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Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander to make Broadway debut in classical/rock mashup musical “Rocktopia”

Courtesy of Rocktopia; Danny McClisterCheap Trick frontman Robin Zander has signed on to make an appearance as a featured singer next month in the just-launched Broadway production Rocktopia, which combines classic rock with classical music.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s stint with the show will run from April 23 to April 29, and will mark his Broadway debut.

Rocktopia features a variety of accomplished vocalists performing with a 20-piece orchestra, a rock band and a 40-person choir, and the repertoire includes songs by Journey, Queen, U2, Aerosmith, Heart, Led Zeppelin and The Who, as well as classical works from the likes of Mozart, Handel, Tchaikovsky, and Beethoven. Fans also can expect Zander to sing at least one classic Cheap Trick tune during his stint.

Train singer Pat Monahan is currently the featured guest singer in Rocktopia through the show’s April 8 performance. The production’s six week run began Tuesday, March 20, at New York’s Broadway Theater, with its official opening scheduled for March 27. It winds down on April 29, which also will be Zander’s last performance.

Tickets for Rocktopia are on sale now via

As previously reported, Zander and Cheap Trick will be teaming up with Poison for a North American tour that kicks off May 18 in Irvine, California. Visit to check out the band’s full itinerary.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Report: Roger Daltrey rakes in $1 million to play at California doctor’s 60th birthday party

ABC/Rick CartwrightRoger Daltrey helped make a California doctor’s 60th birthday an extremely special one, when the Who singer and his solo band played Saturday at a party for the pain-medicine specialist, TMZ reports.

According to the tabloid website, Dr. Craig Flashner, who owns more than 500 nursing homes across the U.S., paid a cool million dollars to have Roger rock out at his bash. A video clip posted on TMZ from the party shows Daltrey onstage singing “My Generation” as Dr. Flashner helps out with backing vocals.

A separate video posted on YouTube captures Roger and his band playing “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

The party, which took place at Flashner’s home in the Los Angeles suburb of Westlake Village, also featured Cirque du Soleil performers and fire eaters.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Works by Fleetwood Mac, Kenny Loggins, Temptations among latest National Recording Registry entries

RhinoFleetwood Mac‘s best-selling 1977 album Rumours, Kenny Loggins‘ chart-topping 1984 hit “Footloose” and The Temptations‘ 1964 smash “My Girl” are among the 25 entries for 2017 into The Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry, the collection of recorded works singled out for their historical, cultural or aesthetic significance.

Also on the list: rock ‘n’ roll pioneers Bill Haley and His Comets‘ influential 1954 single “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock,” Tony Bennett‘s signature 1962 ballad “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” the soundtrack to the 1965 movie musical The Sound of Music, Arlo Guthrie‘s 1967 Thanksgiving classic “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree,” Chic‘s 1978 disco hit “Le Freak,” Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine‘s 1987 single “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” and Run-DMC‘s 1986 album Raising Hell, featuring the rap group’s groundbreaking collaboration with Aerosmith on “Walk This Way.”

Not every recording entering the registry is music.  Among the more eclectic entries are “Proceedings of the United Nations Conference on International Organization (4/25/45-6/26/45)” and the 1972 album An Evening with Groucho, documenting the final one-man show by the legendary comedian Groucho Marx.

This latest batch of entries bring the total number of recordings in the National Recording Registry to 500.

Here are all 25 of this year’s entries, in chronological order:

“Dream Melody Intermezzo: Naughty Marietta” (single), Victor Herbert and his Orchestra (1911)
“Standing Rock Preservation Recordings, George Herzog and Members of the Yanktoni Tribe” (1928)
“Lamento Borincano” (single), Canario y Su Grupo (1930)
“Sitting on Top of the World” (single), Mississippi Sheiks (1930)
The Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas (album), Artur Schnabel (1932-1935)
“If I Didn’t Care” (single), The Ink Spots (1939)
“Proceedings of the United Nations Conference on International Organization (4/25/45-6/26/45)”
Folk Songs of the Hills (album), Merle Travis (1946)
“How I Got Over” (single), Clara Ward and the Ward Singers (1950)
“(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock” (single), Bill Haley and His Comets (1954)
Calypso, Harry Belafonte (1956)
“I Left My Heart in San Francisco” (single), Tony Bennett (1962)
“King Biscuit Time” (radio), Sonny Boy Williamson II and others (1965)
“My Girl” (single), The Temptations (1964)
The Sound of Music (soundtrack), Various (1965)
“Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” (single), Arlo Guthrie (1967)
New Sounds in Electronic Music (album), Steve Reich, Richard Maxfield, Pauline Oliveros (1967)
An Evening with Groucho (album), Groucho Marx (1972)
Rumours (album), Fleetwood Mac (1977)
“The Gambler” (single), Kenny Rogers (1978)
“Le Freak” (single), Chic (1978)
“Footloose” (single), Kenny Loggins (1984)
Raising Hell (album), Run-DMC (1986)
“Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” (single), Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine (1987)
Yo-Yo Ma Premieres:  Concertos for Violoncello and Orchestra (album), Various (1996)

