ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-day
72°
Sunny
H 88° L 64°
  • clear-day
    72°
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 88° L 64°
  • clear-day
    82°
    Evening
    Sunny. H 88° L 64°
  • cloudy-day
    65°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 81° L 66°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

The Latest Entertainment Headlines

    Another member of the Swedish Academy awarding the Nobel Literature Prize said Thursday she is resigning, bringing the total number of board members who are quitting the prestigious institution to six. Dagens Nyheter, one of Sweden's largest newspapers, said writer Lotta Lotass formally asked to leave the secretive 18-member board hit by turmoil amid a scandal centering on sexual misconduct allegations against a man married to board member Katarina Frostenson. Frostenson and the board's permanent secretary, Sara Danius, stepped down last week. Their departure came after three male members — Klas Ostergren, Kjell Espmark and Peter Englund —earlier resigned because the board refused to heed their call to remove Frostenson. Sweden's king — the academy's patron, who must approve any of its secret votes —said Wednesday he wants to change the academy's rules to cope with the resignation of its members, who are appointed for life. King Carl XVI Gustav said he has begun a consultation with the academy to discuss the issue. Lotass said the monarch had made an 'an urgent and wise intervention,' according to Dagens Nyheter. 'My faith in the academy as an institution is intact,' Lotass told the daily. Her departure came hours ahead of a planned demonstration outside the Swedish Academy in downtown Stockholm to demand that all board members resign. The event, organized through social media, calls on women to wear blouses with pussy bow ties similar to those worn by Danius, the board's former chief. Many in Sweden are outraged by what appears to be women paying the price for the alleged misbehavior of Frostenson's husband, Jean-Claude Arnault, a leading cultural figure in Sweden. Eighteen women allege Arnault assaulted or raped them from 1996 to 2017 — claims Arnault denies. Allegations have also surfaced accusing Arnault of repeatedly leaking Nobel winners' names. Sweden's king and the Nobel Foundation Board have said the scandal was threatening to tarnish the reputation of the Nobel Prize. ___ Olsen reported from Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Former “Dance Moms” reality TV star and Pittsburgh native Abby Lee Miller has been diagnosed with cancer. People Magazine is reporting Miller has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma a day after undergoing emergency spinal surgery. >> Read more trending news  Doctor’s originally thought she had a severe infection. Miller is not out of the woods from the surgery yet and doctors said she plans to start chemotherapy and radiation soon. Miller was recently transferred from federal prison to a reentry center in March. She had been serving her sentence at a medium security prison in Victorville, California. Miller was sentenced a year and a day in prison for bankruptcy fraud. Investigators said Miller brought nearly $120,000 in Australian currency into the United States and not reporting it.
  • The 'Black Panther' is returning to his alma mater to give the commencement address at Howard University. The university announced Wednesday that Chadwick Boseman will give the keynote address at Howard's 150th commencement ceremony on May 12. News outlets report Boseman will be presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, the university's highest honor. Howard University President Wayne Frederick said his role in the blockbuster 'Black Panther' film 'reminds us of the excellence found in the African diaspora and how Howard continues to be a gem that produces the next generation of artist-scholars, humanitarians, scientists, engineers and doctors.' The South Carolina native also starred in movies portraying Jackie Robinson, James Brown and fellow Howard graduate Thurgood Marshall.
