Harvey Weinstein Hires Prison Consultant

(New York, NY-AP) – Harvey Weinstein is hiring a prison consultant to get him ready for jail. Page Six reports the life-behind-bars expert isn’t a psychologist, but someone who can help the disgraced movie mogul with logistics, including making sure he gets the proper medical care.

Weinstein, who was convicted of rape, is currently at Bellevue Hospital in New York City after complaining of chest pains, heart palpitations and blood pressure, while also suffering from diabetes. Once he leaves Bellevue, Weinstein is expected to be sent to a special medical facility at Rikers until his sentencing on March 11th.

He faces up-to-25-years in prison.

Vanessa Bryant Speaks For The First Time At Kobe And Gianna’s Memorial

(LOS ANGELES, Ca. (AP) – Kobe Bryant’s wife offered a poignant portrait of her NBA superstar husband and their daughter Monday at a packed memorial service for the two, who were among nine people killed last month in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles.

Speaking at times through tears, Vanessa Bryant praised her husband’s devotion to their family as she addressed thousands of fans gathered at Staples Center to remember Bryant and 13-year-old Gianna.

”God knew they couldn’t be on this Earth without each other,” Vanessa Bryant said. ”He had to bring them home to have them together. Babe, you take care of our Gigi.”

The service took place at the downtown arena where Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers for the final 17 seasons of his two-decade NBA career. Thousands of Lakers fans, many wearing Bryant’s jersey or team colors, attended the tearful gathering to honor Los Angeles’ most popular athlete and a global basketball icon.

The ceremony began with Beyonce performing her songs ”XO” and ”Halo” with dozens of backup musicians. Alicia Keys performed Beethoven’s ”Moonlight Sonata” later in the program, and Christina Aguilera sang ”Ave Maria.”

The two-hour program concluded with ”Dear Basketball,” Bryant’s Academy Award-winning short film.

After Jimmy Kimmel welcomed the crowd, Vanessa Bryant remembered the family’s life with Gianna and her three siblings and then eulogized her husband. They had been together since 1999.

”He was the most amazing husband,” she said. ”Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words. I was fire. He was ice. Vice versa at times. … He was my everything.”

The mourners included Lakers greats such as Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Pau Gasol. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver joined Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Phil Jackson and dozens of current NBA players, including Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving and Los Angeles natives James Harden, Russell Westbrook and DeMar DeRozan. Celebrities such as Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez also attended.

Jordan, the Chicago Bulls great whose career was wrapping up as Bryant’s was starting in the late 1990s, praised Bryant as ”one of my dear friends. He was like a little brother. … As I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be.”

O’Neal and Bryant joined the Lakers together in 1996, and they won three consecutive championships during eight tumultuous seasons in purple and gold. Although their relationship was often publicly rocky, Shaq said the two were always friendly in private, even comparing their dynamic to John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

”Kobe and I pushed each other to play some of the greatest basketball of all time,” O’Neal said. ”I’m proud nobody has accomplished what the threepeat Lakers have done since the Shaq and Kobe Lakers did it.”

O’Neal also got the biggest laugh in the somber service with a profane joke about an exchange in which Shaq told Kobe there was no ”I” in team, but Bryant responded by noting that there is an ”M-E.”

Vanessa Bryant was followed on the podium by basketball stars Diana Taurasi and Sabrina Ionescu. Kobe Bryant was a passionate advocate for women’s basketball, and Gigi Bryant was a promising young player.

”If I represented the present of the women’s game, Gigi represented the future, and Kobe knew it,” said Ionescu, the Oregon star who was mentored by Bryant.

Rob Pelinka, Bryant’s longtime agent before he became the Lakers’ general manager in 2017, referred to the day of the crash as ”when the axis of the world seemed to shift forever, for all of us.” Pelinka was also Gigi Bryant’s godfather, and the families were close.

He also revealed that Bryant had texted him only moments before the crash, asking for help in securing an internship with a baseball agent for teenager Alexis Altobelli, who lost her parents and younger sister in the crash moments later.

”Kobe lived to make other people’s lives better, all the way up to his final text,” Pelinka said.

Continue reading Vanessa Bryant Speaks For The First Time At Kobe And Gianna’s Memorial

CDC Warns Coronavirus Will Spread Through The U.S.

(Washington, DC-AP) – CDC officials say a coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. appears inevitable. After closed briefings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill today, Dr. Nancy Messonnier spoke with news reporters and said it’s not a matter of if but when.

The U.S. has 53 confirmed cases, including 36 people evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan.

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Alex Azar is facing more heat over the growing coronavirus threat. During a House hearing, Azar defended the Trump administration’s request for two-point-five-billion-dollars in emergency funding to prepare for the coronavirus.

Democrats have called it too little, too late.  New York Democrat Nita Lowey criticized the Trump administration for budget cuts in U.S. global health programs, including at the CDC. She called it disastrous.

Azar said the emergency funding request is flexible and stressed that more money could be requested later, if necessary. Meantime, Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole said the threat of a global pandemic is more serious than a major terrorist attack.