Fox News 2024-03-19 16:03:32


Former NHL player and boyfriend of tennis star dead at 42

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Konstantin Koltsov, a Belarusian hockey player who spent time with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL, has died, according to his Russian team on Tuesday. He was 42.

Koltsov played 144 games for the Penguins from 2002 to 2006. He was a coach for Salvat Yulaev of the Kontinental Hockey League. The team was based in the city of Ufa, which is located about 832 miles east of Moscow.

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“It is with deep sorrow that we inform you that the coach of Salavat Yulaev, Konstantin Koltsov, has passed away,” the team said. “He was a strong and cheerful person, he was loved and respected by players, colleagues, and fans. Konstantin Evgenievich forever wrote himself into the history of our club.

“May he rest in peace.”

The Penguins also released a statement.

“The Penguins extend their deepest condolences to the family and friends of former Penguins forward, Konstantin Koltsov,” the team said.

PENGUINS LAUNCH INVESTIGATION AFTER JAROMIR JAGR BOBBLEHEADS STOLEN IN CALIFORNIA

“The native of Belarus was the Penguins’ first-round draft choice in 1999 and was with the team from 2003-206, playing 144 NHL games. He was a teammate of both Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux during the 2005-06 season.”

The Miami-Dade Police Department in Florida said he died by suicide.

“According to investigators on Monday, March 18, 2024, at approximately 12:39 a.m., Bal Harbour Police and Fire Rescue were dispatched to the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, 9703 Collins Avenue, in reference to a male that jumped from a balcony,” the Miami-Dade Police Department confirmed to Fox News Digital on Tuesday. 

“The Miami-Dade Police Department, Homicide Bureau, responded and has taken over the investigation of the apparent suicide of Mr. Konstantin Koltsov. … No foul play is suspected.”

Koltsov was also dating tennis star Aryna Sabalenka. The two went public with their relationship in 2021. She was at the Indian Wells Open in California before setting her sights on the Miami Open in Florida.

She has yet to comment on Koltsov’s death.

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Koltsov played hockey professionally from 1997 to 2016. He spent time in the Russian Super League, the Belarusian Extraleague, the Eastern European Hockey League and played internationally with Belarus. He competed on the Belarusian national team in the Olympics and World Championships. 

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Couple arrested after being found passed out on beach with children gone

A Georgia couple was arrested after being found asleep on a Florida beach, with their children nowhere to be found, authorities said.

An anonymous caller in Daytona Beach reported the couple to 911 on Saturday, and it took a Volusia Sheriffs Office deputy multiple attempts to wake the two up, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Fox News Digital. They were later identified as Alyssia Langley and Timothy Stephens, both 27.

Body camera footage obtained by FOX 35 Orlando shows Stephens motioning towards the ocean after being asked by deputies where their kids were. The arrest affidavit noted that there was an open beer can found near Stephens’ hand, multiple empty beer cans and an empty bottle of whiskey in a cooler nearby, “and other various, unsealed alcoholic beverages in the immediate vicinity.”

“It just boggles my mind that you would drive here and get obliterated and allow a 5- and a 7-year-old to wander off,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood told the local station.

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The two children were found swimming unsupervised but safe in a hotel pool nearby.

Langley Stephens were both arrested. The two are engaged to be married, FOX 35 reported, and the arrest affidavit says that Stephens is not the biological father of the children, but has “assumed a legal guardian role.” Stephens had to be treated at a hospital before being taken to jail after a failed attempt to escape from deputies caused him to face-plant on the ground.  

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“When we wonder what we see, why kids are the way they are, you gotta take a step back and look at who’s in charge. And clearly, these two clowns shouldn’t be in charge of … they can’t be in charge of themselves, let alone a 5-year-old or a 7-year-old,” Chitwood said.

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Langley and Stephens were charged with child neglect. Stephens also faces charges for trying to escape and alcoholic beverages on the beach, according to online arrest records. 

Mom sentenced after her child died while being left home alone during 10-day vacation

An Ohio mother has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after pleading guilty to the murder of her 16-month-old daughter, who prosecutors say was left home alone for 10 days in a playpen while her mother vacationed in Detroit and Puerto Rico. 

Kristel Candelario, 32, said in a sentencing hearing Monday that “God and my daughter have forgiven me” after Jailyn Candelario was found unresponsive inside their Cleveland home in June 2023. 

