Early Wednesday morning, some 10 hours after announcing the end of his long-running CNN talk show in less than 140 characters, Larry King was still a trending topic on Twitter. “Announcing tonight: I’m ending my nightly show this fall but continuing at CNN,” @kingsthings wrote after asking readers whether they had any questions for Bill Maher, Tuesday night’s guest. It had long been speculated that CNN, faced with declining ratings, would replace King, who recently entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the host of the longest running show in the same time slot, but there was little talk of when. Piers Morgan, perhaps best known for his role as a judge on America’s Got Talent, has reportedly been in talks with CNN about a possible prime-time slot, but King himself has said that Ryan Seacrest is his No. 1 choice to replace him. “There was no pressure from CNN. It was time,” King told guest Maher. In a post to his blog, King wrote that he wanted more time to spend with his wife and at his kids’ little league games, which he frequently tweets from. “Larry has been a giant in the industry for as long as most of us can remember,” CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein wrote to staff in a memo obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Anyone who ever mattered has sat for an interview on Larry’s iconic set. They all know the man it is our privilege to call our colleague and friend—tireless and curious, respectful and inquisitive, caring, generous, influential, a citizen of the world.” King will remain with CNN, creating Larry King Live specials. The Daily Beast assembled clips of some of King’s most memorable broadcasts. From the more than 50,000 interviews he has done during his quarter-century with CNN, the Beast selected sit-downs with Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, and Carrie Prejean, among others, as his best.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who torpedoed his career with the help of some Bud Light Lime and a freelance reporter with nothing to lose, told the Army Monday that he will retire. McChrystal’s decision comes less than a week after President Obama relieved him of command in Afghanistan. The general has yet to fill out formal retirement paperwork, and once he does, it could take several months before he officially leaves the service. After speculation that McChrystal would be stripped of his four-star rank, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs announced that President Obama agreed to waive a Pentagon rule so the general could keep his extra star when he steps down. McChrystal wasn’t promoted to four-star until last year, and Army rules require that generals spend three years as a four-star in order to retire at that rank, “with its prestige and retirement benefits.” “The president believes and has talked with Secretary Gates about this, and we will do whatever is necessary to ensure he, somebody who has served the country as he has, can retire at a four-star level,” Gibbs said, according to CNN.
An unnamed London collector snatched up a lock of former French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s hair for more than $13,000. The hair, cut from Bonaparte’s head after his death in 1821, was sold at auction in New Zealand. “Bidders vied for about 40 items of Napoleon memorabilia that sold for almost $100,000,” the BBC reported. “The items belonged to descendants of a British officer stationed on St. Helena,” the Atlantic island where Bonaparte died in exile. Other items auctioned off included a diary for $6,600 in which Bonaparte wrote of invading Britain and a lithograph and watercolor image of Bonaparte on his deathbed for $14,600. The image was created by Denzil Ibbetson, the original collector, who served on St. Helena, a British colony, during Bonaparte’s imprisonment from 1815 to 1821. His collection was kept in a suitcase and remained in the family since being brought to New Zealand in 1864. “Denzil Ibbetson was an acute recorder of life on the island and was in a unique oposition to access Napleon in his final years,” Hamish Coney, the head of the Art+Object auction house, told the BBC. “Napoleon is one of the greatest figures of European history. This collection enables collectors and historians to gain a new perspective on his final years.”
Six people were killed and another 10 injured on a space shuttle simulator ride at Overseas Chinese Town East, a popular amusement park in the southwestern Chinese province of Guizhou. Space Journey, which is meant to give 44 riders at a time—four in each of 11 small cabins—the sensation of experiencing a rocket launch, plunged to the ground on Tuesday. “Survivors said there was a power cut and they heard a loud explosion moments before the drop, Southern Metropolis Daily reported on Wednesday,” according to Reuters. “Five of those injured in the Tuesday accident are still in a serious condition.” According to witnesses, one of the cabins came loose while the ride was spinning at high speeds some 50 feet in the air. The cabin knocked other cabins loose and sent them tumbling to the ground. “The cause of the accident is under investigation and part of the amusement park in the coastal city of Shenzhen has been shut down for safety checks,” Reuters reported. One other person was killed on a ride in the Guizhou province in 2006, but reports weren’t clear as to whether the accident occurred in the same park.
