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Ellen Pompeo returning to ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ for two more seasons, earning $20 million

Meredith Grey is here to stay at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital — for at least two more seasons.

Deadline reported that the star of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Ellen Pompeo, has signed on to continue her role for another two years. She’ll also be permanently adding the title of “producer” to her credits on the series, while also being bumped to executive producer on the forthcoming firefighter spinoff series.

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In addition to growing her resume, Pompeo stands to rake in $575,000 per episode, which comes to $20 million a year, making her the highest-paid actress on a primetime TV drama. The show already holds the title of ABC’s highest-rated series.

Pompeo’s pay wasn’t a given, however. Like many women, she had to fight to be paid adequately, particularly compared to her male counterparts.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday, the actress said she’s now comfortable asking to be paid what she’s worth.

“I’m 48 now, so I’ve finally gotten to the place where I’m OK asking for what I deserve, which is something that comes only with age,” Pompeo said.

“For me, Patrick (Dempsey) leaving the show (in 2015) was a defining moment, deal-wise. They could always use him as leverage against me: ‘We don’t need you; we have Patrick,’ which they did for years. I don’t know if they also did that to him, because he and I never discussed our deals. There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that. At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and I'm Meredith Grey. They wouldn’t give it to me. And I could have walked away, so why didn’t I? It’s my show; I’m the No. 1. I’m sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: ‘Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy?’You feel conflicted but then you figure, ‘I’m not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house.’”

Pompeo said that once series creator Shonda Rhimes became more successful and had more control, it brushed off on her and allowed her to have more say in her own career.

“ (Shonda) got to a place where she was so empowered that she was generous with her power. Now, what did that look like? It looked like her letting me be the highest-paid woman on television, letting me be a producer on this show, letting me be a co-executive producer on the spinoff and signing off on the deal that the studio gave me, which is unprecedented.”

While Pompeo is excited to keep the show going, she makes no promises about when it will eventually end.

“I’ve been saying since season one, ‘We have two more years.’ This show, it’s taking on a life of its own, and who knows? We take it season by season,really,” she told Deadline.

Pompeo added, “You never think TV shows are going to go this long. Of course not, never, and especially me, I don’t ever assume things like that. I assume tomorrow everyone’s going to hate us. You got to try. You got to stay humble.”

“I’m extremely proud of the show and everyone that has worked on it in the past, everybody who’s here now,” she said, sharing that she’ll definitely let her children — Stella, 8; Sienna, 3; and Eli, 1, with husband Chris Ivery — watch when they’re old enough.

“It’s the beginning of a movement, and it’s so special to me for so many reasons. So I certainly hope they watch every episode twice,”  Pompeo said.

Study says people would rather hang out with their dogs than friends

A new study says that most dog owners would rather spend time with their pup than their friends.

Fox News reported that a study of 2,000 dog owners conducted by smart dog collar company Link AKC says more than half prefer their pet over pals. Owners said they sometimes skip out on social events to be with their dog.

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Eighty-one percent of those surveyed said they spoke to their dog like they would a friend. Single dog owners were twice as likely to talk to their pet about relationship problems. Eighty percent of owners said it’s a deal breaker if their partner didn’t like their dog.

The study found that six in 10 pet owners said their dog takes care of them in some way, with many saying their pet helped them get through a breakup or death of a loved one. 

Sixty-two percent of the pet owners surveyed said their dogs helped get them out the house at least twice a day for a walk and more than two-thirds said their dog helps them exercise more regularly.

“The physical benefits of dog ownership are often the first that come to mind, but we’ve found the emotional and mental health benefits of having a furry companion are just as impactful,” Link AKC chief marketing officer Herbie Calves told Fox News. “People consider their dogs members of their family and are looking for ways to connect and interact with them on a deeper level.”

The survey supports Calves’ claim. Fifty-five percent say unconditional love and constant companionship is among the biggest benefit of dog ownership.

“Dog ownership is a great responsibility but also comes with great physical, emotional and mental benefits,” Calves said.

Baby found abandoned on airport bathroom changing table

Authorities are trying to find the person who abandoned a baby in an airport bathroom. 

Police at Tucson International Airport are now combing through surveillance footage, trying to find out who left the a newborn baby boy on a woman’s bathroom changing table Sunday, AZCentral reported.

Not only are they trying to find the mother of the baby to find out what happened, but also to find out if she needs help.

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The newborn was only hours old and was in good health, Tucson Police spokeswoman Jessie Butler told AZCentral.

The baby was clean and swaddled, KMSB reported.

Arizona is a state that offers Safe Haven for babies, meaning they can be dropped off at specific locations like staffed fire stations, hospitals and churches. Parents can be anonymous but they have to answer questions about the baby and its health, KMSB reported. According to the Safe Haven law, babies can be up to three days old.

