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MUSIC NEWS

Ed Sheeran talks bike accident, substance abuse issues on “The Jonathan Ross Show”

Greg WilliamsThis Saturday night on the British talk show The Jonathan Ross Show, Ed Sheeran tells all — about the bike accident that forced him to cancel some shows, and his struggles with substance abuse.

Ed tells Ross that when he got into the accident — which happened when he tried to go down a steep hill on a borrowed bike — he didn’t realize how badly he’d been hurt.

“I broke my wrist, my elbow and my rib,” he says. “The thing is, when it happened, I got up and was like, ‘That hurt’ and then cycled to the pub. Went home, went to sleep and then woke up at five o’clock in the morning in a lot of pain. And then went to the hospital.”

Ed, who calls himself “a very clumsy person,” notes this is the first time he’s ever had to cancel shows due to an injury.

“I do a one-man show, so me not having my arms is half of the show,” he explains. “I tried to say ‘I’ll carry on doing the shows,’ but they said if I put any more stress on it, I might not be able to play again.”

The singer also reveals that he had a hard time adjusting to fame, and as a result, he says, “All the pitfalls that people read about, I just found myself slipping into all of them…mostly substance abuse.”

Ed’s friends eventually staged an intervention.

“It just started gradually happening and then some people took me to one side and were like, ‘Calm yourself down,’” he recalls. “It’s all fun to begin with, it all starts off as a party and then you’re doing it on your own and it’s not, so that was a wake-up call.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Pentatonix books guests for NBC holiday special, releases deluxe version of Christmas album

Courtesy RCA RecordsIt’s not Christmas without Pentatonix. 

The a cappella group has just released a deluxe version of their 2016 holiday album A Pentatonix Christmas, which now features a duet with Jennifer Hudson on the song “How Great Thou Art.” They’ve also dropped a new video for the traditional holiday song “Away in a Manger.”  The video features the group’s current four-person lineup:  Avi Kaplan left earlier in the year.

The Grammy-winning group will support the album with a Christmas tour starting December 3 in Chicago and wrapping up with three shows at New York’s Beacon Theater on December 19, 20 and 21.

Meanwhile, the group’s holiday special, A Very Pentatonix Christmas, will air November 27 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, and again on December 6  at 8 p.m. ET/PT.  The show will feature guests Jennifer Hudson, Jay Leno and 13-year-old America’s Got Talent winner Darci Lynne Farmer.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New Music Friday: Liam Payne, Nick Jonas, Kelly Clarkson, Julia Michaels & more

Republic RecordsEvery Friday brings a batch of new music, and there are a number of notable tracks hitting streaming and digital services today.

Liam Payne has a new solo single, “Bedroom Floor,” which was co-written by Charlie Puth, among others.  In a statement, Liam says of the track, “It’s a bit different from what you’ve heard from me before, but helps to show where I’m going with my album. It’s very important to me to keep challenging myself, to keep pushing into new areas.”

Nick Jonas has a new song called “Home,” from the upcoming animated comedy Ferdinand, based on the children’s book Ferdinand the Bull.  In a statement, Nick says, “I wrote this song with good friends of mine…and we wrote about feeling accepted and feeling loved, wherever that place is for you. For me it’s home, it’s my family, people I have closest to me; and the experiences we’ve shared.”  The movie arrives December 15.

Julia Michaels co-wrote Justin Bieber’s hit collabo with BloodPop, “Friends,” and now she’s featured on a new remix of the track.  Julia also co-wrote songs on new albums by Maroon 5 and Pink, and is featured on Clean Bandit’s new song “I Miss You,” out next Friday.  She’ll appear on MTV’s TRL on October 24.

Canadian band MAGIC!, who topped the charts with the song “Rude,” returns with a new single called “Darts in the Dark,” featured on their upcoming third album, due early next year.  The song adds some dance elements to the band’s reggae sound.

Finally, Kelly Clarkson, whose new album Meaning of Life comes out next Friday, has released a Christmas song called “Christmas Eve.”  The upbeat track is a new song that doesn’t appear on her previous holiday album Wrapped in Red.

