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  • London attack: American Kurt Cochran, from Utah, killed

    An American man has been named as one of the victims of Wednesday's deadly attack in London,

    Kurt Cochran, from Utah, died in the attack and his wife Melissa was seriously hurt, their family has said.

    They were celebrating a 25th wedding anniversary and also visiting Melissa's parents, who work on a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission.

    They were struck when the attacker drove a car over Westminster Bridge, near the Houses of Parliament.

    So-called Islamic State has said it was behind the attack, which left four people dead, including the attacker.

    Eight people have so far been arrested.

    Read more »
  • Electronics banned on some US flights from Middle East

    The US has announced a ban on large electronic devices from cabin baggage on passenger flights from eight Muslim majority countries.

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said extremists were seeking "innovative methods" to bring down jets.

    Bombs could be hidden in laptops, tablets, cameras, DVD players and electronic games, it said.

    The measure will affect nine airlines operating out of 10 airports.

    Large electronic devices will only be allowed on board in checked baggage. Phones are exempt from the new rules.

    Will the new US travel rules affect me?

    The nine airlines affected are:

    • Royal Jordanian
    • Egypt Air
    • Turkish Airlines
    • Saudi Arabian Airlines
    • Kuwait Airways
    • Royal Air Maroc
    • Qatar Airways
    • Emirates
    • Etihad Airways

    US officials said the airlines had been given 96 hours, beginning at 07:00 GMT on Tuesday, to ban devices bigger than a mobile phone or smartphone from cabins. They said the ban had no end date.

    Affected airports

    AFP news agency said passengers on some 50 flights a day from some of the busiest hubs in the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa would be required to follow the new rules.

    Why now? - Analysis from Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent

    The restriction is based, we are told, on "evaluated intelligence". That means that US intelligence has either intercepted discussion of a possible extremist plot or has been passed word of one by a human informant.

    The Middle Eastern and North African airports affected are nearly all ones with close, friendly relations with Washington, so this will be seen by some as a drastic and unpopular measure. Wealthy Gulf Arab business leaders flying to the US, for example, will no longer be able to work on their laptops mid-flight.

    But aviation security experts were alarmed by an incident in Somalia last year when the insurgent group al-Shabaab smuggled an explosive-filled laptop on a flight out of Mogadishu, blowing a hole in the side of the plane. The aircraft was still low enough that the pilot was able to land the plane safely.

    In a statement, the DHS said: "The US government is concerned about terrorists' ongoing interest in targeting commercial aviation, including transportation hubs over the past two years, as evidenced by the 2015 airliner downing in Egypt; the 2016 attempted airliner downing in Somalia; and the 2016 armed attacks against airports in Brussels and Istanbul.

    "Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items."

    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly called members of Congress over the weekend to explain the security issues behind the ban, congressional aides said.

    The restrictions are said to have been under consideration for several weeks.

    Read more »
  • Happiness report: Norway is the happiest place on Earth


    The World Happiness Report measures "subjective well-being" - how happy the people are, and why.

    Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and and Finland round out the top five, while the Central African Republic came last.

    Western Europe and North America dominated the top of table, with the US and UK at 14th and 19th, respectively.

    Countries in sub-Saharan Africa and those hit by conflict have predictably low scores. Syria placed 152 of 155 countries - Yemen and South Sudan, which are facing impending famine, came in at 146 and 147.

    The World Happiness Report was released to coincide with the United Nations' International Day of Happiness on 20 March.

    The world's happiest - and saddest - countries
    HappiestLeast happy
    1. Norway 146. Yemen
    2. Denmark 147. South Sudan
    3. Iceland 148. Liberia
    4. Switzerland 149. Guinea
    5. Finland 150. Togo
    6. Netherlands 151. Rwanda
    7. Canada 152. Syria
    8. New Zealand 153. Tanzania
    9. Australia 154. Burundi
    10. Sweden 155. Central African Republic

    It mainly relies on asking a simple, subjective question of more than 1,000 people every year in more than 150 countries.

