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The Latest Entertainment Headlines

    Sports gambling giant DraftKings won't give a former 'Bachelor” contestant the $1 million prize for winning an online fantasy football contest after she and her husband were accused of cheating. Jade Roper-Tolbert, who appeared in “The Bachelor” and 'Bachelor in Paradise' television series in 2015, was no longer listed as the winner of DraftKings' “Millionaire Maker” contest, which involved picking a lineup of players from the NFL's four wild-card games. “DraftKings has decided to update the standings for several contests,' the Boston-based company said in a statement Saturday. A spokesman declined to elaborate. Roper-Tolbert beat more than 100,000 entries to take the top prize in the “Millionaire Maker contest.” But some in the fantasy sports community were quick to complain that both she and her husband, Tanner Tolbert, also an alum of the “Bachelor” franchise, each submitted the maximum 150 entries allowed in the contest, and that nearly all the entries had a uniquely different lineup of players. That suggests the two may have colluded to give themselves the best shot at winning the top prize, which is not allowed under the contest rules. Roper-Tolbert has been regularly playing in DraftKings NFL contests this season, and Tolbert is a prolific fantasy sports player. The two met as contestants on “Bachelor In Paradise' and married in 2016. They have said the big win was “pure luck.” Earlier this month, when DraftKings announced it would review the contest, the couple suggested Roper-Tolbert is being singled out because she's a female celebrity. “It is incredibly important for us to establish that Jade’s win is nothing more than pure luck and we are confident that DraftKings will determine the same,' they said in a statement to celebrity website TMZ on Jan. 7. “Though we must ponder, would the questions, accusations and curiosity about this win be the same if the winner had been male and someone who wasn’t already in the public eye?”
  • A searing documentary about the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi made its anticipated debut at the Sundance Film Festival, unveiling a detailed investigation into the Saudi Arabia regime and the companies and governments that do business with it. Bryan Fogel’s “The Dissident” was one of the most high-profile documentaries at the Park City festival, and it made headlines even before it premiered Friday. The film, Fogel’s first since his Oscar-winning expose “Icarus” on Russian doping for the Olympics, features the explosive conclusion of United Nations human rights investigators that the phone of Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos was hacked into by a malicious file sent from the personal WhatsApp account of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Hillary Clinton and Alec Baldwin were among those in attendance at the premiere of “The Dissident,” as was Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of Khashoggi. Khashoggi was picking up paperwork for their marriage when he was murdered at a Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. The crown prince ordered the killing, the CIA has said. Mohammed, who initially denied Saudi Arabia was behind Khashoggi’s killing, eventually granted it was carried out by the Saudi government but claimed it was not by his orders. In an interview following the premiere, Fogel said he hopes “The Dissident,” which dramatically details the plot to kill Khashoggi and analyzes Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on free speech, forces a reappraisal of the Middle Eastern country internationally. The film’s end credits include a list of corporations with business ties to Saudi Arabia. The United States, too, is scrutinized for its close alliance with the kingdom, including a 2019 arms deal allowed to go forward after President Donald Trump vetoed a bill intended to block the sale. “I hope that this film will make other countries, their government and business leaders reassess their relationship with Saudi Arabia until they reform,” said Fogel. “As much money as there is, when you have people sitting in prisons for tweeting, when you have women arrested and tortured for driving, it’s very hard to look the other way.” “The Dissident” was greeted with a raucous standing ovation and immediate acclaim. Variety called it “an eye-opening thriller brew of corruption, cover-up, and real-world courage.” Independently financed by the Human Rights Foundation, “The Dissident” is for sale at Sundance, the top movie market for documentaries. Speaking on stage after the premiere, Fogel urged distributors to not be scared off by Saudi Arabia and give the film a worldwide release. “In my dream of dreams, distributors will stand up to Saudi Arabia,” said Fogel. Media companies have capitulated to Saudi pressure before. Netflix, which distributed Fogel’s “Icarus,” last year removed an episode of Hasan Minhaj’s “Patriot Act” dealing with the killing of Khashoggi after a Saudi complaint. Fogel said he would be happy for any studio to pick up the film, including Netflix, HBO and Bezo’s own Amazon. Following the murder, relations between Amazon and Saudi Arabia cooled considerably. Of the possibility