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Falcons give game ball to player's wife who sat in stands while in labor

The Atlanta Falcons have the hottest offense in football.

So can you blame any fan who doesn’t want to miss a single play?

Put Falcons guard Andy Levitre’s wife, Katie, into that group.

She went into labor right before the NFC Divisional Round game against the Seahawks. But she stayed in the stands for the entire game.

>> Read more trending stories  

For her dedication, Falcons coach Dan Quinn said Katie was given the game ball after Sunday’s NFC Championship Game for showing the type of grit he expects from his players.

"We gave Andy Levitre's wife a game ball because it was a week late, and we put 'ultimate toughness' on it," Quinn said. "She had gone into labor during the game, but waited it out. So we thought that was definitely worth the game ball. ... She doesn't know that yet, so if she's watching, Andy will bring that today."

It's Championship Sunday and my one week birthday! I'm spending my day rooting on m....— Katie Levitre (@katielevitre) January 22, 2017

Lily Gene Levitre was born at 12:07 a.m. on Jan. 15. On Monday, Andy Levitre joked that his daughter’s name has the same letters as the Super Bowl -- “L” and “I.”

The Falcons are preparing to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

Congrats to @LevitreAndy and @KatieLevitre on their newborn daughter, Lily. Andy will take good care of her. He's been practicing.— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) January 15, 2017

7 things to know now: Gov. collapses during speech; SNL writer suspended; Oscar nominations

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. Out of TPP: On his first full day in office, President Donald Trump signed three presidential memoranda, one of which takes the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. "Great thing for the American worker, what we just did," Trump said after signing the document in the Oval Office. Trump also ok’d a hiring freeze on all federal workers with the exception of the military, and reaffirmed an existing law that bans federal funding for foreign nongovernmental organizations that pay for or promote abortions.

2. Cabinet nominees: More hearings on Trump’s cabinet nominees are set for Tuesday in Washington. Rep. Tom Price, Trump’s pick for health secretary, will be testifying Tuesday as will Ben Carson (Housing and Urban Development) and Mike Mulvaney (Office of Management and Budget). Sen. Diane Feinstein, (D-Calif.), says she will request a delay in the confirmation vote for Sen. Jeff Sessions, (R-Ala.), as attorney general. A vote on Betsy DeVos for secretary of Education was delayed until next week to give her time to answer questions in writing from senators.

3. Collapses during speech: Gov. Mark Dayton collapsed Monday while delivering the State of the State speech to the Minnesota legislature. Dayton, 69, was on the floor for several minutes before being helped to a room in the capitol. According to his son, who was in the audience when Dayton collapsed, he walked out of the Capitol under his own power, and was resting after being checked out by emergency medical technicians at his home. Dayton appeared to hit his head on the lectern when he fainted.

4. Aid to Palestine: Former President Barack Obama released $221 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority before leaving office on Friday, a State Department official told The Associated Press. Former Secretary of State John Kerry informed some legislators on Thursday that the money was being sent to the Palestinians. Written notification dated Jan. 20 was sent to Congress hours before Trump was sworn in as president.

5. Nominations for Oscar: It’s Oscar nomination day and the announcements of who is up for Academy Awards this year will be made around 8:18 a.m. ET. Jennifer Hudson, Brie Larson, Emmanuel Lubezki, Jason Reitman, Ken Watanabe and Academy officials will announce contenders in several categories including Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Actor. The Academy Awards ceremony is set for Feb. 26.

And one more

A writer for “Saturday Night Live” has been suspended indefinitely for a remark she tweeted about Barron Trump. Katie Rich tweeted during Friday’s inauguration that Barron, 10, would be the “country’s first homeschool shooter.” Rich apologized and deleted the tweet from her account saying, "I sincerely apologize for the insensitive tweet. I deeply regret my actions & offensive words. It was inexcusable & I'm so sorry.”

In case you missed it

You have to applaud their effort.

Cervical cancer death rate higher than experts thought – especially for black women

A new study says the death rate from cervical cancer in the United States is higher than experts thought – particularly for black women.

The medical journal Cancer on Monday published the study, which said the rate black American women are dying from the disease is akin to that of women in many poor developing nations.

Previously, the mortality rate was 5.7 per 100,000 black women and 3.2 per 100,000 white women, the study said. However, after researchers excluded women who have had a hysterectomy – and thus no chance of developing the disease – from the numbers, the mortality rate was 10.1 per 100,000 black women and 4.7 per 100,000 white women, according to the study.

Experts say what is especially disturbing is that cervical cancer is largely preventable through screenings.

>> Read more trending stories

“This shows that our disparities are even worse than we feared,” said Dr. Kathleen M. Schmeler, an associate professor of gynecologic oncology at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

“We have screenings that are great, but many women in America are not getting them.”

