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Empire Star Jussie Smollett Arrested After Being Charged With Falsifying a Police Report

Empire Star Jussie Smollett Arrested After Being Charged With Falsifying a Police ReportEmpire star Jussie Smollett was arrested in Chicago after being charged with filing a false report for his claim he was the victim of a racist and homophobic attack.



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Empire star Jussie Smollett arrested after being charged with lying to police over race hate attack

Empire star Jussie Smollett arrested after being charged with lying to police over race hate attackActor Jussie Smollett has been arrested after he was charged with lying to police when he claimed he was attacked and beaten by two masked men shouting racist and homophobic slurs, Chicago police said on Thursday on Twitter. Smollett, a 36-year-old black, openly gay actor on the hip-hop TV drama Empire, ignited a firestorm on social media by telling police on Jan. 29 that two men had struck him, put a noose around his neck and poured bleach over him. Smollett turned himself in at central booking, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was scheduled to hold a Thursday morning news conference to announce Smollett's arrest and Smollett was expected to appear in court later in the day. The whispers about Smollett started with reports that he had not fully cooperated with police after telling authorities he was attacked. Then detectives in a city bristling with surveillance cameras could not find video of the beating. Later, two brothers were taken into custody for questioning but were released after two days, with police saying they were no longer suspects. Following three weeks of mounting suspicions, Smollett was charged Wednesday with making a false police report, a charge that could bring up to three years in prison and force the actor, who is openly gay, to pay for the cost of the investigation into his report of a Jan. 29 beating. In less than a month, the 36-year-old changed from being the seemingly sympathetic victim of a hate crime to being accused of fabricating the entire thing. People attend a rally in support of actor Jussie Smollett in the Manhattan borough of New York City Credit: Reuters The felony disorderly conduct charge emerged on the same day detectives and the two brothers testified before a grand jury. Smollett's attorneys met with prosecutors and police, but it was unknown what they discussed or whether Smollett attended the meeting. In a statement, attorneys Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said Smollett "enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked." The announcement of the charges followed a flurry of activity in recent days, including lengthy police interviews of the brothers, a search of their home and their release after officers cleared them. Investigators have not said what the brothers told detectives or what evidence detectives collected. But it became increasingly clear that serious questions had arisen about Smollett's account – something police signaled Friday when they announced a "significant shift in the trajectory" of the probe after the brothers were freed. Interview with actor Jussie Smollett on ABC's "Good Morning America" Credit: Getty Smollett, who plays a gay character on the hit Fox television show Empire, said he was attacked Jan. 29 as he was walking home from a downtown Subway sandwich shop. He said the masked men beat him, made derogatory comments and yelled "This is MAGA country" – an apparent reference to Donald Trump, the US president, and his campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again" – before fleeing. Earlier Wednesday, Fox Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Television issued a statement saying Smollett "continues to be a consummate professional on set" and that his character is not being written off the show. The series is shot in Chicago and follows a black family as they navigate the ups and downs of the recording industry. The studio's statement followed reports that Smollett's role was being slashed amid the police investigation. After reviewing hundreds of hours of video, detectives did find and release images of two people they said they wanted to question and last week picked up the brothers at O'Hare Airport as they returned from Nigeria. Police questioned the men and searched their apartment. The brothers, who were identified by their attorney as Abimbola "Abel" and Olabinjo "Ola" Osundairo, were held for nearly 48 hours on suspicion of assaulting Smollett. The day after they were released, police said the men provided information that had "shifted the trajectory of the investigation," and detectives requested another interview with Smollett. Attorney Gloria Schmidt speaks to reporters at the at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago Credit: Reuters Police said one of the men had appeared on Empire, and Smollett's attorneys said one of the men is the actor's personal trainer, whom he hired to help get him physically ready for a music video. The actor released his debut album, "Sum of My Music," last year. Smollett was charged by prosecutors, not the grand jury. The police spokesman said the brothers appeared before the panel to "lock in their testimony." Speaking outside the courthouse where the grand jury met, the brothers' attorney said the two men testified for about two and a half hours. "There was a point where this story needed to be told, and they manned up and they said we're going to correct this," Gloria Schmidt said. She said her clients did not care about a plea deal or immunity. "You don't need immunity when you have the truth," she said. She also said her clients received money from Smollett, but she did not elaborate. Kim Foxx, Chicago's top prosecutor, recused herself from the investigation into the attack reported by "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett  Credit: AP Smollett has been active in LBGTQ issues, and initial reports of the assault drew outrage and support for him on social media, including from Sen. Kamala Harris of California and TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. Referring to a published account of the attack, President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that "it doesn't get worse, as far as I'm concerned." But several hours after Smollett was declared a suspect and the charges announced, there was little reaction from celebrities online. Former Cook County prosecutor Andrew Weisberg said judges rarely throw defendants in prison for making false reports, opting instead to place them on probation, particularly if they have no prior criminal record. Sign up for your essential, twice-daily briefing from The Telegraph with our free Front Page newsletter.



