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Pitcher Dock Ellis dropped acid — then threw a no-hitter

Written By kom nampuldu on Minggu, 31 Agustus 2014 | 18.18

In 1970, Scipio Spinks and Dock Ellis were young Major League pitchers — Spinks for the Astros, Ellis for the Pirates — who had taken the era's free-love-and-free-drugs ethos to heart.

"We were the two guys everybody said wouldn't live to see 30," says Spinks, talking to The Post about the release of "No No: A Dockumentary," a new film about Ellis, who gained notoriety for pitching a 1970 no-hitter under the influence of LSD.

"I pitched every game in the major leagues under the influence of drugs," he once said of his 12-year baseball career.

Ellis, who died in 2008, speaks in the film via interview footage.

We did everything, tried everything and partied all the time. We would try to see who could out-amphetamine one another… Dock was a little bit more intense than I was. He did things higher and harder than anyone else. - Scipio Spinks, ex-MLB pitcher


According to him, speed pills were consumed by around 90 percent of major-league players at the time.

"We did everything, tried everything and partied all the time. We would try to see who could out-amphetamine one another," says Spinks, noting that the normal dose was 5 milligrams. "If he took 10 milligrams, I would take 20. If I took 20, he would take 25. Dock was a little bit more intense than I was. He did things higher and harder than anyone else."

Jeff Radice, the film's director, says that Ellis' use of pills became a full-on addiction. "It got to the point that when he went to a game and wasn't pitching, he had to take greenies [a form of speed] just to be able to concentrate and sit on the bench," says Radice.

And there seemed to be no limit to Ellis's drug use.

"By 1970, he had clearly experimented with LSD," says Radice. "He had this room . . . that he called the Dungeon. He had a black light, and he would [take LSD], and he would listen to Jimi Hendrix. That was one of his little rituals."

But as wild as Ellis was, few could have predicted what he'd pull off on June 12, 1970, in a game against the San Diego Padres.

According to Ellis, he flew into San Diego on June 11, one day before his next pitching assignment. He took LSD, then went to a friend's house in LA. He partied, fell asleep and took more LSD when he woke up.

"He was on such a bender that he lost track of time — he was partying for 24, 36 hours straight," says Radice. "When he woke, he thought it was a day off, but he had already gone through 24 hours."

Ellis rushed to San Diego for the game. He pitched wildly through all nine innings, walking eight and hitting a batter, but managed to pitch a no-hitter in a 2-0 victory. After the game, says Spinks, someone asked Ellis if he saw the game's final play.

He responded, "Did I see it? You should have seen it the way I saw it."

Of course, Ellis didn't go public about what condition he was in at the time, so no one who saw the game knew what they had just witnessed.

"He said that [his teammates] knew he was high, but not what he was high on," says Radice. "None of his teammates really knew what acid was. They just thought it was Dock being 'Crazy Dock.' "

Spinks says that two weeks later, Ellis told him about the LSD, and that he had been unable to see which players he was facing, making out only whether they had been left- or right-handed.

"I didn't know if I was facing Hank Aaron, Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle," said Ellis. "I was just out there throwing a baseball and having a great time."

In the mid-'70s, Donald Hall, the former poetry editor of the Paris Review, who would become our country's poet laureate in 2006, wrote a biography of Ellis. The book's early drafts included the LSD tale, but as Ellis had just joined the Yankees, he was afraid the admission might anger team owner George Steinbrenner, so the info was removed from the book.

I didn't know if I was facing Hank Aaron, Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle. I was just out there throwing a baseball and having a great time. - Dock Ellis


The story went public in 1984, when a Pittsburgh journalist interviewed Ellis about the game, and gained traction with a new generation in 2009, when artist James Blagden turned a 2008 NPR interview Ellis gave into an animated video that went viral.

Over the years, some have questioned Ellis' story, saying they would have noticed had he been on that strong a drug.

Still, both Radice and Spinks, as well as the people in the film who knew Ellis personally, believe his tale. Spinks disputes just one aspect of it. He believes that Ellis knew exactly what day it was, and took LSD before the game on purpose.

"He knew he was pitching. He wasn't that out of control," says Spinks. "He just decided he wanted to see what it was like."

Later in life, Ellis, who ultimately got straight and became a drug counselor, expressed shame about what he had done. While the LSD no-hitter kept him in the public eye, he came to see it not as a point of pride, but as a sign that his drug use might have robbed him of his greatest professional memory.

Director Ron Howard, who cast Ellis in his 1986 film "Gung Ho," says in the film that Ellis talked to him about the no-hitter with embarrassment.

"It wasn't like some cool calling card," said Howard. "He was talking about his own disappointment in himself."

"Dock didn't remember too much of the game. That was one of his major regrets," says Radice. "It was the high point of his baseball career, and it's this black spot on his memory."


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

Drug abuse & sex rampant at Rikers: retired officer

Robin Kay Miller spent 20 years working as a city correction officer, locked away in a seedy world of rampant sex, drug abuse and back-stabbing.

And that was just the guards.

Miller, 53, who retired in 2005, says she's not surprised by the latest stories of criminality among correction officers — including three current and former Rikers officers charged after a city Department of Investigation probe into a guard network that smuggled drugs and violently attacked inmates.

A federal probe branded the 11,500-inmate jail a "broken institution" where guards routinely use excessive force and violate teen inmates' rights. Less than a month after the Aug. 4 report, Florence Finkle, the commissioner overseeing investigations at Rikers, resigned.

And following the 2¹/₂-year Department of Justice investigation, Mayor de Blasio last week signed into law a bill that requires correction administrators to track and publish data on the use of solitary confinement.

Now Miller says she's ready to relate her own shocking experiences, which she says are symptomatic of a system infected for decades.

"This culture started long before the problems we're seeing today," she tells The Post. "It became a blueprint for what we see today."

Miller doesn't exactly look the part of a correction officer. She's tall and slender and did some modeling when she was younger.

It's only once she talks — well, shouts — that her inner CO comes out.

"You don't talk soft after speaking to prisoners," she says.

They would try to recruit you from the time you entered the jails. Personnel was the first stop. Any halfway decent-looking female was targeted and placed there to see who could get the panties first. - Robin Kay Miller


And she says she had another trait that was unique among her female counterparts — she wanted to work, refusing to trade sex with her superiors for cushier jobs.

"I see these female officers who came in with me. They're in here giving [oral sex] and stuff so they don't have to work with these prisoners and work those areas," Miller says.

"This girl used to have a house in Queens where she would gather a bunch of [female] officers. The wardens would all go there and party.

"The officers wanted preferential treatment. They didn't want to have to work with the inmates. A lot of them just didn't want to work, so by doing [this] they could go to work or not go to work," says Miller, who claimed her sister Theresa, also a correction officer at Rikers, "was part of it."

Miller was assigned to C-76 on Rikers — the main building for male inmates, today called the Eric M. Taylor Center — where she would oversee up to 100 prisoners.

At the time, there was just a handful of female guards, and Miller's class would be the first to include women assigned to "B-post" — locked behind a gate in the dorm area with the male prisoners — instead of inside "A-station," an office with paperwork.

"Most females in my jail that were in office positions either had a family member with clout or was screwing a boss or someone with, as we would call it, 'juice.'

"They would try to recruit you from the time you entered the jails. Personnel was the first stop. Any halfway decent-looking female was targeted and placed there to see who could get the panties first. I've heard throughout the years, it is alleged, they were recruiting them from the academy. Sending them to the Poconos for sex parties. But that type of move was for the higher-ups."

Miller had none of it, she says.

Rikers Island emergency services personnel walk through one of many gates inside the jail's juvenile detention facility in New York.Photo: AP

"When the officers would sit next to me in the mess hall while I was trying to eat my meal, I would bluntly say, 'I don't know why you sitting here. You ain't getting no p- - -y.' No class, straight-up ghetto."

Inmates would also target female guards for sex, she adds.

"Some of these female [COs] are so gullible and insecure," she says. "A con is exactly that — a con artist. They analyze us all day and know who is vulnerable."

Besides sex, Rikers was rife with drugs, she says.

"You go across the Rikers Island bridge, you see everybody lighting up weed — from wardens to captains to deputy wardens to corrections officers. Half of them coming there high, too," she says.

"This went on the whole '80s. It's probably still going on." she adds, saying COs would spark up in their cars after the last checkpoint onto the island.


And drug-dealing officers would target other guards — including her sister and a friend who both became addicted to crack, Miller says.

"When the new recruits come in, they know they we're going to get a check . . . they're going to make money. They targeted my friend. She used to go in the bathroom and do crack during her tour," she says.

"When the new recruits come in, they know they we're going to get a check . . . they're going to make money. They targeted my friend. She used to go in the bathroom and do crack during her tour."


"My sister would work two weeks straight — do OT every day. Once she got that check, she'd spend it all," she says.

Her older sister died of a heart attack in 2005.

Drug-dealing officers could pull in an extra $2,000 minimum a week.

"That's why when you look in the parking lot, there were some serious cars," she says. "You got paid."

Miller worked at Rikers from 1983 to 1985, then went on leave for more than two years to give birth to and raise her daughter. She would later work jails near the Manhattan Detention Complex and at Brooklyn courts.

