Craig Mack: Rapper and P Diddy protege dies aged 46

Craig MackImage copyrightWIREIMAGE
Image captionThe star’s debut single was nominated for a Grammy

Rapper Craig Mack has died at the age of 46, according to US reports.

The hip-hop star rose to fame in 1994 with the hit single Flava In Ya Ear, and was the first artist to release an album on P Diddy’s Bad Boy Records.

After splitting with Diddy, he released a second album, Operation: Get Down, but eventually left music and devoted his life to religion.

Hip-hop artists Funkmaster Flex, Biz Markie and DJ Scratch were among those paying tribute to the star.

“I just got a disturbing phone call. I cannot believe this dude is gone,” said Scratch on Instagram.

“He just reached out a couple of weeks ago for me to speak on his documentary about his life.

“Craig was my roadie on tour. He would set up & break down my turntables every night… Rest In Peace Lil Bro.”

According to the New York Daily News, Mack died of heart failure in hospital near his home in South Carolina on Monday.

Hailing from Brentwood, Long Island, he cut his first single while still a teenager, under the name MC EZ.

After it failed to make an impact, he worked as an assistant to local hip-hop heroes EPMD. They introduced him to Sean “Puffy” Combs – now known as P Diddy – who put him on a remix of Mary J Blige’s You Don’t Have To Worry in 1992.

Impressed with his contribution, Combs offered him a recording contract and released Mack’s laid-back debut album, Project: Funk da World, in 1994.

The success of the album was propelled by Flava In Ya Ear – especially the remix, which featured verses from Notorious BIG, LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes.

The single was certified platinum and nominated for a Grammy the following year, while the follow-up single, Get Down, went gold.

However, Mack soon parted ways with Bad Boy Records – allegedly because of tense relations with Combs’ fellow protege Notorious BIG – and his subsequent releases failed break the top 40.

After his second album, he largely retreated from the public eye and in 2012 was filmed at a church service denouncing the “wickedness” of his former life.

He returned to music last year, releasing the 18-track Mack World Sessions album.

EPMD’s Erick Sermon said Mack had been working on new material at the time of his death.

“I’m devastated over the news of Craig Mack,” he wrote on Twitter. “We just finishing up his new album… Rest in Power Craig.”

Rapper Biz Markie also paid tribute, saying: “He had two perfect singles and the platonic rap remix. That’s more than most.”

Referencing the lyrics of Flava In Ya Ear, he added: “May he kick that ol’ robotic, futuristic, George Jetson crazy [expletive] in the infinite.”

Alvin Toney, an executive producer on Project: Funk Da World, said: “God bless my friend.”

Toney told the New York Daily News he had seen Mack in South Carolina last week.

“He was prepared for whatever comes, to go home to the Lord,” he said. “He was prepared to do that. He wasn’t scared. He was ready.”

Five people die in NYC helicopter crash, but the pilot survives

By Joe Sterling, Brynn Gingras and Holly Yan, CNN

New York (CNN)The fatal New York City helicopter crash that killed everyone on board except the pilot may have been caused by a passenger’s piece of luggage, the pilot told investigators.

The pilot said one of the passenger’s bags may have inadvertently hit the emergency fuel shutoff button, leading to the crash that killed five passengers, a senior law enforcement official said.
The National Transportation Safety Board will try to determine the cause of the Sunday evening crash, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The NTSB tweeted that an investigation team of 14 people would arrive Monday morning.
The passengers were on a Liberty Helicopters chopper that had been chartered for a private photo shoot, authorities said.
“One of the most difficult parts of the rescue were that five people were tightly harnessed,” Fire Department of New York Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. “People had to be cut out.”
The pilot was able to free himself and was rescued, Daniel Nigro said.
In an audio recording of a mayday call to LaGuardia Airport, the pilot can be heard saying that the helicopter was experiencing engine failure.

Company had 3 crashes in 11 years

The pilot was the sole survivor the the helicopter crash Sunday evening.

Liberty Helicopters describes itself on its website as “the largest and most experienced helicopter sightseeing and charter service in New York City.”
The company has “a fleet of 10 state-of-the-art Airbus helicopters (formerly American Eurocopter),” according to the website. “We have been in business and flying safely for over 30 years,” the website says.
This is the company’s third crash in 11 years, according to CNN affiliate WABC-TV. In August 2009, nine people were killed after a helicopter and a small, private plane crashed into each other over the Hudson River. Investigators said the helicopter was flying too high.
Two years before that, in July 2007, a Liberty sightseeing chopper carrying eight people dropped into the Hudson river. An off-duty paramedic on board helped everyone escape, WABC reports.
The Federal Aviation Administration said on Twitter that the helicopter went down in the river near Roosevelt Island at 7 p.m. ET. The FAA identified it as a Eurocopter AS350.
The helicopter was upside down and submerged when emergency responders reached it, authorities said.
Police said the chopper was in the water around 23rd Street and called for a barge with a crane to pull it out.

Crash investigation

First responders carry a person to an ambulance after the helicopter crashed into the East River.

The NTSB will likely look at three things: the pilot’s training, experience and immediate response during the crash; what, if anything, on the helicopter caused the crash; and what environmental factors may have contributed to the crash, said Gary C. Robb, an aviation attorney based in Missouri.
Robb says the NTSB would then release a preliminary report, and a probable-cause accident report would follow detailing what happened during the crash.
John J. Magers filmed the crash as it took place and posted the video on Twitter. He said he thought something was strange when he saw the helicopter flying low before it crashed into the East River, so he started shooting video.
“I saw it coming down toward the water. Thought it was unusual, but didn’t expect it to crash,” Magers told CNN. “My thoughts are with those killed.”

