Former US first lady and humanitarian Rosalynn Carter dead at 96

Former US first lady and humanitarian Rosalynn Carter dead at 96
Former first lady Rosalynn Carter speaks during a news conference at The Carter Center, Nov. 5, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP)
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Updated 20 November 2023
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Former US first lady and humanitarian Rosalynn Carter dead at 96

Former US first lady and humanitarian Rosalynn Carter dead at 96
  • “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” Jimmy Carter said in the statement

WASHINGTON: Former US first lady Rosalynn Carter, the wife of former president Jimmy Carter, died Sunday at 96 at the couple’s home in the southern state of Georgia, their nonprofit organization announced.
Carter was best known for her work post-White House, as she and her husband championed human rights, democracy and health issues around the world — all while maintaining a notably humble public image.
She had joined her husband in at-home hospice care on Friday after being diagnosed with dementia in May.
“Former first lady Rosalynn Carter, a passionate champion of mental health, caregiving and women’s rights, passed away Sunday... at her home in Plains, Georgia, at the age of 96,” the Carter Center said in a statement.
“She died peacefully, with family by her side.”
“Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished,” Jimmy Carter said in the statement.
“She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me,” the former Democratic president said.
Throughout Jimmy Carter’s long political career, his wife was at the heart of his campaigns. Once in the White House — from 1977 to 1981 — Rosalynn Carter stood out as a first lady intent on being involved in policy.
“She attended Cabinet meetings and major briefings, frequently represented the Chief Executive at ceremonial occasions and served as the president’s personal emissary to Latin American countries,” according to the White House website.
Other White House occupants shared tributes to the former first lady Sunday.
“Through rigors of campaigns, through the darkness of deep and profound loss — we always felt the hope, warmth, and optimism of Rosalynn Carter,” President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden said in a statement, pointing to the Carters’ “deep love” as the “definition of partnership.”
And fellow Democrats former president Bill Clinton and former first lady Hillary Clinton said they were “deeply grateful” for Carter’s service, calling her “a compassionate and committed champion of human dignity.”
Rosalynn Carter was born in the small town of Plains on August 18, 1927, as the first of four children. At 13 her father died and she worked alongside her mother, who became a dressmaker to make ends meet.
She met Jimmy Carter in 1945 while she was in college and he was on leave from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.
They married in 1946, and hold several longevity records in US politics: the longest-wed presidential couple and, for 99-year-old Jimmy Carter, the oldest living US president.
Former first ladies Michelle Obama and Melania Trump paid tribute to Carter’s legacy.
“When our family was in the White House, every so often, Rosalynn would join me for lunch, offering a few words of advice and always — always — a helping hand,” Obama said.
“We will always remember her servant’s heart and devotion to her husband, family, and country,” Trump said.
According to the Carter Center, the former first lady is survived by her four children, 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, after losing a grandson in 2015.
“Besides being a loving mother and extraordinary first lady, my mother was a great humanitarian in her own right,” the Carters’ son Chip Carter said in the Center’s statement.
“She will be sorely missed not only by our family but by the many people who have better mental health care and access to resources for caregiving today.”
The family announced in February this year that Jimmy Carter had entered hospice care in Plains — at the same modest house he and Rosalynn have lived in since the 1960s.
The one-term Democratic president has since surprised many by welcoming visitors, receiving news about the Carter Center’s humanitarian work and frequently enjoying ice cream, according to his family.


88-year-old Montana man who was getaway driver in bank robberies sentenced to 2 years in prison

(Facebook/Billings Police Department)
(Facebook/Billings Police Department)
Updated 31 sec ago
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88-year-old Montana man who was getaway driver in bank robberies sentenced to 2 years in prison

(Facebook/Billings Police Department)
  • The man and his co-defendant were arrested after the second robbery in August 2023 in a car matching the description of the car involved in the first bank robbery just four days earlier, prosecutors said

BILLINGS, Montana: An 88-year-old Montana man has been sentenced to two years in a federal prison medical facility for being the getaway driver in two bank robberies in Billings last summer, the US Attorney’s Office in Montana said.
The man was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty in February to two counts of bank robbery. He was ordered to pay nearly $3,100 in restitution and will be on supervised release for three years after he finishes his prison sentence.
US District Court Judge Susan Watters ordered him to report to the US Marshals Service, after which he would be sent to a Bureau of Prisons medical facility.
The man and his co-defendant were arrested after the second robbery in August 2023 in a car matching the description of the car involved in the first bank robbery just four days earlier, prosecutors said. The defendant told investigators he suggested he and the co-defendant rob banks to get money, as he had done in the past. The defendant pleaded guilty to bank robbery in 2008, when he was 72.

