THREE PEOPLE DIED AS STORM SOCKS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, FLOODING FREEWAYS

Three people were killed as a powerful storm soaked Southern California, flooding freeways and knocking out power to tens of thousands.

A 55-year-old man in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, died after apparently being electrocuted by live power lines brought down by a tree, and a person was found dead inside a submerged car near Victorville, fire officials said. A passenger was killed in a four-vehicle crash after a driver hydroplaned on a San Diego interstate, NBC San Diego reported.

A stretch of Interstate 5 in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles flooded, causing huge traffic delays, and prompting crews to use generators to try and pump water off the road, the California Department of Transportation said.

Ten vehicles were stuck in a flooded road in Sun Valley and eight people trapped by fast-moving water were rescued by firefighters, the fire department said.

In Studio City, two cars plummeted into a large sinkhole that opened in a street Friday night, the fire department said. A 48-year-old woman around 10 feet below the street was rescued with a ladder, and was taken to a hospital in fair condition, the department said. The driver of the second car was able to get out unaided.

“At one point the wind was so strong I’m surprised it didn’t blow my windows out,” retiree Phoenix Hocking told The Associated Press in a Facebook message from Carpinteria on the Pacific coast. “I now have a pond in my patio. And my dog is starting to grow flippers so he can go out and do his business.”

The storm caused large power outages. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said electricity was knocked out for around around 82,000 customers as of 8 PM, and Southern California Edison said 67,000 of its customers were without power as of 9 PM.

Santa Barbara airport closed after runways flooded. Eight people were rescued from floodwaters in Los Angeles, the fire department said.

The storm was expected to be the most powerful in six years. Sixty-three flights scheduled to arrive or depart from Los Angeles International Airport were canceled Friday, and 270 others were delayed, the airport said.

Total rainfall predictions ranged from 2 inches to 6 inches on the coast and from 5 inches to 10 inches in foothills and coastal mountains.

Rainfall totals ranged from 3.5 inches in Santa Barbara to 9 inches in Santa Ynez Mountain Range, and Ojai in Ventura County got 6 inches of rain, the National Weather Service said Friday evening. Beverly Hills saw 2.45 inches of rain and Canoga Park in the San Fernando Valley got 4.73 inches, the weather service said.

Downtown Los Angeles got less than 2 inches, the weather service shortly after 9 PM local time (12 AM ET) but more rain was possible. The amount of rain downtown was likely to fall short of a record 2.18 inches set in 1884, the weather service said.

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com

ARSENE WENGER: ARSENAL BOSS SAYS THAT HE WILL MANAGE NEXT SEASON

Arsene Wenger says he will definitely be managing next season, whether at Arsenal “or somewhere else”.

Wenger, 67, was speaking at the end of one of the most turbulent weeks of his two-decade tenure as Gunners boss.

After Wednesday’s 5-1 Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich, several ex-players said they believed his time in charge was coming to an end.

The Frenchman’s contract expires at the end of this season and he said that he would decide on a new deal in March or April.

“No matter what happens I will manage for another season. Whether it’s here or somewhere else, that is for sure,” Wenger said on Friday.

“If I said March or April it is because I didn’t know. I do not want to come back on that.”

“I am used to the criticism. I think in life it’s important to do what you think is right and all the rest is judgement. I am in a public job and I have to accept that, but I have to behave with my values.”

Wenger, who has been in charge of Arsenal since 1996, said: “We let everyone judge and criticise, we have to deal with that. We have to bounce back, that is what life is about.”

“Even if I go, Arsenal will not win every single game in the future. It is not like before I arrived Arsenal had won five times in the European Cup.”

“What is important is that the club makes the right decision for the future. I care about this club and its future and it is very important the club is in safe hands.”

“The main emotion is everyone has a big disappointment. We have to regroup and refocus on the next game, and to take care of the consequences a disappointing result can have on everyone’s spirit.”

“We have to focus on the real problems and they are the way we play football, not my future.”

“It is always important not to look for wrong excuses in life.”

