprio, however, isn’t alone in taking the blame for Carbon emissions. As New York Magazine recently reminded us, “every round-trip ticket on flights from New York to London … costs the Arctic three more square meters of ice.”

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JLo’s barely-there dress

Jennifer Lopez didn’t completely reveal her birthday suit in celebration of the big 4-8, but she was awfully close.

The actress/singer celebrated her July 24 birthday alongside current boyfriend, retired Yankees baseball player Alex Rodriguez, in a racy, show-stopping ensemble, which was chronicled on Instagram.

The dangerously sheer look, designed by Bao Tranchi, is a Phoenix mini-dress that features a super-short hemline, see-through panels, velvet detailing, as well as a giant cutout on the backside.

Lopez, known for stirring headlines with her signature, body-flaunting gowns, may have even suffered a wardrobe malfunction during the festivities.

The dress is currently available for preorders with a $950 price tag.

Tranchi, who wished his celebrity client a happy birthday on Instagram, also noted this wasn’t the first time she’s worn a dress by the designer.

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Indiana police officer dubbed ‘Teddy Bear’ gunned down after responding to car crash

An Indiana volunteer police lieutenant responding to a traffic accident was gunned down Thursday by one of the injured occupants of an overturned car, officials said.

The officer was identified as Lt. Aaron Allan, 38, a six-year veteran of the Southport Police Department who had 20 years of law enforcement experience. Allan was the department’s officer of the year in 2015 and was known by his nickname, “Teddy Bear,” The Washington Post reported.

“It is with a heavy heart that I say this afternoon we lost a brother, Lt. Aaron Allan,” SPD Chief Thomas Vaughn said. “Lieutenant Allan was a hard worker, and today was no different. He responded to a crash with urgency to preserve life. Tragically, his was lost.”

Jason Brown, 28, was one of two suspects taken into custody in the shooting and is facing a preliminary murder charge, according to a police report obtained by FOX59. Though a motive was not immediately disclosed, Hendricks County court records reviewed by The Indianapolis Star showed Brown had been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession in 2014 and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. The Indianapolis native, who remained hospitalized Friday in good condition, also had been issued three traffic tickets in Marion County and another in Greene County since 2009.

Allan was a member of the department’s robust volunteer service, who work “with full police powers but without pay,” according to the Indy Star.


On Thursday, Allan, who had reportedly dreamed of becoming an officer since he was 5 years old, was called to a seemingly innocuous car accident in southern Marion County around 3 p.m.

Allan was at the scene with a second officer, from the Homecroft Police Department, and an off-duty Johnson County Sheriff’s deputy. When Allan approached the flipped car, one of the two occupants started shooting, officials said.

The Homecroft officer and off-duty deputy returned fire, hitting the shooter, police said.

“We heard a lot of sirens. We were unsure what was going on,” witness Ciarra Williams told FOX 59. Others pedestrians near the scene reported being startled by the sound of gunshots.


Betsy Strohm, a resident of the Southport neighborhood, called the shooting death “devastating.”

“This never should happen to any police officer, especially when they’re giving their time to help our community,” Strohm told the Indy Star. “This is very, very sad.”

“Today, Lt. Aaron Allan was doing what officers do each day: responding to the scene of an accident to help someone in their time of need,” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett tweeted. “His death is a shocking and tragic reminder of the difficult, often dangerous work of police officers across Marion County.”

Allan was the second Indiana police officer to die Thursday. 

Deputy Chief James “Jim” Waters, 48, died after he was involved in a serious car crash during the weekend. Waters was traveling eastbound on the interstate when a semi hit his vehicle from behind, fire officials told FOX 59.

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Diana was 'miserable'

Princess Diana was reportedly at her wit’s end when she decided to put her trust in a British journalist to tell her heart-wrenching story that involved a reported secret battle with bulimia, suicide attempts and a husband who couldn’t give up his mistress.

