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Lionel Richie Explains Why Prince Declined “We Are the World”

Credit: Alan SilfenAs the music world mourns the loss of pop icon Prince, celebrities and artists who had the opportunity to work with the eccentric musician provide anecdotal stories of the singer — including Lionel Richie, who says that the “Purple Rain” artist refused to do the “We Are the World” collaboration simply because he didn’t want to.

According to Richie, who co-wrote the 1985 charity song with Michael Jackson, Prince was invited to participate in the A-list collaborative effort, but declined last minute.

“I mean, I sat on the phone with him for the longest time,” Richie told Access Hollywood. “I said, ‘Prince, we’re all down [here] waiting on you.’ He says, ‘Can I do it in a separate room?’ ‘Okay, I’ll call you back later.'”

Lionel continued, “I would love to tell you that that’s different from anything else he’s ever done. That’s just Prince. Of course he’s not going to be at a group of singers at the time when we want him to show up.”

Richie also revealed that he had to try real hard to get the singer to attend the American Music Awards that year, which Lionel hosted, but according to the “All Night Long” singer, it was difficult “to talk him into showing up.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New Beatles Exhibit at Michigan Museum to Take Fans on a Magical History Tour

Courtesy of Exhibit Development GroupStarting Saturday, Beatles fans in the U.S. won’t have to travel all the way to Liverpool, England, to take an up-close look at the band’s history.

That day, an expansive new Fab Four-themed exhibit titled “The Magical History Tour: A Beatles Memorabilia Exhibition” will open at The Henry Ford museum in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan.

Billed as “the most comprehensive Beatles exhibition ever assembled,” the display includes more than 150 artifacts from the collection of Peter Miniaci & Associates, a firm that specializes in items related to the legendary band. The exhibit takes visitors on a journey through the Beatles members’ lives and careers, from their days prior to the group’s formation through their heyday as international sensations to the music icons’ post-breakup years.

Among the memorabilia featured in “The Magical History Tour” are some instruments belonging to the band members, rare photos and posters, letters and documents, Beatles merchandise and much more. The display includes a drum kit from the pre-Beatles group The Quarrymen, an infamous document dissolving the Fab Four’s partnership and the copy of John Lennon and Yoko Ono‘s Double Fantasy album that Lennon signed for his murderer, Mark David Chapman, the day Chapman shot him to death.

The exhibition isn’t officially sanctioned by The Beatles, but a representative for Exhibits Development Group, which produced the attraction, says the band gave it their blessing.

“They basically, for all intents and purposes, said, ‘Good luck,'” EDG’s Will Peterson tells Billboard. “So we picked up what they were putting down and went ahead and planned an exhibition that is sensitive to their copyrights, and we’re certainly not trying to be at conflict with anything that the Beatles are doing. We’re just trying to tell the story in a unique and different way.”

Visit for pricing details.The exhibit will run through September 18, and then — according to Billboard —  reopen in March 2017 at the Putnam Museum in Davenport, Iowa.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Go “All the Way” with Bob Dylan

Columbia RecordsBob Dylan‘s new cover version of Frank Sinatra‘s 1957 hit “All the Way” has premiered online on Dylan’s official website and YouTube channel. The track will be featured on the folk-rock legend’s upcoming album Fallen Angels, which will be released May 20.

Dylan’s rendition of “All the Way” transforms the tune into a laid-back country shuffle, complete with twangy pedal-steel guitar. Written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, the song was introduced in the 1957 film The Joker Is Wild. The tune went on to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

As previously reported, Fallen Angels will be Dylan’s second consecutive album dedicated to songs recorded by Sinatra, following 2015’s Shadows in the Night. The new record will be available as a CD, a vinyl LP and a digital download. A blue-vinyl version of the album is available exclusively at Barnes & Noble, while Dylan’s online store is selling limited-edition bundles packaging the CD or LP with a lithograph and a pack of Fallen Angels playing cards. If you pre-order the digital version of the album, you’ll automatically receive a free download of “All the Way” and another track, “Melancholy Mood.”

