It’s Monday June 11, 2018 - BREAKING NEWS IS ON HIATUS

11Jun

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This podcast will be on hiatus for the next week or so, as I am moving to a new home. I will not have access to the Internet - or my studio equipment. I appreciate your understanding and your loyal support.

I will have the newscast up and running as soon as we are unpacked and set up to record once again.

Thanks again for listening and have a wonderful day

Celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain found dead by suicide in France. That’s in the news on Friday June 8, 2018

8Jun

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Celebrated author and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, the host of CNN's award-winning series Parts Unknown, has died in an apparent suicide. He was 61. A CNN spokesperson said in a statement, "His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink, and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller." Bourdain, whom the Smithsonian once called the "the Elvis of bad boy chefs," was in France working on an episode for his show, which explored food and culture around the world, when a friend, French chef Eric Ripert, found him unresponsive in his hotel room. Bourdain was a chef before his 2000 best-selling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly catapulted him to stardom. He hosted shows on the Food Network and the Travel Channel before joining CNN. Bourdain’s death came three days after fashion designer Kate Spade took her own life in her New York City apartment. Spade’s husband and business partner said the 55-year-old business mogul had suffered from depression and anxiety for many years.

 

 

 

President Donald Trump injected fresh drama into an already tense meeting of the Group of Seven major industrialized nations Friday, calling for Russia, ousted for its the annexation of Crimea, to be reinstated. Trump made the comment at the White House Friday after hours of further escalating his rhetoric against longtime allies over U.S. trade practices. Trump asked, “Why are we having a meeting without Russia in the meeting? They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.” Solidifying his solo status on the world stage, Trump also lashed out at longtime allies over their criticism of his trade policies. He plans an early exit from the G-7 meeting. Russia was ousted from the elite group in 2014 as punishment for President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and support for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. Trump arrived Friday at the annual gathering, held this year in Canada, but will leave Saturday morning before the event is over, heading to Singapore for his highly anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

 

 

 

President Trump said Thursday that he doesn't need to "prepare very much" for his historic summit with North Korea's Kim in Singapore next week. Trump told reporters, "It's about attitude. It's about willingness to get things done." White House staffers reportedly have expressed concern that Trump has skipped meetings with national security advisers and isn't strategizing as most politicians would before such a major event. One Bush administration official who specialized in Asia policy told Politico that regional experts are concerned that Trump "is going to wing this summit."

 

 

 

Cooperation between Russia and China is at an all-time high. That's what Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Friday, underscoring how pressure from the West has magnified Beijing’s political and economic importance to Moscow. Putin said, “Cooperation with China is one of Russia’s top priorities and it has reached an unprecedented level." Xi said the two countries have “always firmly taken the development of relations as a priority direction,” and went on to say they have “resolutely supported the other’s core interests ... and jointly proactively participated in international affairs and global governance." Following their talks, Xi presented Putin with China’s newly created Friendship Medal at an elaborate ceremony. The two leaders vowed to “expand counter-terrorism cooperation,” boost contacts between their militaries and encourage joint international efforts to fight terrorism “without any double standards.” The statement also criticized the U.S. decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and said they would endeavor to keep it alive and ensure further trade with Iran. Officials from the two nations signed a raft of agreements on cooperation in economic development, transport, space and nuclear energy.

 

 

 

Russian warplanes attacked a rebel-held northwestern village in Syria, killing at least 35 people and wounding at least 80, including children in the village of Zardana. Observers said it was one of the deadliest incidents in that part of the country this year. The dead included 3 members of Syrian Civil Defense, also known as White Helmets, who were killed as they evacuated the dead and wounded. The attack occurred after Muslims broke their Ramadan holiday fast after sunset. Meanwhile, in eastern Syria, members of the Islamic State group launched an offensive on the town of Boukamal near the Iraqi border killing and wounding troops and pro-government forces. The Observatory said the intense offensive killed 25 pro-government gunmen while 18 IS fighters were killed including 10 who detonated their vehicles or explosive belts they were wearing. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said IS fighters entered parts of Boukamal on Friday.

