Chief Keef was mum as hell Saturday at LAX … refusing to talk about someone who fired a shot at him earlier in the day across the country. Our photog gently broached the subject … someone took aim at Keef outside the W Hotel in Times Square…
Drake’s done more than just financially support his baby mama and her son … he’s pulled out all the stops to be with him almost since birth. Sources connected to Sophie Brussaux tell TMZ … Drizzy wasn’t present when she gave birth,…
A 23-year-old man was convicted of murdering his teenage ex-girlfriend by stabbing her 32 times after she broke up with him and soon began dating someone else.
Nikolas Lacrosse (above, insert) was found guilty on Wednesday of first-degree murder in the death of Kathryn Mauke (above), who was discovered dead on her kitchen floor in February 2015.
Mauke broke up with Lacrosse a month before she was killed. She was dating another person at the time of her death, according to MassLive.com.
The defense argued that Lacrosse was not criminally responsible for the killing because he was in a dissociative state when he committed the murder.
Lacrosse claimed he went over to Mauke’s house that day for “clarification” on why she broke up with him. But prosecutors argued that Lacrosse stabbed her 32 times with the intent to kill.
Assistant District Attorney Mary Sandstrom told jurors during her closing arguments Tuesday:
“The defendant used a level of severity reserved only for cold-blooded murderers. He wanted her dead. He wanted to make sure of it.”
Sentencing will take place Thursday, although first-degree murder charges carry a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.
It is unclear if Lacrosse plans to appeal the conviction.[Image via Springfield Police Department/Facebook.]
New York Times
Trump Pulls Out of North Korea Summit Meeting With Kim Jong-un
New York Times
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“We gave them ample time and opportunity to settle Kevin’s child support modification increase, and they came back with conditions that are not reasonable,” Federline’s celebrity divorce attorney Mark Vincent Kaplan exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, May 22. “It’s their position that they don’t have to turn over Britney’s financial information, including tax returns, which is required under the California family code. It’s not California celebrity code edition, she has to comply.”
He added: “This is the choice they have made, and they will now have to deal with it. We are still open to try and settling this without judicial intervention.”
According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Federline, 40, filed documents to request more child support from the 36-year-old pop icon on Tuesday. He claims in the docs that he makes “approximately $ 3,000 per month” as a DJ, which is reportedly less than one percent Spears’ annual income.
The former couple, who were married from 2004 to 2007, share sons Sean Preston, 12, and Jayden James, 11. Federline also shares 15-year-old Kori and 13-year-old Kaleb with ex-fiancée Shar Jackson and 6-year-old Jordan and 3-year-old Peyton with wife Victoria Prince. He claims in the docs that he is “simply less of a ‘name’ and less in demand than he was in 2008,” when the child support was determined.
“A court hearing will be set, and the parties will engage in financial discovery, which will enable guideline support payment that Kevin should receive,” Kaplan told Us. “This won’t be difficult for us, Kevin is asking for the reasonable needs of the children to be met, which is at least three times the amount Kevin is currently getting. This is based on her earnings which have been publicly reported. We are also asking for attorney’s fees because it didn’t have to come to this.”
Federline currently receives $ 20,000 a month in child support from Spears.
Paris Hilton Sheds Tears Testifying Against Her Hacker In Court: ‘I Have Been Violated So Many Times In My Life’
Paris Hilton will never be the same after being the victim of a hacker.
The socialite couldn’t stop herself from crying in court as she testified against Paystar Bkhchadzhyan — the woman who was sentenced to 57 months in prison to bank fraud conspiracy on Monday for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars from Paris’ bank accounts and nude photos from her iCloud account.
Paris made it clear in court that she has been deeply affected by the crime; not only will she never store nudes on her iCloud account again, she’s now scared to be home alone!
She said in front of the judge:
“This has impacted me in so many ways. I am constantly looking over my shoulder and even scared to walk into my home alone fearful that this woman or her boyfriend or other dangerous friends are inside there waiting to hurt me or steal from me.”
