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MUSIC NEWS

DJ Khaled to kick off first-ever Xbox Live Sessions interactive show

Image Group LA/ABCDJ Khaled is jumping into the gaming scene this Friday as he joins Microsoft’s Xbox for the brand’s first-ever Xbox Live Session broadcast.  

The “Wild Thoughts” artist will play the highly anticipated Madden NFL 18 video game — which is released on Friday — and answer questions from fans, talk about his projects and give away prizes during the live stream. 

In a statement, Khaled says, “I am pumped to bring my A-game to Xbox Live Sessions and kick it off with Madden NFL 18. Looking forward to hanging with the fans.” 

Khaled’s also taking over Xbox’s Snapchat account after his Xbox live session for more fun.  

Tune in to watch this Friday, August 26 at 9:00 pm ET on mixer.com/xbox.  

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Julia Michaels added to list of MTV VMA 2017 performers

Catie LaffoonJulia Michaels has no “Issues” with performing on this year’s MTV VMA telecast.

Julia, who is nominated for Best New Artist at this year’s ceremony, will take the stage this Sunday, as part of a lineup that also includes Katy Perry, Pink, Miley Cyrus, Fifth Harmony, Ed Sheeran, Lorde and The Weeknd.

Logic, Khalid and Gucci Mane have also been added to the bill: Gucci will join Fifth Harmony for their collaboration, “Down,” while Logic and Khalid will perform their collabo, “1-800-273-8255.”  Alessia Cara is also featured on that song, but she hasn’t been announced as a performer…yet.

This year’s MTV VMAs will air live from the Forum in Inglewood, CA on Sunday, starting at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

“Despacito” is one week away from tying the all-time #1 record

ABC/Heidi GutmanIt’s happened “slowly” but surely: “Despacito” has now been #1 for 15 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.

That means the song is one of only two in the more than 50-year history of the chart to have spent 15 weeks or more on top.  The other one?  “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men, which spent 16 weeks at #1 in 1995 and 1996.

If “Despacito” can hold on for another week, it’ll tie Mariah’s record, and if it can hang on for two, it’ll set a new all-time record.

But the Luis Fonsi song, featuring Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber, can already claim the title of the longest-running #1 of the 21st century.  It just passed three other songs that spent 14 weeks on top: “Uptown Funk,” “I Gotta Feeling” and “We Belong Together.”

Elsewhere on the chart, Ed Sheeran‘s “Shape of You” has just tied the record for most weeks spent in the top 10: 32.  The only other songs that have managed that are “Closer” by The Chainsmokers and “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes.  “Shape of You” debuted at #1 back in January and hasn’t left the top 10 since.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Watch now: Netflix unveils trailer for Marvel’s “The Punisher”

Netflix/Jessica Miglio(NEW YORK) — Just three days after its latest Marvel series, The Defenders, went live on Netflix, the streaming network released a trailer for its next effort, The Punisher.

Spun off from the second season of its hit Daredevil series, The Punisher again features fan favorite Jon Bernthal as one of Marvel’s most popular heroes: former elite soldier Frank Castle, who uses his skills to mercilessly hunt down criminals of every stripe after his family was murdered.  

In the sneak peek, Castle takes a sledgehammer to a concrete floor, perhaps to unearth a weapons cache.

“All the things that I’d done,” Castle says in a gravelly voiceover. “Memories, they never hurt me. But the past is more than memories. It’s the Devil you sold your soul to. He’s coming. He’s coming to collect.”

Netflix’s announcement notes, “After exacting revenge on those responsible for the death of his wife and children, Frank Castle uncovers a conspiracy that runs far deeper than New York’s criminal underworld. Now known throughout the city as The Punisher, he must discover the truth about injustices that affect more than his family alone.”

As for when we’ll see the series, all we know is sometime this year.

Count Charlie Cox, who plays Daredevil, as an eager fan. He told ABC Radio of seeing Bernthal in action again: “I’m excited about that. I’m excited to watch that as a fanboy, you know?”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

“Girls Trip” director, cast celebrate surpassing the $100-million mark

Universal – 2017(LOS ANGELES) — Girls Trip, the breakout hit of the summer, has officially made history.

According to Deadline, the film has both become the first comedy of 2017 to hit $100 million at the box office and the first film, according to The Huffington Post, starring, produced, written, and directed by African-Americans to do the same.

Naturally, many of those involved in the milestone celebrated the news on social media.

