College student avoids suspension after grading, posting ex-girlfriend’s apology note

A college student who faced suspension after tweeting an apology letter from his ex-girlfriend, which he ‘graded’ for errors, has successfully appealed the penalty. What was supposed to be a joke turned out to be much more than the man bargained for.

Nick Lutz, 21, who felt betrayed by his ex-girlfriend, sent the apology she wrote him to his friends, who gave him the idea to grade the apology and return it to the woman.

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Lutz scanned through and made comments on the letter with a red pen and ultimately came to a final grade of 61 out of 100, a D-minus. He posted the graded letter on Twitter in February, and it eventually went viral.

The woman who wrote the note felt as if she was being cyber bullied and went to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, but nothing moved forward there. The ex-girlfriend then filed a grievance at Lutz’s school, the University of Central Florida, where she is not a student.

UCF was less than pleased with the hugely popular tweet and decided to suspend Lutz, a senior, for the summer and fall 2017 semesters. UCF also assigned him a mentor while placing him on probation until graduation.

The school had said that Lutz violated their code of conduct, because the post was “disruptive” and “harmful,” the Miami Herald reported.

On Wednesday, the school charges against him were revoked, a press release posted on Facebook from his attorney, Jacob V. Stuart, showed.

On Monday, Lutz posted to Facebook and spoke about how trying the case had been on him and his family. He also shared his appeal letter that was sent by his lawyer to UCF.

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Before the school dropped its charges, Lutz’s attorney had asked, “How does UCF decide what’s morally harmful?” the Herald reported.

“There was nothing derogatory about it. It was obvious he was making fun of her, but that’s the beauty of the Constitution,” he added.

Lutz pointed out some spelling mistakes in the now-infamous letter. “The thought of you has made me loose my sanity,” she wrote. “Lose,” Lutz wrote, as he changed the misspelled word.

The ex-girlfriend also made blatant attempts to win back Lutz in the written apology. “I just hope to God you have thought about me like I have you,” she wrote. Lutz replied with a red arrow pointed to the error, “I have not,” he wrote.

The spiteful UCF student gave an explanation for the final grade left on the note.

“Long intro, short conclusion, strong hypothesis but nothing to back it up,” Lutz explained at the end of the letter.

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John McCain Diagnosed with Brain Cancer

Sen. John McCainDiagnosed with Brain Cancer

7/19/2017 5:20 PM PDT

Breaking News

John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

Pathology was performed following McCain’s surgery Friday to remove a blood clot, and tests showed the presence of a “primary brain tumor” known as glioblastoma.

The family is now considering treatment options with his Mayo Clinic team of doctors. 

The 80-year-old Senator was resting at home following the removal of the blood clot last week. His absence from Congress led Republicans to defer the vote on the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

His office did not reveal a prognosis. 


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Iraq buys ‘large batch’ of T-90 tanks – Kremlin aide

A Kremlin aide has confirmed that the Iraqi armed forces will soon take delivery of Russian-made T-90 battle tanks. The Russian hardware will be deployed alongside the US M1A1 Abrams tanks.

“A significant contract for a large batch” of T-90 tanks, has been signed between Baghdad and manufacturer Uralvagonzavod, Vladimir Kozhin, an aide to the Russian president on military-technical cooperation told the Izvestiya daily.

“I cannot disclose the exact cost [of the tank contract] but the number [of tanks] is substantial,” Kozhin added.

Earlier, Uralvagonzavod indicated that it will deliver 73 T-90S/SK tanks to Iraq this year. A yearly report for 2016 published earlier in July by the manufacturer mentioned a contract with “foreign customer 368”, i.e. Iraq, to be fulfilled in 2017.

T-90S is the designation of the export version of the armor while “SK” stands for the export version meant for a unit commander.

Iraq’s Ministry of Defense has also confirmed the purchase of the Russian tanks.

According to Izvestiya’s report, the shipment of 70 T-90 would be followed by more deliveries. The armor sale may amount to “hundreds” of tanks and surpass $ 1 billion.

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A Tu-95MS bomber launches a Kh-101 cruise missile © Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation

Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, which supervises Moscow’s arms trade, declined to comment on the details.

Iraq made the decision to purchase the Russian military hardware following the successful performance of the tanks in Syria, the publication noted.