As we reported, Bkhchadzhyan allegedly hacked into Paris’ bank accounts, used her credit cards, and even impersonated the heiress, emailing Paris’ assistant to wire over $ 80,000 to the hacker’s personal account.
After the ruling was made, the Simple Life star was seen outside the courthouse speaking with reporters, looking pleased that justice had been served. Good for her!
Read her full testimony, obtained by The Blast, below:
[Image via Ivan Nikolov/WENN.]
“Thank you your honor. It is very important for me to stand here today and pursue legal action on behalf of myself, my family and anyone who has been targeted with hacking. This was stealing and an invasion of my privacy. Public figure or not, no one should be a target for this crime. I hope that by being here today it brings awareness that this won’t be tolerated and moving forward it doesn’t continue to happen to me or anyone else.
“When I first found out that my personal emails, iCloud, credit cards and identity had been stolen and taken over by some stranger I felt so upset, hurt and violated. The defendant not only hacked into my accounts and made credit cards with my name on them but somehow found a way to hack into the email accounts of my employees, my friends and my family members such as my father and sister. The defendant started contacting me personally thru text after she impersonated me to a phone company and took over my cell phones where she actually had set it up so that she had her own phones that were directly linked to mine receiving all of my personal texts, emails, whatsapp conversations, private photos and videos.
“The defendant was impersonating to be someone else and she lied to me, tried to con, scare and extort me for money saying that these other women had broken into my iCloud and stolen private photos and messages and threatening me that if I did not pay for my pictures and my private information that it would be sold to the media to be leaked to public. I was told that they were already in talks with reporters and media companies interested. I was so upset, distraught and terrified that I could hardly sleep that entire week constantly being contacted by this woman who had targeted me and my life. It was so scary, upsetting, disturbing, shocking, and stressful to be threatened and extorted in such a way.
“It even got scarier when the front gate security guards in the gated community where I live started getting very heated calls from a woman they said was very rude impersonating me and demanding that her guests only be let into the gates of my private community but also to be let into my house. During this time I was in Switzerland terrified that these strangers were going to break into my home and steal everything.
“When she was not allowed past the security gate or into my home she started writing extremely rude messages to my assistant Angie Enos again impersonating and pretending to be me and demanding that Angie wire $ 50k into her account. At this point my assistant knows that I would never speak to her in such a rude way so she contacted me over the phone to ask if I had asked for the wire and I said no. Then because this woman could not get the wire from my assistant she targeted my parents and wrote my mother very rude messages demanding that she take out $ 50k in cash to be sent to her from my mothers account. My mom then contacted me to ask if it was me because she knew that I would never be asking for money from her. The defendant then again using my private email account started writing several of my friends asking them to send private photos of us together and other personal questions all the while my friends are thinking it is me asking since this is all being written from my personal email account. It was never ending. This was so stressful.
“Then we discovered from the Roosevelt Hotel that the defendant impersonated me once again and booked the penthouse suite at the hotel to throw a New Year’s Eve party ordering tens of thousands of dollars of champagne on my credit card. Also being extremely rude to the staff at the hotel. Also using my credit card to go buy watches and other expensive items. The defendant also used my identity and credit card information at the Mr. C Hotel in Beverly Hills spending on my credit card for room and personal entertainment. Now it has made me very scared, terrified and traumatized. This has impacted me in so many ways. I am constantly looking over my shoulder and even scared to walk into my home alone fearful that this woman or her boyfriend or other dangerous friends are inside there waiting to hurt me or steal from me.
“This woman targeted me in such a way that I will never forget or get over it. I feel so incredibly violated. She was trying to get all my user names and passwords for every single one of my email and bank accounts. She took over my life and identity. She tried to shake me up for money. It was all so unbelievable and crazy that it truly seemed like something out of a movie. I have a very busy schedule and was supposed to be out of town today but I rescheduled my trip just to be here because I wanted you, your honor, to know and understand just how much this truly affected me and what a serious crime this is.
