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MUSIC NEWS

Opening Date for New York Edition of Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism Exhibit Revealed

Credit: Dave J HoganFollowing a recent report that Exhibitionism, the expansive Rolling Stones exhibit that debuted in London this past April, will be relocating to New York City in November, an exact opening date for the Big Apple version of the attraction has been announced…November 12.

Tickets for the New York edition of Exhibitionism go on sale to the general public on September 14 at 10 a.m. ET, and will be available at StonesExhibitionism.com. American Express Card members will be able to purchase presale tickets starting Tuesday, August 30, at 10 a.m. ET. The display will be housed at Industria Superstudio in the city’s West Village neighborhood.

Exhibitionism was put together with the full cooperation of Rolling Stones members Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood. The attraction features nine themed areas that incorporate a massive collection of memorabilia, including more than 500 previously unseen artifacts. Items on display include various instruments, original posters and album art, handwritten lyrics, personal diaries and correspondence, costumes, and stage props.

The exhibit also includes unheard audio tracks, rare video clips, film presentations and more. Among the films are a new movie that highlights some of the key points in The Rolling Stones’ career, and a 3-D flick that gives viewers a band’s-eye view of one of their shows.

You can check out a promo video celebrating the exhibit’s move to New York City now on YouTube.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Rare Paul McCartney Demo Recording Fetches More than $23K at UK Auction

Credit: Stephen BaileyA long-lost demo acetate of a song called “It’s for You” that Paul McCartney recorded in 1964 for U.K. pop star Cilla Black sold at a U.K. memorabilia auction over the weekend for 18,000 pounds, or about $23,590. BBC News reports that the demo was purchased by an unknown buyer on Saturday at the Liverpool Beatles Auction, which was held at the Unity Theatre in the Fab Four’s hometown.

The recording recently was rediscovered by Black’s nephew, Simon White, included in a collection of acetates by Cilla, who died in August 2015 at the age of 72. McCartney and his Beatles band mate John Lennon wrote the tune especially for Black, who scored a #7 hit in the U.K. with it.

White believes his aunt gave the acetate to his dad, Cilla’s brother, sometime during the mid-’60s. The acetate was rediscovered when Simon recently brought a stack of 21 discs that he thought were all Cilla’s demos to The Beatles Shop memorabilia store in Liverpool to be appraised.

White listened to the demos with The Beatles Shop’s manager, Stephen Bailey, who told the BBC, “We got to the last one and, as soon as I heard it, I thought, ‘Oh God, that’s not Cilla Black, it’s Paul McCartney’…I was shaking with excitement and speechless.”

Bailey added, “Apart from a few crackles, which you get with acetates, the quality is fine. It’s a wonderful recording…I can’t think of finding anything better unless I discover there is a sixth Beatle.”

Including fees, the acetate’s buyer paid a total of 21,060 pounds, or about $27,600, for the disc. You can listen to a 20-second clip of the tune at BeatlesAuction.co.uk.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

John Lennon’s Killer Denied Parole for a Ninth Time

Art Zelin/Getty ImagesFor the ninth time since his incarceration for the December 8, 1980 murder of John Lennon, Mark David Chapman has been denied parole.

The New York State Board of Parole announced its decision on Monday following an interview this past Wednesday with the 61-year-old Chapman, held at the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, New York.

The board members noted in their decision, “In spite of many favorable factors, we find all to be outweighed by the premeditated and celebrity-seeking nature of the crime. From our interview and review of your records, we find that your release would be incompatible with the welfare of society and would so deprecate that seriousness of the crime as to undermine respect for the law. Accordingly, we deny your release to supervision in the community.”

The parole board also explained that in denying Chapman’s request, it considered such factors as his efforts to rehabilitate and educate himself, his disciplinary record, his accomplishments while incarcerated, and his lack of prior criminal history.

Chapman was sentenced in 1981 to 20 years to life for Lennon’s murder and was first eligible for parole on December 4, 2000.  His next parole hearing is scheduled for August 2018.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Alison Brie Joins Netflix’s Female Wrestling Series

Charles Sykes/BravoAlison Brie, formerly of NBC’s Community, is stepping into the ring as an unlikely female wrestler in Netflix’s upcoming comedy G.L.O.W., ABC News has confirmed.

Based on the 1980’s syndicated show G.L.O.W. — or Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling — the 10-episode Neflix series was co-created by Homeland producer Liz Flahive, and Carly Mensch of Orange Is the New Black fame.

Brie, who also voices multiple characters on Netflix’s animated series Bojack Horseman, will reportedly play Ruth, an out-of-work actress who ends up taking a gig as a female pro wrestler in an attempt to keep her on-camera career alive.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Comic Legend Gene Wilder Dead at 83

Gene Wilder in 1987; George Rose/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Gene Wilder, the comic actor and writer famous for movies like The Producers, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, died Monday at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. He was 83.

