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Monthly Archives: December 2016

President-elect heads to his club in Jupiter in what aide calls last-minute trip ahead of New Years Eve party at Mar-a-Lago club

President-elect Donald Trump ditched his press pool once again on Saturday, causing frustration among journalists on hand to ensure the public had knowledge of his whereabouts by travelling without them to play golf at one of his clubs.

Before he went golfing, Trump used Twitter to send an unusual New Years message: Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just dont know what to do. Love!

The president-elect planned to spend New Years Eve at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, throwing a private party expected to draw hundreds of guests.

The action star Sylvester Stallone was expected to be present, although a spokesman for Quincy Jones, who a Trump aide said on Friday would attend the party, said the music producer and Clinton donor would actually see in the new year with his family in Los Angeles.

The party, for which invitations cost up to $575, has attracted criticism regarding potential conflicts of interest and the alleged selling of access to the president-elect and his family.

The transition is not concerned about the appearance of a conflict, said spokeswoman Hope Hicks in a call with reporters on Friday. This is an annual celebratory event at the private club, like others that have continued to occur since the election.

Additionally, the president cannot and does not have a conflict.

A member of Trumps golf club in Jupiter, Florida, posted a photo on Twitter of the president-elect on the green on Saturday morning and said about 25 Secret Service agents were present. Reporters had not been advised of the visit.

A transition press aide, Stephanie Grisham, confirmed that Trump had made a last-minute trip to Trump National Golf Club Jupiter, about a half-hour drive from his Mar-a-Lago estate. He returned in mid-afternoon.

Grisham said she and other aides had not been aware of the trip and appreciate everyones understanding.

We are in the home stretch of this transition period and dont anticipate any additional situations like this between now and inauguration, she said in a statement.

We hope this one incident doesnt negate all the progress we have made and look forward to continuing the great relationships we have built.

Trump, who has not held a formal press conference since July, made distrust and criticism of the press a feature of his presidential campaign and the thank you rallies he held in states which voted for him.

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The new year promises a long-awaited Blade Runner sequel, the return of Phoenix, an umpteenth Star Trek reboot and an ongoing sense of FOMO

The year 2017 promises an embarrassment of riches in the arts and culture scene that will make 2016 look like the year William Howard Taft broke the bathtub in the White House because he was too fat.

Yes, 2017 is littered with retread movies, nostalgia-fueled musical comebacks, warmed-over sitcoms, and a film based on the little yellow faces we use to communicate instead of words but such is the nature of the modern world we live in. We are spoiled for choice in this multi-platform, multimedia culture. The downside of choice is that finding quality entertainment in 2017 is similar to a child digging through the treat box at the dentists office after sitting quietly through a particularly painful procedure. Underneath all the toothbrushes and healthy candy options, theres a Snickers bar in there somewhere.

In this analogy, 2017s upcoming CGI-animated feature The Boss Baby a film about a baby that wears a miniature suit is one of those tiny plastic treasure chests that youre supposed to put a loose tooth into. No one wants it, but theres plenty of them to go around. Still, theres much to look forward to at the multiplex. The final Hugh Jackman Wolverine movie looks like a real departure from the neon-colored boredom of the last X-Men film. Even if a sequel to Blade Runner sounds like the absolute worst idea in film history, the choice of Arrival director Denis Villeneuve to helm said sequel (and its intriguing teaser trailer) have given me hope that it will stick this impossible landing.

The new year might end up being a banner year for the director of the original Blade Runner, Ridley Scott. Besides producing Blade Runner 2049, hes also the director of the latest Alien prequel, Alien: Covenant. Im sure I speak for most Alien fans when I say that I stay up nights praying that this will be a return to form after the lackadaisical Prometheus. Theres a litany of upcoming blockbusters that have the similarly unenviable task of making up for a shoddy franchise predecessor. Spider-Man: Homecoming has to wipe the taste of Amazing Spider-Man 2 from our collective artistic palate. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has to make up for a wholly misguided fourth installment that was even more creatively bankrupt than the usual Hollywood fare.