of Amazon, Fogel said, “I hope so. I’m open to any global powerful distributor that’s going to take this film seriously.” The premiere of “The Dissident” was especially emotional for Cengiz. Since Khashoggi’s death, she has taken on public role pressing for justice for her former fiancé. “I'm happy because this film will keep alive the story,” Cengiz said in a separate interview. “This film helped me to continue this fighting as a human, as a woman, as a victim.” After the killing of Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who fled the kingdom to urge for reforms and press freedom in his native country, Cengiz says she can no longer assume her safety. The Guardian on Friday reported that U.S. officials believed Saudi Arabia has previously attempted to monitor Cengiz abroad. “No one knows who is safe because they killed Jamal inside the consulate, the best safety place around the world,” said Cengiz. “So I don't know if I’m safe if I’m sitting in my home.” “The Dissident' includes extensive interviews with Turkish officials who uncovered the killing and also delves into the related story of Omar Abdulaziz, a Saudi activist who is living under asylum in Montreal after fleeing the country to launch a web series critical of the Saudi regime. In the film, Abdulaziz says he believes Khashoggi's relationship with him led directly to his murder. Abdulaziz’s phone, too, was hacked, the film alleges, with the powerful spyware program Pegasus believed to be used to target Bezos. For Fogel, bringing such revelations to light has given Khashoggi's death more meaning. “There’s so much pain from this story, but there’s a lot of power that has come from it,” said Fogel. “Look what his murder -- as horrendous as it was -- has done to shine the light on other human rights abuses, to shine the light on what the Saudis were doing in regards to repressing free speech. I hope if Jamal was looking down, he’d be very proud to see he didn’t die in vain.” ___ The Associated Press' Ryan Pearson contributed to this report. ___ This story has been corrected to reflect the accurate spelling of Jamal Khashoggi's last name on subsequent references throughout.
  • Salma Hayek is apologizing for promoting a controversial new novel, Jeanine Cummins' “American Dirt,” without actually reading it. “American Dirt,” published Tuesday, tells the story of a Mexican woman and her 8-year-old son fleeing to the U.S. border after numerous family members are murdered in drug cartel-related violence. The heavily publicized book has been praised by Stephen King and Ann Patchett among others and was chosen by Oprah Winfrey for her book club. On Saturday, it ranked No. 4 on Amazon.com's bestseller list. But numerous Mexican-American writers have called “American Dirt” an ill-informed narrative about Mexico that reinforces stereotypes. Cummins, a non-Mexican, even acknowledged in an author's note that she had reservations about writing the novel. She has said she wanted to personalize the issue of immigration and be a “bridge” between different worlds. Earlier this week, Hayek had posted a picture of herself on Instagram holding the book, and she praised Winfrey for 'giving a voice to the voiceless & for loving harder in response to hate.” But after facing criticism online, the Mexican-American actress pulled back Friday, writing that she was unaware of any controversy. “I thank all of you who caught me in the act of not doing my research, and for setting me straight, because that means you know me and gave me the benefit of the doubt,” she wrote, 'I apologize for shouting out something without experiencing it or doing research on it.”
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lashed out in anger Saturday at an NPR reporter who accused him of shouting expletives at her after she asked him in an interview about Ukraine. In a direct and personal attack, America's chief diplomat said the journalist had “lied” to him and he called her conduct “shameful.” NPR said it stood by Mary Louise Kelly's reporting. Pompeo claimed in a statement that the incident was “another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt” President Donald Trump and his administration. Pompeo, a former CIA director and Republican congressman from Kansas who is one of Trump's closest allies in the Cabinet, asserted, 'It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity.” It is extraordinary for a secretary of state to make such a personal attack on a journalist, but he is following the lead of Trump, who has repeatedly derided what he calls “fake news” and ridiculed individual reporters. In one of the more memorable instances, Trump mocked a New York Times reporter with a physical disability. In Friday’s interview, Pompeo responded testily when Kelly asked him about Ukraine and specifically whether he defended or should have defended Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador in Kyiv whose ouster figured in Trump’s impeachment. “I have defended every State Department official,' he said. 