Teen dies in accident after sending text to boyfriend

A simple text message took the life of 19-year-old Angelina Holloway.

Her death is now the focus of a new anti-texting and driving campaign in Citrus County.

On April 18, 2016, while driving home, Angelina veered off of the road in Floral City and crashed her car into a tree. She died on impact.

“When I found her phone the next day, it was in the rubble in her car under everything,” said Marvalene Corlett, Holloway’s mother.

Her last text was sent at 2:11 p.m. that day to her boyfriend saying, “I can’t wait to see you this weekend!”

At 2:15 p.m., a deputy found Holloway’s wrecked car.

“It was devastating because she knew better,” said Corlett.

Her daughter had a full life ahead of her. The Citrus High School graduate planned to study psychology at Southeastern University in Lakeland. She had just gotten approved to study abroad.

“She was going to go to Uganda for missionary. She was excited for that, and three days later is when life turned for all of us,” said Corlett.

One year after Holloway’s death, her mother is helping raise awareness about the dangers of texting and driving through a campaign launched by the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday called #JustDriveCitrus.

Angelina Holloway’s face – and the text message that took her life – is what drivers will see along the side of Highway 41 in Inverness through January.

“I want it to hit the heart. I want them to see that it’s a reality, that it does happen,” said Deputy Michele Tewell, who helped launch the campaign. “It took Angelina’s life, but it also impacted her family and all her friends, so it’s not worth it.”

Deputy Tewell said the annual campaign typically focuses on DUI awareness, but with traffic crashes up by 17 percent this year in Citrus County, she felt it was necessary to incorporate texting and driving awareness as well.

“More people have cellphones than take a drink of alcohol,” said Tewell.

Corlett says her daughter always had hopes of helping others as an adult, with plans to one day adopt children from other countries. She said she knows her daughter’s death will have a big impact on the entire community.

“She’s already changed lives with her friends. A lot of them don’t text. They put the phone up and away,” said Corlett.

Substance addiction: John Skipper resigns as ESPN president

John Skipper

John Skipper resigned as president of ESPN and co-chairman of the Disney Media Networks on Monday.

George Bodenheimer, ESPN’s president from 1998 to 2011 and its executive chairman until May 2014, will take over as the acting chairman of the company for the next 90 days to help Disney chairman and chief executive officer Bob Iger find Skipper’s replacement.

“Today I have resigned from my duties as President of ESPN,” Skipper said in a statement. “I have had a wonderful career at the Walt Disney Company and am grateful for the many opportunities and friendships. I owe a debt to many, but most profoundly Michael Lynton, George Bodenheimer and Bob Iger.

“I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem.

“I have disclosed that decision to the company, and we mutually agreed that it was appropriate that I resign. I will always appreciate the human understanding and warmth that Bob displayed here and always.

“I come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation and a feeling of having let others I care about down.

“As I deal with this issue and what it means to me and my family, I ask for appropriate privacy and a little understanding.

“To my colleagues at ESPN, it has been a privilege. I take great pride in your accomplishments and have complete confidence in your collective ability to continue ESPN’s success.”

Skipper, 61, joined ESPN in 1997 as senior vice president and general manager of ESPN The Magazine. He was named to his current job on Jan. 1, 2012.

“I join John Skipper’s many friends and colleagues across the company in wishing him well during this challenging time,” Iger said in a statement. “I respect his candor and support his decision to focus on his health and his family. With his departure, George Bodenheimer has agreed to serve as Acting Chair of ESPN for the next 90 days to provide interim leadership, help me identify and secure John’s successor, and ensure a smooth transition. I am grateful for George’s support and look forward to working with him again in this temporary role.”

Bodenheimer, 59, was named president of ESPN on Nov. 19, 1998, and continued in the role through the end of 2011. He was then the company’s executive chairman after Skipper took over as president of the company.

