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Privacy Policy
Last Updated: August 4, 2014

Thank you for visiting this website, which is operated by an Affiliate of Cox Media Group, LLC (“CMG”). This site is one of a network of ad-supported sites operated by Affiliates of CMG each of which also operates a local newspaper, a local television station or a local radio station (each a “CMG Affiliate Site” and, collectively, the “CMG Network of Sites”). Each CMG Affiliate Site has adopted this privacy statement to the extent applicable. “Affiliate” means a company controlling, controlled by or under common control with another company.

This privacy statement is provided by the CMG Affiliate that operates this website (“we,” “us” or “our”) to explain the ways in which we collect information from you through your use of this site and any services offered through this website and any of our applications or mobile applications (collectively, the “Service”), and the ways that we and the other CMG Affiliate Sites may use that information. This privacy statement does not apply to any information you may provide to us through other means; for example, at a live event, via mail, or via telephone. Please read this privacy statement carefully so that you understand our online privacy practices. By using our Service, you agree that your use, and any dispute over our online privacy practices, is governed by this privacy statement and our visitor agreement. If you have questions regarding privacy issues, please contact us at privacy@coxinc.com.

YOUR CALIFORNIA PRIVACY RIGHTS

California law allows California residents, once a year and free of charge, to request information about certain types of personal information (if any) that a business has disclosed to third parties for their direct marketing purposes in the prior calendar year. However, under the law, we are not required to provide this information as long as we: (1) notify you of that you have the right to prevent disclosure of personal information, and (2) provide you with a cost-free means to exercise that right. As noted in this Privacy Statement, we require California residents to opt-in to activities where we would share their personal information with third parties for those third parties’ direct marketing purposes. If you are a California resident and you would like to prevent disclosure of your personal information for use in direct marketing by a third party, do not opt-in to participate in these activities. If you are a California resident, and you have opted in to one of these activities, but you later decide that you would like to prevent our disclosure of your personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes, please contact us.

TYPES OF INFORMATION WE COLLECT

Overview. The information we gather generally falls into one of two categories: (1) information (for example, your name and address) that you voluntarily supply when you register with our Service, initiate transactions on or through the Service (such as buying products or services through the Service), or when you participate in the features we offer through the Service (such as comments posted on a blog, discussion group, or other social networking features on the Service), and (2) information gathered on usage patterns and preferences as visitors navigate through our Service. In some cases, one of our agents or Affiliates may collect the information on our behalf. Third party Service Providers (as defined below) that provide all or some of the services available through this Service also may be gathering the same kinds of information.

Registration Information. To make use of certain features available through this Service (such as to receive email newsletters, to post a classified ad, or to participate in some social networking features) you may need to register and to provide certain information as part of the registration process. (If permitted by this Service, you may be able to bypass some of the steps within the registration process by using your user name and password associated with your account on certain specified social networking sites when you register for our Service, but you will still have to complete the registration process after entering that information.) We or our Service Providers may also ask for information from you if you buy products or services or conduct other transactions via our Service. (We may ask, for example, for your name, email address, sex, age, zip code or credit card number, and we might request information on your interest in sports, personal finance, the performing arts, and the like.) The information you supply will help us to offer you more personalized features, to tailor our Service to your interests and make them more useful to you, and also may be used in the processing of e-commerce transactions. In addition, our Service Providers may provide us with additional personal information about you that you provide to them through your separate accounts with them as described in their own privacy statements.

The more you tell us about yourself, the more value we can offer you. Supplying such information is entirely voluntary. But if you don't supply the information we request, we may be unable to provide you with services we make available to other users of our Service. For instance, we can't send you email alerting you to a new service we're offering, or breaking news that may interest you, if you don't tell us what you're interested in and give us your email address.

Contests and Other Promotions. From time to time, we may offer contests, sweepstakes or other promotions via our Service. If you enter one of these contests, sweepstakes or promotions, you'll have to provide information about yourself (such as your name, address, telephone number and email address) so that we can administer and operate the contest, sweepstakes, or promotion (including contacting you if you win, fulfilling a prize, and publishing a winners’ list). If you don't want us to collect the information requested in the registration form or to provide it to any of our Affiliates, Service Providers and co-sponsor(s) as described below, please do not enter the contest, sweepstakes or promotion.

Email Newsletters. We may also offer you the opportunity to subscribe to email newsletters that we make available through the Service. If you have opted to receive a particular newsletter, you may always unsubscribe later if you decide not to receive further mailings of the newsletter from us. See "Opting In/Opting Out" below.

