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Kirsten Gillibrand Highlights Rural Roots In Iowa Debut

SIOUX CITY, Iowa ― When Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) walked into Sioux City Gifts on Friday afternoon, the store was virtually empty save for the dozen reporters who had tagged along to document her inaugural presidential campaign swing.

But after greeting the cashier, Gillibrand spied a lone patron ― visibly stunned to be surrounded by the media entourage ― and immediately introduced herself.

The customer, Diane Desy, 55, a local retail worker and avid Republican, told Gillibrand she was concerned about crimes committed by undocumented immigrants and supported building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Gillibrand asked whether Desy would support comprehensive immigration reform combining, among other things, tougher border security with a pathway to citizenship for those undocumented immigrants already in the country.

Desy responded favorably and the two got to talking about veterans issues. By the time Gillibrand moved on to inspect the store’s photography studio, she had made a dent in Desy’s lifelong allegiance to the GOP.

Although the woman said she has never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate and is relatively satisfied with President Donald Trump, she told reporters she would at least give Gillibrand serious consideration.

“I’m very impressed with her,” Desy said. “I lean more conservative, but I’m not close-minded to other points of view.”

Gillibrand, a 52-year-old attorney and 10-year Senate member who announced her presidential run on Wednesday, couldn’t have found a better case study for her presidential pitch if she had invented one from scratch. And sure enough, she referenced Desy ― anonymously ― in virtually every subsequent speech she delivered on the stump in all-important Iowa ― from Boone to Des Moines.

While registered Republicans like Desy won’t decide who gets to take on Trump in the 2020 general election, a key part of Gillibrand’s pitch to her fellow Democrats is that she has a record of winning over more conservative voters in rural areas.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Gillibrand, surrounded by Republican senators Rand Paul of Kentucky, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ted Cruz of Texas, speaks in 2013 about legislation on dealing with sexual assault in the military. She has touted her ability to work with conservatives.

‘I Can Work With Anybody’

Over the course of a 36-hour tour of northwestern and central Iowa on Friday and Saturday, Gillibrand frequently mentioned how much the wintry, agriculture-heavy state reminded her of upstate New York ― the region where she grew up and with her husband raises their two sons.

“I kind of recognize you, because you are hearty and you are hardworking and you don’t give up. It’s a lot like upstate New York Democrats,” she told a capacity crowd of hundreds at the Peace Tree Brewing Co. outlet in Des Moines on Saturday night. “We don’t mind the cold, either.” 

I kind of recognize you, because you are hearty and you are hardworking and you don’t give up. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

Gillibrand began her political career by upsetting a GOP incumbent in a 2006 House race in a district where Republicans outnumbered Democrats 2 to 1. She recalled to her Iowa listeners that one skeptical consultant claimed the district had “more cows than Democrats,” and she cited her win as evidence of her ability to prevail in hostile territory.

But in recounting that first foray into electoral politics, she also was careful to emphasize stances from that run that liberal voters would agree with: opposition to the Iraq War and support for what Gillibrand calls “Medicare for All” (though her plan might more accurately be described as a Medicare buy-in or public option).

The voters she wooed in that initial race “cared about a lot of the same things you might have cared about ― that rank-and-file Democrats cared about,” Gillibrand said.

She even managed to make the case that her subsequent Senate wins in New York, a solid blue state in presidential voting, had further honed her political skills. She noted that outside of New York City, the state largely consists of moderate “purple” and conservative “red” pockets.

In early 2009, Gillibrand was the surprise gubernatorial pick to temporarily fill the Seate seat Hillary Clinton gave up to become then-President Barack Obama’s secretary of state.

Gillibrand easily won a 2010 special election for the seat, and in 2012 she won a full term with 72 percent of the vote ― which she told Iowa voters is the highest tally for any statewide candidate in New York history. (In her 2018 re-election win,she picked up 67 percent of the vote, losing many of the rural counties she carried in 2012.)

At her brewery appearance, Gillibrand appeared to hit her stride rhetorically, letting her sense of humor flow a little more freely than at her previous stops as she spoke against the backdrop of stacked beer barrels.

A joke she had made elsewhere got bigger laughs than before.

“I work with [Sen.] Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on ending sexual harassment in Congress. I can work with anybody,” she said, prompting hoots of laughter and then applause from the crowd.

Gillibrand greets voters at the Pierce Street Coffee Works café in Sioux City, Iowa, on Friday. At that stop and others, she pitched herself as a Democrat capable of attracting support from rural voters who could prove crucial to Democratic hopes of winning the White House in 2020.

‘Not A National Name’ 

Gillibrand has the challenge ― and perhaps the benefit ― of entering the presidential race with relatively little national name recognition. It’s a reality that she noted at the close of a well-attended question-and-answer session on Saturday at a coffee shop in Ames, thanking local Democrats for showing up even though she is “not a national name.”

It’s one reason why Gillibrand barely registered in a mid-December poll of Iowa Democrats about their preferred presidential candidates in the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. (Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), both of whom are considering presidential bids, took first and second place, respectively.)

But it also gives her the chance to shape her brand with voters without having to undo any major preconceived notions about her.

And Gillibrand’s argument that her success in rural areas ― as well as in suburbs ― makes her uniquely equipped to take on Trump attempts to turn what may be her greatest liability into a selling point.

The more conservative stances she took on guns and immigration in the first stages of her political career have prompted scrutiny. In her first House race, she tried to outflank her Republican opponent from the right when it came to cracking down illegal immigration. She also earned an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association for her support of gun rights. (As recently as February 2009, she boasted of keeping two guns under her bed.)

