Former Florida Mayor Stole $650,000 From Charity Sentenced To 51 Months In Prison

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN NEWS)

 

(CNN)A former Florida mayor was sentenced to 51 months in prison Friday after defrauding the charity United Way of more than half a million dollars.

Guy Thompson, a former mayor of Milton, a city northeast of Pensacola, last year pleaded guilty to 20 counts of wire fraud and three counts of tax evasion in the case, according to court documents.
Between 2011 and 2018, Thompson was able to embezzle a total of $652,000.61 from United Way of Santa Rosa County while he served as executive director of the charity, court documents said.
Thompson deposited donations to the charity into his personal bank accounts — without telling anyone at the charity’s chapter about the donations — and used the money to make mortgage payments and to buy a beach condominium, according to the documents.
Ryan Cardoso, an attorney for Thompson, said the former mayor is “repentant and committed to making amends.”
“Words cannot express the remorse and sorrow that Mr. Thompson feels in this case,” Cardoso said in an email to CNN.
Thompson was also ordered to pay back the embezzled money, less the some $220,000 seized from his bank accounts.
Thompson was mayor of Milton for 20 years and was on its city council for 16 years, according to CNN affiliate WKRG. He was head of the United Way chapter for 39 years, the affiliate reported.

176 killed after Ukraine International Airlines plane crashes in Tehran shortly after takeoff

176 killed after Ukraine International Airlines plane crashes in Tehran shortly after takeoff

(CNN)All 176 people on board a Ukraine International Airlines flight were killed when it crashed shortly after takeoff from Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, the country’s state-run Press TV reported.

The Boeing 737 jet took off early Wednesday morning with 167 passengers and nine crew on board, Press TV reported, citing Ali Khashani, a senior public relations official at the airport.
Earlier reports from Iranian state media had said 180 people were on board.
Emergency crews were dispatched to the crash site but could not assist because the area is currently ablaze, said Pirhossein Koulivand, the head of Iran’s Emergency Medical Services. Koulivand told state-run media outlet IRINN that the crash site is between the cities of Parand and Shahriar.
Flight-tracking service FlightRadar 24 said in a tweet that the jet had been in service for about three and a half years.
Iran’s semi-official news agency ISNA reported the crash was due to technical difficulties.
A Boeing spokesperson told CNN they are “aware of the media reports out of Iran and we are gathering more information.”
First responders are seen after the crash.

The crash takes place just days before the company’s new CEO David Calhoun will formally take the job. Calhoun replaces Dennis Muilenburg, who was ousted in December after Boeing’s disastrous year.
The American aviation giant is still reeling from the aftermath of two 737 Max crashes, which killed 346 people. The Max has been grounded worldwide since March, and the company has struggled with delays and other issues in its bid to get the planes back in the air.
This is a developing story and will be updated.

There’s a fire in Australia the size of Manhattan

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

There’s a fire in Australia the size of Manhattan

Fire crews' life-or-death moments caught on video

(CNN)Three fires have combined to form a single blaze bigger than the New York borough of Manhattan, as Australian firefighters battle what has been predicted to the most catastrophic day yet in an already devastating bushfire season.

The fires joined overnight in the Omeo region in Victoria state, creating a 6,000-hectare (23 square mile) blaze, according to Gippsland’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
In neighboring New South Wales state, a fire in the Wollondilly region south of the capital Sydney remains “out of control,” according to the Rural Fire Service. It has burned 264,000 hectares (1,020 square miles) of land in recent months.
Firefighters tackle a bushfire in thick smoke in the town of Moruya, south of Batemans Bay, in the state of New South Wales on January 4.

Weather conditions are deteriorating rapidly on Saturday, with the country’s Bureau of Meteorology warning that winds are picking up and temperatures increasing. “Today will be a day of severe to extreme fire danger through many districts,” the bureau said.
The death toll is rising as conditions worsen — Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday that 23 people had been killed nationwide, up from 18 from earlier in the week. More than 1,500 homes have also been destroyed since the fire season began in September.
Victoria has declared a state of disaster and NSW has declared a state of emergency — both granting extraordinary powers and additional government resources to battle the fires.
It marked the first time VIctoria has activated these powers since the 2009 Black Saturday fires, the deadliest bushfire disaster on record in Australia with 173 people killed and 500 injured.
On Saturday, Morrison announced the deployment of up to 3,000 Australian Defense Force Reserve troops to affected states. Four planes will also be leased by the government to provide water bombing, while the navy’s largest ship, HMAS Adelaide, will be mobilized to evacuate citizens along the coast.
“Today is about ensuring we deal with the urgent crisis that is existing across fire grounds in four states in particular, to ensure we’re giving everything that is needed on ground without being asked,” Morrison said at a press conference.

