• 'Absolutely despicable': Photo of elderly woman face-down in pillow at nursing home sparks outrage

    Esther Brown, 80, was found "gasping for breath and strangling on her own saliva," according to a pastor who posted the photo on Facebook.

  • UK backlash at Meghan's lavish US baby shower

    Meghan Markle drew fresh scorn from British media this week after celebrating the imminent arrival of her first baby with what they described as an "extravagant" trip to New York in a private jet. The Duchess of Sussex, due to give birth in the spring, returned to Britain Thursday after enjoying a party with celebrity friends at what British papers referred to as "the most expensive hotel suite in the US". The party, hosted at Manhattan's Mark Hotel by Serena Williams and attended by other high-profile figures including Amal Clooney, saw guests serenaded by a harpist and given expensive gifts, they reported.

  • Cook County State's Attorney's Office Says Abel Osundairo 'Was a Source of Designer Drugs' for Jussie Smollett

    Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Risa Lanier detailed the prior relationship between “Empire” star Jussie Smollett and Abel Osundairo, one of his attackers who helped stage the event and said that Osundario was a source of “designer drugs” for Smollett.“Smollett and [Abel] Osundairo initiated their friendship in the fall of 2017,” Lanier said Thursday during a press conference at the Cook County courthouse. “During the course of this friendship, defendant Smollet and Abel socialized together, exercised together as well as worked on the Fox TV series ‘Empire.'”Lanier continued: “Additionally, text messages between [them] revealed that Abel was a source of designer drugs for defendant Smollett. Specifically, since the spring of 2018, and on several occasions, defendant Smollett requested Abel to provide him with [MDMA].”Also Read: Jussie Smollett Bail Set at $100,000, Must Surrender PassportSmollett surrendered to police at 5 a.m. CT Thursday and was arrested on charges of filing a false police report. The charges stem from a report Smollett filed on Jan. 29 that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs and referenced “MAGA.” After releasing two former suspects over the weekend, police said they wanted to interview Smollett again - and days later declared him a suspect.During a press conference Thursday morning, Chicago PD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that Smollett staged the attack because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.” Johnson also said Smollett sent the letter threatening himself to Fox, the “Empire” studio. When Johnson first made those statements, he did not mention their source or his proof.Minutes later, during the media conference’s Q&A portion, the police superintendent responded “yes” to a reporter who asked if that information came from the Osundairo brothers.Also Read: How Police Busted Jussie SmollettAt her press conference, Lanier detailed the timeline of events, including when and how Smollett convinced Abel, and later his brother, Ola, to stage an attack on him.On Jan. 25, Smollett asked Abel when he and his brother, Ola, would be leaving for a pre-planned trip Nigeria, which was scheduled for Jan. 29. After Abel confirmed the date and time of his trip, Smollett texted Abel stating “might need your help on the low you around to meet up to talk face to face?” according to Lanier.They then met at “Empire’s” Chicago-based studio that afternoon, where Smollett drove Abel back to Abel’s Lakeview-area apartment. “During the ride, Smollett indicated to Abel his displeasure of the ‘Empire’ studio’s handling of the racist and homophobic letter he received three days prior,” Lanier said. “Smollett then stated that he wanted to stage an attack, where it would appear that Abel battered him. Defendant Smollett also suggested that Abel’s older brother, Ola, assist him with the attack.”Also Read: Fox Says It Is 'Considering Our Options' After Jussie Smollett ArrestSmollett and Ola had previously met on many occasions, and Ola was an extra on “Empire,” according to Lanier.“Smollett stated that he wanted them to appear to attack him on the evening of Jan. 28, 2019, near his apartment building,” she continued.“Smollett also stated he wanted the brothers to catch his attention by calling him an ‘Empire’ f-, ‘Empire’ n--.” Lanier added that “Smollett further detailed that he wanted Abel to attack him, but not hurt him too badly, and to give him a chance to appear to fight back. Defendant Smollett also included he wanted Ola to place a rope around his neck, pour gasoline on him and yell ‘this is MAGA country.'”She said that Smollett then gave the brothers the $100 bill to purchase the rope, gasoline, ski mask, gloves and red hats that “resembled” “MAGA” hats. He also provided them with a $3,500 personal check made payable to Abel which was backdated to Jan. 23, 2019. The plan was later changed to include bleach instead of gasoline, Ranier added.Ranier said that on Jan. 27, Smollett took the brothers to where he wanted the attack staged - including pointing out a surveillance camera near the area, which he believed would capture the incident. The attack was supposed to be on Jan. 28 at 10 p.m., instead of 2 a.m. on Jan. 29, when the attack ended up taking place. Ranier said that in between Jan. 27th and 28th, Smollett flew to New York, and his return flight to Chicago on Jan. 28 was delayed by four hours.Ranier said the staged attack ended up lasting 45 seconds, “and it was just outside of the view of the desired nearby camera that Smollett pointed out to the brothers.”The Osundairo brothers then left the country on Jan. 29, less than 18 hours after the attack, and returned on Feb. 13. Upon their return, Lanier said, the Chicago PD had by that time ID’ed the brothers and U.S. Customs officials detained them at Chicago’s O’Hare airport upon their arrival.“Following their arrest and through consultation with their attorneys, the brothers agreed to cooperate in the investigation,” Lanier continued. “As more evidence, such as text messages, phone records, social media records, bank records, surveillance video and the receipt from the purchase of the rope, was obtained by investigators, this investigation shifted from a hate crime to disorderly conduct.”An attorney for the Osundairo brothers did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on Lanier’s remarks. Representatives for Smollett declined to comment at this time. Twentieth Century Fox, the studio behind “Empire,” declined to comment beyond its earlier statement: “We understand the seriousness of this matter and we respect the legal process. We are evaluating the situation and we are considering our options.”Read original story Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office Says Abel Osundairo ‘Was a Source of Designer Drugs’ for Jussie Smollett At TheWrap

