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MUSIC NEWS

New Official Report Assesses The Beatles’ Economic Impact on Liverpool, UK

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesThe Beatles broke up more than 45 years but the band apparently is a gift that keeps giving to its hometown of Liverpool, England. A new study commissioned by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson and conducted collaboratively by Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Liverpool has determined that the Fab Four’s legacy annually contributes 89.1 million pounds, or about $118 million, to the local economy and supports 2,335 jobs.

According to the Liverpool Echo, the report gives suggestions on how the city can maintain and improve its Beatles-related attractions and encourage more interest in Liverpool as a tourist destination because of its connection to the famous band. The newspaper reveals that researchers spent six months gathering data for the report through interviews with business owners and employees involved in the Beatles industry, as well as representatives of the group’s Apple Corps company.

The report’s lead author, Professor Simeon Yates, said in a statement that it “clearly indicates the importance of The Beatles as a cultural and economic resource to the city of Liverpool.” He added, “In all the interviews we conducted, there was a strong belief that the city would go on attracting visitors through its Beatles connection long into the future,” while noting that Liverpool “needs to maintain standards in its efforts to promote this legacy.”

Among the report’s findings is that the Beatles-related economy is seeing annual growth of between five and 15 percent, and that most visitors to Liverpool showing interest in the band come from U.S. and Europe, although an increase of Chinese and Brazilian tourists has been noted. The report also observes that a citywide strategy focusing on Beatles-themed tourism is lacking, as is cooperation between the most popular Fab Four-related attractions in the city.

You can read the full 40-plus-page report at CultureLiverpool.co.uk.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Grateful Dead Spinoff Group Dead & Company Announces US Summer Tour

Credit: Danny ClinchAfter recently confirming an appearance at the 2016 Bonnaroo festival in early June, the Grateful Dead spinoff group Dead & Company has announced a series of U.S. summer tour dates running from a June 10 show in Charlotte, North Carolina, through a July 15-16 engagement at Fenway Park in Boston. The band, which includes Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, as well as pop-blues singer/guitarist John Mayer, also will play two-night stands in New York City; Boulder, Colorado; and East Troy, Wisconsin.

Other cities Dead & Company will visit during the trek include Cincinnati, Detroit and Pittsburgh. Rounding out the group’s lineup is ex-Allman Brothers Band bassist Oteil Burbridge and RatDog keyboardist Jeff Chimenti, the latter of whom also played with The Grateful Dead at its 2015 “Fare Thee Well” concerts.

Tickets for most of the newly announced shows will go on sale to the general public on Friday, February 12, at 10 a.m. local time via LiveNation.com, while pre-sale tickets will be available starting Tuesday, February 9, at 10 a.m. For ticketing information about all of Dead & Company’s concerts, visit DeadandCompany.com.

As previously reported, the band will play two sets at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, which takes place June 9 through June 12 in Manchester, Tennessee. The exact dates Dead & Company will perform at the fest haven’t been revealed yet.

In other news, Dead & Company will give its first late night television performance on the February 18 episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, which airs on NBC at 11:35 p.m. ET/10:35 p.m. CT.

Here is Dead & Company’s full list of confirmed 2016 U.S. tour dates:

6/9-12 — Manchester, TN, Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (two sets)*
6/10 — Charlotte, NC, PNC Music Pavilion
6/16 — Cincinnati, OH, Riverbend Music Center
6/17 — Noblesville, IN, Klipsch Music Center
6/20 — Camden, NJ, BB&T Pavilion
6/21 — Saratoga Springs, NY, Saratoga Performing Arts Center
6/23 — Bristow, VA, Jiffy Lube Live
6/25 — New York City, NY, Citi Field
6/26 — New York City, NY, Citi Field
6/28 — Hartford, CT, Xfinity Theatre
7/2 — Boulder, CO, Folsom Field
7/3 — Boulder, CO, Folsom Field
7/7 — Detroit, MI, DTE Energy Music Theatre
7/9 — East Troy, WI, Alpine Valley Music Theatre
7/10 — East Troy, WI, Alpine Valley Music Theatre
7/13 — Pittsburgh, PA, First Niagara Pavilion
7/15 — Boston, MA, Fenway Park
7/16 — Boston, MA, Fenway Park