Wilder’s death was confirmed in a statement to ABC News by his nephew, Jordan Walker-Pearlman, who said the cause of death was “Alzheimer’s Disease with which he co-existed for the last three years,” adding, “The choice to keep this private was his choice.”

The statement continues: “The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn’t vanity, but more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him ‘there’s Willy Wonka,’ would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.”

Wilder also had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1989.

Wilder was one of Mel Brooks’ favorite leading men, appearing in Young Frankenstein, which he co-wrote with Brooks, The Producers and Blazing Saddles, but he also found box office success teamed with Richard Pryor for a series of films including Silver Streak and Stir Crazy.  Wilder was nominated for an Oscar for his role in The Producers, and for co-writing Young Frankenstein with Brooks.

Wilder’s most iconic role, though, is arguably that of Willy Wonka, the chocolate factory owner who searches for a child to take over his business in 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  While not a huge hit upon its initial release, it’s since become a classic. 

According to Variety, Wilder’s most successful roles featured him playing characters with “a signature mixture of hysteria and sweetness.”

“[Mel Brooks] always thought that I was a perfect victim, I was a sheep and the wolves could come and get me,” Wilder once told ABC News Radio.  “I’ve changed a little bit since then, but he was right about that time, when I was doing The Producers.  By Young Frankenstein, I wasn’t the sheep anymore.  A little bit, but not much.”

Wilder married Saturday Night Live star and comic actress Gilda Radner in 1982.  She was his third wife. They co-starred in two films, The Woman in Red and Haunted Honeymoon. After Radner died in 1989 from ovarian cancer, a devastated Wilder worked very little afterward.  He co-founded Gilda’s Club, an organization that offers support for cancer patients, their families and friends.

In the ’90s, Wilder appeared in feature films, a failed TV series, and wrote and starred in mystery movies for A&E.  He won an Emmy for his final acting role: a guest stint in Will and Grace from 2002 to 2003.

Wilder was also an author, publishing two novels, two novellas and a collection of stories.

He’s survived by his fourth wife, Karen, and his nephew.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Ben Affleck Teases “Batman” Movie Villain

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — Ben Affleck, who is the current occupant of Batman’s suit — and who is directing the next solo Batman film — has teased comic fans with a snippet of what’s to come.

On his Twitter feed Monday morning, Affleck posted footage of a fearsome figure clad in black and orange armor: fan favorite Deathstroke, a deadly mercenary who has tangled with the Caped Crusader a few times since making his DC Comics debut in 1980. 

The character, whose real name is Slade Wilson, has also appeared frequently in video games, and on the small screen, in Arrow.

And a piece of comic trivia: Marvel’s Deadpool began as a spoof of Deathstroke: Ryan Reynolds’ onscreen alter-ego is also a mercenary possessing superhuman power and amazing fighting skills … whose real name is the similarly-sounding Wade Wilson.

The Wrap is claiming Deathstroke will be the main villain in the upcoming Batman project from the Oscar nominated Argo director — though that doesn’t rule out Wilson making some prior appearance in Batman’s superhero team-up movie Justice League in November of 2017. 

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

NATIONAL NEWS

Family of Suspect in Murder of Mississippi Nuns Breaks Down as He Appears in Court

Mississippi DPS(JACKSON, Miss.) — After the man accused of murdering two nuns in their Mississippi home appeared in court Monday, his family broke down and apologized to the family of one of the victims, according to ABC affiliate WAPT-TV in Jackson.

The suspect, Rodney Earl Sanders, 46, of Kosciusko, Mississippi, was arrested late Friday in connection with the deaths of Sister Paula Merrill and Sister Margaret Held in Durant, Mississippi.

Sanders was wearing shackles and a bulletproof vest as he was taken to the courthouse in Durant Monday afternoon, WAPT-TV reported.

Sanders, who has been charged with two counts of capital murder, in addition to other charges, will be appointed an attorney, according to WAPT-TV.

He will remain in jail without bond, WAPT-TV reported.

It is believed Sanders acted alone in the murders, according to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

The bodies of the two nuns were found by police Thursday morning when they did not report to work, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson said.

The two nuns also worked as nurse practitioners in the community.

“She was so good to the people down there and they just loved her,” Merrill’s sister, Rosemarie Merrill, told WAPT-TV.

“These sisters have spent years of dedicated service here in Mississippi,” Bishop Joseph Kopacz said, according to a statement on the site for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson. “They absolutely loved the people in their community.”

“We got each other’s backs over here,” a community member told WAPT-TV. “So when this happened, it’s devastating.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sister of Fatally Stabbed Ithaca College Student Speaks Out

WABC-TV(ITHACA, N.Y.) — The fight on Cornell University’s campus that led to the death of an Ithaca College sophomore this weekend allegedly began from an accidental bump, according to the victim’s sister.

