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Comedian Hasan Minhaj Tells Congress That Student Borrowers Are ‘Treated Like Deadbeats’

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Comedian and talk show host Hasan Minhaj made Congress members on Capitol Hill laugh Tuesday as he described the serious repercussions facing the nation’s 45 million people who have student loan debts, NBC News reports.

“This issue is sidelining millions of Americans. People are putting off marriage, kids, homeownership and retirement — especially my generation,” Minhaj, 33, told the House Financial Services Committee.

Minhaj focused on student loans during an episode of his Netflix series, “Patriot Act,” earlier this year. And while he told the committee that he didn’t personally have to worry about post-college debt, he surveyed his audience of about 200 people and learned they collectively owed more than $6 million in student loans.

“Granted, our audience is mainly unemployed poly sci majors, but that’s still a lot of money,” he said.

North Carolina an Early Indicator for Trump’s 2020 Chances

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He added that “many borrowers are still treated like deadbeats because the government has put their financial futures in the hands of predatory, for-profit loan servicing companies.”

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Impossible’ Shoot Over New Virus – NBC4 Washington

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Paramount Pictures on Monday halted production on the seventh “Mission: Impossible” film due to the new virus, as Hollywood began to more drastically adapt to the growing global outbreak.

“Mission: Impossible 7″ had been scheduled to shoot for three weeks in Venice. More than 200 people have tested positive for the virus in Italy, the largest number outside Asia. While most of those cases are in the neighboring Lombardy region, authorities said three people in Venice have tested positive for the virus.

Tom Cruise talks about doing the “Top Gun” sequel 33 years after the classic was released and nerds out with Jimmy about their first vinyl records.

In a statement, Paramount cited the Venetian government’s halting of public gatherings, and said it was canceling the shoot “out of an abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of our cast and crew.”

Paramount also on Monday postponed the Chinese release of “Sonic the Hedgehog,” which had been set for Friday. Cinemas in China have been shuttered due to the outbreak, closing down the world’s second largest box-office market.

At stake is potentially hundreds of millions in ticket sales in China and elsewhere. Media stocks were among those that tumbled Monday on Wall Street as fears increased of the virus’ effect on the global economy.

Last week, the James Bond film “No Time to Die” canceled its planned Beijing premiere and promotional tour. The film is to open in Britain on April 2 and in North America on April 10.

The Walt Disney Co.’s anticipated live-action “Mulan” remake is also soon to open worldwide, with a particular focus on China. It’s due to open there on March 27.

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Vanessa Bryant’s Heartbreaking Speech at Memorial for Kobe and Gianna Brings Audience to Tears – NBC4 Washington

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Vanessa Bryant spoke intimately about love and loss Monday in front of a crowd of thousands at the memorial service honoring the lives of her husband Kobe, daughter Gianna and the other seven victims lost in the helicopter crash in Calabasas on Jan. 26.

She started by paying tribute to Gianna then Kobe.

“We will not be able to see Gigi go to high school,” she said. “We didn’t have the chance to teach her how to drive a car. I won’t be able to tell her how gorgeous she looks on her wedding day or see her walk down the aisle. She won’t have a father-daughter dance with her daddy or dance on the dance floor with me or have babies of her own. Gianna would have been an amazing mommy.”

Vanessa Bryant fought back tears as she described her daughter as a sweet, thoughtful soul who loved always kissing her mother good morning and goodnight.

Vanessa said Gianna loved swimming, singing along with hit songs, baking cookies and watching “Survivor” and NBA games with her father.

She said the 13-year-old loved basketball so much she even offered the boys’ school team advice. Vanessa predicted that Gianna could have become “the best player in the WNBA,” which the audience cheered.

In a crowd that included stars like Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce, Magic Johnson and Alex Rodriguez, Bryant spoke haltingly at times, emotion building in her voice as she carried on.

“Gianna had so much to offer this world,” she continued. “I cannot imagine life without her. Every day I love you.”

Then, speaking of her “soulmate” Kobe, Vanessa said she could never see him as a celebrity or star basketball player that the rest of the world saw. “He was my sweet husband and the beautiful father of our children. He was mine. He was my everything. Kobe loved me more than I could ever put into words. We balanced each other out. I have no idea how I deserved a man that loved and wanted me more than Kobe.”

Vanessa said God knew her husband and daughter couldn’t be on Earth without each other. “He had to bring them home to have them together, she said. “Babe, you take care of our Gigi…We love and miss you boo boo and Gigi. May you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day. We love you both and miss you forever and always …Mommy.”

Along with Bryant and his daughter, also killed in the crash were:

— John Altobelli, 56, longtime coach of the Orange Coast College baseball team, along with his wife, Keri, 46, and their 13-year-old daughter Alyssa, who was a teammate of Gianna on Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy basketball team;

— Sarah Chester, 45, and her 13-year-old daughter Payton, who also played with Gianna and Alyssa;

— Christina Mauser, 38, one of Bryant’s assistant coaches on the Mamba Academy team; and

— Ara Zobayan, 50, the helicopter pilot.

