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Garth Brooks supports March for Our Lives protesters with new song

Garth Brooks played a never-before-released song on his Facebook series, “Inside Studio G,” this week in support of Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez and the upcoming “March for Our Lives” protest happening across the country this Saturday, March 24.

>> Read more trending news 

In the final segment of his March 19 Facebook show, Garth read excerpts from Emma’s letter explaining the purpose behind the march to end gun violence.

She writes, “This isn’t a political rally. It’s literally a march for our lives. Please help us amplify our voices by using yours. Be part of this moment in time. I believe the young people in this country can change the world, and wouldn’t that be something?”

>> Related: Tim McGraw takes another bold step in the gun control debate

Garth was moved by her statement and said, “OK, Miss Emma. It’s not yours to change, it’s yours. You understand that? You’re the future. Our children are our future. Your parents are fine with this. Trust me. All parents are. So, this is your world. Take it. Shape it. Mold it.”

>> Related: Brothers Osborne talk about their emotional Grammy tribute performance

Garth also gave Emma and the rest of the marchers some advice on how to deal with those who oppose their efforts.

“Just remember when you march, you have a voice, and you’re representing yourself when you march,” Garth said. “So, how you march is so important. Be patient. Be loving, because there might be some cross voices that enter in this march. Be tolerant. Be loving. Do not let hate win.”

Garth also told Emma that she wasn’t just marching for herself and her friends who were lost in the Stoneman Douglas school shooting last month in Parkland, Florida. She’s also marching for the generations to come.

Garth explains, “Try to remember this — in the blink of an eye, you’re walking for your children that you haven’t had yet. Because this is something new. Your generation is the generation for the school shootings. Let’s make sure the next generation is not. Fair enough?”

After that, Garth performed a song he’s never released that fit in perfectly with his message for Emma and her fellow marchers. Garth got visibly emotional as he sang the lyrics about working for positive change for future generations.

Check it out starting at just before the 25 minute mark in the Facebook video above.

'Melrose Place' actress faces 2nd re-sentencing for crash

A former "Melrose Place" actress whose three-year prison term for a fatal 2010 auto crash sparked outrage from the victim's family and prompted legal appeals must return to court for a second re-sentencing.

A New Jersey appeals court ordered the new sentencing Friday for Amy Locane, writing that the trial judge's re-imposing of the same sentence last year didn't adhere to an earlier appellate ruling and didn't take into account the severity of the crime.

"The trial judge's legal analysis was not significantly different the second time he sentenced defendant than it was on the first," the three-judge panel wrote. They ordered the re-sentencing to take place before a different judge.

James Wronko, an attorney for Locane, said Friday he was preparing an appeal to file with the state Supreme Court. Wronko said Locane "clearly acknowledges her role in this case and is extremely remorseful for what occurred."

Locane, who acted in 13 episodes of the popular Fox series and also appeared in several movies, served about two-and-a-half years of a three-year sentence for the 2010 accident in Montgomery Township that killed 60-year-old Helene Seeman and seriously injured Seeman's husband, Fred. She was released in 2015.

Locane was convicted of vehicular manslaughter, assault by auto and other offenses and faced a sentencing range of five to 10 years on the most serious count.

Prosecutors had sought a seven-year sentence.

Locane's defense contended the crash was an accident and that a third motorist, whose car the actress had bumped into at a traffic light in the minutes before the accident, distracted her by honking at her and chasing her after being rear-ended.

Though the indictment charging Locane didn't mention intoxication, a state expert testified her blood-alcohol level was likely about three times the legal limit and that she was driving roughly 53 mph in a 35 mph zone at the time of the crash.

After the initial 2013 sentencing, the appeals court in 2016 ordered a re-sentencing and instructed state Superior Court Judge Robert Reed to offer additional justification for his decision to downgrade one of the charges and impose concurrent rather than consecutive sentences.

In Friday's opinion, the appeals court noted that while the jury convicted Locane of the lesser offense of second-degree vehicular manslaughter — prosecutors had sought aggravated manslaughter, a first-degree crime — Reed then downgraded that to a third-degree offense and imposed the lightest sentence available in that range.

"We fail to see on this record where the interest of justice demands a downgrade," the appeals court wrote. "Accordingly, we vacate the downgrade."

Wronko defended Reed's actions and said the judge was intimately familiar with the case and his imposed sentence accordingly.

"He's not known as a liberal defense judge," Wronko said. "He thought in his own evaluation that the appropriate sentence was three years in state prison."

