Oscar-nominated British actor John Hurt died Wednesday after a long bout of pancreatic cancer, his representative announced Saturday. He was 77 years old. Perhaps best known for his role in 1980's The Elephant Man, Hurt's career spanned six decades and included roles in the Harry Potter movies as Mr. Ollivander, V for Vendetta, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Doctor Who as the War Doctor. He most recently appeared in Jackie, a biopic about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and completed filming on several projects that will be released posthumously. "John was the most sublime of actors and the most gentlemanly of gentlemen with the greatest of hearts and the most generosity of spirit," Hurt's wife, Anwen, said in a statement. "He touched all our lives with joy and magic and it will be a strange world without him."
Source: Reuters, BBC News
The death toll from weekend storms that tore across the South rose to at least 18 on Sunday. Fourteen people were killed in Georgia, including three who died in Dougherty County when a tornado caused widespread destruction. Storms hit from northern Florida to South Carolina, and west to Mississippi. Severe thunderstorms in Florida's panhandle resulted in a tornado watch in 30 counties in north and central Florida on Sunday night.
Source: USA Today, The Weather Channel
President Obama commuted the sentences of 330 federal prisoners on Thursday, continuing a record-breaking push to shorten the prison terms of people convicted of federal drug crimes. The final clemency offers added up to the biggest one-day total in U.S. history, and increased the number of commutations Obama has granted to 1,716, far more than any other president. Obama has said the commutations were a necessary remedy to decades of tough mandatory sentences for drug crimes that left thousands of prisoners behind bars for too long.
Source: The Associated Press
ObamaCare is more popular than ever as Republicans start the process of repealing it, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday. President-elect Donald Trump, who takes the oath of office Friday, has promised to repeal the law and replace it potentially within the "same hour." The poll, however, found 45 percent of Americans now say the Affordable Care Act is "a good idea," the highest approval level since the poll first asked the question in April 2009. Forty-one percent of Americans say the health care law is "a bad idea." Twenty-six percent of Americans said they had a "great deal" or "quite a bit of confidence" that the GOP would find a suitable replacement, while 50 percent said they had "very little" or no confidence.
Source: NBC News
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office issued a report Tuesday estimating that at least 18 million people would lose health insurance in the first year if Republicans repeal ObamaCare without replacing it. The number without health insurance coverage would rise to 32 million in a decade, and premiums would double. Republicans are rushing to make good on a promise that people won't lose coverage. President-elect Donald Trump said over the weekend that he was completing a plan to provide "insurance for everybody." Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the outgoing secretary for health and human services, said that so far "we really haven't seen a plan" to replace provisions of the Affordable Care Act that Republicans want to dismantle.
Source: The Washington Post
American Apparel will close all 110 of its U.S. stores within 100 days, the company announced Saturday, after being purchased by Montreal-based Gildan Activewear in an $88 million deal that does not include the brick-and-mortar locations. Known for its risqué marketing and American-made products, the clothing retailer was once valued at $1 billion, but it has not turned a profit in seven years. Its store closures follow similar recent announcements from brands including Macy's, The Limited, CVS, and Sears.
Source: Adweek, The A.V. Club
At least 18 House Democrats will not attend President-elect Donald Trump's inauguration ceremonies this Friday, with some planning to leave for their home districts and others intending to march with protesters in Washington. Among those boycotting is Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the civil rights leader whom Trump criticized as "all talk" in the weekend before Martin Luther King Day. House Democratic leadership, however, will be there. "That's my responsibility," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). "It is the wonderful thing about our country, the peaceful transfer of power." Broader anti-Trump protests started in Washington Saturday, with about 2,000 people rallying on the National Mall.
Source: Politico, CNN
Several protesters, including NAACP President Cornell William Brooks, were arrested Tuesday after an hours-long sit-in by about two dozen civil rights activists at the Mobile, Alabama, office of Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald J. Trump's nominee for attorney general. The protesters criticized Sessions' record on voting rights and race relations, and Brooks said he was "the worst possible nominee for attorney general at the worst possible moment," given ongoing controversies over voter suppression and police use of force against African-Americans. A Sessions spokeswoman called the NAACP's criticisms "false portrayals" that have been "rebuked and discredited." The sit-in came as 1,100 law school professors sent a letter urging the Senate not to confirm Sessions.
Source: Reuters, The New York Times
At least 56 inmates were killed in a two-day riot that ended Monday at a prison in northern Brazil. The incident at the Anisio Jobim penitentiary started as a fight and escalated into an overnight battle in which several inmates were decapitated. The clash stemmed from a dispute between two drug-trafficking gangs. A local gang, called the Northern Family, attacked inmates linked to the Sao Paulo-based First Capital Command, Brazil's largest narco-trafficking gang. The gangs smuggled guns into the prison and took 74 inmates and 12 police officers hostage.
Source: The Washington Post, CNN
Hundreds of sub-Saharan African migrants stormed a border fence in a bid to get into Spain's North African enclave of Ceuta from Morocco on Sunday. Spain said the number of migrants who attempted the crossing reached 1,100. All reportedly were sent back to Morocco, except for two who were taken to a hospital in Ceuta. Morocco put the number of migrants at 800, and said they all had been arrested. Five police officers from Spain and 50 from Morocco were injured. In early December, another 400 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa forced their way over the Ceuta border.
About This Blog
Certain numerology has a strong connection with occultism. Various numbers from time-to-time appear in news articles, and one has to wonder if there isn't some occult significance behind this story.