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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 80)

28 Years Ago, Big Oil Predicted It Would Take A High Price On Carbon To Stop Warming

As far back as 1991, the Canadian arm of Exxon Mobil Corp.’s empire anticipated that a high tax on carbon emissions would be necessary to maintain a stable climate, newly released documents show. 

HuffPost reviewed the documents, which show that Imperial Oil ― Canada’s No. 2 petroleum producer, which the world’s largest publicly-traded oil company has long owned ― hired a consulting firm to model which price on carbon would deliver the emissions cuts officials in Ottawa were looking to impose. 

This was in the early 1990s, when awareness of global warming had started to go mainstream and talk of regulation seemed to be increasing. An April 1991 memo that then-chief executive A.R. Haynes signed showed it would take a tax of “$55 per tonne of CO2” for Canada “to stabilize CO2 emissions,” roughly the equivalent of $88.50 in today’s Canadian dollars. In United States dollars, that translates to about $41 per metric ton in 1991, or $78 per metric ton in 2019 ― far higher than anything either country has considered. 

Imagine the alternate history where the oil industry called for a [$78 per ton] carbon tax. Gernot Wagner, New York University’s Department of Environmental Studies

Compare that to the leading carbon tax proposal in the 1990s, which called for a price starting at a nickel in 2000 and rising to $2 per metric ton by 2100. The $78 per ton tax was even higher than the roughly $40 per ton carbon price the Obama administration considered and that Exxon Mobil endorsed as part of an ill-fated effort led by a handful of Republican elder statesmen in 2017. 

A 1993 internal Imperial Oil document stated that “very high levels of tax would be required to achieve a CO2 stabilization target.”

The revelations come just weeks after the New York attorney general argued in court that Exxon Mobil misled investors by lowballing the impact carbon pricing would have on the value of its tar sands projects in Canada. Though Imperial suggested in the 1991 memo that the carbon tax best suited to leveling out the country’s emissions was economically unworkable, the document shows the company grasped the magnitude of the looming crisis yet proceeded to misinform the public on the risks. 

“Imperial is committed to making further contributions to sound public policy on global warming and to undertaking actions now that make sense in their own right,” the memo read. “This will include widely sharing these findings, updating its inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, funding climate change research programs, implementing economic energy efficiency opportunities, pursuing CO2 disposal opportunities and enhancing the technical and commercial potential of alternative transportation fuels.” 

‘Climate Policy Nowadays Would Look Very Different’

Instead, Imperial joined in its parent company’s decadeslong misinformation campaign to obscure the threat emissions posed to planetary stability. 

In 1998, Imperial’s then-CEO Robert Peterson wrote that “carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but an essential ingredient of life on this planet.” In 2004, the company boasted to its shareholders about investing 10-figure sums in new drilling, primarily in Canada’s tar sands, among the world’s dirtiest sources of oil. Last year, the behemoth ramped up oil and gas production to 383,000 barrels per day, up from 375,000 barrels per day in 2017. Profits topped $2.3 billion, or $1.7 billion U.S. dollars, a “best-ever result” barring 2016, when asset sales inflated the annual income. 

Westlake Legal Group 5de5b7a821000066df34ec69 28 Years Ago, Big Oil Predicted It Would Take A High Price On Carbon To Stop Warming

Mark Blinch / Reuters Wildfires erupt behind a car on the highway near Fort McMurray, Alberta, in May 2016.

The previously unpublished 1991 documents, surfaced by the advocacy groups DeSmog and Climate Investigations Center, come from a trove of documents found in the Glenbow Museum archive in the Canadian oil-producing province of Alberta. The first cache, published in 2016, showed that Imperial Oil, like Exxon Mobil, understood the climate effects of burning fossil fuels for decades before embarking on a public relations effort to seed doubt over the realities of global warming.

The latest documents at least partially rewrite the history of the carbon pricing debate, illustrating yet another road not taken once the industry adopted a strategy of denying the realities of climate science in a bid to delay regulation. 

“Imagine the alternate history where the oil industry called for a [$78 per ton] carbon tax,” said Gernot Wagner, an energy economist and associate professor at New York University’s Department of Environmental Studies. “Lobbying around this would have been very different in the ’90s had the [$78] figure emerged as the right metric to rally around. Climate policy nowadays would look very different.”

Neither Imperial nor Exxon Mobil responded Monday to requests for comment. 

