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Walt Disney presents: ‘Avatar,’ ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Alien’ and ‘Rocky Horror’

As of Thursday morning, the Walt Disney Co. is set to own a large part of the Murdoch family's 21st Century Fox in a $52.4 billion deal. With this merger, the number of major studios in Hollywood will go from six to five, and the combined Disney and Fox assets would have a 39% theatrical market share, according to Variety

>> Read more trending news 

The deal, which some have said will raise red flags among antitrust officials, is still awaiting regulatory approval, which could take anywhere from 12 to 18 months, according to Variety.

This deal is sort of the opposite of the Paramount Case of 1948, when RKO Pictures shuttered, divorcing movie theaters from the ownership of the studios that created the films those theaters were screening

A merger is a wish your boardroom makes, and all that. 

(In other news, the FCC is expected to repeal net neutrality Thursday, so...more great news for big corporations.)

>> Related: MoviePass now officially has some Texas competition 

Most of the chatter around this deal has centered around two things: one is that Disney is becoming a monopoly. Disney already owns Pixar, Marvel and The Studio Formerly Known As Lucasfilm. Disney’s acquiring of Fox isn’t just another merger deal — it’s one of the biggest deals to go down in Hollywood history.

The other talking point is that, well, hey, now that Disney owns Fox properties, that means that a majority of the Marvel properties are now in Disney’s hands. 

This means — as many have pointed out on Twitter — that the X-Men can now theoretically be in “Avengers: Infinity War” and other Marvel films. Ditto Deadpool and the Fantastic Four.

>> Related: Pixar celebrates Day of the Dead, family ties with captivating ‘Coco’

But there’s some other properties that Disney has now acquired that don’t really fit the House of Mouse’s squeaky clean image. Read on to see some of what might be coming to a theater near you under a new Disney banner. 

Comic books

  • X-Men
  • Deadpool
  • Fantastic Four
  • Legion
  • “Kingsman”

All of the above films and characters are either super violent or not very Disney-like, something that “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds pointed out on Twitter last week.

The other fun thing to think about here: What if Disney made an Avengers film with Captain America and the Fantastic Four? Chris Evans plays Captain America and also played The Human Torch in Fox’s 2005 bid to make that live-action franchise happen. (If you really want to check out something special, peep this unreleased “Fantastic Four” that Fox made back in 1994 solely to keep the rights to the franchise.)

>> Related: How comic book movies are making comic books worse

Action franchises

  • “Alien”
  • “Avatar”
  • “Die Hard”
  • “Independence Day”
  • “Planet of the Apes”
  • “Predator”

Ho, ho, ho. Now I have a lot of R-rated franchises. Does this mean we’re going to see a “Yippee-ki-yay, Mr. Falcon!” PG-13-ification of some of film’s most enduring action franchises? 

>> Related: ‘The Holiday' is a better Christmas movie than 'Love Actually' and here's why

But, on another note, Disney now owns the “Avatar” franchise, which is reported to have four planned sequels. The first film, released in 2009, brought in almost $3 BILLION worldwide.

Kid’s franchises

  • “Alvin and the Chipmunks”
  • “Doctor Doolittle”
  • “Goosebumps”
  • “Home Alone”
  • “Ice Age”
  • “Night at the Museum”
  • “Rio”

All of these franchises are at least three films in, with the exception of “Goosebumps.” Expect more from the House of Mouse in the coming years.

Straight-up weird properties to now think of as ‘Disney’ properties

  • “Cocoon”
  • “M*A*S*H” (Robert Altman film and the Fox TV series)
  • “The Omen” franchise
  • “Rocky Horror Picture Show”
  • “Romancing the Stone”
  • “The Sound of Music”
  • “X-Files” franchise

All that needs to be said:

Read more here.

This is what 12 Diet Cokes a day can do to your body, according to nutritionists

Do you love Diet Coke? Love it enough to drink a dozen of them in a day

According to a recently published New York Times article on a day in the life of the commander-in-chief , President Donald Trump reportedly downs a dozen cans of the soda a day. 

>> Read more trending news 

“Watching cable, he shares thoughts with anyone in the room, even the household staff he summons via a button for lunch or for one of the dozen Diet Cokes he consumes each day,” read a passage in the article. 

The caffeine may give him an energy boost, but is that excessive? Atlanta nutritionist Page Love of Nutri Fit Sport Therapy Inc. certainly thinks so. 

“Drinking that much soda a day is taking the place of other hydrating beverages. It is a not nutritive beverage thus is not providing adequate hydration,” she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

In fact, consuming fizzy drinks can up your risk for diabetes and strokes, according to a recent studyconducted by researchers from universities in South Africa

They found that consuming just two sugar-sweetened drinks a week could increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 42 percent. And one sugar-sweetened drink can significantly elevate blood pressure. 

