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Westlake Legal Group > News and News Media (Page 8)

After U.S. Withdrawal, Kurds Turn To Syrian Regime For Help

Westlake Legal Group ap_19287361201610-1--1867aec0935483f2c84e7bfb0faee0ad35bd7f3a-s1100-c15 After U.S. Withdrawal, Kurds Turn To Syrian Regime For Help

Syrian troops deployed in northern Syria, where they are now aligned with Kurdish forces that are concerned about a Turkish offensive. AP hide caption

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AP

Westlake Legal Group  After U.S. Withdrawal, Kurds Turn To Syrian Regime For Help

Syrian troops deployed in northern Syria, where they are now aligned with Kurdish forces that are concerned about a Turkish offensive.

AP

Kurds in northern Syria have announced an abrupt change in alliances in the wake of President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the area.

American soldiers had been supporting Kurdish fighters, as part of the U.S. military’s operations against Islamic extremists in the region. But, with the U.S. withdrawing, neighboring Turkey has launched an operation against Kurds in Syria, who they argue are terrorists.

Kurdish leaders responded by asking the Syrian regime for help, effectively pivoting away from an alliance with the U.S. and toward forces that are allied with Russia and Iran.

“It’s a major, major development,” reports NPR’s Daniel Estrin from northern Syria. “The Kurds found themselves in a tough situation. The Turks were coming in on them, and they realized they needed to make a deal with the Syrian regime to protect themselves.”

On Monday, Syrian government forces were moving into northern towns that previously had been defended by U.S.-backed militants, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“It changes the terms of any fight that might be developing,” reports NPR’s Peter Kenyon from Turkey. “Russia and Iran are already Syria’s most important allies. If it comes to clashes between Turkish and Syrian forces, will Russia come to Syria’s defense?”

Such clashes could strain the already-complex relationship between Russia and Turkey.

The conflict along the border between Turkey and Syria has already begun to displace residents. “People are asking, ‘Should I stay, or should I go?’ ” says Estrin.

As Syrian troops moved into the area, some Kurdish prison guards reportedly left their posts, leading to the release of women and children who were being held for allegedly being related to ISIS fighters. It is unclear whether the security of other, higher-security prisons in the region has been affected by the combined withdrawal of U.S. troops, the arrival of Syrian forces and the bombardment by the Turkish military.

A 19-year-old Kurdish barber in northern Syria told NPR that he is concerned that he and other young men could be jailed by the Syrian regime for failing to report for the Syrian military draft. Many Kurdish residents in northern Syria had hoped for more autonomous control of the region.

But “as the Syrian regime is coming back to this area, it is the end of any kind of dream of having Kurdish autonomy here,” reports Estrin.

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Huge 111-foot asteroid to skim past Earth at 22,000 mph, space rock’s ‘closest encounter for 115 years’

A huge asteroid is about to skim past Earth at its closest approach in 115 years.

Astronomers have warned that the space rock 2019 TA7 will be 50 times closer to us than our closest neighboring planet Mercury.

The asteroid will be making its close approach at around 6:53 pm today.

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It should skim past Earth at over 22,500 miles per hour, according to data collected by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The space rock is estimated to measure up to 111 feet in diameter, making it around three times larger than a double-decker bus.

It usually passes Earth about once a year but this evening will see it at a closer distance of 930,000 miles.

Any fast-moving space object that comes within around 4.65 million miles is considered to be “potentially hazardous” by cautious space organizations.

The asteroid is a similar size to the Chelyabinsk meteor, which exploded over Russia back in 2013.

Its impact smashed windows and injured more than 1,000 people.

Experts did not predict the impact, sparking concern that Earth could be surprised with a more devastating incident in the future.

The last time asteroid 2019 TA7 came as close to Earth as it will be this evening was on October 14, 1904.

It will return for another close approach in 2021.

This story originally appeared in The Sun.

Westlake Legal Group asteroid-earth-NO-REUSE Huge 111-foot asteroid to skim past Earth at 22,000 mph, space rock’s ‘closest encounter for 115 years’ The Sun fox-news/science/air-and-space/asteroids fnc/science fnc Digital Technology and Science Reporter Charlotte Edwards article 4309df15-395b-5ef1-bff0-b788eece9a82   Westlake Legal Group asteroid-earth-NO-REUSE Huge 111-foot asteroid to skim past Earth at 22,000 mph, space rock’s ‘closest encounter for 115 years’ The Sun fox-news/science/air-and-space/asteroids fnc/science fnc Digital Technology and Science Reporter Charlotte Edwards article 4309df15-395b-5ef1-bff0-b788eece9a82

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Gen. Keane: Trump must tell Turkey to ‘stop the killing’ in Syria or face retaliation

Westlake Legal Group Erdogan-trump Gen. Keane: Trump must tell Turkey to 'stop the killing' in Syria or face retaliation fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc David Montanaro daff770d-b9c8-5d03-b102-4a161dacb080 article

Sanctions against Turkey are a positive step, but President Trump must take immediate and forceful action to deter the invasion of northern Syria, retired Gen. Jack Keane said Monday on “America’s Newsroom.”