In Iowa, Gillibrand parried queries about her past stances without getting flustered, chalking up her evolution to more progressive positions to insights she gained upon becoming a senator.  

She is a workhorse in the Senate and that’s one thing I do appreciate. Jefferson Fink, Des Moines voter

Responding to a question from a Democratic activist in Sioux City on Friday about why the NRA once considered her an ally in the fight against greater gun regulation, she grew emotional describing how meeting the parents of a teenager in Brooklyn killed by gun violence helped change her mind about the need to toughen firearm laws. It’s part of what inspired her, she said, to back 2011 legislation cracking down on illegal gun trafficking.

“Since [meeting those parents] 10 years ago, I have been 100 percent trying to end gun violence. I proudly have an ‘F’ rating from the NRA,” she said.

The crowd responded with approving applause.

Bernie Scolaro, a Sioux City public school teacher, was the only Democrat over the course of the trip who told HuffPost that she associated Gillibrand with the successful effort to pressure former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (D) to resign in December 2017. Gillibrand was the first senator to call for Franken to leave after he faced multiple accusations of unwanted groping and other sexual misconduct.

Franken was popular as an effective Senate voice against Trump, and some Democratic donors have expressed anger that Gillibrand fueled the effort to oust him from office. But she has vehemently defended her action, noting that Franken had been accused credibly by eight women of misconduct when she called on him to resign.

As Gillibrand spoke at a house party, Scolaro asked the senator about her role in the Franken matter and the criticism it has sparked. Gillibrand replied that she spoke out because she believed she could no longer speak credibly to her teenage son about how to treat women respectfully if she did not act on those same principles in the U.S. Senate.

Scolaro seemed persuaded by the answer. “She was genuine and [Gillibrand’s response] was from the heart,” the woman said afterward.

Leading Democrats are quickly lining up for presidential bids. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) spoke in Des Moines shortly after announcing her intention to run.

A Focus On Electability

Gillibrand is the second Senate Democrat to announce presidential ambitions ― Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) jumped into the race on Dec. 31. Those two are not expected to be the last; Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Corey Booker of New Jersey, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota are mulling candidacies. And as the party awaits the decisions by Biden and Sanders, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) jumped into the race earlier this month. 

Unlike many in what will be a crowded field, Gillibrand doesn’t fit neatly into a particular ideological “lane.”

In lieu of Sanders-style references to Nordic nations, Gillibrand cites her faith in God and the “Golden Rule” when explaining her support for policies like paid family leave. On a key education issue, she tends to stress making the acquisition of professional skills more affordable, rather than eliminating tuition at public colleges (though she has co-sponsored a bill that would do the latter for families making less than $125,000 annually).

At the same time, Gillibrand is leaning into her opposition to the influence of money in politics, calling for public financing of political campaigns. Like Warren, she has sworn off money from corporate political action committees and support from super PACs.

What’s more, Gillibrand has gotten behind ambitious progressive policies and legislation in the last two years. She co-sponsored Sanders’ Medicare for All legislation in September 2017, and rolled out her own bill last May that aimed to put payday lenders out of business. In June, she came out in favor of abolishing ICE ― the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that has elicited notoriety for its aggressive raids against undocumented immigrants in the nation’s interior.  

Still, Gillibrand appears to be betting that touting her electability is a way to distinguish herself among a likely raft of candidates whose populist bona fides are harder to assail.  

That could be a potent formula for Democratic primary voters whose interest in finding a candidate with general-election viability ― who first and foremost can beat Trump ― seems only to have intensified since he took office.

“She is a workhorse in the Senate and that’s one thing I do appreciate,” said Jefferson Fink, 28, who works at Kitchen Collage in downtown Des Moines. (Gillibrand stopped at the cooking specialty store on Saturday afternoon to bake cookies and discuss her family’s culinary habits.)

Fink supported Sanders in Iowa’s 2016 caucuses and he said he would be fine with him entering the race again. This time around though, Fink said he does not yet have a favorite.

“The more voices the better,” he said. “But at a certain point, we have to look at who might be able to defeat Trump.”

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Billionaire Spends $1.7 Million On Motorhome With Its Own Garage, Wait Until You Step Inside

When we hear the words “mobile home”, our minds often go to a place that is not exactly decadent. However, there is one German company that is trying their absolute best to change this perception once and for all. Their newest innovation will make your father’s old trailer look like a Tonka toy. Their beast on wheels is going to set you back a pretty penny, though.

In order to purchase this mobile home, you are going to need to have some serious money saved up. The Performance S is the latest mobile home model from the good people at Volkner Mobil and this bad boy is going to run you a cool $1.7 million. Yes, you read that correctly.

Not only is this the finest mobile home money can buy, but it is essentially a resort on wheels.

The vehicle measures in at 40 feet long, while still remaining sleek and stylish. Occupants receive access to a double bed and a heated bathroom. There is also a very spacious lounge area for you to enjoy. Just in case this motor home isn’t ritzy enough for you, you’ll also have access to a garage that allows you to take your Mercedes or Ferrari along for the trip.

This is the perfect vehicle for those who are looking to take off and enjoy the open road, yet retain access to all of their favorite creature comforts. Those who do not wish to eat out on a regular basis during their journey can make use of the full kitchen. When it comes to finding the best motor home for the truly cultured traveler, accept no substitute.

Most of us will simply have to look at the pictures and vicariously live through others. Unless you have about $2 million in the bank that you’re not too closely attached to, of course. If you are anything like us, then you wish that you would have the chance to take this old girl out for a spin or two. Until then, we will all have to make do with the following video.

