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(LONDON) -- From the moment she stepped into the public spotlight, singer Susan Boyle has been surprising people.
The shy middle-aged woman stunned the audience of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 with her soaring vocals while performing the Les Mis song “I Dreamed a Dream.”
Since then, the 52-year-old Scottish singer has sold millions of albums, been nominated for two Grammy Awards, written an autobiography and become the subject of a hit musical and a possible biopic with Meryl Streep reportedly in talks to play her.
Now, she’s surprising the world once again with her response to learning that she has Asperger’s syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism.
“Now I have a clearer understanding of what’s wrong and I feel relieved and a bit more relaxed about myself,” she told British newspaper The Observer on Sunday. “I have always known that I have had an unfair label put upon me.”
That label – that she was “brain damaged” as a result of oxygen deprivation at birth – followed her through school, where she had difficulties learning and was mocked as “Susie Simple.”
Then, a year ago, she sought help from a Scottish specialist, who told her not only that she has Asperger’s, but an above-average IQ.
“I would say I have relationship difficulties, communicative difficulties, which lead to a lot of frustration. If people were a bit more patient, that would help,” she told the newspaper.
She added, “Asperger’s doesn’t define me. It’s a condition that I have to live with and work through, but I feel more relaxed about myself. People will have a much greater understanding of who I am and why I do the things I do.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 16:19:06 PM
(HELENA, Mont.) -- Jury selection began Monday in the case of a Montana bride who is accused of pushing her husband off a cliff at Glacier National Park after an argument just eight days after their wedding.
Jordan Graham, 22, is fighting for her freedom as she prepares to go on trial for allegedly killing her husband, Cody Johnson.
Prosecutors allege that the couple had been married just eight days when Graham blindfolded her husband and pushed him face-first to his death.
In their legal briefs, Graham's attorneys admit her "story changed over time," but maintain Johnson's death was an accident.
The defense wrote in a federal court brief last week that despite expected testimony that Graham had gotten cold feet about the marriage, "witnesses thought the wedding was perfectly normal." The case is being tried in federal court because Johnson died in a national park.
"Videos and photographs from the wedding will show their affection," the defense wrote. "They look at each other and smile, but are both obviously nervous."
Prosecutors, however, plan to argue that Graham killed her new husband after she allegedly told a friend she was having doubts about her marriage.
In the days after Johnson was reported missing, Graham went to great lengths to "hide her crime from friends, family, and law enforcement," according to prosecutors, even allegedly sending herself emails from a fake account she created named "Tony."
When interviewed by authorities the following day, Graham claimed that she saw "a dark-colored car pulling out of the driveway" after receiving a text from her husband saying he was heading out with a friend from out of town, according to the affidavit.
Graham reported the discovery of Johnson's body to a park ranger on July 11, according to the affidavit. When the park ranger commented that it was unusual that she was the one to make the discovery, Graham allegedly said, "It was a place he wanted to see before he died."
Police had to use a helicopter to retrieve Johnson's body from the steep cliffs below the park's Loop Trail. His body was recovered on July 12.
U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy ruled on Friday that alleged statements Graham made about wanting to kill her mother and stepfather just weeks before her wedding would not be admissible at trial.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 16:04:15 PM
(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will return to Jerusalem and Ramallah this week to try to rescue Israeli/Palestinian peace talks.
“In Jerusalem, Secretary Kerry will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss a range of issues including Iran and the ongoing final status negotiations with the Palestinians,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement. “In Ramallah, Secretary Kerry will meet with President Abbas, where he will also discuss the ongoing final status negotiations, among other issues.”
In meetings in the Middle East last week, Kerry and special envoy Gen. John Allen offered some specific ideas on security under a deal for Palestinian statehood. Kerry has set an aggressive goal of reaching a long-sought deal this spring.
The State Department also said Monday that Kerry will travel to Vietnam and the Philippines, visiting recovery efforts in Tacloban following last month’s devastating typhoon.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 15:37:26 PM
(NEW YORK) -- If you thought that gun makers might have suffered in the year following the Newtown massacre, you'd be wrong. Their business briefly plunged, but it has since rebounded now to levels higher than before Dec. 14 tragedy. And leading gun makers, sales, share price and profits are up.
At Freedom Group, makers of the Bushmaster rifle that was used in the Newtown shootings, net sales for the most recent quarter, which ended September 29, were a little over $347 million, up from $238 million a year before. Net income exceeded $31 million, up from $16 million the year before. Freedom Group is not a publicly traded company. Performance figures came from financial disclosures made pursuant to the trading of its debt.
The company's parent, Cerberus Capital Management, put Freedom up for sale in the days following the tragedy, saying in a statement that its prayers were with the families and communities impacted. "It is apparent," said the company, "that the Sandy Hook tragedy was a watershed event that has raised the national debate on gun control to an unprecedented level."
There was expectation at the time that new gun control legislation would emerge from Washington that would adversely affect the gun business. That expectation, plus the decision of some investors -- both institutional and individual 00 to dump gun company stocks led to a drop in share prices as dramatic as it was brief.
Smith & Wesson, which had been trading at around $10 a share before the shooting, plunged to a low $7.79 on December 18. But like the stocks of other gun manufacturers, it quickly recovered and has climbed since. It now stands at $12.30.
Sturm, Ruger & Co., whose shares fell briefly to $40, recently has touched $80. Its third-quarter sales of $171 million rose from $118 million a year before. Third-quarter earnings surged to $1.44 a share from 88 cents last year. The company in a statement attributes its 64 percent earnings increase to its 45 percent growth in sales.
Peter Zeuli, CFA, head portfolio manager at Philadelphia Investment Partners, tells ABC News he is surprised how well Ruger, Smith & Wesson and other gun makers have performed. Ruger's earnings he calls consistently strong. He used to own the company's shares, he says, but had sold the stock, in part on expectations that the Obama administration would push through new firearms restrictions. That has not happened.
Those same expectations have sparked a surge in buying by gun owners. During the first quarter of 2013, the FBI reports it saw a 46 percent in background checks for firearms purchases.
Randy Bateman, chief investment officer of the Huntington Asset Advisors in Columbus, Ohio, tells ABC News there's another explanation for gun makers' good times: Rural consumers have more money in their pockets. Farm incomes, he says, have risen in the past year. On top of that, hydraulic fracturing in farm states has brought in more money. That, he says, translates into increased sales by gun makes.
Cerberus has so far failed to find a buyer for Freedom Group. Someone familiar with the effort to sell Freedom says the problem is not the company's financial health, which he says is stronger than it was a year ago.
It's been a tough sale, he says, partly because Freedom Group (formerly Remington) is the biggest gun manufacturer, making it hard for a smaller competitor to swallow. On top of that, some public pension funds have decided they want to make a political and moral statement by divesting themselves of ownership of gun companies.
And finally, he acknowledges, there is an emotional dimension: the company's lingering association with a great tragedy. The mass shooting by a lone gunman left 20 first-graders and six educators dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 15:12:01 PM
(LOS ANGELES) -- The porn industry has shut down for the third time this year after a fifth performer reportedly tested positive for HIV.
The Free Speech Coalition, an adult film industry trade group, announced on Dec. 6 its latest moratorium on filming.
"We are taking every precaution while we do research to determine if there's been any threat to the performer pool," Free Speech Coalition CEO Diane Duke said in a statement. "We take the health of our performers very seriously, and felt that it was better to err on the side of caution while we determine whether anyone else may have been exposed."
This comes more than a year after Los Angeles County voters passed a ballot initiative that made using condoms in porn mandatory. But the new rule was never enforced and eventually found to be unconstitutional.
In a "Frequently Asked Questions" blog post about the moratorium on filming, the coalition explained that performers underwent mandatory testing for sexually transmitted infections every two weeks. They prefer this to using condoms.
"Unfortunately, condoms aren't perfect," the blog reads. "They break. In the shoots that can take several hours, they can cause abrasions known as "condom rash," which, paradoxically, can make it easier to transmit an infection if one does break. For this and a host of other reasons, performers generally prefer to rely on the testing system over condoms."
Porn industry leaders have also said condoms were bad for business, leading to a decline in pornography sales.
As in previous HIV outbreaks, the industry is currently testing the performer's on- and off-screen sex partners to make sure that the virus hasn't spread. It expects to have results early this week, according to the Free Speech Coalition.
"The performers' health and safety is the most important thing," Duke said in a statement. Porn star Cameron Bay tested positive for HIV last August, prompting a six-day moratorium on filming.
On Aug. 28, the industry declared all performers who worked with Bay "tested and cleared," but on Sept. 4, Bay's boyfriend, porn actor Rod Daily, announced that he, too, tested positive for HIV.
Bay and Daily have since spoken out about unsafe industry practices.
"Ultimately, it's just a big industry, and their main concern is money," Daily said in a September news conference. "If they do care that much about the performers, they would use condoms."
On Sept. 6, a third actor, whose identity has been kept secret, tested positive for HIV, prompting the second industry shutdown.
The following week, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation -- the nonprofit behind the mandatory condom measure -- announced that a fourth HIV-positive porn actor came to it looking for information. The Free Speech Coalition said this was "a lie" created by the foundation to forward its agenda.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein said at the time that performers were becoming afraid to work without condoms as a result of the outbreak. He said if they insisted on condoms, they'd probably be out of a job.
"We need to stop taking medical advice from pornographers," he told ABC News in September. "The bottom line is that when you're employed, when you go to work and get paid, then employment law applies. You can't dangle 30 stories above the street without a harness."
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 14:34:32 PM
(NEW YORK) -- 'Tis the season for short-lived deals. Monday's is brought to you by Microsoft and Dell, which have teamed up to offer the Dell Venue Pro 8 for $99, down from its usual $299.
It's a deal for the 8-inch tablet that is powered by a Intel Atom processor and has the full version of Windows 8.1, but it's limited at that price. Only the first 20 people at Microsoft Stores Monday can get the $99 price. After that you can get it for $199.
The tablet sold out online for the $99 price early on Monday morning; it will remain online for $199 until the end of the day.
The promotion is the first planned for the next 12 days at Microsoft Stores. But the sale also calls attention to the demand for affordably priced Windows 8 devices. Most Windows 8 tablets are priced competitively for the laptop market since they are hybrid devices -- a tablet with a keyboard dock -- but few of them fall below $350. A large part of that is how Microsoft prices its Windows licenses, which tablet makers have to pay to load on the software.
"I think Microsoft has missed a big opportunity with the low need, but that is in line with them missing the boat on almost every major trend for the last few years," Patrick Moorhead, founder and principal analyst of Moorhead Insights, told ABC News. "They missed the boat on touch, they missed the boat on the 7-inch form factor -- which they finally do have -- and now they have been late with a low-priced offering."
Moorhead also points out that Windows devices -- tablets, laptops and phones -- have lost their higher-end luster because Microsoft fell behind Apple and Google in the mobile market. And that is ultimately what today's deal is about, he says.
"This is to get excitement going about not only Windows 8 tablet but also about the Microsoft Store before the holidays," Moorhead said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 14:30:17 PM
(JOHANNESBURG) -- Sunday was another day of prayer in South Africa for Nelson Mandela, with memorials continuing throughout the week before his funeral.
The nation is now preparing for Tuesday’s memorial service to honor the late South African president at the Johannesburg soccer stadium that hosted the 2010 World Cup. President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and close to 100 heads of state will be present at the service.
The stadium, on the edge of Soweto, holds 94,000 people and was the site of Mandela's first speech in Johannesburg after his release from prison in 1990.
From Dec. 11 to Dec. 13, Mandela's body will lie in state in Pretoria so that South Africans can pay their final respects.
Then, on Dec. 15, Mandela will be taken to his ancestral village of Qunu, where he'll be buried alongside three of his children who are deceased.
"We should all work together to organize the most befitting funeral for this outstanding son of our country and the father of our nation," South African President Jacob Zuma said in a public statement.
Meanwhile, Mandela’s family issued their first statement over the weekend since his death in Johannesburg last Thursday.
Through a spokesman, the family said that they are "humbled by the messages of condolences and support" received from governments and people all over the world.
Spokesman Lt. Gen. Themba Matanzima, a member of the Thembu clan to which the Mandelas belong, referred to the former South African president by his clan name, Madiba, saying that he "was not just a citizen of South Africa and the broader African continent, but a global citizen."
"The pillar of the royal Mandela household is no more with us physically," the Mandela family statement said, "but his spirit is still with us."
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 14:02:19 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Are Americans losing their artificially-sweetened taste for soda? According to new research, sales of diet soda are falling faster than other types of soft drinks.
Wells Fargo says sales of zero- and low-calorie carbonated drinks are down 6.8 percent in the last year. For full-calorie sodas, the drop was 2.2 percent. It's the third year in a row diet sales have been slimming at a faster rate.
Part of the decline may be due to studies that have linked the sweeteners in diet soda to obesity.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 13:58:20 PM
(DALLAS) -- Incredible video was captured in Plano, Texas, of ice sheets flying off the roof of an apartment complex and onto parked cars.
“Holy freakin’ moly!” one woman shouted as she watched the avalanche of ice slide off her building.
Several cars were damaged, but no injuries were reported.
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With temperatures rising in Texas, residents have been warned to be extra vigilant around tall buildings where melting ice could fall to the ground.
After walloping Texas, the wintry weather moved on to the East Coast on Sunday, where it caused highway pileups and resulted in thousands of flights being canceled or delayed.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 13:50:12 PM
(SAN DIEGO) -- Bob Filner, former San Diego mayor and 10-term congressman, was sentenced Monday to three years probation and 90 days of home confinement for sexually assaulting three women.
