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Sunday, December 17, 2017

DSU December Graduation

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Diplomas were handed out Saturday at Delaware State University to over 240 graduates receiving bachelor, master and doctoral degrees.  The Presidential Academic Award went to Seth Fair of Greenwood, who maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout his entire undergraduate, Summa Cum Laude journey.  Leah Brown of Milford was presented with a Presidential Leadership Award.


 

Police Make Arrest in Multi-State Distribution of Fentanyl

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Maryland State Police have arrested a man in connection with a multi-state fentanyl distribution operation.  Police have charged 37 year old Narada Michael Walls with manufacturing, distributing and possession controlled dangerous substances.  Multiple police agencies began investigating the distribution of opioids by Walls in several counties, Baltimore City and neighboring states.  DEA officials say the fentanyl Walls imported was 15 times stronger than most.  Five search warrants were executed in Salisbury and Wicomico County on Friday.  Police seized over 442 grams of fentanyl, marijuana, over $17,000 is cash and items to process and distribute drugs.


 

'Last Jedi' fans furious after theater's audio malfunction

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Police were called to a California theater Friday to disperse a crowd of moviegoers who got angry when an audio glitch turned “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” into a silent movie.

The irate fans, some dressed as their favorite characters, poured into the lobby at AMC Burbank 16, screaming at the theater staff to “restart it!” after the film’s sound cut out shortly after the opening scene, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Literally the next scene, there were nothing but muffled vocals. You could not understand a word anyone was saying,” Lynly Ehrlich, who filmed the chaos that erupted in the lobby, told the Times.

In the video, people can be heard screaming curse words at the staff as they’re told the movie will not be restarted because it would throw off the theater’s schedule, the Times reported.

“That’s when people got really, really angry,” Ehrlich said. “It was no more than 10 minutes into the film and they refused to restart it because they said they had such strict time schedules.”

AMC offered refunds in an attempt to appease the crowd, but to no avail, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Local police had to come and disperse the crowd. There was no violence or arrests made, the Times reported. 

Benjamin Brown is a reporter for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bdbrown473.

IRVFC Aid Water Rescue in Herring Creek

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US Coast Guard rescues hunter from overturned boat in Herring Creek. Photo courtesy IRVFC

US Coast Guard rescues hunter from overturned boat in Herring Creek. Photo courtesy IRVFC

Indian River Emergency crews were called for a water rescue just after 7am Saturday on Herring Creek.  Officials report a duck hunter was in the water after his boat overturned however Coast Guard officials were unsure if they could reach the hunter in the low tidal conditions.  The Coast Guard was able to reach the mariner who was transferred to waiting EMS units for evaluation.


 

California Democratic Party official resigns after rape, misconduct allegations

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A regional director has resigned from California’s Democratic Party following accusations of rape and inappropriate behavior.

Craig Cheslog, 46, allegedly “acted in an inappropriate and sexually aggressive manner” toward a 23-year-old woman after an executive board meeting Nov. 18, according to a letter that party leaders sent to the party’s secretary, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Maddy Dean, who was not mentioned in the letter, later revealed herself to the Times as being the woman who accused Cheslog of acting in a sexually aggressive manner. She wrote in a Facebook post that she “came forward to protect others, so this has always been about more than just me.”

“Young people deserve an inclusive and safe environment in which to engage in politics. We deserve transparency during these investigations in our workplaces. We deserve to be heard, not silenced, by those who decide our futures,” she added.

Meanwhile, a second woman, who remains anonymous, reportedly witnessed Cheslog’s alleged behavior toward Dean and came forward with her own accusation, “that Mr. Cheslog raped her at a CDP executive board meeting the previous year,” according to the letter.

Following the allegations, Cheslog wrote to party secertary Jenny Bach that he was resigning so he wouldn’t become a “distraction” for the party, adding that he was “confident” he would ultimately be exonerated, the Times reported.

Chelsog has since been fired from his job at the nonprofit organization, Common Sense Media, and has resigned from a school district’s board of trustees, the paper reported.

Ironically, the alleged inappropriate behavior took place during a weekend in which preventing sexual harassment was a main topic of discussion, the Times reported.

Carolyn Phinney, a former party member, claimed in her October resignation letter that Cheslog and other party leaders forced her out after she stopped offering support for Cheslog, the East Bay Times reported.  

Benjamin Brown is a reporter for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bdbrown473.

Will Charles Barkley score big in politics? Stay tuned

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Retired basketball power forward Charles Barkley is in the news again. He campaigned in his home state of Alabama for Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones, who narrowly defeated Republican Roy Moore on Tuesday. And who knows, maybe Barkley’s support put Jones over the top.

The Alabama Senate race revived talk of Barkley himself running for office. I could think of a lot worse choices.

Generally, I find it annoying when celebrities spout off about politics, but I make an exception for Sir Charles. For one thing, he’s amusing. For another, his politics aren’t predictable. 

