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Doobie Brothers have begun recording new music; ex-Allman Brothers Band member joins touring lineup

Credit: Andrew MacphersonWhile The Doobie Brothers recently kicked off a lengthy joint North American tour with Steely Dan, longtime multi-instrumentalist John McFee reports that his band also has started work on a potential new studio album.

McFee tells Billboard, “That’s our plan. We do want to make some new music. As a matter of fact, we have gone in and already cut four songs.”

The Doobie Brothers’ most recent album, 2014’s Southbound, was a collection of new versions of their classic songs recorded with a variety of guest country artists. The band’s last album of new original tunes was World Gone Crazy, which came out in 2010.

In other news, The Doobie Brothers have announced via their Twitter feed that longtime Allman Brothers Band percussionist Marc Quiñones has joined their touring lineup. The Doobies continue to be led by original members Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons, along with McPhee. Founding Little Feat keyboardist Bill Payne also is a touring member of the band.

The Doobie Brothers tour with Steely Dan is plotted out through a July 14 concert in Bethel, New York. The band also will be The Eagles‘ support act at a September 22 show in San Diego, and have a headlining performance lined up in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, on November 7.

Here’s The Doobie Brothers full upcoming 2018 itinerary; all shows with Steely Dan unless otherwise noted:

5/22 — New Orleans, LA, Smoothie King Center
5/24 — Sugar Land, TX, Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land
5/25 — Dallas, TX, The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
5/27 — Austin, TX, Austin360 Amphitheater
5/30 — Inglewood, CA, The Forum
6/1 — Mountain View, CA, Shoreline Amphitheatre
6/2 — Reno, NV, Grand Sierra Resort & Casino
6/4 — Portland, OR, Moda Center
6/5 — Seattle, WA, KeyArena
6/7 — Missoula, MT, Ogren Park Allegiance Field
6/9 — Boise, ID, Taco Bell Arena
6/10 — Salt Lake City, UT, USANA Amphitheatre
6/12 — Denver, CO, Pepsi Center
6/15 — Saint Paul, MN, Xcel Energy Center
6/16 — Madison, WI, Breese Stevens
6/18 — Kansas City, MO, Starlight Theatre
6/19 — St Louis, MO, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
6/21 — Chicago, IL, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
6/23 — Cleveland, OH, Blossom Music Center
6/24 — Indianapolis, IN, Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
6/26 — Clarkston, MI, DTE Energy Music Theatre
6/27 — Cincinnati, OH, Riverbend Music Center
6/30 — Saratoga Springs, NY, Saratoga Performing Arts Center
7/2 — Toronto, ON, Canada, Budweiser Stage
7/3 — Syracuse, NY, Lakeview Amphitheater
7/6 — Holmdel, NJ, PNC Bank Arts Center
7/7 — Mansfield, MA, Xfinity Center
7/10 — Bristow, VA, Jiffy Lube Live
7/11 — Camden, NJ, BB&T Pavilion
7/13 — Gilford, NH, Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook
7/14 — Bethel, NY, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
9/22 — San Diego, CA, PETCO Park+
11/7 — Greensburg, PA, The Palace Theatre*

+ = with The Eagles and Zac Brown Band
* = headlining show.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

“White Knight” Returns: Todd Rundgren reveals plans for next album; announces solo U.S. tour dates

Credit: Lynn GoldsmithTodd Rundgren and his old band Utopia currently are traveling across the U.S. on a reunion tour that wraps up on June 5 in Riverside, California. Meanwhile, the prolific singer/songwriter tells ABC Radio that he’s started work on a new album that will be a follow-up to his 2017 studio effort, White Knight, which featured collaborations with various well-known artists.

“I’m continuing in the vein of my most recent project…which is more or less collaborative experiments,” Todd explains. “And I’ve got a couple of tracks now I’m just wrapping up, and I’m gonna start a few more, and probably by the end of the year I may have another whole album’s worth of those.”

Among the musicians who contributed to White Knight were Daryl Hall, Steely Dan‘s Donald Fagen, Joe Walsh, Nine Inch NailsTrent Reznor, rock-guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani and Utopia bassist Kasim Sulton.

As for who may be featured on the upcoming album, Todd notes, “[N]ew names pop into my head all the time about people I might like to work with, and sometimes people from the original project who couldn’t complete [their track] then will come back around and have something for me that didn’t make the original release.” He adds, “I’m having a lot of fun with [the project.]”

In other news, Rundgren has just announced a new run of summer headlining shows that will take place at venues in the Eastern and Southern U.S. The trek is mapped out from a July 25 concert in Salisbury, Massachusetts, through an August 18 gig in Clearwater, Florida.