* = exact dates the band is playing haven’t been announced.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hollywood Vampires Supergroup to Headline Wisconsin’s Rock Fest in July

Credit: Ross HalfinHollywood Vampires, the hard-rock supergroup featuring Alice Cooper, Aerosmith‘s Joe Perry and actor Johnny Depp, have confirmed their first U.S. concert of the year, a headlining performance at the 2016 Rock Fest in Cadott, Wisconsin. The festival is scheduled for July 14-16, although the exact date of Hollywood Vampires’ performance hasn’t been revealed yet.

Other artists on the bill include Alice in Chains, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Queensryche, Scott Stapp, Five Finger Death Punch, Breaking Benjamin, Kix, Skillet and Bullet for My Valentine, among many others. Visit Rock-Fest.com for the full lineup and ticket info.

Meanwhile, Hollywood Vampires have revealed official details about the deluxe digital version of their 2015 self-titled debut album that will be released on Friday, February 12. The expanded collection will feature three bonus tracks — covers of The Who‘s “I’m a Boy” and Love‘s “7 and 7 Is,” and the original song “Bad as I Am,” which was co-written by The deluxe version includes the scorching new single “Bad As I Am” an original song penned by Depp, Cooper guitarist Tommy Henriksen and Johnny’s longtime collaborator Bruce Witkin.

As previously reported, the Hollywood Vampires album was an all-star project Cooper co-organized as a tribute to various now-dead rock stars who he used to drink with in Los Angeles early in his career. The record is made up mostly of classic cover tunes and features contributions from a jaw-dropping lineup of musicians that, in addition to Cooper, Perry and Depp, include Paul McCartney, AC/DC‘s Brian Johnson, Joe Walsh, Slash, The DoorsRobby Krieger, Dave Grohl and Perry Farrell.

Hollywood Vampires will make their TV debut at the 58th annual Grammy Awards ceremony, which airs February 15 on CBS. The band will feature a lineup that includes Cooper, Perry, Depp, Henriksen, Witkin and Guns N’ Roses alums Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum, and reportedly will pay tribute to late Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

President Obama to Appear on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”

James Devaney/GC Images(NEW YORK) — President Obama will want to pack his dancing shoes for his trip to California this week, as he is set to make a special in-studio appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Friday, February 12.

The announcement was sent out through Ellen DeGeneres’ Twitter account, including a joke that the president would be participating in a game of “Never Have I Ever” with the host.

The taped appearance will be the first time a sitting president appears in studio on the show. Obama was last interviewed in 2014 by Ellen DeGeneres in a two-way camera interview from the White House, where he promoted enrollment in the Affordable Care Act and joked about how DeGeneres broke his “retweet” record.

But his 2007 appearance on the show as he was campaigning for president was arguably the most playful — as he entered the studio dancing to Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love.” 

His wife, first lady Michelle Obama, followed up with a dance-filled performance of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” in March of last year to highlight her “Let’s Move” fitness campaign.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

“black-ish,” “Empire” Winners at NAACP Image Awards

“black-ish” star Anthony Anderson; ABC/Bob D’Amico(PASADENA, Calif.) — ABC’s black-ish and the Fox drama Empire won major awards Friday night at the 47th NAACP Image Awards, held Friday night in Pasadena, California.

black-ish was named outstanding comedy series, while stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross received acting prizes.

Anderson was the host of the ceremony.

Empire earned the award for outstanding drama series, and stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson were honored for their performances on the show.

On the movie side, Straight Outta Compton and Creed were among the winners.

A complete list of winners is available on NAACPImageAwards.net. Here are the winners in the major categories:

Outstanding Comedy Series
black-ish (ABC)

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series 
Anthony Anderson – black-ish (ABC)

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series 
Tracee Ellis Ross – black-ish (ABC)

Outstanding Drama Series
Empire (FOX)

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Terrence Howard – Empire (FOX)

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
Taraji P. Henson – Empire (FOX)

Outstanding Motion Picture
Straight Outta Compton

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
Michael B. Jordan – Creed

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Sanaa Lathan – The Perfect Guy

Entertainer of the Year
Michael B. Jordan

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

“Taxi Driver” Turns 40 Today

Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Monday, February 8 marks 40 years since Taxi Driver first hit theaters, grabbing us by the throat and dragging us into lead character Travis Bickle’s dark, twisted world.