Nineteen-year-old Anthony Nazaire, who had just begun his sophomore year studying business administration at Ithaca College, was stabbed along with another Ithaca student during a “large fight” on the Cornell campus after a student-organized event, Ithaca College said.

Anthony Nazaire, of Brooklyn, New York, died from the stabbing, Ithaca College said. The other victim, whose name was not released, was treated and released from the hospital, Ithaca College and Cornell said.

Anthony Nazaire’s sister Kiara Nazaire told ABC-owned station WABC-TV that she heard from another student that what started the fight was a bump.

Anthony “was with his friend, his friend bumped the girl by accident, and he apologized,” Kiara Nazaire said. “Both of them apologized, even my brother apologized and didn’t bump the girl.”

But the situation seemed to escalate, and Anthony and his friend “walked away. And these cowards followed them and hit his friend,” Kiara Nazaire said. “Anthony tried to help his friend but he was hit, too,” Nazaire said.

Ithaca police told ABC News they have heard that potential reason for the altercation and are looking into it.

“I don’t understand how someone could just take someone’s life away like that,” Kiara Nazaire told WABC. “I would see killings all over the news … I never knew that it would have to be me crying over someone so close.”

Kiara Nazaire said her driven younger brother aspired to become an entrepreneur.

“Talking about the business ventures that he had planned — we used to sit there all night,” Kiara Nazaire said.

And he was the first to help her with her own business venture.

“When I found out information for me to open up my own cosmetic line and I told him, the first thing he told me was, ‘How much money I gotta send you?’ And he was away in Ithaca. That was the first thing he said,” she recalled. “And the moment I told him … he came home for the weekend, I showed him everything … a week later I had my own cosmetic line.

“Every night we would text each other ‘I love you,'” she added. “I just hope my brother finds justice.”

“My deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of Anthony Nazaire,” Ithaca College President Tom Rochon said. “He graduated from Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School, and at IC he was a member of the executive board of Brothers4Brothers, a student organization dedicated to empowering men of color on our campus.”

The Ithaca Police Department is investigating and Ithaca College said Sunday that no perpetrators had been apprehended or identified.

“Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends of the deceased,” Cornell Vice President for Student & Campus Life Ryan Lombardi said.

“There is nothing more important than the safety of our community; as such, this incident is deeply disturbing,” Lombardi said. “Please be sure to take care of yourselves and each other throughout the coming days.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Feds Clear Commercial Drones for Takeoff: What You Need to Know

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A new era took flight Monday as the Federal Aviation Administration introduced new rules for commercial drone use.

No longer do businesses need to be granted special permission from regulators on a case-by-case basis. In the next year, the FAA estimates that more than 600,000 commercial drones will be registered and operating in the U.S.

This is what you need to know about the new rules.

What Are the Rules?

The drone must weigh under 55 pounds and be kept within direct eyesight of the operator, with his or her naked eye, throughout the duration of the flight.

The drones may only fly during daylight hours and they must be kept away from crowds. The rules restrict drone use to sparsely populated areas. And remember, stay low and slow: The drone should remain below 400 feet and never operate faster than 100 mph.

The operator must also be an FAA-certified pilot.

How Does One Become a Certified Pilot?

A certified pilot must be 16 years old and able to read, speak, write and understand English. He or she is expected to be in a physical and mental condition to safely operate the aircraft.

After meeting these requirements, a soon-to-be pilot must pass a knowledge exam at an FAA-approved testing center.

What If a Business Needs to Operate Outside These Rules?

Many businesses plan to use drones at night or out of direct eyesight. In a case where a company needs to fly outside of the operational restrictions, the company can apply for a waiver.

The FAA said Monday morning that it is issuing more than 70 waivers today alone; most were for permission to operate at night.

What Are Businesses Using Drones for?

Any business that needs photos or videos from the air will benefit greatly from these new rules. For example, real estate firms can take new photos and videos of properties. Farmers can inspect crops more efficiently than ever. Railroads can inspect tracks faster than ever while oil or gas companies can do the same with pipelines.

Many of these uses will require a waiver, but the FAA has a process in place to make that possible.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

SPORTS NEWS

Thousands Turn Out to Celebrate New York Team’s ‘Amazing’ Little League World Series Win

Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Thousands of fans and supporters turned out Monday in Upstate New York to give the victorious Maine-Endwell Little League team a raucous homecoming celebration, even as the players were still wrapping their heads around the big win.

“It’s shocking,” shortstop-pitcher Michael Mancini, a 13-year-old rising seventh-grader, told ABC News Monday.

