9 relatives die in plane crash
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — When Jim Hansen boarded his company’s single-engine aircraft for a pheasant-hunting trip to South Dakota, he brought along the same people he trusted with his business: his family. Three generations of Hansen’s clan ran a petroleum distribution business in Idaho Falls, Idaho, called Conrad & Bischoff. Hansen’s sons, Jim Jr. and Kirk, had started in the company making deliveries and now oversaw operations across several states, in addition to their own endeavors that included a health products company. And Hansen’s grandchildren worked in management. The family headed back to Idaho on Saturday, but their plane crashed about a mile after takeoff from the Chamberlain airport, nine family members — from Hansen to his great-grandson Houston — died. They left behind burgeoning businesses that reached across several Western states. Those killed were Jim Hansen Sr.; his sons, Jim Jr. and Kirk Hansen; Kirk Hansen’s children Stockton and Logan; Kirk Hansen’s sons-in-law, Kyle Naylor and Tyson Dennert; and Jim Hansen Jr.’s son Jake and grandson Houston were killed. Kirk’s son Josh, Jim Jr.’s son Matt and Jim Jr.’s son-in-law, Thomas Long, survived and were in stable condition Monday.
Schools, offices close across East
ALBANY, N.Y. — A seemingly endless winter storm that hindered travel across most of the country over the long holiday weekend is delivering a last wallop as it swoops through the Northeast, dumping heavy snow, shuttering hundreds of schools and bedeviling commuters in the region Monday. The storm dropped more than a foot of snow on parts of the region late Sunday and Monday and could bring 10 to 20 inches total by Tuesday morning from Pennsylvania to Maine, forecasters said. Heavy snow was also expected in the Appalachian Mountains down to Tennessee and North Carolina. “It’s moving very slowly, so the snow is just going to continue through the day,” National Weather Service meteorologist Jennifer Vogt said Monday. By Monday afternoon, the storm had dropped 27 inches of snow in Delanson, New York, 25 miles northwest of Albany — the highest snow total in the Northeast so far. The same storm has pummeled the U.S. for days as it moved cross country, dumping heavy snow from California to the Midwest and inundating other areas with rain. Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Monday for seven counties in eastern New York and assigned 300 National Guard members to assist with snow removal. State police had responded to more than 740 storm-related crashes statewide since the snow started falling. “We’re tough, we’ve seen it all, we can handle it all,” Cuomo said at a storm briefing before urging people to stay off the roads. He told nonessential state employees to stay home.
Billionaire ordered to pay $58M
LOS ANGELES — Billionaire Alki David was hit with more than $58 million in damages after a jury found him liable for battery, sexual battery and sexual harassment against a former employee in the latest lawsuit targeting the owner of several media companies. Jurors on Monday awarded $50 million in punitive damages to Mahim Khan, a former production assistant who worked at his Los Angeles-based production companies, attorney Gloria Allred said. The same panel last week awarded $8.25 million in compensatory damages. Khan alleged in her lawsuit that in 2014 David thrust his pelvis into her face and simulated oral sex. David plans an appeal David is heir to a Greek Coca-Cola bottling fortune. He heads several media firms, including FilmOn Networks, Alki David Productions Inc. and Hologram USA Networks Inc. It was the third verdict this year against David, who has been accused of inappropriate behavior by former employees. A jury in April awarded another employee $11.1 million. She said he fired her after she refused to have sex with him. She later agreed to a reduction in compensatory damages. Punitive damages remained at $8 million. Last month a jury found in favor of another woman, awarding her $650,000 in compensatory damages and $4.35 million in punitive damages. In 2016, she alleged David put his hands on her throat and pushed her chair into a wall, among other claims. According to her suit, David told her that he needed to buy supplies for his “rape room.”
Chicago mayor fires top cop
CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot fired the city’s retiring police superintendent Monday, citing “ethical lapses” that included telling lies about a recent incident in which Eddie Johnson was found asleep at the wheel of his car after having drinks. Named to the job in the wake of a police shooting that killed a black teenager, Johnson was dismissed after the mayor reviewed an inspector general’s report and video evidence related to the night in mid-October when officers discovered him unconscious in his SUV. He initially blamed his failure to take his blood pressure medication and said he had a few drinks with dinner earlier in the evening. The officers did not conduct any sobriety tests and let their boss drive home. It was unclear if they would be disciplined. Johnson “engaged in a series of actions that are intolerable for any leader or position of trust, particularly the head of the Chicago Police Department,” the mayor said. His conduct was “not only unbecoming but demonstrates a series of ethical lapses and flawed decision-making.” Lightfoot said the police chief of the nation’s third-largest city repeatedly lied about the events that unfolded the night of Oct. 16 and morning of Oct. 17. “What he portrayed to me, what he portrayed to the public was fundamentally different than what the facts show,” she said. The underlying conduct “warranted this significant and serious action of relieving him of his role.”
