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Spotify moves against R. Kelly; Robert N. Hall, whose inventions are everywhere, is dead; more in U.S. news

FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2015, file photo, musical artist R. Kelly performs the national anthem before an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks in New York. As critics of the singer seek to cancel his shows because of his alleged mistreatment of women, a community leader in North Carolina says she and others will stage a protest if his Friday show in Greensboro takes place. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File) NYET301
FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2015, file photo, musical artist R. Kelly performs the national anthem before an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks in New York. As critics of the singer seek to cancel his shows because of his alleged mistreatment of women, a community leader in North Carolina says she and others will stage a protest if his Friday show in Greensboro takes place. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File) NYET301
Published May 10, 2018

Nation

Spotify moves against R. Kelly

R. Kelly's music will no longer be promoted by Spotify and has been removed from all official playlists and recommendation features, the company said Thursday, adding its voice to the growing chorus attempting to hold the singer responsible after decades of accusations of sexual misconduct. "We want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values," Spotify said. Last week, the Time's Up organization, which formed around the #MeToo movement to support victims of sexual abuse, joined a grassroots #MuteRKelly campaign that has called on his record label and concert promoter, as well as venues, radio stations and streaming services, to cease its support of the platinum-selling R&B singer. R. Kelly, who for years has faced lawsuits and news reports alleging sexual coercion and abuse of young girls and women, has denied the accusations. He is not facing any criminal charges and was acquitted in 2008 in a child pornography case. His management team claims the Time's Up campaign an "attempted public lynching of a black man." Spotify also debuted a new policy regarding "hate content and hateful conduct." It has "thought long and hard about how to handle content that is not hate content itself, but is principally made by artists or other creators who have demonstrated hateful conduct personally." The chart-topping rapper and singer XXXTentacion, who is facing charges in Florida that include aggravated battery of a pregnant woman and witness tampering, was also removed from playlists.

Puerto Rico

Officials stock up as storm season nears

Federal and local officials said Thursday that they are stockpiling radios, food, water and generators in Puerto Rico and demanding rigorous emergency training to prepare the U.S. territory for dealing with any catastrophic storm as the Atlantic hurricane season approaches. Still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, emergency plans have been changed to warn the island's 3.3 million people they need to have enough supplies to survive 10 days. "After Maria, we learned that three days is not enough," said Carlos Acevedo, interim commissioner of Puerto Rico's emergency management agency.

Michigan

Canadian minister asked to take off turban at airport

A Canadian Cabinet minister said Thursday he was subject to a discriminatory security check at Detroit's airport last year that caused Canada to complain to U.S. government officials. Navdeep Bains, of the Sikh religion, says he was brought back from the gate to security where he was asked to take the turban off. When they realized who he was, they let him go. He said U.S. officials expressed regret and apologized. But, he said, that shouldn't be the case: "It doesn't matter what your status is and what your position is." TSA said the officer did not follow standard operating procedures.

New York

Robert N. Hall, whose inventions are everywhere, is dead

Robert N. Hall's legacy can be found at almost every checkout counter — that little red blinking laser scanner that reads bar codes. A product of his inventive labor can also be found in most kitchens: the microwave. Yet for all the widespread familiarity of what Hall wrought as a remarkably ingenious physicist, his death at 96 on Nov. 7, 2016, gained little notice. An announcement paid for by his family appeared in two upstate New York newspapers, and General Electric published a remembrance. His daughter, Elaine Schulz, said Wednesday that besides buying the newspaper notices, the family alerted some organizations with which Hall had been connected. He died of complications of pneumonia in a hospital near his home in Schenectady, she said. The New York Times learned of Hall's death while editing an obituary about him that had been prepared in advance. Hall left his fingerprints far and wide. He built the first solid-state laser in 1962. Nearly 20 years earlier, during WWII, he designed a magnetron to jam enemy radar that, thanks to a melting candy bar, was adapted to create the microwave. Another of his inventions makes it possible to control the high-voltage DC current that runs things like electric locomotives. His gamma ray detector is used in nuclear research. And his laser not only promotes channel surfing and pointers; it also enables fiber optics to carry data.

Minnesota

Bus driver texted, looked up jokes

A Minneapolis-area school bus driver is accused of texting while driving and looking up "your mama" jokes on her cellphone. Brenda Carsten, 39, faces more than a dozen charges of child endangerment. Authorities say video and audio taken on the bus in Blaine on Feb. 6 show Carsten driving erratically, with hands off the wheel, and children moving around the bus. At one point, she handed the phone to a student to read jokes over the intercom. — tbt* wires