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Fox News to Debut 2 New Business Shows
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FOX Business Network will debut a pair of programs, “The Big Money Show” and “The Bottom Line,” designed to help Americans deal with critical financial issues on Monday.

“The Big Money Show” with Taylor Riggs, Brian Brenberg and Jackie DeAngelis, which will air each weekday, kicks off at 1 p.m. ET. The ensemble offers breaking financial news and analysis with the co-hosts’ unique blend of knowledge on economics, markets, and policy.

“The Big Money Show” executive producer Amanda Fortunato said the program will focus on issues that truly matter to everyday people.

“Our audience is definitely families in America,” Fortunato told Fox News Digital.

“We say ‘Main Street, not Wall Street,’ everything that happens on your street. So those are going to be the issues that we’re focusing on,” Fortunato continued. “It’s going to be a fun, fast-filled hour with business topics from the biggest news of the day to all of the watercooler topics that people are talking about.”

The show will allow Brenberg to share his perspective on why free markets are always the solution, while DeAngelis’s proficiency in energy and commodities will help guide viewers through the current economic hardships. Riggs, who has a background in breaking market news, can unpack complicated issues and help viewers make the sound financial decision with the most up-to-date information available.

Fortunato said the trio quickly developed a natural chemistry that became obvious during recent rehearsals.

“It fit, it clicked,” she said. “It was like, ‘Oh, we’ve got something here. This is going to be good.’”

Fortunato’s ultimate goal is for “The Big Money Show” to emerge as must-see TV for investors and anyone interested in finance.

“I want it to be appointment viewing,” she said. “I was people to come home and say, ‘Oh, I have to see what Brian says about this. I have to see Jackie’s take on this energy policy of today, I have to check in and see what Taylor is going to say.’”

Later on Monday, Dagen McDowell and Sean Duffy will debut “The Bottom Line,” which airs each weekday at 6 p.m. ET. The show is intended to round out the business day programming by examining polarizing issues across the business and political worlds.

“The Bottom Line” executive producer Jaimie La Bella said planning and creating the new program has been “so exciting” and she’s eager for Americans to see what she’s been working on.

“We can’t wait to take our viewers on this journey with us. We’re covering the kitchen table topics that matter most to Americans,” La Bella told Fox News Digital.

“We find the meat. The issues that matter most to you and your families,” La Bella continued. “A mix of money, politics and perspective.”

“The Bottom Line” pairs McDowell, an original FBN personality who joined the network when it launched in 2007 and has been a fan favorite for over a decade, with Duffy, a former five-term Wisconsin congressman. Duffy’s time in public office largely focused on budgets, taxes and regulations, giving him unique perspective of dealmaking within Washington.

As part of the revamped schedule, “The Evening Edit with Elizabeth MacDonald” will move to 5 p.m. ET and “Cavuto Coast to Coast” will continue to air at noon ET.

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    Yellowstone Cancelled: Kevin Costner Drama ‘to End with Season 5’ — McConaughey Tapped for Sequel Series

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    The hit drama “Yellowstone” is reportedly set to end in its current form with star actor Kevin Costner while the show’s creators are eyeing extending the franchise with actor Matthew McConaughey.

    Deadline reported that Taylor Sheridan, co-creator and showrunner, along with Paramount Global and Paramount Network, are already in talks with McConaughey, and several of the show’s main characters are expected to be in the new version of the series, the report said.

    “We have no news to report. Kevin Costner is a big part of Yellowstone and we hope that’s the case for a long time to come,” a Paramount Network spokesperson said. “Thanks to the brilliant mind of Taylor Sheridan, we are always working on franchise expansions of this incredible world he has built. Matthew McConaughey is a phenomenal talent with whom we’d love to partner.”

    Sheridan is also behind the “Yellowstone” extremely popular prequel series “1883” and “1923.” The success of those two shows has afforded Sheridan the ability to be less dependent on “Yellowstone” for success, the report said.

    The new show will reportedly start on Paramount Network and then will be moved to Paramount+.

    The decision to move on from Costner comes after he reportedly wanted to do less filming than what producers wanted, the report said. Paramount Network rejected a proposal from Costner and decided to move on.

    Deadline added that Sheridan may make two additional prequel series to “Yellowstone” that would detail struggles in the 1940s and 1960s to hang onto the ranch.

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    Democrat Insiders Admit They’ve Lost Hope in VP Harris

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    Some Democrats are leaking their disdain for Vice President Kamala Harris to the press, with a few political bigwigs arguing openly that Harris is a major liability for 2024.

    Harris is struggling to “define her vice presidency. Even her allies are tired of waiting,” the New York Times headlined in an article Monday.

    That’s because one of the few issues that some Democrats are in agreement on — whether they’re allies of the vice president or not — is that she is a disappointment at best, the Times reported.

    “But the painful reality for Ms. Harris is that in private conversations over the last few months, dozens of Democrats in the White House, on Capitol Hill and around the nation — including some who helped put her on the party’s 2020 ticket — said she had not risen to the challenge of proving herself as a future leader of the party, much less the country.”

    Even some Democrats who were supposed to be supporters of Harris “confided privately that they had lost hope in her,” according to the Times.

    Democratic fundraiser John Morgan was one of the few voices to speak out on the record against Harris, arguing that her weakness as vice president will be “one of the most hard-hitting arguments against Biden.”

    The argument only becomes stronger because of the president’s age, Morgan said.

    “It doesn’t take a genius to say, ‘Look, with his age, we have to really think about this,’” he argued.

    Joe Biden is already the oldest president ever to serve in office at 80 years old.

    Morgan also took aim at Harris’ record of achievement as vice president.