 

 

 

Congo’s health ministry says another Ebola case has been confirmed as the pace of new cases slows one month after the outbreak was officially declared. There are now 38 confirmed cases of the virus, including 13 deaths. The health ministry said late Thursday the newest confirmed case is in rural Iboko and is linked to a probable Ebola victim who died May 20. The outbreak which began in the remote northwest and was declared in the town of Bikoro has spread to the city of Mbandaka with a population of more than one million. That has complicated efforts to track contacts of those infected. The World Health Organization, which was giving a briefing Friday on the outbreak, has vaccinated more than 1,000 people over the past two weeks, including health workers who are at high risk. The virus spreads via bodily fluids of those infected, whether they are alive or dead. The WHO says the Ebola response will cost more than $15.5 million over nine months. This is Congo’s ninth Ebola outbreak since 1976 when the hemorrhagic fever was first identified.

 

 

 

U.S. immigration authorities said that they would be transferring more than 1,600 people arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border to federal prisons. The move is necessary because their own detention facilities are filling up as the government's crackdown on illegal immigration continues. Among the immigration detainees to be housed temporarily in prisons are some parents who have been separated from their children. Migrant advocates condemned the move, saying some of the people to be transferred have legitimate claims to asylum and don't deserve to be sent to federal prisons. In the past, undocumented immigrants without serious criminal records were freed while they sought asylum or refugee status.

 

 

 

Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano flowing into Kapoho Bay has now created nearly a mile of new land and officials with the U.S. Geological Survey say the flow is still very active and there’s no way to know when the eruption will end or if more lava-spewing vents will open. The fast-moving lava poured into the low-lying coastal Hawaii neighborhoods in just two days this week, destroying hundreds of homes. As the lava marched toward the bay, it vaporized Hawaii’s largest freshwater lake, which was hundreds of feet deep in some places. The new land in Kapoho Bay is now owned by the state, but the peninsula won’t look like the farmland that dominates that region of the Big Island anytime soon. Depending on climate, rainfall and other variables, new vegetation could start growing soon, but it would take much longer for the fertile land and lush rainforests to build back up.

 

 

 

NASA announced that its Curiosity rover had found organic matter on Mars, a new but inconclusive finding suggesting that the Red Planet might have had the building blocks of life. The samples were taken from 3.5 billion-year-old mudstone in the Gale Crater. "These results do not give us any evidence of life," according to study lead author Jennifer Eigenbrode, a scientist at the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. But she said, "there is a possibility that [the organics] are from an ancient life source; we just don't know. And even if life was never around, [the molecules] tell us there was at least something around for organisms to eat." NASA released a statement saying, "While this doesn’t mean that we’ve found concrete evidence of life on Mars, it is a good sign in our continuing search. We’re sending the Mars 2020 rover to dig deeper!"

 

 

 

The Washington Capitals beat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 on Thursday to win the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup for the first time in the team's 44-year history. The Capitals won the best-of-seven series 4-1, ending a spectacular inaugural season for the Golden Knights, an expansion franchise that was born just last summer. The Capitals' Russian-born captain, Alex Ovechkin, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs. Ovechkin, as the star and face of the franchise, often took the blame for the Capitals' failings over his 13 seasons with the team. "It doesn't matter what happened before," he said. "We just won it."

 

 

That's your update for this Friday, June 8, 2018 - I'm Larry Rice. This podcast will be on hiatus for several days next week, as I am moving to a new home. I will not have access to the Internet - or my studio equipment. I appreciate your understanding and your loyal support. I will have the newscast up and running as soon as we are unpacked and set up to record once again. Thanks again for listening, and have a wonderful weekend.

