Tiger King star Joe Exotic doesn’t make list


Joe Exotic’s legal team was so confident the Tiger King star would get a pardon from President Trump that they had a limo parked near his prison — and hair and makeup at the ready.

But one of 2020’s most controversial figures is not being pardoned.

The White House this afternoon released details outlining the Executive Grants of Clemency – and Exotic wasn’t among them.

Mr Trump granted pardons to 73 individuals and commuted the sentences of an additional 70 individuals.

“This time tomorrow, we’re going to be celebrating,” Eric Love, who was leading Exotic’s bid for freedom, told Metro.co.uk in an interview Monday afternoon.

“We have good reason to believe it will come through,” he said of a presidential pardon for the Netflix star, who is serving 22 years for trying to hire a hit man to kill zookeeper rival Carole Baskin.

“We’re confident enough we already have a limousine parked about half a mile from the prison. We are really in action mode right now,” he said of a stretch limo near the Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth in Texas.

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Once word of a pardon was to come through, the driver would pick up the legal team as well as a team for the flamboyant star’s hair, makeup and wardrobe, Love told the Sun in a separate interview.

“We are not going to have any cameras with us. It’s going to be a very private moment,” Love said — but purely because Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, wants to be glammed up first.

“Joe is a very flamboyant person — Joe is a colourful personality. And if you look at someone when they’ve been incarcerated, they don’t look like that when they’re coming out,” Love told the Sun.

“So Joe’s got to have that platinum done, and well that’s what we got — hair, wardrobe and makeup. We’ve got the best in the business,” he said.

RELATED: Tiger King star’s tragic past revealed

Telling Metro that the Tiger King star’s hair was “the first order of business,” Love said they would then “probably go and get some pizzas, steak, maybe a McRib.”

They then planned to house him in a ranch just outside Fort Worth.

Love said they believed Trump would issue the high-profile pardon in part to “take most of the limelight away from President-elect Joe Biden” — and said they already had a thank you video recorded.

“We have it queued up and ready to go,” Love told Metro. “As soon as we get the word, we’re going to execute that video to the White House and thank them.”

Maldonado-Passage is a year into his sentence.

Trump previously said he would “take a look” at the pardon request.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and is reproduced here with permission.



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LIST: Brisbane’s most dangerous suburbs



Fortitude Valley remains a crime hotspot, but there are many surprises in Brisbane’s safest and most dangerous locations.

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Fowles Wine shoots in to the Top 100 ‘world’s best’ list


Fowles Wine, a boutique winery in the Strathbogie Ranges, is putting Victoria’s wines on the world stage being named in influential Wine Spectator magazine’s Top 100 list for 2020.

Its Ladies who Shoot their Lunch Wild Ferment (2018 vintage) was the only Victorian vineyard to get a guernsey on the US magazine’s annual list of ‘wines that generate excitement and wineries to watch in the future’ and one of only three Australian wines to make the grade.

Fowles Wine chief executive officer Matt Fowles said he and the vineyard and winery teams are thrilled to be selected for the prestigious list which was announced this week and will be published in the 31 December 2020 issue of Wine Spectator.

“The US is the largest fine wine market in the world and Wine Spectator – a leading lifestyle publication that focuses on wine and wine culture – reviews thousands and thousands of wines each year to compile its Top 100,” he explained.

“It is an extraordinarily hard list to crack, but we have been fortunate to make it twice – we were also named in 2014.

“We feel incredibly proud to be showcasing Victoria’s spectacular wines to the rest of the world alongside Penfolds (South Australia) and Western Australia-based Vasse Felix who also made the 2020 Top 100 list.

“Achieving such success this year feels especially sweet given how challenging 2020 has been for our country’s winemakers, with drought, bushfires and COVID-19 restrictions impacting yield, production and winery visitation, as well as the tariffs imposed by China on Australian wine.”

Matt explained that the Ladies who Shoot their Lunch name is a nod to his passion for sustainable hunting and gathering, with the wines crafted to complement the textures and flavours of wild food.

