White House cheers decision by international court to reject Afghanistan war crimes investigation

Political News White House cheers decision by international court to reject Afghanistan war crimes investigation https://linewsradio.com/white-house-cheers-decision-by-international-court-to-reject-afghanistan-war-crimes-investigation/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

Tom Brenner/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) —  President Donald Trump on Friday celebrated a decision by the International Criminal Court to reject a request by the court’s prosecutor to investigate alleged war crimes committed in Afghanistan including the role of U.S. forces.

“This is a major international victory, not only for these patriots, but for the rule of law,” the president said in a statement. “We welcome this decision and reiterate our position that the United States holds American citizens to the highest legal and ethical standards. … Any attempt to target American, Israeli, or allied personnel for prosecution will be met with a swift and vigorous response.”

National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has long been a critic of the ICC and declared in September “the ICC is already dead” as far as the United States is concerned, called Friday’s development a “vindication” of the Trump administration’s strong opposition to the international court.

“This is a vindication of the president’s support for American sovereignty, and a rejection of the idea that there can be accountability for American citizens by any authority other than American constitutional institutions,” Bolton said in a briefing with reporters Friday afternoon.

Human Rights Watch on Friday called the ICC’s decision a “devastating blow” to the victims of human rights violations.

In issuing its ruling not to proceed with the investigation, ICC judges said the investigation was unlikely to further the pursuit of justice because neither Afghanistan, nor the U.S., were expected to cooperate.

The court decision also comes a month after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US would put visa restrictions of any ICC personnel seeking to investigate allegations of war crimes involving US citizens. Last week, it was confirmed that ICC prosecutor’s visa had been officially revoked, barring travel to the US with the exception of official business at the United States. Bolton said Friday those visa restrictions would remain in effect.

Asked if he thinks the ICC’s decision was related to the United States’ actions on visas, Bolton at first said he “can’t speak to the timing.”

“Why it happened today as opposed to some other day I think it’s just the final l crash of an inadequate process,” Bolton continued, suggesting the decision had more to do with the weaknesses in the case to investigate than the U.S. actions.

While human rights advocates have accused the administration of trying to bully, and even interfere in the court’s workings, Bolton defended the administration’s actions.

“I don’t think it’s bullying to stand up to protect innocent American service members, members of the intelligence community, who are unjustly accused. When Americans violate their training and doctrine, whether they’re in the military or intelligence community, as a democratic constitutional society we are capable of holding our own citizens accountable,” Bolton said.

In its decision, the judges cited the prosecutor’s request claiming “there is a reasonable basis to believe that, since 2003, members of the US armed forces and the CIA have committed the war crimes of torture and cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, and rape and other forms of sexual violence pursuant to a policy approved by the US authorities.”

“The decision by the International Criminal Court’s judges to reject an investigation in Afghanistan is a devastating blow for victims who have suffered grave crimes without redress,” Param-Preet Singh, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “This sends a dangerous message to perpetrators that they can put themselves beyond the reach of the law just by being uncooperative.”

Bolton made clear that the administration’s opposition to the court is unequivocal and based on a belief that it inherently conflicts with the U.S. Constitution.

Asked if the thought the ICC should have authority to prosecute Sudan’s Omar al Bash — who has been indicated by the court — for genocide, Bolton replied plainly: “It’s the position of the United States that the court is illegitimate.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Apr 2019

American doctor shot 3 times while on mission trip in Haiti is recovering

WORLD NEWS American doctor shot 3 times while on mission trip in Haiti is recovering  https://linewsradio.com/american-doctor-shot-3-times-while-on-mission-trip-in-haiti-is-recovering/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Courtesy Drew Pasler(MIAMI) —  An American doctor is recovering after he was shot three times during a mission trip to help schoolchildren in Haiti last week.

Dr. Doug Burbella, 58, and a group of missionaries working under Living Water Ministries were on their way to deliver $20,000 worth of computers and servers to a school in Anse-Rouge on April 4. They had been in the country for only four hours when their trucks were suddenly roadblocked by a group of about 150 Haitian men, Burbella said.

One of the men threw a tire in their path and set it ablaze. Then, dozens more began circling and climbing on top of the trucks. The missionaries told ABC News that the ambushers carried every weapon imaginable, from machetes to long rifles and machine guns.

“Then there was a hailstorm of gunfire,” Burbella told ABC News in a phone interview.

Drew Pasler, the driver of the truck transporting Burbella, put the truck in reverse and tried to turn around, but one of the back tires had been shot.