Evacuations ahead of deteriorating weather

All three branches of the ADF — the navy, army, and air force — have been working this week to rescue residents from fire-threatened areas and isolated towns cut off by closed roads. On Friday, the navy evacuated about 1,000 people from the Victoria beach town of Mallacoota, Morrison said.
Some residents have chosen to stay and defend their homes, even with authorities urging people to get out while they can. Matt Runko, a homeowner in Moruya, NSW, departed late Friday — but was forced to leave his neighbor behind.
“He’s pretty confident he’s got enough water and resources over there to fend it off,” Runko told CNN — but admitted it’s “definitely a little bit distressing” that his neighbor was staying in the fire threat zone.

Thick smoke blankets southeastern Australia along the border of Victoria and New South Wales on January 1, 2020. An image taken over the same area on July 24, 2019 shows a smoke-free day.

JOSHUA STEVENS/NASA EOSDIS

Saturday’s hot, dry and windy weather is expected to hinder firefighters and worsen the flames, after a brief improvement in conditions on Thursday and Friday.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning on Saturday morning for “damaging winds” in NSW, the state hardest hit by fires so far. A passing cold front is causing temperatures to spike and humidity to drop, and bringing strong gusts up to 90 kilometers per hour (55 miles per hour) across the state’s southeast.
Some of the biggest fires have been burning for months, but the real danger on Saturday is the wind. Not only does it make the fires grow faster and bigger, but the wind can carry embers far distances and start entirely new fires in new locations.
These winds will change directions once the cold front passes — making the fires even more difficult to control. Some rain is expected by the end of the weekend heading into Monday, but won’t be enough to extinguish the large ongoing blazes, according to CNN meteorologists.
Angus Barners, an incident controller at the Rural Fire Service in Moruya, NSW, said he expected “very challenging conditions.”
“We can’t stop the fires, all we can do is steer them around communities,” he told CNN.

Somalia suicide car bomb attack rocks capital, killing at Least 79

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

(The lack of a moral/religion ‘code’, such a spiritual sickness) (oldpoet56)

 

Somalia suicide car bomb attack rocks capital, killing at Least 79

A soldier is seen next to the wreckage of car that was damaged during the suicide attack in Mogadishu on Saturday.

Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN)At least 79 people are dead and 149 more injured after a massive car bomb exploded at a busy intersection on the outskirts of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on Saturday, according to a government official.

Government spokesman Ismael Mukhtar also earlier told CNN that the attacker drove his vehicle into the “Ex-control Afgoye” checkpoint, a well-known junction that links the south of Somalia to the capital.
Mukhtar added that university students were among the dead.
The attack happened during rush hour in the Somali capital at about 8 a.m. local time, and civilians and soldiers are among the dead, police said.
Police conduct security searches at the checkpoint, but there is also a taxation office located nearby and the area is heavily populated with civilians and security forces.

Nurses from Mogadishu's Madina Hospital push a wounded person on a stretcher.

Police have warned that the death toll could rise as many of the wounded have been rushed to hospitals.
Images from the scene showed multiple wrecked vehicles with shards of twisted metal nearby as well as a minibus marked with blood.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu confirmed two Turkish citizens had died in the attack.
“May Allah’s mercy be upon our 2 citizens and innocent Somali brothers&sisters who lost their lives in the heinous terrorist attack,” Çavuşoğlu wrote on his Twitter account. He added Turkey would continue to stand with Somalia in the fight against terror.
Saturday’s attack came two weeks after at least five people were killed in a seven-hour battle at a hotel popular with lawmakers and security officials in the Somali capital.
In February, the group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a car bombing at a crowded shopping mall that left at least 10 dead. It was also behind three car bombings last November that killed at least 52 people with about 100 more injured.