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Queen Latifah’s mother, Rita Owens, passes away

Jim Spellman/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) — Sad news to report: Queen Latifah’s mother, Rita Owens, passed away Wednesday after a long battle with a heart condition. The musician/actress revealed the news about her mom in an exclusive statement to People magazine on Wednesday night.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news my mother, Rita Owens passed away [Wednesday],” said Latifah. “Anyone that has ever met her knows what a bright light she was on this earth. She was gentle, but strong, sweet, but sassy, worldy but pragmatic, a woman of great faith and certainly the love of my life.”

Latifah added, “She had struggled with a heart condition for many years and her battle is now over. I am heartbroken but know she is at peace. Thank you for your kindness, support and respect for our privacy at this time. Much Love, Dana Owens (aka Queen Latif‎ah), forever Rita Owens’ daughter.”

In a 2015 feature with People magazine, Latifah and Rita talked about how the elder Owens lived with her ailment. Rita, a teacher, was diagnosed with a heart condition after fainting in her classroom. Doctors determined she had sleep apnea and heart failure. She was fitted with a defibrillator in her chest and was ordered to change her diet.

In a PSA that she filmed at the time, Latifah stated, “My mom is stronger than anyone I’ve ever known. Growing up when life got hard, her strength helped pull us through. Even after her heart failure diagnosis she remains stronger than ever.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

Crew member on “The Grinder” accuses Fred Savage of “abuse”

ABC/Lisa Rose(LOS ANGELES) — Former Wonder Years star Fred Savage is on the defensive, denying claims from a former cast member on the now-defunct Fox show The Grinder who accused him of harassing and attacking her.

Y.J. Hwang said at a press conference Wednesday that Savage insulted her and yelled profanities at her while she was working in the show’s costume department back in 2015.  She also claimed he struck her.

“During a taping of an episode, I was attempting to brush off dandruff off Mr. Savage’s jacket. Mr. Savage snapped. He yelled at me, told me not to touch him and he hit my arm violently three times,” claimed Hwang. “I could not stop crying. I was in pain, I was humiliated and I was scared.”

Hwang claimed the actor had a “reputation” for similar behavior.

“I immediately reported this incident to my superiors and rather than taking any action against Mr. Savage, they encouraged me to not report Mr. Savage’s conduct because a lot of people would lose their jobs,” Hwang said, saying she was told “that I would never work in this industry again.”

For the record, reps for The Grinder‘s studio, 20th Century Fox, says it conducted a thorough investigation into the allegations and found no evidence of wrongdoing.

In a statement to ABC News, Savage said, in part, “These accusations are completely without merit and absolutely untrue…None of her claims could be substantiated because they did not happen.”

He added, “I have been working in the entertainment industry my whole life and have always endeavored to treat everyone on any set I work on respectfully and professionally. While none of the accusations being leveled at me are true, I wholeheartedly support all people who feel they are being mistreated [to] come forward.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

“So many great stories”: Snoop Dogg talks about Netflix’s “Coach Snoop”

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — A behind-the-scenes look at the kids who play football for Snoop Dogg’s Snoop Youth Football League is the concept of the rapper’s Netflix seriesCoach Snoop. He tells ABC Radio that fans should tune in to the show because there have been “so many great stories.”

“I felt like now was the time to highlight the work that I’ve been doing in the community and the kids that I work with,” he tells ABC Radio about his decision to turn his football league into a series.

As for how that came about, Snoop explains, “I have a great director, Rory Karpf, who shot a series with me and my son on ESPN called Snoop and Son. And from there, he watched me coach football and he fell in love with what I was doing and started shooting a season with me and the kids and took it to Netflix.” 