The sentencing is part of a plea deal granted to Filner, 71, after he pleaded guilty in October to felony false imprisonment and two counts of misdemeanor battery. Filner is barred from seeking or holding public office during his probation. During his 90 days of home confinement, Filner will wear a GPS monitoring device.
In court Monday, Filner apologized for his crimes, saying he “hurt and offended” the women he assaulted.
“To all of you, I make the same promise that I made to my family to earn back your trust and my integrity no matter how long it takes and what I have to do. I’ve already started on that path and I’m grateful to all of those who are helping me,” Filner said.
Under the plea deal, Filner will also have to give up the mayor’s pension he received from the time of the first offense -- March 6 -- to the time he resigned from office in August. Under the terms of the deal, Filner admitted kissing or grabbing three women, but they were among 19 women who accused him of abusive behavior during his time as congressman and mayor.
Attorney Gloria Allred wanted a tougher sentence for Filner. “Though some may feel that Filner has paid the price for his betrayal of the public trust, I think that he is one lucky man,” she said at a press conference outside of the courthouse.
Filner also faces up to six months in prison if he violates his probation.
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Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 13:47:25 PM
(NEWTOWN, Conn.) -- Emotional triggers for the traumatized community members of Newtown, Conn., include holiday staples like gingerbread houses and school recitals as well as every day things like sirens and news trucks, town officials said in a news conference Monday.
Town officials met with the media in order to urge them to stay away as the one-year anniversary of the school shooting approaches.
"Please don't come. Please respect our need to be alone and to be quiet and to have that personal time," First Selectman Pat Llodra said at the news conference. "We also have a real need for our community to gain its foothold, particularly during this difficult time."
"We don't need to be reminded. We don't need to re-live it," she said. "Please give us that chance."
Newtown Youth Academy co-director Cody Foss said the "triggers" are difficult for community members.
Saturday will mark the first anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School where a gunman killed 20 students and six staff members before turning the gun on himself. He had shot and killed his mother earlier that morning.
Newtown Police Chief Mike Kehoe said that there will be extra law enforcement personnel in the town from Friday to Sunday, but officials also hope to maintain a sense of normalcy, especially for students and teachers.
On Friday, interim superintendent of schools John Reed said he expects most students to be present in school and they will aim for consistency throughout the day. Mental health resources have been and will continue to be available.
"Newtown is cracked. We've been through a devastating experience and yet in the midst of those cracks, you're seeing light shining through," Newtown Minister Matt Crebbin said.
Some of the victims’ families of the Sandy Hook School Shooting are expected to gather this afternoon for a press conference reflecting on the grim anniversary.
The officials also made a request for a positive way to honor those who died.
"We really, truly are asking people to honor those who lost their lives here on Dec. 14, and we ask they do that by a random act of kindness," Llodra said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 13:30:00 PM
(BANGKOK, Thailand) -- Thailand’s prime minister has dissolved parliament and called for new elections in response to a growing wave of protests.
"At this stage, when there are many people opposed to the government from many groups, the best way is to give back the power to the Thai people and hold an election," Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said, according to the BBC. "So the Thai people will decide."
More than 100,000 protesters flooded the streets of Bangkok on Monday, with more expected for a march to the Government House.
The opposition says protesters won’t leave until the country is run by a “people’s council.” Dissolving parliament and calling for elections isn’t enough, they contend; the protesters have been camped out for weeks, often fighting with police, and say they are not going anywhere.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 11:42:52 AM
(LONDONDERRY, N.H.) -- Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown has been spending quite a bit of time in New Hampshire testing the waters for a possible U.S. Senate run there next year, but the Granite State is also a place where presidential contenders frequent and Brown is again not ruling out a 2016 run.
“I don’t think I ever said I was thinking about running for president,” Brown told reporters at a stop in Londonderry, N.H., according to the Stoneham Patch. He then added, “I don’t think anything’s off the table at this point.”
Brown first floated the idea of a possible 2016 presidential bid in August, even stopping at the Iowa State Fair, a rite of passage for any presidential contender.
At the Iowa State Fair, he told supporters he was “exploring a possible run” and indicated to reporters that he’s interested in seeing how voters in Iowa feel about him.
“I’m going to be coming out more often to try to determine whether there’s an interest in my brand of leadership and Republicanism,” Brown told the Des Moines Register on that August trip.
When asked last week about his possible aspirations to rejoin the Senate, but this time from New Hampshire, Brown would only say in an email to ABC News, “Nothing has changed. I’m all set. Thanks for checking.”
In Londonderry, Brown slipped in a shot at his former rival, Elizabeth Warren who announced last week that she won’t run for president in 2016.
“Listen, you have to have a record first,” Brown said. “I think you actually have to go and pass legislation and have experience to be president. I think that’s critically important.”
Brown added, “That’s a personal decision she made.”
Brown lost to Warren last year by almost eight points.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 11:37:04 AM
(PHILADELPHIA) -- A 50-car pile-up in Pennsylvania Sunday left one driver dead and dozens of motorists stranded on the state turnpike for hours in the middle of a major snowstorm.
State police said late Sunday afternoon that the 50 cars that were involved in the accident had been pulled over to the shoulder and they estimated plow and salt trucks would be able to clear the area by evening.
According to ABC station WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, the motorist who died in the collisions was killed when he got out of the car and was hit by another car.
The accident occurred around 12:30 p.m. near Morgantown, Pa.
Bobbi Lupkin, 57, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., was on her way home around noon Sunday when traffic suddenly slowed to a stop, she told ABC News. (Lupkin is mother of ABCNews.com health reporter Sydney Lupkin.) More than four hours later, she was still sitting in her car with no way to get off the highway.
"The truth of the matter is nobody is doing a thing for us," she said.
A few of those stranded decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
Two brothers -- Josh Lobach, 21, and Andrew Lobach, 22 -- were hand-delivering pizza slices to hungry drivers, charging $5 a slice.
The brothers were returning to college in South Carolina, when they got caught in the traffic jam around 2 p.m. Since they were hungry, the brothers decided to order a pizza and after realizing how many other cars were stranded they ordered a little extra.
The brothers managed to get two pizzas delivered to the nearest overpass.
"It took some convincing," Andrew, a college sophomore, told ABC News.
When the brothers realized they had extra slices, they figured they could make a little extra money by selling slices to other stranded motorists. The brothers were so successful they ordered four more pizzas.
"We had a lot of thumbs up even when they weren't buying," Andrew said. The brothers also delivered water bottles to thirsty families for free.
In spite of the weather and traffic jam, Andrew said after nearly five hours of being stuck on the road, most motorists were in good spirits and staying warm by cycling their engines on and off.
Lupkin said some drivers were frustrated by the lack of information, but that other families had been making the most of it. Two girls from a nearby car took a break to play in the snow for half an hour.
Lupkin said she finally started to inch forward at around 5:45 p.m. When she passed the accident, she saw dozens of cars facing "every which way."
"If I was 15 minutes earlier, I would have been in the middle of that," she said. "I feel blessed. Sitting for five hours is one thing. To be in that mess...that's pretty scary. I feel very lucky."
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the country, an icy roadway in Yonkers, N.Y., led to a 20-car pile up Sunday night that sent about 40 people to the hospital. No one was said to have had any life-threatening injuries.
Near Milwaukee, a 30-car crash injured dozens, shutting down Interstate 94. And in Greenwich, Conn., about 27 vehicles were involved in an accident that left six people injured.
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Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 11:36:43 AM
(NEW YORK) -- For years, Garth Brooks has refrained from touring because he wanted to be home for his three young daughters. Well, they're not so young anymore, and that means the star is finally free to go back out on the road.
"We're going on a world tour in 2014," Brooks unexpectedly told ABC's Robin Roberts on Monday's Good Morning America. "Our baby" -- that's Brooks' daughter Allie -- "is a senior in high school and we've talked about it. And all my babies are fine with it."
Referring to his wife, Trisha Yearwood, Brooks added, "And Ms. Yearwood is fine with it and so now I get to do what I love to do, which is play music. I get to be with the person I want to be with, which is Ms. Yearwood. And my children are off on their own."
Brooks may have hinted at a tour being in the works with an email in October that read, "The sevens have aligned. It has begun... Thank you for believing...love, g."
Sevens was the name of Brooks' 1997 album.
Brooks officially announced he was retiring from touring in 2000, though he has played select concerts since then, and has also performed a Las Vegas residency.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 11:28:17 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Mila Kunis took a walk down the aisle this past Saturday, but it wasn't with her boyfriend, Ashton Kutcher. The Ted star served as a bridesmaid for her brother Michael Kunis' wedding in St. Petersburg, Fla., with the Two and a Half Men star on hand to witness it, according to E! Online.
Michael, 36, tied the knot with ballet dancer Alexandra Blacker, 29, who trained Mila to play a ballerina in 2010’s Black Swan, People magazine reports.
A source tells People magazine Mila and Ashton's present to the newlyweds was a 10-day honeymoon in Australia.
Now that the 35-year-old Ashton's divorce from Demi Moore has been finalized, he reportedly hopes to tie the knot with Mila, 30.
A source tells E! Online, "Mila wore a gold band on her engagement ring finger but it didn't have a diamond, just a simple gold band similar to a wedding band," adding, "Mila was very happy for her brother and his wife. During the ceremony, she stood at the altar and seemed very focused on the vows."
The E! source went on to say, "Every once in a while, [Mila] would look out to Ashton and make eye contact with him." The source adds, "Ashton was very supportive of Mila and happy for the family. He was joking around with Mila's brother and they invited him to come and pose for family pictures with the bride and groom after the wedding."
"They rarely left each other's sides and were always holding hands and whispering to one another," the source went on. "Ashton let Mila do her thing but always was right there at her side. If she was busy, he knew lots of people to talk to and was having a great time with her parents and friends."
A business source close to Kutcher tells People, "Ashton and Mila have talked about getting married for quite a while."
The former That ‘70s Show co-stars have been dating since spring 2012.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 11:19:57 AM
(NEW YORK) -- If you're one of the reported 232 million active users who use Twitter to find news, follow celebrities or share life events with friends, you can add a new function to the list of reasons for staring at your mobile device: now you can make vacation plans, too.
Loews Hotels & Resorts recently became the first hotel company to book reservations via Twitter, but people are increasingly booking travel using their mobile devices.
By using the #BookLoews hashtag in a tweet to @Loews_Hotels expressing interest in a reservation, travelers will be prompted by a Loews Travel Planner to enter a secure chat conversation "to process personal and payment information in a PCI-compliant digital environment" that protects all credit card information, a spokesperson told ABC News.
"When it comes to reservations, we recognize that giving consumers the option of booking efficiently on a network where they are already engaging on a daily basis is going to set us apart and grow our consumer base in a meaningful way," said Piper Stevens, director of social media, Loews Hotels & Resorts.
The exchange goes something like this:
"Good morning! We're ready to assist you with Twitter Reservations – use #BookLoews to initiate a conversation," now announces the @Loews_Hotels Twitter handle each morning.
Then tweets such as "@loews_hotels #bookloews can I have a deal at miami beach for january 5, 2014? Thanks" or "@loews_hotels Looking to #bookloews in NYC. How do I go about doing this through Twitter?" trickle in throughout the day.
Since launching in mid-November, 176 inquiries have generated more than 90 bookings via Twitter, according to Loews Hotels & Resorts data. But the company expects that number to rise soon.
"The launch is very new," said, Sarah Murov, a spokesperson for Loews Hotels & Resorts. "As we move into 2014 we feel this form of booking will become even more popular."
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 11:18:15 AM
(NEW YORK) -- The New England Patriots may still be riding high after their come-from-behind victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, but it came with a price. According to ESPN, tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered a torn ACL and MCL and will miss the rest of the season.
Gronkowski suffered the injury during the third quarter after catching a pass from quarterback Tom Brady. He took a hit to his right knee from safety T.J. Ward and immediately fell to the ground.
"It was a decision I made just to make a tackle on a big man and unfortunately he got hurt, but if I would've hit up high, there's a chance I would get fined and all that other stuff. I'm just being safe," Ward said.
This is just the latest injury setback for the Pro Bowl tight end. He missed the first six games of the season as he recovered from offseason back and forearm surgery.
In seven games this season, the 24-year-old Gronkowski caught 39 passes for 592 yards and four touchdowns. Since his NFL debut back in 2010, Gronkowski has caught 42 touchdowns in 50 games.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 10:29:14 AM
(NEW YORK) -- The Rudy Gay era in Toronto lasted just 51 games as the Raptors have traded the forward to the Sacramento Kings in a seven-player deal.
According to ESPN, the Kings will send John Salmons, Grevis Vasquez, Patrick Paterson, and Chuck Hayes while the Raptors will send Gay, Aaron Gray and Quincy Acy.
The Raptors are moving on from Gay less then a year after they acquired him in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies.
This can be viewed as a salary dump for the Raptors as Gay is set to earn $20 million next season in the final year of his deal while three of the players acquired from the Kings will be free agents at season's end.
"Rudy is a prince of a guy," Raptors head coach Dwayne Casey said. "He's an athletic, dynamic wing player; gets to the basket at will; can shoot the ball; handle the ball. We were using him more in a drive situation, pick-and-roll situation. He was growing into that role, doing a better job because he can see over a defense."
In 18 games this season for the Raptors, Gay averaged 19.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 10:08:25 AM
(WASHINGTON) -- A coalition of eight technology companies including Google, Yahoo and Facebook have launched a campaign to reform government surveillance programs, pushing back on perceptions that these companies voluntarily hand over widespread access to users’ private data.
Launched on Monday morning, the website ReformGovernmentSurviellance.com, outlines several principles the companies are seeking.
“The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual -- rights that are enshrined in our Constitution,” the group wrote in a letter to President Obama and members of Congress. “This undermines the freedoms we all cherish.”
“It’s time for a change,” the group added.