The flip side of that dilemma is what faces Disney, Lucasfilm, and director Rian Johnson. How do you top one of the top five biggest movies of all time? Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a juggernaut that satisfied both diehard fans and casual observers of the saga. It cemented JJ Abrams as the franchise whisperer, someone who reinvented and resuscitated three separate movie series (Mission: Impossible, Star Trek and now Star Wars). Johnson has to top the spectacle of Force Awakens, continue to scratch the nostalgic itch of that movies fans, and simultaneously dismiss the voices of critics who bemoaned Force Awakens reliance on the narrative tropes of the original Star Wars trilogy. Good luck.

Speaking of science fiction, Star Trek returns to TV in the spring with Star Trek: Discovery, a prequel to the first Trek series that will star an ensemble cast led by Michelle Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green. It will premiere on CBS, then move to that networks streaming service, All Access. This will be a major test of how many separate streaming subscriptions the average viewer is willing to pay for. If you already pony up for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, and Showtime Anytime, minor services like CBS All Access, Seeso, Crackle, and others might start to feel like overkill. Each service is looking for its version of a killer app. HBO has Game of Thrones coming back later in the spring to move (and maintain) subscriptions. Netflix has its family of Marvel shows, Stranger Things season two, Master of None season two, and the long-awaited return of Mystery Science Theater 3000. It remains to be seen if Star Trek (and a Good Wife spinoff) will be enough to cut through the cacophony of choices in the premium cable and streaming category.

The music industry is also fighting for your subscription dollar, pushing its wares through the squabbling rivals Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal. Just like their TV counterparts, streaming music services are counting on exclusive content to convince potential customers that they have the superior product. Even if the music business seems slightly more democratic thanks to platforms like YouTube to get content in front of consumers, the money is still in the big names that motivate subscription. You probably wont be able to get Taylor Swifts new album on Spotify. The GOOD Music compilation Cruel Winter, from Kanye West, will probably be a Tidal exclusive for at least a few weeks. The industry hasnt changed all that much, in a structural sense. Tentpole releases from major artists are still the thing that allows labels to stay profitable and for smaller acts to survive. And just like in the movie and TV mediums, nostalgia is a major player. New albums from LCD Soundsystem, Neutral Milk Hotel, Phoenix, Gorillaz, Bjrk and others will be major events for their comparatively modest fanbases, but those fanbases will be mobilized to consume their new work regardless of its quality. Such is the power of the brand to motivate people to part with their income, whether its Star Trek, Nine Inch Nails or Planet of the Apes. We want whats familiar above all else, and we want it seamlessly beamed to each and every one of our many devices simultaneously. And we want it now.

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This band rocks out with their cocks out.

A brood of chickens in Germantown, Maryland, are attracting flocks of music lovers thanks to their clucked-up Facebook videos.

The chickens, collectively known as “The Flockstars,” peck out simple rhythms and melodies on keyboards.

Shannon Myers, who co-owns the coop where these birds jam out, came up with the bird-brained musical concept nine months ago.

“They naturally peck and we wanted to come up with boredom busters for them,” told The Huffington Post by email. “People who keep chickens, especially in winter, are looking for boredom busters to keep them entertained while they are cooped up.”

Myers says she has nine chickens, five of whom have been introduced to instruments. Some, like AiChan, have been taken by the muse more than others, as this video demonstrates.

“She has a fan base sort of because [she is] so cute,” she said. “She is also the quickest learner.”

Although the Flockstars have developed a following with lovers of avant-garde music you know, eggheads don’t expect them to be touring with A Flock Of Seagulls or the Byrds.

“They are a house band,” Myers said. “We would not want to subject them to the stress of travel, let alone possibility of catching disease. That’s why we do videos.”

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Image copyright PA, EPA, Getty
Image caption Andy Murray, Patricia Routledge, Anna Wintour and Mo Farah are all picked out for recognition this year

Olympic stars Andy Murray, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill are recognised in a New Year Honours list which also includes big names from the entertainment world.

Rio 2016 men’s tennis champion Murray and double gold-winning athlete Farah receive knighthoods, while heptathlete Ennis-Hill becomes a dame.

A host of Paralympians also receive honours, including 11-times gold medallist dressage rider Lee Pearson who receives a knighthood.

Farah called it a “dream come true” for a boy who had arrived in the UK from war-torn Somalia at the age of eight unable to speak English.

From the world of music, The Kinks frontman Ray Davies and opera singer Bryn Terfel receive knighthoods.

So too does actor Mark Rylance, the Wolf Hall and Bridge of Spies star recognised for services to the theatre. Patricia Routledge, best known for playing Hyacinth Bucket in TV’s Keeping Up Appearances, is made a dame for services to theatre and charity.