Keane, a Fox News senior strategic analyst, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has broken his promise to Trump to set up safe zones in the region and not target homes and civilians.

“Sanctions that the president and Congress are proposing are very good, something we should do and the sooner we do it, the better,” said Keane, adding that, more importantly, Trump must also tell Erdogan to “stop the killing” immediately.

AT LEAST 9 DEAD AS TURKISH AIRSTRIKES TARGET JOURNALIST CONVOY, CIVILIANS

He said Trump should tell Turkey that the U.S. will “put our no-fly zone in place [and] take control of the airspace” and that Turkey will face retaliation if the killing is not “shut down.”

Keane said Erdogan “wants no part” of a military conflict with the United States and would have no choice but to pull back his forces.

“This is what we should have done at the outset, to be frank about it, but we are where we are right now,” he continued.

The war-monitoring group Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said a Turkish airstrike Sunday killed at least nine people – including five civilians – while other reports claimed that the convoy that was targeted included foreign journalists, according to Haaretz.

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A spokesman for the Kurdish forces put the death toll at 11 killed and more than 74 injured, but it was not immediately clear how many were civilians. France 24 reported that at least one journalist was among the dead, while two French reporters also were injured in the attack.

According the Syrian Observatory, 74 Kurdish fighters have been killed since Wednesday, as well as 21 civilians and 49 Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters.

Fox News’ Frank Miles contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Erdogan-trump Gen. Keane: Trump must tell Turkey to 'stop the killing' in Syria or face retaliation fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc David Montanaro daff770d-b9c8-5d03-b102-4a161dacb080 article   Westlake Legal Group Erdogan-trump Gen. Keane: Trump must tell Turkey to 'stop the killing' in Syria or face retaliation fox-news/world/conflicts/syria fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc David Montanaro daff770d-b9c8-5d03-b102-4a161dacb080 article

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German Protests Against Anti-Semitism After Synagogue Attack Draw Thousands

BERLIN (AP) — Thousands of people in Berlin protested against anti-Semitism on Sunday, days after a man attacked a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle.

About 10,000 people participated in the march through the German capital. Several thousand others protested Saturday in other cities including Hamburg and Marburg.

Many Germans are in shock over Wednesday’s attack in which two people were killed outside the synagogue and in a kebab shop. The attack has renewed concerns about rising far-right extremism and questions about the slow police response.

The 27-year-old, heavily armed suspect identified as Stephan B. tried but failed to enter the house of worship on Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day. The suspect, who livestreamed his attack online, has been charged with two counts of murder and nine of attempted murder.

Westlake Legal Group 5da4875b200000330b50085a German Protests Against Anti-Semitism After Synagogue Attack Draw Thousands

Paul Zinken/dpa/Picture Alliance via Getty Images People participate in a demonstration against anti-Semitism at Bebelplatz square on October 13, 2019. 

On Sunday, people started their march at a symbolic landmark, Berlin’s Bebelplatz square, where the Nazis burnt thousands of books by Jews, Communist and other opponents, weeks after Adolf Hitler took power in 1933.

The marchers carried Israeli flags and banners with slogans like “No Nazis” or “Far-right terror threatens our society.”

The rally was organized by the civil rights group Unteilbar, or “Indivisible,” under the slogan “We stand united” and ended at the city’s New Synagogue with its famous golden dome topped by a Star of David.

Westlake Legal Group 5da48888210000150c344c3f German Protests Against Anti-Semitism After Synagogue Attack Draw Thousands

Paul Zinken/dpa/Picture Alliance via Getty Images A demonstrator with a large wooden star of David over his shoulder participates in a protest against anti-Semitism. 

Friedhelm Schmitt, a 52-year-old neurologist, said he’d joined the protest “because I had to. It’s my democratic duty. It’s like going to vote.”

German prosecutors have said the suspect wanted to carry out a “massacre” in the synagogue and had about four kilograms (nearly nine pounds) of explosives in his car.

Westlake Legal Group 5da48a852100005009acd8ed German Protests Against Anti-Semitism After Synagogue Attack Draw Thousands

Paul Zinken/dpa/Picture Alliance via Getty Images Hannah (26) and Kemo (30) hold posters with the inscription “No to Antisemitism and Racism” and “United in Diversity – #Indivisible” at a demonstration against anti-Semitism.

