Ben Affleck apologizes for groping actress Hilarie Burton

Ben Affleck apologized to actress Hilarie Burton for groping her during an appearance on “TRL” in 2003.

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“I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize,” Affleck tweeted Wednesday.

The actor was accused of groping Burton on Tuesday, hours after he said he was “saddened and angry” over allegations that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein raped and sexually harassed women over decades.

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Ben Affleck has been accused of groping actress Hilarie Burton during an appearance on “TRL” in 2003.  (Reuters)

Affleck wrote Tuesday that the news about the man who helped create his career “made me sick” and that we must “condemn this type of behavior when we see it.”

A fan then accused Affleck of similar behavior tweeting, “[Affleck] also grabbed Hilarie Burton’s breasts on TRL once. Everyone forgot though.”

Burton chimed in tweeting, “I didn’t forget.” Her husband, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, played the father of Ben Affleck’s character in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

The fan wrote back, “I’m so sorry that happened to you. It’s infuriating that people never bring up all the gross, predatory things he’s done.”

Burton thanked the fan for speaking up adding “I was a kid” when Affleck grabbed her breast during a 2003 “TRL” appearance.

A rep for Affleck did not return Fox News’ request for comment.

This isn’t the first time that the “Justice League” star has been handsy during an interview. While promoting the 2004 film “Jersey Girl,” Affleck, who seemed to be intoxicated, sat down with Canadian TV personality Anne-Marie Losique. During the interview, Affleck spends the majority of his time touching her, having her sit on his lap and trying to convince her to take her shirt off.

Actress Rose McGowan, is among the women accusing Weinstein, also blasted Affleck calling him a liar and claiming the actor knew of Weinstein’s behavior but remained silent.

“@benaffleck ‘GODDAMNIT! I TOLD HIM TO STOP DOING THAT’ you said that to my face. The press conf I was made to go to after assault. You lie,” McGowan tweeted.

Actress Rose McGowan poses at amfAR's Fifth Annual Inspiration Gala in Los Angeles, California October 29, 2014.

McGowan was named in The New York Times initial story about Harvey Weinstein after a 1997 incident. The then 23-year-old was reportedly given an undisclosed settlement after an episode in a hotel room with Weinstein at the Sundance Film Festival.  (Reuters)

McGowan also called out Affleck’s brother, actor Casey Affleck who has been accused of sexual assault, on Twitter Monday writing, “Ben Affleck Casey Affleck, how’s your morning boys?”

Actor Casey Affleck poses for photographers at a Gala screening of his film "Manchester by the Sea" at the 60th BFI London Film Festival in London, Britain October 8, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall - RTSRDOZ

Casey Affleck made headlines earlier this year after reports of two women filing lawsuits against him for sexual assault on the set of the 2009 film “I’m Still Here.” Both suits were settled out of court.  (Reuters)

Casey Affleck recently faced intense public scrutiny for a past civil sexual harassment lawsuit. He made headlines ealier this year after reports surfaced that two women had filed lawsuits against him for sexual assault on the set of the 2009 film “I’m Still Here.” Both suits were settled out of court.

Casey Affleck addressed the allegations in March 2017 in a statement to the Boston Globe.

“I believe that any kind of mistreatment of anyone for any reason is unacceptable and abhorrent, and everyone deserves to be treated with respect in the workplace and anywhere else,” Affleck said. “There’s really nothing I can do about it other than live my life the way I know I live it and to speak to what my own values are and how I try to live by them all the time.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.

Courtesy: Fox News

‘American twin’: Iranian general compares Trump to ISIS leader Baghdadi

‘American twin’: Iranian general compares Trump to ISIS leader Baghdadi
A senior Iranian general has called the US president the ‘American twin’ of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, responding to rumors that the Trump administration is considering designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as terrorists.

Both Trump and Al-Baghdadi display “lack of trust in all principles and regulations of diplomacy and sovereignty in today’s world,” Brigadier General Rasoul Sanayee Rad, deputy commander for political affairs of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), wrote in an opinion piece quoted by the IRGC outlet Basirat.

One is building a caliphate and the other is invading other countries, the Iranian general argued.

“Using the logic of threat and force in order to advance their objectives, and reliance on their bullying and tyrannical temperament” was another item on Rad’s list.

“One of them is propped up by terrorists, and the other by extremist hawks, and both are being used as instruments to trigger chaos and instability,” the general continued.

