Category: Opinion


Alabama MCDONALD's shooting leaves 1 dead, 4 wounded…

A man was killed and four others were wounded early Sunday during a shooting at a McDonald’s near Auburn University that doesn’t appear to be random, police said.

Officers responded to the shooting on West Magnolia Ave. just before 2:30 a.m. and found a 20-year-old man dead from gunshot wounds, Auburn Police wrote in a news release.

Four other people, including a 21-year-old Auburn University student, were also injured from the gunfire. A 16-year-old was transported with serious injuries. The student, a 17-and 19-year-old were taken to the hospital with injuries that were not life threatening. 

Authorities said they believe the incident was not a random shooting.

“Preliminarily, information has been obtained that an altercation occurred just prior to an exchange of gunfire that resulted in the injuries,” police said. 

Just before the shooting, students were celebrating the Auburn Tigers’ football game win over the Alabama State Hornets. 

Auburn University’s emergency notification system wrote on its Twitter page that there’s no indication of an active threat to the campus community. Officials urged to report suspicious activity.

The university initially said the suspect is still at large. Police, in an updated news release, did not provide information about the suspect. 

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

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University hosts separate orientation for black freshmen…

Incoming freshmen at George Mason University recently had the opportunity to attend another orientation created specifically for black students.

The event was called the “Black Freshman Orientation.” Hosted by the Black Student Alliance, the additional orientation occurred on August 25 at the university. It has become an annual event there.

Incoming black freshmen at GMU did not have to attend the Black Freshman Orientation, and if they decided to attend, they still were required to go to the university’s regular orientation as well, according to the university.

As for the Black Freshman Orientation, it aimed to help new students feel welcome at the public, Virginia-based university.

“This event is dedicated for the incoming freshman who identify as black or are supporters of black people. The Black Freshman Orientation will offer ways to be involved at Mason not only with the black organizations but also mason as a whole. This event allows incoming students for an outlook on how the Black Community at Mason is like,” a Welcome 2 Mason website about the event states.

On a seperate website, GMU Campus Labs, it described the event as a chance to network.

“The Black Freshman Orientation is a Black Student Alliance event that occurs annually at the beginning of the school year. This year, the Black Student Alliance will be collaborating with other on campus organizations to make the experience even more valuable and enriching for all who attend,” it stated.

“This event is exclusively for the freshman class at George Mason University. At this event, the freshman class will be able to get the ins and outs of GMU, learn how to navigate the campus, as well as learn about the different resources and organizations available to them on campus,” the website states.

Michael Sandler, director of strategic communications at George Mason University, told The College Fix that while the Black Student Alliance did hold this event, it was open for any student to attend.

“The university also has over 300 student organizations that sponsor a variety of events throughout the year. Many student organizations hold welcome back activities as we get close to the beginning of the fall semester. Mason’s Black Student Alliance, one of our student organizations, did sponsor a welcome event during the first week of the fall semester, which was open to all,” Sandler told The Fix.

Black Student Alliance at GMU did not respond to an inquiry from The College Fix for comment.

George Mason University is not the only school to host such an event. Many universities across the nation each year host a variety of welcome back events designed especially for black students.

MORE: Black students demand segregated spaces from white students

IMAGE: Shutterstock

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Bomb, shoot, stab…

A Palestinian protester throws a molotov cocktail /

A Palestinian protester throws a molotov cocktail / Getty Images

BY: Adam Kredo

The Palestinians continue to groom and employ an increasing number of child terrorists to launch strikes on Israel, throwing into further question the ability of the Palestinian government to form a legitimate state, according to a new report on child terrorists and their enablers provided to the Washington Free Beacon.

At least 18 Palestinian child terrorists ranging in ages from 13 to 18 years old have been caught carrying out terrorist attacks in the first eight months of 2018, including stabbing attacks, bombings, and other types of violent terrorism, according to a new report issued by the Human Rights Voices organization, which tracks and analyzes these attacks.

Since 2015, there has been an alarming use of child terrorists by the Palestinians, according to the report, which found “at least 142 separate terrorist attacks by at least 174 Palestinian children” since September of that year. These attacks led to the deaths of seven Israelis and wounding of 58 others, including some who were children themselves.

The support for Palestinian child terrorists is raising new fears and questions about the Palestinian government’s ability to govern its own state amid a parallel and recent rise in riots along the border with Israel.

“The Palestinian Authority claims it is ready and deserving of statehood. But a society that encourages its own children to engage in violence, to become armed combatants, to kill and to maim in pursuit of their parents’ ambitions—contrary to the most elementary norms of human decency—is not ready, willing or able to accept the essentials of peaceful coexistence,” said Anne Bayefsky, a human rights scholar who serves as director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and president of Human Rights Voices.

