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You could win a $1.7 million mansion by writing a standout letter

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 11:45

Broke English majors, take your places. A homeowner in Alberta, Canada is selling her $1.7 million (CAD) home via essay contest. Alla Wagner is searching for a new owner for her 5,000 square foot home, which, according to a report from CNN, has "three bedrooms, three full baths and two half baths, in addition to a wine cellar, panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and a pond." Not bad. Here's how it works: Entrants must write a short letter (maximum 350 words) explaining why they should get the house, then mail or email it to Wagner along with a $25 entry fee. Once Wagner collects roughly 68,000 entry fees -- enough to cover the house's value -- she will publish a group of semi-finalist essays on social media so people can vote for their favorites. Then, the 500 entries with the most votes will be whittled down by an "independent panel of judges," who will select three finalists. These three finalists will then be interviewed. One of them will get the house. SEE ALSO: Apple wants you to send your best iPhone photos in return for, cough, exposure The contest began on Jan. 5, and Wagner plans to run it until April 5. If there are nearly enough entries by then, she'll extend it another three months. If she's nowhere near her goal, she'll cancel the contest and refund everyone's entry fees. As of Friday, Wagner had collected around 5,000 entries. The contest is getting more attention, though, so 68,000 may not be too far away. If you want a $25 mansion, better get that entry in. ## WATCH: Vitaminwater is offering $100,000 to keep off your smartphone for a year

Syria air defenses target suspected drones over Russia base

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 11:41

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria state media said Sunday the country's air defense systems intercepted and destroyed three "hostile" targets over a Russian air base in the country's coastal region.

U.S. college official who told Chinese students to speak English quits

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 11:36

Megan Neely left her position as director of graduate studies for the biostatistics master's program "effective immediately," the dean of the school told students in a letter on Sunday, according to the university's newspaper, The Chronicle. The dean, Mary Klotman, said Duke's Office of Institutional Equity would conduct a thorough review of the program. The email by Neely, who remains an assistant professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Duke, said she was approached by two faculty members who wanted details of first-year students "they observed speaking Chinese (in their words, VERY LOUDLY)" on campus.

Taxes 2019: When to file and what big changes to expect

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 11:29

Tax filers need to realize, though, that it won’t be business as usual when it comes to filing their 2018 tax returns.

Roger Stone Doesn't Rule Out Cooperating With Mueller If He's Asked

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 11:02

“That’s a question I would have to, I’d have to determine after my attorneys have some discussion,” Stone said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. Stone was charged Friday with obstructing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and lying to congressional investigators. Stone has said that the charges are politically motivated and that he will plead not guilty.

Trump Says His Pressure for NATO Spending Boost Is Paying Off

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 10:49

Trump commented on Twitter within minutes after Jens Stoltenberg, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s secretary-general, said on Fox News Sunday that NATO allies will add $100 billion in military outlays by the end of next year. “We see that the clear message from President Trump is having an impact,” Stoltenberg said. “NATO allies have heard the president loud and clear and now NATO allies are stepping up.

Mueller investigation: Half of Americans doubt fairness of Trump probe, new poll shows

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 10:25

The American people have mixed feelings about investigating President Donald Trump, with clear majorities wanting newly empowered Democrats to dig into his personal finances and foreign ties but most believing Congress should not begin impeachment proceedings, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The public’s cautiousness extends to its expectations for the forthcoming report from special counsel Robert Mueller III, who has been examining ties between Russia and Mr Trump’s 2016 campaign. Half of Americans report they have “just some” confidence or none at all that the Mueller report will be fair and even-handed, and 43 per cent say they have at least a good amount of confidence in its fairness.

Putin praises 'unbroken' Leningrad on anniversary of wartime siege

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 10:06

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday praised Saint Petersburg's "unbroken" spirit as Russia marked the 75th anniversary of the end of the World War II siege of Leningrad, which claimed more than 800,000 lives. Earlier in the day tanks and air-defence missile systems rolled through the heart of Saint Petersburg, formerly known as Leningrad, as crowds watched the performance in falling snow and temperatures of minus 11 degrees Celsius (12 Fahrenheit), some wrapped in blankets. The parade in Russia's second city was the first time war-era and modern heavy weaponry, including the famed T-34 battle tank and multiple-launch rocket systems, had trundled past the Hermitage Museum to mark the end of the siege of Leningrad.