Andrew Morton penned the 1992 biography “Diana: Her Story,” which was based on the secretly recorded conversations between the princess and her friend, James Colthurst, before her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996. And even 20 years later, after her death at 36 in a 1997 car crash in Paris, Morton still wonders why she chose him.

“It’s a question that’s always perplexed me,” the 64-year-old told Fox News. “[But] she knew I was sympathetic to her. She knew I was writing a biography on her. She knew I knew some of her friends… She tested me out with a couple of stories to see how I’d do… And the fact that I was independent of newspapers, of television meant that I could do her bidding… And I think all of those factors came together, with a deep desire to tell her story.”

Morton recalled his experience in TLC’s upcoming documentary “Princess Diana: Tragedy or Treason?” It is one of several specials airing to coincide with August 31, the date of Diana’s passing. He explained questions for the royal were written out and then given to Colthurst, who reportedly passed them on to Diana. She would then record her responses and the tapes were used to help Morton write his book.

“It was a sign at that time [of] this desperation to get the story out,” explained Morton. “I asked her [why] and she just felt the public didn’t really know who she was. They were responding to a two-dimensional image. This kind of media cut-out… she felt like she was enduring a lonely miserable life inside the palace and outside, she was adored… It was incredibly frustrating as far as she was concerned because everyone still believed in the fairy tale. And she knew it was a nightmare.”

Even before Diana married Prince Charles in a televised wedding that attracted about 750 million viewers worldwide in 1981, she long suspected he was having an ongoing affair with his ex-girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles, Morton said.

“Here is Prince Charles telling Diana that he’s going to give a bracelet to his old lover just before the wedding,” said Morton. “Just a few days before the wedding. And then keeps pictures of Camilla in his diary on their honeymoon. What woman is not going to be incensed by this crass and insensitive behavior? Diana was very suspicious of Charles’ relationship with Camilla right from the get-go. And who could blame her? He left her behind, but the fact that he’s been [currently] married for 12 years to Camilla shows that he still had plenty of love in his heart for his former mistress.”

When it came to Charles loving Diana, Morton seemed unsure.

“Diana said to me that when when he asked her to marry him… she said, ‘Oh yes, yes I will. I love you so much.’ And Prince Charles, even in the privacy of that moment, said, ‘Whatever love means.’ And he gave that famous television interview, ‘whatever love means.’ So you have to ask yourself, did he really have any kind of genuine feeling for Diana or was she, as she felt herself, a sacrificial lamb…producing an heir and a spare and then being discarded?”

Morton added Diana quietly endured the collapsing marriage and constant attempts to fit in with the royal family because she was struggling with an eating disorder, as well as the pressures that came with a high-profile role, where every public engagement was scrutinized by the press. Somehow, he claimed, she continued to hope things would get better with time.

“[Diana] was hoping she would come to terms with this new life and move on,” he said. “But she realized she was living this lie… seemingly the wife of Prince Charles. And yet you got Prince Charles, who was effectively with another man’s wife at Highgrove, their country estate, while she languished alone at Kensington Palace.”

There was also one memory in Morton’s book that he insisted left her in tears, which hinted she was also suffering from depression.

“It was a chapter where she was talking about what she called the ‘dark ages’ and how worthless she felt,” he explained.

However, Diana found a sense of happiness in her marriage with the birth of her two sons. The former couple welcomed Prince William in 1982, followed by Prince Harry in 1984. Morton claimed that while Diana was pregnant with Harry, she and Charles experienced an intimate connection, one that involved him reportedly writing love notes to his wife. But after Harry was born, the relationship soured until they finally divorced.

But even while Diana coped with the end of her marriage, she relied on her sons for support.

“As the boys got older and became like her counselors and friends as sons, she began to enjoy life a lot more,” said Morton. “Diana was very protective of William and Harry. [If] you ever criticized the boys… she would be on you like a tigress. She was the only one who could criticize those two. Of course, she indulged them… She wanted to be a full hands-on parent herself. And interestingly, Prince William recently said the same about his own children, George and Charlotte. He wants them to enjoy a relatively normal upbringing.”

