Ben Affleck and ex Lindsay Shookus are talking again: report

Ben Affleck and Lindsay Shookus are talking.

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A source tells ET that the “Justice League” star and his “Saturday Night Live” producer ex are in touch again, saying, “They have been talking. They’re friends.”

“But Ben’s main priority remains his family and children,” the source adds.

Shookus and Affleck split up last August ahead of a tumultuous few months in the actor’s life that led to him choosing to enter rehab for the third time.  At the time, a source told ET that Snookus had been encouraging him to seek help for his drinking.

Jennifer Garner Has ‘Gotten Serious’ with John Miller, Sees Less of Ben Affleck

“Lindsay wanted Ben to go to rehab, but had trouble getting him there,” that source claimed in August 2018. “He didn’t want to be controlled and ended things with Lindsay.”

Meanwhile, during his recovery, Affleck and ex-wife Jennifer Garner finalized their divorce, three years after getting separated. And while the pair remains committed to co-parenting their children — 13-year-old Violet, 10-year-old Seraphina and 6-year-old Samuel — ET learned last week that Affleck and Garner are seeing less of each other as her relationship with John Miller has gotten more serious.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner Attend Church Together

“Jen feels so lucky to have met John and their relationship only continues to grow,” a source told ET in late January. “They both wanted to take it slow, but it has gotten serious and they couldn’t be happier.”

As for Affleck, a source told ET in December that he is supportive of his ex-wife’s relationship with Miller.

“Ben regrets so many of his actions in the past,” the source said. “He loves his family and knows his priority should have been them all along. The good news is that [he and Garner] work incredibly hard on keeping their family unit working for the children, despite the fact they are no longer married.”

Air India apologizes to passenger who claims cockroach was cooked into in-flight meal

Air India has apologized to a passenger who claims to have found a dead cockroach cooked into his in-flight meal.

Rohit Raj Singh Chauhan, a passenger aboard Saturday’s Air India Flight 634 between Bhopal and Mumbai, claims he informed the airline’s crew of the alleged find, but was initially ignored.

“Since the crew members were not listening, I returned it to them. I even objected to their serving food to others, but to no avail,” Chauhan told The Times of India. A manager with Air India also disputed Chauhan’s claims, the outlet reported.

Multiple pictures of Chauhan’s entrée, which appeared to show the roach Chauhan allegedly found within his dish of sambar, were later shared to Twitter by fellow passenger Manoj Khandekar, according to The Independent.

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In the time since, officials with Air India have issued a statement on Twitter addressing the passenger’s claims, confirming that the company had reached out to both the caterer responsible for the meal, as well as the “aggrieved passenger.”

AIR INDIA PASSENGER STRIPS NAKED, WALKS DOWN AISLE OF PLANE

“We sincerely apologize for the incident where our valued [passenger] had a disappointing experience with the meal served on board our Bhopal-Mumbai flight. Air India always endeavors to ensure our passengers enjoy our services,” reads the statement.

“We have taken serious note of the incident and immediately issued a strong notice to the caterer concerned,” the statement said. “Air India has a zero tolerance policy in this respect and have initiated corrective action internally. Our senior officials are in touch with the aggrieved passenger.”

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A representative for India Airlines has been contacted for additional details.

University of Iowa denies publishing ‘religious watch list’

A Christian conservative student group filed a lawsuit against the University of Iowa after the group was kicked off campus for requiring its leaders to adhere to a faith standard that included a clause on sexual morality.

But in the latest legal battle, that group, in a court filing, claims 33 religious student organizations at the university have been placed on “probationary status.”

The university calls the claim a blatant “misrepresentation of the facts.” The university insists “all religious organizations remain in registered status” until the legal case is decided.

The Business Leaders in Christ (BLinC), which sued the University of Iowa in 2017 after it was removed from campus, now accuses the university of having a “religious watch list” because 32 groups — all with religious ties — were marked, “stopped, pending litigation.” BLinC says that means they are on probationary status.

Of the 500-plus organizations on campus, the list names groups like Cru, Hillel, InterVarsity, Muslim Students Association, and Young Life. Becket, the non-profit legal firm representing BLinC, says the list is further proof that the public university is singling out religious groups and discriminating against them, especially when the school allows secular groups to restrict leadership or membership based on race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and military service.

The university says it prohibits any discrimination based on sexual orientation and has accused the BLinC of violating the school’s Human Rights Policy and the Iowa Civil Rights Act when it denied a gay member a chance to be a leader.

