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August 19, 2016

Naked statues of Donald Trump appear in various US cities

Naked statues of Donald Trump appear in various US cities

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Friday, August 19, 2016

A number of statues depicting US presidential candidate Donald Trump without his clothes on were erected in various US cities yesterday morning.

File photo of Donald Trump, 2011.
Image: Gage Skidmore.

The statues were unveiled in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Seattle. Titled “The Emperor Has No Balls”, the project was devised by the anarchist collective INDECLINE, presenting present Trump in an unflattering and humiliating way.

A spokesperson for INDECLINE told The Washington Post the project was inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson story “The Emperor’s New Clothes” which depicts a vain and overconfident leader. The spokesperson also said the project is meant to poke fun at the tendency for those in authoritarian positions to raise monuments of themselves.

The statues are credited to a Las Vegas-based artist called Ginger, who said he was approached by INDECLINE because of his pervious work designing monsters for horror movies and haunted houses. A video of Ginger creating these statues went up on INDECLINE’s YouTube page.

The New York City statue became a busy tourist spot until the parks and recreation department took it down. A spokeswoman for the NYC parks and recreation centre stated: “NYC Parks stands firmly against any unpermitted erection in city parks, no matter how small.”



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June 3, 2016

Two people killed in apparent murder-suicide at UCLA

Two people killed in apparent murder-suicide at UCLA

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Friday, June 3, 2016

Location of the Engineering IV building on the UCLA campus.
Image: OpenStreetMap.

Two people were killed in an alleged murder-suicide at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on Wednesday. The shooting occurred on the fourth floor of the Engineering IV building. The university’s campus was in lockdown for aout two hours after the shooting from 10:00AM to noon local time.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) have identified 39-year-old William S. Klug as the victim in the murder-suicide. He was an associate professor of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The shooting occurred in his office. According to the Police, the shooter was identified as Mainak Sarkar, a former student of the professor.

According to the Police, Mainak Sarkar had accused William S. Klug of stealing Sarkar’s computer code and turning it over to someone else. According to TheWrap, in March Mainak Sarkar had written in a blog post about William S. Klug, “We had personal differences. He cleverly stole all my code and gave it another student. He made me really sick. Your enemy is your enemy. But your friend can do a lot more harm. Be careful about whom you trust. Stay away from this sick guy”, and included a photo of the professor.

According to the LAPD, a note was found near scene and helped find the home address of the shooter and establish the fact of suicide.

During the lockdown students were asked to stay in a sheltered location, and those who moved around the campus were told to walk with their hands up and were searched by police officers. Classes were cancelled for the rest of the day. Final exams and graduation were to run as scheduled, and most classes were to resume as normal Thursday morning.

William S. Klug had been leading the Klug Research Group which specialised in theoretical and computational biomechanics. He was a father of two, a nine year old son in fourth grade and a seven year old daughter.



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June 2, 2016

Two people killed in murder-suicide at UCLA

Two people killed in murder-suicide at UCLA

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Location of the Engineering IV building on the UCLA campus.
Image: OpenStreetMap.

Two people were killed in an alleged murder-suicide at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on Wednesday. The shooting occurred on the fourth floor of the Engineering IV building. The university’s campus was in lockdown for aout two hours after the shooting from 10:00AM to noon local time.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) have identified 39-year-old William S. Klug as the victim in the murder-suicide. He was an associate professor of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The shooting occurred in his office. According to the Police, the shooter was identified as Mainak Sarkar, a former student of the professor.

According to the Police, Mainak Sarkar had accused William S. Klug of stealing Sarkar’s computer code and turning it over to someone else. According to TheWrap, in March Mainak Sarkar had written in a blog post about William S. Klug, “We had personal differences. He cleverly stole all my code and gave it another student. He made me really sick. Your enemy is your enemy. But your friend can do a lot more harm. Be careful about whom you trust. Stay away from this sick guy”, and included a photo of the professor.

According to the LAPD, a note was found near scene and helped find the home address of the shooter and establish the fact of suicide.

During the lockdown students were asked to stay in a sheltered location, and those who moved around the campus were told to walk with their hands up and were searched by police officers. Classes were cancelled for the rest of the day. Final exams and graduation were to run as scheduled, and most classes were to resume as normal Thursday morning.

William S. Klug had been leading the Klug Research Group which specialised in theoretical and computational biomechanics. He was a father of two, a nine year old son in fourth grade and a seven year old daughter.



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December 19, 2015

Court sentences mother to 26 years in prison for murdering infant

Court sentences mother to 26 years in prison for murdering infant

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Saturday, December 19, 2015


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A court in Sacramento, California has sentenced a mother, Ka Yang, to 26 years to life in prison on Friday for the first-degree murder of her infant.