Arsenal have not won the Premier League since 2004, with FA Cups in 2005, 2014 and 2015 the only major silverware Wenger has secured since.

However, he has consistently qualified for the lucrative Champions League and the club has continued to grow financially, despite the pressures of building a new stadium.

The Gunners reached the knockout stage of Europe’s elite club competition for a 14th year in a row this season, but the last-16 first-leg thrashing at German champions Bayern leaves them with little hope of progressing.

The performance, coupled with earlier damaging league defeats by Chelsea and Watford, prompted several former Arsenal players – some of whom played under Wenger – to suggest his time was up.

Former Gunners captain Martin Keown described the defeat as Wenger’s “lowest point”, while ex-defender Lee Dixon said: “This team is getting no response from him. I’ve never seen him like that.”

In the Premier League, they are 10 points adrift of leaders Chelsea. After the Blues beat them 3-1 on 4 February, ex-England defender Danny Mills said Arsenal “have settled for fourth again”.

Earlier, former striker Ian Wright, who scored 185 goals for the club between 1991 and 1998, said he believed Wenger’s time as Arsenal boss was “coming to the end”, although the Frenchman later denied giving any indication of his future plans.

Meanwhile, Wenger also said defender and captain Laurent Koscielny will have a scan on the injury he suffered against Bayern.

The France international was replaced by Gabriel after limping off just after half-time, and within seven minutes Arsenal conceded twice to go 3-1 down.

Source: http://www.bbc.com

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC SAYS THAT HE IS ‘FOOTBALL’S INDIANA JONES’

Manchester United’s hat-trick hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he is football’s Indiana Jones.

The 35-year-old footballer was in sensational form on Thursday night, banging in all three goals in United’s 3-0 Europa Cup victory over St Etienne at Old Trafford and they take his goal tally to 23 in all competitions since his arrival last summer.

The Swede is targeting trophies in the Europa League and EFL Cup – they play Southampton in the final next week, live on Sky Sports.

He says that he succeeds at whichever club he plays, like Harrison Ford’s archaeologist adventurer ‘Indy’ in the famous Steven Spielberg films.

“Every trophy for me is incredible, everywhere I came I won so if I can win something here I will be super happy,” he said.

“People that know me know that I play in many clubs and I try to do my best. Wherever I went I won – so I am like Indiana Jones.”

Thursday’s hat-trick was the 17th of his career and took his goal tally against St Etienne alone to 17, putting a smile on the striker’s face.

“It feels good,” Ibrahimovic said. “I got a lot of help from my team-mates. We played an open game today and it was important to get a good result so we can take it into the second leg.”

“We won 3-0 and I got to score the three goals so I am happy for that. We have still many games to play so hopefully I can continue like I am doing.”

“I’ve scored a couple of goals against them, I don’t focus on specific opponents, I just try to do my job, try to do what I am good at.”

Boss Jose Mourinho was not imressed with United’s first-half display but in the end his team built up what should be a winning lead heading over to France in the second leg.

“Exactly,” said Ibrahimovic. “A good result because I know how difficult it is to play over there.”

“They have a fantastic crowd, fantastic support, and the stadium is very nice, so the guys will see it when we go there. It was important today to get a good result.”

“It is a good team. They always make it difficult for every team they play against and when I was at PSG the same thing. They did good.”

“I think a couple of players are new, a couple of players left, but it is a good team.”

Source: http://www.skysports.com

FOX HOST SHEPARD SMITH SLAMS PRESIDENT, TRUMP SUPPORTERS CALL FOR HIS HEAD

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith is under fire for criticizing President’s Trump’s treatment of CNN reporter Jim Acosta during a freewheeling news conference Thursday and for Trump’s refusal to answer questions about his campaign’s ties to Russia.

“It’s crazy what we’re watching every day,” Smith said after Trump’s news conference. “It’s absolutely crazy. He keeps repeating ridiculous, throwaway lines that are not true at all and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia as if we’re some kind of fools for asking the question. Really? Your opposition was hacked and the Russians were responsible for it and your people were on the phone with Russia on the same day it was happening and we’re fools for asking the questions? No sir.”

