Weinstein attorney complains rival lawyer is being ‘horrible’ to her



Harvey Weinstein’s leading defence attorney has accused a rival lawyer of being “horrible” to her.

Donna Rotunno, one of the most high-profile members of Weinstein’s legal team, voiced her complaints in court on Friday.

According to Variety, Rotunno addressed Judge James Burke before the jury entered the room on its fourth day of deliberations.

Rotunno alleged that Gloria Allred, who represents three women who have taken the witness stand in the trial, has been making statements about her to the media.


“Miss Allred feels the need to go out on a daily basis to attack me, which is fine. She can attack me whenever she wants,” Rotunno said, according to Page Six.

“However, she’s announcing to the media that I have to leave to attend a funeral. I think it’s out of line and unprofessional.”

She added: “[Allred] doesn’t care that it’s wrong and it’s horrible behavior.”

Allred reportedly disputed Rotunno’s claims during her own exchange with the attorney, telling her: “You are out of control! I did not say that! Once again, you are distorting the facts!”

Judge Burke warned Rotunno earlier this week not to speak to the press until the jury has reached a verdict.

The warning came after Rotunno published an opinion piece about the case for Newsweek, in which she wrote in part: “I implore the members of this jury to do what they know is right and was expected of them from the moment they were called upon to serve their civic duty in a court of law.”

The opinion piece was published after a controversial interview in which Rotunno said she had never been sexually assaulted because she had never put herself in a “position” to be attacked.



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Australia wildfires: Mining firm BHP complains smoke is slowing down coal production



Mining giant BHP has warned that smoke and dust from Australia’s deadly wildfires is hurting coal production.

The world’s biggest mining company said production had slumped 11 per cent at its New South Wales coal mine and power station in the second half of last year, partly due to poor air quality resulting from Australia’s catastrophic bushfire season.

“Smoke from regional bushfires and dust have reduced air quality at our operations, which has impacted December 2019 production,” BHP said in a trading update on Tuesday.


“If air quality continues to deteriorate then operations could be constrained further” in the first six months of this year, the company added.

Some were quick to highlight BHP’s own contribution to the climate crisis.

Australian actor Terry Serio tweeted: “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up! Coal production down because of air quality as the result of #AustraliaFires”.

BHP has come under increasing scrutiny for its contribution to climate change. According to CDP, a nonprofit focusing on climate change research, BHP is one of the top 20 greenhouse gas producers since 1988. It is also the largest producer of coking coal, used in industrial processes including steel production.

Mel Evans, fossil fuel campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said the crisis should have given BHP pause for thought. “They could have looked at the bushfires, changed tack and warned investors of the dangers of coal.

“Instead they’ve chosen to lament the fact they can’t keep fuelling the climate emergency as quickly as they’d like. You couldn’t find a more damning indictment of the fossil fuel industry.”

BHP’s announcement came as Australian authorities warned that hazardous conditions could resume in the next few days now that a brief period of torrential rain and flash flooding has ended.

Temperatures were forecast to rise in inland parts of Victoria state and neighbouring South Australia on Wednesday.

The hotter temperatures, combined with strong winds, will potentially fan existing bushfires, leading officials to declare “extreme fire danger” in some areas.

“Tomorrow is real for us, extremely real,” Victorian emergency management commissioner Andrew Crisp told reporters in Melbourne.

Since September, 29 people have been killed by the fires and an area one-third the size of Germany has been destroyed. It follows three years of drought that experts have linked to climate change.

Rachel Kennerley, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Fossil fuel companies wilfully ignored the climate crisis for decades, but perhaps having production impacted by bushfire smoke will finally hit home how important it is that we stop burning fossil fuels.

“The Australian government needs to do more to fight the climate crisis but here in the UK we need our own government to start matching words with actions. 

“UK ministers talk up our alleged global leadership role in moving past coal, but what’s being done at home must align with what’s being said internationally. This means that there can be no approval for new coal mines in the UK.”



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Brexit Party MEP complains about UK losing representation in European Parliament after Brexit



A Brexit Party MEP has prompted derision after complaining that Britain will have no representation at EU level after it leaves.

June Mummery, one of the party’s 29 representatives elected to the European Parliament last year, suggested the loss of MEPs would make it hard to hold Brussels to account.

“The big question now is, who will be here to hold these people to account while they still control Britain’s waters, but the UK has no representation?” she tweeted.


Britain will lose its MEPs, EU commissioner, and seats on the EU council after Brexit – leaving it with no control over the bloc’s polices or political direction.