In November, a court convicted her of placing her six week old infant in a microwave oven in 2011. The baby suffered from severe burns covering a large part of her body that reached into her organs, prosecutors said.

Yang said she blacked out from a seizure and wasn’t aware of what she was doing at the time of the incident. According to her, she woke up with the baby already dead. Paramedics who arrived at the scene, however, said Yang wasn’t disoriented.



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May 30, 2015

U2 tour manager, Dennis Sheehan dies in Los Angeles hotel room at 68

U2 tour manager, Dennis Sheehan dies in Los Angeles hotel room at 68

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

U2’s Bono
Image: Antonio Cruz/ABr.

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Dennis Sheehan, U2‘s tour manager, died in his Los Angeles hotel room on Wednesday at 68 years of age.

In their second show at the Los Angeles Forum, U2 paid tribute to their tour manager. According to The Guardian, in-between songs U2’s lead singer Bono reflected on Sheehan’s life to the audience, saying how he was family to the band. Bono said, “U2’s family — it’s a brotherhood, although there’s a lot of sisters in it too… but the extended family is very important to us and we look after each other. It takes a lot to put on a show like tonight, and last night we lost a member of our family. Dennis Sheehan was his name. He was U2’s tour manager for 33 years.”

During the show, Bono also added, “A lot of U2 songs over the years were written to fill a void, an absence, a hole in a heart left by a loved one. With the loss of Sheehan, U2 now has such a wound.”

According to Rolling Stone, Sheehan was with the Irish band U2 on their five-day Los Angeles tour. He was discovered dead in his West Hollywood hotel room and pronounced dead from a heart attack on Wednesday morning after paramedics were called at 5:30am local time. According to Billboard, the paramedics found Sheehan unresponsive before pronouncing him as dead soon after.

The band earlier on announced the death of their tour manager via their website, and in a statement, Bono said, “We’ve lost a family member, we’re still taking it in. He wasn’t just a legend in the music business, he was a legend in our band. He is irreplaceable.” Arthur Fogel, Chairman of Global Touring for Live Nation Entertainment also stated his thoughts on the loss of Sheehan: “With profound sadness we confirm that Dennis Sheehan, U2’s longstanding tour manager and dear friend to us all, has passed away overnight. Our heartfelt sympathy is with his wonderful family.”

Having been a tour manager for U2 for over 30 years, Sheehan began his career at the age of 19, and started working with the band in 1982. Sheehan also toured with Led Zeppelin in the 70s and worked with other artists such as Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and Iggy Pop. Rolling Stone quote Sheehan talking to U2 Magazine in 1984 about how special the band was: “There is something extremely special about U2… Whether it be in their social lives, which they are very particular about, or in their business life… they go for the best, and in turn the people that work for them give of their best.”

U2 are currently on their international “Innocence and Experience” tour which concludes in November.



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April 13, 2015

US Soccer: Seattle Sounders fall to LA Galaxy 1-0

US Soccer: Seattle Sounders fall to LA Galaxy 1-0

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Monday, April 13, 2015

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California-based soccer club LA Galaxy triumphed 1–0 over Seattle Sounders FC of Washington yesterday with a header from Alan Gordon.

Both sides were missing a key player; Clint Dempsey was out for the Sounders with a hamstring injury while Robbie Keane missed the match with a groin injury. This was LA’s first win since opening day and are now 2-2-2 while Seattle experienced their second loss of the season and stand at 2-2-1.

Seattle had ten opportunities on the night saved by Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo. Lamar Neagle could not find the back of the net with four on target. In the 53rd minute Sounders’ Rose had a clear shot against goal; Penedo again made the save when the ball was struck directly at the keeper.

The lone goal started with a cross from Juninho on the right side which found center back Omar Gonzalez. He was able to head the ball back to Gordon who then easily scored. This ended a goal drought for LA who were scoreless for 290 minutes, last scoring on March 21 against Houston.

LA next face Sporting Kansas City at home while the Sounders continue their road trip to the Colorado Rapids.



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April 4, 2015

Musician Joni Mitchell hospitalised after found unconscious in home

Musician Joni Mitchell hospitalised after found unconscious in home

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

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Well-known Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell was found unconscious on Tuesday at her Los Angeles home, and immediately taken to hospital, according to reports. An update on her condition appeared yesterday on her website.

Joni Mitchell. From file, 1974.
Image: Billboard.

The update yesterday on her website said, “Joni remains under observation in the hospital and is resting comfortably. We are encouraged by her progress and she continues to improve and get stronger each day.” Webpage ‘We love you Joni’ was also created for fans on Facebook and Twitter to send Mitchell messages to get well soon.

