Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Bonne année!

С Новым Годом!

Frohes neues Jahr!

New Year's Eve!

^ Continuing the tradition: listening to: Дискотека Авария -« Новогодняя » Then watching: "New Year's Eve" and finally «Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром!» before the Balls drops. ^

ID Vote

From Dublin News:
"UK to make voters' ID mandatory in local polls"

British voters will have to present ID proof at polling stations during local elections as part of the government's effort to crack down on electoral fraud, the media reported on Tuesday. Chris Skidmore, British Minister for the Constitution, announced the trials would start from 2018, said a report in the Independent. The move for more stringent controls at the ballot box comes in response to a government-commissioned report by Eric Pickles, the "anti-corruption champion" and former communities secretary. While there is already a requirement for the public in Northern Ireland to present photographic ID before they vote, no such procedures exist in the rest of Britain. Pickles suggested in his report that a driving licence, passport or utility bill "would not seem unreasonable to establish identity". The independent Electoral Commission has for long been advocate of introducing ID at polling stations in Britain, previously warning that electoral fraud has the "potential to undermine confidence in the electoral system if not addressed". Other recommendations accepted by the government include considering how "nationality checking" may be used to prevent false registrations, requiring electors to re-apply for postal votes every three years and ending the "dubious practise of postal vote harvesting" by political activists. In order to eradicate intimidation of the public at the ballot box, Pickles also recommended that the government provide powers so that the police can establish cordons sanitaires at polling stations where necessary. Although the scale of voter fraud is not thought to be widespread, the Cabinet Office said it was planning to bring forward new guidance for electoral registration officers who conduct the polls. "The government's view is that electoral fraud is unacceptable on any level. I want to protect the right of everyone to have their say and participate in our democracy," said Skidmore. "The new measures we are announcing on Tuesday will protect anyone who is at risk of being bullied, undermined or tricked out of their vote - and their democratic right," he added. Claire Bassett, Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission, welcomed the government's announcement of its intention to pilot measures to increase security at polling stations.

^ It makes sense that people around the world show ID to prove their identity before they vote. ^

New Years Changes

Friday, December 30, 2016

Leaping New Year

From the BBC:
"New Year delayed by one second"

A "leap second" will be added to this year's New Year's countdown to compensate for a slowdown in the Earth's rotation. The extra second will occur as clocks strike midnight and a time of 23:59:60 will be recorded, delaying 2017 momentarily. A leap second last occurred in June 2015 and this will be the 27th time it has occurred. The change is required because standard time lags behind atomic clocks.  The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) - responsible for the UK's national time scale - uses the atomic clock to provide a stable and continuous timescale. Along with other clocks across the globe, it provides the world with its coordinated universal time.  NPL senior research scientist Peter Whibberley said: "Atomic clocks are more than a million times better at keeping time than the rotation of the Earth, which fluctuates unpredictably. "Leap seconds are needed to prevent civil time drifting away from Earth time. "Although the drift is small - taking around 1,000 years to accumulate a one-hour difference - if not corrected it would eventually result in clocks showing midday before sunrise." Atomic clocks use the change of electron energy levels to tell the time.  The time created by the clocks is used in GPS location devices and is used to control the wave frequency of television broadcasts. The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service in France tracks the Earth's rotation and announces the need for a leap second.

^ It's funny to hear people countdown to the New Year on a regular year - they almost never get it right - and now there will be a reason for that. ^

Minimum Raise

From Yahoo:
"Pay to rise for millions as 19 states increase minimum wage"

It will be a happy New Year indeed for millions of the lowest-paid U.S. workers. Nineteen states, including New York and California, will ring in the year with an increase in the minimum wage. Massachusetts and Washington state will have the highest new minimum wages in the country, at $11 per hour. California will raise its wage to $10.50 for businesses with 26 or more employees. New York state is taking a regional approach, with the wage rising to $11 in New York City, to $10.50 for small businesses in the city, $10 in its downstate suburbs and $9.70 elsewhere. Some specific businesses — fast-food restaurants and the smallest New York City businesses — will have slightly different wage requirements.  "This $1.50 increase, I cannot even comprehend or tell you how important this will be," said Alvin Major, a New York City fast-food worker. The 51-year-old father of four helped lead the fight for the increase in his state, one of several successful efforts by fast-food workers and other low wage workers around the country. "The price of food has gone up. Rent has gone up. Everything has gone up. ... This will make a difference for so many people." Voters in Arizona, Maine, Colorado and Washington approved increases in this year's election. Seven other states, Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio and South Dakota, are automatically raising the wage based on indexing. The other states seeing increases are Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Michigan and Vermont. Additional increases are slated for later in the year in Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. In Arizona, the state Chamber of Commerce and Industry filed a lawsuit challenging the increase, which will raise the minimum wage from $8.05 to $10. On Thursday, the Arizona Supreme Court refused to temporarily block the raise. Workers and labor advocates argue the increases will help low-wage workers now barely making ends meet and boost the economy by giving some consumers more money to spend. But many business owners opposed the higher wages, saying they would lead to higher prices and greater automation. Some restaurant owners may consider reducing portion sizes or charging for side dishes that were once included in the price of a meal to absorb the increase, according to Melissa Fleischut, president of the New York State Restaurant Association. "I'm sure prices will go up where they can, but restaurants want to avoid sticker shock," she said. "They're going to have to get creative." The adjustments in New York, California and several other states are part of a series of gradual increases to a $12 or $15 hourly wage. The minimum wage will also go up this weekend in 22 cities and counties, including San Diego, San Jose and Seattle. The high number of states and localities raising the wage this year reflects the successful work of fast-food workers and organized labor, according to Tsedeye Gebreselassie, senior staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project, as well as federal inaction on the wage. The national minimum was last raised, to $7.25, in 2009. "These aren't only teens trying to make some pocket money," she said. "Increasingly it's adults who are using this money to support their families."

^ Hopefully, these minimum wage increases will be for everyone (ie. the disabled, etc.) otherwise you shouldn't be allowed to call it minimum. ^

Shovel On

Russia's Response

From the BBC:
"Russia-US row: Putin rules out tit-for-tat expulsion of diplomats"

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ruled out a tit-for-tat response after the US expelled 35 Russian diplomats amid a row over hacking. He said Russia would not "stoop" to the level of "irresponsible diplomacy" but would work to restore ties with the US under President-elect Donald Trump. The country denies involvement in hacking related to the US election, calling US sanctions "ungrounded".
Mr Trump praised Mr Putin as "very smart" for holding off on reprisals. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev accused the outgoing US administration of President Barack Obama of ending in "anti-Russian death throes".