“Four brown girls did what they said couldn’t be done!!!! Salute Queens,” Girls Trip producer Will Packer wrote on Twitter, posting an image of Girls Trip stars Queen Latifah, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett-Smithand Tiffany Haddish from the film  dancing above a “$100 Million” and “#Girls Trip” caption.

Tracy Y. Oliver, who wrote the Girls Trip script alongside black-ish creator Kenya Barris, also took to social media to share her gratitude.  “Much [love emoji] to @willpowerpacker and @malcolmdlee for hiring a black woman to write this,” she wrote, acknowledging the film’s producer and director, Malcolm D. Lee. “Sometimes all we need is the opportunity. #honored.”

The Girls Trip stars also shared their thoughts on the film’s success.  “We Did it Beautiful Black women are funny and can bring people out the house to the theaters,” Haddish wrote in Instagram. “Idk but I feel like this is History #girlstripmovie #sheready.”

“This is amazing!!!” tweeted Latifah. “So proud of the entire #GirlsTrip team! We are so thankful to everyone who came out and supported us.”

Hall followed suit on Instagram, writing, “Thank you 100 million times for all of your support! YOU did this and we couldn’t be more grateful. All my girls (and guys) Stand Up!!!!”

Her co-star Pinkett-Smith has similar sentiments.  “What a beautiful thing to witness,” she wrote.

© 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Geena Davis wants a role in the “Wonder Woman” sequel

© 2017 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND RATPAC ENTERTAINMENT, LLC(LOS ANGELES) — Oscar winner Geena Davis is no stranger to kicking butt on screen.

The actress, who’s starred in action films such as Cutthroat Island and The Long Kiss Goodnight, wants in on the sequel to the blockbuster movie Wonder Woman.

“I met [director] Patty Jenkins and I told her, ‘I’m sure you’re going to make a sequel and if you need anybody Amazonian, there’s always me. I’m available,'” she told Variety.

Wonder Woman was a box office phenomenon, opening with an estimated $103.1 million, Warner Bros. said — the largest haul for a female-directed feature in history. It bested record-holder, Fifty Shades of Grey, by $15 million. The film, starring Gal Gadot as the title character, also had the biggest opening for a female-led comic adaptation.

The movie has just surpassed the $800 million mark globally.

Davis, 61, said she “loved” the film, and wants roles in more action films, or even a TV series.

“My dream goal would be to have a streaming show where I could be a bada**,” she said.

Asked if her films inspired Wonder Woman, Davis said, “I would never claim credit for those movies.”

However, if she did join the Wonder Woman universe, she already has one Amazonian skill under her belt: Davis was an Olympian-level archer.

© 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

SPORTS NEWS

NFL close to extending Commissioner Roger Goodell’s current deal

Allen Kee/ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — The National Football League and its commissioner Roger Goodell are close to agreeing on a new five-year extension that runs through 2024, according to ESPN. The deal was first reported by the Sports Business Journal.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter says while a deal is likely, talks have not progressed as expected due to some issues with the deal.

ESPN reports Goodell made $32 million during the 2015 fiscal year, citing the league’s 2015 tax filing, and has surpassed $200 million since becoming commissioner in 2006.

An extension would mark the third time in Goodell’s tenure that the league has agreed to rework his deal. He was extended in 2009 and again in 2012.

Goodell’s current deal expires in 2019.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Denver Broncos name quarterback Trevor Siemian starter ahead of Paxton Lynch

Scott Clarke/ESPN Images(DENVER) — ESPN reports Denver Broncos head coach Vance Joseph named quarterback Trevor Siemian the team’s starting quarterback, calling him the “clear-cut winner” over Paxton Lynch.

Joseph made the announcement to the media:

“We decided on making Trevor Siemian our quarterback. Both guys competed hard. Both guys wanted the job. We’re pleased with both guys, but overall the operation of the entire offense, decision-making, ball placement, was more consistent with Trevor. That’s why he won the job.”

Siemian and Lynch each started one preseason game in what was a competition between the two for the starting job. They both took first-team reps throughout the early offseason.

Siemian has outperformed Lynch statistically so far this preseason, throwing for 144 yards and a touchdown. Lynch has thrown for 81 yards and has not led the offense to a touchdown to date.

Siemian started 14 games for the Broncos last season after beating out then-backup Mark Sanchez for the starting job.

Lynch was Denver’s first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, selected after playing for the University of Memphis.