Schmeler told the New York Times that repealing the Affordable Care Act could make matters worse because it covers screenings. The repeal also could result in the closing of family planning clinics that perform the test, she said.

Some doctors said the racial disparity could reflect unequal access to screening and insurance coverage.

Cervical cancer is caused, in most cases, by the virus called human papillomavirus, or HPV. It can be transmitted through sexual contact. There is a vaccine for women age 26 and younger.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Trump proclaims his Inauguration Day a National Day of Patriotic Devotion

President Donald Trump is naming Jan. 20, 2017 – his Inauguration Day – a National Day of Patriotic Devotion.

>> PHOTOS: The inauguration of Donald Trump

According to The Hill, the proclamation, set to be published Tuesday, refers to "a new national pride" that "stirs the American soul."

>> Read more trending stories

"We are one people, united by a common destiny and a shared purpose," the proclamation says.

The proclamation is meant "to strengthen our bonds to each other and to our country – and to renew the duties of government to the people," according to the document.

>> Read the proclamation here

Former President Barack Obama declared his first Inauguration Day a National Day of Renewal and Reconciliation in 2009.

'Saturday Night Live' writer suspended for Barron Trump tweet

Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on one thing about criticizing the President Donald Trump's family: Leave the kids out of it. That especially goes for Barron Trump, who is 10 years old. 

>> PREVIOUS STORY: 'SNL' writer under fire for Barron Trump tweet

Last week, a writer from “Saturday Night Live” joked that Barron would kill his family. Now, NBC has announced consequences for Katie Rich, who tweeted that Barron would be the "first homeschool shooter."

>> Chelsea Clinton defends Barron Trump: He deserves 'to be a kid'

The tasteless joke drew swift and widespread backlash. A petition called “Fire Katie Rich” on attracted more than 100,000 signatures.

>> Read more trending stories

Rich, who has been writing for “SNL” since 2013, will be suspended “indefinitely,” the network said. She tweeted an apology Monday afternoon, resurrecting her Twitter account after initially deleting it.

>> Read the apology here

I sincerely apologize for the insensitive tweet. I deeply regret my actions & offensive words. It was inexcusable & I'm so sorry.— Katie Rich (@katiemaryrich) January 23, 2017

'A Dog's Purpose' video fallout: movie producer, animal supplier speak out

"A Dog's Purpose" is set to premiere Jan. 27, but it is still battling publicity surrounding a controversial video that was obtained and posted by TMZ last week.

The video shows a 2-year-old German shepherd named Hercules struggling with a person who appears to be a trainer as rough waves churned in a pool.

>> Read more trending stories

Producers of the film initially told TMZ on Wednesday hours after the video surfaced that the dog was fine, and the American Humane Association, which oversees safety guidelines for animal actors on movie sets, placed a representative who had been on set on leave.

On Thursday, Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, the distributor and creator of the film, announced that they canceled the Hollywood premiere of the film and the associated press junket.

Related: 'A Dog's Purpose' producers respond to video of possible abuse, says German shepherd is fine

Despite a statement from W. Bruce Cameron, the author of the book on which the film is based and the co-screenwriter, in which he questions the video, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called for a boycott of the film and has criticized Birds & Animals Unlimited, the supplier of animal actors for the movie.

Gavin Polone, a columnist for The Hollywood Reporter and the producer of the movie, wrote an op-ed in THR, expressing concern over the involvement of AHA in the shoot, and criticized PETA for its response.

Polone said the dog had been trained to perform a stunt in which he appears to drag a woman to safety from a specific point at the set, but that point was moved for one of the shots, which he said made Hercules uncomfortable.

Related: 'A Dog's Purpose' premiere canceled as video of possible abuse investigated, author issues statement

"That, evidentially, is what caused him to be spooked," Polone said. "When the dog didn’t want to do the scene from the new position, they cut, though not soon enough, and then went back to the original position. The dog was comfortable and went in on his own and they shot the scene. The TMZ video only shows the unfinished take of when the dog was on the right side."

Polone did take issue with how Hercules was forced into the water and with another instance, shown in the video, in which the dog's head becomes submerged underwater.

"These two things are absolutely inexcusable and should never have happened," he said,  adding that the AHA representative on set and the person who was running the set that day "should have also intervened immediately on both of those parts of the filming. … Those individuals should be held accountable and never used again by that studio or its affiliates."

Polone's full response can be read on The Hollywood Reporter.

On Monday, PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange said in a statement to Deadline Hollywood that her organization's investigation of Birds & Animals Unlimited "revealed that dogs were kept in barren kennels and forced to sleep outside in the cold, animals were denied adequate food so that they would be hungry while being trained to do tricks, and other animals were denied adequate veterinary care and made to live in filthy conditions."

