Eddie Murphy to receive Lifetime Achievement honor at Critics' Choice Awards

CC™ Entertainment News

The critics are paying the ultimate homage to Eddie Murphy.

The "Dolemite Is My Name" star will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for his stellar movie career at the 25th Annual Critics Choice Awards on Jan. 12. Murphy is already nominated for the best actor award for his role as Rudy Ray Moore in Netflix’s "Dolemite."

Murphy will be feted for a career which places the "SNL" star on the short list of actors who have starred in multiple $100 million pictures over the past three decades, from "Beverly Hills Cop" (which just turned 35) to "Daddy Day Care." 
Some of Murphy's other hits include "48 Hours," "Trading Places," "Coming to America," "Harlem Nights," "Bowfinger," "The Nutty Professor" and the voice of Donkey in the "Shrek" franchise.
In 2007, Murphy won the Critics' Choice best actor for his portrayal of James “Thunder” Early in "Dreamgirls," a performance which earned him his first Academy Award nomination.
Murphy told USA TODAY before the release of "Dolemite" that his banner 2019 year is not a comeback, despite fans insistence.
"People are saying, 'You’re back! It’s a comeback!' " said Murphy. "I’m like, no, I’m not trying to do a comeback. I’ve just been enjoying sitting on the couch so much. A few years ago, I was like, 'I could sit on this couch and stay here watching 'Little Women: LA' and their exploits.' "
Murphy had a stellar return to "SNL" on Dec. 21 and will undertake his first comedy tour in three decades in 2020.
"Dolemite" director Craig Brewer has finished filming Murphy and Arsenio Hall in a sequel to 1988's "Coming to America," which is set for theaters in 2020.
Source: USA Today Entertainment 


Political blackmail as U.S. threatens to block Iraqi access to key bank account if American troops are forced to leave

U.S. President Donald Trump
CC™ Global News

While a good chunk of Iraq's parliament wants American troops to begin a safe withdrawal from the country in the wake of heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran, Washington is in turn threatening to block Baghdad's access to its central bank account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in an effort to keep the forces in place, Iraqi officials told The Wall Street Journal.
Iraq, like many other countries, maintains government accounts at the New York Fed, which helps them manage national finances, including revenue from oil sales. If the government can't access those accounts, it'd reportedly due some significant damage to an already-struggling Iraqi economy. An official in Mahdi's office said the prime minister received a warning about the bank account during a phone call Wednesday.
The warning appears to have some members of the Iraqi government on edge, with officials stressing the need to maintain friendly ties with the U.S. despite pressure from pro-Iran militias. Some have pointed out that international pressure on Iraq's economy would hurt Baghdad's efforts to answer to its citizens, who have launched massive anti-government protests in recent months. "The U.S. Fed basically has a stranglehold on the entire [Iraqi] economy," said Shwan Taha, chairman of Iraqi investment bank Rabee Securities.
Others, like Mahdi adviser Abd al-Hassanein al-Hanein, think the U.S. is bluffing. "If the U.S. does that, it will lose Iraq forever," he said. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

On "State TV" Fox & Friends' Steve Doocy wonders what would happen if the U.S. accidentally shot down a jet. Geraldo Rivera reminds him 'we did.'

CC™ Politico

What would happen if the United States accidentally shot down a jetliner like Iran apparently did this week? There's no need to speculate, as Fox News' Geraldo Rivera just pointed out.

The hosts of Fox & Friends on Friday discussed news that officials believe the Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed near Tehran earlier this week, killing 176 people, was mistakenly shot down by Iran. "Can you imagine if the United States of America accidentally shot down a jetliner," Steve Doocy asked.
"Well, you know Steve, we did in 1988," Geraldo Rivera noted, referring to Iran Air Flight 655, which in July of that year was mistakenly shot down by the USS Vincennes in the Persian Gulf, killing 290 people. As CNN notes, the USS Vincennes' captain was wrongly told the passenger jet might be an Iranian F-14, which the U.S. military believed to be equipped with Maverick missiles.
"If the unknown aircraft was carrying those Maverick missiles, the U.S. captain had less than five minutes to decide if his ship was in danger," and he gave the order to fire, CNN writes, citing the U.S. Navy report on the incident. After Iran sued the U.S. government, the suit was settled in 1996, and the U.S. paid $62 million.
"It was something that took us years to live down," Rivera noted.
Commentary: The US "paid a lot of money" after fighting Iran in international courts for eight years. Ultimately, and without apologizing or admitting responsibility, the US paid out about $62 million to victims' families -- or a little less than $250k per person killed.
Source: This Week


Confirmed: American businesses and consumers are paying 'approximately 100%' of Trump tariff costs

CC™ Business and Finance 

President Trump made over 100 claims about China and tariffs in 2019, stating that Beijing was paying “tremendous amounts of tariffs.”

