Katie Couric leaving Yahoo news site

Katie Couric is leaving the online company Oath, formerly Yahoo, where she has been conducting interviews and reporting news since 2014.

The former “Today” show host and “CBS Evening News” anchor will be concentrating on production work for the time being. A representative for Couric said Friday she turned down an opportunity for a short-term contract extension at Oath.

Couric is working on a documentary with National Geographic, where she did a project on gender revolution recently. She’s producing a scripted series for Netflix, hosts a podcast where she interviews figures in news and pop culture, and produces “Scraps,” a cooking and travel series for the FYI network.

The 60-year-old Couric also hosts an online cooking series with her husband John Molner.

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Venezuela remains under threat of U.S. sanctions

Representatives of Russia’s national oil company, were in Venezuela negotiating the replacement of the Citgo collateral for an existing credit to Venezuela’s national oil company, The Financial Times reported

Russia’s Rosneft, according to the Friday report, is willing to provide another $5 billion in cash or credit if they get concessions to oil fields as collateral instead of the nearly 50 percent stake of Citgo assets in the U.S. The Venezuelan constitution as it stands requires legislative approval for such transactions. 

Maduro wants Venezuelans to vote Sunday for a new legislative body, known as the National Constituent Assembly, that he will entrust with rewriting the constitution. It will be made up of socialist loyalists who will have power to supplant the National Assembly, which the democrats control. 

U.S. SANCTIONS 

President Donald Trump threatened Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with “strong economic actions” if his administration continues with his effort to rewrite the constitution. American refining companies were concerned about a ban on Venezuelan crude. 

This week Trump issued sanctions for 13 Maduro loyalists and the U.S. Senate approved a bill hitting Russia with new sanctions. Sen. Marco Rubio discussed sanctions against Venezuela during a press conference along with Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

“You can expect more”  Rubio said. 

President Barack Obama’s administration issued sanctions against Rosneft July 2014 over the Ukraine crisis. 

PROTESTERS DEFIANT

Maduro banned protests from Friday to Tuesday, but a few protesters defied the order. The ban worried human rights activists and had Venezuelans scrambling to stockpile on food and other necessities to prepare for clashes in the streets. 

Wuilly Arteaga, a beloved violinist who plays during protests, and musician Goan Marco Cetorame were among the dozens arrested Thursday. 

“They burned his hair,” said Alfredo Romero Friday afternoon. The attorney from Foro Penal said riot police officers hit  him in the head with his own violin. 

Rep. Jamie Raskin released a statement Friday saying he was horrified and dismayed to learn of the arrest of Arteaga and Cetorame, who was released. Raskin met Arteaga during his visit to Washington earlier this year. 

“The Venezuelan authorities should know America is watching the situation carefully,” Raskin said. 

 

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Man attacks valet attendant at Fort Lauderdale hotel

Rodolfo Rodriguez was working as a valet attendant at the Ocean Sky Hotel & Resort in Fort Lauderdale when a man attacked him. 

Surveillance video shows Rodriguez on the ground. He said he told the man the parking service was $18 a day. When the man refused to pay or move his car, he warned him he could get towed.  

The man punched him. 

“This guy is crazy,” Rodriguez said. 

Fort Lauderdale Police Capt. Frank Sousa said police officers received the video of the Tuesday incident Friday.  

The attack remained under investigation. 

Local 10 News’ Andrea Torres contributed to this report. 

 

 

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Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shooting victim files legal action

Timothy and Olga Woltering had just arrived in town for a cruise to celebrate his 90th birthday when Esteban Santiago started shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Olga, who was 84, was killed along with four others. Her husband witnessed the attack and was with her body for hours during the chaos that followed the shooting, said the family’s attorney, David DiPietro.

DiPietro this week filed legal action in the case on behalf of the family, asking a judge to allow the husband’s deposition in leiu of a planned lawsuit aimed at Delta Airlines as well as other defendants including the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Broward County Commission.

“His gun should have never been in that airport,” said DiPietro.

The attorney alleges that Delta and other airlines routinely violate state law by returning passengers’ firearms in the terminals rather than in cargo areas.  

“There’s no law that allows delta to turn over a firearm when a passenger has arrived,” said DiPietro. “We believe he was required to pick up the firearm in the cargo area not in the terminal.”

He said the airline allowed Santiago to fly with bullets in a magazine rather than in a separate box as required by the TSA and failed to properly safeguard the weapon, noting that now the airline places a zip tie around gun cases before returning the weapons and has off-duty BSO deputies on special detail escort gun owners out of the airport.  

“Is this a little bit of hindsight is 20 20?” Local 10 investigative reporter Bob Norman asked DiPietro.

