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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 388)

Like Hallmark Christmas movies? Tech company offering $1,000 for binge-watch gig

Westlake Legal Group xmas Like Hallmark Christmas movies? Tech company offering $1,000 for binge-watch gig fox-news/lifestyle/occasions/christmas fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc dd34cbca-a6b6-518a-bf72-ac6dddcaf199 Brie Stimson article

What do you want for Christmas? How about a job watching TV?

A tech company is offering $1,000 to “a lover of all things Christmas, G-Rated romcoms, and too-close-to-home family dramas.”

The lucky binger will be required to watch 24 Hallmark Christmas movies in two weeks and review them on social media, according to CenturyLink’s website.

KATHIE LEE GIFFORD PRAISES HALLMARK FOR MAKING MOVIES FOR AMERICANS WHO ARE ‘NOT OFFENDED BY FAITH’

“Think the grumpy Grandpa turned jolly Santa was a little overdone? Felt like the plot was a bit half-baked? Be as honest as possible in your review,” the ad says.

The reviewer will also get what the ad refers to as a “Hallmark binge-watching package,” complete with hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, twinkle lights and a mini Christmas tree.

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Does this ad sound vaguely like the plot of a Hallmark movie to anyone else? There was definitely one about a woman posting an ad for a fake Christmas boyfriend.

Interested candidates can apply on the website.

Westlake Legal Group xmas Like Hallmark Christmas movies? Tech company offering $1,000 for binge-watch gig fox-news/lifestyle/occasions/christmas fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc dd34cbca-a6b6-518a-bf72-ac6dddcaf199 Brie Stimson article   Westlake Legal Group xmas Like Hallmark Christmas movies? Tech company offering $1,000 for binge-watch gig fox-news/lifestyle/occasions/christmas fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc dd34cbca-a6b6-518a-bf72-ac6dddcaf199 Brie Stimson article

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Angels’ Trout overcomes injury, tragedy to win 3rd AL MVP

It had never been so difficult for Mike Trout to arrive at the ballpark, get his mind and body ready, and perform at the level baseball fans have come to expect.

And still, nobody did it better in the American League.

Trout overcame injury and tragedy to win his third AL MVP award Thursday night, getting 17 of 30 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros was second, and that duo combined for all the first- and second-place votes. Trout also won the award in 2014 and ’16.

“This year was probably the toughest year,” Trout said.

Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger made it a Southern California sweep, beating out the Milwaukee BrewersChristian Yelich for the NL prize. Bellinger got 19 of 30 first-place votes, Yelich got 10, and Washington’s Anthony Rendon got one while finishing third. Yelich won the award last year.

Trout had season-ending foot surgery in September while the Angels languished to a fourth-place finish. The outfielder played just 134 games but still set a career high with 45 homers. He batted .291, led the majors with a .438 on-base percentage and drove in 104 runs.

The 28-year-old shined even following the death of close friend and teammate Tyler Skaggs on July 1. Trout smashed a 454-foot homer wearing Skaggs’ No. 45 in the team’s first game back, when LA pitchers threw a combined no-hitter.

After often deferring to veterans as a young star, Trout put himself into a leadership role following Skaggs’ death.

“It was my time,” Trout said, adding that “it was extremely tough mentally and emotionally for us at the end of the year.”

Trout is the 10th three-time MVP and joins an elite group: Barry Bonds, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez and Mike Schmidt. Bonds is the only player with more than three MVPs — he won seven. Only Musial was younger when he won his third.

Trout also has a record-tying four second-place finishes. He’s been the winner or runner-up in seven of his eight full seasons.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room before the start of a series against the Texas Rangers. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office said the 27-year-old died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his body. MLB is cooperating with a federal investigation after Eric Kay, a 24-year employee of the Angels’ PR department, told the Drug Enforcement Agency he had provided opioids to Skaggs and used them with the pitcher for years, according to ESPN.

Trout played through the pain of that loss and the lingering foot issue, which hampered him for about a month before he chose to have surgery. He learned he won the award while on his yearly hunting trip in Iowa, and he said he’ll begin lower-body workouts in conjunction with the Angels’ training staff when he returns.

The 24-year-old Bellinger and his loose, left-handed swing launched 47 home runs with a .305 average, 115 RBIs and a 1.035 OPS.