Joseph had positive things to say about Lynch despite him not becoming the starter:

“He knows he’s one play from playing, so he can’t lose his enthusiasm for getting better as a quarterback. That’s a big deal for him, just keep his focus, be a good teammate and keep working.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Detroit Tigers’ second baseman Ian Kinsler fined for comments about umpire

Allen Kee/ESPN Images(DETROIT) — Major League Baseball (MLB) has fined second baseman Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers $10,000 for comments he made about umpire Angel Hernandez, ESPN reports.

Kinsler was ejected by Hernandez for arguing balls and strikes in a game on August 14 when the Tigers were playing the Texas Rangers. The following day, Kinsler unloaded on Hernandez, telling reporters Hernandez is a bad umpire who is “messing with baseball games, blatantly.” He continued his criticism, saying, “He needs to find another job, he really does.”

Umpires across Major League Baseball wore white wristbands on August 26 in a show of support for Hernandez. They made the decision after MLB did not suspend Kinsler. The umpires ended their protest on Sunday when MLB commissioner Rob Manfred offered to meet with their umpires’ union governing board.

Hernandez has been an umpire since 1993. When told of Kinsler’s criticism, Hernandez said, “It doesn’t matter.”

Kinsler says he has no regrets about his comments.

Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told the media that Kinsler’s fine is “the biggest fine I’ve ever seen Major League Baseball give a player,” adding, “I don’t want them to minimize that he’s not being punished.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

NATIONAL NEWS

Thirty-three injured in high-speed train incident outside of Philadelphia

Robert Millis / EyeEm(PHILADELPHIA) — More than 30 people were injured on Tuesday after a high-speed train made contact with an unoccupied parked train outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, according to official with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. The incident happened just after midnight at a transportation terminal in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, located about 30 minutes west of Philadelphia, a SEPTA spokesperson said.

Thirty-three people, including the train’s operator, sustained non-life-threatening injuries in the accident, according to the spokesperson.

The spokesperson did not say exactly how the trains made contact, but she said the incident involved two trains, including an inbound train on SEPTA’s Norristown High Speed line.

The incident is currently under investigation and police, medics and safety operations staff are all on scene, SEPTA officials said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

More ‘savage and grisly’ details emerge in Chicago deadly stabbing

Chicago Police(CHICAGO) — A Northwestern University professor, as he allegedly stabbed his boyfriend whom prosecutors say he couldn’t subdue, yelled for a second man to help him, according to a court document detailing the alleged murder.

Wyndham Lathem, a faculty member at Northwestern until he was fired this month after the alleged crime, and the second suspect, Andrew Warren, spent more than a week on the run together after, police say, they killed Lathem’s boyfriend, Trenton Cornell-Duranleau.

Cornell-Duranleau, 26, was found stabbed to death at Lathem’s Chicago apartment July 27. Both suspects were taken into custody in California Aug. 4 after a nationwide manhunt.

The suspects have not been arraigned to face a formal charge but the court document cites first-degree murder. Their attorneys say they are innocent.

Police Sunday described the crime scene as “savage and grisly.”

Here are some of the details of the crime, according to the court document from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office:

Lathem, who lived in Chicago, and Warren, who lived in England, had allegedly communicated in an internet chatroom “about carrying out their sexual fantasies of killing others and then themselves.”

Lathem allegedly paid for Warren to come to the United States for them to kill someone and then each other, and a few days before July 27, Lathem met Warren at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Lathem allegedly rented a room for Warren near his apartment.

On July 26, Lathem allegedly lured the victim to his apartment while texting Warren that they would kill him that night.

After Cornell-Duranleau went to sleep, Lathem texted Warren and told him to come over, and Lathem allegedly gave Warren a cellphone and told him to record the killing.

After Lathem allegedly stabbed his boyfriend repeatedly in the neck and chest, the victim woke up and began to scream and fight back.

Lathem allegedly couldn’t control the victim and yelled to Warren to help him.

“Warren walked into the bedroom and placed his hands over the victim’s mouth to stop him from screaming. The victim bit defendant Warren’s hand and flailed his arms in the struggle,” the court document said. “To silence the victim and stop him from moving, defendant Warren struck the victim in the head with a heavy metal lamp.”

Both suspects stabbed the victim, the document said, alleging that “Warren used so much force on the victim that he broke the blade of one of the knives he used.”

The court document said the victim’s last words to Lathem were, “Wyndham, what are you doing?”

While the victim bled to death in the bedroom, the suspects showered and tried to clean up the scene, the document said.

