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Florida man stranded on lake fountain after stolen swan boat drifts away

Firefighters rescued a Florida man early Friday who was stranded on Lake Eola’s  iconic Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain after the swan-shaped paddle boat he allegedly stole drifted away, the Orlando Police Department said.

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Police said they were dispatched to an unknown trouble call shortly after 3:45 a.m. when a person at the Post Parkside apartments reported that a man who was standing on the fountain was shouting for help.

Firefighters donned dry suits and used a different city-owned boat to rescue the stranded man from downtown Orlando’s centerpiece, investigators said.

Police said the man, whose identity hasn't been released, was taken to a hospital for an unknown reason.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle set May wedding date

Royal watchers now have the date of the royal nuptials.

May 19, 2018, will be the day that Prince Harry and his fiancée, Meghan Markle, will be married at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

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Kensington Palace, the official Twitter account of the royal family, posted the announcement Friday morning.

The couple announced their engagement Nov. 27, The Associated Press reported

Markle will be spending the Christmas holidays with her betrothed and his family, including his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II at Sandringham, the royal estate in Norfolk, north of London, The AP reported.

What it’s like decorating a Tournament of Roses Parade float

Sports fans watching the 2018 Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 will be eager to see if No. 3 Georgia can get past No. 2 Oklahoma when the teams meet at the College Football Playoff semifinal in Pasadena, Calif.

One local florist will be watching the preceding Tournament of Roses Parade with a trained and appreciative eye.

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“It was one of the most fantastic things I’ve ever done,” said K. Mike Whittle, who helped decorate a parade float years ago. “You learn so much.”

As operator of K. Mike Whittle Unique Floral Designs just off the Marietta Square, he doesn’t have a lot of free time at any point in the year. Certainly not during the holiday season. But with the University of Georgia heading to the Rose Bowl for just the second time ever, he let us tag along the other day while he set up for a party at the the Hilton Atlanta Marietta Hotel & Conference Center so we could press him for intel.

The main takeway: you just cannot believe how many flowers go into all those floats.

“We used 35,000 roses,” he said, his voice still full of awe at the memory. “I was a kid in a candy store with all those flowers. They didn’t know me from Adam’s house cat but they turned me loose.”

A Marietta native who got his start as an entrepreneurial kid who would dig cattails from a ditch and sell them to an area flower shop, Whittle was working in Carrollton when he got the call to go west.

“It really steamed up my career,” he said. He didn’t love getting up on scaffolding to attend to the top of the float, but otherwise enjoyed learning floral problem-solving skills on that big a stage. “We worked 29 hours straight. It just showed me yeah, it can be done.”

The annual parade, older than the football contest, dates back to Jan. 1, 1890. That first year, horse-drawn buggies festooned with blooms were meant to echo a festival of roses in Nice, France. Two years later, winter weather threatened the supply of roses and nearly turned the event into the “Orange Tournament,” but the fledgling tradition held.

Automobiles showed up in 1901 and were shoved to the back of the parade, so they wouldn’t spook the horses. The following year saw the first merger of flora and football, when the University of Michigan rolled over Stanford University, 49-0. One year, 1913, organizers thought a camel vs. elephant road race would be fun. The elephant won, and the species’ record remains unbroken as there have been no similar matchups since.

Famed zookeeper Jack Hanna rode on the float Whittle worked on in 2002, accompanied by giant botanical tigers, monkeys and exotic birds. If your Rose Bowl party plans call for slightly less elaborate floral decor, Whittle likes roses (of course) as well as red ginger and anthurium.

“Carnations are not bad, either. It’s a sturdy football kind of rose,” said Whittle, who has created displays incorporating football helmets.

Proper hydration is key – he’ll give newly arrived blooms a couple of days to drink up before placing them in arrangements – and he uses a sharp knife, not scissors, to ensure a clean, angled cut.

Then again, he mused, there’s one major flub people make when setting out to arrange flowers.

“That is the mistake,” he said with a twinkle, “doing it yourself.”