>> Related: Here's how many fizzy, sugary drinks a week it takes to increase stroke risk

While agencies set regulatory acceptable daily intakes for food additives, including sugar substitutes found in Diet Coke, to keep people safe, Rahaf Al Bochi, an Atlanta-based registered dietitian and nutritionist and owner of Olive Tree Nutrition said “these drinks do not provide added health benefits or nutrients.”

Diabetes and strokes aren’t the only ailments people should be concerned about as it relates to these beverages. Sugary beverages may cause people to crave sweets even more.

“There has been some research that the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas may cause us to crave sweets even more because the sweetness intensity is so high,” Love explained. “The brain senses a sweet food coming in but is left both psychologically and physically unsatisfied. There may be an metabolic reaction to the artificial sweeteners, especially sucralose, similar like sugar.”

They could also potentially harm the heart, other research suggests.

Canadian scientists said artificial sweeteners (like stevia, aspartame or sucralose) may actually lead to heart disease, higher risk of obesity and high blood pressure.

Their observational studies showed that the people who consumed low-calorie sweeteners were actually more likely to face an increased chance of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and other related cardiovascular issues.

That’s why Love and Al Bochi encourage people to drink water.

>> Related: Teen dead after caffeine overdose from energy drinks, soda, coffee

“Water is the best drink for people because it’s sugar-free and calorie-free. You can add cucumber slices, lemon or mint to add flavor to your water. Other beverage options include low fat milk, unsweetened tea, and herbal teas,” Al Bochi advises. 

Decaffeinated beverages can help with hydration, too. “Food group-based beverages,” Love said, “are good hydrators and give us the benefit of that food group nutrition!”

Woman jailed after subjecting son to 323 hospital visits, 13 major surgeries 

A Texas woman is jailed on charges related to allegations that she subjected her young son to more than a dozen unnecessary surgeries and hundreds of unneeded hospital visits.

>> Read more trending news 

Kaylene Bowen-Wright, 34, is in the Dallas County Jail on a charges of 

injury to a child with serious bodily injury, according to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.

Bowen-Wright is accused of subjecting her 8-year-old son Christopher Bowen to 13 surgeries and 323 hospital visits starting after he was born in 2009, the newspaper reported.

The boy has been placed on oxygen, used a wheelchair at times and underwent invasive procedures, including insertion of a feeding tube, in his short life.

Texas Child Protective Services also confirmed Bowen-Wright tried to get her son on a lung transplant list and had placed him in hospice care at one point.

Doctors and CPS agents eventually determined there was nothing wrong with the child and placed him in foster care, along with two half siblings, according to KTVT.

Bowen-Wright’s behavior could be related to a disorder known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental health issue in which a caregiver invents or causes an illness.

>> Related: Mother, daughter arrested, accused of beating student at bus stop

The boy’s father, Ryan Crawford, who was ordered by a Texas court to stay away from the boy in 2012 because he didn’t believe all the illness claims by Bowen-Wright, told KTVT he’s trying to get custody of his son. Crawford is also critical of the doctors and courts that allowed the boy to undergo such abuse for so long before it was stopped.

“It’s horrible for my son, or any kid because obviously my son is not the only one that has had to go through this type of torture,” he said.

Bowen-Wright’s bail was set at $150,000.

Salma Hayek calls Harvey Weinstein ‘a monster’ in New York Times piece

Salma Hayek has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

In a first-person story written for The New York Times, the actress describes Weinstein as “a passionate cinephile, a risk taker, a patron of talent in film, a loving father and a monster.”

>> Read more trending news 

Hayek, who previously said she was bullied by Weinstein in the wake of initial public sexual misconduct and rape allegations against the producer, is sharing details of sexual harassment on the set of the 2002 movie “Frida,” about the life of famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

Hayek said that she knew little of Weinstein and what she did know was from her relationship with director Robert Rodriguez and his then-wife, producer Elizabeth Avellan.

Related: 3 women accuse Harvey Weinstein of rape, report says

“All I knew of Harvey at the time was that he had a remarkable intellect, he was a loyal friend and a family man,” she wrote.

“Knowing what I know now, I wonder if it wasn’t my friendship with them — and Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney — that saved me from being raped.”

Hayek was initially set to work on the movie about the artist with a different company, but said she fought to get the movie back and work with Weinstein on it.

Eventually, she said she turned down multiple advances from Weinstein. Hayek said he showed up unexpectedly at numerous locations and different hotels, asked her to take a shower with him, let him watch her shower, give her a massage and get naked with another woman, among other advances.