He was the best player on the NL’s top team in the regular season, propelling Los Angeles to 106 wins. He’s the 10th different Dodgers player to win MVP and first since Clayton Kershaw in 2014.

Bellinger teared up after learning he’d been chosen, saying it was the first time he had cried since the death of his first dog, Angel the golden retriever. He was especially emotional after hugging his father — former big leaguer Clay Bellinger.

“He was just there for me every single day,” Cody Bellinger said.

It was clear by midseason that Bellinger and Yelich were the favorites for the NL prize. Yelich had better offensive numbers, including a league-leading .329 average and a major league-best 1.100 OPS, but his season was cut short in September when he broke his right kneecap on a foul ball.

“I pretty much figured that once I got hurt, that was a wrap on that but I guess you never really know until the end. But that was my mindset. As soon as I got hurt, I figured all that MVP stuff went out the window,” Yelich said.

Said Bellinger: “I think he pushed me to be a better player.”

Advanced metrics showed both races to be tight. Bellinger and Yelich tied for the NL lead with 7.8 wins above replacement (WAR) as measured by Fangraphs, and Trout edged Bregman 8.6 to 8.5. Bregman topped Trout 8.4 to 8.3 by Baseball-Reference’s WAR, while Bellinger bested Yelich 9.0 to 7.1, mostly due to stronger defensive ratings.

Bellinger won the Gold Glove Award in right field but also played center and first base. He’s the first Dodgers position player to win MVP since Kirk Gibson in 1988.

“This award man, it just makes me so much hungrier to keep performing,” Bellinger said. “The feeing that you have, why would you ever not want to receive this? So I have to keep working hard at what I do and hopefully keep getting better.”

Westlake Legal Group Mike-Trout Angels’ Trout overcomes injury, tragedy to win 3rd AL MVP fox-news/sports/mlb/los-angeles-dodgers fox-news/sports/mlb/los-angeles-angels fox-news/person/mike-trout fox-news/person/cody-bellinger fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 719b43ae-afcb-5ea3-89c2-c63b5442216e   Westlake Legal Group Mike-Trout Angels’ Trout overcomes injury, tragedy to win 3rd AL MVP fox-news/sports/mlb/los-angeles-dodgers fox-news/sports/mlb/los-angeles-angels fox-news/person/mike-trout fox-news/person/cody-bellinger fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 719b43ae-afcb-5ea3-89c2-c63b5442216e

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Angels’ Trout overcomes injury, tragedy to win 3rd AL MVP

It had never been so difficult for Mike Trout to arrive at the ballpark, get his mind and body ready, and perform at the level baseball fans have come to expect.

And still, nobody did it better in the American League.

Trout overcame injury and tragedy to win his third AL MVP award Thursday night, getting 17 of 30 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros was second, and that duo combined for all the first- and second-place votes. Trout also won the award in 2014 and ’16.

“This year was probably the toughest year,” Trout said.

Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger made it a Southern California sweep, beating out the Milwaukee BrewersChristian Yelich for the NL prize. Bellinger got 19 of 30 first-place votes, Yelich got 10, and Washington’s Anthony Rendon got one while finishing third. Yelich won the award last year.

Trout had season-ending foot surgery in September while the Angels languished to a fourth-place finish. The outfielder played just 134 games but still set a career high with 45 homers. He batted .291, led the majors with a .438 on-base percentage and drove in 104 runs.

The 28-year-old shined even following the death of close friend and teammate Tyler Skaggs on July 1. Trout smashed a 454-foot homer wearing Skaggs’ No. 45 in the team’s first game back, when LA pitchers threw a combined no-hitter.

After often deferring to veterans as a young star, Trout put himself into a leadership role following Skaggs’ death.

“It was my time,” Trout said, adding that “it was extremely tough mentally and emotionally for us at the end of the year.”

Trout is the 10th three-time MVP and joins an elite group: Barry Bonds, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez and Mike Schmidt. Bonds is the only player with more than three MVPs — he won seven. Only Musial was younger when he won his third.

