Category Archives: History

Japanese Billionaire Yusaku Maezawa To Be First Private Citizen To Fly Around The Moon With Space X

By: Michael Sheetz of CNBC

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa signed with SpaceX to fly around the moon on the company’s next generation rocket, CEO Elon Musk announced on Monday.

Maezawa will attempt to be the first to return to the moon in nearly half a century, launching aboard a Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which SpaceX is developing. BFR is the flagship for Musk’s vision of creating a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars, and testing on the behemoth rocket is expected to begin next year.

The trip is expected to launch in 2023.

“Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon. It’s always there and continues to inspire humanity,” said Maezawa, one of the richest people in Japan, who made his fortune as the founder of online retailers Start Today and Zozotown.

SpaceX announced in February 2017 that two passengers would be flying around the moon in the company’s Crew Dragon capsule, launched by its Falcon Heavy rocket. But earlier this year, Musk said SpaceX was considering using BFR instead and on Monday confirmed that Maezawa is “the same person” who was announced before, just with a larger group now onboard.

BFR is a massive, 35-story tall rocket designed to launch and land like SpaceX’s Falcon 9, but also carrying dozens of people on board instead of just satellites. Musk confirmed BFR’s “design has been changed,” after receiving questions about new renders of the rocket posted online.

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Burt Reynolds Passes at 82

By: Mike Barnes of Hollywood Reporter

Burt Reynolds, the charismatic star of such films as Deliverance, The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit who set out to have as much fun as possible on and off the screen — and wildly succeeded — has died. He was 82.

Reynolds, who received an Oscar nomination when he portrayed porn director Jack Horner in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights (1997) and was the No. 1 box-office attraction for a five-year stretch starting in the late 1970s, died Thursday morning at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida, his manager, Erik Kritzer, told The Hollywood Reporter.

The cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest.

Always with a wink, Reynolds shined in many action films (often doing his own stunts) and in such romantic comedies as Starting Over (1979) opposite Jill Clayburgh and Candice Bergen; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) with Dolly Parton; Best Friends (1982) with Goldie Hawn; and, quite aptly, The Man Who Loved Women (1983) with Julie Andrews.

Though beloved by audiences for his brand of frivolous, good-ol’-boy fare, the playful Reynolds rarely was embraced by the critics. The first time he saw himself in Boogie Nights, he was so unhappy he fired his agent. (He went on to win a Golden Globe but lost out in the Oscar supporting actor race to Robin Williams for Good Will Hunting, a bitter disappointment for him.)

“I didn’t open myself to new writers or risky parts because I wasn’t interested in challenging myself as an actor. I was interested in having a good time,” Reynolds recalled in his 2015 memoir, But Enough About Me. “As a result, I missed a lot of opportunities to show I could play serious roles. By the time I finally woke up and tried to get it right, nobody would give me a chance.”

Still, Reynolds had nothing to apologize for. He was Hollywood’s top-grossing star every year from 1978 through 1982, equaling the longest stretch the business had seen since the days of Bing Crosby in the 1940s. In 1978, he had four movies playing in theaters at the same time.

Reynolds’ career also is marked by the movies he didn’t make. Harrison Ford, Jack Nicholson and Bruce Willis surely were grateful after he turned down the roles of Han Solo, retired astronaut Garrett Breedlove and cop John McClane in Star Wars, Terms of Endearment and Die Hard, respectively. He often said that passing on James L. Brooks’ Endearment was one of his worst career mistakes. (Nicholson won an Oscar for playing Breedlove.)

Reynolds also indicated he was Milos Forman’s first choice to play R.P. McMurphy (another Nicholson Oscar-winning turn) in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, “backed away” from playing Batman on TV in the 1960s and declined the part made famous by Richard Gere in Pretty Woman.

In John Boorman’s Deliverance (1972), based on a book by James Dickey, Reynolds starred as macho survivalist Lewis Medlock, one of four guys from Atlanta who head to the wilderness for the weekend. Filmed by Vilmos Zsigmond along the Chattooga River near the Georgia-South Carolina border, it was an arduous production that Boorman shot in sequence.

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U.S. Citizenship Proves Useless To Dozens Of Passport Renewals

By: Kevin Sieff

On paper, he’s a devoted U.S. citizen.

His official American birth certificate shows he was delivered by a midwife in Brownsville, at the southern tip of Texas. He spent his life wearing American uniforms: three years as a private in the Army, then as a cadet in the Border Patrol and now as a state prison guard.

But when Juan, 40, applied to renew his U.S. passport this year, the government’s response floored him. In a letter, the State Department said it didn’t believe he was an American citizen.