On Sunday, the team of eleven 12- and 13-year-olds as well as their coaches capped off a perfect 24-0 season with the biggest victory of all: They beat powerhouse East Seoul, South Korea, 2-1, to win the Little League World Series championship at Williamsport’s Howard J. Lamade Stadium in Pennsylvania.

“When you actually get the chance to get your head around that, it’s just amazing that we represented the entire country in an international championship game,” said catcher-third baseman Conner Rush, a 13-year-old rising eighth-grader.

The team, which hails from New York’s Maine and Endwell towns, also won the sportsmanship award. The teammates said they used Google Translate to communicate with the South Korean team and invited them to participate in their winning lap around the stadium.

“They were just as talented as we were and we both deserved to win,” Mancini said.

“We just tried to, no matter what happens, be nice to everybody ’cause if you lost a game, you wouldn’t want somebody to show you up or anything bad,” Rush said.

Maine-Endwell were the first U.S. team to win in five years. They faced South Korea after beating Tennessee for the U.S. title 4-2 on Saturday. The team even received a congratulatory call from President Obama on Saturday.

“Congratulations! … I’m proud of you, guys. … Seeing not only how well the kids compete, but also the good sportsmanship, and seeing the parents looking all stressed — not yelling too bad,” Obama said in a call posted on the team’s Twitter page. “It’s just a wonderful event.”

Second baseman and pitcher Jude Abbadessa, a 13-year-old rising seventh-grader, shared with ABC News the ingredients that he believed had contributed to the team’s success.

“Hard work, practiced every day and just played the game as a team,” he said.

At the end of the parade route, the team emptied out of their bus to chants of “USA! USA” and took to Struble Field to tip their hats to the crowds and be officially honored by community and state leaders.

“We couldn’t ask for anything more from these 11 individuals,” coach Scott Rush, Conner’s father, said Monday. “We’re happy to be home. It’s been a long journey.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

White House Objects to NFL QB Colin Kaepernick’s Protest of ‘Star-Spangled Banner’

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) — The White House called NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest of “The Star-Spangled Banner” “objectionable” on Monday, but defended his constitutional right to demonstrate.

Prior to San Francisco’s Friday night preseason loss to the Green Bay Packers, the 49ers’ player remained seated between two Gatorade coolers while the national anthem was played through Levi’s Stadium. He later explained that he did so to protest the oppression of people of color in the United States.

Asked for President Obama’s reaction to Kaepernick’s actions, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest signaled his personal disagreement, but indicated he hadn’t quizzed the president on the subject.

“What I can say is that I certainly don’t share the views that Mr. Kaepernick expressed after the game in explaining his reasoning for his actions,” Earnest, the White House’s top spokesman, said Monday.

 

 

Earnest said he’s “confident” Obama, an avid sports fan, is aware of the episode, but that he hadn’t spoken to the president about it.

“We surely acknowledge and even defend his right to express those views,” he continued. “Even as objectionable as we find his perspective, he certainly is entitled to express them.”

Despite widespread criticism, Kaepernick insists he will continue refusing to stand during the national anthem.

“I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me this is something that has to change,” Kaepernick explained. “When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”

Meanwhile, Philadelphia Eagles rookie linebacker Myke Tavarres told ESPN that he will sit during the anthem ceremony Thursday night in a preseason home game against the New York Jets.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

49ers QB Colin Kaepernick Says His Stand ‘Is for People That Don’t Have the Voice’

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said Sunday no one has tried to stop him from sitting out the national anthem at NFL games or to keep him from talking about the beliefs that led him to the protest.

“No one’s tried to quiet me, and you know, to be honest, it’s not something I’m going to be quiet about,” he said Sunday during a media availability. “I’m going to speak the truth when I’m asked about it. It’s not — this isn’t for look, this isn’t for publicity or anything like that. This is for people that don’t have the voice. And this is for people that are being oppressed and need to have equal opportunities, you know, to be successful, to provide for their families and not live in poor circumstances.”

Kaepernick has drawn a mix of criticism and praise since it was noticed that the backup quarterback did not stand during the national anthem Thursday night during an NFL preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. He said he had not stood for the 49ers’ first preseason game, but it hadn’t been noticed.

He said he made the decision to sit out the national anthem because he wanted to bring awareness to things going on in the country he feels are unjust, and because he feels the values the American flag is supposed to stand for are not being realized.

“There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust,” he said. “People aren’t being held accountable for. And that’s something that needs to change. That’s something that this country stands for — freedom, liberty, justice for all. And it’s not happening for all right now.”

He said he will not stand for the national anthem until he feels those ideals are being realized.

“I’ll continue to sit,” he said. “I’m going to continue to stand with the people. To me this is something that has to change and when there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent in this country, as representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”

The NFL said Saturday that while it encourages team members to stand for the national anthem, it is not a requirement.


