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Mike Marsland/WireImageSir Christopher Lee, the veteran British actor whose stage and screen career spanned nearly 70 years, died last Sunday. He was 93.

The U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper reports Lee had been hospitalized for some three weeks due to respiratory and heart problems, and passed away 8:30 a.m. Sunday. He turned 93 May 27, reportedly while hospitalized. Lee’s wife of 54 ears, Gitte Lee, reportedly delayed announcing her husband’s death publicly until she’d informed friends and family.

Lee spent the first decade of his career playing a variety of conventional roles, but his role as The Creature in the 1957 Hammer Film Productions feature The Curse of Frankenstein set Lee on a career path that would largely define him for the rest of his life, despite the myriad other roles he played. Lee’s intense, angular features, towering six-foot, five-inch frame and booming bass voice made him perfect to portray villains and monsters, which he did dozens of times, most notably in a series of B-grade horror films produced by England’s legendary Hammer Film Productions. Lee’s most popular work for Hammer was playing the vampire Dracula in some seven films, usually opposite fellow actor and lifelong friend Peter Cushing, with whom he starred in The Curse of Frankenstein.

Lee memorably played the villain Scaramanga opposite Roger Moore as James Bond in the 1974 Bond Film The Man with the Golden Gun. He also wasn’t above sending up his screen persona — for example, playing the gleefully ghoulish Dr. Catheter in 1990’s Gremlins 2: The New Batch.

Lee found new generations of fans late in life when he appeared as the evil wizard Saruman in The Lord of the Rings films The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, as well as the more recent The Hobbit films An Unexpected Journey and The Battle of the Five Armies. He also played the evil Jedi Count Dooku in the Star Wars films Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and had a cameo opposite Johnny Depp in 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, playing Willy Wonka’s father.

Lee’s last credited film role, according to IMDB, was completed last year.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — If you’re a parent, you know how tough it can be to convince your darling little hard-headed bundles of joy to apply sunscreen before heading into the water this summer.  Now there’s a doll to help.

The advertising agency FCB Brazil has created Nivea Dolls, an educational toy that turns red when exposed to the sun too long.

The doll was created with a special plastic designed to show kids first-hand how quickly they can get a painful sunburn. Once sunscreen is applied, the color fades from red to a flesh color.

Although there are no plans to mass market the dolls for public consumption, the company has released an instructional video, filmed on the beach in Rio De Janeiro, to share its message of skin protection.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — INTERLEAGUE
Toronto 7, Miami 2
Washington 5, N-Y Yankees 4, 11 Innings
Chi Cubs 12, Detroit 3

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Baltimore 5, Boston 2
Tampa Bay 4, L.A. Angels 2
Seattle 9, Cleveland 3
Chi White Sox 4, Houston 1
Kansas City 7, Minnesota 2
Oakland 5, Texas 4

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Cincinnati 5, Philadelphia 2
St. Louis 4, Colorado 2
Pittsburgh 2, Milwaukee 0
Atlanta 4, San Diego 1
San Francisco 8, N-Y Mets 5
L.A. Dodgers 7, Arizona 6   

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS

Chicago 2, Tampa Bay 1

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Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — Dale Earnhardt Jr. will show off his patriotic side on the track during Fourth of July weekend.

He’s revealed a special paint scheme his No. 88 car will feature during the July 5 Sprint Cup race at Daytona, dubbed the Coke Zero 400. The top half of the car is black, while the bottom half is an American flag-themed design.

Junior’s team tweeted a photo of the paint scheme on Wednesday.

NBC will televise the Coke Zero 400 on July 5 beginning 7:45 p.m. Eastern time.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims were slightly higher last week, increasing by just 2,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending June 6, the number of people filing for benefits inched up to 279,000. The previous week, claims stood at 277,000.

The Labor Department said there were no “special factors” impacting that week’s figures.

The four-week moving average increased by 3,750, to 278,750.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims were slightly higher last week, increasing by just 2,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending June 6, the number of people filing for benefits inched up to 279,000. The previous week, claims stood at 277,000.

The Labor Department said there were no “special factors” impacting that week’s figures.

The four-week moving average increased by 3,750, to 278,750.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims were slightly higher last week, increasing by just 2,000, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending June 6, the number of people filing for benefits inched up to 279,000. The previous week, claims stood at 277,000.

The Labor Department said there were no “special factors” impacting that week’s figures.

The four-week moving average increased by 3,750, to 278,750.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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FoxAfter 26 years of loving marriage and wedded bliss on TV, Homer and Marge Simpson are going to split.

In an interview with Variety, executive producer Al Jean spoke about the upcoming 27th season and the big move to have Homer play the field.

“In the premiere, it’s discovered after all the years Homer has narcolepsy and it’s an incredible strain on the marriage. Homer and Marge legally separate, and Homer falls in love with his pharmacist, who’s voiced by Lena Dunham,” he said.

He continued after dropping this bombshell, “We’ll have cameos from the other women from Girls…And we have an episode based on the film Boyhood. It’s a flashback/flashforward about Bart. We go to various points in his life and his life to come which I think came out really well.”