Cookies. To help make our sites more responsive to the needs and interests of our visitors, we keep track of the pages visited by our users by placing a cookie, a small entry in a text file, on your hard drive. Our advertisers and Service Providers may also assign their own cookies to your browser, which is a process that we don't control.

We use cookies to help us tailor our site to your needs and to deliver a better, more personalized service. For example, we may use cookies to personalize the ads you see on our Service or to avoid showing you the same ad repeatedly during a single visit. In addition, we may use cookies to track the pages on our Service, the CMG Network of Sites, or other sites visited by our users. We may also use cookies to measure site performance and/or advertising performance. We can build a better Service if we know which pages our users are visiting and how often. You can manage your browser’s cookie setting through the “options” menu on most commercially available web browsers, including options to set your browser to notify you before accepting a cookie or to disable cookies entirely. Of course, if you set your browser not to accept cookies, you may not be able to take advantage of the personalized features enjoyed by other users of our Service.

Web Beacons. Our Service may contain electronic images (called "single-pixel GIFs" or "web beacons") or other tools that allow us and our Affiliates, Service Providers, vendors and, where necessary, our advertisers to count users who have visited particular pages of this Service, the CMG Network of Sites, or other sites or applications, or to access certain cookies. We may use these tools and other technologies to recognize which the links visitors click and to track how users respond to ads we place on third-party sites or applications. These features may also be included in our email newsletters so that we can learn which messages have been opened and acted upon. In combination with cookies, these web beacons allow us (and/or our Affiliates, Service Providers, vendors, or advertisers) to track the number of users who view particular pages and to fine tune the advertising messages delivered to users of this Service and other websites and applications. We may use "clickstream" data collected using web beacons and cookies to help us tailor promotional content, including such content in email messages and on landing pages, to the perceived interests of our users. Advertising networks with which we are affiliated and third-party advertising services that we use may also use web beacons on our Service to gather similar anonymous "clickstream" information, which is used to fine tune advertising messages delivered to our visitors and visitors to other websites.

Browser Level Information and IP Addresses. Our web servers automatically collect limited information about your computer configuration or your mobile device when you use our Service, including the type of browser software you use, the operating system you're running, the resolution of your computer monitor or mobile device, the website that referred you, the type of device you’re using, and your IP address. (Your IP address is a numerical address that is used by computers and mobile devices connected to the Internet to identify your computer or mobile device so that data (such as the web pages you want to view) can be transmitted to you. We also use IP address information for systems administration and troubleshooting purposes. Your IP address alone does not tell us who you are.) We use this information to deliver our web pages to you upon request, to tailor our Service (including ads distributed through our Service) to the interests of our users, and to measure traffic within our Service.

Social Networks. When you use the social networking features on our Service, you may be asked to log in to a social network using your social network credentials (for example, your Facebook user ID). When you log in, we may collect information about you (including personal information) from that social network. In addition, when you use one of the social network sharing tools available on our Service, the social network operating the tool may collect information about you based on such use. The social network’s use of that information will be subject to its own privacy policy, which may be different from ours.

Non-Personally Identifying Information. This website uses Google Analytics to help analyze how users use the site. Google Analytics is a web analysis service provided by Google. Google utilizes the data collected to track and examine the use of www.massport.com, to prepare reports on its activities and share them with other Google services. Google may use the data collected to contextualize and personalize the ads of its own advertising network. Google Analytics features implemented on this site include Display Advertising (Demographics and Interest Reporting).  We use data from Google's Interest-based advertising or 3rd-party audience data (such as age, gender and interests) with Google Analytics only to maintain this site’s functionality, responsiveness and improve content.  CMG uses the Google Analytics Demographics and Interest Reporting feature to identify trends in the usage of its website which may be published in reports for internal use.  Google’s ability to use and share information collected by Google Analytics regarding your visits to this site is restricted by the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.  You may opt-out of Google Analytics for Display Advertising and customer Display Network ads using Ads Settings.

The Google Analytics tool uses “cookies” which are text files placed on your computer, to collect standard internet log information and visitor behavior information in an anonymous form. The information generated by the cookie about your use of the website (including IP address) is transmitted to Google. This information is then used to evaluate visitors’ use of the website and to compile statistical reports on website activity. At any time, you may choose to opt-out of Google Analytics tracking with the Google Analytics opt-out browser add-on. 