Lane also responded to Polone's op-ed:

Those who made the movie want it to succeed, but even the film’s producer, Gavin Polone, admitted that the incident should not have occurred, so for him to offer alternative facts about what countless people have now watched and condemned is a form of spin that even the best filmmaker couldn’t pull off.

Birds & Animals Unlimited issued a response to Deadline Monday that said in part, the "falsely edited video" depicted something that did not happen, "nor would it ever occur under the supervision of our animal trainers."

The statement went on to detail the process of the stunt performed by Hercules:

Whenever Hercules was in the water there were two trainers poolside, one trainer in the water, a safety diver, as well as stunt personnel. The day before the scene was filmed, Hercules and his trainers did a comprehensive rehearsal at the pool location with safety and stunt teams to make certain that safety measures were in place to insure that the dog was not put in any danger.

The company said it is "currently reviewing available footage of these scenes and is evaluating its legal options."

Birds & Animals Unlimited's full statement, as well as Lange's full statement, can be read at

Federal agents seize $20M hidden in a box spring in Massachusetts

Federal agents seized nearly $20 million in cash hidden in a box spring in a Westborough, Massachusetts, apartment. 

The money was seized this month and a Brazilian man was arrested in connection with conspiring to launder proceeds of a massive TelexFree pyramid scheme. 

>> Read more trending stories

The U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts said agents searched TelexFree, Inc. headquarters in April 2014 in Malborough, Massachusetts. Later that same day, one of the company's founders, Carlos Wanzeler, allegedly fled to Brazil. 

Wanzeler and his co-founder, James Merrill, were indicted in July 2014. They pleaded guilty to running the pyramid scheme in October 2016 and are awaiting sentencing. 

Agents said that millions were still hidden in the Boston area. The U.S attorney for the District of Massachusetts posted a photo on Twitter of about $20 million in cash found hidden in a box spring.

Photo of $20M seized in box spring following arrest of Brazilian national in scheme to launder proceeds of TelexFree— U.S. Attorney MA (@DMAnews1) January 23, 2017

They said an associate, 28-year-old Cleber Rene Rizerio Rocha, was working to launder cash through Hong Kong and transfer it to Brazilian accounts. They claim Rocha was a carrier for Wanzeler's nephew. 

Agents followed Rocha to an apartment complex in Westborough and arrested him. He may face a maximum 20 years in prison, three years supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater, the district said.

High school student hits teacher with paper airplane, faces 1 month in jail

A South Carolina high school student accused of throwing a paper airplane that hit a teacher in the eye could face up to a month of jail time, according to South Strand News.

>> Read more trending stories

Georgetown County sheriff's deputies arrested a 17-year-old student after his teacher, Edward McIver, said he had been hit by a paper airplane thrown by the high schooler, the newspaper reported. The young man was arrested and charged with third-degree assault and battery.

In an incident report obtained by South Stand News, authorities said a school resource officer found McIver with a "very red" eye after the science teacher was hit by the paper plane on Jan. 10. The officer said McIver was "very upset" that he was struck because he recently had eye surgery.

The student admitted to throwing the plane during class, according to the report. He said he meant to hit McIver in the head.

The young man was taken to Georgetown County Detention Center, where he was later released on bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 14.

Fox News drops Stacey Dash, critics rejoice

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

Fox News contributor Stacey Dash hasn't been seen on the network since September, and she might not be returning any time soon.

>> Read more trending stories  

Best known for her role in the 1995 movie "Clueless," the 50-year-old actress-turned-political-pundit supported Mitt Romney's presidential run in 2012 and from there, she became known as a champion of conservative values.

She earned a role at Fox News in 2014, authored "There Goes My Social Life: From Clueless to Conservative" in 2016 and was an early vocal supporter of Donald Trump during his run for president.

Even though Dash's Twitter profile still reads "@Foxnews Contributor," and she's still tweeting charged political commentary, a network representative told The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday that the decision to cut Dash loose and not extend her contract was made in September.

In 2015, she was temporarily suspended from Fox News for swearing during an on-air rant about President Barack Obama. She said Obama could "give a (expletive)" about terrorism.

Dash's views on transgender issues, as well as Middle Eastern immigration into the U.S. following the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooting caused more of a stir. 

"It's tyranny by the minority," Dash said while discussing trans rights during a 2016 interview with Entertainment Tonight. "Why do I have to suffer because you can't decide what you want to be that day? It's your body. So, it's your decision, right? We all make choices."

Dash went on to say that transgender people should go to the bathroom "in the bushes."

"I don't know what to tell you, but I'm not going to put my child's life at risk because you want to change a law. So that you can be comfortable with your beliefs -- which means I have to change my beliefs and my rights? No."

Dash also said that there should be no Black History Month because there isn't a white history month.

Many social media users were outspoken Sunday about their support of the network's decision to let Dash go. 

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