The five principles include limiting government’s authority to collect user information, greater oversight over the process of requesting this information, increased transparency about government requests, allowing data to move across borders freely, and establishing a framework to prevent conflicts among governments.
Additional partners in the effort include AOL, Apple, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Twitter.
The CEOs of Google and Facebook have been particularly aggressive in pushing back against the perception that their companies have given the government a “back door” into the personal information of their users.
“Reports about government surveillance have shown there is a real need for greater disclosure and new limits on how governments collect information,” wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “The US government should take this opportunity to lead this reform effort and make things right.”
The tactical offensive on the part of these companies comes after revelations about the scope of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs have continued months after the most explosive ones were revealed in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Since then, Obama has said that he will move to reform parts of the NSA’s activities, even while insisting that the programs are operating within the law and by and large without abuses.
“NSA actually does a very good job about not engaging in domestic surveillance, not reading people’s emails, not listening to their -- the contents of their phone calls,” Obama told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in an interview last week.
His statement on the subject has largely remained the same since the revelations first emerged.
“But I want everybody to be clear: The people at the NSA generally are looking out for the safety of the American people,” Obama continued. “They are not interested in reading your emails.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 09:39:39 AM
(LOS ANGELES) -- Meredith Baxter is a married woman.
The Family Ties star, 66, wed her girlfriend of seven years Nancy Locke on Sunday in Los Angeles, People magazine reports.
Baxter’s five children from previous relationships were in attendance at the intimate affair, while the couple exchanged vows.
The couple has been together since 2005.
Baxter came out as a lesbian in 2009, admitting she had difficulty connecting with men in her earlier marriages. This will be Baxter’s fourth marriage.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 09:32:58 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Florida State University's star quarterback Jameis Winston said his recently-dismissed sexual assault case has taught him that he needs to be "more mature."
Two days after prosecutors decided not to press charges against him in a sexual assault case, Winston threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score as Florida State stormed into the title game with a 45-7 victory over Duke Saturday night in the ACC championship game.
While basking in his team's undefeated season, the 19-year-old Heisman Trophy front-runner made his first comments regarding the sexual assault case.
When asked what he learned from the investigation, Winston told ESPN, "I learned I got to get more mature. I got to get better at everything I do."
Winston, who has been named the ACC's Player of the Year, said he was grateful for the support of head coach Jimbo Fisher during the investigation.
"I love him. I love him. That is how you have a successful team, that's how you do what we did today. We are trying to make history. We got to keep going," Winston said minutes after the game.
On the fourth question about the investigation, Winston was done talking. When ESPN asked Winston why he chose not to talk during the process, the quarterback turned his back and his media handlers whisked him away.
With the cloud removed from over Winston's head, the rookie quarterback can now focus on the team's most crucial point of the season. The undefeated Seminoles are on their way to the BCS National Championship game in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 6.
The Heisman Trophy ballots are due to be handed in on Monday and the award will be given on Dec. 14 in New York City.
The alleged rape took place in a Tallahassee apartment on Dec. 7, 2012, according to a heavily redacted police report. However, the case did not reach prosecutors until last month. Winston's attorney acknowledged his client had sex with his accuser, but insists it was consensual.
State Attorney Willie Meggs said Thursday there was not enough evidence to win a conviction against Winston, mostly because there were too many gaps in his accuser's story.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 09:18:52 AM
(NEW YORK) -- American Airlines and US Airways are set to sign merger documents on Monday, which would create the largest airline in the world.
The deal also means that American is emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The combined carrier will operate under the American Airlines name and will be based in Fort Worth, Texas, the headquarters of American. US Airways CEO Doug Parker will head the new company.
Consumer groups warn, however, that the merger will lead to higher prices, as it will leave four airlines in control of more than three-quarters of the air travel market in the U.S.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 07:40:26 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Although the vast majority of women who get married have children, the numbers of married women who remain childless has increased over the past quarter century.
An analysis by the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University reveals that 6 percent of married women ages 40 to 44 have no biological, adopted or stepchildren in their households, compared to 4.5 percent in 1988.
One of the reasons for the change can be attributed to more women concentrating on careers and putting off starting families until later in life. At that point, older women find it more difficult conceiving than their counterparts in their 20s and early 30s.
However, as Susan L. Brown, co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, explains, there's another factor accounting for fewer married women having children, namely the changing nature of the institution of marriage.
Brown says that unlike the past, marriage is becoming less associated with bringing up children and that by delaying parenthood, couples may make the conscious decision not to share their lives with kids.
It's possible, according to studies from the Pew Research Center and the journal Demography, that the job of child rearing is too demanding since parents are spending more time and money on children than past generations.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 05:28:38 AM
(BEIJING) -- North Korea confirmed a major shakeup Monday in top leadership with its purge of Kim Jong Un’s uncle, who was accused of drug abuse, improper relations with women and living a “capitalist lifestyle.”
The news comes just as the reclusive country’s neighbor, South Korea, announced on Sunday an expansion of its own Air Defense Identification Zone. Seoul’s new ADIZ now overlaps with airspace claimed by both Japan and China. Vice President Joe Biden “conferred,” according to a statement from the State Department, with South Korea on the expansion before the announcement. China has yet to respond.
In North Korea, the shakeup revolves around the ouster of Jang Song Thaek, seen by many as the second most powerful man in the country. His fall weaves a dramatic tale of family loyalties and the harsh nature of political survival in the secretive regime.
Jang is Kim’s uncle, married to Kim Kyong-hee, the only full sibling of former leader Kim Jong Il.
Jang has long served the government. But in 2004, Kim Jong Il, the current leader’s father, had him purged. Perhaps, because he started to establish himself as a liberal, willing -- even seeking -- to engage with those outside the border on a range of issues.
According to New Focus International, which tracks North Korea, Jang “attempted personal diplomacy with the outside world.” Still, he was later brought back into the fold to help groom Kim Jong Un for power.
In the two years since his father’s death, Kim Jong Un kept him close, installing him in powerful positions including on the Central Military Commission and the National Defense Commission. But like his father and grandfather before him, Kim Jong Un has spent his first two years as leader consolidating loyalties, getting rid of those who threaten him and their deputies.
On Sunday, Kim Jong Un presided over a special meeting of the Political Bureau of the Party Central Committee, which made Jang’s dismissal official.
State run news broadcast the accusations against him, saying Jang was “soaked with the capitalist lifestyle” and “led a dissolute and depraved life…had improper relations with several women…[and was] wined and dined at the back parlors of deluxe restaurants.” He was also accused of “acts of treachery” including involvement in selling of “precious resources” to China at cheap prices.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 05:17:56 AM
(VALENCIA, Calif.) -- A crowd estimated to be in the thousands paid their respects Sunday night for Fast and the Furious series star Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas, a week and a day after the pair were killed in a fiery car crash in Valencia, Calif.
Friends, fans, and family members flocked to the scene of the crash, and a parade of souped-up cars drove by the site to honor the actor and gearhead.
Walker, 40, performed many death-defying stunts behind the wheel in the Fast films, but was a passenger when Rodas, 38, lost control of the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT on Nov. 30.
Cops in Santa Clarita tweeted just before 1:30 p.m. that cars were "backed up for miles" near the "unofficial" memorial. The L.A. County Sheriff's Department tweeted a picture of a massive queue of fans, along with the caption, "There are more people than parking spaces at unofficial Paul Walker Memorial."
Rick Yune, one of Walker's co-stars in the original The Fast and the Furious in 2001, was among those mourners on hand.
"We mourn his loss, but maybe we can just remember how great a guy this guy was and celebrate his life," he said.
Speed was said to be a factor in the crash, but not street racing, according to investigators. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 05:13:21 AM
(WASHINGTON) -- Several of of the country’s biggest figures from film and music were recognized at the White House Sunday for their mark on the performing arts.
Actress Shirley MacLaine, along with musicians Carlos Santana, Billy Joel, Herbie Hancock and opera soprano Martina Arroyo each received achievement awards at the annual Kennedy Center Honors gala Sunday night. But first, President Obama welcomed them to the nation’s capital with a smaller reception in the executive residence.
“President Kennedy once said of such a great genius that ‘the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist, is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may.’ Now that’s easy to say when, as they do for these artists, the chips usually fall in your favor, whether at Woodstock or the Oscars or elite venues all over the world. But the fact is the diverse group of extraordinary individuals we honor today haven’t just proven themselves to be the best of the best,” Obama said. “Despite all their success, over fame they’ve remained true to themselves and inspired the rest of us to do the same.”
The president recounted each recipient’s contributions to his audience: Arroyo’s humble beginnings in Harlem redefined “what magnificent artists look like and where they come from;” jazz artist Hancock’s world tours as a UNESCO ambassador; Santana giving voice to a rising Latino community; Joel’s depictions of working class American struggles; MacLaine’s wide performance range from Alfred Hitchcock to Downton Abbey.
“Each of our brilliant honorees has given us something unique and enriched us beyond measure, as individuals and as a nation,” Obama said. “Together they bring us closer to President Kennedy’s vision of the arts as a great humanizing and truth telling experience. Their triumphs have lifted our spirits and lifted our nation, and left us a better, richer place.”
Obama’s humor was also on display Sunday night, commenting on 73-year-old Hancock’s “spooky Dorian Gray doesn’t get older thing,” and Santana’s lifestyle.
“Before Carlos Santana took the stage at Woodstock few people outside his hometown of San Francisco knew who he was, and the feeling was mutual: Carlos was in such a, shall we say, ‘altered state of mind,’ that he remembers almost nothing about the performance,” he joked.
The Kennedy Center Honors has no categories or competition, selecting recipients solely for lifetime contributions to entertainment culture.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 04:45:46 AM
(NEW YORK) -- The waitress and former Marine who has been accused of orchestrating a hoax by claiming a family left her a homophobic note instead of a tip is no longer working at the New Jersey restaurant where she'd claimed the incident occurred.
Dayna Morales made national headlines and received an outpouring of public support and at least $3,000 in donations after she claimed a family stiffed her and left her a note on the receipt reading, "Sorry, I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and the way you live your life."
But after an unidentified couple came forward days later with a customer receipt and bank statement to prove that they had in fact left Morales an $18 tip on top of the $93.55 check, former friends of Morales also came forward claiming she was a compulsive liar.
Following the allegations against Morales, her employer, the Gallop Asian Bistro, said on Saturday she no longer would work at the restaurant.
The restaurant posted a message on its Facebook page that read in part, "In light of the investigation and recent events, both Ms. Morales and Gallop Asian Bistro have made a joint decision that Ms. Morales will no longer continue her employment at our restaurant. We wish her well in the future."
After the couple came forward to show their receipt to prove they paid a tip, at least three duped donors had their money refunded via PayPal, according to the founder of the website that had first publicized the story and posts on the site.
Morales, 22, did not contact media directly with her story, but it soon went viral after it was picked up by a gay advocacy website, Have a Gay Day, which posted it on its Facebook wall.
"I am THOROUGHLY offended mad pissed off and hurt that THIS is what her kids will grow up learning and that I served in the Marines to keep ignorant people like them free," Morales posted, along with a picture of the receipt to Have a Gay Day on Nov. 13. "Sorry lady but I don't agree with YOUR lifestyle and the way you're raising your kids but you didn't see me throwing that in your face and giving you sh--y service. Keep your damn mouth shut and pray we never cross paths again."
The Founder of the Ohio-based website said on Friday he had received messages from at least three people saying they had received their donations back.
"It has been confirmed that refunds have been issued to people that gave to Dayna Morales and the story we posted last month that she sent about the note on the receipt where she was not tipped," Have a Gay Day founder Michael Knote wrote on the Facebook page. "We're not sure who is exactly issuing the refunds but we have had 4 different people send us info that they received paypal refunds this morning."
Knote, 30, told ABC News he feels betrayed by the whole episode, and a "responsibility to find the truth" because it was his site that initially posted Morales' story. He said the last time he spoke to Morales was a few days after the media had picked up the story, but he hasn't been able to reach her since then because she has since taken down her Facebook page.
"She thanked us and also she told us at that moment that media agencies were doing interviews and she was going to donate the money to Wounded Warriors," Knote said.
The Wounded Warrior Project, a group that supports injured military service members and their families, did not immediately respond to calls from ABC News. LGBTQ Nation reported that a spokesperson from Wounded Warriors said on Friday they had no records of any donations from Morales.
Shortly after the New Jersey couple emerged with their receipts, former friends and colleagues of Morales also came forward and claimed she is a pathological liar.
"She lied to me about having cancer and did a whole other mess of things she stayed at my house and lied to all my family and friends," Kiersten Lynn Bremer, 23, a former friend of Morales, wrote on Facebook.
Bremer says she met Morales two years ago when Morales was then engaged to her close friend, Teresa Rivera, and that Morales was dishonorably discharged from the Marines and lied about having oiliodendraglioma, an incurable form of brain cancer, among other things.
The U.S. Marine Corps did not immediately respond to calls from ABC News for comment. A Pentagon source told LGBTQ Nation on Friday that Morales had been given an administrative general discharge for failing to show up at required monthly reserve drills.
Knote said he felt "protective" of his online community and was disappointed that Morales was "dishonest," especially pulling a stunt like this "around the holidays."
Gallop Asian Bistro says they conducted an internal investigation into whether Morales forged the receipt by examining security surveillance footage and their computer records, but that the results were inconclusive.
"Despite news reports to the contrary, this is not a simple, straight-forward matter and we have conducted our own internal investigation," the restaurant wrote on its Facebook page Sunday. "In light of the investigation and recent events, both Ms. Morales and Gallop Asian Bistro have made a joint decision that Ms. Morales will no longer continue her employment at our restaurant. We wish her well in the future."