Since the program started in 2001, 40 babies have been taken in by Safe Haven, KMSB reported.

An airport is not listed among the legal locations, but there was a fire station nearby, AZCentral reported.

If found, the mother could face charges after police investigate why she left the baby.

Doctor arrested for showing up for surgery inebriated, police say

A plastic surgeon showed up for surgery Monday while intoxicated and was arrested, according to police. 

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Dr. Theodore Gerstle was confronted by the chief medical officer at Baptist Health Lexington and then left the hospital on foot, according to WKYT

Police were then called and took Gerstle into custody. Gerstle was charged with public intoxication.

“Patient safety is always our number one concern,” Ruth Ann Childers, hopsital spokeswoman, told WKYT. “This will be thoroughly investigated.”

Grandson surprises grandfather with restored 1957 Chevy

Fred Lamar’s 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air sat in a garage, just as he left it, for 30 years.

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Until about a year ago, when his grandson, Cameron Dedman, started restoring the iconic Motor City machine.

On Saturday, Lamar, 81, nearly passed out when the car was revealed to him.

“I have been doing a full frame off restoration of this car a big surprise for my grandpa,” Dedman wrote in a post with the photos of the restored Bel Air. “He’s my best friend and truly deserves it.”

Lamar has owned the vehicle since the 1950s. The pair plan to take it to car shows this spring and summer, according to WHAS.

Is feeding a cold a real thing? 5 winter health myths debunked

You've probably heard winter health myths for years and you may have even accepted some of them as fact.

From being told to bundle up, so you don't catch a cold to your neighbor swearing he got the flu from his flu shot, these myths make the rounds every winter.

Breathe easy: 5 household plants that improve air quality

We separate fact from fiction with the following five winter health myths:

Cold weather can make you get sick.

Mom always warned you you'd get sick if you didn't bundle up before heading out in cold weather. Her advice wasn't exactly horrible, since you'll certainly be more comfortable and protected from frostbite. But cold by itself doesn't make you more likely to get sick, according to The Weather Channel. Most experts think we're more likely to get sick in colder months, but that's because we're all cooped up together, exchanging germs. Cold weather also dries out your nasal passages, reducing their ability to filter out infections. Despite evidence to the contrary, moms will probably keep warning their kids to bundle up. It's what they do.

>> Read more trending news 

You lose 90 percent of your body heat through your head.

Of all your body parts, your head is more likely to be exposed in cold weather. But that doesn't mean the myth about losing 90 percent of your body heat through your head is true, according to Business Insider. Sure, wearing a hat in cold weather will help you stay warm, but that's just because you're covering an exposed body part, not because there's anything special about your head. You could cover up any other exposed body part and also feel warmer.

You don't need sunscreen in the winter.

If you think you only need sunscreen in hotter weather, you've probably packed your lotion away by the time winter comes around. But even when the weather's overcast in the winter, up to 80 percent of the sun's rays can still penetrate the clouds, according to Reader's digest.

UVA rays are always present - even in winter - and they can damage the deeper layers of your skin, increasing your risk for skin cancer and causing premature aging of your skin. And if you're planning a ski trip, you should be even more careful. UV radiation increases with elevation, and snow reflects and intensifies sunlight. So whatever the season, wearing sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF is the safest way to go.

Feed a cold, starve a fever.

The origin of this myth may be rooted in antiquated beliefs about colds and fevers, according to CNN. It was once believed that your body literally became colder if you had a cold, so it needed to be "warmed up" with food. Fever was thought to need "cooling down" by not eating.

In reality, you need to eat whether you have a cold or a fever. Good, nutritious foods are important, but it's OK if your illness suppresses your appetite a little. Staying hydrated is most important, especially if you have a fever. You may need to replenish electrolytes, so sports drinks can be a good choice. Good ol' chicken soup will keep you hydrated while also helping to clear your nasal passages.

RELATED: Your guide to an (almost) allergy-free home

The flu shot can give you the flu.

This isn't true, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC). Flu shots are made with either an inactive form of the virus or no flu virus at all. Neither type can give you the flu. You may have a sore arm after getting a flu shot and some people report having a low-grade fever and aches for a day or two, but it's not the flu.

On the other hand, you may still get the flu even if you've had a flu shot, but the odds of getting it are much lower and, if you do get the flu, the symptoms will likely be less severe.

Teen accused of killing acquaintance who sold him paprika instead of pot 

A Utah teenager has been charged as an adult in a homicide that police investigators said took place after another teen sold him cooking spices instead of marijuana.

Seth Carreras, 17, of Layton, was moved into the adult population at the Davis County Jail earlier this month, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. He is being held without bail on charges of murder and assault by a prisoner.

