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Watch Steve Perry reunite — but not sing — with Journey this weekend on HBO

Kevin Kane/Courtesy of HBOThe HBO special featuring highlights from the 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony premieres Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. One of the most memorable moments of the ceremony was the appearance of Steve Perry, former lead singer of honorees Journey, who spoke exclusively with ABC Radio before the ceremony.

Perry, who left Journey in the late ’90s, didn’t sing at the ceremony, but he did greet his former band mates warmly on stage and made a heartfelt speech, sharing fond memories of his time with the group and thinking fans for their support.

“It was a complete family affair,” Perry told ABC Radio about the close-knit relationship between Journey, their crew and their management.  He’s particularly grateful to manager, Herbie Herbert.

“He heard my demo tape and believed in me and told the band, ‘You gotta listen to this tape, I think this is the guy that should be the singer,'” Perry recalled. “[He] honestly made my dream come true, and I’m still living that dream today.”

The songs Perry recorded with Journey — including “Faithfully,” “Separate Ways,” “Open Arms,” “Who’s Cryin’ Now” and, of course, “Don’t Stop Believin'” — are still radio staples.  He thinks that’s because the band was “honest with ourselves” and kept “reaching for…timeless performances.”

Steve notes, “I think that’s probably one of the biggest things that would separate Journey from a lot of the people at that time…we really reached for something different.”

Other honorees at the 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony incuded Yes, Electric Light Orchestra, Pearl Jam, Joan Baez, Chic‘s Nile Rodgers and late rapper Tupac Shakur.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Find out what U2 has in common with Michael Jackson, Madonna and “Weird Al” Yankovic

ABC/Rick Rowell

Aside from being hitmaking artists who’ve sold millions of records in their long careers, U2, Michael Jackson, Madonna and “Weird Al” Yankovic have something else in common: They’re the only artists who’ve scored at least one top-40 hit each decade since the ’80s.

As Billboard notes, U2 is the latest group to achieve this feat, thanks to the fact that the Irish rockers collaborated with rapper Kendrick Lamar on one of his new songs, “XXX.”  That tune just charted at #33 on the Billboard Hot 100.  As a result, U2 has now scored six top-40 hits in the ’80s, seven in the ’90s, three from 2000 to 2010 and now one since 2010.

As for the late King of Pop, he scored 18 top-40 hits in the ’80s, ten in the ’90s, and two each in the ’00s and ’10s.  His most recent hit came in 2014, with his posthumous virtual duet with Justin Timberlake, “Love Never Felt So Good.”

Madonna’s most recent top-40 hit was 2012’s “Give Me All Your Luvin’.”  She had 19 top-40 hits in the ’80s, 20 in the ’90s, nine in the ’00s and one in the ’10s.

And surprisingly, comedy rocker “Weird Al” is among these legendary artists, all of whom — save for Yankovic — are Rock and Roll Hall of Famers.  He’s notched one top-40 hit per decade since the ’80s: “Eat It” in 1984, “Smells Like Nirvana” in 1992, “White & Nerdy” in 2006, and “Word Crimes” in 2014.  Those four songs were parodies of, respectively, Jackson’s “Beat It,” Nirvana‘s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Chamillionaire‘s “Ridin’,” and Robin Thicke‘s “Blurred Lines.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The former Cat Stevens donates early single to PETA campaign to end animal homelessness

Credit: Aminah YusufYusuf Islam, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, has donated his very first single, 1966’s “I Love My Dog,” to animal-rights organization PETA for use in a new video promoting its 2017 National “Adopt a Shelter Pet” Day campaign, which takes place this Sunday, April 30.

The initiative encourages people to head to a shelter to adopt a pet, something that PETA says will help curb the homeless animal crisis.

“A dog will love you unconditionally, whether you’re on top of the world or in the pits,” says Yusuf in a statement. “PETA and I encourage everyone to visit their local animal shelter today and open their heart and home to an animal in need.”

The touching video, which uses “I Love My Dog” as its soundtrack, shows a man adopting an older dog from a shelter and sharing quality time with the pooch — taking him for walks, petting him and lounging with him.

The clip then shows the owner bringing the dog to a veterinarian and discovering that he’s ill. Sadly, the dog passes away, but as the video comes to an end, the man is shown preparing to adopt another pooch from a shelter.

