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Former NBA player Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash

Former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles on Sunday. He was 41. The Los Angeles County Sheriff said on Twitter that five people died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, about 65km (40 miles) northwest of Los Angeles, and there were no survivors. It did not identify the…

Former NBA player Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash

Former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles on Sunday. He was 41.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff said on Twitter that five people died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, about 65km (40 miles) northwest of Los Angeles, and there were no survivors. It did not identify the victims.
“It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Kobe Bryant and four others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas,” the city of Calabasas announced on its Twitter feed.
First responders put out the flames of the crash site, the sheriff’s department said, posting a picture of a fire truck and smoke emerging from the brush in a ravine.
Bryant was known to use a helicopter for travel dating to his days as a star player when he commuted to games in a Sikorsky S-76 chopper.
The US Federal Aviation Administration identified the crashed helicopter as a Sikorsky S-76, saying in a statement the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board would investigate.
It was unclear if family members were on the helicopter. Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, have four daughters: Gianna, Natalia, Bianca and Capri. 
‘Much respect’
A five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant was considered one of the greatest basketball players ever.
He retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history, finishing two decades with the Lakers as a prolific scorer with a sublime all-around game and a relentless competitive ethic.
He held that spot in the league scoring ranks until Saturday night, when the Lakers’ LeBron James passed him for third place during a game in Philadelphia, Bryant’s hometown.
“Continuing to move the game forward (at)KingJames,” Bryant wrote in his last tweet. “Much respect my brother.”

Official statement from FAA. https://t.co/7qezQwz1Bz
— City of Calabasas (@CityofCalabasas) January 26, 2020

Named Kobe by his parents after they spotted the popular Japanese cut of beef on a restaurant menu shortly before his birth, Bryant was a five-time NBA champion having won titles in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010.
He was drafted out of high school with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets but was traded shortly after to the Lakers for Serbian Vlade Divac.
He appeared in 17 All-Star games, was named the Most Valuable Player for the 2007-08 regular season and landed MVP honours in the 2009 and 2010 finals when he led the Lakers to consecutive championships.
Bryant also won gold medals with the US basketball team at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
He was sidelined nearly eight months in 2013 with a torn Achilles tendon, then played just six games during the 2013-14 season because of a severe knee injury.
‘Put the work in’
Bryant looms large over the current generation of NBA players. After James passed Bryant on Saturday, he remembered listening to Bryant when the superstar came to speak at a childhood basketball camp.
“I remember one thing he said: ‘If you want to be great at it, or want to be one of the greats, you’ve got to put the work in,'” James said. “There’s no substitution for work.”
James later teamed up with Bryant on the 2008 US Olympic team in Beijing.
“He had zero flaws offensively,” James said. “Zero. You backed off of him, he could shoot the 3. You body him up a little bit, he could go around you. He could shoot from mid-range. He could post. He could make free throws… He was just immortal offensively because of his skill set and his work ethic.”
Bryant was a basketball superstar his entire adult life. He entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996 after a childhood spent partly in Italy, where his father, former NBA player Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, played professionally.
He teamed with Shaquille O’Neal in a combustible partnership to lead the Lakers to NBA titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002. He later teamed with Pau Gasol to win two more titles in 2009 and 2010.
Bryant retired after scoring 60 points in his final NBA game.

Iconic NBA star Kobe Bryant hangs up his boots

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More than 200 former senior military officials endorse Donald Trump for reelection

More than 200 former senior military officers have endorsed President Trump in the upcoming election and issued a warning that his Democratic rival Joseph R. Biden would slash the defense budget if he is elected president. The 235 former officers, which include retired Air Force and Navy admirals, argued that the nation’s “historic way of…

More than 200 former senior military officials endorse Donald Trump for reelection

More than 200 former senior military officers have endorsed President Trump in the upcoming election and issued a warning that his Democratic rival Joseph R. Biden would slash the defense budget if he is elected president.

The 235 former officers, which include retired Air Force and Navy admirals, argued that the nation’s “historic way of life is at stake” and pointed to the Democratic Party “welcoming to socialists and Marxists.”

“During the Obama/Biden administration, America’s armed forces were subjected to a series of ill-considered and debilitating budget cuts,” the former senior officers wrote in a letter Monday. “The Democrats have once again pledged to cut defense spending, undermining our military strength.”

They argued that proposed cuts will “create a potentially perilous situation for the United States during a time of great external and internal threats to our nation.”

Although some progressive Democrats in the House have backed significant cuts to defense spending, Mr. Biden said last week in an interview with Stars and Stripes that he does not intend to make major cuts to the Pentagon’s budget.

“I don’t think [budget cuts] are inevitable, but we need priorities in the budget,” Mr. Biden said.

The Trump endorsement comes less than a week after The Atlantic published a report that Mr. Trump skipped a visit to a U.S. military cemetery in France in 2018 after calling the dead “losers” for getting killed in battle.