Veteran comic Ken Dodd said he felt “highly tickled” to receive a knighthood at the age of 89.

Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour is made a dame for services to fashion and journalism. She said she “was very touched to be honoured by a country I care about so deeply”.

17 famous faces on the 2017 list

Cameron ‘host’ among honours recipients

TV tech campaigner Maggie Philbin honoured

Teenage anti-violence campaigner receives medal

Honour for 83-year-old charity volunteer

Honours list in full

Media captionSir Ken Dodd: I’m very proud and shall wear it in bed

A total of 1,197 people are on the list, with almost three quarters of them earning recognition for work in their local community.

Among them is Alan Woodhouse, the Samaritans’ longest-serving volunteer, who has worked for nearly 57 years at the charity’s Liverpool branch and is appointed MBE.

This year sees the greatest proportion of black, Asian and minority ethnic recipients – 9.3% – in the history of the Order of the British Empire.

Women make up just over half of those being honoured.

Television presenter and campaigner Lynn Faulds Wood has turned down an MBE, saying the honours system is “not fair”. Hillsborough campaigner Prof Phil Scraton refused his OBE as a protest.

Sporting couples

Rio 2016 was Britain’s most successful Olympics ever, and many of Team GB’s stars are recognised with an honour.

Farah, 33, said: “I’m so happy to be awarded this incredible honour from the country that has been my home since I moved here at the age of eight.”

Image copyright PA, Getty
Image caption Laura and Jason Kenny, Katherine Grainger and Sascha Kindred are among the sports stars chosen for honours

Rower Katherine Grainger – the first female Olympian to win five medals at five Games – said becoming a dame would be “something to live up to”, while Laura Kenny – the country’s most successful female Olympian – and husband Jason are both appointed CBE for services to cycling.

A second married couple who won gold in Rio – hockey captain Kate Richardson-Walsh and her wife and teammate Helen – are appointed OBE and MBE respectively.

Equestrian gold medallists Nick Skelton and Charlotte Dujardin, swimmer Sascha Kindred and para-equestrian Sophie Christiansen are made CBE, while boxer Nicola Adams, cyclist Katie Archibald and cyclist Jody Cundy are appointed OBE.

The long list of athletes appointed MBE includes the entire gold medal-winning GB women’s hockey team, swimmer Adam Peaty, wheelchair tennis champion Gordon Reid, sailor Saskia Clark and para-athlete Kadeena Cox.

Double gold medal-winning gymnast Max Whitlock is also appointed MBE, and said: “It is a great feeling now to see it on the name card – the three letters after my name – and it gives me a lot of motivation.”

Elsewhere in the world of sport, Chris Coleman is appointed OBE for services to football in recognition of leading Wales to the Euro 2016 semi-finals. There is an MBE too for Michael O’Neill, manager of Northern Ireland, who took them to the knock-out stage.

Sir Roger Bannister – the first man to break the four-minute mile in 1954 – is made a Companion of Honour for services to sport at the age of 87.

Stage and screen

Topping the list in the world of stage and screen, director Sir Richard Eyre is made a Companion of Honour, while percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie gets the same recognition for services to music.

Ray Davies, 72, said his initial reaction to his knighthood had been “a mixture of surprise, humility, joy and a bit embarrassed”, but added: “After thinking about it, I accept this for my family and fans as well as everyone who has inspired me to write.”

New dame Patricia Routledge said she was “very surprised indeed but very pleased that the honour pertains to theatre”.

Among the thespians to be named OBE are Naomie Harris, Helen McCrory and Tim Piggott-Smith, while Oscar-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan receives the same honour.

Elsewhere in the arts world, fashion designer Anya Hindmarch, cartoonist Peter Brookes and author and illustrator Shirley Hughes are appointed CBE. So too is veteran broadcaster Angela Rippon, in recognition of her work in dementia care.

Victoria Beckham is appointed OBE for services to the fashion industry – 13 years after her footballer husband David received the same honour – while Soho House founder Nick Jones and restaurateur Mark Hix are both appointed MBE for services to hospitality.

Also made an MBE is BBC cricket correspondent and Test Match Special commentator Jonathan “Aggers” Agnew.