"[In] every jail there was an officer dealing drugs," she said. "And it's no secret they were getting high off cocaine, smoking weed and drinking. From officers up to chiefs."


Miller grew up in tough Brownsville, Brooklyn, where she boasts that the neighborhood motto is "Never ran, never will."

"I grew up in the ghetto, so to me, jail was just like being on the street," she says.

Still, she encountered the unexpected in jail.

"You know what was shocking to me? I thought there were females in there, but it was homosexual inmates. Male inmates dressed as females," Miller recalls. "Some of them had breasts. They were doing the hormones. And they had the tight pants on . . . They used to sew their pants down to make them tight, and they used to use the Kool-Aid and Vaseline as lipstick and eyeliner.

Miller's memo book, "Retired" badge and her department-issued handcuffs.Photo: Angel Chevrestt

"I was like, 'They got females here with the guys?' That's how naive I was."

She soon learned the ropes — and laid down the law.

"No fighting. No cursing. No flooding the toilets and no stinking," she says. "I couldn't take that [body odor]. I'd give them soap, tell them to wash their arms. I'd also burn incense back there.

"I ran a tight ship. My thing was this is your house. But if you come around me, don't come around me dangling, either. Have your clothes on; I don't want to see your d- -k."

She would occasionally give an inmate an extra snack — maybe a cheese sandwich. But other guards, she says, had more intimate arrangements.

"You had a lot of male officers pulling the inmates out of their cells at night, to get [oral sex]," Miller says.

"One officer was pulling the same inmate out — I guess this was his regular. He would go to the mess hall, get a glove, put it on his penis — you know they have the thick ones in Rikers, extra protection. He would put on the glove, make him give him [oral sex], and then he would give him stuff.

"Well, he didn't give the inmate whatever he was supposed to give him this time. And the inmate . . . bit his penis off."

The officer, she says, later committed suicide.

A Department of Correction spokesman would only confirm Miller's years of service and that she is retired.

"People telling me to shut up? That's like telling a rape victim she shouldn't have worn that miniskirt."

Miller says she rarely had problems with inmates. Fellow officers were another story, she says.

"Any time you go to any job, you become new meat. So me going there young, halfway decent looking — they were jealous," she says.

A group once tried to push her down a flight of stairs, she says.

"One held her arms out so I couldn't walk past. And the other one put her foot out so I could trip," she says.

Another time, she says, she said something "slick" to a male officer, who punched her in the face and, during a scuffle, broke her finger.

But when she complained — or when she wouldn't do what it took to get a plum job — she got the worst assignments, such as a post where you're forced to stand for eight hours.

"They call it 'being on the burn,' " she says.

Since retiring, Miller says, she has been in a self-imposed prison — her home in Woodhaven, Queens. The curtains are tightly drawn and sunlight is treated as an uninvited guest.

"I felt a lot of guilt because my sister died, even though I know the correction-officer drug dealer didn't twist her arm and make her do drugs," says Miller, who is just now coming out of a depression.

She says she's finishing a memoir and has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to get it published. She has dreams of turning her story into a movie — and says she's prepared for any backlash.

"People telling me to shut up? That's like telling a rape victim she shouldn't have worn that miniskirt," she says.

On Monday, a Department of Correction edict aimed at combating the smuggling of weapons and contraband will take effect. Officers will be frisked and their belongings and lunches X-rayed as they arrive.

Miller says she isn't surprised.

"It's wild — the power of the badge and abuse of that power, plus money, equals disaster for some. There is a thin line between inmate and officer. It's easy to cross over."


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

Joe Jackson is ‘no longer a part of the family': insider

He's the patriarch of the most famous family in music history — the architect of the Jackson Five, Janet Jackson and, of course, the King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

His progeny include nine living children, 30 grandchildren and countless great-grandchildren.

Yet Joe Jackson, 86, is not living out his golden years surrounded by the fruits of his labor or his loins. Instead, the man who ruled his brood with an iron fist and icy demeanor is frail and alone.

The once-proud music manager lives humbly in a furnished 1,000-square-foot $500,000 condo in a gated community close to the Stratosphere Casino in Las Vegas. Framed photos of his famous children adorn shelves, a coffee table and a nightstand, but he almost never sees their faces at his front door.

No one has really taken the time to as much as ask about his well-being. Don't get me wrong. Joe is OK. He gets around, travels a lot, but he's no longer a part of the family. - Jackson family insider


"No one has really taken the time to as much as ask about his well-being," a family insider said last week. "Don't get me wrong. Joe is OK. He gets around, travels a lot, but he's no longer a part of the family."

In a rare display of vulnerability and even rarer emotion, Jackson opened up about his lonely life in a post to his Web site a few weeks ago.

"When I suffered four strokes last year and was in the hospital recovering, only two people in my family traveled all the way to see me," he wrote. "My granddaughter Brandi [Jackie Jackson's daughter] and my baby girl, ­Janet.

"She sat right next to me as I lay in bed, and she spent time with me. We were talking a lot together and it meant a lot to me."

Jackson freely expressed his love and admiration for his superstar daughter — something insiders say he never did while his kids were growing up.

"I never tell [her] this, but I am proud of Janet," he said.

Family insiders said Jackson never even allowed his kids to call him Dad, Daddy or Father; they were ordered to simply call him Joseph.

"I taught them to be tough," Jackson explained to The Post in a recent phone interview. "We raised them in a tough neighborhood [in Gary, Ind.], where other kids were in gangs and getting into drugs. I didn't want them to be soft."

He stubbornly maintains he has no regrets. "Not at all. I don't live that way."

Michael Jackson, who died five years ago at age 50, frequently complained that his father physically abused him. He famously told Oprah Winfrey that the sight of his father made him throw up, and many close to the family believe Jacko's extensive plastic surgery was a desperate effort to undo his resemblance to papa Joe.

The Jackson 5 —Michael, Marlon, Tito, Jermaine, and Jackie — with their parents Katherine and Joe in 1971.Photo: Getty Images

In her 1991 memoir, La Toya Jackson, 58, wrote that her father beat his children and molested her and sister Rebbie.

"When your father gets out of bed with your mother and gets into bed with his daughter and you hear the mother saying, 'No, Joe, not tonight. Let her rest. Leave her alone, she's tired,' that makes you crazy," La Toya wrote.

Rebbie, now 64, claimed at the time of the book's release that she was not raped, but when interviewed later for a planned book of her own, she said, "Joseph did inappropriately touch me."

While Joe Jackson and 84-year-old wife Katherine have never divorced, the two have lived apart for several years. In addition to the 10 children he fathered with his wife, Jackson sired at least one other child, Joh'Vonnie Jackson, with another woman. Even to this day, he calls himself "The Hawk" for his propensity to spot and seduce much younger women, according to family members.

Jackson said he took advantage of an opportunity to see four of his sons perform last year in Las Vegas, where he was temporarily joined by Katherine and comedian Eddie Murphy.

During the show, Jermaine, Jackie, Tito and Marlon honored their father by shining a spotlight on him and thanking him from the stage.

Still, he feels betrayed by children who shun him and ignore him in his time of need, his associates say.

While Katherine receives more than $1 million annually from Michael Jackson's estate, Joseph was completely left out of his son's will. Since Michael's death, he has scrounged for cash, once even selling perfume at a Las Vegas strip mall. But even that venture soon went south.

Because the perfume line contained his late son's image, the mall shut down the operation until Joe Jackson could provide proof he had the legal right to sell products. He never did.

They are grown now, Joe. They are stars. They have fans… What are you going to do with a belt? - Katherine Jackson to Joe


Jackson also charges $50,000 appearance fees to whomever will bite, though there are few takers.

"There'd be no Jackson Five, no Michael, no Janet without him," said a friend of the Jackson patriarch. "He shouldn't have to call any of them. They should have enough respect and feel an obligation to come out and see how he's doing. The man did have a series of strokes — and whatever it is that they are holding against him, they need to get over it."

But his heavy hand remains indelibly imprinted upon the family.

Even while married and into their 20s, the Jackson brothers couldn't escape their father's physical anger. On several occasions, Katherine intervened when Joseph took after one of his famous sons with a belt, insiders said.

"They are grown now, Joe. They are stars. They have fans," she would chastise. "What are you going to do with a belt?"

Joseph's relentless aggression pushed many of his children into early marriages and doomed relationships as they fled his control, family insiders said.

"Why there were no expressions of love? Even after Michael died, the world saw Joe using that sad time to promote himself. It's a lesson for everyone that children remember everything, and now Joe is suffering the consequences," one insider said.

"The phone never rings. The doorbell is always quiet."


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

Times Square bar Connolly’s catches fire

It was a hell of a halftime show.

Some two dozen fans of Notre Dame football were watching the Fighting Irish game on TV at Connolly's in Times Square when the three-story watering hole filled with smoke from a kitchen blaze.

"We ran for it,'' said Dorothy Zalomski. "I still had my beer in my hand.''

"I'm glad no one got hurt,'' said patron Michael Farley, who watched the remainder of the game at a nearby pub, O'Brien's, a block away. "I'm glad it happened at halftime, too.''

Passerby Amy Balessandro of New Jersey, said, "Oh man, seeing Hazmat vans right off Times Square … almost had a heart attack.''

