1. Stephen Hawking, the world-famous physicist who was the subject of the 2014 biopic The Theory of Everything, has died. He was 76. A spokesperson for Hawking’s family confirmed the news of his death to CBS News on Tuesday evening. “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today,” his children said in a statement. “He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world. He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.'” He was a 21-year-old Ph.D student at the University of Cambridge when he was diagnosed with ALS. Doctors told him that he had only one to two years to live. But Hawking proved them wrong and became one of history’s most famous minds, even as his body deteriorated. (CBS)
2. Many Maine students planning to join today’s national walkout to protest gun violence are being forced to make contingency plans after the most recent Nor’easter has caused cancellations for a second straight day. In Portland, where the district planned a 30-minute pause in the school day to allow for student activities, school principals agreed to move the break to Thursday. (Press Herald)
3. On a Monday night trip from Houston to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, a United flight attendant made a passenger put her French Bulldog puppy in an overhead bin, despite the fact that it was traveling in a TSA-approved pet carrier that could have been stowed beneath a seat. The dog reportedly barked for most of the flight until it died, prompting widespread outrage on social media. In a statement issued a United spokesperson said, “This was a tragic accident that should never have occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin. We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them. We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again.” Many airlines and veterinarians advise owners of short-nosed dog breeds like French Bulldogs to avoid flying with their pet because they are more prone to respiratory problems on flights. (NY Post)
4. NFL Free Agency… Danny Amendola is expected to sign w/ the Miami Dolphins for a deal that is reportedly good for two years, $12 million. The Titans are signing cornerback Malcolm Butler to a five-year contract worth more than $61 million, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday evening. Running back Dion Lewis is expected to sign a four-year contract with the Titans, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Tuesday night. If all goes according to plan, both Dion Lewis and Malcolm Butler will be joining former Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan in Tennessee. Their head coach, newly hired Mike Vrabel, is also a former Patriot, as is their GM, Jon Robinson. Vrabel played eight seasons as a linebacker, while Robinson was a member of the scouting staff. (Boston.Com)
5. Taco Bell announced Tuesday that its limited-time Nacho Fries have become the company’s most successful new menu item. Since their launch on January 25, Taco Bell has sold more than 53 million orders of the fries, which are coated with a “bold Mexican seasoning” and served with nacho cheese sauce for dipping. Due to their popularity, the limited-time item will stay on the menu at least through early April. (NRN)
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