05 25 2016
  2:13 am  
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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Tuesday night I returned home from a trip organized by the US Department of State to Kiev, Ukraine. Our assignment was to work with Ukrainian National Television and Radio on their transition to independent operation, as well as advise US State Department staff and Ukraine officials about how to best do it. I was joined by Michael Levy and Steve Altman of CPB, Sue Schardt of the Association of Independents in Radio and Jeff Trimble, Deputy Director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (which oversees Voice of American, RFE and other services).

I thought you might be interested in a few thoughts about the experience as well as some pictures that might better tell the story.

Ukraine is a country in crisis. In 2013-­‐2014, the EuroMaidan movement led to massive demonstrations in the main square in Kiev culminating in then President Yanukovych ordering snipers to open fire. He ultimately fled the country, but more than 100 people were killed. On our first night in Kiev, we toured the Maidan (square) where this all occurred with journalists who covered it. 

After Yanukoviyh fled, new challenges arose as Russia annexed Crimea and mounted an insurgency in Eastern Ukraine, where firefights and skirmishes continue. We were nowhere near there and things were very peaceful in Kiev. But Ukraine is a country on the edge and is seen as vitally important to U.S. interests because of concerns about Russia under Vladimir Putin.

Television is the dominant source of news and information in Ukraine. The market for advertising is so small that it is insufficient to fund the commercial channels. They are owned, controlled and funded by oligarchs. News reporting and programming therefore align with the ideological leanings of the owners. And it’s often difficult to know who owns the channels because media ownership records aren’t publicly available.

NTU – Ukrainian National Television and Radio -­‐-­‐ will soon be set up as an independent media company after years of operation as a government channel. This involves integrating over 30 different organizations into a single company that will operate two national channels as well as regional ones in many areas of the country. The goal is to establish NTU as an independent and trusted source of news and information. We spent three days with their top management working through a host of issues such as establishing editorial standards, programming strategy, revenue sources, and creating a culture where independent journalism can flourish.

Creating an independent media source is vitally important to the future of Ukraine, according to the US Ambassador with whom we met during our visit as well as high-­‐ level Ukraine government officials. Overall, I think we helped them quite a bit, but the hard work is just beginning.

Maidan NezalezhnostiMaidan Nezalezhnosti (independence square) where the protests and killings occurred in 2013-­‐2014. Snipers fired from the top of the hotel in the background as well as the grassy area to the left.

Maidan memorialOne of dozens of memorials to the victims in the Maidan and surrounding area.

NTU security Welcome to NTU! The first thing you see is this bunker with armed guards and machine guns. Kiev was peaceful and even the US Ambassador’s residence didn’t have this kind of security so it seemed a bit over the top. It was best-­‐protected place I saw in Kiev.

NTU exteriorNTU’s facility, which is the second largest in Europe. It was constructed in the late days of the Soviet Union era and is in rough shape. It’s far too large for what they need – it has nine huge TV studios of which only 4 are operational (and barely at that).

NTU RouterI’m standing in front of a Soviet-­‐made router in the NTU master control facility. A lot of their equipment is ancient.

TV TowerSoviet-­‐era TV towers are of a unique design and quite distinctive. This one is located across the street from the NTU facility and is the main TV/radio tower for Kiev.

Rodina MatRodina Mat (Mother Ukraine) a Soviet WWII memorial in Kiev that was dedicated by Leonid Brezhnev in 1981. I thought it was more striking in black & white. We did have one day for touring around. This is the Pechersk Lavra, which is an ancient monastery and the holiest place for the Russian Orthodox Church. It’s a huge complex complete with catacombs and tombs which we visited – only candles are allowed down there.

All photos by Steve Bass, President & CEO of OPB. 

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