Under the US action taken on Thursday:
  • Thirty-five diplomats from Russia's Washington embassy and its consulate in San Francisco were declared "persona non grata" and given 72 hours to leave the US with their families
  • Two properties said to have been used by Russian intelligence services in New York and Maryland were closed on Friday
  • Sanctions were announced against nine entities and individuals including two Russian intelligence agencies, the GRU and the FSB
Mr Obama, who will be replaced by Donald Trump on 20 January, had vowed action against Russia amid US accusations that it directed cyber-attacks on the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton's campaign. Emails stolen from her campaign manager and from the servers of the Democratic National Committee - some containing embarrassing information for Democrats - were released during the election campaign.  In a statement on the Kremlin website (in Russian), Mr Putin said: "We won't be expelling anyone.  "We won't be banning their families and children from the places where they usually spend the New Year holidays. Furthermore, I invite all children of American diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas Tree in the Kremlin."  He wished Barack Obama and his family a happy New Year, as well as Mr Trump and "the whole American people".  In a message on the presidential website, Mr Putin said that, with the accession of Mr Trump, "the two states, acting in a constructive and pragmatic manner, can take real steps for restoration of mechanisms for bilateral co-operation". President-elect Trump has dismissed the hacking claims as "ridiculous" and said Americans should "get on with our lives" when asked previously about the possibility of sanctions.  However, he said late on Thursday he would meet US intelligence chiefs next week to be "updated on the facts of this situation". Russia's foreign ministry had reportedly suggested expelling 31 US diplomats from Moscow and four from St Petersburg. It also suggested banning US diplomats from their dachas (holiday homes) in Serebryany Bor near Moscow and a warehouse on Moscow's Dorozhnaya Street. Russia is sending a special plane to the US to fly home its diplomats. The move followed reports that they were struggling to buy plane tickets because flights were full ahead of the New Year holiday.   Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has denied a report by CNN that Moscow is shutting down a school attended by diplomats' children. She said it was a "lie" that the Anglo-American School faced closure as retaliation. Meanwhile, the Russian embassy to the UK tweeted a visual gag calling the Obama presidency a lame duck.  Pavel Felgenhauer, a Russian military affairs analyst, told BBC World Service things were going to get "very nasty" from here on in. But US Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is currently on a visit to the Baltic states, told the BBC it would have been a mistake for the US not to respond to the hacking. "This is something that is not just about American democracy, it's about all democracies," she said. "There's upcoming elections in Germany and France and for the US just to roll over and to let this happen with no response would have been a huge mistake." US intelligence agencies, including the FBI and CIA, concluded that the aim of the hack was to cause damage to Mrs Clinton and the Democrats and favour Mr Trump.

^ It does sound like Putin wants to show-off Obama and at the same time gain favor with Trump. I hope that Trump does stand-up to any provocations when he becomes President. ^

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Russians Expelled

From the BBC:
"US expels Russian diplomats over cyber attack allegations"

The US has expelled 35 Russian diplomats as punishment for alleged interference into last month's presidential elections, giving them 72 hours to leave the country.  It will also close two compounds used for Russian intelligence-gathering. President Barack Obama had vowed action against Russia amid US accusations it directed hacks against the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton's campaign. Russia has denied any involvement and called the decision "ungrounded".  The US state department declared the 35 Russian diplomats from the Washington DC embassy and the consulate in San Francisco "persona non grata", and gave them and their families 72 hours to leave the US. The move follows calls from senior US senators to sanction Russian officials who are believed to have played a role in the hacking, which some lawmakers referred to as America's "political Pearl Harbor". Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who led the calls for sanctions, said they "intend to lead the effort in the new Congress to impose stronger sanctions on Russia". A Kremlin spokesman told journalists in Moscow that President Vladimir Putin would consider retaliatory measures. Dmitry Peskov said the actions were "a manifestation of unpredictable and aggressive foreign policy", and called them "ungrounded and not legal". And the Russian embassy in the UK tweeted a visual gag calling the Obama presidency a lame duck.  President-elect Donald Trump, who will take over from President Obama next month, has dismissed the hacking claims as "ridiculous" and said Americans should "get on with our lives" when asked about the possibility of sanctions before the announcement on Wednesday. Sanctions have also been announced against nine entities and individuals including Russian intelligence agencies, the GRU and the FSB. Russian intelligence compounds in New York and Maryland will be closed.  In a statement, President Obama called the moves a "necessary and appropriate response to efforts to harm US interests" and said "all Americans should be alarmed by Russia's actions". Mr Obama also announced the US would declassify technical information related to Russian cyber activity to "help network defenders in the United States and abroad identify, detect, and disrupt Russia's global campaign of malicious cyber activities". Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, said in a statement that despite the measures being overdue "it is an appropriate way to end eight years of failed policy with Russia". Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, who is from Maryland, called for Congress to take action separately from the White House, and plans to introduce legislation to establish a committee "to further examine the attack and Russian's efforts to interfere in our election".   In a joint statement by the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Director of National Security, and the FBI, US officials appeal to companies to "look back within their network traffic" and report any signs of "malicious cyber activity" to law enforcement. The Russian hacking, which the US intelligence agencies describe as a "decade-long campaign" included methods such as "spearphishing, campaigns targeting government organisations, critical infrastructure, think-tanks, universities, political organisations, and corporations; theft of information from these organisations; and the recent public release of some of this stolen information". Emails stolen from Hillary Clinton's campaign manager and from the servers of the Democratic National Committee were released during the 2016 presidential election by Wikileaks. Several US agencies, including the FBI and CIA have concluded that the hacked information was released to cause damage to Mrs Clinton and the Democrats in order to favour Mr Trump.

