MPs' security costs skyrocket after Jo Cox murder
MPs' security costs skyrocket after Jo Cox murder

The jump for 2016/17 of 14 times the previous year comes amid a 7% increase for total travel, accommodation and substience costs.

The amount of money MPs are spending on security has skyrocketed following the murder of Jo Cox, new figures show.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority's latest accounts show MPs spent £2.5m on security in 2016/17 - up from £170,000 the previous year.

IPSA chair Ruth Evans said the rise was a reminder that "we take the security of MPs, and that of their families and their staff, very seriously".

The figure is 14 times that of the previous year, and forms part of the annual report of MPs expenses.

Topping the list of claims was Labour's Jamie Reed with £243,279, with the SNP's Alex Salmond just behind with £235,128.

Mr Reed stood down from the Copeland seat he had represented since 2005 at the June general election, while Mr Salmond was ousted from his Gordon seat.

Other SNP MPs - including Brendan O'Hara, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh and Alison Thewliss - heavily dominated the top 10 claimers.

Stoke-on-Trent Central MP Gareth Snell was the lowest living claimer in the Commons last year, with expenses of just £3,054.

The total bill to the taxpyaer for accommodation alone was £7.7m - up from £7.26 in 2016.

But the oversall cost of running MPs' offices fell by £3.7m - likely because the previous year included a general election, which saw winding up and redundancy payments for those who lost their seats.

November 17, 2017

NHS 'faces worse winter over beds failure'
NHS 'faces worse winter over beds failure'

A watchdog is warning hospitals could face "even greater pressures" this winter while deficits will soar beyond predicted levels.

The NHS faces an even greater challenge this winter because hospitals have failed to free up enough beds to cope with increased demand, the health service regulator has warned.

While hospitals have treated more patients in A&E than a year ago, NHS Improvement (NHSI) says wards remain full and targets to discharge more patients ahead of the winter peak have failed.

In a quarterly report published without notice, NHSI said hospital performance had been affected by the national cyber-attack, as well as the terror attacks in Manchester and London and the demands of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Just a week before the Budget, the regulator also warned that hospital deficits will soar beyond predicted levels and that plans to cut losses are doomed to fail.

The report says the collective deficit for the first six months of 2017-18 was £1.15bn, £143m more than planned. The predicted year-end deficit is £623m, £127m more than planned.

Earlier this year, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England instructed hospitals to reduce the number of "delayed transfers of care" (DTOCs), which occur when patients who are medically fit to leave cannot be discharged because they do not have adequate care at home or in the community.

Reducing the number to 3.5% of the total number of beds by September, potentially freeing up an estimated 3,000 beds, was central to plans avoid a repeat of last winter's troubles, when some hospitals were forced to turn patients away from A&E.

NHSI said that, in fact, there were 168,000 DTOCs in September, accounting for 5% of all beds.

"Although there has been some success in reducing the number of delayed discharges from hospital beds, over the second quarter of the year there were around 168,000 delayed discharges, accounting for 5% of NHS beds," NHSI said.

"This is substantially higher than the stated ambition of reducing delayed discharges to 3.5% by September."

Jim Mackey, the watchdog's chief executive, said: "While we are working across the NHS to prepare for winter pressures, they may be difficult and will place the system under even greater pressures."

NHSI warned the financial position is likely to deteriorate further over the winter.

The Government is under pressure to provide a minimum of £4bn more to the NHS in the Budget, as well as funding a pay rise for staff above the 1% pay cap, which is due to be lifted.

Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospital and ambulance trusts, said: "These figures underline the extremely difficult conditions trusts face in providing safe, timely, high-quality care for patients.

"It is to their enormous credit that in the midst of a prolonged and severe financial squeeze and workforce shortages they have responded to growing demand by treating more patients than ever."

November 17, 2017

'Brexit mutineer' MPs hit back at Telegraph
'Brexit mutineer' MPs hit back at Telegraph

Former ministers and rising stars unite to say the newspaper is "misleading" readers, defending their votes on the Brexit Bill.

Over a dozen Tory MPs have launched a fiery counter-offensive after being branded "Brexit mutineers" by the Daily Telegraph.

They said defying the Government's own addition to enshrine the exact date and time of Brexit looked like an "uncontroversial proposal" but could "accidentally harm our country's interest".

"Putting a date in law is too rigid," the group wrote in a letter to the Telegraph published on Thursday.