Source: ESPN

Zimbabwe beware: the military is looking after its own interests, not democracy

Zimbabwe

November 2017 will go down in the history of Zimbabwe as the beginning of the end of Robert Mugabe’s 37 year tyranny. A tumultuous week finally culminated in his resignation on November 21st. One cannot understate the widespread jubilation at the demise of Mugabe and his desire to create a dynasty for himself through his wife Grace.
But the optimism is misplaced because it doesn’t deal directly with the dearth of democracy in Zimbabwe.
First, contrary to popular sentiment that the coup was meant to usher in a new era of political liberalisation and democracy, the takeover is actually meant to deal with a succession crisis in Zanu-PF. The military made this clear when it said that it was dealing with criminals around Mugabe. And the party’s secretary for legal affairs Patrick Chinamasa indicated that removing Mugabe from the party’s Central Committee was an internal party matter.
Secondly, I would argue that the military resorted to a “smart coup” only after its preferred candidate to succeed Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was fired from the party and government.
The way in which the military has gone about executing its plan upends any conventional understanding of what constitutes a coup d’etat. It’s a “smart coup” in the sense that the military combined the frustrations of a restive population, internal party structures and international sympathy to remove a sitting president. It thereby gained legitimacy for an otherwise partisan and unconstitutional political act – toppling an elected government.
This begs the question: Is the military now intervening for the collective good or for its own interests?

Why the military intervened
It is baffling to imagine how the military has suddenly become the champion of democracy and regime change in Zimbabwe.
It’s clear that what motivated the military commanders was a fear of losing their jobs and influence after their preferred successor was purged. They launched a preemptive strike against Mugabe to safeguard their own selfish interests as a military class and the future of their careers.
Given the symbiotic relationship between the Zimbabwean military and the ruling Zanu-PF party, it was inevitable that the top commanders would be embroiled in the party’s succession crisis. After all, the military has been the key lever behind the power of both Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF since 1980.
In the past they have acted as part of the Zanu-PF machinery, openly campaigning for Mugabe alongside other security agencies.
And they have played a key role in neutralising political opponents. Back in the 1980s the military was responsible for the massacre of thousands of civilians and Zapu supporters in Matebeleland. More than two decades later in 2008 they were responsible for the torture, death and disappearance of 200 opposition activists and the maiming of hundreds more.
In addition, the UN has implicated Mnangagwa and the generals in the illegal plundering of resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They have also been fingered in the disappearance of diamond revenues from Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields.
On top of this the military and Zanu-PF share a special relationship that has its roots in the liberation struggle. The Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) was the political wing of the Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (Zanla) during the liberation war. They therefore have vested interests in the survival of the party.
After independence, the relationship remained intact as the military became the guarantors of the revolution. Some of the same surviving commanders of Zanla are still senior high ranking officials. The commanders are also bona fide members of the ruling party and guarantors of Zanu-PF power.
The same securocrats are also members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association. This quasi paramilitary group is an auxiliary association of the ruling party and has fiercely opposed Mugabe’s attempt to create a dynasty.

Military must step aside
Zimbabwe goes to the polls next July to choose a new president and parliament. The elections – if conducted in a credible way – will provide the next government with the legitimacy it needs to take the country out of its political and economic crises.
Now that Mugabe has resigned the hope is that the military will allow a genuinely democratic transition to take place. All political players, including opposition parties, would need to be incorporated into a broad-based transitional authority pending credible elections.
But for the elections to be credible, the transitional authority would need urgently to reform the electoral system. This would ensure Zimbabweans can freely and fairly choose their leaders. Without this, peace and prosperity will continue to elude Zimbabwe.
In the long run, the military would do well to get out of politics instead of continuing to view itself as “stockholders” in the country’s political affairs because of its liberation struggle credentials.

Source: The Conversation

Breaking: US Navy says aircraft with 11 aboard crashed into Pacific

US

The US Navy says an aircraft carrying 11 crew and passengers has crashed into the Pacific Ocean while on the way to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan.
The Japan-based 7th Fleet says in a statement that the search and rescue operation has been launched from the carrier.
It says the ship was operating in the Philippine Sea when the crash occurred at 2:45 p.m. Japan time.
It says the names of the crew and passengers are being withheld pending next of kin notification.

