3 Vehicles Owned by Elvis Presley Going up for Auction

Elvis Presley fans can take to the road in his personal stretch limousine, on his last motorcycle or in a pickup truck if they have the money, an auction house announced Wednesday.

Kruse GWS Auctions said the items will be part of its Artifacts of Hollywood auction on Aug. 31.

Presley drove the white-on-white 1973 Lincoln Continental stretch many times around Memphis, Tennessee, Kruse said. It features an old-school TV and other amenities. There are photos showing “the King” driving the car he was in when he stopped at a car accident in Memphis in 1976.

The auction house said a 1976 Harley Davidson FLH 1200 Electra Glide motorcycle was the last motorcycle Presley ever purchased. He transported it from California to Memphis and sold it 90 days before he died in 1977 at age 42. The Harley has been on display at the Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo, South Dakota, since the late 1980s.

The third Presley vehicle is one of three GMC pickups that Presley purchased in 1967 for his Circle G Ranch in Mississippi. Two years later, his father, Vernon, sold them back to the same dealership, the auction house said. It has undergone a total restoration.

 

Beyonce Drops New Original Song From ‘The Lion King’

Beyonce has dropped a new original song from Disney’s live-action “Lion King.”

The song, “Spirit,” was released Tuesday and should get an Academy-Award push for Academy Award consideration.

The tune comes at a pivotal moment for Nala, the character voiced by Beyonce, in the film that comes out July 18. She also co-wrote the song.

It’s part of an album called “The Lion King: The Gift” that Beyonce is executive producing and performing on along with other artists. It will be released digitally July 11, with the physical album coming July 19.

The collection is a companion to the main “Lion King” soundtrack, which consists mostly of songs from the animated film, along with a new number from Elton John and Tim Rice, who wrote the songs for the original.   

Demonstrations in Hong Kong to Continue as Protesters Call For Chief Executive to Do More

Demonstrations in Hong Kong are set to continue after protest leaders denounced Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s reluctance to withdraw a bill that would facilitate extradition to mainland China and her decision to not open an investigation into police conduct.  

Lam, who has characterized her government’s action surrounding the bill as a “complete failure,” declared the controversial extradition bill “dead” on Tuesday, after weeks of protests gripped the nation.   

Lam’s latest actions have failed to appease protestors, who seek to see the bill formally withdrawn.  

“We cannot find the word dead in any of the laws in Hong Kong or in any legal proceedings in the Legislative Council,” said Bonnie Leung, the vice-convener of the Civil Human Rights Front, an organization that worked to mobilize protestors against the extradition bill.

Many protestors worry that the government will attempt to pass the extradition bill at a later date.

Lam has attempted to reassure critics, telling reporters at a press conference that “there is no such plan” to push through the bill in the future.

Activists have also criticized Lam for not opening an independent investigation into the conduct of police officers during the protests.

“How can the government tell us that we should preserve our rule of law, when [Lam] herself does not use the principle without actually speaking to them directly,” Jimmy Sham, another CHRF leader, said in a joint statement with Leung.
 
Lam said that her decision not to withdraw the bill has “nothing to do with [her] own pride or arrogance,” calling the decisions “practical”.

“Give us the time and room for us to take Hong Kong out of the current impasse,” she said.

Joshua Wong, another activist in Hong Kong, also called for Lam to cease prosecution for activists and investigate police conduct.

“As former Chief Justice Andrew Li pointed out today, an independent inquiry is a necessary move to solve the current governance crisis,” he said.

“She has to stop prosecuting activists who participated in the protests,” he later wrote.

 

Judge Blocks 9 Government Lawyers From Quitting Census Fight

The Justice Department can’t replace nine lawyers so late in the dispute over whether to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census without explaining why it’s doing so, a judge says.

U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman, who earlier this year ruled against adding the citizenship question, put the brakes on the government’s plan on Tuesday, a day after he was given a three-paragraph notification by the Justice Department along with a prediction that the replacement of lawyers wouldn’t “cause any disruption in this matter.”
 
“Defendants provide no reasons, let alone `satisfactory reasons,’ for the substitution of counsel,” Furman wrote, noting that the most immediate deadline for government lawyers to submit written arguments in the case is only three days away.
 
The judge said local rules for federal courts in New York City require that any attorney requesting to leave a case provide satisfactory reasons for withdrawing. The judge must then decide what impact a lawyer’s withdrawal will have on the timing of court proceedings.
 
He called the Justice Department’s request “patently deficient,” except for two lawyers who have left the department or the civil division which is handling the case.
 
