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Anderson Cooper on Kathy Griffin: ‘I think she’ll bounce back’

Things between Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper are going well, according to the CNN night-side host. 

>> Read more trending news 

Cooper recently sat down with Andy Cohen and opened up about his friendship with his former CNN New Year’s Eve co-host after her recent scandal involving a photo of a beheaded President Donald Trump that lead to her dismissal from the network.

>> Related: Kathy Griffin says she was bullied by Trump family, claims Trump is ‘personally trying to ruin’ her life

“Yeah, we’re still friends,” he said when asked about their relationship. “Look, I said what I said ... I didn’t think what she said was appropriate.

“I wish her the best. I hope she bounces back. She’s incredibly funny, and a lot of people love her, and I think she’ll bounce back from this.”

“I do, too,” Cohen said.

>> Related: Kathy Griffin interviewed by Secret Service

After sharing the photos, Griffin faced serious backlash from many critics, including supporters of the president, first lady Melania Trump and Cooper.

“For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in,” he said in June following the scandal. “It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate.”

Soon after, Griffin issued an apology and asked for forgiveness. She has been keeping a low profile in the last two months.

>> Related: Kathy Griffin tour dates scrapped amid uproar over Trump bloody head photo

These 18 countries allow transgender people in their militaries

In a series of tweets Wednesday, President Donald Trump said transgender people will be barred from serving in the U.S. military “in any capacity.”

» RELATED: Trump: Transgender people won't be allowed in the military 

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail,” he wrote.

In 2015, the National Center for Transgender Equality estimated 15,000 trans people served in the U.S. military.

>> Read more trending news

The Pentagon ended the ban on transgender people in the military last year, placing the United States in the company of at least 18 other countries that allow trans people to serve in their militaries, according to a 2014 report from the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies.

» RELATED: QUIZ: How well do you know transgender Americans? 

Researchers behind the “LGBT Military Personnel: a Strategic Vision for Inclusion” report analyzed policies regarding LGBT inclusion in more than 100 countries and ranked them based on four principles: admission, tolerance, exclusion and persecution — each determined by a total of 19 different indicators, including transgender personnel.

Here are 18 countries that allow trans military personnel, according to the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies report:

  1. Australia
  2. Austria
  3. Belgium
  4. Bolivia
  5. Canada
  6. Czech Republic
  7. Denmark
  8. Estonia
  9. Finland
  10. France
  11. Germany
  12. Israel
  13. Netherlands
  14. New Zealand
  15. Norway
  16. Spain
  17. Sweden
  18. United Kingdom

» RELATED: Trump breaks tradition, doesn't recognize LGBT Pride Month

But even in those countries that researchers found inclusive to trans military members, several have set specific policies regarding trans personnel.

For example, in the United Kingdom, trans individuals should have finished transitioning before they serve.

It’s similar in Belgium, where policies state a person must undergo surgery and sterilization for the military to recognize their identified gender.

Australia’s Air Force, on the other hand, offers assistance in transitioning.

Read the full report from the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies.

Large electronics will have to be screened under new TSA carry-on policy

Passengers traveling through America’s airports will have to separate large electronics from their carry-on baggage under new screening procedures announced Wednesday by the Transportation Security Administration.

>> Read more trending 

Travelers will be required to remove electronics that are larger than a cellphone from carry-on baggage so the electronics can undergo X-ray screening in an effort aimed at upgrading the nation’s aviation security, officials said. The change does not apply to passengers who are part of the TSA Precheck program.

“It is critical for (the) TSA to constantly enhance and adjust security screening procedures to stay ahead of evolving threats and keep passengers safe,” acting TSA administrator Huban Gowadia said in a news release. “By separating personal electronic items such as laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles for screening, TSA officers can more closely focus on resolving alarms and stopping terror threats.”

The security change was announced after it was tested in 10 airports, including Boston’s Logan International Airport, Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Puerto Rico's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. The measure will be rolled out to the rest of the nation’s airfields in the coming months.