Rad also compared Trump’s consideration of designating IRGC as a terrorist organization with Baghdadi’s labelling of Iranians as “infidels and disbelievers.”

“Trump’s historic mistake, too, has prompted the IRGC commander to say that he will regard the US as a follower of ISIS in the region if Washington puts the IRGC on its terror list,” Rad said.

The Trump administration has not yet designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization but it is reportedly considering the move. The IRGC is part of Iranian armed forces, and Washington has already called Iran the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

Trump said he may soon de-certify the nuclear deal with Iran, even though his administration officials say Tehran has so far complied with the agreement, brokered by world powers two years ago to make sure Iran does not build nuclear weapons.

“We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities,” Trump told the UN General Assembly in September, citing Tehran’s support for Hezbollah, the Syrian government, as well as for Shia Houthis in the Yemeni civil war.

Iran will offer a “tougher response,” if the US breaks the nuclear deal, the Fars news agency quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying Monday.  Tehran “will never renegotiate” the deal, Zarif said.

America’s Europeans allies have warned Trump that the deal will stand even if he decides to pull out of it.

Possible US moves to decertify the Iranian nuclear agreement is “unjustifiable,” Austria’s envoy to the UN said this week.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May, too, urged Trump in their latest phone call to recertify the nuclear deal with Iran, saying it is “vitally important for regional security.” British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called the deal “an historic achievement,” ahead of a meeting with Iranian Vice President Dr Ali Akhbar Salehi in London on Wednesday.

Courtesy: RT

US-led coalition ‘annihilates Syrian people, protects ISIS’ – Syrian FM to RT

US-led coalition ‘annihilates Syrian people, protects ISIS’ – Syrian FM to RT
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has reiterated Damascus’ calls to “dissolve” the international coalition led by Washington in Syria, accusing the alliance of not fighting terrorists, but rather destroying the country and its people.

This coalition was created to annihilate ISIS [Islamic State/IS], but it annihilates the Syrian people and not ISIS,” Muallem told RT in Sochi, where the minister held talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.

The Syrian diplomat said that, contrary to its stated mission, the US-led alliance “protects ISIS,” and that he saw no sense in so many countries being members of the coalition. Muallem also branded the 62-state alliance “froth,” insisting that “it should cease to exist.”

This international coalition has been committing crimes against the Syrian people. In the last two months, thousands of Syrian civilians, women and children mainly, have become the victims of these crimes,” he said.

During his talks with the Russian foreign minister, Muallem said Damascus would “insist on dissolution of the coalition in the strongest possible terms.”

Washington uses the anti-terrorist alliance as a “cover to destroy Syria” and its economic infrastructure in particular, he told Lavrov, adding that the US wants the war in Syria “to last as long as possible.”

The minister also lashed out at Ankara, claiming “there is a close connection” between Turkey and terrorist groups in Syria.

Turkey trains terrorists, arms them and facilitates their infiltration into the territory of Syria. This is why I can state that Turkey’s presence in Syria is illegal,” Muallem told RT.

READ MORE: US-backed forces on collision course with Syrian Army in ‘race for Deir ez-Zor oilfields’

The Syrian Army has been fighting Islamic State, Al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups on its territory for years. Moscow joined Damascus’ efforts in September 2015, with Russia’s anti-terrorist campaign launched at the request of the Syrian government.

Moscow also initiated the Astana peace talks in Kazakhstan’s capital, with the participation of Iran and Turkey. Several rounds of negotiations have resulted in the establishment of so-called de-escalation zones in Syria.

Meanwhile, the US-led campaign in the region has long been dubbed “illegitimate” by Damascus. Demanding that the alliance’s strikes in Syria stop, the government has sent official letters to the United Nations. The US and its allies must pay for the destruction of Syrian infrastructure and bear legal responsibility for “illegitimately” bombing civilian targets, Damascus says.

On some occasions, the American forces in Syria, which are also backing a number of militia groups in the country, have come in direct military contact with Syrian forces. Earlier this year, the US military attacked troops loyal to Damascus for allegedly violating the borders of US-controlled zones.

In August, Syrian President Bashar Assad said that no form of constructive dialogue with the West was possible, explaining that any rhetoric which claims that Western countries are fighting terrorism does not necessarily support the reality on the ground.

Courtesy: RT

Devastation of California’s raging wildfires laid bare in drone footage (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Devastation of California’s raging wildfires laid bare in drone footage (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Drone footage and satellite photos reveal the destructive path of one of the worst firestorms in California’s history, as wildfires continue to rage across northern parts of the state.

