Elizabeth Taylor tributes - Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor, who died Wednesday, is remembered not only for her beauty and her acting career, but also for her early AIDS activism and her sometimes overlooked time as a glamorous political wife in Washington. Recently retired CNN interviewer Larry King called his friend Taylor "a helluva woman."
Obama returns home to criticism over Libya - President Barack Obama is back in the White House after his five-day trip to Latin America. Waiting for him on his return was a letter from House Speaker John Boehner that criticizes the administration's handling of the situation in Libya. "Military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the American people, the Congress, and our troops what the mission in Libya is and what America's role is in achieving that mission," Boehner wrote. Other conservatives also criticized the conduct of the attacks, as did liberals in Congress: "We will fight in Congress to ensure the United States does not become embroiled in yet another destabilizing military quagmire in Libya with no clear exit plan or diplomatic strategy for peace," a group of them said.
Japan disaster - The level of radioactive iodine in Tokyo's water has dropped significantly, the city says, and Japan's top OB/GYN group says it's OK for pregnant and nursing womenÂ to drink it. However, Russia, Hong Kong, the United States and others are restricting Japanese food imports. Meanwhile, damage-control work has resumedÂ at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where black smoke had forced workers out on Wednesday.
Conrad Murray prosecution - Jury selection is scheduled to begin Thursday in the manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician accused of giving the late pop singer Michael Jackson a fatal dose of anesthesia. Hundreds of potential jurors will be screened in Los Angeles County Superior Court.Â They will be given extended questionnaires about their knowledge of the case and other issues. The trial is slated to begin May 9.
Space shuttle Endeavour - The crew of the space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to hold a news conference Thursday in Houston ahead of next month's final mission for the spacecraft. Mark Kelly, husband of wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will command the mission, set for launch April 19Â from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This will be the 36th shuttle mission to the international space station and the final mission for Endeavour, as the shuttle program ends this year.
Though she was older and had been ill lately, King said he was shocked to hear she had died. "She was a great pal," he said on CNN Wednesday.
Taylor was a "trooper" who made friends and kept them, devoting her loyalty to them. She was "gutsy," one of the first people to stand up for people with HIV and to push for research on the disease. "She did more than any other single individual to fight AIDS," King said.
"She did have a rough life," King said, referring to the many times Taylor married. "She was what she was.
"She had everything you could put into one life, including a great sense of humor."
But the thing that stood out the most were her purple eyes, he said. Be clear, he said, they were not blue but purple. "They were glowing," he said. "Hypnotic."
"She was a helluva woman," King said.
Here is a text of Taylor's letter to King upon his retirement:
My Dearest Larry,
I am so very sorry not to be able to be there this last historic night to celebrate with you your long and illustrious tenure as King of the Airwaves.
I am sure I am one of many, many interviewees, who, exhausted from explaining themselves, their actions, their projects, their loves, heaved a sigh of relief knowing that they were coming to talk to you. Talking to you was like a late night chat with a friend.
It thrills me to think that you are going on to a long luxurious retirement.
Our loss is your family's gain.
My good thoughts and love follow you there,