CNN Exclusive: The more opioids doctors prescribe, the more money they make

Story by Aaron Kessler, Elizabeth Cohen and Katherine Grise, CNN
In 2014 and 2015, opioid manufacturers paid hundreds of doctors across the country six-figure sums for speaking, consulting and other services. Thousands of other doctors were paid over $25,000 during that time.
Physicians who prescribed particularly large amounts of the drugs were the most likely to get paid.
“This is the first time we’ve seen this, and it’s really important,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, a senior scientist at the Institute for Behavioral Health at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, where he is co-director of the Opioid Policy Research Collaborative.
“It smells like doctors being bribed to sell narcotics, and that’s very disturbing,” said Kolodny, who is also the executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.
The Harvard researchers said it’s not clear whether the payments encourage doctors to prescribe a company’s drug or whether pharmaceutical companies seek out and reward doctors who are already high prescribers.
“I don’t know if the money is causing the prescribing or the prescribing led to the money, but in either case, it’s potentially a vicious cycle. It’s cementing the idea for these physicians that prescribing this many opioids is creating value,” said Dr. Michael Barnett, assistant professor of health policy and management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
CNN spoke with two women who’ve struggled with opioid addiction, and they described the sense of betrayal they felt when they learned that their doctors had received large sums of money from the manufacturers of the drugs that had created such havoc in their lives.
Carey Ballou said she trusted her doctor and figured that if he was prescribing opioids, it must be because they were the best option for her pain.
Then she learned that opioid manufacturers paid her doctor more than a million dollars over two years.
“Once I found out he was being paid, I thought, ‘was it really in my best interest, or was it in his best interest?’ ” she said.
To do the analysis, CNN — along with Barnett and Harvard’s Dr. Anupam Jena — examined two federal government databases. One tracks payments by drug companies to doctors, and the other tracks prescriptions that doctors write to Medicare recipients.
The CNN/Harvard analysis looked at 2014 and 2015, during which time more than 811,000 doctors wrote prescriptions to Medicare patients. Of those, nearly half wrote at least one prescription for opioids.
Fifty-four percent of those doctors — more than 200,000 physicians — received a payment from pharmaceutical companies that make opioids.
Doctors were more likely to get paid by drug companies if they prescribed a lot of opioids — and they were more likely to get paid a lot of money.
Among doctors in the top 25th percentile of opioid prescribers by volume, 72% received payments. Among those in the top fifth percentile, 84% received payments. Among the very biggest prescribers — those in the top 10th of 1% — 95% received payments.
On average, doctors whose opioid prescription volume ranked among the top 5% nationally received twice as much money from the opioid manufacturers, compared with doctors whose prescription volume was in the median. Doctors in the top 1% of opioid prescribers received on average four times as much money as the typical doctor. Doctors in the top 10th of 1%, on average, received nine times more money than the typical doctor.
“The correlation you found is very powerful,” said David Rothman, director of the Center on Medicine as a Profession at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. “What’s amazing about the findings is not simply that money counts but that more money counts even more.”
Paying doctors for speaking, consulting and other services is legal. It’s defended as a way for experts in their fields to share important experience and information about medications, but it has long been a controversial practice.
Pharmaceutical company payments to doctors are not unique to opioids. Drug companies pay doctors billions of dollars for various services. In 2015, 48% of physicians received some pharmaceutical payment.
It’s illegal, however, for doctors to prescribe the drug in exchange for kickback payments from a manufacturer.
Dr. Steven Stanos, president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, said he wasn’t surprised that doctors who frequently prescribe a drug are often chosen and paid to give speeches about the drug to other doctors.
“They know those medicines, and so they’re going to be more likely to prescribe those because they have a better understanding,” Stanos said, adding that some of the money paid to doctors may have been to teach other doctors about new “abuse-deterrent” opioid drugs.
Stanos’ group accepted nearly $1.2 million from five of the largest opioid manufacturers in the United States between 2012 and 2017, according to a recent report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Stanos said the money was used for various projects, including courses on safe opioid prescribing.
“I would obviously hope that a physician would not prescribe based on some type of kickback or anything like that, that they’d obviously be prescribing [in] the best interest of the patient,” he said.
But Dr. Daniel Carlat, former director of the Prescription Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts, said the CNN and Harvard findings are in line with other studies suggesting that money from drug companies does influence a doctor’s prescribing habits.
“It’s not proof positive, but it’s another very significant data point in the growing evidence base that marketing payments from drug companies are not good for medicine and not good for patient care,” said Carlat, a psychiatrist who blogs about conflicts of interest. “It makes me extremely concerned.”
Barnett, one of the Harvard researchers who worked with CNN, said pharmaceutical companies pay doctors for a reason.
“It’s not like they’re spending this money and just letting it go out into the ether,” he said. “They wouldn’t be spending this money if it weren’t effective.”
According to a statement by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, drug companies support mandatory and ongoing training for prescribers on the appropriate treatment of pain.
“PhRMA supports a number of policies to ensure patients’ legitimate medical needs are met, while establishing safeguards that prevent overprescribing,” according to the statement from the group.
Angela Cantone at her home in Greenville, South Carolina.

