Live Coverage

Today's News: Dec. 27, 2016

Remembering Carrie Fisher, Japan’s prime minister visited Pearl Harbor, and more from the United States and around the world.

Paul Hackett / Reuters

—Carrie Fisher, the iconic actress best known for playing Princess Leia in Star Wars, died Tuesday. She was 60. More here

—Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a historic visit Tuesday to the USS Arizona Memorial. More here

—We’re live-blogging the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).


This live blog has concluded

At Least Two Killed in India Train Derailment

Jitendra Prakash / Reuters

At least two people were killed when 15 coaches of a train derailed in northern India. An additional 26 people were injured. The Sealdah-Ajmer express train went off the tracks around 30 miles outside of Kanpur in the early Wednesday hours. Suresh Prabhu, the Indian minister of railways, said he is personally monitoring the situation.

Last month, a train derailment killed 127 people and injured more than 200 in the same region. This latest accident has disrupted all trains on the route. A rescue effort is currently underway.

Trump Tower Given All Clear After Brief Evacuation

Brendan McDermid / Reuters

Trump Tower in New York City was briefly evacuated Tuesday after a suspicious package was discovered inside the Manhattan building’s lobby, according to the New York City Police Department. J Peter Donald, an NYPD spokesman, said the building was given an all clear after it was determined that the bag only contained children’s toys. President-elect Donald Trump was in Florida at the time was not present for the evacuation.

Richard Adams, Author of 'Watership Down,' Has Died

Getty Images

Richard Adams, the British children’s book author who wrote Watership Down, a best-selling epic tale about a family of rabbits in search of a new home, has died. He was 96. Adams’ daughter confirmed his death to the BBC, saying he died Christmas Eve, just before midnight. Adams wrote his most famous work in 1972, and the tale of how it came about is its own fascinating story. He was a World War II veteran, who later worked as a civil servant in London writing official environmental reports. As a hobby, he wrote fiction, and also enjoyed telling stories to his two daughters. It was one of these tales, during a long car trip, that prompted Adams—at his daughters’ behest—to turn it into a novel. He was 50 at the time, and he wrote in the evening after work. It took Adams two years to finish, and Watership Down became a New York Times best-seller, a staple in high-school English courses, and there are now about 50 million copies in print in 18 languages.

Cristina Kirchner, Argentina's Former President, Faces Corruption Charges

Marcos Brindicci / Reuters

Cristina Kirchner, the former president of Argentina, was indicted Tuesday by a federal judge over allegations of corruption tied to an infrastructure project. Kirchner is accused of using her position to award government-funded public works projects to a construction company owned by a close family associate. The judge’s order also seizes $640 million of Kirchner’s assets, and indicts the country’s former planning minister, the former public works secretary, and the man who owns the construction company that profited from the contracts. Kirchner has called the allegations politically motivated, and accused current President Mauricio Macri of concocting the plot against her. In an October court appearance, she said the accounts had all been approved by both parliament and the country’s auditor general.

Man Trampled to Death by Horses at Rubi Ibarra Garcia's Quinceanera


A man was trampled to death by a horse at the 15th birthday party of Rubi Ibarra Garcia, whose Facebook event invitation became an international meme and attracted 1.3 million invitees. The teenager’s parents had posted a video in which Ibarra’s father, Crescencio, says his daughter’s quinceanera party would feature live bands, food, and a horse race. He ended the video by saying, "Everyone is cordially invited." The internet got hold of it, and it was passed to millions of people. Spotify made a special playlist for the party, a Mexican airline gave special flight discounts, and celebrities even made videos ribbing Ibarra’s party. With such wide attention, police in central Mexico’s San Luis Potosi state, where the party would be held, said they’d have to work security in case it got out of control. Instead of millions, thousands showed up, including dozens of reporters. The party had gone on without issue, until the horse race, when a 66-year-old man who worked at a local stable stepped onto the track and was trampled to death. Some people in attendance said he likely misjudged the horses’ distance, or that he became overly excited about cheering on his horse, Sleeping Bear, which he’d entered into the competition.

Romanian President Rejects Nomination of Muslim Woman for PM

Sevil Shhaideh is sworn in as Minister for Regional Administration and Public Administration in Bucharest, Romania, on May 20, 2015. (Inquam Photos / Reuters)

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis rejected the nomination of Sevil Shhaideh for prime minister Tuesday, putting an end to the hopes she may become the first woman and Muslim to hold the position. In a televised address, Iohannis said he “carefully weighed arguments for and against” accepting the center-left Social Democratic Party’s (PSD) nominee, and called on the party to make a new nomination. He did not offer a reason for blocking Shhaideh’s appointment. PSD rejected the decision, and Liviu Dragnea, the party’s leader, said it would consider seeking the president’s suspension. Though the leader of the county’s largest party customarily serves as prime minister, Dragnea is disqualified because he is serving a two-year suspension for having committed electoral fraud in a previous election. Shhaideh, who is of Turkish ancestry, was nominated for the premiership last week, having previously served as minister of regional development for five months in the last PSD-led government.