US Marine helicopter window falls from sky, injures child

A 20-pound window of a US Marine Corps helicopter fell off in mid-flight onto a school playing field Tuesday, slightly injuring a child on the Japanese island of Okinawa, CNN reported. 

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US Forces Japan said in a statement that the window of a CH-53 transport helicopter fell onto a sports field at an elementary school outside Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.

"We take this report extremely seriously and are investigating the cause of this incident in close coordination with local authorities," the statement said. "This is a regrettable incident and we apologize for any anxiety it has caused the community."

The child was not seriously injured, CNN reported.

Three sisters, three Ivy League colleges

Community college probably won’t cut the mustard when two sisters get accepted into the Ivy Leagues.

Xaviera Rowan found out this week where she was going to school and it was met with cheers from her fellow classmates from Democracy Prep Harlem High School, WNBC reported.

Xaviera’s oldest sister, Chris, was accepted to Dartmouth College two years ago. Last year it was Ella and Yale. 

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This year, Xaviera found out she is going to be a freshman at Harvard University, WNBC reported.

The family’s story is a true American Dream tale.

They immigrated from Cameroon and didn’t speak much English when they arrived in the United States, except for phrases they picked up watching television.

“We started learning English, going to the library, reading books and using dictionaries,” Xaviera told WNBC.

“We essentially had to learn English within a period of six months before standardized exams,” Chris said.

The girls said their parents made education a priority at all times and credit the school Democracy Prep for their success, WNBC reported.

In 1998, ‘The Simpsons’ predicted Disney would buy Fox

Doh! Another prediction comes true on the long-running “The Simpsons” animated sitcom.

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In 1998, the sitcom predicted that The Walt Disney Company would buy 21st Century Fox. In other episodes, the show also has forecasted the presidency of Donald Trump and a Super Bowl halftime show featuring Lady Gaga. NBC News reported. 

Here’s a rundown:

Disney buys 21st Century Fox

This prediction came from the episode “When You Dish Upon a Star,” from the fifth episode of Season 10, NBC News reported. In this 1998 show, Homer Simpson pitches a script to Hollywood producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. In one scene, a sign outside a studio lot reads “20th Century Fox, A Division of Walt Disney Co.”

Donald Trump as president 

In “Bart to the Future” from Season 11, Episode 17 in 2000, Lisa Simpson is the new president of the United States. Her task is to dig the country out of a financial mess created by her predecessor , Donald Trump. 

Lady Gaga lands in the Super Bowl

In 2012, "Lisa Goes Gaga" appeared in Episode 22 of Season 23.. Lady Gaga visits the Simpsons’ hometown of Springfield and performs in concert. She descends to the stage from a helicopter in a harness. And that’s what she did this past Feb. 5 at Super Bowl LI at Houston’s NRG Stadium.

After Trump won the presidential election in November 2016, the show featured a flashback to its 2000 prediction, The Huffington Post reported. In the opening credits, Bart Simpson is shown writing on a chalkboard the phrase “Being right sucks.”

Family awarded $48 million in lawsuit over child's torture death

A jury awarded $48 million to the family of an 8-year-old girl who was tortured and killed in 2013 in a negligence lawsuit filed against the doctor who treated her, The Chicago Tribune reported.

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Jurors deliberated for two hours Wednesday before finding that child-abuse pediatrician Norell Rosado was medically negligent in his treatment of Gizzell Ford, the Tribune reported.

Rosado treated the child for several weeks before she was found strangled, starved and beaten inside her grandmother’s Chicago apartment. 

Helen Ford, the girl’s paternal grandmother, is serving a life sentence for the slaying, the Tribune reported. The girl’s father also was charged, but died in jail in August 2014 while awaiting trial, WLS reported.

Rosado denied the allegations in the lawsuit, testifying at trial that he only found "nonspecific" and "non-suspicious" abrasions on the child.