Seventeen people have been confirmed dead with officials warning that this figure could rise.

More than 15,000 acres of land, including vineyards, in more than eight Northern California counties were engulfed by the flames of several combining fires, Tuesday. Meanwhile it’s estimated at least 1,500 structures have been destroyed.

READ MORE: 17 dead as wildfires rage in Northern California

Drone footage from above Santa Rosa, a city in Sonoma County, reveals an apocalypse-like neighborhood.

Scorched land and wrecks of buildings can be seen as the drone sweeps through the inferno-ravaged residential area.

The destruction on one side is contrasted with apparently intact houses across the road.

A series of satellite images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveal the active hot spots where the fires are rising in temperature.

Data from the VIIRS instrument aboard NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP created this image of the  burning in yesterday Oct. 9th.

The wildfires are continuing to rage as firefighters struggle to tackle the out-of-control blazes.

More than 20,000 people were ordered to evacuate as of Tuesday night. California Highway Patrol said that it’s likely this will be “one of the worst disasters in California history.”

“You gotta be patient. We are just trying to keep people alive.” Captain Mike Palacio said.

Courtesy: RT

India’s top court says sex with child bride is rape

India’s top court has ruled that intercourse with a minor wife is illegal. There are an estimated 23 million child brides in India.

Indien Kindsbraut (picture-alliance/dpa/epa/H. Tyagi)

India’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that sex with any minor – including within a marriage –  is rape.

The landmark ruling closes a legal loophole that had protected men from legal punishment if their wife was under 18 years old.

“The minor wife can complain against the husband within one year,” the Supreme Court said, according to NDTV.  “Exception in rape law is discriminatory, capricious and arbitrary…It violates bodily integrity of the girl child.”

Sex with or without the consent of a girl under 18 years old is a crime. However, millions of young girls are married away, especially in poor rural areas.

The ruling overturns a provision in the penal code that allowed sex with a girl over 15 years-old if the couple was married. That penal code provision was in violation of laws establishing the legal age of marriage at 18 for women.

The court did not rule on a separate legal case on marital rape for adults.

Watch video03:37

The fight against ‘instant’ divorce in India

Protecting children

Vikram Srivastava, a lawyer with the NGO Independent Thought that brought the case before the court, said the ruling would protect children.

“The judgement today in two lines says that if anyone now marries a girl child below the age of 18 years and if the girl complains within a year of sexual intercourse, then that person can be prosecuted for rape,” he said in comments run by NDTV.  “(Child marriage) is prohibited, but we all know the number of children who are married below the age of 18 years.”

The government has opposed criminalizing marital rape, arguing it would damage the institution of marriage.

It was also opposed to criminalizing sex with a minor wife, saying that child marriage was a reality in India given uneven economic and educational development.

Listen to audio08:41

Bride trafficking on the rise in India

The government estimates that there are currently 23 million child brides in India and that 46 percent of women aged 18 to 29 had been married before the age of 18.

“Hence, criminalizing the consummation of a marriage with such a serious offence such as rape would not be appropriate and practical,” the government argued, according the Times of India.

cw/kms (AFP)

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Hollywood’s Weinstein denies latest sexual abuse claims

Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein has denied the latest sexual abuse allegations leveled in a New Yorker article. Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she was “appalled” by the revelations.

Schauspielerinnen Angelina Jolie & Gwyneth Paltrow (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Rousseau)Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow were some of the latest actresses to come forward with claims they were sexually harassed by Weinstein

The New Yorker said on Tuesday that 13 women it interviewed on and off the record over 10 months alleged that Weinstein sexually assaulted them, including three who said he had raped them.

One accuser quoted by the New Yorker said she had maintained her silence for 20 years, fearing that Weinstein would “crush” her.

The magazine said police taped a New York hotel hallway conversation between Weinstein and a female Italian accuser in March 2015 but authorities decided not to press changes.

The mogul’s spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister responded that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein.”

Harvey Weinstein (Getty Images/TNT/D. Kambouris)Weinstein was sacked from his own film company as more actresses come forward with stories of alleged abuse

Weinstein apologized last week for causing anyone pain and said he was seeking therapy.

On Sunday, Weinstein, 65, lost his job as co-chairman of his own film company three days after a New York Times report alleged that the Oscar-winning producer had sexually harassed young women – both actors and his own employees – over decades.

Weinstein was one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, producing and distributing Oscar-winning films including “Pulp Fiction”and “Shakespeare in Love.”

