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Happening Today: Sears, Meghan Markle, Virtual Reality, Caterpillar Sting, Ariana Grande, ‘SNL'

What to Know

  • Sears has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, buckling under its massive debt load and staggering losses
  • A new virtual reality simulation is helping hospice workers and medical students see what it's like to die
  • It's over between Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson after they broke up and called off their engagement

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Sears Files for Chapter 11 Amid Plunging Sales, Massive Debt

Sears has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, buckling under its massive debt load and staggering losses. Sears once dominated the American retail landscape. But the big question is whether the shrunken version of itself can be viable or will it be forced to go out of business, closing the final chapter for an iconic name that originated more than a century ago. The company, which started out as a mail order catalog in the 1880s, has been on a slow march toward extinction as it lagged far behind its peers and has incurred massive losses over the years. The operator of Sears and Kmart stores joins a growing list of retailers that have filed for bankruptcy or liquidated in the last few years amid a fiercely competitive climate. Some like Payless ShoeSource have had success emerging from reorganization in bankruptcy court but plenty of others haven't, like Toys R Us and Bon-Ton Stores Inc. Both retailers were forced to shutter their operations this year soon after a Chapter 11 filing.

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry Expecting 1st Child

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are expecting their first child this coming spring, Kensington Palace announced. "Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the Spring of 2019," the palace wrote in a tweet. "Their Royal Highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public," a second tweet said. Speculation as to whether Markle was pregnant rose lately, fueled in part by reports that she would not visit Fiji during the international tour she and Harry embarked. The news came as the pair arrived in Australia for their international tour — their only one since they married in May, with the exception of a two day trip to Ireland.

Mockery of Kavanaugh Accuser Got Him Confirmed, Trump Says

President Trump defended his widely criticized mocking of Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, NBC News reported. He said in an interview "If I had not made that speech, we would not have won." The Senate narrowly confirmed Kavanaugh to the court on Oct. 6 after an extraordinarily bitter battle. Ford testified that Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were in high school during the 1980s, telling the Senate Judiciary Committee that she thought she would "accidentally be killed." Kavanaugh strenuously denied the allegation.

Virtual Reality Simulation Shows What It's Like to Die

A new virtual reality simulation is helping hospice workers and medical students see what it's like to die. An end-of-life simulation by Embodied Labs is now educating staff and students at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough, Maine. It's also a required experience for medical students at the University of New England. Grant money awarded to UNE paid for the simulation technology. "It was amazing," said Hospice of Southern Maine CEO Daryl Cady. "I was pretty skeptical in the beginning. It's very unique and very emotional as it's happening." The simulation lasts about 30 minutes and follows a cancer patient named Clay. The participant sees how Clay is struggling to have conversations with his family, suffers a fall and ends up in the E.R., and eventually transitions into hospice care. The experience shows how his skin changes and senses dull.

Texas Child Hospitalized After Venomous Caterpillar Sting

Lauren Chambers didn’t know what to think when she received a call from her daughters’ daycare that 5-year-old Adrie couldn’t move her arm after getting stung by a caterpillar. “They said that she had been stung by the most poisonous caterpillar in the United States,” said Chambers. Daycare workers believe the woolly looking caterpillar fell from a tree above Adrie as she was playing outside. After she told them it felt like it was stuck in her arm, they did a quick search to learn it was a Southern Flannel Moth Caterpillar or an asp with venomous spines buried beneath its hair. Michael Merchant, an entomologist with Texas A&M University says they’ve received more calls about the bugs this year though they don’t know why.

Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson Break Up and Call Off Engagement

It's over between Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson. The 25-year-old singer and 24-year-old SNL star began a whirlwind romance this summer and quickly became a fan-favorite celebrity couple. In June, it was revealed that Grande and Davidson were engaged and she soon showcased a diamond ring. News of their breakup comes a month after her ex Mac Miller was found dead at age 26. The singer mourned the rapper's death publicly on Twitter and stepped away from the spotlight. TMZ, which first reported the news, said the two broke up this weekend and that they acknowledged that it was not the right time for their relationship to take off. Soon after they got engaged, Grande and Davidson moved in together to a $16 million New York City apartment that she bought. They recently adopted a piglet, Piggy Smalls. Grande called the pet an "emotional support pig."

'SNL' Opens With Kanye West WH Visit; Seth Meyers Returns as Host

Rapper Kanye West's bizarre White House meeting with President Trump and former NFL player Jim Brown was the subject of many parts of this week's episode of "Saturday Night Live," including the cold open. "Thank you all for joining us today for this important discussion," Alec Baldwin's Trump said at the start. "It's in no way a publicity stunt. This is a serious, private conversation between three friends plus 50 reporters with pens." He then welcomed West, played by Chris Redd, with a series of nicknames: "Yeezus" and "Yandhi," among others. "Yeah, that's right. I flew here using the power of this hat," Redd's West said, motioning toward his bright red "Make America Great Again" hat.

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