Here is CurrentHow’s Daily Briefing™ for the 27th of December, 2016 :-
1. George Michael, pop superstar, is dead at 53 :-
George Michael, the creamy-voiced English songwriter who sold tens of millions of albums as a member of the duo Wham! and on his own, was found dead on Sunday at his home in Goring in Oxfordshire, England. He was 53.
A police statement said: “Thames Valley Police were called to a property in Goring-on-Thames shortly before 2 p.m. Christmas Day. Sadly, a 53-year-old man was confirmed deceased at the scene. At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious.”
Mr. Michael’s manager, Michael Lippman, told The Hollywood Reporter that Mr. Michael had died of heart failure “in bed, lying peacefully.”
“It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period,” his publicist Connie Filippello said in a statement. “The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”
Information on survivors was not immediately available.
Mr. Michael was one of pop’s reigning stars in the 1980s and ’90s — first as a handsome, smiling teen-pop idol making lighthearted singles like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” with Wham!, then arriving as a grown-up pop symbol with his 1987 album “Faith”.
2. Japanese Prime Minister arrives in Pearl Harbour :-
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Hawaii on Monday ahead of a symbolic meeting with President Barack Obama at the site of the Pearl Harbor attack.
Tuesday’s visit comes 75 years after Japan’s December 1941 attack on the base of the US Pacific fleet, drawing America into World War II. And it comes seven months after Obama and Abe made a joint visit to the Japanese city of Hiroshima, which was devastated by a US atomic bomb in 1945.
Before leaving Japan, Abe said he was to visit the Pearl Harbor memorial because: “We must not repeat the horror of war ever again.”
“Together with President Obama, I would like to express to the world this pledge for the future and the value of reconciliation,” he told reporters.
On December 7, 1941 a Japanese air armada descended on the Hawaiian naval base without warning, sinking much of the fleet and killing 2,400 people.
Washington had been hesitating about joining a war that had already plunged Europe into chaos, but the Japanese attack forced its hand.
The moving memorial, appearing to float above the rusting remains of the USS Arizona, attracts two million tourists, pilgrims and veterans every year.
The curved-roofed white building was put in place in the 1960s to memorialize what president Franklin Roosevelt dubbed the “day that will live in infamy.”
Inside are engraved the names of crewmen who died in the attack.
Abe is not expected to formally apologize in the name of Japan but, as Obama did at Hiroshima, will celebrate today’s friendship between the former foes.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday (December 26) stopped at several memorials in Hawaii.
Abe made no public remarks and stood in silence before a wreath of flowers at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, a memorial to people who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Abe, joined by two of his Cabinet members, bowed his head before wreaths of white flowers and greenery laid at the feet of stone monuments at Makiki Cemetery in Honolulu dedicated to Japanese who settled in Hawaii in the 1800s.
Abe presented a wreath at the armed forces memorial located at Honolulu’s Punchbowl Crater. Known colloquially as the Punchbowl, it is the final resting place for more than 13,000 American veterans of the war in the Pacific.
Abe will also pay tribute to the nine Japanese crew and students who drowned in February 2001 when the fishing vessel Ehime Maru collided with a US sub.
Japan hopes to present a strong alliance with the United States amid concerns about China’s expanding military capability. Japan was monitoring a group of Chinese warships that entered the top half of the South China Sea earlier on Monday.
Japanese leaders hope to send a unity message as well to President-elect Donald Trump, who triggered concerns before his Nov. 8 election by opposing the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and threatening to force allied countries to pay more to host U.S. forces.
3. Russia finds Flight Data recorder of crashed plane in Black Sea :-
The flight data recorder of the Russian military passenger plane that crashed into the Black Sea near the resort town of Sochi, killing all 92 passengers and crew members on board, has been recovered, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
The flight recorder was found about a mile from shore and was quickly transferred to Moscow, where investigators began working on decoding it, Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov said.
The Tupolev 154 carrying members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, a famed army choir and orchestra, crashed on Sunday shortly after a refueling stop in Sochi. Twelve bodies have been recovered, along with 156 body parts, according to the Defense Ministry statement, and all were sent to Moscow for identification. Relatives have identified just one victim, it said.
The Russian authorities have not ruled out terrorism as the cause of the crash, but they have said it is unlikely, and the data from the flight recorder could be crucial in determining why the plane went down.
The plane was taking the Alexandrov Ensemble, known for its renditions of classical Russian songs and folk tunes, to Syria to perform a celebratory concert for Russian troops there; nine journalists were also on board, as was Yelizaveta P. Glinka, a prominent philanthropist, who was carrying a shipment of medicine to a hospital in Syria.
The Russian authorities said the Soviet-made airplane, built in 1983, was technically sound and had recently undergone repairs. The pilot was experienced, with 1,900 hours of flying time at the controls of that type of aircraft.
The Tupolev-154, once a mainstay of the Soviet air transportation system, has been phased out by most civilian airlines, although it is still used by government agencies.
The Federal Security Service offered several theories to explain the crash: low-quality fuel, pilot error, foreign objects getting sucked into the engine, or a technical malfunction.
In response to the crash on Sunday, Russia started an expansive search-and-recovery operation in the Black Sea involving 45 ships, 12 planes, five helicopters and 192 divers, the Defense Ministry said.
President Vladimir V. Putin declared Monday a day of mourning in Russia, and the country’s television channels played sorrowful music and showed photographs of those who died. Memorial services were conducted throughout the country, with people bringing flowers and candles.
Mr. Putin ordered the deployment of military forces to Syria in September, citing the need to address the terrorist threat there before it reached Russian territory, but so far his main goal appears to have been to prop up the rule of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.
4. Defying the United Nations, Israel prepares to build more settlements :-
Undeterred by a resounding defeat at the United Nations, Israel’s government said Monday that it would move ahead with thousands of new homes in East Jerusalem and warned nations against further action, declaring that Israel does not “turn the other cheek.”
Just a few days after the United Nations Security Council voted to condemn Israeli settlements, Jerusalem’s municipal government signaled that it would not back down: The city intends to approve 600 housing units in the predominantly Palestinian eastern section of town on Wednesday in what a top official called a first installment on 5,600 new homes.
The defiant posture reflected a bristling anger among Israel’s pro-settlement political leaders, who not only blamed the United States for failing to block the Council resolution, but also claimed to have secret intelligence showing that President Obama’s team had orchestrated it. American officials strongly denied the claim, but the sides seem poised for more weeks of conflict until Mr. Obama hands over the presidency to Donald J. Trump.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lashed out at Security Council countries by curbing diplomatic contacts, recalling envoys, cutting off aid and summoning the American ambassador for a scolding. He canceled a planned visit this week by Ukraine’s prime minister even as he expressed concern on Monday that Mr. Obama was planning more action at the United Nations before his term ends next month.
The Security Council resolution that passed Friday condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation under international law” and an obstacle to peace. The Council approved it 14 to 0, with the United States abstaining instead of using its unilateral veto, as it has in the past.
Mr. Trump publicly pressed for a veto of the resolution and has chosen a settlement advocate as his administration’s ambassador to Israel. He turned to Twitter on Monday night to air complaints that the United Nations “is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.”
Palestinian leaders made clear that they would use the resolution in international bodies to press their case against Israel. With the imprimatur of a United Nations finding of illegality, they said, they will campaign to require that other countries not just label products made in the settlements, but ban them.
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