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    Disney workers ask company to fight for 500 Haitian refugees

    Union representatives speaking on behalf of 500 Haitian refugees working as Disney cast members in Central Florida are asking CEO Bob Iger to fight for them to stay in the U.S.

    >> Read more trending news

    The group is part of 50,000 refugees from the island nation who are living in the U.S. following the earthquake that ravaged the country in 2010.

    President Barack Obama gave the Haitian nationals temporary protected status in the U.S.

    That status has been extended several times due to repeated catastrophes like cholera, outbreaks and damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.

    The refugees’ protected status is scheduled to expire in July, and in a letter obtained by USA Today, members of President Donald Trump’s administration don’t want to see it extended again.

    Disney employees, though, are calling for Iger, who sits on Trump’s Presidential Advisory Board, to fight for his employees and keep them from being deported.

    If the protection is not extended, the 50,000 Haitian refugees, including the 500 Disney cast members, would be deported.

    New study says country music mentions drugs more than any other genre

    According to a recent study by Addictions.com, country music mentions drugs more than any other musical genre, with the most-referenced drug being marijuana.

    >> Read more trending news

    Those results may come as a shock to some listeners who assumed that rap or hip-hop music might reference drugs more, but 1.6 percent of all country music surveyed by Addictions.com’s Song Meanings Application Programming Interface (API) references drugs on average, compared to less than 1.3 percent on average in hip-hop music.

    Jazz music came in second place, although the study does not disclose the average percentage.

    But what constitutes a drug reference? And what counts as “country” music for Addictions.com? For starters, alcoholic beverages are not classified as drugs in the study (or else, country music would win this by a landslide). According to the methodology of the study, Addictions.com “scraped song lyrics from Song Meanings API and analyzed drug mentions, what drugs were involved, and how it changed over time, and grouped drug slang words together in their respected drug categories.”

    After going over the data from songs from country, rock, jazz, rap/hip-hop, pop, folk and electronic genres from 1933 until now, the drug references were grouped into seven categories: 

    Pills (which includes all Opiates except Heroin, Benzodiazepines, Sleep medication, and ADHD medication), Heroin, Marijuana, LSD, Cocaine (which includes both crack cocaine and cocaine), Ecstasy (This includes MDMA and molly), and Meth.

    After all that, country music came out on top, with 1.6 percent of all songs studied since 1933 referencing some sort of drug. According to the study, the top three drugs referenced in country music were marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. 

    It should be noted that most country songs decry drug consumption (with the exception of alcohol, and, very recently, marijuana). No country artists were mentioned in the study, but artists like Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jamey Johnson, John Prine and many others have referenced marijuana, pills, cocaine or heroin in their songs as hazardous and not recreational.

    However, once the study results are broken down into the musicians that reference drugs the most, country artists don’t even crack the Top 10. That honor goes to all hip-hop artists, most notably Kottonmouth Kings, Eminem, The Game, Lil’ Wayne and Jay-Z.

    If you want to see just how many country music songs reference drugs, take a listen to the playlist below (though we would never condone the use of recreational drugs).

    Attorney discusses friendship between Hernandez and fellow prisoner

    The final say about whether or not Aaron Hernandez was in a relationship with a fellow prisoner will come from the prisoner himself. 

    >> Read more trending news

    "He does want to tell his story, but based on his situation in the jail, that's not a possibility," said attorney Larry Army. "I'm not at liberty to say one way or another if they were."

    Kyle Kennedy, a prisoner at Souza-Baranowski, is currently on suicide watch and segregated and therefore not able to make a statement, said Army. During a news conference Wednesday, Army provided evidence that he says proves the relationship between Kyle Kennedy and Aaron Hernandez. Army says Hernandez and Kennedy were "close friends" and spent time together in prison, even requesting to be cellmates. 

    "My understanding is because of the size difference between my client and Aaron Hernandez, that the request was terminated," he said. 

    Army also had a blown up copy of a letter he said Hernandez wrote to Kennedy's family.

    "They are very personal letters and speak candidly of the close friendship and mutual respect that my client and Mr. Hernandez had for each other," said Army. 

    Army said that Hernandez had mentioned suicide in a letter to Kennedy about three weeks prior to his death, but Kennedy thought it was a joke. Hernandez wrote, "I think I'm going to hang it up," said Army. 

    "Now that has a different meaning," said Army. 

    He also said that Hernandez promised an approximately $50,000 watch to Kennedy upon his release in 2018, but they haven't heard about whether or not that will happen due to Hernandez's suicide. They also haven't been able to see the suicide note Hernandez left. Army says based on the information they have, the suicide notes weren't addressed to anyone. 

    "My client believes that based upon the closeness of his relationship with Aaron Hernandez, there's nobody else he would have written a third letter to," said Army. 

    They knew each other prior to their time in Souza-Baranowski prison, said Army, but didn't go into further details. 