Daughter returns to YouTube
LOS ANGELES — Social media star Olivia Jade Giannulli on Sunday posted her first YouTube video since the arrest of her parents, actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, made her one of the most visible figures in the college admissions scandal that ensnared dozens of wealthy parents and their children. “Welcome back to my YouTube channel, obviously I’ve been gone for a really long time,” Jade says in the two-minute video, titled “hi again,” posted to her account that has nearly 2 million subscribers. She says she debated for months whether to return to her channel, which focused on fashion, beauty and video-diary entries about her life. “I’m terrified to make this video and come back,” Jade says, “but I want to start taking smaller steps in the right direction.” In her new video, Jade says she stayed away from social media because she is legally prohibited from talking about the scandal, and it seemed pointless to appear and ignore it. “If I can’t talk about it, is there a point in coming back and not being able to saying anything?” Jade says. It’s not clear what legal restrictions would keep her from speaking or whether attorneys have simply advised her not to do so. Jade said the pull of social media was too strong to stay away.
Sales on track to hit record
NEW YORK — Cyber Monday is still holding up as the biggest online shopping day of the year, even though many of the same deals have been available online for weeks and the name harks back to the days of dial-up modems. Shoppers are expected to spend a record $9.4 billion on purchases made on their phones and computers Monday, up about 19% from last year’s Cyber Monday, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks transactions at 80 of the top 100 U.S. online stores. The busiest time is expected to be in the hour before midnight, as people race to take advantage of discounts before they disappear. Cyber Monday was created by retailers in 2005 to get people to shop online at a time when high-speed internet was rare and the iPhone didn’t exist. The idea was to encourage people to shop at work, where faster connections made it easier to browse, when they returned from the Thanksgiving break.
Elk gets tangled up in hammock
MAGGIE VALLEY, N.C. — An elk is running around western North Carolina with a shredded hammock on its head, and apparently a love of apples is to blame. Jim Beaver told the Haywood County Sheriff’s Office on Thanksgiving that an elk was stuck in his yard with its antlers tangled up in a hammock. The sheriff’s office on Facebook says Cpl. Ken Stiles climbed onto the roof, cut the hammock and freed the animal. Beaver says elks often eat apples in his yard and play with his hammock. This elk however was too playful. Beaver says he didn’t free the elk himself, in case it decided to attack. He said the elk, with pieces of the hammock still in its antlers, has returned to the house a few times.
UAW bolsters financial controls
DETROIT — The United Auto Workers union has replaced its auditing firm, added four internal auditors and hired a big accounting firm to study its financial controls in an effort to prevent a repeat of the embezzlement and bribery discovered in a federal probe of the union. The moves announced Monday by Secretary-Treasurer Ray Curry (pictured) come after last month’s resignation of President Gary Jones, who has been implicated in the scandal. Several other union officials have been charged or implicated in the probe, which embarrassed union leadership and angered many of its 400,000 members when it became public starting in 2017. Curry said the reforms will put checks and balances in place to prevent financial misconduct. “This top-to-bottom assessment of our financial and accounting procedures and policies will result in a stronger and more stringent financial oversight of all expenditures,” Curry said. The new auditing firm, Calibre CPA Group of Bethesda, Maryland, which specializes in labor union accounting, will check the UAW’s finances for the past year. In addition, the Deloitte accounting firm will look into the processes.
Suits may cost church over $4B
NEW YORK — At the end of another long day trying to sign up new clients accusing the Roman Catholic Church of sexual abuse, lawyer Adam Slater gazes out the window of his high-rise Manhattan office at one of the great symbols of the church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral. “I wonder how much that’s worth?” he muses. Across the country, attorneys like Slater are scrambling to file a new wave of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy, thanks to rules enacted in 15 states that extend or suspend the statute of limitations to allow claims stretching back decades. Associated Press reporting found the deluge of suits could surpass anything the nation’s clergy sexual abuse crisis has seen before, with potentially more than 5,000 new cases and payouts topping $4 billion. It’s a financial reckoning playing out in such populous Catholic strongholds as New York, California and New Jersey, among the eight states that go the furthest with “lookback windows” that allow sex abuse claims no matter how old. Never before have so many states acted in near-unison to lift the restrictions that once shut people out if they didn’t bring claims of childhood sex abuse by a certain age, often their early 20s. That has lawyers fighting for clients with TV ads and billboards asking, “Were you abused by the church?” And Catholic dioceses, while worrying about the difficulty of defending such old claims, are considering bankruptcy, victim compensation funds and even tapping valuable real estate to stay afloat.