He unsuccessfully tried for several minutes to enter the house of worship, where more than 50 people were attending a prayer service, but the door withstood his shots. He then killed two people and severely injured a couple before he was detained by police.

Police have been criticized because they arrived at the synagogue seven minutes after they were alerted to the shooting.

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Moon ice could be billions of years old, study suggests

It has long been established that the Moon contains significant amounts of ice and water, including frozen water found on the lunar surface last year. Now, a new study suggests that the ice could be billions of years old and come from different sources.

The study, published in the scientific journal Icarus, suggests that some ice could be almost as old as the Moon itself. Other ice deposits could be much younger, perhaps put there by comets and asteroids, or even underground volcanic activity.

“We quantify the amount of available cold-trapping surface area that is occupied by water ice in order to examine the relationship between the patchiness of ice within each crater and the age of each host crater,” the study’s abstract states. “The majority of surface ice is contained in old craters [greater than 3.1 billion years], where the majority of cold-trapping area on the pole exists.”

Westlake Legal Group black-moon-2019 Moon ice could be billions of years old, study suggests fox-news/science/air-and-space/moon fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 761ec6df-1a98-559f-9fce-5f8e9b9940ca

(Credit: EarthView, Arizona State University Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera Team from imagery returned by the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter)

MOON AND MERCURY MAY HAVE THICK DEPOSITS OF ICE, STUDY SUGGESTS

“Just because the crater is old doesn’t mean that the ice within it is also that old too, but in this case, there’s reason to believe the ice is indeed old,” the researchers said in a statement.

The scientists, led by Brown University researcher Ariel Deutsch, used data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (which was recently used to make a 3D map of the Moon) to come up with their conclusions.

“There have been models of bombardment through time showing that ice starts to concentrate with depth. So if you have a surface layer that’s old, you’d expect more underneath,” Deutsch said.

The newer, smaller craters, which also hold ice, were a “surprise,” she added. “There hadn’t really been any observations of ice in younger cold traps before.”

The age of the ice could have implications for space travel, including NASA’s return to the Moon in 2024 and the exploration of deep space.

WATER MAY BE ALL OVER THE MOON, GIVING NEW HOPE FOR SUSTAIN LIFE

“When we think about sending humans back to the Moon for long-term exploration, we need to know what resources are there that we can count on, and we currently don’t know,” Brown University professor and the study’s co-author, Jim Head, said in the statement. “Studies like this one help us make predictions about where we need to go to answer those questions.”

A study published in August theorized that there may be more ice water on Earth’s natural satellite and Mercury than previously thought. Until recently, it was believed that the water was trapped in “cold traps” at the Moon’s poles, but a 2018 discovery found that there is frozen water on the lunar surface.

Water was first discovered on the Moon in 2009.

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Westlake Legal Group black-moon-2019 Moon ice could be billions of years old, study suggests fox-news/science/air-and-space/moon fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 761ec6df-1a98-559f-9fce-5f8e9b9940ca   Westlake Legal Group black-moon-2019 Moon ice could be billions of years old, study suggests fox-news/science/air-and-space/moon fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 761ec6df-1a98-559f-9fce-5f8e9b9940ca

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Pumping Oxygen In A Lake To Try To Save Fish Facing Climate Change

Westlake Legal Group 20191003_solar-aeration-raft_jb_wide-0511c1841d271809ba2a67e203861abd8134714a-s1100-c15 Pumping Oxygen In A Lake To Try To Save Fish Facing Climate Change

Mohammed Bawazeer (left) and Ian Riley carry a battery that will power the aeration system on Upper Klamath Lake for 32 hours, even if the sun isn’t shining. Jes Burns/OPB hide caption

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Jes Burns/OPB

Westlake Legal Group  Pumping Oxygen In A Lake To Try To Save Fish Facing Climate Change

Mohammed Bawazeer (left) and Ian Riley carry a battery that will power the aeration system on Upper Klamath Lake for 32 hours, even if the sun isn’t shining.

Jes Burns/OPB

You’d never suspect it on a whisper-still morning, with the mountains and marsh reflecting off the water, but Upper Klamath Lake in southern Oregon is a tough place to be a fish.

The shortnose and Lost River suckers provide a case in point. The two species of fish, which look like a big-lipped cross between a carp and cod, used to be common in this lake. For millennia, they were an important traditional food source for the local tribes. The federal government considers them endangered species.

There’s a population of long-lived adult suckers hanging on and continuing to reproduce, but virtually none of their offspring are surviving for longer than a year.

“The juvenile sucker, they’re dying off. They’re not recruiting new adults,” says Mason Terry, a renewable energy professor at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls.