‘I trusted my doctor’

Angela Cantone says she wishes she had known that opioid manufacturers were paying her doctor hundreds of thousands of dollars; it might have prompted her to question his judgment.
She says Dr. Aathirayen Thiyagarajah, a pain specialist in Greenville, South Carolina, prescribed her an opioid called Subsys for abdominal pain from Crohn’s disease for nearly 2½ years, from March 2013 through July 2015.
Subsys is an ultrapowerful form of fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“He said it would do wonders for me, and it was really simple and easy. You just spray it in your mouth,” Cantone said.
She says Subsys helped her pain, but it left her in “a zombie-like” state. She couldn’t be left alone with her three young children, two of whom have autism and other special needs.
“I blacked out all the time. I’d find myself on the kitchen floor or the front lawn,” she said.
She says that if she missed even one day of the drug, she had uncontrollable diarrhea and vomiting.
She said she brought her concerns to Thiyagarajah, but he assured her it couldn’t be the Subsys that was causing her health problems.
“I trusted him. I trusted my doctor as you trust the police officer that’s directing traffic when the light is out,” she said.
She says that when she eventually asked Thiyagarajah to switch her to a non-opioid medication, he became belligerent.
“He said it was Subsys or nothing,” she said.
Angela Cantone holds an opioid called Subsys that her doctor prescribed to treat her prain from Crohn's disease.

Cantone would later learn that from August 2013 through December 2016, the company that makes Subsys paid Thiyagarajah more than $200,000, according to Open Payments, the federal government database that tracks payments from pharmaceutical companies to doctors.
CNN compared the $190,000 he received from 2014 to 2015 with other prescribers nationwide in the same medical specialty and found that he received magnitudes more than the average for his peers.
Nearly all of the payments were for fees for speaking, training, education and consulting.
Cantone is now suing Thiyagarajah, accusing him of setting out to “defraud and deceive” her for “the sole purpose of increasing prescriptions, sales, and consumption of Subsys to increase … profits.”
Through his attorney, Thiyagarajah denied any wrongdoing but declined to comment on this story due to the pending litigation.
In a court filing responding to Cantone’s lawsuit, Thiyagarajah denied all of the allegations against him and said that all medical care provided to Cantone was “reasonable and appropriate and in keeping with the standard of care.”
His attorney, E. Brown Parkinson, said the doctor is currently practicing medicine, alternating weeks between his practices in South Carolina and New York.
Thiyagarajah might be expected to write a relatively high number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers, given that he’s board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation with a subspecialty in pain medicine.
But he wrote an unusually high number of prescriptions for Subsys and other opioids even when compared with other doctors with the same certifications.
In 2014 and 2015, physicians with Thiyagarajah’s certifications wrote an average of 3.7 opioid prescriptions per Medicare patient per year, according to the analysis by CNN and Harvard. Thiyagarajah, however, annually wrote more than seven opioid prescriptions per patient per year.
After about two years on Subsys, Cantone says, she took herself off the drug cold turkey.
According to an affidavit by an investigator for the Drug Enforcement Administration, Thiyagarajah’s office was inspected by the agency in June 2015 and found to be prescribing another opioid, buprenorphine, “for non-legitimate medical need” in violation of federal law.
In March 2016, the agent conducted another inspection and seized 45 medical records related to Subsys.
The DEA did a compliance review and referred its findings to the Department of Health and Human Services, according to Robert Murphy, associate special agent in charge of the agency’s Atlanta Field Division.
Cantone is also suing Insys, the company that makes Subsys. Insys denied allegations of wrongdoing in a court filing responding to Cantone’s lawsuit.
Separate from Cantone’s lawsuit, John Kapoor, the founder and largest shareholder of Insys, was arrested and arraigned in federal court in October on charges of bribing doctors to overprescribe the drug.
“Dr. Kapoor engaged in no wrongdoing and refutes all of the charges in the strongest possible terms,” said Tom Becker, a spokesman for Kapoor. “He looks forward to being fully vindicated after having his day in court.”
Kapoor resigned from the Insys board of directors in October, according to a company news release.
Several other Insys executives were arrested in connection with an alleged racketeering scheme.
Separately, Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, is conducting an investigation into the opioid industry.
According to her investigation and the federal indictment, Insys used a combination of tactics, such as falsifying medical records, misleading insurance companies and providing kickbacks to doctors in league with the company.
Saeed Motahari, president and CEO of Insys, wrote a letter in September to McCaskill, noting that he was “concerned about certain mistakes and unacceptable actions of former Insys employees.” He added that most of the field-based sales staff were no longer with the company.
“I stand with you and share the desire to address the serious national challenge related to the misuse and abuse of opioids that has led to addiction and unnecessary deaths and has caused so much pain to families and communities around the country,” Motahari added.

