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Wednesday, Feb 21st

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Pat Cooper, Howard Stern regular who played himself on Seinfeld, dies at 93

Pat Cooper

Pat Cooper, the veteran stand-up comedian whose decades-long career included appearances in Seinfeld and the Howard Stern Show, has died. He was 93.

His former personal assistant Steve Garrin confirmed to EW that Cooper died Tuesday in his Las Vegas home. Cooper's wife Emily Conner says the comedian was "telling jokes up until the end," per Garrin. A cause of death has not been reported but Garrin added that Cooper had "a lot of health problems" and, in the last few weeks, knew the end was near.

Cooper, whose onstage persona earned him the nickname, "Comedian of Outrage," has been performing since the 1950s. He was a frequent guest host on the Mike Douglas Show in the '70s, made regular appearances on the Howard Stern Show through the 2000s and later appeared in films and TV shows, including Seinfeld's "The Friars Club" episode where he played himself.

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WHO Says COVID-19 Is No Longer A Global Emergency, but Still Is a Health Threat

Covid-19The World Health Organization said Friday that COVID-19 no longer qualifies as a global emergency, marking a symbolic end to the devastating coronavirus pandemic that triggered once-unthinkable lockdowns, upended economies worldwide and killed at least 7 million people worldwide.

WHO said that even though the emergency phase was over, the pandemic hasn’t come to an end, noting recent spikes in cases in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The U.N. health agency says that thousands of people are still dying from the virus every week.

“It’s with great hope that I declare COVID-19 over as a global health emergency,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“That does not mean COVID-19 is over as a global health threat,” he said, adding he wouldn’t hesitate to reconvene experts to reassess the situation should COVID-19 “put our world in peril.”

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Alabama governor ousts a top education official over a book's 'woke concepts' on race

Alabama GovernorAlabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday announced she replaced her director of early childhood education over the use of a teacher training book, written by a nationally recognized education group, that the Republican governor denounced as teaching "woke concepts" because of language about inclusion and structural racism.

Barbara Cooper was forced out as as head of the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education after Ivey expressed concern over the distribution of the book to state-run pre-kindergartens. Ivey spokesperson Gina Maiola identified the book as the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Developmentally Appropriate Practice Book, 4th edition. Maiola said she understands that the books have been removed from the state classrooms.

"The education of Alabama's children is my top priority as governor, and there is absolutely no room to distract or take away from this mission. Let me be crystal clear: Woke concepts that have zero to do with a proper education and that are divisive at the core have no place in Alabama classrooms at any age level, let alone with our youngest learners," Ivey said in a statement.

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'A gamechanger': this simple device could help fight the war on abortion rights in the US

Gamechanger: simple deice for abortionJoan Fleischman has always had people flying in from across the world to her private abortion practice in Manhattan. In the two decades her clinic has been open, she has seen clients from places such as Ireland, the Bahamas and Mexico, who couldn’t get abortions in their home countries. In the past year, that has changed. Since the US federal right to abortion was overturned in June last year, she is now more likely to see patients flying in from her own country.

Often they are from Texas, sometimes Ohio, or Florida. Some with links to the city, others with none.

After years of providing abortion care, Fleischman, 60, still finds these trips shocking. “Usually, if somebody needs unusual medical care, they are willing to fly around the world for it – like for advanced neurosurgery or something. It’s always struck me as incredible that people are flying to me for the most simple procedure.”

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'Damage pretty widespread': Multiple deaths, injuries reported in Missouri tornado

Tornado in Missouri 4/4

A tornado that slammed into southeastern Missouri early Wednesday caused "multiple" fatalities and injuries and prompted a feverish search for survivors in the wreckage, authorities said.

Tornadoes were reported in parts of Illinois, Iowa and Missouri late Tuesday and early Wednesday, and severe storms forced brief ground stops at major airports in Chicago and Detroit.

The Missouri Highway Patrol tweeted that they were assisting agencies in Bollinger County in search and recovery efforts near the village of Glenallen, about 100 miles south of St. Louis.

“The damage is pretty widespread. It’s just heartbreaking to see it,” Sgt. Clark Parrott of the Missouri Highway Patrol said. Crews are having to use chainsaws to cut back trees and brush to reach homes, he said.

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Millions warned tornadoes are 'expected' Friday: Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock at risk

winter storm moving east

Thursday is the day to prepare for what's expected to be a wild and potentially dangerous Friday weatherwise across a large swath of the central U.S.

Forecasters are warning of an outbreak of severe weather Friday afternoon and evening in at least 12 states from the Upper Midwest to the Deep South: "Intense, damaging gusts and several tornadoes (some strong and long-track) are expected," the Storm Prediction Center said.

Tens of millions of people live where the high winds and tornadoes are possible: Big cities in the highest danger areas include Nashville, Memphis, St. Louis, Des Moines and Little Rock.

The storms will be fast-moving, so there won't be much time to react to warnings, forecasters said. "Now's the time to start preparing," said Storm Prediction Center warning coordination meteorologist Matt Elliott.

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Tens of thousands in Israel protest in effort to stop Netanyahu’s planned overhaul of nation’s judiciary

Tens of thousands protest in IsraelTens of thousands of Israelis demonstrated outside parliament and workers launched a nationwide strike on Monday, as a surging mass protest movement threatened to paralyze the economy in its efforts to halt Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the judiciary.

Departing flights from the country’s main international airport were grounded, large mall chains and universities shut their doors, and Israel’s largest trade union called for its 800,000 members — in health, transit, banking and other fields — to stop work. Diplomats walked off the job at foreign missions, local governments were expected to close the preschools they run and cut other services, and the main doctors union announced its members would also strike.

The growing resistance to Netanyahu’s plan came hours after tens of thousands of people burst into the streets around the country in a spontaneous show of anger at the prime minister’s decision to fire his defense minister after he called for a pause to the overhaul. Chanting “the country is on fire,” they lit bonfires on Tel Aviv’s main highway, closing the thoroughfare and many others throughout the country for hours.

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