The Daily Astorian | http://www.dailyastorian.com The Daily Astorian Sat, 3 Dec 2016 03:36:37 -0500 en http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/staticimage/images/rss-logo.jpg The Daily Astorian | http://www.dailyastorian.com Kjetil Jansrud wins first World Cup downhill of season http://www.dailyastorian.com/kjetil-jansrud-wins-first-world-cup-downhill-of-season-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports5a4e943d54f946e099b7f018d20c45cb http://www.dailyastorian.com/kjetil-jansrud-wins-first-world-cup-downhill-of-season-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports5a4e943d54f946e099b7f018d20c45cb#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 03:30:46 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039844 VAL D'ISERE, France (AP) Kjetil Jansrud of Norway won the season's first World Cup downhill on Saturday, a day after his victory in super-G.

Jansrud was 0.26 seconds faster than Peter Fill of Italy, the defending World Cup downhill champion, down the 3.4-kilometer (2-mile) Oreiller-Killy course.

Aksel Lund Svindal was third, trailing 0.33 behind teammate Jansrud. Svindal was runner-up on Friday on his comeback from a 10-month injury absence.

For the second straight day, Norway and Italy filled the podium and Austria struggled.

No Austrian placed in the top 15, with lower-ranked starters still racing.

Val d'Isere hosted a World Cup downhill for the first time in 10 seasons.

The French resort took over a three-race weekend meeting which was cancelled at Beaver Creek, Colorado because of lack of snow.

 ]]>
Trump speaks directly with Taiwan's leader, irking China http://www.dailyastorian.com/trump-speaks-directly-with-taiwans-leader-irking-china-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world52ff93497ec54bcfa7a8867b930d9bc9 http://www.dailyastorian.com/trump-speaks-directly-with-taiwans-leader-irking-china-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world52ff93497ec54bcfa7a8867b930d9bc9#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 03:30:22 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039901 BEIJING (AP) In a break with decadeslong diplomatic tradition, President-elect Donald Trump spoke directly with the president of Taiwan, a move that drew an irritated response from China and looked set to cast uncertainty over U.S. policy toward Asia.

It is perhaps unprecedented for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979.

In first comments apparently meant to downplay the significance of the call, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday that the contact between Taiwan's president and Trump was "just a small trick by Taiwan" that he believed would not change U.S. policy toward China, according to Hong Kong's Phoenix TV.

"The one-China policy is the cornerstone of the healthy development of China-U.S. relations and we hope this political foundation will not be interfered with or damaged," Wang was quoted as saying.

Taiwan's official Central News Agency said Edwin Feulner, former president of the Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based conservative think tank, was a "crucial figure" in setting up communication channels between the sides, leading to the call. Feulner could not immediately be reached to comment on the report, which cited anonymous sources.

Feulner had met with Tsai in October when he led a delegation from the think tank on a trip to Taiwan, according to a release at the time from Taiwan's presidential office. That release says Tsai called Feulner a "longtime friend to Taiwan" and conveyed her gratitude to his foundation for its support.

Washington has pursued a so-called "one China" policy since 1979, when it shifted diplomatic recognition of China from the government in Taiwan to the communist government on the mainland. Under that policy, the U.S. recognizes Beijing as representing China but retains unofficial ties with Taiwan.

A statement from Trump's transition team said he spoke Friday with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who offered her congratulations on his election win.

Trump tweeted later that Tsai "CALLED ME." He also groused about the reaction to the call: "Interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call."

The Taiwanese presidential office said Trump and Tsai discussed issues affecting Asia and the future of U.S. relations with Taiwan.

"The (Taiwanese) president is looking forward to strengthening bilateral interactions and contacts as well as setting up closer cooperative relations," the statement said.

Tsai also told Trump that she hoped the U.S. would support Taiwan in its participation in international affairs, the office said, in an apparent reference to China's efforts to isolate Taiwan from global institutions such as the United Nations.

It said the two also discussed "promoting domestic economic development and strengthening national defense" to improve the lives of ordinary people.

Taiwan's presidential office spokesman Alex Huang said separately that Taiwan's relations with China and "healthy" Taiwan-U.S. relations can proceed in parallel. "There is no conflict (in that)," he told reporters in Taipei.

The White House learned of the conversation after it had taken place, said a senior Obama administration official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitive diplomatic relations involved.

China's embassy in Washington and its foreign ministry and Taiwan Affairs Office in Beijing did not respond to requests for comment.

Friday's call is the starkest example yet of how Trump has flouted diplomatic conventions since he won the Nov. 8 election. He has apparently undertaken calls with foreign leaders without guidance customarily lent by the State Department, which oversees U.S. diplomacy.

"President-elect Trump is just shooting from the hip, trying to take phone calls of congratulatory messages from leaders around the world without consideration for the implications," said Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Glaser said such a call was "completely unprecedented" or at least has never been known publicly. China is likely to be trying to identify whether this signals any intent on the part of Trump to alter long-standing U.S. policy toward Taiwan, Glaser said.

"They will hope that this is a misstep, but I think privately, they will definitely seek to educate this incoming president and ensure that he understands the sensitivity of Taiwan," she said.

In particular, China would want to highlight to the incoming administration the risks involved in any form of signal from the United States that it supports strengthening a relationship with Taiwan under a president that Beijing views as pro-independence, Glaser added.

Last month, Trump had a call with Chinese President Xi Jinping during which Trump's office described him as saying he believed the two would have "one of the strongest relationships for both countries."

Despite China's muted response Saturday, concern about Trump's policy toward China is growing, said Shi Yinhong of Renmin University in Beijing, one of China's best-known international relations scholars.

Tsai was elected in January and took office in May. The traditional independence-leaning policies of her party have strained relations with Beijing.

The call with Trump could "convince people in Taiwan that the island can establish good relations with the U.S. and encourage (Tsai) to continue to resist pressure from Beijing," Shi said.

Over the decades, the status of Taiwan has been one of the most sensitive issues in U.S.-China relations. China regards Taiwan as part of its territory to be retaken by force, if necessary, if it seeks independence. It would regard any recognition of a Taiwanese leader as a head of state as unacceptable.