It’s critical to consider the political context in Canada at the time. The country was considering a “Green Plan” in a bid to catch up to major environmental laws passed in the United States. Climate change started to gain international attention. The first global climate summit in Rio de Janeiro was just a year away. In a bid to get ahead, Canadian policymakers attempted to leapfrog the tepid efforts the George H.W. Bush administration was making in the U.S. at the time. 

“They either saw this as a threat or an opportunity to make a point about carbon taxes,” said Kert Davies, the founder of the Climate Investigations Center. “The fact that the Canadian policy arena was years ahead of the U.S. was forcing Imperial to behave differently than Exxon.” 

‘Bleak’

The new documents come as the climate crisis is nearing a tipping point, with average temperatures currently on pace to rise by 3.2 degrees Celsius above the baseline average temperature at the start of the industrial era, according to United Nations projections published in November. A separate study last month found the world’s 10 biggest fossil fuel-producing countries are on course to drill 120% more oil, gas and coal by 2030 than would be consistent with keeping warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius, beyond which scientists project catastrophic change. 

Lobbying around this would have been very different in the ’90s had the [$78] figure emerged as the right metric to rally around. Gernot Wagner, New York University’s Department of Environmental Studies

The U.N. called the projections last month “bleak.” As it is, billion-dollar disasters are already surging by the year, and scientists say the unprecedented economic changes required to keep warming at levels that could sustain a climate similar to today’s demand political interventions that go far beyond pricing signals that reflect the social cost of emissions. 

But taxing carbon emissions is widely viewed as an important tool to hasten the shift away from fossil fuels. Existing proposals to do that range widely. Canada started implementing a $15 per ton carbon tax this year that will rise to $38 per ton in 2022. 

In the U.S., the Climate Leadership Council, a nonprofit backed by oil giants, is campaigning for a $40 per ton tax that originally promised to protect oil producers from liability in the growing number of municipal and state lawsuits accusing companies of deliberately misleading the public about climate change, though the group said it has since abandoned that provision. A bill backed by dozens of Democrats and one Republican in Congress would impose a $15 per ton carbon tax that increases by between $10 and $15 each year and could top $100 per ton by 2030. 

Other proposals project the need for a much higher price. In October, the International Monetary Fund called for a $75 per ton carbon tax by 2030. That same month, Wagner published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that pegged the price at something closer to $100 per ton, and probably more.

The median value of carbon dioxide emissions’ cost to society in a September 2018 paper published in Nature was $400 per ton. 

Had Imperial Oil publicized the findings of its carbon tax projections, the dominant 1990s model “would have looked laughably conservative” calling for a tax of $2 per metric ton, Wagner said. The company’s report said its commissioned study projected devastating impacts on Canada’s economy under a high carbon tax, with losses to gross domestic product of $100 billion in 1991 Canadian dollars between 1990 and 2005. The paper urged balance between “the environmental and economic needs of our society.” 

“It would have shown that a lot more complex climate policies would be necessary,” Wagner said. “This adds a big new element to this carbon pricing history.” 

This article has been updated to include additional comment from the Climate Leadership Council.

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Danika Patrick celebrates boyfriend Aaron Rodgers’ birthday with sweet Instagram pic

Westlake Legal Group danica20patrick20AP Danika Patrick celebrates boyfriend Aaron Rodgers' birthday with sweet Instagram pic Nate Day fox-news/person/danica-patrick fox-news/person/aaron-rodgers fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc dfb9c178-19cf-51b8-b75c-d2455523ea43 article

As Aaron Rodgers turned 36 today, his girlfriend Danica Patrick wished him a very happy birthday on Instagram.

The pro racecar driver posted a photo of herself, 37, and her quarterback beau smiling ear-to-ear on the beach.

Patrick captioned the photo, “Happy birthday to my best friend and favorite person in the world!!!!! You are the one I want to tell my best and worst days to first.”

JADA PINKETT SMITH ‘LOST’ HERSELF IN SUPPORTING HUSBAND WILL SMITH’S CAREER, MOM SAYS

“I am so grateful the universe made you,” she continued. “The star dust started it all, but you have done nothing but make it better every year of your life. Thank you for being the loving, generous, thoughtful, patient, fun, funny, spontaneous, talented, smart, and uber attractive man, that I get to walk through life with.”

She concluded the post by saying: “This journey we are on…. it’s a really really good one. I love you. ❤️ Happiest of birthdays yet!!!!!!”

Patrick recently spoke about her relationship with Rodgers on “The Jenny McCarthy Show,” saying they could get married “tomorrow.”