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Shamima Begum: Being stripped of my British citizenship is hard to swallow and unjust

Shamima Begum: Being stripped of my British citizenship is hard to swallow and unjustShamima Begum, the Isil bride, has described being stripped of her British citizenship is "unjust" and "hard to swallow" after she was shown the Home Office's documentation of the decision.  The 19-year-old, who had expressed the desire to return to the UK with her newborn son, was banned on Tuesday from entering the country. At a refugee camp in northeastern Syria, she was shown the Government's letter, showing that she is no longer a British national.  "I don't know what to say," she told ITV News. "I am not that shocked but I am a bit shocked. It’s a bit upsetting and frustrating. I feel like it’s a bit unjust on me and my son." She added: "It’s kind of heart-breaking to read. My family made it sound like it would be a lot easier for me to come back to the UK when I was speaking to them in Baghouz. It’s kind of hard to swallow." Isil bride Shamima Begum | Read more Begum claimed that she was being treated harshly because "I was on the news four years ago", saying that she heard of "other people being sent back to Britain".  "I don't know why my case is any different," she added.  International law forbids nations from making people stateless by revoking their only citizenship, prompting speculation that Begum held dual citizenship through her Bangladeshi parents. But on Wednesday morning, Begum's lawyer Tasnime Akunjee said his client does not have dual nationality.  While her family have said they are "considering all legal avenues to challenge this decision", Begum said she may explore a potential citizenship route through her Dutch husband. "Another option I might try with my family is my husband is from Holland and he has family in Holland," she said. "Maybe I can ask for citizenship in Holland. If he gets sent back to prison in Holland I can just wait for him while he is in prison." She married Isil fighter Yago Riedjik in Syria having travelled to the Middle East from Bethnal Green in east London in 2014. Begum have birth to their third child on Sunday. Her two other children died in Syria.  Shamima Begum's Dutch-born husband Yago Riedjik In a letter sent to her family in Bethnal Green, east London, on Tuesday, officials said the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, had made the decision in "light of the circumstances". The letter read: "Please find enclosed papers that relate to a decision taken by the Home Secretary, to deprive your daughter, Shamima Begum, of her British citizenship. "In light of the circumstances of your daughter, the notice of the Home Secretary's decision has been served of file today (19th February), and the order removing her British citizenship has subsequently been made." The letter went on to urge Ms Begum's family to make the teenager aware of the decision, but added that she had a right to appeal. Isil schoolgirls' journey into Syria In a statement the family's lawyer said they were very disappointed by the move. Despite saying she wants to bring her baby son up in the peace and security of the UK, Begum has insisted she has no regrets about travelling to Syria. She has also been criticised for likening the deaths of 22 people in the Manchester Arena terror attack to the civilians being bombed in Isil territory. Begum defends Manchester Arena bombing The teenager, who gave birth to a baby boy on the weekend, appeared to defend the Manchester Arena bombing as tit-for-tat retaliation for air strikes in Syria.  