According to PETA, more than six million dogs and cats enter shelters in the U.S. every year, and unfortunately, half of them are euthanized because a good home can’t be found for them.

The organization is asking people to sign its online pledge to end animal homelessness.  You also can help the cause by never buying a dog or cat from a breeder or pet store.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Tune in to HBO on Saturday to watch 2017 Rock Hall induction ceremony with Journey, Yes, ELO, Pearl Jam and more

Kevin Kane; Kevin Mazur; Kevin Mazur/Courtesy of HBOThe 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony took place earlier this month in Brooklyn, New York, and now you can watch an HBO special featuring highlights from the extravaganza that premieres Saturday, April 29, at 8 p.m. ET. This year’s honorees included Journey, Yes, Electric Light Orchestra and Pearl Jam.

Here is a rundown of some of the ceremony’s key moments:

–Ex-Journey singer Steve Perry joined his former band mates to accept his induction, although he didn’t perform with them. With current frontman Arnel Pineda, Journey then performed “Separate Ways,” “Lights” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

–Yes was inducted by Rush’s Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson. Following speeches that included some off-color jokes by former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman, most of the band’s classic lineup reunited during the performance segment, which saw Lee filling in for late bassist Chris Squire.

–Electric Light Orchestra opened the ceremony with a cover of the late Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven.” The late George Harrison’s son, Dhani, inducted ELO. After speeches from frontman Jeff Lynne and founding singer/multi-instrumentalist Roy Wood, the band performed “Evil Woman” and “Mr. Blue Sky.”

–Huge Pearl Jam fan David Letterman inducted the grunge greats, filling in for an ailing Neil Young. The band’s performance featured “Alive” — with ex-member Dave Krusen manning the drums for the first time in 25 years — as well as “Given to Fly” and “Better Man.”

–This year’s other honorees were folk singer Joan Baez, late rapper Tupac Shakur and Chic’s Nile Rodgers who was inducted in conjunction with receiving the Rock Hall’s Award for Musical Excellence.

–The show also included a Prince tribute by Lenny Kravitz, and a finale featuring all the inductees jamming on a rendition of Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

John Mayer and Dave Chappelle ban cell phones from tonight’s joint San Francisco comedy show

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic(SAN FRANCISCO) — Buddies John Mayer and Dave Chappelle have appeared onstage together several times, and usually we find out about it because someone shares the cell phone video they shot.  Well, that’s not going to happen tonight when the two hit the stage together in San Francisco — because they’re going to lock up your phones when you walk in.

Tonight and tomorrow night at The Fillmore in San Francisco, John and Dave are staging something called Controlled Danger, described as “a comedy and music hybrid” that’s a “once-in-a-lifetime event hosted by two of the greatest creative minds working today.” 

What’s more, according to the event page on the venue’s website, if you attend, “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll have bragging rights amongst your friend group for weeks to come.”

However, the page notes that the shows are “a strict NO CELL PHONES ALLOWED” event.  When you show up, your phones and/or smart watches will be locked in special pouches that will be unlocked at the end of the show.  If you have an emergency, you can unlock your phone at a designated unlocking station, but barring that, if they catch you with an unlocked cellphone or device, they’ll throw you out.

“We appreciate your cooperation in creating a phone-free viewing experience,” adds the page.

By the way, tickets for this event cost $103 each, plus taxes and other charges.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

O-no: Oprah Winfrey encounters young kid who doesn’t know she’s Oprah

OWN – 2017(LOS ANGELES) — Oprah Winfrey just got a taste of humble pie from young child.

The OWN CEO shared her encounter with one of her staffers’ sons during “Take Your Child to Work Day” at her company’s headquarters in West Hollywood.

In Oprah’s Instagram video, the mogul asks if the child recognizes her.
“Your dad works here, right?” arguably one of the most recognizable people in the world asks the kid, adding, “[For] $10, what’s my name?”

It’s unclear if the boy was simply too starstruck to reply or really didn’t know who Winfrey was when she asked him, but the young child remains silent as Winfrey playfully prods him, saying: “10 seconds! C’mon…starts with an O!”

“How many O names are there? C’mon! Ophelia? … Oprah!,” she booms before giving the kid a high-five.
Apparently taking the moment in stride, Oprah captioned the video, “Hard to impress kids these days…#OWNKidsDay.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Trump’s supporters say he should be given more help, time, Pa.) — President Donald Trump’ supporters attended a rally with the president in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to celebrate the first 100 days of an administration that they believe is off to a solid start and urge critics to give him more time and help.