“We just wanted justice for Gizzell, and in our eyes we got it,” said the child’s mother, Sandra Mercado. “I just hope this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

The lawsuit filed by the girl’s family accused Rosado of failing to immediately alert authorities to possible signs of abuse, failing to ask basic questions about the injuries he uncovered in an exam and failing to properly document his findings, the Tribune reported. He examined Gizzell as part of a molestation investigation initiated by the Fords against her mother’s boyfriend.

Police use Taser on Florida middle school student

A school resource officer in Florida used a Taser on a middle school student while trying to break up a fight between her and another female student on Thursday, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

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The fight occurred after school in the bus circle at Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School, the Pinellas Park Police Department said.

The officer tried to break up the fight but one of the students ignored him and resisted, police said. She then "verbally threatened the officer, and then attempted to run,” police said.

The officer then used his Taser to stun the student, the Times reported. She was treated for minor injuries, police said.

The other student involved in the fight boarded her school bus and left campus. School officials will determine what disciplinary action or charges that student could face, the Times reported.

Eighth planet found orbiting distant star

An eighth planet has been discovered orbiting a star 2,545 light-years from Earth, NASA announced Thursday.

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The star, called Kepler-90, is located in the Draco constellation. It is the first known star to have as many planets orbiting it as our solar system does, NASA said.

NASA scientists had known about seven planets orbiting Kepler-90. The eighth planet -- dubbed Kepler-90i -- is a hot, rocky planet that orbits its star once every 14.4 days, NASA said. By contrast, in our solar system, Mercury, the closest planet to the sun, has an orbit of 88 days.

Kepler-90i was found using machine learning from Google Artificial Intelligence. In this case, computers learned to identify planets by finding in Kepler data instances where the telescope recorded signals from planets beyond our solar system, known as exoplanets, NASA said. 

Christopher Shallue, senior software engineer at Google AI in California, told CNN that, “Machine learning really shines in situations where there is so much data that humans can't search it for themselves.”

Watch: He’s going to Harvard, and Louisiana student’s reaction is priceless

It has been quite a week for two Louisiana brothers. Both were accepted into big-name colleges, and separate videos of their reactions have gone viral.

>> Read more trending news

On Tuesday, 16-year-old Ayrton Little and his classmates at T.M. Landry College Preparatory waited as he opened his email to see if he had been accepted into Harvard University’s 2019-2020 class, WAFB reported. The junior’s reaction is priceless when he gets the good news.

His classmates shout “three-peat,” as it is the third consecutive year that a T.M. Landry student has been accepted to Harvard, WAFB reported. 

Ayrton said he plans to major in applied math and computer science.

His celebration came on the heels of a joyous day for his older brother, Alexander Little. On Friday, Alexander got the news that he had been accepted into Stanford University.

Alexander said he plans to major in physics with a minor in computer science.

Police: Georgia shopper beaten, shot at in Kroger parking lot

A shopper was robbed, beaten and shot at in the parking lot of a Georgia grocery store, police said.

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His assailants also told the man to “stop moving or (I’m going to have to) kill you,” according to the report.

The incident happened about midnight Wednesday, which is one hour before closing time at the Kroger on Old National Highway, according to a new police report.

The customer, described as a 47-year-old College Park resident, was putting groceries in his car when two armed robbers walked up to him, demanded his wallet and cellphone, and pistol-whipped him, Fulton police said.

“I’m just minding my own business,” the victim told the robbers. “I’m trying to go home. Just leave me alone.”

The encounter started when one of the men asked the victim for his car keys and he refused, according to the report.

“Give me your wallet instead,” the robber said.

At that point, the victim started resisting.

“Stop moving or (I’m going to have to) kill you,” one of the robbers told him.

The robber then snatched at the victim’s wallet, causing it to fall. An accomplice picked it up and one of the men cocked a firearm, according to the report.

“Open your car,” one of the men said. “We going to ride together. I should kill you right now for resisting.”

The robber hit the victim on the left side of his head, police said.

The victim started walking quickly toward the grocery store, and that’s when he heard at least one gunshot and saw a store window shatter, according to the police report.

Fulton County police Officer Sherton Hutchins, who was in the area doing a business check, heard the shot. 

