US star news anchor shamed by sex harassment charges replaced by a woman

In this file photo, television personality Matt Lauer arrives at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California on Jan. 11, 2015. (REUTERS)
Updated 02 January 2018
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US star news anchor shamed by sex harassment charges replaced by a woman

WASHINGTON: The US television channel NBC said Tuesday it had appointed a female anchor to replace shamed star Matt Lauer, who was accused of sexual misconduct, on its signature morning show "Today."
The broadcaster named Hoda Kotb, who had been filling in for Lauer since he was sacked in November following a slew of allegations of sexual harassment, as the new anchor of the Today show alongside Savannah Guthrie, who had been Lauer's co-host.
"This has to be the most popular decision that NBC News has ever made," said Guthrie on her Twitter account after the news of Kotb's permanent appointment was announced.
Kotb, a 53-year-old Egyptian-American, is an award-winning journalist who joined NBC in 1998 as a correspondent and went on to become a host of a later slot on the channel's morning program.
The decision to have two women hosts was a break with the typical male-female host line-up popular with morning news shows, and came as a slew of top-level men in media and politics have been sacked or have quit following widespread allegations of sexual misconduct.
Lauer, 59, was one of the biggest media scalps in last year's firestorm of sexual misconduct allegations that engulfed the United States, derailing the careers of Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein, Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, and CBS News anchor Charlie Rose.
Paid $25 million a year, Lauer interviewed four of the last sitting US presidents, anchoring some of the world's biggest news events for more than two decades including numerous Olympic Games, and breaking news of the September 11 attacks.
News of his replacement by a female host came a day before Tina Smith was due to be sworn in as a senator for Minnesota, replacing former comedian Al Franken who quit after a series of women accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior.


E. Guinea fury as Brazil seizes $16m from visiting delegation

Updated 18 September 2018
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E. Guinea fury as Brazil seizes $16m from visiting delegation

  • Federal police found $1.5 million in cash in one bag and watches worth an estimated $15 million in another
  • Brazilian law prohibits people from entering the country with more than 10,000 reais, or about $2,400, in cash

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea: The tiny West African state of Equatorial Guinea on Tuesday demanded Brazil hand back more than $16 million in cash and luxury watches that border officials confiscated from a delegation accompanying the president’s son.
Foreign Minister Simeon Oyono Esono Angue denounced the seizure as “paltry and unfriendly behavior” and demanded the items be returned, state television TVGE said.
Teodorin Nguema Obiang, vice president of Equatorial Guinea and son of its longtime ruler, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, arrived Friday on a private plane at Viracapos airport near Sao Paulo as part of an 11-person delegation.
Federal police found $1.5 million (1.28 million euros) in cash in one bag and watches worth an estimated $15 million in another, O Estado de Sao Paulo reported.
Brazilian law prohibits people from entering the country with more than 10,000 reais, or about $2,400, in cash.
“The vice president was on a private trip to Brazil,” the Brazilian ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, Evalde Freire, who was called in to the foreign ministry in Malago, told TVGE on Monday.
“All international travelers are subjected to national airport procedures, where customs and police do their job,” Freire said.
O Estado de Sao Paulo quoted a diplomatic source from Equatorial Guinea as saying the money was to pay for medical treatment Obiang was to undergo in Sao Paulo.
The watches were for his “personal use” and engraved with his initials, the report said.
Obiang junior, 49, was sentenced in France to a three-year suspended term in October 2017 for money-laundering.
He has visited Brazil several times, attending the 2015 Carnival in Rio de Janeiro when a samba school won top honors for a Equatorial Guinea-themed parade but was heavily criticized because its was allegedly funded by the Obiang regime.
Obiang senior, 76, seized power by ousting his own uncle, the first post-independence president Francisco Macias Nguema, who was then shot by firing squad.
He won a fifth seven-year term in 2016 with nearly 94 percent of the ballot. General elections last November saw his party win 92 percent of the vote. Both elections have been criticized as fraudulent.
Critics accuse him of brutal repression of opponents as well as election fraud and corruption.
Equatorial Guinea has become one of sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest oil producers, but a large proportion of its 1.2 million population lives in poverty.