    "Imagine a ladder, with steps numbered from 0 at the bottom to 10 at the top," the question asks.

    "The top of the ladder represents the best possible life for you and the bottom of the ladder represents the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you say you personally feel you stand at this time?"

    The average result is the country's score - ranging from Norway's 7.54 to the Central African Republic's 2.69. But the report also tries to analyse statistics to explain why one country is happier than another.

    It looks at factors including economic strength (measured in GDP per capita), social support, life expectancy, freedom of choice, generosity, and perceived corruption.

    'America's crisis'

    This year's report also contains a chapter titled "restoring American happiness", which examines why happiness levels in the United States are falling, despite constantly-increasing economic improvement.

    "The United States can and should raise happiness by addressing America's multi-faceted social crisis - rising inequality, corruption, isolation, and distrust - rather than focusing exclusively or even mainly on economic growth," the authors said.

    "America's crisis is, in short, a social crisis, not an economic crisis."

    Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which published the report, said President Donald Trump's policies were likely to make things worse.

    "They are all aimed at increasing inequality - tax cuts at the top, throwing people off the healthcare rolls, cutting Meals on Wheels in order to raise military spending. I think everything that has been proposed goes in the wrong direction," he told Reuters.

    The report also suggests that professional "white collar" jobs are associated with improved happiness over "blue collar" roles - but that having a job at all is one of the biggest factors.

    And while "those in well-paying jobs are happier and more satisfied with their lives", that effect has diminishing returns - "an extra $100 of salary is worth much more to someone at the lower end of the income distribution than someone already earning much more."

    Read more »
  • 34 movies to watch in your 20s



    A person's 20s is one of the most exciting times in their lives.


    Though some 20-somethings have finished college, are starting a career, and have maybe fallen in love, others are weathering a tumultuous era filled with self doubt and more than a few quarter-life crises.

    Here are 34 movies that reflect that mindset, and can help you shape your worldview. We've also included the streaming services they're available on right now.


    Note: Movies can drop off streaming services monthly, so the availability of the titles below may change.

    "The Graduate"


    What it's about: There's no better movie about the confusing aimlessness of post-collegiate life than Mike Nichols's 1967 film. If you thought your life was confusing, at least you're not a jobless, disillusioned recent college graduate torn between loving an older woman or her daughter.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon, Netflix

    "In a World..."

    What it's about: "In a World..." — directed by, written by, and starring Lake Bell — is about a young woman who tries to become a voice-over artist, even though her voice isn't as naturally baritone. It's a charming, empowering screwball comedy about workplace sexism and how to prove everyone wrong when you're underestimated.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon


    What it's about: The rollicking journey of a transgender sex worker who finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her. It's a lesson in finding friendship when you think you're alone and being persistent when you're cast aside by someone close to you.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon, Netflix

    "The Devil Wears Prada"

    screenshot of another PA from "The Devil Wears Prada."

    What it's about: As far as workplace comedies go, "The Devil Wears Prada" can't be beat. It's an insightful movie about the expectations of ambition, kindness, and finding a purpose in this world.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon

    "Office Space"

    What it's about: Since most people begin their careers in their 20s, they'll become familiar with the repetitive feeling of going into the office, doing their work, and then leaving for the day. "Office Space" skewers the repetitiveness of that way of life, and the oddness of the rituals that come with work culture. It's perfect for waking you from your stupor.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon

    "Groundhog Day"

    What it's about: Like "Office Space," "Groundhog Day" accurately conveys the perils of living every day without any difference. It has a stronger message, though, when it comes to seizing your life and changing it.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon

    "Touki Bouki"

    (The Criterion Collection)

    What it's about: A couple in Senegal dream of going to Paris, and try out various schemes to raise money for their trip. Anyone with wanderlust can relate.