 

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Director: Firefighters immortalized in “Only the Brave” represent “the very best of what we are capable of”

© 2017 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved/Richard Foreman(NEW YORK) — Josh Brolin stars in the new movie Only the Brave, the real-life story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, a group of wildfire fighters in Arizona, 19 of whom died fighting a blaze in Prescott, Arizona in 2013.

Brolin, who plays Hotshots leader Eric Marsh, who died in the fire, spent part of his early 20s as a volunteer firefighter in Arizona.

“I’ve been involved in the firefighting community for 30 years. So I’ve known these people for a long time. But getting personally to know this group’s families has been…very humbling for me,” Brolin told ABC Radio at the movie’s premiere this week.  “You build this sensitivity, that you wouldn’t normally have. I thought I was a sensitive person but I think I’m more sensitive now.”

Miles Teller plays Brendan McDonough, the only Hotshot to survive the Yarnell Hill Fire. He says he hopes the movie will be a positive experience for the families of the fallen.

“When you watch this film, it’s a lot of smiles and laughs because you can see just how much these guys enjoyed doing what they do for a living and…it also immortalizes them, you know?”  he said. “Not every movie you make has that kind of impact, but this is absolutely one of them.”

Although most of the Hotshots lost their lives in the fire, Only the Brave director Joseph Kosinski says there’s more to the movie than tragedy.

He told ABC Radio the stories of Marsh and McDonough “represent the very best of what we are capable of. It’s a very inspiring story to me, it’s not a sad story. I think people will walk away with even more respect for fire fighters and all first responders.” 

Only the Brave opens today.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The Avengers assemble to save Puerto Rico

ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(GEORGIA) — ABC Radio has learned that Scarlett Johansson will assemble her Avengers teammates Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Mark Ruffalo to help save Puerto Rico, in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

The actors, along with some of Scarlett’s other famous friends, will reportedly take part in a staged reading of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia to raise money for hurricane relief.

The actress noted in a statement, “The struggle faced by Puerto Rican residents since their island was ravaged by Hurricane Maria is terribly heartbreaking and has left many feeling hopeless and helpless. It is a great privilege to be able to participate in whatever way I can, to provide some relief to those that are struggling to access even the most basic of human needs in the aftermath of this disastrous event.”

The show will be directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon, who is one of the most respected directors on Broadway.

Ticket for what she’s calling, “an extraordinary, one-time-only evening” go on sale Monday, October 23 at 10:00AM ET and can be purchased in person at the Fox Theatre Box Office, online at FoxTheatre.org, or by phone at (855) 285-8499. 

Tickets start at $89, though a number of VIP packages, which include premium seats, meet-and-greets, a signed poster, and the like will be available starting at $1,000. All proceeds will benefit the Hurricane Maria Community Relief & Recovery Fund.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

LAPD has interviewed a potential Harvey Weinstein sexual assault victim

Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows/Nicholas Hunt(LOS ANGELES) — The Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery Homicide Division has interviewed a potential victim of a sexual assault involving Harvey Weinstein, which allegedly occurred in 2013, ABC News has confirmed.

The case is under investigation.

Earlier Thursday, New York Police Department Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said that New York City police have referred allegations against the disgraced film mogul to other police departments, though it was not clear if the LAPD investigation pertained to one of those cases. The referrals were made to jurisdictions in the United States and overseas based on calls to a police hotline about Weinstein, Boyce added.

Police declined to discuss specifics.

“Several calls have been received on our CrimeStoppers Hotline regarding Mr. Weinstein,” Boyce said. “None of those calls have alleged any criminal conduct within the New York City area.”

Complaints about Weinstein cannot be pursued locally if they involve events that occurred outside New York City.

More than three dozen women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, including harassment and assault, but he has not been charged with a crime.

The movie producer has acknowledged inappropriate behavior, but has “unequivocally denied” any allegations of non-consensual sex, his spokesman said.

Weinstein, 68, was terminated by The Weinstein Company in the wake of the allegations, though he later offered his resignation. ABC News confirmed that he is also pursuing a claim that he was wrongfully fired.