Officials said the strengthened screening policy might lead to additional baggage checks for passengers, but the TSA said it has found ways to speed the process up through “more targeted measures.”

The change does not affect what can be brought through a checkpoint.

Wednesday’s announcement came weeks after Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said flights coming into the United States would be required to conduct enhanced screening of electronic devices and passengers.

Officials announced in March that large personal electronic devices had been restricted at 10 airports in Africa and the Middle East due to security concerns. The restrictions have since been lifted.

Drone carrying cellphone, marijuana crashes in prison yard

A drone that crashed into the yard at Washington State Prison was loaded with cellphones, tobacco, oxycodone and marijuana, a Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Wednesday.

>> Read more trending news 

A growing problem, drones have become the newest way inmates have used to get contraband that can be sold to other prisoners for a significant profit.

Corrections spokeswoman Joan Heath said the drone crashed to the ground at the prison near Davisboro in east Georgia around 10:45 p.m. Monday. She said it was carrying four Samsung Galaxy J1 cellphones, 7.8 ounces of tobacco spilt between two baggies, a USB charger cable, a pound of marijuana divided into 16 individual bags and 31 C-230 oxycodone pills along with some broken piece of pills.

The state prison system has struggled for decades to stop contraband from getting to inmates, but they admitted prisoners are constantly finding ways to skirt any systems put in place to thwart them.

Tobacco is not allowed in Georgia prisons, so inmates sell it to each other for a significant mark up, and there is a market in the cell blocks for drugs as well.

There also is a demand for cellphones as prisoners use them to continue their criminal activities while still locked up. 

Between July 1, 2016, and the end of June this year, officers seized 9,379 cellphones from inmates and visitors at all 67 Georgia correctional facilities, which include secure prisons and lower-level facilities. 

The most common way inmates get such banned items is by paying correctional officers to smuggle them in or getting their friends and relatives to throw packages over perimeter fences. Unmanned drones are a relatively new approach.

For the most part, prison administrators only know that a drone has come and gone because pieces of packages dropped from the sky are found stuck in fences or in prison yards. 

Still, in 2013, four people were arrested in Morgan, Georgia, after they used a drone to carry two pounds of tobacco, a cellphone and binoculars to the yard at Calhoun State Prison. 

RELATED: Inmates break out, then back in

One-armed, machete-wielding clown arrested in Maine

Maine saw its first “creepy clown” sighting of the year on Tuesday when residents reported a machete-wielding man in a clown mask near their neighborhood.

WCSH in Portland reported that 911 dispatchers got multiple calls around 6 p.m. Tuesday from residents in Hollis, who reported that the man was walking near a convenience store before running off into a wooded area. 

Maine State Police troopers searched the woods for about an hour before the man emerged from the trees in Waterboro, more than 10 miles southwest of Hollis. A state police spokesman told WCSH that the man was identified as Corey Berry, 31, of Hollis.

Troopers who arrested Berry determined that the machete was duct-taped to the sleeve of his shirt where an amputated arm used to be, the news station reported. 

>> Read more trending news

Berry, who troopers said was very intoxicated, told the troopers he was attempting to play a prank in the vein of previous “creepy clown” sightings. 

He was charged with criminal threatening and released from the York County Jail on $200 bond, WCSH reported

What is the difference between transgender and transsexual?

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he is barring transgender people from serving in the military "in any capacity." 

Trump, in a series of tweets, cited "tremendous medical costs and disruption” as the reason he plans to ban transgender people from service.

What is a transgender person, the classification the president referenced, and what is the difference between transgender and transsexual?

What is transgender?

First, the difference between sex and gender is important to note. Gender is an internal sense of being male or female and is based on societal or cultural definitions of masculine or feminine. Sex refers to differences in chromosomes, hormones and external and internal sex organs. 

