January 1, 2014 in Nation/World

People: NASA criticizes Beyonce audio clip from Challenger tragedy

From Wire Reports
 

NASA officials say the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger accident “should never be trivialized” in response to a new song from Beyonce that features an audio sample recorded just after tragedy struck.

The space agency issued a statement late Tuesday after the pop star began to receive criticism from Challenger families and others for using the short sample. It includes the words “major malfunction” as an allusion to a failed relationship.

In a statement to ABC News on Tuesday, Beyonce said her “heart goes out to families of those lost in the Challenger disaster” and the song was recorded with the “sincerest intention” to help those who’ve lost loved ones.

The snippet comes at the beginning of her song “XO” from her new self-titled album.

Romney baby jokes elicit apology

An MSNBC host apologized to Mitt Romney’s family Tuesday after she and guests on her show joked about a Christmas picture that showed the 2012 Republican presidential candidate’s adopted, African-American grandson.

Melissa Harris-Perry said her intention was to celebrate diversity, but the segment took an unexpected and offensive turn when she asked her guests to talk about a photo showing infant Kieran Romney with his grandparents and their 21 other grandchildren, all of them white.

One guest on her Sunday show, actress Pia Glenn, sang “one of these things just isn’t the same.”

Comedian Dean Obeidallah said it “sums up the diversity of the Republican party.”

Harris-Perry said she’d like to see Kieran marry Kanye West’s daughter so West and Romney would be in-laws.

Lansbury receives Dame honor

Hollywood star Angela Lansbury, best known as the clue-collecting supersleuth in the television series “Murder, She Wrote,” has been made a Dame of the British Empire.

The 88-year-old actress was one of more than 1,000 people who were recognized by Queen Elizabeth II in the New Year’s Honors List. For the first time since the Order of the British Empire was founded in 1917, most of them were women.

Actress Penelope Keith, known to Brits as the snobbish Margot Leadbetter in the 1970s sitcom “The Good Life,” was also made a dame.

Dr. Marcus Setchell, the queen’s gynecologist, who oversaw the safe delivery of her great-grandson Prince George, was made a knight.

The birthday bunch

Actor Frank Langella is 76. Rock singer-musician Country Joe McDonald is 72. Writer-comedian Don Novello is 71. Actor Rick Hurst is 68. Country singer Steve Ripley (The Tractors) is 64. Rapper Grandmaster Flash is 56. Actress Dedee Pfeiffer is 50. Actress Embeth Davidtz is 48. Country singer Brian Flynn (Flynnville Train) is 48. Actor Morris Chestnut is 45. Actor Verne Troyer is 45. Actress Eden Riegel is 33.

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