Day: October 11, 2018

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NASA exploring flying space station without crew…


BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AP) — The Latest on the failed space launch carrying two astronauts (all times local):

11:00 p.m.

NASA says it’s dusting off its plans for flying the International Space Station without a crew after the aborted launch of a Russian rocket taking two astronauts toward the station.

Kenny Todd, a space station manager, said from Houston several hours after Thursday’s aborted launch that the station’s three current residents can remain on board until January.

That’s just a month beyond their expected mid-December return. Their Soyuz capsule is good for about 200 days in orbit, period.

If the rocket that failed remains grounded until it’s time for the astronauts to come home, Todd says flight controllers could operate the orbiting lab without anyone on board.

But he says the $100 billion asset would need to be staffed before SpaceX or Boeing launches new crew capsules next year. Todd says someone has to be on board for the arrival of the commercial demo missions, for safety reasons.

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8:35 p.m.

International Space Station commander Alexander Gerst says he is grateful two astronauts are doing well after an exceedingly rare and harrowing launch abort ended their journey toward the orbiting laboratory.

Gerst, a European Space Agency astronaut from Germany, tweeted from orbit after the failed launch: “Spaceflight is hard. And we must keep trying for the benefit of humankind.”

He thanked the rescue force that arrived quickly to retrieve American Nick Hague and Russian Alexei Ovchinin from their capsule after an emergency landing. The capsule was jettisoned from a three-stage booster rocket that failed two minutes after liftoff.

Hague and Ovchinin were supposed to spend the next half year aboard the International Space Station.

Gerst wrote that the mishap shows “what an amazing vehicle the Soyuz is, to be able to save the crew from such a failure.”

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7:45 p.m.

Flight controllers kept the three space station residents abreast of the situation after Thursday’s aborted launch.

“The boys have landed,” Mission Control assured the crew consisting of one American, one German and one Russian.

Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia landed safely in the steppes of Kazakhstan after their Soyuz rocket failed two minutes after launch.

Russian controllers told the space station astronauts that NASA’s Nick Hague and Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin endured 6.7 times the force of gravity during their steeper than usual entry. It was Hague’s first rocket launch.

There was no immediate word on whether the space station crew might need to extend its own six-month mission.

Two spacewalks planned for later this month were off indefinitely. Hague was supposed to be one of the spacewalkers.

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6:30 p.m.

NASA says two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia have been flown to the city of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan en route to Moscow after an emergency landing following the failure of a booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station.

NASA posted pictures of NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin undergoing a medical check-up at Dzhezkazgan’s airport. They are to be flown to the Baikonur cosmodrome and then on to Star City space training center outside Moscow.

One of the pictures showed Hague smiling and another had him sitting next to Russia’s space agency chief Dmitry Rogozin.

U.S. and Russian space officials said the astronauts are in good condition after Thursday’s aborted launch. They endured higher than usual G-force during the emergency landing.

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6:15 p.m.

The head of Russia’s top space medicine center says that two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia are feeling good after an emergency landing.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin blasted off as scheduled to the International Space Station Thursday, but their Soyuz booster failed two minutes after the launch and the rescue capsule landed safely in the steppes of Kazakhstan. The crew endured higher than normal G-force, but Russian and U.S. space officials said they were in good condition.

Oleg Orlov, the head of the Institute for Medical and Biological Problems, Russia’s top space medicine research center, said in televised remarks that the astronauts endured six Gs during the sharp ballistic descent. He added that space crew is trained to endure such loads.

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5:20 p.m.

NASA says two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia will be flown to Moscow after they made an emergency landing.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin landed in the steppes of Kazakhstan Thursday following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement that Hague and Ovchinin are in good condition and will be transported to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City outside Moscow.

He added that a “thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted.”

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5 p.m.

A senior Cabinet official says that Russia is suspending manned space launches pending a probe into a Russian booster rocket failure minutes after the launch.

U.S. and Russian space officials said NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin are safe after an emergency landing in the steppes of Kazakhstan following the failure of a Russian booster rocket carrying them to the International Space Station.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told reporters that the Soyuz capsule automatically jettisoned from the booster when it failed 123 seconds after the launch from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

He said all manned launches will be suspended pending an investigation into the cause of the failure. Borisov added that Russia will fully share all relevant information with the U.S.

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3:30 p.m.

NASA says two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia are in good condition after a booster rocket failure minutes forced an emergency landing minutes after the launch.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 2:40 p.m. (0840 GMT; 4:40 a.m. EDT) Thursday from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz booster rocket.

They were to dock at the International Space Station six hours later, but the booster suffered engine failure minutes after the launch.