“Just as you didn’t let Jailyn out of her confinement, so too you should spend the rest of your life in a cell without freedom,” County Common Pleas Court Judge Brendan Sheehan told Candelario. “The only difference will be, the prison will at least feed you and give you liquid that you denied her.” 

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said following the sentencing that “The thought of going on vacation for 10 days and leaving your child to starve to death in her Pack-N-Play is a new low in parental care.” 

OHIO MOTHER KRISTEL CANDELARIO PLEADS GUILTY TO AGGRAVATED MURDER, CHILD ENDANGERMENT 

The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office says on June 6 last year, Candelario left Jailyn “alone and unattended” at her home in Cleveland and did not return until 10 days later. 

“Upon returning, Candelario found Jailyn unresponsive and called the police. The Cleveland Division of Police and the Cleveland Division of Fire responded to the scene and Jailyn was pronounced deceased,” it said in a statement. 

“An investigation conducted by CPD’s Homicide Unit revealed that Candelario left her child alone and unattended from June 6 to June 16 to vacation in Detroit, Michigan, and in Puerto Rico. Jailyn was extremely dehydrated at the time of death,” the office added. “Jailyn was discovered in a Pack-N-Play pen on a liner soiled with urine and feces with soiled blankets.” 

TWO OHIO WOMEN FACING FELONY CHARGES AFTER ALLEGEDLY PROPPING UP DEAD MAN IN CAR, DRIVING TO BANK TO WITHDRAW HIS MONEY 

Candelario pleaded guilty in February to one count of aggravated murder and one count of endangering children. 

The mother, who has struggled with depression and related mental health issues, said she has prayed daily for forgiveness, according to The Associated Press. 

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“There’s so much pain that I have in regards to the loss of my baby, Jailyn,” she said. “I’m extremely hurt about everything that happened. I am not trying to justify my actions, but nobody knew how much I was suffering and what I was going through … God and my daughter have forgiven me.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Trump takes action against Stephanopoulos, ABC News over ‘malicious’ rape claims

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump is suing ABC News and George Stephanopoulos for defamation after the ABC News host said several times on air that the former president was “found liable for rape” during a heated March 10 interview with Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C. 

Mace, a rape survivor, says she felt personally attacked when Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to President Bill Clinton, asked how she could support Trump’s White House bid. Stephanopoulos said Trump was found “liable for rape” 10 times during the exchange. 

A federal jury in New York decided that Trump was not liable for rape but was liable for sexual abuse and defamation in the 2023 civil trial of advice columnist E. Jean Carroll vs. Trump. The former president has called the verdict a “disgrace,” and denied all wrongdoing.  

ABC NEWS’ GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS INACCURATELY SAID TRUMP WAS FOUND ‘LIABLE FOR RAPE’ 10 TIMES, LEGAL GURUS SAY

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Florida, claims Stephanopoulos’ statements are “false” and were made with “actual malice or with a reckless disregard for the truth given that Defendant Stephanopoulos knows these statements are patently and demonstrably false.” The court document then noted that a jury “expressly found that Plantiff did not commit rape.” 

The suit notes that Trump representatives contacted ABC seeking a retraction following the interview, but the Disney-owned news outlet failed to apologize or correct the record. 

“Since making such false, malicious, and defamatory statements, many news and press outlets have continued to quote Stephanopoulos by wrongfully broadcasting that Plaintiff was found liable for rape,” Trump’s lawyers wrote. 

Trump’s team has requested a jury trial. 

NANCY MACE PUSHES BACK ON GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS IN HEATED EXCHANGE OVER TRUMP SUPPORT: ‘TRYING TO SHAME ME’

Mace accused Stephanopoulos of “shaming” her in his questioning that resulted in the suit. 

“Judges and two separate juries have found him liable for rape and for defaming the victim of that rape,” the ABC anchor told Mace. “How do you square your endorsement of Donald Trump with the testimony we just saw?” 

“Well, I will tell you, I was raped at the age of 16,” Mace said. “Any rape victim will tell you, I’ve lived for 30 years with an incredible amount of shame for being raped. I didn’t come forward because of that judgment and shame that I felt. It’s a shame that you will never feel, George.”

Stephanopoulos argued during the exchange that it wasn’t about “shaming” her and said his question was about the allegations against Trump in the E. Jean Carroll case. 

