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Iraqi Forces Repel ISIS Counterattacks

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Marcio Silva/iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) — Iraqi forces were able to repel a number of ISIS attacks this week, despite the fact that much of the attention has been on the Iraqi attempt to retake the city of Tikrit from ISIS militants.

The U.S.-led coalition said Thursday that Iraqi Security Forces defeated four separate ISIS attacks on March 24. The attacks took place near Kisik, Kirkuk, Bayji and Habbaniyah. In the attack on Habbaniyah, the coalition says ISIS “unsuccessfully employed two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and 12 suicide bombers.” They were believe to have been attempting to retake a bridge.

The coalition says that ISIS gained no ground in their attacks. “The tables are turning,” Col. Wayne Marotto, coalition spokesman, said. “ISF is gaining ground and their capabilities continue to improve.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. agreed to begin offering support to Iraqi Security Forces in an effort to reclaim Tikrit from ISIS.


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Loyal Listeners Club

Iraqi Forces Repel ISIS Counterattacks

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

Marcio Silva/iStock/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) — Iraqi forces were able to repel a number of ISIS attacks this week, despite the fact that much of the attention has been on the Iraqi attempt to retake the city of Tikrit from ISIS militants.

The U.S.-led coalition said Thursday that Iraqi Security Forces defeated four separate ISIS attacks on March 24. The attacks took place near Kisik, Kirkuk, Bayji and Habbaniyah. In the attack on Habbaniyah, the coalition says ISIS “unsuccessfully employed two vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and 12 suicide bombers.” They were believe to have been attempting to retake a bridge.

The coalition says that ISIS gained no ground in their attacks. “The tables are turning,” Col. Wayne Marotto, coalition spokesman, said. “ISF is gaining ground and their capabilities continue to improve.”

On Wednesday, the U.S. agreed to begin offering support to Iraqi Security Forces in an effort to reclaim Tikrit from ISIS.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



Report: Colts Will Wait on New Deal for Chuck Pagano

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in Sports News

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) — According to a media report, the Indianapolis Colts and coach Chuck Pagano will not reach a deal on a contract extension before the season.

Two sources told NFL.com that the team will allow Pagano to see out the final year of the four-year contract he signed in 2012.

Indianapolis has made the playoffs in each of Pagano’s three seasons, going 11-5 last season and reaching the AFC Championship Game, where they lost to eventual Super Bowl champion New England 45-7.


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Song of The Day

Ringo Starr Says Beatles Could Have Reunited “If We Had Just Relaxed Behind It Long Enough”

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in Music News

Mark Seliger/Courtesy of Rolling StoneThis week, Ringo Starr will be featured on the cover of Rolling Stone by himself for the first time since 1981.  Among the topics the former Beatles drummer chatted with the magazine about are his sobriety, and why the Fab Four never reunited prior to John Lennon‘s death in 1980.

On the latter subject, the 74-year-old rock legend says he believes a reunion might have happened if he and his ex-band mates had been better at communicating with each other.

“With the [technology] you have now, I think we could have got it together,” he maintains.  “I think the stumbling block was just sitting around and saying, ‘OK, let’s do it.’  And we never got to that.  You know, we did in twos, we talked about it.  But I think if we had just relaxed behind it long enough, we still had the songs, and we still could play.  We could have put it together.”

Ringo also points out that had The Beatles reunited, they “could have done ‘A Day in the Life,'” a song they never performed live.  He adds, “Of course, it’s ended now.  John and George [Harrison] are gone.”

For many years following the band’s breakup, Starr was known for being a heavy partier, abusing both alcohol and drugs, but that changed in 1988 when he got clean and sober.  He tells Rolling Stone about his decision to give up his bad habits, “It gets really lonely, you know…It’s a miserable disease, in the end.  There’s a crowd of you, and it’s lonely.  Because that’s all you’re doing is getting f**ked, you know.  But I haven’t been that lonely since.”