Cameron host

From Westminster, Baroness Shirley Williams is named a Companion of Honour for services to political and public life. The Lib Dem grandee retired from the House of Lords in February after a distinguished parliamentary career stretching back more than 50 years.

There are also knighthoods for Conservative MP Julian Brazier, Labour MP David Crausby and former minister and ex-Liberal Democrat MP Steve Webb.

A number of party donors are also recognised in the honours list, including Dominic Johnson, associate treasurer of the Conservative Party and now CBE, who gave the Cameron family somewhere to stay when they left Downing Street in July.

Northumbria Police Commissioner Vera Baird, an ex-Labour MP, becomes a dame for services to women and equality.

Image copyright AP, PA
Image caption Diverse recipients: The Kinks frontman Ray Davies, political grandee Baroness Williams, cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew and TV presenter Maggie Philbin

Campaigners in various fields are also recognised, including the Right Reverend James Jones – formerly the Bishop of Liverpool – who is knighted in recognition of his role in helping the Hillsborough families.

Justine Roberts, founder of parenting website Mumsnet, is appointed CBE, while Marcia Shakespeare is appointed MBE for her work against gun violence since the death of her daughter Leticia in 2003. Of her award, she said: “I don’t do it for medals, my reward is when I can see a child has turned their life around.”

Television presenter Maggie Philbin, best known for Tomorrow’s World in the 80s and 90s, has been appointed OBE in recognition of her work in sparking young peoples’ interest in technology and engineering.

For inspiring young people in a different way, adventurer David Hempleman-Adams is made a Knight Commander of the Victorian Order – a personal gift from the Queen – in recognition of his services to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.

The honours system

Commonly awarded ranks:

  • Companion of Honour – Limited to 65 people. Recipients wear the initials CH after their name
  • Knight or Dame
  • CBE – Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • OBE – Officer of the Order of the British Empire
  • MBE – Member of the Order of the British Empire
  • BEM – British Empire Medal

Guide to the honours

The British Empire Medal was reintroduced in 2012 to recognise achievement or service in the community.

One of the oldest recipients is 94-year-old Janet Gillespie, who is awarded a BEM for more than 60 years’ volunteering for Poppy Scotland.

In contrast, one of the youngest people honoured is 17-year-old Jeremiah Emmanuel, who receives a BEM for services to young people and the community in London after he founded social justice charity One Big Community (1BC).

About 10% of honours are for work in education, including knighthoods for military historian Prof Antony Beevor and Prof Barry Ife, principal of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

In industry, there is a damehood for Inga Beale, chief executive officer at Lloyd’s of London, and a knighthood for Ian Powell, chairman of financial services firm PWC.

At the other end of the business scale, Josh Littlejohn receives an MBE for services to social enterprise and entrepreneurship after he set up sandwich chain Social Bite which helps the homeless.

Finally, the first ever honour for services to glassblowing is awarded to Thomas Young, from Bridge of Allan in Stirlingshire. He has been making glass by hand for nearly 60 years and started a business at the age of 77 aiming to train apprentices to follow in his footsteps.

Prime Minister Theresa May has set new priorities for future honours lists, wanting them to focus on those who work with children and young people, who encourage social mobility or fight discrimination, or who work in enterprise and business.

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Image caption Allan Williams was the original owner of Liverpool’s Jacaranda Club

The man credited with discovering the Beatles and who became the band’s first manager has died at the age of 86.

Allan Williams was also the original owner of Liverpool’s Jacaranda Club.

The Jacaranda tweeted: “Today our founder and the man who discovered the Beatles passed away. Allan Williams, you will be missed.”

Williams worked with The Beatles from 1960 to 1961, getting the band gigs in Britain, and in Hamburg where their future development was shaped.

Born in Bootle, Williams opened Jacaranda on Slater Street as a coffee bar in 1957 and it became a popular meeting place for many of the young musicians who were soon to make Merseybeat a worldwide phenomenon.

Williams personally drove the van to take the Beatles to Hamburg in 1960.

But he parted company with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe in 1961. The following January, the band – minus Sutcliffe – signed a five-year contract with Brian Epstein.

Williams later co-wrote a memoir called Allan Williams: The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away.

In 2010, Williams told the Liverpool Echo: “I was just glad to have been there in the 60s, at the start of it all.

“I’ve always been proud of The Beatles and proud and happy to have been just a small cog in the wheel of the most famous group in the world.

