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The Biggest Breakups Of 2017

The Biggest Breakups Of 2017

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand calls Trump tweet 'a sexist smear'

Update 3:45 p.m. ET Dec. 12: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied that a tweet sent Tuesday morning by President Donald Trump was sexist and claimed it was instead about reforming campaign finance laws.

“Only if your mind was in the gutter would you have read it that way,” Huckabee Sanders said. “He’s obviously talking about political partisan games. ... This isn’t new.”

Trump was roundly criticized Tuesday after he called Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a “lightweight” and a “total flunky” who would “do anything” for campaign contributions. His tweet came after Gillibrand called for the president’s resignation amid allegations of sexual misconduct levied against him by more than a dozen women.

Original report: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called a Tuesday morning tweet directed at her by President Donald Trump “a sexist smear” and vowed that it “would not silence me,” CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

In a tweet posted just after 8 a.m. ET, Trump characterized the Democrat as a “lightweight” and a “total flunky” who would “do anything” for campaign contributions.

The president did not elaborate when reporters shouted questions to him during a midday signing ceremony for a defense spending bill, CNN reported.

The tweet came a day after Gillibrand called for Trump to resign over allegations of sexual assault, CNN reported Monday.

At a news conference Tuesday, Gillibrand called the tweet derogatory and an example of the president’s “name calling,” CNN reported.

“I see it as a sexist smear. I mean that's what it is," Gillibrand said. “It's part of the president's efforts of name calling and it's not going to silence me. It's intended to silence me. It's not going to silence the women who have stood up against him directly, and it's not going to silence the millions of women who been speaking out every day since his inauguration about things they disagree with.”

According to Federal Election Commission documents, Trump donated $4,800 to Gillibrand for Senate in 2010 and $2,100 to Gillibrand Victory Fund in 2007, CNN reported.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren defended Gillibrand on Twitter, calling out the president.

“Are you really trying to bully, intimidate and slut-shame @SenGillibrand?” she wrote. “Do you know who you're picking a fight with? Good luck with that, @realDonaldTrump. Nevertheless, #shepersisted.”

Geminid meteor shower to peak in coming days

The peak of the Geminid meteor shower is set to make for a spectacular view of the cosmos this month.

December’s robust Geminids are known to throw as many as 120 bright meteors per hour and can be viewed during the evening hours as well as predawn. Astronomers expect the most meteors to be visible Tuesday night through Thursday. 

“This is it, the shower we’ve all been waiting for,” astronomer Bob King said in his Dec. 11 column for Sky and Telescope. “Not only is it the year’s most prolific shower, the moon is essentially out of the picture.”

In 2016, the luminous glow of a full moon obscured the zippy Geminids, but this year the moon is in its crescent phase, a slender slice of light in the sky that shouldn’t interrupt the show. 

>> Read more trending news

The Geminids are unique not just in quantity but also birthplace. Most meteor showers come from comets, roiling cauldrons of gas, dust, ice and rock that have glowing heads and tails. According to NASA, Geminids appear as the Earth crosses the path of an inactive chunk of rock in space that doesn’t shed debris. The rock has been named 3200 Phaethon.

“Phaethon’s nature is debated,” NASA astronomer Bill Cooke said. “It’s either a near-Earth asteroid or an extinct comet, sometimes called a rock comet.”

The Geminids are Cooke’s favorite “because they defy explanation.”

King cautions that the estimate of 120 meteors per hour is an idealized number, visible only under perfect conditions in rural areas. 

“Depending on the time you observe and local light pollution, counts will vary,” King said. “At my observing site, which is handicapped by minor to moderate sky glow, I cut the rate in half to keep expectations realistic. A meteor a minute is certainly nothing to complain about.” 

The Geminids are the namesake of the Gemini constellation, from which they appear to radiate. The shower can be viewed with the naked eye over clear, dark skies across most of the world.