President Donald Trump tweeted about the judge’s decision Tuesday night, questioning whether the attorney change denial was unprecedented.
 
“So now the Obama appointed judge on the Census case (Are you a Citizen of the United States?) won’t let the Justice Department use the lawyers that it wants to use. Could this be a first?” Trump tweeted.
 
The new team came about after a top Justice Department civil attorney who was leading the litigation effort told Attorney General William Barr that multiple people on the team preferred not to continue, Barr told The Associated Press on Monday.
 
The attorney who was leading the team, James Burnham, “indicated it was a logical breaking point since a new decision would be made and the issue going forward would hopefully be separate from the historical debates,” Barr said.
 
Furman’s refusal came in a case that has proceeded on an unusual legal path since numerous states and municipalities across the country challenged the government’s announcement early last year that it intended to add the citizenship question to the census for the first time since 1950.
 
Opponents of the question say it will depress participation by immigrants, lowering the population count in states that tend to vote Democratic and decreasing government funds to those areas because funding levels are based on population counts.
 
At one point, the Justice Department succeeded in getting the Supreme Court to block plans to depose Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Nearly two weeks ago, the Supreme Court temporarily blocked the plans to add the census question, saying the administration’s justification for adding the question “seems to have been contrived.”
 
Afterward, the Commerce Department’s Census Bureau began printing census questionnaires without the question and the Department of Justice signaled it would not attempt to continue the legal fight.
 
It reversed itself after Trump promised to keep trying to add the question.
 
The Justice Department then notified judges in three similar legal challenges that it planned to find a new legal path to adding the question to the census.
 
Furman said the urgency to resolve legal claims and the need for efficient judicial proceedings was an important consideration in rejecting a replacement of lawyers.
 
He said the Justice Department had insisted that the speedy resolution of lawsuits against adding the question was “a matter of great private and public importance.”
 
“If anything, that urgency — and the need for efficient judicial proceedings — has only grown since that time,” Furman said.
 
Furman said the government could re-submit its request to replace attorneys only with a sworn statement by each lawyer explaining satisfactory reasons to withdraw so late. He said he’ll require new attorneys to promise personnel changes will not slow the case.
       

Ivory Coast Passes Legislation Encouraged by Ivanka Trump

Ivanka Trump is applauding the recent passage of legislation in Ivory Coast related to changes she pushed during her April trip to Africa.

The country is in the process of updating its family code to make it more equitable to women — a move President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter and senior adviser praised as “a great step forward.”

“We are pleased to recognize and applaud the Ivorian government’s recent passage of the marriage law, which supports women’s equal management of household assets,” she said in a statement to The Associated Press.

While the legislation proposing the changes had already been in the pipeline at the time of Ivanka Trump’s visit, her team is pointing to it as a sign of the potential impact of the global women’s initiative she championed. It aims to empower 50 million women in developing countries around the world by 2025 by providing job training and financial support and supporting legal and regulatory changes. The White House’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative was launched in February and received an initial investment of $50 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

In her conversations with Ivory Coast Vice President Daniel Duncan during her visit, Ivanka Trump said, she and her team encouraged the passage of legislation to advance women’s rights and legal status, including doing away with laws that restricted women from owning or inheriting property.

White House Advisor Ivanka Trump gestures as she speaks during the first Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) at the Sofitel hotel Ivoire in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, April 17, 2019.

Under the revised code, husbands and wives will have more equal say in managing household assets and making financial decisions. That’s in addition to other changes, such as new measures to ensure that widows are entitled to inheritances, additional protections against domestic violence, and setting the minimum age for marriage at 18 for both women and men.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara’s governing coalition dissolved in 2012 after some members resigned in protest of a proposed marriage law that would have made wives the joint heads of households. This time, however, the measures have drawn little protest.

W-GDP and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, an independent U.S. foreign assistance agency, said in a joint statement that the laws’ passage “signals a new direction in Cote d’Ivoire that recognizes the critical role women play in advancing economic prosperity in their family, community, and for their country.”

Ivanka Trump has made women’s economic empowerment a centerpiece of her White House portfolio and has made a number of international trips to highlight the issue.

The president’s 2020 budget proposal requests an additional $100 million for the initiative, even as he has proposed cuts to other foreign aid.

Biden and Wife Made More Than $15M After Leaving Office

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, earned more than $15 million in the two years after Biden left government in early 2017, according to tax records released by his campaign on Tuesday.

The majority of their income came from speaking engagements and payments for two books written by Biden, a top contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The former U.S. senator from Delaware served as Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years, leaving office in January 2017 after the election of Republican President Donald Trump.

