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Subway has struggled in the year since it hired soccer star and left-wing activist Megan Rapinoe as a national spokeswoman, with hundreds of stores closing across the nation.

The fast-food chain — whose best-known spokesman, Jared Fogle, went to jail for child pornography possession in 2015 — hired Rapinoe as a pitchwoman early last year.

One commercial featured the purple-haired anthem protester knocking food out of a man’s hand with a soccer ball.

Hiring Rapinoe didn’t help the company’s fortunes, however: In 2021, 1,043 Subway locations closed, the New York Post reported Thursday.

The chain already had been losing stores in the two years before she became the chain’s pitchwoman.

At the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Subway lost 1,609 stores. In 2019, it lost 999, the Post reported.

Rapinoe’s left-wing political activism, especially her kneeling in protest during the national anthem, made some franchise owners and customers very unhappy with the chain’s decision to make her the face of the brand.

The soccer star was one of the first to follow the example of then-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sat and then kneeled for the anthem to protest racial injustice in August 2016.

“Being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties. It was something small that I could do and something that I plan to keep doing in the future and hopefully spark some meaningful conversation around it,” Rapinoe told American Soccer Now in September of that year.

“It’s important to have white people stand in support of people of color on this. We don’t need to be the leading voice, of course, but standing in support of them is something that’s really powerful,” she added.

Some franchise owners complained about Rapinoe as she and most of her teammates on the U.S. Women’s National Team protested in advance of the Tokyo Olympics, where they finished a disappointing third.

“Spending our money to make a political statement is completely and totally out of bounds,” one Arizona franchisee said last July on a discussion forum hosted by the North American Association of Subway Franchisees, according to the Post.

Another location owner shared that customers had boycotted the store over Rapinoe.

Yet another franchise owner wrote that Subway needed to stop running the national commercial featuring the divisive athlete.

“The ad should be pulled and done with. It gets tiring apologizing,” the person said, according to the Post.

Overall, Subway has shrunk across the nation by 22 percent since 2016, the outlet reported.

In comparison with other fast-food chains, this is drastic.

Overall in 2021, McDonald’s lost 247 locations in the U.S. — 2 percent of its total. From 2019 through 2021, the burger chain lost 3.4 percent of its American locations, which is small compared with Subway’s 15 percent loss in that time.

A Subway representative told the Post that the chain is “making strategic enhancements to our vast footprint and making sure our restaurants are in the best format and locations” and that it is “already seeing our efforts pay off with profitability per restaurant increasing as our restaurants begin to operate at a higher level and with more efficiency.”

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31 Comments
  • Evangeline King says:

    She says this country doesn’t protect the liberties of gay people. That’s a lie. They have more say than Christians and more esteem than white people in this country. They’ve pushed themselves into most shows and movies, into our schools to brainwash our children. Having the freedom to sin against yourself as the bible puts it, is one thing. But forcing the rest of us to go along with it is entirely another!

  • cathy says:

    I always fine it is entertaining when a business w/over paid minions that have never had a real job working w/the public believe they have better ideas then the people who are 1st hand actually running the business and dealing w/the customers.
    Idiots.

  • I thought Subway sandwishes were tasting a little queerish lately.

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    China Responds to U.S. Military Shooting Down Spy Balloon

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    New video emerged Saturday afternoon showing close-up footage of the moment that the U.S. military shot a Chinese spy balloon out of the sky over the Atlantic Ocean.

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    Biden claimed in remarks to reporters that he “ordered the Pentagon to shoot it down on Wednesday as soon as possible,” but that the decision was made to not shoot it down over land because debris could cause damage when falling to the ground.

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    Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that the spy ballon was sent to the U.S. “in an attempt to surveil strategic sites in the continental United States.”

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    President Joe Biden took out a $250,000 line of credit on his Delaware beach house in December, it was revealed Friday, in a move that gave him the ability to tap resources as the feds began a classified documents probe.

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    WATCH: Fight Erupts During NBA Game Resulting in Five Ejections

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    What in the world is wrong with NBA players?

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    On Friday, the California’s Tulare County Sheriff’s Office arrested and charged two suspects with cartel affiliations, 25-year-old Noah David Beard and 35-year-old Angel ‘Nanu’ Uriarte, for the murder of a teenage mother, her 10-month-old baby, and four others for a total of six counts of murder.