Jin Hua Cui, who was arrested for prostitution back in 2007, has been charged by New York prosecutors for running a ring that forced young Korean immigrants into lives as sex slaves. Cui, 44, found women by placing help-wanted ads for nail salons. “Women would respond thinking that they were going to work at a nail salon. Then forced them into prostitution through threats of violence, intimidation and embarrassment,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota. “If they did not cooperate she would reveal to their family, friends and members of the community in Flushing that they were working as prostitutes and threaten to have Chinese gangs kill them.” Cui, who lives in a red brick Tudor million-dollar mansion, would keep the $60 to $80 her slaves would charge for sex at various massage parlors in Huntington Station and Hicksville; the young immigrants would be allowed to keep only the tips. “I never suspected anything like this,” Barbara Orlowski, 52, told the New York Daily News. “You hardly ever saw her, but if she is running a sex ring, I guess she’s been busy.” Orlowski, a Catholic school teacher, is one of Cui’s neighbors who said they saw young women frequently visiting the mansion. Investigators worked for four months to gather evidence before arresting Ciu, who is said to have forced at least seven women to work for her. They learned that johns were solicited through Craigslist and that signs in the window of one of the massage parlors advertised a “Stimulus Plan” and “Asian Bodywork.”
Source: New York Daily News
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed took responsibility for an attack on one of the biggest NATO bases in Afghanistan at 7:30 local time Wednesday morning, even though his insurgents clearly failed their mission. Two sevice personnel were injured in the attack that ended with the deaths of several assailants (a number was not given), who struck the Jalalabad air base in the eastern part of the country with rocket-propelled grenades, six suicide attackers, and a car bomb in broad daylight. “Afghan and ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] forces repelled a number of insurgents when they attacked Jalalabad airfield this morning using a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, rocket-propelled grenades, and small arms fire,” an ISAF statement said. The insurgents were stopped before they could breach the outermost perimeter. The outcome must have been celebrated by troops as recent Taliban attacks on Afghanistan’s other large bases—Kandahar in the south and Bagram in the north—have resulted in NATO casualties. “This was not only an attack on a combined Afghan and ISAF facility, it was also an attack on the people of Afghanistan,” ISAF said, according to AFP. “The attack on the military base … was planned and coordinate, a sign that after nine years of fighting in Afghanistan, the Taliban still have plenty of fight in them, and are growing more sophisticated as the war goes on,” the BBC reported. Jalalabad is located near the border with Pakistan.
A powerful 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca at 2:22 a.m. local time Wednesday morning, according to the United States Geological Survey. The center was about 75 miles west-southwest of Oaxaca in a sparsely populated, mountainous region near the Pacific coast, but the earthquake was strong enough to be felt all the way in Mexico City, some 220 miles away. “Gilberto Lopez of the Oaxaca state civil defense department said his office is still assessing the situation and did not yet know if there were injuries or damage,” CBS News reported. Shaking buildings, the quake sent residents of the capital city into the streets. “I felt it like I almost always do. People came running out of the building,” Pedro Salazar, a security guard at a historic apartment building in Mexico City, told Reuters. The news agency also reported that power and phone lines were working in the city just shortly after the earthquake hit.
Source: CBS News
With two weeks to go before the fiftieth anniversary of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” a British reporter has made news simply for scoring an interview with Harper Lee, the book’s famously reclusive author. “Thank you so much,” Lee said when Sharon Churcher presented her with a box of chocolates. “You are most kind. We’re just going to feed the ducks but call me the next time you are here. We have a lot of history here. You will enjoy it.” Churcher travelled to Lee’s hometown of Monroeville, Alabama to get the interview, and the author’s friends agreed to introduce her on one condition: “that I make no mention of ‘The Book,’ as people here refer to it.” Barring a few stories, Lee never wrote again after publishing “Mockingbird,” and is unwilling to talk about it—a rule she upheld even when receiving a presidential award three years ago. As the book’s July 11 anniversary approaches, Lee will probably have a little more trouble staying in the shadows.
Source: Daily Mail
Russian and U.S. relations are on ice after the FBI announced yesterday that it arrested 10 people on suspicion of being “deep-cover” Russian agents. The arrests come only three days after Obama held a friendly meeting with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, and a year after the administration pledged to “reset” relations with the former Cold War enemy. Luckily, it doesn’t look like recent goodwill is going anywhere. Speaking on Tuesday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused U.S. officials of going “out of control” before adding that hoped “all the positive gains that have been achieved in our relationship will not be damaged by the recent event.” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs reiterated this sentiment this afternoon, saying “I do not believe this will affect the resetting of our relationship with Russia.” But for all the cloak-and-dagger political intrigue, the details of the case are less dramatic. The “retro spy” suspects were allegedly tasked with becoming “sufficiently Americanized” in order befriend people in policy-making circles. To do this, they moved to the suburbs of Massachusetts and New Jersey, and to D.C. and New York, and lived there for decades. While one alleged operative was described as “flame-haired, 007-worthy beauty who flitted from high-profile parties to top-secret meetings around Manhattan,” others held down day jobs, pursued degrees, and raised families. They haven’t been charged with espionage—just different counts of conspiracy. The plot could thicken, though: on Tuesday, former KGB head Oleg Gordievsky told the AP that during his time in Russian intelligence, there were ” usually 40 to 50 couples, all illegal,” living in the U.S. Bonus reading:Reuters has excerpted the best part of the Justice Department complaint against the “illegals,” and Time has rounded up the 8 “coolest things” about the ring.