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Manhunt underway after 2 deputies are shot and wounded in Alabama

Officials reported that two deputies with the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama were injured in a shooting Wednesday afternoon. Bibb County District Attorney Michael Jackson said that the deputies were chasing the driver of a stolen car after 5 p.m. Wednesday in the Brierfield community when the suspect opened fire, shooting both deputies.

The two deputies have been taken to the hospital, and as of press time the full extent of the deputies’ injuries were not fully revealed, only to say that one of the deputies was hit “in a critical area.”

A manhunt is currently underway for the suspect, identified as 26-year-old Austin Patrick Hall. Hall is described as being 5’9″ and weighing 169 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes. He previously escaped custody as an inmate in Wilcox County in 2019, and is considered to be armed and dangerous. According to officials, Hall reportedly abandoned the vehicle and is on foot.  According to the Centerville City Hall Facebook page, “residents in the area of Brierfield, Golfers Trail, County Road 10, Ala 25 should be on alert for an armed and dangerous suspect. Please lock your doors stay inside!”

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R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking

A federal judge sentenced R. Kelly to 30 years in prison on Wednesday. Kelly was convicted last September of racketeering and violating the Mann Act, a sex trafficking law, including having sex with underage girls.

Kelly was also convicted in a bribery scheme involving a public official to get a fake ID for the late singer Aaliyah, so the two could marry when she was 15 and he was 27. Kelly believed Aaliyah was pregnant at the time, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo. Kelly produced Aaliyah’s debut album, titled “Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number.” She died in a plane crash in 2001 at 22 years old.

During Kelly’s trial, nearly four dozen witnesses testified for the prosecution, alleging that he preyed upon children and women for his sexual gratification. The singer declined to testify at the six-week trial but could speak during Wednesday’s sentencing hearing. His defense team is asking for less than 14 years in prison, citing Kelly’s traumatic childhood.

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Rina Sawayama releases the new song “Catch Me In The Air”

Rina Sawayama has released a new track titled “Catch Me In The Air,” the second song shared from her forthcoming album, Hold the Girl.

According to Sawayama, the single was written “in-between lockdowns” with Oscar Scheller, Clarence Clarity, Gracey and Stuart Price.  She shared in a press release: “I really wanted to write about this weird relationship with single parents – you do catch each other in the air. I wanted the whole song to sound like it was on an Irish coastline, like a Corrs video. We put in a key change to go into the chorus, at the end of the pre-chorus to make it lift and soar like a bird…This was the first song that Stuart and I worked on together, and it was the most incredible experience. I’m such a huge fan of his work with Madonna and Kylie so it was a dream come true. We would send each other stock images of coastlines, people doing yoga on a pier, meditating in the middle of a field, hay bales, etc. to get inspired sonically.”

“Catch Me In The Air” is the follow-up to “This Hell,” which Sawayama released in May of this year. Sawayama’s second studio album, Hold the Girl, is set to release on Friday, September 2.

Check out the official visualizer for Sawayama’s Catch Me In The Airhere.

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Take a look at Lorde’s new video for “The Path”

Lorde has shared a new video for her song “The Path,” taken off her recent LP Solar Power and co-directed by Lorde and frequent collaborator Joel Kefali. Check out the video – here.

In a statement in her newsletter, Lorde wrote of the video: “On the occasion of the solstice, I wanted to share a sixth video with you, for THE PATH. This video is the first chapter in the mystical Solar Power story, a prequel to the title video. You see my character joining her friends and family on the island where they’ve chosen to start life anew, arriving in her trademark suit and quickly being transformed by nature’s strange magic. I’m so proud of my buds for learning the dance in this one. Hope you like it.”

Lorde has previously released videos for her other tracks from Solar Power including “Secrets From a Girl (Who’s Seen It All),” “Leader of a New Regime,” “Fallen Fruit,” “Mood Ring,” and the title track.

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Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years for aiding Jeffrey Epstein in sex trafficking underage girls

On Tuesday, Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for aiding the late financier Jeffrey Epstein in his sexual abuse of underage girls for at least a decade between the 1990s and 2000s. Following a criminal trial, Maxwell was found guilty last December of conspiring with Epstein – an associate and romantic partner for a period of time — to groom, recruit and sexually abuse minors as part of Epstein’s now-infamous trafficking ring. Maxwell was convicted of multiple charges related to sex trafficking and conspiracy.

Maxwell’s defense team had asked to postpone her sentencing hearing because she was suddenly moved to solitary confinement, arguing that Maxwell’s hearing should be rescheduled since solitary confinement meant she was unable to prepare for it.  Despite reports about her mental state, attorneys said that Maxwell was not at risk of suicide prior to the transfer.

The 60-year-old Maxwell was indicted in July of 2020 and taken into federal custody where she was held without bail for 16 months leading up to her trial. Her arrest came about a year after Epstein died by apparent suicide in his New York City jail cell while facing federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. Maxwell pleaded not guilty to all charges originally brought against her, and was acquitted of one count of enticing a minor to travel across state lines to engage in an illegal sex act. She never took the stand to testify during the trial, saying she felt there was “no reason” to formally defend herself before the court because “the government [had] not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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CVS, Walmart, Amazon and Rite Aid limit purchases of emergency contraceptive pills after Roe vs. Wade ruling

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, a number of major pharmacy chains and other retailers have placed limits on purchases of Plan B emergency contraception due to increased demand.  On Friday, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to overturn its 1973 opinion in Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide.