“No, because we’ve learned after 911 that terrorism is a foreseeable risk,” he answered. “Just because everybody’s doing it doesn’t mean everybody’s right.”

During the law firm’s investigation it learned that Santiago was unruly during a flight on his way to Fort Lauderdale from Alaska, said DiPietro, providing another reason the gun should not have been returned to him in the airport. Delta had no comment on the legal action and DiPietro said he expects to file the lawsuit in the coming weeks. 

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Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport shooting victim files legal action

Timothy and Olga Woltering had just arrived in town for a cruise to celebrate his 90th birthday when Esteban Santiago started shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Olga, who was 84, was killed along with four others. Her husband witnessed the attack and was with her body for hours during the chaos that followed the shooting, said the family’s attorney, David DiPietro.

DiPietro this week filed legal action in the case on behalf of the family, asking a judge to allow the husband’s deposition in leiu of a planned lawsuit aimed at Delta Airlines as well as other defendants including the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Broward County Commission.

“His gun should have never been in that airport,” said DiPietro.

The attorney alleges that Delta and other airlines routinely violate state law by returning passengers’ firearms in the terminals rather than in cargo areas.  

“There’s no law that allows delta to turn over a firearm when a passenger has arrived,” said DiPietro. “We believe he was required to pick up the firearm in the cargo area not in the terminal.”

He said the airline allowed Santiago to fly with bullets in a magazine rather than in a separate box as required by the TSA and failed to properly safeguard the weapon, noting that now the airline places a zip tie around gun cases before returning the weapons and has off-duty BSO deputies on special detail escort gun owners out of the airport.  

“Is this a little bit of hindsight is 20 20?” Local 10 investigative reporter Bob Norman asked DiPietro.

“No, because we’ve learned after 911 that terrorism is a foreseeable risk,” he answered. “Just because everybody’s doing it doesn’t mean everybody’s right.”

During the law firm’s investigation it learned that Santiago was unruly during a flight on his way to Fort Lauderdale from Alaska, said DiPietro, providing another reason the gun should not have been returned to him in the airport. Delta had no comment on the legal action and DiPietro said he expects to file the lawsuit in the coming weeks. 

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House is on summer break, but the debt ceiling looms

For the past seven months, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has repeatedly urged Congress to deal with the debt ceiling before leaving for summer recess, preferably without drama.

He didn’t get his wish.

On the heels of Republicans’ failure to repeal and replace Obamacare in the Senate overnight Friday, House members left for their August break. Barring any emergencies, they are not due to return until after Labor Day.

The Senate, meanwhile, is expected to head for the exits in another week or two. Sure, there’s a small chance lawmakers there might make proposals to raise or suspend the legal debt limit — currently set at $19.8 trillion. But they can’t act alone. They’ll need to get approval from the House as well.

So that means the debt ceiling matter likely won’t be put to bed until September at the earliest.

That also means when lawmakers return, they won’t have much time to act. Mnuchin now estimates the Treasury is likely to only have enough revenue to fully fund all government payments through the end of September.

That so-called X date, though, is just his best estimate today as to when Treasury will face a cash crunch, meaning it won’t have enough cash and revenue on hand to pay all the country’s bills in full and on time. The actual date could turn out to be somewhat earlier or later, since revenue inflows and outflows aren’t entirely predictable.

In the meantime, Mnuchin will have to continue his delicate financial juggling act. Since mid-March, when the latest debt ceiling suspension ended, he has been using special accounting measures to keep the country from defaulting on any of its legal obligations, which include payments to bond holders, federal contractors, Social Security recipients, veterans and government workers.

One such measure is called a “debt issuance suspension period” in which Treasury has to postpone making investments in federal workers’ retirement and disability fund until the debt ceiling is raised.

On Friday afternoon, Mnuchin sent a letter to Congressional leaders notifying them that he is extending that suspension period until September 29.

Those payments will have to be made, though, once Congress approves a debt ceiling extension, effectively giving Treasury the legal authority to borrow again.

Waiting until the last minute to raise or suspend the debt ceiling is a bad idea. It causes a lot of uncertainty in the markets, which causes U.S. borrowing rates to rise. It diverts a lot of human capital at the Treasury that could be better spent on other matters of national importance. And it tempts fate.

“Every time Congress delays debt limit action to the last minute … [i]t risks an inadvertent mistake that might result in default on our debt, which would have a long-term impact on the creditworthiness of the United States and on interest rates paid by consumers across the country,” fiscal experts Shai Akabas and Steve Bell of the Bipartisan Policy Center noted in a recent opinion piece.

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