Poor water quality — exacerbated by the warming climate — is considered a significant cause of the sucker death. One key problem for the Upper Klamath is a low dissolved oxygen issue called hypoxia.

Fish breathe oxygen out of the water, and the oxygen levels here can drop extremely low, especially in late summer. That coincides with the time juvenile suckers appear to just vanish from the lake.

When Terry learned that low oxygen levels were one of the suspected reasons the endangered suckers aren’t surviving into adulthood, he had an idea.

“I thought, Why don’t we do what they do in fish ponds or in your aquarium? Why don’t we just try and bubble some air down in there and see what happens?” he says. “See if there’s just a little boost to affect this one factor that might be a cause of their mortality.”

Westlake Legal Group 20191003_sucker-aeration-raft_jb_wide-a8c19d997deab496e0964f6be47f3326bbf12290-s1100-c15 Pumping Oxygen In A Lake To Try To Save Fish Facing Climate Change

Oregon Institute of Technology student Juan Billarreal holds the aeration hose that will add dissolved oxygen to Upper Klamath Lake. Jes Burns/OPB hide caption

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Jes Burns/OPB

Westlake Legal Group  Pumping Oxygen In A Lake To Try To Save Fish Facing Climate Change

Oregon Institute of Technology student Juan Billarreal holds the aeration hose that will add dissolved oxygen to Upper Klamath Lake.

Jes Burns/OPB

Like a giant aquarium bubbler

Terry’s renewable energy students at OIT drag a floating solar panel raft — about as large as a single-car garage — out of the lake and onto the Rocky Point boat landing on the northwest side of the large, shallow lake.

This is the final assembly site for a solar-powered aeration system designed by Terry.

Ian Riley and classmate Mohammed Bawazeer walk it over to a plastic dry box that protects all the electrical components of the system from the elements.

Four 310-watt panels run two compressors that would push air — with all the oxygen it contains — down into the lake. Any power left over would go to charge the batteries, which are designed to power the compressors for 32 hours without sun.

Jennifer Berdyugin is coordinating the project, and checks that all the components are hooked up.

“All that’s left to do is turn on the pump and then make sure that it’s bubbling the water,” she says. “So, really, the telltale will be, ‘Are there bubbles or not?'”

The renewable energy students drag the solar raft back into the lake, and with the push of a button the compressor came to life. The air hose turns into an underwater sparkler as air is pushed through thousands of tiny holes.

“Bubble, bubble!” Riley calls across the noise as another student claps in celebration.

The team has assembled two rafts that are currently anchored at a site on the lake where juvenile suckers have been found to gather.

“It’s a way to provide an area for the suckers to get out of the bad water quality and at least have somewhere to hide until things get better,” says U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Josh Rasmussen, who works on sucker conservation in the Klamath Basin.

Aerated future

The chemistry of lakes worldwide has been altered by human development and agriculture. Ken Ashley, a lake aeration specialist at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, says the problems are only going to get worse with climate change.

“As the climate gets warmer and lakes are stratified longer, then the effects of the low oxygen are going to get magnified and there’s going to be more algal problems, and more fish kills, and more taste and odor problems,” he says. “And there’ll be more demand to do something about it.”

When the temperature of water on the surface rises, it prevents oxygen from getting to lake bottoms. Aeration can be a solution.

“It’s a growth industry, unfortunately,” he says.

One challenge at Upper Klamath Lake is that it’s really big, the largest freshwater lake in Oregon. A pinpoint or two of aeration floating in a hundred-square-mile lake won’t be the ultimate answer. But it could help conditions immediately around the rafts.

OIT’s Terry says preliminary measures show oxygen levels in the vicinity of the rafts have improved. The Klamath Tribes are monitoring the systems. And next year, Terry will use the information they collect to tweak and launch two more solar aeration systems.

But the success of this project won’t ultimately be known until the next fish counts reveal whether any Upper Klamath Lake suckers survive past their first birthday.

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Woman who fell from balcony practicing ‘extreme yoga’ is recovering ‘quickly’: report

A 23-year-old woman who fell 80 feet from a balcony in San Pedro, Mexico, after practicing “extreme yoga” has shared an update claiming that she is recovering “quickly.”

FITNESS EXPERT JAILED FOR THREATENING HER RIVALS ON INSTAGRAM: ‘GONNA RAIN FIRE DOWN ON YOUR WORLD’

In August, college student Alex Terrazas was photographed practicing a yoga pose, hanging upside down over a balcony railing with her knees bent. She lost her balance and fell from the sixth floor of the apartment building, causing her to break 110 bones and undergo 11 hours of surgery, according to Mexican newspaper El Universal.

Now, nearly two months later, the woman has revealed she is recovering well, despite the massive injuries she sustained, according to published reports.

