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    The Force was with theater box offices this weekend, as “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” had the second-biggest opening weekend in North America’s history, CNN reported. >> Read more trending news The eighth installment of the “Star Wars” saga pulled in an estimated $220 million, according to Disney, which released the film. That is second only to the previous “Star Wars” movie, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which raked in $248 million in December 2015, CNN reported. The film has made $450 million worldwide since opening overseas Wednesday. It will premiere in China, the world’s second-biggest film market, on Jan. 5, CNN reported. Critics apparently like the film, too. The film scored 93 percent on the review site Rotten Tomatoes. The film, which opened in more than 4,200 theaters, starred Daisy Ridley as Rey, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa. Fisher filmed her scenes before she died last December.
  • An armed man is still at large after robbing and shooting at a Maitland gas station employee.   The incident occurred just before 11 a.m. at the Shell gas station at 500 South Orlando Avenue. The employee was counting money in the back and the man came in and pointed a gun at the clerk.    The worker ran from the store, and the robber fired a shot, but missed the worker, shattering the glass front door.    The suspect was able to get some money and fled the scene with two others, heading north on US 17-92 in a red Nissan Altima, which has a South Carolina license plate.    Police are reviewing surveillance video to gather more information about the incident and the people involved.    Anyone with information is asked to call Maitland police at 407-539-6262 or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS(8477)
  • A study by a pair of university researchers has concluded that Uber and other ride-booking services have caused a drop in ambulance usage nationwide, The San Jose Mercury News reported.  >> Read more trending news A research paper released Wednesday is believed to be the first study to measure the impact of Uber and other ride-booking services. The study used data from 766 cities across 43 states from 2013 through 2015, the Mercury News reported.  The paper was written by David Slusky, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Kansas, and Dr. Leon Moskatel, an internist at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego. They compared ambulance volumes before and after Uber became available in each city and found that the usage rate had dropped significantly, the Mercury News reported. Slusky said after using different methodologies to obtain the “most conservative” decline in ambulance usage, the researchers calculated the drop to be “at least” 7 percent. “My guess is it will go up a little bit and stabilize at 10 to 15 percent as Uber continues to expand as an alternative for people,’’ Moskatel said. Slusky said he and Moskatel are submitting the paper to journals for peer review, the Mercury News reported. Uber, based in San Francisco, quickly downplayed the idea that hailing an Uber driver is an acceptable substitute for calling an ambulance. “We’re grateful our service has helped people get to where they’re going when they need it the most,” company spokesman Andrew Hasbun said. “However, it’s important to note that Uber is not a substitute for law enforcement or medical professionals. In the event of any medical emergency, we always encourage people to call 911.” Moskatel, however, said many patients “tend to be pretty good at assessing their state and how quickly they need to come in and how sick they are.” The researchers, however, insisted that ride-booking services such as Uber and San Francisco-based Lyft can sometimes be the best way to get to the hospital in a hurry. Previous research, Moskatel said, “suggests that a fair number of people are using ambulances to get to the hospital because they simply don’t have another way to get there’’ -- particularly those who live in areas with limited taxi service. And, Slusky added, with health care taking a big chunk out of most people’s budgets, many consumers these days have to weigh a few factors before calling an ambulance. “They have to think about their health -- and what it’s going to cost me,” he told the Mercury News. “And for many of us with high-deductible plans, an ambulance ride would cost thousands of dollars.’’ Because Uber was not involved in the study, Moskatel had to map all the dates the company entered a certain market, based only on the company’s public announcements, the Mercury News reported. Ambulance rates were obtained from the National Emergency Medical Services Information System, a national repository for emergency medical services data.
