Bears’ Nagy ‘optimistic’ Mitch Trubisky plays vs. Lions

The NFC North-leading Chicago Bears are dealing with a banged-up quarterback heading into Thursday’s Thanksgiving tilt in Detroit.

Coach Matt Nagy said Tuesday that Mitchell Trubisky is day to day with a right shoulder injury. The second-year QB sat out of Tuesday’s practice.

The issue puts Trubisky’s status up in the air heading into Thursday.

“I’m staying cautiously optimistic, but I can’t make any promises,” Nagy said, via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune. “I hope he does. He wants to play, I know that. We’ve got to make sure in these situations we’re doing the right thing.”

Trubisky injured his throwing shoulder in the fourth quarter of Sunday night’s victory over the Minnesota Vikings on a late hit by safety Harrison Smith on a play the QB scrambled out of the pocket. Smith was penalized on the play.

Nagy noted that the injury isn’t a long-term issue for Trubisky and surgery isn’t needed.

With only about 85 hours to recover between games, the injury to the QB is much more urgent for Chicago.

Trubisky has improved weekly under Nagy this season, using his arm and legs to move the ball in the coach’s creative system.

Hopefully for the 7-3 Bears, holding Trubisky out of practice is merely a precaution. If not, Americans will be served a side of Chase Daniel as their pre-Thanksgiving dinner appetizer.

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Is there a difference between Hillary Clinton and Ivanka Trump’s use of personal emails accounts?

Posted

November 21, 2018 15:59:42

United States politics is once again talking about emails.

It’s come after reporting by the Washington Post showed that the US President’s daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump used a personal account to send hundreds of emails to discuss White House business in 2017.

It comes less than two years after Donald Trump mercilessly taunted Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for similar actions made while she was US secretary of state between 2009 and 2013.

Mr Trump called Ms Clinton “Crooked Hillary” and had crowds at his campaign rallies chanting “lock her up” after accusing her of corruption “on a scale we have never seen before” but he has downplayed his daughter’s actions.

Here’s the backstory.

What was the go with Hillary Clinton’s emails again?

Ms Clinton served as former president Barack Obama’s secretary of state between 2009 and 2013.

Before she was sworn in, she set up an email server at her New York home and used that address for all correspondence — both work related and personal — for her four years in the job.

Because of US laws, letters and emails written by federal officials are considered government records and should be retained.

According to an FBI investigation, Ms Clinton sent 62,320 emails during her time in the job and about half of those were official business and were forwarded to the State Department in December 2014.

She claimed the rest of the emails (approximately 33,000) were private, and one of her aides asked the company which managed the private server to delete any emails older than 60 days.

That did not happen immediately, and the server company did not complete it with the program BleachBit until late March 2015, approximately three weeks after she had been sent a subpoena to provide all emails relating to a 2012 attack on US government facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

Ms Clinton said all emails regarding Libya had already been provided to the State Department several months earlier.

A report by the department’s inspector general found Ms Clinton’s use of the email server had violated government policy and that she would not have received permission to have used it if she had asked, but that it was not illegal.

The former first lady told a press conference she did it as a matter of “convenience” — she didn’t want to carry two phones for different email addresses, and the secure government phone she had been handed did not work with multiple email accounts.

She did not set up a government email address during her time as secretary of state and has claimed she did not fully understand the rules around private email usage.

Ms Clinton claimed she had not sent or received “classified” emails, but the FBI later determined there were in fact 110 messages.

After an investigation by the FBI, then director James Comey said while there was “evidence of potential violations” of criminal laws about handling of classified information, no prosecutor would ever bring the case.

Mr Comey announced another review of Ms Clinton’s actions days before the 2016 presidential election after finding new emails, before again confirming no charges would be laid against her.

Ivanka Trump says she wasn’t familiar with the rules about personal email use

Ms Trump reportedly used a private email account, on a domain she had set up with her husband Jared Kushner prior to moving to Washington DC, to discuss or forward official business to other White House aides, members of the Cabinet and with her assistants.