Pasler heard Burbella scream that he had been hit.

“I turned around and saw bullet holes in Doug’s jaw, neck and shoulder,” Pasler told ABC News in a phone interview.

The group of men caught up to the truck and ordered the missionaries out so they could take their belongings. All of the missionaries complied except for Burbella, who played dead in the backseat.

Burbella said the ambushers took his cellphone and some cash before one of the men began aiming a long rifle at his head.

“Just when I thought they were about to finish me off, a man on a motorcycle came out of nowhere and said ‘No,’” Burbella said.

The man on the motorcycle said something in Creole and the ambushers immediately stopped and began returning most of the items that they had taken, Pasler told ABC News.

The missionaries carried Burbella to the second truck and rushed him to a medical facility. Burbella, who was bleeding profusely, told ABC News, “I thought I was going to die.” So he asked Pasler to record a message for his wife and son.

“Honey, I just want you to know I love you, and I love you, Michael,” Burbella says in the video obtained by ABC News. “Michael, I want you to be a pilot. Don’t ever give up that dream. Live for the Lord.”

Burbella survived. The day after he received medical treatment in Haiti, he was flown to Delray Medical Center in Florida.

Shelly Weiss, a spokesperson a the medical facility, confirmed to ABC News that Burbella was shot three times — once in the jaw, neck and spine. She confirmed that surgeons were able to remove all three bullets from Burbella.

“The one thing that was most inordinary about this was the Haitian man on the motorcycle,” Pasler said. “He was our angel that day.”

Burbella, who has reunited with his wife and son, said his recovery is expected to last at least four months. He added that the attack will not stop him from completing his mission trip in Haiti.

“I will go wherever the lord tells me to go,” Burbella said. “But I will have to ask my wife.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Apr 2019

All models of Fisher-Price Rock N’ Play sleepers recalled after infant deaths

iStock/JNemchinova(NEW YORK) — The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is recalling all models of Fisher-Price Rock N’ Play sleepers after it was linked to over 30 infant deaths.

The move comes just a few days after the American Academy of Pediatrics, a professional organization of pediatricians known by the acronym AAP, called on the CPSC to recall the products, citing an analysis from Consumer Reports magazine connecting it to 32 sleep-related infant deaths.

“This product is deadly and should be recalled immediately,” Dr. Kyle Yasuda, president of the AAP, said in a press release. “When parents purchase a product for their baby or child, many assume that if it’s being sold in a store, it must be safe to use. Tragically, that is not the case. There is convincing evidence that the Rock n’ Play inclined sleeper puts infants’ lives at risk, and CPSC must step up and take immediate action to remove it from stores and prevent further tragedies.”

The Consumer Reports analysis was published on April 8, just days after the CPSC issued a warning on the product imploring parents to stop using it once their children turned 3 months old or began exhibiting the ability to roll over — whichever came first. The analysis found that many of the children who had died were younger than 3 months old. The cause of death for some of the babies was asphyxia, or the inability to breathe due to the child’s position.

In it’s statement, the AAP said it does not recommend “inclined sleep products like the Rock n’ Play, or any other products for sleep that require restraining a baby.”

“The AAP advises against using car seats, strollers or other devices for sleep,” the AAP said, “because of the risk that a baby could roll or turn into an unsafe position and be incapable of moving, leading to suffocation or strangulation.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Former ‘Game of Thrones’ cast members will be watching Sunday night, too

Entertainment News  Former 'Game of Thrones' cast members will be watching Sunday night, too https://linewsradio.com/former-game-of-thrones-cast-members-will-be-watching-sunday-night-too/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/entertainment-news/

 

HBO/Helen Sloane(NEW YORK) — The eighth and final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones kicks off Sunday night, and millions of fans all over the world will be tuning in — including former cast members whose characters didn’t survive to see who will ultimately sit on the Iron Throne.

Finn Jones played Ser Loras Tyrell, the younger brother of Queen Margaery Tyrell, who were both obliterated in Season 6, when Cersei blew up the Great Sept of Baelor.

“Yeah!” Jones told ABC Radio when asked if he’ll be watching this weekend. “I mean, I love the show. I was a part of it from the first season, so I was in that show for six years, and it was really amazing to see the growth of the show and also the growth of the actors throughout those years.”

Jessica Henwick played Nymeria Sand, the whip-brandishing member of the Sand Snakes, the daughters of Oberyn Martell and Ellaria Sand. Nymeria and her sister Obara were murdered early on in Season 7 by Euron Greyjoy and his crew.

