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Sunday, September 20, 2015

The News: Sandra Bullock on Jackie Collins' Death: 'Heaven, Watch Out!'

Sandra Bullock, who early in her career starred in Lucky Chances, a TV miniseries version of Jackie Collins' novels Lucky and Chances, has two words for Heaven in the wake of Collins' death: Watch out.
"That smart, talented, and gorgeous woman paved the road for so many of us so that we could experience a much smoother journey ... with or without heels," Bullock told PEOPLE in a statement. "Heaven ... watch out!"
Collins, who died in Los Angeles on Saturday at the age of 77, told PEOPLE in her final interview that the Oscar-winning actress had recently approached her at a party and was lovely.
Bullock isn't the only person in Hollywood who is mourning the loss of the best-selling author. Melissa Gilbert, Sharon Osbourne, and Melanie Brown are just a few of the stars who have reacted to Collins' death.
Keep up with Sandra Bullock in the pages of PEOPLE Magazine by subscribing now.
Diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer six-and-a-half years ago, Collins chose to keep her illness almost entirely to herself, confiding primarily in her three daughters, Tracy, 54, Tiffany, 48, and Rory, 46.
"I did it my way, as Frank Sinatra would say. I've written five books since the diagnosis, I've lived my life, I've travelled all over the world, I have not turned down book tours and no one has ever known until now when I feel as though I should come out with it," Collins told PEOPLE six days before her death.
"Looking back, I'm not sorry about anything I did," she said, adding, "Now I want to save other people's lives."

The Russian-Syria dispute: Russian fighter jets in Syria raise serious questions: Kerry

LONDON: The United States is disturbed by Russia’s movement of tactical aircraft to Syria, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday, acknowledging that the jets could pose a threat to American and allied military forces.

U.S. officials say Russia moved a small number of fighter jets to a base in Syria on Friday, hours after U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter talked with Russia Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in the first military contacts between the two countries in some time.

“Clearly, the presence of aircraft with air-to-air combat capacity ... and surface-to-air missiles raises serious questions,” Kerry said, responding to a question after meeting with British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond. The Russians have deployed at least one such system, according to an American official, who was not authorized to discuss military matters and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Russia says its recent military buildup in Syria is designed to fight the Islamic State group. While IS lacks an air force, the Russian aircraft are capable of striking ground targets and providing close air support for ground forces, a U.S. intelligence official said. The official was not authorized to discuss military matters and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Russia’s military moves in Syria are its first major expeditionary force deployment outside the former Soviet Union since the war in Afghanistan, the official said.

Kerry said the military-to-military talks with the Russians are designed to make sure there are no incidents between Russian and American forces. The discussions also amount to a tacit acceptance of the Russian buildup, after weeks of warnings from Washington against any Russian escalation in Syria.

In another apparent concession, Kerry stated explicitly that the U.S. could accept a resolution to the Syrian war that allowed President Bashar Assad to remain in place for a time before departing, as the U.S. long has wanted.

“We’re not being doctrinaire about the specific date or time — we’re open,” Kerry said, adding that Assad doesn’t have to leave “on day one, or month one, or whatever.”

He later added that the U.S. considered Assad a magnet for the foreign fighters who are filling the Islamic State group’s ranks.

“So there’s a lack of logic,” Kerry said, for the Russians to say “they are bringing in more equipment to shore up Assad at the same time they say they are going after” the militants.

Meantime, a Syrian rebel group claims it fired rockets at a coastal air base said to be used by Russian troops. In a video posted Friday, members of the Islam Army warn the Russians that they will not enjoy peace in Syria. The fighters are then are seen loading and launching multiple rockets from a mountainous area.

Kerry and Hammond said they also discussed the situations in Yemen, Libya and Ukraine. Kerry also urged restraint in response to days of clashes around the Jerusalem holy site known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount. “All of us join together in urging everybody to keep the calm,” Kerry said.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Obama warns Russia against aiding Assad regime

President Barack Obama warned Russia on Friday against doubling down on sending support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, casting recent buildup of Russian military equipment and personnel in Syria in an effort to help prop up the embattled leader.
"The strategy they're pursuing right now of doubling down on Assad is a mistake," Obama said during a town hall with U.S. military personnel.
Russia denies it’s trying to build up Assad’s military and instead has claimed its increased military presence is part of an international effort to help defeat the Islamic State. Russian Foreign Miniser Sergey Lavrov called on world powers to join Russia in that pursuit, arguing that Syria’s army is the most efficient force to fight extremists in the Middle East.
You cannot defeat Islamic State with air strikes only," Lavrov said, a clear dig at the White House’s strategy. "It's necessary to cooperate with ground troops and the Syrian army is the most efficient and powerful ground force to fight the IS."
Reuters reported Friday that Russia also called for military-to-military cooperation with the U.S. to avert “unintended incidents.” Washington says Russia’s presence is making matters in Syria worse.
"But we are going to be engaging Russia to let them know that you can't continue to double-down on a strategy that is doomed to failure," he said at a Maryland event.