Source: AP

EU pledges support for true democracy in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

The European Union has offered to assist in Zimbabwe’s transition to democratic elections and inclusive dialogue among all stakeholders after the resignation of Robert Mugabe.
This was contained in a statement by the EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini.
After ruling the country for 37 years, Mugabe offered his immediate resignation from office through a letter to the nation’s parliament on Tuesday.
The letter read by the Speaker, Jacob Mudenda, to his colleague lawmakers, was the climax of a subtle ouster of the 93-year-old sit-tight ruler, who was planning to replace himself with his wife, Grace.
The move was checkmated by the military, who put Mugabe under house arrest and ensure his removal as the head of Zimbabwe Africa National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and eventual resignation from office.
“An orderly and irreversible transition towards genuinely democratic elections is our shared objective…
“It is important now that an inclusive dialogue is established that respects the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe for a more prosperous and democratic future, and which encourages the acceleration of key reforms.
“The EU stands ready to accompany this process in cooperation with the African Union and SADC, and to assist the Zimbabwean people with all instruments at its disposal in order to meet that objective,” Mogherini said in a statement.

Syrian conflict has now lasted longer than World War II – UN humanitarian envoy

Syria

While there had been a period of de-escalation in many areas of war-riven Syria – reducing human suffering to some extent – the fighting now seems to be returning to some of the “bleakest days” of the conflict, a senior United Nations official warned Thursday.

The situation is particularly concerning in eastern Ghouta, near the capital Damascus, where some 400,000 men, women and children are living in besieged towns and villages, and extremely high prices have put food and basic supplies beyond reach. There are fears that conditions could get much worse as winter closes in and temperatures could plummet to freezing.

“[They have been through] a seven-year war, longer than the second World War,” Jan Egeland, the Special Advisor to the UN Special Envoy for Syria, told journalists after a meeting of the Humanitarian Task Force in Geneva.

“With little, if any, reserves, no heat in their houses and living amid ruin, [for them] it will be a horrific winter,” he warned.

Since September, eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of the capital, Dmascus, has been completely cut off and the sole life-line for those still there are humanitarian convoys which, when successful in getting to the location, brings in food and medical supplies.

There are also growing numbers of acutely malnourished children, noted Mr. Egeland, calling on the parties to the conflict to allow medical evacuation urgently.

An estimated 400 patients – about three quarters of whom are women and children – need to be evacuated.

“We have confirmation that seven patients died because they were not evacuated and a list of 29 critical cases […] including 18 children, among them young Hala, Khadiga, Mounir and Bassem […] they all have a name, they all have a story, they all have to be evacuated now,” stressed the Senior Advisor.

Evacuation, is however, not the solution, he stressed, calling for the fighting and shelling to stop.

Further, the UN envoy informed that the situation is equally dire in Berm, a desolate area in south-east Syria, where as many as 55,000 civilians are in need of assistance but the last time relief was able to reach them was in June.

Also in his remarks, Mr. Egeland also said that a trilateral mechanism, initiated by Russia, and having the UN and Syria onboard, offers hope to help address problems.

“[The mechanism] had its first meetings. It still hasn’t produced the results needed, but it is our strong feeling that Russia wants us to get the access and wants to help us, so we are hopeful that this trilateral mechanism will yield results soon,” he added.

Source: UN News

Biden: ‘I regret that I am not president’

Biden

Just over two years ago, then–Vice President Joe Biden announced that he would not run to succeed President Barack Obama in 2016. This week he admitted he regrets that he doesn’t occupy the Oval Office, given the potential he sees in the United States.

“I regret that I am not president because I think there is so much opportunity,” Biden told Oprah Winfrey in a clip from an OWN interview aired exclusively by “Good Morning America” on Thursday. “I think America is so incredibly well positioned.”

Biden, who served eight years as Obama’s vice president after 36 years in the U.S. Senate, said he did not have second thoughts, however, about the reasons he passed on the race.

“I don’t regret the decision I made because it was the right decision for my family,” he said.

When Biden announced in October 2015 that he would not be a candidate in the following year’s Democratic presidential primaries, he was less than five months removed from the death of his son Beau Biden, a former Delaware attorney general, due to brain cancer at the age of 46. Only six weeks after Joe Biden’s first election to the Senate in 1972, his wife, Neila Biden, and daughter Naomi were killed in an automobile accident that seriously injured Beau and other son Hunter.