In addition, he was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Producers Guild of America has voted to begin termination proceedings against him. A final determination will be reached next month. On Thursday the board of British Film Institute voted to strip Weinstein of its prestigious BFI Fellowship honor, which he was awarded in 2002.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

SPORTS NEWS

Scoreboard roundup — 10/21/17

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Houston 4, N.Y. Yankees 0

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Toronto 128, Philadelphia 94
Orlando 114, Cleveland 93
San Antonio 87, Chicago 77
Miami 112, Indiana 108
Detroit 111, N.Y. Knicks 107
Houston 107, Dallas 91
Memphis 111, Golden State 101
Milwaukee 113, Portland 110
Denver 96, Sacramento 79
Utah 96, Oklahoma City 87
L.A. Clippers 130, Phoenix 88

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
N.Y. Rangers 4, Nashville 2
Philadelphia 2, Edmonton 1
Tampa Bay 7, Pittsburgh 1
N.Y. Islanders 5, San Jose 3
OT Buffalo 5, Boston 4
Ottawa 6, Toronto 3
L.A. Kings 6, Columbus 4
Florida 4, Washington 1
Dallas 4, Carolina 3
Chicago 4, Arizona 2
Minnesota 4, Calgary 2
OT Vegas 3, St. Louis 2

TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL
(1) Alabama 45, Tennessee 7
(2) Penn St. 42, (19) Michigan 13
(4) TCU 43, Kansas 0
(5) Wisconsin 38, Maryland 13
(8) Miami 27, Syracuse 19
(9) Oklahoma 42, Kansas St. 35
OT (10) Oklahoma St. 13, Texas 10
(13) Notre Dame 49, (11) Southern Cal 14
(14) Virginia Tech 59, North Carolina 7
(15) Washington St. 28, Colorado 0
(17) South Florida 34, Tulane 28
(18) Michigan St. 17, Indiana 9
(20) UCF 31, Navy 21
(21) Auburn 52, Arkansas 20
(23) West Virginia 38, Baylor 36
(24) LSU 40, Mississippi 24

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Astros defeat Yankees, advance to World Series

Elsa/Getty Images(HOUSTON) — The Houston Astros have advanced to the World Series for the second time in franchise history.

The Astros defeated the New York Yankees 4-0 in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on Saturday night.

The last World Series appearance for the Astros was in 2005 when they lost the championship to the Chicago White Sox in four games.

The Astros will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup — 10/20/17

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Houston 7, N.Y. Yankees 1

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Washington 115, Detroit 111
Boston 102, Philadelphia 92
Cleveland 116, Milwaukee 97
Charlotte 109, Atlanta 91
Portland 114, Indiana 96
Brooklyn 126, Orlando 121
Minnesota 100, Utah 97
Sacramento 93, Dallas 88
Golden State 128, New Orleans 120
L.A. Lakers 132, Phoenix 130

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Vancouver 4, Buffalo 2
San Jose 3, New Jersey 0
Pittsburgh 4, Florida 3
OT Washington 4, Detroit 3
Winnipeg 4, Minnesota 3
Anaheim 6, Montreal 2

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

NATIONAL NEWS

Freight train derails in Tennessee, slams into at least two buildings

@6News/Twitter(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) — A freight train derailed Saturday night in North Knoxville, Tennessee, slamming into nearby buildings.

According to ABC affiliate WATE-TV, the train consisted of three locomotives and 68 railcars. Twenty of those cars left the track, of which 19 carried shipping containers and one carried automobiles.

No injuries were reported. Crews are now working to remove the cars.

The train was not carrying any hazardous materials when it derailed, said Susan Terpay, director of public relations for Norfolk Southern Railway.

The derailment happened just after 10 p.m. EDT. According to WATE-TV, nearby residents said they heard a loud screeching sound before it happened.

Police tweeted about the incident Saturday night, confirming that at least two buildings were damaged.


Norfolk Southern is leading the investigation into the cause of the derailment, WATE-TV reported, citing police.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Boy Scouts of America works with family to find new den for booted Cub Scout

iStock/Thinkstock(BROOMFIELD, Colo.) — The Boy Scouts of America has found a new unit for the 11-year-old boy who was booted from his den after engaging in a tense exchange with a Colorado state senator, the organization told ABC News in a statement.