One such supporter, Valerie Schaeffer, told ABC News that “all of the executive orders that he’s managed to get signed” were one of the achievements she was happiest with.

She said that she is “disappointed that some of Congress isn’t working with him, but he’s still plugging on and going ahead and I think he’s doing great.”

Another supporter at the rally, who did not share his name, reiterated that sentiment.

“There are fundamental things he couldn’t achieve but let’s face it: the Democrats are determined to just shoot him down at every angle. In the face of all the opposition he has achieved a tremendous amount,” the man said.

Supporter Heather Frampton said that the blame shouldn’t be limited to Democrats.

“The thing I’m not excited about is everything that he’s trying to do where it’s sluggish, it’s sluggish not just by the Democratic party but the Republican party,” Frampton said. “He needs them behind him. United we stand, divided we fall, and if America cannot come together and join in unity we are never going to be making America great again.”

The atmosphere at tonight’s rally was reminiscent of earlier campaign rallies well before Trump won the election, with familiar chants and even some of the same music.

For supporter Brian Flook, Trump needs to be allowed some more time to fulfill more of those campaign promises that he touted both in the leadup to the election and through these first 100 days of his term.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day and you can’t fix the problems in 100. He’s just getting started,” Flook said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Dozens hospitalized after deadly tornadoes hit Texas

@SkySPOT97 / Micheal Lavender (DALLAS) — Dozens of people have been hospitalized after deadly tornadoes ripped through eastern parts of Texas.

At least five people were killed, the Canton Fire Department said at a press conference Saturday night.

According to the National Weather Service in Forth Worth, there was at least one tornado in Canton, one in Eustace, and one in Caney City. Canton, outside Dallas, saw the most severe damage after a twister went over Interstate 20, apparently hitting dozens of vehicles directly.

The extent of damage was not immediately clear. Jesse Moore, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Forth Worth, told ABC News that crews would be sent out Sunday morning to determine the EF scale damage.

Moore said the tornadoes were caused by a chain of storms moving northeast across East Texas, and on into northwestern Louisiana and southwestern Arkansas. The meteorologist warned residents in the state to stay alert.

“If a watch is issued for your area, stay tuned to the weather and if a warning is issued take immediate action to protect yourself and your family,” Moore said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

People’s Climate March draws massive crowd to Washington, D.C. on President Trump’s 100th day in office

Twitter/@AmyPerlmutter(WASHINGTON) — Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Washington D.C. on Saturday for the People’s Climate March, calling for climate action on President Donald Trump’s 100th day in office.

More than 150,000 people joined the march in Washington, according to organizers.

Organizers said the crowd size exceeded their expectations. The National Park Service issued the march a permit for 100,000 people, designating a space from 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, down 3rd Street and down Jefferson Avenue to 7th Street.

By 1 p.m., the march had clearly surpassed the space by more than a dozen blocks, organizers said.

“We’re blown away by the numbers,” People’s Climate Movement national coordinator Paul Getsos said in a statement Saturday.

Although the march is anchored in the U.S. capital, there were hundreds of sister marches happening in cities across the country and around the globe, including Geneva, Amsterdam and Lisbon.

The event stems from the historic People’s Climate March on September 21, 2014, the eve of the United Nations Climate Summit. The march, organized by the People’s Climate Movement, drew 400,000 people to the streets of New York City, demanding that global leaders act on climate change.

This year’s march coincides with Trump’s 100th day in office, though organizers said it was planned ahead of the U.S. presidential election. The event aims to pressure leaders to act on climate change while creating family-sustaining jobs, investing in front-line and indigenous communities and protecting workers who would be affected by the transition to a clean, renewable energy economy.

“This march grew out of the relationship building among some of the country’s most important progressive organizations and movements,” Getsos said in a statement Saturday. “There was a simple demand– act.

“Today’s actions are not for one day or one week or one year,” Getsos added.

In Washington, marchers gathered at Union Square near the Capitol at 12:30 p.m. ET before marching up Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House. The marchers plan to then encircle the White House, calling for action.

The crowds will reconvene at the Washington Monument grounds to listen to music and speakers from around the country, including an indigenous community leader from the Gulf Coast, an Iraq war veteran, a South Carolina pastor, a Muslim imam, a Las Vegas student and a nurse affected by Hurricane Sandy, according to organizers.