  • The guy really got into Amy Schumer’s head. Here she was full of confidence and spunk, and he had to make a deflating remark. >> Read more trending news “I was 10 years old, which is kind of late. That’s kind of lucky, to hang onto your confidence until you’re 10,” she said during a recent interview to discuss “I Feel Pretty,” which opens in theaters Friday. “It was a guy I was friends with. He said, ‘You have a big butt.’ I was like, ‘I do?’ It didn’t occur to me that people had different bodies. That’s a learned thing. I remember him saying that to me and me accepting it as fact.” In “I Feel Pretty,” Schumer plays Renee Bennett, a young woman struggling with self-esteem, an empty dance card and a job going nowhere. When she’s magically transformed into a gorgeous knockout, she suddenly commands every room with confidence, finds a great boyfriend and sees her career take off. Here’s the catch, though. Renee actually looks the same to everyone else; a conk on the head has left only her seeing herself differently. And her supposed outer beauty summons some inner ugliness. During the interview with Schumer, she talked about relating to her character and the serious message the comedy imparts. Q: How do you relate to Renee? A: I’ve been there. I’m not done being there. I’ve had long periods of time, especially in college, where I didn’t understand at all where my worth came from and it seemed like it was all about being attractive. I was lucky that I realized quickly that’s not what it’s about at all. I still have those days. When I was playing her (having) really low self-esteem, that was tough, being that vulnerable. The confident stuff was really kind of fun, and good for me. Q: One lively scene in “I Feel Pretty” involves Renee’s impromptu performance at a bikini beauty pageant, where she owns the stage and the crowd. How many takes did that involve? A: I definitely did that dance 10 times. It’s my fault. I was supposed to just stand there and pose in a bikini and I was like, “No, this is a really empowering moment. I want a choreographer.” I think we pulled it off. Q: What’s your message for people constantly checking their appearances to ensure they look perfect? A: You just want to fast-forward them to their late 30s. I feel the best when I’m just hanging out with my family and friends, just laughing. Q: Early in “I Feel Pretty,” Renee drops a coin into a fountain and wishes for beauty. If there was a magic fountain you could make a wish in, and change something about your personality or add a skill, superpower or some ability, what sort of non physical gift would you wish for? A: Patience. I have a low threshold. I’m really efficient. I don’t even like when you call the bank and they go, “Hi, thank you for calling” and the whole run-through. I just start saying my number. To work in this business and do the jobs that I’ve been doing, you really have to be selective with your energy. Q: Who do you look to for guidance and inspiration? A: My sister and also people I see on the street. When I see people on the street, they say, “Keep going.” Maybe they mean I should keep walking. I’m not looking to please everyone. I wouldn’t be so outspoken about how I feel about things if I was. If I’m making a difference and these people want to encourage me to keep going, that really means a lot to me. Q: The movie’s cast includes legendary supermodels Naomi Campbell and Lauren Hutton, who became famous when there was more distance between celebrities and the public. Talk about the difference in how things are now. A: It’s as if you’re a politician. People want to know your feelings about everything, and it has to be the whole package. They look to burn you if you get to a certain level in the public eye. It’s like everybody wants people to get burned at the stake and taken down. It’s so out of your hands it doesn’t feel like something you can try and curate or control. That’s kind of freeing. Q: Given how busy you are, how do you carve out time for yourself to recharge? A: Long walks with my dog. Sex. And boxing. Boxing’s so good. You just feel so chill the rest of the day. And acupuncture. Just being physically well.
  • A nationalist councilwoman in Berlin has been ridiculed online for proposing the closure of one the city's most famous techno clubs because of its long opening hours as well as partygoers' drug consumption and lascivious behavior on the dance floor. Sibylle Schmidt, a district councilor for the far-right Alternative for Germany party, demanded that a future owner of the Berghain club should install 'better lighting and staff to prevent sexual acts' inside. She said it should open only from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. to protect revelers' health, instead of offering all-weekend raves. She also complained about the club's 'unintelligent, ugly' bouncers. Using the hashtag #berghain, Twitter users made fun of the proposal and compared Schmidt's agenda to that of 'hardcore Islamists.' The proposal is unlikely to be approved.
