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Stand-up comedian Jackie Mason – who went from rabbi to Broadway star – has died at the age of 93.

He died at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, New York, his friend and lawyer Raoul Felder confirmed to Sky’s US partner NBC News.

He was having trouble breathing and had been at the hospital for two weeks before he died in his sleep.

Comic Jackie Mason addresses the media at Zanie's comedy club in Chicago, Wednesday, Aug 28, 2002, about the clubs decision to cancel comic Ray Hanania's appearance. Hanania was told hours before the show he couldn't perform because he is of Palestinian descent, Mason's manager said. (AP Photo/Stephen J. Carrera)
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Mason’s stand up comedy was often deemed controversial . Pic: AP

“He died peacefully in his sleep with his wife and a few friends by his side,” Mr Felder said.

COVID-19 was not a factor in his death.

Mason, born in Wisconsin in 1928 as Yacov Moshe Maza, was known for his quick wit and social commentary, which took him from comedy clubs to LA chat shows and Broadway stages.

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An often controversial figure, he was famed for his “Borscht Belt” style of comedy, where he embraced Jewish themes and political incorrectness as part of his act.

He got his big break in 1961 when he performed on the Steve Allen variety show – which took him to the world famous Ed Sullivan show, which he ended up getting banned from in 1964 when he apparently gave the host the finger after being told to wrap up his act.

He was later allowed back on the show in 1966, after Sullivan admitted he had made a mistake, but Mason said the situation “basically destroyed my career for at least 10, 15 years”.

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Treading the boards, Mason won a Tony Award in 1987 for his show Jackie Mason’s The World According to Me!, which ran for 573 performances in New York.

His other shows included the likes of Politically Incorrect in 1994-95, Love Thy Neighbour in 1996-97 and Freshly Squeezed in 2005.

Mason also performed in front of the Queen when his show Fearless played in the West End in 2012.

His final show, The Ultimate Jew, skipped the Broadway stage, but was described by Variety as “one long jab at the world’s hypocrisy, dusted with one-liners from the ‘take my wife, please’ vaults”.

NEW YORK, NY- OCTOBER 12: Jackie Mason having dinner at the West Way Diner on October 12, 2015, in New York City. Credit: Joseph Marzullo/MediaPunch /IPX
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Mason, pictured here in 2015, won awards for his stage shows. Pic: Joseph Marzullo/MediaPunch/IPx/AP

As well as being a stage comedian, he also had a small recurring role on The Simpsons where he voiced Rabbi Hyman Krustofski, Krusty The Clown’s father, bagging himself an Emmy win for the part in 1992. He appeared most recently in the long-running animated show in 2014.

He also played himself in an episode of the NBC workplace comedy 30 Rock in 2007.

Elsewhere, he was a commentator for BBC Scotland during the OJ Simpson murder trial, and later appeared in the film Caddyshack II – known for being a box office flop.

More recently, he has uploaded more than 200 videos to YouTube where he gave his opinions on politics and current affairs.

He is survived by his wife Jyll Rosenfeld, and daughter Sheba.

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Tesla shareholders approve Elon Musk’s huge pay package

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Tesla shareholders approve Elon Musk's huge pay package

Tesla shareholders have approved Elon Musk’s multi-billion-dollar pay package.

The package is now worth $44bn (£34bn). The package was once as much as $56bn (£44bn) but has declined in value in tandem with Tesla’s stock.

The proposal passed despite opposition from some large institutional investors and proxy firms.

Onstage at the annual shareholder meeting in Austin, Texas, the billionaire described himself as “pathologically optimistic”.

“If I wasn’t optimistic this wouldn’t exist, this factory wouldn’t exist,” Musk said to resounding applause.

“But I do deliver in the end. That’s the important thing.”

The approval does not, however, resolve a lawsuit on the pay package in a Delaware court, which some legal experts believe could last months.

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The judge invalidated it in January, describing it as “unfathomable”.

Musk may also face fresh lawsuits on the deal, which would be the largest in American corporate history.