According to the Washington Post, Ms Trump used the account to send less than 100 emails discussing government business or to reply to other administration officials who contacted her.

She also sent hundreds of messages about her work and travel schedule to herself and personal assistants.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee began looking into private email use last year after reports by Politico revealed Mr Kushner, and other White House officials, had been using private email for government purposes, before it was eventually dropped by Republicans.

Under US law, use of a personal account for government business could potentially violate a law requiring preservation of all presidential records.

Her spokesman Peter Mirijanian did not dispute the Washington Post report, but played down the severity of Ms Trump’s actions.

“While transitioning into government, after she was given an official account but until the White House provided her the same guidance they had given others who started before she did, Ms Trump sometimes used her personal account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family,” he said in a statement to the Washington Post.

“Ms Trump did not create a private server in her house or office, no classified information was ever included, the account was never transferred at Trump Organisation, and no emails were ever deleted.”

The President’s daughter has also claimed she misunderstood the rules about personal email usage.

How has Donald Trump reacted to the news?

In comments to reporters, the US President, who has spent years railing against Ms Clinton’s use of private email, sought to downplay — and differentiate — his daughter’s email use from his former opponent’s.

“For a little period of time, Ivanka did some emails. They weren’t classified like Hillary Clinton. They weren’t deleted like Hillary Clinton … She wasn’t doing anything to hide her emails,” Mr Trump said.

“What Ivanka did, it’s all in the presidential records. Everything is there.”

North Carolina congressman Mark Meadows, a fierce defender of the President as the leader of the House Freedom Caucus, also downplayed the matter.

“There are over 30,000 BleachBit reasons why the Hillary Clinton email scandal isn’t even close to the Ivanka email issue,” Mr Meadows tweeted, referring to a computer program used to delete emails from her server.

But the group that unveiled the emails is calling out the “hypocrisy”

The discovery of the extent of Ms Trump’s email use was prompted by public records requests from the liberal watchdog group American Oversight, and its executive director Austin Evers said they could not believe Ms Trump did not know better.

“There’s the obvious hypocrisy that her father ran on the misuse of personal email as a central tenet of his campaign,” Mr Evers said.

“There is no reasonable suggestion that she didn’t know better. Clearly everyone joining the Trump administration should have been on high alert about personal email use.”

Maggie Haberman, a political journalist with the New York Times, wrote on Twitter that Democratic officials were unlikely to give Ms Trump the benefit of the doubt, given the “misdirection and lies from the White House”.

What happens next?

Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill will be scrutinising Ms Trump’s personal email use in the White House in light of new revelations that she sent hundreds of messages about government business from that account last year.

The Republican chairmen of Senate and House oversight committees — as well as a top House Democrat who will be wielding a gavel when his party takes power in January — called for the White House to provide more information about the email account and the nature of the messages Ms Trump exchanged.

The report prompted Ron Johnson, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, and Trey Gowdy, the outgoing chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, to send letters to the White House requesting a written response and briefing.

Elijah Cummings, the likely incoming chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, said he would resume that bipartisan investigation, which was dropped by Republicans.

And he will pressure the Trump administration to turn over records about the use of private email for public business by Ms Trump, Mr Kushner and other senior officials.

“My goal is to prevent this from happening again — not to turn this into a spectacle the way Republicans went after Hillary Clinton,” Mr Cummings said.

“My main priority as chairman will be to focus on the issues that impact Americans in their everyday lives.”

ABC/ Wires

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Judge dismisses federal female genital mutilation charges

CLOSE

Millions of little girls and young women have been subjected to a painful rite of passage that involves cutting their genitals — often without anesthesia — for centuries in parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Detroit Free Press

In a major blow to the federal government, a judge in Detroit has declared America’s female genital mutilation law unconstitutional, thereby dismissing the key charges against two Michigan doctors and six others accused of subjecting at least nine minor girls to the cutting procedure in the nation’s first FGM case.

The historic case involves minor girls from Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota, including some who cried, screamed and bled during the procedure and one who was given Valium ground in liquid Tylenol to keep her calm, court records show.