'We've built a great team. The team that works here is doing amazing work around the world ... I've defended every single person on this team. I've done what's right for every single person on this team.” This has been a sensitive point for Pompeo. As a Trump loyalist, he has been publicly silent as the president and his allies have disparaged the nonpartisan career diplomats, including Yovanovitch, who have testified in the impeachment hearings. Those diplomats told Congress that Trump risked undermining Ukraine, a critical U.S. ally, by pressuring for an investigation of Democrat Joe Biden, a Trump political rival. Yovanovitch, who was seen by Trump allies as a roadblock to those efforts, was told in May to leave Ukraine and return to Washington immediately for her own safety. After documents released this month from an associate of Trump's personal attorney suggested she was being watched and possibly under threat, Pompeo took three days to address the matter and did so only after coming under harsh criticism from lawmakers and current and former diplomats. Pompeo was rebuked Saturday by four Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who said his “insulting and contemptuous comments” were beneath the office of the secretary of state. “Instead of calling journalists ‘liars’ and insulting their intelligence when they ask you hard questions you would rather not answer, your oath of office places on you a duty and obligation to engage respectfully and transparently,” the letter to Pompeo said. It was signed by Sens. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the committee, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Cory Booker of New Jersey. After the NPR interview, Kelly said she was taken to Pompeo’s private living room, where he shouted at her “for about the same amount of time as the interview itself,” using the “F-word” repeatedly. She said he was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine. Pompeo, in his statement, did not deny shouting at Kelly and did not apologize. Instead, he accused her of lying to him when setting up the interview, which he apparently expected would be limited to questions about Iran, and for supposedly agreeing not to discuss the post-interview meeting. Kelly said Pompeo asked whether she thought Americans cared about Ukraine and if she could find the country on a map. “I said yes, and he called out for aides to bring us a map of the world with no writing,” she said in discussing the encounter on “All Things Considered.” “I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away. He said, ‘people will hear about this.’” Pompeo ended Saturday's statement by saying, “It is worth nothing that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine.” Nancy Barnes, NPR’s senior vice president of news, said in a statement that 'Kelly has always conducted herself with the utmost integrity, and we stand behind this report.''
  • Ron Howard knew Paradise, the northern California town devastated by the most destructive wildfire in California history. His mother-in-law had lived there and he had visited the town. He had some understanding of its people. Ten days after what became known as the Camp Fire swept through Paradise, killing 85 people and destroying roughly 19,000 buildings, Howard went to see it. “I've never seen anything like it,' he said. A little over a year later, Howard came to the Sundance Film Festival to premiere “Rebuilding Paradise,” a documentary he directed about the aftermath of the Camp Fire, including the colossal cleanup and rebuilding efforts of the close-knit rural community. “It's the story of a community, not the story of a fire,' Howard said in an interview. “It's a story of a very cruel test.” It's the third documentary in four years for Howard, following “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week' and “Pavarotti.” But “Rebuilding Paradise” was a more open-ended exercise. “There was no thesis to prove,' Howard said. “It's my first real vérité documentary where you go in with yourself and field producers and some cameras and you just start asking questions and see what the story's going to be.” That included getting close with the residents of Paradise, several of whom came to the Park City festival for the movie's premiere. Steve “Woody” Culleton, a former mayor of Paradise who moved into his and his wife's rebuilt home in December, said the film captured the small-town resilience of Paradise. “A lot of people came into the town right after the disaster. We were exploited. We were exploited by the (Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., the now-bankrupt utility whose equipment started the fire) and the cleanup crews. We were exploited by the news media who left after a week,” Culleton said. “It wasn't that way. Lizz Morhaim and Xan Parker, the producers, they spent the year with us. They were there.” “Rebuilding Paradise” largely evades a discussion of climate change, focusing instead on the strain of rebuilding and the persistence of the town's people. Howard was careful not to draw politics into the film. “This is not about policy. If I wanted to make a movie about climate change, there'd be all kinds of charts and data and talking heads with statistics,' Howard said. “But I think we all sense that for whatever reason this is more likely to touch or lives either directly or through loved ones, these kinds of problems. So what does that mean? Then what?” National Geographic will release “Rebuilding Paradise” later this year.