 


Lost phone returned with smiling surprise as Scotland-Germany love-in blossoms

Lost phone returned with smiling surprise as Scotland-Germany love-in blossoms
Updated 21 June 2024
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Lost phone returned with smiling surprise as Scotland-Germany love-in blossoms

Lost phone returned with smiling surprise as Scotland-Germany love-in blossoms
  • “Kieran left his phone in a portaloo. These Germany fans found it, took a selfie, then handed it into the police,” supporters’ body the Tartan Army Group posted on X
  • The Scotland fans have not just been confined to cities where the team is playing

STUTTGART, Germany: When you lose your phone abroad you hardly expect to get it back, let alone with a smiling selfie on it from the good-natured rival supporters who handed it in to the police.
But that’s exactly what happened to a Scotland fan in Germany who was reunited with his lost phone and discovered a pleasant surprise in the camera roll, the latest entreaty in a blossoming love-in between the two countries.
Thousands of Scottish fans have made the long journey to the Euros, in their kilts and sporrans, and have endeared themselves to their hosts with their infectious enthusiasm and 24-hour carousing.
Where once German city centers would have the sound of an oom-pah band echoing through the streets, now it’s the skirl of bagpipes ringing out along with deafening chants of “No Scotland, no party.”
“Kieran left his phone in a portaloo. These Germany fans found it, took a selfie, then handed it into the police. He has his phone back. What a country,” supporters’ body the Tartan Army Group posted on X on Thursday alongside the picture of the five smiling fans.
The two nations may not be famous for their bilateral relations, though there is a connection that dates all the way back to William Wallace’s letters to the Hanseatic League in 1297.
However, there are now calls for a new special relationship to be formed in Europe.
“And we definitely need you guys back in the EU! We’ll always leave a light on for you!,” a German poster wrote underneath the Tartan Army Group post.
“I didn’t know that the Germany-Scotland-Love is what I needed. Please don‘t ever leave, Scots!,” another wrote, adding: “Can we build a direct tunnel? Or a gigantic bridge?“
“There’s something special between Scotland and Germany, I don’t know why, or what it is, but I can feel it,” said another post.
The Scotland fans have not just been confined to cities where the team is playing, with many spread across the country simply happy to soak in the atmosphere — and indeed the beer.
“Dear Scots, these have been a wonderful couple of days with you. I could not be a happier mayor. You are always welcome to Cologne,” Henriette Reker, mayor of Cologne, said on X.
The Tartan Army descends on Stuttgart as Scotland hope to extend their stay in Germany with a win against Hungary on Sunday. No doubt they’ll now have the locals cheering them on, as well.


Albanian player apologizes for encouraging offensive fan chants

Albanian player apologizes for encouraging offensive fan chants
Updated 21 June 2024
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Albanian player apologizes for encouraging offensive fan chants

Albanian player apologizes for encouraging offensive fan chants
  • Daku was caught on camera whipping up fans after Albania’s 2-2 draw with Croatia in Hamburg
  • Albania are at only their second major tournament and have been roared on by some of the most fanatical supporters seen so far

