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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Hundreds Greet Wounded Philadelphia Police Officer At Benefit Auction

Hundreds Greet Wounded Philadelphia Police Officer At Benefit Auction
 
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  Walking in with a smile on his face, Philadelphia Police Officer Jesse Hartnett met friends, colleagues, and complete strangers who waited for hours to see him Thursday night.

Members of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police held a silent auction and dinner to honor Hartnett, who is still recovering after being ambushed and shot multiple times in the arm on January 7th.
Authorities say 30-year-old Edward Archer, of Yeadon, admitted to the shooting in the name of Islam.

Archer is currently behind bars.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Flint Crisis Has Locals Questioning Safety Of Their Water

Flint Crisis Has Locals Questioning Safety Of Their Water
 
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The water crisis in Flint, Michigan has many here in Philadelphia concerned about the safety of their water.

Allen Sion refuses to drink Philadelphia tap water.
“We call it Schuylkill Punch. It’s disgusting,” Allen said. “The water’s clear, but it tastes kind of ‘sewagey’.
It’s pretty nasty.”

He relies on bottled brands, never the kind that flows freely from the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, which is then filtered and treated through a multi-stop process before it ever gets to you. And although many recognize Philadelphia water cannot be compared to that of Flint’s, some are still skeptical of the tap.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Thousands Of Children Left Hungry After Winter Storm Closes Their Schools

Thousands Of Children Left Hungry After Winter Storm Closes Their Schools
 
PHILADELPHIA (CBS)— As many children throughout Philadelphia enjoy that one last sled ride down the Art Museum’s snow covered steps before class resumes Wednesday, advocates say some less fortunate students may be suffering.

“It’s a day of cold. It’s a day of worry,” said John Ducoff, of the Covenant House. “It’s a day of stress, and it’s a day of ‘where I am going to go and what I am going to eat’?”

Peoples Emergency Center, a homeless advocacy group, estimates there are at least 4,300 homeless students in Philadelphia. Many of them end up at the Covenant House for shelter and a hot meal.

Schools are closed,” John said. “That could be the only meal that young person is going to eat that day.”

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Monday, January 25, 2016

Police: Man Using Snowblower “Blinded” Ambulance Driver

Police: Man Using Snowblower “Blinded” Ambulance Driver
 
UPPER DARBY, Pa. (CBS)  —  Upper Darby Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood says a township man is now facing charges after a spray of snow from his snowblower “blinded” an ambulance driver on an emergency call, causing the rig to veer into a snowbank on Timberlake Road, where it was stuck for two hours during the storm on Saturday night.

“The snow coming out of the snowblower hits the front windshield, blinding the driver,” Chitwood told CBS 3’s Walt Hunter. “The driver then crashes into a snowbank.”

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Saturday, January 23, 2016

What in the world happened to the artist formerly known as Mos Def?

What in the world happened to the artist formerly known as Mos Def?





















 
This week, Yasiin Bey, the 42-year-old artist formerly known as Mos Def, shockingly announced that he was retiring from music and acting. The strange message, a freestyle rap via cell phone that was posted on the website of longtime friend Kanye West, has prompted many hip-hop fans to ask: “What the hell happened to Mos Def?”

To try and answer that question, we have assembled a little three-part timeline of Mos Def’s odd transformation, allowing you to follow the talented artist through what has been an enigmatic multi-year period.

2011-12: The name change

The most culturally-understood of Bey’s actions in the past five years, or at least the action with seemingly the most logical train of thought, was his decision to change his name.

In late 2011, the well-known musician publicly announced plans to legally change his name to Yasiin Bey, a name which he planned to adapt for recordings and live performances as well as the silver screen. What seemed to many to be an odd decision for a well-established artist was — according an interview with the musician in GQ — a reaction to “fear that Mos Def was being treated as a product, not a person.”
 
For the public this was big news, but for Bey it seems it was little more than an effort to humanize himself. Bey claims to have used the name Yasiin privately among friends and family since 1999, and the revelation that he was a Muslim or would pick a Muslim name was not a particularly new one; His father was a former Nation of Islam member, he had declared his faith openly at the age of 19, and referenced it on many recordings.

In addition, Bey said in a 2011 interview with MTV2 that he would not be offended if people called him Mos Def in the future because he had spent years cultivating his musical persona.

2013-2014: The move to South Africa, first immigration issues

Just two years later, another personal choice would make international headlines as Bey, feeling increasingly disillusioned with the United States, decided to move himself and his family to Capetown, South Africa in May of 2013.

In an interview at the time, the rapper was pretty vague on his reasons for leaving the U.S., but hinted at overall disillusionment with his home country, saying, “For a guy like me, with five or six generations from the same town in America, to leave America, things gotta be not so good with America.” That said, he wasn’t totally willing to throw America under the bus, adding, “There are some beautiful places in America. I love Brooklyn. New York City needs to thank Brooklyn every day just for existing. That’s how I feel about it. It was a hard thing to leave home. But I’m glad I did.”

A decision to immigrate to somewhere so far from his longtime musical home, Brooklyn, and to distance himself from the Hollywood universe on which he had built his film career seemed interesting and simple enough at the time, but it also may have been a bit short-sighted.