“A lot of people have told me ‘I would have loved to have been there’ and it was a lot of fun – but we didn’t know we were making history.

“It was such a good time, though, and I’ve got no regrets – they were exciting days. But no-one knew The Beatles would go on to achieve what they did.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Beatles in the early days in 1963

In 2000, the book The Beatles Anthology included an interview with Sir Paul McCartney about those early days in which he recalled: “Allan Williams ran the Blue Angel and the Jacaranda. He was the little local manager. Little in height, that is – a little Welshman with a little high voice – a smashing bloke and a great motivator, though we used to take the mickey out of him.”

And in the same book, George Harrison told of the van ride to Hamburg: “We probably met with the van outside Allan Williams’ club, the Jacaranda. There were the five of us and then Allan, his wife Beryl and Lord Woodbine [another local music promoter].

“It was cramped. The van didn’t even have seats; we had to sit on our amplifiers. We drove down to Harwich and got the boat to the Hook of Holland.”

Liverpool’s Cavern Club, where the Beatles made their name, tweeted: “We have just heard the very sad news about the passing of Allan Williams. Sincere condolences to his family at this difficult time.”

Williams’ death comes after early Beatles promoter Sam Leach passed away shortly before Christmas.

Related Topics

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Contrary to popular belief, not all introverts are homebodies. I myself love getting out on the streets and observing all the personalities colliding around me—and I’m the kind of person who gets nervous about interactions to the point where a little small talk with a cab driver puts me in cold sweats. However, a quiet, introverted mind does crave a safe, calming space built just for thinking and rejuvenation, especially after enduring a barrage of stimuli from the external world.

Creating that area within the home requires designing (and living) with intention. We tend to treat our homes as dumping grounds—not only for our possessions but also for our overly-tired bodies. I know that upon arrival home at the end of a long day, if my home feels uncomfortable, cluttered, or noisy, I tend to feel adrift. As an introvert, if my place of retreat is threatened, I can be easily thrown for a loop, and the quality of my writing and a clear headspace will be the first two casualties. To truly reap the benefits of a quiet space, you’ll need to learn the habit of treating your home with reverence and love, becoming more thoughtful about where you place items and how you spend your time inside.

Quiet Revolution

Locate quiet within your space

Turn off your TV, your music, and your phone, and listen. Hear that humming from your refrigerator? The whoosh of the air conditioning running? The ticking of the clock? A lot of appliances and devices let off excess noise we don’t notice during our day-to-day routines. I’m a person who suffers from mid-level anxiety, meaning my brain is always anxiously ticking off a number of thoughts, and that excess ambient noise just adds to the neural confusion.

To combat this, I’ve tried incorporating more quiet spaces into my home. I turn off unnecessary devices—like DVD players, video consoles, TVs, and digital clocks—that add ambient noise, light, and heat pollution. Smoothly-running, new appliances help. If your dishwasher is old and noisy, get it repaired so that it will run quietly in the background. Alternatively, replace clanky appliances with new, quieter-running models, which may be more energy-efficient as well. Performing some acoustic investigation here is key, so make sure to unplug and listen carefully to the different spaces in your interiors.

If you have especially loud housemates or neighbors or a lot of street noise from outside, you may also want to consider soundproofing your interiors. This can be as simple as weatherstripping around doors and acquiring a carpet to soak up noise or as advanced as adding acoustic ceiling tiles. Homes are generally built with little to no soundproofing. In fact, interior wall construction unintentionally amplifies noise from room to room, so it’s worth investigating ways to block outside noise, whatever your time or budget.

Quiet Revolution

Quiet means creating space

There’s a reason we call a busy design “noisy.” In the world of home decor, “quiet” and “minimal” can often go hand and hand. While there’s been many an article written on the valors of decluttering, you don’t necessarily need to go along with serious devotees who take the practice to extremes. For an introvert, particularly one drawn to quiet reflection, a too-stark room can be a prison sentence. Overly-empty spaces provoke a strong reaction in me, triggering feelings of abandonment and isolation. I live toeing the line between solitude and loneliness, so having furniture and decor that remind me I’m comfortable and cared for is key.