Trout also has a record-tying four second-place finishes. He’s been the winner or runner-up in seven of his eight full seasons.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room before the start of a series against the Texas Rangers. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office said the 27-year-old died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his body. MLB is cooperating with a federal investigation after Eric Kay, a 24-year employee of the Angels’ PR department, told the Drug Enforcement Agency he had provided opioids to Skaggs and used them with the pitcher for years, according to ESPN.

Trout played through the pain of that loss and the lingering foot issue, which hampered him for about a month before he chose to have surgery. He learned he won the award while on his yearly hunting trip in Iowa, and he said he’ll begin lower-body workouts in conjunction with the Angels’ training staff when he returns.

The 24-year-old Bellinger and his loose, left-handed swing launched 47 home runs with a .305 average, 115 RBIs and a 1.035 OPS.

He was the best player on the NL’s top team in the regular season, propelling Los Angeles to 106 wins. He’s the 10th different Dodgers player to win MVP and first since Clayton Kershaw in 2014.

Bellinger teared up after learning he’d been chosen, saying it was the first time he had cried since the death of his first dog, Angel the golden retriever. He was especially emotional after hugging his father — former big leaguer Clay Bellinger.

“He was just there for me every single day,” Cody Bellinger said.

It was clear by midseason that Bellinger and Yelich were the favorites for the NL prize. Yelich had better offensive numbers, including a league-leading .329 average and a major league-best 1.100 OPS, but his season was cut short in September when he broke his right kneecap on a foul ball.

“I pretty much figured that once I got hurt, that was a wrap on that but I guess you never really know until the end. But that was my mindset. As soon as I got hurt, I figured all that MVP stuff went out the window,” Yelich said.

Said Bellinger: “I think he pushed me to be a better player.”

Advanced metrics showed both races to be tight. Bellinger and Yelich tied for the NL lead with 7.8 wins above replacement (WAR) as measured by Fangraphs, and Trout edged Bregman 8.6 to 8.5. Bregman topped Trout 8.4 to 8.3 by Baseball-Reference’s WAR, while Bellinger bested Yelich 9.0 to 7.1, mostly due to stronger defensive ratings.

Bellinger won the Gold Glove Award in right field but also played center and first base. He’s the first Dodgers position player to win MVP since Kirk Gibson in 1988.

“This award man, it just makes me so much hungrier to keep performing,” Bellinger said. “The feeing that you have, why would you ever not want to receive this? So I have to keep working hard at what I do and hopefully keep getting better.”

Westlake Legal Group Mike-Trout Angels’ Trout overcomes injury, tragedy to win 3rd AL MVP fox-news/sports/mlb/los-angeles-dodgers fox-news/sports/mlb/los-angeles-angels fox-news/person/mike-trout fox-news/person/cody-bellinger fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 719b43ae-afcb-5ea3-89c2-c63b5442216e   Westlake Legal Group Mike-Trout Angels’ Trout overcomes injury, tragedy to win 3rd AL MVP fox-news/sports/mlb/los-angeles-dodgers fox-news/sports/mlb/los-angeles-angels fox-news/person/mike-trout fox-news/person/cody-bellinger fnc/sports fnc Associated Press article 719b43ae-afcb-5ea3-89c2-c63b5442216e

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Hans von Spakovsky: Trump impeachment not justified by evidence and testimony made public so far

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6104056993001_6104046165001-vs Hans von Spakovsky: Trump impeachment not justified by evidence and testimony made public so far Hans von Spakovsky fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 118fdf0a-4a0b-5fb1-901d-3f612c7ec683

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., hasn’t yet produced most of his witnesses in the public impeachment hearings regarding President Trump. But if the State Department’s George Kent and Acting Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor are representative of the testimony Democrats are relying on, future historians may label this episode The Big Impeachment Blowout.

The House impeachment inquiry is not a criminal proceeding. But as I listened to the hearsay and speculation that Kent and Taylor were offering Wednesday at the opening public hearing on impeachment, I couldn’t help thinking of REO Speedwagon’s song “Take it on the Run.”

One line of the song says: “Heard it from a friend who heard it from a friend who heard it from another you been messin’ around.”

YOVANOVITCH TO FACE GOP GRILLING ON SECOND DAY OF PUBLIC IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS

Both Kent and Taylor admitted they never talked to President Trump and only heard third-hand what supposedly occurred in the president’s July 25 telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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Democrats seem to have dropped the quid pro quo claim, since there was no evidence of it in the rough transcript the White House released of the call. The claim does not seem to be playing with the American public.

