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MUSIC NEWS

Shawn Mendes gets new tattoo suggested by a fan

ABC/Lou RoccoSure, any artist can take a request for a song — but how many will take a request for a tattoo?

As E! Online reports, last week, a fan posted a photo of Shawn with a butterfly tattoo edited onto his arm.   Shawn saw the tweet and replied, “Wait this is awesome, can u DM the drawing??”

The fan then shared screenshots of Shawn messaging her, asking her how she managed to put the tattoo on his arm. He requested the artwork as well, which she sent him, along with the name of the artist who’d created the butterfly drawing she’d used for the photo.

Then on Friday during his show in Kansas City, Shawn said he might get the tattoo within a week.  By Sunday, he’d posted a photo on his Instagram Story of his tattoo artist inking the artwork onto his arm. 

The deliriously happy fan then posted a photo of Shawn with his new tattoo.

“Who would’ve thought that me messing around and editing a tattoo onto him would turn into a reality??? no words,” she wrote.

The artist who designed the butterfly drawing is pretty happy as well. The fan posted a screenshot of a conversation in which he wrote, “Are you the girl who edited the photo with my design? Thank you very much seriously!”

Despite the new tat, Shawn still seems to have a lot of room left on his arms…so send in your requests.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Zara Larsson announces new US fall tour dates

ABC/Lorenzo BevilaquaZara Larsson is making her way back to the States for a new string of headlining shows this fall.

The Swedish singer will return for the second leg of her “Don’t Worry About Me” tour, kicking off September 17 in Seattle. Zara will play nine shows, concluding in Atlanta on October 3. Check ZaraLarssonOfficial.com for ticket details.

In the meantime, Zara will continue her opening stint for Ed Sheeran at international stadiums through August.

Her new single, “All the Time,” is out now.

Here’s a list of her fall tour dates:

9/17 — Seattle, WA, Neptune Theatre
9/18 — Portland, OR, Wonder Ballroom    
9/20 — Salt Lake City, UT, The Depot
9/24 — Englewood, CO, Gothic Theatre
9/26 — Dallas, TX, House of Blues – Dallas
9/28 — Houston, TX, White Oak Music Hall
9/30 — Tampa, FL, Ritz Ybor
10/1 — Lake Buena Vista, FL, House of Blues – Orlando
10/3 — Atlanta, GA, Buckhead Theatre

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Ed Sheeran & Justin Bieber top “Billboard’s” Pop Songs chart with rare feat

Courtesy Ed Sheeran’s Instagram @teddysphotosEd Sheeran‘s new album No. 6 Collaborations Project is #1 on the Billboard album chart, and now he’s got another chart-topper to add to his collection.

Ed and Justin’s duet “I Don’t Care,” the first single from the album, has hit #1 on Billboard‘s Pop Songs chart, which measures radio airplay.

“I Don’t Care” is Ed’s fourth #1 on this chart, following “Thinking Out Loud,” “Shape of You” and “Perfect.”  It’s Justin’s sixth, following “What Do You Mean?,” “Sorry,” “Love Yourself,” his collabo with Major Lazer on “Cold Water” — co-written by Ed, incidentally —  and, of course, “Despacito,” with Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee.

But according to Billboard, “I Don’t Care” has made some history: It’s the first duet credited solely to two male solo artists to ever top the Pop Songs chart, which has been around since 1992.

As Billboard notes, on that particular chart, there have been a couple of number ones credited to three male artists: “Despacito,” 2003’s “Shake Ya Tailfeather,” by Nelly, P. Diddy and Murphy Lee; and 1994’s “All For Love,” featuring Sting, Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart.  

There’s also been a number one credited to two guys and a girl: “Eastside,” featuring Benny Blanco, Khalid and Halsey.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

Arsenio Hall officially closes deal to reprise his role as Semi in ‘Coming 2 America’

Photo by Erika Goldring/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) — Prince Akeem will officially have his right-hand man beside him in the upcoming sequel Coming 2 America.

