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April 2, 2014

New York has been good to Sir Patrick Stewart — it introduced him to sliced pizza, for example — but Stewart has also been good to New York. His series of #GogoDididoNYC photos on Twitter — where he and fellow knighted Englishman in New York Sir Ian McKellen do touristy things in the city, wearing matching bowler hats — makes the Big Apple appear to be the fun, joyful tourist destination (and residence) that it sometimes is.

Stewart and McKellen were in New York on business, not just pleasure, though — the business being performances in Harold Pinter's No Man's Land and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot — and to mark the last two weeks of the plays' run on Broadway, Stewart tweeted out a final series of photos. The plays ended on Sunday, and Stewart and McKellen bade New York farewell with this final photo:

Here are a few of the more jubilant photos from the series. For the rest, you can scroll through Stewart's Twitter feed, or see them collected at The Frisky. Consider these Stewart and McKellen's parting gift to New York. --Peter Weber

9:35 p.m. ET

Charges were filed in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, on Monday against the Iraqi wife of a high-ranking Islamic State official accused of holding Kayla Mueller hostage in Syria.

Mueller, an aid worker from Prescott, Arizona, was abducted from Damascus, Syria, in 2013. She was killed in Syria in February 2015; ISIS claims she died after a Jordanian fighter jet dropped a bomb on the building she was in, while U.S. intelligence officials have said they still do not know how she was killed. Umm Sayyaf, also known as Nisreen Assad Ibrahim Bahar, was charged with conspiring to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization resulting in death. Her husband, Fathi ben Awn ben Jildi Murad al-Tunisi, also known as Abu Sayyaf, was killed during a raid in eastern Syria last May. Umm Sayyaf was captured and taken to Irbil, where she was questioned by the FBI-led High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, The Washington Post reports.

An affidavit by FBI Special Agent William H. Heaney gives more insight into what life was like for Mueller as a hostage. Umm Sayyaf said she was responsible, along with her husband, for Mueller beginning in September 2014, and she suspected Mueller was either being held for ransom or a prisoner exchange. Her home was used to store money ISIS made from oil and firearms, and sometimes ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi stayed there. Mueller was abused and raped by al-Baghdadi, the affidavit says, and forced to watch ISIS propaganda videos. Along with other captives, she was at times handcuffed and kept in locked rooms, the affidavit states, and called an "infidel" by Umm Sayyaf.

The Iraqis took custody of Umm Sayyaf in August, and while it's unlikely she will ever be brought to the United States, officials say if she is ever part of a prisoner exchange, she can be arrested by the FBI on the federal charges, the Post reports. Catherine Garcia

8:25 p.m. ET
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Sikh actor and designer Waris Ahluwalia announced on his Instagram account Monday that he was not allowed to board an Aeroméxico flight from Mexico City to New York City because of his turban.

"Dear NYC fashion week," he posted. "I may be a little late as @aeromexico won't let me fly with a turban. Don't start the show without me. #lovenotfear #fearisanopportunitytoeducate." The Sikh American Legal Defense & Education Fund has released a statement saying it is "disappointed and concerned" that Ahluwalia was asked to take his turban off before boarding the flight. "The turban is an integral part of a Sikh's identity and removal in public is akin to a strip search," the organization said. "The security personnel involved in this debacle owe Mr. Ahluwalia an apology and must be trained in cultural and religious awareness."


Ahluwalia appeared in The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and The Darjeeling Limited, as well as a 2013 Gap advertisement, the first time a Sikh model was showcased in a nationwide ad campaign, NBC News reports. He also has a popular jewelry line, House of Waris. Aeroméxico has not commented on the incident. Catherine Garcia

7:40 p.m. ET

Four people were injured when the Anthem of the Seas encountered a severe storm off of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on Sunday. The mega ship was sailing to Port Canaveral, Florida, when it hit rough waters, and on Monday, Royal Caribbean announced the ship would be returning to Cape Liberty Cruise Port in New Jersey.

The Anthem of the Seas suffered damage to some public areas and cabins, but "remains seaworthy," Royal Caribbean announced, and the injuries sustained are not serious. On Sunday afternoon, passengers were told to stay in their rooms, and they were given updates every hour by the captain or the cruise director. Off the Carolina coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recorded a 76 mph gust of wind and waves of 30 feet high, CNN reports. Passengers said on Twitter their stateroom televisions reported winds clocking in at 120 to 150 mph.