In an interview with the BBC, she said the deaths of 22 innocent people in the terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in 2017 were akin to the "women and children" being bombed in Isil territory in Baghuz. She told the broadcaster: "I do feel that it's wrong that innocent people did get killed. It's one thing to kill a soldier that is fighting you, it's self-defence, but to kill the people like women and children… "Just people like the women and children in Baghuz that are being killed right now unjustly, the bombings. It's a two-way thing really. "Because women and children are being killed back in the Islamic State right now and it's kind of retaliation. Like, their justification was that it was retaliation so I thought 'OK, that is a fair justification'." She was partly inspired by videos of fighters beheading hostages and partly by other propaganda films showing the "good life" IS could offer. 'Show me some sympathy', says Isil bride after giving birth The British schoolgirl who ran away to join Isil appealed for public sympathy following the birth of her son on Sunday. In an interview with Sky News recorded at the Kurdish-controlled camp to which she fled from the last pocket of Isil-controlled territory, Begum said there was "no evidence" she had done anything wrong and she could not see "any reason" why her child should be taken from her when she had simply been living as a housewife. Speaking just hours after giving birth, her baby at her side, she said she had no regrets about fleeing the family home in Bethnal Green, east London, to support Isil, claiming the experience had made her "stronger, tougher". She said she could see a future for herself and her son, whom she has named Jarah after one of the two children she lost to malnutrition and disease in the last three months, "if the UK are willing to take me back and help me start a new life again and try and move on from everything that’s happened in the last four years". She added: "I wouldn’t have found someone like my husband [Yago Riedijk, 26, a Muslim convert from the Netherlands] in the UK. I had my kids, I had a good time there." Her other children, Jarah and Surayah, a daughter, died aged 18 months and nine months. Asked how she felt about the debate over whether she should be allowed to return home, Begum said: "I feel a lot of people should have sympathy for me, for everything I’ve been through. "I didn’t know what I was getting into when I left, I just was hoping that maybe for the sake of me and my child they let me come back.  "I can’t live in this camp forever. It’s not really possible." In the interview, Begum apologised for the first time to her family for running away, and said that though she knew it was "like a big slap in the face" for her to ask after she had previously rejected their calls for her to return, "I really need their help".   Begum was 'OK' with Isil beheadings   The Isil bride said last week she was attracted to Isil by videos that she had seen online, which she said showed "how they’ll take care of you". She said she knew that the group carried out beheadings, but that she "was OK with it at first. I started becoming religious just before I left and from what I heard Islamically that is all allowed". "At first it was nice," she said of life in the so-called Islamic State. "It was how they showed it in the videos, you know, you come, make a family together, but then things got harder.  "We had to keep moving and moving and moving. The situation got fraught." Begum acknowledged that it would be "really hard" to be rehabilitated after everything she had been through.   "I’m still in that mentality of planes over my head, emergency backpacks, starving… it would be a big shock to go back to the UK and start again," she said. READ MORE: Allison Pearson: Thank God, Sajid Javid grasped Shamima Begum is the one person uniting Britain – against her READ MORE: Allison Pearson:  Sorry my heartless little jihadi bride, but you made your bed and now you can lie in it