The sons would tragically lose their mother when William was 15 and Harry 12. TLC’s documentary explores the many conspiracy theories of what really caused Diana’s sudden death, but Morton said the explanation is a simple one.

“Well, I think the paparazzi followed her all of her adult life, so they contributed to her death,” he said. “[But] it wasn’t their fault. It was the fact that she was being driven too fast… by a man who was found with drugs and drink. It’s the banality of her death which I think most people can’t come to terms with.”

But two decades later, Morton said there’s still plenty to discover and appreciate about “the people’s princess.”

“I think what I did realize was that she left an awful lot of her life in compartments,” he explained. “And you felt like you knew her, but you didn’t. You knew a bit of her… She was a mysterious woman as well as being a compassionate woman.”

“Princess Diana: Tragedy or Treason?” premieres July 31 at 8 p.m.

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My Name Couldn't Sell Anything Now…

She has her wits, though words sometimes elude her or come out sideways. She even has a column of sorts, which she writes with her longtime collaborator, Dennis Ferrara, for a website called New York Social Diary.

What she does not have is a column in a New York tabloid, the Via Veneto of the gossip world. Since The New York Post dropped her in 2009, she has been a herald without a proper platform, rejected by the media names she helped make boldface.

She pleaded with Rupert Murdoch, owner of The Post, not to drop her — no soap.

She offered herself to Mortimer B. Zuckerman, owner of The Daily News, the paper where she made her name. “I said, you have nothing to lose, you don’t even have to pay me a salary,” she said — no soap there, either.


Ms. Smith beginning her column at The Daily News in New York in 1976.

So when J-Lo sneezes, it is now up to someone else to make sure the public gets sick.

Facebook, maybe?

“I don’t think my name could sell anything now,” Ms. Smith said in the apartment where she moved after her stroke in January, from her longtime digs above a Tex-Mex restaurant in Murray Hill. She wore a white cable-knit sweater and bright orange lipstick.

“It used to mean — bylines used to mean something in journalism,” she said, her Texas accent still unbowed. But with the internet and social media, she said, “most people have forgotten about so-called powerful people like me; we served our time.”

Which put Ms. Smith at an existential crossroads: If a gossip columnist dishes in the forest and no one repeats it, does it make a sound? In a celebrity landscape that considers contestants on “The Bachelorette” to be celebrities, how does a star-chaser regain her star?

“I am in search of Liz Smith,” she said softly, musing at the thought. “After a lifetime of fun and excitement and money and feeling important and being in the thick of it, I am just shocked every day that I’m not the same person. I think that happens to all old people. They’re searching for a glimmer of what they call their real self. They’re boring, mostly.

“I’m always thinking falsely, expending what little energy I have, believing every day I may just rediscover that person. I try to be all of the things I was, but it inevitably fails. I don’t feel like myself at all.”

Mary Elizabeth Smith was born in 1923 in Fort Worth and grew up enthralled by the radio broadcasts of Walter Winchell, aching for “the glamour and the excitement of New York,” she said. She was not interested in Hollywood; New York was where the luster was.


With Donald, Ivana and Ivanka Trump in 1987.

Tom Gates/Getty Images

Her arrival, in September 1949, was less than glamorous. She reached Pennsylvania Station after a three-day train ride, with $50 and no job prospects, and spent her first night in a hotel room on 21st Street with two friends. She knew how to hail a taxi because she had seen it in movies, she said. When she looked out the window her first morning, she asked, “Which way is town?”

She quickly found her way, landing an apartment with two roommates, taking turns sleeping on the couch. The place was small but it did not matter. The city was too exciting for her to stay home and read or sleep, knowing what was outside her window — stars, celebrities, the El Morocco club.