GARTH BROOKS’ EX-WIFE STUNS SINGER WITH REVELATIONS IN NEW TV DOCUMENTARY

“You know what, that’s one of those things,” said Patrick. “You can’t be attached to something going a certain way because if you really want something to happen, there’s that equal energy of being afraid that it’s not going to happen.”

“So you just have to let it go and be like, ‘Well, am I having fun today? Yep.’ Then life’s good,” she added. “I’ll probably get proposed to tomorrow now.”

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The duo met at the ESPY Awards in 201 and went public with their relationship in January of 2018.

Westlake Legal Group danica20patrick20AP Danika Patrick celebrates boyfriend Aaron Rodgers' birthday with sweet Instagram pic Nate Day fox-news/person/danica-patrick fox-news/person/aaron-rodgers fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc dfb9c178-19cf-51b8-b75c-d2455523ea43 article   Westlake Legal Group danica20patrick20AP Danika Patrick celebrates boyfriend Aaron Rodgers' birthday with sweet Instagram pic Nate Day fox-news/person/danica-patrick fox-news/person/aaron-rodgers fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc dfb9c178-19cf-51b8-b75c-d2455523ea43 article

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Peloton sparks sexism outcry, mockery for holiday ad showing husband gifting wife an exercise bike

Westlake Legal Group Peloton-girl Peloton sparks sexism outcry, mockery for holiday ad showing husband gifting wife an exercise bike Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/media fox-news/health fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 699e96af-fafa-52eb-a137-ae816d88f213

Peloton dominated social media on Monday after an ad promoting its exercise bike triggered an avalanche of criticism.

The ad, which initially debuted online in November, features a husband surprising his wife on Christmas morning with an exercise bike, showing her gasping with shock after lifting her hand from her eyes.

“A Peloton?!?” the wife exclaimed in disbelief.

The commercial then shows the wife continuously documenting her use of the exercise bike throughout the year via video diaries, which is followed by her showing her husband a compilation video displaying the progress she made.

“A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me,” the wife said to her husband about her Peloton. “Thank you.”

‘TIME’S UP’ GROUP DEMANDS NBC TO ‘STOP PROTECTING POWERFUL MEN’ FOLLOWING GABRIELLE UNION REPORT

Vice declared that the woman in the ad is “absolutely not OK” and that the commercial is a “30-second tale of one [her] desperate journey into wellness hell.”

“Her grim motivation that pushes her to drag herself out of bed combined with exclaiming at the camera how blatantly, inexplicably nervous the Peloton makes her paint a bleak portrait of a woman in the thrall of a machine designed to erode her spirit as it sculpts her quads,” Vice’s Katie Way wrote. “Titled “The Gift That Gives Back,” the 30-second commercial is a mere glimpse into the barrage of horror its protagonist, a young wife and mother, slogs through daily.”

Others took to Twitter and mocked the ad.

“Sorry to shake things up but I’m excited to announce I’m throwing my hat in the ring and joining the presidential race and running on the single issue platform to jail everyone involved in the pitching, scripting, acting, shooting, and approval of the Peloton ad,”  writer Bess Kalb reacted.

Peloton did not immediately respond to an email from Fox News.

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Westlake Legal Group Peloton-girl Peloton sparks sexism outcry, mockery for holiday ad showing husband gifting wife an exercise bike Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/media fox-news/health fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 699e96af-fafa-52eb-a137-ae816d88f213   Westlake Legal Group Peloton-girl Peloton sparks sexism outcry, mockery for holiday ad showing husband gifting wife an exercise bike Joseph Wulfsohn fox-news/tech/companies/twitter fox-news/media fox-news/health fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 699e96af-fafa-52eb-a137-ae816d88f213

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Sean Hannity questions Georgia gov’s Senate pick, presses for ‘rock star’ Rep. Doug Collins

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6111261872001_6111260058001-vs Sean Hannity questions Georgia gov's Senate pick, presses for 'rock star' Rep. Doug Collins fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 358ef968-575d-5a26-a727-310ffa349e05

Sean Hannity panned Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s expected appointee to the U.S. Senate Monday night, saying that Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga was “the single best choice to fill that Senate seat.”

Incumbent Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., is retiring at the end of the year due to health issues. Kemp, a Republican, is expected to choose business executive Kelly Loeffler, a member of the WNBA Atlanta Dream’s ownership group and, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a six-figure donor to 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s political action committee.

Hannity said on his Fox News program that Kemp should appoint Collins, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and a staunch defender of President Trump, to fill the seat, calling the 53-year-old a “rock star.”