Last week, Fox News contributor Andrew McCarthy, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, explained that Trump was not found guilty of rape.

“Trump was found civilly liable for sexual abuse. The evidence was that Carroll claimed she was penetrated, though she was unsure — in what she described as a struggle — if it was digitally or by the sex organ. The jury did not find rape proved, but was unanimous that Trump sexually abused Carroll. The verdict does not mean the jury found Carroll was not raped; instead the jury found that there was sexual abuse but could not agree that it included rape. To be clear, this was a civil trial; the jury was not asked to find, and did not find, that Trump was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He has not been criminally accused, much less convicted, of sexual abuse or rape,” McCarthy told Fox News Digital.

NANCY MACE’S OFFICE CALLS ON ABC, WOMEN’S GROUPS TO ‘DEMAND AN APOLOGY’ FROM GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS

ABC News declined comment when reached by Fox News Digital. 

The network previously has stood by Stephanopoulos. 

“George did his job by asking meaningful questions that are relevant to our viewers,” an ABC News spokesperson told Fox News Digital prior to the lawsuit being filed. 

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Fox News’ Jeffrey Clark contributed to this report.

Hundreds of Hollywood stars unite to denounce Oscar winner’s controversial speech

Top Hollywood stars like Debra Messing and Julianna Margulies are among over 450 Jewish individuals in the entertainment industry denouncing “The Zone of Interest” director Jonathan Glazer’s controversial Oscars acceptance speech about the Israel-Hamas war. 

“We refute our Jewishness being hijacked for the purpose of drawing a moral equivalence between a Nazi regime that sought to exterminate a race of people, and an Israeli nation that seeks to avert its own extermination,” an open letter first reported Monday by Variety read. “Every civilian death in Gaza is tragic. But Israel is not targeting civilians. It is targeting Hamas. The moment Hamas releases the hostages and surrenders is the moment this heartbreaking war ends. This has been true since the Hamas attacks of October 7th.”

The signatories continued, “The use of words like ‘occupation’ to describe an indigenous Jewish people defending a homeland that dates back thousands of years, and has been recognized as a state by the United Nations, distorts history.  It gives credence to the modern blood libel that fuels a growing anti-Jewish hatred around the world, in the United States, and in Hollywood. The current climate of growing antisemitism only underscores the need for the Jewish State of Israel, a place which will always take us in, as no state did during the Holocaust depicted in Mr. Glazer’s film.”

JON LOVITZ SAYS ANTISEMITISM HE’S EXPERIENCED IN HOLLYWOOD ‘IS FROM OTHER JEWS’

Alongside Messing and Margulies are actors Michael Rapaport, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tovah Feldshuh, Lisa Edelstein and Brett Gelman, top producer Amy Pascal, and filmmakers Eli Roth and Rod Lurie.

“There was no concern for how Jewish people are going to react to a speech like that, to that applause to those red pins, when not even our hostages are being mentioned, and it’s just incredibly hurtful, incredibly painful,” Gelman told Variety. “It’s truly baffling to me that people were choosing to be silent that night.”

Representatives for Glazer did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital‘s requests for comment. 

MICHAEL RAPAPORT BLASTS GOLDEN GLOBE ATTENDEES FOR NOT MENTIONING ISRAELI HOSTAGES: ‘WE SHOULD BE ASHAMED’

“The Zone of Interest” took home two Academy Awards earlier this month, including for Best International Film, during which Glazer gave his controversial speech. 

“Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst,” Glazer said. “Right now, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation, which has led to conflict for so many innocent people – whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza – all the victims of this dehumanization, how do we resist?”

Glazer’s words were repudiated by one of his film’s executive producers, Danny Cohen, who said last week, “I just fundamentally disagree with Jonathan.”

“It’s really important to recognize it’s upset a lot of people and a lot of people feel upset and angry about it. And I understand that anger frankly,” Cohen said on the Unholy podcast. “The war and the continuation of the war is the responsibility of Hamas, a genocidal terrorist organization which continues to hold and abuse the hostages, which doesn’t use its tunnels to protect the innocent civilians of Gaza but uses it to hide themselves and allow Palestinians to die. I think the war is tragic and awful and the loss of civilian life is awful, but I blame Hamas for that.”

HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS’ FOUNDATION CONDEMNS OSCAR WINNER EQUATING ISRAEL WITH HAMAS: ‘MORALLY INDEFENSIBLE’

The speech was also condemned in an open letter by The Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation. 

“I watched in anguish Sunday night when I heard you use the platform of the Oscars ceremony to equate Hamas’s maniacal brutality against innocent Israelis with Israel’s difficult but necessary self-defense in the face of Hamas’s ongoing barbarity. Your comments were factually inaccurate and morally indefensible,” Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation USA president and 94-year-old Holocaust survivor David Schaecter wrote to Glazer. 

“The ‘occupation’ of which you speak has nothing to do with the Holocaust. The Jewish people’s existence and right to live in the land of Israel predates the Holocaust by hundreds of years. Today’s political and geographic landscape is the direct result of wars started by past Arab leaders who refused to accept Jewish people as their neighbors in our historic homeland. Now that several Arab countries are making peace with Israel because security and prosperity are better for all people, Iran and its terrorist proxies started another war, abetted by too many, who, through naïveté or malice, blame ‘the occupation.’”

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“Worse is that you chose to use the Holocaust to validate your personal opinion. You made a Holocaust movie and won an Oscar. And you are Jewish. Good for you. But it is disgraceful for you to presume to speak for the six million Jews, including one and half million children, who were murdered solely because of their Jewish identity,” Schaecter continued. “And it is disgraceful for you to presume to speak for those of us who personally saw the world stand silent as our mothers, father, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were murdered. We actually had nowhere to go – no possible place for refuge. No country would accept us even though world leaders knew full well that thousands of Jews were being murdered every day. There was no Jewish nation to which we could flee. You should be ashamed of yourself for using Auschwitz to criticize Israel.”

“The Zone of Interest” offers a harrowing depiction of a Nazi commander’s family living next to the atrocities of the Auschwitz concentration camps. The film earned five Oscar nominations including Best Picture, and Glazer himself was nominated for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. 

Fox News’ Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report.

African country tells US to leave amid Russian and Iranian gains

The Biden administration is involved in high-stakes talks to try and persuade Niger to allow 1,000 U.S. military personnel and civilian staff to keep operating a $110 million anti-terror drone base in the West African country. 

This is against a backdrop of reports that U.S. military influence is being replaced by Russia and worrying allegations that Iran is trying to buy uranium from Nigerien mines.

Already, the Reaper drones based at Airport 201 have not been flying missions targeting both Islamic State and al Qaeda terrorists in the region since the government of Niger was overthrown by a military coup last July. 

Analysts are concerned that should the U.S. pull out of Niger, this could permit jihadist forces to surge through West Africa and lead to the further expansion of Russian influence in Africa.

RUSSIA AND US JOCKEY FOR SUPPORT ACROSS AFRICA

“What we are seeing in Niger is but one of the numerous examples of the curtains closing on American influence and Western influence on the African continent,” Jasmine Opperman told Fox News Digital. Opperman, an African-based security consultant specializing in extremism, continued, “We can see this in Central Africa. We see this in Southern Africa, and with that, Russia will use each and every opportunity to expand its influence.”

The Biden administration has been made aware of this stark warning by several sources, including Marine Corps General Michael E. Langley, commander of the U.S. Africa Command. Addressing the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 7, Langley cautioned, “the Russian Federation’s narrative drowned out the U.S. governments in the past years. Russia’s destabilizing activity in Africa is to trade security assistance for access to African natural resources. Putin does this by spreading disinformation and propaganda to sow unrest, prop up sympathetic regimes, and undermine support for Western engagement on the continent.”

Langley continued, “We cannot lose sight of the continued threat al Qaeda and ISIS pose in Africa. Political instability and weak security institutions have allowed these groups to expand territorial control. We must maintain sufficient force posture and resourcing in Africa to support our national interests there.”

Cameron Hudson pointed out that the administration believes it has to work with a non-democratic government in Niger to keep the jihadists and Russia and Iran at bay. “The real blow is to the U.S. standing in the region,” Hudson, director of African Affairs at the National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration, told Fox News Digital. “This sends a clear message that countries have options and no longer have to entertain U.S. lectures or lobbying.”