“We have a right to know,” Smith added. “You call us fake news and put us down like children for asking questions on behalf of the American people.”

Source: http://www.usatoday.com

CYCLONE DINEO KILLS 7 PEOPLE IN SOUTHERN MOZAMBIQUE

Officials in Mozambique say that seven people died and thousands of homes were destroyed in a tropical cyclone.

Parts of South Africa and Zimbabwe are anticipating high winds and heavy rain on Friday after cyclone Dineo hit southern Mozambique late on Wednesday and swept inland. It was later downgraded to a tropical storm.

Emergency officials in Mozambique are reporting downed power lines and blocked roads in Inhambane, the province that suffered the worst impact. They say food and tents are being provided to families in need.

Source: http://www.news24.com

DEUTSCHE BANK HAS EXAMINED PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP’S PERSONAL ACCOUNTS FOR RUSSIA LINKS

Bank looked for evidence of whether loans to president were underpinned by guarantees from Moscow, Guardian learns.

The scandal-hit bank that loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to Donald Trump has conducted a close internal examination of the US president’s personal account to gauge whether there are any suspicious connections to Russia, the Guardian has learned.

Deutsche Bank, which is under investigation by the US Department of Justice and is facing intense regulatory scrutiny, was looking for evidence of whether recent loans to Trump, which were struck in highly unusual circumstances, may have been underpinned by financial guarantees from Moscow.

The Guardian has also learned that the president’s immediate family are Deutsche clients. The bank examined accounts held by Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, her husband, Jared Kushner, who serves as a White House adviser, and Kushner’s mother.

The internal review found no evidence of any Russia link, but Deutsche Bank is coming under pressure to appoint an external and independent auditor to review its business relationship with President Trump.

Democratic congressman Bill Pascrell Jr, a member of the House Ways and Means committee, said: “We know that Deutsche Bank is a major lender to President Trump, and the firm is also currently undergoing scrutiny by the Department of Justice for alleged misconduct.”

“I think it’s important for the American people to know the extent of the bank’s involvement with the president, and whether there is any Russian involvement in loans made to Mr Trump.”

Pascrell said the bank was under federal investigation for aiding Russian money-laundering – a “troubling potential conflict”. He said that he would encourage Deutsche to “shine a bright light” on its lending to the president to “eliminate any speculation of wrongdoing.” Congress should also be allowed to review Trump’s tax returns in closed session, he added.

A source familiar with Deutsche Bank’s internal review said it came after Trump’s bid to become US president made him a politically exposed person. Under banking regulations, PEPs undergo tougher scrutiny than regular clients because of their proximity to government.

After Trump’s victory in the US election in November the bank “double-checked” its records, the source said. The bank has also fielded numerous media inquiries about recent Trump loans, which were viewed as unorthodox among some bankers familiar with the transactions.

According to an analysis by Bloomberg, Trump now owes Deutsche around $300m. He has four large mortgages, all issued by Deutsche’s private bank. The loans are guaranteed against the presdent’a properties: a new deluxe hotel in Washington DC’s old Post Office building, just round the corner from the White House; his Chicago tower hotel; and the Trump National Doral Miami resort.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/16/deutsche-bank-examined-trump-account-for-russia-links

BUSINESSES ACROSS US CLOSE FOR ‘DAY WITHOUT IMMIGRANTS’

Businesses in cities across the country prepared to close Thursday as immigrants boycott their jobs, classes and shopping.

Immigrants in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Austin, Texas, and other major US cities plan to stay home Thursday as part of a strike called “A Day Without Immigrants.”

Coming on the heels of roundups of undocumented immigrants nationwide, organizers urge legal residents as well as undocumented ones to participate in the boycott in response to President Trump’s crackdown on immigration, which includes plans to build a border wall and a temporary immigration ban on nationals from certain Muslim-majority nations.

“From doctors to dishwashers, immigrants are integral to daily life in the US,” tweeted Janet Murguia, president and CEO of National Council of La Raza, as she praised Spanish-American Chef Jose Andrés’ decision to close his Washington, DC, restaurants Thursday.

