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December 2017

New Year’s Eve 2017: celebrations around the world – in pictures #Style ##360WiseNews [Video]

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Partisans, Wielding Money, Begin Seeking to Exploit Harassment Claims [Video]

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WASHINGTON — As the #MeToo movement to expose sexual harassment roils the nation’s capital, political partisans are exploiting the moment, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support accusers who come forward with charges against President Trump and members of Congress, even amid questions about their motivation.

As accusations take on a partisan tint, activists and lawyers fear that such an evolution could damage a movement that has shaken Hollywood, Silicon Valley, media suites in New York and the hallways of Congress — and has taken down both a Democratic fund-raiser, Harvey Weinstein, and a conservative stalwart, Bill O’Reilly.

“There is a danger in this environment that unsophisticated individuals who have been abused by powerful people could be exploited by groups seeking partisan advantage, or by lawyers seeking a moment in the limelight,” said Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer who has brought sexual harassment cases against politicians from both parties.

The lawyers and operatives behind the most politically charged cases brush off those concerns.

“I approach this with a pure heart,” said Jack Burkman, a flamboyant Republican lawyer known for right-wing conspiracy theories who is seeking to represent sexual harassment victims. “I don’t want to see it politicized, even though, in a democracy, you see the political weaponization of everything.”

Gloria Allred, a high-profile women’s rights lawyer and Democratic donor, is raising money to fund a lawsuit against Mr. Trump by a woman who says he sexually assaulted her. The woman, Summer Zervos, has filed a defamation suit against the president that could force Mr. Trump to respond to sexual misconduct accusations made in the closing weeks of the campaign by a raft of women.

And a nonprofit group founded by the Democratic activist David Brock, which people familiar with the arrangements say secretly spent $200,000 on an unsuccessful effort to bring forward accusations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Trump before Election Day, is considering creating a fund to encourage victims to bring forward similar claims against Republican politicians.

Activists on the right are also involved. In November, the Trump-backing social media agitator Mike Cernovich offered to pay $10,000 for details of any congressional sexual harassment settlements, and said on Twitter that he would cover the expenses of “any VICTIM of a Congressman who wants to come forward to tell her story.” Shortly before posting that offer, a source provided Mr. Cernovich with a copy of a sexual harassment settlement that led in December to the resignation of Representative John Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan, until then the longest-serving member of the House.

And Mr. Burkman, who has suggested that Russian hit men killed a young Democratic National Committee aide during the 2016 election, emerged in October to offer his services to women accusing Mr. Weinstein of sexual misconduct. He had never handled a sexual harassment matter before.

Seth Rich Murder Investigation AdCreditVideo by The Publicity Agency

Those pushing the sexual harassment claims say they are just trying to level a playing field that has long favored powerful men, discouraging their victims from coming forward, and silencing many who do using confidential settlements.

Mike Cernovich, a conservative social media agitator, has offered money to anyone with details of sexual harassment settlements with members of Congress.CreditSam Hodgson for The New York Times

“You got to sweeten the pot a little bit,” Mr. Cernovich said. A lawyer by training, he said he was shocked that the person who gave him the Conyers documents declined his offer to pay for them.

But, he said, “if somebody had a settlement like Conyers, I would gladly, gladly pay for that.”

Money could have costs.

“If you’re getting money from someone who has an ax to grind against the person you’re accusing of unlawful activity, that most certainly opens the door to a line of questioning that very well could undermine the veracity of your client’s story,” said Douglas H. Wigdor, a leading New York employment lawyer who has brought a barrage of lawsuits against powerful men and institutions in recent years.

The partisan efforts have already sparked some backlash. Mr. Cernovich and the far-right activist Charles C. Johnson, had to back away from claims that they possessed a sexual harassment settlement that would bring down a leading Democratic senator when it became apparent that the document — which targeted the Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York — was a forgery, lifting passages verbatim from the Conyers complaint unearthed by Mr. Cernovich. Mr. Schumer referred the matter to the Capitol Hill police for a criminal investigation.

“I like to hype things in advance, and this looked pretty good,” Mr. Cernovich said. “I definitely learned a lesson there.”

Mr. Cernovich is an unlikely champion for sexual harassment victims, given his previous career as an anti-feminist blogger who cast doubt on date-rape allegations and wrote posts with headlines like “Misogyny Gets You Laid.”

Money’s Role

It is difficult to determine how much money has been raised to fund claims related to sexual harassment, since there are no public disclosure requirements for most such donations. But the solicitations seem likely to fuel skepticism.

Supporters of Republican politicians who have been accused of sexual misconduct — including Mr. Trump and the failed Republican Senate candidate Roy S. Moore of Alabama — have fought back by suggesting, mostly without evidence, that their accusers are being paid by Democratic partisans.

Some Democrats have ascribed political motivation to sexual harassment claims against their politicians as well, including those that led to the resignation of Senator Al Franken of Minnesota. His defenders point out that Mr. Franken’s initial accuser, Leeann Tweeden, had appeared as a semiregular guest on the Fox News Channel show hosted by Sean Hannity, a = confidant of Mr. Trump.