Highlighting the growing demand for Russian weaponry given their effectiveness in Syria, President Vladimir Putin earlier this month noted the need to expand Russian arms sales abroad.

Putin stressed though, that the proliferation of military technology should in no way impact negatively on the strategic balance of power in regions where the weapons are sold to. Instead of fueling conflict, weapons should be used to prevent it, the Russian leader emphasized.

“All our decisions on supplies of arms to external markets are based on the current international situation in various regions – in order to prevent any imbalances and to avoid an escalation of conflicts. On the contrary, our weapons must be used to contain conflicts at the early stages,” Putin underlined.

Kozhin meanwhile told the Izvestiya newspaper that Kuwait is also interested in purchasing the T-90s.

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Cuomo, de Blasio spar over fancy MTA bridge lights

With the subway system crippled by delays and fires, the state plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on adding razzle-dazzle, choreographed light shows to Metropolitan Transportation Authority bridges.

Disclosure of the outlays proposed by Gov. Cuomo drew the scorn of Mayor de Blasio as the two officials wage guerrilla warfare over who will pay for a mass transit rescue soon to be unveiled by MTA Chairman Joe Lhota.

The state funds most of the MTA’s capital plan. Cuomo has vowed to boost support by $ 1 billion next year while pressing a resistant de Blasio to pony up as well.

De Blasio pushed back at the governor Wednesday.

New Yorkers lay blame for NYC transit woes on Gov. Cuomo: poll

“I can tell you that people that ride the subways are not interested in a light show,” de Blasio said. “They’re interested in getting the trains to run on time and they’re interested in being able to get to work, and that’s what we should focus the resources on going forward.”

The program to outfit the bridges with LED lights is slated to cost about $ 216 million, according to the minutes of a New York Power Authority meeting held in March. That expense comes as commuters have begged Cuomo to steer more of the state-run MTA’s money toward city subways, with chronic delays wrecking commutes and endangering employment.

The Cuomo administration said the $ 216 million figure was just a placeholder — and that, though lights will be gracing MTA bridges, the MTA won’t pick up the bill.

“The funding of these lights are not an MTA issue,” Lhota told the Daily News.

MTA boss urges staff to provide quality service riders deserve

Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever said, “The mayor should know the facts before speaking. The MTA will not pay for the Harbor of Lights proposal — period.”

“It is an economic development and energy-efficiency proposal that would be paid for by” the Empire State Development and the New York Power Authority.

That’s not the impression the power authority was under in March — its meeting minutes indicate the cost would be picked up or recovered by the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, an arm of the MTA. A spokeswoman for the power agency said those discussions were premature.

A top MTA official told the Daily News the original understanding was that the money would indeed come from the TBTA, with the power authority tasked with actually raising it.

Cuomo announces $ 1 billion infusion of state funds to repair MTA

Whether the money comes directly from the MTA or not, it will come from the state, which controls the MTA. The state has argued it will spur economic development by drawing tourists who will be enamored by the LED lights, which can be set to music played by local radio stations, while they take in the city skyline. Officials also said they’re more energy efficient and will wind up saving money.

The aerial aesthetics come as the city is in the grips of a subway crisis — and as de Blasio has called on the state to shift resources to the subway system while refusing to contribute more from the city.

It also comes after Cuomo has touted other creature comfort upgrades to the transit system, like wireless internet and USB outlets to charge cell phones.

De Blasio argued those are good ideas — but only if the “basics of the system are working.”

State GOP chief rips Cuomo over ski centers receiving MTA money

“I never want to take away from efforts to improve the quality of life once you’re on a subway but much more important is: does that subway ever show up? And does that train ever come? And does it get you where you want to go?” he asked. “I would say those are good things but they’re not the priority.”

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

The city has been gripped by a growing subway crisis, but among Gov. Cuomo’s priorities for the MTA are his highly touted choreographed light shows on its bridges.

(Marcus Santos)

De Blasio has repeatedly emphasized that the state runs the MTA and pushed back at the notion that the city should pony up more cash.

Cuomo’s office countered the city “owns” the subways — referring to the technicalities of how the system is leased to the MTA, which operates it.

“The mayor should also read the law,” Lever said. “New York City owns the subway and is solely responsible for funding its capital plan. Most people would call that control, and if he cares about commuters he should put his money where his mouth is.”

