Happening Today: Comey, Pizza Hut, Michael Parks, Jennifer Hudson - NBC New York

Happening Today: Comey, Pizza Hut, Michael Parks, Jennifer Hudson



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    (Published Thursday, May 11, 2017)

    What to Know

    • Pizza Hut has apologized for running an ad on Facebook mocking the leader of a Palestinian hunger strike, NBC News reported

    • The controversial Dakota Access Pipeline sprung a small leak about nearby where the Standing Rock protests took place, NBC News reported

    • Michael Parks, a prolific character actor has died at 77 in Los Angeles, his agent, Jane Schulman, said

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    Did Sessions Violate Recusal by Advising on Comey Firing?

    President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey based on advice from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has raised questions about whether Sessions violated his own recusal from the Russia investigation, which Comey was leading. As NBC News reported, legal experts say the answer depends on the scope of Sessions' recusal and the true reasoning for Comey's dismissal. The White House has insisted Comey was fired for his mishandling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. One legal ethics expert from New York says the scope of his recusal is very broad, and Sessions therefore flatly violated it. However, a former federal prosecutor drew attention to the fact that Sessions chose to recuse himself and was not instructed to do so by the Justice Department. Therefore, the expert said, Sessions is allowed to change his mind if he wants. Comey says in a farewell letter that he does not plan to dwell on the decision to fire him or the "way it was executed."

    Pizza Hut Apologizes for Ad Mocking Palestinian Hunger Strike Leader

    Pizza Hut has apologized for running an ad on Facebook mocking the leader of a Palestinian hunger strike, NBC News reported. The ad, which the company posted Sunday to its Israeli Facebook page, included a video of 58-year-old Marwan Barghouti in his prison cell that was retouched to show him holding a Pizza Hut box. The video was posted with the caption: “Barghouti: If you’re going to break the strike, isn’t pizza better?” The video, which had depicted the Palestinian strike leader eating something in his cell, was released by Israeli’s Prison Service. Barghouti’s wife claimed the video was “fabricated.” Pizza Hut apologized for the video in a Facebook post and said the Israeli ad agency that created it has been fired.

    Dakota Access Pipeline Sprung Small Leak in South Dakota

    The controversial Dakota Access Pipeline sprung a small leak about 200 miles south of where the well-reported Standing Rock protests took place, NBC News reported. About 84 gallons leaked from a tank inside a pump station located in the small rural town of Tulare. The leak was contained inside an area made of gravel and synthetic liner, and any contaminated gravel was stored for proper disposal, according to officials. The leak happened more than a month ago on April 4 but wasn't noticed until Tuesday because of its small size. Brian Walsh, an environment official in South Dakota, said the pump had a mechanical failure and that the pipeline company has done everything by the book so far.

    “Bad Blood”: Descendants of Tuskegee Syphilis Study Subjects Emerging From Shadows

    Decades later, it's still hard to grasp what the federal government did to hundreds of black men in rural Alabama — even if you're among their descendants, lighting candles in their memory. For 40 years starting in 1932, medical workers in the segregated South withheld treatment for unsuspecting men infected with a sexually transmitted disease simply so doctors could track the ravages of the horrid illness and dissect their bodies afterward. Finally exposed in 1972, the study ended and the men sued, resulting in a $9 million settlement. Twenty years ago this May, President Bill Clinton apologized for the U.S. government. It seemed to mark the end of this ugly episode, once and for all. Except it didn't. Relatives of the men still struggle with the stigma of being linked to the experiment, commonly known today as the "Tuskegee Syphilis Study." For years they have met privately to share their pain and honor the victims.

    "Kill Bill" and "Twin Peaks" Actor Dies at 77

    Michael Parks, a prolific character actor who found early fame in 1960s countercultural roles and later became a favorite of directors including Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith, has died. He was 77. He died in Los Angeles, his agent, Jane Schulman, said. No cause of death was announced. In a career that spanned six decades, Parks acted in more than 100 films and TV shows. Many of his early starring roles were in anti-establishment '60s-era films such as "Wild Seed," ''The Happening," with Anthony Quinn, and "Bus Riley's Back in Town," alongside Ann-Margret. Parks also starred as a disillusioned, motorcycle-riding newsman in the 1969 series "Then Came Bronson." For the series, Parks, who recorded a number of albums throughout his career, sang the popular closing theme song, "Long Lonesome Highway." He played the Canadian drug runner Jean Renault on David Lynch's "Twin Peaks."

    Jennifer Hudson Joins 'The Voice' as Next Season's Mentor

    The Grammy Award-winning artist Jennifer Hudson is set to join NBC's singing competition show "The Voice" for the upcoming 13th season. Hudson is joining a star-studded lineup from the previous season with country superstar Blake Shelton, the newly rebranded Miley Cyrus and Maroon 5's Adam Levine. The "Dreamgirls" singer will be replacing Alicia Keys as a mentor. Keys told AOL one of the reasons she won't be coming back to the show is because she is focusing on her new music. Hudson tweeted her enthusiasm for the project, saying "Let’s do this #TeamJHud!! See you in the fall." "The Voice" airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.

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