According to federal and state tax returns, the Bidens earned about $11 million in 2017 and $4.58 million in 2018.

About $13.2 million of that was attributable to book payments.

Biden earned more than $775,000 in salary as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania in 2017 and 2018.

The Biden campaign released a financial disclosure form mandated for presidential candidates, which provided details of his speaking engagements and book events from Jan. 1, 2018, to May 31, 2019.

Former Vice President Joe Biden takes photos with supporters following the first rally of his 2020 campaign, May 4, 2019 in Columbia, S.C.

The form shows that Biden, who likes to refer to himself as “Middle-Class Joe” on the campaign trail, was regularly paid a six-figure fee for speaking events, many at private universities such as Drew University, where he was paid $190,000, and Vanderbilt University, where he received $180,000.

Last October, Biden received $182,679 for speaking to the Economic Club of Southwest Michigan. In that speech, Biden drew flak from some Democrats for praising Republican U.S. Representative Fred Upton shortly before the 2018 congressional elections.

Most of Biden’s book events and speaking events took place at theaters and auditoriums, but two events were handled through Creative Artists Agency’s Premium Experience – which specializes in “corporate hospitality” events. For a CAA book tour event in 2017, Biden was paid $234,000.

The campaign did not provide any detailed information about Biden’s speaking engagements in 2017.

According to the couple’s tax returns, they paid $3.7 million in federal taxes in 2017 and donated about $1 million to charity. In 2018, they paid $1.5 million in federal taxes and donated about $275,000 to charity.

Mayflower Replica to Sail for 400th Anniversary of Voyage

A replica of the Mayflower will sail to Boston as part of commemorations of the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ landing in Massachusetts.

Organizers say that the Mayflower II will be on display next year at the Charlestown Navy Yard from May 14 to May 19, and that visitors will have an opportunity to board the ship for free.

The vessel has been undergoing an $11.2 million restoration at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut since 2016.

The original Mayflower was lost to history after returning to England following its famous 1620 voyage to the New World.

The full-scale replica ship was built in England in the 1950s and has been berthed in Plymouth Harbor.

Plans are to take it back to Plymouth following the Mayflower Sails 2020 event. 

More Than 20 Reportedly Killed in Papua New Guinea Violence

More than 20 people including pregnant women and children have been killed in recent tribal violence in Papua New Guinea, media reported on Wednesday.

The death toll and dates of the violence in the remote highland province of Hela varied in reports by Australian Broadcasting Corp. and the Post-Courier newspaper.

Hela Gov. Philip Undialu told ABC the latest violence was on Monday when 16 people including women and children died at the village of Karida.

The killings were probably retaliation for an earlier attack that left around seven dead, Undialu said.

“This has escalated into the massacre of innocent women and kids,” Undialu said.

The Post-Courier, based in the South Pacific island nation’s capital Port Moresby, reported as many as 24 people were killed in the villages of Karida and Peta since Saturday.

Six people had been ambushed and killed near Peta on Saturday, Hela Police Chief Inspector Teddy Augwi told the newspaper.

The victims’ relatives retaliated with rifles the next day, killing between 16 and 18 people at Karida, including pregnant women, he said.
“This is not a tribal fight where the opposing villagers face each other on field,” Augwi told the newspaper. “This is a fight in guerrilla warfare, meaning they play hide-and-seek and ambush their enemies.”

Many villagers had fled the violence, Hela Administrator William Bando told the newspaper.

It was not immediately clear if any suspects had been arrested. Papua New Guinea Police spokesman Superintendent Dominic Kakas did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Tribal violence is common in Papua New Guinea’s interior, where villagers avenge relatives in retaliation known as payback.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape said those responsible for the fatal attacks could face the death penalty, ABC reported.

The prime minister’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. 

Trump: Will Look ‘Very Carefully’ at Labor Secretary’s Role in Prosecuting Child Sex-Trafficking Case

U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday he will be looking “very carefully” at how his labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, agreed to a light sentence in a child sex trafficking case against billionaire hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein more than a decade ago when he was a federal prosecutor in Florida.

As demands from lawmakers for Acosta’s resignation grow in Washington, Trump defended him, saying he has been “an excellent secretary of labor” for the last 2 1/2 years. The U.S. leader said that “many people” were involved in the Epstein case, but that in hindsight “what happened 12, 15 years ago…I would think maybe they wish they’d done it a different way.”

“We’ll be looking at it very carefully,” the U.S. leader said.

