Anthony Weiner in halfway house, KFC in Israel and Papi’s Tacos in Hampden
Anthony Weiner finishes prison term
Anthony Weiner, the former New York congressman sentenced to 21 months behind bars after he sent explicit photos of himself to an underage girl, has been released from prison, according to NPR. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 54-year-old Weiner is now in the custody of a New York residential re-entry management office — also known as a halfway house. He’s scheduled to be released on May 14. Weiner pleaded guilty in 2017 to transferring obscene material to a minor. As NPR reported at the time, he was aware that the recipient was in high school.
Bernie Sanders running for president again
Bernie Sanders officially launched his second campaign for president. The 2020 campaign launched on Feb. 19 with an email to supporters and a tweet which included a nearly 2-minute campaign video and a request for support. “I’m running for president. I am asking you to join me today as part of an unprecedented and historic grassroots campaign that will begin with at least 1 million people from across the country,” the tweet said, and provided a link to a fundraising page. He is seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party, despite an unsuccessful bid in 2016. He is a self-described democratic socialist. Sanders, 77, who was reelected for a third term to the Senate from Vermont as an independent last year, had been dropping hints for months that he would run for president.
Israeli spacecraft set for launch to the moon
An Israeli non-profit organization, SpaceIL, is poised to launch the first private spacecraft to the moon. The spacecraft, named Beresheet, or In The Beginning, is scheduled to be launched early Feb. 22, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The spacecraft, which is about the size of a washing machine, is expected to land on the moon in April. The United States, the Soviet Union and China are the only countries that so far have landed a spacecraft on the moon. SpaceIL, established in 2011 with the goal to land the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon, was founded by three young engineers competing for the international Google Lunar XPRIZE challenge to build, launch and land an unmanned lunar spacecraft. There was no winner after the finalists in the contest, including Israel, failed to meet the specified timetable. The program has been funded mainly by philanthropist and businessman Morris Kahn, who donated $40 million and serves as SpaceIL’s president. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson contributed an additional $24 million to help keep the project afloat. NASA reportedly signed a cooperation agreement with SpaceIL through the Israel Space Agency which will allow SpaceIL to use NASA systems to communicate with the spacecraft. —JTA
CNN and NBC agree to air ad for Oscar-nominated documentary about NY Nazi rally
CNN and MSNBC have each agreed to broadcast an ad that Fox News rejected for a documentary about a Nazi rally held in New York in 1939. The filmmakers of “A Night at the Garden,” which has been nominated for an Oscar in the category of documentary short, confirmed to The Washington Post on Feb. 15 that the 30-second ad spot would air during “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” on CNN and “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC on Feb. 18. The documentary contains footage of the Nazi rally. “We decided to dig deep and pay for television ads we weren’t planning to buy because we wanted to make the point that Fox News is out of the mainstream,” the movie’s director, Marshall Curry, told The Post, adding that he believed the network’s rejection of the ad was politically motivated. NBCUniversal said the company had initially rejected the ad for MSNBC because an NBCUniversal standards group deemed the content too provocative, so the filmmakers added context with a title card that explains the footage is part of an Oscar-nominated film, the Post reported. Fox declined to run the ad because it was “full of disgraceful Nazi imagery regardless of the film’s message and did not meet our guidelines,” ad sales president Marianne Gambelli said in a statement. The rally’s 80th anniversary is on Feb. 20.—JTA
KFC reopening in Israel
American fast food chain KFC is recruiting staff ahead of a planned reopening in Israel, the business daily Globes reported. The company announced six months ago that it would relaunch in Israel for the fourth time. Kentucky Fried Chicken opened and closed in Israel in the 80s and the 90s, and then remained open between 2003 and 2012. In KFC’s last incarnation in Israel, franchise owner Udi Shamai’s eight locations went kosher after the company allowed him to switch the milk powder in the crispy coating to soy and to use kosher-killed chickens instead of those provided by the company. “The moment we switched to kosher, sales began to plunge and it was no longer economically viable. The product was less good whereas things had gone fine with un-kosher chickens,” Shamai told Globes. KFC has 45,000 outlets in over 135 countries. It has six outlets in three West Bank Palestinian cities.–JTA
Papi’s Tacos to open in mid-March
Baltimore restaurateur Charlie Gjerde says his team is “coming down the home stretch” for its anticipated Papi’s Tacos location in Hampden, and is tentatively eyeing an opening in mid-March, according to Baltimore Fishbowl. The eatery and bar, being built out of the space at 3820 Falls Road that for decades housed Dmitri’s Tavern, will have space for 110 customers and a setup similar to its sister, flagship Fells Point location, with a bar side and a dining side. Gjerde said the property “needed a complete overhaul, so we went down to the bare walls and started from scratch.” Everything inside is brand new, said the restaurateur, who runs several other restaurants with his wife, Lori, and sister-in-law, Carrie Podles, including Wicked Sisters on Falls Road in Hampden, Alexander’s Tavern in Fells Point and Huck’s American Craft in Brewers Hill. The new space is larger than the original Papi’s, allowing more room for events and, uniquely, the ability to serve al pastor tacos, in which meat is cooked over a spit and apportioned for tacos freshly cooked. And with the 25-space parking lot out back, they’re planning an outdoor Cinco de Mayo party, complete with live music.
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