As he would later learn, Juan is one of a growing number of people whose official birth records show they were born in the United States but who are now being denied passports — their citizenship suddenly thrown into question. The Trump administration is accusing hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Hispanics along the border of using fraudulent birth certificates since they were babies, and it is undertaking a widespread crackdown.

In a statement, the State Department said that it “has not changed policy or practice regarding the adjudication of passport applications,” adding that “the U.S.-Mexico border region happens to be an area of the country where there has been a significant incidence of citizenship fraud.”

But cases identified by The Washington Post and interviews with immigration attorneys suggest a dramatic shift in both passport issuance and immigration enforcement.

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Queen Of Soul, Aretha Franklin, Funeral Services On August 31, 2018

Aretha Franklin Funeral Service On August 31, 2018
 
Official Program 
 
Full list of speakers, performers slated to appear
By Ken Haddad

DETROIT – The full program for Aretha Franklin’s funeral service on Friday, Aug. 31 has been released.

Local 4 plans to carry the funeral live on-air and on ClickOnDetroit.com. Coverage begins at 9 a.m.

Here’s a look at the full list of speakers and performers:
 
9:30-9:50 a.m.: Musical Prelude: Aretha Franklin Orchestra
9:50-10:00 a.m.: Lighting of Candles: Swanson Funeral Home, Inc.
10:00-10:20 a.m.: Processional: Clergy, Ministers and Family
10:20-10:25 a.m.: Prayer of Comfort: Dr. E.L. Branch, Pastor, Third New Hope Church
10:25-10:40 a.m.: Scripture of Comfort:
10:25 a.m.: Old Testament: Bishop T.D. Jakes, Potter’s House, Dallas, TX
10:30 a.m.: New Testament: Pastor Solomon Kinloch, Triumph Church
10:35 a.m.: The Psalm: Bishop P.A. Brooks, Pastor, New St. Paul Tabernacle Church
10:40-10:45 a.m.: Musical Tribute: Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir
10:45-10:49 a.m.: Musical Tribute: Faith Hill
10:49-11:03 a.m.: Remarks:
10:49 a.m.: Brenda Jones, City Council President
10:51 a.m.: JoAnn Watson, Detroit City Council
10:53 a.m.: Mike Duggan, Mayor, City of Detroit
10:57 a.m.: Governor Rick Snyder, State of Michigan
11:03-11:08 a.m.: Musical Tribute: Ariana Grande
1108-11:13 a.m.: Musical Tribute: The Clark Sisters
11:13-11:18 a.m: Acknowledgements and Condolences: Barbara Sampson
11:18-11:23 a.m.: Musical Tribute: The Williams Brothers & Vanessa Bell Armstrong
11:23-11:40 a.m.: Family Reflections: Vaughn, Cristal, Victorie & Jordan Franklin
11:40-11:45 a.m.: Family Musical Tribute: Edward Franklin
11:45-11:50 a.m.: Obituary: Sabrina Owens
11:50-11:55 a.m.: Musical Tribute: Alice McAllister Tillman
11:55-12:00 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Audrey DuBois Harris
12:00-12:15 p.m.: Personal Remarks:
12:00 p.m.: Eric Holder, Former U.S. Attorney General
12:10 p.m.: Former President, William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton
12:15-12:19 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Pastor Shirley Caesar and Tasha Cobbs-Leonard
12:19-12:36 p.m.: Personal Reflections :
12:19 p.m.: Greg Mathis, Retired Judge, 36th District Court, Detroit, MI
12:23 p.m.: Brenda Lawrence, State Representative, 14th Congressional District
12:27 p.m.: Rev. Donald L. Parsons, Logos Assembly Church, Chicago, IL
12:31 p.m.: Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder, National Action Network
12:36-12:41 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Chaka Khan
12:41-12:51 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Ron Isley
12:51 p.m.: Rev. Jesse Jackson, Founder/President Rainbow P.U.S.H. Coalition
1:00 p.m.: Dr. William J. Barber, II, Pastor, Greenleaf Christian Church, Goldsborough N.C
1:05 p.m.: Rev. James Holley, Retired Pastor, New Light Missionary Baptist Church
1:10-1:15 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Fantasia Barrino-Taylor
1:15-1:30 p.m: Personal Reflections :
1:15 p.m.: Tyler Perry
1:17 p.m.: Cicely Tyson, Actress
1:20 p.m.: Clive Davis, Chief Creative Officer, Sony Music
1:25 p.m.: Smokey Robinson, Recording Artist
1:30-1:34 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Bishop Paul Morton and Yolanda Adams
1:34-1:53 p.m.: Personal Reflections :
1:34 p.m.: Mildred Gaddis, Radio Personality
1:38 p.m.: Isaiah Thomas, Former NBA Player, Detroit Pistons
1:42 p.m.: Ron Moten, Personal Friend, Franchise Owner, McDonald’s Restaurants
1:48 p.m.: Michael Eric Dyson, Professor of Sociology, Georgetown University
1:53-2:00 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Bishop Marvin Sapp and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir
2:00-2:05 p.m.: Sermonic Selection: Jennifer Hudson
2:05-2:35 p.m.: Eulogy: Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr., Pastor, Salem Baptist Church, Atlanta GA
2:35-2:45 p.m.: Musical Tribute: Stevie Wonder joined by National Artists
2:45-3:00 p.m.: Recessional: Jennifer Holliday and the Aretha Franklin Celebration Choir