California rep to plead guilty
SAN DIEGO — California Rep. Duncan Hunter said he plans to plead guilty to misusing campaign funds and is prepared to go to jail, a stunning turn of events for the six-term Republican who had steadfastly denied wrongdoing and claimed he was the victim of a political witch hunt by federal prosecutors. Hunter had pleaded not guilty, but in an interview that aired Monday said he will change his plea at a federal court hearing Tuesday in San Diego. He said his motivation is protect his three children from going through a trial, which was set to begin Jan. 22. His wife Margaret Hunter also was charged in the case and in June accepted a plea deal that called for her to testify against her husband. “I think it would be really tough for them,” the 42-year-old Hunter said in an interview with San Diego TV station KUSI. “It’s hard enough being the kids of a public figure. I think it’s time for them to live life outside the spotlight.” Hunter, who was re-elected last year and has been actively campaigning for a seventh term next year despite being under indictment, indicated he will leave office but didn’t say when.
Racism report to be investigated
LOS ANGELES — NBC and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists that represents television performers said they are investigating Gabrielle Union’s allegation that she was fired as a judge on “America’s Got Talent” because she complained of racism and other on-set issues. Union, who is black, sought action to address an environment she said allowed racist jokes, comments and notes from producers along with other troubling behavior, including judge-producer Simon Cowell’s smoking indoors. NBC, production company Fremantle and Cowell’s company Syco issued their own statement Sunday. “We remain committed to ensuring a respectful workplace for all employees and take very seriously any questions about workplace culture,” the statement said. “We are working with Ms. Union through her representatives to hear more about her concerns, following which we will take whatever next steps may be appropriate.” In a previous statement, the three companies said “America’s Got Talent” has a strong record of inclusivity, and judge turnover is common. On her twitter account Monday, Union, without specifying who she was addressing, retweeted instructions on how to give a proper apology, which included sincerely admitting wrongdoing, correcting the mistake loudly, and laying out steps to correct future behavior. She added the comment, “This! This! AND THIIISSSSSSS!!!!!!”
‘Evening News’ moves to D.C.
NEW YORK — Anchor Norah O’Donnell’s move from New York to Washington gives the “CBS Evening News” a unique calling card among the three network newscasts starting Monday. Although nightly newscasts have split home bases in the past, this will be the first time either the ABC, CBS or NBC broadcast will call Washington home full time, said news consultant Andrew Tyndall. The move is designed in part to take advantage of O’Donnell’s strengths as a reporter with a long background in Washington, said Jay Shaylor, the broadcast’s new executive producer, who joined CBS News from CNN. CBS News built a new studio for the newscast. O’Donnell has covered the White House, Capitol Hill and the Pentagon in her career as a reporter. She’s been anchor of the “CBS Evening News” since July.
First black Marie in ‘Nutcracker’
NEW YORK — The New York City Ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker” has cast a black dancer to play Marie for the first time. Charlotte Nebres will star in this year’s rendition of the company’s production, which started in 1954 Nebres is a student at the School of American Ballet. Her mother’s family is from Trinidad and her father’s family is from the Philippines. The 11-year-old Nebres says she remembers being inspired by Misty Copeland becoming the first African-American female principal at American Ballet Theater. Nebres will be joined by a diverse group of young leads. Nebres’ Prince, Tanner Quirk, is half-Chinese. Sophia Thomopoulos, who will also play Marie, is half-Korean, half-Greek. Sophia’s Prince will be played by Kai Misra-Stone, who is half-South Asian.
Halliburton lays off 800 in OK
EL RENO, Okla. — Halliburton is laying off more than 800 employees in El Reno, Oklahoma, and says it expects to close its office in the Oklahoma City suburb. Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development spokesman David Crow says the agency was notified of the layoffs and apparent closure of the office, effective Monday. A Halliburton Energy Services Inc. spokeswoman tells The Associated Press the company will provide additional information “by midday” Tuesday.