"As negotiations reach their close, the Government may need a small amount of additional time to conclude, for example, the best transitional deal."

The signatories include Tory MPs with a history of challenging their own party leadership, including Ken Clarke, Heidi Allen and Anna Soubry.

Fifteen MPs their pictures and names splashed on the front page of Wednesday's Telegraph under the headline: "The Brexit mutineers."

They added in their reply: "We are pleased Conservative colleagues from across the Brexit divide accept our intentions are genuine and note that some are disappointed you didn't include them in our number."

Brexit minister Steve Baker also expressed "regret" at "media attempts to divide our party".

Tensions are running high in Westminster as the Brexit Bill cleared its third day of reading in committee stage - where hundreds of amendments have been tabled.

The Government has avoided defeat so far, but could run into trouble over Tory proposed changes, including those calling for MPs to get a "meaningful vote" on the final exit deal to be enshrined in primary legislation and revoking provisions for so-called 'Henry VIII' powers.

November 17, 2017

Goldman boss tweets support for new Brexit vote
Goldman boss tweets support for new Brexit vote

The chief executive of Goldman Sachs has again tweeted to comment on Brexit in remarks that risk a political backlash.

The boss of US investment bank Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, has used his latest Twitter post on Brexit to suggest a second referendum is held.

He wrote: "Here in UK, lots of hand-wringing from CEOs over #Brexit. Better sense of the tough and risky road ahead. Reluctant to say, but many wish for a confirming vote on a decision so monumental and irreversible. So much at stake, why not make sure consensus still there?".

The remarks marked his third intervention in the debate around the effects of the UK's decision to leave the EU.

Goldman is currently mulling shifting staff to Germany's main financial centre, Frankfurt.

Goldman Sachs, which currently employs 6,000 people in the UK, has leased office space in the city - home of the European Central Bank - to house up to 1,000 workers.

A month ago he told his Twitter followers: "Just left Frankfurt. Great meetings, great weather, really enjoyed it. Good, because I'll be spending a lot more time there. #Brexit."

He later tweeted a picture of the bank's new European HQ being built in London saying he was "expecting/hoping to fill it up".

Companies, especially those in the financial services sector, argue certainty on the UK's future trading relationship with the EU is required urgently.

The lobby groups warned Theresa May at a Downing Street meeting this week that unless there was the basis for a so-called transition deal by Christmas then more firms would be forced to put in action irreversible contingency plans that could see jobs leave London.

JPMorgan is among the US banks to confirm it has already acted to ensure its operations within the EU are not affected by the looming divorce.

It is currently understood to be informing UK staff about a relocation programme involving hundreds of workers - with most going to Dublin.

November 17, 2017

MPs attack 'whitewash' over 'deformity drug'
MPs attack 'whitewash' over 'deformity drug'

A Government-led review into hormone pregnancy tests is branded a "betrayal" after being met with "disbelief" by campaigners.

MPs have attacked the findings of a Government-led review which suggested a drug given to pregnant women was not responsible for causing deformities to children.

Tory former health minister Anna Soubry told the House of Commons she smelled "something like a very large rat" and raised concerns about a cover-up in the official review into hormone pregnancy tests (HPTs), such as Primodos.

An urgent question was raised by Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi after those families allegedly expressed anger at the way the inquiry had been conducted.

Conservative former minister Sir Mike Penning said: "The families do, and, I think rightly, feel this has been a whitewash report."

He added: "It has to be an open and honest inquiry and I'm afraid families and many of the people in this House today do not feel that is the case."

He advised the minister to "watch the Sky News report which exposes much of what's been going on".

On Wednesday night, Sky News also revealed that the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM), had made last minute changes to the conclusions of its report and appeared to veer from the terms of reference on which the review was set up.

But a previous draft of the report, seen by Sky News, stated that because the evidence was so scarce "it was not possible to reach a definitive conclusion".

Labour's shadow health minister, Justin Madders, asked for an explanation of the changed conclusion and said overall the report had been met with "disbelief" by campaigners and branded "a whitewash, an injustice, a betrayal".

Health minister Steve Brine said the expert group had reviewed all the evidence and was better qualified to make a judgement than MPs.

Mr Brine said: "This was a comprehensive, independent scientific review of all available evidence by experts of a broad range of specialisms who, with respect, are far more qualified to consider this than him or me.

"It was a rigorous, an important, an impartial review conducted over the best part of two years, where experts were given access to all the available documents."