Tickets for the shows go on sale to the general public this Friday, May 25, at noon ET. Visit Rundgren’s Facebook page for more information.

Here are the remaining Utopia reunion tour dates:

5/22 — Chicago, IL, Chicago Theater
5/24 — Denver, CO, Paramount Theater
5/26 — Las Vegas, NV, The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
5/27 — Phoenix, AZ, Comerica Theater
5/29 — Los Angeles, CA, The Wiltern
5/30 — San Francisco, CA, The Masonic
6/1 — Seattle, WA, Moore Theater
6/2 — Portland, OR, Revolution Theater
6/4 — Sacramento, CA, Crest Theatre
6/5 — Riverside, CA, Fox Performing Arts Center

And here are Rundgren’s summer headlining dates:

7/25 — Salisbury, MA, Blue Ocean Music Hall
7/26 — Portland, ME, Aura
7/28 — East Greenwich, RI, Greenwich Odeum
7/29 — Wilkes-Barre, PA, F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts
7/31 — Pawling, NY, Daryl’s House Club
8/1 — Pawling, NY, Daryl’s House Club
8/3 — Albany, NY, The Egg
8/4 — Atlantic City, NJ, Golden Nugget Atlantic City
8/8 — Munhall, PA, Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall
8/10 — Chattanooga, TN, Walker Theatre
8/11 — Biloxi, MS, Hard Rock Live – Biloxi
8/13 — Nashville, TN, City Winery – Nashville
8/18 — Clearwater, FL, Capitol Theatre

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The Who’s Roger Daltrey claims the #MeToo movement’s concerns don’t apply to rock stars

ABC/Richard CartwrightThe #MeToo movement has raised awareness of rampant sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, but The Who‘s Roger Daltrey says he doesn’t believe the issue is a problem within the music business, at least among well-known rock artists.

“Why would any rock star need to push themselves on women?” Daltrey poses in a new interview with The Daily Mail‘s Event magazine. “Usually it’s the other way around. I’d like to have [one British pound] for every woman that s****s my a**. Mick Jagger would be a billionaire out of it.”

Despite various allegations of inappropriate behavior that have been leveled at many rock artists over the years, Roger adds, “If it was going to be in the rock business, it would’ve been out by now. It would’ve been out a long time ago.”

Continuing on the topic, the 74-year-old Rock & Roll Hall of Famer says, “I find this whole thing so obnoxious. It’s always allegations and it’s just salacious crap.”

Daltrey compares the situation to the allegations against his band mate Pete Townshend, who was arrested in 2003 and charged with accessing child pornography online, then cleared of those charges soon after.

“He didn’t have anything on his computer at all,” Daltrey insists. “They never found one f***ing thing on 35 computers. It’s a joke.”

Daltrey also talks about his upcoming solo album, As Long As I Have You — due out June 1 — which includes some covers of soul tunes that The Who played early in the group’s career.

“I was always a soul singer,” Daltrey maintains. As for the material on the new record, he notes, “I’m singing the same words on the songs that we did all those years ago, but now they’re full of life. And full of living.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Are “SNL” star Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande an item?

Will Heath/NBC(NEW YORK) — It looks like Ariana Grande has moved on after ending her two-year relationship with rapper Mac Miller earlier this month — and is “casually dating” Saturday Night Live castmember Pete Davidson, a source tells Us Weekly.

The insider seems to confirm a story first reported by Bossip on Friday, telling Us that Ariana was spotted at the SNL after-party a week ago “hanging out with Pete and his mom.”

“Ariana is very happy,” the source continued.

Grande, 24, shared the news of her breakup with Miller — who was born Malcom McCormick — on her Instagram Story earlier this month, according to the entertainment magazine, writing, “I respect and adore him endlessly and am grateful to have him in my life in any form, at all times regardless of how our relationship changes or what the universe holds for each of us!”

She added, “Unconditional love is not selfish. It is wanting the best for that person even if at the moment, it’s not you,” she added.

Meanwhile, Davidson, also 24, recently ended his two-year relationship with Larry David’s daughter Cazzie.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Former “American Idol” contestants come together for “Where Are We Now” on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — If you ever wondered what happened to William Hung, Sanjaya Malakar and a number of other onetime American Idol contestants, Jimmy Kimmel wondered the same thing.

On Jimmy Kimmel Live! Monday night — in celebration of the season finale of American Idol earlier in the evening — the late-night talk show host rented out a studio for several noteworthy former Idolcontestants to record a “We Are the World”-type song called “Where Are We Now.”

