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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 155)

The reinvention of Ralph Northam: Scandal-scarred guv woos left with focus on gun control, race issues

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6039983451001_6039982826001-vs The reinvention of Ralph Northam: Scandal-scarred guv woos left with focus on gun control, race issues Ronn Blitzer fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/person/ralph-northam fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4ba3da7b-e68c-51fb-8b24-dcc7e5887968

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was on the brink of political banishment last year when an old yearbook photo featuring blackface and a KKK costume led to calls for his resignation, but nearly a year later he appears to be not only surviving but thriving.

It was February 2019 when the Democratic governor came under fire for the image, which appeared on his page in Eastern Virginia Medical School’s 1984 yearbook, prompting a call from his own party to step down.

VIRGINIA’S RALPH NORTHAM PUSHES TO REMOVE ROBERT E. LEE STATUE FROM US CAPITOL

“We stand with Democrats across Virginia and the country calling him to immediately resign,” the Virginia Democratic Party said in a statement at the time. The statement called for Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax to take over, “heal Virginia’s wounds and move us forward.”

Northam apologized, but later insisted that he was not one of the people in the photo. The school conducted a 727-hour investigation that could not conclude who was in the image.

Cut to January 2020, and Northam is still in office, leading Democrats who have taken control of both houses of the state legislature for the first time since 1996.

Northam is rehabilitating himself within the party, in large part by championing liberal policies on issues including gun control and marijuana. Proposed gun restrictions include an assault weapons ban, an increase in the minimum age for gun purchases, and required background checks for all sales.

The governor even increased the state’s corrections budget to handle what he expects to be a higher number of incarcerations due to new gun laws.

The Virginia gun control push has drawn national attention, including from gun-rights groups. As Democrats prepared to assume control in Richmond heading into 2020, the proposals led more than 100 Virginia cities, towns, and counties to declare themselves “gun sanctuaries.”

Regarding marijuana, Northam has pushed for decriminalization as part of criminal justice reforms that would also raise the age at which people can be tried as adults and increase the amount needed for a theft to be deemed a felony.

Northam’s initiatives and time in the spotlight essentially mark a return from the political dead — but he benefited in part, ironically, from other scandals in his administration.

GUN CONTROL STANDOFF HEATS UP IN VIRGINIA AS ‘SANCTUARIES’ GROW, BIG VOTES LOOM

First, in the days following the yearbook photo controversy, Fairfax – who was next in line – faced sexual assault allegations from two women. He denied them. On top of that, state Attorney General Mark Herring, who would have been in line after Fairfax, admitted that he also wore blackface in the 1980s when he was 19 years old.

If all three men were pushed into resignation, the governorship would have gone to Speaker of the House of Delegates Kirk Cox, a Republican. Virginia Democrats ultimately dropped the calls for Northam’s resignation, and also backed off calls for Fairfax’s impeachment.

J. Miles Coleman of the University of Virginia Center for Politics said Northam was “lucky” with this turn of events.

“As perception is important in politics, Northam’s transgression seemed relatively less odious,” he told Fox News. “Second, as all three top state officials were ‘tainted’ to some degree, the issue of succession, if one (or all) of them stepped down, seemed like a potentially chaotic prospect.”

Northam made the best of the unlikely turn of events by then making amends with the black community. He hired the state’s first director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and established a commission to go through state statutes and remove provisions left over from the Jim Crow era and other racist language. He also pushed for a change in how black history was taught in schools.

He expressed remorse and acknowledged his past errors. During an event that commemorated the arrival of the first slaves from Africa 400 years earlier, Northam addressed a mostly black audience.

“I’ve had to confront some painful truths,” Northam said. “Among those truths was my own incomplete understanding involving race and equity.”

The mea culpa may have worked in the end.

“Generally, the American public is fairly forgiving,” Coleman said, referring to other incidents involving former governors Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Edwin Edwards of Louisiana. Coleman noted that “part of this may be due to our collectively short memories,” and the rapidly changing news cycles.

“Northam’s approach of simply riding out the storm will likely be used by future politicians in similar situations,” Coleman predicted.

He also posited that the online outrage over Northam’s yearbook photo “didn’t necessarily line up with broader public opinion.”

The result is a situation where the media that once pilloried Northam for the blackface photo have now come to embrace him, with a Washington Post editorial hailing his political resurrection and essentially nixing their prior call for his resignation.