One firefighter was treated for a minor shoulder injury.


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

Washington Heights block party turns violent

An annual Washington Heights block party took a violent turn Saturday night, when residents threw bottles out of windows at cops who arrived and shut the event down.

Three police officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries from the flying bottles at around 10 p.m. at the "Love Is Love" block party at Edgecombe Avenue and West 164th Street, police said.

"This whole city is turning into Ferguson," complained neighbor Jaqelle Walker.

Residents described cops advancing on peaceful revelers, who raised their hands over their heads and chanted, "Hands up, don't shoot," a refrain from the Ferguson, Mo., protests.

At least three partygoers were arrested.


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

What happens in Vegas: Backman receives top manager honors

Written By kom nampuldu on Sabtu, 30 Agustus 2014 | 18.18

Wally Backman's stock could be on the rise, after he led the Mets' Triple-A team in Las Vegas to the Pacific Coast League playoffs for the second straight year.

On Friday, the 54-year-old Backman was named PCL Manager of the Year.

"Well-deserved," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said before the Mets beat the Phillies 4-1. "He's got a nice club there, they score a lot of runs, but he's had to manage additions and subtractions in personnel there. He's obviously had to deal with pitching challenges that come with Las Vegas. [The award] reflects the work he's done this year."

Las Vegas is 80-62 with two games remaining and will begin the playoffs on Sept. 3.

Backman, a fan favorite for his gritty play with the Mets in the 1980s, spoke with the Reds and Mariners last offseason about coaching vacancies, according to an industry source, but wasn't offered a position. He was among the finalists for the Mets managerial job before the 2011 season, when Terry Collins was hired.

Collins has come to consider Backman a confidant.

"I'm very happy for Wally — he deserves a lot of accolades," Collins said. "Wally does an outstanding job and certainly I rely a lot on his opinions of players and what goes on and I'm happy for him. With all the player moves we've made, he's kept that club steady moving forward and congratulations to him."


Alderson quashed a report that indicated Travis d'Arnaud's future could be in left field.

"There hasn't been a discussion with me," Alderson said. "It's not something we've talked about, not something we've considered, not something we've contemplated."

Is it a possibility d'Arnaud will be considered for left field?

"No, not really," Alderson said.


Las Vegas (80 wins), Double-A Binghamton (83 wins) and Single-A Savannah (84 wins) give the Mets three minor league affiliates with at least 80 victories for the first time since 1984.


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Baby declared dead after being brought home from day care

A baby girl was pronounced dead Friday after her father retrieved her from a Queens daycare center — and the girl's mother later charged that she was dead when he picked her up.

Daniella Okoye, 1, was rushed from her Springfield Gardens home to Franklin General Hospital in Valley Stream, LI, where she was declared dead, cops said.

"She came home dead," Okoye's mom said through tears. "We took her to day care; that's where she died."

When the day-care worker handed the baby to her dad, it appeared the girl was sleeping, said family friend Terrance Cooper.

"It was presented to the father as if she were sleeping, which is why he didn't go to the hospital," said Cooper, an upstairs neighbor.

But cops believe the girl died after she was taken home, a law-enforcement source said later Friday.

Police are continuing the investigation.


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Christie’s legal tab for Bridgegate cost taxpayers $7.3M

Christie's legal tab for Bridgegate cost taxpayers $7.3M | New York Post
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August 30, 2014 | 5:15am

The law firm Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hired to handle the George Washington Bridge scandal has cost taxpayers $7.3 million, a new report said Friday.

Gibson Dunn billed the state $784,459 for May, June and July, NJ.com said.

The firm had already been paid $6.52 million on the legal bills through April.

Christie hired Gibson Dunn in January after his top aides blocked access lanes to the busy span in an apparent act of political ­revenge against the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing him.

In the fourth inning of a 13-3 loss to the Mariners at Yankee Stadium, Jeter singles to right field for his 50th hit of August. He is the first Yankee with 50 hits in a month since Joe DiMaggio had 53 in July 1941.

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Rookie IndyCar drive hospitalized after huge crash

FONTANA, Calif. — Rookie IndyCar driver Mikhail Aleshin was hospitalized in serious but stable condition Friday night after a frightening crash in the final practice session for the series season finale.

Aleshin was taken away from the Fontana track in an ambulance and airlifted to nearby Loma Linda University Medical Center. The Russian driver has broken ribs and a broken right collarbone along with a concussion and chest injuries, an IndyCar spokesperson said.

At least three drivers played a role in the crash in Turn 4, which had a gaping hole in the catch fencing and a wheel wrapped in the fence after Aleshin's car violently flew up against it.

Aleshin, who drives for Sam Schmidt, spun when he went below the white line in the turn. He slid back up the track and collided with Charlie Kimball in a shower of sparks and smoke, sending Aleshin's car flying into the catch fence while spinning.

Kimball improbably escaped serious injury, walking away from his ravaged car. Debris was strewn all over the track as safety personnel gathered around the wreck of Aleshin, who was removed on a stretcher.

Aleshin is the first Russian driver in IndyCar history, joining a team with title contender Simon Pagenaud this year after a career in open-wheel racing in Europe. He is 15th in the overall points standings with seven top-10 finishes this season, including a career-best fifth-place finish at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May.

The 27-year-old Aleshin also had several run-ins with Sebastien Bourdais earlier in the season, and he was involved in an unusual crash with Juan Pablo Montoya in Toronto.

Montoya was stalled in a tire barrier when Aleshin spun into the back of his car. Aleshin then slid under Montoya, leaving tire marks on Aleshin's helmet and requiring a tow truck to lift Montoya's car off Aleshin.

The two-mile Fontana track is a fast, high-banked oval with well-worn, bumpy and occasionally dusty asphalt, providing a challenge even for veteran drivers. Helio Castroneves won the pole for Saturday's race with an average speed of more than 218 mph in his qualifying lap Friday, when temperatures reached 100 degrees in Fontana.

Although IndyCar racing on ovals can be spectacular, the risk factor is high. Dan Wheldon was killed in a 15-car accident in the 2011 season finale at Las Vegas, another high-banked oval.

The IndyCar series finale is scheduled for Saturday night. Aleshin was eighth in qualifying earlier Friday, easily the best finish by a rookie.


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Boston bombers’ sister made ‘bomb’ threats before: neighbors

Ailina Tsarnaev leaves her New Jersey home on Friday.Photo: Robert Kalfus

New Jersey neighbors of the Boston Marathon terrorists' sisters told The Post they heard the women threaten to "bomb" someone well before one of them was busted by the NYPD for allegedly making a similar warning.

"Oh, my God. I could spit in her face and stick a bomb up her a- -!" Lourdes Garrido claims she heard one of the sisters say recently as the pair walked down the street in West New York.

"The whole block is concerned. Could they bomb the whole block? I don't know what to expect from them," said Garrido, 54, claiming that Ailina and Bella Tsarnaeva the sisters had a child with them at the time.

Other neighbors were upset by allegations that Ailina threatened to "put a bomb on" her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend.

"Honestly, I don't feel safe to live here anymore. I've been very upset ever since I heard what she had said — 'Putting a bomb on you.' Maybe that means she can put a bomb on me, too," said Adrian Gonzales, 32, who lives across the street.

"I have a wife and two kids. I want to keep them safe, but what am I supposed to do?"

And neighbor Felix Garcia, 51, was scared for his own two children.

"It's a big concern to me and my family. I've been trying to keep my kids informed, but not too much ­information. I don't want to scare them," Garcia said.

"I just have to keep my eyes open and see what kinds of individuals go inside that house."

The whole block is concerned. Could they bomb the whole block? I don't know what to expect from them. - Lourdes Garrido, neighbor


Ailina Tsarnaeva surrendered to police at the 30th Precinct station house in Harlem Wednesday after her boyfriend's baby mama, Roslyn Betances, 23, reported the alleged threat.

"Leave us alone. I know people who can put a bomb on you," Tsarnaeva allegedly told Betances.

Tsarnaeva was charged with aggravated harassment and released.

The call left Betances petrified, a friend said.

"She was freaked out," the friend told The Post Thursday. "She got into a panic attack, and she wasn't even talking . . . She was scared. I mean, anybody would be, especially with the person knowing where you live."

Tsarnaeva admitted calling Betances and saying, "Leave us alone," but denied any bomb threat.

A neighbor who lives in the sisters' building as the sisters said Tsarnaeva had problems in her love life.

Roslyn BetancesPhoto: Twitter

"I heard her talking with a friend in the lobby, [saying] you can't trust men, they're nothing but trouble," the neighbor said.

Tsarnaeva was also charged with counterfeiting in Boston in 2011.

Her brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, planted the homemade bombs that killed three people and injured more than 260 others near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2012, the feds have said.

Tamerlan, 26, was killed days later in a gunfight with police. Dzhokhar, 21, is awaiting trial and faces the death penalty if convicted.


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Kline is simply dashing in ‘The Last of Robin Hood’

Written By kom nampuldu on Jumat, 29 Agustus 2014 | 18.18

Dashing, handsome and self-deprecating, Kevin Kline was born to play Errol Flynn. Here, Kline tackles the legendary actor and womanizer — in the final two years of his life, before he was felled by a heart attack at age 50 in Vancouver. At the time of his death the coroner said the hard-living Flynn had the body of a 75-year-old.