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Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

WORLD NEWS

Pentagon Calls on Turkey to Stop Fighting Kurds

Olivier Douliery/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The Pentagon is calling on Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies to stop fighting America’s Syrian Kurdish allies in northern Syrian because it is taking attention away from the fight against ISIS.

The United States has called on Turkey to “stay focused on the fight against ISIL and not to engage Syrian defense forces,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said at a Pentagon news conference Monday, using an alternate name for ISIS.

He said there had been various senior-level contacts in recent days with Turkey to make that point and that he would do the same in a meeting with his Turkish counterpart next week.

Last week’s Turkish offensive that captured the ISIS-held border town of Jarabulus has resulted in a chaotic situation where various Syrian and Kurdish rebel groups supported and trained by the United States have clashed in battle because of pre-existing animosities.

The Turkish force that retook Jarabulus also includes a Syrian rebel force previously trained by the Pentagon to fight ISIS. They have pushed south of Jarabulus to take on Kurdish fighters aligned with the Syrian Democratic Forces who have pushed north from the recently captured city of Manbij.

“We call on both sides to not fight with one another to continue to focus the fight on ISIL that’s the basis of our cooperation with both of them,” Carter said.

The push south of Jarabulus by Turkey and its rebel allies seems intended to prevent Kurdish fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces from pushing northward and creating a Kurdish buffer zone along the border with Turkey.

In its fight against ISIS, the United States has had to walk the fine line of training, advising and assisting the Syrian Democratic Forces, which has become its strongest partner in the fight against ISIS in eastern and northern Syria, while giving strong concern to Turkish concerns about the group.

A large number of the Syrian Democratic Forces come from what is known as the YPG, an acronym for Self Protection Units in Kurdish, a group that Turkey says is aligned with the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) that conducts terrorist attacks inside Turkey.

An earlier statement Monday from Peter Cook, Pentagon press secretary, called the fighting south of Jarabulus “unacceptable” and labeled them “a source of deep concern.”

“This is an already crowded battle space,” Cook said. “Accordingly, we are calling on all armed actors to stand down immediately and take appropriate measures to de-conflict.”

Carter said one of the things the United States is talking to Turkey about is clarifying where different elements of the SDF are in the area, particularly those belonging to the YPG.

“We do understand that they have historical differences with one another, but American interests are quite clear we, like they, want to combat ISIL,” Carter said. “We’re calling on all involved, let’s keep our priorities clear in helping them to de-conflict, so to speak on the battlefield.”

Carter called on the Turks to keep prior commitments that they would not engage the Syrian Democratic Forces and remain only north and west of Jarabulus. He called on the Syrian Kurds to keep their commitment that they would move east back across the Euphrates once the Manbij operation is fully over.

The Kurds are moving across the Euphrates, according to Carter.

“They are doing that, yes,” he said. “But that’s the understanding we have with them and we want to make sure that they continue that commitment.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Emails Show ISIS Appeared Eager to Release Kayla Mueller for Ransom, Expert Says

Mueller Family(NEW YORK) — Even after a failed U.S. Special Forces hostage rescue mission in Syria, the launch of hundreds of coalition airstrikes and the subsequent video beheadings of three hostages, ISIS offered hope to Carl and Marsha Mueller that made them believe paying a ransom could still bring their captive daughter Kayla home, emails from the family’s negotiations show.

But a former senior FBI agent told ABC News that U.S. government negotiators missed the likely final opportunity to free the last American in captivity for ransom almost two years ago, which ISIS said was “still a possibility” in its last email to her parents before her death.

“I think the Muellers have a right to be upset,” said retired FBI chief hostage negotiator Chris Voss, who reviewed 27 emails exchanged between ISIS and Kayla Mueller’s parents for ABC News’ “20/20.”

Numerous Obama administration officials were perceived by some families, including the Muellers, as threatening them with prosecution for “material support to terrorism” if they paid ISIS a ransom, so none attempted to. All of the other American hostages were eventually killed by ISIS. The U.S. confirmed Mueller’s death in ISIS hands in 2015. ISIS claimed that she died in a Jordanian airstrike, but the exact cause remains a mystery.

“I think they put a lot of faith in the United States government helping them, and there were some people from the government that tried very hard to help them and did their absolute best. And there were some that just didn’t know any better, didn’t know what they were doing, and so instead of moving the ball forward, they threatened them,” Voss said in an interview.

On Sept. 19, 2014, ISIS sent the Muellers an email which reassured them their daughter had not been executed on her 26th birthday, Aug. 14, as the hostage-takers had threatened would happen after a 30-day countdown to pay.

“Kayla’s safe release Is [sic] still a possibility considering our demands are met!” ISIS told the Muellers. “These demands are very straight forward and could have easily been achievable a long time ago had it not been for the stubbornness of your government!”

