Serena Williams tells audience 'it's really important to stand up for what you believe in'

She talked about her fashion business, not tennis fouls during an appearance before a business convention in Las Vegas. Source: Associated Press

'Are you comfortable?' Publicist tries to shut down interview as Serena delivers withering stare

Serena Williams' publicist was forced to intervene, as the 23-time Grand Slam champions' interview with Australia's Sunday Project took a turn.

Williams, 36, sat down with Channel Ten's Lisa Wilkinson, before being asked about her role in the US Open final against Naomi Osaka earlier this month, that saw her become involved in an ugly on court spat with officials.

Wilkinson first asked about Williams' first code violation of the match, for coaching.

"I just don’t understand what he was talking about, because we don't have signals, we've never had signals … and he said he made a motion,'" Williams told Wilkinson.

Wilkinson. responded: "So you had to have a fairly tough conversation with him afterwards?"

Williams: "Yes, because we've never had this before. I was like 'It's OK, but don't … like … yeah.'"

But things were about to get "sticky", as Wilkinson said later, when she  asked Williams if she regretted the racket abuse that followed, causing a second violation, the publicist stepped in.

"Sorry, that's four questions about the US Open, change topic," could be heard off camera.

Wilkinson kept her cool however, replying;

"Are you comfortable or not?"

"I'm in your hands Serena, totally in your hands."

Williams' interview with the Sunday Project airs tonight on Australian television.

Appearing on Australia's Sunday Project, the 23-time Grand Slam winner refused to answer questions. Source: Channel Ten



Watch: Environmental advocate wipes coal ash from turtle in North Carolina river

Coal ash from the dump of a power plant could be flowing into Cape Fear River in Wilmington in the US state of North Carolina.

Floodwaters from Hurricane Florence on Friday breached a dam holding back a large reservoir at the the LV Sutton Power Station and waste could be entering the river, which is nearby.

Gray material the company characterized as "coal combustion byproducts" could be seen floating in the lake and river.

Earthjustice, an environmental advocacy group with a boat in the river, provided The Associated Press with images Friday showing wide gray slicks in the water. 

A team member plucked a turtle from the muck and rinsed it off.

Duke Energy spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said the utility doesn't believe the breach at the power plant poses a significant threat to nearby communities.

Floodwaters breached several points overnight in the earthen dam at Sutton Lake, the plant's 445-hectare reservoir. 

Lake water then flooded one of three large coal ash dumps lining the lakeshore.

Sheehan said the company can't rule out that ash might be escaping the flooded dump into the river.

Coal ash from the dump of a power plant could be flowing into Cape Fear River in Wilmington in the US state of North Carolina. Source: Associated Press


White high school student accused of putting noose around a black student's neck in Louisiana

A white high-school student has been accused of putting a noose around a black student's neck in northeast Louisiana.

A teacher at West Ouachita High School saw the incident and immediately took the white student to administrators at the school in West Monroe, Ouachita Parish Schools Superintendent Don Coker said.

Coker said the student was disciplined, but student privacy laws forbid him to release details.

Deputy Glenn Springfield, a spokesman for the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office, said a juvenile student at the school was arrested on a hate crime battery charge. Springfield said he could not give or confirm other details because both students are juveniles and the case is now with the district attorney's office.

"We don't tolerate any of this. We will never tolerate any of this," Coker said. He added, "This was during Homecoming Week. I don't know if he was trying to make a practical joke or it was truly a hate crime. I know it was handled extremely quickly and very well by our school."

District Attorney Robert S Tew was out of his office Friday and unavailable for comment.

Entrance to office building or school campus.  Front, glass doors are open.  Welcome!

Deputy Attorney General denies proposing to tape Trump as part of effort to remove the president

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein denied a New York Times report Friday that he floated the idea of using the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump as unfit for office and suggested secretly recording the president to expose the chaos in the administration.

The Times cited several people, who were not named, who described the episodes that came in the spring of 2017 after FBI Director James Comey was fired. The newspaper's sources also included people who were briefed on memos written by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Rosenstein is a frequent target of Trump's attacks and the story could add to the uncertainty about his future at the Justice Department, despite his denial.

"The New York Times's story is inaccurate and factually incorrect," Rosenstein said in a statement. "I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment."

A person who was in the room when the comment was made, and provided a statement through the Justice Department, said Rosenstein's comment was "sarcastic" and that he "never discussed any intention of recording a conversation with the president."

The newspaper reported that Rosenstein, frustrated with the hiring process for a new FBI director, offered to wear a "wire" and secretly record the president when he visited the White House. He also suggested that McCabe and other officials who were interviewing to become the next FBI director could also perhaps record Trump, the newspaper reported.

McCabe's lawyer, Michael Bromwich, said in a statement that his client had drafted memos to "memorialise significant discussions he had with high level officials and preserved them so he would have an accurate, contemporaneous record of those discussions."

McCabe's memos, which were later turned over to special counsel Robert Mueller's office, had remained at the FBI until McCabe was ousted in January and McCabe doesn't know how any reporters could've obtained those memos, Bromwich said.

Rosenstein has been a target of Trump's ire since appointing Robert Mueller as a Justice Department special counsel to investigate potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

He chose Mueller for the job one week after he laid the groundwork for the firing of  Comey by writing a memo that criticised Comey's handling of the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server. The White House initially held up that memo as justification for Comey's firing, though Trump himself has said he was thinking about "this Russia thing" when he made the move.

As deputy attorney general, Rosenstein oversees Mueller's work and has made two public announcements of indictments brought by the special counsel - one against Russians accused of hacking into Democratic email accounts, the other against Russians accused of running a social media troll farm to sway public opinion.

On Friday, Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr., tweeted the Times' story and said: "Shocked!!! Absolutely Shocked!!! Ohhh, who are we kidding at this point? No one is shocked that these guys would do anything in their power to undermine @realdonaldtrump." 

Barack Obama calling the current president "the symptom, not the cause" of division and polarization in the US during a speech.