A previous statement left on Mitchell’s website on Tuesday said, “Joni was found unconscious in her home this afternoon. She regained consciousness on the ambulance ride to an L.A. area hospital. She is currently in intensive care undergoing tests and is awake and in good spirits.” They added, “More updates to come when we hear them. Light a candle and sing a song, let’s all send good wishes her way.”

According to an early report by TMZ, the seventy-one year old musician’s condition was serious, and a 911 phone call was made from her home around 2:30 p.m. local time.

Rolling Stone, also claims that a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesperson explained to them that, though they could not reveal who was taken to the hospital at the time, paramedics were sent to Mitchell’s house.

On her twitter account, CBC news producer Leslie Stojsic gave a conflicting statement to other reports on Mitchell’s condition, saying, “Source tells me she’s in hospital recovering after ‘minor medical emergency,’ was *not* found unconscious.” She also added, “I’m told now she’s resting in hospital and is among friends. A good sign.”

It did not take long for her condition in hospital to spread through the social media. Many tweeted prayers and well wishes; one of them being rocker Billy Idol. He tweeted, “Sorry to hear todays news about Joni Mitchell. I sang on her ‘Dancing Clown’ single many moons ago, all the best 4 her recovery.”

Mitchell also reportedly suffers from Morgellons disease; a skin condition where people claim they have fibres coming out of their skin, along with tingling sensations. In her memoir, ‘Joni Mitchell: In her own words,’ released last year, the folk artist describes her experiences with the disease saying, “All the time it felt like I was being eaten alive by parasites living under my skin. I couldn’t leave my house for several years.”



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March 16, 2015

The Wrecking Crew music documentary hits cinemas

The Wrecking Crew music documentary hits cinemas

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Monday, March 16, 2015

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Music documentary The Wrecking Crew received its commercial première Friday, screening in cinemas in Los Angeles and New York via Magnolia Pictures.

Two decades in the making, Denny Tedesco’s documentary observes and honours a group of session musicians collectively known as “The Wrecking Crew”. Tedesco explained he was moved to begin the documentary when he learned his father, guitarist Tommy Tedesco, had cancer in 1996. “When they said he had a year to live — and I always wanted to do this story about The Wrecking Crew — my concern was, if I don’t do it, it’s going to be the biggest regret of my life”.

Tedesco commented on his anticipation of audiences’ reaction at Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles, “People say, ‘aren’t you tired of watching it?’ I say, ‘I don’t watch it, I watch the crowd’.”

The documentary showcases interviews with the late Tommy Tedesco, guitarist Glen Campbell, drummers Hal Blaine and Earl Palmer, bassist Carol Kaye, and others, amongst the roughly 30 musicians that formed The Wrecking Crew’s loose roster. Cher, Nancy Sinatra, and Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys are also seen talking about the session artists.

The movie includes home footage of Tommy Tedesco, and photographs of The Wrecking Crew working in studios with artists Frank and Nancy Sinatra.

Originally completed in 2008, and screened at several festivals, the commercial release was delayed until recently as Tedesco needed to raise money to cover licensing costs of the one hundred and ten songs included in the film.

Tedesco explained: “We had a $750,000 bill before we could even release this film theatrically, so no-one was touching us. We still had this thing around our neck. Documentaries don’t sell, and music docs are the worst.” Tedesco described reaching out to sponsors to pay off publishers and labels to get the film into cinemas. “Every time I got money from a donation, I’d pay off a label or publisher.”

A Kickstarter campaign raised $300,000, which paid for licensing and session artists. Billboard reports the money was able to go towards the creation of outtakes for a future DVD. Tedesco said he wanted to keep outtakes of the interviews he conducted that didn’t make it into the movie. “I want to do outtakes of every musician, a lot of whom aren’t in the movie[…] Who are they? What did they do? I want to give everyone their say.”

The Wrecking Crew worked behind the scenes throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s with well-know bands and artists on memorable tracks such as Sonny and Cher, “I got you Babe”; Beach Boys, “California Girls”; Elvis Presley’s, “A Little Less Conversation”; and The Ronettes, “Be my Baby”.

Aside from the interviews, the documentary also includes footage of The Wrecking Crew, filmed by Hal Blaine. He dubbed himself a director as he joked around with the other musicians. “I had a camera, and I took it to work and I became a director of sorts. And I’d tell people like Tommy, ‘Hey, Tommy, do me a favour. I’m going to take a film of you. Just come walking into the studio, and all of a sudden pretend you’ve walked into a great big orgy going on here. There’s all these naked women and guys.’ And we’re laughing about it. I did that with Glenn Campbell, all the guys”, Blaine said.



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February 21, 2015

Harris Wittels, Parks and Recreation executive producer, found dead aged 30

Harris Wittels, Parks and Recreation executive producer, found dead aged 30

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

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Harris Wittels, an executive producer on the comedy television series Parks and Recreation, has been found dead. The 30-year-old was found unresponsive at his home in Los Angeles by his assistant on Thursday. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have announced they are investigating the possibility of a drug overdose.