“I have been violated so many times in my life and I am sick and tired of just brushing it under the rug and not standing up for myself. I want the defendant and any other hackers out their who are planning to target me or anyone else that this is wrong, highly illegal and a serious crime and it will not be tolerated and if they attempt again then they will be punished for their despicable actions. No one should ever have to go through this or made to feel this way and I hope by being here today it will help make a difference and make people think twice before they attempt or try to do such deplorable things to another person and hopefully put a stop to this. Thank you, your honor.”
Trump Is Said to Have Known of Payment to Stormy Daniels Months Before He Denied It – New York Times
New York Times
Trump Is Said to Have Known of Payment to Stormy Daniels Months Before He Denied It
New York Times
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Like many British septuagenarians, David Charles Graves lived alone. The 75-year-old, known by everyone as Charlie, had no close friends or family; it’s perhaps why he became such a fixture at his local pub, the Ivy House in Nunhead, south east London. Ivy House regulars became as familiar with the sight of Charlie sipping a pint of Becks lager at the bar as they did with the pub’s quirky stage and furniture restored from the 1930s.
Charlie’s attachment to his local pub will resonate with many Britons. As far back as Roman times, when roadside inns offered comfort to travelers, pubs have occupied a unique place at the heart of British society. In Shakespeare’s time, there was roughly one pub for every 200 people and they feature in several of his plays— in Henry IV, for instance, Prince Hal, Falstaff and others constantly wander in and out of the Boar’s Head Tavern in Eastcheap, east London. George Orwell’s famous 1946 ‘Moon Under Water’ essay, describing the 10 key points of his ideal pub, notes that alongside draught stout, open fires, cheap meals, a garden and no radio, “the barmaids know most of their customers by name, and take a personal interest in everyone.”
Today, pubs still play a part in alleviating social isolation, particularly among elderly Britons like Charlie. Research by the University of Oxford shows that these watering holes can improve people’s engagement with their community and social network size, ultimately affecting how satisfied they feel in life.
Pubs have also become a high-ranking tourist attraction. According to research by the British tourist board, visiting a pub is the third most popular activity for international visitors to the U.K. Over time, the pub has become a symbol of the national spirit, and themed British pubs can be found in cities around the world.
Imagining Britain without pubs is like thinking of France without its café culture, New York City without yellow taxis or Tokyo without karaoke bars. But this defining national cornerstone is under threat. According to the Morning Advertiser, the U.K.’s leading trade newspaper for the pub sector, two public houses now close their doors for good every day. Is the good old British pub on its way to extinction?
Pubs have been declining in number for decades, but many believe England’s 2007 smoking ban, which put an end to smoking in all enclosed public and work places, exacerbated the trend.
Over the next eight years, the U.K. lost nearly 7,000 pubs, the majority of which were wet-led, meaning they only served drinks. “The smoking ban affected pubs enormously,” says Brigid Simmonds, CEO of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), a major trade association. “A lot of pubs closed and many had to redefine themselves.” Some public houses branched out to offer food and accommodation; pubs now serve a billion meals a year and have 50,000 bedrooms attached to them.
But converting to a gastropub or inn is not an easy fix. Many pubs are located in Victorian, Edwardian or other historic buildings, which bind them to rigorous planning restrictions. These restrictions disincentivize investors who may have otherwise been interested in converting failing drinking dens into more profitable establishments. Climbing real estate prices, particularly in London, make pubs attractive prospects for developers—that is, if they have the permission to knock them down and build apartments instead.