Not everyone was as forgiving, however, as plenty of observers ridiculed the Post for their about-face.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Regardless, the current perception of Northam in his state may best be summed up by what Virginia resident Tanisha Kelly told The New York Times in November, following Democrats’ victory at the polls.

“I kind of forgot about the blackface until you brought it up just now,” she said.

Fox News’ Sam Dorman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6039983451001_6039982826001-vs The reinvention of Ralph Northam: Scandal-scarred guv woos left with focus on gun control, race issues Ronn Blitzer fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/person/ralph-northam fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4ba3da7b-e68c-51fb-8b24-dcc7e5887968   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6039983451001_6039982826001-vs The reinvention of Ralph Northam: Scandal-scarred guv woos left with focus on gun control, race issues Ronn Blitzer fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/virginia fox-news/person/ralph-northam fox news fnc/politics fnc article 4ba3da7b-e68c-51fb-8b24-dcc7e5887968

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Pickering nuclear station ‘incident’ that triggered mass emergency alert in Canada was sent in error

Residents across the greater Toronto area were jolted awake early Sunday by a mass mobile alert sent after an “incident” was reported at a nuclear power plant in Canada that turned out to be sent in error.

The government of Ontario sent out an emergency bulletin on mobile phones around 7:30 a.m. ET about the “incident” at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station in the town of Pickering along Lake Ontario, located about 26 miles northeast of downtown Toronto.

“There has been NO abnormal release of radioactivity from the station,” the alert read. “People near the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station DO NOT need to take any protective actions at this time.”

MINNESOTA RAILROAD TRACKS FILLED WITH PERFECTLY PLACED CORN SPILL FOR MORE THAN THIRD OF A MILE

The emergency alert applied for people within 6.2 miles of the power plant but many in the greater Toronto area received the message.

Westlake Legal Group iStock-Pickering-Nuclear-Power Pickering nuclear station 'incident' that triggered mass emergency alert in Canada was sent in error Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/canada fox-news/world/disasters/warnings fox-news/world/disasters/nuclear fox news fnc/world fnc efe61d4d-754a-54d2-9793-8f51f98f1e48 article

The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station is located about 26 miles northeast of downtown Toronto. (iStock)

“Does anyone [have] any more news on this #Pickering nuclear issue?? Kind of strange “emergency message” across all of Ontario – but, the message says that there’s nothing to be worried about,” Matthew Slutsky tweeted. “If I lived in Pickering, I think I’d be in my car already heading out of town.”

About 40 minutes after the initial alert was sent, Ontario Power Generation clarified on Twitter that the message regarding Pickering Nuclear was “sent in error.”

“There is no danger to the public or environment,” the agency said.

TYPHOON HAGIBIS SWEPT AWAY FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR DECONTAMINATION WASTE BAGS INTO RIVER

The power plant, run by Ontario Power Generation, has been in service since 1971 and is slated to be decommissioned in 2024, according to CP24.

Westlake Legal Group pickering_1 Pickering nuclear station 'incident' that triggered mass emergency alert in Canada was sent in error Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/canada fox-news/world/disasters/warnings fox-news/world/disasters/nuclear fox news fnc/world fnc efe61d4d-754a-54d2-9793-8f51f98f1e48 article

The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station is due to be decommissioned in 2024. (Google Street View)

Many across the greater Toronto area voiced concerns after receiving the alert, with some referencing the Chernobyl disaster.

“Ummmm guys. I’ve seen Chernobyl….. I’m gonna need more news than this,” Gillian Plummer wrote.

Others took aim at the plant that’s set to be decommissioned, saying Pickering “is past it’s best.”

“Looks like a lot of us in the GTA/Ontario woke up to a reminder that we have a fricking nuclear plant on the shore of one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world,” Jane Cawthorne tweeted. “Like that was ever a good idea.”

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Additional information has yet to be released by officials.