Afghanistan government and Taliban agree to cease-fire. That’s in the news on Thursday June 7, 2018

7Jun

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Guatemala’s national disaster agency has suspended search and rescue efforts at the zone devastated by the eruption of the Fuego Volcano, saying Thursday that weather conditions and still-hot volcanic material make it dangerous for the rescuers. It said it decided to suspend the search now that 72 hours have passed. That’s the length of time officials had said earlier that some victims might have survived. Troublesome rain and more volcanic activity had been hindering the search, but when teams have been able to work in the hardest hit areas, they found more bodies. Efforts were cut short again Wednesday when a downpour forced teams to retreat out of fear of mudslides. Boiling water flowing down the volcano’s slopes and dangerously hot volcanic gas and ash also posed a threat. A day earlier, flows of super-heated volcanic material forced crews to pull back. Guatemala’s National Institute of Forensic Sciences raised the death toll to 99. Only 28 of the total had been identified. At least 197 people were still listed as missing.

 

 

 

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Thursday that his government and the Taliban had agreed to an unconditional ceasefire until June 20. The deal coincided with the end of the Muslim fasting season but did not include the Islamic State and other extremist groups. The agreement followed a meeting this week in which Islamic clerics recommended a ceasefire and declared a fatwa on Taliban attacks. A suicide bomber attacked the entrance to the clerics' peace tent in Kabul as the meeting was breaking up, killing 14 people. The Islamic State claimed responsibility. Ghani said the ceasefire would give the Taliban an opportunity to reflect and see that "their violent campaign is not winning them hearts and minds."

 

 

 

A Boy Scout who packed a toy grenade in his carry-on bag caused the shutdown of a security checkpoint at Houston’s Hobby Airport Thursday morning, just a day after the international terminal of the city’s other major airport was evacuated due to a bomb scare. An airport spokesman said authorities determined that the suspicious item spotted by a TSA agent was actually a “novelty grenade.” It’s not clear why the 17-year-old had the item in his bag. Houston police said the state won’t charge the teen but that he could face a federal fine. The website FlightAware indicated delays of an hour or more for flights arriving and departing Hobby Airport immediately after the security checkpoint reopened. The explosives scare occurred only a day after police detained “an impatient passenger” who made comments about explosives in a bag at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport. That unidentified passenger’s “inappropriate comment” prompted a bomb squad to close the international terminal for nearly an hour.

 

 

 

The number of people caught trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally exceeded 50,000 for the third straight month in May, despite the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy. That's according to figures released by the Department of Homeland Security and includes immigrants who turned themselves in at ports of entry. Border Patrol agents arrested nearly 2,000 more undocumented immigrants between official border entry points in May than in April, with the total reaching 40,400. The number of unaccompanied children also increased, from 4,302 in April to 6,405 in May.

 

 

 

President Donald Trump welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the White House Thursday for consultations before Trump's meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un next week in Singapore. Abe requested the meeting with Trump to coordinate strategy for next week’s talks, and to elevate his country’s concerns about the summit. Abe is pushing Trump to raise the issue of Japanese abductees held in North Korea, and he is seeking to ensure that Trump’s efforts to negotiate an agreement with Kim don’t harm Japan’s interests. U.S. allies in the region have expressed concern that Trump’s push to denuclearize the Korean peninsula could ignore the North’s sophisticated ballistic missile and chemical weapons programs.

 

 

 

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday no leader was forever, suggesting a more confrontational attitude towards President Trump as leaders from the Group of Seven countries prepare to clash on trade at a summit in Canada. Asked by reporters whether the problem with Trump was that he “didn’t care about being isolated”, Macron said: “You say the U.S. President doesn’t care at all. Maybe, but nobody is forever.” At the news conference, where he was joined by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Macron said. “The six countries of the G7 without the United States, are a bigger market taken together than the American market.” Macron had so far taken a more conciliatory tone with Trump, whom he calls his “friend”. On Thursday, although he said it was important to remain civil, he signaled his intention to close ranks with other leaders.