    Where it's streaming: FilmStruck

    "500 Days of Summer"

    What it's about: There are a lot of great rom-coms out there, but few actually have anything to say. "500 Days of Summer" is the rare romance movie about a failed relationship and how hard it is to get over one.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon


    What it's about: Based on writer Will Reiser's own experience with cancer, "50/50" is one of those movies about how close we all are from having our life turned upside-down. It's a call to appreciate everything you have and hold the people close to you even closer.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon

    "The Big Chill"

    (Summit Entertainment/The Criterion Collection)

    What it's about: "The Big Chill" is the quintessential movie about baby boomers growing up and reflecting on their youth. It's also really funny.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon, FilmStruck

    "Red Beard"

    What it's about: Akira Kurosawa's 1965 masterpiece is about a young doctor from the city who's assigned to a rural clinic in a remote town. It's a story about the differences of unfamiliar places, and the differences you can make there.

    Where it's streaming: FilmStruck

    "Love and Death"

    What it's about: "Annie Hall" is the usual Woody Allen movie on these sorts of lists. But one of his earlier, funnier movies, "Love and Death," also starring him and Diane Keaton, does a better job at making fun of the courtship rituals of love and worrying about money, even if it is a sillier movie.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon

    "After Hours"

    (Warner Bros.)

    What it's about: Like many young people, Paul Hackett just wants to spend the night enjoying himself downtown and trying to find a woman who likes him back. Then he gets caught up in a flummoxing web of complications that prevents him from going home. You'll recognize the feeling.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon

    "The Social Network"

    What it's about: The ultimate cautionary tale about the price of ambition and the rivalries that can come out of it. Plus, it's just a great college movie.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon

    "The Wolf of Wall Street"

    What it's about: "The Big Short" or "Inside Job" might be a better lesson in the financial crisis that effects every twentysomething, but "The Wall of Wall Street" is the best portrait of greed of the late-2000s, and the glorification of it that led to ruin.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon

    "Beyond the Lights"

    (Relativity Media )

    What it's about: A rising pop star starts to succumb to the pressures of fame. But she falls in love with a police officer who supports her while juggling his own career ambitions. It's a surprising, moving gender flip of the usual "supportive, background wife" trope.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon

    "Tucker: The Man and His Dream"

    What it's about: The "Godfather" movies and "Apocalypse Now" are often highlighted as Francis Ford Coppola's best movies. But it's his overlooked 1988 film that deserves to be seen by just as many people. It's based on the true story of an engineer who takes on the big three car American car companies by producing the Tucker 48 sedan. It's an inspiration for any entrepreneur with a creative idea who thinks the odds are stacked against them.

    Where it's streaming: Not on streaming services right now.

    "No One Knows About Persian Cats"

    What it's about: A hybrid documentary-narrative movie about the underground rock scene in Iran. Because the government bans different kinds of music, young musicians practice, perform, and party in obscure places. It's a riveting portrait of creativity blooming in the unlikeliest of places.

    Where it's streaming: Netflix (DVD only)

    "Before Sunrise"

    (Columbia Pictures )

    What it's about: Richard Linklater's 1995 film, along with its sequels "Before Sunset" and "Before Midnight," are the best portrayals of love ever put to screen.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon

    "Defending Your Life"

    What it's about: The premise of the classic Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep film is simple: What if, after you died, you had to defend yourself to get into Heaven? It taps into a universal anxiety, and the couple pulls it off brilliantly.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon

    "Chungking Express"

    What it's about: The weird thing about trying to find companions in a big city is that it's really lonely. No movie understands that better than this Hong Kong-set drama.

    Where it's streaming: FilmStruck

    "Toni Erdmann"

    (Sony Pictures Classics )

    What it's about: Nominated last year for a best foreign language film Oscar, "Toni Erdmann" is a hilarious movie about a wacky dad trying to reunite with his cold, business-like daughter by wearing a bad wig and false teeth and calling himself "Toni Erdmann." It's like if an Adam Sandler movie were actually good.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon (will be available on April 11)

    "The Royal Tenenbaums"

    What it's about: Speaking of family-themed movies for grownups, it's pretty much impossible to get through the story of the dysfunctional Tenenbaums family without crying.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon, Hulu

    "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"

    What it's about: After their relationship goes awry, a couple decides to erase their memories of each other. Only in the process do they realize how important they were to one another.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon

    "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1"

    (Warner Bros.)