The judge’s ruling also dismissed charges against three mothers, including two Minnesota women whom prosecutors said tricked their 7 -year-old daughters into thinking they were coming to metro Detroit for a girls’ weekend, but instead had their genitals cut at a Livonia clinic as part of a religious procedure.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman concluded that “as despicable as this practice may be,” Congress did not have the authority to pass the 22-year-old federal law that criminalizes female genital mutilation, and that FGM is for the states to regulate. FGM is banned worldwide and has been outlawed in more than 30 countries, though the U.S. statute had never been tested before this case. 

“As laudable as the prohibition of a particular type of abuse of girls may be … federalism concerns deprive Congress of the power to enact this statute,” Friedman wrote in his 28-page opinion, noting: “Congress overstepped its bounds by legislating to prohibit FGM … FGM is a ‘local criminal activity’ which, in keeping with long-standing tradition and our federal system of government, is for the states to regulate, not Congress.” 

 

Currently, 27 states have laws that criminalize female genital mutilation, including Michigan, whose FGM law is stiffer than the federal statute, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, compared with five under federal law. Michigan’s FGM law was passed last year in the wake of the historic case and applies to both doctors who conduct the procedure, and parents who transport a child to have it done. The defendants in this case can’t be retroactively charged under the new law.

Gina Balaya, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorneys Office, said the government is reviewing the judge’s opinion and will make a determination whether or not to appeal at some point in the future.

Friedman’s ruling stems from a request by Dr. Jumana Nagarwala and her codefendants to dismiss the genital mutilation charges, claiming the law they are being prosecuted under is unconstitutional.  

A victory for the defendants 

The defendants are all members of a small Indian Muslim sect known as the Dawoodi Bohra, which has a mosque in Farmington Hills. The sect practices female circumcision and believes it is a religious rite of passage that involves only a minor “nick.”

The defendants have argued that “Congress lacked authority to enact” the genital mutilation statute, “thus the female genital mutilation charges must be dismissed.” They also argue that they didn’t actually practice FGM,  but rather performed a benign procedure involving no cutting.

“Oh my God, we won!,” declared Shannon Smith, Nagarwala’s lawyer, who expects the government to appeal. “But we are confident we will win even if appealed.”

Smith has maintained all along that her client did not engage in FGM.

“Dr. Nagarwala is just a wonderful human being. She was always known as a doctor with an excellent reputation,” Smith said. “The whole community was shocked when this happened. She’s always been known to be a stellar doctor, mother, person.”

For FGM survivor and social activist Mariya Taher, who heads a campaign out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to ban FGM worldwide, Friedman’s ruling was a punch to the gut.

“Oh my God, this is crazy,”  said Taher, stressing she fears the ruling will put more young women in harm’s way. “Unfortunately, this is going to embolden those who believe that this must be continued … they’ll feel that this is permission, that it’s OK to do this.”

Taher, who, at 7, was subjected to the same type of religious cutting procedure that’s at issue in the Michigan case, said she doesn’t expect laws alone to end FGM. But they are needed, she stressed.

“This is a violation of one person’s human rights. It’s  a form of gender violence. … This is cultural violence,” 35-year-old Taher said. 

Yasmeen Hassan, executive global director for Equality Now, an international women’s rights organization,  agreed, saying the ruling sends a disturbing message to women and girls.

“It says you are not important,” Hassan said, calling the ruling a “federal blessing” for FGM.

“In this day and age, for FGM to still occur — and a federal government can’t regulate this with a human rights violation — is very bizarre,” she said. “This is not what I expected. It’s so not what I expected.”

Hassan added: “I don’t think it’s possible for the federal government not to appeal this case. My feeling is that it will go all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Friedman’s ruling also drew the ire of Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.
 
“I’m angry that the federal judge dismissed this horrific case that affected upwards of a hundred girls who were brutally victimized and attacked against their will,” Jones said in a statement, noting 23 states don’t have FGM laws.
 
“This is why it was so important for Michigan to act. We set a precedent that female genital mutilation will not be tolerated here, and we did so by passing a state law that comes with a 15-year felony punishment,” Jones said. “I hope other states will follow suit.”