Please be sure to share this awesome story with your closest friends and loved ones as soon as possible. They are sure to appreciate a closer glimpse at how the other half lives. One thing is for certain: we are going to be saving up all of our pennies in hopes of being able to afford one of these someday!

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Delaware boys, ages 12 to 14, charged in gang rape of girl, police say

Police in Delaware arrested four boys ranging in age from 12 to 14 on Wednesday for allegedly forcing a girl into a home and raping her last month. (Google Street View)

Four boys, all between the ages of 12 and 14, were arrested Wednesday in connection with the rape of a teenage girl in Delaware last month, police announced Friday.

New Castle County Police said in a news release the attack took place on Dec. 11 in the community of Bear, located south of Wilmington.

The girl was heading home on the school bus when a schoolmate stole her phone and then forced her into a house where she was then repeatedly raped by the four boys, according to court reports obtained by The News Journal of Wilmington.


The documents obtained by the newspaper said the girl resisted and said “no” more than 15 times.

After the attack, two of the boys pointed a kitchen knife at the girl and threatened to shoot her if she told anyone, the paper reported.


The four boys were arrested Wednesday after authorities uncovered evidence linking the suspects to the crimes, including video of the rape recorded on the victim’s cellphone.

The four boys are charged with various offenses, including felony rape, kidnapping and unlawful sexual contact, according to police. A hearing is scheduled to determine if the four will be prosecuted as adults, according to local reports.


Two of the boys were also charged with aggravated menacing because they allegedly threatened the victim with a weapon and “warned her not to tell anyone,” police said.

Detectives are also concerned there may be additional victims, and are asking that anyone with information contact the New Castle County Police.

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My Soulmate Lives One Thousand Miles Away
Cataloged in Romance

My Soulmate Lives One Thousand Miles Away

It doesn’t get easier. You don’t get used to it.

I sit in my dark room and stare into the seemingly-infinite, lonely darkness in front of me as I contemplate the number of miles between us. It’s been a long day, but I cannot seem to relax. I miss her. I replay the sign off of our last phone conversation in my head: “I love you, Matthew. Goodnight.” Those sweet words echo through my mind as I try to somehow ignore the pain of our separation enough to fall asleep. She loves me. Is she able to sleep right now? She loves me. I need to relax.

I imagine her touch. Her soft, gentle touch on my skin. I think about how our love flows back and forth between us through every point of contact. How I forget where my body ends and hers begins. Right now, I feel an emptiness in my stomach. A longing for the one person who completes my being. Pain. It’s pain.

How am I going to get through two more years of this–we’ve been apart for two days. My heart beats faster as I feel the pangs of anxiety start to coarse through my veins. I imagine her in her warm bed, sleeping peacefully. I hope she is asleep. I pray she doesn’t feel the pain of separation that I do, although I know she does. Eight. More. Sleeps.

I’m in the house of our dreams. I can feel the gentle weight of her head on my chest and her breath enter and leave her body as she sleeps peacefully. My hand rests gently on her back as I close my eyes. Calm. Safety. My stomach feels warm, and my heart is full with a feeling I can only describe as overwhelming love. Her breathing is the most peaceful, calming sound in the world. My eyes begin to feel heavy.

I wake up and reach for her. She’s not there. Where did she go? She’s always there. I saunter downstairs and hear the sizzling of eggs. My eyes focus in on her standing over the stovetop in my oversized t-shirt. Why does she insist on making me eggs? She hates them. I walk up behind her and whisper good morning in her ear as my hands rest on the edge of our granite countertop, the one we’ve dreamed of since I was 18. “We woke up late and I knew you’d be hungry.” How am I so lucky to have the most gorgeous human being and love of my life standing in this beautiful kitchen? I bargain: “I will only eat these if we can go back to bed. It’s lazy Sunday, my love.”

The loud whistle of my phone jolts me from the heaven that is our future. “I can’t sleep, babe.” A mixed sadness and relief waves over me as I realize that she is feeling the pain that I am. On one hand, I’m glad she feels as passionately about me as I do about her. On the other, I wish that she didn’t have to experience this agony. Our love is so real, so raw, and so magical, but the separation is excruciating. I pick up my phone and squint my eyes as I find her name–the lone favorite in my contacts–and press “call,” knowing that another long sleepless night away from the love of my life is ahead of me.

It doesn’t get easier. You don’t get used to it. It will be worth it.

Image Credit: Anton Darius

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Fire rips through fast-food restaurant

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Media captionLarge fire at takeaway restaurant

A huge fire has ripped through a fast-food restaurant in Leicester.

The blaze at Big John’s in Humberstone Road was reported at about 07:30 GMT.

The road was closed between Dysart Way and St Georges Way and police had advised motorists to find alternative routes.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service said it received a number of calls to the blaze and the fire was “well-established” in the kitchen and store room.

Image caption An investigation is taking place to determine the cause of the fire

The fire service added an inquiry is taking place to determine the cause of the fire.

Four fire engines, an aerial ladder platform and a command support unit were sent to the blaze.

Further assistance from gas and electricity companies Cadent and Western Power were also requested at the scene earlier.

Humberstone Road has now reopened in both directions.

Image caption Humberstone Road has now reopened

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Child killer ‘murdered’ by neighbours

Image caption Mr Evesham, left, Mr Harley, middle, and Mr Osborne, right, at Newport Crown Court

Three men murdered their neighbour and tried to hide evidence after discovering he was a convicted child killer, a court has heard.