As long as stargazers are away from bright lights and look up in any direction, they should be able to see the shower, according to NASA. The shower peaks just after 9 p.m. Dec. 13 and lasts until dawn Dec. 14.

“When you see a meteor, try to trace it backwards,” Cooke said. “If you end up in the constellation Gemini, there's a good chance you've seen a Geminid.”

NASA will broadcast the Geminid shower live on Ustream Dec. 13 from the Automated Lunar and Meteor Observatory at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

NTSB faults El Faro Captain’s decision making, company oversight in sinking that killed 33 people

National Transportation Safety Board investigators are finding fault in the Alternate Compliance Program inspection protocol, the use of open lifeboats, training and oversight by the El Faro’s owner and operator, the Captain’s decision making, and many other areas, among their findings and recommendations following a more than two year investigation in to the sinking of the Jacksonville cargo ship.

33 people died when El Faro took on water, lost propulsion, and ultimately sank in Hurricane Joaquin.

FULL COVERAGE:The sinking of El Faro

NTSB staff spent all day Tuesday presenting 80 draft findings and 53 draft recommendations, while also fielding questions from Board members. The Board unanimously approved those, although Board Member Bella Dinh-Zarr dissented to an additional finding which said the ship’s officers should have been more forceful in how they communicated deteriorating conditions to the Captain.

They’ve also approved a probable cause for the sinking, which heavily cites El Faro’s Master, Captain Michael Davidson for not avoiding Hurricane Joaquin, failing to use the most recent weather information, and more.

NTSB Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt made it clear from the outset that the investigative staff took on a “herculean effort”, and the work they’ve produced will make a difference.

“This report will be studied by mariners young and old for many years, and I’m confident that this tragedy at sea, and the lessons from this investigation, will help improve safety for future generations of mariners,” he says.

NTSB Investigators gave technical and detailed presentations of Factual Reports they’ve produced through the course of this investigation, all of which raised some serious questions. Investigator-In-Charge Brian Young also presented a video describing the sinking.

El Faro is one of many commercial vessels that are inspected under the Alternate Compliance Program. This allows the ship’s Alternate Class Society- in this case the American Bureau of Shipping- to conduct inspections on behalf of the Coast Guard, in order to better use resources and avoid redundancies.

“Staff believes that the Coast Guard’s Alternate Compliance Program is not effective in ensuring that vessels meet the safety standards required by regulations, and many vessels enrolled in the program are likely to be operating in substandard conditions,” says Young.

ABS tells WOKV they’ve worked closely with the NTSB through this process and will continue to do so.

“While ABS has not yet had the opportunity to review all the NTSB recommendations, ABS supports all recommendations that effectively enhance safety and will continue working with the U.S. Coast Guard on improvements in the Alternate Compliance Program,” says a statement from ABS.

Among the testing that is done, Young is proposing having that go further. With El Faro’s sinking, it’s believed that the severe list led to a loss of suction in the lube oil sump, and ultimately a loss of propulsion. While the ship operated above the minimal required lube oil levels, they were generally below what’s recommended. Investigators believe the crew didn’t know about the vulnerability of the lube oil sump suction with a severe list and were not instructed to alter that to accommodate for expected heavy weather.  NTSB investigators want to increase awareness of design factors like that, while also pushing the testing limitations to determine the minimal operating levels to more extreme conditions, including list.

While there was a loss of propulsion, investigators don’t believe the ship lost power.

FULL COVERAGE: Detailing the NTSB Group Chairman’s Factual Reports

Another factor in the sinking is the amount of water that got on board, contributing to the list. It’s believed water first came in through various openings, but then moved through an open scuttle, although the NTSB has not been able to determine why that scuttle was open. They are now recommending that openings like this be outfitted with remote sensors that would show in a manned area- like on the bridge- whether they are open. The water that got in is believed to have made a large cargo deck more slick, and- when combined with vehicle cargo lashings that did not comply with the company’s lashing manual- investigators believe automobiles were able to break loose, and likely hit the fire main that was improperly guarded, and further precipitated the flow of water through the ship. 

