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Miss Universe Selfie Causes An International Dispute

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It’s official, selfies have now crossed over into the exciting world of politics. After Doron Matalon (Miss Israel) posted a photo of herself with Miss Lebanon, Miss Slovenia, and Miss Japan on Instagram, Lebanese beauty queen Saly Greige faced calls for her to be stripped of her title for posing in the picture with Matalon. Lebanon and Israel have been bitter enemies for years. Although the Miss Universe pageant has never been the place for international issues the posting of the photo on Instagram has brought political attention to it.

Lebanon, has a law forbidding its citizens from fraternizing with Israelis. Last week, this year’s Miss Israel Doron Matalon posted a photo on Instagram featuring herself alongside Saly Griege, this year’s Miss Lebanon, and her fellow contestants from Japan and Slovenia.

Griege claimed that she had been the victim of a sinister photobomb, writing on Facebook and Instagram, “I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel (that tried several times to have a photo with me) … I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and myself; suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media.”

Matalon responded with a Facebook post of her own, saying that Griege’s reaction “doesn’t surprise me, but it still makes me sad.” Addressing her rival, she added, “Too bad you can not put the hostility out of the game, only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighboring country.”

The New York Post reports that the Lebanese government has launched an investigation into the photo. The Miss Universe pageant is scheduled to take place Sunday in Miami. Unfortunate that these girls can’t enjoy this experience and not have to worry about what’s going on around them in the world while they try to live out their dreams.

 
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New Music Saturday – Immature “Can’t Wait”

We don’t normally premiere new music on a Saturday but for this song we had to make an exception. After a 15 year hiatus the dynamic R&B trio Immature is back! They have a new album and tour scheduled for later this year! Here’s their new song that they just released today, “Can’t Wait”. Check it out below!

 
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NFL Player Charged With Rape

Baltimore Ravens v Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts backup linebacker Josh McNary has been charged with felony rape, felony criminal confinement and misdemeanor battery resulting in bodily injury.

McNary, 26, has not yet been arrested, Peg McLeish, a spokeswoman for the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office said today, but an arrest warrant was signed by a judge.

A 29-year-old woman reported to police on the morning of December 1 that she was raped hours earlier at the apartment of a man she met while out at a bar.

She said she told the man several times she didn’t want to have sex and fought with him, scratching him on the face, neck, back and shoulder. The man forced her to have sex on his bed, she told police. She took the man’s cell phone as she left the apartment. A forensic nurse examined the woman and found injuries to her vagina and dried blood behind one ear.

Detectives used the cell phone that the woman took to identify McNary the next day. He was cooperative, police indicated, and he asked for a lawyer after being advised of his rights.A nurse found abrasions and scratches on his stomach, back, neck and shoulder, after he was taken in to custody. Investigators also found the woman’s clothing and an earring in McNary’s apartment.

A statement from the Colts organization said, “At this time, we are very concerned and trying to find out what the relevant facts are, but we have insufficient information to venture any opinion. As we learn more, we will make appropriate updates.”

The National Football League said the matter is “under review.”

Recently, the NFL revised its Personal Conduct Policy. It includes a minimum six-game suspension for crimes involving violent conduct, including domestic violence and sexual assault. The league reviewed its stance after widespread criticism of its handling of the Ray Rice case.

McNary is listed as a second-string inside linebacker for the Colts, who play the New England Patriots on Sunday in the AFC championship game. Definitely not the kind of attention the Colts need before Sunday’s game.

 
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U.S. Presence Is Absent In Paris Unity Rally

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President Obama and his administration are under “heavy” criticism today after no one from the Administration was present at the Unity Rally held in Paris yesterday. The rally was held to show a universal solidarity following the shooting at satricial newspaper Charlie Hebdo in the French capital. Officials at the White House have said there were good reasons why there was no one from the administration in attendance.

Leaders from some of America’s strongest allies were among the more than 40 heads of state marching in solidarity with French President François Hollande. The group included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were there.

In admitting their fault for not having a prominent official in attendance, the White House stated that the president’s attendance would have brought his security which would have significantly interfered with the crowd in attendance. But that didn’t really explain why there wasn’t any other high-ranking official representing the United States, including attorney general Eric Holder, who happened to be in Paris for counter-terrorism meetings.

However, one U.S. official was present at the rally: Ambassador to France Jane Hartley. Still to the chagrin of the world, no notable U.S. Official was there and that’s where the heavy criticism lies.

The president was quoted saying, “I want the people of France to know the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow”.

The White House announced Sunday that Mr. Obama will hold a summit next month on ways to counter violent extremism like the attacks in France.

 
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President Obama Looking To Impose Free Community College Program

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“Put simply, what I’d like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everybody who is willing to work for it,” the president said in his Facebook announcement.

Today President Obama proposed making community college free for all Americans. He presented the plan as a way to introduce more people to the middle class, which would in turn strengthen the U.S. economy. Congress has already presented the President with the question of how this program would be funded.

The $60 billion plan was announced during a speech in Tennessee, in where he described a quality education as a “right” for those that were willing to work for it. He also asked that Congress work with him to bring the cost of Community College down to zero.

Obama said, “I want to make it free.” He urged making community college just as universal as high school. “A college degree is the surest ticket to the middle class,” Obama said.

The proposed plan would cover enough tuition, to assist students who keep their grades up an associate’s degree or halfway to a bachelor’s.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the plan is expected to cost the federal government $60 billion over 10 years. The White House said the federal government would pick up 75 percent of the cost and the final quarter would come from states that opt into the program — though it’s unclear where the money might come from.