That’s because Bey moved to South Africa on a visitors permit, which he overstayed. As a result of the culminating legal issues, he was forced to cancel a U.S. tour, including a show at the Together Music Festival in Boston in 2014, due to what his camp publicly called “Immigration/legal issues.” The music festival then reiterated this fact, saying, “Unfortunately we don’t have any more information than the tour being cancelled due to visa issues.”

2016: More border Issues, the Kanye West freestyle, and retirement

All of Bey’s immigration woes came to a head on Thursday, January 14 of this year, when he was arrested at the Cape Town International airport while attempting to leave the country and charged with violation of local immigration laws. Both Bey and his family lacked proper permits to be in the country. Following his arrest, a South African court ruled that Bey had 14 days to leave South Africa and, though he does have the ability to appeal for leniency, the rapper/actor could be banned from the nation for up to five years.

Having overstayed his visitors permit and being unable or unwilling to present a valid United States Passport, Bey presented officials at the airport with a World Passport, a document issued not by a nation, but by the World Service Authority. World passports are not widely accepted immigration documents, mostly because anyone can get one with a notarized document and a small fee — $45 for a three-year document, and $75 for a five year. The vast majority of countries and regions do not officially recognize the document, including the United States, European Union, Japan, Russia, and Canada.

Representatives for Bey say that though the document is not recognized by most countries, it had previously been recognized by South Africa. “He considers himself a world citizen,” they said in an interview with Okay Africa.
 
On January 20, six days after his arrest, Bey released a 10.5 minute audio recording on Kanye West’s website titled A Message From Yasiin Bey. The message begins with the lyrics, “No more parties in S.A.,” a freestyle riff on West’s recently-released track No More Parties In L.A., and is followed by a few minutes of free-form rhyming, before ending with the statement that Bey will be retiring from music and film “effective immediately.”

“Where I live is my choice,” Bey says in the recording. Now out on bail, the musician has been ordered to appear in court on March 8, and his family has been ordered to leave South Africa by January 28.

In a confusing turn of events that gets even weirder with his retirement announcement, Bey announced a final album which will be released later this year. “I’m releasing my final album this year and that’s that,” he said.
“Peace to all. Fear of none.”

We’ll continue following this odd turn of events piloted by one of hip-hop’s brightest talents, so stay tuned.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Billy Joel Back At Citizens Bank Park This Summer

Billy Joel Back At Citizens Bank Park This Summer

 NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 07: Billy Joel performs at Madison Square Garden on January 7, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images) 
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 07: Billy Joel performs at Madison
Square Garden on January 7, 2016 in New York City.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Add Billy Joel to the list of Philadelphia summer traditions.

For the third year in a row, the Piano Man will fill the seats of Citizens Bank Park. Announced this afternoon, Joel will return to the home of the Phillies on Saturday July 9th.

“This will be the fifth time that legendary artist Billy Joel will take to the stage, where he will once again have the distinct honor of performing at Citizens Bank Park more often than any other entertainer.” said Michael Stiles, Phillies Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in a press release.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Homeless Shelter Shooting Raises Serious Security Concerns For Employees

Homeless Shelter Shooting Raises Serious Security Concerns For Employees
 
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The double shooting at a North Philadelphia homeless shelter on Sunday is sparking safety concerns. The shooting claimed the life of one shelter employee and injured another.

Now, some who serve the homeless community are asking for change.

“I would like to see this tragedy be used to say what is wrong with this homeless shelter system,” says J. Jondhi Harrell, director of the Center for Returning Citizens.

Harrell says he is the social worker that placed 32-year-old John Brock at Station House.  Brock turned himself into police on Monday.  He is accused of using a gun to kill 43-year-old Edward Barksdale and wound 26-year-old Lamont Barham.  Police say Brock returned to Station House Sunday on a mission to execute the employees that helped escorted him out of the building days before, when he was evicted following a drunken episode.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Woman Pushed Onto SEPTA Tracks Speaks About Random Attack

Woman Pushed Onto SEPTA Tracks Speaks About Random Attack
 
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  27-year-old Lauren Lichtman says when she accidentally went past her usual 34th Street El stop Sunday morning on her way to work, she got off at the next stop, 40th Street, to head back.

It was a decision that changed her life.

Police say Lichtman, in a random attack, was shoved onto the El tracks by suspect Kenneth Grimes, who then pulled a knife and, as she sprawled injured on the tracks, threatened her, yelling, “kill, kill, kill.”

Lichtman, who suffered a broken collar-bone and bruises, told CBS 3’s Walt Hunter she was “lucky” and her injuries could have been far, far worse.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Monday, January 18, 2016

Thousands Participate In MLK Day Service Projects Across Delaware Valley

Thousands Participate In MLK Day Service Projects Across Delaware Valley

 (credit: Cherri Gregg/KYW)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Thousands of people took part in the 21st annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

In Philadelphia, the nation’s largest Day of Service was underway at Girard College where an estimated 5,000 volunteers were on campus. More than 100 projects, workshops and presentations took place, highlighting current civil rights issues.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Calls for boycott of Oscars grow over diversity of nominees

Calls for boycott of Oscars grow over diversity of nominees

NEW YORK (AP) -- Calls for a boycott of the Academy Awards are growing over the Oscars' second straight year of all-white acting nominees, as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith each said Monday that they will not attend this year's ceremony.