Ames Mayfield was kicked out of his den last week after an Oct. 9 discussion with Sen. Vicki Marble hosted by his Cub Scout den in Broomfield, Colorado, his mother, Lori Mayfield, told ABC Denver affiliate KMGH-TV.

Lori Mayfield recorded the exchanged between her son and Marble and later posted the videos to YouTube. At one point, Ames asked the senator about controversial remarks she reportedly made at a legislative meeting on poverty at the Colorado State Capitol Building in 2013, when she was discussing the life expectancy of black people.

“I was astonished that you blamed black people for poor health and poverty because of all the chicken and barbecue they eat,” Ames said.

Marble responded to the fifth-grader in a quiet, measured tone.

“I didn’t; that was made up by the media,” she said. “So, you want to believe it? You believe it. But that’s not how it went down. I didn’t do that. That was false. Get both sides of the story.”

Marble did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request on Friday for comment.

In 2013, Marble said, “When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race. Sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up. Diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup, and you just can’t help it,” according to KMGH-TV.

At the time, Marble continued, “Although I’ve got to say, I’ve never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down South and you, I mean, I love it. Everybody loves it.”

While Ames’ den leader kicked him out of the program a few days after the meeting, he still remained part of the Cub Scout pack, the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement to ABC News. The organization said Friday that it worked closely with the Mayfield family to identify a new unit for Ames to join.

The organization is pleased that the matter has been resolved, a spokesman said, adding that it is a “wholly non-partisan organization and does not promote any one political position, candidate or philosophy.”

“The Boy Scouts of America and the Denver Area Council are pleased that the family will continue their participation in Scouting,” the spokesman said. “We are committed to working with families to find local units that best fit their needs.””

ABC News has reached out to Lori Mayfield for additional comment.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Air Force may recall retired military pilots to address ‘acute shortage’

John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The United States Air Force could recall as many as 1,000 retired military pilots to active-duty service to address an acute shortage in its ranks.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday allowing the Air Force to call back to service up to 1,000 retired aviation officers who wish to return, the White House and the Pentagon announced.

By law, only 25 retired pilots can be recalled through voluntary programs to serve in any one branch. Trump’s executive order temporarily removes this limit by expanding a state of national emergency declared by President George W. Bush after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, as part of efforts “to mitigate the Air Force’s acute shortage of pilots,” according to Pentagon spokesman Navy Commander Gary Ross.

Secretary of Air Force Heather Wilson said the service was short 1,555 pilots at the end of the 2016 fiscal year, including 1,211 fighter pilots.

To help make the pilot job more attractive, the Air Force expanded its aviation bonus program in August and increased incentive pay earlier this month for officers and enlisted crew members for the first time since 1999, according to Wilson.

“We need to retain our experienced pilots and these are some examples of how we’re working to do that,” Wilson said in a statement announcing the new measures on Aug. 25. “We can’t afford not to compensate our talented aviators at a time when [commercial] airlines are hiring unprecedented numbers.”

On Friday, the government announced it was going further with a recall of retirees into active service.

“We anticipate that the secretary of defense will delegate the authority to the secretary of the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to three years,” Ross said in a statement Friday. “The pilot supply shortage is a national-level challenge that could have adverse effects on all aspects of both the government and commercial aviation sectors for years to come.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

WORLD NEWS

US Navy prepares to defend allies amid heightened tensions with North Korea

ABC News(SEOUL, South Korea) — Off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, U.S. and South Korean Navy ships prepared for an event they hope will never happen: a North Korean land and air attack against the south.

The annual bilateral Maritime Counter Special Operations Force exercise involved the USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier; the USS Stethem, a destroyer; as well as other U.S. and South Korean aircraft, ships and submarines.

ABC News’ Martha Raddatz was aboard the Reagan in the Sea of Japan for the exercise, which came ahead of President Trump’s first official visit to Asia next month.

Rear Adm. Marc Dalton, commander of Navy’s carrier strike group in the Pacific, said the U.S. is committed to defending itself and its allies.

“This exercise is an example of how we train with our allies in order to be ready to respond to a range of crises,” he said.

North Korea’s continued ballistic missile launches and nuclear tests have highlighted the importance of the Reagan’s mission to bring peace and stability to the region, Dalton told ABC News.

