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Jim Vance, Longtime D.C. News Anchor, Dies at 75

22 July, by Aric Jenkins[ —]

Jim Vance, the longest-serving news anchor of Washington, D.C., died Saturday at the age of 75, NBC affiliate WRC-TV reported.

Vance, who anchored NBC4’s news desk for more than 45 years, told viewers in May that he was undergoing treatment for cancer, but did not reveal what type of cancer he was diagnosed with.

“So I have been getting that treatment, and I have been coming into work with my partners here whenever I can, and I shall continue to do that. In fact, I will insist on doing that,” Vance said on-air at the time. “I love what I do.”

“For more than 45 years, Jim Vance was not only the soul of NBC4 but of the entire Washington area. His smooth voice, brilliant mind and unforgettable laugh leaves each of us with a tremendous void,” NBC4 president and general manager Jackie Bradford said in a statement Saturday.

Vance began his reporting career at the the Philadelphia Independent newspaper and radio station WHAT-AM, while holding down a teaching position in the Philadelphia public school system, according to his biography on the station’s website.

He joined NBC Washington in 1969 as a reporter before moving to the anchor chair in 1972. His 11 p.m. broadcasts regularly drew more viewers than the prime-time shows on CNN, Fox and MSNBC combined, according to the Washington Post.

“Our thoughts & prayers are w/ his family. Jim Vance was a steady voice who shared the news – good or bad – with grace,” Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted. “This is a loss for DC.”

Russian Spy House That Inspired ‘The Americans’ Will Be Put Up for Sale

22 July, by Associated Press[ —]

(MONTCLAIR, N.J.) — A New Jersey home that has been vacant since the FBI arrested a family of undercover Russian spies living there is heading for sale. Vladimir and Lydia Guryev lived in the home in Montclair under the names Richard and Cynthia Murphy before they were arrested in 2010 along with eight other spies accused of leading double lives, complete with false passports, secret code words, fake names, invisible ink and encrypted radio.

The parents of two young daughters had pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign country and were deported to Russia in exchange for four people convicted of betraying Moscow to the West being let out of prison there.

Their story partially inspired the FX drama “The Americans,” about two undercover Russian spies that live in the U.S. with two young children.

Lydia Guryev worked as an accountant in New York and was accused of using her financial contacts to pass information to Moscow.

NJ.com reports that investor Jeremy MacDonald is planning to renovate and then try to sell the home. He says he hopes it will sell for about $700,000 after doing about $200,000 in renovations, including repairing its yellow, chipped paint and dealing with overgrown bushes.

“I didn’t even know it used to be a Russian spy house,” MacDonald said. “The realtor I’m currently working with showed me all the news articles about its history.”

He said that he doesn’t expect the Russian spy connection to help or hurt the sale.

Neighbors said that they are happy that the house will be fixed up after sitting empty for so long. One called it an “eyesore.”

“Montclair is excited that this house will be renovated soon and lived in again, bringing a new family to the neighborhood,” said Brian Wilde, Montclair’s head of code enforcement.

Woman Accused of Burying Baby Alive Outside Family’s Home

22 July, by Associated Press[ —]

(FRANKLIN, Ohio) — The attorney for an 18-year-old Ohio woman accused of burying an infant alive outside her family’s home said the teen is a “very good person” who has worked with disabled children.

Brooke Skylar Richardson pleaded not guilty through her attorney to a reckless homicide charge on Friday during a brief municipal court hearing in the southwest Ohio city of Franklin. A judge continued her $15,000 bond.

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said Friday the charge was based on evidence that the infant was “born alive and was not a stillborn baby.” A criminal complaint said the infant died on May 7.

The remains were found July 14 in Carlisle, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Cincinnati. Investigators are waiting on a final report from the county coroner’s office about how the infant died.

The Dayton Daily News has reported that authorities found the remains after receiving a tip from a doctor’s office.

