UK and EU agree to ‘great’ Brexit deal, Prime Minister Johnson says

narvikk/iStock(LONDON) — The United Kingdom and European Union have agreed on a new Brexit deal, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Thursday morning.

“We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control,” he posted on Twitter, “now Parliament should get Brexit done on Saturday so we can move on to other priorities like the cost of living, the NHS, violent crime and our environment.”

Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the EU Commission, described the deal as a “fair and balanced agreement” that is “testament to our commitment to find solutions.”

However, the deal still needs the approval of the U.K. Parliament to pass into law. A vote will likely be held in the House of Commons this Saturday.

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Posted On 17 Oct 2019

Rep. Elijah Cummings, House Oversight Committee chair, is dead at 68

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Elijah Cummings, the long-serving Democratic congressman who was deeply involved in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, has passed away at the age of 68.

He had represented Maryland’s 7th congressional district since 1996.

As chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, he had a prominent role in the ongoing impeachment inquiry. His committee has also been investigating other actions by the president, including the Trump family.

His office announced that he passed away at approximately 2:45 a.m. Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital due to complications concerning longstanding health challenges.

He had an unspecified medical procedure on Sept. 19, causing him to miss one of his committees hearings. His office said at the end of September that they anticipated Cummings back at work when Congress returned to session.

At the time of the procedure, his office released the following statement: “I was very disappointed to miss today’s hearing. Unfortunately, I’ve had to have a medical procedure, and my doctors expect me to be back in the office in a week or so. However, nobody should mistake my absence as a lack of commitment to D.C. to statehood or passage of H.R. 51.”

Trump most recently spared with Cummings, lashing out at the lawmaker calling him a racist and Baltimore a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

Cummings appeared on ABC’s This Week on July 21, where he told host George Stephanopoulos there was “no doubt” that Trump was a racist, following the president’s attacks on Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, known as “The Squad.”

“I was beaten and all kinds of rocks and bottles thrown at me. And the interesting thing is that I heard the same kind of chant, ‘Go home, you don’t belong here.’ And they called us the N-word over and over and over again,” Cummings said, recalling racism he had faced in the past.

“What it does when Trump does these things, it brings up the same feelings that I had over 50 something years ago, and it’s very, very painful,” Cummings said. “It’s extremely divisive and I just don’t think this is becoming of the president of the United States of America, the leader of an entire world.”

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Posted On 17 Oct 2019

Jennifer Aniston’s Instagram debut breaks a record — and the Internet

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.(NEW YORK) — Jennifer Aniston has been on Instagram all of one day and she’s already picked up a whopping 10 million-plus followers as of Wednesday night.

Aniston’s first photo, a group shot of the entire Friends cast that temporarily crashed the platform, picked up a million followers in just five hours and 16 minutes, setting a Guinness World Record. That number has swelled to more than 11 million as of early Thursday.

“Instagram FRIENDS too. HI INSTAGRAM,” read the caption.

The Horrible Bosses star broke the record previously set by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, whose @sussexroyal account reached 1 million followers in five hours and 45 minutes earlier this year.

In a second post on Wednesday, the 50-year-old actress made fun of temporarily crashing Instagram with a short video from her upcoming Apple TV+ series, The Morning Show, in which she stares at her phone before slamming it down in disgust.

“I swear I didn’t mean to break it,” she captioned the clip.  “Thank you guys for the kind, glitchy welcome.”

Aniston’s first post comes ahead of the November 1 launch of her new Apple TV show, The Morning Show, co-starring Steve Carell and Reese Witherspoon.

 

Posted On 17 Oct 2019

Third season of ‘Stranger Things’ sets viewership record, says Netflix

Image courtesy of Netflix(NEW YORK) — A record number of households tuned in to watch the third season of Stranger Things, which launched July 4, making it the most popular season.

In a Wednesday tweet, Netflix claimed that 64 million households viewed the show in its first four weeks — its best numbers to date.

It should be noted that Netflix defines a view as a member account that has watched 70 percent of one episode of a series, or 70 percent of a film.  Also, unlike Nielsen viewer numbers, Netflix’s audience measurements and their methods aren’t available for independent verification.

Last month, Netflix announced that the hit series was renewed for a fourth season, as the show’s creators, twin brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, inked a big deal with the streamer.

Stranger Things, which is set in the 80s, follows a group of kids — played by Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin and Millie Bobby Brown — who encounter supernatural events in their seemingly ordinary town of Hawkins, Indiana.