Competition is also getting fiercer. Around 20 years ago, there were roughly 70,000 premises licensed to serve alcohol in the U.K.. Today, around 50,000 pubs and 70,000 other premises, from restaurants to coffee shops, have an alcohol license. “The sheer growth in the eating-out market over recent years means there’s massive competition,” says John Longden, founder of ‘Pub is the Hub,’ a not-for-profit group that offers support to licensees across the country. “You’ve got supermarkets selling beers, wine and spirits at a cheaper price than pubs, so people will drink at home. And now, the younger market is saying ‘actually we’re not drinking.’”
Indeed, government research published in May 2017 demonstrates a generational shift away from alcohol; 26% of the U.K.’s 16-to- 24-year-olds are teetotalers, compared with just 17% of 25-to-44-year-olds and 14% of those aged 45 to 64.
Tastes are changing in other ways too; beer consumption is falling, with more than half of 25-to-34-year-olds now favoring wine instead. A Nielsen poll found that sales of sparkling wine surged by 14.7% in 2016, and an overview by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association that same year found that nearly half of all drinks sold in new pubs, bars and restaurants were wine and spirits and not the more traditional pints of froth-topped ale.
High tax on beer—making up around a third of the cost of a pint—has further contributed to pubs’ woes. The last center-left Labour Party government introduced a now-defunct “duty escalator” policy in 2008, justifying the price hike in the budget with: “as incomes have risen, alcohol has become increasingly more affordable.” The move, which increased the price of a pint by 2% above inflation, had a devastating effect on the sector, with industry experts claiming the policy reduced sales of beer by as much as 16%. The closure of around 5,000 pubs can be linked to the Labour policy, according to Tim Page, chief executive of consumer organization The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). The escalator was axed in 2013 following heavy lobbying, but its effects are still felt by the U.K.’s pubs and brewing industry.
A great disparity between the cost of alcohol in pubs and supermarkets is another major issue; when six 275ml bottles of Beck’s lager cost £5.10 ($ 7.19) in Tesco, one of Britain’s biggest supermarket chains, spending the same amount if not more on one pint in a pub is not a particularly attractive prospect. “If you want pubs to survive decades down the road, then it’s common sense that you can’t tax them more heavily than what is the market rate,” says Tim Martin, founder and chairman of pub group JD Wetherspoon, which has 900 establishments around the British Isles.
All this is in the shadow of Brexit, the U.K.’s looming March 2019 exit from the European Union, bringing with it uncertainty and division.
Some pub owners believe Brexit could turn things around for them; a poll conducted shortly before the 2016 referendum found that more small-food-service operators said they would vote to leave rather than remain. Martin was a major Brexit backer; he even printed 200,000 coasters calling for the U.K. to “take back control.” He believes that without the E.U.’s high tariffs on food and drink imports, their prices will decrease and pubs will flourish.
However, as with much of the service industry, Brexit is likely to have a considerable impact on pubs’ workforces. In 2016, hospitality-intelligence firm Fourth Analytics estimated that 43% of workers in the hospitality industry come from overseas; in more metropolitan areas, this proportion can be even higher. It is still unclear whether these “soft-skilled” workers will be allowed to remain in Britain after March 2019; the government is in the process of assessing the economic and social contributions of E.U. migrants and isn’t due to report back on its findings until September of this year.
“We need to make sure people who are currently here can stay here,” says Simmonds, whose BBPA did not have an official position during the referendum. “We have to ensure Brexit isn’t only about highly skilled, highly paid workers.”
These varied challenges are forcing pubs to think creatively. Longden’s ‘Pub is the Hub’ advises licensees on providing a wide range of local services and activities, from building shops, libraries and post offices, to providing meals for local schools or the elderly. (One pub in southwestern England even introduced a community playground designed entirely by children, featuring a bar serving mud and a ‘bug hotel’.)
Pub is the Hub claims to have helped nearly 500 pubs across the U.K. offer 27 different services, helping them stay afloat. Longden tells TIME about a recent check-up visit to a pub in Cornwall, southern England, six months after his team of volunteers had helped install a playground there. “The licensee told us his pub had been packed out every Saturday afternoon and joked that it had become known as the ‘pint and play,’” he says.