“Since our first release of the Ladies who Shoot their Lunch Shiraz in 2008 it has been consistently awarded, most notably winning the Trophy for Australia’s Best Shiraz in the 2010 Great Australian Shiraz Challenge and now the incredible honour of the Top 100 with Wine Spectator.

“Equally important, it has won the hearts and palates of wine-drinkers and enthusiasts across Australia and overseas.”

The 2018 Shiraz is described as: deep youth vibrant purple in colour; lifted blue and dark berry, pepper spice and spicy oak on the nose; and a sophisticated combination of rich berries, dark chocolate and oak spice with silky tannins and great balance, length and intensity on the palate.

Bottles of Ladies who Shoot their Lunch Shiraz can be purchased via Fowles Wine’s website (fowleswine.com), in-person at its cellar door, and from good retailers for $35.

Fowles Wine is located in the foothills of the Strathbogie Ranges; an area blessed with the perfect combination of granitic soil and a cool climate – the ideal conditions for producing wine with character and elegance.

Matt and his team, with chief winemaker Lindsay Brown, create four distinct ranges of wine, all of which can be tasted at the vineyard’s cellar door.

The Fowles Wine cellar door and restaurant is open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm.

Fowles Wine is located on the corner of Hume Freeway and Lambing Gully Rd, Avenel, about 90 minutes’ drive northeast of Melbourne.



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ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr removes Sydney’s northern beaches from hotspot list



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AEDT = Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time which is 11 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

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Snapdeal Says US Report Naming It On Notorious Markets List Defamatory


Snapdeal has contested a US Trade Representative a report.

Washington:

Snapdeal, one of India’s largest e-commerce platforms, has contested a US Trade Representative report that placed it on the Notorious Markets List for counterfeiting and piracy, and termed it ill-informed and incorrect.

Snapdeal and four Indian shopping complexes have figured in the latest 2020 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy issued by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR).

“The report released by the USTR tarnishes the image of the world’s leading marketplaces, including Amazon, Mercado Libre, Pinduoduo, Shopee, Snapdeal, Taobao, Tokopedia and many others, based on incorrect understanding of practices and laws applicable to various markets,” a Snapdeal spokesperson said in a statement on Friday.

“The report reflects a poor understanding of the governing law in various jurisdictions, including India. While courts in India continue to uphold and assert the distinction between marketplaces and sellers, the USTR report wilfully blurs this distinction to further a flawed point of view.

“In doing so, it ignores clear and well-established regulatory and legal frameworks under which marketplaces operate,” the company said.

The spokesperson said the comments made about Snapdeal were factually incorrect and repeated the falsehoods contained in a 2019 report, which it had also strongly rebutted.

The lack of diligence is evident in including reference to related sites that have ceased to operate four years ago, the company said.

The USTR, in its report, said Snapdeal remains a concern for right holders who report that the volume of counterfeit products on this platform has increased over the past year.

“According to a November 2018 survey, 37 per cent of purchasers reported that they had received a counterfeit product from Snapdeal. In July 2019, Snapdeal’s founders were accused of criminal conduct in India for selling counterfeit products there. Right holders have also sued Snapdeal for selling counterfeit goods,” it added.

Snapdeal, however, asserted that the USTR report omits any mention of the various on-going, proactive and preventive anti-counterfeiting efforts of the company.

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These include Snapdeal’s robust reporting and swift takedown process program Brand Shield, which has been in operation now for more than two years, it said.

The program has led to close and effective collaboration with leading national and international brands, building on which Snapdeal has formed alliances with various brands to provide additional protection for brands with registered trademarks, the company said.

“The report also fails to acknowledge the continuing close co-operation between platforms, brands and law-enforcement agencies, all of which have led to significant and productive outcomes,” the spokesperson said.

“The USTR report reflects a blinkered and flawed view of the world. The report not only fails to make a distinction between the respective roles of brands, sellers and platforms, but also wilfully ignores the applicable laws in various jurisdictions, including in India,” Snapdeal alleged.

The report is also factually incorrect on many counts, it said, adding there have been no criminal accusations against the founders for selling counterfeit products.

“Such negligent statements and unverified reporting by USTR is defamatory and unacceptable,” it said.