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    No One Can Stay in the Quietest Room in the World for More Than an Hour

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    Silence is golden — unless you find yourself in the quietest room in the world.

    In 2015, Microsoft built what is now in the Guinness Book of World Records as the quietest place on the planet.

    Known as the anechoic chamber at the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, “ultra-sensitive tests” performed in 2015 gave an average background noise reading of -20.35 dBA (decibels A-weighted — a measurement of the sound pressure level).

    Only very few people have been able to withstand being in the room for a long period of time — at most an hour.

    After a few minutes, you’ll already start to hear your own heartbeat. A few minutes after that, you can hear your own bones grinding and blood flowing.

    The point of the anechoic chamber isn’t that you will hear nothing, but that it will remove all other outside noise and allow you to hear the endless sounds of your own body.

    Only in death is the body completely silent.

    Environments we think of as ultra-quiet are typically louder than the human hearing threshold, which is around 0 decibels.

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    “When you turn your head, you can even hear that motion. You can hear yourself breathing and it sounds somewhat loud.” Hundraj Gopal, principal designer of the chamber at Microsoft, previously said.

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    Made up of six layers of concrete and steel, it’s a bit disconnected from the surrounding building. An array of vibration-damping springs are situated below. Inside, fiberglass wedges are mounted on the floor, ceiling, and walls to break up sound waves before they have a chance to bounce back into the room.

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    UPDATE — Montana Gov. and Emergency Services: No Explosions Occurred in Billings, Montana on Friday Night

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    An explosion was reported in the sky over Billings city, Montana, where the alleged Chinese spy balloon was seen flying over a “number of sensitive sites”. The video shared on Twitter purportedly shows a trail of smoke in the sky where the balloon was last seen.

    Dolly Moore, who took video of the scene, said she “saw a plane go by so fast and then explode in the sky.” It was not immediately clear if the explosion was the spy balloon burst.

    The US defence officials, however, clarified that the balloon over Montana has not exploded, according to the Daily Mail news outlet.

    They said that the balloon, which is said to be about the size of three busies, is large enough that destroying it would rain down debris, risking the safety of people on the ground.

    On Friday, US officials were alarmed over the giant Chinese balloon invading the US air space following which F-22 fight jets were mobilised to track the device as it hovered over Montana, which borders Canada.

    According to local media, the balloon entered US airspace “a couple of days ago”, but the officials did not share the exact location.

    “Montana plays a vital national security role by housing nuclear missile silos at Malmstrom AFB,” Montana Senator Steve Daines wrote to the Department of Defense.

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    UPDATE:

    The City of Billings, Governor Gianforte, and the Montana Department of Emergency Services confirmed on Friday night that there was no explosion in or around Billings, Montana.

    “We are aware of the video shared on Twitter and claims of a “massive explosion” over Billings. However, our PD, Fire & airport have NOT been called to any incidents related to this video and there haven’t been any plane crashes picked up on radar”

    “We have confirmed with Montana Department of Emergency Services and Gov. Gianforte that there have not been any explosions in, around, or across #Montana. They are aware of the video and it can not be substantiated.”

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    News

    UPDATE: FBI Now Involved in Investigation of GOP Lawmaker’s Death — She Was Shot 7 Times in Head

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    The FBI is involved in the investigation of the murder of a New Jersey Republican council member who was killed Wednesday evening, according to WABC-TV.

    Eunice Dwumfour, a member of the Borough Council of Sayreville, near New York City, was shot in her vehicle near her townhouse about 7:30 p.m.

    “We are aware of the investigation into the death of Councilwoman Dwumfour, in Sayreville Wednesday evening,” the FBI said in a statement, WABC reported Friday.

    “We have talked with our local law enforcement partners at the Sayreville Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office,” it said. “Should they ask us for any assistance, we will do all we can to help their investigation.”

    Witnesses said they might have seen an individual running from the area in which Dwumfour was killed toward the Garden State Parkway, WABC reported. No motive for the killing has been determined.

    Pastor Nelia Rodriguez, a friend of Dwumfour, said Thursday on the Fox News show “The Ingraham Angle” that Dwumfour’s shooting was a targeted “personal attack.”