Written and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, "The Last of Robin Hood" centers on the actor's scandalous last romance with Beverly Aadland (a miscast Dakota Fanning), who was just 15 when the aging actor espied the underage chorus girl while he was on the Warner lot playing the dying John Barrymore in "Too Much, Too Soon."

Though her "audition" for a Broadway role with Flynn ends in rape, his "mentoring" is actively encouraged by Beverly's stage-struck mother Florence, a former dancer whose own career ended when she lost a leg in an automobile accident.

The hard-drinking Florence is played with relish, and a side of ham, by Susan Sarandon. When she's not flirting with Flynn herself, she permits her precocious daughter to accompany the star on long overseas trips — including to Cuba, where Beverly's movie career peaked, and ended, with the lead role in the infamously awful "Cuban Rebel Girls," featuring Flynn as a reporter who helps Fidel Castro lead his revolution.

Flynn's years of boozing and drugging are taking their toll, even as he proposes marriage to Beverly and dictates a will to take care of her (which he neglects to properly execute).

"The Last of Robin Hood'' was clearly produced on a penny-pinching budget, and even an actor of Kline's prodigious gifts can't totally convince you his Flynn (who had famously been acquitted of statutory rape in 1943) would risk jail for Fanning's Beverly, who is just not quite trashy enough for the part.

It's still campy catnip for fans of old Hollywood, particularly those of us obsessed with its more lurid scandals. (This one is handled as tastefully as possible under the circumstances.) It's hard to imagine even Bette Davis doing a better job than Sarandon as Florence, who cashed in on the scandal with a tell-all book.

Kline plays Flynn with equal parts predatory charm and self-destructiveness. There are a couple of great scenes, one a meeting with Stanley Kubrick (Max Casella) who offers Flynn the role of Humbert Humbert — but balks when Flynn insists on a package deal that would include Beverly, whom the filmmaker considers too mature to play the lead in "Lolita.''

And then there's Kline's last scene as the dying Flynn — who can't resist telling an audience the famous story of drunkenly discovering his pal John Barrymore's corpse in his easy chair, where it was placed as a ghoulish prank by their friends.


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Police used excessive force to quell Ferguson unrest: suit

ST. LOUIS — A federal lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that police in Ferguson and St. Louis County used excessive force and falsely arrested innocent bystanders amid attempts to quell widespread unrest after the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The five plaintiffs in the suit in St. Louis include a clinical social worker who said she and her 17-year-old son were roughed up and arrested after not evacuating a McDonald's quickly enough. They also include a 23-year-old man who said he was shot multiple times with rubber bullets and called racial slurs by police while walking through the protest zone to his mother's home, and a man who said he was arrested for filming the disturbances.

"The police were completely out of control," said attorney Malik Shabazz of Black Lawyers for Justice, a group whose members sought to quell tensions at the nightly protests that stretched for more than week after Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, who is white, shot the unarmed Brown, who is black. "In those initial days, it was virtually a police riot."

The lawsuit seeks $40 million in damages and names Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, Ferguson officer Justin Cosma, several unnamed officers identified collectively as John Doe, and the city and county governments.

Shabazz said the suit could be broadened to include additional plaintiffs. A St. Louis County police spokesman referred inquiries to County Counselor Patricia Redington, who said she had not seen the suit and declined comment. A public relations consultant working for the city of Ferguson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the immediate days after Brown's shooting, local police in riot gear fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who refused to disperse and, at times, broke into nearby stores. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon eventually placed the State Highway Patrol in charge of securing Ferguson with a more relaxed approach. Nixon later imposed a curfew that was lifted after several nights of clashes between police and protesters, and called in the National Guard, whose members have since departed Ferguson.

Getty Images photographer Scott Olson is arrested while covering demonstrators Monday, Aug. 18.Photo: AP

A protester yells at a police officer in Ferguson during the start of the unrest in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown.Photo: AP

Plaintiff Tracey White said she and her son, a high school junior, were waiting for a ride from her husband at a West Florissant Avenue McDonald's after attending an Aug. 13 "peace and love" rally at a Ferguson church when several rifle-carrying officers told her she was being arrested because she would not "shut up." White said she and her son were detained for five hours at the county jail on charges of failing to disperse, but she said she was not provided with any records reflecting that charge or a future court date.

"It was so horrifying," she said. "We did nothing wrong."

Dwayne Anton Matthews Jr. said he was confronted by eight officers that same night while walking to his mother's home after the bus route he normally takes stopped short of his destination because of the unrest. The suit alleges that after Matthews was shot multiple times with rubber bullets, he fell into a creek or sewer, where police officers "pounced on him, slammed his face into the concrete and pushed his head under water to the point that he felt he was going to be drowned."

Matthews, who styles his hair in long dreadlocks, told reporters at a Thursday press conference outside the St. Louis federal courthouse that he was called a "coon" and a "mophead," among other racial slurs.

Meanwhile, St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez told The Associated Press in an interview that Lt. Ray Albers resigned Thursday. Albers was the police officer shown on cellphone video pointing his rifle at demonstrators on Aug. 19 in Ferguson and threatening them.

On the video, a man is heard saying, "Oh my God! Gun raised!" as the officer approaches. The officer walks near the man, gun pointed, and appears to threaten to kill him. A St. Louis County police sergeant forced the officer to lower the weapon and escorted him away.

A message left on Albers' home phone Thursday was not returned.


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Obama admits ‘we don’t have a strategy’ on ISIS in Syria

WASHINGTON — President Obama admitted Thursday that "we don't have a strategy yet" for dealing with Islamic State, the terrorists who have rampaged across Iraq and Syria and seized Iraq's second-largest city nearly three months ago.

Obama made the admission when asked at a news conference whether he would seek Congress' authorization to go after the group in Syria, where he said it has a "safe haven."

"I don't want to put the cart before the horse," he said. "We don't have a strategy yet. As our strategy develops, we will consult with Congress."

The US has already begun "limited" airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq to protect minority groups, bolster Kurdish forces and safeguard US personnel in the north of the war-ravaged country.

But with militants controlling huge swaths of territory, executing prisoners and imposing a brutal brand of Islam, there are increasing calls to also hit the group in Syria.

Obama appeared to keep the door open to doing that even without authorization of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, who he charged lacked "legitimacy" after using brutal tactics against his own citizens.

Assad's government has warned that such strikes would be considered an act of "aggression."

"We need to make sure that we've got clear plans," Obama said.

"Clearly, ISIL has come to represent the very worst elements in the region that we have to deal with collectively," he added, using another name for Islamic State.

The US is reaching out to coalition partners who could contribute to any stepped-up efforts.

"We are going to work politically and diplomatically with folks in the region," Obama said. "And we're going to cobble together the kind of coalition that we need for a long-term strategy as soon as we are able to fit together the military, political and economic components of that strategy."

Earlier Thursday, it was reported that members of the group had water-boarded American journalist James Foley, who was executed in a video.

"Yes, that is part of the information that bubbled up, and Jim was subject to it," a person familiar with his captivity told The Washington Post. "I believe he suffered a lot of physical abuse."

The US waterboarded detainees in CIA facilities after the 9/11 attacks. Obama has called the interrogation technique a form of torture.


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Tech vets, pro athletes eyeing each other’s games

What is it with pro athletes and tech billionaires eyeing the other's game?

It's a bit understandable that jocks, with a relatively limited playing career and lots of disposable cash, would look to put some of that money to work in a growing and popular industry.

And the power and fame is alluring.

The reverse, it seems, is also true, as tech billionaires are showing their jock sides.

Consider, for example, the $2 billion that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer plunked down for the NBA's LA Clippers.

Of course, Ballmer is following in the footsteps of Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, who made his riches off PayPal.

And don't forget Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who owns two professional sports teams: the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers.

What's next? A pro-athlete venture capital firm? Oh wait, that already exists thanks to Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and his Melo7, which also invested in SeatGeek.


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Volcano in Papua New Guinea erupts prompting evacuations

CANBERRA, Australia — Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted Friday after a volcanic eruption on Papua New Guinea.

Authorities in the South Pacific nation had evacuated communities close to Mount Tavurvur which erupted early Friday in Rabaul district on New Britain Island, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement.

Residents of Rabaul town, the provincial capital, had been advised to remain indoors to avoid falling ash, the statement said.

Local resident David Flinn told Australian Broadcasting Corp. that the volcano was emitting steam and occasionally boomed. Flinn said about one centimeter (half an inch) of ash covered surrounding areas.

Qantas Airways said the ash cloud from the volcano had prompted minor alterations to flight paths between Sydney and Tokyo and between Sydney and the Chinese city of Shanghai.

The volcano, which is one of the most active in the region, destroyed the town of Rabaul in 1994 when it erupted simultaneously with nearby Mount Vulcan.


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On-again? Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez cozy up for a selfie

Written By kom nampuldu on Kamis, 28 Agustus 2014 | 20.50

Are Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez back on?

The pair, 20 and 22 respectively, who have a rocky and ambiguous relationship jetted off to Canada on Wednesday, reports Us Weekly.