 

 

 

The State Department evacuated two more Americans in China who became ill after hearing strange noises, in cases similar to those reported last year in Cuba. Many more employees of the American Consulate in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou are being tested by a State Department medical team. The State Department said the symptoms resemble those "following concussion or minor traumatic brain injury." The first case in Guangzhou was reported several weeks ago. In Cuba, 24 American Embassy employees and relatives were plagued by headaches, nausea, hearing loss, and cognitive problems after hearing strange sounds. The mystery led the U.S. to sharply reduce its staff and expel Cuban diplomats.

 

 

 

Chinese telecom maker ZTE Corp has signed a deal with the US government that will lift a ban on it from buying US technology. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced Thursday that ZTE and its affiliates have agreed to pay a $1 billion fine and set aside $400 million in an escrow account. ZTE also agreed to make compliance measures to replace the US Commerce Department's ban on the company's purchase of components from American suppliers for seven years. In return, the US government will remove the ban imposed in April. ZTE accounts for about 10 percent of the global telecom gear market and is the fourth-largest smartphone vendor in the US, according to data from China International Capital Corp. Also, American companies provide an estimated 25 percent to 30 percent of components in ZTE's equipment. ZTE has a relationship with a string of US suppliers and supports nearly 130,000 high-tech jobs in the US. Experts said earlier that the US ban on ZTE would cause losses for American suppliers such as Qualcomm and Intel.

 

 

President Trump on Wednesday commuted the life sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, who spent more than two decades in prison after being sentenced to life without parole for a first-time, non-violent drug offense. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West, who had urged Trump to free Johnson, tweeted, "BEST NEWS EVER!!!!" Trump didn't pardon the 63-year-old, which would have erased her record, but he ended her sentence, which a member of Johnson's legal team called "a courageous move." Trump also recently pardoned the late boxing champion Jack Johnson and conservative provocateur Dinesh D'Souza and said he was considering a commutation for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich - a Democrat - who is serving 14 years for corruption, and a pardon for lifestyle icon Martha Stewart, who served several months in prison for insider trading.

 

 

 

Spain's King Felipe VI has sworn in a new Socialist government with a record number of 11 women in 17 cabinet posts. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said his new team "shared the same vision of a progressive society that was both modernizing and pro-European". The cabinet is in marked contrast to the male-dominated executives of center-right ex-PM Mariano Rajoy, who was ousted last week. As a minority government, it will rely on other parties to enact legislation. Women have been given some of the biggest jobs in the new Spanish cabinet, including the defense, economy, finance and education portfolios. Separately, an ex-astronaut has been given the role of Spain's science minister. The 46-year-old Sánchez, whose party commands just 84 seats in the 350-seat parliament, came to power when Rajoy lost his job in the wake of a massive corruption scandal. The new prime minister, who says he is a feminist, said his government marked a watershed moment in Spanish society.

 

 

 

Actor Jerry Maren, the last surviving munchkin from the 1939 classic Wizard of Oz, died last month in San Diego, California, a family member confirmed Wednesday. He was 98. Maren, who stood 4 feet 3 inches, played one of the members of the Lollipop Guild in the film. In his big scene, he handed Judy Garland's Dorothy a giant lollipop and welcomed her to Munchkin Land. He appeared in scores of films, TV shows, and commercials over a seven-decade entertainment career, but told The Independent in 2009 that working on the movie as one of the 124 munchkins was "the greatest fun I ever had in my life." Garland, he said, was "an angel." In 2007, he and the other munchkins were honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Biggest US labor strike in the 21st Century looming this summer - That’s in the news on Wednesday June 6, 2018

6Jun

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The Teamsters and United Parcel Service - UPS - could be heading toward the largest strike in decades in the United States. On Tuesday, the union announced that members voted more than 90% in favor of going on strike if a deal is not reached before the current labor contract expires on August 1. UPS employs 260,000 Teamsters and has added 40,000 union members since its current contract was reached five years ago. The shipments UPS transports equal an estimated 6% of the nation's GDP, which means a labor dispute could disrupt the US economy. At issue is how the shipping giant will expand to offer deliveries seven days a week. The last time UPS had a strike was a 16-day walkout by the Teamsters in 1997, and there hasn't been a bigger strike since then. This strike could be even larger since there were only 180,000 Teamsters at UPS at that time.