“I was just climbing and electrified all the time,” she said. “Burning up with ambition. So I don’t want to judge other people too harshly that I see on television. They’re just climbing also. But I like to think that I had some talent.”

Words that recur in her conversation: climbing, clawing, talent, important, powerful, Trump, Mrs. Astor. Also some that cannot be printed here.

Her friends in New York showed her how to make a meal of free crackers and ketchup at the automat. She knew the actor Zachary Scott from college — he played Joan Crawford’s love interest in “Mildred Pierce” — so she looked him up in the phone book, and he helped her get a job at Modern Screen magazine.

The phone book!

“That would be impossible today,” she said. “Any celebrity would flee from the publicity. They are trying to escape their fans. Once they’re really big, they choose to insulate themselves with money, and they don’t need publicity, they just get it by appearing, but they’re not exactly clawing their way to the top, like everybody in the theater and the movies used to be. They’re just so big, they don’t care anymore.”

Into this gap, of course — between the untouchable star and the curious public — rose the gossip columnist, and particularly Ms. Smith. Access made the stars more like mortals, and made the gossip columnists more like stars. The price of admission, she discovered, was often uncritical reverence. Celebrities learned they could count on Ms. Smith.


Getting a kiss from a dog held by Iris Love, a socialite and archaeologist who was her partner, in 1991.

Catherine McGann/Getty Images

Meeting her heroes, she said, did not diminish their glow. “Oh, I don’t think that’s true,” she said. “It seemed fabulous.”

She was invited to lavish openings and parties, or to travel to exotic film locations, and when she wrote favorably about these, she was invited to more. Instead of digging for scandal, like some of her competitors (“I thought I was above it,” she said. “I wanted to better myself”) she cultivated mutually beneficial relationships with her subjects.

“We need Liz,” the gossip columnist Michael Musto once told New York magazine, “because we need someone who actually likes celebrities. We knock everyone down, and then she builds them back up.”

Others resented her fawning and occasional sharp elbows. Spy magazine ran a monthly “Liz Smith Tote Board” of favorites she puffed. The publicist Bobby Zarem, angered over perceived slights, once helped send false wedding notices for Ms. Smith and her partner at the time, a socialite and archaeologist named Iris Love. Mr. Zarem, who, when asked to comment for this article, said, “I hope it’s for an obituary,” added that as Ms. Smith rose, people bowed to her.

“I know people who wouldn’t care if Liz Smith killed somebody as long as she mentioned their names in her column,” he said.

She advised a virginal Elaine Stritch to have sex with Marlon Brando to keep him interested; helped Rock Hudson thwart a blackmailer who threatened to out him; sheltered Ivana Trump from other gossip-hounds; traveled the world with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton; and during her tenure at The Post broke the story of Mr. Murdoch’s divorce — from his point of view, of course. She mixed with Richard Nixon, Roy Cohn, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Ann Richards, Hillary Clinton and Roger Ailes, among others.

“I had a fabulous education around the world, through people no one else could get,” she said. “What reporter wouldn’t have wanted to go?”


Running for office at the University of Texas, where she studied journalism.

But Ms. Smith also had misgivings. She had studied journalism at the University of Texas and wanted to be taken seriously, like the news reporters she admired. When she landed assignments for the first issues of New York magazine, which published the so-called New Journalism of writers like Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese, she thought about following their path. “I was still at their feet, slathering over them,” she said. Then she discovered that she could not make a living at it. Celebrities, on the other hand, paid the bills. Like the stars she wrote about, she did what was necessary to get ahead.

“I needed access to people,” she said. “And you’re not supposed to seek access. You’re just supposed to be pure and you go to the person you’re writing about and you write the truth. Nobody can do it totally.”

“But everybody gives up something to be able to do a job, a demanding job,” she added. “And being a reporter is a demanding, dangerous job. It may be glamorous or put you in harm’s way. I gave up being considered ethical and acceptable, for a while.”