Labour's Jo Platt raised concerns about how victims were treated by the inquiry, including that they only received half a day to be interviewed.

Mr Brine replied: "I think the way the families were handled and came down to speak to the expert working group could have been a lot better - that is the understatement of the day.

"I've already said that and apologise for that on behalf of the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency)."

Tory MP Philip Hollobone said it was clear the level of concern among MPs should ensure the Government arranges a debate in the Commons.

Speaker John Bercow later told MPs: "From the chair, one way or the other, through one vehicle or another, this matter will be debated if members want it to be debated."

November 17, 2017

Govt hints at retreat on formal Brexit date plan
Govt hints at retreat on formal Brexit date plan

Theresa May could be preparing to back down on her proposal to include the EU departure date into key Brexit legislation.

A senior Cabinet minister has hinted the Government could retreat on its plan to formally write a date for Brexit into UK law, amid a backlash from Tory MPs.

This week, as the bill returned to the House of Commons for line-by-line scrutiny by MPs, a sizeable number of Conservative backbenchers voiced their anger at the amendment as they fear it could hinder the UK's flexibility in divorce negotiations.

Theresa May's proposal, which was only announced a week ago, was branded "mad" and "silly" by prominent pro-Remain Tories, with their number prompting suggestions the Government could face a humiliating defeat over the amendment.

Speaking at a lunch in Westminster on Thursday, Mr Lidington signalled the Government may now make a reverse on the plans.

He said: "As the Prime Minister says, various constructive suggestions have been made during the committee debate about how the bill might be improved and obviously we will listen to ideas coming from colleagues across the House during the bill's progress in both the Commons and Lords."

Downing Street also insisted the Government would "listen to the views" of critics.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We put forward the amendment. That amendment remains."

Under the terms of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, a departing EU member state will leave two years after triggering the legal clause, unless there is an agreement to prolong exit negotiations.

This means Britain is already on course to leave the bloc by 30 March 2019.

Later on Thursday, Tory MP George Freeman, the chair of the Conservative Policy Forum, warned the Government the number of rebels on the EU Withdrawal Bill could be "25 or more" if ministers "don't listen" to their concerns about Parliament only having a take-it-or-leave-it vote on the final Brexit deal.

He posted on Twitter: "Many of us unhappy with both the idea that Parliament might be bounced into a #NoChoice Brexit outcome, and the vilification of scrutiny & dissent."

Meanwhile, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs appeared to voice his support for a second EU referendum.

Lloyd Blankfein, whose bank is investing in a new European headquarters in London, wrote on Twitter: "Reluctant to say, but many wish for a confirming vote on a decision so monumental and irreversible.

"So much at stake, why not make sure consensus still there?"

Mr Blankfein has recently praised both Paris and Frankfurt, which have been viewed as hints he is preparing to move his company's operations abroad following the UK's exit from the EU.

But Brexit supporters have accused the banking boss of seeking to distract from the firm's recent performance.

November 17, 2017

'Ransom' concerns in Zaghari-Ratcliffe case
'Ransom' concerns in Zaghari-Ratcliffe case

The Government is "exploring options" as it's suggested paying a long-standing debt could pave the way for the Briton's release.

Richard Ratcliffe wants the Government to pay a long-standing £450m debt to Iran to help free his wife Nazanin from jail. And who can blame him?

But Conservative MPs fear paying up now could make Britain look like it's paying a ransom for Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release or even caving in to blackmail.

It could be a convenient way to break the deadlock, however, especially as Boris Johnson doesn't seem keen on Mr Ratcliffe's proposal to give his wife diplomatic protection.

There is a useful precedent for a payment like this. A similar US transfer to Iran happened at the same time as American prisoners were released in 2016. So why not do it?

The latest from Downing Street is that Government lawyers are "exploring the options", but Number 10 insists winning Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's freedom and paying off the debt are not linked.

The debt dates back to the late 1970s when the Shah of Iran paid Britain £650m for 1,750 Chieftain tanks. But only 185 had been delivered when he was toppled in 1979.

The new Iranian government cancelled the order, but Britain kept the cash. In 2009, the Government was told by an international court to pay back the money.

But it hasn't - yet - because of international sanctions against Iran, which prevent payment for military equipment going straight to Tehran.

After meeting the Foreign Secretary on Wednesday, Mr Ratcliffe said: "It is important that the UK honours its international legal obligations, so that Iran can honour its legal obligations."

