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3 men facing felony charges in connection with shark-dragging video

Three South Florida men have been charged in connection with a widely viewed video showing a shark being dragged behind a fast-moving boat.

>> Read more trending news

Michael Wenzel, 21, of Palmetto, Robert Lee Benac, 28, of Bradenton, and Spencer Heintz, 23, of Palmetto, were all charged with multiple crimes in connection with the video and other social media posts.

The charges came after a four-month investigation, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.

"As we've said since this video and other images came to light, these actions have no place in Florida, where we treasure and conserve our natural resources for everyone," said Commission Chairman Bo Rivard.

"We appreciate the patience and support of the public as our law enforcement investigators worked with the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office to identify a number of serious violations that will be brought to the courts for adjudication. It is our hope these charges will send a clear message to others that this kind of behavior involving our fish and wildlife will not be tolerated."

All three men face two counts of felony aggravated animal cruelty.

Benac and Wenzel were also charged with one count of misdemeanor illegal method of taking.

>> Related: Mother, daughter arrested, accused of beating student at bus stop

Florida Gov. Rick Scott released the following statement on the charges:

“I was outraged by the sickening video of a shark being horribly abused earlier this year. Florida has no tolerance for this mistreatment, and I am proud of the hard work of FWC law enforcement during this investigation to hold these individuals accountable for their horrific actions.”

5 things to know about Doug Jones, winner of the Alabama Senate race 

After sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore in the weeks leading up to the Dec. 12, 2017, special election in Alabama, critics began lining up behind Democrat Doug Jones in the closely watched race.

In a dramatic turn of events, Jones pulled off a nailbiter of a win against Moore.

>> 5 things to watch in Alabama's U.S. Senate election

Here's what we know about Jones, a 63-year-old former federal prosecutor from Birmingham:

>> Who is Judge Roy Moore?

1. He became the U.S. attorney for Alabama's Northern District in 1997. President Bill Clinton appointed him to the post, which Jones held until 2001, according to NBC News.

2. Jones prosecuted two Ku Klux Klan members behind the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing that killed four black girls in Alabama. In the early 2000s, Bobby Frank Cherry and Thomas Blanton were sentenced to life in prison in the case, according to NBC News.

3. He was involved in prosecuting Eric Rudolph, who bombed a Birmingham abortion clinic in 1998. That attack killed an off-duty officer. Rudolph also was behind the deadly 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta.

>> Read more trending news 

4. He has spoken in support of Moore's accusers. “Those brave women are entirely credible; they’re telling the truth,” Jones said, according to Newsweek. “Moore will be an embarrassment to the people and businesses of Alabama, and if he makes it to Senate, he’ll continue to divide our country.”

5. He is against repealing the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Jones also told AL.com that he supports a woman's right to choose to have an abortion but added: "The law for decades has been that late-term procedures are generally restricted except in the case of medical necessity. That's what I support." Read more here.

‘Man flu’ is real, scientists say men experience worse symptoms

Don’t accuse men of overreacting when they’re sick — the “man flu” is real, according to a new study.

>> Read more trending news

Dr. Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor in family medicine with the Memorial University of Newfoundland, published an article in the British Medical Journal, contending that men seem to experience worse symptoms of cold an flu than women.

>> Related: 7 ways to prevent your child from getting the flu this season

Sue’s study also noted that U.S. research showed men had higher rates of deaths linked to flu compared to women of the same age.

“I do think that the research does point towards men having a weaker immune response when it comes to common viral respiratory infections and the flu,” Sue told The Guardian. “This is shown in the fact that they [have] worse symptoms, they last longer, they are more likely to be hospitalized and more likely to die from it.”

In Ohio, for example, the flu seems to be impacting populations earlier than usual this year. The Ohio Department of Health said the state is above the five-year average for the number of cases reported at this time of year and “significantly higher” than the same time last year.

Drunk man steals taxi, crashes through gates of Trump’s FL golf club, police say

Robert Smith of New Jersey was far away from his hometown when he allegedly stole a taxi on Saturday night and smashed it through the gates of the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida.

>> Read more trending news

A taxi driver picked up the 56-year-old tourist at a bar just before 11 p.m. and Smith reportedly directed the cabbie to a residence at the Trump club. While en route, the driver says that Smith hit him on the side of the head. Then, at the gate of the club, Smith pulled the driver out of the car and jumped in behind the steering wheel before crashing through the gate, the Palm Beach Post reports. A security guard on duty tried to stop him and even called for backup, but was unsuccessful.

>> Related: Dennis Rodman thinks he’s the best chance at fixing Trump and Kim Jong-un’s relationship

Police later discovered the car with its doors ajar parked in front of Smith’s home. After knocking and getting no answer, they entered, saying that they needed to check on Smith and make sure he was alright. When they found him, he was lying face down on the bed and spotted with blood. He claimed that he did nothing wrong and that he simply fell on his face but police noted that they found blood in the car as well. They added that he was belligerent to officers as they took him to the nearby medical center. Smith was charged with one count of unarmed carjacking.

The Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter is different from the president’s Mar-A-Lago resort, which is located in Palm Beach. Since coming into the Oval Office, the president has played a lot of golf and his Jupiter location seems to be his preferred spot. Over the weekend, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) joined the commander-in-chief for a round and later tweeted that the club “is a spectacular course.”

>> Related: Grandmother left for dead after struck by hit and run driver

And Graham is only one of a few big names who have joined the president at his southern resort. On Black Friday he was spotted with professional golf stars Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson. That game garnered some  online criticism because the press was denied access to Trump while guests at the club were able to snap pictures.

7 Tips to Keep Pets Safe in Winter

7 Tips to Keep Pets Safe in Winter

Having more older brothers increases men’s odds of being gay, study confirms

Gay men have, on average, a greater number of older brothers compared with their heterosexual counterparts.

>> Read more trending news

The pattern, referred to as the fraternal birth order effect, isn’t new to scientists, but researchers from Canada’s Brock University, the University of Toronto and from Harvard Medical School now believe they have a biological explanation.

According to the study, published in the journal PNAS Monday, maternal antibodies in the womb may play a role in the process.

Researchers believe that when a woman gets pregnant with her first boy, a protein linked to the male Y chromosome (which is only produced in males) enters her bloodstream.

Her body then creates antibodies, because it recognizes the protein as a foreign substance.

With every male baby the woman has, the build-up of antibodies increases. At high concentrations, it’s possible that the antibodies enter the brain of the second male fetus.

>> Related: Black, gay and proud: one man’s quest to thrive

"That may alter the functions in the brain, changing the direction of how the male fetus may later develop their sense of attraction," study author Anthony Bogaert of Canada’s Brock University, told CNN.

To test this, the scientists collected blood samples from 142 pregnant women and tested them for antibodies to the brain protein known as NLGN4Y (also only produced in males).

Here’s what they found:

  • Mothers of homosexual sons with older male siblings had the most increased concentrations of antibodies against the protein.
  • Mothers of homosexual sons with no older male siblings had the second-most increased levels of antibodies against the protein.
  • Mothers of heterosexual sons had lower levels of the antibodies.
  • Mothers without sons had the lowest level of the antibodies.

Bogaert and his team have been exploring the subject for more than 20 years and have found the pattern exists across cultures.

In a research project 10 years ago, his team of psychologists and immunologists tested antibody reactivity to two male-only proteins in 16 women without sons, 72 mothers with heterosexual sons, 31 mothers with gay sons and no older brothers, 23 mothers of gay sons with older brothers, and a control group of 12 men.

That research showed the immune response to the proteins and found that mothers of gay sons, especially those with older brothers, had significantly higher concentrations of the antibody than the other women.

>> Related: Organizers say Pride march likely to set new attendance record

But psychologists warned that the effects were modest and even if a male child has multiple male siblings, the likelihood of that child being gay is still small.

"The implications of this [new] study, especially if and when it is replicated by an independent team, are profound," Bogaert said in a university news release. "Along with more deeply understanding the exact origin of the older brother effect, it helps solidify the idea that, at least in men, there's a strong biological basis to sexual orientation” and “adds to the growing scientific consensus that homosexuality is not a choice, but rather an innate predisposition.”

But, he added, though the research is getting closer to finding a mechanism, “I wouldn’t say we’ve solved the fraternal birth order effect puzzle.”

Lindsey Vonn opens up about backlash after Trump-Olympics comments

After pledging to represent the United States but not President Trump at the 2018 Winter Olympics, skier Lindsey Vonn is opening up about some of the backlash she’s been receiving since.

>> Read more trending news

“I’ve received a tremendous amount of feedback, both positive and negative, about my recent CNN interview,” she explained in a long Instagram post. “The point that I was trying to articulate is that all Olympic athletes represent their nation as a whole, and are not representatives of their government or any specific political figure or party. None of us work tirelessly for years on end to compete in the Olympics on behalf of Democrats or Republicans. The Olympics are a non-political event, a chance for everyone to put aside their differences and be on the same ‘team.’ That does not mean that Olympic athletes don’t have political opinions.”

>> Related: ‘Fox & Friends’ hosts give ‘un-American’ Lindsey Vonn a mouthful after her remarks on Trump and the Olympics

“As for myself, my recent comments opened up my eyes as to how divided we are right now,” she continued. “It is hurtful to read comments where people are hoping I break my neck or that God is punishing me for being ‘anti-Trump.’ We need to find a way to put aside our differences and find common ground in communicating. Is it wrong to hope for a better world?”

Vonn made headlines last week when she told CNN, “I hope to represent the people of the United States, not the president. I take the Olympics very seriously and what they mean and what they represent, what walking under our flag means in the opening ceremony. I want to represent our country well. I don’t think that there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that.”