In a lengthy Instagram post, Lee said he "cannot support" the "lily white" Oscars. Noting that he was writing on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Lee - who in November was given an honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards - said he was fed up: "Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all," he wrote. "We can't act?!"

In a video message on Facebook, Pinkett Smith also said she wouldn't attend or watch the Oscars in February. Pinkett Smith, whose husband Will Smith wasn't nominated for his performance in the NFL head trauma drama "Concussion," said it was time for people of color to disregard the Academy Awards.

"Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power," she said. "And we are a dignified people and we are powerful."

She added: "Let's let the academy do them, with all grace and love. And let's do us differently." The video had amassed 4.5 million by mid-Monday afternoon.

Last year's all-white acting nominees also drew calls for a boycott, though not from such prominent individuals as Lee and Pinkett Smith. Whether it had any impact or not, the audience for the broadcast, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, was down 16 percent from the year prior, a six-year low.

This year, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs has made a point of presenting a more inclusive show. The Feb. 28 broadcast will be hosted by Chris Rock and produced by "Django Unchained" producer Reginald Hudlin and David Hill. On Saturday, Rock, unveiling a new promotion for the broadcast, called the ceremony "The White BET Awards."

The academy didn't respond to messages left Monday.

When Oscar nominations were announced Thursday, Isaacs acknowledged she was "disappointed" that all 20 acting nominees were again white. Isaacs has worked to diversify membership for the academy, which a 2012 study by the Los Angeles Times found is overwhelming white and male.

Many awards handicappers expected nominations for Idris Elba of "Beasts of No Nation" and Benicio Del Toro for "Sicario." The N.W.A. biopic "Straight Outta Compton" also failed to earn a best picture nomination, despite some predictions it would. Ryan Coogler's acclaimed Rocky sequel "Creed" scored only a nomination only for Sylvester Stallone. (Lee's own movie, the Chicago gang violence hip-hop musical "Chi-Raq" - celebrated by some and scorned by others - also went unnoticed.)

The hashtag "OscarsSoWhite," created last year, was quickly resurrected online following the nominations. 

Rev. Al Sharpton - who last year met with former Sony head Amy Pascal following leaked emails that some viewed as racist - on Friday lambasted the academy.

"Hollywood is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher up you get the whiter it gets and this year's Academy Awards will be yet another Rocky Mountain Oscar," said Sharpton.

In his post, Lee made it clear the Academy Awards is only part of the problem in an industry with deep-rooted diversity issues. In his Governors Awards speech, Lee said "It's easier to be the president of the United States as a black person than be the head of a studio."

"The Academy Awards is not where the 'real' battle is," wrote Lee on Tuesday. "It's in the executive office of the Hollywood studios and TV and cable networks. This is where the gate keepers decide what gets made and what gets jettisoned to 'turnaround' or scrap heap. This is what's important. The gate keepers. Those with 'the green light' vote."


Friday, January 15, 2016

VP Biden Launches Goal To Find Cure For Cancer In Philly

VP Biden Launches Goal To Find Cure For Cancer In Philly
 
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Vice President Joe Biden will be in Philadelphia today as he launches an effort to find a cure for cancer.

Biden is calling this his “moonshot” — comparing his initiative to a mission to the moon 55 years ago. He says that call to action inspired science and innovation, and now he says curing cancer should be this generation’s “moonshot.”

The goal, he says, is simple: double the rate of progress, making a decades worth of advance in five years.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nicki Minaj on Adele's Carpool Karaoke Rapping: 'Adele Is Mad Ratchet'

Nicki Minaj on Adele's Carpool Karaoke Rapping: 'Adele Is Mad Ratchet'

  

Nicki Minaj performs at Drai's Beach Club - Nightclub at the 
Cromwell Las Vegas during a New Year's Eve celebration on 
Dec. 31, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 Besides chugging an entire cup of tea, singing the Spice Girls and other tremendously blissful things Adele did while cruising around with James Corden for The Late Late Show, the 25 powerhouse also spat some rhymes -- specifically, Nicki Minaj’s manic “Monster” verse.

 Of course, Minaj saw Adele’s rendition (like everyone else in the world who experienced the 15 minutes of joy that was this edition of “Carpool Karaoke”) and took to Twitter. 

Adele is mad ratchet. I can't take her😂


The Girl Scouts Kick Off 99th Year Of Cookie Sales

The Girl Scouts Kick Off 99th Year Of Cookie Sales

 (credit: Hadas Kuznits/KYW) 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Girl Scout cookie season starts — now!

Nicole Frederick with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania says they kicked off the first day of cookie-selling season at the Shops at Liberty Place. This year marks the 99th year of Girl Scout cookie sales.

“So it started in Philadelphia and they were sort of like a shortbread, they were a sugar cookie and they were sold out of someone’s window. It was like a drive-up window. The cookies weren’t very good, either.