“The fact is that the wave of Palestinian terrorism that began in September 2015—a wave of stabbings and knifings emulated far beyond the Middle East—has a particularly grotesque feature: child terrorists,” Bayefsky said.

The “preferred method of murder” for these Palestinian child terrorists is stabbings and knifings, according to the report, which found this to be “the modus operandi in 105 of the 142 attacks.”

The ages of these attackers ranged from as young as 8 to 17 years of age. The bulk of these attacks—125 in total—were perpetrated by terrorists aged 15 through 17.

“The exact age of the perpetrator under the age of 18 was unspecified in the cases of 20 additional offenders,” according to the report.

The numbers could be even higher.

“These totals do not include incidents where children are known to have been involved in terror but the exact numbers involved are unknown,” the report notes.

In 2018, for instance, “children have been repeatedly involved in violence along the Gaza border, both as perpetrators (April 6, 2018, sent to the front lines; April 20, 2018, engaged in a variety of attacks; June 9, 2018, attack on Israeli military post; June 24, 2018, arson attack; August 3, 2018, infiltration of Israeli territory), and as ‘human shields,'” the report notes.

At least 101 of these child terrorists were male, while 32 were identified as female.

The report criticizes the United Nations for attempting to spin these attacks as the result of Israeli aggression.

“The UN Secretary-General’s most recent annual report on Children and Armed Conflict, released in May 2018, turns Palestinian child terrorists into victims of Israeli defensive reactions,” according to the Human Rights Voices report.

The U.N. report, for example, describes certain attacks as “two girls, three boys aged between 15 and 17 [who] were killed in the context of stabbing or presumed stabbing attacks.” They are not described as terrorists.

The U.N. report “also never mentions ‘Hamas.’ It manages to find ‘worrisome’ not the child stabbers, bombers and shooters, but ‘calls by Palestinian political actors for the participation of youth in stone-throwing against Israelis,'” according to Bayefsky’s report. “At least 32 Palestinian children were involved in carrying out terror attacks during the reporting period of the Secretary General’s report.”

This type of spin by the U.N. has led to accusations it is “an active enabler of the violation of the rights of Israelis and Palestinians: the basic rights to life and security of the person of the Israeli victims of Palestinian children engaged in terrorism, and the rights of Palestinian children not to be recruited or engaged in terrorism in the first place,” according to the report.

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After Johnny Depp's Court Win, Showbiz Lawyers Question 'Handshake' Deals…

Hollywood talent lawyers get 5 percent of their clients’ pay. Everyone knows this, and virtually no one puts it in writing. But decades of gentlemen’s agreements could haunt industry dealmakers after a California judge ruled Aug. 28 that Johnny Depp’s 1999 oral agreement with his former lawyer Jake Bloom is voidable at the actor’s discretion. Now, as Depp seeks a full refund for the estimated $30 million he paid Bloom, more attorneys are weighing whether to seek a retroactive written agreement from clients.

Depp sued Bloom not long after declaring legal war with his ex-business managers, claiming, among other allegations, that he represented him without a proper contract. A provision in the California Business and Professions Code mandates that lawyers get contingency fee agreements in writing. Section 6147 is well known to litigators who take cases with the expectation that they’ll get paid only if they win or settle, but Hollywood talent lawyers have operated for decades under the assumption that the rule doesn’t apply to them. “There is a culture of informality in this world,” says top talent lawyer Rick Genow, who reps Debra Messing and Henry Golding. “Do people use engagement letters? Most do not. Having fee disputes with clients is extremely rare.”

Lawyers aren’t allowed to have fixed-term contracts with clients, he says, so they’re forced to continually prove their value and foster relationships. Since talent can walk away at any point, many lawyers view a written contract as unnecessary.

“You sign the client and it’s an uncomfortable moment to thrust a legal agreement in front of them when you’re the person who’s supposed to be advising them on whether it’s appropriate to sign legal agreements,” says Genow. “A lot of people make the decision it’s not worth the effort.”

Given the proclivity for verbal agreements, Judge Terry Green’s ruling that Depp can void his deal with Bloom is raising eyebrows across the industry. “Everybody’s concerned because most people have handshake deals,” says an entertainment litigator at a major firm. He, like many attorneys consulted by THR, doesn’t think talent deals are contingency-based. “Usually by the time a transactional lawyer gets called a deal has been made, or is pretty close, and it’s a question of cranking out the paperwork,” he says. “It’s not a question of if they’re going to get paid, it’s when they’re going to get paid.”