Shareholders had first approved the bumper pay packet in 2018.

“This thing is not over,” said Brian Quinn, a professor at Boston College Law School.

The Delaware judge will scrutinise the vote and require Tesla to prove the process was not coerced or improperly influenced by Musk, Professor Quinn said.

A general view of the Tesla gigafactory in Austin, Texas, U.S., February 28, 2023. REUTERS/Go Nakamura
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A general view of the Tesla gigafactory in Austin, Texas, U.S., February 28, 2023 Pic: Reuters

The judge had criticised Tesla’s board fore being “beholden” to Musk, saying the plan was proposed by a “conflicted board” with “close personal and financial ties” to its top executive.

Shareholders also approved a proposal to move the company’s legal home to Texas from Delaware.

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They also backed other proposals, including the re-election of two board members, Musk’s brother Kimbal Musk and James Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Shareholders did increase the level of investor control by passing proposals in favour of shortening board terms to one year and lowering voting requirements for proposals to a simple majority, despite board opposition to both.

Tesla did not disclose the voting tallies, which are expected to be revealed in coming days.

At least a half-million viewers watched the meeting on the livestream on X, which Musk also owns, and about 40,000 watched on YouTube.

Tesla’s share price has dropped about 55% from its 2021 peak as electric vehicle sales have slowed.

The stock closed up 2.9% on Thursday.

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Harry Dunn: Coroner criticises US government over lack of driver training for Americans at base near where teenager died

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Harry Dunn: Coroner criticises US government over lack of driver training for Americans at base near where teenager died

The coroner in the inquest into the death of Harry Dunn has recommended better driver training for Americans at the RAF base near where the 19-year-old was killed.

Mr Dunn was hit by a Volvo driven by Anne Sacoolas in August 2019, after she drove on the wrong side of the B4031 in Northamptonshire while he was riding a motorbike.

He died in hospital the same day.

The coroner concluded Mr Dunn died as a result of a road traffic collision and issued three prevention of future death notices in a bid to stop similar tragedies occurring.

Analysis: Harry’s family still have questions over crash – but killer has remained in the shadows

Two prevention of death notices were sent to the UK’s Department of Health over the drugs paramedics carry and overworked ambulance services.

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Sky News confronts Anne Sacoolas in 2022

A third notice was issued to the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence around driver training at RAF Croughton.

Sacoolas, a US government employee, had been based at the RAF station – which is also used by US forces – at the time the crash happened.

Northamptonshire coroner Anne Pember criticised the US government for a lack of training provided to Sacoolas before the crash.

Harry Dunn (L) and his brother Niall, with their stepfather Bruce Charles. Pic: PA
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Harry Dunn (L) and his brother Niall, with their stepfather Bruce Charles. Pic: PA

Harry Dunn’s family responds

Neither Sacoolas nor representatives from the US embassy attended the inquest – prompting the Dunn family spokesperson Radd Seiger to say the US government’s position was that “lives of UK citizens like Harry ultimately do not matter”.

He said: “It was not enough for them to kill Harry. It wasn’t enough for them to then kick Harry’s family in their darkest hour and seek to deny and delay the justice that they were entitled to.”

Speaking to Sky News after the inquest, Harry’s mother Charlotte Charles said the family is “relieved”, “proud” and “tired”.

Asked if she thinks she will ever get to see Sacoolas face to face, Ms Charles said the American “hasn’t got it in her”.

“She’s just a coward,” she said. “Sadly, that’s the only word that I can sum up. We’re disgusted. Disappointed doesn’t come anywhere close.”

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‘Running away we can’t forgive’

Ms Charles criticised Sacoolas for “snubbing” not just Harry’s family, but the coroner too.

“It’s just extremely difficult for me to get my head around with her being a mum of three herself,” she added.

“She really could have had the chance to redeem herself a little bit this week and show us that she really did care.”

If she ever got the chance to have a conversation with Sacoolas, she said she would have wanted her to show remorse.

“We understand you made one horrific error in your driving that night,” she said.

