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Jury still out for some black voters on Bloomberg after 'stop and frisk' apology

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) — When former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched his unconventional White House bid, he faced his controversial criminal justice record head-on, expressing remorse for his longstanding support for “stop-and-frisk” policing — a controversial tactic that was found to be racially discriminatory. The billionaire presidential hopeful has made strategic efforts to explain why he once championed the highly-criticized policy, which disproportionately impacted blacks and Latinos — part of a critical voting bloc for any Democrat looking to secure the presidential nomination. With minorities now making up nearly a third of the overall electorate in 2020, his previous support for stop and frisk could prove to be a hurdle for Bloomberg as he asserts himself as an equality advocate who can galvanize a blue coalition of Democrats to defeat President Donald Trump in November. “I was wrong and I’m sorry,” Bloomberg said to a predominantly black church in Brooklyn before announcing his late presidential run last November. He has then reiterated his regret to reporters, voters and community leaders during his campaign blitz through 2020’s battleground states. His

Mindfulness helps obese children lose weight and decrease anxiety

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spukkato/iStock(NEW YORK) — There may be a new secret ingredient to the tried and true methods of diet and exercise for weight loss. A new study has shown that mindfulness can aid in weight loss for obese children who also have anxiety. “Childhood obesity not only leads to chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, it also leads to poor self-esteem and depression,” said Dr. Mona Degan, a primary care physician practicing in Los Angeles. Food choices and activity levels have long been associated with children that are obese, but stress, depression and anxiety are also found in as many as 87% of obese children. Stress and anxiety are even worse when children are put on a diet, according to the study, so it can be important to treat the body and the mind. Researchers tested the effects of mindfulness on stress levels for eight weeks using self-reported surveys and charted changes in appetite and the amount of weight lost in children with obesity and anxiety. The term “mindfulness” incorporates psychological techniques focused on attention, body awareness,

Prosecutors call for lower sentence for Roger Stone, Trump denies he spoke with Justice Department

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Kuzma/iStock(WASHINGTON) —  The Justice Department filed an updated sentencing memorandum in its case against Roger Stone late Tuesday afternoon, noting that the previous recommendation of seven to nine years against President Donald Trump’s longtime friend and former campaign adviser “would not be appropriate” and instead said it “defers to the court.” At about the same time, the entire team of federal prosecutors involved in Stone’s case withdrew. Earlier Tuesday, in another stunning development that raised questions about possible political interference, the department announced it would reverse course on its sentencing recommendation for Stone, only hours after Trump himself reacted to the recommendation by calling it a “miscarriage of justice.” Even as the four federal prosecutors involved in the case notified the court they were withdrawing, it was not immediately clear whether their withdrawals were an act of protest of the reversal. Aaron Zelinsky, one of two prosecutors who served on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, announced he was resigning his position from the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C. while maintaining his position as an assistant attorney in the U.S. attorney’s

City of Chicago declares climate crisis after storms cause millions of dollars in damage to Lake Michigan shoreline

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Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHICAGO) — Officials in Chicago have declared a climate crisis after a round of severe storms last month caused millions of dollars in damage to the city’s already disappearing shoreline on Lake Michigan. In addition to the storms, record-high water levels in Lake Michigan during January also caused erosion on the lakefront, ABC Chicago station WLS reported. After Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot declared a local disaster for the portions of the destroyed beaches last week, the City Council environmental committee passed a resolution Monday to declare a climate crisis to seek resources to repair the damage, according to WLS. The resolution does not require the city to take any action but pledges that the council will work with Lightfoot to develop a budget to promote “urgent climate action,” the Chicago Tribune reported. The City Council also called on Lightfoot to re-establish a municipal Department of the Environment, which was eliminated by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel when he took office in 2011 to cut costs. “I think that we need a dedicated aspect of our city bureaucracy that’s focused

Student's parent charged with sex trafficking, forced labor at Sarah Lawrence College

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Stephanie Keith/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A 60-year-old man has been accused of targeting students at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York, and subjecting them “to sexual and psychological manipulation and physical abuse,” according to an indictment released Tuesday. Lawrence Ray was charged with sex trafficking, extortion, forced labor and other offenses regarding his alleged criminal actions, some of which he went on with for nearly a decade, according to the indictment from federal prosecutors in Manhattan. He is believed to have laundered about $1 million from his victims, most of whom were teens and young adults that participated in so-called therapy sessions he put on to purportedly help with psychological problems, prosecutors said. Sarah Lawrence College said in a statement to ABC News that the school “just learned of the indictment,” but called the charges “serious, wide-ranging, disturbing, and upsetting.” “We have not been contacted by the Southern District of New York, but will of course cooperate in their investigation to the full extent of the law if invited to do so,” according to the statement. Ray’s alleged criminal

The claws come out: Visual effects artists aren't laughing at the Oscars' 'CATS' gag