15 Horses Shot And Killed In Field In Eastern Kentucky

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

(CNN)At least 15 horses appear to have been shot and killed at the site of an abandoned strip mine in eastern Kentucky, authorities said.

The horses were found scattered across a large area off of US 23 near the border of Floyd and Pike counties, according to Tonya Conn, president of the local group Dumas Rescue.
On Monday, a resident who lives near the strip mining site reported that some of his horses had been discovered dead after breaking loose from a fenced area, Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt told CNN. The man suspected that his horses had been killed.
The sheriff’s office went to the area and found at least 14 dead horses that appeared to have been shot, Hunt said. Some were part of a wild herd, while others belonged to residents. Among them were two colts and four pregnant mares.
The sheriff’s office suspects that more horses have been killed, Hunt said.
“To think that somebody could point a gun and aim it at a horse and pull the trigger and do it repeatedly is unimaginable,” he said.
Hunt said the sheriff’s office plans to go back to the site on Thursday with a veterinarian to perform autopsies and collect evidence. Dumas Rescue is assisting with the investigation.
Residents of the community have been outraged over the incident. The horses were a scenic attraction for many people who ride ATVs in the area, Hunt said.
Conn said that Dumas Rescue had been working with the herd that appears to have been targeted for several years now.
“I’ve been doing rescues since 2004,” Conn told CNN. “We see a lot of starvation and a lot of cruelty, but that was the most horrific scene I’ve ever been on. Just cold-blooded malice.”
The Humane Society of the United States is offering up to $5,000 as a reward for anyone who has information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of those responsible, the organization confirmed to CNN. Hunt and Conn said that local residents are also sending in donations.
At a minimum, the person involved could face animal cruelty charges, CNN affiliate WYMT reported.

White Island volcano eruption: One dead, others missing in New Zealand

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

White Island volcano eruption: One dead, others missing in New Zealand

A photo from the New Zealand Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences showing the eruption Monday.

(CNN)At least one person has died and an unknown number are missing after a volcano on New Zealand’s popular White Island tourist destination erupted Monday.

Speaking at a press conference Monday, New Zealand National Operation Commander Deputy Commissioner John Tims said the fatality was a person who had already been evacuated from the island.
Tims said that there could be more than 20 people still on the island who had not been heard from since the eruption.
“At this stage it is too dangerous for police and rescue services to go on to the island… the island is currently covered in ash and volcanic material,” he said.
Tims said in a statement that fewer than 50 people were believed to have been on the island at the time of the eruption and about 23 had already been evacuated.
“Emergency services are working to ensure the safety of everyone involved, including rescue staff,” the police statement said.
About 20 tourists from the nearby cruise ship Ovation of the Seas were on White Island at the time of the eruption, New Zealand Cruise Association chief executive officer Kevin O’Sullivan told CNN.
“Our hope is that everyone will be recovered quickly and unharmed,” he said. The Ovation of The Seas is one of the largest cruise vessels in the world, according to operators Royal Caribbean.
Images of a crater on the island from cameras run by the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences appear to show a group of people inside the smoking center just minutes before the eruption.
Speaking at an earlier press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was too early to say how bad the injuries were but added it was her understanding that a number of those affected were tourists.
Speaking to CNN-affiliate Radio New Zealand, St. John Ambulance said that up to 20 people are believed to have been injured in the eruption, adding that a mobile triage unit was on its way.
Tourist Michael Schade and his family had been on the volcano just 20 minutes before it erupted. They were waiting on a boat, about to leave, when the eruption occurred.
Schade took videos of the ride leaving the island, showing giant plumes of thick black smoke as the boat quickly departed.
“Boat ride home … was indescribable,” Schade wrote on Twitter. “Those are some of the people (our) boat picked up. Praying for them and their recovery. Woman my mom tended to was in critical condition but seemed strong by the end.”
Photos from New Zealand’s official geological hazard information site Geonet showed a huge plume of white smoke rising above the island on Monday afternoon, local time.
“Whakaari/White Island is erupting. More information soon,” announced GeoNet in a notice on their official Twitter.
Injured from White Island volcanic eruption are ferried into waiting ambulances in Whakatane, New Zealand, Monday.

