2019-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2019-05-26 16:59:30 UTC
2019-05-26 23:54:59 UTC
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Mrs. May announced on Friday that she would be stepping down as leader of her Conservative Party and then as Britain's prime minister, after repeatedly failing to win Parliament's approval for a deal to withdraw the country from the European Union.
A successor to Theresa May will be chosen before Parliament's summer break, the Conservative Party chairman said. She will continue as prime minister until the leadership contest is finished.
[...] Standing in front of 10 Downing Street, Mrs. May said it was in the "best interests of the country for a new prime minister" to lead Britain through the Brexit process. She announced plans to step down as the leader of the Conservative Party on June 7, with the process to replace her beginning the following week.
Previously: Theresa May: UK's Next Prime Minister?
May spoke outside 10 Downing Street after a meeting with Graham Brady, the head of the 1922 Committee of Conservative Party backbenchers. She said she will step down on June 7. Her resignation will trigger a party leadership contest, and whoever wins that contest will take over as prime minister.
[...] Her announcement could complicate the upcoming June 3 state visit by President Trump to London to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, where he will also meet with Queen Elizabeth II.
May will still be in office during that visit, meaning it will nix the chance for a new prime minister to forge ties with the American president at a time where such relations are vital. A U.S.-U.K. trade deal is a top priority for the U.K. as it looks to depart from the European Union and begin making its own trade agreements -- and Trump has said "the potential is unlimited" for such a deal.
Thomas Daniel "Tim" Conway passed away today, Tuesday May 14, 2019 at the age of 85.
He gained his first national following as Ensign Charles Parker on McHale's Navy in the 1960s. He was possibly best known for his being a regular cast member on The Carol Burnett Show where he frequently attempted -- and often succeeded -- in getting his fellow cast members to "break character". He'd ceaselessly ad-lib lines and employ mannerisms that led them to bust out laughing.
Wikipedia has a full write-up on his life and career that I was only fortunate enough to experience a small fraction of his comedic genius. His humor was self-effacing, self-deprecating, and his comedic timing was unparalleled.
My favorite skit was his portrayal of a dentist, fresh out of dental school, and his difficulties with helping a patient (Harvey Korman) who was complaining of a toothache. (Video available on YouTube. (Watch Harvey Korman struggling to maintain his composure.)
The world is a darker place for his passing.
What were your favorite scenes, skits, or memories?
He died at his North Texas home surrounded by his family, read the Twitter statement.
[...] He was discovered by producer Charles H. Schneer while working as a hospital attendant in London, and cast in Ray Harryhausen’s “Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger.” The next year, he was cast as Chewbacca, the 200-year-old Wookiee.
[...] His height was not due to gigantism, but he measured 7 feet 3 inches at his highest. George Lucas originally had his eye on bodybuilder David Prowse, but Prowse decided to play Darth Vader instead and Lucas went with the even taller Mayhew.
The Hollywood Reporter notes:
While Mayhew did not provide the voice of the 200-year-old Wookiee (that was created by sound designer Ben Burtt), many credit the body language and the expressiveness of the eyes the actor brought to the role in making Chewbacca a fan favorite. It was a part that Mayhew would take on his whole life and well beyond the movies. He reprised the role for appearances on the Donny and Marie Show and The Muppet Show and, more recently, Glee.
Finnish-born basketball player-turned-actor Joonas Suotamo took over for Mayhew in some installments, including Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) and the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Mayhew worked as a consultant on The Last Jedi (2017) to pass the baton to Suotamo, and at that film's premiere in 2017 spent time chatting with his young protege, as well as Star Wars star Mark Hamill.
"Chewbacca is one of the most iconic characters in the history of film, and Peter's development and portrayal of this beloved Wookiee has spread so much joy around the globe," Suotamo wrote after the casting was announced. "Peter's guidance and kindness have been invaluable gifts which warmed my spirit and prepared me for this journey. I aspire to make Peter proud and bring Star Wars fans the Chewie they know and love."
A private memorial will take place June 29, while in December in Los Angeles there will be a gathering for fans at EmpireConLA. Mayhew is survived by his wife, Angie, and three children.
See also: Twitter announcement
and coverage at The Guardian.
According the Beeb (BBC):
At least 137 people have been killed and hundreds more injured in explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, police and hospital sources say.
At least eight blasts were reported. Three churches in Negombo, Batticaloa and Colombo's Kochchikade district were targeted during Easter services.
The Shangri-La, Kingsbury, Cinnamon Grand and a fourth hotel, all in Colombo, were also hit.
A curfew has been imposed from 18:00 to 06:00 local time (12:30-00:30 GMT).
The government also said there would a temporary block on the use of major social media networks.
No group has yet said it was responsible for the attacks.
Update:"At least 207 people have been killed and 450 hurt in explosions at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, police say."
Pardon the brevity; submitted via my mobile phone.