According to Deadline, Arsenio Hall has closed his deal to reprise his role as Semi in Coming 2 America. The actor was rumored to be starring in the project alongside Eddie Murphy and was recently pictured with Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter on set just a few months ago.

The original 1988 film Coming to America starred Murphy as Akeem Joffer, crown prince of the fictional African nation of Zamunda. In an effort to find a wife, Akeem, along with his trusty assistant Semi, played by Hall, decides to travel to Queens, NY.

In the sequel, Akeem learns about a long-lost son and must return to America to meet the “unlikely heir to the throne of Zamunda.”

In addition to Murphy and Hall, most of the original film’s cast, including Shari Headley and James Earl Jones, is expected to return. However, as of now, only Murphy, Hall and Jermaine Fowler have officially signed on.

As previously noted, black-ish creator Kenya Barris is rewriting a script from original Coming to America writers Barry Blaustein and David Sheffield.

Hustle & Flow director Craig Brewer has signed on to direct the project, which Murphy’s also producing. The two recently worked together on the Netflix comedy Dolemite Is My Name, which follows the story of real-life comedian Rudy Ray Moore.

Coming 2 America is set to hit theaters August 7, 2020.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

“King of the World” James Cameron bows down to “Box-Office King” Avengers: Endgame

Marvel Studios(LOS ANGELES) — Over the weekend, Avengers: Endgame finally de-throned Avatar as the highest-grossing movie of all time, and in a post on Twitter, James Cameron officially passed the crown.

According to Box Office Mojo, James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi epic’s final tally stands at almost $2.8 billion; this weekend, at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige announced Endgame had surpassed Avatar by a narrow margin.

Cameron posted a picture that shows Iron Man surrounded by floating sprites from Avatar’s alien planet, Pandora. The picture features — in the language of his blue-skinned alien heroes the Na’vi — a greeting that translates to “I see you, Marvel.”

In English, the picture also features the legend: “Congratulations to Avengers: Endgame on becoming the new box-office king.”

In response, Endgame‘s directors Joe and Anthony Russo took to Instagram to thank Cameron. They posted a shot from his first hit, 1984’s Terminator, along with their silhouettes, as if they were in their movie seats, saying in tandem, “Holy sh**!” They said of Cameron, “[Y]ou’re a monumental reason why we fell in love with film in the first place. Thank you for always inspiring us and opening the world’s eyes to what’s possible.” They continued, “We can’t wait to see where you take us next…” perhaps referring to the *four* Avatar sequels on which Cameron is working.

Back in May, Cameron congratulated Marvel Studios when Endgame sailed past Cameron’s Oscar-winning film Titanic, which at the time was the second-highest grossing film of all time. With $2.1 billion in the bank, it’s now number three.

Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Stunt player’s injury brings ‘Fast & Furious 9’ to a halt

Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images(LONDON) — One of the stunt performers on the London set of the ninth Fast and Furious film has been injured, and production on the film has been halted as a result.

In a statement to ABC News, Universal Pictures confirmed an accident had occurred at the famed Leavesden Studios, noting the production stoppage for the day would help the filmmakers “to focus on this situation.”

Starring Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel and John Cena, Fast & Furious 9 is currently scheduled to be released on May 22, 2020.

Meanwhile, the Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw, starring Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, will arrive in theaters August 2.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

SPORTS NEWS

Trump sidesteps convos about race with critics, meets with retired NFL player to discuss ‘black America’

Courtesy Jack Brewer(NEW YORK) — After a week of backlash for his comments about four minority Congresswomen that many called “racist,” as well as chants targeting one of those congresswomen at his rally, President Donald Trump privately met with former NFL player and conservative commentator Jack Brewer at his Bedminster Golf Course to talk about “black America,” Brewer told ABC News.

Trump has been criticized by both the left and right for tweeting that the four Democratic congresswomen — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley — should “go back” to where they came from, and then for standing by silently while a North Carolina crowd chanted “send her back” about Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Instead of addressing the painful history the words “go back” have played in the minority community, the president has acted in other ways that appear to be attempts to address feelings of alienation.

