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Federal judge finds Rudy Giuliani liable for defaming Georgia election workers

On Wednesday, a federal judge awarded a default judgment to two Georgia election workers as part of their civil defamation suit against former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.  U.S. Judge Beryl Howell found Giuliani liable for his defamatory remarks, leveling harsh sanctions against him (including the default judgment), and ordering a trial to determine the complete scope of damages.

The election workers, mother-daughter Ruby Freeman and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, sued the former New York City mayor for defamation over erroneous remarks he made accusing the pair of fraudulently manipulating ballots on Election Day 2020 in Georgia. Freeman and Moss became the subjects of a Trump-backed conspiracy theory that was later found to be “false and unsubstantiated,” according to an investigation by the Georgia Elections Board. In an appearance before a committee of the Georgia state legislature, Giuliani told lawmakers that a video circulating online showed “Ruby Freeman and Shaye Freeman Moss … quite obviously surreptitiously passing around USB ports, as if they’re vials of heroin or cocaine.”

U.S. Judge Beryl Howell said in a 57-page opinion in the case: “The bottom line is that Giuliani has refused to comply with his discovery obligations and thwarted plaintiffs Ruby Freeman and Wandrea’ ArShaye Moss’ procedural rights to obtain any meaningful discovery in this case … Rather than simply play by the rules designed to promote a discovery process necessary to reach a fair decision on the merits of plaintiffs’ claims, Giuliani has bemoaned plaintiffs’ efforts to secure his compliance as ‘punishment by process’ … Donning a cloak of victimization may play well on a public stage to certain audiences, but in a court of law, this performance has served only to subvert the normal process of discovery in a straightforward defamation case.”

In a statement, Freeman and Moss lauded the ruling: “Rudy Giuliani helped unleash a wave of hatred and threats we never could have imagined. It cost us our sense of security and our freedom to go about our lives. Nothing can restore all we lost, but today’s ruling is yet another neutral finding that has confirmed what we have known all along: that there was never any truth to any of the accusations about us and that we did nothing wrong. We were smeared for purely political reasons, and the people responsible can and should be held accountable.”

Judge Howell wrote that a trial to determine the full scope of damages will take place later this year or early next, adding that “the jury will be instructed that they must, when determining an appropriate sum of punitive damages, infer that Giuliani is intentionally trying to hide relevant discovery about his financial assets for the purpose of artificially deflating his net worth.”

Editorial credit: paparazzza /

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appears to have another medical episode during public event

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to freeze again during an exchange with reporters on Wednesday during an event in his home state of Kentucky.

Video footage showed McConnell, 81, trailing off and remaining silent after he was asked if he would seek re-election in 2026. While the Republican leader acknowledged the question, he froze and began to stare ahead; after roughly 10 seconds, an aide stepped in and asked whether he heard the question. McConnell replied, “yes,” but continued to look off into the distance, prompting the aide to say, “we’re going to need a minute.” The aide then asked for assistance from what appeared to be a member of McConnell’s security detail. The senator appeared to regain his composure after roughly 30 seconds of silence, clearing his throat and stating, “OK.” McConnell answered two more questions from reporters, though his aide relayed the topics to him. He then left the gathering.

A spokesperson for McConnell said he felt “momentarily lightheaded and paused” during the press conference, adding that while he said he feels fine, “as a prudential measure, the leader will be consulting a physician prior to his next event.” President Biden told reporters after delivering remarks on the federal response to Hurricane Idalia and the wildfires on Maui that McConnell is a “good friend,” and said he is going to try to get in contact with him.

The incident marked the second time McConnell appeared to have a medical episode at a public event. The first instance of McConnell freezing occurred during a press conference in the U.S. Capitol on July 26, when he stopped speaking mid-sentence while delivering opening comments and appeared unable to continue with his remarks for roughly 15 seconds. An aide to McConnell later said he “felt lightheaded and stepped away for a moment.”

The freezing incidents come after McConnell tripped at a dinner event in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Washington in March, suffering a concussion. He was hospitalized for several days and received additional treatment at an inpatient rehabilitation facility. McConnell returned to the Senate more than a month after the fall.