Wronko said Locane could have to return to prison if a new judge upgrades the third-degree conviction to a second-degree conviction. A second-degree conviction carries a five-to-10-year prison sentence.

New witnesses detail sexual misconduct by Tavis Smiley

PBS says more witnesses have detailed sexual misconduct allegations against talk-show host Tavis Smiley, who was suspended in December and later fired.

In papers filed in Washington, D.C., Superior Court in response to a breach-of-contract lawsuit by Smiley, PBS said the witnesses spoke to an independent investigator and corroborated initial accounts that Smiley had established a pattern of sexual relationships with subordinates.

The filing Tuesday also said he subjected subordinates to unwanted sexual advances — including requests for specific sex acts — and made lewd jokes.

"Over a dozen individuals reported that they were either subjected to or witnessed unwelcome, inappropriate sexual comments or conduct or otherwise inappropriate behavior by Mr. Smiley or were informed of the misconduct contemporaneously," the court filing said.

Smiley and his representatives stuck by their denials.

"More lies, half- truths and smears from PBS from an 'investigation' that never should have happened, with a result that was decided well before the inquiry was even begun," they said Friday in an emailed statement to The Associated Press.

The network said it also found further evidence that Smiley created an abusive and threatening workplace, often belittling and cursing subordinates.

Many of the witnesses were women of color, the documents say, pushing back against comments from Smiley, who is black, that racial bias was involved in his firing.

At the time of his suspension, Smiley acknowledged having had a sexual relationship with a colleague but said he had done nothing to deserve the "public humiliation and personal destruction" he was undergoing.

Smiley's lawsuit, which seeks "multiple millions" in damages, also alleged that the PBS investigation was shoddy and poorly executed, and his dismissal was hasty.

PBS, in the answer and counterclaim, says those assertions in televised interviews after his suspension constituted a breach of contract by Smiley, who had agreed not to cast aspersions on his employer.

"PBS acted at all times justifiably, in good faith, and with reasonable care and diligence," the filing said.

The network is seeking $1.9 million in returned salary from Smiley.

Smiley's dismissal came amid a wave of reports of sexual misconduct in the workplace by powerful figures in movies, media and politics that began with allegations against Harvey Weinstein in October and also led to the departure of Smiley's fellow PBS talk-show host Charlie Rose.

PBS aired the show "Tavis Smiley" from 2004 until 2017.

Within weeks after his departure, he announced the beginning of "The Upside with Tavis Smiley," a new show featuring inspirational stories that is streamed online and shown on The Word Network, a religious-oriented cable and satellite channel directed at black viewers.


Follow Andrew Dalton on Twitter at .

Legendary rocker Bruce Springsteen extends successful Broadway run through December

Legendary rocker Bruce Springsteen is doing so well on Broadway, he’s staying for the rest of the year.

>> Read more trending news 

The veteran musician’s mega-successful one-man show, “Springsteen on Broadway,” has already been extended twice. Now, The Boss has decided to add 81 more shows between July 10 and Dec. 15 for a third and final extension.

Tickets for the new dates at the Walter Kerr Theatre will go on sale at 11 a.m. March 28 through Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan program. Only fans who previously registered and have not purchased tickets will be eligible to receive an invitation to the onsale. Those who are eligible will receive additional information on March 26.

A digital lottery will continue to operate through the extension of the show for those interested in purchasing tickets after the March 28 onsale. For details, visit

>> Related: Who was Harry Houdini? 10 facts about the amazing mastermind and magician 

“Springsteen on Broadway” opened Oct. 12, 2017. By the end of his run in December, Springsteen will have played 236 performances.

Glen Campbell’s widow opens up about the family feud over his estate

The widow of country music legend Glen Campbell is telling her side of the story in the legal battle over her late husband’s estate. Kim Campbell also addresses allegations that she barred his children from seeing him.

>> Read more trending news 

Campbell is breaking her silence on the legal battle currently playing out in court over her late husband’s reported $50 million fortune. Several of the country crooner’s older children have claimed their step-mother barred them from seeing their father when he was in an Alzheimer’s care facility in Nashville. She’s denying the allegations.

“I never ever denied them a visit — ever,” Campbell told “Inside Edition.” “They never, ever called me to see how he was doing or if they could help.”

>> Related: Controversy continues in the fight over Glen Campbell’s will

Three of the musician’s older children, including his eldest son, Travis, have filed a lawsuit seeking what they claim is their piece of the family fortune. They were left out of their father’s will, and Kim Campbell says she had nothing to do with that decision.

“That was all done in 2002, and that was a choice that was made by Glen — not me — and there were reasons for it,” she said.