Hayley Bruce, a spokesperson for the University of Iowa, said the school is waiting to hear how it should address “the conflict that currently exists between the First Amendment and the Iowa Civil Rights Act.”

University officials claim the religious groups cannot “encourage” their leaders to uphold to a specific faith because it would violate school policy that prohibits religious discrimination.

UNIVERSITY EVICTS CHRISTIAN CLUB OVER LEADERSHIP FAITH REQUIREMENT

But critics accuse the university of violating the constitution.

“For an institution handing out Ph.D.’s, the university displays an embarrassing ignorance of our nation’s first liberty,” Eric Baxter, senior counsel and vice president of Becket, said in a statement. “The First Amendment prohibits the university from telling religious groups who can be their leaders, especially while allowing every other group on campus free reign to pick their leaders—and in many instances their members, too.”

School mascot Herky the Hawk in front of the Old Capitol Museum at the University of Iowa.

School mascot Herky the Hawk in front of the Old Capitol Museum at the University of Iowa. (REUTERS/Koh Gui Qing)

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Becket points out the university doesn’t hold this standard for other groups like fraternities, sports clubs, musical groups, advocacy organizations, political groups, or minority support clubs. For example, the University of Iowa gave the green light to the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, Chinese Dance Club, Chinese in Iowa City group, and Chinese Music Club, but flagged the Chinese Student Christian Fellowship as a group that could be kicked off campus because of the religious component.

Baxter called the school’s list and threat of expulsion “textbook Big Brother,” the kind of “doublethink that would make the Ministry of Truth blush.”

CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY CANCELS BEN SHAPIRO SPEECH FOR CAMPUS ‘UNITY’

The school disagrees.

“The university has maintained the registered status of all religious and faith-based groups allowing them full access to all benefits, funding, facilities, and resources that are offered to all other student organizations on campus. Therefore, the university has not placed any religious student organization on ‘probationary status’ as insinuated by BLinC’s legal counsel. This is a misrepresentation of the facts and all religious organizations remain in registered status while the court decides and ultimately directs the university on how it should address the conflict that currently exists between the First Amendment and the Iowa Civil Rights Act,” Bruce said in a statement to Fox News. “The University of Iowa does not tolerate discrimination of any kind in accordance with federal and state law.”

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A decision on the lawsuit is expected this spring.

Kristoff St. John’s last ‘Young and the Restless’ episode airs Wednesday

The last “Young and the Restless” episode featuring Kristoff St. John will air Wednesday on CBS.

The actor, who played the struggling alcoholic and ladies’ man Neil Winters for 27 years, died Sunday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 52. The cause of death is under investigation by the medical examiner.

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St. John had played Neil Winters on the soap opera since 1991, earning nine daytime Emmy nominations. He won a Daytime Emmy in 1992 for outstanding younger actor in a drama series.

His business guy character wended his way through romances, deaths of loved ones and other daytime travails that descended into alcoholism before going into rehab.

‘YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS’ STAR KRISTOFF ST. JOHN’S DEATH AT 52 DEVASTATES SOAP OPERA COMMUNITY

“The Young and the Restless” will broadcast a special tribute to St. John during Friday’s show.

Murders, metal pipes and baseball bats: How MS-13 is infiltrating one of NYC’s most populous boroughs

A brazen daytime murder on a populated subway platform, ominous graffiti scrawled on a politician’s office building and the appearance of warring factions meting out their brand of brutal street justice show the infamous MS-13 gang is growing its presence in another heavily-populated area of New York.

The notoriously violent gang is once again in the headlines this week after the arrest of suspected member Ramiro “Caramalo” Gutierrez, who’s been charged with killing 20-year-old Abel Mosso, whom authorities say belonged to the rival 18th Street Gang. Gutierrez, a 26-year-old Salvadoran national, is in the U.S. illegally, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official told Fox News, and graphic video of Sunday’s subway platform shooting in Queens has since gone viral.

“One incident is a problem. We have had a number of incidents involving MS-13 in recent months,” New York City Police Department Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea told the Daily News in the aftermath of the shooting, which sent terrified commuters running for their lives. “When we have violent incidents, or certainly an incident as horrific [as] this, on a crowded train, in the middle of the day, with hard-working people trying to go about their lives, we will bring the full brunt…The fast way to get the NYPD’s attention is an incident like this.”