Information You Post. Please remember that anything you post to any message boards, discussion or comment areas, or social networking services on our Service can be seen, collected, and used by anyone who has access to that board, area, or social networking service. We cannot control how your postings may be used by third parties with such access.

Statistical Information. Much of the information we collect is in the form of aggregated statistics, such as the traffic that visits various pages within our Service, and the habits and preferences of our audience. Such aggregated information does not include any information that would identify you personally. We may use such aggregated information and disclose it to any third parties as we see fit.

Mobile Applications and Location-Based Information. Our Service may have the ability to use your geographic location to deliver content, services, and advertising tailored to your location. If you choose to enable our Service to use your location information, then that information will be stored and used to deliver content, services, and advertising tailored to your location. Also, when you use a mobile device or browser to access our Service, then your device and/or your browser may automatically collect and/or transmit your device’s unique identifier, IP address, location information, device make/model, wireless provider, and related information to us and our Service Providers. We and our Service Providers may use this information to deliver content, services, and advertising tailored to your location.

 

Data Collected in Connection with Ad Serving and Targeting. We use third-party Service Providers, such as ad networks, to serve advertising to you when you use our Service or use other sites or applications. These Service Providers may use information about your activities while you navigate through and use this Service and other web sites and applications (and that the Service Providers collect through cookies) to provide you with advertisements about products and services that they think may be of interest to you. The information used by these Service Providers for these purposes generally does not identify you personally (in other words, the Service Providers are not usually using your name, address, email address, or phone number for these purposes, although they may use your IP address, your geographic location, or your device’s unique identifier). You can learn more about such data collection practices, and/or opt out of any use by our Service Providers’ of cookies to tailor advertising to your interests, by visiting aboutads.info.

CMG’s Adherence to Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising. CMG adheres to the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising of the Digital Advertising Alliance. To learn more about the Principles and your choices when it comes to the use of online behavioral advertising data by advertisers and ad servers across the Internet, visit aboutads.info.

DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION

Why We Collect Information From You. Like any business, it's important for us to know our customers -- their needs, their likes, what they want and expect from us. Unlike most businesses, however, we deliver a valuable product to our customers without asking for anything in return. Since we make most of this Service available without charge to you, we rely heavily on advertisers to produce the income necessary to operate our Service. Advertisers are like most people: They expect something in return for the money they spend. They want to know how many people will see their ad and how often our users are looking at their ads on our Service -- in other words, how effective their ad is likely to be. So it's important that we be able to tell advertisers who our audience is. Except as expressly set forth in this privacy statement, we will not provide, sell or rent to any third party any personally identifying information that we collect from you through your use of this Service.

Advertisers. Without your permission, we will not share the personally-identifying information you provide when registering on our Service with advertisers. We may, however, take the information you provide and aggregate it with data from all the other people that use this Service and associated services. Then we will use that pool of information to inform our advertisers about our audience without identifying you personally.

Service Providers. All or portions of our Service may be provided or supported by our third-party service providers ("Service Providers"), and we may share any of the information that we collect from you through our Service (e.g., anonymous information collected through cookies on your browser, information you submit to us to enter a contest, sweepstakes or promotion offered through the Service, etc.) with such Service Providers. In the event we offer services through this Service such as chat, email newsletters, email services, online classifieds and/or similar services, such services may be made available through cooperative arrangements with providers that specialize in operating such services. In some instances, our Service Providers will have the same access to your information as we do. Their use of the information will be subject to the terms of their respective privacy policies.

Contest Co-Sponsors. If you enter any contest, sweepstakes or other promotion that we make available through this Service, we may share the information you submit to us with the co-sponsor(s) of the contest, sweepstakes, or promotion. We will identify any co-sponsor(s) in the official rules for the promotion.

Our Affiliates. We may share any of the information that we collect from you (including anonymous information and personally identifying information that you may provide) with the other CMG Affiliate Sites within the CMG Network of Sites so that we and they can provide you with products and services that may be of interest to you.

Sites to Which We Link. Our Service includes links to plenty of other websites, and provides access to products and services offered by third parties, whose privacy policies we don't control. When you access another site or purchase products or services or conduct other transactions through their sites, use of any information you provide is governed by the privacy statement of the operator of the site you're visiting or the provider of such products or services.