    “I can’t think of one thing she’s done except stay out of the way and stand beside him at certain ceremonies,” he said.

    Multiple polls reflect Harris’ general unpopularity with voters, with roughly 39% of Americans saying they approve of the vice president’s job performance, according to polling site FiveThirtyEight.

    Harris has gained a reputation for flubbing speeches and speaking vaguely. One recent speech that Harris gave in honor of two former NASA astronauts was savaged on social media for sounding “like a 5-year-old” wrote it.

    “They strapped into their seats and waited as the tanks beneath filled with tens of thousands of gallons of fuel,” Harris told the audience.

    “And then they launched. Yeah, they did,” she added with a laugh.

    Harris was similarly roasted for a video she put out last year of her telling children about space.

    “You’re going to literally see the craters on the moon with your own eyes,” Harris said.

    “With your own eyes. I’m telling you, it is going to be unbelievable.”

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    WATCH: Karine Jean-Pierre Stumbles Over Simple Question on Chinese Surveillance Flight

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    White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday appeared to fumble when asked whether there have been other Chinese surveillance missions flown over the United States during Biden’s presidency.

    The exchange came during a White House press briefing, two days after the U.S. military shot down the Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina.

    A reporter asked Jean-Pierre whether the Chinese balloon, carrying sensors and surveillance equipment, was the first one identified flying over U.S. airspace under the Biden administration.

    Jean-Pierre did not answer the question directly, saying “Chinese surveillance balloons have been around for some time” and “we even briefed Congress this past August.”

    “So, don’t have anything more to say or to share,” Jean-Pierre said.

    The reporter questioned how it was possible Chinese spy balloons traveled over the continental U.S. – at least three times – during the Trump administration but were not discovered until after Trump left office.

    Jean-Pierre seemed to fumble her words and, again, didn’t answer directly.

    “But again, we are ready to brief key officials to let them know … what the intelligence community was able to figure out,” Jean-Pierre said.

    She refused to share details of discussions with the intelligence community.

    The reporter questioned whether U.S. officials have had conversations with the Chinese about balloons over U.S. airspace during this administration.

    “We’re not going to get into specifics of private diplomatic conversations we have with China. We’re just not going to do that from here,” Jean-Pierre said. “We’ve been very clear that what China did was indeed a violation of international law.”

    Fox News Digital has reached out to the White House for clarification on Jean-Pierre’s remarks.

    Secretary of State Antony Blinken was scheduled to be in Beijing on Monday, meeting with President Xi Jinping in a high-stakes bid to ease ever-rising tensions.

    Instead, Blinken was spending the day in Washington after abruptly canceling his visit late last week as the U.S. and China exchanged angry words about the Chinese spy balloon the U.S. shot down. As fraught as the US-China relationship had been ahead of Blinken’s planned trip, it’s even worse now and there’s little hope for it improving anytime soon.

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    UPDATE: Leaked Pfizer Document of Embattled Employee from Project Veritas Videos

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    Embattled Pfizer employee Jordon Trishton Walker appears to still be employed by the pharmaceutical company after he allegedly revealed confidential information about the firm to an undercover Project Veritas journalist, according to a leaked document in which the drugmaker warned employees to watch out for “anti-science activists.”

    Walker, who leads research and development for mRNA projects at Pfizer, told an undercover Project Veritas reporter that the company’s COVID vaccines are impacting women’s menstrual cycles and said that the company uses “directed evolution” to mutate coronaviruses for the creation of more potent variants and vaccines.

    The document from Pfizer appeared to reference Walker as a current employee.

    “We are aware of and managing a recent incident where one of our colleagues was baited into conversation in a social situation and recorded without their knowledge,” the document said.

    “Fact-based information rooted in sound science is vitally important to preserving Pfizer’s scientific innovations, reputation, and trust with business partners, and ultimately enables us to deliver breakthroughs for patients,” the document continued. “Anti-science activists are becoming increasingly brazen in their drive to gain and manipulate information, fueling the spread of baseless claims and endangering public health.”

    Pfizer has not responded to questions from The Daily Wire about Walker’s employment status.

    Walker had expressed concern that the vaccine was not functioning properly and indicated that the issue may arise from hormonal disruptions.

    “I hope we don’t discover something really bad down the line. I hope we don’t find out that somehow this mRNA lingers in the body,” he said, “because it has to be affecting something hormonal to impact menstrual cycles.”

    Despite claims of inconclusive evidence from fact-checkers, Walker’s apparent LinkedIn profile, which has been deleted, and images of more Pfizer documents shared by Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe suggested that he did indeed work for the pharmaceutical firm. Walker was listed as a Pfizer “director of research and development, strategic operations, and mRNA scientific planning.”

    When confronted by O’Keefe in another video, Walker called himself a “liar” who fabricated the admissions to impress the undercover reporter with whom he believed he was on a date.

    The document cautioned Pfizer employers to avoid the “surprising and confrontational” tactics employed by organizations such as Project Veritas.

    “This targeting can happen online through social media and dating apps as well as in person through industry conferences or simple social situations, such as a casual conversation with a new acquaintance in a bar, on a date, or at a party,” the company warned. “We must safeguard all sensitive and confidential information at all times and exercise extreme caution amid any discussions with acquaintances.”

    Facebook and Instagram threatened to permanently ban Project Veritas from the platforms after a journalist from the nonprofit confronted YouTube Vice President of Global Trust and Safety Matt Halprin on why the sting video about coronavirus mutation at Pfizer had been removed. Project Veritas added that they had been “wrongfully locked out” of Twitter for nearly two hours on Friday afternoon after the social media company claimed that the Halprin video constituted “abuse and harassment.”