Even back when Barkley was in the NBA, he showed uncommon wisdom. As he famously said, “I am not a role model.” An excellent point. 

NBA superstars are lousy role models. Most kids are not going to make it in pro sports, no matter how hard they try. Much better for them to look to their parents, teachers or other local figures to learn about hard work and a sense of fair play.

After he left the game, Barkley continued to wax philosophical. For instance, when he amassed large gambling debts, his response was simple. He said he could afford it. “As long as I can continue to do it, I don’t think it’s a problem,”  Barkley said. He later said he was cutting down on gambling. Even great philosophers are allowed to change their minds.

But it’s his political musings where Barkley often says the most striking things. He’s regularly spoken out on political issues, often going rogue. And he has never felt entirely at home with either the Democrats or the Republicans. In fact, at one point he said they’re both “full of it,” though in recent years he’s noted  that “Democrats are a little less full of it.”

Earlier this year, in perhaps his finest moment, he spoke out on Confederate monuments. It wasn’t that long ago some were claiming these tributes represented a threat to the nation. Some people in authority were ready to tear them all down.

And what did Barkley say? He stated emphatically: “I’m not going to waste my time worrying about these Confederate statues.”

Barkley went on to explain his reasons. “I’m 54 years old. I’ve never thought about those statues a day in my life. I think if you ask most black people to be honest, they ain’t thought a day in their life about those stupid statues. What we as black people need to do: we need to worry about getting our education, we need to stop killing each other, we need to try to find a way to have more economic opportunity and things like that.”

Barkley added: “I’m wasting my time and energy screaming at a neo-Nazi or (saying) ‘Man, you’ve got to take this statue down.’”

In the past Barkley leaned Republican, though nowadays he seems to be a Democrat. But he’s still willing to criticize his own party (and has been criticized by the left for not toeing the line) and support Republicans who have ideas he likes. As he’s noted, the parties should try to work together – no one disagrees on everything.

Barkley denies he’s going to run for Alabama governor. As he puts it: “They can’t afford me.”

But it would be nice to have a politician who’s a little different, a little unorthodox. When most politicians speak, you know what they’ll say before they open their mouths. Barkley, just as he did in the NBA, would keep everyone on their toes. 

So I say run, Charles, run. Maybe they can’t afford you, but as you said about gambling, you can afford it. And this time around, you could be a role model.

School choice programs are needed to save America's public schools

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America’s public school systems are going bankrupt, as they pour money they don’t have into programs that enrich employees at the expense of students.

The Los Angeles Unified School District could face an estimated $422 million budget shortfall in 2019. Baltimore’s schools are $130 million in the hole. Illinois officials recently failed to make a scheduled payment to K-12 schools for the first time in history.

These districts and many others across the nation are strapped for cash due to grotesque financial mismanagement. School systems continue to lavish employees with benefits packages that defy reason – even though such spending is unsustainable and diverts resources away from students. 

State and federal lawmakers shouldn’t continue to throw money towards broken school systems. Instead, they should offer school-choice programs that empower students to escape dysfunctional districts.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is a case study in misplaced priorities. Given the district’s impending funding crunch in the 2019-20 academic year, one would expect it to be focused on advancing its educational mission – and thoughtful about how it spends money. 

But time and again, the demands of unionized school employees have trumped the interests of students. 

Last summer, the Los Angeles Board of Education agreed to provide health benefits to 4,200 part-time workers, including playground aides and teachers’ assistants. The Service Employees International Union, Local 99 – one of the city’s most politically influential unions – represents these workers. These perks will cost $16 million annually and will almost certainly require cuts to classroom funding. 

Such profligate giveaways are hardly unusual in Los Angeles. In 2007, for instance, the district extended health benefits to cafeteria workers, an action that created a cafeteria budget deficit. 

Similarly, Chicago’s school board prioritizes employees over students. Between 2001 and 2015, the district’s contributions towards teachers’ pensions rose an astounding 618 percent. Over that same period, spending on textbooks fell by more than a third while spending on classroom supplies dropped by 60 percent.

Chicago’s problems will no doubt continue. Nearly half of the newly allocated $450 million for Chicago Public Schools will go to teacher pensions next year.

The same pattern is evident in Baltimore. The city provides teachers with generous contracts that include perks like full-time day care. To help pay for these benefits, Baltimore City Schools recently implemented funding cuts totaling roughly $150 per pupil. And the city still faces a $100 million unfunded pension liability for school workers. 

These examples of fiscal mismanagement aren’t isolated to major cities. Excessive spending on employee benefits is a systemic problem in public school districts in most states. 

Look to Georgia. The state already spends almost $2,000 less per student than the national average. Meanwhile, the rate of government contributions to Georgia’s teacher pensions has doubled since 2012. Georgia allocated an additional $223 million to its teacher pension system earlier this year. 