The film, which starred Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel, was an instant classic, the 12th-highest-grossing movie of 1976.  It earned four Academy Award nominations and won the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious Palme d’Or.  It also established the careers of director Martin Scorsese and star De Niro, and cemented their on-screen partnership, which continues to this day.

Taxi Driver not only changed the movies, it changed history.  Here are five ways:

1. Taxi Driver established director Scorsese, then 33, as Hollywood’s premier auteur, whose influence would be later felt by a new generation of filmmakers like Spike Lee and Quentin Tarantino.

2. Coming off his Oscar win for The Godfather: Part II, De Niro turned down half-million dollar offers to star in Taxi Driver, his second collaboration with Scorsese, after 1973’s Mean Streets. It sealed his reputation as one of Hollywood’s greatest actors, while the character he embodied, Travis Bickle, became a cinema classic.

3. Bickle’s memorable line — “You talkin’ to me?” — became one of film’s most recognized and is included in the top 10 most famous movie lines by the American Film Institute. Screenwriter Paul Schrader later said, “It’s the best thing in the movie, and I didn’t write it.” De Niro, who improvised the entire monologue that included that famous line, borrowed it from Bruce Springsteen, whom he’d seen perform in Greenwich Village just days earlier.

4. Scorsese’s portrait of New York City in 1976 was dark, cramped and filled with garbage — the latter of which, it turns out, was real. In the summer of 1975, when he shot Taxi Driver, a sanitation workers’ strike left garbage piled on the streets and sidewalks. The film, Scorsese’s farewell to his hometown, also signaled the end of an era in New York. The Checker cabs, grimy neighborhoods and Times Square of the movie no longer exist.

5. Schrader’s script was inspired in part by the failed political assassination of presidential hopeful George Wallace in 1972. In the film, Bickle plots to assassinate presidential candidate Senator Charles Palantine after he’s rebuffed by Palantine’s campaign volunteer, Betsy, played by Cybill Shepherd. Five years later, John Hinckley, Jr., who was fixated on the film and its star Jodie Foster, mimicked Bickle’s Mohawk-wearing  appearance from the film and attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. White House Press Secretary James Brady was shot in the head in the attack and left severely disabled.  Hinckley was found not guilty of the shooting by reason of insanity and remains under institutional psychiatric care.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

NATIONAL NEWS

Murder Suspect in Custody After Mistaken Release in Los Angeles

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — An alleged murder suspect, who was mistakenly let out of jail last week in Los Angeles, was caught in Nevada on Monday.

According to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Steven Lawrence Wright was taken into custody without incident at a hotel in Boulder City, Nevada after “numerous tips from the public.”

The 47-year-old was accidentally released from the Inmate Reception Center in downton Los Angeles on January 30, and the Sheriff’s Department said they were not aware of his release until later the next day. Officials offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.

Wright was originally arrested by the Pasadena Police Department in April 2011 and was pending trial for a gang-related murder in Pasadena earlier that year. He was found guilty of the murder in 2014, but a judge ruled the trial wasn’t fair, according to ABC News affiliate KABC-TV. Next month, the alleged murder suspect is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in a new murder trial, KABC-TV reports.

The Sheriff’s Department said Wright would not face any additional charges for the release.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

DA in Cornell Sex Assault Case Condemns Underage Drinking Culture on Campuses

Tompkins County Jail(ITHACA, N.Y.) — The district attorney prosecuting a Cornell University fraternity president accused of attempted rape and sexual abuse blamed schools in general for “turning a blind eye” to the subject of underage drinking in connection with sexual assault on college campuses.

Wolfgang Ballinger, 21, a member of Psi Upsilon’s Chi Chapter at Cornell, was booked into Tompkins County, New York, Jail Thursday after a female student reported that she was sexually assaulted at the fraternity house, according to university police. Ballinger has served as president of the chapter, Psi Upsilon Executive Director Thomas Fox told ABC News.