  • During the thunderous reception for the celebratory disability-rights documentary “Crip Camp” at the Sundance Film Festival, the loudest response came when disability advocate Judith Heumann, one of the film’s chief personalities, wheeled on stage. “It was as loud as a jet airplane taking off,” Jim LeBrecht, who co-directed the film with Nicole Newnham, said the morning after the film's premiere. Even on a night when Taylor Swift’s “Miss Americana” also debuted, “Crip Camp” caused a stir at the Park City festival. The movie begins as a nostalgic remembrance of Camp Jened, a summer camp for teens with disabilities in upstate New York that, before shuttering in 1977, was run by hippies with much of the spirit of nearby Woodstock. For camp attendees who came with polio, cerebral palsy and other disabilities, Jened was a utopia of acceptance and community. And it helped spark a movement. “Crip Camp” recounts how many of those who went to Jened — including Heumann, a polio survivor, and LeBrecht, born with spina bifida — went on to play prominent roles in the disability-rights movement, culminating in 1990's Americans with Disabilities Act. “Crip Camp” unfolds as a broader chronicle of a decadeslong fight for civil rights that has received less attention than other 20th century struggles for equity. The makers of “Crip Camp,' the second film backed by Barack and Michelle Obama's Higher Ground Productions, believe the film can be a galvanizing moment. “I hope this film will ignite other stories,” said Heumann, whose lifetime of advocacy includes successfully suing to become the first wheelchair-using teacher in New York, leading a historic 1977 sit-in and serving as a special adviser on disability rights at the State Department. “These stories are out there.” But by any metric, the stories of people with disabilities are among the least represented in film and television. Last year, USC Annenberg’s annual inequality report found that, of the 4,445 characters in the most popular movies of 2018, just 1.6% were shown with a disability. U.S. census figures estimate 27.2% of Americans have some form of disability. A 2019 study by the Ruderman Family Foundation found that about half of U.S. households favor authentic portrayals of actors with disabilities. Yet Hollywood, where villains are still regularly signaled by deformity, has a long history of unfavorable, stereotyped or inauthentic depictions of disability. “We’ve learned so much about people around us from film and television, and if what you’re getting is just purely stories about people having tragedies — in the case of ‘Million Dollar Baby’: ‘Please kill me. Please, please.’ — or the kind of super, overcoming story that we sometimes call the ‘super-crip’ story, neither of these people are relatable and neither are reflective of the community in general,” said LeBrecht, a Berkeley, California-based sound designer. Heumann, LeBrecht and Newnham hope “Crip Camp” encourages conversations about how movies and media have fostered false impressions of people with disabilities. “There needs to be a fundamental altering in what goes on in media,” said Heumann, who has written about disability representation for the Ford Foundation. “At Sundance, I’m in a room with hundreds and hundreds of progressives who pride themselves on being progressives, who pride themselves on supporting diversity. And the number of people who say — and it’s not the first time I’ve heard this — ‘We didn’t know.’' “Crip Camp” has already effected some change. LeBrecht, having attended previous Sundance festivals, urged the festival to improve accessibility. He previously was unable to go into the festival’s filmmakers lounge because it didn’t have an elevator. Sundance recently announced that it would, with the Ruderman Family Foundation, provide more resources for attendees with disabilities and program more movies featuring people with disabilities. Newnham says a planned campaign around the film’s release later this year on Netflix is intended to further prompt discussion. The change needed goes much deeper than accessibility, she said. It's about reprogramming how the non-disabled think of people with disabilities. “We’re excited that the film seems to be being seen as a celebration of disability culture and pride, and we feel that can go a long way, too,” said the Emmy-winning documentary producer and director. A veteran of the ups and downs of activism, Heumann knows change comes slowly. And she remains frustrated at the movement’s lack of progress. “When I’m truthful, I feel very angry about what’s gone on,” Heumann said. “We’re frequently having to temper our thoughts and our comments because people don’t necessarily want to hear them,' she added. 'People have to be in a certain head space to be willing to have difficult discussions.” But “Crip Camp,” she granted, could be a new beginning for how disability is understood on screen, and off. “Whoever we are,” Heumann said, “we have the ability to make change.” ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP
  • At a celebration for Bob Marley’s 75th birth anniversary, the late icon’s children — famous in their own right — gathered to tell stories about the reggae king and discuss passing the musical torch to their own children. Bob Marley’s children, including Cedella Marley, Julian Marley and Rohan Marley, and several of his grandchildren held a pre-Grammys brunch Friday alongside Universal Music and Mastercard in Los Angeles — about two weeks before the Jamaican singer's Feb. 6 birthdate. Bob Marley died of cancer in 1981, at age 36. The event also celebrated Julian Marley, who is nominated for best reggae album at Sunday’s Grammy Awards. Cedella Marley, a three-time Grammy winner, said her father, who died in 1981, taught his children important lessons about perseverance. “Daddy was a fitness guru ... and there were times when we would do these relay races and a lot of parents just want their children to win, win, win. No, we had to really win,” she said. “If we run, we have to really run. And he was not the one that was just going to let you win just because, and I think that’s an important lesson. Nothing is handed to you, you have to go out there (and work hard).” Bob Marley’s