“And with every refusal came Harvey’s Machiavellian rage,” Hayek said.

“The range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words, ‘I will kill you, don’t think I can’t,’” Hayek said. 

According to the actress, those refusals led Weinstein to offer the role and the script Hayek worked on for years to someone else.

“At that point, I had to resort to using lawyers, not by pursuing a sexual harassment case, but by claiming “bad faith,” as I had worked so hard on a movie that he was not intending to make or sell back to me,” she said. “I tried to get it out of his company.”

Related: Ashley Judd accuses Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment

Hayek said once she was able to retain involvement in the film, she was told the only way people would be interested in it with her as the star is with an element of sex. 

“The only thing he noticed was that I was not sexy in the movie. He made me doubt if I was any good as an actress, but he never succeeded in making me think that the film was not worth making,” she said.

“He offered me one option to continue. He would let me finish the film if I agreed to do a sex scene with another woman. And he demanded full-frontal nudity.”

USA Today reported that Weinstein responded to Hayek with a statement through his spokeswoman Holly Baird.

“Mr. Weinstein regards Salma Hayek as a first-class actress and cast her in several of his movies, among them ‘Once Upon a Time in Mexico,’ ‘Dogma,’ and ‘Studio 54.’ He was very proud of her Best Actress Academy Award nomination for ‘Frida’ and continues to support her work. “While Jennifer Lopez was interested in playing Frida and at the time was a bigger star, Mr. Weinstein overruled other investors to back Salma as the lead. Miramax put up half of the money and all of the P&A; the budget was over 12 million. As in most collaborative projects, there was creative friction on ‘Frida,’ but it served to drive the project to perfection. The movie opened in multiple theaters and was supported by a huge advertising campaign and an enormous Academy Awards budget. “Mr. Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female costar and he was not there for the filming. However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms. Hayek with Geoffrey Rush. The original uni-brow used was an issue because it diverted attention from the performances. All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired. “Ed Norton, who was Ms. Hayek’s boyfriend at the time, (worked with Mr. Weinstein on the rewrite of the script in Mexico) did a brilliant job of rewriting the script and Mr. Weinstein battled the WGA to get him a credit on the film. His effort was unsuccessful to everyone’s disappointment. “By Mr. Weinstein’s own admission, his boorish behavior following a screening of ‘Frida’ was prompted by his disappointment in the cut of the movie—and a reason he took a firm hand in the final edit, alongside the very skilled director Julie Taymor.”

Bullets aimed at officers' chests stopped by vests, officials say

A man opened fire on two police officers who were 15 feet away from him on Thursday morning, striking them with bullets that would have hit their chests if not for their bulletproof vests, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The vests might have saved the officers’ lives, KTVI reported. The pair was conscious and speaking Thursday after the shooting in Bellefontaine Neighbors, according to the news station. They were released from a hospital on Thursday afternoon after getting treatment for their injuries, St. Louis County police said.

Bellefontaine Neighbors Mayor Bob Doerr told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the injured officers were a 44-year-old male sergeant who has worked in law enforcement for “half his life” and a 25-year-old female police officer who was hired in 2014.

"They were wearing their bulletproof vests, so thank God," Doerr old the Post-Dispatch

The officers were injured around 7:30 a.m. after being called Thursday morning to a home in north St. Louis County where a man was suspected of having fired multiple shots on Wednesday night, KTVI reported. Police left the home Wednesday after finding no evidence to continue an investigation, St. Louis County police Sgt. Shawn McGuire told KMOV.

He told the news station that a neighbor called authorities Thursday morning after spotting the man who was suspected of firing the shots. Officers said they found the person walking in the area and tried to talk to him, but St. Louis County police said they were unsuccessful.

“Officers tried to take the suspect into custody, at which time the suspect resisted arrest,” police said. “One of the officers attempted to use a Taser to control the suspect, but was unsuccessful.”

Authorities said the man then pulled out a gun and fired shots at the officers’ chests.

One of the officers returned fire, but it was not immediately clear if the man was hit. He ran into a home, where he barricaded himself for hours before police officers were able to take him into custody Thursday afternoon.

Witness Steve Jones told KMOV he spotted police officers Thursday morning in the front yard of a home on Bellefontaine Road.

“All of a sudden, I (see) ... Bellefontaine officers trying to take this man to the ground, and the next thing I know, this man jumps up off the ground and I see pepper spray being deployed from the officers,” Jones told KMOV. “This man backs up about 15 feet and starts shooting.”

He said he heard several gunshots and saw the officers fall to the ground. He told KMOV he called 911.

