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Alaska Airlines to buy Hawaiian Airlines in deal for $1.9 billion

Alaska Airlines announced on Sunday that it has made a deal to buy Hawaiian Airlines for $1.9 billion. The deal, which is forecast to take nine to 18 months, will see both companies keep their brands, a unique decision that Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci and Hawaiian Airlines CEO and President Peter Ingram say was made out of respect for the nearly hundred-year legacy of both airlines. The combined organization will be based in Seattle under the leadership of Minicucci.

Minicucci said at a news conference: “this is a fantastic deal that bring two airlines that have amazing loyalties in our regions together,” and added that the merger will give customers expanded domestic and international choices. Said Minicucci: “this combination is an exciting next step in our collective journey to provide a better travel experience for our guests and expand options for West Coast and Hawai’i travelers.”

Said Ingram: “In Alaska Airlines, we are joining an airline that has long served Hawai‘i, and has a complementary network and a shared culture of service With the additional scale and resources that this transaction with Alaska Airlines brings, we will be able to accelerate investments in our guest experience and technology, while maintaining the Hawaiian Airlines brand.”

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2 children among 4 killed, two officers injured before suspect sets house fire

Four members of a family, including two children, were killed on Sunday morning in Far Rockaway, a residential neighborhood on the beach in the Queens borough of New York City.  The male suspect later set the family house on fire and stabbed two NYPD officers who responded to the incident, one of whom later shot the man dead.

The suspect was identified as Courtney Gordon, 38, but the NYPD did not identify any of the victims. Gordon had one prior arrest for strangulation domestic violence incident in the Bronx, NY. An 11-year-old girl was found dead from her injuries in front of the house, but officers were unable to enter because of a fire inside the living room. When the fire was extinguished, police found a 12-year-old boy, a 44-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man dead inside a back room. Another victim, a 61-year-old woman, is hospitalized in critical condition.

NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said in a news conference from Jamaica Hospital in Queens that two officers responded to a 911 call around 5:10 a.m.  Described as a young female, the 911 caller said that her cousin was killing her family members at a home. Maddrey said: “I just want to kind of set the stage for you. It’s a residential block with homes on it but at this particular location there’s a driveway and you go up the driveway and you go to the end of the driveway, there’s another four or five private two-homes there. So, our officers pull up to the driveway. As they get to the driveway, they see a male pulling out. He’s carrying luggage. Our officers ask the male a question or two in an encounter that lasted about ten seconds where the male draws a knife on the officers.”

The suspect used a kitchen steak knife to stab one of the officers in the neck and chest, and stabbed the second officer in the head before one of the officers, a 28-year veteran of the department, drew his firearm and shot the suspect. The officers were taken to Jamaica Hospital, where they are expected to recover.

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Social Justice Advocate shot and killed during home invasion in L.A.

Michael Latt, a prominent Hollywood social justice advocate, was shot and killed in his Los Angeles home on Monday. The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that the 33-year-old Latt was fatally shot by an intruder in his home, identified as a homeless woman, 36-year-old Jameelah Elena Michl.

Police responded to Latt’s home at around 6 p.m. Monday and he was taken to the hospital where he died from his injuries. Michl remained at the scene after the alleged shooting, where she was arrested at the residence and booked on suspicion of murder; she is being held on a $3 million bond. It is unclear if she has retained an attorney.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Latt is the son of Hollywood producers David Latt and Michelle Satter, and his brother is a Creative Arts Agency agent. Latt was the CEO of Lead With Love, a marketing company dedicated to promoting artists of color. Its website states: “Michael Latt is an award winning strategist, producer and founder of Lead With Love who has developed and led nationwide campaigns, impact initiatives and creative projects alongside influential artists, brands and organizations like Common, Ryan Coogler, Netflix, Emerson Collective, Sundance Film Festival, DGA, Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY, Frieze, UCLA, Barry Jenkins and more … Aligning his purpose and passion, Michael continues to dedicate his career to being of service, supporting influential women and artists of color and utilizing storytelling, art and more to spark lasting change and bring hope, love and inspiration to communities.”

A post on Latt’s Instagram page read: “Our beloved son, brother, grandson, fiancé Michael Latt, fell victim to a tragic act of violence Monday night. Our family, Michael’s extraordinary friends and colleagues are shattered by the profound grief of losing our Michael. He devoted his career to supporting others, championing organizations that raised up women and artists of color, along with leveraging storytelling, art and various mediums to create enduring change and instill communities with hope, love and inspiration. Michael will never be forgotten and we can all carry on his legacy of love, compassion and fierce dedication to positive and lasting change.”

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Trump gag order is reinstated in New York fraud trial

Former President Donald Trump has been barred from making public comments about court staff in his ongoing civil fraud trial, after a New York appellate court sided with the judge in the case who imposed the gag order after Trump disparaged his clerk, reinstating it. Attorneys for Trump argued the gag order violated U.S. and New York constitutional protections for free speech. They noted that the clerk, Allison Greenfield, is a Democrat, and that she sits next to the judge, often passing him notes.

