LBN – Special Report – Thursday

Jobless Claims Hit a 43-Year Low

The number of Americans filing for first-time state unemployment benefits last week dropped to the lowest point on record since the Nixon administration. Labor Department data released Tuesday show claims for the week of April 16 fell 6,000 to an unexpectedly small 247,000—a level not matched since late November 1973. Analysts say the drop reflects an increasingly strong job market and a relative lack of  layoffs, despite broader worries about the strength of the U.S. economy.

*TRAGEDY: Fans, Celebrities Mourn Prince’s Death

Tributes to Prince poured in Thursday after his publicist confirmed the prolific pop singer, whose superstardom spanned more than three decades, had died at age 57. “He was someone who combined not just rock and roll and R&B and funk, but he combined the traditions of protest music with dance music,” Joe Levy, contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine told NBC News. The iconic singer was found dead in his suburban Minneapolis home. Fans quickly began gathering outside Paisley Park to share their memories of Prince.

*THINK FREELY – READ LBN

*Curt Schilling Terminated by ESPN

ESPN has fired baseball analyst Curt Schilling after he shared a controversial Facebook post making fun of transgender people. A statement from ESPN said Schilling “has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.” He has made these kinds of comments in the past, previously being suspended for comparing radical Muslims to Nazis on Twitter.

*WHO READS LBN? Brother/sister duo Wild Belle

*LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER:   ***Volkswagen is close to completing a deal to resolve claims in the United States over its admission that it rigged vehicles to cheat on pollution tests, according to three people involved in the case. A deal, if completed, is expected to include fines from regulators and compensation to owners that could collectively cost Volkswagen billions of dollars. The three people spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the continuing legal matter.

*UNIQUELY, LBN: China G., an LBN reader from Montreal, Canada.

*LBN-MEDIA INSIDER:   ***It seemed like an innocent enough announcement: Michael Strahan, the former football player turned television personality, was shifting assignments on ABC’s morning lineup, the network said Tuesday. He would leave “Live: Kelly and Michael” in September to become a co-anchor on “Good Morning America.” But there was rancor behind the scenes. Mr. Strahan’s co-host, Kelly Ripa, was told of the move just minutes before the announcement, and felt blindsided, said a person who has spoken to her about ABC’s decision. And she made little attempt to conceal her displeasure, skipping Wednesday’s edition on “Live.” ABC said she would not appear on the show for the rest of the week and would be replaced by Erin Andrews.

*LBN-INVESTIGATES: At around 6 months old, a baby learns that each object is unique. Before this time, whenever it sees a bird in a tree, it always assumes it was the same bird.

*DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that nine (9) members of the Carnegie Hall staff read LBN daily?

*LBN-SPOTLIGHT: Celebrate the unique Gramercy Park area in New York City. Visit the page and click “Like”:  www.facebook.com/bestofgramercyparkaward

*LBN-R.I.P.:   ***Former WWE wrestler Joanie Laurer, best known as Chyna, has died at the age of 45, her manager confirmed early Thursday. Chyna was found dead in bed at her Redondo Beach, California, home, ABC7’s George Pennacchio reports. Most remembered as a WWF wrestler from 1997 to 2001, Chyna went on to pose in Playboy and wrote an autobiography, If They Only Knew. A statement posted to her official Twitter account said, “It is with deep sadness to inform you today that we lost a true icon, a real life superhero. Joanie Laurer aka Chyna, the 9th wonder of the world, passed away. She will live forever in the memories of her millions of fans and all of us that loved her.”

*LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:….

*LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***“Natural Born Killers” ­actress-turned-rocker Juliette Lewis has found love with Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk.   ***Having a reputation for being difficult in Hollywood sent Katherine Heigl to the therapist’s couch. “I had never done therapy . . . until a couple of years ago, and I started going because of the scrutiny, and I was not handling it well. I was feeling completely like the biggest piece of [bleep] on the bottom of your shoe,” the “Knocked Up” star told Howard Stern on SiriusXM Wednesday. “I was really struggling with it, and how not to take it all really personally, and not to feel there’s something really deeply wrong with me.”

LBN E-Lert Edited By Marcelle Luna

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