kids passed that message on to their own children, who were in attendance Friday. Skip Marley, Cedella Marley’s son who has collaborated with Katy Perry, H.E.R. and Major Lazer, said he didn’t choose music, but that “music chose me.” “All of us carry it on,” Skip Marley said of the other grandchildren, “Even to some new streets and avenues (while) protecting the message and continuing to carry the light.” Mystic Marley, Zuri Marley, Nico Marley, Shacia Marley and Joshua Omaru Marley — the son of Lauryn Hill and Rohan Marley — also attended the event. “This is Lauryn’s boy,” Rohan Marley said, looking to Joshua Omaru Marley. “He’s my son but they always say, ‘Oh! Lauryn Hill’s son and Bob Marley’s grandson,’” he said to laughs. “I’m like, ‘OK. No problem. I’ll take that!’” Joshua Omaru Marley said that he’s working on new music and that Hill will be featured on his project. He said his Grammy-winning mother has given him “positive feedback” about his music but added: “There’s always room for improvement.” Nico Marley, Rohan Marley’s son who had signed with the NFL’s Washington Redskins as an undrafted free agent in 2017, joked about being the oddball Marley onstage. “I’m just glad I have some kind of talent because it wasn’t singing,” he said as the audience erupted in laughter. “I’m in the back clapping. I can’t even sing. Not even a little bit.”
  • The Pentagon's new U.S. Space Force is not Star Trek's Starfleet Command, but their logos bear a striking similarity. President Donald Trump unveiled the Space Force logo Friday, writing on Twitter that he had consulted with military leaders and designers before presenting the blue-and-white symbol, which features an arrowhead shape centered on a planetary background and encircled by the words, “United States Space Force” and “Department of the Air Force.” The logo, which bears the date 2019 in Roman numerals, also is similar in design to that of Air Force Space Command, from which Space Force was created by legislation that Trump signed in last month. Space Force is the first new military service since the Air Force was created in 1947. It is meant mainly to improve protection of U.S. satellites and other space assets, rather than to put warriors in orbit to conduct combat in outer space. The idea became a regular applause line for Trump at his political rallies. He originally wanted a Space Force that was “separate but equal” to the Army, Navy and Air Force, but instead Congress made it part of the Department of the Air Force. “After consultation with our Great Military Leaders, designers, and others, I am pleased to present the new logo for the United States Space Force, the Sixth Branch of our Magnificent Military!” Trump wrote. George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu in the original “Star Trek” TV series and films, tweeted in response, “Ahem. We are expecting some royalties from this.”
  • Celebrities, beware: “Punk’d” is being revived. And this time Chance the Rapper is the one doing the punk'ing. MTV Studios and Quibi said Friday they are teaming up to revive the show with Grammy-winner Chance the Rapper pranking unsuspecting A-listers. No date was announced but the show will be available only on Quibi’s mobile video platform. Quibi is an upcoming short-video streaming service that's backed by Hollywood studios. 'Punk'd' had an eight-season run on MTV, ending in 2007. The host back then was Ashton Kutcher and he got the better of such celebs as Justin Timberlake, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, and Frankie Muniz. Chance the Rapper, whose name is Chancelor Bennett, saw his album 'Coloring Book' become the first streaming-only album to be named best rap album at the Grammy Awards.
  • Rapper YG was arrested Friday at his Los Angeles home on suspicion of robbery just two days before he is scheduled to perform at the Grammy Awards, officials said. Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies took YG, whose real name is Keenon Jackson, into custody at his Chatsworth home as they served a search warrant. He was held on $250,000 bail but was released on bond shortly after 9 p.m., according to the sheriff's website. The Compton rapper — whose hits include 'Toot It and Boot It' and 'Go Loko' — was scheduled for an arraignment Tuesday. Authorities did not immediately provide additional details about the arrest or alleged robbery. It was not clear Friday morning if YG had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. YG and several others, including John Legend and Meek Mill, are supposed to perform a tribute to Nipsey Hussle, a rapper who was shot to death in 2019 outside his Marathon clothing store in the South Los Angeles neighborhood where he is from, at the Grammys on Sunday. In July, the sheriff's office searched YG's Hollywood Hills home in connection with a police shooting in Compton that killed a bystander. YG had not been implicated in the shooting and was not home at the time of the search, authorities said at the time. Deputy James Nagao said Friday he did not have any information if the robbery and shooting were connected.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Deputies in Orange County need your help with their investigation of a shooting that happened Friday afternoon. They say at 5:20 p.m., deputies responded to the shooting at 1493 Goldenrod Road near East Colonial. Once they got there, they found the victim, now identified as 30 year old Dominic Fabrece Bolden unresponsive with a gunshot wound in a car. Bolden was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.  Investigators have turned their focus to a black car and an SUV that have crashed into each other. A nearby Mercedez sat with two other cars along with evidence markers scattered around them. The shooting caused traffic in the north and southbound lanes to be closed, causing a back up for over 5 hours.  Investigators have classified this case as a homicide. Right now, there has been no description of a suspect or if any arrests have been made. In the meantime, Crimeline is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for anyone with information about this shooting. If you have any information, please contact Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.
