DRIVING WHILE TEXTING! — Auto-Pedestrian Deaths Soar Across the U.S.
America’s pedestrian deaths climbed by 25 percent between 2010 and 2015, with 28,642 people killed nationally after being struck by vehicles. According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrians now make up 15 percent of all people killed in traffic accidents. “Unfortunately, this latest data shows that the U.S. is not meeting the mark on keeping pedestrians safe on our roadways,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the association. The use of smartphones by both pedestrians and drivers was listed as a contributing factor in the increase, as well as improved economic conditions and low gas prices putting more drivers on the road.
Malaysia Agrees to Return Kim Jong Nam’s Body to North Korea
Malaysia has agreed to return the body of Kim Jong Nam to North Korea, officials said Thursday. Kim, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was killed at the Kuala Lumpur airport last month when he was poisoned with a banned nerve agent. In exchange for Kim’s body, Pyongyang will return nine Malaysians who were being held there. North Korea has been blamed for the killing, but has steadfastly denied involvement. Earlier Thursday, Reuters reported that Malaysian authorities initially misidentified Kim after his death as a South Korean citizen. Officials reportedly confused the south and the north after reading Kim’s passport.
Report: Obama Admin Stopped Comey Revealing Russian Meddling
FBI Director James Comey tried to make public information about Russia’s interference in the U.S. presidential election in the summer of 2016, but was blocked by the Obama administration, according to a Newsweek report. “He had a draft of it or an outline. He held up a piece of paper in a meeting and said, ‘I want to go forward. What do people think of this?’” a source told Newsweek. That June or July meeting allegedly included National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The information would have been disseminated via an op-ed, likely in The New York Times, and it would have included much of the same information released by the FBI in January. It wasn’t until October that the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence officially and publicly accused the Russian government of meddling in the U.S. election. According to the report, the officials batted down Comey’s idea because they believed the announcement would fall flat and should instead come in the form of a coordinated message instead, signed off on by multiple agencies.
LBN-INVESTIGATES: Perhaps the grass is equally green on both sides. A new study finds that people in open relationships are actually just as happy as individuals who prefer monogamy. Researchers at the University of Michigan surveyed 2,124 people at least 25 years old about the quality of their relationship and/or partner. About 90% of those who took part were recruited from Craigslist. The sample group was found to consist of 1,507 individuals in monogamous relationships and 617 people in consensual non-monogamous (CNM) relationships. Fifty-one percent of CNM participants were in polyamorous relationships, 25% identified as swingers, and 25% were in open relationships.
737 American Airlines Co-Pilot Dies During Flight
An American Airlines co-pilot died after suffering a health problem aboard a Boeing 737-800 as the crew was two miles out from landing in Albuquerque on Wednesday. Flight 1353 was en route from Dallas-Fort Worth when William “Mike” Grubbs became incapacitated for an unspecified reason, and the captain declared an emergency, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said. The plane landed safely at the airport, where paramedics boarded. CNN reports that emergency personnel performed CPR for nearly 45 minutes before pronouncing Grubbs dead. “We are taking care of First Officer Grubbs’s family and colleagues, and our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time,” American Airlines said in a statement.
LBN-WHERE THE ELITE AND UNDERDOGS MEET:
LBN-INVESTIGATES: Over 51 billion pieces of litter are thrown onto the roads in the United States annually. Litter cleanup costs an estimated $11.5 billion in the U.S. each year
F.D.A. Nominee, Paid Millions by Industry, Says He’ll Recuse Himself if Needed
has repeatedly slammed pharmaceutical companies for “getting away with murder” on soaring drug prices, but he and his nominee to head the Food and Drug Administration have pledged to ease industry regulations and speed approvals for medicines and other consumer products. The nominee, Dr. Scott Gottlieb
, has spent the bulk of his career working in the drug and health care industry, which experts say raises the potential for myriad conflicts of interest. If confirmed to head the F.D.A., he would wield considerable power over companies and investment firms that have paid him millions of dollars over the years. From 2013 to 2015, for example, Dr. Gottlieb received more than $150,000 to advise Vertex Pharmaceuticals, a company whose two approved drugs are seen as breakthrough treatments for cystic fibrosis but carry list prices of more than $250,000 a year. He’s the acting chief executive of Cell Biotherapy, an early-stage cancer biotech firm that he helped found. He has served for years as a consultant to pharmaceutical giants like GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb and is paid by other companies for his expertise.