Westlake Legal Group yoga-balcony-Javo-Rayado Woman who fell from balcony practicing 'extreme yoga' is recovering 'quickly': report fox-news/world/world-regions/location-mexico fox-news/fitness-and-wellbeing fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article Alexandra Deabler 73f02480-351e-52f8-af30-bf7832fb6e23

In August, college student Alex Terrazas was photographed hanging upside down over a balcony railing with her knees bent practicing a yoga pose before falling 80 feet. (Javo Rayado Twitter)

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According to Mexican news outlet Milenio, Terrazas has made significant improvements in her health.

“I really want to send you thank you so much for so much prayer, for so many good vibes, I feel very great, and thanks to that I have made many advances, even the doctors are shocked and they did not believe that my body would react so quickly,” she said in a translation, Milenio reported.

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The outlet reported that Terrazas recently had surgery on one of her elbows to help restore the mobility of her hands and arms. She also receives daily physical therapy.

Though the nutrition student reportedly will need to have more surgeries in the future, she has been positive about recovery.

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“Thank God it was an incredible day yesterday, I had a lot of progress, I had the opportunity to stop for the first time after almost a month and a half, I could have dinner alone, I achieved a lot of things yesterday, I am very proud,” she said in a translation reported by Milenio.

Westlake Legal Group yoga-balcony-Javo-Rayado Woman who fell from balcony practicing 'extreme yoga' is recovering 'quickly': report fox-news/world/world-regions/location-mexico fox-news/fitness-and-wellbeing fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article Alexandra Deabler 73f02480-351e-52f8-af30-bf7832fb6e23   Westlake Legal Group yoga-balcony-Javo-Rayado Woman who fell from balcony practicing 'extreme yoga' is recovering 'quickly': report fox-news/world/world-regions/location-mexico fox-news/fitness-and-wellbeing fox news fnc/lifestyle fnc article Alexandra Deabler 73f02480-351e-52f8-af30-bf7832fb6e23

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Fox News alum Carl Cameron worried Shepard Smith’s exit could turn channel into ‘propaganda’

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Fox News alum Carl Cameron worried Shepard Smith's exit could turn channel into 'propaganda'

Shepard Smith, the network’s chief news anchor and managing editor of its breaking news unit, has worked at Fox News since its inception in 1996. USA TODAY

Carl Cameron, a former Fox News reporter who was with the channel for more than 20 years, is voicing his concerns after Shepard Smith shocked by announcing his departure Friday.

Cameron, who says his “Campaign Carl” moniker came courtesy of Smith, appeared on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday to discuss the impact his former colleague’s exit may have on the channel. 

“There are an awful lot of really good journalists at Fox News Channel. It’s just that they’re vastly outnumbered by the opinion makers, and the opinion makers are more interested in playing to people’s bias than anything else,” said Cameron. “And it makes it very difficult for journalists to actually give people honest facts when the air time is shrinking constantly.”

Cameron also expressed his concern over those who will be filling Smith’s slot. “If they’re actually news journalists, then that’ll be a good sign for the 3:00 hour,” Cameron said, “and if it’s not, if it’s opinion mavens, then that’ll be just another big chunk of real journalism that won’t exist there.”

Until the network names a permanent replacement, it will become an hour-long news show titled “Fox News Reporting,” featuring a rotating cast of anchors, the network announced in a news release.

Fox News’ Shepard Smith steps down as chief news anchor, departs network, stuns colleagues

Fox News makes plans to replace Shepard Smith; Trump wonders if ‘bad ratings’ are to blame

[embedded content]

“Over the course of the Trump administration, more and more, the opinion hosts have been criticizing the journalists,” Cameron said, “and so, that really pits bias against straight journalism… That’s a huge part of what frustrates the journalists at Fox News because they shouldn’t be arguing with people who are there to comment on the news and completely neglect what was just by the journalists.” 

Friday, while appearing on MSNBC’s “The Beat with Ari Melber,” Cameron called Smith’s leaving “a big loss” for the news source.

“It is a real sad day for people who watch Fox News and want accurate information,” he assessed, “’cause Shep was somebody who you could reliably count on.”

“The reality is that without Shep’s show, Fox News’ 24 hour news wheel is down to really the Bret Baier show (“Special Report with Bret Baier”)… Most of the rest is predominantly talk,” said Cameron. “It’s predominantly supportive of a president who is violating all kinds of American values, laws, rules, precedents, etc., etc., and the American people need to hear that so they can make good judgments. Otherwise, it’s just propaganda, and that’s the stuff of third-world nations, not the one that prides itself as a leader of all nations.”

USA TODAY has reached out to Fox News for comment about Cameron’s remarks.

