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February 2018

Fergie’s NBA All-Star Game national anthem confuses, amuses #BreakingNews #360WiseNews @360WiseNews [Video]

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fergie tried something different with her national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game, and not everybody was cheering.

The Black Eyed Peas singer’s slow, bluesy rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Sunday night wasn’t particularly well received at Staples Center or on social media before the 67th edition of the NBA’s annual showcase.

A low chuckle rumbled through the sold-out arena after Fergie finished the first line of the song with a throaty growl on “the dawn’s early light.”

Fans throughout the star-studded crowd reacted with varying levels of bemusement and enthusiasm while her languid, 2 ½-minute version of the song continued. Although Fergie was on pitch, her tempo, musical accompaniment and sexy delivery were not exactly typical for a sporting event or a patriotic song.

Golden State All-Star Draymond Green captured the mood — and became an instant GIF — when he was shown open-mouthed on the scoreboard and the television broadcast in apparent confusion over the unique vocal stylings. Green then chuckled to himself after realizing he was on TV.

After a forceful finish, Fergie finally got big cheers when she shouted, “Let’s play some basketball!”

The Grammy Award-winning singer, born Stacy Ann Ferguson, is from nearby Hacienda Heights, California.

Famed basketball commentator Charles Barkley joked that he “needed a cigarette” after Fergie’s performance during the TNT halftime show.

Former Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal leaped to Fergie’s defense, saying: “Fergie, I love you. It was different. It was sexy. I liked it. Leave her alone.”

Others on social media weren’t as kind, with criticism of the performance outpacing the positive reviews.

The Forum in nearby Inglewood, California, was the site of arguably the most famous national anthem in sports history during another NBA All-Star Game 35 years ago.

Marvin Gaye’s touching rhythm-and-blues version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the 1983 game was initially criticized, but has since gained widespread acceptance as a groundbreaking musical performance.

Instead, Fergie is more likely to join the long list of curious versions of the anthem, even though she showed far more impressive vocal chops than the likes of Roseanne Barr or Carl Lewis.

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Trump endorses Mitt Romney for Utah Senate seat [Video]

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President Trump announced Monday night that he has endorsed Mitt Romney for the open Senate seat in Utah, calling him a “worthy successor” to Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

[email protected] has announced he is running for the Senate from the wonderful State of Utah,” Trump said in a tweet. “He will make a great Senator and worthy successor to @OrrinHatch, and has my full support and endorsement!”

The endorsement comes three days after Romney announced his intention to run for the seat and despite a roller-coaster relationship between the two, including during Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. At the time, Romney repeatedly denounced Trump’s campaign for the White House, calling him a “phony” and a “fraud.”

Romney has also criticized Trump at times during the first year of his presidency, including after the protests in Charlottesville, Va. in August.

However, the two have seen a thaw in their relationship in recent months. Since early December, the pair have spoken over the phone on at least two occasions, including once since Hatch announced that he would not seek re-election to an eighth term in office.

Up until Hatch’s announcement, Trump pushed and prodded the longtime senator to run once again for the upper chamber, including on a trip to Salt Lake City in early December. However, Hatch declined and has enthusiastically endorsed Romney after pushing him since early 2017 to run for his seat.

Romney announced his campaign in a low-key rollout on social media with a web video, followed by a speech in Provo where he said that he does not plan on running as an anti-Trump candidate, but will call out the president when need be.

“If he says something I don’t like, I will call it like I see it,” Romney said.

Prior to Trump’s endorsement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called on the president to get behind Romney’s bid for the seat, adding that he would have been surprised if he did not.

“I can’t imagine that he’s not,” McConnell, R-Ky., told the New York Times on Friday. “We don’t want to lose the seat, and this looks like a pretty formidable candidate.”

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Would new NBA playoff format get two best teams to The Finals? | The Jump | ESPN [Video]

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Six 'Secret' iPhone Codes That Unlock Extra Features [Video]

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Your iPhone’s number pad is chiefly designed for making phone calls. However, it can also be used to input a handful of special codes that unlock extra features. Some are useful for everybody – such as showing exact signal strength – while others are handy for specific types of users – like displaying your call forwarding status. Here are six “hidden” codes that are worth checking out. Keep Reading

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Mary Berry blasts 'gimmicky' celeb food fads including avocado on toast [Video]

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MARY Berry has blasted celebrity food fads such as spreading avocado on toast.

The former Bake Off judge, 82, declared: “It’s very fashionable – but this isn’t one of the nicest things to do with them.”

