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  • Spain's Constitutional Court on Tuesday overturned a previous verdict that found a rapper guilty of exalting terrorism and humiliating victims of attacks in tweets. César Montana Lehmann of the Def Con Dos rock band had been sentenced to one year in prison by the country's Supreme Court for a series of tweets in 2013 and 2014 in which he talked about sending a cake bomb to former King Juan Carlos I on his birthday and said that some politicians made him long for a former armed leftist group. The singer, whose stage name is César Strawberry, was also banned from holding any public position for more than six years. The Constitutional Court said Tuesday that the guilty ruling violated the singer's free speech rights. Amnesty International and other rights groups had campaigned on Montana's behalf.
  • “Consent, Consent, Consent” flashed the neon set lights at Dior's latest ready-to-wear show in Paris. It signaled that the house's first ever female designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri, would continue to explore her touchstone of feminism for her fall-winter 2020 designs. The set, the fruit of a collaboration with artist Claire Fontaine, made a strong impact on VIP guests — including actress Sigourney Weaver and singer Carla Bruni. Some paused for thought, especially as the show was delayed, in discussions of the #MeToo era and its influence on art — one day after Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape and sexual assault and led off to prison in handcuffs. The designs themselves cleverly riffed off the empowerment idea at the start: Such as the Dior signature bar jacket, re-imagined as ribbed and angular, and twinned with a men's shirt and business tie on a female model with a short pixie hairstyle. It was the show's strongest fashion statement. The feminist and androgynous musing sadly faded quickly in the 84-look show, suggesting that for Chiuri it was more of a marketing gimmick than a developed creative idea. The rest of the show featured diverse silhouettes that delved in and out of the rich Dior archives — checks, polka dots, knitwear in jackets, shirts and pants — with varying degrees of success. A 1970s boho vibe was captured with a leitmotif of the printed silk headscarves. The checks, which evoked Dior's longtime head Marc Bohan and designer during that retro era, appeared in beige and occasionally in a total look style. At times, twinned with fringing, it unfortunately did not look far off a luxury table cloth. Sandal flats, meanwhile, brought this ready-to-wear collection firmly down to earth. A reminder of the worries of daily life was enclosed in the program notes. While none of the fashion insiders, bar one, seemed to be wearing a mask against the new coronavirus that had shaken Milan Fashion Week, Dior wrote that “all our thoughts are with our teams, clients, friends and partners in Asia, Italy, around the world.”
  • Oliver Jeffers worked on his new picture book with a child in mind — his own. Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, announced Tuesday that “What We''ll Build' is the latest work from the bestselling author of “Here We Are' and illustrator of “The Day the Crayons Quit' and other books. “What We'll Build' comes out Oct. 6. “Here We Are,” published in 2017, was inspired by the birth of Jeffers' son. After his daughter was born, he decided to write and illustrate a book for her, too. In a statement issued through Philomel, he said he had been “contemplating the importance of raising a daughter in what will hopefully soon no longer be a man’s world.' “But more than that,' he added, his new book will also explore “the strength of the invisible bonds of any loving relationship through thick and thin. It is all about the pure potential of what will come, both good and bad, and how, ultimately, people need each other. Even if that is just for someone to listen to all your plans.”