The officer then saw two men in gray clothes sprint across Old National Highway. Hutchins ran toward the victim while others searched the area for the two robbers, police said.

They have not been found.

Detectives are now looking at surveillance video for clues into who the robbers are. Kroger spokesman Felix Turner said that store officials were “in full cooperation with local authorities to provide any information as they investigate the incident.”

In a statement, he said Kroger is committed to providing a secure environment for all customers.

“As part of this commitment,” Turner said, “Kroger has invested in several measures at the Old National Highway location, including in-store security, security patrol in the parking lot, surveillance equipment and associate training. “

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler opens Janie’s House for abused girls 

The first thing you see when you walk into Janie’s House is a quote painted in script on the wall: “They say the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

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Those words from Mark Twain would resonate with anyone.

But Steven Tyler turned them into a mission.

On Nov. 1, the first-ever Janie’s House opened off a secluded road in Douglasville as part of the campus for Youth Villages, the nonprofit organization that helps emotionally and behaviorally troubled children.

The residential facility serves girls aged 12-18 who are survivors of abuse and neglect and gives them the opportunity to engage in group and individual counseling, along with other therapies, such as drumming and animal. It currently houses nine girls and has a capacity of 16.

When Tyler sashayed into Janie’s House for the first time in early December to participate in the official “scarf cutting,” he was greeted by the energetic rhythm provided by two rows of staff and kids from Youth Villages, who exhibited talents gleaned from the therapeutic drumming program.

After removing some of the jewelry weighing on his fingers, Tyler sat next to drummer girl Tatiana Rolles and seamlessly picked up the cadence on his own drum.

Tyler was motivated to begin his Janie’s Fund after a 2014 Aerosmith concert at Philips Arena, when he spent an afternoon with some of the abused girls at Youth Villages.

A year later, on the 26th anniversary of Aerosmith’s hit song about abuse, “Janie’s Got a Gun,” Tyler launched Janie’s Fund, which is housed within the Youth Villages Foundation. From it, Janie’s House emerged.

>> Related: Steven Tyler says it wasn't heart attack that cut tour short

“You adopted me and my philosophy. To be a part of this has been…it’s nothing more than a beautiful thing,” he told the Youth Villages team gathered at the opening.

Tyler grew up in the Bronx, where he said he was beaten up regularly by the neighborhood kids and floundered without purpose until he discovered music. He talked about his stints in rehab and how he discovered there that there were, “a lot more girls who are abused.”

According to Youth Villages, more than 68,000 children are raped or sexually abused each year in the United States.

“I always thought that I could have a Janie’s House,” he said, visibly moved by the surroundings.

Even with his busy schedule of recording, touring and being one of the most recognizable rock stars in the world, Tyler was deeply involved in the creation of the house, a refurbished existing Youth Villages building.

“Steven designed everything, from the logos to the quotes in the rooms to the color scheme,” said Youth Villages CEO Patrick Lawler, gesturing at the navy blue butterflies squiggled on the walls around more quotes, some from Aerosmith’s classic “Dream On,” and other inspirational phrases.

The goal of the house, Lawler said, is to provide these traumatized girls a place to stay. The goal is to help them through difficult situations and eventually reunite them with their families, but some may go to foster care.

During the Janie’s House presentation, 15-year-old Skylar, a transgender male who had moved into the house three weeks prior, addressed the gathered throng with heart and courage.

>> Related: Steven Tyler announces illness, Aerosmith cancels tour dates

Being at Janie’s House was, “the greatest experience of my life,” he said, after detailing a life spent hopping through eight previous mental facilities and struggles with PTSD and manic depression.

“I have learned that not everything in the past is my fault,” he said through tears.

When finished, he walked a few feet over to Tyler, who wrapped the teenager in a hug, his eyes scrunched closed as he pulled Skylar closer.

No doubt, Tyler found an answer as to why he was born.

Police: Drug dealers left mother of 9 to die from overdose

Authorities in Ohio are searching for two drug dealers who allegedly left a mother of nine to die from a drug overdose, according to Middletown Police.