Westlake Legal Group iStock-Pickering-Nuclear-Power Pickering nuclear station 'incident' that triggered mass emergency alert in Canada was sent in error Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/canada fox-news/world/disasters/warnings fox-news/world/disasters/nuclear fox news fnc/world fnc efe61d4d-754a-54d2-9793-8f51f98f1e48 article   Westlake Legal Group iStock-Pickering-Nuclear-Power Pickering nuclear station 'incident' that triggered mass emergency alert in Canada was sent in error Travis Fedschun fox-news/world/world-regions/canada fox-news/world/disasters/warnings fox-news/world/disasters/nuclear fox news fnc/world fnc efe61d4d-754a-54d2-9793-8f51f98f1e48 article

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Iranians Defy Police, Protest Over Ukranian Plane Shootdown

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Australia’s Massive Fires Threaten To Slow Decades-Long Economic Boom

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1194790373-a3f9066d28a038e3487273a487316edd42babd7c-s1100-c15 Australia's Massive Fires Threaten To Slow Decades-Long Economic Boom

Tourists, wearing face masks due to heavy smoke, take a selfie at Sydney Harbour on Dec. 19, 2019. As news of Australia’s wildfires spreads around the world, fewer tourists are arriving in the country. Jenny Evans/Getty Images hide caption

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Jenny Evans/Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Australia's Massive Fires Threaten To Slow Decades-Long Economic Boom

Tourists, wearing face masks due to heavy smoke, take a selfie at Sydney Harbour on Dec. 19, 2019. As news of Australia’s wildfires spreads around the world, fewer tourists are arriving in the country.

Jenny Evans/Getty Images

Australia calls itself the Lucky Country, a nation so fortunate in geography and natural resources that it hasn’t had a recession in nearly three decades.

But the deadly wildfires raging through large parts of the country are slowing tourism and other key sectors that contribute to its impressive economic growth.

“Just the area of Australia that’s now impacted is unheard of. So we are in uncertain territory,” says Martin North, principal at the research firm Digital Finance Analytics.

The wildfires have killed more than two dozen people more than a billion animals. They’ve destroyed more than 1,800 houses, an untold number of commercial buildings and thousands of acres of prime farmland, according to the Insurance Council of Australia.

Insurance losses so far have totaled nearly a half billion dollars, but the numbers are likely to rise sharply, says Campbell Fuller, the council’s head of communications.

“For [the fires] to burn across such a wide area, over such an extensive period, is uncommon. In fact, it’s unprecedented to have that number of bushfires burning concurrently,” he says.

The fires have damaged two pillars of the Australian economy: the agricultural sector, which was already weakened by a severe drought, and the all-important tourism industry.

Winter in the Northern Hemisphere is peak tourist season in Australia, when visitors from Asia and Europe flock to the country, eager to soak up the sun and enjoy the country’s outdoor lifestyle.

As news of the wildfires spreads around the world, fewer tourists are arriving and those who do come have had to endure less-than-ideal conditions.

Even in Sydney, far from the fires, skies are so smoky that fire alarms have gone off in office buildings. Ferry service in the city’s world-famous harbor has sometimes been canceled because of poor visibility.

The campground run by Fiona Austin in Shoalhaven, south of Sydney, is usually full this time of year, but tourists were ordered to evacuate, and only a few people remain.

“It’s affected a lot of businesses, and I can’t see people coming back at the moment when the fires are still burning,” Austin told NPR’s Jason Beaubien.

The fires mark something of a change of fortune for the Australian economy, sometimes called the Wonder Down Under.

The country has benefited enormously from its proximity to Asia, says Justin Wolfers, an Australian native who is a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan.

“Not only did we start the last few decades a relatively rich country in the club of the first-world industrialized countries, we’re also parked right next to Asia, which is where much of the world’s growth has come from over the past few years,” Wolfers says.

China, in particular, has been hungry for the kinds of commodities Australia has a lot of, such as coal, natural gas, wheat and wool, and it sends more tourists to Australia than any other country.

Wolfers says the Australian government has also demonstrated more skill than other countries at navigating the challenges of the global economy, like the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.

While the U.S. Congress was squabbling over how to address the Great Recession, the Canberra government was acting swiftly to stimulate spending and cut interest rates, he says.

Unlike other industrialized countries, Australia has experienced a steady rise in population, largely because of immigration, so even in slow times the economy has kept growing, Wolfers adds.

Some of that growth has eased in recent years, as China’s economy has slowed. Australian consumers are spending less, and housing prices, which have skyrocketed in recent years, have fallen.

“The growth levels in Australia are lower than they’ve been in a very long time,” North says. “We were already looking … pretty shaky and that was before all of the bushfires.”

One potential problem is that many Australians haven’t updated their insurance policies over the years or have let them lapse altogether, he notes.