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Beyoncé Kicks Off Kobe Bryant’s Memorial With Performance of His ‘Favorite’ Song – NBC4 Washington

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Beyoncé is sending her love to a very close friend.

During Monday’s celebration of life ceremony for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant, “a very close friend of the Bryant family” helped kick off the very special event.

Joined by a special choir, Beyoncé took to the stage inside the Staples Center to perform her hit song “XO” followed by “Halo.”

“I’m here because I love Kobe and this was one of his favorite songs so I want to start that over but I want us to do it all together and I want you to sing it so loud that he hears your love,” she told the packed venue where Kobe played thousands of games as a Los Angeles Lakers basketball player. “Are you ready? Love you.”

Shortly after Kobe’s death, Beyoncé took to Instagram and honored the NBA legend with a photo of Kobe and his daughter.

PHOTOS: Kobe Bryant’s Family Album

“I will continue to diligently pray for your Queens,” she captioned the photo. “You are deeply missed beloved Kobe.”

Timeline: A Look Back at Kobe Bryant’s NBA Career

Beyoncé is just one of the many special guests expected to perform during the Celebration of Life. Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys are also expected to take the stage and deliver special performances.

To honor Kobe and Gianna’s legacy, the Mamba and Mambacita Foundation provides opportunities to young people through sports.  For more information or to donate, please click here.

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Harvey Weinstein Found Guilty in Landmark #MeToo Moment – NBC4 Washington

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Harvey Weinstein was convicted Monday of rape and sexual assault against two women and was immediately handcuffed and led off to jail, sealing his dizzying fall from powerful Hollywood studio boss to archvillain of the #MeToo movement.

The 67-year-old Weinstein had a look of resignation on his face as he heard the verdict that could send him to prison for up to 29 years.

“This is the new landscape for survivors of sexual assault in America, I believe, and it is a new day. It is a new day because Harvey Weinstein has finally been held accountable for crimes he committed,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said. “Weinstein is a vicious, serial sexual predator who used his power to threaten, rape, assault and trick, humiliate and silence his victims.”

Weinstein’s lawyers said they will appeal.

“Harvey is very strong. Harvey is unbelievably strong. He took it like a man,” defense attorney Donna Rotunno said. ” He knows that we will continue to fight for him, and we know that this is not over.”

The jury of seven men and five women took five days to find Weinstein guilty of sexually assaulting production assistant Mimi Haley in 2006 and raping an aspiring actress in a New York City hotel room in 2013.

He was acquitted on the most serious charges, two counts of predatory sexual assault, each carrying a sentence of up to life in prison. Both of those counts hinged on the word of “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra, who said Weinstein raped her and forcibly performed oral sex her at at her apartment in the mid-1990s.

The sexual assault charge carries up to 25 years in prison, while the third-degree rape count is punishable by up to four years. Sentencing was set for March 11.

Judge James Burke ordered Weinstein taken to jail immediately. Court officers surrounded Weinstein, handcuffed him and led him out of the courtroom via a side door without the use of the walker he relied on for much for much of the trial. The judge said he will ask that Weinstein, who had been free on bail since his arrest nearly two years ago, be held in the infirmary after his lawyers said he needs medical attention following unsuccessful back surgery.

The verdict followed weeks of often harrowing and excruciatingly graphic testimony from a string of accusers who told of rapes, forced oral sex, groping, masturbation, lewd propositions and that’s-Hollywood excuses from Weinstein about how the casting couch works.

The conviction was seen as a long-overdue reckoning for Weinstein after years of whispers about his behavior turned into a torrent of accusations in 2017 that destroyed his career and gave rise to #MeToo, the global movement to encourage women to come forward and hold powerful men accountable for their sexual misconduct.

In addition to the three women he was charged with attacking, three more women who said they, too, were attacked by Weinstein also testified as part of an effort by prosecutors to show a pattern of brutish behavior on his part.

“Weinstein with his manipulation, his resources, his attorneys, his publicists and his spies did everything he could to silence to survivors,” Vance said after the verdict. He saluted the women who came forward, saying they changed the court of history in the fight against sexual violence” and “pulled our justice system into the 21st century.”

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sex crimes unless they grant permission, as Haleyi and Sciorra did.

The jury signaled its struggles with the Sciorra charges four days into deliberations. On Friday, the jurors sent the judge a note indicating they were deadlocked on those counts but had reached a unanimous verdict on the others. The judge told them to keep on deliberating.

After the verdict, jury foreman Bernard Cody was asked as he left court how the deliberations were for him personally and responded: “Devastating.” He did not elaborate.

While Weinstein did not testify, his lawyers contended that any sexual contact was consensual and that his accusers went to bed with him to get ahead in Hollywood. The defense seized on the fact that the two women he was convicted of attacking stayed in contact with him through warm and even flirty emails — and had sex with him — well after he supposedly attacked them.

The hard-charging and phenomenally successful movie executive helped bring to the screen such Oscar winners as “Good Will Hunting,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The King’s Speech” and “Shakespeare in Love” and nurtured the careers of celebrated filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith.

Weinstein now faces charges in Los Angeles. In that case, announced just as the New York trial was getting under way on Jan. 6, authorities allege Weinstein raped one woman and sexually assaulted another on back-to-back nights during Oscars week in 2013.

