Utah man jailed in Venezuela freed Saturday

Published: Saturday, May 26, 2018 @ 10:08 AM
Updated: Saturday, May 26, 2018 @ 2:01 PM

In this July 13, 2016 file photo, Laurie Holt holds a photograph of her son Josh Holt at her home, in Riverton, Utah.  Josh Holt  has been released from a jail in Venezuela after spending nearly two years behind bars on weapons charges.  
Rick Bowmer, AP
In this July 13, 2016 file photo, Laurie Holt holds a photograph of her son Josh Holt at her home, in Riverton, Utah. Josh Holt has been released from a jail in Venezuela after spending nearly two years behind bars on weapons charges.  (Rick Bowmer, AP)

Update 9:25 p.m. EDT: President Donald Trump on Saturday evening welcomed Joshua Holt who had been held captive for two years in a Venezuelan jail, back to the United States.

Holt and his wife arrived at Washington Dulles International Airport after being released by Venezuelan officials following high level talks between President Nicolas Maduro and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.

Holt said he was “overwhelmed with gratitude.” 

Thamara Caleno, Holt’s wife, told The Associated Press that until they were airborne, they worried their return might fall through. 

In this image provided by the Holt family, Joshua Holt, his wife Thamara and her daughter Marian Leal, board a plane at the airport in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, May 26, 2018. Jailed in Venezuela on weapons charges nearly two years ago, Holt was released Saturday after a U.S. senator pressed for his freedom in a surprise meeting with President Nicolas Maduro. Holt and his wife, who also jailed, were reunited with her daughter from a previous relationship at Caracas airport where the three boarded a chartered flight to Washington. (Holt family photo via AP)(Uncredited/AP)

Update 2:01 p.m. EDT: CNN reports that President Donald Trump will make a live address to the nation at 7 p.m. EST after he meets with Joshua Holt at the White House. 

Update 10:43 a.m. EDT: Joshua Holt’s family has released a statement following the President’s announcement regarding his release from Caracas, Venezuela, calling it a “miracle.”

The Holt family stated:

“We thank you for your collaboration during this time of anguish,” the Associated Press reports. “We ask that you allow us to meet with our son and his wife before giving any interviews or statements. We are grateful to all who participated in this miracle.”

President Trump tweeted he is looking forward to meeting the family at the White House on Saturday night.

 

Original story: Joshua Holt, an American from Utah jailed in Venezuela for over two years without trial, is expected to be released and return to the United States Saturday night. 

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President Donald Trump tweeted that Holt was a “hostage” in the socialist country.

Holt is expected to arrive in Washington D.C., around 7 p.m. on Saturday night and will be reunited with his family at the White House.

 

Holt is a Mormon missionary from Utah who was jailed in 2016 after traveling to Venezuela to marry a woman he met online, according to The New York Times

He was accused of stockpiling weapons and arrested.

Holt has been held in a Caracas jail since 2016. 

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) posted a statement on Twitter, saying Holt’s release is the result of a two-year effort working with the Trump and Obama administrations and Nicolas Maduro, the president of Venezuela. 

Hatch says Holt's wife, Thamy Holt, had also been released but it is unclear if she will travel with her husband back to the United States.

 
This is a developing story, check back for updates. 

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Teen girl helps blind, deaf man by signing into his hands on Alaska Air flight

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 3:44 PM

Clara Daly, 15, helped a blind and deaf man communicate during an Alaska Airlines flight from Boston to Portland.
Alaska Airlines
Clara Daly, 15, helped a blind and deaf man communicate during an Alaska Airlines flight from Boston to Portland.(Alaska Airlines)

A teen girl helped a blind, deaf man communicate on a recent Alaska Airlines flight, according to KIRO.

Dianne McGinness with Alaska Airlines shared the heartwarming story after a passenger on the flight wrote a post this week about the interaction that was shared over 400,000 times.

The passenger, Lynette Scribner, was traveling on the same flight as the teen and man, and was moved to write a post on the touching encounter. 

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Scribner said the man, Tim Cook, was traveling home to Portland after visiting his sister. Cook lives at Portland's Brookdale Senior Living. 

When passengers of the flight realized Cook was blind and deaf, many helped ensure he was comfortable. A man sitting next to Cook gave him the aisle seat and helped with little tasks like opening his coffee creamer and pouring it into his coffee, Scribner shared.

A flight attendant made an announcement asking if a passenger on board knew American Sign Language. Fifteen-year-old Clara Daly, who has studied ASL for the last year, rang her call button.

When Daly learned the man could communicate only if someone signed into his hand, she immediately went to help.

Cook asked Daly questions and she patiently sign-spelled answers into his hand.

Scribner said Daly learned ASL because she has dyslexia, and it was the easiest foreign language for her to learn.

“Clara was amazing,” an Alaska Airlines flight attendant said in the news release. “You could tell Tim was very excited to have someone he could speak to -- and she was such an angel.”