Also consider Connecticut. It is estimated that the cost of teacher pensions will increase by roughly 365 percent over the next 14 years. Given that the state recently proposed cuts in funding for over 130 districts, funneling more cash into benefits plans – when per-student spending is bound to decrease – demonstrates the misplaced priorities of policymakers.

California’s teacher and school-employee pension systems are another money pit. Two in three districts are on track to face massive budget deficits due to generous pension deals. Some districts’ pension contributions rose 250 percent from 2006 to 2016. 

As one San Jose school district employee lamented: “If this path continues, there’s no way we can provide services to students.” 

The list goes on. The epic fiscal mismanagement displayed by public school systems across the country results from the lack of competition to the government’s near monopoly on K-12 education. In such a situation, special interests, not students, wield power.

What to do?

Parents and students should be empowered with school-choice tools, such as education savings accounts, tax credits and vouchers to escape mismanaged school systems and provide incentive for those systems to improve.

Lance Izumi is Koret senior fellow in education studies and senior director of the Center for Education at the Pacific Research Institute.

Trump needs to stand up to China, despite our confrontation with North Korea

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North Korea makes the unproven claim that it can hit any place in the continental United States with a missile topped with a nuclear warhead, but America’s long-term preeminent strategic concern should continue to be the People’s Republic of China.

While President Trump remains fixated on North Korea, his own security team and other military experts continue to warn about the Chinese threat to the United States. 

At the Reagan National Defense Forum held Dec. 3, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster – President Trump’s national security adviser –warned attendees that China shares responsibility along with North Korea for subverting the post-World War II political, economic and security order to enrich itself and weaken the United States and our allies.

In addition, Robert Work, who was the deputy defense secretary until shortly after President Trump took office, cited the Chinese threat during the U.S. Naval Institute Washington Defense Forum the next day, with a useful summary of Chinese behavior. “They are confronting us,” he said.

The threat of President Vladimir Putin’s Russia is made much of these days. But despite its renewed military prowess, Russia still lacks the financial underpinnings, global reach and strategic patience to threaten the United States on the overall world stage. The only nation capable of doing that is China – and it has all intentions of doing so.

Yet in November, President Trump traveled to China to be courted in Beijing, just as he continued to ramp up his rhetoric against North Korea and its manic missile and nuclear testing.

At the same time, three American aircraft carriers and their accompanying armadas of warships converged off the Korean Peninsula for a once-in-a-decade combined set of drills in the Pacific. The drills functioned in part as a demonstration of American force and resolve.

Aboard one of the carriers, the USS Nimitz out in the Sea of Japan, there was no doubt about where the threats were. With F-18s jets circling the ship, Rear Adm. Gregory Harris, commander of Carrier Strike Group 2, warned about “a real Russia to the north, China to the south and North Korea to the west.”

But let’s face it, Russia has remained almost completely silent in that part of the world, and the only trump card the destitute North Korean government has is its missile and nuclear program.

Despite its verbal bluster, North Korea has yet to prove it can loft a single nuclear warhead atop a missile capable of reaching the continental U.S. Beyond its still-fledgling intercontinental ballistic missile capability and its infamous cyberhackers, North Korea really has nothing else in its holster. The hermit kingdom is, at most, a two-trick pony that, if allowed to run, would soon pull up lame.

China, meanwhile, has developed and deployed a massive array of ground- and sea-based missiles that can reach U.S. shores. And it doesn’t even have to rely on those missiles to square off against regional U.S. forces. Its naval force is already a near-match for America’s in the Western Pacific, and it’s growing stronger.

To establish control over vital trade lanes and maritime resources, the Chinese have built military outposts on remote islands in the South China Sea and created new artificial island forts where they need them. The Chinese often bully their way into territories claimed by other countries and use maritime might to thwart opposing forces – even, at times, those of America. 

China wants to exert the same kind of control in the South China Sea, East China Sea and other regional waters that the U.S. does in the Caribbean. If China can accomplish that, it will be able to control some of the world’s most lucrative trade routes, including those vital to the U.S. economy.

By staking so much personal and political capital on getting North Korea to back down, President Trump and his administration are losing sight of the region’s apex predator, China. And China is taking advantage of America’s distraction to close the worldwide supremacy gap.

Global publicity of Chinese behavior had prompted Beijing in recent years to agree to follow some basic rules of the road when encountering other nations’ maritime forces. But when North Korea attracted the spotlight earlier this year, a Chinese armada of navy frigates, coast guard vessels, fishing boats and naval helicopters invaded the South China Sea waters and skies around Thitu Island. The island is a 92-acre plot of land occupied by the Philippines and lying about 12 nautical miles away from Subi Reef, one of the artificially created Chinese outposts.

In the nearby Paracels, China dredged a new harbor and added about 25 acres of additional “land” to its artificial military garrison, along with a new helipad, wind turbines and two photovoltaic solar arrays.

China has reasserted itself against the U.S., harassing American reconnaissance aircraft patrolling the skies that Beijing declares to be Chinese airspace. China has also launched its second aircraft carrier –the first built in China.