President Trump made the unusual move of intervening in the case of black rapper A$AP Rocky, who is currently being detained in Sweden for an alleged assault. After telling reporters that Rocky “has tremendous support from the African American community,” Trump held a 20 minute phone call with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven on Saturday asking him for leniency.

Trump also met with Brewer, a Trump supporter who is a frequent commentator on FOX News and writes columns for conservative website Newsmax. Brewer’s most recent article was titled “4 Ways Trump has done More For African Americans than Barack Obama.”

“My goal is to help calm this wave,” Brewer told ABC News in a phone interview about the tensions between the black community and Trump. “It’s all about emotion.”

Brewer said he and the president did not specifically speak about the latest controversy regarding the four congresswomen and the rally chant, saying that his agenda was criminal justice reform and how it’s impacting the African American community.

“I came to talk about what’s been done. Thousands of black families have their dads now,” said Brewer, referring to the announcement on Friday that 3,100 inmates were released from prison under the First Step Act.

“I was focused on discussing issues that are making a real impact for black families in America. Period.”

“It felt good hearing his passion,” Brewer added.

Brewer played professional football for the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and the Arizona Cardinals, and said he now works as a philanthropist.

A White House spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

On Sunday, civil rights icon Rep. Elijah Cummings called President Trump a “racist,” telling ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos “I believe he is — yes, no doubt it.”

Referring to the “send her back” chants about Rep. Omar, Cummings said, “when I hear those things, it takes me back.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tom Brady faces backlash for jumping off cliff with 6-year-old daughter

Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — New England Patriots star Tom Brady is soaking up family time this offseason, but he’s not immune from critics chiming in on his performance off the football field as a parent.

Over the weekend, Brady shared a video on Instagram from his vacation in Costa Rica, showing him leaping off a rock formation with his youngest daughter.

The father of three had been on the edge of the small cliff and waterfall above a natural pool where other people were seen swimming below. He joined hands with his daughter Vivian, 6, asked, “Are you ready?” counted to three, yelled “go” and the pair jumped into the water.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson replied to the video, “You KNOW I have complete faith in you as a man, friend, player and father – but this just gave me anxiety. Geeezus,” he wrote, followed by the crying laughing and clapping emojis.

Rapper Sean Combs, aka Diddy, also commented with the crying laughing emoji.

Other social media followers were quick to add their thoughts in the comments, shocked at what they perceived as “irresponsible” behavior.

“Not the smartest move,” one commenter said. “She could have been hurt. Next time wait to make sure she’s jumping too.”

Another user took to Twitter and called on the NFL to look into his actions as punishable.

The six-time Super Bowl champ previously jumped off a higher cliff in 2015, after which he tweeted, “Never doing that again!”

It is unclear how high the rock face was or where in Costa Rica this weekend’s jump took place.

Brady has not commented further.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Report: Barcelona set to open talks on extending Messi’s contract

Quality Sport Images/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Barcelona is reportedly seeking to keep its star player, Lionel Messi, in Spain past his currrent contract.

Sources tell ESPN the soccer club is set to open discussions with the 32-year-old forward on extending his contract until 2023. Messi’s current deal with Barça ends in 2021.

According to ESPN, negotiations on Messi’s contract extension will be held between Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu and Jorge Messi, Lionel Messi’s father and agent.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

NATIONAL NEWS

Man who shot mob boss Francesco ‘Franky Boy’ Cali believed in QAnon, thought he had Trump’s ‘full support’: Court docs

Evgen_Prozhyrko/iStock(NEW YORK) — The man who is accused of fatally shooting a New York City mob boss in a brazen crime that shocked observers and the law enforcement community allegedly thought he had the protection of President Trump and was trying to arrest him as part of a battle against the “Deep State,” new court documents claim.