Police did not immediately identify the man accused of firing shots at police or either of the injured officers.

Affidavit: Firefighter driving over 100 mph in DUI crash that killed pregnant teen

A witness to an alleged drunken driving crash in which an off-duty Dallas firefighter killed a pregnant 18-year-old girl and her unborn son told investigators the man’s sports car exceeded 100 mph moments before the fatal collision.

The firefighter, identified by police as Horace Shaw III, 45, has been charged with intoxication manslaughter in the death of Alyssa Pimentel, of Midlothian. Shaw was driving a Mercedes-Benz sports car around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday in Cedar Hill when he rear-ended the Mazda SUV Pimentel was driving.

Pimentel and her boyfriend, Isaiah Perez, were both ejected from the vehicle. Pimentel died at the scene, according to investigators. 

Perez, 21, suffered a broken neck and broken leg, according to the Dallas-Fort Worth NBC affiliate

Perez spoke to the news station about losing his girlfriend and son.

“I sure do miss her. I’d give my life to her just to bring her and my son back,” Perez said. 

He said that, although he does not remember the crash, he recalls waking up afterward and seeing Pimentel on the ground, dying. 

“I ended up crawling to her,” Perez said. “The next thing you know, she said, ‘I love you,’” and just keep your head up. I was promising her nothing would happen.”

Pimentel was conscious and talking for a few minutes, but died as paramedics arrived. The couple were taken to separate hospitals.

Perez later learned that doctors delivered their son, but the baby lived just a few minutes, the news station reported. The couple planned to name him Josiah Adrian Perez. 

An arrest affidavit in the case, obtained by the news station, states that a witness told Cedar Hill police investigators that he was driving south on U.S. Highway 67 when he was passed by a white Mercedes sports car, which authorities determined Shaw was driving. 

“The witness stated that the defendant’s vehicle passed him at what appeared to be between 100 to 110 mph,” the affidavit read. “When the defendant’s vehicle crested a hill on the highway, the witness saw sparks and could also see two vehicles, one being the defendant’s vehicle, slide onto the grassy shoulder between the highway and the southbound service road.”

The witness stopped at the crash scene to offer aid and encountered Shaw, the document said. 

“When the witness stopped and approached the vehicles, the defendant got out of his vehicle, walked to where the driver of the second vehicle was laying on the ground, told the witness he was a paramedic, then laid on the ground,” the affidavit said

Shaw avoided talking with police officers on the scene, the court document said. The officers found an empty metal flask, which smelled of alcohol, in Shaw’s car.

>> Read more trending news

A second witness told investigators that Shaw also passed her at a high rate of speed about 30 seconds before she came upon the crash scene. She said when she got there, Pimentel was lying on the entrance ramp to the highway, appearing unconscious. 

“The witness stated that the defendant appeared to be intoxicated and explained how she observed the defendant was unable to walk straight when he exited his vehicle,” the affidavit said

Investigators said Shaw’s passenger told them that the pair had been coming from a restaurant in Dallas where they had been drinking. He admitted that Shaw was “speeding a little bit” when the crash occurred.

When asked if Shaw was “showing off,” the man said he was, the affidavit said

The man became uncooperative when asked further about their drinking, but the officers said they smelled the strong odor of alcohol on the man’s breath.

They also smelled alcohol on Shaw, who refused to answer questions and asked for an attorney, the affidavit said. 

Pimentel’s parents, Joe and Jayne Pimentel, released a statement Wednesday afternoon in which they asked for prayers and privacy.

“We are currently shaken and saddened by the tragic events that occurred today. Alyssa was our one and only daughter carrying our grandson, with their whole lives ahead of them,” the statement posted to Facebook read. “We are very disappointed with the fact that an individual who is tasked with saving lives is responsible for taking the lives of our family members. 

“As you can imagine, our grief right now is immeasurable. We are aware that there is an investigation into the accident and we trust that the authorities will be diligent in seeking justice for Alyssa and Baby Josiah.”

Shaw was released on $45,000 bail Wednesday from the Dallas County Jail. Investigators said he could face additional charges. 

Release date for ‘Oceans 8’ starring Sandra Bullock, Rihanna announced

The female-led con movie “Oceans 8” has a 2018 release date and a poster.

Warner Bros. debuted the poster art for the highly anticipated movie on Twitter Thursday.

>> Read more trending news 

The movie stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter and Awkwafina, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, sister of Danny Ocean, who was played by George Clooney in the original early 2000s franchise. She assembles a con crew, made up of the film’s co-stars, to pull off a heist at the Met Gala.

Related: First photo from all-female ‘Ocean’s Eight’ released

In January, Rihanna shared a still image from the movie that included her co-stars.