David Gaut, 54, was stabbed 150 times at his home in Elliotstown, New Tredegar, Caerphilly, in August 2018.

Newport Crown Court was told Gaut had recently been released after a 32-year prison sentence for murdering a young boy.

Darran Evesham, 47, Ieuan Harley, 23, and David Osborne, 51, deny murder.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption David Gaut died at his home in at his home in Elliotstown

Osborne admitted perverting the course of justice, with relation to moving Gaut’s body, attempting to clean up blood and attempting to dispose of other evidence, but denies murder.

Mr Evesham and Mr Harley denied both murder and perverting the course of justice.

Prosecutors allege Mr Gaut was stabbed more than 150 times while still alive, a further 26 times after he died and his fingernails were also cut off post-mortem.

Prosecuting, Ben Douglas-Jones QC told the jury the three defendants were “horrified” to learn of Gaut’s past.

They discovered he had been convicted of killing 15-month-old Chi Minh Shek.

Image copyright Wales News Service

Gaut lived next door to Osborne, and the court heard Osborne “lured” him to his flat.

Mr Douglas-Jones told the jury: “The prosecution says that Osborne triggered the murder by luring the deceased over to his house in the context of knowing that he was someone who had killed a child and that Mr Harley was so incensed by that that he wanted to cut him up and put him down the plughole.”

The men are accused of moving the body into Gaut’s flat, cleaning Osborne’s flat, trying to dispose of blood-stained clothing and setting fire to a car to destroy incriminating items.

The court heard Osborne told police Gaut had been killed at his flat, and that Mr Harley had stabbed him after an argument because they had found out about the child’s murder.

Osborne claimed he was in the kitchen when it happened, and he helped move the body because he was “scared” of Mr Harley.

The court was also told a witness overheard all three men discussing the murder and moving the body later in a nearby pub.

The case continues.

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‘Trash Girl’ defies bullies to go global

Image copyright Paula Sparkes
Image caption Nadia Sparkes said the “Trash Girl” nickname made her feel “like a superhero”

A 13-year-old who was nicknamed “Trash Girl” by bullies for clearing litter from the streets has gained a global following for her work.

Nadia Sparkes, from Norfolk, refused to let the taunts deter her from litter-picking on her way to and from school.

After her story went viral she became an ambassador for the wildlife charity WWF, and now has more than 4,000 followers on social media.

Nadia said she was “really pleased” to see her efforts make a difference.

Since starting her crusade, the teenager has collected more than 1,100 litres of rubbish – enough to fill about 40 kitchen bins.

She leaves an hour early to go to school each day so she can “clear her route” using her bicycle basket, doing one side of the road on the way in and the opposite side on the way back.

Image copyright Creative Nation
Image caption Schoolgirl Nadia Sparkes is depicted as a superhero in a cartoon by Creative Nation

Earlier this year, Nadia – who said being called “Trash Girl” made her feel like a superhero – was immortalised in cartoon form.

The teenager, who loves to draw, is also being given the chance to publish her own on-message cartoon in the Eastern Daily Press newspaper.

She even has her own range of merchandise and hopes to use the money to buy refillable water bottles for every pupil at her school.

Image caption Nadia said she was “really pleased” to be able to make a difference with her litter-picking

Paula Sparkes said her daughter wanted to “give people a wake-up call about litter” but despite her achievements, the name-calling at school had not stopped.

“It’s very hard to change the attitude of teenagers,” she said.

“Nadia always felt alone in her litter-picking and was made to feel different, but then she realised all litter-pickers felt like that.

“She wanted to create a group to bring them all together and she’s done that – she has been contacted by people from all over the world.

“We’re incredibly proud of her.”

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Boyfriend Has Model Girlfriend Attacked With AcidBut Her 10-Yr Challenge Photo Will BLOW You Away

If your experience has been anything like mine in recent weeks, every other post in your newsfeeds has probably been a picture of someone comparing their current face to their fresh countenance of younger years.

Indeed, the 10-Year Challenge has blown up ALL over social media. With Snapchat-filtered profile pictures of 2019 competing with the subpar cameras of 2009, most people have turned out looking pretty darn good in their aging comparison.

However, model Katie Piper has a different decade-long story to tell with her unique 10-Year Challenge photo recently posted on Instagram.

Rather than reflecting on her aging process, Piper’s shocking side-by-side photos reflect that of a healing process after a horrific acid attack she suffered in 2008.

The left side shows her masked and severely burned face, while the right reflects her face after 10 years of recovery and treatments.

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#10yearchallenge don’t let this challenge create anxiety within you about ageing- it’s an absolute privilege,” wrote Piper. “1st pic me age 25 year[s] of 2009 in my mums [sic] kitchen. 2nd Pic is me age 35 last week in my own kitchen 2019! #lifeisprecious #health#humanbodyisamazing

The U.K. model was brutally attacked in the streets of London in 2008 and suffered horrifying burns on her face and neck. At the time, the attacker was completely unknown to Piper and the acid attack was thought to be a random act of violence, but it was later discovered that her then-boyfriend was behind the whole scheme.

At only 25-years-old, she was left scarred, blind in one eye, and coma-induced for 12-days.

As of today, Piper has undergone more than 40 operations to restore her damaged skin.

Admittedly, the now-35-year-old’s initial reaction to the attack was one of defeat and utter devastation.

“I’ve lost my future, my career, my spirit, my body, my looks, my dignity, the list goes on,” she shared shortly after the incident.

“All I’m left with is an empty shell,” she added. “A part of me has died that will never come back. This is worse than death.”