Secret Trump supporter no more: Why this model has decided to be open about her support for the president

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 09:57

Elizabeth Pipko explains why she decided to be open about her support for Trump in the liberal fashion industry.

Near IS holdout, Syrian fighters face women suicide bombers

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 09:52

Driving towards the frontline of what remains of the Islamic State group's self-declared "caliphate" in eastern Syria, US-backed fighters pass huge craters from air strikes and buildings reduced to rubble. Backed by air strikes of the US-led coalition, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces are battling to expel IS from a few hamlets in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

Afghans hope for peace but fear bloodshed as US, Taliban talk

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 09:38

Afghans harboured tentative hopes Sunday that talks between the US and Taliban leaders could end decades of conflict, despite fears an American withdrawal might unleash even more violence. American negotiators and the Taliban said Saturday the two sides had made substantial progress in the most recent round of talks in Qatar, promising to meet again to continue seeking a deal that could pave the way for official peace negotiations. The length and apparent progress in the ongoing talks are unprecedented, signaling that both Washington and the Taliban might see a path forward.

Multiple boats escape from Hudson River, crash into Amtrak bridge

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 09:27

Eight large barges, including a cruise boat, broke loose and floated down the Hudson River towards Albany.

Anti-Semitic killings in 2018 'highest' in decades: Israel

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 08:55

The number of Jews murdered in anti-Semitic attacks around the world in 2018 reached its "highest" level in decades after a mass shooting at a US synagogue, an Israeli government report said Sunday. A total of 13 Jews were killed in three separate attacks over the year, according to the 2018 Global anti-Semitism Report released on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. A gunman shot dead 11 people at a synagogue in the US city of Pittsburgh in October in America's deadliest ever anti-Semitic attack.

Israeli Holocaust survivor remembers Auschwitz on birthday

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 08:07

JERUSALEM (AP) — As the world commemorates the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on International Holocaust Remembrance Day Sunday, death camp survivor Cipora Feivlovich marks her own personal milestone as she turns 92.

Not 'politically viable' for Trump to pardon Stone if convicted: Chris Christie

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 07:02

On “This Week,” former New Jersey governor and ABC News contributor Chris Christie discusses his new book “Let Me Finish: Trump, the Kushners, Bannon, New Jersey, and the Power of In-Your-Face Politics.”

Zuckerberg to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger: New York Times

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 03:19

Facebook said it is working on adding end-to-end encryption, which protects messages from being viewed by anyone except the participants in a conversation, to more of its messaging products, and considering ways to make it easier for users to connect across networks. Integrating the messaging services could make it harder for antitrust regulators to break up Facebook by undoing its acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram, said Sam Weinstein, a professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Justin Trudeau fires Canadian ambassador to China over Huawei executive extradition remarks

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 02:00

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has fired his ambassador to China after the envoy said it would be “great” if the US dropped its extradition request for a Chinese tech executive arrested in Canada. Mr Trudeau said on Saturday he had asked for and accepted John McCallum’s resignation on Friday night. Mr McCallum made the remark to the Toronto Star on Friday.

Search underway for Savannah Spurlock, missing Kentucky mother

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 00:55

Police seized a car and executed a search warrant as part of the ongoing investigation to find missing Kentucky mother Savannah Spurlock; Matt Finn reports.

Search on for Louisiana man suspected in 5 deaths

Top Stories - Sun, 01/27/2019 - 00:16

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Authorities in Louisiana said they are searching for an "armed and dangerous" 21-year-old accused of killing his parents and three others in two separate but related shootings Saturday.

When a boy called 911 after tough day at school, the dispatcher was there to help

Top Stories - Sat, 01/26/2019 - 22:13

Lafayette Police Chief Pat Flannelly says homework help isn’t the best use of 911 but lauds dispatcher who talked an student through a tough moment


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