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Eurovision Song Contest defends itself after Israeli band dropped out to avoid singing on the Sabbath

The Eurovision Song Contest is answering for itself after an Israeli band dropped out of the competition because it learned its members would be forced to work on the Jewish Sabbath.

The Shalva group says Wednesday it’s quitting Israel’s qualifying competition after the Eurovision organizers said it would make no exceptions for Israel’s ultimate winner. The competition is held on a Saturday night and the compulsory rehearsal falls on the Sabbath.

“All broadcasters commit to abide by the Contest’s rules when agreeing to participate. The rules state that each broadcaster will undertake to enter a national song and a Contestant that complies with the present rules. These rules include obligation of attendance across all rehearsals and live shows, for delegation members and contestants,” a spokesperson for Eurovision Singing Contest told Fox News in a statement.

EUROVISION SONG CONTEST FINALLY GETS A US TV HOME AT LOGO

The spokesperson explained that any application by a broadcaster to waive these rules under mitigating circumstances must be run through the contest’s governing body and changes would be made at its discretion based on its impact on the other contestants.

“In this instance a change to the rules to exempt a Contestant from performing in both the Jury Final and the Grand Final dress rehearsal would involve disruption to the production schedule and compromise the fairness of the competition. It would also deny audiences in Tel Aviv the chance to see the home country’s participant perform in both shows,” the statement read. “For these reasons, the Reference Group felt that it would not be possible to grant KAN’s request.”

NETANYAHU DOES CHICKEN DANCE WITH NETTA BARZILAI TO CELEBRATE ISRAELI SINGER’S EUROVISION WIN

Shalva, which has several members who are blind or have Down syndrome, has become a fan favorite and serious contender to sing Israel’s entry. Israeli critics say the Eurovision seems tolerant of all besides Orthodox Jews.

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The Eurovision final is on May 18. Israel earned the right to host the competition thanks to Netta Barzilai’s win last year with “Toy.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nick Cannon defends Wendy Williams’ marriage amid talk show absence

Nick Cannon addressed Wendy Williamsextended absence head-on while he hosted her namesake talk show Monday morning.

NICK CANNON TO SUB IN FOR WENDY WILLIAMS DURING MEDICAL ABSENCE

While speaking to the audience, Cannon revealed he has spoken to Williams and her family directly.

“She sounded amazing, y’all,” Cannon shared. “Her spirit was so big. It was so amazing.”

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Williams appeared to assure her fill-in host that all was well with her family, despite the rumors plaguing them.

“She said she wanted to speak as a family unit and her, [her husband] Kevin and [her son] Little Kevin they said they are all good,” Cannon continued. “The love and the passion is still there because that’s what you need in times like this … is for your family to stick together with you.”

WENDY WILLIAMS TO TAKE HEALTH-RELATED BREAK FROM TALK SHOW

The conversation, he admitted, “got a little emotional.”

“She said she feels all of your love,” he said.

WENDY WILLIAMS SAYS HER LIFE HAS ‘COMPLETELY CHANGED’ SINCE GRAVE’S DISEASE DIAGNOSIS

Williams has been absent from “The Wendy Williams Show” since it went on holiday hiatus in December. Her family and the show’s production company later announced that she was entering long-term hospitalization for treatment of her Graves’ disease; however, last week she was spotted with a friend at a CVS in Florida.

This story originally appeared on Page Six.

Trump administration defends efforts to identify and reunify separated children

(CNN)The Trump administration defended its efforts to identify and reunify migrant children who had been separated from their undocumented parents along the US-Mexico border in a response to a court order filed Friday.