“Oceans 8” will be in theaters June 8.

DNA leads to arrest in 1989 rape, slaying of 18-year-old woman

After 28 years, an arrest has been made in the slaying of a young Whatcom County woman who went for a jog and was never seen alive again.

On Nov. 24, 1989, 18-year-old Amanda Stavik, who went by Mandy, had taken the family dog with her while she jogged in the rural area. It was the day after Thanksgiving and Mandy Stavik was home from college.

>> Read more trending news

Several hours later, the dog returned home, but Stavik did not. Her body was found a few days later in the Nooksack River. She had been raped.The road to the arrest

Authorities said that over the past 28 years, hundreds of leads emerged and were investigated in the case. As the years passed, the Sheriff’s Office continued to ask for tips from the community. During the course of the investigation, deputies consulted with forensic experts and renowned homicide investigators, the Sheriff's Office said.

Investigators said one of the potential suspects that emerged in recent years was Everson resident Timothy Forrest Bass, who is now 50. He also lived on Strand Road, not far from Stavik’s house.

Bass was arrested Tuesday at his Franz Bakery job for investigation of first-degree murder, kidnapping and rape in the Stavik case.

Before his arrest, Bass allegedly bragged about never being caught and outsmarting police. A co-worker obtained a soda can discarded by Bass. It was turned into the Sheriff's Office.

Deputies sent DNA samples from Bass to the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory, which reported that his DNA matched DNA recovered from Stavik’s body in 1989. The lab determined that the probability of a match was 1 in 11 quadrillion.

Closing the case has been a priority of the Sheriff's Office for nearly three decades.

"If you commit a murder in Whatcom County, and even though it remains unsolved for a number of years, it remains actively investigated," Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said. "We will follow any leads necessary to any part of the world to solve it."

About Mandy Slavik

At the time she was killed, Slavik was a first-year student at Central Washington University and well-known in the east Whatcom County community.

She had graduated from Mount Baker High School earlier in the year and would have celebrated her 46th birthday this year.

Her mother and other family members asked for privacy while they come to terms with the arrest.About Bass

Bass has no criminal record, but his wife filed a protection order claiming physical and emotional abuse. He refused to give a voluntary DNA sample in the years following the slaying. Investigators collected voluntary DNA samples from more than 50 people.

The Basses lived near Highway 9, just miles from where Slavik’s mother still lives today.

Cheetos popcorn available at Regal Cinemas 

As if moviegoers needed another reason to head to theaters with the much-anticipated release of the latest “Star Wars” movie, Regal Cinemas is now offering Cheetos popcorn.

>> Read more trending news

The combination of Cheetos-dusted popcorn and the added crunch of actual Cheetos mixed together is available nationally starting Friday.

“Cheetos Popcorn is our gift to Regal fans enjoying their favorite movie this holiday season,” John Curry, of Regal Cinemas, said in a release.

The Cheetos-infused popcorn has been offered at venues around the country, but this will bring the snack nationwide.

Net neutrality vote: FCC OKs repeal of Obama-era rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules meant to stop broadband companies from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet.

>> Read more trending news

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who put forth the planned repeal and voted in favor of it Thursday, said it “certainly wasn’t heavy-handed government regulation” that made the internet the “greatest free-market innovation in history.” 

>> Related: State attorneys general ask FCC to delay net neutrality vote

“Quite simply, we are restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the internet for most of its existence,” he said.

Stranger surprises Goodwill shoppers with impromptu piano performance

A stranger started playing a thrift shop piano on Monday surprising and delighting shoppers.

>> Read more trending news

Chris Matta shared a video, which has been viewed more than 920,000 times, of the impromptu performance at the Norwalk Goodwill.

“This gifted gentleman just walked into my store and moved me to tears,” she wrote.

Matta told WJW that the man, who was not identified, was kind and full of joy. She is happy she shared the video.

Omarosa teases tell-all in post-White House resignation interview

Just a day after the news that Omarosa Manigault Newman was leaving her role in President Donald Trump’s administration, she appeared on “Good Morning America,” where she told Michael Strahan she planned on sharing her story soon.

“When I have a chance to tell my story, Michael, I have quite a story to tell,” Manigault Newman said. “As the only African-American woman in this White House, as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that made me feel uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally. That has affected my community and my people. And when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear.”

>> Read more trending news 

GMA Anchor Robin Roberts was less than amused by Manigault Newman’s claims that she has “quite a story to tell” when the video cut back to her sitting with Strahan. 

“That’s what she said, she has a story to tell,” Roberts said with an eye roll. “I’m sure she’ll be selling that story. Bye Felicia.”