>> Related: U.S. Olympic skiing legend Lindsey Vonn voices harsh words for President Trump

The skier was immediately criticized for the remarks and was even branded “un-American” by one of the president’s favorite news programs “Fox & Friends.” Now, she’s insisting that she is indeed “proud to be an American.”

“As an American, I am extremely proud that our great nation was founded on principals and ideals where citizens can express our opinions openly. It is a privilege that some others around the world don’t have,” she wrote in her post. “I am proud to be an American, and I want our country to continue to be a symbol of hope, compassion, inclusion and world unity.”

Happy 94th birthday, Bob Barker. Here’s why you rock!

Come on down, Bob Barker, and accept a hearty Happy Birthday wish on behalf of a grateful nation!

>> Read more trending news

You turn 94 years young on December 12 and if all you ever accomplished in that time was to beat up Adam Sandler, that would be more than enough (sadly, it was a fictitious fight, in a movie).

>> Related: Angelina Jolie talks Brad Pitt, says last film together may have mirrored relationship

But no, you hosted “The Price Is Right” right into TV’s all-time record books, went vegetarian before vegetarianism was cool and even made it safe for other game show hosts to -- gasp! -- stop dying their hair.

Somewhere, Wink Martindale is saluting you.

And so are we, as we run down this list of reasons you deserve to be celebrated. Not 94 reasons, because that would way take too much commitment and stamina.(Who do you think we are, Bob Barker?!)

Nope, there’s only one of you. Here’s why:

Nothin’ but net. Born on Dec. 12, 1923 in Darrington, Washington, young Bob attended Drury College in Springfield, Mo., on a basketball scholarship. Meanwhile, has Michael Jordan hosted TV’s longest running game show? Point made.

Patriotic brainiac. During World War II, Barker served in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot. Then he returned to college and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in economics.

>> Related: Furious Rose McGowan blasts old friend Alissa Milano on Twitter over Weinstein’s wife

The Price is Right . . . there in all the record books. After a brief (cough, cough!) 18-year warmup stint as host of the televised game show, “Truth or Consequences” starting in 1956, Barker began hosting the daytime version of “The Price Is Right” in September 1972. By the time he finally called it quits in June 2007, “Price” had entered the record books as the longest continuously running game show in North American television history; Studio 33 at CBS Television City in Los Angeles (the show’s longtime taping location) had been renamed “The Bob Barker Studio” in honor of show 5,000 in 1998, and Barker’s head made headlines when he renounced the use of hair dye and began going gray on the air in 1987. Comedian Drew Carey has been “Price’s” host since Barker’s retirement, but as one admirer tweeted on Tuesday, birthday boy Bob is “The Price is Right OG.”

Man’s Best Friend’s best friend. Barker’s support of animal rights is legendary, but he credits his late wife, Dorothy Jo, with making him “woke” about the cause. Like her, he became a vegetarian in 1979; when she died two years later, he threw himself into publicly advocating for animal rights."Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered” became his signature signoff to every episode of “The Price is Right” with the catch phrase. And he doesn’t just talk the talk. He also walks the walk, donating $2.5 million to PETA in 2010 to help open a new L.A. office and funding an adjunct professorship in animal rights law at Columbia University School of Law to the tune of $1 million. Most dramatic , perhaps, he stepped down from his 20-year gig as host of the Miss USA/Miss Universe pageants in 1987 when organizers refused to stop giving out furs as prizes. 

Did we mention he beat up Sandler? A very occasional actor (his 10 credits on IMDB are bookended by a 1960 episode of “Bonanza” and a 2015 episode of “SpongeBob SquarePants”), Barker became a pop culture icon when he played himself in the 1996 hit movie “Happy Gilmore.” In one scene, he pummeled his Pro-Am partner, Gilmore, played by Adam Sandler. What qualified as a case of wish fulfillment for many non-fans of the San-man wound up winning the duo the inaugural prize for "Best Fight Scene” at that year’s MTV Movie Awards.

Judge sentences Panthers fan who sucker punched another fan at game

The Carolina Panthers’ fan who was captured on cellphone video, sucker punching another fan in the stands during the Philadelphia Eagles game in October will have to spend a few weekends behind bars.

>> Read more trending news

On Tuesday, Kyle Maraghy pleaded guilty to the assault after video of the attack went viral.

>>RELATED: Coverage on the assault and arrest

The cellphone video, which was posted on Instagram, shows Maraghy repeatedly punching a 62-year-old man who was sitting behind him, eventually drawing blood.

A friend of the victim said that they repeatedly asked Maraghy and a woman he was with to sit down during the game.

Maraghy agreed to spend five weekends in jail. He also will have to take anger management classes, obtain a substance abuse assessment and comply with treatment, and he will be on probation for 18 months.

Shipping Deadlines for the 2017 Holiday Season

Shipping Deadlines for the 2017 Holiday Season
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