The federal statute at issue states: “Whoever knowingly circumcises, excises or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person” under the age of 18 shall be fined or imprisoned for up to five years, or both.

Related stories:

Genital mutilation victims break their silence: ‘This is demonic’

Religious defense planned in landmark Detroit genital mutilation case

Prosecutors argue Nagarwala, the lead defendant, did exactly that when she cut the genitals of two 7-year-old Minnesota girls who were tricked into the procedure in 2017 by their mothers.

They said Nagarwala did this with the help of  Dr. Fakhuruddin Attar, who is accused of letting Nagarwala use his Livonia clinic after hours to carry out the procedures; and his wife, Farida Attar, who is accused of assisting Nagarwala in the examination room during the procedures and holding the girls’ hands.

Prosecutors allege that Nagarwala may have subjected up to 100 girls to the procedure over a 12-year period, though they have cited nine victims in the case:  two 7-year-old girls from Minnesota; four Michigan girls ages 8-12, and  three Illinois girls.

Law deemed unconstitutional 

Nagarwala has long maintained that she committed no crime and that she was charged under a law that slid through Congress without proper vetting.

“The law was never debated on the floor of either chamber of Congress nor was there ever any legislative hearing addressing the justification or need for the federal law. Instead, all that exists is the criminal statute itself,” defense lawyers have argued in court documents, claiming the driving force behind the legislation was one lawmaker’s belief that the prohibited conduct was ‘repulsive and cruel.’ “

But the Constitution demands more than that, the defense has argued, claiming Congress could not have passed a female genital mutilation ban under the Commerce clause because “notably, here, the activity being regulated has absolutely no effect on interstate commerce.”

The judge agreed.

“There is nothing commercial or economic about FGM,” Friedman writes. “As despicable as this practice may be, it is essentially a criminal assault. … FGM is not part of a larger market and it has no demonstrated effect on interstate commerce. The commerce clause does not permit Congress to regulate a crime of this nature.”

The prosecution disagrees, arguing genital mutilation is an illegal, secretive and dangerous health care service that involves interstate commerce on a number of fronts: text messages are used to arrange the procedure; parents drive their children across state lines to get the procedure; and the doctor uses medical tools in state-licensed clinics to perform the surgeries.

In defending the statute, prosecutors also have noted that FGM is condemned worldwide — it’s illegal in more than 30 countries. And they’ve cited the legislative history of the law, along with U.S. Sen. Harry Reid’s comments in pushing for a genital mutilation ban.

“I want everyone within the sound of my voice to understand that what I am going to talk about here today does not deal with religion and it does not deal with sex. It deals with violation of a person’s human rights. It deals with degradation of women and young girls. It deals with the most inhumane thing a person can imagine,” Reid stated in 1994.

On September 30, 1996, the female genital mutilation law was signed, with Reid stressing: “There is no medical reason for this procedure. … It is used as a method to keep girls chaste and to ensure their virginity until marriage, and to ensure that after marriage they do not engage in extramarital sex.”

Nagarwala, meanwhile, is still facing a conspiracy charge and an obstruction count that could send her to prison for 20 years, along with the Attars. If convicted of conspiracy, Nagarwala faces up to 30 years in prison.

The case is set to go to trial in April 2019.

Contact Tresa Baldas: tbaldas@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @Tbaldas

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Man found guilty of manslaughter of heart surgeon in one-punch attack

Updated

November 21, 2018 15:00:30

A man has been found guilty of manslaughter for killing a heart surgeon in a one-punch attack at Box Hill Hospital in Melbourne’s east last year.

Joseph Esmaili, 24, punched Dr Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann in the head during an argument in the foyer of the hospital in May 2017.

The 41-year-old surgeon was knocked unconscious and fell backwards, hitting his head on the tiled floor.

He died in hospital a month later.

The pair began arguing after the surgeon asked Esmaili and his friends to stop smoking in a non-smoking area outside the hospital, the Victorian Supreme Court trial was told.

CCTV was played to the jury which showed the men arguing in the moments leading up to the punch.