  • Thousands of people thronged the streets of New Orleans on Fat Tuesday, reaching for beads, shimmying to the music of marching bands and celebrating the end of a Carnival season tinged by tragedy after two bystanders were killed by floats this year. Even before sunrise, the Northside Skull and Bone Gang in skeleton costumes was out waking people up in the Treme neighborhood to celebrate a day that for some continues long into the night. And in the Central City neighborhood where the first parade by Zulu kicks off every year, many parents and children seemed to have gotten up and in position just as early. Thousands of people lined the streets, dressed in the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold, standing or sitting in lawn chairs, eating food and talking to friends and neighbors. Derek Hale's friend was riding in the parade so he was helping his friend's wife and three children watch. Like everyone, he’d gotten up early to stake out a place. “The most important thing is family, just being able to be out here and enjoying the music, the high school bands, the excitement that the kids have,” Hale said, holding his friend’s daughter in his arms as she watched her first Mardi Gras. “For her to take it in it’s just a really cool experience.” Hale said the deaths of two people who were killed by floats in separate parades leading up to Fat Tuesday worried him, and he hoped there will be changes to make next year's parades safer, such as using more barricades to keep people away from the floats. As a lifelong New Orleanian he said he knows how rare such accidents are and viewed them as isolated incidents. “I wouldn’t be out here with these three young babies if I didn’t think it was a safe environment for everybody,” he said. Carnival season began Jan. 6 and ends Tuesday after weeks of Mardi Gras parades, balls and merriment. Last Wednesday, as thousands gathered to watch the all-female Krewe of Nyx parade, a woman died after being struck by a float. Witnesses told news outlets Geraldine Carmouche, 58, of New Orleans tried to cross between two parts of a tandem float and tripped over a hitch connecting the sections. Tandem floats are multiple floats pulled by one tractor. Then on Saturday night during the Endymion parade — one of the biggest and glitziest parades every year — a man out watching on Canal Street was hit and killed by a float, also a tandem. He was identified as Joseph Sampson, 58, of New Orleans. Following the deaths, the city announced a ban on tandem floats for the rest of the season. Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said Monday said he's not blaming the parade groups or tandem floats for the deaths. But he stood by his decision to bar the multipart floats for the last few days of the parade season. He said representatives from parade krewes, police and city officials will meet this week or next to discuss parade safety issues. In front of Sadie’s Beauty Salon on Jackson Avenue, Keitra Boutan stood, keeping a close eye on her daughter. When asked if she had any concerns about safety in light of the two people who died, she said she was always worried about that. “That has always been my No. 1 rule: Don’t run up to the floats,” she said. Mardi Gras season is usually a time of frivolity and fun as thousands of people swarm into the streets of New Orleans and other cities and towns in southern Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. It's an annual tradition of watching parades, partying and hanging out with family and friends. Among Tuesday's revelers was Moriah Stern, dressed as a “trash tree” in a brown top and pants adorned with leaves, beads and a flattened beer can. She and Michael Lahargoue and others were riding the ferry from New Orleans’ Algiers neighborhood to Canal Street. “We don’t have water in New Mexico, so this is a treat,” Lahorgoue said. Not far from them, Andrew Sullivan of New Orleans wore a shark costume to go along with the little shark bicycle helmet worn by son Finn, 2, who was strapped into a seat on his father’s bicycle. “You ready for some parades?” he asked before riding off. Families gather to watch the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club parade on the main route down St. Charles Avenue, followed by the Rex Parade and then two more parades. In the French Quarter, people from all walks of life dress up in elaborate costumes and take to the streets to see and be seen. Once the parades are over, the action shifts to the French Quarter's more raucous Bourbon Street. Every year at midnight, police ride on horseback to ceremonially “clear” the street although partying continues long past that. Then comes Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent and a time for many Christians to fast and reflect ahead of Easter.
  • One of the women Harvey Weinstein was convicted of sexually assaulting said Tuesday that the verdict made her feel grateful to be “heard and believed.” “It was just a huge relief. It was a huge relief that the jury got it,' Mimi Haleyi, a former production assistant who accused Weinstein of forcing oral sex on her in 2006, said on “CBS This Morning.” “I just think that we’re being educated about the reality of sexual assault and sexual assault victims,” she said. “It’s not always just a stranger. It’s very often somebody that the person knows, and with that comes an entire other layer of processing.” Weinstein faces a possible sentence of five to 29 years after a Manhattan jury convicted him of sexually assaulting Haleyi and raping an aspiring actress in 2013. He was acquitted of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault. Attorneys for Weinstein, who has maintained that any sex between him and his accusers was consensual, said they would appeal. The former Hollywood powerhouse, who claims to suffer from health problems including a bad back, was taken to a jail unit at Bellevue Hospital on Monday to be checked out for heart palpitations and high blood pressure. Sentencing was set for March 11. Asked about Weinstein on Tuesday, President Donald Trump called the disgraced producer's conviction a “great victory” for women that “sends a very strong message.' 'He was a person I didn't like,' Trump told reporters during a news conference in India. “The people that liked him were the Democrats. Michelle Obama loved him. Loved him. Hillary Clinton loved him.” Trump himself stands accused of sexual misconduct, including a rape allegation, by more than a dozen women when he was a private citizen. He has denied the allegations and has not been charged in any of the alleged sexual assaults.