 

 

 

The European Union expects to hit U.S. imports with additional duties from July, ratcheting up a transatlantic trade conflict after Washington imposed its own tariffs on incoming EU steel and aluminum. EU members have given broad support to a European Commission plan to set 25 percent duties on up to 2.8 billion euros of U.S. exports in response to what it sees as illegal U.S. action. EU exports that are now subject to U.S. tariffs are worth 6.4 billion euros. That plan also includes duties of between 10 and 50 percent on a further 3.6 billion euros of U.S. imports in March 2021 or potentially sooner if the World Trade Organization has ruled the U.S. measures illegal. U.S. products on the list include orange juice, bourbon, jeans, motorcycles and a variety of steel products. The European Union, Canada, and Mexico have all responded after President Donald Trump last Friday ended their exemptions from tariffs of 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum.

 

 

 

Mexico imposed tariffs Tuesday on about $3 billion worth of U.S. goods including pork, whiskey, and cheese, in retaliation for President Trump's levies on imported steel and aluminum. Trump's tariffs escalated tensions between the U.S. and numerous allies just as the U.S., Mexico, and Canada were making a push to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump has called a bad deal for America. Trump's chief economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said that Trump's "preference now, and he asked me to convey this, is to actually negotiate with Mexico and Canada separately." Kudlow said on Fox & Friends that handling the negotiations that way would speed things up.

 

 

 

The U.S. trade deficit fell to a seven-month low in April as exports rose to a record high, lifted by an increase in shipments of industrial materials and soybeans. The Commerce Department said on Wednesday the trade gap dropped 2.1 percent to $46.2 billion, the smallest since September. Data for March was revised to show the trade deficit falling to $47.2 billion, instead of the previously reported $49.0 billion. If the trend in the real trade deficit is maintained, trade could contribute to the gross domestic product in the second quarter after having a neutral impact in the January-March period. Strong data ranging from manufacturing to consumer spending and the labor market have led the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to estimate that economic growth in the second quarter will top a 4.0 percent annualized rate. The economy grew at a 2.2 percent pace in the first quarter. Some economists said the protectionist trade policy being pursued by President Trump poses a threat to the otherwise rosy economic outlook.

 

 

 

Britain, France, and Germany have joined forces to urge the United States to exempt European companies from any sanctions the U.S. will slap on Iran after pulling out of an international nuclear agreement. In a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, ministers from the three European countries said they “strongly regret” last month’s decision by President Trump to withdraw from the Iran deal. Trump, who argued that the 2015 deal was insufficiently tough on Iran, has said sanctions will be imposed on any company doing business with Tehran. The three European countries were also signatories of the 2015 deal, which was meant to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. In their letter, made public Wednesday, the ministers said they want the U.S. to “grant exemptions” for EU companies that have been doing business with Iran since the deal came into force in 2016. Many companies from Europe and the U.S. have been steadily building up their investments in Iran in the past few years in the wake of the nuclear deal, particularly in the fields of pharmaceuticals, banking, and oil. Any sanctions could be damaging, especially if they affect their business interests in the United States.