Celebrities, including Leonardo DiCaprio, were among those marching in Washington. The actor posted a photo on Twitter after the march with a caption saying, “Honored to join Indigenous leaders and native peoples as they fight for climate justice.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Cincinnati Bengals select embattled running back Joe Mixon with the 48th overall pick in the NFL Draft

iStock/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) — The Cincinnati Bengals selected Oklahoma Sooners running back Joe Mixon in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft with the 48th overall pick amid major character concerns.

Mixon was suspended for the entire 2014 college season when surveillance video showed him punching a woman at a deli, breaking four bones in her face. The video was released in December, more than two years after the incident occurred.

Mixon recently reached a civil settlement with the victim.

The Bengals met with Mixon at the NFL Combine in February and then hosted him in Cincinnati for an individual visit. Head coach Marvin Lewis says the team did “such a lot of work regarding Joe Mixon,” speaking to his former coaches and hearing Mixon’s own explanation of the incident.

While Lewis says he accepted what Mixon said, but added that he is “disgusted” by his actions.

Where or if Mixon would be selected was entirely unpredictable entering the draft. He was considered a first-round prospect before the video surfaced, excelling as a runner, pass-catcher, and pass protector during his time at Oklahoma.

However, teams shied away from the talented prospect following the release of the video. Speaking to the New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told the Boston Herald:

“While I believe in second chances and giving players an opportunity for redemption, I also believe that playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right. For me, personally, I believe that privilege is lost for men who have a history of abusing women.”

Other teams did not express reservations regarding Mixon as publicly as Kraft, but reports indicated teams were hesitant to pick him.

Following his selection, Mixon told reporters, “You know, I am still sitting here crying. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it… I am thankful and very honored to be a part of — to be a Cincinnati Bengal.”

He also discussed how the incident altered his perspective:

“It changed me a lot as a person, the way you think, the way you carry yourself, go about things. I’m going to continue to keep doing the right thing around the community, on and off the field. And I’m going to prove to them why they kept me. Leaving from Oklahoma, I still have their name, at the end of the day. I’m going to do whatever I can to make them proud and make them happy. I’m looking forward to doing that with the Cincinnati Bengals as well.”

Kim Gandy, the president and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, expressed to ESPN her concern that Mixon could have another outburst. She says while “it’s not so surprising that a team picks a violent person,” it is “disappointing.”

The Bengals have a history of adding talented players with checkered pasts to their roster. Cornerback Adam Jones, linebacker Vontaze Burfict, and former NFL player Odell Thurman are a few examples.

Mixon could slide into a starting role as Cincinnati continues to build its offense through early draft picks. The team selected wide receiver John Ross with the ninth pick in the draft.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Seahawks’ Russel Wilson and Ciara welcome first child together, Sienna Princess Wilson

FogStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Seattle Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson and Ciara have welcomed their first child together. The two are now parents to a daughter named Sienna Princess Wilson.

The singer, who wed Wilson last July, announced the news on Instagram.

 Beside a photo of Ciara looking out at the ocean, her caption read: “Dear Sienna Princess Wilson, No matter how big the wave, we will always be your calm in the storm. We Love You. Love, Mommy & Daddy.”

The caption also detailed baby Sienna’s birth, noting that she was born Friday at 7:03 p.m., weighing 7 pounds and 13 ounces.

 Ciara, 31, and Wilson, 28, revealed on the singer’s birthday last October that they were expecting.

The singer and the NFL quarterback got married last July, following a nearly four-month engagement. They were first linked last year and made headlines after they disclosed they were remaining abstinent until marriage.

This is the first child for Wilson and the second for Ciara, who has a 2-year-old son named Future from a previous relationship.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup — 4/28/17

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:

Boston   5  Chi Cubs   4


N-Y Yankees    14  Baltimore    11, 10 Innings
Tampa Bay       7  Toronto       4
Seattle         3  Cleveland     1
Chi White Sox   7  Detroit       3
L.A. Angels     6  Texas         3
Houston         9  Oakland       4
Minnesota       6  Kansas City   4

N-Y Mets        7  Washington     5
Pittsburgh     12  Miami          2
Atlanta        10  Milwaukee      8
St. Louis       7  Cincinnati     5
Colorado        3  Arizona        1
L.A. Dodgers    5  Philadelphia   3
San Francisco   4  San Diego      3