The analysis

Sometimes, pharmaceutical companies pay doctors to do medical research. They also pay doctors for promotional work: for example, to speak with other doctors about the benefits of a drug.
Among the doctors who prescribe the highest volume of opioids, the CNN/Harvard analysis found that the largest amount of money was paid for that second category, which includes speaking fees, consulting, travel and food.
Concerns about payments to doctors by opioid manufacturers were brought to light last year in a study by researchers at Boston University.
Several studies published in medical journals in recent years have found an association between payments by pharmaceutical companies for various types of drugs and doctors’ prescribing habits.
For example, researchers at the University of North Carolina examined the two government databases analyzed by CNN and Harvard and found that when doctors received payments from manufacturers of certain cancer drugs, they were more likely to prescribe those drugs to their patients.
“This study suggests that conflicts of interest with the pharmaceutical industry may influence oncologists in high-stakes treatment decisions for patients with cancer,” the authors concluded.
Some studies have looked at whether the amount of money a doctor receives makes a difference. Studies by researchers at Yale University, the George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health and Harvard Medical School have all found that the more money physicians are paid by pharmaceutical companies, the more likely they are to prescribe certain drugs.
Dr. Patrice Harris, a spokeswoman for the American Medical Association, said that the CNN and Harvard data raised “fair questions” but that such analyses show only an association between payments and prescribing habits and don’t prove that one causes the other.
It’s “not a cause and effect relationship,” said Harris, chairwoman of the association’s opioid task force, adding that more research should be done on the relationship between payments and prescriptions.
“[We] strongly oppose inappropriate, unethical interactions between physicians and industry,” she added. “But we know that not all interactions are unethical or inappropriate.”
Harris added that relationships between doctors and industry are ethical and appropriate if they “can help drive innovation in patient care and provide significant resources for professional medical education that ultimately benefits patients.”
Stanos, the pain physician, said a doctor who gets paid by a pharmaceutical company and prescribes that company’s drug might truly and legitimately believe that the drug is the best option for the patient.
“I hope physicians that do promotional talks prescribe because they think the medicine has a benefit,” he said.
But Jena, one of the two Harvard researchers who collaborated on the CNN analysis, said he worries that money from opioid manufacturers — especially large amounts of money — could influence a doctor to prescribe opioids over less dangerous options.
“Every decision, every recommendation a physician makes, should be in the best interest of the patient and not a combination of the patient’s interest and the financial interest of the doctor,” said Jena, associate professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School.
“If we lived in a different world where none of these payments to physicians occurred, how many fewer Americans would have [been prescribed] opioids, and how many fewer deaths would have occurred?” he asked.
From 1999 to 2015, more than 183,000 people in the United States died from overdoses related to prescription opioids, according to the CDC. In October, President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency.
At least one company has decided to stop paying doctors for promotional activities such as speaking engagements.
Purdue Pharma discontinued its speakers program for the opioids OxyContin and Butrans at the end of 2016 and the program for Hysingla, another opioid, in November, according to company spokesman Robert Josephson.
“We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers,” a company statement said.

More than $1 million in three years

Though Thiyagarajah’s opioid prescription rates were particularly high, many other doctors who have prescribed large amounts of opioids have also been paid large amounts of money by pharmaceutical companies that make the drugs.
Several patients have filed lawsuits against these high prescribers.
From August 2013 through December 2016, Dr. Steven Simon of Overland Park, Kansas, was paid nearly $1.1 million by companies that make opioid painkillers, according to the federal Open Payments database.
Most of the payments were fees for speaking, training and education.
Ballou, one of his patients, says she remembers Simon bragging about how drug companies were flying him across the country to give lectures to other doctors.
“He said he was going to Miami, and they were going to give him a convertible, and he was going to stay in the best hotel and eat the best Cuban food he’d ever had,” said Ballou, who filed a lawsuit against Simon after she says she became addicted to opioids.
Simon’s lawyer, James Wyrsch, said he would not comment on pending litigation.
In court documents, he asked for the case to be dismissed, saying in part that Ballou’s complaints that Simon improperly prescribed Subsys were “simply incorrect.”
Bridget Patton, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Kansas City field office, said federal agents went to the office where Simon works, Mid-America PolyClinic, in July.
The clinic said in a statement that it is “fully and willingly cooperating with all investigations” and that Simon has not been employed there since July 24.
“We had a lawful presence at that facility,” Patton said. She declined to say whether investigating Simon himself was the purpose of the FBI visit.
The owner of the pain clinic, Dr. Srinivas Nalamachu, told The Kansas City Starthat the agents showed up with a search warrant for Simon’s medical records involving fentanyl prescriptions.
Simon and his lawyer told CNN they couldn’t comment due to the pending litigation.
Ballou said that when she was Simon’s patient, it didn’t give her pause that the same doctor who was prescribing opioids to her was also taking money from the companies that made the drugs.
But now she looks back with anger.
A Mother's Day card Angela Cantone's daugher made for her reads, "Best of all mother likes to sleep," alluding to the many instances when Cantone says her opioid medication caused her to pass out.

Cantone, the patient who went to Thiyagarajah, the pain specialist in South Carolina, looks back with sadness.
She cries as she remembers the Mother’s Day card her daughter made her in preschool. The teacher asked each child what their mother liked to do and wrote it on the card.
Her card said her mother liked to sleep.
“Instead of saying ‘she gives me hugs and kisses or takes me to the park,’ it was the years of her finding me on the floor,” Cantone said. “I feel like I failed as a parent.”
She becomes angry when she thinks about the hundreds of thousands of dollars her doctor was paid by the drug company.
“The medication that was being prescribed to me was for his benefit, not my own,” she said.

Russia says it has successfully tested advanced hypersonic missile

Radina Gigova

(CNN)Russia’s Defense Ministry says it has successfully tested one of the “invincible” missiles that President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month could deliver a warhead at hypersonic speed and pierce US defenses.

“A MiG-31 fighter crew of the Russian Aerospace Forces conducted a combat training launch of a hypersonic missile of the Kinzhal high-precision air missile system in the designated area,” the ministry said in statement Saturday.
“The hypersonic missile confirmed its technical operational performance and timing data of the Kinzhal missile system,” the statement said.
The Russian Defense Ministry has released what it described as footage of the Kinzhal launch. The video appears to show a military jet carrying a missile. Some parts of the missile are blurred.
The weapon, designed to eliminate targets on the ground and at sea, hit its assigned target at a training ground, the ministry said, and described the launch as “normal.”
Russian military personnel have been trained to carry out day and nighttime flights with the weapon in any weather conditions, the ministry said.
The ministry said that, due to the high flight characteristics of the MiG-31 aircraft and advanced high-maneuverable hypersonic technology, “the Kinzhal has no analogues in the world” — a claim US officials have downplayed as “election rhetoric” ahead of Russia’s presidential vote on March 18.