News

  • An 11-year-old Idaho girl who accompanied her grandfather to a legislative hearing on gun laws Monday did so armed with a loaded AR-15 assault rifle. Bailey Nielsen carried the weapon slung over her shoulder. According to The Associated Press, she remained silent as her grandfather, Charles Nielsen, addressed the legislative committee before him. “Bailey is carrying a loaded AR-15,” Nielsen said, according to the AP. “People live in fear, terrified of that which they do not understand. She’s been shooting since she was 5 years old. She got her first deer with this weapon at 9. She carries it responsibly. She knows how not to put her finger on the trigger. We live in fear in a society that is fed fear on a daily basis.” The AP reported that lawmakers had no reaction to the loaded weapon and asked Nielsen no questions when he was done speaking. The hearing the Nielsens attended dealt with a proposed law that would allow out-of-state visitors who have legal concealed handguns to carry them within city limits in Idaho. A law that was implemented last summer allows Idaho residents 18 and older to carry a concealed handgun within city limits without a permit or training. The proposed legislation would extend that right to all legal U.S. residents and U.S. military members. “When they come to Idaho, they should be able to carry concealed, because they carry responsibly,” Nielsen told the panel, according to the AP. “They’re law-abiding citizens. It’s the criminal we have to worry about.” Republican state Rep. Christy Zito, who proposed the bill, argued that the law would make clear the state gun laws and allow people to better defend themselves if necessary. She cited having to pull a weapon of her own when two men approached her vehicle with her daughter sitting inside. “I stand here before you today as a mother and grandmother who has had to use a firearm to defend their child,” Zito said, the AP reported. “Even though I didn't have to pull the trigger, just the fact that they could see it, and they knew that I had it, was the determining factor.” Bailey Nielsen’s appearance before the committee, which was captured in a photograph showing the AR-15 slung over her shoulder, caused outrage among gun safety advocates. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence spoke out on social media. “This is the kind of extremism we are up against. The AR-15 was loaded,” the Facebook post read. Followers of the organization chimed in. One woman pointed out that an AR-15 is not a hunting weapon. “(I) grew up in a family of hunters in northern Minnesota,” the woman wrote. “No self-respecting hunter uses this. These weapons were created for the destruction of people, nature and property. In other words, war.” “If this is legal, God help Idaho,” a man wrote. “I’ll never go there.” Another commenter wrote that a federal age limit needs to be set for carrying a weapon. Not all who saw the image were against the girl being allowed to carry the rifle. “I’d rather have her around if something ever happened than any of you professional victims,” one man wrote. On Twitter, one man responded to a news story about the Nielsens by saying guns in public used to be the norm. “Years ago, there were far more guns and far less shootings,” the man tweeted. “Guns are not the problem. Progressive indoctrination is the problem.” Others on social media wondered how the girl was able to get a loaded assault rifle into the building. One woman wrote that she was not allowed to attend a city council meeting without turning over her pocket knife as she passed through a metal detector. Multiple people wrote about how they weren’t allowed to take cellphones into court. The AP reported that it is not unusual to see weapons in the Idaho Statehouse, where some lawmakers carry concealed weapons of their own. Handguns and the occasional long gun also make appearances when gun legislation is on the table. The bill being debated Monday was ultimately sent on to the House for review, the news agency said.
  • Two people were arrested in an Alabama motel room after police discovered drugs and cash, including more than 8 pounds of marijuana, authorities said. Shane Antoine Tillman and Jennifer Gomez, both from California, were arrested by police at a Holiday Inn Express in Decatur, AL.com reported. Tillman was charged with trafficking in cannabis and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, according to an arrest report. He was taken to the Morgan County Jail and was being held in lieu of $6,000 bail, according to court records. Gomez was charged with trafficking in cannabis and was being held in lieu of a $5,000 bond at the Morgan County Jail. Decatur Police officers responded to a call reporting persons trespassing in a room at the motel, AL.com reported. According to police, authorities found 8.5 pounds of marijuana, prescription medications and a large amount of money in the room, AL.com reported.