Trump spoke a day after federal prosecutors in New York brought new sex trafficking charges against the 66-year-old Epstein that could, if he is convicted, send him to prison for 45 years. Acosta, when he was the U.S. attorney in Miami, agreed in 2008 to an Epstein guilty plea agreement under which he served 13 months in a local stockade, but was freed half of most days to go to work at his office.

Two decades ago, Trump, years before he entered politics, posed for pictures with Epstein at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump in 2002 called Epstein a “terrific guy.” “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” 

United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman speaks during a news conference, in New York, July 8, 2019, announcing sex trafficking and conspiracy charges against billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein.

But on Tuesday, sitting alongside the Qatari emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, at a White House meeting, Trump said of Epstein, “I was not a fan of his.” Trump said he had not spoken with Epstein in 15 years and had a “falling out” with him, but did not offer details of any dispute.

Acosta has defended his deal with Epstein, but said he is pleased that federal prosecutors in New York have brought new charges against him.

“The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence,” Acosta said on Twitter. “With the evidence available more than a decade ago, federal prosecutors insisted that Epstein go to jail, register as a sex offender and put the world on notice that he was a sexual predator. Now that new evidence and additional testimony is available, the NY prosecution offers an important opportunity to more fully bring him to justice.”

Several lawmakers, including both leading congressional Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, have called for Acosta’s resignation for his handling of the Epstein case in Florida, but so has a staunch Republican supporter of Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. The White House has resisted.

Schumer said Epstein would have been behind bars for years were it not for the “sweetheart” deal agreed to by Acosta. Pelosi accused Acosta of engaging “in an unconscionable agreement” with Epstein “kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice.” A judge has ruled that prosecutors wrongly failed to tell Epstein’s victims about their intention to resolve the case with a light sentence.

FILE – U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta speaks at JLS Automation, in York, Pennsylavania, June 6, 2019.

Pelosi said Acosta’s role in the Epstein case was known by Trump “when he appointed him to the cabinet.”

Cruz said he agreed Acosta should quit, calling Epstein’s conduct “despicable” and that “everyone who participated should be vigorously prosecuted.”

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway pushed back on Pelosi’ call for Acosta’s resignation, saying, “It’s classic her and her Democratic Party to not focus on the perpetrator in hand, instead of focus on a member of the Trump administration. They’re so obsessed with this president that they immediately go to Alex Acosta rather than Jeffrey Epstein. As far as I can see, Jeffrey Epstein is the one who allegedly … sure looks a strong evidence to me is touching, if not raping young girls.”

In Monday’s indictment, Geoffrey Berman, a federal prosecutor in New York, accused Epstein of allegedly paying the girls hundreds of dollars for nude or partially nude massages from 2002 to 2005 that “increasingly were sexual in nature” at his mansion on New York’s Upper East Side and at his estate in Palm Beach.

The prosecutor said Epstein often paid some of the victims, some as young as 14, to recruit other underage girls that he then also abused.

Despite the fact that the allegations against Epstein stem from incidents that occurred more than a decade ago, Berman said, “We want to make sure (the accusers) have their day in court by bringing these charges.” In a court appearance, Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Epstein is a well-connected financier whose friends also included former President Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew, and numerous other celebrities.

US Court Rules Trump Cannot Silence Critics on Twitter

A U.S. federal appeals court has ruled President Donald Trump cannot silence critics on his Twitter account, maintaining that blocking them violates the Constitution’s right to free speech.

The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled in a 3-0 decision Tuesday the First Amendment prohibits Trump from blocking critics from his account, a public platform.

On behalf of the three-judge panel, Circuit Judge Barrington Parker wrote “The First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to exclude persons from an otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees.”

Trump has used his Twitter account, which has more than 60-million followers, to promote his agenda and to attack critics.

The court ruled on a lawsuit filed by Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute on behalf of seven people who were blocked by Trump after criticizing his policies.

Institute director Jameel Jaffer said the ruling “will ensure that people aren’t excluded from these forums simply because of their viewpoints” and added “It will help ensure the integrity and vitality of digital spaces that are increasingly important to our democracy.”

Justice Department spokesman Kelly Laco said the agency is “disappointed with the ruling and is “exploring possible next steps.” He reiterated the administrations’ argument that “Trump’s decision to block users from his personal Twitter account does not violate the First Amendment.”

The decision upheld a May 2018 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The U.S. Justice Department said the ruling was “fundamentally misconceived,” arguing Trump used the account in a personal capacity to express his views, and not as a forum for public discussion.

Twitter did not immediately comment on the ruling.

Among those who were blocked from Trump’s account were author Stephen King and model Chrissy Teigen.

 

1 2 3 907