On the second day of the trial, Oct. 3, New York Judge Arthur Engoron issued a limited gag order after Trump published a social media post about his clerk. Over the next month, Trump and his campaign violated the gag order twice, fining him $15,000. Engoron eventually broadened the order to bar attorneys in the case from commenting on court staff.

After a panel of judges in the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court considered Trump’s request to have the gag order lifted, it was temporarily stayed on Nov. 16. The appeals court ruled against Trump and lifted the stay in a brief order on Thursday; however Judge Engoron immediately advised lawyers in the case that he expects the ruling to be followed: “I intend to enforce the gag orders rigorously and vigorously, and I want to make sure counsel informs their client.”

Trump attorney Christopher Kise said the decision to reinstate the gag order represented “a tragic day for the rule of law … In a country where the First Amendment is sacrosanct, President Trump may not even comment on why he thinks he cannot get a fair trial. Hard to imagine a more unfair process and hard to believe this is happening in America.”

Trump, his two adult sons and their company have already been found liable for fraud in the case, in which they’re accused of benefiting at least $250 million through a decade-long scheme to artificially inflate Trump’s net worth during deals with banks and insurers. The former president and his co-defendants have denied all wrongdoing, blaming accountants for any inaccuracies in their financial statements. President Trump is expected to be re-called as a witness by his own lawyers on Dec. 11.

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At least 1 dead, others missing after U.S. military aircraft crashes into sea near Japan

A U.S. military Osprey aircraft crashed into waters off southern Japan on Wednesday morning, killing at least one person and leaving several more missing.  The CV-22B Osprey is based at Yokota Air Base and assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Wing, according to the Air Force Special Operations Command (“AFSOC”), who later issued a statement saying that eight were on board.

According to the Associated Press, the Japan Coast Guard confirmed to CNN that they received information about the crash around 2:47 p.m. local time after they received an emergency call from a fishing boat near Yakushima Island, which is around 130 miles south of Japan’s Kyushu Island.

The coast guard said in a statement that a member of the public called 118, Japan’s version of 911, at 2:47 p.m., and it immediately deployed patrol vessels and aircraft to the scene. At 4 p.m. (2 a.m. ET) a rescue team including boats from the coast guard and a local rescue center found “wreckage-like debris” and an overturned life raft, with no people in the raft. The coast guard confirmed that one man was recovered from the sea “unconscious and was not breathing” 1.8 miles from Anbo Port, which is near the accident site on the eastern side of Yakushima, by a boat from the Yakushima Town Rescue Center. They were given CPR and taken to Anbo Port, before later being pronounced dead at a local area hospital.

The U.S. Air Force said that the aircraft was involved a “mishap while performing a routine training mission off the shore of Yakushima Island.” Hiroyuki Miyazawa, Japan’s vice defense minister, told local reporters “in light of this incident, the minister of defense has asked the relevant departments to cooperate with the Japan Coast Guard to confirm whether or not there are any victims and to do their utmost to rescue them … adding … ‘the U.S. side explained to us that the pilot did his best until the very end, so we’re using the term ‘emergency water landing.’”

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Explosion at Ohio auto shop leaves 3 people dead, 1 hospitalized

Authorities confirm that three people are dead and one person hospitalized after an explosion at an auto repair shop in Hillsboro, Ohio. Hillsboro is about 50 miles east of Cincinnati; the Visitors Bureau of Highland County posted a message on social media asking for “continued prayers for our community.”

Local CBS affiliate WKRC reported that the explosion occurred at Jimbo’s Auto Repair at around 4 p.m. local time on Tuesday, Nov. 28. The blast was felt at several nearby sites including the Paint Creek Joint EMS & Fire District, whose crews quickly responded to the scene.  Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District Chief David Manning shared that the hospitalized victim remains in stable condition. The names of the victims and further information about them have not been released.

The Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office said that the cause of the explosion remains under investigation Wednesday.  Officials for the U.S. Department of Labor said that the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also at the site as of Wednesday.

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Hunter Biden agrees to publicly testify before the House Oversight Committee

On Tuesday, Hunter Biden’s attorney said that Biden has agreed to testify – publicly – in front of the House Oversight Committee.

In a letter to Oversight Chair James Comer, R-Ky., Biden’s attorney Abbe Lowell said his client will participate in the hearings on Dec. 13 (set by the committee), or “any date in December that we can arrange.” Lowell also called the investigation as an “empty” waste of government resources, saying that an open (public) hearing would prevent “selective leaks, manipulated transcripts, doctored exhibits, or one-sided press statements … We have seen you use closed-door sessions to manipulate, even distort the facts and misinform the publi.  We therefore propose opening the door.”

However, Comer rejected the idea of Hunter Biden testifying in public initially and called on him to abide by a closed-door hearing: “Hunter Biden is trying to play by his own rules instead of following the rules required of everyone else. That won’t stand with House Republicans. Our lawfully issued subpoena to Hunter Biden requires him to appear for a deposition on Dec 13. We expect full cooperation with our subpoena for a deposition but also agree that Hunter Biden should have the opportunity to testify in a public setting at a future date.”