She moved from Modern Screen to television to Cosmopolitan, along the way contributing to the pseudonymous Cholly Knickerbocker society column in the Hearst newspaper chain. At The Daily News, where she got her first column under her own name in 1976, she took notice of a brash young real estate developer who irked the city’s old-money types but entertained the readers of New York tabloids. Mr. Trump was made for tabloid columns, she said, because he was both ravenous for their attention and gifted at feeding their needs.

Ms. Smith especially befriended Ivana Trump, who she thought was being unfairly shunned by high society. When the Trump marriage soured in February 1990, Ms. Smith chose sides cannily.

“I was horrified at the way he treated her, and I made the mistake of defending her,” she said. “This is always fatal for your aspirations to be taken seriously as a reporter. But I had no choice. I had to be nice to them for a while to get access to them. I didn’t particularly approve of them, I didn’t like or dislike them. And I met his whole family and they were charming. So I was swept up in the scandal of Ivana wanting a decent settlement from Donald. And I became a featured player in the story, which I came to regret.”

“The divorce made Liz,” said the gossip columnist Cindy Adams, who landed rival exclusive interviews with Mr. Trump for The Post. “It catapulted her, because she had the original story. In those days she was a major force.”


“I don’t think my name could sell anything now,” Ms. Smith said in the Park Avenue apartment where she moved after her stroke in January.

Hilary Swift for The New York Times

As Ivana Trump’s confidante, Ms. Smith channeled details of a divorce that filled not just the tabloids, but also the networks and the covers of Time and Newsweek. As the former gossip columnist Jeannette Walls noted in her 2000 book “Dish: How Gossip Became the News and the News Became Just Another Show”: “A lot happened in the world that week. The Berlin Wall was toppled and Germany was reunited. Drexel Burnham Lambert, the wildly powerful junk bond company that spearheaded the 1980s financial boom, collapsed. And after 27 years in prison, South African civil rights leader Nelson Mandela was freed. But for 11 straight days, the front pages of the tabs were devoted to the Trump Divorce.”

For three months, Ms. Smith wrote about nothing else, often on the tabloid’s front page, and she even appeared there in a photo, ushering Ivana Trump past a horde of journalists and gapers in front of the restaurant La Grenouille. She repeated her stories or added new ones on the 5 o’clock news. Alexander Cockburn in The Nation called the story “Manhattan’s answer to Götterdämmerung” and wrote that “its Wagner is Liz Smith.” If her universe was one in which the Trumps and Marla Maples were the brightest stars, she was the one handing out the glow.

“I just tried to be fair, and most of these other columnists weren’t,” she said of her rivals. “I like to think I was better than them. I’m probably miscalculating.”

The succession of front page stories raised the stakes for gossip, and made the competition for sources more cutthroat, Ms. Adams said. “We were two tigers trying to cover our turf, I’ll just say that,” she said.

Circulation and ratings boomed. With income from her column, syndication and television, Ms. Smith was said to be the highest-paid print journalist in America. When Mr. Trump vowed to buy The News just to fire her, it made her only bigger.

But the high did not last. When newspapers started to crash in the first decade of this century, Ms. Smith fell with them, accepting “less money for the privilege of still being printed as a byline,” she said. Until finally, even this came to an end.

Ms. Smith still loves famous people, including Gloria Steinem (“one of my idols”), Larry Kramer (“a superior person”), Jennifer Lopez (“I just love her”) and Michelle Obama (“If I were energetic and young and Liz Smith again, I would go after Michelle Obama”). But she is somewhat baffled to be in a world where people can tell the Kardashians apart.

“Maybe gossip is still amusing, but I don’t think it’s as much fun as it used to be, because it’s now all-pervasive,” she said. “Someone you never knew their name is on the front page, making millions of dollars or going broke, and you never heard of them before. In the past we were able to identify important people and stars.”