If you would make them today, they’re not as good as the shortbread we have now,” said Frederick.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Officer Jesse Hartnett’s Alma Mater Hit Hard By Ambush News

Officer Jesse Hartnett’s Alma Mater Hit Hard By Ambush News
 
UPPER DARBY, Pa. (CBS) —   The alma mater of wounded Philadelphia Police Officer Jesse Hartnett is continuing to keep him in their prayers as he recovers.

Monsignor Bonner Archbishop Prendergast High School is a small tight knit community.
When word of what happened to Officer Jesse Hartnett spread, it hit some there especially hard.

So they’re now trying to help in the best way they know how.

I first thanked God that he’s still here because he could have been killed,” Marge Roccio, secretary to the school’s principal, told Eyewitness News.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

1 Injured After Boiler Explodes Inside Phila. Elementary School

1 Injured After Boiler Explodes Inside Phila. Elementary School

 (credit: Chopper 3) 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — An elementary school in Mt. Airy is closed Thursday and Friday, after a boiler explosion injured a mechanic and knocked out heat to the building.

It was just after 12:30 p.m. when students at F. S. Edmonds Elementary, including fifth-grader Daniel Hargrove,  heard a large explosion.

“We were sitting in the lunchroom and the boiler blew up.  We heard a big boom.  And then we started looking down there.  Everybody said it was a fire and we all ran out of the building.”

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

LOVE Park Family Lawyers Up To Challenge Charity’s Decision To Cut Cash

LOVE Park Family Lawyers Up To Challenge Charity’s Decision To Cut Cash

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  The homeless family that captured headlines last October when their two-year-old was found wandering in LOVE Park has lawyered up.  The public donated thousands to help them. And now, as KYW Community Affairs reporter Cherri Gregg tells us, they’re challenging the charity that pulled the plug on the cash.

When Angelique Roland and Michael Roland moved into the modest home two months ago it was a dream come true.

“We love it, we love it,” they say.

Last October, they were thrust into the spotlight when it was discovered that they were sleeping in LOVE park with their two young children. DHS took custody of their children.  And the situation was dire until Chosen 300 Ministries, a non-profit known to help the homeless stepped in to help. The group rallied community support and raised $12,000 in just a few hours, pledging to find the couple housing and pay their rent for a year so they could reunite with their children.

“When they came into the picture I was like I can’t believe it,” says Roland, “it was a dream come true.”

But she says the dream turned into a nightmare after a feud developed between the couple, who are Muslim, and Chosen 300 Ministries.  The group claimed the couple refused counseling, became belligerent with staff and missed their court date. The couple claim they refused services for religious reasons– they are Muslim and Chosen 300 offers Christian counseling.

The dispute escalated last week when Chosen 300 founder, Brian Jenkins, held a press conference at the non-profit’s West Philadelphia location, telling reporters, his group was cutting off support .

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

South Philadelphia Students Hold Town Hall On Islamophobia

South Philadelphia Students Hold Town Hall On Islamophobia

 Students and staff at the Academy at Palumbo High School conduct a town hall forum addressing the issue of Islamophobia. (photo credit Mark Abrams) 

Students and staff at the Academy at Palumbo High School
 conduct a town hall forum addressing the issue of Islamophobia.
 
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  Students at the Academy at Palumbo High School in South Philadelphia conducted their own Town Hall Tuesday afternoon to talk about what they say is a rise of Islamophobia.

Palumbo students and several teachers crowded into the school library for a forum led by Muslim students who say they wanted to speak up and set the record straight about their faith and lifestyle.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Monday, January 11, 2016

Bill Cosby Defense Seeks Dismissal Of Charges, Prosecutor

Bill Cosby Defense Seeks Dismissal Of Charges, Prosecutor

 (credit: Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office) 

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bill Cosby’s lawyers say recent criminal charges filed against him in Pennsylvania violate a prosecutor’s pledge he would never be charged over a 2004 encounter with a Temple University employee.

The defense team said Monday the agreement not to file charges prompted Cosby to testify in a related civil lawsuit without invoking his Fifth Amendment rights.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Police Investigate Assault Of Officer Working Detail For Officer Jesse Hartnett


Police Investigate Assault Of Officer Working Detail For Officer Jesse Hartnett

 
 (credit: CBS) 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Police have released information regarding an assault on a Philadelphia Police Officer that occurred on Saturday night at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center.

The incident took place around 10:42 p.m., according to authorities. Police say an officer was working a detail, at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, for Officer Jesse Hartnett who was shot and wounded in the line of duty on Thursday.

Authorities say the officer was approached by a man prior to entering the PPMC. The man asked the officer for some money and claimed that he hadn’t eaten in five days. Police say the officer gave the man $5 and then entered the building.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Phila. Police, FBI Investigate Claims Regarding Suspect After The Ambush Shooting Of Officer

Phila. Police, FBI Investigate Claims Regarding Suspect After The Ambush Shooting Of Officer

 (Credit: Philadelphia Police) 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Police announced on Sunday that they are looking into a tip regarding the suspect that allegedly shot Officer Jesse Hartnett on Thursday.