 Mary Berry wants celebrities to start putting avocados in prawn cocktails instead of on their toast

Getty – Contributor

Mary Berry wants celebrities to start putting avocados in prawn cocktails instead of on their toast

She advised stars like Jeremy Clarkson – who tops the trendy dish off with poached egg: “Better to add them to a prawn cocktail or a little plate of smoked salmon or shrimps.

“I love prawn cocktail, it’s so retro! Do it in a glass, with a little gem lettuce leaf.

“People used to laugh at prawn cocktail because it felt dated, but it’s coming back.”

Avocado has exploded in popularity, championed by celebs like Kim Kardashian and Victoria Beckham.

 Mary says spreading avocado on toast is 'fashionable' but not the nicest way to use the fruit

Alamy

Mary says spreading avocado on toast is ‘fashionable’ but not the nicest way to use the fruit
 Mary Berry blasted people who decorate their plates of food with zig-zag sauce

Getty – Contributor

Mary Berry blasted people who decorate their plates of food with zig-zag sauce

Waitrose has just unveiled an £8 chocolate Easter egg made in green and brown to look like the fruit.

Mary, who left Bake Off in 2016, also dismissed restaurant trends like swapping plates for slates.

Mary Berry invites her friend Shirley onto her show, but is she a clone?

She told Radio Times: “The way I cook might have changed, but I present my food like I used to.

“Serving food on slate tiles? Oh, no, that’s all very gimmicky.

 Former Bake Off judge Mary, 82, often uses trendy kale in her recipes

PA:Press Association

Former Bake Off judge Mary, 82, often uses trendy kale in her recipes
 Mary Berry blasted restaurants who have swapped traditional plates for 'gimmicky' slates

Getty – Contributor

Mary Berry blasted restaurants who have swapped traditional plates for ‘gimmicky’ slates

“And I don’t like a plate zig-zagged with sauce, or in little blobs in circles.”

Mary uses trendy kale, but hopes old favourites such as dumplings will come back in.

She said: “They used to be huge.”


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Let Javier Bardem Hear Your Confession In This THY KINGDOM COME Trailer [Video]

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In 2010, Terrence Malick contacted photojournalist Eugene Richards to help him find real residents of Bartlesville, Oklahoma to interact with Javier Bardem‘s somber, faith-tested priest in To The Wonder. The end result saw Bardem taking confession from these real people, and hearing some of their most intimate secrets.

As it goes with Malick’s“find the movie in the edit” storytelling process, we only saw a few minutes of all the footage captured with Bardem out in the wild, donning a priest’s collar. Now, Richards has been given permission from the legendary filmmaker to cut the excised scenes together into his own film, Thy Kingdom Come.

The 43-minute short will be shown at SXSW in a few weeks, and now has a trailer, which proves to be rather moving in its own right. Take a look: 

Apparently, the fact that many of these individuals knew that Bardem wasn’t a real priest didn’t seem to affect their ability to share some rather painful truths about themselves. Thy Kingdom Come sounds like a rather fascinating experiment, and the type of movie you go to film festivals to catch a viewing of (because who knows if or when it will ever be released).

As I’ll be attending SXSW in a few weeks, you can be sure you’ll get a full run-down on Thy Kingdom Come. Being a fan of both Malick and Bardem (and To the Wonder), it all sounds too weird to pass up. 

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Dodd-Frank: Small banks near big win on rollback [Video]

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One of Dodd-Frank's most controversial rules, explained

One of Dodd-Frank’s most controversial rules, explained

Thousands of the country’s smallest banks and dozens of regional lenders may finally get the relief they’ve been aching for.

For the past eight years, banks like State Street, BB&T and SunTrust have fought tougher regulations crafted by Congress in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Banks argue those rules have hurt their ability to lend and help stimulate the economy.

Now those lenders are inching closer to a respite with the most significant changes ever prescribed to the 2010 Dodd-Frank regulatory reform law.

“Main Street businesses and lenders tell me that they need some regulatory relief if we want jobs in rural America,” Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana said during a hearing to vet the bill in November. “These folks are not wearing slick suits in downtown New York or Boston. They are farmers, they are small business owners, they are first-time homebuyers.”

Backers of the plan argue that smaller financial institutions shouldn’t have to face the same set of strict rules as behemoth Wall Street banks that could endanger the whole financial system if they go under. Top bank regulators all agree fixes should be made for community banks.

Related: Fed official appointed by Trump lays out plan for easing bank rules

The fixes, which have support from both parties in Congress, would raise the threshold at which banks are considered “too big to fail.” That trigger, now set at $50 billion in assets, would rise to $250 billion.