For the Reagan’s top officers and pilots, that means a focus on preparedness, not the fluctuating rhetoric of Kim Jong Un and President Trump or North Korea’s latest military actions.
 
This makes exercises such as the Maritime Counter Special Operations Force all the more important.

“This is what we have been training for,” said Cmdr. Alex Hampton, who has flown with the U.S. Navy for 16 years. “Are we prepared for war? Absolutely. And I am confident in our abilities to execute anything that our nation command authority gives us to do.”

North Korea is increasingly hostile and technologically advanced. Over the summer, it tested an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with the ability to hit the continental United States. In September, the regime claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.

This week, CIA Director Mike Pompeo told a Washington think-tank that North Korea could be just months away from perfecting the capability to attach a nuclear weapon to an ICBM.

But it’s not just North Korea’s advances that are increasing tension in the region.

U.S. presidents have spent decades trying to counter North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, but President Trump has taken a different approach with his blunt rhetoric toward Pyongyang.

In August, Trump said North Korean threats toward the United States would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

North Korea responded, saying the regime had plans to target Guam in mid-August, though those plans were never carried out.

As for the 5,000 sailors on board the Reagan, they hope their presence off the coast of the Korean Peninsula can deter a North Korean strike that would lead to war.

“By demonstrating our ability to defend ourselves, the idea is that we don’t have to,” Dalton said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

After Raqqa’s liberation, ‘a tough fight still lies ahead’ against ISIS

BaderKhan Ahmad / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The liberation of Raqqa on Friday marked a historic end to the physical caliphate declared by ISIS in June of 2014.

Syrian Democratic Forces, who fought for months to reclaim the city, celebrated in Naim Square this week — driving trucks and waving flags in the same place where ISIS had once beheaded its opponents. It was in Raqqa where ISIS fighters planned devastating attacks in Paris, Brussels, Nice, Manchester and beyond.

Despite the military’s victory, there is still much to be done in Raqqa, from securing the city and restoring essential services to combating the last pockets of ISIS in eastern Syria and western Iraq. More broadly, the group’s global network of finance, recruitment, and plots must be dismantled.

“The military defeat of Daesh is essential, but not sufficient,” said U.S. Coalition Commander Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, referring to ISIS by its Arabic acronym. “We are still fighting the remnants of Daesh in Iraq and Syria, and will continue to facilitate humanitarian efforts assisting citizens adversely affected by a brutal occupation, who face a long battle to gain their freedom. A tough fight still lies ahead.”

ABC News breaks down what is next in the fight against ISIS following Raqqa’s liberation.

Returning life to Raqqa

While the victory may have been declared on the battlefield in Raqqa, the field itself is still riddled with unexploded bombs, booby-trapped improvised explosive devices, and other hazards. The first task is to make the place safe for life to return — a multi-step process that begins with de-mining.

The U.S. has an expert team of civilians deployed from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and they are working with partner NGOs to remove those weapons. Many of those devices have been placed by ISIS in homes and other buildings to kill as many returning civilians as possible. At one water treatment facility north of Raqqa, teams found approximately 240 explosive devices left behind, according to U.S. Special Envoy to the Global Coalition Brett McGurk.

After de-mining, rubble must be removed to clear the streets so that aid trucks can roll in, and utility services such as running water and electricity must be restored for the residents who come back. While this whole process has started — and been underway in the areas outside Raqqa’s center already — it will take time.

“It’ll be months if not longer before Raqqa is safe for residents to return home and before life as normal can eventually resume,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters Thursday, although she noted there is a “template” for rebuilding that has been used in nearby liberated cities like Taqba.

In the interim, the U.S. is helping to deliver aid to the internally displaced people who have fled ISIS, the Assad regime, and the brutal fighting of the six-and-a-half-year civil war. United Nations groups have delivered food aid to more than 260,000 people in the Raqqa area, with food stocks capable of feeding more than 50,000 people for one month, according to Nauert.

Who’s in charge?

One of the most difficult questions for the U.S. and its allies to answer is with ISIS out, who takes over? A legitimate and fair governing body is needed to secure the military’s gains and prevent the same conditions that spawned ISIS’s rise. It’s also crucial that such a body supports local people and their needs.