The young woman, who is not being identified, reported the alleged incident to police on Jan. 31, telling authorities that she was sexually assaulted in a bedroom at the frat house at approximately 2 a.m. that day. She helped identify Ballinger as the alleged perpetrator, the Cornell University Police Department said.

“What I see over and over again … is the underage drinking on campuses that so often create an environment where violence, sexual assault and other things that happen in a thoughtless moment ruin people’s lives forever,” Tompkins County District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson told ABC News Monday.

While Wilkinson said not all sexual assaults are “done by somebody under the influence of alcohol,” she added that she considers alcohol to be “probably one of the largest contributing factors.”

“If college campuses would stop permitting, or turning a blind eye, or not enforcing underage drinking, I think we would see a very different picture,” Wilkinson said.

Ballinger is of legal drinking age.

Cornell declined to respond to the district attorney’s comments.

At the request of the police through his attorney, Ballinger turned himself in to Cornell University Police investigators on Thursday. He was charged with first-degree attempted rape, first-degree criminal sexual act and first-degree sexual abuse, university police said. Ballinger has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Ballinger’s attorney, James Baker, declined to be interviewed Monday, but told ABC News in a statement Saturday that Ballinger did not commit the crimes of which he is accused. “His innocence will be established at the proper time and in the proper place – which is in the courts, not in the media,” Baker said.

Cornell’s Office of Fraternities, Sororities and Independent Living said, as of Feb. 1, Psi Upsilon was placed “on interim suspension status as a result of alleged sexual misconduct” at the fraternity house.

“Interim suspension is a pause in the operations of a chapter during which the chapter may not engage in any activities other than operation of its residence,” the statement said.

Psi Upsilon Fraternity’s national organization said Friday that all activity at the Cornell chapter is suspended and the fraternity is cooperating with Cornell University during its investigation. Fraternity staff members are also traveling to Ithaca to help.

“Sexual assault, and any form of sexual harassment, is against our policy and in opposition of the values of Psi Upsilon,” Psi Upsilon Executive Director Thomas Fox said. “Our chapter is cooperating with Cornell’s investigation into this matter and any members involved will be held accountable. The Chi Chapter at Cornell has a distinguished history with the University and we are committed to continuing to be a benefit to Cornell and the Ithaca Community.”

Cornell University President Elizabeth Garrett said in a statement: “I am deeply disturbed by the allegations of sexual assault involving the president of Psi Upsilon. Sexual violence has no place at Cornell, and if these allegations are substantiated, those involved will be held accountable.”

“When we were notified of these allegations on Monday, February 1, Psi Upsilon was immediately placed on interim suspension pending the conclusion of a full investigation,” Garrett said. “Although I applaud the swift actions of the Interfraternity Council (IFC) to mandate additional training for its members, we will be considering what additional steps should be taken to ensure the Greek community at Cornell is living up to our institutional standard of excellence and respect for others.”

Ballinger was booked at the Tompkins County Jail Thursday in lieu of $25,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond, Cornell University Police said.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 11 a.m. in Ithaca City Court.

Wilkinson said that she’s confident about the strength of the prosecution’s case going into tomorrow’s hearing.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Veteran Says He is ‘ISIS Solider,’ Calls Bin Laden ‘Beautiful Man,’ Officials Say

iStock/Thinkstock(BELLINGHAM, Wash.) — The FBI has arrested a former member of the Army on weapons charges after he allegedly expressed sympathy for ISIS, called Osama bin Laden “a beautiful man” and said the murder of government agents was “a hundred percent obligation,” according to court documents filed in a Washington state federal court.

“I consider myself an ISIS soldier as much as the brothers over there,” Daniel Seth Franey, who served six years in the Army, beginning in 2002, allegedly told an undercover FBI agent. Court documents say he claims to have “deserted” military service, an assertion that the complaint says Department of Defense records back up.

In April 2015, police were told that Franey had been expressing his support for ISIS and wanted to go overseas to “join the fight” or kill Americans at home, the court documents claim.

The FBI then sent in the undercover agent, posing as an underground gun dealer. During their first meeting, Franey described ISIS as “the best people on Earth” and he called Osama bin Laden “a diamond” and “a beautiful man,” according to the FBI.