At the Captain’s orders, the crew tried to offset the initial list by transferring ballast, but when the Captain then turned the ship to use wind to help offset the list as well, the totality led to an overcorrection. The list shifted to the other side, where it was apparently never remedied.

An additional vulnerability that allowed water to get in is the ventilation trunks. NTSB investigators found that the ship’s Certificate of Inspection required those to be open, for the purpose of ventilating cargo holds. They also found, however, that those openings were considered to be watertight or weather tight for the purpose of ship stability- and therefore should have been closed at certain times.

Investigators say they don’t believe the crew was aware of this conflict or vulnerability, and water was likely able to get on to the ship through these openings, in the conditions she was facing. A proposed recommendation would outfight all cargo holds with bilge alarms, to more quickly and precisely detect flooding on board.

The weather conditions are a main factor not only in the sinking, but the ability of the crew to survive once the call was made to abandon ship. Investigators do not believe El Faro’s lifeboats were ever launched, and in fact on the Voyage Data Recorder, the Captain can be heard calling for the life rafts to be put in the water.

“If you’re in such extreme conditions, is there any way out at that point?” asked NTSB Member Christopher Hart.

“It was very challenging, but we think the best way to have survived this was to have current equipment, and that would have been enclosed lifeboats, and in particular, the stern-launched lifeboat,” says Jon Furukawa, with the Survival Factors Group.

The open-style lifeboats aboard El Faro are not allowed on more modern ship designs, but they were grandfathered in for the ship. NTSB investigators are recommending all of these vessels be required to have enclosed lifeboats, even the ones that would have to be retrofitted. El Faro underwent a “major conversion” in the 1990s that could have meant their lifeboat system would have needed to be upgraded, but the NTSB staff says it appears that was waived because the ship’s lifeboat system itself wasn’t changed in the major modification. The NTSB believes work done on El Faro in 2005-06 should have been considered a “major conversion” as well, but was not. That also could have required the lifeboat systems be brought in to the modern era.

Their recommendations also include outfitting crew with personal locating beacons and requiring the ship’s EPIRB to transmit location, in order to aid in search and rescue operations. Investigators say they believe the personal locating beacons would cost about $300-$400 each, and a locating EPIRB would be about $800.

In terms of the information transferred by the beacons, there is inconsistency in how the location data is formatted. The NTSB Board was surprised to learn this was an issue that had never been identified  in the past, but staff has put forward a recommendation that would standardize that, and therefore lead to fewer vulnerabilities during the early phases of search and rescue.

AUDIO: El Faro’s Captain describes “marine emergency” in final shoreside communication

The crew may have also been inhibited in their attempt to safely abandon the ship because the Master, Captain Michael Davidson, took too long to muster them, according to the NTSB staff. Mike Kucharski, with the Operations Group, says there were several points where the crew should have been mustered- when flooding was discovered, when the ship lost propulsion, when they were having difficulty with the list, and when the flooding continued to worsen. He says crew could have helped investigate the cause of the flooding and potentially combat it.

“By the time the Captain recognized the ship’s perilious condition and sounded signals to muster and abandon ship, it was too late for the crew to assist and to successfully abandon the vessel,” Kucharski says.

Many of the Captain’s decisions are being questioned by the NTSB staff. Captured on the ship’s Voyage Data Recorder, or black box, are multiple attempts by officers to have Davidson alter El Faro’s course in the hours ahead of the sinking. Davidson turned down those suggestions and- despite receiving multiple calls- did not return to the bridge until a few hours before they ultimately went down.

When asked why Davidson did not heed the warnings from his crew, Carrie Bell with the NTSB’s Human Factors Group said they believe this was because of several factors, including his prior experience with storms in the Alaskan trade and possible overconfidence from having come through risky situations. 