MATT GAETZ BACKS TRUMP PICK FOR GEORGIA SENATE SEAT, WARNS GOVERNOR TO DO THE SAME

“I have no idea what the Republican governor of Georgia is doing,” he said. “[Collins] single-handedly helped spearhead the GOP’s impeachment-coup-resistance with great, great courage and conviction — unlike so many others. I don’t know why the governor of Georgia … Brian Kemp is appointing someone who appears to be an untested, big-Republican Romney donor described by many as a ‘RINO’.”

Hannity added he has invited Kemp, who defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams in 2018, on his syndicated radio show and Fox News program but said that the governor has thus far declined.

During an interview with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., a Trump supporter who has sparred on Twitter with Kemp and some of his allies, Hannity joked that the lawmaker was being considered an “interloper” in his neighboring state’s politics.

“[Donald Trump] told you how to be supportive: Appoint Rep. Doug Collins,” Gaetz — whose Florida panhandle district borders Georgia — tweeted at Kemp on Friday. “You are ignoring his request because you THINK you know better than POTUS.”

In response to one of Gaetz’s tweets, Ryan Mahoney — who the Journal-Constitution identified as a Kemp aide — tweeted that the Florida lawmaker should “mind [his] own business” and appeared to jokingly claim he played with “Pokemon cards” and “legos.”

In another tweet, Gaetz responded to criticism of his own comments about the expected choice of Loeffler by claiming Kemp’s team is “so scared of Stacey Abrams that you’re making a bad Senate pick.”

“You forgot why and how you won,” he added.

Kemp appeared to take the critiques in stride, tweeting Friday that the “attacks and games are absolutely absurd. Frankly, I could care less what the political establishment thinks. Happy Thanksgiving.”

Loeffler is the CEO of financial services firm Bakkt, which offers a regulated market for Bitcoin. She was previously an executive at Intercontinental Exchange, a firm founded by her husband that owns the New York Stock Exchange. Bakkt is a subsidiary of Intercontinental Exchange.

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Isakson’s Senate seat will be up for grabs again in November 2020 in a special election that will determine who serves the final two years of his term. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., another Trump ally, will be on the ballot that same year.

A Loeffler victory in 2020 would make her the first woman elected to the Senate from Georgia. However, Collins has left the door open to challenging her in what would be a 2020 Republican senatorial primary battle. Trump was also a big supporter of Kemp in his tight 2018 race against Abrams.

Fox News’ Dominick Calicchio and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6111261872001_6111260058001-vs Sean Hannity questions Georgia gov's Senate pick, presses for 'rock star' Rep. Doug Collins fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 358ef968-575d-5a26-a727-310ffa349e05   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6111261872001_6111260058001-vs Sean Hannity questions Georgia gov's Senate pick, presses for 'rock star' Rep. Doug Collins fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/georgia fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/shows/hannity fox-news/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry fox-news/politics/senate/republicans fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/republicans fox-news/politics/elections/republicans fox-news/politics/2020-senate-races fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc Charles Creitz article 358ef968-575d-5a26-a727-310ffa349e05

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Jay Leno speaks out after Gabrielle Union’s ‘AGT’ exit

Jay Leno has shared his thoughts on Gabrielle Union’s exit from “America’s Got Talent.”

Last week, news broke that Union, 47, and Julianne Hough, 31, would exit “AGT” with reports saying the departure was a result of an alleged “toxic” workplace at the show. (Hough has denied the report.)

According to Variety, Union allegedly was subject to various racially-motivated criticisms. Union was also reportedly not a fan of a racially insensitive joke made by Jay Leno on set.

JULIANNE HOUGH DENIES LEAVING ‘AMERICA’S GOT TALENT’ DUE TO ‘TOXIC’ WORKPLACE CULTURE

On Sunday, TMZ spoke with Leno, 69, about working with Union on the show and while he refused to discuss the joke the actress cited, he shared his thoughts on Union herself.

“I love Gabrielle Union, she’s a great girl. I really enjoyed working with her, she’s really good,” said Leno.

DWAYNE WADE SAYS GABRIELLE UNION WAS FIRED FROM ‘AGT,’ PRAISES WIFE FOR ‘STANDING UP FOR WHAT SHE STANDS FOR’

When asked whether Union was treated fairly, Leno simply said: “I don’t know, but I think she’s a great girl.”

