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    Lizzo, Beyoncé and Marsai Martin were just a few of the stars who won big at the 2020 NAACP Image Awards this weekend in Pasadena, California.Here's the complete list of winners: Entertainer of the Year: Lizzo Motion Pictures Outstanding Motion Picture: 'Just Mercy' Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture: Michael B. Jordan, 'Just Mercy' Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture: Lupita Nyong'o, 'Us' Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture: Jamie Foxx, 'Just Mercy' Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Marsai Martin, 'Little' Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture: Marsai Martin, 'Little' Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture: 'Just Mercy' Outstanding Independent Motion Picture: 'Dolemite Is My Name' Television Outstanding Comedy Series: 'Black-ish' Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series: Anthony Anderson, 'Black-ish' Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series: Tracee Ellis Ross, 'Black-ish' Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Deon Cole, 'Black-ish' Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Marsai Martin, 'Black-ish' Outstanding Drama Series: 'Greenleaf' Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series: Omari Hardwick, 'Power' Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series: Angela Bassett, '9-1-1' Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Harold Perrineau, 'Claws' Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Lynn Whitfield, 'Greenleaf' Outstanding Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special: 'When They See Us' Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special: Jharrel Jerome, 'When They See Us' Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited–Series or Dramatic Special: Niecy Nash, 'When They See Us' Outstanding News/Information (Series or Special): 'Unsung' Outstanding Talk Series: 'Red Table Talk' Outstanding Reality Program, Reality Competition or Game Show: 'Rhythm + Flow' Outstanding Variety Show (Series or Special): 'Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé' Outstanding Children’s Program: 'Family Reunion' Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Limited–series): Marsai Martin, 'Black-ish' Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble: Jada Pinkett Smith, 'Red Table Talk' Outstanding Host in a Reality/Reality Competition, Game Show or Variety (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble: Steve Harvey, 'Celebrity Family Feud' Outstanding Guest Performance in a Comedy or Drama Series: Kelly Rowland, 'American Soul' Recording Outstanding Album: 'Homecoming: The Live Album,' Beyoncé Outstanding New Artist: Lil Nas X Outstanding Male Artist: Bruno Mars Outstanding Female Artist: Beyoncé Outstanding Song – Traditional: 'Spirit,' Beyoncé Outstanding Song – Contemporary: 'Before I Let Go,' Beyoncé Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration: 'Brown Skin Girl' Blue Ivy, SAINt JHN, Beyoncé and WizKiD Outstanding Jazz Album: 'Love & Liberation,' Jazzmeia Horn Outstanding Gospel/Christian Song (Traditional or Contemporary): 'Love Theory,' Kirk Franklin Outstanding Music Video/Visual Album: 'Juice,' Lizzo Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album: 'The Lion King: The Gift,' Beyoncé with Various Artists Literature Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction: 'The Revisioners,' Margaret Wilkerson Sexton Outstanding Literary Work – Nonfiction: 'The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations,' Toni Morrison Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author: 'I Am Dance: Words and Images of the Black Dancer,' Hal Banfield (Author), Javier Vasquez (Illustrator)  Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/ Autobiography: 'More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say),' Elaine Welteroth Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional: 'Your Next Level Life: 7 Rules of Power, Confidence, And Opportunity For Black Women In America,' Karen Arrington (Author), Joanna Price (Illustrator), Sheryl Taylor (Forward) Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry: 'Felon: Poems,' Reginald Dwayne Betts Outstanding Literary Work – Children: 'Sulwe,' Lupita Nyong'o (Author), Vashti Harrison (Illustrator) Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens: 'Around Harvard Square,' C.J. Farley Directing Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series: Anya Adams, 'Glow' Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series: Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson, 'Power' Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Television): Rashid Johnson, 'Native Son' Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Film): Chiwetel Ejiofor, 'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind' Writing Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: 'The Good Place,' Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series: Nichelle Tramble Spellman, 'Truth Be Told' Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Television): Suzan-Lori Parks, 'Native Son' Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Film): Jordan Peele, 'Us' Animated or CGI Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance (Television or Motion Picture): James Earl Jones, 'The Lion King' Documentary Outstanding Documentary (Film): 'Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am' Outstanding Documentary (Television - Series or Special): 'Hitsville: The Making of Motown' Read more here.
  • Grammy award-winning singer Pharrell may have been fired from three different McDonald's as a teen, but that didn't stop him from opening what has become one of the hottest restaurants in Miami. The singer hosted a soul food brunch Saturday along with his dad Pharaoh, a self-taught chef, known for his sweet and spicy Nono Sauce, as part of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Growing up, family meals were the heart of the Williams home, a place to “hear what's exciting at your parent's job.' “Cooking is a reflection of your parents, the energy, the love. Food is a connector and it's a meeting place,' Pharrell told The Associated Press during an interview before the brunch. Back home, Pharaoh Williams was always in the kitchen and so were his grandmothers. Favorite dishes included his dad's chicken and pork and fried catfish with a special sauce that Pharrell says was more savory than spicy. “His seasoning was what was always so distinctive with my dad's cooking and both my grandmothers cooked like that,' he said. At Saturday's sold-out $150 per ticket brunch at the upscale Swan restaurant in Miami's design district, they served platters of cornmeal-crusted catfish with chow chow, juicy BBQ chicken and ribs, cheddar grits and French toast with candied oranges and amaretto whipped cream. Back in the kitchen, a team of chefs hustled to carry out Pharaoh Williams' menu, pulling mini sweet potato biscuits out of the oven and crusting copious plates of catfish. Fellow Grammy winner DJ Khaled, and former “Breaking Bad' co-stars Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul were among the guests savoring the food on a tropical jungle style patio. Happy to leave behind his fast food days, Pharrell opened Swan restaurant and its swanky upstairs Moroccan-themed Bar Bevy in 2018 with South Beach nightlife guru and LIV club owner David Grutman. The restaurant has been a hotbed for celebrities, especially during the Super Bowl and recent Art Basel weeks, where everyone from Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West to Leonardo DiCaprio and Bono have indulged. Grutman and Pharrell partnered with Top Chef Europe champion executive chef Jean Imbert for their restaurant, while Pharrell works on the side with a line of food products for his father. But the “Happy” singer is clear about his role in the restaurant business — he happily stays out of the kitchen. “I didn't cook then. I don't cook now,' he laughed, adding “I love food.' He has a deep appreciation for the culinary arts, comparing it to “the same way I work in music. You're adding different sounds and things together,' he said. “Ingredients are like instruments. It's how you use them and it's who's using them. That's what makes one song different from the next, one style different from the next.