DETAILED LOOK: El Faro’s Voyage Data Recorder transcript

“By not coming to the bridge as the Mates suggested, and by dismissing their suggestions to change course, the Captain missed opportunities to to reassess the situation and alter the voyage plan.  Given the responsibility of this position and the risk of the upcoming weather, it is difficult to explain how the Captain could have been absent from the bridge while the ship sailed in to a hurricane,” Bell says.

The track and intensity forecasts for Hurricane Joaquin were inconsistent and had a large margin of error and there were issues with some of the processed weather information the Captain was relying on taking hours to come through and- in one case- containing outdated information. Despite that, the NTSB believes there was adequate data available to plan for this voyage. The Board said the Captain’s decision to leave on that final voyage with the storm brewing was low risk, but his voyage planning left them heading toward an intersection with the storm from the outset.

Sumwalt questioned the responsibility of the crew in this type of situation to be more forceful in their suggestions. Bell says the focus of investigators was on the need for open communication and mutual respect, which is why one of the recommendations is to provide recurring training on Bridge Resource Management. Nonetheless, Sumwalt offered an additional finding- which was adopted by the Board- which says if the officers had been more forceful and direct in their communication with Davidson, it’s possible he could have assessed the situation differently.

Some family members of the fallen El Faro crew were not happy with the vote.

“For him to say the officers wasn’t aggressive enough trying to get the Captain’s attention, that was ridiculous. I mean, three phone calls when the Captain knows there’s a storm- what Captain wouldn’t come out of their room,” Claudia Shultz, the wife of El Faro’s Chief Mate Steve Shultz, told our partner Action News Jax while at the meeting in Washington DC.

That breakdown in Bridge Resource Management is one of the reasons El Faro’s owner and operator- which both fall under the TOTE organization- have blame as well under the NTSB report. The company failed to enforce some of its manuals and guidelines, did not provide heavy weather assistance or route planning services, inconsistently evaluated key personnel, did not provide enough training, and other problems.

“The company’s lack of oversight in critical aspects of safety management, including gaps in training for shipboard operations in severe weather, denoted a weak safety culture in the company and contributed to the sinking of El Faro,” says the NTSB’s findings.

TOTE says they have fully supported the investigation and are eager to review the NTSB’s final report.

“The investigation was complex. Assessing the large quantities of records and extensive testimony was a daunting task for these investigative teams. We appreciate the  time and effort both the Coast Guard and NTSB investigators expended in their efforts. The TOTE organization will carefully study the final Coast Guard and NTSB reports of investigation once they are formally issued. We as a company intend to learn everything possible from this accident and the resulting investigations to prevent anything similar from occurring in the future. We will also assist both investigative bodies in communicating lessons learned from the accident to the broader maritime industry,” says a statement from a TOTE Spokesperson.

TOTE further says they remain focused on caring for the families of those who died in the sinking and protecting the mariners at sea now.

There are also several factors that have been ruled out as contributing to the sinking, under the draft findings. It’s not believed there was any failure in El Faro’s hull. There is a significant crack that can be seen on the wreckage where she lies now, but investigators believe that was the result of impact with the ocean floor. The ship also lost the bridge and part of the deck, but that’s also believed to have been a result of the sinking, not a cause. 

Additionally, there were five Polish nationals on El Faro performing work to prepare her to convert to the Alaska trade. NTSB investigators say there is no indication the work that riding gang was doing on board contributed to the sinking.

With the NTSB’s investigation done, their attention is shifting to lobbying for change.

“The recommendations we’ve adopted today, if acted upon, will result in a broad range of improvements to the safety or marine transportation. As a result of this investigation we’ve plotted a safer course for future generations of mariners. But it is up to the recipients of these recommendations to make a conscious choice, the right choice, to follow that course,” Sumwalt says.

In all, 29 recommendations have been issued to the US Coast Guard, two to the Federal Communications Commission, one to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, nine to the International Association of Classification Societies, one to the American Bureau of Shipping, one to Furuno Electric Company, and ten to TOTE Services.