Taylor admitted in the hearing that Zelensky had no idea that U.S. aid was being delayed, and Zelensky himself has said there was no quid pro quo.

Democrats have now switched to using the terms “bribery” and “extortion,” no doubt because those terms sound more sinister, despite the fact that they’ve produced no evidence – so far – that would come even close to showing a violation of the federal laws defining bribery and extortion.

Both witnesses expressed their opinions disagreeing with the way President Trump has conducted diplomatic relations with Ukraine and the handling of U.S. aid to the country.

But the president is not a postman for Congress or the State Department. His job is to faithfully execute the law. As the chief diplomat of the United States, he defines our foreign policy, not George Kent or William Taylor.

Our country doesn’t give money or aid to other countries for no reason. We give it with specific conditions attached.

The president has a duty to make sure that our money is going to countries that will use it as we intend and not divert it into profiteering and personal corruption. State Department bureaucrats have never been good at ensuring that countries prevent such corruption.

The priority of our diplomats is to maintain their access to government officials in the countries in which they are stationed. This too often overrides their duty to guard against corruption. The president has the final responsibility for ensuring U.S. aid is not improperly diverted in other nations.

It was widely known that Ukraine had, and still has, a corruption problem. It would have been irresponsible for Trump not to look into corruption and demand changes before our money went there.

Even Kent admitted in his testimony that Burisma, the Ukrainian company that employed Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter as a highly paid board member, was part of the “pervasive and longstanding corruption in Ukraine.”

Of course, we will not hear any facts about that because Chairman Schiff has refused to allow the Republicans to call Hunter Biden as a witness, which would enable the younger Biden’s possible self-dealing in Ukraine to be investigated.

If everything Hunter Biden and his father Joe did was ethical and above board when it came to Ukraine, why wouldn’t Democrats want Hunter Biden to testify?

And why has Schiff’s committee blocked the Republicans from being able to call the so-called whistleblower who started this whole show-trial that Democrats call an impeachment inquiry? What are they afraid will come out about this government employee that might damage his credibility and the claims he is making?

Apparently, Schiff doesn’t want any testimony that would support the legitimacy of the president’s corruption concerns about Ukraine or would somehow detract from the impeachment narrative Democrats are trying to weave into the minds of the American public.

We certainly won’t have an objective, bipartisan inquiry into all of the relevant aspects of what happened here – and why it happened. Schiff even interrupted Republican questioning to tell witnesses they should not answer questions based on “facts not in evidence,” a bizarre statement given the nature of a congressional hearing and how it is normally conducted.

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Adam Schiff used to be an assistant U.S. attorney – a federal prosecutor. Like all people in that position, he had to follow the U.S. Attorneys’ Justice Manual.

Before taking a case to a grand jury, much less to trial, Schiff had to convince his boss, in writing, that he had evidence establishing a case. He couldn’t just wing it and submit a case, however weak, based entirely on hearsay, to the grand jury on the off-chance it would indict.

Yet that is exactly what Schiff is doing here – throwing witnesses into closed and now open hearings hoping that he can stir the political pot into an impeachment boil.

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It would undermine our system of government for a duly elected president to be removed through impeachment for partisan reasons.

Impeachment should only be used when there has been serious, substantial misconduct of such a nature that we can’t wait for the next election. As far as is publicly known at this time, that standard has not been met regarding President Trump.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY HANS VON SPAKOVSKY

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6104056993001_6104046165001-vs Hans von Spakovsky: Trump impeachment not justified by evidence and testimony made public so far Hans von Spakovsky fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 118fdf0a-4a0b-5fb1-901d-3f612c7ec683   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6104056993001_6104046165001-vs Hans von Spakovsky: Trump impeachment not justified by evidence and testimony made public so far Hans von Spakovsky fox-news/world/conflicts/ukraine fox-news/world fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/democrats fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 118fdf0a-4a0b-5fb1-901d-3f612c7ec683

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US military academy athletes can now delay service, go pro

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has opened the door for athletes at the nation’s military academies to play professional sports after they graduate, and delay their active-duty service.