But thankfully, Piper did not maintain that attitude of defeat for long. She purposefully decided that her life was worth living and that she wanted to make an impact in the world, especially as a motivational figure for other acid-attack victims like herself.

Today, the successful advocate for burn victims has managed to inspire and help others by starting the Katie Piper Foundation, which “aims to improve outcomes for burn survivors, provide support to victims, and raise money for rehabilitation.”

Piper is also a proud mama of two children, an author, podcast host, and motivational speaker for victims of acid attacks.

Her outside transformation over the last decade is merely a reflection of the internal healing and beauty that has blossomed within her since the incident that aimed to destroy her.

Now an inspiring voice for over 838,000 Instagram followers, Katie Piper’s daily mission has encouraged and enlighted so many with her philanthropic heart and sweet soul that has been strengthened by tragedy.

“You are such a brave woman, so admirable!” wrote one commenter. “You are the inspiration for many women. I am really proud of how much you have [grown] as a person.”

If Katie Piper’s journey inspired you too, be sure to share her story with your friends on Facebook!

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Elizabeth Warren drinks beer, gives 2020 thoughts in Instagram livestream

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Is this the end of owning music?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sales of vinyl are at a 25-year high, but growth stagnated in 2018

Sales of CDs plummeted by 23% last year, as consumers flocked to streaming services for their music.

Just 32 million CDs were sold in 2018 – almost 100 million fewer than in 2008; and a drop of 9.6 million year-on-year.

The growth of vinyl also began to plateau, with 4.2 million records sold, a rise of just 1.6%, said the BPI.

Shrinking shelf space in supermarkets contributed to the slowdown, but HMV’s troubles suggest we are increasingly uninterested in owning our music.

The CDs that did sell in large quantities tended to appeal to older, non-traditional music buyers – with six of the year’s top 10 albums either film soundtracks or Now compilations.

The picture is the same in America, where CD sales have fallen 80% in the last decade, from roughly 450 million to 89 million.

In a sign of the times, two of the records nominated for album of the year at the Grammys (H.E.R.’s self-titled debut and Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy) weren’t even released on CD in the US – the first time that’s happened since 1984.

“Lots of us have changed the way we consume music and film, and more people are streaming from Netflix or Spotify,” Kim Bayley of the Entertainment Retailers Association recently told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“But I think we should remember that [physical music] is almost a £2bn business. Even HMV has sales still of a quarter of a billion pounds, so that’s not a small business.”

Jon Tolley, who runs the independent record shop Banquet Records argues that streaming can co-exist with vinyl and CDs.

“I don’t buy it that physical music is necessarily competing with streams. We all access music and film on the internet, and that’s fine and healthy and valid, but you wouldn’t look at the Mona Lisa on your phone and think it’s the same thing as going to see it in a gallery.”

“The reason vinyl sales are at a 25-year high is because people are rejecting this part of modern society where everything is immediate and nothing means anything.”

Mumford and Sons star Ben Lovett agrees. “We all use Spotify but I think we all value vinyl,” he told BBC News.

“We’ve spent a lot more time talking about how we put our vinyl out than we have done about how we’re going to stream our songs.

“We will literally talk about the weight of the vinyl, the presentation, the quality of the cut – all that stuff. People don’t know how important it is to us.”

Fellow musician Jack White recently told Rolling Stone he thought the CD was on the way out.

“I definitely believe the next decade is going to be streaming plus vinyl – streaming in the car and kitchen, vinyl in the living room and the den. Those will be the two formats. And I feel really good about that.”

Top 10 vinyl albums of 2018
Artist Title
1) Arctic Monkeys Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino
2) Various Artists The Greatest Showman
3) Fleetwood Mac Rumours
4) Queen Greatest Hits
5) Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon
6) George Ezra Staying At Tamara’s
7) Nirvana Nevermind
8) Oasis (What’s The Story) Morning Glory
9) David Bowie Legacy
10) Amy Winehouse Back To Black

In contrast to the physical market, streaming services are flourishing.

A total of 91 billion songs were played on Spotify, Apple Music and their competitors last year – the equivalent of 1,300 songs per person in the UK – and streaming now accounts for nearly two thirds (63.6%) of all music consumption in the UK.

The popularity of on-demand music was enough to compensate for the slump in CD sales and downloads; giving the industry its fourth consecutive year of growth.

A total of 142.9 million albums were either streamed, purchased or downloaded, with an estimated retail value of £1.33 billion, said trade body the BPI.

However, it was a poor year for new talent. Anne-Marie’s Speak Your Mind was the year’s biggest-selling debut album, shifting 160,000 copies – but no other British debut sold more than 100,000, the threshold for a gold disc; while Jorja Smith and Giggs’ debut albums both went silver, with sales in excess of 60,000 copies.

Top 10 singles of 2018
Artist Title
1) Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa One Kiss
2) Drake God’s Plan
3) George Ezra Shotgun
4) Keala Settle This Is Me
5) Rudimental These Days
6) Ed Sheeran Perfect
7) Drake Nice For What
8) George Ezra Paradise
9) Ariana Grande No Tears Left To Cry
10) Portugal The Man Feel It Still

BPI chairman Geoff Taylor praised the “strong performance” of British music, but warned that the industry shouldn’t become complacent.

“As we are already seeing, including with the news that HMV has gone into administration, continuing growth could be put at risk if a hard Brexit further harms consumer confidence or Government fails to ensure that all platforms using music pay fairly for it.

“If these risks are avoided, British music remains poised for further growth.”

This article was updated at on 3 January, to correct the omission that Jorja Smith and Giggs both won silver discs in 2018.