The incident took place on January 7, 2016 and Philadelphia Police say the Federal Bureau of Investigation is helping them investigate claims that the suspect has an affiliation with a “group with radical beliefs.”

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Friday, January 8, 2016

Country Music Artist Jana Kramer Signs on as Diamond Resorts International Brand Ambassador

Country Music Artist Jana Kramer Signs on as Diamond Resorts International Brand Ambassador

Arrangement with musician Jana Kramer enhances Events of a Lifetime® and delivers VIP concert experiences to members, owners and guests
 

Singer-songwriter Jana Kramer joins the Diamond Resorts celebrity ambassador team and will make personal.
 
LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

Diamond Resorts International® (DRII), a global leader in the hospitality and vacation ownership industries, announces a new alliance and sponsorship arrangement with award-winning country music artist and actress Jana Kramer.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160107005952/en/

In connection with the agreement, Diamond Resorts members will have the opportunity to enjoy premium seating at Kramer’s live concerts, and Kramer will make personal appearances at Diamond Resorts’ increasingly popular Events of a Lifetime®, which deliver exciting vacation experiences that are truly unique and memorable.

“I look forward to delivering unforgettable experiences through my passion for music and engaging with the many wonderful members and owners at Diamond Resorts,” said Kramer. “It is an honor to represent a brand that believes in creating lifelong memories and bringing families together through the experience of vacations.”

Kramer will represent Diamond alongside a roster of high-profile celebrities such as country music star Colt Ford, baseball Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson and Gaylord Perry, PGA touring professionals Brian Gay and John Cook, and Super Bowl XXVI MVP Mark Rypien. 
 
“We are very excited to have Jana on our brand ambassador team,” says Michael Flaskey, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Diamond Resorts International®. “Jana is a rising country music artist, and we are so proud to be associated with her. Our members and owners are going to love getting to know Jana as a person and then watching her perform. Our Events of a Lifetime® franchise continues its growth through the creation of unique experiences that allow our members and owners to Stay Vacationed.™”
 
About Jana Kramer
Singer-songwriter Jana Kramer’s single “I Got the Boy,” which she recently performed on Good Morning America, is nearing Top 10 and is featured on her new album, thirty one. Produced by Scott Hendricks, the album debuted in the Top 10 on the all genre Billboard 200 Albums Chart, with more than 21,000 album equivalent units. With 18,000 albums sold, thirty one debuts at #3 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, making this her biggest first week sales and highest chart position ever. It’s also the third biggest debut week by a solo female country artist this year.

Named one of this year’s Next Women of Country by CMT, 
Kramer co-wrote over half of the new tracks on thirty one. Kramer released her self-titled debut album to much critical praise, earning her the title of ACM’s 2012 New Female Vocalist of the Year, as well as the title of most played debut artist at Country Radio for 2012.
 
About Diamond Resorts International®
Diamond Resorts International® (DRII), with its network of more than 350 vacation destinations located in 34 countries throughout the continental United States, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, Central America, Europe, Asia, Australasia and Africa, provides guests with choice and flexibility to let them create their dream vacation, whether they are traveling an hour away or around the world. 

Our relaxing vacations have the power to give guests an increased sense of happiness and satisfaction in their lives, while feeling healthier and more fulfilled in their relationships, by enjoying memorable and meaningful experiences that let them Stay Vacationed.™

Diamond Resorts International® manages vacation ownership resorts and sells vacation ownership points that provide members and owners with Vacations for Life® at over 350 managed and affiliated properties and cruise itineraries.

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE:http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160107005952/en/
 
Contact:
Diamond Resorts International®
Stevi Wara, 702-823-7069
media@diamondresorts.com
fax: 702-684-8705

Police: Gunman said he shot Philadelphia cop in Islam's name

Police: Gunman said he shot Philadelphia cop in Islam's name
 
AP Photo
Mayor Jim Kenney speaks to members of the media during a news conference Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in Philadelphia. A gunman ambushed a police officer in his marked cruiser at an intersection, striking him multiple times in the arm during a barrage of bullets and fleeing before being apprehended, officials said.
  
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A man using a gun stolen from police said he was acting in the name of Islam when he ambushed an officer sitting in his marked cruiser at an intersection, firing more than a dozen shots at point-blank range, authorities said Friday. The officer and the man were wounded during the barrage of gunfire, they said.

The man, 30-year-old Edward Archer, also pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group when he was questioned after his arrest in the shooting late Thursday, police said. Archer's mother, Valerie Holliday, told The Philadelphia Inquirer he had been hearing voices recently and had felt targeted by police and the family asked him to get help.

Police Commissioner Richard Ross described the attack on Officer Jesse Hartnett, captured on a police surveillance camera, as an attempted assassination.

"He just came out of nowhere and started firing on him," Ross said. "He just started firing with one aim and one aim only, to kill him."

Investigators believe Archer traveled to Saudi Arabia in 2011 and to Egypt in 2012, FBI special agent Eric Ruona said, and the purpose of that travel was being investigated by the FBI. But police said there was no indication anyone else was involved in the officer's ambush.

Ross said Archer told police he believed the police department defends laws that are contrary to Islam. 

Though Archer "clearly gave us a motive," Ross said, it's up to police to see what the evidence shows.