     

    “We believe it [was] very personal because she was shot seven times in the face and another seven shots were hitting everywhere [else]. So for somebody to get so close to somebody and shoot them so many times, it has to be personal,” she said.

    Rodriguez said there was “probably not an answer” for why Dwumfour was killed.

    “Why would somebody do that? Somebody who has no heart, somebody who has no love for community, somebody who could have been jealous. It could have been many reasons why somebody would hurt somebody like her, who was such a beautiful soul, who loved everybody, who always smiled,” she said.

    “She never said no. She would take her jacket off to give it to you. Her soul was so beautiful. She was such a light to everybody in the community. That is horrifying to even think of anybody trying to hurt her,” Rodriguez said.

    A report in the U.K.’s Daily Mail said Dwumfour was living with her 12-year-old daughter from a former marriage and had married a pastor who lives in Nigeria in late November.

    Dwumfour’s former campaign manager, Karen Bailey Bebert, told WABC that she did not think any clouds were hovering over Dwumfour’s life.

    “She was happy with her new husband. It seems. Happy with her daughter, and she was living the life, the American dream. She was a beautiful motivated person, who did very well in the community,” Bebert said.

    “I believe her daughter lit up her life. Jesus Christ lit up her life. She was very faithful and driven. She was a shining star,” she said.

    According to New Brunswick Today, Dwumfour was a pastor at the Champions Royal Assembly, an African church that had a location in Newark.

    “Eunice was a dedicated member of our borough council who was truly committed to serve our residents,” Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick said in a statement, according to NJ.com. “The fact she was taken from us by this despicable criminal act makes this incident all the more horrifying.”

    “Beyond her dedication to the community, I can share that she was a woman of deep faith and worked hard to integrate her strong Christian beliefs into her daily life as a person and community leader,” she said.

    Dwumfour was elected to the council in 2021. She worked as an IT professional, according to WNBC-TV.

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    News

    Rep. Victoria Spartz Announces Retirement

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    Republican Indiana Rep. Victoria Spartz will not seek reelection in 2024, she announced Friday.

    “It’s been my honor representing Hoosiers in the Indiana State Senate and U.S. Congress and I appreciate the strong support on the ground. 2024 will mark seven years of holding elected office and over a decade in Republican politics. I won a lot of tough battles for the people and will work hard to win a few more in the next two years. However, being a working mom is tough and I need to spend more time with my two high school girls back home, so I will not run for any office in 2024,” Spartz said in a statement.

    First elected in 2020, Spartz represents Indiana’s Fifth District. She won reelection in 2022 by 22 points, and the seat will likely remain Republican. Spartz is the second member of Indiana’s House delegation not to seek reelection in 2024, joining Senate candidate Jim Banks.

    Born in northern Ukraine, Spartz became a naturalized U.S. citizen after marrying her husband. She played a leading role in GOP messaging after Russia invaded the country in early 2022. Spartz visited Bucha and Kyiv in April 2022, and she and Montana Sen. Steve Daines were the first U.S. officials to visit the country after the invasion began.

    Spartz was harshly critical of President Joe Biden’s response to the Russian invasion, arguing that the U.S. has not armed Ukraine quickly enough.

    “This president needs to get his act together and exercise some leadership,” she said in March 2022. “What’s happening under his watch is [an] atrocity. What he’s doing to this country and to the world is unforgivable … he must act decisively fast or this blood of many millions of Ukrainians will be on his hands too.”

    Spartz has also been critical of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. She urged the U.S. to conduct oversight of military aid to Ukraine, citing corruption concerns, and pushed back against calls to institute a no-fly zone over eastern Europe.

    Spartz is the first member of the 118th Congress to announce their retirement.

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    News

    8 Republicans Who Could Challenge Trump in 2024

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    The possibility of a crowded GOP presidential primary in 2024 has grown likelier in recent days following reports that former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is gearing up to officially announce a White House bid later this month.

    Former President Trump is the only high-profile Republican who has formally announced a presidential campaign, but he’s ramped up rhetoric in recent days against several widely floated 2024 contenders, including Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) — both of whom who could be formidable challengers to the former president.

    Here’s a look at eight Republicans likely to challenge Trump in 2024:

    Nikki Haley

    Haley, a former two-term South Carolina governor and former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., is expected to formally announce on Feb. 15 that she’ll be running for president, The Hill confirmed this week.