Manigault Newman maintained that she was not fired by the administration and that she resigned to Chief of Staff John Kelly in the situation room.

“John Kelly and I had a very straightforward discussion about concerns that I had, issues that I had raised, and as a result, I resigned, and it will be taking place Jan. 20, when I leave this very interesting administration,” she said.

Manigault Newman said that the Secret Service did restrict her pass to the White House, but she denied reports that she attempted to enter the residence.

“Certainly I had more access than most, and people had problems with that,” she said. “People had problems with my 14-year relationship with this president, but I’ve always been loyal to him, straightforward, and I’ve provided him with the support he needed throughout this year.”

Related: Omarosa Manigault Newman ‘physically dragged’ from White House, reports say

When denying the reports that she was escorted out and caused a disruption, Manigault Newman blamed American Urban Radio Networks Whit House Correspondent April D. Ryan for spreading a “false narrative.” Although she did not mention Ryan by name, she was likely referring to the journalist.

As news initially broke that Manigault Newman was leaving the White House, Ryan tweeted that she heard there was drama surrounding her exit.

Ryan and Manigault Newman have had a contentious relationship, as reported by The Washington PostCNN and other news outlets.

Man tries to trade chicken Alfredo, Sprite for sex with teen boy, police say

An Ohio man is accused of trying to have sex with a 15-year-old boy -- who in reality was an undercover police officer -- by enticing the teen with chicken Alfredo and Sprite. 

Albert George Maruna IV, 22, was arrested Tuesday and charged with attempted unlawful sexual contact with a minor, disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, possessing criminal tools and importuning, according to Mahoning County Jail records. Maruna was released from custody Wednesday.

Fox 19 in Cleveland reported that Maruna, a Youngstown State University student, began chatting through an online dating app Dec. 5 with someone he believed to be an underage boy. In reality, he was communicating with an undercover officer. 

The Vindicator in Youngstown reported that when the boy’s alleged age came up, Maruna played it off.

“Age is a number, I believe,” Maruna wrote, according to the newspaper. “I don’t believe in age. I’m OK if you (sic) OK with me.”

During the pair’s weeklong communications, Maruna sent the boy explicit messages detailing what he wanted to do with him, the Vindicator reported. He also sent the boy nude photos of himself, including his genitalia. 

>> Read more trending news

Austintown police investigators said that the pair agreed to meet for sex on Tuesday, with Maruna promising to bring lubricant, chicken Alfredo and Sprite, Fox 19 said. When Maruna got to Austintown, however, he was met by officers and arrested.

Maruna had an iPhone, a Macbook, three zip drives, a bottle of Astroglide lubricant, Vaseline lotion, two bottles of Sprite and chicken Alfredo in a Tupperware container when he was arrested, the news station reported

Police officials said that Maruna, when interviewed by detectives, “did not deem having sex with a consenting 15-year-old as wrong,” the Vindicator reported

He is due in court Jan. 3 for a preliminary hearing. 

Five tips to keep your holiday packages safe from porch pirates

Online shopping has made life easier for a lot of us and is especially handy during the holidays, but it’s also created more opportunities for thieves to prey on parcels left on our doorsteps.

>> Read more trending news

So beware the so-called porch pirates. They count on our being lax, but a little preparation can help thwart their plans and leave them empty-handed, said Gary Miliefsky, CEO of SnoopWall , a company that specializes in cybersecurity.

“A more sophisticated porch pirate might send you an SMS message or email with malware,” Miliefsky said. “That would let them gain access to your computer or smartphone, and they could install a RAT (Remote Access Trojan). Then, they can eavesdrop on your orders and deliveries.”

They also might be able to locate you through the geolocating feature on your phone, he said. That would tell them when you are away from home, providing the final link in their well-laid plan.

Police tell us thieves mark their calendars with notes that say such things as  "Package theft Wednesday."

“If they know you aren’t home and that a package is scheduled for delivery, it’s going to be easy for them to steal it,” Miliefsky said.

There are, however, ways around even cybercriminals. Miliefsky offers these tips for outwitting porch pirates and keeping packages safe:

• Get permission to ship all your packages to work. That way, they aren’t left unguarded at your doorstep for hours while anyone walking by could snatch them. If this arrangement works out, be sure to tell all your friends and family members to ship packages to your work address.

• Ask a friend or neighbor to receive your packages for you. You might not be home on workdays, but plenty of people are. Trusted friends who are retired or who work at home might be happy to let you have packages delivered to them for safekeeping.

• If a neighbor can’t receive your packages and you can’t get them at work, another option is available. Miliefsky suggests trying Doorman, a service that lets you arrange for a package to be held at a warehouse until you arrive home. Then you can arrange delivery for evening hours that better suit you.