And he added: "They are separate things, but it's good for the atmosphere if they are all served."

At the moment the atmosphere between the UK and Iran is terrible. And whose fault is that? The Foreign Secretary's - who is supposed to be the UK's top diplomat, unfortunately.

His fellow Brexiteer Michael Gove, who said he didn't know what Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing in Iran, didn't help. No wonder Mr Ratcliffe said the comments made him angry.

Can you imagine any of the foreign secretaries of recent years - Douglas Hurd, Robin Cook or William Hague, for example - making such a blunder as to suggest Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was "training journalists" in Iran when she was, in fact, on holiday?

Mr Ratcliffe, who has shown the patience of a saint and admirable restraint since Mr Johnson's gaffe two weeks ago, reacted by telling the Foreign Secretary: "I want you to solve this mess created in your name."

Tory backbenchers are not enthusiastic about settling the debt as a means to help bring about Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's early release.

"I think it is important as a principle of public policy that we do not, and do not appear to be, paying ransoms," said Jacob Rees-Mogg.

"I don't think it can be in relation to any particular case. They must make sure they do not break the principle of paying ransoms."

And Andrew Bridgen said: "If we owe any other country money we should always pay it, just as we would expect them to pay any debt to us.

"But this payment must not be in anyway linked to the release of a British citizen, otherwise it would be seen as a ransom and that opens a Pandora's Box and puts UK citizens in danger around the world if countries believe the UK will pay blackmail ransoms.

"As they could have paid back the money at any point since 1979, choosing to do it while there is a hostage does make it look more like a ransom."

That's the Government's dilemma. Another problem is the sanctions against Iran on military equipment.

"This is a long-standing issue," said a Downing Street spokesman. "Legal advisers are exploring the options, and so far have not been able to resolve them.

"We, of course, remain committed to ensuring all internationally agreed sanctions on Iran remain properly enforced.

"Funding to settle the debt was paid to the High Court by the Treasury in 2002, but, of course, as you know, Iran's ministry of defence remains subject to international sanctions.

But it's not just the money that's frozen. Relations between the UK and Iran are icy and won't thaw until Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is released.

While the Government explores the options, at the moment there's little hope of her being freed quickly.

November 17, 2017

UK could settle £450m debt to free Iran mum
UK could settle £450m debt to free Iran mum

The money would not be a "price for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release" but a "goodwill gesture", says Sky's Alistair Bunkall.

The Government is considering settling an outstanding £450m debt with Iran as part of attempts to secure the release of British prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Sky News understands.

Foreign Office officials are trying to find ways to release the historical sum - owed for a cancelled arms deal in the 1970s - in the face of UN sanctions.

The Prime Minister's spokesperson denied the move had anything to do with Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case.

Sky's Defence Correspondence Alistair Bunkall said the money should not be considered a ransom payment.

"This is effectively Iran's money and they want it back," he said.

"Officially, the £450m debt and Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's release are two separate issues - the UK Government doesn't pay ransoms.

"But Iran, particularly the Revolutionary Guard, will want something in return for her release, and payment of this debt could be it."

He added that while the debt has been neither demanded by Iran nor offered by the UK, the story was likely revealed to "test Iranian reaction and, to a lesser extent, British public opinion".

The money was paid to the UK by Iran's former Shah in exchange for 1,750 Chieftain tanks.

But he was toppled in the revolution of 1979 and the full order cancelled.

The Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in 2001 that the outstanding funds should be returned.

Asked about reports the debt repayment could be used to help free Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the Prime Minister's spokesperson said: "We are clear that we don't see any link between these two issues. That's not something I recognise."

Boris Johnson is trying to secure the jailed mother's release.

November 17, 2017

Davis: UK hints at increase in £20bn Brexit offer
Davis: UK hints at increase in £20bn Brexit offer

The Brexit Secretary says Britain will make "political decisions" on an EU divorce payment before a crunch summit next month.

David Davis has hinted that Britain may raise its cash offer to the EU beyond £20bn in the next few weeks in order to break the deadlock in Brexit negotiations.

Speaking to an audience in Berlin on Thursday night, the Brexit Secretary revealed the UK "will come to" EU demands to increase its financial settlement before a crunch European Council summit takes place on 14 December.

Downing Street earlier dismissed as "speculation" reports that Theresa May is ready to offer a further £20bn to pave the way for trade talks.

Asked whether Britain will have to move on its original £20bn offer by the end of the year, Mr Davis said: "I'm not going to get into what's going to happen on that.