However, new research from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found the opposite. 

“U.S. tariffs continue to be almost entirely borne by U.S. firms and consumers,” the NBER working paper stated. “Similarly, we also find that the substantial redirection of trade in response to the 2018 tariffs has accelerated.”
The Trump administration has placed tariffs on $550 billion worth of imports from China, and China has slapped tariffs on $185 billion worth of imports from the U.S. since the trade war between the two countries began in March 2018.
On August 3, 2019, Trump claimed that “our consumer is paying nothing” in regard to the tariffs, but NBER stated that “approximately 100% of these import taxes have been passed on to U.S. importers and consumers.”
American consumers and businesses paid at least $42 billion for the tariffs as of October 2019, according to an analysis from Tariffs Hurt the Heartland (THH). In October 2019, the trade war cost an additional $7.2 billion through tariffs, an $1 billion increase from October 2018. 
Trump has made several inaccurate claims about the tariffs on China: he’s said that the U.S. is taking in “billions” from China, that the money is being passed along to American farmers bearing the brunt of the retaliatory tariffs, and that the tariffs would boost blue-collar jobs in the U.S.
recent study from the Federal Reserve indicated that the tariffs have actually led to a loss of jobs, especially in manufacturing. 
“While the longer-term effects of the tariffs may differ from those that we estimate here, the results indicate that the tariffs, thus far, have not led to increased activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector,” the Fed study stated.
Steel is one of the industries hit hardest by tariffs, with foreign firms preemptively lowering prices and American firms struggling to compete with the market reaction. Detroit-based company U.S. Steel was forced to lay off 1,545 employees back in December 2019, partially due to struggles from Trump’s steel tariffs. 
“The data show that U.S. tariffs have caused foreign exporters of steel to substantially lower their prices into the U.S. market,” NBER’s paper stated. “Thus, foreign countries are bearing close to half the cost of the steel tariffs. Since China is only the 10th-largest steel supplier to the U.S. market, these costs have been largely borne by regions like the EU, South Korea, and Japan.”
Source: Adriana Belmonte - Associate Editor for Yahoo Finance.


Troubling reports of Iranian-Americans being questioned on their political allegiances upon entering US

CC™ News

More than 60 Iranians and Iranian-Americans have been detained at length and questioned at the US border with Canada, according to advocacy groups, as the crisis over the killing of Qassem Soleimani escalates.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported those who were detained had their passports confiscated and were questioned about their political views and allegiances.
“These reports are extremely troubling and potentially constitute illegal detentions of United States citizens,” Masih Fouladi, the executive director of CAIR-Washington, said in a statement.
The advocacy group has also claimed a source at US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said a national order has been issued to report and detain anyone with Iranian heritage entering the country who is deemed “potentially suspicious”, regardless of their citizenship status.
CBP has denied any such directive is in place and insisted reports of Iranian-Americans being detained on social media were false.
“Social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the US because of their country of origin are false,” CBP wrote on Twitter.
“Reports that DHS/CBP has issued a related directive are also false.”
However, the National Iranian American Council also said it had spoken to Iranian-Americans who were detained for hours at borders and airports over the weekend and asked about their views on Iran.
The allegations come amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran after top Iranian general Soleimani was killed in a US airstrike order by Donald Trump last week.
His death marks a major escalation in tensions and has been followed by threats of further attacks by both countries.
On Sunday, Iran announced it would no longer respect restrictions on enrichment of uranium introduced under the 2015 international nuclear agreement.
Meanwhile, Iraqi MPs passed a non-binding resolution calling for foreign troops, including about 5,000 US soldiers, to leave its country in response to the attack.
Mr Trump has threatened severe sanctions and attacks on cultural sites if Iran retaliates against the US over the killing.
Pramila Jayapal, a Washington congresswoman, has said she is “deeply disturbed” by reports of Iranian-Americans being detained at the border, while Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington, has said his office is “closely tracking” the situation.
Mr Inslee later added that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had told his office there was no order issued to detain or refuse entry to Iranian-Americans but his team was continuing to seek answers from officials.
One woman, who was allegedly detained and interrogated for more than 10 hours at the border crossing, said the majority of people who were held were American citizens.
“We kept asking why we were being detained and asked questions that had nothing to do with our reason for travelling and were told ‘I’m sorry this is just the wrong time for you guys,’” the woman told CAIR.
On Saturday, DHS updated its National Terrorism Advisory System to warn that Iran could retaliate against the US through cyberattacks or attacks by “homegrown violent extremists”.
However, the department acknowledged that it had “no information indicating a specific, credible threat” at this time.
CAIR Washington has said it believes everyone who was detained has now been released but the group will continue to monitor the situation.
Source: Independent