• Disable geolocation on your smartphone so that thieves – or other hackers, for that matter – can’t track your location. There’s no need to make it easier for them.

• Set up a live recording video camera aimed at your porch. That could allow you to spot a theft as it happens and alert law enforcement officials, or at least provide you with video that might help identify the thieves.

Fire department recreates adorable holiday card one year later

A fire department in Oklahoma is warming hearts again with their special holiday card.

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Last year, the Durant Fire Department went viral with their 2016 holiday card, which featured children of the firefighters.

Six of the station’s 33 firefighters welcomed new babies within six months of each another.

This year, the department decided to keep the tradition going with an “updated” photo.

Babies Ava, Owen, Nash, Mitchell, Gus and Brevyn donned matching outfits on their fathers’ firetruck.

Gus’ mother, Shembra Wilson, told ABC News, “It was a lot harder this year because they’re more mobile. We’re all jumping up and down acting like morons to get the shot and they’re looking at us like, ‘What in the world?’”

The department has decided to continue the tradition annually “to watch them grow.”

Boy steals Salvation Army kettle from man at mall, police say

Police in Dunwoody, Georgia, are working to find a boy who stole a Salvation Army kettle.

A young boy grabbed the kettle being watched by Todd Copper, who has been collecting money for the Salvation Army for 21 years despite having cerebral palsy and manning his post from a wheelchair.

“I sit out here like nine hours, 10 hours a day,” he said. “I’m helping a lot of people who cannot do it on their own.”

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Tom Copper, his father, said his son has never let his physical limitations hold him back.

“Even though he’s in a wheelchair, he believes that he can do things that other people can't,” he said of his son.

Todd Copper said he never had a problem at his post at Perimeter Mall until Monday afternoon.

“An approximately 10 - 12 year old male approached him, snatched his collection bucket, and took off running,” Sgt. Robert Parsons with the Dunwoody Police Department told WSB

Police hope surveillance video will help them catch the thief.

“He was really distraught,” Tom Copper said.

The father said his son continued to take donations after the theft.

“He said, ‘No, I want to stay here.’ And even though he didn't have a bucket, people were putting money on his lap," Tom Cooper said.

Police said they are hopeful mall and MARTA surveillance cameras may help catch the suspect.

Morgan Spurlock addresses sexual harassment, says he’s ‘part of the problem’

Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock is getting honest, saying he is “part of the problem” in Hollywood when it comes to sexual harassment and misconduct.

The “Super Size Me” director, who has not been publicly accused of sexual misconduct, opened up about his own history of sexual harassment in a candid open letter posted on Twitter Wednesday.

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“I’m sure I’m not alone in this thought, but I can’t blindly act as though I didn’t somehow play a part in this, and if I’m going (to) truly represent myself as someone who has built a career on finding the truth, then it’s time for me to be truthful as well,” he wrote. “I am part of the problem.”

“When I was in college, a girl who I hooked up with on a one-night stand accused me of rape. Not outright. There were no charges or investigations, but she wrote about the instance in a short story writing class and called me by name. A female friend who was in the class told me about it afterwards,” he wrote.

“This wasn’t how I remembered it at all. In my mind, we’d been drinking all night and went back to my room. We began fooling around, she pushed me off, then we laid in the bed and talked and laughed some more, and then began fooling around again,” he continued. “We took off our clothes. She said she didn’t want to have sex, so we laid together, and talked, and kissed, and laughed, and then we started having sex.”

Spurlock explained that at one point, the woman started to cry.

“I didn’t know what to do. We stopped having sex and I rolled beside her. I tried to comfort her. To make her feel better. I thought I was doing OK, I believed she was feeling better. She believed she was raped,” he wrote. “That’s why I’m part of the problem.”

He was also candid about a sexual harassment incident he was involved in eight years ago.

“It was verbal, and it was just as bad. I would call my female assistant ‘hot pants’ or ‘sex pants’ when I was yelling to her from the other side of the office. Something I thought was funny at the time, but then realized I had completely demeaned and belittled her to a place of non-existence,” he wrote. “So, when she decided to quit, she came to me and said if I didn’t pay her a settlement, she would tell everyone. Being who I was, it was the last thing I wanted, so of course, I paid. I paid for peace of mind. I paid for her silence and cooperation. Most of all, I paid so I could remain who I was.”

Spurlock rattled off a list of possible explanations for his behavior, questioning if each reason contributed to him being “part of the problem.”