But U.S. airstrikes against ISIS targets, which had begun Aug. 8, 2014, in northern Iraq, expanded dramatically on Sept. 22 in a blitz across Syria. The hostage-takers never replied to the Muellers’ emailed pleas again until she was publicly reported dead by her captors the following year.

Asked last week why the U.S. expanded airstrikes in 2014 with almost a dozen western hostages still in the hands of ISIS, a senior administration official told ABC News, “The U.S. didn’t have any great choices here. No matter what we did, there would be a price to pay.”

The final message from ISIS to the hostage’s family was among the nine emails the Muellers received from the terrorists — more than any other hostage’s family — and which they provided to ABC News. The Muellers’ 18 emails were primarily written by FBI hostage negotiators. A selection of the emails is posted here.

The Muellers told ABC News that their FBI hostage negotiation team promised to help them make a genuine ransom offer for their daughter’s life with messages sent from the family email account used to communicate with the hostage-takers, in Carl Mueller’s name. But the emails sent to ISIS obtained by ABC News contain no offer in exchange for her release.

“Carl would say we need to make an offer, and then the [FBI-authored] email would not have anything about an offer in it,” Marsha Mueller told ABC News.

“We were like sheep. We were following what the government told us to do. We had no idea,” Kayla’s father Carl Mueller said in the couple’s interview for ABC News’ “20/20” segment, “The Girl Left Behind.”

Some counterterrorism officials have told ABC News that the FBI has quietly helped American families negotiate and facilitate the payment of ransom to other terrorist groups since 9/11 in order to recover loved ones held hostage.

Not making a ransom offer to ISIS — which would have been, in fact, legally allowable under a Bush-era presidential directive — was the biggest missed opportunity to free Kayla, said Voss, the retired FBI agent.

“There is an exception. And it’s when you have the possibility, a reasonable outcome of retrieving the ransom. And of bringing the terrorists to justice. And it’s been done in the past,” Voss said. “As far as I know they [Kayla’s parents] were never allowed to… They were told if they made any sort of an offer they’d be prosecuted, which is unconscionable.”

Citing classification and privacy concerns, FBI and Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell officials declined to comment about the Kayla Mueller hostage negotiation or about the White House order containing the legal exception which allowed payments as part of a lure with a reasonable chance of denying the hostage-takers the benefits of ransom, National Security Presidential Directive-12.

But a former senior White House official involved in the hostage crisis in 2014 told ABC News there was no way to justify paying ransom to a group like ISIS operating in lawless Syria, where money could not easily be traced.

“The National Security Council and FBI, Department of Justice and Department of Defense carefully considered options to capture the hostage-takers in conjunction with an exchange but none of the options were judged viable,” retired Army Col. Mark Mitchell told ABC News last week.

A Green Beret who earned the nation’s second-highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross, in Afghanistan, Mitchell has acknowledged publicly that as counterterrorism director in the Obama NSC, hostages’ family members such as journalist James Foley’s parents have accused him of threatening that anyone who paid ransom would land in a federal prison.

Mitchell denied doing anything more than stating U.S. law to the families but his past comments in those White House meetings have been privately disavowed as inappropriate by some senior administration officials since 2014. The Muellers say Mitchell was one of many Obama administration officials who warned that their donors could be prosecuted and they do not fault him for their inability to raise a ransom fund.

It was almost a year after Kayla was kidnapped on Aug. 4, 2013 before Carl and Marsha Mueller were even able to learn the identity of the hostage-takers as ISIS, much less start negotiating with them.

Though a 10-second proof-of-life video of Kayla by then-unknown hostage-takers was received by her family a few weeks after her abduction in Aleppo, Syria, after leaving a Doctors Without Borders hospital in a marked vehicle from the medical aid group, her parents weren’t able to begin negotiations for their daughter’s release until May 23, 2014. That was the date Doctors Without Borders turned over to Carl and Marsha Mueller an ISIS email address brought out of Syria seven weeks earlier by three of their aid workers who had been held hostage with the young American. ISIS had ordered the women to memorize the email address and to use it to negotiate for Kayla.

But ISIS reached out to the Muellers first — only hours after the family received the contact information from Doctors Without Borders.

“This message is to inform you that we have the American citizen, Kayla Jean Mueller PRISONER. We don’t want to harm her. She’s like a guest with us at the moment,” the email read. The Muellers were told they could ask three questions only their daughter could answer, to prove she was still alive and in their custody, which ISIS quickly provided:

How did you get the stitches in your eyebrow as a child? Answer: Her older brother Eric was pulling her in a wagon and it tipped over and she fell on her head onto a small rock.

What did you teach your niece to say? Music is______? Answer: Music is Everywhere

What is your friend Moe’s real name? Answer: Her name is Monica and she is a kinder garden friend.