Variety reported that during the filming of an interstitial segment, Leno joked about a painting that featured Simon Cowell surrounded by dogs. Leno joked that the dogs looked like something one could find “on the menu at a Korean restaurant” — much to the chagrin of “the very few Asian staffers” on the show. The comment was later edited out of the Aug. 6 episode.

Westlake Legal Group Jay-Leno-Gabrielle-Union Jay Leno speaks out after Gabrielle Union's 'AGT' exit Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 9fbce6a0-60ce-58ae-87f1-5ce9557a3a7b

Gabrielle Union was reportedly not a fan of a racially insensitive joke made by Jay Leno on the ‘America’s Got Talent’ set. (Getty)

Union allegedly urged producers to report the incident to NBC’s human resources department — however her pleas fell on deaf ears.

The report also alleged that Union was subject to various racially-motivated criticisms, including over her many hairstyle changes, which were perceived as “too black” for “AGT’s” core demographic. Union reportedly received that critique more than half a dozen times.

NBC and the producers of “AGT” released a joint statement on Sunday, explaining that they’re still working their way through the situation.

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“We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture,” the statement said. “We are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate.”

Westlake Legal Group Jay-Leno-Gabrielle-Union Jay Leno speaks out after Gabrielle Union's 'AGT' exit Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 9fbce6a0-60ce-58ae-87f1-5ce9557a3a7b   Westlake Legal Group Jay-Leno-Gabrielle-Union Jay Leno speaks out after Gabrielle Union's 'AGT' exit Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/events/scandal fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 9fbce6a0-60ce-58ae-87f1-5ce9557a3a7b

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On Thanksgiving, elk with love of apples gets tangled up in North Carolina man’s hammock

An elk in western North Carolina caused quite the commotion on Thanksgiving.

Jim Beaver says he gets visitors often, mainly elks who eat apples in his yard and play with his red hammock.

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“They can be really quiet; we often will be sitting on the porch and look up and see 4-6 of them having quietly wandered in the yard to eat apples,” Beaver told  WLOS-TV.

This time, a visitor came and couldn’t quite leave.

Multiple news outlets reported that Jim Beaver told the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday that an elk was stuck in his yard with its antlers tangled up in a hammock.

Westlake Legal Group Tangled-Elk On Thanksgiving, elk with love of apples gets tangled up in North Carolina man’s hammock Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/us fnc article 04c97e39-3ad7-5662-868e-b390cf871487

In this Nov. 28, 2019, photo provided by Jim Beaver, an elk stands stuck with a hammock in Beaver’s yard in Maggie Valley, N.C. on Thanksgiving. (Jim Beaver via AP)

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Beaver said he didn’t free the elk himself, in case the animal decided to attack.

So he called the cops.

The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office on Facebook said Cpl. Ken Stiles climbed onto the roof, cut the hammock and freed the animal.

Westlake Legal Group Tangled-elk-2 On Thanksgiving, elk with love of apples gets tangled up in North Carolina man’s hammock Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/us fnc article 04c97e39-3ad7-5662-868e-b390cf871487

Cpl. Ken Stiles climbed onto the roof, cut the hammock and freed the elk. (Haywood County Sheriff’s Office)

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But not for long: apparently a love of apples is to blame.

Beaver told WLOS-TV that the elk, with pieces of the red hammock still in its antlers, has returned to the house a few times to feast.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Tangled-Elk On Thanksgiving, elk with love of apples gets tangled up in North Carolina man’s hammock Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/us fnc article 04c97e39-3ad7-5662-868e-b390cf871487   Westlake Legal Group Tangled-Elk On Thanksgiving, elk with love of apples gets tangled up in North Carolina man’s hammock Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/north-carolina fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature fox news fnc/us fnc article 04c97e39-3ad7-5662-868e-b390cf871487

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White House Lifts Mysterious Hold on Military Aid to Lebanon

Westlake Legal Group 02dc-diplo2-facebookJumbo White House Lifts Mysterious Hold on Military Aid to Lebanon United States Politics and Government United States International Relations State Department Office of Management and Budget (US) Lebanon Foreign Aid Defense and Military Forces

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration told Congress on Monday that it had lifted a hold last week on $105 million of military aid to Lebanon that budget officials had imposed without explanation.

In recent weeks, lawmakers and reporters had asked administration officials about the mysterious monthslong hold, which echoed the freeze of military aid to Ukraine over the summer, but got no answers. On Monday, a senior State Department official said the Lebanon aid was good to go.

The freeze on Ukraine aid by President Trump is at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry. Mr. Trump, his personal lawyer and aides pressured Ukrainian leaders for personal political favors while holding up $391 million of military aid.