  • Marvin Lewis, the longest tenured head coach in Cincinnati Bengals history, has decided to step down after the 2017 season, sources told ESPN Sunday. >> Read more trending news The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that multiple members of the organization, including coaches, learned of Lewis’ decision as they boarded a bus in Minneapolis for the Bengals’ game Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. The Bengals currently have no comment. Sources close to Lewis told the Enquirer he remains interested in coaching in 2018 and does not plan to retire.  Lewis, 59, became the Bengals’ coach in 2003, Heading into Sunday’s game, he has a career coaching record of 123-111-3 in 15 seasons, plus an 0-7 record in the playoffs. Lewis and the Bengals came to terms on a contract extension in the offseason, leaving him without a contract beyond the 2017 season for the first time since 2010, the Enquirer reported. All of the Bengals' assistant coaches also have expiring contracts, which means the team could begin moving forward with head coaching interviews for defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons, or look beyond the franchise, the Enquirer reported. Lewis came to the Bengals as the ninth coach in franchise history after serving as defensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins (2002) and Baltimore Ravens (1996-2001). Before that, he spent four seasons as linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Prince Harry and former President Barack Obama had some fun banter before their interview on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program, the BBC reported. >> Read more trending news “Do I have to speak faster? Because I am a slow speaker,” Obama asks the prince before an interview that will be aired Dec. 27. “No, not at all,” Harry responds. “Do I need the British accent?” Obama asks. He did not, but the prince warned Obama that he would get “the face” if he paused too long between answers. “I don’t want to see that face,” Obama says after Harry demonstrates his glare. Obama, meanwhile, offered to interview Harry, who declined. “Let’s keep it this way, I’d much prefer that,” the prince said. Kensington Palace said Sunday the interview was recorded in Toronto in September during the Invictus Games, a sports event for injured military personnel. The palace said the conversation featured Obama discussing his plans to cultivate the next generation of leadership through the Obama Foundation.
  • Pope Francis rebuked journalists that report old scandals and sensationalize the news, calling it “a very serious sin” that hurts the involved parties, CBS News reported, citing an Associated Press story. >> Read more trending news On the eve of his 81st birthday Saturday, the pontiff said journalists should remember to provide precise, complete and correct information while avoiding one-sided reports. Francis told Catholic media on Saturday that journalists perform a mission that is among the most “fundamental” to democratic societies.  “You shouldn't fall into the ‘sins of communication’: disinformation, or giving just one side, calumny that is sensationalized, or defamation, looking for things that are old news and have been dealt with and bringing them to light today,” he said. He called those actions a 'grave sin that hurts the heart of the journalist and hurts others.' On Sunday, tens of thousands of people, many of them children, serenaded the pope on his birthday, Reuters reported. Francis meanwhile, appealed for the release of Catholic nuns kidnapped last month in Nigeria. The crowd sang “Happy Birthday” in Italian as Francis appeared at the window of the Apostolic Palace overlooking St. Peter’s Square for his weekly message and blessing. The first Latin American pope was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires. He was elected the 266th pope on March 13, 2013. He replaced Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned on Feb. 28, 2013.
  • On 11/20/2017 around 9 a.m., the victim, a tourist from Scotland, was walking towards his hotel at 7600 International Drive, when a black male suspect tried to take his bag. The suspect was able to get some money and fled on foot.   The victim stated that the suspect was on the same Lynx bus with him and observed the suspect was with a heavier set black female while on the bus.    The male suspect is believe to be between the ages of 18 to 25, is average built with a short afro, about 6 feet tall with facial hair, and was wearing a black hooded jacket and carrying a red book bag.    The female companion is between the ages of 25 to 30, is heavy set, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and was wearing a gray sweatshirt that reads 'Florida Orlando'.    There is a reward up to a thousand dollars to anyone with any information leading to the identification of the suspect.    If you have any information, you are urged to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS(8477).
  • Orange County deputies are investigating the circumstances of a shooting that left three people injured Saturday evening.   It happened shortly after 5pm along the 12700 block of East Colonial drive. A woman was transported to the hospital after she was shot, and is expected to survive.    Deputies said the other adult and the child were also injured, but were not taken to the hospital.
  • Orange County deputies are investigating a shooting that took place Saturday afternoon that left one person in the hospital.   Around 5pm, deputies responded to a shooting that took place in the 800 area of Willie Mays Parkway. Upon arrival, deputies learned that OPD responded to the Popeyes near Columbia Street where they located the victim with a gunshot wound in the back.    The wounded individual indicated that the incident initially occurred during an argument. The victim was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries and was reportedly conscious and speaking.    Police have not identified the person who shot or indicated if they are looking for a suspect.