McConnell has served as the top Senate Republican since 2007, and he became the longest-serving Senate leader in history when the new Congress began in January. The lawmaker is among the oldest politicians in office and is the 13th longest-serving senator in history with 38 years in office.

Editorial credit: Christopher Halloran /

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Adele says sciatica attack caused her to collapse backstage at Las Vegas residency

Adele revealed that she recently collapsed backstage during her Las Vegas residency due to an ongoing health issue that caused a flare-up of her spinal condition. The 35-year-old singer told fans during one of her recent concerts (part of her “Weekends with Adele” residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace) that she fell and was unable to move because of a sciatica attack. Sciatia is a condition is caused by pain radiating from the sciatic nerve, causing extreme discomfort and pain in the legs and lower back. Adele told the audience that a member of her production team found her, unable to move: “They picked my whole body up off the floor. I am going to sit down and rest my sciatica.”

Adele first revealed her condition in 2021, saying she’s been dealing with it since the age of 15. “I slipped my first disc when I was 15 from sneezing. I was in bed, and I sneezed, and my fifth one flew out. In January, I slipped my sixth one, my L6. And then where I had a C‑section, my core was useless … I’ve been in pain with my back for like, half of my life, really. It flares up, normally due to stress or from a stupid bit of posture. But where I got my tummy strong, down at the bottom, which I never had before, my back don’t play up as much. It means I can do more. I can run around with my kid a little bit more.”

Adele also shared with fans how the chronic pain she lives with has impacted her ability to move on stage. During a New Year’s Eve 2022 show, Adele had difficulty walking across the stage after throwing shooting merchandise out of a T-shirt cannon into the crowd: “I have to waddle these days as I have really bad sciatica.”

Adele’s Vegas residency was extended this year with additional dates through November 4, 2023, after her initial successful run from November 2022-March 2023.

Editorial credit: Fred Duval /

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Liam Payne forced to postpone his South American tour due to kidney infection

Liam Payne shared that he was forced to postpone his South America tour after being hospitalized due to a serious kidney infection. The tour was scheduled to begin in Lima, Peru, on Sept. 1, and end in Mexico City on Sept. 12, with stops in São Paulo, Bogotá, Colombia, Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In a video shared on social media, the singer explained the reason for the tour postponement: “We started rehearsals, and I’ve just been advised now is really not the right time to be out on the road trying to recover from this. I have the best people around me at home, trying to help me recover as we speak, but yeah, we’re gonna have to reschedule the tour. … Hopefully, we’ll put on an even bigger, better show. Thank you. I’m sorry.” In the caption of the post, Payne said that what he is undergoing is “something I wouldn’t wish on anyone, and doctors orders are that I now need to rest and recover … I was beyond excited to come play for you guys.”

Payne said that tickets would be refunded, adding: “Thanks as always for the love and support, and look forward to seeing you soon.”

Liam Payne Was Hospitalized With ‘Serious’ Kidney Infection

Editorial credit: Pic Media Aus /

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Miami Mayor Francis Suarez suspends presidential campaign, drops out of GOP race

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez announced Tuesday that he is suspending his campaign for president after failing to qualify for the first Republican primary debate last week in Milwaukee. The 45-year-old Suarez is the first Republican to drop out of the 2024 race.

Suarez said: “Running for President of the United States has been one of the greatest honors of my life. This country has given so much to my family and me. The prospect of giving back at the highest levels of public service is a motivator if not a calling. Throughout this process, I have met so many freedom-loving Americans who care deeply about our nation, her people, and its future. It was a privilege to come so close to appearing on stage with the other candidates at last week’s first debate. While I have decided to suspend my campaign for President, my commitment to making this a better nation for every American remains.”

Suarez added: “The Left has taken Hispanics for granted for far too long, and it is no surprise that so many are finding a home in America’s conservative movement. Our party must continue doing more to include and attract this vibrant community that believes in our country’s foundational values: faith, family, hard work and freedom. Younger voters, Independents, urban voters and suburban women- all of whom I’ve carried in previous elections – among others, should find a comfortable home in the GOP and its policies.”