Other Disclosures. We reserve the right to release information about users of our Service when release is necessary or appropriate to comply with law, to enforce this privacy statement or our visitor agreement, or to protect the rights, property or safety of users of our Service, the public, our customers, or our company and its employees, agents, partners and Affiliates. As our business grows, we may buy or sell various assets. In the unlikely event that we merge with another entity or otherwise transfer substantially all of our assets to another entity (including, without limitation, to one of our Affiliates as part of an internal reorganization), information collected from this Service would be among the transferred assets.

SHOPPING

When you purchase products and/or services through our Service, we may ask you to provide us with certain information, including your contact details (such as your name, address, telephone and email), and your billing information (such as your credit card number and the date that your card expires). We may also ask you to provide additional information such as unique identifiers (such as your date of birth), and registration information (login name and password).

We will use the information you provide us to process your transaction and to contact you regarding your purchase if necessary. We will share this information with our Service Providers to the extent necessary to facilitate your purchase (for purposes such as customer service, verification, fulfillment and billing purposes). We will not sell or rent your personal billing information to any third party. We may share non-financial information with our Service Providers in accordance with this privacy statement.

OPTING IN/OPTING OUT

In certain places on this Service (for example, when registering as a user of this Service, managing your account, shopping, or participating in activities like promotional contests), we may ask you to consent to the sharing of your information with third parties with which we have business relationships. If you provide such consent (for example, by checking a box or by some other means), we will make your information available to such third parties as described in the consent form so that they, we, or both may contact you directly regarding special offers, promotions, products or services that may be of interest to you.

If you register with this Service, you will have the opportunity to review or update the information you have provided us at any time. You also have the option of deleting all information except for your email address. If you would like to completely deactivate your account, please contact us. Please note, however, that if you deactivate your account, you will not receive any newsletters from us and you will not be able to participate in any of our sweepstakes or contests. Also, even if you deactivate your account, you still need to go through a separate process to unsubscribe from any SMS alerts you previously signed up to receive. You can unsubscribe from these alerts by using the “STOP” function within those messages. You agree that, subject to applicable law, we may use your information to contact you for customer service, to inform you of important changes or additions to our Service or the services offered over our Service and to send you administrative notices or any communications relevant to your use of our Service.

If you have subscribed to one of our email newsletters, you will always have the opportunity to unsubscribe from future mailings (for example, by clicking on an unsubscribe link in an email newsletter or by modifying your account settings on our Service).

If you have submitted your information on a page provided in conjunction with one of our Service Providers, the information you submit may be jointly maintained by us and the Service Provider. If you decide to opt out of our Service, you may also need to contact the Service Provider separately to request the Service Provider to remove your information from its database.

DATA SECURITY

All information gathered through our Service is stored within database(s) operated by us or by a Service Provider on our behalf. We and/or our Service Providers secure the personally identifying information you provide on computer servers in a controlled, secure environment, protected from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. For e-commerce transactions where you provide sensitive financial data (e.g., credit card information) to us via this Service, we transmit your billing information using encryption. Encryption scrambles your credit card number and personal information. However, no security system is impenetrable. We cannot guarantee the security of our database, nor can we guarantee that information you supply won't be intercepted while being transmitted to us over the Internet.

A NOTE ABOUT CHILDREN'S PRIVACY

This Service is not directed at children under the age of 13, and we won't knowingly allow anyone under age 13 to register with our Service or to provide any other personally identifying information. If you’re under 13, please do not provide us with any personally identifying information about yourself (such as your name, your email address or your phone number). If we become aware that we have collected any personally identifying information from a user under the age of 13, we will remove such information from our records as soon as possible.

CHANGES TO THIS PRIVACY STATEMENT

We may change the terms of this privacy statement or introduce new terms and conditions from time to time, in which case we will post an updated version of this privacy statement on this Service and will update the “Last Updated” date above to reflect the date the changes take effect. By continuing to use this Service after we post any such changes, you accept this privacy statement, as modified.