    What it's about: Every "Harry Potter" movie is about growing up. At the end of the series (with the exception of an epilogue), the main characters are no more than 18 years old. But the actors who play them are in their 20s by then, and Harry and the gang are living far out of the reach of parental supervision.

    The first "Deathly Hallows" movie, more than any other in the series, is about those best friends struggling with their independence, and trying to keep it together in a frightening world.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon


    What it's about: In three chapters, director Barry Jenkins tells us the story of Chiron, a young gay black male coming of age in Miami. Everyone can empathize with one of its central messages: why didn't things go as planned? And is it too late to change?

    Where it's streaming: Amazon


    What it's about: Marjane Satrapi directing the movie based on her own graphic novel based on her own life. It's about her growing up in Tehran during the Iranian revolution, told in startlingly beautiful animation. This moving film will make you realize that a harsh life is a starting point for inspiration.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon, FilmStruck

    "Frances Ha"

    (IFC Films via Netflix)

    What it's about: It's about a dancer who doesn't have a job as a dancer who struggles to keep an apartment and chases after her dreams, even as they slip away from her. Very relatable.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon, Hulu, Netflix

    "Legally Blonde"

    What it's about: The story of Elle Woods — who gets herself into Harvard Law School to chase after a man, then realizes she's better without him — is an empowering story about how looks can be deceiving.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon


    What it's about: Adonis Creed — son of boxer Apollo Creed — trains under Rocky Balboa in a quest to become a boxing champion, seeking a mixture of honor and evasion from his father's legacy. Anyone who's had a sense of destiny, or a complicated relationship with their parent's wishes for them, can relate.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon, Hulu

    "Obvious Child"


    What it's about: Jenny Slate stars in a painful comedy about deciding whether to have an abortion and the uncomfortable realities of young womanhood.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon


    What it's about: As you enter "the real world," it's always good to remember what's behind you. "Boyhood" — shot over 11 years — is by no means universal, but it's an unparalleled portrait of growing up.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon, Netflix


    What it's about: A couple of playboys, played by Humphrey Bogart and William Holden, chase after the daughter of the family chauffeur, Sabrina. Played by Audrey Hepburn, Sabrina foils their attempts to manipulate her and gets love on her own terms.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon, Hulu

    "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World"

    (Universal Pictures)

    What it's about: Edgar Wright's witty, face-paced action comedy holds a deeper message: everyone you meet has their own past and their own baggage that comes with it. When you learn to understand that, you can forge deeper, lasting friendships — and skillfully destroy an ex-boyfriend in battle if you need to.

    Where it's streaming: Amazon

    Read more »
  • China, Saudi Arabia agree to deepen cooperation



    BEIJING, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday that China is ready to work with Saudi Arabia on development strategies and production capacity.

    Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) meets with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 17, 2017. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

    Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) meets with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 17, 2017. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

    Li made the remarks when meeting with Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Beijing.

    China respects the right of all countries to choose their own development path according to their national conditions, he said.

    He said China is willing to work with Saudi Arabia to cement political mutual trust, explore new space for energy and high-tech cooperation, enhance coordination in international and regional affairs, so as to make new progress in the development of bilateral ties.

    Against the background of uncertainty and instability in the world political and economic situation, China will deepen cooperation with countries including Saudi Arabia to cope with all kinds of risks and challenges, safeguard world peace and security and promote development and cooperation, said the premier.

    King Salman lauded the long-term friendship and extensive consensus on practical cooperation between the two countries.

    Saudi Arabia is confident about future cooperation with China and will continue to give full play to the role of the high-level joint committee to enhance bilateral cooperation, said the king.