  • The lights dimmed and the crowd of men and women erupted into applause and hoots as Hollywood's blockbuster 'Black Panther' premiered in Saudi Arabia's first movie theater. Though it was a private, invitation-only screening on Wednesday evening, for many Saudis it marked one of the clearest moments of change to sweep the country in decades. It's seen as part of a new era in which women will soon be allowed to drive and people in the kingdom will be able to go to concerts and fashion shows, and tuck into a bucket of popcorn in a cinema. 'It's a new era, a new age. It's that simple. Things are changing, progress is happening. We're opening up and we're catching up with everything that's happening in the world,' said Rahaf Alhendi, who attended the showing. Authorities said the public would be able to purchase tickets online on Thursday for showings starting Friday. But there may be delays. Movies screened in Saudi cinemas will be subject to approval by government censors, and Wednesday night's premiere was no exception. Scenes of violence were not cut, but a final scene involving a kiss was axed. Still, it's a stark reversal for a country where public movie screenings were banned in the 1980s during a wave of ultraconservatism that swept Saudi Arabia. Many Saudi clerics view Western movies and even Arabic films made in Egypt and Lebanon as sinful. Despite decades of ultraconservative dogma, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pushed through a number of major social reforms with support from his father, King Salman, to satiate the desires of the country's majority young population. 'This is a historic day for your country,' Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Entertainment, told the crowd at the screening. 'It's been about 37 years since you've been able to watch movies the way movies are meant to be watched in a theater, together on a big screen.' U.S.-based AMC, one of the world's biggest movie theater operators, only two weeks earlier signed a deal with Prince Mohammed to operate the first cinema in the kingdom. AMC and its local partner hurriedly transformed a concert hall in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, into a cinema complex for Wednesday's screening. Aron said the company plans to rip out the current concert-style seats and replace them with plush leather recliners and build three more screens in the complex to accommodate up to 5,000 movie-goers a day. Samer Alsourani traveled from Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province for the event. He commended the crown prince for following through on his promises to modernize the country. 'This is the first time that we really see something that's really being materialized,' he said. The social reforms undertaken by the 32-year-old heir to the throne are part of his so-called Vision 2030, a blueprint for Saudi Arabia that aims to boost local spending and create jobs amid sustained lower oil prices. The Saudi government projects that the opening of movie theaters will contribute more than 90 billion riyals ($24 billion) to the economy and create more than 30,000 jobs by 2030. The kingdom says there will be 300 cinemas with around 2,000 screens built by 2030. AMC has partnered with a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund, to build up to 40 AMC cinemas across the country over the next five years. Saudi Arabia had already started gradually loosening restrictions on movie screenings in the past few years, with local film festivals and screenings in makeshift theaters. For the most part, though, until now Saudis who wanted to watch a film in a movie theater had to drive to nearby Bahrain or the United Arab Emirates for weekend trips to the cinema. In the 1970s, there were informal movie screenings but the experience could be interrupted by the country's religious police, whose powers have since been curbed. Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident Saudi writer, describes the theaters of the 1970s as being 'like American drive-ins, except much more informal.' In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, he wrote that a friend once broke his leg at a screening in Medina when he jumped off a wall to escape the religious police and avoid arrest. By the 1980s, movie screenings were largely banned unless they took place in private residential compounds for foreigners or at cultural centers run by foreign embassies. Access to streaming services, such as Netflix, and satellite TV steadily eroded attempts by the government to censor what the Saudi public could view. By 2013, the film 'Wadjda' made history by becoming the first Academy Award entry for Saudi Arabia, though it wasn't nominated for the Oscars. To adhere to the kingdom's norms on gender segregation, certain screenings may be held for families and others for male-only crowds. But, generally movie theaters will not be gender segregated with 'family sections' for women and related men and separate 'single sections' for male-only crowds as is customary at restaurants and cafes. Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Alawwad told The Associated Press the government aims to strike a balance between the country's Islamic mores and people's movie experiences. 'We want to ensure the movies are in line with our culture and respect for values. Meanwhile, we want to provide people with a beautiful show and really enjoy watching their own movies,' he said. The new movie theater also came equipped with prayer rooms to accommodate the daily Muslim prayer times. ___ Associated Press writer Malak Harb in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, contributed to this report. ___ Aya Batrawy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ayaelb .