“I am so grateful that I got to be a part of that show. I love it. I think it’s amazing. Yeah I’m a hardcore fan,” She laughs. “[I]t was a privilege, and I feel really lucky. Really, really, lucky.”

Aidan Gillen met his end as the scheming Lord Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish in the season seven finale, when Arya cut his throat. 

“I am excited for it and I will be watching with the rest of us and that’s a nice way to do it,” he tells ABC Radio. “I guess in the past I’ve always known what was going to happen and now I don’t, which I quite like. But I am invested in the story for sure. Genuinely have no idea where it’s gonna go.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Apr 2019

Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Vice President Mike Pence escalate feud over religion and sexuality

Political News Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Vice President Mike Pence escalate feud over religion and sexuality https://linewsradio.com/mayor-pete-buttigieg-and-vice-president-mike-pence-escalate-feud-over-religion-and-sexuality/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — On the campaign trail, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a Democratic presidential hopeful, frequently anchors his stump speeches and interviews in a message of unity and bringing the whole country together, but over the last week, his sharper rhetoric aimed at Vice President Mike Pence has brought their complicated relationship under scrutiny.

“I’m not interested in feuding with the vice president, but if he wanted to clear this up, he could come out today and say he’s changed his mind that it shouldn’t be legal to discriminate against anybody in this country for who they are. That’s all,” the South Bend mayor said on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Friday.

Over the last week, a public clash between Buttigieg and Pence about the former Indiana governor’s controversial views on gay marriage and the role of faith in the conversation has escalated as both continue to address the squabble in separate but back-to-back TV interviews.

“All of us have our own religious convictions. Pete has his convictions, I have mine,” Pence said in an exclusive interview with CNN Friday. “I hope that Pete will offer more to the American people than attacks on my Christian faith or attacks on the president as he seeks the highest office in the land.”

When pressed about the Harvard University graduate’s comments and about if he considers being gay a sin, Pence said, “All of us have our own religious convictions. Pete has his convictions, I have mine.”

“I’m a Bible-believing Christian. I draw my truth from God’s word,” he added.

“I’m not critical of his faith,” Buttigieg said in the interview with DeGeneres. “I’m critical of bad policies. I don’t have a problem with religion. I’m religious too. I have a problem with religion being used as a justification to harm people and especially in the LGBTQ community.”

Buttigieg and Pence overlapped in their shared home state’s political sphere between 2013 and 2017 and during that time, the two appeared to have a civil working relationship. In 2015, Pence signed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law, a measure which many in the LGBTQ community feared would allow businesses to deny them services.

“We worked very closely together when I was governor and I considered him a friend,” Pence told CNN. “He knows I don’t have a problem with him. I don’t believe in discrimination against anybody. I treat everybody the way I want to be treated.”

Their relationship is receiving renewed attention as Buttigieg’s long-shot White House bid is increasingly gaining national prominence.

In recent polls, Buttigieg stands in third among Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s Democratic voters, and tied for fourth with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., among California’s Democratic voters. He’s also outpaced several well-known Democratic competitors including Warren and Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, in fundraising, raking in nearly $7 million in the first quarter.

Buttigieg began trading barbs with the vice president on Sunday, when he told the crowd at an LGBTQ event, “If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade. That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand. That if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me — your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”

Pence’s press secretary immediately responded to Buttigieg’s comments, writing in a tweet, “The last time we recall Pence even mentioned @PeteButtigieg was in 2015, after news that Pete came out, Pence said: ‘I hold Mayor Buttigieg in the highest personal regard. I see him as a dedicated public servant and a patriot.'”

Pence first responded to Buttigieg in an interview with CNBC Thursday, saying they had a “great working relationship” and criticized how the mayor characterized his “Christian values.”

“I get it you know, it’s like — you have 19 people running for president on that side in a party that’s sliding off to the Left,” Pence said. “ He knows better. He knows me.”

Pence later added during the interview with CNN, “Pete’s quarrel is with the First Amendment.”

The 37-year-old mayor, who announced his exploratory committee in January, has frequently criticized Pence for his views on LGBTQ issues, calling him a “cheerleader of the porn star presidency” and criticized him for turning a blind eye towards President Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women.

Buttigieg is poised to officially enter the 2020 contest on Sunday at a rally in his hometown.