Taiwan split from the Chinese mainland amid civil war in 1949. The U.S. policy acknowledges the Chinese view over sovereignty, but considers Taiwan's status as unsettled. The U.S. has legal commitments to help Taiwan maintain the ability to defend itself.

Ned Price, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said Trump's conversation does not signal any change to long-standing U.S. policy on cross-strait issues.

In Beijing, a U.S. business group said it expected the new U.S. administration to respect the status quo.

"American business operating in Asia needs certainty and stability," said James Zimmerman, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China. "The new administration needs to get up to speed quickly on the historical tensions and complex dynamics of the region."

___

Lai reported from Taipei, Taiwan. Associated Press writers Jonathan Lemire in New York, Matthew Pennington and Darlene Superville in Washington, and news researcher Henry Hou in Beijing contributed to this report.

   ]]>
AP Top News at 6:26 a.m. EST http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-news-at-626-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world7443331b2699f5cfff81edc307a34a99 http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-news-at-626-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world7443331b2699f5cfff81edc307a34a99#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 03:30:15 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039902 A Cabinet of generals? Trump's choices get mixed reviewsTexas officials: 8 hurt when bus with cheerleaders crashesDazed Tennessee residents get first look at wildfire rubbleSan Bernardino recalls terror attack with silence, speakersColombia repatriates dead as airline's licensing questionedBodies of Brazil soccer team killed in plane crash head homeChains and branded skin: California kidnap case baffles cops]]> Texas officials: 8 hurt when bus with cheerleaders crashes http://www.dailyastorian.com/texas-officials-8-hurt-when-bus-with-cheerleaders-crashes-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world6cfc60e5a37a43f19c319e0f67db227a http://www.dailyastorian.com/texas-officials-8-hurt-when-bus-with-cheerleaders-crashes-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world6cfc60e5a37a43f19c319e0f67db227a#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 03:30:30 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039848 BIG SPRING, Texas (AP) Officials say eight people were injured when a bus carrying high school cheerleaders crashed with a tractor-trailer rig in Texas.

Multiple news media report the Iraan-Sheffield bus carrying the cheerleaders crashed in Howard County after a football game late Friday night.

Amanda Duforat with Scenic Mountain Medical Center in Big Spring told KWES-TV that eight people were brought in from the crash. She said two were in critical condition, two others were in serious condition and four were being transferred to another hospital for further treatment.

Photos from the crash scene showed an Iraan-Sheffield school bus with its front end crumpled against the damaged side of a tractor trailer rig.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said westbound lanes of Interstate 20 were closed and traffic was being diverted from the scene.

]]>
Clean-up calls open IAAF congress voting on broad reforms http://www.dailyastorian.com/clean-up-calls-open-iaaf-congress-voting-on-broad-reforms-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports9673d768b6a843a0bd9f7aa259c46a8e http://www.dailyastorian.com/clean-up-calls-open-iaaf-congress-voting-on-broad-reforms-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports9673d768b6a843a0bd9f7aa259c46a8e#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 03:30:48 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039859 MONACO (AP) Calls for clean sport and deep change marked the opening on Saturday of a special athletics congress that is voting on broad reforms in hope of turning the corner on reputation-wrecking corruption and doping scandals.

"It does need cleaning. That's just a fact," former Olympic and world javelin champion Andreas Thorkildsen told IAAF delegates.

In a boost for the governing body, Japanese sportswear manufacturer Asics was set to be unveiled as a new sponsor, after Adidas cut short its commercial agreement with the IAAF that had been due to run until 2019. An IAAF official who spoke on condition of anonymity because IAAF President Sebastian Coe hadn't yet announced the deal, said Asics is signing up for at least three years, through the 2017 and 2019 world championships.

The special congress of track and field leaders from around the world is being asked to approve Coe's "Time for Change" reform proposals that notably will change the way doping cases are investigated and prosecuted, increase the participation of women and give athletes a greater say.

"Let's not beat around the bush," Coe told the meeting in Monaco. "Our sport, our family, is under threat."

Coe said too much power had been concentrated in too few hands under his predecessor Lamine Diack, now facing corruption and money-laundering charges in France where prosecutors are investigating alleged doping cover-ups and payoffs involving athletes from Russia.

Coe recalled how IAAF offices were raided by French police officers who seized files after he took over as president in 2015. He noted that the further, recent "grotesque" revelations of wrongdoing under Diack spoke of "extraordinary sums of money allegedly changing hands."

"You should all feel violated," Coe said. "This is money that could have been used for the development of athletics."

Coe wants a new unit, largely independent of the IAAF, to handle doping cases involving international-level athletes, taking that job away from IAAF member countries. The IAAF argues that will quicken the punishment of cheats, make punishments more uniform, and remove opportunities for favoritism and corruption. The IAAF wants the so-called integrity unit launched by April.

Coe said the reforms will ensure that "never again can one person wield unchecked power," and were required for the multi-million dollar business that athletics has become.

"We're putting in place a framework that should have been there years ago," he said.

To pass, Coe's reforms need approval from 131 of the 197 IAAF member federations that attended the congress a two-thirds majority. Russia is suspended for systematic, deep-rooted doping.

Former and current athletes echoed Coe's appeals for bold change.

"We have to save athletics," said Ethiopian running great Haile Gebrselassie, president of his country's athletics federation.

American sprinter Candace Hill, the world youth champion over 100 and 200 meters, said: "We have to have a federation who is clean, who is behind us."

High jumper Rozle Prezelj, chair of the IAAF athletes' commission, said: "With those changes which are on the table today, we can become the No. 1 sport. We must bury our own interests for the greater good."

]]>
AP Top U.S. News at 6:19 a.m. EST http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-us-news-at-619-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world7bc2a0c30ca1411050380eaf5120bc44 http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-us-news-at-619-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world7bc2a0c30ca1411050380eaf5120bc44#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 03:20:20 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039899 Police: Marksman killed gunman after child ran to porchChains and branded skin: California kidnap case baffles copsDazed Tennessee residents get first look at wildfire rubbleExtraordinary Smokies wildfire moved fast on path to cityOhio St. admin derided over call for compassion for attackerChef credited with inventing General Tso's Chicken has diedTrump, backers ask courts to halt or block 3 state recountsSan Bernardino recalls terror attack with silence, speakers]]> 13 feared dead after Indonesian police plane loses contact http://www.dailyastorian.com/13-feared-dead-after-indonesian-police-plane-loses-contact-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlde93f2605ef1b4605a24c931108e7cbfe http://www.dailyastorian.com/13-feared-dead-after-indonesian-police-plane-loses-contact-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlde93f2605ef1b4605a24c931108e7cbfe#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 03:10:15 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039853 JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) Thirteen people are feared dead after an Indonesian police plane lost contact during a flight Saturday to the island of Batam near Singapore.