  • A South Carolina family is grieving after a 7-year-old girl died while having her tonsils removed last week. Paisley Elizabeth Grace Cogsdill died Friday at a Greenwood hospital, WHNS reported. Paisley’s parents told the television station the girl’s heart stopped one minute into the tonsillectomy. The girl’s parents, Austin Cogsdill and Jasmine Cogsdill, said Paisley, a second-grader at Clinton Elementary School, was healthy and had shown no signs of medical issues, WHNS reported. “You don’t understand why these things happen but we know it was God’s plan and that’s the only thing that can get us through, cause we know it was God,” Paisley’s grandmother, Mary Beth Truelock, told the television station. An obituary posted online by Gray Funeral Home in Clinton described Paisley as “a gifted and talented student and a straight-A second-grader.' “Her full of ‘Joy’ attitude could be seen in everything she did, from playing T-ball and softball to performing hip-hop dance routines and gymnastics programs with her friends,” the obituary said. Autopsy results are expected sometime Tuesday, WHNS reported. A GoFundMe account was established to help pay for funeral expenses. The $30,000 goal was exceeded by Tuesday afternoon.
  • After watching a mother and her wheelchair-bound daughter tumble bloodied to the ground, Hamilton school bus driver Bob Thacker knew he had to do something to help. Thacker, a decade-long veteran of the city schools, dashed out of his bus to help mother Tonya Uhl and her special needs daughter Katelynn to right themselves and tend to their injuries. “She (Katelynn) was all bloody so I said, ‘I got to do something,’” Thacker said of the accident last month. The solution would be a wheelchair ramp, but Thacker said the Uhl family couldn’t get any local agencies to pay for and install it. “So I decided to build it myself,” he said, adding the ramp he created out of sturdy wood is detachable, portable and can be used on other stairs should the Uhls move from their Pleasant Avenue home. Uhl, whose seventh-grade daughter attends Garfield Middle School, said of Thacker, “he doesn’t know how much he did for us.” “It’s really appreciated. He went the extra mile to help us out like nobody else has before,” said Uhl. Becky Goosey, director of transportation for the city schools, praised Thacker for going far beyond his bus driving duties after witnessing how difficult it was for Uhl to push and pull Katelyn in her wheelchair up the steps of their home. “The student fell out of her wheelchair and had a significant injury to her mouth, and the parent had trouble getting up after she fell,” said Goosey. Joni Copas, spokeswoman for Hamilton Schools, said, “Bob is just one great example of our staff members going above and beyond the call of duty. “He saw a need and wanted to help Katelyn and her mother. He witnessed the daily struggle they had getting in and out of the house, so he took it upon himself and his own expense and built a ramp for them.” Thacker also arranged for another city resident to donate an electric, motorized wheelchair to Katelynn so she can more easily move about the neighborhood and school. “Sometimes, you just got to help people,” he said.
  • An Alabama man is charged with murder and other related charges after he allegedly opened fire on his ex-wife and her new boyfriend Monday evening following a Mardi Gras parade, killing the man and critically wounding his former wife. Anthony Orr, 49, also faces charges of attempted murder and discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle, according to Mobile County Jail records. >> Related story: Man fatally struck by Mardi Gras float Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste said officers were called around 6 p.m. to the scene downtown, where they found the man dead and the woman injured. The city is currently celebrating Mardi Gras, which originated in Mobile, and was in the middle of the biggest party the community sees each year. The gunfire erupted less than an hour before the Infant Mystics parade was set to roll, AL.com reported. The victims were shot a couple of blocks from where the day’s previous parade had ended. “We are currently looking for a black male by the name of Anthony Orr, who is the suspect in this shooting,” Battiste told reporters at the crime scene Monday night, according to video from Fox 10 in Mobile. “We believe that this shooting is domestic-related. He chose to deal with the domestic situation here at Mardi Gras.” Orr had threatened his ex-wife, who was riding on a float, from the parade route as the festivities were underway, Battiste said. The chief asked anyone in the public who knew Orr or spotted him to call police. “Don’t harbor him. Please notify us,” Battiste said. Orr was taken into custody around 10 p.m., Fox 10 reported. Court records obtained by the news station show Orr was arrested Feb 18, just six days before the shooting, on domestic violence charges. The documents indicate the victim, Orr’s ex-wife, told police he had beat her, kicking her in the face, in October 2018. Orr was released on bail three days before the double shooting, AL.com reported. “This is a prime example of, potentially, where somebody may not should have had access to bail because of the offense he committed,” Battiste said. “Once a person has identified themselves as a shooter, it’s kind of hard to get them to stop.” Anthony Orr is escorted to jail by police officers in the video below, courtesy of WKRG in Mobile.  