Russian Aerospace Forces conduct a training launch of Kinzhal hypersonic missile

In an annual address to the Russian Parliament, Putin said Russia had developed a new, nuclear-capable cruise missile with “unlimited” range that is able to elude air defense systems. He also said Russia had developed an “invincible” missile that can deliver a warhead at hypersonic speed.
“Russia still has the greatest nuclear potential in the world, but nobody listened to us,” said Putin. “Listen now.”

Putin touts new nuclear-powered missile

Putin touts new nuclear-powered missile 01:38
Talking to reporters while en route to Oman on Sunday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis expressed skepticism at Russia’s claims of having developed such high-tech missiles, saying such technology is “still years away.”
“I saw no change to the Russian military capability, and each of these systems he (Putin) is talking about that are still years away, I did not see them changing the military balance,” said Mattis. “They did not impact any need on our side for a change in our deterrent posture.”
While Putin may have been boasting about Russia’s resurgent military might in order to bolster his image as a strong leader at home and on the global stage, Mattis said the show of force is still against Russia’s own interests.
“Let me talk about the end state. How many years away they are, how much money they want to put into this arms race that they are creating with themselves,” said Mattis.
“At the end of the day, they can sink all that money in; it does not change my strategic calculation,” he said. “I just assumed it would all happen at great expense to the Russian people. It does not change anything.”

Target in Putin's nuke video looks like Florida

Target in Putin’s nuke video looks like Florida 02:25
A US official with knowledge of the latest Russian military assessment also expressed doubt to CNN that the weapons Putin described were even close to being operational. If Russia ever attacked the United States, it would be met with overwhelming force, said the source.
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said department officials watched Putin’s address and the weapons presentation, which featured an animation of a nuclear strike against the United States.
“That’s certainly something that we did not enjoy watching,” she said. “We don’t regard that as the behavior of a responsible international player.”
Russia’s Defense Ministry has launched a web page seeking the public’s help with naming its new arsenal.

Everything You Need To Know About Daylight Saving Time 2018

Getty
PEOPLE STAFF

March 06, 2018 05:57 PM

It’s almost time to spring forward!

Daylight saving time begins this Sunday, March 11, at 2:00 a.m. And yes, this is the one where you lose an hour of sleep. But don’t fret! That means you gain one more precious hour of sunlight at the end of the day to beat those end-of-winter doldrums.

So don’t forget to set any clocks that aren’t on a smart device ahead one hour before heading to bed Saturday night. And get ready to have your microwave display the wrong time for the next 8 months because you don’t want to break out the instruction manual.

Daylight saving time may not be the most thrilling day on your calendar, but the practice is celebrating it’s 100th birthday this year.

It was first enacted by the federal government as a way to save coal during World War I in the spring of 1918, and was only meant to exist during wartime. The practice was technically ended later that same year, but many regions continued to follow it, until eventually the government put the measure back in place in 1966.

The next major change came in 2007, when the Department of Transportation (DOT), which is surprisingly in charge of the practice, expanded daylight saving time to encompass about 65% of the year.

The DOT was assigned the responsibility because the switch affects so many modes of transportation. The agency continues to observe the twice-yearly time swap because it reportedly saves energy, cuts down on traffic accidents and reduces crime.

States have the final say on if they participate, though. Hawaii and most of Arizona do not — the latter because it receives so much sunlight already. The islands of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands abstain as well.

According USA Today, 26 states are considering making daylight saving time permanent, starting with Florida, but this change would require approval by Congress.

Research varies as to whether or not the practice actually satisfies its reasonings — air conditioning units have shown to cost more energy in some areas — but at the very least, the extra hour encourages more time outside. And whether you spend that working out or sipping cocktails on the patio, a little more sunshine is never a bad thing.

5 fab recipes for St. Patrick’s Day, from corned beef to Guinness cupcakes

From left, Tropical Mango Mayonnaise, Apricot-Bourbon Mustard and LB Steak Sauce, photographed in Walnut Creek, Calif., on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.      (Mark DuFrene/Staff)

Fresh thyme adds a delicate floral flavor to traditional Irish soda bread.
(Thinkstock)
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Guiness-laced gingerbread cupcakes get a final flourish of cream-cheese frosting for St. Patrick’s Day. (Milleflore Images)

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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day deliciously with these tasty takes on classic dishes, from America’s Test Kitchen’s homemade corned beef to Guinness-spiked gingerbread cupcakes. Yum.

1 Miette’s Guinness Gingerbread Cupcakes

Life’s short. Let’s plan dessert first. This fantastic Guinness-laced cupcake recipe from San Francisco’s Miette patisserie gets its complexity — and deliciousness — from molasses, ginger, cardamom, cloves and other gingerbread spices. Add a pouf of cream cheese frosting and serve with a tall glass of Guinness. Yum. Find the recipe here.

2 America’s Test Kitchen’s Ultimate Home-Corned Beef

Sure, you could buy a strangely pink corned beef at the supermarket for St.Patrick's Day -- or for everyday sandwich-making. Or you could make your own, using tips from America's Test Kitchen. (Photo courtesy of America's Test Kitchen)
You can make your own corned beef at home. (Photo courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen) 

Sure, you could buy that strangely pink, supermarket-prepped corned beef for St. Patrick’s Day — or for everyday sandwich-making. Or you could make your own. Turns out, corned beef is simply brined brisket + six days. Who knew? Here are America’s Test Kitchen’s how-tos.