Attorney Charles Rittgers told reporters after Friday’s hearing that Richardson, a college-bound high school cheerleader, is “by all means a very good person.”

Rittgers declined to comment further.

90 Fans Hospitalized During Chance the Rapper Concert

22 July, by Associated Press[ —]

(HARTFORD, Conn.) — Police in Connecticut say more than 90 people were hospitalized during a concert featuring Chance the Rapper.

Authorities say many were taken to hospitals for excessive drinking.

Hartford Deputy Chief Brian Foley said Saturday that officers made 50 underage drinking referrals Friday at Hot 93.7’s Hot Jam concert at Xfinity Theatre. Most of those charged were issued a summons to appear in court. Several other arrests were made throughout the evening.

Police say the crowd was apparently made up of people in their late teens and early 20s. He says tailgating, partying and excessive alcohol consumption was “extremely prevalent.”

Foley says a large number of people hospitalized were underage attendees experiencing “severe intoxication.”

Other artists performing at the concert were Kyle, PnB Rock and ANoyd.

Donald Trump Says USS Gerald Ford Will Make Enemies ‘Shake With Fear’

22 July, by Darlene Superville / AP[ —]

(NORFOLK, Va.) — President Donald Trump helped commission the USS Gerald R. Ford on Saturday and declared that the most advanced aircraft carrier to join the Navy will cause America’s enemies to “shake with fear” whenever they see its form cutting across the horizon.

“I hereby place United States Ship Gerald R. Ford in commission,” Trump said after delivering a speech in which he praised the U.S. military and the American labor that went into building the 100,000 ton, $12.9 billion warship.

“May God bless and guide this warship and all who shall sail in her,” Trump said.

He was followed shortly by Susan Ford Bales, the ship’s sponsor and daughter of the 38th president, whom the ship honors.

“There is no one, absolutely no one, who would be prouder of the commissioning of this mighty ship than the president of the United States, Gerald R. Ford,” she said. “I am honored to give the command: ‘Officers and crew of the United States Gerald R. Ford, man our ship and bring her to life.'”

And with those few words, the ship was brought to life. “Anchors Aweigh” played and sailors who stood in formation in their crisp, white uniforms began filing off to their stations.

Sirens and bells sounds. Horns blared. The U.S. flag was raised to full mast.

Within minutes, the captain was informed that “the ship is manned and ready and reports for duty to the fleet.”

Trump arrived aboard the carrier’s steamy flight deck by the Marine One presidential helicopter and was greeted by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other officials.

Trump, who visited the carrier in March to promote his plans for a military buildup, told Time magazine this year that the Navy should revert to using steam catapults to launch fighter jets because some of the state-of-the-art systems and technology aboard the USS Ford “costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.”

Construction on the USS Ford started in 2009 and was to be completed by September 2015 at a cost of $10.5 billion. The Navy has attributed the delays and budget overruns to the ship’s state-of-the-art systems and technology, including electromagnetic launch systems for jets and drones that will replace steam catapults.

The warship also has a smaller island that sits farther back on the ship to make it easier and quicker to refuel, re-arm and relaunch planes, and a nuclear power plant designed to allow cruising speeds of more than 30 knots and operation for 20 years without refueling.

The vessel completed sea trials in April but still will go through a battery of tests and workups at sea before becoming operational and ready for deployment, work that is expected to cost nearly $780 million and take more than four years to complete, congressional auditors said in a report this month.

The USS Ford is named after the country’s 38th president, who rose to the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy during World War II. After military service, Ford was elected to the House of Representatives, serving Michigan until he was tapped by President Richard M. Nixon to become vice president.

Ford became president after Nixon resigned during the Watergate scandal.

Docked at Naval Station Norfolk, the USS Ford eventually will house about 2,600 sailors, 600 fewer than the previous generation of aircraft carriers. The Navy says that will save more than $4 billion over the ship’s 50-year lifespan.

The air wing to support the Ford could add more personnel to the ship, which is designed to house more than 4,600 crew members.