Esper signed a memo last Friday laying out the new guidelines, which says the athletes must get approval from the defense secretary, and it requires them to eventually fulfill their military obligation or repay the costs of their education.

The memo, obtained by The Associated Press, came at the insistence of President Donald Trump, who directed the Pentagon in June to come up with a way to allow athletes to play professional sports immediately upon graduation. Trump gave the Pentagon four months to develop the new policy.

Allowing athletes to delay service has been a hotly debated issue. The Obama administration put a policy in place allowing some athletes to go to the pros and defer their military service.

That policy allowed Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds to be drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round of the 2016 draft after completing a four-year run with the Midshipmen. But the year after he went pro, the Defense Department rescinded the policy.

Then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, in an April 2017 memo, said that the service academies “exist to develop future officers,” and that graduates would serve as “full-fledged military officers carrying out the normal work and career expectations” of someone who received an education at the taxpayers’ expense.

Earlier this year, however, Trump said he was considering allowing athletes to get a waiver so they could play pro sports. He made the announcement during a Rose Garden ceremony in May when he presented the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy to the football team of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The Army Black Knights completed an 11-2 season and earned the trophy for the second consecutive year.

He issued the order in June, saying that athletes graduating from the academies and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps should be able to defer their military service obligations due to the “short window of time” they have to “take advantage of their athletic talents during which playing professional sports is realistically possible.”

In the new memo, Esper says that military service secretaries can nominate an athlete for a waiver after determining there “is a strong expectation that a Military Service Academy cadet or midshipman’s future professional sports employment will provide the DoD with significant favorable media exposure likely to enhance national level recruiting or public affairs missions.”

If approved by the defense secretary, the athlete must agree to return to the military and serve their enlistment time, which is usually five years. While in the pro sports job, the athlete’s waiver would be reviewed every year.

If the athletes can’t pass required medical standards when it is time to rejoin the military, then they are “encouraged” to serve in a civilian post within the department for no less than five years, according to Esper’s memo. If they choose not to do that they would be subject to repayment of their school expenses.

It wasn’t clear Thursday what impact Esper’s new policy will have on the fate of Noah Song, a pitcher from the U.S. Naval Academy. Song, 22, was the fourth-round draft pick this year of the Boston Red Sox, so he is not covered by the new memo. The right-hander was going to pitch for the minor league team in Lowell during the summer before reporting for duty to train as a flight officer.

Song is seeking a waiver but there has been no decision yet. The Navy declined to provide any other details.

Several Navy football players have gone on to have success in the NFL, most notably 1963 Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach, a quarterback for the Midshipmen from 1962-64. After serving a tour of duty in Vietnam, he joined the Dallas Cowboys in 1969 and guided the team to a pair of Super Bowl victories.

Another Heisman Trophy winner, Glenn Davis of Army in 1946, was a first-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions but had to serve three years in the Army before making his NFL debut with Detroit in 1950.

In addition, receiver Phil McConkey played for Navy from 1975-78, then served for five years before the New York Giants made him a 27-year-old rookie in 1984. He caught a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl for New York and remained in the NFL through 1989.

Westlake Legal Group Mark-Esper US military academy athletes can now delay service, go pro fox-news/us/military fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/sports/ncaa-fb fox-news/politics/defense fnc/sports fnc eae6fd97-0334-59f3-9f66-6ac7ccecd92a Associated Press article   Westlake Legal Group Mark-Esper US military academy athletes can now delay service, go pro fox-news/us/military fox-news/sports/nfl fox-news/sports/ncaa-fb fox-news/politics/defense fnc/sports fnc eae6fd97-0334-59f3-9f66-6ac7ccecd92a Associated Press article

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GOP Group Sells Trump Wrapping Paper And The Jokes Just Write Themselves

Westlake Legal Group 5dce70841f00003e07dee7ba GOP Group Sells Trump Wrapping Paper And The Jokes Just Write Themselves

President Donald Trump is now involved in a different kind of coverup: A Republican committee is selling Trump-themed Christmas wrapping paper to raise campaign cash. 

Two of the designs from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the House of Representatives, feature snowflakes and the message “I stand with Trump.” A third presents a jumble of words related to Trump and Christmas. 