    He also called on the two sides to deal with the threats of terrorism and extremist forces, to safeguard regional and world peace and stability.

    Earlier Friday, Chinese top legislator Zhang Dejiang also met with King Salman at the Great Hall of the People.

    Zhang Dejiang (R), chairman of the Standing Committee of China

    Zhang Dejiang (R), chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, meets with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 17, 2017. (Xinhua/Zhang Duo)



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  • If a nuclear bomb is dropped on your city, here's where you should run and hide

    • People who survive a nuclear blast may be exposed to radioactive ash and dust called fallout.
    • Finding a good shelter as soon as possible and going inside is critical to surviving fallout.
    • A scientist has come up with a strategy for when and whether to move to a better fallout shelter.

    President Trump has egged on a new arms race. Russia violated weapons treaties to upgrade its nuclear arsenal. North Korea is developing long-range missiles and practicing for nuclear war — and the US military is considering preemptive attacks on the isolated nation's military facilities.

    Meanwhile, nuclear terrorism and dirty bombs remain a sobering threat.

    Though these events are unlikely to trigger the last-ditch option of nuclear war, let alone a blast in your neighborhood, they are very concerning.

    So you might be wondering, "If I survive a nuclear-bomb attack, what should I do?"

    Michael Dillon, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researcher, crunched the numbers and helped figure out just that in a 2014 study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

    Likewise, government agencies and other organizations have also explored the harrowing question and came up with detailed recommendations and response plans.

    The scenario

    New YorkTTstudio/Shutterstock

    You are in a large city that has just been subjected to a single,low-yield nuclear detonation, between 0.1 and 10 kilotons.

    This is much less powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima — about 15 kilotons. However, it's not unlikely when looking at weapons like the new B61-12 gravity bomb, which is built by the US, maxes out at 50 kilotons, and can be dialed down to 0.3 kilotons. (Russia and Pakistan are working on similar so-called "tactical" nuclear weapons.)

    Studieshave shown that you and up to 100,000 of your fellow citizens can be saved — that is, if you keep your wits about and radiation exposure low enough.

    One of your biggest and most immediate goals is to avoid nuclear fallout.

    How to avoid fallout radiation

    Fallout is a mess of bomb material, soil, and debris that is vaporized, made radioactive, and sprinkled as dust and ash across the landscape by prevailing winds. (In New York City, for example, a fallout zone would spread eastward.)

    radioactive fallout zonesFEMA

    The best thing to do is to find a good place to hide — the more dense material between you and the outside world, the better — then wait until the rescuers can make their way to help you.

    The US government recommends hiding in a nearby building, but not all of them provide much shelter from nuclear fallout.

    Poor shelters, which include about 20% of houses, are constructed of lightweight materials and lack basements. The best shelters are thick brick or concrete and lack windows. Like a bomb shelter.

    This infographic from a government guide to the aftermath of nuclear attacks gives a rough idea on what makes a building a good or bad place to hide from fallout:

    nuclear fallout shelter protectionLevels of protection from radiation that various buildings and locations offer.Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory/FEMA

    Hiding in the sub-basement of a brick five-story apartment building, for example, should expose you to just 1/200 of the amount of fallout radiation outside.

    Meanwhile, hanging out in the living room of your one-story, wood-frame house will only cut down the radiation by half, which — if you are next to a nuclear explosion — will not do much to help you.

    So, what do you do if there isn't a good shelter right near you? Should you stay in a "poor" shelter, or risk exposure to find a better one? And how long should you wait?

    Should you stay or should you go?

    nuclear fallout escape dillon prsaM.B. Dillon/Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    In his 2014 study, Dillon developed models to determine your best options. While the answer depends on how far away you are from the blast, since that will determine when the fallout arrives, there are some general rules to follow.

    If you are immediately next to or in a solid shelter when the bomb goes off, stay there until the rescuers come to evacuate you to less radioactive vistas.