"It wasn't like laying it out completely, chapter and verse for us," he said. "We're left to say, 'OK, he's leaving a trail for us. Where's it going to lead us, if anywhere?'"

Federal agents joined local police in searching two Philadelphia area properties associated with Archer, including the home where his mother lives in suburban Yeadon, authorities said.

Capt. James Clark said Archer told investigators: "I follow Allah. I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic State, and that's why I did what I did."

Archer's mother described him as a devout Muslim. Jacob Bender, the executive director of the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group, said he contacted about five inner-city mosques and found no one who knew of Archer. He said the motive for the ambush still appears to be conjecture.

"I think the important point is not to lay the blame for this on the entire Islamic community," he said.

The gunman fired at least 13 shots toward Hartnett, getting up next to the car and reaching through the driver's-side window, investigators said.

Despite being seriously wounded, Hartnett got out of his car, chased the shooter and returned fire, wounding his attacker in the buttocks, police said. Other officers chased Archer and apprehended him.

Hartnett, 33, was shot three times in an arm and will require multiple surgeries; he was listed in stable condition. Archer was treated and released into police custody.

Ross called it "absolutely amazing" that Harnett survived.

"It's nothing short of miraculous, and we're thankful for that," he said.

Last March, Archer pleaded guilty to firearms and assault charges stemming from a 2012 case but was immediately released and placed on probation, court records show. Records also show he was scheduled to be sentenced Monday in suburban Philadelphia in a traffic and forgery case.

The attorney who represented him in the firearms case was unavailable to comment Friday because he was in court, his office said. A message for his lawyer in the forgery case was not immediately returned.

Surveillance footage of the attack showed the gunman dressed in a white, long-sleeved tunic. When asked if the robe was considered Muslim garb, Ross said he didn't know and didn't think it mattered.

The 9mm pistol used by Archer was recovered at the scene of the shooting, police said. It had been stolen from an officer's home in October 2013, investigators said. Officials said they were trying to figure out how Archer got the weapon and whether it passed through other people's hands after the theft.

Hartnett was in good spirits, said his father, Robert Hartnett.

"He's a tough guy," he said.

Hartnett served in the Coast Guard and has been on the Philadelphia force for four years. He always wanted to be a police officer, his father said.

When Hartnett called in to report shots fired, he shouted, "I'm bleeding heavily!" into his police radio.
Jim Kenney, in his first week as mayor of the nation's fifth-largest city, called Archer's actions "abhorrent" and "terrible" and said they have nothing to do with the teachings of Islam.

"This is a criminal with a stolen gun who tried to kill one of our officers," he said. "It has nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith."

In December 2014, a gunman announced online he was planning to shoot two "pigs" in retaliation for the chokehold death of Eric Garner and ambushed two New York police officers in a patrol car, fatally shooting them before running to a subway station and killing himself. Investigators said he had no connection to terrorism.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Macy’s In Ardmore Closing As Company Announces Thousands Of Job Cuts

Macy’s In Ardmore Closing As Company Announces Thousands Of Job Cuts

 (Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images) 
 
PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) —  Macy’s in Ardmore’s Suburban Square is closing, the company announced today.

It’s one of 35 stores that will close in early spring.

Four stores already closed last year.

The Cincinnati-based department store chain also announced it is cutting up to 4,800 jobs after disappointing holiday sales.

The company says sales fell 5.2 percent in November and December at existing stores.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Family Of Girl Who Changed Face Of Cancer Treatment Donates $100,000 To CHOP

Family Of Girl Who Changed Face Of Cancer Treatment Donates $100,000 To CHOP

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) —  The doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia save lives all the time, but the experimental treatment for one little girl has changed the face of cancer treatment.

She and her family went back today to say thank you with a big donation.

The Emily Whitehead Foundation donated $100,000 to CHOP’s Cancer Center.

This is where 10-year-old Emily became the first pediatric patient in the world to have an experimental immune-therapy treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Monday, January 4, 2016

Advocates Say Christie’s Decision To Reinstate Work Requirements For Food Stamps Will Result In Longer Food Pantry Lines

Advocates Say Christie’s Decision To Reinstate Work Requirements For Food Stamps Will Result In Longer Food Pantry Lines
 
PENNSAUKEN, N.J., (CBS) — Advocates for those in need say Governor Christie has other options he should seek, rather than cutting off thousands of people in New Jersey from federal food stamp benefits.

The Christie administration says about 11,000 people – defined as “able bodied” without dependents – could lose federal food stamp benefits, if they do not find a job soon.

Back in 2009, because of the recession, states were able to waive a federal requirement that food-stamp recipients work at least 20 hours a week, when unemployment was over 10 percent.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Kenney Signs Series Of Executive Orders On His First Day As Mayor

Kenney Signs Series Of Executive Orders On His First Day As Mayor
 
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s new Mayor, Jim Kenney, got down to business Monday afternoon, signing five executive orders.

