Report: WWE trying to reach settlement with announcer

Published: Friday, April 14, 2017 @ 2:17 AM

Veteran boxing, MMA and pro wrestling announcer Mauro Ranallo has been approached by World Wrestling Entertainment for a possible settlement that would require him to not speak publicly about his absence from WWE, or accusations of a bullying culture within the company, according to Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer in the latest issue of his subscription newsletter. 

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Ranallo was the lead announcer of WWE’s Smackdown Live until a month ago. He has since been absent from TV with no explanation from the network. Ranallo was reported to be suffering from depression. 

His broadcast partner, John Layfield criticized Ranallo over Twitter and in character on Smackdown while he was absent. Layfield also criticized Ranallo during a non-character interview on WWE’s streaming service. Layfield has been accused of harassing, bullying and abusing wrestlers and other WWE employees during his tenure in the company, and admitted to hazing certain wrestlers in interviews.

ESPN, which devotes a section of its website to WWE coverage, did not mention the Ranallo and Layfield situation until Thursday, during a Q-and-A interview with former WWE announcer Justin Roberts, who talks at length of bullying he faced from Layfield while with the company in his new book.

The situation also was addressed during ESPN’s Cheap Heat podcast, which is hosted by WWE employee Peter Rosenberg, who blasted Meltzer and Roberts for having an agenda. Rosenberg called the allegations a witch hunt.

The reaction was similar to Jonathan Coachman’s, the ESPN SportsCenter anchor who worked at WWE for nine years and took criticism over the last week for saying Ranallo’s absence was rumor and not a story worthy of covering. 

Fans continue to be outraged over the incident Fans attending Smackdown Live on Tuesday began chanting for Ranallo, while one fan was kicked out of the building for bringing a Fire JBL (Layfield) sign. 

5 people dead in New York house fire

Published: Sunday, April 23, 2017 @ 5:04 PM
Updated: Sunday, April 23, 2017 @ 8:12 PM

At least five people are dead after a fire ripped through a house Sunday in New York. (Photo: FDNY)

At least five people are dead after a fire ripped through a two-story house Sunday afternoon in New York’s Queens borough. 

There were three children and two adult victims. They have not yet been identified. A sixth person was home but escaped by jumping out of a window on the second floor.

The fire started around 3 p.m. and spread to a home next door. Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames by 4:30 p.m., according to WPIX

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The fire commissioner and Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the scene.

“This is the biggest loss of life in a New York City fire in roughly two years. There will be a full investigation by our fire marshalls,” de Blasio said in a series of tweets. “We don’t have all the answers about what happened here. Our job now is to get down to the bottom of what happened and do everything we can to make sure that no family ever suffers like this again. ”

A man was seen being led away in handcuffs but it was not clear if he was involved, according to WPIX

Investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

New Orleans begins to take down Confederate monuments

Published: Monday, April 24, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

A Jefferson Davis statue  is one of four monuments targeted for removal by the city of New Orleans.
The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu put into motion the removal of Confederate monuments early Monday, Fox News reported, while a group that sued the city to halt the action held a vigil in protest. The first of four statues were removed before dawn on Monday.

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The Liberty Monument, erected in 1891, is an obelisk that commemorates the Crescent City White League, which tried to overthrow a biracial government in New Orleans after the Civil War. 

Landrieu called the Liberty Monument “the most offensive of the four” and said it was erected to “revere white supremacy,” Fox News reported.

“If there was ever a statue that needed to be taken down, it’s that one,” Landrieu said.

Meanwhile, the Monumental Task Committee began holding a vigil at midnight at the Jefferson Davis statue, WWL reported.

Landrieu has begun reviewing a bid for the removal of the Davis, Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard statues, WWL reported.

A City Hall spokesman issued a statement Sunday, saying that the city is “committed to taking down the Confederate monuments.” 

Police: Fascination prompted man to steal rare copy of ‘Mein Kampf’ 

Published: Monday, April 24, 2017 @ 5:15 AM

COLLINSVILLE, Ill. —  An Illinois man who stole a 90-year-old copy of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” from a museum said he was “fascinated by it,” police said.

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Robert Charles LeCompte, 30, of Collinsville, was charged Friday with one count each of burglary and theft, both felonies, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Surveillance footage revealed a man later identified as LeCompte walking out of the Collinsville Historical Museum on Feb. 21 with a special edition of Hitler’s book that was printed in Munich in 1927 and presented to Nazi leaders, police said. The book is estimated to be worth at least $3,000 and possibly up to $10,000, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Museum officials did not notice the book was missing until April 4, the Post-Dispatch reported. Police released surveillance photos Wednesday of a suspect later identified as LeCompte.

Tips were called in to police as soon as the photos were put on the department’s Facebook page, Assistant Police Chief Rich Wittenauer said.

On Thursday, a few hours before he was arrested, LeCompte dropped the book off at the museum. “He knew we were looking for him,” Wittenauer said. 

LeCompte admitted stealing the book, police said.

“He would only say that he was just ‘fascinated by it,’” Wittenauer told the Post-Dispatch. “He wouldn’t talk about it after that.”

The book had been given to the museum by the family of the late Irving Dilliard, a Collinsville resident who obtained it while an Army officer in Europe during World War II. Dilliard, who died in 2002, was a retired editor of the Post-Dispatch editorial page. He also was a past president of the Illinois State Historical Society.

Museum officials declined comment, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Trump tweets thanks to S. Florida residents for support

Published: Monday, April 24, 2017 @ 4:36 AM

President Donald Trump.
The Asahi Shimbun

Residents in a South Florida city located just a few miles south of Donald Trump’s Palm Beach County residence showed up for a book reading at a local restaurant and wound up getting a 26-character thank you from the president Sunday morning. The “Fox and Friends” morning show cameras captured them praising his work to author and Fox news correspondent Ed Henry.

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Henry was in Lake Worth to read from his book about baseball legend Jackie Robinson, “42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story.”

“We are at Benny’s on the Beach in Lake Worth, Florida, about four miles from Mar-a-Lago,” Henry said. “So sort of in the president’s backyard when he comes here frequently. A lot of Trump voters, when they found out we were here, wanted to come out here to talk.”

They came wearing Make America Great Again red ball caps, with campaign buttons and signs. The three who spoke were unanimous in their praise.

“He’s doing a great job representing the people of the United States, the people, the red people,” said a woman Henry introduced as Valerie, “somebody who knows the president personally.”

Retiree Donna Cocomazzi said, “He’s doing awesome, awesome, awesome. Couldn’t ask for a better president.”

The kudos concluded with a man in a red cap who said, “My biggest issue is health care and I think he’s doing the best he can with that.”

Henry pointed out that health care delivered a “big stumble” in the first 100 days, but the man in the red hat was undaunted: “He’s in one of the most dangerous swamps on the planet, but he’s ‘King Croc.’”

By 10:07 a.m., the King Croc let his fingers do the talking: “Thank you Lake Worth, Florida @foxandfriends,”he tweeted.