Reporters described Carreras as “smirking” during a Jan. 5 court hearing in the death of Hunter Woodson, 19, who was gunned down in his Sunset home on Nov. 21. Carreras is accused of barging into the house and shooting Woodson to death in front of his girlfriend.

Woodson’s family members described Carreras’ facial expression in court as an “evil smile.” 

“I feel like he had zero remorse for what he did,” Travis Woodson, Hunter Woodson’s uncle, told the Tribune. “He was proud of what he did. He was acting like he’s proud of it.”

Court documents obtained by the newspaper allege that Carreras went to Woodson’s home the afternoon of the shooting after the pair messaged back and forth about a marijuana sale. They initially smoked a joint so Carreras could test the drug Woodson was selling, but the younger teen did not have cash on him, so he left. 

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He came back later in the day to buy 1 ½ ounces of the drug. Woodson did not have that much marijuana on hand, but told Carreras that he did. 

While he sent his 17-year-old girlfriend out to collect Carreras’ cash, Woodson filled a small, pink plastic bag with paprika, salt, pepper and other spices and taped it shut, the affidavit said. When Woodson’s girlfriend delivered the fake marijuana to Carreras, he felt the bag and sensed that something was not right.

As he ripped the bag open, the girl ran into the house to warn Woodson, the Tribune reported

Carreras followed her inside and into Woodson’s bedroom, where the girl hid behind the door while Woodson took a fighting stance, the affidavit said. 

The girl told police that when Carreras walked into the room with a gun, Woodson asked, “What are you going to do about it, shoot me?”

Carreras did just that, firing “a lot of times” and causing Woodson to fall to the floor, the girl told investigators. He then stood over Woodson and continued shooting. 

Before he fled, he rifled through Woodson’s pockets for his cash, the affidavit said. 

Carreras was arrested less than 30 minutes later at his home, where officers found him trying to crawl under a car to hide, the Tribune said

Woodson’s obituary described him as a high school senior who, “after hitting a rough patch … was getting his life turned around.” He had started taking some college courses and was looking forward to the future, his family wrote.

“You could usually find Hunter with his shaggy hair and charismatic smile doing what he loved more than anything else, eating,” the obituary read

“Hunter loved skateboarding, playing football and doing MMA,” his family wrote. “He was training for his first fight. He also loved the outdoors and spending time with family.”

Police officials who searched Carreras’ home after the shooting found hundreds of pill bottles, guns, ammunition and two machetes in a shed on the property, the Tribune reported in December. They also found scales used to measure drug amounts and “marijuana shake,” or small bits of plant matter that remain after larger nuggets are bagged or used, on the floor.

When investigators opened the shed door, they found a man sitting inside with a sword, the Tribune reported. He dropped the weapon and was arrested without incident.

Prior to his move to the adult jail, Carreras was held in a juvenile detention facility. His pending assault charge stems from a Dec. 22 incident in which he is accused of kicking the leg of a juvenile detention staff member. 

2 more Carnival cruise ships fail health inspections

Two of the newest ships in the Carnival Cruise Lines fleet have received failing grades in health inspections designed to control the spread of gastrointestinal illnesses

Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze both scored below a passing grade of 86, the Miami Herald reported.Vista, the cruise line's newest ship, received a 79 while Breeze was given a 77. 

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Vista's crew hid potentially hazardous food, equipment and dirty dishware from the inspectors from the Centers for Disease Control, the Herald reported. The buffet included fruit flies, and on-board illnesses were not documented appropriately, according to the December report by the CDC's Prevention’s Vessel Sanitation Program.

Previously, a November report cited a failing score of 78 for Carnival Triumph, an older ship that gained notoriety in 2013 when an engine room fire caused it to lose propulsion and left passengers with few working bathrooms and no air conditioning. 

RELATED: 300 who got sick on cruise ship back in South Florida

Three failing grades on three different ships within two months is fairly rare for a major cruise line, the Herald story said. Most failures involve smaller ships from lesser-known cruise lines, a maritime lawyer said.

Carnival said that the health and well-being of its guests and crew is its "foremost priority." Spokesman Jennifer De La Cruz said the company has "taken immediate action to address the issues identified during recent ship inspections."

Though it hasn't been published by the CDC, the Triumph was re-inspected and received a passing score of 98, De La Cruz said.

• More from the Miami Herald

Reports: North and South Korea to form joint Olympic team, march together in opening ceremony

South Korea and North Korea have agreed to create a joint Olympic team and march together in the opening ceremony in the next Winter Olympics, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

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The two countries met for the second time in a week Monday to discuss the possibility of creating a joint ice hockey team for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The nations also agreed to create a joint North and South Korean women's ice hockey team for the Olympics in Pyeongchang. This will be the first unified team for the two countries since they joined together for an international table-tennis championship and a youth soccer match in 1991.

