Tuesday, April 16
  • Robert MacNeil, Earnest News Anchor for PBS, Dies at 93

    With his longtime co-host Jim Lehrer, he delivered thoughtful reports that stood in stark contrast to the commercial networks’ ever more sensational newscasts. He delivered sober evening newscasts for more than two decades on PBS as the co-anchor of “The MacNeil/Lehrer Report,” later expanded as “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.” The program offered a stark counterpoint to the ever-frothier newscasts on the commercial networks’ local affiliates and was honored with every major broadcast journalism award. Mr. MacNeil defended his interviewing style and his program’s unsensational approach to weighty topics. “I cannot stand the theatrical, prosecutorial interview, the interview designed to draw attention to the interviewer, full of either mawkish, false sentiment or theatrically belligerent questioning,” he told The New York Times in 1995, when he retired from the daily newscast. Mr. MacNeil continued to work with PBS, including hosting the “America at a Crossroads” series of documentaries in 2007, which examined the nation’s challenges in the post-9/11 world.

  • What to watch for after Iran’s missile attack on Israel: military reprisal or diplomatic opportunity

    The nature of Israel’s response, analysts said, could increase or decrease the possibility of a regional war. And it could improve or strain Israel’s ties with Arab nations that share an antipathy for Iran but have been critical of the war in Gaza. It’s also possible Israel and Iran simply return to well established norms of their shadow war — with Israel assassinating individuals, Iran’s proxies firing volleys at Israel and both sides trading cyberattacks. “You can see that not just among the Arabs but also among the western Europeans, Israel’s diplomatic standing is somewhat improved because it was a victim of Iranian aggression, not an aggressor,” said Itamar Rabinovich, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington. “By being ‘the victim,’ it improves your position.” Should Israel fire back at Iran in a way that would drag the region into war, the good will Israel has recently accrued with its allies could quickly vanish, analysts said. [More]

  • Forgive the nagging, but get off your butt! Research shows that Less Sitting Time reduces High Blood Pressure

    Seniors wound up with lower blood pressure after they were coached to get up and move more often. Sitting less led to a reduction of nearly 3.5 points in the seniors’ average blood pressure, researchers said. By comparison, increased physical activity typically leads to an average 4-point reduction in blood pressure and weight loss an average 3-point reduction, they noted. Older adults typically sit between 65% and 80% of their waking hours, researchers said in background notes. Such sedentary behavior can lead to heart disease and diabetes. The findings are promising because sitting less is a change that may be easier for people than increasing physical activity, especially for older adults who are more likely to be living with restrictions like chronic pain or reduced physical function.

  • Getting anxious because your Federal Tax Refund hasn’t arrived? The IRS has a phone app and computer url to help you find your refund cash

    First, you don’t have to sit by the mailbox if you’re expecting a paper check. You can go to IRS.gov/refunds to check the status of your refund via its automated “Where’s My Refund?” system. You can also use the IRS2Go app on your smartphone. You’ll need your Social Security number, your filing status (single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, qualifying widow[er]) and the exact amount of the refund you’re expecting from your tax return.  The IRS updates the information once a day, usually overnight. As of early April, the average refund was $3,011, up nearly 5 percent from last April’s average of $2,878. You can start checking with the IRS within 24 hours if you filed electronically, or within four weeks if you sent your return by mail. Whether you check on your computer or through the app, you’ll be able to follow your return as it snakes through the system. You’ll get a message that either says the return has been received or processed and, finally, whether the refund has been issued. The IRS says it issues nine out of 10 refunds within 21 days.  If you file electronically and opt for direct deposit in your bank account — the fastest route to a refund — check with the IRS if it doesn’t arrive within 21 days. If you filed by mail and get a paper check,  your refund may take up to eight weeks to arrive.

  • What’s at Stake, Exactly, in Donald Trump’s Criminal Trial?

    It Trump voters knew about his affair with Stormy Daniels, would that have influenced them not to vote for him? “The case—the core of it—is not money for sex,” Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg said in a radio interview in December. He was objecting to the media’s use of the phrase “hush money” to describe the charges. “We would say it’s about conspiring to corrupt a presidential election and then lying in New York business records to cover it up. That’s the heart of the case.” In the final weeks of Trump’s first run for the White House, the Access Hollywood “grab ’em by the pussy” tape surfaced and as the scandal metastasized and Trump’s political viability hung in the balance, Daniels threatened to reveal what she said was their affair. Cohen paid her $130,000 not to disclose it. According to prosecutors, Trump lied on 34 business records to camouflage the reimbursement he made to his longtime lawyer. [More]