In the song, Hung informed us that, “I speak to corporations inspirationally / And, ladies, now I’m single, so Snapchat me.” Meanwhile, Sanjaya revealed, “I work at a bar mixing signature cocktails / I also do construction on the side.”

Also appearing was Kevin “Chicken Little” Covais, who sang, “I’m Chicken Little, I had a part in Transformers 4 / I’m also a notary public right here in L.A.”

Among others, the song also featured former Idol champions Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks, who wondered what they were doing there among a number of American Idol rejects.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

“Dancing with the Stars: Athletes” finale: Adam Rippon wins the mirrorball

ABC/Kelsey McNeal(LOS ANGELES) — Adam Rippon proved he is indeed still America’s sweetheart. The Olympic figure skater was crowned the winner of Dancing with the Stars: Athletes Monday night after four short weeks of competition. He shares the mirrorball trophy with his professional dance partner Jenna Johnson.

Adam’s fellow finalists — figure skater Tonya Harding and partner Sasha Farber, and Washington Redskins’ Josh Norman and partner Sharna Burgess — put up a good fight, though. Each of the three couples received at least one perfect score during the night.

The three pairs each performed two dances, the final one being a freestyle. Then, their votes from last week were tallied with the judges’ scores to determine the winner.

Here’s how it all went down:

Tonya and Sasha

First, they performed a Viennese Waltz. Judge Len Goodman praised the performance, saying they had “great control” and that it was “beautifully danced.” Judge Bruno Tonioli said it was like watching a “born again Tonya,” though judge Carrie Ann Inaba noted that Tonya looked more nervous than usual. 
Score: 26/30

For their freestyle, they danced to “I Will Survive,” beginning with Tonya being lowered from the ceiling on a platform. The dramatic entrance gave way to a number full of lifts, flips and spins. Carrie Ann gave them a standing ovation and gave Tonya a big hug. The dance earned Tonya her first perfect score of the competition.
Score: 30/30

Josh and Sharna

They dance the foxtrot for their first dance, and Josh kept his shirt on for a change. “Did it hinder you having all those clothes on?” host Tom Bergeron joked. Sharna almost slipped on her dress during one of the spins, but Josh caught her. 
Score: 27/30

Josh’s shirt was off again for their freestyle, a football-themed number that ended with a wall of rain indoors. Bruno praised Josh for his powerful presence and Carrie Ann gave props to Sharna for her choreography. It was perfect score material.
Score: 30/30

Adam and Jenna

Their first dance was a peppy jazz number that got a standing ovation from the audience. Carrie Ann called them the “wonder twins of dance,” while Bruno said it was “exquisitely theatrical.” It got a perfect score from the judges. 
Score: 30/30

Their freestyle was not quite as strong. The bizarre dance involved large pink fans, some vogueing and Adam in a black bowl cut wig. The judges commended Adam on the dance’s unconventional style. But Carrie Ann added that she felt like it was missing something. 
Score: 28/30

The finale concluded with a group number by all of the couples from this season, before Adam and Jenna were announced as the winners of the mirrorball trophy.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



The warning signs to look for when a potential shooter has no criminal history

Galveston County Sheriff’s Office(NEW YORK) — Some school shooters act out and get in trouble with either school officials or police before making the deadly decision to open fire.

For others, the shooting may be their first significant instance of violence.

By all public accounts so far, Dimitrios Pagourtzis fell into the latter category up until the moment he shot and killed 10 people at his high school and injured 13 others last Friday.

Pagourtzis’s clean record contrasts with that of Nikolas Cruz, the alleged shooter who killed 17 people in Parkland in February.

According to school records obtained by ABC affiliate WPLG, Cruz was involved with an assault in January 2017, less than a month before the shooting. On the same day as the assault, he was suspended for one day and a threat assessment was ordered for him. He had been suspended for two days one month earlier. It is unclear what the result of the threat assessment was or whether one was even conducted.

In spite of an apparent lack of disciplinary issues with Pagourtzis, that doesn’t mean there were no warning signs, experts say.

Scanning social media

Steve Gomez, a former FBI special agent in charge and current ABC News consultant, pointed to a T-shirt bearing the words “Born to Kill” that the teen posted on a social media account less than a month before the shooting.

“Threatening people at school, talking about violence, sharing social media posts showing guns, knives, T-shirts that say, in his case, ‘Born to Kill,’ are all signs,” Gomez said.

Robert Boyce, a recently retired New York Police Department chief of detectives who is now an ABC News consultant, noted that social media can hold a number of clues.