Bill Gates calls for higher taxes on the rich

Bill Gates
CC™ Introspective

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates started the last decade worth more than US$50-billion and with a pledge to give away his fortune to charity.

By the end of the decade, he'd donated billions of dollars to fight poverty and improve health care and education. But his fortune also more than doubled during the period, a result of soaring stock markets and favourable tax policies.

And so in a fitting end to the decade, the world's second richest person said he wants his fellow billionaires to pay much higher taxes.

US lawmakers should close loopholes, raise the estate tax and hike the capital gains tax so that it equals the rate on labour income, Gates wrote on Monday in a year-end blog post.

He also called for states and local governments to make their taxes "fairer" and reiterated his support for a state income tax in Washington, where he lives.

"I've been disproportionately rewarded for the work I've done - while many others who work just as hard struggle to get by," he wrote. "That's why I'm for a tax system in which, if you have more money, you pay a higher percentage in taxes. And I think the rich should pay more than they currently do, and that includes Melinda and me."

Gates, 64, has a net worth of $114 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world's 500 richest people.

At an event in November, Gates expressed reservations about the wealth tax proposed by presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. In his blog post, Gates said he won't take a position on the various proposals being debated during the campaign.

"But I believe we can make our system fairer without sacrificing the incentive to innovate," he said.
"Americans in the top 1% can afford to pay a lot more before they stop going to work or creating jobs. 

In the 1970s, when Paul Allen and I were starting Microsoft, marginal tax rates were almost twice the top rate today. It didn't hurt our incentive to build a great company."

Source: Tech Central


Trump and Obama tie for America's most-admired man.....

America's most admired men - Trump and Obama
CC™ Political News

President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama have tied for the title of Americans’ most admired man, according to Gallup’s annual survey — marking the first time the current commander in chief has achieved the distinction and the 12th consecutive first-place showing for his immediate predecessor.
Eighteen percent of U.S. adults nominated Trump when asked which man “living today in any part of the world” they admired most, while another 18 percent identified the most recent Democratic president.
The results of the poll, conducted Dec. 2-15, were split sharply along party lines, with 45 percent of Republicans selecting Trump for the honor and 41 percent of Democrats opting for Obama.
Trump captured the support of 2 percent of Democrats and 10 percent of independents, while Obama garnered 3 percent support from GOP respondents and 12 percent from independents.
Last year, 13 percent of Americans chose Trump as the most admired man, and 14 percent picked him in 2017, the first year of his presidency. He placed second to Obama in both surveys.
Apart from the two presidents, no other man attained the votes of more than 2 percent of those questioned in the 2019 poll.
Rounding out the list of Americans’ 10 most admired men are former President Jimmy Carter, technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Pope Francis, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Rep. Adam Schiff, the Dalai Lama and investor Warren Buffett.
Among Americans’ most admired women, former first lady Michelle Obama claimed the prize spot for the second year running and was the only woman to achieve double-digit support.
The other top-ranking women include first lady Melania Trump, former talk show host Oprah Winfrey, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, climate activist Greta Thunberg, Queen Elizabeth II, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
Source: Politico


Buhari condemns ISWAP execution of 11 Christians..... But his government still does nothing about it

President Muhammadu Buhari gestures at reporters
CC™ Nigeria News - By Rasheed Sobowale

The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the execution of Christians by Islamic State of West Africa Province, (ISWAP) on Christmas Day. 

President Buhari said he is “profoundly saddened and shocked” by the action of the “psychopaths” and that “no true Muslim would be shouting ‘Allahu Akbar' while killing innocent people”.