In his speech in the German capital, Mr Davis also admitted that divorce talks had been "quite tense" before the Prime Minister used her Florence speech to commit to covering the Brexit blackhole in the EU budget until 2020.

Answering questions about the Brexit bill at the economic summit, Mr Davis said: "We're leaving, so our aim is for this budget round, the round that goes up to 2020, nobody will have to pay more… nobody will receive less.

"That's the basic position. But that's not all of it and we've said over and above that there will be other commitments and we're going through that.

"We're going through and establishing what the EU believes about these commitments - what size they are, what the basis of their understanding is - and then we'll make some decisions, political decisions later on."

The EU has demanded "sufficient progress" on the UK's financial settlement before divorce talks can move onto negotiations about a future EU-UK trading relationship.

The Brexit Secretary also used his Berlin speech to warn the EU that "putting politics above prosperity is never a smart choice" as he pushed his case for "a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement".

He called for Brexit talks to end in a EU-UK agreement of greater scope than the recent trade deal the bloc signed with Canada, despite reports EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has drawn up a framework for trade talks in which a Canada-style deal is the only option.

Mr Davis tried to reassure his audience about Britain's commitment to a partnership with the EU beyond Brexit, as he admitted "since the referendum last year, some in the EU have had their doubts about what kind of country we are".

The Brexit Secretary also gave the strongest confirmation yet that Britain will abide by the rulings of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) during a planned two-year transition period after 2019.

He said such an arrangement would "mean access to the UK and European markets would continue on current terms, keeping both the rights of an EU member and the obligations of one, such as the role of the ECJ".

Mr Davis' comments are likely to rile some Leave supporters within the Conservative Party.

Asked if the Brexit Secretary's comments on continued ECJ jurisdiction during a transition period concerned him, prominent Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg told Sky News: "Yes, if we are still subject to the ECJ we have not left the EU, so it is not transition but continued membership."

Responding to the Brexit Secretary's speech, Labour MP Peter Kyle, a supporter of pro-EU Open Britain campaign, said: "Satire is dead. This Government is taking Britain out of the world's largest free trade area, which buys half of our exports, because of their failure to stand up to backbench Brextremists.

"It is absurd that they should be lecturing others about putting politics ahead of prosperity."

November 17, 2017

 'Veep' production postponed as Julia Louis-Dreyfus undergoes cancer treatment
'Veep' production postponed as Julia Louis-Dreyfus undergoes cancer treatment

Dreyfus announced in September that she'd been diagnosed with the disease.

A post shared by Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@officialjld) on Nov 4, 2017 at 10:48am PDT

November 17, 2017

 'The Royals' showrunner Mark Schwahn suspended amid sexual harassment allegations
'The Royals' showrunner Mark Schwahn suspended amid sexual harassment allegations

"The Royals" showrunner Mark Schwahn has been suspended from the E! show following accusations of sexual harassment by writers and stars on his previous show, "One Tree Hill," ABC News has confirmed.

The suspension comes as "Royals" actress Alexandra Park tweeted that she too was "exposed to this reprehensible behavior."

Schwahn has not commented on Park's allegation or his suspension.

“E!, Universal Cable Productions and Lionsgate Television take sexual harassment allegations very seriously, investigate them thoroughly and independently, and take appropriate action,” said the studios in a statement. “Lionsgate has suspended Mark Schwahn from The Royals as we continue our investigation.”

"Where we should have been excited to meet new female cast and crew members, we felt nauseating concern in case they too should have him track down their mobile number. Where we should have offered our friends who auditioned for 'The Royals' scene help and advice, we offered warnings about the man they would meet in the room," they wrote. "More than all of this, where we should all collectively have felt pride over jobs hard won and roles much loved, we felt undermined as artists and creatives. And in many cases, no more than a sum of body attributes."

Over the weekend, writer Audrey Wauchope tweeted that Schwahn harassed her in a number of ways when she worked on "One Tree Hill," which ran from 2003 to 2012, including unwanted touching. In response to that accusation, the female cast of the show, including stars Sophia Bush, Danneel Harris, Jana Kramer and Hilarie Burton, along with female crew members, released a unified statement to ABC News.

"All of the female cast members of 'One Tree Hill' have chosen this forum to stand together in support of Audrey Wauchope and one another. To use terminology that has become familiar as the systemic reality of sexual harassment and assault has come more and more to light, Mark Schwahn’s behavior over the duration of the filming of One Tree Hill was something of an 'open secret,'" the letter reads in part.