Ms. Adams, who at 87 is still writing a column for The Post, characterized the new gossip as “young kids who are out there with their telephones recording what these nonpeople are saying.” She added, “They’re making it very difficult.”

Two years ago, a website called AfterEllen described Ms. Smith as “the most powerful queer woman in media who you’ve never heard of.”

Ms. Smith, who appreciates a well-packed phrase, was amused. “Ha!” she said.

Since publishing her autobiography, “Natural Blonde,” in 2000, she has dropped her reticence about her relationships with men and women, in part in response to gay activists who demanded she come out.

Her regret, she said, was waiting so long. “It sounded defensive to protest that I thought myself bisexual, like I wouldn’t admit that I was a lesbian. I wasn’t a happy convert to any particular sexual thing. But I eventually got tired of defending myself and said, ‘Say whatever you like.’”

Since breaking her hip a few years ago, Ms. Smith has used a walker to get around. These days she rarely leaves the apartment, except for the occasional Broadway opening. Even dressing up to go to the restaurant on the ground floor is often too much trouble, she said.

But she still has stories to tell, she said, even if she is no longer sure that anyone is reading them. “It’s just the diminution of your name,” she said. “It’s a natural thing to happen. So I began to be forgotten, like the seven newspapers I worked for are forgotten.”

“And I could give up and commit suicide or just let events take their place,” she added. But she thought she had one last contribution to make — a reminder, perhaps, of what gossip once was, and a chance to discover who Liz Smith was now. “I don’t particularly want any reward,” she said. “I know I’m not going to get it. But I might get another day of searching.”

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Russian Seizes 2 American Properties, Orders Embassy to Cut Staff…

“The White House said that the bill could be toughened, so it doesn’t change the essence of the situation,” Mr. Peskov said.

It is unclear whether Mr. Trump will sign the legislation. Given the congressional investigations into possible collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin, and considering that the Republican Party has majorities in the House and the Senate, he is under considerable pressure not to use his veto.

But the White House has been ambivalent about whether Mr. Trump will give his approval. During his campaign for the presidency, Mr. Trump pledged to improve ties with Russia.

The United States Embassy in Moscow issued a short statement confirming only that it had received the notification from the Russian Foreign Ministry and that it was sending the orders to Washington for review. The American ambassador, John F. Tefft, had expressed “his strong disappointment and protest,” the statement said.

The statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the United States Embassy was asked to reduce its diplomatic and technical staff members in Russia to 455 by Sept. 1, matching the number of Russian diplomats in the United States.

In addition to the main embassy in Moscow, the United States maintains consulates in St. Petersburg, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg.

It was not immediately clear how many American workers would have to leave, because the Kremlin’s announcement did not detail which employees were to be included in the count. There are hundreds of staff members in Russia, including workers constructing an embassy building in Moscow.

Starting on Aug. 1, Russia will also block access to a warehouse in Moscow and to a bucolic site along the Moscow River where staff members walk their dogs and hold barbecues.

In December, President Barack Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats and seized two estates, one on Long Island, N.Y., and one on Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, in response to Russia’s meddling in the United States presidential election.

Moscow did not respond at that time, with President Vladimir V. Putin signaling that he was hoping for better relations under the future President Trump. Those hopes have largely evaporated.

On Thursday, while expressing annoyance, Mr. Putin said at a news conference in Finland that he would wait to see the final law on the new American sanctions before deciding on a response. But the Senate vote tipped the balance, Mr. Peskov said.

The announcement from the Russian Foreign Ministry said that if the United States responded to the latest measure with any further expulsions, Russia would match them.

The White House has lobbied against the law containing the extra measures, calling it a curb on presidential power, because it would effectively force Mr. Trump to seek congressional approval before lifting any sanctions. The fact that it passed a Republican-controlled Congress underscores the unease in Mr. Trump’s own party about his repeated praise of Mr. Putin and of Russia.