  • Bill Cosby's lawyers turned to their star witness in the comedian's sexual assault retrial, countering the harrowing accounts of a half-dozen accusers with a woman who says chief accuser Andrea Constand mused about framing a celebrity in hopes of a big payday. Temple University academic adviser Marguerite Jackson took the witness stand the same day jurors heard Cosby's explosive deposition testimony about giving quaaludes, the since-banned 1970s party drug, to women before sex. The jury is expected to hear from a pair of drug experts on Thursday. The prosecution's expert, Dr. Timothy Rohrig, testified at Cosby's last trial that wooziness and other effects Constand described could have been caused by quaaludes or Benadryl, the over-the-counter cold medication Cosby claims he gave her. Quaaludes have been illegal in the U.S. since 1982. That is the year Cosby accuser Janice Baker-Kinney alleges he knocked her out with pills she suspected to be quaaludes and then raped her. Cosby, in the 2005 deposition read to jurors by a police detective, said he used quaaludes 'the same as a person would say, 'Have a drink.'' 'Quaaludes happen to be the drug that kids, young people were using to party with, and there were times when I wanted to have them just in case,' Cosby said in the deposition, given in 2005 and 2006 after Constand sued him. Cosby's testimony was hidden from public view until The Associated Press petitioned to have it unsealed in 2005. That led prosecutors to reopen the criminal case and file charges. Jurors at Cosby's first trial also heard excerpts from the deposition. In the transcript read to the jury, the 'Cosby Show' star said he obtained seven prescriptions for quaaludes from his doctor in Los Angeles in the 1970s, ostensibly for a sore back, but added he did not use them himself because they made him tired. Jackson testified that Constand, Temple's women's basketball operations director, spoke to her on a February 2004 road trip to Rhode Island about fabricating sexual assault allegations against a high-profile person so she could 'get that money' from a lawsuit. After watching a TV news report about a celebrity who had been sued over allegations of sexual assault, Jackson said, Constand told her: 'Oh, wow, something similar happened to me.' Constand said she never reported the assault because her assailant was a 'high-profile person' and she knew she couldn't prove it, Jackson testified. Jackson, who said she roomed with Constand on the trip, told jurors that she encouraged Constand to come forward. She testified that Constand then switched gears, saying, 'No, it didn't, but I could say it did. I could say it happened, get that money. I could quit my job. I could go back to school. I could open up a business.' Jackson's account was immediately challenged by prosecutors, who suggested she was not on the trip on which she says her conversation with Constand took place. Jackson's appearance on the witness stand was one of the most highly anticipated moments of a retrial that has Cosby, 80, defending himself against criminal charges that he knocked Constand out with pills and then sexually assaulted her at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Cosby paid Constand nearly $3.4 million in 2006, and his lawyers call her a 'con artist' who set him up. Jackson said a comedian she met on a cruise put her in touch with Cosby's lawyers in November 2016. They got to talking about Cosby after the comedian offered to buy her a drink and promised, 'I won't put anything in it,' she recalled. Judge Steven O'Neill blocked Jackson from taking the stand at Cosby's first trial last year, ruling her testimony would be hearsay after Constand told the jury that she did not know her. That trial ended without a verdict after jurors deadlocked. The judge changed his mind about Jackson for the retrial, giving the defense case a huge boost. The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand has done. ___ Follow Mike Sisak at https://twitter.com/mikesisak. ___ For more coverage visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/CosbyonTrial.
  • Prosecutors in the Minnesota county where Prince died will announce a decision on criminal charges following a two-year investigation into the music superstar's death from an accidental fentanyl overdose. Carver County Attorney Mark Metz scheduled an 11:30 a.m. news conference Thursday to announce whether anyone would be charged. Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate in suburban Chanhassen on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin. A confidential toxicology report obtained by The Associated Press in March showed high concentrations of fentanyl in the singer's blood, liver and stomach. The concentration of fentanyl in Prince's blood was 67.8 micrograms per liter, which outside experts called 'exceedingly high.' The report noted that fatalities have been documented in people with blood levels ranging from 3 to 58 micrograms per liter. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. Authorities found numerous pills in various containers stashed around Prince's home, including some counterfeit pills that contained fentanyl. The source of that fentanyl was never determined. While many who knew Prince over the years said he had a reputation for clean living, some said he also struggled with pain after years of intense performances. Documents released by authorities last year paint a picture of a man struggling with an addiction to prescription opioids and withdrawal, and they also show there were efforts to get him help. Associates at Paisley Park told investigators that Prince had been 'going through withdrawals, which are believed to be the result of the abuse of prescription medication,' according to an affidavit unsealed in state court last year. Just six days before he died, Prince passed out on a plane and an emergency stop was made in Moline, Illinois. The musician had to be revived with two doses of a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. The day before his death, Paisley Park staffers contacted California addiction specialist Dr. Howard Kornfeld as they were trying to get Prince help. Kornfeld sent his son, Andrew, to Minnesota that night and the younger Kornfeld was among those who found Prince's body. Andrew Kornfeld was carrying buprenorphine, a medication that can be used to help treat opioid addiction. Documents also alleged Dr. Michael Todd Schulenberg, a family physician who saw the musician twice before his death, told authorities he prescribed the opioid painkiller oxycodone to Prince but put it under the name of Prince's bodyguard and close friend Kirk Johnson 'for Prince's privacy.' Schulenberg's attorney has disputed that. A laboratory report obtained by the AP notes that one of the pills found in a prescription bottle with Johnson's name contained oxycodone. Oxycodone, the generic name for the active ingredient in OxyContin, was not listed as a cause of Prince's death. But it is part of a family of painkillers driving the nation's overdose and addiction epidemic, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 2 million Americans abused or were addicted to prescription opioids, including oxycodone, in 2014. Prince did not have any prescriptions for fentanyl. ___ Follow Amy Forliti on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/amyforliti . More of her work is at: https://apnews.com/search/amy%20forliti .