The problem is that the Raqqa area is predominantly Arab, but the Syrian Democratic Forces that liberated the area with U.S. support have a large Kurdish contingent. While they are among the region’s strongest fighting forces, they could potentially be seen by locals as an occupying power.

The Trump administration is loath to step in after declaring an end to the kind of American “nation-building” that was done throughout the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “As a coalition, we are not in the business of nation-building or reconstruction,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a summit of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in March.

Instead, the U.S. is supporting a governing body of local officials known as the Raqqa Civilian Council, which was formed in May with around 100 Syrians from different ethnic groups who are all native to the area. By their own decree, they will rule until May 2018, when there will either be an election for a new council or some other group established.

“Whoever eventually would run local governments should be representative of the people, should embody and believe in fundamental human rights and protection of those civilians in the area,” Nauert repeated Thursday.

“This is, like, the most difficult, complex thing imaginable, so this will be extraordinarily hard,” McGurk told reporters in September, promising that “areas that are retaken from ISIS, they will be controlled by the local people who know the areas, pending a longer-term political settlement to the civil war.”

But the threat is that the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad and its allies are trying to create a settlement on their terms through a bloody win on the battlefield. The Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, armed and supported by Iran, declared, “We have won in the war” in September. Russia’s military has said Assad’s forces had control of 85 percent of the country — a claim quickly dismissed by several observer groups.

While those actors push for the return of Assad’s control, the Trump administration maintains that Assad has no future in Syria.

“We’ve made clear many times that we do not believe at the end of this process that Assad should remain, that he has lost his legitimacy and his right to rule,” the U.S.’s top diplomat in the Middle East, David Satterfield, said September 18. “But that is a decision for the Syrian people to make.”

The Trump administration has also set a new requirement on reconstruction efforts meant to keep Assad from consolidating power, vowing to withhold international funds from the U.S. and the Global Coalition if Assad were to return to power. But it’s unclear whether that is enough leverage, given the support that Assad enjoys from stalwart allies like Russia and Iran.

Chasing ISIS in the Euphrates River Valley

As the SDF made progress in the fight for Raqqa, ISIS leadership, including their media operations and administrative bureaucracy, fled south into the middle Euphrates River Valley, an area in eastern Syria that will be “the final stand of ISIS,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the former commander of the coalition, predicted in August.

Most, if not all, “high-value targets” struck by the coalition this year have been in that area, and airstrikes continue in the region in border cities like Al Mayadin and Abu Kamal.

But, for now, all eyes are on the Syrian city of Deir ez Zor, where Russian-backed Syrian regime forces and their Iranian-backed allies are waging their own battle against ISIS — creating a delicate tightrope for the U.S.-backed rebels to walk.

On September 9, the SDF announced that they were shifting forces north of that city to conduct Operation Jazeera Storm against ISIS in the Khabur River valley. But that campaign has proven particularly challenging due to the battle space’s proximity to the Syrian forces in Deir ez Zor.

One week after the new operations began, a Russian airstrike hit and wounded several SDF. No U.S. troops, who were part of the coalition forces embedded with the SDF at the time, were injured, but the incident triggered the “highest levels” of Pentagon and State Department officials to communicate with their Russian counterparts.

In the days after, U.S. and Russian general officers met face to face for the first time to “adjust and expand deconfliction measures,” Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the coalition, told reporters. A second meeting was held in mid-October.

But as the battle space continues to shrink, it seems inevitable that the two sides will collide again as they close in on ISIS.

Challenging ISIS around the world

Even after the last pockets of ISIS are cleared in Iraq and Syria, the fight against the extremist group remains a global challenge.

ISIS has affiliated organizations in Africa, Yemen, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Libya, Bangladesh, and beyond. Those groups perpetrate attacks almost constantly.

In Niger, an attack on a patrol of U.S. and Nigerien forces killed four U.S. soldiers and wounded two others. The Oct. 4 attack once again highlighted ISIS’s presence in West Africa.

In other countries, like Afghanistan, the fight against ISIS groups is more well-known. The U.S. has increased its troop presence in Afghanistan by about 3,000 to align with the Trump administration’s new “South Asia Strategy” and combat ISIS and the Taliban there.

