Also trending on your TGIF: Dramatic video shows Coast Guard leap on cocaine-laden submarine; 39K pounds seized, Trump calls Paul Ryan 'lame duck failure' after book excerpts released and photo captures black bear relaxing at New Hampshire hotel
R. Kelly arrested again in Chicago on federal sex charges
CHICAGO (AP) — Singer R. Kelly, already facing sexual abuse charges brought by Illinois prosecutors, was arrested in Chicago Thursday on a federal grand jury indictment listing 13 counts including sex crimes and obstruction of justice.
U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Joseph Fitzpatrick said the R&B singer was taken into custody about 7 p.m. local time and was being held by federal authorities. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, Kelly is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Chicago.
He was arrested after the indictment was handed down earlier Thursday in federal court for the Northern District of Illinois.
"The counts include child porn, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice," Fitzpatrick said, adding that further details would be released Friday.
The arrest was the second time this year that Kelly has been taken into custody in Chicago on sex charges. The 52-year-old Grammy winner, whose real name is Robert Kelly, was arrested in February on 10 counts in Illinois involving four women, three of whom were minors when the alleged abuse occurred. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and was released on bail.
Then on May 30, Cook County prosecutors added 11 more sex-related counts involving one of the women who accused him of sexually abusing her when she was underage.
Kelly has faced mounting legal troubles this year after Lifetime aired a documentary "Surviving R. Kelly," which revisited allegations of sexual abuse of girls. The series followed the BBC's "R Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes," released in 2018, that alleged the singer was holding women against their will and running a "sex cult."
Kelly avoided prison after similar allegations were made more than a decade ago. A jury in 2008 acquitted him of child pornography charges that stemmed from a videotape, obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, allegedly showing Kelly having sex with a minor.
Dramatic vid shows Coast Guard leap on cocaine-laden submarine; 39K pounds seized
CORONADO, Calif. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard has offloaded tons of cocaine and marijuana seized from boats and even a semi-submarine in the Pacific. The agency released dramatic video of armed crew members boarding a semi-submersible racing through the waves off of South America.
Vice President Mike Pence was on hand Thursday as 39,000 pounds (17,690 kilograms) of cocaine and 933 pounds (423 kilograms) of marijuana were taken off the cutter Munro at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado.
The Coast Guard says the drugs have an estimated street value of $569 million.
The drugs were seized in 14 operations since May in international waters off Mexico and Central and South America.
Fifty-five smuggling suspects were taken into custody.
The agency released dramatic video of armed crew members boarding a semi-submersible racing through the waves off of South America last month.
Kentucky kitten feline fine after 30-mile trip trapped under car
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Well, ain't that the cat's meow?
A 9-week-old kitten survived a 30-mile (48-kilometer) trip trapped in the frame of a car.
Auto repair shop owner Scott Bourne says the driver heard a noise coming from under his car when he left Lexington on Wednesday morning but didn't know what it was. Later that day, the driver stopped at a Hardee's in Frankfort and found the kitten.
Bourne's repair shop, Midas of Frankfort, is next door to the Hardee's. Bourne says technicians had to drop out the subframe, and took about 20 minutes using soap to free the kitten.
He named her Marigold, a variation of the name given to King Midas' daughter in a book by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
A veterinarian says Marigold is healthy. A longtime customer of Bourne's has volunteered to adopt her.
Trump calls Paul Ryan 'lame duck failure' after book excerpts released
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump unloaded via Twitter on Republican former House Speaker Paul Ryan, calling him a "lame duck failure."
Ryan is very critical of Trump in the book "American Carnage," by Tim Alberta of Politico, in excerpts running in various publications. Alberta wrote the former speaker, who retired from Congress in 2018, could not stand the idea of another two years with the president and saw retirement as the "escape hatch," according to The Washington Post. Ryan is quoted saying: "I'm telling you, he didn't know anything about government. I wanted to scold him all the time."
Trump tweeted late Thursday: "He had the Majority & blew it away with his poor leadership and bad timing. Never knew how to go after the Dems like they go after us. Couldn't get him out of Congress fast enough!"