Anthony Comello is charged with the murder of Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali, the reputed head of the infamous Gambino crime family.

Authorities initially feared a possible mob war in the wake of Cali’s shooting death in March, but later Comello, who has no known mob ties, was identified as the suspect. He has entered a not guilty plea to murder and weapons possession charges.

In new court documents submitted Friday, Comello’s defense attorney details how his client — who he is arguing suffers from mental defect — allegedly was a believer in the “conspiratorial fringe right-wing political group” QAnon.

QAnon has found its way out of the recesses of the internet with references on Alex Jones’ “InfoWars” and from celebrities like Roseanne Barr. Trump supporters were also spotted wearing “Q” T-shirts at rallies in June 2018. Then-press secretary Sarah Sanders said the “president condemns and denounces any group that would incite violence against another individual” in response to a question about QAnon.

Comello’s family “began to notice changes in his personality” following the presidential election in 2016, noting that he took an interest in politics, which was “something he had not previously been involved in,” the court document states.

Comello allegedly “became increasingly vocal about his support for QAnon,'” about a month-and-a-half before Cali’s murder, the documents state.

“But Mr. Comello’s support for QAnon went beyond mere participation in a radical political organization, it evolved into a delusional obsession,” the legal memorandum states.

According to the memo, QAnon follows the “postings of an individual (or group of individuals) who write using the pseudonym ‘Q’.” Devotees believe that there are people working in the so-called “Deep State” who are trying to ruin America and President Donald Trump and his supporters are battling against them.

“As part of his delusion, the defendant believed that he had been given secret knowledge about the Deep State, and that Q was communicating directly with him so that the defendant could play a grand role in the conflict to save the American way of life. Because of his self-perceived status in QAnon, Mr. Comello became certain that he was enjoying the protection of President Trump himself, and that he had the president’s full support,” the court document states.

His attorney’s document notes how Comello tried to make citizen’s arrests of three prominent politicians, all of whom are Democrats and vocal critics of Trump — New York City mayor Bill de Blasio, and Representatives Maxine Waters and Adam Schiff. All three of those citizen’s arrests, in February 2019 or shortly after, were unsuccessful.

In the de Blasio case, the mayor’s security detail thwarted him and in the case with the members of Congress, U.S. Marshals did not help him, which Comello allegedly believed they would. His lawyer said Comello believed de Blasio was guilty of “election fraud” and the two members of Congress were “guilty of breaking the law.”

Comello allegedly intended to perform another attempted citizen’s arrest when he went to confront Cali as well, but the incident escalated, according to the court document.

“In addition to politicians and celebrities, Mr. Comello concluded that the Deep State also includes individuals associated with organized crime. He ardently believed that Francesco Cali, a boss in the Gambino Crime Family, was a prominent member of the Deep State, and, accordingly, an appropriate target for a citizen’s arrest,” the memorandum states.

The documents detail how Comello drove to Cali’s Staten Island home on March 13 and “struck” the mob boss’s car which was parked outside of the residence.

The noise apparently prompted Cali to leave the house and speak to Comello about the damage to the car.

“While the two men were standing near their respective vehicles, Mr. Comello informed Mr. Cali of his true intention to effect a citizen’s arrest, and ordered Mr. Cali to submit to detention,” the document states, adding that Comello “brought handcuffs with him, and planned to restrain Mr. Cali and bring him to the appropriate authorities to answer for the criminal actions which Mr. Comello believed he had taken part in.”

“After a heated exchange, Mr. Cali made a furtive action with his hand and Mr. Comello became afraid for his life. He reached into his vehicle, withdrew his gun, and shot Mr. Cali in self-defense,” the document states.

Comello’s defense attorney has already submitted a notice of intent to show evidence of mental disease or defect, the documents state.

“Had Mr. Comello simply intended to lure Mr. Cali out of his house and murder him, there would have been no need to bring any elements of restraint,” the document states. “The presence of these handcuffs demonstrates that Mr. Comello was actually planning to effect a citizen’s arrest on Mr. Cali, rather than shoot him.”