Snoop also reveals that he’s also working on a film called The Making of the Snoop Youth Football League, about the history of the non-profit organization. 

“After you enjoy Coach Snoop on Netflix, be on the lookout for the movie coming soon,” he says, confirming a 2019 release for the project.

The Snoop Youth Football League was founded in 2005 to give inner-city children between the ages of five and 13 the opportunity to play football, while learning values such as teamwork, discipline and good sportsmanship. And the superstar’s efforts have produced many successful alumni.

Says Snoop proudly, “[There’s] been a lot of great kids that came through my league and ended up becoming productive citizens and NFL stars and just great men and women in the community that they live in.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Bus bus driver stabbed by passenger —  A bus driver was stabbed by a passenger while driving in southeast Houston, ABC station KTRK-TV reported Wednesday.

The passenger asked the bus driver whether he could close a knife, but the bus driver said he couldn’t and placed the open knife on the dashboard of the bus, according to the report.

He asked the passenger whether he wanted the knife back, but the passenger demurred before pulling out a second knife and stabbing the driver in the neck, KTRK reported.

The bus driver lost control and crashed into a yard, narrowly avoiding a house. The driver then ran out to look for help while the passenger ran after him, a woman, who asked not to be identified, told the station.

The woman called 911 and helped the man with his wound. The stabber tried to run away but was caught by a Houston police officer who subdued him with a Taser and the handcuffed him, police told KTRK.

Police told the station there was no apparent motive.

The bus driver was taken to Ben Taub Hospital and is expected to survive his injuries. He has been a Houston metro bus driver for 15 years.

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Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Pulse nightclub shooter’s cell phone data explored in wife’s trial

Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images(NEW YORK) —  An extensive FBI review of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen’s cell phone records and internet searches in the weeks before the June 2016 attack revealed research about the Islamic State, U.S. bombings in the Middle East and how to buy a gun in Florida, according to testimony Wednesday in the federal trial of Mateen’s wife, Noor Salman.

It also revealed a flurry of text messages from Salman to her husband during the early morning hours in which he was massacring scores of nightclub patrons, which don’t seem to conform to the government’s argument that Salman knew about the attack and actively helped her husband plan it.

 At 7:29 p.m on June 11, she wrote “calling your mom she’s worried” to her husband, according to an FBI computer expert who took the stand on Wednesday.

By 10 p.m. Mateen was Google searching information on Disneyworld and a school in Disney Springs. By 1:30 a.m. he was searching “downtown Orlando nightclubs.”

The shooting began shortly after 2 a.m. on Sunday morning, June 12.

At 2:42 a.m and again at 4:27 a.m, Salman texted Mateen, asking “where are you?” When Mateen texted back “everything OK,” Salman replied “your mom [is] worried about you, and so am I.”

A moment later, she texted, “you know you have to work tomorrow, right?” That was followed by texts to Mateen that included one that read “???” and two more that asked “what happened?”

On cross examination, FBI Special Agent Kim Rosecrans, acknowledged that in the days leading up to the attack, Mateen was also searching singles dating websites.

Salman, who has pleaded not guilty, is charged with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and obstruction of justice, and could face up to life in prison if convicted.

 Both Mateen’s mother and sister testified for the prosecution on Wednesday afternoon, each confirming that Salman had told them Mateen was out to dinner with his friend Nemo the night of June 11. Both women also said they had never heard Mateen discuss violence, jihad, the Islamic State or terrorism.

Mateen’s sister Sabrina Abasin testified that she trusted Salman with her kids, that Salman never expressed political beliefs, only attended a mosque occasionally and was “more modern” than other female Muslim-Americans in the area, embracing U.S. holidays like Christmas and Halloween as well as Muslim holy days.

On cross-examination, Mateen’s mother, Shahla Mateen, agreed with defense attorney Fritz Schellar’s assertions that she considers Salman, her daughter-in-law, “naive” and “very much like a child” and that she had counseled Salman that she needs to be “more mature” and “needs to grow up.”

“She’s very naive….innocent, trusting of others?” Schellar asked.

“Right,” Mateen replied.

Prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case on Thursday, and the defense is expected to call eight to 10 witnesses over two days next week. Closing arguments could begin as early as next Wednesday.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Unarmed man killed by police who fired 20 rounds at him YORK) — Stephon Clark was in his grandmother’s backyard, trying to get into the house Sunday night when two Sacramento police officers unleashed a barrage of 20 bullets, killing him, Clark’s family told ABC News.

