Conyers steps aside from House Judiciary Committee post

Published: Sunday, November 26, 2017 @ 1:28 PM
Updated: Sunday, November 26, 2017 @ 3:47 PM

Rep. John Conyers stepped down from the House Judiciary Committee on Sunday.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Rep. John Conyers stepped down from the House Judiciary Committee on Sunday.(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Michigan congressman John Conyers on Sunday announced he was stepping aside as the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, CNN reported. Conyers, a Democrat, made the announcement as a congressional investigation continued into sexual harassment and workplace abuse allegations by his former staffers.

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“After careful consideration and in light of the attention drawn by recent allegations made against me, I have notified the Democratic Leader of my request to step aside as Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee during the investigation of these matters,” Conyers said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

“I deny these allegations, many of which were raised by documents reportedly paid for by a partisan alt-right blogger,” the statement continued. “I very much look forward to vindicating myself and my family before the House Committee on Ethics.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that “zero tolerance means consequences.”

"I have asked for an ethics investigation, and as that investigation continues, Congressman Conyers has agreed to step aside as ranking member," Pelosi said.

New York Rep. Jerrold Nadle said in a statement that the committee "must move forward," CNN reported.

"I will do everything in my power to continue to press on the important issues facing our committee, including criminal justice reform, workplace equality, and holding the Trump Administration accountable,” Nadle said in his statement. “Ranking member Conyers has a 50-year legacy of advancing the cause of justice, and my job moving forward is to continue that critical work.”

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Tortoise covered with paint, concrete discovered in Florida

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 8:30 AM

Good Samaritans Rescue Tortoise Covered in Paint, Concrete

A gopher tortoise covered with red spray paint and concrete was discovered near Montverde, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Wednesday in a Facebook post.

A pair of good Samaritans spotted the tortoise, which had concrete on its shell and limbs, in the middle of County Road 455 and took it to a wildlife rehabilitation center, officials said.

"It is both illegal and very harmful to the health of a gopher tortoise to apply man-made substances, such as paint or concrete, to any part of their body or shell," the post said.

Gopher tortoises are protected because they're considered a threatened species in Florida.

Read: Lake County man dug up gopher tortoises to eat them, deputies say

Read: 65-year-old woman has had pet tortoise 56 years

"Removing paint and concrete from gopher tortoises without harming it is a challenging process that causes the animal stress," the post said. "Applying substances like paint on tortoises can inhibit their ability to absorb vitamins from the sun’s UV rays through their shells, has the potential to cause respiratory problems and can lead to harmful chemicals being absorbed into their bloodstream."

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Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call FWC at 888-404-3922 or email the agency at tip@myfwc.com.

Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward.

Click here to read more information about gopher tortoises.

Read: California tortoise with cracked shell gets $4K repair

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'National School Walkout’: Everything you need to know about Friday’s event

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:52 AM

The Worst School Shootings in US History

Thousands of students across the country are set to walk out of class on Friday, the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

More than 2,500 groups have signed up for the “National School Walkout,” a student-led protest aimed at bolstering the discussion about gun-control measures.

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Lane Murdock, a high school sophomore who started a Change.org petition suggesting the walkout, said keeping the momentum of the national “March for Our Lives” movement strong was important to her and that, “Our generation is demanding change and won't be ignored or swept under the rug." 

March for Our Lives grew out of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people died in the Feb. 14 shooting.

Murdock told National Public Radio that the protest is “not conservative or liberal. It is just about making sure our children don't get harmed in school and we don't live in a community and in a country that has institutionalized fear. I think we're all sick of it. That's why we're doing this."

Murdock goes to a Connecticut high school about 20 minutes away from where Sandy Hook Elementary School once stood. The Newtown, Connecticut, school was the site of a mass shooting in 2012 where 26 people – mostly 6- and 7-year-old children – were killed.

Here’s what you need to know about Friday’s National School Walkout.

When is the National School Walkout?

The walkout is set for Friday and starts at 10 a.m.

What is the walkout about?

Students are protesting “congressional, state, and local failures to take action to prevent gun violence,” according to the National School Walkout website. They are asking lawmakers to support:

  • Legislation to strengthen background checks.
  • Legislation to allow family members to request the issuance of a gun violence prevention warrant for those they fear may pose a danger to themselves or others. 
  • Bans on bump stocks.
  • Raising minimum age to 21 to buy an assault rifle like the AR-15.

What will happen?

Students across the country will walk out of their schools at 10 a.m. local time and pause for 13 seconds of silence – one second for everyone killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999.

After that, organizers are encouraging students not to go back to school, but to stay out the entire day. They are telling students to hold rallies and letter-writing campaigns or other activities around the day.