The Anthem of the Seas was scheduled to go on a seven-day voyage to the Bahamas. Royal Caribbean announced passengers will receive a full refund, plus half off the fare of a future cruise. Catherine Garcia

6:58 p.m. ET
Youssef Karwashan/AFP/Getty Images

A new U.N. report by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria found that the Syrian government is executing civilian detainees on a massive scale, in addition to killing and torturing Islamic State and Nusra Front prisoners.

The commission is calling on the Security Council to impose "targeted sanctions" against high-ranking civilian and military officials, Reuters reports. "Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Deaths in Detention" covers March 10, 2011, to Nov. 30, 2015, with interviews from 621 witnesses and survivors. Thousands of people, mostly civilian men, have been killed, tortured, starved, and denied medical treatment, and chairman Paulo Pinheiro said "prison officials, their superiors throughout the hierarchy, high-ranking officials in military hospitals, and the military police corps as well as government were aware that deaths on a massive scale were occurring. Thus we concluded there were reasonable grounds…to believe that the conduct described amounts to extermination as a crime against humanity."

Investigators repeatedly asked for access to detention facilities, but were denied. The high-ranking officers are "individually criminally liable," investigators said, and a list of suspected war criminals from all sides and units is kept in a U.N. safe in Geneva. Raneem Matouq, the daughter of a prominent attorney who went missing in 2012, says she was held in a Damascus facility after peacefully protesting as a student. She described the conditions there as deplorable: There was hardly any food, the prison was infested with insects, detainees could only use an outdoor toilet three times a day, and there were dead bodies in different areas. Catherine Garcia

5:01 p.m. ET
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GettyImages

For months, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has been promoting a very specific and outlandish strategy to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the U.S. As president, he says often, he'd simply build a wall along the entire Mexican-American border. It would be funded by the Mexican government, Trump claims.

Former Mexican President Felipe Calderón doesn't think his country would be down with that plan, CNBC reports.

"Mexican people, we are not going to pay any single cent for such a stupid wall," he said. "And it's going to be completely useless."

Calderón suggested a wall wouldn't help the U.S., serving instead to hinder the country's trading. It's an idea, he said, that came from a "not very well-informed man." Julie Kliegman

4:11 p.m. ET
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

After reports surfaced in January that Michael Bloomberg was considering an independent presidential run, the former New York City mayor confirmed the possibility himself to the Financial Times on Monday.

"I find the level of discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters," Bloomberg said, adding that the public deserves "a lot better."

Bloomberg, who The New York Times reported would sink up to $1 billion of his own money into a campaign, told FT he'd need to start getting his name on ballots in March.

"I'm listening to what candidates are saying and what the primary voters appear to be doing," he said. Julie Kliegman

3:51 p.m. ET
Yana Paskova/Getty Images

There is trouble in Hillaryland: According to anonymous sources who spoke with Politico, Hillary Clinton is frustrated with her campaign staff — and vice versa. With the too-close-for-comfort win over Bernie Sanders in Iowa and a New Hampshire victory for the Vermont senator on the horizon, Clinton is reportedly looking to reassess the staff at her Brooklyn headquarters sooner rather than later.

One source who is close with both Hillary and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, said, "The Clintons are not happy, and have been letting all of us know that. The idea is that we need a more forward-looking message, for the primary — but also for the general election too… There's no sense of panic, but there is an urgency to fix these problems right now."

There is dissatisfaction among Clinton's staffers, too:

Over the summer while her campaign was bogged down in the email controversy, Clinton was deeply frustrated with her own staff, and vice versa. The candidate blamed her team for not getting her out of the mess quickly, and her team blamed Clinton for being stubbornly unwilling to take the advice of campaign chairman John Podesta and others to apologize, turn over her server, and move on. The entire experience made her a deeply vulnerable frontrunner out of the gate, and underscored a lack of trust between Clinton and her operatives, many of whom were former Obama staffers that she didn't consider part of her inner circle of trust.

Her advisers were also frustrated by having to play roles they hadn't been hired for and were ill-suited for. From the beginning, [the campaign's top pollster and strategist Joel] Benenson was frustrated that he was forced to split his time between defending his boss on emails and defining a path for her candidacy. Clinton, meanwhile, longed for a chief strategist in the Mark Penn mold who could take on a more expansive role than playing pollster. [Politico]

Read the full story in Politico. Jeva Lange

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