The plane, carrying five crew members and eight passengers, dropped out of contact midmorning about 50 minutes after taking off from Bangka island off the southeast coast of Sumatra island, a police statement said.

National Search and Rescue Agency chief Henry Bambang Soelistyo said rescuers were searching waters between Mensanak and Sebangka islands.

He said villagers found a seat and a bag containing a cellphone and police documents.

TV footage showed that police uniforms and other articles of clothing also had been retrieved from the sea.

Local media, citing the Tanjung Pinang naval base commander, reported that bodies had been recovered by villagers.

]]>
AP News in Brief at 6:04 a.m. EST http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-news-in-brief-at-604-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world4378e76a1649f79091703f5d2015e3df http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-news-in-brief-at-604-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world4378e76a1649f79091703f5d2015e3df#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 03:10:38 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039846 Trump speaks directly with Taiwan's leader, irking China

BEIJING (AP) In a break with decadeslong diplomatic tradition, President-elect Donald Trump spoke directly with the president of Taiwan, a move that drew an irritated response from China and looked set to cast uncertainty over U.S. policy toward Asia.

It is perhaps unprecedented for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979.

In first comments apparently meant to downplay the significance of the call, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday that the contact between Taiwan's president and Trump was "just a small trick by Taiwan" that he believed would not change U.S. policy toward China, according to Hong Kong's Phoenix TV.

"The one-China policy is the cornerstone of the healthy development of China-U.S. relations and we hope this political foundation will not be interfered with or damaged," Wang was quoted as saying.

Washington has pursued a so-called "one China" policy since 1979, when it shifted diplomatic recognition of China from the government in Taiwan to the communist government on the mainland. Under that policy, the U.S. recognizes Beijing as representing China but retains unofficial ties with Taiwan.

___

The "Two Trumps" surface in president-elect's transition

NEW YORK (AP) Donald Trump's skeptics hope the presidency will reveal a serious side of the brash businessman. His supporters want him to keep the freewheeling style that rattled Washington.

In true Trump fashion, so far he's doing both.

Trump has soothed some Republican establishment anxieties with many of his early Cabinet picks, including the respected retired Gen. James Mattis to lead the Pentagon and Georgia Rep. Tom Price, an orthopedic surgeon tapped to head the Department of Health and Human Services. He's hinted that he's open to shifting some of his most controversial policies, including his rejection of climate change and support for torture. He's been full of praise for President Barack Obama and largely respectful of Hillary Clinton, his vanquished campaign rival.

But Trump is also refusing to abandon the raucous, stream-of-consciousness rallies and Twitter tirades that defined his presidential campaign. He's continued to level false statements, claiming without evidence that millions of people voted illegally in the election. And he's infused the normally staid Cabinet selection process with reality television drama, inviting cameras into his dinner with Mitt Romney, a leading candidate for secretary of state, and announcing the secretary of defense pick in an arena, seemingly off the cuff.

"He was a very unconventional candidate," House Speaker Paul Ryan said. "He's going to be an unconventional president."

___

A Cabinet of generals? Trump's choices get mixed reviews

WASHINGTON (AP) Donald Trump's move to pack his administration with military brass is getting mixed reviews, as Congress and others struggle to balance their personal regard for the individuals he's choosing with a broader worry about an increased militarization of American policy.

No fewer than three combat-experienced retired Army and Marine leaders, with multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, are on tap for high-level government jobs normally reserved for civilians. Others are entrenched in Trump's organization as close advisers.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will serve as the president's national security adviser, and Trump announced retired Marine four-star Gen. James Mattis Thursday night as his secretary of defense. In addition, retired Marine Gen. John Kelly is a likely pick to head the Department of Homeland Security.

All three had high-profile military careers leading top commands, and they are known for their willingness to offer blunt policy assessments publicly and privately. But their strategic advice could be colored by their years on the battlefront watching soldiers and Marines fight and die battling insurgents in the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq.

Those experiences can have markedly varied effects, making some officers a bit cautious when considering plans to send troops into battle but making others more likely to urge aggressive military responses to national security crises and less patient with the slow pace of diplomacy.

___

Ruins of homes in Kirkuk a sign of divisions to come in Iraq

IRBIL, Iraq (AP) All along the street, houses have been reduced to rubble in the central Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The work of Kurdish security forces retaliating against Sunni Arabs after a recent Islamic State group attack, residents say.

Kurdish security forces moved in with bulldozers and excavators and demolished at least 100 homes in the Huzeiran neighborhood of Kirkuk in the week after a deadly suicide bombing in October, according to residents interviewed by The Associated Press and a report by Human Rights Watch.

The destruction points to the dangerous divisions that threaten to burst out now that the IS "caliphate" appears on the verge of collapsing with the assault on its bastion Mosul further north.

Oil-rich Kirkuk, in northeastern Iraq, is a particular flashpoint: It is split between Kurdish, Arab and Turkmen populations, each of which have historically claimed it as its own. During the fight against IS, the Kurds seized control of the city and have said they will keep it, opening a likely dispute with the central government and the other local populations.

"This is my house and this is my tragedy," said one Arab resident of Huzeiran. The building that was once her family home now lies in ruin. She said Kurdish security forces came into the neighborhood, labelled her building "confiscated" and ejected her family. They also took their identification documents, she said, speaking on condition she only be identified by her nickname Umm Ahmed for fear of retaliation.

___

Dazed Tennessee residents get first look at wildfire rubble

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) Charlotte Moore needed a phone charger.

"I'll just get it at home," she shrugged.

Then she remembered that her home was gone.