  • Malnourished Venezuelans hope urgently needed aid arrives soon

    The 38-year-old is one of many Venezuelans suffering from malnutrition as the once-prosperous, oil-rich OPEC nation has seen its economy halve in size over the last five years under President Nicolas Maduro. Venezuelans' diets have become ever more deficient in vitamins and protein, as currency controls restrict food imports and salaries fail to keep apace with inflation that is now above 2 million percent annually. Growing malnutrition is one of the reasons Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido has moved ahead with his plans to bring supplies of food and medicine into Venezuela by land and sea on Saturday, despite resistance from Maduro.

  • Saudi crown prince defends China's right to put Uighur Muslims in concentration camps

    Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’’s crown prince, on Friday defended China’s use of concentration camps for Muslims, saying it was Beijing’s “right”. "China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremisation work for its national security,” Prince Mohammed, who has been in China signing multi-million trade deals much to the annoyance of his Western allies, was quoted as saying on Chinese state television. Xi Jinping, China’s leader, told the crown prince the two countries must strengthen international cooperation on de-radicalisation to “prevent the infiltration and spread of extremist thinking”. China has detained an estimated one million Uighur Muslims in concentration camps, where they are undergoing re-education programmes allegedly intended to combat extremism. The Uighur are an ethnic Turkic group that practices Islam and lives in Western China and parts of Central Asia. Beijing has accused the minority in its Western Xinjiang region of supporting terrorism and implemented a surveillance regime. Uighur groups had appealed to Saudi’s powerful young prince to take up their cause, as the ultraconservative kingdom has traditionally been a defender of the rights of Muslims worldwide. But Muslim leaders have so far not broached the issue with China, which has in recent years become an important trading partner with the Middle East. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, became the first to condemn Beijing, however, describing China's treatment of its Uighur population as "a great cause of shame for humanity" last month and asking it to close the "concentration camps". Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had once accused China of "genocide" but has since established closer diplomatic and economic relations with Beijing. Imran Khan, prime minister of Pakistan, where Prince Salman has just visited, said he “did not know” much about the conditions of the Uighurs.