In the first few months of the race, he has emerged from the crowded bench as a moderate voice, who is also confronting the conversation over religion and sexuality in atypical fashion. For many of the presidential candidates, Trump remains the primary foil, but for Buttigieg, he’s chosen to pivot his attacks towards his fellow Hoosier.

As Buttigieg’s rhetoric toward Pence hardens, he’s been celebrated by the LGBTQ community.

“Mike Pence is an anti-LGBTQ extremist who falsely uses religion to justify bigoted policies that harm LGBTQ Americans – whether they are of faith or not,” said Annise Parker, president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “Mayor Pete is rightfully speaking out about his own religious beliefs and saying it is inexcusable for Mike Pence to impose his warped view of religion on all Americans and strip LGBTQ people of their rights.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Apr 2019

Pelosi warns GOP will suffer consequences of Senate inaction in 2020

Political News Pelosi warns GOP will suffer consequences of Senate inaction in 2020 https://linewsradio.com/pelosi-warns-gop-will-suffer-consequences-of-senate-inaction-in-2020/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/politics-news/

Alex Edelman/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) —  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday that while Democratic-passed legislation is stacking up in the Senate, she is “optimistic and hopeful” the bills will gain momentum behind “public sentiment.” If not, she thinks Republicans will suffer the consequences in the 2020 elections.

“Public sentiment will weigh in,” she said. “They will either act upon the legislation or be accountable to the public for why they did not.”

Pelosi said she is “very proud” of the Democratic accomplishments through the first 100 days of the House majority, and vowed that her party will plow forward on its agenda despite intransigence from the GOP.

“We are not going as slow as the slowest ship. If what you’re suggesting is we sit back and say, ‘Well the Senate, they’ll never do anything no matter what the public thinks then why should we do anything?’ You have mistaken us for somebody else. Please don’t do that.”

Pelosi said the prospects for bipartisanship over the next hundred days is “good” – beginning with the House’s efforts to pass all 12 appropriations bills. She also extended the list of potential issues Democrats could join Republicans to enact.

“I do think that there’s plenty room for bipartisanship, as I have said before and I’ll say again: The president has said over and over again he wants to do an infrastructure bill. So do we,” she said.

“We’re making progress as to what the parameters of that would be time-wise and financially. The president has said he wants to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Now we’re talking about two of our top priorities, lower the cost of prescription drug, build the infrastructure of America to build paychecks, bigger paychecks for our country,” Pelosi continued. “The American people are paying attention. The American people spoke at the polls. The American people will weigh in on these issues.”

Pelosi briefly condemned the White House amid reports Trump had contemplated relocating undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities, including to her San Francisco district.

“It’s just another notion that is unworthy of the presidency of the United States and disrespectful to the challenges that we face as a country as a people to address who we are as a nation of immigrants,” Pelosi said.

Earlier, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Democrats “have really focused on the issues that were critical to the American people,” celebrating the passage of several cornerstones of the party’s agenda, including ethics reform, legislation to enhance background checks and paycheck fairness.

“I don’t think I’m blowing smoke,” Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters at a pen and pad briefing Friday morning. “I really do think it’s been a productive, unified first hundred days. And I think we’ve set the stage for a second hundred days that’s going to be equally productive.”

Hoyer, whose responsibilities include scheduling all legislative floor activity in the lower chamber, laid out a series of Democratic bills he hopes to pass through the House before Independence Day, including H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act, H.R. 5, the Equality Act, H.R. 6, the American Dream & Promise Act, and all 12 appropriations bills in June.

But with only 12 bills signed into law by the president from the 116th Congress – including just six enacted bills that originated in the House of Representatives – coupled with a record-breaking 35-day government shutdown – divided Congress presents the stark reality that the fleeting chance for bipartisanship after the midterm election was largely missed.

Among the 12 enacted bills from the first 100 days of the new majority, legislation to reopen government arguably carried the most significance. The rest generated little controversy, including a bill to authorize the honorary appointment of Sen. Bob Dole to the grade of colonel in the Army, a bill to designate a Veterans Affairs outstation in North Ogden, Utah, for Maj. Brent Taylor, and another measure to clarify the grade and pay of podiatrists of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Hoyer pointed the finger at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has collected more than 170 measures that passed the House but have not cleared the Senate. “The fact that the bills, you know, haven’t been passed through the Senate in the first hundred days, I think gives testimony to the fact we have a divided Congress,” Hoyer said. “We have a Democratic House and Republican [Senate], and as a result McConnell has not indicated a willingness to move forward again on pieces of legislation the overwhelming majority of the American people support.”