In fact, severe rooms, particularly those with many hard angles, have been shown to be associated with negative emotions, activating the amygdala (your flight/fight/freeze response center). We’re far more likely to thrive in a soft space with plenty of rounded surfaces. Striking a balance between organization and the chaos life can bring is the battle, but clean surfaces and uncrowded spaces are major strategical wins. Clutter, after all, can elevate our cortisol levels—the stress hormone—making a quiet mind harder than usual to achieve.

Introverts will be most comfortable in spaces where furniture is clustered in nooks rather than organized around the perimeter—as it would be for a large social gathering. That being said, tasks that involve heavy concentration, such as reading, writing, and design, will be better performed in a single room—that way you can shut off outside distractions at your discretion.

Quiet Revolution

Ideal spaces for introverts

Given plenty of quiet time for reflection, introverts are generally well aware of their own preferences. That knowledge of self serves them well in designing their ideal places of rest in the home, especially because beyond a few standard principles, decor is often about the subjective connection we have with colors, objects, and items. Color, for instance, is so personal that even psychologists can’t agree on how it affects us. Brain scans offer mixed data on how we react to the color red, for instance.

Light is also controversial. I’m among those who feel trapped and weighed down without windows, but others may feel exposed in a home with too many openings. However, for my type of introversion, I find that an area that at least suggests a sense of seclusion is key. Seclusion can be fostered by setting up “thinking outposts” in quiet corners by windows or alcoves and making them your own. Fill them with tiny touches that speak to you alone and provoke thought. I used to keep a drawer filled with old black-and-white photos I’d bought from a thrift store so I could imagine the inner lives of the people in them. Find items that connect you to your deepest self.

Too often, homeowners feel they must design their homes to appeal to convention, but this is untrue. The designer that bucks tradition, choosing instead to listen to their own instincts when organizing a space, will find that even the process of redecorating can be a journey toward a deeper sense of self.

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Tickets were on sale for a lavish New Year’s Eve party that President-elect Donald Trump and his family are hosting at the Mar-a-Lago Club this weekend, which once again raises those thorny ethics question that have dogged Trump’s presidential transition.

Mar-a-Lago sold the tickets, according to Politico reporter Kenneth Vogel. Since Trump himself owns the Palm Beach, Florida, resort, those sales profit him personally. 

Simply buying a ticket could be seen as an effort to curry favor with the president-elect. Those seeking an in-person audience with him also had an incentive to buy since Trump will be there.

So it’s probably no surprise that the tickets sold out. Incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer gave reporters the news on a Friday press call. He also noted that more than 800 guests are expected, including actor Sylvester Stallone and music producer Quincy Jones.

Trump has hosted similar star-studded New Year’s Eve parties at Mar-a-Lago many times in the past, including last year, when his presidential campaign was in full swing. But this year he’s about to assume the highest office in the land.

Norm Eisen, who served as ethics counselor to President Barack Obama, had a one-word response to the spectacle:

The Trump transition team did not respond to HuffPost queries about the cost of the tickets and whether the president-elect is concerned about any conflicts of interest the party could generate.

Trump has struggled to quiet criticism that his sprawling international business will create multiple conflicts of interest for his presidency. He announced this past Saturday that he would be closing his charitable foundation to avoid the perception of such problems, but he has not laid out any plan to divest from his company and place his assets in a blind trust, as ethics experts recommend.

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(CNN)There’s been much hand-wringing about 2016 killing off so many of our beloved celebrities: Bowie. Ali. Prince. Carrie. Yes, it was bad. But was it really the deadliest year for famous people? There’s no scientific way to measure this, but we took a crack at it anyway.


We started by looking at the deaths of Oscar nominees in acting categories— maybe the biggest measure of movie stardom — going back to 2006. By this yardstick, 2016 was a pretty average year. We lost Debbie Reynolds and Gene Wilder and a few others, but the death toll was nothing like 2014, when 10 Oscar nominees — including Lauren Bacall, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams — died. (In fairness, this year’s count excludes Carrie Fisher, who was never nominated for an Oscar.)


For this category, we looked at deaths of Grammy winners in the performing categories only (no technical awards). And yes, 2016 really was a brutal year for our musical heroes. We said goodbye to 13 Grammy winners, including such giants as Leonard Cohen, Glenn Frey and Maurice White. It wasn’t as grim as 2006, when 15 Grammy honorees died, including Lou Rawls, Freddy Fender and Billy Preston. But departed-star wattage this year — OMG, Prince! — was much higher.