[Update (20190418_203255 UTC) --martyb]
I was listening to the radio while running an errand when I heard the Mueller Report had been released. The above link was the first that came up when I did a search. I quickly posted the story using my mobile phone to get it to the community as quickly as possible. Here are additional sources as well as the MD5SUM and resultant file sizes from downloading each. The CNN file has a different size from the others. A quick inspection suggests that it contains searchable text (presumably through OCR (Optical Character Recognition) processing) whereas the others contain images of each of the pages in the report.
CNN (searchable): http://www.cnn.com/2019/04/18/politics/full-mueller-report-pdf/index.html provided a link to:
Size: 140,352,112 bytes
Size: 145,509,756 bytes
NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/04/18/708850903/read-the-full-mueller-report-with-redactions provided a link to:
Size: 145,509,756 bytes
PBS: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/read-the-redacted-mueller-report provided a link to:
Size: 145,509,756 bytes
The deputy mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Gregoire, said the cathedral had suffered "colossal damages", and the emergency services were trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored in the cathedral. A cathedral spokesman said the entire wooden interior was burning and likely to be destroyed.
Sounds like the whole thing may go up in flames. There's a reason for modern building codes.
A structure made entirely out of wood, is a huge bonfire, waiting to happen. Thankfully, at this time, there are no reported deaths.
[Update: 2019-04-16 @ 0222: The Cathedral is not "made entirely out of wood" as was suggested above. There is a great deal of stone work in its construction which can be readily seen on its Wikipedia page. I was at work when I heard news of the fire, immediately took a break, loaded the story queue on my phone, saw a story submission on the fire, and pushed it out to the community. In my haste to get the story out, I failed to notice the erroneous claim about wood construction. I apologize for the error. --martyb]
Assange associate Ola Bini has been arrested in Ecuador for alleged involvement in hacking government computer systems. A large quantity of electronic equipment and credit cards were allegedly found in his suitcase and during a raid of his home.
Julian Assange's arrest at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London was carried out in a specific way to prevent him from pressing a mysterious panic button he said could bring dire consequences for Ecuador, its foreign minister said.
[...] It is not clear exactly what form the "panic button" took: whether it was a physical device or a metaphor for some other easily activated insurance measure. It is also unclear what leverage Assange thought he had over Ecuador.
Assange's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on the nature of the button and whether it existed. According to Valencia, though, it was serious enough for Ecuador to warn British authorities and carry out the raid in such a way that Assange was not able to get back into his room after learning of his imminent arrest.
More than 70 MPs and peers have signed a letter urging the home secretary to ensure Julian Assange faces authorities in Sweden if they want his extradition.
[...] In their letter to Sajid Javid, 70 parliamentarians - chiefly Labour MPs and peers - urged him to "stand with the victims of sexual violence" and ensure the rape claim against the Wikileaks founder could be "properly investigated". "We do not presume guilt, of course, but we believe due process should be followed and the complainant should see justice be done," the letter said. Labour's Stella Creasy tweeted a copy of the letter sent to Mr Javid. The same letter was also sent to shadow home secretary Diane Abbott.
See also: The U.S. Government's Indictment of Julian Assange Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom
Sweden Considers Request to Reopen Rape Investigation of Julian Assange
Four theories about Julian Assange's cat (also at NPR)
Mr Assange took refuge in the embassy seven years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.
The Met Police said he was arrested for failing to surrender to the court.
Ecuador's president Lenin Moreno said it withdrew Mr Assange's asylum after his repeated violations to international conventions.
But WikiLeaks tweeted that Ecuador had acted illegally in terminating Mr Assange's political asylum "in violation of international law".
[...] Scotland Yard said it was invited into the embassy by the ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government's withdrawal of asylum.
After his arrest for failing to surrender to the court, police said he had been further arrested on behalf of US authorities under an extradition warrant.
He doesn't look happy, to say the least.
Update: As this is a breaking story, more information is coming out regularly - one source that updates their reports frequently is Zero Hedge - thanks boru!
Previously: New Analysis of Swedish Police Report Confirms Julian Assange's Version in Sweden's Case
Ecuador Reportedly Almost Ready to Hand Julian Assange Over to UK Authorities
UK Said Assange Would Not be Extradited If He Leaves Embassy Refuge
Inadvertent Court Filing Suggests that the U.S. DoJ is Preparing to Indict Julian Assange
U.S. Ramping Up Probe Against Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Says
Ecuador Denies That Julian Assange Will be Evicted From Embassy in London
At least two people confirmed dead and some are believed to be trapped inside FR Tower in the Bangladeshi capital.
At least two people have been confirmed dead after fire broke out in a 19-storey commercial building in Dhaka on Thursday, officials have told Al Jazeera, weeks after a deadly fire in the Bangladeshi capital left at least 70 people dead.
"Nineteen fire-fighting units are working at the scene. Bangladesh navy and air force have also joined to fight the fire," said Duty Officer Mohammad Russel from Dhaka's central fire service control room.
Several people are believed to be trapped inside the tower in the Banani area of the Bangladeshi capital, according to The Daily Star news website.