“If someone sees something eerily or out of character on social media, someone needs to step forward. Go tell a teacher,” he said.

Boyce was still working for the NYPD immediately after the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, and he said suspected school shooter complaints at schools “went way up” in the aftermath.

Other clues

Pagourtzis had reportedly been wearing a trench coat and heavy boots in the weeks before the shooting — something that should have raised questions given that temperatures in Texas regularly hit the 80s and 90s in late spring, Boyce said.

Other changes in behavior, such as self-imposed social isolation, could also suggest a turn for the worse, Boyce said.

Sandy Hook Promise, a gun violence prevention group founded by the parents of two victims of the 2012 elementary school shooting, started a “Know the Signs” program that teaches students, parents and educators how to recognize red flags on social media and elsewhere before violence unfolds.

The group also notes on its website that “most mass shootings are planned for six months to a year. In almost every documented case, warning signs were given off that were not understood, were not acted upon quickly or was not shared with someone who could help.”

Gomez said changes in romantic relationships, especially the ending of a relationship, or an individual “not taking no for an answer” and becoming aggressive are potential warning signs. School administrators need to be notified as well as law enforcement about these red flags, he added.

“What law enforcement has to do is they have to engage with the schools, the school districts, school administrators as well as parents, so they can explain to them the kind of red flags and behavioral indicators of concern that they need to look for with students who may potentially commit such violent attacks,” Gomez said.

An extreme step

Another step, which Gomez acknowledges is controversial, is to stop children and teens from having access to guns and gun training.

When asked what he would say to parents today, Gomez responded, “You may think your kid is mature enough [to handle guns] but you don’t know when your kid is going to have a bad day and take a gun into school and shoot away their problems just like 10 to 20 other students have done in the last year.”

He said that the Santa Fe shooting “is a game changer” because it occurred three months after the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

“You would have thought things were done to stop this, prevent this after Parkland but then this happened,” he said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Flooding hits from North Carolina to Florida to New Mexico, more rain headed to Southeast YORK) — Flooding has hit from North Carolina to Florida to New Mexico as the Southeast braces for more rain later this week.

Up to 4 inches of rain has fallen near Raleigh, North Carolina, causing flash flooding, stalling cars and prompting water rescues.

Four more inches of rain brought flooding to some southern Florida neighbors, and some areas have seen more than a foot of rain in the past nine days.

Also, flash flooding prompted water rescues in New Mexico, where at least one person has died.

This unsettled pattern will continue around the country with more flash flooding possible in spots.

The biggest threat for flooding will be in the Southeast over the next several days, as tropical moisture continues to stream into the region.

A disturbance in the northern Caribbean might develop into a tropical or subtropical cyclone over the next several days but, whether it develops or not, more heavy rain is forecast for the Southeast this week.

Some areas could see more than 6 inches of rain today through Saturday.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Bishop speaks out after delivering soul-stirring sermon at Prince Harry, Meghan Markle’s royal wedding

Steve Parsons – Pool / Getty Images(NEW YORK) — All eyes were on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their wedding day Saturday, except for the nearly 14 minutes when the Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry made history with a soul-stirring sermon at St. George’s Chapel that is still generating buzz.

“It’s been remarkable and very surprising,” Curry said today on “Good Morning America” of the reaction to his sermon.

he New York-based Curry, who’s the first black leader of the Episcopal Church in the United States, made history again as the first American to preach at a British royal wedding.

Curry said it was Meghan and Harry’s decision, in consultation with leaders of the Church of England, to include him in the wedding.

“I didn’t believe it because a member of my staff called and said, ‘They’d like you to preach at the royal wedding,'” Curry recalled. “I said, ‘Get out of here; it’s April Fools. You’ve got to be kidding me.’”

Harry, 33, and Meghan, 36, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, wed Saturday at St. George’s Chapel in front of about 600 guests and a worldwide audience of billions.

Curry, the head of the Episcopal Church, spoke in his royal wedding address about the power of love and at one point quoted U.S. civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world,” the bishop said Saturday. “Love is the only way. There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalize it. There’s power, power in love.”

King’s daughter, Bernice King, immediately recognized her late father’s words.

She tweeted, “#MLK quote at the #RoyalWedding. Your life, teachings and words still matter so much, Daddy. Congrats, Harry and Meghan!”

What to know about Bishop Curry

Curry was installed as the 27th presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church in 2015, according to the church’s official website. He was elected to a nine-year term.

A descendant of African slaves, Curry, 65, was born in Chicago, according to his official bio.