The document said a car was rented in Lathem’s name and that he left an anonymous cash donation of $5,610 at the Howard Brown Health Center in the victim’s name.

The court document said after the suspects fled Chicago, Lathem “called the front desk of his apartment building and told front desk security that apartment 1004 should be checked, there had been a crime committed in that room.”

Responding authorities found that the victim had been stabbed 70 times and his head was nearly decapitated, the court document said.

While the suspects were on the run, Lathem sent a video message to his parents and to friends, admitting “that he killed the victim and that the murder was not an accident,” but saying, “he is not the person people thought he was,” according to the court document.

“He admitted that the victim trusted him completely and felt safe with him but that he betrayed that trust,” the document said.

The defendants at one point fled to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where Lathem went to the Lake Geneva public library and made a $1,000 cash donation to the library in the victim’s name, the document said.

Lathem’s attorney, Barry Sheppard, told ABC News today, “We are representing a brilliant scientist who at this point we believe is innocent.”

Sheppard said Lathem has not yet entered a plea but plans to plead not guilty.

Sheppard said “we don’t accept the facts” presented in the court document, adding, “we are conducting our own independent investigation that will differ substantially from the [court document].”

Sheppard said no arraignment date has been set.

Once in custody, Warren allegedly admitted to helping Lathem in the killing, and when asked whether there were any other potential victims, Warren allegedly said there were but said he did not know if that person showed up at Lathem’s apartment the next morning after they fled the crime scene.

Warren allegedly demonstrated for officers how he and Lathem stabbed the victim and Warren said he did not record the killing on the cellphone, the court document said.

Kulmeet Galhotra of the Cook County Public Defender’s office, which is representing Warren, told ABC News today that Warren is “presumed innocent. And we have just been appointed, so we’re going to begin our investigation of the case.”

“I anticipate that in a few weeks there will be an arraignment at which he will be entering a plea of not guilty,” he said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Total solar eclipse wows crowds across the US

ABC News.(NEW YORK) — A historic total solar eclipse arced across the United States from west to east Monday, as millions of people who had gathered in its relatively narrow “path of totality” watched in awe.

The total solar eclipse, which is the first to traverse the continental United States in decades, first made contact over Lincoln City, Oregon. Crowds of people donning special-purpose solar filters cheered and roared as the moon completely blocked the sun and cast a 70-mile wide shadow stretching from Oregon to South Carolina.

For brief moments, the sky over various U.S. cities plunged into darkness and temperatures dropped as much as 12 degrees. The sun’s outer atmosphere, which is usually obscured by glare, appeared as a ring of ethereal white wisps around the moon while it blocked the solar surface.

In areas with clear skies, bright stars and planets appeared in the darkened daytime sky. And as the sun reemerged from behind the moon, it created an astonishing “diamond ring” effect.

A total solar eclipse is when the moon moves between the sun and Earth, an occurrence that lasts up to three hours from beginning to end. Monday’s total solar eclipse is particularly rare because it’s the first time in 99 years that the path of totality exclusively crosses the continental United States from coast to coast. It’s also the first continent-wide eclipse to be visible only from the United States since 1776.

The last time the contiguous United States saw a total solar eclipse was Feb. 26, 1979, when the path of totality crossed the Pacific Northwest. ABC News’ Frank Reynolds anchored a special report on the celestial phenomenon at the time and pledged that the network would cover the next total solar eclipse in 2017.

“So that’s it — the last solar eclipse to be seen on this continent in this century. And as I said not until Aug. 21, 2017, will another eclipse be visible from North America. That’s 38 years from now. May the shadow of the moon fall on a world in peace. ABC News, of course, will bring you a complete report on that next eclipse 38 years from now,” Reynolds said before signing off.

From 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET to 1 p.m. PT/3 p.m. ET, ABC News’ David Muir will lead the network’s live coverage of the astronomical event from within the path of totality.

You must be in the path of totality to witness a total solar eclipse. NASA estimates more than 300 million people in the United States could potentially view the total solar eclipse in its entirety.

However, a partial solar eclipse will be visible in every U.S. state. In fact, everyone in North America, as well as parts of South America, Africa and Europe, will see at least a partial eclipse, according to NASA.

The path of totality for Monday’s solar eclipse is a 70-mile-wide ribbon that will cross the United States from west to east, sweeping over portions of 14 U.S. states: Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The moon’s shadow started to eclipse the sun over the West Coast just after 9 a.m. PT. From there, it will speed across the country and leave the East Coast just after 4 p.m. ET.