    On Tuesday, Hernandez’s attorney said rumors the deceased NFL star wrote letters to a gay lover are “unequivocally” false.

    58-acre estate formerly owned by Tyler Perry is eyesore for some

    Some neighbors in Johns Creek, Georgia say they are concerned about a piece of land formerly owned by famed media mogul Tyler Perry.

    >> Read more trending news

    The 58 acres of land are on Old Alabama Road near the Chattahoochee River.

    Most of what made the property incredibly special has been scraped clean.

    Neighbors want Johns Creek city leaders to buy the property and turn it into something beautiful in North Fulton County.

    The estate once held Perry’s mansion with sprawling gardens along the river, but he sold the land to a property developer who cleared the site for future real estate development.

    The subdivision got no takers, and so now it’s back on the market and is virtually not being taken care of.

    Irene Sanders lives in an adjacent subdivision. “They’ve turned into bad neighbors,” said Sanders. “It’s turning into an eyesore.”

    Sanders showed WSB-TV the overgrown grass, abandoned spec homes and a leak from the pond into a stream that feeds the river.

    While Sanders says she’d like to see the city buy the land and repurpose it, Major Mike Bodker said the city has attempted to buy the property about half a dozen times, both from the original owner and from Tyler Perry.

    Bodker said both sellers wanted too much.

    "We still have a fiscal responsibility to the citizens of Johns Creek. We simply can't bail out a bad deal just because people want us to,” said Bodker. 

    Delta passenger uses restroom before takeoff, gets bumped from flight

    A Delta Air Lines passenger was asked to exit the plane after he urgently had to use the lavatory when the plane was getting ready for takeoff, and a fellow passenger recorded the incident on video, according to an account in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

    >> Read more trending news

    According to an article by columnist Jim Stingl, the flight was getting ready to depart from Atlanta to Milwaukee on April 18 when passenger Kima Hamilton tried to use the restroom. A flight attendant told him the plane would lose its place in line for takeoff, so he returned to his seat. But he still had to go, and quickly went to the restroom.

    That’s when the pilot said the flight would have to return to the gate and remove a passenger.

    When two agents asked him to exit the plane, Hamilton refused. Then all of the passengers were “escorted off the plane,” and all passengers except him were allowed to reboard.

    In a written statement, Delta said: “Our flight crews are extensively trained to ensure the safety and security of all customers. It is imperative that passengers comply with crew instructions during all phases of flight, especially at the critical points of takeoff and landing.”

    Read more about the incident here.

    Entertainment News »

    New study says country music mentions drugs more than any other genre

    According to a recent study by Addictions.com, country music mentions drugs more than any other musical genre, with the most-referenced drug being marijuana.

    >> Read more trending news

    Those results may come as a shock to some listeners who assumed that rap or hip-hop music might reference drugs more, but 1.6 percent of all country music surveyed by Addictions.com’s Song Meanings Application Programming Interface (API) references drugs on average, compared to less than 1.3 percent on average in hip-hop music.

    Jazz music came in second place, although the study does not disclose the average percentage.

    But what constitutes a drug reference? And what counts as “country” music for Addictions.com? For starters, alcoholic beverages are not classified as drugs in the study (or else, country music would win this by a landslide). According to the methodology of the study, Addictions.com “scraped song lyrics from Song Meanings API and analyzed drug mentions, what drugs were involved, and how it changed over time, and grouped drug slang words together in their respected drug categories.”

    After going over the data from songs from country, rock, jazz, rap/hip-hop, pop, folk and electronic genres from 1933 until now, the drug references were grouped into seven categories: 

    Pills (which includes all Opiates except Heroin, Benzodiazepines, Sleep medication, and ADHD medication), Heroin, Marijuana, LSD, Cocaine (which includes both crack cocaine and cocaine), Ecstasy (This includes MDMA and molly), and Meth.

    After all that, country music came out on top, with 1.6 percent of all songs studied since 1933 referencing some sort of drug. According to the study, the top three drugs referenced in country music were marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. 

    It should be noted that most country songs decry drug consumption (with the exception of alcohol, and, very recently, marijuana). No country artists were mentioned in the study, but artists like Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jamey Johnson, John Prine and many others have referenced marijuana, pills, cocaine or heroin in their songs as hazardous and not recreational.

    However, once the study results are broken down into the musicians that reference drugs the most, country artists don’t even crack the Top 10. That honor goes to all hip-hop artists, most notably Kottonmouth Kings, Eminem, The Game, Lil’ Wayne and Jay-Z.

    If you want to see just how many country music songs reference drugs, take a listen to the playlist below (though we would never condone the use of recreational drugs).

    Producer admits bilking investors with fake Broadway play

    A Broadway producer admitted on Wednesday that he scammed his friends and others into investing more than $165,000 in a nonexistent play about opera star Kathleen Battle supposedly starring Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o.

    Roland Scahill pleaded guilty in state Supreme Court to grand larceny and fraud charges. As part of the plea deal, the 42-year-old Scahill is to be sentenced to six months in jail and five years of probation. He also must repay the investors and receive psychiatric treatment.