Even in places without formal ISIS-affiliated groups, ISIS can promote their ideology online and inspire individuals around the globe to commit one-off attacks like those seen in San Bernardino and Orlando in the United States. Senior Pentagon officials refer to this as ISIS’s “virtual caliphate,” which they have said can only be countered in cyberspace.

But while the physical caliphate collapses, a virtual caliphate could prove impossible to completely eradicate.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Half a million Rohingya refugee children in desperate need of assistance: IRC

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Nearly 450,000 Rohingya refugee children are in urgent need of assistance and the scale of the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar continues to become more dire, according to a new report from the International Rescue Committee.

Up to 300,000 more Rohingya are expected to flee the violence in Myanmar over the coming weeks, seeking shelter in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.

Myanmar’s military has retaliated against the Rohingya population after Rohingya militants launched two deadly attacks against the country’s security forces.

UNICEF said Rohingya children are crossing into Bangladesh at a rate of 1,200 to 1,800 per day, frequently suffering from exhaustion and malnutrition and without necessary vaccinations. Most end up in overcrowded settlements that lack sanitation and safe water. Shelters are often just plastic sheeting over bamboo poles, but many are forced to live in the open.

“They also need help in overcoming all they have endured. They need education. They need counseling. They need hope. If we don’t provide them with these things now, how will they ever grow up to be productive citizens of their societies?” UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said in the report. “This crisis is stealing their childhoods. We must not let it steal their futures at the same time.”

The Rohingya are an ethnic minority in Myanmar who have a long history of persecution. Refugees arriving into Bangladesh describe harrowing accounts of killings, rapes and entire villages being burned to the ground, according to the UN.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

I Love The 90’s Tour!

The I Love the 90’s Tour is set to perform at Southwest University Park on Saturday, October 28th and will feature some of the most iconic names in Rap, Hip Hop and R&B giving audiences an opportunity to rediscover the music that influenced and defined a generation and contributed to making the ‘90s a decade to remember.  read more…

Meet Cupid, Your Magic104.9 Pet of The Week!

PET OF THE WEEK

Week of October 16, 2017

 

 

 

 

Name: Cupid
Breed: Pitbull Mix
Color: Chocolate
Sex: Male
Age: 10/15/2014

Cupid is a good-looking 3-year-old Pitbull mix with a great attitude. This guy likes to strut his stuff and show off his cuteness. Cupid has been at the ASCMV since November of last year, so his adoption fee is waived thru October. Adopt him today! read more…

Magic104.9’s Top Tracks

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man
  2. “Slow Hands” by Niall Horan
  3. “What About Us” by Pink
  4. “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” by Shawn Mendes
  5. “Attention” by Charlie Puth

Meet Rae, Your Magic104.9 Pet of The Week!

PET OF THE WEEK

Week of October 9, 2017

 

Name: Rae
Breed: Pitbull Mix
Color: Brindle
Sex: Female
Age: April 8, 2016

Rae is a gentle adult Pitbull mix. This girl can be shy at first, but once she gets to know you she is putty in your lap! Rae has been at the ASCMV since last November, and her adoption fee is free through this October! Come by and meet her today! read more…

Magic104.9’s Top Tracks

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. “Slow Hands” by Niall Horan
  2. “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man
  3. “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” by Shawn Mendes
  4. “What About Us” by Pink
  5. “Attention” by Charlie Puth

Meet Coco Puff, Your Magic104.9 Pet of The Week!

 

PET OF THE WEEK

Week of October 2, 2017

 

Name: Coco Puff
Breed: Pitbull Mix
Color: Chocolate/White
Sex: Male
Age: 1/22/2015

Coco Puff is a 2 1/2-year-old, big ball of mush. This loving Pitbull mix is all about flopping over and showing off for tummy rubs. He has been here at the shelter for over a year, and you can take him home for free through this October! Stop by ASCMV today! read more…

Magic104.9’s Top Tracks

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”  by Shawn Mendes
  2. “Slow Hands” by Niall Horan
  3. “Attention” by Charlie Puth
  4. “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man
  5. “Believer” by Imagine Dragons

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