A person whose sense of identity does not correspond with their birth sex – for instance, a man who, despite having male genitalia, feels he is a woman – is considered transgender. Often, transgender people say they feel they were born in the wrong body.

What is transsexual?

A transsexual is a person who feels he or she belongs to the opposide sex, and physically transitions from male to female or vice versa. The transsexual person may use hormones or other medications to suppress or enhance characteristics of the opposite sex – such as facial hair, or more developed breasts.

Some transsexuals choose to have gender reassignment surgery – or surgery where a person's physical sexual characteristics are changed by surgery or hormone treatment.

Gender reassignment surgery, presumably the cost Trump was referring to in the tweets, averages around $140,450 to transition from male to female, and $124,400 to transition from female to male, according to the Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery. Those prices include hospital stays, anesthesia and other costs associated with surgery.

Sources: American Psychological Association; The Associated Press; The Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery

 

 

 

 

Don’t let clouds ruin your solar eclipse view — Use these maps to find clear skies near you

Millions of Americans are counting down the days until August’s rare total solar eclipse, the first to cross the nation coast to coast in nearly 100 years.

>> Read more trending news 

While there are a variety of excellent viewpoints for you to catch the celestial event in all its glory, it all comes down to where you’ll find the clearest skies on Monday, Aug. 21, according to GreatAmericanEclipse.com.

Thankfully, researchers at the University of Idaho created a weather map based on historical data showing where you’re most likely to experience completely clear skies.

The team at the university’s College of Natural Resources collected 16 years worth of daily satellite observations from the NASA Terra Satellite’s MODIS sensor and used multiple NASA data sets to develop the Clear Sky Probability Map.

» RELATED: These are the best places to see the incredibly rare Great American Eclipse coming next month 

“There have been many maps created to document the path of the eclipse through the United States and the world,” associate professor Luigi Boschetti said on the university website. “However, this map is unique because we have added information on the probability of clear skies – meaning how well you will actually be able to see the eclipse from where you are located in the U.S.”

Based on historical data, the western United States (mostly colored in blue hues) has the highest chance of experiencing clear skies.

» RELATED: 7 things to know about the rare total solar eclipse crossing the nation this August 

However, as the eclipse travels east, viewing conditions will get worse.

One map, developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows predicted cloudiness on the day of the eclipse based on historical data, the Washington Post reported.

» RELATED: This is the most accurate map of the Great American Eclipse’s path of totality to date

NOAA researchers relied on 10 years of data collected from ground observations instead of satellite data to create the Average Historical Cloudiness map for Aug. 21.

While the University of Idaho’s map shows the likeliness of having totally clear skies on Aug. 21, NOAA’s map indicates the average percentage of cloudiness in each area.

NOAA researchers found coastal regions and areas east of the Mississippi River may be more susceptible to cloudier conditions on Aug. 21 compared to other areas.

» RELATED: A solar eclipse can blind you — here’s how to stay safe during August’s Great American Eclipse

They identified Rexburg, Idaho; Casper, Wyoming; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Carbondale, Illinois, as areas that historically experience clear skies during that time.

Explore the map and interactive tool at ncei.noaa.gov.

Traces of weedkiller found in 10 Ben & Jerry's flavors

Traces of a chemical used in weedkillers has been found in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream products, according to a report.

>> Read more trending news 

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) reported the finding, claiming to have found glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, in at least 10 of the popular ice cream companies flavors.

Herbicides, commonly known as weedkillers, are chemical substances toxic to plants used to control vegetation and destroy unwanted plants.

>> Related: Ben & Jerry’s celebrate Bob Marley with One Love flavor

The association found the herbicide in the following flavors: Peanut Butter Cup, Peanut Butter Cookie, Vanilla (two versions), Phish Food, The Tonight Dough, Half Baked, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Americone Dream and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. 

Cherry Garcia, the 11th flavor sampled, tested negative for glyphosate.