RUSSIA ‘CHIEF BENEFICIARY’ IN DEADLY SUDAN CONFLICT AS ATTEMPTED CEASEFIRE FALLS APART

Hudson, who is now a senior associate with the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, added “In a bid to maintain its relevance and presence in Niger and neighboring states, Washington has shown a willingness to sacrifice its democratic values by pledging to work with these coup governments. But clearly even that was not enough”.

This weekend saw Niger, according to the Department of Defense, “announcing an end to the status of forces agreement between Niger and the United States.” Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane, the spokesperson for the military junta, the so-called National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland, complained on local television about the U.S.’ “condescending attitude” and said that a U.S. delegation which met junta officials in Niger this past week had “the intention to deny the sovereign Nigerien people the right to choose their partners and types of partnerships capable of truly helping them fight against terrorism.” 

This junta narrative was picked up by Nigerien columnist Abdoulaye Sissoko. Writing for the ActuNiger website, Sissoko stated, “There is no public evidence that American bases in Niger have proven useful.” One reader on the site commented, “Thank you for sending these white beaks away.” Another wrote, “they should pack up and go home.”

Sources say last week’s meeting with the junta was extremely difficult. The administration’s envoys did not get to meet with Niger’s principal decision maker. 

“The U.S. delegation met with a CNSP (Nigerien) delegation led by the Prime Minister and several Cabinet ministers, as well as technical experts and advisors”, declared the Department of Defense’s Deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh on Monday.

BLINKEN FLIES INTO ‘SUPERPOWER’ BATTLEGROUND IN AFRICA

Pentagon officials say delegation members made their points clear. “We were troubled on the path that Niger is on, declared the DOD’s Singh. U.S. officials expressed concern over Niger’s potential relationships with Russia and Iran.”

“These were direct and frank conversations.” Analysts say that is diplomatic speak to describe a heated and charged conversation. One cynic suggested it means “they were shouting at each other”.

The State Department’s principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel agreed Monday the meeting was ‘frank.” 

However, now the U.S. is trying to keep its troops in the country. Patel said, “We continue to engage through our embassy. We continue to have our ambassador and our embassy team there, and we’re continuing to discuss with them.”

It may be too late. Sources say that at the very least, discussions between Niger and the Kremlin to let their troops and/or mercenaries flood into the country are under way, with at least one report declaring a deal has already been signed.

Globally, potentially of more concern is that Iran is said to be negotiating to acquire uranium from Niger’s mines. Analysts say this could be used to help develop Tehran’s nuclear weapons program, and poses another threat to peace in the Middle East.

Just this January, Nigerien Prime Minister Ali Lamine Zeine was hosted in Tehran by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, with the latter saying Niger has “a brilliant future”. Zeine led the negotiations with the administration’s team this past week.

However, getting open confirmation on Russia and Iran’s antics is difficult, says Hudson. “Deals with Russia and Iran in Niger remain opaque. Russia has tended to enter these countries to provide security assistance against terrorist forces and regime security for those in power. From that often follows business partnerships and investments, particularly in the mining sector.”

“It’s not clear what if any deal has been made with Iran,” added Hudson. “But we do know that Niger is anxious to diversify its mining partnerships away from France and the West and Iran sees new opportunities to break its international isolation by developing new ties to African countries.”

For the Kremlin, things are all going to plan, according to Hudson. “Russia’s interests in the region are multiple and mutually reinforcing. In Africa, Russia is breaking its international isolation, cultivating diplomatic partners to support them at the United Nations, creating new sources of revenue in challenging environments, all while displacing and undermining Western investments, interests and values.”

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“The Biden administration’s challenge is that it wants its cake and to eat it too. It tells African countries publicly that they are free to choose their partners and then privately the U.S. lobbies them to rethink their choices. It’s that hypocrisy that has left us out in the cold in Niger,” he said.

Security analyst Opperman told Fox News Digital she is concerned “Africa will embrace the support they are getting from Russia, Iran and China. If the U.S. and the West do not find, and quickly, a more acceptable way of influence on the African continent, I’m afraid what we’re seeing in Niger is just but the start of that curtain closing.”

Red state delivers massive blow to climate movement with multibillion-dollar divestment

FIRST ON FOX: The State of Texas is terminating a massive $8.5 billion investment with trillion-dollar asset manager BlackRock over the state’s determination that the firm is engaged in a boycott of energy companies.