“When (Cook) asked (Daly) if she was pretty, she blushed and laughed as the seat mate, who had learned a few signs, communicated an enthusiastic yes to Tim,” Scribner shared. “I don't know when I've ever seen so many people rally to take care of another human being. All of us in the immediate rows were laughing and smiling and enjoying his obvious delight in having someone to talk to.”

Clara Daly, 15, helped a blind and deaf man communicate during an Alaska Airlines flight from Boston to Portland.(Alaska Airlines)

After the flight, McGinness said Cook met a service provider from Brookdale Senior Living at the gate.

Cook said the flight was the best trip he's ever taken.

Daly told her mom she thought the encounter was "meant to be," since her original flight was canceled and she was redirected to Cook's flight.

On Thursday, Scribner added a note on her beloved post: “We are all starving for good news and this was just what we needed.”

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Senior citizens earn thousands by sharing their homes, says Airbnb

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 3:50 PM

Senior citizens across the U.S. are earning an extra $7,000 per year on average by opening up their homes on Airbnb.
Michael Steele
Senior citizens across the U.S. are earning an extra $7,000 per year on average by opening up their homes on Airbnb.(Michael Steele)

Thousands of senior citizens across the United States are finding a profitable side hustle --- opening up their homes to strangers on Airbnb.

Nearly 78,000 seniors (ages 60 and up) across the U.S. shared their homes on Airbnb in 2017 -- accounting for $700 million in earnings, the company reports.

The typical host earned an extra $7,000 in income a year -- a positive boost for people living on fixed incomes.

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Airbnb is a website that allows people to open up their homes for vacation rentals or short-term leasing. There are over 5 million homes listed on Airbnb in over 81,000 cities.

According to Airbnb’s annual survey, 41 percent of seniors reported that hosting their home has helped them afford to stay in their homes -- places they’ve often lived most of their lives. 

Airbnb states that 45 percent of senior hosts rely on that extra income to make ends meet and spend it on important costs of living. 

Senior hosts are beloved on Airbnb, the company said.

88 percent of trips hosted by seniors last year resulted in 5-star reviews.

Percentage of active listings with senior Airbnb hosts 

New Mexico34%
Maine32%
Vermont28%
Hawaii26%
Delaware26%

 

Typical host earnings for seniors by state 

Hawaii$14,000
California$11,700
Washington, D.C.$10,500
Washington$8,700
Rhode Island$8,500

Percentage of senior host reviews with 5-stars 

Nebraska93%
North Dakota93%
Kansas93%
South Dakota92%
Indiana91%

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders kicked out of Red Hen restaurant in Virginia on ‘moral’ grounds

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 12:52 PM

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that her family was kicked out of a Virginia restaurant on Friday by the owner, who cited
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed that her family was kicked out of a Virginia restaurant on Friday by the owner, who cited "moral conviction."(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she and seven members of her family were kicked out of The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia on Friday night.

TMZ first reported that the restaurant’s owner kicked out Sanders and her family out of “moral conviction.” 

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A waiter posted on Facebook that Sanders was in the restaurant for “a total of two minutes” before being asked to leave.

 

Sanders confirmed the incident on Twitter.

“Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left,” Sanders tweeted Saturday. “Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.”

 

Sanders’ father, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, tweeted his support, saying it was an act of “bigotry.”

 

The Red Hen’s Facebook and Yelp pages were bombarded with reviews from people from both sides.

While some praised the restaurant, many others said the owner was being “intolerant.”

This comes after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen bolted from a Washington, D.C. Mexican restaurant after protesters confronted her at her table -- with the blessing of the manager.

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Anthony Bourdain toxicology report released

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 2:58 PM

Remembering Anthony Bourdain

Chef and author Anthony Bourdain did not have narcotics in his body when he died on June 8, a French judicial official told The New York Times.

Bourdain, 61, was found dead in a hotel in a small village in France on June 8.

He was staying in Kaysersberg, a small village in the Alsace region of France, filming a new episode of his CNN show “Parts Unknown.”

Police ruled his death as suicide by hanging.

Local prosecutors say Bourdain, who was open about his lifelong struggle with drugs and alcohol, was not intoxicated when he died.

“No trace of narcotics, no trace of any toxic products, no trace of medicines, no trace of alcohol,” prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny told Reuters.

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Bourdain skipped dinner the night before his body was discovered, The New York Times reports

When he did not arrive for breakfast with Eric Ripert, Bourdain’s close friend and chef of Le Bernardin in New York, a hotel receptionist went to his room to check on him and found his body.

Bourdain was cremated in France.

His remains and travel belongings have been sent to his younger brother, Christopher.

Gladys Bourdain, Anthony Bourdain’s mother, told the New York Times that the family will likely hold “a small, private ceremony of some kind.”

Italian actress Asia Argento remembered her boyfriend Anthony Bourdain on Twitter Friday, marking two weeks since his death.

“Two weeks without you,” she tweeted, along with a smiling photo of them together.
 

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