Australia has suffered through catastrophic fires before, such as the 2009 conflagration in Victoria, which did billions of dollars in damage. But the current fires are affecting a much bigger area, and they’ve also begun earlier, making it hard to assess how much they’ll cost.

“What’s really concerning to us is that this is still relatively early in our typical bushfire season” and there are worries about how much longer it will last, says economist Katrina Ell of Moody’s Analytics.

Ell doesn’t think a recession is likely, but North isn’t as sure.

The fires started in relatively unpopulated areas, but they’re moving closer to the cities, where they can do a lot more damage, he says.

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Iranians Defy Police, Protest Over Ukranian Plane Shootdown

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Iran Braces For More Protests After Admitting Ukrainian Plane Shot Down

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran’s security forces deployed in large numbers across the capital on Sunday, expecting more protests after its Revolutionary Guard admitted to accidentally shooting down a passenger plane at a time of soaring tensions with the United States.

Riot police in black uniforms and helmets massed in Vali-e Asr Square, Tehran University and other landmarks as calls circulated for protests later in the day. Revolutionary Guard members patrolled the city on motorbikes and plainclothes security men were also out in force. People looked down as they walked briskly past the police, hoping not to draw attention to themselves.

The plane crash early Wednesday killed all 176 people on board, mostly Iranians and Iranian-Canadians. After initially pointing to a technical failure and insisting the armed forces were not to blame, authorities on Saturday finally admitted to accidentally shooting it down in the face of mounting evidence and accusations by Western leaders.

Iran downed the Ukrainian flight as it braced for retaliation after firing ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq housing U.S. forces. The ballistic missile attack, which caused no casualties, was a response to the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top general, in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad.

Iranians have expressed anger over the downing of the plane and the misleading explanations from senior officials in the wake of the tragedy. They are also mourning the dead, among whom were a large number of young people with promising futures who were studying abroad.

“Even talking about it makes my heart beat faster and makes me sad,” said Zahra Razeghi, a Tehran resident. “I feel ashamed when I think about their families.”

“The denial and covering up the truth over the past three days greatly added to the suffering and pain of the families, and me,” she added.

Westlake Legal Group 5e1b1be71d00004f00ecc191 Iran Braces For More Protests After Admitting Ukrainian Plane Shot Down

ASSOCIATED PRESS People gather for a candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the Ukraine plane crash, at the gate of Amri Kabir University that some of the victims of the crash were former students of, in Tehran, Iran, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020.

Another individual, who only identified himself as Saeed, said the largely state-run media had concealed the cause of the crash for “political reasons.”

“Later developments changed the game and they had to tell the truth,” he said.

Hundreds of students gathered at Tehran’s Shahid Beheshti University on Sunday to mourn the victims and protest against authorities for concealing the cause of the crash, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported. They later dispersed peacefully.

A candlelight ceremony late Saturday in Tehran turned into a protest, with hundreds of people chanting against the country’s leaders — including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — and police dispersing them with tear gas. Protests were also held in the city of Isfahan and elsewhere.

Police briefly detained the British ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire, who said he went with the intention of attending the vigil and did not know it would turn into a protest.

“Can confirm I wasn’t taking part in any demonstrations!” he tweeted. “Went to an event advertised as a vigil for victims of #PS752 tragedy. Normal to want to pay respects — some of victims were British. I left after 5 mins, when some started chanting.”

He said he was arrested 30 minutes after leaving the area.

Britain said its envoy was detained “without grounds or explanation” and in “flagrant violation of international law.”

“The Iranian government is at a cross-roads moment. It can continue its march towards pariah status with all the political and economic isolation that entails, or take steps to deescalate tensions and engage in a diplomatic path forwards,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi later tweeted that Macaire was arrested “as an unknown foreigner in an illegal gathering.”

Araghchi said when police informed him that a man was arrested who claimed to be the British ambassador he didn’t believe them. But he said that once he spoke to Macaire by phone he realized it was him, and that the ambassador was freed 15 minutes later.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, a member of Iran’s parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, nevertheless accused the ambassador of organizing protests and called for his expulsion.

Dozens of hard-liners later gathered outside the British Embassy, chanting “Death to England” and calling for the ambassador to be expelled and for the closure of the embassy. Police stood guard outside the facility.