While the Chinese carrier and its supporting ships are no match for the seasoned American carrier groups patrolling the Pacific, the impressive new vessel gives China even more prestige relative to the paltry fleets of its neighbors.

With the new warships it’s bringing into service, China will continue to expand its reach and control of the South China Sea, the main transportation route for about 80 percent of the world’s trade, or more than $3 trillion annually.

And the sad irony? Despite China’s revived aggressive behavior, some Asian countries –including longtime U.S. ally South Korea – are starting to see China as a stabilizing force because of the aggressive rhetoric coming of the Trump White House. In a bizarre geopolitical twist, Chinese President Xi Jinping is viewed by many as a voice of calm in the region.

For decades, many countries in the Western and Southern Pacific had shifted back and forth in the friendship they showed the two superpowers, coming to China for trade and to the U.S. for security. But now these smaller nations are beginning to wonder whether America is worth the wooing. That’s especially true when President Trump seems willing to kowtow to China for any kind of help against North Korea.

It’s time for President Trump to win back America’s old allies by paying less attention to the fickle moves of the North Koreans and by showing a renewed commitment to being a force for fairness and accountability in the region, particularly as it concerns Chinese encroachment.

If America looks away for too long, the Chinese will seize what they covet. 

LeBron James gets 60th triple-double, passes Larry Bird on all-time list

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LeBron James’ numbers have done more than move the Cavaliers near the top of the Eastern Conference. He also has placed himself squarely in the discussion to win his fifth Most Valuable Player award.

James had 29 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his 60th career triple-double Cleveland beat the short-handed Utah Jazz 109-100 on Saturday night

James had his fifth triple-double of the season and third in his last four games, passing Larry Bird for sixth on the career list. James had 10 points in the fourth quarter, was 9 of 15 from the field and 10 of 10 at the foul line.

James has been playing at an extraordinary level all season, prompting the MVP discussion. With his 33rd birthday approaching, he’s showing no signs of age.

“I feel good,” James said. “I mean, this is my 15th year, but this is one of the best years I’ve had as far as how I feel and I want to continue that. I want to kind of try to break the mold just for the next generation, just take the narrative out of, ‘You’re past your prime when you hit 31,’ or ‘You’re past your prime in your 12th year in the league,’ or whatever the case may be.”

James was asked if he could envision anyone being as dominant as he’s been at his age.

“As dominant as me,” he said with a laugh. “We’ll see. I know what I’m doing hasn’t been done a lot in the history of the game. You look at the minutes I’ve played, the consecutive Finals I’ve been a part of, the toll on my body. It hasn’t been done.”

Utah coach Quin Snyder wasn’t surprised about James’ performance.

“The game kind of went like a lot of Cavaliers games; LeBron just making plays at the end of the game,” Snyder said.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said following the game he discussed resting James in Sunday night’s game at Washington. His star player’s simple reply: “Nope.”

Cleveland has won 17 of 18 overall and 11 straight at Quicken Loans Arena.

Center Rudy Gobert (sprained ligament and bone bruise in left knee) and forward Derrick Favors (left eye laceration) were out for Utah. Both were injured during Friday night in a win in Boston.

Rookie Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 26 points, making 10 of 15 from the field. Utah made 17 of 34 3-point attempts.

Kevin Love added 15 points for the Cavaliers.

James scored six straight points after Utah cut the lead to 102-97 with four minutes left.

James scored or assisted on each of Cleveland’s first 13 points. A left-handed dunk off a lob pass from Jeff Green on a fast break late in the first quarter brought the crowd to its feet.

Korver scored 12 points, and Green had 11. Rookie Cedi Osman scored a career-high 10 points, including five in the fourth quarter.

Gobert had an MRI on Saturday and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Favors had six stitches after being hit with an elbow against Boston and could return Monday.

Miami-Dade police offer $23G reward after stray bullet kills 2-year-old boy

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Miami-Dade police were offering a $23,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect in the shooting death of a 2-year-old boy.

The child was believed to have been struck by a stray bullet during a gunfight, the Miami Herald reported, citing police reports.

Carnelle Williams-Thomas was playing in the courtyard of his family’s public housing apartment complex in Southwest Miami-Dade when he was shot, the Herald reported.

Miami-Dade police say the boy was lying on the ground with a gunshot wound when officers arrived. An helicopter took the child to a hospital where he died of his injuries.

Residents of the apartment complex said Friday that shootings are nothing new and they blamed improper management for the recurring incidents. Surveillance cameras on the property have reportedly been ineffective because of theft or vandalism.

A Miami lawyer who is suing the county on behalf of a man who was shot at the apartment complex three years ago described it as, “the wild, wild West.”

The boy was the second recent shooting fatality in the city. Recently, Alicia Roundtree, 43, was hit with gunfire on her way home from work, in what police called a random shooting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

North Koreans mark 6th anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death

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North Koreans on Sunday marked the sixth anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il, the former leader of the country and father of current leader Kim Jong Un.