  • In a last-minute change, Giorgio Armani is holding his Milan Fashion Week runway show behind closed doors Sunday due to concerns raised by the coronavirus, and instead stream the event from inside the empty showroom. The fashion house said in a statement early Sunday that ‘’the decision was taken to safeguard the well-being of all his invited guests by not having them attend crowded spaces.'' A dozen towns in northern Italy have gone on effective lockdown after the deaths of two people infected with the new virus from China. Milan is the capital of Italy's Lombardy region, which reported 54 confirmed cases. Milan's mayor on Saturday shuttered public offices. But runway shows continued apace for their fourth day, with most of the fashion crowd taking an analytical attitude to the rapidly spiking infections. 'For the moment the situation is under control,’’ said the president of the Italian National Fashion Chamber, Carlo Capasa. He added it was up to government officials or fashion houses themselves to decide if additional measures were needed. Sunday is the fifth day of womenswear previews for next fall and winter, with eight other shows scheduled, including Dolce&Gabbana. It was not clear if the other shows would go on as scheduled. Several shows were also scheduled Monday morning, before the fashion world moves on to Paris, where shows start Monday afternoon. Armani was forced to show behind closed doors one other time, in Paris in 1998, when officials said there were insufficient safety exits inside a huge tent being used as the venue to allow the public to attend. Only his team and one video camera was present, and a video of the show was later distributed to fashion editors. Armani later showed the entire collection in New York in protest, claiming that fashion world politics and not just safety concerns had led to the officials' call. On Saturday, MIDO, the world's largest eyewear industry fair, announced that it would postpone the gathering scheduled for Feb. 29-March 2 until June due to concerns over the virus. 'The evolution of this health crisis under way in our country does not leave any doubt over our decision,'' MIDO president Giovanni Vitaloni said in a statement. Highlights from previews for Fall-Winter 2020-21 womenswear looks: ___ FASHION’S VIRAL ECONOMIC CONCERNS With the evolution of the virus still uncertain, fashion houses remain worried about the longer-term economic impact. Chinese consumers at home and abroad are responsible for one-third of global luxury sales. The Italian fashion chamber has already forecast a 2% contraction in first-half revenues. ‘’I think we have to live day by day because it is beyond our control,’’ Ferruccio Ferragamo, son of the late Salvatore Ferragamo, said at the brand's Saturday’s runway preview. ‘’We try to do our best with heart and head, everything in order to get over this.’’ He said the brand is maintaining close contact with its people in China. ‘’I think that if we are very ‘foot on the ground,’ we will benefit later,’’ Ferragamo said. Giorgio Armani also expressed longer-term uncertainty. ‘’We don’t know when we will be able to breath a sigh of relief,’’ the designer said. Armani said the challenge for businesses won't end when the virus stops spreading. At that point, a fashion companies will need to renovate stores and ‘’again create enthusiasm among the people,'' he said after the Emporio Armani preview Friday. ___ FERRAGAMO’S ‘’METAMODERN’’ WOMAN The queen, the mother, the lover, the sage, the maiden, the huntress and the mystic. They are the seven Jungian archetypes that inspired creative director Paul Andrew’s newest collection for Salvatore Ferragamo. ‘’I was thinking that here, today, in this modern age, a woman in any given hour is all of those things together,’’ Andrew said backstage. Andrew’s mood board was full of ‘’iconic’’ women who fulfill those roles. They included Nancy Pelosi, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Sharon Stone, in her ‘’Fatal Attraction,’’ iteration, and Wanda Ferragamo, Salvatore’s widow, who helped turn his luxury shoe business into the global luxury brand it is today. The collection brimmed with Italian craftsmanship -- from wavy woven bags made from upcycled left-over leather from the Ferragamo warehouses, to hand-made macramé inserts in an archival botanical print that enhanced the back of a print blouse with eye-catching detail. Trousers were high-waisted, sometimes corseted and other times layered with a built-in side-cinched long skirt on top. Knitwear, worn perhaps as mini-dresses, came embroidered with exotic florals. Leather coats had a light feel and incorporated scarves. The design feature was repeated on sheer dresses and blazers, creating a dramatic effect. And there were strong all-leather pant looks for anyone wanting to star in their own James Bond thriller. The opening and closing looks featured fringe-adorned dresses -- one a shimmering silver fringe skirt over a black sheath, and the other long strands of ribbon trailing from a black strapless number -- that had a polished, shredded effect. Coincidence that it comes just weeks after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shredded a copy of U.S. President Trump’s State of the Union address on live TV? ‘’She’s an incredible woman,’’ Andrew said of Pelosi. ‘’She is powerful, she is strong, she is comfortable with herself. She is everything I admire in a woman.’’ ___ ANNAKIKI REPRESENTS CHINA IN MILAN Annakiki creator and designer Anna Yang filled her Milan runway with a zany collection of expertly constructed, playful silhouettes. As the only Chinese brand originally on the Milan schedule that was able to keep its runway appointment, Yang was ‘’very emotional about the show,'' said an associate, who goes by Meng. ‘’She's worried about public opinion.'' The show was packed, including Capasa in the front row, and her return to making an upbeat and fun collection after a more commercial last season was popular with the fashion crowd. That included a multi-tiered bubble ruffle dress, an overcoat with accentuated sleeves and a bubble skirt finish, and a mini-dress with puffy circular shoulders contrasting with the tightly cinched waist — all in bright hues of pink or orange. For him, there was an oversize tan plaid suit jacket that looked as if it had been mauled, revealing purple undertones. Yang makes all of her accessories and part of her ready-to-wear collection in Italy, and the other half in Shenzhen, China. The collection was mostly complete before the Chinese New Year and in Milan before flights closed. Three other Chinese brands had to pull out of Milan Fashion Week due to travel issues related to the virus. Annakiki's Chinese factory was able to open last week after a three-week closure, Meng said. But business still faces a tough recovery in China, where traffic at 24 monobrand stores has been ‘’down to zero,'' she said. The brand is also available in eight cities outside Asia, including London, Paris and Florence as well as online. ___ MISSONI’S GEOMETRIC MISSION Angela Missoni presented a co-ed collection bursting with youthful touches for mixing and matching. For her, there were light-weight knit tunics with diagonal stripes, worn with dark horizontally striped leggings. Overcoats were oversized and enveloping. Layered cardigans were worn with loose knit pants tucked into boots. Looks were finished with glittery knit gardening gloves, kerchiefs around the neck or Renaissance painter hats. The uniting theme was geometry: stripes of all types, that is horizontal, diagonal, vertical, triangular and patchwork. For him, geometric patterns clashed on a clean silhouette: a knit top of tiny bursts, patchwork pants and houndstooth overcoat covered with triangle patches. Sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid closed the Missoni show, side-by-side, fittingly for the brand that is still firmly in family hands. ____ ERMANNO SCERVINO’S FEMININE BEAUTY Lace and embroidery lent beauty to Ermanno Scervino’s ever-light creations for next fall and winter. Strong floral embroidery, white on black, gave a Nordic edge to belted overcoats and ponchos, and a couture touch to puffer coats. Sequins became a glam daytime office look on a green asymmetrical skirt paired with a knit turtleneck. Pretty transparent pleated skirts were worn over sequined layers for a pretty impact. Slip dresses ranged from leather and lace combos in black to white-on-white embroidery. Beautiful golden lame suits will light up any holiday party next season. ‘’It’s an unconditional celebration of beautiful femininity,’’ Scervino said in show notes.