US District Judge Dana Sabraw had ordered the administration to respond to a Health and Human Services Department inspector general report as part of an ongoing family separation lawsuit, Ms. L et al. vs. Immigration and Customs Enforcement et al, by Friday.
The government included two declarations from officials — Jallyn N. Sualog, the deputy director for Children’s Programs for the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and Jonathan White, commander with the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. White is the HHS’ agency lead in the Unaccompanied Alien Children Reunification Coordination Group.
Sualog, who was involved in reunification efforts, and White detail what HHS did to identify children who had been separated and to reunify them, while facing challenges. White conceded, as the HHS inspector general report showed, that “the effort was challenging because the data that were available for use in identifying possible children of class members were kept by multiple government agencies in different systems.”
    He adds, “Some of the data were aggregated. Some were not. Indeed, some of the most critical data were individualized.”
    The Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is within HHS, is tasked with placing kids with sponsors in the United States. Oftentimes, these are children who arrived to the United States unaccompanied. It was not, therefore, prepared to receive children who had been separated.
    “The ORR portal was not originally designed for aggregated tracking of separated children in ORR care,” White writes.
    The HHS IG report revealed that “thousands” more children had been separated than previously acknowledged by the government. As a result, the plaintiffs in the case, which centers on a woman who was separated from her daughter, said the report cast doubt on the 2,737 figure released by the government following Sabraw’s order last year.
    The response to the inspector general report filed Friday is only the first step. The government is also required to file a response regarding the scope of the case by Wednesday. The government said it will “more fully address” the issues raised by the plaintiffs on this date.
    White notes in his declaration that HHS has revised its figures after finding new information.
    “(The Incident Management Team) conducted a rigorous review to identify any and all indicators of potential separation for every child in ORR care as of June 26, 2018,” Sualog writes, adding that expanding the class definition would require an analysis of more than 45,000 unaccompanied minors in ORR care from June 2017 to July 2018.
      The American Civil Liberties Union originally filed the case against the Trump administration last year on behalf of a Congolese woman, referred to as “Ms. L,” seeking asylum in the US who was separated from her 7-year-old daughter. The case was later expanded to become a class action lawsuit.
      Sabraw issued a preliminary injunction last June blocking most family separations at the US-Mexico border and ordering that those already separated be reunited.

      Rep. Ilhan Omar defends Israel criticism

      Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., in an appearance Thursday on “The Daily Show,” attempted to explain her heated rhetoric toward countries like Israel.

      Host Trevor Noah specifically asked her about a tweet from 2012 claiming that Israel had “hypnotized the world,” which Noah noted stems from an anti-Semitic “stigma.”

      “How do you find that balance between criticizing people but also not looking like you’re condemning mass groups of people as opposed to governance?” Noah asked.

      MINNESOTA’S REP. ILHAN OMAR GETS $ 250G BOOK DEAL AMID UPROAR OVER HER COMMENTS

      Omar, who previously has expressed regret over that tweet, responded by saying she had to “take a deep breath” and “understand where people were coming from and what point they were trying to make.”

      “What is important in this conversation is that we separate the land, the people, and administrations. When I talk about what we are going wrong in this country, it’s not because I hate this country, it’s not because don’t see myself as American. It’s because I love this country and because I am an American and I want it to do better,” Omar said. “And so when I talk about places like Saudi Arabia or, you know, Israel, or right now Venezuela, I’m not criticizing the people, I’m not criticizing their faith, I’m not criticizing their way of life. What I am criticizing is what’s happening at the moment and I want for there to be accountability so that the government … can do better.”

      Omar also discussed the historic nature of her victory in the 2018 midterms as the first Somali-American elected to Congress. Further, she was asked about how the country will pay for various ambitious proposals like “Medicare-for-all” and free college tuition if America “doesn’t have the money.”

      REP ILHAN OMAR TARGETS ISRAEL AGAIN, COMPARES JEWISH STATE TO US SOUTH DURING SEGREGATION

      “America has money. Money isn’t — we don’t have a problem of scarcity really. What we have is a problem of moral courage. Our budgets are supposed to be an example of our moral values. And so this is why I got on the Budget Committee because I’m excited to make sure that we have a budget that’s reflective of our values,” Omar said. “So what we need to do is we need to make sure that we are prioritizing and funding policies that create positive impact in people’s day-to-day lives. We have been prioritizing in enriching the wealthy. … And so we need to make sure that we’re holding the special interest accountable, that we’re getting money out of politics, that we are taxing the uber-rich, that the one percent pays their fair share.”

      Jenna Jameson defends keto diet while breastfeeding

      Jenna Jameson attempted to dispel myths about breastfeeding while promoting her beloved keto diet.

      JENNA JAMESON SHARES BIKINI PHOTO AFTER MASSIVE KETO DIET WEIGHT LOSS

      “Let’s talk breastfeeding and #keto.This subject is quite taboo it seems. A lot of naysayers rattle off falsehoods like ‘you have to eat oats to produce sufficient milk.’ Seriously ridiculous,” she wrote on Instagram Wednesday.

      JENNA JAMESON CALLS ‘BULLS—T’ ON KETO DIET CRITICS

      “I thought the same thing for a long time. So when I started my #weightlossjourney I slowly subtracted carbohydrates over a week long period while monitoring my supply. I’m not quite sure why I thought processed foods contributed to my fabulous supply,” she continued. “I was absolutely wrong. The moment I got into full ketosis my milk increased.”

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      Jameson, 44, also pointed out that there’s more to the keto diet than just cutting carbs in favor of fats.