Police were responding to reports of a black male breaking into a car and hiding in a backyard in the 7500 block of 29th Street, officials said.

When officers arrived, they saw Clark and he advanced toward them, holding an object in his hand, according to police. Initially, police reported that Clark, 22, was armed with a gun, then with a “toolbar,” but all that was found on him was a cellphone.

On Wednesday, police released video from the officers’ body cameras as well as night-vision, thermal-imaging video from a Sacramento Sheriff’s Department helicopter. The chopper video shows Clark running from a neighbor’s yard and leaping a fence into his grandmother’s property. The deputies in the helicopter can be heard saying the suspect had broken a window on the house next door and was checking out another car in the driveway.

In that video, Sacramento police can be seen approaching Clark in the driveway before the view is obscured by the building’s roof. The video picks up with officers running into the backyard and jumping back behind the corner of the building for cover.

The police body-cam videos show the police running down the driveway after Clark and taking cover at the rear edge of the building. They can be heard yelling several times for Clark to stop and show them his hands before the 20-shot barrage.

“Show me your hands! Gun, gun, gun!” one of the officers can be heard shouting just before shots rang out.

The chopper video shows Clark moving toward the officers before the shooting, but it was unclear whether his arms were extended.

Clark, whose nickname was “Zo” based on his middle name Alonzo, was a father of a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old, according to his brother, Stevante Clark.

“He was a people person. He always reminded me of an old teenager. He could talk about religion, politics. He was very intellectual,” Stevante Clark told ABC News. “He would stay at home with the kids. I was very proud of him.”

Stevante Clark said his grandparents heard the shots in the backyard, but believed them to be firecrackers. It wasn’t until officers were around their house that they looked out the window and saw Stephon Clark lying on the ground, Stevante Clark said.

 “She yelled at them and called them murderers,” Stevante Clark said. “The cops didn’t provide us with any information about the alleged break-ins.”

Authorities are still investigating exactly what happened, a spokesperson for the police department told ABC News.

According to a press release earlier this week, police canvassed the area and found three vehicles with damages that they believed were caused by the suspect. There was also a nearby residence that had a sliding glass door shattered.

According to Stevante Clark, he and Stephon Clark would regularly enter their grandparents’ house through the backyard because the front doorbell didn’t work.

“It easily could have been me,” Stevante Clark said.

Both officers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave.

According to the spokesperson, Stephon Clark had prior felonies but would not go into detail about them.

This shooting comes less than two years after the killing of Joseph Mann, another unarmed Sacramento man who was shot by police in the summer of 2016.

His death led to a number of police reforms, including the requirement that all patrol officers wear body cameras and receive training in de-escalation.

Berry Accius, a community activist in Sacramento, was at the forefront of pushing for changes in the department after Mann was killed. He’s ready to do the same again after Stephon Clark’s death.

“There is no way for them to justify this. How do you shoot a person 20 times outside their grandparents’ house?” Accius told ABC News.

Accius thinks this shooting will be a test for the police department.

“Here is the moment of truth. This is now going to tell us if accountability, transparency and justice will be served,” Accius said. “If they are saying that this is a new culture of police then show us.”

The family is in the process of getting an attorney and Stevante has started a GoFundMe to raise funds to bury Stephon Clark next to their older brother, who died in 2006.

“I’m focused on his kids now,” Stevante Clark said. “I don’t want them to want for anything.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Scoreboard roundup — 3/21/18

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores from today’s sports events:

Philadelphia   119  Memphis     105
Cleveland      132  Toronto     129
Miami          119  N-Y Knicks   98
Charlotte      111  Brooklyn    105
L.A. Clippers  127  Milwaukee   120
New Orleans     96  Indiana      92
Denver         135  Chicago     102
San Antonio     98  Washington   90

Pittsburgh   5  Montreal   3
Arizona      4  Buffalo    1
St. Louis    2  Boston     1;  OT
Anaheim      4  Calgary    0

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup — 3/21/18

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores from today’s sports events:


Toronto       93  Orlando         86
New Orleans  115  Dallas         105
Boston       100  Oklahoma City   99
Minnesota    123  L.A. Clippers  109
Atlanta       99  Utah            94
Detroit      115  Phoenix         88
Houston      115  Portland       111

Columbus        5  N-Y Rangers    3
Washington      4  Dallas         3
N.Y. Islanders   4  Pittsburgh     1
Edmonton        7  Carolina       3
Florida         7  Ottawa         2
Detroit         5  Philadelphia   4; SO  
Tampa Bay       4  Toronto        3
Winnipeg        2  L.A. Kings     1; OT
Colorado        5  Chicago        1
Vegas           4  Vancouver      1
San Jose        6  New Jersey     2

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Not-so-secret March Madness star prays for Loyola-Chicago’s opponents too, but ‘perhaps not as hard’ — While March Madness brackets are busting from coast to coast, one college basketball team has a not-so-secret weapon that’s pumping it up with a spiritual boost on the court.

Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt (aka Sister Jean), the Loyola-Chicago men’s basketball team chaplain and superfan, said she believes they win because “we have God on our side.”

“I say a prayer, but sometimes there’s a little more than talking to God in the prayer,” Sister Jean said today on Good Morning America about her pregame blessing and pep talk.

“I do begin with, ‘Good and gracious God, today we hope to win this game, we ask for your courage — we already have the confidence, we’re focused, we know we want to work hard.’ At the end of the game, we want to be sure that when the buzzer goes off that the numbers indicate that we get the big W,” she said.

The superfan also confessed, “I pray for the other team, perhaps not as hard. But we have God on our side and these young men have great faith and if you don’t have confidence in faith, then you might as well not be playing.”

The team chaplain and former academic adviser has witnessed more than half a century of the team’s basketball history, and this season Sister Jean laces up her custom-made Nikes, huddles with the players and sits courtside to cheer them on.

“I’m just having a lot of fun,” Sister Jean said of the team’s recent success and her own rise to social media stardom. “It’s just brought so many happy memories to me.”

Sister Jean was the most tweeted about person of the games this past weekend, according to Twitter. Even former president and Chicago favorite Barack Obama mentioned Sister Jean on Twitter.

Sister Jean said, “I began to love basketball when I was in high school,” when women’s courts were still divided into three sections instead of the full courts we have today.”

Number 11-seeded Loyola-Chicago defeated Miami 62-64 in an upset buzzer-beater, first-round win, then advanced to top Tennessee by 1 point in the second game of the tournament and will now face No. 6-seeded Nevada Thursday night in the Sweet 16.


Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


London’s iconic black cabs go electric

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — The new breed of the iconic black cab has begun to make its silent way onto the roads of London.

Since the beginning of this year, new rules imposed by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, mean that every new taxi licensed must be “zero-emission capable,” and according to the transport system Transport for London, 40 electric black cabs have already been licensed.

Officials hope the number will increase rapidly, with a target of 9,000 electric black cabs by 2020, and that the changes will significantly reduce pollution in London — reducing taxis’ contribution to nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 45 percent.

This week, Khan unveiled over 100 “rapid” electric car charging points, including 51 for the exclusive use of an electric cab model called the TX eCity.

The electric cab is “superior to the old one,” which runs on diesel, in every way, cabbie Peter Powell, told ABC News.

The old one was “very noisy, very uncomfortable” — particularly for the driver — he said, but the new taxi is “smooth” and “takes away all the stress.”

When asked if he’s recommending it to other taxi drivers, Powell immediately replied, “absolutely.”

Similar changes are in place for London’s buses, where every new double-decker bus must be hybrid, hydrogen or electric.

In addition to about 2,500 hybrid buses already in place, there are five fully electric bus routes in London, with the target being that all of central London’s single-decker buses — about 300 — will be electric by 2020, according to Transport for London.

Over 9,000 Londoners die every year as a result of air pollution. About half of air pollution comes from road transport, which diesel cars contribute to disproportionately, according to the mayor’s office. The old black cabs run on diesel.

London is 15th out of 36 major world cities in terms of air quality, more comparable to Beijing and Shanghai than European capitals like Vienna and Berlin, according to the British think tank Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

The company that makes London’s black cabs, London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), said they stopped making the old diesel version last summer because of the new rules.

The new taxi has a relatively small gas-powered engine in addition to the electric motor. The sole purpose of the petrol engine is to top up the electric motor if it runs low. In the pure electric mode, the taxi can go around 80 miles, with the range jumping to 377 miles with a range extender activated. That would give it an equivalent fuel economy of 217.3 miles per gallon, as opposed to the old taxi’s 33.2 miles per gallon, according to LEVC.

The average cabbie drives around 120 miles a day, a lot of which is their commute to get into London, meaning they should be able to be purely electric during their working day, according to LEVC.