Wittels had a history of drug abuse and spoke openly about his addiction and treatment in drug rehabilitation centers. As well as working as a producer he was also a writer, musician, and stand-up comedian. He performed a stand-up set in Hollywood the night before his death.

Wittels, from Texas, started work on Parks and Recreation as a writer before being promoted to producer and eventually executive producer. Parks and Recreation is in its seventh and final season. The last episode is due to be broadcast on NBC next week.

His other working credits include work on The Sarah Silverman Show and Eastbound and Down. He authored a book, Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty, which came from a phrase he coined on Twitter. #humblebrag was used as a term to describe the art of false modesty.

Tributes have come from across the world of television and comedy. Sarah Silverman called Wittels her “baby”. She said on Twitter “You should know that Harris was brilliant beyond compare. That his imagination was without limit. That he loved comedy more than anything”.

Parks and Recreation actress Amy Poehler said at a Variety event where she was being honored “I don’t really feel like telling any jokes. Today, I lost a friend. I lost a dear, young friend in my life who was struggling with addiction.”

Fans of Wittels also paid tribute to him. Posting on culture website The AV Club, one fan wrote “I don’t mean to belittle what those who knew him are going through at all, I know how I feel is nothing compared to what they’re dealing with, but it does feel like I lost a friend.” Another posted “Been sitting here crying since I found out an hour ago. Just unbelievably awful. Said this elsewhere but I genuinely feel like I lost a friend, don’t care how lame that sounds. RIP Harris.”

An official cause of death will not be known until results are released by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.



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April 10, 2014

Wikimedian activist Adrianne Wadewitz dies

Wikimedian activist Adrianne Wadewitz dies

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

A video from 2012 where Wadewitz discusses the impact of Wikipedia
Image: Vgrigas.

News broke early this morning on Facebook that Wikipedian Adrianne Wadewitz died while rock climbing recently. Wadewitz was well known in the Wikimedia community for her activism drawing attention to the lack of female contributors on Wikipedia. She was also very involved in the Wiki Education Foundation, serving as a member of its board of directors.

Wadewitz was one of the most visible women in the media on the under-representation of women amongst contributors to Wikipedia, talking to media organizations like the BBC, the Huffington Post and non-English publications like Greek-language magazine LIFO. Some estimates put female participation rates at around 10% of contributors and there is a body of academic work talking about systemic bias against topics featuring women on Wikipedia.

She was involved in organizing several edit-a-thons aimed at encouraging greater female participation and improving content about women, including Wikipedia Takes America: Los Angeles, FemTech Edit-a-thon, Wikipedia Loves Eagle Rock, Wikipedia Loves WeHo, and Feminists Engage Wikipedia. Wadewitz’s own work to address systemic bias as an article contributor included improving English Wikipedia articles relating to women, including:

Cquote1.svg Adrianne embodied brilliance, determination, and enthusiasm in everything she did Cquote2.svg

—Tribute by a fellow Wikimedian

  • Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Thoughts on the Education of Daughters
  • Mary: A Fiction
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  • Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman
  • Timeline of Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Fanny Imlay
  • Mary Shelley
  • Anna Laetitia Barbauld
  • Sarah Trimmer
  • Mary Martha Sherwood

The funerary arrangement picture decorating the top of Wadewitz’s Wikipedia talk page.
Image: Mogens Engelund.

She started contributing to English Wikipedia in July 2004. She had taught two classes on collaborative work on the project, and was involved with FemTechNet Wikistorming, an academic effort to encourage more women involved in academia to contribute to Wikipedia. In the past month, she had written several blog entries on HASTAC, an online collaborative platform dedicated to changing the way people learn, about how to write about academics on Wikipedia.

Fellow activist Sarah Stierch said in a public post on Facebook, “My heart hurts. Adrianne was a leading voice – and her legacy still is – in the work we have been doing to get more women and more diverse peoples contributing to Wikipedia. Two days ago she was quoted in the BBC, for godsake.” Stierch went on to say, “A sarcastic, feminist, smart, brilliant, to the point delivery type of academic genius who held an honest love life for all to see and a life in LA that was becoming one she owned.”

At the time of her death, she was a Mellon Digital Scholarship Fellow at Occidental College. In 2011, she earned her PhD from Indiana University.

Wikimedians are memorializing her on her Wikipedia talk page, which is adorned with a picture of a funerary arrangement of flowers. A notice at the top of the page invites condolences, which have been arriving in their dozens. “This is a crushing loss, for the Wikipedia community and the world. There was no one else like her.” wrote one contributor. Another noted “Adrianne embodied brilliance, determination, and enthusiasm in everything she did.”



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