The realization came as she made the familiar drive up to the top of Laurel Mountain in the Roaring Fork neighborhood of Gatlinburg on Friday, where what lay ahead was anything but familiar. On the first day officials let property owners return to assess the damage from the wildfire that devastated their homes, the eastern Tennessee tourist destination was headed toward an uncertain future.

As people were allowed into the city, Sevier County Mayor Larry Waters raised the death toll to 13 and said the number of damaged buildings now approached 1,000. He also defended the response to the wildfires that spread rapidly Monday, saying it was not the time for "Monday morning quarterbacking." He promised a full review later.

___

San Bernardino recalls terror attack with silence, speakers

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (AP) Exactly a year to the moment that a pair of shooters unleashed a terrorist attack on San Bernardino, a bell rang 14 times Friday at the city's Inland Regional Center in honor of the people who died there.

"We will never forget that day or the victims of this senseless act of violence. We strive to move forward and search for the good that is in us all," said Lavinia Johnson, the center's executive director.

During the ceremony outside the center, employees of nearby businesses who sheltered people during the chaos were also thanked by Keith Nelson, the center's chairman.

In all, 14 people were killed and 22 wounded.

Among those attending the ceremony was Zen Martinsen, 56, a clerical supervisor for San Bernardino County. While she didn't know the victims who had gathered at the center for a county event that day, she said all county employees are like family.

___

Colombia repatriates dead as airline's licensing questioned

RIO NEGRO, Colombia (AP) Victims of this week's tragic air crash in the Andes were flown home Friday as Bolivia's president called for "drastic measures" against aviation officials who signed off on a flight plan that experts and even one of the charter airline's executives said should never have been attempted because of a possible fuel shortage.

The move by President Evo Morales came after evidence emerged that the pilot reported the plane was out of fuel minutes before it slammed into a muddy mountainside, killing all but six of the 77 people on board. Among the dead were players and coaches from a small-town Brazilian soccer team that was headed to the finals of one of South America's most prestigious tournaments after a fairy-tale season that had captivated their soccer-crazed nation.

As an honor guard played taps early Friday, members of Colombia's military loaded five Bolivian crew members who died in the crash onto a cargo plane for the trip back home.

Later in the day, caskets containing the remains of 50 Brazilian victims, many draped with sheets printed with their team's green and white logo, began the journey to the Chapecoense club's hometown in southern Brazil. Fourteen Brazilian journalists traveling with the team and two passengers from other South American nations were being sent home on separate flights.

Bolivian flight crew member Erwin Tumiri became the first of the survivors to be released from the hospital. Before leaving, he recorded a cellphone message thanking his rescuers and the medical staff who treated him.

___

Bodies of Brazil soccer team killed in plane crash head home

CHAPECO, Brazil (AP) This Brazilian hometown of the soccer team whose dream season ended in tragedy this week prepared Friday for the sad return of so many whose lives were cut short on an Andes mountainside, hanging origami figures of peace in the team's green and white colors from the fence of the local soccer stadium.

As the bodies of the victims killed in the plane crash began the journey home Friday, gravediggers finished preparing the ground at cemeteries in the small city of Chapeco.

A memorial service was planned for Saturday in the southern Brazilian city that was home to the Chapecoense soccer club, which was on its way to the finals of one of South America's most prestigious tournaments when the plane went down in Colombia on Monday, killing all but six of the 77 people on board.

Three flights carrying the bodies of 50 players, coaches, officials and journalists covering the team were to depart from Colombia late Friday. Another plane carrying other Brazilian victims is headed to Sao Paulo. Brazilian President Michel Temer is scheduled to greet the arriving cargo planes at the airport in Chapeco on Saturday, but is not expected at the memorial.

In preparation for the service, residents hung more than 3,000 green and white origami pieces fashioned into the figure of a crane birds that are considered a symbol of peace onto the metal fence at the team's Arena Conda stadium.

___

Chains and branded skin: California kidnap case baffles cops

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Three weeks after Sherri Papini disappeared, the question of whether she was dead or alive was answered when the young mother and wife was spotted waving frantically for help along a California freeway early on Thanksgiving morning. But the mystery over what happened to her during those 22 days just seemed to grow stranger.

She was battered and bruised, her hands were chained, her long blond hair had been chopped off, and her flesh had been branded with a threatening message. The 34-year-old Papini told authorities that she had been kidnapped at gunpoint by two women Nov. 2 while she was out for a run near her home.

The bizarre turn of events with many of the most sensational details released not by authorities but by her husband in an exclusive interview with ABC has baffled police and set social media aflutter, with armchair detectives scouring the internet's darkest corners for clues and others arguing that the case is some kind of twisted hoax, like something out of the movie "Gone Girl."

Her husband, Keith Papini, has condemned the rumors as "exhausting and disgusting," and police have said they have no reason to doubt his wife's harrowing account. But they have a multitude of questions, among them: Who are these women? Where did they keep her? Was she selected at random or targeted?

And, most of all, why?

___

Kerr tells Comcast SportsNet Bay Area he smoked pot for pain

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Steve Kerr, the reigning NBA Coach of the Year with the Golden State Warriors, acknowledged he tried marijuana twice in the past 18 months while dealing with debilitating back pain.

Kerr told Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's Warriors Insider Podcast with Monte Poole on Friday that he used medicinal marijuana but it didn't help but painkillers have been worse.

"I have no idea if I would, maybe I would have failed a drug test, I don't even know if I'm subject to a drug test or any laws from the NBA," Kerr said. "I tried it and it didn't help at all."

The 51-year-old Kerr missed the first 43 games last season and the team's record 24-0 start while on a leave of absence following complications from two back surgeries. A spinal fluid leak led to terrible headaches, nausea and neck pain among other symptoms that left him feeling frustrated and down.

Kerr noted, "athletes everywhere are prescribed Vicodin like it's Vitamin C, like it's no big deal." He said he hopes sports leagues "are able to look past the perception" and that it's only a matter of time to change rules.