Communities are increasingly stepping in to save their local drinking establishments. In 2013, Charlie’s local, the Ivy House, narrowly avoided being turned into an apartment block thanks to a group of residents who spent more than a year fighting to bring it under community ownership. In 2013, it became the first cooperatively-owned pub in London, thanks to a policy introduced two years earlier. Under the new policy, communities are able to nominate buildings and land for listing as “an asset of community value.” Once listed, the community may have the opportunity to bid to take control of the asset if it is put up for sale, as residents did with the Ivy House when its future was threatened by a developer.
Initially, 371 individuals purchased shares in the pub for £100 ($ 132) each, with a minimum investment of two shares per person. Not all of the shareholders were local. “They come from as far and wide as Canada and New Zealand,” says Emily Dresner, co-chair of the Ivy House committee. “Some people revealed to us that they didn’t drink and didn’t have any intention of visiting the pub, but still wanted to get involved in a great community initiative.” The Ivy House is part of a greater trend; there are more than 60 cooperative pubs open and trading in the U.K. and the number is predicted to continue to grow.
Innovations like these have been key to keeping pubs alive in an increasingly competitive marketplace. “Pubs provide a cross between a coffeeshop, a restaurant and a church. It’s hard to define the attraction but you know it when you see it,” says Wetherspoons’ Martin.
Going to the pub no doubt made the Ivy House’s Charlie feel part of his community. When he stopped turning up for his regular pint last summer, locals began asking after him. Eventually, it transpired that he had fallen ill and swiftly passed away. Despite not knowing much about the elderly man other than his drinking habits, the Ivy House managers decided to hold a memorial service for him and were shocked—and moved—when around 150 pub regulars turned up to pay their respects to a gentleman they barely knew.
It’s a testament to the role that the pub has played in British communities for generations, says Matt Soper, secretary of the Ivy House management committee. “I knew how many people knew him but didn’t realize how many would show up,” he told TIME. “It was proof of how successful this place has been— not just in business terms, but in the sense of being true to the spirit of a real community pub.”
Right now, pubs seem in danger of disappearing but if there’s one astonishingly simple way that ordinary Brits can save the good old pub: by going to one. “There’s no point sitting at home and saying pubs are wonderful if you never visit one,” says Simmonds of the BBPA. Instead of mourning the loss of the great British pub, Brits should celebrate their existence in the only way they can…over a pint.
New York Times
US Must Keep DACA and Accept New Applications, Federal Judge Rules
New York Times
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It’s rare that a prequel truly works, where a story can captivate despite the audience knowing what’s coming and where the path will lead. Life Is Strange: Before The Storm is one of those exceptional stories because it draws you in on its own terms. The only problem: You know it’s building you up just to break your heart.
As we know, the original Life Is Strange is steeped in tragedy. Maxine Caulfield’s estranged friend Chloe Price comes riding back into her hometown, hoping to find her missing friend, Rachel Amber. The search brings Chloe and Max close again after years apart, but it also illustrates a vast gulf in their life experience, which never fully closes. Max’s life is defined by good fortune and privilege. Chloe, as seen through Before The Storm, is defined by loss.
When Episode 1 starts, Chloe is forced to finagle her way into an underground metal concert with nothing but street smarts and her own awkward sense of sass. She’s not yet as sharp and hardened as the girl we meet in the original game, but she has it in her to become stronger as life gets tough. That girl’s outlook on life is everywhere in Before The Storm: the greyer, evocative, post-rock soundtrack compared to the sunny lilt of the original game, the sneering commentary of the information in the menus. The Backtalk system—a stand-in for Life Is Strange’s time travel mechanic—gives you even more control over the flow of a conversation to get what you want. It’s a way to portray Chloe’s very human strengths that sadly doesn’t get implemented often enough in the latter two episodes.