Ahead of the debate, Suarez announced that he had qualified for it by meeting the polling requirements and the donor threshold, claiming to have received donations from “nearly 50,000” (well above the party’s requirement of 40,000). However after his announcement, an RNC staffer familiar with the debate planning said Suarez had not been certified as a debate participant, which Suarez later conceded, saying he was behind on “one national poll or one state poll.”

The Cuban-American Suarez announced his candidacy in June, and made a pitch for his candidacy based on his track record as Miami mayor, a part-time position he’s held since 2017, when he was working as a lawyer in a Miami firm. Suarez, a real estate attorney, also served in the Miami City Commission from 2009-2017.

Editorial credit: Felix Mizioznikov /

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Evacuation orders issued in Florida as Hurricane Idalia moves closer to west coast

Hurricane Idalia strengthened to a Category 1 with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph on Tuesday, and is expected to “rapidly intensify” to a potential Category 3 hurricane before it makes landfall in Florida on Wednesday.  According to the National Hurricane Center, Idalia threatens to bring high-risk storm surge along parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast, with hurricane warnings and watches in effect for parts of the Gulf Coast of Florida, with flooding is also likely in the region.

Models of Idalia published by the National Hurricane Center project it will make landfall in Florida’s Big Bend area, which is where the panhandle meets the peninsula, and which includes Tampa Bay. The storm is anticipated to arrive on Wednesday morning anywhere between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. ET.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency covering 46 counties, and has activated the National Guard, with mandatory orders of evacuation in effect for some people in eight of those counties. DeSantis said: “This is going to be a major impact, and Floridians should expect that this storm will be a major Cat 3+ hurricane, so please prepare accordingly.  You still have time this morning to make your final preparations .. but you gotta do that now. You do not have to leave the state. You don’t have to drive hundreds of miles. You have to get to higher ground in a safe structure. You can ride the storm out there, then go back to your home.”

DeSantis’ office also said that tolls were suspended early Tuesday morning along Florida’s west coast, and schools across more than three dozen Florida counties have closed. His office also said the Florida National Guard was mobilizing 1,100 personnel to support areas of the state that are impacted, and 12 aircrafts and 2,400 high wheel vehicles were also being mobilized.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper also declared states of emergency ahead of Hurricane Idalia. Gov. Kemp said Tuesday in a statement: “We are taking every precaution ahead of Hurricane Idalia’s landfall tomorrow, and I am taking this additional executive action to ensure state assets are ready to respond.”

Editorial credit: Zinaida Shevchuk /

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HBO’s ‘The Idol’ starring The Weeknd, Lily-Rose Depp is canceled after one season

Deadline reports that the controversial HBO drama series ‘The Idol’, starring The Weeknd and Lily-Rose Depp, has been canceled after one season. Season 1 concluded on July 2 after five episodes – one episode less than its originally planned six-episode run.

Created by ‘Euphoria’ showrunner Sam Levinson, The Weeknd and Reza Fahim, the cast of ‘The Idol’ also included Troye Sivan, Jennie, Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Dan Levy. Depp starred as Jocelyn, an aspiring pop star who develops a relationship with Tedros (The Weekend), a nightclub owner with a sordid past.

The show was heavily criticized due to its explicit content, and allegations of a toxic work environment behind the scenes plagued the show before it even premiered. Variety shared a statement from HBO, who said: “The Idol was one of HBO’s most provocative original programs, and we’re pleased by the strong audience response. After much thought and consideration, HBO, as well as the creators and producers have decided not move forward with a second season. We’re grateful to the creators, cast, and crew for their incredible works.”

Editorial credit: DFree /

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Miley Cyrus shares the emotional single “Used To Be Young”

Miley Cyrus has shared her latest single, and the first new music since her album, Endless Summer Vacation was released. Cyrus had teased the track a week ago with a 30-second trailer, which ended with a brief behind-the-scenes look at the shoot for its accompanying music video.