Washington     115  Atlanta   99
Boston         105  Chicago   83
L.A. Clippers   98  Utah      93

St. Louis   3  Nashville   2
Edmonton    2  Anaheim     1

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Pope Francis draws 15,000 to open-air mass in Egypt weeks after deadly attacks on country’s churches

Coptic Orthodox Church Of Alexandria / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(CAIRO) — Pope Francis drew a crowd of 15,000 to an open-air Mass in Egypt on his last day visiting the overwhelmingly Muslim nation, where Christians and their churches have been the target of recent attacks by Islamic militants.

Francis led the Mass on Saturday in Cairo at the country’s Air Defense Stadium, which has a capacity of 25,000. In his homily, Francis urged attendees to be good to their fellow Egyptians and not be hypocritical in their faith, saying “the only fanaticism believers can have is that of charity.”

It was Francis’ first papal visit to Egypt, where Catholics haven’t seen a pope on their soil since St. John Paul II visited in 2000.

Despite security concerns, the Catholic pontiff arrived at the military-run sports stadium in a blue Fiat, with his window rolled down. He then hopped into an open-topped golf cart and zoomed around to greet the crowd before the start of the mass.

Onlookers cheered him wildly, waving Holy See and Egyptian flags and swaying to the music of hymns.

Although Francis has eschewed the bullet-proof “pope-mobile” used by his predecessors on foreign trips, security was exceptionally tight around the stadium, with armed guards standing watch and helicopters hovering overhead.

Catholics constitute less than 1 percent of Egypt’s 92 million people. Copts are the largest Christian community, still only representing 10 percent of the majority-Muslim nation.

Egypt’s Coptic Christians have repeatedly been targeted in recent deadly attacks, including ones carried out by ISIS. Most recently, ISIS claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings during church services in the northern cities of Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday earlier this month. The double bombings, which killed at least 45 people, led Egypt’s president to declare a three-month state of emergency.

Attacks against Copts in the northern part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, the epicenter of the jihadist group’s brutal insurgency, have forced hundreds of families to flee the region and seek refuge elsewhere in the country.

At a cafe in Cairo, a 47-year-old Christian woman who identified herself as Nermine told ABC News it sent a strong message to all Egyptians that Francis “kept his promise” and still visited the country, despite the recent church bombings. She said the attacks haven’t stopped her from going to church.

“We need to learn and we need to move forward,” Nermine said in an interview Friday. “I went to church after Palm Sunday — the priest was praying for the bomber.”

Nermine told ABC News she personally doesn’t experience discrimination as an Egyptian Christian, but rather the contrary. She said her Muslim friends and colleagues were very apologetic and supportive after the bombings on Palm Sunday.

“I don’t feel different,” she said. “I feel part of their families, they feel part of mine. We engage in their Ramadan and feasts. They engage with us.”

Ibrahim Morgan, a parishioner at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Cairo, told ABC News he now worries about his family when they attend church and feels his Christian community is caught in the fight against Islamic extremism.

“I pray for my country, for my government that they win this battle,” Morgan said in an interview Friday. “We cannot afford to lose this battle.”

Morgan told ABC News he has faith in Francis, whom he called a “courageous” man.

“He is not afraid,” Morgan said. “He is a man of peace and he is willing to die for it. That is very courageous.”

After arriving in Cairo on Friday, Francis traveled to the presidential palace where he met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Next, the pontiff visited Al-Azhar University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the Sunni Muslim world, where he met with grand imam Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, according to the Vatican.

Francis also visited the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Church and met with its patriarch, Coptic Pope Tawadros II. The two leaders then presided over an ecumenical prayer service in St. Peter’s church in Cairo, the site of another suicide bombing claimed by ISIS, according to the Vatican. That attack in December killed dozens of Coptic worshipers during a Sunday mass.

Francis is scheduled to return to Vatican City later Saturday.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Russia flaunts Arctic expansion with new military bases

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Russia has launched a push to show off its growing military presence in the Arctic in the past two months, even inviting foreign journalists on a rare tour of one of its bases in the region.

The Alakurtti base, which ABC News and several other foreign media organizations were invited to see this week, is above the Arctic Circle, about 250 miles from the northern port Murmansk and on the border with Finland.