North and South Korea have never marched together under one flag in any Olympic games.

Betsy DeVos: Common Core is dead at U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave a far-ranging speech today in Washington at an American Enterprise Institute conference, “Bush-Obama School Reform: Lessons Learned.”

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She announced the death of Common Core, at least in her federal agency.

DeVos also decried the federal government’s initiatives to improve education. “We saw two presidents from different political parties and philosophies take two different approaches. Federally mandated assessments. Federal money. Federal standards. All originated in Washington, and none solved the problem. Too many of America’s students are still unprepared,” she said.

And she touched on a favorite topic, school choice.

“Choice in education is not when a student picks a different classroom in this building or that building, uses this voucher or that tax-credit scholarship. Choice in education is bigger than that. Those are just mechanisms,” she said. “It’s about freedom to learn. Freedom to learn differently. Freedom to explore. Freedom to fail, to learn from falling and to get back up and try again. It’s freedom to find the best way to learn and grow… to find the exciting and engaging combination that unlocks individual potential.”

Read DeVos’s speech at MyAJC.com.

How well would you do on the cognitive test President Trump took?

On Tuesday, Admiral Dr. Ronny Jackson answered questions about President Donald Trump’s health, reporting that after last week’s physical exam, Trump was in “excellent” health.

In addition to a physical exam, Trump, Jackson said, asked that he be given a cognitive screening test – one that would test for signs of early dementia, for instance.

Jackson said Trump was given the Montreal Cognitive Assessment test – a series of questions asking the test taker to remember a list of words, recognize animals, draw a specific time on a clock and draw a cube, among other tasks.

How well did the president do on the test? He was perfect, Jackson said, getting 30 out of 30 possible points. A score of 26 or higher on the test is considered to be a normal result

Below is a MoCA test like the one the president took. Can you get 26 or higher?

Photo of Hawaii missile warning system was fake, officials say

The screen shot image of the alert system released by the governor of Hawaii in the wake of a false missile alarm being sent was inaccurate.

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The image was to supposed to be an example of what the operator who sent out the errant message saw, however state officials said that it was an example of options not the exact one the worker would have seen, according to the Honolulu Civil Beat

“We asked (Hawaii Emergency Management Agency) for a screenshot and that’s what they gave us,” Jodi Leong, spokeswoman for Gov. David Ige, told Civil Beat. “At no time did anybody tell me it wasn’t a screenshot.”

Residents received a message on their phones about a ballistic missile alert Saturday morning. Within minutes, Hawaii’s Emergency Management Association said on Twitter there was no threat. But it took officials almost 40 minutes to send out another alert that it was a false alarm.

They could not send the exact screen image of what the worker saw because of security concerns, said Richard Rapoza, spokesman for HEMA.

“That’s on us. That’s on our office, that an error was made in the way we handled the governor’s request,” Rapoza told Civil Beat. “The governor’s office wanted to know what did this look like and it should have been more fully explained to them. I personally apologize.”

Read transcript of Sen. Jeff Flake’s speech comparing Pres. Donald Trump to Josef Stalin

CNN has posted the transcript of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)’s speech on the floor of the Senate in which he compared statements made by President Donald Trump to those of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

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From CNN, as released prior to the speech

“Mr. President, near the beginning of the document that made us free, our Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident ...’ So, from our very beginnings, our freedom has been predicated on truth. The founders were visionary in this regard, understanding well that good faith and shared facts between the governed and the government would be the very basis of this ongoing idea of America.

“As the distinguished former member of this body, Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, famously said: "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts." During the past year, I am alarmed to say that Senator Moynihan's proposition has likely been tested more severely than at any time in our history.

“It is for that reason that I rise today, to talk about the truth, and its relationship to democracy. For without truth, and a principled fidelity to truth and to shared facts, Mr. President, our democracy will not last.

“2017 was a year which saw the truth -- objective, empirical, evidence-based truth -- more battered and abused than any other in the history of our country, at the hands of the most powerful figure in our government. It was a year which saw the White House enshrine "alternative facts" into the American lexicon, as justification for what used to be known simply as good old-fashioned falsehoods. It was the year in which an unrelenting daily assault on the constitutionally-protected free press was launched by that same White House, an assault that is as unprecedented as it is unwarranted. "The enemy of the people," was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017.

“Mr. President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase "enemy of the people," that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of "annihilating such individuals" who disagreed with the supreme leader.

“This alone should be a source of great shame for us in this body, especially for those of us in the president's party. For they are shameful, repulsive statements. And, of course, the president has it precisely backward -- despotism is the enemy of the people. The free press is the despot's enemy, which makes the free press the guardian of democracy. When a figure in power reflexively calls any press that doesn't suit him "fake news," it is that person who should be the figure of suspicion, not the press.