In an announcement first shared with FOX Business, Texas State Board of Education Chairman Aaron Kinsey said the so-called Texas Permanent School Fund (PSF) had delivered a notice to BlackRock on Tuesday, informing the New York City-based firm of the action. According to Kinsey, the move was made in accordance with a 2021 state law that seeks to distance the state and its large public purse from financial institutions boycotting the oil and gas sector.

“The Texas Permanent School Fund has a fiduciary duty to protect Texas schools by safeguarding and growing the approximately $1 billion in annual oil and gas royalties managed by the Texas General Land Office,” Kinsey said in a statement Tuesday. “Terminating BlackRock’s contract ensures PSF’s full compliance with Texas law.”

“BlackRock’s dominant and persistent leadership in the ESG movement immeasurably damages our state’s oil & gas economy and the very companies that generate revenues for our PSF. Texas and the PSF have worked hard to grow this fund to build Texas’ schools,” he continued. “BlackRock’s destructive approach toward the energy companies that this state and our world depend on is incompatible with our fiduciary duty to Texans.”

BLACKROCK ADMITS ESG ADVOCACY COULD PROVE BAD FOR BUSINESS

The divestment represents a large share of the $53 billion Texas PSF, a fund created in the 19th century to support the state’s public schools. The action also represents by far the largest divestment of its kind since Republican-led states began terminating their financial ties to BlackRock and other financial institutions over their pursuit of so-called environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards

The ESG movement, which has picked up steam in recent years, calls for investments to be pulled from traditional energy industries and diverted to green energy industries in the fight against global warming. However, the ESG movement has faced significant resistance from both the energy industry and lawmakers at the state and federal level. 

BLACKROCK SAYS ‘MEGA FORCES’ LIKE AI, GREEN ENERGY TRANSITION ARE SPARKING STRUCTURAL ECONOMIC CHANGES

As part of that pushback, Texas passed Senate Bill 13 in 2021, requiring its state comptroller to list financial companies found to boycott fossil fuel companies. Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar most recently updated that list in October, including BlackRock and several funds managed by the firm, and has called on the Texas Permanent School Fund, in addition to five state pension funds, to sever ties with the asset manager.

“Today represents a major step forward for the Texas PSF and our state as a whole. The PSF will not stand idle as our financial future is attacked by Wall Street,” Kinsey said Tuesday. “This bold action helps ensure our PSF remains in fact permanent and will continue to support bright futures and opportunities for generations of Texas students.”

BlackRock, which manages more than $10 trillion in assets, has sought to defend itself in recent months from accusations that it is boycotting energy companies, noting that it remains invested in traditional energy companies, but factors in ESG matters because it serves clients with a range of investment objectives. Additionally, the firm partnered with major energy company Occidental Petroleum late last year on a carbon capture project in Ector County, Texas.

BLACKROCK, STATE STREET FACE SUBPOENAS IN HOUSE ESG PROBE

“BlackRock is helping millions of Texans invest and save for retirement,” a BlackRock spokesperson told FOX Business. “On behalf of our clients, we’ve invested more than $300 billion in Texas-based companies, infrastructure and municipalities, including $125 billion invested in the energy sector, including a $550 million joint venture with Occidental. We recently hosted an energy summit in Houston designed to explore how to strengthen Texas’ power grid.”

Still, Texas’ move was cheered by Derek Kreifels, the CEO of the State Financial Officers Foundation, and Will Hild, the executive director of Consumers’ Research, who have led nationwide opposition to ESG policies.

“Today’s bold step by Aaron Kinsey and the Permanent School Fund of Texas, in accordance with state law, is a massive blow against the scam of ESG,” said Kreifels. “This is what happens when public fiduciaries stand up for those to whom they owe a duty, instead of bowing down to Wall Street’s asset managers who continue to abuse their position in the market to advance radical ideologies.”

“Under Larry Fink’s leadership, BlackRock has been misusing client funds to push a political agenda for years. Nowhere was that more egregious than in Texas, where BlackRock was simultaneously trying to destroy the domestic oil and gas industry while managing funds that depended on royalties derived from that very same industry,” added Hild. “A more flagrant violation of fiduciary duty is difficult to imagine.”

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Hild said Texas’ divestment sends a “clear message” that “Wall Street elites that people can no longer be bullied into complying with ESG’s destructive ideology.”

Prior to the action announced Tuesday, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia announced similar divestments. The largest previous divestment was Florida’s, worth $2 billion, announced by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis in December 2022.