Burning trash on track ignites chaos during morning rush hour

Historically, the state and debt service have funded much of the capital plan.

Front page of New York Daily News  on Tuesday features the chaotic morning rush hour caused by a subway track fire in Harlem.

Front page of New York Daily News on Tuesday features the chaotic morning rush hour caused by a subway track fire in Harlem.

(New York Daily News )

“We know riders are frustrated and they have every right to be, which is why the governor is focused on improving service with a $ 14 billion funding commitment and ordering a 30 day audit to overhaul the MTA,” Lever added.

The choreographed lights have already made a debut on the Kosciuszko Bridge — where they even put on a special Mother’s Day themed show. Covering the first of two spans of that bridge in the LED lights cost $ 4.5 million, though Cuomo’s office says that was only a little bit more than what it would have needed to spend on lights to make the bridge safe for boats and planes.

State officials note a similar program on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, which officials there told the press could boost the local economy by $ 97 million over two years. The banks alongside the Bay Bridge feature upscale eateries with bridge views. The banks alongside the Kosciuszko, which crosses Newtown Creek, feature a waste transfer station and National Grid energy facility.

De Blasio throws shade at MTA with praise for Chicago mayor op-ed

Meanwhile, electrical and signal problems have plagued the subways, and earlier this week a track fire caused by trash crippled the morning commute — leading Lhota to suggest banning food on the trains.

Electrical and signal problems have plagued the subways, and earlier this week a track fire caused by trash crippled the morning commute — leading MTA Chairman Joe Lhota to suggest banning food on the trains.

Electrical and signal problems have plagued the subways, and earlier this week a track fire caused by trash crippled the morning commute — leading MTA Chairman Joe Lhota to suggest banning food on the trains.

(Go Nakamura/New York Daily News)

But de Blasio, who pointed to his train-riding-heyday of 1979 to 1999, said in those years not being able to eat underground would be “inconceivable.”

De Blasio said “I don’t think it’s fair to people to say you can’t eat on the subway” because “the time on the subway is often the only time you have to eat.”

Lhota chided the mayor for “finger-pointing,” and said “eating food on the subway is not a right.”

He said he wants “to find ways to prevent people from throwing certain food products on to the tracks, and it’s nothing but food for the rats and we need to stop it. So this is important.”

“The opportunity to eat a breakfast bar or protein bar, the opportunity for someone who is diabetic to eat an orange to regulate their blood sugar, those things are all absolutely necessary,” he said.

“When you see folks eating whole meals in styrofoam containers and sometimes it ends up on the floor, we have to be more respectful of the other passengers. We have to be more respectful of the fact that it’s our MTA . .. We need it to work efficiently and effectively and we need it to be clean.”

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Sen. John McCain diagnosed with brain cancer

Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with brain cancer, his office said in a statement Wednesday.

The Republican senator from Arizona has glioblastoma, a type of aggressive cancer, that was detected after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot from above his left eye at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix last Friday, Mayo Clinic doctors said. 

Glioblastomas are highly aggressive and can be found in the brain or the spinal cord, the American Brain Tumor Association says. The 80-year-old war veteran and his family are considering radiation and chemotherapy to treat the brain tumor. 

McCain was previously diagnosed with melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer, in 2000. He had three malignant melanomas removed in 1993, 2000 and 2002, according to CNN.

GOP leaders postpone health bill as McCain suffers blood clot

“The news of my father’s illness has affected every one of us in the McCain family. My grandmother, mother, brothers, sisters and I have all endured the shock of the news, and we live with the anxiety about what comes next,” his daughter Meghan McCain said in a statement. “It is an experience familiar to us, given my father’s previous battle with cancer.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) delayed the vote on the Republican health care bill due to McCain’s surgery.

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been diagnosed with brain cancer. 

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been diagnosed with brain cancer. 

(Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS)

A statement from the senator’s office says he is recovering “amazingly well.”

Many of the senator’s colleagues and the President were sending the senator their prayers. 

Health care bill won’t be saved when McCain returns, says Schumer

Former President Barack Obama, who ran against McCain in the 2008 presidential election, called his former opponent the “bravest fighter” he’s ever known.

“John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I’ve ever known,” Obama said in a tweet. “Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John.”

“@SenJohnMcCain is a hero to our Conference and a hero to our country,” McConnell tweeted.