  • Ralphie Parker still wants that Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. His classmate still gets his tongue stuck to a frozen pole after a “triple dog dare.” And that tacky lamp that looks like a woman’s leg makes another appearance. >> Read more trending news Only this time, it’s live. At 7 p.m. ET, Fox will air “A Christmas Story Live!” It’s a musical adaptation of the 1983 film “A Christmas Story” and the 2012 Broadway musical, “A Christmas Story: The Musical.” The show will be the only live television adaptation of the holiday season, The Los Angeles Times reported. The story plot is the same, as it is based on the short stories of Jean Shepherd. Set in Indiana during the 1940s, 9-year-old Ralphie will be played by Andy Walken. Chris Diamantopoulos and Maya Rudolph are cast as his parents, and Matthew Broderick is the narrator -- the adult version of Ralphie. Other cast members include Ana Gasteyer, David Alan Grier, Ken Jeong and Jane Krakowski. The film remains a cult classic. TBS and TNT have broadcast a 24-hour marathon of the film every Christmas Day since 1997, the Times reported. 'I've watched the movie every single year since I can remember,' Walken, 11, told the Times. “It's the perfect movie in some ways,” Diamantopoulos told the Times. “Because even though it was made in 1983, it captured this little pocket of what our perception of 1940 (wa)] and that story that Jean Shepherd created -- this idea of a kid whose one Christmas wish is a Red Ryder BB gun. It's a great telling of a time gone by and a great reminder of the simple pleasures.” You can bet that Ralphie will hear the admonition “You’ll shoot your eye out!” one more time as he cocks the BB gun and fires.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • An armed man is still at large after robbing and shooting at a Maitland gas station employee.   The incident occurred just before 11 a.m. at the Shell gas station at 500 South Orlando Avenue. The employee was counting money in the back and the man came in and pointed a gun at the clerk.    The worker ran from the store, and the robber fired a shot, but missed the worker, shattering the glass front door.    The suspect was able to get some money and fled the scene with two others, heading north on US 17-92 in a red Nissan Altima, which has a South Carolina license plate.    Police are reviewing surveillance video to gather more information about the incident and the people involved.    Anyone with information is asked to call Maitland police at 407-539-6262 or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS(8477)
  • On 11/20/2017 around 9 a.m., the victim, a tourist from Scotland, was walking towards his hotel at 7600 International Drive, when a black male suspect tried to take his bag. The suspect was able to get some money and fled on foot.   The victim stated that the suspect was on the same Lynx bus with him and observed the suspect was with a heavier set black female while on the bus.    The male suspect is believe to be between the ages of 18 to 25, is average built with a short afro, about 6 feet tall with facial hair, and was wearing a black hooded jacket and carrying a red book bag.    The female companion is between the ages of 25 to 30, is heavy set, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and was wearing a gray sweatshirt that reads 'Florida Orlando'.    There is a reward up to a thousand dollars to anyone with any information leading to the identification of the suspect.    If you have any information, you are urged to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS(8477).
  • Orange County deputies are investigating the circumstances of a shooting that left three people injured Saturday evening.   It happened shortly after 5pm along the 12700 block of East Colonial drive. A woman was transported to the hospital after she was shot, and is expected to survive.    Deputies said the other adult and the child were also injured, but were not taken to the hospital.
  • Orange County deputies are investigating a shooting that took place Saturday afternoon that left one person in the hospital.   Around 5pm, deputies responded to a shooting that took place in the 800 area of Willie Mays Parkway. Upon arrival, deputies learned that OPD responded to the Popeyes near Columbia Street where they located the victim with a gunshot wound in the back.    The wounded individual indicated that the incident initially occurred during an argument. The victim was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries and was reportedly conscious and speaking.    Police have not identified the person who shot or indicated if they are looking for a suspect.