Knote said while some people posted on Facebook that they had received electronic donations back from PayPal, he had also received complaints from others who had sent their money in the mail or in person that had not received their donations back.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 04:24:39 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Frozen is heating up at the box office. Disney's animated hit reached number one in its second weekend of release, earning an estimated $31.6 million.
After two weekends on top, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire slipped to second place, collecting $27 million.
The new Christian Bale-Casey Affleck drama Out of the Furnace rounded out the top three, with a $5.3 million debut.
Here are the top 10 movies from Friday through Sunday, with estimated ticket sales, according to Rentrak:
1. Frozen, $31.6 million
2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, $27 million
3. Out of the Furnace, $5.3 million
4. Thor: The Dark World, $4.7 million
5. Delivery Man, $3.8 million
6. Homefront, $3.4 million
7. The Book Thief, $2.7 million
8. The Best Man Holiday, $2.7 million
9. Philomena, $2.3 million
10. Dallas Buyers Club, $1.5 million
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 04:14:00 AM
(LOS ANGELES) -- Kobe Bryant's return to action was dampened by Los Angeles' 106-94 home loss to Toronto on Sunday night. The 35-year-old made his season debut at the Staples Center after sitting out following a torn Achilles tendon in April.
Bryant had nine points and eight rebounds in his first game since the injury occured on April 12, but he also had eight turnovers.
"The biggest thing for me was just trying to take care of the basketball," said Bryant after the game, giving himself an "F" for his performance. "My rhythm is completely out of sync in terms of being able to read passing lanes and judge the timing of players in between those lanes and so forth."
The game marked the beginning of his 18th season in the NBA and the first under his new two-year, $48.5 million contract extension he signed in November. With the loss, the Lakers fell to 10-10 on the season. The team has lost two of their last three games.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/9/2013 03:44:11 AM
(NEW YORK) -- NFL: New York Jets 37 (6-7) - Oakland Raiders 27 (4-9)
Cincinnati Bengals 42 (9-4) - Indianapolis Colts 28 (8-5)
Green Bay Packers 22 (6-6-1) - Atlanta Falcons 21 (3-10)
New England Patriots 29 (10-3) - Cleveland Browns 26 (4-9)
Philadelphia Eagles 34 (8-5) - Detroit Lions 20 (7-6)
Miami Dolphins 34 (7-6) - Pittsburgh Steelers 28 (5-8)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 (4-9) - Buffalo Bills 6 (4-9)
Kansas City Chiefs 45 (10-3) - Washington Redskins 10 (3-10)
Baltimore Ravens 29 (7-6) - Minnesota Vikings 26 (3-9-1)
Denver Broncos 51 (11-2) - Tennessee Titans 28 (5-8)
Arizona Cardinals 30 (8-5) - St. Louis Rams 10 (5-8)
San Diego Chargers 37 (6-7) - New York Giants 14 (5-8)
San Francisco 49ers 19 (9-4) - Seattle Seahawks 17 (11-2)
New Orleans Saints 31 (10-3) - Carolina Panthers 13 (9-4)
NBA: Boston Celtics 114 (10-12) - New York Knicks 73 (5-14)
Miami Heat 110 (15-5) - Detroit Pistons 95 (10-10)
Oklahoma City Thunder 118 (15-4) - Indiana Pacers 94 (18-3)
Houston Rockets 98 (15-7) - Orlando Magic 88 (6-14)
Toronto Raptors 106 (7-12) - Los Angeles Lakers 94 (10-10)
NHL: Minnesota Wild 3 (18-9-5, 41 pts) - San Jose Sharks 1 (19-6-5, 43 pts)
Washington Capitals 4 (16-12-2, 34 pts) - New York Rangers 1 (15-15-1, 31 pts)
Boston Bruins 5 (20-8-2, 42 pts) - Toronto Maple Leafs 2 (16-12-3, 35 pts)
Chicago Blackhawks 6 (21-6-5, 47 pts) - Florida Panthers 2 (9-17-5, 23 pts)
Vancouver Canucks 3 (17-10-5, 39 pts) - Avalanche 1 (20-8-0, 40 pts)
NCAAB: (13) Oregon 115 (8-0) - Ole Miss 105 (6-2)
(24) San Diego State 70 (7-1) - Washington 63 (4-4)
Golf: Zach Johnson ralled from four shots down with eight holes to play and defeated Tiger Woods in a playoff to win the World Challenge.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 20:11:00 PM
(BALTIMORE) -- A little bit of snow was not going to stop these two teams.
Marlon Brown hauled in a touchdown pass from Joe Flacco with four seconds remaining as the Baltimore Ravens rallied to defeat the Minnesota Vikings 29-26 on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
Baltimore took a 15-12 lead with 2:05 remaining. It was the first of five combined touchdowns by both teams in the final two minutes. Matt Cassel hit Vikings rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson for a 79-yard touchdown with 45 seconds remaining, before the defending Super Bowl answered one final time.
"I've never seen a game like that before," Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "Besides the Super Bowl, that's probably the most special win I've been a part of. Crazy game."
The Ravens (7-6) have won three-straight and currently hold the second and final wild-card spot in the AFC playoff picture.
Minnesota (3-9-1) lost running back Adrian Peterson to a sprained left foot in the second quarter. He had to be carted off the field through the snow and sleet.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 19:34:00 PM
(LOS ANGELES) -- Earlier this year, Zoe Saldana pulled off something hard to do in Hollywood: get married in secret. Yet, the Out of the Furnace star says that after months of being married to Italian artist Marco Perego, she's still not talking about her marriage.
"I love what I do so much, but I love my [personal] life more," the 35-year-old actress told Ocean Drive magazine. "And I realized throughout the years of being in this business that the only way to maintain some kind of sanity is to protect that which is most dear to you, which is your life and everyone that’s in it."
Saldana added that staying private about her love life "provides a sanity that gives me the ability to be insane by playing other people and living in other bodies for a long period of time, and then coming back home and knowing that my roots are so grounded that it’s easy for me to go back to being myself. The only way I can continue having that is by absolutely avoiding the questions that are asked."
The Star Trek actress reportedly tied the knot with Perego in June.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 16:48:47 PM
(NEW YORK) -- After her brother posted a photograph of his injured face, Paris Hilton had some unpleasant words for Lindsay Lohan on Instagram.
The New York Daily News reported that Barron Hilton, the brother of Paris and Nicky Hilton, posted a photograph of his blooded face. He claimed that the injuries were caused by an attack that Lohan had ordered against him.
According to TMZ, a police report filed by Barron Hilton claimed that Lohan approached him prior to the attack, saying "You talk s**t about me to my boyfriend, this is what you get."
Paris later wrote on Instagram that "They both will pay for what they did. No one f***s with my family and gets away with it!!" She also retweeted a post from her sister Nicky on Twitter, which read "Bad things happen when you hang out with bad people."
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 16:00:29 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Cold weather continues to stretch across most of the east coast, covering a number of major cities in snow and ice and causing travel delays and car accidents.
More than 2,000 passengers were stranded overnight at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Philadelphia International Airport was under a ground stop on Sunday afternoon. Delays and cancellations were reported from Salt Lake City to New York.
ABC's affiliate in Milwaukee, WISN, reported that a 30-car pileup was caused by quickly falling snow and icy conditions. More accidents have been reported in a number of state due to the icy cold weather.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 15:01:58 PM
(NEW YORK) -- A new hepatitis drug that can be taken in pill form once per day was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday.
The drug is called Sovaldi and is meant to be taken with other existing drugs to treat the main forms of hepatitis C. The new drug works faster and is much simpler to take, HealthDay News says.
About 3.2 million Americans suffer from hepatitis C, which can destroy the liver if left untreated. HealthDay News says that people born between 1945 and 1965 are five times as likely to have hepatitis C.
Current treatments involve weekly injections and can take a year to gain significant ground on the virus. Sovaldi -- when combined with the current treatments -- cured close to 90 percent of patients in just 12 weeks. Current methods alone cure about 75 percent of patients.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 14:13:13 PM
(NEW YORK) -- When asked if Nelson Mandela was a ruthless politician, his former pollster and campaign strategist Stan Greenberg said, “Absolutely.”
“He had clear goals. And one of the things that ran through was the desire to make sure there was racially inclusive politics,” said Greenberg, who served as a pollster and strategist for Mandela’s 1994 campaign for president of South Africa. “And he wanted to use the election to send a message about this was going to be inclusive country.”
On This Week Sunday, Greenberg said the former South African president and anti-apartheid leader would spend hours looking through polling data and attending focus groups. “He thought there had to be a popular sensibility,” said Greenberg, who also served as President Clinton’s pollster during his election campaigns.
Even after his presidency, Mandela, who passed away Thursday at the age of 95, maintained his status as a world leader by developing close relationships with politicians from across the globe, including several U.S. presidents.
Former New York Times South Africa bureau chief Bill Keller said it came as no surprise that Mandela developed a particular bond with President Bill Clinton, because of their love of retail politics.
“One of the things that Mandela had was the joy in the robust give and take of politics,” Keller said. “The schmoozing, the deal-making, stage-craft, the theater.”
According to Keller, Mandela was a pragmatist, willing to modify his stance, alter his rhetoric and compromise to achieve his ultimate goals.
“In the course of his life, he was a communist for a while, he was a capitalist, he was an advocate of non-violence, he was an advocate of armed struggle,” Keller said. “He was whatever it took, but he never lost sight of the man goal, which was a South Africa that was run by south Africans… He knew the difference between strategy and tactics.”
One of Mandela’s strategies, the This Week panel agreed, was to educate. Human rights attorney and long-time Mandela friend and supporter Dr. Gay McDougall described Mandela’s role as a professor to the other political prisoners incarcerated during the anti-apartheid movement.
“They often talk about the ‘University of Robben Island,’” McDougall said, referring to the infamous prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years behind bars. “They spent their time studying political developments around the world, deciding who as a political party and as activists they wanted to be… So that when they finally emerged from that prison they knew exactly the road that they wanted to travel.”
“I think that he came out of jail knowing his place in history,” McDougal added. “He led that nation through a tumultuous run-up to the elections, knowing where he was going and being a very steady hand and voice of reason through what was a very turbulent time in the run-up to the election.”
Keller, who also wrote Mandela’s biography, credited his restraint, and his “surplus of discipline.”
“He was the most disciplined politician I have ever seen,” Keller said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 13:08:43 PM
(NEW YORK) -- President Obama praised "the first fully multilateral trade agreement in the 20-year history of the World Trade Organization" on Sunday.
The deal simplified customs procedures and eased barriers to trade for all 159 of the WTO's members countries.
Obama added that the deal will "eliminate red tape and bureaucratic delay for goods shipped around the globe." Small businesses, he said would benefit greatly under the new rules as they "encounter the greatest difficulties in navigating the current system."
"The WTO's Bali agreement also represents the rejuvenation of the multilateral trading system that supports millions of American jobs and offers a forum for the robust enforcement of America's trade rights," Obama said, thanking the WTO Director General and the other WTO members for their work on the deal.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 12:47:18 PM
(KIEV, Ukraine) -- After weeks of anti-government protests in Ukraine, demonstrators toppled a statue of Vladimir Lenin on Sunday.
In central Kiev, protestors are speaking out against Ukranian president Viktor Yanukovych's decision to reject a trade deal with the European Union. Rejecting the deal would mean closer ties between Ukraine and Russia.
The pro-EU protestors have given Yanukovych 48 hours to dismiss the government, the BBC reports, and have set up barricades outside the Prime Minister's office.
Hundreds of thousands of protestors remained in the streets of the capital on Sunday.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 11:53:59 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Bernie Madoff, in prison for operating a multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme told the Wall Street Journal that inmates and prison guards constantly ask him for investment advice.
In fact, the prisoners wanted Madoff to teach a course on how to invest, but the prison would not allow that. Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence connected to the decades of fraud he perpetrated against investors.
The 75-year-old Madoff also told the Journal that he felt "trapped" into his Ponzi scheme and "always thought he would be able to get himself out of it."
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 11:09:40 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Many political observers divide the nation into red states and blue states, but a new study focuses on an entirely different measurement and ranks the 50 states based on how frequently their residents curse.
A study by the technology company The Marchex Institute shows that of all Americans, Ohioans curse the most, at least when they’re on the phone. Maryland took a close second, followed by New Jersey, Louisiana, and Illinois.
Researchers scanned for the frequency of F-bombs and other popular curse words in more than 600,000 phone conversations over one year, and found that Ohioans swore around once every 150 conversations.
The calls had been placed by consumers to businesses such as cable companies, auto dealerships and pest control centers.
Folks in Washington state are least likely to curse on the phone, followed by residents of Massachusetts, Arizona, Texas, and Virginia.
Ohio also landed in the top 5 “Least Courteous” category, based on the number of times Ohioans said “please” and “thank you” during customer service calls.
The South takes the lead when it comes to saying “please” and “thank you.” The top 5 “Most Courteous” states are South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Louisiana, and Georgia.
The researchers also found that as a nation, two-thirds of curses over the phone come from men, and cursing is most likely to occur in phone conversations lasting more than ten minutes. The study also reveals that many people do not like mornings; morning calls are twice as likely to involve swearing as calls in the afternoon or evening.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 10:32:32 AM
(WASHINGTON) -- America reached a diplomatic landmark in the form of a nuclear agreement with Iran, but the details are still a bit hazy.
Case in point: it’s unclear when the deal will actually take effect, and teams of experts will meet in Vienna on Monday to figure that out.
The United States and world powers touted a six-month freeze in Iran’s nuclear program, in exchange for rolled-back sanctions over that same timeframe. The goal was to create six months of leeway to reach a comprehensive deal that would end Iran’s progress toward weapons-grade uranium and assure the world that its nuclear program is peaceful.