Over the next several months, Franey continued to express his support for ISIS and his desire to kill police and “deal with a few judges, and deal with a few bankers, and deal with a few politicians and D.A.s…[and] the Secretary of Defense,” according to the FBI.

As part of the investigation, Franey and the undercover agent took several trips out of state to supposedly deliver guns to black-market buyers — and Franey repeatedly asked the undercover agent to obtain guns for him, the charging documents say.

Under a permanent court order, Franey was barred from being in possessions of any guns, but he was with guns on the delivery trips, officials say. On one such trip, he even fired an AR-15 and an AK-47 himself, the FBI says.

In one conversation, Franey allegedly told the undercover agent he wanted to target the military: “I think if there’s a unit, you know, from the Marines and the Army getting ready to ship out, they should be hit. I think if there’s the airbase, a command and control center, they should be hit…. I would love to go hit a Marine unit before they went out.”

He allegedly continued: “[W]ith a couple of tools, you’d be very effective. .. And when you pull the trigger, your objective is to drop somebody.”

Franey has lived in Western Washington for the past three years, occasionally working as a commercial fisherman.

He faces weapons and machine gun possession charges and he was due in court Monday afternoon.

It was not clear if he is being represented.

The case is being prosecuted by a division of the U.S. Attorney General’s office, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes investigators from federal, state, and local law enforcement.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

SPORTS NEWS

Super Bowl MVP Von Miller Offers Advice to Former Teammate Johnny Manziel

Patrick Smith/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Von Miller is rooting for Johnny Manziel.

After the game on Sunday night, the Super Bowl 50 MVP posted a message on Instagram along with a photo of former Texas A&M teammate Manziel.

“I Love you fam! Grind, get back to Johnny all the ags know and love, Grind bro, 2yrs ago they counted me out, 2yrs frm now you can do the same!! Support no matter what! #love @jmanziel2,” the message said.

Manziel, the Cleveland Browns quarterback who has been involved in a number of domestic abuse allegations and is currently being investigated by Dallas police, posted his own message for Miller– a picture of Miller from Sunday night’s win with the message “Champ.”

According to ESPN, Miller also told TV cameras after the game, “Hey, Johnny Man, I know it’s a hard time. I’ve been in the same situation. I’m here with you, buddy. Keep grinding, and you, too, can be here in two more years. I love you.”

Miller was referring to his NFL six-game suspension in 2013 for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

ESPN reports that Manziel could be released from the Browns in March after two rocky seasons both on the field and off.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Colleen Crowley’s Lawyer Says Johnny Manziel Ruptured Her Eardrum

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(DALLAS) — More details are coming out of the Dallas criminal investigation into an alleged assault involving Johnny Manziel and his former girlfriend.

Kathy Kinser, the attorney for Manziel’s ex-girfriend Colleen Crowley, told Dallas-Fort Worth television station NBC5 on Monday that the quarterback hit her so hard he ruptured her left eardrum, ESPN reports.

Dallas police opened the investigation into the Cleveland Browns quarterback on Friday after they “received a complaint of a domestic violence assault that occurred in Dallas on January 30, 2016.”

A protective order was signed by a judge on that day that ordered the quarterback to stay away from his ex-girlfriend for two years.

According to ESPN, Dallas police said Monday they had no new information in the investigation.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

WWE Wrestler Daniel Bryan to Retire

Valerie Macon/Getty Images)(NEW YORK) — Former WWE champion and professional wrestling star Daniel Bryan is retiring.

“Due to medical reasons, effective immediately, I am announcing my retirement. Tonight on Raw, I’ll have a chance to elaborate. #gratitude,” he tweeted on Monday.

The 34-year-old, born Bryan Lloyd Danielson, is a former heavyweight champion who got his big break on the WWE show “NXT.” He first won the U.S. Championship in 2010, followed by other belts and honors, including the 2013 Superstar of the Year Slammy Award.

Bryan was also known for his relationship and marriage to fellow WWE star Brie Bella, which was featured on the show “Total Divas.” Bryan started to withdraw from matches in 2014 due to injury.