    Haley has long teased speculation that she might throw her hat in the ring, including during an interview with Fox News last month in which she said that “when you are looking at the future of America, I think it’s time for new generational change.”

    Trump responded to the news by taunting his former administration official.

    “Nikki has to follow her heart, not her honor. She should definitely run!” he wrote on Truth Social, including an older clip of her saying she would not run in 2024 if Trump did.

    Ron DeSantis

    The Florida governor has been coy about his possible 2024 presidential plans, though he notably refused to commit to serving out a full four-year term as governor when asked about it during a debate in the lead-up to the Florida gubernatorial race.

    Behind the scenes, though, advisers for DeSantis are reportedly in the process of contacting possible staff picks should he go forward with a bid of his own.

    While DeSantis has avoided trading barbs with Trump, who has stepped up his attacks on the governor, he made a point to emphasize his resounding reelection when asked by a reporter about the former president’s recent criticism of him.

    “I’m happy to say, you know, in my case, not only did we win reelection. We won with the highest percentage of the vote that any Republican governor candidate has in the history of the state of Florida,” the Florida Republican said. “We won by the largest raw vote margin — over 1.5 million votes — than any governor candidate has ever had in Florida history.”

    Mike Pence

    Trump’s former vice president is also weighing a possible presidential run, telling The Hill in an exclusive interview last month that he would continue traveling across the country and make a decision “in the months ahead.”

    Pence has been traveling around the U.S. to promote his memoir, “So Help Me God,” and book tours often serve as a prelude to announcing larger political aspirations. He also noticeably waded into the November midterms, backing more centrist and establishment-leaning Republicans like Arizona gubernatorial candidate Karrin Taylor Robson and Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch, though both lost to Trump’s picks.

    More recently, Pence has been embroiled in recent news that the FBI is reportedly searching his residence in Indiana again in addition to his Washington, D.C., office after his team alerted federal officials previously that they had found some classified documents at his home.

    Mike Pompeo

    The former secretary of State said in December that he’ll announce his possible presidential plans in the spring, but he’s already made moves suggesting he’s signaling a White House bid.

    In recent months, Pompeo has spoken at the presidential campaign mainstay “Politics & Eggs” series in New Hampshire; released his own memoir, “Never Give an Inch”; and taken a few shots at the former president.

    “We were told we’d get tired of winning. But I’m tired of losing. And so are most Republicans,” Pompeo tweeted in November, mocking Trump’s “tired of winning” phrase after the GOP performed worse than expected during the November midterms.

    Tim Scott

    Scott, a senator from South Carolina, is rolling out a “Faith in America” listening tour, which will include stops and speaking arrangements in South Carolina and Iowa — both early presidential primary and caucus states. The tour will only add to rising speculation that he’s considering launching a bid of his own.

    The chamber’s only Black GOP senator, Scott often points to his personal story as someone who was raised by a single parent living in poverty who now serves in the halls of Congress. Among the issues that Scott has worked on, he’s most notably been the negotiator of police reform legislation from the Senate GOP side; a possible police reform bill being negotiated between him, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), however, fell through last year.

    Larry Hogan

    Hogan, the former Republican governor of Maryland, told Fox News in an interview this week that he’s giving “very serious consideration” to the thought of jumping into the 2024 White House race. He has previously said that he’s considering a bid of his own and has been one of Trump’s most fervent critics.

    Hogan taunted Trump during an interview following the November midterms, telling CBS News “My side of the party had a really good night. Trump’s side did not” — a reference to centrist Republicans who performed better than more far-right candidates during the elections.

    During an interview on conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt’s show this week, he initially said he would support whoever the presidential nominee turned out to be on the Republican side, suggesting he would support Trump if he ended up in that position but later clarified those comments to say he wouldn’t back the former president.

    Glenn Youngkin

    Republicans saw Youngkin’s upset victory over former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial race as a bright spot for the party in a state that has trended blue in recent years. Youngkin made education — including concerns over critical race theory and parent’s rights in school — a key component of his campaign and one that some candidates like Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) sought to replicate during their own campaigns.

    Youngkin campaigned with GOP gubernatorial candidates like Lombardo, former Oregon state Sen. Christine Drazan in the Beaver State’s governor’s race and Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, raising speculation that the Virginia governor might have higher aspirations past the governor’s mansion.

