LBN- Special Report- Sunday December 27, 2016

Iconic Star Wars Actress Carrie Fisher Dies at 60: ‘She Was Loved by the World and She Will Be Missed Profoundly’:

Carrie Fisher, the actress best known as Star Wars‘ PrincessLeia Organa, has died after suffering a heart attack. She was 60. Family spokesman Simon Halls released a statement to PEOPLE on behalf of Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd: “It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning,” reads the statement. “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly,” says Lourd. “Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers. Fisher was flying from London to Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 23, when she went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics removed her from the flight and rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she was treated for a heart attack. She later died in the hospital.

Reports: George Michael Had Been Fighting ‘Secret’ Heroin Addiction:

George Michael, the British pop icon who died Christmas Day at age 53, had been battling a secret heroin addiction in the months leading up to his death, according to multiple media outlets. Reports in British newspapers Tuesday morning allege that the “Last Christmas” singer, who was arrested while smoking crack cocaine in a public restroom in 2008, had been struggling with addiction in his final days. The Daily Telegraph today quotes a source as saying: “He’s been rushed to A&E on several occasions. He used heroin. I think it’s amazing he’s lasted as long as he has.” The Sun, meanwhile, quoted Michael’s friend, publicist Gary Farrow, saying: “I believe easy access to drugs was the cause of his problems. I thought George was too bright to get involved with illegal substances. But once this disease gets hold of you, it’s hard to fight it.” The death was described as “unexplained but not suspicious” by police at Michael’s $1.8 million home in an Oxfordshire village. Cardiac arrest was given as the cause of death by Michael’s manager, Michael Lipman.

‘TRAUMATIZED CITY’: More Than 50 People Shot In Chicago During Christmas Holiday: 

Chicago continued its horrifying parade of violence over the Christmas holiday with 57 shootings and at least 12 dead. Several surviving victims were seriously or critically injured and battling for their lives, the Chicago Tribune reported. The gun violence from Friday to Monday evening surpassed the steep shooting tally over the holiday last year, when 30 people were shot and six died. Chicago on track to top murder toll of New York and Los Angeles combined.

N. Korea ‘Racing Ahead’ on Nuclear Plan:

A high-profile diplomat from North Korea who recently defected to South Korea said Tuesday that Kim Jong Un is “racing ahead with nuclear development after setting up a plan to develop [nuclear weapons] at all costs by the end of 2017.”  “Due to domestic political procedures, North Korea calculates that South Korea and the U.S. will not be able to take physical or military actions to deter North Korea’s nuclear development,” said Thae Yong Ho, a former employee of the North Korean embassy in London. Thae said the Hermit Kingdom’s leadership has no plans to give up any nuclear weapons, even if offered huge sums of money.

Trump: UN Just a Club for People to ‘Have a Good Time’:

According to Donald Trump, the United Nations is just a “club” for dignitaries to “have a good time.” Several days after the UN voted to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the president-elect wrote on Twitter that the international organization has “such great potential,” but is now “just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!” Trump had previously criticized the Obama administration’s decision to abstain from Friday’s UN vote, warning on Twitter that dealings with the organization will change following his inauguration: “Things will be different after Jan. 20th,” he wrote.

Obama: I Could’ve Beaten Trump:

President Obama said he believes he could have beatenDonald Trump in a presidential election “if I had run again.” In a CNN interview with his former adviser and longtime confidantDavid Axelrod, the outgoing president suggested Hillary Clinton’s campaign played too cautiously and did notsufficiently focus on a message of tolerance, diversity, and the notion that “the Democratic agenda is better for all working people.” He added, “I think I could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it,” before reiterating his support and admiration for Clinton, saying that he recognizes her team “understandably… looked and said, well, given my opponent and the things he’s saying and what he’s doing, we should focus on that.” President-elect Trump, in response, fired back on Twitter—as he is wont to do. “President Obama said that he thinks he would have won against me. He should say that but I say NO WAY!—jobs leaving, ISIS, OCare, etc.” he wrote.