“I was with you four months ago and I knew that I had to be here today and I told you I’d be back to congratulate you and the crew and everybody involved in commissioning the newest, largest and most advanced aircraft carrier in the history of this world,” Trump said Saturday. “That’s a big achievement.”

The return visit Saturday fell during what the White House has coined as “Made in America” week, during which Trump and other administration officials highlighted a wide assortment of products — ranging from trucks and helicopters to baseball bats and glass bottles for pharmaceuticals — that are manufactured in the United States.

“This is American craftsmanship at its biggest, at its best, at its finest,” Trump said aboard the carrier during his previous visit. “American workers are the greatest anywhere in the world. This warship, and all who serve on it, should be a source of shared pride for our nation.”

The Ford was built at Newport News Shipbuilding, the giant Navy contractor in Virginia. Trump tweeted before departing Saturday for the ceremony that the Ford is the largest aircraft carrier in the world.

Princess Charlotte Shows She’s Just Like Other Kids as She Throws a Mini Tantrum

22 July, by Lisa Marie Segarra[ —]

Even the royal family isn’t immune to the terrible twos.

Princess Charlotte, who just turned two in May, appeared to throw a small tantrum at a Hamburg airport as the family prepared to board a helicopter.

The family has been jetting between Germany and Poland for their royal tour over five days this week, leading up to Princess Charlotte’s protest of her final trip bound back home. The family shuttled through Warsaw, Poland, Berlin and Heidelberg before their last stop in Hamburg, Germany.

Princess Charlotte cried and took took a small tumble as the family was on the tarmac approaching the helicopter.

However, her brother Prince George was more than happy to board the helicopter. The young prince was enthusiastic as he walked across the tarmac and was even seen smiling as he climbed inside. Prince George actually took the time to explore two different aircrafts before heading home.

Princess Charlotte’s small outburst didn’t last long though after getting picked up and comforted by her mother the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.

New Season 8 Walking Dead Trailer Flashes Forward in Time

22 July, by Eliana Dockterman[ —]

The next season of Walking Dead may be making a big time jump, just like in the comics.

AMC premiered a trailer for Season 8 of the zombie show at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday. And while the footage was full of twists — do those zombies look familiar? — the most shocking scene came at the end of the teaser, after the AMC logo appeared on screen.

The trailer’s beginning is bloody.

Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) intones in the first scene, “I hope you’ve got your s—in’ pants on.”

Then we flash to the characters preparing for a war between the Saviors and Rick.

But at the very end of the teaser, audiences see a walking cane and then Rick as an old man lying in bed. It’s unclear what this possible flash-forward means for the show, which will return on Oct. 22.

Five Times a President Issued a Controversial Pardon

22 July, by Jack Brewster[ —]

President Donald Trump is reportedly contemplating pardoning family members, staffers and even himself for connections to the Russia investigation. The story, which was reported by the Washington Post, led to criticism.

But if Trump follows through with a pardon relating to the investigation, it would not be the first time in history a president has created controversy using the constitutional power.

Here’s a run-through of notable, controversial pardons:

1. President Richard Nixon

Which president pardoned him? Gerald Ford

What was he pardoned for? His crimes relating to the Watergate scandal. President Ford issued a preemptive pardon for Nixon because he had not yet been charged with a crime.

Why was it controversial? Ford pardoned Nixon because he wanted the nation to move past Watergate and felt that a president under trial “would be cruelly and excessively penalized.” But many Americans were upset that Nixon was not tried. Some also speculate that Nixon was pardoned as part of a quid pro quo deal with Ford, though there was never any evidence for this. Ford lost the next election.

2. Marc Rich

Which president pardoned him? Bill Clinton

What was he pardoned for? His 65 criminal charges including tax evasion, racketeering, and illegal oil deals with Iran. Rich fled the United States to escape serving consecutive life prison sentences in 1983. Rich was also placed on the F.B.I.’s most wanted list for his crimes.

