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The Inquisitr offers a constantly updated mix of the latest stories to hit the web, covering news, entertainment, technology, news, sport, health and everything else.

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    Reagan's Casket Departs Funeral Home

    Patti Davis, the youngest daughter of President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy, wrote an op-ed column recently for the Washington Post to share her thoughts on what is required of an elected official to take the lead in the White House. Davis, who has been working on a documentary about the Reagan family, says she saw her parents as the first authority figures in her life and is embarrassed that the United States currently doesn’t have that in a president with Donald Trump.

    The Salt Lake Tribune shared the article written by Davis, which says that sadly right now the U.S. doesn’t have that authority figure leading us anywhere, and instead it has a petulant child serving in the highest office. Davis says that the president is supposed to keep us from falling and failing.

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    Three rats in a city

    While President Donald Trump is busy calling people “rats” on Twitter, it looks like literal rats are running onto the White House lawn. For years, Washington, D.C., has dealt with a plague of the four-legged rodents, and they are not discerning about where they show up. Big fancy house painted white? Yes, they go there.

    According to a report from the Washington Post, on Monday, one of the creatures scurried across the lawn at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and not surprisingly, somebody was there to report on the crazy scene.

    Reporter John Roberts took to Twitter to share the scene with his followers. He wrote, “I am standing in our @FoxNews standup location on the @WhiteHouse North Lawn and notice in my peripheral vision something moving at my left foot. I assumed it was one of the ubiquitous WH squirrels. But no… it was a big brown rat.”

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    Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz makes a speech at a campaign rally on March 5, 2016 in Wichita, Kansas.

    Even as the country continues to be gripped by Donald Trump on almost a daily basis, a quiet revolution is simmering in the counties of Kansas, where more and more Republican lawmakers are choosing to switch sides and become Democrats, according to The Kansas City Star.

    After Barbara Bollier, a member of the Kansas Senate representing the 7th district, left the Republican Party earlier this month, Sen. Dinah Sykes and Rep. Stephanie Clayton, both moderate Johnson County Republicans, said they are becoming Democrats. Republican lawmakers switching parties is seen as a direct result of a nationwide surge of Democratic voters in suburban areas, which is believed to have been responsible for the defeat of Kansas Republican U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder.

    In a stinging rebuke to the Republican Party, Stephanie Clayton said that the GOP was supporting “chaos in public policy” and was not interested in the demands of the electorate.

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    Many drones are used to snap creative photos from high up above, cover football games with a unique angle, and monitor crops for farmers. But one Florida mother and her daughter allegedly attempted to use a drone in a crazy way that ultimately ended up with them being arrested.

    Cassandra Kerr, 40, and Concetta Didiano, 22, of Tampa were arrested after deputies accused them of using a drone to deliver mobile phones and tobacco to a prisoner housed at Martin Correctional Institution in Indiantown.

    WPLG-TV reports that the staff at Martin Correctional Institution noticed the drone hovering above the prison building on a Sunday at approximately 1:30 a.m. According to the arrest report, prison staff alerted the Martin County Sheriff’s Department to the suspicious activity.

    Not long after the drone was reported by prison staff, a deputy responded to a crash along a road not far from the prison. A vehicle had collided with the very same drone and ultimately disabled it.

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    Trump and Putin stand at podiums at a conference.

    On Wednesday morning, Donald Trump took to his Twitter to announce that the United States had proven victorious over the terrorist group ISIS. This followed reports that U.S. ground troops in Syria were being withdrawn at a rapid pace. According to Business Insider, this move could prove a major benefit for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Trump’s Twitter post stated that the only reason the United States has remained in Syria was to fight the terrorist organization. Now that he’s determined it is defeated, there’s no reason for American troops to continue to stay in the country. However, it looks like this decision goes directly against policies laid down by the Pentagon and the State Department.

    Just four days before the announcement, Pentagon officials released a statement about the fight against ISIS, and how America was committed to seeing the battle through to the end.

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    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks after signing H.R. 390, the 'Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018' in the Oval Office at the White House on December 11, 2018 in Washington, DC.

    Donald Trump took to social media on Wednesday to defend his charitable foundation from what he calls a liberal “double standard.” In a series of Twitter messages, the president claimed that the Donald J. Trump foundation was the victim of a politically-motivated attack led by Andrew Cuomo and Eric Schneiderman.

    On Tuesday, the New York Attorney General announced that the nonprofit organization would be dissolved under judicial supervision as part of a continuing investigation into the charity’s finances. The president defended his foundation, saying that it has done “great work” over the years.

    “The Trump Foundation has done great work and given away lots of money, both mine and others, to great charities over the years – with me taking NO fees, rent, salaries etc.,” he wrote.

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    The Duke & Duchess Of Cambridge Visit Cyprus

    A man described by police as a “far-right bomb maker” was taken into police custody and being held during the investigation into the 23 bombs and a “hate board” in his home. A military disposal team was called in to make sure they cleared the Bristol, England residence of all explosives.

    Telegraph says that Matthew Glynn, 37, a British carpenter, will remain behind bars for up to five years for stocking up on explosive devices which forced police to close off his entire street for two days while they searched for any other explosive materials.