While all three are available for a campaign contribution of $25, the link the GOP group sent out leads to a page where the $35 option is pre-selected. There is no $25 option, but that amount may be entered into a box marked “other.” In addition, a box marked “make this a monthly contribution” is checked by default.  

The group said it has raised half a million dollars by selling wrapping paper so far.  

The official Trump campaign store also offers an array of Christmas items, including its own wrapping paper. One 6-foot roll costs $30. There’s also a $60 “Make America Great Again” hat ornament, a $35 wooden toy Trump-Pence truck, a $16 leash and a $15 collar. 

Twitter users unwrapped some criticism ― and more than a few jokes ― about the fundraising scheme:  

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California Halloween house party slayings lead to 5 arrests, authorities say

Two weeks after a shooting at a Halloween night house party in Northern California left five people dead, five suspects have been arrested, the Contra Costa Sheriff’s office said Thursday, according to a report.

The five men were arrested in four raids in separate San Francisco Bay Area cities, the sheriff’s department said, according to San Francisco’s KGO-TV.

FIFTH VICTIM DIES IN HALLOWEEN SHOOTING AT NORTHERN CALIFORNIA HOUSE PARTY

Westlake Legal Group AP19305554541447 California Halloween house party slayings lead to 5 arrests, authorities say fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 53737f02-2ce3-5b49-a496-53e41f797e5e

Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputies investigate a multiple shooting in Orinda, Calif., on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. (Associated Press)

The suspects have been identified as Lebraun Tyree Wallace, 28, of San Mateo; Jaquez Deshawn Sweeney, 20 of Marin City; Jason D. Iles, 20, of Marin City; Shamron Joshua Mitchell, 30, of Antioch; and Devin Isiah Williamson, 21, of Vallejo.

Four of the suspects were arrested on suspicion of murder and conspiracy. Williamson was arrested on accessory charges.

Five people were killed and three others wounded when the party at a house in Orinda erupted in gunfire around 11 p.m. Halloween night.

Contra Costa County Sheriff David Livingston said two of the victims were also armed, which “may have played a role in the tragedy,” KGO reported.

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The shooting may have been gang-related, according to KGO.

Westlake Legal Group AP19305554541447 California Halloween house party slayings lead to 5 arrests, authorities say fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 53737f02-2ce3-5b49-a496-53e41f797e5e   Westlake Legal Group AP19305554541447 California Halloween house party slayings lead to 5 arrests, authorities say fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc Brie Stimson article 53737f02-2ce3-5b49-a496-53e41f797e5e

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A Paranoid Guide to Fighting the ‘Bugging Epidemic’

Westlake Legal Group 13surveillance-facebookJumbo A Paranoid Guide to Fighting the ‘Bugging Epidemic’ Smartphones Security and Warning Systems Hotels and Travel Lodgings cameras

People worry that Big Brother and Big Tech are invading their privacy. But a more immediate concern may be the guy next door or a shifty co-worker.

A growing array of so-called smart surveillance products have made it easy to secretly live-stream or record what other people are saying or doing. Consumer spending on surveillance cameras in the United States will reach $4 billion in 2023, up from $2.1 billion in 2018, according to the technology market research firm Strategy Analytics. Unit sales of consumer surveillance devices are expected to more than double from last year.

The problem is all that gear is not necessarily being used to fight burglars or keep an eye on the dog while she’s home alone. Tiny cameras have been found in places where they shouldn’t be, like Airbnb rentals, public bathrooms and gym locker rooms. So often, in fact, that security experts warn that we are in the throes of a “bugging epidemic.”

It is not paranoid to take precautions. A lot of spy gear is detectable if you know what to look for, said Charles Patterson, president of Exec Security, a firm in Tarrytown, N.Y., that specializes in corporate counterespionage.

Look for anything in your surroundings that appears disturbed, out of place or odd. Surveillance can be done by more than clunky nanny cams. It can be conducted with wireless microdevices, some as small as a postage stamp, that can be stashed in hard-to-spot places like inside clocks, light fixtures and air vents.

Be wary of anything with an inexplicable hole in it, like a hole drilled into a hair-dryer mount in a hotel bathroom. And scrutinize any wires trailing out of something that’s not obviously electronic, like a desk, a bookcase or a plant.

“A basic physical inspection is something everybody can do,” Mr. Patterson said.