And soon after, the Bieber posted a black and white selfie with on-again, off-again love.

Fans also captured the couple arriving at Waterloo airport in Ontario earlier that same day.

On Tuesday, Bieber allegedly posted a picture of himself with Gomez to Instagram but quickly deleted it—further fueling romance rumors.

A source confirmed to the site that the lovebirds are rekindling their romance. "They are doing what they are doing," said the insider. "She doesn't care, she doesn't define it."

And on Monday, the "Baby" singer got into hot water when he attempted to snatch the phone of an unidentified man who was recording the couple at Dave and Buster's in Hollywood.

As a result, Bieber is being investigated for attempted robbery, attempted battery and attempted theft.


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6-year-old survives being buried alive by neighbors

A 6-year-old girl in India miraculously survived being buried alive when her neighbors allegedly strangled her and left her in a pit to die.

The hunt is on for a married couple accused of kidnapping the child from her home village of Sidhauli and attacking her in a nearby sugar cane field, CNN reports.

The couple was able to get their hands on the girl when they told the child that her mother had asked them to take her to a fair in another village, her uncle Alok Awasthi said.

The murderous plot unraveled when a group of villagers working nearby spotted the pair escorting the youngster into the field and then suspiciously leaving without her.

The villagers went went to check it out and found a pit with the child buried inside, according to CNN.

The girl was not breathing when villagers pulled her out, but she eventually regained consciousness and was later discharged from a local hospital, according to CNN.

"There is clearly an intention to kill the girl but as of now, we don't know why," said Sitapur Police station officer Ramesh Kumar.

Cops are still trying to locate the couple and figure out why the two would commit such a heinous crime.


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Ebola outbreak could exceed 20,000 cases

GENEVA — The Ebola outbreak in West Africa eventually could exceed 20,000 cases, more than six times as many as are now known, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

A new plan by the U.N. health agency to stop Ebola also assumes that the actual number of cases in many hard-hit areas may be two to four times higher than currently reported. If that's accurate, it suggests there could be up to 12,000 cases already.

"This far outstrips any historic Ebola outbreak in numbers. The largest outbreak in the past was about 400 cases," Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO's assistant director-general for emergency operations, told reporters.

"What we are seeing today, in contrast to previous Ebola outbreaks: multiple hotspots within these countries — not a single, remote forested area, the kind of environments that have been tackled in the past. And then not multiple hotspots within one country, but international disease."

Another new dimension, he said, is the difficulty of dealing with Ebola in large cities and broad areas.

The agency published new figures saying that 1,552 people have died from the killer virus from among the 3,069 cases reported so far in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. At least 40 percent of the cases have been identified in the last three weeks, the U.N. health agency said, adding that "the outbreak continues to accelerate."

In Geneva, the agency released a new plan for handling that aims to stop Ebola transmission in affected countries within six to nine months and prevent it from spreading internationally.

Liberian soldiers patrol the seaside of West Point by boat, an area that has been hit hard by the Ebola virus.Photo: AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh

The plan calls for $489 million to be spent over the next nine months and requires 750 international workers and 12,000 national workers.

The goal is to take "the heat out of this outbreak" within three months, he said. That will enable WHO to start using classic containment strategies to stop transmission altogether.

The next goal, Aylward said, is to be able to stop transmission within eight weeks of a new case being confirmed anywhere. "That is extremely aggressive but that can be done. It has been done in remote forested areas; it has not been done in urban areas."

The third major goal is to increase the preparedness for dealing with Ebola in all nations that share borders with affected countries or have major transportation hubs, he said.

The 20,000 cases figure, said Aylward, "is a scale that I think has not ever been anticipated in terms of an Ebola outbreak."

"That's not saying we expect 20,000," he added. "But we have got to have a system in place that we can deal with robust numbers."

Air France on Wednesday canceled its flights to Sierra Leone, but Aylward said the agency is urging airlines to lift most of their restrictions about flying to Ebola-hit nations.

"This is absolutely vital," he said. "Right now there is a super risk of the response effort being choked off, being restricted, because we simply cannot get enough seats on enough airplanes to get people in and out, and rotating, to get goods and supplies in and out and rotating, so this is a big part of what has got to be sorted."

Nigerian authorities, meanwhile, said a man who contracted Ebola after coming into contact with a traveler from Liberia had evaded surveillance and infected a doctor in southern Nigeria who later died.

The announcement of a sixth death in Nigeria marked the first fatality outside the commercial capital of Lagos, where a Liberian-American man, Patrick Sawyer, arrived in late July and later died of Ebola. On Wednesday, Nigerian authorities said they have not yet eliminated the disease from Africa's most populous nation but that it was being contained.

The doctor's wife is in isolation after she started showing symptoms of Ebola, Nigerian Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu added. Morticians who embalmed the doctor are part of a group of 70 people now under surveillance in Port Harcourt.

The World Food Program says it is preparing to feed 1.3 million people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the coming months because measures to control an Ebola outbreak have cut off whole communities from markets, pushed up food prices and separated farmers from their fields. Denise Brown, the West Africa regional director for the U.N. agency, said $70 million is needed immediately to meet those needs.

She said the unprecedented challenge of distributing food in an Ebola zone means that the agency is taking longer to reach full capacity.

On Thursday, the U.S. National Institutes of Health announced it will start testing an experimental Ebola vaccine in humans next week. The vaccine was developed by the U.S. government and GlaxoSmithKline and the preliminary trial will test the shot in healthy U.S. adults in Maryland. At the same time, British experts will test the same vaccine in healthy people in the U.K., Gambia and Mali.

The vaccine trial was accelerated in response to the outbreak. Preliminary results to determine if the vaccine is safe could be available within months.

"There is an urgent need for a protective Ebola vaccine, and it is important to establish that a vaccine is safe and spurs the immune system to react in a way necessary to protect against infection," said NIAID Director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, in a statement.


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Someone donated a human skull to a thrift store

AUSTIN, Texas — Police have asked for the public's help to locate whoever donated a human skull to an Austin thrift store.

Homicide Detective Derek Israel said Wednesday that foul play was not suspected in the person's death. He says he just wants to know how the skull came to be in an unspecified container left at the store.

Goodwill staff discovered the skull while sifting through donations on July 16. A spokeswoman says it could have been gifted up to a week prior to its discovery.

Israel says the skull is from an adult. No other details about it have been released.

This is at least the fourth skull to be donated to the international nonprofit this summer. Three were donated in July to a Goodwill store in Bellevue, Washington.


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Nick Cannon ditches wedding ring after Mariah split

Nick Cannon has removed his wedding ring for the first time since confirming he's splitting from songstress Mariah Carey.

The "America's Got Talent" host appeared on the show Monday with his ring then on Tuesday, he emerged without it and again on Wednesday night.

Sources tell Page Six Cannon, 33, is "depressed" over his failed marriage with Carey, 45.

Last week, Cannon came clean about the negative headlines. He told The Insider, "There is trouble in paradise. We have been living in separate houses for a few months."

Nick Cannon on "America's Got Talent" on August 26.Photo: YouTube

When divorce rumors began circulating, a rep for Carey said "I am not commenting on Mariah's personal life, but Mariah is focusing on her children and her upcoming tour."

Cannon's father, James, came to his son's defense and claimed Cannon never cheated. "I'm shocked because everything was beautiful as far as I knew," he said about their split.

Under terms of their agreement, Cannon isn't allowed to publicly comment on their impending divorce. If he violates the agreement, he'll be forced to pay a financial penalty.

The pair married in 2008 have a two children together.


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Skadden Arps relocation site is all rumors, no lease

Written By kom nampuldu on Rabu, 27 Agustus 2014 | 20.49

Despite what you may have read elsewhere and heard repeated ad nauseam, pioneering law firm Skadden Arps has not signed a letter of intent or even fist bumped an agreement to move from Times Square to the first of Brookfield's Manhattan West office buildings.

We heard this weeks ago, and confirmed on Tuesday that Skadden is still examining options that do include Manhattan West but also downtown buildings and even staying put.

Skadden moved to the top of the Durst Organization's 4 Times Square when area was still in its grittier days.

The lease signed in 1996 ends in May 2020, but its five-year renewal option requires a two-year notice. In other words, Skadden has another four big years to make up its mind about this already technologically outdated space.

Brookfield has been consistent in stating that if an anchor tenant signs this year, this first 67-story Manhattan West building on the southwest corner of Ninth Avenue and West 30th Street can be delivered in 2018.

It could take another six months to a year to build out what would be roughly 500,000 square feet in the 2 million-square-foot tower.

Facing the loss of Skadden, it looks like Durst is now making a strong play to keep it so he won't have the entire building up for grabs. Skadden would then rotate floors while they are all updated.

Four Times Square's other major tenant, Condé Nast, is already moving to One World Trade Center, and the Port Authority will make up to five years of its remaining lease payments while Durst tries to find another tenant.

Skadden is represented by a team led by Jones Lang Lasalle's tri-state president, Peter Riguardi, while the Brookfield-owned Manhattan West is represented by Bruce Mosler's team at Cushman & Wakefield.

All of the parties, along with Durst and Skadden, declined to comment or failed to return requests for comment.