HAMBURG: Albanian forward Mirlind Daku, who led fans in derogatory post-match chants about North Macedonia with a megaphone, apologized on Friday citing the intense emotions of playing at Euro 2024.
Daku was caught on camera whipping up fans after Albania’s 2-2 draw with Croatia in Hamburg. That triggered a demand for an apology from North Macedonia’s football federation plus an investigation from Europe’s soccer body UEFA.
“Apologising is manly, and I feel a moral and professional obligation to do so, for all those who have been hurt,” he said in an Albanian-language statement on social media.
“Like any footballer, in those moments the emotions are on another level, which can only be understood on the field. It is difficult to describe the feeling of playing for this national team, for these wonderful fans who give us unlimited love.”
Albania are at only their second major tournament and have been roared on by some of the most fanatical supporters seen so far during the month-long tournament in Germany.
“Sorry if I offended anyone after the match with Croatia, the effect of the game does its thing,” the 26-year-old added in his post. “I continue to work together with the whole group for our dreams.”
Kosovo controversy
Rows are proliferating at the tournament over insults relating to bitter rivalries in the Balkans region.
Serbia is demanding punishment for Croatia and Albania over hateful language, saying both sets of fans chanted “Kill, kill, kill the Serb” during their match on Wednesday. Serbia have also been admonished by UEFA for their fans’ behavior.
Most of the controversies center on Albanian-majority Kosovo, whose independence Serbia does not accept.
Kosovo-born Daku represented his homeland before switching to Albania in 2023. Ethnic Albanians revolted in North Macedonia two decades ago.
“An investigation has been opened in relation to the alleged inappropriate behavior of the Albanian Football Association (FSHF) player, Mr. Mirlind Daku,” UEFA said in its statement.
North Macedonia’s football federation said his “nationalist chants” were “scandalous.”


A US veteran died at a nursing home, abandoned. Hundreds of strangers came to say goodbye

US Marine Gerry Brooks is laid to rest Thursday, June 20, 2024 at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Augusta, Maine. (AP)
US Marine Gerry Brooks is laid to rest Thursday, June 20, 2024 at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Augusta, Maine. (AP)
Updated 21 June 2024
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A US veteran died at a nursing home, abandoned. Hundreds of strangers came to say goodbye

US Marine Gerry Brooks is laid to rest Thursday, June 20, 2024 at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Augusta, Maine. (AP)
  • Hundreds of people who knew nothing about the 86-year-old beyond his name showed up on a sweltering afternoon and gave Brooks a final salute with full military honors Thursday at the Maine Veterans' Memorial Cemetery in Augusta

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Former U.S. Marine Gerry Brooks died alone at a nursing home in Maine, abandoned and all but forgotten. Then the funeral home posted a notice asking if anyone would serve as a pallbearer or simply attend his burial.
Within minutes, it was turning away volunteers to carry his casket.
A bagpiper came forward to play at the service. A pilot offered to perform a flyover. Military groups across the state pledged a proper sendoff.
Hundreds of people who knew nothing about the 86-year-old beyond his name showed up on a sweltering afternoon and gave Brooks a final salute with full military honors Thursday at the Maine Veterans' Memorial Cemetery in Augusta.
Patriot Guard Riders on motorcycles escorted his hearse on the 40-mile route from the funeral home in Belfast, Maine, to the cemetery. Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars paid tribute with a 21-gun salute. Volunteers held American flags next to the casket while a crane hoisted a huge flag above the cemetery entrance.
Some saluted while filing by. Others sang The Marines’ Hymn.
“It’s an honor for us to be able to do this,” said Jim Roberts, commander of the VFW post in Belfast. “There’s so much negativity in the world. This is something people can feel good about and rally around. It’s just absolutely wonderful.” He said Brooks’ son, granddaughter and son-in-law came to the funeral but did not speak during the service.
Roberts said the VFW is called a couple times a year about a deceased veteran with no family or with one that isn’t willing to handle the funeral arrangements. But “we will always be there." Like other veterans helping out Thursday, he hadn't known Brooks.
So many groups volunteered to take part in paying tribute that there wasn’t enough space to fit them into the 20-minute burial service, said Katie Riposta, the funeral director who put out the call for help last week.
“It renews your faith in humanity,” she said.
More than 8 million of the U.S. veterans living are 65 or older, almost half the veteran population. They are overwhelmingly men. That's according to a U.S. Census Bureau report last year. As this generation dies, it said, their collective memory of wartime experiences "will pass into history."
Much about Brooks' life is unknown.
He was widowed and lived in Augusta. He died on May 18, less than a week after entering a nursing home, Riposta said. A cause of death was not released.
The funeral home and authorities reached his next of kin, but no one was willing to come forward or take responsibility for his body, she said.
“It sounds like he was a good person, but I know nothing about his life,” Riposta said, noting that after Brooks' death, a woman contacted the funeral home to say he had once taken her in when she had no other place to go, with no details.
“It doesn’t matter if he served one day or made the military his career," she said. "He still deserves to be respected and not alone.”
The crowd on Thursday wasn't all strangers — and it turned out Brooks hadn't been one, either.
Victoria Abbott, executive director of the Bread of Life shelter in Augusta, said he had come every day to eat at their soup kitchen, always ready to crack “dad jokes” and make the staff smile. He had a favorite table.
“Your quintessential 80-year-old, dad jokes every day,” Abbott said. “He was really great to have around. He was part of the soup kitchen family.”
But most people there Thursday met him too late. The memorial book posted online by Direct Cremation of Maine, which helped to arrange the burial, had a few strangers' good wishes.
“Sir,” one began, and ended with “Semper Fi.”
The two others, a couple, thanked Brooks for his service. “We all deserve the love kindness and respect when we are called home. I hope that you lived a full beautiful life of Love, Kindness, Dreams and Hope,” they wrote.
They added: “Thank you to all those who will make this gentleman’s service a proper, well deserved good bye.”
Linda Laweryson, who served in the Marines, said this was the second funeral in little over a year that she has attended for a veteran who died alone. Everyone deserves to die with dignity and be buried with dignity, she said.
Laweryson read a poem during the graveside service written by a combat Marine who reflects on the spot where Marines graduate from boot camp.
“I walked the old parade ground, but I was not alone," the poem reads. "I walked the old parade ground and knew that I was home.”
 