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Posted On 17 Oct 2019

‘Mad About You’ actress Helen Hunt escapes major injury after serious car accident

Spectrum/Sony Pictures TV(NEW YORK) — Helen Hunt is home and doing okay after the SUV she was riding in flipped after being clipped by another car, according to TMZ. Hunt is known for her academy Award-winning performance in the 1997 film As Good As It Gets and the 90s sitcom Mad About You.

Video of the collision obtained by the gossip website appears to show the SUV flipping on its side after being hit by the car as it attempted to cross an intersection.

The 56-year-old actress was transported in stable condition to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills after complaining of pain, sources tell TMZ, which also obtained a photo obtained by that appears to show Hunt leaving the hospital a few hours later.

Helen’s rep tells TMZ she was “shaken, but suffered no major injuries.”

Hunt was the only passenger in the SUV.  The status of the diver, as well as the operator of the other vehicle are still unknown.

No one has been cited for the crash, and drugs and alcohol are not suspected in the incident, reports TMZ.

Hunt and her Mad About You co-star Paul Reiser will reprise their roles as Jamie and Paul Buchman, respectively, in a reboot of the series, starting November 20 on Spectrum’s On Demand platform.

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Posted On 17 Oct 2019

Individuals tied to Giuliani probe to appear before judge in NY court

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Individuals with ties to President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani are expected to appear before a judge in the Southern District of New York on Thursday afternoon, but without the two men central to campaign finance violation charges from last week.

Igor Fruman, Lev Parnas, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin were charged last Thursday in connection with an alleged scheme to circumvent federal laws against foreign campaign donations.

Correia, arrested in New York on Wednesday, and Kukushkin, arrested in San Francisco last week, are expected in court for the arrangement and initial conference on Thursday. But the arraignment for the two main players in the indictment, Parnas and Fruman — who were originally scheduled to appear in court with the other two — has been delayed until next week.

Since the indictment, Giuliani has acknowledged receiving $500,000 in payments for work he did with Parnas. Giuliani told ABC News that he was retained by Parnas’ business “Fraud Guarantee” to do consulting work and insisted that any money he took came from domestic, not foreign sources.

Trump has denied knowing Parnas and Fruman specifically, though he is pictured with the two at multiple events. Fruman and Parnas have reportedly played a significant role in helping with Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

The indictment outlines a “foreign national donor scheme” alleging the men “conspired to circumvent the federal law against foreign influence by engaging in a scheme to funnel foreign money to candidates.” The indictment, details how the four defendants allegedly funneled “$1-2 million” from a Russian donor into the U.S. political system between June 2018 and April of this year.

Additionally, Parnas and Fruman allegedly made a series of illegal straw donations that included a $325,000 donation to the pro-Trump Super PAC America First Action, and prosecutors allege that the two violated the law by falsely reporting the origin of those funds as under the name of their newly-created company Global Energy Producers.

 In the indictment, prosecutors also outline an alleged scheme by Parnas and Fruman to raise $20,000 for a “then-sitting U.S. Congressman,” who “had also been the beneficiary of approximately $3 million” from America First Action during the 2018 midterms. According to the indictment, Parnas allegedly met with the congressman and sought his “assistance in causing the U.S. government to remove or recall the then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine,” Marie Yovanovitch.

The indictment doesn’t name the congressman, but the description matches ABC News’ reporting that Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, had benefited from $3 million in backing from the super PAC during the 2018 cycle, and that during the same month that Parnas raised funds for Sessions, Sessions wrote a letter calling for Yovanovitch’s immediate removal.

Sessions has since been subpoenaed as part of the Southern District’s probe and he told ABC News that he is fully cooperating with investigators.

Giuliani is not named in the indictment, but as ABC News has previously reported, the business relationship between the president’s personal lawyer and Parnas and Fruman is the subject of the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by federal authorities in New York, with a primary focus on whether there were any criminal violations of the Foreign Agent Act in Giuliani’s representation of foreign entities.

Fruman and Parnas were arrested last week at Dulles International Airport with one-way international tickets, according to a prosecutor from the Southern District of New York, where Parnas and Fruman face charges. It was later reported that the men had dined with Giuliani in the Trump International Hotel in Washington a few hours before their flight.

The two men appeared before a judge in the Eastern District of Virginia the next day, where the judge agreed to a bail package which included a $1 million bond for each defendant, the surrender of travel documents and passports, GPS monitoring and home detention.

As of Wednesday evening, Fruman had met the bond requirements and was no longer in the custody of the Alexandria, Virginia, jail. Parnas remained in custody.

Their appearance in New York on Thursday is expected to be a preliminary hearing. The men did not enter pleas during their last appearance before a judge in Virginia.

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Posted On 17 Oct 2019