Flight Recorder Found in Russian Plane Crash:

Rescue workers say they have found the flight-data recorders of a Russian military plane that went down in the Black Seaover the weekend with 92 people on board. Officials found the device Tuesday and it will likely hold answers as to why the TU-154 crashed unexpectedly Sunday, just two minutes after taking off from the waterside city of Sochi. Several members of Russia’s renowned military choir were on the plane, heading to a Russian air force base in Syria to perform in a new year’s concert. The flight recorder was found just a mile away from shore. It was flown to a lab outside Moscow and officials said it did not appear to sustain serious damage in the crash. It remains unclear when the data from the recorder will be made available.

Bieber Cites Trump U. Suit in His Case:

Justin Bieber has asked that his deposition video in a legal dispute between himself and an ex-neighbor be shielded so that news organizations can’t have access to it. In a plea to get the deposition sealed, Bieber’s lawyers cited Donald Trump’s order of protection in his Trump University lawsuit. He argued that privacy in lawsuits can be a positive thing, according to TMZ. The former neighbor involved in the suit claims that Bieber terrorized him by egging his house and eventually spitting on him in 2014. Lawyers reportedly believe the deposition video will lead to unwanted media attention. Bieber has, to date, paid the man $90,000 for the egging damage alone.

‘Rogue One’ Holds Top Spot at Holiday Box Office:

Rogue One has continued its winning streak at the holiday box office, raking in a whopping $96 million over a four-day periodin the U.S. and Canada. The Star Wars film beat out new releases like the animated musical Sing and comedy Why Him? to retain its top position. Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for box-office tracker comScore, told the Associated Press it was the Star Wars brand that made Rogue One the favorite holiday movie this year. “The power of the Star Wars brand made it the odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 film on Christmas weekend despite a massive amount of competition,” he was cited as saying. Star Wars dominated the box office last Christmas as well, with The Force Awakens.


LBN-HOLLYWOOD INSIDER:   ***Nicolas Cage is wondering whether the role of Ronald Reagan would damage his career. The Oscar-winning actor has been offered the lead in a movie that will show the conservative president in a flattering light, infuriating the liberal Hollywood crowd — the opposite of “Reagan,” the movie in which Will Ferrell was going to play the president as senile. Cage’s publicist Stephen Huvane declined to discuss the new movie. “It’s way too early in the development process,” he said.

LBN-MUSIC INSIDER:   ***Blondie’s Debbie Harry is collaborating with Shepard Fairey on the artist’s Obey clothing label. She is working on a special-edition women’s line, which will debut next fall. Fairey has described Harry as “an amazing vocalist, lyricist, style icon, beauty and embodiment of NYC cool.”


LBN-NOTICED:   ***Paul McCartney at “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” in NYC this week, with his wife and children. The show’s second act opens with the Beatles song “Chains,” which King wrote with Gerry Goffin. McCartney played some King tunes on the piano backstage, where he was hiding out before the show.   ***Divorced couple David Duchovny and Téa Leoni taking in “Dear Evan Hansen” with their kids and leading the standing ovation.   ***Ethel Kennedy shopping on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Fla., on Christmas Eve.   ***Taylor Swift surprised a 96-year-old World War II veteran with a holiday visit to his Missouri home. Swift showed up on Monday at Cyrus Porter’s home after he became known as the oldest “Swifty,” attending the singer’s concerts with his 20-plus grandchildren.   ***The Boss even does his own holiday shopping. Bruce Springsteen was spotted checking out some last-minute gifts on Christmas Eve at the J.Crew store in the Grove mall in Shrewsbury, NJ. While some people did a double take, most shoppers were nice enough to stand back and let Springsteen buy his socks and sweaters (or whatever he was buying).

LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER:   ***Shares of Warren Buffett’s firm Berkshire Hathaway soared 20% in 2016, helping to boost Buffett’s personal fortune by $12.3 billion – more than any other billionaire in the United States. The Oracle of Omaha is now worth $74.2 billion, enough to make him the 2nd-richest person in the world (behind only Bill Gates, who is worth $84 billion), according to FORBES’ calculations.