  • Authorities in Carver County, Minnesota, could announce charges Thursday in the investigation into the opioid-related death of legendary entertainer Prince two years after he died, according to news outlets. >> Read more trending news  Prince was found unresponsive at his Paisley Park home in Chanhassen on April 21, 2016, and was later pronounced dead. An autopsy report by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office was released two months later and called Prince’s death “accidental.” The cause was listed as “fentanyl toxicity,” according to Entertainment Tonight, and the drug was “self-administered.” According to news reports at the time, prescription drugs were found at the musician’s Paisley Park home and in his possession when he died. Some of the bottles of prescription painkillers found at Paisley Park were in the name of a longtime friend of Prince and were prescribed by a doctor the “Purple Rain” singer saw before he died. >> Related: Remembering Prince: 5 most memorable tributes It’s unclear if anyone is facing charges at this point. Carver County Attorney Mark Metz is holding a press conference Thursday at 11:30 a.m. to further discuss whether investigators are charging anyone in connection with the musician’s death.
  • David Copperfield testified Wednesday that he didn't know until he was sued that a British tourist claimed to have been seriously injured while taking part in an illusion during a performance on the Las Vegas Strip in 2013. Although Copperfield said it might be his fault if an audience volunteer who was participating in an illusion got hurt, the celebrated magician didn't acknowledge responsibility for injuries Gavin Cox claims to have suffered when he fell. 'It depends on what happened. If I did something wrong, it would be my fault,' Copperfield said during questioning by Cox's lawyer, Benedict Morelli. 'Your defense in this case is ... if they participate and someone gets hurt, it's their fault, not yours. Is that accurate?' Morelli asked. 'Yes or no?' 'It's not a simple yes-or-no answer,' Copperfield responded in a barely audible voice. Morelli contends that before Cox fell, the group of audience volunteers participating in the illusion was hustled through an alley coated with what he called construction dust. The people were taking part in a signature illusion that appeared to make them vanish onstage and appear a few moments later in the back of the theater. Copperfield said he didn't know whether there as a powdery residue near a trash bin in an MGM Grand alley. He said he passed through the same outdoor alley alone while performing another illusion about 10 minutes earlier, and didn't notice any debris. 'If in fact there was construction dust, could that be your fault if someone fell and got hurt?' Morelli asked. Copperfield responded that he couldn't answer a hypothetical question before proceedings ended for the day. The 61-year-old performer is due to return to the witness stand next Tuesday for more testimony in Clark County District Court. Cox, a resident of Kent, England, claims lasting brain and body injuries and more than $400,000 in medical expenses. He and his wife, Minh-Hahn Cox, are seeking unspecified damages in their lawsuit, which also names as defendants the MGM Grand, show producer Backstage Employment and Referral, and construction firm Team Construction Management. Copperfield's lawyers lost pretrial bids to close proceedings to the public to avoid disclosing performance secrets, although Judge Mark Denton has said some portions of Copperfield's testimony might still be conducted behind closed doors.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A suspect hiding from Pasco County deputies in a swamp after a high-speed chase was arrested covered in slobbery kisses instead of a bite from their K9.  The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office sent out an alert to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office after they say Paul Daniel Smith, 34, resisted arrest and battered a deputy. He took off in a Ford F150.  Deputy Marc Lane spotted the vehicle on US 41 and went after him.  Smith eventually stopped and ran into a heavily wooded, swampy area. With the help of their K9 bloodhound Knox, deputies tracked Smith down through the swamp, finding him stuck in thick mud with water up to his neck. “Stop resisting,” the deputies can be heard saying in the video posted to Facebook. (Facebook) As they try to get Smith out of the mud, instead of biting, Knox covers his face in wet, doggy kisses. Knox’s specialty is finding people, from missing children to wanted men. Smith is facing several charges including aggravated assault and violation of probation. As for Knox, he’s been rewarded for a job well done with his favorite treat: cheese.