Jean also spoke to how the show changes over time with big reveals like this.

“You never know what’s going to happen. You air a show and what people react to is not what you expect. What you learn is you have to be constantly prepared to moderate your course because you’re in an environment where feedback is constant,” he said.

Well, there’s definitely going to be some kind of response to this move.

Finally, Jean got a bit political.

“We’re definitely going to have Homer vote in 2016. One aspect of the pickup that made me happy is that Homer can vote again. He voted for Romney in 2012 because he invented Obamacare. He tried to vote for Obama in 2008 but all his votes went to McCain,” he said.

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New York State Police(DANNEMORE, N.Y.) — The manhunt for two inmates who escaped from an upstate New York prison intensified after bloodhounds picked up a strong scent, suggesting the escapees could be nearby, an official briefed on the search told ABC News.

New York State Police closed a road east of Dannemora to investigate.

A stretch of State Route 374 — nearly eight miles long — remains closed Thursday morning, and residents can expect an increased police presence in the area, according to a police news release. In addition, Saranac Central School District is closed on Thursday, with Superintendent of Schools Johnathan Parks wanting to “get out of law enforcement’s way” as the search continues for David Sweat and Richard Matt, he told ABC News.

Helicopters buzzed through the area late Wednesday, scanning amid the fog. Searchlights and headlights were used to illuminate fields and farmland, while porch and garage lights shined from homes, all meant to aid the search efforts.

There has been no confirmed physical sighting of either man, but authorities are hopeful that daylight will offer improved search opportunities.

Sweat and Matt, both convicted murderers, were reported missing from Clinton Correctional Facility, located about 20 miles south of the Canadian border, on Saturday.

The inmates may have considered Vermont as “a possible destination,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said at a Wednesday news conference.

Corrections officers, other inmates and contract employees who worked at the prison are among those being interviewed by investigators, and New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico confirmed that training supervisor Joyce Mitchell was among the interviewees.

“She befriended the inmates and she may have had some role in assisting them, but I’m not going to go into any further details,” D’Amico said.

Mitchell, who has not been charged, is cooperating with investigators, according to two sources briefed on the probe. Authorities are investigating whether she played a role in the escapees’ getting the tools they used to break out of prison, the sources said.

Cuomo said “it’s very possible” the escapees “had a several-hour head start on us,” making the potential search area relatively widespread.

“I am confident we will find them. The only question is when,” he said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Food safety experts fear secret elements of a hotly contested Pacific trade deal will further hamper U.S. government efforts to turn back bad seafood at the border, even as shrimp imported from Southeast Asian farms continue to turn up significant numbers of positive tests for banned antibiotics and dangerous bacteria.

“These trade agreements are used pretty much as a weapon to go after food safety standards,” said Patrick Woodall, of the food safety group Food and Water Watch. “We’re concerned it is creating a kind of secret venue to challenge U.S. food safety standards.”

Food safety experts have become increasingly vocal in recent days, with the House expected to vote Friday on legislation that would give President Obama broad authority to negotiate and sign the agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

At the heart of their concern is one of America’s fastest-growing delicacies: shrimp.

As shrimp has steadily grown in popularity, the U.S. food industry has become increasingly reliant on importers, many from Southeast Asia, to satisfy demand. Federal inspectors have struggled to keep up with the volume, looking at only 3.7 percent of the farmed seafood that arrives at American ports, and taking samples from less than 1 percent for testing at a Food and Drug Administration lab.

And yet, with even such a small sample the inspectors are finding problems: In 2014, inspectors turned away more than 100 shipments from Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand, according to numbers provided by the Food and Drug Administration. Advocacy groups say those numbers are on the rise.

Critics of the proposed trade agreement involving 11 Pacific Rim countries argue it could erode the rules on what shrimp can be turned away.

The chief concern, said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat who has been leading the fight against the trade agreement, is that the trade deal could strengthen the ability of Asian shrimp importers to challenge U.S. restrictions as trade barriers, and leave decisions about what chemicals to ban to international arbitrators who preside over such challenges, instead of to U.S. inspectors.

DeLauro believes a goal of the trade deal is to pursue “equivalence” or “harmonization” between the rules in such countries as Vietnam and Malaysia — where the use of antibiotics and other pesticides are less restrictive — and those in the U.S., where antibiotics in shrimp are banned.

“It is a code for moving to the lowest common denominator,” DeLauro said. “Our standards will be lower. That is what the risk is. That is what will happen if this agreement goes into effect. And we will have no recourse to turning this around.”

U.S. trade officials strongly dispute DeLauro’s characterization of the trade deal, saying the term “harmonization” never appears in the deal. In fact, they said a goal of the agreement is to force importing countries to raise their standards.

In a statement to ABC News, the spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative said the agreement being brokered “will help improve food safety in TPP countries by promoting the use of transparent and science based regulations.” They say the language clarifying that goal will be available for public review once the full agreement is drafted.