As we advised in April, when Skadden's short list was either 3 Hudson Blvd. downtown or Manhattan West, Skadden needs about 50,000 square feet for back-office space. Brookfield has that in the nearby 450 W. 33rd St., which is undergoing a façade lift with larger glass windows and will be considered part of the Manhattan West campus.

Stay tuned as the space wars continue.



RXR Realty's 99-year lease for 75 Rockefeller Plaza has finally kicked in.

In December 2012, RXR, led by CEO Scott Rechler, completed the terms of the $420 million lease on the Midtown office building through Cushman & Wakefield from Egyptian-born billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed's Fosterlane Holdings.

The 630,000-square-foot building will be completely renovated "from soup to nuts," said Bill Elder, managing director of the city for RXR, who declined to discuss anything about the transaction itself.

But Elder was more than happy to brag about the renovations. "It will be a brand-new building with a clean historical façade," he said.

Kohn Pedersen Fox is overseeing the job that includes new mechanicals, risers, electric and redesigned retail storefronts, plus landscaped terraces.

"It will be absolutely beautiful," said Elder.

The most modern building in Rock Center, it was developed in 1947 as the home of Standard Oil.

RXR previously tapped Cushman & Wakefield to oversee leasing, and a 17th-floor marketing center will open at the end of September.


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has renewed a lease for 34,000 square feet at 469 Seventh Ave. The deal includes the entire 11th and 14th floors.

Jodi Roberts and Josh Kuriloff of Cushman & Wakefield represented the MTA in the renewal.

The building is owned by Eric and Marty Meyer, and Dan Shavolian of Foremost Real Estate.

The Meyers, who are both principals with Colliers International, arranged the lease with an asking rent somewhere in the $50s-per-foot range.

With the completion of this renewal, remaining spaces include the 17,000-square-foot 15th and 16th floors; a 2,000-square-foot penthouse; and a 10,000-square-foot roof-deck left to lease.

Go get 'em.


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SEC charges Lucarelli with scamming $1M via press releases

Now he's really on the inside.

Michael Dupre Lucarelli, a former executive at Manhattan investor relations firm Lippert/Heilshorn, was charged with making almost $1 million in fraudulent profits by trading on his early access to companies' press releases.

The alleged insider trading happened before small, publicly traded companies announced earnings, mergers or trial-drug results, according to a complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

FBI agents approached Lucarelli's boss, Keith Lippert, on July 22, asking him to monitor the alleged scammer, and asked that they keep him employed until their investigation was over, Lippert said.

"They had done their homework," Lippert told The Post.

Lucarelli was in charge of putting investors and clients together during road shows that weren't a part of any specific deal, Lippert said.

Lucarelli is no stranger to controversy, having once worked for the boiler-room operation H.J. Meyers, and he was forbidden by a regulator from having any contact with registered brokers, according to records.

Messages left at Lucarelli's house, and to his lawyer Patrick McGinley, went unanswered.


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A big stink over a CBS hippo

Is Bert the Farting Hippo — the flatulent puppet and "NCIS" mascot — intellectual property?

The whole idea may smell funny to you, but not to Folkmanis, the Emeryville, Calif., puppet company that has been manufacturing the stuffed animal since 2002.

It took only a year for Bert, nee Hippo 1, to begin his extended and ongoing run on "NCIS." His TV appearances have often been accompanied by what Folkmanis — in a suit filed Monday against "NCIS" network CBS and others — describes as the "dubbed sound effect of a fart."

So Hippo 1 was renamed, and Bert the Farting Hippo (with an added sound effect) it became.

"This hippo stuffed animal actually makes noises," proclaims a more recent ad for one of the CBS Store's "best sellers."

Folkmanis charges the CBS replacement puppets made in China are "slavish copies" that have cost it $733,000 in lost profits.

CBS didn't respond to a request for comment, but its online store has already removed the subject of Folkmanis' intellectual-property action.

A search for Bert the Farting Hippo conducted on Tuesday yielded: "Sorry. The page or product you were looking for is currently unavailable."


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Al Sharpton is now a fat shamer

He lost more than half his body weight — and now the Rev. Al Sharpton is a fat shamer!

The civil-rights leader and host of MSNBC's "Politics Nation" regularly pokes fun at his fat followers and friends, The Smoking Gun reports after examining comments he's made before his organization, the National Action Network.

"Every fine girl is two big Whoppers away from being obese," he said after meeting an old high-school crush who had ballooned to almost 300 pounds.

At a May rally against Boko Haram outside the United Nations, Sharpton told his fellow protesters, "A lot of y'all ain't doing nothing but going to lunch. And most of y'all don't need no lunch. Y'all need to walk over to the UN and lose some weight anyhow."

Sharpton, who once tipped the scales at 305 pounds, lost 30 pounds during a prison hunger strike in 2001, but began his real body transformation in 2009, ditching his infamous track suit for a more tailored look. He now weighs 138 — a drop of 167 pounds from his heaviest.

He owes the dramatic weight loss to a super strict diet that relies mostly on fruits and veggies.

"I gave up meat, I started watching my diet, I work out," Sharpton said on the "Today" show in October 2013. He eats fish twice a week and doesn't eat anything after 6 p.m.

Every fine girl is two big Whoppers away from being obese. - Rev. Al Sharpton


"Since I lost weight, I talk about fat folk real bad," Sharpton said at a meeting for a fashion show organized by his daughter, Ashley, in April. "I like keeping fat folk around me so I can just talk about them."

While eating at famed Harlem soul-food restaurant Sylvia's, Sharpton was disgusted when he watched a woman scarf down half a fried chicken, two sides and a dessert.

When she "had the nerve" to ask for Sweet'N Low, Sharpton couldn't contain his anger.

"I just got mad," Sharpton said. "So I couldn't take it anymore and said, 'Miss, lemme ask you something. All of that you took, what do you need Sweet'N Low? I mean, you just make yourself feel better? You might as well pour the whole bag of sugar in the cup."

Sharpton did not respond to a request for comment about the cracks.


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Time Warner Cable suffers massive nationwide outage

NEW YORK  — Time Warner Cable says a problem that occurred during routine maintenance caused a nationwide outage of its Internet service for hours on Wednesday morning.

The company says it is still investigating the cause of the problem, which occurred with its Internet backbone, the paths that local or regional networks connect to in order to carry data long distances.

The company says the problem affected all of its markets and started at 4:30 a.m. and was largely restored by 6 a.m., and updates continue to bring all customers back online. The outage sparked widespread complaints on social networks.

Time Warner Cable, which is in the process of being bought by rival Comcast Corp. for $45 billion, has about 11.4 million high-speed data subscribers in 29 states nationwide.

On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission said Time Warner Cable, based in New York, would pay $1.1 million to resolve outage reporting violations.


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SEC charges Lucarelli with scamming $1M via press releases

Now he's really on the inside.

Michael Dupre Lucarelli, a former executive at Manhattan investor relations firm Lippert/Heilshorn, was charged with making almost $1 million in fraudulent profits by trading on his early access to companies' press releases.

The alleged insider trading happened before small, publicly traded companies announced earnings, mergers or trial-drug results, according to a complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

FBI agents approached Lucarelli's boss, Keith Lippert, on July 22, asking him to monitor the alleged scammer, and asked that they keep him employed until their investigation was over, Lippert said.

"They had done their homework," Lippert told The Post.

Lucarelli was in charge of putting investors and clients together during road shows that weren't a part of any specific deal, Lippert said.

Lucarelli is no stranger to controversy, having once worked for the boiler-room operation H.J. Meyers, and he was forbidden by a regulator from having any contact with registered brokers, according to records.

Messages left at Lucarelli's house, and to his lawyer Patrick McGinley, went unanswered.


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Apple to expand iPad screens to 12.9 inches

Apple's new "bigger is better" mantra may soon apply to the iPad.

The gadget maker is working on a new iPad with a 12.9-inch screen that is expected to begin production next year, Bloomberg News reported, citing Apple suppliers.

That's three inches beyond its full-size 9.7-inch iPad and almost an inch larger than Microsoft's Surface 3 tablet, which comes with a keyboard and is marketed to corporate clients that rely on Microsoft Office software.

The report comes as Apple pushes for a bigger slice of the corporate sales pie. Last month, Apple unveiled a partnership with IBM to target business customers. At the time, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the collaboration was a "catalyst for future iPad growth."

Sales of the gadget could use a boost. Apple sold 9 percent fewer iPads in the quarter ended June 30 compared to the same period a year ago — and 19 percent less than the previous quarter.

The decline is expected to worsen due to cannibalization if Apple makes good on rumors of introducing a 5.5-inch iPhone next month to compete with bigger-screen phones from Samsung.

A "super tablet" that more closely resembles a full-fledged computer also jibes with a rise in Mac sales. Despite the tablet slowdown, Apple's Mac sales for the June quarter soared 18 percent.

The surge was driven by sales of the lightweight, portable Macbook Air, which got a $100 price cut earlier this year that pushed the cheapest model to under $1,000 for the first time.


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A big stink over a CBS hippo

Is Bert the Farting Hippo — the flatulent puppet and "NCIS" mascot — intellectual property?