That means more than two dozen midsize U.S. banks would be shielded from some Federal Reserve oversight.

They would no longer have to hold as much capital to cover losses on their balance sheets. They would not be required to have plans in place to be safely dismantled if they failed. And they would have to take the Fed’s bank health test only periodically, not once a year.

The American operations of big foreign banks, like Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and Banco Santander, would also be exempt.

Progressive Democrats say the bill goes too far in rolling back necessary financial rules.

“This is a question of whose side are we on,” Senator Sherrod Brown, the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, told CNNMoney in a statement. “It’s despicable for Congress to put Wall Street and foreign megabanks ahead of working families, especially at a time when banks are making record profits and benefiting from a massive tax giveaway.”

Related: Senators block proposed fixes to bill rolling back Dodd-Frank

The bill was crafted by Republican Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho, the chairman of the banking committee. It is backed by 12 mostly moderate Democrats and 12 Republicans.

Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell is expected to bring the bill to the Senate floor as early as the last week of February. That timing could slip to as late as mid-March as senators finish their 2017 homework.

Although the bill would be meaningful, it is narrowly focused. It is not nearly as sweeping as a House GOP-backed plan that would gut much of the 2010 law. Nor does it go as far as progressive Democrats would like in strengthening consumer protections.

Republicans want to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, while Democrats want better protections for student loan borrowers and stronger tools for consumers to control their credit reports.

But it is the final deal that Crapo brokered after several years of tough bipartisan negotiations.

What comes next will be a delicate negotiation to get a bipartisan bill across the finish line — an unusual feat in Congress these days.

Related: Trump vows to punish Wells Fargo for ‘bad acts’

Including Democratic support, the bill already has the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate. Republican leaders now have the added challenge of ensuring any changes to the bill won’t sacrifice a single vote.

“The margin of error is pretty small,” said Ian Katz, an analyst with Capital Alpha Partners.

No significant changes are expected, but protections could be strengthened for consumers against credit agencies like Equifax, and provisions could be added to help businesses get access to capital, according to those familiar with the process.

Related: Gary Cohn fears this is how the next crisis will happen

The biggest hurdle will be reconciling the Senate’s vision with demands by House Republican lawmakers, who would prefer to undo the Obama-era law altogether.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said earlier this month that he was “cautiously optimistic” that both Crapo and House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling would be able to sign off on a bill.

It remains unclear how much influence Hensarling will want in finalizing the legislation, a hallmark of his legacy before he retires at the end of this year.

He faces at least two immediate constraints. With no plans to run for re-election, Hensarling has limited time to hold up the process and make big changes to the Senate bill. Second, he has to be careful that any changes to the bill won’t alienate Democratic support and torpedo the bill.

Last summer, on a party-line vote, the House passed the Financial Choice Act, which would undo much of the 2010 regulations and give the president the power to fire the director of the consumer bureau.

Since then, Hensarling, a Texas Republican, has worked to advance several bills with strong bipartisan support that would give consumers greater access to credit and cut red tape on businesses and banks.

Related: Too-big-to-fail banks keep getting bigger

Analysts say that legislative strategy could give Hensarling a stronger hand if he wants to change the Senate bill.

But Isaac Boltansky, director of policy research at Compass Point Research, said even with the passage of standalone bipartisan bills, the odds are increasing that House lawmakers will have to accept the Senate bill as the clock runs out.

“The House is going to be caught between a rock and a hard place,” Boltansky said.

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Mueller's interest in Kushner grows to include foreign financing efforts [Video]

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This is the first indication that Mueller is exploring Kushner’s discussions with potential non-Russian foreign investors, including in China.
US officials briefed on the probe had told CNN in May that points of focus related to Kushner, the White House senior adviser and son-in-law of President Donald Trump, included the Trump campaign’s 2016 data analytics operation, his relationship with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Kushner’s own contacts with Russians.
Exclusive: A top Trump campaign adviser close to plea deal with MuellerExclusive: A top Trump campaign adviser close to plea deal with Mueller
Mueller’s investigators have been asking questions, including during interviews in January and February, about Kushner’s conversations during the transition to shore up financing for 666 Fifth Avenue, a Kushner Companies-backed New York City office building reeling from financial troubles, according to people familiar with the special counsel investigation.
It’s not clear what’s behind Mueller’s specific interest in the financing discussions. Mueller’s team has not contacted Kushner Companies for information or requested interviews with its executives, according to a person familiar with the matter.
During the presidential transition, Kushner was a lead contact for foreign governments, speaking to “over fifty contacts with people from over fifteen countries,” according to a statement he gave to congressional investigators.
Before joining the administration, Kushner was also working to divest his interests in Kushner Companies, the family company founded by his father. In early 2017, Kushner also divested from the 666 Fifth Avenue property that his family’s company purchased in 2007 for $1.8 billion. The interests were sold to a family trust that Kushner does not benefit from, a spokesperson said at the time.