    Scahill said in court he pretended he had secured the rights to Battle's life story and had signed a contract with Nyong'o to star in the play. He also falsely claimed Netflix had agreed to film a performance.

    Scahill owns a production company called RMS2 Productions. Prosecutors said the investors in the phony play included some of his closest friends. The scheme played out between October 2014 and January 2015.

    Battle is a celebrated diva who performed with the Metropolitan Opera.

    Nyong'o won an Academy Award for her role in the 2013 film "12 Years a Slave." She made her Broadway debut in 2016 in "Eclipsed," a drama about women caught up in the Liberian civil war.

    Hollywood producer testifies in Robert Durst murder case

    A Hollywood producer testified Wednesday that a friend claimed to have impersonated the first wife of real estate heir Robert Durst in a telephone call that prosecutors say took place after the wife was dead.

    Lynda Obst, whose films include "Sleepless in Seattle" and "Interstellar," took the stand during a pre-trial hearing for Durst, who is charged with shooting Susan Berman in 2000 at her Los Angeles home.

    Obst said that Berman, a mutual friend, confided that she had pretended to be Kathleen Durst in a 1982 telephone call to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Center in New York.

    A previous witness has said the woman claimed she was sick and couldn't make it to her first day of a clerkship in pediatrics.

    Prosecutors contend that Kathleen Durst already was dead at that point.

    Her body never was found but in March a judge in Surrogate's Court in Manhattan officially declared her dead.

    Durst isn't charged with her murder but he is accused of killing Berman. Prosecutors contend that he was afraid she would implicate him to investigators looking into his wife's disappearance.

    Durst, 74, has pleaded not guilty to murder. A Superior Court judge hasn't determined whether he will stand trial.

    On Tuesday, another friend of Berman's, Miriam Barnes, told the court that years earlier, Berman had told her: "If anything ever happens to me, Bobby did it."

    Barnes said she never went to police because she feared Durst could harm her.

    Testimony is being taken from so-called secret witnesses whose names aren't made public until they appear in court.

    Prosecutors have suggested that Durst, who is jailed and has health issues, could use some of his fortune to have witnesses killed. The defense has scoffed at the suggestion.

    However, the witnesses' testimony is being video recorded for use in case they are not available for trial.

    ESPN laying off 100 broadcasters, writers as viewers dwindle

    ESPN is laying off about 100 employees, including former athletes-turned-broadcasters Trent Dilfer, Len Elmore and Danny Kanell, in a purge designed to focus the sports network on a more digital future.

    The cuts will trim ESPN's stable of on-air talent and writers by about 10 percent.

    The 37-year-old network has been squeezed by rising fees to broadcast live events at the same time hordes of cord-cutting TV viewers have been canceling their ESPN subscriptions. ESPN has lost about 10 million subscribers during the past six years, based on estimates by Nielsen Media Research.

    The downturn prompted an even bigger round of layoffs affecting about 300 workers in 2015, but on-air talent was mostly spared from those cuts.

    ESPN chief John Skipper said Wednesday the company wants to provide distinctive content all the time on multiple screens, with more personality-oriented "SportsCenter" broadcasts, and is keeping people best suited to the new strategy.

    ESPN isn't saying who has been fired. Many are releasing the news on social media, including Dilfer, NFL reporter Ed Werder, baseball reporter Jayson Stark and college basketball reporter Dana O'Neil.

    Former morning host Jay Crawford, football columnist Jane McManus, ESPNU host Brendan Fitzgerald, hockey reporter Pierre LeBrun, soccer reporter Mike Goodman, baseball analyst Jim Bowden and baseball reporter Mark Saxon were among the others to announce their departures.

    "Our goal continues to be to maximize our unparalleled scale in every medium with storytelling that stands out and makes a difference," Skipper said in a memo to employees. "We are well-equipped to thrive going forward by embracing those themes."

    ESPN's recent troubles have become a drag on the profits of its parent, The Walt Disney Co.

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    This story has been corrected from an earlier version to reflect that ESPN's layoffs affected writers as well as on-air personalities, and that ESPN is 37 years old.

    YouTube announces music competition series for emerging acts

    YouTube is launching a new music competition series for emerging artists featuring Backstreet Boys, Demi Lovato and Jason Derulo.

    Ryan Seacrest Productions and Endemol Shine North America announced Wednesday that "Best.Cover.Ever" will debut on YouTube later this year.

    Ludacris will host the series, where pop stars will give budding artists a chance to perform a cover of one of their songs. The winner will perform a duet version of the song with the star, which will debut on YouTube.

    Fans can submit videos through May 19 for the first phase. The songs include Backstreet Boys' "As Long As You Love Me," Lovato's "Confident" and Derulo's "Trumpets."

    Additional artist-participants will be announced at a later date.

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    Online:

    https://thebestcoverever.com/