Another low-cost way to spot surveillance equipment is turning off the lights and using a flashlight to scan a room to see if the lens of a camera shines back at you. If you don’t have a flashlight, look around using the front-facing camera on your smartphone (the side you use for video chats), which may allow you to see the otherwise invisible infrared light that spy cameras emit.

A quick way to see if your phone’s camera detects infrared light is to look at your television remote through the viewfinder. If you can see a light flash on the tip of the remote when you press its buttons, you’re good to go.

You can also download the Fing app on your smartphone, which when activated will show you all the devices connected to your Wi-Fi network. Anything that includes the name of a camera manufacturer — like Nest, Arlo or Wyze — or that the app flags as a possible camera is cause for concern. As is anything that you can’t readily identify.

More sophisticated voyeurs may use spy gear that has its own hot spot for live streaming. So it’s a good idea to check for other Wi-Fi networks in the vicinity that have a strong signal. But that won’t help if the device is recording everything onto a tiny memory card for the peeper to retrieve later.

If you want to be more comprehensive in your sweep, several do-it-yourself counter-surveillance tools are available. Among the easier-to-use devices are specially designed camera lens detectors. They cost $200 to $400 and emit a circle of superbright red LED strobe lights. When you scan the room looking through the viewfinder, even the tiniest camera lens will appear to blink back at you, giving away its location.

“I used to sell mostly cameras, but in last few years it’s more detection devices,” said Jill Johnston, chief executive of KJB Security Products in Nashville. “There are just a lot more things to spy on you with. It’s really changing our business model, to be honest.”

Also popular are radio frequency, or R.F., detectors that can pick up signals emitted by surveillance devices. While you can get them for as little as $40, the better models start at $300 and can cost as much as $8,000, depending on their ability to analyze and differentiate signals.

Like old-fashioned metal detectors, R.F. detectors often produce a beep or tone that gets louder the closer you get to a transmitting radio signal. The more expensive versions have digital displays that detail the various radio frequencies detected and where they may be coming from.

Most environments today are filled with radio signals. Unless you get the most expensive gear and the associated training offered by the manufacturer, you’re going to have a hard time knowing whether your place is bugged or you’re picking up a signal from your neighbor’s Wi-Fi or your wireless computer mouse or Bluetooth speaker. To reduce the number of false positives, security experts recommend first turning off or unplugging all your devices before you start your scan.

Browsing Amazon and other online stores like Brickhouse Security and Spygadgets.com can also help. You’ll see that cameras and microphones don’t always look like cameras and microphones. They can look like smoke detectors, water bottles, air fresheners, cellphone chargers, pens, key chains, coffee makers, space heaters, birdhouses and plush toys.

Of course, you can always get professional help. But a professional sweep of a home or an office can range from $1,500 to more than $10,000, depending on the size of the space, the number of nooks and crannies, and the amount of clutter.

USA Bug Sweeps, a surveillance detection firm in Freehold, N.J., specializes in residential bug detection and does as many as three sweeps a day versus maybe one or two a week three years ago. Jimmie Mesis, the company’s chief executive, attributes the surge to recent news reports about cameras being hidden in homes by creepy landlords or handymen.

“For every one camera that’s been found, there have probably been a hundred cameras that haven’t been found,” Mr. Mesis said.

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Today on Fox News, Nov. 15, 2019

STAY TUNED:

On Fox News: 

Stay with Fox News for team coverage of Day 2 of the public Trump impeachment inquiry hearings all day Friday, on all platforms.

Fox & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: Special guests include: Donald Trump Jr.; RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel; Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Fox Business:

Mornings with Maria, 6 a.m. ET: Wilbur Ross, U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

On Fox News Radio:

The Fox News Rundown podcast: “‘This Isn’t Like Watergate’: Utah Rep. Chris Stewart Says Public Hearings Making Trump ‘Stronger’” – The first public impeachment hearing against President Trump is in the books. Following the hearing, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused President Trump of bribery. Meanwhile, Republicans say all the Democrats’ evidence is based on hearsay. Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S.’s former ambassador to Ukraine, is set to testify publicly Friday. Congressman Chris Stewart (R-UT),  who questioned both witnesses on Wednesday,  previews today’s hearing and discusses if there is even a case for impeachment.