However, because of the EU’s dominant position in international trade, its policies are expected to have a significant impact on the UK even after Brexit.

The UK will also be directly bound to EU rules during the transition period until 2021, while Brussels has said any trade agreement will likely require some level of permanent alignment on Britain’s part.

Ms Mummery’s comments prompted an immediate reaction from across the political spectrum.

“If only somebody hadn’t lied and said there was no accountability, maybe people would have voted differently,” said SNP MP Peter Grant.

Dr Charles Tannock, a former Conservative MEP from the party’s pro-EU wing, joked: “Surely our British fish under UK sovereign control swimming in UK exclusive economic zone will respect true Brexit and stay out of EU common fisheries policy waters so all will be well?”

Lib Dem MEP Jane Brophy said: “It took a long time but finally a Brexit MEP realised what Brexit means. I fear for our country and all the people that are in for a big shock.”

Labour MEP Rory Palmer added: “[I’m] thinking the Brexit Party briefing for Brexit Party MEPs on what Brexit means might need some work.”

The UK will leave the bloc at the end of this month under a withdrawal deal struck by Boris Johnson in the autumn. Once the UK has left, trade negotiations will start to determine the future relationship between the two orders.



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British Airways owner complains to EU about ‘unfair’ support for Flybe



The airline conglomerate IAG has filed a complaint to the European Commission about what it calls unfair support for the government deal that saved Flybe.

In an agreement to ensure the survival of the troubled regional carrier, ministers allowed Flybe to defer payment of Air Passenger Duty (APD).

There will also be a review of the tax on domestic flights.

The chancellor, Sajid Javid, said: “The reviews we are announcing will help level up our economy. They will ensure that regional connections not only continue but flourish in the years to come – so that every nation and region can fulfil its potential.”


IAG, which owns British Airways, Aer Lingus and Iberia of Spain, is challenging the deal under EU state aid rules.

Although the firm is not revealing details of its complaint, The Independent understands it will argue that Flybe will gain an unfair advantage through the deferral of tax – which amounts to state aid.

The government has allowed the troubled regional airline to defer handing over up to £100m in APD that has been collected from passengers but not yet passed on.

The arrangement, says IAG, will harm rivals in two ways. 

The first is on direct competition on some routes, such as London City to Edinburgh, on which British Airways goes head-to-head with Flybe. 

Aer Lingus is also a direct competitor on some links.

The second concerns the consortium that has taken over Flybe. It is led by Virgin Atlantic, BA’s long-haul rival. The complaint says that the alleged state aid will allow Flybe – or Virgin Connect, as it will soon become – to enhance feed to Virgin Atlantic and Delta routes at Manchester airport.

The European Union rules prohibit government support of companies unless it is justified by reasons of “general economic development”.

State aid is defined as “an intervention by the state or through state resources which can take a variety of forms (eg grants, interest and tax reliefs)”. 

But the EU concedes: “In some circumstances government interventions is necessary for a well-functioning and equitable economy.”

Meanwhile, a Labour Party spokesperson said: “The support for Flybe appears to be corporate welfare for one individual company that is not part of an industrial strategy that would support jobs, regional economies and environmental sustainability.

“Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party have been arguing for years that we should have a far more active government role intervening in the economy, setting a strategic direction and providing an industrial strategy. That should be done in a serious and strategic way, not as ad hoc welfare which once again benefits Richard Branson.” 

Asked if it was a “bung for Richard Branson”, the spokesman said: “Yes.”

The Rail Delivery Group has also responded to the deal. John Thomas, the director of policy for the train operators’ body, said: “Any review of Air Passenger Duty that encourages more people to fly domestically would limit efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

“Rail companies are working together to deliver £20bn investment this year to run more and improved services.

“Analysis of our fares reform proposals shows that we can prevent an extra 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.” 

The Department for Transport (DfT) said in a statement: “In a sign of the Prime Minister’s commitment to levelling up all regions of the UK, a review of regional connectivity will ensure all nations and regions of the UK have the domestic transport connections local communities rely on – including regional airports.

”As part this work and ahead of the March Budget, the Treasury will also be reviewing Air Passenger Duty to ensure regional connectivity is strengthened while meeting the UK’s climate change commitments to meet net zero by 2050.”

Darren Shirley, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said connectivity improvements should focus on sustainable transport: “Better bus and rail connections, including reopening disused rail lines and stations, and better connections with a new generation of transport interchanges will bring social, economic and environmental benefits to communities across the country.”