“It will also include tough new customs provisions… to help us combat illegal transshipment, including of seafood, and identify food safety risks before they get to our shores,” the statement said.

Potential Shrimp Risks

The risk of getting food poisoning from eating shrimp is relatively low. The FDA says only about 6 percent of all food-borne illness is linked to seafood, including raw shellfish. But food safety experts told ABC News they are sounding alarms about shrimp because of the persistent presence of antibiotics in the shrimp tested, both in government and private labs.

Even low levels of antibiotics in food could pose a public health issue, Woodall said, because their use fosters the spread of deadly bacteria that are resistant to standard medical treatments.

Testing by Consumer Reports released last month found what the organization called significant numbers of samples containing banned antibiotics in farmed shrimp imported from Asia. More than 5 percent of some 200 samples they tested came back positive for banned antibiotics.

“Shrimp in this country isn’t supposed to be produced with any antibiotics, so the fact that we found these residues coming in suggests that practices are going on that mask the hygiene problems,” said Urvashi Rangan, who led the study for Consumer Reports. “We are in fact reducing the effectiveness of those antibiotics in the long term for [people], and for sick animals too, and that’s the problem.”

Further, the Consumer Reports study found evidence of vibrio in 30 percent of the shrimp they tested. The dangerous bacteria is most commonly seen in oysters, not shrimp, so Rangan said her team was surprised to find it.

“The FDA doesn’t have any requirements for vibrio control in shrimp and yet the centers for disease control say that vibrio infections, in particular, are on the rise,” she said.

“In fact,” she said, “it’s one of the few bacterial illnesses from food that is on the rise.”

FDA officials twice agreed to be interviewed by ABC News on the subject of imported shrimp, only to cancel at the last moment. Instead, the agency sent a statement noting that, “with 2.5 million metric tons of foreign seafood shipped to the U.S. every year, the FDA uses multiple tools to protect consumers.”

Among those tools are: foreign assessments, where FDA inspectors visit shrimp farm sights in person; the use of high tech risk assessment tools that help them target the shipments from highest risk farms for testing; and the port inspections.

“Although raw shrimp can contain bacteria, fully cooking shrimp largely eliminates that risk,” the statement said.

Gavin Gibbons, a spokesman for the National Fisheries Institute, which advocates in Washington on behalf of seafood importers, also disputed the significance of the Consumer Reports findings. He told ABC News that the consumer organization has a “blatantly protectionist” agenda to promote U.S.-caught shrimp, and that the organization has exaggerated the risks involved in farmed, imported shrimp. He expressed doubts about the reliability of the Consumer Reports tests.

“We have zero tolerance for any use of unapproved antibiotics in shrimp. Period,” Gibbons said. “But it is important to be clear that the antibiotic issue is not one of food safety. Consumers do not get sick from even the miniscule level of antibiotics alleged to have been found in the Consumer Reports case.”

Last month, on the heels of the Consumer Reports study, Wal-Mart announced it was pressing all of its meat and seafood suppliers to restrict the use of antibiotics and published a list of voluntary guidelines regarding acceptable veterinary drug administration, according to SeafoodSource.com, an industry publication.

Trade Deal

The safety of imported shrimp is emerging as a new front in what has been a bare-knuckle battle over the trade agreement, pitting labor unions and some Democrats against the Obama administration — with both sides accusing the other of presenting a misleading picture of the deal.

U.S. trade officials have singled out opponents of the deal, with Obama directly criticizing Sen. Elizabeth Warren in April, saying “I love Elizabeth. We’re allies on a whole host of issues, but she’s wrong on this.”

The administration has also circulated to the media — including to ABC News — a Washington Post fact-checker item accusing DeLauro of exaggerating the risk that the trade deal would unleash a flood of new shrimp imports on U.S. consumers, further overwhelming FDA inspectors.

Meanwhile, food safety advocates have accused U.S. trade officials of colluding with large corporate interests and lobbyists as the deal has been negotiated. And trade experts have said the administration is misleading the public with claims that the trade agreement would force Asian countries to increase regulation of their shrimp farms.

“That is simply a lie,” said Lori Wallach, the director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, which is lobbying against the TPP. “The actual record of these trade agreements has been only a downward ratchet on food safety.”

The opportunities for charges and counter charges have been helped along by the secrecy shrouding the trade talks. The draft text, believed to number in the thousands of pages, is being treated as a classified document — literally, a trade secret. In order to read the agreement, members of Congress have to descend to a secure basement conference room in the Capitol complex, a room typically used by intelligence committee members to review national security documents.

Obama himself addressed the question of secrecy in a video blog released by the White House, defending the approach as basic negotiating tactics, and promising to make the entire agreement public 60 days before it is put to a final vote.

“I think they’re hiding things,” DeLauro said. “I think they just don’t want the American public first of all-to know what’s in the agreement.”

The House is expected to vote as early as this week to give Obama authority to broker an agreement on the TPP. That would mean a final agreement would return to Congress for an up or down vote, but without the ability to alter or amend the details. The Senate has already voted to give Obama that authority.

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