    Glynn’s “hate board” included photos of Kate Middleton, Cheryl Cole, Barack Obama, and other people who were not identified.

    Prosecutor Rache Drake says that when police asked the convicted bomb-maker if they could search his house, he asked if he could tidy up first because he had numerous swords, asking if this would make any charges worse.

    “Would it be classed as a terror incident?”

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    Beluga Whale tail in the water

    Engineers in London have been forced to suspecd work on a £6bn ($7.5) new tunnel under the River Thames because a Beluga Whale has taken up residence in the river.

    The new 2.3 mile long tunnel is due to connect the British counties of Kent and Essex to the East of the City of London. It is expected to releave traffic congestion on London’s existing river crossings.

    Work is still at an early stage, with project directors still carrying out tests and surveys ahead of a formakl planning permission. Given that the project is being spearheaded by Highways England, the public body responsible for the road network in England, this is expected to be a formality.

    But the presence of a whale in the Thames has forced them to increase the time they have allocated to these tests, with work having to be carried out in phases to avoid disturbing the whale, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

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    Alan Dershowitz attends Hulu Presents 'Triumph's Election Special' produced by Funny Or Die at NEP Studios

    Another alleged sex trafficking victim of billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein has claimed that the convict directed her to have sex with his lawyer, Trump ally Alan Dershowitz. The famed attorney denies this claim, but it was made on the court record by Sarah Ransome in Manhattan federal court.

    The New York Daily News reports that Ransome is suing Epstein and his alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, saying that she was trafficked for sex from 2006 to 2007 before Epstein was arrested. Laura Menninger, Maxwell’s lawyer, first shared the allegations against Dershowitz in open court in November.

    “[Ransome] has alleged not only that my client ran a sex trafficking organization but she claims also that she was directed by my client and the Epstein defendants to have sex with third parties, including Alan Dershowitz, for example.”

    The plaintiff says that Dershowitz was employed by Jeffrey Epstein to fight sex trafficking allegations in Florida while “transporting young females” in New York.

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    Border Patrol agents take immigrants into custody.

    A Times Square billboard purchased by an immigrants rights group is accusing the Department of Homeland Security of “murdering” a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in the custody of Border Patrol earlier this month.

    Jakelin Caal died within hours of being picked up by Border Patrol after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in New Mexico. There have been differing reports about how exactly the girl fell ill and what actions the agency took to provide medical treatment, and critics are calling for a thorough investigation into how she died in the agency’s custody. One advocacy group is taking it a step further, the Hill reported.

    The group United We Dream has purchased the advertisement showing images of immigrants who died in federal custody. The group said they hope it will fuel opposition to Donald Trump’s border wall.

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    Firefighters battle the Camp Fire in California.

    A California woman is facing felony fraud charges after police say she invented a “firefighter husband” who she claimed was off fighting wildfires and using the fake man to scam $11,000 in donations.

    As the New York Post noted, police arrested Ashley Bemis in connection to a social media scam in which she received cash and gifts from kind-hearted strangers who wanted to lend a hand while her alleged husband was fighting dangerous wildfires. Bemis claimed she was married to a firefighter named Shane Goodman, and even went so far as to post pictures of herself with the fictitious man.

    “On multiple social media pages, Bemis posted pictures of herself and her fictitious firefighter husband asking for donations,” the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

    “She solicited for items she claimed would benefit the firefighters working alongside her husband battling the blaze that ultimately burned more than 23,000 acres in the Cleveland National Forest and destroyed 18 structures.”

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    Protesters support Jack Phillips, a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple

    A Colorado baker at the center of a court battle after he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple is back in court after again refusing to make a cake celebrating a customer’s gender transition.

    Lawyers for Jack Phillips have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that state is punishing him over the refusal to make a gender transition cake. As the Associated Press reported, the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop just outside of Denver claims that the state is treating him with hostility because of his Christian faith and believed that the latest accusations were a “setup” against him.

    Last year, Phillips had declined to make a cake for Denver attorney Autumn Scardina because she is transgender. She had requested a cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside to celebrate her transition to becoming a woman.

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    President Donald Trump and MSNBC Host Chris Matthews sit next to each other during a town hall meeting on March 30, 2016.

    Days after predicting that President Donald Trump would soon resign from office, MSNBC host Chris Matthews came to his defense, slamming critics of his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, Business Insider reported.

    During an airing of his show Hardball With Chris Matthews on Wednesday, December 19, host Matthews touched on President Trump’s decision yesterday to spend the next month removing ground troops from Syria, where he also declared that ISIS had been defeated.

    The decision was met with a considerable amount of criticism, and Matthews took on those critics during his segment yesterday, noting that the outrage from those who he dubbed the “country’s brigade of armchair hawks” was “predictable,” which he alleged was because they were largely in favor of military interventions in the Middle East or “wherever they can find a broadcastable case.”

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    The Monterey Aquarium

    The Monterey Bay Aquarium in California made a jokey social media post on Tuesday, using a variety of impromptu internet terms to describe an otter named Abby.