Russia’s recent support of Assad has dampened U.S. officials’ hopes that Moscow was tiring of the Syrian president. Syria has been dripped by a long-lasting civil war for more than four years, a conflict that has claimed more than 250,000 lives and created a vacuum for extremism to thrive.
U.S. officials have been gauging Russia’s willingness to help restart a political process to remove Assad from power. Obama, however, noted that the prospect of that happening its very grim in light of new Russian action in the region.

Moderate 5.4-magnitude earthquake rocks Tokyo

A moderate earthquake hit Tokyo early Saturday, causing minor damage to buildings, temporarily bringing the capital’s subway system to a halt and leaving 15 people injured in the region.
The 5.4-magnitude quake, with its epicentre located in Tokyo Bay, struck at 5:49 am (2049 GMT), according to the US Geological Survey.
The number of injuries in connection with the jolt in Tokyo and its vicinity came to 15, including an 83-year-old woman who broke her leg when she fell from a bed, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.
Television footage showed outside walls coming off the fourth floor of an apartment and scattering on the ground in the capital’s residential district of Nakano.

The quake also broke water pipes in several areas, leaking water, while at least five people were temporarily trapped in elevators, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK said.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said no tsunami warning had been issued, and that the quake was 70 kilometres (43 miles) deep.
But the agency warned sizable aftershocks could strike in Tokyo at least in a few days, while calling on residents to stay vigilant against possible landslides in the wake of heavy rain that hit the region earlier this week.
The earthquake came as authorities were grappling with the aftermath of massive flooding that killed at least three people, as thousands of rescuers searched for more than a dozen still missing in disaster-struck Joso city, which lies about 60 kilometres (37 miles) outside Tokyo.
The quake also temporarily stopped Tokyo subways and trains, but service was quickly resumed.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Roberta Vinci Ends Serena Williams’s Grand Slam Bid at U.S. Open

The Grand Slam will have to wait.
Two victories from joining the most prestigious club in tennis, Serena Williams ran into a roadblock at the United States Open.
In one of the biggest surprises in tennis history, Roberta Vinci, an unseeded Italian veteran playing in her first Grand Slam semifinal, defeated Williams, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, on Friday.
“It’s an incredible moment for me,” said Vinci, who cried in her chair after the upset and called the victory the “best moment of my life.”
Instead of Williams playing for a Grand Slam in Saturday’s final, it will be an all-Italian affair between Vinci and 26th-seeded Flavia Pennetta, who beat No. 2 Simona Halep, 6-1, 6-3, in another upset earlier Friday. But Pennetta’s victory was no surprise compared with what Vinci engineered on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Williams entered Friday with a 33-match winning streak at Grand Slam tournaments and had not lost at the U.S. Open since the 2011 final.
Pennetta, 33, and Vinci, 32, have each won Grand Slam titles in doubles, but neither had advanced to a Grand Slam singles final until Friday.


 

87 killed, 201 injured as crane crashes into Masjid al Haram in Makkah

RIYADH: A massive construction crane crashed into Makkah’s Grand Mosque in stormy weather Friday, killing at least 87 people and injuring 201, Saudi authorities said, less than a fortnight before the hajj pilgrimage starts.
The civil defence authority said on Twitter that emergency teams were sent to the scene after a “crane fell at the Grand Mosque.”


That came about an hour after it tweeted that Makkah was “witnessing medium to heavy rains,” with some pictures circulating on social media showing lightning.
Authorities have not yet released an official account on what happened.
Pictures of the incident on Twitter showed bloodied bodies strewn across a courtyard where the top part of the crane, which appeared to have bent or snapped, had crashed into the several storey-high building.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Amy Schumer Shares a Snap of Her Dancing with Hillary Clinton on Ellen

Amy Schumer Shares a Snap of Her Dancing with Hillary Clinton on Ellen

The presidential candidate, 67, and the comedian, 34, both took part in Tuesday's taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show at Rockefeller Center in New York City – and Schumer wasted no time in bonding with the former First Lady.
The Trainwreck star took to Instagram to share a few candid moments between them.
"It's on," she captioned the first picture of the two busting a move on stage.