  • The flame begins its journey from the birthplace of the ancient Olympics to Paris, the site of the 2024 games

    The flame for the 2024 Paris Olympics has been lit in Olympia, the birthplace of the ancient Olympics. The flame will now begin its journey in a relay to light the cauldron that will mark the opening for the Summer Games in July.The first part of the relay is a 5,000-kilometer (roughly 3,106 miles) journey across Greece over 11 days, with over 600 torchbearers from elite athletes to members of the public are expected to take part.The finishing line is the Panathenaic Stadium in the heart of Athens – the historic site of the inaugural modern Olympics in 1896 – where, in a handover ceremony on April 26, the flame will be passed to the Paris Olympic organizers. It will then embark to the French port city of Marseille on the 120-year-old, three-masted Belem, a historic vessel that began life as a cargo ship transporting sugar from the West Indies. Relays over the years have included many adventurous journeys; the flame has been right around the world, gone into space, traveled underwater and scaled Everest.

  • It’s not news, it’s gossip… but who can resist! What to know about Donald Trump’s wives: Ivana Trump, Marla Maples and Melania Trump

    Over the past three decades, Donald Trump’s marriages have always made headlines. In the early days of building his real estate empire, Donald tied the knot with his first wife, Ivana Trump. She became an integral part of the Trump Organization, and during their relationship, the couple welcomed three children — Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric. But after over a decade together, their marriage came to an abrupt end in 1989 when Ivana learned that Donald had been having an affair with model Marla Maples. Ivana said she immediately knew her marriage to Donald was over and in early 1990, she filed for divorce. . Shortly after the split with Ivana was finalized, Maples became pregnant with Donald’s fourth child. In 1993, their daughter Tiffany was born, and just a few months later, Donald and Maples tied the knot. Their marriage only lasted a few years and in 1997, the couple separated. Their divorce played out in court for two years — during which Donald met his now-wife Melania Trump. The couple dated for several years, eventually getting married in 2005 and welcoming their son Barron the following year.

  • After 41 years, Pat Sajak’s final ‘Wheel of Fortune’ episode is revealed

    A rep for the show confirmed to USA TODAY on Friday that June 7 will mark the end of Season 41 — and the 77- year-old’s tenure as host. The TV veteran is filming his farewell episode Friday. Sajak announced last June that after 40 years this season would be his last. “Well, the time has come,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on June 12, 2023. “I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last. It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all. This fall, Ryan Seacrest will take the reins as host. He’ll be joined by Vanna White, who in September extended her contract with the game show through its 2025-26 season.

  • Monday was Tax Day. The IRS expects ‘tens of millions’ of returns to be filed at the last minute

    If you failed to get your act together in time to file your form 1040 by 11:59 pm Monday evening, than hopefully you requested an automatic six-month extension by filling out this form, which will push your filing deadline to October 15, 2024. The IRS estimates 19 million last-minute filers will be doing so. Without that extension, if you simply file late and you still owe money to the IRS, you will be hit with a failure-to-file penalty plus interest on your outstanding balance. [Learn more]

  • What! Didn’t we get rid of measles? CDC warns of renewed threat

    Measles has spread at a rapid clip this year. From January to March, the U.S. recorded around 30% of the total cases seen since the beginning of 2020. Measles has been considered eliminated in the U.S. since 2000, meaning the disease is no longer constantly present, though there are still occasional outbreaks. The CDC report called for more widespread vaccination coverage. Around 91% of measles cases recorded in the U.S. since January 2020 were among people who were unvaccinated or had an unknown vaccination status, it said. This year so far, 83% of recorded cases have been in people who were unvaccinated or whose vaccination status is unknown. Half of the 2024 cases have been in children under age 5. So far, 65 people have been hospitalized.

  • Working from home or at the office… where do you stand? Some CEOs have made it clear they prefer the pre-pandemic work day

    That’s a lot of executive energy being directed against working from home and toward working in the office. Some have suggested that it’s because these companies have invested heavily in office buildings and need people to fill them. Maybe it’s just a need to have the employees in front of managers for control purposes, or they genuinely believe that workers are more productive in the office. Whatever the reason, they seem quite committed to getting back to the office. Do they have a point? Will workers be more productive under the watchful eye of their managers sitting in cubicles instead of the comfort of their homes? Perhaps more importantly to results-driven CEOs, will their companies make more money?Today, 14% of U.S. workers work at home full time and that number is expected to increase to 20% by next year, according to data published by USA Today. In total, 58% of white-collar employees want flexibility in their work schedules to work at home a few days a week, per that same USA Today data. Yet, we are continually getting post-pandemic mixed messages about returning to the office. [More]

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