Kayla was still alive, her elated parents concluded.

The kidnappers demanded the release of convicted terrorist operative Aafia Siddiqui or 5 million euros. They said there should be “NO MEDIA EXPOSURE WHAT SO EVER!” Anything less and they’d put a bullet in Kayla’s head, they wrote.

But Voss says the FBI negotiators missed an important opportunity to make Kayla safer from the start, by failing to exploit the cultural importance of guests in Muslim countries.

“This is something huge that they missed, because they should have responded with, ‘No, she’s not like a guest. She is a guest and she is your responsibility as a guest’,” he said.

The kidnappers also sent an audio of her voice.

”Mom and Dad, I still am remaining healthy. You should have already received the three answers to the proof life questions you provided,” Kayla said, still sounding strong.

The negotiation drama for Kayla played out over the next four months, from May to September 2014, amid an astounding chain of events with potential impact on all the western captives, who included nine journalists and aid workers.

Mosul fell in June and ISIS declared an Islamic caliphate, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was freed in a Qatar-arranged swap for five Taliban detainees, a Special Forces operation in July to free the western hostages came up empty near Raqqa, Syria, the U.S. began bombing ISIS across Syria and Iraq, and beginning Aug. 19 James Foley, Steven Sotloff and a British hostage were beheaded on video by an English-speaking executioner in retaliation for ISIS being bombed by coalition warplanes.

Throughout this turmoil, however, the Muellers received nine emails from ISIS and in reply they sent 18 email pleas for their daughter’s life composed mostly by a team of FBI hostage negotiators with access to the family’s email account. No other American hostage’s family is known to have received so many emails from ISIS.

But the FBI repeatedly failed to leverage the discussion in a way to get Kayla home, said Voss, who is respected by many government insiders for his success as a senior agent formerly in charge of operations such as hostage recovery for the FBI in Iraq.

“I know that there are some very talented hostage negotiators in the FBI that knew what they were doing. I see no evidence of their voices in these emails,” he said.

The communications quickly deteriorated as the FBI wrote lengthy email after email begging for time to raise a ransom and with the father complaining about money troubles that only seemed to increasingly anger the hostage-takers, who Voss said had little time for page-long family pleas to spare Kayla.

“Kayla may not know that I retired this January,” an FBI-composed email from Carl Mueller explained on June 2, adding that after selling their auto repair shop the family had “limited resources.” ISIS told him to go back to work to earn money for the ransom demand.

“From this point on you will only speak about the objectives, SO NO MORE SENTIMENTAL SOB STORIES!” the hostage-takers responded.

The correct use of an American phrase suggested it was a western jihadi writing the messages, Voss said.

“‘Sentimental sob stories’ is a phrase that will only come from certain cultures,” he said. “You begin to develop a cultural profile of who you’re dealing with, because ultimately you want to track these guys down.”

The FBI kept sending messages from the Muellers pleading for time. Carl Mueller began to suspect that the FBI was merely stalling with no intention of actually negotiating Kayla’s release, and thereby angering ISIS.

In apparent frustration, ISIS sent an email that told her parents they wanted to know if the Muellers had “reached a SIGNIFICANT BENCHMARK with regards to the amount of CASH you have raised from the demanded sum.”

The FBI made no cash offer and instead had Mueller simply plead for more time and complain that the U.S. government wasn’t helping.

“At one point I even said to the [FBI] team, I said if I got this email back I would be really mad,” Mueller told ABC News.

There were reasons for initially stalling including an unprecedented Joint Special Operations Command raid being planned for almost two months, held up for weeks before approval by the administration and by U.S. Central Command, current and former officials told ABC News. It culminated in an entire squadron from the Army’s special mission unit Delta Force raiding a “desert pipeline prison” south of Raqqa over the weekend of July 4th.

But it was a “dry hole,” a source said at the time — the hostages had been relocated a few days earlier without overhead surveillance spotting the move.

“Yes, there was a period of deliberation I remember,” a senior administration official told ABC News last week. “The intel wasn’t rock solid. It was compelling.”

Assets had to be moved into the region, hundreds of operators were involved. A diversionary attack was launched nearby to draw fighters away from the prison site. It was also close to Damascus and the Assad forces had air defenses, the official recalled.

“We were working very hard to find the hostages. But after the July 4th raid, the trail ran cold,” the senior official said.

On July 12, 2014, a week after the still-secret U.S. raid failed to rescue Kayla and the others, the hostage-takers’ tone grew suddenly more hostile in an email giving the Muellers 30 days to pay up.

“If you fail to meet this deadline we will send you a picture of Kayla’s dead body!” ISIS wrote. “This will be our FIRST act of revenge taken for the MISERABLY FAILED and unsuccessful attempt by your arrogant government to free their prisoners!”