Dylan will support Fallen Angels with a U.S. tour that kicks off June 4 in Woodinville, Washington, and runs through a July 17 concert in Gilford, New Hampshire. Mavis Staples will open all of the shows. Purchase a pair of tickets to certain concerts and you’ll receive a free CD copy of the new album.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


“Work Wives” Jennifer Aniston & Jason Sudeikis Together Again in “Mother’s Day”

Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston in “Mother’s Day”; Ron Batzdorff/Open Road Films(NEW YORK) — Jennifer Aniston is married to Justin Theroux and Jason Sudeikis is expecting his second child with actress Olivia Wilde, but the two agreed that starring in their fifth collaboration together, Mother’s Day, makes them like “work wives.”

“Indeed,” said Sudeikis, who stars in the new dramedy as a widower with two kids whose budding romance with Aniston’s divorced mom-of-two character begins awkwardly.

Sudeikis, 40, and Aniston, 47, told ABC News’ Matt Gutman it was the allure of working with famed director Garry Marshall that drew them to the movie, which also stars Julia Roberts and Kate Hudson.

“That’s the only thing,” Aniston said, joking that she didn’t even need to see a script.

Aniston began filming Mother’s Day in Atlanta, Georgia, shortly after her August 2015 wedding to Theroux. The close timing led Sudeikis to joke that the newlyweds had honeymooned in the Southern city.

“The aquarium,” Sudeikis joked of an Atlanta honeymoon destination, prompting a laugh from Aniston.

Wherever Aniston may be, don’t expect the actress to broadcast it on social media. The former Friends star called the new form of communication “so much pressure.”

“It’s such a part of the world now, that sort of transparency, so I just kind of prefer not to,” she said.

Mother’s Day opens in theaters nationwide today.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Allison Janney Reprises “West Wing” Character During Surprise White House Press Briefing Appearance

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesIt’s been quite a while since The West Wing was on TV, but one of its stars showed up in character at a White House press briefing on Friday.

Allison Janney, who played White House press secretary C.J. Cregg for seven seasons on The West Wing, surprised reporters by popping up in the White House press briefing room.  When asked where the actual press secretary, Josh Earnest, was, Janney joked, “Josh is out today.  I believe it’s a root canal.”  Reporters laughed, because Janney was referencing a specific episode of The West Wing where her character had a root canal.

“Yeah, he has a root canal, but let’s be honest I’m better at this than he is anyway,” she cracked.

In all seriousness, Janney was there because her character on her current show, Mom, is a recovering addict.  She paid tribute to the White House Champions of Change, a group involved in substance abuse issues, and she also spoke about the general opiod epidemic in the U.S.  

“This is a disease that can touch anybody and all of us can help reduce drug abuse through evidenced-based treatment, prevention and recovery,” she said.

As Cregg, Janney took one question: who is President Bartlet — the character played by Martin Sheen in The West Wing — supporting in the Democratic primary?  She snapped, “I think you know the answer to that question.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Amy Schumer and Her Dad FaceTime with “Goddess” Goldie Hawn

Mark Seliger/Comedy Central(NEW YORK) — Amy Schumer’s dad can cross one more thing off his bucket list, thanks to his daughter.

“FaceTime with the goddess Goldie Hawn making my dads dream come true,” the 34-year-old Inside Amy Schumer star captioned an Instagram video of her and her father, Gordon Schumer, chatting with the actress on Wednesday.

“He keeps saying that we’re playing sisters and I’m like no, you’re the love of his life,” says Schumer, who plays the daughter of Hawn, 70, in an upcoming comedy film.

Amy then convinces her father to tell Hawn she’s the “love of his life.”

During a segment of ABC’s The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2015, which aired back in December, Schumer discussed with Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.  her father’s longtime battle with multiple sclerosis.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Scientology Leader’s Father Ron Miscavige Describes the Moment When He Says He Escaped

ABC News(HEMET, Calif.) — Two hours east of Los Angeles, in Hemet, California, sits a 500-acre Scientology compound known as the “Gold Base.”