A judge denied Comello’s attorney’s request for bail in May.

The documents were filed in connection to a request for specific pieces of evidence to be submitted as discovery, and the next court appearance is slated for Aug. 13.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Ole Miss student, 21, mysteriously found dead with foul play suspected: Sheriff

vmargineanu/iStock(HARMONTOWN, Miss.) — Authorities are investigating the mysterious death of a 21-year-old Ole Miss student whose body was discovered over the weekend.

Deputies were on a routine patrol Saturday around 10:30 a.m. when they found the body of Alexandria “Ally” Kostial in Harmontown, Miss., about 30 miles from Ole Miss, according to the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s officials have not released her cause of death, but said “it is apparent that foul play was involved.”

“We are not releasing many of the details [as] this is an active investigation,” sheriff’s officials said in a statement Monday.

Investigators are “following several leads,” the sheriff’s department added.

Kostial was from St. Louis, Mo., and was studying marketing at the University of Mississippi’s School of Business Administration, according to the sheriff’s office and the university.

“We are truly saddened by the death of Alexandria Kostial,” University of Mississippi Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks said in a statement. “Ally was a valued member of our campus community. We extend our deepest sympathy to her family, friends, and classmates, and stand ready to support them during this time.”

Before attending Ole Miss, Kostial graduated in 2016 from Lindbergh High School in St. Louis, according to the school district.

“Our hearts are broken for the Kostials, and we extend our deepest sympathies to her entire family during this time,” Lindbergh Schools spokeswoman Beth Johnston told ABC News via email.

Authorities ask anyone with information to call the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department at 662-234-6421 or Crime Stoppers at 662-234-8477.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Scientists discover new species of tiny shark that glows in the dark in the Gulf of Mexico

Michael Doosey/Tulane University(NEW ORLEANS) — Scientists have discovered a new species of tiny shark that glows in the dark in the Gulf of Mexico.

Researchers first happened upon what is now known as Mollisquama mississippiensis, or the American Pocket Shark, in 2010 while observing the feeding of sperm whales in the gulf, according to a new Tulane University study published in the animal taxonomy journal Zootaxa.

The shark was collected, and Mark Grace of the National Marine Fisheries Service Mississippi Laboratories of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration noticed its special features while examining the collected specimens for a NOAA survey in 2013, according to a statement from Tulane University.

The newly discovered shark, which measures in at just 5.5 inches, releases a bioluminescent fluid to attract prey, according to the study. It is a subspecies of the kitefin shark.

The only other known specimen of its kind was captured in the eastern Pacific Ocean in 1979 and is housed at the Zoological Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. However, both are “separate species, each from separate oceans,” said Grace said.

“The fact that only one pocket shark has ever been reported from the Gulf of Mexico, and that it is a new species, underscores how little we know about the gulf,” said Henry Bart, director of the Tulane Biodiversity Research Institute.

Both species are “exceedingly rare,” Grace said. Notable differences include fewer vertebrae in the shark and numerous light-producing photophores that cover much of the body in Gulf shark, but both have two small pockets that produce luminous fluid, one on each side of its gills.

Other glow-in-the-dark sharks previously discovered include the Scyliorhinus rotifer, a chain catshark, and the swell shark, which has a “twinkling” pattern, according to Live Science.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

WORLD NEWS

Man involved in street fight with ASAP Rocky won’t face charges, Swedish prosecutor says

Visionhaus/Corbis via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — As A$AP Rocky awaits his fate in a Swedish detention center, the Swedish prosecutor’s office announced on Monday that one of the two men involved in a June 30 street fight with the rapper and his companions will not face charges.

The decision comes as a response to a “counter-investigation” or complaint filed by the American rapper’s bodyguard against one of the two men.

The bodyguard, whose name has not been disclosed by prosecutors, was present during the fight but was not detained.