After attending school in Buffalo, New York, he graduated from Hobart College in 1975, and earned a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University in 1978. That same year, he was ordained as a deacon at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Buffalo, and went on to work as deacon-in-charge at St. Stephen’s in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Later, he became the rector of St. James’ in Baltimore, until he was elected as the 11th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina in 2000.

Curry is passionate about social justice issues, marriage equality and immigration policy. He has authored three books: “Following the Way of Jesus: Church’s Teachings in a Changing World,” “Songs My Grandma Sang,” and “Crazy Christians: A Call to Follow Jesus,” and is a regular speaker in houses of worship and at conferences around the United States and internationally.

Married to Sharon Clement, Curry is the father to two adult daughters, Rachel and Elizabeth.

Read Bishop Curry’s full royal wedding sermon HERE.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Houston Texans’ star JJ Watt visits Santa Fe shooting survivors, hospital staff

Kathy Garza(SANTA FE, Texas) — J.J. Watt, star defense end for the Houston Texans, brought cheer on Monday to survivors of the Santa Fe High School massacre.

Watt was seen posing for photos and signing a shirt at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, where some of the 13 injured are being treated.

One survivor had a “huge smile on her face” after Watt’s visit.

Watt has also offered to cover the costs of funerals for all 10 students and staff members killed in the Friday morning shooting.

“Absolutely horrific,” the NFL star tweeted hours after the massacre.

This isn’t the first time Watt has given back to his community.

Watt led efforts to raise more than $37 million for victims of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Houston last year.

Watt told “Good Morning America” last year he decided to try and find a way to help Houston as he watched his city become inundated with deadly floodwater from his hotel in Dallas.

“You can’t get back home, you can’t physically help out in any way,” Watt said. “I’m watching it on TV and seeing all these people help out, seeing people get in boats and help, seeing water rush down streets that I drive down every day … I said, ‘How can I help?'”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Watershed moment for women sailors in grueling, 45,000 mile Volvo Ocean Race

Joseph Prezioso/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Spanning some 45,000 nautical miles around the world and crossing four oceans, the Volvo Ocean Race — formerly known as the Whitbread Round-the-World Race — is a challenging and grueling sporting marathon that takes place every three years.

Six continents are visited in 11 legs over a nine-month span that began last October.

For the first time in its history, the competition is making a big effort to have more women sailors participate. A new rule means that every boat in this year’s race must have at least one female racing on board. The teams are allowed more crew members to compensate. That more inclusive spirit started with the 2014 to 2015 race in which the all-women’s Team SCA won one leg of the race.

The rule change means this competition has 20 women sailors, according to the U.S. media manager Robert Penner. This year’s race, which began in Alicante, Spain, brought the race teams to Newport, Rhode Island, from May 9 to May 20. Their next leg is a trans-Atlantic one to Cardiff. The boats will finish in The Hague, Netherlands, in June.

Among the women in this year’s race is Britain’s Dee Caffari, who is making her debut as a Volvo Ocean Race skipper. Caffari is leading a crew of five women and five men on Turn the Tide on Plastic. The Briton is already a role model in the sport, being the only female to have sailed solo around the world in both directions. She is also the only woman to have sailed around the world three times non-stop. She was a crew member on Team SCA for the last Volvo Ocean Race.

Not every male sailor has taken the rule change well. Dutch skipper of Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking, told the BBC, “It’s better to be able to choose your own team. The rules have been rewritten in such a way that you are more or less forced to take two women.” Still, Bekking named Briton Abby Ehler as “boat captain.” Ehler is competing in her third Volvo Ocean Race.

With seven identically built 65-foot yachts in competition, who wins comes down to the skill of the crews as they face the challenges of the weather and the world’s oceans.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Georgetown University athlete walks at graduation for the first time since a spinal-cord injury

Georgetown University(WASHINGTON) — Georgetown University linebacker Ty Williams dreamed of one day being able to walk across the stage at his own graduation just two-and-a-half years after a devastating injury during a football game left him paralyzed.

On Saturday, Williams’ dream came true in front of hundreds of families and friends inside the McDonough Gymnasium. As his name was called he was pushed onto the stage in his wheelchair until, with the help of two women, he lifted himself up and began his walk across the stage.

With a walker to guide his steps, Williams made his way toward university President John DeGioia. The two embraced as DeGioia handed the student his diploma.

Williams’ journey to the commencement stage was not easy. One game changed the course of his time in undergrad as a football player. During his sophomore year, Williams was playing in the season opener game against Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania when a defensive tackle went wrong — breaking five bones in Williams’ neck and vertebrae.