The celebrity chef said that he decided to close after a few hundred of his employees told him they weren’t coming to work Thursday. They asked for his support and got it.

“We are all one,” he said. “We should not be fighting among each other, we should all be working together to keep moving the country forward.”

Andrés faces a lawsuit against Trump after pulling out of a restaurant deal at Trump’s new Washington, DC, hotel over offensive comments Trump made about Mexican immigrants.

Read more: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/16/businesses-across-us-close-for-day-without-immigrants.html

MANCHESTER UNITED FIGHTING ON FOUR FRONTS CONCERNS JOSE MOURINHO

Jose Mourinho says that he is becoming troubled over Manchester United’s battle over four trophies with the season reaching its climax.

United host St Etienne in the first leg of their last-32 Europa League tie at Old Trafford on Thursday night, followed by Blackburn in the FA Cup on Sunday with a trip to Wembley a week later for the EFL Cup final against Southampton.

If they make the FA Cup quarter-finals, United’s Premier League clash at Southampton on March 12 will be postponed, causing further headaches over fixture build-up.

“We cannot choose competitions at Manchester United,” – said Mourinho. “We know that our situation is really complicated.”

“We know that the Europa League is also a competition where we play on Thursdays and that makes it even more difficult for us.”

“The accumulation of FA Cup and League Cup and the match postponements makes it really hard for us. If we progress in the competitions we will be in trouble in May. We cannot choose competitions, we play them to win.”

“It’s also a good way to give the team experience – international experience is always a plus. The Europa League is not a competition we want to play, but it’s a competition we play and we respect it.”

“We are in a good phase, we work hard and progress. There was a difficult moment for us when we lost two away matches, but then we managed to play with our best teams and tried to progress which we did.”

“The plus is that it’s another opportunity to qualify for the Champions League.”

United’s hopes of making the top four have been boosted in the last two weeks with league wins against Watford and Leicester while seeing their rivals Tottenham and Liverpool take a stumble.

Their next Premier League challenge will be at home to Bournemouth on March 4, live on Sky Sports 1 from 12.30pm.

Mourinho added the following: “We have two doors still open. One is the Europa League, but we know we’re in the last 32, not even the last eight or four, so there’s a long way to go.”

“In the Premier League the door is also open, but we still have a long way to go.”

BOB BRADLEY OPENS UP ABOUT SWANSEA CITY FAILURE – ‘American first and foremost’

After getting sacked by the club, the former US boss talks about the challenges he faced being the first American manager in the Premier League.

It was never going to be easy for the first American coach in the Premier League to gain the support he needed from both the players and fans, but Bob Bradley was ready for the challenge.

After bouncing around the globe — coaching the US and Egypt national teams along with stints in Norway and France — Bradley earned the right to attempt to break the barrier. Midway through a disappointing season, he was tasked with bringing Swansea City out of the relegation zone in October 2016.

“The team had started poorly and the takeover by American owners had angered the club’s supporters. But managing at the top level of English football was the ultimate challenge. I had worked hard to prepare for this opportunity. I had to go for it”, Bradley wrote in The Players’ Tribune.

Bradley gained eight points through his first eight games, but it wasn’t long before he drew the negative headlines that appear to have been the beginning of the end of his brief career with the Welsh side. Following two straight away losses, Bradley started to show just how much of an outsider he was in the Premier League.

Fair or not, people started to turn on the coach for using American soccer phrases.

“My postgame interview after a 3–0 loss to Middlesbrough only made matters worse,” he wrote. “I said that we needed to show more resilience ‘on the road’ (the English prefer the word away), and referred to a penalty kick as a ‘PK.’ People on social media screamed that American sports terms had no place in the Premier League.”

After a 4-1 loss to West Ham the following week on Boxing Day, the American experiment came crashing down. Bradley returned to the training ground the next day and went about his normal routine with his staff and players. Then he received a phone call.

“As they say in the Premier League, I got the sack,” he wrote.