  • A federally funded national study to find out why exercise benefits the human body is now in the testing phase at AdventHealth in Orlando. Last year the National Institutes of Health issued a $170 million grant to conduct the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans study, also known as MoTrPAC (pronounced “Motor Pack”).  Orlando was chosen as one of the ten markets where the study is being conducted. In January 2019, News 96.5 WDBO spoke with the AdventHealth senior investigator leading the study at the Translational Research Institute on Princeton Street.  One year later, Dr. Bret Goodpaster said the testing is happening now with the first group of volunteers from Central Florida. “They essentially get an exercise program,” Dr. Goodpaster said. “They get their own personal trainer for twelve weeks who really teach them about the right way to do exercise.” Goodpaster’s team is working with about 25 or 30 people at a time.  Over the course of about three years they’ll study 150 volunteers, a good chunk of the nearly 2,000 people who are being studied nationwide for MoTrPAC.  They’ll continue working with volunteers through 2022. The study itself involves both resistance and aerobic exercise.  Volunteers undergo all sorts of testing of their muscle, fat and blood both before and after the exercise program to see what has changed. “We’re looking at all the molecules that might be produced during exercise in muscle, fat cells and in the blood to really try to discover what we don’t yet know about why exercise exerts its positive health benefits,” Dr. Goodpaster said. He hopes the study will lead to new data on what exercise is doing on a fundamental, basic molecular level.  One example is finding what molecules end up in the blood that might be related to risk for diabetes, heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease. Orlando wasn’t chosen at random to participate in the study.  Dr. Goodpaster said  they competed to get part of the federal grant. “I think what this does from a research perspective is it really puts Orlando on the map as being able to succeed at competing at landing these NIH-funded national studies like MoTrPAC,” he said. That could mean more projects for Orlando in the future, as the National Institutes of Health wants to give money to people who have established a track record of success in being able to do these types of studies. AdventHealth’s Translational Research Institute will be looking for volunteers for the next two to three years.  Anyone interested in getting involved with the MoTrPAC research study can call (407) 303-7193 or visit TRI-MD.org.
  • At least two people died and one person was injured after an early-morning explosion Friday at a machine shop in northwest Houston, police said. KHOU reported residents first felt the blast at Watson Grinding & Manufacturing Co. around 4:30 a.m. Friday. Update 4:50 a.m. EST Jan. 25: Houston authorities have identified the two people killed in Friday’s early-morning explosion as Frank Flores and Gerardo Castorena. Both men were employees at the facility and had arrived early to use the company’s on-site gym before starting their workdays, KHOU reported. According to the TV station, a nearby resident was taken to a local hospital for treatment of unknown injuries, and at least 18 people sought emergency room treatment on their own for minor injuries associated with the blast, such as breathing issues and cuts. Update 2:30 p.m. EST Jan. 24: Police Chief Art Acevedo said authorities believe they have identified the two people killed in Friday morning’s explosion as employees of Watson Grinding. Authorities declined to identify the victims as they continued to await official confirmation of their identities. “We only have two people that are accounted for and we have recovered two bodies,” Acevedo said Friday afternoon. “That doesn’t mean that there (isn’t) people that no one knows were in the area, and so we cannot say whether or not there are more victims but right now. It appears (to be) a high probability (that) there’s only two victims.” Police, firefighters and officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the cause of the blast. “As of right now, we don’t have any have no indication that there’s any terrorism nexus or any intentional act,” Acevedo said. Earlier Friday, he noted investigations are part of standard procedure when dealing with situations such as Friday’s explosion. Update 1:55 p.m. EST Jan. 24: Firefighters have cleared the immediate blast area affected by Friday morning’s explosion at Watson Grinding. The owner of Watson Grinding told KTRK the blast was a propylene gas explosion. Houston fire officials said propylene tanks still at the machine shop were intact and stable Friday afternoon. “There is no indication of any air quality issues,” officials said. Update 1:10 p.m. EST Jan. 24: Police expect to provide an update on the investigation into Friday morning’s explosion at a news conference scheduled to start at 1 p.m. local time Friday. Update 10:55 a.m. EST Jan. 24: Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters Friday morning that police have confirmed two fatalities connected to the explosion at Watson Grinding. Acevedo said authorities weren’t immediately sure whether the victims were employees of Watson Grinding or residents who lived nearby. Mayor Sylvester Turner said as many as three people are believed to have died as a result of the early-morning blast. Police and firefighters have launched an investigation of the incident. “Let me just say off the bat, we have no reason to believe -- we have no evidence at this point that terrorism was involved, we don’t have any evidence that an intentional act is involved,” Acevedo said, adding that the investigation was part of standard procedure. Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also investigating. Fire Chief Samuel Peña said there was “significant damage” to homes and businesses in the area. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 10:35 a.m. EST Jan 24: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said as many as three people are believed to have died in Friday morning’s explosion. Original report: One person was missing Friday after an early-morning explosion at a machine shop in northwest Houston caused heavy damage to nearby buildings, injuring at least one person and leaving rubble scattered in the area. “(The explosion) knocked us all out of our bed, it was so strong,” resident Mark Brady told KPRC. “It busted out every window in our house. It busted everybody’s garage door in around here … and closer toward the explosion over here, it busted people’s roofs in and walls in and we don’t know what it is … It’s a warzone over here.” Police Chief Art Acevedo said Friday morning that one person remained unaccounted for after the incident. “It’s somebody that works there,” Acevedo said. “We’re keeping that person in our prayers.” Firefighters said a resident who lives near Watson Grinding was injured in the explosion and taken to a hospital. Houston fire Capt. Oscar Garcia told CNN the person was injured by shattered glass. At least one local resident captured the incident on a doorbell camera. The owner of Watson Grinding told KTRK the blast was a propylene gas explosion. Houston fire Chief Samuel Peña said a hazardous materials team was monitoring after the incident but that there were no immediate reports of hazardous air quality. Acevedo said the debris field extended about half a mile from the site of the explosion. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • Workers in China are swiftly building a 1,000-bed hospital to treat people who have been sickened by a new strain of the coronavirus that has claimed more than two dozen lives and sickened hundreds of others in the country, according to multiple reports. Ten bulldozers and nearly three dozen diggers arrived Thursday night at the future site of the hospital in Wuhan, Reuters reported, citing Changjiang Daily. The facility was being built using prefabricated buildings around a holiday complex on the outskirts of the city that was originally meant for local workers, according to Reuters. Officials expect to complete construction on the 270,000-square-foot lot by Feb. 3, The Associated Press reported. The facility was being built amid reports of hospital bed shortages as hundreds of people fell ill during the country’s popular Lunar New Year travel season. Several people in Wuhan, the epicenter of the viral outbreak, told The Guardian they had been turned away from hospitals due to the flood of patients seeking testing and treatment. At least eight hospitals in Wuhan have called for donations of items including masks and goggles as they work to meet demand for medical treatment, according to the AP. 'The construction of this project is to solve the shortage of existing medical resources,” Changjiang Daily reported, according to Reuters. “Because it will be prefabricated buildings, it will not only be built fast but it also won’t cost much.” The facility was being modeled after the Xiaotangshan SARS hospital built in 2003 in Beijing, the AP reported. That hospital was built by 7,000 workers in just six days during the SARS outbreak, which killed 800 and sickened people in more than a dozen countries, according to the AP and Reuters. The facility, which was deemed a success, treated 700 patients over less than two months before it closed, The Guardian and Reuters reported. As of Friday, 26 people have died and more than 900 people have been infected with coronavirus in China since reports of the virus first surfaced last month, according to CNN and the AP. Several cases have also been confirmed in other countries, including two in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials believe the virus can spread from person-to-person, though it remained unclear Friday just how easily the virus spread. Officials recommend that any people who have recently traveled to Wuhan and subsequently experienced flu-like symptoms -- including fever, coughing, shortness of breath or a sore throat -- contact their health care providers.