3 Sweet DIY Mustard

OK, technically this one’s called Sweet Bavarian Mustard and we’re supposed to be going all-Irish here. But this is such a wonderful, easy-to-make mustard and it goes so well with corned beef, we couldn’t resist. You shouldn’t either. You’ll find the recipe here.

4 Easy Thyme Herbed Soda Bread

Fresh thyme adds a delicate floral flavor to traditional Irish soda bread.(Thinkstock)
Fresh thyme adds a delicate floral flavor to traditional Irish soda bread. (Thinkstock) 

When modern Irish cooking expert and celebrity chef Clodagh McKenna — you may have seen her on the “Rachael Ray Show” — does a St. Patrick’s Day spread, it’s likelier to include gravlax with dill and juniper berries than corned beef and cabbage, but she always makes soda bread. Her easy recipe calls for just six ingredients, including fresh thyme. You’ll find the recipe here. Also, an explanation for the cross traditionally cut into the top of the loaf. (Psst, fairies are involved.)

5 Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Irish Soda Bread

At the risk of sounding blasphemous, Irish soda bread can be a bit bland.Not so in this version, though, that adds Irish whiskey butter and whiskey-soaked raisins to the mix. (Thinkstock)
This version of Irish soda bread adds whiskey-soaked raisins to the mix. (Thinkstock)

This version, created by baking maven Beranbaum, author of “The Bread Bible,” add butter, sugar and whiskey-soaked raisins to the classic recipe. The resulting sconelike loaf is even more delectable slathered in an Irish whiskey butter. (Irish whiskey butter!) Here’s the recipe.

Mother’s Day 2018

Mother’s Day 2018 in the United States

Mother’s Day in the United States is annually held on the second Sunday of May. It celebrates motherhood and it is a time to appreciate mothers and mother figures. Many people give gifts, cards, flowers, candy, a meal in a restaurant or other treats to their mother and mother figures, including grandmothers, great-grandmothers, stepmothers, and foster mothers.

Gift boxes and pink rose.
Flowers and other gifts are given to mothers on Mother’s Day.
©iStockphoto.com/Creativeye99

What Do People Do?

Many people send cards or gifts to their mother or mother figure or make a special effort to visit her. Common Mother’s Day gifts are flowers, chocolate, candy, clothing, jewelry and treats, such as a beauty treatment or trip to a spa. Some families organize an outing for all of their members or hold a special meal at home or in a restaurant. In the days and weeks before Mother’s Day, many schools help their pupils to prepare a handmade card or small gift for their mothers.

Public Life

Mother’s Day is not a federal holiday. Organizations, businesses and stores are open or closed, just as they are on any other Sunday in the year. Public transit systems run to their normal Sunday schedules. Restaurants may be busier than usual, as some people take their mothers out for a treat.

Background

The origins of Mother’s Day are attributed to different people. Many believe that two women, Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis were important in establishing the tradition of Mother’s Day in the United States. Other sources say that Juliet Calhoun Blakely initiated Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the late 1800s. Her sons paid tribute to her each year and urged others to honor their mothers.

Around 1870, Julia Ward Howe called for Mother’s Day to be celebrated each year to encourage pacifism and disarmament amongst women. It continued to be held in Boston for about ten years under her sponsorship, but died out after that.

In 1907, Anna Jarvis held a private Mother’s Day celebration in memory of her mother, Ann Jarvis, in Grafton, West Virginia. Ann Jarvis had organized “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” to improve health and cleanliness in the area where she lived. Anna Jarvis launched a quest for Mother’s Day to be more widely recognized. Her campaign was later financially supported by John Wanamaker, a clothing merchant from Philadelphia.

In 1908, she was instrumental in arranging a service in the Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, which was attended by 407 children and their mothers. The church has now become the International Mother’s Day Shrine. It is a tribute to all mothers and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Mother’s Day has become a day that focuses on generally recognizing mothers’ and mother figures’ roles. Mother’s Day has also become an increasingly important event for businesses in recent years. This is particularly true of restaurants and businesses manufacturing and selling cards and gift items.

About Mother’s Day in other countries

Read more about Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day Observances

Weekday Date Year Name Holiday Type Where It is Observed
Sun May 9 2010 Mother’s Day Observance
Sun May 8 2011 Mother’s Day Observance
Sun May 13 2012 Mother’s Day Observance
Sun May 12 2013 Mother’s Day Observance
Sun May 11 2014 Mother’s Day Observance
Sun May 10 2015 Mother’s Day Observance
Sun May 8 2016 Mother’s Day Observance
Sun May 14 2017 Mother’s Day Observance
Sun May 13 2018 Mother’s Day Observance
Sun May 12 2019 Mother’s Day Observance
Sun May 10 2020 Mother’s Day Observance

The Winning Steps to Distinguish yourself from the Job Competition

The Winning Steps to Distinguish yourself from the Job Competition

How to get a head of the competition and stay there?

The job market today is becoming a matter of survival of the fittest. There is no room for mediocrity because excellence is now the standard. Recruiters and staffing agencies have raised the bar in hiring the right employee for the company. They are always looking for the best and the most excellent candidate for the job. If you don’t adapt, you will be left way behind others.

Having some job experiences and having good qualifications aren’t enough to get the job you want. Recruitment methods are continuously adapting to the rapid technological advancements and job seekers become even savvier than ever before in order to compete in the market.

