One of President Obama's closest advisers said he lied to the country for his own political benefit when he publicly stated his opposition to same-sex marriage in 2008. David Axelrod writes that he knew Obama supported gay marriage in 2008 in his new book, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics. He quotes Obama as saying "I'm just not very good at bullshitting," after a campaign event where he stated his opposition. Obama later announced his support for gay marriage during his second presidential campaign, claiming he had "evolved."
Now that the identities of some of the wealthiest users of HSBC's tax-avoidance scheme in Switzerland have been made public, it seems the Clinton Foundation was one of the major beneficiaries. The Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation received as much as $81 million from donors who utilized HSBC's preferential practices for allegedly avoiding taxes and hiding assets. The major donors include Jeffrey Epstein, a man who in addition to profiting from HSBC's accommodations for wealthy clients is also a convicted sex offender. The new information could be unhelpful for Hillary Clinton, who is planning to play up income inequality as part her presumed presidential campaign.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn firmly denied charges of aggravated pimping at a trial in northern France. "I committed no crime," the former IMF chief said when he took the stand Tuesday, though he did admit to participating in the orgies organized by businessman David Roque in Lille. He is facing charges along with 13 others, including a former police commissioner and a brothel owner nicknamed "Dodo the Pimp." The former French presidential hopeful was attacked by topless Femen protesters who jumped on his car when he arrived at the trial. Strauss-Kahn has faced multiple allegations of sexual assault during his career, including a 2011 case involving a New York City hotel maid that earned international attention.
From 1877 to 1950, nearly 4,000 blacks were lynched across the South. On Tuesday, their names were finally revealed. The Equal Justice Project released an inventory that includes 700 people whose deaths were previously unaccounted for in lynching records. "If you're trying to make a point that the amount of racial violence is underestimated, well then, there's no doubt about it," said Professor E.M. Beck of the University of Georgia, who has worked on researching and revising other lynching records. "What people don't realize here is just how many there were, and how close. Places they drive by every day." The organization plans to erect markers and memorials across the 16 states where blacks were hung, shot, beaten, stabbed, castrated, and set on fire.
Peyton Manning is training with the intention of returning to the NFL in 2015, according to a source close to the Denver Broncos quarterback. Manning, who has already played 17 seasons in the NFL, struggled in the second half of the Broncos' season and finished with a disappointing loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs. If he starts as quarterback this season, he will be the oldest one in the league at age 39. Sources close to Manning say he has started training in his native New Orleans and has been working with a fitness trainer, Mackie Shilstone, who specializes in athletic career extension.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claimed his administration receives information about the U.S.-led attacks on ISIS and is kept informed of the campaign via third parties, including Iraq. He made the remarks during a BBC interview, though stressed he did not coordinate with the U.S. "They don't talk to us, we don't talk to them," he said during an interview in Damascus. "Sometimes they [the third parties] convey message, general message, but there's nothing tactical." While Assad also denounced the U.S. plan to train moderate rebels as a "pipe-dream," his public admission regarding knowledge of the campaign suggests the hardline U.S. stance against Syria may be softening.
Jesse Matthew Jr. has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of University of Virginia second-year student Hannah Graham, according to reports from local media in Charlottesville. The charges are expected to be announced at a press conference Tuesday. Graham was last seen publicly at a bar with Matthew on Sept. 13, 2014. Her remains were found on an abandoned property in Albemarle County, Virginia, on Oct. 18. Matthew has already been charged in Graham's disappearance—with abduction with intent to defile. Officials say Matthew has been forensically linked to the body of Morgan Harrington, a Virginia Tech student who was found dead in January 2010. He has been jailed for attempted murder, rape, and sexual-assault charges in regard to the rape and sexual assault of a Fairfax woman in 2005.
A sodomy conviction against the leader of Malaysia's opposition party was upheld by the country's top court Tuesday. Anwar Ibrahim's final appeal of last year's lower court ruling was rejected. Ibrahim accused the judges of being "partners in crime" with Malaysia's governing party, which has a history of using authoritarian tactics to remain in control. "You chose to be on the dark side," he told them. Ibrahim, 67, has already served six years in prison for a separate sodomy charge, but he successfully appealed it in 2004. While sodomy is punishable for heterosexual and homosexual couples in Malaysia by as much as 20 years in prison, it is rarely enforced in modern times.
All rail and subway lines in Boston were suspended from Monday evening until Wednesday as the city braced for a massive storm, which has already dumped 20 inches in the last 24 hours. Boston City Hall and public schools were also closed for the second day in a row. The city has recorded a new 30-day high of 72.6 inches, with 64.4 inches falling in the past 14 days alone. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency as six or seven feet fell in parts of the state. Some places already feeling the brunt of three storms in the past two weeks will get 70 to 80 inches of snow. Three buildings collapsed Monday morning. While the region is expected to get a brief reprieve Wednesday, it is expected to be hit with another storm that could bring "significant" snowfall on Thursday or Friday.
The premiere of Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul was the highest-rated series debut in cable-TV history. Some 6.9 million people watched Sunday night on AMC, right after the midseason premiere of The Walking Dead. What's more, Saul scored big with the 4.4 million viewers in the 18-49 age range. The two back-to-back shows may have drawn viewers away from the Grammys, which had its lowest ratings in six years. Ratings are not yet in for the second episode, which premiered Monday night.
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