This also saves the cabbies money. Powell reckons that the cost of charging his taxi and topping up the range extender is maybe $7, whereas fuel costs in the old cab were more like $32.

 As well as being more environmentally friendly, LEVC says the new cab is a more modern experience. There are now six seats in the back, up from five, phone and laptop charging points, WiFi and even a “panoramic roof.”

It is also significantly quieter. The diesel cab is a “much noisier” experience than its electrical offspring, so both driving and getting a ride in the electric cab is a far more pleasant experience, according to Powell.

The introduction of electric cabs closes an ironic circle. The first motorized cabs in London, back in 1897 were electric; they were nicknamed “Hummingbirds.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

2 Americans, 1 Russian on their way to International Space Station YORK) —  Two American astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut blasted off aboard a rocket early Wednesday morning on their way to the International Space Station.

The Soyuz booster launched from a launchpad in Kazakhstan at 1:44 a.m. EST.

NASA astronauts Ricky Arnold and Drew Feustel are traveling to the ISS along with cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev.

The rocket placed their Soyuz MS-08 spacecraft into orbit and it is scheduled to dock on Friday.

They will join NASA’s Scott Tingle, cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and Japan Aerospace Exploration agent Norishige Kanai, who are already on board the ISS.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Most of the abducted schoolgirls return home in Nigeria, officials say

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) —  Almost all of the 110 schoolgirls abducted by suspected Boko Haram fighters in northeast Nigeria last month have returned home, officials said Wednesday.

Suspected militants of the Nigeria-based jihadist group allegedly stormed the town of Dapchi in Yobe State on the night of Feb. 19 and snatched 110 students from an all-girls boarding school. Other students and teachers were able to escape the attack and flee into the surrounding brush, according to a statement from Yobe State government spokesman Abdullahi Bego.

More than a month later, at least 101 of the schoolgirls were freed by their captors early Wednesday morning, according to Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

“They were not dropped in one place. They were dropped on the road and they went back across Nigeria to their parents’ houses,” Mohammed told reporters in the capital of Abuja.

The girls were released “through back-channel efforts and with the help of some friends of the country,” and their freedom was unconditional, according to a press release from the minister’s spokesperson, Segun Adeyemi.

The minister said the use of military force and confrontation was “ruled out” during negotiations with the captors in order to ensure the girls’ safety.

“It was agreed that there would be no force and no confrontation,” Mohammed told reporters.

After reuniting with their families in Dapchi, the students were taken to a nearby general hospital where they received medical attention and psychosocial support, Mohammed said.

He added that the number of freed students could still increase as officials continue to document all those who were released.

A source at the general hospital in Dapchi told ABC News that they received and treated 103 of the freed schoolgirls on Wednesday.

However, one of the freed schoolgirls, Fatsuma Abdullahi, said five of her classmates at the Government Girls Science Technical College in Dapchi died while the kidnappers herded them into vehicles.

“They died while we were being taken because we were loaded like woods and people sat on them.” Abdullahi said in a recorded telephone conversation released to reporters. The abducted students were then taken to an underground hideout, she said.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language, has routinely targeted schools since launching its brutal insurgency in northeast Nigeria in 2009. In April 2014, the group kidnapped 276 schoolgirls from their boarding school in the town of Chibok in Borno State, about 170 miles northeast of Dapchi. Some of the girls managed to escape on their own, while others were later rescued or freed following negotiations. But the fate of many of the girls still remains unknown.

Boko Haram, which seeks to establish an Islamic state, has spread its terror across Nigeria’s mountainous borders over the years into Niger, Chad and Cameroon, all of which surround the Lake Chad Basin. The group’s uprising was fueled largely through its systematic campaign of abducting children and forcing thousands of girls and boys into their ranks, according to a report issued in April 2017 by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


The 101 number one song of the day was written and produced by the man Bob Dylan called “America’s greatest living poet” who was also the lead singer of a well known singing group. But it was another group – once known as the Elgins – who took it to the top. read more…


Today’s 101 #1 Song of the Day has a rich background from the story by the original singer about what inspired her to one of the writers saying “that’s not what it’s about” – but eventually they started telling her story too which began at a Don McClean concert.  read more…


Today’s 101 #1 Song of The Day was begun by the band’s guitarist years before it was recorded but the rest of the band turned it down. It would eventually become their only number one hit.  read more…

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