The exact times for partial and total phases of Monday’s eclipse vary depending on your location.

With millions of people pouring into the select U.S. cities located within the path of totality, law enforcement, emergency personnel and hospitals there are on high alert.

“It’s all hands on deck,” Kentucky’s Madisonville Police Chief Wade Williams told ABC News. “We’re kind of throwing everything at it.”

The state of Oregon alone anticipated a million visitors Monday, causing some local hospitals to cancel elective surgeries and call in extra help for the emergency rooms. Some cities even preemptively declared a state of disaster, a move that allows them to call in the National Guard to help direct the large crowds if needed.

“If a police department in a certain area is overwhelmed and they need us to help come and set up traffic control check points, we’re ready to do that,” Oregon National Guard spokesperson Leslie Reed told ABC News.

More than than 17,000 cars and SUVs were rented for Monday at Oregon’s Portland International Airport, a number it normally hits over an entire week.

In northeast Georgia, the mountain town of Blairsville expected to host up to 200 percent more people than the number of residents who live there. The town’s hotels were fully booked and camping sites were sold out for Monday.

“There is no reason to panic,” Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce tourism director Tobie Chandler told ABC News. “We are not going to run out of gas, we are not going to run out of groceries. We just need to enjoy this event.”

The American Red Cross has set up resources along the path of totality to help keep people safe during Monday’s rare celestial event.

“One thing is we really encourage folks to have in their cars an emergency go kit and that should include things like water, non-perishable foods, a flashlight with batteries and an envelope with cash,” Josh Lockwood, regional CEO for the American Red Cross Greater New York region, told ABC News.

Authorities warned that people might have to look for landlines in some areas to make emergency phone calls, as some small towns may not be able to handle the large number of cellphone calls.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

WORLD NEWS

Why the U.S. got involved in Afghanistan, and why it’s been difficult to get out

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The narrative and goals for what has become America’s longest war have shifted in the past 16 years, and they may take a new turn Monday night, as President Donald Trump is expected to announce his policy approach for Afghanistan.

The war started in October 2001 in the wake of the September 11th attacks, under then-President George W. Bush, and after Obama, Trump is now the second president to inherit — and have to make a decision on how to handle — the ongoing conflict.

When Bush first announced the military action on Oct. 7, 2001, he described “strikes against al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.”

“These carefully targeted actions are designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations, and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime,” Bush said in an address from the Treaty Room of the White House.

The timing of the military action is key, as Bush’s announcement came 27 days after coordinates terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in the U.S.

“The very original reason and the impetus was 9/11,” said Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, She notes how the belief that “the Taliban was sheltering al Qaeda” drove the focus on Afghanistan specifically.

“The counterterrorism objective became the dominant principle reason for the effort in Afghanistan,” she added.

Felbab-Brown summarized the Bush team’s initial approach as being, simply put, that they would “’just topple the Taliban and get out’… hence the minimal design of the original operations, the minimal force approach that [then-Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld promoted.”

“But very quickly, even the George W. [Bush] administration realized that this was problematic — that it wasn’t just enough to topple the Taliban, and that it had to leave behind some sort of stable government. But both the W. administration and the Obama administration, and now the Trump administration have been debating that: what is required of the counter terrorism objective,” she said.

Expanding the goals

Part of the problem has been that the role of the counterterrorism objective expanded, Felbab-Brown said, noting how “a lot of other interests were added as the mission was developing.”

One such addition was the fight for and promotion of women’s rights in Afghanistan, a cause that became a big part of then-first lady Laura Bush‘s agenda. She gave the president’s weekly radio address on Nov. 17, 2001, on the topic, and it coincided with the release of a report titled “Report on the Taliban’s War Against Women” by the State Department‘s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

“Afghan women know, through hard experience, what the rest of the world is discovering: the brutal oppression of women is a central goal of the terrorists,” Laura Bush said in her radio address.

“Civilized people throughout the world are speaking out in horror — not only because our hearts break for the women and children in Afghanistan, but also because in Afghanistan we see the world the terrorists would like to impose on the rest of us,” she said.

”Not a war of choice”

The theme of the obligation of the war in Afghanistan was seen in speeches by both Bush and Obama. Even in his original Oct. 7 address, Bush said “we did not ask for this mission, but we will fulfill it.”

A similar sentiment was echoed by Obama eight years later, when he called it a war of necessity during a speech to a Veterans of Foreign Wars group.