The Church characterizes the base as a slice of Scientology utopia, with state-of-the-art facilities and gorgeous landscaping.

“If you talk to the staff, they’ll tell you it’s a worker’s paradise,” Scientology attorney Monique Yingling told ABC News 20/20. “It couldn’t be a better place to work.”

But that’s not how Ron Miscavige remembers it.

Ron Miscavige, the father of Scientology’s leader David Miscavige, and his wife Becky moved onto the base in 2006, where he said they were forced to live under serious restrictions.

“I’m living on a compound…where your mail going out is read before its seal and sent out, where before you get your mail, it’s opened and read before you get it,” Ron Miscavige told 20/20 in an exclusive interview. “Phone calls, you’re on the phone, somebody else is listening on an extension.”

Gary Morehead, a former Scientologist turned Church critic, says he was once director of security for the Church and would go through people’s belongings at Gold Base to collect information on them.

“I would go through people’s personal belongings out of their berthing, where they slept… obtaining bank records, date of birth, passwords, any personal information, where their family addresses were,” Morehead told 20/20.

Before he moved to the base, Ron Miscavige had joined the Sea Organization, or “Sea Org,” the clergy of the Church, in 1985 and was working as a musician and composer for the Church’s Golden Era Productions. But Miscavige said by the late 2000s, the crushing workload, rigid lifestyle and lack of sleep on the base became unbearable.

The Church rejects those claims, telling ABC News in a statement that “long and hard hours” and a “restrictive lifestyle” are part of the mission that Sea Org members sign up for.

“These are people that have dedicated their lives to something they really believe in,” Yingling said. “They may work hard. They may work really long hours… but they enjoy it.”

As for Ron, he “was working with first-class musicians in one of the best studios in the world,” she continued. “He had nothing to complain about.”

To prove it, the Church gave 20/20 photos of Ron enjoying fancy birthday meals they said his son David Miscavige provided and a car David and his two sisters had bought their father for his birthday.

The Church also sent ABC News video testimonials and letters from Ron’s former bandmates and other staffers in which they called Ron “lazy,” and claimed he used “racial and ethnic slurs,” was a “poor musician” and a “disgusting pig.”

All of which Ron Miscavige disputes, pointing to a video showing him being allowed to play at a birthday party the Church threw for Tom Cruise, and asking why he would be allowed to be a part of the celebration if Church members thought so little of him.

Ron also claims he was subjected to a practice called “over-boarding,” a disciplinary measure in which a Sea Org member in trouble with the Church is thrown overboard from the Sea Org ship into the water with clothes on. The Church claims over-boarding is voluntary.

“When you jump off… you commit yourself to the sea, so that you’ll be cleansed and come back, you know, better,” Yingling said. “There’s… some sort of an ecclesiastical discipline thing or it can be done as a group, and when a group does it, it’s more, sort of, because they’re all agreeing that somehow they screwed up, and ‘let’s get together and cleanse ourselves of it.’”

But Ron disagreed.

“I’m going out there and I’m thinking to myself, this is straight lunatic asylum stuff,” Ron Miscavige said. “This is going to make me better? The only effect it had on me is make me all the more want to possibly get out of there.”

For months, Ron Miscavige and his wife Becky said they planned what they called their escape from Gold Base by conditioning guards into letting them make regular Sunday trips to the music studio across the street. It all came to a head one day when Ron drove his car up to the security gate and pressed the button. To his relief, the gate opened.

“I drove out slowly so it wouldn’t arouse suspicion,” Miscavige said. “When I turned left, I put my foot right to the floorboard… I knew we were free. I knew they couldn’t catch us.”

“It was an escape,” he continued. “You can’t leave. You think you can just walk out? No. You will be stopped. I escaped.”

The Church denies that this was an “escape.” Yingling told 20/20 that Gold Base “is not a prison.”

“People can come and go as they please, and they do,” she said.

But Gary Morehead said he had many ways to discourage would-be deserters from leaving the base.

“I wouldn’t open up the gate,” he said. “I would send my rover guard down there to meet up with them face-to-face in case he started scaling in and I would try to calm, cool and collectively talk to him on the intercom.”