^ This does seem a little desperate on the part of Obama. I do think Russia has tried to interfere with the US for years and Obama did little to nothing until his last few weeks in office. Had he done this earlier it would have more pull. Of course Russia is going to deny everything - they always do and then in a few months they will admit the truth (which everyone else already knew.) They have done that numerous times over recent years - especially regarding the invasion, occupation and annexation of the Crimea and are currently denying any involvement in the Donbass. The main reason Russia is able to influence so many things around the world (good and bad) is because their government doesn't care what others think of them or if it's legal. Sometimes to stop people/countries like that you have to play by their rules and so far the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, Japan, the EU, the UN, NATO, etc. does little to nothing (other than a "slap on the wrists") when Russia breaks the rules. ^

Love Snow

Is it bad that I smiled a little when the one person who is always so in love with snow and boasts it's "joy" posted that they now hated it because they finally realized it isn't as picture-perfect in real-life as it seems in pictures and movies?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Automatic Entry

From the Irish Times:
"State to seek automatic EU entry for NI in event of unification"

The Government is to push for a commitment that Northern Ireland will be given speedy admittance to the European Union in the event of Irish unity.  Sources have said the talks on Britain’s departure from the EU, due to begin by the end of March, must take account of the prospect of a future Border poll. A referendum on Irish unity is allowed for in the Belfast Agreement but only if certain conditions are met. The example being cited, and the argument that will be deployed by the Government, is that of East Germany becoming an automatic member of the then European Community on the day of German reunification in October 1990.  One well-placed source said the Government will “look for the same thing in relation to the North”.  “You could be talking in 20 years’ time if the people of Northern Ireland decide to join up,” said a source.

^ I think that should Northern Ireland vote to leave the UK and become a part of the Republic of Ireland then NI should automatically become part of the EU - even if the UK has left the EU by then. The case for East Germany directly mirrors that of NI  - if NI reunites with Ireland. ^

Debbie Reynolds

From the BBC:
"US actress Debbie Reynolds dies, a day after daughter Carrie Fisher"

US actress Debbie Reynolds has died, a day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher, her son has announced. US media said the 84-year-old had a stroke. She was taken to a Los Angeles hospital earlier on Wednesday. The Hollywood legend is best known for her role in the 1952 musical Singin' in the Rain, opposite Gene Kelly. Fisher - renowned for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars series - died on Tuesday aged 60, following a cardiac arrest on a plane. Reynolds was taken by ambulance to Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre after being taken ill on Wednesday.  Announcing her death later, her son Todd Fisher told AP news agency: "She's now with Carrie and we're all heartbroken.'' He added that the stress of his sister's death "was too much" for their mother  On Tuesday Reynolds posted a statement about her daughter's death on Facebook: "Thank you to everyone who has embraced the gifts and talents of my beloved and amazing daughter. I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers that are now guiding her to her next stop." Reynolds was leading lady in a succession of major Hollywood musicals and comedies in the 1950s and 60s. She received a best-actress Academy Award nomination for the 1964 musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown. In 2015, she was given a lifetime achievement award by the Screen Actors Guild. The award was presented to her by her daughter.   Reynolds married singer Eddie Fisher in 1955, and had two children, Carrie and Todd.  The couple divorced in 1959. Reynolds married twice more. 

^ It's sad to think that Debbie Reynolds is gone especially only a day after her daughter died. My mom really loved one of her movies: "The Singing Nun" and I would watch it with her. ^

Amazon Holiday

From Yahoo:
"Amazon Reports Best Holiday Yet With Record Orders for Echo" Inc. said it had its best holiday season yet, having shipped more than 1 billion items through its Prime and Fulfillment services, and receiving a record number of orders for its own Alexa devices. Sales for Echo speakers based on Alexa’s voice-recognition software were nine times more than the 2015 holiday season, Amazon said in a statement Tuesday. The Seattle-based company had trouble keeping them in stock despite “ramped-up production,” said Jeff Wilke, chief executive officer worldwide consumer.  Gauging demand for a product is difficult. Retailers risk losing money by overstocking or missing sales and disappointing shoppers by not having enough items available. Amazon actually sold out of its Echo speakers in mid-December. The Echo shortage shows voice-activated assistants are resonating with shoppers. Consumers can use voice commands on the gadget to order pizza, check homework, play music, among other tasks. “Echo and Echo Dot were the best-selling products across Amazon this year, and we’re thrilled that millions of new customers will be introduced to Alexa as a result,” Wilke said. Amazon shares rose 1.3 percent to $770.71 at 10:16 a.m. in New York. The stock gained 13 percent this year through Friday. More than 70 percent of Amazon users shopped using a mobile device during the holiday, Amazon said.

^ I have used Amazon Prime since last July and like that they deliver right to my door (the Post Office only delivers letters to my mailbox 2 miles from my mountain and then I have to drive into town if there are any packages.) Of course it gets a little dicey when we have bad weather - sometimes an item has to wait a day or two to get to me, but it's still better with Amazon. ^

Snow Blizzard

From USA Today:
"Blizzard to bury New England under 2 feet of snow"

A powerful winter storm will unleash heavy, wet snow and howling winds across portions of New England from late Thursday through midday Friday, with blizzard conditions possible in some areas.
Much of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine should see a foot of snow, with nearly two feet expected in some spots, the National Weather Service said. "This looks to be a high-impact storm with power outages and significant drifting issues likely," the weather service warned. The storm will cause "extensive travel disruptions" Thursday and Friday, AccuWeather said. A snowstorm is classified as a blizzard when it contains 35-mph winds and blowing or drifting snow that reduces visibility to a quarter-mile or less, with both conditions persisting for at least three hours. Lighter amounts of snow are forecast for western and central portions of Massachusetts and Connecticut. This is mainly a snow event for interior New England. The Boston and Providence areas won't see much accumulation, but winds could gust up to 50 mph. Most of the heavily populated Interstate-95 Northeast corridor south of Boston will likely see rain, according to the Weather Channel, which named the storm Fortis. Elsewhere, cold winds blowing across the relatively mild Great Lakes will also dump snow in the snow belts of Ohio, New York State and Pennsylvania over the next couple of days. Many of these areas could tally 6 inches or more of snow by Friday night. In the West, heavy snowfall will hit the higher elevations of the Washington Cascades, along with the mountains of northern Idaho and western Wyoming, the weather service said.