“We must never forget: this is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which Al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans,” Obama said in an Aug. 17, 2009, speech. “So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people.”

Felbab-Brown notes that this speech was in keeping with a larger contrast that Obama painted between Afghanistan and Iraq, indication that the conflict in Afghanistan is necessary, while the one in Iraq is “the bad war,” she said.

“[Obama] wanted to get out” of Afghanistan, Felbab-Brown said, adding that “he tried” but was unable to, largely because the question of what the goal of the counterterrorism operation was lingered.

“The core interest is still the counterterrorism objective, but how one goes about achieving it has been a major source of debate for W., Obama and now Trump,” she said.

Trump’s exact plans have been unknown since he took office. Because of his lack of specifics on the issue in the past, it is not exactly clear what changes – if any – are called for.

“During the campaign, Trump spoke almost not at all about Afghanistan. It was a non-issue,” she said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Vladimir Putin appoints new Russian ambassador to the United States

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images(MOSCOW) — The Kremlin announced Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed Anatoly Antonov as Russia’s ambassador to the United States, replacing Sergey Kislyak.

The move comes as the U.S. embassy in Moscow has announced it is suspending all non-immigrant visa processing for Russians until Sept. 1 in response to the staff cuts ordered by the Kremlin.

In a statement on its site, the embassy said operations for all visas applications in Moscow will resume after Sept. 1 but that they will remain suspended indefinitely at the three U.S. consulates elsewhere in the country.

The embassy statement says the step is necessary “due to the Russian government-imposed cap on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded to the announcement today during a press conference, saying, “I think a political factor is obvious to everyone here.” He said he had “just familiarized” himself with the decision and that “we will certainly look into it.”

“As for our countermeasures, as I’ve said, we should take a closer look at the decisions that the Americans have announced today,” Lavrov said. “We’ll see. I can only say one thing: We won’t take it out on American citizens.”

He added: “That is, if someone hoped that a bad example would be contagious in this case, they are mistaken.”

On July 28 Russia ordered the U.S. embassy to cut its staff by 755 in retaliation for the U.S. sanctions imposed on Moscow by Congress. The State Department hasn’t confirmed the numbers, but it’s believed that the embassy employs around 1,300 people; however, only around 400 employees are American. U.S. officials have said the cuts would fall primarily on Russian local hires and that this would almost certainly affect visa operations at the embassy.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Suspected driver in Barcelona attack shot and killed: Police

ABC News(BARCELONA) — Spanish authorities announced that Younes Abouyaaqoub, the suspected driver in a deadly vehicle attack in Barcelona that killed 13 people, has been shot and killed.

He was wearing what looked like an explosive belt at the time, police said.


Monday morning, police formally named Abouyaaqoub as the driver of a van that plowed down Barcelona’s crowded Las Ramblas promenade Thursday, killing 13 and injuring many more.

Authorities say Abouyaaqoub escaped the scene on foot, then carjacked a vehicle, killing the driver, authorities said.

He then ran up against a roadblock south of Barcelona and abandoned the car in Sant Just Desvern, a town not far from the city, authorities said.

This is a breaking story. Please check back for updates.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

Meet Sir Skittles McGriddle, Your Magic104.9 Pet of The Week!

Find Sir Skittles McGriddle at the Animal Services Center of the Mesilla Valley, 3551 Bataan Memorial West. Open Monday through Friday Noon – 6pm and Weekends Noon to 5pm.  Sir Skittles McGriddle is a three year-old handsome young tabby. This big ‘ol cuddle bug is calm, mellow and ready to take a nap on your lap.  He has an active streak too, and is ready for play any time! Come to ASCMV to meet him! read more…

Magic104.9’s Top Tracks

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. “Believer” by Imagine Dragons
  2. “Something Just Like This” by The Chain Smokers & Coldplay
  3. “Stay” by Zedd & Alessia Cara
  4. “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran
  5. “Castle On The Hill” by Ed Sheeran

Magic104.9’s Top Tracks

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. “Something Just Like This” by The Chain Smokers & Coldplay
  2. “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur
  3. “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran
  4. “Castle On The Hill” by Ed Sheeran
  5. “Believer” by Imagine Dragons

Magic104.9’s Top Tracks

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. “Something Just Like This” by The Chain Smokers and Coldplay
  2. “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur
  3. “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran
  4. “That’s What I Like” by Bruno Mars
  5. “Castle On The Hill” by Ed Sheeran

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