News

  • Police took a middle school student into custody Friday morning on suspicion of firing shots at Indiana’s Noblesville West Middle School, leaving at least two people injured. >> Read more trending news Update May 26, 1:04 p.m. EDT: The student who was shot on Friday has been identified as 13-year-old Ella Whistler, according to WTTV. Her family released her photo and a statement, that she is “doing well” and remains in stable but critical condition. In a statement to RTV6, the family thanked law enforcement but asked for privacy at this time. “We’d like to thank everyone across the country who has prayed for our family today,” the statement read. “We’ve felt those prayers and appreciate all of them.” Update 7:44 p.m. EDT: Jason Seaman, the teacher injured in the shooting, released a statement Friday evening: “First of all, thank you to the first responders from Noblesville and Fishers for their immediate action and care. I want to let everyone know that I was injured (but) am doing great. To all the students, you are all wonderful and I thank you for your support. You are the reason I teach.” Update 2:50 p.m. EDT: The Indianapolis Star identified the teacher injured in Friday’s shooting at Noblesville West Middle School as Jason Seaman. The newspaper reported he was shot three times while knocking the gun out of the hands of a middle school student who fired shots at the school. Jason Seaman’s brother, Jeremy Seaman, told the newspaper that he was not surprised by reports of his brother’s actions. Students have told several news stations that his quick thinking saved an untold number of lives. “He’s not really ever been the person to run away,” Jeremy Seaman told the Star. “When the safety of the kids is at hand, it’s not surprising to me that he was going to do what he had to do.” Jeremy Seaman told the Star that his brother was undergoing surgery Friday. Update 2:39 p.m. EDT: Noblesville police Chief Kevin Jowitt said at a news conference Friday afternoon that the student who opened fire at Noblesville West Middle School earlier in the day asked to be excused from class before returning with a pair of handguns.  Jowitt said the student was quickly taken into custody. Update 2 p.m. EDT: A Noblesville West Middle School student told WXIN that a science teacher sprang into action Friday after a student opened fire at the school, knocking the gun from the shooter’s hand and likely saving lives. The seventh-grade girl, who was not identified, told the news station that “this science teacher bravely swatted that gun away from the gunman’s hands, saving everyone else in that room.” Another seventh-grader, Ethan Stonebraker, told The Associated Press that the shooter walked into his science class while students were taking a test. 'Our science teacher immediately ran at him, swatted a gun out of his hand and tackled him to the ground,' Stonebraker said. 'If it weren't for him, more of us would have been injured for sure.' It was not immediately clear if the teacher was the same one injured in Friday morning’s shooting.  Police said a juvenile and an adult teacher were injured when an unidentified male student opened fire at the school around 9 a.m. Another student also suffered an ankle fracture, according to officials with Riverview Health. Update 11:43 a.m. EDT: Vice President Mike Pence thanked law enforcement officers and shared condolences after a shooting at a middle school in his home state, Indiana. “Karen and I are praying for the victims of the terrible shooting in Indiana,” Pence wrote on Twitter Friday, referring to his wife, Karen Pence. “To everyone in the Noblesville community -- you are in our hearts and in our prayers.” Update 11:28 a.m. EDT: Noblesville police Chief Kevin Jowitt confirmed that a teacher and a juvenile were injured Friday morning in a shooting at Noblesville West Middle School. Police did not identify either of the victims. They were taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital and Riley Hospital, respectively, Jowitt said. Officials with Riverview Health said earlier Friday that a second student was treated for an ankle fracture after the shooting. Authorities had a suspect, identified as a male student, in custody Friday morning. Jowitt said Noblesville West Middle School had been cleared by 11:30 a.m. However, he added that authorities also received reports of a threat made at Noblesville High School. Police are investigating the report. Update 11:18 a.m. EDT: Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said he and other officials are monitoring the situation in Noblesville after at least two people were injured in a shooting at Noblesville West Middle School on Friday. Authorities are expected to provide additional details about Friday’s shooting in a news conference later in the day. Update 10:55 a.m. EDT: Chad Lancaster, whose eighth-grade daughter and sixth-grade son attend Noblesville West Middle School, told the Indianapolis Star that his daughter called her mother, his ex-wife, while hiding under a desk amid reports of an active shooter on campus. He told the newspaper he has been unable to get in touch with his son. “This is surreal,' Lancaster told the Star. 