Most active cone volcano

The White Island or Whakaari volcano is New Zealand’s most active cone volcano according to the GeoNet website. It has been built up by more than 150,000 years of volcanic activity.
A cone volcano is the most immediately recognizable mountain-shaped variety, as opposed to shield volcanoes or calderas which are far more flat in shape.
A volcanic ash advisory was issued at 2:30 p.m. local time (8:30 p.m. ET Sunday) by MetService, New Zealand’s meteorological service. New Zealand Police called for people in the affected ashfall areas to stay indoors.
The Volcanic Alert Level was raised to 4 shortly after the eruption, and the Aviation Color code is orange, according to GeoNet. Two hours later it was lowered to level 3, due to “diminished” activity in the area of the volcano.
New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency said the eruption occurring at White Island is “hazardous in the immediate vicinity of the volcano” and that the agency is assessing the situation with scientific advisers to determine the severity of the threat.
Whakaari/White Island is dubbed “one of the world’s most accessible active volcanoes” on a White Island Tours website, which offers ocean cruises near the island and a guided tour depending on the status of the varying volcanic alert levels.
According to the GeoNet website, more than 10,000 people visit the island every year.

Arkansas Police Officer Executed In Department Parking Lot

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Arkansas officer was ‘ambushed and executed’ in a police station parking lot, police say

Officer Stephen Carr was killed in his patrol vehicle, according to a news release from Fayetteville Police.

(CNN)A Fayetteville, Arkansas, police officer was shot and killed in the police station’s parking lot Saturday night, the department said in a statement.

Evidence shows Officer Stephen Carr, a patrol officer who had served the department for more than two years, was “ambushed and executed while sitting in his patrol vehicle,” the Fayetteville Police Department said.
Two officers heard gunshots behind the station around 9:42 p.m. local time, according to police. In the parking they lot they found an armed suspect later identified as 35-year-old London T. Phillips.
A confrontation ensured and the officers fired at Phillips, who was injured, the police said. The officers gave medical attention to the wounded men and paramedics were called, but Carr and the suspect both died at the scene.
The names of the two officers involved have be not been released, but the department said they would be placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation. The department also asked the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI to conduct independent investigations, it said.
In the news release, the Fayetteville Police Department celebrated Carr’s “dedication and professionalism,” calling him a hero.
“We would like to thank our community for their outpouring of support, along with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners for their quick response and assistance,” the statement said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Carr’s family during this tragic time.”

Deadly shooting at Pensacola naval base

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Deadly shooting at Pensacola naval base

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39 min ago

Sheriff says suspect used a handgun

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said that the suspect in the naval station shooting used a handgun in today’s attack.

Morgan would not confirm other information about the shooter including his name or whether a room on campus was raided as part of the ongoing investigation.

38 min ago

Acting Navy Secretary: “These acts are crimes against all of us”

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly released a statement about the two separate shootings that have occurred at naval bases this week.

Modly’s statement addresses today’s fatal shooting in Pensacola, Florida, as well as Wednesday’s shooting on the Pearl Harbor naval shipyard in Hawaii as well as an incident in Little Creek, Virginia.

“These acts are crimes against all of us,” Modly said in the statement.

Read the full statement below:

“Our entire Navy and Marine Corps team is struck and deeply saddened by the attacks within our own naval family over the past several days, at Little Creek, Virginia last week, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Wednesday, and today in Pensacola, Florida. These acts are crimes against all of us. Our prayers are with the families of the fallen and with the wounded. It is our solemn duty to find the causes of such tragic loss and ceaselessly work together to prevent them. Let us make concerted efforts to care for the families of those lost, and those wounded, visibly and not. Let us shepherd them through these first moments of despair, and make them, and our greater Naval family, whole and strong. “

42 min ago

Suspected shooter was in aviation training, official says

The suspected gunman in today’s shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida was in aviation training, Capt. Tim Kinsella said at a news conference.

About the shooter: Five US defense officials and another person familiar with the investigation told CNN a member of the Saudi military training at US Naval Air Station in Pensacola is the suspected shooter in today’s incident.

At least four people were killed, including the suspected gunman, in the shooting.