>> Related: Police group boycotts Ben & Jerry's after company announces support for Black Lives Matter

But according to scientists, the amount is small and well below the legal limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the government agency in charge of setting a ceiling on the amount of glyphosate allowed in food.

One calculation, found by John Fagan, the chief executive of the Health Research Institute Laboratories, which did the testing for the OCA, found that “a 75-pound child would have to consume 145,000 eight-ounce servings a day of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream to hit the limit set by the EPA,” the New York Times reported.

Fagan said an adult would have to eat 290,000 servings to hit the agency’s limit.

“Based on these government thresholds, the levels found in Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream would seem totally irrelevant,” Fagon told the Times.

But the OCA is advising Ben & Jerry’s, whose brand is known for environmental advocacy, to transition to using only organic ingredients, including milk, in its products. The organization is urging natural and organic food stores to halt sales of Ben & Jerry’s products until the brand does so.

>> Related: Ben & Jerry's co-founders arrested during protests at U.S. Capitol

Read more at the New York Times.

Disabled woman sues 40 businesses for discrimination

A lawyer for a disabled Jacksonville woman has filed 40 lawsuits in her name within the past six months.

Each lawsuit accuses local small businesses of discriminating against her.

>> Read more trending news

Action News Jax began investigating the claims a month ago.

On Tuesday, four more lawsuits were filed.

Several owners of the businesses being sued for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act tell Action News Jax the lawsuits aren’t about access, but are instead a shakedown of mom and pop shops for money.

On St. Johns Bluff Road, Wanda Moore sued Mama Lu’s Filipino and Chinese Restaurant, Pit Stop 2 next door, and Lucky Food Mart a few doors down all on the same day.

Mama Lu’s is disabled veteran Dan Turner’s favorite place for takeout.

“You can get a beef fried rice for like, $4 or $5. You can’t beat that,” said Turner.

Turner showed up to order a meal recently, only to discover Mama Lu’s was closed for renovations.

“When I found the doors closed, I couldn’t believe it,” said Turner.

Turner found out the restaurant was being sued for failing to comply with the ADA.

A disabled veteran himself, he wanted to know more. 

He found the same woman, a double amputee named Moore, had filed more than three dozen lawsuits in the past six months, nearly all against small businesses.

“That’s like a fishing expedition. Somebody’s going around, saying, ‘I’m going to sue this person, this person and this person,’” said Turner.

The attorney and chiropractor behind all of Moore’s lawsuits is Robert Gibson.

He bills himself as The Law Doc.

The 40 lawsuits allege a range of violations, including out of compliance handicap parking spots, improper ramps, lack of handrails in bathrooms, and countertops being too high.

Gibson repeatedly refused to have a conversation with Action New Jax reporter Jenna Bourne, but he had his paralegal send a statement.

The statement said Gibson sends each business a “pre-suit notice giving them an opportunity to make the corrections to avoid a lawsuit.”

Beach Road Chicken Dinners was one of them.

“Scam, fraud, however you want to word it,” said Beach Road Chicken co-owner Ken Ferger.

Ferger said the purpose of Gibson’s pre-suit notice was to get him to settle.

“It appears that they’ve gone to smaller operations that, oh, they’ll more likely settle,” said Ferger.

Instead, Ferger made changes to his parking lot, ramp and more.

Action News Jax found a few things at the restaurant, like the height of the paper towel dispenser, are still not compliant. The paper towel dispenser in the women’s handicap stall was 6 inches higher than the ADA requires.

A new Florida law took effect this month that can prevent a business that’s the subject of an ADA lawsuit from having to pay up, if they show they’re working on a plan to fix the problems.

In the meantime, Ferger is warning other mom and pop shops.

“I don’t believe that this woman and her attorney are that altruistic, all over town,” said Ferger.

The lawsuits claim Moore went to several of the businesses she’s suing all on the same day.

