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Travel
12 best kid-friendly destinations
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12 best kid-friendly destinations

12 best kid-friendly destinations
Photo Credit: AP
With the Washington Monument in the background, cherry blossom trees began blooming despite cold temperatures in Washington, on Thursday, March 24, 2011. The National Cherry Blossom Festival, which runs from March 26-April 12, commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Tokyo to Washington, D.C.

12 best kid-friendly destinations

When traveling with toddlers, tweens, and teens, the trick is picking the right destination. Somewhere that offers hands-on activities, inspiring history, and even an animal or two can turn the dreaded “When will we be there” into “Where will we go next?”

It's a great big world out there, and packing up your little ones for a jaunt-whether it's to a nearby city, neighboring state, or across "the pond"-can be daunting. But when it comes to traveling with kids, all destinations are not created equal. We've covered our share of hot travel spots in the U.S. and Europe and we've found that those cities and landmarks that are best for family travel have a few things in common: Accessibility, a nice mix of indoor and outdoor activities, and a certain ineffable "wow" factor that you'll know when you see it on your children's faces. Here, a dozen of our favorite family-friendly destinations.

 

 

COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG, VA

Everyone in this living-history site likes to play dress-up, and visitors are no exception. At the Great Hopes Plantation-a re-creation of the town's original 1700s farm-a stash of old-timey accessories await, from tricorne (three-pointed) hats for boys and shifts and mop caps (bonnets) for girls. The costumes come in handy in the field, where kids can perform 18th-century household chores, such as picking bugs off potato crops, fetching water from the well, or hoeing the soil, that are likely to make clearing the dinner dishes seem like a breeze by comparison. Great Hopes Plantation can be accessed through regular admission tickets. Upcoming events for 2013 include a celebration of Presidents' Day, an exhibit dedicated to historic keyboard instruments (such as colonial-era harpsichords), and Painters and Paintings of the South, opening in March. (history.org, adults from $22.95, children from $11.50, under six free).

 

WASHINGTON, DC

Everybody knows the National Mall is the place to be in D.C., right? But how about riding the streets of Washington, D.C., including the Mall, in a boat on wheels? Set in a WWII-era amphibious vehicle, the 90-minute D.C. duck tour covers both land and sea. The first leg hits the history-packed National Mall-look for the 19-foot-tall Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol building, and the Smithsonian museums-and then switches to a scenic river trip. Highlight: The boat pauses at Gravelly Point, a park located just a few hundred feet from the runway at D.C.'s Reagan National Airport, so you can watch roaring planes take off and land (trustedtours.com, adults $31.50, kids 11 and under $16.20). Don't miss hour-long tours of the U.S. Capitol, offered Monday through Saturday, and it's best to reserve a spot on one of these popular tours in advance (visitor center entrance at First Street and East Capitol Street, N.W., visitthecapitol.gov, admission free). And at the National Museum of American History, you'll find countless artifacts from the nation's history, including the exhibits The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden and Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963 (1400 Constitution Ave., N.W., americanhistory.si.edu, admission free).

 

LONDON

Thanks to literature and film (think Sherlock Holmes, Peter Pan, and a certain young wizard), American kids already associate London with mystery and discovery. And the city doesn't dissapoint. Archaeologist (and mother of six) Fiona Haughey leads two-hour trawls along the muddy banks of the River Thames. (Once so polluted that city residents avoided going near the river, the Thames is now alive with healthy fish-and tour boats!) Previous searchers have taken home Elizabethan pipes, Tudor tiles, and even horse teeth (walks.com, beachcombing walk $12, all ages). For young history buffs, the Tower of London is an unforgettable experience, where you can ogle the 23,578 gems known as the Crown Jewels, take a Yeoman Warder tour that includes hair-raising stories from the tower's history, spot the six ravens who make the Tower their home and, according to legend, whose presence assures the continuity of the kingdom, and of course let your curious-and bravest-kids explore the interactive prisoners exhibit about the people who lived and died in this most iconic of prisons (hrp.org.uk, adults $33, children $17).