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And if a high-profile weekend murder wasn’t enough to announce MS-13’s presence in the area, members of the gang apparently also decided to spell it out. Francisco Moya, the Democrat city council member who represents the district where the subway shooting occurred, took to Facebook to accuse the gang of spray-painting “MS-13” on the side of his office building during the weekend.

“If intimidation is MS-13’s goal when its members resort to gun violence — as is reportedly the case in Sunday’s fatal shooting of a man on the 90th Street stop on the 7 train — or when they spray paint gang graffiti in our neighborhoods — as they did on my district office this weekend — they will fail in those endeavors,” he wrote. “We are stronger than any senseless display of force.”

Gutierrez and the man he is accused of killing are no strangers to police. At the time of the shooting Sunday, Gutierrez was already awaiting trial on a slew of charges after being nabbed in an ICE-involved MS-13 sweep in December – one of a staggering dozen times he’s been arrested, according to the Daily News.

Mosso, the newspaper added, had been arrested seven times, and police on Wednesday were still not sure why the two alleged rivals came into contact Sunday. The pair is seen on video wrestling on the subway platform in the moments leading up to the shooting, officials said.

“We do have comments from witnesses that MS-13 was mentioned,” Shea told the Daily News. “Somebody was yelling something about MS-13. That’ll have to be vetted out.”

Ramiro Gutierrez is suspected of killing another man on a New York City Subway platform Sunday afternoon.

Ramiro Gutierrez is suspected of killing another man on a New York City Subway platform Sunday afternoon. (DCPI)

The December sweep, which ICE says was part of a joint effort with the NYPD and the Queens District Attorney’s Office, netted the arrests of Gutierrez and 11 other suspected MS-13 members “on various charges including attempted murder and conspiracy, in addition to drug and weapons charges.”

The federal agency accused the top leaders it detained of “plotting to kill a rival gang member and planning the execution of a man who left the MS-13 gang,” while also noting investigators recovered stashes of guns and drugs during the crackdown.

One of the indictments related to that raid revealed Gutierrez and two of his associates allegedly conspired to rob a home in Queens where they believed $ 80,000 had been hidden.

Another indictment said investigators, through wiretaps, learned alleged MS-13 member Jorge “Terrible” Andrade and six others were plotting to use a baseball bat to kill someone from the Latin Kings gang. The hit was reportedly meant to be retribution for a June 2018 shooting outside a bar in Queens that left two MS-13 members wounded.

ALLEGED NYC SUBWAY SHOOTER, A SUSPECTED MS-13 MEMBER, IS IN THE COUNTRY ILLEGALLY, ICE SAYS

A third indictment, ICE says, explained how “when Andrade and other members of the MS-13 gang learned that one of their own had blacked out his distinctive MS-13 tattoo and had disassociated himself with the gang, they plotted to kill him.”

Other arrests in the sweep included a pair of alleged MS-13 members accused of bludgeoning two individuals with a metal pipe in September 2018.

But the December log of MS-13-related police actions in Queens didn’t end there.

Two persons of interest police are still seeking in the wake of Sunday's New York City Subway shooting.

Two persons of interest police are still seeking in the wake of Sunday’s New York City Subway shooting. (DCPI)

Police detained five people, including a 13-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy, after Ian Cruz, 23, was found dead in Bayswater Point State Park in the Far Rockaway neighborhood.

Court documents referenced in media reports at the time said Cruz was shot multiple times in the head, and he was found only wearing socks and underwear. Police said the murder might be connected to MS-13, and one report said investigators believed Cruz was lured to the park with the promise of sex.

The Far Rockaway neighborhood is one of the easternmost points of Queens and borders Long Island, a part of southeast New York long believed to be MS-13’s stronghold in the state.

But the ongoing New York and Trump administration crackdown against MS-13 has taken such a toll on the gang that they were only linked to a single murder in the area during 2018.

ICE also says the U.S. deported 1,332 members of MS-13 during fiscal year 2018 — a 24-percent jump from the year before.

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Yet the fight against the gang doesn’t appear close to being concluded, and Trump even referenced this week’s subway platform shooting in his Tuesday night State of the Union speech in a bid to drum up support for a southern border wall.

“The savage gang MS-13 now operates in at least 20 different American states and they almost all come through our southern border,” the president said. “Just yesterday, an MS-13 gang member was taken into custody for a fatal shooting on a subway platform in New York City. We are removing these gang members by the thousands, but until we secure our border, they are going to keep streaming right back in.”