But that six-month clock hasn’t yet started ticking, and the U.S. State Department hasn’t indicated when it might.
The agreement, finalized on Nov. 24 in Geneva, called for a team of experts from Iran and the world powers with which it negotiated — the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, China, Russia and the European Union — to figure out the implementation later.
For instance, Iran agreed to enhanced monitoring from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and to provide more schematics and maps of its nuclear facilities, but it was left unclear where specifically inspectors will be allowed to go and how often. Also unclear was what those documents must specifically contain. The four-page deal inked in Geneva provides the general requirements, but another phase of negotiation will soon unfold over the technicalities.
In Vienna on Monday, technical experts from Iran, the U.S., and the other world powers will meet for the first time to discuss how to implement the specific requirements of the Geneva deal, a State Department official said. Higher-level talks will almost certainly follow.
The State Department has declined to predict when those negotiations will be finished, so it remains unclear when the “first step” will take effect — and when the six-month countdown will begin.
In the meantime, Iran has yet to submit to additional nuclear monitoring, and the U.S. and world powers have yet to roll back sanctions.
The State Department has continued its sales pitch to skeptical members of Congress — Republicans and Democrats alike — who want to buck the administration and seek to enact new sanctions on their own, possibly over President Obama’s veto. Doing so would likely invalidate the deal with Iran, which calls for no new oil sanctions over the six-month timeframe.
In hammering out a comprehensive deal, international negotiators will likely need all the time they can get.
“Getting to a comprehensive agreement will be very, very difficult,” U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, a key player in the Iran talks, told the PBS NewsHour this week.
The interim deal could last even longer: Unmentioned by foreign leaders when they announced it, written into the agreement is a provision that, at the end of the six months, both sides can renew the “first step” agreement if they see fit. Technically, the preliminary nuclear deal could last a year.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 09:41:01 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Kelly Clarkson doesn’t know the gender of her baby yet, but she has a name picked out that will work either way.
“You won’t guess it,” she told Ellen DeGeneres. “[But] it’s not like, some weird famous person, that’s gonna be like, ‘Blue Jazz!’”
Last month, Clarkson, 31, announced that she and her husband, Brandon Blackstock, are expecting their first child, and unfortunately for the American Idol winner, it’s been a rough 11 weeks.
“I vomit a good dozen times a day,” she said. “I vomited before coming out here! … It’s, like, so gross.”
“You’re not attractive when you’re pregnant. Everybody tells you [that] you glow and your hair is pretty and your nails are pretty. That is total crap,” she continued. “My nails are short, my hair still falls out — it’s not all lush and beautiful — and I have no glow. Unless it’s, like, something left over from a bad throw up. It’s horrible.”
In spite of her illness, Clarkson insists that she’s thrilled to become a mother.
“I’m so happy I’m pregnant,” she said. “I just wish he or she would stop trying to kill me.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 09:27:41 AM
(DALLAS) -- They were set to depart on one of the world’s longest non-stop flights, from Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, to Brisbane, Australia. Instead, passengers spent the longest night of their lives sleeping on a plane grounded by the weather.
Passengers on board Qantas flight QF8 were set to depart on Friday at 10 p.m., but because of weather conditions, the plane was forced to return to the terminal and park at the gate.
“The passengers were given the option to stay on the plane or to go around the terminal,” Qantas spokeswoman Sharna Rhys-Jones said in a statement. “Due to the congestion at the airport from other cancellations, many passengers chose to stay on board.”
Black ice affecting the roads surrounding the airport meant that authorities couldn’t transport passengers to the hotel rooms they had organized for everyone after the flight was cancelled.
Passengers were provided with blankets as well as catering and entertainment such as movies while they camped out on the Being 747, airport officials said.
“Qantas was able to obtain hotel rooms, but not transportation for its passengers,” airport spokesman David Magana said. “They offered to the passengers the option to stay on the plane if that was more comfortable for them. Doors remained opened, passengers could get in and out as they wished.”
Many passengers did go back and forth between the plane and terminal, according to a tweet from DFW Airport, and were able to go to the hotel once the roads reopened.
The airport also tweeted this afternoon that about 400 departures had been cancelled on Saturday. It said it is prepared for the coming ice storms with “de-icing equipment and top-of-the-line snow plows.”
The roughly 17-hour flight from Dallas to Brisbane was rescheduled for 11 p.m. Saturday.
As of Sunday morning, three runways were cleared and made operational. The number of passengers in the terminal was down from 3,000 to about 2,076. Still, about 400 more flights were cancelled for Sunday.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 09:11:38 AM
(CLEVELAND) -- The Los Angeles Clippers (13-8) still have high expectations this season, but fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers 88-82 on Saturday for their third loss in four games.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers called the team out after the loss and said they have to work on maturing if the team is going to be in contention in April.
"We did a lot of pouting in the game," Rivers said Saturday. "You can't play that way. You have to keep playing. I always call them emotional hijacks, and we had a lot of that going on. That happens, but you have to be able to pull yourself out of it individually or as a group, and I don't think we did a good job of that."
Rivers said the team has to focus more on the game rather than the score.
"When we become a good team, if we become a good team, it will be because we miss 30 shots in a row and you wouldn't know it," Rivers said. "We just keep playing. You get some bad calls on you and you just keep playing. Right now we're not at that point maturity-wise. When we go bad, we start thinking bad. That's an area we have to grow in. …You can preach it but it's a habit and you have to get over it. There's been times where we've fought it and did good job, and this is one of those nights where we didn't."
The Clippers are currently sitting in fourth in the Western Conference.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 08:30:00 AM
(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- The No. 1 Florida State Seminoles (13-0) stormed past the Duke Blue Devils (10-3) 45-7 on Saturday to remain undefeated in 2013 and are headed to the VIZIO BCS National Championship.
Two days after prosecutors decided not to press charges against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston in a sexual assault case, the Heisman Trophy candidate threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score.
"This whole week has been very high emotion," Winston said. "We wanted to win this championship so bad. We were looking forward to having an undefeated season."
The Seminoles are expected to play No. 3 Auburn on Jan. 6 after they wrapped up the SEC title with a win over Missouri on Saturday.
"The football field is our sanctuary," Winston said. "Every time I stepped on the field, every time we stepped on that field, everything that happened outside of our family, it was just zoned out."
The Blue Devils surprised many this season and head coach David Cutcliffe was proud of his team.
"It's no fun, but we competed with them. We were on the field a little too much. You know going in that a big, strong quarterback that moves around well will extend plays, so you have to maintain your discipline in coverage -- and we did for the most part. But their defense does a good job of getting the other offense off the field, and unfortunately that worked well for them tonight," Cutcliffe said.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/8/2013 08:02:00 AM
(NEW YORK) -- NCAAF: (1) Florida State 45 (13-0) - (20) Duke 7 (10-3)
(10) Michigan State 34 (12-1) - (2) Ohio State 24 (12-1)
(3) Auburn (12-1) - (5) Missouri (11-2)
(7) Stanford 38 (11-2) - (11) Arizona State 14 (10-3)
(9) Baylor 30 (11-1) - (25) Texas 10 (8-4)
(17) Oklahoma 33 (10-2) - (6) Oklahoma State 24 (10-2)
(16) University of Central Florida (11-1) - SMU (5-7)
(23) Fresno State 24 (11-1) - Utah State 17 (8-5)
NCAAB: (2) Arizona 63 (9-0) - UNLV 58 (3-4)
(4) Syracuse 93 (9-0) - Binghamton 65 (2-7)
(5) Ohio State 74 (8-0) - Central Connecticut State 56 (2-6)
Colorado 75 (9-1) - (6) Kansas 72 (6-2)
(7) Louisville 113 (8-1) - LA Lafayette 74 (6-3)
(8) Wisconsin 70 (10-0) - Marquette 64 (5-4)
(11) Wichita State 71 (9-0) - Oral Roberts 58 (5-4)
(14) Villanova 98 (9-0) - Saint Joseph's 68 (4-4)
(16) Memphis 96 (6-1) - Northwestern State 76 (3-4)
(17) Iowa State 91 (7-0) - Northern Iowa 82 (3-5) OT
Missouri 80 (9-0) - (18) UCLA 71 (8-1)
(19) Gonzaga 80 (8-1) - New Mexico State 68 (7-4)
(21) Massachusetts 105 (8-0) - BYU 96 (7-3)
(22) Michigan 107 (6-3) - Houston Baptist 53 (3-6)
(23) Iowa 83 (9-1) - Drake 66 (6-2)
Illinois State 81 (5-4) - (25) Dayton 75 (7-2)
NHL: Dallas Stars 5 (14-9-5, 33pts) - Philadelphia Flyers 1 (13-14-2, 28pts)
Washington Capitals 5 (15-12-2, 32pts) - Nashville Predators 2 (13-14-3)
Toronto Maple Leafs 4 (16-11-3, 35pts) - Ottawa Senators 3 (11-14-5, 27pts) SO
Winnipeg Jets 2 (14-13-4, 32pts) - Tampa Bay Lightning 1 (17-10-2, 36pts) OT
Florida Panthers 2 (9-16-5, 23pts) - Detroit Red Wings 1 (15-9-7, 37pts)
Boston Bruins 3 (19-8-2, 40pts) - Pittsburgh Penguins 2 (20-10-1, 41pts)
Montreal Canadiens 3 (19-9-3, 41pts) - Buffalo Sabres 2 (6-22-2, 14pts)
New Jersey Devils 4 (12-13-6, 30pts) - New York Rangers 3 (15-14-1, 31pts) OT
Anaheim Ducks 5 (20-7-5, 45pts) - St. Louis Blues 2 (19-6-3, 41pts)
Calgary Flames 2 (11-14-4, 26pts) - Edmonton Oilers 1 (10-18-3, 23pts) OT
Los Angeles Kings 3 (19-7-4, 42pts) - New York Islanders 0 (8-17-5, 21pts)
NBA: Golden State Warriors 108 (12-9) - Memphis Grizzlies 82 (9-10)
Detroit Pistons 92 (10-10) - Chicago Bulls 75 (8-10)
Cleveland Cavaliers 88 (7-13) - Los Angeles Clippers 82 (13-8)
Denver Nuggets 103 (12-8) - Philadelphia 76ers 92 (7-14)
Miami Heat 103 (15-5) - Minnesota Timberwolves 82 (9-11)
Indiana Pacers 111 (18-2) - San Antonio Spurs 100 (15-4)
Brooklyn Nets 90 (6-14) - Milwaukee Bucks 82 (4-16)
Sacramento Kings 112 (5-13) - Utah Jazz 102 (4-18)
Dallas Mavericks 108 (13-8) - Portland Trail Blazers 106 (17-4)
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 21:07:00 PM
(HOUSTON, Texas) -- The Rice Owls won their first outright conference championship since 1957 on Saturday by defeating Marshall 41-24 to win the Conference-USA title.
The Owls (10-1) pounded the Thundering Herd (9-4) on the ground, rushing for 250 yards on the day. Charles Ross ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns, tying the school's single season record of 14. Running Back Luke Turner passed for two more scores as Rice jumped out to an early 14-0 lead.
The Herd tried to make a comeback and trailed by 11 at half. However, the Owls scored 14 unanswered points to put the game away.
Marshall had their five game win streak snapped in what was their first C-USA Championship Game appearance. Quarterback Rakeem Cato threw for 265 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 19:47:25 PM
(COLUMBIA, Mo.) -- Missouri won its NCAA-best 24th straight home-game upsetting No. 18 UCLA 80-71 Saturday.
Missouri (9-0) trailed by eight at halftime, but senior guard Earnest Ross scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half to lead the Tigers to the upset.
"As I continue to shoot and see shots go in, it makes the basket get a little bit bigger," Ross said. "When I'm in a rhythm, I just think I'm in a pretty good groove and I just continue to keep shooting."
Jabari Brown had 22 points and Jordan Clarkson chipped in 21 in the win.
Jordan Adams had 22 points, 10 rebounds and three steals for UCLA (8-1), which suffers its first loss of the season.
"Our offense just didn't move," UCLA coach Steve Alford said. "The ball stopped a lot. We were in a pretty good rhythm in the first half, and for whatever reason, we stopped moving the ball offensively in the second half."
That's for sure. After converting 15 of 30 attempts in the first half, UCLA made only 8 of 31 in the second.
Both teams now have extended periods of time off before taking the court again. UCLA will play Prairie View A&M on Dec. 14, while Missouri hosts Western Michigan on Dec. 15.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 16:42:53 PM
(WASHINGTON) -- Two weeks have passed since the United States and its partners reached a sweeping, if tentative, nuclear deal with Iran despite the opposition of Israel’s government. At a Middle East policy conference on Saturday, President Obama was asked what made the Iran deal “different” when compared to the failed nuclear agreements pursued by Presidents Reagan with Pakistan and Clinton with North Korea.
“Well, we don’t know yet. We don’t know yet.” Obama said at the Brookings Institute’s Saban Forum. “I think it's important for everybody to understand: This is hard, because the technology of the nuclear cycle you can get off the internet. The knowledge of creating a nuclear weapon is already out there.”
The president was responding to a question from the sit-down discussion’s moderator, Haim Saban, and acknowledged there was a possibility Iran would renege on its side of the bargain.
“Having said that, by the time we had gotten an agreement with North Korea they essentially already had a nuclear weapon. With respect to Pakistan there was never the kinds of inspection regimes and international sanctions and UN resolutions that have been in place,” Obama continued, adding the failsafe mechanisms around the current deal were "unprecedented and unique” in diplomatic precedent.