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Iain Duncan Smith complains about ‘Tory cuts kill’ slogan sprayed on campaign HQ



Iain Duncan Smith has complained about the behaviour of “democracy-hating thugs” after his campaign headquarters were vandalised.

The former Conservative Party leader took to Twitter to vent and posted photos on Monday morning from his constituency office in Chingford and Woodford Green.

Photos show the words ‘Tories out’ and ‘Tory cuts kill’ sprayed across the door and window of the Chingford and Woodford Green Conservatives Association.


He called for opposition candidates to condemn the “intimidation and criminal behaviour” and added that it would not stop his team from campaigning.

Mr Duncan Smith told the Evening Standard that the incident is the latest in a string of threats, including death threats, that he and his family have received in recent months.

He called those who make such threats “absolute morons” and added that it is “appalling that some people think they can shut down democracy”.

After posting about the graffiti, he also criticised an individual who was filmed by Young Conservatives representative Has Ahmed while he campaigned in East London.

Ahmed posted the video on Twitter in which a man he described as a “hostile and aggressive” followed him while he was campaigning.

Mr Duncan Smith called the man’s behaviour “disgraceful” and reiterated that opposition candidates should condemn “intimidation”.

Labour’s Faiza Shaheen, who is standing against Mr Duncan Smith in Chingford and Woodford Green, took to Twitter to agree with him and show solidarity.

She tweeted a photo of a Brexit Party poster pasted on the window of her office in the constituency, and added: “We have also been subject to intimidation and threats, including on the office and dodgy men following me. It’s not on.”


 

The Independent has contacted the Met Police for comment.

Social media is an increasingly important battle ground in elections – and home to many questionable claims pumped out by all sides. If social media sites won’t investigate the truth of divisive advertising, we will. Please send any political Facebook advertising you receive to [email protected], and we will catalogue and investigate it. Read more here.



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McDonald’s manager hits woman in head with blender after she complains about order



A McDonald’s manager has been fired after throwing a blender at the face of a disgruntled customer who complained about her order. 

The 22 September incident, which took place in a McDonald’s in Colerain Township, Ohio, was captured on surveillance camera and shows customer Britany Price being knocked to the floor.

According to Price, who suffered a fractured cheekbone and a broken nose as a result of the attack, she went inside the fast-food restaurant after realising the order she’d ordered through the drive-thru was incorrect. 


In footage of the incident obtained by WLWT, Prince can be seen waiting for her order after informing employees it was wrong. 

She alleges that she waited for roughly 25 minutes, before returning to her car to grab the rest of the food and ask for a refund. She then began throwing food at the McDonald’s employees. 

Price sustained multiple injuries as a result (WLWT)

“I wasn’t the only one that got frustrated, you know, watching the video we see a lot of people that see me and her talking, trying to resolve the issue and they’re like, I’m not dealing with this, you know, they just left, they didn’t even place their order,” Price recalled.

After throwing the food, the manager of the McDonald’s picked up a blender and threw it at Price – knocking her to the ground. 

According to Price, who says she has undergone surgery as a result of her injuries, she thinks the incident would have escalated even if she hadn’t thrown the food. 

“I definitely don’t feel like there would have been a different result,” she told WLWT. “I feel like even if we would have just went verbal back and forth that it still would have escalated to something else.” 

Price also said she just wanted to “get some Happy Meals and some cheeseburgers” but that the day turned out to be a “very unhappy day for me”.


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A spokesperson for McDonald’s told The Independent: “The safety of our customers and employees is of utmost importance to us” and that “this behaviour is not reflective of our values”. The fast-food restaurant also said it can confirm the individual involved “is no longer employed by our organisation”.



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R Kelly complains about not being able to see more than one girlfriend at a time in jail



R Kelly has apparently included not being able to see more than one girlfriend at a time as one of the reasons he should be granted bail.

According to the Chicago TribuneKelly’s lawyers have asked the judge in the singer’s New York federal case to reconsider after he was refused bail in July. 

The request was filed on Monday 30 September in New York, where Kelly is charged in a racketeering scheme to sexually abuse girls. 


The R&B artist is currently being detained in Chicago, where he faces similar charges. 

Kelly must also get the Chicago judge to agree to bail before he could be released, even if the New York judge grants bail. 

The motion filed this week complains that just one person unrelated to Kelly is allowed to visit him at a time over 90 days.

Therefore, only one of the two women who were living with him at the time before he was jailed can visit him during that period. 