 

 

 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, seeking to draw on his close ties with President Trump in talks on Thursday, will urge the U.S. leader not to forget Tokyo’s security concerns in his drive for a historic deal with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. Abe has spoken to Trump 30 times since he became president, including eight face-to-face meetings, and officials say Washington is well-aware of Tokyo’s stance towards Pyongyang. Prior to his departure for Washington, Abe told reporters, “Through summits and telephone conversations with President Trump, we have closely liaised and our positions are exactly the same.” He added, “I want (to) make the U.S.-North Korea summit a success." Concerns have simmered in Tokyo that Trump, with his eye on November congressional elections, could cut a deal that would allow him to boast of protecting U.S. cities from a nuclear attack but leave Japan vulnerable to shorter-range missiles. Japan also fears Trump could eventually agree to reduce U.S. military forces in South Korea, leaving Japan as a frontline state against a Korean peninsula under heavy Chinese influence.

 

 

 

Singapore airspace will be restricted during the planned U.S.-N.Korea summit next week, according to a notice to airmen posted by aviation authorities on Wednesday, which is likely to result in delays at one of Asia’s busiest airports. The Southeast Asian city-state is set to host a historic meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 and has increased security across the island. The notice, published on the websites of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said airspace over Singapore will be temporarily restricted for parts of June 11, 12 and 13. All aircraft arriving into Singapore's Airport will be required to reduce speed and face some restrictions on runway use “for reasons of national security." As part of its preparations for the summit, Singapore has designated certain parts of the city as “special event areas” for June 10 to 14. These include the central region, which is home to its foreign ministry, the U.S. embassy, and several hotels, and Sentosa Island in the south, where the summit is scheduled to take place. Items such as remotely piloted aircraft and public address systems will be prohibited in these areas throughout this period.

 

 

 

San Francisco voters Tuesday approved a proposition that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and flavored vaping liquids on Tuesday. With almost all precincts reporting, 68% had voted in favor of Proposition E and 31% opposed. The battle over the flavored tobacco ban has been an expensive one in the city, with tobacco company R.J. Reynolds contributing nearly $12 million against the measure and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg contributing more than $3 million in support of it. Last year, San Francisco city supervisors approved an ordinance to ban the sales of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, vaping liquid and flavored cigars, which would have made it the first in the nation to approve such a sweeping ban on flavored tobacco sales. But, enough signatures were gathered to put the ordinance to a referendum before the city's voters, which led to its placement on Tuesday's ballot. Other Bay Area communities including Oakland have since passed bans on the sale of flavored tobacco. Public health advocates have backed such bans, saying that candy-flavored tobacco products entice kids and teenagers and addict a new generation. Organizations like the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and American Lung Association supported Proposition E, maintaining that it would protect kids. But those who opposed the measure said banning the flavored products was an overreach that infringed on adult choices.

 

 

 

A trio of astronauts from Russia, the United States, and the European Space Agency blasted off Wednesday for a mission on the International Space Station. A Russian spacecraft carrying Serena Aunon-Chancellor of NASA, Sergey Prokopyev of Russian space agency Roscosmos and the ESA’s Alexander Gerst, from Germany, lifted off as scheduled from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz booster rocket at 1612 local time. The Soyuz MS-09 ship has successfully entered a designated orbit and is set to dock at the space station Friday. The three astronauts will join two other Americans and another Russian currently onboard the station. The mission program includes 250 experiments in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences, and technology. Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin and U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman attended the launch. Roscosmos said in a statement that the continuing cooperation in space could help repair the strained relationship between the U.S. and Russia. Relations between Moscow and Washington have plummeted to post-Cold War lows over the crisis in Ukraine, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

 

 

 

Georg von Tiesenhausen, the last of the German rocket team that launched the U.S. space program, has died at his Alabama home. He was 104. Von Tiesenhausen started his career in 1943 at the German Rocket Center in Peenemunde, Germany, working alongside Wernher von Braun during World War II in Germany. Several years after the war, von Tiesenhausen joined von Braun in Huntsville, Alabama and proved instrumental in forming the backbone of the U.S. space program, ultimately aiding in the launch of the first U.S. satellite and the first U.S. astronauts. While at the Marshall Space Flight Center, Von Tiesenhausen developed the reputation as its resident dreamer, working tirelessly to achieve his goal of establishing a permanent lunar base and then one on Mars. Von Tiesenhausen designed and created the famous lunar rover that accompanied the last three Apollo missions in 1971 and 1972. The rocketry pioneer was presented a lifetime achievement award in 2011 by Neil Armstrong at the rocket center in Huntsville. Von Tiesenhausen was fondly known as “Von T” by his colleagues, including Armstrong. In 1986, von Tiesenhausen announced his plan to retire from Marshall after a career that spanned more than four decades. After his retirement, he continued working with the center, specifically with the center’s space camps where he taught space campers.