Comer issued subpoenas targeting Hunter Biden, his brother James Biden, and his business associate Rob Walker on Nov. 8; with the committee calling for James Biden on Dec. 6, and Walker on Wednesday. The committee said it had obtained financial reports showing members of the Biden family set up shell companies to hide payments to “foreign adversaries,” with many established while Joe Biden was serving as vice president. However, White House spokesman Ian Sams countered that the inquiry had “turned up no evidence to support their outlandish allegations of bribery and ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ which they claim are motivating their open-ended ‘impeachment inquiry.’”

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President Jimmy Carter, 99, makes appearance at late wife Rosalynn Carter’s memorial service

Former president Jimmy Carter, 99, made a rare appearance on Tuesday afternoon to attend his late wife Rosalynn Carter’s memorial service in Atlanta, Georgia. Carter, the 39th president of the United States, has been in hospice care at home, after terminating medical intervention in February amid his own health challenges; while Rosalynn Carter was diagnosed with dementia in May, and entered hospice care just days ahead of her death on Nov. 19 at age 96.

Mrs. Carter died peacefully at her longtime Plains, Georgia, home with her family by her side, according to a news release from The Carter Center. In an accompanying statement, President Carter said, “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished. She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”

The ceremonies for Mrs. Cater began Monday with a wreath-laying at Georgia Southwestern State University’s Rosalynn Carter Health and Human Sciences Complex. The motorcade accompanying Rosalynn made stops at at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in Americus, Georgia, where past and current members of her Secret Service detail escorted the hearse. The former first lady was then taken to the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, where members of the public were invited to pay respects.

Along with President Carter, the invitation-only ceremony on Tuesday was attended by current President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton, Vice President Kamala Harris and second gentleman Doug Emhoff. Every living U.S. first lady — including Dr. Jill Biden, Melania Trump, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush — also attended Tuesday’s tribute service for Rosalynn. A formal funeral service for family and friends will take place at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains on Wednesday, Nov. 28th.

Rosalynn was married to Jimmy for 77 years, and served as the nation’s first lady during his tenure as President of the United States from 1977 to 1981. The couple share four children — Jack, Chip, Jeff, and Amy — and numerous grandchildren and great-children.

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President Biden will not attend COP28 climate conference in Dubai

The White House announced on Monday that President Joe Biden will not attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28 taking place on Friday and Saturday in Dubai. The United States will instead send climate envoy John Kerry and other top officials in Biden’s place at the conference, which includes the world leaders’ summit. Biden had participated in the last two summits. and his absence is expected to stand out among the 70,000 delegates who will be attendance. Among world leaders who have committed to the climate summit are Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

A White House spokesperson said in a statement: “Since day one, President Biden has led and delivered on the most ambitious climate agenda in history, both at home and abroad. He secured the largest climate investment ever, putting the U.S. on a path to cut climate pollution in half by 2030, protected more than 21 million acres of public lands and waters, and he continues to rally world leaders to raise their collective climate ambition.”

White House spokesman Angelo Fernández Hernández said that Biden could still appear at the conference the following week, however no additions to the president’s travel plans are planned: “although we don’t have any travel updates to share for the president at this time, the administration looks forward to a robust and productive COP28 where Special Envoy John Kerry, National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi, and Senior Adviser John Podesta, among others, will continue to build on the administration’s historic actions to tackle the climate crisis.”

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Additional hostages are released; Israel and Hamas agree to 2-day extension of cease-fire

Qatari officials said on Monday that Hamas has released another group of hostages to the custody of the Red Cross. shortly after officials announced an agreement between the Palestinian group and Israel to extend a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip for another two days. Qatar, who has been mediating between Israel and Hamas, announced the two-day extension of the temporary cease-fire, which was initially set to last four days, ending on Monday.  Al-Ansari said in a social media post: “The State of Qatar announces that, as part of the ongoing mediation, an agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian truce for an additional two days in the Gaza Strip.”

According to information provided by the Red Cross, Israel’s military said that 11 hostages are on their way to Israeli territory. Spokesperson for Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr. Majed Al-Ansari said the group includes 3 French citizens, 2 German citizens and 6 Argentinian citizens. In exchange, Al-Ansari said, Israel is releasing 33 Palestinians — 30 minors and 3 women — from Israeli prisons.

At a news briefing held shortly after Qatar’s announcement at the White House, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby later confirmed the extension. Kirby said Hamas had agreed to release 20 additional hostages being held in Gaza back to Israel over the next two days, and added that they are working to extend the cease-fire further than that.

Under the terms of the temporary truce deal, Hamas agreed to release at least 50 women and children kidnapped in Israel during the Oct. 7 rampage and held captive since then in Gaza. Israel, in turn, agreed to free about 150 Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli prisons, while also honoring a cease-fire in the interim.

The original terms of the short-term deal originally called for a four-day cease-fire, however, Israel had said publicly that it would be willing to extend the pause for an additional day for every 10 additional hostages released by Hamas.

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