Cameron, who left Fox News in 2017, hasn’t been shy with his criticisms of his former employer. In a video for Front Page Live, a news source for which he serves as chief political correspondent, Cameron disparaged his former network. 

“I was one of Fox’s first hires,” he recalled. “The idea of fair and balanced news appealed to me, but over the years, right-wing hosts drowned out straight journalism with partisan misinformation. I left.”

Opinion: Shepard Smith leaving Fox News is a stunning blow to real journalism

During Smith’s Friday afternoon show, he announced his decision “to leave Fox News and begin a new chapter,” after increasing clashes with the network’s prime time opinion hosts. 

He said his departure was voluntary: “After requesting that I stay, they graciously obliged. The opportunities afforded this guy from small-town Mississippi have been many. It’s been an honor and a privilege to report the news each day to our loyal audience in context and with perspective, without fear or favor.”

His emotional on-air speech continued: “Even in our currently polarized nation, it’s my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive.” 

Smith, the network’s chief news anchor and managing editor of its breaking news unit, has worked at Fox News since its inception in 1996. 

Contributing: Sara M. Moniuszko and Hannah Yasharoff

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Ronan Farrow’s ‘Catch and Kill’ ‘motivated not by a pursuit of truth, but an axe to grind,’ NBC News president says in leaked memo

Embattled NBC News president Noah Oppenheim called Ronan Farrow’s book, “Catch and Kill,” an “effort to defame” the Peacock Network that is “clearly motivated not by a pursuit of truth, but an axe to grind” in a memo sent to employees Monday morning.

The lengthy memo obtained by Fox News rejects Farrow’s reporting that suggests NBC wasn’t truthful regarding knowledge of alleged sexual misconduct by former “Today” co-host Matt Lauer, and that the network refused to expose Harvey Weinstein as a sexual predator because he leveraged information regarding Lauer.

FULL TEXT: NBC NEWS PRESIDENT’S EMAIL TO STAFF ABOUT FARROW’S TELL-ALL

“Now that we’ve read Farrow’s book, it’s clear – his smear rests on the allegation that NBC’s management knew about and took steps to hide Matt Lauer’s misconduct before his firing in November of 2017.  Without that, he has no basis on which to rest his second conspiracy theory — that his Harvey Weinstein reporting was squashed to protect Lauer,” Oppenheim wrote to staffers.

Westlake Legal Group NBC-logo Ronan Farrow's 'Catch and Kill' ‘motivated not by a pursuit of truth, but an axe to grind,’ NBC News president says in leaked memo fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc ef252db8-167f-5630-91e4-83a9dcf2d4ea Brian Flood article

NBC News president Noah Oppenheim sent a memo to concerned staffers attempting to discredit Ronan Farrow on the eve of “Catch and Kill.”

Oppenheim and NBC News chairman Andy Lack have been accused of a “massive breach of journalistic integrity” by Farrow’s former NBC News producer Rich McHugh. Farrow has long claimed that NBC News stopped his reporting in an attempt to essentially cover for Weinstein. The situation has been a public relations nightmare for NBC and Oppenheim’s memo to staffers is the latest attempt to discredit “Catch and Kill” before its Tuesday release. The highly anticipated book details Farrow’s side of the story and the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter has already has caused NBC executives to release statements and hold staffer sit-downs prior to its official release on Tuesday.

“Farrow alleges there were employees who reported Lauer’s behavior prior to November of 2017 and were paid settlements to silence them.  Not only is this false, the so-called evidence Farrow uses in his book to support the charge collapses under the slightest scrutiny,” Oppenheim wrote.

A spokesperson for Farrow did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NBC NEWS PRESIDENT MOCKED BY STAFFERS DURING FIERY MEETING ABOUT LAUER RAPE CLAIM

NBC News famously refused to hire an outside investigator to dig into who knew about Lauer’s behavior, instead allowing internal general counsel Kim Harris to conduct a review. The internal review eventually declared that NBC management was completely oblivious to alleged sexual misconduct that was happened under their noses. While the internal review was widely criticized, Oppenheim is again relying on Harris – this time to discredit Farrow’s book.

“Kim Harris and the NBCU Legal Team have reviewed both the book and the referenced agreements and I’d like to share their analysis. The only three examples we can find that Farrow alleges are Lauer-related before 2017, with even minimal detail, involve employees who by their own admission made no complaint to management, and whose departure agreements were unrelated to Lauer and completely routine,” Oppenheim told NBC staffers before detailing the three examples.

According to Oppenheim’s memo, Farrow said a woman named in the book disclosed her allegation to former NBC News anchor Ann Curry in 2010.