The commemoration came amid heightened tensions with the U.S. over concerns about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Bearing flowers, thousands of somber-faced North Koreans were photographed bowing in front of statues and portraits of their leaders in freezing weather.

As sullen, recorded music played, the mourners marched up Pyongyang’s Mansu Hill and placed flowers at the feet of two giant bronze statues of Kim Jong Il and national founder Kim Il Sung, who is North Korea’s “eternal president” and Kim Jong Un’s grandfather.

Kim Jong Il died at age 69 on Dec. 17, 2011, reportedly of a heart attack. Kim was known to have had health problems in the years before his death, including a stroke in 2008.

North Koreans are expected to avoid drinking, entertainment and inappropriate displays of enjoyment on the day before and the day of the anniversary.

At midnight, senior ruling party officials visited a mausoleum on the outskirts of the city where the elder Kims lie in state, according to state-run media reports.

Experts have warned that North Korea has shown a tendency to conduct missile tests to mark major national events.

In April, tens of thousands of North Korean soldiers marched in a parade to mark the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung.

The next day, the country conducted a failed missile test from Sinpo, the U.S. military said.

And last year, North Korea conducted two missile tests days after “Party Foundation Day” on Oct. 10, a public holiday in the country.

North Korea claimed in late November to have tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the U.S. mainland. But Secretary of Defense James Mattis cast doubt on the claim Friday, saying the U.S. was still assessing the situation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Corker, after backing reconciled tax bill, claims he wasn't aware of new provision: report

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U.S. Sen. Bob Corker claimed in recent interview that he wasn’t aware of a last-minute provision in the reconciled Republican tax bill that could potentially benefit him financially.

In speaking to International Business Times, the Tennessee Republican said he hadn’t read the reconciled bill, just “a two-page summary.”

IBT reported that Corker, the lone Republican to oppose the original Senate version of the $1.4 trillion bill — which the Senate approved Dec. 2 — had reached out to address a previous IBT report claiming he decided to back the reconciled version only after a certain provision was added.

According to IBT, that provision would allow owners of large commercial real estate holdings — such as Corker — to deduct a percentage of their “pass through” income from their taxes.

Corker, a commercial real estate mogul who made $7 million last year from such income, vehemently denied that he reversed his position because of the added tax provision, IBT reported.  

In a phone conversation with IBT, he said he had read only a short summary of the bill and wasn’t aware the provision had been added.  

“I had like a two-page summary I went through with leadership,” Corker told IBT. “I never saw the actual text.”

“I had like a two-page summary I went through with leadership. I never saw the actual text.”

– U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., in a phone interview with International Business Times

“I don’t really know what the provision does, to be honest. I would need an accountant to explain it,” Corker said.

“I had no knowledge of this and would have no knowledge of it except for you guys are calling me about it. I have no idea whatsoever whether it impacts me or doesn’t impact me,” he told IBT.

Corker said he opposed the original Senate bill because he believed it would increase the federal deficit. However, he backed the reconciled bill Friday.

“After many conversations over the past several days with individuals from both sides of the aisle across Tennessee and around the county – including business owners, farmers, chambers of commerce and economic development leaders – I have decided to support the tax reform we will vote on next week,” Corker said in a statement.

The House and Senate had passed different versions of the tax bill but were able to reconcile the two versions Friday. Final votes are expected next week.

Wisconsin father gets 6 months for beating infant, breaking 20 bones

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A Wisconsin man convicted of beating his 2-month-old daughter — breaking more than 20 of the infant’s bones and causing bleeding in her brain — has been sentenced to six months behind bars.

The jail term for Richard A. Root, 21, of Oshkosh, was part of seven years of probation for child neglect resulting in great bodily harm, the Oshkosh Northwestern reported.

Winnebago County Circuit Judge Thomas Gritton also ordered Root to avoid alcohol and drugs, keep a steady job or attend school full time, and undergo counseling, the newspaper reported.

Root had pleaded no contest to neglecting the child, Fox 11 reported.

When the crime occurred in March, emergency room staff at Aurora Medical Center found the baby had nine broken ribs and several other serious injuries, the station reported.

A criminal complaint said the baby also had a broken arm and a broken leg, according to Fox 11.

The complaint also said Root shook the baby because she was crying. Root also told police that he knelt on top of one of the baby’s legs while changing her diaper, the station reported.

Root told police he “snapped” because of stress and a lack of sleep, the station reported.

Wreaths Across America draws thousands of volunteers to Arlington National Cemetery

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Thousands of volunteers traveled to Arlington National Cemetery on Saturday to help with an annual holiday wreath laying.

Despite fears that the cemetery would not reach its annual goal, this year’s large crowd placed more than 245,000 wreaths at gravesites of U.S. service members, WTOP-FM reported.