 

BOSTON

Even die-hard Yankees fans have to admit that visiting Fenway Park, Major League Baseball's oldest stadium, is an exercise in Americanism: Babe Ruth pitched there! Ted Williams hit a 502-foot home run! Fenway turns 100 next year, but its features are still intact. Check them out for yourself on a guided 50-minute tour, where hands-on exploration is encouraged: You can touch the Green Monster (the park's 37-foot-tall left-field wall), peek into the dugout, poke around inside the press box, and even walk across the baseball diamond, depending on how friendly the grounds crew is feeling that day (mlb.mlb.com, Fenway Park tours, adults $12, kids 3-15 $10, seniors $11). Boston is also, of course, the epicenter of America's Colonial history. Who needs a social studies book when the Freedom Trail lets you learn about Colonial history as you walk in its footprints? For example, from June through November, you can learn from an 18th-century ship captain while parading around Boston's waterfront on the 90-minute Pirates and Patriots tour, led by an actor in 1770s naval garb, focuses on maritime history and introduces the scrappy, ship-raiding characters that inhabited the city's North End during the Revolutionary era. Stops include the aptly named Long Wharf, once the longest in the world and the center of Boston's colonial shipping industry, and Griffin's Wharf, site of the 1773 Boston Tea Party. (thefreedomtrail.org, Pirates and Patrios Tour runs from June through November, adults $12, kids 6-12 $7).

 

BERLIN

While the German capital may not spring to mind as a must-see for families with children, this sprawling metropolis has become one of the best places on the continent to have-and be-a kid. Beyond its vibrant art and food scene (you may find no better breakfast in all of Europe), Berlin offers two things that will not only entertain the young ones, but may bring out the kid in you, too. About half a million Berliners take to their bikes each day, so you'll be in good company on one of Berlin on Bike's rentals. Choose from city, touring, and trekking bikes, all of which come with rear baskets. Even the kids can get a set of wheels, with three sizes of smaller cycles as well as child seats and trailers (reserve in advance) and helmets for all. A free route planner on bbbike.de helps you map paths through the city based on your desired speed, road surface, and the availability of designated bike lanes, of which Berlin has some 400 miles (berlinonbike.de, $13 for 24 hours). And, of course, Berlin has a "zoo story" as well. Built on the site of the 18th-century pheasantry that once supplied fowl to the King of Prussia's royal kitchen, the 168-year-old Zoological Garden was Germany's first zoo and, with 17,727 animals, has one of the most diverse populations in the world. Savvy visitors will want to sync their trips with the feeding times of their favorite animals (pandas at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., penguins at 1:45 p.m.), or splurge on a private, 20-minute visit with a single species, complete with zookeeper Q&A. And be sure to keep an eye out for the zoo's newest arrival, Kathi, a baby hippopotamus born in October (zoo-berlin.de, from $29.50 for a family ticket, private tours an additional $107)

 

PHILADELPHIA

In addition to the excellent ranger-led tours of Independence Hall (where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were adopted), a less serious but equally entertaining adventure awaits visitors. Acquaint yourself with the spirits of America's founding fathers on Philadelphia's Ghost Tour, a 90-minute, candle-lit stroll that winds past landmarks like Independence Hall; the Powel House, which hosted George and Martha Washington's 20th wedding anniversary celebration; and the 238-year-old City Tavern, John Adams's former watering hole. A cape-wearing, lantern-carrying guide points out "haunted" graveyards (St. Peter's Cemetery) and reports sightings of Benjamin Franklin, who's said to roam the city's streets. The best part: All the ghost stories are based on documented accounts, which makes them all the more spooky (ghosttour.com, adults $17, kids 4 and up $8). Once your kids' appetite for real-life thrills is whetted, head over to the world-class science museum, the Franklin Institute, for hands-on activities that teach science in a fun way, including teachng anatomy with a stroll through an oversize human heart (fi.edu, adults $16.50, children $12.50). The Please Touch Museum continues the hands-on theme, with kids learning music at the Rainforest Rhythm exhibit and exploring child-size environments (pleasetouchmuseum.org, $16).