NYPD: Fashion designer Kate Spade found dead after suicide - That’s in the news on Tuesday June 5, 2018

5Jun

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Fashion designer Kate Spade has been found dead in her New York apartment from an apparent suicide. Police said she was found dead in her Park Avenue apartment by her housekeeper. New York police said she took her own life by hanging herself. Investigators reportedly found a suicide note. Kate Spade was well known as a designer of clothes, shoes, and jewelry, but was best known for her accessory line. The designer, who married the brother of actor David Spade, co-founded Kate Spade Handbags in 1993. Her bright and colorful patterned designs became a trademark of her brand, which is recognizable for its spades playing cards symbol as her logo. The company now has hundreds of branches around the world. She sold her namesake company in 2007 to Liz Claiborne for $125 million, so she and her husband Andy could raise their daughter, who is now 13. Last year, the company bearing her name was bought by rival New York designer Coach in a deal worth $2.4 billion, but Spade had already cashed out her shares. so she did not see one penny from that deal.

 

 

 

The United States is pressing its European allies to get more NATO battalions, ships and planes ready for combat to shore up NATO’s deterrence against any Russian attack. NATO officials and diplomats told Reuters that U.S. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis will seek broad agreement for the plan in Brussels on Thursday when alliance defense ministers meet, laying the ground for endorsement by NATO leaders at a summit in July. Russia’s war games last year, involving what Western officials said were 100,000 troops, also prompted concerns about accidental conflicts that could be triggered by such exercises, or any incursions into Russian-speaking regions in the Baltics. One U.S. official said the initiative is primarily aimed at countering Russia and to fit with the Pentagon’s 2018 National Defence Strategy, which accuses Moscow of seeking to shatter NATO. Known as 30-30-30-30, the plan would require NATO to have 30 land battalions, 30 air fighter squadrons, and 30 ships ready to deploy within 30 days of being put on alert. The Kremlin firmly rejects any such aims and says NATO is the security threat in eastern Europe.

 

 

 

Guatemalan authorities said the death toll from the eruption of the Fuego volcano rose to at least 69. Dozens more were injured, and more than 3,200 people were evacuated from surrounding communities. The latest eruption went on for 16 hours, blasting lava from the volcano's center and sending a deadly mix of lava rocks and ash racing down the sides of the volcano. Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales made a visit to survey the disaster area. The fast-moving flows overtook people in homes and streets with temperatures reaching as high as 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit, and hot ash and volcanic gases that can cause rapid asphyxiation. Helmeted workers carried bodies away on stretchers, and smoke was still rising from some parts of the ashen landscape strewn with boulders and other debris. Emergency crews in helicopters managed to pull at least 10 people alive from areas cut off by the flows.

 

 

 

Lava from Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano has destroyed nearly 160 residences, up from 87 homes as of last Friday. Officials said it was difficult to count homes in the area from the air because of steam produced from lava entering the ocean. Scientists said a laze plume was blowing inland from the ocean entry but dissipating quickly. Laze is formed when hot lava hits the ocean, reacts with seawater and sends hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles in the air. State officials said the month-long eruption has claimed as much as a half of a forest reserve that's home to native birds and trees that have already been declining because of disease. Most of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been closed since May 11 because of earthquakes and continuous explosions from the volcano's summit crater.