Through years of routine rehabilitation in order to regain movement in his upper and lower body, Williams never let his paralysis stop him from being a part of the college experience and a support for his teammates. Once able to return, Williams regularly attended games and practices — even becoming team captain.

“They tell you what heals, will heal, whenever it decides to, so there’s no guarantee that I ever get [better] … I could stop healing today and that’d be it unfortunately, but fortunately that has not been the case,” Williams told the university paper, The Hoya.

The commencement walk was shared by the university and has since inspired thousands of viewers, many of them students and faculty, proud to have witnessed the emotional moment of determination.

Williams told ABC News, “Graduation was everything I wanted it to be and more. I was able to accomplish a goal I’ve had for a long time, and what made it even better is that I was surrounded by the people who care about me.”

Although his road to recovery is uncertain, Williams continues to be a role model for his team and make an impact on others.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Trump enters talks with Moon amid uncertainty over North Korea summit

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Just three weeks before a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump is hosting South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday for talks as they work to assess whether North Korea’s commitment to rid itself of its nuclear program is genuine.

Moon has long been a driving force behind the diplomacy between the United States and North Korea, and personally encouraged Trump to meet with Kim. In March, Moon sent special envoys to North Korea to encourage talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

Last week, North Korea scrapped a series of follow up high-level talks with South Korea and threatened to cancel the upcoming Singapore summit between Trump and Kim in protest of the ongoing military drills between the United States and South Korea.

The White House hasn’t indicated there will be a press conference between Trump and Moon, but this will be the first time the two are able to meet in person to discuss the status of the summit between Trump and Kim, and examine what options are on the table. While the two have spoken over the phone, it will also be their first meeting in person to discuss Moon’s recent summit with Kim.

While the surprise threat to cancel the meeting caught the president and the State Department off guard, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said it was something the administration fully expected.

Vice President Mike Pence said in an interview Monday that the administration is still open to the planned summit with Kim.

“They asked for the meeting and we continue to be open to it,” Pence told Fox News. “But rest assured that the United States will continue on the path that we are on because this president has made it clear that we will not tolerate North Korea possessing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that threaten the United States and our allies.”

The change in tone from North Korea last week went from that the all-smiles meetings between Kim and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to the regime’s chief negotiator Kim Kye Gwan issuing a statement saying he is “totally disappointed” by recent “extremely unjust” comments from U.S. officials and singling out the American demand that North Korea give up all its nuclear weapons before getting anything in return.

“We — we want to see the denuclearization process so completely underway that it’s irreversible,” national security adviser John Bolton said.

The North Koreans have sent mixed messages on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

“… If the U.S. is trying to drive us into a corner to force our unilateral nuclear abandonment, we will no longer be interested in such dialogue and cannot but reconsider our proceeding to the DPRK-U.S. summit,” Kim Kye Gwan said in a statement last week.

But while there have been some heated threats to pull out of the June 12 summit, North Korean officials have vowed to dismantle their nuclear testing facility in front of the media this week and appear to be moving forward with closing down the nuclear facility, which is the latest sign of goodwill in the Korean Peninsula.

The North Koreans also seemed particularly upset by Bolton, who called on them to do what Libya did more than a decade ago.

Bolton has repeatedly said that the administration plans to pursue “the Libya model,” which calls for a strict monitoring and inspection plan to ensure North Korea has denuclearized. However, that comparison evoked the country’s descent into chaos following the deadly ouster of Prime Minister Muammar Gaddafi.

Kim Kye Gwan directly criticized the model in a lengthy statement last week, accusing U.S. officials of “provoking” the country with “unbridled remarks.”

The president soon publicly undercut Bolton’s so-called Libya model comparison in remarks to reporters in the Oval Office last week.

“The Libyan model isn’t a model that we have at all, when we’re thinking of North Korea,” Trump said, before floating the idea of potential protections for Kim Jong Un as a conclusion following successful negotiations. “There was no deal to keep Qaddafi. The Libyan model that was mentioned was a much different deal. This would be with Kim Jong-un — something where he’d be there, he’d be in his country, he’d be running his country. His country would be very rich.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Israeli-American novelist laments Gaza deaths, sees hope in resistance

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) –“Shattered in an unsurprised way.”

That’s the reaction of Arabic-speaking Israeli-American author Moriel Rothman-Zecher to the paroxysm of violence along the Gaza border this past week, in which Israeli forces killed dozens of Palestinians amid a mass protest largely against the controversial U.S. Embassy move to Jerusalem.