    Pfizer denied conducting gain-of-function experiments after the initial footage was released.

    “Working with collaborators, we have conducted research where the original SARS-CoV-2 virus has been used to express the spike protein from new variants of concern,” a statement read. “This work is undertaken once a new variant of concern has been identified by public health authorities. This research provides a way for us to rapidly assess the ability of an existing vaccine to induce antibodies that neutralize a newly identified variant of concern.”

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    Economist Who Called 2008 Housing Crash Has a New Prediction

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    A U.S. economist famous for predicting the 2008 housing crash believes that home prices could plunge another 15% this year.

    In a recent analyst note, Ian Shepherdson – the founder and chief economist of Pantheon Macroeconomics – suggested that home price declines will accelerate further in 2023 as a result of low affordability and growing inventory.

    “We estimate that single-family home prices have fallen by 5.4% from their recent peak in May 2022, but they still need to fall by a further 15% or so before they return to their long-run average, compared to disposable incomes,” he wrote in a recent note to clients.

    Although consumer demand likely is bouncing back from a low point in the fall as mortgage rates fall from a record-high, Shepherdson – who predicted the mid-2000s housing bubble and subsequent recession – believes that prices have a ways to go before they hit bottom.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, home prices soared at a pace not seen since the 1970s with mortgage rates near a record low. Homebuyers – flush with stimulus cash and eager for more space during the pandemic – flocked to the suburbs; demand was so strong, and inventory so low, at the height of the market that some buyers waived home inspections and appraisals or paid hundreds of thousands over asking price.

    That frenzy came to a halt when the Federal Reserve embarked on the most aggressive interest-rate hike campaign since the 1980s as it tried to slow the economy and crush runaway inflation. Policymakers already lifted the benchmark federal funds rate seven consecutive times in 2022 and have indicated they plan to continue raising rates higher this year as they try to crush inflation that is still running abnormally high.

    The interest rate-sensitive housing market has borne the brunt of the tighter policy, with mortgage rates more than doubling over the course of the year. Home sales evaporated and prices began to decline from record highs.

    But demand has shown early signs of returning as mortgage rates continue to fall: The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage dropped to 6.09% last week, according to data from mortgage lender Freddie Mac. (That is still significantly higher than just one year ago when rates hovered around 3.56%).

    “Mortgage rates have fallen by 93bp since late October, and demand looks to be rebounding—modestly—after collapsing last year,” Shepherdson wrote. “To be clear, any rebound in sales from here will be small; monthly payments for a new buyer of an existing home have fallen, but were still up 54% year-over-year in December.”

    And although home prices are falling, they remain higher than they were one year ago: The median price of an existing home sold in December was $372,700, a 2% increase from the same time a year ago. This marks the 130th consecutive month of year-over-year home price increases, the longest-running streak on record, according to a separate report published last week by the National Association of Realtors.

    Another aspect of Shepherdson’s argument is the supply side of the equation; he believes that home supply will increase going forward. Prices tend to fall when supply increases.

    “The increase in existing home supply, meanwhile, appears to have stalled in December, with inventory of single family homes unchanged at 3.4 months of current sales. But we remain confident that inventory will rise again before long, especially as the downward adjustment in prices accelerates,” he said.

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    FBI Arrests Man, Woman with ‘Extremist’ Views in Power Grid Attack Plot Targeting 5 Substations

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    The Feds arrested a Florida-based ‘Neo-Nazi’ leader and a Maryland woman for plotting to attack 5 substations in Baltimore.

    Sarah Beth Clendaniel, of Maryland, and Brandon Clint Russell, of Florida were arrested last week in what prosecutors have alleged was a racially motivated plot to attack substations in Baltimore.

    The FBI told reporters on Monday they believe they thwarted a “real threat.”

    “This planned attack threatened lives and would have left thousands of Marylanders in the cold and dark,” Erek Barron, US Attorney for the District of Maryland said in a statement. “We are united and committed to using every legal means necessary to disrupt violence, including hate-fueled attacks.”

    “The threat posed by domestic violent extremists is evolving and persistent,” Special Agent in Charge Thomas Sobocinski, said. “The FBI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement and private sector partners to identify and disrupt any potential threat to the safety of our citizens.”

    Sarah Beth Clendaniel told an FBI informant about her plot last week and was swiftly arrested.

    Fox News reported:

    The FBI and U.S. Attorney’s Office officials in Baltimore announced they had arrested two individuals, a man and a woman, with extremist views who were allegedly attempting to attack the power grid in Maryland.

    FBI officials told reporters they believe this was a “real threat” that had been thwarted.

    Sarah Beth Clendaniel, 34, of Catonsville, Maryland, and Brandon Clint Russell, 27, of Orlando, Florida, are charged through a federal criminal complaint with conspiracy to destroy an energy facility, Erek L. Barron, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski, of the FBI Baltimore Field Office, announced Monday.

    If they hit a number of them all in the same day, they “would completely destroy this whole city,” and that a “good four or five shots through the center of them … should make that happen,” Clendaniel allegedly said. She further added, “[i]t would probably permanently completely lay this city to waste if we could do that successfully.”

    The affidavit reveals the two defendants were in separate prisons for past crimes and communicated online. In messages, Clendaniel allegedly referenced Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Hitler. She was in a Maryland prison for robbing convenience stores with a machete. Russell was in prison for holding bomb making materials.

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    ‘I Feel Like I Am Leaving a Cult’: Mother Regrets Transitioning Her 4-Year-Old Son

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    A mother of two young boys realized she made a terrible mistake after allowing her 4-year-old son to socially transition into a girl identity and described the epiphany she had as “leaving a cult.”