The first four were the official announcement of cabinet positions. The fifth one, however, will have the most lasting impact on one sector of the city’s population.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Philadelphia Inaugurates Jim Kenney As 99th Mayor

Philadelphia Inaugurates Jim Kenney As 99th Mayor
 
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s new mayor seems anxious to get to work. After a relatively brief speech at the Academy of Music and a brisk walk up Broad Street, Jim Kenney went straight to his new office in City Hall.

Prayers and hymns punctuated the inauguration ceremony, which included the swearings in of city council, judges and row officers, along with Mayor Kenney. In his ten-minute speech, Kenney said the vision that will guide his administration will be providing efficient and effective services.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Philly Mayor-Elect, Mummers Officials Denounce Hateful Acts

Philly Mayor-Elect, Mummers Officials Denounce Hateful Acts

 (credit: CBS) 

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia’s incoming mayor and organizers of the city’s annual New Year’s Day parade condemned expressions of hate, a day after some Mummers Parade participants mocked Caitlyn Jenner, were accused of harassing gays and painted their faces brown to portray Mexicans.

Officials with the 116-year-old Mummers Parade pledged Saturday to cooperate with authorities looking into any complaints. They said in a statement that they will continue discussions on sensitivity, on what is considered satire and what is “over the line.”

They also said a member of one of the Friday parade’s performance groups, the Finnegan NYB, has been banned from the group and won’t be allowed to march with the Mummers.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Iranian protesters damage Saudi embassy in Tehran

Iranian protesters damage Saudi embassy in Tehran
 
AP Photo
Iranian security stand guard to protect Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran, Iran, while a group of demonstrators gathered to protest execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Protesters in Iran, angered by the execution by Saudi Arabia of a prominent Shiite cleric, broke into the Saudi embassy in Tehran early Sunday, setting fires and throwing papers from the roof, Iranian media reported.

The semiofficial ISNA news agency said the country's top police official, Gen. Hossein Sajedinia, rushed to the scene and police worked to disperse the crowd outraged by the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. Shiite leaders in Iran and other countries across the Middle East swiftly condemned Riyadh and warned of sectarian backlash.

Saudi Arabia's execution Saturday of 47 prisoners, which also included al-Qaida detainees, threatened to further enflame Sunni-Shiite tensions in a regional struggle playing out between the Sunni kingdom and its foe Iran, a predominantly Shiite nation.

While Saudi Arabia insisted the executions were part of a justified war on terrorism, Iranian politicians warned that the Saudi monarchy would pay a heavy price for the death of al-Nimr.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the Saudi envoy in Tehran to protest, while the Saudi Foreign Ministry later said it had summoned Iran's envoy to the kingdom to protest the critical Iranian reaction to the sheikh's execution, saying it represented "blatant interference" in its internal affairs.

In Tehran, the crowd gathered outside the Saudi embassy and chanted anti-Saudi slogans. Some protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the embassy, setting off a fire in part of the building, Sajedinia told the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

"Some of them entered the embassy. Currently, individuals who entered the embassy have been transferred out (of the building). However, a large crowd is still there in front of the embassy," Sajedinia told ISNA early Sunday.

Some of the protesters broke into the embassy and threw papers off the roof, and police worked to disperse the crowd, Sajedinia told ISNA. He later told Tasnim that police had removed the protesters from the building and arrested some of them. He said the situation outside the embassy "had been defused."

Al-Nimr's execution promises to open a rancorous new chapter in the ongoing Sunni-Shiite power struggle playing out across the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia and Iran as the primary antagonists. The two regional powers already back opposing sides in civil wars in Yemen and in Syria. Saudi Arabia was also a vocal critic of the recent Iranian agreement with world powers that ends international economic sanctions in exchange for limits on the Iranian nuclear program.

The cleric's execution could also complicate Saudi Arabia's relationship with the Shiite-led government in Iraq. The Saudi embassy in Baghdad reopened for the first time in nearly 25 years on Friday. Already on Saturday there were public calls for Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to shut the embassy down again.

Al-Abadi tweeted Saturday night that he was "shocked and saddened" by al-Nimr's execution, adding that, "peaceful opposition is a fundamental right. Repression does not last."

Hundreds of al-Nimr's supporters also protested in his hometown of al-Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia, in neighboring Bahrain where police fired tear gas and bird shot, and as far away as northern India.

The sheikh's brother, Mohammed al-Nimr, said in a telephone interview that Saudi authorities told the family they had already buried the body, but didn't tell them at which cemetery. The family had hoped to bury his body in his hometown. His funeral would likely have attracted thousands of supporters, including large numbers of protesters. Instead the family planned to hold prayers and accept condolences at the mosque in a village near al-Qatif, where the sheikh used to pray.

A spokesman said in a statement that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was "deeply dismayed" over the Saudi Arabia executions, including that of Al-Nimr.

Germany's Foreign Ministry said the cleric's execution "strengthens our existing concerns about the growing tensions and the deepening rifts in the region."

State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that the U.S. is "particularly concerned" that al-Nimr's execution risked "exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced." 

He said the U.S. is calling on Saudi Arabia to ensure fair judicial proceedings and permit peaceful expression of dissent while working with all community leaders to defuse tensions after the executions.