 

SAN FRANCISCO

Shiv collections and cramped jail cells don't exactly sound kid-friendly, but they offer a glimpse into Alcatraz, America's most notorious island prison-and the National Park Service is all for bringing younger ones for a visit. Hop a ferry from San Francisco's Pier 33 and stroll the damp, gray halls of the maximum-security pen, which housed criminals like Al Capone and George "Machine Gun" Kelly from 1934 to 1963. (You can even get behind bars in one of the cells, if you dare.) Don't miss the audio tour, which was updated in 2007 when former inmates and guards recorded their memories of doing time at "the Rock." If you're feeling brave, take the night tour, which lets you roam the prison after dark. Browse our favorite budget hotels in San Francisco. Alcatraz Cruises is the official carrier for tours to Alcatraz Island (alcatrazcruises.com, adults 12-61 $26; kids 5-11 $16, 4 and under free). In SF's gorgeous Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Science is more like a combo zoo, museum, and classroom, including a planetarium, aquarium, 40,000 live animals, a rainforest exhibit, and natural history exhibits such as dinosaurs and other fossils (calacademy.org, adults $29.95, kids 12-17 $24.95, kids 4-11 $19.95).

 

NEW YORK CITY

Between 1892 and 1924, more than 17 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island; today, their descendants account for 40 percent of Americans. Go on a hunt for your ancestors at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, where for $5 you can search through millions of records to find the exact date your relatives sailed into the Port of New York, as well as which ship they were on and whether they traveled with other family members. (Bonus: copies of the documents are yours to keep.) And don't miss the construction of the Peopling of America Center, which cost $20 million to build and is slated to open in 2012. The new space focuses on U.S. immigration from 1955 (when Ellis Island closed) to the present, and houses interactive multimedia exhibits, like a touch screen that reflects demographic changes in American cities over time (ellisisland.org, adults $37.95, children $18.95, children under 5 free). The American Museum of Natural History is a magnet for kids of all ages, with its iconic "dinosaurs in the attic"-featuring some of the world's best reconstructed dinosaur skeletons-and colossal blue whale model suspended from the ceiling of its hall of marine life (amnh.org, $19).

 

SAN DIEGO

With more than 4,000 rare and endangered animals representing 800-plus species and subspecies, the San Diego Zoo is one of the most diverse in America. But its coolest attraction-literally-is the Polar Bear Plunge, which has reopened after a $1 million makeover. Aside from permanent polar residents Kalluk, Chinook, and Tatqiq, new features include a snow den you can burrow into (the snug space mimics where female bears birth their cubs); a helicopter used on actual Arctic explorations that invites climbers into the cockpit; and the Experience Wall, where zookeepers open the glass panels surrounding the bears' habitat, letting them sniff at visitors through wire mesh (sandiegozoo.org, ages 12 and up $40, ages 3-11 $30). SeaWorld San Diego continues the wild theme of this Southern California city, allowing kids to have a Dolphin Interaction, Shark Encounter, splash along one of its many thrill rides, and of course take in one of the park's legendary sea mammal shows (seaworldparks.com, adults $78, children $70).

 

BARCELONA

Families visiting Barcelona for the first time often report that the city has a fairytale, made-for-children quality about it. That, no doubt, is thanks to the imaginative artists who have helped make the extraordinary place that it is. La Sagrada Famlia, architect Antoni Gaud's famous basilica, is as stunning as people say, but it's one of Barcelona's most popular attractions, so you'll want to arrive when it opens, at 9 a.m. (sagradafamilia.org, $11). Then wander the alleys and hidden squares in the Barri Gatic, or Gothic quarter. Xocolateria La Xicra, on the Plaa de Sant Josep Oriol, makes a decadent chocolate con churros (hot chocolate with doughnut-like sticks for dipping). Next, head to Museu Picasso, in the La Ribera neighborhood, to learn how the master's famous Blue Period came about during his stay in Barcelona in the early 1900s (museupicasso.bcn.cat/en, $8).

 

NIAGARA FALLS, NY

Sure, your grandparents honeymooned there, but the majestic waterfalls straddling the U.S.-Canada border are worth a 21st-century trip. Ever wonder what it's like to be a rubber ducky in a massive bathtub? Sign up for the Cave of the Winds tour, which begins after you change into a complimentary yellow poncho and sandals (trust us, you'll need 'em). After riding an elevator 175 feet down into the Niagara Gorge, you'll stand on the Hurricane Deck, where you'll be drenched by the tropical-storm-like spray from the 181-foot Bridal Veil Falls, where the water falls at a rate of up to 68 mph (niagarafallsstatepark.com, Cave of the Winds operates May 1-Oct. 25, adults $11, kids 6-12 $8, 5 and under free).