    The mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, wrote two essays and recently appeared on a popular podcast to discuss her journey from a social justice organizer and “true believer” in transgender ideology to a skeptic who is deeply regretful for allowing her son to believe he was a little girl trapped in a boy’s body.

    “I’m texting a friend, and I’m like ‘we’ve realized that our older son is not actually transgender and we’re going to be rolling back the social transition and I feel like I am leaving a cult,’ because that’s what it felt like to me,” she said on the podcast Triggernometry with her identity disguised by a blur filter.

    The mother’s first essay in August 2022, “True Believer,” went viral on social media. In the Parents With Inconvenient Truths About Trans (PITT) Substack newsletter, she described how she and her wife raised their two young boys as “gender neutral” because they believed they were following the righteous path of “social justice.”

    When their oldest son, who was 4 years old at the time, asked if he was a boy or girl, they told him he could choose. Six months later, their son declared he was a girl and wanted to be called “sister” and use “she/her” pronouns. Both his mothers affirmed his new transgender identity by allowing him to socially transition; they changed his name, allowed him to wear girl’s clothes, and allowed him to believe he was truly a girl for approximately one year.

    It was when her youngest son, who was just three at the time, said that he also wanted to identify as a girl that she began to wonder if she had made a mistake with her eldest boy. As her worldview began to unravel, the mother expressed deep regret for the actions she and her wife took, acknowledging that they “led” their child down a path of lies that could have resulted in severe psychological damage and life-long, irreversible medical intervention. In the end, she came to realize that parents, not children, were meant to be in the lead.

    The mother followed the Triggernometry interview with another essay for PITT, titled “A Return To Reality,” where she went into further detail of her new outlook.

    “In the interview, I refer to the moment in time when I finally could see my belief in gender identity as a belief for the first time,” the mother penned. “It was this moment when I feel I moved out of experiencing this belief as absolute truth, and was able to ‘see’ it from the outside looking in” (emphasis hers).

    She described the moment as feeling like “a pin came out of my head,” causing the whole belief system to collapse and returned to the cult analogy.

    “How else could I describe being in something so deep, that I could not see outside of it?” she said. “At least when you are religious, you realize you hold beliefs, you understand you have a faith, and you consciously practice it. This was different. I had been in something that I did not know I was in. And in that moment, I came out of it” (emphasis hers).

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    CLASSMATE KILLER: Teen Charged with Grisly Murder of 13-Year-Old Stabbed More Than 100 Times Admits Guilt

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    A Florida teen charged in the grisly murder of a 13-year-old classmate, found dead near a pond with dozens of stab wounds, pleaded guilty to murder Monday.

    It would have been the first day of jury selection for his trial, court documents show, two years after an early court appearance where he allegedly mumbled about demons taking his soul.

    Tristyn Bailey, a cheerleader at Patriot Oaks Academy, was last seen on surveillance video walking with her killer, Aiden Fucci, on May 9, 2021 in St. Johns County. He also attended the school.

    An hour later, the same camera captured Fucci walking away alone.

    Police later discovered her remains with 114 stab wounds and a piece of the murder weapon broken off in her skull, according to authorities. Her body was about .3 miles from Fucci’s house, according to the police report. They found the rest of the knife ditched in a pond nearby and arrested the suspect on May 10.

    When they questioned Fucci, he offered changing stories and eventually admitted to having been with Tristyn the night she vanished and getting into an argument with her, court documents show.

    Fucci told police he shoved her to the ground and left. When they served a search warrant on his bedroom, they found clothes similar to what he was seen wearing in the surveillance video – with blood on them.

    Fucci, who was 14 at the time and charged as an adult, changed his plea on the same day jury selection was scheduled to begin in his murder trial. Despite his youth, he was listed at the time of his arrest as 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds.

    Shortly after arriving for jury selection in a first-degree murder trial Monday morning, Fucci’s defense entered the guilty plea.

    Evidence against him includes more than 100 pages of emails from a school resource officer.

    In one, obtained by WJXT-TV, the officer relayed Fucci’s friend claimed the slaying was “100% premeditated” and that the teen had spoken about wanting to kill something in the woods.

     

    At a prior hearing, Fucci could be heard mumbling, “Please don’t let the demons take my soul. The demons are going to take my soul away,” according to WJXT-TV.

    “Why am I here?” he continued. “I just want to talk to my mom and dad. What’s going on? What’s going on?”

    Fucci’s mother, Crystal Smith, was also charged with evidence tampering after investigators said they obtained video of her washing blood from her son’s jeans in a bathroom sink shortly after they took him for questioning.

    Police later obtained the same jeans through a search warrant and allegedly found blood on them and in the sink drain. She has since posted bond and is due back in court on April 4.

    After her son’s guilty plea, St. Johns County Sheriff Robert Hardwick praised investigators for an “all-out” effort to bring Fucci to justice as well as the community as a whole, which supported the Bailey family and called in tips.

    In a separate statement Monday, Baily attorney Matthew H. Hinson heaped praise on prosecutors, the sheriff’s office and the family’s neighbors.

    “Foremost, we would like to give thanks to God,” he said in a statement. “Since this nightmare began, we have had the love and support of so many. We know so many have lifted Tristyn, our family, and her friends up in prayer. The members of our community have been simply exceptional in the support they have given us.”

    Fucci, who remains in custody, is due back in court on Feb. 23.