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Investigators were called to a home Wednesday night where they found a woman dead from a fatal overdose of heroin, according to the department’s Facebook page.

The woman was with “friends” who let her die in front of her nine children, police officials said on Facebook. The two men also stole money from the dying woman.

Police are looking for two white males, possibly a father/son team.

“It has disturbed us so much that it’s time for us to make a difference,” the police department’s social media post said. “Their father is a hard worker. He has tried to make ends meet, but it’s a vicious cycle.”

Middletown police are accepting donations of clothes, coats, blankets, food, a stove, a refrigerator, and toys for the children.

The kids range in age from 1-14, according to the police department. The girls are ages 14, 5, 3 and 1. The boys are ages 13, 11, 10, 6 and 2.

Donations have started to come, according to Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw.

>> Related: Drunk man steals taxi, crashes through gates of Trump’s Florida golf  course, police say

Muterspaw said one donor gave $9,000 — $1,000 for each child.

Another 8-planet solar system? 7 things about Kepler’s ‘sizzling’ discovery

Looks like our solar system isn’t the only one out there with eight planets circling around a single star.

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NASA scientists, along with Google engineers, used artificial intelligence to discover a new, scorching hot planet in the Kepler-90 solar system, bringing the total number of planets circling the Sun-like star to eight, the agency announced Thursday.

>> Related: Breathtaking NASA time-lapse shows how much Earth has changed over 20 years

Scientists used Google machine learning to teach computers how to identify planets in the light readings recorded by NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope.

Here’s what you should know about the new discovery, according to Thursday’s live teleconference:

What exactly is the Kepler mission?

The Kepler mission, NASA Discovery’s tenth mission, first launched in March 2009 with a goal to survey the Milky Way and hunt for Earth-size and smaller planets near the galaxy or “habitable” regions of planets’ parent stars.

In 2014, the Kepler space telescope began a new extended mission called K2, which continues the hunt for planets outside our solar system along with its other cosmic tasks.

>> Related: Follow NASA’s Kepler and K2 missions 

According to Space.com, “Kepler spots alien worlds by noticing the tiny brightness dips they cause when they cross the face of their host star from the spacecraft's perspective.”

Since 2009, Kepler has discovered thousands of exoplanets ranging between Earth-size and Neptune-size (four times the size of Earth).

As of Dec. 14, Kepler has confirmed 2,341 exoplanets.

How did NASA find the planet?

Researchers Christopher Shallue (Google AI software engineer) and Andrew Vanderburg (NASA astronomer) were inspired by the way neurons in the human brain connect and adapted the “neural network” concept to machine learning.

They taught computers how to identify planets in the light readings recorded by the Kepler telescope by first training them to search for the weaker signals in 670 star systems that already had multiple planets.

>> Related: Amazing NASA photos through the years 

“Their assumption was that multiple-planet systems would be the best places to look for more exoplanets,” researchers wrote in the press release.

Using this concept, the network “found weak transit signals from a previously-missed eighth planet orbiting Kepler-90, in the constellation Draco.”

Their findings will be published in The Astronomical Journal.

Would humans have found the planet without machine learning?

Without machine learning, it would have taken humans much longer to scan the recorded signals from planets beyond our solar system (exoplanets), Shallue said. Kepler’s four-year dataset consists of 35,000 possible planetary signals. 

>> Related: 15,000 scientists warn it will soon be 'too late' to save Earth

Additionally, people are likely to miss the weaker signals that machine learning was able to identify.

Won’t this form of automation put astronomers out of work?

"This will absolutely work alongside astronomers," Jessie Dotson, Kepler’s project scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, said in a press briefing. "You're never going to take that piece out."

Researchers hope astronomers will use this form of automation via machine learning as a tool to help astronomers make more of an impact, increase their productivity and inspire more people become astronomers.

Read more here.

WATCH: Sheep runs off with baby Jesus in hilarious church nativity program

A nativity scene performed by children didn’t go quite as planned at a Baptist church in White Pine, Tennessee.