“I dare say that anyone who has the privilege and awesome responsibility to serve in this chamber knows that these reflexive slurs of "fake news" are dubious, at best. Those of us who travel overseas, especially to war zones and other troubled areas around the globe, encounter members of US based media who risk their lives, and sometimes lose their lives, reporting on the truth. To dismiss their work as fake news is an affront to their commitment and their sacrifice.

“According to the International Federation of Journalists, 80 journalists were killed in 2017, and a new report from the Committee to Protect Journalists documents that the number of journalists imprisoned around the world has reached 262, which is a new record. This total includes 21 reporters who are being held on "false news" charges.

“Mr. President, so powerful is the presidency that the damage done by the sustained attack on the truth will not be confined to the president's time in office. Here in America, we do not pay obeisance to the powerful -- in fact, we question the powerful most ardently -- to do so is our birthright and a requirement of our citizenship -- and so, we know well that no matter how powerful, no president will ever have dominion over objective reality.

“No politician will ever get to tell us what the truth is and is not. And anyone who presumes to try to attack or manipulate the truth to his own purposes should be made to realize the mistake and be held to account. That is our job here. And that is just as Madison, Hamilton, and Jay would have it.

“Of course, a major difference between politicians and the free press is that the press usually corrects itself when it gets something wrong. Politicians don't.

“No longer can we compound attacks on truth with our silent acquiescence. No longer can we turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to these assaults on our institutions. And Mr. President, an American president who cannot take criticism -- who must constantly deflect and distort and distract -- who must find someone else to blame -- is charting a very dangerous path. And a Congress that fails to act as a check on the president adds to the danger.

“Now, we are told via Twitter that today the president intends to announce his choice for the ‘most corrupt and dishonest’ media awards. It beggars belief that an American president would engage in such a spectacle. But here we are.

“And so, 2018 must be the year in which the truth takes a stand against power that would weaken it. In this effort, the choice is quite simple. And in this effort, the truth needs as many allies as possible. Together, my colleagues, we are powerful. Together, we have it within us to turn back these attacks, right these wrongs, repair this damage, restore reverence for our institutions, and prevent further moral vandalism.

“Together, united in the purpose to do our jobs under the Constitution, without regard to party or party loyalty, let us resolve to be allies of the truth -- and not partners in its destruction.

“It is not my purpose here to inventory all of the official untruths of the past year. But a brief survey is in order. Some untruths are trivial -- such as the bizarre contention regarding the crowd size at last year's inaugural.

“But many untruths are not at all trivial -- such as the seminal untruth of the president's political career - the oft-repeated conspiracy about the birthplace of President Obama. Also not trivial are the equally pernicious fantasies about rigged elections and massive voter fraud, which are as destructive as they are inaccurate -- to the effort to undermine confidence in the federal courts, federal law enforcement, the intelligence community and the free press, to perhaps the most vexing untruth of all -- the supposed ‘hoax’ at the heart of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

“To be very clear, to call the Russia matter a ‘hoax’ -- as the president has many times -- is a falsehood. We know that the attacks orchestrated by the Russian government during the election were real and constitute a grave threat to both American sovereignty and to our national security. It is in the interest of every American to get to the bottom of this matter, wherever the investigation leads.

“Ignoring or denying the truth about hostile Russian intentions toward the United States leaves us vulnerable to further attacks. We are told by our intelligence agencies that those attacks are ongoing, yet it has recently been reported that there has not been a single cabinet-level meeting regarding Russian interference and how to defend America against these attacks. Not one. What might seem like a casual and routine untruth -- so casual and routine that it has by now become the white noise of Washington - is in fact a serious lapse in the defense of our country.

“Mr. President, let us be clear. The impulses underlying the dissemination of such untruths are not benign. They have the effect of eroding trust in our vital institutions and conditioning the public to no longer trust them. The destructive effect of this kind of behavior on our democracy cannot be overstated.

“Mr. President, every word that a president utters projects American values around the world. The values of free expression and a reverence for the free press have been our global hallmark, for it is our ability to freely air the truth that keeps our government honest and keeps a people free. Between the mighty and the modest, truth is the great leveler. And so, respect for freedom of the press has always been one of our most important exports.

“But a recent report published in our free press should raise an alarm. Reading from the story:

"In February...Syrian President Bashar Assad brushed off an Amnesty International report that some 13,000 people had been killed at one of his military prisons by saying, ‘You can forge anything these days, we are living in a fake news era.’

“In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has complained of being ‘demonized’ by ‘fake news.’ Last month, the report continues, with our President, quote ‘laughing by his side’ Duterte called reporters ‘spies.’