The Saban Forum leans heavily toward Israeli policy and comes amid tension between the Washington and Tel Aviv over the deal. At the time of its signing, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, scheduled to speak at the forum by satellite on Sunday, called it a “historic mistake” and one that made the world a “much more dangerous place.” Critics in the US and Israel have said Tehran could use the six-month agreement, in which the US eases some economic sanctions while the Middle East state pauses its nuclear program, to buy time. Further, the endgame of the agreement, if successful, would allow Iran to retain a nuclear energy program with low uranium enrichment levels for power plants. But skeptics fear that even that infrastructure could be rapidly modified to produce weaponized product – what is called “breakaway” capability.
“If we could create an option in which Iran eliminated every single nut and bolt of their nuclear program, and forswore the possibility of ever having a nuclear program, and for that matter got rid of all its military capabilities I would take it,” Obama said. “But, Haim, I want to make sure that everybody understands that particular option is not available.”
President Obama also had cautious optimism for his Iranian counterpart, President Hassan Rouhani.
“Obviously Rouhani is part of the Iranian establishment and the -- I think we have to assume that his ideology is one that is hostile to the United States and to Israel,” he said. “But what he also represents is the desire on the part of the Iranian people for a change of direction. And we should not underestimate or entirely dismiss a shift in how the Iranian people want to interact with the world.”
“We have to not constantly assume that it's not possible that Iran, like any country, can change over time,” the president would later add.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also spoke at the forum. Meanwhile, Obama’s discussion with Haim Saban also comes two weeks after the president attended a high-end Democratic fundraiser at Saban’s Beverly Hills home. Saban, an Israeli-American media mogul and top-dollar donor for the party, hosted the fundraiser on November 25th, two days after the nuclear deal was struck in Geneva.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 16:35:38 PM
(STILLWATER, Okla.) -- Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell entered the game in the second half in relief of injured starter Trevor Knight and didn't disappoint.
Bell completed 10-of-16 passes, for 140 yards and what proved to be the game-winning touchdown with 19 seconds left in the game, as No. 17 Oklahoma upended No. 6 Oklahoma State 33-24 Saturday.
The loss ruins the Cowboys (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) chance at winning the Big 12 title and clinching a spot in a BCS bowl game.
It actually looked like Oklahoma State would win. With Oklahoma up 20-17 and 4:27 left in the game, Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf led the Cowboys on a 89-yard drive that ended with Desmond Roland giving State the lead when he scored his third touchdown of the day. But with 1:46 left, Bell led the Sooners on a 66-yard drive that ended with him finding Jalen Saunders for a seven-yard touchdown to put Oklahoma up for good.
"Jalen can make people miss and he's hard to cover," Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops said of the game-winning touchdown. "And Blake throws a good ball. He stayed in there and made some big plays down the stretch.
Which is why the Sooners (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) have won at least 10 games in four straight seasons.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 16:09:04 PM
(PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii) -- A ceremony was held on Saturday on the shore overlooking the memorial to the USS Arizona to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
On Dec. 7, 1941, the U.S. Navy fleet at Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan, a sudden act of aggression that drew the United States into World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the day "a date which will live in infamy."
Over 2,400 people were killed in the attack, and a great number of Navy ships and aircraft -- including the USS Arizona -- were lost.
On Saturday, thousands gathered at Pearl Harbor, including a number of World War II veterans. Ceremonies were also held aboard the USS Intrepid in New York City. A moment of silence was held at 7:55 a.m., the moment when the attack began in 1941.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 15:51:11 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania believe that they have found a method of fighting leukemia.
The researchers presented their findings at the American Society of Hematology this weekend, and say that they have cured 18 of 21 pediatric leukemia patients and 12 out of 37 adult leukemia patients. To do so, the researchers removed specific white blood cells from patients and altered them to contain a gene that attacks cancer.
The new treatment, gene therapy, could be a new weapon in the fight against cancer. While the reported success rate is strikingly high, the size of the study leaves many questions unanswered.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 15:40:44 PM
(NEW YORK) -- An agreement may be close between the U.S. and Afghanistan that would allow U.S. troops to remain there after next year.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Saturday that his successor, who will be chosen in an election next year, should be the one to have the final say on the proposal. Regardless, The Guardian reports that U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel -- who was in Afghanistan on Saturday -- was reassured by the Afghan defense minister that the agreement would be signed "in a timely manner."
Despite the importance of an agreement, Hagel was not expected to meet with Karzai during his time in Afghanistan.
Without an agreement, all U.S. and foreign forces would leave Afghanistan at the end of 2014.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 14:35:49 PM
(AUBURN, Ala.) -- Auburn wasted no time in realizing they needed to keep head coach Gus Malzahn around for the long-term and they've done just that. The school has announced they've reach a six-year extension with the first-year coach.
Malzahn's new deal will pay him $3.85 million his first year, and then increase by $250,000 each year after.
Since being hired, Malzahn has completely turned around an Auburn program that won three games in 2012, and not a single one of them against an SEC team.
As of Fright night, Malzahn has led Auburn to an 11-1 record and has put them in position to play for a National Championship.
"As I've said before, we want coach Malzahn to be at Auburn for a long time," Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs said. "The new contract includes a raise and an extension and is our statement that Auburn is committed to coach Malzahn for the long haul. While this season has been remarkable, I'm equally excited about the future of the program under his leadership. The future of Auburn football is very bright."
Malzahn had served as Auburn's offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach from 2009-2011.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 14:14:23 PM
(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- A magnitude 4.5 earthquake struck an Oklahoma City suburb on Saturday afternoon.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported the earthquake hit near Jones, Okla., at about 12:10 p.m. CT. though they said that a tremor of that magnitude in the area is uncommon but not unprecedented. Many in the area said that they felt the shake, but that it was not violent.
The USGS says that aftershocks are expected. There was no immediate information available regarding citizens injured or damage to property.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 13:56:18 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Merrill Newman, the 85-year-old Korean War veteran who was held for over a month in North Korea arrived home in California on Saturday.
Newman was pulled from a plane on Oct. 26 when he was preparing to leave North Korea after a 10-day tour. His family had been concerned about his health due to a heart condition. Newman was deported from North Korea in a decision supported by the U.S. State Department.
After Newman's release, Vice President Joe Biden -- who was in South Korea -- offered him a ride home on Air Force Two, which Newman turned down. Instead, he took a flight home to San Francisco International Airport. Upon arriving, Newman received cheers and made a brief statement to gathered reporters.
Biden said that the State Department was pleased that Newman had been released, though he says he did not play any direct role in his release.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 13:24:37 PM
(NEW YORK) -- No one won Friday's Mega Millions drawing, pushing the jackpot for the next drawing -- on Tuesday -- up to $344 million.
The winning numbers in Saturday's drawing were 11, 29, 44, 63, 64 and the powerball number was 3. In order to win the jackpot, a player must match all six numbers.
Four tickets did match five numbers, winning those ticketholders $1 million each. Those winning tickets were sold in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Washington state.
The Tuesday jackpot, estimated at $344 million, would be the fourth largest prize in the history of Mega Millions, and the largest since a record $656 million won on March 30, 2012.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 12:28:49 PM
(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Through a spokesman, the family of former South African President Nelson Mandela on Saturday released their first statement since his death.
The family says that they are "humbled by the messages of condolences and support " received from governments and people all over the world. The statement was delivered by Spokesman Lt. Gen. Themba Matanzima, a member of the Thembu clan to which the Mandelas belong.
Matanzima referred to the former South African president by his clan name, Madiba, saying that he "was not just a citizen of South Africa and the broader African continent, but a global citizen."
Following Mandela's death countless political and cultural figures, ranging from Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama to Prince Charles of the U.K. and actor Idris Elba, who plays Mandela in the soon-to-be-released film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom made statements expressing their condolences over the loss of a beloved world figure.
"The pillar of the royal Mandela household is no more with us physically," the Mandela family statement said, "but his spirit is still with us."
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 11:53:40 AM
(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel landed in Afghanistan on Saturday morning to meet with American commanders following a trip to Bahrain.
According to the New York Times, Hagel was expected to speak with commanders regarding the status of the war. He is also expected to address troops to offer holiday greetings and with Afghan officials to push for a breakthrough in the ongoing security agreement talks.
Hagel will not meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, as the president is departing Afghanistan for Iran on Saturday.
A statement from Hagel's office stated that the U.S. "has made its position on the BSA [binding security agreement] clear."
Karzai reportedly stated his position on the BSA once again this past week, saying that he was not yet prepared to sign the BSA. Karzai did not provide a timeline or plan to endorse an agreement.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 11:14:24 AM
(NEW YORK) -- The United States is experiencing a spike in measles cases this year, with 175 cases reported so far, according to public health officials.
About 60 measles cases are typically reported in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With another four weeks left in 2013, this year has already seen nearly triple that number.
"A measles outbreak anywhere is a risk everywhere," CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement. "The steady arrival of measles in the United States is a constant reminder that deadly diseases are testing our health security every day. "
Here's what you need to know about this highly contagious and deadly disease.
Measles used to kill hundreds every year.
Before the vaccination program began in 1963, between 400 and 500 people used to die from the measles every year, according to the CDC.
The illness used to send 48,000 people to the hospital each year.
About 7,000 measles patients had seizures, and about 1,000 of them suffered permanent brain damage or deafness.
Measles starts out like the flu.
Early measles symptoms include a fever, runny nose, cough and sore throat with red eyes, according to the CDC.
Soon, however, "tiny white spots with bluish white centers" appear inside the mouth. Then, a red-brown rash appears, starting at the hairline and working its way down.
The measles virus is super contagious.
The measles virus is so contagious that if one person has it, that person will spread it to 90 percent of the unvaccinated people around him or her.
"Widespread use of measles vaccine has led to a greater than 99 percent reduction in measles cases in the United States compared with the pre-vaccine era, and in 2012, only 55 cases of measles were reported in the United States," it says on the CDC website.
People who become infected now are often unvaccinated and caught it from someone traveling abroad, according to the CDC's latest press release on the subject.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 10:33:50 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Apple wants to know exactly where you are when you enter an Apple Store.
On Friday, Apple launched a new feature in its Apple Store app, which allows Apple to see specifically where you are in its own stores. Those who have the latest version of the app and have enabled the new location features will be sent alerts based on where they are in the retail spaces.
Using its new GPS and Bluetooth-equipped iBeacon devices inside stores, the company will be able to tell whether you are in an Apple Store or not, and then specifically where you are in the store. The point isn't so that Apple can watch you in the store; Apple said it is to serve you better information, including deals in the store.
For instance, if you walk into the store and Apple knows you are eligible for an iPhone upgrade, you might get a push alert about where to go to upgrade. Similarly, if you walk into a store and you have already placed an order online it may give you information on where to pick up your order. Again, users have to enable the service; those who don't want to be bothered or tracked can opt out.
Apple Stores, however, are just the start for the iBeacon feature that Apple has baked into iOS 7.
"We're really excited about what iOS developers will be able to do with iBeacon, a technology we introduced with iOS 7 that uses Bluetooth Low Energy and geofencing to provide apps a whole new level of micro-location awareness, such as trail markers in a park, exhibits in a museum or product displays in stores," Apple said in a statement provided to ABC News.
And it's beyond the store that Apple could have a strong feature on its hands, especially after falling behind in the mapping space, experts say.
Ross Rubin, principal analyst for Reticle Research, told ABC News that the app could help Apple thrive in the "indoor mapping space, to help users locate resources in the real world. This will be a key mobile usage case moving forward."
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 10:16:53 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Freezing weather, ice and snow are causing dangerous travel, power outages and at least 10 deaths over the last two weeks.
Some parts of the country are not used to this kind of wintry weather so early in December. Among other events impacted by the cold is the Dallas Marathon, which had been scheduled for Sunday. The race was cancelled on Friday.
Among those killed by the uncommonly cold weather were four homeless people in the San Francisco Bay Area who died of hypothermia, two people killed in traffic accidents in Indiana, two more killed on the roads in Texas, a young Oklahoma boy killed in a car crash and one person killed in Pope County, Arkansas when a tree fell on their camper.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 09:56:23 AM
(NEW YORK) -- Stephen Moyer and his wife Anna Paquin are still beaming about the ratings success of Thursday night’s The Sound of Music Live.
“It was more like 18 [million] actually,” Paquin, 31, joked to ABC News when debating how many viewers the live revival pulled in. The True Blood stars sat down with ABC on Friday to talk about a new movie Paquin’s starring in titled Free Ride, which hit theaters next month.
Moyer, 44, who took on the role of Captain Georg von Trapp in Thursday’s musical, said he’s still on a high from his recreation of the 1950′s Broadway hit and 1965 Oscar-winning movie.
“I think whenever you come off doing a run of something … you kind of go through this ‘Woo hoo, oh my God’ elation and then,” he said. “I’ve only just got back, we stayed out there last night because we were in Long Island, so I’m kind of coming down I feel.”
Moyer added that bringing in those kinds of numbers – 18.5 million according to Nielsen ratings – made co-star Carrie Underwood, the cast and the network very satisfied with the experience. “It was very good, I know they were very happy,” he added.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 09:35:10 AM
(WASHINGTON) -- There’s at least one member of Sen. Rand Paul’s family who isn’t quite on board just yet with a 2016 run — and that’s his wife.
After a speech at the Detroit Economic Club on Friday, Paul, a Republican senator from Kentucky, was asked whether he plans to run in 2016, and he revealed his wife’s displeasure with the idea of a run for the White House.
“Where’s my cellphone? Can I call my wife?” Paul joked. “There’s two votes in my family. My wife has both of them, and both of them are ‘no’ votes right now."
“If I’m a very able politician, I’ll tell you in a year whether I’m able to persuade my wife. Right now, I don’t know yet, but I thank you for your interest,” he added.
Paul has been frank in admitting he is considering a 2016 presidential bid and has said he is discussing the option with his wife and family.