While Democrats pledge to continue moving through their agenda, 19 declared Democratic presidential candidates are already jousting for the opportunity to challenge President Trump in 2020 – limiting the prospects for bipartisanship as lawmakers retreat to their political corners.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Apr 2019

Man arrested after setting clothes on fire near White House

U.S. NEWS Man arrested after setting clothes on fire near White House https://linewsradio.com/man-arrested-after-setting-clothes-on-fire-near-white-house/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

iStock/OlegAlbinsky(WASHINGTON) —  A man was arrested after trying to set himself on fire near the White House on Friday.

An individual in Lafayette Park, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, lit his jacket on fire while he was wearing it, a law enforcement official told ABC News.

The Secret Service responded immediately, extinguished the fire and rendered first aid, the official said.

The man was being evaluated and transported to an area hospital, a source told ABC News.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Apr 2019

How Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning became intertwined

WORLD NEWS How Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning became intertwined  https://linewsradio.com/how-julian-assange-and-chelsea-manning-became-intertwined/  http://abcnewsradioonline.com/world-news/

Jack Taylor/Getty Images(LONDON) — It’s been a little more than nine years since Chelsea Manning first contacted Wikileaks and provided Julian Assange’s organization with hundreds of thousands of classified documents and a video of an Apache helicopter strike that killed Iraqi insurgents and two photographers working for Reuters.

Their life stories have been intertwined since the pair first contacted each other over the internet, but they have never met in person.

The story of how Manning and Assange began their relationship is laid out in great detail in the 35-page statement Manning read on Feb. 28, 2013 when she pleaded guilty. Assange’s federal indictment released Thursday essentially lays out another layer of the cooperation between Manning and Assange that was not described in her guilty statement.

According to the newly unsealed indictment made public on Thursday, in early March 2010, Assange agreed to help Manning, an Army intelligence analyst, with cracking an administrative password to the military’s classified internet system. Getting access to the password would have made it harder for investigators to track Manning as the source of the information being posted by Wikileaks.

None of this was mentioned in Manning’s 2013 guilty plea statement though the password request was mentioned during the pre-trial hearings that preceded Manning’s court-martial.

Manning’s guilty plea statement also presented a narrative of how she came to contact Wilkileaks and eventually Assange.

In late 2009, Manning was a disillusioned Army private first class serving in Baghdad. Her secure work computer gave her access to files detailing the U.S. military’s operations in the Middle East region including hundreds of thousands of battlefields reports known as “SigActs,” or significant action reports, filed by U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq that contained descriptions of mundane military events and firefights.

Manning decided to download the SigActs and during a two-week leave back in the U.S. in late 2009 decided that news organizations needed to see what were in the battlefield reports. In her statement Manning described unsuccessfully trying to get the attention of The New York Times and The Washington Post. After perceiving little interest , though it’s not clear Manning spoke to anyone of significance at each paper, the Army private first class decided to contact Wikileaks, an organization that had gained her attention.

Before returning to Iraq, Manning uploaded hundreds of thousands of SigActs to a Wikileaks dropsite, but never heard back. In the statement, Manning described becoming interested in classified State Department diplomatic cables about Iceland and again uploaded to the site. Within hours, the document was posted on the website. It was the first time Manning figured out that Wikileaks must have received the SigActs she had previously sent the organization. Manning then decided to send Wikileaks the Apache video she had come across after a work colleague mentioned its existence.

It was after the posting of that video that Manning was contacted by someone at Wikileaks who went by the name of “Nathaniel” and that was who Manning suspected was Assange. They began an almost daily correspondence over the Jabber networking site.

In March and April 2010, Manning sent Wikileaks 250,000 diplomatic cables, a video of an airstrike in Afghanistan killed civilians and hundreds of assessments about the detainees being held at Guantanamo.

In all, Manning provided Wikileaks with 400,000 Iraq SigAct reports, 90,000 Afghanistan SigAct reports, 250,000 State Department cables and 800 Guantanamo detainee assessment briefs.

Following the guilty plea, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in jail, but her sentence was later commuted by President Barack Obama to seven years.

Since early March, Manning has been held at a jail in Virginia for refusing to testify to a federal grand jury that was investigating Wikileaks.

In a statement issued Thursday, Manning’s legal team said the newly unsealed charges against Assange support the view that Manning should not be in jail.