0

Sen. John McCain underwent surgery last week to remove a blood clot from his left eye. 

(Brian Snyder/REUTERS)

“@SenJohnMcCain is a hero, a patriot and a fighter,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a tweet. “I am privileged to call him a friend.”

Sen. John McCain says U.S. leadership was better under Obama

“Few have served our nation more admirably than John McCain,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said in a statement. “He’s an American hero in every sense of the word.”

“As he’s shown his entire life, don’t bet against John McCain,” ex-President Bill Clinton tweeted. “Best wishes to him for a swift recovery.”

“Senator John McCain has always been a fighter,” President Trump, who blasted McCain in July 2015 saying he wasn’t a war hero, said in a statement. “Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy, and their entire family. Get well soon.”

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'Sin City' Dough On the Line as Frank Miller's Ex-Manager Sues

Sin City’s Frank MillerSued by Ex-Manager …Your New Partner Screwed Me, Called Me a ‘Bad Jew’

7/19/2017 5:44 PM PDT

EXCLUSIVE

Graphic novel icon Frank Miller let his conniving producing partner screw his faithful business manager out of more than a million bucks … according to a new lawsuit.

Mark Lichtman says he worked for Miller for 28 years — on projects like “Sin City,” “300,” “The Spirit” and “Sin City 2” — until “producer” Silenn Thomas came on the scene in 2006. According to docs, Thomas started defaming Lichtman in order to force him out of the picture.

In the suit, Lichtman says his contract entitled him to 10 percent commission from all of Miller’s projects, and everything was copacetic until Thomas started calling him incompetent and senile. He says Miller’s attorney told him he was fired in August 2014.

Even after that, Lichtman says Thomas sent him nasty emails calling him a “bad jew” for demanding his 10 percent for Miller’s projects. Then things got sad in 2016 — Lichtman says he heard Frank really missed him and wondered where he’d gone … leading Lichtman to believe Frank never wanted to fire him.

Still, Lichtman’s suing Miller and Thomas for more than $ 1 million.

Sources close to Miller say the lawsuit is suspiciously timed, since Comic Con’s going down this weekend. They add there’s little merit to these claims.


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Trump to end CIA support for anti-Assad forces in Syria – reports

The White House and the Central Intelligence Agency have declined to comment on reports that president Donald Trump has decided to end the CIA’s covert program of arming the so-called moderate rebels in Syria.

On Wednesday, US officials told the Washington Post (WP) and Reuters that Trump has decided to put an end to the covert CIA plan which began arming and training the so-called moderate Syrian rebels in 2013.

Authorized by President Barack Obama, the secret Timber Sycamore weapons supply and training initiative has served as the backbone of Washington’s strategy to topple the Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Two US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity with Reuters, said the covert CIA scheme has produced little results.

The Washington Post meanwhile claimed, based on their sources, that Trump’s reported intention to stop arming the rebels is the American president’s way of finding common ground with Russia on Syria.

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© Lucas Jackson

Moscow has always warned against arming the so-called moderate rebel groups in Syria, pointing out that weapons supplied to them often fall into the hands of jihadist groups such as Jabhat al Nusra and Islamic State.

Trump’s decision to end the CIA program was reportedly taken in consultation with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and national security adviser H.R. McMaster ahead of his meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg earlier this month. During that meeting, on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Trump and Putin reached a ceasefire agreement for southwest Syria.

The scrapping of the CIA’s Timber Sycamore program was not a precondition for the ceasefire negotiations, the US officials insisted.

Without sharing the details of the program’s demise, the unnamed US officials claimed that Timber Sycamore would be phased out over a period of months. The WP report also said the decision to end the operation is being supported by the Jordanians, where some of the CIA training has been taken place.

Varied US arms and training strategies to bolster rebel groups in Syria under the Obama administration have been notoriously underwhelming. In 2015, General Lloyd Austin, CENTCOM commander at the time, told Congress that only four or five of US-trained fighters have gone to Syria of the 5,000 the Pentagon envisaged.

READ MORE: ‘Total failure’: Only ‘4 or 5’ US-trained rebels are fighting in Syria, US general says

The Reuters report notes that the US will continue to support select Syrian rebel groups with airstrikes and guidance as part of a separate effort.