Last year, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law a scholarship program called Tennessee Promise that provides free community and technical college tuition for two years to the state’s high school graduates. About 58,000 of the state’s roughly 62,000 seniors have applied to participate this fall.

Under the president’s new plan, students would be required to maintain a 2.5 GPA while in college, and must make steady progress toward completing their program in order to have their tuition eliminated, according to the press release.

 
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12 People Dead In Paris Terrorist Shooting

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Twelve people were killed today in Paris when gunmen went into the offices of a popular French satirical magazine called Charlie Hebdo. The Magazine is know for publishing a series of cartoons about the famous Muslim Prophet Muhammad. Two gunmen ran into the Magazine’s office today wielding AK-47’s and shouting out “Allahu Akbar”, which is the Muslim term for “God Is The Greatest”. Among the victims were two police officers and the Magazine’s editor, Stephane Charbonnier.

Since the attack earlier today, authorities have released the names of three suspects: Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, both in their 30s, and 18-year-old Hamyd Mourad.

France has declared this day a national day of mourning and have raised the terror threat level. Security for media organizations, large stores and places of worship have been increased, and a manhunt for the killers with the assistance of the FBI was launched.

“We will find the people who did this,” French President Francois Hollande vowed. He later called for national unity.

“Freedom is always bigger than barbarism,” he said. “Vive la France.”

What a terrible day for the country of France. Our prayers go out to the families of the victims.

 
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Boston Marathon Bomber Trial Begins

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Everyone in America remembers April 15, 2013. That was the day that the world famous Boston Marathon was rocked by two bombs that exploded near the Marathon finish line killing 3 people and injuring 264. That tragic day ended when Law Enforcement tracked down and captured the suspect in the bombing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

A little over 18 months later the trial is set to begin for Tsarnaev this Monday. Going into the trial defense attorneys have suggested Tsarnaev was controlled by his older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a confrontation with police three days after the bombing. The younger drove over the older brother and escaped.

Defense attorneys also have said the family’s history played a role in shaping Tsarnaev. They note that the family, of Chechen ethnicity, experienced difficulties dating to World War II, when Josef Stalin deported mass populations to central Asia.

With his older brother dying, Tsarnaev is left to face these charges alone. “Prosecutors appear to have virtually incontrovertible evidence supporting their claim that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his brother, Tamerlan, planned and executed the Boston Marathon bombing,” said CNN legal analyst Paul Callan, a former prosecutor and defense attorney.

“The defense, on the other hand, will push for a more expansive ‘War and Peace’ type presentation to create a narrative that paints Dzhokhar as the innocent pawn of a domineering older brother,” Callan added. “A more expansive presentation of Dzhokhar’s family and psychological history is more likely to be seen during the sentencing phase if the jury returns a guilty verdict.”

This case will be tried as a Capital Case which means that if convicted, Tsarnaev will be tried separately to see if he will be executed. We’ll make sure to keep you updated as the trial progresses.

 
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President Obama Hits North Korea With Several Sanctions After Sony Hack

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers a New Year address in Pyongyang

President Obama’s Administration imposed a number of sanctions on North Korea today. The authorized sanctions are against agencies and officials associated with the North Korean government and Workers’ Party of Korea. This action serves as a retaliation against Pyongyang.

“We take seriously North Korea’s attack that aimed to create destructive financial effects on a U.S. company and to threaten artists and other individuals with the goal of restricting their right to free expression,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. “As the president has said, our response to North Korea’s attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment will be proportional, and will take place at a time and in a manner of our choosing. Today’s actions are the first aspect of our response.”

These sanctions will deny access to all those affected by these sanctions from the U.S. financial system and bar them from entering the U.S.

Although it hasn’t been confirmed that the North Koreans were 100% responsible for the Sony hack and some experts say that the attack could have been staged by ex-employees from the company, the Administration still feels that these sanctions are entirely necessary.

 
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Air Asia Flight 8501 Has Been Found

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It’s a sad day for the families of the passengers and staff of Air Asia flight 8501. Debris and bodies were found in the water today about 6 miles from the planes last known location over the Java Sea, CNN reported this morning. Indonesian officials found the bodies of two women and one man. The bodies have not been identified and no names have been released as of yet.

“We are sorry to be here today under these tragic circumstances,” said Sunu Widyatmoko, head of AirAsia Indonesia. “We would like to extend our sincere sympathies to the family and friends of those on board QZ8501. Our sympathies also go out to the families of our dear colleagues.”

Hospitals in the Indonesian city of Surbaya are being prepped to receive any bodies that are recovered, so that they can be housed and identified.

Several nations are contributing resources to the effort, including the United States. The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Sampson arrived Tuesday.

Our condolences go out to all of the families that are affected by this tragedy.

 
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Sofia Vergara Is Engaged (Reportedly)

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Sofia Vergara, the 42 yr old star of ABC’s Modern Family is reportedly engaged to her boyfriend of a few months Joe Manganiello, 38, star of the popular HBO series True Blood. The two have seemed to be inseparable since they met this past July. They recently spent Christmas together in Hawaii and just yesterday Vergara posted a picture of her and Manganiello snuggled together wishing him a happy birthday and referring to him as her “best friend”. A source told E! news the “True Blood” actor proposed on Christmas Day. This will be Vergara’s second marriage. Her first marriage was to her high school sweetheart Joe Gonzalez. Gonzalez and Vergara were married for a couple of years before the two divorced. She has her only child from that marriage. Although the couple hasn’t confirmed their engagement, we wish Sofia and Joe all of the best!