]]>
Chinese state media say coal mine explosion in northern region traps 36 people, killing 17 of them http://www.dailyastorian.com/chinese-state-media-say-coal-mine-explosion-in-northern-region-traps-36-people-killing-17-of-them-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldd9118d3b1abc4fbdbcd3f46917b8d6fc http://www.dailyastorian.com/chinese-state-media-say-coal-mine-explosion-in-northern-region-traps-36-people-killing-17-of-them-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldd9118d3b1abc4fbdbcd3f46917b8d6fc#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 03:10:39 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039845 BEIJING (AP) Chinese state media say coal mine explosion in northern region traps 36 people, killing 17 of them.

]]>
Indonesia police release treason suspects, continue probe http://www.dailyastorian.com/indonesia-police-release-treason-suspects-continue-probe-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlddb5e95ab872942e0957d0158acf3e7f1 http://www.dailyastorian.com/indonesia-police-release-treason-suspects-continue-probe-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlddb5e95ab872942e0957d0158acf3e7f1#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 03:00:17 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039874 JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) Indonesian police said they released eight people Saturday who were arrested a day earlier for suspected treason and other crimes. They said they were continuing to investigate the eight, who include prominent citizens, and that three others who were arrested were still being held for questioning.

Police initially said they had detained 10 people, but national police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar said that an 11th suspect, Alvinida Al-Farasi, was arrested Friday.

They were detained hours before the second major protest by conservative Muslims against the minority Christian governor of Jakarta. Friday's rally drew at least 200,000 people to the city's streets and ended peacefully.

Amar said the group planned to use the mass rally to occupy parliament and force lawmakers to hold an extraordinary session to overthrow the government of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

He said those released included Rachmawati, the daughter of Indonesia's founding president and the younger sister of former President Megawati Sukarnoputri; retired army Gen. Kivlan Zein and activist Ratna Sarumpaet.

They were cooperating with the investigation so their continued detention wasn't necessary, Amar told reporters.

Some opposition politicians criticized the arrests.

Police also released musician-turned-politician Ahmad Dhani, who is accused of defaming Jokowi. Authorities are still holding Sri Bintang Pamungkas, a noted political prisoner under late dictator Suharto's regime, and two people suspected of breaches of the electronic information and transactions law.

Dhani and Sarumpaet were part of the campaign team for Prabowo Subianto in the 2014 presidential election that Subianto lost to Jokowi.

Amar said that Friday's arrests were a law enforcement issue and not an attempt to deny freedom of speech or opinion.

"We are living in a state based on law, our democracy does not mean that citizens are free to do anything," he said. "Providing feedback with critical views is common in a democratic nation, but law enforcement action should be taken when authorities detect a conspiracy of treason."

]]>
2 migrants die aboard train in attempt to get into Austria http://www.dailyastorian.com/2-migrants-die-aboard-train-in-attempt-to-get-into-austria-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldc6d10628b6454e7baa11044ac609b9ac http://www.dailyastorian.com/2-migrants-die-aboard-train-in-attempt-to-get-into-austria-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldc6d10628b6454e7baa11044ac609b9ac#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 03:00:18 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039847 BERLIN (AP) Austrian police say two refugees died and a third suffered serious injuries when they were run over by trucks being unloaded from a freight train where they had stowed away.

Police told the Austria Press Agency on Saturday that the two men and one woman apparently did not notice the trucks had started their engines and idled them at least 15 minutes before driving off the train in the Woergl station. They say the refugees were likely unconscious from the ice-cold overnight journey through the mountains from Verona, Italy.

Police say a man and a woman died, while another man was taken to a hospital in Innsbruck with serious injuries. Police did not release any details about the identity of the refugees.

]]>
IS attack breaches militiamen's defenses in northern Iraq http://www.dailyastorian.com/is-attack-breaches-militiamens-defenses-in-northern-iraq-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world33ebe10102684dea9c5a430e3e2da4c0 http://www.dailyastorian.com/is-attack-breaches-militiamens-defenses-in-northern-iraq-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world33ebe10102684dea9c5a430e3e2da4c0#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 02:50:30 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039849 BAGHDAD (AP) An official from Iraq's state-sanctioned Shiite militias says Islamic State militants have breached their defenses at a village west of the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar.

Reached by telephone near Tal Afar, the official says the attack on the village of Sharea took place Friday night. Fighting is continuing on Saturday, he added, without giving details.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

IS, meanwhile, said on Saturday the attack on the village began with a suicide car bombing that killed and wounded "dozens" of militiamen. A "multi-pronged" attack on the village followed, forcing the militiamen to flee, it added.

A statement said its fighters seized from the militiamen nine all-terrain vehicles fitted with machineguns, two Humvees, weapons and munitions.

]]>
AP Top International News at 5:47 a.m. EST http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-international-news-at-547-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldf910cd4e83b82164aee24aa88e02d78e http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-international-news-at-547-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldf910cd4e83b82164aee24aa88e02d78e#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 02:50:15 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039911 What US presidents said about ties with China and TaiwanDuterte says Trump wished his drug crackdown 'success'Colombia repatriates dead as airline's licensing questionedIS attack breaches militiamen's defenses in northern IraqIntense Syrian bombing of besieged Aleppo, troops advanceSmall Brazilian city prepares to bury remains of soccer clubIran condemns US senate vote to extend sanctions]]> Iran condemns US senate vote to extend sanctions http://www.dailyastorian.com/iran-condemns-us-senate-vote-to-extend-sanctions-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world73f7988d794e4ed79ed469e550a4275a http://www.dailyastorian.com/iran-condemns-us-senate-vote-to-extend-sanctions-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world73f7988d794e4ed79ed469e550a4275a#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 02:40:46 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039866 TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iran's foreign minister condemned the U.S. Senate's extension of a piece of anti-Iran legislation, state TV reported Saturday.

On Thursday the Senate voted to extend the Iran Sanctions Act by 10 years. The measure will now be sent to outgoing President Barack Obama to sign. Iran's state television quoted Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying that the extension "shows the lack of credibility of the U.S. government."

On Friday, Bahram Ghasemi, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman, issued a statement condemning the extension of sanctions against Iran and said the act is a clear violation of the landmark nuclear deal reached between Iran and the world powers last year.

Ghasemi said, "The U.S. president has agreed within the framework of the nuclear deal that he would use his authority to prevent the legislation and enforcement of any measures in violation of the deal, such as the recent act by the Congress."

The nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers lifted a variety of international sanctions in exchange for limitations on the Iranian nuclear program. However the U.S. still maintains its own separate set of sanctions, which are set to expire Dec. 31 if they are not extended.

Ali Akbar Salehi, chief of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said on Friday that Iran will carefully consider how to respond. "We will definitely make no emotional decisions but will make a decision based on prudence, vigilance and wisdom," he said.

Earlier in November, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, warned that, "Definitely, the Islamic Republic of Iran will react" if the U.S. sanctions were renewed.

]]>
AP Top Political News at 5:39 a.m. EST http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-political-news-at-539-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world9ba750492f95ed0489b698d4e85e681b http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-political-news-at-539-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world9ba750492f95ed0489b698d4e85e681b#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 02:40:15 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039871 The "Two Trumps" surface in president-elect's transitionPanel urges better cybersecurity to President-elect TrumpA Cabinet of generals? Trump's choices get mixed reviewsTrump speaks directly with Taiwan's leader, irking ChinaThe Latest: Trump takes on another Indiana manufacturerIran condemns US senate vote to extend sanctionsWhat US presidents said about ties with China and TaiwanTrump voter lost home, blames incoming Treasury secretary]]> Intense Syrian bombing of besieged Aleppo, troops advance http://www.dailyastorian.com/intense-syrian-bombing-of-besieged-aleppo-troops-advance-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world04717ae947ad42f49a016141e84cef28 http://www.dailyastorian.com/intense-syrian-bombing-of-besieged-aleppo-troops-advance-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world04717ae947ad42f49a016141e84cef28#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 02:30:21 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039850 ALEPPO, Syria (AP) Syrian warplanes, artillery and mortar rounds have pounded areas in the eastern rebel-held Aleppo enclave, killing at least three, according to opposition activists.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bombings in the central al-Shaar neighborhood killed three. The Syrian Civil Defense put the death toll at six.

The bombings Saturday came hours after government troops made new advances on the rebel-held parts of Aleppo city. State media reported that government and allied troops have moved in on new neighborhoods, pushing one kilometer (0.6 mile) deeper into the enclave from the far east. The new advances tighten the government's grip on the besieged enclave and reduce the territory the rebels hold by more than half.

The new advances also secure the airport road east of Aleppo.

 ]]>
Thai activist arrested for Facebook 'share' about new king http://www.dailyastorian.com/thai-activist-arrested-for-facebook-share-about-new-king-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world302eb810cef74e4fb164807717f5d481 http://www.dailyastorian.com/thai-activist-arrested-for-facebook-share-about-new-king-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world302eb810cef74e4fb164807717f5d481#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 02:20:13 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039851 BANGKOK (AP) Thai police have arrested a student pro-democracy activist for sharing a story about the country's new king that was posted on Facebook by the Thai-language service of the BBC.

Duangthip Karith of the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said that law student Jatupat "Pai" Boonpattararaksa was arrested Saturday on a charge of lese majeste insulting the monarchy in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum.

The BBC Thai story was a profile of King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, who took the throne on Thursday, succeeding his late father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The arrest was apparently the first under the lese majeste law since Vajiralongkorn became king. Critics of the law, which carries a penalty of three to 15 years in prison, say it is used to silence political dissidents.

]]>
Pilot suffers heart attack on Scottish runway http://www.dailyastorian.com/pilot-suffers-heart-attack-on-scottish-runway-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world5e66aee3274d4de4835840fd54680bcf http://www.dailyastorian.com/pilot-suffers-heart-attack-on-scottish-runway-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world5e66aee3274d4de4835840fd54680bcf#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 02:10:14 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039852 LONDON (AP) Dutch airline KLM says one of its pilots suffered a heart attack while taxiing to the runway at Glasgow Airport in Scotland for a flight to Amsterdam.

The airline says in a statement that the crew of the aircraft and a passenger resuscitated the captain. He was taken to a hospital.

The co-pilot brought the plane back to the gate, where ambulance crews met the plane Friday evening. The flight was canceled and passengers were rebooked.

]]>
Iran summons Kenyan envoy over detention of 2 Iranians http://www.dailyastorian.com/iran-summons-kenyan-envoy-over-detention-of-2-iranians-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world6808086fa133412c9f50dfc3a110f722 http://www.dailyastorian.com/iran-summons-kenyan-envoy-over-detention-of-2-iranians-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world6808086fa133412c9f50dfc3a110f722#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 01:51:19 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039854 TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iran's Foreign Ministry has summoned the Kenyan ambassador over the detention of two Iranian citizens in Kenya.

The Saturday report by official IRNA news agency quotes Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as asking Kenya to "seriously look into the issue."

Sayed Nasrollah Ebrahimi and Abdolhosein Gholi Safaee were arrested Tuesday in Nairobi in an Iranian diplomatic car. The two lawyers were returning from a visit to a prison. They had been offering legal advice to a pair of Iranian citizens who have been sentenced to 15 years in jail on terrorism charges.

Kenyan officials have not commented on why Ebrahimi and Safaee were detained or if they face any charges.

]]>
The Latest: China lodges 'solemn representations' with US http://www.dailyastorian.com/the-latest-china-lodges-solemn-representations-with-us-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlded2e58165bb649d0a02d0a73f40164f0 http://www.dailyastorian.com/the-latest-china-lodges-solemn-representations-with-us-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlded2e58165bb649d0a02d0a73f40164f0#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 01:50:20 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039855 BEIJING (AP) The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump's phone conversation with Taiwan's leader (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

The Chinese foreign ministry says Beijing has lodged "solemn representations" with the U.S. over the call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan's leader.

Geng Shuang, a ministry spokesman, said in a statement Saturday that "It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory. The government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing China."

Geng said, "This is a fact that is generally recognized by the international community."

The statement did not describe the details of China's complaint to the U.S., or say with whom it was lodged.

It said China urged the relevant side implying Trump's incoming administration to handle Taiwan-related issues "cautiously and properly," to avoid "unnecessary interference" in the China-U.S. relationship.

___

5:15 p.m.

Taiwan's official Central News Agency says the former president of a conservative American think tank played a "crucial" role that led to the call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwan's leader.

The news agency said Saturday, citing anonymous sources, that Edwin Feulner, founder of the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, was a "crucial figure" in setting up communication channels between the sides.

