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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Singer Neil Diamond, who turns 77 tomorrow, announced his retirement from touring due to his recent diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. The onset of the disease has made it difficult to travel and perform on a large scale basis but will allow Diamond to continue his writing, recording and development of new projects. Based on his doctors' advice, the third leg of Diamond's 50th Anniversary tour, set to land in Australia and New Zealand this March, has been cancelled. Diamond's hits include Song Sung Blue, Cracklin' Rosie and You Don't Bring Me Flowers. "It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring. I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years," said Diamond who added that he plans to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come.


Actress Connie Sawyer died peacefully at the age of 105 at her home in Woodland Hills, California. With more than 140 TV and film credits to her name, Sawyer was known as Hollywood's oldest working actress, working through late 2017. Sawyer was born on November 27, 1912, in Pueblo, Colorado. Her career in entertainment began at the age of 8 when she won a talent contest in Oakland. At 18 years old, she landed her first vaudeville show in Santa Cruz. Legendary singer, comedian, and actress Sophie Tucker became Sawyer's mentor before she went on to Broadway where she played Miss Wexler in A Hole in the Head. She would later take the same role in the film adaptation starring Frank Sinatra. Her other film credits include The Way West, Ada and The Man in the Glass Booth. To many, she is recognized as the lady in Dumb and Dumber who stole Jim Carrey's character's wallet. She also appeared in The Pineapple Express, as well as When Harry Met Sally. read more


Thursday, January 18, 2018

After years of tangling with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), civil liberties activists seemed to have her onboard with their fight to curtail the vast warrantless surveillance program exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. They were optimistic Tuesday when she headed into a major vote over whether to impose new restrictions on the government monitoring. But after a spirited nail-biter of a floor fight, Feinstein broke with privacy advocates from the right and left to cast a crucial vote in favor of leaving the program largely unchanged for the next six years. Feinstein's retreat back to a hawkish posture on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) gave supporters of the status quo the vote they needed to quell a growing movement in the Senate for more privacy protections. She was one of 18 Democrats and one independent who caucuses with Democrats who voted to shut down consideration of major changes to the program read more


Feds planning massive Northern California immigration sweep to strike against sanctuary laws U.S. immigration officials have begun preparing for a major sweep in San Francisco and other Northern California cities in which federal officers would look to arrest more than 1,500 undocumented people while sending a message that immigration policy will be enforced in the sanctuary state, according to a source familiar with the operation. Officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, declined to comment Tuesday on plans for the operation. The campaign, centered in the Bay Area, could happen within weeks, and is expected to become the biggest enforcement action of its kind under President Trump, said the source, who requested anonymity because the plans have not been made public. read more


President Donald Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon refused to answer questions Tuesday from the House intelligence committee about his time in the White House, prompting panel members to subpoena him on the spot, according to a person familiar with the interview. Bannon appeared before the committee as part of its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, speaking just weeks after a falling-out with Trump over comments he made in an explosive new book. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) confirmed Tuesday that he issued a subpoena for Bannon. "Of course I authorized the subpoena," he told reporters. "That's how the rules work." read more


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