“The process of collating inputs by USTR continues to be outdated, opaque and based on unverified inputs. We firmly disagree with the ”findings” of the report, specifically in its observations relating to Snapdeal,” the spokesperson said.

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Trump puts Cuba back on terrorism list, days before Biden takes office | US News


The Trump administration has re-designated Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism” – hitting the country with new sanctions just days before Joe Biden takes office.

Barack Obama had removed the communist island from the list in 2015, in what was regarded as one of his biggest foreign policy achievements – helping to restore diplomatic ties between Washington and Havana.

But Donald Trump was a vocal critic of the rapprochement during his 2016 presidential campaign. Over the course of his four years in office, the president has sought to reinstate many of the sanctions that were eased or rolled back by Mr Obama.

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2016: History Of US-Cuba relations

The Trump administration has been highly critical of Cuba for supporting Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro – and has also suggested that the country may have been behind alleged attacks that left dozens of American diplomats with brain injuries.

Cuba, whose current president is Miguel Diaz-Canel, has repeatedly refused to turn over US fugitives who have been granted asylum – including an American woman who fled to the country after escaping a New Jersey prison, where she was serving a life sentence for the murder of a state trooper.

Many US allies no longer believe that Cuba remains a sponsor of international terrorism.

The new sanctions reinstated by Mr Trump mean that most travel from the US to Cuba will be banned, and the transfer of money between the two countries will be heavily restricted.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “With this action, we will once again hold Cuba’s government accountable and send a clear message – the Castro regime must end its support for international terrorism and subversion of US justice.”

Some experts within Trump’s administration have questioned whether the decision to add Cuba to the terrorism list – which also features Iran, North Korea and Syria – was justified.

This is the latest 11th-hour policy to be announced by the Trump administration. An official representing president-elect Joe Biden said: “We’ve taken note of the last-minute manoeuvres. The transition team is reviewing each one.”

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the Gran Teatro in Havana Cuba
Image:
Donald Trump has been a vocal critic of Barack Obama’s stance towards Cuba

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy also criticised the move, adding: “Domestic terrorism in the United States poses a far greater threat to Americans.”

During the election campaign, Mr Biden has said he would quickly reverse Mr Trump’s policies on Cuba as they “have inflicted harm on the Cuban people and done nothing to advance democracy and human rights”.

But this may be easier said than done. Emilio Morales, president of the Miami-based Havana Consulting Group, has warned unwinding such measures would take at least a year – and Mr Biden may not be willing to invest this sort of political capital.

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NSW COVID hot spots: Updated venue alerts list


Coles, Woolworths and Aldi supermarkets plus a sports club have been added to the list of venues in Sydney where visitors may have caught COVID‑19 after confirmed cases went there.

Anyone who attended the Blacktown Workers Sports Club in Arndell Park for more than an hour between 11.40am and 1.30pm on January 3 are now considered close contacts and must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether a negative result is received.

Those who attended the club’s Grange Buffet for less than one hour between the above times must also get tested and self-isolate until a negative result is received.

Health authorities are also warning shoppers who attended various stores at Warriewood Square at the times below are a casual contact.

They must get tested immediately and self-isolate until a negative result is received.

  • Coles Warriewood Square – December 31 from 2pm to 2.10pm and January 5 from 12.45pm to 1pm
  • Woolworths Warriewood Square – January 4 from 12.15pm to 12.45pm and January 6 from noon to 12.15pm
  • Aldi Warriewood Square – January 5 from 12.10pm to 12.40pm and January 8 from noon to 12.25pm
  • Rebel Warriewood Square – January 6 from 12.15pm to 12.30pm

Anyone who attended the following venues at the times listed below should monitor for symptoms and, if they occur, get tested immediately and self-isolate until a negative result is received:

  • Blacktown Workers Sports Club (everywhere except Grange Buffet), Arndell Park – at any time on January 3 between 11.40am and 1.30pm
  • Michel’s Patisserie, Ashfield – January 6 from 4pm to 5pm
  • Pool and Spa Warehouse, Brookvale – January 8 from 11.05am to 11.15am
  • Pharmacy 4 Less, Warriewood Square – January 8 from 12.25pm to 12.35pm

Earlier on Monday, health authorities urged anyone who attended Campsie Super Fresh on January 2 between 12.30pm and 1pm to get tested immediately and self-isolate until a negative result is received.