Cyrus shared that she wrote “Used to Be Young” towards the beginning of making the Endless Summer Vacation album. Said Cyrus: “These lyrics were written almost 2 years ago at the beginning of my ESV. It was at a time I felt misunderstood. I have spent the last 18 months painting a sonic picture of my perspective to share with you. The time has arrived to release a song that I could perfect forever. Although my work is done, this song will continue to write itself every day. The fact it remains unfinished is a part of its beauty. That is my life at this moment ….. unfinished yet complete. Sincerely, Miley”

Upon the song’s release, Cyrus shared on Instagram: “This song is about honoring who we’ve been, loving who we are & celebrating who we will become. I feel proud when reflecting on my past and joyful when thinking about the future. I am grateful to my loyal fans who make my dreams a reality daily. I am sincerely thankful for the stability of your steadfast support. This song is for you. Truly, Miley”

The official visual for the song, directed by Jacob Bixenman and Brendan Walter, shows a teary-eyed Cyrus facing the camera directly while singing the emotional song.  Take a look at the video for ‘Used To Be Young’ – here.

Editorial credit: Brian Friedman /

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Suspect in custody after UNC-Chapel Hill faculty member is killed in campus shooting

A suspect is in custody after shots were fired near the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Monday, prompting the university to go on lockdown. One faculty member was killed in the shooting, while officials searched for an “armed and dangerous person.” The suspect was captured about an hour and a half after the shooting at Caudill Laboratories, and an all-clear was issued for the campus about two hours after that. Tuesday’s classes have been canceled.

UNC students were first alerted to an armed and dangerous person on or near campus shortly after 1 p.m;  and the university issued an alert to remain sheltered in place because a suspect was at large by 2:24 p.m. Campus police released a photo of an unnamed person of interest at 2:35 p.m. with the warning: “If you see this person, keep your distance, put your safety first and call 911.”

School officials said at a briefing Monday afternoon that no other injuries were reported. UNC Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz said in a letter to the university community: “I am devastated and saddened by today’s shooting in one of our campus buildings, a place where we conduct our important work of teaching, mentoring and research every day.  This shooting damages the trust and safety that we so often take for granted on our campus. We will work to rebuild that trust and safety.”

UNC Police Chief Brian James said the FBI has joined the investigation into the shooting: “We certainly want the opportunity to interview the suspect. To actually have the suspect in custody gives us an opportunity to figure out the why. And even the how, and also helps us to uncover a motive and … really just why this happened today.”  North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement that officials “are taking precautions to protect campus safety following today’s shooting. This is a tragic way to start a new semester and the state will provide any assistance necessary to support the UNC community.”

As of press time, the faculty member was not publicly identified, and officials did not name the suspect. University police have not determined the relationship between the victim and gunman or indicated any kind of possible motive.

Editorial credit: University of College /

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2 killed, 4 injured after Florida sheriff rescue helicopter crashes into apartment building

Two people were killed and at least four others were injured on Monday when an emergency response helicopter lost control, crashing into a Pompano Beach, Florida apartment building. The accident happened shortly before 9 a.m. EDT when a sheriff’s department Airbus fire and rescue helicopter went down just south of the Pompano Beach Airpark, home of the Goodyear Blimp.

There were three people aboard the Eurocopter EC135 helicopter, according to initial FAA reports. Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony told reporters that one person who was on the ground, as well as Capt. Terryson Jackson of the Sheriff’s Department, were killed in the crash. The sheriff said the two injured crew members were able to crawl out of the helicopter’s wreckage and did not appear to suffer life-threatening injuries. The two surviving members of the helicopter crew, as well as two civilians on the ground, were transported to North Broward Medical Center. Capt. Jackson, 49, was an experienced and valued member of sheriff’s department, Sheriff Tony said, adding: “He was one of my firefighters. We lost one of our captains today who was onboard serving his community, hoping that he would get a chance to do what he does best which is to land and extract somebody else. Unfortunately, in the crash he was trapped, could not get out, and we lost him.”

The rescue chopper was answering an emergency call from North Lauderdale when it developed “mechanical issues” and crashed, according to preliminary assessments. A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, Veda Coleman-Wright, said during a news conference at the scene that the helicopter was en route to a scene in North Lauderdale to pick up a woman who had been involved in a crash, and that a fire broke out onboard and then other mechanical issues occurred.

Editorial credit: Eric Carlander /