Kushner’s contacts with Chinese investors

One line of questioning from Mueller’s team involves discussions Kushner had with Chinese investors during the transition, according to the sources familiar with the inquiry.
A week after Trump’s election, Kushner met with the chairman and other executives of Anbang Insurance, the Chinese conglomerate that also owns the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, according to The New York Times.
At the time, Kushner and Anbang’s chairman, Wu Xiaohui, were close to finishing a deal for the Chinese insurer to invest in the flagship Kushner Companies property, 666 Fifth Avenue. Talks between the two companies collapsed in March, according to the Times.
Mueller’s team has also asked about Kushner’s dealings with a Qatari investor regarding the same property, according to one of the sources. Kushner and his company were negotiating for financing from a prominent Qatari investor, former prime minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, according to The Intercept. But as with Anbang, these efforts stalled.
Special counsel questioned Bannon this weekSpecial counsel questioned Bannon this week
Kushner had bought the property in 2007 in a mostly debt deal valued at a record $1.8 billion. The building came under financial pressure during the housing crisis, and in 2011 Vornado Realty Trust stepped in with financing, taking on a 49.5% stake in the building. The office tower shoulders more than $1.4 billion in debt, according to a report Vornado released in March.
Vornado last week disclosed its intention to sell its stake in a regulatory filing, saying, “We do not intend to hold this asset on a long-term basis.”
A representative for Kushner declined to comment prior to the publication of this story. After publication, Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell told CNN in a statement, “Another anonymous source with questionable motives now contradicts the facts — in all of Mr. Kushner’s extensive cooperation with all inquiries, there has not been a single question asked nor document sought on the 666 building or Kushner Co. deals. Nor would there be any reason to question these regular business transactions.”
A representative for Anbang declined to comment. Al Thani could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment.
Also during the transition, Kushner met with Sergey Gorkov, chairman of Russian state-run Vnesheconombank. Kushner testified on Capitol Hill that the meeting was for official US government purposes. But the Russian bank maintains that the sit-down in New York was part of their “roadshow of business meetings” and that Gorkov met Kushner because he ran Kushner Companies. The Washington Post reported that Mueller’s investigators are scrutinizing this meeting.

Investigators’ interest in Kushner

Last fall, Kushner turned over documents pertaining to the campaign and transition to both Mueller and congressional investigators, sources told CNN in November. Kushner spoke to investigators in November for less than two hours, and the dominant topic was Michael Flynn, according to two people familiar with the meeting who spoke to CNN at the time.
Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with the investigation, attended some of Kushner’s meetings with foreign nationals. Under his plea deal, Flynn is obligated to tell Mueller’s investigators everything he knows about these meetings.
Last year, Trump said he would view any investigation of his or his family’s personal finances as a “violation” by Mueller that crosses a red line. A personal familiar with the investigation who supports Trump suggested that the expanded inquiry falls outside of Mueller’s purview. Mueller is authorized to investigate links between Trump associates and Russia as well as “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”
Update: This story has been updated with comment from Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell.

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Cullen Jones Discusses Diversity in Swimming for Black History Month #News #360WiseNews @360WiseNews [Video]

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2-time Olympic gold medalist and 4-time overall Olympic medalist Cullen Jones became the first African-American to hold a World Record in swimming when he swam a leg of the American World-Record relay at the 2006 Pan Pac Championships. Now, 12 years after that barrier-breaking accomplishment, he has a message for young swimmers of color.

“You don’t have to be the next me, or the next Simone Manuel. You don’t have to be the next Michael Phelps. But it’s just important to learn how to swim. Many times, people have fears about the water. Maybe they’ve had a traumatic incident, maybe they have that crazy uncle that threw them in the water and expected them to learn how to swim. Many of us have fears, and getting into the water is really facing those fears.”

Jones is an ambassador for the USA Swimming Foundation – a non-profit arm of the sport that helps teach lifesaving swimming skills to underprivileged or minority segments of the American population. Jones says that he’s proud of the work they’ve done, which includes decreasing the percentage of African-Americans who can’t swim from 70% to 64%.