Helicopters dropped water on the burning building while hundreds of panicked onlookers crowded the streets in the upmarket commercial district of Banani.
[...] Al Jazeera's Tanveer Chaudhry, reporting from Dhaka, said "at least six people have jumped off the building."
"There are 95 emergency services working and helicopters hovering above ... trying to rescue some people from the roof as well.
"The fire took place on the 9th floor of the building but we don't know under what circumstances."
A massive blaze in Dhaka's old quarter last month killed at least 70 people and injured 50 others.
Had a fire in my apartment building a while back and had to evacuate. Scary.
"Be assured this is just the beginning of the work we'll be doing," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference on Thursday.
[...]Ardern said she expects a new law to be in place by April 11 and buy-back schemes will be established for outlawed weapons.
"Now, six days after this attack, we are announcing a ban on all military style semi-automatics [MSSA] and assault rifles in New Zealand," Ardern said.
She said the man arrested in the attacks on two Christchurch mosques had purchased his weapons legally and enhanced their capacity by using 30-round magazines "done easily through a simple online purchase".
"Related parts used to convert these guns into MSSAs are also being banned, along with all high-capacity magazines.
"In short, every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country," she said.
That was quick.
The text of Article13 and the EU Copyright Directive has just been finalised and it's utterly awful. It is clear what we do now: contact MEPs and get them to vote down the entire package.
Our best bet: The final vote in the plenary of the European Parliament, when all 751 MEPs, directly elected to represent the people, have a vote. This will take place either between March 25 and 28, on April 4 or between April 15 and 18. We've already demonstrated last July that a majority against a bad copyright proposal is achievable.
As many as 200 people are missing after three dams operated by the mining giant Vale collapsed in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, releasing a wave of red mining waste and prompting fears of widespread contamination.
At least 50 people died in the disaster on Friday, Avimar de Melo, mayor of the nearby town of Brumadinho told the Hoje em Dia newspaper. "We don't have any more details because it's all happening very quickly," he said.
Brazilian television showed images of survivors being winched to safety by a helicopter after the disaster at the Feijão mine near Brumadinho, less than two hours from the state capital, Belo Horizonte.
Among those missing were 100 mine workers who were having lunch in an administrative area when it was hit by a torrent of sludge and water, said a fire brigade spokesman, Lieutenant Pedro Aihara.
"Our main worry now is to quickly find out where the missing people are," Aihara said on GloboNews cable television channel.
Videos shared on social media showed houses buried in the mud and local media reported that the nearby Inhotim outdoor art complex had been evacuated though not affected.
The dam collapse came less than four years after Brazil's worst environmental disaster was caused by the failure of a tailings dam at Mariana in the same state. That dam was operated by Samarco, which at the time of the disaster was half-owned by Vale.
"I don't have words to describe my suffering, my enormous sadness, my disappointment in what has just happened. It is beyond anything you can imagine," Vale's CEO, Fabio Schvartsman, said in an address on YouTube.
He said the company had made an "enormous effort" to make its tailings dams safe after the Mariana disaster. "The whole of Vale will do whatever is possible to help the people affected," he said.
UK police say they have made two arrests in connection with criminal drone activity at Gatwick Airport, and urged the public and passengers around the airport to remain vigilant. Britain's second-largest airport reopened on Friday after a mystery saboteur wrought 36 hours of travel chaos for more than 100,000 Christmas travellers by using drones to play cat-and-mouse with police snipers and the army. [...] The defence ministry refused to comment on what technology was deployed, but drone experts said airports needed to deploy specialist radar reinforced by thermal imaging technology to detect such unmanned flying vehicles.
A 47-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman, from Crawley, were arrested in the town at about 22:00 GMT on Friday.
Previously: Army Called in Amid UK Drone Chaos (Updated)
Heavy.com reports that there have been a number of email bomb threats sent out demanding blackmail payments in bitcoin. An example of one message follows:
"Good day. My mercenary has carried the bomb (lead azide) into the building where your business is conducted. My mercenary built the explosive device under my direction. It can be hidden anywhere because of its small size, it is impossible to destroy the supporting building structure by this explosive device, but if it denotates there will be many wounded people.
My recruited person is watching the situation around the building. If he notices any suspicious activity, panic or cops the device will be blown up.
I can call off my man if you make a transfer 20,000 usd is the price for your safety and business. Transfer it to me in Bitcoin and I assure that I have to withdraw my mercenary and the bomb will not detonate. But do not try to deceive me – my guarantee will become valid only after 3 confirmations in blockchain."
So does this sound like somebody who speaks English natively? Can you predict where this is coming from? Can you predict what kind of person sent this? Can you predict what kind of mess this is going to create? Who are you betting is really behind this?
Maine's ranked-choice voting will be used in a federal general election for the first time, after previously using it in the primary system.
Update: Democrats have taken the House of Representatives, while Republicans have retained control of the Senate.
Georgia Secretary of State and Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp opened an investigation into the state's Democratic Party Sunday, alleging a failed attempt to hack the Georgia voter registration system.