Iranian media meanwhile focused on the admission of responsibility for the crash, with several newspapers calling for those responsible to apologize and resign.

The hardline daily Vatan-e Emrouz bore the front-page headline, “A sky full of sadness,” while the Hamshahri daily went with “Shame,” and the IRAN daily said “Unforgivable.”

Westlake Legal Group 5e1b1cee2100002e003dee4c Iran Braces For More Protests After Admitting Ukrainian Plane Shot Down

ASSOCIATED PRESS Rescue workers carry items retrieved from the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr, southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. 

Mehdi Karroubi, an opposition activist under house arrest, lashed out at Khamenei himself.

“You, as the commander in chief of the armed forces, are directly responsible for this,” he said in a statement. “If you were aware and you let military and security authorities deceive people, then there is no doubt you lack the attributes of constitutional leadership.”

Criticism of the supreme leader is punishable by up to two years in prison.

Tensions with the United States eased after the ballistic missile attack, when President Donald Trump declined to respond and welcomed Iran’s apparent decision to stand down.

The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, traveled to Iran for talks with senior officials. Qatar hosts a large U.S. military base and shares an offshore gas field with Iran. It has often served as a mediator between the two countries, which have no diplomatic relations.

Syria’s Prime Minister Imad Khamis was also leading a high-level delegation to Iran, which includes the defense and foreign ministers. Syrian state media described it as an “important visit” in light of recent events, without elaborating. Iran is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad in his country’s civil war, and Soleimani had mobilized militias and coordinated military aid.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was also traveling to Iran, with plans to visit Saudi Arabia the following day.

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California burglary suspect caught on camera falling through ceiling of tobacco shop

Police investigating a burglary at a tobacco shop in Northern California last month had a key piece of evidence that helped them identify a suspect: video of the man falling through the ceiling.

The Sonora Police Department wrote on Facebook the incident happened on Dec. 22, when officers received a call for a burglary alarm sounding at a business just after 6 a.m. Officers arriving at the scene found no signs of forced entry from the exterior of the building but eventually discovered a “man-sized hole” in the ceiling.

The suspect and a purported accomplice “actually bored a hole through the ceiling from a vacant building that was above that business and probably spent a couple hours doing it but they broke into the business,” Sonora Police Chief Turu Vanderwiel told Fox 40.

PHILADELPHIA MAN ROBS PHARMACY BECAUSE OF ‘SICK CHILD,’ HANDS CASHIER NOTE: ‘YOU HAVE 15 SECONDS’

After they examined the hole that led to an empty space upstairs, officials said the investigation revealed that forced entry into the business downstairs, Cigarettes Cheaper, was made through a rear door.

Westlake Legal Group Storm-Corral-1-Sonora-PD California burglary suspect caught on camera falling through ceiling of tobacco shop Travis Fedschun fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc article 6e037513-7fc3-505e-9e3a-7c01a497df84

Storm Corral, 40, was arrested on Monday in connection with the December incident. (Sonora Police Department)

But, the suspect — later identified as 40-year-old Storm Corral — had made it only to the back room of the business before he tripped an alarm. He then tried to run back up through the hole into the space upstairs, but surveillance footage caught him falling from the ceiling into the storage room during his rushed escape.

“I think when the alarm was tripped it kind of thwarted their activities and they got away with very little but caused a great deal of damage to the business itself,” VanderWiel told Fox 40.

TEXAS MAN CHARGED WITH MURDER AFTER 10-MONTH-OLD BABY ‘CRAMMED’ IN BACKPACK DIES IN CAR

An employee told Fox 40 that Corral was able to get away with only a bag of rolling tobacco and two energy drinks, which he snatched from the back room while triggering thousands of dollars worth of damage in the mess he left behind.

Westlake Legal Group Storm-Corral-2-Sonora-PD California burglary suspect caught on camera falling through ceiling of tobacco shop Travis Fedschun fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc article 6e037513-7fc3-505e-9e3a-7c01a497df84

Authorities said they were able to locate Storm Corral after they released a surveillance video of the incident and received tips from the community. (Sonora Police Department)

Police said they were able to identify Corral as a suspect after reviewing the surveillance video and receiving tips from the community.

“At times like this is when it becomes very helpful for solving investigations,” VanderWiel told Fox 40.