A rep for Schwahn told ABC News at the time, "Mark is speaking with his attorney and will decide soon if he is making a statement."

Some men who starred on the show have also spoken out in support of the women, including Chad Michael Murray and James Lafferty, the main male leads.

Schwahn's agent did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

November 17, 2017

 Killer Charles Manson alive as reports swirl of ill health
Killer Charles Manson alive as reports swirl of ill health

For nearly 50 years Charles Manson has been the living personification of evil, a demonic presence captured in scores of photos, each of them marked by his piercing dark eyes and the crude Nazi swastika he carved into his forehead.

That personification returned to the public consciousness again this week, complete with a prison mug shot of a now-elderly but still evil-looking Manson, after a report by that the killer of glamorous actress Sharon Tate and six others is seriously ill and hospitalized in Bakersfield, California.

Serial murderers before and after have killed far more than Manson. Fifty-one years ago a former Marine named Charles Whitman climbed to the observation deck of a tower at the University of Texas and opened fire on dozens of people, killing 11, after killing five before reaching the deck. Just last month, Stephen Paddock fired down from a hotel window on a Las Vegas concert, killing 58.

But like Whitman's, Paddock's name if not his deed seems destined to be largely forgotten. Not so with Manson.

"I was thinking today about why Manson is so remembered and such a part of our cultural history, whereas other serial killers have done far worse," said former AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch, who covered the 1970-71 trials of Manson and his followers, as well as all of their parole hearings until she retired two years ago.

It was, she concluded, because Manson killed more than just seven people. He also destroyed a Baby Boomer generation's dream of a peace-and-love era that had begun with 1967's San Francisco Summer of Love, two years before Los Angeles' 1969 Manson murders.

"For most of that period, the hippies up in San Francisco and throughout the country really spread a message of love and understanding," Deutsch said. "And now here come these people who wore these hippie clothes and although they were not hippies, they were just people who came together in a commune, they became symbolic of that hippie era.

"In addition to killing seven people, he killed a whole counterculture," she added.

A career criminal and con artist, Manson had reinvented himself during the Summer of Love as a Christ-like figure who attracted young people to a commune he established at an old, abandoned movie ranch on the edge of Los Angeles.

"To tell you the truth, the older I get the harder it is to deal with all of this, to know what I did, how it happened," one of the youngest of his followers, Leslie Van Houten, told a parole panel in September. The panel has recommended she be released, but Gov. Jerry Brown could reject that recommendation as he did once before. No Manson Family member convicted of murder has ever been freed.

His followers' victims included Tate, who was several months pregnant, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and several other wealthy and prominent people.

But what Manson really wanted to do, Deutsch said, was become famous.

"So he wanted to make a statement and be the star that Hollywood wouldn't let him be," said Deutsch. "And he was demonic."

November 17, 2017

 Kevin Spacey accused of misconduct by at least 20 at London theater
Kevin Spacey accused of misconduct by at least 20 at London theater

At least 20 people over a period of 18 years reported being the subject of inappropriate behavior by Kevin Spacey, according to an investigation by London's Old Vic Theatre.

Late last month, actor Anthony Rapp told BuzzFeed that when he was 14, Spacey made a sexual advance toward him in Spacey's New York apartment. Spacey later stated that he did not remember the alleged incident, but apologized for what "would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior."

At the time, the Old Vic issued a statement saying they were "deeply dismayed" by the accusations. Since then, there have been multiple additional accusations of Spacey engaging in inappropriate behavior, including alleged sexual assault. He has not responded to those claims.

Thursday's Old Vic statement notes that "no legal claims, formal grievances, formal disputes, settlement agreements or payments made or authorized were made at all in relation to Kevin Spacey during his tenure," and that only one of the claims was reported to management. Because of this, and because Spacey hasn't commented on the allegations, "The review cannot, therefore, make any findings of fact about the alleged misconduct," the statement says.

The Old Vic also shouldered some of the blame for the environment in which the alleged behavior occurred, saying their review found "that those affected felt unable to raise concerns and that Kevin Spacey operated without sufficient accountability." Many who observed the alleged behavior said they were "unclear about how to respond," or "did not feel confident that the Old Vic would take those allegations seriously," given Spacey's position and notoriety.