Buhari also reassured Nigerians that “the collective security of all Nigerians” is his “major preoccupation” and “will continue to intensify efforts towards strengthening international cooperation and collaboration to break the backbone of these evil doers.”

“I am profoundly saddened and shocked by the death of innocent hostages in the hands of remorseless, godless, callous gangs of mass murderers that have given Islam a bad name through their atrocities,” Buhari said.

“We should under no circumstances let the terrorists divide us by turning Christians against Muslims, because these barbaric killers do not represent Islam and millions of other law-abiding Muslims around the world.

“As a President, the collective security of all Nigerians is my major preoccupation and the death of an innocent Christian or Muslim distresses me.

“No true Muslim would be shouting ‘Allahu Akbar' while killing innocent people, an evil frequently condemned by the Holy Qur’an.

“These agents of darkness are enemies of our common humanity and they don’t spare any victim, whether they are Muslims or Christians, and therefore, we shouldn’t let them divide us and turn us against one another.

“The goal of these psychopaths is to cause confusion and spread distrust between Muslims and Christians, despite the fact that they aren’t representing the interest of Muslims or Islam.

“While I condemn this evil, I wish to reassure Nigerians that this administration will not lower its guard in the war against terrorism.

“We will continue to intensify our efforts towards strengthening international cooperation and collaboration to break the backbone of these evil doers.”

The Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari beckoned on all Nigerians to stand united against terrorism and to avoid unhelpful conspiracy theories that serve the interest of Boko Haram terrorists and ISWAP.

The Nigerian Army has maintained sealed lips on the incident even though Vanguard correspondent tried to reach them.

The acting Director of Defence Information, Brig. Onyema Nwachukwu, while responding to Vanguard’s inquiry on the veracity or otherwise of the report, referred the matter to the Nigerian Army, saying it was the army’s place to react.

But several calls made to the known mobile phone line of the acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, were not answered.

A follow-up text message sent to the number was yet to be responded.

Source: Vanguard 


Rudderless technical department of Nigeria Football Federation to decide fate of controversial German coach Rohr

Amaju Pinnick has presided over worst NFF in modern history
CC™ Sports

Nigeria Football Federation's (NFF) Secretary-General, Mohammed Sanusi has revealed that the decision on the future of Super Eagles' Manager, Gernot Rohr would be taken solely by the technical committee of the federation. Reacting to the stories making the rounds that some influential people were working to see the exit of the Franco-German from the national team, Sanusi said no external force could influence the fate of the coach.

"I am not in the position to speak on the hiring and firing of national team coaches. The NFF technical department is in charge and if they find Rohr capable to continue handling the Super Eagles and the coach also agrees on their contract terms and conditions,so be it.
"But in my position as the NFF secretary, I cannot say whether Rohr's contract will be renewed or not. It is not my job."Commenting on the CAF Footballer of the Year Awards, which final shortlists were released at the weekend, Sanusi said no Nigerian player made it to the final three in the men's top award because the Super Eagles did not play in the final game of this year's African Nations Cup.

CAF on Sunday announced Algeria's Riyad Mahrez, Mo Salah of Egypt and Sadio Mane of Senegal as the three finalists for the CAF Footballer of the Year award, while Odion Ighalo, who was formerly in the running, was left out.Sanusi told The Guardian that Ighalo's outstanding performance in the Nations Cup qualifying series and the AFCON was enough to make the Shanghai Greenland Shenhua FC of Chinaforward a top contender for the award.

He noted that the Super Eagles' dominance in the continent in recent times has shown that Nigerian players are not pushovers in African football.Sanusi called on football lovers not to write off Nigerian players, saying that they have the wherewithal to winlaurels for the country, adding that the federation would do its best to continue encouraging Nigerian footballers home and abroad.

"Ighalo not making the final three-man cut in the African Footballer of the Year award does not mean Nigerian players are not doing fine in soccer. But I think the Super Eagles failure to play in the finalof the 2019 AFCON is one of the reasons Ighalo could not be among the three shortlisted players.

"Nigeria have been dominating other African teams in friendlies, Nations Cup qualifiers and the AFCON championship. These performances show that the countryis a force to be reckoned with in football at the senior men's national team level."Nigerian playersare doing their best to raise the standard of their game in a bid to improve their profile in the continent," he said.