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A little girl playing a sheep decided she wanted the baby Jesus for herself.

The children in the nativity scene were singing “Away in a Manager,” when the sheep suddenly stood up and grabbed the doll, which was in a manger, surrounded by other children who were playing Mary, Joseph, an angel and others. 

Well snatching the baby didn’t go over very well with the little girl playing Mary. She grabbed the doll back from the sheep and put it back in the manger. That didn’t sit well with the sheep, who grabbed the baby Jesus back again and danced across the stage. 

Mary had had enough and went after the sheep for a second time. She grabbed the sheep from behind, trying to reach around for the doll, dragging the sheep and doll back to the stable.

>> Related: Man puts 14-foot-tall “A Christmas Story” leg lamp in front yard

At this point the laughing adult onlookers in the congregation decided it was time for an intervention.

The video was posted on Facebook and has been shared thousands of times.

Actress Halle Berry ‘done with love’ after latest break-up

Halle Berry doesn’t need a man and she has the Instagram story to prove it.

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On Wednesday, the actress reportedly shared a photo on her Instagram story of a rope shaped like a heart and the words “done with love” along with three flexing muscle emojis. The post comes just hours after US Weeklyreported that she had split from her music producer boyfriend, Alex Da Kid.

Ahead of the split, Berry took a rather cryptic tone on Instagram. Sharing a photo of the back of her head, Berry wrote, “Grow out got me feelin’ some kinda way every day ain’t perfect…”

The actress has two children from previous relationships, Maceo, 3 and Nahla, 9. She was previously married to David Justice from 1992 to 1997, then wed Eric Benét in 2001 but the two split in 2005. She married Olivier Martinez in 2013 and the two finalized their divorce in 2016.

Bullets aimed at officers' chests stopped by vests

A man opened fire on two police officers who were 15 feet away from him on Thursday morning, striking them with bullets that would have hit their chests if not for their bulletproof vests, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The vests might have saved the officers’ lives, KTVI reported. The pair was conscious and speaking Thursday after the shooting in Bellefontaine Neighbors, according to the news station. They were released from a hospital on Thursday afternoon after getting treatment for their injuries, St. Louis County police said.

Bellefontaine Neighbors Mayor Bob Doerr told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the injured officers were a 44-year-old male sergeant who has worked in law enforcement for “half his life” and a 25-year-old female police officer who was hired in 2014.

"They were wearing their bulletproof vests, so thank God," Doerr old the Post-Dispatch

The officers were injured around 7:30 a.m. after being called Thursday morning to a home in north St. Louis County where a man was suspected of having fired multiple shots on Wednesday night, KTVI reported. Police left the home Wednesday after finding no evidence to continue an investigation, St. Louis County police Sgt. Shawn McGuire told KMOV.

He told the news station that a neighbor called authorities Thursday morning after spotting the man who was suspected of firing the shots. Officers said they found the person walking in the area and tried to talk to him, but St. Louis County police said they were unsuccessful.

“Officers tried to take the suspect into custody, at which time the suspect resisted arrest,” police said. “One of the officers attempted to use a Taser to control the suspect, but was unsuccessful.”

Authorities said the man then pulled out a gun and fired shots at the officers’ chests.

One of the officers returned fire, but it was not immediately clear if the man was hit. He ran into a home, where he barricaded himself for hours before police officers were able to take him into custody Thursday afternoon.

Witness Steve Jones told KMOV he spotted police officers Thursday morning in the front yard of a home on Bellefontaine Road.

“All of a sudden, I (see) ... Bellefontaine officers trying to take this man to the ground, and the next thing I know, this man jumps up off the ground and I see pepper spray being deployed from the officers,” Jones told KMOV. “This man backs up about 15 feet and starts shooting.”

He said he heard several gunshots and saw the officers fall to the ground. He told KMOV he called 911.

Police did not immediately identify the man accused of firing shots at police or either of the injured officers.