 


After Drake battle, Kendrick Lamar turns victory lap concert into LA unity celebration

After Drake battle, Kendrick Lamar turns victory lap concert into LA unity celebration
Updated 20 June 2024
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After Drake battle, Kendrick Lamar turns victory lap concert into LA unity celebration

After Drake battle, Kendrick Lamar turns victory lap concert into LA unity celebration
  • The audience of 17,000 people at the Forum in Inglewood, California included The Weeknd, LeBron James, Ayo Edebiri and Rick Ross
  • The 37-year-old rapper curated a three-hour livestreamed concert featuring a mix of up-and-coming LA rappers and stars

INGLEWOOD: Not content with merely taking a victory lap after winning his battle against fellow rap superstar Drake, Kendrick Lamar turned his Juneteenth “Pop Out” concert at the Forum into a cathartic livestreamed celebration of Los Angeles unity.
Lamar curated a three-hour concert featuring a mix of up-and-coming LA rappers and stars including Tyler, The Creator, Steve Lacy and YG. When it was his turn to take the stage, the 37-year-old rapper powered through a set with Black Hippy collaborators Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock, performed his Drake diss songs “Euphoria” and “6:16 in LA,” then was joined on-stage by Dr. Dre.
The two West Coast titans performed “Still D.R.E.” and “California Love” before Dre quieted the roaring crowd by calling for a moment of silence. It was a misdirect. He then delivered the “Sixth Sense” quote that opens Lamar’s chart-topping “Not Like Us”: “I see dead people.”
A crowd of 17,000 that included The Weeknd, LeBron James, Ayo Edebiri and Rick Ross rapped along to every word of the biting-but-jubilant DJ Mustard production, which Lamar restarted twice after the first verse and performed four times in full.
Shuffling, frolicking, dancing and spinning around him as Lamar strode the stage in a red hoodie: NBA stars Russell Westbrook and DeMar DeRozan, Mustard, rapper Roddy Ricch and even a teenage dance troupe led by the krumping innovator Tommy the Clown.
Lamar reveled in the moment: “Y’all ain’t gon’ let nobody disrespect the West Coast. Y’all ain’t gon’ let nobody imitate our legends, huh,” he said, referring to Drake’s use of an AI tool to mimic 2Pac’s voice on one of his diss records.
But Lamar had more on his mind, calling out to specific men and women to join him on-stage for a group photo.
“Let the world see this,” he said. “For all of us to be on this stage together, unity, from East side ... LA, Crips, Bloods, Piru — this ... is special, man. We put this ... together just for ya’ll.
“This ... ain’t got nothing to do with no song at this point, ain’t got nothing to do with no back and forth records, it’s got everything to do with this moment right here. That’s what this ... was about, to bring all of us together.”
After the final song, Lamar exited, saying “I promise you this won’t be the last of us.” The stabbing horns of the “Not Like Us” instrumental kicked in once again and the crowd rapped the lyrics without Lamar as they filed through hallways out to the parking lot.