US star news anchor shamed by sex harassment charges replaced by a woman

In this file photo, television personality Matt Lauer arrives at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California on Jan. 11, 2015. (REUTERS)
Updated 02 January 2018
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US star news anchor shamed by sex harassment charges replaced by a woman

WASHINGTON: The US television channel NBC said Tuesday it had appointed a female anchor to replace shamed star Matt Lauer, who was accused of sexual misconduct, on its signature morning show "Today."
The broadcaster named Hoda Kotb, who had been filling in for Lauer since he was sacked in November following a slew of allegations of sexual harassment, as the new anchor of the Today show alongside Savannah Guthrie, who had been Lauer's co-host.
"This has to be the most popular decision that NBC News has ever made," said Guthrie on her Twitter account after the news of Kotb's permanent appointment was announced.
Kotb, a 53-year-old Egyptian-American, is an award-winning journalist who joined NBC in 1998 as a correspondent and went on to become a host of a later slot on the channel's morning program.
The decision to have two women hosts was a break with the typical male-female host line-up popular with morning news shows, and came as a slew of top-level men in media and politics have been sacked or have quit following widespread allegations of sexual misconduct.
Lauer, 59, was one of the biggest media scalps in last year's firestorm of sexual misconduct allegations that engulfed the United States, derailing the careers of Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein, Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, and CBS News anchor Charlie Rose.
Paid $25 million a year, Lauer interviewed four of the last sitting US presidents, anchoring some of the world's biggest news events for more than two decades including numerous Olympic Games, and breaking news of the September 11 attacks.
News of his replacement by a female host came a day before Tina Smith was due to be sworn in as a senator for Minnesota, replacing former comedian Al Franken who quit after a series of women accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior.


4 ex-presidents among hundreds at Barbara Bush’s funeral

Updated 21 April 2018
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4 ex-presidents among hundreds at Barbara Bush’s funeral

  • President Trump's misses out on attending former first lady Barbara Bush's funeral
  • Former US presidents and their spouses attend the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush

HOUSTON: Four former presidents joined ambassadors, sports stars and hundreds of other mourners on a gray, rainy day Saturday at the private funeral for Barbara Bush, filling the nation’s largest Episcopal church a day after more than 6,000 people paid their respects to the woman known by many as “America’s matriarch.”
President George H.W. Bush was helped into the cavernous sanctuary with a wheelchair behind his sons, former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and other Bush relatives to remember his wife of 73 years who died at their home Tuesday at age 92.
Also seated near the front of the church, in the same pew, were two other former presidents — Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — along with their wives and current first lady Melania Trump.
Flags were flown at half-mast for the wife of the nation’s 41st president and mother of the nation’s 43rd as the service began at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, as the choir sang “My Country Tis of Thee.” The church is adorned with sprays of yellow garden roses, yellow snap dragons, antique hydrangeas and other flowers.
Among the other roughly 1,500 guests were former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, and professional golfer Phil Mickelson, along with Karl Rove, and other former White House staff. Many were seen embracing in the church before the service.
President Donald Trump isn’t attending to avoid security disruptions and “out of respect for the Bush family and friends attending the service,” according to the White House. He released a statement Saturday saying his “thoughts and prayers” are “with the entire Bush family.”
A burial will follow at the Bush Library at Texas A&M University, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) northwest of Houston. The burial site is in a gated plot surrounded by trees and near a creek where the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Robin, who died of leukemia in 1953, is buried.
The family has said Barbara Bush had selected son Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, to deliver a eulogy along with her longtime friend Susan Baker, wife of former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, and historian Jon Meacham, who wrote a 2015 biography of her husband.
The funeral program shows that her grandchildren will also play prominent roles: her granddaughters will offer readings during the service and her grandsons will serve pallbearers.
On Friday, a total of 6,231 people stopped by the church to pay their respects. Many of the women wore the former first lady’s favorite color, blue, and trademark pearls.
After seeing how many people had lined up to pay their respects to his wife, former President George H.W. Bush decided to attend — he sat at the front of the church in a wheelchair, offering his hand and smiled as people shook it, for about 15 minutes.
Barbara and George Bush were married longer than any other presidential couple when she died Tuesday at their home in Houston. She was 92.
One of just two first ladies to have a child elected president, Barbara Bush was widely admired for her plainspoken style and her advocacy for causes including literacy and AIDS awareness.
Barbara Bush was known as the “Enforcer” in her family, the glue who kept the high-powered clan together. Eight of her grandsons will serve as pallbearers.