  • Hundreds of supporters of Julian Assange marched through London on Saturday to pressure the U.K. government into refusing to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States to face spying charges. Famous backers, including Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood joined the crowd protesting the U.S. espionage charges against the founder of the secret-spilling website. An extradition hearing for Assange is due to begin in a London court on Monday. WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson told a rally outside Parliament that the prosecution of Assange represented “a dark force against (those) who want justice, transparency and truth.' U.S. prosecutors have charged the 48-year-old Australian computer expert with espionage over WikiLeaks' publication of hundreds of thousands of confidential government documents. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. American authorities say Assange conspired with U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to hack into a Pentagon computer and release secret diplomatic cables and military files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Assange argues he acted as a journalist and is therefore entitled to First Amendment protection. He also maintains the documents exposed wrongdoing and protected many people. Civil liberties groups and journalism organizations, including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders, have urged the U.S. to drop the charges, saying they set a chilling precedent for freedom of the press. More than 40 jurists from the U.K., the U.S., France and other countries published a letter Saturday asking the British government to reject the extradition request. They accused the U.S. of “extra-territorial overreach” in seeking to prosecute an Australian who was based in the U.K. Assange is currently incarcerated in London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison, having previously spent seven years inside the Embassy of Ecuador. He holed up in the South American country’s U.K. diplomatic mission in 2012 to avoid being sent to Sweden to face questioning over rape and sexual assault allegations. That case has since been dropped. Assange was evicted from the embassy in April 2019 and arrested by British police for jumping bail seven years earlier. Assange’s legal team argues that the case against him is politically motivated. His lawyers said they would present evidence they claim shows that Assange was offered a pardon if he agreed to say Russia was not involved in leaking Democratic National Committee emails during the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign. Emails embarrassing for the Democrats and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign were hacked before being published by WikiLeaks in 2016. Assange’s lawyers say the offer was made in August 2017 by then-Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who claimed to be acting on behalf of President Donald Trump. The White House called the claim “a complete fabrication and a total lie.” Rohrabacher said in a statement that he told Assange “that if he could provide me information and evidence about who actually gave him the DNC emails, I would then call on President Trump to pardon him. At no time did I offer a deal made by the President, nor did I say I was representing the President.” ___ This story has been corrected to show that Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders is American, not British.
  • Lizzo was named entertainer of the year and “Just Mercy” won best motion picture, best actor and best supporting actor Saturday at the NAACP Image Awards, as the show that recognizes entertainers of color ladled honors on the film that was snubbed by bigger shows throughout awards season. 'We are such a beautiful people, this is just a reminder of all the beautiful things that we can do,' said Lizzo as she accepted the night's last and biggest award, leaping and dancing off the stage at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium as the show ended. Host Anthony Anderson of “black-ish” opened the show, telecast on BET for the first time, with a monologue that took a shot at the lack of diversity at the Oscars and Hollywood's other ceremonies that handed out awards earlier in the year. “Unlike other awards shows, we actually have black nominees,' Anderson said. He may well have been talking about “Just Mercy,” the acclaimed film that was snubbed by the Oscars, Golden Globes and other ceremonies in the long awards season. Michael B. Jordan won best actor in a motion picture for his role as a crusading defense attorney in the film, and Jamie Foxx won best supporting actor for the wrongly convicted man he fought for. “This project is a lot bigger than me. It’s about every person that’s wrongfully convicted and sitting in a jail cell right now,' Jordan said as he accepted the award. Foxx won his fifth career image award for his role in “Just Mercy,' saying, “Thank you so much, black people, African-Americans, and everything else we are.” He added, 'Its always great to get it from black folks because we are so talented.' Lupita Nyong'o won best actress in a film for her role in “Us,” and 15-year Marsai Martin won best supporting actress for her role in “Little” over superstar names including Jennifer Lopez, Janelle Monáe and Octavia Spencer. Martin's award went with three more she won Friday for her roles in “Little” and 'black-ish” during the non-televised first night of the Image Awards. “Thank you to all the beautiful black girls out there who inspire me every day,' Martin said as she accepted the supporting actress award. Martin's “black-ish” cast mate Tracee Ellis Ross won best actress in a TV comedy series, her ninth career Image Award. “I love being a part of this ever-growing chorus of black women owning our legacies,” Ross said as she accepted the award. It was a big Image Awards all-round for “black-ish,' which took home seven, including best TV comedy and best actor in a TV comedy for host Anderson. The NAACP gave its Chairman’s Award, which goes to people who show exemplary public service and “create agents of change,” to civil rights legend U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. “The NAACP has been like a bridge over troubled waters,” Lewis, who is suffering from pancreatic cancer, said in a recorded acceptance speech from Washington. “We’re going to have some more troubled waters, and we’re going to need the NAACP.” Rihanna received the NAACP President’s Award for special achievement and distinguished public service. She called for racial, religious and cultural unity during her acceptance speech. “If there’s anything that I’ve learned, it’s that we can only fix this world together,” Rihanna said. “We can’t do it divided. Tell your friends to pull up.” She added, “We’ve been denied opportunities since the beginning of time, and still we prevail ... Imagine what we can do if we do it together.” Beyoncé was the big winner at Friday night's non-televised gala, winning six awards, including outstanding female artist and album. She also won outstanding duo/group for her collaboration with her 8-year-old daughter Blue Ivy, and Saint Jhn. ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton.