Administration officials said that in the cases of Ukraine and Lebanon, the Office of Management and Budget, part of the White House, had shut off the aid. Two congressional officials said on Nov. 1 that members of the National Security Council staff had asked the budget office for the freeze on aid to Lebanon.

Administration officials halted the funding to the Lebanese Armed Forces, which Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department had approved, at a critical time. Lebanon has been shaken by the country’s largest street protests since its independence in 1943 and a change in leadership forced by the demonstrations.

Analysts said the holdup could give Iran and Russia an opening to exert greater influence over the Lebanese military, and perhaps even allow the Islamic State and Al Qaeda to gain greater footholds in the country. Iran and Russia are giving military support to the brutal government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, which borders Lebanon.

Although administration officials notified Congress on Monday that they had reversed the decision on Lebanon, according to two congressional aides, it was still unclear why the aid had been frozen in the first place.

Some congressional officials have said foreign policy specialists sought to cut off the aid out of fear that the funding could end up helping Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Shiite group. In some right-wing circles, concern has been growing over Hezbollah’s influence in the Lebanese government and possibly the military.

Several Republicans in Congress, led by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, have backed a measure that would withhold 20 percent of American military assistance to Lebanon unless the president can certify that the Lebanese military is taking “necessary steps to end Hezbollah and Iran’s influence” over the Lebanese Armed Forces, Mr. Cruz said.

Both the State Department and Pentagon, however, have pushed to ensure that aid continues to flow to the Lebanese Armed Forces, arguing that the military serves as a significant counterweight to both Hezbollah and Sunni extremist elements. The military is a multisectarian part of the government.

Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, traveled last week to the American Embassy in Lebanon. Mr. Murphy said in a statement on Monday afternoon that he was “relieved” the aid was unfrozen. But Monday morning, before news agencies reported that the hold had been lifted, he criticized the administration’s decision.

“It was very clear in Ukraine what they needed to do to get the money released. When I was there” in Lebanon, he said in an interview, “it was very murky. I went there, and all we knew was that the money was not flowing and no one would say on the record why.”

The aid to Lebanon had been held since at least late June, around the same period the aid to Ukraine was frozen, according to David Hale, the third-ranking official at the State Department. Mr. Hale talked with lawmakers during a closed-door House impeachment inquiry hearing on Nov. 6 about the holds on aid to the two countries, according to a transcript.

He said that on July 23, he learned via an email that the top State Department official in charge of Middle East policy had spoken to an official at the Pentagon about the mystery over the delays in Lebanon and Ukraine aid. The “two of them speculated, was this a new normal on assistance?” Mr. Hale said.

“The aid package to Lebanon was also being held in the same fashion,” Mr. Hale said.

He added that there was a wider review of foreign assistance taking place “to re-establish the norms that guide the assistance that we provide overseas.”

It was on July 23, he said, that the Office of Management and Budget said in a lower-level interagency meeting that the Ukraine aid had been suspended. He said the State Department was never given formal or informal communication about the rationale for the suspension of military aid to Lebanon.

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Eddie Van Halen’s son defends Billie Eilish over not knowing his dad’s band

Westlake Legal Group Billie-Eilish-2 Eddie Van Halen's son defends Billie Eilish over not knowing his dad's band Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/rock fox-news/entertainment/genres/pop fox-news/entertainment/genres/alternative fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c98a5de1-cc50-51cb-b4af-457785f410bc article

Eddie Van Halen‘s son has spoken out after pop star Billie Eilish admitted to not knowing about the band Van Halen.

During a recent appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the eponymous host discussed Eilish’s success at such a young age. During the segment, 17-year-old Eilish responded, “Who?” when Kimmel, 52, asked her to “name a Van Halen.”

The revelation drew shock from viewers.

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“Billie Eilish didn’t know who Van Halen was,” a fan wrote on Twitter. “I’m sobbing.”

On Monday, Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolf, who plays bass in the band, jumped to Eilish’s defense.

“If you haven’t heard of @billieeilish, go check her out,” tweeted the musician, also the son of television star Valerie Bertinelli. “She’s cool. If you haven’t heard of @VanHalen, go check them out. They’re cool too.”

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The musician, 28, continued: “Music is supposed to bring us together, not divide us. Listen to what you want and don’t shame others for not knowing what you like.”

Nine Inch Nails art director Rob Sheridan also weighed in.

“Imagine being a teen in the 90s and people being shocked that you didn’t know or care about Perry Como. Because THAT’S HOW OLD VAN HALEN IS NOW,” he tweeted.