Campbell also claimed Travis Campbell did not visit his father in the 20 years before the superstar’s death in 2017. She said the allegations against her by the children have been difficult.

“It has been very painful and hurtful. It’s a nightmare to have people on the internet threatening to kill you because they think you are this horrible person who wouldn’t let people visit, which is totally false,” she said.

>> Related: Country legend Glen Campbell to release final album, 'Adios'

Campbell is also speaking out about her husband’s former girlfriend, country star Tanya Tucker, who released a song about him titled “Forever Loving You,” following Campbell’s death last year.

“This Tanya Tucker, who dated my husband for a hot minute 35 years ago, going on TV the day after my husband dies, [promoting] ‘Forever Loving You,’ [and] exploiting my husband,” the angry widow said.

The proceeds from that song benefit Alzheimer’s disease research, and Tucker maintained her motives were pure in writing and releasing the song.

>> Related: Country singer Glen Campbell dead at 81

A statement from Tucker’s press rep reads, “Tanya has nothing but love in her heart for the entire Campbell family. Tanya released ‘Forever Loving You’ last year in tribute to Glen and to raise awareness for all those suffering with this heartbreaking disease.”

>> Related: Who was Harry Houdini? 10 facts about the amazing mastermind and magician

Meanwhile, Kim Campbell is moving forward with her advocacy work for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. She has teamed up with the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation and ride service Lyft to help provide transportation for people with the disease who are participating in clinical trials.

It’s devastating to lose someone to this disease. It’s heartbreaking, but I want to bring something positive out of it,” she said.

Who was Harry Houdini? 10 facts about the amazing mastermind and magician

He’s the godfather of escapism and illusion, a magical mastermind whose tricks dazzle to this day. But how much do you know about the man in the handcuffs?

>> Read more trending news 

Here are 10 fun facts about the genius known as Harry Houdini.

Houdini was born Erik Weisz on Mar. 24, 1874, in Budapest, Austria-Hungary. His family immigrated to the United States in July 1878, settled in Wisconsin, and changed the spelling of their last name to Weiss. Young Houdini’s first named changed as well, from Erik to Ehrich.

The Weiss family eventually moved to New York City, where 9-year-old Ehrich took a job as a trapeze artist. He launched his professional magic career in 1891 and changed his name once again. “Harry” is a derivative of his childhood nickname, Ehrie, while “Houdini” is an homage to one of his idols, French magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin.

In 1893, he married Wilhelmina “Bess” Rahner, who would become his stage assistant.

Houdini got his big break in 1899, when he impressed manager Martin Beck with his ability to break out of handcuffs. Beck booked the Houdinis on the vaudeville circuit. They eventually took their escape show to Europe, where Houdini challenged local police in several countries to keep him restrained with shackles and locked in jail.

>> Related: 5 facts about the charming Charlie Chaplin

Beginning in 1907, Houdini’s American productions got bigger and more dangerous. They included escaping from a locked milk can filled with water; releasing himself from a straitjacket while dangling by his feet from a rope above a city street; and the famous Chinese Water Torture Cell, which forced Houdini to hold his breath for more than three minutes while getting out of a glass and steel cabinet overflowing with water, all while suspended upside down.

One 1915 trick nearly killed Houdini. He was buried alive in a dirt pit, then started to panic as he desperately clawed his way out. No one could hear his cries for help. His hand eventually broke free, and he was pulled to safety — and passed out once he was back on the ground.

It was not magic that ultimately brought down Houdini, but a ruptured appendix. He died of peritonitis in a Detroit hospital on Oct. 31, 1926, at age 52.

>> Related: 5 fun facts about iconic musician Little Richard

Magic wasn’t Houdini’s only talent. He founded his own film company, The Film Development Corporation, and starred in several productions. He was also an accomplished aviator who made one of the first aerial flights in Australia. He even taught American soldiers how to escape sinking ships and get out of ropes or handcuffs in case they were captured by the enemy during World War I.

15th defense lawyer in Suge Knight's murder case leaves

Marion "Suge" Knight lost another defense lawyer — his 15th — on Friday and the three-year wait for his murder trial to start will grow even longer.

Judge Ronald S. Coen released attorney Dominique Banos, citing a conflict of interest.

Banos said outside court that she had told the judge she believes she is a target in the witness-tampering investigation that led to the indictment and removal of two of Knight's lawyers. She denied any wrongdoing and said she regretted leaving a case she felt was winnable.