^ We have already had a rough end of Fall and beginning of Winter with sub-zero temperatures, ice and lots of snow and it seems we are in for at least 2 feet of more snow and blizzard conditions. I went into town today and did some errands only to come back and find a package slip in my mailbox. I doubt I will be able to go anywhere tomorrow so I will try to go back into town and get it on Friday and if not it will have to wait until next year. ^

Pearl Visit

From the BBC:
"Japan PM Shinzo Abe offers Pearl Harbor condolences"

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe has visited the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, where he offered "sincere and everlasting condolences" to the victims of Japan's attack on the base 75 years ago. "We must never repeat the horrors of war again, this is the solemn vow the people of Japan have taken," he said.
Mr Abe was accompanied by US President Barack Obama, making the visit the first by the leaders of both countries. Japan devastated much of the base, killing more than 2,400 Americans.  Mr Abe paid tribute to the men who lost their lives in 1941 at the naval base, many of whom remain entombed in the wreckage of the USS Arizona, sunk by the Japanese that day, and vowed reconciliation and peace. "To the souls of the US servicemen who lie aboard the USS Arizona, to the American people, and all people around the world, I pledge that unwavering vow," he said. The Japanese prime minister went on to praise the US for its efforts to mend relations with Japan following the war between the two countries, which ended shortly after the US dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945. And he called the renewed alliance between the countries an "alliance of hope".  Mr Obama also paid tribute to the dead, saying that he had laid a wreath on "waters that still weep". "That morning the ranks on those men's shoulders reflected them less than the courage in their hearts," he said. He said he welcomed Mr Abe "in the spirit of friendship, in the manner Japan has always welcomed me".  Mr Abe is the first Japanese leader to visit the memorial on the site of the Arizona, although several of his predecessors have been to Pearl Harbor in the past. He and Mr Obama laid wreaths at the site and the two leaders prayed for the dead. But, as expected, Mr Abe did not issue an apology for the attack. Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor damaged all eight of the US battleships at the base and sank four of them, propelling the US into World War Two.  Nearly half of those killed were on the Arizona and the remains of most are still entombed in the wreckage. All eight battleships at the base were damaged and four were sunk. But the key US aircraft carriers were at sea at the time.  On Monday, Mr Abe visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and laid a wreath. He stood for a moment of silence at the cemetery near central Honolulu, a memorial to those who died the the Pacific theatre of war. He also held a summit meeting with Mr Obama in Hawaii, their last before Mr Obama steps down in January.  Mr Abe's visit, three weeks after the 75th anniversary of the attack, follows a visit earlier this year to Hiroshima by Mr Obama. He became the first serving US president to visit the Japanese city, where about 150,000 people are believed to have been killed in 1945 by a US atomic. The first Japanese leader to visit Pearl Harbor was Shigeru Yoshida who in 1951 stopped over in Hawaii both on the way to and from the signing of the peace treaty with the US in San Francisco.

Pearl Harbor attack in numbers

7 December 1941

353     Japanese aircraft attacked the US Naval Base in Hawaii at 07:55
2,403        Americans were killed in the attack
  • 19 US Navy ships, including eight battleships, were damaged or destroyed
  • 328 US aircraft were damaged or destroyed in the attack, which lasted for one hour and 15 minutes

^ I think it was a good visit, but Japan should apologize for bombing Pearl Harbor and starting the Pacific Theater of World War 2.  ^

Castro Cult

From Yahoo:
"Cuba passes law that bans naming sites after Fidel Castro"

Cuba's National Assembly approved a law on Tuesday that bans commemorative statues of Fidel Castro and naming public places after him, in accordance with the wishes of the revolutionary leader, who died last month. Castro always said he did not want a cult of personality, although critics point out that the cult was everywhere. His words are posted on billboards nationwide and his name is invoked at every public event. The best way to pay homage to "El Comandante" - the commander - is to follow his concept of revolution, the president said. The new law does not ban artists from using Fidel Castro's figure in music, literature, dance, cinema or other visual arts, official media specified. Photos of him hanging in offices, places of study or public institutions also may be kept. Every since his death, a large photo of a young Castro dressed in military fatigues, with a rifle and pack slung over his back, has hung from a building in Havana's Revolution Square. Castro, a leading Cold War figure who built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States and defied U.S. attempts to topple him, died on Nov. 25 at the age of 90, eight years after handing the presidency over to Raul.

^ Anyone who claims they don't want a "cult of personality" most likely does want one. The majority of people don't say things like that. Castro was a brutal dictator who became useless towards the end. That is the perfect revenge for a man like him. Cubans should now focus on trying to improve their lives and get out of the Communist yoke that has repressed them since 1959 than wasting time and money on statutes, etc. on Castro. ^

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Canadian Reputation

From the G & M:
"Canadians believe global reputation improved under Trudeau Liberals: Nanos poll'"

In the minds of Canadians, their country’s reputation on the world stage has improved under the Trudeau Liberals, according to a new poll from Nanos Research and the Institute for Research on Public Policy. The same survey showed an increased number of respondents see federal-provincial relations improving under the Liberals compared with the previous Conservative government. But the finding also indicate the Liberals are no better off than the Conservatives were at similar times during their mandates when it comes to whether Canada is headed in the right direction, or how well the government is performing.
According to the findings, there was a more than 20 point jump in positive sentiment toward Canada’s international reputation after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won power in Ottawa. And pollster Nik Nanos says the trend has continued to climb. As well, Canadians’ views on federal-provincial relations is viewed by respondents as more positive under the Liberals, according to the 10th annual Mood of Canada survey. But the post-election enthusiasm toward the Trudeau government’s overall performance has declined in the last year, said Nanos.  “Perhaps most striking are the responses this year to the question of whether the country is going in the right or wrong direction,” he said. “(The results) are not very different from those garnered by the Harper government in the periods following the 2008 and 2011 elections.” After both election victories, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives were seen by 64 per cent of respondents as taking the country in the right direction. A year later, those numbers dropped, with about half of those polled having the same opinion. Similarly, the Liberals saw 63 per cent support for their direction of the country after being elected. That support dipped in this year’s survey to 54 per cent. The Nanos—IRPP tracking study asked the opinions of 1,000 Canadians as part of a random, hybrid telephone and online survey of 1,000 Canadians, conducted between December 16 and 19, where participants were asked by telephone live agents to answer a survey online. The results are considered accurate within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. In its 2015 findings, the survey indicated that 59 per cent of Canadians saw their country’s standing on the world stage improved or somewhat improved. That number climbed to 63 per cent this year. Comparably, only 18 per cent of respondents felt the same way under the Conservatives in 2013, rising to 35 per cent in 2014.  When asked whether federal-provincial relations had improved or somewhat improved, the Conservatives saw support numbers in the 10-20 per cent range from 2007 when the tracking polls began until the time they left office. Those numbers spiked to within the 50 per cent range under the Liberals. “Overall the long-term trend suggests that it’s a stretch to view the Liberals as being the one party that is able to harness voters’ excitement,” said Nanos. “However, when it comes to how Canadians feel about our reputation globally and how our federation is functioning, there is some sunshine associated with the Trudeau government.”

