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Happening Today: Border Wall, Heart Disease, Jussie Smollett, Fiji Water

What to Know

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has declared there'll be no 'wall money' in any compromise border security deal
  • A new report estimates nearly half of all U.S. adults have some form of heart or blood vessel disease, the American Heart Association said
  • Jussie Smollett's family said the attack on the black and gay 'Empire' actor was a 'hate crime' and now they are calling for justice

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Trump, Pelosi Remain Far Apart on the Border Wall Issue

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has declared there'll be no "wall money" in any compromise border security deal as she and President Trump signaled that congressional negotiators may never satisfy his demands for his cherished Southwest border proposal. Trump, who in recent weeks has expressed indifference to whether the term "wall" or something else is used, clung with renewed tenacity to the word that became his campaign mantra, declaring, "A wall is a wall." Yet in a series of tweets and statements, he issued conflicting messages about what he'd need to declare victory and suggested that merely repairing existing structures along the boundary could be a major component of a triumph. Amid signs that Trump's leverage in Congress is atrophying, he seemed to aim one tweet at his conservative followers. He wrote that Democrats "are not going to give money to build the DESPERATELY needed WALL. I've got you covered. Wall is already being built, I don't expect much help!" Pelosi, D-Calif., left the door open for an accord that could finance some barriers, citing what she said was already existing "Normandy fencing" that blocks vehicles.

Nearly Half of US Adults Have Heart or Blood Vessel Disease

A new report estimates nearly half of all U.S. adults have some form of heart or blood vessel disease, a medical milestone that's mostly due to recent guidelines that expanded how many people have high blood pressure. The American Heart Association said more than 121 million adults had cardiovascular disease in 2016. Taking out those with only high blood pressure leaves 24 million, or 9 percent of adults, who have other forms of disease such as heart failure or clogged arteries. Measuring the burden of diseases shows areas that need to improve, the heart association's chief science and medical officer, Dr. Mariell Jessup, said in a statement. High blood pressure, which had long been defined as a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom one of 90, dropped to 130 over 80 under guidelines adopted in 2017.

'Empire' Actor's Family Calls for Justice in Chicago Attack

Jussie Smollett's family said the attack on the black and gay "Empire" actor in downtown Chicago this week was a "hate crime" and they pushed back against any suggestion that he was anything but honest with the police. Smollett, who plays the gay character Jamal Lyon on the hit Fox television show, hasn't spoken publicly about the attack, though his representative said Smollett was recovering at home. Smollett's family issued a statement through a spokesman saying they believe he was the victim of an unprovoked "racial and homophobic hate crime" and that he has been forthright with the police, who are still searching for surveillance video of the attack. His family thanked the public "for their prayers" and said they are "so grateful that God saw him through this cowardly attack alive." They said such incidents will continue to happen until people are held accountable. Detectives have recovered more surveillance footage of Smollett walking home from a Subway restaurant that morning, including video of him arriving at his apartment building with a rope around his neck.

'Fiji Water Girl' Is Now Suing Fiji Water

The woman who went viral by photobombing celebrities while holding a tray of Fiji Water at the 2019 Golden Globes is now suing Fiji Water for attempting to capitalize on her sudden fame. Court documents obtained by E! News reveal the star, whose stage name is Kelleth Cuthbert, is suing the brand for "the unauthorized use of [Fiji Water Girl's] photograph, likeness and identity." In plain terms, the model is suing the company for using her image as the focal point of a global marketing campaign, which was inspired by Kelleth's viral moment on the red carpet of the award show. According to the documents, the model claims she never gave Fiji Water authorization to use her photos to create cardboard cutouts of herself. She also claims that she did not "sign away her rights to 'Fiji Water Girl'" as the beverage brand allegedly tried to get her to do. Moreover, the model claims that Fiji Water pressured her into signing a "fake document" authorizing the use of her image. Fiji Water has since spoken out about the lawsuit, calling it “frivolous and entirely without merit.”

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