The moment Coen finished announcing the dismissal, Knight launched into an animated, minutes-long monologue denouncing prosecutors and jail officials, saying their investigations and the limitations put on his visitors and phone calls have forced him to blow through attorneys and settle for bad ones.

"All this stuff's a way-out, crazy situation," said Knight, 52, as he sat in court in an orange jail jumpsuit and chains. "I should be able to spend my money the way I want it."

"These attorneys," Knight went on, getting angrier, "nobody in the world would use these attorneys for a jaywalking ticket!"

Coen, who has warned Knight to let his attorneys do the talking in court, finally intervened and said, "You need to take a deep breath, Mr. Knight."

The judge appointed a 16th attorney, Robert DeBlanc, who Knight reluctantly accepted on an interim basis. Knight said he has already privately hired yet another lawyer, without giving his name.

The Death Row Records co-founder has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder for running over two men outside a Compton burger stand in 2015.

Banos was also released as Knight's attorney in a hearing that immediately followed on an unrelated robbery case where he has also struggled to keep attorneys.

"This must feel like deja vu," said Judge Craig Richman.

"It does," Knight said with a laugh. "It does."


Follow Andrew Dalton on Twitter at .

Jann Wenner says MeToo suffers from absence of due process

Jann Wenner feels the #MeToo movement shows a "real absence of due process."

In an interview with The Associated Press, the Rolling Stone publisher said he feels that mere accusations of sexual impropriety are threatening careers, many times without corroboration, with people losing their jobs over "some of the most harmless (expletive) things."

"Honestly, I do believe it's a bit of a witch hunt," Wenner said in a recent interview at his office in New York. "It's difficult to get due process because there's no real place to adjudicate it except in court, which takes forever."

The 72-year old Wenner speaks from experience, after a former Rolling Stone employee came forward last year, claiming the media mogul sexually assaulted him in 1983. Wenner doesn't deny something happened between him and his accuser.

"There's some truth to it, but it does not fit any illegal, immoral, or unethical, or go in any way that direction," Wenner said.

"All you can say is no, not me too, and wait," he added.

He also sees violent sexual assault happening on college campuses as being a bigger problem.

"This is student-to-student rape. It's different than being harassed on the job or having your butt pinched or whatever you're complaining about. This is a physical violence," Wenner said.

Wenner made the comments while promoting the recent documentary by award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, "Rolling Stone: Stories From the Edge." The four-hour, six-part documentary —which aired last year on HBO — makes its way to iTunes and other online services March 27. It showcases the magazine's 50-year history, and its remarkable news coverage, including the 1972 presidential election covered by Hunter S. Thompson and the Michael Hastings article that took down Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

It also highlights a dark time for the publication, the 2014 story of a gang rape at the University of Virginia, which the magazine had to retract because of "discrepancies" in the alleged victim's account. The magazine settled at least one suit over the story for $1.65 million.

Wenner considers that time one of the most regrettable moments in Rolling Stone's history, but "nothing I feel guilty about.

"Looking back, there's a few mistakes — had we not made a few mistakes, it would have turned out differently," he said. "In terms of regrettable things that have happened to us after 50 years, we finally had our turn with our feet on the fire. If you're in this business, sooner or later you're gonna make mistakes — that mistake happens."

Wenner's life has been in the news over the past year with the sexual misconduct allegation, and "Sticky Fingers," the salacious biography by Joe Hagan.

Yet, Wenner says he's unaffected by it all, especially now that the tables have turned, making him the focus of the story.

"I'm in the business of journalism myself, and I'm not really ashamed of anything I've ever did, so it doesn't matter to me if you tell some stories of my sex life. It's just that it's not well done, it's out of context, and it overwhelms the real story, which is what great work we did, what fun we had, instead of saying I had sex with somebody that nobody has ever heard of before, will ever hear of again. It doesn't affect anything," he said.


Will Smith performs ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ theme with Jimmy Fallon

Will Smith joined Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” Thursday to sing a medley of theme songs.

Among the songs were the themes to “Golden Girls,” “The Jeffersons,” “Good Times,” “Martin,” “Full House,” “Three’s Company” and, of course, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

>> Read more trending news 

Rolling Stone reported that the skit was a spin-off of Fallon’s “History of Rap” series, which features Fallon and Justin Timberlake.

This isn’t Smith’s first musical collaboration with Fallon. In 2015, the two performed Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s “It Takes Two” with an iPad app. They danced together in “The Evolution of Hip-Hop Dancing,” which included the Carlton dance. In 2012, the pair did a 1920s radio skit.