NASA said it has been informed by Russian space officials that the crew has made an emergency landing at an unspecified location in Kazakhstan and is in good condition. Search and rescue crews are heading to the landing site.

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3 p.m.

Two astronauts from the U.S. and Russia are making an emergency landing after a Russian booster rocket carrying them into orbit to the International Space Station has failed after launch.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 2:40 p.m. (0840 GMT; 4:40 a.m. EDT) Thursday from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz booster rocket.

They were to dock at the orbiting outpost six hours later, but the booster suffered a failure minutes after the launch.

Russian and U.S. space officials said that the crew is heading for an emergency landing in Kazakhstan at an unspecified time. Search and rescue crews are getting ready to reach the expected landing site.

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2:50 p.m.

A duo of astronauts from the U.S. and Russia has blasted off for a mission on the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Roscosmos’ Alexei Ovchinin lifted off as scheduled at 2:40 p.m. (0840 GMT; 4:40 a.m. EDT) Thursday from the Russia-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz booster rocket. Their Soyuz spacecraft will dock at the orbiting outpost six hours later.

It’s the first space mission for Hague, who joined NASA’s astronaut corps in 2013. Ovchinin spent six months on the station in 2016.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk to post-Cold War lows over the crisis in Ukraine, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential vote, but Russia and the U.S. have maintained cooperation in space.



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WEEKEND: Phenom Mahomes Battles Tom Brady In Prime Time…


Ryan Mayer

The ratings for NFL games have been on an upward trend overall this year through five weeks of the season and the prime time games on Sunday night have been a boost for the league. That trend could continue this weekend with a star-studded matchup when sophomore sensation Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs make the trip up to Gillette Stadium to take on Tom Brady’s New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football.

Call it the GOAT versus the GUAC. (You know, short for, Greatest Up-And-Comer.)

Brady has been the gold standard of quarterbacking for the past 15 years in the NFL. Yet through five games, Mahomes looks like the prototype of the next generation of quarterback: athletic, howitzer for an arm, and able to get the ball out of his hands quickly.

brady mahomes Can Mahomes Brady Matchup Continue Sunday Night Football Ratings Rise?

(L) Tom Brady. Credit: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. (R) Patrick Mahomes. Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

Mahomes leads one of the league’s most prolific offenses with the Chiefs racking up 35 points and 413 yards per game on opponents this season. Brady, on the other hand, got out of the gates slowly before ripping the Dolphins (38-7) and Colts (38-24) to shreds in the last two weeks.

The game has all the makings of a classic duel.

Throw in the fact that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has had 10 days to prepare for the Chiefs after playing on Thursday night last week, and we’ve got ourselves plenty of intriguing storylines.

Will those storylines translate into ratings? Well, the audience for Sunday Night football this season has averaged 19.6 million viewers according to the Wall Street Journal. That’s up from 19.5 million last season despite including the opening night kickoff game between the Eagles and Falcons that was down 13% when compared to last year’s game.

After the Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers matchup posted a season-low number (10.4/17.92 million viewers) in the Sunday night window two weeks ago, last week’s Houston Texans-Dallas Cowboys matchup saw an increase in both categories (10.7/18.5). That Texans-Cowboys game was the first increase in the rating number for Sunday Night that the league had seen this season as things had slowly declined from a 12.5 in Week 1 to a low of 10.4 in Week 4.

Mahomes has already proven to be a ratings boon to the league in primetime this season. The Chiefs Monday Night Football game against the Broncos, in which Mahomes engineered a comeback drive late, posted a 7.9 rating and 13.21 million viewers in Week 4. Those numbers were an eight and 11 percent increase respectively over the previous year’s viewership for the same week. While Mahomes has already delivered a strong Monday Night rating, Brady and the Patriots’ game against the Detroit Lions in Week 3 saw a double-digit increase in both rating and viewership compared year-over-year.

Entering this Sunday’s matchup, the two teams are among the best in the AFC and, in theory, should draw a large audience. We’ll have to wait until Monday to find out, but the on-field play and the previous primetime games for the two teams this season indicate this could be another ratings win.



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Scientists breed mice with same-sex parents…


For the first time, scientists said Thursday that they had bred mice with two genetic fathers, steering around biological hurdles that would otherwise prevent same-sex parents from having offspring.

The researchers also bred mouse pups with two genetic mothers. Those pups matured into adults and had pups of their own, outpacing previous efforts to create so-called bimaternal mice.

“This research shows us what’s possible,” Wei Li, a senior author of the study, said in a statement. Li conducted the work with colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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But for now, the notion of reproducing the experiment in humans is more a matter of science fiction than science. The new study, which appeared in Cell Stem Cell, does not indicate that researchers can now or could anytime soon pull off a similar feat with people.