Carl and Marsha Mueller were baffled.

“It was Kayla’s birthday, that was the deadline for them to kill her,” Carl Mueller said. “So we immediately call our ‘arrogant government’ and say, ‘What are they talking about?’ And the response was, ‘I don’t know.’ They had conducted a raid, a military operation. ISIS told us they were going to kill our daughter because they did that and their response was, ‘No, we don’t know anything about a raid.'”

The Delta Force raid was not publicly disclosed by the White House until six weeks later, after James Foley was beheaded in a shocking video by ISIS executioner Jihadi John.

Between July 12 and Sept. 19, 2014, the FBI composed and sent a dozen emails to the hostage-takers. In what would be the final email from ISIS to the Muellers while Kayla was still alive, and before she was taken by “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to be raped, they added a third demand.

“That is the immediate halt of ALL military activities by your government within and around the lands of the Islamic State,” the email said, in the group’s first reference they had made to the ISIS caliphate. “Kayla will not be released until these conditions are met.”

Three days later, on Sept. 22, the U.S. commenced Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria, with more than 15,000 airstrikes since then.

Kayla Mueller was moved in August or September to the Shaddadi, Syria, house of a senior ISIS leader, Abu Sayyaf, and kept there for Baghdadi. ISIS tweeted on Feb. 6, 2015, that she had been killed in a Jordanian airstrike, which U.S. officials have denied. A building ISIS showed in a photo had been bombed much earlier as a barracks for fighters and arms depot, a counterrterrorism official has told ABC News. The White House confirmed Mueller’s death a few days later without stating a suspected cause.

Retired FBI agent Voss said the final evidence that Kayla probably could have been ransomed was an email sent in February 2015, after her reported death, to Marsha Mueller containing three photos of Kayla’s face after she was killed, dusty and sprinkled with tiny pieces of rubble, and one photo after her face was cleaned for burial, per Muslim custom. An accompanying note was respectful in tone.

“They respected her parents enough to send those photos. And they wouldn’t have done that if her parents hadn’t struck a chord with them. And if you can strike a chord, then you can create communication that’s productive,” Voss said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Meets Goal of Admitting 10,000 Syrian Refugees in a Year

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A month ahead of schedule, the Obama administration has announced that it has met a goal set a year ago to welcome 10,000 Syrian refugees.

“The 10,000th Syrian refugee will arrive this afternoon (Monday),” National Security Advisor Susan Rice announced in a statement.

“On behalf of the President and his Administration, I extend the warmest of welcomes to each and every one of our Syrian arrivals, as well as the many other refugees resettled this year from all over the world,” Rice wrote in the statement.

The U.S. government’s goal was to welcome 10,000 refugees within this fiscal year, which ends September 30th.

In total, nearly five million people have fled Syria since 2011, according to the U.N., the vast majority of which are living now in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.

A policy director at Church World Service, who has worked closely with the U.S. government and nonprofits to resettle Syrian refugees, described the 10,000-benchmark as sort of bitter-sweet. “It was sort of a meager goal to begin with,” Jen Smyers told ABC News.

“This demonstrates that where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Smyers continued. “But if we had been processing Syrian refugee applications for the last four years then many more people could be rebuilding their lives in safety, rather than risking their lives to take the very dangerous trip across the Atlantic.”

“We would like to see the U.S. demonstrate more leadership on this,” Smyers added, referencing the fact that the U.S. took in hundreds of thousand of Vietnamese refugees during and after their civil war.

Secretary of State John Kerry has said the U.S. plans to take in 85,000 refugees from around the world this year in total. “We recognize that more needs to be done to help those who are besieged inside Syria; more has to be done to assist refugees; more has to be done to support Syria’s neighbors, Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey; and more has to be done to resolve this brutal conflict that has cost far too many lives and forced far too many people from their homes.”

During a briefing Monday, State Department spokesperson John Kirby said he believed the U.S. would likely take in additional refugees from Syria this year.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Win tickets to LC Beer Fest

Friday, August 19th at the NM Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum…

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Jovie is Jovial

Jovie is Jovial

Ask for Jove – this female Blue Pit is sweet and gentle. She is almost 3 and has been at the shelter for almost a year. $75 to take her home from the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley today. They open every day at noon. 3551 Bataan Memorial West. 382-0018

 

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August 20th at Picacho Peak Brewing Company…

The 101 number one song of the day was written for a movie which – at that time – would go on to be the highest grossing comedy ever. And the video produced for it would be loaded with cameos by big stars. read more…

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August 20th at Picacho Peak Brewing Company…

The 101 number one song of the day was sung by a guy torn between rock and roll and classical music but what ultimately compelled him to perform the former was that he was unhappy with the way one of his songs was recorded by Little Anthony and the Imperials. read more…

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