“But why? What caused me to act this way? Is it all ego? Or was it the sexual abuse I suffered as a boy and as a young man in my teens? Abuse that I only ever told to my first wife, for fear of being seen as weak or less than a man?” he questioned. “Or is it because I’ve consistently been drinking since the age of 13? I haven’t been sober for more than a week in 30 years, something our society doesn’t shun or condemn but which only served to fill the emotional hole inside me and the daily depression I coped with. Depression we can’t talk about, because its wrong and makes you less of a person.

“I don’t know. None of these things matter when you chip away at someone and consistently make them feel like less of a person,” he wrote.

He said that he is now seeking help to figure out what caused him to behave this way.

“I will do better. I will be better. I believe we all can. The only individual I have control over is me. So starting today, I’m going to be more honest with you and myself. I’m going to lay it all out in the open. Maybe that will be a start. Who knows. But I do know I’ve talked enough in my life … I’m finally ready to listen,” he said.

Read Spurlock’s full letter here.

Cow escapes church nativity scene twice in one day

A cow that is part of a church's live nativity scene escaped its pen twice Thursday morning, making her way to a major highway the first time she got out, police said. 

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Some highway lanes were closed when Stormy, a 7-year-old Hereford, was spotted around 2:15 a.m. walking southbound on I-95 before being corralled and taken back to Old First Reformed United Church of Christ, according to WPVI.  The cow escaped again around 6:20 a.m., the Philadelphia TV station said. 

Pennsylvania State Police, Philadelphia police and animal control personnel worked to corral her.

Rev. Michael Caine said the live scene has been part of the church’s festivities since 1973. A farmhand and veterinary technician oversee the care of the animals. 

Caine said it appeared that someone tampered with the gate to Stormy’s enclosure, allowing the cow to wander off.

Blake Farenthold won't seek re-election amid harassment claims

U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold announced he won’t seek re-election, less than a week after a House committee opened an investigation into sexual harassment claims from a former aide.

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Rape case against rapper Nelly dropped after victim fails to cooperate

Washington state prosecutors have determined they cannot proceed with criminal charges against rapper Nelly for allegedly raping a woman while on tour with Florida Georgia Line.

On Wednesday, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office reportedly told TMZ that it’s impossible to move forward with criminal charges against Nelly, whose real name is Cornell Haynes, Jr., for any crimes due to the alleged victim’s refusal to cooperate with authorities. The woman, who claimed he raped her on his tour bus, told police she didn’t want to press charges after coming forward with her story.

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“Police responded to and investigated a sexual assault allegation involving Mr. Haynes," a statement from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, obtained by E! News, read. “However, within days of her initial report to police, the complainant, through her attorney, informed investigators from the Auburn police department that she did not wish to assist in prosecution or the investigation of Mr. Haynes.”

Related: Rapper Nelly accused of rape, arrested after show

The woman’s attorney, Karen Koehler, posted a letter online, saying her client believed the courts would be against her if she pursued a suit.

“Every step of the way, since the time she called 911, she wishes she had not,” the letter read. “Not because what happened didn’t occur exactly the way she described it. Not because she did not want the police to charge the celebrity with alleged rape. She wishes she had not called 911 because she believes the system is going to fail her.”

Related: Rapper Nelly denies rape allegation, says he is ‘completely innocent’

In October, the rapper was arrested for allegedly raping the woman in his tour bus in an Auburn, Washington, Walmart parking lot while he was touring with the country band Florida Georgia Line. She specifically identified Nelly as her attacker and said the incident occurred around 3:48 a.m. Nelly was arrested just over three hours later, booked on second-degree rape charges and later released.

“Let me say that I am beyond shocked that I have been targeted with this false allegation,” Nelly tweeted after his release. “I am completely innocent. I am confident that once the facts are looked at, it will be very clear that I am the victim of a false allegation.”

“I also want to thank my fans for their unwavering support,” he said in another tweet. “They know me. I assure you I will be vindicated. And I assure you, I will pursue every legal option to address this defaming claim.”

Nelly soon responded to the allegations through his attorney, Scott Rosenblum, who said, “Nelly is the victim of a completely fabricated allegation. Our initial investigation, clearly establishes the allegation is devoid of credibility and is motivated by greed and vindictiveness. I am confident, once the scurrilous accusation is thoroughly investigated, there will be no charges. Nelly is prepared to pursue all all legal avenues to redress any damage caused by this clearly false allegation.”

Related: Woman who accused rapper Nelly of rape asks police to stop investigation

“Her reckless accusation, once investigated thoroughly, was exposed for what it was – a fabrication,” Rosenblum said. “A fabrication that has caused Nelly and his family to suffer emotionally and financially.”

Rosenblum indicated that he would like a public apology from he accuser while stating that he would recommend Nelly take legal action against her.

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