The cells used to make the mouse embryos were profoundly manipulated. The vast majority of the embryos made did not result in births. And none of the bipaternal mouse pups — those with two genetic fathers — survived to adulthood.

Instead, outside researchers said, the study sheds light on the underlying biology that foils mammals from spinning off offspring without sexual reproduction — unlike some reptiles, fish, and amphibians, which are capable of asexual reproduction.

“It really opens your imagination for what you can do in mammals,” said Dr. Nissim Benvenisty, the director of the Azrieli Center for Stem Cells and Genetic Research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who was not involved in the study.

At issue is “genomic imprinting,” an evolutionary feature found in mammals (and also flowering plants) that researchers believe blocks these species from producing progeny without both maternal and paternal DNA.

In our genomes, there are two copies of each gene — one from mom, one from dad — and both get expressed to make us us. But there are some 100 genes where “imprints” stationed along the genome signal one copy to be active and one to be silent.


“The other copy is there and it’s presented and there’s nothing wrong with the DNA sequence,” said Manus Patten, an evolutionary biologist at Georgetown University, who was not part of the new research. “It’s just turned off.”

Mammals still need both sets, though, to have their full suite of genetic instructions. IGF2, for example, is a gene crucial for growth and development, but only the paternal copy is normally active. If we just inherited DNA maternally then, we wouldn’t grow or develop properly; that gene would simply remain off. On the flip side, there are a number of these genes for which we rely on our mothers.

But scientists started challenging nature’s way a decade and a half ago. The trick was to cajole certain maternal genes to act like paternal genes in terms of their activity, or vice versa.

Adult bimaternal mouse (born to two mothers)
A healthy adult bimaternal mouse (born to two mothers) with offspring of her own. Leyun Wang/Chinese Academy of Sciences

In 2004, a team of Japanese researchers for the first time created mice with two mothers by toying with imprint signals, though only one of the 10 mice born in that study — out of more than 400 embryos — grew to adulthood.

To try to improve on past results, the researchers in the new study manipulated imprint instructions even more extensively.

For the bimaternal mice, they started with embryonic stem cells containing a female mouse’s DNA (mother No. 1). These cells were like egg or sperm in that they were haploid — that is, they had half the number of chromosomes of other cells — but were unlike those sex cells in that they had no imprints ready to silence some genes. The stem cells had been grown in such a way that the DNA markers that normally tell certain genes to turn off had been removed.

The scientists then went a step further and deleted three key imprinted regions from the cells’ genomes using the DNA editor CRISPR. Finally, they injected the cells into sex cells from another female mouse (mother No. 2), simulating something akin to fertilization.

Of the 210 embryos created this way, 29 mice were born — just 14 percent. The mice appeared to be normal and even had regular gene expression patterns. By deleting those imprinted regions, the study indicated, the researchers effectively coaxed certain genes from one of the mothers to act as if they had come from a father in terms of their activity.

“That was really sophisticated methodology,” Benvenisty said.

The steps for breeding the bipaternal mice were even more complicated.

Researchers again started with haploid embryonic stem cells, though this time containing paternal DNA (father No. 1), and deleted seven imprinted regions. They then injected the cells along with sperm from another mouse (father No. 2) into eggs that had had their own DNA removed. Finally, these embryos were transferred into surrogate mothers. (So while there was no maternal genetic information involved, female mice still played a role in forming the embryos and carrying them to term.)

Only 12 bipaternal mice, out of 477 embryos, were born, and only two survived more than two days. Neither of those reached adulthood. The researchers also measured gene activity in the pups and found that some of the imprinted genes were not being expressed as if they had been inherited maternally.

The results were instructive in their own way, outside experts said. The study offered additional evidence that imprinting is what prevents mammals from producing offspring without sexual reproduction. And it showed that even with the intensive cellular changes and genome editing, the research team still could not overcome imprinting and reach regular levels of gene expression.

“We can’t yet make bipaternal mice that are viable,” said Marisa Bartolomei, a professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, who did not work on the new study. “It’s because the imprinting is still messed up in these mice.”

Beyond the technical, legal, and ethical roadblocks that would prevent this type of research in people, experts pointed to another concern. If researchers created, say, a daughter from two mothers or two fathers, and if she were healthy and had children of her own, it is unknown what genetic ramifications might be passed onto the next generation.

In this study, for example, the female mice born with two genetic mothers were later mated with regular males. They produced 22 pups from six litters. Thirteen grew into adults themselves, but nine died soon after birth.