Shattered, because of the deaths — the Palestinian Health Ministry pegs the toll at 60 at least — but unsurprised, as this recent violence must feel to Rothman-Zecher as though it erupted right from the pages of his just-released novel, Sadness is a White Bird.

Rothman-Zecher says he sees his characters in the recent clashes: the Israeli soldier who narrates the book in a wild plea, the Palestinian friend to whom the agony is addressed.

“I’ve thought a lot about the individuals who are on both sides of these pictures,” Rothman-Zecher told ABC News, “trying at all points to remember the enormity of every life lost, the enormity of every life taken, both for the families of those who were murdered — I will actually use that word in some of these cases — and also the individuals who were sent to shoot and who shot and who took these lives in the context of maintaining a pretty brutal and unjustifiable system.”

Sadness follows Jonathan/Yonatan, a border-bouncing young Jew who shares some biographical details with the author — Israeli-American upbringing, facility in Arabic, Palestinian relationships — with a crucial distinction: Yonatan (the Israeli version of his name) eventually joins the Israel Defense Forces, while Rothman-Zecher was jailed for refusing to enlist.

That protest he largely credits to his slightly-advanced age at the time. (He wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in 2015 about becoming a refusenik.)

Rothman-Zecher was in his early twenties when the IDF conscripted him, having first gone to America to study at Middlebury College, where he learned Arabic and encountered Palestinian poetry while conflagrations in Gaza raged continents away. The distance and multiplying viewpoints complicated his thoughts on the conflict, and his expected role in it.

Jonathan, meanwhile, is a wider-eyed near-adult returning to Israel in hopes of transforming into a pugilistic Jewish warrior like his grandfather, who evaded the Holocaust by fleeing to the disputed land and serving in the Palmach, the IDF’s elite precursor. The grandfather recalls figures like Moshe Dayan, legends in the still-nascent state for their gritty prowess, and forms the book’s walking reminder of the value of Israel to a people so recently faced with extermination.

Despite his friendships and erotic awakenings with a pair of Palestinian peers (the protagonist is as heedless of sexual boundaries as he is of national ones), Yonatan eventually finds himself shouldering a firearm amid a demonstration in the West Bank. The novel’s climax challenges whether even the most cherished of connections forged across the Israeli-Palestinian divide can survive the institutionalized militarization of the ceaseless conflict.

Israel’s actions earlier last week earned it global condemnation, though Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the IDF have maintained that Hamas spurred violence against Israel under the cover of the protests, “using explosives, guns, molotov cocktails, and even arson kites to breach the security fence.” The Trump administration enthusiastically backed Israel’s response and blamed Hamas for the bloodshed.

Rothman-Zecher, who now lives in Ohio, credits his fortunate few years abroad for sparing him the fate of those soldiers deployed into the middle of this toxic yet somehow rote debate.

“It’s very easy to imagine myself in the shoes of these soldiers,” he said.

“It was very, very easy for me to imagine how, with a few slight tweaks to my own biography, I would have of course enlisted, and if I’d enlisted … I almost certainly would have been sent to maintain the occupation in West Bank, or perhaps to go into Gaza during one of the few recent wars, or perhaps been stationed on the border and asked to shoot at these protesters.”

For Rothman-Zecher the lionization of the IDF, which he at one point suggested might be Israel’s “golden calf,” has further warped the conflict, rendering Palestinians less enemies than props on which the vaunted military is forced to lean for its perpetuation.
The IDF “pulls everything around its orbit,” the author said. “From the time you’re little, you’re being pushed into the system, framed to do your duty and fight for your country. It’s beautiful, and it’s compelling, and it’s exciting — and decontextualized.

“When I was 17 years old and living in Israel and talking with high school friends [about the military], what we never talked about was Palestinians,” he recalled. “It wasn’t that our discourse as high-schoolers was some rabid fascistic idea of crushing the enemy. Discourse about the army was framed as apolitical … Everyone was going to serve in army — and we didn’t know what that meant.”

“I didn’t really know what the occupation meant, I didn’t really know what solders’ roles were in maintaining the occupation in Gaza, and that’s not an accident,” he continued.

“There was so little fostering of curiosity, and I don’t think that’s an accident. I don’t think one can hold a deep curiosity of Palestinian life and simultaneously follow whatever orders one might be given, whether that’s a house raid, or an arrest, or opening fire at protesters, or demolishing part of a village.”

That violence, Rothman-Zecher argued, is no aberration: it’s necessitated by the inequities of power.

“This is an inherently immoral situation, in which we have two groups of people living in the same swath of land with permanently unequal rights,” he said. “And in order to maintain that, there is a pretty constant level of violence that needs to be done.”