The suspect “subsequently confessed to the crime” after investigators found him Monday, according to police. They transported Corral to the Tuolumne County Jail and booked him on charges of burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime, with a bail set at $50,000. Officials said Corral already was on probation and had a history of theft and burglary.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

While Corral has been arrested, officials said the investigation into the incident was ongoing and they were looking into the possible accomplice.

Anyone who has information is asked to contact the Sonora Police Department.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6120978219001_6120977185001-vs California burglary suspect caught on camera falling through ceiling of tobacco shop Travis Fedschun fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc article 6e037513-7fc3-505e-9e3a-7c01a497df84   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6120978219001_6120977185001-vs California burglary suspect caught on camera falling through ceiling of tobacco shop Travis Fedschun fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/crime/robbery-theft fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc article 6e037513-7fc3-505e-9e3a-7c01a497df84

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Christen Limbaugh Bloom: Let God give you a new focus

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5713475241001_5713481626001-vs Christen Limbaugh Bloom: Let God give you a new focus fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc Christen Limbaugh Bloom article 77608a85-53b7-5d07-81c2-93da8d31c536

Countless churches across the country have embraced a 21-days-of-prayer-and-fasting program to refocus goals and connect with God on a deeper level at the beginning of every new year. I’ve read and heard a lot of people’s singular “word” they’ve each deemed as their individual themes for 2020.

I caught a virus after Christmas and wasn’t in any mood to think about my personal goals or a “theme” leading up to this year; I felt pretty discouraged. But just a couple days after the new year began, God gave me an encouraging, reminder.

While skimming an online article, I noticed a link to an older article, titled, “Matthew McConaughey reveals biblical inspiration for son Levi’s name.” He explained his favorite Bible verse is Matthew 6:22: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” (KJV).

McConaughey went on to reveal his son Levi was born at 6:22, which he and his wife took as a sign from God to name his son after his favorite Bible verse — clarifying that Levi is actually another name for Matthew in the Bible. I was amazed hearing this story not only for its own novelty, but because this specific verse has profound meaning in my own life.

2020 IS THE ‘YEAR OF THE BIBLE’ FOR MANY CHRISTIANS

More than five years ago, I felt a nudge from God to create a faith-based network around a specific thought: keep the message simple, and keep it all about Jesus.

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When I first had the idea, I started looking for unique ways to brand the word “simple” and Googled “words for simple in other languages.” The first search result was a definition from Strong’s Greek Lexicon, a dictionary used to translate New Testament verses from their original Greek meanings.

My search for the word “simple” yielded the Greek word “haplous.” It was a word spoken by Jesus in (can you believe it?) Matthew 6:22. “Haplous” was the word He used to describe the eye.

As Strong’s Concordance defines it, the literal meaning is “without folds,” referring to “a single, undivided focus without a (secret) ‘double agenda’ which prevents an over-complicated life.”

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Watching McConaughey’s interview reminded me of a timeless lesson that is, sadly, easily forgotten: when you keep your eyes fixed solely on Jesus, He will direct your paths and take care of the rest.

Just a couple of days later, my church played a video trailer to debut their first sermon series of the year. I let out an audible gasp as the voiceover played saying, “The eye is the lamp of the whole body. When your eye is clear, and not duplicitous, it brings light to your whole life.”

I truly could not believe my eyes or ears. The very verse God led me to years ago and reminded me of just a few days before is now the theme of my church’s first sermon series to kick off the new year. If I had any doubt whatsoever about God’s intended goals for me this year, there was no denying it now.

I share this story because while I do feel a deeply intimate connection to this verse for my own reasons, it can be applied to every human being’s life in a personal way. As a Christian I believe it is a universal truth that all people were created to focus on Jesus on a daily basis — to worship Him, thank Him for His sacrifice and provision, ask Him about His plans for us as individuals, and offer Him ourselves to be catalysts of change for His Kingdom.

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As Matthew 6:22-23 points out, it’s so easy for us to become distracted and to over-complicate our lives. Jesus knew this about us, which is why He broke it down to something as simple as our vision. He explained when we have a clear view of our end-goal (which for all of us, should be to become as much like Jesus as we can), our lives will unfold naturally, producing the best possible results.