“In July, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro complained to the Russian propaganda outlet, that the world media had ‘spread lots of false versions, lots of lies’ about his country, adding, ‘This is what we call 'fake news' today, isn't it?’

“There are more:

“A state official in Myanmar recently said, ‘There is no such thing as Rohingya. It is fake news,’ referring to the persecuted ethnic group.

“Leaders in Singapore, a country known for restricting free speech, have promised ‘fake news’ legislation in the new year.’

“And on and on. This feedback loop is disgraceful, Mr. President. Not only has the past year seen an American president borrow despotic language to refer to the free press, but it seems he has in turn inspired dictators and authoritarians with his own language. This is reprehensible.

“We are not in a ‘fake news’ era, as Bashar Assad says. We are, rather, in an era in which the authoritarian impulse is reasserting itself, to challenge free people and free societies, everywhere.

“In our own country, from the trivial to the truly dangerous, it is the range and regularity of the untruths we see that should be cause for profound alarm, and spur to action. Add to that the by-now predictable habit of calling true things false, and false things true, and we have a recipe for disaster. As George Orwell warned, ‘The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.’

“Any of us who have spent time in public life have endured news coverage we felt was jaded or unfair. But in our positions, to employ even idle threats to use laws or regulations to stifle criticism is corrosive to our democratic institutions. Simply put: it is the press's obligation to uncover the truth about power. It is the people's right to criticize their government. And it is our job to take it.

“What is the goal of laying siege to the truth? President John F. Kennedy, in a stirring speech on the 20th anniversary of the Voice of America, was eloquent in answer to that question:

‘We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.’

“Mr. President, the question of why the truth is now under such assault may well be for historians to determine. But for those who cherish American constitutional democracy, what matters is the effect on America and her people and her standing in an increasingly unstable world -- made all the more unstable by these very fabrications. What matters is the daily disassembling of our democratic institutions.

“We are a mature democracy -- it is well past time that we stop excusing or ignoring -- or worse, endorsing -- these attacks on the truth. For if we compromise the truth for the sake of our politics, we are lost.

“I sincerely thank my colleagues for their indulgence today. I will close by borrowing the words of an early adherent to my faith that I find has special resonance at this moment. His name was John Jacques, and as a young missionary in England he contemplated the question: ‘What is truth?’ His search was expressed in poetry and ultimately in a hymn that I grew up with, titled ‘Oh Say, What is Truth.’ It ends as follows:

‘Then say, what is truth? 'Tis the last and the first,

For the limits of time it steps o'er.

Tho the heavens depart and the earth's fountains burst.

Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,

Eternal... unchanged... evermore.’

Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.”

Sen. Jeff Flake takes to Senate floor to condemn Pres. Trump’s language, comparing it to Stalin’s

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) used the floor of the U.S. Senate to fire directly back at President Donald Trump, comparing the commander-in-chief’s words to those of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.

Flake stated that Trump has used statements also used by Stalin against his enemies.

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CBS News reported that Flake, in an excerpt released prior to his speech Wednesday, said, “Mr. President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. ... It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase ‘enemy of the people,’ that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of ‘annihilating such individuals’ who disagreed with the supreme leader.”

Flake said that Trump has used the term “enemy of the people” in describing the free press last year, CNBC reported.

Flake reached out via Twitter earlier this week that he was not saying that Trump was like Stalin, clarifying the intent of his speech, saying that Stalin was a maniacal killer. 

Steve Bannon strikes deal in Mueller probe: reports

Steve Bannon has struck a deal to be interviewed by a special prosecutor in the Robert Mueller investigation, according to reports.

>> Read more trending news

Check back for the latest updates in this developing story.

Florida man brutally murders ex-wife after fight over infidelity, sheriff says 

46-year-old Florida man is being charged with second-degree murder after he brutally beat and stomped his ex-wife to death, a sheriff said.

Michael Cummings and his ex-wife, Faith L. Cummings, 44, began arguing over infidelity on Thursday in the garage of their Palm Coast home, Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said.

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The fight escalated with Faith L. Cummings fleeing to a bathroom. Her ex-husband — they divorced in 2015, but moved back in together to rekindle the relationship — followed her and attacked her, according to a news release

Faith suffered multiple broken bones, including every rib with multiple fractures, as well as kicking and stomping injuries, according to the county medical examiner. Blood splatter indicated that she was hit with a weapon, investigators reported.

Her cause of death was ruled “blunt force trauma to the head with asphyxiation.” 

When deputies first arrived at the home, Staly said, Michael Cummings refused to leave, and as a result he was charged with obstruction of justice. He told authorities that Faith slipped and fell in the bathtub, but by the time deputies arrived she had been dead for hours. 

After realizing what he had done, he had tried to hide his crime, Staly said during a news conference. 