Some critics of the states’ moves distancing themselves from BlackRock and other asset managers have argued the actions harm consumers. For example, a Texas Association of Business Chambers of Commerce Foundation study released last week concluded Texas’ ‘Fair Access’ laws will result in $668.7 million lost in economic activity and 3,034 fewer full-time, permanent jobs.

White House’s bizarre response after questioned on new report about Biden’s anger

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan likened a journalist asking about a report that President Biden had grown angry and swore over tanking poll numbers to a “when did you stop beating your spouse question.” 

Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy confronted Sullivan during the White House’s daily press briefing about a report published by NBC News with the headline, “Behind the scenes, Biden has grown angry and anxious about re-election effort.” 

Citing an unnamed lawmaker, the report claims that during a private meeting at the White House in January, Biden “began to shout and swear,” when allies of the president told him about slumping poll numbers in the battleground states of Michigan and Georgia over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war. 

“There’s a report that when President Biden was told his handling of the war between Israel and Hamas was starting to affect his poll numbers, the quote is he began to shout and swear. So when he does that, is he shouting and swearing about Netanyahu or about Hamas or about his poll numbers?” Doocy asked Sullivan on Monday. 

BIDEN SPEAKS WITH NETANYAHU AS US-ISRAEL TENSIONS ESCALATE OVER DIRECTION OF HAMAS WAR

“This is the ‘when did you stop beating your spouse’ question because I don’t think he ever did that,” Sullivan responded. 

“Excuse me?” Doocy interjected, before Sullivan continued. 

“Well you use that as the premise of your question, which is when he does that. He – I’ve never seen him do that shout or swear in response to that. So from my perspective, that particular report is not correct,” Sullivan said. 

Earlier, Doocy had asked Sullivan about why Biden has allowed 32 days to pass between phone calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

KIRBY DODGES ANSWERING POINT-BLANK IF BIDEN BELIEVES NETANYAHU IMPEDES PEACE: ‘KNOWN EACH OTHER A LONG TIME’

“First of all, our teams are in contact every single day at every level. President Biden gets a daily – twice daily, sometimes nine times daily – update on what is going on. And he reserves his calls for the prime minister for when he believes there’s a clear, key strategic moment that needs to come forward,” Sullivan said. 

“Point two, the prime minister, of course, knows how to reach President Biden. If the Prime Minister felt he needed the president for some reason, he would have picked up the phone and called. And of course, in the last 32 days, President Biden has never declined a phone call from Prime Minister Netanyahu,” he added. 

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Sullivan said the gap was evident of “the normal give and take of two leaders, both operating their governments, both operating their foreign policies, both working with their teams, and then at a key inflection point in the dialogue between the two sides coming together and talking. I wouldn’t make more of it than that.”

CDC sends urgent warning about serious viral infection that was eradicated in US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an alert to public health officials warning that the number of U.S. measles cases this year has already matched the entirety of 2023.  

“From January 1 to March 14, 2024, CDC has been notified of 58 confirmed U.S. cases of measles across 17 jurisdictions, including seven outbreaks in seven jurisdictions compared to 58 total cases and four outbreaks reported the entire year in 2023,” it said Monday. 

“Among the 58 cases reported in 2024, 54 (93%) were linked to international travel,” the CDC continued, adding that, “Many countries, including travel destinations such as Austria, the Philippines, Romania, and the United Kingdom, are experiencing measles outbreaks.” 

The health agency said most cases reported in the U.S. this year have been among children aged 12 months and older who have not yet received the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. 

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The CDC describes measles as a “highly contagious viral illness” that “can cause severe health complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), and death, especially in unvaccinated persons.” 

“To prevent measles infection and reduce the risk of community transmission from importation, all U.S. residents traveling internationally, regardless of destination, should be current on their MMR vaccinations,” it said in the alert. “Healthcare providers should ensure children are current on routine immunizations, including MMR.” 

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The alert comes after one measles outbreak occured in Florida in February at an elementary school in Weston.  

The CDC also recently deployed personnel to help combat a measles outbreak at a migrant detention center in Chicago.

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“Given currently high population immunity against measles in most U.S. communities, the risk of widescale spread is low,” according to the CDC. “However, pockets of low coverage leave some communities at higher risk for outbreaks.”