While making goals for ourselves is admirable, the best pursuit is to live our lives imitating Jesus. We should all embrace Jesus’ instruction and keep our eyes fixed on Him every day, one day at a time, this year and every year of our lives. It really is that simple.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5713475241001_5713481626001-vs Christen Limbaugh Bloom: Let God give you a new focus fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc Christen Limbaugh Bloom article 77608a85-53b7-5d07-81c2-93da8d31c536   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5713475241001_5713481626001-vs Christen Limbaugh Bloom: Let God give you a new focus fox-news/world/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion/christianity fox-news/us/religion fox-news/opinion fox-news/faith-values fox news fnc/opinion fnc Christen Limbaugh Bloom article 77608a85-53b7-5d07-81c2-93da8d31c536

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Australia’s Wildfires Are Releasing Vast Amounts Of Carbon Emissions

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1188998056-2--41605a76e54d722eb170f7eb6187f5476650f779-s1100-c15 Australia's Wildfires Are Releasing Vast Amounts Of Carbon Emissions

Much of New South Wales, Australia, including the Sydney Opera House, lay under a shroud of smoke Thursday. The state remains under severe or very high fire danger warnings as more than 60 fires continue to burn within its borders. Cassie Trotter/Getty Images hide caption

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Cassie Trotter/Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Australia's Wildfires Are Releasing Vast Amounts Of Carbon Emissions

Much of New South Wales, Australia, including the Sydney Opera House, lay under a shroud of smoke Thursday. The state remains under severe or very high fire danger warnings as more than 60 fires continue to burn within its borders.

Cassie Trotter/Getty Images

Smoke from the ongoing firestorm in Australia is obscuring skies halfway around the world. Satellite images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show a haze from the deadly fires spreading over South America. The swirling plume is nearly the size of the continental United States.

All fires emit smoke — a combination of thousands of compounds, including climate-warming greenhouse gases. But the sheer scale of the emissions, and the severity of the fires causing them, are concerning climate scientists around the world.

Already, atmospheric watchdogs say, the fires have pumped hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide into Earth’s atmosphere.

“For these fires in the southeast south (of Australia), probably we are in the ballpark of 400 million tons of carbon,” says Dr. Pep Canadell, a lead scientist with Australia’s national research agency and the executive director of the Global Carbon Project, which tracks greenhouse gas emissions globally.

To put that figure in perspective, Australia’s total emissions from man-made sources last year was roughly 540 million tons. So this year’s fires, fueled by record-high temperatures and drought, have already surpassed two-thirds of that amount.

But perhaps more concerning is that many of these fires, including two that merged into a massive “megafire,” are burning in areas that could take decades or longer to regrow.

Forest ecologists and atmospheric scientists generally view wildfire as being carbon neutral. As fires burn, chewing through structures and vegetation, they spit out vast amounts of carbon and other compounds in their smoke.

“But then over time, we expect a lot of that carbon dioxide will be drawn [back] down by plants growing again,” says Rebecca Buchholz, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, based in Boulder, Colo. “For fires, it’s all about balance.”

But there are concerns that balance is shifting.

Climate change is causing wildfires to burn more frequently and severely around the world. It’s increasing the areas that fires can burn, and the length of time in which fire conditions exist.

A 2018 “State of the Climate” report by Australia’s leading research agency and Bureau of Meteorology found that there has been a “long-term increase in extreme fire weather and in the length of the fire season across large parts of Australia since the 1950s.”

At the same time, the world is getting hotter, precipitation patterns are shifting, and human development is expanding. All that is making it harder for some forests to regrow.

“We could be changing the atmosphere with fossil fuels in such a way that fires in landscape ecosystems go from being neutral or harmless, in terms of climate, to something that is destructive,” says Bob Yokelson, a researcher and professor at the University of Montana.

In that scenario, wildfire would become a bigger source of climate-warming emissions, adding to the growing amount that humans are pumping into the atmosphere, thus making future fires worse. Scientists call this a positive feedback loop.

It’s too soon to say whether the fires in Australia will end up being a net source of carbon, or if areas will be able to regrow. But it’s clear that what’s happening now in the country is worrisome.

“Climate impacts the fires, and the fires can potentially impact climate, and we don’t know where we’re going,” says Buchholz, who is from Australia and has spent the last few weeks there avoiding the oppressive smoke. “It’s a moving goal post all the time, and we haven’t reached that new balance point.”

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Dating sites, political ads, Fire TV and more: Tech Q&A

Each week, I receive tons of questions from my listeners about tech concerns, new products and all things digital.