The statement ends with a commitment by the Old Vic to systems and practices "to ensure that the theatre fulfills its duty of care to all who work with the organization." That includes making around-the-clock counseling available to any alleged victims.

November 17, 2017

 Prince William releases first-ever online code of conduct to combat cyberbullying
Prince William releases first-ever online code of conduct to combat cyberbullying

The online code of conduct, called "Stop, Speak, Support," is the first in the world of its kind. Its aim is to create a safer space online for children and give them online resources if they feel threatened or lost.

William, 35, brought together the world’s leading tech firms -- including Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat -- as part of The Royal Foundation's task force on the prevention of cyberbullying. The task force, which first convened in May 2016, also included parents, children and representatives from children's charities.

"The technology company members of the Taskforce have agreed to adopt new guidelines to improve the process for reporting bullying online, and to create clearer consequences for those who behave unacceptably," he said.

Kensington Palace on Wednesday released a moving video of William speaking with a mother who lost her son to suicide and a teen girl who attempted suicide after being the victim of cyberbullying.

"I started to self-harm as a way to cope, to make me feel better, and then I decided that I couldn't take this anymore and I tried to end my life," Chloe, who was cyberbullied at the age of 13, told William during their conversation at Kensington Palace.

In the video, William praised the women for their bravery and told them, "I only wish that neither of you had gone through what you've gone through."

"I think it is worth reminding everyone what the human tragedy of what we are talking about here," William said. "It isn't just about companies and about online stuff. It's actually real lives that get affected."

William also became interested in this cause through his work as an air ambulance pilot, where he witnessed and responded to many young men in despair and on the verge of suicide. After hearing a story of a little boy who killed himself due to online abuse, William vowed to get involved himself.

"Through my work on mental health, I have spent time getting to know parents and children for whom the impact of online bullying has been devastating," William said. "And as a parent myself, I understand the sense of loss and anger of those particular families who have lost children after they were the targets of campaigns of harassment."

November 17, 2017

 Dwayne 'the Rock' Johnson's daughter is the 1st Golden Globe ambassador
Dwayne 'the Rock' Johnson's daughter is the 1st Golden Globe ambassador

In the role, Garcia Johnson will partner with GlobalGirl Media, an organization that encourages aspiring female journalists from disadvantaged areas and provides them with tools to help them in the industry.

The HFPA will support the endeavor through thier annual grant giving work.

Garcia Johnson talked about the importance of role models and becoming one for the next generations in the statement.

"I've been lucky enough to grow up in a household with strong role models and feel so honored to represent the HFPA for its 75th Anniversary," she said. "As the newly minted Golden Globe ambassador, I hope to serve as a role model to young people everywhere and empower them to speak out on issues they are passionate about."

Dwyane Johnson was thrilled that his daughter was chosen for the honor this year.

The Golden Globe Awards will be held on Sunday, Jan. 7, and air live on NBC.

A post shared by therock (@therock) on Nov 16, 2017 at 2:36am PST

A post shared by Simone ? (@simonegjohnson) on Nov 15, 2017 at 7:56pm PST

November 17, 2017

 'Veep' production postponed as Julia Louis-Dreyfus undergoes cancer treatment
'Veep' production postponed as Julia Louis-Dreyfus undergoes cancer treatment

Dreyfus announced in September that she'd been diagnosed with the disease.

A post shared by Julia Louis-Dreyfus (@officialjld) on Nov 4, 2017 at 10:48am PDT

November 17, 2017

 Terry Crews sheds light on why men don't speak out about harassment
Terry Crews sheds light on why men don't speak out about harassment

After his powerful live interview, Crews relayed further details about what he says happened at a Hollywood party he attended with his wife last year.

"He takes his right hand and, under mine, and immediately squeezes, grabs my genitals," Crews told ABC News. "I slap his hand away, pushed him back more forcefully."

Crews said Venit called him the next morning and apologized for his actions.

"I got a call. It's him on the line — 'I'm sorry, I was drunk, I wasn't myself that night,'" Crews said.

He added that he did not feel the apology was sincere, saying, "It's like when people are sorry because they got caught."

"I said, 'Read that letter. Now you know what you got to do,'" Crews added. "He said, 'It's different.'"

While Crews recently parted ways with the agency, he said he identifies with the fear that many others say deters them from speaking out against their harasser: fear of retaliation.

"He is privy to all the studio heads who hire me," Crews said. "Who's to say he couldn't poison that?"

