February 28th, 2014
10:04 AM ET

At Roast for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Did Arizona Legislator Go Too Far?

A lawmaker's remarks at a roast for Sheriff Joe Arpaio made audience members chuckle and applaud. But critics of the controversial Arizona sheriff say they aren't laughing.

Comments made by state Rep. John Kavanagh, they say, were racist jokes that used Latinos as the punchline.

The tumult comes after the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization that has criticized Arpaio in the past, posted audio recordings from the recent roast on its website.

"Sheriff Joe is the kind of guy that you gotta love, as long as you have papers," Kavanagh quips in the recording.

"Going out with Joe is always an adventure," he continues, "because usually when we walk into a restaurant, most of the waitstaff and cooks dive out the back window, and when they don't, I never know what the hell's in my food."

It's comments like that, the law center claims, that show why conservatives have a hard time connecting with Latinos. "There is a fundamental lack of respect," the center said.

Kavanagh declined CNN's interview request. But in a written statement, he called the Southern Poverty Law Center's post a personal attack.

"The jokes I made at the Sheriff Joe Arpaio Roast, at his invitation, were satirical comedy. The jokes were not directed at minority group members but at the target of the roast - Sheriff Arpaio. The jokes were jabs against the sheriff based upon allegations of his department's engaging in racial profiling," Kavanagh said.

"The Southern Poverty Law Center edited out selected portions of a much longer roast on many topics not related to racial profiling. The humor was typical of roasts and had I made the same jokes against Sheriff Arpaio at their annual dinner, I suspect that they would have been laughing as much as this audience laughed. Likewise, had these jokes been made on a TV comedy or variety show, there would also be no controversy."

Kavanagh, a Republican, was a major supporter of Arizona's just-vetoed religious freedom bill and also supported its 2010 law cracking down on illegal immigration.

The clip posted online included about six minutes excerpted from remarks that lasted around 20 minutes at the roast. In his roast, Kavanagh also joked about Arpaio's age and other topics, including singer Justin Bieber's legal problems.

Arpaio, who calls himself America's toughest sheriff, told CNN there's no basis for allegations that Kavanagh is racist.

"It was a roast. John Kavanagh's my friend. I support him. He's not a racist. He's very funny," Arpaio said. "So, he made these comments, I can't speak whether he went too far."

The sheriff accused people criticizing the roast of having a double standard.

"Everybody's talking about him. What about all the activists and the civil rights (groups) that called me Nazi and Hitler? For four years, they've been doing that, on street corners and everywhere else," he said. "Why isn't there an uproar about going after me, calling me every name in the book? Why are they worried about just some roast?"

Last year, a federal court in Phoenix ruled that Arpaio's handling of people of Latino descent was not tough enforcement of immigration laws but instead amounted to racial and ethnic profiling. The judge later ordered a federal monitor to keep tabs on Arpaio's office and make sure officers weren't racially profiling anymore.

The monitor was also a subject of jokes during Kavanagh's roast.

"It's OK. I'm not the federal monitor," he said. "How many Hispanics did you pull over on the way over here, Arpaio, huh?"

Arpaio's tough, headline-grabbing punishments have earned him diehard supporters and fiery opponents.

He's issued pink underwear to the men detained in the county's jails and said he is saving taxpayers money by removing salt and pepper from prison meals.

In January, Arpaio said inmates who allegedly defaced American flags placed in their jail cells would be punished with a diet of bread and water.

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February 28th, 2014
09:30 AM ET

Ousted Ukraine President: My Life Was in Danger

Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said Friday at a news conference in Russia that he was not overthrown but was forced to flee under threat to his life.

"I intend to continue the fight for the future of Ukraine against those who, with fear and with terror, are attempting to replace the power. Nobody has overthrown me. I was compelled to leave Ukraine due to a direct threat to my life and my nearest and dearest," he said, speaking Russian, not Ukrainian.

Yanukovych, making his first public appearance since his ouster Saturday, said the newly appointed interim government was not legitimate and did not represent the majority of Ukraine's 45 million citizens.

He accused the interim authorities in Ukraine of propagating violence, saying that they were responsible for the bloodshed last week, in which dozens of protesters died in clashes with security forces, including snipers.

"I never gave any orders to shoot," he said, adding that he sought peace and that the security forces only took up arms when their own lives were at risk.

He said the Western powers that had brokered an unimplemented deal between his government and the opposition for early elections also bore responsibility for the current situation.