 

 

 

The Justice Department announced Monday that a former U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency officer was arrested Saturday for allegedly attempting to spy on the United States for China. Ron Rockwell Hansen, 58, speaks fluent Mandarin and Russian and had top secret clearance for several years, serving as a case officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency from 2000 to 2006, while he was on active military duty; he later stayed in that line of work as a civilian employee and contractor, Reuters reports. He is accused of trying to gather and deliver national defense information to a foreign government and receiving "hundreds of thousands of dollars" while acting as an unregistered foreign agent for China.

 

 

 

Former Hollywood film mogul Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty to rape and criminal sex act charges in a brief hearing Tuesday before a judge in New York, and his lawyer vowed afterward to try to beat the case even before it goes to trial.. His appearance in court on Tuesday came after he was indicted last week by a grand jury. The film producer, now shunned by the industry he was such a big part of, has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 70 women. The 66-year-old has previously insisted, via his lawyer and other representatives, that he has never had non-consensual sex. He could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted of either offense, which relates to two women. Weinstein is currently free on $1 million bail, but agreed to wear a GPS tracker and has surrendered his passport. He is also under additional investigation by authorities in Los Angeles, and London.

 

 

 

Starbucks announced in a memo to employees on Monday that Howard Schultz would step down as executive chairman effective June 26. Schultz is considered the architect of the ubiquitous coffee chain as Americans know it today. He joined the company as director of operations and marketing in 1982, 11 years after it opened its first store in Seattle, and played a key role in transforming it into a global enterprise with more than 28,000 locations. Some speculated that Schultz, who supported former President Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, could launch a 2020 bid for the White House. Schultz said in the memo, "I'll be thinking about a range of options for myself, from philanthropy to public service... but I'm a long way from knowing what the future holds."

 

 

 

Consider it the ultimate “like” for a stock: Twitter is joining the benchmark S&P 500 U.S. index, pushing the social media company’s stock price up 5 percent on Tuesday as demand surged from equities investors. Twitter shares surged as high as $40.16 during Tuesday’s session, their highest in more than three years, after S&P Dow Jones Indices said late on Monday the stock would be added to the S&P 500 before trading opens on Thursday. The stock replaces Monsanto, which is being bought by Germany’s Bayer. The addition to the index gives new prominence to the micro-blogging site, which has more than 330 million monthly active users and is a favorite platform for President Trump and other celebrities. Trading volume in Twitter on Tuesday quickly topped 40 million shares. It had already eclipsed the average daily volume from the past 10 sessions within about the first half hour after the market opened. Twitter’s share price had more than doubled over the past year. The company closed on Monday with a market value of $28.5 billion, exceeding 60 percent of companies in the S&P 500.

 

 

 

The Miss America pageant, which began nearly 100 years ago as a bathing beauty contest to keep tourists coming to Atlantic City, New Jersey after Labor Day, is dropping the swimsuit competition, saying it will no longer judge contestants on their appearance. The announcement Tuesday came after a shake-up at the Miss America Organization that resulted in the top three leadership positions now being held by women, including Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America who became head of the organization’s board of trustees. The overhaul was triggered by an email scandal last December in which Miss America officials denigrated winners’ intelligence, appearance, and sex lives. On ABC's Good Morning America program, Carlson said, “We’re not going to judge you on your appearance because we are interested in what makes you... you." Carlson said the evening-wear portion of the competition will also be changed to allow women to wear something other than a gown if they want. The talent portion of the contest will remain.

 

 

 

Saudi Arabia has issued driving licenses to women for the first time in decades just weeks before a ban on female drivers is lifted. Ten women swapped their foreign licenses for Saudi ones on Monday in cities across the country. A flood of applications is now expected in the run-up to June 24 when the ban will end. Saudi Arabia's laws require women to seek male permission for various decisions and actions, and that extends to the ban on women driving. Previously, that meant that families had to hire private drivers to transport female relatives. The lifting of the driving ban was announced last September and is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's program to modernize some aspects of Saudi society.

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