      “I think a lot of people think Keto is all about bacon salami and copious amounts of cheese. It’s actually quite well rounded with lots of organic veggies, fish and eggs,” she wrote. “I am aware all women are not the same, but I think if you do your research, start slowly and monitor yourself…. nursing and keto go hand in hand.”

      The former porn star has lost a whopping 80 pounds since beginning the keto diet in March 2018.

      Her daughter Batel was born in April 2017.

      In August 2018, Jameson also insisted her milk supply was “healthy and strong” despite her carb-cutting diet.

      JENNA JAMESON SHOWS OFF KETO DIET WEIGHT LOSS, SAYS SHE’S ‘IN AWE’ OF HER BODY

      “I haven’t seen any dips in supply, letdowns, or in [Batel’s] reaction to taste. I think we are indoctrinated to think we HAVE to carb-load to have lots of milk… it’s simply untrue,” she wrote. “Make sure you’re getting adequate veggies, leafy greens and grass fed meats and fish… I also recommend slowly siding into the #ketolifestyle by slow subtraction of carbs to monitor your supply. “

      Jameson is a staunch defender of the keto diet, which recently came under fire from celebrity fitness trainer Jillian Michaels.

      JENNA JAMESON SWEARS OFF OF SNACKING AS PART OF KETO DIET

      Earlier this week, Jameson shared her updated keto diet meal plan, revealing that she’s increased her caloric intake since she’s no longer trying to lose weight, but simply maintain her current weight and stay healthy.

      Schultz defends calling Medicare-for-all proposal ‘not American’

      Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz speaks at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders in Seattle, Washington on March 22, 2017.  / AFP PHOTO / Jason Redmond        (Photo credit should read JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images)

      Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz speaks at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders in Seattle, Washington on March 22, 2017.  / AFP PHOTO / Jason Redmond        (Photo credit should read JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images)

      Washington (CNN)Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, whose contemplation of an independent presidential run in 2020 has infuriated Democrats, defended on Tuesday his belief that a “Medicare-for-all” proposal is “not American.”

      Earlier Tuesday, Schultz on “CBS This Morning” criticized a single-payer system that was embraced by Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris at a CNN town hall.
      “Why do you think Medicare-for-all, in your words, is not American?” CNN’s Poppy Harlow asked Schultz on Tuesday.
      “It’s not that it’s not American,” Schultz said. “It’s unaffordable.”
        “What I believe is that every American has the right to affordable health care as a statement,” Schultz said, lauding the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, as “the right thing to do.”
        He added, “But now that we look back on it, the premiums have skyrocketed and we need to go back to the Affordable Care Act, refine it and fix it.”
        He argued that the Democratic progressive platform of providing Medicare, free college education and jobs for everyone is costly and as “false as President Trump telling the American people when he was running for president that the Mexicans were going to pay for the wall.”
        Asked if he has a proposal for health care, he replied, “I don’t have a plan today. I’m not yet running for president.”
        Schultz also hit New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for her proposal of a 70% marginal tax rate on income over $ 10 million, saying he does not support such a plan.
        “Why should we punish it? What’s the American dream? The American dream is to create opportunity,” he told Harlow. “The American dream is to rise above your standing in life. Now, we’re going to be providing punitive tax rates for people who have succeeded. Now what we need is comprehensive tax reform.”
        As for immigration, Schultz said he agrees with Republicans that the US needs stricter border security on the US-Mexico border — but “not with a wall, which is insanity” — and supports Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s continued role in that.
        But in one area where he aligned with Democrats, Schultz said he supports a pathway to citizenship for those protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children who are also known as “Dreamers.”
        “I think it’s un-American for the Dreamers not to have a pathway to citizenship and they should be given that,” he said. “With regard to the 11 million people who are unauthorized, let them get in line, pay taxes, pay a fee, and over time give them the opportunity to become Americans.”
        As he continues to weigh whether to jump into the 2020 race, Schultz has been receiving push back from Democrats who argue that he would siphon votes from the party’s nominee, ultimately handing President Donald Trump his second term.
          “If that’s the final analysis — that President Trump gets a second term and that you pulled more from Democrats — would that keep you up at night?” Harlow asked.
          “I would never put myself in a position where I would be the person who re-elects Donald Trump, but that is not what I believe today,” Schultz vowed.

          Disney star Dove Cameron defends ‘sexy’ bikini selfie: ‘I love the female body’

          Dove Cameron doesn’t care if trolls want to shame her for sharing a “sexy” selfie.

          The 23-year-old said she’s old enough to make her own decisions, which includes controlling the content that makes it onto her Instagram account — in particular, a short clip that included her posing in a two-piece swimsuit. In the meantime, Cameron urged her followers to “get more comfortable” with the human body.