During his tenure there, Morehead said he tracked people down who he said had deserted and got them to come back.

“I used to have to keep a statistic which is a printed out graph of security threats, and that was the people who wanted to leave or the people to had left that we brought back and were undergoing handling,” Morehead said. “So every time somebody left, I learned something new to make it that much quicker for me to find somebody… the amount of sheer pressure that I would get until that person was back here was incredible.”

At the time, he said he thought that he was “helping that person.”

“They’re obviously having troubles, they’re leaving for a reason,” Morehead said. “So I’m going to be the one to help bring them back and… regain their spiritual enlightenment… and that sheltered my true view of the way I should look at it.”

The Church told ABC News in a statement that Morehead hasn’t worked at “any Church of Scientology” for 20 years, his comments are false and, “He is a teller of tales with no credibility.”

Once Ron and Becky Miscavige were off the base, they said they drove for three days to Wisconsin where Becky’s mother lives. But despite all of Ron’s complaints about the Church, he said he sent his son David Miscavige a letter asking for money soon after they left.

“In that letter, I said, ‘Hey, listen, I spent a lot of years in the Sea Org, I couldn’t live under those conditions, and I have very little money paid into social security. If you can give me some financial help, I would appreciate it,’” Ron Miscavige said.

He said his son David gave him $100,000, from money David had inherited from his mother, to buy a house.

“Maybe he read it and he’s thinking, you know, ‘he is my old man and he’s old, maybe I’ll help him out,’” Ron Miscavige said. “And then on the other hand… I think, ‘well, maybe he did it just so it would be insurance that I wouldn’t do anything.’ And I wasn’t going to do anything.”

Ron Miscavige wrote a memoir, “Ruthless: Scientology, My Son David Miscavige, and Me,” with Dan Koon, a former Church official who is now a vocal critic. It’s out in stores on May 3.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Video Shows Florida Teens Leaving Inlet the Day They Went Missing

ABC News(JUPITER, Fla.) — Newly released video shows missing Florida teens Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen as they pull out of the Jupiter inlet by boat the day they went missing.

In the video, both 14-year-olds are shirtless and wearing dark-colored shorts. At one point, Stephanos takes off his hat, showing his blond hair and indicating he was driving the 19-foot single-engine boat as Cohen sits on the boat’s edge, facing him.

The video, which shows several different angles of the boys as they cruise through the inlet lined with luxury homes, was released as part of the investigation into their disappearance.

The boat was found on March 18 off the coast of Bermuda, the U.S. Coast Guard announced last weekend. An iPhone belonging to Stephanos was recovered from the boat.

The boys’ parents initially feuded over what to do with the phone, with Perry’s mother, Pam, taking the issue to court. They eventually agreed Friday to have Apple analyze the iPhone, which may hold the key to what happened to the boys.

The teens, both experienced boaters, went missing on July 24. They were last seen buying more than $100 worth of fuel at the marina in Jupiter.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Baltimore News Station Bomb Threat Suspect Facing Felony Charges

iStock/Thinkstock(BALTIMORE) — A man who was shot by police after reportedly making a bomb threat at a Baltimore TV news station now faces felony charges as he remains hospitalized for non-life-threatening injuries.

Alex Michael Brizzi, 25, is facing charges of second-degree arson and first-degree malicious burning — both felonies — as well as threat of arson, reckless endangerment and possessing a phony destructive device, Baltimore police said Friday.

Police said the incident was not connected to organized terrorism.

Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Friday that Brizzi, of Howard County, Maryland, had challenges with mental illness and that his father has been cooperative with authorities. Police said Brizzi will undergo a psychiatric evaluation when he’s well enough.

Brizzi was wearing a hedgehog “onesie” and a surgical mask, as well as what appeared to be an explosive vest, when he entered the Fox-affiliated news station WBFF Thursday, holding a flash drive with something he apparently wanted the station to run on the news.

Police said the USB flash drive contained video rants of Brizzi talking about the end of the world.