As the wreaths were placed, the names of the fallen service members were read aloud.

“There are 25 funerals at the Arlington National Cemetery every day, so the need grows every year,” said Bree Kingsbury with Wreaths Across America. “That one wreath is really a symbol of honor and respect for each fallen service member.”

“There are 25 funerals at the Arlington National Cemetery every day, so the need grows every year. That one wreath is really a symbol of honor and respect for each fallen service member.”

– Bree Kingsbury, Wreaths Across America

Wreaths Across America is a nonprofit that also places wreaths at more than 1,500 other cemeteries across the country.

The Wreaths Across America caravan traveled earlier this month from Columbia Falls, Maine, where the wreaths were made. The caravan went through several states before arriving in Arlington, Va.

The Arlington event has been going on for 26 years, honoring the men and women who’ve served in the U.S. armed forces.

This year’s grand marshals are Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient Roger Donlon and his wife, Norma Donlon.

The tradition began when Maine wreath maker Morrill Worcester donated 5,000 wreaths to Arlington Cemetery. A total of 1.2 million wreaths will be placed on markers across the country in 1,238 locations.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Alkins leads hot-shooting No. 23 Arizona past New Mexico

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ALBUQUERQUE — In his second game back from a broken foot, Rawle Alkins scored a career-best 26 points to lead No. 23 Arizona to an 89-73 win over New Mexico on Saturday night.

The Wildcats (8-3) hit a season-best 9 of 13 3-point attempts with Alkins making all three of his attempts.

Allonzo Trier had 20 points with five assists and freshman Deandre Ayton had his ninth double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds for Arizona.

Dane Kuiper was 6 of 8 from 3-point range to finish with a career-high 24 points for the Lobos (3-8).

Early in the second half, the Wildcats built their lead to 52-33 before New Mexico, pulling within 76-69 after a 3 by Kuiper with 5 minutes left, but that was as close as the Lobos could get.

BIG PICTURE

New Mexico had won three of the last four meetings between the schools in Albuquerque, the last time coming in January 1999 in a game that had such a controversial ending that then Wildcats coach Lute Olson refused to return to The Pit.

The Lobos, losers of eight of nine, turned in perhaps its strongest outing of the season. Although well under-sized compared to the Wildcats, New Mexico only trailed the battle on the glass 35-23 and it had a 13-7 edge on second-chance points.

KEY STAT

New Mexico plays a frenetic, pressing style of defense, but Arizona, which had issues with turnovers this season, had only three in the first half and 10 overall, its second lowest of the season.

UP NEXT

Arizona starts a three-game home stand Monday against North Dakota State, with the finale of the trio coming Dec. 30 against upstate rival, No. 5 Arizona State.

Argentina dismisses navy chief amid submarine investigation

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Argentina has dismissed the head of its navy as part of the investigation into the disappearance of a submarine with 44 crew members aboard last month.

State news agency Telam said Saturday that Defense Minister Oscar Aguad had requested Adm. Marcelo Srur step down while authorities look into what happened to the ARA San Juan, which disappeared Nov. 15.

An internal navy investigation led to the suspension of two commanders this week.

Authorities say an explosion occurred near the time and place where the sub disappeared in the South Atlantic. The navy is no longer looking for survivors although a multinational operation continues to search for the vessel.

It was sailing from the southernmost port of Ushuaia to the coastal city of Mar del Plata when it went missing.

Trump plugs Lewandowski book about campaign

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President Trump issued a glowing plug Saturday for a book that painted a chaotic picture of his presidential campaign.

“Congratulations to two great and hardworking guys, Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, on the success of their just out book, ‘Let Trump Be Trump,’” the president tweeted at 9:52 am. “Finally people with real knowledge are writing about our wonderful and exciting campaign!”

Written by two top campaign officials – Lewandowski, whom Trump ousted as campaign manager in favor of the now-indicted Paul Manafort, and Bossie, his deputy – the book detailed Trump’s cravings for fast food and loud pop music.

“On Trump Force One there were four major food groups: McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza and Diet Coke,” they wrote.

It also featured Trump’s expletive-laden harangues against underlings, his penchant for having top aide Hope Hicks steam his pants while he was still wearing them, and an incident in which he abandoned an employee at a McDonald’s because the staffer’s order was taking too long.

Moore tells supporters 'battle is not over' in Senate race

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A defiant Roy Moore told supporters on Friday that the battle for the Alabama Senate seat is “not over,” despite President Trump, who backed him during the campaign, calling on him to concede.

Moore went on to email supporters asking for contributions to his “election integrity fund’ so he could investigate reports of voter fraud.

“I also wanted to let you know that this battle is NOT OVER!” he wrote in the email.

Democrat Doug Jones on Tuesday defeated Moore by about 20,000 votes, or 1.5 percent, according to unofficial returns.