The article also focuses on Ringo’s forthcoming induction as a solo artist into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame April 18, and how the honor came about thanks to his old band mate, Paul McCartney.  McCartney explains he decided to pull some strings after The Band‘s Robbie Robertson pointed out to him that late Beatles manager Brian Epstein had been inducted into the Rock Hall, but Starr hadn’t.   Sir Paul explains that he then spoke with Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl, who both agreed Starr deserved to be in the Rock Hall as a solo artist.  McCartney adds, “And I said I’d do the induction.  That took care of it.”

You can check out a video of Starr taking part in a photo shoot for the magazine at RollingStone.com.  The issue will be available Friday.



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49ers Waive OL Jonathan Martin

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in Sports News

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — The San Francisco 49ers released offensive lineman Jonathan Martin on Thursday, the team announced.

Martin spent one season in San Francisco, appearing in 15 games (nine starts) at right tackle.

Martin played at Stanford and was a 2012 second-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins, where he started all 16 games as a rookie.

In Martin’s second season with Miami, he left the team after a bullying controversy involving former teammate Richie Incognito. Martin played the first seven games but sat out the rest of the 2013 season, and then in the offseason the Dolphins traded him to the 49ers for a conditional seventh-round draft pick.


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Nugget of Knowldege

Kerry Washington Reveals She Live Tweeted ‘Scandal’ While in Labor

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in Entertainment News

ABC/Adam Taylor(NEW YORK) — Kerry Washington is super dedicated to her role as the star of Scandal and live tweets every episode of the hit ABC series.

In fact, the Emmy Award-nominated actress live tweeted while she was in labor last year.

“Every Thursday within three weeks of my [daughter’s] due date, I loaded up pre-tweets based on the episodes and what I would want to say. I tweeted in the very early stages of my labor,” she told Net-A-Porter’s The Edit magazine. “I figured that if I went completely silent on social media, then people would know I was in the hospital!”

Washington and her husband, former NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha, welcomed their first child, Isabelle Amarachi, in April 2014.

It almost sounds like something her character Olivia Pope might do as a political fixer. Still, Washington said the two have one big difference.

“A lot of therapy!” she quipped.

“In some ways, she’s so aspirational — you want to walk like her, dress like her, command attention like her and control a situation like her. In other ways, she’s a warning of what not to be,” Washington continued. “Not to say that I have it all together, but I think I have a little bit more awareness about my behavior patterns and I do the work it takes to get out of them.”

Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

ABC and ABCNews.com are owned by The Walt Disney Co.


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KISS’ Gene Simmons Accuses The Rolling Stones and U2 of Using Backing Tracks at Their Shows

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in Music News

Credit: Brian LoweEveryone knows that KISS offers up a lot of bells and whistles during its concerts, from pyrotechnics to lasers to fake blood, but Gene Simmons insists that there’s one thing the band’s shows won’t feature — backing tracks to augment the music.  In a new interview with Australia’s news.com.au, Simmons maintains that his group is among the only rock acts who don’t use pre-taped recordings to help fill out their live sound.

“There’s nobody with a synthesizer on our stage, there’s no samples on the drums, there’s nothing,” he declares.  “There’s very few bands who do that now — AC/DC, Metallica, us.  I can’t even say that about U2 or The [Rolling] Stones.”

Talking further about his aversion to the practice he claims is so common, Simmons says, “I have a problem when you charge $100 to see a live show and the artist uses backing tracks…It should be on every ticket — you’re paying $100, 30 to 50 percent of the show is [on] backing tracks and they’ll sing sometimes, sometimes they’ll lip synch.  At least be honest.”

Simmons, of course, isn’t known for holding his long tongue when it comes to sharing his opinions.  Last year, he upset quite a few rock fans when he declared during an interview published in Esquire that rock music was “finally dead.”

KISS recently announced plans to tour Australia this October.  Prior to that, the band is scheduled to embark on a South American trek in April, and also has a European outing lined up from late May to late June.


Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Pet of the Week

“Furious 7″ Features Touching Tribute to Paul Walker

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in Entertainment News

Photo by William Volcov/BrazilPhotoPress/LatinContent/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Fast & Furious fans should prepare to break out the Kleenex when the latest installment in the franchise, Furious 7, opens next Friday.