“Your driving, we can forgive… running away, we can’t forgive. I couldn’t have done that.”

More from Sky News:
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Harry Dunn’s family with spokesman Radd Seiger (centre)

Tim Dunn
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Harry Dunn’s dad, Tim, became emotional outside the inquest

Mr Seiger also said Labour, if they get into power, has promised the family a public inquiry into how Sacoolas was able to leave the country with diplomatic immunity after causing Harry’s death.

“We won’t let [the US government] get away with it and we look forward to working with the next government to establish this public inquiry,” he said.

“We were all horrified as a nation to see how the US government treated Harry’s family. This must never happen again.

“The American national anthem ends ‘land of the free, home of the brave’. They haven’t demonstrated an ounce of bravery at all preferring to run, hide and obstruct.”

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Dunn family ‘totally disgusted’

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Anne Sacoolas’s witness statements

Evidence and two witness statements from Sacoolas were read out during the inquest after the US government employee rejected the coroner’s invitation to attend in person.

In one of the statements Sacoolas apologised for the “tragic mistake” she made on the day of the crash and said it was something that would live with her “every single day for the rest of my life”.

Harry Dunn’s family still have questions over fatal crash


Lisa Dowd - Midlands correspondent

Lisa Dowd

Midlands correspondent

@LisaSkyNews

It was October 2019. I had been made aware of a terrible crash which had killed a young motorcyclist called Harry Dunn a few months earlier.

The tip-off was Harry’s family were sure the person responsible worked for the US secret services, and she had left the country.

I was even given a name: Anne Sacoolas.

It was an unusual name. That night I did a search, and to my surprise she appeared on Facebook.

What spy would be on social media, I thought?

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She said that when she turned out of RAF Croughton, taking a left turn, she instinctively moved to the right side of the road as she was “accustomed to driving in the US”.

She also told Northamptonshire Police in a voluntary interview two months after the crash that she was a “safe driver” but “drove like an American and drove on the American side of the road”.

The family spokesman said bases like this are a threat to Britain
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Harry was killed near the RAF Croughton base

The 45-year-old said she had not received any training on driving on UK roads after arriving in the country and after the crash “hysterically flagged down a motorist” and “begged her to get help”.

“There is not a single day that goes by that Harry is not on my mind, and I am deeply sorry for the pain that I have caused,” Sacoolas said in the statement.

Reacting to the statements, Mr Seiger said: “We have heard most of that before.

“Why on earth is Sacoolas not in court to answer the court’s and the family’s questions?”

Sacoolas left Britain 19 days after the crash after the US Department of State asserted diplomatic immunity on her behalf.

In December 2022, after a protracted battle for justice by the family, she appeared before a High Court judge at the Old Bailey via video link from the US, when she pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.

Sacoolas was advised against attending her sentencing hearing by the state department, which prompted the Dunn family to say they were “horrified” the American government was “actively interfering in our criminal justice system”.

She was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for a year.

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Harry Dunn’s twin’s tribute

The inquest also heard from Mr Dunn’s twin brother Niall who referred to him as “an amazing person” who helped him when he found life hard-going.

In a video played to the inquest, he said: “I couldn’t have asked for a better brother, but beyond that, just a better person to just be forced to know”.

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US Supreme Court rejects bid to restrict access to abortion pill mifepristone

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US Supreme Court rejects bid to restrict access to abortion pill mifepristone

Americans will still be able to buy an abortion pill after the US Supreme Court threw out a bid by campaign groups to restrict access to it.

The decision was made by the same court that two years ago overturned Roe v Wade – which had previously given women rights to terminate a pregnancy.

The drug – mifepristone – was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in September 2000 for medical termination up to seven weeks into pregnancy, extended to 10 weeks in 2016.

It was ruled the plaintiffs behind the lawsuit challenging mifepristone lacked the necessary legal standing to pursue the case, which required they show they have been harmed in a way that can be traced to the FDA.

