In this video commentary, Maggie and Tom talk about women in Iran and their rights under Islamic law. Watch the web extra below and learn what women in Iran are required to wear and how both Maggie and Tom got in trouble for breaking the Islamic dress code.


A new tourism campaign is being launched to help visitors experience New York City in the winter months.

The new campaign from NYC & Company will highlight winter attractions like outdoor ice skating rinks, along with hidden gems around the city and restaurants in far-flung neighborhoods, from Sam’s Soul Food on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx to Zabb Elee, a Michelin-starred Thai restaurant in Jackson Heights, Queens, with a sake bar downstairs.

Tips will be offered online in categories like “Hidden Spaces within Iconic Places” and “Stores with Stories.” A social media campaign is planned in which visitors and New Yorkers can share their insights online.

The city’s hotel rates in January, February and March are typically 22 percent lower than other times of year, according to NYC & Company. Winter visitors can also take advantage of promotions for dining and theater, with NYC Restaurant Week running Jan. 18-Feb. 5 (reservations open Jan. 6) and two-for-one tickets during Broadway Week, Jan. 19-Feb. 5 (tickets on sale Jan. 7).

The tagline for the campaign is “Find a Winter Less Ordinary,” and it’s part of a new year-round strategy of seasonal promotions called “Unlock NYC.” Details at .



Three nights of outdoor events called “Commemorate and Celebrate Freedom” are planned in Washington D.C., on the National Mall, on the evenings of Nov. 16-18.

Each of the three nights, video projections will illuminate the facades of the National Museum of African and American History and Culture, which is expected to open in the fall of 2016. On the evening of Nov. 18, the program will include live readings of poems and other works, and a concert by the gospel and R&B singer BeBe Winans.

The event pays tribute to anniversaries of three milestones in African-American history: ratification of the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, and the end of the Civil War, 150 years ago in 1865; and the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

Digital projection imagery will turn the south facade of the building (facing Madison Drive) and the west facade (facing 15th Street and the Washington Monument) into a five-story, block-long canvas. The video display will be seven minutes long and will run continuously all three nights, from 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. The display will include historic images related to slavery, abolition and Reconstruction, the Civil War and the civil rights era. Best place to view the video will be from the mound area of the Washington Monument and the knoll area adjacent to Madison Drive, at the corner of 14th Street.

Details at—Mapping—Nov16—Event—release—102815.pdf .



The guidebook publisher Lonely Planet is launching its first U.S. magazine.

The issue highlights the top places in Lonely Planet’s just-published book, “Best in Travel 2016.” The “Best in Travel” lists include top 10 countries (Botswana, Japan, U.S., Palau, Latvia, Australia, Poland, Uruguay, Greenland and Fiji), and best value destinations (Estonia, Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, East Africa, New Mexico, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain’s Galicia, Quebec City in Canada, Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast, East Timor and Western Australia).

Other features range from tips for taking better videos to dining in Nashville (with Big Al’s Deli, Martin’s BBQ Joint and The Treehouse on the list) to “10 new ways to fall in love with Rome,” with recommendations for cycling the Appian Way and swimming in the Foro Italico sports complex.

The new quarterly travel magazine retails for $5.99 at bookstores, Whole Foods and other outlets. Digital editions are also available.

With the launch of the U.S. publication, Lonely Planet now publishes magazines in 12 countries. The U.S. magazine is launching with a distribution of 650,000 and is created by an in-house team out of Lonely Planet’s U.S. offices in Tennessee.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Police video of a confrontation between an officer and a woman in suburban Detroit shows her backing up her car at high speed and slamming him into his patrol car.

Auburn Hills police on Thursday released the dash cam video showing the Oct. 23 incident when Officer Martin Mikolajczak tried to arrest Breianna Smart of Pontiac for driving on a suspended license.

The two struggle then Smart jumps into her car and fires it in reverse, her open door striking Mikolajczak and slamming him into his car. She then drives away.

Mikolajczak was hurt but has returned to work.

Smart’s charges include fleeing and eluding police and assaulting, resisting or obstructing an officer causing injury. Authorities say she’s jailed and has no attorney.

Smart is due back in court Monday.

DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — An Atlanta-area sheriff is investigating how inmates inside one of the state’s largest jails were able to produce a rap music video.

DeKalb County Sheriff Jeffrey Man tells WSB-TV ( that the inmates recorded the video from the jail’s video visitation system. The station reports that the video, “Thuggin’ Live from DeKalb Jail,” was later posted on YouTube.