“If it were possible for there to be a moral occupation, maybe Israel would do it, but it’s an impossible counterfactual.”

“I don’t think it’s at a point of no return,” he said. “I don’t believe in points of no return so much. I do think clinging to old models for solving the situation should probably be discontinued. The early 1990s version of a two-state solution as formulated by the Oslo Accords, that’s been tried and failed again and again by various American leaderships, should be put to rest, probably should have put to rest a long time ago.”

“Suddenly,” he said, amid a war zone, “you have yourself face-to-face with a poem.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Lawmakers urge Trump administration to clarify strategy on China after trade war pause

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — With Trump administration members sending mixed messages on the status of trade negotiations with China, lawmakers are urging the White House to clarify its position and to keep the pressure on the Chinese to stop them from stealing intellectual property.

Early Monday the president tweeted that, in order to wind down an escalating trade feud between the two countries, China would buy more American products in order to reduce the trade deficit between the two nations.

That followed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s declaration over the weekend that the administration was “putting the trade war on hold,” including lifting tariffs that the United States had threatened on China in retaliation for its theft of U.S. intellectual property.

Lawmakers including Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer warned that it wasn’t worth it for the U.S. to remove the threat of tariffs on China simply for a one-time promise of an unspecified amount of import purchases.

“If nothing else changes, this deal is a win-win for China,” Schumer said Monday.

And in a statement that clashed with Trump’s sanguine tweet, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer seemed to warn over the weekend that attaining an unspecified agreement on agricultural products would not achieve more critical long-term goals on intellectual property. He said the U.S. must focus on getting China to agree to reforms such as scrapping requirements that U.S. companies share technology with their Chinese counterparts in order to take part in joint ventures there.

“Getting China to open its market to more U.S. exports is significant, but the far more important issues revolve around forced technology transfers, cyber theft and the protection of our innovation,” Lighthizer’s statement read.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., one of the Senate’s most vocal China skeptics, echoed Lighthizer’s exhortation in a tweet Monday, shortly after the president’s uppercase and exclamation-laden announcement.

Asked about the administration’s evolving China trade strategy, several Republicans said the White House needed to fill them in on what was happening, as most of them had only heard and read media reports about the developing talks over the weekend.

“I encourage [the administration] to brief the Hill and let us know where it is because obviously, we’ve been very engaged in concerns about trade issues,” Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., the chairman of a key Asia subcommittee, told ABC.

“I heard Secretary Mnuchin’s comments,” on the trade détente, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told ABC as he walked into a meeting with Senate leadership. “I think there was a little difference between [Lighthizer] and himself. I just don’t know the inside.”

As the administration continues its discussions with China, Congress is taking some initial steps to curtail the president from giving too much relief to one particular company that is representative of some of China’s trade violations: ZTE, a telecom sanctioned in April over concerns that the Chinese government was using ZTE technology to spy on Americans.

Last week a House Appropriations subcommittee approved a measure that would block the Commerce Department from lifting a seven-year ban on ZTE’s ability to purchase U.S. supplies. In a series of tweets last week Trump suggested he was open to easing up on ZTE.

Schumer said the Senate will consider additional measures to keep the pressure on that company if necessary and that Democrats will seek support from across the aisle.

“I say to President Trump, who knows I genuinely want him to succeed with China: Stay strong. Don’t back off sanctions with ZTE. You have to pursue the course or China will continue to enjoy the upper hand,” he said on the Senate floor Monday.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Win a night at Red Roof Inn

The 101 number one song of the day got to the top with the help of searing solo guitar work by Eddie Van Halen who did it for free. He said, “I didn’t care, I did it as a favor.” read more…


Today’s 101 #1 Song of the day was written by a former roadie for Neil Diamond…and Neil Diamond passed on it! But Neil’s drummer thought it was a good song and later suggested it to two brothers who were self-trained musicians and they would take it to number one… read more…


Today’s 101 #1 Song of the Day was originally title “Once I Had Love” – the writers referred to it as “the disco song” – and they tried recording it between 1975 and 1978 as a ballad, as reggae, giving it a more pop feel – but nothing worked so they shelved it and later, when they met with a producer to start work on an album, they played all their other songs for the producer and at the end he asks “have you got anything else?” They sheepishly offered up “Once I had Love” and it would become a number one song.  read more…

Lily is FREE to adopt

She has a priceless personality and was surrendered by her owner who was deployed with the military. Already spayed and ready to go home today, Lily was chosen as one of the 12 dogs of April which means there will be no fee to adopt. Please consider her! She is at the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley, 3551 Bataan West.

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