Watch Jones’ message below, courtesy USA Swimming:

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Mueller's interest in Kushner grows to include foreign financing efforts [Video]

in Politics by
To see the original post and the Video, click here
Reading Time: 3 minutes
This is the first indication that Mueller is exploring Kushner’s discussions with potential non-Russian foreign investors, including in China.
US officials briefed on the probe had told CNN in May that points of focus related to Kushner, the White House senior adviser and son-in-law of President Donald Trump, included the Trump campaign’s 2016 data analytics operation, his relationship with former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Kushner’s own contacts with Russians.
Exclusive: A top Trump campaign adviser close to plea deal with MuellerExclusive: A top Trump campaign adviser close to plea deal with Mueller
Mueller’s investigators have been asking questions, including during interviews in January and February, about Kushner’s conversations during the transition to shore up financing for 666 Fifth Avenue, a Kushner Companies-backed New York City office building reeling from financial troubles, according to people familiar with the special counsel investigation.
It’s not clear what’s behind Mueller’s specific interest in the financing discussions. Mueller’s team has not contacted Kushner Companies for information or requested interviews with its executives, according to a person familiar with the matter.
During the presidential transition, Kushner was a lead contact for foreign governments, speaking to “over fifty contacts with people from over fifteen countries,” according to a statement he gave to congressional investigators.
Before joining the administration, Kushner was also working to divest his interests in Kushner Companies, the family company founded by his father. In early 2017, Kushner also divested from the 666 Fifth Avenue property that his family’s company purchased in 2007 for $1.8 billion. The interests were sold to a family trust that Kushner does not benefit from, a spokesperson said at the time.

Kushner’s contacts with Chinese investors

One line of questioning from Mueller’s team involves discussions Kushner had with Chinese investors during the transition, according to the sources familiar with the inquiry.
A week after Trump’s election, Kushner met with the chairman and other executives of Anbang Insurance, the Chinese conglomerate that also owns the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, according to The New York Times.
At the time, Kushner and Anbang’s chairman, Wu Xiaohui, were close to finishing a deal for the Chinese insurer to invest in the flagship Kushner Companies property, 666 Fifth Avenue. Talks between the two companies collapsed in March, according to the Times.
Mueller’s team has also asked about Kushner’s dealings with a Qatari investor regarding the same property, according to one of the sources. Kushner and his company were negotiating for financing from a prominent Qatari investor, former prime minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, according to The Intercept. But as with Anbang, these efforts stalled.
Special counsel questioned Bannon this weekSpecial counsel questioned Bannon this week
Kushner had bought the property in 2007 in a mostly debt deal valued at a record $1.8 billion. The building came under financial pressure during the housing crisis, and in 2011 Vornado Realty Trust stepped in with financing, taking on a 49.5% stake in the building. The office tower shoulders more than $1.4 billion in debt, according to a report Vornado released in March.
Vornado last week disclosed its intention to sell its stake in a regulatory filing, saying, “We do not intend to hold this asset on a long-term basis.”
A representative for Kushner declined to comment prior to the publication of this story. After publication, Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell told CNN in a statement, “Another anonymous source with questionable motives now contradicts the facts — in all of Mr. Kushner’s extensive cooperation with all inquiries, there has not been a single question asked nor document sought on the 666 building or Kushner Co. deals. Nor would there be any reason to question these regular business transactions.”
A representative for Anbang declined to comment. Al Thani could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment.
Also during the transition, Kushner met with Sergey Gorkov, chairman of Russian state-run Vnesheconombank. Kushner testified on Capitol Hill that the meeting was for official US government purposes. But the Russian bank maintains that the sit-down in New York was part of their “roadshow of business meetings” and that Gorkov met Kushner because he ran Kushner Companies. The Washington Post reported that Mueller’s investigators are scrutinizing this meeting.

Investigators’ interest in Kushner

Last fall, Kushner turned over documents pertaining to the campaign and transition to both Mueller and congressional investigators, sources told CNN in November. Kushner spoke to investigators in November for less than two hours, and the dominant topic was Michael Flynn, according to two people familiar with the meeting who spoke to CNN at the time.
Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with the investigation, attended some of Kushner’s meetings with foreign nationals. Under his plea deal, Flynn is obligated to tell Mueller’s investigators everything he knows about these meetings.
Last year, Trump said he would view any investigation of his or his family’s personal finances as a “violation” by Mueller that crosses a red line. A personal familiar with the investigation who supports Trump suggested that the expanded inquiry falls outside of Mueller’s purview. Mueller is authorized to investigate links between Trump associates and Russia as well as “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”
Update: This story has been updated with comment from Kushner attorney Abbe Lowell.

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