'This happens in high school, not here.' Officials with Riverview Health said one of the two people injured in Friday morning's shooting was taken to the hospital and transfered to Riley Hospital in stable condition. A second person, a student, was being treated for an ankle fracture. Officials told the Star earlier Friday that an adult was also injured in the shooting. A suspect, who has not been identified, was in custody after the shooting. Update 10:40 a.m. EDT: Indiana University Health officials told the Indianapolis Star that an adult and a teenager were injured in Friday’s shooting at Noblesville West Middle School. The two have not been identified. Indiana State Police said earlier Friday that they were taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital for treatment of their injuries and that their families had been notified. Update 10:20 a.m. EDT: Indiana State Police confirmed two people were taken to a hospital after authorities responded Friday morning to reports of an active shooter at Noblesville West Middle School. Officials said a suspect was in custody after the shooting. Authorities were expected to provide additional details at a news conference later Friday. Original report: Authorities confirmed around 9:40 a.m. that police had a suspect in custody after responding to a report of an active shooter situation at the middle school. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • Police are searching for a missing woman with a mental illness.   Police in South Fulton County sent Channel 2 Action News a picture of Lauree Chapman, 62.    She suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.  Police said she was last seen walking around 4 p.m. Thursday on Rock Lake Drive. She was wearing a light blue shirt, tan vest, tan pants, and black sneakers.   Call 911 if you have seen her.  #MISSING: South Fulton Police need help locating Lauree Chapman. She was last seen on the 5000 block of Rock Lake Drive on 05/24/2018. She was wearing a light blue shirt, tan vest, tan pants, and black sneakers. If you know her whereabouts, call 911. Please RT! pic.twitter.com/QL8Vlwo058 — WSB-TV (@wsbtv) May 25, 2018  
  • A video game that gives the player the choice to be an elite SWAT team member or take the role of an active shooter during a mass casualty event is drawing national and international backlash.  >> Read more trending news “Active Shooter,” developed by Revived Games and offered through the Steam video game platform, is a point-of-view simulation game that allows the player to lead a team to extract civilians and neutralize the shooter, or play as the mass shooter, according to its description.  “I have been stormed with accusations and heavy (criticism) from people across the globe,” the video game publisher, Acid, wrote. “First of all, this game does not promote any sort of violence, especially any sort of a mass shooting. Originally when this game started its course of the development, I (had) planned on having SWAT only based game-play. Then I thought about adding more gameplay to it by adding additional roles: of the shooter and the civilian. While I can see people's anger and why this might be a bad idea for the game, I still feel like this topic should be left alone. After receiving such high amount of critics and hate, I will more likely remove the shooters role in this game by the release, unless if it can be kept as it is right now.” In addition to commenters on the video game storefront on Steam disgusted with it, a petition on change.org trying to stop its release has garnered more than 5,350 signatures.  Infer Trust, a United Kingdom charity, asked Valve, the company behind the Steam game store, to drop the title ahead of its June 6 release.  'It's in very bad taste,” an Infer Trust spokeswoman told the BBC. “There have been 22 school shootings in the U.S. since the beginning of this year. It is horrendous. Why would anybody think it's a good idea to market something violent like that, and be completely insensitive to the deaths of so many children? We're appalled that the game is being marketed.' The video game developer also has made other titles including “Tyde Pod Challenge” and “White Power: Pure Voltage.” Neither game has anything to do with laundry detergent fads or racism.
  • A secret backchannel led by a veteran Republican Senate staffer and a flamboyant Venezuelan official nicknamed 'Dracula' broke through hostile relations between the two governments to secure the release of American prisoner Joshua Holt, who traveled to the South American country for love and ended up in jail, without a trial, for two years. A week ago the chances of Holt's long ordeal ending any time soon looked slim. On the eve of Venezuela's May 20 presidential election, the Utah native appeared in a clandestinely shot video from jail railing against Nicolas Maduro's government, saying his life had been threatened in a prison riot. In retaliation, he was branded the CIA's spy boss in Latin America by the head of the ruling socialist party. Hours earlier Maduro expelled the top American diplomat over the refusal of the U.S. to recognize his re-election. But the arrival in Caracas on Friday of Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, led to a surprise breakthrough. Maduro handed over Holt and his wife, Thamara Caleno, to Corker in what his government said was a goodwill gesture to promote dialogue and mutual respect between the two antagonistic governments. Holt, 26, traveled to Caracas in June 2016 to marry a fellow Mormon he had met online while looking to improve his Spanish. The couple was waiting for Caleno's U.S. visa when they were arrested at her family's apartment in a government housing complex for what the U.S. considered trumped-up charges of stockpiling an assault rifle and grenades. Although Corker sealed the deal in a few tense hours in Venezuela's collapsing, crime-filled capital, the push to secure Holt's release began months earlier by Corker's top Latin American policy aide, Caleb McCarry, who both Corker and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, credited with leading the painstaking, behind-the-scenes negotiations. McCarry leveraged a 15-year-old relationship with Maduro from their time together on the