This is what 12 Diet Cokes a day can do to your body, according to nutritionists

Do you love Diet Coke? Love it enough to drink a dozen of them in a day

According to a recently published New York Times article on a day in the life of the commander-in-chief , President Donald Trump reportedly downs a dozen cans of the soda a day. 

>> Read more trending news 

“Watching cable, he shares thoughts with anyone in the room, even the household staff he summons via a button for lunch or for one of the dozen Diet Cokes he consumes each day,” read a passage in the article. 

The caffeine may give him an energy boost, but is that excessive? Atlanta nutritionist Page Love of Nutri Fit Sport Therapy Inc. certainly thinks so. 

“Drinking that much soda a day is taking the place of other hydrating beverages. It is a not nutritive beverage thus is not providing adequate hydration,” she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

In fact, consuming fizzy drinks can up your risk for diabetes and strokes, according to a recent studyconducted by researchers from universities in South Africa

They found that consuming just two sugar-sweetened drinks a week could increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 42 percent. And one sugar-sweetened drink can significantly elevate blood pressure. 

>> Related: Here's how many fizzy, sugary drinks a week it takes to increase stroke risk

While agencies set regulatory acceptable daily intakes for food additives, including sugar substitutes found in Diet Coke, to keep people safe, Rahaf Al Bochi, an Atlanta-based registered dietitian and nutritionist and owner of Olive Tree Nutrition said “these drinks do not provide added health benefits or nutrients.”

Diabetes and strokes aren’t the only ailments people should be concerned about as it relates to these beverages. Sugary beverages may cause people to crave sweets even more.

“There has been some research that the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas may cause us to crave sweets even more because the sweetness intensity is so high,” Love explained. “The brain senses a sweet food coming in but is left both psychologically and physically unsatisfied. There may be an metabolic reaction to the artificial sweeteners, especially sucralose, similar like sugar.”

They could also potentially harm the heart, other research suggests.

Canadian scientists said artificial sweeteners (like stevia, aspartame or sucralose) may actually lead to heart disease, higher risk of obesity and high blood pressure.

Their observational studies showed that the people who consumed low-calorie sweeteners were actually more likely to face an increased chance of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and other related cardiovascular issues.

That’s why Love and Al Bochi encourage people to drink water.

>> Related: Teen dead after caffeine overdose from energy drinks, soda, coffee

“Water is the best drink for people because it’s sugar-free and calorie-free. You can add cucumber slices, lemon or mint to add flavor to your water. Other beverage options include low fat milk, unsweetened tea, and herbal teas,” Al Bochi advises. 

Decaffeinated beverages can help with hydration, too. “Food group-based beverages,” Love said, “are good hydrators and give us the benefit of that food group nutrition!”

Woman jailed after subjecting son to 323 hospital visits, 13 major surgeries 

A Texas woman is jailed on charges related to allegations that she subjected her young son to more than a dozen unnecessary surgeries and hundreds of unneeded hospital visits.

>> Read more trending news 

Kaylene Bowen-Wright, 34, is in the Dallas County Jail on a charges of 

injury to a child with serious bodily injury, according to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.

Bowen-Wright is accused of subjecting her 8-year-old son Christopher Bowen to 13 surgeries and 323 hospital visits starting after he was born in 2009, the newspaper reported.

The boy has been placed on oxygen, used a wheelchair at times and underwent invasive procedures, including insertion of a feeding tube, in his short life.

Texas Child Protective Services also confirmed Bowen-Wright tried to get her son on a lung transplant list and had placed him in hospice care at one point.

Doctors and CPS agents eventually determined there was nothing wrong with the child and placed him in foster care, along with two half siblings, according to KTVT.

Bowen-Wright’s behavior could be related to a disorder known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental health issue in which a caregiver invents or causes an illness.

>> Related: Mother, daughter arrested, accused of beating student at bus stop

The boy’s father, Ryan Crawford, who was ordered by a Texas court to stay away from the boy in 2012 because he didn’t believe all the illness claims by Bowen-Wright, told KTVT he’s trying to get custody of his son. Crawford is also critical of the doctors and courts that allowed the boy to undergo such abuse for so long before it was stopped.