Ava DuVernay slams Melania Trump, Liam Neeson for white privilege

Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay shaded first lady Melania Trump and actor Liam Neeson for their alleged white privilege in a Twitter spree on Tuesday, comparing their treatment in the media to those of public figures of color, including former first lady Michelle Obama and Will Smith.

IS LIAM NEESON’S CAREER IN TROUBLE AFTER ADMITTING HE ONCE WANTED TO ‘KILL’ A BLACK MAN?

Retweeting a photo of Trump modeling in a swimsuit for GQ Magazine in 2001, DuVernay wrote, “When people ask me what white privilege is … Imagine what would happen if this was Michelle.”

The “Wrinkle in Time” director followed with a retweet about action star Neeson’s recent racially charged admission that he “wanted to kill” a black man after a close friend was raped, comparing the treatment of the “Taken” actor to that of fellow A-lister Will Smith.

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“When people ask me what white privilege is. Imagine if this was Will Smith,” she captioned the post.

Neeson, 66, hit the talk show circuit this week in an effort to soften his image following the incendiary remark about a 40-year-old incident, but the damage may have been done: The red carpet for his new film, “Cold Pursuit,” was canned Tuesday.

She followed with a post about Trayvon Martin, who was killed by George Zimmerman in 2012. Zimmerman was cleared of all charges in Martin’s death and later was sentenced to probation for stalking an investigator linked to a documentary on the Martin slaying.

“When people ask me what white privilege is…. Imagine if this was a white boy in a hoodie with a bag of skittles who was just trying to walk home.”

She concluded with, “Sometimes it’s hard for white folks to grasp the notion of white privilege. My three posts below are real world, easy examples of how the system we live in favors some and not others. If you’d like to acknowledge Black History Month in some way, recognize this within yourself.”

STARS BOYCOTT SUPER BOWL, NFL OVER COLIN KAEPERNICK TREATMENT

DuVernay, 46, has been a longtime advocate of social justice, boycotting the NFL and Super Bowl over the league’s alleged blackballing of Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against men of color.

Patient at Pennsylvania hospital being tested for Ebola

A patient is being tested for Ebola at a hospital in Philadelphia, although officials don’t believe the patient has the potentially deadly illness.

Penn Medicine says preliminary testing at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania indicates the person has another condition. They did not release the patient’s name.

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Officials say the testing is being done “in an abundance of caution” because the patient met screening criteria for Ebola. They say it’s unknown if the patient had traveled to a location that has the disease or came in contact with someone who does.

An Ebola outbreak was declared just over six months ago in the eastern part of Congo. It’s thet African country’s 10th outbreak and the world’s second largest recorded.

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WPVI-TV in Philadelphia was the first to report the patient was being tested.

Susan Lucci ‘lucky to be alive’ after emergency heart procedure

Susan Lucci said in a new interview she’s “lucky to be alive” after undergoing an emergency heart procedure last fall.

The legendary soap opera actress said when she first felt a tightness in her chest in the fall, she attributed it to being tired.

“I told myself, it’s nothing, it will go away,” says the 72-year-old actress told People. Lucci said when she felt pain “radiating around my rib cage” 10 days later she thought she had “fastened my bra too tightly.”

SUSAN LUCCI, 71, STUNS IN UNRETOUCHED SWIMSUIT SNAPS, SPILLS BEACH BODY SECRETS

But when it happened for a third time on October 23 while the actress was shopping Manhasset, Long Island, she said, “It felt like an elephant pressing down on my chest.”

That’s when a store manager at the shop Lucci was at offered to drive her to a nearby hospital where a CT scan revealed 90 percent blockage in Lucci’s heart’s main artery and 70 percent blockage in another branch.

“Ninety percent blockage — I was shocked,” Lucci told the magazine. “I’m lucky to be alive.” A doctor placed two stents into her arteries.

The “All My Children” star said she hopes sharing her story will help others.

SUSAN LUCCI REVEALS SHE WORKS OUT 6 TIMES A WEEK: ‘I FIND MY BODY CRAVES IT’

“I’m not a nurse or anyone who can help in any real way,” she said through tears. “This is the way I can help. I can tell my story. Everyone’s symptoms are different but I felt compelled to share mine. Even if it’s one person I help. That is someone’s life.”

