After backlash, Trump defends Syria moves as he both praises and threatens Turkey

WORLD NEWS After backlash, Trump defends Syria moves as he both praises and threatens Turkey

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump on Tuesday defended himself against the accusation he has abandoned Kurdish fighters in Syria as Turkey prepares for an invasion — using a series of tweets to lavish praise both on the Kurds and Turkey.

Trump tweeted that, while the United States “may be in the process of leaving Syria … in no way have we Abandoned the Kurds, who are special people and wonderful fighters.”

The president has faced harsh criticism from across the political spectrum — including from usually staunch Republican allies in the Senate — for the White House’s announcing Sunday night that the United States would stand aside while Turkey proceeded with an operation in northern Syria.

Trump and the Pentagon on Monday tried to clean up that statement — which made no mention of the Kurds, who have been fighting ISIS alongside the United States — by praising the Kurds and clarifying the United States did not endorse a Turkish operation. Trump threatened to “totally destroy and obliterate” Turkey’s economy if the country “does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits.”

On Tuesday, Trump attempted to keep that delicate balance between supporting Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States, and the Syrian Kurdish fighters, whom Turkey considers terrorists.

While he reissued a threat to Turkey — saying that “any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency” — he also noted the United States has had a “very good” relationship with Turkey and that he had invited its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to the White House next month.

Trump also noted Turkey had been a “big trading partner of the United States” and had freed an American pastor imprisoned there. While he noted Turkey participates in the F-35 fighter jet program, the United States actually announced this year it would be kicking Turkey out of that program for purchasing a Russian missile defense system.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 08 Oct 2019

Why Selena Gomez decided to become a producer on Netflix’s ‘Living Undocumented’

Entertainment News  Why Selena Gomez decided to become a producer on Netflix's 'Living Undocumented'


Netflix(LOS ANGELES) — As a producer on the new Netflix docu-series Living Undocumented, Selena Gomez has been able to raise awareness of the immigration crisis in the U.S., as well as open up about her own family’s immigration journey.

But how did her producing credit come about? The series’ director and executive producer, Aaron Saidman, tells ABC Audio he had a feeling the issue was close to Selena’s heart and knew her star power could help spread the word, so he sent her some early footage of the series. He says Selena was “moved to tears” by what she saw, and decided to come on board.

“She wanted to say something on the issue and I feel like many of her fans wanted to hear from her on the issue and felt that through this series she could begin to make some of those statements and bring awareness to it,” Saidman says.

As for the extent of her involvement, Saidman says Selena watched cuts of the series and gave her input. But perhaps most importantly, she used her platform to bring attention to the project.

“Trying to get the word out and having someone with her reach help you do that is a real difference-maker,” Saidman says. “And we’re indebted to her because of it.”

In a video posted to YouTube Friday, Selena was able to meet with three of the series’ undocumented teens and share an update on what life has been like for them since filming completed.

“Really just sitting around a table, just the four of them, I think was a sort of deeply emotional and moving experience for her, and you can see it on camera,” Saidman says. 

The six-part Living Undocumented series, following eight undocumented families as they face potential deportation, is streaming on Netflix now.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved

Posted On 08 Oct 2019

‘It wasn’t planned’: Twin brothers welcome baby boys hours apart

_jure/iStock(WOODBURY, Minn.) — In an exciting coincidence, a set of twin brothers from Minnesota recently became dads on the same day.

Ashley and Pat Young’s son Jack arrived at Woodwinds Hospital on Sept. 19 at 6:01 p.m.

Hours later, Jack’s cousin Cooper Young, son of Felicia and Paul Young, was born at 11:49 p.m. The infants’ fathers, Paul and Pat, are twins.

The happy coincidence surprised the babies’ parents, especially since their fathers were born 2 minutes apart — Pat Young is the older twin.

“When Pat texted and said, ‘We’re headed to the hospital,’ Paul said, ‘We’re already here,'” Felicia Young told “Good Morning America.”

“My doctor was [saying] a c-section was likely going to be needed. I was really hoping to avoid that,” Felicia Young added. “We started pushing around 9. As we were getting to the end of it, everybody was looking up at the clock.”

The Young families said despite what people think, they never planned for the boys to be born on the same day.

“Ashley and I had been trying to have kids for a year and it wasn’t happening. We didn’t even know they were trying,” Pat Young told “GMA.”

Ashley Young hopes Jack and Cooper grow up to be friends, she said.