“The person who filed the counter-complaint repeatedly asks the other person to leave. When he refuses to leave, the other person first pushes him away and then takes a grip around the other persons neck and lifts him away a few meters. In this situation, the person throws his headphones on the notifier, and tries to hand out battles, which may be considered as self-defense,” senior public prosecutor Daniel Suneson said in a statement.

Swedish prosecutors declined to provide the names of the two men involved in the fight with the rapper and his friends. A request for comment sent to the bodyguard’s Swedish attorney Frida Wallin was not immediately returned.

The interaction that the prosecutor appears to be referencing can be seen in one of two videos posted on A$AP Rocky’s Instagram page on July 2 that appear to be shot before the fight broke out.

The videos appear to show A$AP Rocky and his three companions — his bodyguard and performers David Rispers and Bladimir Corniel — being followed by two other men, with one of the men swinging his headphones at the rapper’s bodyguard.

“Just for the cameras, we don’t want no problems with these boys,” A$AP Rocky can be heard saying in one of the videos, which runs nearly three minutes. In the video, the rapper and his friends can be heard repeatedly asking the men to stop following them.

 “We don’t know these guys and we didn’t want trouble,” he wrote in the caption beneath the posted video. “They followed us for four blocks.”

Following news of the rapper’s arrest, the gossip website TMZ published a one-minute video on July 1 that appears to show A$AP Rocky and his companions kicking and punching the two men other men, but what preceded that brief video clip remains unclear.

The hip-hop star has now been detained for more than three weeks without any charges, along with Corniel and Rispers.

A$AP Rocky is expected to learn if he will face charges in a hearing scheduled for July 25 after a prosecutor requested more time on Thursday. His representatives are not expected to comment on the case until after the hearing.

The rapper’s case has sparked outrage in the hip-hop community and Hollywood and even got the attention of President Donald Trump, who said on Friday that he was asked by “many” people, including first lady Melania Trump and hip-hop star Kanye West, to help the rapper.

Trump tweeted on Saturday that he spoke with Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven about the case and he “assured me that American citizen A$AP Rocky will be treated fairly.”

A$AP Rocky — whose given name is Rakim Mayers — is part of the hip-hop collective A$AP Mob, and was in Sweden as part of the European leg of his tour. He is “suspected of aggravated assault,” according to the prosecutor’s office.

But the rapper’s Swedish attorney, Sloban Jovicic, told ABC News on Friday that he and his companions were acting in self-defense.

“You have to also see this from his point of view, he came to Sweden to perform for his fans and he was attacked, followed and harassed,” Jovicic said. “My client begged and pleaded with these attackers to stop and he acted in self-defense. And now he is the one in jail. That’s unjust.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Trump says he could win war in Afghanistan but doesn’t want to ‘kill 10 million people’

Golden_Brown/iStock(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump claimed on Monday he could win the war in Afghanistan in a week, but doesn’t want to “kill 10 million people.”

“I have plans on Afghanistan that if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth. It would be gone. It would be over in — literally in ten days. And I don’t want to do — I don’t want to go that route,” Trump said.

The president met with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan for a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office and working lunch at the White House during which Afghanistan was top of the agenda.

 “I think Pakistan is going to help us out, to extricate ourselves. We’re like police but we’re not trying to go where we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan,” Trump said.

The president said he could use aggressive military action in Afghanistan, but said he doesn’t want to pursue that route because ongoing negotiations with the Taliban are going well.

“We could do a number of the likes of which they’ve never seen before,” Trump said. “I don’t want to do that because you’re talking about millions of people, and I don’t want to do that.”

Khan said there is no military solution, but added, “this is the closest we’ve been to a peace deal in Afghanistan.”

The support of Pakistan is critical for the Trump administration to end military involvement in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history, and the United States plans to encourage Pakistan to “deepen and sustain” its recent crackdown against militants and terrorists in the region, according to a senior administration official. Last year, Trump cut funding to Islamabad and tweeted, “they would take our money and do nothing for us,” pointing his finger specifically at what he has said was Pakistan lack of help in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

 Still, the president said funding for Pakistan could come back depending on how talks go.