    Asa Hutchinson

    The former Arkansas governor said in November that he was looking “very seriously” at a possible White House bid during an interview with “CNN This Morning” host Kaitlan Collins and told her that he was aiming to make his decision in January.

    A Trump critic, he said in December that it would be the GOP’s “worst scenario” if the former president ran again and said last month that “Jan. 6 really disqualifies him for the future.” Last year, he delivered remarks at the presidential campaign mainstay “Politics & Eggs” New Hampshire Event.

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    Graphic Warning: Outrage as Video of Girl, 9, Being Beaten on School Bus Goes Viral

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    A stomach-turning video showing a 9-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother being brutally beaten by teenagers on a Florida school bus has gone viral, prompting online outrage and the arrest of one of the assailants.

    The video of the girl being beaten on Wednesday had amassed over 6.6 million views as of Friday morning. The girl and her brother attend Coconut Palm Academy in Homestead, Florida.

    “Emotionally, I couldn’t even last two minutes,” said the young girl’s mother, identified as Jenni. “I couldn’t look at the video. Like any mother, I am destroyed. I fell to my knees and at that moment I said I have to do something. … Another kid came out of nowhere and hit my son and he fell to his knees, and they started to hit him.”

    “This needs to be taken care of right away,” Jenni added. “Our children are in danger at school where we are trusting other people to do their jobs. That’s not justifiable. It doesn’t matter what was said. Our kids need to learn that through violence nothing is resolved.”

    The teenage boy who ruthlessly assaulted the young girl reportedly received a civil citation, according to NBC South Florida.

    According to the parents of the children who were beaten, their children started at the school in January and had been bullied repeatedly before the incident, the River City Post reported. The parents have removed their children from the school and said they may take legal action.

    Another mother who has a third-grader at the school told CBS News, “My son was bullied at that school, since the beginning of the school year.” She said when she alerted teachers and administrators they were unresponsive. “There was an incident during P.E. and she said that what happens in P.E. stays in P.E. and that to me was just bewildering. … I had to pull my kid out of the school, cause that school doesn’t care about their children,” she said.

    Miami-Dade County Public Schools officials issued a statement regarding the incident.

    “Additionally, those involved will be disciplined according to the Code of Student Conduct,” the statement read. “The safety and wellbeing of our students is of the utmost importance. This school district goes to great lengths to promote the values of restraint and respect as well as using social media responsibly. We ask that parents reinforce these principles at home.”

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    WEF Showcases Technology That Would Allow the Government and Big Business to Spy on Your Brains

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    At the World Economic Forum, the annual gathering of globalist elites in Davos, Switzerland, a presentation hyped brain wave monitoring technology to allow employers to detect how hard their employees are working, whether they get distracted, and even if they have “amorous feelings” for coworkers.

    “You can not only tell whether a person is paying attention or their mind is wandering, but you can discriminate between the kinds of things they are paying attention to,” gushed the presenter. “Whether they’re doing something like central tasks, like programming, peripheral tasks like writing documentation, or unrelated tasks like surfing social media or online browsing.

    “When you combine brain-wave activity together with other forms of software and surveillance technology, the power becomes quite precise.”

    A short video imagined a workplace of the future, in which an employee worries about her employer detecting “amorous feelings” for a coworker by reading her brain-wave data, but is pleasantly surprised when she gets a performance bonus for good “brain metrics” showing her productivity.

    In the next scene, the government subpoenas employees’ brainwave data to find co-conspirators in a wire fraud scheme in the office.

    “You discover they are looking for synchronized brain activity between your coworker and the people he has been working with. While you know you’re innocent of any crime, you’ve been secretly working with him on a new start-up venture. Shaking, you remove your earbuds.”

    The presentation also examined various other uses of the technology, including waking people up, highlighting a haptic scarf developed by MIT that gives people “a little buzz” if their mind starts to wander, or they doze off.

    The presenter said the purpose of showcasing this dystopian mind-reading future was to highlight the “positive use cases” of brain monitoring technology because “what I don’t want the reaction to be is, let’s ban this.”

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    George R. Robertson, ‘Police Academy’ Star, Dead at 89

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    George R. Robertson, who played police-chief-turned-commissioner Henry Hurst in the first six “Police Academy” films, died Sunday at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. He was 89.