    If you aren't already in a bomb shelter, but know a good shelter is about five minutes away — maybe a large apartment building with a basement that you can see a few blocks away — his calculations suggest hoofing it over there quickly and staying in place.

    But if the nice, thick-walled building would take about 15 minutes travel time, it's better to hole up in the flimsy shelter for awhile — but you should probably leave for a better shelter after roughly an hour (and maybe pick up some beers and sodas on the way: A study in the '50s found they taste fine after a blast).

    This is because some of the most intense fallout radiation has subsided by then, though you still want to reduce your exposure.

    Other fallout advice

    Below are some other guidelines that Dillon compiled from other studies and are based on how decent your first and second shelters are: ideal shelter nuclear fallout moving times dillon prsaM.B. Dillon/Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences

    One of the big advantages of the approach that this paper uses is that, to decide on a strategy, evacuation officials need to consider only the radiation levels near shelters and along evacuation routes — the overall pattern of the radioactive death-cloud does not factor into the models. This means decisions can be made quickly and without much communication or central organization (which may be spare in the minutes and hours after a blast



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  • Car and bomb claim at White House sets off security alert

                                                                                                                                                                                   The Secret Service detained a man who drove up to a White House checkpoint late Saturday night and claimed to have a bomb in his vehicle, two law enforcement officials told CNN

    There was no confirmation on whether there was any device in the vehicle, but security at the White House was immediately upgraded. The vehicle is being checked, the officials said.
    The incident occurred at 11:05 p.m. at a security checkpoint, the Secret Service said. Four hours later, the checkpoint in question remained blocked, but streets re-opened, and bomb technicians and other additional security personnel left the area.
    The Secret Service described it as an "ongoing criminal investigation."
    At the time of the incident, President Donald Trump was at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, where he spends most of his weekends.
    Earlier Saturday, another person was arrested after jumping over a bicycle rack in front of the White House. The man, who never made it to the White House fence, was carrying a document he wanted to deliver to the White House and did not have a weapon, a law enforcement official said.
    The incidents come a week after a man breached the White House grounds — and was on the grounds for more than 15 minutes.
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  • Chuck Berry, rock 'n' roll pioneer, dead at 90

     "the Father of Rock 'n' Roll," died Saturday at his home outside St. Louis,  He was 90.

    A post on the St. Charles County police Facebook page said officers responded to a medical emergency at the residence around 12:40 p.m. (1:40 p.m. ET) Saturday and found an unresponsive man inside. Resuscitation efforts failed.
    "The St. Charles County Police Department sadly confirms the death of Charles Edward Anderson Berry Sr., better known as legendary musician Chuck Berry."

    A musical legend

    Berry wrote and recorded "Johnny B. Goode" and "Sweet Little Sixteen" -- songs every garage band and fledgling guitarist had to learn if they wanted to enter the rock 'n' roll fellowship.
    Berry took all-night hamburger stands, brown-eyed handsome men and V-8 Fords and turned them into the stuff of American poetry. By doing so, he gave rise to followers beyond number, bar-band disciples of the electric guitar, who carried his musical message to the far corners of the Earth.
    Some of his most famous followers praised him on social media.
    Bruce Springsteen tweeted: "Chuck Berry was rock's greatest practitioner, guitarist, and the greatest pure rock 'n' roll writer who ever lived."
    The Rolling Stones posted on their website: "The Rolling Stones are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Chuck Berry. He was a true pioneer of rock 'n' roll and a massive influence on us. Chuck was not only a brilliant guitarist, singer and performer, but most importantly, he was a master craftsman as a songwriter. His songs will live forever. "
    But it was perhaps John Lennon -- who died in 1980 -- who put it most succinctly. "If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry.'"
    The list of Berry's classics is as well-known as his distinctive, chiming "Chuck Berry riff": "Maybellene." "Around and Around." "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man." "School Days." "Memphis." "Nadine." "No Particular Place to Go."
    They were deceptively simple tunes, many constructed with simple chord progressions and classic verse-chorus-verse formats, but their hearts could be as big as teenage hopes on a Saturday night.
    His music even went into outer space. When the two Voyager spacecrafts were launched in 1977, each was accompanied on its journey to the outer reaches of the solar system by a phonograph record that contained sounds of Earth -- including "Johnny B. Goode."