But Judge Green found Depp’s deal is a contingency fee agreement because Bloom’s fees were “directly linked” to the actor’s success, which isn’t guaranteed. “That is the very definition of a performance-based incentive,” he wrote in his opinion, which is posted below. “This is a contingency fee agreement. There is nothing else it can be.”

Bloom, one of Hollywood’s top dealmakers, had argued he provided “thousands of hours” of legal services for a variety of matters, not all of which resulted in income. “Some jobs are taken by a client to advance his or her artistic goals, and some jobs are taken to advance commercial goals,” states an Aug. 2 filing. “The amount of an actor’s revenue, viewed with no context, could not, should not, and is not used as the sole determinant of a client’s ‘success’ or ‘failure,’ nor, for that matter, the ‘success’ or ‘failure’ of the attorney who negotiated the deal.”

Matt Galsor, who reps A-list talent including Tom Cruise and James Cameron, agrees with Green’s assessment. “We don’t do a contingent deal ever without an engagement letter,” he says. “It’s just not enforceable.”

Contingency debate aside, Depp’s lawyers also point to Section 6148 of the statute, which mandates that any time an individual client’s legal expenses are expected to exceed $1,000 the contract must be in writing. The section doesn’t apply to corporations, so may be moot if an actor operates through a loan-out corporation, which is common in Hollywood. It also includes a carve out for when “the attorney’s services are of the same general kind as previously rendered to and paid for by the client” and, therefore, may not apply to longstanding relationships. Green didn’t reach this argument.

Although Depp estimates he paid Bloom about $30 million during the course of an 18-year relationship that included mega deals for the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and several Tim Burton films, that doesn’t mean Bloom comes out empty-handed. Under the legal concept of quantum meruit, he’ll still likely be able to collect a “reasonable fee” for the services he provided. The big question is whether courts will consider the industry standard 5 percent to be “reasonable.” A trial to determine the remaining issues in the suit, including the quantum meruit claim, is set to begin May 6.

“Lawyers’ hourly fees are extraordinarily high these days,” argues Genow. “In most situations, quantum meruit might actually be worth as much or more than the 5 percent fee arrangement.”

Depp presents a rare case in which someone who has been extremely successful for many years has an ugly falling-out with his longtime lawyer. Few people make Depp money, and few see a business relationship end with such fireworks. For much of Depp’s tenure with Bloom, he routinely earned $20 million up front plus a big share of backend profits — he got $55 million from his profit participation on Alice in Wonderland alone. If a star suspects he or she is paying more than a “reasonable” fee, it’s not cheap to get confirmation from the court. “Even if the client prevails, it’s really the outside litigators who are getting enriched,” says Genow. “You might spend millions trying to prove that you should get an extra couple hundred thousand.”

Lawyers at several top firms say they are debating whether to ask clients to sign a written fee deal under the guidance of an independent attorney. Clients choosing to challenge an oral agreement under Section 6147 could spark litigation, create tax disasters for lawyers and possibly even bankrupt smaller law firms, Galsor says. “Of all of the people who have a percentage arrangement, I would say the absolute majority don’t have anything in writing,” he says. “This puts a spotlight on it. Is it going to explode? I think it might.”

A version of this story also appears in the Sept. 5 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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BOOM: 45 Americans Under Age 26 Earned $10 Million or More…

BOOM: 45 Americans Under Age 26 Earned $10 Million or More...

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Best Sport for Longer Life? Tennis…

Playing tennis and other sports that are social might add years to your life, according to a new epidemiological study of Danish men and women.

The study found that adults who reported frequently participating in tennis or other racket and team sports lived longer than people who were sedentary. But they also lived longer than people who took part in reliably healthy but often solitary activities such as jogging, swimming and cycling.

The results raise interesting questions about the role that social interactions might play in augmenting the benefits of exercise.

At this point, no one doubts that being physically active improves our health and can extend our longevity. Multiple, recent epidemiological studies have pinpointed links between regular exercise and longer lives in men and women.

The researchers zeroed in on 8,600 of the participants who had been part of the study for about 25 years.

They cross-referenced records with the national death registry to see if and when any of these people had passed away.

Then they compared activities and life spans.

The most obvious finding was that people who had reported almost never exercising were more likely than the active to have died in the ensuing decades.

The associations between particular activities and life span were more surprising.

Cycling was the most popular activity among the Danes in the study, many of whom reported riding for four or more hours every week. Their pedaling was associated with a lengthier life span, adding an average of 3.7 years to riders’ lives, compared to sedentary Danes.

Running likewise was associated with an extra 3.2 years of life.