Yanukovych, who spoke backed by Ukraine's blue-and-yellow flags before reporters in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, about 700 miles south of Moscow, said he was "ashamed" that he had not been able to maintain stability in his country.

"I want to apologize in front of everybody - to the veterans, to the Ukrainian people - that I did not have the strength to stop what is now taking place in the country from taking place," he said.

Yanukovych insisted he had not fled Ukraine but had left after he was "shot at virtually from all sides" while traveling within the country after quitting Kiev.

He said he had not met with Russian President Vladimir Putin since his ouster and that he would not ask for Russian military support to return him to power.

But he said he was "surprised," knowing his character, that Putin had remained silent so far on the events unfolding in Russia's western neighbor.

Michael McFaul, the outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Russia, spoke on "New Day" Friday saying Russia wants the Ukraine to be part of the Eurasian Union

McFaul said, “This is one of Putin’s major foreign policy objectives right now.  I think it’s his signature foreign policy objective - not very well noticed in the West.  If Ukraine does not go that way, it’ll be a big blow to that dream that he has.”

See more at CNN.com 

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February 28th, 2014
09:19 AM ET

Patriotic Trash Collector Saves American Flag

In today's edition of the "Good Stuff," a garbage man saves an American flag. CNN's Chris Cuomo reports.

According to Portland television station KATU, last week trash collector Jeremy Fischer found an American flag in the street that had blown off a neighbor's flagpole.

Fischer took the time to pause on his route and fold the flag up military-style saying "There's a lot of sacrifice, a lot of hope, a lot of other stuff that is the American flag. I figured since so many people have died for that the least I could do was pick it up."

Fischer wasn't expecting a thank you and didn't tell anyone about the flag, but neighbor Nancy Neet looked out her window at the right moment and was touched by what she saw.

Neet made sure people knew about what happened after that, posting a kind message on the garbage company's Facebook page thanking Fischer for what he did.

See full story here and if you have #GoodStuff news, let us know! Leave a comment, post on Facebook, or tweet to @ChrisCuomo & @NewDay using #NewDay and submit your story on iReport.

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February 28th, 2014
07:19 AM ET

Report: UK Spy Agency Intercepted Millions of Webcam Chats, Stored Images

Yahoo is slamming as "completely unacceptable" a British agency's alleged collection of digital images while eavesdropping on webcam chats, a spokesperson for the Internet search engine said Thursday.

And Yahoo says if the electronic spying took place, the online mainstay had nothing to do with it.

"We are not aware nor would we condone this reported activity," the spokesperson said following a published report by the UK-based Guardian newspaper that Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, known as GCHQ, spied on people using Yahoo webcam chats, whether or not those users were investigative targets.

According to the Guardian report, which cites documents leaked by former National Security Agency intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, the GCHQ collected the images under a program known as "Optic Nerve."

The documents show, according to the Guardian, that the GCHQ - with reported aid from the U.S. National Security Agency - intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of Internet users.

If the report is true, it is "completely unacceptable," the Yahoo spokesperson said.

The mass collection of digital images of Yahoo users began because GCHQ targets were known to use the search engine's webcam, the documents said, according to the Guardian.

During a six-month stretch in 2008, the GCHQ allegedly collected images from webcam chats from 1.8 million Yahoo users globally, the newspaper reported.

The still images were allegedly collected at five`-minute intervals during the chats. One document, according to the Guardian, compared the collection of digital images to that of a massive digital police mugshot book.

GCHQ declined to speak to the allegations, citing a longstanding policy that it does not comment on intelligence matters.

"Furthermore, all of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework, which ensures that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight," according to a statement released by the agency's press office.

GCHQ is not bound by the same rules that seek to limit the NSA collection of information on its citizens. However, according to the Guardian, there are additional legal authorizations required before the agency can search for data on suspected targets in believed to be in Britain.

According to the documents, there was no mechanism in place to block the collection of data on U.S. and U.K. citizens, the Guardian reported.

The leaked documents also allegedly provided insight into how the spy agency grappled with how to deal with the pornography it encountered in webcam chats.

"Unfortunately, it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate part of their body to the other person," one document said, according to the Guardian.

The GCHQ estimated that up to 11% of the digital images it collected from the webcam chats were explicit, the Guardian reported, citing the leaked documents.

As a result, the GCHQ allegedly warned its analysts that some of the material collected may be offensive.

"User who feel uncomfortable about such material are advised not to open them," one document said, according to the Guardian.

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