 

ST. AUGUSTINE, FL

Swashbucklers, hoist your sails and head for the artifact-packed St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum. This is the only place in the world to display an authentic pirate's treasure chest (property of Captain Thomas Tew roughly 400 years ago), plus a 19th-century Jolly Roger flag and an original "Wanted" poster with a 500-pound sterling reward for the capture of pirate Henry Every, dated 1696 (thepiratemuseum.com, adults $12, children under 5 free). St. Augustine's historic district, founded in 1565, is a mecca for history buffs and window-shoppers alike, built around a central plaza that is the oldest public park in the U.S., the district includes St. George Street, a pedestrian walkway with museums, restaurants, and shops. Cannon-firing demonstrations take place Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at the Castillo de San Marcos fort (nps.gov/casa, adults $6, children under 16 free).

 

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  • Charles Manson, the hippie cult leader who became the hypnotic-eyed face of evil across America after orchestrating the gruesome murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others in Los Angeles during the summer of 1969, died Sunday after nearly a half-century in prison. He was 83.Manson, whose name to this day is synonymous with unspeakable violence and madness, died at 8:13 p.m. of natural causes at a Kern County hospital, according to a California Department of Corrections statement.Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, reacted to the death by quoting the late Vincent Bugliosi, the Los Angeles prosecutor who put Manson behind bars. Bugliosi said: 'Manson was an evil, sophisticated con man with twisted and warped moral values.'Today, Manson's victims are the ones who should be remembered and mourned on the occasion of his death,' Hanisee said.California Corrections spokeswoman Vicky Waters said it's 'to be determined' what happens to Manson's body. Prison officials previously said Manson had no known next of kin and state law says that if no relative or legal representative surfaces within 10 days, then it's up to the department to determine whether the body is cremated or buried.It's not known if Manson requested funeral services of any sort. It's also unclear what happens to his property, which is said to include artwork and at least two guitars. State law says the department must maintain his property for up to a year in anticipation there might be legal battles over who can make a legitimate claim to it.A petty criminal who had been in and out of jail since childhood, the charismatic, guru-like Manson surrounded himself in the 1960s with runaways and other lost souls and then sent his disciples to butcher some of L.A.'s rich and famous in what prosecutors said was a bid to trigger a race war — an idea he got from a twisted reading of the Beatles song 'Helter Skelter.'The slayings horrified the world and, together with the deadly violence that erupted later in 1969 during a Rolling Stones concert at California's Altamont Speedway, exposed the dangerous, drugged-out underside of the counterculture movement and seemed to mark the death of the era of peace and love.Despite the overwhelming evidence against him, Manson maintained during his tumultuous trial in 1970 that he was innocent and that society itself was guilty.'These children that come at you with knives, they are your children. You taught them; I didn't teach them. I just tried to help them stand up,' he said in a courtroom soliloquy.Linda Deutsch, the longtime courts reporter for The Associated Press who covered the Manson case, said he 'left a legacy of evil and hate and murder.'He was able to take young people who were impressionable and convince them he had the answer to everything and he turned them into killers,' she said. 'It was beyond anything we had ever seen before in this country.'The Manson Family, as his followers were called, slaughtered five of its victims on Aug. 9, 1969, at Tate's home: the actress, who was 8½ months pregnant, coffee heiress Abigail Folger, celebrity hairdresser Jay Sebring, Polish movie director Voityck Frykowski and Steven Parent, a friend of the estate's caretaker. Tate's husband, 'Rosemary's Baby' director Roman Polanski, was out of the country at the time.The next night, a wealthy grocer and his wife, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, were stabbed to death in their home across town.The killers scrawled such phrases as 'Pigs' and 'Healter Skelter' (sic) in blood at the crime scenes.Three months later, a Manson follower was jailed on an unrelated charge and told a cellmate about the bloodbath, leading to the cult leader's arrest.In the annals of American crime, Manson became the embodiment of evil, a short, shaggy-haired, bearded figure with a demonic stare and an 'X'' — later turned into a swastika — carved into his forehead.'Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969,' author Joan Didion wrote in her 1979 book 'The White Album.'After a trial that lasted nearly a year, Manson and three followers — Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten — were found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Another defendant, Charles 'Tex' Watson, was convicted later. All were spared execution and given life sentences after the California Supreme Court struck down the death penalty in 1972.Atkins died behind bars in 2009. Krenwinkel, Van Houten and Watson remain in prison.Another Manson devotee, Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme, tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975, but her gun jammed. She served 34 years in prison.Manson was born in Cincinnati on Nov. 12, 1934, to a teenager, possibly a prostitute, and was in reform school by the time he was 8. After serving a 10-year sentence for check forgery in the 1960s, Manson was said to have pleaded with authorities not to release him because he considered prison home.'My father is the jailhouse. My father is your system,' he would later say in a monologue on the witness stand. 'I am only what you made me. I am only a reflection of you.'He was set free in San Francisco during the heyday of the hippie movement in the city's Haight-Ashbury section, and though he was in his mid-30s by then, he began collecting followers — mostly women — who likened him to Jesus Christ. Most were teenagers; many came from good homes but were at odds with their parents.The 'family' eventually established a commune-like base at the Spahn Ranch, a ramshackle former movie location outside Los Angeles, where Manson manipulated his followers with drugs, supervised orgies and subjected them to bizarre lectures.He had musical ambitions and befriended rock stars, including Beach Boy Dennis Wilson. He also met Terry Melcher, a music producer who had lived in the same house that Polanski and Tate later rented.By the summer 1969, Manson had failed to sell his songs, and the rejection was later seen as a trigger for the violence. He complained that Wilson took a Manson song called 'Cease to Exist,' revised it into 'Never Learn Not to Love' and recorded it with the Beach Boys without giving Manson credit.Manson was obsessed with Beatles music, particularly 'Piggies' and 'Helter Skelter,' a hard-rocking song that he interpreted as forecasting the end of the world. He told his followers that 'Helter Skelter is coming down' and predicted a race war would destroy the planet.'Everybody attached themselves to us, whether it was our fault or not,' the Beatles' George Harrison, who wrote 'Piggies,' later said of the murders. 'It was upsetting to be associated with something so sleazy as Charles Manson.'According to testimony, Manson sent his devotees out on the night of Tate's murder with instructions to 'do something witchy.' The state's star witness, Linda Kasabian, who was granted immunity, testified that Manson tied up the LaBiancas, then ordered his followers to kill. But Manson insisted: 'I have killed no one, and I have ordered no one to be killed.'His trial was nearly scuttled when President Richard Nixon said Manson was 'guilty, directly or indirectly.' Manson grabbed a newspaper and held up the front-page headline for jurors to read: 'Manson Guilty, Nixon Declares.' Attorneys demanded a mistrial but were turned down.From then on, jurors, sequestered at a hotel for 10 months, traveled to and from the courtroom in buses with blacked-out windows so they could not read the headlines on newsstands.Manson was also later convicted of the slayings of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald 'Shorty' Shea.Over the decades, Manson and his followers appeared sporadically at parole hearings, where their bids for freedom were repeatedly rejected. The women suggested they had been rehabilitated, but Manson himself stopped attending, saying prison had become his home.The killings inspired movies and TV shows, and Bugliosi wrote a best-selling book about the murders, 'Helter Skelter.' The macabre shock rocker Marilyn Manson borrowed part of his stage name from the killer.'The Manson case, to this day, remains one of the most chilling in crime history,' prominent criminal justice reporter Theo Wilson wrote in her 1998 memoir, 'Headline Justice: Inside the Courtroom — The Country's Most Controversial Trials .'Even people who were not yet born when the murders took place,' Wilson wrote, 'know the name Charles Manson, and shudder.'___AP writer Michelle A. Monroe contributed to this report. This story contains biographical information compiled by former AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch. Deutsch covered the Tate-La Bianca killings and the Manson trial for The Associated Press and has written about the Manson family for four decades.
  • Two people wanted in connection to a police shooting were found holed up in a Gainesville home Sunday morning, police said.  Marcos Tovar, 20, and Alondra Rodriguez, 20, were arrested on charges of aggravated assault on a peace officer, Gainesville police spokesman Sgt. Keving Holbrook said.  The couple allegedly opened fire on officers, who responded to a Friday 911 call concerning a domestic dispute at a Burger King restaurant on Athens Street, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. MORE: Manhunt on for 2 accused in shootout with police Officers responded to reports of a man dragging a woman, Holbrook said. When the officers arrived at the scene, Rodriguez allegedly pulled a gun. Those officers, who were not immediately identified, were treated at a hospital and released. Holbrook said they were hurt during the altercation but were not shot.  After the incident, police took out warrants and said the couple should be considered armed and dangerous. 'They actively went after police officers with gunfire, so we know that they are dangerous,' Holbrook told Channel 2 Action News. In other news:
  • Lena Dunham did a major backtrack following backlash from her decision to defend a “Girls” producer who was recently accused of raping a teenage girl. >> Lena Dunham slammed for defending 'Girls' producer accused of rape Actress Aurora Perrineau filed a police report against producer Murray Miller, saying that he raped her in 2012 when she was 17 and he was 35 years old, according to The Wrap. In a statement filed by the now 23-year-old, Perrineau said she woke up in Murray’s bed after drinking alcohol with him in his hotel room and he was “having sexual intercourse with [her].” Murray “categorically and vehemently” denied the allegation. Dunham and “Girls” showrunner Jenni Konner released a joint statement in which they did not simply stand by Murray, but accused Perrineau of lying: >> Read more trending news 'While our first instinct is to listen to every woman’s story, our insider knowledge of Murray’s situation makes us confident that sadly this accusation is one of the 3% of assault cases that are misreported every year. It is a true shame to add to that number, as outside of Hollywood women still struggle to be believed. We stand by Murray and this is all we’ll be saying about this issue.' Many criticized Dunham for her part in the statement, especially considering she once popularly tweeted, “Things women do lie about: what they ate for lunch. Things women don’t lie about: rape.” On Saturday night, Dunham issued an apology on Twitter, saying, “I naively believed it was important to share my perspective on my friend’s situation as it has transpired behind the scenes over the last few months:” >> See the tweet here Dunham added that she understood “it was absolutely the wrong time to come forward with such a statement” and apologized. Her apology was met with more criticism: She was also accused of frequently making tone-deaf apologies: In the initial fallout over Dunham’s statement, actress Asia Argento, who accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, questioned her, writing, “You wrote me an email of support a few weeks ago and now you defend a rapist?' >> On Rare.us: Lena Dunham responds to backlash after she announced she had to give up her dog, Lamby Commentator S.E. Cupp tweeted, “Life comes at you fast @lenadunham,” with a screenshot of Dunham’s statement and an old assertion that women did not lie about rape. One commenter accused Dunham of insinuating that women were to be believed unless they accused personal friends of hers, while another accused her of “conveniently” turning a blind eye “while throwing other women under the bus.”
  • President Donald Trump continued his Twitter roasting of UCLA basketball dad and Big Baller Brand mogul LaVar Ball on Sunday evening, calling him “very ungrateful” for not thanking him for getting his son out of trouble. >> See the tweet here “Shoplifting is a very big deal in China, as it should be (5-10 years in jail), but not to father LaVar. Should have gotten his son out during my next trip to China instead. China told them why they were released. Very ungrateful!” Trump tweeted. >> PREVIOUS STORY: Trump fires back after LaVar Ball minimizes role in getting UCLA players released Earlier Sunday, Trump said “I should have left them in jail!,” referring to the three UCLA basketball players arrested in China for shoplifting, one of whom was Ball’s son, LiAngelo. >> See the tweet here “Now that the three basketball players are out of China and saved from years in jail, LaVar Ball, the father of LiAngelo, is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail!” Trump tweeted. >> LiAngelo Ball, UCLA teammates arrested in China could get 10 years in prison if convicted This was Trump’s response to Ball essentially saying “Trump who?” when asked on Saturday about the president’s role in helping LiAngelo. This all started when Trump tweeted after returning from Asia that the three UCLA basketball players who got in trouble for allegedly shoplifting in China should thank him for saving them from a decade in prison. >> Read the tweet here “Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!” he tweeted last Wednesday morning. The players, for their part, did exactly that at an afternoon press conference the same day. “To the three UCLA basketball players I say: You’re welcome, go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of China who made your release possible and, HAVE A GREAT LIFE! Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!” Trump said in reply. LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were returned to the United States after being arrested on charges of shoplifting, in connection with the alleged theft of Louis Vuitton sunglasses in Shanghai. The university later announced that the players would be suspended indefinitely. >> Read more trending news Previously, Rare speculated that it was possible Trump wanted to hear a “thank you” not just from the basketball players, but also from the unapologetic LaVar Ball himself. The president did not end up getting that thank you from the elder Ball. “Who? What was [Trump] over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out,” Ball said, according to ESPN. >> On Rare.us: LaVar Ball on Trump helping his son: 'Who?' “As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine. I’m happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, ‘They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes,’” Ball added, downplaying his son’s alleged mistake. “I’m from L.A. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him.”