Also on the Rundown: The 1975 disappearance of Teamsters labor leader Jimmy Hoffa is one of our country’s most famous unsolved mysteries. FOX News Channel Correspondent Eric Shawn has been investigating Hoffa’s death for two decades. Fox Nation will be releasing a second season of “Riddle: The Search for James R. Hoffa”, a docuseries based on Shawn’s quest to find the truth. Eric Shawn joins the Rundown to discuss the latest revelations in the Hoffa case and the controversy surrounding director Martin Scorsese’s new movie about Hoffa & alleged hitman Frank Sheeran, “The Irishman.”

Don’t miss the good news with Tonya J. Powers. Plus, commentary by FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace.

Want the Fox News Rundown sent straight to your mobile device? Subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher.

The Brian Kilmeade Show, 9 a.m. ET: Coverage of Day 2 of the public Trump impeachment inquiry hearings. Special guests include: Daniel Henninger, deputy editorial page director of The Wall Street Journal; Shannon Bream, host of “Fox News @ Night”; Geraldo Rivera, Fox News correspondent-at-large.

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Venice suffers worst flooding in 50 years, mayor blames climate change

Venice is in a state of emergency as the Italian city deals with the aftermath of one of the worst floods in its history.

Late on Tuesday (Nov. 12), high tides from the surrounding lagoon surged onto the more than 100 islands that make up Venice, flooding 85% of the city and damaging artwork and many historic sites, Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted. Photos and videos posted on social media show the intense flood turning alleyways into rushing rivers, stranding large water taxis in public plazas, and drenching some of the city’s most iconic historic sites — including St. Mark’s Basilica, completed in 1092.

According to the local tide monitoring center, water levels from the flood peaked at 6.1 feet (1.87 meters) last night — the highest floodwaters in more than 50 years, and the second highest ever recorded in Venice. (The tide reached 6.3 feet, or 1.94 m, in November 1966.)

Venice is susceptible to some flooding — or “aqua alta,” as it’s regionally known — every year when high tides mix with heavy rain and strong winds. However, Brugnaro noted, yesterday’s intense surge was exceptional, and almost certainly linked to the increasingly powerful storms fueled by global warming.

“These are the effects of climate change,” Brugnaro tweeted. “The costs will be high.”

Of the 10 highest tides in Venice since record-keeping began in 1923, five have occurred in the last 20 years, including the current flood and one in 2018, BBC meteorologist Nikki Berry reported. Both events were tied to strong storm surges blowing northeastward across the Adriatic Sea (Venice is located on the northern seashore), thanks in part to changing patterns in the jet stream. These jet-stream patterns are likely to continue, leading to more frequent and intense storms, as climate change escalates, Berry wrote.

That puts Venice — which is already sinking at a rate of a few millimeters per year — at risk of more annual damage like this. To mitigate this damage, the Italian government has been developing a series of barriers and floodgates known as the Mose Project since the 1980s. The project, which was first tested in 2013, has cost billions of euros and may finally be ready for implementation in 2021, the BBC reported.

Two people have been reported dead from flood-related accidents since Tuesday. A man living on Pellestrina, one of the many islands that make up the Venetian lagoon, died of electrocution while attempting to start a water pump in his home. Another man was reported dead in his home in an unrelated incident.

St. Mark’s Basilica, the iconic cathedral sitting in Venice’s central piazza, was flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years (four of those floods occurred in the past 20 years, The Guardian reported). According to Brugnaro, the landmark suffered “grave damage” to its structural columns and the crypt was completely flooded. Water damage appears rampant through the city’s many shops, hotels and landmarks.

More “very high” tides and flooding are expected throughout the week, Venice’s weather office said.

Originally published on Live Science.

Westlake Legal Group water-taxi-venice Venice suffers worst flooding in 50 years, mayor blames climate change LiveScience fox-news/science/planet-earth/climate fnc/science fnc e00703f7-3ce4-5cf0-b530-7f56b9754487 Brandon Specktor article   Westlake Legal Group water-taxi-venice Venice suffers worst flooding in 50 years, mayor blames climate change LiveScience fox-news/science/planet-earth/climate fnc/science fnc e00703f7-3ce4-5cf0-b530-7f56b9754487 Brandon Specktor article

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