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Was this woman wrongly convicted of murder?

Image copyright Emma Jayne-Magson
Image caption Emma-Jayne Magson, 25, is serving a life sentence for murder

Emma-Jayne Magson stabbed her partner with a steak knife then left him to bleed to death. Yet her family believes her murder conviction was a miscarriage of justice. Why?

“I’ve done what my Dad did to you.”

Joanne Smith felt her heart sink as she read the text message from her daughter Emma-Jayne Magson.

Two decades earlier Joanne had been stabbed by her partner, and now Emma had fatally stabbed her own partner, 26-year-old James Knight.

Emma and James had both been out drinking that night and were thrown out of a taxi because they were rowing. The argument continued in the street and back at Emma’s home.

At some point Emma picked up a steak knife and plunged it into James’s chest, puncturing his heart.

James then somehow ended up in the street outside his brother’s house, where Emma was seen sitting on top of him. When James’s brother and a neighbour tried to help she failed to say she had stabbed him, so they unwittingly left him to die.

Despite all of this, Justice for Women, an organisation helping 25-year-old Emma, believes she is one of many women who may have been wrongly convicted of murder after fighting back against abusive partners.

The organisation is the same one helping Sally Challen appeal against a murder conviction for bludgeoning her “controlling” husband to death with a hammer.

“If I honestly thought hand on heart Emma really meant to do that [kill James], I would never stand by Emma,” says her mother.

“But I just know Emma. I know she loves James. And that’s so frustrating for me because I know how much she loves him; even to this day she loves him.”

So how did Emma come to kill James Knight?

Emma’s childhood

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Emma’s older sister, Charlotte, was kept at the family home after she died

Emma was only eight months old when her father attacked her mother in front of her and her older sister, Charlotte, in 1993.

“He locked me in a flat and stabbed me,” recalls Joanne. “They were both in my arms. He went for my throat but as I ran he slashed my legs.”

Despite Emma being too young to remember what happened, Joanne says the stabbing had a lasting impact on her.

“We moved around, we went into a safe house,” says Joanne. “There were scars on my legs and I had to learn to walk again.”

Joanne says Emma had a close relationship with her older sister.

“It was just them,” says Joanne. “They had a bedroom together; they did everything together.”

Then Charlotte died, aged nine, following a complication from an operation.

Joanne sounds regretful when explaining what she did next – her grief-stricken decision to bring Charlotte’s body back to the family home for two weeks. Emma was seven years old at the time.

“Charlotte was in my bedroom for a week, in my bed,” says Joanne. “For the first week she was in my room then I brought her downstairs in an open casket.

“I don’t think I considered anybody but myself.”

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Joanne said her daughter started “acting out” for attention as a teenager

While Emma had been quiet as a child she started rebelling as a teenager.

“As she got to about 13 she started drinking, acting out really, mainly for attention,” says Joanne.

Joanne had left Emma’s father but says there was violence in a subsequent relationship, and the pattern repeated when Emma got into relationships herself.

One of Emma’s partners “fractured her skull and put her in hospital and she had a leak on the brain”.

Emma had a daughter, who is now four years old, when she was 21. Joanne says the birth was “traumatic” and she suffered from post-natal depression.

Emma and James

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption James Knight had two daughters from his previous relationship

Emma met James a year after her daughter was born, in the autumn of 2015.

They got together at about the time James’s relationship ended with the mother of his two children. James had been staying with one of his brothers in Sylvan Street in Leicester, while Emma lived a few doors down with her daughter.

John Skinner, who was friends with James and worked with him as a binman, described him as “a family man” who had lots of friends.

“James had a very good group of friends… he was popular in and amongst his mates and at work.

“Whenever he wasn’t working with me people always wanted to work with him because they knew you could have a laugh and he would get the work done.”

John says the relationship with Emma appeared to begin well.

“When they first got together James looked really happy and bubbly and like he was moving on with his life and he just seemed really happy and settled.”

He became aware of arguments creeping in but thought this was normal for a couple getting settled.

“I’ve seen them have an argument once where it got quite heated but in my opinion they both gave as good as they got,” says John.

“I’ve never seen either of them be violent towards each other.”

Joanne felt her daughter changed as the relationship went on.

“James wanted her to stay in the home, and James didn’t want her to wear makeup,” she says.

Image copyright John Skinner
Image caption John (left) saw Emma and James argue but thought “they both gave as good as they got”

In the murder trial, the prosecution described their relationship as “volatile”.

Emma’s family claim James was physically and emotionally abusive.

She “always had bruises”, her mother says, but would explain them away as “play fighting”.

James’s mother, Trish Knight, maintains her son was not violent.

“James has no history of violence towards women,” she says.

“James was with his previous girlfriend for nine years, who he has got two children with, and there was no violence in that relationship.”

The BBC contacted James’s former partner but she did not want to contribute to this piece.

She told The Sun he was “a real romantic” at the start of the relationship and “an amazing dad” to their daughters.

However, she discovered James was smoking cannabis and taking steroids towards the end of their relationship.

“It was a far cry from the man I fell in love with,” she told The Sun.

“It caused row after row and no matter how much I begged him to stop, he didn’t listen.”

Image copyright John Skinner
Image caption John (right) said James was popular in and outside of work

James’s mother still insists he would never have hit anyone.

“James could shout, and James had hit a wall. If James lost his temper he would hit a wall rather than hit somebody,” says Trish.

John noticed a physical change in his workmate.

“He did get a lot bigger, obviously, you could tell there was something going off,” says John.

“Obviously he was always obsessed with looking good… he used to go to the gym after work.