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    U.S. Military Recovers Debris from Chinese Spy Balloon — Pentagon Investigates Whether It Was Carrying Explosives

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    The remains of the China spy flight shot down by the U.S. over the Atlantic Ocean this past weekend are heading to an FBI processing lab in Quantico, Virginia, senior U.S. government sources tell Fox News.

    A top general said Monday that the U.S. is investigating whether it was carrying explosives, describing it as 200-feet tall, weighing thousands of pounds and with a payload the size of a jetliner.

    ‘So, I can’t confirm whether it had explosives or not. Anytime you down something like this, we make an assumption that that potential exists,’ said Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command, on a briefing call with reporters.

    ‘We did not associate the potential of having explosives with a threat to dropping weapons, those kinds of things, but out of a precaution, abundance of safety for not only our military people and the public, we have to make assumptions such as that.’

    The general’s description followed a briefing by National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

    Kirby said that the spy balloon had propellers and a rudder to help it navigate its way, but its maneuverability was reportedly limited.

    “They utilize their maneuverability to strategically position themselves to utilize the winds to traverse portions of countries that they want to see for collection purposes,” VanHerck added.

    Video of balloon debris was shared by South Carolina news outlets, coming in on a boat near North Myrtle Beach on Sunday.

    The debris field is the size of ‘more than 15 football fields by 15 football fields, according to the Pentagon.

    VanHerck said the majority of the debris had been collected, but there was a possibility some could come ashore, and warned people to call the authorities and stay away from it.

    ‘Our efforts to surveil this balloon and what we will learn from the recovery will prove to be valuable,’ he said.

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    Texas Gov. Abbott Announces Statewide TikTok Ban

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    Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a new statewide policy Monday banning TikTok on personal and state-issued devices for all public employees.

    Abbott unveiled a new statewide security plan that bans use of TikTok and other software due to the security threat it poses to official government business, he said in a release.

    The governor cited the ownership of TikTok by a Chinese firm with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a reason to ban the popular vidoe sharing application.

    “The security risks associated with the use of TikTok on devices used to conduct the important business of our state must not be underestimated or ignored,” Abbott said.

    “Owned by a Chinese company that employs Chinese Communist Party members, TikTok harvests significant amounts of data from a user’s device, including details about a user’s internet activity.”

    Each state agency’s IT department must strictly enforce the ban, which covers state-issued cell phones, laptops, tablets, desktop computers and other devices that can connect to the internet, the release specifies.

    Employees and contractors will also be prohibited from conducting work business on devices that have TikTok installed on them.

    Several other states, including Wisconsin, North Carolina and New Jersey have recently implemented similar bans.

    TikTok has insisted that its application is secure and that it is not spying on Americans on behalf of the CCP, but national security officials still assess that the app presents a national security threat.

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    ‘Literally A Tribute To Satan’: Viewers Slam ‘Demonic’ Performance At The Grammys

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    Viewers of the 65th Annual Grammy Awards slammed a performance on Sunday by Sam Smith and Kim Petras as “demonic” over its satanic theme.

    The duo, who won the 2023 Grammy award for best pop duo/group performance for “Unholy,” was surrounded by red lights with a fire backdrop.

    Smith wore a hat with horns and was encircled by dancers that used “props that had allusions to BDSM themes,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The song “praises Balenciaga,” social media influencer Ian Miles Cheong noted in a tweet that contained a screenshot of the song’s lyrics.

    Petras, who is a biological male, said after the controversial performance, “I think a lot of people, honestly, have kind of labeled what I stand for and what Sam stands for as religiously not cool.”

    “And I personally grew up wondering about religion and wanting to be a part of it, but then slowly realizing it doesn’t want me to be a part of it,” Petras continued. “So it’s a take on not being able to choose religion and not being able to live the way that people might want you to live, because, you know, as a trans person, I’m kind of already not wanted in religion.”

    The performance faced backlash online where many viewers thought that it went way too far.

    “I know we on the right probably use the word satanic too often but this performance from Sam Smith is literally a tribute to Satan,” writer Ben Kew tweeted.

    Political commentator Liz Wheeler tweeted, “Don’t fight the culture wars, they say. Meanwhile demons are teaching your kids to worship Satan. I could throw up.”

    Commentator Robby Starbuck added, “People like Sam Smith who love to mock Christianity and use Satanic themes always think they’re super edgy artists by doing it. In reality it’s not edgy. It’s boring, vile, rehashed shock tactics that Hollywood seals clap for because they’re evil & stupid.”

    WATCH:

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    Madonna Unrecognizable at Grammys: ‘That Can’t Be Her? Can It?’

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    Madonna appears to be hung up on being unholy.

    While presenting ahead of Sam Smith’s performance during the 2023 Grammy Awards on Sunday night, Madonna spoke about being “shocking” and had a word for all the “troublemakers” out there.

    During her speech, the “Like a Virgin” legend announced, “I’m here to give thanks to all the rebels out there, forging a new path and taking the heat for all of it. You guys need to know all you troublemakers out there you need to know that your fearlessness does not go unnoticed.”

    She continued, “You are seen, you are heard, and most of all, you are appreciated.”

    However, what stood out more than Madonna’s words to viewers was her face, sparking a sea of reactions on Twitter. Some couldn’t even recognize her as she stood in front of the audience with noticeably bigger lips, braids, a tight black suit and fishnet gloves.

    “Madonna who? That can’t be her? Can it ?” one viewer tweeted.

    “#GRAMMYs I really wish Madonna never touched her face,” another agreed. “There really was no reason. She was going to age beautifully. She’s always been beautiful. #Stopplayingwithyallface#Grammys2023#Madonna.”

    Another lamented, “Madonna doesn’t even look like Madonna. Who was that? So awkward. #GRAMMYs.”