  • First it was Pizzagate. The completely bogus 2016 election conspiracy theory that almost resulted in tragedy at my neighborhood pizza joint, spurred by the ridiculous assertion that supporters of Hillary Clinton were running a child sex ring out of Comet Ping Pong Pizza in a Washington, D.C. neighborhood. A year later in December of 2017, the conspiracy theorists are back on my doorstep. This time, instead of my family’s favorite pizza parlor, they’re after my long time hobby, convinced that a woman with ties to Fusion GPS got a ham radio license in order to hide communications to help a bid to undermine President Donald Trump’s campaign. The focus is on a woman named Nellie Ohr, who is married to a top Justice Department official named Bruce Ohr. Why she was working with the group Fusion GPS – which was paying a former British intelligence agent to put together the Trump Dossier – is certainly something of note. But the idea that Ohr was using ham radio for secret communications with Steele on the dossier, or items related to the Trump campaign – is somewhat laughable to me and many in the amateur radio community. RT ARmastrangelo: Now we're learning that they were communicating by ham radio. Robert Ohr's wife even applied for a ham radio license so that nobody could monitor them during their Trump investigation, while they prepared the dossier. Real cute. — Ex-GOP Ronin! (@ShawDeuce) December 15, 2017 And just like with Pizzagate, there are no actual facts to back up claims like that one on Twitter about the ham radio link – but that hasn’t stopped it from making the quick jump from social media to talk radio. “Now we find out that Robert Ohr’s wife applied for a ham radio license?” said Rush Limbaugh as he opened his show on December 14, not even three full days after it surfaced on Twitter. “They were communicating by ham radio,” Limbaugh declared with authority, adding that it was an effort to get around monitoring efforts of the National Security Agency, evidently to facilitate contacts by Orr and former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. Sigh. Let’s start with this question – could Nellie Orr use ham radio to be in contact with Steele in England, or others on the European continent? Take it from me – a few weeks ago, I was furiously trying to make as many contacts as possible with European ham radio operators – it wouldn’t be easy for someone with a new license like hers. And I could come up with a lot better choices. @jamiedupree Can't quit laughing about this talk of KM4UDZ using her 'ham radio' to write a campaign document. idiots know nothing about subject OR who she was communicating with or which band (& it's limitation) – ridiculous. — Jim Bowman (@W4DFS) December 14, 2017 “It would be one of the least efficient communication methods one could choose,” said David Isgur, the Communication Manager for the American Radio Relay League, the national association for ham radio in the U.S. As Isgur pointed out to me in an email from ARRL HQ, not only would you need good antennas, and some good knowledge about when signals are the best between the United States and Europe, but Ohr’s license grade is a “Technician,” which is the lowest level license issued by the FCC. Hams who are “Technicians” have the smallest amount of privileges on the various amateur radio frequencies. Most of her frequencies would support very local communication, not even out of state, let alone across the country, or across the ocean  to Europe. And with her license, class, the best way she could communicate with someone in Europe would be in Morse Code – and that’s not easy for a beginner (it isn’t part of the license requirement any longer in the United States). But like Pizzagate, those kind of facts don’t matter to those who want to spread this story. The ham radio angle seems to have originated with a Twitter user who goes by the handle @TruthinGov2016, who found that Nellie Ohr had applied for an amateur radio license, and been granted the call sign KM4UDZ. Why is Nellie Ohr communicating via amateur HAM radio and with who? Here’s her call sign. You can listen in. https://t.co/NEYPPj1dIq pic.twitter.com/TmS2rGLzmm — TruthInGovernment (@TruthinGov2016) December 12, 2017 That tweet on December 11, would quickly gain attention on social media, and end up on talk radio just a few days later. Ham radio operators who have been in touch with me were trying not to laugh too much. “If you wanted to have secret, encrypted communications, why would you even bother getting a ham radio license,” said one amateur radio operator on my Facebook page. As for the idea that Ohr would be using ham radio to get around the National Security Agency, “this is 100% totally, completely, wrong,” said another ham, who noted that the NSA records the entire radio spectrum 24/7/365. “That you think ham radio has anything to do with this is hysterical,” one ham wrote to @TruthinGov2016 about the supposed Chris Steele link. “Absolutely hysterical.” But even with comments like that from people who know the limits of the hobby, it didn’t stop the conspiracy theory from spreading fast over the internet. Nellie Ohr gets a HAM radio license so she can communicate with Steele or MI6 or the Russians or whoever! Tom Clancy couldn't make this stuff up on his best day! — Tom Joad (@blakemankansas) December 12, 2017 I got my ham radio license when I was a freshman in college back in 1981, so I’ve seen a few things in the hobby. If Nellie Ohr were trying to get in touch with England or Russia via ham radio, it’s more difficult than normal, as we’re in a time period where radio signals aren’t bouncing around the globe as easily as they can – all of that is related to the low number of sunspots, and how it impacts radio signals here on Earth. But just like when I told people that there weren’t sadistic paintings on the walls at Comet Ping Pong – and they accused me of protecting a child sex ring – people are going to believe conspiracy theories, because they want to believe conspiracy theories, not because there are facts behind them. Amateur radio could always use a little good publicity. But not a conspiracy theory like this one. Pizza and ham radio go together. Pizzagate and ham radio do not. 73.