Tyrese Gibson, one of the film’s stars, said the film will end with a touching tribute to the late Paul Walker, who died off the set in a single-car accident in 2013 in the middle of filming.

“The tribute at the end is the most beautiful thing you’ll ever see,” the actor told HuffPost Live Wednesday. “All the things you love about Fast & Furious are in there, but this tribute is so touching, and necessary. The fans are really going to appreciate it.”

Star Vin Diesel, speaking to Variety earlier this week, said fans will be surprised by just how “emotionally powerful” the film is.

“We were successful in one-upping the action sequences, and adding an interesting dynamic to the world,” Diesel said. “But what the world won’t anticipate is how emotionally powerful the movie is.”

Diesel even went so far as to make a prediction: “Universal is going to have the biggest movie in history with this movie. It will probably win best picture at the Oscars, unless the Oscars don’t want to be relevant ever.”

Repeating his prediction, he added, “There is nothing that will ever come close to the power of this thing.”

After Walker’s tragic death, production halted for four months and resumed with Walker’s look-alike brothers Cody and Caleb helping to complete some of his scenes.

“Our first instinct was to quit and let it go,” Gibson told HuffPost Live, “but when his family said they were in support of us finishing the movie, we made everything about [Paul]. We finished it for our brother, and now it’s about celebrating his life.”

Furious 7 hits theaters April 3.


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Pope Francis Surprises Homeless Visitors During Private Vatican Tour

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in World News

neneos/iStock Editorial/Thinkstock(VATICAN CITY) — The Vatican opened its doors Thursday to the homeless of St. Peter’s Square, allowing the people who usually only see its steps outside to observe its beauty inside, and be greeted by Pope Francis himself.

A group of 150 homeless men and women took a guided tour of the museum and gardens and received dinner in the Vatican Museum’s cafeteria. They also were invited to pray in the Sistine Chapel, where the pope made an unannounced visit.

“This is everyone’s house: it’s your house. The door is always open for all,” Francis reportedly said as he shook their hands.

The Vatican says the pontiff spent 20 minutes with the visitors, meeting each one individually. He asked them to pray for him, saying, “I need prayers from people like you.”

“It was a great surprise meeting him,” said Graziella, one of the homeless visitors, to the Italian news agency ANSA. “The pope was smiling a lot but above all I was struck by his humility. Who else would have done this? Nobody. I always go to church but I have never experienced such humanity and humility.”

The tour passed the Casa Santa Marta, where Pope Francis chose to live instead of the stately Papal apartment, and included a stop at a recently opened room in the museum that houses the pope’s historical carriages.

The invitation is just one of a string of actions taken by the pontiff to reach out to the poor. To mark his birthday in December, Pope Francis had sleeping bags distributed to the homeless in and around St. Peter’s Square. In February, the Vatican built showers and hired barbers for the homeless around the square.

And in mid-June, Francis will lunch with some of Turin’s homeless on a visit there, the Vatican announced Wednesday.

Pope Francis’ outreach to the poor echoes one of the central messages of his papacy. “Do not be afraid to go and to bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent,” Francis said in 2013.

The Vatican has called on the homeless to help distribute gospels or prayer booklets to the faithful in the square on Sundays during the Pope’s noontime prayer.

The tour and dinner was organized by the Office of Papal Charities, which regularly distributes meals to the homeless who live in Rome.

The Vatican said Francis did not want any official photos or videos taken of the event.


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Crusin In Cruces

Boyfriend of Denise Huskins Says He Was Not Involved in a ‘Hoax’

Thursday, March 26th, 2015 by

Posted in National News

ABC News(VALLEJO, Calif.) — The boyfriend of a California woman who was reported abducted but found safe two days later said Thursday that he was not involved in a “hoax.”

“Our client has no responsibility for this kidnapping,” said the attorney for Anthony Quinn, the man from whose home the woman was allegedly abducted. “He is in terrible shape — mental and physical.”

Police in Vallejo, California, said on Wednesday they found “no evidence to support the claims” that Denise Huskins was abducted from a home there before she was found alive two days later and more than 400 miles away. The home from which Huskins, 29, was reportedly taken belongs to Quinn, 30.