William Morris Endeavor told ABC News that Venit was suspended after an internal investigation into the matter. Venit and Emmanuel declined ABC News' requests for comment Wednesday.

The issue of sexual harassment in the workplace extends far beyond Hollywood. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said it received over 12,000 complaints of sexual harassment last year alone and over 15 percent of those were from men.

"I think, as a guy, you sit there and think, 'OK, first of all, people are going think I'm crazy or something that I didn't like this,'" said Aravosis, who said a female colleague made inappropriate remarks to him over the phone. "You know, guys are supposed to like women coming onto them, and boy, she came onto me, and that's supposed to be cool and funny."

Aravosis recalled the harassment he says he faced, saying, "All I can compare it to is when I hear people talk about having their homes robbed. And they talk about this sort of sense of violation in their personal space."

He added that while he was not worried about his job or his personal safety, he's affected by a deterrent against speaking out. He said, "I feel kind of — I use the word 'wussy.'"

Phil and Erika Boissiere, a married team of psychotherapists, told ABC News that while women who experience sexual harassment tend to think it's their own fault, men often question their masculinity after facing sexual harassment.

"What women experience is self-doubt," she said. He said that women "are often immediately questioned about what their role was in provoking it, which is ridiculous."

Erika Boissiere said, "It's viewed by society where women coming onto men isn't a bad thing."

Phil Boissiere said, "In deciding to speak out, men butt up against this social script that men aren't supposed to ask for help."

November 17, 2017

 Drake stops performance to threaten fan allegedly 'touching girls'
Drake stops performance to threaten fan allegedly 'touching girls'

During his performance in Australia this week, Drake appeared to call out a concert-goer he claimed was "touching girls."

Video posted to Instagram by a fan in Sydney shows the rapper stopping a performance of "Know Yourself" to threaten the audience member if he did not stop the alleged behavior.

"If you don’t stop touching girls, I will come out there and f--- you up," Drake said. "If you don’t stop putting your hands on girls, I’m gonna come out there ..."

The singer, 31, has not commented on the incident, and his publicist did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

November 17, 2017

 'Harry Potter' fans are freaking out about 'Fantastic Beasts' sequel title
'Harry Potter' fans are freaking out about 'Fantastic Beasts' sequel title

"Harry Potter" fans already know that "Fantastic Beasts" is a spin-off of sorts to the famed wizarding film series.

In fact, Harry Potter studied a book written by Newt Scamander called "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" while he was in class at Hogwarts. The first movie follows Scamander and the magical creatures he collected and documented.

In this film, the Hogwarts headmaster, portrayed by Jude Law, tries to track down Grindelwald after the wizard escapes custody. To help him in his search, Dumbledore enlists his former student and magizoologist Scamander, played by Eddie Redmayne.

Author J. K. Rowling, who wrote the screenplay for the first film, also lent her talents to "The Crimes of Grindelwald," which also features Zoe Kravitz as Leta Lestrange, a pure-blood witch now engaged to Scamander's brother.

The sequel, "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald," also has a special release date -- Nov. 16, 2018. It's nearly 17 years after the initial "Harry Potter" film, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" hit theaters.

November 17, 2017

 Barnes & Noble shares soar on report of privatization offer
Barnes & Noble shares soar on report of privatization offer

An activist investor has proposed taking Barnes & Noble private but the company does not consider the offer genuine, the book chain said Thursday. Its shares soared on the report.

Sandell Asset Management approached the company with a proposal valuing it at more than $650 million, the company said. The proposal would require debt financing of about $500 million, according to the bookseller. Sandell's CEO previously said the chain would be better served if it were private or part of a larger company.

The chairman of Barnes & Noble, Leonard Riggio, owns an 18 percent stake in the New York company.

In a statement, Barnes & Noble said, "The company does not take Sandell's proposal as bona fide in that Sandell is the beneficial owner of 1 million common Barnes & Noble shares worth approximately $7 million, Mr. Riggio has no intention of rolling his shares into such a transaction, and the company believes a debt financing of $500 million is highly unlikely."

Sandell Asset Management Corp. CEO Thomas E. Sandell had said in a letter to Barnes & Noble's board in July that the company is the only "truly national bookstore chain" and compared its locations to "beachfront property." He said the company could get more than $12 per share.

Trading in Barnes & Noble stock was halted briefly after the proposal was made public. In afternoon trading, its shares rose more than 7 percent to close at $7.10. They've fallen more than 41 percent in the last year.

November 17, 2017