According to WWE.com, Bryan is retiring from “in-ring competition.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

WORLD NEWS

North Korean Satellite Tumbling In Orbit, Rendering It Useless

iStock/Thinkstock(PYONGYANG, North Korea) — The North Korean satellite launched this weekend is tumbling in orbit, rendering it useless, just like another one of the country’s satellites launched in December, 2012.

A U.S. official told ABC News that while the Unha 3 rocket was able to get its payload into orbit, it has been tumbling ever since. While the North Korean satellite may not work, the U.S. official said North Korea considers the launch to have been a success because the payload reached orbit. That is of most concern, said the official, since the same technology used to get a payload into orbit is the same needed for a nuclear armed intercontinental ballistic missile to reach the continental United States.

The Joint Space Operations Center (JSPOC) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California has been tracking the North Korean satellite as well as a rocket booster stage that has also gone into orbit.

Both objects have been given catalog identification numbers and have been added to U.S. Strategic Command’s satellite catalog on the public website Space-Track.org.

According to Space Command “The object with NORAD catalog identification number 41332 is KMS-4, the payload (satellite). The object with NORAD catalog identification number 41333 is UNHA 3 R/B, the rocket body.”

“These objects are in a nearly circular orbit, essentially over the poles” at a rotation at a 97.5 degree angle from the Earth’s equator.

The tumbling orbit will make the payload re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere faster than a satellite in earth orbit. But that could take some years as JSPOC continues tracking the payload and three debris items from North Korea’s December, 2012 missile launch.

That payload has also been tumbling since its launch and no transmission signals have ever been detected coming from the satellite despite North Korean claims to the contrary.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wife of ISIS Figure Charged in American Woman Kayla Mueller’s Death

Courtesy Mueller Family (WASHINGTON) — The U.S. Department of Justice charged the wife of a top ISIS leader on Monday for her role in a “conspiracy” that led to the death of American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who was reported killed by the terror group in Syria a year ago.

It was unclear Monday night whether the U.S. was expecting to take custody of Nasrin As’ad Ibrahim, known as “Umm Sayyaf.” American forces had originally captured Sayyaf, who is accused of being the “sole” individual “responsible” for Mueller, in a May 2015 but was handed her over to the Kurdish government in August.

Sayyaf was the wife of ISIS’s oil and gas “emir,” or chief, Abu Sayyaf, a Tunisian who U.S. officials say oversaw the terror group’s sales of illicit fossil fuels to fund the ISIS war machine.

Kayla Mueller, 26, of Prescott, Arizona, was a committed humanitarian aid worker captured in Aleppo, Syria, and held for 17 months as a hostage with other Westerners. In the fall of 2014, she was personally selected by ISIS “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to be his personal hostage against her will, family and counter-terrorism sources have said.

For several months, Mueller was believed held by the Sayyafs in their homes in Syria and visited by Baghdadi, who repeatedly raped her, her anguished parents Carl and Marsha Mueller said.

“We were told Kayla was tortured, that she was the property of al-Baghdadi. We were told that in June by the government,” Marsha Mueller told ABC News in August.

The Justice Department on Monday alleged that Umm Sayyaf has admitted to the FBI that al-Baghdadi “owned” Mueller during her captivity at the Sayyaf compound and “admitted that ‘owning’ is equivalent to slavery.”

Mueller was captured in a vehicle on a road in Aleppo, which the humanitarian medical group Medicines San Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) has said happened while she was traveling with several of their staff, one of whom was an MSF contractor who had asked her to assist him in a trip to an MSF hospital.

The MSF contractor later tried to rescue her by telling ISIS she was his wife — but Mueller had already told the terrorists holding her that she was not married and feared the consequences of lying to them, another close confidante of Kayla’s told ABC News.

Mueller was held captive with, but at times segregated from, a group of American, British and European hostages held at an old oil refinery site south of ISIS’s de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria.

The U.S. Army’s elite unit Delta Force attempted a rescue mission in the area in July 2014 but the hostages had been moved just days before the counter-terror squad moved in, U.S. officials said.

One by one, the western hostages were beheaded beginning in August on video by ISIS “executioner” Mohammed Emwazi, dubbed “Jihad John.” But Kayla Mueller was never shown on video or publicly threatened.