  • WarnerMedia's new streaming service will debut with some extra “Friends.” The company announced Friday that the entire original “Friends” cast will reunite for an unscripted special that will be available on HBO Max when the service debuts in May. A reunion has been long-sought by fans of the NBC series, which ended its 236-episode run in 2004. HBO Max will also carry every episode of the sitcom, which has proved enduringly popular, including with young audiences who discovered the show when it was available on Netflix. The show made Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc and David Schwimmer into household names and won six Emmy Awards. “Guess you could call this the one where they all got back together — we are reuniting with David, Jennifer, Courteney, Matt, Lisa, and Matthew for an HBO Max special that will be programmed alongside the entire ‘Friends’ library,” said Kevin Reilly, HBO Max's chief content officer. The special is being called a “celebration of the beloved show” and will be shot on the same Burbank, California, soundstage where the series filmed. The stars posted identical Instagram posts of an old publicity photo of all them with the caption, “It's happening.” LeBlanc's post kept the same message but went farther back in TV history — he used a “M-A-S-H” cast photo instead. The show's stars and its co-creator, Marta Kauffman, have long fielded questions about a possible reunion. Rumblings of an unscripted reunion special picked up after the WarnerMedia announced it would launch its HBO Max service into the crowded streaming landscape. It was also announced Friday that cable channel TBS will air the show's entire run weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and career diplomat who during the impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump offered a chilling account of alleged threats from Trump and his allies, has a book deal. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt confirmed Friday to The Associated Press that it had acquired Yovanovitch's planned memoir, currently untitled. According to the publisher, the book will trace her long career, from Mogadishu, Somalia, to Kyiv and “finally back to Washington, D.C. — where, to her dismay, she found a political system beset by many of the same challenges she had spent her career combating overseas.' “Yovanovitch’s book will deliver pointed reflections on the issues confronting America today, and thoughts on how we can shore up our democracy,” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said in an announcement. Financial terms were not disclosed, but two people familiar with the deal told the AP that the agreement was worth seven figures, even though the book is not expected until Spring 2021, months after this fall's election. They were not authorized to discuss negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss financial terms. Yovanovitch was represented by the Javelin literary agency, where other clients include former FBI Director James Comey and former national security adviser John Bolton. “Ambassador Yovanovitch has had a 30-year career of public service in many locations, with many lessons to be drawn. This is about much more than just the recent controversy,' said Houghton Mifflin Senior Vice President and Publisher Bruce Nichols, in response to a question about why her book wasn't coming out this year. Yovanovitch told House investigators last year that Ukrainian officials had warned her in advance that Rudy Giuliani and other Trump insiders were planning to “do things, including to me” and were “looking to hurt” her. Pushed out of her job earlier in 2019 on Trump’s orders, she testified that a senior Ukrainian official told her that “I really needed to watch my back.” Yovanovitch was recalled from Kyiv as Giuliani pressed Ukrainian officials to investigate baseless corruption allegations against Democrat Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was involved with Burisma, a gas company there. Biden, the former vice president, is a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. According to a rough transcript released by the White House, Trump told Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy last summer that Yovanovitch “was bad news and the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news.' The allegations that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate a political opponent led to his impeachment in December on two counts by the Democratic-run House. Earlier this month, the Republican-run Senate acquitted him on both counts. Yovanovitch, 61, was appointed ambassador to Ukraine in 2016 by President Barack Obama. She recently was given the Trainor Award, an honor for international diplomacy presented by Georgetown University, and currently is a non-resident fellow at Georgetown's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. ___ This story has been updated to correct the original headline, which referred to former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as `Former Ukraine diplomat'
  • While taboos surrounding online dating are long gone, some of today’s app users are sick of the endless swiping and virtual pen-paling that leads nowhere when it comes to long-term relationships, according to industry leaders who are responding with new ways to get users off their phones and out meeting people in the real world. David Vermeulen is one such leader. His Inner Circle, launched in 2012, is more closely curating users looking for meaningful connections, and he's hosting offline events in cities around the globe to help make that happen among his more than 2 million members. He said he saw a big shift in online dating attitudes toward the end of the decade as some people have become “Tinder tired.” “They really now are looking for something more serious, something more genuine,” Vermeulen said. Justin McLeod, who launched Hinge in 2011, shares Vermeulen’s view that dating apps should be focused on getting people offline. Hinge’s tag line is the app that's 'designed to be deleted.” In 2016, Hinge intentionally removed the swipe option to encourage more interaction. When they were told that people felt overwhelmed by their number of choices, they created a “most compatible” function. That, he said, 'really helps people focus and get out on dates faster.” The Inner Circle plans to add a “Let’s Meet' button to speed up the pathway from app to real-life date. “If you both click it, you can within the chat select days and venues that we propose and then you can go on a date really quickly. And I mean going out for a coffee. I mean, that's the first step. But for a lot of people, it's quite a big step and we tried to make that much more easy,' Vermeulen said. His app also plans to add an automated response to anyone who just messages “Hi” as an introduction, which he said is often a dead-end to dating. “We're gonna say, OK, this is not the best start for a conversation. You have to do better,' Vermeulen said. It's not just the newer generation of apps that are adapting to changing dating attitudes. OkCupid is one of the original dating sites, started by two Harvard math graduates in 2004. Beginning life as a desktop website, it developed into an app with the advent of smartphones. Today, OkCupid boasts that it sets up 50,000 dates per week. The site enforces certain restrictions to try and weed out those not interested in getting to that date. The company insists that users post more than one photo and puts them through a list of localized timely questions before a profile can be set up. So if you thought you should avoid talking politics or religion on a first date, it seems the tides are turning. Users can filter based on their views from climate change to Brexit. “In the U.S., we may ask you, how do you feel the upcoming election? We may say, could you date someone that didn't vote?” said OkCupid’s global chief marketing officer, Melissa Hobley. According to a Pew Research Center study last year, 3 in 10 Americans have used a dating site or app and 12 percent have married or have been in a committed relationship with someone they met through online dating. Hobley said one of the most exciting developments as digital dating moves into the 2020s is in emerging markets including India, Indonesia, Turkey, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea, where dating hasn’t always been so easy. In India, for example, a new generation of women are 'going to university, and they're working, and they're saying arranged marriage is not for me, and I want the ability to find my own person, and for my marriage to be a choice that I make,” she said. Hobley has also seen strides in inclusiveness and support throughout LGBTQ communities, creating a safe space to express gender and sexuality preferences and to meet potential partners. “An estimated 70 to 80 percent of LGBTQ relationships started on a dating app,” she said. For Hobley, the love doesn't stop there. She said she gets an average of 5 to 20 wedding emails and invites a week. “I will crash your wedding,” she jokes, “but we also send a gift.” ___ Associated Press writer Alicia Rancilio in New York contributed to this story.
  • Italian archaeologists unveiled to the press Friday an exciting new find from the Roman Forum, which they say could be the lost shrine dedicated some 2,600 years ago to Romulus, Rome's legendary founder and first king. Visually, the discovery first announced Tuesday is not very remarkable: Peering down in an excavated space beneath the Curia Julia, or ancient senate house, one sees something resembling a washtub that archaeologists say is a sarcophagus, or stone coffin. There's also a cylindrical stone block, a chunky stub of what might have been an altar. Both items are made of tuff, carved from the Capitoline Hill that overlooks the Forum, and which is home to today's City Hall. The recently excavated area “represents a place, which in history and in the Roman imagination, speaks about the cult ofRomulus,”said archaeologist Patrizia Fortini. Fortini says no one's hypothesizing the sarcophagus actually ever contained the bones of Romulus who, with his twin Remus, established the city near the Tiber River around 753 B.C. and founded the kingdom of Rome. It likely dates to the 6th Century BC, some 200 years after Romulus' time. “We don't know whether Romulus physically existed' the way he was described in legends, Fortini said. But some ancient sources claimed that Romulus was buried in the area of the find, and the sarcophagus could have served as a memorial. Alfonsina Russo, the archaeologist in charge of the site, noted that according to some ancient traditions Romulus was killed and chopped to pieces, or ascended into heaven. “Therefore,this cannot be his tomb, but it is very likely, we believe, that this is a memorial site, a cenotaph,” Russo added. While excavations continue, authorities hope the public will be able to stroll underground to view the find in about two years. Legends hold that Romulus and Remus were suckled by a she-wolf as babies, but later Romulus killed his twin brother in a dispute. Curiously, it's the second time the sarcophagus and cylindrical stone stub have been unearthed, but it's only now that archaeologists are attributing an exciting significance to them. In 1899, an Italian archaeologist, Giacomo Boni, was the first to systematically excavate the area. He described in his writings finding “a rectangular, tub-shaped crate in tuff” and the cylindrical stone, which he likened to a tree trunk. The open-topped “crate” contained what apparently were odds and ends — fragments of pottery, pebbles, sea shells and a piece of reddish plaster. Boni attributed no particular importance to his finds, and in the 1930s, during the regime of dictator Mussolini, a monumental staircase to the Curia building was built over the site. 'We thought it would have been destroyed'' by the 1930s construction above ground, Russo said. But Fortini's intuition told her that what Boni had found was likely a shrine to Romulus, since the area is one associated with the origins of Rome, and she sought to excavate there. A crucial clue for Fortini to decide where to dig was the location a few meters (yards) away of a black marble pavement known by its Latin name, Lapis Niger. Fortini noted in an interview that the Lapis Niger, one of the oldest relics in the Forum, was long believed to mark a sacred spot and was linked to the origins of Rome.