“It’s horrible for my son, or any kid because obviously my son is not the only one that has had to go through this type of torture,” he said.

Bowen-Wright’s bail was set at $150,000.

Salma Hayek calls Harvey Weinstein ‘a monster’ in New York Times piece

Salma Hayek has come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against film producer Harvey Weinstein.

In a first-person story written for The New York Times, the actress describes Weinstein as “a passionate cinephile, a risk taker, a patron of talent in film, a loving father and a monster.”

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Hayek, who previously said she was bullied by Weinstein in the wake of initial public sexual misconduct and rape allegations against the producer, is sharing details of sexual harassment on the set of the 2002 movie “Frida,” about the life of famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

Hayek said that she knew little of Weinstein and what she did know was from her relationship with director Robert Rodriguez and his then-wife, producer Elizabeth Avellan.

Related: 3 women accuse Harvey Weinstein of rape, report says

“All I knew of Harvey at the time was that he had a remarkable intellect, he was a loyal friend and a family man,” she wrote.

“Knowing what I know now, I wonder if it wasn’t my friendship with them — and Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney — that saved me from being raped.”

Hayek was initially set to work on the movie about the artist with a different company, but said she fought to get the movie back and work with Weinstein on it.

Eventually, she said she turned down multiple advances from Weinstein. Hayek said he showed up unexpectedly at numerous locations and different hotels, asked her to take a shower with him, let him watch her shower, give her a massage and get naked with another woman, among other advances.

“And with every refusal came Harvey’s Machiavellian rage,” Hayek said.

“The range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words, ‘I will kill you, don’t think I can’t,’” Hayek said. 

According to the actress, those refusals led Weinstein to offer the role and the script Hayek worked on for years to someone else.

“At that point, I had to resort to using lawyers, not by pursuing a sexual harassment case, but by claiming “bad faith,” as I had worked so hard on a movie that he was not intending to make or sell back to me,” she said. “I tried to get it out of his company.”

Related: Ashley Judd accuses Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment

Hayek said once she was able to retain involvement in the film, she was told the only way people would be interested in it with her as the star is with an element of sex. 

“The only thing he noticed was that I was not sexy in the movie. He made me doubt if I was any good as an actress, but he never succeeded in making me think that the film was not worth making,” she said.

“He offered me one option to continue. He would let me finish the film if I agreed to do a sex scene with another woman. And he demanded full-frontal nudity.”

USA Today reported that Weinstein responded to Hayek with a statement through his spokeswoman Holly Baird.

“Mr. Weinstein regards Salma Hayek as a first-class actress and cast her in several of his movies, among them ‘Once Upon a Time in Mexico,’ ‘Dogma,’ and ‘Studio 54.’ He was very proud of her Best Actress Academy Award nomination for ‘Frida’ and continues to support her work. “While Jennifer Lopez was interested in playing Frida and at the time was a bigger star, Mr. Weinstein overruled other investors to back Salma as the lead. Miramax put up half of the money and all of the P&A; the budget was over 12 million. As in most collaborative projects, there was creative friction on ‘Frida,’ but it served to drive the project to perfection. The movie opened in multiple theaters and was supported by a huge advertising campaign and an enormous Academy Awards budget. “Mr. Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female costar and he was not there for the filming. However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms. Hayek with Geoffrey Rush. The original uni-brow used was an issue because it diverted attention from the performances. All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired. “Ed Norton, who was Ms. Hayek’s boyfriend at the time, (worked with Mr. Weinstein on the rewrite of the script in Mexico) did a brilliant job of rewriting the script and Mr. Weinstein battled the WGA to get him a credit on the film. His effort was unsuccessful to everyone’s disappointment. “By Mr. Weinstein’s own admission, his boorish behavior following a screening of ‘Frida’ was prompted by his disappointment in the cut of the movie—and a reason he took a firm hand in the final edit, alongside the very skilled director Julie Taymor.”
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