The whole idea may smell funny to you, but not to Folkmanis, the Emeryville, Calif., puppet company that has been manufacturing the stuffed animal since 2002.

It took only a year for Bert, nee Hippo 1, to begin his extended and ongoing run on "NCIS." His TV appearances have often been accompanied by what Folkmanis — in a suit filed Monday against "NCIS" network CBS and others — describes as the "dubbed sound effect of a fart."

So Hippo 1 was renamed, and Bert the Farting Hippo (with an added sound effect) it became.

"This hippo stuffed animal actually makes noises," proclaims a more recent ad for one of the CBS Store's "best sellers."

Folkmanis charges the CBS replacement puppets made in China are "slavish copies" that have cost it $733,000 in lost profits.

CBS didn't respond to a request for comment, but its online store has already removed the subject of Folkmanis' intellectual-property action.

A search for Bert the Farting Hippo conducted on Tuesday yielded: "Sorry. The page or product you were looking for is currently unavailable."


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Formerly sizable Sharpton now pokes fun at fat friends

He lost more than half his body weight — and now the Rev. Al Sharpton is a fat shamer!

The civil-rights leader and host of MSNBC's "Politics Nation" regularly pokes fun at his fat followers and friends, The Smoking Gun reports after examining comments he's made before his organization, the National Action Network.

"Every fine girl is two big Whoppers away from being obese," he said after meeting an old high-school crush who had ballooned to almost 300 pounds.

At a May rally against Boko Haram outside the United Nations, Sharpton told his fellow protesters, "A lot of y'all ain't doing nothing but going to lunch. And most of y'all don't need no lunch. Y'all need to walk over to the UN and lose some weight anyhow."

Sharpton, who once tipped the scales at 305 pounds, lost 30 pounds during a prison hunger strike in 2001, but began his real body transformation in 2009, ditching his infamous track suit for a more tailored look. He now weighs 138 — a drop of 167 pounds from his heaviest.

He owes the dramatic weight loss to a super strict diet that relies mostly on fruits and veggies.

"I gave up meat, I started watching my diet, I work out," Sharpton said on the "Today" show in October 2013. He eats fish twice a week and doesn't eat anything after 6 p.m.

Every fine girl is two big Whoppers away from being obese. - Rev. Al Sharpton


"Since I lost weight, I talk about fat folk real bad," Sharpton said at a meeting for a fashion show organized by his daughter, Ashley, in April. "I like keeping fat folk around me so I can just talk about them."

While eating at famed Harlem soul-food restaurant Sylvia's, Sharpton was disgusted when he watched a woman scarf down half a fried chicken, two sides and a dessert.

When she "had the nerve" to ask for Sweet'N Low, Sharpton couldn't contain his anger.

"I just got mad," Sharpton said. "So I couldn't take it anymore and said, 'Miss, lemme ask you something. All of that you took, what do you need Sweet'N Low? I mean, you just make yourself feel better? You might as well pour the whole bag of sugar in the cup."

Sharpton did not respond to a request for comment about the cracks.


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Skadden Arps relocation site is all rumors, no lease

Despite what you may have read elsewhere and heard repeated ad nauseam, pioneering law firm Skadden Arps has not signed a letter of intent or even fist bumped an agreement to move from Times Square to the first of Brookfield's Manhattan West office buildings.

We heard this weeks ago, and confirmed on Tuesday that Skadden is still examining options that do include Manhattan West but also downtown buildings and even staying put.

Skadden moved to the top of the Durst Organization's 4 Times Square when area was still in its grittier days.

The lease signed in 1996 ends in May 2020, but its five-year renewal option requires a two-year notice. In other words, Skadden has another four big years to make up its mind about this already technologically outdated space.

Brookfield has been consistent in stating that if an anchor tenant signs this year, this first 67-story Manhattan West building on the southwest corner of Ninth Avenue and West 30th Street can be delivered in 2018.

It could take another six months to a year to build out what would be roughly 500,000 square feet in the 2 million-square-foot tower.

Facing the loss of Skadden, it looks like Durst is now making a strong play to keep it so he won't have the entire building up for grabs. Skadden would then rotate floors while they are all updated.

Four Times Square's other major tenant, Condé Nast, is already moving to One World Trade Center, and the Port Authority will make up to five years of its remaining lease payments while Durst tries to find another tenant.

Skadden is represented by a team led by Jones Lang Lasalle's tri-state president, Peter Riguardi, while the Brookfield-owned Manhattan West is represented by Bruce Mosler's team at Cushman & Wakefield.

All of the parties, along with Durst and Skadden, declined to comment or failed to return requests for comment.

As we advised in April, when Skadden's short list was either 3 Hudson Blvd. downtown or Manhattan West, Skadden needs about 50,000 square feet for back-office space. Brookfield has that in the nearby 450 W. 33rd St., which is undergoing a façade lift with larger glass windows and will be considered part of the Manhattan West campus.

Stay tuned as the space wars continue.



RXR Realty's 99-year lease for 75 Rockefeller Plaza has finally kicked in.

In December 2012, RXR, led by CEO Scott Rechler, completed the terms of the $420 million lease on the Midtown office building through Cushman & Wakefield from Egyptian-born billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed's Fosterlane Holdings.

The 630,000-square-foot building will be completely renovated "from soup to nuts," said Bill Elder, managing director of the city for RXR, who declined to discuss anything about the transaction itself.

But Elder was more than happy to brag about the renovations. "It will be a brand-new building with a clean historical façade," he said.

Kohn Pedersen Fox is overseeing the job that includes new mechanicals, risers, electric and redesigned retail storefronts, plus landscaped terraces.

"It will be absolutely beautiful," said Elder.

The most modern building in Rock Center, it was developed in 1947 as the home of Standard Oil.

RXR previously tapped Cushman & Wakefield to oversee leasing, and a 17th-floor marketing center will open at the end of September.


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has renewed a lease for 34,000 square feet at 469 Seventh Ave. The deal includes the entire 11th and 14th floors.

Jodi Roberts and Josh Kuriloff of Cushman & Wakefield represented the MTA in the renewal.

The building is owned by Eric and Marty Meyer, and Dan Shavolian of Foremost Real Estate.

The Meyers, who are both principals with Colliers International, arranged the lease with an asking rent somewhere in the $50s-per-foot range.

With the completion of this renewal, remaining spaces include the 17,000-square-foot 15th and 16th floors; a 2,000-square-foot penthouse; and a 10,000-square-foot roof-deck left to lease.

Go get 'em.


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Batman spotted in Japan

Written By kom nampuldu on Selasa, 26 Agustus 2014 | 20.49

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The Dark Knight rises again!

Amazed motorists in Japan couldn't believe their eyes when they caught glimpse of a mysterious figure dressed in black flying past them on his specialized motorbike – the Batman!

The Caped Crusader was seen patrolling the Wangan Line expressway in Tokyo on his customized Batcycle when astonished drivers managed to snap pictures of the unidentified man, Central European News reports.

"I was driving along when suddenly my son shouted, 'There's Batman!' I thought he was talking about something on his iPad, but when I looked in front of me I saw what looked like just the real thing," said a driver. "Someone fully dressed in a Batman costume, cruising up the road in his motorbike."

With his trademark cowl, black cape and customized Batsuit fully intact, the Dark Knight was a spitting image of Christopher Nolan's depiction of the comic book superhero.

"I asked if I could take his picture," another driver added. "He silently gave me a thumbs up."


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Kerry Washington photobombs ‘Modern Family’ cast

Kerry Washington photobombed the "Modern Family" cast Monday night at the 2014 Emmy Awards.

With a wide smile and sporting an orange dress, the 37-year-old "Scandal" star snuck up behind the crew to steal their spotlight.

Sofia Vergara posted the group selfie, which also included Ed O'Neil, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his husband, Justin Mikita.

The Colombian bombshell captioned the fun photo, "Modern Family in da house!!!" She made no mention of Washington's unscheduled appearance.

"Modern Family" won it's fifth consecutive Emmy for best comedy in addition Gail Mancuso winning for directing and Ty Burrell winning for best supporting actor.


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Alec Baldwin snags stray ball at U.S. Open

Alec Baldwin took on a new role at the U.S. Open — the actor played a star athlete, snagging a stray ball that flew into the stands.

Baldwin was sitting in the front row behind the baseline Monday night when an out-of-bounds shot from Maria Kirilenko sailed over Maria Sharapova and bounced into the seats. He flawlessly fielded the ball on one hop.

"I don't play tennis well, but I can catch a slow-moving tennis ball," Baldwin told former star Pam Shriver of ESPN.

Rather than keep the tennis souvenir, Baldwin tossed it to a ball boy as the crowd cheered. Some of Baldwin's pals must have seen the grab, because he spent the next few minutes busy looking at his cellphone.

The "30 Rock" actor made his play four days after comedian Chris Rock wound up with a foul ball at Yankee Stadium in a game between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees. Rock gave that prize to a young boy.


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Russia confirms its soldiers have been captured in Ukraine

Ukraine released a video of captured Russian soldiers on Tuesday, sharply escalating a dispute over Moscow's alleged backing for separatist rebels in the east of the former Soviet republic.