    Born April 20, 1933, in Brampton, Ontario, Robertson boasts 80 acting credits, including portraying former Vice President Dick Cheney in “The Path To 9/11” and the late US Sen. Barry Goldwater in “The Reagans.”

    He excelled in football and hockey growing up in Canada and eventually moved to NYC, where he earned his MBA at Columbia University in 1959, according to his online obituary. It was there that he met Adele Probst, who became his wife of 61 years.

    His career began on the stage, and he landed small roles in three films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: “Airport” (1970); “Norma Rae” (1979); and “JFK” (1991).

    His family also noted his humanitarian efforts. He walked the length of southwest France, about 330 miles, to raise money for an orphanage in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the obituary stated.

    As Police Chief Hurst, Robertson traveled across Canada speaking to youth in high schools — earning the Danny Kaye UNICEF Canada award in 1990.

    His last on-screen role was in the TV movie “Cradle to Grave” in 2017. His later life was devoted to painting and writing, his family said.

    He is survived by his daughters, Sarah Robertson (wife of Steve Pulver) and Ellen Robertson (Mitch Aidelman); grandchildren, Julia and William; and step-grandchildren, Ariel, Gabe, Maddie and Josh.

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    Arctic Blast Freezes the Northeast: The Lowest Temperature Ever Recorded in the US

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    This cold is out of this world.

    New Hampshire’s Mount Washington felt more like Mars than planet Earth on Friday as wind chills dipped below an unfathomable minus 110 degrees, a new record for the coldest wind chill ever recorded in the US.

    Known for having some of the world’s worst weather, Mount Washington saw air temperatures plummet to minus 46 degrees with wind speeds averaging over 100 miles per hour with gusts over 125 miles per hour as the artic air mass wreaked havoc Friday, according to the Mount Washington observatory.

    Visibility atop the mountain was less than one-sixteenth of a mile — or just over 100 yards.

    Meanwhile on Mars, temperatures on the surface this week reached a balmy high of 16 degrees with a low of minus 105, according to NASA. The space agency said temperatures of the red planet can fluctuate between minus 225 and 70 degrees.

    Video taken from the observatory on Mount Washington’s summit Friday afternoon shows raging gusts of wind whipping up snow in a scene that looks more like planet Hoth from Star Wars.

    The coldest air temperature ever recorded at the observatory was -47 degrees in 1934, according to the National Weather Service.

    The observatory is staffed year-round, but staffers have warned others about the deadly conditions.

    “I want to emphasize the danger of this cold,” wrote Mount Washington weather observer Alexis George. “In these brutally cold conditions, the risk of hypothermia and frostbite will be exponential.

    “These frigid cold conditions will quickly rob you of body heat, with the possibility that frostbite could develop on exposed skin in under a minute,” she continued. “Even small mistakes can prove deadly, with a simple slip or fogged goggles leading to a potentially life-threatening situation. In this type of weather, rescue services will have a difficult time responding to any emergency effectively.”

    The wind gusts caused dangerous conditions for the weather observers even while they were hunkered down inside.

    “The metal latch that was holding the door on broke, so the door swung open when we had that 127 mph gust earlier today,” Francis Tarasiewicz told WGME. “So it took about three people to prop themselves up against it and someone from the state park helped to secure the door again.”

    “There is half of me that loves what is going on right now, and the other half of me is pretty terrified, especially when the door fails,” Tarasiewcz told NECN.

    Nimbus the cat, who lives in the observatory with staffers, was reportedly cozied up and unbothered by the deadly storm, despite being a bit grumpy from taking his flea medication.

    “He is actually sleeping through most of this event,” Tarasiewciz said.

    Mount Washington sits 6,288 feet above sea level and is notorious for its capricious weather, blustering winds and heavy snow. The average wind speed there in February is 45 miles per hour, according to the observatory.

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    Jury Announces Verdict in Elon Musk Fraud Case

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    A jury has cleared Tesla CEO Elon Musk of claims made by investors that he defrauded them several years ago when he tweeted that he was considering taking the company private.

    “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420,” Musk tweeted on August 7, 2018. “Funding secured.”

    A federal jury in San Francisco rejected demands that the 51-year-old billionaire should have to pay billions of dollars in damages over the tweet.