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Musk denies James Murdoch 'favorite' to become chairman…


Elon Musk denied a report late Wednesday that James Murdoch is the “favorite” candidate to replace him as chairman of Tesla Inc.

In a tweet posted at 4:20 Pacific time—possibly an inside joke to marijuana and his now-infamous tweet saying the company had “funding secured” to go private at $420 a share—Musk tweeted a reply to a Financial Times story that said simply: “This is incorrect.”

Earlier in the day, the FT, citing two sources briefed on the discussions, reported that Murdoch could take over the chairman role after he steps down as chief executive of 21st Century Fox














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  once the company completes its entertainment-assets sale to Walt Disney Co.














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The FT said Musk favors current board member Antonio Gracias, but said he may not be seen as independent enough. The report added that other external candidates are also being considered.

As part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over charges he misled investors about the bid to go private, Musk must give up his chairmanship for three years. He must also pay a fine of $20 million, in addition to a $20 million find Tesla must pay. The company must also add at least two more independent board members, and establish guidelines and oversight for how Musk acts on social media.

Since the settlement was announced in late September, Musk has trolled the SEC in tweets, accusing them of helping short-sellers.

Tesla shares














TSLA, -1.93%












  fell 1.2% in morning trade Thursday, and are down more than 18% year to date, compared to the S&P 500’s














SPX, -0.82%












  4.1% gain.

MarketWatch parent News Corp.














NWS, -0.15%












  and 21st Century Fox share common ownership.



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Lena Dunham, HBO Face Rare Failure as New Series Gets Critical Roasting…


Home Television Lena Dunham, HBO Face Rare Failure as New Series “Camping” Gets a…


I guess now we know why Lena Dunham and creative partner Jenni Konner went there separate ways a few months ago.

The pair knew that they had a turkey on their hands. “Camping,” their new series at HBO– based on a British comedy– is apparently a dud.

read today’s headlines click here

 

Only 6 reviews have shown up so far on Rotten Tomatoes, and they are all negative. The show currently has a zero rating. Its limited run starts Sunday on HBO.

Over on Metacritic, the rating is 48, ranging from an 80 down to a 25. The Washington Post said the show was “wickedly funny.” But TV Line wrote: “It’s a colossal waste of everyone’s time and talent. Cringe humor without the humor is just cringing.”

Dunham, of course, had a huge success at HBO with “Girls.” HBO almost never has a failure, with shows like “Veep,” “Silicon Valley,” and “Barry” all booming comedies. Fans of Sarah Jessica Parker’s “Divorce” are even waiting for new episodes. HBO also had a massive dramatic hit this summer with Amy Adams in “Sharper Objects.”

But “Camping” sounds like it pitched its tent in the wrong place. At worst, HBO can just play off the episodes and move on to better things.

 

Author

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News. He writes for Parade magazine and has written for Details, Vogue, the New York Times, Post, and Daily News and many other publications. He is the writer and co-producer of “Only the Strong Survive,” a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals.



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Ebola cases spike; Daily rate doubles…


  • The number of new Ebola cases each day has more than doubled since the start of October, likely influenced by the recent forced suspension in programming
  • As of October 9, there have been 194 cases and 120 deaths from this Ebola outbreak
  • The Ebola response is at a critical moment. IRC teams are highly concerned that the number of new cases could continue to escalate
  • Recent transmission within a school opens up new front in the fight against the disease

The International Rescue Committee is alarmed by a significant increase in the number of new Ebola cases in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

As of October 9, there have been 194 confirmed and probable cases and 120 deaths from this Ebola outbreak. In just nine days, there have been 33 new cases and 15 deaths. This is in contrast to 41 new cases and 27 deaths in the entire month of September. We are seeing 2.5 times the number of new cases each day compared to the previous month.

The vast majority of these new cases and deaths are occurring in Beni, the new epicenter of the outbreak. Violence and insecurity led to a suspension of Ebola response programming between September 25 and 29, and yesterday, once again, programs were temporarily suspended due to violence. IRC teams are still waiting for the green light to resume their activities.

Michelle Gayer, Senior Director of Emergency Health at the International Rescue Committee, said:

“The current spike in Ebola cases and deaths is extremely worrying. The number of new cases each day has more than doubled since the start of October. It’s likely that the forced suspension in programming due to insecurity and community resistance in and around Beni are major factors in this.

This is a sign not only that the outbreak is not under control, but that without full engagement from the community, things could get a lot worse. We have recently seen the transmission of Ebola within a school, opening up a new front in the fight against the disease.