Watch Smith and Fallon perform “History of TV Theme Songs” in the video below. The “Fresh Prince” theme starts at the 2:40 mark.

Prince Harry, Meghan tour N. Ireland; wedding china on sale

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made a surprise visit to Northern Ireland on Friday as part of their pre-wedding tour of the United Kingdom.

The trip was not announced ahead of time in keeping with security procedures used for royal travel to Northern Ireland.

Kensington Palace officials said the couple would meet with young people and other members of the public and would also tour some of Belfast's most popular sites.

They had lunch at the popular Crown Liquor Saloon, a landmark in central Belfast.

As they toured Northern Ireland, approved commemorative china marking the couple's May 19 wedding went on sale Friday.

The collection uses cornflower blue with white detailing and a gold monogram of the bride and groom's initials.

The design also references the couple's wedding venue at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. The decorative border is based on the ironwork of the 13th century chapel door.

The china is finished in 22 carat gold. It was made by hand in Stoke-on-Trent, 160 miles (260 kilometers) northwest of London, using traditional methods.

Profits will go to the Royal Collection Trust charity.


Complete AP coverage of the royal wedding:

Chris Evans may not return as Captain America

The actor who plays Captain America may be ready to hang up his shield.

Chris Evans tells The New York Times he has no plans to return to the Marvel movie franchise after reshoots of the fourth "Avengers" movie later this year. Evans says "you want to get off the train before they push you off."

The movie has yet to be titled and is expected to be released in 2019.

Evans has played the role since "Captain America: The First Avenger" in 2011.

The actor is making his Broadway debut as a police officer in "Lobby Hero," which is scheduled to open March 26.

Actor Fred Savage denies assaulting former crew member of 'The Grinder'

Actor Fred Savage is being sued for assault and battery by a former crew member of the Fox show “The Grinder,” The Los Angeles Times reported.

>> Read more trending news

Youngjoo Hwang filed the suit Wednesday, and 20th Century Fox is also a defendant. She alleges that Savage used aggressive behavior and intimidation tactics toward female employees, the Times reported.

Hwang, who worked in the costume department for the 2015 series, alleged that Savage was hostile toward her during her time on the job, adding that the former star of “The Wonder Years” struck her on the arm three times, the Times reported.

Savage denied the accusations in a statement he released Wednesday. 

“After concluding a thorough investigation, Fox determined that there was absolutely no evidence to support these accusations,” Savage said. “None of her claims could be substantiated because they did not happen.”

“Ms. Hwang alleges that not only did she report Mr. Savage’s conduct to her superiors on the set of ‘The Grinder,’ but other female crew members similarly lodged complaints and reported Mr. Savage’s conduct,” said Hwang’s attorney, Anahita Sedaghatfar.

“Fox takes all allegations of improper conduct very seriously,” the network said in a statement. “We conducted a thorough investigation into these allegations and found no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Mr. Savage. We will vigorously defend against these unfounded claims.”

NYC firefighter dies battling blaze on Harlem movie set

A New York City firefighter died early Friday battling a fierce blaze on a movie set after getting separated from his fellow firefighters in the thick smoke.

The fire started in the cellar of a former jazz club as the crew of "Motherless Brooklyn," directed by Edward Norton, was nearing the end of its working day at 11 p.m. Thursday. Flames poured out the windows as firefighters stormed into the five-story Harlem building, dumping water on the blaze to get it under control.

Firefighter Michael R. Davidson of Engine Co. 69 was assigned to the nozzle on the lead hose-line and pushed into the burning basement.

But the blaze was too much. Firefighters had to back out, and the 15-year Fire Department veteran was separated from his colleagues. Firefighters searched desperately for him, and he was found unconscious after suffering severe smoke inhalation, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. Davidson was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after midnight.

"Our city lost a hero," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet before visiting the fire scene Friday evening. The Democrat called Davidson's death "a heartbreaking tragedy for the entire city."

Davidson, a second-generation firefighter, had been cited four times for bravery during 15 years on the job.

The building was being used to film the adaptation of the Jonathan Lethem novel of the same name. Norton was directing and starring, along with Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe and Alec Baldwin.

Neighborhood resident Daquan Evans, 28, told the New York Post he saw Norton at the scene.

"He looked pretty upset," Evans said. "This is crazy, this fire. You think a movie comes up here and it is good for the neighborhood. Not a fire . . . damn."

The cause of the five-alarm fire was under investigation. The building, built in 1920, is a landmark and was home to the former St. Nick's Jazz Pub, a venerable bar that was closed in 2011.