On Monday afternoon, Cummings was charged with second-degree murder with a weapon and booked into the Flagler County Detention Facility with no bond. 

“This case again proves that you never know what is going on behind closed doors,” Staly said. “Often, domestic violence is hidden from others and the victim is living with their attacker. This case shows just how fast a domestic argument can spiral out of control and into a murder.”

Britain’s ‘Canterbury cannibal’ now living in U.S.

A man who in 2014 was convicted in England of trying to eat a teenage girl has moved to the United States, and his new neighbors are not happy about his presence.

Dale Bolinger, 62, has registered as a sex offender in Blair, Nebraska, according to the state’s sex offender registry. Washington County Sheriff Mike Robinson confirmed Monday that Bolinger was in the jail there, but declined to say why.

“He’s here, but I cannot tell you why,” Robinson told the Omaha World-Herald. “Legally, I cannot say anything.”

Jail records show that Bolinger was booked into the facility on Friday, but no charges are listed. WOWT in Omaha reported that the lack of listed charges could mean he is being held on a mental health warrant.

Washington County Attorney Scott Vander Schaaf told the news station that he and Robinson have been “closely involved with the Bolinger situation.”

“We want to inform the citizens of Washington County that law enforcement and the county attorney’s office know the location of Mr. Bolinger and you can rest assured that he is not a threat to the community at this time,” Vander Schaaf said in a statement obtained by WOWT

Bolinger’s neighbors were upset to learn that the man dubbed the “Canterbury cannibal” in Britain had moved to their community. Bolinger, who worked as a nurse at Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, was sentenced in 2014 to nine years in prison for trying to meet an underage girl he had met online.

The BBC reported that Bolinger told police when he was arrested that he was interested in children as food. He also told investigators he had a computer disc that held an image of a young girl on a serving plate, an apple in her mouth. 

Bolinger arranged to meet the girl in September 2012 following a period of “sexual grooming” online. The online chats were with someone he believed to be either 14 or 16 years old. 

In the chats, Bolinger described the sex acts he wanted to perform on the girl and how he would kill her, the BBC reported. He bought an ax the day before he arranged to meet the girl at a train station, but the girl did not show up for the meeting. 

Bolinger also admitted to other crimes, including putting a cloth soaked in cleaning fluid over a woman’s mouth in 2010 and creating fake indecent photos of children.

It was not immediately clear why Bolinger was released from prison so early into his sentence and deported.

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Though he lived in England, Bolinger is an American citizen. At the time of his arrest, he had been married for more than three decades; he also has three children.  

Bolinger told British authorities that he’d had cannibalistic fantasies since the age of 6, the BBC said. Psychiatrists who examined him as part of his court case found that he was not mentally ill. 

The World-Herald reported that British investigators were made aware of Bolinger’s activities during the 2013 case of former New York police Officer Gilberto Valle, who was convicted of plotting to kill and eat women. Valle’s conviction was later overturned.

The two men chatted online about their cannibalistic fetishes, the World-Herald reported.  

Bolinger moved into his Blair neighborhood earlier this month, the newspaper said. Neighbors became panic-stricken upon learning of his presence.

“It’s making my heart race,” Sylvia Kasper told the World-Herald. “It’s scary considering I have a small daycare, and now I really have to watch and keep doors locked.”

Driver backs up Cadillac Escalade into Florida lake

A driver sank a Cadillac Escalade Tuesday while backing up his boat into Lake Weir, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said.

The man, whose identity wasn't released, was reversing his SUV on a boat ramp at the Carney Island Recreation and Conservation Area when he was unable to put the vehicle back in park, deputies said.

>> Read more trending news 

The vehicle followed the boat into the lake, well past a pair of signs that bear an arrow and the words "caution end of ramp."

The driver escaped the vehicle and was uninjured.

Divers with the Sheriff's Office helped a tow truck driver retrieve the SUV from the water.

Click here for boating safety tips from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

What to use as an ice scraper when you definitely don’t have one

I’m sorry. A what?

Texans who woke up to a frozen windshield this morning proved that creativity strikes at odd times. Not everyone in warmer regions  has the foresight to buy an ice scraper for the off chance that they might one day actually need it.

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Or not everyone’s dad has insisted having one in the glove compartment could “one day save your life.”

Accordingly, on an oddly icy Texas morning, the state’s residents are forced to get creative. 

READ: Working from home today? You’re not the only one

Just among the Austin American-Statesman’s newsroom staff, reported ice scraper substitutes included: a drawer’s worth of spatulas, several credit cards, a plastic cup and a plastic level. 