But these gains were notably less than for playing tennis, which was linked to 9.7 added years of life, or badminton, which was linked to an extra 6.2 years, or soccer, which added almost 5 years to players’ lives.

These associations remained unchanged even when the researchers controlled for people’s education, socioeconomic status and age.

Why and how some sports might add more years to people’s lives than others is impossible to know from this kind of observational study, says Dr. James O’Keefe, a study co-author and the director of preventive cardiology at the Mid America Heart Institute at Saint Luke’s Health Center in Kansas City.

The differing physical demands of some sports could play a role, he says, although little of the exercise in this study was heavily intense, whether people were cycling or backhanding a shuttlecock.

Income and other aspects of people’s lifestyles also likely matter, he says. The researchers tried to account for socioeconomic factors, but it remains possible, he says, that people who have sufficient money and leisure time to play tennis live longer because they have sufficient money and leisure time, not because they play tennis.

Still, he suspects that the social aspects of racket games and other team sports are a primary reason that they seem to lengthen lives, he says.

“We know from other research that social support provides stress mitigation,” he says.

“So being with other people, playing and interacting with them, as you do when you play games that require a partner or a team, probably has unique psychological and physiological effects,” he says, amplifying the benefits of the exercise.

That possibility requires verification, he says, especially in randomized experiments directly comparing different types of exercise.

But for now, people who run or ride solo might consider finding a group or partner with whom to work out, he says.

“Raising your heart rate is important” for health, he says. “But it looks like connecting with other people is, too.”

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States Forget to Save…

The situation is worse in states like Kentucky, where the rainy-day fund and leftover cash covers only about a third of a day of general fund expenditures, according to an analysis of fiscal 2018 estimates. The data are based on estimates from states before the close of the fiscal year and could change, Barb Rosewicz, project director at Pew, said in an email.

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Outcry over 'FIRST MAN' Signals Controversial Award Season…

Outcry over 'FIRST MAN' Signals Controversial Award Season...

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APPLE Self-Driving Car in Crash…

On the afternoon of Aug. 24, Apple’s car was traveling at less than 1 mile per hour, while the car that rear-ended it, a Nissan Leaf, was moving at about 15 miles per hour, according to the report, which was filed by Steve Kenner, who works on Apple’s driverless tech project.

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Hotel staffed by robot dinosaurs…

Dinosaur robots wait to check in customers at the Henn na hotel

The reception at the Henn na Hotel east of Tokyo is eerily quiet until customers approach the robot dinosaurs manning the front desk. Their sensors detect the motion and they bellow “Welcome.”

It might be about the weirdest check-in experience possible, but that’s exactly the point at the Henn na (whose name means ‘weird’) chain, which bills itself as offering the world’s first hotels staffed by robots.

The front desk staff are a pair of giant dinosaurs that look like cast members of the Jurassic Park movies, except for the tiny bellboy hats perched on their heads.

The robo-dinos process check-ins through a tablet system that also allows customers to choose which language—Japanese, English, Chinese or Korean—they want to use to communicate with the multilingual robots.

The effect is bizarre, with the large dinosaurs gesticulating with their long arms and issuing tinny set phrases. Yukio Nagai, manager at the Henn na Hotel Maihama Tokyo Bay, admits some customers find it slightly unnerving.

“We haven’t quite figured out when exactly the guests want to be served by people, and when it’s okay to be served by robots,” he told AFP.

But for other guests the novelty is the charm: each room is staffed with mini-robots that look a bit like spherical Star Wars droid BB-8, and help guests with everything from changing channels to playing music.

Even the fish are robotic with electric lights on their battery-powered bodies

Even the fish swimming in the lobby run on batteries, with electric lights in their articulated bodies flickering on and off as they work their way around giant tanks.

“The dinosaurs looked intriguing, and I thought my son would love it,” said Chigusa Hosoi, who was at the hotel with her three-year-old.

“My son is really happy. There’s an egg-shaped robot inside the room. He was playing with it a lot.”

The first Henn na Hotel opened in Nagasaki in 2015, and was certified the following year by Guinness World Records as the world’s first hotel with robots on its staff.

The travel agency group that operates the chain now runs eight hotels across the country, all with robots on the staff, some of them dinosaurs, but others taking a more humanoid shape.

The Henn na Hotel in Nagasaki was certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s first hotel with robots on staff

Some humans are also on call to intervene in case of glitches, which customer reviews online suggest are a not infrequent problem at check-in.

But Nagai said relying on robots for everything from front desk duty to cleaning had proved an efficient choice in a country with a shrinking labour market.

“It’s becoming difficult to secure enough labour at hotels. To solve that problem, we have robots serving guests.”

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