“I failed. Failed to put my stamp on the team at Swansea. To give it a real identity. A real personality. I never managed to find the right balance between attack and defense. I couldn’t find the answers for this group to play with the commitment and passion that so many of my other teams possessed. We never found consistency or confidence.”

Bradley lasted a grand total of 85 days in the Premier League. Swansea went back to the norm, signing English manager Paul Clement.

While Bradley admits Clement has done a great job bringing the Swans four points out of relegation at the moment, he points out the fact that he didn’t have a preseason or transfer window to really put his mark on the club.

“Yes, Paul benefited from the transfer window that I never had. But that’s football,” Bradley wrote. “It can be a tough business and it’s important to respect good work. Full credit to Paul.”

Bradley’s future is now up in the air. But whether he returns to MLS, where he began his professional coaching career after working in the college ranks, or gets another opportunity in Europe remains to be seen. There is one certainty for Bradley though.

“For as much experience as I’ve had with the game all over the world, I am an American first and foremost.”

Source: http://www.goal.com

NEW: TRUMP AIDES WERE IN COSTANT COMMUNICATION WITH SENIOR RUSSIAN OFFICIALS DURING THE CAMPAIGN

 

High-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump were in constant communication during the campaign with Russians known to US intelligence, multiple current and former intelligence, law enforcement and administration officials tell CNN.

President-elect Trump and then-President Barack Obama were both briefed on details of the extensive communications between suspected Russian operatives and people associated with the Trump campaign and the Trump business, according to US officials familiar with the matter.

Both the frequency of the communications during early summer and the proximity to Trump of those involved “raised a red flag” with US intelligence and law enforcement, according to these officials. The communications were intercepted during routine intelligence collection targeting Russian officials and other Russian nationals known to US intelligence.

Among several senior Trump advisers regularly communicating with Russian nationals were then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and then-adviser Michael Flynn.

Officials emphasized that communications between campaign staff and representatives of foreign governments are not unusual. However, these communications stood out to investigators due to the frequency and the level of the Trump advisers involved. Investigators have not reached a judgment on the intent of those conversations.

Adding to US investigators’ concerns were intercepted communications between Russian officials before and after the election discussing their belief that they had special access to Trump, two law enforcement officials tell CNN. These officials cautioned the Russians could have been exaggerating their access.

Trump dismissed the claims that his advisers had close ties to Russia in a tweet Wednesday.

“This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign,” Trump tweeted.

CNN has reached out to Flynn for comment. In an interview, Manafort emphatically denied that he was in contact with Russians known to US intelligence.

“That is 100% not true, at least as far as me. I cannot believe that they are including me in anything like that. I have not been involved in any of these activities” – he said.

Manafort said he did not know where US officials got the idea that he was in contact with suspected Russian operatives during the campaign but said he never spoke with any Russian officials during that time.

“I don’t remember talking to any Russian officials, ever. Certainly during the time we’re talking about,” he said, calling the allegations “boggling.”

“I have knowingly never talked to any intelligence official or anyone in Russia regarding anything of what’s under investigation. I have never had any connection to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin or the Russian government before, during or after the campaign” – he said.

Manafort said the FBI has not contacted him about the allegations and said he was not aware of any other Trump campaign officials or people close to Trump being in touch with Russians known to US intelligence.

Manafort, who has held business ties with Russian and Ukrainian individuals, also emphasized that his work for the Yanukovich government in Ukraine should not be interpreted as closeness to the Russians. He said that he worked for Yanukovich during a time when Ukraine was “moving into the European orbit.”

The extensive contacts drew concerns of US intelligence and law enforcement officials in part because it came at a time of Russian cyberactivities targeting mostly Democratic Party political organizations.

Post-election intelligence briefings on Russian meddling in the US elections included details of those communications, which included people involved in Trump’s businesses.

The communications were gathered as part of routine US intelligence collection and not because people close to Trump were being targeted.

The FBI and US intelligence agencies continue to try to determine what the motive for the communications were.

One concern was whether Trump associates were coordinating with Russian intelligence operatives over the release of damaging information about the Hillary Clinton campaign.

“If that were the case, then that would escalate things,” one official briefed on the investigation said.