    Rock wordsmith

    Berry, though, was modest about his influence.
    "My view remains that I do not deserve all the reward directed on my account for the accomplishments credited to the rock 'n' roll bank of music," he wrote in his 1987 autobiography.
    He had a facility with lyrics others could only envy, words and phrases tossed off with a jazzman's cool and a surgeon's precision.
    In "You Never Can Tell," he summed up a newlywed couple's life in fewer than two dozen words: "They furnished off an apartment with a two-room Roebuck sale / The coolerator was crammed with TV dinners and ginger ale."

    Hail Hail Chuck Berry!!! None of us would have been here without you. Rock on brother!

    A post shared by Lenny Kravitz (@lennykravitz) on Mar 18, 2017 at 4:03pm PDT

    His delivery was often marked by humor, but he could also insert the scalpel when needed. After all, Berry -- a black man who grew up in Jim Crow America, who was close to 30 when he had his first national hit -- knew that those high schools were sometimes segregated, and those diners and highways didn't always welcome him.
    "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man" could be read as the story of a brown-SKINNED handsome man, as rock critic Dave Marsh and others have noted; the Louisiana country boy of "Johnny B. Goode" wasn't necessarily Caucasian.
    Or consider "Promised Land," the story of a man escaping the South for California. He rides a Greyhound bus across Dixie, moves to a train to get "across Mississippi clean," and finally enters the Golden State on a plane, dressed in a silk suit, "workin' on a T-bone steak." It was the American dream in miniature, a success all the sweeter for overcoming racial prejudice -- never overtly mentioned but present all the same.
    There was also a darkness and suspicion in Berry, for those who cared to look. He was notorious for making concert promoters pay him in full before his shows, cash only. In his late teens he served three years in a reformatory, and after becoming famous did jail time on a charge of transporting an underage girl across state lines. Years later he was convicted of tax evasion. He had the showman's talent for saying much and revealing little.

    Grew up in St. Louis

    For all Berry's mystery and commercial sense, however, at bottom he truly loved the music.
    "Rock's so good to me. Rock is my child and my grandfather," he once said.
    Charles Edward Anderson Berry was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on October 18, 1926. (Some sources say he was born in San Jose, California.) His parents -- grandchildren of slaves -- were accomplished in their own ways: father Henry was a successful carpenter, and mother Martha was a college graduate -- rare for a black woman at the time. Young Chuck, the fourth of six children, grew up in a middle-class African-American St. Louis neighborhood.
    He was inspired to pick up the guitar after singing in a high school talent show. A friend accompanied him and Berry decided to learn the instrument.
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  • Japan holds first evacuation drill to prepare for North Korean missile



    Oga, Japan (CNN)The children are playing duck-duck-goose with their teacher outside their elementary school when the siren suddenly blares.

    On cue, teachers and students drop to the ground and wait for further instructions.
    "This is a drill," a voice echoes over a loudspeaker across this small coastal town.
    "A missile has been launched."
    Moments later, the entire school body runs from the athletic field into the school gym. They are joined by elderly volunteers, who line up in rows next to the children seated quietly on the wooden floor.
    Three missiles launched from North Korea in March  landed less than 200 nautical miles from Oga.
    This is Japan's first evacuation exercise preparing for the scenario of a North Korean missile attack against this country.
    "A missile fell about 20 kilometers off the coast of Oga inside territorial waters," says another loudspeaker announcement.
    "The damage is still unknown so please remain sheltered inside the gym."
    At the completion of the drill, a government official thanks participants in the gym, while carefully avoiding specific mention of North Korea.
    "The government is doing its best to be amicable to the countries so that the country would not shoot a missile," says chief Cabinet counselor Atsushi Odani.
    "If they shoot a missile, self defense forces will try to shoot them down," he adds, referring to the Japanese armed forces.