When Brizzi walked out of the station and didn’t take orders to remove his hands out of his pockets, he was shot at least three times by an officer, police said. A robot was later deployed to disarm him.

Following the stand-off with police, investigators found that what originally appeared to be an explosive device on Brizzi was actually a vest stuffed with chocolate candy bars wrapped in aluminum foil, and nothing was wired that could possibly blow up. There was also a small motherboard contraption that was attached to him and a wire running down the sleeve of his jacket that emulated a detonation device, police said.

A car was also set on fire in front of the news station at the time Brizzi entered the station. Police said the fire was associated with Brizzi.

Police said Friday a search of the TV station and Brizzi’s home and car didn’t turn up any other real or fake explosives.

Police said Friday they are still examining the contents of the flash drive.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Cowboys Draft Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith in Second Round Despite Knee Injury

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(IRVING, Texas) — Despite a knee injury, Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday, at 34th overall.

According to ESPN, the team chose Smith knowing that he would not play in 2016. One of the Cowboys’ doctors, Dr. Daniel Cooper, performed Smith’s surgery and is familiar with his recovery process.

Smith has been recovering from a torn anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee sustained in the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State in January, his final college game.

In his three-year starter career with Notre Dame, Smith totaled 293 tackles and 4.5 sacks.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Warriors’ Stephen Curry Hoping to ‘Get Back Sooner’

Elsa/Getty Images(OAKLAND, Calif.) — Despite an injury and having to sit out for the NBA playoffs, Stephen Curry is remaining optimistic.

On Friday, the Golden State Warriors star guard said he was “feeling better” since he sprained his MCL, and hoped he could be back on the court before the targeted May 9 return date.

“Feeling better but just got a ways to go,” Curry said according to ESPN. “… I always have an optimistic view, no matter what it is. I hope to get back sooner. I haven’t talked to the doctors, athletic training staff, all the experts. That two-week timeline was, as [Warriors general manager Bob Myers] says, an educated guess.”

Curry slipped on a wet spot during the team’s Sunday Game 4 victory against the Houston Rockets. He fell on his knee while guarding Houston’s Trevor Ariza at the buzzer of the first half. The reigning MVP had previously sat out for Game 2 and 3 after he suffered a sprained ankle in the third quarter of Game 1.

“That could have been 10 times worse,” Curry said according to ESPN. “It was just simply a wet spot that put me in a very vulnerable position.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Leicester City One Win From Premier League Title

Igor Zhuravlov/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A shocking season by Leicester City F.C. could see the club become just the sixth in the history of the Barclays Premier League to claim a league title as soon as this weekend.

Sitting seven points clear of second-place Tottenham with just three matches remaining, Leicester would clinch the top spot with a win over Manchester United Sunday. Leicester has earned 22 wins in 35 matches so far this season, led by a quick attack that’s scored the third-most goals in the league. They’ve also allowed the second-fewest goals.

Since the Premier League began in 1992-1993, only Manchester United (13), Chelsea (4), Arsenal (3), Manchester City (2) and Blackburn Rovers (1) have won league titles.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Russian Fighter Flew a Barrel Roll Within 25 Feet of US Reconnaissance Plane Over Baltic Sea

United States European Command (MOSCOW) — In another close encounter with Russian military aircraft over the Baltic Sea, the Pentagon said a Russian Su-27 fighter jet Friday conducted a barrel roll within 25 feet of a U.S. Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance plane flying in international airspace.

It is the third time in as many weeks the United States has accused the Russian military of engaging in “an unsafe and unprofessional” manner in the waters and airspace of the Baltic Sea. The previous incidents were the repeated buzzing at close range of the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Donald Cook and another barrel roll of a U.S. reconnaissance plane

A barrel roll is when an aircraft pulls parallel to another aircraft and then rises up and does a complete 360-degree turn over the other aircraft.

“On April 29, 2016, a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft flying a routine route in international airspace over the Baltic Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 in an unsafe and unprofessional manner,” Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza said.