FULL LIST: NTSB’s findings and recommendations from their El Faro sinking investigation

These recommendations come in addition to several others already issued by the NTSB as a result of this investigation. Those came out earlier this year, directly addressing issues dealing with the safety of mariners at sea in heavy weather conditions. The NTSB issued those recommendations along with the start of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson was quick to commit to change.

“The El Faro sinking was a tragedy. The NTSB’s findings clearly show that more can be done to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again.  These recommendations coupled with the Coast Guard’s investigation set out a clear path for improving safety on our ships,” says a statement from Nelson, who is the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees the Coast Guard.

Family members want to make sure the talk will lead to action.

“That’s why I’m so heavily involved coming back a nd forth, talking with the Coast Guard,  NTSB, and whoever else I need to talk to- that this cannot happen again,” Rochelle Hamm, wife of El Faro Able Seaman Frank Hamm, told our partner Action News Jax.

“The Congress has the will to enact these as law.  Words and recommendations is fine, but actions speak louder than words,” Glen Jackson, brother of El Faro Able Seaman Jack Jackson told our partner Action News Jax while at the NTSB meeting.

The NTSB fully participated in three two-week hearing sessions held by a Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation, which has also been probing the sinking. While the two bodies collaborated through much of the investigation, the NTSB also conducted their own interviews and analysis, and has been operating independently since the last hearing session. 

The MBI has issued its Report of Investigation, which also found fault in the Captain and El Faro’s owner/operator, as well as the American Bureau of Shipping and the Coast Guard itself. The Commandant of the Coast Guard is currently reviewing that ROI to determine which of the recommendations and findings he concurs with and how to create change in those areas. There is no timeline on how long his review will last.

Alabama dad criticizes Roy Moore in memory of his gay daughter

An Alabama father who said that his daughter took her life because “she didn’t want to be gay anymore” stood outside Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore’s rally in Midland City on Monday to urge people not to vote for the former judge.

>> Read more trending news

Photos from the rally showed peanut farmer and Midland City native Nathan Mathis holding a photo of his daughter in a basketball uniform. Near his feet was a sign that said in bold, bright red letters, “Please don’t vote for Roy Moore.”

“Judge Roy Moore called my daughter Patti Sue Mathis a pervert because she was gay,” the sign said. “A 32 year old Roy Moore dated teenage girls ages 14 to 17. So that makes him a pervert of the worst kind.”

Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women who said they were teenagers when the former judge approached them. Among them is Leigh Corfman, who told AL.com she was 14 years old when Moore initiated sexual contact with her. She told the news site that they did not have intercourse, but that Moore touched her inappropriately.

Moore has denied the accusations.

Mathis told reporters Monday that he had mixed feelings about going to Moore’s rally.

“But somebody needs to speak up,” he said. “And if it’s all to no avail, so be it. It won’t be the first time I’ve done something to no avail.

“(Moore) didn’t call my daughter by name (but) he said all gay people are perverts, abominations. That’s not true. We don’t need a person like that representing us in Washington. That’s why I’m here.”

In a letter published by the Dothan Eagle in 2012, Mathis wrote that his daughter took her life on March 22, 1995, when she was 23 years old, “because she didn’t want to be gay anymore.”

“She was tired of being ridiculed and made fun of,” he wrote. “She was tired of seeing how a lot of people treat gay people.”

He said his daughter turned to him for help after she decided she no longer wanted to be gay, but he said doctors kept telling the family that she couldn’t help her sexual orientation.

“Patti had been raised by going to church at Christian Home Church of Christ, and she was there almost every time the door was open,” Mathis wrote. “Patti knew the story of Sodom, for oftentimes gay bashing was preached from the pulpit. Looking back now, I wonder how Patti must have felt, or if she even knew she was gay then. I never asked her.”