  • Have you seen this guy? (tweet) Orlando police need your help in identifying the man who is suspected of attacking an elderly gentleman in the parking lot of the Lake Fredrica Shopping Center on Semoran Boulevard and Lake Margaret Drive. Witnesses say the suspect, a man in his 20s, stood in front of the car of the victim and blocked him from being able to drive away. When the elderly victim got out to confront him, the suspect punched him once, knocking the victim out cold. 'One punch that was all it took,” witness Jennifer Pola tells WKMG. “He hit him dead in the temple, boom. He was out for at least two minutes.' When police arrived, they found the victim, a man in his 60s, on the ground and bleeding.  Pola says the attack was completely unprovoked.  Several witnesses went after the suspect but he got in a vehicle and drove away. They managed to snap a clear photo of him before he took off. Anyone with information is asked to call Orlando police or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.
  • The head of the Capitol Hill office which deals with workplace harassment cases said Wednesday that she still does not have the power to reveal the names of lawmakers who used taxpayer dollars to pay legal harassment settlements, drawing sharp rebukes from members of both parties on a House spending panel, as lawmakers in both the House and Senate expressed growing frustration about the matter. “The transparency issue is revolting,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). “It is absolutely unacceptable that we continue to let members who abuse their employees hide.” At a hearing of a House Appropriations subcommittee, Susan Grundmann, the head of the Congressional Office of Compliance, said that workplace settlements which involve lawmakers, often include non-disclosure agreements, precluding any publicity. “Most settlement agreements – in fact all that I have seen – contain non-disclosure clauses in them,” said Grundmann. “Those are not by our doing.” In my opening statement to @LegBranch_OOC Executive Director Susan Grundmann, I emphasize the need for Congress to remedy workplace harassment on Capitol Hill. How can we expect others to follow our example if we're not willing to acknowledge and address this problem? pic.twitter.com/AHKtaPHVy9 — Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) April 18, 2018 Pressed sharply by both parties at a hearing where she asked for a nine percent budget increase to help deal with harassment training and case reviews, Grundmann made clear there was no plan to reveal the names of members who had engaged in such settlements in the past. “No, I think we are prohibited from under the law – in terms of the strict confidentiality that adheres to each one of our processes, and the non-disclosure agreements, we cannot disclose who they are,” Grundmann added. Grundmann said new reporting standards approved by the House would reveal every six months which offices had some type of legal settlements – and she also said that if a lawmaker agreed to a workplace settlement, taxpayers would pay the bill up front – and then have that member of Congress reimburse Uncle Sam within 90 days. So far, the House and Senate have not finalized an agreement on legislation to set new standards for transparency on workplace settlements involving lawmaker offices, as one leading Democrat today again demanded action by that chamber. “The Senate has no more excuses,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The Senate has no more excuses. We must pass these reforms before our next recess. Members of BOTH parties, men and women, agree that it’s time to act. https://t.co/vSr7sew5KN — Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) April 19, 2018 Back in Wednesday’s House hearing, lawmakers did not like to hear that while reforms in the House would publicly name the lawmaker and/or a top staffer if they were involved in harassment of other staffers, a Senate reform plan would not be as sweeping. “So, if a Chief of Staff engages in that conduct, or anyone else that isn’t the member, then their conduct is not disclosed?” Wasserman Schultz asked. “That’s correct,” replied Grundmann. “That’s absolutely unacceptable,” the Florida Democrat said. The hearing came days after the resignation of Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), who had taxpayers foot the bill for an $84,000 settlement with a former office employee – Farenthold had promised to pay that money, but now that he is gone, it seems unlikely to happen. Meanwhile, Grundmann denied press reports in recent weeks that any personal information about sexual harassment or workplace abuses in Congressional offices was left on unsecured computer servers. “We have not been hacked. We have never stored our data on an unsecured server,” as Grundmann said their computer precautions had been described by officials as “Fort Knox.” “Fort Knox doesn’t talk about their cyber security,” she added, offering to brief members in private about the issue