“The Su-27 performed erratic and aggressive maneuvers,” she said. “The Su-27 intercepted the U.S. aircraft flying a routine route at high rate of speed from the side then proceeded to perform an aggressive maneuver that posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. aircrew in the RC-135. More specifically, the Su-27 closed within 25 feet of the fuselage of the RC-135 and conducted a barrel roll over the aircraft.

“There have been repeated incidents over the last year where Russian military aircraft have come close enough to other air and sea traffic to raise serious safety concerns, and we are very concerned with any such behavior,” Baldanza added. “This unsafe and unprofessional air intercept has the potential to cause serious harm and injury to all aircrews involved.”

The U.S. reconnaissance aircraft was flying in international airspace at the time of Friday’s intercept and had not crossed into Russian territory.

“The unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries,” Baldanza said.

On April 11 and 12, the USS Donald Cook was overflown more than 30 times by a pair of Su-27 fighters that on one occasion flew as close as 30 feet from the ship. The Pentagon later released video and still images to demonstrate how risky the Russian aircraft maneuvers had been.

On April 14, another Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 fighter that proceeded to conduct a barrel roll within feet of the U.S. plane.

On both occasions, Russian officials discounted the U.S. characterization that the actions by the Russian military aircraft were unsafe and unprofessional.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter told a congressional panel Wednesday that the previous encounters carry “an inherent danger” of unintended escalation between the U.S. and Russian militaries.

He commended the crew of the USS Donald Cook for their professionalism because “there’s a real risk there because that ship captain has a responsibility to defend his job and an inherent right of self-defense.”

“But our own people comported themselves as they always do in the way you’d expect, very professional,” Carter said.

The Russian’s motivation is unknown but Carter said it’s “unprofessional behavior, and whether it is encouraged from the top, whether it was encouraged from higher up or not I can’t say. But we do expect it to be discouraged from higher up from now on. That’s the reason why the chairman had the conversations he did, and these pilots need to get the word, hey, knock it off. This is unprofessional. This is dangerous. This could lead somewhere.”

At the same hearing, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, characterized the risk of miscalculation between the two militaries “arguably, is greater than it was in the Cold War because the spectrum of challenges is wider today than it was traditionally narrow through just the nuclear enterprise.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Pentagon Extends Carrier’s Deployment by 30 Days to Keep Fighting ISIS

Department of Defense(WASHINGTON) — The Pentagon has extended the seven-month deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman and its strike group by 30 days to keep it in the fight against ISIS and for counter-terrorism missions. Since December, the aircraft carrier has been operating in the Persian Gulf, where its fighter aircraft have targeted ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter approved a request by U.S. Central command to extend the carrier strike group’s ongoing deployment. The extension will also affect the cruiser USS Anzio(CG 68) and the destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) and USS Gravely (DDG 107).

“This decision is central to our ongoing effort to dismantle and roll back terrorist networks in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said Friday. “Accelerating the fight against ISIL is the president’s number one priority and the Truman strike group plays an important role as we work to destroy ISIL and continue to go after the remnants of al Qaeda.” ISIL is the term the Pentagon uses to describe ISIS.

The extension is seen as another of the “accelerants” recommended by Carter and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to intensify the U.S. military’s capabilities to target ISIS. The announced deployments last week of 217 more American troops to Iraq and 250 more Special Operations forces to Syria fall under the same category.

“Terrorist organizations remain a significant threat to U.S. interests. The superb efforts of the men and women of the Truman strike group have and will continue to be instrumental in winning this fight,” Richardson said.

“The contributions we’re making in the maritime environment are key to ensuring regional stability,” said Rear Adm. Bret Batchelder, commander of the Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 8. “Our sailors’ commitment and professionalism has been significant, and as a strike group, we’re at peak operational effectiveness; so we’re going to stay in the fight a while longer. I want the sailors and their families to know how proud I am of their continued efforts and dedication to this fight.”

When the Truman strike group left its home port of Norfolk, Virginia, last fall, it was slated to complete the first seven-month deployment in years. The shorter deployment has been a Navy goal following years of longer deployments to meet a need for a constant U.S. aircraft carrier presence in the region at a time that the size of the carrier fleet was temporarily reduced from 11 to 10.