Perhaps a signal that Pakistan was willing to get tough on militants ahead of the prime minister visit to the White House, Pakistani officials seized Hafiz Saeed, a U.S. wanted terror suspect with connections to the 2008 Mumbai bombing that killed over 160 people.

Khan also said he will be making news on the release of unidentified hostages soon. Pakistan has not yet released Shakil Afridi, a doctor who reportedly helped track down Osama bin Laden.

Trump also offered to be a mediator in the ongoing conflict between India and Pakistan in Kashmir.

“I’ve heard so much about Kashmir, such a beautiful name. It’s supposed to be such a beautiful part of the world but right now there’s just bombs all over the place,” Trump said.

“If I can do anything to help that, let me know.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Iran says it has arrested 17 spies working for CIA, some could face death penalty

omersukrugoksu/iStock(TEHRAN, Iran) — Iranian intelligence authorities said Monday they had arrested 17 spies hired by the U.S. government’s Central Intelligence Agency.

All 17 alleged spies were Iranian nationals, the director of the counter-espionage of the Islamic Republic intelligence ministry said at a press conference. The name of the director was not disclosed.

Those arrested worked as staff at sensitive centers in the country, including “economic, nuclear, infrastructural, military and cyber fields or their counterpart private sector,” according to the Iranian intelligence press release.

Some of the spies who declined to cooperate with the Islamic Republic intelligence after their arrest have been sent to the judiciary and their cases are being processed. Their sentences will be either execution or a long imprisonment, the intelligence director said.

However, those spies who decided to “honestly cooperate” with the Islamic Republic’s intelligence organization were used to work “against Americans,” Iran said.

President Donald Trump dismissed the allegations as “totally false” and “lies and propaganda.”

 The president later addressed the controversy in the Oval Office.

“I read a report today about CIA,” Trump told reporters before a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. “That’s totally a false story. That’s another lie. They put out propaganda, they put out lies.”

Trump also said Iran’s behavior was making it more difficult for him to “make a deal with Iran” and that, at this point, he’d be “OK either way it goes” with Iran.

“If they want to make a deal, it’s—frankly it’s getting harder for me to want to make a deal with Iran because they behave very badly,” Trump said. “They’re saying bad things. And I’ll tell you, it could go either way – very easily. Very easily. And I’m okay either way it goes.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox Business prior to Trump’s comments: “I would urge everyone who’s reading that story waking up to understand that the Iranian regime has a long history of lying. … I would take with a significant grain of salt any Iranian assertion about any actions that they’ve taken.”

The assigned mission of the arrested spies was allegedly “collecting classified information” or acting in “technical operations,” the counter-espionage director said.

He added all of the spies were arrested before they managed to accomplish their mission.

According to the Iranian intelligence director, defendants serving their sentences have mentioned “tempting” promises by the CIA, including U.S. visas and residency, a proper job in America or even the promise of medical aid abroad for themselves or loved ones suffering from illnesses.

The arrests come against the backdrop of heightened tensions with Iran, including the seizure of foreign tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, the downing of unmanned drones by both sides and the country’s increased attempts to develop nuclear weapons.

The intelligence ministry director later clarified to ABC News that the new arrests are different from the former case of dismantling a CIA spy ring in 2011.

“That case is now closed and the new arrests are for the mission conducted in 2017-2018,” the director said. More than a dozen spies working for the CIA had been arrested in that mission.

Iran also said it has provided its “allied countries” with intelligence clues of the current case including “CIA officers’ information, clues and intelligence techniques used by the network” in order to create “another global failure” for the CIA.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Magic104.9’s Top Tracks

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Panic! At The Disco-“High Hopes”
  2. Marshmello feat. Bastille-“Happier”
  3. Halsey-“Without Me”
  4. Dean Lewis-“Be Alright”
  5. Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B-“Girls Like You”

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