Lebanon military aid released
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has quietly released more than $100 million in military assistance to Lebanon after months of unexplained delay that led some lawmakers to compare it to the aid for Ukraine at the center of the impeachment inquiry. The $105 million in Foreign Military Financing funds for the Lebanese Armed Forces was released just before the Thanksgiving holiday and lawmakers were notified of the step on Monday, according to two congressional staffers and an administration official. All three spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly to the matter. The money had languished in limbo at the Office of Management and Budget since September although it had already won congressional approval and had overwhelming support from the Pentagon, State Department and National Security Council. The White House has yet to offer any explanation for the delay despite repeated queries from Congress. Lawmakers such as Rep. Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., had been pressing the administration since October to either release the funds or explain why it was being withheld. The State Department had notified Congress on Sept. 5 that the money would be spent.
Jimmy Carter hospitalized again
AMERICUS, Ga. — Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was admitted to a south Georgia hospital over the weekend for treatment of a urinary tract infection, a spokeswoman said Monday. Deanna Congileo, a spokeswoman for The Carter Center, said in a statement that the 95-year-old former president was admitted to Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus over the weekend. “He is feeling better and looks forward to returning home soon. We will issue a statement when he is released for further rest and recovery at home,” she added. Carter has overcome several health challenges in recent years. He was diagnosed with melanoma in 2015, announcing that the cancer had spread to other parts of his body. After partial removal of his liver, treatment for brain lesions, radiation and immunotherapy, he said he was cancer-free.
Roberts seems to hold the key
WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John Roberts appeared Monday to be the key vote in whether the Supreme Court considers expanding gun rights or sidesteps its first case on the issue in nearly 10 years. The court’s dismissal of the case would be a disappointment to gun-rights advocates and a huge relief to gun-control groups. Both sides thought a conservative Supreme Court majority fortified by two appointees of President Donald Trump, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, might use the case to expand on landmark decisions from a decade ago that established a right to keep a gun at home for self-defense. The arguments dealt with a dispute over New York City restrictions on taking licensed, locked and unloaded guns outside the city limits. New York has dropped its transport ban, but only after the high court decided in January to hear the case. The justices spent most of the hour trying to determine whether anything is left of the case brought by the National Rifle Association’s New York affiliate and three city residents, after the change in New York law. Roberts sought assurances in a handful of questions to the city’s lawyer that New York police would not refuse to issue gun licenses to people who have may have violated the old law.
Bloomberg News to be shut out
NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s campaign said Monday it will no longer give credentials to Bloomberg News reporters to cover campaign events because of coverage “biases,” an accusation that the news organization rejects. The decision comes a week after the news service’s founder, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, announced he was seeking the Democratic nomination for president. In response, Bloomberg News said it would cover but not investigate its boss, the former New York City mayor, and his Democratic rivals. But Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait said reporters would continue to investigate the Trump administration, as the sitting government. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale called it a troubling decision to “formalize preferential reporting policies.” He said Bloomberg reporters would no longer be credentialed to cover campaign events until the policy is rescinded. “As President Trump’s campaign, we are accustomed to unfair reporting practices, but most news organizations don’t announce their biases so publicly,” Parscale said.
Border town gripped by fear
VILLA UNION, Mexico — A small town near the U.S.-Mexico border began cleaning up Monday, gripped by fear after the killing of 22 people in a ferocious weekend gunbattle between drug cartel members and security forces. A 72-year-old woman living near Villa Union’s city hall recounted how she huddled with two of her grandchildren inside an armoire during the shooting. The street in front of her home was littered with shell casings, and her walls and door were pocked with bullet holes. “I’m still trembling,” she said, speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear for her safety. “We’ve never seen anything like this. It was as if they just wanted to sow terror.” Around midday Saturday, armed men in a convoy of dozens of vehicles arrived in Villa Union and began shooting up city hall. Many of the vehicles were emblazoned with the cartel’s initials — CDN, for Cartel del Noreste, or Northeast Cartel — as were the attackers’ bulletproof vests.
Congress pushes ahead on Trump
WASHINGTON — The House is plunging into a landmark impeachment week, with Democrats who once hoped to sway Republicans now facing the prospect of an ever-hardening partisan split over the historic question of removing President Donald Trump from office. Lawmakers were getting their first look Monday night — behind closed doors — at the impeachment report from the House Intelligence Committee. The report, to be released Tuesday, is expected to forcefully make the Democrats’ case that Trump engaged in what Chairman Adam Schiff calls impeachable “wrongdoing and misconduct” in pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democrats and Joe Biden while he was withholding military aid. For Republicans, the proceedings are simply a “hoax,” with Trump insisting he did nothing wrong and his GOP allies in line behind him. Late Monday, he tweeted his daily complaints about it all and then added a suggestive question: “Can we go to Supreme Court to stop?” He didn’t elaborate. It’s all boiling down to a historic test of political judgment in a case that is dividing Congress and the country.