After months of testing Richard Branson's rocket-powered plane at lower altitudes, two of Virgin Galactic's test pilots made it to the edge of space on Thursday -- 51.4 miles above Earth. For pilots Mark "Forger" Stucky and Frederick "CJ" Sturckow, looming over the flight was the memory of a tragic test flight in 2014. Virgin Galactic's rocket-powered plane, SpaceShipTwo, ripped apart in mid-air, killing a co-pilot. Stucky spoke to CNN Business after Thursday's successful firing of the rebuilt SpaceShipTwo, called VSS Unity, to record heights at nearly three times the speed of sound. He said it was like taking a thoroughbred racehorse into a full gallop for the first time. "Before you can race her you have to train and walk her down uneven terrain, but eventually you have to say, maybe I should race her," he said. "That's what Unity reminded me of." read more
Nancy Wilson, a three-time Grammy-winning artist who called herself a "song stylist," has died, her manager said. Wilson passed away peacefully Thursday at her home after a long illness, her manager, Devra Hall Levy, said. The vocalist from Chillicothe, Ohio, initially focused on R&B music but later excelled at jazz ballads and torch songs. She made her debut with her 1961's single, "Guess Who I Saw Today." Wilson's biggest hit came in 1964 with "(You Don't Know) How Glad I Am," which rose through the charts to the #11 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 singles and earned her a Grammy Award for best R&B recording. She would win two more Grammy Awards, in 2005 and 2007. In the 1990s, Wilson became the host of National Public Radio's "Jazz Profiles," a documentary series featuring jazz legends and the music legacy.
Dozens of institutions across the country received email threats Thursday afternoon, prompting evacuations and sweeps of buildings. At this time it unclear if the threats -- which have been received at locations throughout San Francisco, at the University of Washington in Seattle, and at Penn State University in Pennsylvania, among other places -- are connected. The FBI said it is aware of the threats and is working with law enforcement to provide assistance. "As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety," the FBI said. In Seattle, UW noted in a campus-wide alert that the FBI had "advised that the email is not a credible threat." The university concluded sweeps of possibly affected buildings.
NBC News made the surprise announcement on Tuesday that Kathie Lee Gifford is leaving the "Today" show, where she has been the longtime host of the final hour of the Peacock Network's flagship morning program for more than a decade. "Kathie Lee is generously staying with us through the show's next anniversary, April 7, 2019," NBC News president Noah Oppenheim said in a memo to staffers obtained by Fox News. "We will have much more to share before then about our plans for that hour, which will, of course, continue to include Hoda." "As we all know, Kathie Lee's plate has been overflowing lately with film, music and book projects, and after giving us eleven extraordinary years, she's decided to focus her attention full-time on those other creative endeavors," Oppenheim said. Gifford's announcement sent viewers into a frenzy on social media as they already started discussing her potential replacement. read more
Wilfred DeFour, who served with the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, was found dead Saturday in New York. He was 100. New York police said officers responded to a 911 call to a residence in Harlem and found a man identified as DeFour unconscious and unresponsive. read more