  • How much to show and how much not to show, that is the fashion question this season. It may be reductive to say that runway shows are about how women dress. But the conversation has sharpened in the #MeToo era. Is a sheer dress that reveals the undergarments beneath, however prettily prepared, empowering or exploitative? What about conspicuous displays of skin? Giorgio Armani responded to the question elegantly in the latest collection for his youthful Emporio Armani line, offering women a range of options that are appropriate for their age and shape. The 85-year-old designer also gave a passionate backstage discourse about the body-baring collections of fellow designers, saying he thinks they reveal too much at the expense of women. Some highlights from Friday’s womenswear trends for next fall and winter: EMPORIO ARMANI RAILS AGAINST TRENDS Giorgio Armani railed against colleagues who, in the name of trends, push the limit on revealing garments, enticing women to make choices that might be inappropriate for their age, shape or occasion. ‘’We say that women are being raped in a corner. Women continue to be raped by designers,’’ Armani said Friday during a backstage news conference in Milan. Pressed to clarify, he said: ‘’Women can be raped in various ways. Throwing her under a stairwell or suggesting she dresses in a certain way:. For me, that is raping a woman.’’ The words were strong, and Armani's press office said later that the 85-year-old designer was speaking metaphorically and passionately about a direction in luxury fashion that he sees as damaging to women’s images. Armani has been dressing women for 45 years. One of his first design successes was a softened suit jacket, a creation that women of that time say was immensely liberating in a way that is difficult to comprehend in the spandex era. He is one of the few designers who, when discussing his collections, makes clear he takes different body shapes into consideration. In that vein, the Emporio Armani line took a stand against trends, targeting youthful dressers who are not necessarily that young. For next fall and winter, he crafted a range of jackets, from long and flowing to short and pleated. Trousers were dressed up with silk draping. The show closed with shimmering cocktail dresses that turned on elegant ruffles and floral constructions. The palette was dark blue and black, as well as deeper shades of peacock blue and emerald green. ‘’Trends are nothing,’’ Armani said. ‘’I am trying to improve the woman who is living now.’’ His recipe is simple: black works for everyone. ‘’It helps women to acquire allure,’’ he explained. Great legs can carry short skirts. Not so great legs, ‘’a longer skirt with a little movement helps.’’ Leggings are to be avoided for anyone with ‘’a slightly accentuated behind.’’ The pearls of wisdom might seem like common sense to people who aren't in the throes of runway trends. But Armani knows their power, ‘’I want to give full freedom to women,’’ Armani said. ‘’If they have some common sense, and they do, they know how to manage these possibilities.’’

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  • The death toll attributed to the 2019 novel coronavirus continues to rise, with tens of thousands of people sickened and thousands of others killed by the virus, mostly in China. The coronavirus, dubbed COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, was discovered late last year in Wuhan, China. Here are the latest updates:  South Korea reports 46 more coronavirus cases; total there hits 602 Update 3:51 a.m. EST Feb. 23: South Korean health officials said they have confirmed a total 602 coronavirus cases in the country, CNN is reporting. News of the new total came Sunday after the country’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed 46 more cases of the virus, according to CNN. Five patients in South Korea have died from the illness, the outlet reported. 6th person dead from coronavirus in Iran  Update 5:36 p.m. EST Feb 22: A sixth person in Iran has died from the deadly coronavirus that originated in China.  The person also had a heart condition, The Associated Press reported. A fifth fatality in Iran was reported earlier Saturday.  There have been 28 reported cases of coronavirus in Iran. People are being treated in Tehran, Qom, Arak and Rasht. Officials will use center in Alabama as quarantine facility Update 2:06 p.m. EST Feb 22: Concern is growing in Israel, where health officials said a woman who was a passenger aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan tested positive for the virus after returning home, The New York Times reported. Meanwhile, after nine South Koreans who visited Israel tested positive for the coronavirus after returning home, the Israeli government began closing the country to South Korean travelers, the newspaper reported. Passengers flying on a Korean Air flight scheduled to land at Ben Gurion Airport at 7:30 p.m. Saturday were expected to be barred entry into the country, the Times reported, citing Ynet, an Israeli news organization. Government officials were expected to decide Sunday whether other inbound flights from South Korea would be allowed, the newspaper reported. Japan waited 72 hours before imposing quarantine on cruise ship Update 10:56 a.m. EST Feb 22: More than 72 hours elapsed before Japanese officials imposed a quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, The New York Times reported. Early on the morning of Feb. 2, before the ship had docked in Yokohama, Hong Kong officials informed the Japanese health ministry about an infected passenger, the newspaper reported. A spokeswoman for Princess Cruises said the company received “formal verification” of the infection from Hong Kong on Feb. 3, the Times reported. The announcement was made to passengers that night, and they were advised around 11 p.m. to remain in their rooms, the Times reported. On Feb. 5, the captain of the Diamond Princess confirmed there were 10 cases of the coronavirus on the ship, and passengers were told they needed to return to their rooms, where they were quarantined for 14 days, according to the newspaper. University of Memphis graduate Luke Hefner, a singer who was aboard the Princess Diamond, was one of the 10 people on board confirmed with the virus, WHBQ reported. After Hefner tested positive for the virus, crews rushed him off the ship and into a Japanese hospital Feb. 18, the television station reported. WHO experts heading to China; African nations warned Update 9:25 a.m. EST Feb 22: A team of experts from the World Health Organization was heading to the Chinese city of Wuhan, the center of the coronavirus epidemic, the agency’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told The New York Times. Tedros confirmed the trip during an address Saturday morning to African officials from Geneva, the newspaper reported. “We have to take advantage of the window of opportunity we have, to attack the virus outbreak with a sense of urgency,” Tedros told the leaders during an emergency meeting on the response to the coronavirus in the continent. There has been only one confirmed case of coronavirus in Africa, but officials are concerned because several countries have strained health systems, the Times reported. The WHO has identified 13 priority countries in Africa because of their direct links to China, the newspaper reported. Italy confirms 2nd coronavirus death  Update 6:45 a.m. EST Feb 22: A second novel coronavirus patient in Italy has died. A spokesperson for the country’s department of civil protection, or Protezione Civile, confirmed the death to CNN on Saturday. According to a health ministry spokesman, the woman who previously tested positive for the virus died in the northern region of Lombardy. South Korea reports 229 new cases in 24 hours  Update 6:17 a.m. EST Feb 22: An additional 87 novel coronavirus cases reported Saturday brings South Korea’s 24-hour total to 229 and the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 433. According to a statement issued by the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 62 of the 87 new cases are linked with the Shincheonji religious group, and three cases are linked with Cheongdo Daenam hospital, in North Gyeongsang province. Iran confirms 10 new cases, 5th death  Update 6:15 a.m. EST Feb 22: The numbers might sound low, but the surge in diagnosed novel coronavirus cases in Iran is boosting concerns among global health officials the outbreak could soon reach pandemic levels. Iran’s health ministry confirmed 10 new cases of the virus – bringing the country’s total to 28 – and a fifth fatality. The ripple effect among travelers, however, is sounding alarm bells among infectious disease experts. According to the New York