But in February 2015, ISIS claimed she had been accidentally killed by a Jordanian airstrike. U.S. officials denied that there had even been any Jordanian airstrikes that day, and some vowed to find Abu Sayyaf and bring him to justice in a lower Manhattan federal court where many terrorists have been tried and convicted.

That opportunity came for Delta on May 15 in a ground force operation against a house in Syria, the White House said in an announcement afterward. As Sayyaf’s guards tried to hide from the American commandos, they all were killed. The Delta operators then killed Abu Sayyaf “when he engaged U.S. forces,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said.

Umm Sayyaf, his wife, was captured alive and one Yazidi girl was rescued. The wife of the Tunisian senior ISIS leader was grilled for weeks by the FBI-led High Value Interrogation Group and she quickly confirmed that Mueller had been held prisoner in their household for Baghdadi, who had raped her, counter-terrorism sources told ABC News. Some intelligence prior to Umm Sayyaf’s interrogation had assessed that Abu Sayyaf held her and had taken the American hostage as his own forced “wife,” but it became apparent that he had actually kept her as a captive for his leader.

Last August, the U.S. turned Umm Sayyaf over to the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Interior, the Defense Department announced. “The decision to transfer Umm Sayyaf to the Iraqi government was based on the U.S. government determination that the detainee’s transfer would be appropriate with respect to legal, diplomatic, intelligence, security, and law enforcement considerations,” the DOD statement said.

“The charges filed today allege that Umm Sayyaf and others conspired to provide material support to ISIL and that this conspiracy resulted in the death of Kayla Jean Mueller,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin in a statement Monday. “Sayyaf is currently in Iraqi custody for her terrorism-related activities. We fully support the Iraqi prosecution of Sayyaf and will continue to work with the authorities there to pursue our shared goal of holding Sayyaf accountable for her crimes. At the same time, these charges reflect that the U.S. justice system remains a powerful tool to bring to bear against those who harm our citizens abroad. We will continue to pursue justice for Kayla and for all American victims of terrorism.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Giant Rabbit From Scotland Looking for a Home

SPCA(GLASGOW, Scotland) — A rabbit in Scotland is looking for a home, but it might need a little more space than just a cage on a table.

The Scottish SPCA center in Glasgow has a 7-month-old continental giant rabbit up for adoption. The rabbit, Atlas, is already about the size of a Westie dog and is still expected to grow, according to a February 8 press release from the Scottish SPCA.

Atlas is not only the same size as a dog, but acts like one too, being “a very friendly rabbit who loves attention and getting cuddles,” Anna O’Donnell, SPCA center manager, said in the press release.

“Atlas is also an inquisitive boy who makes everyone laugh with his mischievous character,” she added.

The center’s Facebook page posted they are looking for someone who could provide the specific needs of Atlas, since he will need more space than the typical rabbit.

“Atlas needs an owner with the knowledge to properly care for him, so ideally someone who has kept a continental giant before,” O’Donnell said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Win a Movado Salon Spa Treatment!

Today’s 101 #1 Song of The Day was inspired by a hit from down under…called “Eagle Rock” by a band called Daddy Cool and the writer says he wanted it to represent everything he grew up with…but that got him into a little trouble… read more…

Win a Movado Salon Treatment!

The 101 Number one song of the day was written for a specific scene in a movie but it wasn’t at all what the producer had requested.  The writers refused to change the song so the producer changed the movie and they both would be big hits… read more…

Win a Movado Salon treatment!

Today’s 101 #1 Song of the Day belongs to artists that were knocked from the top of the Billboard chart by Olivia Newton John’s “Physical”…but they came back with another single that would dethrone John after 10 weeks at number one. read more…

Win a Movado Salon treatment!

The 101 number one song of the day comes from a man whose best years seemed to be behind him in 1962 when he reached number one.  It took Elton John to get him back to the top.  read more…

Win a Movado Salon treatment!

The 101 number one song of the day was recorded by a group whose manager was told repeatedly by record company executives that they just wouldn’t make it in this country. He persisted and proved them wrong – very wrong. read more…