For this, we counted Emmy winners and nominees in the biggest acting categoriesdrama and comedy series only — over the last 11 years. We lost eight of these Emmy winners in 2016, including everyone’s favorite neurotic talk-show host, Garry Shandling. When it comes to TV-star deaths that only ties 2014 as the deadliest year of the past decade. That cruel year, we said farewell to Sid Caesar, James Garner and — no, not Alice! — “The Brady Bunch’s” Ann B. Davis.


Sports Illustrated has been naming its Sportsman or Sportswoman of the Year — a worthy yardstick of sports excellence and fame — since 1954. In 2016, we lost three of them — boxer Muhammad Ali, golfer Arnold Palmer and hoops coach Pat Summitt. No other year in the last decade has seen the death of more than one.

Walk of Fame

Some celebrities, such as TV’s Florence Henderson, achieved huge fame without winning an Emmy, Oscar or Grammy. So we also took a look at stars on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and you’ll see lots of recently departed names immortalized in the sidewalk — 15 of them from this year, including Zsa Zsa Gabor, who was famous for … being famous. But 2016 is only the third-deadliest year for Walk of Fame recipients, behind 2012 and 2006. In 2006 alone, we lost 18 stars, among them comedian Red Buttons, talk-show host Mike Douglas and Don Knotts, better known as bumbling Barney Fife on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

The Verdict

Yep, 2016 was indeed one Grim Reaper of a year. We lost at least 34 celebrities by our admittedly unscientific count, which factor in such Oscar- and Grammy-winning celebs such as Debbie Reynolds who appear in multiple categories. But it’s not quite the worst ever. (In 2009, Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett died on the SAME DAY!)
When it comes to sheer numbers, this year is edged out by 2006, when some 36 celebs died — including “City Slickers'” Jack Palance and James Brown, the Hardest-Working man in Show Business, who for all we know may still be playing gigs in heaven. So the next time someone complains about 2016 killing all our heroes, tell them it could be worse. It has been worse.

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(CNN)Hollywood kept us busy in 2016.

Whether it was a feud, a high-profile divorce or a spectacular jewelry heist, this past year was full of jaw-dropping moments. Here’s a look back at the top celeb stories of the year.
    10. Kanye West hospitalized
    Kanye West was admitted to UCLA Medical Center in November and a source close to West told CNN he was being treated for “exhaustion.” The news came after West had canceled the remainder of his Saint Pablo Tour after several lengthy rants and late shows. After eight days in the hospital, and missing Thanksgiving with his family, West was released.
    9. Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s contentious divorce
    Amber Heard and Johnny Depp had been married just over one year when she filed a temporary restraining order against Depp. She claimed he had been abusive. Heard’s paperwork included photos which showed Heard with bruises. After several court hearings and depositions, the couple’s divorce was settled in August. Heard received $7 million in the divorce settlement and donated it to charity.
    8. Kesha and Dr. Luke’s legal battle
    Kesha and Dr. Luke’s legal battle dragged on for the majority of 2016. It started when the singer filed a civil suit against her longtime music producer in 2014, claiming that he drugged her and emotionally abused her. The legal battle came to a head in 2016 when Kesha tried to get out of her contract with Sony and Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe Records. A judge denied her request and as a result, she received an outpouring of support from several celebrities including Adele, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift. Since then, Kesha has dropped one of her lawsuits against Dr. Luke and her label in an effort to put out new music.
    7. Michael Strahan’s turbulent exit from “Live”
    The former NFL star made headlines after it was announced he would be leaving “Live with Kelly and Michael” to take on a full-time gig at GMA. The decision had been in the works for several weeks, but Ripa was the last to know. Ripa felt blindsided and did not return to her talk show for several days. Upon her return, Ripa emotionally addressed viewers and said that she had “needed a couple of days to gather my thoughts.” She went on to say that ABC assured her “Live” was a “priority” and even congratulated Strahan. Ripa is still in search of a co-host.
    6. Kanye West & Taylor Swift go head-to-head
    Kanye West and Taylor Swift appeared to have settled their infamous feud that started when West stole the mic from Swift during the MTV VMAs in 2009. But in February things took a dramatic turn when West called Swift “that b**ch” in his song, “Famous.” The rapper swore that he had called Swift and warned her about the lyric, but Swift denied she agreed to the lyric. She released a statement saying she was “humiliated” when she first heard the song. Shortly after, a leaked recording of West made headlines because he called Swift a “fake a**” while backstage at “Saturday Night Live.” The feud reignited in June when Kim Kardashian-West posted several alleged recordings of West talking to Swift about the song.
    5. Lochte-Gate
    U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte came under fire when he admitted that he fabricated a story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio during the Summer Olympics. Lochte had said that he and three fellow swimmers were robbed while at a gas station early in the morning of August 14. But it was later discovered that the swimmers had vandalized the gas station. In an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer he said, “I over-exaggerated that story and if I had never done that we wouldn’t be in this mess.” Lochte ended up losing endorsement deals with Speedo, Airweave and Polo Ralph Lauren.
    4. Who is Becky with the good hair?
    The internet nearly broke when Beyonce dropped her visual album “Lemonade” in April on HBO. The Grammy-winner released 12 videos and 13 songs that were filled with powerful visuals and lyrics that many thought were ripped from the pages of her own life. Fans believed Queen Bey was providing a glimpse into her marriage struggles and revealing that her husband Jay-Z might have been unfaithful. In one song, “Sorry,” Bey sings: “He better call Becky with the good hair.” The Bey hive went wild with speculation, trying to decode who Bey could be calling out.
    3. A reality star robbed at gunpoint
    Kim Kardashian-West made headlines in October after being robbed at gunpoint by masked robbers in Paris. The armed men got away with almost $10 million worth of jewels. Since the robbery, Kardashian-West has remained almost entirely out of the spotlight and has not posted anything on social media.
    2. The breakup heard ’round the world
    Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie-Pitt shocked the world with their split in September. Jolie-Pitt filed for divorce and noted that she was seeking physical custody of their six children. It was later discovered that the couple had an argument on a private plane the week before Jolie-Pitt ended their marriage. Since then the FBI and the Department of Children and Family Services have dropped their investigations. The couple are expected to face off in court this January.
    1. Hollywood suffered great loss
    It was a devastating year when it came to the deaths of some of our favorite musical and on screen stars including Prince, David Bowie, George Michael, Florence Henderson, Alan Thicke, as well as the devastating one-two punch of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds.