Times, cases confirmed in both Canada and Lebanon have been traced to travel to and from Iran. “The cases that we see in the rest of the world, although the numbers are small, but not linked to Wuhan or China, it’s very worrisome,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said Friday at a news conference at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. “These dots are actually very concerning.” Kianoush Jahanpour, Iran’s health ministry spokesman, said that of the 10 latest reported cases, two were diagnosed in Tehran and eight are in Qom. According to The Associated Press, two elderly patients died in Qom Wednesday and the two Tehran patients either visited or had links to Qom. Novel coronavirus cases diagnosed outside mainland China surpass 1,500  Update 3:24 a.m. EST Feb 22: With health officials monitoring the novel coronavirus’ spread beyond its epicenter in Wuhan, China, the number of confirmed cases diagnosed outside mainland China hit a new milestone early Saturday morning. The latest figures indicate more than 1,500 cases and 15 deaths attributed to the virus have been recorded in more than 30 countries and territories outside mainland China since December, CNN reported. The geographic breakdown of confirmed cases and deaths is as follows: • Australia: at least 21 cases • Belgium: at least 1 case • Cambodia: at least 1 case • Canada: at least 9 cases • Egypt: at least 1 case • Finland: at least 1 case • France: at least 12 cases, 1 death • Germany: at least 16 cases • Hong Kong: at least 68 cases, 2 deaths • India: at least 3 cases • Iran: at least 18 cases, 4 deaths • Israel: at least 1 case • Italy: at least 17 cases, 1 death • Japan: at least 738 cases, including 639 linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship; 3 deaths • Lebanon: at least 1 case • Macao: at least 10 cases • Malaysia: at least 22 cases • Nepal: at least 1 case • Philippines: at least 3 cases, 1 death • Russia: at least 2 cases • Singapore: at least 86 cases • South Korea: at least 347 cases, 1 death • Spain: at least 2 cases • Sri Lanka: at least 1 case • Sweden: at least 1 case • Taiwan: at least 26 cases, 1 death • Thailand: at least 35 cases • United Arab Emirates: at least 9 cases • United Kingdom: at least 9 cases • United States: at least 35 cases • Vietnam: at least 16 cases Mainland China death toll reaches 2,345  Update 3:22 a.m. EST Feb 22: China’s National Health Commission confirmed early Saturday the death toll from the novel coronavirus has increased by another 109 fatalities to 2,345. According to CNN, all but three of the latest mainland deaths occurred in the outbreak’s Hubei province epicenter. The latest figures bring the global death toll to 2,360. Meanwhile, confirmed cases in increased by 397 on Friday, bringing mainland China’s total number of recorded cases to 76,288. Health authorities contend a total of 20,659 patients have recovered from the virus and been discharged from medical facilities. Australia confirms 6 new cases  Update 3:20 a.m. EST Feb 22: Six people repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, boosting Australia’s total infection count to 21. According to the Australian government’s Department of Health, 10 patients have recovered from the illness. Diamond Princess cruise ship awaits scrub down  Update 3:18 a.m. EST Feb 22: The Diamond Princess cruise ship will soon undergo a thorough deep cleaning to prepare the vessel to resume sailing on April 29. Negin Kamali, Princess Cruises’ public relations director, told CNN Travel the company is working in tandem with the Japanese health ministry to hammer out sanitation specifics for the 116,000-ton ship. The vessel will be “fully sanitized by a cleaning company with an expertise in this area following guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization,” Kamali told CNN. Only 31 passengers remained onboard the ship Saturday morning after 253 who tested negative for the novel coronavirus were allowed to disembark on Friday. The ship’s 924-member crew also remains aboard. The ship has been moored in Yokohama Bay off the coast of Japan since early February. To date, the virus-stricken ship, which housed 3,600 crew and passengers upon arrival, is linked to at least 639 coronavirus infections, CNN reported. Japan reports 12 new cases  Update 3:16 a.m. EST Feb 22: Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare confirmed early Saturday the diagnoses of 12 new novel coronavirus cases, including three teenagers. The latest report brings Japan’s total number of infections to 738, including 99 on land and 639 from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.  Italy confirms first novel coronavirus death Update 3:14 a.m. EST Feb 22: Italian officials confirmed Saturday their first citizen has succumbed to the novel coronavirus. The 78-year-old man died in a Padua hospital in northern Italy. To date, the country has recorded a total of 17 infections. Taiwan confirms 2 new cases Update 3:12 a.m. EST Feb 22: Taiwan’s novel coronavirus infection count now stands at 26 after two additional cases were confirmed on the island Saturday. The most recent patients are the daughter and granddaughter of a previously diagnosed patient, and neither had traveled recently. 142 new cases of the virus reported in South Korea  Update 9 p.m. EST Feb 21: South Korea reported a six-fold jump in viral infections in four days to 346, most of them linked to a church and a hospital in and around the fourth-largest city where schools were closed and worshipers and others told to avoid mass gatherings.  Of the 142 new cases in South Korea, 131 are from Daegu and nearby regions, which have emerged as the latest front in the widening global fight against COVID-19.  China the daily count of new virus cases there fell significantly to 397, with another 109 people dying of the disease, most in the epicenter of Hubei province.  The new figures bring the total number of cases in mainland China to 76,288 with 2,345 deaths, as strict quarantine measures and travel bans continue to contain the disease that emerged in China in December and has since spread world-wide. The daily figure is down from 889. WHO’s latest situation report The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization says that coronavirus has been found in 30 countries around the world. Read the latest situation report from the WHO below. Italy’s virus cases quadruples Update 1:20 p.m. EST Feb 21: Officials in Italy are reporting that the number of people infected by coronavirus has quadrupled. As of Friday, the country has seen 17 cases, with 14 of them new. They are being considered secondary contagion cases and are clustered in small towns around Lodi, in the Lombardy region, The Associated Press reported. It was previously reported that a 38-year-old man, who is in critical condition due to coronavirus, passed the illness to his wife and a close friend after he picked it up from a person who had been in China, but not showing any symptoms. The person who was in China is in isolation and may have antibodies to battle the illness. Three patients at the hospital where the patient who is in critical condition visited when he was being treated for flu-like symptoms have tested positive. As do five nurses and doctors at the same facility. Three people who went to the same cafe as the 38-year-old man who is sick also have tested positive. Because of the cluster, the mayor of Codogno has closed schools, public buildings,s restaurants and coffee shops. And has ordered the 14-day quarantine of anyone who came in contact with the man and the two people first diagnosed, the AP reported. 