We are operating within a highly volatile environment where the security situation continues to deteriorate, threatening the lives and livelihoods of the community and disrupting the response. Programs are again suspended today due to unrest and violence. Each time the Ebola response is interrupted lives are at risk. Teams are not able to trace the contacts of patients, vaccinate those in need and ensure safe burial practices.

We are at a critical moment in the response and our teams are highly concerned that the number of new cases could continue to escalate. It’s vital that over the coming days organizations continue to work alongside the local community to strengthen the relationship and work to increase access to people in need.”

The IRC is operating in and around Beni, as well as in other areas affected by this Ebola outbreak, to limit and control the spread of the disease. In Beni Hospital and surrounding clinics, the IRC is leading on infection prevention and control, which is vital to halt the spread of the disease. The IRC has been operating in North Kivu since 1996, providing emergency health services to the community.

To download photos of the IRC’s Ebola response in North Kivu, click here.

For more information on the IRC’s Ebola response, click here.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.



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Legislator Proposes Drug Testing ALL Lawmakers…




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Shunning alcohol becomes 'mainstream' among young…


A large proportion of young people are shunning alcohol completely, according to a new study.

Researchers said that abstaining from alcohol was becoming “more mainstream” among people in England aged 16 to 24 after the study showed a rise in non-drinkers.

The new research, published in the journal BMC Public Health, found that more than a quarter of youngsters classed themselves as “non drinkers”.

Researchers from University College London said that the norms around alcohol drinking appeared to be changing.

They studied data from the annual Health Survey for England and found that the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds who do not drink alcohol has increased from 18 per cent in 2005 to 29 per cent in 2015.

Meanwhile the proportion of “lifetime abstainers” rose from 9 per cent in 2005 to 17 per cent a decade later.

The study also appeared to show that fewer youngsters were drinking harmful amounts.

In 2005 two in five (43 per cent) admitted drinking above the recommended limits, but this fell to just 28 per cent 10 years later.

Binge drinking rates also decreased from 27 per cent in 2005 to 18 per cent in 2015.

But the increased rates in non-drinking were not observed among smokers, ethnic minorities and those with poor mental health, according to the study, which analysed data on almost 10,000 young people.

“Increases in non-drinking among young people were found across a broad range of groups, including those living in northern or southern regions of England, among the white population, those in full-time education, in employment and across all social classes and healthier groups,” Dr Linda Ng Fat, lead author of the study.

“That the increase in non-drinking was found across many different groups suggests that non-drinking may becoming more mainstream among young people which could be caused by cultural factors.”

She added: “The increase in young people who choose not to drink alcohol suggests that this behaviour maybe becoming more acceptable, whereas risky behaviours such as binge drinking may be becoming less normalised.”

Press Association



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200-pound bomb…



200-pound bomb...

(Second column, 4th story, link)


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Moroder announces first ever live tour — at 78!


After a long career in which he revolutionised the world of pop, Italian producer Giorgio Moroder is, at 78, embarking on his first live tour.

He will play across Europe, including four dates in the UK in Birmingham, London, Glasgow and Manchester from 1-5 April 2019, performing on piano, vocoder and synths alongside a live band and vocalists. Tickets will go on sale on Friday, 12 October at 9am on the website Live Nation.

He said was “so excited to be finally doing this”, adding: “It is something I have always wanted to do. Fans kept reaching out to me, asking if I would ever do a real tour. Back in the days it was unthinkable for producers to ever leave their studios. That territory was reserved for the singers. Today, DJs and music producers have become the superstars of popular dance music, so the time feels right.”

Moroder began DJing and producing pop music in the mid-1960s, and scored his first major hit with Son of My Father, which he wrote for Chicory Tip, who took it to No 1 in the UK in 1972. But it was with 1977’s I Feel Love, sung by Donna Summer, that he truly changed the face of pop, using electronic production to create sensual, futuristic dance music. Summer, who died in 2012, will appear on screen at the concerts “performing in sync with Moroder and his band”.



Giorgio Moroder: how Star Wars inspired I Feel Love

He went on to score further hits with Summer including On the Radio, Hot Stuff and Love to Love You Baby, and produced hit records with Blondie (Call Me), David Bowie (Cat People), and the Human League’s Phil Oakey (Together in Electric Dreams). He won three Oscars for his film work: best original score for Midnight Express, plus two best original song awards, for Flashdance… What a Feeling by Irene Cara, and Take My Breath Away by Berlin, taken from the Top Gun soundtrack. He also scored Scarface, American Gigolo and other films.

After returning to prominence in 2013 with a collaboration with Daft Punk on their album Random Access Memories, he released a solo album, Déjà Vu, in 2015. It featured artists such as Kylie Minogue, Britney Spears, Sia and Charli XCX.

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