“If you do the job and you work hard it keeps you fit in itself but he went that extra mile.”

The miscarriage

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Emma already had a daughter, who is now four years old

Emma miscarried their baby in the middle of March 2016.

Miscarriages are known to trigger mental health problems, but Emma’s family say the loss was even more traumatic because half of the baby was left inside her despite a hospital procedure intended to remove it. She then returned to hospital for a further procedure to have the remains removed.

Emma telephoned her mum to say James blamed her for losing the baby.

“A nurse had to have a word with them in the hospital because he was calling her a slag, saying she was with black men, that’s why she lost it,” says Joanne.

James’s mum said he had been “thrilled” about the prospect of becoming a father again, and she never heard him blame Emma for the miscarriage.

“He was upset,” Trish says.

“I think he was angry it had happened to them.”

Fateful night out

Image copyright Leicestershire Police
Image caption Emma claimed she “didn’t mean to harm” James

Emma decided to go on a night out with a friend on Saturday 26 March 2016, the Easter bank holiday weekend.

That night, Emma met up with James at a bar in Leicester city centre.

Louise Bullivant, her new solicitor, says door staff at the pub asked James to leave because they were concerned about his behaviour.

“There was an incident between James and door staff which resulted in him being asked to leave and Emma decided to leave with him,” she says.

“There’s no doubt that they had both been drinking.”

They argued in a taxi and the driver asked them to get out, meaning they had to walk home. During the journey, CCTV captured James grabbing Emma around her shoulder and neck and pushing her to the ground.

A statement from Emma was read out in court, in which she claimed she stabbed James in self-defence.

“Once in the kitchen, he grabbed me around my throat and pushed me back,” it said.

“I was right next to the sink and reached out to grab something. I picked up the first thing which came to hand which was a steak knife; the knife was in my hand and I hit out once.

“I didn’t mean to harm him, I just wanted to get him off’.”

“I think something triggered; I think she had had enough,” says Joanne.

James’s mum says nobody really knows what happened.

“There were only two people who were there that night and one of them can’t give his version of events,” says Trish.

James’s last moments

Image caption Emma said she stabbed James in the kitchen of her house in Sylvan Street, Leicester

James did not die immediately. In fact, he somehow ended up outside his brother Kevin’s house a few doors away, lying face down in the street, at about 02:30.

Kevin and a neighbour, Michal Ladic, came out to help but Emma did not tell either of them she had stabbed James.

“He was still alive when I came to them,” says Michal.

“I wanted to turn him around but she was sitting on him. He was face down, topless, she was sitting on him.

“I asked if he was all right and she said he was just drunk.”

In his evidence at the trial, Kevin said Emma told him James was drunk and had been beaten up by bouncers earlier on.

When asked what impression he got from Emma, Kevin said: “That everything will be fine in the morning – he just needs to sleep it off.”

Kevin helped lift James into Emma’s house and placed him on the floor of the front room. Kevin did not realise his brother had been stabbed and left, telling him: “I will see you tomorrow.”

Emma rang 999 and asked for an ambulance, but again did not mention James had been stabbed.

When asked what had happened she said: “Um, I don’t know, my boyfriend’s here and he’s making weird noises. I don’t know what’s going on.”

Later in the call she said: “It looks like he’s had a fight with someone.”

When the operator explained the ambulance might take a while, she replied: “No, that’s fine, don’t worry about it.”

The prosecution claimed Emma deceived people into not saving James’s life, and described her as “cold, brutal and manipulative”.

However, her mother believes she simply didn’t realise James was dying.

“I don’t think she knew how serious it was in that moment,” says Joanne.

Image copyright Emma-Jayne Magson
Image caption James was known as “King James” and Emma got a tattoo in tribute to him after his death

Kevin was awoken by Emma banging on his door, screaming that James was dead, about 40 minutes after he had seen them both outside his house.

Kevin went to Emma’s house and Michal was already there trying to save his life, having heard Emma’s screams.

“We didn’t know he had been stabbed,” says Michal.

“The body was so clean, nothing on him, and only when I gave him mouth-to-mouth and the second breath raised his chest and that wound opened and my eyes popped out. I just took the phone from Kev and told the operator that he was stabbed in the heart.

“Then I was trying to do the CPR for another 15 minutes and she was getting in my way, like ‘I want him back, I just want him to wake up’.

“I remember telling Kev to drag her off him, and he did it, he took her off so I could carry on with the mouth-to-mouth and CPR.”

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Emma’s grandmother says she saw marks around Emma’s neck

Emma phoned her grandmother, who got a taxi straight there.

“The ambulance had taken James away,” says Lynda Allen.

“There were police everywhere. Eventually, they let me go through and she walked down the road to me. All she had got on was a little nightdress, no shoes, nothing.

“She put her head on my shoulder, crying.”

Lynda noticed marks around her neck, which were also noted when Emma was later examined in police custody.

Emma was not initially arrested as police did not realise she was responsible for stabbing James.

She was allowed to go to her mother’s house, where she told her mother she thought she had killed James, who told police. Emma was then arrested and taken away after being allowed to say goodbye to her daughter.

The murder trial

Image copyright PA
Image caption Emma decided not to give evidence at her trial

Unusually for someone accused of murder, Emma remained on bail throughout her trial at Leicester Crown Court.

Her new solicitor believes this “says a great deal about the court’s approach to the evidence”.

Emma decided not to give evidence herself, but her legal team argued she had acted in self-defence, did not intend to kill or harm James, and had suffered a loss of control.