1 new coronavirus case confirmed in Singapore Update 11 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Officials with Singapore’s Ministry of Health have verified another case of coronavirus in the country, bringing the total number of people infected in Singapore to 86. Authorities said the newest case involves a 24-year-old Singaporean man who was under isolation Friday at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. His illness was linked to one reported earlier this week involving a 57-year-old woman who had no history of recent travel to China. Officials said 47 people who have been diagnosed with coronavirus in Singapore have since recovered and been released from hospitals. Lebanon, Israel confirm 1st coronavirus cases Update 10 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Health officials in Lebanon and Israel announced Friday the first confirmed coronavirus cases in the countries. Lebanon’s health minister, Hamad Hassan, said Friday that a 45-year-old woman tested positive for coronavirus after entering the country from Iran, Reuters reported. She was being quarantined Friday at a hospital in Beirut, according to Reuters. The Jerusalem Post reported an Israeli who returned to the country Thursday after being evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship has tested positive for the virus. The coronavirus case marked the first in Israel, though health officials noted the passenger had contracted virus while in Japan. Earlier this month, thousands of people were quarantined on the Diamond Princess, docked off the coast of Japan, due to coronavirus fears. Hundreds of people on the ship ended up testing positive for the viral infection. South Korea reports 2nd coronavirus death  Update 9 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Officials in South Korea reported the country’s second death due to coronavirus Friday, The Washington Post reported. Citing the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Post reported a woman in her 50s died after testing positive for the virus Friday at Daenam Hospital. She was transferred to a bigger hospital in Busan, where she died around 6 p.m., according to the newspaper. The death marked the second related to COVID-19 in South Korea. On Wednesday, a 63-year-old patient died after suffering symptoms of pneumonia in what was suspected to be the country’s first coronavirus death, according to The New York Times. Iran confirms 18 cases, 4 deaths Update 7:50 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Iranian officials confirmed on Friday that 13 new cases of the novel coronavirus have been diagnosed and two additional patients have died. Friday’s figures bring Iran’s total number of infections to 18 and the death toll from the virus to four, CNN reported. “According to the latest laboratory reports 13 more contractions of coronavirus have been confirmed, including 7 in Qom, 4 in Tehran, and two in Gilan. Unfortunately, out of these cases two have lost their lives,' health ministry spokesman Kianoosh Jahanpour tweeted Friday. 3 novel coronavirus cases confirmed in Italy Update 7:32 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Italy confirmed its first novel coronavirus cases Friday, noting three people in a city near Milan have tested positive for the illness. According to The Washington Post, the first patient to contract the virus was a 38-year-old man in the northern region of Lombardy, who fell ill after dining with a friend who had recently returned from China. The man then passed the illness on to his wife and a close friend. All three patients have been hospitalized, the Post reported. Confirmed novel coronavirus cases, fatalities continue to increase globally Update 6:46 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Globally, more than 76,900 novel coronavirus cases have been reported, according to the latest figures released Friday morning by health officials in China. Although the majority of cases – around 75,600 – remain clustered in mainland China, more than 1,300 cases have been confirmed in 29 countries, CNN reported. Meanwhile, 118 additional deaths were confirmed in mainland China Friday, with the global death toll reaching 2,247, the network reported. Vaccine nearing clinical trials in China Update 6:44 a.m. EST Feb. 21: Xu Nanping, China’s vice minister of Science and Technology, told reporters Friday that Chinese researchers expect to submit the first COVID-19 vaccine for clinical trials around late April. The status update comes roughly one month after Chinese officials established a coronavirus scientific research group, consisting of 14 experts led by renowned pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan, The Washington Post reported. “One month is a very short time for scientific research, but a very long time for patients struggling with the disease. The scientific and technological community nationwide will put the safety of people’s lives and health first and spare no effort to continue to produce tangible and effective scientific research results,” Xu told reporters during the briefing. Protesters attack Wuhan evacuee bus in Ukraine; 9 police officers, 1 civilian injured Update 6:42 a.m. EST Feb. 21: The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs said nine police officers and one civilian were injured Thursday when protesters attacked a bus carrying evacuees from Wuhan, China. According to CNN, protesters had blocked roads in Noviy Sanzhari, the town where the evacuees are to be monitored for two weeks at a medical facility belonging to the Ukrainian National Guard. “Those people who today threw stones at the evacuees of Ukrainians and law enforcement officers ... We will make a decision on their punishment,” said Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, confirming one officer was seriously injured in the incident instigated by “aggressive citizens,” the network reported. South Korean coronavirus infections continue to increase Update 3:46 a.m. EST Feb. 21: The number of confirmed novel coronavirus infections in South Korea increased to 204 on Friday, nearly doubling in 24 hours and almost quadrupling in three days, the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed in a statement issued early Friday. Health officials believe the majority of the new cases are connected to a church in Daegu, a city of about two and half million people in the southeastern region of the country. Specifically, 42 of the newest cases reported Friday have been traced to the church called Shincheonji. The country also reported on Thursday what officials believe could be South Korea’s first fatality from the virus. The 63-year-old woman exhibiting symptoms of pneumonia died Wednesday at the Daenam Hospital in Cheongdo, The New York Times reported. Prison outbreaks boost novel coronavirus cases in mainland China Update 3:43 a.m. EST Feb. 21: More than 500 novel coronavirus cases have been confirmed in prisons across China, including 271 cases – 51 of which had been counted in previous tallies – in Hubei province, CNN reported. Meanwhile, officials announced in a joint news conference on Friday that of the 2,077 prisoners and staff at Rencheng prison in China’s eastern Shandong province tested for the virus, 200 prisoners and seven staff members tested positive. Zhejiang province announced 34 prison cases on Friday, bringing the correctional total to 512, CNN reported. Canada records its 9th confirmed novel coronavirus case, 6th in British Columbia Update 3:41 a.m. EST Feb. 21: British Columbia’s Ministry of Health confirmed Friday a woman in her 30s has become the province’s sixth diagnosed case of novel coronavirus and the ninth for Canada. According to the statement, the woman had recently returned from Iran and is being isolated at home while public health officials identify and contact those people with whom she had contact upon returning Meanwhile, 47 of the 256 Canadian passengers aboard the beleaguered Diamond Princess cruise ship – moored off the coast of Japan – have tested positive for the virus. All 256 will be subject to a 14-day quarantine in Ontario once their evacuations are complete, CNN reported. 11 of 13 people evacuated to Omaha test positive for COVID-19  Update 11 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Federal experts confirmed that 11 of 13 people evacuated to an Omaha hospital from a cruise ship in Japan have tested positive for COVID-19, Nebraska officials announced Thursday night. The University of Nebraska Medical Center said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had verified test results completed Monday by the Nebraska Public Health Lab. Ten of those people are being cared for at the National Quarantine Unit while three are in the nearby Nebraska Biocontainment Unit. The medical center said only a few of the patients were showing symptoms of the disease. All 13 people were passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship who were evacuated to the U.S. on Feb. 17. China reports fall in new virus cases, 118 deaths  Update 10 p.m. EST Feb. 20: China reported a further fall in new virus cases to 889 as health officials expressed optimism over containment of the outbreak that has caused more than 2,200 deaths and is spreading elsewhere.  New infections in China have been falling for days, although changes in how it counts cases have caused doubts about the true trajectory of the epidemic.  China’s figures for the previous 24 hours brought the total number of cases to 75,465. The 118 newly reported deaths raised the total to 2,236. More than 1,000 cases and 11 deaths have been confirmed outside the mainland. 4 Americans who tested positive for COVID-19 sent to hospital in Spokane, Washington  Update 7:30 p.m. EST Feb. 20: Four Americans who tested positive for the new virus that caused an outbreak China are being sent to a hospital in Spokane, Washington, for treatment, officials said Thursday.  