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    The Liverpool club owner drove the band to Hamburg on their formative trip in 1960 and also handled early bookings

    Allan Williams, best known as the first manager of the Beatles, has died aged 86, it has been announced. It was Williams who took the band to Hamburg, where its members learned much of their craft, before returning to the UK and stardom.

    He was the owner of the Jacaranda club in Liverpool, which confirmed the news of his death on Friday night. His legacy has allowed us to remain at the heart of the Liverpool music scene for almost 60 years, and his memory will live on through every band that plays our famous stage. Allan, you will be missed. All of our thoughts and wishes go to his family and his wife Beryl, a message on the clubs Facebook page read.

    The Beatles Story, an exhibition in Liverpool celebrating the bands success, praised Williams for his significant role. Martin King, its spokesman, said: We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Allan Williams. Our thoughts go out to his family at this sad time. Allan was a friend to many of us at the Beatles Story and his legacy will continue to be told for years to come.

    From left to right: Allan Williams, his wife, Beryl, Lord Woodbine, Stuart Sutcliffe, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best at the Arnhem War Memorial in 1961. Photograph: Keystone USA/Rex/Shutterstock

    In a statement released on Friday, the exhibition said: His involvement in the Beatles early years in Liverpool and on to Hamburg helped shape the band in to what we see and know today.

    The team behind the attraction said they were shocked and saddened by the news that Williams, who also served as the Beatles first booking agent, had died. He personally drove the van to take the young band to Hamburg, Germany in 1960, where they gained the vital show business experience that led to their emergence on the world stage, they said. In May this year, Allan was awarded a top civic honour in recognition of his contribution to the music industry in Liverpool.

    In 2009, Williams spoke about the Beatles early days, saying he had confidence in the band when others in Liverpool did not. It was mainly their personalities, because most of the groups were a bit on the thick side, whereas they all had good educations; they were a bit posher and more articulate. So I thought, no, I will take a chance, he said.

    He also remembered bonding with a young John Lennon. I had him down as a coffee-boy layabout, as I used to call him, and thought he was rather arrogant. But when I got to know him its quite tragic, really. I had an unhappy childhood, too, so there was a bit of an understanding there, although we never talked about it.

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