A Soviet-era base, surrounded by forest and around 8 foot of snow in April, Alakurtti was presented to foreign journalists as an example of Russia’s wider military expansion back into the Arctic.

The Soviet Union had deployed huge forces to the Arctic Circle as part of its strategic defenses; the peninsula on which Alakurtti is located is nicknamed the “unsinkable aircraft-carrier” because of the number of airbases there.

 But after the collapse of the USSR, the number of troops dropped steeply and many bases fell into disrepair.

Now, however, Russia is returning. In the past two years, Russia has launched a major effort to build up its military presence, constructing a string of new bases, as well as refurbishing Soviet ones and building up its communications infrastructure along its northern coast.

The reason is new: as ice around it recedes, uncovering resources and opening up shipping routes, the Arctic is emerging as a new arena for geopolitical competition. With the U.S. Geological Survey estimating 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its gas to be located there, jostling to claim the resources has already begun.

 But while other Arctic countries, including the United States, have only slowly begun to declare their interests in the region, Russia has rushed in.

“For the scale of what Russia is doing, it’s hard to find a comparison in any of the other Arctic states,” said Katarzyna Zysk, a visiting research fellow at the University of Oxford and an associate professor at the Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies who has researched Russian military policy in the Arctic.

The most impressive new base is a huge new facility on Franz Josef Land, an empty, ice-blasted archipelago jutting into the Arctic Sea. In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the base, known as the “Northern Shamrock,” which will house 150 personnel and host air defense units.

Russia is building three more bases in the Arctic, and says it is creating an air defense shield to cover much of the northern coast. A new “Arctic Brigade” has also been established at Alakurtti, the first of two planned.

 Many of the facilities are meant to have a dual-purpose in also serving as support infrastructure for the Northern Sea Route, a shipping passage that is predicted to become increasingly used as much of the Arctic becomes ice-free during summers by mid-century.

Russia is also paying serious political attention to staking its claim for the resources beneath the Arctic: it has submitted a claim to the U.N. that 460,000 square miles of ocean floor should be considered its territory.

But while the plans and some of the construction are already impressive, how significant the Russian build-up will be remains open to debate.

Some analysts have also puzzled over Russia’s motivations for the Arctic push, to what extent it reflects a genuine long-term strategy to shape the region or whether it’s ultimately primarily political posturing.

Pavel Baev, a research professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo, said that although the vision was clear, in reality the expansion appeared to make little sense now when Russia is enduring an economic crisis and beginning to make cuts in its military.

“It’s a luxury you can ill-afford,” Baev said.

 Some of the questions marks around Russia’s Arctic plans were illustrated by Alakurtti, the base that ABC News visited.

To some extent, Russia’s Arctic expansion is a rebranding exercise. The new Arctic Brigade at Alakurtti is partly carved out of an existing force at the base, which already hosts the 80th Motor Rifle Brigade.

The approaches to the base are a broken-down village and a cluster of peeling Soviet-era apartment blocks. The base itself has been impressively refurbished: new plastic cladding on the outside of the buildings. Inside, the canteen, classroom areas and living quarters the journalists were shown were spotlessly clean; one would be tempted to say virtually untouched, in fact.

Militarily, the base is also something of an outlier. Unlike the others, it cannot service the northern sea route. It’s only apparent military purpose, Baev said, could be a defense (or attack) against Finland.

“What was the point of this base was never convincingly explained,” said Baev, who believes there are signs that the second Arctic Brigade may now never materialize.

While useful for training forces in Arctic conditions, one of the base’s purposes, or at least the Arctic brigade’s presence there, seems to be symbolic, meant to telegraph Russia’s wider Arctic plans to its potential competitors and to impress the audience at home.

The mastering of the Arctic certainly plays well into the Kremlin’s narrative of Russia’s revival as a global power. Putin, a nature buff who heads the board of the Russian Geographical Society, also seems to have taken a personal interest in the region.

 But, professor Zysk said, the public relations benefits can’t explain the scale of the effort.

“It’s very expensive propaganda,” she said.

Russian military planners view the Arctic as a vulnerable area in the event of a conflict with the United States and NATO, she said. They also see real economic potential in establishing infrastructure that will facilitate shipping while accessing resources in the long-term.

Likewise, in the territorial disputes to come, Moscow appears to be preparing to negotiate from a position of strength. In Zysk’s opinion, Russian authorities consider the Arctic to be of real importance.