  • U.S. marshals have erected billboards in multiple states as they continue to search for a Minnesota grandmother, gambling addict and alleged killer who is suspected in two homicides, including that of a woman she allegedly killed to assume her identity.  Lois Riess, 56, was last seen April 8 in the area of Corpus Christi, Texas, following what is believed to be a multistate homicide case. She is sought on murder and theft charges in the slaying of Pamela Hutchinson, of Bradenton, who was found shot to death April 9 in a condominium in which she was staying in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.  Riess, who Minnesota law enforcement officers dubbed “Losing Streak Lois” for her penchant for gambling, is also a person of interest in the killing of her husband, David Riess, who was found shot to death March 23 on the couple’s worm farm in Blooming Prairie. In each shooting, the victim had been dead for several days when the body was found. Authorities also believe Lois Riess used the same weapon in both cases. >> Related story: Minnesota grandma sought in deaths of husband, Florida ‘lookalike’ killed for ID The U.S. Marshals Service on Tuesday updated the search for Riess to major status and announced a $5,000 reward for her capture. Another $1,000 in reward money is being made available by Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers.   John Kinsey, a deputy U.S. marshal in Florida, told the Star Tribune in Minneapolis that the billboards are going up in Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona.  “Unfortunately, there have been no further sightings,” Kinsey told the Star Tribune. “She blends in real well. She is an average, 56-year-old white female walking around, and that is part of the problem.” >> Read more trending news Florida investigators have said Riess killed Hutchinson, 59, for her identity. The women, who were strangers before Riess befriended Hutchinson, bore a striking resemblance to one another.  Surveillance footage from the Smokin’ Oyster Brewery, located two blocks from Hutchinson’ condo at the Marina Village at Snug Harbor, shows Riess smiling and chatting with a blonde woman in a hat who Lee County Sheriff’s Office detectives have identified as Hutchinson.  Hutchinson’s cousin on Monday posted an image from the surveillance footage to Facebook, side by side with an undated image of Hutchinson wearing that same hat as in the footage.  Officials with the U.S. Marshals Service said investigators believe Hutchinson was killed on or around April 5, when the surveillance footage at the bar was shot.  Lee County officials also on Tuesday released several snippets of surveillance video, including one piece that shows Riess, wearing the same blue shirt seen in the bar video, calmly walking away from Marina Village toward the parking lot. She is seen on another video driving away in Hutchinson’s white 2005 Acura TL. Hutchinson’s keys, identification, cash and credit cards were also missing when her body was found. The News-Press in Fort Myers reported Tuesday that sometime after Hutchinson’s death, Riess went to a Wells Fargo branch there and used Hutchinson’s identification to withdraw $5,000 from the slain woman’s account.  See the original footage of Riess chatting with Pamela Hutchinson, obtained by the News-Press, below. Riess was next spotted in Ocala, about 215 miles north of Fort Myers, where more surveillance footage released Tuesday shows her driving up to a Hilton hotel in Hutchinson’s stolen car and checking in as a guest. Again, she is wearing the blue top seen in previous videos, as well as a light-colored fedora-style hat with a black band. Lee County Sheriff’s Office officials told the News-Press that Riess stayed in the hotel the nights of April 6 and 7.  Riess used Hutchinson’s identity to check into the hotel around 8 p.m. on April 6. She also used the victim’s identification to withdraw another $500 from Hutchinson’s bank account at an Ocala bank.  “She’s confident, doesn’t look over her shoulder, like she’s not hiding anything,” Kinsey told the Star Tribune of Riess’ demeanor in the videos. “She was very nonchalant.” >> Related story: New footage released of ‘killer grandma’ suspected in 2 homicides; $6,000 reward offered for capture The fugitive was next spotted in the stolen Acura in Louisiana, where an attempt to get $200 at a gas station failed, the News-Press said.  Kinsey said Riess was also spotted on surveillance images April 7 and 8 in casinos in Louisiana.  “She went from casino to casino to make money, or because she is addicted to it,” Kinsey said. “She is consumed by it.” The final definite sighting of Riess was the following day, April 8 in Refugio, Texas, about 40 miles north of Corpus Christi. Corpus Christi is about 150 miles from the Mexico border.  