If you are struggling with job search, you have to innovate to succeed. You need to differential yourself as the most suitable and hirable candidate than the rest.

Here are a few things you can do to distinguish yourself from the increasing job competition.

Get Out of your Comfort Zone!

There is no progress in your comfort zone, so get out. Get on the cutting-edge of your industry and discipline. Indeed, it can be so tempting to only concentrate on your core skills, but you also have to evolve. You can bring new approaches and fresh ideas even if you have been in the industry for many years or even decades. Learn many other things and hone more skills while developing other you’ve always had. You need to step up and do more.

Expand your Knowledge

As we all know, the world today is evolving and changing at a faster speed than ever before. If everything around you is growing, then you should also do the same and not become stagnant. In order to keep your career from stagnating, you need to remain up-to-date on the newest trends and latest changes in your industry. Take advantage of every opportunity to expand your knowledge and enhance your abilities. You need to study, take courses, attend webinars and seminars, read, learn and relearn. There are a lot of things you can do to increase your knowledge.

Become Visible on a Reliable Job Portal

Gone are the days when you have to drop off or fax your printed resume at the office of your potential employer. The recruitment process is now completely going digital, and many staffing agencies, companies and recruiters rely on reputable job portals and recruitment tools online to find, connect and engage with top candidates.

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Champion Employees is the real winner when it comes to helping job seekers land their dream job. The site provides recruiters with the opportunity to find the right people for their business and enable them to filter candidates to match their job criteria. Registering your resume at the  website does not only let you apply for jobs as they come listed and vacant, but also place job searchers in the talent pool of top candidates to be hired. Indeed, the job market is incredibly competitive these days. But, with the right approach, you will be able to set yourself apart from the huge crowd.

Continue reading “The Winning Steps to Distinguish yourself from the Job Competition”

Trump rips officers over Florida shooting: ‘I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon’

AFP AFP_11B18M A GOV SCH USA DC

WASHINGTON — While urging governors to work with him on new school safety measures, President Trump again attacked officers Monday for not entering a Florida high school building and somehow engaging a gunman who killed 17 people with a military-style rifle.

“I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon, and I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too,” Trump told a group of state governors gathered at the White House for talks on multiple issues.

More: Calls for action in wake of Florida school shooting, but prospects in Congress uncertain

Trump singled out a sheriff’s deputy assigned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and described the lack of action by him and others during the Feb. 14 shooting as “frankly, disgusting.” But he also added that “you don’t know” how anyone would react until they’re tested.

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President Donald Trump says the armed officer who didn’t stop the gunman responsible for last week’s Florida massacre was either a “coward” or “didn’t react properly under pressure.” He made the comments as he departed for the CPAC conference. (Feb. 23) AP

Asked if Trump has had firearms training himself, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said, “I don’t think that was the point he was making; he was saying that he would be a leader and would want to take a courageous action.”

Former Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson, who resigned following his suspension by Sheriff Scott Israel, said his actions have been misreported.//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({ google_ad_client: “ca-pub-7719868662790518”, enable_page_level_ads: true });

According to a statement issued by his lawyer, Peterson thought the shots were coming from outside any school building, and he followed training that says “in the event of outdoor gunfire, one is to seek cover and assess the situation” and communicate with other law enforcement officers.

“Allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue,” the statement said.

Response being investigated

Peterson’s response and the larger actions of the Broward County Sheriff’s Department regarding the Parkland massacre are being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement at the request of GOP Gov. Rick Scott, who attended the session with Trump Monday.

“I think the right thing is to go through a very transparent, thorough process of investigation. Let’s the facts out there. Then the right decision will be made,” Scott said in an interview after the session, adding that Peterson’s decision not to confront the shooter was “horrible.”

While berating local law enforcement, Trump also outlined a gun control and school safety program that includes expanded background checks, eliminating “bump stocks” and other devices that turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic ones, and emphasizing mental health issues, and arming “highly trained” teachers and school officials.

“We have to take steps to harden our schools so that they’re less vulnerable to attack,” Trump said.

Yet it’s unclear what, if anything, Congress will do; Republican congressional leaders have not said how they plan to address the gun issue, given an array of opinions on the subject.

And Trump and his aides are still working on the specifics of his proposals, the main goal of meetings Monday with the governors and more talks later this week with officials on all sides of the gun issue. Trump “is committed to ensuring the safety of our schools and communities,” Sanders said, “and he wants to hear ideas from Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs.”

Some of Trump’s ideas have drawn opposition, including governors who questioned the proposal to give teachers guns.

More: ‘You’re not in this alone’: What Columbine survivors want Parkland students to know

More: Parkland student Emma Gonzalez has more followers than NRA days after joining Twitter

More: ‘A teacher would have shot the hell out of him’: Trump cites Parkland shooting as reason to arm teachers

More: MetLife, rental car agencies dump NRA discounts

“We need a little less tweeting, a little more listening,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, during a discussion about arming teachers.

Throughout the day, White House officials and governors caucused on a number of items in which they can work together. In addition  to gun control, topics included health care, agriculture policy, workforce development, and infrastructure.

As part of his outreach on the gun issue, Trump told the governors that over the weekend he had lunch with prominent National Rifle Association officials, including Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox.

The NRA opposes a proposal Trump made last week, increasing the age limit for purchase of semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21 — an idea Trump did not mention during his chat with the governors.

While telling the governors “don’t worry about the NRA, they’re on our side,” Trump said, “sometimes we’re going to have to be very tough and we’re going to have to fight them.”