“Curry says she then told two executives – both of whom are no longer with the company – that Lauer ‘had a problem with women.’  By her own account, Curry relayed no specific complaint, nor did she say Lauer’s ‘problem’ regarded any specific workplace misconduct,” Oppenheim wrote.  “NBCU was able to speak with one of those former executives during the 2018 review and she denied having been told even this.”

LAUER’S OFFICE SEXCAPADES KNOWN TO MEDIA ELITES, WHO ROARED WITH LAUGHTER OVER LEWD JOKES AT 2008 ‘ROAST’

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Ronan Farrow plans to explain why NBC News passed on his Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on Harvey Weinstein in an upcoming book.

Last week, Farrow appeared on “Good Morning America” and said that “there were multiple secret settlements and non-disclosures being struck with women at NBC News,” but Oppenheim’s memo combats this claim.

The NBC News president added, “at the time of the employee’s exit, three years later, she still had made no complaint about Lauer,” and that her severance was based on years of service, not designed to prevent misconduct claims.

Oppenheim then wrote that the “on-air personality” who Farrow reported received inappropriate messages from Lauer never complained to management and signed a standard confidentiality provision “designed to protect proprietary company information, not prevent an employee from reporting misconduct.”

The third point that Oppenheim disputes is that, according to the book, a “senior member of the Today show team” departed in 2017 with a seven figure payout.

MATT LAUER BREAKS SILENCE ON RAPE ACCUSATION: READ HIS LETTER HERE

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 In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018, file photo, Harvey Weinstein, center, leaves New York Supreme Court in New York. Weinstein’s sexual assault trial in New York City is being delayed until June 3, 2019.  (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

“Our records indicate only one exit that matches this description and we can state unequivocally that no claims related to Lauer or sexual harassment of any kind were raised in that process. Farrow says this person ‘mentioned Lauer and sexual harassment’ to a ‘senior vice president’ but offers no details on who, when, or what exactly she said,” Oppenheim wrote. “She signed a completely standard separation agreement, including a routine confidentiality provision that was in her original employment contract. Once again, in no way was it designed to prevent her from reporting misconduct. Her severance was commensurate with her salary.”

Oppenheim, who many industry insiders feel will take the fall for the situation if NBC’s parent company decides to take action amid an onslaught of embarrassing headlines, wrote that Farrow’s book “is built on a series of distortions, confused timelines, and outright inaccuracies.”

“I feel absolutely terrible that these three employees were subjected to Matt Lauer’s horrific behavior, but the facts do not support Farrow’s allegation of a ‘cover-up,’ and he offers no further evidence,” Oppenheim wrote. “There is no evidence of any reports of Lauer’s misconduct before his firing, no settlements, no ‘hush money’ – no way we have found that NBC’s current leadership could have been aware of his misdeeds in the past.”

Oppenheim then appeared to blame past NBC leadership for much of the ongoing public relations debacle.

CNN BOSS JEFF ZUCKER ESCAPES QUESTIONS ABOUT OLD COLLEAGUE MATT LAUER

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“We can all agree those misdeeds should have come to light sooner, and that we should have had a culture in which anyone who knew about his abuse would have felt comfortable telling management. And if anyone on any past management team knew, they should have taken action. But we cannot undo mistakes that may have been made by people who have long since left the company,” Oppenheim wrote.

Current CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker was the executive producer of “Today” when Lauer was hired in 1994 and had oversight of the morning show anchor while in various roles until leaving NBC in 2010. Zucker has denied knowledge of Lauer’s alleged misconduct.

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“We can make sure the culture today ensures this can never happen again,” Oppenheim wrote. “And that is what we have tried to do, each and every day since the moment Matt’s offenses first came to light.”

Oppenheim added that, “Farrow takes the first false allegation – that we knew about Lauer’s offenses – and uses it to sustain another, that we obstructed his reporting on Harvey Weinstein,” and then listed a series of fact-checks related to “Catch and Kill.”

Oppenheim also included an NBC News “fact sheet” that details the network’s side of the story.

Westlake Legal Group NBC-logo Ronan Farrow's 'Catch and Kill' ‘motivated not by a pursuit of truth, but an axe to grind,’ NBC News president says in leaked memo fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc ef252db8-167f-5630-91e4-83a9dcf2d4ea Brian Flood article   Westlake Legal Group NBC-logo Ronan Farrow's 'Catch and Kill' ‘motivated not by a pursuit of truth, but an axe to grind,’ NBC News president says in leaked memo fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc ef252db8-167f-5630-91e4-83a9dcf2d4ea Brian Flood article

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Ex-Trump Aide Fiona Hill to Testify on Pressure to Oust Ambassador to Ukraine

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WASHINGTON — Fiona Hill, President Trump’s former top Russia and Europe adviser, headed to Capitol Hill on Monday morning where she is prepared to testify that she and other officials objected strenuously to the removal of the ambassador to Ukraine, only to be disregarded.