How do you participate?

Since organizers are suggesting that students walkout of school for the day, the event is geared more toward high school students. More than 2,500 schools in the United States have registered their intention to participate in the walkout. Not all groups registered are high schools. 

Organizers have compiled a guide with suggestions for activities and a link to resources including legal rights and safety tips.

FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2017, file photo, shooting instructor Frankie McRae demonstrates the grip on an AR-15 rifle fitted with a "bump stock" at his 37 PSR Gun Club in Bunnlevel, N.C. The largest manufacturer of bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like automatic firearms, announced Wednesday, April 18, 2018, that it will stop taking orders and shut down its website next month. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File)(Allen G. Breed/AP)

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Philadelphia Starbucks arrest: Men say manager called 911 minutes after they arrived

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 2:06 PM

Men Arrested In Philadelphia Starbucks Say Manager Called 911 Minutes After They Arrived

Two black men arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks last week after the coffee shop’s manager called 911 to report them for trespassing spoke publicly for the first time Thursday.

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Police detained the men after Starbucks employees said the pair was denied the use of the store’s bathroom and refused to leave, police Commissioner Richard Ross said.

>> Related: Video showing arrest of two black men at Starbucks sparks outrage

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that they were arrested while waiting to meet with a potential business partner at the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce streets. They said they arrived 10 minutes early for their scheduled 4:45 p.m. meeting. A manager called 911 to report that the men were refusing to leave at 4:37 p.m., according to “Good Morning America.”

Robinson said he didn’t believe officers were at the coffee shop for him and Nelson when he first spotted them last week. Nelson said it became apparent when the officers asked them to leave.

>> Related: Starbucks manager leaves company after controversial arrest of 2 black men

“There was no question of, you know, was there a problem here between you guys and a manager? You know, what happened?” Nelson told “Good Morning America.”

The men said they were not read their Miranda rights before they were handcuffed and put in the back of a police car. A bystander recorded footage of the arrests that was later posted on social media, sparking criticism and raising questions of racial bias.

>> Related: Starbucks closing over 8,000 stores for racial-bias training after controversial arrest

“This is something that has been going on for years and everyone’s blind to it, but they know what’s going on,” Nelson said. “It’s not just a black people thing, this is a people thing. And that’s exactly what we want to see out of this … true change.”

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson apologized to the men in a private meeting with them Monday, a Starbucks spokesperson told CNN. The spokesperson declined to elaborate on what took place during the meeting.

Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz apologized Wednesday morning for the incident in an appearance on “CBS This Morning.”

>> Related: Starbucks founder Howard Schultz speaks for first time since arrest of 2 black men

Johnson apologized for the incident in a statement Saturday and pledged to investigate. 

More than 8,000 Starbucks stores will be closed nationwide May 29 for a one-day training aimed at educating employees about racial bias. Company officials said nearly 175,000 employees across the country will receive the training, which will become a regular part of the company’s onboarding process.

>> Related: Starbucks CEO meets with 2 black men arrested in Philadelphia store

Johnson said Tuesday that the planned racial-bias training “is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local community.”

“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” he said.

Starbucks CEO Says He Wants To Apologize To Men Arrested In Philadelphia Store

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Rudy Giuliani to join Trump legal team in wake of Michael Cohen criminal investigation

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 6:23 PM

Then president-elect Donald Trump meets with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani at the clubhouse of Trump National Golf Club November 20, 2016 in Bedminster, New Jersey. 
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images
Then president-elect Donald Trump meets with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani at the clubhouse of Trump National Golf Club November 20, 2016 in Bedminster, New Jersey. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Former New York mayor and major Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani is joining President Donald Trump’s legal team, according to news reports.

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Giuliani, one of the first and one of the staunchest supporters of Trump’s presidential bid, will be assisting Trump’s legal team with the Russia investigation, according to CNN.

Trump is said to be extremely upset with the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller and has called it a “witch hunt” on numerous occasions.

>> Related: Trump not considered a criminal target in Russia probe: report 

Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, confirmed the addition of Giuliani to the team and also announced two former prosecutors, Marty Raskin and Jane Serene Raskin, are joining the team, as well, CNN reported.

The move follows an FBI raid on the home, office, and a hotel room of longtime Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen last week and the revelation that Cohen is under criminal investigation.

>> Related: Mueller indicts 13 Russians, 3 Russian entities in election meddling probe

Deputy Assistant Attorney Gen. Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Mueller investigation, signed off on the Cohen search warrant.

 

 

What You Need To Know: Michael Cohen
 

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