>> Related: Who is Judge Roy Moore

Mathis told reporters Monday that he didn’t blame Moore, who has made numerous anti-LGBT comments over the years, for his daughter’s death.

“I’m not suggesting that,” he said. “I was anti-gay myself. I said bad things to my daughter myself, which I regret. But I can’t take back what happened to my daughter.

“(Moore is) supposed to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution said all men are created equal. Well how is my daughter a pervert just because she was gay?”

Alabama voters go to the polls Tuesday to decide whether Moore or his rival, Democrat Doug Jones, will fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated in February by Jeff Sessions when he was sworn in as U.S. attorney general. Polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Happy Hanukkah: 8 things to know

Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish festival of lights, begins Tuesday night. “Hanukkah” means “dedication” in Hebrew, and there are many traditions associated with the holiday.

>> Read more trending news

Here are eight fun facts:

When is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev.

What is the history of Hanukkah?

Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem that had been defiled after the Maccabean Revolt. The Maccabees defeated the Syrians around 165 B.C. During that time, the area now known as Israel and Palestine was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who tried to force their beliefs on the Hebrews. A small band of Hebrews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated the Greeks and reclaimed the Second Temple in Jerusalem. When the Hebrews went to light the temple’s menorah, they found only one tube of olive oil that was supposed to last one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days.

What is a menorah?

Menorah is a Hebrew word for lamp. It has seven branches and was originally used in the First and Second Temples of Jerusalem. Menorahs were lit daily, using pure olive oil. A hanukkiyah is a menorah used to light the candles and has nine branches. It is lit each night to celebrate the miracle of oil, which lasted eight days.

A shamash, which means “helper” or “attendant,” is lit first and then is used to light the other candles. It is placed higher than the other candles.

How do you light a menorah?

It sounds simple but you have to know your left from your right. Candles are put on a menorah from right to left, matching the way a person reads Hebrew. The lighting of the menorah, however, must be done from left to right.

What is a dreidel?

A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top that is now used as part of a game to win chocolate coins called gelt. Originally, it was used as a decoy by the Jewish people. When the armies of King Antiochus IV Epiphanes outlawed many Jewish religious customs -- including the reading of the Torah -- the people went underground to study their holy texts. They would use the dreidels to confuse the Greek soldiers during raids. Each side of the dreidel has a different Hebrew letter, forming the acronym “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham,” which means “a great miracle happened there.” That’s a reference to the oil lasting for eight days in Israel.

What’s the proper spelling of Hanukkah?

Several spelling versions have been used, including Hanukkah, Hanukah, Hannukah, Chanukah and Chanukkah. Confused? The word was originally written in Hebrew -- a character based language -- and when it was translated into the alphabet-based English language some variations occurred. So, there really is no “right” or “wrong” way to spell it.

What are traditional foods served at Hanukkah?

Foods served to commemorative Hanukkah are fried in oil. They include latkes (which are potato pancakes) and sufganiyou (jam-filled doughnuts). 

So, is Hanukkah the Jewish version of Christmas?

No. However, because of commercialism and the holiday’s proximity to Christmas, children of the Hebrew faith often receive gifts. Usually it is money, and parents encourage their children to give some of their Hanukkah money to tzedakah (charity).

VIDEO: Manatees Fight The Cold By Huddling Together

VIDEO: Manatees Fight The Cold By Huddling Together

New Mexico policeman who adopted drug-addicted baby receives award

A New Mexico police officer, who adopted a drug-addicted baby girl born to a woman fighting an addiction, was honored by the Albuquerque Police Department on Monday, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

>> Read more trending news

Ryan Holets received the Outstanding Service to the Community award from Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller.

The baby, who Ryan and Rebecca Holets named Hope, was born Oct. 12. She had heroin and crystal meth in her system and had to endure detox for about two weeks, suffering withdrawal symptoms.

Ryan Holets said his wife was the real hero, KRQE reported.