CVS Pharmacy told CNN that although the pharmacy chain has “ample supply” of contraceptive pill brands Plan B and Aftera, it is limiting purchases to three per customer “to ensure equitable access and consistent supply on store shelves.”

Rite Aid also told CNN they were implementing a similar limit on purchases of contraceptive pills: “Due to increased demand, at this time we are limiting purchases of Plan B contraceptive pills to three per customer,” said Alicja Wojczyk, senior manager of external communications for Rite Aid.

Amazon also confirmed to that it had placed a limit of three units per week on emergency contraceptive pills; and Walmart has said that many of its products purchased online have limits that can change “during times of fluctuating demand” but purchases of emergency contraceptive pills were not currently being limited.

Emergency contraceptive pills – commonly referred to as “morning after pills” — can be purchased over-the-counter without an ID or prescription. The contraceptive pills typically prevent pregnancy by stopping the release of an egg from the ovaries, preventing a sperm from fertilizing an egg or stopping a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb, and are meant to be taken up to three days after unprotected sex.  Emergency contraceptive pills differ from abortion pills, which require a prescription and can be used effectively within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.

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GMA Announces 2022 Summer Concert Series Lineup including Demi Lovato, Megan Thee Stallion and more

Good Morning America has announced the lineup for its 2022 summer concert series. Each concert will take place from Rumsey Playfield in New York’s Central Park, and all performances will air simulcast on Friday mornings from 7-9 a.m. on GMA.

The ABC morning show shared that that Demi Lovato, K-pop group Aespa, Megan Thee Stallion and other artists will perform as part of the series. Aespa will kick off the concerts July 8 at Central Park in New York. The South Korean girl group released its first English single, “Life’s Too Short” last week and will release its EP Girls the same day as its GMA concert.

OneRepublic will follow July 15, with Megan Thee Stallion to perform Aug. 12, Demi Lovato on Aug. 19 and Ozuna on Aug. 26, and Black Eyed Peas will close out the concert series Sept. 2.

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J-Hope of BTS to release solo album after group hiatus announcement

BTS’s J-Hope will release a solo album titled Jack in the Box.  Big Hit Music made the announcement on Weverse, sharing that the album will arrive on July 15, with the first single released two weeks earlier on July 1. The album “represents [J-Hope’s] aspirations to break the mold and grow further.”

The title of the first single has not been revealed, but it represents the “diverse content to show J-Hope’s creative identity as an artist will be introduced.” J-Hope also shared the news on his Instagram account, and posted a video.

The release of J-Hope’s solo work follows the announcement that BTS was going on hiatus temporarily. Fellow BTS members RM, Suga, V, Jungkook, Jin, and Jimin also have solo projects in the works. J-Hope will also be a headliner on the main stage at Lollapalooza on July 31, replacing Doja Cat, who is recovering from tonsil surgery.

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At least 46 migrants found dead inside a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas

At least forty-six migrants have been found dead inside a tractor-trailer found near Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX, along with 16 others — 12 adults and four children — who have been taken to hospitals, local officials in San Antonio said on Monday evening.

The grim discovery was made late Monday afternoon, when Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) responded to a call on Monday regarding an alleged ‘human smuggling event.’  According to officials, there was no working air-conditioning on the tractor-trailer, or water, and that those transported to hospitals were hot to the touch. The victims are suffering from heat exhaustion, the San Antonio Fire Department said.  Temperatures in San Antonio reached up to 100 degrees on Monday, per the National Weather Service.

San Antonio Police Chief William P. McManus said in a video posted on San Antonio Police Department’s Facebook that that three people were in custody. He stated that they do not know if the three people in custody are absolutely connected with human trafficking, adding that Homeland Security Investigations has now taken over the investigation.

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At least 3 dead, dozens injured after Amtrak train hits dump truck in Missouri

Three people were killed and dozens injured in northern Missouri on Monday after an Amtrak passenger train collided with a dump truck and derailed. Officials said Southwest Chief Train 4 was carrying 207 passengers and additional crew members from Los Angeles to Chicago when it hit a truck near Mendon, Missouri, at approximately 12:43 p.m. local time. An official from the Missouri State Highway Patrol said the crossing was “uncontrolled” and had no lights or crossing rails, which is common in more rural areas.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Corporal Justin Dunn said at a press conference that seven of the train’s eight cars derailed.  He added that two of the victims were on the train and the other was in the truck. It’s not clear if the train victims were passengers or crew members. All passengers have been transported from the scene, Dunn said. As many as 50 people were injured with many of the minor injuries being treated at a nearby school.

Amtrak did not provide any additional information about the crash or the condition of the train and its passengers. Missouri Governor Mike Parson said he’s “saddened” to hear of the derailment, adding that “Missouri Department of Public Safety, Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers, and other emergency management personnel are responding.”

The Missouri derailment is Amtrak’s second train crash in two days. An Amtrak train and passenger car collided in Northern California Sunday, killing three people in the car; no one on board that train was seriously injured.

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