Why was it controversial? Rich’s ex-wife, Denise Rich, was a major donor for the Democratic Party. Critics argued that Clinton’s decision to pardon Rich was influenced by the donations Denise made. In 2005, the F.B.I. concluded that the donations were not a quid pro quo. A week before the 2016 election, the controversy made headlines when a long-dormant F.B.I. Twitter account released the files detailing the investigation. Some argued that the timing of the release was inappropriate given how close it was to the election.

3. Former Chief of Staff to the Vice President Scooter Libby

(He was technically not pardoned, but instead had his 30-month prison term commuted. A commutation is different from a pardon in that it wipes the person’s sentence, not their record.)

Which president commuted him? George W. Bush

What was he guilty of? He was found guilty of perjury, obstruction of justice and providing false statements to the F.B.I. in the probe of the leaked identity of a CIA operative.

Why was it controversial? Democrats argued Bush abused his power and the judicial system to protect a fellow administration member. Libby was the highest-ranking official to be convicted of a felony since the Iran-Contra affair. The move also came at a time when Bush’s popularity was extremely low, possibly exacerbating the public outrage to the pardon.

4. Former Secretary of State Caspar Weinberger

Which president pardoned him? George H.W. Bush

What was he pardoned for? Lying under oath to the independent counsel investigating the Iran-Contra affair.

Why was it controversial? Bush pardoned six government officials involved in the scandal, including Weinberger. Weinberger was the highest profile of the six that Bush pardoned. The investigation essentially ended the probe being conducted by the independent counsel.

5. Vietnam draft dodgers

Which president pardoned them? Jimmy Carter

What were they pardoned for? Dodging the draft during the Vietnam War.

Why was it controversial? The pardon was a campaign issue in the presidential race between Carter and then-President Ford. Carter promised to deliver an outright pardon to all draft dodgers that had avoided service by leaving the country or not registering. Ford, on the other hand, said he would only give a conditional amnesty. Carter issued the pardon on his first day in office. Many Americans were critical of Carter’s decision, especially veterans.


John Heard, Known for ‘Home Alone’ and ‘Sopranos’ Roles, Dies at 72

22 July, by Aric Jenkins[ —]

John Heard, the actor known for his memorable roles in Home Alone and The Sopranos, died Friday in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 72.

The Santa Clara County medical examiner’s office confirmed the news after a man matching Heard’s description was found dead in a local hotel, People reports.

“I can confirm that our officers responded with the Fire Department to a hotel in our city yesterday on a report of a person in need of medical aid,” a Palo Alto Police Department spokesperson told People. “The person was determined to be deceased. While still under investigation, the death is not considered suspicious at this time.”

Heard’s representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Heard’s career spanned four-decades with notable supporting roles in Big, Beaches and Awakenings. He was perhaps best known for his turn as Peter McCallister, father of Macaulay Culkin‘s Kevin, in Home Alone. Heard would reprise the role in the 1992 sequel.

He went on to receive an Emmy nomination in 1999 for his guest appearance in five episodes of the hit HBO series The Sopranos. Heard played Vin Makazian, a New Jersey detective who leaked information to the series’ protagonist, Tony Soprano.

Country Singer Scotty McCreery Had Loaded Handgun at Airport

22 July, by Associated Press[ —]

(RALEIGH, N.C.) — Country singer Scotty McCreery has been cited after authorities say he had a loaded handgun with him in Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Authorities told local media organizations that they found a loaded 9 millimeter handgun in McCreery’s backpack at a security checkpoint on July 13. He told authorities he had been at a firing range and forgot to take the gun out. He was flying to Nashville, Tennessee.

Authorities say he had a valid concealed carry permit. He was cited for a misdemeanor concealed weapon permit violation and released.

McCreery told WTVD-TV in a statement that he has learned a lesson he won’t forget, adding, “I take gun safety very seriously.”

The singer is an “American Idol” winner and North Carolina native.

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