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Miley Cyrus’s homeless VMAs date wanted by police

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Jesse Helt, the homeless man who accompanied Miley Cyrus to Sunday’s MTV Video music awards, is wanted by police in Oregon police. Officers have an outstanding arrest warrant for the 22-year-old from 2011, alleging that he had violated the terms of his probation.

In 2010, Helt was reportedly arrested for breaking and entering the apartment of a man he believed had sold him bad marijuana. Salem police charged him with criminal mischief, criminal trespass and burglary; after pleading guilty to the first two charges, Helt was assigned a 30-day jail sentence and probation.

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Some time thereafter, Helt stopped reporting to his probation officer. “He doesn’t make himself available to community supervision, and he takes off,” the director of Polk County’s community corrections department told the Oregonian newspaper. Helt moved to Los Angeles, living on the streets and occasionally receiving help from the homelessness charity My Friend’s Place. That’s where he met Cyrus, during the pop star’s visit on 19 August.

Inspired by Marlon Brando, who used a 1973 Oscar win to make a statement against Hollywood’s exploitation of Native Americans, Cyrus asked Helt to attend the VMAs as her date. When she was announced as winner of video of the year, she sent Helt to make a speech in her stead: “My name is Jesse,” he said. “I am accepting this award on behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now. I know, because I am one of those people.”

Reading on mobile? See how US television reported the awards speech

“Jesse’s had ups and downs like anybody else,” his mother, Linda Helt, told the Daily Mail. “He’s a good kid.” She was reportedly visited on Tuesday by officers hoping to find her son; sheriff’s detective John Williams told the family they were still looking for Jesse.

Miley Cyrus used Twitter to call on the public to stop “looking down upon the homeless”. “People who are homeless have lived very hard lives. Jesse included,” she wrote. “The media … [have] chosen to go after Jesse instead of covering the issue of youth homelessness :(” Since Sunday, Cyrus’s online campaign has raised more than $200,000 for My Friend’s Place . “Now is just the beginning for me,” she said in a statement. “We gotta start somewhere.”

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guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2014

[Miley Cyrus via JStone / Shutterstock.com]


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Trump seems determined to destroy us all

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Useful ways to pass the quarantine time: Since April, in response to the pandemic, I've been involved with a series of Zoom webinars examining a number of issues through the lens of COVID-19. So far, we've covered everything from mental health and addiction and recovery to the search for a vaccine.

The sessions are organized by Hollywood Health & Society which, as per their website, "is a program of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center that provides the entertainment industry with accurate and up-to-date information for storylines on health, safety and security." The Writers Guilds of America East and West have been co-sponsoring the webinars; as immediate past president of the Writers Guild East, I’ve had the pleasure of moderating several of them.

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The coronavirus pandemic has exposed what the GOP’s anti-tax rhetoric is really all about

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Newt Gingrich is usually, and rightly, blamed for destroying American politics, even more than Donald Trump. The former House Speaker didn’t go to Washington in the 1970s to strike deals. He went there to wage soft civil war against the United States.

This article was originally published at The Editorial Board

But if there’s a close second to the title of America’s Worst Person, it probably goes to someone you never heard of. He’s not a politician. He’s not a pundit or bureaucrat. When it comes to influencing the GOP’s attitude toward taxing, spending and budgets, however, it would be hard to find someone more influential than Grover Norquist.

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Balloons bring internet to Kenya’s rural Rift Valley

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The world’s first ever commercial high-speed internet service to use balloons to connect people to the web was launched in a remote region of Kenya’s Rift Valley this week.

Operated by Loon, part of Google parent company Alphabet, the service aims to bring affordable 4G internet to people in rural locations.

The balloons connect with internet ground stations and then communicate with each other to form a network of transmitters in the sky and initially will cover a region of 50,000 sq km, providing internet to 35,000 customers.

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