Neighbor Joan Adams said she saw white smoke, then black, billowing from basement windows in the front of the building. But when she went into her backyard, two buildings away, she could see flames.

"It was really scary," she said.

The movie's producers said crews immediately called the fire department when they noticed smoke coming into the set and other parts of the building.

"We watched firsthand with astonishment as they charged into the smoke to make sure all were safely out and then fought to contain the blaze and prevent it from spreading, putting their lives on the line as they do every day," the producers said in a statement sending condolences to the firefighter's family.

Background actor Ambroise Ironfence said the movie crew wasn't using any open fire during the shoot and the building's power wasn't on.

"All the equipment we were using ... the power came from the truck outside," he told WCBS-TV.

The movie crew didn't need a city film production permit to work at the building because it was a private residence. The filmmakers did need a street parking permit and had one, officials said.

The building owner's phone number wasn't accepting messages Friday; nor was the phone for a lawyer who has represented him in real-estate cases. An email message to the owner failed.

Neighbors said the movie crew had set up a sign that read "King Rooster Jazz Club" and began filming about two weeks ago. Cars from the 1950s era lined the street.

Douglas Miller, who lives across the street in a second-floor apartment, said the fire traveled fast and went all the way to the roof. He saw firefighters carry out one of their own, on a stretcher, and try to resuscitate him and give him oxygen.

"They tried to save him, but they couldn't," Miller said, and soon the firefighter was being rushed to a hospital.

Later Friday, Davidson's body was taken to a suburban funeral home in a procession of fire trucks, getting somber salutes from firefighters stationed along the route.

Davidson, 37, was the son and brother of New York City firefighters. His father is now retired.

"You haven't heard a scream until you've heard the scream of a mother who's seen her son give his life to protect us," tweeted the mayor's spokesman, Eric Phillips.

Davidson leaves behind a wife, Eileen, and four children under 8. Neighbors described him as a salt-of-the-earth guy, a great friend, father and husband.

"He was a great guy — he went up and down and did everybody's sidewalk in the snow. He was playing with the kids in the snow yesterday," said Joanne Caldon.

Two other firefighters suffered burns and were in serious condition, and three others were injured, Nigro said.


This story has been corrected to show the last name of Mayor Bill de Blasio's spokesman is Phillips, not Philips.

US Postal Service unveils Mister Rogers postage stamp

It was a beautiful day to honor Mister Rogers with a postage stamp.

The U.S. Postal Service on Friday released a stamp featuring Fred Rogers, the gentle TV host who entertained and educated generations of preschoolers on "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

The stamp pictures Rogers in his trademark cardigan along with King Friday, a puppet character from the show's Neighborhood of Make-Believe sketch.

A dedication ceremony was held at the Pittsburgh studio where Rogers filmed his beloved PBS show, which aired between 1968 and 2001. Rogers died in 2003 at age 74.

Among those attending were Rogers' widow, Joanne, and David Newell, who played Mr. McFeely, the deliveryman on "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

Joanne Rogers said that when she first saw the stamp, it was "love at first sight."

"I thought it was so beautiful. I think it is so festive," she said.

Postmaster General Megan Brennan said at the unveiling that Mister Rogers "made the ups and downs of life easier to understand for the youngest members of our society."

"He shaped generations with his kindness and compassion," she said.

Noting the stamp has the words "Forever USA," Brennan said "these words of the Postal Service are our way of saying Mr. Rogers represents the best of America and will do so always."

Paul Siefken, president and CEO of the Fred Rogers Company, said he couldn't think of "a better tribute to Fred and his legacy."

He noted that Rogers loved sending letters, especially to young children who wrote to him about his show.

"Fred Rogers left an indelible mark on generations of young audiences through his groundbreaking series, and his timeless wisdom and important messages of inclusion and neighborliness remain just as relevant today as they were 50 years ago," Siefken said.

Rep: Lorna Luft has successful brain surgery for tumor

A representative for Lorna Luft says the singer has had successful brain surgery after being diagnosed with a tumor.

Victoria Varela told The Associated Press on Thursday that Luft had the surgery to remove the tumor on Tuesday at a hospital in Los Angeles and is expected to be released soon.

The daughter of Judy Garland and sister of Liza Minnelli collapsed earlier this month backstage after a concert and was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Varela says Luft thanks her fans for their support and also her doctors for taking good care of her. Luft says she plans to reschedule her concerts in England.

Luft also is in remission after fighting breast cancer.

Former Playboy model says Trump tried to pay her after sex

A former Playboy model apologized to first lady Melania Trump for a 10-month affair she claims she had with President Donald Trump that started with him offering her money after the first time they had sex.