The New York trial was the first criminal case to arise from a barrage of allegations against Weinstein from more than 90 women, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and Uma Thurman. Most of those cases were too old to prosecute.

During the trial, Weinstein regularly trudged into the courthouse stooped and unshaven, using a walker after recently undergoing back surgery — a far cry from the way he was depicted in court as a burly, “Jekyll-and-Hyde” figure whose eyes seemed to turn black with menace when his anger flared.

“If he heard the word ‘no,’ it was like a trigger for him,” his rape accuser testified.

Several women testified that Weinstein excused his behavior as the price for getting ahead in Hollywood. One said that when she laughed off his advances, he sneered, “You’ll never make it in this business. This is how this industry works.”

The jury heard lurid testimony that Weinstein injected himself with a needle to get an erection, that his genitals appeared disfigured, that he sent Sciorra a box of chocolate penises and that he once showed up uninvited at her hotel room door in his underwear with a bottle of baby oil in one hand and a video in the other.

The prosecution’s task was made more complicated because Haleyi testified that she had sex with him two weeks after she was supposedly attacked, while the rape accuser whose name was withheld said she had a sexual encounter with him more than three years afterward.

Like Haleyi, she sent Weinstein friendly and sometimes flirtatious emails, such as “Miss you big guy” and “I love you, always do. But I hate feeling like a booty call.”

During a cross-examination from Weinstein’s lawyers so exhaustive that she broke down in tears on the stand, the woman said she sent him flattering emails and kept seeing him because she was afraid of his unpredictable anger and “I wanted him to believe I wasn’t a threat.”

To blunt that line of questioning, prosecutors called to the witness stand a forensic psychiatrist who said that most sexual assault victims continue to have contact with their attackers and that they hope what happened to them “is just an aberration.”

During closing arguments, Rotunno charged that Weinstein had become “the target of a cause and a movement” — #MeToo — and asked the jury to ignore “outside forces.” She said the case against Weinstein amounted to “regret renamed as rape,” arguing that the women exercised their free will to try to further their careers.

Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon told the jury that Weinstein considered himself such a big shot in Hollywood that he thought he could get away with treating women as “complete disposables.”

“The universe is run by me and they don’t get to complain when they get stepped on, spit on, demoralized and, yes, raped and abused by me — the king,” she said, mimicking Weinstein.

Rumors about Weinstein’s behavior swirled in Hollywood circles for a long time, but he managed to silence many accusers with payoffs, nondisclosure agreements and the constant fear that he could crush their careers if they spoke out.

Weinstein was finally arrested in May 2018, seven months after The New York Times and The New Yorker exposed his alleged misconduct in stories that would win the Pulitzer Prize.

Among other men taken down by the #MeToo movement since the scandal broke: news anchors Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, actor Kevin Spacey and Sen. Al Franken.

Weinstein, the product of a working-class family from Queens, achieved success at two movie studios he created with his brother Bob: Miramax — named for their parents, Miriam and Max — and then the Weinstein Co.

The Weinstein Co. went bankrupt after his disgrace. A tentative settlement was reached last year to resolve nearly all lawsuits stemming from the scandal. It would pay Weinstein’s alleged victims about $25 million, but he would not have to admit any wrongdoing or personally pay anything; the studio’s insurance companies would cover the cost.

___

On Twitter, follow Michael Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak and Tom Hays at twitter.com/aptomhays

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Shawn Johnson Reveals the 3 Types of Mom-Shamers Who Criticize her – NBC4 Washington

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Shawn Johnson has already figured out that there are three main categories of mom shaming when it comes to dealing with infants: car seats, head stabilization and socks.

Mom shaming comments are enough to drive any parent up a wall, but Johnson has a remarkably cool-headed approach when it comes to handling judgmental comments on social media.

“You just kind of figure out that the mommy shamers are overly passionate moms themselves who have figured out something that works for them and now they’re preaching the gospel of it,” she told E! News.

Johnson, 28, and her husband, football player Andrew East, 28, are first-time parents to daughter Drew Hazel, who they welcomed last November.

The Olympic gold medalist said she has been especially shamed for anything car seat related, from setting Drew’s car seat on the ground to the placement of the chest buckle.

When Drew isn’t wearing socks, people love to take note. “Instagram has an affinity with socks,” she explained. “If your baby’s not wearing socks, she’s always cold. She’s freezing.”

And people don’t seem to believe that the infant has the neck strength to hold up her head, Johnson added.

Earlier this month, self-appointed parenting experts sounded off in the comments after Johnson shared a video of 3-month-old Drew doing her “first flip.”

Rather than let the criticism roll off her back, Johnson responded to one person, “Were you holding her? Have you physically felt her sweat when she wears socks? Or felt her strength when she stands? Or seen her fuss until she stands up because she hates laying down? Nope. You haven’t. I’m her mama. I know.”

But Johnson said she isn’t going to let the comments faze her.

“You have to take it with a grain of salt and be like, ‘Okay, it worked for you, it didn’t work for us, so we’re going to do this instead,” she said.

This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY:

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