    One person asked, “I love Madonna. I really do. But lord what did she do to her face.”

    Madonna’s tribute came after Kim Petras made history as the first transgender woman to ever win a Grammy. She and Smith took home the award for Best Pop Duo for the hit song “Unholy” tonight. The song has not come without controversy in the past, according to the duo.

    Throughout her life, Madonna has been a champion for the LGBTQ+ community.

    Some viewers also weren’t impressed with the Queen of Pop’s speech, calling her “narcissistic.”

    “This is the worst narcissistic Madonna #GRAMMYs speech since she gave Aretha Franklin that non-tribute tribute,” one Grammys viewer on Twitter wrote.

    Another agreed, writing, “Madonna wtf is this hashtag girlboss speech.”

    “Madonna is what happens when you don’t prepare a speech and repeat it 3-5 times before you show up to give it. #GRAMMYs,” one person typed.

    The Queen of Pop herself has won seven Grammy awards and has been nominated 28 times for the golden gramophone in past years.

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    Federal Child Pornography Investigation Infiltrates Telegram App, Results in More than a Dozen Arrests

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    Operation Swipe Left resulted in criminal charges against more than a dozen people involved in a “cross-country network of people sexually exploiting children,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday.

    A federal judge called some of the allegations “horrific.” Allegations include livestreamed abuse, kidnapping threats, and production of child pornography.

    “When agents raided one suspect’s home, video depicting the sexual abuse of an infant was allegedly playing on screen.”

    “This is not a victimless crime,” Cook County Circuit Judge Mary Marubio stressed. Victims, four of whom were rescued in “real time,” range in age from six months to 17 years.

    Arrests in the sweep include Norris “Nick” Stauffer, 27, of Chicago and at least 16 others. Charges were brought in Arizona, Wisconsin, Washington, D.C., California, and South Africa. Nine have already been sentenced to prison time, per the Sun-Times’ reporting.

    Stauffer’s attorney, Kevin Bolger, denies that his client produced child pornography and denies that his case has to do with Telegram.

    Former Trump administration official and former Turning Point USA employee Adam Hageman is among the defendants, Ars Technica reported. Following Hageman’s arrest and guilty plea in 2020 for receiving child sexual abuse materials, he granted investigators access to his Telegram group chats. That access, in turn, led to charges filed against a dozen others.

    Ars Technica says Homeland Security Investigations verified the accuracy of all the Sun-Times’ statements.

    Ruben Verastigui, a former RNC staffer, is also on the list of defendants.

    Defendants reportedly include include a youth soccer coach, a grocery store employee, an amusement park employee, and the son of a police officer.

    Others charged include Raymond Glover, Sebastian Protel, Zachary Marsh, Devin Parrish, Tyler Ehredt, Jesus Jimenez-Cornejo, Ryan Hoberg, Edgar Martinez, Shawn Grenier, Ryan Showell, Marthinus Gerhardus Lourens, and Quentin Joseph Carbajal.

    The investigation began June 12, 2020, after Royal Canadian Mounted Police discovered a child sexual abuse video with embedded geographic data that pointed to Arizona. The Sun-Times’ reporting was based on “recently unsealed” Cook County court documents, per Ars Technica.

    The sweep, dubbed Operation Swipe Left, was the work of Homeland Security Investigations, the Sun-Times reported.

    HSI is the “principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” The agency’s mission is to “investigate, disrupt and dismantle terrorist, transnational and other criminal organizations.” Child exploitation is listed among the wide array of transnational crimes HSI is tasked with investigating.

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    Turkey, Syria Rocked by Powerful Quakes, Death Toll Surpasses 1,500

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    Southern Turkey was shaken by a second powerful earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale at 1:24 p.m. local time on Feb. 6.

    According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the earthquake’s epicenter was in the Elbistan district of southern Kahramanmaras Province at a depth of 4.3 miles.

    “We had a second earthquake just over half an hour ago,” Abdulkadir Aytac, a 52-year-old baker in the Elbistan district, told The Epoch Times.

    “There are many collapsed buildings in the area and those that are still standing are in bad shape,” he added. “More buildings will definitely come down if there’s an aftershock.”

    The earthquake came roughly nine hours after the same region was rocked by an initial 7.7-magnitude quake that left hundreds dead and thousands more injured in 10 provinces of southern Turkey.

    As of the time of writing, local authorities had put the casualty toll—which is expected to climb further—at 1,014 dead and 5,385 injured, while more than 2,800 buildings have reportedly collapsed as a result of the tremors.

    The quake also caused widespread damage in northern Syria, where at least 476 people have been killed and hundreds injured, according to Syria’s SANA news agency.

    The epicenter of the first earthquake, which occurred at 4:14 a.m. local time, was in the Pazarcik district of Turkey’s Kahramanmaras Province, according to local authorities.

    In addition to Kahramanmaras, the first earthquake affected Turkey’s southern provinces of Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay, and Kilis.

    Emergency teams are currently in the process of digging local residents out from under the rubble of collapsed buildings.

    According to local press reports, more than 2,400 survivors have so far been successfully retrieved from under the rubble, although it is feared that thousands more remain trapped.

    Orhan Tatar, AFAD’s general director of earthquake and risk reduction, was quoted by Turkey’s Anadolu Agency as saying that there was still “serious earthquake activity in the region.”

    He added that aftershocks of up to 6.7 in magnitude would likely continue for the next several hours.

    Speaking shortly before the second quake, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the incident as the “biggest natural disaster” since a 1939 earthquake in Turkey’s central province of Erzincan that left more than 32,000 people dead.