During an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper that aired Thursday night, Karen McDougal said Trump tried to pay her after their first sexual tryst at a bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2006.

"Well, after we had been intimate, he, he tried to pay me. And I actually didn't know how to take that," she said. "But I looked at him and I said, 'That's not me. I'm not that kind of girl.'"

She cried on the way home and didn't think she would see him again, but agreed to go on other dates with him after he called her back, she said. McDougal repeatedly described Trump as "very charming" and "sweet."

McDougal said she continued the relationship with Trump for about 10 months and broke it off in April 2007 because she felt guilty. She recalled traveling to meet Trump at his properties in New York, New Jersey and California and said she had sex with him "many dozens of times."

McDougal had feelings for Trump, but the affair was "just tearing me apart," she said.

"There was a real relationship there. There were real feelings," she said. "He would call me baby or he would call me beautiful Karen."

Trump married his current wife, Melania Trump, in 2005, and their son, Barron, was born in 2006.

Speaking to CNN — which her attorney has said would be her only interview about the relationship — McDougal apologized when she was asked what she would say to Melania Trump.

"What can you say except, I'm sorry?" McDougal said. "I'm sorry. I wouldn't want it done to me."

McDougal said she never wanted to discuss her relationship and repeatedly rebuffed inquiries from reporters about the alleged affair. But after the story became public, she wanted to get out and tell her side of what happened, she said.

The White House has said Trump denies having an affair with McDougal and did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the interview Thursday night.

On Tuesday, she filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles against the company that owns the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer, which she said paid her $150,000 during the presidential campaign for the rights to her story of an affair, but never ran the story.

McDougal's lawsuit, which asks a judge to invalidate the contract, alleges that Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, was secretly involved in her discussions with the tabloid's parent company, American Media, Inc.

The company has said that McDougal has been allowed to speak about her relationship since 2016 and the contract gave them discretion over whether to publish the story.


This story has been corrected to reflect style on first lady.


Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report.

Communist Party will regulate China's media, film industry

Chinese state media will be getting more propaganda now that the Communist Party has announced it will be in direct control of broadcasters and the regulators of everything from movies and TV to books and radio programs.

The move is part of a push by President Xi Jinping — emboldened by the removal of term limits on his time in office — to tighten party supervision over broad swaths of Chinese public life as he pushes for what he calls "unity in thought" among officials and citizens.

Analysts say having direct oversight of the media will help the party hammer home its message domestically and also work to improve its image internationally.

"It's one vast effort to get everybody thinking together," said David Zweig, director of the Center on China's Transnational Relations at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Under the plan announced Wednesday, China Radio International, China National Radio and China Central Television, along with its international broadcast arm, China Global Television Network, will be merged into a new body with a name that translates to "Voice of China."

The government's regulator of the press and print publications, radio, film and television will cease to exist and its responsibilities and resources will be transferred to the party's Central Propaganda Department, along with control over the film industry, including the import and export of movies.

The new body's chief responsibilities include "implementing the party's propaganda guidelines and policies," the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The Communist Party newspaper Global Times quoted government expert Feng Yue of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences as saying the move will "concentrate the resources and authority to improve China's influence overseas and promote China's international image."

While Chinese media consumers have grown increasingly apolitical with an ever-expanding range of options, from foreign television shows to video games and online shopping, Xi has been steadily increasing the role of the party in the lives of many through new or newly invigorated branch committees in schools, offices and factories.

That could leave ordinary Chinese with "little choice" but to become active consumers of propaganda, Zweig said.

Writing on the website of the China Media Project at the University of Hong Kong, editor David Bandurski said the change gave the Propaganda Department — which formerly provided broad overall guidance of the media message — direct control over output.

"And that is largely the point that comes through here — the tighter, more centralized control of media and ideology," Bandurski said.

As its name suggests, the new media monolith appears modeled on outlets such as the U.S.'s Voice of America or Russia's Russia Today, now known simply as RT.

Xi has repeatedly stressed the role of state media as the party's "throat and tongue" — the equivalent of "mouthpiece" — especially since a 2016 visit to Xinhua and other major outlets during which he further reinforced the message by saying such outlets must "take the 'party' as their surname."

At the same time, China has faced opposition to its moves to consolidate territorial claims in the South China Sea and rapid economic expansion overseas, as embodied by Xi's signature trillion-dollar Belt and Road infrastructure initiative to tie China to Southeast Asia, Europe and Africa through roads, railways, ports and power plants.