But Moore, who has been accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was in his 30s, has not yet conceded in the race to fill the seat that previously belonged to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Moore told supporters that the race was “close” and some military and provisional ballots had yet to be counted. Those are expected to be counted next week.

Moore said his campaign is collecting “numerous reported cases of voter fraud” to send to the secretary of state’s office.

Secretary of State John Merrill has said it is unlikely that the last-minute ballots will change the outcome of the election or even trigger a recount.

Merrill said his office has investigated reports of voting irregularities, but “we have not discovered any that have been proven factual in nature.”

Trump, who had endorsed Moore, called Jones to congratulate him on his win. Trump on Friday said that he believed Moore should concede the race.

The results of Alabama’s Senate race will be certified between Dec. 26 and Jan. 3 after counties report their official totals.

Trump, for his part, appeared to be looking to the future.

“I think he should [concede],” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I want to support the person running. We need the seat. We’d like to have the seat.”  

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Twi-lights: Bucks at Rockets

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Catch up on the best highlights and halftime interviews from the Milwaukee Bucks loss to the Houston Rockets:

The @Bucks are live on FOX Sports Wisconsin! #FOXSportsGO: https://t.co/1zg5Se6PZL pic.twitter.com/ZpxsAgOlwg

— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) December 17, 2017

Eric Bledsoe is too smooth!

Watch the #Bucks on #FOXSportsGO: https://t.co/1zg5Se6PZL pic.twitter.com/0AK7uwu3Sa

— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) December 17, 2017

Malcolm Brogdon at the half: If we can keep this game close until the last four minutes, I think we’ll win the game pic.twitter.com/AhPeTJai6z

— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) December 17, 2017

Giannis from the elbow! #Bucks are hanging tough with a Houston team that has won 12 straight.

Tune in now on FSW, #FOXSportsGO: https://t.co/1zg5Se6PZL pic.twitter.com/BL2oW3XJfk

— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) December 17, 2017

Steal + Giannis finish and it’s a four-point game!

Watch the #Bucks on #FOXSportsGO: https://t.co/1zg5Se6PZL pic.twitter.com/qB0JSoaBaj

— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) December 17, 2017

Gary Payton II! It’s all tied up in Houston.

Watch on #FOXSportsGO: https://t.co/1zg5Se6PZL pic.twitter.com/fWkT3iUAiP

— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) December 17, 2017

Malcolm Brogdon for three!

Watch the #Bucks on #FOXSportsGO: https://t.co/1zg5Se6PZL pic.twitter.com/YklHms7Qdm

— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) December 17, 2017

NBC paid off producer who accused Chris Matthews of harassment, report says

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NBC paid thousands of dollars to an assistant producer on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” nearly two decades ago after she brought a sexual harassment complaint against the longtime host, The Daily Caller reported Saturday.

The website, citing two sources, reported that NBC paid the woman $40,000 to settle her claim against Matthews in 1999. An NBC spokesperson told The Daily Caller the network paid a smaller, unspecified amount as part of a severance package.

The woman complained to executives that Matthews, now 71, had made inappropriate comments to her and made inappropriate jokes about her to others.

An MSNBC spokesman told The Daily Caller that Matthews had been slapped with a formal reprimand at the time the woman made her complaint. The website reported that the network decided that the complaints were “inappropriate and juvenile,” but were not intended as propositions.

Matthews has hosted “Hardball” on MSNBC since 1997. He also hosted the syndicated “Chris Matthews Show” between 2002 and 2013 and has authored eight books, most recently a biography of Robert Kennedy.

Click for more from The Daily Caller.

2 couples tie knot in Australia's 1st same-sex weddings

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Two female couples have tied the knot in Australia’s first same-sex weddings under new legislation allowing gay marriages.

January 9 had been expected to be the first possible date for same-sex weddings due to a four-week waiting period. But the two couples were married in Sydney and Melbourne on Saturday after being granted permission to waive the notice period.

Lauren Price and Amy Laker exchanged vows in Sydney because their families had to travel from Wales in the U.K. to attend what was to have been their commitment ceremony.

Amy and Elise McDonald also were given an exemption to marry in Melbourne since their relatives had also flown in from overseas.

Thwarted by chimney, 'criminal Santa' has to call the cops on himself

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A burglary suspect in California reportedly had to call the police on himself earlier this week after getting stuck in a chimney.

According to police, Jesse Berube, 32, was allegedly attempting to rob a business in Citrus Heights and thought he could slide in through the chimney. But once he tried, he found himself stuck on Wednesday with no way out on his own, police said.

Berube was reportedly able to move just enough to reach his phone and dial 911.

SANTA, CHRISTMAS TREES ‘NOT APPROPRIATE’ FOR HOLIDAYS, STUDENTS TOLD AT UNIVERSITY EVENT

Responders from the Sacramento Fire Department arrived at the scene and used special equipment to get the suspect out.

Berube was removed from the tight space uninjured but now faces one count of burglary, police said.