    A number of countries have already extended their condolences to Turkey for the deadly incident and have offered help in various capacities.

    In 1999, Turkey’s northwestern Izmit Province was rocked by a 7.6-magnitude earthquake that left more than 17,000 people dead.

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    WOKE: Disney+ Cartoon Demands Reparations And More With ‘Slaves Built This Country’ Song

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    Disney has gone for woke yet again with a recent episode of the cartoon series “Proud Family” — which featured kids singing a song about reparations that America “owes” to black Americans and about how “slaves built this country.”

    The recent episode that aired on Disney+, titled “Louder and Prouder,” reviews the history of Juneteenth when the kids discover their town’s founder was a slave-owner. The song opens with the line, “This country was built on slavery — which means slaves built this country” — and that line was repeated over and over throughout.

    WATCH:

    “We the descendants of slaves in America have earned reparations for their suffering,” the song continued. “And continue to earn reparations every moment we spend submerged in a systemic prejudice, racism and white supremacy that America was founded with and still has not atoned for.”

    In the cartoon, that last line was punctuated by four black students glaring while the only white student on the stage with them held a sign that read “still has not atoned for.”

    “Slaves built this country,” they shouted again, claiming, “We made your families rich,” as they listed plantation owners, northern bankers, New England ship-owners, the Founding Fathers, and current senators among those who had profited on the backs of slaves.

    The cartoon even included the debunked “Hands up, don’t shoot” claim that originated after the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.

    “Imagine paying money to Disney to teach your kids to hate themselves and hate their country,” Human Events senior editor Jack Posobiec tweeted in response.

    “This is a scene from a Disney+ kids cartoon called The Proud Family Blatant anti-white propaganda,” @endwokeness tweeted.

    The Daily Wire’s own Co-CEO and [lower case] god-king Jeremy Boreing took a moment to remind audiences that DW Kids was coming soon. “DW Kids is coming. Not soon enough,” he lamented.

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    Surfing Legend Speaks Out On Allowing Trans Women To Compete Against Biological Women

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    Surfing champion Bethany Hamilton spoke out over the weekend about the World Surf League’s new policy allowing transgender women to compete against biological females in the sport.

    Hamilton lost her left arm to a 14-foot tiger shark in 2003 but was unfazed by the attack. She has since won multiple national championships.

    “The World Surf League has officially made the rule that male-bodied individuals known as transgender athletes can officially compete in the women’s division,” she said. “The World Surf League says they are following the Olympic guidelines.”

    She said that while she tries to love everyone, she was concerned about allowing biological men to compete against biological women.

    “I feel that I must speak up and stand up for those in a position that may feel that they cannot say something about this,” she continued. “I think many of the girls currently on tour are not in support with this new rule, and they fear being ostracized if they speak up.”

    Hamilton then proceeded to ask the league to answer multiple questions that she had about the change.

    “How is this rule playing out in other sports like swimming, running, MMA?” she asked. “Have any of the current surfers in the World Surf League been asked what their thoughts and opinions are on this new rule before it was passed or announced? Should there be a conversation with the 17 women and all of the men on tour prior to a rule change such as this? Is a hormone level an honest and accurate depiction that someone indeed is a male or female? … Who is pushing for this huge change? Does this better the sport of surfing? Is this better for the woman in surfing? If so, how? How did whoever decided these hormone rules come to the conclusion that 12 months of testing testosterone make it a fair and legal switch? Why is the WSL statement about trans women competing with women and yet there’s no mention of converted women competing with men?”

    Hamilton said that she believes the best solution would be to create a separate division for trans athletes.

    “I think it’s really hard to imagine what the future of women’s surfing will be like in 15 to 20 years down the road if we move forward in allowing this major change,” she concluded. “But we are seeing glimpses of male-bodied dominance in women’s sports like running, swimming and others.”

    “I personally won’t be competing in or supporting the World Surf League if this rule remains,” she added.

    WATCH:

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    A Third Chinese Spy Balloon Likely Discovered By U.S. Officials Who Don’t Reveal Its Location

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    U.S. officials reportedly believe that they have identified a third Chinese spy balloon that is likely operating in the air right now, but they did not reveal its location.

    The news comes after the U.S. military used an F-22 Raptor to take out a Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday using a single air-to-air A9X sidewinder missile fired at an altitude of approximately 58,000 feet. The decision to shoot down the spy balloon came after President Joe Biden allowed it to fly thousands of miles over the continental U.S. during the last several days.

    The Washington Post reported that the U.S. officials believe that there is “likely a third operating elsewhere,” but they declined to give the balloon’s location.

    An official told the Post that Beijing was embarrassed by the incident. “They’re in a very tough place,” the official said. “And they have very few cards to play right now.”

    The second Chinese spy balloon was detected over South America last week, according to U.S. military officials.

    “We are seeing reports of a balloon transiting Latin America,” Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement. “We now assess it is another Chinese surveillance balloon.”

    China was furious after the balloon was shot down, claiming that it was “a clear overreaction and a serious violation of international practice,” and that it reserves “the right to make further responses if necessary.”

    “China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and protest against the US’s use of force to attack civilian unmanned aircraft,” a statement said. “The Chinese side has repeatedly informed the US side after verification that the airship is for civilian use and entered the US due to force majeure – it was completely an accident.”

    “China clearly asked the US to handle it properly in a calm, professional and restrained manner. A spokesman for the US Department of Defense also stated that the balloon will not pose a military or personal threat to ground personnel,” the Chinese concluded. “China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of relevant companies, while reserving the right to make further necessary reaction.”

