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J.C. Penney To Close 13 To 14 Percent Of StoresJ.C. Penney says it will be closing anywhere from 130 to 140 stores as well as two distribution centers over the next several months. The closures, announced Friday, represent about 13 percent to 14 percent of the company’s current store count. The news came as Penney posted a profit in the fourth-quarter compared to a loss a year ago. J.C. Penney is joining other department stores like Macy’s who are shrinking its footprint amid challenges in the industry.
White House Blocks News Organizations From Press Briefing; Audio ExcerptCNN and other news outlets were blocked Friday from an off-camera White House press briefing, raising alarm among media organizations and First Amendment watchdogs. The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Politico and BuzzFeed were also excluded from the meeting, which is known as a gaggle and is less formal than the televised Q-and-A session in the White House briefing room. The gaggle was held by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
Blue Bell Introduces New ‘Ice Cream Cone’ FlavorBlue Bell Ice Cream fans will no longer have to pick between a cup or a cone. Now, you can have the cone in a cup! The company has introduced a new flavor called Ice Cream Cone. The flavor will be available in half-gallon and pint sizes for a limited time only. “We may have solved one of the biggest dilemmas for ice cream fans, cone versus bowl” said Blue Bell president Ricky Dickson in a news release. “Ice Cream Cone is a great combination of everything you would expect.” The new flavor is made up of vanilla ice cream with cone pieces coated in dark chocolate. It also includes chopped roasted peanuts. Ice Cream Cone is the first new flavor of the year for Blue Bell. “You can expect a few more in the coming months,” Dickson added.
Man Critical After Hammer Assault In San Francisco’s SoMa; Audio ExcerptA 49-year-old man was arrested after assaulting another man with a hammer early this morning in the San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood, police said. At about 12:40 a.m., officers responded to a report of an aggravated assault near Division and Brannan streets, according to police.
Judge: Only One Other Accuser Can Testify At Cosby’s Sex Assault Trial; Audio ExcerptA major ruling from a judge in Montgomery County regarding Bill Cosby’s upcoming criminal trial on sex assault charges. Prosecutors had asked to present 13 women with similar allegations of sexual assault at the hands of Bill Cosby, at his criminal trial, as what’s called “prior bad acts.” In a hearing in December, Montgomery county DA Kevin Steele argued the women would show a pattern of abuse by Cosby, and also that Cosby knew what he was doing when he allegedly molested Andrea Constand after giving her pills at his Cheltenham mansion in 2004.
Cops Warn of Fake Feds Shaking Down Immigrants; Audio ExcerptWith the Trump administration threatening immigration crackdowns, police say scammers posing as federal agents have been shaking down local illegal immigrants, threatening them with raids and deportation if they don’t pay. Last week, a family in Lynn reported getting a phone call from someone pretending to be an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent and threatening to raid their home if they didn’t send money through Western Union or an electronic transfer, said Juan Gonzalez, a community activist who’s working with residents and Lynn police to spread the word.