The four were passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and were flown back to the U.S. over the weekend, according to a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services. They were being transferred from Travis Air Force Base in California, hospital officials said.  Two patients arrived at the hospital Thursday in satisfactory condition with two more expected soon, said Christa Arguinchona, who manages a special isolation unit at Sacred Heart Medical Center. The hospital is one of 10 in the nation funded by Congress to treat new or highly infectious diseases.  “The risk to the community from this particular process is zero,” said Bob Lutz of the Spokane Regional Health District at a briefing Thursday at the hospital. WHO: ‘This is no time for complacency’ Update 2:25 p.m. EST Feb. 20: World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday that recent declines in the number of new coronavirus cases being reported in China were encouraging, but he warned, “this is no time for complacency.” As pf 6 a.m. Geneva time Thursday, 74,675 people in China and 1,076 people in order parts of the world had been sickened by coronavirus, according to WHO. Officials said 2,121 people in China and seven people outside of the country have died thus far of the viral infection. 'This is the time to attack the virus while it is manageable,” Tedros said, according to The Washington Post. “You will get sick of me saying that the window of opportunity remains open for us to contain this COVID-19 outbreak.” CDC warns travels to take precautions for travel to Japan, Hong Kong Update 12:20 p.m. EST Feb. 20: The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new coronavirus-related travel advisories Thursday for Americans visiting Japan or Hong Kong. The advisories warned travelers to avoid contact with sick people, avoid touching their eyes, noses or mouths with their unwashed hands and recommended using soap and water often to wash hands for at least 20 seconds. Officials said Thursday that it remained unnecessary to postpone or cancel trips to Japan or Hong Kong due to the virus. However, the CDC advisories noted “multiple instances of community spread' in both locales, meaning people “have been infected with the virus, but how or where they became infected is not known.” Officials with the CDC previously issued an advisory warning travelers to avoid non-essential travel to China. According to Japanese health officials, authorities have seen 73 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the country. One person in Japan has died of the viral infection. Health official in Hong Kong have confirmed 65 cases of coronavirus. Japan reports 12 new coronavirus cases, Singapore confirms 1 more  Update 11 a.m. EST Feb. 20: Officials in Japan have reported a dozen new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, CNN reported, citing the Japanese health ministry. The new cases include two government officials who worked on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, according to CNN. Thousands of people were quarantined on the ship for two weeks as it was docked off the coast of Japan due to coronavirus fears. Hundreds of people on the ship ended up testing positive for the viral infection.  Officials with the Singapore Ministry of Health said Thursday that a new case of coronavirus had been confirmed in the country. The case, involving a 36-year-old Chinese national who was in Singapore on a work pass, is the 85th reported in Singapore.  Global death toll hits 2,126  Update 7:40 a.m. EST Feb. 20: More than 2,120 people have died globally and thousands of others have fallen ill due to the 2019 novel coronavirus, according to multiple reports.  At least 2,126 people globally have died from coronavirus, CNN reported Thursday. A majority of the deaths have been reported in China, where health officials announced 114 more deaths and 394 more confirmed cases of the illness. Overall, 75,730 coronavirus cases have been reported worldwide, including 74,576 in China, according to CNN.
  • The Florida Highway Patrol said witnesses saw a woman hanging from a black pickup truck for a several hundred feet while it drove on I-75 in Alachua County Saturday evening. They told police the woman fell from the truck and was run over by its right rear tire. The truck, which is believed to be a black early 2000′s Ford F-250 or F-350 Super Duty, was seen exiting at 39th Avenue off I-75 South afterwards. Witnesses saw a while male with short dark hair driving. They also said he was swerving on the grass shoulder of I-75 with the woman hanging from the door of his truck before she fell off. FHP said the woman was taken to UF Health Shands Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Anyone who saw this happen or knows information about the incident should contact Crime Stoppers at (352)372-STOP or FHP Communications Center at 1-800-387-1290 or * FHP.
  • There’s a new initiative to make hotels in Jacksonville safer. City Councilman Danny Becton has been instrumental in getting the ball rolling, and he says the Tourism Industry and Public Safety Alliance is the result of more than a year’s worth of work. “TIPSA will operate as an exclusive network that will work on the basis of if you see something say something,” Becton says. The alliance will have three components. Organizers plan to implement basic standard across all hotels. They’ll improve communication and access to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Lastly, participating hotels will join a WhatsApp thread to communication between each other and police. So far 30 hotels around Jacksonville have signed up with the number continuing to climb, and Becton says they’re also keeping an eye on the hotels that aren’t involved yet. “We’re going to put pressure on them right now to participate and not be part of the problem,” Becton says. Some of the changes are as simple as checking guest IDs and standardizing payment procedures for everyone involved.
  • On Friday, Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority gave the green light to develop the land where the old courthouse and annex used to stand. Right now, two lots on prime riverfront property are empty. One lot sits behind the Hyatt. The other lot is right on the water next to the Berkman Plaza.  The DIA signed off on the Spandrel Group’s $136 million vision called the Ford on Bay.  There would be restaurants, lofts, retail space and a lot of pedestrian space built in two phases. The first phase would happen on the property right on the water. The second phase involves the lot next door, but there’s a catch – the Hyatt has the right of first refusal to buy the land. If it doesn’t, Spandrel can get the land and start phase two.  Action News Jax’s Paige Kelton drove by the lots today and found signs that development could soon be in the works.  Fences were up around the property Friday.  Spandrel wants the city to give it the property to develop. That aspect is still being worked out.  The Jacksonville City Council must still sign off on the referendum approved by the DIA.
  • A new push is underway in St. Augustine to honor and recognize African American soldiers who fought in the Civil War. A group is spearheading a new project to put the memorial next to a Confederate statue.  Many neighbors support the idea, but not the placement.  The memorial would be in the park on the westside of the Governor’s House Cultural Center and Museum.  St. Augustine’s Historic Architectural review board is asking a University of Florida board to get input from neighbors and relatives of black soldiers.  “To me it’s like a slap in the face with that,” said business owner Nyk Smith.  Smith works at her family corner store in historic Lincolnville.  “The placement of that new statue that they’re talking about, yea sure, that’s great down there but definitely not next to the confederate monument,” said Smith.  St. Augustine’s Historic Review Board said the memorial to honor black troops who fought in the civil war will stand next to the monument of Confederate General William Loring and his ashes.  The board said the memorial will be about 8 feet tall with three granite panels.  It will list names of local men who served in what was then called the colored troops.  “They need to remove the monument and put it in the cemetery where it belongs,” said Smith.  “Hopefully something like this with them hearing what black people are thinking and feeling they would be moved to do some action,” Mclain said.  The board will now wait until April 16 to decide whether or not to move forward with the new memorial.

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