February 4, 2016
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Maurice White, the leader and co-founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, died Thursday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 74.

His brother and bandmate, Verdine White, confirmed his death to The Associated Press. Maurice White was born Dec. 19, 1941, in Memphis, and started singing in his church choir at a young age. He later took up drumming, and studied composition at the Chicago Conservatory of Music. After working as a session drummer, he moved to Los Angeles in 1969 with a band called the Salty Peppers, which went on to become the soul group Earth, Wind & Fire. "In the beginning, my message was basically trying to relate to the community," he told the Chicago Tribune in 1988. "From that it grew into more of a universal consciousness; the idea was to give the people something that was useful."

Known for such hits as "Shining Star," "September," and "Boogie Wonderland," Earth, Wind & Fire won six Grammy Awards, had six double-platinum albums, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. White stopped touring with the group in the 1990s, after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, the Los Angeles Times reports. Catherine Garcia

7:36 p.m. ET
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Donald Trump's campaign has dramatically improved — mostly because the presumptive Republican nominee listened to his advice.

One change McConnell suggested was for Trump to stop making his usual freewheeling speeches, and instead come prepared to events with a script on a teleprompter. Trump has "made a lot of progress toward passing what I would consider sort of the credibility threshold that you need to pass in order to be considered for the most important political job in the country," McConnell told The Associated Press.

He also shared that he's not afraid that Trump's candidacy will usher in a new Democratic majority in the Senate, and thinks the GOP has a "great shot" at holding its place. Next week, McConnell will meet with Trump when he heads to Capitol Hill to visit House Republicans. Catherine Garcia

6:50 p.m. ET
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The Egyptian government announced Wednesday that the data recorder from EgyptAir 804 confirms smoke was detected in a bathroom and the avionics bay before the plane crashed into the Mediterranean Sea last month.

The Egyptian Aircraft Accident Investigation Committee said some of the wreckage recovered from the front of the plane showed signs of high temperature damage and soot, ABC News reports, and the preliminary data shows the flight data recorder cut off at an altitude of 37,000 feet. Experts say the findings point to the plane experiencing an electrical fire.

The Airbus A320 crashed May 19 on its way from Paris to Cairo, killing all 66 people on board. Catherine Garcia

5:11 p.m. ET
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The professional hockey landscape was altered in just a few minutes Wednesday, as three blockbuster moves rocked the NHL. The Edmonton Oilers traded former No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenseman Adam Larsson in a move intended to shore up their right-shot defense, as the Oilers had only one right-shot defender under contract next year. Meanwhile, the Devils will acquire an elite offensive player in Hall, who tallied 65 points, including 26 goals, in 82 games this past season.

Not to be outdone, the Montreal Canadiens traded star P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Preds' captain Shea Weber in a swap of top-tier defensemen. Subban, who is four years younger than Weber, won the Norris Trophy — awarded to the league's top defenseman — back in 2013 and was described by Predator general manager David Poile as an "an elite offensive defenseman." Weber has finished in the top four in voting for the Norris Trophy five times in his career and looks to add veteran leadership to the Canadiens.

Presented with such major moves within a span of about half an hour, the hockey world reacted as calmly as one would expect:

To top things off, down in Florida, coveted free agent Steven Stamkos — widely considered the prize of the 2016 offseason — re-signed with his current team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

See, guys? Sometimes things happen in hockey. Kimberly Alters

4:53 p.m. ET
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In the face of mounting criticism over its lack of diversity, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences just rolled out its longest and most diverse list of invitations to date. Of the 683 prospective new members, 46 percent are female and 41 percent are people of color. Among those invited are Idris Elba, John Boyega, and Alicia Vikander.

The Academy doesn't have the best track record when it comes to representation: Despite a viral protest campaign calling out its lily-white membership in 2015 using the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, the organization failed to significantly improve upon its remarkably heterogeneous makeup last year. At the beginning of 2016, an estimated 92 percent of voting members were white, while about three-quarters were male. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs addressed the issue back in February, promising the organization would "continue to take action and not just speak."

Selma director Ava DuVernay has called this most recent effort "a good start." Here's hoping next year's nominees reflect the change. Roxie Pell

4:39 p.m. ET

In the first North American Leaders' Summit hosted in Canada in over a decade, President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto underscored the importance of North American unity in their pledges to better fight climate change and emphasize free trade. "The politics of trade is difficult," Obama said, seemingly alluding to both Donald Trump's anti-globalization rhetoric of late and the recent Brexit vote. However, he continued, countries must not "shut ourselves off from the world." Regarding climate change, the leaders announced a goal to produce half of North America's power from renewable sources by 2025.

Changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement rule of origin were also unveiled, which will further free up trade by loosening criteria for a variety of products, including "pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, rubber, metals, industrial and electrical machinery, precision instruments, and natural gas," Bloomberg reports. Becca Stanek

3:13 p.m. ET

For the first time in seven years, the Republicans beat the Democrats in the Congressional Baseball Game, which was held last week at Nationals Park. It was a hard-won victory, but, uh, not a pretty one:

Warning: Don't watch if you get secondhand embarrassment. Jeva Lange

2:39 p.m. ET
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Hillary Clinton isn't the only woman cracking glass ceilings lately. Actress Scarlett Johansson just made Hollywood history by becoming the "highest grossing actress of all time," and possibly the first woman to crack Box Office Mojo's top-ten list of the top-grossing actors, The Cut reports.

At number 10 on the list, with a total gross box office revenue of $3.3 billion, Johansson, 31, sits behind the likes of Harrison Ford, Samuel L. Jackson, and Morgan Freeman. However, Ford, who ranks first on the list, has a gross revenue nearly $1.5 billion more than Johansson's, at nearly $4.9 billion.

The next woman after Johansson on the list is Cameron Diaz at number 19. All in all, only nine women appear in the top 50. Becca Stanek

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