Bradley Cooper ‘embarrassed’ at Oscar snub for best director for ‘A Star Is Born’

Bradley Cooper was deeply bummed after the Oscars snubbed him in the best director category for “A Star Is Born.”

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Cooper, 44, made his directorial debut with the Lady Gaga star vehicle, which has racked up nearly $ 418 million at the global box office since its October 2018 release.

“I was embarrassed,” Cooper confessed in “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations from Times Square” (via People) on Tuesday. “I was at a coffee shop in New York City and looked down at my phone and [my publicist] has told me congratulations and said what we had been nominated for.”

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He added, “They didn’t even give me the bad news.”

Cooper was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor for his work on “A Star Is Born.” Sam Elliott earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination, while Gaga earned a Best Actress nod.

The film was also nominated for Best Original Song for “Shallow,” but the directing snub still hurt Cooper.

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He admitted, “I was embarrassed because I felt I hadn’t done my job.”

Cooper’s co-star Gaga disagreed.

“At the end of the day, he knows that he’s the best director in my eyes, and in all of our eyes as his cast,” she said last month. “I know that he’s so happy that we’ve all been nominated and that the film was recognized and we all feel really, really beyond elated for the recognition.”

Amnesty International suffering from ‘toxic’ workplace with rampant racism, sexism, bullying, report finds

Amnesty International, a leading human rights NGO, is facing criticism after a damning report revealed the organization is suffering from a toxic work environment and is in a “state of emergency” due to rampant bullying, sexism, racism and overworking.

The report, written by the KonTerra Group, found an “us versus them” dynamic and breakdown of trust between senior management and other staff members. Numerous instances of bullying and public humiliation by the management were also found.

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“As organizational rifts and evidence of nepotism and hypocrisy become public knowledge they will be used by government and other opponents of Amnesty’s work to undercut or dismiss Amnesty’s advocacy around the world, fundamentally jeopardizing the organization’s mission,” the report read.

“There were multiple reports of managers belittling staff in meetings, deliberately excluding certain staff from reporting, or making demeaning, menacing comments like: ‘You’re shit!’ or: ‘You should quit! If you stay in this position, your life will be a misery,’” it added

“As organizational rifts and evidence of nepotism and hypocrisy become public knowledge they will be used by government and other opponents of Amnesty’s work to undercut or dismiss Amnesty’s advocacy around the world, fundamentally jeopardizing the organization’s mission.”

— Report on Amnesty International

The independent report was commissioned by the organization itself after two members of staff died by suicide last year within a period of six weeks. One victim explicitly blamed the stress caused by the workplace.

Gaëtan Mootoo, 65, was a veteran Amnesty International worker, devoting more than 30 years to the charity. He died inside the organization’s Paris office, the Guardian reported, leaving a note voicing complaints about work pressure and management’s lack of support.

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Five weeks later, Rosalind McGregor, a 28-year-old intern in Amnesty’s Geneva’s office also died by suicide. While an inquiry into her death noted that she had been troubled due to “personal reasons” and cleared the organization of wrongdoing, her family accused the charity of being a factor in her development of “acute anxiety” during her five-month internship.

Gaëtan Mootoo (left) and Rosalind McGregor (right) both died by suicide last year, prompting the commissioning of the report. Mootoo left a note voicing complaints about work pressure and management’s lack of support

Gaëtan Mootoo (left) and Rosalind McGregor (right) both died by suicide last year, prompting the commissioning of the report. Mootoo left a note voicing complaints about work pressure and management’s lack of support (Facebook)

The consultants interviewed nearly 475 Amnesty staff members, with many branding the workplace environment as “toxic.”

“Across many interviews the word ‘toxic’ was used to describe the Amnesty work culture as far back as the 1990s. So were the phrases ‘adversarial’, ‘lack of trust’ and ‘bullying’.”

— Report on Amnesty International

“Amnesty International had a reputation for doing great work but being a hard place to work. Across many interviews the word ‘toxic’ was used to describe the Amnesty work culture as far back as the 1990s. So were the phrases ‘adversarial’, ‘lack of trust’ and ‘bullying’,” the report read.

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Staffers also revealed instances of racism and sexism and anti-LGBTQI sentiments in the workplace, with the report concluding that some examples of alleged abuse of power, discrimination and unfair treatment may warrant a further investigation.

Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty’s secretary-general, according to the Guardian, described the report as troubling and pledged to come up with a reform plan by the end of March.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.