Feulner led a delegation from the Heritage Foundation on a trip to Taiwan in October and met with Tsai, according to a release at the time from Taiwan's presidential office.

That release says Tsai called Feulner a "long-time friend to Taiwan" and conveyed her gratitude to his foundation for its support.

___

2 p.m.

One of China's best-known international relations scholars says President-elect Donald Trump's call with Taiwan's leader will not help ease Beijing's concerns about U.S. policy toward China under the incoming administration.

Shi Yinhong of Renmin University in Beijing said Saturday that China will respond discreetly and with restraint because it wants stable relations with the U.S., but that officials are increasingly worried.

Shi says: "In the mind of Chinese leaders, concerns are mounting over about U.S. policy toward China" under Trump's administration. He says Taiwan is the most sensitive and important issue in U.S.-China relations.

He says Trump's call may help Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen "convince people in Taiwan that the island can establish good relations with the U.S. and encourage her to continue to resist pressure from Beijing."

___

12:10 p.m.

China's foreign minister says he hopes Beijing's relations with the U.S. won't be "interfered with or damaged" after President-elect Donald Trump broke with decades-long diplomatic tradition and spoke directly with Taiwan's leader.

Hong Kong's Phoenix TV reports that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday the call between Taiwan's president and Trump was "just a small trick by Taiwan." He said he thought it would not change longstanding U.S. policy toward China.

Wang says the so-called "one-China policy" is the cornerstone of U.S.-China relations and that Beijing hoped that foundation would not be "interfered with or damaged."

It is highly unusual, probably unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979.

  ]]>
Madonna raises $7.5M for Malawi, slams Trump in Miami show http://www.dailyastorian.com/madonna-raises-75m-for-malawi-slams-trump-in-miami-show-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainment2a63edffcdde472686ff3709fe30a304 http://www.dailyastorian.com/madonna-raises-75m-for-malawi-slams-trump-in-miami-show-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainment2a63edffcdde472686ff3709fe30a304#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 01:30:25 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039856 MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) Madonna kissed Ariana Grande, repeatedly criticized President elect Donald Trump and said she was ashamed to be an American in a magnetic performance in Miami on Friday night where she raised more than $7.5 million for the African nation of Malawi.

The Material Girl dug deep into her personal treasures, auctioning off pieces from her own art collection, a costume from her tour modeled by Grande and black and white photos from her 1985 wedding to ex-husband Sean Penn shot by the late photographer Herb Ritts. The trio of wedding photos sold for $230,000.

Penn, who attended the fundraiser and bid on several pricey items when the auction stalled, handcuffed Madonna and crawled through her legs at one point as the two tried to coerce the audience to bid higher.

"For once, he's not the one being arrested," she joked.

The party lasted until early Saturday morning when Madonna took the stage for an hour-long performance before a star studded crowd that included Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, James Corden, ex-boyfriend A-Rod and Courtney Love. The fundraiser was just one of the many parties during Art Basel Miami Beach, a contemporary art fair.

Madonna, who performed in a pink sequined clown top and fishnet stockings, seemed to hold nothing back, especially her opinions on the election, joking with the audience that she had promised to perform sexual favors for those who voted for Hillary.

She coyly said she'd been in Donald Trump's bed, but later revealed it was for a magazine photo shoot and that Trump wasn't even there and she criticized his cheap sheets.

"They won't be Egyptian cotton because we all know how he feels about Muslims don't we," she said as some audience members gasped.

She gyrated to a slowed-down version of Britney Spears' "Toxic" and seductively sang, "You know that you're toxic," as images of Trump appeared on a large screen behind her.

At one point, she walked into the audience, climbing on tables and giving one man a lap dance. She abruptly stood up at another point, grabbed the chair on which she had performed and said she also wanted to auction it, noting $600 could send a girl in Malawi to secondary school and $2,000 would cover her university expenses. The chair sold for $10,000.

Other notable items included a Damien Hirst painting, a private performance by magician David Blaine, who was also at the event, and a weeklong stay at DiCaprio's home in Palm Springs, which fetched $140,000. A print by artist Tracey Emin from Madonna's personal art collection, sold for $550,000.

Madonna adopted her 11-year-old son David from an orphanage in Malawi more than a decade ago. At the time, she said, "I didn't know where Malawi was" on the map. David had pneumonia and malaria. His mother died in childbirth and his siblings were also dead.

He was on hand to introduce his mother, telling audience members who paid at least $5,000 per plate, "I realize I'm one of the lucky ones."

The pop star showed videos of Malawi, asking for help to build a pediatric surgery and intensive care unit at a hospital there. Fifty percent of the population there is under the age of 15, according to her foundation Raising Malawi.

The night was punctuated by her sardonic humor, corny clown jokes, controversial political statements and heartfelt moments about how much the hospital project means to her. She divulged a few personal details, lamenting that she was very single and hadn't had sex in a long time and saying she'd always had a fascination with clowns which she said are "profoundly misunderstood."

She spoke passionately about the plight of Native Americans and asked why their land was being destroyed.

"It just really makes me feel ashamed, ashamed to be an American, ashamed to be a human being really," she said before launching into "American Life."

]]>
AP Top Entertainment News at 4:26 a.m. EST http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-entertainment-news-at-426-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentc9fda50efe4592cc28aff75340401219 http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-entertainment-news-at-426-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentc9fda50efe4592cc28aff75340401219#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 01:30:23 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039857 More than cookie sellers, Girl Scouts enter music industryLuke Bryan slaps heckler from stage with microphone in handCicely Tyson performs Langston Hughes at Ebony galaTV's 'Full House' home is staying in the Tanner familyMaisie Williams: Stop going to dolphin showsRapper Kendrick Lamar performs in Miami for Art Basel party]]> Madonna raises $7.5M for Malawi, slams Trump in Miami show http://www.dailyastorian.com/madonna-raises-75m-for-malawi-slams-trump-in-miami-show-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world2a63edffcdde472686ff3709fe30a304 http://www.dailyastorian.com/madonna-raises-75m-for-malawi-slams-trump-in-miami-show-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world2a63edffcdde472686ff3709fe30a304#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 01:30:17 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039858 MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) Madonna kissed Ariana Grande, repeatedly criticized President elect Donald Trump and said she was ashamed to be an American in a magnetic performance in Miami on Friday night where she raised more than $7.5 million for the African nation of Malawi.