Hannity: Dr. Gina, Leeann Tweeden, & Kimberly Guilfoyle on hacked celebrity photosCreditVideo by Dr.Gina Loudon

Fueling Democratic suspicions was a Twitter message linked to a Trump political adviser, Roger Stone, that surfaced hours before Ms. Tweeden’s initial charges: “Roger Stone says it’s Al Franken’s ‘time in the barrel’. Franken next in long list of Democrats to be accused of ‘grabby’ behavior.”

Mr. Stone has said he “had no hand in it at all,” but was tipped off by a source “within the Fox network” that the allegation was coming.

Ms. Allred said she was not concerned about the motivations of partisans who might fund Ms. Zervos’s case against Mr. Trump.

“I have neither the time nor the interest to interview each donor and ask them why they would want to support our client,” she said, “so I have no way to know whether they have a political agenda, or they just think truth matters.”

Ms. Allred maintains an active online appeal for Ms. Zervos’s case, and has personally solicited donations from influential Democrats. She has discussed fund-raising assistance with Mr. Brock, once a self-described “right-wing hit man” who switched sides and eventually became one of Hillary Clinton’s fiercest loyalists during her campaign against Mr. Trump.

Ms. Allred said her fund-raising for the Zervos case has so far yielded “just under $30,000,” mostly in of small donations. The money is being used for expenses like depositions and has not gone to pay legal fees, which already have reached $150,000, said Ms. Allred, who added that neither she nor Ms. Zervos would personally accept any of the money raised.

“We certainly do not see any prospect of being paid by the fund based on the amounts donated to date,” she wrote in an email. “Nevertheless, we will continue to devote ourselves to Ms. Zervos’s case because we believe, as does Ms. Zervos, that truth matters and that President Trump should be held accountable for his words and his actions.”

During the presidential campaign, Ms. Zervos said Mr. Trump sexually assaulted her in 2007, after she appeared as a contestant on his reality TV show, “The Apprentice.” He dismissed her accusations and those of other accusers as “made-up nonsense” and suggested they were motivated by fame, or were being put up to it by Mrs. Clinton’s campaign — comments that formed the basis for the defamation suit Ms. Zervos filed after the election. A judge is deciding whether to allow the lawsuit to proceed.

A Long History

Questions about the financing and motivations behind sexual harassment charges targeting politicians are not new.

In 1993, Mr. Brock first revealed sexual harassment accusations against President Bill Clinton by a former Arkansas state employee, Paula Jones, in the American Spectator magazine, which received $1.8 million for its scrutiny of the Clintons from the conservative banking heir Richard Mellon Scaife.

Ms. Jones’s harassment lawsuit came to be funded by a conservative legal nonprofit called the Rutherford Institute, which had never before handled a sexual harassment case.

David Brock helped uncover and promote charges of sexual misconduct against President Bill Clinton before becoming a stalwart backer of Hillary Clinton in 2016. He is now considering creating a fund to encourage victims to bring forward sexual misconduct claims against Republican politicians.CreditTodd Heisler/The New York Times

Mr. Clinton eventually paid Ms. Jones $850,000 to drop her lawsuit in 1999. But by then, a deposition given by Mr. Clinton in the lawsuit — in which he denied a sexual relationship with the former White House intern Monica S. Lewinsky — had set in motion a process that ended with Mr. Clinton’s impeachment.

Ms. Allred’s daughter, the lawyer Lisa Bloom, seized on the political potency of sexual harassment charges against Mr. Trump not long after he clinched the Republican presidential nomination. She said she reached out to a pro-Clinton “super PAC” — though she declined to identify which one — for money to help her vet a sexual misconduct claim against Mr. Trump.

That case collapsed one week before Election Day, but as a result of the attention it generated, several donors reached out to Ms. Bloom “asking how they could help,” she said. She told them that she was working with “a few other women” who might “find the courage to speak out” against Mr. Trump if the donors would provide funds for security, relocation and possibly a “safe house.”

Ms. Bloom would not identify the donors. But two Democrats familiar with the arrangements said a nonprofit group founded by Mr. Brock, American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, gave $200,000, while the fashion entrepreneur Susie Tompkins Buell, a major donor to Mr. Brock’s suite of groups, gave $500,000 to Ms. Bloom’s firm for the last-ditch effort.

It was not productive. One woman requested $2 million, Ms. Bloom said, then decided not to come forward. Nor did any other women.

Ms. Bloom said she refunded most of the cash, keeping only “some funds to pay for our out-of-pocket expenses” accrued while working to vet and prepare cases. She said that she did not receive any legal fees for the work, and that she did not communicate with Mrs. Clinton or her campaign “on any of this.” She said she represented only clients whose stories she had corroborated, and disputed the premise that she offered money to coax clients to come forward.

“It doesn’t cost anything to publicly air allegations,” she said. “Security and relocation are expensive and were sorely needed in a case of this magnitude, in a country filled with so much anger, hate and violence.”

The Democrats familiar with the financial arrangements said Ms. Bloom’s firm kept the money from American Bridge, but refunded the money from Ms. Buell.

Mr. Brock declined to comment, and representatives from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign said they were unaware of his work with Ms. Bloom.