The same applies to people who went to Australia Post in Hurlstone Park on January 5 between 3.30pm and 4pm and Campsie Hills Seafood Shop on January 8 between 12.35pm and 12.40pm.

Anyone who attended CK Convenience in Hurlstone Park on January 4 between 11.45am and 12.30pm should monitor for symptoms and, if they occur, get tested immediately and self-isolate until a negative result is received.

That also applies to people who went to the Coles supermarket in Ashfield on January 6 between 4pm and 5pm and Lakemba Pizza on January 7 between 4.20pm and 4.40pm.

NSW Health has also issued warnings for the following train routes:

  • Hurlstone Park to Bankstown on January 6 from 10.58am to 11.20am
  • Bankstown to Hurlstone Park on January 6 from 1.49pm to 2.08pm
  • Hurlstone Park to Bankstown on January 8 from 10.53am to 11.20am
  • Bankstown to Hurlstone Park on January 8 from 2.37pm to 3.08pm

NSW Health urges anyone in the state with even the mildest symptoms to immediately come forward for testing, then isolate until they receive a negative result.

To see the complete list of venues of concern, visit the NSW Health website.

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LIST: How to eat through your own Taste of Tassie food trail



TASMANIA’S biggest food and wine festival might be cancelled this year, but you can still experience our little island’s best flavours and support our small producers this summer.

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Australian Open 2021, when is it on, dates, schedule, entry list, accommodation, tickets, COVID, quarantine rules


Furious apartment owners at the Westin Melbourne could potentially see the Australian Open delayed once again, after Tennis Australia announced the hotel would be exclusively used to quarantine hundreds of players.

Lodged by the owners of the Westin’s 36 penthouse apartments, the complaints state the influx of international travellers will pose an “unacceptable health risk to them and the broader community,” reports The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.

The owners also state that hotel management failed to properly consult with the residents prior to the approval of the plan. Although the Andrews government approved the terms on December 18, residents were only notified via email on December 23.

One of the many high-profile apartment owners and retired investment manager Mark Nicholson called the plan “incredibly arrogant”.

“It‘s incredibly arrogant to ambush us this way as if it’s a done deal. There are substantive public health and legal issues that have not even been examined,” he told Fairfax.

Another resident, the prominent hotelier Digby Lewis even said he’d donate “$10,000 or $20,000” to help the legal fight.

“At 84, I‘m in the vulnerable group and it’s shocking the way they tried to ram this through without any attempt to consult with us,” he said. “I’m more than happy to toss in $10,000 or $20,000 to help the legal fight; it’s bloody shocking.”

With the Owner’s Corporation threatening a potential last-minute Supreme Court injunction, this could be the second delay faced by the Australian Open. The major tennis tournament was previously delayed to begin on February 8, with players expected to jet in from January 15.

Under the current plan, international players flying into Melbourne for the tournament will be required to quarantine at the Westin for the standard 14 days, however they will be allotted a daily five hour period for training and treatment.

All athletes will also be tested for the virus at least five during their quarantine period, use a separate entrance and lift to existing residents and will be under supervision when outside of their hotel room.



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AFL news 2021: Essendon list, Ross McQuillan retirement, Conor McKenna


Essendon has lost another Irish recruit in four months, with Ross McQuillan announcing his AFL retirement, effective immediately, after just one full season on the club’s list.

The Bombers confirmed on Sunday night that McQuillan, 21, would relocate back to his native country.

McQuillan relocated to Australia after he was drafted as an international rookie by Essendon in September 2019. However the left-footer was unable to play a senior game in 2020.

It comes just months after Conor McKenna elected to retire at the age of 24 after a tough 2020 campaign.

Round 1

New Essendon football boss Josh Mahoney indicated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic had played a significant role in McQuillan’s decisions.



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