The 2 minute and 27-second video shows the inmates dancing to the song, as one of them sprays a liquid toward the camera and another takes off his shirt.

Mann said the inmates will be disciplined and prohibited from using the video visitation system, which allows callers to see one another without having to be in the jail.

Mann said his office is reviewing the system to minimize future breaches.


Information from: WSB-TV,

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) — A school bus driver in central Iowa is accused of assaulting a student on a packed bus, and authorities say riders recorded video of the incident.

Johnston Police Department Lt. Lynn Aswegan (aus-weh-GEN’) says 60-year-old Robert Scarbrough, of West Des Moines, was arrested Thursday. He’s being held at the Polk County Jail on charges of assault causing bodily injury and child endangerment. Court records don’t list an attorney.

Scarbrough is accused of assaulting a 15-year-old male student who Aswegan says has a mental disability. Aswegan says the department received video of the Thursday incident and is aware of a second circulating online.

One video shows a man hitting a student as other riders are heard screaming for him to stop.

The Johnston Community School District says Scarbrough is on administrative leave.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — For years, Karrine Steffans was one of the most sought after video vixens in the hip hop industry. In the late ’90s and early 2000s she had roles in more than 20 projects by multiplatinum-selling rap artists, appearing alongside the likes of Jay Z, Puff Daddy, Mystikal and R. Kelly.

Then in 2005, she harnessed her celebrity status to write “Confessions of a Video Vixen,” a stark account of her hard life growing up in the U.S. Virgin Islands with an abusive mother to her days atop the music field and the abusive relationships she had endured throughout. She also chronicled her trysts with several of the artists she worked with, landing on The New York Times Best Seller list as two more books followed.

Nowadays, Steffans no longer performs on a video set. She stands at a lectern, telling her story to students on college campuses, hoping this time around people will look beyond the celebrity and hear her out about the ongoing fight against domestic violence and abuse.

In June, the 37-year-old published “Vindicated: Confessions of a Video Vixen, Ten Years Later,” her latest memoir. The book newly explores her personal journey, this time in a more toned-down manner. And it focuses on her on-and-off relationship with her famous child star ex-husband and the continued cycle of abuse she said she withstood.

“This is not a metamorphosis,” said Steffans in an interview with The Associated Press during a recent visit to New Orleans. “I haven’t morphed into an advocate against domestic violence. I’ve always been this way.”

She said when she wrote “Confessions” and talked about the domestic violence she faced as a child — no one cared. “Why? Because a woman’s life isn’t valued, especially if she is also a sexual being,” she said matter of factly. ” … I’ve been talking about this since 2005 but no one’s been listening.”

In “Confessions” Steffans describes the hardships she suffered as a child of an abusive mother and the abuse she suffered later in life, including a severe beating that left her with cracked ribs.

Steffans was a guest lecturer at Dillard University in New Orleans as part of the university’s acknowledgment of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. She said she’s been developing a college curriculum based on “violence as a language” for years, primarily at California State University-Dominguez Hills.

“The question everyone wants an answer to is ‘Why don’t we just leave?'” she said of abusive relationships. “It’s very difficult to explain to someone the psychological phenomenon. I wanted to find a way to help people understand why victims stay, sometimes until their death.”

One of the issues she’s focusing on now is social media and how “violence as a language” feeds into domestic abuse. She said obvious signs of abuse — busted lips, broken bones — are easy to recognize.

“I think people are less aware of the seeds they plant that lead to those more grotesque forms of violence. And I wanted to start and center my lectures around judgment and the idea of people thinking they have the right to share their opinions on everything all the time,” she said, adding social media can be harmful in that way.

“We have millions of people shouting angry things into the ether and they’re not thinking about the seeds they’re planting and the cracks they’re creating in other people’s armor. That violent language creates cracks in people’s esteem, allowing aggressors and abusers to sneak in.”

She said she hopes her views will help people “be kinder to each other.”

Steffans said she endured the backlash of music artists and others she wrote about in her first book, but she still doesn’t understand all the outrage. After all, she said, she was just telling her story.

“When rappers talk about their life, the drug use, the women they run through, it’s all good. When I do it, there’s a problem. I’m telling the exact same story,” she said.

Those stories are now helping her transition to another career. Several of her books have been optioned for film and television.

Ten years later, she said, she’s in a healthy, happy relationship and finally comfortable in her skin: “My destiny has nothing to do with anybody else’s ideas of me. If God has a plan for me, what man can ruin that? No one is strong enough. That’s what I want people to understand.”