  • Washington may not have seen the last of 'The Mooch.'Anthony Scaramucci, the short-lived White House communications chief who was forced out after just 11 days on the job, said in an interview on Monday that he remains in close touch with the White House.He told The Associated Press that although he has not spoken to Donald Trump in over a month, he talks to members of the president's inner circle 'regularly' and sees himself working with Trump again in the future.'I have very good relationships there still, and you have to remember we were a team for 18 months, and so we all had different roles. And so I'm still playing my role frankly. I'm an advocate for the president, media surrogate when I need to be,' Scaramucci said.Scaramucci is in Israel this week as a guest of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, a U.S.-based group that works with professionals, politicians and community leaders to stimulate business opportunities and influence public policy.Scaramucci, a former Wall Street financier and successful entrepreneur, is not Jewish but said he has longstanding ties with members of the group from New York and is scouting out Israel's vibrant high-tech sector for possible future opportunities.While he said he is currently focused on his business dealings, he expects to help Trump on his re-election campaign.'At some point I'll probably be more involved from the outside, but more in a re-election capability than from inside the administration,' he said.Scaramucci, a member of Trump's campaign and transition teams, was appointed White House communications director in July. But he was fired just days into the job after he gave an expletive-laced interview to The New Yorker and made derogatory statements about several members of the Trump administration.In the interview, he was very vocal about unauthorized leaks coming out of the White House. The primary targets of his angry interview, the chief of staff at the time, Reince Priebus, and then-chief strategist Steve Bannon, have since left the administration.Scaramucci, in a dark blue suit, blue tie and crisp white shirt, joked that he had expected his term at the White House to have a longer shelf life than a 'carton of milk.'But he said that is politics and he has no regrets. He even said his term was successful in a way because he helped bring the issue of unauthorized leaks under control.'We identified quickly who many of the leakers were, and they're gone,' he said. 'You and I both know the leaks are down substantially. And that's a positive thing for the president.
  • Star NFL running back Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders was spotted sitting on the sidelines as the U.S. national anthem played before a Sunday afternoon game in Mexico against the New England Patriots. >> Read more trending news Lynch appeared to take his demonstration a step further by standing during the Mexican national anthem, according to reporters at the game: Some social media users responded, claiming that this was “false news' and that Lynch was sitting because his equipment was being worked on. According to Sports Illustrated, it’s not the first time Lynch chose to sit during the anthem. In fact, he’s been doing it all season.  The Bleacher Report said over the summer that Lynch claimed he had been sitting during the anthem for 11 years, and his coach, Jack Del Rio, responded to that by saying, “It’s a non-issue for me.” “On Marshawn, talked to Marshawn trying to make sure we’re on the same page,” Del Rio said. “He said, ‘This is something I’ve done for 11 years. It’s not a form of anything other than me being myself.’ I said, ‘So you understand how I feel, I very strongly believe in standing for the national anthem. But I’m going to respect you as a man, you do your thing. We’ll do ours.’ It’s a non-issue for me.” Earlier on Sunday, Rare covered a retired NFL running back who strongly disagrees with the protests occurring during the national anthem. Former NFL stand-out Herschel Walker blamed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for allowing protests during the national anthem to become routine occurrences during the 2017 season and potentially beyond. Walker said that he finds the protests “upsetting” and that they should have been stopped when they started. “I absolutely think the protests are so upsetting, and I blame the commissioner,” he said, according to the New York Post. “I know people are going to be angry when I say it, but he should have stopped the protests at the very beginning.” Walker said that if people want to protest they should do so in Washington, D.C. “Our flag is very special, and black lives matter, but what we should do is go to Washington after the season and protest there instead. We have young men and women fighting for the flag. And we have to respect the White House,” he added. Previously, Walker said that the NFL should make a rule that says players can only protest while “off the job.” >> On Rare.us: NFL players take a knee on Veterans Day weekend “I do, I think it means making a league-wide rule that if you want to protest, protest off the job. One of the things I want to say about the protests, where was everyone before the season started?” he asked. “I didn’t see anyone protesting in front of the White House, protesting in front of Congress or protesting in front of police officers. Why did we wait until football season started to start this again?”