^ There is no doubt that Justin Trudeau is very popular both within Canada and around the world and I think that has helped him in this poll - more than any of his actions since becoming Prime Minister. Hopefully, he can do more to improve the lives of ordinary Canadians. ^

2016 Travels






June: New York

July: Colorado




November: New York


It's that time of year again. While I wasn't able to travel much this year I still managed to have a good

Russia 21

From the MT:
"Russians Support Raising Minimum Drinking Age to 21 Years – Poll"

Most Russians – 77 percent – support raising the minimum drinking age from 18 to 21 years, a recent poll by the state-funded VTsIOM pollster revealed Tuesday. It is five percent more than last year, when 72 percent approved of such a measure, the study showed. Only 17 percent of respondents were against the idea.
The highest number of supporters for raising the minimum age – 82 percent – was registered in large cities, with the exception of Moscow and St. Petersburg, where 74 percent agreed with it. The same level of support – 74 percent – was registered in small towns. The measure is mostly popular among women (82 percent), as well as middle-aged people and pensioners (80 percent). Men support it with less enthusiasm (71 percent), and so do the young people (68 percent).  The poll was conducted among 6,000 people living in 272 different towns and cities across Russia.

^ I have seen 9 and 10 year olds buy Vodka in Russia so making the drinking age 21 probably won't change much. I personally believe that the drinking age in the US (21) should be lowered to 18. If you are legally considered an adult and can fight and die for your country at 18 years old than you should be allowed to drink alcohol at 18 too. ^