LBN-R.I.P.:   ***Comedian and actor Ricky Harris, who had a recurring role in Chris Rock‘s “Everybody Hates Chris” sitcom and voiced several characters that appeared in hip hop albums, died Monday. He was 54. A cause was not immediately available but Harris’ manager, Cindy Ambers, said the comedian suffered a heart attack two years ago.

LBN-COMMENTARY by David Brooks: Perry Link once noticed that Chinese writers use more verbs in their sentences whereas English writers use more nouns. For example, in one passage from the 18th-century Chinese novel “Dream of the Red Chamber,” Cao Xueqin uses 130 nouns and 166 verbs. In a similar passage from “Oliver Twist,” Charles Dickens uses 96 nouns and 38 verbs. This observation is at the core of his New York Review of Books essay “The Mind: Less Puzzling in Chinese?” which is the first winner of this year’s Sidney Awards. I give out the awards, named for the philosopher Sidney Hook, to celebrate some of the best long-form essays of each year. Link notes that Indo-European languages tend to use nouns even when verbs might be more appropriate. Think of the economic concept inflation. We describe it as a thing we can combat, or whip or fight. But it’s really a process. Link takes this thought in a very philosophical direction, but it set me wondering how much our thinking is muddled because we describe actions as things. For example, we say someone has knowledge, happiness or faith (a lot of faith or a little faith, a strong faith or a weak faith); but faith, knowledge and happiness are activities, not objects.

LBN-COMMENTARY by Samantha Power (United States ambassador to the United Nations): Years ago, my friend Richard Holbrooke gave me Clark Clifford’s “Counsel to the President: A Memoir,” which he had helped Clifford write. I wish I had gotten around to reading it before this year, as it is a gripping chronicle of five decades of domestic and foreign policy decision-making in or near the Oval Office, with high drama on the debates over whether to recognize the new state of Israel, how to extricate the United States from the Vietnam War and a host of other questions. I highly recommend it to people interested in government or American history.

LBN-COMMENTARY by DAVID PAUL KUHN: Donald J. Trump won the white working-class vote over Hillary Clinton by a larger margin than any major-party nominee since World War II. Instead of this considerable achievement inspiring introspection, figures from the heights of journalism, entertainment, literature and the Clinton campaign continue to suggest that Mr. Trump won the presidency by appealing to the bigotry of his supporters. As Bill Clinton recently said, the one thing Mr. Trump knows “is how to get angry white men to vote for him.” This stereotyping of Trump voters is not only illiberal, it falsely presumes Mr. Trump won because of his worst comments about women and minorities rather than despite them. In fact, had those people who agreed that Mr. Trump lacked “a sense of decency” voted for Mrs. Clinton, she would have been elected the next president. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump equally won over party loyalists. Yet about one in five voters did not have a favorable view of either candidate. These voters overwhelmingly backed Mr. Trump. Exit polls demonstrated that if voters who disapproved of both candidates had divided evenly between them, Mrs. Clinton would have won.

LBN-SPOTLIGHT: Are You A Brand? —–


LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***George Michael‘s longtime love Kenny Goss is at a loss upon hearing the Wham! singer died Sunday. Goss, who was long described as the love of Michael’s life, tells E! News in a statement that he is in disbelief about what has happened. “I’m heartbroken with the news that my dear friend and longtime love George Michael has passed,” he says. “He was a major part of my life and I loved him very, very much. He was an extremely kind and generous man. The beautiful memories and music he brought to the world will always be an important part of my life and those who also loved and admired him.”   ***Vanessa Lachey and Nick Lachey have welcomed their third child, a baby boy named Phoenix Robert Lachey! The mom of three took to Instagram to announce the exciting news of their baby boy’s arrival, which happened on Christmas Eve.   ***Kylie Jenner’s latest project proves her holiday was hot and heavy. The 19-year-old dropped a steamy short film on Christmas Day, in which the youngest Kardashian-Jenner sibling appears naked and later, wrapped in boyfriend Tyga‘s arms in the shower.

LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu

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