August 23, 2018

The Big Bang Theory is imploding, and it's all Jim Parsons' fault.

On Wednesday, CBS announced its nerd-filled sitcom would end after 12 seasons. But not everyone was "drowning in tears" like star Kaley Cuoco claimed she was in an Instagram post, Entertainment Weekly has learned. CBS apparently offered the show's five original stars $50 million each to stay on for another two seasons, and Parsons turned it down.

The Big Bang Theory was already in preliminary talks to secure a 13th season, CBS president Kelly Kahl told reporters earlier this month. But even though The Big Bang Theory shot Parsons to fame, the actor was apparently ready to call it quits. As the show's star among stars, Parsons secured four Emmys and a Golden Globe playing Sheldon Cooper, and his portrayal of the prodigiously awkward physicist even extends to a voice-over on the spinoff Young Sheldon. He's also managed to balance leading roles on Broadway and in movies on top of it all.

With a household name and dozens of credits under his belt, Parsons appears well-positioned for the post-Big Bang world. By the time things wrap, there will have been 279 episodes of The Big Bang Theory — and seeing as Parsons' salary has reportedly reached nearly $1 million for each episode, turning down a $50 million bonus was probably easier than you'd think. Kathryn Krawczyk

April 25, 2018

North Korea's decision to cease nuclear tests may not have been wholly out of the benevolence of leader Kim Jong Un.

A major nuclear test facility in North Korea was damaged after the nation's latest detonation, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, leaving it largely unusable.

Researchers in China found that a test blast in September caused a cavity in a mountain in northeast North Korea to collapse. Within that mountain is the Punggye-ri test facility. The collapse left North Korea with no choice but to close the site's doors to avoid an "environmental catastrophe," the researchers said.

North Korea has launched six nuclear tests, and the last was the largest. Seismologists have estimated that the blast caused a 6.3-magnitude tremor that likely collapsed underground infrastructure, the Journal reports. No nuclear contamination has been detected as a result of the incident, Chinese officials said.

The research was made public just days after Kim announced that he would pause North Korea's nuclear testing. President Trump considered it a piece of good news ahead of his planned summit with Kim, but experts say Kim's pledge may be a less meaningful concession if his test infrastructure was destroyed anyway. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Summer Meza

April 14, 2017

In what is presumably an early birthday present to Brian Williams, the Pentagon on Friday released video footage of the "mother of all bombs," or MOAB, the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal which was dropped in Afghanistan on Thursday.

"The Earth felt like a boat in a storm," said Mohammad Shahzadah, an Afghan man whose home is near the strike site. "I thought my house was being bombed. Last year a drone strike targeted a house next to mine, but this time it felt like the heavens were falling. The children and women were very scared."

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai slammed the MOAB strike on Twitter after news of the launch broke. "I vehemently and in strongest words condemn" the strike, he wrote in a series of tweets. "This is not the war on terror but the inhuman and most brutal misuse of our country as testing ground for new and dangerous weapons. It is upon us, Afghans, to stop the USA." Bonnie Kristian

April 6, 2017

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) invoked the "nuclear option" in the upper chamber Thursday, moving to kill the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. His motion prevailed in a 52-48 vote along party lines.

The change to Senate rules was prompted by Democrats' successful efforts to filibuster the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. They twice denied a cloture vote 55-45, failing to provide Republicans the votes they needed to surpass the 60-vote threshold and end debate over Gorsuch's nomination. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) then moved for the nomination vote to be postponed until April 24, which failed 52-48 on a party-line vote, as did his similar motion to adjourn the session.

McConnell then moved to hold a vote on overriding the Senate parliamentarian by allowing the cloture vote to instead be decided by a simple majority, invoking the so-called "nuclear option." After that motion prevailed, the cloture vote was then approved 55-45, allowing the Senate to move Gorsuch's nomination forward. A vote to confirm Gorsuch is expected Friday evening. Kimberly Alters

October 14, 2016

President Obama was on fire Friday. At a Hillary Clinton campaign event in Ohio, the president pulled out zinger after zinger about Donald Trump. Here are seven of his best lines. Becca Stanek

On Trump's 'yuge' business losses

  • "Usually the house wins, unless he owns the house. Then it loses a billion dollars."

On those all-talk, no-action politicians Trump can't stand

  • "It's always interesting to me to see people who talk tough, but then don't act tough."

On a billionaire businessman looking out for the working class

  • "He says he's going to be the champion of working class people? C'mon, man!"

On Trump's tendency to blame anything or anyone but himself

  • "He's suggesting if the election doesn't go his way, it's not because of the stuff he said, it's because it's rigged?"

On the self-declared billionaire's overt self-promotion

  • "This is the guy who spent all of his time, hanging around, trying to convince everyone he's a global elite."

On the nerve of Hillary Clinton being asleep at 3 a.m. during the Benghazi attacks

  • "He may be up at 3 a.m., but it's because he's tweeting insults."

On Trump's favorite rhetorical question

  • "Donald Trump's closing argument is 'What do you have to lose?' The answer is everything."
August 11, 2015

Pizza, potato wedges, and soft drinks are little consolation for being kicked out of your East London flat due to a live World War II bomb being found underneath the floorboards. However, that's exactly what happened to over 150 people who spent the night in an emergency shelter after being booted from their apartments; the 500-pound bomb was unearthed yesterday while builders were working to convert a former factory into luxury flats.

"The bomb is 10 feet from my flat on the other side of a wall and I've had so many parties here...if it was going to blow up, it would have done so by now," one evacuee, Pauline Carter, 26, told The London Evening Standard.

"I didn't know anything about it until I went outside and it was like being in 28 Days Later," said Oers Sardi, 28, another resident who was told to leave immediately.

The bomb was evidently dropped during the Blitz of 1940-1941, making it about 75 years old. Photographs released by the Ministry of Defense show the dangerous artifact to be a rusting shell resting about two feet underground. The Ministry of Defense has been delicately attempting to remove the bomb, as it is reportedly in a "tricky location." There is not yet a timetable for it to be defused and extracted. Jeva Lange

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