The plaintiffs wanted an end to rules introduced in 2016 and 2021 that permitted medication abortions at up to 10 weeks of pregnancy instead of seven, and for mail delivery of the drug without a woman first seeing a doctor in-person.

The suit initially had sought to reverse FDA approval of mifepristone, but that aspect was thrown out by a lower court.

Mifepristone is taken with another drug called misoprostol to perform medication abortions – now the most common method of terminating pregnancies in the US.

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Read more: Why were there calls to ban abortion drug?

Anti-abortion activists outside the Supreme Court in April 2023. Pic: Reuters
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Anti-abortion activists outside the Supreme Court in April 2023. Pic: Reuters

The FDA said that after decades of use by millions of women in the US and around the world, mifepristone has proven “extremely safe” and that studies have demonstrated that “serious adverse events are exceedingly rare”.

The plaintiffs, known as the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, argued the FDA acted contrary to its mandate to ensure medications are safe when it eased the restrictions on mifepristone.

They also accused the administration of violating a federal law governing the actions of regulatory agencies.

US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk broadly sided with them in a 2023 decision that would have effectively pulled the pill off the market.

Analysis: Abortion pill decision offers some respite from complicated patchwork of laws

By Sarah Gough, US producer

Pro-choice campaigners breathed a sigh of relief following the news the Supreme Court will not limit access to medication abortion.

The fight for mifepristone was one of the latest attempts by anti-abortion groups to restrict access to reproductive rights in America following the overturn of Roe v Wade in 2022.

The pill gives much-needed access to abortion care to those who do not yet need to undergo a procedure to terminate their pregnancy. This decision means mifepristone can still be accessed over the counter and through the post with a prescription.

The drug was approved by the FDA more than 20 years ago and has been considered safe ever since. The fact its safety was ever called into question was egregious to many doctors, and women who’d taken the drug, across the country.

It was a unanimous ruling to throw this case out. Unanimous decisions are not something we usually see at the Supreme Court, given the right-wing majority sitting on the bench. However, this was a ruling about how the case was brought, not a moral opinion on whether the abortion pill is necessary or not.

Despite the win for pro-choice groups, there is constant legal wrangling across the US when it comes to abortion care.

The next most consequential upcoming case in front of the Supreme Court concerns whether emergency abortion care can be obtained in spite of abortion bans. It’s being brought out of the state of Idaho, where abortion is entirely banned with limited exceptions, and where some women who go to the emergency room with pregnancy complications are having to be airlifted to nearby states to get the care they need.

Women in restrictive states often have to act via underground methods to obtain an abortion, and doctors live in fear of making hasty, illegal decisions when it comes to reproductive healthcare. What follows is a delay in care, often for the most vulnerable.

The protection of the abortion pill provides some brief respite from a complicated and fraught patchwork of laws.

Read more on Sky News:
What’s changed since Roe v Wade decision was overturned?

However, after the FDA appealed, the New Orleans-based 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals did not go as far as Kacsmaryk but still ruled against its move to widen access to the pill.

This decision was placed on hold pending the Supreme Court’s review.

The plaintiffs said they had legal standing to sue because their member doctors would be forced to violate their consciences due to “often be called upon to treat abortion-drug complications” in emergency settings.

The Justice Department said these claims relied on an impermissibly speculative chain of events.

Following the decision, Joe Biden said in a statement: “Today’s decision does not change the fact that the fight for reproductive freedom continues.

“It does not change the fact that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade two years ago, and women lost a fundamental freedom.

“It does not change the fact that the right for a woman to get the treatment she needs is imperiled if not impossible in many states.”

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Meanwhile, Mr Trump – speaking at a campaign event – acknowledged the issue had cost Republicans and that it is too important to ignore.

The presidential hopeful said it was his preference for the decision to be made by the people and individual states.

The mifepristone dispute is not the only abortion case the Supreme Court is due to decide during this presidential election year.

It also is expected to rule by the end of June on the legality of Idaho’s strict Republican-backed abortion ban that forbids terminating a pregnancy even if necessary to protect the health of a pregnant woman facing a medical emergency.

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