2016 Deaths

1st: Lennie Bluett, 96, American actor (Gone with the Wind, Mighty Joe Young, A Star is Born).
1st: Dale Bumpers, 90, American politician, Governor of Arkansas (1971–1975), Senator from Arkansas (1975–1999).
2nd: Tim Francis, 87, New Zealand diplomat, Ambassador to the United States (1988–1991), Administrator of Tokelau (1984–1988), cancer.
3rd: Igor Sergun, 58, Russian military officer, Director of the GRU (since 2011).
4th: Stephen W. Bosworth, 76, American diplomat, Ambassador to South Korea (1997–2001), prostate cancer.
5th: Jean-Paul L'Allier, 77, Canadian politician, member of the National Assembly of Quebec (1970–1976), Mayor of Quebec City (1989–2005).
5th: Keith Thiele, 94, New Zealand WW2 pilot.
6th: Sol Polansky, 89, American diplomat, Ambassador to Bulgaria (1987–1990)
7th: Paddy Doherty, 89, Northern Irish civil rights activist.
7th: Ashraf Pahlavi, 96, Persian princess, President of the Women's Organization of Iran (1967–1979).
10th: Yusuf Zuayyin, 84, Syrian politician, Prime Minister (1965, 1966–1968)
12th: Ruth Leuwerik, 91, German film actress (The Trapp Family).
14th: Alan Rickman, 69, English actor (Harry Potter, Die Hard, Love Actually), pancreatic cancer
19th: William G. Bowdler, 91, American diplomat, Ambassador to South Africa (1975–1978).
21st: Stephanie Rader, 100, American spy
23rd: Marie Mahoney, 91, American baseball player (AAGBPL).
28th: Signe Toly Anderson, 74, American singer (Jefferson Airplane).
28th: Robert Courtney, 56, New Zealand Paralympic champion sprinter (1984).
28th: Paul Kantner, 74, American musician (Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship) and songwriter ("Wooden Ships"), multiple organ failure.
30th: Betty Francis, 84, American baseball player (AAGBPL).
4th: Galina Leontyeva, 74, Russian volleyball player, Olympic champion (1968, 1972).
4th: Edgar Whitcomb, 98, American politician, Governor of Indiana (1969–1973).
8th: John Disley, 87, Welsh steeplechase runner, Olympic bronze medallist (1952) and co-founder of the London Marathon.
9th: Alethea McGrath, 95, Australian actress (Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Prisoner, Knowing.)
11th: John Keith Wells, 94, American Marine platoon commander (2nd Battalion 28th Marines).
12th: Robert Frederick Froehlke, 93, American lawyer, Secretary of the Army (1971–1973)
14th: Mitchell Higginbotham, 94, American World War II veteran, member of the Tuskegee Airmen.
16th: Fred V. Cherry, 87, American military pilot, POW during the Vietnam War, heart disease.
18th: John Reinhardt, 95, American diplomat, United States Ambassador to Nigeria (1971–1975).
19th: Harper Lee, 89, American author (To Kill a Mockingbird).
19th: Samuel Willenberg, 93, Polish-born Israeli sculptor and painter, last survivor of the Treblinka extermination camp prisoners' revolt.
22nd: Yolande Fox, 87, American beauty queen (Miss America 1951) and operatic soprano, lung cancer.
28th: Delmer Berg, 100, American resistance fighter (Spanish Civil War), last known American member of XV International Brigade.
28th: George Kennedy, 91, American actor (Cool Hand Luke, The Naked Gun, Airport), Oscar winner (1968), heart disease.
29th: Helias Doundoulakis, 92, American Greek WWII resistance fighter.
1st: Martha Wright, 92, American actress (South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Goodyear Television Playhouse) and singer
3rd: Natalya Krachkovskaya, 77, Russian actress (Ivan Vasilievich: Back to the Future), heart attack.
5th: James Douglas, 86, American actor (As the World Turns, Peyton Place, G.I. Blues).
6th: Nancy Reagan, 94, American First Lady (1981–1989) and actress (Hellcats of the Navy, Donovan's Brain, The Next Voice You Hea.), heart failure.
6th: Elizabeth Strohfus, 96, American military pilot (WASP), recipient of two Congressional Gold Medals, complications from a fall.
7th: Leonard Berney, 95, British military officer, a liberator of Bergen-Belsen, heart attack.
7th: Jean-Bernard Raimond, 90, French politician, Minister of Foreign Affairs (1986–1988), ambassador to Morocco, Poland, the Soviet Union and the Vatican.
8th: Mohamed Allek, 42, Algerian athlete, Paralympic champion (1996, 2000).
8th: Richard Davalos, 85, American actor (Cool Hand Luke, East of Eden, Kelly's Heroes).
12th: Annastasia Batikis, 88, American baseball player (Racine Belles).
13th: Henry Porter, 94, Canadian vice-admiral, Commander Maritime Command (1970–1971)
14th: June Peppas, 86, American AAGPBL baseball player (Kalamazoo Lassies)
15th: Prince Mfanasibili of Swaziland, 77, Swazi royal.
15th: Alice Pollitt, 86, American AAGPBL baseball player (Rockford Peaches).
17th: Bandar bin Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, 90, Saudi royal.
17th: Claudine K. Brown, 67, American museum director (Smithsonian Institution).
17th: Marian Kociniak, 80, Polish actor (How I Unleashed World War II).
20th: Anker Jørgensen, 93, Danish politician, Prime Minister (1972–1973, 1975–1982)
21st: Joseph Mercieca, 87, Maltese Roman Catholic prelate, Archbishop of Malta (1976–2006).
22nd: André Adam, 79, Belgian diplomat, Ambassador to Algeria (1986–1990), Zaire (1990–1991), United States (1994–1998), Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1998–2001), injuries sustained in Brussels Airport bombings.
22nd: Santiago J. Erevia, 69, American soldier, Medal of Honor recipient.
22nd: Rob Ford, 46, Canadian politician, Mayor of Toronto (2010–2014), liposarcoma.
24th: Esther Herlitz, 94, Israeli diplomat and politician, Ambassador to Denmark (1966–1971), country's first female ambassador.
24th: Marie-Claire Kirkland, 91, Canadian politician and judge, first woman elected to the Legislative Assembly of Quebec.
26th: Ameli, Duchess of Oldenburg, 93, German royalty.
26th: Igor Pashkevich, 44, Soviet-born Russian Olympic figure skater (1994, 1998), 1990 World Juniors champion.
27th: Mother Angelica, 92, American Poor Clare nun, founder of the Eternal Word Television Network.
27th: Alain Decaux, 90, French historian, member of the Académie française.
27th: Gilbert Horn Sr., 92, American Assiniboine soldier and code talker (Merrill's Marauders).
29th: Patty Duke, 69, American actress (The Miracle Worker, The Patty Duke Show, Valley of the Dolls), President of SAG (1985–1988), Oscar winner (1962), sepsis.
31st: Hans-Dietrich Genscher, 89, German politician, Minister of the Interior (1969–1974) and Foreign Affairs (1974–1982; 1982–1992), Vice Chancellor (1974–1982; 1982–1992), heart failure.
1st: Marjorie Peters, 97, American baseball player (AAGBPL).      
3rd: Bas van Erp, 36, Dutch wheelchair tennis player, Paralympic bronze medalist (2004).
3rd: Don Francks, 84, Canadian jazz vocalist and actor (La Femme Nikita, Inspector Gadget, I'm Not There), lung cancer.
5th: E. M. Nathanson, 88, American author (The Dirty Dozen).
6th: Orison Rudolph Aggrey, 89, American diplomat, Ambassador to the Gambia (1973–1977), Senegal (1973–1977) and Romania (1977–1981).
8th: Erich Rudorffer, 98, German Luftwaffe fighter ace during World War II.
9th: Juris Ekmanis, 74, Latvian academic, President of Latvian Academy of Sciences (2004–2012).
11th: Dame Marion Kettlewell, 102, British naval officer, Director of the Wrens (1966–1970).
12th: Hector A. Cafferata, Jr., 86, American soldier, Medal of Honor recipient.
14th: Ilija Ivezić, 89, Croatian film actor (Last of the Renegades, The Golden Years, Marshal Tito's Spirit).
18th: Charles J. Pilliod, Jr., 97, American business executive and diplomat, Ambassador to Mexico (1986–1989)
18th: Gert Schramm, 87, German Holocaust survivor.
21st: Prince, 57, American musician, songwriter ("Purple Rain", "Little Red Corvette") and actor, Oscar (1984) and Grammy (1984, 1986, 2004, 2007) winner, accidental overdose of fentanyl.
25th: Martin Gray, 93, Polish Holocaust survivor and writer.
27th: James Carroll, 60, American-born Canadian actor (Wind at My Back, Red Dead Redemption, Death to Smoochy).
1st: Madeleine Lebeau, 92, French actress (Casablanca, 8½).
3rd: Frank Levingston, 110, American supercentenarian, nation's oldest World War II veteran.
6th: David Hall, 85, American politician, Governor of Oklahoma (1971–1975), stroke.
6th: Margot Honecker, 89, East German politician, Minister of People's Education (1963–1989), First Lady (1976–1989).
8th: William Schallert, 93, American actor (The Patty Duke Show, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, In the Heat of the Night), President of SAG (1979–1981).
12th: Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, 91, Serbian royal.
12th: Sidney Brazier, 96, British army bomb disposal officer.