Mr. Trump and the White House quickly rejected the assertions and called the publication a “total never-Trumper magazine.”

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73 former Republican national security officials endorse Joe Biden

A group of more than 70 former national security officials spanning the last four Republican administrations endorsed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden, arguing that President Trump is “dangerously unfit” to serve another term. Among the group’s members include former National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Director Gen. Michael Hayden, former Deputy Secretary of…

73 former Republican national security officials endorse Joe Biden

A group of more than 70 former national security officials spanning the last four Republican administrations endorsed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden, arguing that President Trump is “dangerously unfit” to serve another term.

Among the group’s members include former National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Director Gen. Michael Hayden, former Deputy Secretary of State and Director of National Intelligence Amb. John Negroponte, and former CIA and FBI Director William Webster.

Four former Trump administration officials also signed the statement including former Department of Homeland Security Chief of Staff Miles Taylor, former DHS Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Neumann, former General Counsel of the Peace Corps Robert Shanks and former General Counsel of DHS John Mitnick.

“While we — like all Americans — had hoped that Donald Trump would govern wisely, he has disappointed millions of voters who put their faith in him and has demonstrated that he is dangerously unfit to serve another term,” the 73 Republican former officials wrote in a joint statement.

“In contrast, we believe Joe Biden has the character, experience, and temperament to lead this nation,” they said of the former vice president.

The group cited 10 reasons behind their decision to support Mr. Biden in the upcoming election and said that Mr. Trump “has disgraced America’s global reputation and undermined our nation’s moral and diplomatic influence,” “demonstrated far greater concern about the fate of his reelection than the health of the American people,” and “disparaged our armed forces, intelligence agencies, and diplomats.”

“While some of us hold policy positions that differ from those of Joe Biden and his party, the time to debate those policy differences will come later,” the former officials wrote. “For now, it is imperative that we stop Trump’s assault on our nation’s values and institutions and reinstate the moral foundations of our democracy.”

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Spain’s former king to leave the country amid corruption claims |NationalTribune.com

The former monarch of Spain, King Juan Carlos I, says he is leaving to live in another country, weeks after he was linked to an investigation into allegations of corruption. In June, Spain’s Supreme Court opened an investigation into Juan Carlos’s involvement with a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia after Switzerland’s La Tribune de…

Spain’s former king to leave the country amid corruption claims |NationalTribune.com

The former monarch of Spain, King Juan Carlos I, says he is leaving to live in another country, weeks after he was linked to an investigation into allegations of corruption.
In June, Spain’s Supreme Court opened an investigation into Juan Carlos’s involvement with a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia after Switzerland’s La Tribune de Geneve newspaper reported he had received $100 million from Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah.
Through his lawyer, Javier Sanchez-Junco, Juan Carlos, who is 82, has declined to comment on the allegations.
Sanchez-Junco said in a brief statement on Monday that the former king had asked him to make clear that even though he will be outside Spain he intends to be available to cooperate with the investigation.
It was not immediately clear whether Juan Carlos was still in Spain, but El Mundo newspaper reported that Juan Carlos had already left the country.
“I am informing you of my considered decision to move, during this period, out of Spain,” Juan Carlos said in a letter to his son King Felipe published on the royal family’s website on Monday.
The former king said he made the decision against the backdrop of “public repercussions of certain episodes of my past private life,” adding that he wanted to ensure he does not make his son’s role difficult.
“My legacy and my own dignity demand that it should be so,” he said without specifying which country he will be moving to. 
King Felipe thanked Juan Carlos for his decision, underlining “the historic importance that his father’s reign represents” for democracy in Spain.
He also reaffirmed “the principles and values on which it (democracy) is based according to our Constitution and legal framework”.

Spain COVID-19 surge sparks fears of a second wave

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez recently said he found the developments about Juan Carlos, including investigations in Spain and Switzerland, “disturbing”.
The 82-year-old former king is credited with helping Spain peacefully restore democracy after the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.
But marred by scandals in the later years of his reign, Juan Carlos in 2014 abdicated in favour of his son Felipe VI, losing the inviolability protection Spain’s constitution grants to the head of state.

The Spanish Supreme Court announced in June the opening of an investigation to establish whether former King Juan Carlos has criminal responsibility in an alleged corruption case when Saudi Arabia entrusted the construction of the Mecca TGV to a Spanish consortium [Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP]

After media reports claimed Felipe was a beneficiary of an offshore account holding an alleged 65 million-euro gift ($76 million) from Saudi Arabia to Juan Carlos, Felipe renounced any future personal inheritance he might receive from the former king. Felipe also stripped his father of his annual stipend of 194,232 euros ($228,000).
The royal house has denied that Felipe had any knowledge of his father’s alleged financial irregularities.
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