Alabama legislators are seeking to pass a constitutional amendment denying bail to suspects accused of violent Class A felonies. The bill, which the Montgomery Advertiser reported was approved last week by the state House Judiciary Committee, is named after Aniah Blanchard, a 19-year-old college student who was abducted from an Auburn convenience store and killed in October. At the time of Blanchard’s abduction, the man accused of the crime, Ibraheem Yazeed, was free on $295,000 bond, the Advertiser reported. Yazeed, 29, had been charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery and drug charges in a January 2019 attack on two men at a Montgomery hotel. He now faces the death penalty in Blanchard’s abduction and shooting death. “We really believe the constitutional amendment will speak to this type of issues that we’re dealing with tonight,” Battiste said. “We shouldn’t be dealing with something like this if this guy had a history that indicated he should have been denied bail.” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said Monday night that there were people who knew prior to the shooting that Orr had threatened his ex-wife and her new boyfriend. “There was enough information to be conveyed that this was an actual, valid threat. He was intending to carry out this threat,” Stimpson said. Battiste and James Barber, the city’s public safety director, told Fox 10 that Orr had threatened the victims Sunday night and Monday afternoon. He also actively tried to gain access to weapons throughout the day Monday, Barber said. “There are other people that knew there was a threat to kill the deceased, so it would have been very helpful if somebody had reached out to us. And maybe somebody had, but we haven’t been able to confirm that,” Stimpson said. “If you know that somebody has been threatened with their life and you know there’s a history of violence, you’ve got to tell us if you expect us to do something about it.” Police officials and the mayor tried to assuage paradegoers’ fear as the city prepared for Fat Tuesday, the final and biggest day of Mardi Gras season. “If anything, because of this situation, there is a heightened awareness on our part that we can’t let our guard down coming into the last day of Mardi Gras,” Stimpson said. “That’s when things can happen that you don’t expect to happen. But we have got everything that we have out there trying to make sure that everybody is safe.” >> Related story: Woman run over by Mardi Gras float dies The mayor urged the public to pray for the victims and their families. “How does your heart not break for those who have been shot?” he said. Court records obtained by AL.com show Orr’s divorce was finalized in September. In the woman’s March 2019 filing, she alleged he had been verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. The woman had obtained a protection from abuse order the year before, the news site reported. Orr pleaded guilty in August 2019 to resisting arrest, a charge that stemmed from a March incident in which his ex-wife called the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office to report he was breaking into her home. Deputies found him near the home, and when he refused to follow their commands, they stunned him with a Taser. “As we were helping Anthony Orr to his feet he made the statement he always wondered what a taser felt like and wondered if it really worked,” a deputy wrote in an arrest report, according to AL.com. “(Orr) stated that he is a believer now.”
  • A great white shark fitted last summer with a satellite tag has surprised researchers by showing up in the Gulf of Mexico and swimming past the mouth of the Mississippi River. The shark, a female named Unama’ki, has traveled 3,120 miles in 103 days, beginning in Nova Scotia, the Sun Herald reported. The 2,076-pound, 15-foot, 5-inch shark has been tracked by OCEARCH, a marine research group, according to WXXV. The shark has been lingering off the Louisiana coast and is heading toward Texas, according to the Sun Herald. “Is this a whole new piece to the white shark puzzle?” OCEARCH tweeted Monday. Earlier this month, Unama’ki was pinged about 100 miles from the Florida coast, Northwest Florida Daily News reported. In October, she was pinged off the coast of North Carolina near the Outer Banks, according to WVEC. Unama’ki was last pinged on satellite tracking at 7:12 a.m. Sunday, off Louisiana’s Marsh Island, according to OCEARCH. “She’s a shark on the move!” OCEARCH tweeted.