Action News Jax went to Moore’s home on Tuesday to try to get her side of the story, but no one came to the door.

Businesses Moore and Gibson are currently suing:

  • Bono's Pit Bar B Q
  • Captain D's
  • Sunrise Caribbean Gourmet, Inc.
  • Harry's Food Mart
  • Exxon Food Mart
  • Saltologie
  • Another Broken Egg Café
  • Amy's Turn
  • Sheik The Restaurant
  • Beach Road Chicken Dinners
  • Hook Fish & Chicken (Atlantic Blvd)
  • Sam Won Garden Restaurant
  • Hook Fish And Chicken (Ramona Blvd)
  • Famous Sandwiches
  • Ramona Food Store
  • Mr. Dragon Chinese Restaurant
  • New China Restaurant
  • Pit Stop 2
  • Mama Lu's Filipino & Chinese Restaurant
  • Tony's Super Dollar Store
  • Lucky Food Mart
  • Quick and Handy 121
  • Latin Creations
  • Northside Food Store
  • Russ-Doe’s Sandwich Shop
  • Gibbs NY Style Subs
  • Joelle Food Store
  • Country Cabin Orange Park
  • Moncrief Express
  • Wally's Gyros & Subs
  • H & H Discount Beverage, Inc.
  • Nicole's On The River
  • Ho Ho Chinese Restaurant
  • Sandwich House
  • Talleyrand Food Mart
  • Raceway #931
  • Beignet’s Caribbean Café
  • Parental Food Mart
  • Snappy Food Store
  • First Coast Deli & Grill

Senate Judiciary Committee withdraws Paul Manafort subpoena

The Senate Judiciary Committee dropped a subpoena late Tuesday that would have compelled President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort to testify publicly before the committee in its ongoing investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

>> Read more trending news

In a joint statement, committee Chairman Sen. Charles Grassley and ranking Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Manafort produced documents Tuesday after the subpoena was issued and agreed to meet with committee members in the future for an interview.

“It’s important that he and other witnesses continue to work with this committee as it fulfills its oversight responsibility,” the statement said. “Our investigation is still in its early stages, and we will continue to seek information from witnesses as necessary. … Cooperation from witnesses is always the preferred route, but this agreement does not prejudice the committee’s right to compel his testimony in the future.”

Grassley and Feinstein announced earlier Tuesday that the committee had subpoenaed Manafort, citing the inability to negotiate a private interview with the political consultant.

>> Related: Paul Manafort subpoenaed to testify about attempts to influence U.S. election

The panel was expected to question Manafort about his foreign political work on behalf of Ukrainian interests and a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Russian lawyer Natalie Veselnitskaya, Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

An email exchange released by the younger Trump earlier this month showed he believed that he would be getting intelligence that would hurt his father’s political rival Hillary Clinton at the meeting. In the emails, Rob Goldstone indicated that the Russian government was connected to the intelligence.

The younger Trump said he believed Goldstone and his associates were providing political opposition research.

>> Related: Donald Trump Jr. releases email exchange with Russian intermediary

Manafort met with Senate Intelligence Committee staff on Tuesday. The group is one of multiple congressional panels, along with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, investigating Russian interference in last year’s election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign.

The meeting, which happened behind closed doors, focused on Manafort’s recollection of the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, according to Politico. He agreed to turn over his notes from the meeting and spokesman Jason Maloni told the news site that Manafort “answered their questions fully.”

Manafort’s team requested the meeting and committed to meeting with investigators again, Politico reported.

Kushner was also on Capitol Hill Tuesday, where he met with the House Intelligence Committee, The Washington Post reported. The meeting marked the second day of interviews for Kushner, who on Tuesday met with the Senate Intelligence Committee.

In a statement after the closed session, Kushner plainly denied allegations of collusion. 

>> Related: Jared Kushner: ‘I did not collude with Russia’

“I did not collude with Russians, nor do I know of anyone in the campaign who did so,” he said.

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