Authorities referred to the man as a “criminal Santa” but said he “does not have the same skills as the real deal.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Dognapped: Iraq War vet's service dog is stolen in New Hampshire, report says

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Police in New Hampshire are searching for the person who allegedly assaulted an Iraq War veteran and stole her service dog on Thursday, Fox 25 Boston reported.

Ashley McCall told the outlet that a stranger took her dog, Jax, as the pair were getting into her car near her apartment in Concord. The man reportedly approached her and asked about the dog allegedly pushing her to the ground and making off with Jax, abandoning his leash and service vest.

“And he reaches for my door and he pulls it open so I shut it back and as I do that he takes me and slams me to the ground and then takes Jax and gets into this silver Ford Focus and leaves and starts speeding off,” McCall told Fox 25 Boston.

“He’s not a pet. He’s a family member.”

– Ashley McCall

The loss left McCall both “extremely sad” and “amazed at the lengths people will go to,” she told Fox News in a text on Saturday night.

WWII VET DANCES TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS AND HIS 95TH BIRTHDAY

The owner of a neighboring florist shop, who was nearby at the time, told the outlet that he’d noticed the same car in the lot all day. But when he asked for an explanation, the answer he got “didn’t make sense.”

The owner, Fred Keach, said the explanation, about waiting for someone, didn’t add up at a time when cellphone access makes checking on a person’s whereabouts so simple, and so “from the beginning it looked like there was some ambush that was about to happen at some point.” 

WORLD WAR II VETERAN GIVEN ‘BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT’ BY STRANGER AT GROCERY STORE

jax sleeping

McCall told the outlet that Jax was “a family member.”  (Ashley McCall)

After the dog was stolen, Keach reportedly called the police.

McCaul told Fox 25 Boston that Jax, who helps her with anxiety and depression, is “a family member,” and she wants him back home where he belongs.

“Ultimately, we just want the dog back,” McCall said. “He’s a family member. He’s not a pet. He’s a family member.”

Australian man accused of brokering North Korea missile sales

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Australian police have arrested a Sydney man accused of acting as an agent for North Korea by allegedly attempting to broker sales for Pyongyang including components used in ballistic missiles.

“This case is like nothing we have ever seen on Australia soil,” Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan told reporters Sunday morning. “This is black market 101.”

The suspect has been identified as a 59-year-old naturalized Australian citizen who was born in South Korea.

Police allege the man was generating tens of millions of dollars for the Pyongyang regime by arranging the sale of missiles, components and expertise from North Korea to other international entities, and was trying to arrange the transfer of coal from the country to Indonesia and Vietnam.

“This man was acting as a loyal agent for North Korea who believed he was acting to serve some higher patriotic purpose,” Gaughan said. “I think at the end of the day he would sell whatever he could to make money back for the North Korean government.”

Gaughan added that there was no evidence any weapons or components passed through Australia.

“We’re alleging all the activity occurred offshore,” Gaughan said.

The suspect is the first person charged under Australia’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Act and faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence. However, Gaughan said the investigation was ongoing and more charges were expected.

Click for more from News.com.au.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Florida squanders 2nd-half lead, falls to Clemson in Orange Bowl Classic

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SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Marcquise Reed threw a 75-foot pass to Elijah Thomas for a dunk that put Clemson ahead to stay with 37 seconds left, and the Tigers rallied from a 12-point deficit in the second half Saturday to beat No. 22 Florida 71-69 in the Orange Bowl Classic.

With Clemson trailing 68-67, Reed rebounded a missed 3-point attempt by KeVaughn Allen and threw a football-style pass from one free-throw lane to the other, hitting Thomas on the run for an easy score.

Clemson (9-1) beat a ranked team for only the eighth time in school history and continued its best start since 2008. Florida (6-4) lost for the fourth time in the past five games.

The Tigers won despite having a point taken off the scoreboard with 4 seconds left. Thomas’ free throw put Clemson ahead 70-68, but the point was wiped out when the officials realized it was Reed who had been fouled.

Reed then made two free throws to help seal the win. He finished with 22 points, six assists and five rebounds.

Gabe DeVoe added 19 points and six rebounds for the Tigers, who shot 51 percent. Clemson coach Brad Brownell earned his 300th victory.

Jalen Hudson scored the Gators’ first 12 points and finished with 23.

Egor Koulechov sank a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Gators a 40-33 halftime lead, and they were up 47-35 early in the second half. Clemson took its first lead since 4 minutes into the game when DeVoe sank a 3-pointer to make it 67-66.

The meeting was the first between the teams since 1957.

No. 19 Florida State lost to Oklahoma State 71-70 in the first game of the doubleheader.

BIG PICTURE

Florida coach Mike White has been unhappy with his team’s transition defense. The Gators allowed only seven fast-break points, but that included Thomas’ decisive dunk.

UP NEXT

The Gators play host to James Madison on Wednesday.

Clemson plays host to South Carolina on Tuesday.