***As of a few weeks ago, advertisements for JPMorgan Chase
were appearing on about 400,000 websites a month. It is the sort of eye-popping number that has become the norm these days for big companies that use automated tools to reach consumers online. Now, as more and more brands find their ads popping up next to toxic content like fake news sites or offensive YouTube videos, JPMorgan has limited its display ads to about 5,000 websites it has preapproved, said Kristin Lemkau
, the bank’s chief marketing officer. Surprisingly, the company is seeing little change in the cost of impressions or the visibility of its ads on the internet, she said. An impression is generally counted each time an ad is shown. The change illustrates the new skepticism with which major marketers are approaching online ad platforms and the automated technology placing their brands on millions of websites. In recent years, advertisers have increasingly shunned buying ads on individual sites in favor of cheaply targeting groups of people across the web based on their browsing habits, a process known as programmatic advertising — enabling, say, a Gerber ad to show up on a local mother’s blog, or a purse in an online shopping cart to follow a person around the internet for weeks. **Dogged by combustible smartphones and recalls of other devices, Samsung Electronics is hoping to find a path to product redemption. The South Korean company on Wednesday introduced the Galaxy S8
, its first major smartphone release since the scandal over its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, which were discontinued last year after some of the devices spontaneously caught fire. “It’s been a challenging year for Samsung,” said D.J. Koh
, the company’s head of mobile devices, adding that Samsung was ready to start anew. ***Several months before filing a lawsuit against Uber, Google demanded arbitration against the head of Uber’s self-driving car unit, claiming that he used confidential salary information while trying to poach former colleagues to a new venture that he eventually sold to Uber. Google’s previously undisclosed legal action against Anthony Levandowski
, who is accused by Waymo of stealing corporate secrets when he worked there and taking them to Uber, came out in a motion filed by Uber’s lawyers on Wednesday. Waymo, an autonomous car business, spun out into its own subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, in December.
WHO READS LBN? Actor Jack Roth:
LBN-MUSIC INSIDER: ***Part of music icon Bob Dylan’s once-secret 6,000-piece archive, including thousands of hours of studio sessions, film reels and caches of unpublished lyrics, has opened in Oklahoma, curators announced this week. More than 1,000 pieces spanning Dylan’s six-decade career are available to scholars at the Gilcrease Museum’s Helmerich Center for American Research in Tulsa.
***CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller
is taking a leave of absence after suffering a “mild heart attack,”. In a memo to staff on Wednesday
, Geller announced that he’d be “resting at home for a couple of weeks,” and that he is “on track for a full recovery.” He won’t return to the network until the end of May, which puts him out of commission for the network’s Upfront presentation on May 17
LBN-BOOK NEWS: ***Kirstie Alley auditioned for Glenn Close’s iconic “I’m not going to be ignored” stalker role in “Fatal Attraction” — but while Alley didn’t land the role, she contributed a key part to the film. In the new book, “Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker,” ex-Paramount CEO Lansing recalls Alley read for the role but, “Her [then] husband [Parker Stevenson] had been stalked by a woman who camped outside their house and made their lives hell. Kirstie had saved a tape of the woman’s calls and gave it to [director] Adrian [Lyne]. You could hear the woman crying as she begged to be part of this man’s life. Adrian ended up using it verbatim.
LBN-TODAY’S BIRTHDAY: Eric Patrick Clapton (1945)
|Considered to be one of the greatest guitar players of all time, Clapton took up the instrument as a teen and went on to play in a succession of critically acclaimed blues and rock bands, such as the Yardbirds, the Bluesbreakers, and Cream. He is the recipient of 17 Grammy awards and is a three-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the early 70s, he spent several years in seclusion battling a heroin addiction
LBN-COMMENTARY by Thomas B. Edsall: How prepared is our president for the next great foreign, economic or terrorist crisis? After a little more than two months in office, President Trump has raised doubts about his ability to deal with what the former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld famously described as the “known unknowns” and the “unknown unknowns.” “President Trump seems to have no awareness whatsoever of what he does and does not know,” Steven Nadler, a professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, wrote me. “He is ignorant of his own ignorance.” During his first 63 days in office, Trump made 317 “false or misleading claims,” according to The Washington Post.
LBN-COMMENTARY by Catherin LaBaigue: Strange that the House Intelligence Committee investigation isn’t covered in LBN. Nunes odd behavior in the press isn’t covered. Nunes obtaining leaked docs not covered. Calls to recuse Nunes as Chair of House Intelligence Committee and Ryan’s defense, not covered. Gorsuch isn’t covered. Trump’s Russian story isn’t covered. NATO not covered. Tillerson’s visit to Turkey not covered. Passage of removal of Internet privacy protections in the House, not covered. Why?
LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:….
LBN-OVERHEARD: ****Michael J. Fox is speaking out on efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut Medicare. The actor who suffers from Parkinson’s disease tells AARP The Magazine that Parkinson’s patients spend thousands of dollars out of pocket in health care expenses. He said a potential cut in benefits isn’t politics, but rather, “that’s our lives.” Fox spoke to lawmakers on Capitol Hill last month. ***To help shed her early reputation, Angelina Jolie agreed to be drug tested during production of 2001’s “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” according to a new book. The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday released an excerpt from an upcoming biography of the former studio head Sherry Lansing, “Leading Lady.” Lansing stepped down as Paramount Pictures chairman and chief executive in 2005. When casting the then 24-year-old Jolie for “Lara Croft,” Lansing had concerns about Jolie’s stability. This was shortly before the actress wed Billy Bob Thornton.
LBN E-Lert Edited By Dan Gaylord
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