“In general there are good reasons to think that this investment Russian is making in the Arctic is irrational,” she said. “Everyone thinks that the Arctic is the last place that Russia should invest. And still Russia is doing it. I think it’s genuinely important for the Russian authorities.”

Some in the United States agree with them. The head of the U.S. Coast Guard, Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, has been calling for the United States to begin seriously boosting its capabilities in the Arctic and warning against leaving Russia’s expansion there unchallenged.

“When Russia put Sputnik in outer space, did we sit with our hands in pocket with great fascination and say, ‘Good for Mother Russia’?” Adm. Zukunft asked at a conference in Washington, D.C., in 2015.

In some ways, the analysts said, Russia is going into the Arctic now because it can. With the other Arctic powers — which also includes Canada, Sweden and Norway — largely absent, Russia can punch above its weight and later might already be too late, when the costs of competing could grow prohibitively high.

“Point is that the Arctic is probably the one region where Russia feels strong compared with the global powers,” professor Baev said. ”And feeling strong is a feel-good thing.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calls on UN Security Council to step up diplomatic, economic pressure on North Korea

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on member nations of the U.N. Security Council on Friday to step up their diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea after recent provocations from the rogue regime.

“We have said this before and it bears repeating; the policy of strategic patience is over,” Tillerson said during an open session on North Korea, adding it was time to “adopt a new approach.”

He proposed three actions for the 15 member nations to embrace: fully implement commitments regarding North Korea, including existing Security Council resolutions; suspend or downgrade diplomatic relations with North Korea; and increase North Korea’s financial isolation.

Regarding financial pressures, Tillerson, using an acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, called for “new sanctions on DPRK entities and individuals supporting its weapons and missile programs” and to “tighten those that are already in place.”

“The United States also would much prefer countries and people in question to own up to their lapses and correct their behavior themselves, but we will not hesitate to sanction third-country entities and individuals supporting the DPRK’s illegal activities,” Tillerson said.

He specifically highlighted the importance of China’s efforts, saying it alone has economic leverage over Pyongyang. China accounts for 90 percent of all trade conducted by North Korea.

“The U.S. and China have held very productive exchanges on this issue, and we look forward to further actions that build on what China has already done,” Tillerson said.

In an interview with Fox News on Friday, Tillerson said China had warned the North Korean government about conducting another nuclear test, saying it would take “sanctions actions of their own.”

While a negotiated solution is clearly the Trump administration’s preference, military action is still on the table. The United States is committed to defending itself and its allies from North Korean aggression, Tillerson said.

It’s a sentiment echoed by President Trump, who, in an interview with Reuters Thursday, warned of a possible “major conflict” with North Korea.

“There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” Trump said.

“We’d love to solve things diplomatically but it’s very difficult,” he added.

This week, the U.S. military is showing its full force in the region. The U.S. Navy conducted bilateral maritime exercises with South Korea and Japan.

On Tuesday, the USS Michigan, one of the Navy’s Ohio-class nuclear-powered guided missile submarines, arrived in the South Korean port of Busan — intended to send a message to North Korea, according to a U.S. defense official. The USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group will also arrive off the Korean Peninsula at the end of the month.

North Korea has launched five missile tests this year alone. The latest launch in mid-April, though assessed as a failure, came hours after North Korea rolled out intercontinental ballistic missiles and other military hardware at a big parade to celebrate the birthday of the country’s late founder, Kim Il Sung, a grandfather of Kim Jong Un.

The festivities took place amid concerns that North Korea is possibly preparing for its sixth nuclear test or a significant rocket launch, such as its first test flight of an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Win Country Music Fest tickets

The 101 number song of the day was a sequel to an earlier hit song for the duo that sang it – an interesting note about the duo…the male half was a constant through the years but there were seven different women who’ve played the other part…and they were all referred to by the same nickname! read more…

Win Country Music Festival tickets

Today’s 101 #1 Song of the Day was originally title “Once I Had Love” – the writers referred to it as “the disco song” – and they tried recording it between 1975 and 1978 as a ballad, as reggae, giving it a more pop feel – but nothing worked so they shelved it and later, when they met with a producer to start work on an album, they played all their other songs for the producer and at the end he asks “have you got anything else?” They sheepishly offered up “Once I had Love” and it would become a number one song. read more…

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