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A man who shot Lady Gaga's dogwalker during an attempt to steal the singer's prize French bulldogs was sentenced to 21 years in prison Monday after pleading no contest to attempted murder.
James Howard Jackson and two other men attacked Ryan Fischer on a Hollywood street in February 2021, and after a struggle made off with two of the "Poker Face" singer's three pets that were out for a walk.
Fischer sustained chest injuries in the attack and said on Instagram a month later he had suffered a collapsed lung.
Jackson, 20, entered the no-contest plea after prosecutors agreed to drop further robbery, assault and other charges.
"The plea agreement holds Mr Jackson accountable for perpetrating a cold-hearted violent act and provides justice for our victim," said a statement from the District Attorney's Office.
The two other assailants have already been jailed for their parts in the crime.
Following the incident, Lady Gaga offered a $500,000 reward for the return of dogs Koji and Gustav. A woman who handed in the dogs in response to the reward has been charged with being an accessory after the fact and with receiving stolen goods.
The singer's other bulldog, Miss Asia, was able to evade capture, and ran back to the wounded Fischer's side after the robbers left.
Jackson earlier this year was recaptured after being accidentally released from custody in what officials described as a "clerical error."
Los Angeles police said at the time they did not believe the dogs were targeted because of their owner, but because of the breed's appeal on the black market.
Small and friendly -- and thus easy to grab -- French bulldogs do not have large litters.
Their relative scarcity, and their association with stars such as Lady Gaga, Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Jackman, Chrissy Teigen, Leonardo DiCaprio and Madonna, gives them added cachet and means they can change hands for thousands of dollars.
© 2022 AFP
NASA's Orion spaceship made a close pass of the Moon and used a gravity assist to whip itself back towards Earth on Monday, marking the start of the return journey for the Artemis-1 mission.
At its nearest point, the uncrewed capsule flew less than 80 miles (130 kilometers) from the surface, testing maneuvers that will be used during later Artemis missions that return humans to the rocky celestial body.
Communication with the capsule was interrupted for 30 minutes when it was behind the far side of the Moon -- an area more cratered than the near side and first seen by humans during the Apollo era, although they didn't land there.
The European Service Module, which powers the capsule, fired its main engine for over three minutes to put the gumdrop-shaped Orion on course for home.
It was the last major maneuver of the mission, which began when NASA's mega Moon rocket SLS blasted off from Florida on November 16. From start to finish, the journey should last 25 and a half days.
Orion will now make only slight course corrections until it splashes down in the Pacific Ocean off San Diego on Sunday, December 11 at 9:40 am local time (1740 GMT). It will then be recovered and hoisted aboard a US Navy ship.
Earlier in the mission, Orion spent about six days in "distant retrograde orbit" around the Moon, meaning at high altitude and traveling opposite the direction the Moon revolves around Earth.
A week ago, Orion broke the distance record for a habitable capsule, venturing 280,000 miles (450,000 kilometers) from our planet.
Re-entry into Earth's atmosphere will present a harsh test for the spacecraft's heatshield, which will need to withstand temperatures of around 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2,800degrees Celsius) -– or about half the surface of the Sun.
Under the Artemis program -- named for the sister of Apollo in Greek mythology -- the United States is seeking to build a lasting presence on the Moon in preparation for an onward voyage to Mars.
Artemis 2 will involve a crewed journey to the Moon, once again without landing.
The first woman and next man are to land on the lunar south pole during Artemis 3, which is set for no sooner than 2025, though likely significantly later given timeline delays.
© 2022 AFP
Current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's plans to pursue the impeachment of President Joe Biden and members of his administration are being greeted with a cold-shoulder by his Republican Party counterparts in the U.S. Senate, reports Politico.
The California GOPer, whose bid to become the new House Speaker is not a sure thing, has been threatening to go after the president as well as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as he tries to round up enough votes among far-right members of his caucus, but Republicans in the Senate are pouring cold water on his plans, with at least one GOP senator dismissing his plans outright.
As Politico's Jordain Carney wrote, "While House GOP leaders feel intense pressure from their Donald Trump-aligned base and colleagues to impeach President Joe Biden or a top member of his Cabinet, many of the party’s senators want nothing to do with it," adding that any impeachment would die in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
According to the report, key Republican senators are serving notice that they want nothing to do with any impeachment trials and that they believe they will be counterproductive and could hurt the party in 2024.
"Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a close ally of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), said he 'hadn’t really given any thought' to impeaching Biden or a Cabinet official," the report states, noting that Cornyn added he sees no impeachable offenses that need to be taken up.
Senate GOP leadership member John Thune (R-SD) was more to the point, explaining, "I think there is a legitimate need for oversight … but, I mean, I think it needs to be focused on some specific areas.”
According to Politico's Carney, "It’s an ongoing pattern for Republican Senate leaders, who have mostly tried to avoid the pitfalls of Trump-related probes. While House GOP leadership has leaned hard into publicly pushing back on the Democratic-run panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, their Senate counterparts have largely sidestepped tangling with the select committee."
Senior GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley (IA) outright dismissed McCarthy's plans for the upcoming House session, telling Politico, "I can’t do anything about what the House does.”
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