43 min ago

Captain: There was “real heroism” today

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said there is going to be a lengthy investigation following today’s shooting.

“You can be proud of your community, and you can be proud of your Navy,” he said.

“We are in recovery mode right now,” Morgan said.

NAS Pensacola Commanding Officer, Captain Tim Kinsella, said he is “in awe” of the responders during the shooting, saying there was “real heroism” today.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the uniform I wear,” Kinsella said.

Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson said this is a tragic day for the city. “This is a community of great resiliency,” he said. “The city will bounce back and be stronger.”

33 min ago

Florida governor on the shooting: “This is a dark day for a very great place”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said “this is a dark day for a very great place,” noting he is a Navy veteran.

DeSantis mentioned the suspect’s ties to the Saudi Air Force and said he spoke to the President about this connection.

Authorities are speaking at news conference right now about the shooting.

You can follow along here or watch it live in the video player above.

1 hr 22 min ago

Officials are allowing some personnel to exit the base

Some personnel will be allowed to exit the installation via the west gate, according to posts on the Naval Air Station Pensacola social media accounts.

The base is closed until further notice.

NAS Pensacola@NASPCOLA

All non-essential personnel on the western side of NAS Pensacola main side, including the museum, the airfield, etc, proceed to the west gate to exit the installation. If you are on the east side of the Interior Command Posts on Taylor or Radford, remain sheltered in place.

FBI takes over the shooting investigation

The FBI has taken over investigation into the shooting at the Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, according to an FBI spokesperson.

The FBI’s Evidence Response Team has arrived on site and has begun processing the scene, a law enforcement source told CNN.

What we know about the shooting: A total of four people died in the shooting, including the shooter, who has not been identified. Several other people were injured.

Two deputies from Escambia County Sheriff’s Office “negated” the shooter, according to the sheriff. One was shot in the knee and the other in the shoulder, but both are expected to make a full recovery.

1 hr 58 min ago

Saudi national suspected in shooting at Pensacola naval air station

A member of the Saudi military training at US Naval Air Station in Pensacola is the suspected shooter in today’s incident, according to five US defense officials and another person familiar with the investigation.

The investigators are looking into whether it was terror-related, but it is early in the probe.

CNN has reached out to the Saudi embassy in the US and has not heard back.

2 hr 45 min ago

This is the second shooting at a US naval base this week

The fatal shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida this morning is the second shooting at an American naval base this week.

On Wednesday, a US sailor killed two civilians and himself at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii.

Investigators have yet to identify motives in either shooting.

2 hr 21 min ago

Officials will give another update at 1 p.m. ET

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office will hold another news conference about the shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida at 1 p.m. ET.

Officials just wrapped up a news conference about the shooting at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida, this morning.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • The timeline: Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said officers received notice that there was an active shooter at 6:51 a.m. local time.
  • 3 people and the shooter were killed: A total of four people died in the shooting, including the shooter, who has not been identified.
  • 11 people were shot: Officials said a total of eleven people were shot. Eight of them were transported to a local hospital, where one of them died.
  • Deputies engaged the shooter: Two deputies from Escambia County Sheriff’s Office “negated” the shooter, according to the sheriff. One was shot in the knee and the other in the shoulder, but both are expected to make a full recovery.

What we don’t know: It’s still unclear if the shooter was military personnel. Officials have also declined to answer questions about the weapons used by the shooting and the specific building in which the shooting took place.

3 hr 46 min ago

Sheriff: “Crime scene was like being on the set of a movie”

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said they received the call about the active shooter at 7:51 a.m. ET.

The sheriff said they are in the middle of the investigation, and cannot provide much information. However, he said, “walking through the crime scene was like being on the set of a movie.”

The two officers who negated the threat are in the local hospital, both shot in the limbs. They’re expected to recover.

“We do have several deceased and several wounded,” Commanding Officer Captain Tim Kinsella at NAS Pensacola said.

The active shooter has been neutralized. The base is shut down until further notice.

Mayor of Pensacola, Grover Robinson called it a “tragic day” for the city of Pensacola, “We are a military town.” The mayor asked residents to stay away from that side of town.

3 hr 50 min ago

11 people were shot

A total of 11 people were shot this morning at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.