Ms. Hill, who stepped down from the White House’s National Security Council staff over the summer, viewed the recall of Ambassador Marie L. Yovanovitch from Kiev as an egregious abuse of the system by allies of Mr. Trump who were seeking to remove a perceived obstacle, according to a person familiar with Ms. Hill’s account.

The removal of Ms. Yovanovitch has emerged as a key episode in the narrative under examination by the House as part of its impeachment inquiry against Mr. Trump. A career diplomat, Ms. Yovanovitch was targeted by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, and other allies who were seeking to press Ukraine to investigate Mr. Trump’s Democratic rivals.

Ms. Hill will be the first person who worked in the White House to be deposed by House investigators and is appearing despite the White House declaration last week that it would refuse to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry or allow its staff to do so. The White House has not attempted to stop Ms. Hill from testifying, according to the person familiar with her account, but White House lawyers have exchanged letters with Ms. Hill’s lawyer about precedents regarding the confidentiality of presidential communications.

[Rudy Giuliani was a zero-tolerance mayor who cleaned up New York as he inflamed racial tensions. He was hailed as “America’s Mayor” after 9/11. Now, he’s at the center of the Trump impeachment inquiry. Watch “The Weekly,” our new TV show.]

Sensitive to those restraints, Ms. Hill may limit answers regarding direct interactions with the president, the person said. But her testimony is being highly anticipated, in part because she has a long history as a skeptic of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia who nonetheless worked for two years for Mr. Trump, who has made friendship with Mr. Putin a high priority.

She will not offer an opening statement as did Ms. Yovanovitch and Kurt D. Volker, the former special envoy for Ukraine, when they were interviewed by House investigators. The interview will take place behind closed doors but parts or all of it may be made public later. Unlike Mr. Volker, she has no documents, emails or text messages to turn over because she left them behind when she stepped down.

Her interview will kick off another week of investigation by the House. George P. Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state who deals with the region, is scheduled to testify on Tuesday. Gordon D. Sondland, the Trump donor turned ambassador to the European Union who inserted himself into the Ukraine portfolio, is due to testify on Thursday.

Ms. Hill is a widely respected British-born former Brookings Institution scholar and intelligence officer. She is the author, with Clifford Gaddy, of “Mr. Putin,” a critical biography of the Russian leader, and she served as senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs on the National Security Council staff from 2017 until last summer.

She turned over her duties to her successor on July 15 and left on July 19, just days before the July 25 telephone call in which Mr. Trump pressed President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate conspiracy theories about Ukrainian help to Democrats in the 2016 election and supposed corruption by former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Ms. Hill is prepared to testify that she opposed the idea of the phone call because she did not understand its purpose. While it was described as a congratulatory call following parliamentary elections in Ukraine, Mr. Trump had already made a congratulatory call to Mr. Zelensky in April following his own election.

Ms. Hill will testify that while she was the president’s top adviser on Russia and Ukraine, she was cut out of the loop as Mr. Giuliani and others ran a shadow diplomacy intended to benefit Mr. Trump’s political position, according to the person informed about her account. She was not told, the person said, that Mr. Trump would use the call to press for an investigation into Mr. Biden.

Her testimony will not establish a quid pro quo between Mr. Trump’s pressure for investigations and his decision to withhold $391 million in American assistance to Ukraine, the person said. But she will confirm that the administration leveraged a coveted White House invitation for Mr. Zelensky to a commitment to investigate corruption, which was seen as code for investigating Democrats.

Ms. Hill took her objections to the treatment of Ms. Yovanovitch, who was targeted by Mr. Giuliani and conservative media outlets, to John R. Bolton, then the national security adviser, as well as others. Mr. Bolton shared her concerns, according to the person, and was upset at Mr. Giuliani’s activities, which she viewed as essentially co-opting American foreign policy toward Ukraine.

Ms. Yovanovitch, a 33-year veteran of the foreign service who served under Republican and Democratic administrations, including three times as an ambassador, told House investigators last week that she was abruptly told to get “on the next plane” home last spring, ending her tour in Ukraine.

While the deputy secretary of state told her she had “done nothing wrong,” her removal, she testified, appeared to be based “on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives,” a reference to Mr. Giuliani and some of his associates.

Two associates of Mr. Giuliani were arrested on Thursday on campaign finance charges connected to their efforts to push Ms. Yovanovitch out. They raised money for Pete Sessions, then a Republican member of Congress from Texas, and Mr. Sessions then pressed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to fire Ms. Yovanovitch for privately expressing “disdain” for the Trump administration. Ms. Yovanovitch denied ever expressing that sentiment.

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