          “I love the female body,” Cameron posted.

          ‘MODERN FAMILY’ STAR ARIEL WINTER TO BODY-SHAMERS CRITICIZING WEIGHT LOSS: I ‘DIDN’T GET PLASTIC SURGERY’

          The actress then updated her caption to include a disclaimer: “Guys if i’m in a bathing suit, and i’m 23 and you’re tripping, you need to re-evaluate what trips you up.”

          Cameron, who starred in the Disney Channel teen sitcom “Liv and Maddie” from 2013 to 2017, posted a blurry video of herself posing on a bed in her two-piece on Friday. The video, which has since been viewed more than 2 million times, sparked a mix of reactions — many negative.

          “My cousin’s teenage daughter (she’s 13) is a fan of yours. Do you think this is appropriate for her? It’s one thing to pose in your bikini and be proud of your body (yeah you’re sexy)… But you’re posing and stroking your hair very provocatively on a bed. Considering your fan base… Not appropriate. Go pose on the beach or something,” one Instagram user argued.

          “Can you not there is [sic] young people on here,” another added.

          “I get it and totally agree but I’m already GUCCI about the human body I’m just not a huge fan about it being displayed like this,” one user replied.

          Hours later, Cameron posted a follow-up Instagram picture — William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s 1879 portrait of “The Birth of Venus” — to defend her alleged risqué look.

          “The human body isn’t offensive y’all. stop objectifying women so hard that you convince yourself that something natural and beautiful could ever be something offensive. also let women define their own bodies & their relationship to their bodies for themselves. stop defining women’s bodies for said women,” Cameron wote, in part.

          The “Descendants 3” star argued that “nakedness” is deemed inappropriate “when we objectify and sexualize” images and videos such as the one she posted.

          DISNEY CHANNEL STAR COMES OUT AS GAY IN EMOTIONAL INSTAGRAM POST

          “A body is not inherently sexual. its beautiful and innocent. stop ruining it for yourself & others ((just to be clear to the thousands of people who RAN with this post because it upset them so much, no, i am not saying “everyone should just run naked in the streets like animals and the world should be in total chaos.” i am simply encouraging the embracing of the human body, the removal of the stigma that it is evil, the comfortability and LOVE of ones OWN body, and yes, if it is appropriate, if we are alone of at home, knowing that nakedness isn’t wrong,” she continued.

          More than 400,000 people have liked Cameron’s post as of Tuesday morning, and thousands commented to share their “100 percent” support.

          “Amen and well said,” one fan commented.

          “And this is why you’re my favorite human,” a user agreed.

          “She isn’t ruining any reputation. she’s growing and maturing and that means talking about topics like this. she definitely hasn’t lost me,” a third added.

          It’s been a goal of Cameron’s to be a body image champion for women. In an emotional interview last year, Cameron revealed her battle with anorexia.

          “I’ve never said this before, but I had such a bad case of anorexia. I was so badly down that hole,” Cameron told StyleCaster last spring. “I was not eating for days sometimes. But it was because I thought I needed to be absolutely tiny to be loved. I genuinely thought I needed to be as skinny as I possibly could to be loved and appreciated and good enough.”

          Cameron then stressed the importance of being a role model for women — young girls especially.

          “I realized that if I was going to be a role model then I needed to live like the girls that I needed when I was young,” she explained to the fashion site.

          “I’ve worked really hard to maintain health and a normality,” Cameron continued. “And if someone wants to go on my Instagram and tell me that I am not as thin as I used to be, or I have a zit here, I don’t care about what that angry person has to say. What’s important is the freedom and the quality of my life. As long as my life is happy and healthy, so is my worldview.”

          Anne Hathaway defends her role in ‘Serenity’ as critics give it low ratings, bad reviews

          As critics continue to malign the new film “Serenity,” Anne Hathaway is defending her role in the movie and hoping fans will stick with its twists and turns despite the poor initial reception.

          Hathaway took to Instagram on Thursday where she posted an image of herself in a flowy blue skirt from the premiere of the film, which co-stars Matthew McConaughey, with a caption that defended not only the movie but her decision to be in it.

          ANNE HATHAWAY SAYS ‘MY COUNTRY GASSED CHILDREN’ IN POST AGAINST USE OF TEAR GAS AT BORDER

          “We keep it real around here: some critics get @serenityfilm and, like me, find it interesting, moving, ambitious and different, and for some it just doesn’t work,” she wrote. “That’s cool- there is no failure, only learned events, not everyone has to like everything, and the critical response doesn’t change my feelings about the movie. However, other people’s time and money are not to be taken for granted, so I just want to be clear: I endorse the movie, many critics don’t.”