The Material Girl dug deep into her personal treasures, auctioning off pieces from her own art collection, a costume from her tour modeled by Grande and black and white photos from her 1985 wedding to ex-husband Sean Penn shot by the late photographer Herb Ritts. The trio of wedding photos sold for $230,000.

Penn, who attended the fundraiser and bid on several pricey items when the auction stalled, handcuffed Madonna and crawled through her legs at one point as the two tried to coerce the audience to bid higher.

"For once, he's not the one being arrested," she joked.

The party lasted until early Saturday morning when Madonna took the stage for an hour-long performance before a star studded crowd that included Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, James Corden, ex-boyfriend A-Rod and Courtney Love. The fundraiser was just one of the many parties during Art Basel Miami Beach, a contemporary art fair.

Madonna, who performed in a pink sequined clown top and fishnet stockings, seemed to hold nothing back, especially her opinions on the election, joking with the audience that she had promised to perform sexual favors for those who voted for Hillary.

She coyly said she'd been in Donald Trump's bed, but later revealed it was for a magazine photo shoot and that Trump wasn't even there and she criticized his cheap sheets.

"They won't be Egyptian cotton because we all know how he feels about Muslims don't we," she said as some audience members gasped.

She gyrated to a slowed-down version of Britney Spears' "Toxic" and seductively sang, "You know that you're toxic," as images of Trump appeared on a large screen behind her.

At one point, she walked into the audience, climbing on tables and giving one man a lap dance. She abruptly stood up at another point, grabbed the chair on which she had performed and said she also wanted to auction it, noting $600 could send a girl in Malawi to secondary school and $2,000 would cover her university expenses. The chair sold for $10,000.

Other notable items included a Damien Hirst painting, a private performance by magician David Blaine, who was also at the event, and a weeklong stay at DiCaprio's home in Palm Springs, which fetched $140,000. A print by artist Tracey Emin from Madonna's personal art collection, sold for $550,000.

Madonna adopted her 11-year-old son David from an orphanage in Malawi more than a decade ago. At the time, she said, "I didn't know where Malawi was" on the map. David had pneumonia and malaria. His mother died in childbirth and his siblings were also dead.

He was on hand to introduce his mother, telling audience members who paid at least $5,000 per plate, "I realize I'm one of the lucky ones."

The pop star showed videos of Malawi, asking for help to build a pediatric surgery and intensive care unit at a hospital there. Fifty percent of the population there is under the age of 15, according to her foundation Raising Malawi.

The night was punctuated by her sardonic humor, corny clown jokes, controversial political statements and heartfelt moments about how much the hospital project means to her. She divulged a few personal details, lamenting that she was very single and hadn't had sex in a long time and saying she'd always had a fascination with clowns which she said are "profoundly misunderstood."

She spoke passionately about the plight of Native Americans and asked why their land was being destroyed.

"It just really makes me feel ashamed, ashamed to be an American, ashamed to be a human being really," she said before launching into "American Life."

]]>
Iran's Supreme Court confirms death sentence for tycoon http://www.dailyastorian.com/irans-supreme-court-confirms-death-sentence-for-tycoon-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world84bdc537c24a4dbb8ff04c6597be2777 http://www.dailyastorian.com/irans-supreme-court-confirms-death-sentence-for-tycoon-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world84bdc537c24a4dbb8ff04c6597be2777#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 01:20:16 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039860 TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iran's official IRNA news agency is reporting that the country's Supreme Court has confirmed the death sentence against a well-known tycoon.

The Saturday report says Babak Zanjani was sentenced to death over a variety of charges including money laundering and disrupting the country's economy.

Zanjani was arrested in 2013 as part of a crackdown on alleged corruption during the rule of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran's Oil Ministry says Zanjani owes more than 2 billion euros ($2.25 billion) for oil sales he made on behalf of Ahmadinejad's government.

Zanjani is one of Iran's wealthiest businessmen, with a fortune worth an estimated $14 billion. He was arrested shortly after the election of President Hassan Rouhani.

]]>
Jury going into next week in ex-officer's murder trial http://www.dailyastorian.com/jury-going-into-next-week-in-ex-officers-murder-trial-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world83f88b36957a4eab8f73e22c8c433105 http://www.dailyastorian.com/jury-going-into-next-week-in-ex-officers-murder-trial-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world83f88b36957a4eab8f73e22c8c433105#Comments Sat, 3 Dec 2016 01:00:49 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2016312039861 CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) The jury in the murder trial of a former South Carolina police officer charged with gunning down a black motorist will continue deliberating next week, despite at one point Friday appearing deadlocked by a juror who told the judge he could not "with good conscience approve a guilty verdict."

The panel of one black and 11 white jurors has now deliberated for more than 16 hours over three days on whether to convict former North Charleston police Officer Michael Slager in the death of 50-year-old Walter Scott. They will return to the jury room Monday.

Twice on Friday the jurors told Judge Clifton Newman they had reached a stalemate. One juror sent a letter directly to the judge saying he could not "with good conscience approve a guilty verdict." The juror added he was not about to change his mind.

But then in the courtroom, the jury foreman told the judge that he thought jurors could reach a unanimous verdict and deliberations continued. Newman did not say whether the jurors were leaning toward a conviction on murder or on voluntary manslaughter.

Slager pulled over Scott's 1990 Mercedes for a broken taillight on April 4, 2015. Scott was shot five times in the back as he fled the traffic stop. A passer-by captured the shooting on cellphone video that stunned the nation.

Slager was fired from the department and charged with murder after the video surfaced.

Jurors are considering the charge of murder, which in Slager's case could carry a sentence of from 30 years to life in prison, and a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, which carries a sentence of two to five years.

The city of North Charleston reached a $6.5 million civil settlement with Scott's family last year. Following the shooting, the city also that the U.S. Justice Department to review its police department policies with an eye toward how the department can improve its relationship with residents.

Slager also faces trial next year in federal court on charges of depriving Scott of his civil rights.

  ]]>