The White House declined to comment on the reports at their daily briefing. The CIA has also refused to comment when reached out to by Reuters.

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NYC pol arrested while protesting Obamacare repeal bid in D.C.

City Councilman Corey Johnson was among more than 150 protesters cuffed inside the U.S. Capitol Wednesday while protesting the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare.

Johnson (D-Manhattan), the chair of the Council’s health committee, was arrested around 4 p.m. after a sit-in at the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Hundreds of demonstrators with pre-existing medical conditions targeted the offices of Republican senators.

“I am HIV-positive. As an elected official, I am lucky to have good health care. But there are countless others who could literally die if the Republicans get their way,” Johnson wrote in an email to constituents.

Johnson said he spent about five hours in custody and was charged with misdemeanor incommoding, a District of Columbia statute that prohibits demonstrations inside the Capitol complex.

Obamacare repeal would cut 32 million Americans’ insurance: CBO

Capitol police said demonstrators were arrested at three Senate office buildings, saying there were about 45 different locations where protesters gathered.

Of the 150 people arrested, four were charged with resisting arrest.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for a luncheon with GOP leadership and President Trump on Wednesday. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for a luncheon with GOP leadership and President Trump on Wednesday. 

The Republican health care bill has been stopped for now, after a handful of Republican senators said they would not vote for it, leaving it without the votes needed to pass. McConnell then said he’d hold a vote to repeal Obamacare outright with no immediate replacement, but enough GOP senators have also said they’ll vote against that.

Liberal groups went forward with Wednesday’s protest, saying the Affordable Care Act remains under threat.

President Trump on failed GOP Obamacare repeal: ‘We will return’

“Trump, McConnell and Ryan are still driving hard to repeal the ACA and strip health care from tens of millions of Americans. What they are doing is pure evil. We must not allow it,” Johnson said in a statement.

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ICE chief will hire 10,000 more agents, target sanctuary cities

ICE’S acting director has praised president Donald Trump for “taking the handcuffs off law enforcement” adding, that 10,000 more agents will be hired. Thomas Homan also warned that he plans to crack down on the “ludicrous” so-called sanctuary cities.

 “In the America I grew up in, cities didn’t shield people who violated the law,” the 30-year immigration enforcement veteran said in an interview with the Washington Examiner.

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© Ashlee Espinal

Homan says he feels empowered, as Trump has “taken the handcuffs off law enforcement.”

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s acting chief also said that under Trump, illegal border crossings have decreased 70 percent and arrests in the US have increased 40 percent.

Sanctuary cities are loosely defined as jurisdictions with policies which limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents. Some sanctuary cities include Austin, Chicago, New York and San Francisco.

“You can like President Trump, not like him, like his policies, not like his policies, but one thing no one can argue with is the effect they’ve had,” Homan told the Examiner.

He also expressed appreciation for the president’s “true interior enforcement strategy” that makes it “uncomfortable” for law breakers.

“What I want to get is a clear understanding from everybody, from the congressmen to the politicians to law enforcement to those who enter the country illegally, that ICE is open for business,” he stated, the Examiner reported.

Homan is a native of New York and took his first job in immigration during the administration of former President Ronald Reagan. He was announced by the president as the new chief of the immigration agency back in January.

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R. Kelly's Upcoming Shows Unfazed by 'Cult' Allegations

R. KellyConcert Biz Boomin’Despite ‘Cult’ Allegations

7/19/2017 3:26 PM PDT

EXCLUSIVE

R. Kelly‘s gotta believe there’s no such thing as bad publicity now — he has 14 upcoming shows planned and there’s still huge demand for tickets … amid allegations he’s running a “cult.”

Kelly’s gigs were already scheduled before the scandal broke, but all of them are still scheduled … starting July 28 in Virginia Beach and running through October 8 in Ontario, Cali. We reached out to all of the venues — 11 confirmed nothing’s changed. In fact, some … like the Chene Park Amphitheatre in Detroit, told us they’ve been getting a high volume of calls this week alone and are almost sold out.

Others told us they hadn’t even received angry calls from customers over the claims R. Kelly is holding women against their will. 

The only hiccup we’ve seen to this point is people in Baton Rouge asking for refunds on his August 12 show, but we’re told ticket sales remain steady.

Translation: business as usual for R. Kelly.


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