          She concluded: “Anyway, wasn’t my @givenchyofficial skirt for the premiere rad?”

          Critics far and wide are not on board with the film. It only scored 20 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The Associated Press’ review of the movie did not have many kind things to say, other than the fact that the two stars gave it their all.

          ANNE HATHAWAY SAYS SHE’S DONE DRINKING AFTER NIGHT OUT WITH MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

          “’Serenity’ may be hopelessly at sea but all of the performers are nevertheless fully committed to the tale, particularly Hathaway and McConaughey, who apparently has a thing for movies with boats (‘Mud,’ ‘’Fool’s Gold’). Both are led astray by a wayward script about a fisherman named Dill who’s caught in a bit of a pickle. ‘Serenity’ now? I wouldn’t recommend it,” it reads.

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          The film hit theaters on Jan. 25.

          The Associated Press contributed to this report.

          Washington Post Fact Checker defends column after Ocasio-Cortez callout: ‘She’s wrong’

          A Washington Post fact checker defended his “three-Pinocchio” rating of comments made by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in response to her claim on Twitter that his column relied on a study that served corporate interests.

          The New York Democrat claimed that columnist Glenn Kessler relied on a “Walmart-funded” study when he analyzed her statements from earlier this week that the vast majority of the country doesn’t earn the minimum wage.

          “Walmart-funded” study as a reference, saying: “If the point of fact-checking is to enforce some objective standard, why would @GlennKesslerWP use a Walmart-funded think tank as reference material for wage fairness? That’s like citing the foxes to fact-check the hens. Here’s 4 Geppettos for your contested Pinocchios,” she wrote.

          In his response, Kessler tweeted a screenshot of an addition to his story that said Jason Furman – the author of the study – previously served as the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under former President Barack Obama, before telling his followers “don’t always believe what you see on Twitter.”

          In his Thursday column, Kessler took issue with her math.

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          “Ocasio-Cortez would have been fine if she had said “more than a third” or even “almost half.” Instead, she said “a vast majority,” Kessler wrote. “Ocasio-Cortez deserves credit for using her high profile to bring attention to income inequality. However, she undermines her message when she plays fast and loose with statistics.”

          He also said the congresswoman’s assertion that companies like Walmart and Amazon “essentially experience a wealth transfer from the public, for paying people less than a minimum wage” was not true. He cited Amazon’s support of raising the minimum wage and that entry-level workers at Walmart are paid $ 11 per hour, not including benefits. Amazon pays its employees at least $ 15 an hour.

          Notre Dame president defends covering Columbus murals

          The president of Notre Dame, the Rev. John Jenkins, told Fox News on Thursday that his decision to cover campus murals depicting Christopher Columbus wasn’t intended to conceal anything. Rather, he said, the goal was to tell “the full story.”

          Speaking to Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, Jenkins explained his decision to cover 12 murals in the school’s iconic Gold Dome building

          “We’re not concealing anything. We’re not erasing anything,” he said. “These images will be on display continuously. They won’t be on display in the main thoroughfare but in a place where the full story, the full story can be revealed”

          CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS: THIS 124-YEAR-OLD WOMEN’S GROUP IS FIGHTING TO KEEP THEM AROUND

          Jenkins said that high-resolution pictures will be taken of the murals and will be placed in an area where the full story, including what he calls “the darker side,” will be told.

          He said the paintings will be concealed but can be uncovered if needed.

          “It is not a criticism of Christopher Columbus, he was a great explorer, an intrepid explorer, a devout Catholic, he had his failings in blind spots as we all do, but it is an attempt to tell the story of the native peoples.”

          The decision caused an uproar among many on campus, prompting the nonprofit National Italian American Foundation to send a letter to the president.

          “While there remains serious scholarly debates about certain attitudes and actions of Columbus, he alone should not be burdened with the entire fate of Native Americans,” the letter read. “We do not believe the University of Notre Dame should take this unilateral action – and seek to erase history – simply to appease a small number of vocal Columbus detractors.”

          Jenkins stood by his decision, however: “Our effort is to make the story of the Native Americans part of this story, as is the story of Columbus, as is the story of wonderful immigrants who have made this country as great as it is today. That’s really the intention behind it, not to erase anything but to tell the fullest story.”

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          The 12 murals, created in the 1880s by Luis Gregori, were intended to encourage immigrants who had come to the U.S. during a period of anti-Catholic sentiment.

          Fox News’ Martha MacCallum and The Associated Press contributed to this report.