12th: Susannah Mushatt Jones, 116, American supercentenarian, world's oldest living person.
14th: Monteagle Stearns, 91, American diplomat, Ambassador to Greece (1981–1985) and Ivory Coast (1976–1979).
19th: Morley Safer, 84, Canadian-born American journalist (60 Minutes), pneumonia.
19th: Alan Young, 96, English-born Canadian-American actor (Mister Ed, The Time Machine, DuckTales).
20th: Audrey Purton, 90, British Women's Royal Army Corps officer.
20th: Lucille Stone, 90, American baseball player (AAGPBL), complications from hydrocephalus.
21st: Jane Fawcett, 95, British codebreaker at Bletchley Park during World War II, key figure in the sinking of the Bismarck.
23rd: Sir Reginald Palmer, 93, Grenadian politician, Governor-General (1992–1996).
24th: Adelina Dematti de Alaye, 88, Argentinian human rights activist, founder of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo.
26th: Hedy Epstein, 91, German-born American Holocaust survivor and political activist (International Solidarity Movement), cancer.
27th: Louise Erickson, 86, American baseball player (Racine Belles, Rockford Peaches).
27th: La Ferne Price, 90, American ballplayer (AAGPBL).
2nd: Walter Curley, 93, American diplomat, Ambassador to Ireland (1975–1977) and France (1989–1993).
2nd: Keith Lawrence, 96, New Zealand-born British flight lieutenant during World War II, surviving member of The Few.
3rd: Muhammad Ali, 74, American boxer, Olympic gold medalist (1960), three-time WBC world heavyweight champion (1964, 1974, 1978), septic shock.
3rd: Leonard Marchand, 82, Canadian politician, Minister of Environment (1976, 1977–1979), Senator (1984–1998), first Aboriginal federal cabinet minister.
3rd: Victor Reux, 86, French Saint Pierre and Miquelon politician.
5th: David Lamb, 76, American war correspondent and journalist (Los Angeles Times).
6th: John Charles Harding, 2nd Baron Harding of Petherton, 88, British army officer and peer.
8th: Qahhor Mahkamov, 84, Tajik politician, President (1990–1991).
9th: Stepan Bondarev, 93, Belarusian Soviet army general.
12th: George Voinovich, 79, American politician, Senator from Ohio (1999–2011), Governor of Ohio (1991–1998), Mayor of Cleveland (1980–1989).
14th: Gilles Lamontagne, 97, Canadian politician, Lieutenant Governor of Quebec (1984–1990), MP (1977–1984), Mayor of Quebec City (1965–1977).
19th: Anton Yelchin, 27, Soviet-born American actor (Star Trek, Alpha Dog, Fright Night), blunt traumatic asphyxia.
24th: Kenneth Charles Brown, 91, Canadian diplomat, Ambassador to Sweden, Haiti and Cuba.
25th: Percy Beake, 99, British WWII fighter pilot.
26th: Rostislav Yankovsky, 86, Belarusian film and stage actor, People's Artist of the USSR (1978).
30th: Malvina Garrone Ronchi Della Rocca, 94, Italian WWII partisan.
2nd: Roscoe Brown, 94, American World War II veteran, member of the Tuskegee Airmen.
2nd: Patrick Manning, 69, Trinidadian politician, Prime Minister (1991–1995, 2001–2010), acute myeloid leukemia.
2nd: Michel Rocard, 85, French politician, Prime Minister (1988–1991).
2nd: Elie Wiesel, 87, Romanian-born American writer (Night), political activist and Holocaust survivor, Nobel Laureate (1986).
3rd: Michael Beaumont, 22nd Seigneur of Sark, 88, British aristocrat, Seigneur of Sark (since 1974).
15th: Frank Barnett, 82, American politician, Governor of American Samoa (1976–1977).
22nd: Julius Freeman, 89, American fighter pilot (Tuskegee Airmen), recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal, heart attack.
22nd: Sir David Goodall, 84, British diplomat, High Commissioner to India (1987–1991).
23rd: Thorbjörn Fälldin, 90, Swedish politician, Prime Minister (1976–1978, 1979–1982).
25th: Jerzy Bahr, 72, Polish diplomat, Ambassador to Russia (2006–2010) and Ukraine (1997–2001), Director of the National Security Bureau (2005), cancer.
25th: Daphne Ceeney, 82, Australian paraplegic athlete, Paralympic champion (1960, 1964)
27th: Piet de Jong, 101, Dutch politician and naval officer, Minister of Defence (1963–1967), Prime Minister (1967–1971).
29th: Keith L. Brown, 91, American businessman and diplomat, Ambassador to Lesotho (1982–1983) and Denmark (1989–1992).
1st: Anne of Romania, 92, French-born Romanian royal, queen consort of King Michael.
6th: Philip Bialowitz, 90, Polish Holocaust survivor and resistance fighter.
8th: Edward Daly, 82, Northern Irish Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Derry (1974–1993).
14th: Fyvush Finkel, 93, American actor (Picket Fences, Boston Public, A Serious Man), Emmy winner (1994).
16th: John McLaughlin, 89, American political commentator and television personality (The McLaughlin Group).
17th: Nachum Heiman, 82, Latvian-born Israeli composer, recipient of the Israel Prize (2009).
17th: Shelby Westbrook, 94, American World War II pilot (Tuskegee Airmen).
18th: John William Vessey Jr., 94, American military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1982–1985).
22nd: S. R. Nathan, 92, Singaporean politician, President (1999–2011), stroke.
23rd: Jeremiah Joseph O'Keefe, 93, American World War II pilot ace and politician, mayor of Biloxi, Mississippi (1973–1981).
24th: Walter Scheel, 97, German politician, President of West Germany (1974–1979), Minister for Foreign Affairs (1969–1974) and Vice-Chancellor (1969–1974).
29th: Gene Wilder, 83, American actor (The Producers, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein), screenwriter and author, complications of Alzheimer's disease.
2nd: Islam Karimov, 78, Uzbek politician, President (since 1990), stroke.
2nd: Eileen Younghusband, 95, British World War II officer and author.
3rd: Dabney Montgomery, 93, American pilot (Tuskegee Airmen), bodyguard of Martin Luther King, Jr.
5th: She'ar Yashuv Cohen, 88, Israeli chief rabbi of Haifa.
5th: Joe Hosteen Kellwood, 95, American World War II veteran, Navajo code talker.
8th: Dragiša Pešić, 62, Montenegrin politician, Prime Minister of Yugoslavia (2001–2003).
8th: Greta Zimmer Friedman, 92, American dental assistant, subject in V-J Day in Times Square photo.
14th: Kim McGuire, 60, American actress (Cry-Baby), pneumonia.
15th: Rose Mofford, 94, American politician, Governor of Arizona (1988–1991).
15th: Haakon Sørbye, 96, Norwegian engineer and resistance member.
16th: Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, 95, Italian banker and politician, President (1999–2006) and Prime Minister (1993–1994).
17th: Charmian Carr, 73, American actress and singer (The Sound of Music), complications from dementia.
17th: Rose Warfman, 99, French Holocaust survivor and member of the French Resistance.
22nd: Joseph Harmatz, 91, Lithuanian World War II Jewish partisan fighter and anti-Nazi avenger.
24th: Bill Nunn, 63, American actor (Do the Right Thing, Spider-Man, Sister Act), leukemia.
28th: Shimon Peres, 93, Polish-born Israeli statesman, President (2007–2014), Prime Minister (1977, 1984–1986, 1995–1996), Nobel Laureate (1994), stroke.
5th: Michal Kováč, 86, Slovakian politician, President (1993–1998), complications of Parkinson's disease.
8th: Gary Dubin, 57, American actor (The Partridge Family, The Aristocats, Jaws 2), bone cancer.
8th: Mayer Hersh, 90, Polish survivor of Auschwitz.
9th: Andrzej Wajda, 90, Polish film director (Ashes and Diamonds, Man of Iron, Katyń), pulmonary failure.
13th: Richard A. Pittman, 71, American Marine, recipient of the Medal of Honor.
16th: Kigeli V, 80, Rwandan monarch, King (1959–1961).
16th: Molly Rose, 95, British World War II aviator.
19th: Patricia Scott, 87, American baseball player (AAGPBL)
23rd: Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, 84, Qatari monarch, Emir (1972–1995).
24th: Bobby Vee, 73, American pop singer ("Rubber Ball", "Take Good Care of My Baby", "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes") and actor, Alzheimer's disease.
27th: Audley Coulthurst, 92, American pilot (Tuskegee Airmen), cardiac arrest.
27th: Takahito, Prince Mikasa, 100, Japanese royal, cardiac arrest.
7th: Leonard Cohen, 82, Canadian singer-songwriter ("Hallelujah", "Suzanne", "First We Take Manhattan"), poet and novelist (Let Us Compare Mythologies, Beautiful Losers), complications from a fall.
8th: Yaffa Eliach, 79, Polish-born American Holocaust historian.
9th: George James, 92, American Navajo code talker.
9th: Branse Burbridge, 95, British WWII fighter pilot.
11th: Robert Vaughn, 83, American actor (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Magnificent Seven, Hustle), acute leukemia.
16th: Melvin Laird, 94, American politician and writer, Secretary of Defense (1969–1973), complications of respiratory failure.
17th: Eddie Applegate, 81, American actor (The Patty Duke Show, Easy A, A Ticklish Affair).
19th: Patricia Scott, 87, American baseball player (AAGPBL).
23rd: Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, 84, Qatari monarch, Emir (1972–1995).
24th: Jorge Batlle, 88, Uruguayan politician, President (2000–2005), cerebral hemorrhage.
24th: Bobby Vee, 73, American pop singer ("Rubber Ball", "Take Good Care of My Baby", "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes") and actor, Alzheimer's disease.
27th: Takahito, Prince Mikasa, 100, Japanese royal, cardiac arrest
30th: Don Marshall, 80, American actor (Land of the Giants, Star Trek).