Ms. Buell, a longtime friend and financial supporter of Mrs. Clinton who helped found the clothing brand Esprit, would not comment on the financial arrangement. But she expressed frustration that Mr. Trump has escaped the repercussions that have befallen other powerful men accused of similar misconduct.

The allegations against Mr. Trump might “resonate more” with voters amid the current national conversation about sexual misconduct, she suggested.

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Top Five Boxing Matches For 2018 [Video]

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2017 was a resurrection year for the sport of boxing.

We saw Floyd Mayweather Jr. come out of retirement to knockout UFC superstar Conor McGregor.  We saw the two best middleweights in the world Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez fight to a controversial draw, and we saw pound for pound king Andre Ward knockout Sergey Kovalev and what would be Ward’s final fight.

With boxing getting back in the mainstream again, can 2018 be the year it successfully defends itself as the premier combat sport?

Here is a list of some boxing mega fights that could happen in 2018.

Anthony Joshua Vs Deontay Wilder

For the first time in years, there’s excitement in the heavyweight division, and the reason for it is because of undefeated WBA and IBF champion Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) and undefeated WBC champion Deontay Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs).

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Four Britons feared dead after seaplane crash near Sydney [Video]

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Five passengers, including 11-year-old boy, and pilot killed when tourist flight plunges into Hawkesbury river

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Hollywood star Angelina Jolie boosts her women’s charity by donating £1million [Video]

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ANGELINA Jolie has boosted her women’s charity by donating a total of £1million, figures have revealed.

It comes after the 42-year-old claimed she was sexually abused by disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

 Angelina Jolie has boosted her women’s charity by donating a total of £1million, figures have revealed

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Angelina Jolie has boosted her women’s charity by donating a total of £1million, figures have revealed

Mum-of-six Angelina launched the Jolie Pitt Dalton Helic Foundation in May 2015 and gave it £370,000.

The organisation is dedicated to stopping violence against women.

Accounts show she has put in another £621,893.

Directors Baroness Arminka Helic, 49, and Chloe Dalton, 38, have not made loans to it.

Angelina claimed she was sexually harassed by Weinstein, 65, in 1998. He denies any wrongdoing.

Angelina Jolie opens up about her divorce from Brad Pitt and looks to the future

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North Korea likely to pursue both talks, and nukes: forecast [Video]

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Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest international multimedia news provider reaching more than one billion people every day. Reuters provides trusted business, financial, national, and international news to professionals via Thomson Reuters desktops, the world’s media organizations, and directly to consumers at Reuters.com and via Reuters TV. Learn more about Thomson Reuters products:

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Responds To Deadly Protests [Video]

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On Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addressed the growing protests against the government.

Rouhani told his Cabinet that Iranians are free to protest and criticize the government. But he made it clear he does not condone violence or damaging public property.

His statement came on the fourth day of the anti-government protests. Dozens of people have been arrested, and two people have been killed.

The protests started as a small demonstration about rising prices for gas and food, and social media played a role in the increasing size. Since then, the government has blocked access to certain social media sites.

Multiple U.S. officials have commented on the unrest, including President Donald Trump, who tweeted support for “peaceful protests.”

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Drinking Every State’s Most Iconic Alcoholic Beverage [Video]

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Every single state in the Union had its own state bird, state flower and state flag, but did you know they all have their own signature alcoholic beverage too?

Well, except for those pesky dry states, where the state drink is moonshine but it’s kept on the hush-hush, but every other state openly enjoys beer, wine or a cocktail and has one drink that’s a favorite with the folks who live there.

But if you want to sample them all take it from Eugene of the Try Guys and test them out over multiple nights- because trying to drink them all in one night could be deadly. (NSFW language)

(YouTube Link)

Eugene takes a break from The Try Guys to get blind stinkin’ drunk with Kelsey and tour America by bar stool, tasting every state’s signature drink from the Alabama Yellowhammer to Wyoming’s favorite box wine Franzia.

But the really cool thing about this video is they show the recipe for every cocktail featured, so if you want to take your own alcoholic tour of America some day you can!

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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is No. 1 movie in North America for a third weekend #Gossip ##360WiseNews [Video]

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Dec. 31 (UPI) — Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the No. 1 movie in North America for a third, consecutive weekend, earning $52.4 million in receipts, BoxOfficeMojo.com announced Sunday.

Coming in at No. 2 is Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle with $50.6 million, followed by Pitch Perfect 3 at No. 3 with $17.8 million, The Greatest Showman at No. 4 with $15.3 million and Ferdinand at No. 5 with $11.7 million.

Rounding out the top tier are Coco at No. 6 with $6.6 million, All the Money in the World at No. 7 with $5.5 million, Darkest Hour at No. 8 with $5.3 million, Downsizing at No. 9 with $4.6 million and Father Figures at No. 10 with $3.7 million.

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Graham says Trump should “engage” Iranian regime [Video]

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Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest international multimedia news provider reaching more than one billion people every day. Reuters provides trusted business, financial, national, and international news to professionals via Thomson Reuters desktops, the world’s media organizations, and directly to consumers at Reuters.com and via Reuters TV. Learn more about Thomson Reuters products:

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