Sometimes, choosing the most interesting questions to highlight is the best part of my job.

This week, I received questions about whether any old tech is worth money to collectors, dating online, the Fire Stick, political ads and whether I shut down my app.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask me?

Tap or click here to email me directly.

Best Dating Sites

Q: My divorce is final and I’m ready to date again. Now that everyone is meeting online, are some apps better than others? I’m looking for a relationship, not a hookup.

A: There is nothing fun or glamorous about a legal separation, but now that you’ve reached the end of the tunnel, you may find exciting times ahead. Online dating has evolved dramatically in recent years, and although Tinder gets the most attention, it may not be the ideal venue for long-term relationships.

Unlike the early days of digital courtship, when the dating pool was small and any old profile would do, you are now competing with legions of other singles. Communicating with potential dates is a separate skill, and staying safe is yet another. Tap or click here for five online dating tips.

Political Ad Doubts

Q: Do online sites like Facebook monitor political ads? I saw an ad about Trump that was 1,000% wrong.

A: Given the epidemic of fake news, you would think political campaigns would face more oversight. Aside from confusion and slander, a vicious campaign ad with erroneous information can cause serious problems, including threats and manipulated polls. To answer your question, it depends on what social media platform you use.

Some services, like Twitter and Spotify, have stopped allowing political ads altogether. Facebook says they want to let their users decide what’s real. Keep in mind that an absence of political ads doesn’t impact the videos, posts and memes that may continue to spread lies and exaggerations about a given candidate.

Bans are effective, but in the end, it’s up to you to fact-check your sources and stay informed. Tap or click here to learn more about political ads on social media.

Find My App

Q: I looked in the App Store and couldn’t find your app. Did you take it down?

A: So many people struggle to find my app because they’ve misspelled my name. I get it: “Komando” isn’t a familiar English word, but “commando” is – so you may want to add a “c” or extra “m,” which may hamper your results.

I can assure you the Komando app is available wherever you get your apps, and the reviews have been splendid. There are so many reasons to download this app, from up-to-the-minute breaking tech news and security alerts to streaming episodes of my show.

If you still can’t find the app on Google Play or the App Store, feel free to use the handy link on my website. Tap or click here to download the Komando app.

Old Tech Worth Money

Q: I have boxes of old tech lying around the house from a Commodore, Walkman and more. Would collectors want any of it?

A: Most of us haven’t seen a PDA or LaserDisc in years, and we couldn’t even conceive of using one. Our garages are full of the “junk” you describe — technology that lost its relevance decades ago. But just because it’s old doesn’t mean a gadget is worthless, and collectors often chase after rare and original devices: Atari games, iPods and yes, Commodores.

Obviously, these items are more valuable when they’re in good condition, and the real prizes are still packaged in their original boxes. But before you dump your dusty stash in the Goodwill bin, check out what someone might pay for it. Tap or click here to identify old tech that is worth big bucks.

The Amazon Fire Stick Shtick

Q: My sweetie got me an Amazon Fire Stick for Christmas. Does it feed me ads based on my internet searches and stuff?

A: Amazon is pretty aggressive about advertising, and whether you’re using the Amazon website to shop or a Kindle Fire to read an ebook, you will probably stumble into a good number of targeted ads. The bad news is Fire TV won’t permit you to eliminate these ads altogether.

The good news is you can change your settings to stop using your browsing data. But that’s only the tip of the Fire TV iceberg. That little stick is packed with features, including Alexa compatibility and free streaming movies from IMDb.

Fire TV doesn’t grab as many headlines as Apple TV, but this service is excellent in its own right, and there are many ways to make it even better. Tap or click here for 10 secret Fire TV tips only the pros know.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

Westlake Legal Group TinderThomasTrutschel-PhotothekviaGettyIMages Dating sites, political ads, Fire TV and more: Tech Q&A Kim Komando fox-news/tech fox news fnc/tech fnc article 3e5b5f35-ccc9-5d7c-a787-2010681491b5   Westlake Legal Group TinderThomasTrutschel-PhotothekviaGettyIMages Dating sites, political ads, Fire TV and more: Tech Q&A Kim Komando fox-news/tech fox news fnc/tech fnc article 3e5b5f35-ccc9-5d7c-a787-2010681491b5

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