Four of those are deceased, one of whom was the shooter, Escambia County’s Chief Chip Simmons said.

Eight people were transported to a local hospital, where one of the injured died.

There are currently three others inside the building who are deceased.

Commanding Officer Captain Tim Kinsella at NAS Pensacola said the shooting happened in a classroom building.

3 hr 54 min ago

Sheriff: Deputies engaged the shooter

David Morgan, sheriff of Escambia County, said two deputies engaged the shooter, and “It was a member of the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office that did negate the threat.”

The two officers were shot during the exchange with the gunman.

Morgan said that one deputy was shot in the arm and another was shot in the knee. “Both expected to survive,” Morgan said.

Pelosi warns: ‘Civilization as we know it today is at stake’ in 2020 election

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Pelosi warns: ‘Civilization as we know it today is at stake’ in 2020 election

Washington (CNN)House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday that “civilization as we know it today is at stake” in the 2020 presidential election, saying that she does not want to “contemplate” the possibility that President Donald Trump could be elected to serve as second term in office.

“Let’s not even contemplate that,” Pelosi said at a CNN town hall Thursday evening in response to an audience question about what checks will exist in the House of Representatives if Trump is reelected and the impeachment process is over.
“Civilization as we know it today is at stake in the next election, and certainly our planet,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi’s participation at the town hall event came on the same day that she announced that the House will take the momentous step of moving forward with articles of impeachment against Trump. That announcement adds a new level of intensity to the impeachment effort and likely paves the way for Trump to become the third President in US history to be impeached.
Pelosi called her decision “quite historic” during a CNN town hall moderated by Jake Tapper.
In response to an audience question, she said, “I have to admit that today was quite historic. It was taking us, crossing a threshold on this that we just had no choice. I do hope that it would be remembered in a way that honors the vision of our founders, what they had in mind for establishing a democracy.”

‘I’m not on a timetable, I’m on a mission’

Pelosi, who is guiding House Democratic caucus through the impeachment process as the top Democrat in the chamber, sidestepped a question whether she would step aside if a Democrat wins the White House in 2020.
“I’m not on a timetable, I’m on a mission,” Pelosi said, an answer that met with applause from the audience.
As House Democrats grapple now with how to draft articles of impeachment, Pelosi said during the town hall that Democrats are working “collectively” on determining what will be included in the articles.
Asked by Tapper whether she would proceed if Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler recommends including obstruction of justice charges from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, Pelosi said, “We’re operating collectively. It’s not going to be — somebody puts something on the table. We have our own, shall we say, communication with each other.”
Pelosi declined to go further. “We’re not writing the articles of impeachment here tonight.”
Articles have not been finalized, but Democrats are now signaling that the articles of impeachment could go beyond the scope of the Ukraine investigation that has dominated Washington for the past two months.
Whether to include Mueller’s findings of obstruction of justice has been debated internally for weeks as some moderate Democrats only got behind an impeachment inquiry because it was narrowly focused on Ukraine.
Pelosi took aim at Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani during the town hall when asked about his continued efforts in Ukraine as Democrats move forward with their impeachment inquiry.
“I’m a busy person,” Pelosi said, “I don’t have time to keep track of Rudy Giuliani, I just don’t, but I do think that it is further indication of the arrogance of it all.”

‘Disgusting’ question over hate

During the town hall, Pelosi also explained why she had reacted so strongly to a reporter who asked her if she hates President Donald Trump, calling the question “really disgusting.”
Asked by Tapper during a CNN town hall about her reaction during her weekly press conference to the question, Pelosi cited her Catholic upbringing and responded, “The word hate is a terrible word … so for him to say that was really disgusting to me.”
The California Democrat added, “I’d rather like to think that America is a country that is full of love, whatever we think about what somebody else might believe that might be different from us, that that isn’t a reason to dislike somebody. It’s a reason to disagree with somebody.”
Pelosi issued a stark warning to the reporter from Sinclair who had asked her the question, responding forcefully, “Don’t mess with me” — a sign of the tension amid the House of Representatives’ impeachment push.
During CNN’s town hall, Pelosi questioned whether the person who asked the question is actually a reporter, saying, “Was that a reporter? Is that what reporters do?” when Tapper asked about the exchange.