“Now they’ll get to share birthday parties,” she said. “I think the kids will find it cool growing up, probably at least until they’re teenagers.”

Paul Young said he’s thrilled about Jack and Cooper sharing birthdays, especially since he and his brother are so close.

“It’s funny how fitting it is, especially since it wasn’t planned,” he said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

NBA commissioner weighs in on China, Hong Kong controversy

Sports News NBA commissioner weighs in on China, Hong Kong controversy

Scott Evans / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) — NBA commissioner Adam Silver has voiced his support for Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, whose pro-Hong Kong tweet set off a firestorm of debate.

At a press conference in Japan Tuesday, Silver said the NBA will protect its employees’ freedom of speech.

“The long-held values of the NBA are to support freedom of expression and certainly freedom of expression by members of the NBA community,” the commissioner said.

Overnight, Silver also released a statement:

I recognize our initial statement left people angered, confused or unclear on who we are or what the NBA stands for. Let me be more clear.

Over the last three decades, the NBA has developed a great affinity for the people of China.  We have seen how basketball can be an important form of people-to-people exchange that deepens ties between the United States and China.

At the same time, we recognize that our two countries have different political systems and beliefs.  And like many global brands, we bring our business to places with different political systems around the world.

But for those who question our motivation, this is about far more than growing our business.

Values of equality, respect and freedom of expression have long defined the NBA — and will continue to do so.  As an American-based basketball league operating globally, among our greatest contributions are these values of the game.

In fact, one of the enduring strengths of the NBA is our diversity — of views, backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and religions.  Twenty-five percent of NBA players were born outside of the United States and our colleagues work in league offices around the world, including in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei.

With that diversity comes the belief that whatever our differences, we respect and value each other; and, what we have in common, including a belief in the power of sports to make a difference, remains our bedrock principle.

It is inevitable that people around the world — including from America and China — will have different viewpoints over different issues.  It is not the role of the NBA to adjudicate those differences.

However, the NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues.  We simply could not operate that way.

Basketball runs deep in the hearts and minds of our two peoples.  At a time when divides between nations grow deeper and wider, we believe sports can be a unifying force that focuses on what we have in common as human beings rather than our differences.

The backlash began when Morey tweeted an image that read “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong” last week, supporting pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong. Morey deleted the tweet but it prompted Chinese state television and internet giant Tencent — who inked a five-year, $1.5 billion deal in August to stream NBA games in China — to announce they will not show Rockets games.

Furthermore, former Rockets star Yao Ming announced that the Chinese Basketball Association, which he is president of, is suspending its relationship with the Rockets.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 08 Oct 2019

High school football player’s 1-handed catch goes viral

Sports News High school football player's 1-handed catch goes viral

33ft/iStock(ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.) — This high school football player just pulled off a pro move that would make Odell Beckham Jr. jealous.

Craig Richardson Jr. from North East High School in St. Petersburg, Florida, pulled off an impressive outstretched one-handed catch during a home game against Dundein on Friday.

His older brother Keith Harrington, who currently plays college football for Washington State University, filmed the play and shared the video on Twitter with the caption, “I swear my lil brother might be the best player in high school football.”

Since he posted it, the video has been viewed over 31,000 times and retweeted by athletic film site Hudl and House of Highlights.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 08 Oct 2019

‘Toy Story 4’ now out on Blu-ray and DVD

Entertainment News  'Toy Story 4' now out on Blu-ray and DVD


Disney/Pixar(NEW YORK) — One of the biggest hits of 2019, Toy Story 4, is now out on Blu-ray, DVD, and HD DVD.

The latest chapter in the the 24-year Toy Story franchise finds Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear — voiced once again by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, respectively — and the rest of their playroom pals on a desperate rescue mission to find their new friend Forky, voiced by Veep Emmy winner Tony Hale. He’s a new toy made out of a spork, a pipe cleaner, Popsicle sticks and a pair of googly eyes brought to life by Bonnie, the little girl introduced in Toy Story 3.

Hale tells ABC Audio that Forky is having an existential crisis in the film. “One…Bonnie called him a Forky, and he’s like: ‘Nope, I’m a spork, so let’s just…acknowledge that. And then Woody’s like, ‘You’re a toy,’ and he’s like, ‘Nope. Not a toy. I’m made to help people eat chili and then the trash. That’s my route.'”

The the Blu release is packed with an hour of supplemental material, including an alternate ending, and a look back at the legacy of the Toy Story franchise.