F I N AL VERSION

CELEBRATION OF LIFE

Bishop Charles H. Ellis III, Officiant

Rev. Robert Smith Jr., Co-Offician
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Uk And EU Join In Agreement To Block Trump’s Iran Sanction

By: Benjamin Kentish of Independent

The UK has agreed to work with the EU to try to block the impact of Donald Trump‘s new sanctions against Iran.

Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, signed a joint statement with other EU foreign ministers to ensure European companies doing business with Iran will be protected.

The ministers promised to introduce a “blocking statute” to ban European firms from abiding by the US sanctions, which were reimposed by Mr Trump on Monday.

The US president decided to reintroduce the penalties after withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

The European foreign ministers said the lifting of Western sanctions was “essential” to the deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which involved Iran agreeing not to pursue development of nuclear weapons.

Mr Hunt signed the statement along with EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and foreign ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian of France and Heiko Maas of Germany.

They said they “deeply regret” Mr Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions and argued that 11 consecutive reports bythe International Atomic Energy Agency confirm the Iran deal “is working”.

The statement said: “It is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, crucial for the security of Europe, the region, and the entire world. We expect Iran to continue to fully implement all its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA.

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Trump Administration With Less Transparency

By: Jon Sopel of BBC

Every now and then a few disparate things collide, and suddenly you see a pattern. And I don’t want this blog to come across as faux naĂŻve. I’ve covered politics for long enough to know that politicians will try to shape and mould truth to best suit their purposes, to allow them to weaponise the facts that will give them greatest advantage.

And I know that politicians love transparency when it best suits them. But in the past two weeks, a line has been crossed.

Let me start with something seemingly minor. I was listening to the president and Theresa May at their news conference in the Chequers garden when Donald Trump, talking about Brexit, suddenly made the statement that he had predicted the result when he was at his golf course in Turnberry for the opening of his wonderful golf course the day before the EU referendum in June 2016.

Anyway back to my tweet saying the president was factually incorrect. Straight back shot Stephanie Grisham, who is the first lady’s director of communications, but more importantly at the time was Donald Trump’s press person for the trip to Turnberry.

She told me on Twitter the president was right to say what he had said – and she had the photos to prove it.

So we produced the tweet from the president on the 24th saying “Just arrived in Scotland…” and from her saying that she had just arrived in Scotland.

Someone else found the flight manifest, confirming that the Trump private jet had arrived on the 24th. I fully agree a storm in a teacup. This is not the sort of thing on which world peace hinges.

But I struggle to fathom Steph’s motives. Why did she go wading in to defend a lie? And why when the proof was provided that she was incorrect did she not just say “fair enough – my mistake”.

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Controversy In The Putin Trump Meeting

By : Amanda Macias & Tucker Higgins of CNBC

President Donald Trump on Monday said at a joint briefing with Russian President Vladimir Putin that while he had “great confidence” in the U.S. intelligence community, Putin was “extremely strong and powerful in his denial” that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The president blamed “both countries” for the strained relationship. When a reporter asked the president if he would denounce Russia’s efforts to interfere in the presidential election, Trump raised the issue of Hillary Clinton’s email server.

“I think it’s a disgrace we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 e-mails. I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said.

“I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia that interfered with the 2016 election, Trump said.

Putin told Trump during the summit Monday that he never meddled in the election. At the briefing, Putin called the allegations “nonsense,” and offered to allow special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators into Russia.

“The Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs including election process,” Putin said during the briefing alongside Trump.

The comments from the two leaders came during a free-wheeling press briefing at the tail end of Trump’s raucous European tour. While the two leaders discussed issues ranging from the Syrian Civil War to nuclear nonproliferation, critics are likely to seize on what was left unsaid: Three days after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian nationals for interfering in a U.S. election, Trump offered Putin nothing but praise.