‘I don’t think we’re headed for a shutdown’

Pelosi also predicted during Thursday’s town hall that there will not be a government shutdown later this month.
“I don’t think we’re headed for a shutdown. I don’t think anybody wants that,” Pelosi said.
“We’re on a good path, if we were not, we would just go to a continuing resolution until after Christmas,” Pelosi said, referring to a stop-gap measure to keep funding in place.
Lawmakers will need to take action to avert a government shutdown before the end of the month, making the month even busier in Congress as the impeachment inquiry dominates headlines in Washington.
The President’s contacts with Ukraine are at the heart of the impeachment inquiry and investigators have focused on probing the now-famous July 25 phone call where Trump asked the President of Ukraine for a “favor” and pushed for investigations into the family of a potential political rival, former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The President has argued that the call was “perfect,” and congressional Republicans have defended the President and his administration, saying that Trump did not commit an impeachable offense.
This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.

Scientists have discovered a ‘monster’ black hole that’s so big it shouldn’t exist

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Scientists have discovered a ‘monster’ black hole that’s so big it shouldn’t exist

(CNN)Scientists have discovered a “monster black hole” so massive that, in theory, it shouldn’t exist.

It’s a stellar black hole — the type that forms after stars die, collapse, and explode. Researchers had previously believed that the size limit was no more than 20 times the mass of our sun because as these stars die, they lose most of their mass through explosions that expel matter and gas swept away by stellar winds.
This theory has now been toppled by LB-1, the newly-discovered black hole. Located about 15,000 light years away, it has a mass 70 times greater than our sun, according to a press release from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The findings were published by Chinese researchers in the journal Nature on Wednesday.
“Black holes of such mass should not even exist in our galaxy, according to most of the current models of stellar evolution,” said Liu Jifeng, head of the team that made the discovery. “LB-1 is twice as massive as what we thought possible. Now theorists will have to take up the challenge of explaining its formation.”
Scientists are now scratching their heads at how LB-1 got so huge.
The Chinese team has proposed a number of theories. LB-1’s sheer size suggests that it “was not formed from the collapse of only one star,” the study said — instead, it could potentially be two smaller black holes orbiting each other.
Another possibility is that it formed from a “fallback supernova.” This is when a supernova — the last stage of an exploding star — ejects material during the explosion, which then falls back into the supernova, creating a black hole.
This fallback formation is theoretically possible, but scientists have never been able to prove or observe it. If this is how LB-1 formed, then we may have “direct evidence for this process” for the first time, the study said.
LB-1 is not the biggest black hole ever discovered — but it may be the largest of its kind. There are several types of black holes, and stellar black holes like LB-1 are on the smaller side, according to NASA. Supermassive black holes are much bigger — they can be billions of times the mass of our sun.
Scientists believe supermassive black holes may be connected to the formation of galaxies, as they often exist at the center of the massive star systems — but it is still not clear exactly how, or which form first.

Stellar renaissance

Stellar black holes are believed to be commonly scattered across the universe, but they are difficult to detect because they do not normally emit X-rays — only doing so when they gobble up gas from a star that has ventured close enough. They are so elusive that scientists have only found, identified, and measured about two dozen stellar black holes, the press release said.
The researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences tried a different approach. Instead of looking for X-rays emitted by black holes, the team looked for stars that were orbiting some invisible object, being pulled in by its gravity.
Their efforts paid off — they soon spotted a giant star eight times heavier than the sun, orbiting around what turned out to be LB-1.
“This discovery forces us to re-examine our models of how stellar-mass black holes form,” said David Reitze, a physicist at the University of Florida. In May, Reitze’s team made its own breakthrough discovery — observing the never-before-seen collision of a neutron star and a black hole, which sent out ripples in space and time.
These twin discoveries — the collision, and now LB-1 — indicate that scientists are reaching “a renaissance in our understanding of black hole astrophysics,” said Reitze in the press release.
There have been several other discoveries over the past year that have added to this renaissance. In October, researchers discovered what they believe to be a new type of black hole, smaller than the other kinds. And earlier this week, astronomers discovered a black hole that is actually helping baby stars grow instead of destroying them.