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Legendary singer Aretha Franklin dies at age 76

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Legendary singer Aretha Franklin has died.

The 76-year-old Queen of Soul was said to be “surrounded” by her closest friends and family in recent days, after battling extensive health problems in recent years.

The legendary singer was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, and delivered her most recent performance at the Elton John AIDS Foundation party in New York last November.

This is a Breaking News Story.

Timeline:
1954 – Sings her first solo at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit.

1956 – Along with her two sisters, performs backup on her father’s gospel recording for Gotham Records.

1960 – Leaves Detroit for New York, signs with Columbia Records and releases first album, “The Great Aretha Franklin.”

1967 – Leaves Columbia Records after an unsuccessful attempt at developing a jazz style; signs with Atlantic Records; wins Grammy Award Best R&B Recording for “Respect.”

1967-1974 – Wins a total of ten Grammy Awards.

April 9, 1968 – Sings “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 20, 1977 – Performs “God Bless America” at the inauguration gala of President Jimmy Carter.

1980 – Appears in the movie “The Blues Brothers” and performs the song “Think”; leaves Atlantic Records for Arista Records.

1981 – Wins Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for “Hold On I’m Comin’.”

1985 – Wins Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for “Freeway Of Love.”

January 3, 1987 – Is the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

1987 – Wins two Grammy Awards for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for “Aretha” and Best R&B Performance by a Duo, with George Michael, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).”

1988 – Wins Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance, Female for “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.”

1991 – Receives the Grammy Legend Award.

January 20, 1993 – Performs “I Dreamed a Dream” at the inauguration ball of President Bill Clinton.

1994 – Receives the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the youngest recipient of a Kennedy Center Honor at that time.

1997 – Performs an aria from Puccini’s La Boheme at the wedding of Vice-President Al Gore’s daughter, Karenna.

February 6, 1998 – Reprises her roll of Mrs. Murphy from “The Blues Brothers” in the sequel “The Blues Brothers 2000.”

February 25, 1998 – Substitutes for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti at the Grammy Awards performing “Nessun Dorma” by Puccini, unrehearsed.

September 1, 1999 – Publishes an autobiography “Aretha: From These Roots,” where she discusses her private and personal life for the first time.

September 22, 1999 – Is named a winner of the National Medal of Arts by the National Endowment for the Arts.

2003 – Wins Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “Wonderful.”

March 2004 – Is hospitalized and released for allergic reaction to antibiotics.

2004 – Starts her own record label, Aretha’s Records.

2005 – Wins Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “A House Is Not A Home.”

November 5, 2005 – Is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.

2006 – After Franklin points out that no Motown talent was appearing in the Detroit Super Bowl halftime show, the NFL asks her to sing the national anthem along with Aaron Neville prior to the game.

2007 – Wins Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance for “Never Gonna Break My Faith,” shared with Mary J. Blige.

February 10, 2008 – Is Grammy’s 2008 MusiCares Person of the Year.

February 14, 2008 – Receives the NAACP Vanguard Award at the annual Image Awards ceremony.

January 20, 2009 – Performs “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

February 2010 – A Snickers commercial starring Franklin and Liza Minnelli airs for the first time.

July 27, 2010 – Appears on stage with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on piano, in Philadelphia, to raise money for charity. Rice is a classical pianist. They perform individually and together, classical, pop and patriotic selections.

August 1, 2010 – Falls in her home, breaking two ribs. The incident forces her to cancel concert appearances for August.

February 25, 2011 – During an interview with Wendy Williams, Franklin reveals a loss of 85 lbs. The ailment that resulted in surgery in December remains undisclosed and a topic of conversation she dismisses with the comment, “I’ve left that behind, I’m feeling wonderful.”

May 3, 2011 – Releases new album, “Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love.”

October 8, 2014  Achieves a milestone in music history by becoming the first female to earn her 100th hit on Billboard’s Hot R&B song chart with “Rolling in the Deep (The Aretha Version).”

October 21, 2014 – Releases a new album, “Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics.”

March 5, 2015 – Performs live on the Motown themed episode of American Idol in Detroit.

September 26, 2015 – Franklin sings “Amazing Grace” at the Festival of Families, one of the events sponsored by the Vatican for Pope Francis‘ visit to Philadelphia.

February 7, 2017 – Franklin announces she will retire from performing in concert after the release of one more album. “I am retiring this year, she told a local television station in Detroit. “I will be recording, but this will be my last year in concert.”

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All Charges Against Jussie Smollett Dropped

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CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett say charges alleging he lied to police about an attack have been dropped.


Smollett’s attorneys Tina Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a Tuesday morning statement that Smollett’s record “has been wiped clean.” Smollett was indicted on 16 felony counts related to making a false report that he was attacked by two men who shouted racial and homophobic slurs.

A spokeswoman for Cook County prosecutors didn’t immediately respond to messages requesting comment.

Police and prosecutors have said the black and gay actor falsely reported to authorities that he was attacked Jan. 29 in downtown Chicago because he was unhappy with his pay on the Fox show and to promote his career.

The prosecutor who made the surprise decision to drop charges against Empire star Jussie Smollett for allegedly making false assault claims said the dropped and expunged charges are not an indication of the actor’s innocence.

“We didn’t exonerate him,” Joe Magats, the top assistant to Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx, said in a statement tweeted out by New York Times correspondent Julie Bosman.

The prosecutor said he “saw no problems with the police investigation or the evidence against Smollett,” Bosman tweeted, adding that the actor’s charges were dropped “in return for his agreement to do community service” and for the forfeiture of “his bond to the city of Chicago.”

“We work to prioritize violent crime and the drivers of violent crime,” Magats said. “Public safety is our number one priority. I don’t see Jussie Smollett as a threat to public safety.”

“We stand behind the investigation, we stand behind the decision to charge him and we stand behind the charges in the case,” the prosecutor said. “The mere fact that it was disposed of in an alternative manner does not mean that there were any problems or infirmities in the case or the evidence.”

Magats’ statement contrasts claims made by Smollett’s lawyers, who said the dropped and expunged charges were not part of a deal and that the actor would not be doing any additional community service.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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US Chief Justice John Roberts Rejects Bid To Halt Trump Bump Stock Ban

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday rejected a bid by gun rights activists to put on hold President Donald Trump’s administration’s ban on “bump stock” gun attachments that enable semi-automatic weapons to be fired rapidly.


Justice Sonia Sotomayor has not yet acted on another similar request.

The ban goes into effect on Tuesday but lower courts have yet to rule on an appeals brought by gun rights activists. An appeals court in Washington already has said that the ban will not go into effect in relation to the specific people and groups involved in that case.

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Gun Rights Groups Ask Supreme Court To Halt Trump Bump Stock Ban

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Gun rights groups are asking the Supreme Court to stop the Trump administration from beginning to enforce its ban on bump stock devices, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like machine guns.


The groups asked the court Monday to get involved in the issue and keep the government from beginning to enforce the ban for now. The ban set to go into effect Tuesday has put the Trump administration in the unusual position of arguing against gun rights groups. It’s unclear how quickly the court will act.

President Donald Trump said last year that the government would move to ban bump stocks. The action followed a 2017 shooting in Las Vegas in which a gunman attached bump stocks to assault-style rifles he used to shoot concertgoers. Fifty-eight people were killed.

Developing…this will be updated.

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