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Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 @ 4:47 AM
Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 @ 4:47 AM
WASHINGTON — Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump's national security adviser, resigned late Monday as controversy swirled around his phone calls with Russia's ambassador to the United States.
Here's what we know so far:
1. The background: According to The Washington Post, Flynn "privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia" with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December while President Barack Obama was still in office, then later misled Trump administration officials – including Vice President Mike Pence – about the conversations. As late as last week, Flynn denied talking to the ambassador about sanctions, but walked back that claim Thursday when a spokesman told the Post that Flynn "couldn't be certain that the topic never came up." A transcript of Flynn's call with Kislyak revealed that the two had spoken about sanctions, The New York Times reported.
2. The resignation: The White House released Flynn's resignation letter Monday night. In the letter, Flynn said he "inadvertently briefed the vice president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding (his) phone calls with the Russian ambassador." He added that he has "sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology."
3. The warning: The Post reported Monday that former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who was fired last month after she ordered Justice Department lawyers to stop defending the president's travel ban, told the Trump administration in January that Flynn "was potentially vulnerable to Russian blackmail" over his conversations with the ambassador.
4. The temporary replacement: Retired Lt. Gen. Joseph Keith Kellogg, who served in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 2003, reportedly has been named acting national security adviser.
5. What's next? Trump must decide on a permanent replacement for Flynn. According to The Associated Press, the top contenders are Kellogg; former CIA director David Petraeus, the retired four-star general who stepped down after sharing classified information with his biographer-turned-mistress; and retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, a former deputy commander of U.S. Central Command and member of the National Security Council under President George W. Bush. The Times reported that Harward "is the leading candidate."
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 2:55 PM
— The digital assistant Alexa isn’t just for adults. It’s now also for children, since the company has just announced the release of a kids’ version of the gadget.
It’s called the Echo Dot Kids Edition, and it plays music and answers questions for little ones aged 5 to 12. The device also comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited, which offers kid-friendly books and radio stations.
“Parents can have peace of mind knowing their kids are getting age-appropriate content, while they listen to music, ask questions, enjoy Audible books, use Alexa skills, and more. We can’t wait for parents and kids to try this out,” said Dave Limp, senior vice president at Amazon Devices and Services, in a press release.
The smart speakers come with colorful cases that are available in blue, red or green, and parents can employ parental controls with the device. Not only can moms and dads set time limits for use, they can also disable the ability to purchase items from the internet. Songs with inappropriate lyrics are automatically blocked.
The voice experience is also tailored for kids. It offers the Magic Word feature, which encourages kiddos to use words like “please,” and children can ask Alexa questions about science, math, spelling, definition and even knock-knock jokes.
The Echo Dot Kids Edition is retailed at $79.99 and can be pre-ordered now. Shipping will begin on May 9.
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 1:44 PM
— A jury in Pennsylvania on Thursday found comedian Bill Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault.
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 3:20 PM
— There are the families who go to the Disney’s theme parks every year and do all things Disney; then there are the Disney families who make Mickey Mouse’s parks their entire lives.
Kaiden and Mikayla Gerlach are part of the second type of Disney families. They are the latest in a long line of family members who have all answered their calling to work for Disneyland, KABC reported. They’re actually among the 19 members of their family, over four generations, who have worked for Mickey Mouse.
It all started with Verral Elmer, their great-grandmother. who started working at Disneyland just after it opened in 1955.
She retired after working there for 28 years, KABC reported.
Elmer’s daughter Lynne Elmer worked there, too, starting in 1958, and even got to see Walt Disney having breakfast with his grandchildren.
One of Lynne’s children also worked at the theme park, as did Bill and Sandy Cushing, who met at the park and got married a few years later, KABC reported.
“One of those things that we always had to tell people was that this is the happiest place on earth and we really believe that, and we thought it was and we know it is,” Doug Elmer told KABC.
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 3:33 PM
ORLANDO, Fla. — Opening your hotel room door with your cell phone? Disney has started to roll out the new technology for guests to skip the front desk and go directly to their room, speeding up the start of vacations.
Disney gave WFTV anchor Jamie Holmes an exclusive look at how guests will be able to use their cellphones to get into their hotel rooms.
The theme park rolled out the technology at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.
Over the years, the My Disney Experience app has been an expanding feature of how guests navigate the parks and hotels.
Guests can use it to check ride wait times and even clean up park photos.
But guests can also use it to plan their hotel stay, skip the check-in desk, and go straight to their rooms.
"If you choose to, you can actually bypass the front desk area, if that's important to you, and start your vacation earlier," Michael Trum, with Disney digital guest experience, said.
Here’s how it works: Guests take their cellphones and hold it up to their hotel room door, and that’s when a little Disney magic happens.
"They're Bluetooth-enabled. Your phone, most smart phones. We've upgraded our locks to be Bluetooth enabled as well. So, they pair together, via security obviously," Trum said.
The technology can be used as a companion to the Magic Bands, which are required to get into the parks.
Long gone are metal hotel room keys, and for the most part, even plastic key cards are gone.
But, since most guests these days aren't far from their phones, the Bluetooth technology gives them a choice.
Many people wonder whether the new technology is safe.
Cellphone passcodes are notoriously hard to crack and Disney stands by the system.
“We obviously designed this with security in mind. We can't go into details on Disney security policies, but our guests should absolutely feel safe using this as an entry point into their rooms," Trum said.
Disney is not the first to use the Bluetooth technology. Hilton and Marriot hotels have been using it for several years.
The FBI said it has never had a case of hackers using phones to enter a hotel room in the U.S.
Disney will expand the service to other hotels over the next several months.