Kelly also cited apparent anxiety, an untreated hernia and numbness in one of his hands as further reasons to call for his release. 

His lawyer Steve Greenberg argues that Kelly “is not presently receiving adequate medical care”. 

Kelly was arrested in February on 10 counts of sexual abuse, to which he pleaded not guilty. He was released on bail before being charged with 11 further counts in May, then arrested in July on sex-related charges including coercion, physical abuse and sex with underage girls. He was refused bail following the July charges. 

A trial date has been set for April 2020. 

Additional reporting by Associated Press



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Trump complains about homeless people living ‘on our best entrances to buildings’



Donald Trump reportedly complained about America’s homeless causing prominent foreign investors to flee the country after threatening a federal crackdown on homelessness in states like California.

Speaking with reporters on Air Force One before his two-day visit to the Golden State, the president lashed out at homeless people who he said were living in the nation’s “best highways, our best streets, our best entrances to buildings … where people in those buildings pay tremendous taxes, where they went to those locations because of the prestige”.

Mr Trump, who described the condition of homelessness in California as “disgusting”, added: “We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening.


“And I’m speaking to tenants — in some cases foreign people, foreign tenants — but they have, where they’re tenants in buildings throughout various cities in California, and other places… where they want to leave the country. They can’t believe what’s happening.

“In many cases, they came from other countries and they moved to Los Angeles or they moved to San Francisco because of the prestige of the city, and all of a sudden they have tents,” he added, according to reporters who flew with the president to California. 

The state has among the highest rates of homelessness in the country despite taxpayer-funded efforts and both state and federal initiatives to combat the crisis. 

The president has reportedly considered launching a task force to help solve the issue of nationwide homelessness while focusing his criticisms on Democratic-majority states like California, where the administration says policies like its so-called Right to Shelter laws are counterproductive. 

Mr Trump went on to claim there were “hundreds and hundreds of tents and people living at the entrance” of office buildings, claiming those people now “want to leave” because of the issue and “the people of San Francisco are fed up, and the people of Los Angeles are fed up”.

Before he departed for the trip, Mr Trump told a meeting of House Republicans last week about homelessness: “We are going to have to step in and do something about it.

“We can’t allow it. And in the not too distant future, you are going to see we are going to step in.”

The president’s comments came as he was locked in a contentious disagreement with the state over its right to set its own emissions standards. 


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The Environmental Protection Agency ended the state’s ability to set higher standards for car emissions this week. 

The state was previously given permission to set its own regulations in order to deal with poor air quality in cities like Los Angeles.



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John Legend proves he’s a good Instagram husband after Chrissy Teigen complains



John Legend has defended his ‘Instagram husband’ status after his wife, Chrissy Teigen, complained she is never in family photographs.

On Sunday, Teigen shared a selfie with her daughter, Luna, on Instagram, complaining in the caption that she is always the “designated photo taker”.

Directing the lengthy post at her husband, Teigen wrote: “I never have pictures of myself because I am selfless and am the designated photo taker and keeper for my family and no one else seems to care to be thoughtful and take good photos of me they merely click them off without paying attention to angles or lighting or general photo ambience. [sic]


“But it’s okay. such is the life I chose. (To John).”

In an attempt to clear his name, Legend responded by posting a series of photographs he believed prove he is a good “Instagram husband” – a term used to describe someone who is often tasked with taking pictures of their significant other.

 The first image Legend posted was a photograph of Teigen sitting on the floor with her legs crossed as she smiled at the camera.

“When your wife says you’re a bad Instagram husband but you’re like,” Legend wrote in the caption. 

The second photograph Legend posted showed Luna holding a pink toy spoon up to her mother’s mouth alongside the caption: “Photo by….me! #goodinstagramhusband.”


While the couple’s Instagram feud was in good jest, Teigen’s original post struck a chord with her followers.

The post, which received 1m likes, was flooded with comments from mothers who shared similar experiences.


Singer Natasha Bedingfield commented: “Every time his dad holds him I pick up the camera and take a snap. He’s gonna think that it was only dad who did all those things with him.”

Kandi Burruss, a singer and television personality from The Real Housewives of Atlanta, also chimed in, adding: “I feel you. I never have great pics with my son [and Todd] gets all the great photos because I’m the photographer.”


Another user pointed out that Teigen’s experience is so common there is even an Instagram hashtag dedicated to encouraging mothers to be in more with their children.

The hashtag, #mumsinphotos, currently has more than 3,400 posts.



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