Boston Group, an informal gathering from across the political spectrum — Democrats, Republicans, socialists and capitalists — from both countries that worked discreetly to repair relations between the two countries following a coup in 2002 against then-President Hugo Chavez. Relationships formed in the now-defunct group were also instrumental in securing the release of another American accused of spying, documentary filmmaker Tim Tracy, who spent a month in a Venezuelan jail in 2013. McCarry secretly traveled to Venezuela in February to discuss Holt's imprisonment with Maduro and first lady Cilia Flores. The U.S. Embassy was kept at an arm's length, for fear of derailing the talks, although the initiative was backed by Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon, who also knew Maduro from his days as political officer in Caracas at the outset of Hugo Chavez's revolution in the 1990s, several senior U.S. officials said. Holding McCarry's hand throughout the delicate talks was 'Dracula' — Rafael Lacava, the governor of central Carabobo state and a trusted ally of Maduro who also was close to the Boston Group members. Shortly after McCarry's visit, Lacava traveled to Washington in March to speak with several lawmakers including Hatch, Corker, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., according to several senior U.S. officials. All the officials agreed to discuss details of the negotiations only on condition of anonymity. However, after word of Lacava's visit was leaked by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the administration refused to meet with Maduro's envoy. Rubio warned that Lacava, who embraces the nickname Dracula for his habits of tweeting and patrolling around his state late at night in a Batmobile-like vehicle, was reportedly involved in money laundering, making him too toxic for a White House bent on punishing such criminal activity. When The Associated Press reported on the politically fraught backchannel in March, few imagined it would succeed. Speculation swirled that the government was demanding an all-but-impossible prisoner exchange for Flores' two nephews, who in 2016 were convicted in New York of drug trafficking, after it was learned that a government-connected Venezuelan tycoon was paying Holt's legal fees as well as those of the men branded the 'narco-nephews.' At the same time, the Trump administration was intensifying a campaign to isolate Venezuela's government, sanctioning dozens of officials — including Maduro and Flores — for human rights abuses and drug trafficking while threatening a more crippling ban on oil shipments. An official with the National Security Council stressed that nothing had been offered to secure Holt's release and that there had been no change to U.S. policy to Venezuela. President Donald Trump found out Friday that Holt would be released, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity. Rubio, who has Trump's ear on Latin America but only learned of Corker's visit when he landed in Caracas, said in a statement that the couple's release 'will in no way change U.S. policy towards the dictatorship in Venezuela.' Alfredo Romero, a lawyer who defends some of the opposition activists who were held alongside Holt, said that Maduro may be looking to win over some political sectors in the U.S. to temper Trump's hardline approach toward Venezuela. 'Holt's continued imprisonment was a thorn in the side,' he said. The talks were encouraged by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met privately with Corker on Thursday morning and finalized details of the senator's trip ahead of testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the State Department budget. 'We're doing all the right things. We have an American there that we desperately want to get back, Joshua Holt. And so know that we are engaged,' Pompeo told lawmakers at the hearing. The government of Cuba was also helpful in pressuring Maduro as well as former Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, one official said. Zapatero has been leading a three-year push to bring the government and opposition together to help resolve Venezuela's economic and political crisis. Still, when Corker left for Caracas on Friday it was still unclear if Maduro would follow through on his pledge to release Holt, the officials said. On Saturday, a beaming Lacava could be seen in a video boarding the Venezuelan government plane that transported Holt to Washington wearing aviator glasses and a dark suit. He walked by the camera shouting 'Dracula on the attack!' and flashing a 'V for Victory' sign. In a photograph taken at the airport in Caracas, Holt can be seen standing alongside Lacava holding a Venezuela national soccer team jersey emblazoned with the governor's name. ___ Goodman reported from Bogota, Colombia.
  • The Latest on the release of a Utah man, Joshua Holt, who has been held in Venezuela (all times local): 8:10 p.m. The wife of the American man held for two years in jail in Venezuela says they worried until their plane was in the air that their release and flight to the U.S. would somehow fall apart. Joshua Holt and his wife arrived Saturday evening at Washington Dulles International Airport. Venezuelan officials released the Holts after high-level talks between President Nicolas Maduro and U.S. lawmakers. Holt's wife, Thamara Caleno, exchanged text messages with The Associated Press as she and Holt were traveling. She says that a fellow inmate at their Caracas jail relayed information Friday night that prison officials were discussing their release. At 10 that night, a warden asked to see them, then every two hours afterward they were awakened to have their pictures taken as part of a heightened