    Musk was present during the trial and took to the witness stand where he said that he had come to a handshake agreement at the time with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to take the company private. He said that the Saudis later backed out of the deal.

    “I had no ill motive,” Musk said. “My intent was to do the right thing for all shareholders.”

    Adam Pritchard, a professor at University of Michigan Law School, said that the case is not likely to become precedent that changes how other executives exercise free speech online.

    “Nobody does this — only Elon does this,” Pritchard said while complaining about Musk’s online speech. “He’s incorrigible. I don’t think his behavior can be reformed. There’s just too long of a track record of too much mischief.”

    Following the verdict, Musk tweeted his appreciation for the jury: “Thank goodness, the wisdom of the people has prevailed! I am deeply appreciative of the jury’s unanimous finding of innocence in the Tesla 420 take-private case.”

    Musk has taken a public company private before. When the billionaire purchased Twitter in late 2022, he took the company private, removing it from the stock exchange. Erik Gordon, Professor of Business at the University of Michigan, noted in a piece for The Conversation that public companies don’t frequently go private, but it does happen.

    Some benefits of going private — from the standpoint of someone like Musk — might be that Twitter would no longer have to file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and would have “few shareholders — sometimes just one,” among other pluses.

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    Chinese Spy Balloon Is ‘Maneuverable,’ Has Changed Direction at 60,000 Feet — UPDATE: Second Balloon Spotted

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    The U.S. Department of Defense revealed Friday that the suspected Chinese spy balloon that is flying over the United States has the ability to maneuver and has changed direction at 60,000 feet.

    Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder would not say how the balloon could be maneuvered and refused to state if the communist Chinese government was in control of the balloon.

    Ryder also refused to state if President Joe Biden is even considering shooting down the balloon as it flies over U.S. soil.

    Ryder said that the balloon was “maneuverable” and that it the Pentagon assesses that “it will probably be over the United States for a few days.”

    “We know that balloon has violated US airspace and international law — which is unacceptable. And we’ve conveyed this directly to the PRC on multiple levels,” he told reporters Friday. “The fact is, we know that it’s a surveillance balloon, and I’m not going to be able to be more specific than that.”

    The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed in a statement that the balloon was a “civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological purposes.”

    The statement claimed that the balloon “deviated far from its planned course.” The distance from China to Montana is approximately 5,000 miles.

    A U.S. official told The New York Times that the spy balloon traveled from China to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands then to Canada before ending up over Montana.

    An official told CNN that the spy balloon has flown over “a number of sensitive sites” in the U.S. but claimed that it did not present a serious intelligence gathering risk.

    “Clearly they’re trying to fly this — this balloon over sensitive sites … to collect information,” a U.S. official said on Thursday.

    Biden administration officials claimed that they looked at whether there were options to shoot down the balloon but claimed that they did not feel comfortable doing so because it could cause damage to civilians when it hits the ground.

    Professor Steve Tsang, the director of the China Institute at the SOAS University of London, said that China’s motive in sending the balloon to the U.S. is more “symbolic value, showing that the Chinese are able to send something in the air to survey U.S. military installations.”

    UPDATE:

    The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed late Friday that it has identified a second Chinese spy balloon that is operating over the Americas right now.

    “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.”

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    Canada Liberals Withdraw Controversial Amendment to Guns Bill

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    The Canada Liberal government has withdrawn a series of controversial amendments to pending firearms legislation, Bill C-21, that some firearms owners say would have unfairly targeted hunters and farmers.

    Faced with fierce opposition from Conservative, NDP and Bloc MPs and firearms rights groups, Liberal MP Taleeb Noormohamed said Friday the government is withdrawing a long list of guns that would have been classified as “prohibited” as part of a push to ban “assault-style” weapons.

    The amendments, which were quietly tabled by a Liberal backbench MP in November, would have banned these weapons under the Criminal Code, rather than through regulation. That change would have made the prohibition much more difficult for future governments to reverse.

    The government is scrapping clauses that effectively would have banned any rifle or shotgun that could accept a magazine with more than five rounds — whether it actually has such a magazine or not.

    The government also intended to ban long guns that generate more than 10,000 joules of energy, or any gun with a muzzle wider than 20 millimetres — two rules that would have rendered many firearms illegal.

    These amendments would have had the effect of banning a number of long guns in wide use by hunters.