Mexican authorities are aware of the search for Riess and are keeping an eye out for her, or anyone using Hutchinson’s identification, at the border, the News-Press reported. A Lee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said she would have to show identification to cross, but there is no guarantee she would not be able to slip through. The last confirmed sighting of Riess or the stolen car was the day before Hutchinson’s body was found -- and before she was even linked to that homicide.  The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which has been searching for Riess since late last month, describes her as a white woman with brown eyes and pale blonde hair. She is about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs about 165 pounds.  The white Acura she is accused of stealing from Hutchinson has Florida license plate number Y37TAA.  Riess has been on the run since mid-March, when she is suspected of gunning down her husband, David Riess, on their rural worm farm before stealing $11,000 from his personal and business accounts. Deputies with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office found him after his business partner reported that he had not been seen or heard from in several weeks.   Lois Riess was nowhere to be found, but investigators learned she visited a casino in Iowa on her way out of the Midwest, investigators said. She is charged with grand theft in connection with her husband’s slaying.  Dodge County investigators are also anticipated to file murder charges against her sometime this week.  Riess was initially linked to Hutchinson’s slaying, in part, because her family’s white Cadillac Escalade, which she was believed to be driving after her husband’s murder, was found abandoned in a county park in Fort Myers Beach, the News-Press reported.  Court records in Minnesota also show that Riess, who was named guardian of her disabled sister in 2012, stole more than $78,000 from her before being caught three years later.  Lee County Undersheriff Carmine Marceno described Riess to NBC News earlier this week as a “stone-cold killer” who authorities fear might kill again when she runs out of resources.  “She smiles and looks like anyone’s mother or grandmother,” Marceno said. “And yet she’s calculated, she’s targeted and an absolute cold-blooded killer.”
  • On hold for months, President Donald Trump’s pick to head NASA was finally given the green light by a pair of GOP Senators, as the Senate voted 50-48 to overcome a possible filibuster, and advance the nomination of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to be the next Administrator of NASA. A final vote to confirm Bridenstine’s nomination could come as early as Thursday in the full Senate. The key votes came from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) – Flake initially voted to filibuster Bridenstine, but after an extended wait, returned to change his vote for the final margin of victory. It wasn’t immediately clear why Flake – and then Rubio – had changed course on the President’s NASA nominee, as Bridenstine supporters had spent months trying to squeeze out a final vote in support of the President’s choice, who faced determined opposition from Democrats. Before the vote, Rubio’s office did not respond to requests for comment on the decision of the Florida Republican, who had repeatedly rebuffed the calls of fellow GOP lawmakers to support Bridenstine, a more conservative House GOP lawmaker who has not hesitated to make waves during his time on Capitol Hill. Sen Marco Rubio votes 'Yes' on cloture for Bridenstine – after months of opposing his nomination — Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) April 18, 2018 Just before the vote, Bridenstine’s leading Democratic critic in the Senate wasn’t backing away from his stern criticism of the three-term Republican Congressman from Oklahoma. “The NASA Administrator should be a consummate space professional,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in a speech on the Senate floor. “That’s what this Senator wants – a space professional – not a politician,” Nelson added. “Senators on both sides of the aisles have expressed doubts – both publicly and privately to me – about his qualifications for the job,” said Nelson, who was the only Senator to address the matter before the vote on cloture, a procedure to end debate in the Senate. Since Bridenstine was nominated for NASA Administrator in September, Rubio had sided with Nelson and other Democrats, raising questions about Bridenstine’s ability to run a federal agency in a nonpartisan manner. But that suddenly changed this week – and GOP leaders quickly moved to take the Bridenstine vote, moving the President a step closer to having his choice in the job as NASA chief. The procedural vote on Bridenstine’s nomination almost went awry, as Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) voted “No,” leaving the vote tied at 49-49. Ordinarily, the Vice President would be brought in to break the tie, but Vice President Mike Pence was in Florida with President Trump, hosting the Japanese Prime Minister. After a wait of over a half hour, Flake returned to the floor and voted “Yes,” allowing the Senate to force an end to debate.