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Eilish, who recently made Grammy history as the youngest person to ever be nominated in the four major categories (Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist), also admitted to not being familiar with Huey Lewis, Run-DMC and Cabbage Patch Kids.

She added that she was aware of Madonna and Cyndi Lauper.

Westlake Legal Group Billie-Eilish-2 Eddie Van Halen's son defends Billie Eilish over not knowing his dad's band Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/rock fox-news/entertainment/genres/pop fox-news/entertainment/genres/alternative fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c98a5de1-cc50-51cb-b4af-457785f410bc article   Westlake Legal Group Billie-Eilish-2 Eddie Van Halen's son defends Billie Eilish over not knowing his dad's band Nate Day fox-news/entertainment/music fox-news/entertainment/genres/rock fox-news/entertainment/genres/pop fox-news/entertainment/genres/alternative fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc c98a5de1-cc50-51cb-b4af-457785f410bc article

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Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway says she regrets her ties to Jeffrey Epstein

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway is speaking out about meeting accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

“I never would have associated with Mr. Epstein if I had been aware of the seriousness of the crimes he committed,” the 46-year-old told Norwegian daily publication Dagens Næringsliv on Monday.

“Through years of work with questions regarding international health issues, I have witnessed firsthand the kind of damage sexual assault does to women and children,” she continued. “We all have a responsibility to fight sexual assault and to support the victims. I wish to express my deepest sympathy and solidarity to the victims of Jeffrey Epstein.”

A rep for the royal house of Norway confirmed to Fox News Mette-Marit stood by her statement to the outlet.

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Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1176005000 Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway says she regrets her ties to Jeffrey Epstein Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 0e1506e8-cb8c-5c9d-8aa5-c1fb6bfb81a5

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway addresses the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair this past October. ((Photo by Frank Rumpenhorst / dpa / AFP))

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The royal palace also confirmed to the outlet that Mette-Marit and Epstein met “socially, mostly in the United States.” One meeting did occur in Norway’s capital Oslo.

“One of the meetings took place at Mr. Epstein’s home,” said Guri Varpe, head of communications at the palace. “The crown princess also had a brief meeting with Mr. Epstein while he was in Oslo. There were other people present in all the meetings. When the crown princess and the crown prince were on vacation in St. Barts in 2012, they ran into Mr. Epstein on the street. Crown Prince Haakon [Mette-Marit’s husband] then met Epstein for the first and only time.”

Varpe also shared the royal couple was not aware of Epstein’s past.

“During the time the crown princess had contact with Mr. Epstein, she was not aware of the scope, nor the character of the crimes he had been convicted of, and subsequently served time in jail. She was naturally not aware of the crimes that have been uncovered later.”

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Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1181257496 Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway says she regrets her ties to Jeffrey Epstein Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 0e1506e8-cb8c-5c9d-8aa5-c1fb6bfb81a5

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway. (Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

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“In 2013, Mette-Marit chose to conclude her association with Mr. Epstein,” Varpe continued. “Partly, this was because she felt that Mr. Epstein attempted to trade on the relationship he had to the crown princess, and use it for his own gain in other relations.”

The outlet shared they had investigated any Norwegian connections Epstein may have had. According to their investigation, Epstein and Mette-Marit have met several times between 2011 and 2013 after being introduced through mutual acquaintances.

The outlet alleged Epstein attempted to bring one “Eastern European woman to Norway” eight or nine years ago. While Epstein visited Norway at least once during the 2010s, none of the private jets connected to the disgraced financier are registered as visiting Norway at that time.

Britain’s Prince Andrew is facing intense media scrutiny after Virginia Roberts claimed she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with the Duke of York on three occasions nearly 20 years ago.

CHAOS REIGNS: BRITISH MONARCHY STAGGERS FROM ONE SCANDAL TO ANOTHER WITH NO END IN SIGHT

Westlake Legal Group da51abe8-Prince-Andrew-split Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway says she regrets her ties to Jeffrey Epstein Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 0e1506e8-cb8c-5c9d-8aa5-c1fb6bfb81a5

Prince Andrew (right) is dealing with harsh backlash from critics and media personalities over an interview about his relationship with now-deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and the numerous sexual assault allegations against the British royal. (Getty)

PRINCE ANDREW’S JEFFREY EPSTEIN WOES ARE FAR FROM OVER DESPITE STEPPING DOWN FROM ROYAL DUTIES

Roberts, now known as Virginia Giuffre, spoke out on a BBC interviewing airing Monday evening in the UK where she addressed the 59-year-old’s denial of her allegations against him.