Trump may have been angered by various revelations in the book, including accounts recalling widespread negative GOP reactions to his off-color videotaped comments in the "Access Hollywood" scandal in the closing weeks of the 2016 election campaign. Ryan's reaction was particularly harsh.
The book recounted Ryan, who served in Congress for 20 years, saying Trump's presidency was slipping as he was less willing to accept advice from Republicans to moderate his approach.
"Those of us around him really helped to stop him from making bad decisions. All the time," Ryan said. "We helped him make much better decisions, which were contrary to kind of what his knee-jerk reaction was. Now I think he's making some of these knee-jerk reactions."
And Ryan, who often was Trump's wing man on some congressional issues but had a strained relationship with him, was the main focus of Trump's Twitter rage.
Paul Ryan, the failed V.P. candidate & former Speaker of the House, whose record of achievement was atrocious (except during my first two years as President), ultimately became a long running lame duck failure, leaving his Party in the lurch both as a fundraiser & leader......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2019
"Paul Ryan, the failed V.P. candidate & former Speaker of the House, whose record of achievement was atrocious (except during my first two years as President), ultimately became a long running lame duck failure, leaving his Party in the lurch both as a fundraiser & leader," Trump tweeted.
Trump tweeted that when presidential candidate Mitt Romney chose Ryan as a running mate "I told people that's the end of that Presidential run."
"He quit Congress because he didn't know how to Win," Trump tweeted. "They gave me standing O's in the Great State of Wisconsin, & booed him off the stage. He promised me the Wall, & failed (happening anyway!)..."
Photo captures black bear relaxing at New Hampshire hotel
BRETTON WOODS, N.H. (AP) — Uh, good morning?
It seems bears enjoy a good view just like any other visitor to the White Mountains in New Hampshire.
A photo snapped June 29 by an employee at the Omni Mount Washington Resort shows a black bear holding onto a rail on the veranda and looking out. The photo was taken around 5 a.m. and the employee, Sam Geesaman, said he had only wanted to get a photo of the sunrise.
Instead, he caught the bear as it climbed stairs in search of a trash can. The bear moved on after Gessaman loudly clapped and stomped.
New Hampshire routinely has reports of bears finding their way into homes, campgrounds and even apartment complexes.
Last year, food shortages were blamed for a sharp increase in bear-human conflicts and the highest numbers of bear killings since 2014.
New Orleans' levees face a hard test as Barry looms
Even as Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the Mississippi River's levees held up when those in other parts of the city did not.
But as Tropical Storm Barry threatened New Orleans with torrential rains that will test the city's flood defenses this weekend, the height of the city's river levees was the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' greatest concern, spokesman Ricky Boyett said Thursday.
The danger to New Orleans — bound by the Mississippi River on its south side, Lake Pontchartrain on its north side and tributaries leading into the nearby Gulf of Mexico on the east — is threefold: storm surges from the sea, rain from the sky and water from the rising river if the levees fail.
While the Corps wasn't expecting the swollen river to spill over into the city, the threat from Barry was real with a storm that was forecast to dump 10 to 20 inches (25 to 50 centimeters) of rain on New Orleans through Sunday, with isolated areas getting 25 inches (64 centimeters).
The river was expected to crest at about 19 feet (5.8 meters) on Saturday in New Orleans, where the levees protecting it from the water range from about 20 to 25 feet (6 to 7.5 meters) in height, said Jeff Graschel, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service.
The weather service also was expecting the water to stay below the river's levees, which haven't been overtopped in New Orleans since the early 1920s. But state officials warned that a change in the storm's direction or intensity could change that.
To prepare, workers were shoring up at least two areas along the city's levee system, Boyett said. They piled up "stoplogs," or metal beams, and topped them with sheet metal to add height to Harvey Lock, a break in the levee across the river from the city's Lower 9th Ward, which was all but wiped out during Katrina. Workers also used Hesco baskets, a type of flood barrier, to add 3 feet (almost 1 meter) to the river levee at the Corps' headquarters in New Orleans.
"We're confident in the integrity of the levees," Boyett said. "They're designed to hold this pressure."
But 14 years after Katrina's monster storm surge roared ashore and inundated most of the city, many New Orleans residents still distrust the Corps, which built the levees and floodwalls that failed near Lake Pontchartrain and along the Lower 9th Ward.