Al-Nimr's death comes 11 months after Saudi Arabia issued a sweeping counterterrorism law after Arab Spring protests shook the region in 2011 and toppled several longtime autocrats. The law codified that the kingdom could prosecute as a terrorist anyone who demands reform, exposes corruption or otherwise engages in dissent or violence against the government.

The convictions of those executed Saturday were issued by Saudi Arabia's Specialized Criminal Court, established in 2008 to try terrorism cases.

The executed al-Qaida detainees were convicted of launching a spate of attacks against foreigners and security forces a decade ago.

To counter Arab Spring rumblings that threatened to spill into eastern Saudi Arabia, the kingdom sent troops in 2011 to crush Shiite protests demanding more political powers from the Sunni-led, fraternal monarchy of Bahrain. More security forces were also deployed that year to contain protests in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich east, where al-Nimr rallied youth who felt disenfranchised and persecuted.

A Saudi lawyer in the eastern region told The Associated Press that three other Shiite political detainees were also executed from among the 47. The lawyer spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

Saudi Arabia says all those executed were convicted of acts of terrorism. Al-Nimr and the three others mentioned had been charged in connection with violence that led to the deaths of several protesters and police officers.

Saudi Arabia's top cleric Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh defended the executions as in line with Islamic Shariah law. He described the executions as a "mercy to the prisoners" because it would save them from committing more evil acts and prevent chaos.

Islamic scholars around the world hold vastly different views on the application of the death penalty in Shariah law. Saudi Arabia's judiciary adheres to one of the strictest interpretations, a Sunni Muslim ideology referred to as Wahhabism.

Saudi Arabia carries out most executions through beheading and sometimes in public and has drawn comparisons to extremist groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State group - which also carry out public beheadings and claim to be implementing Shariah. It strongly rejects the comparisons and points out that it has a judicial appeals process with executions ultimately aimed at combating crime.

The Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah issued a statement calling al-Nimr's execution an "assassination" and a "ugly crime." The group added that those who carry the "moral and direct responsibility for this crime are the United States and its allies who give direct protection to the Saudi regime."

In a press conference Saturday, Saudi Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour al-Turki said the executions were carried out inside prisons and not in public, as is sometimes the case. The Interior Ministry, which announced the names of all 47 people executed in a statement, said a royal court order was issued to implement the sentences after all appeals had been exhausted.

Meanwhile, the execution of al-Qaida militants raised concerns over revenge attacks. The extremist group's branch in Yemen, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, had threatened violence against Saudi security forces last month if they carried out executions of its fighters.

One of the executed was Faris al-Shuwail, a leading ideologue in al-Qaida's Saudi branch who was arrested in August 2004 during a massive crackdown on the group following the series of deadly attacks.

The executions took place in the capital, Riyadh, and 12 other cities and towns. Of those executed, 45 were Saudi citizens, one was from Chad and another was from Egypt.

In announcing the verdicts, Saudi state television showed mugshots of those executed. Al-Nimr was No. 46, expressionless with a gray beard, his head covered with the red-and-white scarf traditionally worn by men in the Arab Gulf region.

Al-Nimr, who was in his 50s, never denied the political charges against him, but maintained he never carried weapons or called for violence.

At his trial, he was asked if he disapproved of the Al Saud ruling family because of speeches in which he spoke out forcefully against former Interior Minister and late Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdelaziz, who is King Salman's elder brother.

"If injustice stops against Shiites in the east, then (at that point) I can have a different opinion," the cleric responded, according to his brother, who attended court sessions and spoke to The Associated Press just days before the Oct. 2014 verdict.

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch's Middle East director Sarah Leah said "regardless of the crimes allegedly committed, executing prisoners in mass only further stains Saudi Arabia's troubling human rights record." She said al-Nimr was convicted in an "unfair" trial and that his execution "is only adding to the existing sectarian discord and unrest."

Al-Nimr's brother told the AP by telephone that the executions came as a "big shock" because "we thought the authorities could adopt a political approach to settle matters without bloodshed." He urged people to "adopt peaceful means when expressing their anger."

Saudi Arabia carried out at least 157 executions in 2015, with beheadings reaching their highest level in the kingdom in two decades, according to human rights groups.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Fancy Brigades Compete At Finale Shows On New Year’s Day

Fancy Brigades Compete At Finale Shows On New Year’s Day

 (credit: Mike Teiper/CBS3) 

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Fancy Brigade Finale show is an extension of the Mummers Parade, but indoors at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Eleven clubs decked out in elaborate costumes compete in the Fancy Brigade finale shows. Each get four and a half minutes to perform their high energy choreographed theatrical routines to the amazement of the crowd.

ADVERTISING
“There is always something new.”

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

First Baby Born At Virtua Hospital In 2016!

First Baby Born At Virtua Hospital In 2016!

 Baby Madison born 12:01 a.m. New Year's Day. (photo credit Cleve Bryan) 

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (CBS) —  She could be the very first baby born in South Jersey in 2016 and definitely one of the first to draw her own press conference!

Virtua Hospital officials in Mount Holly say little Madison was born at 12:01 a.m., weighing 8 pounds and measuring 19.5 inches long.

“Just seeing her makes me want to pick her up and hug her!”

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

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