security protocol. The next morning, they were told to pack their things and prepare to go. ___ 7:15 p.m. A Utah man who had been jailed in Venezuela for nearly two years has returned to the United States. A White House official says Joshua Holt arrived Saturday evening at Washington Dulles International Airport. The official isn't authorized to speak about the matter by name. Venezuelan officials released Holt after high-level talks between President Nicolas Maduro and U.S. lawmakers. Holt and his wife were jailed for nearly two years on weapons charges that U.S. officials consider bogus. The release of Holt and his wife and their departure for Washington came one day after Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee held a surprise meeting in Caracas with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. ___ 3:25 p.m. U.S. Sen. Bob Corker says he played a small role in bringing home a Utah man jailed in Venezuela for nearly two years. Corker on Saturday boarded a jet outside of Caracas with Joshua Holt and his wife destined for Washington. Venezuelan police arrested the couple on weapons charges and held them without trial. U.S. officials all along considered the charged bogus. The Republican senator from Tennessee says much of the credit for Holt's release goes to his staffer Caleb McCarry for his dogged determination. He says fellow Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah worked tirelessly for Holt's family. Corker on Friday met personally with President Nicola Maduro. State TV showed the two men at the presidential palace warmly shaking hands. It follows a meeting that Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois had in April with Maduro to urge Holt's release. ___ 2:45 p.m. A Utah man newly freed from a Venezuelan jail has been seen boarding a private jet that's expected to take him to Washington. Joshua Holt was wearing a bright orange backpack and was surrounded by supporters. Venezuelan officials released Holt on Saturday after high-level talks between President Nicolas Maduro and U.S. lawmakers. Holt and his wife were jailed nearly two years on weapons charges that U.S. officials considered bogus. Photos show Sen. Bob Corker at Holt's side, helping carry a large black duffel bag. Corker negotiated the release with Maduro. ___ 1:40 p.m. Venezuela's chief spokesman says a Utah man and his wife jailed in Caracas for two years have been freed and are on their way to the United States. Communications Minister Jorge Rodrigues said Saturday that the release of Joshua Holt follows months of dialogue between President Nicolas Maduro and representatives of the United States. Holt was arrested on weapons charged during a trip to Venezuela to marry a woman he'd met on a website to practice Spanish. U.S. officials say the charges were trumped up. ___ 10 a.m. The family of a Utah man jailed in a Venezuelan jail for two years calls his release a miracle. A statement that relatives provided Saturday confirms that Joshua Holt and his wife will be freed from detention in the capital of Caracas. The couple was arrested on weapons charges that U.S. officials dismiss as trumped up. President Donald Trump says in a tweet that he expects to greet Holt at the White House later Saturday. Holt's family expresses its gratitude for all who worked for his release. They also ask to be allowed to meet Holt and his wife before making any public statements.
  • President Donald Trump accused The New York Times on Saturday of inventing a source for a story who, in fact, was a White House official conducting a briefing for reporters under the condition that the official not be named. Trump tweeted that the Times quoted an official 'who doesn't exist' and referenced a line in the story about a possible summit with North Korea, which read: 'a senior White House official told reporters that even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed.' Said Trump: 'WRONG AGAIN! Use real people, not phony sources.' The Times reported in a story about the tweet that it had cited 'a senior White House official speaking to a large group of reporters in the White House briefing room.' The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Trump has repeatedly criticized the use of unnamed sources and labeled information related by unnamed officials 'fake news.' Still, his White House regularly arranges briefings with officials who demand anonymity before relaying information, a practice also used by previous administrations. While Trump asserted the official did not exist, he also took issue with how the Times paraphrased the remarks. When asked at the briefing, which was attended by The Associated Press, if it was possible for the summit to go forward by June 12, the official cast doubt, but did not give a definitive answer. 'I think that the main point, I suppose, is that the ball is in North Korea's court right now. There's really not a lot of time,' the official said. 'There's a certain amount of actual dialogue that needs to take place at the working level with your counterparts to ensure that the agenda is clear in the minds of those two leaders when they sit down to actually meet and talk and negotiate and hopefully make a deal. And June 12 is in ten minutes.' The White House press office invited reporters to the background briefing, both to attend in person or to call-in and insisted that the official not be named. The AP reporter in attendance questioned why the briefing was not on the record — meaning that the official's name could be used. The official said the president had been talking publicly during the day, as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and that the briefing was intended to provide 'background context.