  • Orlando International Airport officials issued a statement Thursday about the deadly coronavirus, which has killed more than a dozen people and sickened hundreds of others since it was first reported last month in China. Rod Johnson, an airport spokesman, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans to expand screening at airports this week, but OIA is not included in that grouping. As of Friday, the CDC is requiring screening of passengers arriving from Wuhan, China to Atlanta and Chicago O'Hare,  Los Angeles International, San Francisco International and New York JFK. 'Since we do not have direct service from the affected regions in China, no additional measures are currently prescribed for our location,' Johnson said. 'However, we will continue to collaborate with health officials, monitor the situation for changes and will act accordingly.” Cases of the virus first surfaced in Wuhan, China, which has a population of more than 11 million. The first travel-related case in the U.S was announced Tuesday. A traveler who had been in central China landed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on an unidentified airline Jan. 15 and reported pneumonia-like symptoms to his doctor on Jan. 19.  The Seattle-area resident did not take a nonstop flight between Wuhan and Seattle. So far, the virus has killed at least 17 people and sickened more than 600 others in China. Here are six things you should be aware of about the disease: 1. Coronavirus is actually a group of viruses that can cause a cold or something severe like Middle East respiratory syndrome, known as MERS, severe acute respiratory syndrome, known as SARS. The World Health Organization says symptoms are similar to pneumonia symptoms, CBS News reported. The initial symptoms include fever, cough, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath, The Associated Press reported. 2. Normally they’re transmitted from animal to humans, but 2019-nCoV is apparently able to be transmitted between humans. At least two people were infected that way, the BBC reported. But there are other coronaviruses in animal populations but have not been transmitted to humans, according to CBS News. 3. The World Health Organization is considering declaring a public health emergency, similar to what it did with Ebola and swine flu, the BBC reported. If the declaration happens, a coordinated international response will follow. 4. At least 15 medical workers are infected with 2019-nCoV and one is in critical condition. They are believed to have contracted the illness from treating patients who were kept in isolation, but that has not been confirmed, the BBC reported. 5. While the 2019-nCoV was traced back to a seafood market that also sells live animals in Wuhan, China last year, there are a few cases outside of China including Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Those cases are linked to the same area in China, the BBC reported. 6. People are taking measures to protect themselves from exposure to the virus. Medical-style face masks are sold out in China, the AP reported. Many people in Wuhan are wearing face coverings as they go about their day. The company that makes the anti-pollution masks, 3M was sold out of the mask online, the AP reported.

Washington Insider

  • After listening to Democrats for three straight days, President Donald Trump's lawyers started their rebuttal on Saturday in the President's Senate impeachment trial, accusing House prosecutors of ignoring evidence helpful to Mr. Trump, asking Senators to turn aside an effort to 'cancel an election.' 'You will find that the President did absolutely nothing wrong,' White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said to start the arguments in an unusual Saturday session of the Senate. 'Today, we are going to confront them on the merits of their argument,' Cipollone added, as the President's legal team accused the House of bending the facts, and ignoring evidence in favor of Mr. Trump. 'Let's get our facts straight,' said the President's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow. 'The House managers never told you any of this,' said White House lawyer Michael Purpura. 'Why not?' “Impeachment shouldn't be a shell game,” Cipollone said, as the President's team used just two of their 24 hours of arguments - they will continue on Monday afternoon. GOP Senators rushed to the microphones after Saturday's session to denounce what Democrats had presented earlier in the week. 'Within two hours, I thought the White House Counsel and their team entirely shredded the case which has been presented by the House managers,' said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA). 'It completely undermined the case of the Democrats and truly undermined the credibility of Adam Schiff,' said Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). 'It was pretty stark today,' said Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who then used the famous quote from radio show host Paul Harvey to make the case for the President. 'Now you know the rest of the story,' Lankford told reporters. 'This was a good day for America frankly,' said Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC). 'I don't believe anything they have said so far is impeachable,' said Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) of the House case, as there continues to be no public evidence that any GOP Senators are ready to break with President Trump. Playing out behind the scenes was the ongoing partisan tussle over whether current and former Trump Administration officials - whose testimony has been blocked during the impeachment investigation by President Trump - should be issued subpoenas by the U.S. Senate. 'I don't know how you have a trial when you know there is evidence that you haven't seen, or witnesses you haven't heard from that have first hand knowledge,' said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). 'A fair trial means witnesses and documents,' said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. The trial resumes at 1 pm ET on Monday.