For Hale, working with Pixar was a career highlight. “I have such respect for these artists and these animators because as voice actors — very grateful to do it, loved doing it — but we’re a really small piece of the pie. Most of the pie, if not the majority of the pie, is all the artists, all the artistry that went into it. I mean it is — it feels like magic on the screen…” 

The movie, which also stars the voices of Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key and Keanu Reeves, was released by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 08 Oct 2019

Is Simone Biles’ new beam dismount too risky for others?

Sports News Is Simone Biles’ new beam dismount too risky for others?

ABC News(NEW YORK) — It was no surprise when Simone Biles landed two new historic gymnastics moves at the 2019 Gymnastics World Championship in Stuttgart, Germany, both of which are set to be named after her.

Biles, who already has two other skills named after her on the vault and floor apparatus, will now add two more to the list: the double-double dismount on the balance beam and triple-double on floor.

“Both elements are set to be named after her in the FIG Code of Points following official review,” the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) said in a press release.

The historic triple-double on floor, which is a double salto backward tucked with 3/1 twist, and the double-double dismount, a double salto backwards tucks with 2/1 twist, are both unprecedented in the sport.

But before competition even began, controversy ensued when FIG announced that Biles’ beam dismount would be valued as an “H,” when it had been widely expected that a skill of such difficulty would be valued higher, as an “I” or a “J.”

In gymnastics each skill corresponds to a letter which has a numerical value. For example an “A” is worth a tenth of a point. Each letter thereafter is worth an additional tenth. Had Biles’ beam dismount been awarded a “J,” that skill would have been valued as a full point.

When questioned why FIG decided to give the dismount what was considered to be a lower value, the federation released a statement, essentially calling the skill a safety risk for other gymnasts to try.

“In assigning values to the new elements, the WTC takes into consideration many different aspects; the risk, the safety of the gymnasts and the technical direction of the discipline,” the statement read.

“There is added risk in landing of double saltos for Beam dismounts (with/without twists), including a potential landing on the neck. Reinforcing, there are many examples in the Code where decisions have been made to protect the gymnasts and preserve the direction of the discipline,” the statement continued. “The WTC’s task is to ensure the safety of all athletes around the world and decisions are not based purely on one gymnast.”

The backlash from Biles’ camp after FIG’s value was announced was swift, with Biles tweeting out that the ruling was “bulls–t.” Her coach, Cecile Landi, tweeted the decision was “#totalbs.”

“If it were [a gymnast from] another country trying it, it would definitely be a J. But because it’s me, it’s so unfair, because, am I in a league of my own? Yes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t credit me for what I’m doing,” Biles said in an interview with NBC Sports. “They keep asking us to do more difficulty and to give more artistry, give more harder skills. So we do, and then they don’t credit it, and I don’t think that’s fair. They keep asking for more, we give them more and they don’t credit it. So what’s the point of even asking? If you’re going to give it an H, nobody’s going to try it. But if you give it a J, not saying people will try it more, but at least it makes sense to try it because it’s something to shoot for.”

USA Gymnastics, the sport’s governing body, also released a statement on Biles’ dismount, saying, “USA Gymnastics respectfully disagrees with the value assigned to the balance beam dismount.”

Regardless of the value of the dismount, Biles is consistently beating out every other gymnast in the world by points, not tenths.

Team USA competes in the team finals on Tuesday and individual all-around finals — where Biles is a massive favorite — are on Thursday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 08 Oct 2019

Scoreboard roundup — 10/7/19

Sports News Scoreboard roundup -- 10/7/19

iStock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Monday’s sports events:


Tampa Bay 10, Houston 3
NY Yankees 5, Minnesota 1

St. Louis 5, Atlanta 4 — 10 Innings
Washington 6, LA Dodgers 1

San Francisco 31, Cleveland 3

Columbus 4, Buffalo 3
St. Louis 3, Toronto 2

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 08 Oct 2019

Nobel Prize for Physics awarded to three scientists for work on evolution of the universe

WORLD NEWS Nobel Prize for Physics awarded to three scientists for work on evolution of the universe

mik38/iStock(NEW YORK) — Three scientists have won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on understanding “Earth’s place in the cosmos” and the evolution of the universe.

One half of the award was given to James Peebles “for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology.”

The other half was awarded jointly to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz “for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.”

The three men will share a 9-million kronor ($918,000) award, a gold medal and a diploma which the laureates will receive at a ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 08 Oct 2019