The footage was released only hours before the two countries' presidents were due to meet for the first time since June to discuss the conflict, which has killed more than 2,000 people and provoked Western sanctions against Russia.

In Moscow, a military source told Russian news agencies that a group of soldiers had surrendered to Ukrainian forces after crossing the border by accident.

Ukraine rejected that explanation. "This wasn't a mistake, but a special mission they were carrying out," military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said in a televised briefing.

He also said separatists were attacking the southeastern border town of Novoazovsk "at this very minute" and Ukrainian forces had destroyed 12 armoured infantry vehicles in the area.

Twelve Ukrainian service personnel had been killed in fighting in the past 24 hours, he said, including four border guards who died when Russian Mi-24 helicopters attacked a frontier post in Luhansk region on Monday.

Russia has always denied assertions by Ukraine, backed by the United States and the European Union, that it has been sending arms and troops across the border to support the pro-Moscow separatists.

The latest dispute cast a further pall over Tuesday's talks in the Belarussian capital Minsk, where presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine were meeting for the first time since a tense encounter in France on June 6.

"I hope the result of today's meeting will be the achievement of an agreement that will bring peace to Ukrainian soil," Poroshenko told reporters.

He held separate talks with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko, the summit host.

Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko (center) stands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko as they meet in the Belarussian capital Minsk on Tuesday.Photo: Getty Images

'Crossed by accident'

Fighting in eastern Ukraine broke out in April, a month after Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in response to the toppling of a pro-Moscow president in Kiev.

Tuesday's video provided the strongest evidence yet to back up Kiev's claims of direct Russian military involvement, which Moscow has always disputed. It came a day after Ukraine's state security service said it had detained 10 Russian paratroopers who had crossed the border in a column of several dozen armed infantry vehicles.

In footage posted on the official Facebook page of the Ukrainian government's "anti-terrorist operation", the men were shown dressed in camouflage fatigues. One of them, who identified himself as Ivan Milchakov, listed his personal details, including the name of his paratroop regiment, which he said was based in the Russian town of Kostroma.

"I did not see where we crossed the border. They just told us we were going on a 45-mile march over three days," he said. "Everything is different here, not like they show it on television. We've come as cannon fodder," he said in the video.

Another man in the footage, who gave his name as Sergeant Aleksei Generalov, said: "Stop sending in our boys. Why? This is not our war."

Social media accounts belonging to several of the men showed them in camouflage or paratroop uniform.

Russian news agencies quoted a defence ministry source as confirming that Russian servicemen had crossed into Ukraine but saying they did so inadvertently.

"The soldiers really did participate in a patrol of a section of the Russian-Ukrainian border, crossed it by accident on an unmarked section, and as far as we understand showed no resistance to the armed forces of Ukraine when they were detained," the source said.

Rebels encircled

A girl gives a flower to a new volunteer of the Ukrainian interior ministry's special "Sich" battalion during their swearing in ceremony on Tuesday.Photo: Reuters

The Russian servicemen were detained, with their personal documents and weapons, near the small town of Amvrosiyivka in Donetsk region, the Ukrainian state security service said.

"Officially they are on military exercises in various corners of Russia. In reality they are involved in military aggression against Ukraine," Defence Minister Valeriy Heletey said in a Facebook post.

Since Putin and Poroshenko last met, Ukraine has turned the tide of the conflict and largely encircled pro-Russian rebels holding out in two eastern cities.

But the diplomatic crisis has only deepened, especially since the downing of a Malaysian airliner over rebel-held territory last month with the loss of 298 lives.

Stung by U.S. and EU sanctions against its finance, oil and defence sectors, Russia has hit back by banning most Western food imports, in a trade war that is hurting both the Russian and European economies. With tensions at their highest since the Cold War, Russian and NATO forces have both stepped up exercises in recent months.

Expectations for a breakthrough at Tuesday's talks were low. Reuters reporters in Donetsk, one of the two main rebel strongholds the Ukrainian military has been trying to retake, reported loud explosions and heavy machine-gun fire in the centre of the city overnight, but calm had returned by morning.


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School safety cops making fewer arrests

Fewer city students are getting booked.

School safety officers arrested 393 city students in the 2013-14 school year — a 32.1 percent drop from the previous year, when they busted 579, The Post has learned

Three of the students arrested last school year were only 13 years old, according to figures provided by the NYPD.

Teamsters Local 237 President Gregory Floyd, whose union represents school safety agents, said students are starting to behave better after seeing their friends get in trouble.

"What comes into play is students conform," he said. "They know now they're going to get caught. They obey the rules. Children test authority. That's what they do."

But civil-rights advocates point to an apparent change in tactics by School Safety Division Commanding Officer Brian Conroy, who a source said has privately told community leaders that arrests should be used as a last resort in schools.

"We speculate the Department of Education is using alternatives to manage behavior, and this is why we are seeing a reduction in arrests," said New York Civil Liberties Union Advocacy Director Johanna Miller.

"There's nothing on paper that says there is anything they are doing differently, but the numbers seem to show that officers are weighing different choices to manage misbehavior," she said.

School officials could not explain why arrests had dropped, and a police spokesman did not make Conroy available.

Department of Education spokesman Harry Hartfield said his agency's new guidance office — combined with additional professional development focused on counseling — would further reduce the need for police action.

"While we are encouraged to see that arrests in New York City's schools have decreased, we are committed to doing even more to make sure every student feels safe and can thrive," he said.

School safety officers also dished out 563 summonses and recorded 3,279 noncriminal incidents last year, compared with 788 summonses and 3,744 incidents the previous year, according to NYPD figures.

The total number of serious incidents reported in schools began falling during the Bloomberg administration. In the 2011-12 school year, for example, there were 70,032 serious incidents. A year later, there were 55,339.

The total number of incidents reported for 2013-14 was not yet available.

Miller, of the NYCLU, said she's hopeful the trend continues.

"We would hope that what we're seeing is that the adults in the building have a greater understanding of the harm that being arrested in school can do to a student and are seeking out other solutions when appropriate," Miller said.


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Cops find fugitive via Ice Bucket Challenge video

The Ice Bucket Challenge has landed a Nebraska fugitive in hot water.

Jesean Morris

Jesean Morris — a 20-year-old wanted for allegedly absconding from parole — had the bright idea of joining in on the viral fund-raiser, taking a video of himself dumping a bucket of ice water on himself and posting it on Facebook.

A police tipster recognized Morris and the house where the video was shot, the Omaha World-Herald reported. Acting on the tip, Omaha gang cops Nick Sidzyik and Dan Martin staked out the house, authorities said. They spotted Morris late Friday — and arrested him as he drove off, authorities said.

Morris was on parole for a 2010 conviction for attempted second-degree assault using a firearm. He was booked for the parole violation, criminal impersonation, resisting arrest and criminal mischief, officials said.

The ALS Bucket Challenge has been a viral sensation, with friends and celebrities challenging each other to either donate to research efforts against Lou Gehrig's Disease or dump ice water over themselves.

Many people do both.


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Republicans attack ‘Cowardly Cuomo’ in press release

ALBANY — After trying just about everything else to goad Gov. Cuomo into a debate, Republicans adopted a new tactic Monday — they depicted him as the Cowardly Lion from "The Wizard of Oz."

In a clear attempt to get under the governor's skin, the state GOP sent out a press release featuring a picture of the famed lion with Cuomo's face inserted over that of Bert Lahr, the actor who played the lion in the legendary 1939 movie.

"Cuomo Lacks the Nerve to Engage in Serious Debate," the press release proclaimed.

Asked why the party was resorting to such taunting measures, spokesman David Laska got right to the point: "It is simple — the governor is afraid to debate," he said.

But lion or no, Cuomo wasn't biting. His campaign gave no indication that he would participate in a single debate, either against Republican Rob Astorino or Democratic challenger Zephyr Teachout.

Cable channel NY1 is giving Cuomo until Thursday to respond to its invitation to debate Teachout, saying it will provide airtime to Teachout and her lieutenant-governor running mate, Tim Wu, if the governor doesn't show up. The situation has become so desperate for Cuomo's rivals that they've made plans to debate one another on radio next week.

Good-government groups have been imploring Cuomo to discuss the issues with his opponents. He's ignored them.

Political observers have said that's standard operating procedure for a front-runner who, in Cuomo's case, is leading his GOP rival 56 to 28 percent in the latest Quinnipiac University poll.

"Why would he want to give his opponents, either one, public exposure given he is 30 points up in the polls?" asked Siena College political-science chairman Leonard Cutler.

A debate could also focus attention on controversial issues — such as hydrofracking — that the governor isn't eager to address, Cutler pointed out.

With limited campaign funds and little name recognition, Teach­out on Monday tried to smoke out Cuomo by going after his running mate, former US Rep. Kathy Hochul. In a one-minute video released by Teachout's campaign, Hochul boasts of her conservative credentials and her vote against ObamaCare — neither of which would endear her to left-leaning voters in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary.

"I've always had the Conservative Party's endorsement every time I've run for office," Hochul says in the video compilation of her previous statements.

Teachout also blasted Hochul for being only one of 14 Democratic members of Congress to vote to eliminate breast- and cervical-cancer screenings for some women. The state chapter of the National Organization for Women has endorsed Teachout.


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