“She didn’t hesitate, because you know, she had to take a few seconds to understand what I just said, but she immediately said, ‘Let’s do this, this is a wonderful thing,’” he said.

>> Police officer adopts homeless mother’s addicted child

Ryan Holets was responding to a possible theft at an Albuquerque convenience store on Sept. 23. As he was leaving, Holets said he noticed a couple sitting outside against a cement wall, allegedly shooting up heroin. He turned on his body camera and confronted the couple, and then he noticed the woman was pregnant.

“It's not every day I see a sight like that and it just made me really sad,” Holets told CNN.

Crystal Champ, 35, told Holets that she was eight months pregnant.

“You're going to kill your baby,” Holets told Champ. “Why you have to be doing that stuff? It's going to ruin your baby.”

Already a father of four -- including a 10-month-old infant -- the officer decided to adopt the baby when it was born, and his wife agreed.

Rebecca Holets said she was excited about the prospect of adopting.

“He walked in and said, ‘So, I met this lady today,’” she told the Albuquerque Journal. “I thought that was an interesting choice of words. He said, ‘She’s shooting up heroin and eight months pregnant. I agreed to adopt her baby.’”

The adoption will become final by the end of the year.

The Holetses agreed to pay for counseling for Champ and the father of her baby, who was the man seen in the video, in addition to attorney’s fees for the adoption.

Charles Barkley says he’s ‘nervous’ about Alabama special election, Roy Moore

Alabama native and former NBA player Charles Barkley says he is nervous about Tuesday’s special election to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat in the state.

Speaking to CNN Monday, Barkley indicated he was worried about the outcome of the race, between Democrat Doug Jones and Republican nominee Roy Moore. Barkley is supporting Jones.

“I got to say, I can’t believe we’re in this situation where the people of Alabama are going to turn a blind eye to all the accusations, all the rhetoric, all the racist B.S.,” the NBA Hall of Famer said.

>> Read more trending news

Referring to Moore, Barkley later said that, on paper, there was no chance Moore would get elected.

“If somebody actually sent me a movie script and showed me these two candidates, there’s no way that you say -- there’s no way that candidate can get elected. With all the ... accusations, all the times he’s gotten let go, fired, kicked off benches. Some of the things he’s said. There’s no way that person would win an election.”

Moore has been accused of pursuing sexual relationships with a number of teenage girls years ago. Many of the women who have come forward said they were minors at the time and that Moore was in his 30s. Moore has denied the allegations.

Yahoo! Sports reported that, earlier Monday, Barkley was at a Birmingham, Alabama, rally in support of Jones and was to-the-point about the election.

“At some point, we’ve got to stop looking like idiots to the nation,” Barkley said. “I love Alabama, but we’ve got to draw a line in the sand.”

Barkley told AL.com he will do his part to ensure a win for Jones.

"It can’t be Roy Moore,” he said. “To me it’s silliness that this guy's trying to win.”

“I’m going to do all I can,” he added. “I don’t want this guy representing my state.”

Polls for Tuesday’s election close at 7 p.m.

Twin NBA stars pay off customers' layaway orders at Philadelphia Walmart

NBA stars Marcus and Markieff Morris generated some Christmas cheer among Walmart layaway shoppers waiting in line at a Northeast Philadelphia Walmart on Monday, footing the bill for $6,000 in presents, WPVI reported.

>> Read more trending news

The twin brothers grew up in North Philadelphia. Marcus Morris plays for the Boston Celtics, while his brother plays for the Washington Wizards.

Their basketball schedules prevented the brothers from visiting the store in person, but the news was delivered by their mother, Thomasine Morris, WPVI reported. It was the final day to pay for layaway items, and customers were moved by the gesture.

“God bless them. God bless them!” customer Roberta Williams, of Germantown, told WPVI. “It's wonderful what they are doing for the people.”

“It's a blessing to be able to give people anything,” Thomasine Morris said. “Even though we play in Boston, even though we play in Washington, Philly is still our family.”

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