Sanders said Trump still supports “the concept” of an age increase for rifles, but is working on the details of this and other school safety plans.

As for background checks, Trump said he is looking for ways to make it harder  for mentally ill people to be able to obtain guns.

Trump plans to meet Wednesday with members of Congress from both parties, Sanders said, “to discuss different pieces of legislation, and what they can do, moving forward.”

Contributing: Ledyard King, USA TODAY

 

Box Office: ‘Black Panther’ Tops $700M With Record-Breaking 2nd Weekend

, I cover the film industry. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

‘Black Panther’

Black Panther earned $108 million on its second Fri-Sun frame, a drop of just 46% from last weekend’s record-crushing $202m Fri-Sun opening. In terms of raw dollars, it is the second-biggest second weekend gross of all time between Universal/Comast Corp.’s Jurassic World ($106.5m) and Lucasfilm’s The Force Awakens ($149m). It has now earned $400m in ten days of release, which makes it the third-fastest grosser of all time (for now) behind only Jurassic World ($404m) and The Force Awakens ($540m). Even if you adjust for inflation, it’s still only behind Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc.’s The Dark Knight, Marvel’s The Avengers, Jurassic World and The Force Awakens among ten-day domestic totals.

It also joins fellow Walt Disney release The Force Awakens as the only other $200 million+ opener to avoid the “$100m-losers club,” as it fell only $94m between weekends. That 46% second-weekend drop is a record for an MCU flick, holding even better than Paramount/Viacom Inc.’s Iron Man (-49%), Paramount’s Thor (-47%), Walt Disney’s The Avengers (-50%) and Disney’s  Doctor Strange (-49%). Its $47 million Saturday (+66% from Friday) is the second-biggest “day 9” Friday ever behind The Force Awakens. Sure, it dropped more in weekend two than Wonder Woman (-43%) and Spider-Man (-38%), but the Disney tentpole is earning so much so quickly that it’ll be past Sony’s Spider-Man ($403m in 2002, sans 3D or IMAX) and WB’s Wonder Woman ($413m last year) in a matter of days.
Once that happens, then Black Panther will be the third-biggest grossing solo superhero movie ever.  Once it gets past $413 million domestic, it’ll be behind only The Dark Knight Rises ($448m), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($458m), The Dark Knight ($534m) and The Avengers ($623m) among all superhero movies. Once it passes The Dark Knight (sans inflation), Black Panther will be the second-biggest superhero movie and the biggest solo superhero grosser ever in North America. Barring an unlikely comedown, Black Panther will end next weekend just past the $486m domestic total of Finding Dory to be the tenth-biggest North American grosser ever and among the top 100 when adjusted for inflation.

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Oh, but it may not stay ahead of The Last Jedi for very long. It had a (much) better hold and a larger overall second weekend, but Black Panther won’t have the advantage of Last Jedi’s post-Christmas weekdays. The Star Wars sequel made more on its second Mon-Thurs frame than its first. That’s somewhat normal for a big pre-Christmas release, which is why I wasn’t sounding the alarm bells after The Last Jedi dropped 67% in its second weekend. Now Black Panther may catch up yet again after next weekend, but we should note that The Last Jedi’s $620m domestic total isn’t remotely the bar for Black Panther’s success.

The only thing stopping Black Panther’s momentum is the sheer amount of “big” movies opening next month. And we’ll see just how big Red Sparrow, Walt Disney’s own A Wrinkle in Time (directed by Ava DuVernay and starring Storm Reid, natch), Tomb Raider, Pacific Rim: Uprising (starring John Boyega) and Ready Player One turn out to be. Assuming Red Sparrow (which is pretty good but very much for adults and not remotely like Atomic Blonde or Mission: Impossible) doesn’t go crazy, then Black Panther will have at least the three weeks that The Avengers had to run the tables after Battleship and Dark Shadows bombed.

Age of Ultron had to deal with Mad Max: Fury Road and Pitch Perfect 2 in its third weekend, followed by Disney’s Tomorrowland over Memorial Day. Jurassic World ran into Inside Out on its second weekend and faced Minions in weekend four and Ant-Man in weekend five. Even Spider-Man had to contend with Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones over its third frame. We know both that big movies can thrive alongside each other, and that a big and buzzy hit can hurt the competition. But there is something to be said for Black Panther getting relatively clear sailing for nearly a month.

That’s assuming A Wrinkle in Time breaks out, although I shouldn’t have to explain why many who worked on Black Panther will be rooting for A Wrinkle in Time even if it causes the MCU flick to take a big fourth-weekend drop. Heck, we could very well see a late March weekend where the top movies are (in random order) John Boyega’s Pacific Rim: Uprising, Alicia Vikander’s Tomb Raider, Storm Reid’s Wrinkle in Time, Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther and Jennifer Lawrence’s Red Sparrow. It may be up to Ready Player One to prove that big-budget franchise flicks starring white male leads aren’t box office poison. But that’s a highly ironic conversation for another day.

With Japan and China still on tap, Ryan Coogler’s MCU action drama has already topped $300m overseas for a $704m global total. It should be just over/under $900m worldwide by the end of next weekend, and it has already topped the likes of Man of Steel, Logan and Justice League, with Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($714m) and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 ($709m) next in its sights. So, as noted above, Black Panther is well on its way to being the biggest solo superhero origin story/non-sequel ever. We’ll see if it can get past The Dark Knight ($1 billion), The Dark Knight Rises ($1.1b) and Iron Man 3 ($1.2b) to become Earth’s mightiest hero.