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Man awarded £120m in compensation from Ford after being paralysed in car accident

Man awarded £120m in compensation from Ford after being paralysed in car accidentAn Alabama jury has awarded $ 151.8m (£117.4m) to a young man paralyzed in a 2015 rollover accident involving a Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle, Ford and lawyers in the case said on Sunday. The jury awarded $ 100m in punitive damages and the rest in compensatory damages after finding that the 1998 Ford Explorer did not meet the company’s own safety guidelines, according to a court document seen by Reuters and lawyers for plaintiff Travaris “Tre” Smith. The document, released on Friday, said Ford “acted wantonly” in designing the vehicle.



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Employee being fired fatally shoots 5 co-workers with 'laser-sighted pistol' in Illinois

Employee being fired fatally shoots 5 co-workers with 'laser-sighted pistol' in IllinoisA 15-year employee being fired from a suburban Chicago manufacturing company opened fire with a laser-sighted pistol on Friday, killing five co-workers and wounding five police officers before he was killed by police, authorities said. Aurora, Illinois, Police Chief Kristen Ziman said 45-year-old Gary Martin "was being terminated" before he started shooting at the Henry Pratt Co. – which makes valves for industrial purposes – in the city about 40 miles west of Chicago. She told a news conference that in addition to the five employees killed, a sixth worker was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life threatening. A sixth police officer suffered a knee injury while officers were searching the building. Ziman said officers arrived within four minutes of receiving reports of the shooting and were fired upon as soon as they entered the 29,000-square-foot manufacturing warehouse. Police said they did not know the gunman's motive. John Probst, a worker who was in the factory, said the gunman had arrived for his regular shift, working in assembly, and opened fire several hours later. Mr Probst told local television: "I saw a gunman running down the aisle with a pistol, I recognised him as a co-worker and he was shooting everybody. "As soon as we heard shots, as soon as I saw the green laser thing, we took off out the back door." Mr Probst said the plant was "huge" and the man worked about 80 yards from him. First responders and emergency vehicles are gathered near the scene of a shooting at an industrial park in Aurora Credit: Bev Horne/ Daily Herald Before the shooting the gunman walked past him and went upstairs to the office, he said. Aurora, a city of 200,000 people, is 40 miles west of Chicago. In a statement Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said: "The President has been briefed and is monitoring the ongoing situation in Aurora,



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Illinois factory gunman killed victims after being fired

Illinois factory gunman killed victims after being firedGary Martin, 45, armed himself with a .40 caliber handgun, which he owned illegally, before reporting for a meeting where he was told he was fired, Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman told a news conference. Most of the workers killed in the shooting on Friday at the Henry Pratt Company plant, 40 miles (65 km) west of Chicago, were in the room where Martin was terminated, Ziman said. Five police officers were wounded by gunfire before Martin was killed in a shootout with police.



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Venezuela's Opposition Leader Says Humanitarian Aid Is Slowly Being Delivered

Venezuela's Opposition Leader Says Humanitarian Aid Is Slowly Being DeliveredSupplies sent to Venezuela had so far been blocked by the military, under Maduro's orders, from entering the crisis-stricken country



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Ilhan Omar 'unequivocally apologises' after being accused of antisemitism over Israel tweets

Ilhan Omar 'unequivocally apologises' after being accused of antisemitism over Israel tweetsIlhan Omar, a newly elected US congresswoman, has been accused of antisemitism after she criticised a pro-Israel lobby group online. In two tweets posted late on Sunday night the Minnesota Democrat implied that funding from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was responsible for US politicans’ support for Benjamin Netanyahu‘s controversial Israeli government. Following calls from fellow Democrats for her to apologise, Ms Omar has since posted a message on her Twitter account acknowledging the backlash.



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Colorado man chokes mountain lion to death with his bare hands after being attacked

Colorado man chokes mountain lion to death with his bare hands after being attackedExercising in the wilderness always comes with its share of risks, but one Colorado man got far more than he bargained for when a mountain lion attacked him during a trail run earlier this week. The unidentified man suffered serious injuries in the attack, but managed to escape with his life thanks to some quick thinking and a good bit of luck.As the Coloradoan reports, the man was running in Horsetooth Mountain Park when he was attacked from behind by what park staff identified as a juvenile mountain lion. The big cat bit the man's face and arm but he was able to shake himself loose, at which point he strangled the lion by wrapping his hands around its throat.The animal suffocated and died, and the man sought immediate medical attention for his injuries. Wildlife officials note that the man's response was appropriate and a good example of how you might be able to save yourself from an animal attack under the right circumstances."The runner did everything he could to save his life,'' Mark Leslie of Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in a statement. "In the event of a lion attack, you need to do anything in your power to fight back just as this gentleman did.''Mountain lion attacks on humans are incredibly rare. Many areas of Colorado have stable mountain lion populations in the wild and incidents between humans and the big cats are scarcely reported. In this particular case, the man came out on top, but luck probably played a big role.According to reports, the mountain lion was estimated to weigh around 80 pounds and officials believe it was less than a year old. Adult mountain lions can easily top 150 pounds and it's not unheard of for males to top 200 pounds or more. Put simply, it wouldn't be wise to pick a fight with a mountain lion and expect a result like this one.



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JetBlue flight makes emergency landing after being struck by lightning

JetBlue flight makes emergency landing after being struck by lightningA JetBlue flight headed to New York needed to make an emergency landing Thursday morning after the flight crew reported a lightning strike.



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