The widening scandal could become a moment of reckoning for Hollywood, which is facing scrutiny for its treatment of women in the industry.

Later on Tuesday, Weinstein’s wife, Georgina Chapman, announced that she was leaving him. In a statement she said:  “My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions.”

The couple married in 2007 and have two children together.

Clinton ‘appalled’

Hillary Clinton, whose presidential campaign benefitted from Weinstein donations, said in a statement on Tuesday that she was “shocked and appalled” by Weinstein’s behavior.

The New York Times reported separately on Tuesday that victims allegedly subjected to misconduct by Weinstein included Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette and Gwyneth Paltrow, who was 22 when hired for the film “Emma.”

Jolie said she had a “bad experience” with Weinstein in her youth. She refused to work with him and had warned others.

George Clooney (picture alliance/AP Photo/J. Strauss)Actor George Clooney said it’s “disturbing” that “there had to be a lot of people involved in covering up” Weinstein’s actions

Paltrow said Weinstein was confronted at a film premiere by her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt.

Another prominent male actor, Matt Damon, told the website Deadline Tuesday he never saw predatory behavior by Weinstein but praised the courage of women who had spoken out.

Ben Affleck, who got his break in the Weinstein-produced “Good Will Hunting,” also said he was sickened by the allegations.

Actor-director George Clooney told the Daily Beast that Weinstein’s alleged behavior was “indefensible,” but he himself had never seen “any of this behavior.”

ipj/bk (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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California wildfires leave devastation

At least 17 people have died and around 2,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed as devastating wildfires sweep through California’s wine country. Over 25,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes.

Raging wildfires continued to ravage California’s wine country on Tuesday, killing at least 17 people and forcing firefighters to evacuate thousands of residents.

Most of the deaths occurred in Sonoma County, located just north of San Francisco, while some 25,000 people were forced to also flee from Napa and Yuba counties, where some of the largest blazes were reported. Over 150 residents in the county are reportedly missing.

“The weather has been working in our favor, but it doesn’t mean it will stay that way,” said Brad Alexander, a spokesman of the governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

The blazes have also left at least 185 people injured. The wildfire was reportedly 40 percent contained by the end of Tuesday local time.

Officials said the winds propelled the blaze across 12.5 square miles (32 sq. kilometers) of northern Orange County.

Over 240 members of the California National Guard helped first responders by ferrying fuel and helping with medical evacuations.

Read more: Climate change sets the world on fire

The scale and ferocity of the flames forced rescuers to focus on evacuating local residents, even if it meant losing structures to the fire. In all, some 2,000 homes and local businesses had been destroyed by Monday evening.

Karte USA Kalifornien Sonoma Napa Yuba ENG

The devastating blazes prompted the governor of California, Jerry Brown, to issue a state of emergency. Brown wrote in the declaration: “These fires have destroyed structures and continue to threaten thousands of homes, necessitating the evacuation of thousands of residents.”

California’s fire services reported on Monday evening that the fires covered around 73,000 acres (30,000 hectares), stretching across a 200-mile (322-km) region from north of the Bay Area, from Napa to Redding.

Cause unknown

It remains unknown what caused the fires. While wildfires aren’t uncommon in California in October, fire officials said it was unusual for so many blazes to take off at the same time. Seventeen separate fires were reported in all.

USA California wildfires (picture-alliance/AP/J. Chiu)Hundreds of homes have been destroyed as fire fighters struggle to get a hold of the wildfires ravaging parts of California.

Those flames were also fanned on Monday by powerful winds sweeping through California’s wine country. Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said that fire was burning “at explosive rates.”

The US National Weather Service issued a warning for the San Francisco area, noting that “any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly.”

Residents across the state described the battle to make it out of the fire and smoke. Mike Turpen, 38, said he was at a bar in the historic Sonoma County town of Glen Ellen early on Monday when a stranger in a smoke mask ran in telling everyone to evacuate.

Turpen said “it was like Armageddon was on,” as he raced home in his car. “Every branch of every tree was on fire.” Staying behind to protect his rental home, he said he awoke to find himself the last man on an abandoned and scorched street that was once full of houses and yards.

Jesus Torres told US broadcaster CBS that he and his family “could see the sky was getting red: we did not know it was fire until the last second because there was just smoke everywhere.” He added that his family hardly had any time to grab their valuables before abandoning their home.

Watch video01:46

Wildfires tear through California

rs, dm/bk (AP, AFP)

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