Last year, a shortfall in available carriers due to scheduled long-term maintenance resulted in “a carrier gap” in the Persian Gulf, where there was not a direct hand-off in carrier responsibilities. That carrier gap last November lasted several weeks until the Truman arrived in the Gulf, another gap was scheduled when its deployment came to an end.

The 30-day extension will delay a presence gap in CENTCOM this spring, but also represents a setback for the Navy’s overstretched flattop force. The Middle East was without a carrier for several weeks in 2015 in the middle of the ISIS fight because the carrier Theodore Roosevelt departed without a relief. Truman filled the gap in December when it arrived in the Middle East.

“Before deviating from our seven-month deployments, we consider each Combatant Commander’s request to ensure the readiness of our naval forces,” Richardson said. “We will do everything we can to mitigate the impact on our families and execute planned seven-month deployment lengths going forward.”

Two weeks ago, the F/A-18 aircraft aboard the carrier set a new record for carrier-based ordnance used during Operation Inherent Resolve, the mission against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7 has completed 1,407 combat sorties, delivering 1,118 precision-guided munitions equally over 580 tons of ordnance, military officials said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Partial Ceasefire Set for Midnight in Syria

iStock/Thinkstock(ALEPPO, Syria) — The U.S. and Russia have agreed to reaffirm the Syrian ceasefire agreement, but this time in only parts of the country.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday the parties involved were “refreshing” the broken cessation of hostilities, which were officially destroyed this week as Syrian forces bombed a civilian hospital, killing 50 — including children — and the last known pediatrician in the city of Aleppo. That city has seen the most intense fighting as the ceasefire has broken down, with an estimated 200 killed in recent days.

The agreement calls for a renewed ceasefire beginning tonight at midnight, local time, initially in the areas of Latakia, Damascus and Eastern Ghouta. Senior State Department officials insisted that although this doesn’t include Aleppo, the opposition-held city is not being ignored.

“So, we are talking about a couple of discrete areas in the immediate sets of this, but we are actually working on all of the areas, a senior State Department official told reporters Friday. “So, it’s not just about Latakia and Damascus, Eastern Ghouta east of Damascus, but also about Aleppo and other areas where we see problems or potential problems that we’re trying to get back — get and then get this cessation of hostilities back on track.”

Despite the horrific hospital bombing this week, Syrian and Russian forces insist they are targeting terrorist in Aleppo.

Officials at the State Department insist that a total ceasefire is not an official precondition for the political negotiations between the warring parties, but the talks are unlikely progress without one.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Win your free tickets to La Vina Wine Festival

The 101 Number One Song of the Day comes from the soundtrack of the movie American Gigolo whose composer was turned down by Stevie Nicks to record vocals for the album.  So he turned to another blond who not only sang for him, she wrote the words to what would become number one this day.
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Win your La Vina Wine Festival Tickets

101 Number One Song of the Day was recorded by a group about to disband. They were going to give it one more try in the studio and then go their separate ways. What happened next turned their careers around and left America with a symbol that is as popular today than it was then.
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Khaleesi – the pint sized pit

Khaleesi – the pint sized pit

Pocket Pit…Pit-squeak – we came up with lots of ways to describe this little girl who’s about 2. She’s been at the shelter since January when she was picked up as a stray. Please ask to see her today! The Shelter opens at noon. 382-0018

Win your free tickets to NMSU Dancesport’s EMOJI

The 101 #1 Song of the Day is a song that would be the third of SIX consecutive number one songs for the group that wrote it…and that would tie a record by the Beatles – it would also end up on a movie soundtrack in 1977. The movie’s producer wanted to tell the story of the New York disco club scene and he asked the group to write a song called Saturday Night…but they thought that was dumb – and they already had a song.
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Win a pair of tickets to NMSU Dancesport’s EMOJI

101 Number One Song of the Day…it was the biggest adult contemporary hit for the queen of soul – pretty surprising considering her long list of hits…but for the song you’re about to hear, she wasn’t alone. It’s arguably one of the more odd pairings in pop –
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