Her family believe she was scared and did not understand what was happening during the trial.

“How can I put it without sounding nasty?” says her grandmother.

“Emma’s very slow on the uptake. If you said something to Emma and she didn’t understand it, where it’s quite simple to me and you, I would have to sit and explain everything to her.

“I don’t understand the law but I would have thought there would be somebody there to talk things through with her that she didn’t understand.”

Emma’s new solicitor believes if she had been supported by an intermediary, such as a trained social worker, she might have followed the trial better and participated effectively.

Emma was found guilty of murder in November 2016 and given a life sentence with a minimum term of 17 years.

Emma’s appeal

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Joanne takes Emma’s daughter to visit her in prison every week

After the trial ended, Emma’s mother was approached by a police officer who told her to contact Justice for Women.

The group helped Emma get a new legal team, which is trying to appeal against the murder conviction using psychiatric evidence.

The original psychiatrist instructed by the defence team had diagnosed Emma as having an emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD), but for some reason this was not used as evidence at her trial.

Emma’s new legal team went back to this psychiatrist for a further assessment, and also instructed a clinical psychologist who diagnosed Emma as having a pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS).

Even the psychiatric expert originally instructed by the prosecution now agrees that Emma was suffering from a recognised medical condition at the time of the killing.

“He says he has revised his view and now supports a diagnosis of EUPD and PDD-NOS,” says Emma’s solicitor.

A petition was launched demanding “justice for James”, saying that Emma should stay in prison and “do her time”.

However, Court of Appeal judges in London have found Emma has an “arguable” case and granted permission to appeal.

Emma speaks to her young daughter on the phone every day, and she visits the prison every week.

“They are so close,” says Joanne.

“She’s going to see her mum today and she said ‘I’m going to my mum’s house, I can’t wait. I love my mum’s house’.

“It’s just so sad.”

Image caption Trish says her son James had no history of abuse in his relationships

For James’s young daughters, their weekly visits are to his grave.

“They ask if Daddy is watching them,” says Trish.

“One of his daughters when she’s old enough wants to go in the sky to see Daddy.”

Joanne empathises with James’s mum, but maintains Emma should not have been convicted of murder.

“I’ve lost a child so I know what James’s mum is going through. I understand, I really do,” she says.

“I just hope Emma can come out and be a mum to her daughter and get on with her life.

“She will never forget James ever, she won’t. I know that she loves James and I know that if she could take that night back she would. 100% she would.”

On 22 November the Court of Appeal granted permission for Emma-Jayne Magson to appeal against her murder conviction. Her legal team is waiting for a date for the next hearing.

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Native Americans call Trump’s Wounded Knee tweet ‘callous,’ ‘disrespectful,’ and ‘racist.’

President Trump invoked two Native American tragedies to insult Senator Elizabeth Warren on Twitter, causing decent people everywhere to cringe.

At this point, it should be painfully obvious that you shouldn’t use the tragic history of Native peoples as a weapon to attack your political enemies. And yet, here we are.

On January 13, 2019, President Trump shared a clip from an Instagram Live video of Elizabeth Warren, in which she grabs a beer and thanks her husband after announcing that she’s running for president in 2020. Trump commented, “If Elizabeth Warren, often referred to by me as Pocahontas, did this commercial from Bighorn or Wounded Knee instead of her kitchen, with her husband dressed in full Indian garb, it would have been a smash!”

For those who may not know, Wounded Knee was the site of a massacre in which U.S. soldiers slaughtered 150-300 Native Americans, nearly half of them women and children. And the Battle of Little Bighorn, though a momentary victory for Native Americans, is still a painful reminder of the oppression of the indigenous people of America, which only became more intense after the event.

The largest and oldest American Indian and Native Alaskan organization in the country has denounced Trump’s tweet.

The National Congress of American Indians is “the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country,” and those who lead the NCAI had some words for the president after his tweet.

NCAI President Jefferson Keep said on behalf of the organization:

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the casual and callous use of these events as part of a political attack. Hundreds of Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho people lost their lives at the hands of the invading U.S. Army during these events, and their memories should not be desecrated as a rhetorical punch line.”

Rodney Bordeaux, Chairman of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and NCAI Great Plains Alternate Area Vice President also said:

“The President referenced the Wounded Knee Massacre, one of the darkest and most tragic chapters in the history of the Sioux Nation, to mock Senator Warren. On behalf of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, I condemn President Trump’s racist and disrespectful tweet about this brutal incident, in which an estimated 300 unarmed men, women, and children were rounded up and slaughtered. President Trump should remember that the United States has broken and continues to dishonor the treaties of peace made with our nation and other tribal nations of this country, and he should apologize immediately to the people of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and other Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota nations for his shameful and ignorant misstatement.”

Others have called out the president’s insensitive and callous remarks as well.

Ruth Hopkins, a Dakota/Lakota Sioux writer and tribal attorney called Trump’s tweet “cold, callous, and just plain racist.”

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe called him out, saying “It is disgraceful that a President is mocking a massacre that hurt our Lakota People. We are outraged by his ignorance and lack of propriety.”

Other folks on Twitter, Native and non-Native, have pointed out the egregiously offensive nature of this official presidential statement. (As a reminder, all of Trump’s tweets, including this one, have been ruled by a court as official statements and will go down on the historical record.)

Trump’s tweet is indefensible. The fact that he has not acknowledged that fact or deleted it with a profound apology isn’t surprising—but it should be. We should be shocked by this kind of behavior out of the President of the United States. The fact that it’s barely made a blip on most people’s radars is a clear sign of how far our standards have fallen.

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