    “Abby is a thicc girl,” the post read, as reported by Jezebel. “What an absolute unit She c h o n k Look at the size of this lady OH LAWD SHE COMIN Another Internetism!”

    The tweet had 5,000 retweets and 20,000 likes as well as 383 comments. But the following day, the aquarium was apologizing.

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    A holiday light display.

    In the classic holiday movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Chevy Chase’s character of Clark Griswold is bound and determined to have the most impressive and festive seasonal display ever. He tries valiantly, failing every time until the very end.

    One family in Florida has been giving Clark Griswold a run for his money with their holiday light display. Michelle Sowell, 54, and her hubby Terry, 72, spent $45,000 this winter on holiday decorations, including thousands of lights and 3.5 miles of extension cords.

    It takes at least three months for them to create the Christmas display. She hopes to keep their electric bill a bit lower than last year, which ran upwards of $3,500.

    “The power company loves me this time of year. They think I’m crazy because I just make it happen somehow,” she told People.

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    Harvey Weinstein looks off into the distance in profile.

    On Thursday, a New York judge determined that the sexual assault case against disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein can continue forward after allegations emerged of improper police behavior during the investigation.

    As reported by Entertainment Tonight, Judge James Burke determined that the alleged police misconduct did not impact the case, and it can proceed accordingly. Weinstein is charged with raping a woman in a hotel room back in March of 2013. He is also accused of forcibly performing oral sex on a different woman back in 2006. Although Weinstein confirms he had sexual relations with both women, he has aggressively denied all allegations of non-consensual sexual contact.

    Benjamin Brafman, Weinstein’s lawyer on the case, pushed for the case to be dismissed after reports of police misconduct during the investigation surfaced. Police Detective Nicholas DiGaudio has been accused of interfering with the accuser as well as the witness. He has categorically denied these claims.

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    An immigrant is detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), officers during an operation on April 11, 2018 in New York City.

    Florida resident Peter Sean Brown is suing the Monroe County Sherriff’s office after he was unlawfully detained for weeks and nearly deported to Jamaica. Brown’s attorneys say that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents confused the U.S. citizen with another individual, and now he is seeking restitution for the traumatizing experience, according to Business Insider.

    Peter Brown was born in Philadephia and was raised in New Jersey. He moved to the Florida Keys a few years ago. After a run-in with police at a bar, Brown pleaded guilty to resisting arrest. Last spring, he violated his parole from that charge when he tested positive for marijuana, and he turned himself in to the Monroe County Sherriff.

    That’s where things took a shocking turn. Brown was told that he was being held in prison on a request from ICE and later told that he was flagged for deportation to Jamaica – a country he had only been to once on a cruise.

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    Crime scene photo inside a home.

    In what appears to be a custody dispute gone wrong in horrifying fashion, 52-year-old Svetlana Laurel shot her own 14-year-old daughter in the head on Tuesday night, December 18, killing her. The distraught teen was attempting to speak on the phone to a 911 operator at the time of the incident, as prosecutors allege in court documents obtained by KOMO TV News in Seattle, Washington.

    According to a police report and court papers, Laurel showed up Tuesday evening at the home of her former husband, Michael Gulizia, who was not yet home. Gulizia had custody of the couple’s two children, a 12-year-old boy, and a 14-year-old girl identified as Natalie Gulizia, according to a New York Daily News report on the incident.

    Renton is a suburban city about 12 miles south of Seattle. Laurel was reportedly living in Kent, Washington, according to KOMO reporter Jennifer Sullivan — via Twitter. Kent is located another seven miles south of Renton.

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    President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping (not shown) speak to business leaders at the Great Hall of the People.

    The United States and some of its trade partners will join together in a collective effort to condemn China for their cyber-espionage campaign, reports the the New York Times. The planned rebuke of China comes in response to the country’s alleged attempts to acquire intellectual property and trade secrets through illicit, state-coordinated activities.

    The United States’ Justice Department has been working for over a decade to build a criminal case against Chinese hackers, Chinese companies, and Chinese government agencies that work clandestinely to acquire military and trade secrets. The illegal activities were a push to advance the “economic and geopolitical interests” of Beijing, the Justice Department alleges.

    The efforts by the Justice Department were fast-tracked in 2018, with indictments aimed at accusing the largest Chinese intelligence-gathering organization of utilizing espionage to acquire sensitive military secrets from U.S. military contractors. The intel was allegedly acquired in order to advance China’s aerospace endeavors.

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    Vladimir Putin stands at a podium.

    On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his support for Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. military members from Syria. As reported by the New York Times, Putin stated that the move to withdraw was “correct,” as American troops are no longer necessary in the region.

    Putin made the announcement during his annual news conference. The lengthy event, which lasted for four hours, saw him repeatedly express his support and admiration for Trump — particularly his decision regarding Syria.

    Putin is also backing Trump’s claim that the terrorist organization ISIS has been defeated. Trump has stated that the only reason for American forces to be in Syria was to fight ISIS, and without the terrorist group to contend with, it’s time for the troops to come home.

    “As for defeating ISIS, I do generally agree with the president of the U.S.,” Putin said at one point during the press conference.

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