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Universal Pictures(LOS ANGELES) — One of the biggest laughs of Sunday night’s Oscars telecast was when Rebel Wilson and her CATS co-star, James Corden, came out in furry feline outfits to present the nominees for Outstanding Visual Effects. “As cast members of the motion picture CATS, nobody more than us understands the importance of good visual effects,” the pair said on the Oscars stage, to laughs.  The bit was the actors’ obvious swipe at their own movie, the visual effects for which were flamed online even before CATS‘ inglorious debut. However, visual effects artists on that film and others aren’t laughing. In response to Corden and Wilson’s catty comments, the Visual Effects Society released a statement to industry trades, including Variety, saying, “…the producers chose to make visual effects the punchline, and suggested that bad VFX were to blame for the poor performance of the movie CATS. The best visual effects in the world will not compensate for a story told badly.” The statement continued, “On a night that is all about honoring the work of talented artists, it is

Coronavirus fears threaten global tech conference

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mrtom-UK/iStock(BARCELONA, Spain) — The coronavirus, declared a global health emergency, is posing a threat to one of the most-attended yearly global tech conferences, Mobile World Congress. MWC, held each year in Barcelona, Spain, drew 109,674 attendees last year and is a destination for the most prominent tech companies in the world. Several of these companies have officially withdrawn from MWC 2020, scheduled for Feb. 24-27, citing concerns over coronavirus. “We’ve informed GSMA, the organizers of MWC Barcelona, that we won’t be sending our employees to this year’s event,” Nvidia, one of the tech exhibitors at MWC, wrote in a blog post. “Given public health risks around the coronavirus, ensuring the safety of our colleagues, partners and customers is our highest concern.” Other tech companies that have pulled out of the conference include Facebook, Amazon, Intel, LG, Sony, Vivo and Ericsson. In an email to ABC News, a Facebook company spokesperson confirmed the social media giant’s decision to skip this year’s MWC. “Out of an abundance of caution, Facebook employees won’t be attending this year’s Mobile World Congress due to the

16th inmate dies in troubled Mississippi prison system

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rawf8/iStock(JACKSON, Miss.) — A 54-year-old inmate died this week at Mississippi’s most notorious penitentiary, the 16th prisoner since late December to perish in the state’s correctional facilities, where living conditions have been called inhumane and which have been beset by cellblock murders, suicides, riots and escapes. James Allen Brown, 54, a convicted murderer serving a life sentence at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, died on Monday, according to the Sunflower County Medical Examiner’s Office. Heather Burton, the county coroner, said there’s no evidence of foul play, telling ABC affiliate station WLOX-TV in Biloxi that Brown, who began his term in 1993, “was in the inpatient department and had been receiving treatment for a terminal illness.” The cause of Brown’s death is pending autopsy results. The death comes less than a week after the Department of Justice announced its Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section is launching an investigation into conditions at four Mississippi prisons, including Parchman. DOJ officials said the investigation will focus on whether the Mississippi Department of Corrections adequately protects prisoners from physical harm by other prisoners

Pelosi pays off Super Bowl bet with pistachios and San Francisco chocolates

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made good on her Super Bowl bet with Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver on Tuesday with some California delicacies but still praising her hometown San Francisco 49ers. “They played a great game and they beat a mighty championship team,” Pelosi said of the Kansas City Chiefs, while handing over Ghiradelli chocolates, almonds and pistachios in what has become an annual congressional tradition. Pelosi bet the 49ers would beat Cleaver’s team in Super Bowl LIV. If the 49ers had prevailed, Cleaver would have had to give Pelosi Kansas City barbecue and chocolates. “I was frankly sad that we lost,” Pelosi said. “I was also sad that I wouldn’t be enjoying some Kansas City barbecue.” The Chiefs beat the 49ers 31-20 in Miami’s Hard Rock stadium. Cleaver, a fellow Democrat, said that he thinks sports are good for America, citing how both Democrats and Republicans in Kansas City came together to support the Chiefs. “We all, no matter our differences get behind our teams,” Pelosi said “But at the end of the day, we’re all

Sex assault suspect who binds, possibly stalks victims on the run: Police

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Houston Police(HOUSTON) — Houston authorities are searching for a man linked to three sexual assaults and who’s believed to be on the run. Brandon Jay Carter, 28, is accused of three aggravated sexual assaults from June 2019 to January, police said. Carter is “very brutal to his victims,” Houston police Detective Reagan Daniel said at a news conference Tuesday. Armed with a gun, he covers victims’ eyes and “uses ties to bound them during the sexual assaults,” Daniel said. “He also takes property.” “He’s very, very methodical about not leaving evidence at the scenes,” Daniel said. “However, in most cases, there’s a mistake. And that’s how we got the lead.” With one victim, Carter allegedly caught her as she was leaving her apartment and then — at gunpoint — forced her back inside where he “made her cover her head,” Daniel said. Carter allegedly sexually assaulted her, Daniel said. He then allegedly took her property and used a debit card, which Daniel said gave police a lead. Police believe Carter may be stalking victims, Daniel said. In another attack, Carter