“The indictment against Julian Assange unsealed today was obtained a year to the day before Chelsea appeared before the grand jury and refused to give testimony,” the statement said.

“Compelling Chelsea to testify would have been duplicative of evidence already in the possession of the grand jury, and was not needed in order for US Attorneys to obtain an indictment of Mr Assange,” the legal team argued. “Since her testimony can no longer contribute to a grand jury investigation, Chelsea’s ongoing detention can no longer be seriously alleged to constitute an attempt to coerce her testimony. As continued detention would be purely punitive, we demand Chelsea be released.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Apr 2019

Investigation launched into handling of Jussie Smollett case

U.S. NEWS Investigation launched into handling of Jussie Smollett case https://linewsradio.com/investigation-launched-into-handling-of-jussie-smollett-case/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/national-news/

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images(CHICAGO) —  Kim Foxx, the embattled Chicago state’s attorney whose office has come under fire for its handling of the Jussie Smollett case, has asked the local inspector general to look conduct an “independent review” of their investigation, she confirmed in a statement.

The news comes the day after the city’s law department announced that they are suing Smollett to recoup the amount that they had to spend in order to cover the overtime of police officers during the investigation.

Smollett’s case has sparked a firestorm ever since news broke of the Jan. 29 alleged attack. Controversy was further stoked when police alleged the incident was a hoax and ultimately when prosecutors dropped the charges against the actor.

Foxx said that she “invited” the inspector general, Patrick Blanchard, to look into her office’s handling of the case, which involved the “Empire” actor’s claims of being a victim of a hate crime that police alleged was a hoax.

“A former prosecutor, Inspector General Blanchard has been conducting independent inquiries for Cook County for over a decade,” Foxx wrote in her statement.

“Ensuring that I and my office have the community’s trust and confidence is paramount to me, which is why I invited an independent review of this matter. I welcome this investigation and pledge my full cooperation and the cooperation of my office as IG Blanchard conducts his review.”

The decision to review the case comes after the decision by the state’s attorney’s office to drop all 16 felony disorderly conduct charges against Smollett.

Foxx said she recused herself about a week before Smollett was formally charged after consulting her office’s chief ethics officer about a phone call she received from Tina Tchen, the one-time chief of staff for former first lady Michelle Obama, asking on behalf of Smollett’s family about the status of the case. She said she later spoke to a relative of Smollett’s whom she would not identify.

So the final decision to dismiss charges against Smollett fell on Cook County First Assistant State’s Attorney Joe Magats.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson have blasted the decision to dismiss the charges.

The FBI is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of the criminal charges against Smollett, two law enforcement sources briefed on the matter told ABC News. The sources insisted it is not an investigation, but a “review.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Apr 2019

Revealed: ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ is called ‘The Rise of Skywalker’

Entertainment News  Revealed: 'Star Wars: Episode IX' is called 'The Rise of Skywalker' https://linewsradio.com/revealed-star-wars-episode-ix-is-called-the-rise-of-skywalker/ http://abcnewsradioonline.com/entertainment-news/

 

Lucasfilm(CHICAGO) — Today at Star Wars Celebration, a fan event in Chicago, the name of the ninth Star Wars movie was finally revealed: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Following a Stephen Colbert-hosted Q&A panel with director J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and the film’s cast — including Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaacs, John Boyega, and Billy Dee Williams — the movie’s title was unveiled along with the first teaser trailer.

The trailer opens on a desert planet, with Ridley’s Rey facing off against a TIE Interceptor like a matador, armed only with her lightsaber. As it approaches, we hear Luke Skywalker’s voice reaching out to her. “We’ve passed on all we know. A thousand generations live in you now. But this is your fight.”

Shots of Kylo Ren repairing his helmet follow, and then we see Rey’s friends Poe, Finn, Chewbacca, and the droids C-3PO and BB-8, united on a mission together.

A couple of original Star Wars trilogy cast members are seen also: Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian is once again blasting through hyperspace in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, and the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia hugs Rey warmly.  Unused footage shot of the actress in Episode VII was used to give Fisher a presence in this film.

As Poe, Finn, Chewie and the droids approach the wreckage of the Death Star, we hear Luke say, “No one is really gone.” That’s followed by the haunting laughter of Emperor Palpatine, who was supposed to have been killed at the climax of Return of the Jedi.

In fact, Ian McDiarmid, who played the character, was the last to take the stage after the trailer ended.

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker opens December 20 from Lucasfilm, which like ABC News, is owned by Disney.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 12 Apr 2019