The new law would strengthen sanctions first directed against Russia in 2014 after the annexation of Crimea and the destabilizing of Ukraine. Those sanctions curbed American involvement in the oil industry and limited Russian access to Western financial markets. Russia responded with a broad ban on Western food imports.

The new legislation would expand some of the measures, particularly in the energy market. Various European nations have expressed concern about the law’s potential impact on the energy market on the Continent, because it might affect the expansion of the Nord Stream pipeline that carries Russian natural gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

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Sign of wealth in ancient Rome

Lemons were the acai bowls of the ancient Romans — prized by the privileged because they were rare, and treasured for their healing powers. In fact, this coveted fruit, as well as the citron, were the only citrus fruits known in the ancient Mediterranean — it took centuries for other fruits, such as oranges, limes and pomelos to spread westward from their native Southeast Asia, a new study finds.

However, the citrus fruits that followed in later years weren’t as exclusive as lemons and citrons, said the study’s lead researcher, Dafna Langgut, an archaeobotanist at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

“All other citrus fruits most probably spread more than a millennium later, and for economic reasons,” Langgut, told Live Science in an email. [10 Biggest Historical Mysteries That Will Probably Never Be Solved]

Studying the ancient citrus trade took a lot of work. Langgut examined ancient texts, art and artifacts, such as murals and coins. She also dug into previous studies to learn about the identities and locations of fossil pollen grains, charcoals, seeds and other fruit remains.

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Gathering this information “enabled me to reveal the spread of citrus from Southeast Asia into the Mediterranean,” Langgut said.

Citrus trade

The citron (Citrus medica)was the first citrus fruit to reach the Mediterranean, “which is why the whole group of fruits is named after one of its less economically important members,” she said.

The citron spread west, likely through Persia (remains of a citron were found in a 2,500-year-old Persian garden near Jerusalem)and the Southern Levant, which today includes Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, southern Syria and Cyprus. Later, during the third and second centuries B.C., it spread to the western Mediterranean, Langgut found. The earliest lemon remains found in Rome were discovered in the Roman Forum, and date to between the late first century B.C. and the early first century A.D., she said. Citron seeds and pollen were also found in gardens owned by the wealthy in the Mount Vesuvius area and Rome, she added.

It took another 400 years for the lemon (Citruslimon) to reach the Mediterranean area. Lemons, too, were owned by the elite class. “This means that for more than a millennium, citron and lemon were the only citrus fruits known in the Mediterranean basin,” Langgut said. (The Mediterranean basin would have included the countries around the sea.)

The upper crust of society likely viewed the citron and the lemon as prized commodities, likely “due to [their] healing qualities, symbolic use, pleasant odor and its rarity,” as well as their culinary qualities, Langgut said.

The citrus fruits that followed were more likely grown as cash crops, she said. At the beginning of the 10th century A.D., the sour orange (Citrus aurantium), lime (Citrus aurantifolia) and pomelo (Citrus maxima) made it to the Mediterranean. These fruits were likely spread by Muslims through Sicily and the Iberian Peninsula, Langgut said.

“The Muslims played a crucial role in the dispersal of cultivated citrus in Northern Africa and Southern Europe, as evident also from the common names of many of the citrus types which were derived from Arabic,” she said. “This was possible because they controlled extensive territory and commerce routes reaching from India to the Mediterranean.”

The sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) traveled west even later — during the 15th century A.D. — likely via a trade route established by people from Genoa, Italy; the Portuguese established such a route during the 16th century, Langgut said.

Lastly, the mandarin (Citrus reticulata) made it to the Mediterranean in the 19th century, about 2,200 years after the citron first spread west, she said.

The study was published in the June issue of the journal HortScience.

Original article on Live Science .