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Trump Signs Executive Order To Halt Family Separations

By: Andrew Restuccia, Lorraine Woellert of politico

President Donald Trump signed an executive action Wednesday that ends the administration’s policy of separating migrant families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, abandoning the president’s previous stance that only Congress can fix the problem.

“I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated,” the president told reporters in the Oval Office, flanked by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Vice President Mike Pence. “I think anybody with a heart would feel strongly about it. We don’t like to see families separated.”

Yet Trump said that he wanted to continue enforcing a strong policy at the border, an issue he campaigned on: “We are keeping a very powerful border and it continues to be a zero tolerance. We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally.”

The action came after Trump and his team faced harsh criticism from lawmakers, activists, religious leaders and former first ladies over the separation of children from their parents in custody, which was panned almost universally as cruel and damaging to the kids’ well-being.

It was a remarkable shift from a president who is typically reluctant to bow to outside pressure. He often doubles down on his existing stance when confronted with criticism.

With cable news flashing images of migrant children held in cages and lawmakers’ offices facing a flood of angry phone calls, the president was under increased pressure to come up with a speedy solution. White House aides came to the conclusion on Wednesday that Congress was unlikely to act quickly to resolve the crisis, even though they sent signals that Trump would be willing to sign a narrow, stand-alone fix without other immigration-related provisions.

The decision to end the separation policy via executive action appeared to have happened quickly, and some in the White House were left in the dark. Key members of the White House legislative affairs team, which had been working with Hill lawmakers in a bid to find a legislative fix, were left out of the loop and hadn’t seen text of the executive action as of early Wednesday afternoon, according to two people familiar with the issue.

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North Korea and US Leaders Meet Face To Face

By : Everett Rosenfield & Nyshka Chandran

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met face-to-face Tuesday morning for their highly anticipated summit. After hours of talks, the U.S. president said he was heading toward “a signing” with Kim, but there was no immediate indication of what sort of agreement would be signed.

The summit began with the two men briefly shaking hands and taking a photo side-by-side, then moving to another room, where they sat and made brief statements for the press.

“We’re going to have a great discussion and, I think, tremendous success. It will be tremendously successful. And it’s my honor,” Trump said.

“We will have a terrific relationship — I have no doubt,” the president added.

For his part, the North Korean leader said, “It was not easy to get here. The past worked as fetters on our limbs, and the old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward. But we overcame all of them, and we are here today,” according to a translation provided by the White House.

Trump responded: “That’s true.”

Following those comments, the two leaders began what was said to be a one-on-one meeting, with only translators in attendance.

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NASA Makes Organic Material On Mars

By: NASA

NASA’s Curiosity rover has found new evidence preserved in rocks on Mars that suggests the planet could have supported ancient life, as well as new evidence in the Martian atmosphere that relates to the search for current life on the Red Planet. While not necessarily evidence of life itself, these findings are a good sign for future missions exploring the planet’s surface and subsurface.

The new findings – “tough” organic molecules in three-billion-year-old sedimentary rocks near the surface, as well as seasonal variations in the levels of methane in the atmosphere – appear in the June 8 edition of the journal Science.

Organic molecules contain carbon and hydrogen, and also may include oxygen, nitrogen and other elements. While commonly associated with life, organic molecules also can be created by non-biological processes and are not necessarily indicators of life.

“With these new findings, Mars is telling us to stay the course and keep searching for evidence of life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, in Washington. “I’m confident that our ongoing and planned missions will unlock even more breathtaking discoveries on the Red Planet.”

“Curiosity has not determined the source of the organic molecules,” said Jen Eigenbrode of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who is lead author of one of the two new Science papers. “Whether it holds a record of ancient life, was food for life, or has existed in the absence of life, organic matter in Martian materials holds chemical clues to planetary conditions and processes.”

Although the surface of Mars is inhospitable today, there is clear evidence that in the distant past, the Martian climate allowed liquid water – an essential ingredient for life as we know it – to pool at the surface. Data from Curiosity reveal that billions of years ago, a water lake inside Gale Crater held all the ingredients necessary for life, including chemical building blocks and energy sources.

“The Martian surface is exposed to radiation from space. Both radiation and harsh chemicals break down organic matter,” said Eigenbrode. “Finding ancient organic molecules in the top five centimeters of rock that was deposited when Mars may have been habitable, bodes well for us to learn the story of organic molecules on Mars with future missions that will drill deeper.”

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