Joe Biden explained that in order for people to decide whether they will run for president, they need to be able to answer two questions.

“One, do they truly believe they are the most qualified person for that moment? I believed I was,” Biden said. “But was I prepared to be able to give my whole heart, my whole soul and all my attention to the endeavor?

“I knew I wasn’t.”

Reflecting on the tragedies that have befallen him personally as he wrote his forthcoming book, “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship and Purpose,” Biden said he recalled a conversation he had with his mother, Catherine “Jean” Finnegan Biden, just after the deaths of his wife and daughter, in which she encouraged him to persevere.

“She said, ‘Joey, grab my hand … Out of everything horrible, something good will come if you look hard enough for it,'” he told Winfrey. “That was my mother’s notion. We were taught just to get up. When you get knocked down, just get up and move forward.”

Many of those early lessons came during Biden’s childhood in Scranton, Pennsylvania, a blue-collar city he mentioned frequently on the campaign trail in 2008 and 2012. Winfrey noted that in those days, he was known as “a boy with a vision” who knew from a young age the kind of person he wanted to grow up to be. Asked if he fulfilled his vision, Biden said yes but said it wasn’t a matter of his professional achievements.

“I wanted to live up to my parent’s expectations, and I wanted to be that person that met my mother’s standard, being defined by my courage,” he said. “I wanted to be that person who, no matter what happened, just got back up and kept going. I wanted to be that person who was there and loyal to people who were loyal to him.”

Biden and Obama’s loyalty to each other was frequently on display in the White House, with the two going so far as to joke about their bromance. The president entrusted Biden to be the voice of White House advocacy efforts for victims of sexual assault and to spearhead a task force aimed at developing cancer prevention and treatment methods. In an emotional moment in January, Obama surprised Biden, whom he called his “brother,” with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Since leaving the vice president’s office, Biden has not shied from criticizing President Donald Trump, in particular his handling of the aftermath of a white nationalist rally in Virginia in August and his efforts at diplomacy. In the final month of last year’s presidential campaign, Biden remarked that he wished he “could take Trump behind the gym,” insinuating the he wanted to fight the real estate mogul over the recently revealed comments from 2005 in which he boasted of sexually assaulting women.

Though Biden did not directly refer to Trump in the clips aired by “GMA,” he described for Winfrey what he believes makes for successful leaders.

“They understand their strengths, and they understand their weaknesses. They play to their strengths and try to shore up their weaknesses,” he said. “And the people who don’t do that are the people who aren’t self-aware enough to know … because most of the time that abuse ends up in their downfall as well.”

Source: ABC NEWS

Texas church shooting suspect court-martialed in 2012 for assault

Texas Church

The suspect who opened fire inside a South Texas church has been identified as 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, law enforcement sources tell CBS News.

Authorities on Sunday only identified the suspect as a young white male. They said he was dressed in all black and tactical gear when he opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. After a car chase with police, the suspect was shot and declared dead. It’s unclear if the suspect shot himself or if he was killed by a resident.

The shooting left at least 26 people dead and 20 others injured in what Texas Gov. Greg Abbott described as the worst mass shooting in his state’s history.

Kelley is a former U.S. Air Force member who served from 2010 to 2014. Records confirm Kelley previously served in logistics readiness in New Mexico until his discharge in 2014, Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek said in a statement.

Kelley was court-martialed in 2012 for two counts of assault on his spouse and assault on their child, Stefanek said. He received a bad conduct discharge and confinement for 12 months.

He has a residence in New Braunfels, Texas, which is about a 35 mile drive from where the attack took place in Sutherland Springs.

Officials say the suspect lived in a San Antonio suburb and doesn’t appear to be linked to any organized terrorist groups. CBS News has learned Kelley has a wife named Danielle Lee Shields.

Investigators will look at his social media posts made in the days prior to Sunday’s attack — including one that appeared to display an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon. Kelley’s date of birth is listed as Feb. 21, 1991.

No motive has been declared as the investigation continues.

Sutherland Springs is about 35 miles southeast of San Antonio.

Credit: CBS NEWS

NYC terror suspect deserves death penalty – Trump

Trump

President Trump tweeted late Wednesday that the alleged terrorist who killed eight people in New York should get the death penalty.

“NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people, badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!” the president tweeted.

Trump’s post came hours after details emerged in a criminal complaint that the suspect allegedly told investigators he “felt good” about carrying out the attack, and also asked to display flags of the Islamic State terrorist group in his hospital room.

On Tuesday, Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old from Uzbekistan, allegedly rammed a truck into a crowded bike path near the World Trade Center Memorial, killing eight and injuring a dozen.

Trump responded to the attack by pledging to increase vetting of immigrants entering the U.S. He also promised Wednesday to end the visa program that allowed the suspect into the country.

Source: USA Today

Two ex-Trump aides charged in Russia probe, third pleads guilty

Trump

Federal investigators probing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election charged President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and another aide, Rick Gates, with money laundering on Monday.

A third former Trump adviser, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty in early October to lying to the FBI, it was announced on Monday.

It was a sharp escalation of U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s five-month-old investigation into alleged Russian efforts to tilt the election in Trump’s favor, and into potential collusion by Trump aides.

Manafort, 68, a longtime Republican operative, and Gates were arraigned at a federal courthouse in Washington.

Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges against them in a 12-count indictment, ranging from money laundering to acting as unregistered agents of Ukraine’s former pro-Russian government.

The judge ordered house arrest for both men and set a $10 million unsecured bond for Manafort and an unsecured bond for Gates at $5 million. With unsecured bonds, they are released without having to pay but will owe money if they fail to appear in court. There will be another hearing on Thursday.

Mueller’s investigation and others by congressional committees into alleged Russian efforts to influence the election have cast a shadow over the Republican president’s first nine months in office.

Neither Trump nor his campaign was mentioned in the indictment against the pair. The charges, some going back more than a decade, center on Manafort’s work for Ukraine.

A White House spokeswoman said the indictment had nothing to do with Trump or his campaign and showed no evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia.

“We’ve been saying from Day One there’s no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, and nothing in the indictment today changes that at all,” spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told a news briefing.

The charges against Manafort could put pressure on him to cooperate with Mueller’s Russia investigation, said Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago.

“If I were the defense lawyer I’d be looking into cooperating,” he said.

GUILTY PLEA

In a development directly related to Trump’s 2016 election campaign, it emerged on Monday that Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser, pleaded guilty earlier this month to making false statements to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents.

Mueller’s office said Papadopoulos had lied to FBI agents about the timing of contact between him and a professor in London who claimed to have information that would hurt Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Papadopoulos, a little-known former foreign policy adviser in the campaign, made a plea bargain which stated that he has since “met with the Government on numerous occasions to provide information and answer questions,” according to a court document.

White House spokeswoman Sanders played down Papadopoulos’ campaign role, saying it was “extremely limited” and that he was a volunteer.

“He asked to do things (and) he was basically pushed back or not responded to in any way,” she told a news briefing. “Any actions that he took would have been on his own.”

U.S. intelligence agencies say Russia interfered in the election, by hacking and releasing embarrassing emails and disseminating propaganda via social media to discredit Clinton.

Manafort ran the Trump campaign from June to August of 2016 before resigning amid reports he might have received millions of dollars in illegal payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

Trump on Monday reiterated his frustration with the Mueller probe, which he has called “a witch hunt.” Moscow also denies the allegations.

“Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????,” Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to Clinton.

Mueller has been investigating Manafort’s financial and real estate dealings and his prior work for a political group, the Party of Regions, which backed former pro-Kremlin Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich.

Both Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars of income from Ukraine work and laundered money through scores of U.S. and foreign entities to hide payments from U.S. authorities, the indictment said.

They concealed from the United States their work and revenue as agents of Ukrainian political parties and used their wealth to lead a “lavish lifestyle” without paying taxes on the income, it says.

Gates was a longtime business partner of Manafort and has ties to Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs. He also served as deputy to Manafort during his brief tenure as Trump’s campaign chairman.

Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer called for the Trump administration to avoid interfering with Mueller’s probe.

“The rule of law is paramount in America and the investigation must be allowed to proceed unimpeded. The president must not, under any circumstances, interfere with the special counsel’s work in any way,” Schumer said.

Source: Reuters