Witnesses gave evidence Esmaili was asked to leave the hospital, but responded by telling Dr Pritzwald-Stegmann, “You need to suck my d***”.

Dr Pritzwald-Stegmann was then overheard angrily retorting: “You just spat in my face.”

The families of both Dr Pritzwald-Stegmann and Esmaili were in court to witness the verdict being handed down and did not react when it was read out.

Esmaili has been remanded in custody and will return to court in March for a plea hearing.

More to come.

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Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg says he hopes Sheryl Sandberg stays on

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By David Ingram

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg threw support behind his embattled second-in-command Sheryl Sandberg on Tuesday and said he hoped he gets to work with her for decades more.

Zuckerberg, under fire from users, employees and shareholders after a series of scandals, was asked in an interview with CNN whether he could “definitively say” that Sandberg will stay in her current role as Facebook’s chief operating officer.

“Yeah, look, Sheryl is a really important part of this company and is leading a lot of the efforts to address a lot of the biggest issues that we have,” Zuckerberg told CNN in the interview broadcast Tuesday night.

“She’s been an important partner for me for 10 years, and I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done together, and I hope that we work together for decades more to come,” he said.

Zuckerberg has complete control of the social network as its chief executive, chairman and controlling shareholder, and Sandberg has given no indication that she plans to leave the company. She joined from Google in 2008.

For two years Facebook has been rocked by crises involving covert Russian propaganda, the mishandling of millions of users’ personal information and the hiring of a public relations firm that had an “in-house fake news shop.”

Sources have told NBC News that Zuckerberg and Sandberg believe Facebook’s negative image is a public relations problem that stems from a bungled press strategy and sensational media coverage, not a structural or philosophical shortcoming that requires a wholesale course correction.

Zuckerberg told CNN that he had no plans to give up his role as board chairman. “I’m not gonna be doing this forever, but I’m certainly — I’m not currently thinking that that makes sense,” he said.

He also criticized the outlook of some journalists who report on the company.

“If we’re going to be real, there is this bigger picture as well which is that, we have a different world view than some of the folks who are covering us,” he said. He was interrupted before he could elaborate.

Among the criticisms of Facebook is that the company was too slow to name Russia as the source of divisive political messages including ads that appeared in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election. The company considered naming Russia in April 2017 but waited until September of that year, the New York Times has reported.

Zuckerberg told CNN he had no regrets about that.

“It’s a really big deal to come out and say that a nation-state is behind something, and before our company puts a stamp on something saying that, I want to be really sure that that’s the case,” he said.

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The Match: Phil Mickelson baits Tiger Woods into $200K side bet

Kevin Casey, Golfweek
Published 6:18 p.m. ET Nov. 20, 2018 | Updated 6:20 p.m. ET Nov. 20, 2018

There’s $9 million at stake in The Match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Well, actually there will be more.

As has been teased by Mickelson himself, side bets will take place during Friday’s action at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas. (The proceeds from that side action will go to charity.)

In fact, those side bets have already started.

The pair participated in a news conference Tuesday ahead of the event. One of the questions was about whether the players have already considered strategy on side bets ahead of time.

Mickelson went all in on his answer, propositioning a huge side bet:

“So I’ve thought a lot about this and there are spots out on the course that are some great spots for a little challenge and the challenges are coming directly out of our pockets, OK?” Mickelson said. “And I feel like the first hole is a great hole for me. And I believe — in fact I’m willing to risk $100,000 that says I birdie the first hole. So that’s how good I feel heading into this match.”

Lefty coming out strong. 

(For the record, the first hole at Shadow Creek is a 415-yard par 4.)

He wasn’t done. Mickelson then chirped to Woods about the proposed $100,000 bet: “You don’t have to take it. You don’t have to take it at all. But I’m going to throw that out there.”

How did Woods respond? This is a 14-time major champion, folks. There was a 0.0 percent chance he would back down.

From here, the exchange unfolded:

“Hold on, hold on, hold on,” Woods said to Mickelson. “So you think you can make birdie on the first hole?”