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Blogger bullied over bikini

Plus-size blogger Callie Thorpe felt proud when British Vogue included her in a swimsuit fashion spread alongside models like Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner. The story came out in April, and Vogue UK tweeted about it again in July. Thorpe was so thrilled she decided to share it with her Twitter followers, writing “To all the people who called me fat, ugly, and treated me like trash because of my weight growing up, catch me on Vogue with your WCW.” (The timeline is a little unclear, but it seems like Thorpe posted the tweet in July after Vogue shared the piece again, deleted her tweet, and then posted an Instagram about the article.) Thorpe’s excitement soon turned sour, as social media users began responding to her tweet with hateful, body-shaming comments.

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“I was really proud of [the story]. And I still am really proud of it,” Thorpe said in a YouTube video she posted about the experience. “But [then] I scrolled onto some really nasty comments about me that—they were just so awful that I couldn’t even get them out of my mind after I read them.” According to Thorpe, there were 900 comments, and the vast majority of them were vile.

Thorpe has been blogging for five years, so this wasn’t her first encounter with online hate. It was, however, the most severe. “[Body-shaming] absolutely happens to everybody, but if you want to see some real vile sh*t, take a look at how fat women are treated online—especially fat women of color,” she said in her video. “Some of the stuff these people write is…just violent, nasty sh*t no one should ever see.”

Thorpe encouraged her followers to be open-minded and understanding when interacting with people online, rather than judging them or jumping to conclusions. “I will not let myself be silenced by these people,” Thorpe said at the end of her video. “I want to continue to encourage women to feel happy in their skin, no matter what journey they’re on in their lives.”

Watch Thorpe’s video in full and see some of her Instagram posts below.

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'GoT' actor's bizarre new gig

If you’re one of the few “Game of Thrones” fans who watched the Red Wedding and thought, “Man, the baked goods at these feasts look pretty tasty,” you’re in luck.

Ben Hawkey, who portrays Hot Pie on the HBO series, has reportedly opened up a “Game of Thrones”-themed bakery in London, where he’s serving baked goods inspired by the series, reports Digital Spy.


Hawkey’s new bakery, called “You Know Nothing John Dough,” only operates throughan online U.K. delivery service called Deliveroo, but it’s doing tremendous business nonetheless. As of Thursday, just 10 days after opening, the bakery was no longer accepting orders of its sole offering: a loaf of Direwolf bread, just like the one he presented to Arya in season three.

“Hot Pie’s Direwolf loaves are a favorite for Game of Thrones fans, and people are always asking me for the secret of my recipe,” said Hawkey, according to NME.

“I can’t share that

, but Deliveroo customers will have the chance to try them themselves. You don’t even need to take a dangerous walk down the King’s Road to visit, it comes to you.”

Hawkey’s character on “Game of Thrones,” Hot Pie, is well-known for his love of baking. After meeting up with Arya Stark in the first season, and getting imprisoned at Harrenhal with her in the second, Hot Pie decides to strike out on his own and take a job baking pies and breads at an inn.


He most recently showed up in the seventh season, where it’s revealed that he’s still baking pies at that inn.

It is not clear whether Hawkey’s bakery is officially affiliated with HBO’s “Game of Thrones” or George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Fire and Ice” novels.

A representative for HBO was not immediately available for comment.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions has admitted that President Trump’s criticism over his recusal from the Russia investigation has been “kind of hurtful,” but insists he will continue in the job.

“The President of the United States is a strong leader,” Sessions told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in El Salvador. “He has had a lot of criticisms and he’s steadfastly determined to get his job done, and he wants all of us to do our jobs and that’s what I intend to do.”


Trump has repeatedly slammed Sessions in media interviews and on Twitter over the attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from the FBI’s investigation into Russian activities during last year’s election campaign. Sources have previously indicated to Fox News that Sessions will not resign over Trump’s criticism.

Sessions was in El Salvador Thursday as part of a two-day trip meant to bolster cooperation with the Central American nation in the fight against the MS-13 street gang, which Sessions has described as a top security threat to the United States.


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