    C-21, as originally drafted, was designed to ban handguns. The amendments expanded its scope.

    Because the amendments strayed so dramatically from how the bill was initially written, opposition parties questioned whether the changes were even admissible under parliamentary rules. Those concerns are moot now that the government has backed down.

    The government will still push ahead with C-21, which enacts a handgun sales ban, cracks down on gun smuggling and automatically revokes firearms licences held by domestic abusers.

    While backtracking on some of the more contentious elements, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said Friday the government would try to revive some parts of the now-defunct amendments package.

    Among other changes, the withdrawn amendments would have defined “assault-style firearm” — a term often used by the government that has no definition in law.

    In an interview with CBC’s Power & Politics, Mendicino said the government will pursue some sort of ban on firearms “designed for the battlefield that have no place in our communities.”

    What’s needed in this minority Parliament, Mendicino said, is support from either the NDP or Bloc — parties that withheld support in the face of backlash from rural dwellers and some Indigenous peoples.

    Mendicino conceded the government bungled the process.

    “We’ve got to accept responsibility from where we’re at. The step we’ve taken today is about resetting the narrative,” he said, promising the Liberal government still intends to ban firearms used in mass casualty events, like the semi-automatic weapon used in the Quebec City mosque massacre.

    Mendicino had defended the amendments before Friday, saying the changes were necessary to reduce gun violence in Canada.

    Critics said a ban on popular hunting rifles would do little to make Canadians safer when many crime guns are handguns illegally smuggled over the U.S. border.

    Mendicino said the proposed amendments prompted “considerable discussion about the best way to move forward” and “legitimate concerns” were raised by critics “about the need for more consultation and debate.”

    “We hear those concerns loud and clear, regret the confusion that this process has caused and are committed to a thoughtful and respectful conversation that is based on facts, not fear,” he said.

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    ‘White Privilege’ Slurs Shouted as Suspect Ran Over ER Doctor Riding His Bike — Then Stabbed Him to Death

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    A California accountant is in custody on a murder charge after he allegedly ran over a doctor in a crosswalk and then stabbed the man to death.

    Around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Michael Mammone, a 58-year-old emergency medicine physician, was riding his bike through the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Crown Valley Parkway in Dana Point along the southern coast of California between Laguna Beach and San Clemente. As Mammone headed north through the crosswalk on his bike, a driver in a white Lexus suddenly careened into him, sending him soaring into the air and then crashing into the middle of the intersection.

    At that point, the suspect, identified later as 39-year-old Vanroy Evan Smith, exited his vehicle and then approached the victim, who was severely injured. According to a press release from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Smith then “assaulted Mammone with a knife.”

    Surveillance footage captured by a camera at a nearby home shows the incident unfold. Though Mammone and his bike are difficult to see in the crosswalk, the collision itself and much of the aftermath is clear.

    Warning: disturbing content

    The homeowner whose camera captured that footage reported that the initial crash sounded like a “gunshot.” When she went outside to investigate, she claimed she heard the suspect yell racial slurs about “white privilege” as he attacked the victim. Other witnesses claimed that Smith had also been wielding a BB gun, though those reports have not been confirmed. The knife used in the attack was recovered at the scene, police said.

    While brave bystanders detained the suspect until police could arrest him, EMTs quickly rushed Mammone to the hospital where he later died from his injuries. Of his 30 years as an ER physician, Mammone spent nearly 12 of them at Providence Mission Hospital in Laguna Beach, often riding his bike to and from work.

    “We are stunned by this devastating tragedy,” said a hospital statement. “The entire Mission Hospital family is grieving over the loss of an incredible physician and friend. We will honor Dr. Mammone’s dedication to our community and passion for medicine by continuing to provide exceptional care.”

    Mammone, a cyclist and a married father of two children, was beloved by his colleagues. He “had a warm personality” and “was the kind of person you wanted to be your doctor,” said a hospital spokesman.

    Smith reportedly owned a book-keeping and tax firm in Laguna Beach, though jail records list his occupation as “unemployed.” His race has been listed as “black.” He has been charged with murder and is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

    Police have not confirmed the accusations of racial slurs and have not determined a motive for the crime. According to the press release from the sheriff’s office, investigators have not found any “connection between the suspect and the victim.”

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