China has spent vast sums to boost its overseas media presence in recent years, with CCTV opening broadcast centers in Washington and Nairobi, Kenya, and the English-language China Daily newspaper paying to have itself included as an insert in esteemed American papers such as the Washington Post.

Yet those efforts face an uphill battle in competing with well-established global media outlets such as CNN and the BBC, while much of the reporting on China smacks of party propaganda in contrast to reports about the country by foreign media outlets.

Cao Peixin, a professor at the Television School under Beijing's Communication University of China that has long trained much of the country's on-air talent, said the reorganization fits the trend toward greater efficiency and media convergence, but would also help present a more unified political message.

Integrating the various departments may not be easy, however, Cao said.

"If the system cannot be established in a modern, efficient and very flexible way, it will be very difficult for many organizations to work in step," he said.

Weather Channel sold to independent studio, distributor

The Weather Channel is under new ownership.

Entertainment Studios Inc., an independent movie and TV producer and distributor, said Thursday it's acquired the channel's parent company, Weather Group.

Byron Allen, founder and owner of Entertainment Studios, bought the Weather Group from the Blackstone Group, Bain Capital and Comcast-NBCUniversal, Entertainment Studios said.

"The Weather Channel is a phenomenal asset," Allen said in an interview. "It is the No. 1 weather news network in America. It's a network that's very important, that provides us information to protect our families and our lives."

The purchase price for the channel and Local Now, a news streaming service, reportedly was $300 million. Entertainment Studios declined to confirm the figure.

Bain, Blackstone and Comcast-NBCUniversal bought the Weather Channel Cos. from Landmark Communications in 2008 for a reported $3.5 billion. The new owners sold digital assets including the website for a reported $2 billion-plus to IBM in 2015.

Allen called the Weather Channel "an American treasure" that he intends to expand.

"We're just honored to be able to own and take it to the next level," he said. "They're already doing great, we're just going to invest more to position it for greater success" domestically and internationally.

Meteorologist Jim Cantore is among the familiar faces at the basic cable channel that's available in more than 80 million North American homes.

In a statement, Weather Channel CEO Dave Shull said Allen's ownership will benefit its viewers, distributors and advertisers.

Entertainment Studios owns seven TV channels, including and Justice, which are distributed online and by pay-TV providers.

It also owns, a website devoted to African-American stories and issues.

Allen said the purchase of the Weather Group was completed Thursday morning through his company Allen Media LLC.

Prosecutor: Decision in Prince case coming in "near future"

A prosecutor in Minnesota says he's reviewing law enforcement reports about Prince's death and will make a decision on possible charges "in the near future."

Carver County Attorney Mark Metz says in a statement that investigative data in the case remains active and isn't public information until a charging decision is made.

Authorities did release autopsy data to Prince's siblings after an agreement and a judge's order that calls for strict rules requiring confidentiality.

Attorneys for Prince's siblings asked for the information so they can pursue possible litigation. Metz says he plans to address the release of other investigative data the family wants at a hearing next week.

Prince was 57 when he died at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016, of an accidental fentanyl overdose.

Suit settled in death of Anton Yelchin, actor crushed by SUV

The parents of Anton Yelchin have reached a settlement with the makers of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the SUV that crushed and killed the "Star Trek" actor in his driveway in 2016.

The confidential settlement agreement between Victor and Irina Yelchin and Fiat Chrysler was filed this week in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Fiat Chrysler said in a statement Thursday that it is "pleased that we've reached an amicable resolution in this matter" and that the car company continues to "extend our deepest sympathies to the Yelchin family for their tragic loss."

Messages left for Yelchin family attorney Gary Dordick were not immediately returned.

The actor was killed at age 27 when his 2015 Cherokee rolled backward down a driveway of his Los Angeles home, pinning him between a mailbox and a security fence.

"Anton Yelchin was crushed and lingered alive for some time, trapped and suffocating until his death," the lawsuit stated.

The Cherokee model was among 1.1 million vehicles recalled about two months earlier when regulators said its gear shifters were confusing drivers, causing the SUVs to roll away unexpectedly and leading to dozens of injuries.

The wrongful death and product liability lawsuit alleged that those gear selectors were the cause of the actor's death.

"In spite of our unbelievable grief, we decided to come here to prevent other families from the same tragedy," Victor Yelchin said when the lawsuit was filed.

Anton Yelchin had dozens of film and television credits that included voices for the "Smurfs" movies and the Netflix TV show "Trollhunters," but is probably best known as Pavel Chekov in the rebooted "Star Trek" movie franchise.


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