4th: Eddie Carnett, 100, American baseball player (Boston Braves, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians).
7th: Leonard Cohen, 82, Canadian singer-songwriter ("Hallelujah", "Suzanne", "First We Take Manhattan"), poet and novelist (Beautiful Losers), complications from a fall
7th: Janet Reno, 78, American lawyer and politician, U.S. Attorney General (1993–2001), Parkinson's disease
8th: Yaffa Eliach, 79, Polish-born American Holocaust historian
9th: Branse Burbridge, 95, British WWII fighter pilot.
11th: Robert Vaughn, 83, American actor (The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Magnificent Seven, Hustle), acute leukemia
15th: Chester E. Norris, 88, American diplomat, Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea (1988–1992).
16th: Joan Carroll, 85, American child actress (Meet Me in St. Louis)
16th: Melvin Laird, 94, American politician and writer, Secretary of Defense (1969–1973), U.S. Representative from Wisconsin's 7th congressional district (1953–1969), respiratory failure
22nd: Peter Sumner, 74, Australian actor (Ned Kelly, Star Wars, Heartbreak High).
23rd: Peggy Kirk Bell, 95, American professional golfer (LPGA).
24th: Florence Henderson, 82, American actress (The Brady Bunch) and singer, heart failure.
25th: Fidel Castro, 90, Cuban politician, Prime Minister (1959–1976), President (1976–2008).
25th: Margaret Rhodes, 91, British writer, cousin of Elizabeth II.
26th: Fritz Weaver, 90, American actor (Fail Safe, Holocaust, The Thomas Crown Affair), Tony winner (1970).
29th: Luis Alberto Monge, 90, Costa Rican politician, President (1982–1986), cardiac arrest.
29th: Lana Spreeman, 61, Canadian alpine skier, Paralympic gold medalist (1980).
30th: Peng Chang-kuei, 97, Taiwanese chef, inventor of General Tso's Chicken, pneumonia.

2nd: Odeefuo Boa Amponsem III, 94, Ghanaian royal, King of Denkyira (since 1955).
2nd: Lyle Bouck, 92, American military officer and war veteran (Battle of the Bulge), pneumonia.
3rd: Brockway McMillan, 101, American government official and scientist, Director of the National Reconnaissance Office (1963–1965).
5th: Charles H. Belzile, 83, Canadian army general. Commander of the Canadian Army (1992–1996).
9th: Edwin Benson, 85, American teacher, last speaker of the Mandan language.
13th: Lawrence Colburn, 67, American Vietnam War veteran, intervened to end the My Lai Massacre.
13th: Alan Thicke, 69, Canadian actor (Growing Pains, Not Quite Human), talk show host (The Alan Thicke Show), and songwriter, heart attack.
17th: Henry Heimlich, 96, American physician, inventor of the Heimlich maneuver, complications from a heart attack.
18th: Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99, Hungarian-born American actress (Moulin Rouge, Touch of Evil, Lili) and socialite, heart attack.
19th: Andrei Karlov, 62, Russian diplomat, Ambassador to Turkey (since 2013), shot.
25th: George Michael, 53, British singer (Wham!) and songwriter ("Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", "Careless Whisper", "Faith"), suspected heart failure.
25th: Vera Rubin, 88, American astronomer, innovator of dark matter theory, dementia.
25th: Elizaveta Glinka, 54, humanitarian worker and charity activist.
27th: Carrie Fisher, 60, American actress (Star Wars, Hannah and Her Sisters), novelist and screenwriter (Postcards from the Edge), complications from a heart attack.