“He knows what happened, I know what happened, and there’s only one of us telling the truth,” she declared.

The BBC aired an interview with Prince Andrew Nov. 14, in which the second son of Elizabeth II discussed his friendship with Epstein and the sexual assault allegations against him. The royal claimed he had “no recollection of ever meeting” Roberts, “none whatsoever.” The Duke of York also implied that a now-famous photograph showing him with his hand around Roberts’ waist was doctored.

“I have absolutely no memory of that photograph,” the prince insisted. “I’m afraid to say that I don’t believe that photograph was taken in the way that has been suggested.”

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Westlake Legal Group Andrew-Accuser Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway says she regrets her ties to Jeffrey Epstein Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 0e1506e8-cb8c-5c9d-8aa5-c1fb6bfb81a5

Photo from 2001 shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Roberts. In the background is Epstein’s girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. (U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals)

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The interview has been widely considered a public relations disaster for Andrew, who announced shortly after it aired that he would be stepping down from his royal duties.

Roberts has claimed Epstein paid her to have sex with Prince Andrew on three occasions starting in 2001, including once in London. She says she was 17 when they first had sex.

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Epstein died Aug. 10 after being found unconscious in a Manhattan jail cell, where he was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges. His death has been ruled a suicide.

U.S. officials are still looking into the case, and a number of civil lawsuits against Epstein’s estate are in progress.

Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1176005000 Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway says she regrets her ties to Jeffrey Epstein Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 0e1506e8-cb8c-5c9d-8aa5-c1fb6bfb81a5   Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1176005000 Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway says she regrets her ties to Jeffrey Epstein Stephanie Nolasco fox-news/world/personalities/british-royals fox-news/person/jeffrey-epstein fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 0e1506e8-cb8c-5c9d-8aa5-c1fb6bfb81a5

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Khloe Kardashian responds to fan who wishes Tristan Thompson never cheated on her

Westlake Legal Group khloe-kardashian-tristan-thompson-ap Khloe Kardashian responds to fan who wishes Tristan Thompson never cheated on her Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/kardashians fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 971613cf-8213-5089-8853-6e750785f4d4

Khloe Kardashian wishes things were different with her ex, Tristan Thompson, regardless of how well she co-parents the 1-year-old daughter she shares with the former NBA champion.

The reality star was live-tweeting during Sunday’s airing of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” when one fan tweeted at Kardashian, “I wished Tristan never messed up! Him and Khloé were so cute together! #KUWTK.”

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The 35-year-old replied, “Same babe. Same lol #KUWTK but we are co-parenting so well right now. It is a great space to be in. Co-parenting is such a hard space. Much respect to all co-parenters.”

Kardashian broke things off with Thompson, 28, earlier this year after the Cleveland Cavaliers big man found himself enmeshed in an alleged cheating scandal with Kylie Jenner’s former best friend, Jordyn Woods.

During the episode, a remorseful Thompson gifted the mother of his daughter a diamond necklace and massive diamond ring – a “promise” ring, he called the gesture.

KHLOE KARDASHIAN SAYS TRISTAN THOMPSON SPLIT IS ‘STILL RAW’

The reality star famously gave birth to the pair’s daughter, in April last year as reports emerged that accused Thompson of cheating on Kardashian in the days before she went into labor.

After a fan tweeted about Kardashian’s reluctance to accept the gift and spoke to Thompson not respecting her decision to break things off, Kardashian said that she doesn’t dwell on the negativity any longer, adding that the former couple’s daughter deserves to have Thompson in her life.

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“He’s True’s daddy-she deserves to have a loving and awesome father,” Kardashian defended. “Tristan is amazing to her. she deserves that. We all make mistakes in life and none of us are perfect.”

“I’m not gonna hold on to that negativity because it will only hurt myself and the energy that I get to my child.”

Westlake Legal Group khloe-kardashian-tristan-thompson-ap Khloe Kardashian responds to fan who wishes Tristan Thompson never cheated on her Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/kardashians fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 971613cf-8213-5089-8853-6e750785f4d4   Westlake Legal Group khloe-kardashian-tristan-thompson-ap Khloe Kardashian responds to fan who wishes Tristan Thompson never cheated on her Julius Young fox-news/entertainment/kardashians fox-news/entertainment/genres/reality fox-news/entertainment/events/couples fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 971613cf-8213-5089-8853-6e750785f4d4

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