Whoever you choose to make Chloe become, meeting Rachel shifts her focus. In the original game, Rachel is to Arcadia Bay what Laura Palmer is to Twin Peaks: a bonafide popular girl whose absence seems to mean everything to everyone, but who no one seems to really know on a personal level. Chloe Price, however, did know her, and Before The Storm gives you the chance to find out what was so special about Rachel in Chloe’s eyes.
On the surface, the answer seems to be nothing. Episode 1 has Chloe and Rachel playing hooky, and trying to suss each other out, which doesn’t tell you anything you couldn’t guess on your own. It’s only after Rachel catches her District Attorney father in a compromising act that she metaphorically bares everything, revealing she and Chloe aren’t as different as they seem.
Before The Storm’s three episodes are roughly two hours each, depending on how compulsive you are about exploring every nook and cranny. Compared to the original game, which leaned heavy on the implications of Max’s time travel, Before the Storm has no real supernatural crutch to lean on to solve the world’s problems. What few flights of fancy there are–aside from a heartwarming impromptu Shakespeare performance in Episode 2–manifest as occasional dream sequences, more for Chloe to sort through her own grief than to affect the world around her. The real world around Chloe continues to crumble, and your choices tend to fall on the side of figuring out how to sort the remains. It’s choices like figuring out how best to deal with being kicked out of school, whether it’s worth upsetting Chloe’s mother to clap back at her trashy gun-nut stepfather, or parse out how much basic respect to give the gossip girls on Blackwell Academy’s campus.
The heart of it all remains Chloe’s relationship with Rachel. It’s a textbook case of two people finding someone worth clinging to, and taking it on good will that their faith in each other isn’t misplaced at best or going to get them killed at worst. Episode 3 veers ever slightly off into low-grade cable-TV drama, but even that’s played earnestly, with Chloe and Rachel’s mistakes having tangible, believable consequences, and choosing how Chloe deals with her failings is endlessly captivating to play through.
That captivation is, of course, the problem, if you can call it that. It’s a game that so admirably and genuinely builds a relationship between two girls who absolutely need and deserve each other; when it gets to the ugly business of reminding you where it ends, it sours and saddens every moment. You could use your choices to keep Rachel at a bit of distance, but even that distance feels unfair, because why wouldn’t both girls deserve their momentary bliss?
Still, Before The Storm’s main three episodes largely play out as though the future isn’t set in stone, allowing you to craft something resembling a momentary win for an ill-fated relationship, entertaining the notions of coping and vulnerability in ways very few games typically have time or inclination to. The bittersweet cherry on top, however, is contained in the game’s Deluxe Edition, a final episode that allows you to play through Max and Chloe’s last beautiful day together before Max leaves for Seattle. It’s light, whimsical, often funny, and bathed in a gentle golden nostalgia. And once again, its final moments bring truth rushing in, and it’s a stab in the heart.
This, apparently, is the heartbreaking joy that is Life Is Strange: the inevitability that life will do terrible, unexpected things to people whose presence we love, and people who absolutely deserve better. Developer Deck Nine’s contribution through Before the Storm posits that the pain is still worth it; just to have the time at all is enough. A storm is still coming to Arcadia Bay, and Rachel will still disappear one day, and it doesn’t matter. Being able to spend time with Chloe when her heart is at its lightest, and putting in the work to keep it going, is powerful and worthwhile.
With an unusually long editorial in Monday’s newspaper, The New York Times is making a forceful statement: “The president is not above the law.”
Business and financial news – CNNMoney.com
New York Times
Tesla Looked Like the Future. Now Some Ask if It Has One.
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Kim Jong-un, Facebook, Sacramento: Your Wednesday Briefing
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(Want to get this briefing by email? Here's the sign-up.) Good morning. Here's what you need to know: Kim's secret visit to Beijing. • Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, made a surprise trip this week to meet with President Xi Jinping of China, Mr …
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