“I know I’m going to make birdie on the first hole,” Mickelson responded.

“Double it (the bet),” Woods said.

And we’re off. But Mickelson, ever the showman, punctuated this back-and-forth with a flourish.

After Woods’ “double it” comment…

“Did you see how I baited him like that?” Mickelson said with a smile. “Yes! ($200,000) says I birdie the first hole.”

Woods pointed out there’s water on the left side of this hole and left tends to be Mickelson’s miss. Mickelson then clarified that what Woods was missing was that he would hit a 2-iron off the tee, leaving him a short-iron from the fairway. Lefty further noted he’s a fantastic short-iron player.

Hence, he feels he “baited” Woods into accepting a favorable bet toward Mickelson.

“Part of it is strategic,” Mickelson said on side bets, “because you’ve got to get them to accept it. So you see how I subtly slipped that in? Yeah I didn’t know how I was going to do that, but I think I found the way.”

An unfazed Woods later reaffirmed the $200,000 side bet simply by saying, “Done.”

We’re three days away and already off to a great start.

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Fluctuating list of wildfire missing confuses some in California

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By James Rainey

The despair wrought by California’s enormous Camp Fire is reflected in the state-record death toll, 81, the huge rolls of destroyed homes, more than 12,000, and — each night since the fire broke out Nov. 8 — the fluctuating number of missing residents.

The Butte County Sheriff’s office reported that as of Tuesday, 699 people remained unaccounted for, posting a list of their names at the top of the sheriff’s website. That’s 294 less than the missing total on Sunday and nearly 600 less than the 1,276 listed as missing Saturday.

Sheriff Kory Honea said the disruptive nature of California’s deadliest wildfire has meant that, nearly two weeks after the blaze broke out, family members are still tracking down loved ones. But reports of those who have been found have not always filtered back to law enforcement authorities.

The list of names is compiled from three sources: the sheriff’s office missing call center, emails to officials and reports called into dispatch, according to NBC Sacramento affiliate KCRA.

Honea and his office have not provided a detailed description of how the list is compiled. But he has told the media that one problem in accounting for those who are safe may be that some unofficial shelters have not passed on complete lists of those staying with them.

The sheriff has has defended the list, while directing residents to help bring down the total by alerting the sheriff’s hotline if they are mistakenly counted among the missing.

“If you see anyone on the list who is no longer missing please contact us so their name can be removed,” the sheriff’s office says on its website.

But it asks that information be phoned in to the Missing Persons Task Force, not emailed, listing the hotline numbers as 530-538-6570, 530-538-7544, 530-538-7671.

“It’s difficult because we have a catastrophic event and a massive number of people are scattered across Northern California,” Honea said in one interview. He added, in another: “I can’t let perfection get in the way of progress.”

One indication of imperfections has come from families, who have said they do not see their loved ones on the list, even they they have been reported missing.

A woman in Tennessee told the San Francisco Chronicle that her mother hasn’t been heard from but did not appear on the list. Chrissy Mullinax told the newspaper she reported her mother missing to the Sheriff’s office 10 days ago. But it was a posting on Facebook that helped locate the elder Mullinax and confirm that she was okay, her daughter said. “They’re doing much better than the [sheriff’s] hotline,” Mullinax said.

Authorities have declined to speculate how many of those listed as missing might have died in the fire, which had burned 151,000 acres and 12,637 residences as of Tuesday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Butte County officials decided to compile a list of those believed to be missing in hopes of getting the public to report those who made it out of the fire safely.

Authorities in previous disasters have not always published lists of the missing. In last year’s Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County, the sheriff’s office announced it received 2,269 missing persons reports, but didn’t name them individually.

“We knew it was changing minute by minute,” said Sgt. Spencer Crum, spokesman for the Sonoma sheriff. “It was extremely fluid and we didn’t want to have any misinformation out there and we knew there would be errors.”

Crum said his remarks were not intended as a criticism of Butte County’s list. “They are two different counties, with two different populations and two different fire scenes,” said Crum. “I wouldn’t second guess anything they are doing.”

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