Paul was in Detroit to discuss his economic plan that would lower taxes for economically distressed areas like Detroit.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 09:32:51 AM
(WASHINGTON) -- In his weekly address, President Obama calls on Congress to extend unemployment benefits this holiday season for the 1.3 million Americans who will lose them at the end of 2013.
Obama asked Congress to help the economy and add jobs with the possible extension before their leave for vacation. In light of the strong jobs report recently released, the president emphasized the 8 million new jobs created in the last 45 months.
Temporary unemployment insurance helps millions of Americans, he said, and it is important for Congress to act before their leave.
"If Congress refuses to act, it won’t just hurt families already struggling – it will actually harm our economy," Obama said in his address.
Read the full transcript of the president's address:
"Hi, everybody. The holiday season is a time for remembering the bonds we share, and our obligations to one another as human beings.
"But right now, more than one million of our fellow Americans are poised to lose a vital economic lifeline just a few days after Christmas if Congress doesn’t do something about it.
"Our top priority as a country should be restoring opportunity and broad-based economic growth for all Americans. And yesterday, we learned that our businesses created about 200,000 jobs in the month of November. That’s more than 8 million new jobs in the last 45 months. And the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in five years.
"But we need to do everything we can to help businesses create more good jobs that pay good wages even faster. Because the hole that we’re still digging out of means that there are still millions of Americans looking for work – often because they’ve been laid off through no fault of their own.
"We also have to look out for the Americans working hard to get those jobs. That’s why, as a country, we offer temporary unemployment insurance – so that job-seekers don’t fall into poverty, and so that when they get that job, they bounce back more quickly.
"For many families, it can be the difference between hardship and catastrophe. It makes a difference for a mother who suddenly doesn’t know if she’ll be able to put food on the table for her kids. It makes a difference for a father who lost his job and is looking for a new one. Last year alone, it lifted 2.5 million people out of poverty, and cushioned the blow for many more.
"But here’s the thing: if Members of Congress don’t act before they leave on their vacations, 1.3 million Americans will lose this lifeline. These are people we know. They’re our friends and neighbors; they sit next to us in church and volunteer in our communities; their kids play with our kids. And they include 20,000 veterans who’ve served this country with honor.
"If Congress refuses to act, it won’t just hurt families already struggling – it will actually harm our economy. Unemployment insurance is one of the most effective ways there is to boost our economy. When people have money to spend on basic necessities, that means more customers for our businesses and, ultimately, more jobs. And the evidence shows that unemployment insurance doesn’t stop people from trying hard to find work.
"Just this week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that allowing benefits to expire will be a drag on our economic growth next year. A report by the Department of Labor and my Council of Economic Advisors estimated that it could cost businesses 240,000 jobs. And without the ability to feed their families or pay the bills, many people currently looking for work could stop looking for good.
"So extending unemployment insurance isn’t just the right thing to do for our families – it’s the smart thing to do for our economy. And it shouldn’t be a partisan issue. For decades, Congress has voted to offer relief to job-seekers – including when the unemployment rate was lower than it is today.
"But now that economic lifeline is in jeopardy. All because Republicans in this Congress – which is on track to be the most unproductive in history – have so far refused to extend it.
"So this holiday season, let’s give our fellow Americans who are desperately looking for work the help they need to keep on looking. Let’s make it easier for businesses to attract more customers, and our economy to grow. And together, let’s keep doing everything we can to make this country a place where anyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead.
"Thanks, and have a great weekend."
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/7/2013 06:01:00 AM
(LOS ANGELES) -- Rap music dominated the nominations for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, announced Friday night live in Los Angeles and telecast on CBS. Only six categories were announced during the hour-long nominations special, but overall, Jay Z tops this year's nominations with nine. Rappers Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have seven each. Justin Timberlake also scored seven nominations each, as did Pharrell [fuh-RELL] Williams, who was featured on two of the year's biggest hits: Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines." Rapper Drake scored five nods.
More importantly, instead of being relegated to its own category, rap music showed up in two of the so-called Big Four categories, which include Album, Song and Record of the Year, as well as Best New Artist. Kendrick Lamar's album good kid, m.A.A.d city is up for Album of the Year, while he himself scored a nod for Best New Artist.
There were a few big shockers in the announcements during the telecast: one was the fact that Sara Bareilles' latest album The Blessed Unrest scored an Album of the Year nod. While the disc was well-received, and produced the hit single "Brave," nobody predicted it would appear in this category. Even more surprising was the fact that Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience, the best-selling album of 2013, didn't receive an Album of the Year nod.
Another shocker was Lorde's absence from the Best New Artist category: she had been considered a shoo-in, and her hit "Royals" was nominated for Record and Song of the Year. Instead, British musician James Blake, who isn't well known in the U.S, was nominated. Another Brit, Ed Sheeran, who received his first Grammy nod last year for Song of the Year, also got a Best New Artist nod.
Speaking of Brits, Grammy darling Adele, who's been out of the spotlight for a while, managed to snag one nomination: for "Skyfall," her James Bond theme. It was in the category of Best Song Written for Visual Media. Coldplay was also nominated in that category for "Atlas," their song from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and so were Colbie Caillat and Gavin DeGraw for their duet, "We Both Know," from the movie Safe Haven.
The Grammy Nominations Live! CBS telecast began with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis walking into L.A.'s Staples Center and up onto the stage, along with their buddy Wanz, to perform their hit "Thrift Shop." The stage was decorated with racks of thrift shop clothing, as dancers gyrated wildly, and Macklemore threw items of clothing into the audience.
Taylor Swift was shown singing "I Knew You Were Trouble" from Australia, and before she went on, she turned to the camera and said, "Thank you for the nominations." However, at that point, she hadn't received any, though later on in the show, her album Red received nods for Album of the Year and Best Country Album. Did she have advance knowledge, or did she just assume? We may never know. She tweeted later, "LOVE YOU GUYS WE GOT AN ALBUM OF THE YEAR NOMINATION AND I AM TOO EXCITED TO USE PUNCTUATION."
Viewers also saw R&B star Miguel duetting with Keith Urban on Bill Withers' classic "Ain't No Sunshine," Katy Perry performing an acoustic version of "Roar" from a club in Toronto, and Lorde singing "Royals." Robin Thicke closed the show by performing his nominated single "Blurred Lines" with rapper T.I. and members of Earth, Wind & Fire. Presenters for the night included Ed Sheeran, Kelly Rowland, Melissa Etheridge, Enrique Iglesias and Arsenio Hall. LL Cool J was the evening's host, and when a major screw-up occurred -- Etheridge and actress Pauley Perrette were introduced at the wrong time -- he managed to cover quite smoothly.
The Grammy Awards air January 26, 2014, live on CBS
Here's a selection of the nominees:
Album of the Year
The Blessed Unrest, Sara Bareilles
Random Access Memories, Daft Punk
good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar
The Heist, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Red, Taylor Swift
Record of the Year
"Get Lucky," Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams
"Radioactive," Imagine Dragons
"Locked Out of Heaven," Bruno Mars
"Blurred Lines," Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams
Song of the Year (Award to Songwriter)
"Just Give Me a Reason," Pink featuring Nate Ruess
"Locked Out of Heaven," Bruno Mars
"Roar," Katy Perry
"Same Love," Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Best New Artist
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Best Pop Solo Performance
"Brave" — Sara Bareilles
"Royals" — Lorde
"When I Was Your Man" — Bruno Mars
"Roar" — Katy Perry
"Mirrors" — Justin Timberlake
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
"Get Lucky" — Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams
"Just Give Me A Reason" — Pink Featuring Nate Ruess
"Stay" — Rihanna Featuring Mikky Ekko
"Blurred Lines" — Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell Williams
"Suit & Tie" — Justin Timberlake & Jay Z
Best Pop Vocal Album
Paradise, Lana Del Ray
Pure Heroine, Lorde
Unorthodox Jukebox, Bruno Mars
Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke
The 20/20 Experience -- The Complete Experience, Justin Timberlake
Best Rock Performance
"Always Alright" — Alabama Shakes
"The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" — David Bowie
"Radioactive" — Imagine Dragons
"Kashmir" (Live) — Led Zeppelin
"My God Is The Sun" — Queens Of The Stone Age
"I'm Shakin'" — Jack White
Best Rock Album
13 — Black Sabbath
The Next Day — David Bowie
Mechanical Bull — Kings Of Leon
Celebration Day — Led Zeppelin
…Like Clockwork — Queens Of The Stone Age
Psychedelic Pill — Neil Young With Crazy Horse
Best Rock Song
"Ain't Messin 'Round," Gary Clark Jr.
"Cut Me Some Slack," Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic & Pat Smear
"Doom And Gloom," Rolling Stones
"God Is Dead?," Black Sabbath
"Panic Station," Muse
Best Alternative Music Album
The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You — Neko Case
Trouble Will Find Me — The National
Hesitation Marks — Nine Inch Nails
Lonerism — Tame Impala
Modern Vampires Of The City — Vampire Weekend
Best R&B Performance
"Love And War" — Tamar Braxton
"Best Of Me" — Anthony Hamilton
"Nakamarra" — Hiatus Kaiyote Featuring Q-Tip
"How Many Drinks?" — Miguel Featuring Kendrick Lamar
"Something" — Snarky Puppy With Lalah Hathaway
Best Urban Contemporary Album
Love And War — Tamar Braxton
Side Effects Of You — Fantasia
One: In The Chamber — Salaam Remi
Unapologetic — Rihanna
New York: A Love Story — Mack Wilds
Best R&B Album
R&B Divas — Faith Evans
Girl On Fire — Alicia Keys
Love In The Future — John Legend
Better — Chrisette Michele
Three Kings — TGT
Best Rap Performance
"Started From The Bottom" — Drake
"Berzerk" — Eminem
"Tom Ford" — Jay Z
"Swimming Pools (Drank)" — Kendrick Lamar
"Thrift Shop" — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Wanz
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
"Power Trip" — J.Cole Featuring Miguel
"Part II (On The Run)" — Jay Z Featuring Beyoncé
"Holy Grail" — Jay Z Featuring Justin Timberlake
"Now Or Never" — Kendrick Lamar Featuring Mary J. Blige
"Remember You" — Wiz Khalifa Featuring The Weeknd
Best Rap Album
Nothing Was The Same — Drake
Magna Carta…Holy Grail — Jay Z
good kid, m.A.A.d city — Kendrick Lamar
The Heist — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Yeezus — Kanye West
Best Country Solo Performance
"I Drive Your Truck" — Lee Brice
"I Want Crazy" — Hunter Hayes
"Mama's Broken Heart" — Miranda Lambert
"Wagon Wheel" — Darius Rucker
"Mine Would Be You" — Blake Shelton
Best Country Album
Night Train, Jason Aldean
Two Lanes of Freedom, Tim McGraw
Same Trailer Different Park, Kacey Musgraves
Based on a True Story…, Blake Shelton
Red, Taylor Swift
Best Country Duo/Group Performance
"From This Valley," The Civil Wars
"Don't Rush," Kelly Clarkson Featuring Vince Gill
"Your Side Of The Bed," Little Big Town
"Highway Don't Care Tim McGraw," Taylor Swift & Keith Urban
"You Can't Make Old Friends," Kenny Rogers With Dolly Parton
Best Country Song
"Begin Again," Taylor Swift
"I Drive Your Truck," Lee Brice
"Mama's Broken Heart," Miranda Lambert
"Merry Go 'Round," Kacey Musgraves
"Mine Would Be You," Blake Shelton
Best Dance Recording
"Need U (100%)," Duke Dumont Featuring A*M*E & MNEK
"Sweet Nothing," Calvin Harris Featuring Florence Welch
"Kaskade," Finn Bjarnson & Ryan Raddon
"This Is What It Feels Like," Armin Van Buuren Featuring Trevor Guthrie
"Clarity," Zedd Featuring Foxes
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/6/2013 23:10:16 PM
(PYONGYANG, North Korea) -- Merrill Newman, an 85-year-old Korean War veteran, has been deported from North Korea after being held more than a month, the U.S. State Department confirmed.
Newman, of Palo Alto, Calif., was pulled from a plane Oct. 26 while preparing to leave the communist nation after a 10-day tour. Newman, a former finance executive, has a heart condition and his family had been worried about his health since he was detained while trying to leave the country on a tourist visa.
"We are pleased that Mr. Merrill Newman has been allowed to depart the DPRK and re-join his family. We welcome the DPRK's decision to release him," the State Department said in a statement late Friday.
"This positive decision by the DPRK throws into sharper relief the continuing detention of Mr. Kenneth Bae, who has been in DPRK custody for over a year. We call on the DPRK once again to pardon and grant Mr. Bae special amnesty and immediately release him as a humanitarian gesture so that he too can return home to his family. The U.S. Government will continue to work actively on his case," the State Department said in the statement. " We thank the Government of Sweden for the tireless efforts of the Embassy of Sweden in Pyongyang, which acts as our Protecting Power in the DPRK."
A senior administration official from the U.S. vice president's office confirmed that Newman is in Beijing.
Addressing reporters in Seoul, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said, "The DPRK today released someone they never should have had in the first place, Mr. Newman. "
"I'm told -- we tried to get in contact with him -- he's on his way or in China now. I offered him a ride home on Air Force Two, but as he pointed out, there's a direct flight to San Francisco, so I don't blame him, I'd be on that flight too," Biden continued.
"It's a positive thing they've done, but they still have Mr. Bae, who has no reason being held in the North, should be released immediately. We're going to demand his release as well. At least there's one bright piece of sunshine that he will be released and return to his family."
Biden said he played no direct role in Newman's release.
Weeks after he was taken, North Korea state media reported Newman apologized for alleged crimes he commited during the Korean War and for "hostile acts" committed during a recent visit to the country.