Quinn’s attorney, Dan Russo, said Thursday that Quinn has “cooperated fully with the authorities,” including in a 17-hour interrogation and seven visits to the police station. Russo said there was more than one kidnapper, and that Quinn was drugged and bound.

“He was forced to drink something that even the kidnappers said was a drug,” Russo said.

Quinn’s attorney said they do not know why authorities are implying the incident is a “hoax.”

“Besides the fact that our client was used as a football, we still don’t want to jeopardize authorities’ attempt to put the [suspect] behind bars,” Russo said.

Quinn’s attorney said they don’t know where Huskins is and they instructed Quinn not to try to reach out to her, so he hasn’t, though he wanted to contact her when he learned she was discovered.

Huskins’ family said Quinn is the man who called 911 hours after her “abduction.” Vallejo Police Lt. Kenny Park said the two were dating.

Quinn has a “very good relationship with the woman who was kidnapped and his concern was that the woman was not killed or harmed,” Russo said, adding that neither person has “any drug or alcohol issues.”

“There seems to be a stream of blatant lies about our client, about the victim, and everything else that’s going on,” Russo said.

Police said that Quinn claimed whoever abducted Huskins made an $8,500 ransom demand.

“There is something very, very off about this investigation,” said Quinn’s attorney Amy Morton, adding that authorities have given “lies” to Morton and Russo.

“It’s important to note all the ransom notes were not directed to her parents or family, they were directed toward [Quinn],” Russo said.

Huskins, a physical therapist, was found in Huntington Beach, California, on Wednesday morning, police said. Her father, Mike Huskins, told ABC News that his daughter called him from Huntington Beach to say she was safe.

Huskins had promised through family members to speak with investigators, but as of late Wednesday they were unable to contact her or her family, police said, adding that she has since retained an attorney. Huskins could not be reached for comment by ABC News Thursday.

“All indications initially were that she would be cooperative with the investigation,” Park said during a news conference Wednesday night. But “as of right now, we have not heard from Ms. Huskins.”

The FBI, which assisted Vallejo police in its investigation, had arranged for an aircraft to bring her from Huntington Beach to Northern California for the interview, police said. But, detectives said Wednesday they don’t know where she is.

“There is no evidence to support the claims that this was a stranger abduction or an abduction at all,” read a statement from the Vallejo Police Department. “Given the facts that have been presented thus far, this event appears to be an orchestrated event and not a kidnapping.”

Huskins was reported missing at 1:55 p.m. Monday by what police described as a 30-year-old man who called to report the alleged kidnapping and claimed he witnessed it. Police previously said that Huskins was abducted from the home where she was staying in Vallejo hours earlier, at about 3:30 a.m.

The San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday reported it received an email the day before from an “anonymous person claiming to be holding Denise Huskins.”

The newspaper reported the email said that Huskins “will be returned safely [Wednesday]” and that “any advance on us or our associates will create a dangerous situation for Denise.”

The email was also reported to include an audio file of a woman identifying herself as Huskins who referred to Tuesday’s plane crash in southern France — ostensibly as a time marker for proof of life — and identified the first concert she had attended in her life, the name of a childhood friend she attended the concert with, and the name of the friend’s mother as proof of her identity.

“That was her. The tape recording was her. That I know. They said they were going to drop her off and they did,” Mike Huskins told the Chronicle after being played the audio recording. “I’m relieved. You have to expect the worst — but in my heart, I knew she was still alive.”

Police in Vallejo said they received the same email and audio file but did not confirm its contents.

Vallejo police said in its statement that it would request either state or federal charges “if evidence indicates that either Ms. Huskins or Mr. Quinn have committed a criminal act.”

“The Vallejo Police Department would like to ensure the public that there is no indication that this was a random act of violence,” police said in its statement.

More than 40 detectives from the local, state and police levels assisted in the investigation and search for Huskins, Park said.

“That is a tremendous amount of resources that in my opinion was wasted,” he said, adding that the search could be classified as a “wild goose chase.”

The investigation is ongoing and police are still trying to determine whether anyone else was involved, Park said. The FBI declined to comment and directed ABC News to Vallejo police.


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