    Defense systems in place

    Japan is not entirely defenseless when it comes to ballistic missile threats.
    Earlier this month, guided missile destroyers from the US, Japan and South Korea participated in trilateral naval exercises focused on improving missile defense.
    The warships employ the Aegis missile defense system that is aimed at early detection of missile threats.
    Those ships can also fire interceptors to strike the ballistic missile early in its flight, or send tracking data to ships farther along the ballistic missile's flight path, so it can be destroyed when it's near its highest point.
    However, Japan and its close military allies the US and South Korea were unable to stop North Korea from launching four ballistic missiles earlier this month.
    Tokyo says three of the four missiles launched from North Korea on March 6 landed in the sea less than 200 nautical miles (around 370 kilometers) from Oga, which juts out on a peninsula from Japans' western coast.
    Despite United Nations' resolutions prohibiting North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology, in 2016 Pyongyang conducted at least two nuclear tests and fired more than a dozen missiles.
    Locals say North Korea's unpredictability scares them.
    In this sleepy fishing port, locals are waking up to the growing threat from across the sea.
    "It's scary," says Zen-ei Nishikata, as he hauls sacks of freshly-caught, squirming octopus into a fish-packing plant next to the docks.
    "You never know what the North Koreans might do next."

    Memories of sirens

    For some here in Oga, the missile evacuation drill brought back painful memories.
    "During World War II, we hid in air raid shelters wearing masks when we heard the sirens," said Reinosuke Ishigaki, an 89-year old resident who helped coordinate the town's disaster preparation.
    "If a war breaks out with North Korea, Japan will be targeted," he adds. "And they have their finger on the nuclear button."
    The mythical ogre, the namahage.
    The principal of Oga's elementary school argues the missile evacuation drill provided his students with a valuable lesson.
    "They're still young, but the closer they get to 6th grade, the more they start to understanding what country we're talking about with this missile exercise," Shin Kikuchi says.
    "The potential threat from a missile is beyond imagination."
    He speaks in a hallway of the school that is decorated with fearsome masks.
    They represent the namahage, a mythical ogre that is a community mascot on the Oga peninsula.
    It is a local tradition here on New Year's Eve for actors to dress up in frightening straw costumes and these fanged masks, to scare children straight.
    But as North Korea's ballistic missile program grows more sophisticated, residents now have something far more than frightening fairy tales to keep them awake at night.

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  • North Korea 'conducts high-thrust engine test'


    North Korea's state media says its military has tested a new high-performance rocket engine.

    Leader Kim Jong-un declared the test "a new birth" for the North's rocket industry, state news agency KCNA said.

    He said the engine would help North Korea achieve world-class satellite launch capability, it added.

    The development, not confirmed elsewhere, comes as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits China - Pyongyang's main ally.

    After personally overseeing the test, Mr Kim "emphasised that the world will soon witness the great significance of the epoch-making victory we achieved today", KCNA reported, adding that it marked the birth of the country's rocket industry.

    Mr Tillerson's East Asian tour has been dominated by anxieties over North Korea's nuclear capabilities.

    In South Korea on Friday, he said a US military response would be on the table if North Korea threatened South Korea or US forces.

    The US and China pledged to work together to get the North to take "a different course" and move away from its weapons programmes after Mr Tillerson met his Chinese counterpart on Saturday.

    The BBC's China editor Carrie Gracie says the North Korean announcement upstaged Mr Tillerson's subsequent talks with the Chinese President, Xi Jinping.

    A man watches a TV news program showing an image that North KoreaImage copyrightAPImage captionTV stations in South Korea have been broadcasting images said to be of the North's rocket engine test

    North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches. Experts and government officials believe it is working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that can reach the US.

    Kim Jong-un has said the country is close to a test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

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