In a released video, Newman read an apology saying he tried to meet with any surviving soldiers he had trained to fight North Korea during the Korean War.
"I asked my guide to help me to look for their families and relatives living in DPRK," he said in the video, "And I gave the document written with their addresses and email addresses to the guide in the Yanggakdo Hotel."
It is believed Newman may have been forced to make the statement.
Newman's wife, Lee, told ABC News last month that doesn't understand why her husband was being detained, but hoped the situation can be resolved soon so the family can spend the holidays together.
"We just hope whatever that misunderstanding is will be resolved very quickly and that he can return and be at our table for the holidays," Lee Newman told ABC News.
Merrill Newman was traveling with a group out of Beijing on a tour bus through North Korea. On Oct. 26, what was to be Newman's last day in North Korea, he was taken off of a plane set to leave the country and detained by authorities.
"They had checked out of the hotel, gone to the airport, boarded the plane," Jeffrey Newman said. "We understand [they] were five minutes from taking off when the Korean official came aboard, asked to see his passport then asked the stewardess to ask him to leave the plane and he left the plane with apparently no incident or drama and he's been there ever since."
Lee Newman says her husband had in place all necessary and valid travel documents to take the tour.
"We have no idea that how with the guides and the visas and the paper and the itinerary that there could be anything that could've gone off track," Lee Newman told ABC News.
The Swedish Embassy was negotiating on a daily basis on behalf of Newman because the U.S. has no diplomatic ties to North Korea, the State Department said last week.
Jeffrey Newman said it was his father's dream to return to the country where he spent three years as an infantry officer during the Korean War.
"He'd been to the peninsula before about three years ago. He was in South Korea but he'd never been to North Korea and he'd always wanted to go back," he said. "He had a great respect for the Korean people and a keen interest in the Korean culture."
North Korea has detained at least six Americans since 2009, including two journalists accused of trespassing and several missionaries accused of spreading Christianity. Bae, a Korean-American missionary and tour operator, has been detained for more than a year.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/6/2013 21:46:42 PM
(TAOS, N.M.) -- The New Mexico State Police officer who shot at a mother and her minivan full of children after a high-speed chase was fired, according to the state's Department of Public Safety.
Officer Elias Montoya was terminated effective Friday in relation to an Oct. 28 incident when he assisted in pulling over 39-year-old Oriana Ferrell for speeding.
Ferrell had been taking her children on a trip to the Rio Grande. Police dashboard video showed the woman and an officer arguing, and after he returned to his car to check paperwork, the mother drove away.
The officer pulled her over again, opening her door and demanding she get out from the car. After she refused, he tried to pull her out of the vehicle as her five children began to scream. As Ferrell made a third attempt to flee, Montoya shot at the minivan.
The mother and one of her sons were later arrested.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/6/2013 21:34:21 PM
(NEW YORK) -- NBA: Charlotte Bobcats 105 (9-11) - Philadelphia 76ers 88 (7-13)
Atlanta Hawks 108 (11-10) - Cleveland Cavaliers 89 (6-13)
Milwaukee Bucks 109 (4-15) - Washington Wizards 105 (9-10) OT
New York Knicks 121 (5-13) - Orlando Magic 83 (6-13)
Boston Celtics 106 (9-12) - Denver Nuggets 98 (11-8)
Houston Rockets 105 (14-7) - Golden State Warriors 83 (11-9)
Oklahoma City Thunder 109 (14-4) - New Orleans Pelicans 95 (9-10)
Phoenix Suns 106 (11-9) - Toronto Raptors 97 (6-12)
Portland Trail Blazers 130 (17-3) - Utah Jazz 98 (4-17)
Los Angeles Lakers 106 (10-9) - Sacramento Kings 100 (4-13)
NHL: Columbus Blue Jackets 4 (12-14-3, 27 pts) - Minnesota Wild 0 (17-9-5, 35 pts)
Detroit Red Wings 3 (15-8-7, 37 pts) - New Jersey Devils 1 (11-13-6, 28 pts)
Carolina Hurricanes 5 (13-12-5, 31 pts) - San Jose Sharks 3 (19-5-5, 43 pts)
Anaheim Ducks 3 (19-7-5, 43 pts) - Chicago Blackhawks 2 (20-6-5, 45 pts) SO
Colorado Avalanche 3 (20-7-0, 40 pts) - Calgary Flames 2 (10-14-4, 24 pts)
Vancouver Canucks 3 (16-10-5, 37 pts) - Phoenix Coyotes 2 (16-8-5, 37 pts) OT
NCAAF: Bowling Green 47 (10-3) - (14) Northern illinois 27 (12-1)
NCAAB: (20) Baylor 67 (8-1) - (3) Kentucky 62 (7-2)
(9) Oklahoma State 79 (8-1) - South Carolina 52 (2-3)
12) Connecticut 95 (9-0) - Maine 68 (1-7)
NCAAW: (5) Kentucky 133 (9-0) - (9) Baylor 130 (7-1) 4OT
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/6/2013 20:56:00 PM
(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama showed off his moves as he got into the holiday spirit Friday evening, grooving alongside a dancing elf at the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse.
After wishing the soaking wet crowd a merry Christmas and greeting the performers during the ceremony’s big finale, the president tried to keep up with a little girl who was a dancer in Mariah Carey’s troupe.
“This show is always a great way to get in the holiday spirit. Every year, I rehearse my own little act, just in case. But it seems like, yet again, they couldn’t find space to squeeze me into the program,” the president joked earlier in his remarks. “You are lucky I’m not singing.”
With the help of the first lady, daughters Malia and Sasha, and first grandmother Marian Robinson, the president officially lit the national Christmas tree, a massive 31-foot-tall Colorado Blue Spruce.
“For 91 years, the national Christmas tree has stood as a beacon of light and a promise during the holiday season. During times of peace and prosperity, challenge and change, Americans have gathered around our national tree to kick off the holiday season and give thanks for everything that makes this time of year so magical — spending time with friends and family, and spreading tidings of peace and goodwill here at home and around the world,” he said, as the rain poured down.
The president briefly mentioned the legacy of Nelson Mandela, noting “this year, we give a special measure of gratitude for … a man who championed that generosity of spirit. In his life, he blessed us with tremendous grace and unbelievable courage. And we are all privileged to live in a world touched by his goodness.”
The first lady also got in on the holiday fun, reading a spirited rendition of Twas The Night Before Christmas with the Muppets’ Abby Cadabby. The ceremony was filled with star power and included performances from Aretha Franklin, Janelle Monáe, Arturo Sandoval and Carey, among others.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/6/2013 20:27:49 PM
(NEW YORK) -- For residents affected by a storm that stretched about 2,000 miles across the U.S. — from New Mexico to Maine — it was Ice Friday, a dangerous combination of subzero temperatures, sleet and freezing rain and sheets of black ice over roadways.
Nine states were under winter storm warnings and advisories earlier Friday. Roads in Illinois became ice rinks with blowing snow. More than a dozen airports across seven states had to be shut down and at least six people were killed due to the storm, according to authorities.
In northern Arkansas, a man was killed Friday when an ice-laden tree fell on his home. In Little Rock, Ark., a bystander captured video of a bus driver momentarily losing control on a slick road. Families found themselves stuck either at home or in their cars on the roads.
“You know it’s bad when they close the medical school here,” Alan Diekman said.
Justin Roberts, who wore no gloves or boots as he scraped the ice off his car with an old license plate, said this kind of weather shouldn’t be occurring in the South.
“They did warn us,” he said of local forecasters. “But when it hits, it hits, and no one really knows what to expect.”
In Texas, the weight of the ice and snow brought by a seven-hour storm in the Dallas area caused the roof of a marina to collapse. Officials also had to cancel the Dallas Marathon. Downed power lines caused by snapped branches left more than 200,000 homes without power.
Utility crews from other states called in before the storm hit worked overtime to remove the tree limbs and repair the lines.
And while the temperatures won’t be rising above freezing anytime soon, the worst of the storm seemed to be moving north and east.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/6/2013 19:23:16 PM
(WASHINGTON) -- Former President Bill Clinton counts Nelson Mandela as a “true friend” during the six years of their concurrent presidencies and after.
Reflecting on Mandela’s life and presidency, Clinton told ABC News that Mandela disciplined himself to keep his anger toward the people who jailed him for 27 years private.
“He realized that if he brought his personal feelings into it, he couldn’t do what was right by the people that he had gone to prison for 27 years for,” Clinton told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an interview on World News with Diane Sawyer. “He realized it wouldn’t work.”
“And he also realized that he personally and his country could never be free without forgiveness,” Clinton added.
That doesn’t mean he had no lingering feelings toward his jailers and the regime that enforced the brutal system of apartheid.
Clinton said that Mandela would on occasion reveal “flashes of anger” about the hard labor and his mistreatment in prison to his friends, but rarely would it come to the surface.
“He once told me that he lived on hatred when he went into prison because he was young and he was being abused and he was out there cracking those rocks all day and he said after about 11 years he realized that they’d already taken about everything they could take from him except his mind and his heart,” Clinton said.
“He said I realized that those are things you have to give away and I decided not to give them away.”
Mandela is known for having invited his jailers to his inauguration, a symbolic gesture that helped start the process of healing in South Africa. But he also urged reconciliation in the way he governed.
“[A]s a politician and a president, more important was the fact that he put the leaders of the parties who had imprisoned him in his cabinet,” Clinton said. “He left the structure of the government intact as long as people were willing to work with him to achieve the objectives of the country.”
Since leaving office, Clinton has traveled to South Africa nearly every year, often working with Mandela on AIDS programs, and spending time with Mandela around his birthday.
The two presidents shared a close bond during their presidencies, Clinton revealed. He would talk to Mandela late at night–when it was a reasonable hour in South Africa–to confer on policy and to draw personally on Mandela’s wisdom.
“He was always trying to help me deal with the challenges and always reminding me that it wasn’t just all those years he spent in prison where what went on in your mind and heart was the most important thing,” Clinton said. “Sort of a precondition for being able to do any good for anybody else.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/6/2013 19:15:05 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Robinson Cano isn't the only player bolting his pinstripes for a new uniform. Former Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson signed a four-year deal with the New York Mets for $60 million, according to ESPN.
Talks escalated quickly between the two sides after they met for the first time on Sunday.
The 32-year-old Granderson will provide much-needed power to a Mets lineup that ranked 11th in the National League in home runs.
Granderson hit 84 combined home runs in 2011 and 2012 for the Yankees, but a slew of injuries limited him to just 245 plate appearances in 2013. He suffered a broken forearm during spring training and a pinkie injury during the regular season.
The deal is contingent upon Granderson passing a physical. He is expected to play left field for the Mets.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/6/2013 18:12:00 PM
(DENVER) -- A Colorado judge ruled Friday that a local bakery unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple after the shopowner refused to sell them a wedding cake.
Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo. denied service to David Mullins and Charlie Craig last year when they sought to order a cake for their wedding reception. Colorado state law prohibits businesses from refusing service based on race, sex, marital status or sexual orientation.
Judge Robert N. Spencer of the Colorado Office of Administrative Courts ruled Friday that the cakeshop was in violation of the law.
When Mullins and Craig visited the business in 2012, the shop's owner, Jack Phillips, informed the couple that the store policy was to deny service to customers who wished to order baked goods for a same-sex wedding, based on his religious beliefs.
The couple planned to marry in Massachusetts and celebrate with family and friends in Colorado.
"Being denied service by Masterpiece Cakeshop was offensive and dehumanizing especially in the midst of arranging what should be a joyful family celebration," Mullins said in statement. "No one should fear being turned away from a public business because of who they are. We are grateful to have the support of our community and our state, and we hope that today's decision will help ensure that no one else will experience this kind of discrimination again in Colorado."
After the incident, Mullins and Craig filed complaints with the Colorado Civil Rights Division, which ruled that Phillips illegally discriminated against the couple.
The shopowner admitted to turning away other same-sex couples as a matter of policy, but the CCRD's decision showed evidence that he expressed a willingness to take a cake order for the "marriage" of two dogs, but not for two women.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/6/2013 17:57:13 PM
(NEW YORK) -- If you're looking to eat healthier, it may only cost you an extra $1.50 a day.
New research comparing costs of common foods that were categorized as healthier and less healthy shows a difference adding up to about $550 a year.
Researchers analyzed 27 existing studies from 10 high-income countries that included price data for individual foods. Healthier diet patterns, such as those rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts cost significantly more than unhealthy diets, like processed foods and meats, but on average, a day's worth cost $1.50 more.
The cost may be an issue for lower-income households, according to Harvard School of Public Health Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, but the health care savings make up for it.
"Diabetes costs about $100 billion a year," Mozaffarian said. "Cardiovascular disease costs about $600 billion dollars per year. That $700 billion per year is far more than all of these budget arguments that the Republicans and Democrats are fighting over."
Policies need to be implemented to help those with lower incomes, Mozaffarian explained.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/6/2013 17:32:17 PM
(NEW YORK) -- Markets enjoyed the good jobs news Friday.
After five losing days, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 16,020.20, up 198.69, or 1.26 percent.
The Nasdaq Composite finished up 29.36 points at 4,062. The S&P 500 added 20.06 to close the session at 1,805.10.
Friday’s move may have happened because investors finally realize that the Federal Reserve won’t abruptly end stimulus, hence the use of the word “taper” to describe what the Fed will do next. The Fed is expected to tone down its efforts, but will still be pumping a whole lot of money into the economy for many months yet.
Good jobs news also sparks hope that the American economy is chugging along again, and may soon be able to survive without the Fed’s training wheels.
Copyright 2013 ABC News RadioPublished: 12/6/2013 16:49:55 PM