'Star Wars' Costars Remember Carrie Fisher

Fred Prouser / Reuters

The death of Carrie Fisher, the Star Wars actress who drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra, brought an outpouring of condolences from costars, who remembered her as a friend and groundbreaking actress. Lucasfilm, now owned by Disney, said Fisher’s role had inspired a generation of young girls. The film’s many leads were played by men, but as Princess Leia, Fisher did not rely on them to come to her defense—quite the opposite. Leia often led the charge against the movie’s many villains, commanding Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and troops of the Rebel Alliance. Her role “defined the female hero of our age over a generation ago,” the Lucasfilm statement read. Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, tweeted:

Dave Prowse, who played Darth Vader, tweeted his condolences, as did Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO. Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca, called Fisher the “the brightest light in every room she entered.” And Billy Dee Williams, who played Lando Calrissian, said “the force is dark today!” Harrison Ford, who played Solo, her onscreen love interest, called Fisher “emotionally fearless” and said she “lived her life bravely.”

More on Fisher here.

Remembering Carrie Fisher

Paul Hackett / Reuters

Updated at 3:03 p.m. ET

Carrie Fisher, the iconic actress best known for playing Princess Leia in Star Wars, died Tuesday. She was 60. Fisher suffered a heart attack on a flight between London and Los Angeles on Friday. A medical professional on board performed CPR on the plane. Fisher was rushed to a hospital shortly after landing. She died four days later in the hospital. In a statement Tuesday, Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, said, “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.” Fisher reprised her Star Wars role for the latest reboot The Force Awakens, which was released last year. She was expected to appear in the next Star Wars movie, slated to come out in 2017. Throughout her career, Fisher has had notable roles in When Harry Met Sally… and The Blues Brothers, appearing in nearly 50 films and dozens of other television shows. She was also a renowned script rewriter, working on films like Sister Act and Hook. Born in California in 1956, Fisher had long struggled with bipolar disorder and drug addiction, which she spoke openly about in recent years. “I am mentally ill,” she once said. “I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on.” She was celebrated as a champion for mental health awareness. Read more about Fisher here.

Four Arrested in India Over Rape of U.S. Tourist

Anindito Mukherjee / Reuters

Police in India arrested four men on Monday who are accused of drugging and raping a U.S. tourist who visited the country last year. The woman said she’d visited New Delhi, the country’s capital, in April and stayed at a five-star hotel in the Connaught Place neighborhood. She accused the four men, three of whom work at the hotel, of spiking her water and raping her for two days in her hotel room. The woman left India with no memory of the assault, she said, but three months after she’d returned to the U.S. she was able to recall the rape and filed a complaint through a U.S. nonprofit. The accused men are all between 20 and 24 years old. They deny the charges, and police had initially refused to arrest them because of a lack of video or eyewitness evidence. The woman’s testimony before a magistrate, however, seemed enough, and officers have confiscated the men’s phones for further investigation. Police in India have faced criticism that they don’t do enough to investigate rape cases, and in recent years the country has seen several cases of sexual assault receive international attention. There have also been several rape cases involving female tourists, like that of a Japanese woman last month, and of a Danish woman in 2014, for which five men were sentenced to prison.

First Trial Begins for Police Officers Accused in Turkey Coup

Osman Orsal / Reuters

The first criminal trial in Istanbul related to last summer’s failed coup in Turkey started Tuesday, with 29 police officers facing sentences of up to life in prison. The officers face charges ranging from overthrowing the constitutional order to membership in a terrorist organization. They are accused of refusing to protect President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s mansion in Istanbul, which they allegedly did at the orders of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a charge Gulen denies. The courthouse in Istanbul was under heavy guard Tuesday. At the trial’s opening, prosecutors said the coup plotters used an app to secretly communicate their plans, including how some should condemn the coup publicly in order to avoid detection. The crackdown on alleged coup followers has grown to 40,000 suspects, with more than 100,000 others who have lost their jobs. Western nations and human-rights groups have criticized Erdogan’s crackdown, which has included professors, journalists, and anyone critical of his government.

UPDATE: Japan's Prime Minister Makes Historic Visit to Pearl Harbor

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe presents a wreath Monday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu. (Hugh Gentry / Reuters)

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a historic visit Tuesday to the USS Arizona Memorial. “I offer my sincere and everlasting condolences to the souls who lost their lives here,” said Abe, who was accompanied by President Obama, at the site of the deadly Japanese attack that prompted the U.S. entry into World War II. The visit would have been unthinkable even last year when Abe visited the U.S. because the issue is a sensitive one in Japan where the legacy of the nation’s wartime actions remain a divisive issue. But earlier this year, Obama became the first U.S. president in office to visit Hiroshima, the Japanese city whose bombing with a nuclear weapon by the U.S. led to Japan’s surrender in the war, easing some of the domestic opposition to Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor.

Russia Recovers Crashed Plane's Flight Recorder

(Maxim Shemetov / Reuters)

The flight recorder of the military transport plane that crashed Sunday with 92 people on board has been recovered from the Black Sea and returned to Russia where investigators will determine what caused the Tu-154 aircraft to crash. The plane was carrying 64 member of the Alexandrov military music ensemble, a famed Russian choir, that was due to perform a concert in Latakia, Syria. Terrorism has been all but ruled out as a cause for the crash that is believed to have killed everyone on board. So far, about a dozen bodies have been recovered.