A little research shows we weren’t far off some common stand-ins:

  • Spatula These things can do more than flip your burger. If you’re worried about scratching your window opt for plastic.
  • CDs Render that physical copy of an album you’re probably embarrassed you bought even more obsolete by using it to remove the ice from your windshield.
  • Credit cards A quick Google search proves credit cards the most popular ice scraper alternative. 
  • Plastic dustpan Makes for easy cleanup, too. 
  • Kayak paddle Austinites love to kayak, right?

Check out what some other Texans have resorted to:

Other tips for de-icing your windshield include idling your car (but that could be illegal in some parts of the country), spraying your window with either a saltwater solution or an alcohol solution or sprinkling salt on it directly.

>>Related: Letting car idle in cold weather could be illegal

You should not use hot (or even lukewarm) water to melt the ice on your windshield. The difference in temperature can shock the glass and cause it to crack.

Injured South Carolina officers were ambushed by suspect, sheriff says

York County, South Carolina, authorities are asking the public to keep them in their thoughts and prayers after officials said four law enforcement officers were shot early Tuesday.

>> Watch the news report here

>> On WSOCTV.com: IMAGES: 4 law enforcement officers shot in York County

Three of those officers were ambushed as they searched for a man suspected of beating his wife in the couple's home, according to York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson. A fourth officer had been shot earlier in the search.

Trent Faris with the York County Sheriff's Office told WSOC-TV that around 10:10 p.m., deputies responded to a domestic violence call on Farrier Lane, just outside the town of York.

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The incident unfolded in the area of South Paraham Road between Campbell Road and Highway 49.

Faris said the suspect, 47-year-old Christian Thomas McCall, was assaulting a woman in the home, but when deputies arrived, he had taken off.

Tolson said McCall ran into the woods after officers arrived, and later, around 1 a.m., shot York County Sgt. Randy Clinton who was chasing him with a police dog.

Clinton was placed in a patrol car by another officer and rushed to Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill.

More resources were called in, including the SWAT team, as deputies continued searching for McCall in the woods.

The sheriff said two hours later, McCall ambushed York County Detective Mike Doty, injuring him critically. He also wounded York County Sgt. Buddy Brown and York City Police Sgt. Kyle Cummings. All three were on the county's SWAT team.

Two of those wounded officers were flown to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, while the third was taken to CMC by ambulance.

Clinton has been with the Sheriff's Office for 34 years. Tolson said Clinton had not been taken into surgery Tuesday afternoon, but his injuries were non-life-threatening.

Brown has been with the Sheriff's Office for 13 years. He underwent surgery Tuesday, which went well, and he's expected to be OK, according to Tolson.

>> On WSOCTV.com: GoFundMe Recovery Fund for the officers and their families

Doty, who has been with the Sheriff's Office for 12 years, is in very critical condition, and Tolson said Doty is "hanging on to life."

Cummings has been with the police department for three years. His injuries are considered non-life-threatening, according to officials.

SLED officials announced at a news conference Tuesday afternoon that McCall will likely be charged with three counts of attempted murder and weapons charges.

“Our main concern is for our guys who are in the hospital right now,” Faris said. “We could really use your prayers, and we could really use your thoughts right now for those officers."

Authorities told WSOC-TV that a SLED helicopter was carrying two pilots when it came under fire during the search. The officers on the helicopter were not injured but the helicopter’s rear stabilizer was hit.

Faris said McCall was also shot and taken to CMC in Charlotte with serious injuries. The spot where he was taken into custody is nearly a mile away from the home where McCall lives.

Thom Berry, a State Law Enforcement Division spokesman, said McCall has an arrest from 1994 when he was charged with assault, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.

McCall had been assaulting his wife Monday night, according to his father-in-law, who expressed shock to WSOC-TV, saying violence toward police is uncharacteristic for McCall. He said he didn't know of any history of violence between his daughter and son-in-law.

WSOC-TV crews watched as medical helicopters and ambulances arrived at CMC in uptown around 4:30 a.m.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department sent its aviation unit to help the York County Sheriff's Office, and CMPD officers blocked the roads so ambulances could get to CMC as quickly as possible.

Neighbors witness the violent encounter 

WSOC-TV viewer who lives on Paraham Road said neighbors were being told to stay inside. Faris said the Sheriff's Office sent a reverse 911 call to local residents to make them aware of the situation.

"I saw individuals carrying automatic weapons up and down the highway,” said neighbor Scott Killian. “I've never seen so many police cars in my life. In fact, I didn't know York County had that many ... but it was an experience you won't forget.”

Killian didn't know at time that officers were frantically searching for McCall in the woods near his backyard. Then Killian said he heard several gunshots.

"The first burst was 'Pow, pow, pow, pow,' such as that. Then just a second it was real automatic, fast. Then it was over with and we didn't know what happened," Killian said.

Now neighbors in the quiet community are left trying to understand why this happened as they pray for the officers to survive. 

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