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    Biden Official Corrects Record After Claims Chinese Spy Balloons Traveled Over US During Trump Admin

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    Information suggesting that Chinese spy balloons traveled over the continental United States during the Trump administration was “discovered after” former President Donald Trump left office, a senior administration official told Fox News.

    A defense official on Saturday said Chinese spy balloons briefly traveled over the United States at least three times during the Trump administration.

    Trump and a number of his top national security and defense officials refuted the claim, telling Fox News Digital that it “never happened.”

    But on Sunday, a senior administration official told Fox News Digital that “U.S. intelligence, not the Biden administration” assesses that “PRC (People’s Republic of China) government surveillance balloons transited the continental U.S. briefly at least three times during the prior administration and once that we know of at the beginning of this administration, but never for this duration of time.”

    The official told Fox News that “this information was discovered after the [Trump] administration left.”

    “They went undetected,” the official told Fox News Digital.

    The official explained that Chinese surveillance balloons are “part of a larger pattern.”

    “These balloons are all part of a PRC fleet of balloons developed to conduct surveillance operations, which have also violated the sovereignty of other countries,” the official explained, adding that these activities are “often undertaken at the direction of the People’s Liberation Army.”

    The official said that over the past several years, Chinese balloons have been spotted over countries across five continents, including in East Asia, South Asia and Europe.

    “Two things can be true at once: this happened, and it wasn’t detected,” the official told Fox News Digital.

    Meanwhile, U.S. officials told Fox News on Sunday that a Chinese spy balloon crashed into the Pacific off the coast of Hawaii four months ago. Those officials said that at least one Chinese spy balloon flew over portions of Texas and Florida during the Trump administration.

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    Judge Hands Marijuana Users a Major Second Amendment Victory

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    A federal judge in Oklahoma ruled Friday that a law barring marijuana users from owning firearms is unconstitutional.

    The ruling is the latest challenge to firearms regulations after the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority set new standards for reviewing the nation’s gun laws.

    U.S. District Judge Patrick Wyrick in Oklahoma City dismissed an indictment against Jared Michael Harrison, who was charged in August with violating a federal law that makes it illegal for “unlawful users or addicts of controlled substances” to possess firearms.

    Harrison’s lawyers had argued the portion of federal firearms law focused on drug users or addicts was not consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation, echoing what the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year in a case known as New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. That case set new standards for interpreting the Second Amendment.

    Federal prosecutors, on the other hand, had argued that the portion of the law focused on drug users is “consistent with a longstanding historical tradition in America of disarming presumptively risky persons, namely, felons, the mentally ill, and the intoxicated.”

    Wyrick agreed with Harrison’s lawyers, ruling that federal prosecutors’ arguments that Harrison’s status as a marijuana user “justifies stripping him of his fundamental right to possess a firearm … is not a constitutionally permissible means of disarming Harrison.”

    “But the mere use of marijuana carries none of the characteristics that the Nation’s history and tradition of firearms regulation supports,” Wyrick said in his ruling.

    The decision comes after the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday that a federal law barring people with domestic violence restraining orders have a constitutional right to own firearms.

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    Developing: Director and Crew Members Turn as Witnesses for Prosecution Against Alec Baldwin

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    The director of the ill-fated “Rust” — shot in the shoulder on the movie set — might testify against embattled actor Alec Baldwin at his involuntary manslaughter trial in New Mexico.

    Director Joel Souza was injured in October 2021 when Baldwin fired his prop gun during rehearsal, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42. Souza is one of the 44 people on the prosecution’s witness list for the actor’s preliminary hearing later this month.

    Hutchins, 42, died after Baldwin fired a prop gun in her direction, unaware it was loaded with a real bullet. Souza, 49, was hit in the shoulder and released from the hospital the following day.

    Baldwin, 64, has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter for the on-set incident, but has repeatedly denied any culpability — and said he’ll fight the charges. The film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed is facing the same charges.

    Court documents obtained by Deadline show that Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies has lined up a slew of witnesses — many of whom worked on the film — to possibly testify against Baldwin.

    Carmack-Altwies listed many employees who worked on the set of “Rust” and spoke out about dangerous conditions there both before and after the shooting.

    “Rust” camera assistant Lane Luper, who quit the film over safety issues right before the fatal shooting, may be one of those called to testify. Luper has previously said safety procedures on the film were “fast and loose” — and that Hutchins’ death was the tragic end of a ”perfect storm.”

    “What I put in my resignation letter was lax COVID policies, the housing situation driving to and from Albuquerque, and specifically, gun safety, a lack of rehearsals, a lack of preparing the crew for what we were doing that day,” Luper claimed.

    Serge Svetnoy, the film’s gaffer who blamed “negligence and unprofessionalism” for Hutchins’ death, is also listed by the DA’s office and could testify.

    Svetnoy alleged in a scathing Facebook post following the fatal shooting that producers, including Baldwin, wanted “to save a dime” and hired “people who are not fully qualified for the complicated and dangerous job.”

    Svetnoy also sued Baldwin personally for negligence, claiming he suffered emotional distress after nearly being hit by the bullet that killed Hutchins.

    The DA also listed law enforcement officers and investigators as possible witnesses for the Feb. 24 hearing.

    Noticeably absent from the list is the film’s first assistant director David Halls, who handed Baldwin the gun. He took a plea deal to avoid a trial; details of his case are sealed.

    Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed were both charged “in the alternative,” meaning the jury will decide on which of the two charges — involuntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter in the commission of a lawful act — the defendants may be found guilty or innocent.

    The first charge carries a maximum sentence of 18 months. Under the second charge, both Baldwin and Gutierrez-Reed would face a mandatory five year sentence if convicted.

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